Saturday, May 31, 2014

#NotAllMen, #YesAllWomen – A Donovan's Door Story

Maybe Because: 
A Short Story 
* Because this is a different story than you're used to seeing me post, I wanted to preface it first. Because of the current climate going on in our world at the moment, it's a story I wanted to tell. That I felt compelled to tell. 
Because we're really good at telling each other to be good to one another, but we're not as great at telling each other how to be good to one another. And that's a fault on all of us. 
Because, yes, not all men harass and, I'd like to think, most men actively don't want to harass. But too many women still feel harassed. And often by men who hadn't meant to do so. Who honestly didn't think they were. Who were never told that was what they were doing.
 THIS is the problem. 
We all need to look at what we're doing to each other and how it's being received. Because the script far too many of us are using--myself included--is causing too much damage. There has to be a better, more truthful way.
Because I just can't believe that this is an unsolvable problem. I just cannot believe that there is no way for both men and women to get what they want. And, though I know we're all a little tired of hearing and talking about this issue, the only practical way to fix it is through awareness and education. Through a little communication.
Because how will we ever get what we want, if we keep hurting the people--men and women alike--who we want it from? 

Lyndsey Wayne sat back against the pleather booth's back, stretching, as she blinked her tired eyes. It was finals season and she was not ready. Sure, she'd studied and worked hard all semester, but there was just so much to cover and only so much time to do it. And, if she wanted to stay on the Dean’s List and keep her scholarships, she needed to do well.

She leaned back, letting the cushy seat cuddle and arch her back. Get it together; you’ve got this. In a week and a half, the semester would be done and she’d have some time to relax. Until then, she just had to work hard and get through finals. She shook her head, trying to wake up her mind again, before she took another sip of her mocha smoothie and turned back to her economics book.

 “Hey,” she heard a voice say cheerfully.

Lyndsey looked up and blinked at the guy who’d just sat down across from her at the table. She stiffened. Haut Café was a popular college campus hangout and could attract all kinds of people, from Do you have a relationship with God folks to We’re raising money for our intramural softball team types. Lyndsey looked this guy up and down. He didn’t look like a jock. Didn’t really look like he wanted to share the word of God either—if that really had a look.

He looked…normal enough. With dark blond hair that was teetering that line between too long and just right for his face, like he’d put off getting a trim because of finals or a gap between pay periods. He had bright, hazel eyes that were maybe a touch too big, giving him a wide-eyed, youthful look. And his thin lips were spread in a friendly smile that showed just a hint of teeth. He looked like the sweet, soft-jawed star of a nerd-to-riches teen movie. “I was just sitting over there,” he told her as he pointed to a table by the window on the other side of the café, “and saw you and wondered if I could buy you a drink.”

She smiled back at him and reached for her still half-full mocha. “Thanks,” she said as she tilted her drink, “but I’ve got one.”

His smile widened as he lifted his shoulder in a flirtatious half-shrug. “A re-fill then.”

Lyndsey studied him again. He was trying. She could see that. There was a genuine eagerness in his eyes. A slight nervous tension in his smile. And Lyndsey had asked enough people out to know that, each time you do, it’s an act of courage to break out of your conditioned comfort zone.

But it was finals week. “I’m sorry,” she told him, letting her own smile curve sympathetically. She didn’t want to hurt or disappoint this guy. She didn’t. Really hated to do it. “But I’m kinda busy right now; I really need to study.”

“Oh, I know,” he said, just as sympathetically as he threw his arm over the booth’s half-wall as he rolled his eyes in commiseration. “I was doing the same thing before I came over,” he said as he kicked his very full backpack that rested against the booth, “and just really needed a study break.” He shrugged and gestured to her invitingly, giving her a complimentary nod. “But then I saw you and you looked like maybe you could use a break too,” he explained as his voice gained a hopeful tone, “so I thought maybe we could take one together.”

Lyndsey paused, feeling curiously put off, and shrugged. “Thank you.” She guessed. To be fair, it’d sounded like compliment; she wondered why it didn’t really feel like one. “But I really can’t right now.” 

His gaze narrowed as his hazel eyes dimmed—darkened—a bit as he frowned. “Why not?”

She gestured to the books and the highlighters and the notes spread all over the table’s surface a little obviously. “Because I need to study.”

He gave her a jovially disbelieving grin. “And you can’t take one five-minute break?” he asked skeptically.

She shook her head as she leaned to rest her forearms on the open economics book in front of her. “No.”

He rolled his eyes again, the hazel depths definitely looking harder and less friendly now. “Is five minutes really going to make-or-break your test?” He smiled at her again but, this time, it felt more like a smirk. Like a joke he knew she didn’t get. “Studies show that taking regular study breaks can actually improve your score.”

“That’s interesting,” she said as she picked up her highlighter and held it to her book’s pages like a neon-colored hint, “but I still can’t.”


She sighed and put down the highlighter. “Does it matter?”

He leaned forward, his lips still curved in an expression that should have felt welcoming. That shouldn’t have felt so irritating. It shouldn’t have felt like his posture was invading her space. It shouldn’t have felt like his every word was pushing a boundary she wasn’t even aware was there until he kept crossing it. “I just want to know,” he said as he reached over to touch the corner of her book.

Lyndsey felt her temper rise and pursed her lips, letting a short breath huff through her nose. Don’t get mad. This isn’t enough to get mad over. Just end the conversation. Shut it down. Move on. “I’m just not interested.”

“Ouch,” he said, his eyebrows raising as he sat back. The look of shocked hurt on his face made her feel a little bad, even though she knew she had no reason to. “The least you could do is tell me why.”

She leaned back and crossed her arms over her chest. “Why?”

“What?” he asked, his voice shaking with laughter as he looked at her confused, waiting for the punchline.

“I told you that I’m not interested;” she repeated, her voice rising alongside her temper, “what difference does it make why I’m not? What difference does it make if I take the time I already told you I don’t have to explain it to you?” 

“Jeez,” he hissed, hunching his shoulders, as he looked around embarrassed, “you know, all this time you’ve spent arguing with me, we could have just had a drink together already.” He shook his head, disappointed and disapproving. “Wouldn’t that have been nicer and easier than fighting over this? I don’t understand why you’re making one drink such a big deal?”

She scoffed. How was it that having a drink with him was supposed to be such a simple, easy thing for her, but not having a drink with her was such a big deal for him? How was it that, when he tried to argue a point, he was just making conversation but, when she did, he acted as if she were making a scene?

And, okay, so she was getting a little loud. But the guy wasn’t listening to her. 

And, okay, yeah, she knew that more volume probably wasn’t going to make more of a difference. Not if he wasn't interested in what she had to say in the first place.

So she took a deep breath. 

“Maybe,” she said as calmly as she could, “because I have a drink. Maybe because I have to study.” She ran her hand over her hair, ruffling the short, blond strands as she shrugged, struggling to keep an even tone, even as her words sped. “Maybe because I have three finals and two papers to do and a crapton of work that needs to be done before I can finish any of them. Maybe because I’ve got family issues that are taking up too much of my time at the moment to leave room for anything else. Maybe because I don’t have time to devote to a relationship. Maybe because I’m queer and I’ve found that happenstance meet-ups usually don’t work well for me. Maybe because I’m already in a relationship.” 

She took a much needed breath. “Or maybe,” she told him, looking him in the eye, “because I came to this restaurant alone, I sat at a table alone, I ate my dinner alone, and am sitting here trying to study alone because, right now, I want to be alone.” 

She gave a humorless laugh. “Does it really matter?” She jutted her jaw and shook her head. “And, if it does, pick the answer you like the best, go back to your table, and have a nice study break by yourself.”

For a moment, he just blinked blankly at her before his smile became a sneer. “God, fine, I get it. You’re not interested;” he said, throwing his hands up in the air helplessly, “there’s no reason to be a bitch about it.”

“You think that was me being a bitch?” she balked. He clearly had no idea what she was capable of. “You know what? The real reason I don’t want to have a drink with you now—right now, in this very moment—is that, on our first introduction, with the lowest relationship stakes possible, you couldn’t take no for an answer.” 

Again, she saw his eyes dart around.


She slapped her hand on the table. He wasn’t going to look away; he was going to listen to her. This was important. “Before we’d even exchanged names, you somehow thought that you knew better than I do how my time should be spent, that you knew what would be easier and nicer for me.” Her hand flew out to point at the table—all the way across the café—that he’d been sitting at before he’d decided to crash-land into her world. “Just because I happened to be sitting in your line of view, you thought I owed you a yes simply because that’s what you wanted and your leaving here with what you wanted was more important to you than hearing—really listening—to what I clearly told you I wanted.”

“How is that any different than what you’re doing?” he asked, his own voice getting louder. “I just wanted to have a drink with you—because I thought you looked pretty and nice and like someone I’d want to get to know—but you just want me to get lost. Without even giving me a chance.” He sat back defensively. “How is that fair?”

“Because you have the right to ask me for something, like my time and attention,” she told him, though it boggled her mind that she had to, “that doesn’t obligate me to give it to you.”  She shook her head. “Look, you asked me for some of my time. I told you no; I don’t have the time to spare. But you took that time anyway. When you knew I didn’t want to give it to you. You’ve done this now—this early in the game, when only my time is on the line—what exactly do you think you've done so far to deserve a chance? To show me that you're the kind of guy I would want to—or even should—give a chance to? If you would ignore me when I tell you no now, how can you expect me to believe you're not the type of guy who would ignore me if I said no—to a date or a relationship or to sex—later?” 

She glared at him as he craned his neck away from her, his face paling with disbelief and umbrage. 

Now, call me a bitch.

“Look,” he said as he crossed his own arms and leaned back in the booth, “I just wanted to do something nice. Buy you a drink. God forbid a man do something nice for a woman! He must have ulterior motives? He must be secretly out to rape you?” He shook his head disgustedly, his longish, blond strands flicking against his frowning face. “You know, not all men are like that. We’re not all rapists and monsters trying to prey on women. Some of us are actually nice guys who respect women.” He crossed his legs under the table, closing himself in, making himself small, as he studied her with a wounded eye. “Remember this moment the next time you complain that there are no nice guys out there. Maybe if you were nicer to us when we try to do something nice for you, there’d be more of us out there.”

She shook her head, marveling at his nerve. Because her time was something he’d paid for with his kindness? That, because he’d paid her a compliment, she now owed him something in return? “The fact that you think not listening to me or giving a damn about what I think or say or want is nice or respectful,” she said, emphasizing her point with a definitive and dismissive wave of her hand, “that’s why I’d really like you to leave now.”

Like a rubber band, his body snapped straight as he stamped his feet against the floor and slammed his hands on the booth’s cushion, making Lyndsey jump. He leaned forward, crouched accusingly, as he glared at her. “You know what? Thank you for being the girl that teaches me that it’s better to be a jerk than a nice guy to women.” He cocked his head, almost victoriously. Though what he’d won, Lyndsey couldn’t even guess. “Thanks for teaching me that all girls want is someone to be a dick to them.”

“Believe me,” she told him, closing her book before snatching up the rest of her stuff off the table’s surface, “you didn’t need me to teach you that. You’ve been doing a textbook example of that ridiculous assumption this whole time.” Because she could tell, by the way he acted, by the things he said, that he already held that belief and veiled it in the pretense of social niceties. He wasn't nice to her because he was a nice guy; he was aping at niceness—going through the motions of what nice guys do—to get what he wanted. 

This wasn't about getting to know her; this was about getting her. If he cared about being nice, he would have recognized that she was busy and tried again later. Maybe got her number or her email so they could get together later.

But this was never about her. 

It was about him.

What he wanted.

When he wanted it.

How he wanted it.

Even at the expense of the person he wanted it from.

Haphazardly, Lyndsey shoved everything into her bag, not even bothering to zip the awkwardly stuffed pack before throwing it over her shoulder and standing up. “So, excuse me. Because, if you’re not going to leave me alone, I’ll leave.”

She made her way to the counter with her head held high and her eyes focused on the cash register. She just wanted to pay for her meal and go back to her room. Hopefully, her neighbors would be quiet and she could get some work done there. With every step, the burger and mocha churned in her stomach with a rage she didn’t even understand.

Why was she so mad right now? 

The guy hadn’t even been that bad. 

Pushy? Sure. 

Entitled? Oh yeah. 

Pouty? God, yes. 

But she’d dealt with worse guys. Guys who yelled graphic obscenities at her on the street, making her—no matter what she wore—feel naked and vulnerable. Guys who groped first and dealt with the blowback after. Guys who followed too close or too long while she walked alone on the street. Or even guys who’ve grabbed at her, trying to pull her into hallways, alleyways, or cars. Even some of the things her own father—a man who was supposed to love her but could too often be too conservative and old-fashion to find a way to be on her side—said at times felt worse than that guy.

She’d been dealing with this since she was twelve. She’d experienced real, honest fear—for her life—before. 

That guy? 

Psh, he was nothing.

Not even worth her time.

One more guy in a long line of guys just like him. Ones that had come before and the ones—she was sure—would inevitably come after. She should have just ignored him. Or made him go away with some kind of lie. Placated him with a fake number or some story about how she was waiting for her boyfriend. Made him someone else’s problem—the next girl’s problem—so she didn’t have to deal with him.

Why hadn’t she just done the easy thing? Why did she even care? Why did it still get to her? Every time.

Because it did get to her. Every time.

No matter how often it happened. No matter how much worse it could have been. It all felt like different degrees of the same tediously unfair point. Different actions—some devastating and some relatively harmless, with most somewhere in between—that stemmed from the same line of thought.

That, for no real reason at all, these guys had some kind of say over her. What she should think. What she should do. And having someone feel like they ought to have more control over her life than she did always—always—left her feeling like shit. Left her feeling…well, out of control. Out of sorts. Wrong. Like she had something to prove. Like she was being asked to prove that she had the right to control her own damned life. To someone who would never think someone had the right to ask the same of them.

She dumped her bag on the counter and began to dig through it to find her wallet that had been lost in the hurry and flurry of righteous anger and multi-colored pens. What a mess.

“Excuse me,” she heard a voice say softly beside her.

She clenched her jaw and looked up, really not in the mood to deal with anyone else. She just wanted to pay and go home.

She felt bad when another guy—a slim, visibly shy brown-haired boy this time—stepped back, almost bumping into the counter. “Sorry,” he said, holding his hands out, “I don’t mean to disturb you.” He shrugged as he ran his hand through his hair. “It’s just that I caught the tail end of that and I wanted to step in,” he insisted, before lifting an unsure shoulder again, “but you seemed to have everything under control.” 

Under control? Was that what he saw? She almost laughed.

He tilted his head and bit his lip a bit nervously. “And, all I want to say is that,” he took a breath before saying in a rush, “I think you're amazing.”

This time, she did laugh. What? She smiled and looked at him funny. “Uh, thank you?”

He winced as he looked down at his feet. He shook his head and crossed lanky limbs behind his back, before he explained, “What I mean is, I’m writing this paper for my film class about the role of male sexuality in a feminist world. About whether the two can co-exist peaceably—and, hopefully, mutually beneficially—in the same world and what that would look like.” He peeked up at her with brown, wondering eyes. “And I was wondering if I could setup some time with you.” He took another half-step backward and quickly added, “It doesn’t have to be right now; I could even wait until after your finals are done, but I’d just like to ask you some questions.”

She narrowed her gaze at this new guy. Like she’d said, he was slim. Almost skinny. With a waist and hips that might be smaller than her own. But he had shoulders that jutted out in angles that he seemed to still be growing into. She watched him fidget with his hands, his fingers long and almost gracefully made. And he was pale, so white the embarrassed flush creeping up his neck looked harsh against his skin. He looked like someone who was probably stronger than he appeared. Who was in the fledgling state of strength and growth. 

Idly, she wondered what kind of man he would one day grow into.

He shrugged again, shuffling his sneakered feet at her judging silence. “I’d just really like to hear your thoughts on the topic.”

Instinctively, a part of her wondered if this was just some lame excuse to hit on her. If he was just a better, sneakier pick-up artist than the other guy. A smoother operator.

But what if he wasn’t. 

What if he was what he appeared to be. Just a guy who wanted to ask her some questions. To know what she thought. Who seemed actually respectful and understanding and was willing to work with her to get what he wanted, while still letting her have what she needed.

You know, not all men are like that. Some of us are actually nice guys who respect women.

She tilted her head and hesitated. “We could do it after I’m done with my finals?” she clarified, her tone reservedly suspicious.

“Absolutely,” he nodded, before blushing again. He gave a small smile that definitely felt like a come-on. But felt like a compliment too. “I think getting your opinion on my paper will be worth asking for an extension.”

She smiled and looked down, feeling her own face flush. 

“I’m Porter, by the way,” he told her, reaching out his hand to her. “Porter Green.”

She nodded and shook his hand, feeling the warm clasp of his grip

meet hers. “Lyndsey,” she greeted, the warmth of their hold spreading through her. She took a breath when they both let go of each other’s hands. “You know, Porter, I really won’t have much time until after finals are done,” she told him. She reached her hand into her bag again, pulling out her lost wallet. “But, if you don’t mind walking with me to my dorm,” she said with an inviting shrug, “maybe we could at least get started now.”

Please check out my story, "Safeword," in this new anthology from SinCyr Publishing, where women reclaim and recognise their power in myriad ways, and it's not always pretty. 
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Friday, May 30, 2014

Why #NotAllMen is Not All That Helpful

what saying “not all men” actually does:
  • refuses to acknowledge that gender violence happens too often
  • takes the focus off the men who are violent and/or misogynistic
  • refuses to acknowledge that even good guys can enable the problem
  • makes the conversation about men and semantics instead of the epidemic levels of violence against women
what saying “not all men” does not do:
  • reveal a fascinating new insight that we didn’t know

You know, the “not all men are like that” argument…it isn’t as helpful as the many, many, many well-intentioned, good guys who say it want it to be. 

I promise, every woman also knows men who aren’t like that; likely the men who say “not all men” are one of those men they know who isn’t like that. We know that there are many, many, many men who are not like that. What we want people—including those well-intentioned, good guys—to know is that the number who aren’t good guys isn’t as small as that phrase makes it sound.

As women, we can’t find as much comfort in the fact that most men won’t be threats to us than men can because we still have to live in a world where far too many men are threats. You won’t be aggressive toward us, great! Fantastic and thank you! But that’s not really stopping the guys who will.

When we hear “not all men are like that/I’m not like that,” what we hear is that, as a good guy, you’ve done your part. You know that there are men out there who are making the world unsafe for women, but you’re not one of them. So, as far as you’re concerned, you’re not a problem—the men you know aren’t a problem—so, unless it’s happening right in front of you, there’s nothing more to be done. 

In other words, if it’s not happening right in front of me, ladies, you’re on your own. If it’s not happening right in front of me, I won’t stand up for you. If it’s not happening right in front of me, I don’t see the problem. If it’s not happening right in front of me, I don’t want to hear about it.

It’s the life equivalent of “Show, don’t tell.” Please, don’t feel like you have to tell us that not all men are like that. Show us. Instead of saying “not all men are like that,” that shifts the discussion away from the horrible things the men who are like that do and makes the women who speak up against them the people in the wrong who need to be corrected, tell us, “Those guys suck; I’m sorry. Is there something I can do to help?” 

Keep the focus where it belongs, on the fact that those men who harass women are wrong. They’re the ones who need to be corrected. They’re the ones who need to change.

There is an “us vs them” relationships going on here, but it isn’t “men vs women.” It needs to be “harassers vs non-harassers.” That’s the framework that this needs to be viewed from. You want to show us that you are not them, then be part of us. Be part of the people trying to find ways to make this stop. Not just when you see it, not just in that one, singular moment you happen to witness. Show us that we have your support all the time. That harassment and entitlement are always unacceptable, not just when a man is there to step in.

Because we know not all men are like that. What we want is there to be less men like that. We want to live in a world where the men who would harass women, who feel like we’re prizes to be won or exist to provide them pleasure, don’t feel safe doing so. We want to live in a world where the men who would harass women or treat them as less won’t because they know that type of behavior won’t be tolerated. By anyone. We want to live in a world where we don’t have to be on guard for them, but where they have to be on guard for us. All of us, men and women alike.

Yeah, I Know We're All Tired of Hearing About It


Thursday, May 15, 2014

To Aphrodisiac or Not?

Why is it that a lot of aphrodisiacs--tripe, rhino horn, ambergris, Spanish fly--put me more in the mood to be sick than get it on?

I'm all for wanting better sex--and a 400% increase in sex drive is impressive--but I'm not willing to chug liquefied sheep stomach to get it. Call me crazy.

Especially since science has pretty much agreed that, while certain foods may increase things like blood flow or energy or may be nutritious enough to give you an overall feeling of good health or even just have enough innuendo in them to placebo you into arousal, "No food has been scientifically proven to stimulate the human sex organs."

I guess whatever gets you there gets you there and that's the important bit. But, if I'm going to pick a scientifically iffy food that will improve my sex life, I'm going with the ones I already love. 

Hand me my chocolate and coffee and let's have a good night!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

You Really Should Be the Best Lover You've Ever Had

"Because if you don't wanna have sex with you, why the hell would [anyone else]?" (Robert Luketic, The Ugly Truth)

So often, when people tell me that they don't like masturbation, it's said with such discomfort and disgust. And, personally, I just don't understand why. So often they say that it feels impersonal. Distant. Cold. That, without a partner, sex feels pathetic.

How could that possibly be?

And I know that everyone's body is different and everyone is entitled to their own experiences but, like I said before, no one does, will, or ever should know your body better than you do. If someone else can give you an orgasm better, faster, and more efficiently, you should get them to teach you.

Because your pleasure should never be dependent on someone else. You should never have to rely on someone else for your orgasm. It should never feel like something you need someone else to give to you. After all, people come into and out of our lives without warning; the only person guaranteed to always be with you for the rest of your life is you.

Don't get me wrong; I love partnered sex. There's a rhythmic dynamic and connection that I find endlessly interesting, extremely satisfying, and just gosh darn fun. It's an experience unlike any other. I'm not even saying that I like masturbation over partnered sex.

It's just that I just can't quite imagine what partnered sex would be like if I hadn't known and loved solo sex first. If I hadn't known what an orgasm felt like; if I hadn't know what sex could and ought to be. If I hadn't known what my own pleasure felt like without also adding in the extra consideration of someone else's.

How could an act that is meant to know myself betterto learn how my body and mind feels and reactsfeel impersonal? Feel cold, distant, pathetic? How could a person not enjoy something that's meant to give yourself pleasure? That can help you have a better, more satisfying sex life in the moment and in the future?

Personally, I'm a fan of Betty Dodson's take on things. Known as the godmother of masturbation, she realizes that, if you "keep up a sexual relationship with yourself, you can have first-rate orgasms by yourself," making it possible to have a great sex life, regardless whether you currently have a partner or not. Honestly, I've found that if you want to have a great sex life, so much of that starts with you. Knowing how your own body works, what sensations work for you, what ones don't. If you don't even know the basics of you, think about how much harder it'll be to discover that when you add in the complexity of a partner.

Dan Savage points out that most, if not all, boys walk into their first sexual experience knowing exactly how their junk works. They know how to orgasm; they know what it looks like, feels like, they know exactly how to get themselves there. Most girls don't.

And, what's worse, we're taught that that's the way it's supposed to be. That it's romantic to discover one's sexual self with a partner. To have that side of ourselves awakened by someone else. It's supposed to be a sign of a soulmate, to have someone stir these feelings inside of us that no oneincluding ourselvescould.

But that gets us into trouble. We find and toss away great partners because neither partner knew how to get the sex to spark. We fall too hard and read too much into partners who can manipulate our bodies, even if they also manipulate our hearts and minds. The fact is, if we keep this part of ourselves a mysterya wonder to be solved without rather than withinwe leave ourselves vulnerable. We walk into sex unaware, unprepared, and unready.

According to Dodson, too many of us in the "the post-Sex and the City, post-Girls generation of women [...] are not nearly as liberated as they think they are. 'Most of them haven't even seen their genitals in a mirror. You show 'em and they go eek! Or ugh!'" It's their own bodies and they're unfamiliar with them, mystified and horrified by them. Even if the language has changed over time, we're still feeding girls the message their their bodies aren't theirs. That their private parts hold secrets, even from the very women who possess them. That their pleasure isn't something that belongs to them. That it can only be unlocked and then shared with a partner.

Even visually, we try to make the female orgasm into some kind of a mystery. A male orgasm in a movie is rated PG-13 in the US, while a female orgasm for some reason is rated R, making the very sight of female pleasure unsuitable for a vast number of people. Why? In the media and pop-science, we question whether the female orgasm exists or whether its existence is even relevant. We have how many different drugs and procedures and research dedicated to the male orgasm, and most peoplemale and femalestill don't quite know what the clitoris looks like.

If more women knew how their bodies and orgasms worked and were willing to teach more menwho, for the most part, are willing to learnimagine what the sex would look like. Would heterosexual, PIV penetrative sex still be the definition of what sex looks like? Would we still so often associate a man's orgasm with the end of the sex act? Would we have the stereotype of the bloody, painful loss of virginity anymore? Of the pregnant teen mom, whose life has irrevocably changed because she didn't realize there were an innumerable ways to get her needs met without risking pregnancy? How about the cold, frigid housewife who always has a headache whenever her husband wants sex? If women came into their first partnered sexual experienceand every encounter afterknowing as much about her own sexual pleasure as a man, would women still be seen as the less sexual gender? 

Why do we see partnered sex as an achievement, but solo sex as a setback? Especially if solo can help you have bettered partnered sex? As crass as it sounds, The Ugly Truth got it right, if you wouldn't want to have sex with you, how can you expect anyone else to?

So to all those flying solo, playing a little solitaire, flicking the bean, petting the pussy, or just plain ole masturbating, have yourself some fun!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Can Having A Big Penis Hurt Your Relationship?

So I did the trickily-related, Upworthy, taggy title on my last post about story types, Does Size Really Matter? I know; I'm sorry.

But I find it unutterably fantastic that I then discovered that DNews did this story about how larger penises are causing a lot of relationship strife.

Turns out that penis-size really does matter. Just not in the way you think. Personally, I love that "for every extra inch of length of her husband's penis, the likelihood that the wife would cheat increased by almost 1.5 times."

Not that these women cheated--definitely not a fan of that--but that all my friends, male and female, who were so obsessed about huge penis-sizes, were statistically proven to be wrong.

Bigger is not always better.

In fact, from my own experience, more sexually aware women who know what arouses them and what turns them on and who've been with a range of men's sizes prefer more average-sized men. Which, according to the BJU International journal of urology, "the average size of a penis is 5.16 inches (13.12 centimeters) in length when erect, and 4.5 inches (11.66 cm) in circumference. In a flaccid state, it found, the penis of the average Joe is all of 3.6 inches (9.16 cm) in length and has a girth of 3.6 inches (9.31 cm)."

Because, on a whole, it's hard to find men who know enough about female pleasure to ensure that the female partners they're with are ready and receptive to sex. And, to be honest, it's hard to find women who are knowledgeable and vocal enough about their own pleasure to do the same.

Which means average sizes tend to win out. These not-too-big, not-too-small, Goldilocks of penis-havers just don't need to work as hard. They can be, well, average and still be a good lay without leaving a string of unsatisfied or, worse, pained lovers behind.

So where does that leave these outliers? Are smaller and larger men just out of luck? 

No, of course not.

Again, from personal experience, small, average, or big; if you're creative, size really shouldn't matter all that much. If your penis isn't your partner's preferred size, chances are good foreplay is your best friend.

Too big shouldn't be a problem because the vaginal canal is made to self-lubricate and stretch. The trick is you've got to help it along. If you're worried that you're too big for your partner or that your partner is too big for you, increase the amount of foreplay you do prior to penetration. And not necessarily only in duration of time. Foreplay should never be thought of as a timed race; it's something that takes as long as it takes. If it's taking too long for you, switch it up. Find other ways--positions, techniques, toys, lubes--that may help pick up the pace.

Because, if you're not doing the things that actually turn your partner on, you're spending a lot of time doing a lot of nothing for absolutely no one.

In much the same way, too small shouldn't be a problem either because, no matter what size your penis is, I'll bet your tongue, fingers, and fists are sizable enough to get the job done. And if, for whatever reason they're not, that's what toys were invented for. Lucky for everyone that, for centuries, people have found the ingenious, creative spirit to make toys in pretty much every shape, size, and function. Whatever your size, enjoy!

The fact is, despite what this study says, skill much more than size makes a lover desirable. Skill and an ability and willingness to adapt are going to do far more to keep you and your partner sexually satisfied than anything else. 

After all, knowing and doing what turns you and your partner on should always be the ultimate goal of sex; otherwise, why are you doing it? But unfortunately, 30% of women in the US reported some level of pain during sex.

And that shit ain't right.

So, big or small, penis-haver or vagina-owner, we should all be looking and working toward fixing that statistic. 

One pleasurable encounter at a time. 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Does Size Really Matter?

So last week, I talked about why I read romance stories. Today, I want to talk about why I write them too. 

I'm often asked, given how much I write and how much effort I put into writing, why I write romance stories. Why I write stories about people falling in love as opposed to stories about people murdering other people or overthrowing governments or solving crimes. Why I don't write sci-fi stories or urban or high fantasy stories about amazing marvels. Why am I content to bother with smaller stories about a few rather mundane people's lives when there are grand epics about entire social structures to be told? Why would I want to write like Danielle Steele or Jennifer Cruise when I could write like George R. R. Martin or J. K. Rowling?

It's something that, if I'm honest, I ask myself. 

I have other stories. Stories written in other genres. Stories that seem grander than my erotica. That seem to say more about humanity or the state of the world.

And then I remember that love—when and who and how we love—says a lot about a person. About people. About the world. Love stories—like war stories and murder stories and even stories about aliens and robots and gods—are, at the end of the page, just stories about people. Take a group of people, add a setting and some plot elements, and see what happens.

It's just that this genre's main element is love. Which is hardly some small, piddling thing. It's something that almost everyone—whether they admit it or no—longs and looks for. We wish for and wonder about it. And, once found, we work to earn and maintain it. It's a facet of life that everyone experiences in some form at some point.

It's why so many people, from Shakespeare to Nora Roberts, have written about it so much for so long. As a species, we're obsessed with it. We study it and analyze it. We let it affect the way we live our lives. We've used it to explain why we create life. Why we take it.

Personally, I find the concept of love—the things we'll do to find it, do for it, sacrifice for it, do in its name, as well as what we won't—endlessly fascinating. As well as the way the experience of it can change the way a person looks at the world. At themselves. 

Love stories make us examine that aspect of ourselves. Our capacity of understanding and acceptance. In the same way, different-like-me fantasy stories like the X-Men and Harry Potter series make people confront their prejudices on things like race and class and what makes a person a person, love and relationship stories like Rent or Will and Grace and Sex in the City have made people look at love and relationships differently. For all its flaws, E.L. James's series has changed the way kink and alternative lifestyles are being discussed. None of these may have been the first of their kind—or even the best of their kind—but they made unspoken minorities more mainstream. Gave issues most people didn't really talk about a louder voice. 

These small stories that focus on a small cast of a few characters have changed the way a lot of people think. They give people someone, who they may not have thought looked like them, to relate to, someone to identify with. Make them question why one kind of love is seen as better or more acceptable than another when, on closer inspection, they look essentially like any other. 

Like I'd said last week, I love love stories. I do. I love the rhythm of them and, like a really good song, I love the way they can just instantly make you feel better. But they also tell an interesting story about humanity. It's a truism that love is one of the strongest forces on the planet. It's one of the major influencing factors in a person's life. It's presence or absence affects and colors almost every major decision a person makes.

I write love stories because I think they're stories worth telling. I write love stories because I like to think about why people do what they do. I write love stories because I like to wonder about the consequences of people's actions and motivations. 

Mostly, I write love stories because, in the great and grand scheme of things, these stories never seemed all that small to me.