Thursday, June 25, 2009

Was Vesuvius female?

Every year in Komaki, Japan, the Hounensai festival is celebrated for fertility and renewal by parading with a large wooden phallus while onlookers eat penis shaped sausages and girls such on penile fruit pops.  My friend sent me this information and I told her it reminded me of Pompeii.  I went there a couple of years ago and I was astounded at all the phallic, well... everything.  Of course, there were brothel indicators and the diagram of sexual positions for the randy illiterate.  And homes had mosaics with naked bodies in the scenes.  But penis shapes were used for everything from pillar capitals to directional markers carved at crosswalks . (Granted, they were for the local whore house, but I digress.)  I was blown away by how phallic that society was and couldn't imagine how women could feel their mental worth around so much emphasis on male girth.  When I got home, I watched our media sources a bit more critically and realized that though frontal nudity for men is tightly kept under wraps (because it's so sacred?) the idea of the penis as being ridiculously important was present everywhere.  Keep an eye out for it and suddenly you'll wonder how you didn't see it before.  I'm thinking Vesuvius was female.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What Makes a Good Woman... er, Judge

As Sonia Sotomayor has been making the rounds to sell herself to the Senate Judiciary Committee, there has been a lot of talk in the news of folks getting nervous that she'll have bias in her judgements because she's a woman and a minority (because white men in power are never biased in their decisions and always have full understanding of the needs of the women and minorities they represent).  I have not read all of her cases and cannot, ahem, judge whether of not she'd make a quality addition to the Supreme Court, but I have found it fascinating that as her work history is increasingly found devoid of issue, her attitude in court has come under scrutiny.  She has been accused of being "a terror on the bench," "nasty," "overly aggressive," and "a bit of a bully."  But when transcripts of high level court cases came out, she was actually much less aggressive than her male counterparts. 

So here we go again... even in an age when there are female executives and a woman can be considered qualified to compete for a presidential nomination, we're still wrestling with the expectations of a woman's behavior to have a certain level of submissiveness.  NPR did a fabulous report on this and it's certainly not one you'll hear on MSNBC (busy focusing on her legally required monetary disclosures, i.e. yep, the chick has cash).  The sum is this, why are women still expected to have a different code of behavior than men?  

My ex had a wonderful habit of turning normal daily interactions into an analysis of male/female behavior which involved continually asking,
"How would this situation have changed if the woman in the story were a man?"  
At the end of your day, you'll generally find that there are a myriad of moments where gender played a role in how an interaction played out.  This is a great exercise for both men and women to have a higher awareness of how their own behavior intersects with gender expectation.   Think about it... would that guy have really said that to you if you had been a man?  Would you have talked to a man they way you talked to that woman?   After all, an unexamined life is not worth living (Ok, so a man, Socrates, said it, but it still holds true for all).

Thursday, June 11, 2009

En Medias Coitus

After two years of miraculously not seeing each other despite this size of the small town we socialize in, I ran into the man from the last blog entry again in a bar.  His girlfriend is what drew my attention as she flirted with me in a delicious way (damn, that girl can dance), but I didn't recognize him... vaguely familiar, but certainly not in a sexual context.  But by the time he spoke to me, saying, "I think you and have the same taste in women," my immediate response was, "No, I think she and I have the same taste in men."  When I reminded him of our atypical parting, he had no recollection (what a shock) and thought I was remembering someone else.  So I described his home, from the Navy buddies to the triple-mattress bed, at which point he interjected with, "Not anymore" with a thumb jerk to his girlfriend behind him, and claimed he must have been "drunk or something." Ahh, the levels men will stoop to deny what I now understand to be a mortifying experience.  
Which is the cusp of this entry... the distinctly diametrically opposed reactions between men and women at hearing the original little story.  
Women are amazed (amazed? really? why??) that I would do something so "ballsey. " Men are utterly incensed and practically horrified (no this is not hyperbole) that I'd leave in medias coitus.
When I explain my reasoning, they still think I'm heinous for leaving a guy hanging...  "but we're talking about physical pain here" and "That's just low."  Hmmm, I don't know if I've ever heard a woman describe a man leaving her sexually unsatisfied as a "low" activity.  It's the norm.  It's expected.  It's sad that in 2009, a woman's sexual pleasure is still secondary to a man's.   I mean, studies were done on this in the 1960's for Chrissake! 

You'd think these indignant men would be ashamed.  For a true Cassanova would rather die than leave a woman wishing for more.  To use every means at his disposal (yes, hands and mouths are amazing sexual instruments... just ask your favorite lesbian) actually makes him more of a man.  When was the last time you heard men regaling their friends with sexual tales describing what finger moves they used to "finish her off" after they came too early for her.  But every straight/bi woman I know can tell you at least one trick (yes, that's how it's described) that will make sure the man is satisfied (even they're no longer interested in penetrative sex) and how often they've used it. And trust me... it's often.  Rarely does one hear a man say he 'faked it', but I can guarantee that the majority of women you know have.  Do a poll.  Ask around.  How much extra attention are men getting at the, excuse the pun, hands of women when reciprocation is a rarity?

Yes, yes, there are some lovely men whose sexual virtues regarding women cannot be extolled enough (my boyfriend, for example).  However, their virtue isn't any more splendid than a woman who puts in the same effort. 

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Walking Out on Sex

So there's this guy that I kept running into at a local live band bar.  We danced... we chatted... we parted ways. Well, at least that happened a couple of times before I drove us to his house.  I didn't actually know much about him other than that he was undisputedly handsome and chiseled everywhere but in his mirthful eyes.  He was polite as I eased into his space and observed photos of his Navy buddies.  But it didn't take long for him to hustle me upstairs where his room of spare furnishings consisted of a desk, a fish tank, and a bed comprised of enough mattresses to make the top edge level with his groin.  

So clearly this was someone used to getting laid.  Excellent.  

I had been in a bad relationship, so mostly just wanted the guy to have some talent in the sack.  He was, in fact, technically sound.  But as I (eventually) lay on my back and he huffed above me, I realized I didn't want to do it anymore.  He had all the right elements:  intelligence, looks, kindness, good sense of humor... but he just wasn't for me.  So like most women in my position, I figured that I'd let him finish and start fresh the next day.

But then I had an epiphany...  Why let him finish?  Not once has a man ever made sure that I've come before we stopped having sex.  And if I'm letting him have sex with my body when I genuinely don't want to anymore, couldn't that be tantamount to willing rape?  Why would I do that to myself so that this guy, meaningless in my life, can be sexually satisfied?  So I stopped him, hopped the extra two feet to the ground, and said, "Thanks, but I'm done."  I assured him that his technique was fine and gave him apologies (that admittedly were more courteous than caring).  

Not surprisingly, he was incredulous as I dressed, looking for explanations.  What did surprise me was his dropping to his knees, grabbing my waist, and begging me to let him finish.  I suppressed a giggle at both the comedy of the scene and the giddiness of this power.  I left that house feeling almost as good as if I'd had a two-minute orgasm (I'll guarantee my gait was the sexy one in the Belgian study).  I now think every woman who sleeps with men should do this (preferably with a man that is inconsequential in their life); they should walk out in the middle of it and recognize how wrong it is that the sex act is always considered done only when the man has finished.  It will change her attitude about sex forever.