Feminist Identity and Sexual Behavior: The Intimate Is Political
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Feminism is understood to be not only about equality for women as a group, but also about personal choices in a gender-unequal world. In this paper, I examined whether feminist identity was associated with solo and partnered sexual behavior. Using an original, representative survey of adult Canadian women (N = 1126), I employed ordinal logistic and logistic regression analyses to assess the relationship between feminist identity and sexual behavior. I found that those who called themselves feminists reported having more recently masturbated than non-feminist women. In addition, I found that in partnered sexual encounters, feminists were more likely to participate in anal play, as well as engage in more kissing, cuddling, and massage than non-feminists. I also found that feminist women were more likely to receive oral sex than non-feminists. These findings contribute to our understanding of feminist identity as tied to women's personal lives, extending this association to the realm of sexual activity. In this case, the political is not only personal, it is intimate as well. Claiming a feminist identity is aligned with an approach to sexuality that includes a wider array of intimate and sexual behaviors that center women's sexual and emotional needs in partnered encounters.
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