Wednesday, December 12, 2007

This Year In Sex

Alternet has published a list of their top sex-related stories of the year. Here's my take on them:

"Top 10 Sex and Relationships Stories of 2007

10. Is Open Marriage the Modern Couple's Answer to Infidelity?
By Joslyn Matthews, Sirens Magazine
Why does open marriage work for some married couples and destroy others? The answer could be that for it to work, you need to be in an extremely healthy relationship."

Do modern couples need an answer to infidelity? I know plenty of successfully monogamous couples. I think the answer to modern couple's infidelity is honesty - discussing what you want, what you feel relationship would benefit from. Do whatever you like, but do it honestly.

"9. Don't Look Gay: Why American Men Are Afraid of Intimacy With Each Other
By John Ibson, American Sexuality Magazine
Why do adolescent boys often leave empty seats between each other when they go to the movies? It's a product of the culture of male homophobia in America which pushes men to avoid intimacy and gay stereotypes."

Certainly true that in the UK too there is a real phobia for a lot of men about looking or acting "gay" or "girly". It's homophobia, misogyny and it's very much encouraged by the media and big companies who can use it to sell stuff.

"8. Why Men Should Be Included in Abortion Discussion
By Courtney E. Martin, AlterNet
Locking men out of conversations about abortion often comes at a great expense."

Men are involved in abortion discussions - when they have a good relationship with the woman in question. If they don't - why would you discuss what happens to your own body with someone who is hostile to you? We're not stupid.

"7. Is Monogomy Natural?
By Anneli Rufus, AlterNet
A lifetime of love versus a quick roll with a stranger. It's funny how we can have two seemingly opposite urges at the same time."

No it's not. It's clearly "natural" to have both a desire for a lasting relationship and an urge to have a lot of sex. More importantly however - does it matter if monogamy is "natural"? It's "natural" to cr*p in a ditch but I for one choose not to live with men who do so. Human are supposed to be civilised, so we can choose for ourselves how we behave and what we do, we are not slaves to our own "natural" urges.

"6. The Deeper Meaning in the Republican Sex Scandals
By Susie Bright,
Another two gay-bashing, Klan-loving, pulpit-slurping Republicans have disgraced themselves. But there is much more we can learn from the improprieties of David Vitter and Bob Allen."

I think it's pretty obvious that the people shouting the loudest about the un-godliness of homosexual sex are the ones finding it hardest to repress that urge within themselves.

"5. Can Women Separate Love and Sex?
By Jennifer Armstrong, Sirens Magazine
Sex, like eating, is a biological drive, and you will lose your mind if you repress it for too long. But some women stave off the need much longer than others."

Of course many women have sex without falling in love. I know I have, I know I am not the only one. I also don't think you'll lose your mind if you don't have sex. Nor do I think sex is like eating - you'll die if you don't eat, if you don't have sex you'll just have to take up another hobby to fill the extra time. If the biological drive gets too much for you - I recommend masturbating.

(Note: within a week someone will have found this page by googling the phrase "I recommend masturbating"!)

"4. The Sexual Self-Interest of the Cuckolded Wife
By Susie Bright,
How does Suzanne Craig, wife of the outed senator, stand next to her liar of a husband at a press conference and not hurl her guts?"

More generally why do women put up with men who mis-treat them? Well they figure on whatever misguided logic that the investment of time and effort they've put into the relationship is worth something and they don't want to throw it away rashly before they've looked at the options. Or they were only in the relationship for career reasons/money/etc to start with. Or they believe God wants them to "stand by their man". Or they've been taught by society that it is a woman's responsibility to make relationships work so they're blaming themselves and trying to make things right.

"3. Do Women Enjoy Chocolate More Than Sex?
By Danielle Egan, The Tyee
Author Joan Sewell says so in her new autobiography where she embraces her low libido. The media have hailed her book as "brilliant," but scientific literature disagrees with her theory."

Depends who makes the chocolate and who's having the sex. Mr Cru vs a couple of Quality Street - I'll take the former, some unattractive slimeball vs a nice big chunk of Lindt and Sprungli - I'll be switching to the latter. As for low libidos, I think the media these days does have a very "sex is all that matters" attitude so if you've a low libido and you're happy that way, good for you. Of course it could be a symptom of some other problem - physical or mental - so best to check, but if not then it's up to you whether you want to see it as a problem. The real issue is that while low libido for women is often not seen as a problem - a man who doesn't want much sex is swiftly dosed up with viagra. There's a real sense that for men libido is closely related to identity. And that's messed up.

"2. Is Pornography Really Harmful?
By Michael Bader and Vivian Dent, AlterNet
In response to Robert Jensen's controversial book, Getting Off, two clinical psychologists debate the intersection of violence and sexual fantasy."

Yes pornography really is harmful. Thousands of reports, all over the world, yes it's hamful. Why are we still having this debate?

"1. Pornography and the End of Masculinity
By Don Hazen, AlterNet
Mainstream porn has come up with more ways than ever to humiliate and degrade women. Why, then, is porn more popular? Includes an excerpt from Robert Jensen's new book, Getting Off."

Porn is more popular than ever because it comes up with ever more ways to humiliate and degrade women. That's what it's readers want. And that's why it's harmful.


El Hombre Malo said...

We're still having the "porn is harmful" debate because that proposition is way too broad and too much of a generalization to be true. There is a debate because as much as some women (and men) pontificate about the evils of objetification, there are other women (and men) who enjoy beign objetified that way (or dont feel objetified at all). We're having this debate because for every study against all porn, there is one speaking of the positive influence of good porn.

We're still having this debate because there are way too many pontiffs trying to sell a puritan point of view as godspell, and yet no one have succeeded in awnsering this simple question: Is Gay porn harmful too?

Cruella said...

Could you show me one such study highlighting the "positive influence of good porn"? Because it's not a sentence I get to read very often.