Carole S Vance – Pleasure and Danger

“…the phrase ‘pleasure and danger’ still remains resonant and provocative in describing women*’s sexual situation. […] At the individual level, it explains the mix of fear and excitement that women often feel when they approach sexuality. At the group level, it speaks to the differences among women* who, depending on personal history and experience, may want to stress safety or adventure at various times of their lives. Here, the concept is intended to offer a generous framework for understanding difference. It suggests that women*’s relationships to sexuality will be diverse, not singular, and that any feminist program that requires uniformity in women*’s responses will be dishonest and oppressive. […] An exclusive focus on danger […] doesn’t empower our movement with women*’s curiosity, desire, adventure, and success. The notion that women* cannot explore sexuality until danger is first eliminated is a strategic dead-end.”
(Carole S. Vance, 1992: xvi-xvii; new introduction to Pleasure and Danger. Exploring Female Sexuality, originally published in 1984, London: Pandora. * introduced by antke engel, in order to denaturalize the term.)

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