Friday, July 29, 2011

Sex, Strictly A Guy Thing (No Girls Allowed)

My photography gets a lot of attention from guys, and very little from girls. This is something I've known for a long time. And while I appreciate all that attention, it's a little bit frustrating, because I'd really rather be connecting with girls. I've thought a lot about why guys gravitate towards my photography more than girls, and believe me, it's a very complicated issue. It's easy to conclude that guys are just more sexual, and sexually open, than girls are. And maybe that's true. I don't like to jump into gender stereotypes, though. The old, "men are horndogs, and women are frigid icicles" is a stereotypical generalization. After all, females make up 50% of the classical depiction of sexual intercourse. Or should I be led to believe that homosexual male sex is far more natural than heterosexual sex, and that heterosexual sex ought naturally to be of the type where the man demands and the woman reluctantly complies? I'd like to believe that females can be just as interested in sex as men - and indeed, I've come across many females who would suggest this is true (see: just about any pro-porn feminist blog writer). But then, where are they? Why are they not visible? Are they truly that rare? Or is it true that the female mind is wired in such a way that their appreciation of sex is fundamentally different from a man's - specifically, that they have far less interest in visual depictions (like photography) of sexuality? Any of this can be true, but what concerns me is that we can't even know for sure as long as we discourage girls from behaving sexually and admitting their interest in sex.

There's a lot I want to do for girls' sexuality. Basically, to tell them that it's okay to like sex. That it doesn't make you a "slut", or otherwise that being a slut is not a bad thing. But of course, the majority of people out in the world participate in so-called "slut shaming". So the fact that I'll respect a girl who embraces her sexuality doesn't give her much comfort that the rest of the world will do the same. I wish I could somehow, through my work as an erotic artist, get out the message that girls being sexual is okay, and natural, and that they shouldn't be shamed for it. And a lot of my work is about fighting shame and being proud of your sexuality, but it's tricky, because I'm a guy, and the issue is a lot different for guys than it is for girls. A guy is allowed to be sexual, even encouraged and rewarded for being sexual. So, as a guy - even though I'm an atypical guy that feels girly on the inside - the message doesn't have the same effect when it's me getting out there showing my sexuality to the world and saying, "look, I'm not ashamed." And if I dare try to encourage girls to be more sexual, I can so easily be accused of serving my own selfish sexual desires (which I refuse to deny that I have).

I don't know how to accomplish my goal - whether working with girls is the answer; using my skills to enable them a venue to express their sexuality. But it's hard to even do that, because most girls are afraid, reasonably afraid, to approach the landscape of sex. They're scared of being associated with it, and many of them are probably victims of the societal brainwashing that insists that sex is dirty and icky and sinful, and that men's sexuality in particular is impulsive and predatory in nature, and should be avoided. There really is no easy answer, and trying to break girls who have already succumbed to the social programming is not only difficult, but could be construed in very destructive terms by a social system that wants to keep girls pure and virginal and asexual. I mean, think about it. The whole "sexualization of girls" debate implies two things: that girls are naturally asexual (they have to be "sexualized" by an outside force), and that the sexualization process is a bad thing - in other words, good girls are asexual girls. And for that reason, I am concerned for my own safety. I don't want to push girls into being more sexual, I just want to open up the floor, so that the girls who are, feel comfortable being so, and admitting it. It would be really nice to meet some girls who are, like me, rebellious, and have already broken out of the socially constructed mold of how one is supposed to properly act, sexually.

And it's weird, as a (sensitive) male who is sexually attracted to females, I feel kind of bad about having strong sexual desires for girls, when the social paradigm tells me that girls are largely uninterested in sex, and actually in a lot of cases interpret sexual advances as aggressive, predatory behavior. See, I don't want to make girls feel uncomfortable or defensive. I want them to be interested in sex the same way I am, and I want them to be able to interpret my sexual interest in the proper context - that is, as a positive and natural physiological phenomenon, and not as a threat, not as an impulse that's going to cause me to think of a girl as a piece of meat, something only to be fucked, whether she wants to or not. Really, I just want to hear girls say, yes, I like sex. I think it's really sad that we've come to a point that we've lost any conception of positive sexuality. That you either have to stay sexually pure (or strictly private), or else you're part of this sinful world of vice - the idea that if you embrace sexuality, by dressing in a certain way, or posting pictures on the internet, that you're agreeing to be objectified or treated rudely or whatever. That you have to take the one with the other. That you can't be sexually open and liberated and still respected and treated like a human being. And I just want that to change. I want sex to be a happy thing again, like it was before the Christians showed up.

And I want more people to learn - as I have learned - that if somebody anonymously sends you the message "I want to fuck you in the ass" (an activity I have no interest in participating in), you don't have to be offended and feel threatened, you're allowed to take it as a compliment, and then completely ignore it, and know that the person on the other end is just indulging his sexual desires, and he doesn't (shouldn't) expect you to be interested, and that he's NOT going to track you down and rape you if you don't patronize him. And that you're allowed to tell people to back off if they're bothering you, but that you shouldn't take a playful sexual comment as an immediate threat of rudeness and aggression. Are we not sexual beings? Why do we run away from sex so much? I get that some people just don't like sex, but how many haven't even tried peacefully coexisting with it? Because it just isn't going to go away, no matter how much we legislate it, and restrict it, and repress it within ourselves. It's not going away. And if we embrace it, and learn how to approach it properly, we can turn it into a positive life force. It doesn't have to be the icky, sinful thing that we make it out to be.

Things do NOT have to be the way they are, just because they are the way they are. Consider alternative possibilities. I'm telling you it's possible. I used to be sexually repressed. I didn't learn to masturbate until I was 17. I was tempted (brainwashed) to take an abstinence vow in high school, but it didn't make much difference because I wasn't getting any, anyway (the full story is more complicated than that, but I have no desire to get into that here and now). Now, sex is a large part of my life (and when I say sex, I mean a million things in addition to sexual intercourse, which is only a really tiny part of what constitutes "sex" - that's another critical point that so many people miss), and a very strong positive force that gives me something to enjoy, to counter all the shitty things I have to deal with in life. And I'm not diseased, I've never gotten anyone pregnant, and I can count the number of people I've been sexually intimate with on one hand (not that it matters how many people you've been with - I'm just trying to make the point that embracing sex doesn't have to have anything to do with "sleeping around", if you don't want it to). And you can follow my example.

Unfortunately, reforming the sexual landscape (and it desperately needs an overhaul) is going to be extremely difficult. It's not just a matter of tweaking some attitudes here and there. We don't live in a vacuum, and as long as those sex-negative messages are out there, they are going to continue to affect our feelings about our sexuality. Even as a sexually liberated individual, I still have to fight the very powerful sentiments floating around that insist on convincing me that sex is bad. And you have to be really strong to resist all of that negative conditioning. But I'm convinced that it's doing us more harm than good. Repressing our sexuality leads to unhealthy attitudes towards sex, and is the primary cause of all of our sexual dysfunctions in society. It's not going to be easy to flip that switch, and the results may not be clearly positive until the more positive attitudes have time to sink in (which is bound to take generations, at least - after all, we've been exposed to centuries of Christian moralism). Nevertheless, I feel it's a task that is utterly worth undertaking. I ask you to be brave and join me. Only together can we change the world...for the better.

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