Sunday, June 26, 2016

How to Make a Woman Come--Even If You Are That Woman. AKA Things I Learned from Science, Sex, and The Ladies

Louis CK has a bit on how men complain about women's "neediness" after sex:

“After sex, you’re looking at two very different people. The man just wants to lay there and be cool and the woman wants to cuddle. 'Why is she so needy?’ She’s not needy you idiot, she’s horny, because you did nothing for her. You did absolutely nothing. Her pussy is on fire because it's gone unfucked completely. Of course you’re fine, you climbed on and went “KFHGSKG” and rolled off. And she’s on you because she’s like ‘WH-at SOMETHING ELSE HAS TO HAPPEN! This is bullshit!!' If you fuck a woman well, she will leave you alone. ‘Thanks a lot, buddy. Zzzzz.’”

Louis says this happens because men are "bad at sex." Perhaps, but I think a lot of us are kinda bad at sex--just by default, because we never got the proper instruction. People want to be good lovers and fuck well. But it's incredibly difficult--ridiculously so--to get any sort of reasonable, real-world education.

Even today, we know so little about women's bodies. So very little!  It was only in the past few years that I learned that the clit occupies an extensive bit of pelvic real estate, that scientists still don't know what the fuck women are squirting when they ejaculate (it's "not pee," which just leaves...every non-pee substance), and that the cervix is so insensitive that 95% of women can't tell if it's being rubbed with a cotton swab. (This being the primary reason that the Gentleman's Cervical Swab Rubbing Courtship Technique of 1847 has fallen out of favor.)

In other cases, we know very well what's going with on women's bodies, but for some reason, bury or don't acknowledge this info.

The most egregious form of our sexual ignorance/denial is about how most women actually have an orgasm: A woman comes from having her clitoris rubbed. There are a lucky few (very few!) who can get the job done via p-in-v fucking, but even then, what's going down with every woman is that:

1. their clit is rubbed.
2. they come (or don't.)

That's it.  

This is pretty much contrary to every depiction of women's sexual response we see in porn, mainstream films, and read about in books. Even books written for women by women. (Er. Or not.  See updated discussion about this in the comments.)

Trisha Borowicz got all Fight-the-Power about this (yay!) and made a smart, funny, cheeky film called Science, Sex, and The Ladies "for all the women who have felt confused, frustrated, or ashamed about their ability to orgasm."  

 I learned all kinds of things from Science, Sex, and the Ladies, up to and including:

--I couldn't tell a whit of difference between the photos of the Aroused Clitoris and Unaroused Clitoris (possible future lesbian lovers: you have been forewarned.)
--Women have their strongest orgasms by their own hand, second strongest with someone else's hand, and weakest via fucking and the frustratingly indirect stimulation of a penis rubbing-near-but-not-quite-exactly-where-you-need-it.
 --Contrary to popular belief, women don't take forever to come. Women come as quickly as easily as men, given the right stimulation. Men would also take forever to come if they were only being stimulated by, say, someone diligently rubbing their pubic hair.

My favorite part of the film depicted scenes of people engaged in various forms of sexual congress--a blow job, fucking, etc...--when a cheery actress would walk into the each scene and advise the female participant to "Rub one out!" to enhance her experience. It was fun, breezy and educational--like a particularly racy episode of The Electric Company.

I actually do wish this was the sort of stuff young people saw. And, while I'm at it, I wish more sex scenes depicted women being stimulated realistically, in the way that women actually need to be stimulated, so that women would no longer have to think they were somehow broken, doing it wrong or hadn't yet found the proper dick.
There is an orgasm disparity among women and men that drastically affects the way each understand themselves and each other. The truth is, women go through their sexual lives having very few orgasms compared to their male partners, and this has become a matter of course, a sort of unspoken accepted reality. This discrepancy, however, is not a result of innate differences between male and female biology, but a result of how we as a culture have come to understand, teach and experience sex.

Science, Sex and the Ladies aims to make it known that this orgasm disparity is culturally created, harmful, and in no way inevitable. It's actually quite an appalling and over arching problem that creeps into every aspect of our lives and relationships. Neither modern women or modern men are fully responsible for this problem, but a change in both are necessary for a solution. Science Sex and the Ladies, as part of a larger Orgasm Equality Movement, is a call to action.--Science, Sex, and the Ladies.
Anyway, if you want to be part of the Orgasm Equality Movement--and I do, although I'm totally not going to refer to it as that--the film makers are offering screeners of the movie if you'd like to host a small group showing. It's free--all they ask is that you send them a photo of the festivities. For more info, email anc@ancmovies.com.

I watched it alone, but wish I'd been with a group because I have all kinds of questions now. Like:

--Why are women writing romance/erotica about easily orgasmic p-in-v sex? Are all erotica writers among the tiny percentage of penis in vagina cumees? Or are they writing about how they think sex should be? Or how they wish it could be?
--What is the connection between emotions and sex? I'm totally onboard with Naomi Wolf's ideas in Vagina about sexual/spiritual/emotional connections, heady neurochemicals, and the transcendence that can happen in a really good fuck. And yet..... While emotional connection and getting "in the mood" is great, and certainly something to strive for, it's clearly not absolutely necessary for an orgasm. A woman masturbating with a showerhead or something can come plenty easily without having a big emotional experience and/or scene-setting. And yet... I have also burst into tears after an orgasm. Why and how are emotions all mixed up with sex? Or do we just assume they are, ergo, they are?
--If you are like pretty much every other chick and need to rub your clit to come, do you do it during sex with someone else? Or have you been among those (and, yes, I have been there as well) making "secret, quiet circles on disappointed clits next to sleeping lovers."

What are we all gonna do about this?

xoxo
jill

PS. I recently was also cited on some Spanish-language anti-gay site (blergh) for my supposed anal bleaching expertise.  "Una experta en el tema, la Sra. Hamilton entra en grandes detalles sobre la historia de esta reprobable t├ęcnica."

PPS. That site has 2 million views.

(photo via Church of the Victorian Cult, not sure where Wendy Rose got a hold of it.)

Monday, June 6, 2016

This is How You Please a Woman.

(*This originally appeared in Alternet and Salon. I hope I'm allowed to run it my damn self...Um...maybe don't tell anyone about this.)

Yes, everyone knows porn is just fantasy blah blah blah, but for some people, porn is--seriously!-- their primary source of sex ed. Less than half the states require sex ed in public schools and only 19 require it to be “medically, factually or technically accurate”(!) Even when the sex ed is there and semi-decent, there tends to be way too much information on fallopian tubes and little, if any, on what one should do upon encountering a clitoris. People genuinely want to be decent lovers, I think, and scrutinizing porn for love tips can be all kinds of fun, but as a source of actual lady-pleasin' info, it kind of sucks.

“Every technique you learn in porn is wrong. If men are going to porn to figure out to how to please women they're going to be very disappointed, ” says Gail Dines, author of Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality. “Everything that makes sex fun--the creativity, mutuality, enjoyment, connection, intimacy--is bled away and in its place is kind of a robotic fucking of women's orifices.”

So, lesson number one: “robotic fucking of women's orifices,” maybe a “no” on that. But with that off the table (at least most of the time...), what you do instead? Great thinkers from Ovid to Master Tung-hsuan to Naomi Wolf have offered their own answers, and there are certain Great Truths that run through them all.

We're getting into the Deep Magic now, my friends. Use it wisely.

Embrace the Erotic Outside the Bedroom
Most men, if you breathe on them or look at them the wrong way, they're ready for action. But for most women, you have to get between their ears before you get between their legs. You have to build the story,” says Dr. Adam Sheck, aka The Passion Doctor.

So build the story. “A man should tell his wife, detail by detail, what he wants to do to her, how he wishes to touch her,” counsels Rabbi Shmuley Boteach in his book, The Kosher Sutra. “Eroticism is the thrilling desire to connect: to know, to explore, to penetrate, and to comprehend. When our lives are electrified by an erotic pulse, all existence becomes illuminated.”

Express Your Desire
According to studies by Marta Meana, president of the Society for Sex Therapy and Research, being desired is the source of a woman's desire. It is “at once the thing craved and the spark of craving,” explains Daniel Bergner in his beautifully written book, What Do Women Want?: Adventures in the Science of Female Desire. So, by all means, let a women that you think her body is insanely hot—so hot you can barely take it--and it's making you hard just thinking about her. (Ratchet this language up or down, filth-wise, depending on the chick.) Tender, respectful love is fine enough but please note that approximately 1 billion percent of romance novels are about a woman inciting a man with a passion so savage and hungry that he can barely control himself. (Spoiler: he doesn't).

Don't Be Afraid to Ravish
The desire to be taken by force consistently sits there, all petulant and non-PC-like, among women's top sexual fantasies. This doesn't mean that women want to be raped, obviously, but it is related to the tip above on desire. Being taken strongly and urgently is a clear physical expression of a male's searing desire for a woman. Bergner describes Meana's take on it thusly: “The ravager, overcome by craving for that particular women, cannot restrain himself; he tears through all codes, through all laws and conventions, to seize her, and she—feeling herself to be the unique object of his unendurable need—is overcome herself.” (See above: plot of every romance novel.)

“For the heterosexual female 'ravish me' fantasy, the man embodies the masculine and takes charge with those masculine qualities to be focused, direct, relentless in pursuing his goal, in this case, loving his woman into 'submission.' This can range from simply initiating sex, to being a little more assertive than usual, to being more aggressive, to being a little 'rough' all the way to role play and using restraints and sex toys,” writes Dr. Sheck. “I’m 6’3″ and around 200 pounds and have found that many woman have simply enjoyed the weight of my body pressing into them and found that arousing. Perhaps that is enough to begin your journey. I also happen to have large hands and usually able to hold both of a woman’s wrists in one of my hands. Even that small step can often be assertive enough to feed into the submission fantasy.” (And if you did not just experience a little unbidden thrill thinking of Dr. Sheck holding you down, well, then that's where we differ.)

Focus on Goalless Touching
“The whole sexual experience can be totally enjoyable, but most men and women are taught to go straight for climax. We educate guys to enjoy the whole ride,” says consultant Robert Kandell, who coached men at Onetaste, where “orgasm” is defined as the entire sexual experience beginning at the first thought of making out with someone. He offers a metaphor: “The climax of a symphony is the cymbals crashing at the end, but that’s not the main draw.

What is “the whole ride”? “Non-genitally focused sexual behavior, referred to popularly as 'foreplay'...is a broad category of activities which are usually undertaken with the goal of increasing one’s own and/or one’s partner’s sexual arousal and pleasure. These activities can include, but are not limited to, kissing, stroking, massaging, and holding anywhere from one part to the entirety of a partner’s body,” writes Dr. Adena Galinsky, in a woefully unsexy passage.

Not only do you miss out on plenty of fun if you skimp on the “non-genitally focused sexual behavior,” you increase the odds of squelching orgasm or arousal, according to Galinsky's recent study. Just don't call it “non-genitally focused sexual behavior” and you should be go to go.

The More Time You Put in, The Hotter It Gets
The mid-7th century sex manual “Ars Amatoria of Master Tung-hsuan” advises much “dalliance before penetration.” “He presses on her slender waist, he caresses her precious body, he whispers endearing words and engages in passionate discourse,” writes the Master. There is extensive stroking, loving gazes, and deep rich kisses until the Jade Stalk rises “standing strongly, pointing upwards like a a lonely peak towering high up in the Milky Way” and the Cinnabar Crevice becomes “moist, exuding a rich flow of secretions like a lonely well springing up in the deep vale.” Even when it gets to the point when the man is kneeling between his lover's open thighs, Jade Stalk in hand—and it's pretty clear what's going to be going down--he continues to tease and woo, letting his member “play about in this portal” while continuing his impassioned speech, sucking her tongue and stroking her belly, breasts and labia.

In another Ars Amatoria (The Art of Love) the Roman poet Ovid counseled lovers of 2 A.D. to take their time in love, too: “If you will listen to me you will not be too hasty in attaining the culmination of your happiness. Learn by skillful maneuvering to reach your climax by degrees. When you are safely ensconced in the sanctuary of bliss, let no timid fear arrest your hand. You will be richly rewarded by the love-light trembling in her eyes, even as the rays of the sun fitfully dance upon the waves. Then will follow gentle murmurs, moans and sighs, laden with ecstasy that will sting and lash desire.” Sigh.
Whether You Think It's a G-spot or Not, Try Stroking It.
"Find her 'sacred spot,' then hang out there far longer that you think is necessary," writes Naomi Wolf  in Vagina . While scientists are still dithering about whether there is a G-spot or not, Tantric masters have been in there stroking said "sacred spot” and making the ladies come. Carefully, slow stroking of the spot--which is part of the whole neural tangle, but can also be considered to be sort of a back end of the clitoris--is highly effective at making women purr for you. In one study researchers gave 89% of their female subjects orgasms by "systematic digital stimulation of both vaginal walls." This despite the lab conditions and calling it "systematic digital stimulation of both vaginal walls."

Don't Lock In to A Successful Sequence of Moves
A systematic approach in which a man “politely lets himself into the vagina, perhaps waiting until the retraction of the clitoris tells him that he is welcome, is laborious and inhumanely computerized,” writes the ever-blunt Germaine Greer in The Female Eunuch. “The implication that there is a statistically ideal fuck which will always result in satisfaction if the right procedures are followed is depressing and misleading.”

“You want to be present. You want to feel what you're partner's feeling, you want to sensitive to the amount of lubrication, to the engorgement of the labia. And from there, you know when to be rough, when to be aggressive, when to pull on hair, when to smack things, when to be kind,” says Dr. Sheck. “It's really a tuning to the body.”

A Well-Fucked Woman Kind of Loses It (And That's Good)
“Feminine sexual excitement can reach an intensity unknown to a man. Male sexual excitement is keen but localized, and—except perhaps at the moment of orgasm—it leaves a man quite in possession of himself; woman, on the contrary, really loses her mind; for many this effect marks the definite and voluptuous moment of the love-affair, but it also has a magical and fearsome quality,” writes Simone de Beauvoir in The Second Sex.

When a lover stimulates a woman properly, it sets off all kinds of chemical tomfoolery. A lover who suckles a woman's nipple, for example, will set off a release of the bonding love chemical oxytocin and she, perhaps without quite realizing why, will favor that lover over another. When a woman is fully relaxed, open and receiving pleasure she can enter sort of a trance state. And when a woman has an orgasm, she gets a heavy dose of opiates--the regions of her brain involving self-awareness and inhibition going dark. "This can feel to the woman involved like a melting of boundaries, a loss of self, and, whether exhilaratingly or scarily, a loss of control," writes Wolf. If a man gives his lover a deep, deep orgasm, the kind where it feels like his cock is hitting some deep emotional/physical/spiritual place within, a woman can have a profound experience. Some women will feel an exquisite rapture, some will burst into tears, and 100% will take that dude's call next time around.

xoxox
jill

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Female Hysteria and Creepy Old-Timey Vibrators

LADIES...
Are you exhibiting any of the following symptoms:
--Trouble sleeping?
--Fluid retention?
--Irritability?
--"A tendency to cause trouble"?
Yes, yes, yes and oh yes?

Let's see, according to my medical book, circa 1895, you have a clear-cut case of Female Hysteria. (Men with similar symptoms will need to diagnose themselves with some other old-timey disease. May I suggest "dairy fever" or perhaps "dropsy"?)

In the 19th century, as many as 75% of middle-class women were estimated to suffer from hysteria, but luckily medical science was there to help them. Doctors treated hysteria with "pelvic massage" until the patient reached "hysterical paroxysm." In modern times, we know "pelvic massage" to be "the doctor jerking off his patient" and "hysterical paroxysm" to be "orgasm." The procedure as a whole is now known as "grounds for a lawsuit."

Doctors of the day were happy to provide such a treatment, as it provided a steady stream of paying customers (patients were advised to come in weekly for their treatments). It was all good, except for one thing, doctors found the actual manipulation of their patients genitals to be tedious and tiring. According to the highly entertaining Wikipedia entry on Female Hysteria:  "The technique was difficult for a physician to master and could take hours to achieve 'hysterical paroxysm.'" (The physicians' widespread befuddlement at mastering these basic lady-pleasing skills puts Marrying a Doctor much lower on the To-Do list.)

The doctors were saved from the arduous task of trying to make these damn women come, already, by the magic device, the vibrator. The first of these "massage and vibratory apparatus" was patented by American physician (USA! USA!) George Taylor and was--and I can scarcely stand to type this--steam-powered. (The resulting billowing smoke making this perhaps the least discreet form of masturbatory tool.) Soon, physicians' offices were outfitted with electric vibrators, allowing doctors to get the job done in a matter of minutes instead of hours, and allowing most of mankind to stay blissfully ignorant about female orgasm until about the 1960s.

By the early 1900s, these miraculous health-giving electric vibrators started showing up in the American women's home. In fact, vibrators were one of the earliest electric home appliances invented, showing up ten years earlier than the vacuum cleaner or iron. Regular old, non-pervy companies like Hamilton Beach and Sears Roebuck were in the lucrative business of selling vibrators to housewives. The photo at left, for example, is from the 1918 Sears Roebuck and Co. catalog. "Very useful and satisfactory for home service," it says, vaguely, hoping you get the idea.

Vibes were openly marketed in catalogs and women's magazines. The ads weren't directly saying, "Put this on your wang" but they did refer to its "wonderfully refreshing" effect. Read one ad: "Can be used by yourself in the privacy of dressing room or boudoir, and furnish every woman with the essence of perpetual youth." The home vibe was a thrifty purchase, too. With doctors charging $2 to jack you off, the $5.95 portable home vibrator would pay for itself after only three uses.

According to this one dude, Mike, who collects antique vibrators, there were also air-powered and hand-cranked vibrators. Here's a photo from Mike's hand-cranked vibrator collection (a collection which I imagine causes some awkward moments on Mike's dates) of the Macaura's Pulsocon Hand Vibrator from the late 1800s.  I don't understand the physics of the device, but Mike explains that there is "a plunging motion of the center disk." To me, it looks like a hand-mixer. And, I know it's supposed to be an erotic device, but I see this and think of the twisting motions of a hand mixer, the voluminous bushes of 1800s-era ladies, and well, I can venture a guess as to why we don't all have Macuara's Pulsocon Hand Vibrators stashed in our nightstand drawers.

If you, like Mike and--apparently, me--are fascinated by these old devices, by all means make haste and check out the online Antique Vibrator Museum they put up at Good Vibrations. There is an educational video, plus photos of all sorts of creepy-ass, early electrical vibes. Like, look at this 1902 Hamilton Beach model, the "Type A":

The Hamilton Beach, Type A, 1902
I mean, Good Lord! The giant motor! The thick cloth covering the cord! And is that an oil can in there? The Type A looks loud--roaringly loud, jackhammer loud. But most importantly, electricity back then was scary. I wouldn't even be brave enough to use a toaster from those days, much less put some shorting-out, spark-shooting, scary new-fangled doodad on my nether regions.  I don't care how "wonderfully refreshing" it's supposed to be.

As all this new information (scary old vibes! hand cranks! hysterical paroxysm!) rattles around in my mind, I find that I keep going back to the 19th century doctor's office and this strangely sexless sex between doctor and patient. Were either of them aroused by what was going on? Did the females see the doctor breaking out his Hamilton Beach 4000 or whatever and feel a thrill of anticipation, or just the kind of dull disinterest one would experience while watching a mechanic change the car's oil? And I wonder about the women's orgasm. If they were not told it was pleasurable, did they experience it as pleasure, or as just a release, akin to finally getting to pee on a long car trip?  And not to be all zen koanish or anything, but is non-erotic sex that is not recognized by either party as sex indeed sex?


(image source: http://wickedknickers.tumblr.com/post/341563049/lacontessa-matisse-at-work) That's really Matisse, not a doctor, btw.)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

7 Reasons Why Breakups Suck So Damn Bad

Hey there, gorgeous. This ran in Alternet and Salon, but I thought you might like it delivered here to your virtual doorstep. I learned a ton of interesting stuff on this one, mainly that I have the emotional maturity/coping skills of a traumatized baby lab monkey.
*****

There are plenty of good reasons why the death of a relationship is so unbearable. There's shame, failure, guilt, anger/incredulousness at the other person's inability to see how incredible you are and sadness over that very same thing, plus the personal rejection of your Very Being.

The Czechs have a lovely word for it: litost. "Litost is a state of torment created by the sudden sight of one's own misery," writes Milan Kundera in The Book of Laughter and Forgetting.

But this torment is more than just the nature of breakups, the need to experience darkness to appreciate the light, blah blah blah. Breakups also activate all kinds of neurochemical, physical and psychological fuckery that makes the whole business even more painful. Stupid biology.
To wit:
--Breakups turn you into a jonesing addict.
If the beginning of a love affair is a kind of chemical-fueled madness, so is the ending, but in reverse. In one of the crueler aspects of neurochemistry, just when you're hitting the personal low of a breakup is also when dopamine—the reward chemical that made you feel so damn good in the beginning-- decides to flee the scene, making you desperate for another hit. Dopamine acts in the same way as any drug of abuse, according to Helen Fisher in Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love: “If the beloved breaks off the relationship, the lover shows all the common signs of withdrawal, including depression, crying spells, anxiety,insomnia, loss of appetite (or binge eating), irritability, and chronic loneliness. Like all addicts, the lover then goes to unhealthy, humiliating, even physically dangerous lengths to procure their narcotic.” (Note: Having tried the “unhealthy, humiliating” Plan of Action, I can advise with some authority that it's not gonna go well for you.)

--Breakups actually hurt, physically.
In one study researchers had subjects “who recently experienced an unwanted breakup view a photograph of their ex-partner as they think about being rejected.” This was pretty cruel and probably not worth the 50 bucks or whatever the subjects got, but we learned that psychic trauma activates the same parts of the brain that process physical pain. Meaning, your brain experiences emotional pain as it would if you spilled hot coffee on yourself. Or, more accurately, kept spilling coffee on yourself every time you heard that one song on the radio, went on Instagram, etc...

--Breakups are depressing, officially.
In a study of poor sods who'd been rejected by a partner within the past 8 weeks, 40% experienced clinically measurable depression, with 12% of those having moderate to severe depression. All breakups involve an amount of grief (and indeed, in another of those “think about how much your break up sucked while we look at your brain with an MRI” studies, the parts of the brain associated with grief lit up.) but sometimes the grief becomes “complicated grief.” Complicated grief is an unwieldy beast of grief lasting 6 months or more (or, way too much virtual hot coffee spilling), featuring unpleasantries like over-rumination and mooning, bad dreams, and the excessive playing of Elliot Smith songs.

--Your stupid brain can actually start to get off on your suffering.
Anyone who has looked in the mirror to examine their tragic selves mid-cry knows there is a certain joy in one's own deep suffering. But sometimes that sort of self-schadenfreude can become addictive in itself. In some people, enduring grief triggers the reward center in their brains, making them seek the dark feelings so they can get a little happy chemical hit.

--You lose your sense of self.
Without the identity created within the relationship (i.e.“We like paddleboarding”), some emerge bleary-eyed from a breakup with a hazy sense of who they are. The sort of psychic rootlessness is compounded by the loss of the sense of having a secure base within the relationship and with that partner. “Wherever that person is, that's your emotional home,” writes Emily Nagoski, Ph.D. in Come As You Are. Without that, you're kind of homeless, emotionally.

--It's even worse for people with “anxious attachment styles.”
Only half of people in U.S. have a “secure attachment style,” that is, they have relationships easily and trust others like normal healthy people, while the rest of us flounder about, either clinging too much (attachment anxious) or preemptively cutting and running (attachment avoidant). Those with attachment anxious styles show “greater preoccupation with the lost partner, greater perseveration over the loss, more extreme physical and emotional distress, exaggerated attempts to reestablish the relationship, partner-related sexual motivation, angry and vengeful behavior, interference with exploratory activities, dysfunctional coping strategies, and disordered resolution.” Meanwhile, for the attachment avoidant—you know who you are—there was little such emotional fallout. Bastards.

--Breakups kick in our survival biology.
Attachment is a survival mechanism. A baby needs secure attachment or it will die. “When (our relationships) are threatened, we do whatever it takes to hold on to them, because there are no higher stakes than our connection with our attachment objects,” writes Nagoski, citing Harry Harlow's “monster mother” studies. Harlow bonded infant monkeys with mechanical “mothers,” then rigged the mothers to shake the babies, spike them or jet cold air on them to force them away. The babies responded to this rather shabby treatment by running right back into the arms of those unpredictably cruel, rejecting mothers. Not only that, they became desperate to fix the relationship and tried to win back the mother by flirting with her, grooming and stroking her. That is, behavior some among us may recognize quite well.

So yeah, it's bad. With the combination of biological, chemical and emotional havoc a breakup causes, it's a wonder any of us ever get over it. But we do. If you can just accept you're going to be fucked for a while--and not in the way you'd like—the appeal of spending car rides furtively weeping to Joni Mitchell's “All I Want” will eventually fade and you will indeed get over it. At some point. You might have to listen to a whole lot of “All I Want.”

In the meantime, take solace in the words of Nietzche and Louis CK, two dudes not exactly known for being consoling. “Ultimately, it is the desire, not the desired, that we love,” wrote Nietzche. That is, that passion is still in you regardless of who its recipient is. And hell, the next person might be even better at appreciating it. And said Louis CK, in a typically genius statement that could apply to any relationship: “No good marriage has ever ended in divorce. It's really that simple.”

In other words, you're probably better off without 'em. Sorta. 

xoxo
jill

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

"The Copulatory Gaze" and the Body Language of Flirting

Whenever I'm around this one guy I know, I feel my head tilt to the side and my hand reach out toward him, as if to touch him. I try to stifle these gestures because they are sexual "tells," that is, unconscious moves signaling unspoken thoughts or intentions. And these particular gestures, I must confess, are universal mating signals. In terms of biological signaling, I may as well be breaking out the landing gear lights and guiding him to my gate, so to speak. I don't actually wish to mate with this dude (oh hell no) but, clearly some part of my subconscious is thinking he's fine. Real fine.

That's what's interesting to me about these mating gestures. I don't wish to signal anything to this guy, but my body certainly does, and I wonder what mechanism is at work there. I mean, why him? I am fascinated by how my body responds to him automatically and unconsciously. I don't mean to do the whole head tilt thing, it just happens. And although I'm not going to act on it, I have to admit that it's fun to feel my body react, feeling the pull of attraction and knowing I'm part of a timeless biological dance.

So what am I signaling exactly? Well, Grasshopper, a head tilt does a few things. It makes me smaller, for one, and exposes my vulnerable neck. These indicate "I am harmless." (Note: I may or may not actually be harmless.) Appearing harmless is a good thing, mating-wise, according to Helen E. Fisher in her completely fascinating book, Anatomy of Love: The Natural History of Monogamy, Adultery, and DivorceMen also try to appear harmless. All of their initial mating gestures are geared to convey the basic message, "I am here; I am important; I am harmless."

Writes Fisher:
"Men tend to pitch and roll their shoulders, stretch, stand tall and shift from foot to foot in a swaying motion. They also exaggerate their body movements. Instead of simply using the wrist to stir a drink, men often employ the entire arm, as if stirring mud...And the whole body is employed in hearty laughter--made loud enough to attract a crowd."

In the 1960s ethologist Irenaus Eibl-Eibesfeldt used a secret camera to document female flirting behavior around the globe. No matter who he was creepily spying on scientifically studying, a universal flirting pattern emerged. Again, here's Fisher:

"First the woman smiles at her admirer and lifts her eyebrows in a swift jerky motion as she opens her eyes wide to gaze at him. Then she drops her eyelids, tilts her head down and to the side, and looks away. Frequently she also covers her face with her hands, giggling nervously as she retreats behind her palms."

Of all the courting gestures, to me, the most potent is the so-called "copulatory gaze." In cultures where eye contact is permitted, potential lovers will stare into each other's eyes a second or two longer than is necessary (generally two to three seconds) and, if interested, their pupils will dilate. Eye contact seems to trigger a primitive part of the brain, notes Fisher, calling forth one of two basic emotions--approach or retreat. "You cannot ignore the eyes of another fixed on you," she writes, "You must respond."

Many of these courting gestures are present in animals as well. Female possums do the coy look/head tilt move. Snakes, frogs and toads inflate their bodies to draw attention to themselves, and "pygmy" chimpanzees at the San Diego Zoo look deeply into the other's eyes for several moments before having sex. (No documentation exists on whether they also make each other mix tapes.)

My favorite animal courting move, however, comes from the chimps observed by the lovely Jane Goodall at the Combe Steam Reserve in Tanzania. When a female is in estrus (heat), a dominant male doesn't muck around with the loud laughing and notable drink stirring, he gets right to the point. "A male will stare intently to get a female's attention, sit with his legs open to display an erect penis, flick it, rock from side to side (and) beckon her with outstretched arms."

Yes, it's kind of comically direct, but I can see how with the right chimp, or my case, human male, it would be quite heady to be so courted. Although it would have the unfortunate side effect of eliminating the wholly enjoyable pastime of analyzing and dissecting a potential lover's moves. "Okay, so last night, Fred was staring intently at me, displaying his erect penis and flicking it. What do you think he meant?"

Thus we get to your questions of the day. One of the reasons I'm so fascinated by this subject is because I was always bad at interpreting such signals. What about you? Do you consciously use these gestures, or have you noticed yourself doing them? Do you notice when a potential suitor is doing these things, feel a general intuition about their intentions, or what?

Please, do tell.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Pool Noodle Homemade Sex Toy, a London Lover, and Assdazzling

Note: Photo contains acceptable level of nudity
Crap, now I need to cover everything I just put in the title so let's just get to it, shall we?

1.  Pool Noodle Violation:  The lovely and smart Enlightened Sexpot wrote, "Your balloon phone sex post made me think of pool noodle sex" and sent along "Pool Noodle Girlfriend" by Patrick McGuire. It's a strangely fascinating interview with a guy who rigged up a pool noodle so he could have his way with it. To make the pool noodle even sexier, he stuck it to the bathroom mirror with a plunger so he could watch himself. Because what could be hotter than seeing himself--a guy living in his parents' basement. Fucking a pool noodle. In his parents' bathroom. 

Here are some of my favorite excerpts:

Did you try those more traditional methods first?
Yeah, and I looked for other materials around the house but I never really found anything. The last place I looked was the garage, and that's where I found the pool noodle. I thought, "Oh wow, that's got a nice texture to it.”

So it called out to you?
Yeah.

OK, then what did you do?
I cut it up while I was on the can so no one would ask me what the fuck I was doing. I was shoving a condom into this thing, and then I saw the plunger and one thing led to another. I think I was plunging the condom into the slit with the plunger and I thought, "Ahh fucking hell! I could stick this to the mirror.” And that's pretty much it.

How long ago was this?
Probably five or six years ago.

And you've been violating pool noodles ever since?
No, I think I only had one pool noodle and making that contraption takes about a third of it. So I think I only did it two or three times because I didn't want my parents to be like, "What the fuck are you doing to all our pool noodles?"

How would you describe the experience then?
It's fun in the making and in action. It's a large item... so what do you do with it afterward? You want to hold onto it but you don't want to buy it breakfast or anything. You kind of think "Maybe I'll keep this thing around for another go, but then you're like "Fuck it, it's garbage day tomorrow, I have to put this in the can.”


Is your pool noodle a dirty dirty slut? My only advice is to check your pool noodle for warning signs: staying in its room a lot, loss of interest in activities it once enjoyed and sobbing at the curb after being rejected on garbage day.

2. Update from Dusky: Dusky, you may recall--if not click here ("I have had one great love and one great lover and they are not the same man"), then here ("I am going to see that old lover")--is a married woman from a country where "agonizing" is amusingly spelled as "agonising." She was sharing insanely torrid emails and texts with her old lover, finally jetted to London to visit said lover and...it was tepid and weird.

I am happy as can be, because at last my London lover emailed me.  He agreed that things hadn't gone as expected, and basically let me down very gently and kindly, suggesting that he and I would always be kindred spirits and friends.  It caused me a final little heart-break to have it all officially OVER, but at last it finally is.  I'm no longer agonising over what I did wrong and wondering what he's thinking - he has given me the perfect closure.  Bastard as he is, his ability to write a perfect email is a damn fine skill that I can't help but adore him for.  Most wonderfully for me it means that I can again remember that early affair fondly, without feeling that it is tainted.  We've simply proved that it doesn't exist anymore, because those younger versions of ourselves no longer exist.  But from time to time I will think of those two lust-crazed people with joy, and it's lovely to know that he will too.

So, closure. Which is good. Or goodish, at least.

3. Your new business. Your welcome.



 
A Misguider Googler recently found IBWMW via the search terms "picture of assdazzled" which made me think of this brilliant idea--Assdazzling. It would be a service similar to vajazzling, but for your butt.

My husband said to this, as did Kirkegaard, "There are some things that should not be bedazzled."

Unfortunately, as a World Renowned Anal Bleaching Expert (this, unfortunately, is actually true), I already am quite busy in the ass-related market. So if you are looking for a business opportunity, and enjoy working with both sphincters and tiny pokey rhinestones, I bequeath the Assdazzling market to you.*

xoxoxo
jill

*For a modest donation, I will name you the IBWMW Minister of Assdazzling, which would look mighty fine on a business card.

photo: Herbert List - Sans Titre, 1937

ps circa 2016: this is a rerun, so there are some comments about a part I deleted (re: tiresome ranting on google, sigh, bein' a dick again). 
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