Posts Tagged sex
Remember a very long time ago, when I wrote about Vajazzling and was clearly not impressed?
I still think the culture of everyone-must-wax-their-pubes-to-oblivion-or-else-they’re-troglodytes is a load of horseshit, and Dr. Emily Gibson gives me another reason why:
Long ago surgeons figured out that shaving a body part prior to surgery actually increased rather than decreased surgical site infections.
Pubic hair removal naturally irritates and inflames the hair follicles left behind, leaving microscopic open wounds. [...] There is an increase in staph boils and abscesses, necessitating incisions to drain the infection, resulting in scarring that can be significant. It is not at all unusual to find pustules and other hair follicle inflammation papules on shaved genitals.
And here I thought it was just MY delicate, petal-soft skin that didn’t appreciate having its coarse hairs ripped out or shaved off.
In addition to staph infections, Dr. Gibson says de-hairified nether regions are also more vulnerable, for obvious reasons, to STIs.
It’s not the esthetics of pube removal that bug me; it’s the culture of hostility to those who don’t subject themselves to thousands of little open wounds. There is no explanation necessary for letting the hair-down-there grow as it will. Sexual health is better with hair follicles left alone.
While it was fun to do a little yawn-and-snort at V.S. Naipaul for his “I’m so much better than all those stupid girls” posturing, today Douglas Barry points something out about the Literary Review’s nominees for the Bad Sex in Fiction Award: they’re a sausagefest.
Severely underrepresented in this year’s nominations? Women. Only Jean M. Auel and Dori Ostermiller made the illustrious list and if you’re thinking, “Well, the ladies can’t get all the best awards every year,” consider that, since the ‘Bad Sex’ award’s inaugural winner Melvyn Bragg, only two women — Wendy Perriam and Rachel Johnson — have ever taken home the top prize.
From the overwhelming preponderance of male authors in the ranks of Worst Sex Writers as designated by Literary Review, Barry derives the premise of his article, which is that male authors are overwhelmingly less adept than female authors at putting sexytimes in prose form. To explain the disparity, Barry offers the following hypotheses:
A clue to the dearth of women winners might have something to do with the fact that men still outnumber women at both commercial and academic publishing houses, according to The New Republic’s Ruth Franklin. In 2010, of the 13 large houses that TNR examined, Penguin’s Riverhead imprint came the closest to closing the gender gap between male authors, who accounted for 55% of books published, and female authors (45 %). And the house with the lowest percentage of female authors? That would be Harvard University Press, with a paltry 15%.
This is the first thing that came to my mind, but perhaps the publishing gap isn’t wide enough to explain the percentage of male authors on the Bad Sex list. It could be argued that male authors dominate the Bad Sex list to a degree that far exceeds their industry presence, and I think this is the theory that Barry really wanted to articulate when he wrote the piece:
I’d like to think that the overwhelming presence of male authors on the lists of winners and nominees has more to do with the fact that, since women had (and often still have) to actively wrest control of their own sexuality away from a patriarchy that often determines how the female body is used and represented, they are able to speak with greater comfort and authority about sex when they achieve sexual autonomy.
I don’t dismiss this idea, but as much as I love to see a male writer who can theorize in those terms, I think there are other, less ambitious factors that may explain the gulf between male authors getting attention for bad sex scenes and female authors escaping scrutiny.
Dude’s like a train wreck. It is entirely possible that there is something seriously wrong with me.
But, you know, the train wreck is trying to become a presidential nominee, so of course he demands our attention. ThinkProgress shows us what he has to say about contraception. It’s fairly predictable:
[Sex] is supposed to be within marriage. It’s supposed to be for purposes that are yes, conjugal…but also procreative. That’s the perfect way that a sexual union should happen…This is special and it needs to be seen as special.
Hold on, let me dig up the full transcript, some brave soul at RH Reality Check found it at DKos so that you don’t have to watch the video:
One of the things I will talk about that no president has talked about before is I think the dangers of contraception in this country, the whole sexual libertine idea … Many in the Christian faith have said, “Well, that’s okay … contraception’s okay.”
It’s not okay because it’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be. They’re supposed to be within marriage, for purposes that are, yes, conjugal … but also procreative. That’s the perfect way that a sexual union should happen. We take any part of that out, we diminish the act. And if you can take one part out that’s not for purposes of procreation, that’s not one of the reasons, then you diminish this very special bond between men and women, so why can’t you take other parts of that out? And all of a sudden, it becomes deconstructed to the point where it’s simply pleasure. And that’s certainly a part of it—and it’s an important part of it, don’t get me wrong—but there’s a lot of things we do for pleasure, and this is special, and it needs to be seen as special.
Again, I know most presidents don’t talk about those things, and maybe people don’t want us to talk about those things, but I think it’s important that you are who you are. I’m not running for preacher. I’m not running for pastor, but these are important public policy issues.
I think this guy actually lies awake at night with the paralyzing fear that the folks down the street are having more fun than he is. His idea of an “important public policy issue” is that all-consuming anxiety that someone, somewhere, might be happy.
Heather Corinna fields this gem at RHRC:
I’m in an on again-off again type relationship with my “girlfriend.” We get along and everything, but on some things we don’t see eye to eye. We’ve had sex before, and that’s kind of the problem. She keeps pressuring me into having sex! You don’t really hear it this way with guys, but it’s the truth. She knows what she wants, and she wants it now! It’s not that I don’t want to have sex with her, or that I don’t LIKE having sex with her, but sometimes I just enjoy romance. Or just hanging out. Sex isn’t everything. And another thing: she want’s a baby! She’s nineteen, and I’m eighteen. I’ve reminded her that neither of us drive or have jobs. I just graduated high school (at the time I was still IN school) but still, I can’t change her mind. So I don’t really know what to say. How can i get through to her that sex isn’t everything, and that we’re definitely not ready for a baby?
And then she takes a whole lot of words to say what can be ultimately boiled down to just a few. At the risk of using sexist language?
DUMP THAT CRAZY-ASS BITCH.
You don’t need to “get through to her” that sex isn’t everything, or that you’re not ready for a kid. You just need to get the hell away from her before she has another chance to get your cum inside her. You can use condoms, but they can be sabotaged, and if she is determined to conceive a child, she will do so. You can’t stop her from being a terrible parent to some other guy’s issue, but you can stop her from forcing YOU into premature fatherhood. Get out of there and get on with your 18-year-old life. Don’t explain, don’t apologize, don’t look back.
There is a shitstorm going on, and it might be sort of winding down, but there’s no time like the present. The sheer willful ignorance and hostility is so pervasive, and so repetitive that I almost don’t have the energy to wade in. Since pretty much every possible angle of the matter has already been discussed and explained, at length, hundreds of times, and some people still don’t see what the problem is, I can’t very well expect them to listen to me. If they didn’t hear it the first 3000 times, I’d be frankly the most arrogant piece of work on the Internet to think they’ll finally get it the 3001st time if it happens to be coming from my keyboard.
In truth, though, I do have something to add to the discussion, which I’m not sure has already been addressed in the extant arguments. It has to do with a general point of good manners which has been sorely neglected on more than one level.
Since the purpose of good manners is essentially to make everyone feel comfortable to the greatest extent possible, personal boundaries should be respected in terms of unnecessary, consciously decided behavior towards other individuals. This sounds awfully generalized and unhelpful, does it? I’ll be more specific.
If you’re unsure of how to act towards a person, and that person establishes a boundary, the polite thing to do—in fact, the only decent thing to do—is to respect that boundary, and not make decisions on that individual that would violate the stated boundary. See what I’m getting at? You want to know how a given person likes to be treated, and that person gives you an example of a boundary which she holds, by telling you about a recent experience in which that boundary was violated, and concludes with the advice of, “and it made me really uncomfortable, so please don’t do that”?
Neil Bowdler at BBC tells us of penile spines that Homo sapiens lost in the shuffle of evolution:
The researchers then focused on two deletions, linking one to penile spines and another to the growth of specific areas of the brain.
They then tested the effects of the deleted sequences in human skin and neural tissue, and found further evidence to support their claims.
So now they’re trying to figure out a theory for why the human penis no longer has spines.
Penile spines are barb-like structures found in many mammals. Their role remains under debate, and they may play different roles in different species.
They may increase stimulation for the male during mating. They might also play a part in inducing female ovulation in a small number of species, but there is evidence that they can cause damage to the female too.
Then there is the suggestion that they might have evolved to remove “mating plugs” – material that some male species deposit in the female genital tract to block other males’ attempts to fertilise the same female.
I am not a biologist, but I would like to suggest that “they can cause damage to the female too” may have been motivator enough for our species to shed this feature. Having enormous brains also means the babies present with especially large heads, which (along with our relatively small hips due to upright posture) means that childbirth for humans is difficult, painful and dangerous in ways that it isn’t for most other mammals. Ergo, could it be possible that giving birth to increasingly large-headed infants made human females predisposed to copulate with males with more pleasure-inducing and less injury-inflicting genitalia? Since the commitment of pregnancy makes females the “bottleneck” of reproduction, we don’t need all men—just a small fraction of them, really—to be available for copulation. I can just picture primitive hominid females looking at their options and saying, “If it’s gonna hurt that much coming out, then dammit, I want it to feel good going in.”
Thank you, Tracey Egan Morrissey at Jezebel, for pointing out the lameness of Rich Santos at Marie Claire!
Because men don’t like overly confident women—apparently the characteristic of a bad girl—and men “don’t necessarily want to be in bed with a girl who knows more than they do.” Here’s the thing, though: I think he’s sort of right here. He should stay away from women who are confident and experienced—mostly because they wouldn’t want him to touch them with a ten-inch pole, even if said pole was his peen. Chicks like that don’t like insecure pussies who don’t know how to properly go down on a woman.
I will do my best to encapsulate why Santos’s theory is so obnoxious to women: he is asking them to hold up their end of a bargain while simultaneously admitting that he cannot reasonably expect to hold up his end.
Amanda Marcotte points out that young people these days are not above insisting that they’re virgins even when they test positive for STDs. Problem is, I don’t think this is a matter of kids lying (even to themselves) in quite the way she suggests. From the WaPo article:
The authors acknowledge some room for error: for instance, study participants were only asked about penile/vaginal penetration, not about oral or anal sex.
And that is what bridges the gap between the subjects’ supposed virginity and disease transmission. If you define “sex” as strictly “insert Tab A into Slot B” then there most assuredly are some people spreading chlamydia around while remaining virgins. You don’t give up your virginity until the pole goes in the right hole. It isn’t “sex” if he only puts it in her mouth. Or her ass. Either way, it doesn’t really count as sex. And if it doesn’t count as sex, then there’s no need for protection.
All that said, Marcotte’s point stands about how kids are lying about the sex they’ve had, whereas they used to lie about the sex they didn’t have. I just think it’s not really a denial so much as a lie of omission. In their minds, they’re not saying anything that isn’t true.
Something that tends to come up in debates over abortion rights is the supposed inconsistency, or hypocrisy, of anti-choicers. Those of us who support a woman’s right to a safe, legal abortion have some tricks we like to use to try and chase our opponents into a corner. One of them is the Rape Double Bind: if an anti is willing to make exceptions for rape, she’s a hypocrite. If not, she’s a monster. I think this is problematic, but I’m not shooting my mouth off about it today. Instead, I’m going to comment on another purity test we like to inflict on the other side: the Death Penalty Trap. Specifically, I’m going into the supposed hypocrisy of people who both oppose elective abortion rights and support the death penalty.