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The Answer
(Or: Bored of Sensors)

Copyright 1989 by Lynna Landstreet.
Originallyappeared in Diversity: the Lesbian Rag (now defunct).
Please do not reproduce without asking me first.

One day in the not-too-distant future:



"Hello, could I speak to Lydia Bell?"


"Oh, hi, this is Colleen from the CCPCS."

"The what?"

"CCPCS -- the Central Committee for Politically Correct Sex. I'm just calling to let you know that--"

"This is a joke, right?"

"Oh, no! I guess you're not familiar with our group yet. We're an ad-hoc committee of concerned Lesbian-feminists who've come together to help resolve the confusion over what kind of sex is most compatible with feminism. Because, of course, there's been so much confusion over this issue in the past, as I'm sure you're aware."

"Well, uh, yeah, but --"

"We feel that what most women are having trouble with is where to draw the line. I mean, there are certain types of sex that we all know are OK, and there are certain types that we all know are anti-feminist and reactionary, but --"

"Hey, wait a minute!"

"-- but there's a big gray area in between and we feel that it's really important to set out some firm, uh, guidelines, as to what is acceptable and what isn't. Of course, this will be done in a supportive and non-judgmental way --"

"Wait a minute. Exactly who's going to be in charge of setting up these, uh, guidelines you're talking about?"

"Well, we are. That's the idea behind the CCPCS. And in fact, we've already done it. So we're happy to tell you that the complete list of politically correct and incorrect practices is now available at your local feminist bookstore!"

"Listen, uh, I hope you don't mind me asking, but what do you intend to do to get people to follow your, uh, guidelines?"

"Well, I'm glad you asked. We realize that, given the fact that we're all so conditioned into patriarchal sexuality, some women may find it difficult to give up their anti-feminist sex practices. So, with the help of modern technology, we've come up with an answer."

"I'm not sure I want to know --"

"Well, Lydia, I think you ought to listen anyway, because, as a matter of fact, your name was supplied to us on a list of women that, shall we say, might be interested in this product. It's quite simple, really. Just a set of little pressure-sensitive devices that are installed permanently in various strategic locations on the body, and are equipped with microtransmitters that are capable of instantly informing our computer system when a woman is engaging in a particular act. The computer then contacts whichever of our members is on call at the time, and she can either telephone or visit the woman, depending on the seriousness of the situation, to, uh, offer emotional support."

"Jesus Christ, I don't believe this!"

"I suppose you're wondering about exactly how the sensor system works? It's really quite remarkable, you know. It can be set up to detect practically anything. For example, a sensor in the knee can detect whether the woman is attempting to perform any sort of sexual act on her knees, which of course would be degrading and dehumanizing..."

"Yeah? How does it know she's not washing the floor?"

"Well, the various sensors work in combination with each other, so if pressure on the knees were detected, the vaginal sensor would instantly test for wetness to determine whether a sexual act were in fact taking place. The vaginal sensor is actually the most sophisticated. It has to be, really, being located at a site where so many anti-feminist acts are committed. It can check for the presence of foreign objects, and it can even detect the number of fingers being used for penetration -- we've set the limit at three. More than that would be practically like fist-fucking, which of course is a violent, dangerous, anti-feminist act. Then there's the anal sensor, which is much simpler. It just detects any penetration whatsoever, since, of course, anal sex is violent and degrading and no woman could possibly enjoy it. Then there are the sensors placed in locations all over the body, which detect any excessively hard or rough contact. I could go on, but I'm sure you get the picture."

"You bet. Listen, what makes you think any woman would want to have these things all over her?"

"I suppose what you're concerned about is the cost."

"The cost?!"

"Yes, you needn't worry, there'll be a sliding scale, of course. From $997.95 to $999.95. And since our records show that you're an unemployed artist, of course you'll be eligible for the lowest rate. Now, would you like to pick that up, or should we mail it and bill you?"

"Now wait just a goddamn minute here! You expect women to not only let you stick sensors up their cunts, but pay for it as well?"

"Well, we are looking at a proposal to allow women who are better off financially to donate money that will be put towards subsidizing low-income women --"

"Are you out of your mind?! What the hell makes you think I'm going to go along with this?"

Colleen sighed. "I was afraid you might be one of the difficult ones. Well, as I said, your name was supplied to us on a list of women who might -- or at least should -- be interested in this project."

"Exactly what are you getting at?"

"Well, we've been compiling extensive records on as many members of the community as possible to help us in promoting this project. One of the best sources has been a confidential phone line where concerned women can leave us information on any of their friends or lovers who they feel might need our support in their struggle to give up anti-feminist practices. We got the idea from some of our sisters in Northern Ireland."

"You mean from the cops in Northern Ireland!"

"Now, now, we mustn't be judgmental about our sisters' career choices. Are you an IRA supporter? I'll have to add that to your file. It's always good to have examples of how patriarchal sexual practices lead to violence."

"Look, I don't know how you got your information or what you think I do, and I don't really care. For the last time, I think this -- this project of yours is crazy and I don't want anything to do with it!!!"

"We were afraid there'd be women like you. It's so sad how so many women don't even realizes the extent to which they've been brainwashed into supporting the patriarchy. Why, don't you realize that what you did with Mary Smith from 11:33 to 12:47 last Wednesday evening was directly contributing to the same system that's responsible for rape, battering, child abuse, racism, class oppression, and the arms race? If you have trouble understanding it from a theoretical standpoint, think of it this way: according to the equivalency system worked out by our computer, your little evening of so-called fun was directly responsible for five rapes, three cases of child molesting, nine sixteenths of a murder, and last Saturday's cruise missile test! That ought to help you put it in perspective!"

"Listen, I think you're --"

"You just don't care about other women at all, do you? I don't know how you can call yourself a feminist. Well, you've certainly proved to me that the extreme sanctions we've established for use in helping seriously non-cooperative women are justified. We're going to do everything we can to help you deal with your problem, in a supportive, healing, and non-judgmental way of course. I'm going to have to enter a code into your file that will have the computer immediately inform all feminist and Lesbian publications that they are not to publish any of your writings or artwork, unless they'd like to be blacklisted as promoting anti-feminist sexual violence. Your phone will be tapped and your movements followed, and any woman seen having any contact with you will be investigated to see whether she might need our support as well. We feel that this might help you to understand how much you really need the loving support of your sisters. And that's just the first phase. In the second, should you still remain uncooperative --"


Damn, thought Colleen as she entered the code. That's the fifteenth one this morning.


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