Thursday, February 25, 2010

You’re Just a Tool, Tool Academy

I don’t know how many of you have seen that show ‘Tool Academy’ on VH1, but I analyzed the 1st season for a paper. If you want the original academic work, hit me up.

Original Title:
Hegemonic Masculinity in VH1’s Tool Academy

Translated Title:
You’re Just a Tool, Tool Academy

So … the dudebro. His whole entire identity is about doing whatever he can to not be a lady. To prove that he isn’t, the dudebro is only allowed to do things like spend money, compete with other dudebros, only show emotion when he’s pissed, and to treat the ladies like they’re his bitches. While competing for hella money, VH1’s Tool Academy is based on the premise that girlfriends bring their dudebros – the tools – to a place where they can unlearn their toolhood and be better boyfriends. To get the dudebros to actually want to do this, Tool Academy gives them some therapy, pairs them up in competition with their GFs, dangles a $100,000 cash prize in front of them, AND threatens to kick them out of the house. In terms of de-tooling the tools, some of these strategies work, but most just reinforce dudebro behavior.

Check it.

The $100,000 Cash Prize

Although this cash prize situation is supposed to motivate the fellas to become non-douchetools, it usually results in tool-like behavior. For example, when they open up the series, the host Jordan announces that the dudes have been enrolled in an academy so they can become better boyrfriends and men.

And how do the tools react? Complete silence. I’m talking crickets.

Then he says that if they do well, they’ll be rewarded with a $100,000 cash prize.

Every person, down to the very last tool goes crazy and starts cheering.

So basically, because things like ‘being a good boyfriend’ and ‘being responsible’ aren’t considered manly, these dudebros don’t react. But because as a dudebro it’s cool to be stoked about money, it’s okay to cheer and get excited when they hear about all the money they can win.

Now, aside from having to define oneself in opposition to the ladies, the dudebro is actually secretly insecure that other dudebros won’t find him masculine enough. The dudebro constantly has to prove his manhood over and over by trying to dominate all the other dudes he’s around. The $100,000 cash prize makes these displays a constant throughout the show.

Shawn (aka Loud Mouth Tool) provides the best examples of this type behavior. He knows that M.E.G.A. is his biggest competition and so is constantly physically attacking him and provoking him in the tool academy dorms. He even admits that he’s going to pick at the flaws in everyone’s relationships until he wins. Instead of figuring out why the hell he’s so insecure about losing, he just tries to bring everyone else down, which, as explained above is classic dudebro behavior.

Trina, the therapist who has the final say in who wins or loses, initially punishes the dudebro for this kind of toolish behavior by putting perpetrators of violence and provocations in the bottom two during elimination rounds.

However, she ultimately rewards two of the biggest tools in the house, Shawn and Matsuflex, (even though they’re always acting like d-bags) because they eventually make it to the final 3.

This cash prize, then, only makes the tools bust out dudebro behavior, rather than encouraging them to push that shit aside.

The Small Competitions With The Ladies

So in Therapy, the tools are taught lessons on how to be good boyfriends. In the small competitions, the tools have to work together with their girlfriend to show that they’ve really learned the lesson. Even though it’s a competition – which is a usually manly thing – winning the competition often means embracing actions that are usually associated with being feminine. To win, the tool needs to man-up and embrace his feminine side. Failure to do so results in punishment.

For example, in a communication competition where the tools’ had to read directions on building a bed to their girlfriends, Tommy (aka slacker tool) gets frustrated and instead of being patient and chatting it out (stuff only girls do, duh), he throws an armchair and kicks a cooler. Because he decided to act like a dudebro instead of manning up and communicating, Trina puts him in the bottom two during the elimination round.

On the flip side of this, being able to let go of one’s inner dudebro often resulted both in rewards and wining competitions. In one competition where tools and their ladies, while attached to each other, raced to see who could paint a fence first, two tools tried two different strategies. Matsuflex literally dragged his lady around, physically dominating her, and didn’t listen to her ideas. Josh (aka Tiny Tool), employs a strategy where he and his lady work together, and he even uses some of her ideas to complete the task. Tiny Tool, by being man enough to treat his lady like an equal, wins the small competition AND ends up being the first “graduate” of the Tool Academy. Matsuflex’s inability to shed his inner dudebro led to losing not only the fence painting competition, but also the greater competition.

Pairing the fellas up with their girlfriends in competitions actually challenge the tools to see that there are advantages in the dropping the dudebro act.

The Therapy Sessions

Up until this point, we’ve talked about how Tool Academy motivates the men to change in the masculine arena of competition. Therapy, however, is a space where the men have to change in a feminine battlefield. It’s here where the tools in the academy really drop all of their dudebro posturing. Not only do they stop being dicks to one another, but they admit their insecurities, they share their feelings and they even cry (no shit, son). It’s by waging an emotional war on a feminine battlefield that the audience is shown that even though the tools act like d-bags, they have really strong emotions just like ladies. When they drop their dudebro pretences, Trina rewards them for their strength.

Therapy, then becomes a space where the tool mentality seems as though it may actually change. In an interview with Rob (aka Power Tool), we come to find that dropping the dudebro ethic is actually valuable in helping the tools to change their mind about constantly performing their gender like dudebros. During one of the therapy sessions, Rob breaks down and cries. He later admits in his interview that even though he’s never cried in front of people like that, it made him feel less crazy and less alone. Through admitting this, Rob shows that #1, dudes totally cry, and #2 when dudes cry and talk and work shit out, they may not look like dudebros, but it makes them feel better.

Therapy is perhaps, of all the strategies used by tool academy, the most effective in helping the tools shake off the need to dudebro it up.

The Elimination Round

So, each week, a Tool is expelled from Tool Academy when Trina decides that he just isn’t man enough to be a good man. When he’s expelled, he’s got one chance to try to get his girlfriend to leave with him instead of without him.

One, and only one, dude upon getting expelled drops his dudebro pretense to try to convince his girl to stay with him. Almost every other dude expelled from the academy reverts back to defending himself by putting up a tough alpha male front. Shawn and Celebrity’s expulsions are really good examples of this.

When Shawn is tossed out of the Academy, he responds by puffing up his chest and going back to the dudebro need to constantly prove how masculine he is. As he’s leaving one of the other tools talks a little shit, and instead of being the bigger man, Shawn runs back into the house, threatens the offending tool, and THEN claims that he’s going go so postal on the dude that the producers are going to need the National Guard to hold him back. Needing to prove that he is a bigger man through anger and a puffed up display are all classic dudebro moves.

Celebrity (aka Party Tool) starts booty poppin’ and asking the other tools’ girlfriends for phone numbers. Not only does Celebrity revert to the dudebro behavior where he tries to make women his bitches, but because he is also one of the (few) black men on the show, he also falls into a stereotype of black dudebro-ness based on being important only through things like performance and being super sexual.

The elimination round, because it takes the tools power away, creates a defensive tool whose only ability to fight back is by reverting back to dudebro behavior.

The Conclusion

When the tools are dismissed, Jordan, the host says “I’m sorry, you’re just a tool.”

On the basis of effectively changing dudebros into good dudes, this author has to say “I’m sorry Tool Academy, you’re just a tool.” (I.e. this shit doesn’t work).

The reason why Tool Academy doesn’t work (aside from the fact that it’s reality TV and that they boozed those tools up constantly) is because adding competition for money and fear of elimination makes everything the tools do in therapy and small competitions a part of a strategy to win, rather than to really be better boyfriends.

If VH1’s Tool Academy really wants to start turning dudebros into good dudes, they’ll need to get rid of the cash prize AND get rid of the eliminations.

That's it!

-Becca

Monday, February 22, 2010

Vulvas Aren’t Vaginas

This post is full of Vulvatastic information! Enjoy!

1. What’s a Vulva anyway?
So, I want you to imagine that there is a woman. She’s completely naked and she’s sitting on a stool with her legs crossed. Then (because she obviously wants to educate you) she spreads her legs wide open, points to her crotch and says, “This is NOT a vagina.” You’re like, “WTF is this then?” And she goes, “This is my vulva.”

In this culture, we often use the words Vulva and Vagina interchangeably, when the reality is they are not the same thing. When that naked woman spreads her legs apart, all that ‘stuff’ on the outside is a vulva. It’s where most genitally focused pleasure receiving nerve endings are located (thanks, in part, to the 8,000 nerve endings in the clitoris), and it is OUTSIDE the body. The Vulva is NOT the vagina, because the vagina is inside the body. If we go back to our imaginary naked woman who was nice enough to consent to educate us … all you can really see of the vagina is the entrance.

Although not all sex educators agree, nor practice, calling the vulva and the vagina by the different names, this sex educator (imagine me pointing at myself with my thumbs) thinks it’s extremely important to differentiate. Mostly because a) it’s scientifically accurate to utilize the terminology separately and b) when we talk about the vulva specifically, we bring more attention to female pleasure than we do when we simply reduce everything to a vagina.

2. Why are vulvas hairy?
Excellent question. Pubic hair, aside from keeping our genitals nice and warm back before the days of clothing, actually does serve a function, and that function has to do with pheromones.

Pheromones, in case you’re unclear as to what they are, are chemicals that our bodies release that affect other people without having to get processed first. If you look at someone and think they’re hot, your brain processes the image and then decides whether it wants to send a message to another part of your brain that makes you get turned on. Sex pheromones shortcut that system and go straight to the part of your brain that controls arousal. To oversimplify: you could be looking at someone you don’t find particularly attractive and they could still turn you on because of their pheromones.

Pubic hair, in a neat evolutionary trick, traps pheromones as they get released. The pheromones are then chillin’ in high concentrations. The high concentration of all these sexy pheromones has a more intense effect on your partner(s) brain.

In short, pubes are there to help people get turned on faster.


3. Should I shave/wax/trim/laser/otherwise remove hair from my vulva?
The answer that question is: that’s entirely up to you. Regardless of what you see in porn or on other ladies in the lockeroom, how you maintain your bush should be entirely about you. There are advantages to each side, some of which I’ve listed below:


In Support of Pube Maintenance
  • No pubes = no toilet paper stuck in said pubes.
  • Although pheromones won’t be trapped, bacteria and other smells also won’t be trapped.
  • If you’re not going for the fully bald look, you can shave or trim fun shapes into your pubes.
  • For some, less pubes = more erotic sensitivity.
  • Landscaping can be an activity for you and your partner(s) to do together.
  • Less pubes means that you can see more of the vulva.


In Support of Leaving Things Natural Style
  • It is a no effort, accessory free way to be.
  • Those pheromones have a nice, lush place to collect.
  • You never have to worry about things like razor burn, accidental cuts, or having wax strips yanked off your body.
  • For some, pubic hair provides an important cushion for the pushin’, and helps folks to avoid chafing and friction burn.
  • As (crazily enough) hair is in a constant state of re-growth, you don’t have to do continuous maintenance.
  • Your vulva looks like it’s gone through puberty.

At the end of the day … what you decide should be all about you. It should be about what makes you feel comfortable, sexy and beautiful. What you do with your pubes is completely up to you!

4. What is a normal vulva supposed to look like?
Okay. Here’s what you do. Find a mirror, strip down nekked, open your legs up, and look at your vulva. THAT, my friend, is what a normal vulva is supposed to look like.

So, I know you’re thinking “But, Becca, hold up. How can you say my vulva is normal when you’ve never even seen it?”

I know because Vulvas are like faces. Everyone has a different face, and pretty much every face is normal, even though they may not look alike.  It's the same deal with vulvas, except the basics (noses, eyes, ears, etc) are a little different. Vulva basics include two sets of labia (one set with hair, one set without hair), a clitoris, a urethra (which you may not be able to see), and a vaginal opening. It’s normal for your smooth labia to be longer OR shorter than your hairy labia. AND it’s normal for your right set of labia to be a different size and shape than your left set of labia. Also, even though I know that every textbook ever printed shows that vulvas are pink, let me tell you, vulvas come in all kinds of different colors. AND it’s normal for different parts of your vulva to be different colors. Also, if you’re trans or intersex with a vulva, a normal vulva may have all these attributes, or it may not.

Basically, the only things that should have you worried are warts, sores or lesions. Anything else is super chill and super normal.

5. How do I take care of my vulva?
So, washing your vulva regularly is a good first step in taking care of it.

Another good step? Looking at, touching, and getting to know your vulva. See, unlike dudes, a lady could go pretty much her whole life without ever taking a look at her vulva. Which, if that’s how you’d prefer to roll, is cool with me. However, touching, looking at and knowing your vulva is important in knowing when something may be wrong with it. If you don’t know what your vulva looks like normally, it may be difficult to figure out when something has changed, or when something isn’t quite right. Looking at and touching your vulva may seem weird at first, but just think about how many times a day dudes touch their penises. It’s just as okay for a dude to touch his penis as it is for you to touch your vulva (at the appropriate time and place, of course). Just like breast self exams, you can do a vulva self-exam every month. Although vulvar cancer is relatively rare, it still does happen. So when you’re checking out the vulva, make sure you squeeze the labia to see if there are any lumps.

Plus, another bonus of looking at your vulva is that you’ll (hopefully) increase your comfort with the way your vulva looks. You may even come to think that your vulva is the prettiest vulva ever!

Another good way to take care of your vulva is to sex it up (either alone or with a partner). Just like in other parts of the body, increased blood flow means a delivery of fresh oxygen to your tissues. The more fresh oxygen your tissues get, the healthier your tissues are. Getting turned on, playing with your own vulva, having someone else play with your vulva, and non-sexual exercising are all ways that you can get that fresh blood pumping to your vulva. (Of course, if you’re having someone else play with your vulva, make sure you’re doing so in a way that is conscious of safer sex practices).

6. Can you get surgery on your vulva?
Yes. It’s called vulvaplasty’ and it’s a cosmetic type of surgery. (Although, if you’re having issues where because of the length of your labia you’re experiencing discomfort, getting vulvaplasty is kind of like getting a breast reduction because your breasts are so big your back hurts. In that case, the surgery would be non cosmetic.) People seek out cosmetic surgery all over the body for many different reasons, but when it comes specifically to vulvaplasty, here are some things I feel you should keep in mind:

  • Because it’s usually for cosmetic purposes, insurance won’t cover the cost, which can be in the thousands.
  • Make sure that the surgeon you get to do the procedure has a good track record. Some surgeons who offer vulvaplasty are just butchers. You’re looking for a reconstruction, not a mutilation, so choose your practitioner wisely. A good way to figure out if they do good work is to ask if they have before and after photos of surgeries they’ve performed.
  • Get ready for a period of recovery where you won’t be able to use your vulva in a sexual way.
  • Have an idea of what you’d like done to your vulva, and work with a practitioner that listens to what you want (not one that pushes his/her ideals of what a ‘perfect’ vulva should look like).
  • As with all cosmetic surgery, there is a risk that your vulva may not come out the way you wanted it, you may be left with irreversible nerve damage, there may be scarring, and there may be loss of sensation. Keep in mind that these are risks. It’s also possible none of these things will occur.
  • Getting a vulvaplasty should be something you decide for yourself. If you are only doing it because it’s something your partner wants, I encourage you to think very long and hard about a) your partner choice and b) whether the risks are worth it for something that you’re not doing for you.


7. What happens to my vulva when I get turned on?
When a vulva gets aroused, it’s going to fill up with blood. The smooth labia are going to experience the most swelling from that increased blood flow, and can increase in size up to 3 times. Also, your clit is going to get hard. The cool thing about this increased blood flow is that it means your vulva is going to get way more sexually sensitive! Holler.


8. Wait, after reading this, shouldn’t the Vagina Monologues be called the Vulva Monologues?
Many of the monologues in that play should DEFINITELY be characterized as vulva monologues. But I can’t blame Eve Ensler for using ‘vagina’ as it is more widely recognizable.

Yay for vulvas! I hope, as always, that you’ve learned something!

-Becca

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Stuff Becca Didn't Know About the History of HIV

So, having been in the Sex Ed field for hella years, I was all like “I know hella about HIV/AIDS.” Well, turns out I knew hella about how HIV spreads and how to prevent getting HIV … but in terms of the history, my knowledge was patchy.

David M. Hall, my professor, did a lecture on the history of HIV today, and because I’m all about getting the information out to the people, I’m going to break down some of the stuff I already knew … and then tell you the shit that I learned.

But no doubt, this is all summarized from his lecture. Gotta give props where the props are due.

What I Did Know
HIV was originally transmitted to humans living of off Chimp meat.

What I Didn’t Know
The reason why folks in Africa were living off chimp meat was because they were fleeing into the jungle for freedom from European colonialists who were making entire villages become laborers in the 1930s. The Europeans wanted resources and would ask men in the village to labor for them. The men would say no. The Europeans would then kidnap children and ask again. When people said no, they’d kill a child and say they’d keep killing until the men worked for them. So the men did. When other villages heard about this, their choice was either to work as a forced laborer (read: slave) or flee into the jungles and survive off of chimp meat.

What I Did Know
Most of the cases of HIV/AIDS in the world are in Sub-Saharan Africa because that’s where the Virus began its spread.

What I Didn’t Know
Is the reason why HIV started to spread so widely, was when these villagers who had fled were caught, they were put into the forced labor groups. The European colonizers then protected their (slave) labor force from illness through injections. But guess what, they often used one needle to vaccinate hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people. (Apparently, one French vaccination used 6 syringes to vaccinate 80,000 people. WTF, right?) Sharing needles, as we know, spreads HIV.

This fact, alongside the fact that when you put hella dudes together in a forced labor situation, sex workers are going to capitalize. These newly infected dudes would have sex with sex workers, and the cycle of infection would continue.

What I Did Know
When HIV/AIDS came to the states, it started off primarily with gay men.

What I Didn’t Know
That this happened by way of Haiti. Haitians would work in the Congo, where HIV was prevalent, and then roll back to Haiti. Gay Men, who, in the 1950s were discriminated against, couldn’t just be in public and have a good time and be open. So, the rich ones would go to Haiti so they could be openly them. Haiti needed the money and so didn’t care that gay folks would party there. While in Haiti, HIV spread to these gay men, and when they returned to the states, HIV returned with some of them.

What I Also Didn’t Know
Because of discrimination, some gay men in the 1950s were only hired in jobs that were traditionally considered jobs for women. One of those jobs: flight attendants. So, when gay men would fly across the country, they’d have sex with folks in the cities they were visiting, and the virus would also spread that way.

What I Did Know
Some people contracted HIV through blood transfusions back in the day.

What I Didn’t Know
Although the Blood Bank people knew they were potentially infecting people with HIV, they didn’t want to spend money on testing their whole blood supply. After hearing about the possibility, they waited 2 years before they started screening blood. At which point 35,000 Americans and half of all hemophiliacs had been infected with the Virus.

What I Did Know
Ronald Reagan was a conservative president.

What I Didn’t Know
Was that even though in the beginning the CDC thought that HIV only affected gay men … when the Regan administration sent scientists to the Congo to check things out they said, “Uh, hey President Reagan, looks like HIV can be spread to hetero people too.” To which he responded, “No way, brah. I don’t believe you. Find another explanation.” It took him 4 years into the epidemic to say anything to the public about the virus at all, and it was only because privileged non-gay people started to get diagnosed in the country (hemophiliacs, to be specific).

What I Did Know
HIV meds can be way expensive.

What I Didn’t Know
Is that original treatment for HIV (AZT) was discovered on the public dime in the public domain. The patent on the drugs was sold to a pharmaceutical company, and that pharmaceutical company then jacked up the price to $10,000 a year … in the 1980s. (Read: Hella money, fool).

What I Did (Kind Of) Know
The Bush administration rocked a good deal of funding to HIV/AIDS prevention.

What I Didn’t Know
Was that all that happened because Bono convinced Jesse Helms (super conservative dude who blamed HIV on gay people, called it a punishment, etc.) to stop blocking legislation that would help out with HIV/AIDS prevention.

What I Did Know
HIV/AIDS is projected to affect almost 40 Million people worldwide, and about 1 Million people in the United States.

What I Didn’t Know
Is that through a combination of colonialism forcing people into slavery, unsavory medical practices, homophobia, and conservative administrations, HIV has become WAY more of an epidemic than it ever needed to be.

If the European colonizers had never forced Africans into laboring for resources … villagers wouldn’t have been chased into the jungle in order to avoid become slaves. HIV, although it may have spread to a few people, would never have proliferated.

But, what if colonialism and forced labor were inevitable? Had they not vaccinated hundreds to thousands of people with the same needles … HIV never would have spread as widely as it did.

In the US, had gay men’s sexuality just been accepted, they would never have had to turn to another public space to just be themselves, nor would they have been pigeonholed into certain jobs. Had we been accepting of a diversity of sexualities, HIV may not have become an epidemic in the states.

Homophobia also resulted in HIV not being linked to hetero people until 4 years into the epidemic. Because the CDC originally attached HIV to gay identity, when they saw hetero people with the same symptoms … they refused to link them. Had the CDC not been homophobic in the 80s, prevention could have started sooner.

Had Jesse Helms not blocked funding, more could have been done sooner as well.

Becca’s Conclusion

When we blame the HIV epidemic on a certain demographic, or when we reduce the beginning of HIV to sex with monkeys … we’re missing the whole point.

Disregard for the humanity of others caused this epidemic, and hate and intolerance helped it to spread.

-Becca

Monday, February 15, 2010

Tears Of Hope

This is an Erotica throwback I was inspired to write after reading Octavia Butler's "Parable" Series. I highly recommend both this erotica and Butler's books. Enjoy!

-Becca

They were both filthy. Disgusting, actually. They had been walking together for weeks. They hadn’t yet exchanged any words for fear that they would set off the alarms and be brought back. They were waiting for the border. The moment they crossed, they would be free.

They didn’t speak, but had found other ways to communicate. Crude gesticulations and eye contact. They stopped only to sleep, piss, and eat. They were never asleep at the same time during the night. It wasn’t safe to leave themselves so vulnerable. Exhausted though they were, they split the night, her always taking the first watch, him the second. She would sometimes wake in the morning to find him staring at her, a longing in his eyes.

At first, she didn’t know what the longing was. Perhaps it was to know her name, her story, how she had escaped, how she had made it as far as she had on her own. She knew, at first, that’s what she desired of him. During the day, during those moments that necessitated eye contact, she knew he could read that desire in her eyes. She wondered endlessly, but knew that to speak was to endanger both herself and this travel partner she had both come to trust and who she assumed had also entrusted her with his life.

But as they had traveled together, she knew that the longing she saw in his eyes in the morning was not the longing she felt during the day. Rather, it was the same need she felt when she stared at him as he slept. Watching the curves of his body as his lithe form expanded and contracted with breath. Imagining the way his body always moved with purpose, the way his aching muscles kept moving forward toward freedom … toward hope. The way the exhaustion of the journey, while never gone, released a bit as he slept. She was grateful that he slept during these moments. Had he seen that she reciprocated his desire, they would be done for.

They walked in silence, matching step for step, the rhythm and pace they had developed in perfect sync. In the beginning, he had some type of wound on his ankle. She couldn’t tell what had caused it, and couldn’t ask. But something about him made her want to stay with him. In the beginning, she questioned her decision constantly, worried that at some point he would attack her. But he never did. And while he slowed their pace in the beginning, his wound eventually healed and his silent, stoic company lent her more strength than she could explain.

They were getting close. She could feel it. The plants were lush, there were less animals lying dead due to starvation. Her heart pumped with joy, she looked toward her walking partner and smiled. He smiled back, and her heart pumped harder. She realized that this was the first time she had ever seen him smile. And she knew the desire that she dared only show at night while he was sleeping flashed across her face.

He flushed in recognition, and their pace slowed. She could see him making a decision in his head, but she knew that beyond all doubt there was only one choice.

She reached out and touched his arm. She could feel the electricity transfer between them, and she saw his cock become immediately rigid in his pants. She took a deep breath, and shook her head. She pointed in the direction they were walking and nodded at him to follow. He looked pained, but gave her a look that said he knew she was right.

The pace that they had developed quickened almost to a jog. Their breath quickened in time and their bodies moved forward, feeding off each other’s energy. She felt the adrenaline course through her body, but she began to get light headed and knew that with what they had been eating … or rather what they hadn’t been eating, they wouldn’t be able to keep the pace up. They would expend all their energy before reaching the border.

She slowed her pace, and again with complete understanding, he slowed to match her. The time that followed was agony. Minutes felt like days. Her desire for him and desire to reach the border made it feel as though the distance they were covering was endless. When she could, she would glance sideways at him. Before this morning, that would just have been to check in to make sure that he wasn’t passing out at her side. But now, it was laden with much more purpose. There were times when she would look at him and their eyes would meet. It made her wet, every time, and she had to look away for fear that she wouldn’t have the strength or self-control to continue toward freedom.

And then they saw it, the border. He grabbed her hand, and she his for a brief moment, and they began to sprint toward it. The state they lived in had technology to keep slaves inside the borders. Judging by the scar on his left forearm – the one that matched hers – he had found a way to remove his slave chip too.

Keeping up with one another, their feet pounded along the rough terrain. They were so close when they heard the gunshots.... She dared not look behind her for fear her pace would slow, but knew they were being followed by OPS: groups of poor free people who would catch runaway slaves for pitiful rewards. More if the slaves were still alive, but they still something even if the slaves were dead. A dead slave was still valuable in order to keep the silence surrounding the terrible treatment slaves were afforded.

They both ran, gunfire at their backs, sprinting with all the energy they could muster. She felt a bullet graze her cheek and almost cried out in fear, but knew doing so would trigger the voice activated state-wide alarm. Even so close to the border there was no escaping the troops that appeared when that was activated … they very rarely respected state lines. So she kept her pain internalized and they ran.

They just barely made it to the border. She looked to see that a truck had just pulled up with a machine gun strapped to the back. She was glad they had crossed before that had gotten in range. They ran a bit further to ensure their own safety. Most OPS would not cross state border, but in times of real need, some might try. Her muscles ached, and her lungs burned from the effort. When they were certain they were no longer being followed, they stopped in a glade of trees and he looked at her with concern.

He stripped his filthy shirt off, found the cleanest spot and pressed it up to her cheek where the bullet had grazed her cheek. In all of the commotion she hadn’t even realized she was bleeding. She smiled at him and tears started streaming down her face.

In a hoarse voice she croaked “We’re free.”

Tears began to cascade down his face as he nodded in agreement. “I’m Chris.”

“Lela.”

She stared at him as his tears created streaks in the weeks of dirt, sweat, and grime that had accumulated. She grabbed the hand that held his shirt to her face and used her other hand to pull him in and kiss him hard on the mouth. The weeks of longing washed through the both of them and she could feel him shudder as she pulled him in. Her hands explored the rigid chisel of his body as her tongue worked in concert with his. His body felt exactly as she had imagined in those long nights watching their back, making sure they would survive.

He ran his hand through her greasy hair, pulling slightly at the end causing her to gasp in delight. Her clit pulsed and she pushed her body on top of his, causing him to drop the t-shirt he held against her face. He wrapped his powerful arms around her and pulled her so tight she almost couldn’t breathe. But she returned his hug and they sat there holding each other, kissing, crying in each others arms.

He stared into her eyes, and she saw the longing, the fire, that had been there every time she woke up. She stripped off her dirty, travel-worn shirt and could feel him engorge underneath her.

“I’ve wanted this for weeks.”

“I know … me too.”

She put his finger across his lips as it seemed he wanted to say more. They were free. There would be time for words later. He nodded and took her off his lap and laid her gently in the grass on her side. He lay down next to her and caressed her naked torso. He took her small brown nipples into his mouth and she closed her eyes and felt her breathing deepen in approval. She groped at his arms and chest as he administered the first of their healing.

She opened her eyes and pushed him onto his back. She gently undid his top button and pulled his pants off. The veins on his penis painfully throbbed, as his rock-hard erection flopped up onto his stomach. She stood up and tossed his pants aside. As she removed her pants, and the last of the clothes that linked her to her past, she watched his abdomen convulsively expand and contract as he caressed his cock.

She knelt next to him and gave him one more kiss before swinging her leg over him and sliding him into her. As he entered her she could feel the sensation travel out to her extremities, ending with a tingle in her fingertips. And the healing continued. With every pump the lashes from her slaver healed. With every stroke the indignities of being owned as property in 22nd century America faded. As his hands, rough from hard labor, ran across her breasts she was able to escape her past, if only for a moment.

Their pace, like when they had first walked together, was slow and tentative – their emotional injuries still fresh and painful. But as they allowed one another's physical love to heal the wounds that they had accumulated, their pace intensified. His penis thrust into her and her hips rocked in time … matching each others' rhythm, perfectly in sync. The smells of their journey and their sex drifted up into her nostrils, causing her to inhale sharply from the pleasure of it all. Sitting on top of his pelvis, and taking in the intermingled body odor, road grime, and sex smells, she began to rub her clit as she rocked, taking her closer to the edge.

She looked into his eyes and felt love like she hadn’t since she had been forced into slavery. Her orgasm radiated outward causing her body to tremble and tears to spill from her eyes. He thrust into her to help accommodate her orgasm and pushed himself over the edge in the process, grabbing her ass and gasping in pleasure.

She rolled off him into the grass, and he pulled her into him. They were both crying. Tears of pleasure. Tears of healing. Tears of happiness. Tears of hope.

They made love in that very spot all throughout the night. Asking the questions that they had wanted to ask all throughout their journey. Exploring each others' minds as well as each others' bodies. Making their disparate scents come together as one.

“You saved my life.”

“No, you saved mine.”

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Were 2010 Super Bowl Ads Misogynistic?

What up? So, a friend of mine sent me a link to the following critique of super bowl commercials.

The Author’s bottom line was that super bowl ads were misogynistic. However, when reading the blog post, I feel as though all super bowl ads weren’t given a thorough look. The author makes a generalization of misogyny in super bowl ads without really providing much back-up for the theory. So, with the power of the internet and all the extra time I have because there is blizzard happening, I watched every single commercial that aired during the super bowl. Based on the data accrued I am going to hook you all up with themes that I, with my very distinct viewpoint, found striking about the ads.

Before I begin, I talk about many commercials throughout this post. I was going to link to each one I mentioned, but I’ve decided based upon my analysis I have little to no desire to actually do that kind of promotion for these companies. If you go here, all of the commercials are listed. You can try to figure which ads I’m talking about based on my descriptions.

Here are the things I found striking:

#1 Dudes are car driving, beer drinking, food eaters.
This one is actually just based on a statistical analysis. Of the 68 ads played, 14 were about food, 11 were about cars and 9 were about beer. (With websites [7], technology [5] and NFL [5] coming in at 4th, 5th, and 6th for number of ads, respectively). Basically, if you were to size up men based on the ads, all dudes should care about is eating (mostly) junk food, getting wasted, and then hopping in a sweet ride. Sounds dumb considering the whole people shouldn’t really drunk drive thing (but I guess that’s also a theme, check out #5).

#2 There was only one advertisement that specifically targeted women.
There were 68 ads played throughout the course of the super bowl, and not surprisingly, most were advertising to men. However, because I do know a female football fan or two, I thought there would be a few more. Sketchers Shape-Ups, the one ad that did specifically target women, also targeted men. In doing so, there was a stark dichotomy in how the shoes were being sold. For the fellas the shoes were all about improving strength and posture. For the ladies? You guessed it! The selling points for these shoes were helping women to lose weight without hitting the gym AND fitting better in their jeans. Because, you know, women are only supposed to care about their weight, and couldn’t possibly want to be strong and have good posture.

#3 Gay people don’t exist.
I had hopes when the Anheuser Busch commercial came on showing the horse and the calf frolicking together. It could be interpreted as a gay theme, if one wanted. However, at the end of the commercial, they made sure it wouldn’t be seen that way by saying that horse and bull were just friends.

#4 Women have no power.

Women in some of the Super Bowl Commercials are either never given power or have power taken away.  here is a partial list of some examples of this:
  • Example 1: Even though Danica Patrick is a badass race car driver … in the godaddy commercials, she’s nothing but a pretty spokes model (As are the other women in the commercials).
  • Example 2: In order to hold on to his Bridgestone tires, some dude would hand his wife over to bandits.
  • Example 3: When women are trying to have a discussion about a book, bud light makes it so that men can invade their party and hit on them (poorly).
  • Example 4: Tim Tebow tackles the fuck out his mom.
  • Example 5: In every commercial about a movie or a video game, women are just there to be fucked and or rescued.
  • Example 6: In a Bud Light commercial, a woman is taking a shower, and gets peeped in on when people start to take cans out of a house made out of bud light cans…
  • Example 7: A woman is about to go on a date with a dude and he checks out her booty. Her 5 year old son then throws down and goes to her rescue by slapping and then threatening the suitor. Because, you know, women are so helpless that even a 5 year old can protect a woman better than she could herself.
  • Example 8: One huge shoutout to women having no power was the bud light commercial that parodied lost. There is one woman that tries to get radio contact with the outside world, but everyone flocks to the dude who finds a fridge full of bud light. When she does make radio contact, some dude changes it to music instead. No power, even when people should’ve probably listened to her.

#5 Men are either huge douchetools … or mega super men.
If women came off as having no power … men came off as huge idiots much of the time.

Like in the Doritos commercial where the man is outsmarted by a dog. Or in the bud light commercial where the scientist mistakes a tiny chunk of space matter for an earth ending asteroid. Or when the dude from intel talks about how the processors are the best product intel has ever come up with right in front of an AI robot (that I’m assuming Intel developed).

When men aren’t portrayed as total idiots, then they are supermen. Like in the NFL commercial that compares a touchdown to launching a space shuttle. Or the coke commercial where a man sleepwalks through African wildlife and doesn’t get killed. Or the cars.com commercial where dudebro is a super genius and saves peeps from a tornado and helps a tiger give breach birth. Or in the Dr. Pepper commercial where the Kiss band member rips the top off a Dr. Pepper can like it was an everyday occurrence.

#6 Being in a relationship sucks … and that is obviously the woman’s fault.
While no power was really given to women in the super bowl commercials … two commercials straight up hated on being in relationships with women.

The first was the dodge charger commercial where the dudes talk about how they do everything for their ladies, but they still get to be dudes by driving a charger. Those guys seemed pretty pissed about having to deal with life. My favorite is “I will take my socks off before getting into bed.” And dudebro just looked super angry about it. But at least he gets to drive his charger.

The other commercial was the FloTv commercial where boyfriend couldn’t watch the game because his lady (also apparently the root of evil) made him go shopping with her. He is called spineless, and is chastised for not doing whatever he can to fulfill his sports obsession. Not only does he have to help his girlfriend buy hot undies, but he is no longer a man because he’s taken some time away from his sports obsession. Women suck.

#7 Men of Color
So … most of the people who were featured in the ads were white folks.

However, men of color, when given spotlight, were animalized (like when TruTv turns Palumalu into a groundhog), treated as crazy aggressive (the sumo wrestler in the KGB commercial, or the 5 year old in the Doritos commercial) or they were stereotyped (Charles Barkley rapping in the Taco Bell commercial).

I don’t think I saw any Latino men at all, and the only 2 Asian men represented were the sumo wrestler and the dude who misinterpreted the asteroid.

#8 Junk Food Will Make You AMAZING
Like when Betty White eats a Snickers bar and turns back into a dude and can play football again. Or the coke commercial where Monty Burns loses his fortune, but feels better when he’s given a coke. Or the Doritos commercial where dude has a samurai suit made out of Doritos and he ninja-stars a dude in the neck … with a Dorito.

So, when I watched all the Super Bowl commercials, those were the themes that really stuck out to me. You’re more than welcome to interpret my findings as you will.

But let’s return to the question that brought me to do this analysis: “Were the super bowl ads misogynistic?”
  • 38 out of 64 were not. More than half refrained from any sort of overt or covert woman hating.
  • 23 were what I’m going to call covertly misogynistic. Although they did not outright hate on the ladies, these commercials resorted to objectifying, victimizing, or taking power away from women in one form or another in order to sell their product. The companies included in this list were: Bud Light (a few times), Snickers, Focus on Family, Robin Hood, GoDaddy, Monster, Doritos, Sketchers, Prince of Persia, Motorola, ETrade, Kia, Vizeo, EA. Now … if you do end up looking up these commercials, I admit that you may disagree that some of them are misogynistic, even covertly. Basically anytime there was an objectified or disempowered woman, I added that company to this list. Your definition of disempowered woman may be different than my own.
  • 3 were outright misogynistic. There are the two that I mentioned in theme #6 above. The other one, in my opinion, is the Bridgestone commercial where tires are more important than his wife. If you don’t want to support women-hating advertising add Dodge, Bridgestone, and FloTv to your “Do Not Buy” list.

My final thought about all of this is, obviously advertising should be taken with a grain of salt. They’re trying to elicit an emotional reaction so that you’ll remember their name and their product. My purpose in this analysis is simply to show how things can be seen when looked at more critically than we usually look at advertising. Take this whole analysis as you will.

Also, although I think that the commentary that men have to be tough and protect the women in their life with whatever force necessary is kind of ridiculously done, my favorite ad, by far, is this one

It shouldn’t be as it’s definitely on the covert misogyny list … but it still is. That kid is adorable.

-Becca

Monday, February 8, 2010

Yes, No, Maybe Chart


Update!

My site has changed locations, and you can find the new version of these charts at the following URL:

http://www.smarthotfun.com/wantwillwontchart/charts/

Thanks and apologies to anyone who has clicked on dead links lately!

-Becca

So, the chart is an oldie but goodie. The blog post is brand spankin’ new (if you checked ‘yes’ on your chart for spankings, of course).

Have you ever wondered if your partner likes her ass spanked?

Have you ever fantasized about your partner stripping down to his banana hammock and shakin’ it for you to the sexy music of your choice?

Have you ever really just wanted your partner to keep their stockings ON while you’re fucking?

Have you ever imagined your partners wearing your stockings and heels while you’re fucking?

Do you sometimes feel like you have NO idea how on earth you’d bring any of these things up, but you REALLY REALLY want to?

Well, then the Yes, No, Maybe Chart is for you. For a nominal fee of $0, and maybe some love in the comments section, you and your partner can delve into each others' desires and fantasies with a super fun activity!

Use it to spice up a sex life that’s gotten stagnant!

Use it to get on the same page with your partners’ desires!

You can even use it to interview potential fuck buddies!

The limits are endless. All you have to do is click below.

CLICK HERE FOR THE MS WORD VERSION (SO YOU CAN EDIT STUFF)

CLICK HERE FOR THE PDF VERSION (IF YOU DON’T HAVE MS WORD)

And of course, with any awesome product, there’s fine print. Except, I will not be making it smaller, I think you should actually read these.

1. The Yes, No, Maybe Chart is not my original idea. Someone else (I’m not sure who) came up with it long before I did. What makes mine special is that it’s here, and that it’s fairly exhaustive, and that it includes instructions and definitions.

2. When I say fairly exhaustive, I mean that most umbrella terms are here. What THAT means is that, although Japanese Bondage and Western Bondage are not specifically listed, both of those fall under ‘Bondage.’ If you can’t find a specific activity you’d like to discuss, I recommend downloading the MS WORD version and editing it in there.

3. Which brings me to my next point that this is a conversation STARTER. For some of the activities on this list, you will need to make sure that you’ve researched proper safety and protocol before you actually do them. Beccassexblog.com will not be held responsible for anything crazy that happens if you try something out simply based on the definitions given.

4. The yes, no, maybe chart cannot guarantee a happy ending. You may find out that you and your partner share the same level of kink … but you may find out that you’re a mismatch. If you really respect your partner or partners, you’ll find a way to converse until you can come to a resolution if any conflict arises.

5. Remember not to force this activity on your partner. If they’re up for it, then by all means, go to town! If they’re not, please respect their right to pass.

6. This doesn’t only have to happen once. Tastes change and people get curious. If you haven’t rocked it in a while, I recommend a revisit.

7. You don’t have to be in a relationship to do this activity. This might be a really good way for you to check in with your desires on your own! It could also be a great activity to do at a party with your friends (well, maybe it’s a good for me to do this at a party with my friends. It definitely depends on the crowd you roll with.)

End Disclaimers

Have fun!

-Becca

Thursday, February 4, 2010

People Are Probably Going To Sleep Around, Even If They’re In A Relationship

I apologize for my slacking off in January. But welcome to Super Legit February. Where I will at the very least put up two posts to make up for my lack of posting.

Anyway.

In one of my classes, I was assigned a paper on an element of Human Sexual Behavior that was personally challenging to me. This paper was part opinion and emotions based, so in translating it, you should know that I’ve only left in the factual information that I learned. So … this isn’t a direct translation from the paper.

The original title was: Sexual Monogamy

I call this paper translation: People Are Probably Going To Sleep Around, Even If They’re In A Relationship

In our current culture, there seems to be a common theme in terms of the way romantic relationships are portrayed. Whether the information is coming from teachers, television, movies, music, preachers, your mom, or pretty much any other mainstream source, you hear a common message:

A “good” relationship is one where you are with ONLY one other person and you both work to start a life together. Because this person is the person you’re going to share a life with, you should both be able to fulfill each other completely. This means that good relationships are ones where you never have sex with anyone else … ever. Nor would you want to.

If you, for whatever reason, find yourself desiring sex outside of your life partner … not only are you a failure, but your relationship is also a failure, based on how relationships are supposed to be.


Right? I mean … right? Because, I mean, it’s an age old story. You find your soulmate, you have/adopt hella babies, you buy/rent a home together and you wander off into the sunset completely fulfilled and having the best sex of your life forever. And if you can’t hang with that … obviously there is something wrong with you or your relationships.

And because this is what we hear all the time, and because it’s the message that we’re getting practically everywhere, science should totally back this up, right?

Wrong. Well … kinda wrong. All the ‘building a life together with one person' stuff (which we’ll call Social Monogamy from here on out)? Totally legit and backed up by history and science. All the “human beings are supposed to find one person to have sex with forever” stuff (which we’ll call Sexual Monogamy)? Science doesn’t seem to think it’s all that realistic to expect that if you're in a socially monogamous relationship.

Lemme take you kiddies on a journey through evolution.

So, human beings … we’re animals, right? We’re just super complex, emotion feeling, ENORMOUS pre-frontal cortex (i.e. brain!) kind of animals. So, just like all other animals, we’ve evolved … but because of our brains we evolve based on more than just our biological impulses. Just for a second, I want you to forget everything but our biology. Because if we looked at humans as if they were animals … biology says that we’d be (big word alert) polygynous.

So wtf is polygynous? Basically, it means that the dudes with the most resources (in our case, rich people) would have large groups of women who they would knock up and support. Now, because this rich guy can’t always keep up with all his ladies, other dudes would still get in on the action by getting women in these groups pregnant on the sly. The rich guy probably knows this is happening, but because he has so many ladies who have kids that are probably his … he still takes care of those ladies because he can. This system makes it so that we keep our gene pool diverse, AND so that lots of babies survive into adulthood. Which, by the way, is the ultimate goal of life.

But, Becca … we’ve evolved, and what if we really have become monogamous now?

Science also tells us that animals that look monogamous usually aren’t. Even though you might see these cutsie bird couples raising babies together … the reality is that dudebro bird takes time out of his day to try to mate with hella ladies, AND that while dudebro bird is away, his woman is getting it on with other guy birds too. (With the lady part, it’s especially true if she’s got a less desirable mate. Even though she loves him and wants to raise kids with him, she would rather have a studly dude bird impregnate her. Just sayin’.) Although the likelihood of getting pregnant outside of the monogamous unit is less … it still happens quite a bit in the animal kingdom.

But, humans are too complex to boil our actions down to just biology. Obviously. Because if we did, I’d be typing this blog post from a harem, while my 5 kids (some of whom who did not belong to my rich sugar daddy) swarmed around my bare feet. OR, I would be sitting at home watching my dude partner guard the door from other dudes so they didn’t come in and try to mate with me (even though as soon as he left I was gonna let the hottie from up the street in anyway. Holla!)

So … how did we go from having kids in harems to raising kids with one other person? Agrarian culture had a lot to do with it. We lived off the land, and it was WAY better if all our hard work on our farm didn’t go to benefit strangers. So? We married one person, had hella babies with them, and had those babies work the farm. Once the industrial revolution hit, we kept the system of marrying and having sex with one person in fashion. But instead of basing it off of survival, we started basing this system off of sex, emotions, and intimacy.

And we all lived happily ever after, getting all our sexual fulfillment from the person we were in relationship with.

Oh wait. Or some studies have shown that up to 80% of people in monogamous couples (married or not) have cheated on their partners.

So science … at this point, doesn’t back up the idea that if you’re socially monogamous … you should always be sexually monogamous. Biologically it’s not really how things are done … and even though lots of people say that relationships should be that way … it’s not actually what people are doing.

Alright Becca, back the fuck up. If humans aren’t supposed to be sexually monogamous with the person they’re socially monogamous with, why does it hurt so much when people cheat?

Excellent question, theoretical jealous person.

And you’ve actually answered your own question. People get hurt when cheating occurs because someone has CHEATED. This means that a rule that you and your partner have come up with for each other has been broken. Often, when people are hurt, it’s less about the actual sex than it is the LYING.

In (another big word alert) polyamorous relationships, shit is WAY different when people have sex with someone who isn’t their primary boo.

So first, polyamory … what is this? That’s a long crazy story (perhaps for another blog post). So I’m going to oversimplify to save time. Polyamory is an umbrella term for any type of relationship that has rules that allow either sex or love with someone who isn’t your life-partner. Basically, you have your main squeeze, but you’re allowed to fuck and/or love other people and its chill with your partner. (Note: This is only because you’ve explicitly set it up this way. If your partner thinks that you’re their one and only and you’re sleeping around … that doesn’t make you polyamourous.)

In polyamorous relationships the rules are different. If you sleep with someone else, you haven’t cheated. There may still be hurt, but it isn’t based on lying or not telling someone or anything like that. Some of the science about polyamory even reports that there are times when people are stoked about their partners getting it on with other people. It’s an emotion that’s the opposite of jealousy. (They call it compersion, if you’re interested in the big words.)

Okay … but uh, what about STIs?

So, I thought that when I looked into studies about HIV, the bottom line in the studies would be like, “In order to best prevent HIV, you should be sexually monogamous.”

But, in the studies that I did read, (which was, by no means all of them) the biggest advice that was given was to know your honey’s business. That’s right. Rather than saying “only do one person” the studies recommended just knowing when your partner is having sex with someone who isn’t you. People who thought they were in relationships that were sexually monogamous were less likely to protect themselves from HIV. People who either assumed or knew that their partners were messing around the side … were more likely to engage in protective habits.

True story.

So sure, only doing one person when you’ve both been tested is a surefire way to prevent stuff. But … based on what we’ve seen thus far, people aren’t very good at being sexually monogamous, AND because cheating hurts so much … we are less likely to be honest with the partners who do think they’re our one and only.

This, in turn, puts us at higher risk for getting STIs.

So, if biologically, science doesn’t support sexual monogamy for humans … and if being hurt isn’t the only way someone can respond to their partners not being sexually monogamous, and if even HIV prevention isn’t waiving the sexually monogamous flag … why do people still do monogamy?

Basically, because it’s all we see and all we’re told, we don’t take the time to really look at ourselves when we’re in monogamous relationships.

It’s like dudes wearing pants. In this culture, we take for granted that dudes wear pants, and that if a dude doesn’t want to wear pants, something is wrong with him as a dude. But, if we just took a second to really think about it, why do we have that rule? Because, as someone who has worn a skirt or two in her day, they are wicked comfortable. Why wouldn’t anyone want to wear a skirt? But because we just assume that dudes wear pants, we don’t find it weird that dudes only ever wear pants. We don’t even think about it, talk about it, or question it.

It’s kinda the same thing with sexual monogamy and social monogamy being linked together all the time. We’re told that once we find our soulmate, the whole sexual thing will magically fall into place. So when we get into a socially monogamous relationship with someone … we don’t even talk about sexual monogamy, because we figure it’ll all just work itself out. We just assume that’s the way it will be. Then, when cheating happens … everyone acts surprised. Not because cheating is rare, but because we’ve told ourselves as a culture that sexual monogamy and social monogamy are the same thing.

So wait … what are you really trying to say here, chica?

My conclusion is: Science does not support the idea that sexual monogamy and social monogamy are the same thing.

To rephrase that: If you pay attention to what academics are saying … it’s that the fairy tale of ‘happily ever after’ is simply that … a fairy tale. You may very well find someone who fulfills you in a way that no other human being can. But that doesn’t mean that you and that person are going to only ever have or want to have sex with each other forever.

End of Paper Translation

As you all know, I do like to give my two cents on the issue. The following is how I personally feel about saying that once you find someone to be socially monogamous with … you also have to be sexually monogamous with them.

So … Becca. Are you telling me that after all this time I should give up on love and happiness with one person?

Hell no, sucka!

I actually believe very much in the realistic nature of finding one person to start a life with. If you’re interested in buying a home or having kids or doing anything that requires a long-term commitment to someone … I think that having that one person that you can trust and love and count on … is beautiful thing. (I also believe that this is only one of the many ways to get this done … but for the sake of this post, I’ll keep it simple and stop there.)

But if you’re rocking life that way, it is acceptable to seek people outside of that unit for emotional fulfillment you can’t get at home. No one would ever think twice when a dude goes to a friend’s house to watch the icecapades because his wife is watching football with her obnoxious girlfriends again. She needs those football buddies, and he needs his ice skating crew. They can’t get that need fulfilled with each other … so they turn to other people. It’s called ‘friendship.’ The ‘happily ever after’ fairytale includes friends. Healthy relationships include friends and activities outside the partnership.

But if there is a sexual need that a partner can’t fulfill or that someone can’t get at home … we immediately flip out if someone tries to fulfill that need outside of the pair. We start to place blame and point fingers. “Your man is sleeping around because you’re not throwing down in the bedroom. Your woman ain’t getting what she needs and that’s your fault.” In many instances … those accusations may very well be true. However … in some circumstances, when people sleep around … it has little or nothing to do with their partners at home. They might be completely satisfied, but just want something a little different. Or, they may have a need or desire that their partner isn’t into. When it comes to nonsexual things, we as a culture think it’s a great idea to look outside a monogamous relationship to get those things. But when it's sex ... that's a huge (arbitrary) no no.

And I honestly think that’s because we live in a world where we just have no idea how to talk about sex in a way that’s as neutral as we can talk about football or ice skating. We’re so scared and ignorant about sex that the idea of having to talk about what we’re doing with other people is fucking scary.

Because of this, I don’t think that sexual nonmonogamy is realistic for everyone. In order to really take on being with someone while simultaneously being able to fuck someone else, there is a definite skill set, and level of trust and comfort, that I don’t think many people in this culture are capable of.

I also think that there are people who are truly happy in sexual monogamy. And above all, I am down with people seeking out relationships that work for them.

But I think that this happily ever after myth is harmful to some. Because it sets unrealistic expectations that are difficult to live up to. It’s like our culture is setting our couples up for failure. It makes good solid relationships that could easily withstand time dissolve just because people want to seek out new sexual experiences. Which, according to science, is just how people do.

If we learned how to talk about our desires and learn how to allow for people to fulfill their sexual needs while still remaining emotionally conscious and compassionate, the hurt that results from cheating could be lessened.

I would even go so far as to say that if we started telling a new, more realistic fairy tale about how relationships really work … the concept of cheating could literally be erased.

Crazy, right?

Think about it.

-Becca