27 March 2005

things about boys you were never afraid to ask about, but still didn't get a straight answer.

i was poking around in the graphic novels at Pages today, on this Glorious Glorious spring day, and happened across an older work by Chester Brown, entitled "The Playboy".
do i need another book to add to my to-read list? of course not. so i put aside "the Life of Pi" (Bloody Fantastic, thoughts reserved 'til i finish it), purchased "The Playboy" (i know), and finished that book on the spot.
okay, half an hour later, over peppermint tea at the jet fuel.

let me take a moment, dear reader(s), to tell you about it.

actually, bear with me for a moment of digression, before i get to the juicy stuff this post-heading promises.

now, a while back i read "Blankets" by Craig Thompson, a weighty tome of a graphic novel about a guy growing up in a small town under religious fundamentalist parents. and what it was like to be in love with a girl with that righteous shadow hanging over him. and how to feel okay about wanting to be intimate, wanting to be sexual, hell, wanting to be in Love, and to bring sex into the equation without being ashamed about it, or considering sexual propositions to be twisted, perverse or just plain Evil.

later on, about a year and a half ago, i was very fortunate to be in a car ride with two male acquaintances, one of whom was (no doubt still is) an eccentric sort. out of nowhere he started up this Immensely candid discussion about sex, and what it was like to be a male teenager. He talked about reaching puberty and having Utterly No Concept that a girl might even Want to have sex with him at the time, since human coitus is really, let's face it, a bizarre kind of physical union. like, who thought of it? the mechanics of sex. stick A into B = mutual bliss and satisfaction. who knew?!?!
and the idea that a girl might be into any of this action was Completely Unheard Of (in the words of this guy, as i sat in the back of the car listening) , and how disempowering that doubt was to him at the time.
of course the guy who started the conversation made the other guy almost Immediately and IMMENSELY uncomfortable, and it Certainly can't have been helpful to have a girl sitting in the back like a secret agent taking notes, so the conversation didn't last long.

This, dear reader(s), was one of the first times, yes a mere year and a half ago, at the age of 29, that i was given even a Clue that guys (well, some guys) actually worried about this kind of stuff. strange, disconcerting, but True. honesty of this sort is so Unbelievably hard to come by, that the conversation still resounds in my brain to this day.

anyhow, back to "Blankets". Craig Thompson is straight up, unassuming, and Above all, Not so Bloody Fucking macho. forgive me, dear males who may read this, i am unflinchingly dedicated to your gender, but macho is like this strange seething virus that no doubt Our Very Mothers are guilty of propagating. it makes some guys incapable of admitting vulnerability, doubt, or any kind of dissatisfaction with themselves or their world. and it has made some communication, in times now gone, hours ago, years ago, lifetimes ago, well nigh impossible.
now i DON'T think this is the sole responsibility of the male part of our species. in fact, we girls are just as guilty for not being sensitive to the fact that guys might share our own anxiety or self-consciousness.
not to mention the added burden guys have of years of conditioning to keep that stuff under their belts (so to speak).

back to The Playboy. The Playboy is about Chester Brown's relationship to porn, from the age of 15 and onwards. it's short, it's pithy, and it's Completely and Utterly Honest. He revisits himself as a teenager, how he biked across town 'coz he was too embarrassed to buy a playboy where anyone might see him, how he got addicted to them, how he started preferring masturbating to real sex, and was subsequently forced to imagine playboy chickeys when he was in bed with his real girlfriends... if he was going to keep things, how shall we say, Perpendicular.

and, may i say, as a girl who's been known to be quite fond of Perpendicular... WHO KNEW. i mean read the above again. WHO KNEW?!? no one tells us, dear gentlemen, that somehow you've been forced into such a corner with your sexuality, and Definitely no one tells us that it might affect our very relationships with you all, years? months? hours? lifetimes? later.

it seems to me that guys have been forced to downplay their sexuality pretty much across the board, and it becomes this covert, pervasive and troubling secret.
as a result of this imposed modesty, may i say, many girls also end up not understanding how it all works themselves.

the popular conclusions seem to be:
a) that somehow male sexuality is evil and agressive and to be avoided at all costs, in favour of some eunuch librarian true-love charming prince (uh, not so much), or
b), go for the tiger, ladies, but if things don't go right in the sack it's probably your fault.

in fact, there are Many things that some of us girls (read: me) had to find out by proxy, and what a drag that was to our (my) delicate sense of self-esteem.
this idea that an excess of alcohol can be debilitating in the sack? pshaw. i was a 21 year old WRECK (that's right) before that was cleared up and catalogued in the "things not to worry about" category of getting laid.
that the solo porn experience can be preferable for obliterating the confusion and anxiety of another person's presence? didn't know that either. and let me tell you. the mystery was MISERY.

this stuff and more may be old (so to speak) hat to me now, but i'll Never forget the value of finding this stuff out, and what a relief it was to be, even just a little, off the proverbial hook.

so. thank you gay male (and progressive male) confidantes, thank you Dan Savage, and, as i've just discovered today, thank you Chester Brown.

NO thank you to whatever force out there (including us intimidating females?) that has kept guys storing this stuff in the bottoms of their drawers, under their bed, in the inaccessible areas of their own conjecture.

in conclusion, this is my announcement to the world, blessed humble blogger that i may be.

boys, there's MORE THAN ONE OF YOU not filling us in on the machinations of your unmentionables. and it's capable of making our sex lives and self esteem HELL.

girls, there's MORE THAN ONE OF YOU not getting the skinny (or somehow discouraging said skinny) from being discussed, and rendering both parties uncomfortable and anxiously worried about their own sexuality.

as i ponder all of this i can't even imagine how many questions about girls remain unanswered for guys, whether we be teenagers or twenty-somethings or thirty-somethings.
(chuckle) or maybe no one is confused and curious except for me, sitting here with Far too many books and too much solitary time on a sunday night to think about it all.

and, just to top things off, my downstairs neighbours have just started having sex. which, if you have ever seen either of my downstairs neighbours, is the Greatest mystery of all. (shiver).
although their timing is impeccable.


Michael Barker said...

Someone should definitely make a user's guide to male sexuality for the modern male - 'cause the traditional advisories like 'walk softly and carry a big stick', or 'the clothes make the man' (mottos of the macho man and the vain dandy) don't suffice anymore - there's no doubt that men have grown up, in our absurdly deluded age, with all kinds of misinformation - and of course, some of the misinformation our respective genders have received has made for strange bedfellows - so to speak. As your car-riding friend alluded too, I grew up in the 70s and 80s, in a 'progressive' household, with all kinds of misgivings about sex - Like your friend, I was also sure, via cultural osmosis I suppose - that women were not interested in sex, whereas I, through some dark and specifically male failing, was, and therefore I was, naturely, some kind of monster. Even the abundance of evidence to the contrary in my progressive hippie environment served only to confuse rather than clarify the issue. Poronography seemed further evidence of this, though it also seemed to possess all the power and potency of stone tablets or papyrus from the land of hidden knowledge. Add to this an epidemic of child abuse and inappropriate sexual attention in the childhood and adolescence of my friends and I, and sexuality seemed a dark playground indeed, full of strangers with candy, and unhappy participants.

My first experiences in dating did little to alleviate this sense of the world as being a dangerous and unhappy place - my first girlfriend in my teens had just come out of a traumating relationship with a 30-something man, her boyfriend before that had given her herpes, she was fairly traumatized by it all - and I found all this overwhelming at the time - I was looking for a little heavy petting and a slow, cautious entry into the world of sexuality - instead, I got more than my naivety had bargained for. But after this brief relationship failed (My fear of her supposed sexual maturity made OUR sexual relationship fail to mature!) I was quite lucky to get involved with my crazy highschool sweetheart, my first full-on lover, and an 'experienced' woman in her own right despite our tender mid-teened age, soon after this first foray - and she quickly began to prove all the myths I had accumulated to be completely false - she enjoyed sex, and as we became closer, enjoyed it more - and her first orgasm with me was like a revelation - and I was so pleased, both to find that I could give her pleasure, and that she might take pleasure in sex with me - something I hadn't imagined a woman could. We even watched porn together at her request - I had it, yes, in the dark recesses of my room - but she knew, and wanted to see it - the unexpected result? She learned to deep-throat enthusiastically from watching porn video tapes with me - forever putting the nail in the coffin of my delusion (disproved many times over now) that women find the idea of blowjobs repellant. This woman was a revelation to me in regards ot female sexuality. Of course, she was also terrifying! She didn't match any of my expectations! A fair amount of struggling with my mythologies ensued, i.e. "You don't match what I was taught women are supposed to be like when I was growing up, so there must be something wrong with you, or me, or both of us". This mythology still lingers, in the dark recesses of my bedroom where I used to hid my porn, but I'm older and a little wiser now - I'm not so mystified by the opposite sex - or at least, some areas of anxiety have been demystified - and some that remain I have resigned myself to not fully understanding. But what I have learned best of all, is how to reconcile the tiger and the librarian - because it's true that these behaviours are confusing, and these expectations of men are confusing. For the librarian, there is some guilt in being a tiger - but then everyone likes tigers (hence the continual complaint of 'nice guys' everywhere that women are 'always' attracted to assholes) - there's something attrative about their sharp manner, self-absorption and hunger - the trouble is that there is no pleasure in being mangled and left for dead - and it is a fine line with tigers, razor thin - between passion, prey and poison.

But moral advisories like 'you knew it was a snake when you picked it up', are useless here. Just as men will be attracted to 'bad girls' who flaunt their sexuality - so women will be attracted to 'bad boys' - everyone likes tigers - It is however possible to be a tiger without harming anyone - and by this I mean that it is possible to be aggressive, sexual and dangerous, without harm - The thing it has taken time for me to become more comfortable with, is to know when and how to be a tiger without leaving your prey mangled and bloody on the jungle floor, and how to be a librarian with strength in reserve - I am still learning this I suppose - but it is a relief to be a tiger without any guilt. There is nothing more unhappy and ashamed than a tiger with a good boy complex. That said, it is my experience that in my generation, women have been pressured not to allow themselves to be consumed - and by this I don't mean not to be promiscuous - if anything the opposite is the case - but rather not to be overly 'femme', or 'girly' - and in bed, perhaps not to be 'passive' or to allow themselves to be 'dominated' - but there is nothing tigers like more than to consume their prey entirely - so this is a piece of the puzzle too - these 'essentialist' ideas of male or female sexuality make me a little queasy, but there is some truth to them too, if there is something aggressive about male sexuality, than perhaps it is happiest with either a fellow combatant, or tender prey?

In any case, an interesting thread. I know the Chester Brown series you are talking about Stef, and I have it too - I could have given it to you and you could have saved some dosh - but anyway - the thing about Chester's comic, which is so familiar, is the lonely, awkward, anxiety-filled melancholy of his coming of age. Painful. The fledgling relationships and attractions of his youth - and his secret masturbatory world of pornography, reflect some sad truth for sure - what I think is hard to fathom regarding pornography in the modern age, is how ubiquitous, accessible and 'acceptable' it seems to have become, while at the sametime becoming so extreme in comparison to the playboy brand of porn Chester is discussing. The most extreme, explicit and uncensored pornography ever produced, lies only a few mouse-clicks away, available to everyone with internet access - the impact of this on the current generation is hard for me to imagine - they are growing up in a completely different world. I think in their world, acts and images that may have caused anxiety in my childhood, are normalized images. In addition, whereas the images of porn I saw as a young man were almost always of models who were obviously women, images of very young women abound on the internet - surely being a teen, and seeing pornographic images of teens, would place a very different level of expectation on oneself in this regard? Personally, I find it more than a little scary!

steflenk said...

you are Awesome Awesome Awesome. may you pepper the world with many children, Barker. boys, actually. :)

Sean D. said...

This is a great discussion topic, and rarely told. Afraid I don’t have much time to write as you have inspired me to look up porn sites on the internet from work - what does a guy have to do to get fired around here?

I just thought I’d throw in my own two cents worth to agree with everything that Barker has said, and to applaud the efforts of the Canadian lady who is fond of the perpendicular for bringing up such a hard subject (erection innuendo - the lowest form of wit).

As I recall my own adolescence, the zeitgeist made it pretty clear that girls were either sexless virgins, who if they did anything it was because they were aggressively coerced by bad men into sexual acts that they didn’t enjoy, or were complete sluts who shouldn’t be taken seriously anyway.

Also it was clear that vaginas and associated bits were completely incomprehensible to a man and so it wasn’t really worth explaining (I was 21 before anyone gave me a blow by blow description of what menstruation was actually like). That clitorii, whatever they were, were nigh impossible to find and that female orgasms were possibly mythological, and yet perversely that ‘performance’ was the key word for a man in any sexual encounter.

The idea that women might actually enjoy sex, or that they would willingly collaborate in the making of the sex, wasn’t ever even hinted at. Instead there was lots of misinformation about how different it was for girls, and no-one was around at an all boys school to set the record straight.

And it’s very hard to unlearn this stuff. If you’re lucky you get to meet a woman, as Barker described and as happened to me, who is comfortable enough with herself to teach you that sex is good for the woman too, that you don’t have to feel guilty about it, that she isn’t fragile, and that her vagina is a perfectly workable piece of meat as is the rest of her.

And I must agree emphatically with Barker’s point about the first time one gives an orgasm to one's partner being a revelatory moment. As I heave a nostalgic sigh, I also remember that a lot of things made a lot more sense after that.

But I don’t know if you can ever completely let that earlier stuff go. And I suspect that there are many men (and women?) who go through their whole lives thinking of sex as just masturbation with someone else in the room. Which is a pity.

Anyway, I also agree that the trick is to somehow be a nice tiger, a self absorbed, dangerous and highly sexed man, yet sensitive and nurturing. Perhaps to be able to switch it on and off as necessary. Its hard to explain but I think I’m beginning to learn the trick. But why do you only learn it when you are old? Angsty 15 year olds would kill for this knowledge, yet I don’t know how to tell them. Perhaps one should write a novel, but I’m not sure the education department would let it though.

Another interesting thought to ponder is that if our parents and teachers and so on were so bad at telling us this stuff, just imagine what it must have been like for them. Or, for that matter, still is for them. Imagine.

steflenk said...

boy do i have ALOT more to say about this, after some time to ponder.

may i begin by saying that i would like to give contact details for many beloved boys (friends and lovers) who have been in my life to both mister barker and mister dwyer. then perhaps we can organize a lecture series and support group.

wow. can i just say HOW GREAT ARE MY FRIENDS?

now. down to business. where to start.
chester brown.
let me say that i almost burst out laughing when i started the playboy and realized that Chester's biggest shameful secret was lusting after skinny models with breast implants. like, ARE YOU KIDDING? ladies and gentlemen, today's website content includes DIY manuals on making women into Furniture as a sexual turn on.
(and, may i point out that there are no equivalent sites that i could find interested in turning men into furniture.)

i should clarify, i'm NOT commenting on whether this is good or bad. i am pointing out that Barker's point about teens (or whoever) seeing this stuff and it affecting peoples' psychology and how they see themselves as sexual being, guys AND girls, must be having a much harder (i know) time of it than with stray nudie pics.

the worst thing about this lack of dialogue between guys and girls, of the honest sort that has unexpectedly appeared here (YIPPEEE!) is that we don't know what we are actually doing to each other.

people use sex (and their work, and their eating habits, and their hobbies, and their friendships and most other human activities) as forums for playing out and trying to resolve bigger things at play in their psyches. the Fantastic thing about fetish scenes etc. (i know, how Dan Savage of me) is that people find playmates who can safely and happily indulge their fantasies while indulging their own fantasies, and allow them to live their lives without inflicting things that might be unpardonable (physically AND psychologically) on inadvertent victims and loved ones.
The Fantastic thing about couples is that, given the right kind of openness and dialogue and comfort level, they can work towards a similiar dynamic, and possibly different ones they never before considered.
in case it isn't apparent, i'm not just talking about sex here.

now, what people fantasize about and masturbate over is one thing, one is the king (or queen) of one's own basement when the door is locked, but sex of the coupling sort takes TWO, and it is Astonishing to me how often people seem to forget this. Even the most accomodating of people have been known to turn sex into this unconscious to-do list (right, if i go down on her she'll go down on ME...fuck, isn't she done yet? when's MY turn? oh shit, she doesn't want to be turned into furniture i guess that means bondage is out of the question...etc etc. you get my point)

so with porn.
a while ago i tracked down a site (deltaofvenus.com) with porn of a different era. it's b/w stuff, pics and flix, mostly french and european stuff from the 20's. it's got the staples, you know, sex, anal, spanking, whipping, threesomes, whatever else your daily porn seeker is looking for, but when i was watching the stuff, something seemed vaguely askew. i thought, wow, if i ever share this with someone it's gonna just be for a laugh, 'coz NO guy i know will ever be turned on by this, even if it does have the relevant nudity, money shots, whatever whatever. (truth be told, there also too many gentlemen who have forgotten to remove their socks and too many pairs of gratuitous pantaloons to really make it all that titillating either)

anyhow. first of all i wondered why i would make this assumption (that no one would find this stuff a turn on)
then i wondered what was different about the flix i was watching.
then i realized it. well, i think i realized it.
in almost every flick the girls are smiling or laughing. so are the guys. jesus christ it's true. and i'm NOT talking about that skin-pulled over teeth grin you see by tit-jobs and buff back-door gardeners out for vengeance.

and can i just say, what a fucking relief.

i have had two different lovers and one close friend make me (however inadvertently) feel self-conscious and defensive about being selective about porn that i choose to watch, with or without them. reading Barker and Dwyer's comments is one of the first times that it's been driven home to me that perhaps the insecurity of these dialogues might have been mutual, and the guys involved felt they were defending stuff they've been inundated with their whole lives, and which they assumed i was trying to eviscerate with one fell blow (i know).

at the time of these encounters (so to speak) i considered myself the uptight one and resolved not to discuss it any further. and that was a Profound Drag.

for someone to contest a fellow person's right to choose what they do and do not want to engage in is like taking away someone's menu in a restaurant and then asking them to order. Downright Ludicrous.

once again, i'm not just talking about sex.

it would be just as insane for me to expect someone to indulge my whims for drawing dead things in jars if that made them squeamish or uncomfortable as it would for someone to propose something in bed that i am adverse to, without understanding the need to make me feel comfortable with it.
or for either party to cook a meal that the other didn't like without consideration that it might be tossed in the rubbish bin without a second glance.

ladies and gentlemen, that's the way relationships work (ideally). and, please correct me if i'm wrong, this dynamic is NOT GENDER SPECIFIC.

p.s since we are talking about personal matters in a public forum, i feel the need to say that the views and situations expressed in my above statement are just that, my views, and are not necessarily reflections of anyone i have or have not been involved with.

pss. you're right barker..the background color sucks...stay tuned.

boygirlitwe said...

sex at it's best is an Exploration of the creative juice moving between two people, a sharing of Differences that Enhance the Other, and a celebration of comforting Simliarities and depths. dreams, fantasies, archetypes, roles, and even wounds that need to be unwound can all comfortably fall into the realm of sexual relations if the parties involved are Aware that these things are simply That. taking any of these avenues with the Intention of bridging two people in an engaging, enriching, mentally stimulating yet quieting way, makes it difficult for issues of Performance (sheer stupidity) and comparisons to anything you have Seen before or Already Done with someone else juvenile, disrespectful and ignorant. sex is no different than Art. it is to be New and Fresh and expressed out of the quiet place that isn't out to make a point, a buck, an impression or boost your selfish fucking ego.
by nature, we humans have an inherent feeling of inadequacy that drives us Crazy Outside of the bedroom, so it is fun to address the need for control and power, and to be able to feel through humilliation and domination within a consentual/consensual domain.
release of binding influences by being bound.
my first fuck at 18 was displayed in a ziplock bag (the used condom anyway)in a dimly lit, grey, cement hallway at my highschool. "hey, look what i Got." not having any clue as to how Respect should be woven into physical intimacy, my fragile ego deluded myself into believing I was Worth bragging about in any light. terrible.
i have had my face bitten so hard during an encounter, i thought that teeth marks would mark Her territory forever. this woman was so full of Rage. in an unconscious way that could not have been channeled through one of the earlier described Avenues for good old fashioned release. scary.
and then there are those who have no other way of cultivating closeness than sex, hiding aspects of themselves behind so many cloaks, that Sex becomes the Only way to connect. in this context, sex becomes a hiding place instead of a union of the collective "i"s. it becomes a Barrier to real closeness.
moral of the story:
the more you're awake, the bigger the quake. (did i just say that?)

boygirlitwe said...

previous comment not registering

steflenk said...

if i ever had any doubts about blogging being a waste of time, they are utterly gone.

mmm ore said...

there are, in all of us, things that we remain naive to, that Lurk in our unconscious and impede us from seeing the world (and those Closest to us) with utter clarity. this is often what Fuels the need to intermingle ions with another. they are like unseen loose ends that when conjoined within a safe circle can be brought to light , examined and encorporated into the aware part of the psyche. a surge of energy Follows because these unconscious black holes once robbed us of vitality, were our trappings, and left us feeling as if somehow we were missing something that often led us to sex in the first place. gosh gee, This Frees Up Even More Energy For Further Exploration. Who knew that something so exploited, tabooed, Hidden and cheesed over can be the most valuable tool to awaken an integral awareness? Sex can be one of the most liberating and unifying activities if it is approached This way (as well as life in general) and despite religions attempt to shame people away from there sexuality, it is Actually the surest route to religion in it's ability to fascilitate coming (heehee) face to face with both ourselves and another human being, with our defences Down. Now This, is Heaven on Earth.
perhaps given that Christ is symbolized by the letter 'X' and energy by the letter 'e', we should revamp the universal approach to the "horizontal tango" by adding a little enlightened Vertical (e)nergy --> changing the word from Sex to See.X.

a.t. said...

 ...re the teenage guy in back of car 'fessing how hard it is to to be a guy in a world of Great (sexual) Expectations, Great coverage/analysis/thoughts, thank you. But I did think HA! try being a gay high school male in the mid-Pleistocine fucking 50's, small town B.C. pop. 800 where even straight soft porn was hard if not impossible to come by... Not that that was the issue...it was more like...how to amicably disentangle from girls (figuratively speaking) who have fallen for you and you thought were just, you know, like... pals?  Not to mention...where is everyone??? The OTHER thing was...because there was no gay press, definitly no Will and Grace, who does your queer eye land on but of course the hottest hunks of unsuspecting hetero flesh in the schoolyard, so lotsa unrequited festering fanasies extremely well guarded and repressed.  An old story, but still, it was heartening to know that some straight boys had problems of their own, that it wasn't all smooth sailing charging ahead one thing on their mind and getting it.

Nancy Drew said...

1984's The Bay Boy, starring Keifer Sutherland is a coming-of-age film that takes place in Nova Scotia.

There is a scene in it where Keifer is masturbating in his bedroom, if I remember correctly.

I was around 9 or 10 years old. This movie was played over and over again on the Movie Network. Whenever this movie was playing I would watch it intentionally, so I could watch Keifer masturbate. It was the most erotic thing I had ever seen and it turned me on like nobody's business.

I'm a girl and as I mentioned I was 9 or 10 years old at the time. I've always loved dick. But, I was raised a Catholic and suffered child abuse, so I had immense guilt over this that I found pleasurable. I'm now 30 years old and I am just working past the guilt I feel over masturbating.

The guy I'm dating is a self-confessed sex addict. He's into all that shit Stef found on the deltaofvenus website. I'm still trying to wrap my head around the idea that many guys like anal-related intercourse and all its trimmings and the idea that I might actually enjoy it too.

We're screwed, I tell you. Deliciously screwed!

reinbeau said...

had this interesting experience last winter where my intuition summoned me to explore my body in a way that was so thorough, It Was Frightening. i was massaging, probing, twisting, wrenching, tightening, loosening, hitting, streching, following strange energetic pulls in spirals, crying, freaking out, having psychotic episodes, summoning repressed memories through layers of tissue. it was this need to know every freaking square inch so that i was no longer Afraid of losing control because i had examined it all, and there would no longer be anything to fear. got intimate with myself so that intimacy with Another wouldn't be so Crazy for me. befriending the anxiety that always fucks up my relationships.
within this heightened experience, there was a moment where i was standing with my feet two feet apart, bent over at the hips, and my two thumbs were Digging into the area two inches above where the hair above my (enter your favourite word for female genitalia Here) ends. and i then took some fingers, with the thumbs still in place and entered inside myself, connected the thumbs and the finger tips in a way that rendered my gender something Separate from me, like the name of a haircut not Really representing the Person who wears it. it was the first time i felt disidentified with such a Huge aspect of my identity. perhaps having felt my body in such a raw way, feeling peeled and cored, as if the hole that my fingers made was as insignificant as the one that they linked themselves around. it was like i connected empty space with a loaded place.
the whole gender bending poltical trans boigrll heshe theyus ime youwe thing is one step Shy of the fact that these are still Lines being drawn that Separate, and at the same time create the battle line Between Different types of folks which lends to desire to conquer, possess, and Fear what is actually just different Expressions of human energy. perhaps describing ourselves as a combination of Affects represented by Colours would allow for a more Palate-able experience of Hue-man
encounters, sexual or otherwise.

brian said...

So, I'm wondering what to add onto this conversation that might be interesting, enlightening, mildly entertaining, whatever.

So maybe the perspective of the late-blooming male?

I really haven't got much to say about the sexuality of teenagers, as I remained a virgin until 21. Not by choice, but by lack of confidence that I had anything at all to offer to the opposite sex. I didn't even date much, as I was constantly confused between what was friendly and what was flirting and what was the appropriate response to such attention, the flirting being few and far-between.

So when I did make my entry into the world of sex (damn, I've been trying to avoid innuendo, but it's my nature), it was absolutely random and not that great, because performance issues abounded. See, they were very vocal (there were two of them, it's a bizarre story for another day) about me being attractive, and as I had in the last year begun a campaign to lose a lot of weight, I was unused to such basic compliments and didn't really know how to take them.

The other thing was the assumption that I knew what I was doing. I knew from porn what went in where and all the sex-ed stuff, and had even gone so far as to educate myself on some of the finer points, so that were I to have the opportunity, I wouldn't be entirely in the dark. The point is that at 21, I was expected to be experienced and to "satisfy" two women when I had yet to do more than make out with one at a time here and there. I was also very, very drunk.

I suppose the point that I'm trying to make is that while I didn't have the sort of social pressure that other people have had to deal with, there were other considerations and pressures in my mind. And although I had always wanted to fall in love and take it slow and all that jazz, at 21, two women want to take me upstairs? Nervous virgin or not, there's no way in hell I'm saying no.

Skipping forwards a ways, it took awhile for me to get my general confidence up, and my sexual confidence followed. And although bringing someone off for the first time was awesome, it didn't compare to the first time I was able to do that by intercourse (rather than oral, my previously sole domain of any skill). It was also, more than a confirmation of skill, a confirmation of "measuring up" physically.

Not to be overly crude (and hopefully I haven't been so far), but certain stereotypes exist about men with big feet. (I wear a 15) We've all heard the rhymes and the jokes. (And don't worry, I'm not going to tmi you and tell you about my man-junk) But my feet get noticed, and sometimes, yes, I'll bring attention to them myself. It's a conversation starter that I usually (these days at least) intend to segue into "shoe shopping sucks, and I'm wicked jealous you don't have to go to specialty stores." So sometimes it goes into sexual innuendo, and that's fine, but for quite some time it unnerved me and I wondered what was expected of me, size wise. Did women expect a gargantuan porn star schlong, or what? Would they be dissappointed (or scared) with what I've got? Am I too drunk to make it work? I've got it sussed out now and all is well, once I had the experience to know that women have different sizes/preferences too...

I suppose that the point that I'm roundly trying to make is that these are some of the pressures that I had to get around. While women seem to be under a great deal of pressure to be sexual, in my experience, men are under a great deal of pressure to be sex. I've seen in tv/movies/etc. women complaining that their last lover was lame in bed, too small, too large, too quick, not quick enough, couldn't find whatever, but outside of a very few instances in sort of the fringier things I've seen and conversations I've had has a man complained about a woman being lazy in bed, not being communicative, whatever. So for most of my growing up, I was under the full impression that if the sex was lame, it's totally the guy's fault. Happily I'm aware enough now that that isn't always the case and that there isn't even always blame to be assigned, and that's a releif, but it's the sort of thing that would have served me well had I known earlier.

I'm not sure if this is what you were looking for, Stef, and my apologies to all if I got too specific about anything, but I don't do well with generalities and the abstract. (MUCH respect to those who do.)

heads up said...

had two roommates back in vancouver (one swm, one gaf) who spent equal time (pronounced A Lot) watching WWF wrestling and various shades of pornography. believe me, this is a Warning Sign.

steflenk said...

i think one of the most interesting things for me to realize, (which i confess i find a strange contradiction of sorts) is that asking people about their sexuality in a personal context is often practically impossible.
that is, asking one's partner/loved one/liked one/they'll-do-for-now one about their sexuality when you are involved with them seems too loaded to ever be a safe platform for communication. i had never thought of that before.
i have been with some guys with whom that communication was not a problem at all, and some with whom any questions about sex or girls or relations between them were perceived as this constant threat and judgement and pseudo-evaluation,
when really, they were just questions.
at times i didn't/don't have a clue what was going on and couldn't make safe or accurate assumptions, being both a girl and a totally different human being from the person i was with.
i think i get it though, i mean how can a guy (or a girl) safely confess to fantasies, love of porn, etc etc, when he's been brought up to believe that he can't safely be agressive, want sex, etc etc...and on and on it goes.

and porn is such an ingrained faux-pas for most of us, that for guys (or girls!) to be discovered with it must seem like "skip the jury straight to the execution", which is a drag.
OR the exact opposite, where porn is thrown into the equation and sex is no longer an emotional experience of intimacy, it's all animal craziness and detachment for physical gratification and power plays of countless variations.
and some of us (from what i gather) aren't sex workers in hiding, some of us want to play with one partner and somehow incorporate emotional well-being into the game, and not have this constant pressure to be living up to the standards of internet websites and porn mags.

hmm. porn just isn't a subject that can be passed off lightly. it's effect on relationships, sex, sexual performance (or fear of even) is IMMENSE.


One other thing i've noticed, to throw a bit more girl-anxiety onto the table, is this tendency for many girls i've met to over-compensate when it comes to their sexual experience or love of or delvings into.
it is the strangest thing to have a conversation with a girl you thought was knowledgeable, secure, and/or immensely engaged with the machinations of sex, only to have them later say they are highly insecure about the whole process. i've had so many of these kinds of conversations in the past 11 years or whatever, no joke, i remember them all that i can't tell sometimes when girls love kinky sex and porn and excessive debauchery, or when they are saying they love it 'coz that's what's expected to live up to our modern liberal ways.

i vaguely imagine guys might have a similiar problem, if they have been raised with this idea that they are supposed to be sex, so to speak. but who knows.

Matthew McNama said...

I have mere minutes...MINUTES, before I have to leave this webpage and go back to my world of working. But a post is needed. Oh Stef. You've tackled so many topics in life. Speedometers, Malai Kafta. I never knew that Male Sexuality would be one of them.

Point being. I want to make a prediction. Male sexuality will continue to go down this road of self masturbatory (pun intended) for one reason. The Internet. Most boys (whatever age they're discovering themselves) turn to this endless world of porn instead of another sexual human being. It's nothing to be ashamed about of course, but try convincing a 14 year old awkard teenager that.

Come to think of it, who wants to sleep with a 14 year old awkward teenager? All the girls around that age have matured more than they have and look to older men and if it's the same sex they're looking for, they're in the same boat that the straight ones are in.

But this brings us to an important little piece of info. Is it possible to jerk off so much you enjoy it more than sex. Damn Skippy. It's a vicious cycle sadly. How does one break such a cycle? Vary up the routine? I think Mr. Savage dealt with this exact issue once (twice or ten times!) Stop masturbating? Try explaining that to a teenager. I say let us boys figure it out for ourselves. We'll eventually grow old of the ol' death grip position and move on to more adventurous sexual exploits. And until we do, may the days of backed-into-a-corner-sexuality continue.

partnerdnotpartnered said...

the best way to have a satisfying sex life is to get over sex. let it go for a while and see how much crap you unconsciously wove into every aspect of it. emotional, physical, mental energy making such a big freaking deal over something that is only a big deal when all that shit falls away and you finally find yourself in a Real sexual experience where it is just you and another person you care to touch and who enjoys touching you and That Is It. and because you feel so comfortable within that you decide to incorporate other things into it. it is like if you enjoy Bathing, for example, you're not all in your Head about That are you?, you are interested in enhancing it's pleasure potentcy, so you get the soap you like, the kick ass loofa, the candles, the rubber duck. you deepen the experience. imagine if you were sitting in the tub however, with ideas swirling around in your head. worried about your body, if you did it right, is there enough water, do you Care enough, are you in love with the tub or is it lust, guilt, shame, boy, girl, straight, gay, and you love to put your finger in your ass, clean it out, are you normal? if you were having all of these thoughts, and consciously or subconsciously attached to their resolutions, what the hell would the rubber duckie do at this point? distract you from your unease. if someone asked you a question about your bathing rituals, Why The Fuck would you get defensive, squeamish, or find it perfect as an avenue to brag about yourself? People, come on. Get over the programmed view of the human body, give up the memories of negative experiences, tackle your insecurities and psychological issues alone in a quiet space and spend your time with another human being Naked, connected and Respectful. cultivate a sensitivity that allows you to truly See another person, allow them to have whatever experience They need to have without needing to have total Control, let you Ideas go so that Spontaneity is leading the experience and it has room to grow. Lighten Up folks. why measure, compare, expect, worry, judge? Do whatchew like. watch porn, shove dildos up your ass, lick whatever the fuck you like, wearing harnesses, watching nasty porn or reruns of bugs bunny, two or more people, talk about how you feel, explore, cast away shoulds coulds and woulds and Do what comes naturally. take pictures, make movies, bring in fantasy, but leave the diseased mind at the door. Get over Yourself, Get over Sex. And PLAY.

steflenk said...

right. what matt said. absolutely.
the only thing worse than sleeping with a 14 year old awkward teenager (no, i don't know from personal experience) is sleeping with a 20-something year old teenager, or a 30-something year old teenager. take your pick. they're both out there.
porn does at least serve as a somewhat decent instruction manual. and once we start having a dearth of half-decent porn where the gender equilibrium is a bit more evident, and people aren't riding each other just to prove something (to themselves or their audience), i personally will be alot happier with the internet.
but whatever.

what's amazing to me is that speaking about sex frankly can still be misinterpreted in the same primitive way that porn has been misinterpreted as "better than the real thing".

i had one person email me personally, assuming that my bringing all these thoughts out was in fact most obviously a proposition.

heads up, dude, they're just thoughts.

as for "partnerdnotpartnered"'s posting, i wonder if there aren't a few contradictions in what you are saying..."mental energy making such a big freaking deal over [it]" prefacing a somewhat weighty preponderance on the subject yourself ...the comments section is optional, i promise. there's blogging time, and there is fucking time, and never the 'twain shall meet, i imagine...

anyhow, we humans are thinking creatures. we are the only ones who are proven considerate (so to speak) of the things we do to each other. i personally think that is healthy. i am guilty of Excess of course, but, hell, i'm guilty of Excess in many areas of my life.

partNerd said...

am i that transparent?

steflenk said...

(chuckle) that makes two (or more) of us.

Michael Barker said...

OK, so it's a bit of a cop out as a post on this thread, but this thread seems to have become so unspun over the course of... what... 19 posts? Anyway, lest Librarians get a bad rap in the sex appeal sweepstakes, I encourage you to make a digital diversion (I know) to this old citation from memepool, Libarian (literary) porn.... This site inspired some inspiring purple prose from my GF, who doesn't lack in librarian sex appeal, in which I figured as 'cart boy', I'll leave the rest to your imagination to spare her the humiliation.

Anonymous said...

expression without thinking
thinking without expression...

they make for interesting
if not long lasting bedfellows

steflenk said...

thinking WITH expression.
That's a bedfellow.
the rest is not an achievement.

Anonymous said...

they are polar opposites pulling at wisps of curiosity. they grasp at wads of want from both directions.
achievment is a state of mind.

steflenk said...

i think, anonymous, that we have fundamental differences of opinion that have nothing to do with this posting. if you feel the need to discuss them, my phone number is 416.927.7847. that is a Far more accurate form of communication than this humble blog. feel free to continue this debate in person, but not on this forum.