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Posts tagged "terms"

Recently, an older piece of ours on “female” ejaculation, which opens with an advice question specifically asking about women who ejaculate, was shared here by a volunteer.  There were a few — very validly — critical comments about that piece being cissexist.  It is one of our older pieces overdue for an update, including making it more inclusive. (And, for now, while we do that update, I have taken it down, both from tumblr and the site, because I agree with those critiques. Until we can make it more inclusive, it is best it simply not be live. We are not okay with cissexism, either.)

That is pretty easy in context: what is less easy is finding a short term for ejaculation specific to those with vulvas, not penises, one that users internationally, and whose life experience and education around gender inclusivity may not be current, can identify so they can easily find the piece for that information.

I tend to be pretty good about coming up with alternative terms for things that work, but this is one where I — and we as a team — have felt a bit stuck. Having asked around other places, people seem equally stuck. So, we’re asking our tumblr followers: does anyone have an alternate term or terms for this that is not linked to gender, but only to physiology, that they like and feel is clear? If so, we’d really appreciate it if you shared that with us so we can move this forward. Thanks so much! - HC

Addendum: so, risu-of-anterra very helpfully offered up vulval ejaculation. The thing with that is that the vulva is the external genitals, and this is something that comes from the inside, and works its way out.  Agree, that makes a HUGE diff with inclusivity, and is certainly no more inaccurate than “female,” but we are hoping for something — dreaming, maybe, I know — more inclusive but also more accurate.  Of course, some of the sticky wicket there is that doctors and sexologists are still arguing about whether this kind of ejaculation comes from the urethra, clitoral sponge, or somewhere else. :(

One option, btw, is to always just simply talk about ejaculation, and the different ways people or body parts ejaculate, rather than differentiating at all in the most general way, and only doping so when we or others want to get specific.

Addendum Two: We really need a clinical, or semi-clinical term for this, not just a colloquial one like squirting. Especially since it seems like squirting, the colloquial one we have, generally seems to sit well with everybody.

Addendum Three (there may wind up being a lot of these!): How do we feel about “Skene’s ejaculation,” suggested here: http://paralian-blue.tumblr.com/post/71346550497/alternative-terms-you-like-for-female-ejaculation I think the notes paralian-blue added to this are sound, per any of us being unable at this time to pin down any one anatomical part with this kind of ejaculation, since we just do not yet have the science to do so 100%.

Yep, more: Also, this suggestion from thambos: http://thambos.tumblr.com/post/71346880837/alternative-terms-you-like-for-female-ejaculation which also seems sound. Only issue here is how many readers, especially those outside North America, will have no idea what FAAB means. And of course, our potentially vain hope that gender assignments at birth will just stop outright, so the term would not stay relevant. But then, this language is always changing, and we are always having to go back and update things regardless, so that matters less than finding something better than female ejaculation for now.

Last update!  Thank you so much to all of you for shuffling this around and pitching in, including any of you making the initial critiques. Critique always helps us grow and also helps us help others grow, too. The conversations we have had and watched here and on Facebook have really helped us toss out some ideas, consider others and — ultimately — decide on one of our initial thoughts, a sentiment also shared by a few folks in these conversations, that we move to just using ejaculation, period.  We can learn, as we all have before, how to incorporate that approach well when we do use specifics, like talking about how ejaculation is different with different body parts.

When we think of exclusivity, we also have to think about not just gender, but about socioeconomics and levels of education, about the large part of our userbase which is not Western, and, most of all, because we are a sex education service which aims to be as effective as possible when it comes to people learning, about accessibility in terms of approaches that allow our users to be less confused when they read our information, rather than more confused.  Even when our information is many pages, that clarity is always in front as we are creating or editing content.

We also think this approach offers some extra bonuses, like helping to normalize ejaculation that isn’t about a penis (someone commented wondering why there is a lack of study or facts on this at this point, btw and it’s clear sexism and phallocentrism have certainly played a part), queer some of this up, and also to help detach orgasm from ejaculation, as it is a common and problematic perception that the two are one and the same, happen at the same time, or are always related or entwined.

Again, thanks so much everyone. You improve us! :)

We get asked what sex is here at Scarleteen a lot, but we also ask our users what it is a lot, because (possibly just like you) we don’t always know what someone means when they talk about sex or having sex. People tend to use the word sex very differently or arbitrarily: what sex is or means for one person can be radically different than what it is or means to someone else.

It’s obviously important if you’re here for information about sex that you know what we mean when we say (and hear or read) “sex,” so we thought we’d make it crystal clear.

What do we mean when we say “sex?”

If we say sexuality, we mean the physical, chemical, emotional and intellectual properties and processes and the cultural and social influences and experiences that are how people experience and express themselves as sexual beings. Some aspects of all those things are very diverse and unique, others are very common or collective. [Note: we define sexuality in-depth here.]

If we say someone is having sex, or doing something sexual, we mean they are acting from their own sexuality, looking to express it in action and/or to try and actively experience or explore a feeling of general or specific sexual desire, curiosity and/or satisfaction.

When we say “sex,” what we mean is any number of different things people freely choose to do to tangibly and actively express or enact their sexuality; what they identify or know to be their sexual feelings and selves.

If “sex” was the answer, the questions would be things like "What am I doing to try and feel good sexually or to express feeling good sexually? What am I doing that feels sexual to me (or to me and a partner)? What am I doing that feels like a way to express my sexuality, or my sexual desires and/or feelings about myself or others?”

When some people say “sex” they only mean penis-in-vagina genital intercourse. The trouble is, there are a good many people who don’t or can’t have that kind of sex, aren’t interested in it, or don’t have that kind of sex every time, but who still have active, fulfilling sex lives. Some other people use it to mean any kind of genital sex with someone else. That definition can have its flaws, though, too. When we mean those specific things, we’ll say that we’re talking about those specific things. When some people say “having sex” they mean something that can only happen in some specific kinds of partnership, but when we mean specific partnerships or relationships, we’ll be specific.

When we say “sex” we’re talking about a very big picture. That’s because what sex is or isn’t for any given person or partnership not only differs a whole lot from person-to-person, it also can differ a whole lot from day-to-day for any one person: the way they had sex, or did sex, yesterday may not be the way they do next week. One person might consider that only intercourse or oral sex is sex, but someone else may both define sex differently and have what’s sex for them without doing either of those things. And defining what sex is just by a given activity or action, without talking about people’s motivations and desires really doesn’t work…

Read the rest at Scarleteen here.

Go, Sweden!

Sweden’s bid to ensure equality has reached another milestone with the gender-neutral “hen” being included in the online version of the country’s National Encyclopedia.

The pronoun was officially added to the encyclopedia this month as an alternative to the gendered pronouns “han” and “hon” (he and she), according to Slate magazine.

The word, pronounced like the bird in English, is defined as a “proposed gender-neutral personal pronoun instead of he [han in Swedish] and she [hon]”.

More here.

The term “sexuality” can be used a lot like the word "sex." They’re both terms we say and hear a lot, but which often aren’t clearly defined, or even defined at all. We can take for granted that everyone, including ourselves, knows what terms like this mean, a heck of an assumption to make with something that covers about a lot of really important things and can feel as murky as Lake Erie.

So, what is sexuality all about? You might say it’s about our bodies or our hormones, about our feelings and our relationships, or about touching and being touched. You might think it’s about doing or engaging in one kind of sex or any kind of sex, or about wanting, seeking out or experiencing certain kinds of pleasure. You might say it’s about parts of our identity, like our gender identity or sexual orientation. You might say it’s about reproduction: about making babies (or not). You might say it’s about our desires to be close to — or far away from — other people in ways we define or experience as sexual, or about feeling horny, lusty, tingly, mingly, hungry, itchy, twitchy or whatever words you use to express a strong feeling of “I can haz sex NOW, plz.”

If any one of those things were your answers, you’re right. If all or most of those things were your answers, you’re even more right (and may not even need to read this article at all: go get outside for a change, wouldya?). Sexuality is BIG. Mount Everest big: that’s why trying to scale it without a guide or two doesn’t go so well for most people. It’s a lot bigger than it can look and certainly a lot bigger than it’s often presented by most places and in most ways we see it presented. It’s complex as all get-out, both because it’s so big, and also because it’s about everyone, and as a whole people, we’re all incredibly different so something that’s about all of us is always going to be seriously complicated, not simplistic.

As with anything this big, there are a lot of ways we can talk about what sexuality is and can be…

Read the rest here.