Recently, I've been talking about men and feminism a fair bit, and not just in what I write, but in other places online and in real life. This is pretty normal for me, but what's a bit interesting is that a lot of these conversations have been around the relationship of men to feminism and in particular, what role men can play in supporting feminism and women in general.
Condoms have been my BFFs.
All the same, I know there are people who experience them as a drag. I was prepared to discover that walking into a change in my sex life where condoms absolutely were not needed, and also where I had a new birth control method that was as reliable as it gets and totally foolproof might give me some new insight on why some folks feel that way. I was prepared to be wrong: to find out that suddenly what I perceived as no interruption at all had been, in fact, more of an interruption than I realized.
Bzzzzt. So far, that's not what's happened.
I tried several times to leave a comment at the National Campaign's blog on this, but alas, it wouldn't let me. I'm pretty savvy with web forms, so it's probably just some kind of temporary technical snag over there. Since it wouldn't let me do so there, I'm doing it here.
The title above refers to a famous series of fitness and bodybuilding advertisements from the 1940's & 50's. The not so subtle suggestion in these ads, and many male-targeted ads and products since, is that masculine identity is primarily about being strong, about having power; often, masculinity is seen as something literally embodied. But that's not the case: masculine identity is so very much more than what can be seen, about so much more than expressions of power and dominance. And it cannot be bought from the back of a magazine.
I am having a problem orgasming, like most women. I am 24 years old. I have tried masturbating myself thinking it will be more relaxing and easier, but its not. The problem I am having is I get so close, but I can't get all the way. I start to feel pleasure, then I feel my muscles start to tense up and spaz a little, but then it gets PAINFUL that I jerk away and can't make it to the orgasm....
Can a girl get pregnant if I ejaculated in the condom then took it off and then stuck my penis back in her but didn't ejaculate in her unprotected. What are the chances? ...
Talk, images & representations of men and sex are EVERYWHERE in culture and society.
One recurring and dominant theme in our understanding of male sexual behaviour is the idea of the male "need" for sex. The common narrative for this concept of men's needs is one based on some sort of biological imperative, be that a study about some fundamental wiring in a male brain (or genitals) that requires men to regularly engage in sexual intercourse to maintain physical well-being, intimate relationships and a healthy sense of self. Or perhaps it is some essential part of the male brain, left over from our ancient forefathers - for whom constant procreation ensured the survival of the familial line, if not the entire species.
What strikes me again and again is the frequency with which cultural understandings of sexuality are reinforced and legitimised through this language of science.
I have an amazing boyfriend. He's thoughtful, considerate and sweet - not to mention super cute - everything I've ever wanted. He likes me a lot, too, and he's always telling me how much he likes me and how beautiful I am and all that good stuff. The problem is, I think he likes me a little TOO much. We haven't had sex yet, but I don't know if we can!...
Originally written for The Guardian, condensed version can be seen there.
In 2008, over 5,000 UK women under the age of 20 had an abortion that was not their first. As was made clear by the alarmist headlines following the publication of those numbers, this is a big concern for the public.