Theory Dive: The Male Drive for Pussy

Theory Dive: The Male Drive for Pussy


Izzy Rooke-Ley is the brains behind @the.f.sex, an Instagram page that merges feminist theory with erogenous aesthetics. Challenging the male gaze with female pleasure. The Instagram page asks: "How does a female revealing erogenous bodily zones signify shame or present her as a slut?" Well, exactly. In this essay, Rooke-Ley deep dives into theories by Solanas and Freud to examine how pleasure manifests in both writers' texts:

Why ‘The Male Drive for Pussy’?

The male relationship with the female genitalia in Valerie Solanas’ feminist SCUM Manifesto can be defined as the 'male drive for pussy’. I use ‘pussy’ because this is how SCUM refers to the female genitalia. Solanas says ‘each man's end is all the pussy for himself’. To the males in the manifesto, ‘pussy’ only signifies a hole for them to fuck. It is that which they drive towards impulsively and sexually. I also use ‘drive’ in order to emphasise that what sexually drives these males towards pussy can be understood through relating it to the Freudian concept of the Eros and death drives. In Civilisation and its Discontents, Freud defines the drive towards self preservation and the satisfaction of instinctual needs as the drive for Eros, which is synonymous with the life instinct. This is never isolated from the death drive, which Freud defines as ‘the tendency to aggression’ and self-destruction. The relation to Freud provides a way to translate the ambiguous perspective that the male has towards the feminine in the manifesto, from which the male selfishly uses the pussy to complete his self-identity and for the satisfaction of his life needs but also aggressively drives towards the subjugation of this feminine zone because he is envious of the pussy. Though, I discuss the aggressive drive through the male sexual destruction of the feminine in SCUM, not through males’ self-destruction.

As well as discussing the destructive male interpretation of the female genitalia, I will discuss Solanas’ own perspective on the female genitalia and her demand that females should be asexual. My intention is to critique the violent implications that the manifesto has for the female body and female sexuality. I am aware that there are queer critiques of SCUM, however I specifically focus on the manifesto’s assertively heteronormative discussion of the penis to pussy relation based on this intention, because I want to discuss the male destructiveness towards the female genitalia. Lastly, I will provide the perspective on female genitalia that Solanas doesn’t; that is the vulva and
vagina signify feminine erogenous zones of pleasure and desire which should not be subjugated.

 

by @alina_zamanova

by @alina_zamanova


Pussy as a Life Drive

Solanas demands females to ‘destroy the male sex’ because she argues that they are ‘parasites’ living off females and, are ‘therefore, not […] entitled to live’. Although I do not support her aggressive perspective on males, the way in which she draws her conclusions comes from an interesting theorisation on how sexual desire functions through the male and his ‘desperate compulsive attempt’ to ‘screw’ the ‘pussy’. Solanas argues that because the male is an incomplete female, he ‘spends his life attempting to complete himself, to become female [since females are complete,] by constantly […] trying to live through and fuse with the female’. The males sexually drive towards the pussy because it is their closest way to relate to the feminine identity, which is a way for them to feel complete themselves. Solanas’ use of ‘fuse with the female’ is implicitly concerned with the penis sexually fusing with the pussy. Since this is what the male ‘spends his life’ doing, this amounts to him living through the pussy. Juxtaposing this concept with Solanas’ analogy of males as ‘parasites’, it can be concluded that males are parasites specifically living off of the pussy, since they constantly sexually attach themselves to it in attempt to complete and secure their identity and to satisfy their life needs. This relationship between life and sex relates to Freud’s argument that since a sexual relationship to genitalia gives the ‘greatest gratification’, one is ‘impelled […] to make genital erotism the central [drive] of his life’. The Eros drive defines the life instinct but is synonymous with libido (which is why sex drive is also a life drive). Freud’s phallocentric statement, ‘[the] life of human beings […is a] wish to keep his sexual object, the female, near him’ refers to the life and sex drive, which are associated with the male identity through the use of ‘his’. This statement signifies the male dependency on using the female as an object towards which he can drive his sexuality and through which he can fulfil his life instincts.

Pussy Envy as a Death Drive

However, because of the presence of the death drive, Freud argues that others are ‘also a temptation to [men] to gratify their aggressiveness [and even] to use [them] sexually without [their] consent […]’. Considering this death drive is never isolated from Eros, the male desire to keep the feminine sexual object near is not only a life instinct but also a drive to satisfy his own aggression through sex; the feminine also represents a sexual object to be violated. Similarly, the presence of ‘pussy envy’ (a feminist inversion of the Freudian castration complex) in SCUM provides the context for why the male aggressive instinct also interacts with and is part of that same life drive towards the feminine sexual object. Solanas’ statements, ‘[the male] possessiveness for the pussies themselves’ and ‘each man’s end is all the pussy for himself’, not only imply the male drive to fuck a female’s pussy, which he is possessive over, to immediately satisfy his life needs but implicitly imply the male desire to possess and have a pussy literally ‘for himself’.

Yet, the female has the pussy to herself. This is why he’s envious of the pussy. Melanie Klein, in the Paranoid Schizoid Position, argues that the breast is the object of the baby’s desire for immediate satisfaction of its life needs for nourishment but whenever the mother denies her baby’s needs by keeping the breast to herself, the baby is envious of the breast. She defines envy as ‘the angry feeling that another person possesses and enjoys something desirable – the envious impulse being to take it away or to spoil it’. Envy of the breast, for Klein, is a desire to destroy the breast. Klein’s theorisation of envy provides a way to translate why ‘pussy envy’ makes males destructively drive their penis towards the feminine erogenous zone to subjugate it and to attempt to make it HIS territory (to make him feel better). The males in the manifesto interpret females as a ‘pussy’, reducing her to her genitalia. Yet, what ‘pussy’ signifies to males, is a sexual object which they can selfishly use for their needs but which is also male territory to destroy. 

 

by Izzy Rooke-Ley

by Izzy Rooke-Ley


‘Pussy’ as a Hole for Males to Fuck

Solanas urges women to relate to their bodies in a way which does not reproduce the destructive and repressive structures of power she locates and critiques in this male sexual perspective of the female. However, she argues that this relation should be non-sexual. She demands the female to ‘condition away her sex drive’ because, for her, sex drive is abject and associated with the ‘disgusting’ male sex. This demand is a desire to negate the female genitalia’s potential for sexual pleasure. If enjoying sex as a woman only equates to fusing with the destructive male enemy, this is a shaming and subjugation of female bodily pleasure and sexuality. In SCUM, ‘pussy’ is never a construct of female desire. It is only presented as a hole which males desire to fuck. Solanas never interprets it in a way that opposes this male interpretation. In this way, she has a destructive approach towards the female genitalia despite her arguing that it is the males that have such.

Pussy? Vulva? Vagina?

There is a distinction to be drawn between what the ‘pussy’ signifies for the males in the manifesto and then the signification, that I will present, of the vulva and vagina as sites of female desire, pleasure and ownership. Despite these signifiers ‘pussy’, ‘vulva’ and ‘vagina’ all referring to the female genitalia, the distinction between them is concerned with what is said about the female genitalia. The definition of the ‘vagina’ is the internal canal which leads from the external vaginal orifice and extends to the uterus. ‘Vagina’ is mistakenly used as a way to refer to the whole of the female genitalia, which is a cultural attempt (similar to the males’ attempt in the manifesto) to limit it to a space for penetration.

Thus, I specifically use the term ‘vulva’, as well as the vagina, because it defines the whole of the external part of the female genitalia, including the clitoris, labia majora and minora and the external opening of the vagina. This signifies that the female genitalia is an erogenous zone of feminine pleasure which is not limited to the vaginal opening. Female genitalia is not merely an opening for the male penis, a hole to fuck. In antithesis to the destructive signification of the vagina as male only territory, the vulva and vagina signify erogenous zones of pleasure and desire for women without depending on male interpretation or penetration because they are female territory. The clitoris is an intense erogenous zone of eight thousand nerve fibres, a site of female pleasure which doesn't depend on male penetration.

Also, for most females, female orgasm does not depend on vaginal penetration alone anyway; the female body must be stimulated further in order for it to experience fulfilling, transportive pleasure. The vagina and vulva are complex for the male, in his ignorant state in the manifesto, to have a relationship to or to understand. Instead of women needing to look for another non-sexual relation to their bodies, as a way to ‘escape’ from mens disgusting ‘sex bag’, men need to discover a new relationship to the female body in a way that does not deny her genitalia’s potential for pleasure by fucking it like a space dedicated to the penis. 

The Drive to Make the Female Genitalia Orgasm

In order for females to have a liberated relationship with their bodies and sexualities, it is necessary for females to distance themselves from discourses, such as SCUM, which idealise female asexuality or discuss female genitalia through phallocentric language; which is destructive towards and critical of the female body and feminine sexuality. The violent demand to annex sexuality from the feminine in SCUM is a violent desire for the erasure of part of the feminine and equates to an attempt to subdue and master the feminine. The manifesto’s claim to be feminist, then, is problematic because feminism supports the liberation and non-subjugation of females.

My feminist Instagram account, ‘@the.f.sex’, discusses the signification of the vulva, vagina and the female sexual body in a way that challenges those discourses. I challenge why a woman is shamed for the sex she desires in order to experience transportive and liberating pleasure. My page does not limit female sexuality through its relation to the penis; it represents heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual and queer sexual relationships as well as the sexual relationship a female has to her own body. It provides both females and males with a better understanding of the feminine erogenous zones, of how to respect females during sex and presents knowledge on how to bring females to a fulfilling orgasm (which the male perspective in SCUM lacks understanding of). 

by Izzy Rooke-Ley

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