Tag Archives: Sexuality

Think having a huge penis is a huge selling point? It’s not. In fact, it may be the opposite.

[Content Note: Frank sex talk.]

[Additional Note: Family may want to skip this one, as I’m about to get extremely personal. If you decide to go ahead and read this anyway, I don’t want to hear about it.]

I remember a while back, some guy was trying to entice me to hook up with him. Circumstances indicated that at best, it would be one night stand. The guy indicated he had absolutely no prior experience with another man. I turned him down. He tried to talk me into it. He promised that I would absolutely love sex with him because he “had a cock as long as my arm.” I’ve found that this is a common theme among guys. Many of them assume that because they (allegedly) have a massive penis, that automatically makes them awesome in bed.

It does not. In fact, I’ve found that in many cases — especially in cases where the guy has little or no experience — having a partner who is well-endowed can be a liability.

Let me spell it out for any guys who may be reading with incredulity. The bigger you are, the more likely it is that you could end up hurting me. That means that it’s even more important than it is with average or even slightly smaller guys — and it’s still pretty damn important with those guys — to make sure that I am perfectly relaxed and sufficiently in the mood before anything too serious happens. And that usually requires an attentive, considerate, and usually experience partner. (If not experienced, he at least has to be willing to follow directions and I have to be in the mood to actually guide him through what I normally prefer him to know on his own already.)

So a well-endowed guy who is inexperienced is a pretty unappealing partner, to be frank. (Especially for something that’s only going to be  a one night stand, since saying yes makes a lot of work for me with a very short-term benefit at best.) A well-endowed partner who can’t demonstrate that he knows how to be a good and attentive lover — or worse, demonstrates that he has absolutely no interest in being one — is an immediate hell-no.  And to be frank, if all you can say about your skills as sexual partner is that you have a big dick, you’ve pretty much relayed the fact that you fall into that category of man.

So guys, do yourself and your prospective partners a favor. Quit leading with the fact that you are (allegedly) well endowed. In fact, quit mentioning it at all. Instead, focus on saying and doing things that demonstrate that you are attentive, caring, and invested in making any experience with you mutually pleasurable for the other person, too.

NOM’s “scary study results” are only scary if you lack nuance

Alvin McEwen blogged on Monday about NOM pushing a new Regnerus “study.”  McEwen rightfully points out how dishonest it is for NOM to continue pushing Regnerus’s work despite the fact that he and his work have been heavily discredited over the past several months.

What I find interesting is how NOM presents and interprets this new “study”:

Activists trying to force a redefinition of marriage on America have constantly evaded the question, “what is marriage?” Meanwhile, they have insisted that gays and lesbians simply want access to the same sacred institution of marriage and that they don’t intend to change anything about that institution.

But the survey responses from gay men and lesbians themselves don’t support these claims.

The institution envisioned by those who want to redefine marriage isn’t faithful… it isn’t exclusive… it isn’t permanent… put bluntly, it isn’t marriage.

So basically, Regnerus polls a bunch of people about a number of views and NOM tries to interpret the answers to those views as people’s understanding of what marriage is.  That’s problematic at best.

So let’s take a look at some of those views from the poll.

Viewing pornography is OK.  This one has absolutely nothing to do with marriage.  Some people look at porn.  Others don’t.  Some married people watch porn.  (Some even watch it with their married partner!)  Some don’t.  Some single people watch porn.  Some single people don’t.  Saying that viewing pornography is acceptable doesn’t really reveal much — if anything — about one’s views of marriage.

I’d also like to note that saying that viewing pornography is okay is not that same as saying that viewing pornography is never problematic.  Yes, if viewing pornography is interfering with one’s relationship(s) (by say, changing your attitudes toward the people in your life, especially your romantic partner), that’s a huge problem.  However, that does not mean that viewing pornography in general is a horrible thing.  NOM is effectively trying to use this one statement to cast everything in a black and white argument where there is much more nuance to be considered.

Premarital cohabitation is good.  Again, this statement really doesn’t tell you anything about a person’s views on marriage.  A person may think that living together before marriage is good and important and yet still consider their wedding vows of great importance when the take them.  In fact, some people promote living together before marriage because they take their wedding vows seriously and want to have a sense of how living together will work out before making the final commitment.

No-strings-attached sex is OK.  It seems to me that this one goes off the rails in various ways.  Most notably, I think it demonstrates that NOM is projecting it’s own belief that every person (excepting possibly clergy) should get married onto everyone else.  I don’t believe that every should get married.  What I believe is that LGBT people who want to get married should be allowed to do so.  If LGBT people who prefer not to get married would rather engage in no-strings sex with each other, I say more power to them.  It doesn’t change how I feel about marriage.  NOM fails to understand that the facts that I think I should be allowed to get married and that other people should be allowed to pursue other relationship and sexual choices for themselves are not contradictory.

Also, I’ll note that it’s possible to enjoy no-strings sex while single and still look forward to a more committed relationship in the future.  NOM doesn’t seem to understand that, either.  (Not surprising, as I suspect there’s a lot of ideological overlap between NOM and purity culture, which tends to at least imply that any sex outside of marriage “ruins” you for marriage.)

Couples with kids should stay married except for abuse.  You know what?  I don’t believe in auditing other people’s lives.  I think that individual families need to consider their own circumstances and work out what the best choices for themselves are.  I do not feel qualified nor do I feel I have or deserve the authority to tell them under what circumstances they are allowed to make which choices.  If NOM thinks that this means that I don’t take marriage seriously, then NOM doesn’t know me at all.  I know what my goals are for marriage.  I just realize that (1) those goals may not work for everyone and (2) they ultimately may not work out for me either.  I’m simply open to that possibility.

Marital infidelity is sometimes OK.  Okay, this is a position that I tend not to hold.  I tend to believe that if you’ve made a commitment to be in a monogamous relationship with someone, you should keep that commitment.  If you find you can’t keep that commitment, then you should either seek to renegotiate the relationship or honestly seek to end it.  Yes, I do consider ending a relationship acceptable.  So I will acknowledge that while I see marriage as ideally permanent, I accept the reality that it doesn’t always work out that way in practical terms.  But I don’t see the benefit in denying reality, so I don’t see this as some huge admittance of defeat on my part.

It is OK for 3+ adults to live in a sexual relationship.  I’m totally on board with this one, and unapologetically so.  So no, I don’t see marriage as necessarily exclusive.  I think that’s for the people involved to determine for their own relationship(s).

I just don’t see that as a horrible thing.  Truth be told, I find the idea that Christians — especially Christians who scream about “taking the Bible literally” — being anti-polyamory rather odd, anyway.  The Old Testament is full of men — men deemed Godly by the text and tradition — taking multiple wives (and concubines, no less).  And there are only two explicit prohibitions against polygamy in the Bible, both of which limit the prohibition to specific groups of people.  (That’d be the kings of Israel in t Old Testament and pastors/bishops in the New Testament.)

But setting all that aside, does the fact that I’m unwilling to condemn or criticize people who choose a polyamorous relationship really destroy my own right to enter into a legally recognized monogamous marriage?

Ultimately, it seems to me that NOM’s argument is that they only want to let people into their marriage club if those people are willing to go on policing the choices of others.  I’m not okay with that.

 

(Disjointed) musings on Jennfier Roback Morse’s recent interview

[Content Note:  hostility to agency]

I’m reading the recent interview with Jennifer Roback Morse in the National Catholic register and I just have to shake my head.

Let’s go over some of the more…interesting statements.

When asked about the injuries caused by the sexual revolution:

Contraception is an expected part of a woman’s career path. So that means the whole system is built around women treating their bodies as if they were men’s bodies.

So wait a second, using contraception and terminating an unwanted pregnancy amounts to “women treating their bodies as if they were men’s bodies”?  So the only thing that makes women’s bodies different from men’s bodies is that the former can be used as a baby-incubator?  I find Morse’s depiction of womanhood and women’s bodies unfortunate and horribly dismal.

In defending her insistence that the sexual revolution is a totalitarian movement:

So the government has to step in and control people’s behavior and even people’s thoughts about what’s possible, desirable and realistic. The HHS mandate is just one example of the government stifling dissent by essentially saying: “This society will be built around contraception, and there will be no dissent from that.” That’s one example of totalitarianism coming straight from the government and literally shutting down people who disagree.

Here’s the thing:  No one is being forced to use contraception.  The government is saying all people should be allowed and able to use contraception if they so choose.  That’s a signifcant difference from the strawman that Morse is erecting here.  Indeed, it is Morse and those like who are insisting that those who disagree with their position should be forced to comply with their view of the world.

while listing the “victims” of the sexual revolution:

Consider, for example, people who’d like to stay married but their spouse wants a divorce, so that’s the end of it. The government takes sides with the party who wants the marriage the least.

Would she actually prefer that the government coerce someone to remain with a spouse or partner they do not love and do not wish to be around anymore?  Talk about totalitarianism.

But wait, it gets better:

We all know somebody in this category — the jilted wife or the husband who’s kicked out of the family because his wife didn’t want to be bothered with him anymore, and now the courts are making him pay child support for kids he doesn’t see.

Reread that last clause a few times.  Here we have Jennifer Roback Morse — who spends a great deal of time talking about the importance of marriage and families to care for children — now talking about men being “forced” to help support the children he helped bring into this world.  Apparently, men should only be held responsible for the children they bring into the world if “they’re allowed to see them”?  Doesn’t sound like a very “pro-children” position to me.

On “heartbroken career women”:

These women are also all around us, but we simply don’t see them. [Culture says] the entry fee into the professions for women is that you chemically neuter yourself during your peak childbearing years in your 20s — and if you have an “accident,” you get an abortion.

Exactly what “culture” tells women that the price for them having a career is not having children?  There are organizations that advance and push for legislation to protect pregnant women in the workplace.  You know who doesn’t support that legislation?  The so-called “pro-life” crowd.  People who insist that for women, having a career and a family are incompatible.  In short, people like Jennifer Roback Morse.  So the fact that she an those like her push this “career or family” dichotomy, then have the audacity to feign pity for those women who feel like they’re stuck with that dichotomy is contemptible.

On the men and women who are “victimized” by the sexual revolution by “the lack of suitable mates”:

Absolutely. And I hear it from men, too [about not finding suitable wives]. Our whole culture is so sexualized it’s hard to find a suitable mate. Many young people have told me they wish the Church would do more to facilitate young adults meeting each other in a faith environment, where people won’t always be coming onto you.

I don’t know, maybe part of the problem here is that people are looking at other people as “potential mates” rather than people to get to know.  This whole thing makes finding a mate sound like a mission that erases real interpersonal relationships.  That’s something Morse listed as a problem earlier in the interview.

(h/t Right Wing Watch)

The shocking discovery that women are sexual beings too

[Content Note:  Sexism, Rape Culture, Objectification of Women]

Don't tell him that some women hit on guys.  I fear his head may explode!
Don’t tell him that some women hit on guys. I fear his head may explode!

I didn’t get a chance to write a blog post for today as i was having too much fun celebrating my birthday yesterday.  However, I wanted to spotlight Libby Anne’s post from today.  In it, she discusses a preacher who is pro- modesty movement and who recently wrote an article in the Christian Post in which he discovers that (heterosexual and bisexual) women experience sexual desire when they see men.  I love and fully agree with Libby Anne’s response to this discovery:

He had never considered it.He had never considered it. Twenty years of ministry, twenty years of preaching modest, and he’d never thought about the fact that women are also sexual beings. This alone is illustrative of a huge blind spot in the circles that preach modest, if you ask me.

Of course, experience tells me that this isn’t just a problem with people in the modesty movement.  The idea that women are sexual beings seems to escape the notice of a lot of people, especially a lot of men.  There are too many narratives about men being the sex-seekers and women being the gatekeepers of sex.  Those narratives also tend to ignore the idea that women might actually want and seek out sex rather than try to prevent it.  In many ways, the erasure of women as sexual beings with sexual desire is a key component of treating women as sex objects and the proliferation of rape culture1.

So I’m not entirely surprised that this minister missed the memo that women have pantsfeelings too.  After all, we live in a society that too often ignores a lot of things about women, including the fact that they are fully human and therefore sexual as well.  And it contributes to a lot of problems.

At any rate, be sure to go read the rest of Libby Anne’s post if you haven’t yet.  It’s great.


1As an aside, Libby Anne’s blog is a great resource for exploring how both the modesty and purity movements influence and reinforce the objectification of women and rape culture as well, despite the fact that their stated intent is to uphold the value of women.

Pondering “Out of a Far Country”: The morality question

While I find Christopher Yuan’s life and journey as he describes it in “Out of a Far Country,” I find the way in which that story culminates to his conclusions in the “Holy Sexuality” chapter to be troubling and problematic.  Again, as I alluded to in my previous post, this is where he at least implicitly shifts from telling his personal story to offering a moral prescription for others.  As such, I feel this chapter needs to be directly addressed.

This shift I’m talking about quickly becomes visible when Christopher begins his defense or justification of calling on gay men and women to a life of celibacy.  Christopher offers his realization that there are people in the Bible who lived their entire lives abstinent, noting that both Jesus and Paul were both such men.

The thing note, however, is that both men acknowledged that it was neither an easy calling or one that everyone was suited for.  When Jesus’s own disciples comment that it would be better to remain unmarried, Jesus responded that “not all can accept this,” without any sense of condemnation (Matthew 19).  Similarly Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthian church (chapter 7), he notes that it is better to remain single, but that those who cannot control their lusts should get married.[1]  So as I read Christopher’s insistence that it’s not unfair of God to demand celibacy — especially lifelong celibacy — of certain people, I’m skeptical that his two examples of holy and celibate men would actually agree with him.

But the thing is, Christopher isn’t claiming that God is demanding lifelong celibacy of individuals, but of an entire class of people.  I have no problem believing that God called Paul, Jesus, or even Christopher Yuan to lifelong celibacy.  God places individual callings upon people all the time.  But to say that an entire class of people must remain celibate simply because of who they are drawn to when it comes to sex and romance[2] is an entirely different claim, and I think it’s a position that takes far more defense than Christopher offers.  I also think it takes far more appreciation of what one is claiming God demands of all gay and bisexual people and just how hard a road one is calling others to.

That last statement is pivotal to me.  What I see here is that some — either including Christopher or those who will be further emboldened by him — are trying to tell other people — and entire class of people, in fact — what God’s calling is for their lives.  I maintain that this is not how callings work.  Callings are not placed upon people by other individuals.  No, the things so placed are rightfully called burdens.  Callings are made not to classes of people, but to individuals by a god who draws that individual in, gives the individual a heart and desire for that calling, and fills that individual with a sense that while the calling may not always involve an easy road, it is entirely doable.  This is not what is being offered here in the chapter on holy sexuality.

As I’ve referred to the chapter’s title which invokes the word “holy,” let’s look at the statement popularized by some Exodus leaders and repeated in this chapter:

“The opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality, but holiness.”

My problem with this statement is that it reduces holiness — a complex and wondrous topic — to a mere question of not having sex or at least not having the wrong kinds of sex.  It reduces the idea of holiness in sexuality to following the right rules, avoiding the right taboos, and so on.  It does nothing to illuminate what makes sex or sexuality holy — sacred to and glorifying of the Divine — which makes it hard to accept the unsubstantiated statement[3] that the holiness of one’s sexuality or sexual activity is affected by the gender of one’s partner(s).

I wish Christopher the best in following what he believes that God has called him to.  But I would ask him not to attempt to universalize that calling for all gay people or allow others to use his story to do so.  It’s simply not his or their place.

Notes:
[1]  Not exactly a ringing endorsement for marriage as a sacred institution, is it?

[2]  And like so many others, Christopher never seems to acknowledge that same-sex relationships have a romantic side or other aspects beyond the sex.

[3]  Christopher and others might argue that “The Bible says so” should be good enough.  Setting aside that not everyone agrees about what “the Bible says” on the topic, I will note that this underscores an extremely authoritarian approach to morality and assumes and authoritarian God who gives a moral code that is based on nothing more than His say-so.  I am deeply troubled by such an understanding of both morality and God.  Indeed, I think conservative Christianity would be greatly served by the sudden appearance of many more Jobs in their ranks.

But I like shaving my palms!

gum.jpgI’m an avid follower of FAILblog, the blog where people post the most bizarre pictures mocking something that is or just seems wrong by marking the photographs with the word “FAIL.”  Things mocked include bizarre car accidents, poorly worded signs that end up giving an unintended message, and people just doing crazy (and usually dangerous) things.

To be honest, I often find myself wondering if some pictures are faked.  The picture for the “anti-masturbatory gum” (see left) is one of those cases.  Setting aside the fact that I can’t begin to understand how gum can make you lose interest in pleasuring yourself (short of messing with hormones, which I find a rather scary thing to do just to avoid a bit of sexual relief), I just can’t imagine why anyone would WANT such a product.

Well, anyone who isn’t a repressed bundle of unexpressed sexuality who’s afraid that some Higher Power is going to strike them dead for enjoying their own bodies and the pleasure it gives them.  Thankfully, my gods tend to have a much more tolerant view of sexuality and sexual pleasure.  In fact, they think it’s something to be celebrated!

Granted, they stipulate that such celebration should be done in a manner that is responsible.  But what could be more responsible than pleasuring yourself?  Let’s face it:

  • No one has ever gotten pregnant from pleasuring themselves.
  • No one has ever gotten an STD from pleasuring themselves.
  • No one gets used or abused when you pleasure yourself.
  • Everyone involved — you — is bound to enjoy the experience.

So please, if you’re feeling the urge, give yourself to take care of that urge.  It’s far more ethical and responsible than using someone else to take care of your physical needs and hurting them in the process.

And really, am I the only one who thinks that trying to stop people from masturbating by encouraging them to develop a possible oral fixation might be a bit unwise?  😉

Homophobia Comes in Many Forms

SAN FRANCISCO - JUNE 29:  A reveler holds a ga...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Today is the International Day Against Homophobia, an annual day sponsored by Fondation ?mergence to raise awareness of and combat the ugly phenomenon known as homophobia.  This is an important thing, as homophobia is something that adversely affects millions of LGBT people, not to mention those who choose to embrace homophobia.  (I hope to talk about that last bit in a later post.)

This is also an important issue because while some manifestations of homophobia are easy to spot, some are far more subtle, easily rationalized, and therefore more insidious in some ways.  It’s easy to spot and speak out against thugs who go around beating up gay people.  It’s pretty easy to spot and stop the school bully who calls smaller boys “queer” and otherwises taunts them.  It’s much harder to spot and address the more decent, mild mannered person who still manages to be homophobic in subtler ways, the person who might not even be aware that what they’re doing is homophobic.

Some will complain — and quite loudly — that believing that same sex sexual relationships are wrong or immoral is not homophobic.  Most days, I’m inclined to agree with them.  I think that such a belief is wrong and wrong-headed.  But I don’t think taht such a belief in itself homophobic.

However, beliefs don’t exist in a vacuum, and one of the biggest problems with such a belief is that it usually leads to actions that are homophobic.  So while keeping in mind that believing that same-sex sexual relationships are wrong is not homophobic, I’d like to point out some of the subsequent homophobic pitfalls that someone who holds such beliefs might fall into.

Refusing to befriend, get to know, and actually listen to gay people simply because they are gay is homophobic.  If concern for maintaining the purity of your beliefs gets in the way of being a friendly and personable individual, that’s something you will need to address.

Having “gay friends,” but quickly changing the subject whenever they start discussing their love life or romantic interests is homophobic.  Real friends don’t get to pick and choose what aspects of their friends lives they’re open to.  They don’t even ask for such a privilege.

Making assumptions about what gay people are like, what they value in their relationships, and what their sex lives are like (and if you’re spending that much time thinking about that last one, ew!) is homophobic.  Gay people are people too, and we can be very diverse.  Making assumptions based solely on who we are attracted too is wrong on a number of levels, including the homophobic level.

There are many other such examples.  In short, any way in which someone treats or thinks of an LGBT person differently from other people — often in ways that are dehumanizing — is homophobic.

The good news is that people can do something about homophobia.  We just need to work on making people aware of its existence and the need to change the way things are.

Facing the Plunge

Tonight, I wrote the next chapter in Journey, the one that talks about my first attempt at love, or something that I thought resembled love at the time. Surprisingly, it was a pretty easy piece to write. Of course, it helps that I’ve written about that relationship elsewhere before. (In fact, I may dig up those old diary entries and look into supplementing what I wrote tonigh with some of their content.)

Of course, this marks a point in my story that has me somewhat afraid. This is the point where I start talking about my experiences prior to 1996. It’s time to delve back into some of those emotionally trying times, and the things my psyche did to survive my youth. And it’s appropriate that I start writing about these things at this juncture. After all, it was towards the end of my relationship with “Chris” that some of those things started coming back to my conscious attention. Indeed, they contributed to the rapid decline of our relationship, as I was forced to deal with emotional wounds I had hidden for years.

I find myself in an interesting position. I want to go there, yet part of me dreads it. I’m not entirely sure why. I suppose it’s in part because I’m afraid of what pain I might still find there. Will I be fortunate and only find the kind of “ghost emotions” I experienced when I wrote about the weekend I came out? Or will I find something more difficult to deal with?

Of course, there’s also the fact that I’ll be sharing some deeply personal things. And a much as I feel I need and want to do so, I have to admit the idea still scares me in some way. I won’t let that stop me, as I feel it’s right to press on. But perhaps a bit of tenderness towards myself as I work through this part of the story is in store, all the same.

The power of memories

Earlier tonight (before it became tomorrow), I took the time to write about the weekend I decided to come out and the emotional crisis that led up to it. It surprised me how easily much of the emotion I felt that weekend came back to me. In some ways, writing about it meant reliving it, and it was a strange experience.

Of course, this time around, the feelings weren’t nearly as strong. Instead, they were more a ghost of events and feelings long gone. Back then, I was afraid that all of the feelings were going to consume and destroy me. Tonight, the worst they will do is chase a smile from my face until I get some much needed sleep.

And in some way, I find the return of these emotions comforting. Not because I have any desire to return to the constant torment I felt back then, but because it means that I’m still connected to that person I was. I can still identify so completely with my past that I can draw on it for strength, insight, an even wisdom without becoming lost in it or controlled by it. And that is a wonderful feeling.

I’m beginning to realize that this writing project is meant to serve a dual purpose. So far, I’ve been focused on how it might help others who are going through many of the same things — or even just similar things — that I did. But now I also see that it’s also a chance for me to again connect to my past, understand how it led me to the presence, and discover just how I’ve grown from it all. And perhaps that’s something I need right now, too.

Finding a new book

While surfing the web tonight, I came across a book I’d never heard of before. The title is From Boys to Men: Gay Men Write About Growing Up. I find myself wondering how closely any of the stories contained in the book resemble the experiences I’m working on writing about. One of the reason I started writing about my own sexual self-discovery is because I feel like the topic is not well covered. So it would be interested to see if this book is a sign that there’s more out there than I realize. It would be a pleasant discovery if that is the case.

I’ve added the book to my wish list. I’d buy it outright, but I think I spent enough money today. I got a laptop in the price range I expected. But by the time I added all of the extras I decided to get with it (including a new wireless router for the house), the bill was a bit…shocking.