Tag Archives: gender disparity

An Interesting Conversation I Had With A (Transgender) Woman

Every now and then, my various curiosities on sexy and unsexy topics alike will lead to some unexpected insights. Personally, I love those insights. It’s just so easy to put yourself in your own custom echo-chamber that those moments are more important now than ever.

Just his past week, I had a very revealing conversation with someone on Reddit that caught me off-guard, but in a good way. It came shortly after I posted my article on the prospect of transplanting a uterus into a person who was born a man so that they could bear children. When I wrote that piece, I got an unexpected reaction, but one that taught me something I never would’ve learned otherwise.

I’ve written about transgender issues before, but not often. I fully concede that I know very little about transgender issues. I haven’t really interact with transgender individuals. Unless you count my love of Mystique from the X-men, I really don’t have much understanding of the whole transgender phenomenon.

As a result, the article I wrote about transplanting uteri reflected that ignorance. I later found out that the transgender people who read it took offense to some of my rhetoric. For this, I apologize. I honestly didn’t understand why my words were offensive at first. Then, a very kind, very understandable transgender woman helped me understand.

Since I don’t have permission to reveal her name or even her username, I won’t say it, out of respect for her privacy. Also, I am calling her a she and that’s perfectly valid for reasons that I hope will become clear. To me, she is a woman, regardless of what the Ben Shapiros of the world may claim.

Prior to writing my article, I didn’t buy into the notion that people who identify as transgender have some sort of mental illness. I accepted the conclusions of the American Psychological Association in that that they felt they were born the wrong gender. As it turns out, that’s not even half the story.

Here’s how the woman on Reddit described it to me in ways that go beyond what you’ll read on Wikipedia.

“I know exactly what’s missing inside my abdomen, and it feels weird, as though I have the drivers for hardware that was never installed. My experience is comparable enough to other infertile women I know that we’ve been able to comfort each other, but one does tend to feel a bit broken in a society that puts such a premium on motherhood. I started trying to plan for eventual pregnancy around age four or so when my little brother was born, and it took a few years before I learned it wasn’t going to happen barring cool future technology.”

I found this to be incredibly revealing. As a man whose body and mind are fairly in sync, in terms of gender idenity, it’s hard for me to wrap my head around that. However, this woman had to spend a good chunk of her life dealing with this fundamental disconnect.

It’s not so much that she’s a woman who was born as a man. She was always a woman in the same way I was always a man. It’s not that she has a penis instead of a vagina. It’s that she’s missing the parts she already feels she has, but the biological hardware doesn’t reflect that. It’s not like being born without a limb. It’s more akin to being born with a different limb than the one your brain says should be there.

Unfortunately, it’s that outer hardware that made her look like a man that led everyone to treat her like a man while expecting her to behave as such. That’s more than a little jarring. That utterly undermines a huge chunk of your identity.

Imagine, for a moment, waking up one day and having everyone treat you as the opposite gender. Imagine having to live every day, wanting to be treated like a woman, but instead being treated like a man. That’s what it’s like for many transgender individuals. She best summed it up like this.

“Trans people aren’t an especially interesting mystery once you get past the first basic fact: I’m not a man who became a woman. I’m a woman who was treated like a boy until she was old enough to fix her body without having to ask for permission.”

It’s still an amazing thought to contemplate, having an identity that is completely inconsistent with your body. The idea that our minds and our bodies aren’t on the same page is hard for anyone to imagine, which is a big reason why there are so many misconceptions about transgender people.

In a sense, I get why some get so hostile about the very idea of transgender issues. To them, gender is determined by your chromosomes and nothing else. If you have a Y-chromosome, you’re a man, regardless of how you look. It’s simple, concise, and easy to grasp. Like many aspects of biology, though, it’s only part of a much bigger picture.

Anyone who tries to reduce complex biological and psychological concepts into simple, easy-to-understand bullet points are almost always wrong to some extent. As I’ve said before, biology and human behavior are extremely complex. Chromosomes are just a small ingredient in a much larger biological cocktail.

Chromosomes are just DNA and DNA is just a blueprint. You can’t entirely define a person by their DNA any more than you can define a building by its blueprints. Sure, those blueprints are part of the process, but they’re not nearly as influential as all the hardware that actually create the structure.

A transgender person is no more defined by their DNA than anyone else. Sure, your DNA can effect you in many ways, but it’s not the only factor. Life, people, and the world around them is just too chaotic, complex, and dynamic to be reduced to something that simple.

As such, I sincerely thank this kind, patient woman for giving me this insight into a world I wouldn’t have otherwise learned about. I don’t doubt there’s a lot I don’t know. The way I write about transgender issues may still come off as ill-informed or even offensive. For that, I apologize.

However, as someone with a general interest in people and the way they see themselves, sexually, I hope to learn more. The fact that someone took the time to help me by sharing her insights makes me all the more astonished by the breadth of human experiences.

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The Unspoken Gender Disparity (Of Sex Toys)

I talk a lot about our current attitudes towards sex and the various problems it causes in our society. There are a lot of ways those attitudes manifest and my sexy novels can only do so much to expose them. Many of those attitudes have a clear and frustrating gender bias, which always inspires heated debates.

To reveal the breadth of this disparity, here’s a quick little test you can take. It doesn’t matter if you’re a man, woman, or something in between. It’ll reveal a little something about yourself and the way this disparity affects us. It goes like this.

A young woman walks up to you. She seems healthy, happy, and sane. She then tells you, “I own a vibrating dildo that has the look, feel, and texture of a real penis and I use it regularly to pleasure myself.” How do you react?

Shortly after, a young man walks up to you. He seems just as healthy, happy, and sane. He then tells you, “I own a sex doll that has the look, feel, and texture of a real vagina and I use it regularly to pleasure myself.” How do you react?

If we’re being honest with ourselves, and I know that’s not always easy or possible, we’ll react very differently to the man than we do the woman. Fundamentally, they’re both saying the same thing. They use a sex toy as a means of satisfying their basic desires when they don’t have a partner.

However, we don’t see either person the same way. The idea of a woman using a sex toy conjures all sorts of lurid mental images about a woman alone, surrounded by candles, touching herself in all sorts of wonderfully erotic ways. That imagery is the basis of a good chunk of the porn out there.

The idea of a man doing something similar conjures a very different kind of imagery. We don’t see that scene as erotic. Most likely, we’ll picture an ugly, lonely man in his basement, humping an imitation of a vagina because he’s too pathetic to experience the real thing.

Unlike the woman, there’s nothing sexy about it. At most, it just reminds us of that iconic scene in “American Pie” that had Jason Biggs going to down on a pie. On top of making everyone inherently suspicious of warm pies, it acts as a testament to how hilarious/pathetic men can be in their pursuit of sex.

It’s a double standard in the highest order, a concept I’ve explored before. It’s just one of those double standards that gets lost in arguments about a woman’s body image or the basics of sexual harassment. You could even argue that it’s an extension of the war on horny men. It’s hard enough being that horny. Any effort to satiate it is going to be met with added scrutiny.

In the middle of this huge double standard is a fundamental engineering challenge that mankind has yet to solve. Specifically, it involves sex toys. While these wondrous tools of pleasure have made incredible advances in recent years, there are still certain deficiencies that further the disparity for men and women.

Go into any place that sells sex toys and chances are you’ll be bombarded by every phallic-shaped accessory that it’s possible to imagine. If you want something that looks like an erect penis, you have an abundance of riches.

You can choose a penis made of glass, plastics, or a hyper-realistic synthetic. You can get one that vibrates. You can get one that has a clitoral stimulator. They even come in every imaginable size, shape, and color. Given the simple, basic structure of an erect penis, it’s fairly easy to replicate with our amazing tool-making skills. That’s a major reason why dildos are among the oldest, most successful sex toys of all time.

Contrast this with the options for toys resembling female genitalia. Sure, you’ll see the occasional blow-up doll, hand-held pussy, or molding based on a famous porn star, but chances are it won’t look or feel very real. These things are basically rubber and plastic. They’re incapable of mimicking the intricacies of actual vaginas.

While this is a testament to wonder that is a real vagina, it leaves the straight men who seek them at a frustrating disadvantage. It’s bad enough their natural, fully-functioning penises can never compete with a dildo that is always hard and vibrates to stimulate the deepest recesses of female anatomy. They don’t have something similar that delivers an equally intense experience.

At the moment, the closest approximation men can enjoying a real, artificial vagina comes from extremely advanced sex dolls like those made by Real Dolls. However, those super-real synthetics are extremely expensive, especially when compared to the average dildo.

It’s possible to get a quality vibrator these days for around fifty bucks and no shame. Even the cheapest accessory offered by Real Dolls will run you over four hundred dollars. On top of that, a man who admits he owns one is going to be subject to a fair amount of scrutiny and ridicule. Bud Bundy from “Married With Children” is proof enough of that.

That kind of disparity is bound to cause problems and not just through egregious double standards. As technology advances and sex dolls become more advanced, as well as full-fledged sex robots, the realism gap will narrow. It may have taken way too long, but there will come a day where a sex toy will give a man a sexual experience that’s indistinguishable from that of a woman.

However, this has already inspired controversy. There are some out there who would decry the use of such realistic sex toys because it literally objectifies the female body into something men can purchase. That’s something the radical, sex-negative crowd has been bemoaning for decades.

Ironically, these same individuals are relatively silent when it comes to the continued sale of realistic dildos. I imagine if someone came along and argued that if sex toys that mimic the female body should be banned, then all those penis-shaped accessories should be banned too in the name of gender equality. I imagine that would not go over well, even among radical feminists.

For now, though, the disparity remains. A woman has access to every kind of penis-shaped satisfaction she could hope for at a price most anyone can afford. An average man with an average income is out of luck and any effort he makes to satisfy his desires will be subject to added scrutiny. If he tries too hard, he’ll be labored a creep.

It’s not fair. It’s a complete affront to anyone who claims to be in favor of gender equality. If we’re going to endure the current disparity between male and female sex toys, we should at least offer a measure of understanding and sympathy.

Both genders have desires. Both genders want to share those desires. Let’s work together in that effort. I intend to do my part with my sexy novels. Those busy/horny scientists in sex toy labs like Real Dolls will surely do theirs. Collectively, in the name of all things sexy, we must be willing to do ours.

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An Online Dating Experiment That Does NOT Bode Well For Me

I know it’s a little early to be contemplating New Years Resolution. We still have to get through the final days of 2016 without losing any more beloved celebrities. Then again, I’ve always been an overly proactive guy. I’m the kind of guy who used to turn in essay papers three weeks ahead of schedule in college. My old professors used to say setting deadlines was useless for a guy like me.

While I appreciate their insight, I do understand that you can only be so proactive with certain activities. Compared to college essays, dating may as well be an Olympic event done drunk, blindfolded, and concussed. I’ve made my recent luck with dating painfully apparent. I’m trying to change that luck for 2017.

Over the holidays, I actually set a very specific goal with my family, one that may or may not be too ambitious. I actually told some close relatives who know how dedicated I am to my craft that I want to bring a significant other to Thanksgiving dinner in 2017. In my family, that’s a big fucking deal. Bringing a significant other to a big family event is right up there with co-signing on a loan.

It’s ambitious, but it’s something I really do want to try. I’m hoping online dating will give me a chance, if only to slightly improve the long odds. Then, while doing some cursory research on the subject for my last post, I came across some very discouraging news.

It has to do with a certain kind of gender disparity. I’ve talked about that sort of thing before and it’s never a pleasant conversation. It’s like talking about taxes, dead animals, and clogged toilets. It’s not going to have pleasant details. With online dating though, I can’t avoid these details.

In this case, the disparity has actual numbers to back it up. After the Ashley Madison hack in July 2015, we learned a nasty secret about certain online dating sites. The amount of men on these sites grossly outnumber the amount of women. How gross is it? Well, according to the Washington Post, only 15 percent of the profiles on Ashley Madison belonged to actual, real-life women.

Think about that number for a second. If you went to a restaurant and you only had a 15 percent chance of getting a meal, you’d say that was a pretty shitty restaurant, wouldn’t you? Well, those are the kinds of odds that men are facing here.

I already have some direct experience with it. Last year, I created an account on two dating websites. In both cases, the only responses I got came from chat bots trying to solicit money for porno webcams. That’s literally all I got. There’s enough pornographic spam on the internet and that’s all I could attract with my online dating profile. What’s that say about me?

It’s depressing, but it’s not just me. People have done actual experiments on this disparity and the results are pretty discouraging. An Elite Daily article profiled a man who created two Tinder profiles, one male and one female. The response rate between them was pretty damn egregious. The female version of his profile got five times as many messages. In terms of raw numbers, that is not a trivial difference.

Other experiments have revealed similar results. The Daily Mail UK did a similar profile on a man from London who actually dressed up as a woman for his profile. It turns out, the men didn’t care. They inundated him with responses, some of them using language I usually reserve for my books.

This is not encouraging. This does not sit well with me. It also reveals something else that gets lost in the laughable number gap. Online dating sucks for men and it brings out the worst in them, which gives the radical feminist, overly PC types a reason to whine.

There are any number of articles where the dirty, pornographic language men use on these sites are documented. Women and the PC crowd love to screen-cap these comments and use them to say, “Look at this! Look how disgusting men are! There’s so much misogyny! All men must be ashamed of themselves and die!”

That may be an extreme response, but extremes are the new normal in this day and age. So I’m not going to waste my time confronting those issues. There’s another side to that coin that will get lost in all the whining and it comes down to this simple truth:

Men are REALLY desperate to find a lover and not having one really screws with their mind.

Think about it because I sure have. When men get really horny, they tend to make poor decisions. Women do the same, but it’s much easier for a horny woman to find an outlet. As these online dating experiments prove, they really don’t have to make much of an effort to get a man’s interest. The massive disparity in gender ensures their options are limited.

With men, however, that kind of horniness really fucks with our brain. Scott Adams even talks about this when explaining the modern phenomenon of sexting. Horny men don’t think clearly and will, in turn, do stupid shit. Remember, our brains aren’t wired for logic and reason. They’re wired for survival and reproduction.

Survival isn’t as big a deal in 2016 so reproduction occupies much more of our mental energy. When we don’t have an outlet, our caveman brains get a little erratic. That leads us to saying some of the disgusting shit that women find so offensive.

Now I like to think I haven’t sent a woman an outright pornographic message, but given the heavy erotic content in my novels, I’m sure I’ve let a few slip. I’m sure some women even found it offensive. There’s nothing I can do to apologize to those women. They’ve already formed an opinion about me and I can’t change that.

So where does this leave me? What can I do at this point if the odds and numbers of online dating are stacked against me? That’s not a rhetorical question, by the way. I’m serious. I really would like to know because this does worry me.

I guess I’m somewhat lucky because I do have an outlet with my novels. I can take these sexy thoughts that fill my masculine brain and channel them into erotic novels or sexy Sunday thoughts. I think that’s a healthier way to manage my mental energy compared to sending women overtly sexual messages online.

Then again, it still only goes so far. It still leaves me alone, single, and dangerously close to creepiness territory. I still want to make an effort in 2017 to change my romantic luck, but I’m facing an uphill battle here. If, however, it means I can find a good and affectionate lover, then I’d say I’m willing to fight that battle.

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Skills In Love: A Personal Conflict

There are a lot things I wish I learned in school. In talking about various conflicts between love versus sex, perception versus reality, and violence versus the horror of seeing exposed nipples on a TV screen, I’m reminded of just how badly school prepared me for the world. Granted, I was miserable at school, but at least learning something would’ve softened the blow.

As much as I loathed school, there is one skill I wish they had taught. That skill involves finding love, forging relationships, and actually connecting with someone romantically. This feels like one of those incredibly important skills that we should all learn at a young age. Most kids figure out how to maximize the benefits of orgasms. Far fewer learn how to enjoy the benefits of loving relationships.

My family, as much as I love them, has been giving me the same advice since the Clinton Administration. They say, “It’ll happen when it happens.” They could say the same thing about me playing the lottery, which is not very discouraging. I’m over 30 now and being single at this age is starting to really concern me for reasons that may affect my ability to describe my personal life with a straight face.

I get it. Romance is one of those things you can’t predict. Nobody can really control how they fall in love or who they fall in love with. That’s a big part of what makes it so exciting and mysterious. It’s why romance/erotica writers like me have an audience.

However, finding romance is not like playing the lottery. It’s not one of those things that is complete and random chance. Our ability to find love is, unfortunately, one of those skills that varies from person to person. Some are just better-equipped than others.

I’m not just talking about women who have big tits and good social skills. I’m not just talking about men who have six-pack abs and a fat bank account either. Those aren’t skills. Those are a product of a genetic lottery and/or an ability to afford a good plastic surgeon. We can’t really control those factors. However, there are some we can control.

In finding love, there are a few skills that are more vital than most. We need to know how to communicate. We need to know how to empathize, read body language, and present ourselves in a compelling, affectionate way.

Some say these skills are innate. They’re part of being human. I say eating is part of being human as well, but some are far better at doing it than others. We can’t put the eating skills of a chef at a five-star restaurant on the same level as someone whose diet consists primarily of Doritos and Ramen noodles. For a skill like finding love, we need to know more than the ingredients.

This is where the issue becomes personal for me. Growing up, and all throughout my schooling, I did not develop good social skills. I wasn’t a total pariah, but I was often defined by my social awkwardness. I would avoid crowds. I avoided talking to others in class. I made few friends. Naturally, I was miserable. Being a self-centered little shit, I didn’t realize my misery was mostly my fault until I became an adult.

I’ve done my best to catch up in recent years. Going to college, getting a job, and becoming closer to my family has helped me gain some of the skills I failed to learn in school. I think I’m a better communicator now than I was in my early 20s. I can carry on a conversation and not sound like a regular on “The Big Bang Theory.”

That said, if one of my old teachers were to grade my skills, I’d be lucky to get a C at best. I am still, despite my best efforts, very socially awkward. I struggle to start conversations. I struggle to approach people. I really struggle to seek out the opposite sex and express a romantic interest.

This has already hindered my personal life in many ways. I mentioned in an earlier blog post that I went on a date earlier this year. I met a girl through a friend and we went to see the X-men movie together. I thought it went well at the time. Now that I look back on it, I think I my social awkwardness sent the wrong message. There were other mitigating circumstances, but I don’t think I did my part to show my interest.

Would learning more skills in high school have helped? Would I have gone on another date with that girl if I had been a bit more skilled in the art of romance? I don’t know. I can’t know for sure. However, I do know that this is a skill I need to work on in my personal life, if only to help me relate to the romance/erotica I write.

I will say this though. As much as I struggle to converse with someone in the physical world, I do believe my skills in the digital world are above-average. It’s not just because I met my first girlfriend online and that relationship once involved a sexy trip to Victoria’s Secret on the holidays.

In terms of skill, writing has always been one of my strengths. I sucked at a lot of things in school. Essay questions and papers wasn’t one of them. Ask me to carry on a conversation with a stranger and I’ll be lucky to avoid a slap in the face. Ask me to write an essay or craft an elaborate story and I’ll flex my skills like an oiled-up body-builder.

If I am going to find love one day, it probably won’t be through my conversation skills. It’ll probably come through my writing skills. In that sense, my ability to craft good romance/erotica isn’t just vital for my career. It may very well determine whether or not I find the love of my life. The stakes are pretty high, but if I’m going to confront this conflict, I might as well do it with my greatest skill.

In other words, challenge accepted!

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