This is the first in a series of interviews with strong women who have stepped outside the dominant sexual paradigm. The more I’ve confronted my own sexual and cultural biases — that ultimately made me miserable — and the more I’ve listened to other women talk about the biases they’ve faced in their own lives, the more I’ve felt the need to call out sexual prejudice.
Sex educator Elle Chase is a personal hero of mine. Her elegant and gorgeous tumblr, Lady Cheeky, gave me permission to like porn and still call myself a feminist. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her and she is as lovely and funny and smart as she is a progressive sexual trailblazer. Here are her thoughts on feminism and sexual empowerment.
How do you identify sexually?
Cis-female, heterosexual. Monogamish in relationship.
Some people believe that women who enjoy being sexually submissive are being disempowered by misogynistic, abusive men. What is your response to this?
I think this type of thinking suggests that women aren’t strong enough to have agency over their own bodies and are too easily manipulated. To me, that is disempowering and the antithesis of the feminist ideology.
Tell me a little bit about your journey into sexual empowerment.
I had a a major life change that forced me to look inward to discover why I was unhappy. What I learned was that I had not only never enjoyed sex, but that I never explored my sexuality at all. Because of this, I felt incomplete and suddenly starving for passion. I needed to know if I could actually enjoy sex, and if I did — then have a lot of it.
Was there ever a time when you felt constrained by sexual mores? If so, how did that impact you psychologically?
Constrained by sexual mores? Hmmm, I felt a LOT of shame for everything from masturbating to hooking up with guys from the web to my sexual attractiveness and prowess. So, yes…I did feel constrained.
What motivated you to own an alternative sexuality? How has this alternative preference empowered you in OTHER parts of your life, beyond sexual?
Owing my “alternative lifestyle” wasn’t a choice, it was a necessity. I couldn’t go back to the life I lived before because I had become a different person. I became “me” in that way, I don’t think I actually live an “alternative” lifestyle. I life a lifestyle I believe in…one that might be challenging for some to understand, but that’s no different than, say, a Tibetan monk or a pornographer. Did I just compare monks to porn producers? Wow. I need to eat something. Low blood sugar.
My sexual education, self-knowledge, and beliefs play into every part of my life. They drove me to accept my body as it is in any given moment, to make me more selective about who I choose to fuck or love or hang out with or all three. My beliefs are a huge part of my self-esteem regardless of whether I’m celibate or having sex four times a day. My freedom from sexual repression informs everything I do, because I know if I could find my sexual freedom by myself, without any guidance except my intuition and my brain, that I can do anything that way.
Any thoughts about why sexually traditional women have trouble supporting women with kink preferences?
Fear. It’s all about fear that we are not enough, and fear that we’re doing it wrong. It goes against everything women are taught about sex and pleasure. Most women are told what to like (missionary), how to like it (the way your partner likes it), with whom (only your spouse), and when (when you’re married). It’s confronting when we see that other women have figured out they don’t want their pleasure dictated. It forces us to look at the paradigm we’ve been taught and have been living. It’s easier to poo-poo other sexualities and lifestyles, because if we don’t we’re forced to look at our own pleasure, or lack thereof, and that often has way too many consequences.