Category Archives: sex
The Modern Love College Essay Contest of 2008, sponsored by the New York Times, found students grappling with hookup culture: sex without emotion. Three years later students struggled with the opposite issue: intense emotional relationships that were devoid of sex because they were online.
The strategies seem to be complete opposites. Yet they hold similarities. Read the rest of this entry
Downton Abbey and HBO’s Girls seem to be talking to each other, says Anand Giridharadas in a New York Times piece.
The early 20th Century world of Downton’s British aristocracy knew “there is a way to do everything, from cleaning spoons to dressing for dinner.”
But then World War I unleashes its chaos, confusing notions about who is independent and where one stands. Thus,
The family driver, believing in equality and marrying for love, runs away with the family daughter; thus the men wear black tie instead of white to dinner one night; thus a new generation of servants is less servile, more willing to question.
HBO’s Girls yields the fruits of that push a century later — and it isn’t pretty, he says — as four young women navigate the stresses and opportunities of New York City: a world that “says you can be anything but does not show you how.” Read the rest of this entry
Imagery is powerful. I remember my mother watching Marilyn Monroe movies and looking at her pictures in magazines. She bleached her hair and styled it like Marilyn’s. Mom dressed in high heeled boots and miniskirts and wore the style of make-up that graced magazine covers. My father loved it. I saw the attention men gave her, especially at parties. Looking back I see how the ideal of the perfect woman had a huge impact on the psychology of my mother. And me.
Although beautiful, mom lacked self-confidence and self-esteem. She gave up on her dreams to pursue the love of a man through beautifying herself. She became a submissive woman at the beck and call of the men in her life. No surprise, she married eight times before age thirty.
I watched men walk all over my mother, treating her like a trophy wife in front of their friends. But behind closed doors they demeaned and objectified her. I grew to dislike men, yet followed in her footsteps. It began in elementary school.
Out of a class of 46 I’ve just got nine men (this is women’s studies, after all) — and only seven of them showed up in time to take the survey, so this is a very small sampling. And between a willingness to take that class and living in the Bay Area, they may be more liberal than most.
Here’s what I asked them:
Has a woman ever asked you out? If yes, what did you think and why? If no, would you like a woman to ask you out, or would it make you feel uncomfortable? Should it be socially acceptable for women to ask men out?
And here’s what they said: Read the rest of this entry
Guys sometimes wonder why women don’t ask men out. Plenty of women don’t. But it turns out that many have — and do. Here’s what students from one of my women’s studies classes had to say. (My method was discussed in another post.)
Out of the 26 women who responded to my survey, 17 had actually made the first move at some point. So many more had than hadn’t.
Here’s what they had to say: Read the rest of this entry
I teach women’s studies so I asked my students to write down what they thought on the topic.
Have you ever asked a guy out? If not, why not? If yes, why? Were you nervous? How did he respond? Should it be socially acceptable for women to ask men out? Would making a move make you feel more empowered? Or would you rather not have to face rejection?
This is an intro to women’s studies class in the Bay Area, so the women may be more liberal than most.
I got 26 responses. Interestingly, most had asked a guy out at some point. But over a third (9) had not. Why not? Here’s what they said: Read the rest of this entry
Well, I’ve been interested in men who saw me as “just a friend,” too. One particularly can’t-take-my-eyes-off-you gorgeous man comes to mind. It’s not that I asked him out and got rejected. He just never asked me out. So we stayed friends when I wanted more. Leaving me in the friend zone.
So even women who don’t ask men out get friend-zoned. Unless every man they are interested in asks them out–which is hard to imagine.
Yeah, being “friended” in a not-so-wanted way happens to women, too.
True, the friend-zone is more in-your-face for guys since they’re expected to make the first move. So it may be more hurtful for them in that way. But we all end up in the same place: outside the arms we want to be in.
Of course, it’s possible that some of the men that women are interested in simply don’t make that first move because they are shy or don’t realize we find them attractive. So that brings up another topic. Girls often don’t feel like they can ask guys out. Read the rest of this entry
Well, not constantly. It just seems like it to some folks. A ruckus broke out last week when The Wrap reporter, Tim Molloy, asked Girls creator, Lena Dunham this question:
I don’t get the purpose of all of the nudity on the show, by you particularly, and I feel like I’m walking into a trap where you go, ‘Nobody complains about the nudity on Game of Thrones,’ but I get why they are doing it. They are doing it to be salacious and, you know, titillate people. And your character is often naked just at random times for no reason.
It’s a question that has stuck in my mind.
Artists say they only do nudity for artistic reasons, not prurient purposes. So why is titillation the only legit rationale for Mr. Molloy?
Ms. Dunham says,
It’s because it’s a realistic expression of what it’s like to be alive.
Alive, and not ashamed of your body, it seems to me.
Lena does not have what’s considered the ideal body type. But her obvious comfort has made me aware of my own discomfort. Read the rest of this entry
Women are expected to attract, men are supposed to be attracted. Men want, women want to be wanted. Metaphorically, this is a predator/prey type relationship. Women are subject to the hunt whether they like it or not, so men’s attention can be pleasing, annoying, or frightening. It all depends.
Accordingly, women know what it feels like to be prey.
Not all men make women feel this way, she says, and probably most don’t, but we’ve all pretty much had this experience, whether it’s,
The leering guy on the street, the heavy hitter in the bar, the frotteurist on the subway, the molesting uncle, the aggressive fraternity brother, etc.
Does homophobia arise partly from being demoted on the food chain and feeling like prey, she wonders? Read the rest of this entry
Sometimes we’re confused about what’s “normal” and end up doing uncomfortable things — that may even creep us out — just to fit in.
Take wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am (or sir) sex. Plenty of us are really into it. But usually, we think others are more comfortable with random sex than we are, ourselves.
University of Texas sociologists, Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker, studied sex on college campuses and found that many young people feel conflicted between their private preferences and their public behavior because they think everyone else — most importantly, “the popular” — want hookups. To not join in — or at least act like you want to — would be social suicide.
That, in turn, creates its own reality: a hookup culture that everyone thinks is real, but which is a figment of the collegiate imagination. Because while most say they’re for it, most don’t actually do it.
Researchers asked college students how comfortable they felt doing acts ranging from “first base” to “home run” (you might say) with someone they barely knew.
Turns out, women and men, alike, tend to think that men are more comfortable in random carnal intimacies than they, themselves, are. AND, Read the rest of this entry