As a feminist, sometimes I get upset by popular depictions of male sexuality. Take this video, Sex Tips Which Don’t Suck, which I found fabulous, and moving. The spoken word poetry describes a man unconcerned about his female sex partner’s pleasure. But what I’ve found in my life is the opposite, of men eager, almost desperate to please me. Men are so messed up en masse, that it feels wrong to malign them for something so far from universal.
The most moving part was at the end, the women learning how to ask for what they want in bed. Which, despite my sex-positive feminism and the fact that I blog on the topic, I find strangely difficult to do. As my friend described me, “You’re a typical Evangelical, obsessed with sex.” This is true. I don’t write about sex because I’m fine with it, squared away, only positive feelings. That’s boring. I write about sex because I’m obsessed with it, in a way one can only be obsessed with something with which they have some kind of deep and abiding conflict. And for all my efforts, somehow thinking deeply and publishing about the politics of sex hasn’t really made me any better in the sack.
So I’m sitting there watching this video, going, “Yeah, you go girl, ask him in a firm-but-not-bitchy way to slow it down!”
But what they said in the first bit didn’t jive with me. Which isn’t to say all men are giving, sensitive lovers. I’ll admit to my own selection bias in who I’m going to get down with. Also my utter naivete. Until very recently, I’d never been cheated on, lied to about something big, or strung along for sex before. To be young again…
But anyway, if ladies are getting caught with an oddly large number of bedroom jackasses, they might want to take a look in the mirror. There are lots of dudes who want to make sure you have a good time.
Contrary to those women, who my heart goes out to, what I’ve found with surprisingly frequency, are men so intent on pleasing me that they can’t. And it really does seem like the more they care about me as a person, the more they have trouble making it happen.
Time was, when I was far too old for this shit, that I thought that an erection problem meant a man didn’t find me attractive. It pains me to type that because it’s so stupid. I was 26 when I was faced with this for the first time. (late bloomer) Now, when a man can’t get it up I try to stop saying things to him like, “Don’t worry, this is going up on my blog later.”
Honestly, I feel for modern man. These women, with all their equal paychecks and sex having and live-Tweeting. How do you impress her? And what happens if you fail to? I recently had a guy straight-up tell me (in different words) that his ability to get it up was directly conversely proportional to his being emotionally vulnerable. He could not bang the same woman he cried in front of. What does this mean about masculinity? Perhaps that I have weird friends. Or maybe all this pressure to be perfect affects men as well as women, but in men it creates a flaccid penis, and in women it creates spoken word poetry.
“Women are not so much concerned about bravado, they tend to be more confident and therefore more honest,” a friend wrote to me. “They are the hunted not the hunter so they aren’t as concerned about making a faux pas and therefore the one thing they treasure above all is honesty. The secret to unlocking a woman’s mind is being absolutely honest and forthright. Most women love when a man is ‘vulnerable’ the reason is because that’s what it takes to get most blokes to drop the pretense and ‘be real.’” All I ever wanted was honesty. That’s probably why I’m single. And as much as I hate all the “men are this way, women are this way,” I see some truth to this.
Except that we’ve invented “the cool girl” which is essentially women telling men that false bravado is no longer their purview alone. Not that I think any of this is necessarily new.
What does it mean that I write about sex? Not that I’m good at it, or squared away in any real sense. It means I think it’s fascinating. Because it’s more than sex. “Everything in the world is about sex, except sex,” wrote Oscar Wilde. “Sex is about power.”
The distribution of power is changing. What does sex look like while we live through the death throes of patriarchy?
I guess the ultimate sex tip that doesn’t suck from me my spoken-word poem, would be, “If you’re encountering a lot of men who don’t care about your pleasure, bang different dudes, and make sure you’re communicating your wants effectively. But mostly just shun selfish lovers to the outer banks of access to fornication. And yes it sucks that you have to change your behavior instead of the boor changing his. But that’s the nature of boorishness, it’s pretty impervious to helpful suggestions.”
And to me, it would be, stop intimidating lovers with your good looks, witty banter, and fantastic blog, you minx. Their erections don’t stand a chance.