- Women must be sexy to be worthy of male attention.
- Being sexy means being pretty, having big breasts and being good in bed.
- You must be sexy and good in bed — but don’t be a “slut.” It’s up to you to figure out how that balance works.
- There are tricks you can use to be good in bed. Cosmo has new ones each month. They sound a lot like the old ones from last month. (But what do 15-year-old virgins know anyway?)
- You must have an orgasm or your lover will think there’s something wrong with you. (If he can’t get it up, there is also something wrong — with you.)
- Vibrators will help you learn how to have an orgasm, but don’t let your boyfriend know — and don’t become addicted to vibrators because real women have real orgasm with men.
When it comes to sex, what’s normal? And what is popular culture, including romantic fiction, communicating to young women about what’s expected of them sexually?
Sometimes a topic strikes me and ends up in the newspaper in my opinion column. This one will probably wind up there eventually. For now, the topic is rolling around in that cavernous space known as my “cranium,” knocking aside cobwebs and scaring bats as it goes. While I realize this may be a controversial topic, I’m okay with controversy — provided everyone involved is civil and respectful of others.
When I was growing up, I saw the covers of Playboy magazines (and, yes, more than a few centerfolds, too), as well as Cosmopolitan and other women’s magazines. I even managed to sneak a Playgirl into the house when I was about 15 so that I could satisfy my curiosity about male bodies. What did I learn from this (besides the fact that penises really can be comical)?
Here are some of the lessons I took away. Maybe some of them are familiar to you:
The messages I got as a teen still float around in popular culture, perhaps with sharper edges than they had back in the late ’70s and early ’80s. There were teenage girls at my sons’ high school who’d already had breast implants. Talk about pressure! Bulimia, anorexia... It’s all symptomatic of a culture that tells young women they must fit a certain standard of beauty in order to be worthwhile. And that’s perhaps the least of it.
Thanks in part to the Internet and the easy availability of even extreme porn, teenagers probably see it all before they do it all. And when they read romance, they can choose books that range from mild to wild, describing acts from hand-holding to double penetration and hardcore BDSM. That’s a huge change from when I first started reading romance.
The question that I found myself pondering is this: What are we normalzing for young women these days?
If I were 17 and hopped onto Redtube.com or some other free porn site, I could watch hentai rape, anal sex, spanking, oral sex, multiple partner sex, and a whole range of bizarrely acrobatic sex and kink that doesn’t even look fun (at least to me).
Some of this is clearly vanilla: vaginal sex, oral sex, mild bondage. Much of the rest of the world is okay with anal sex. But caning? Three or four or five partners at once? Rape machines? Huh?
If I saw these things as a young woman today, would I come away expecting my boyfriend to videotape us? Would I expect myself to consent to being tied up? Spanked? Shared? Would I wonder whether it’s okay to not be a double-stuffed blonde? Would I feel guilty if I didn’t want to have anal sex?
The subculture of leather masks, chains and orange gag balls used to a subculture. I didn’t know about it until I was married and had kids. (I learned about it from the film Pulp Fiction, believe it or not.) But teenagers today see it all.
Though I think the porn industry is the most extreme in what it attempts to depict as normal or desirable sexual behavior, romance novels have certainly stretched to accommodate more, too. I’m fine with that, over all. I’m not standing in judgment of people who like to read or watch hardcore erotic materials. As long as whatever you do in real life is consensual and involves human adults, it’s your business.
All I’m doing here is asking this question: What are we as a society encouraging young women in particular to believe is normal or expected of them when they cross the threshold into sexual activity?
It’s an issue that concerns me because, as a journalist who has built my career around advocating for women, I want to know that young girls are coming into sexual maturity in a healthy way that ultimately leads to happiness and satisfaction. (Note that I haven’t said a thing about abstinence or marriage. It’s not a choice between celibacy until marriage or having sex with 15 guys and a gazelle. There is a happy, healthy balance in there somewhere, I think.)
I’m a journalist, so I’ve never been one to advocate government censorship or hiding nudity from children. When people get all ticked off because a mother breastfed her baby in public, I roll my eyes and call them silly. Breastfeeding is normal and natural. Bodies are normal and natural. Sex, for that matter, is normal and natural.
Is being a double-stuffed blonde — or redhead or brunette — normal and natural? What about being beaten with a belt? Or, as the creators of hentai seem so fascinated by, being raped by mutant multi-tentacled plants from outer space?
The one thing I’ll say about romance novels, is that in most cases the story revolves around love. And that’s perhaps the one thing we as a society don’t emphasize enough — the connection between love and sex. Young women who read romance, even BDSM romance, are going to get the message that love is special. And that’s a good thing.
Okay, so those are my thoughts. I’ll step out of the way now and list to what you have to say.
And I can only imagine the kind of views I’m going to get from people searching the internet for some of those more X-rated terms...
Welcome to another edition of Man-Titty Monday! This week, we explore male models who showcase themselves in strange attire.
Take the above photo, for example. One of my all-time favorites, it features a man with an absolutely purrfect body dressed in, well, shredded underclothes. He looks like he was washed ashore on a desert island and had to make do with whatever clothing was left after that battle with the sharks. But that’s okay. I’m not complaining — and neither are you.
I love his highway to heaven, that little trail of hair down his belly. And I love the fact that he has chest hair. And, yes, the veins are nice, too.
This man is holding this towel as if it were all he has left in the world. Someone please take it away from him.
Here’s Jed Hill again. And today he’s wearing an inner tube. Yes, that’s right, he’s wearing an inner tube. This look doesn’t work for every man. But it works well for Jed. Other looks that might work for him: a trash can lid, a football, an oilcan, a hubcap, and many more besides.
I saved this photo for last. It’s perhaps the most risque photo I've run on MTM. Sent to me by a reader, it features a man who’s going for that classical gauze look. In this case the gauze appears to have gotten caught on something rather large. Now if only the gauze were wet...
In other news: Well, I had intended to post a video of my flower garden, but it’s on my son’s computer. So no flower garden. If you want to see a glimpse of this year’s high bloom, click here.
Thanks for participating in what became a very interesting discussion about male virgins. There's a lot more I wanted to go into with it, but the work week is just too busy most of the time. I appreciated each and every comment and had hoped that some male readers (yes, I know you exist) would share their points of view.
I plan to have a serious discussion topic each week, and that was it for last week. I might bring it up again soon.
In the meantime, thanks for joining me for another Monday estrogen fest.
I hope everyone has a wonderful day!
Today was a momentous day! My father, one of my two brothers and my younger son Benjamin spent the day working on various projects outside that required lots of muscle. They started by cleaning the gutters on my house, then progressed to trimming dead branches off my three big trees.
They stand above, like victorious hunters, with one very large branch. The biggest almost crossed the width of my yard and came from my cottonwood tree (which is looking none too healthy, I must say). My honey locust trees are looking worse for the wear, too, so I need to give them some serious TLC. Growing trees anywhere in Colorado except in the mountains is not easy. Too hot. Too cold. Too dry. Too high. But I digress...
Today’s project is the fruition of something Benjamin put together, called the M.A.N. Project. That stands for Men’s Action Network. Being a single mom, I’m not much of a dad. And between writing and my neck troubles, I can’t do a lot of the harder work that he does outside. So he created M.A.N. and drafted my brothers and my dad.
The idea behind M.A.N. is to get together every other weekend or such and go from house to house doing the kinds of projects that men can more easily do. So the next M.A.N. Project will be at Bob’s house.
So now they’re finishing with the trees in the backyard. Benjy’s enjoying the new chainsaw I sent him to buy yesterday. Men and tools. It’s cute, really.
This is a real boon for us. We save the branches and chop them into firewood, which then I burn in our green-burning fireplace to help heat the house in the winter. With all the smaller branches, it looks like I have a beaver dam on the north side of my house. I probably have close to a half cord of wood out there now.
I have to admit that watching them climb around in the tree in my front yard with a chain saw and other saws made me nervous, especially when the wind kicked up. True, my dad and brother are active mountain and rock climbers with lots of experience on stuff that’s a lot hairier than a tree. But we’ve had a few thunderstorms move through this afternoon, dropping a few sprinkles, blowing the branches around and then moving eastward across the plains. And having my kiddo high in the tree when the wind really kicked up...
Let’s just say mommy went inside for a while.
Surgery news: I saw the neurosurgeon yesterday. He did a basic exam and found what I’ve known forever — that I have profound sensory nerve loss in my legs. That’s a strange thing, given how much they hurt. But it’s all phantom nerve pain. He also discovered that my balance is really compromised. I sincerely hope I’m never pulled over and asked to go through roadside sobriety maneuvers because the police will think for sure I’m drunk.
Then the surgeon showed us the MRI of my neck, and it wasn’t pretty. From C4/C5 to C6/C7, my spine is pinched flat. The surgeon’s word for it was “pancaked.” It goes from being round and looking white (indicating lots of spinal fluid) to being almost flat and black (almost no spinal fluid).
So I am having fusion surgery on my cervical spine. Two of the vertebrae will have to be drilled apart because they’ve grown together. The discs and extra bone growth will be removed entirely. Then the doc will use the bone he’s drilled out to set up some bone grafts to hold my vertebrae apart like they’re supposed to be. All of that will be held in place by several titanium plates.
I don’t have a date yet, but I’m guessing it will be mid- to late July. I’ll miss about eight weeks of work, and then hopefully, I’ll be in good shape again.
The doctor said he’s not sure this will make the pain in my legs go away, because the nerves may be too damaged. Even so, I can’t leave it that way. As he said, regardless of what I'm feeling/not feeling, having my spine smashed flat like that is affecting my body from the neck down.
I truly hope this makes my life better because the past two years have been really rough.
I hope everyone is having a great weekend!
I cannot get enough of Jed Hill. I’ve been using his image when I need inspiration for describing Zach in Breaking Point. So, occasionally, I browse through the photos of him I have been sent and collected — for research purposes only, of course. And every time I do, I find myself feeling incredibly grateful that I’m a woman.
Whether he’s got a football in his hand or whether he's tugging at a T-shirt or wearing boxing gloves, he’s just hot. I have other more revealing photographs that probably aren't appropriate for a blog — his bare behind, for example.
He has the most incredible obliques in the world — and the rest of him is freaking perfect from his hair to those eyes to that mouth.
I mean, look at his mouth. Look. At. His. Mouth. A mouth like that could do some serious kissing...
If you’re drooling, well, so am I. This guy just makes my uterus clench, okay? What more can I say?
It's going to be a fairly busy week for me, but not as busy as last week. Thank goodness! Benjy and I will continue our hunt for a car for him. And on Friday, I have my much-awaited appointment with the neurosurgeon. But as busy as it gets, I’ll try not to leave you staring at these photos all week. This isn’t just a beefcake blog, after all.
Except on Mondays. Have a lovely day!
Sorry, Mom — no manatees.
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