Serena Freewomyn

Do Feminists Have Better Sex?

Filed By Serena Freewomyn | November 02, 2007 1:24 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: feminism, gender roles, sex

A new study shows that feminists have healthier, more egalitarian (hetero)sexual relationships. The study, which was conducted by Rutgers University professors Laurie Rudman and Julie Phelan, attempts to debunk the stereotype that feminists are sexually unattractive and that successful womyn can't find partners.

The study, published online this week in the journal Sex Roles, relied on surveys of both college students and older adults, finding that women with egalitarian attitudes do find mates and men do find them attractive. In fact, results reveal they are having a good time, maybe a better time than the non-feminists.

Although this study examines sexual satisfaction for heterosexual couples, there is still a paucity of research that looks at relationship satisfaction for same-sex couples. If we use Rudman & Phelan's hypothesis that more egalitarian relationships lead to higher levels of sexual satisfaction, then logic would hold that same-sex relationships would presumably reflect even higher levels of satisfaction. Why do I say this?

Well, for one, same-sex relationships typically do not rely upon the scripts of traditional gender roles (i.e. the man makes the money and the womyn tends the home). We have to negotiate the roles we fulfill in our relationships. This would seem to suggest that when both partners have an equal say in the role they play in the partnership, they would feel more satisfied. As for how this translates into the bedroom, yes there are still tops and bottoms. But it seems that we are typically upfront about communicating who we are and what we are looking for in a partner. Be honest . . . I know I've posted many a Craigslist ad saying something to the effect of "femme top seeks butch bottom," (I won't give you TMI seeing as this is only my second day on TBP).

But back to my point. I think this is a great study. But I think the same study needs to be replicated with lesbian and gay couples. And I think a totally separate study needs to be done with bisexual couples. Because that's an even different ball of wax (forgive me if I'm speaking out of turn).

So in case you didn't already know it, yeah for scientists confirming that feminism is really all about knowing how to kick up your heels and fuck! Happy Friday ya'll!


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Well, for one, same-sex relationships typically do not rely upon the scripts of traditional gender roles (i.e. the man makes the money and the womyn tends the home). We have to negotiate the roles we fulfill in our relationships. This would seem to suggest that when both partners have an equal say in the role they play in the partnership, they would feel more satisfied.

Totally agree, Serena!

Nice points! One question, though - what do you mean by 'bisexual couples'? I'm bisexual, but my boyfriend is straight. I don't identify as being in either a straight or a bisexual couple - just a mixed-sex one.

Hi Nine, I guess what I was referring to is this: A good friend of mine identifies as bi. Before she married her husband (who also identifies as bi), she had only been with womyn and he had only been with men. She is allowed to have girlfriends and he is allowed to have boyfriends. They just don't have other partners who are a different sex. Clearly, they've negotiated an arrangement that works for them.

Also, another bi friend is in a monogamous relationship, but she is forever reminding her partner that they are not a lesbian couple because she isn't a lesbian (despite the fact that her current partner is the only one she's ever had).

A third example: A bisexual female friend is married to a hetero male. She, too, is frequently having to assert herself as a bisexual so that people don't read them as a straight couple.

Since I don't identify as bi, I don't want to speak out of turn. But it seems like there is some level of negotiation going on in these relationships that doesn't exist in heterosexual relationships. Therefore, I think it would be interesting to measure the level of relationship & sexual satisfaction amongst bisexual couples. Because it's an even more unique situation.

just a quick comment b/c i have to go to work.
re: bisexual feminist relationship. have you read "Look Both Ways: Bisexual Politics" by jennifer baumgardner? She has a very interesting chapter on this...

Thanks for replying! I agree. I would love to see more discussion of these kinds of issues, and I really appreciate that you raised them.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | November 3, 2007 7:15 PM

What cool results! They make perfect sense, but isn't it great to see science confirm something like this and debunk the tired old misogynist myth?!

When I posted the other day I meant to include the link to my review of Jennifer Baumgardener's book on bisexuality. Here it is below. She's way cool.

http://dontboxus.blogspot.com/2007/08/cant-i-just-be-attracted-to-people-not_16.html