A sexologist who appeared on the TV show “8 At The Table” to discuss intimacy said that Black people promote sexual violence through common terms used in the community to discuss sex. Terms such as “beat it up” when used to talk about intimacy promote images of violence, according to sex therapist Michelle Hope.
With a “vagina” puppet on her hand, Hope said, “Why are you trying to beat me up? Why are you trying to murder me? I must be very clear, the language we use by which we talk about sex in the Black community is disturbing. We talk about I finna beat it up…I’m finna to murder the p***y. Why are we using violent language to describe an intimate act?”
One of the show’s co-hosts shot back with a joke, saying, “I don’t know. I want him to murder the p***y.”
All jokes aside, how much of what Hope said is true?
Hope is a sexologist, educator and activist with over 15 years of experience. According to her website, she works in marginalized urban communities. She is the founder of Mixed Moxie, a social impact firm focusing on the advancement of Reproductive Justice and sexual health equity. She is also the author of “The Girls’ Guide to Sex Education: Over 100 Honest Answers to Urgent Questions about Puberty, Relationships, and Growing Up.”
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It is true violent language associated with sex can be found in Black music.
There are countless hip-hop songs that talk about “beating up” a woman’s genitalia.
When hip-hop artist DMX was arrested on sexual assault in 1998, some wondered if he talked about the alleged assault in one of his songs.
But DMX insisted that while his lyrics were drawn from his real-life experiences and that of others, they are creative interpretations.
“My rhymes come from my life [and] what I see,” DMX (a.k.a. Earl Simmons) said. “Not just my life, but everyone’s life around me. I see different things, sometimes I see the same thing but interpret it differently ’cause I’m older. That’ll be two different meanings, two different interpretations of the same things. Which is mandatory, essential rather. It’s an expression of one’s situation and you’ve got to show more than one side of that situation.”
“And if you got a daughter older than 15, I’m [going to] rape her,” DMX rhymes. “Take her, on the living room floor, right there in front of you/ Dick action seriously, what you wanna do?/ Frustrating isn’t it? Wanna kill me, but I’m [going to] kill you/ Now watch me fuck just a lil’ while longer please, will you?”
But violent sex language isn’t just found in hip hop. Almost any genre in the U.S. contains such language.
Among the songs that perpetuate rape culture and normalize sexual abuse, say experts, is “Blame it on the Alcohol” by Jamie Foxx. Some of the songs lyrics say, “I’m going to make you do what you’ve already said you’re not going to do,” Playbuzz reported.
Writer Constance Grady said people revert to using violent terms to discuss sex because we have not been taught the right language.
“It’s not that we don’t have a vocabulary for talking about sexual violence, because we do. But that vocabulary is inadequate. It is confusing and flattening in ways that make it hard to talk about sexual violence without either trivializing it, obfuscating the systems that enable it, or getting so specific as to become salacious or triggering,” she wrote in Vox. “If you want to write with any kind of accuracy about sexual violence, you have two choices: You can make your language clinical but vague, or you can make it graphic but specific.”
Other would argue that sex in general has a violent nature.
One study found that there’s a neurological explanation for the link between sex and violence
According to studies done by David Anderson, a neurobiologist from the California Institute of Technology, using mice and fruit flies, triggers for sex and aggression come down to the same clusters of neurons.
The close relationship between sex and violence have similarities across the animal world. “They both involve an initial approach and close investigation, a lot of sniffing and sensing, and in some animals you see that sexual behavior can be accompanied by aggression, for example biting,” he told Quartz.
Image: Screenshot from the TV show “8 At The Table” video clip posted on Twitter, https://twitter.com/BenjaminEnfield/status/1553501247247892481?s=20&t=f6OLI63g2f__rj6TDluyBw