masculinity

I can make you a man, too, (Not) the Charles Atlas way.

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.

Male Needs

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.

Pornography, Strip Clubs & Other Feminist Relationship Quandaries

sylviaplath
asks:
I could really use some help on this issue. I am a feminist, and pride myself on being open-minded and trying to keep my insecurities in check. I have been with my boyfriend for years, and we have lived together for 2. Within the past few months I have been looking at his computer and seeing that he watches pornography. While I do try to understand why, I cannot help but feel hurt....

How do I tell my boyfriend I don't think he's ready for sex yet?

erohwaremac
asks:
My boyfriend and I have been going out for over five months now. In an emotional sense, we're a perfect couple. We love and respect each other, and get along incredibly. However, I am his first real girlfriend. I'm only the third girl he's ever kissed and done other things with. We "fool around" such as we make out, he feels me up and fingers me, and I go down on him, etc....

Should I be concerned about his sexuality?

pagangirl
asks:
Although I feel a little ridiculous asking this considering I should be more openminded towards sexuality and experimentation, I haven't been able to get it out of my mind. I started dating a man 10 months ago. I'm 18, he turned 26 around three weeks ago. He was married before, and she left because of her claiming to have been bored in bed and in general....

Infinite Love for Nick and Norah

I only rented Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist recently, so I know I'm behind the curve on this one. But I just had to say something.

I loved this movie. I loved it as a person just chilling out on her couch wanting to watch something good, and I loved it even more as someone who works with and for teenagers and young adults. When I looked up the director, I was unsurprised that I'd liked it so much. Peter Sollett also directed Raising Victor Vargas, which is one of the best, most honest and real coming-of-age films I've ever seen.

Is intercourse a violence or a violation?

stullis
asks:
I've been with my girlfriend for nearly six months now. I've always had a bit of a problem having sex with people (keeping it up) but this problem has never occurred between me and her. However, lately I've begun to feel very guilty about the physical action of having sex....

Let's Get Metaphysical: The Etiquette of Entry

From both our personal experiences of our own varied sex lives, and in our work in sexuality with many other people, it seems pretty clear that really letting someone into an internal space in your body, or going into someone else's insides -- which we know might sound a little gross, but that is what's going on with this stuff -- is a fairly big deal for many people. So, what might make sexual entry different from other sexual activities?

Why does male sexuality seem so repulsive to me? Am I just too feminist?

Anonymous
asks:
This is more of a psychological issue, I think, than a physical one, and possibly unsolvable, but I'll ask your opinion anyway because this site seems pretty clued up and sensibly feminist and lovely. I have recently become disgusted with the idea of male pleasure. It's like I'm... too feminist to function....