A man fucks with several women: a player! A woman fucks with several men: a slut! Where do these beliefs come from and how do women experience their sexuality within this unbalance?
[Dieser Artikel existiert auch auf deutsch.]
"Of all Earth's creatures, none is as urgently, creatively, and constantly sexual as Homo sapiens."
- Christopher Ryan & Cacilda Jethá (1)
There is a liberated, sexually charged but nonetheless relaxed atmosphere. There are psychedelic, moving, colorful and sexually provoking pictures hanging everywhere. Dozens of people are sitting on the cushioned loungers at the giant, ice cold swimming pool. They are drinking wine, beer, cocktails and also soft drinks. Some are smoking cigarettes, some joints. All of them are however either completely naked or (like most people) dressed in weird, funny, sexy or kinky clothing. At the back a completely naked woman drenched in sweat is exiting the sauna to get under the cold shower. Kit Kat Club is one of Berlin's most famous clubs. Especially their Saturday night, the "Carneball Bizarre" is world famous for its sexual freedom.
At the back of the club, one can find two dance floors. People – whether straight, gay, bisexual, pansexual, trans*, cisgendered, men, women or intersexual – are dancing so exuberant and liberated that one ends up wondering why one still needs those labels. They are dancing to Berlin's world-famous techno music, are sweaty, make out, laugh, some are also high on drugs. In the middle of the dance floor, two cisgendered and two transgendered women have thrown a man in a full body rubber costume onto the floor and are forcing him to kiss their feet while they are slapping his ass which seems to turn him on very much. This must be one of the most humiliating moments in his life. I am happy for him. But the real action is happening in the back corners as well as on the balustrades. Where people of any gender identity and sexual orientation are fucking with each other. Without any stigma, without any weird looks, but also without any pressure, without any macho behaviour.
Website of Kit Kat Club Berlin: kitkatclub.org
Phones are forbidden inside Kit Kat Club. What happens at Kit Kat stays at Kit Kat. There is a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination and sexism. Men harassing women are thrown out of the club. Every person wishing to do so can live their sexuality the way they want with the consent of all involved.
It is here where I meet Maria (2). "You can try out a lot here, make out with many different men and get a feeling for with whom you might want to do more," she tells me. "Of course there might also be a night where you will not find anyone you like. Well, then you simply go home and masturbate." She laughs. Maria comes from a small town in Southern Germany where everyone knows everybody. She can't really have sex there as she is too afraid that people will talk behind her back. When she's in Berlin, she can more easily let go. She feels more free at Kit Kat Club.
"What kind of a slut would I be in their eyes?"
"The other people's gaze is always there, especially in the countryside", says Maria. "If they knew what I do in Berlin... How would they look at me? What kind of a slut would I be in their eyes?" This opinion doesn't come from a mere feeling. "I have made several experiences like that. Once a colleague made fun of a male friend that was having sex with many women. Interestingly enough he was talking more derogatory about the women, that he had had sex with than about the friend himself. Even though it seemed he did not approve of his friend having sex with so many women it was clear that his contempt was directed more at the women that also were not fucking only with his friend. He also used the word 'slut.'"
"That's why a life like I have it every now and then in Berlin, would never be possible at home. Sometimes when at home I feel ashamed when I think about what I do in Berlin." I ask her where she thinks that shame comes from. "Among others also from my ex-boyfriend. He often called me a slut. Even though I never had sex with other men while we were a couple. But he was full of insecurities. For example that his dick was not big enough and that he could therefore not satisfy me. But that was total rubbish. The problem was more that firstly he came too quickly and then stopped, and secondly above all the problem was a lack of communication. But he was only focussed on the size of his dick. He had that unfounded fear his cock was apparently not big enough. And he projected that fear onto me. I simply was a slut that only wants huge cocks."
A maximum security prison for an apparently low libido
Where does this stigma come from? Why do we have such double standards about the sexuality of men and women? There is some evidence suggesting that this is a result of patriarchal claims of ownership on women. Generally speaking, humans are a very original species. Of course, there are asexual and less sexual people. But generally speaking, there are many anthropological studies (3) suggesting that humans – women included – are a very sexual species, a trait that they share with their closest relatives, the bonobos and the chimpanzees. Sex does not only serve reproduction but also has a very important social function of bonding. But still (not only) Western culture, religion and also some areas of science tell us again and again, that humans were not very sexual, in fact, that they were monogamous by nature. This would be especially true for women. Men might still try to spread their genes as far as possible but women were not as sexual.
"And yet, despite repeated assurances that women aren't particularly sexual creatures, in cultures around the world men have gone to extraordinary lengths to control female libido: female genital mutilation, head-to-toe chadors, medieval witch burnings, chastity belts, suffocating corsets, muttered insults about 'insatiable' whores, pathologizing, paternalistic medical diagnoses of nymphomania or hysteria, the debilitating scorn heaped on any female who chooses to be generous with her sexuality... All parts of a worldwide campaign to keep the supposedly low-key female libido under control. Why the electrified high-security razor-wire to contain a kitty-cat?" (4a) some cultures even stoned women to death if they cheated on their husbands. Why is there evidence of adultery in almost every patriarchal society, even in those that routinely punish women with a death penalty? In light of all this bloody retribution, it's hard to see how women could be naturally less sexual. Why would one risk one's life for something that goes against one's nature? "No creature needs to be threatened with death" – whether actual death or symbolic death as stigma – "to act in accord with its own nature." (4b)
Interestingly enough even many versions of evolutionary theory have promoted the belief of the less sexual woman, even though that has been questioned by more and more evolutionary biologists and psychologists. Because it seems increasingly that "modern man's seemingly instinctive impulse to control women's desire is not an intrinsic feature of human nature. It is a response to specific historical socioeconomic conditions." (5) It is an adaption to a patriarchal world that sees women as property of men. To compare: There are countless cultures where a strong female sexuality is considered "normal". Anthropology knows at least 18 of them in South America alone (6). Women feeling shame for having multiple sex partners? Not the case at all!
"Like all dominant groups, men seek to promote an image of their subordinate's nature that contributes to the preservation of the status quo. For thousands of years, males have seen women not as women could be, but only as males want them to be."
- Marvin Harris (7)
The world as a brothel
The Mayans in Central American believed they could they could tame female sexuality by telling young girls that a super-sexed demon with a several-foot-long penis seizes young women who have misbehaved, carrying them off to his cave, where he rapes them. If they were unlucky enough to become pregnant they would swell up and then give birth night after night until they die (8). In medieval Europe "too sexual" women were made to believe that they "had had intercourse with the Devil himself, a huge, black, monstrous being with an enormous penis and seminal fluid as cold as ice water." (9)
But the picture of a sexually active, promiscuous woman as a pathological, unnatural thing is not only a relic from medieval times. End of 19th-century German neurologist Richard von Krafft-Ebing wrote that if a woman was normally developed mentally, her sexual desire was small. If this would not be so, the whole world would become a brothel and marriage and a family impossible. To have suggested that women enjoyed, indeed needed sexuality, would have been shocking to most men and humiliation to most women (10). "Perhaps it still is" I wonder as I listen to Maria.
One can see she enjoys sex. She doesn't see sex as something to serve men, something that female sexuality has been reduced to in patriarchal culture for a long time. "Good sex for me is when a man finds pleasure in giving me pleasure by himself. When he takes his time to discover my body and to read my body language. I enjoy being sexually submissive but I love to take our time. It has to advance slowly before my genitals start swelling. But then we can properly start. But first I want to have a clitoral orgasm. After that, he can fuck me harder so that I also have a vaginal orgasm."
"My first sex partner had a big influence on me. I used to have heavenly sex with him. But he took his time and pleased me for hours. And he showed me things on my body that I did not know until then. He helped me to reduce the inhibitions I had towards my body and my sexuality. Unfortunately, this got around and it did not take long and people started to tease me with the name of a porn star. So the inhibitions came back. Kit Kat Club is the only place where I can at least partly let go of them, where I can be a little bit more who I really am."
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(1) Cf. Jethá, C.; Ryan, C. (2010): Sex at Dawn – The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality, New York, p. 47.
(2). Name changed
(3) Cf. Jethá, C.; Ryan, C. (2010): Sex at Dawn – The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality, New York.
(4a) Idem, p. 39.
(4b) Idem, p. 98.
(5) Idem, p. 76.
(6) Cf. idem, p. 91.
(7) Harris, M. (1989): Our Kind – Who We Are, Where We Came From, Where We Are Going, New York, p. 261.
(8) Cf. Jethá, C.; Ryan, C. (2010): Sex at Dawn – The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality, New York, p. 253.
(9) Idem, p. 252.
(10) Cf. idem, p. 250.