The Official Blog for ENGL 41416.

This Sex Which is Not One

By Amber Laraque

 Reading Luce Irigaray’s excerpt from This Sex Which Is Not One sparked questions in my head, regarding male sexuality versus female sexuality. As Irigaray describes it, “Woman touches herself all the time, and more over no one can forbid her to do so, for her genitals are formed of two lips in continuous contact. Thus, within herself she is already two – but not divisible into one (s)– that caress each other.”

 She describes this as autoeroticism and says that this autoeroticism is interrupted by a “violent break-in”—the penis entering the vagina.

 The questions that arose after reading this were, 1. how can one believe that because a woman’s lips touch all the time, that it could be a form of pleasure?; and 2. Why she describes the penis as “violating?”

 Reading further, my second question was answered, and it is understood that Irigaray believes that women have been put in the position to serve the purpose of pleasuring a man, what she describes as a “use- value for man,” or a “commodity.” Thus the penis would be violating a woman, seeking pleasure for only himself, while a woman doesn’t need a penis, nor a tool to pleasure herself.

 This takes me back to my first question. While I understand the points that Irigaray makes about a woman, self pleasure, and rediscovering herself, I don’t agree that women get pleasure because she “touches herself all the time.” Or is it because I have not rediscovered myself yet? Perhaps Irigaray’s point is that a woman needs to discover herself out side of “man” in order to understand herself, her pleasure, and her sexual organs.


Comments on: "This Sex Which is Not One" (2)

  1. Rachelly Crime said:

    The questions that came up during your reading can be somewhat be explained by an episode of HBO’s show Girls. In this show one of the characters is portrayed as the uptight prim and proper (characteristics of the perfect woman) girl and in the third episode there is a scene of her pleasuring herself at a party after meeting a guy she refused to kiss. She refuses to kiss him because it is not lady like. At the end of each epidote the happenings are explained by the writer and creator of the show who also plays the main character on the show. She explains this scene as subtletly showing each Girls insecurities as well as the finding of them selves, hinting back to Irigay’s idea of “rediscovering herself”.

  2. I agree with your last paragraph, this article was one of the most confusing one of the course. Just like you I truly couldn’t understand how according to the author, because the lips are constantly touching we are two. Thinking from a women’s view and in believing that I have discovered who i am I see no connection between my genitals and the women I am. Yes I have a vagina but is this the only mark that defines wom?

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