I stood in front of the bathroom mirror running my hands over the marks he’d left on me. Little nibbles and scratches, like sexual graffiti on my skin. Flashes of his flesh surged through my mind and I smiled as I fantasized about what we could do the next time.
Yesterday I did a take down of the myth of the sexually aggressive male using science. Now I want to share some stories as further proof that we’re buying into a harmful lie.
In my teen years I regarded romance as something created by men to convince women to have sex with them. My very few unsatisfying sexual experiences combined with a rabidly sex-negative culture reinforced my viewpoint that sex was solely a man’s prerogative.
Check out my in-depth interview for Peoplegogy right here.
Will: How would you describe your teaching or sexuality philosophy? What do you specialize in? Who is your target audience?
Jessi: My sexuality philosophy is essentially: your sexuality doesn’t need to fit into whatever tiny box you’re being sold. Sex has the potential to be so wonderful and pleasurable but the restrictive ideas and moralizing create a shameful environment. So instead of communication and acceptance we end up steeped in predation, disappointing sexual encounters and overwhelming anxiety. I base my information and advice on scientific evidence that illuminates the sheer diversity of sexuality while presenting complicated information succinctly.
Despite pervasive public images depicting men as violent, sex-crazed, idiotic, irresponsible louts, I can never believe men are somehow inherently bad.
I’ve met too many good ones.
Not just friends, family members, lovers and boyfriends. Perfect strangers who could have done any number of unspeakable things to me if they wished. Yet the overwhelming majority of men showed me nothing but charitable kindness.
I started traveling through North America when other kids my age were wrapped up tight in comfy but suffocating blankets of homework and high school drama. With no money and no job I made big tracks in big rig trucks. For two years I spent time in the male-dominated world of long-haul trucking, learning as much about CB radios and swearing as I did about the basic decency of most men.
Out of hundreds of rides, the overwhelming majority talked to me about their lives, their families, what they had seen in the world and swapped some really good dirty jokes and limericks. Often they bought me food or gave me an extra pair of socks when the weather began to turn cold. One guy was hauling a shipment of canned foods and gave me several cans of Dinty Moore Beef Stew from his haul when we parted.
Outside of the truckers, other men I met on my travels showed similar hospitality. Men invited me into their homes with no other motive than to provide me shelter and have some company around. My collection of bawdy jokes and one-liners began to come in handy.
So, for me, the fact that so many perpetrators of sexual and physical violence are men is an uncomfortable truth. But I don’t think sexual and physical violence is so much urged by biology as it is encouraged by gender perceptions. The few men who tried to hurt me were always from geographical areas where the population adhered to traditional mandates of gender, an interpretation I’ve found to be backed by research. (This is only one study, but if you wish to see more studies about masculine gender ideology and behaviors, I will be happy to provide others.)
What I find more amazing is that, in a culture that still echoes misogynistic sentiments, the majority of men I have known are good men. They’ve heard the same messages but through experience (and maybe that simple human desire to be a good person) they make the decision to act decently towards others.
I dedicate this post to all the good men in my life, past, present and future. Please know how much I adore you.
On the sage advice of mentors and friends, I am taking advantage of every travel opportunity that crosses my path while I’m still (relatively) unfettered by life. Posting will resume in early October, until then please check out the archives! Lots of interesting reads to be found.
I have a confession: most porn bores the hell out of me.
When I was a teenager, porn was exciting and titillating because it was forbidden. The shaky camera and dubious acting did nothing to damper my adolescent enthusiasm for flesh-on-flesh visuals. Now I get more of a rise out of a Jeffry McDaniel poem or an Oglaf comic strip (NSFW) than a Vivid production.
What happened? Nothing, which is exactly why it bores me.
Most porn I see is the same linear progression appendage-in-orifice mêlée as in my high school years. The only apparent novelty is how many people can shove how many dicks/toys/vegetables into how many holes. Some people get creative with cinematography and context, but that’s still the same anal sex scene behind the glitz.
I realize I may be desensitized. Years ago, I organized a group called “Girls Watch Porn” where ladies got together to watch and review smut. We found some great films by Shine Louise Houston and Eon McKai along with the 1970s classics. But mostly, we found tired and uninspired videos of sex along with some disturbing and unhygienic scenes. (The raw chicken porn is forever burned into my retinas.)
But overexposure isn’t the best explanation. Porn itself is partially to blame.
“doesn’t encompass the range of human experiences and desires anymore than a handicam and a handful of people having sex encompasses the range of human sexual experiences and desires.”
Porn (to me) should be about fantasy and possibility. How much fantasy and possibility can you express through low-budget formulaic porno flicks that spend less time in post-production than in filming? Not a whole lot.
Some people find porn horribly offensive. As with any offensive media in the world, the best bet is simple avoidance.
But I’m not offended. I’m unsatisfied.
I know I’m not alone in this either. This Best of Craiglist from Boston summarizes my feelings perfectly:
You suck, dude.
And I’m not trying to make some sort of cute pun here – you really do suck. You’re awful, horrible, poorly made, and I can think of a whole list of huge problems that you have. (more…)
I wish pro-good porn crusaders had half the psychotic dedication and passion of anti-porn crusaders. What a world that would be.