Better than Orgasm: Sex, Authenticity and Intimacy in the New Women's Movement in Norway
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionGender & History. 2021, 33(1), 209-226 10.1111/1468-0424.12502
Authenticity and intimacy have become key expectations in contemporary romantic relationships. At the same time, it is taken for granted that sex forms a part of such relationships. This article explores how the relationship between sex, authenticity and intimacy was written about and negotiated in the Norwegian community of lesbian radical feminists in the 1970s and 1980s. The construction of male sexuality as fundamentally and inherently different from female sexuality in the periodicals of the lesbian movement made thinking and writing about women's sexual desire and genital sex difficult. This article further argues that the concept of genital sex potentially conflicted with the notions of authenticity and intimacy pursued by the lesbian radical feminist community. While authenticity and intimacy were constructed as preferable companions to sex in the New Left and in large parts of the women's movement, the Norwegian lesbian radical feminists often constructed authenticity and intimacy in opposition to genital sex.