Thursday, 29 August 2013

Sex: Are men lousy lovers?

On August 2, 2013, The Good Men Project published the article "How Losing My Manhood Made Me a Better Man" by Michael Russer. The author describes the end of his 24 year marriage, the last 11 being sexless, and how subsequently he is diagnosed with prostate cancer. After surgery to remove his prostate along with radiation treatments, Mr. Russer finds himself rendered completely impotent.

While up to now, the story is as horrifying as it could be for any man, Mr. Russer goes on to talk about meeting his next life partner and how Erectile Dysfunction led him to heights of intimacy he had never experienced before. "ED gave me the opportunity to slow down as a lover and really focus on my partner instead of taking care of my hard-on. Making love has become an exquisite process, not a goal." He talks of two to four hour love making sessions where his partner climaxes a minimum of five times. "I have made the choice to define my 'manhood' not by the size or stiffness of my penis, but instead on how well I can deeply connect with and please my partner in a context of true emotional, physical and spiritual intimacy."

This seems like a story with a happy ending. I feel confident that if you are a woman, you will enjoy reading this article. If you are either a man or a woman in a relationship, I am sure you will be intrigued by this idea of shared closeness. A question comes to mind, however.

What happened before?

I'm not talking about Mr. Russer's marriage. I am talking about Mr. Russer's experiences with women, about his sex life, about his love making. He is describing how his life has been transformed, about how he has discovered a level of intimacy with his partner he had never known before. What were his experiences before this epiphany?

On March 15, 2011, The Good Men Project published "The Blessings of Erectile Dysfunction" by Hugo Schwyzer in which we hear about Mr. Schwyzer's inability to get an erection at the tender age of 17 and the subsequent episodes in his life.

Some women were understanding; some weren’t. One woman with whom I had a one-night stand said, after a prolonged amount of foreplay did not result in a “workable” hard-on, “Christ, I always knew you were a faggot.” Ouch. And other women became anxious, worrying that this was evidence I didn’t really want them. That only increased my desperation, making the problem worse.

Like Mr. Russer, he discovers that there is more to mutual pleasure than penis-in-vagina sex. Being flaccid and unable to penetrate his partner meant rethinking his sexuality and switching from technique to sharing pleasure.

Sex is not an athletic competition. We are participants in the creation of mutual pleasure, not solitary performers on a track or in a ring. And for a lot of us, the only way to really learn that lesson is to lose the one thing we were taught was indispensable.

In The Mood
For as long as I can remember, I have had it pounded into my head that as a man, it is my responsibility to get a woman "in the mood." I am initiating sex. I am coming to the table already in the mood. My partner, however, is not necessarily in the mood. I can't just "go at it." I have to warm things up.

In 1974, I read The Hite Report on Female Sexuality in which the author states, after interviewing over 5,000 women: 70% of women do not have orgasms through in-out, thrusting intercourse but are able to achieve orgasm easily by masturbation or other direct clitoral stimulation. (Wikipedia)

As I have written elsewhere, a session of sensual touch and massage coupled with oral sex responds quite well to the two points I just made: getting your partner in the mood and not relying on intercourse for pleasure.

I laud Mr. Russer for his discovery but what was he doing before?

Mr. Schwyzer says basically the same thing: ED showed him aspects to sex other than intercourse.

What's going on?
From my blog Sex Ed: Betty Dodson: educator, author, pro-sex feminist:

Widely known as a pioneer in women's sexual liberation, her fame has come from both advocating masturbation and conducting workshops for more than 30 years where groups of women would talk, explore their own bodies, and masturbate together.

I quote several emails posted on Ms. Dodson's web site from women who say they have never experienced an orgasm.

27 and Never Had an Orgasm - Jun 6/2009
I am 27 years old, never had an orgasm. I'm married 5 years with 2 kids.

What? Married with 2 kids? Never had an orgasm? How is that possible?

In my blog "Sex: What are the neighbours doing?", I wonder what's going on in the bedrooms of North America after listening to a HuffPost Live show entitled Ageless Sex in which several older people (over 60) talk about their sex lives. One gentleman, Ken Solin, a 68-year-old writer, describes having sex three or four times per week. I research some statistics on sexual activity and find out the averages are less than that with the surveyed people reporting they would like to have more. Mulling all this over, I then mention idly chatting with a guy I know.

So out of the blue, I turn to Gary and ask, "When was the last time you had sex?"

"We haven't had sex in three years."

Okay, this is where there is a big, I mean really big pregnant pause in our conversation. Holy cow. What? Here I am curious about Ken Solin's confession about having sex three or four times a week, knowing the averages from that sex survey, wondering about myself and my own sex life, and a guy tells me three years. Three years???

The flaccid penis
What does a flaccid penis mean? Hugo Schwyzer writes about one woman calling him a faggot. He talks about several interpreting his lack of an erection as him not being sexually interested in them. Is this indicative of a myth floating around in our culture? A man is ready, willing, and able twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. If a man isn't hard, there's something the matter with him. He has a physical problem (ED), he's jacking off to porn, or he's secretly gay. Just think about this turnabout: a guy has a problem getting or maintaining an erection and the woman interprets this as a reflection on her own desirability. His problem is now her problem and now he's got two problems to deal with. No pressure.

Do we all equate an erect penis to sex itself? Are both men and women caught up in the idea that an erect penis in the vagina is the ultimate and desired finale for any sexual act?

I have ofttimes heard it said that our culture has dictated certain behaviours on all of us without us necessarily knowing what's going on.

Women suppress their sexuality and men suppress their sensuality.

In suppressing their sexuality, how knowledgeable are women about sex? How participatory are they in the act? Are they caught up in the idea the man always initiates sex and he does so with an erect penis and the act itself is intercourse?

In suppressing their sensuality, have men ignored all other forms of sexual expression except penetration?

Our culture is slanted towards the puritanical and vilifies sexual expression. Can any of us, man or woman, be open and honest about sex and intimacy with another human being? In my blog "Erectile dysfunction or just not sexually aroused", I quote Dr. Marty Klein, sex therapist and educator:

Talking about sex is much more intimate than doing it.

A Curious Observation
Mr. Russer talks about love making sessions lasting two to four hours. Mr. Russer talks about his partner having a minimum of five orgasms. This is impressive. It seems like a remarkable union between the two of them and I am sure any woman would be swooning after hearing of such a tantric sexual nirvana.

Mr. Russer never talks about his own pleasure. How many orgasms does he have? Does he have any at all? He has had his prostate surgically removed. He has undergone radiation treatment for cancer. He has stated he is now completely impotent. He is now showing himself to be a sensitive, sensual, caring, and giving lover.

What's his pleasure? He never says.

The old saying goes: It is better to give than to receive. Giving is quite gratifying. But if there's no receiving, isn't his partner missing out on the gratification of giving? Doesn't giving sometimes mean receiving so your partner can experience the gratification of giving? Besides, if you had no taste buds - yes you couldn't taste anything - how much fun would it be to eat a meal with somebody who could taste? Can you still enjoy life only vicariously?

Final Word
I am not trying to criticise Mr. Russer. Some of us have to face traumatic life experiences and we do our best to deal with the situation: get tangled in a wood chipper and have your arm ripped off then have to live the rest of your life without a limb.

But I wonder about this epiphany Mr. Russer has experienced. As a man, as a lover, what was he like before? He talks about the end of a 24 year marriage, the last 11 years being sexless, he and his wife supposedly staying together for the sake of the kids. The gist of his article is that both he and his new partner have discovered a level of sexual satisfaction, a level of intimacy that neither one of them had experienced before.

I have read a great deal about dissatisfaction in relationships, romantic, marital, and sexual. The rate of divorce stands at 40% or 50% depending on the source of information. Two-thirds of divorces are initiated by women and the number one reason for divorce is spousal neglect. Yes, neglect. Why? What's going on? Yes, it takes two to tango and I'm sure it would be difficult to untangle just who's responsible for what but I have to ask if men are lousy lovers.

While Mr. Russer claims that his ED has actually helped his own relationship, he ends with the belief that other men and women can make a similar discovery about that exquisite emotional, physical and spiritual intimacy but hopes men can do so without having to lose their manhood like him. Amen. Let's not wait until we have a life-altering experience to learn that life is precious and that we should not wait to enjoy it.


References

I asked the opposite question here: Are women lousy lovers?

Aside: Hugo Schwyzer's personal life is in a mess right now, but his articles still have validity.

my blog: Erectile dysfunction or just not sexually aroused
... while erectile dysfunction can be a physical condition... Stress or anxiety, low self-esteem, marital or relationship problems, performance anxiety and even an unsatisfactory sex life can have an impact on a man's performance, that is, can leave a man not "in the mood". Not being in the mood is not erectile dysfunction; it's just not being "in the mood". Gee, where have I heard this before? (hint: women not being "in the mood")

my blog: Two-thirds of divorces are filed by women
In 1988, on average 61% of the time, the woman was the petitioner. If there were children involved, the stat was 65% and without children it was 56%. It was only around 7% of all cases where the husband and the wife together petitioned for divorce. This means that 93% of the time, it was only one spouse who petitioned for divorce. The table, dating from 1975 to 1988, consistently shows that women petitioned for divorce twice as much as men.

2013-08-29

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Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Movie Review: The World's End

I chuckled. I chortled. I guffawed. I giggled. I laughed. I howled. And then I chuckled again. Oh what great fun. Those British are so amusing: pip pip cheerio old chap. Do the British find this British film as funny as an American audience following through that accent?

A group of 40-year-old men get together to re-enact a high school pub crawl: twelve pubs, twelve pints. What a premise. This is a veritable rite of passage for any man around the age of 18 and that unto itself is worth the price of admission. Ah, the things we guys do to ourselves to prove our masculinity. If you're a woman reading this, you are going to be shaking your head at how stupid we can be. If you're guy, you will have your own stories, er, tall tales, to recount about your own attempts at glory. Let's raise a glass to glory. But, let's up the ante. Let's jack up the humour factor by having 40-year-olds trying to do it. If guys in high school or college are a bunch of idiots; (supposedly) grown-up mature men doing it is just plain ridiculous.

Edgar Wright, director and Simon Pegg, actor, have penned this hilarious ode to all that is masculine and juvenile as the third and final installment of the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy. These gentlemen are close to batting a thousand. Their 2004 film Shaun of the Dead clocked in at 91% on Rotten Tomatoes and their 2007 opus Hot Fuzz was rated at 91%. And now they get 90%? Wait. How many people make three critically acclaimed films in a row? How many make three good films in their entire life?

Let me warn you, however, by adding a spoiler alert here. A pub crawl is the premise but this tall tale also has robots and aliens. I won't go into details, but the authors have put together a very very funny story about older men finding their youth and facing the end of civilisation. Of course, drinking that much beer later on in life would seem like the end of life. It's funny to tell stories of talking with Uncle Ralph on the white telephone (throwing up in the toilet), but it isn't all that much fun to actually do it. But hey, add some robots and aliens and you've got an evening you will remember for the rest of your life... or till the end of civilisation, whichever comes first.

True Story
It's grade 13 in high school and I'm sitting at a table with a few high school buddies hoisting a cold one. Three guys come in the door. Actually, two guys come in on either side of Rob who can no longer walk very well. It is Rob's birthday and the three musketeers are out to achieve the dubious goal of Rob downing a glass of beer (half pint) in a series of 26 establishments. I am sitting in pub number twenty-one.

The trio sits down and I watch a couple of guys go over to chat as a waiter plops a single glass of beer on the table. Athos grabs the glass and hands it to Rob who keeps tilting wildly on his chair. I heard later that after Rob finished his 21st glass, he immediately proceeded to the parking lot to divest himself of his hops. Nevertheless, his inners cleared of all poisons, Rob went on to complete his odyssey of twenty-six pubs and twenty-six glasses of beer. I'm sure some will consider the hiccup after #21 as a disqualification but we must compliment him on his tenacity. It takes a man to get back up on a horse which has so unceremoniously thrown him (his stomach?) to the ground.

Drinking. We men set up some pretty bizarre tests of masculinity, don't we? Pardon me while I beat my chest and howl at the moon. *cough cough* By the way, you may occasionally hear a bunch of older guys standing around sipping a cold one, and here I may mean Perrier, telling their inane juvenile stories and laughing. You will note that there is a lot of fun in the retelling but I have grave doubts any of them would actually want to relive any of it. Fun can grow in the telling not in the doing. Let's leave the pub crawling to the young and foolish.


Final Word
I enjoyed it. I laughed out loud. I would recommend it. And it has robots and aliens. See? Beer goes with anything. Woo-hoo! I'll try not to do a fist pump as I may spill the popcorn. And all this with a budget of twenty million? Holy cow. Who says you need to drop a couple of hundred million to come up with a good film? Get out there and have a good laugh. I will raise a glass and heartily say to you, "Cheers!"


References

Rotten Tomatoes: The World's End: 90%
Madcap and heartfelt, Edgar Wright's apocalypse comedy The World's End benefits from the typically hilarious Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, with a plethora of supporting players.

Wikipedia: The World's End
The World's End is a 2013 British science fiction comedy film directed by Edgar Wright, written by Wright and Simon Pegg, and starring Pegg, Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, and Eddie Marsan. It is the third in the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, following Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Hot Fuzz (2007). The film follows a group of friends who discover an alien invasion during an epic pub crawl in their hometown. Wright has described the film as "social science fiction" in the tradition of John Wyndham and Samuel Youd.

official web site: The World's End

2013-08-27

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Sunday, 25 August 2013

Emerson, Lake & Palmer: Benny The Bouncer



Benny was the bouncer at the Palais de Dance
He'd slash your granny's face up given half a chance.
He'd sell you back the pieces, all for less than half a quid
He thought he was the meanest-
Until he met with Savage Sid.

Now Sidney was a greaser with some nasty roots
He poured a pint of Guinness over Benny's boots
Benny looked at Sidney:
Sidney stared right back in his eye.
Sidney chose a switchblade
and Benny got a cold meat pie.
Oh! what a terrible sight,
Much to the people's delight.
One hell of a fight.

Sidney grabbed a hatchet, buried it .... in Benny's head.
The people gasped as he bled:
The end of a Ted?

Well, they dragged him from the wreckage of the Palais in bits.
They tried to stick together all the bits that would fit.
But some of him was missing
and "part of him" arrived too late,
So now he works for Jesus
As the bouncer at St. Peter's Gate.


References

Uploaded on May 29, 2010 by c costerg

"Benny The Bouncer": the spiritual follow-up to "Jeremy Bender" (Tarkus) and "The Sheriff" (Trilogy)

Sheet music for piano: Benny the Bouncer: PDF, page 102

Wikipedia: Brain Salad Surgery
Brain Salad Surgery is the fourth studio album by progressive rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer, released in 1973 and the first under their Manticore Records imprint. It fuses rock and classical themes. Greg Lake wrote the lyrics for the album with the assistance (on two tracks, "Karn Evil 9: 3rd Impression" and "Benny the Bouncer") of former King Crimson bandmate (and, beginning with this album, frequent ELP collaborator) Peter Sinfield. This was the first Emerson, Lake & Palmer album to have no songwriting contributions from Carl Palmer. The cover art is by H. R. Giger.

Wikipedia: Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Emerson, Lake & Palmer, also known as ELP, are a sporadically active English progressive rock supergroup. They found success in the 1970s and have sold over forty million albums and headlined large stadium concerts. The band consists of Keith Emerson (keyboards), Greg Lake (bass guitar, vocals, guitar) and Carl Palmer (drums, percussion). They are one of the most popular and commercially successful progressive rock bands.

official web site: Emerson, Lake and Palmer

2013-08-24

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Thursday, 22 August 2013

#Slanegirl: sex, (double) standards, and sluts

Update: Jan 2/2014

Let me start with an F word, facts, before I get to another F word which will begin my analysis.

On Saturday, August 17, 2013, Eminem gave a concert at Slane Castle in Ireland to a crowd of 80,000. Apparently the police made 63 arrests during the event. All right! Sex, drugs, and Rock'n'Roll. Woo-hoo! Everybody into the mosh pit. Let's get wild!

Sometime during the concert, somebody took a picture of a rock concert no holds barred nothing is verboten moment of a 17-year-old girl performing oral sex on a young man. More pictures show her kissing this man while he sexually touches her and later show her performing oral sex on a second man.

Those pictures were posted and went viral. The reaction?

The first guy, the main guy of this story, is either out of the discussion or is considered a hero. All right, bro. You da man.

The girl? Let's haul out every negative moniker you can think of starting with the big S, slut. The cruelty unleashed on this girl has been disturbing. People on Twitter and Facebook reportedly went nuts reposting the pictures and vilifying this woman from here to kingdom come. Various hashtags shot through the trending roof: #Slanegirl, #Slaneboy, #Slaneslut, etc. Since she was 17, a minor in Ireland, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram stepped in to remove the pictures and shut down associated accounts citing laws about child pornography. The police are now investigating who originally posted the photos.

Everybody seemed to pile on.

Many internet users were quick to condemn her behaviour - Bridget Moynihan tweeted that the girl "has only herself to blame, out in the open surrounded by people with camera phones. What did she expect." (The Daily Mail - Aug 20/2013)

FYI: I had originally said that "Bridget Moynahan" referred to the American model and actress. A commentator said this was just some Irish girl with the same name. I stand corrected.

The girl has only herself to blame. And so it goes. The guy in question bears no culpability at all. He only took down his pants and offered his penis in public. It takes two not just to tango.

The girl has only herself to blame. Whoever took the pictures was the one who got this whole ball rolling by posting them on social media. He also bears no culpability at all.

The girl has only herself to blame. Her sexual behaviour justifies anybody slut shaming her, vilifying her, and embarrassing her to no end. A guy can pull drop his drawers and whip out his junk. He's a man. He is to be congratulated. He is what? Strong, virile? He's a man. But a girl? She's a slut and she only has herself to blame.

Okay, that's end of my initial F word, facts. Below in references, I offer various newspaper articles dealing with this issue. Now, on with the show.

My Opinion
What the f**k? No, I'm sorry, what the fuck? I see two issues to this story: the way things are and the way things could be or should be.

First of all, if you are a woman and you display anything sexual in public, you are going to be a target for slut shaming. Yes, in this instance we're talking about something as obvious as giving a BJ in public, but it could be something more innocuous as sexy clothes or semi-lewd behaviour. Beyoncé can strut her stuff; Lady Gaga can pose stark naked; any one of a number of starlets can release a sex tape. It's de rigor in the world of media hype. But you, little Miss Ordinary? Keep it in your pants. Button up that blouse. Stay off your knees. Sexual shit will register 9.5 on the Richter scale. In today's society, a man is a man and a woman is a slut. A man can wipe out his dick and that's a good thing. If a woman wipes out a nip, it is scandalous to the nth degree.

Secondly, how could things be or how should things be? Why oh why is female sexuality vilified?

Why is female sexuality considered bad, if not dangerous?
In the West, we laugh at some Middle Eastern countries demanding that women wear a burqa, that women completely cover themselves up and hide their sexuality. We may think we're progressive because women are not required to wear a burqa in Western countries but we collectively practice slut shaming. In other words, we, like these other countries, are attempting to suppress female sexuality, to control it.

Why?

Are we men nothing more than mindless lotharios who, at the drop of a hat, will copulate with anything that moves? Are we so out of control, are we so led by our primal urges, that we must remove the red cape from in front of the bull out of fear the bull will charge? Where did this idea come from? How did it develop? And lastly, is it really true?

Is society threatened by female sexuality? Are men threatened by female sexuality? Personally, I find it delightful but is there some sort of society-wide lack of male confidence which explains this phenomenon? There is something very very odd here. I will continue to investigate.

Slut Shaming
The following definition comes from Urban Dictionary:
An unfortunate phenomenon in which people degrade or mock a woman because she enjoys having sex, has sex a lot, or may even just be rumoured to participate in sexual activity. Often it's accompanied by urban legends such as the common virgin misconception that the vagina becomes larger or looser with use-- in fact, sex has no effect on vaginal size.

However, since most people would rather women be MORE sexually active than less, slut shaming is counterproductive to the aims of most men and quite a few ladies. (my bold)

Today's World
Despite the progress of women in society, we remain pretty much in a man's world. Sorry, I know any woman isn't going to like to hear that. I would like to make a better report about what's going on but I think, in some cases, not all cases, the changes we see in society are more of a veneer. I have written that as a man standing around the water cooler chitchatting with other men, I hear what "slips" out of their mouths from time to time. Sometimes a guy says something that I wouldn't say in a million years. What I mean is that I wouldn't even think of saying it. Other guys don't say stuff because there are rules in place about workplace sexual harassment, because they know they will be public condemned or ostracised by their peers. My point is that it isn't like they don't think that way and want to say it.

In February, 2012, Sandra Fluke was invited to testify before House Democratic members. She argued in favour of requiring private insurance companies to cover contraception, not for sexual purposes, but for health concerns relating to hormones. Radio host Rush Limbaugh went off on a rant calling Fluke a slut on his radio show and saying that Fluke wanted the government to pay for birth control so she, Fluke, could have sex all the time. (see my blog: Rush Limbaugh: That's spelled with one F and one U) It was the all time winner for uneducated, ill-informed, and misogynistic tirades of recent memory. While Rush can easily be qualified as a buffoon (okay, a f**kin' buffoon), I noted that this man does have a following and was merely expressing an attitude prevalent among the far right of American politics.

Sex is Power
The media uses sex to capture our attention. Sex sells. Or at least it makes us look. Music videos make use of sex. Movie stars use it as part of their brand. Billboards and magazine draw us in with a hint of sex.

I see in media, maybe more youth oriented, that being sexual in public is a way of appearing hip or cool. Our musical icons are nasty and tough and we want to be nasty and tough too. Displaying your sexuality in an overt manner is an act of defiance. It is power. It is empowering. We all, men and women, want to be desired, wanted, and pursued and in the media limelight, sex sells.

But then we come back to reality. Is reality being a rock star? Or is reality being just another of eighty thousand people at the rock concert? Is reality living in conservative Anytown, USA? (or Anytown, Ireland) Do we have our moments when we see ourselves as rock stars? Do those fantasies about being rich and famous bubble up to the surface and make us go a little wild? Give me a couple of beers and I'll be wearing the lampshade. So far, nobody's snapped a picture of me wearing a lampshade and posted it to the world.

Reality for the majority of us is pedestrian. We pretty much mind our P's and Q's and our names do not end up in the headlines. However, social media now means that anybody, your average Dick and Jane, can post to the world or can be posted to the world and run the risk of going viral. I hope that the lampshade is large enough to hide my face.

A few years back, it was the rage for a while in the newspapers to talk about the dangers of posting stuff on Facebook. Apparently employers would scour the Net trying to do background checks on potential employees and there were stories of photos being found of people being drunk at a party or possibly in flagrant delicto. This would lead to a candidate being dropped from the short list. Your past comes back to haunt you only if somebody can find it. If your record has been expunged, you're safe. Unfortunately, these days, the rule is: The Internet never forgets.

Scandalous pictures are bad
These photos are a non event. What do I mean? Visit any one of a number of web sites that caters to posting amateur pictures and videos like TangoTime. Here are your normal everyday people wanting to be nasty and tough in public by displaying their sexuality. (NSFW = Not Safe For Work) But, admittedly, nobody is reprinting their stories and pictures on the front page of every newspaper in the country. Nevertheless, they are exposed but as unknowns, nobody cares.

In my blog Anthony Weiner Redux: Outed to the World (Jul 30/2013), I show a commercial for the Samsung Galaxy S III which describes how you easily exchange video via Bluetooth. A wife gives her husband a video and the suggestion is that the video is naughty. We chuckle. Isn't that cute? Yes, it is. But what if somebody posted that video to YouTube? Or better yet, since YouTube would probably take it down, Pornhub, supposedly the world's largest porn site?

My point? It's not the naughtiness; it's the publicity. Then again, it's not even the publicity because somebody like Lady Gaga is deliberately going after publicity. No, it's the lie. It's living your life in the closet. Huh?

I have written about various bloggers who were fired from their jobs when their employers found out they were writing about sex. There are other bloggers who are completely open about their writing about sex and as a consequence, they aren't fired because their work is accepted.

Sex in public, do I care?
I'm in the midst of listening to Eminem when I glance over and see a couple in the throes of passion. Tasteful? Acceptable? I'll shrug and say, "Knock yourself out," then turn back to listen to the concert. Yeah, yeah, the kiddies are trying to portray themselves as nasty and tough in public. Big deal. Grow up. Being nasty in public is more about posturing than passion.

But you should care. The reality is that when we are in public, anybody can snap our picture and post it to the Internet. I hate to think of us all being paranoid but this is a fact of life. 99.9% of the time we are unknown; we are not famous people and hence, the paparazzi couldn't care less about taking our picture. I can get drunk and wear a lampshade and it isn't going to end up on the front page of the newspaper. But, with YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, every single person with a cellphone has become part of the paparazzi and could potentially post that incriminating picture of me with a lampshade. Maybe, just maybe, I should save my acting like an idiot for those private moments with close friends. Of course, I'm going to take away everybody's cellphone at the door and make them sign a waiver. Rob Ford, the current mayor of Toronto, Canada, should have thought of that before getting his picture taken at a party in the company of drug dealers. (But Rob did not smoke crack cocaine. He said so himself. Yeah, right.)

There's a disturbance in the force
My amusing reference to Star Wars is about the general sense of uneasiness I get when something bad happens but not necessarily to myself. When 9/11 occurred and I watched the towers fall on television, I was not personally affected by anything. I didn't personally know of anybody involved. Nevertheless, I felt disturbed. I felt worried. About what exactly? I don't know.

When George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin, I felt disturbed. (my blog: What if George Zimmerman didn't have a gun? - Jul 16/2013) Now I'm worried about going to Florida.

When Anthony Weiner got outed a second time for sexting, my take on the issue wasn't to heap scorn on Weiner - the issue is between him and his wife - but to worry about anything I say and do with any member of the public. (my blog: Anthony Weiner Redux: Outed to the World - Jul 30/2013) Sydney Leathers, the woman who outed Weiner, is just as complicit as Weiner in the entire affair. She decided to out him to exploit a famous person for personal gain.

How do I know, how do you know, that anybody, whether a stranger, acquaintance, or possibly a friend might not deliberately or inadvertently do something which could potentially ruin your career and your reputation? Fifty years ago, if I got drunk at a party and wore a lampshade, everybody would laugh it off and the entire incident would be forgotten the next day. Now, posted photographic evidence could be the shot heard around the world. And as I said, the Internet never forgets. So, what if somebody decided to exploit you? What if somebody held a grudge and decided to get even with you?

Why women do not feel safe and secure
When I listened to the recordings of Rush Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke a slut, I had to do a facepalm. (see my blog: Rush Limbaugh: That's spelled with one F and one U) Our patriarchal society has vilified female sexuality. I do not understand where this idea came from - probably sociologists have studied this - but I have always found this frustrating. The old saying is that a man wants a lady in public and a whore in bed. Unfortunately, I have always conjectured that the public condemnation of female sexuality has spilled over our collective consciousness to the point where women are afraid to be sexual, even in ideal situations of being safely married. If you have the idea pounded into your head from when you're a young child, do you ever really escape this value system? Rush shoots his goddamn mouth off calling Sandra Fluke a slut and I can just feel every pair of female thighs in America clenching just a little tighter shut.

Oh, now don't get me wrong. A lot has changed in the past 50 years, a lot. But statistically (I hate people explaining "the truth" by telling me an anecdote.), we are not as advanced as we could be, as we should be. Below, in the section "References: The Way Things Are", I talk about a number of incidences like the Steubenville rape case and the bullying and suicide of Amanda Todd which make me shake my head at the unbelievable cruelty which still exists in our society.

Can we change the world?
In our society, women have been taught to suppress their sexuality. Men have been taught to suppress their sensuality. I don't like it, but that does seem to be the situation. Now the question is, can we collectively do anything to change this? It may not be today; it may not be this year. Heck, it may not be in our lifetime, but can we collectively take a step in the right direction? Can we change the world? Can we this a better place?

I would love it if every woman felt safe and secure. I would love it if every woman felt confident about being a sexual being. I would love it if we all accepted this as the normal course of events and dispensed with all that is bad from the traditions of our patriarchal society.

I have found many variations of the following, sometimes attributed to St. Thomas Aquinas and sometimes to others even earlier in time.

Woman was created from the rib of man.
She was not made from his head to be above him,
nor was she made from his feet to be trampled on.
She was created out of his side to equal him,
under his arm to be protected by him
and near his heart to be loved.

That poem may seem corny to some, but, as a man, I want to say that every woman has as much right to here as me. They have every right to being equal. They have every right to being sexual without recrimination. Slut shaming is a bunch of bullshit carried out by small dick man boys. Let's collectively grow up.

Final Word
I sit here shaking my head. What the f**k? Does a goldfish knows it's living in a fish bowl? Do we know what's going on in our society? Do we know what we're doing and why? Are we no smarter than a goldfish? Collectively, we are frighteningly stupid. We're myopic. We haven't got a clue about what's going on and yet, we continue to do what we do with no rational analysis as to the validity of those actions.

"Everybody does stupid things; it shouldn't cost them everything they want in life."
- Gregory House, fictional character from the TV medical drama House

When Anthony Weiner tweeted a picture of his junk. I didn't care.( Isn't it odd that nobody had anything to say against the person who outed him?) When Janet Jackson had a wardrobe malfunction, I didn't care. When Kim Kardasian made a sex tape, I didn't care. When Monica Lewinsky did Bill in the Oval Office (Oral Office?), I didn't care. Sex, sex, sex. You'll excuse me if I'm tied up with more important matters like pestilence, war, famine, and death.

I found the following tweet which sums up the essential of this story.

Laura Buckley ‏@LuaraBuckley95 - 2:05 PM - 21 Aug 13
Don't understand what the #SlaneSlut did wrong other than get her pic taken, we've all gave blow jobs at coverts

#Slanegirl. This poor woman. The cruelty of her detractors. The shame of elevating a non event to international importance. I only hope I can find a rock big enough to hide under when the picture of me wearing a lampshade goes viral.


Update: Jan 2/1014

Independent.ie - Nov 8/2013
No charges in 'Slane Girl' case
GARDAI [Irish police force] are not pursuing a criminal investigation in relation to the infamous 'Slane Girl' case... Officers confirmed the teenager at the centre of the controversy has not made an official complaint... A source explained: "There will be no charges in this case -- no complaint has been made."

Independent.ie - Dec 20/2013
Twitter suspends account after topless pic at Dublin concert emerges

A picture of a young woman in her underwear at last night’s Calvin Harris gig [The O2 (Dublin)] has gone viral. The picture shows the young woman topless and wearing just her underwear. A man appears to be kissing her chest... There are fears that the young woman is identifiable from the image, and fears are growing that she will be targeted online... the image has gone viral and is attracting a lot of negative comment online... In August, a similar incident occurred involving an underage schoolgirl performing a sex act on a man during the Eminem concert.


References: The Facts

The Daily Mail - Aug 20/2013
'Distraught' girl, 17, faces humiliation on the web after explicit pictures of her performing sex acts at Eminem gig go viral on Twitter and Instagram
A 17-year-old girl has found herself at the centre of an internet storm after web users shared explicit photographs of her giving oral sex to two men at an Eminem concert in Ireland.

Police are investigating the disturbing incident amid concerns that the images - apparently taken in a public area of the concert site and now widely circulating on the internet - amount to child pornography because she is under 18.

The Mirror - Aug 21/2013
Sluts, stereotypes and Slane Girl – the modern-day stoning which shames us all
[This is an excellent article.]
Two thousand years ago, some idiot wrote this: “If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her… and say… I found her not a maid… Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die.”

In 2013, a teenage girl is reportedly sedated in hospital after pictures of her having oral sex with a boy at an Eminem concert went viral on the internet. Police are investigating the incident and the internet is awash with people who think sharing pictures of sex they weren’t involved in is the height of wit.
...
I wish Moses had come down from the Mount bearing a stone which said ‘If thou are not nice to women thou shalt have to suck thy own dick.’

The Daily Beast - Aug 22/2013
Behind #SlaneGirl: Young Girl Hospitalized After Photographed Having Oral Sex by Caroline Linton
In the days after the incident, the girl's plight started to gain sympathy and support online—especially as it became more and more apparent that there was a double standard inovlved. As for the men in the picture, early reactions ranged from “men will be men” to hero-worshipping (especially since one of the men she performed oral sex on had his arms raised triumphantly).

“The conclusion that people jump to is she is a slut and it’s my duty to show as many people as possible,” said Emily Lindin, the writer behind the Unslut Project, which helps women share their own experiences to stop public shaming and is raising money toward a documentary film called Slut. “This really made me sick to my stomach—a young girl suffering in this place of public shame for getting a picture taken of her in public.”

Uploaded on Aug 20, 2011 by Sarah Sloan MacLeod
Slut Shaming and Why it's Wrong
While I am fully aware that this is a bit of an unorthodox topic for a then-thirteen-now-fourteen year old to be talking about, it's an issue close to my heart, as some of my friends have been slut-shamed despite having never had sex. So many teenage girls call each other sluts and they don't know about the meaning behind their words and I know it's just ignorance but it pisses me off, so here, have a video about why slut shaming is total bullshit.



References: The Way Things Are

my blog: Steubenville Rape Case: It could be your daughter. - Jan 13/2013
The media is filled with the back and forth debating of whether the boys are guilty or not. ... The bigger issue is what's going on in our society. This type of situation has cropped up so many times that anybody who stands back and looks at the big picture has to ask themselves whether or not we fully grasp what's going on in society. You go to a party and see a girl who has made the mistake of drinking too much. What do you do? Try to help her out by sobering her up. See if she has a purse and try to find the telephone number of her parents and call them. Pull off her panties and insert your fingers in her vagina.

my blog: Amanda Todd: The cruelty in all of us - Oct 14/2012
On October 7, 2012, 15 year old Amanda Michelle Todd posted a YouTube video (at end of article) in which she showed a series of flashcards describing her experiences of being the target of bullying both on-line and in real life that had been going on for years. Watching the video and reading her story is both startling and perplexing. Why would classmates and total strangers go so far in displaying such cruelty towards Amanda? On October 10, 2012, Amanda committed suicide in her home in Port Coquitlam, B.C., Canada.

my blog: How to avoid sexual assault: Don't dress like a whore - Aug 30/2012
Krista Ford is the niece of Rob Ford, the current major of Toronto, Canada's largest city. ... Around 6pm on Wednesday, August 29, 2012, Ms. Ford tweeted some advice on how to avoid sexual assault: Stay alert, walk tall, carry mace, take self-defence classes & don’t dress like a whore. #DontBeAVictim #StreetSmart

my blog: There's a disturbance in the force - Jan 24/2012
While this quote from the Star Wars movies is an amusing way of using pop culture as a common reference point, I am pointing out a phenomenon I experience from time to time. I pick up the paper and read about some tragic story. However, even though the event took place many miles away and maybe even some time in the past, the gravity of situation affects me. It psychologically throws me slightly off kilter. I have a certain sense of uneasiness, a certain apprehension. I feel disturbed. I walk down the street and even though the day may be sunny and everything should feel all right with the world, something is off. I don't what exactly, but something, some little thing somewhere in the back of my mind is not quite right.

my blog: Justice Robert Dewar: rape is inconsiderate - Feb 25/2011
The judge in the case is in hot water now over remarks he made during the sentencing of Kenneth Rhodes. Dewar made mention of the women wearing no bras (you don't wear a bra with a tube top), of the women talking about going swimming even though they didn't have bathing suits, of wearing high heels and having "plenty of makeup". Manitoba Queen's Bench Judge Robert Dewar described Rhodes as a “clumsy Don Juan” but said the circumstances were "inviting" and that "Sex was in the air." He concluded by saying, "This is a case of misunderstanding signals and inconsiderate behaviour."

My take: The judge said that "Sex was in the air." "Money is in the air" every time I buy a lottery ticket but that doesn't mean I'm gettin' any.

my blog: Sex: I'm a man and you're a... - Jul 13/2010
I'm a man and you're a sl*t. There, I've said it. I know you don't like it; I know you're going to be angry with me but that is the truth. Yes? The fundamental reality we all live with can be expressed in these basest of terms: if a man sleeps around; he's a man; if a woman sleeps around; she's a sl*t. Why? That doesn't seem at all fair, does it?


References: Do we know what's going on?

my blog: Why Do We Repress Our Sexuality? - Aug 14/2013
Do you know what's going? I don't think I know what's going on. But I do "interpret" what I see around me. And what do I interpret? Sex is bad. Sex is scary. Sex is confusing. Sex is dangerous. Say "Mmmm" to a piece of chocolate but don't you ever express pleasure over anything sexual. You're going to hell. You could go to jail. Or, at least, be criticised, ostracised, fired, shot, killed, burned at the stake, then shot again for good measure. As Sheila Kelley said, "You're a naughty girl and you should be ashamed of yourself."

my blog: Sex: What are the neighbours doing? - Aug 5/2013
So, this leads me up to a couple of poolside lounge chairs shooting the breeze with Gary who is 59 years old. He's been divorced for 15 years. He's been with Karen for about 10 years and she moved in about 5 years ago. They are not married. I admit when I see these two, there is a bit of an undercurrent. It's controlled but I can't help feeling something is tense between them.

We chat about the usual innocuous stuff but I've got all the above stuff buzzing around in my head, so out of the blue, I turn to Gary and ask, "When was the last time you had sex?"

"We haven't had sex in three years."

my blog: Anthony Weiner Redux: Outed to the World - Jul 30/2013
We're all having a good laugh over this. Late night talk show comedians are having a field day. But let me ask you one little thing: What if it was you?

2013-08-22

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Tuesday, 20 August 2013

The Alan Parson's Project: I Wouldn't Want to Be Like You



If I had a mind to
I wouldn't want to be like you
And if I had time to
I wouldn't want to talk to you

I don't care
What you do
I wouldn't want to be like you

If I was high class
I wouldn't need a buck to pass
And if I was a fall guy
I wouldn't need no alibi

I don't care
What you do
I wouldn't want to be like you

Back on the bottom line
Diggin' for a lousy dime
If I hit a mother lode
I'd cover anything that showed

I don't care
What you do
I wouldn't want to be like you


References

Uploaded on Oct 18, 2011 by ARAWA.FM

This song is one of three singles released from the 1977 album I, Robot. Lead vocal by Lenny Zakatek.

Wikipedia: I Robot (album)
I Robot is the second album by progressive rock band The Alan Parsons Project, engineered by Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson in 1977. It was released by Arista Records in 1977 and re-released on CD in 1984 and 2007. I Robot is an art rock album that draws conceptually on author Isaac Asimov's science fiction Robot trilogy, exploring philosophical themes regarding artificial intelligence.

Wikipedia: The Alan Parsons Project
The Alan Parsons Project were a British progressive rock band, active between 1975 and 1990, consisting of Eric Woolfson and Alan Parsons surrounded by a varying number of session musicians and some relatively consistent band members such as guitarist Ian Bairnson.

Wikipedia: Alan Parsons
Alan Parsons (born 20 December 1948) is an English audio engineer, musician, and record producer. He was involved with the production of several significant albums, including The Beatles' Abbey Road and Let It Be, as well as Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon for which Pink Floyd credit him as an important contributor. Parsons' own group, The Alan Parsons Project, as well as his subsequent solo recordings, have also been successful commercially.

Wikipedia: Eric Woolfson
Eric Norman Woolfson (18 March 1945 – 2 December 2009) was a Scottish songwriter, lyricist, vocalist, executive producer, pianist, and creator of The Alan Parsons Project. He has sold over 50 million albums world-wide. Following the 10 successful APP albums he made with Alan Parsons, Woolfson pursued his career in musical theatre. He wrote five musicals which won many awards and have been seen by over a million people. They have performed in Germany, Austria, Korea and Japan.

official web site: Alan Parsons

official web site: Eric Woolfson

2013-08-20

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Sunday, 18 August 2013

Dave Brubeck: Autumn in Washington Square




References

Uploaded on Feb 18, 2011 by Andrew Jackson

Wikipedia: Jazz Impressions of New York
Jazz Impressions of New York is a jazz album released by Dave Brubeck. It developed out of Brubeck's association with the CBS television show Mr. Broadway starring Craig Stevens.

Wikipedia: Mr. Broadway
Mr. Broadway is an American 13-episode CBS adventure and drama television series starring Craig Stevens as New York City public relations specialist Mike Bell. The program aired at 9 p.m. Eastern time Saturdays from September 26 to December 26, 1964. Also featured were Bell's assistant, Toki, portrayed by Lani Miyazaki, and his police contact, Hank McClure, played by Horace McMahon. Mr. Broadway, a Talent Associates Production, was created by Garson Kanin and produced by David Susskind and Daniel Melnick. Dave Brubeck supplied the music and theme. It was shot on location in New York City.

Wikipedia: Dave Brubeck
David Warren "Dave" Brubeck (December 6, 1920 – December 5, 2012) was an American jazz pianist and composer, considered to be one of the foremost exponents of cool jazz. He wrote a number of jazz standards, including "In Your Own Sweet Way" and "The Duke". Brubeck's style ranged from refined to bombastic, reflecting his mother's attempts at classical training and his improvisational skills. His music is known for employing unusual time signatures, and superimposing contrasting rhythms, meters, and tonalities.

official web site: Dave Brubeck

2013-08-18

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Friday, 16 August 2013

Why don't you go f**k yourself?

I'm riding the subway and the train pulls up to a station. The doors open and I can hear the movement of people getting on and off. Behind me, a woman's voice says loudly, "Ow! That was my foot!" Then I hear the voice of a man outside of the train say, "If you didn't stick your foot out, that wouldn't happen. There's an easy answer for you."

I never did turn around to look. I sat there shaking my head as I mulled over what had just taken place behind me. Do people want to be confrontational? If I had been that man, my first reaction, I mean my very first reaction, would have been to apologise. My instinctive reaction is to be deferential. Did my parents raise me correctly to be polite and respectful? Or is that because I'm not a true blue alpha dog? (see my blog: Beta Male. Beta what?)

The other day, I'm standing at the corner waiting to cross. The light turns green and immediately several pedestrians launch themselves into the crosswalk. A car at the corner, wanting to turn right, starts its turn then has to stop and wait for the crosswalk to clear. Not the car directly behind the first one, but the second one back immediately lays on the horn. I don't mean a short beep but really laying into it with a steady scream of what I interpret as impatience. Okay, what do you want the guy at the corner to do? Run over the pedestrians?

Is it just me or are people on the attack? The slightest inconvenience is a green light to get angry. There is no give somebody a break. There is no recognition that they themselves could be inconveniencing somebody else. No, it's me, me, me. I jokily refer to this self-centeredness with the greeting, "Hi! How am I?"

I'm waiting to cross the street as a couple of cars are coming up. The first one slows down and hesitates; I'm guessing to check the street signs. At the last minute the car turns. The second car immediately gives a blast on the horn. I notice the turning car didn't have on a turn signal. Did the guy forget in his hurry? Whatever the case, the second car was inconvenienced how? Taking his foot off the gas? I didn't notice him being substantially slowed down or anything. Nevertheless, the second car did feel this warranted an angry blast on the horn.

Geesh, give me a break. I hardly ever use the horn. I use it so infrequently, I forget it's there. I drive in a more easy going defensive fashion. I'm not out to take offense at the slightest inconvenience from somebody else. Why bother? Heck, I make mistakes.

Years ago, I'm driving up a street and am watching what's happening in front of me. Car #1 decides to parallel park. It stops, puts on its blinker, then starts backing up. Car #2, not seeing this because they were distracted, comes up just about bumper to bumper with car #1 the lays on the horn. Now the problem is that car #1 can't back up and of course, car #2 can't move forward. Car #1 wants to park. Car #2 won't move, just keeps honking. Car #2 can't move forward.

After a moment, I pull out and pass both car #2 and car #1. As I continue up the street, I keep looking in my rear view mirror to see that car #1 and car #2 are still in a stalemate. I get to the top of the street and turn taking a last look at the two cars battling out for who's going to move. Ridiculous.

I'm not going to get mad. I'm not going to honk. I'm going to drive defensively and be prepared to go around people or find another route. There is no point in arguing. My goal is not to win the battle but to get to where I want to go. I still claim that randomly honking your horn may allow you to express your frustration but in no way impresses upon the target of your frustration your particular opinion. Blasting your horn just contributes to the cacophony of the street and the other person is wrapped up in their own automotive cocoon and more than likely never heard your honk at all. Other than disturb the pedestrians in the street, honking probably achieves nothing at all.

Stay calm and carry on.

I'm in a mall on an upper level looking down at the crowd of shoppers. One person, rushing to go somewhere, accidentally bumps in another shopper. The second shopper drops a bag the stands there watching the first person rush off. I couldn't hear the voice of the person but from reading their lips, they clearly said, "F**k you."

Yes indeed. Why don't you go f... Oops. I'm already gone.


Of Related Interest

my blog: Your an idiot - Aug 10/2010
Anybody who publishes on the Internet has to be prepared to be criticized. You write something while crafting your prose to best explain your point of view to the world and then the world comes and gives you thumbs up or thumbs down. Sometimes, the world uses another digit.

my blog: Porcine Fornicator - Dec 3/2010
I was negotiating my way through the numerous pedestrians when I noticed a small man coming towards me... We got closer to the point where we were going to pass one another on the sidewalk. I was looking down right at his face watching his lips move when all of a sudden, he looked up and our eyes locked. It was just a fraction of a second but for the briefest of moments, we were staring at one another and each of us knew the other was looking back. In a distinct voice, loud enough that I could easily understand what he was articulating, he said to me the words, "Pig f**ker."

2013-08-16

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Spanky and Our Gang: Sunday Will Never Be The Same



I remember Sunday morning
I would meet him at the park
We'd walk together hand in hand
'Til it was almost dark
Now I wake up Sunday morning
Walk across the way to find
Nobody waiting for me
Sunday's just another day

Sunday will never be the same
(Sunday will never be the same)
I've lost my Sunday song
He'll not be back again

Sunny afternoons
That make me feel so warm inside
Have turned as cold and gray as ashes
As I feel the embers die
No longer can I walk these paths
For they have changes
I must be home. The sun is gone
And I think it's gonna rain

Sunday will never be the same
(Sunday will never be the same)
I've lost my Sunday song
He'll not be back again

I remember children
Feeding flocks of pigeons
I remember sunshine
And you were mine

Sunday will never be the same
(Sunday will never be the same)
I've lost my Sunday song
He'll not be back again

Sunday will never be the same (repeat 3X)


References

Published on Apr 6, 2013 by The Best Of - Home Of Classic Music

Wikipedia: Sunday Will Never Be the Same
"Sunday Will Never Be the Same" is a 1967 song by the American band Spanky and Our Gang from their self-titled debut album. The single peaked at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100.

"Sunday Will Never Be The Same" sold over one million copies. [The song] was written by Terry Cashman and Gene Pistilli. In an interview by Cashman with the Songfacts website, he revealed that the song was originally written as a ballad, however, the group "changed it, and they added the vocal, 'Ba-da-da-da-da,' which was a great hook."

Wikipedia: Spanky and Our Gang
Spanky and Our Gang was an American 1960s folk-rock band led by Elaine "Spanky" McFarlane. The band derives its name from Hal Roach's popular Our Gang comedies of the 1930s (known to modern audiences as The Little Rascals). The group was known for its vocal harmonies.

2013-08-15

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Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Why Do We Repress Our Sexuality?

The other day, I walked into the lunchroom at work and found that somebody had left a box of chocolates with a note reading, "Help yourself!". A female colleague was standing over the box holding the lid with descriptions of the various offerings. Making her decision, she reached into the box and picked up a piece and bit into it. She scrunched up her face in an expression of pleasure and uttered, "Oh! Mmmm." I said I must try one of those so after she pointed out which one she had taken, I did the same. I bit into the chocolate and followed suit, making an expression of pleasure then saying, "Oh yes. That is gooooood!"

It occurred to me that in the company of somebody else, anybody could express pleasure over any one of a number of things: food, drink, or the feel of a nice fabric, and nobody would say anything. We would all accept this person's pleasure and we may smile at their reaction. I would add that we enjoy pleasing another person so we would feel a sense of gratification if we had managed to elicit such a reaction by supplying the food or drink.

But what about sex? What if the woman in saying, "Oh! Mmmm," was actually talking about sexual pleasure, not the taste of chocolate? I think my initial reaction would be to leave the room embarrassed that I had interrupted a supposed private moment. Expressing pleasure over chocolate is okay in the company of somebody else but expressing pleasure over something sexual is not.

What if somebody walked in on me expressing sexual pleasure? I have no doubt they would dial 9-1-1 feeling threatened. I can say, "Mmm" about chocolate, but "Mmm" about sexual pleasure scares people with the idea of man as a sexual predator.

As odd as this sounds, I'm asking, "Why?" I'm sure anybody would feign disgust. But why? I'm sure anybody would reply, "That is not right." But why? Sex is dirty. But why? Sex is private. But why? Don't I sound like a six year old kid questioning everything? I feel confident that if I asked 99.999% of the people, I would get similar reactions. These ideas are so persusive in our culture, we all know it; we all feel it; and we all live it. All without knowing why exactly. We understand the rules of the game but we do not know where the rules came from, whether the rules are valid; and whether or not the rules can be changed or dispensed with so we can all have a different game.

In my blog "Sheila Kelley: Let's Get Naked: TED Talk", I report on this Amerian actress who has become a motivational speaker and fitness guru. In 2012, she gave a talk at TED about her sexuality and her place in society as a woman.

Ms. Kelley talks of the negativity towards female sexuality and goes on to recount a personal and poignant story of when she was 7 years old. She and two neighbour boys, on a hot summer day, all took of their tops and laid down in the cool grass. The mother of the boys yelled out the window to the 7 year old Ms. Kelley to put her top back on, that she was a naughty girl and that she should be ashamed of herself. Mom then sent the 7 year old girl home. And so it starts the suppression of female sexuality.

Alyssa Royse (The Danger in Demonizing Male Sexuality: May 28/2013) addresses the issue of viewing male sexuality in a negative light by saying, "We have a tendency to demonize male sexuality." She goes on to explain how she and her daughter attended a sex ed class where the female presenter talked about how girls must learn how to say "no" to boys.

"It starts that young. Yes, girls are told that boys are predatory and somehow out of control. The corollary there is that boys are told they are predators, and out of control. Therefore, not a desirable thing, but a thing to defend against. From the get-go, we are teaching our kids to fear male sexuality, and to repress female sexuality."

Could you?
How insidious are these subliminal messages? How affected are we? How are our behaviour and our attitudes formulated according to a social model we do not understand and have no control over? How much are we passing on from generation to generation without any rational analysis as to its validity?

We date. We have a relationship. We have a partner. We get married. Are we open? Are we honest? Could you take off all your clothes and stand stark naked in front of another human being? Could you explain to another person what sexually turns you on, what sexually satisfies you? Could you masturbate in front of someone? You can eat a piece of chocolate in front of somebody else, scrunch up your face in a pseudo-orgasmic expression of pleasure and say, "Oh! Mmmm," but could you actually have an orgasm in front of somebody else?

True Story
My grandfather lost his wife in 1937. My mother and her sister lost their mother. After a couple of years, Grandpa remarried. Unfortunately, he did not know that Heather had been brought up in a puritanical environment which instilled in her the idea that men only wanted one thing from women: sex. All men were perverted degenerates to be avoided at all costs. From what I understand, Grandpa and Heather had sex once, just once, which led to a son. I would remind you that in this era, people did not divorce. Ever.

On the day of my mother's wedding to my dad, Heather took my mother aside and launched into a diatribe against men and the evils of their libidos. This was the only time Grandpa ever raised a hand to Heather. He slapped Heather then pulled my mother aside and explained to her that sex between a man and a woman can be a wonderful thing. My mother told me this story when I was older.

Later in life, Grandpa had an affair. Everybody knew it and everybody accepted it. She apparently was a good woman. It is unfortunate that when Grandpa died, Heather refused to allow the woman to come to the funeral.

Heather lived twenty years after Grandpa. Being the dutiful grandson, I visited regularly and we played a lot of Scrabble together. I slowly began to understand that she didn't "get it." She was the classical "harpy", a cold bitch. She didn't understand why men and women got together. Oh, she understood the idea of relationships and marriage from an intellectual point of view but she didn't understand the underlying motivation. I am convinced Heather never experienced an orgasm in her life. Imagine eating a piece of chocolate and you had no taste. What's the point of anything if there is no payoff, no pleasure?

Whoever raised Heather did so in a manner which deprived her of having a fulfilling life. My grandfather was a kind, loving man. But he was a man. And Heather never had the opportunity to experience life like a complete woman. She never got the why behind men and women.

Do we truly understand what's going on around us?
How influenced are we by society? Yes, there are our parents, but what about our peer group, our local community, but even more importantly media?

A TV network censored a sequence of John Steinbeck's The Red Pony, which showed a mare giving birth, but broadcast the rather hideous sequence from The Godfather showing a beheaded horse.
- Youth, Sex and the Media, CyberCollege

In my blog "May is National Masturbation Month", I discuss the origin of this movement back in the 1990's. Dr. Joycelyn Elders was the Surgeon General of the United States under the Clinton Administration and ended up being firing by a Conservative groundswell which took exception to this woman's advanced thinking in dealing with hot button topics like drugs and sex.

"We’re sexual beings from the time we’re born until we die, and we need to make sure we understand our sexuality and realize that sex is about more than procreation." - Dr. Joycelyn Elders

More than procreation? Sacrilege!

In 1995, California sex advocate Dr. Carol Queen with the assistance of Good Vibrations, held the first National Masturbation Day on May 7 while declaring May masturbation month. She wanted to fight back against the idea that sex is bad and to fight back against those who conspired to have Elders fired for endorsing the teaching of masturbation in high school.

Sexual pleasure is each person's birthright.
-Good Vibrations: May is Masturbation Month

How prevalent is the idea that sex is good?

People have organised masturbation events where people get together and publicly pleasure themselves. If you can eat a piece of chocolate and make an orgasmic expression in public, why not have an actual orgasm? The Masturbate-a-thon is an event in which participants masturbate to raise money for charity and increase the public awareness and dispel the shame and taboos that exist about this form of sexual activity. (Wikipedia)

People organise sex toy events where everybody swaps information about sex and pleasure. A sex toy party is a usually female-only gathering where participants learn about and buy sex toys. It is a type of party plan, similar to Tupperware parties. (Wikipedia)

How prevalent is the idea that sex is bad?

In my blog "Planned Parenthood: addicting children to sex!!!", I discuss how the American Life League, a Conservative organisation, is attempting to cut funding to Planned Parenthood because of their support for abortion and sex education. In a jaw-dropping promotional video, ALL compares Planned Parenthood to your neighbourhood drug pusher attempting to get kids hooked on sex using masturbation as their "gateway drug". It is a stunning display of a puritanical mentality that would have all of us hiding shamefully in the closet.

Final Word
Do you know what's going? I don't think I know what's going on. But I do "interpret" what I see around me. And what do I interpret? Sex is bad. Sex is scary. Sex is confusing. Sex is dangerous. Say "Mmmm" to a piece of chocolate but don't you ever express pleasure over anything sexual. You're going to hell. You could go to jail. Or, at least, be criticised, ostracised, fired, shot, killed, burned at the stake, then shot again for good measure. As Sheila Kelley said, "You're a naughty girl and you should be ashamed of yourself."

Life can be beautiful if you look at it that way. Or, like Heather, you may never "get it." Grandpa "got it" but while any one person can "get it", it would seem a good relationship comes from having a partner who "gets it" too. Both people need to "get it."

Open. Honest. You like frozen yogurt. I like chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. I accept your choice. You accept mine. We both eat our cones together and occasionally we offer each other a taste of our own cone. Open. Honest. Accepting. Uncritical. Non judgemental. Stark naked before one another. Repress nothing. Accept no compromise. I certainly won't. Ever again.


References

Love Encore: An Intimate Talk Show with KarenLee Poter
LoveEncore is the #1 resource for advice on dating, sex and relationships the 2nd time around. KarenLee Poter, a widow with a master’s degree in social work, hosts this unique, racy, intimate talk show. KarenLee shares her personal expertise as she interviews both experts and guests on issues relating to being single again.

Published on Jan 30, 2013 by KarenLee Poter
Sex Toy Party Live Demo #1 by KarenLee Poter (LoveEncore) (4:34 min)
Part 1 - KarenLee discusses personal massagers (VIBRATORS) and their uses during sex with guests at the "50 Shades Of Fun" event at Romantika Boutique in Wheeling, IL. There are a lot of funny and racy moments in this episode.



Claire Litton: sexologist
After completing her undergraduate degree in sociolinguistics, she went on to study Counselling Psychology at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, PA. She volunteered for Planned Parenthood of Allegheny County for ten years, developing educational outreach programs and doing clinic escorting. She also began personally working with a sex therapist, which allowed her to see how helpful and effective it can be!

Published on May 30, 2013 by Claire Litton
How to Run a Masturbate-a-thon (26:36 min)
Here is a short video I made for Queer Fest in Athens, outlining how to run a masturbate-a-thon event. This would also be a relatively helpful video for figuring out generally how to run queer-friendly, feminist, body-positive events.



2013-08-14

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Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Movie Review: 2 Guns

Not that good. Not that bad. It ain't art; it's craftsmanship. You won't walk away disappointed, but you won't be raving either. Like a hot roast beef sandwich, you'll be full. You'll be satiated. However you will know you didn't eat a superb cut of roast beef au jus with a side of creamy mashed potatoes lightly seasoned with butter and garlic. And considering a number of fare whose names bless the marquee with ratings on Rotten Tomatoes just about in the abysmal range, it's nice once in a while to have a good hot roast beef sandwich as there is always a chance you could end up with something far worse. Yay gruel.

This is a formula buddy picture completely relying on the chemistry of the two stars, Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg. That works. The story is not bad with a few interesting twists and turns and a supporting cast that lends some interesting faces and personalities.

If there is one aspect to the proceedings that is funny and fodder for conspiracy theorists, it is that everybody is corrupt; I mean absolutely everybody including the DEA, the CIA, and the Navy. Yes, we have to contend with the usual assortment of criminals, thugs and guns for hire as part of the Mexican drug cartels led by their blood thirsty I-killed-my-way-to-the-top kingpin, but then we have the premise that the good guys are just as money hungry and are actually in bed with the bad guys. Is this how the world works? Get out your tin hats, folks. Your federal government is evil.

Edward James Olmos makes for a great Mexican drug cartel leader. I don't necessarily know this gentleman's filmography but I do recognise the face as Commander William Adama of Battlestar Galactica. Do all kingpins like to use a baseball to make a point? How about Robert De Niro as Al Capone in the 1987 crime drama The Untouchables?

Bill Paxton has a good part as the sadistic Earl, a CIA agent who is heading up some questionable operation involving the drug cartels. Questionable? No, he is offering the cartels a means of getting their drugs across the border and taking a cut. Yes, the CIA is helping the drug runners. As I said, the conspiracy theorists are going to love this one!




Final Word
I confess that originally, I wasn't going to bother to say anything about this film. Yes, I saw it but I thought it was inconsequential to try and drum up anything profound to say. It's not like I'm a professional reviewer getting paid to pump out a thousand words. But a colleague at work mentioned liking it so I thought I'd chime in with my opinion. Considering I also saw Elysium and Blue Jasmine, this is a chance to do a little comparison and let you know where I think your best investment is both in time and money. Never mind the money, we hate it when we walk out of the theatre and say to ourselves, "I want two hours of my life back!"

Without a doubt, Blue Jasmine is the best of the three. 2 Guns is a cop buddy film and Elysium is science fiction. Your choice on taste, but Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine is terrific.

2 Guns is a film you would rent when you wanted to spend a mindless Saturday evening eating nachos and cheese. Hmmm, do you choose a bottle of red or white with nachos? I'm sure 10% alcohol will improve the quality of the film and push it from "okay" to "good."


References

Rotten Tomatoes: 2 Guns (2013): 62%
Formulaic and often jarringly violent, 2 Guns rests its old-school appeal on the interplay between its charismatic, well-matched stars.

Wikipedia: 2 Guns
2 Guns (stylized as 2GUNS) is a 2013 American action comedy film directed by Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur and starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg. Based on a graphic novel series of the same name published by Boom! Studios, the film was released on August 2, 2013.

2013-08-13

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