America’s Next Bill Clinton!


Why we have sex …
No, really. I am not crazy, or at least I’ve not yet gone crazy. It’s a legitimate question, based on my reading and research. So, again I ask: what is sex for and why do we have it?

Often, our conversations around sex consist of what we like, the things we are into, and our experiences with it. But rarely is the question asked, “Is our children learning …” no wait, I mean, rarely do we question the purpose of sex. The first question, many of you will recognize, is a Bush question.

In a culture where sex is framed by mass media and pornography, it’s important to ask that question, mainly because popular culture still frames sex as something men earn and women give. In said culture, where the purpose of sex is framed in a sense of pleasure, we see women as the source of pleasure whereas men are the takers of such pleasure. When framed in said mentality, we no longer see women’s roles in sex as one of humans, but rather humans who serve a specific purpose.

As such, said mentality takes away the idea of human connections. We simply see sex as mechanical, and not as an expression between two people. To be absolutely sure, there can be sex without love, and we have all experienced it, but when human connections are taken out of sex, it merely becomes a biological act, and has nothing to do with humanity. Further, it makes us see others as mere vehicles to our attainment of pleasure, rather than human beings with whom we can connect.

Whether we like it or not, sex involves emotions. Yet, within the pornography industry, it’s treated as a mere act. In the end, it teaches us to detach from our human beings. I am not saying every sex act ought to come with love. I am merely saying we need to see others as human beings. Once we see others as merely sex providers, whether paid or not, any feelings or empathy we have for a person is gone. I say this to merely argue the point that until we can see others as humans, with feelings, needs and emotions, the act of prostitution will still be one that views women as providers of pleasure, and not humans. Sex may be great on its own, but we need to recognize that the person from whom we are getting it has feelings and is a human being.

 
With such acknowledgment, we will be kinder and more in touch of that person. In such cases, date rape can certain be prevented. After all, no does not mean no if we do not respect the other person’s feelings as a human being. To be sure, I can be pretty dirty and kinky, but without sounding too cheesy, sex isn’t about just getting yourself off. There is a piece of oneself, a human connection, left in the other person. Despite of what pornography tells us, sex isn’t just sex. That other person is the body parts we like, is a human.

Again, I ask: why do you have sex? What’s it for? Is it merely a way to achieve pleasure, is it a show of mutual adoration, is it to create babies (who am I kidding) is it to show love and reward, or is it a way to attain mutual pleasure with someone you like and respect? By re-defining to purpose for sex, we too re-define how society sees homosexuality. After all, if it’s about mutual respect and culture, then why does it matter what is natural?



CNN: Bad kissers don’t get to second base …
December 3, 2007, 8:57 pm
Filed under: bad kissers, CNN, college, dating, kissing, making out, sex

I am sorry that this story has no feminist connection, but I am rolling on the floor (well, I was) laughing – I cannot believe this story made CNN’s headlines!

http://www.cnn.com/2007/LIVING/personal/12/03/bad.kissers/index.html

The gist of it is that after the first date, even if you are attracted to someone, that person does not get a second date if that person is considered a bad kisser.

A quote that stands out – and quite funny, is below.

“I knew this girl that I’ll call Big Tongue,” recalls Craig Hinkle, 38, a Westminster, California-based network administrator. “Her tongue was massive, and she insisted on trying to put the entire thing in my mouth. She was very forceful with it, and I started choking.”

To think, that guy is from the city I graduated high school in!

According to the article – men and women have different motives for kissing. For men, it’s a means to achieve the end – namely sexual access, whereas women use kissing as a way to assess compatibility through their partners’ saliva and breath.

I don’t know about all that – but I am guessing they’re talking about actual make-out kissing and not a quick peck on the lips. Still, the idea that I am kissed just to get a sample of my saliva is kind of freaky.

Here’s another potential problem with the article: sure, kisses are used to assess partners – but after they’re a couple, doesn’t a kiss just serve two purposes – one, namely to express affection, and two, to get the partner warmed up for sexual intimacy?

Believe it or not, there are “kissing classes,” in which people are taught how to properly kiss …I guess it gives a home meaning to being a teacher’s pet …although some teachers, you just might not want to kiss.

Lastly, the article also talks about certain techniques – like the vacuum techniques …which I am sure everyone knows about. But the one thing that it didn’t mention, and is a particular favorite of mine, is the literal sucking of the lips …in short, she’s got my top lip, I’ve got her bottom lip, and I gently suck …although once, I broke a girl’s lip vessel doing it. Kids, don’t try that one at home, in the car, or anywhere else without consulting me first, please.

Thoughts the article overall?



Of love and masculinity

For the last few weeks, I’ve become more interested in exploring the theories of masculinity in feminism. This came after charges were brought up that I was still hanging on to male privilege – and that my tendency to compete, be violent and even my ambition to grab power and go into politics are signs of male privilege. Because of that, I will be exploring male privilege and masculinity a lot in my notes.

 

One thing I’ve noticed a lot – sometimes in my own life, but in other men’s lives, is their reaction to a rejection of love – and how, no matter how genuine they were in wanting to get to know someone, a rejection drives them into showing their masculinity.

It is, as if, a rejection of love is a challenge to their “manhood” and masculinity – speaking volumes of their maleness when they are rejected. More over, it also says something – coming from a male perspective, that they’re not manly enough and that they don’t have what it takes.

The rejected man, his ego and self emasculated, takes it upon himself then, to re-energize his manhood. How does he do this? He does this by being a womanizer. This does not always have to be about sex – but sometimes does include it. He has to prove to himself (not to others because the rest of the world probably doesn’t know or doesn’t give a damn) that, much like Stacy’s Mom, he still has it going on.

He has to prove to his close circle of friends that he still has it. That he can still get women – even if it just means them falling for him, and him rejecting them. This reinforces his masculinity and ability to attract women. I am not a fan of evolutionary psychology, but I think that there’s some truths hidden in that idea when mixed with masculinity.

This brings up a paradox: if women are seen as less than men, and if what is “feminine” – or belonging to women – is considered negativity, then why does a man, in his manhood, need a woman to elevate his status and to make him feel good about himself?

The reason I bring this up is that I am beginning to realize that masculinity can hurt us all. It hurts us in that our relationships and interactions aren’t defined by who we truly love or care for, but rather, how does our interaction with that person make us feel? Further, it also opens doors to less-than-desirable relationships, in which the purpose isn’t to nurture and to share and to love, but to boost one’s ego.Also – in such cases, the victims are also the women who fall for men who feel like they need to be with these women to feel boost their masculinity. When come to find out that they’re not in it for the love, but rather, their status, women are hurt.

Moreover – it does make one wonder: did this man want to get into the relationship with the original and supposedly true object of his affection because he truly felt something for her, or was it just to boost his masculinity?

Love, after all, isn’t defined by how you react if your romantic advances are welcomed. It’s how you react if your romantic gestures have been turned down.



Feminist relationships.

Over at feministing.com, Jessiva Valenti posted the results of a study that suggested feminists, more often than not, are in more meaningful and satisfying relationships. My first reaction was: no shit – for us, the political is personal, and so our empathy, compassion and love in the political sense can translate into a person sense, thus we often treat our partners with with those traits.

But allow me to bring up another point. Sometimes, in a relationship in which we are both feminists, things can also be extremely frustrating, because we are aware of the political oppressions all around us. As feminists, we thrive to take personal actions that are consistent with our political beliefs, and as such, it can be frustrating sometimes. Because the personal is political and our world is still extremely gendered and patriarchy, and are based on gender roles and sexuality, most of our personal struggles are about relationships and sexuality.

But by no way am I bitching. The personal struggles we face and the questions we ask ourselves are nothing compared to the political struggles many have – especially the women of the Global South.

The following, then, are a list of question I’ve come up with when it comes to relationships and feminism; please feel free to add yours.
1) Is it for me to feel a sexual desire for a woman at the moment of meeting her, without first knowing her as a person? I actually thought of this last night while meeting with a woman at a bar and talking a lot about — nothing. I still felt strangely sexually attracted to her, caught myself and scolded myself.

2) Is it okay for me to buy flowers for a woman-of-interest, knowing the kinds of message flowers might send, and the reinforcement of gender roles and chivalry that it carries? Also – is it really the romantic and genuine gesture, knowing the plights of flower growers in South America (mostly women) where these flowers are shipped? Am I wrong for buying flowers?

3) At a pick-up joint, is it okay to feel like “the man” in having won the attention and affection of a beautiful woman, knowing that she is highly sought after, but is with me? I feel like it’s almost a trophy pick-up – and that is wrong.

4) Is it okay to fall deeply and dangerously in love with someone, knowing the implications of gender roles we might have to give in to, being so in love?

5) Just how adventuous and kinky can we afford to be in our sexual practices? What of roleplaying? Is it wrong to be turned on or to participate in consentual sexual practices, if said practices, in real life, are oppressive to women?

6) Whose names shall we take after the wedding? How do we go about doing this without appearing abnormal to families and friends? How do we remain true to our feminist values, yet remain “real” to the world at the same time?

7) Of diamonds, shall we even consider it for our wedding? Blood diamonds?

8) How do we juggle how much to fall in love, yet remain true to the feminist cause? How do we balance our devotion to each other and feminism at the same time?

9) How do we show our love and affection to each other, yet at the same, show the world that we are equals – and be the shining examples of what healthy relationships should be all about?

A book that doesn’t have all the answers – but rather highlights the struggles between the personal and the political of feminism is called, “To Be Real,” by Rebecca Walker. I highly recommend it to all feminists!



Sex toys for $10,000????!?!?

Over at Jessica Valenti’s feministing.com, a discussion regarding Charlie Sheen and Real Life dolls are taking place – and I couldn’t help but do it as well. 

I found this both amusing and a little creepy – so I thought I’d share it, since it is Friday and things ought to be lighthearted.

Now, I am all for sex aide or sex toys or whatever you want to use to enhance your sex lives, but this is pretty weird (www.realdoll.com). It’s a life-size doll made of silicon and latex and crap that feels real, and is used as sex partners for (mostly men) who otherwise wouldn’t be getting any action.

It comes with a built-in skeleton as to allow the owner to put it into any position desired. There’s also an MP3 player that’ll make the doll moan and such …I guess in this case, the only “button” to push to turn her on is …well, the “on” button. It also comes with a heating system that’ll bring the doll’s temperature up to 98.6 degrees.

The intent of this, for many men, of course is to get the perfect partner without having to do the leg work. It’s all the “sex” you want without ever hearing no, or having to hear her talk or negotiate mutually pleasurable activities.

Nevermind the fact that every person has some sort of a short-coming and no one is perfect. In this fantasy world for these men, women will behave whoever they want, look as good as they want, without any of the reality of what a woman really is.

As one man says of the dolls: “For the most part, it’s just like sex with an organic woman…who doesn’t say anything and is brimful of Quaaludes.” I don’t know what the rest of the quote meant, but one can stop after the word “anything” and know what kinds of people these men are.

But it gets worst! Some of these dolls are made into the shapes of teenagers or sometimes even younger. What’s going to be included in the MP3 player, a soundbite of the doll singing the Barney song?

From a feminist perspective, it’s probably a good thing, because so long as they have their robotic lovers, these men won’t be going out and trying to mate with women. Results? No babies! Honestly, because people like these shouldn’t be raising kids.

Another point, too, is that this quite effectively ends the debate of whether women are golddiggers and will only have sex with rich men. If these guys are shelling out $10,000 for a doll, they’re pretty rich, okay? So, why are they having to buy a doll instead of just courting one of those “golddiggers?” Oh, yeah, because golddigers don’t exist – only men using that idea as an excuse for not getting laid.

Thoughts?



Loser, possesive men

One of the signs the guy you’re dating is a loser? He’s possessive!

Last night, I had a girl I had a thing with this summer come over to watch “The Death of a President” with a couple of friends, and she brought the guy she’s dating over. At first, he seemed pretty cool, and we drank wine and hung out and all until the movie was over.

He was on the couch, she was laying on the floor and I was sitting on the floor. So, bored, I started tossing a bottle cap at her face and we started playing catch with it. I then started very platonically stroking her face and the back of her hand (I do that to all my close female friends and former objects of affections).

The next thing I knew, he stormed out of the house. She called him to see what was going on, and he was screaming on the phone, telling her that I was flirting with her and was afraid I might take her away from him.

WTF! My God, she’s now a friend and I was only showing her affection and entertaining her! This dude thought, for some reason, we were going to jump on the couch and have sex like rabbits or something. This is even despite the fact that I spoke about having interest in other girl!

What’s wrong with these men who are so possesive of the women they’re dating that they’re not allowed to have other guy friends? It’s fucking crazy! Jesus freaking Christ!

And you know what else? They’re not really officially an item and this guy is already acting like this. I don’t understand it. Some men think that just because they’re dating a girl means that they’re supposed to cut off contact with all their guy friends.

I don’t know — maybe I intimidate some men, making them think I am going to steal their women! But you know what, there’s a reason she’s a thing of the past — and it’s that she didn’t make the check list! So, why would I want her again? She’s a good friend, just like all the women in my past, and that’s it!

Why, God, why do these guys get so possesive?



So, I am a misogynist. Huh!

Friday night, I was out with a few friends and was totally blitzed. After last call, we wandered around to find food when we ran into a girl – also a college student – who had been left by her friends in the parking lot. She was drunk, not in a familiar neighborhood and didn’t have a cell phone.

She used a pay phone to call some other friends to pick her up. Her plan was to stay there until her friends came, although she wasn’t even sure if her friends got the message.

So I offered her a place to stay in my apartment. “Look, my roommate is gay, and I am a feminist. It makes no sense for you to stay here alone until someone comes to get you. It’s not safe.”

She called her friends back with my contact info, and followed us home …only to be picked up a few minutes later.

The next day, she called to thank me, and suggested that we go out for drinks.

A friend who was with me at the time of the incident looked at me and said, “Marc, I am onto you. You’re just like the rest of them, with the feminist cover. You’re a wolf in  sheep skin.”

I took that personally. As a pro-feminist male, I shouldn’t get a fucking cookie for being such, but I don’t like my integrity and convictions questioned, either — especially by my friend, who is quite the objectifyer of women.

Just because I offered a pretty girl a place to stay doesn’t mean I am trying to fuck her. I don’t need a girl to be drunk to earn her affection and attention. I don’t need to lie to a girl to get laid. I don’t need to take advantage of a situation to get a girl to jump my bone.

If I were accused of having hidden motives by women, I’d totally understand …when one group has been oppressed by other group for their entire lives, they have the right to be cynical of unlikely allies. But when another guy, who often sees women as nothing but potential fuck objects, questions my intentions, I have a problem with that.

Has anyone had similar experiences? Should I kick this guy in the head?



I am not a flirt! I am just a (3rd wave) feminist!

Recently, I’ve been told – by more than just one woman – that the actions I take when around them tend to me misleading – and that I tend to be, according to some, a “flirt.”

I find this problematic and interesting because I am a pro-feminist male, and as such, I tend to treat everyone equality without regard to gender, but I cannot help but think somehow, because of my behavior, I am ending up confusing the shit out of some people, and in a sense, “leading them on.”

Because of my activism on and off campus in the feminist as well as progressive politics movements, I often dine with a lot of women – and have a lot of what I call “friendly outings” with them.

That’s certainly not the problem. The problem comes in when, in our interaction, I may say things that – in a gendered society as we know it, be considered flirting.

A touch on the shoulder here, a brush on the lap there, a “you’re amazing here,” a “you’ve got a beautiful mind,” there. Just compliments – and just friendly touching – all of which are welcomed. But then I’ve been accused that, because of this, women are taking it as a sign of a come on, and that I somehow don’t “follow through” with my actions, because I then go on and gloat about Emily and how wonderful she is and how much she means.

Perhaps that’s what bothers me the most about the gendered world as we know it – people can’t appreciate and show affection for one another – albeit a very platonic and friendly one, without having to feel as though they are somehow showing signs of romantic interests.

It’s not that I feel bad for myself – I live in a world with male privilege and have absolutely no rights to bitch or complain. I just feel bad that I may be leaving people with the wrong impression.

Really, in the end, is a brush on the lap, stroking someone’s face, or a compliment about how much you like them as a person, really a sign of a come on?

I mean – as a straight male, I do that to male friends, too. It’s a sign of affection. It’s a sign of closeness.

I don’t know. Maybe I’ll just be a robot, sit there and show no signs of emotions or affection whatsoever. Maybe then, no one would accuse me of being “well on [my] way to be America’s Next Bill Clinton – in behavior.”



“Need to get laid, go to a political rally

I found this article extremely amusing http://www.nydailynews.com/lifestyle/2007/09/27/2007-09-27_singles_will_check_out_eligible_candidat-2.html

Essentially, political campaigns that are aimed at a younger demographic (think Barrack Obama) are aiming at a younger crowd with promise of getting laid or finding a like-minded date.I have two really jumbled up thoughts of it. One: it doesn’t work. Traditionally, the 18-29 demographic is great for straw polls, but it doesn’t always translate into a political victory. Like it or not, our crowd is pretty fickled.While our mindsets are in the right place, we don’t actually go to the poll. Then there are those who are truly committed in that age bracket who doesn’t need to go to a political function to get laid. They are actually doing this for the right reasons and are committed to voting for a certain candidate anyway, so it’s pointless and a fiscal waste to spend money on them. You can see it now, election day comes around, two people are in bed cuddling after their fuck fest at around 7 p.m.

“You know, I had a feeling we were supposed to do something today?”
“We did — each other.”
“No, something else — something important.”
“Oh, shit! We’re supposed to vote for Barrack Obama. Hurry! Precincts close in an hour!”
They throw on their clothes, speed down the road only to find a traffic jam. Barrack Obama comes in third.

My second thought is this: there might be some truths to the article. In my experiences, as a liberal, Democrat and feminist, the women whom I’ve met and fallen for (and those who’ve fallen for me), been out with and dated and whatnot, are always a much better experience at political/feminist events, than drunk and throwing up under a bar.

Perhaps it has to do with the fact that deep down inside, rather than a quick lay, we all want someone with whom we share values and convictions, and a desire to see the world the way we want it.

In the end, for me (and I would say “liberals,” but I don’t claim to speak for all liberals), love isn’t about what the person can do for us, but rather, what that person does (and potentially can do) for the world. Maybe it’s just the little hippie in me (without the long hair and drugs) talking. I don’t know.

Thirdly, (I know I promised two thoughts, but I lied), I was kind of offended by the article and the “liberal chicks are easy” line in the article. It’s not that they’re easy, it’s perhaps that they’re more comfortable with their sexuality.

It also offends me because it gives the idea that we’re supposed to stand up for a cause just to get laid. It offends me even more that the person quoted is seeing women, once again, not for their character and values and beliefs (in this case, as liberals and feminists), but as a piece of meat, there for his pleasure.

Sex is greatly appreciated and awesome, but it ought to come with respect and equality – and there is no respect and equality in a statement like, “liberal chicks are easy.”



A pro-feminist male in love (with a feminist!)

I am very sorry for a most cheesy post! 

So, I think I’ve met the woman I would like – the person who is going to be the Hillary Clinton to my Bill Clinton. Some of you  have heard about her before – but I’d like to say this one more time – she is amazing. In the words of my favorite poet, “I don’t know if love conquers all, but I know it’s conquering me at an alarming rate.”

We met at a feminist conference; she interned this summer for a women’s rights organization; she’s spent time overseas to help poor people; she is not religious; she is active in progressive politics both on and off campus; she has a beautiful mind; and her greatest ambition is to one day win the Nobel Peace Prize. What more can a person ask for in a mate, right?

To be sure, we are not a couple – and I like it that way. But I feel this affinity and longing for her. Yet, the funny thing is that I am very much interested in women, in general, and I do go out with a lot of women – most of whom are feminists.

Some people have told me that doing so is inconsistent with my values, because I am “playing the field.” They’ve said that if I truly do feel good-and-love for her, that I should just try to be with her, and not go out to dinners and dates with any other women.

Here, the word “date” becomes one that needs to be defined: is going to dinner with a woman considered a date? Is it a date if you two are the only ones at the table at dinner and drinks? I certainly don’t think so, but others seem to. The thing is I am interested in the way women think – their minds, their thoughts, their experiences and the way they see things. That’s why I go out with women to dinners and cocktail bars. I like finding out about them. I expect nothing in return, and mean nothing by going out to dinner with them. Yet, some people don’t seem to understand that.

On another different note, I’ve been on two dates and a friendly dinner this week, and all of them were feminists. It’s funny because the two dates and the dinner friend broke gender roles, and paid for my dinner and drinks. I am a feminist,  but somehow, I felt uncomfortable with it – as if I owe them something for paying for my dinner and drinks. I don’t know how to take it when a woman pays for my dinner. The feminist in me tells me that it’s good for reversal of gender roles. The person in me tells me that I don’t want to burden them.

[one more note on the feminist I am interested in] She’s not ready for a relationship, and I understand that. And, in fact, I do appreciate her just as her – a person. I appreciate that she is in my life. If, in the end, nothing happens, she’d still be a great person for whom I am thankful to be in my life. I’d like to love her as America’s Next Hillary Clinton, but I already feel the world for her as just a person. I don’t need romance to appreciate her for who she is.

Thoughts?

 Also, I am driving up to DC for her birthday, which means I need to take a day off from work and drive up there at night. This song below popped into my mind. It’s called I-95, by Fountains of Wayne.

They sell posters of girls washing cars
And unicorns and stars
And Guns N’ Roses album covers
They’ve got most of the Barney DVDs
Coffe mugs and tees
That say Virginia is For Lovers
But it’s not
Round here it’s just for truckers who forgot
To fill up on gasoline
Back up near Aberdeen

It’s a (four) hour drive
From me to you
(North) on I-95
And I’ll do it til the day that I die
If I need to
Just to see you
Just to see you

Hip-hop stations are fading in and out
All I’m receiving now
Is a kick drum mixed with static
Constellations are blinking in the sky
The road is open wide
And it feels so cinematic
‘Til a van
Driven by an elder gentleman
Cuts right in front of me
From then on that’s all I see

It’s a (four) hour drive
From me to you
(North) on I-95
And I’ll do it til the day that I die
If I need to
Just to see you
Just to see you