why must women be the bearer?

Lately, I’ve been reading some things that make it hard for me to maintain a grip on my feelings towards men. I realize, fully and completely, how stupid and pointless and unfair it is to tar an entire gender with the same brush.

And yet. The theme this week seems to be: woman as bearer.

First, a book I just finished this week called Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women. Little surprise, then, that gender and religion and outrages can get very tied together, particularly when the book is written by a Western feminist journalist, who tries & sometimes manages (but sometimes fails) to present a balanced view.
What amazed me most was not so much the restrictions on the lives and freedoms of women (these, I mostly knew about, at least academically) but the reasoning behind them. In case after case, these restrictions – from the intellectually offensive requirement that women speak at a whisper and at a minimum when around males, to the physically and emotionally repugnant genital mutilations – existed because women could too easily arouse men. If a woman smiles at a man, he will believe she loves him; if she speaks to him, he may become too aroused to do his work.

Fast-cut-forward to a NYT piece I read this week that described the “disturbing, frightening, traumatic” experiences of men who had seen their wives give birth, actually seen the little furry head popping out of the body, so to speak. They were upset by the view. They couldn’t think of their wives as sexual afterwards. Who wants to make love to that?

And in each and every instance, it seems like the unspoken text is this: women, you just have to deal with this. We men are just too sensitive to deal with your sexuality, your pain, your very presence. You will have to bear the burden of pushing this watermelon I helped create out all on your own, because my delicate fucking sensibilities are being negatively impacted by merely observing what you must physically endure. We’re sorry we’re so delicate, so quick to arousal and useless once we’re that way, so capable of watching men get blown to bits on screen or in person but incapable of looking at your hair or watching you give birth to our child, but it’s just the way it is, and you women, as you always have, will just have to take up the slack. So sorry. Apologies, and all that.

It, in a sardonic way, reminds me of the line Sharon Stone utters in Catwoman, probably the best line in the whole movie: “I’m a woman, detective. I’m used to doing all kinds of things I don’t want to do.”

I can’t help it. It just makes me want to take every single one of these men, the men in the book and the men in the article, and shake them, shake them in a way that would get a British nanny fired, until their useless soft little brains are mere putty against their thick skulls and they can no longer hurt, or even stress out, the women in their lives.

Oh, some days I just think the Amazons had the right of it…

sex toys and Stephen King

Mark Morford was telling me this morning all about something that he thinks is the most sex-positive thing to happen in simply ages.
The news is simple. Amazon sells sex toys. (Okay, that’s not exactly news. But I love his take on it.)

What a wonderful message this sends. What a desperately needed notion for a sex-starved and deeply misinformed, orgasmically uncertain nation. It is this: Sex and the heavenly toys that enhance and enliven it need not be some secret ugly thing, hidden, hesitant, embarrassing, separate from your “regular” life.

I have to agree. People’s shame about this is so patently ridiculous and backward and so not in the direction we need to go. Sex is normal. Masturbation is normal. Getting lubed up and trying a new buzzing sex toy is not only normal but wonderful and if you haven’t done it lately then why not? There are days when I feel we need billboards proclaiming this from sea to shining sea. Full-page ads in the NY Times. That sort of thing.

However, I will say that I’m also nervous. Nervous that the reason Amazon still carries this stuff isn’t because they’re committed to this concept but because no major right-wingers have freaked on their heads yet. Not to say that I don’t think that Amazon is a clever company – I do, and they have many, many of my dollars to prove it – but I also think they’re a company, a big one, and I’ve yet to see a big company stand up to the kind of right-wing close-your-knees sex-is-only-for-procreation (in the dark, with clothes still on) publicity wheel that can get grinding when someone who says they’re about family but clearly doesn’t believe in the act that CAUSES them decides to Protect Our Values and Our Children.

Time will tell, I suppose. I hope Amazon’s got the spine and the internal commitment to stand up to this kind of attack (because you know it will come. you know you do.).
In the meantime, go! Buy a new battery vibe (702 products) or lube (2941 products) already!

(2941 different species of lube? Really?)

the office flirtation

I’ve recently been reading Sex in the Office, yet another in a long series of Black Lace short story collections, and I have to admit, the whole Sex in the Office thing does it for me.

Actually, the whole forbidden fruit thing does it for me, period, but that’s a whole other post. 🙂

Even if there isn’t any sex, the promise of sex, the teasing and tantalizing and flirtation of the office crush is a heady experience.

It’s about adrenaline. Adrenaline surging through your veins when you talk to him, when he talks to you, when that look gets exchanged. It’s like working with sweet wine running through your veins.

Every sense heightened.

Even more important in this day and age is the digital flirt while at the office. You’re sitting apart, maybe at opposite ends of the building, and to everyone else it looks like you’re working. But you’re not. You’re saying saucy and salacious things via email with a coworker (or even more tempting, a boss), and like Bridget Jones says, the sending of flirty emails can be seductive.

It’s like one, long, drawn out, heart stopping, toe curling, tease. What’s more, there are a LOT of times when that’s all there is – it never gets further than that.

But damn while it lasts, aren’t you turned on? Aren’t you hyper aware of each of your naughty bits under your casual business attire? Doesn’t the restroom, the broom closet, the service elevator, start to look a whole lot different to you?

Don’t you just start imagining hot sweaty sex in all kinds of inappropriate places? (Elevators and boardrooms were always my two downfalls – for fantasies, at least.) Haven’t you noticed that your desk has just enough space and darkness underneath it to hide another person, if they were REALLY quiet?

The office flirtation can be brutal if it ends badly, if people get hurt, if you’re caught breaking the rules. But while it lasts – whoo baby, some hot and gooey fun can be had.