that’s funny!

Normally when I blog or generally talk about feminist things, the above is a sarcastic phrase used to indicate my dismay and precedes a description explaining, as gently as I can, why the joke was racist/sexist/homophobic/able-ist/etc.

But, this is not one of those cases. I want to talk about what is funny. That’s not true either, I want to talk about why I’m funny.

Shocking to believe, I am not a humorless feminist. In fact, I was the class clown, and now I’m the clown anywhere but class. (in a PhD program it is not recommended to crack jokes the whole time, but I digress)

I will retell stories in my head until I think they are funny enough to share, I make wise cracks when other people are speaking (so much so, I almost made the vita-mix sales man lose it with laughter when I was watching the demo and was standing near the front), and puns. Oh, how I love the puns. Other people don’t always agree, but trust me, they’re wrong, my puns are hilarious.

But people don’t notice. And by people, I mean what the patriarchy defines as people: men. Its not that they don’t get my jokes, they just forget I ever made them.

I can think of two reasons.

1. Men get told off by me when their shit is sexist, racist, etc. so they are associate me with killing THEIR fun at the expense of others.

2. “girls” aren’t funny.

This may be slowly changing, but in general womyn are seen as up tight, as adorable, as sperm receptacles. To make jokes, means you have agency, you are the one who is receiving attention for something other than what a nice looking object you are. AND worst of all, you have to be clever! You can be a little funny, but not as funny as a guy.

Well, Duh, I hear you cry.

What brought this up in my mind? It is related to how I met my first boyfriend. Why that came to mind, I have no idea. I was walking from the coffee cart to my office on campus, and I was thinking about those days gone by when I was in an improv comedy class. I was in high school, and I met my first boyfriend there. He was too old for me, and I was too young for him. When you are a high school student, age differences are bigger.

I thought he was so good looking, and he was younger than the last crush I had. Therefore, (I rationalized) it would be just fine. However, I did have to think about it. We were flirting for a while, and one night he drove me home and asked if we could date/be in a relationship/something. So I said I would call him the next day or so. (Should have been a warning when) he said, but you were flirting with me! As if that means I HAD to be in a relationship. Then he cited an example.

We were doing an exercise in class where we were speaking in unison and making sentences (groups of about 5 people). Sort of an oral Ouija Board. The teacher thought this man was leading the sentences, and we assured her he was not. She said, it must be that rich baritone voice.

Now if you’re a young woman in a patriarchal society, you want to marry well. Even then I didn’t want that, but I knew that it was true.

So of course I responded with near Mae West intonation: “I could use a rich baritone.” (nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more)

Not that this could not possibly be just a joke. It HAD to be for the benefit of a man (a real man not just an imaginary referent). It had to be flirting, or leading on, or something. It could have no reference to anything but how I felt about the man’s hot sexy sexiness.

It couldn’t, I don’t know, be a JOKE? Given how much people hurt others by saying “it’s just a joke” you’d think this would be given a pass. But, no, it was flirting, and If I didn’t go out with this man, I would be a dirty cock tease. right? Silly me, “girls” don’t make jokes. But my virginal lady bits were a flutter over his sexy goatee, and therefore did not notice the poisonous sentiment.

I can’t believe that it took me nearly ten years to notice that.

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party in consent culture

I usually don’t drink because I’m afraid. I mean, I don’t consciously think, “I’m uncomfortable with this situation.” But last night I went to a party where I did feel 100% safe. It is only when I juxtapose this to other parties that I realized something was wrong.

Even around my nudist friends, I would not get drunk and naked. I was at a (clothed) party with the nudist crowed, and Rich started hitting on me as soon as he found out I did a shot of tequila. Um…. yeah…. (I use his name because I do not protect the identities of would-be rapists who think they just need a girl with beer goggles to get laid, and don’t consider that to have consent neither party’s judgment can be impaired)

But last night was amazing. I’d known some of the people for a decade. Others were new to me, but they were all screened by my friends. And they were all open and honest about sex and relationships, and lots of them had slept with at least one of my friends. (so not only personality screened, but personality in bed screened) My friends would not sleep with people who did not communicate with all their partners. They wouldn’t sleep with someone who used sex to control and gain power.

It was consent culture. I got really drunk for the first time in many many months. I was talking to this guy about everything under the sun. but I had no fears drunk and chatting. It was safe. When I mentioned I was feeling a little too drunk I handed him my drink. He brought me some water. I started to feel better so we bee-lined to the hot tub. Because of our influence the hot tub quickly became a nude space.

I was sitting in a hot tub in mixed company, naked and drunk. It was just hanging out. It wasn’t sexual towards me. There was sex at the party, there were lots of people who sleep with each other at the party. No one grabbed my ass even in jest.

But can you imagine the court case if I was assaulted in that context? she was drunk, why would you be naked if you didn’t intend to have sex? she regularly hangs out naked with old men that she has hugged! She has had sex more than once before! And she was at least a decade younger than all the other people at the party at a big house! She must have been LOOKING for a rich man or something!

I was drunk so I went to bed there, as many people did. I was half naked in one of the guest rooms (they have a Gi-normous house). But I have no doubt that if passed out completely naked on a couch or bed that I would have been perfectly safe. imagine doing that at a frat party.

It is so wonderful that that house is a pocket of consent culture in a wasteland.

It is fucked up that personal safety is remarkable. But I’m glad it exists at all.

why do YOU have sex?

I accidentally came across this article. I skimmed as much as I could so I wasn’t ranting about something I hadn’t read. Now my head hurts. (though it does acknowledge cultural constraints on women’s sexuality)

My biggest problem with the article is that I don’t understand why we need such a study. Or rather, I DO understand why we need such a study and I think ugh.

I know why I have sex. so I’m guessing this article isn’t for me. Who cares why women have sex? oh. MEN. (and maybe lesbians but I’m pretty sure society still thinks that they only exist for men to fantasize about.)

Plus the whole article goes on and on about how women have sex to get back at people, or they are trading favors, or “simply to “keep the peace” at home.” (Um rape culture anyone? 84% of women report this. If saying no was easy and respected this wouldn’t be an issue…)

The article has a tone that implies that this behavior is female in nature. Men’s sex drives are mentioned briefly a couple times, but usually to uphold that men have sex for pleasure or because they are in love, (both in the top 20 reasons men have sex). See it’s those complicated women that make sex complicated!!

Actually, it is not the study itself I cringe at but how the analysis is used. if we looked at how sociologically we are programmed we might find that these results are consistent and indicative of a problem. but the patriarchal lens looking at this study could never make those connections: “More than half of women under 60 still suffer from low sex drive.” Low sex drive in women is a problem for whom? Who is suffering from it really? if I don’t crave chocolate one day am I suffering from lack of interest in chocolate? I mean eating chocolate does bring me pleasure when I do it. so isn’t this the same problem? no. why? because chocolate is just a preference.  And who decides what a “normal” sex drive is?  “Low” is BAD!  why???? If women aren’t interested in having sex whenever a male is, this is seen as problem. Why isn’t that just a preference?

And they only have what people report. People do things all the time without thinking them through, then piece together why. Also there are societal constraints on how we are expected to answer these questions. and women are not supposed to feel pleasure. We are supposed to lie back and think of our country. would that color how people report their reasons for sex? I think so. Its that whole ontological reality thing. we don’t have access to it.

When you have a relationship with someone, no matter how brief, is what 64% of the people do important? no. It is what you and your partner think and communicate. It is how you feel, about how you’re partner feels. Because no specific person will match up with the “general” person on everything, so you must still listen and react and be honest.

Or maybe I’m just being reactionary because this study shows I am in fact a freak of nature because I believe sex should be grounded in consent and pleasure. Plus I think that my body should never have to be used as a bargaining chip because I want to be seen as a whole person, even though I acknowledge that I don’t yet live in that world.

and now for the good news

so though “dubya” is busy destroying The USA’s Rep as a peaceful Law abiding nation (I mean even more so…) I have good news.  That Chamydia test I took came back.  It was definitely one of the weirder texts I have received:

Re: Unitec chlamydia test- Congratulations you don’t have chlamydia! 

 Even though expected, it’s always nice to hear I’m doing well.

Published in: on March 10, 2008 at 7:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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personal experience of the male libido

We all know men are only after 1 thing.  Sex. Sex. Sex.  right?  I’ve posted on the fallacy (heehee… “Phallus-y” ) of this statement before.  But recent events are bringing it to mind once more.

 the last Two guys I’ve made out with have not wanted to go all the way.   Fellow A it was a mutual sort of agreement.  Fellow B was being a damn dirty tease.  Well it’s not his fault.  People go at there own pace, and “their own pace” is even subject to change at different points of their life.  but man, when you are in that moment and don’t get satisfied…it messes with your head. 

 At least he was honest with himself and me.  As far as I know at any rate. 

 I guess I’m anxious because there are deadlines with everyone I’m meeting now.  People are travelling and moving on.  A month is not a long time so I want to make the most of every frickin’ minute.  Everything happens as it does.  once it has happened there is not changing it.  So I can choose to enjoy someone’s company with a big “maybe” hanging around but no promises.  or I can be bitter and push the situation which will make him uncomfortable and distant.  

 yeah the first option sounds better, but it is difficult to do.  Lessons in patience are definitely one’s I need to learn, so it will not be a useless endeavor.  grumble…grumble.

It’s easier to be open about one’s sex life when it’s fairly boring

and yet still awkward.

I was at free concert at a university yesterday. The national health group was passing out free condoms, of which you can never have to many. So I grabbed a bunch. Then the lady asked me, “would you like a free chlamydia screening? It is anonymous and discreet.” I was sitting with two people I had only just met earlier that day. it took all my nerve to say, “sure.”

I haven’t had any vaginal “issues” for a while. The most recent was the damn yeast infections from taking antibiotics when I had an ear infection. Damn non alkalizing environment… But it’s good to know. it’s good to be sure. And since my last routine pap-smear/std check-up (which was all clear…) I have had (protected) PIV with two men and sexual contact (non PIV) with another.

I also Fundementally think other people should be checked regularly. I never think about myself in those terms.. but I want to know that if I sleep with someone they have fairly reliable info that they are free and clear. So really I should do the same for them.

But damn it feels weird. Almost as if checking to see if something is wrong will suddenly cause something to show up on the test. Murphey’s law of STD’s or something. And it was very unconventional for an STD test. but hey it’s free right? I’m supposed to be bumming around this country, where will I get turning down free things?

Anyway, I get given a tube with a swab connected to the top after I fill out the paper work. I then take it in a plain paper bag to a port-a-potty. I try not to touch the interior of the blue smell box while I pull down my shorts and panties. My legs are spread enough so that my clothing doesn’t touch the floor. I look into the paper bag; inside it is plastic bag. It says “biological samples” I’ve got my pants around my shins a paper bag under my arm and I’m opening the ziptop bag take out the swab from the tub and try to get a proper swab of my cervix.

I felt like a moment in a sitcom when the character has to carry one more item and then tries to open the door or something, but the amount of stuff their carrying makes the task hillariously diffficult. I swab as best as I can , secure the swab in the tube, then put it back in the plastic bag, then back in the paper bag. Only then do I pull my pants up. I step out of the port-a-pottie and try to nonchalantly walk back to the health stall and give them my sample. They will email or text my results to me within 10 days. For my trouble I get a box of twelve more condoms in addition to the five or six I grabbed earlier.

I can only hope I get as lucky as the new pile of condoms in my backpack implies.

I heart Planned Parenthood

I was thinking about this more as the controversy over IL is still looming.  So I thought I’d share my experience with them. 

 First off, I’ve never had an abortion and I’ve never been pregnant. 

 But when I was in Highschool I sure didn’t want my mom to know I was considering having sex.  (Even though, looking back, she probably assumed I was sexually active WAY before I was.) 

I was on my parents health insurance so I didn’t want to go through a docter like that, but I was a teenager and didn’t have money to pay out of pocket to see a doctor about my questions.   I was dating an older guy (26) , but was 18.  So everything was legal, just darn awkward. 

 At the time I wasn’t even sure when I was going to “do it.”  I was a virgin.  I’d been dating “old” (as my highschool friends called him) for about 6 months.   I loved him, so I was pretty sure I wanted to have sex with him, but was terribly afraid.  (I’d never even used tampons. ) But I wanted to be prepared.  My sister had an unwanted pregnancy (that turned into a beautiful and very wanted child) just the previous year.  But I was going to go away to college.  I couldn’t have a baby, I needed to go to college.

I went down to the clinic with my then boyfriend.  I was so nervous.  I anxiously asked if he would take an STD test and he agreed.  I was so afraid and I’m still not sure of what.  I wanted him to come with me to the back, but it was against policy.  (a sound one in case some one is in an abusive relationship or something.)  At the time that made me feel a little alone.  Here I was to talk about SEX.  Something that was mysterious and, well, not supposed to be talked about.

So I got on the pill, and they handed me lots of condoms.   

It was because of them that I was never in a postition that I had to choose. 

 This sentiment is echoed here and here.

YAY for truth and knowledge.

Did I mention I can’t stand Peta???

I was tag surfing and someone brought my attention to this article from last month. In general it shows vegans in a very unfavorable light. But The worst part is

While PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, has long advocated people give up meat and go vegetarian, the animal rights group has its misgivings about vegans only sleeping with other vegans.

“Sex is a very effective form of outreach and activism,” said Dan Shannon, a PETA spokesman, and 10-year veteran vegan, who thought meat eaters could be converted by their partners.

EWWWWWW. So I’m supposed to sell my body for the cause. Maybe we should support people sleeping with animals so that they see them as lovers not food. Or do the animals get more respect than women?

That said, I’m dating an omnivore at the moment. but he doesn’t eat meat in the house. Although I sometimes find his love of cheese to be disconcerting. I don’t know if I could ever maintain a long term relationship with an omnivore, but I’m planning on leaving the country in a few months, so this isn’t the “big one” so to speak anyway.

On Hooking Up

It seems like I’ve done nothing but sift through links  about Laura Sessions Stepp as I’m reading blogs recently. The short of it is she has a book on “the hookup culture” that is ruining today’s youth.  or something. 

I pretty much agree with what everyone else is saying.  So I don’t want to blog about that.  But it has got me thinking about my views about me “hooking up” as I haven’t really done it much.   (so much for the “hooking-up culture”)

In theory I think it could be great.  In practice I have turned it down several times.   Why? (this is as much a question to myself and the following is unorganised introspection)

 Well in college I was completely shut down physically.  I was in emotional upheaval for the better part of it.  I was not in a place I could emotionally or physically connect with other people very well.  But I got my degree!  So yay? 

Reasons for being so disconnected from my physical needs:

  1. poor sleep habits
  2. drinking alcohol
  3. eating fried foods
  4. paranoia

 This is college life right?  Never again.  But let’s look at #4.  when I was in highschool my sister got pregnant.  She was 19.  She is now a stay at home mom with a highschool diploma.  my first (and only at the time) experience with sex was so emotional that I couldn’t imaging seperating the act from the emotion. 

I was afraid if i had sex I wouldn’t get my degree.  I was afraid i wouldn’t get my degree anyway.  (My dad almost finished colleged but dropped out in the end.  (but I did get my degree.. at a detriment to my health and well being, but I did it!))

But it was more than that.  I was chronically depressed and stressed out.  None of the situations I found myself in felt “right.”  In fact some of them were really ‘wrong’ feeling.  Like the time I dated the guy who laughed at my body and was so broke that he could not afford to call me. 

 See I’m really glad I didn’t have PIV with him.  or ever even sucked him off.  And while he was the worst, I never really connected with anyone I actually dated during college.  nothing lasted more than a couple months, and I always wanted to take it slowly.  It was never quite right.  I ended up fooling around and having some amount of Sexual relations, but PIV seemed too invasive and personal with any of the opportunities presented

Skip to my life after college.  There’s only been a year and a bit of it so far. May 18 my life began again!  Well, everything else was going well at the time as well.. but the big moment had it’s seed.  The 18th I met a nice young man who I was having a great time flirting with.  on the 20th he was leaving the state to back to school.  The 18th itself we were both covered in muck and really tired… (there was some college event i crashed at ucsd involving a water slide while in my clothes.)  So the 19th I stole him from the friend he was visiting and for the first time in four years and 10 months (exactly) I had PIV.

It was so much fun.  I was in a place where I could connect with another person even if it was ephemeral.  I knew what I was getting into.  He was studying in Pennsylvania, and I was planning on leaving the country at the end of the year.  There was no way it was turning into anything long distance.  Just one day.  Yes I was sad when it ended, but dammit I took what I could get and thoroughly enjoyed myself. 

The next week I started dating someone else, but it didn’t feel right.  So we didn’t do anything and I broke up with him and that nice young man passed through town for 6 days.  That was a fun week.  it sucked when he left.  but I’m so grateful that i was in a place to take advantage of what was offered.

so my in my limitted experience, hooking up can be very good.  I don’t think I’d hook up with people I’d see on a regular basis afterwards.  I mean what’s the point?  If you have great sex with them, then why not just keep doing it? Then you’re either fuck buddies or in a relationship both of which aren’t really just hooking up.  and who wants to hook up if it’s going to  be bad sex?

so Yeah.. In the past two weeks I found myself a boyfriend.  I’ve actually known him about 2 or three months, but I wasn’t paying much attention at the time as I was proccupied with boys from far away.  we didn’t wait long.  My body has been awakened.  I don’t think I could have waited long.  but again.  it feels right.  it might not feel so right in the near future or when I leave the country, but I’ll worry about that then.

College boys can’t “keep up”

I followed a link from Feministing to this article. 

In response to some guys who may have genuine “problems” 

We need to (say it with me) deconstruct gender stereotypes. Not all women are like those described in the article, likewise not all men thrive on casual sexual encounters.

However men are expected to thrive in such an environment, so they have a hard time saying no, or admiting that they are not up to it.  Now when a woman is pressured into having sex, you can just use extra lube if her body is not responding.  they can be pressured into sex even when their body is saying no.  Men don’t have that option.

The big issue is respect.  It is a human thing.  We should respect eachother and if we do not find someone who’s boundries we are comfortable with, move on. 

 No one should be put into a situation where they feel they must do something sexual.  It should be a giving and pleasurable experience for both people.  (or “all people” if you are into that sort of thing.)

The problem is not that women are become more assertive sexual beings, it’s that men are not allowed to not be assertive sexual beings.  If a woman’s sex drive diminishes for a year or two that’s “normal female behavior” so why should anyone get so uptight about it happening to a guy?

 My issues with the rest of them. 

These guys with problems are complaining that women all want sex on the first date.  Well I’ve only recently emerged from academia and there are lots of women who like to wait.  (in college I was definitely one of them) Where are they meeting these people?  Maybe they need to find different types of people instead of just chasing a skirt that their body is telling them they don’t really want. 

 In terms of Conquest.  Ew.  I do believe there are some guys who get off on it.  if that’s what they are getting off on, and it’s lack of conquest causing their impotence, good riddance.  Who wants that anyway?  I’m supposed to feel sorry for a guy because he can no longer assert his power over me physically since i actually want to have sex?  that’s gross.  Impotence is not the problem in this situation.  

If a guy get’s off because he is able to pleasure his partner.  that’s cool, but because he tricked her into sex at all?  give me a break.  I concede pressure is different than force, but for someone to want to have to pressure me?  that seems dangerously close to them wanting to force me.