Spam for Entitled Heterosexual Men

[Content Note: Rape Culture, Misogyny, Male Entitlement, Sexually Explicit Language]

On a lark, I went through my email’s trash folder the other day. For Saturday (Valentine’s Day) alone, I found four pieces of spam with a common theme: Get the woman (or women) of your dreams. See them for yourself (separated by lines of asterisks):

This shocking video is going to blow your mind and let you discover:

-Magic innocent phrases to make her horny in seconds;

-Simple questions to make any pussy wet;

-Couple of gestures to instantly take her down!

And much more for a full makeover of your life.

No practice, no efforts, no hard work!

***********

Tired of being in a friend zone and constantly feeling unable to put her to your bed? Your life needs a makeover!

It’s the very lucky day when you may learn the genius way to make any girl want you without any efforts!

Tested on thousands of them! And they still want more…

***********

I hardly believe it myself but I’ve tried more than 20 sex positions last week with 5 different girls.

This technique is a huge sex cake that has changed my life the way I had never even dreamt of.

You may carry on being just a jerk for hot babes or watch this video and let the science do the best for you!

Good luck!

***********

You know I feel like a love boner king lately!
And it seems I almost forgot how I pleased myself with a night porn and relationship with a girl I didn’t like very much…

Today the situation is 100% different.
I can swear this technique is the most useful finding for an average man like me.

If you want to take the lead and be the one to choose, not be chosen by them, this great video is a must-see for you!

There’s a lot of wrong that I could cover in this. I doubt I’ll manage to spot everything, but I want to list some of the assumptions that these messages continue to support and encourage men to hold:

Women are there for their needs, especially their sexual needs.

The way to get any woman they want is simply to say or do the right things.

Women’s sexuality and sexuality exists solely to aid the men in getting the sex they want.

Getting the woman they want can and should be effortless.

There is nothing worse than having a woman decide a man is good enough to be a friend, but not good enough to be a sexual partner.*

What a woman wants and who she wants it with doesn’t matter.

These are just four examples of this kind of mentality that landed in my email on one day out of the year.  These same messages are pushed explicitly by books an websites every day. They are pushed implicitly in other forms of media. (Think of all the “hero gets the girl” themes in just about every genre of movie.)

It’s these kinds of messages that deny the humanity and agency of women. It’s these kinds of messages that encourage and enable men to think that they deserve the attentions and sexual favors of women — and not just any women, but the specific women they want — sometimes to the extreme point that they react like Elliot Rodger or Ben Moynihan (just to pick two examples).

These messages are toxic and they need to stop. They need to be challenged and discussed. They cannot be ignored. They cannot be shrugged off as something “no one really believes or listens too” because the evidence to the contrary is stark.

Further Reading: A Culture of Violent Entitlement, and the Culture of Silence Surrounding It via Shakesville

Note: I am indebted to Melissa McEwan at Shakesville, whose extensive blogging about men like Rodgers and Moynihan provided me with the links to news articles about them.

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.

Movie Review: Impossible Choice

[Content Note: Homophobia]

Last night, as I scoured both Netflix And Amazon Instant Video for gay-themed movies to watch, I came across Impossible Choice, an extremely-low budget film that came out in 2012. The brief description on Amazon caught my eye:

For the minister’s son, Brandon, this is a summer of awakening and acceptance of his homosexuality. For his father, this is a challenge to his roots in the bible.

In many ways, that description reminded me of the movie Rock Haven, which I love (and still wish I could find my copy of). I decided to watch it.

After watching it, I skimmed through the customer reviews on Amazon. This is a movie where it seemed like either reviewers loved it or hated it. In many ways, I agree with the negative reviews, as they all brought up great points. This was an extremely low-budget film. The writing was awful. The story — actually at least two different plots that were only related by the fact that they happened at the same time and in the same place — jumped all over the place. And there were several questions the story left unanswered. (Like whatever happened to the criminal charges that were brought against Lance? You get the sense that they were trumped up, but it’s never shown that the police learn this fact.) Or there was the sudden shift of Captain Dan from being totally opposed to the idea of running a gay cruise (in the first scene or two, he throws around the word “fag” quite liberally) to being entirely in favor of it and defending the idea in front of the people of Palmyra. In fact, I had to go back and verify that the virulent homophobe I remembered from the first few scenes really was Captain Dan, because they seemed like completely different characters.

The best part of the movie — as many of the negative critics noted — was the ten minute “play within,” a play created by some of the movie characters for a college drama class. In the “play within,” Matthew Shepard and Tyler Clementi meet up in the afterlife and tell each other about the events leading up their eventual deaths. It was well acted, moving, and possibly the only truly memorable part of the entire movie. It also really didn’t seem to have any bearing on the rest of the movie, which made it odd in context.

I will admit that despite all its technical flaws, I do have some warm feelings toward this movie. This is partly because its setting is local to me, as the gay cruise that serves as subject matter of one of the plotlines and the setting for the climax of the other takes place on the Erie Canal and starts from the nearby town of Palmyra New York. There’s something about seeing shots of local geography — and having it recognized in the film as such — that’s just touching to me.

Also, the themes of the movie, while poorly executed, are near and dear to my heart. Granted, in many ways, that makes the poor execution of the movie all the more sad. In the long run, I think it would have been better if those who made it would have focused either on the work to get the gay cruise approved or on the story about Brandon’s relationships with his father and his love interest, Lance.

Would I recommend watching it? If you have a couple hours to spare and access to Amazon Prime, sure. Especially if you live in or around Monroe County New York. Especially if you’re also gay.

But if you have access to a movie like Latter Days or Rock Haven (and haven’t already watched it to death), you may want to check one of them out instead.

 

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.

 

Real friends don’t do boundaries?

Fake Friends vs. Real Friends
Fake Friends vs. Real Friends

The above image is something an acquaintance shared on Facebook today.  The text reads as follows:

Fake Friends – Never ask for food..

Real Friends – Are the reason you have NO food.

Fake Friends – Call your parents Mr/Mrs.

Real Friends – Call your parents DAD/MOM.

Fake Friends – Have never sen you cry.

Real Friends – Cry with you.

Fake Friends – Borrow your stuff for a few days then give it back.

Real Friends – Keep your stuff so long they forget it’s yours.

Fake Friends – Know about you…..

Real Friends – Could write a book about you.

FAKE FRIENDS – Would knock on your front door..

Real Friends – Walk right in and say “I’m home”.

Fake Friends – Will help you when you fall over.

Real Friends – Will jump on top of you and shout “DOG_PILE”.

Fake Friends – Are around for a while..

Real Friends – Are for life.

Fake Friends – Say “Love you.” in a joking manner.

Real Friends – Say “I love you” and they mean it.

Fake Friends – Will read this.

Real Friends – Will steal this.

I get that it’s trying to explain how real friends are people who are close to you, but some of the items in the list just creep me out.  It’s as if the image’s creators think there’s no such thing as boundaries between good friends.

To be frank, no one who is not living with me is entitled to walk into my home (in which case it would be our home) without knocking.  In fact, everyone is encouraged to call me and let me know they’re coming.  I may not be in.  Or I may not feel like having company.  Even my closest friends don’t get to override those times when I need or want my privacy.  (And fortunately, my friends understand this.)

And that whole thing about real friends being the reason one has no food?  That sounds more like a moocher than a friend to me.  Yes, I’m more than happy to share my food (and just about anything else) with my friends.  But I also expect my friends to understand there’s a limit to what I can share.  In the end, someone who eats me out of house and home isn’t a friend.

Same thing with that “keeping your stuff so long that they forget it’s yours” business.  A true friend respects me.  That includes respecting my property.

What this image describes isn’t friendship.  What it describes is a dangerous relationship with someone who doesn’t respect the other person.

 

When “Christian love” erases matters of justice (and the people affected by them)

A friend on Facebook posted a link to this blog post by Sheri Dacon.  Dacon’s position is that all the hullabaloo over the recent Hobby Lobby decision (and similar “controversies”) isn’t important.  She insists that what is important is love, which is about people:

When it comes to love for other human beings, it’s important to remember the human being part. Love is not a formula that can be defined or summed up in textbook fashion. Love involves people. And people are messed up, flawed and difficult to love. Me and you included.

She further says:

Love has much more to do with how you respond to that homeless woman outside of Hobby Lobby the store as you leave with your purchases. It has more to do with how you treat the people who are different than you, perhaps the ones who live a radically different lifestyle. Love has less to do with judging and much more to do with giving and accepting and welcoming and sympathizing.

You know, this all sounds beautiful.  To a degree, I even agree with her.  I have just one tiny, nagging question though.

What about the people the Hobby Lobby decision is hurting?

What about those who work for Hobby Lobby and may need Plan B, can’t afford it, and now can’t rely on their Hobby Lobby provided insurance plan to cover it?

What about the people who work for other corporations who now may refuse to cover all forms of contraception?

What about the people whose employers may even refuse to give them notice that their insurance plan won’t cover contraception?  What happens to them when they find this out the hard way — because they need it and now have no way to afford it?

What about the LGBT people who may face workplace discrimination by religious organizations seeking government contracts?

These are all people who stand to be adversely affected by the Hobby Lobby ruling and other actions and decisions that have stemmed from that decision.  These are people who Dacon seems either to be unaware of or has chosen to forget about.

That’s the problem with many “Love/People over Issues” approaches.  They forget that issues are also about and impact people.

 

Generous Spaciousness: Whose Space is It?

Earlier this week, i received my Kindle edition of Wendy VanderWal-Gritter’s book, Generous Spaciousness:  Responding to Gay Christians in the Church.  I’m about to start chapter 11 (which puts me a little over halfway through the book), and it’s so far been a pretty good read.  I haven’t decided whether I’m going to do a review of the book itself yet.  I’ll have to wait until I get finished with it and mull over if there’s anything that I want to say about it that other potential readers might find helpful when considering whether to pick up a copy.  (Generally speaking, I think people would do well to pick up a copy, but that statement alone is probably not very helpful to most potential readers.)

As I’ve been reading the book a number of thoughts have come up in my mind.  The one I want to blog about today is related to the question I put in the post’s title:  Whose “space” is it?

From reading the book so far and conversations I’ve had with Wendy1 in the past, generous spaciousness is a concept that is meant to be applied on the personal and institutional level.  On the personal level, it is an attitude of welcome and agreement to live in tension and even disagreement with others.  On an institutional level, it is a formal or informal policy that encourages leadership and members to embody that attitude in word and deed.  The latter, which I’m going to focus on, can be more fully seen in Wendy’s recent OnFaith article about how go engage gay Christian who attend one’s church.  Because the title of that article also points to the one nagging problem I see:  Whose church is it?

While I’m not arguing against the idea that churches need to consider how to be more welcoming of and how to minister to LGBT people, people who are questioning their gender and/or sexuality, or people who are simply wondering what God really says about sexuailty, gender, and same-sex sexual relationships, the very notion of “making space” for such people suggests that the church belongs to a different group of people and not those for whom such “space” is being made.

Ultimately, it becomes a question of how welcoming a space can truly be when the space is controlled by others who get to decide how welcoming to make that space.  Such a space still offers a great deal of comfort, safety, and privilege for those who control it and demands more risk and potential discomfort for those form whom “space is being made.”  Those who wish to truly be welcoming of LBGT people, their supporters, and those who are sorting through questions about LGBT lives and faith journeys need to wrestle with that injustice.  How does one make a space truly welcoming and generous to those who do not share “ownership” or control of a space?

Ultimately, I think that Christians also need to consider that rather than or in addition to “making space” for others in their space, they need to be prepared to completely give up their privilege, comfort, sense of control, and “home field advantage” by humbly2 seeking out those they wish to know in their own spaces, where they can feel safe and truly feel on equal ground or even at an advantage.  After all, trying to meet others only on one’s own terms is not an attempt to meet others at all.  Wendy talks about doing just that in her book when she talks about the first year she attended the Gay Christian Network’s annual conference.


1As an aside, I should point out that I have spoken with, met, broken bread with, drunken wine with, and gotten my butt kicked in a game of Stone Age by Wendy.  As such, my interactions with her do affect how I approach and engage with this book and the subject of generous spaciousness in general.

2As anyone who has maintained or or belonged to any space that caters to and seeks to be safe for marginalized people can tell you, there are different ways for privileged people to try entering and behaving in those spaces.  Some of those ways can disrupt such spaces and even make them unsafe.  Wendy exemplifies one of the better ways to go about this when she talks about how she approached seeking entry to her first GCN conference.

Follow Up on “Art School Stole My Virginity” story.

Back in October, I blogged about a Queerty story about art school student Clay Pettet’s scheduled performance art piece.  At the time, the Queerty writer (and the handful of other writers I saw cover the story) presented it as if the performance art would involve Pettet being anally penetrated in front of an audience.  According to a report in Gay Time Magazine by Darrel Larkin, that’s not what the actual performance involved:

We hear Pettet revealed himself to the crowd with “TEEN WHORE” written on his body and a few other performers carrying signs that read “ANAL VIRGIN”. So far we’re scoring 10 out of 10 on the terminology used, all of which Google would happily suggest well over 500,000 results for. Then afterwards he migrated to another dim lit room where randomly selected guests were invited to penetrate his mouth with a banana….

Quite a different experience than what everyone was expecting.  Larkin makes some interesting points about how our expectations of this performance was an underlying point of it.

 

Coming Out Anniversary Post: The Need for a Relationship

Going to Hell Tee ShirtIt’s April 1st once again.  For those who have been following my blog for a while, you know that this is significant in that it’s the anniversary of my initial coming out.  Eighteen years ago, I quit denying that I was attracted to other men, quit claiming it was “just a phase,” and quit trying to change myself.  (Well, where my sexual orientation is concerned.)

I don’t commemorate or blog about the event every year (See the bottom of this post for links to older anniversary posts), though I decided I wanted to again this year.  This year, I want to consider how my attitude about dating has changed since I came out.

When I came out, dating was extremely important to me.  This is partly because part of the reason I finally came out was because I was tired of being alone.  I was tired of suffering, thinking I may never be able to find — or even allow myself to find — someone I could deeply care about and build a lasting relationship with.  So when I came out, finding someone to love was of grave importance to me.  To put it quite frankly, I was rather desperate at the time.

Consider that I was walking away from years of belief that being gay was bad and that the kind of relationship that appealed to me was strictly prohibited.  Consider that rejecting that belief required me to give up a lot of my identity (being an evangelical Christian — and most evangelicals still insisted that the phrase “gay Christian” was an oxymoron and an abomination at the time — was a huge paart of my existence and idenity) and to strain many freindships and relationships.  So the idea that I’d give all that up and still end up alone was terrifying.  So I ended up putting a lot of energy into the idea that I had to find someone.

It’s a mentality that lasted for years, over a decade and a half in fact.  In time, though, it’s a mentality that began to fade and is now more or less gone.  That’s not to say that I don’t want to find someone to build a life with.  Dating is still important to me.  Having a loving relationship is still important to me.  It’s just not my single-minded obssession anymore.  Now, it’s just something that I’d like to achieve when the time is right and I meet a great guy I’m compatible with and mutually attracted to.

I think I really began to notice this change a few months ago, when I ended my most recent relationship.  I ended it because I just couldn’t see myself being with him long-term, which was something he was definitely looking for.  In general, I’ve found myself far more picky about the guys I date and continue to invest time in, which I think is a positive thing.

I think part of this is due to the fact that once I quit spending so much time and energy figthing with myself over my sexual orientation, I was able to slowly build myself back up.  With the question of how my being gay affects my identity and worth, I was able to more fully explore my identity in all areas of my life.  I was able to build up who I saw myself as, and where I found my sense of worth and emotional strength.  As a result, that idea of a relationship quit being the life-vest I clung to out of desperation.

But that’s something that could only develop once I came out and accepted that one part of myself.

Previous Anniversary Posts

Also, be sure to check out Journey to Queerdom.

So, Fred Phelps is Dead

[Content Note:  Death, Homophobia]

I didn’t get a chance to write about this yesterday, but Fred Phelps, the founder of the Westboro Baptist Church (that’s the “God Hates Fags” church, for anyone not familiar with its name), died on Wednesday night.

I’ve seen tweets, facebook updates, and blog posts about it.  Some have been humorous.  Some have been matter-of-fact.  Some have been offering sympathy to his family and friends.  Some have been about how LGBT people should respond to his passing.  Some have speculate on what (if any) afterlife he is now facing.

To be honest, I neither mourn nor celebrate his passing.  I never even met the man, and I think it’s difficult to truly mourn someone you don’t have at least some sort of personal connection with.  The only connection I have to the man is his declared hatred of me and those like me.  Again, this I only experienced in the most abstract of ways, or seeing how his words affected others, sometimes in horrible ways.

And truth be told, I suspect that part of Phelps’s legacy will continue past his death.  I do not expect that the WBC or its campaign of hate will disband with the death of their founder.  There are still enough people who have been infected with the man’s hate that will continue on without him.  Perhaps in a few more years, a new name (quite possibly that of his daughter, Shirley) will become more widely known as the name associated with the WBC and their campaigns, but that’s about it.

And, as both Fannie and Peter Montgomery noted, there are people outside of the WBC whose anti-gay views and actions are just as harmful, if not more insidious.  As both linked bloggers, such people have often pointed to Phelps and his cult as proof that they’re “not that bad” compared to the “real haters.”  I have no doubt that particular trend will continue as well.

Fred Phelps may be dead, but his legacy of hatred is alive and well and will continue for some time yet.  As someone who believes in reincarnation and believes that the cycle is about justice1, I pray that his soul returns to the earth soon and finds a way to clean up some of the mess he has produced and given root to.


1As opposed to retribution.

The thoughts of a gay witch living in upstate New York.

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