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Friday, January 11, 2013

Does the sex debate exclude men?

"To have doubted one's own first principles is the mark of a civilized man." - Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

***

A Point Of View: Does the sex debate exclude men?

"Sex is everywhere in modern society - but why are women doing all the talking about it...

Once again the snake pit of policing sexual behaviour and the conflict between men and women's perceptions of it have become news, such as the would-be US senator who claimed that after what he called "legitimate rape" women's bodies protect them from pregnancy, and George Galloway's assertion that what Julian Assange did or didn't do in bed in Sweden was simply bad sexual etiquette...

The proverbial Martian arriving to study contemporary sexual behaviour might find him/ her/ itself most confused. All one can say is welcome to the human race. The story of how men and women negotiate doing the one thing necessary to continue their existence, is a complex and often painful one...

You don't have to go back far to find a time when rape was an acceptable last resort of courtship... the young woman was used goods and marriage was the only option. As such, this was merely an extension of a deeper view of women imbedded not just in law but also in the religious culture that informed it...

For years now it has been women who have made the cultural running when it comes to really talking about sex.

Feminism spawned a huge debate about all such things. From the uncompromising idea that all intercourse is close to rape because it is about subjugation, to those like Camille Paglia or Katie Roiphe who took modern women to task for not taking enough responsibility for their own behaviour: if we are to own our desire and be equal players in this dangerous game - we have to careful how and when we chose to paint ourselves as victims...

The director of a charity for victims of domestic abuse recently called for Fifty Shades of Grey to be burnt, claiming it portrayed female abuse in ways not dissimilar to the crimes of Fred West. Except this is fiction and the heroine in the novel is getting pleasure out of the pain...

If these novels had been written by and for men highlighting the S rather than the M and outselling Antony Beevor and footballers' biographies there would be any army of women commentating on it.

And that, I suppose, is what worries me. Where are the heavy-weight male voices debating contemporary sexuality?...

In the aftermath of feminism growing up male can be hard: but where are the big public conversations about men's sexuality...

Such admissions will not necessarily be politically correct. Sex often isn't. It doesn't help that when men do open their mouths on the larger stage, they are firmly shot down. Both George Galloway and our now ex-Justice Secretary Ken Clarke might have been ill advised in their remarks about sexual behaviour and the law, but like it or not, they thought something needed saying, only to be met by a storm of female outrage that effectively stifled all debate. Yes, we have a long way to go. But we can't do it without the views of men"


Comments:

"Why bother ? Decent men are not as stupid as we look. It is easier to learn from the Alpha male Bad Boys who women of all ages (and educational levels) so love. They don't bother entering into a debate. Thank god for pornography. A little light relief for the ordinary decent men of this world. But of course we get criticised for watching it, unlike 50 Shades which is OK because it's for women!"

"what were seeing now is a reluctance by many "normal" men to voice any opinion for fear of untold retribution. The alleged oppressors have become the oppressed!... women seem to be so wrapped up in how they feel about sex, sexuality, relationships nowadays that they seem to have forgotten that there's another person involved and a totally different perspective to share and work with!"

"I have heard female colleagues talking about things in the office that would land a man right in front of their line manager under a disciplinary hearing"

"now that online porn is ubiquitous, what does it tell you regarding what men find attractive in a woman? Answer: just about every size / shape / colour / combination of features you can think of!"

"Fifty Shades of Grey seems to have opened a sore within the feminist community... their aim of women taking charge of their own sexuality doesn't seem to include the desire to be dominated"

"it seems that Ms. Dunant is perplexed by another difference betweent the sexes, i.e. that men do not generally spend great deals of time analyzing their interests. One's love of Manchester United football can be summed up a in a single sentence and so can men's view of sex...IT'S ENJOYABLE!"
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