Saturday, April 25, 2009

Grant Stoddard: Men Have It Worse

Do men really have it worse? I'd agree that men are more uptight now than we have been in decades. But are we more "oppressed" than women? Good question - Grant Stoddard thinks we are. This comes from The Daily Beast, which is rapidly becoming one of the more interesting (though conservative) blogs on the web.
Grant Stoddard: Men Have It Worse

BS Top - Sexual Latitude MEN

The author of Working Stiff: The Misadventures of an Accidental Sexpert says men suffer more from the classic sexual double-standard more than women. Plus, read Susannah Breslin's rebuttal.

A new Canadian study portends that men have societal constraints placed on their sexual repertoire whilst women are enjoying an era of growing acceptance of almost any theatricality between, on top of, or, increasingly, completely divorced from the sheets. It’s taken the participation of 104 undergrads in a University of Saskatchewan study to determine something I’ve known for quite some time: While I’m supposed to honor requests to slap, restrain, throttle, and enable any Sapphic whim a woman may wish to actualize, a libidinous digression from me means putting an already tattered reputation on the line. Technically speaking, I’m a man, and as such, I’m obligated to keep it simple.

What was playful, de rigueur fun for a woman becomes a rather more complex proposition when suggested by a man—one that could see him at odds with his peers and ostracized from the dating pool.

From 2001 to 2004 I wrote an immersive, pseudo-anthropological column about fringe sexuality for Nerve.com. In the years since, a lot of the activities I wrote about have been brought out of the shadows into the sexual lexicon, enjoyed by people who don’t belong to a sexual subculture or have made a deliberate lifestyle choice. Furthermore, this trend doesn’t seem to be driven by men. The ubiquity of pornography, celebrity sex tapes, a decrease in the collective attention span— I can only guess what the causes are, but over the past decade girls have been, in my experience, getting freakier, particularly in more casual hook-ups.

Though I personally find some of these behaviors, amusing, icky, or occasionally mildly upsetting, I applaud and am inspired by the explorative and uninhibited attitude women are embodying in their sexual conduct. I don’t try to psychoanalyze or pass judgment; I dutifully do what I’m told to the best of my abilities and within the confines of federal law. But what would happen if I asked for what remains of my hair to be pulled, my ass slapped, or to be called a string of nasty names that refer to my undiscerning promiscuity? What if I suggested we invite another gentleman into a sexual act with a female partner? What was playful, de rigueur fun for a woman becomes a rather more complex proposition when suggested by a man—one that could see him at odds with his peers and ostracized from the dating pool.

So women seem to have carte blanche to express every hue of their sexuality. This is in addition to being able to pick and choose male sexual partners at will. Paradoxically, it’s resolutely acceptable for a woman to be uninterested in having sex at a moment’s notice. On several occasions I’ve been invited back to girls’ apartments in the early hours of the morning, ostensibly for intercourse. On a few of those occasions, upon arriving at their respective stoops, I’ve had second thoughts and declined their kind offer. Their befuddled expressions implored me to explain myself. When I didn’t, they verbalized their need for an explanation: “I’m allergic to cat dander,” I say. Or: “I have to pick up my parents from the airport.” “I have to cram for a real-estate exam.” In truth, I simply wasn’t wasn’t feeling like having sex with them or anybody else, and for no reason in particular.

Each of these incidents incited the miffed woman to disseminate mild hearsay about my sexual orientation or general oddness. On the many, many occasions when a woman has declined sex with me, no explanation was necessary. I just ran off into the night. I didn’t immediately cite their closeted homosexuality or some sort of sex-related trauma. I respected their good judgment and thought about getting some lifts in my shoes or doing more push-ups. And that’s the tragedy.

At 21, ungainly wallflower Grant Stoddard came to the United States from England in pursuit of true love. After eighteen months of couch-surfing and heartbreak, he stumbled into a job at Nerve.com as New York's most intrepid sex columnist, despite having little experience in either sex or writing. His memoir, Working Stiff: The Misadventures of an Accidental Sexpert (Harper Perennial) has been optioned by Paramount Vantage. He currently resides in British Columbia, Canada.

In the interest of balance, here is the opposing point of view, from Susannah Breslin, also at The Daily Beast.

Women Have It Worse

by Susannah Breslin

BS Top - Sexual Latitude WOMEN

The author of the blog Reverse Cowgirl and noted sex writer says promiscuous women still suffer from the classic sexual double-standard more than men who can’t get laid. Plus, read Grant Stoddard’s rebuttal.

For years, it’s been widely held that women have been accorded far less freedom of sexual expression than men. If a woman is too sexually adventurous, too promiscuous, too “freaky” in the sack, she gets labeled a slut. In contrast, men have been lauded for their sexual prowess, “high-fived for wantonness,” accorded “player” status for acting like studs.

Now the tables have turned, the study claims, and it’s women who are granted more freedom to experiment sexually, and men who are expected to fulfill their sexual stereotype. God help the oversexed frat boy who wants to get freaky. Whether it’s homoerotic fantasies, cross-dressing, or sadomasochism, only women are socially “permitted” to partake in exploring sexuality, the study finds, whereas guys must adhere to what’s expected of them. But has this study got it right—or totally wrong?

Take a look at the young women who write openly about their sex lives online, and what you’ll find is that trailing along behind them is a line of rabid attackers looking to punish them for doing so.

Having spent the last decade writing about sex, I’ve talked to all kinds of people about their sex lives, from the professional dominatrix to the girl next door, the stud-for-hire to the married john, the college student to the adult-film star. Over the years, the mainstreaming of pornography, the rise of the Internet, and the single-handed crotch-flashing efforts of Britney Spears have brought sex to the forefront of public discourse like never before. Yet, despite all this “progress,” I’ve found that it’s women who remain subjected to the sexual double-standard. The evidence is written across the Internet.

Take a look at the young women who write openly about their sex lives online, and what you’ll find is that trailing along behind them is a line of rabid attackers looking to punish them for doing so. The more high-profile among them spawn lightning-rod debates as they reveal their sexual proclivities in provocative blog posts and graphic cellphone pics. When Lena Chen, a Harvard student and sex blogger, posted a shot of her face after oral sex, Gawker pronounced it the “Worst Overshare Anywhere Ever”—and republished the “horribly oversharey” photo (it was later cropped to a thumbnail). It’s as if when women choose to exercise their sexual freedoms, men can’t quite figure out whether to love them or hate them for it.

What, exactly, are these women being ostracized for—being sexual, experimenting sexually, or having the guts to put themselves out there as representatives of a generation of a women who don’t want to fit into preconceived boxes of “how they’re supposed to be” in bed? It’s a mix of all of the above, but the consequences remind everyone that if women go public with their sexuality, if they go “too far,” if they become sexual “players” whose “numbers” threaten to outdo the bedpost notches of their Don Juan peers, they’ll catch heat for it.

Sure, women are freer to explore their sexuality—as long as it doesn’t threaten the male status quo. Tucker Max’s sex-and-brews fratire biopic, I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, will be released later this year, but don’t expect to find the chronicles of a sexually emancipated post-feminist coming to theaters near you anytime soon.

Susannah Breslin is a freelance journalist and blogger. Currently, she is at work on a novel set in the adult movie industry.

What do you think?


1 comment:

MissMysterics said...

Interesting article, and it looks a both sides of the argument, that's lacking in so many articles here.
Though
"What, exactly, are these women being ostracized for—being sexual, experimenting sexually, or having the guts to put themselves out there as representatives of a generation of a women who don’t want to fit into preconceived boxes of “how they’re supposed to be” in bed?"
The problem is they are talking about something private in public, peopel will generally get critised for talking about their private life in public, it could be sex, their relationships, their emotions, people arn't happy when they see private things in public.
It suggests that such person doesn't even know what privicy is.