SEX: HISTORY OF INVISIBLE WOMEN
In 2009, American Sarah McClelland published the results of a curious study in which men and women were asked to describe what “bad sex” means to them. Men replied that bad sex was one in which they did not enjoy or receive less than they would like. Women – what they consider to be bad sex, in which they were forced to endure pain or agreed to it without their own desire. Where did such a striking difference come from in the perception of a process intended, it would seem, for mutual pleasure? .. MEN’S PRIVILEGE For many years it was believed that only men can enjoy sex. Female sexuality was not just ignored – no! – she was seriously considered a deviation from the norm, a sign of illness, obsession, or simply licentiousness1. Of course, there was no question of any equivalence of sexual partners in such conditions. The maximum passive role of the “receiving” side was prescribed to the woman, the active position of the “invader” to the man. This division is still reflected in the linguistic constructions that describe the process of intercourse: the partner is supposed to “take possession”, and the partner is “to surrender”, or, in more vernacular versions, “take” and “give”, respectively. The first revolution in views on sexual relationships was made by Sigmund Freud, who described libido as a powerful stimulus for all types of human activity. However, his views, although they were very innovative for their time, did not contribute too much to the recognition of women the right to control their own sexuality2. The “discovery” of the female ability to experience orgasm led to his extreme medicalization, breaking all conceivable psychological and physical boundaries. The followers of psychoanalysis attempted to treat “hysteria”, which sometimes was understood as any “inappropriate for a lady” manifestation of emotions, by massage of the patient’s genitals with vibrators or just hands. It was proposed to divide the female orgasm into “adaptive”, obtained by stimulation of the vagina during sexual intercourse, and “maladaptive” – resulting from stimulation of the clitoris; of the latter, of course, it was supposed to unlearn ways available at that moment. Moreover, the opinion of women themselves, paradoxically, was simply not taken into account. The scientific community at the beginning of the twentieth century consisted almost of men alone, and the material for the study was mainly cases from the interaction of psychoanalysts with clients who applied for a solution to certain problems. This left a double imprint on the development of the theory of sexuality. First, practicing doctors (at that time psychology was still considered one of the branches of medicine) treated patients at best with indulgence, and at worst with overt neglect and did not consider them able to give an adequate assessment of their own experiences. Secondly, when constructing theories, only male experience was truly taken into account, through the prism of which female characteristics were also considered. So, for example, the famous concept of “penis envy” was born – the idea that women, not possessing the main symbol of power – the phallus, seek to compensate for its absence through the birth of a child (in the “correct” version of development) or through the formation of “male” qualities (in a variant of neurotic development).