Friday, August 12, 2011

Women as a Sexual Commodity

Ironically, I think that if women started asserting themselves sexually more, they would be commodified less. And that can only happen if we stop shaming women who do assert themselves sexually. Women have to demonstrate that they have a mind of their own, and that they like sex, or else men will continue to want to commodify them for sexual pleasure (whether or not they continue to have the power to do so).

I hear a lot of cross-talk between the male camp and the female camp, but I really don't think either one understands the other. The whole feminist movement has given the female voice a lot of exposure, but I don't think a lot of people are giving the male voice a fair audience. I understand that females have been disempowered for a long time, but today's males aren't responsible for hundreds of years of subjugation, is it right that they be punished for it? The point of the civil rights movement wasn't to enslave white people in order to get even. The point of it was that slavery was wrong - for anyone.

Both sides must be willing to listen compassionately to the other side. And I see a lot of criticism of male sexuality as if it were the in vogue or politically correct thing to do these days. Pornography is degrading to women. Men are sexual predators. Attraction to physical beauty is vain and shallow. I'm a male, and I try very hard not to be a creep or a predator or what have you, but I have these sexual feelings, and I refuse to feel sorry for myself for having them. Look, I want to make a compromise with women. I have sexual needs, and I'm sensitive to the needs of women. I'm not like the men that are out there that don't listen to women. I want to listen. But I don't want my own needs and feelings to be belittled either.

As an erotic artist, over the past few years, I've noticed a very conspicuous disproportion between males and females in the sexual community. Maybe women are more likely to be the subject (or object, if you will) of porn, but men are by far the more frequent fans/users. I see virtually no women expressing a sexual agency, admitting an interest in sex. I've looked and looked for women who can appreciate the work I'm doing and give me some feedback, and they are practically non-existent. The only thing keeping me from turning gay purely out of convenience is the fact that I'm really not attracted to men.

Is this a biological phenomenon or a social phenomenon? I don't know. I wish I had the answer to that question. I want it to be a social phenomenon, because then I think it would be easier to change (though still not easy). But regardless of what's causing it, this is what the effect is: lots of men possessing a demand for sex, and very few women providing the supply. The trouble is that women don't seem to want sex. So men have two choices. Go without sex. Or force a woman to have sex.

I know, I'm offensively simplifying the issue. But it's because I'm trying to make a point. It's a subconscious attitude that some men may have. Maybe it's heinous, but we can't get rid of it until we identify it and talk about it. I'm a nice guy, there's no way in hell I'm going to force a woman to have sex with me just because women aren't giving me the sexual attention I crave. Yet I can't help feeling a little resentful of that.

Now, I'm sensitive and I'm intelligent, so I'm trying to find an ethical way to get around my problem - that is, lobbying for more freedom of sexual expression, fighting the institution of sexual shame, because I think freer attitudes towards sex will allow more women to be more open about their sexual feelings. But another person who is not quite so sensitive, or intelligent, might deal with this resentment another way. Like, say, insulting women for not responding positively to his unsolicited sexual advances.

I'm just considering the possibilities. And I absolutely don't condone that behavior. But while we ought to discourage it, it doesn't help to solve the problem if we don't look at what's causing it. And I think one of the primary sources is the sexual disparity between males and females. Whatever causes it, and whatever we can to do alleviate the problems that result, that's an issue we need to deal with.

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