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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Gender Issues » Sexuality Information Attracts Women?

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Author Topic: Sexuality Information Attracts Women?
Gumdrop Girl
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I'm sure you've noticed that a lot of the people who frequent this site are women. Most of the moderators are women, too.

but outside of that, i've noticed that the people i know who are into sexuality and sex education are female. the sex columnist in the campus paper here is a girl.

so, umm, why is that? why are we mostly women here? esp given that i'm well aware that pornography is a pretty popular item on the internet?

yeah, i see that raises the issues of the appeal of pronography versus the appeal of sexuality information -- the two are very different fields.

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kitty pryde
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Great question!

I think, as much pressure as society puts on females, today males are a lot more restricted when it comes to sex roles. For instance, I know firsthand that a tomboyish girl will probably get some grief growing up...but usually nothing like the torment a feminine boy will experience.

Feminism has worked hard to convince society that it's okay for girls to play sports, to become scientists or buisnesswomen, to enjoy sex and generally take up behavior that used to be considered "masculine" - and while the battle is far from won, at least the feminist movement is *there*, you know? Whereas there hasn't been much progress at all in making it okay for guys to act "feminine."

In a lot of places, guys - especially guys in their teens, the target audience for this site - are still expected to fill a very restrictive definition of being a Real Man. Real Men love sports. They're obsessed with getting laid - but only by gorgeous, submissive, skinny girls. They love porn, but not the kinky stuff - that's for perverts. They hate stuff like ballet and musical theatre and opera; those things are gay. They certainly don't care about fashion, but they expect girls to. They make sexist comments about women and even worse comments about male homosexuals. If you don't fulfill all these requirements, you're not a Real Man - in fact, you're probably Gay, and that's the worst thing you can say about a guy.

Don't get me wrong, there's been some progress made for guys - I have guy friends who have no problem with wearing kilts and nail polish just because they feel like it. But guys haven't come nearly as far as girls have in the last few decades.

Anyway. Coming to a website like this means accepting that many, many different sexualities exist and are all okay, and that means denying the code of Real Manhood. Which is still a scary thing for lots of guys.

Of course, another factor is that it's just plain easier for guys to get information about sex. They don't have the pressure that girls have to remain pure and innocent - which is what makes a website like this, where you can come and be *anonymous* and get the info you need, so invaluable for girls.

[This message has been edited by kitty pryde (edited 04-11-2002).]


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Ashy
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I think that one of the factors for more women seeking sexuality information is pregnancy. Since women learn to associate sexuality with pregnancy at an early age (guys do too, but our society stresses that a man can easily leave a pregnant partner, but the woman obviously can't ) and see pregnancy as a big risk, they seek information about it immediately. From my experience, the majority of teens fear pregnancy much, much more than STDs.

Also, menstruation is another factor--there are endless websites, articles, etc dealing with the topic, and since menstruation continues for such a long time and some consider it a "curse" rather than a natural function, people seek information about it, and then that can lead to looking for sexuality information. One more thing is that a lot of questions at ST are from girls who want to "fix" their bodies--I feel that society places much more pressure on women to look attractive or fit a certain body type.

Sorry if that sounded like I was belittling guys' sexual health in any way, I do believe that guys have as much to learn about sexuality as girls do.

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Ash
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DrQuack5
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I'm just very interested in sex, gender, sexuality...all that.
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sunshine_1ofakind
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My interest in sexuality has become what I want my job to be like. I plan on becoming a sex therapist. The only problem is finding classes and seminars close to where I live. That is my goal anyway.
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noob88
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This battle is one which I have a lot of confidence will never stop. The battle of the sexes of course what else could I possibly be talking about. I am a male, i am 14. I think that even if these "Real Men" stumbled upon this site they would probably be interested enough to use it but im sure they'd all prefer porn over this. Now you all are thinking why arent I looking at porn. Well heres one mistake I believe that in my experience females make. Having the immediate thought that every guy that they associate themselves with is automatically seeking sexual arousal or satisfaction. Now i know i am making a large exageration but I find that a lot of prejuidice is thrown towards the general group of real men, I dont disagree that an enormous majority of males should be repeatedly smacked over the head with a hand that delivers some sense into there unsuspecting minds. But many of the guys have insecurities that make them need and want to be accepted into the more populor or official group, this is one that usually is soaked in masculinity and requires you to obey some of the rules that were mentioned by kitty pryde. But believe it or not girls there are countless exceptions to this group of "Real Men". I still agree with what was mentioned earlier about women making it a lot further then men in the "battle" but thats generally cause us guys are kind of stubborn. And being a guy I dont find it strange that I am a frequent visitor to the forums nor do I find it strange that I enjoy reading things on the site, yes more than porn, which I have hardly ever looked at. You sort of lose interest after getting into a relationship.
I could go on and on but ill stop for now

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If you find you love someone more than you love yourself, I hope that person feels the same way.

"We may be through with the past but the past aint through with us"

"As far as I am concerned humans have not come up with a belief that is worth believing"


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Celtic Daisy
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I really can't tell you why it seems women are the ones going after the sex info. Part of the reason i'm here is to help people. I don't think people know nearly enough about sex and things like that then they should.

I also think it has something to do with what i may be interested in when i'm older. I'd like to be a women's social worker. I have a social worker because of my diabetes and she's really helped. She's a real inspiration.

I find also that with what i now understand about sex, is so useful and i don't feel weird about myself at all anymore. I'd like to help others feel this way.

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-Jill
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Noob, please avoid making such generalizations. No one implied that all men prefer porn to information or that anyone needed to be smacked. Saying that all females believe these things is a bit unfair. Scarleteen is friendly to all genders and there shall be no smacking on the boards - unless both parties are consenting, of legal age, and not violating board guidelines.
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Confused boy
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Well said Ook!
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lemming
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I'm here because for some reason, although I've never had what most people call a "job," I've *always* been volunteering (fundraisers, bake sales, Crisis Hotline, and here). Fun, and personally fulfilling, but I wish the kind of stuff I like to do paid better. Isn't that always the way?

I don't know why the gender divide is so uneven here at ST. Maybe it's the "mothering" thing *ducks to avoid being smacked by someone* - people still seem to look to women to provide information like that. Then again, maybe that's just me (some of my friends tease me and call me Mama Lemming), so who knows.


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noob88
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quote:
Originally posted by ookuotoe:
Noob, please avoid making such generalizations. No one implied that all men prefer porn to information or that anyone needed to be smacked. Saying that all females believe these things is a bit unfair. Scarleteen is friendly to all genders and there shall be no smacking on the boards - unless both parties are consenting, of legal age, and not violating board guidelines.

Well, you see I did try to make it clear that my post was a bit of a generalization, but I was simply describing my own experience. Im sorry if you thought is another way, but its probably good that you pointed it out seeing that maybe I didnt make it clear enough that i was talking about my own experience. And I was kidding about smacking, people I was sort of expressing something not really meaning people had to be smacked more that some should have some sense talked in to them, by my standards again not meaning that it applys in every case.


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If you find you love someone more than you love yourself, I hope that person feels the same way.

"We may be through with the past but the past aint through with us"

"As far as I am concerned humans have not come up with a belief that is worth believing"

[This message has been edited by noob88 (edited 04-23-2002).]


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mingo
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Kitty, as a guy i'd like to say thank you for noticing that we do indeed have a very narrow sex role defined for us. One of the things about this is that we're expected to know everything about sex. so coming here and asking a question requires that a guy has to have the courage to step out of that defined role and admitt he doesn't know something. You are right that it's worse for teens, but I'm 43 and the gender roles don't seem a whole lot wider.

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sapphirecat
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Every time I see this thread, I keep wondering whether I count as a guy or a girl. *shrug*

I came here once upon a time just to see what it was, and I'm still here because it's so open and accepting. I don't think I would've stuck around a sexuality website which didn't mention gender, or that said sex is gender. (But that's just something close to my heart )

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Sapphire Cat
Looks won't tell who's living inside.
Artist, poet, programmer, dreamer, and crossdressing bondage kitty

[This message has been edited by sapphirecat (edited 04-25-2002).]


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charming_girl
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I don't think it's just females that's interested in sex or sexual topics. Maybe females just feel more comfortable talking about? I'm not sure.
But, personally, I'm here to learn more about both sex and myself.

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Jeffrey
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(DISCLAIMER - obviously, not every single girl in existence likes dolls, and obviously not every single boy in existence likes hotwheels. please do not take this post too literally)

why do girls like dolls? why do boys like hot wheels?

while you could talk all day about conflicting social pressures, gender identities, etc. I think it's just the same reason why the ratio of male quake players to female is something like 1000:1. guys and girls like different things.

[This message has been edited by Jeffrey (edited 05-09-2002).]


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DrQuack5
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Jeez, y'know, I really hate to say it, but all girls don't like dolls and all boys don't like hot wheels.

Generalizations = sucky.


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Jeffrey
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oh my bad... forgot to add my standard painfully obvious disclaimer - I've edited my post to contain it now. Thanks for pointing it out so tactfully
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Gumdrop Girl
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so then, what makes a site like scarleteen fall into the "dolls" category? that is the essential gist of what i'm asking. I mean, why can't sexuality information have the broad appeal that 'The Simpsons,' orange juice, and swimming and have between the genders?

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Color is for crayons, not for people.


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somewhatanonymous
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Pregnancy is probably the number one reason, the feminism movement being a close second. However I think it's a trend that is working to prepetuate itself.

This site is run by women and targeted primarily towards women. It took me quite awhile to get used to that and feel comfortable being here and reading all the article. When most the articles are clearly written to a female reader, all of the sexperts are female, almost all the advocates are female, and most of the users that post are female, perhaps you're not doing enough to make the male audience feel welcome.

Many young men would feel more comfortable asking their sex-related questions with a male peer group and get answers from men. Or at least not feel like they were at a place that was made for chix and just happened to have a few recorces for guys added on.

It's like this at just about any sexual health resource, even at places like Planned Parenthood. When I go there I am the only guy in the building. They don't have a single male employee. The only other guys I've ever seen go in there was my friend who I dragged along with me when I went to go get tested for the first time, and the partner of a woman who was there for prenatal care.


This very site is loaded with feminine influence at the cost of acknowleging male users. For example: I just browsed throught the articles real quick and very few of them are written to a male reader. All the articles, except for one, in boyfriend are written to a nongender specific reader, and stuff in sexYOUality is written either towards a female reader or a nongender specific reader, and the stuff in pink slip is written towards a female reader (except for the two stories). This used to drive me CRAZY. Also, last time I checked there were no male sexperts, and as you said very few male volunteers overall. Half the time I would take my questions to the Boys Room instead of Ask A Sexpert so that I could get one of the male moderators to answer it instead of one of the female seperts who sometimes didn't seem to understand what I was getting at or understand my situation. And it's like this with other sexuality resorces as well.

The feminism and gay-rights movement did quite a bit for making sexuality and gender role restriction go away for women and homosexuals, they failed in that their goal wasn't to make those restrictions go away for ALL PEOPLE.

I suppose I am being a bit harsh, Scarleteen is a lot more gender inclusive than any other REAL sex ed resouce I've come across.

Jeffrey - There are woman who play FPS computer games? Where? And how do I meet them??? hahaha

charming_girl brings up an interesting point. We don't have statistics on the gender of people who visit scarleteen or other gender inclusive sex ed sites (quite a few of them have no info for guys at all), only a good idea of the M-to-F spread of people who post.


Posts: 141 | From: Seattle, WA, USA | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
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Just a quick note: find us male staffers or writers and they're here. But uinfortunatly, there are not many out there, less of whom volunteer. So, we're limited in what we can do in that regard, somewhat. I can't create male sex writers myself. heck, if you go to Planned Parenthood and notice that disparity, you CAN fix it. All you need to do is volunteer yourself.

Actually, we have surveys and stats. Overall, our readership is actually not all that far off from half and half. From what we know, it's about 60% female and 40% male. Using the boards as a baasis for that is faulty, since overall, women tend to be more active on online communities across the board than men do, based on any study I've seen addressing that.

As a note, since the sexperts here don't tend to answer questions based on personal experience, but based on a wealth of sexuality information, data, statistics studies and resources (and I would not have Sexperts who did otherwise), I can assure you there that male and female questions are addressed in the same way.

As a final note, in all honesty, gender role assignations for those who are not male or heterosexual haven't really made very much progress. It may look that way from the outside, but I assure you, the progress has been highly slow and very minimal. And saying those movements failed in their goals doesn't stike me as sound, because many of their goals weren't to work on that for all people, but for those groups, and overall, far more effort has been made by those groups to do so than have been made by hetero men. In other words, if hetero men as a large group were to put the same amount of effort into such things, the same sort of progress would likely be made.

(And the articles in Boyfriend are written for male readers, the same way the articles in Pink Slip are written for female readers. Thus, the name of that section.)

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Confused boy
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A few demographic simplifications are used in this post but they are fair I believe.

Perhaps a few extra articles aimed at boys (written by men or boys) might be all that is needed to balance out the numbers of people attracted to this site. Its not at all anyones fault but many of the articles do give off the feeling of some kind of matriarchy dictating to you from on high. Of course I have no problem with women telling me what to do but then I dont feel at all alienated from this site and I am not one of those elusive social constructions, "real men." So many heterosexual boys will feel somewhat alienated from the style used in some of the articles.


Look at the views of these "real men" and you will that these are the ones who are in most need of recieving the Scarleteen message. They are the ones who are least likely to concern themselves with STDs and pregnancy since their culture dictates they live for the moment. The "male gaze" tactic may be the best way to attract a few more men. Even some more mildly suggestive images such as this http://www.scarleteen.com/sexuality/images/safer.gif

might be enough to attract more of these VERY heterosexual men. A slight change of style for areas of the site more aimed at boys could serve well. Bolder, darker colours could work well.

So a few style tweaks and some extra content positively aimed at boys rather than women or both, that is what the site could do.

EDIT to answer points made by Miz: well 40-60 shows there isnt much effort needed to push it near to 49-51. I would say that some of the articles in "Boyfriend" could be altered slightly so that boys can identify with what is being said to a greater extent.

And if finding male writers is a problem, I might be willing to try writing a few pieces for the site. I have not had much practice writing purely informational articles but I am sure my practice with essay writing could come in useful.

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'An Anarchist is a Liberal with a bomb' Trotsky

[This message has been edited by Confused boy (edited 05-15-2002).]


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Heather
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I agree with you in some sense Confused, but the two big obstacles to that are:

¥ Getting the boys or men to write the articles, and really finish them and follow through and send them in. I can't force anyone to write an article. Y'all just have to take the plunge and do it.

¥ Money. We cannot do redesign right now (and I think you'd be surprised that the results of going with more prototypical "male" coloring wouldn't have the effect you think it might -- I've learned that design lesson several times in my career). At all. That means more work from me and I simply can't afford at all to work on any nonessentials when I can't manage the essentials by myself as it is. Same goes for getting artticles in -- we can't pay writers. Bizarre as it sounds, male writers tend to want to get paid more than female writers when it comes to this stuff. For every article or query I get in from a woman who is ready to go and pitch in, knowing full well why we can't pay, I get a resume sent in by a male writer talking about getting word rates and the whole nine yeards, and when I say we don't pay and why we can't, I never hear from them again for the most part.

Don't know why that is the case, but for the most part, it is the case.

However, what post started this thread is not at all incorrect from what I know working in this industry overall. Books about sexuality information -- rather than entertainment -- sell far more to women than they do to men in publishing. Even when we're talking about books from women for women and books from men for men. The former sell much better. Hands down. And so leaping to the idea that that disparity is due to a lack of effort just really isn't correct, as it isnn;t that simple.

For whatever reason (and I could theorize, and they're various), women DO tend to be bigger consumers of sexuality information and education than men are.

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Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

My epitaph should read: "She worked herself into this ground."
-- Kay Bailey Hutchinson

[This message has been edited by Miz Scarlet (edited 05-15-2002).]


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BruinDan
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quote:
Originally posted by somewhatanonymous:
When most the articles are clearly written to a female reader, all of the sexperts are female, almost all the advocates are female, and most of the users that post are female, perhaps you're not doing enough to make the male audience feel welcome.

So I'm an Advocate, a "manly man," and a user who feels very welcome here. I guess that makes me an oddball, huh?

Look, let's be honest here. How many of us really feel threatened by the fact that there are women running the site? Women providing most of the answers? Women writing most of the articles? I sure as heck don't. I came to Scarleteen in June of 2000 by pure accident, as I was conducting some condom research that led me here. I knew at first read that it was a site that was not geared towards any specific gender, sex, or orientation. The mere fact that the folks here tried so hard to be inclusive of all walks of life (heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, polyamorous, transgender etc etc etc) was all that I needed to feel welcome.

If you will take a look at my date of registration, you will notice that it was roughly 9 months between the time I first found the site and the time I first posted. I spent that full amount of time watching and learning, reading and re-reading, observing and enjoying. Yet I never posted.

Why? I have no idea. I guess I just never felt that I had to. I felt that this was a perfectly viable community without my presence, and that I didn't really have any meaningful experiences to add. Once I found a post that dealt with issues I did have firsthand experience with, I jumped on in and that was that.

And I think that may be the case for a lot of "manly men." I think we're deluding ourselves if we believe that average guys don't ever venture towards this site. Anyone running a Google search with the words "masturbation" and "teen" is bound to eventually be linked here, and I'm sure there are plenty of macho guys who end up here in their search to have questions answered.

My best guesses as to why they choose not to post here are that they are either disinterested in participating in an active online community, or they just do not want to appear stupid or uninformed. MizScarlet has already mentioned the fact that several of the more recent internet utilization studies have shown that women are far more likely to engage in online communities than men are, and the few studies I have seen have corroborated that completely. As for feeling uninformed, I know that I definitely felt that way when I got here. Even after four years of a first-rate university setting and 21 years of life experience, I found that the vast majority of the information I gained from Scarleteen was wholly new to me. What few things I did know were often incorrect or out of date, and this was shocking to me. I always thought I was well-informed in regards to all things sexual, and Scarleteen was my wake-up call. Perhaps there are others who are just like me...other guys who are most definitely "manly men" and yet who find that they don't know half of what they thought they did.

I'll admit that this overall question is a toughie. Gummy and I talked about it briefly last weekend, and we couldn't figure it out at all. On the surface it seems like just another fascinating dichotomy between men and women, but I have a feeling I don't yet know the half of it.

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