Tag Archives: sex positive

New Deadpool Cartoon Announced (And Why It Matters)

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In addition to being an aspiring erotica/romance writer, I have a fairly diverse set of interests. I talk about many of them on this blog. I love superhero comics, superhero movies, futuristic technology, and activities that involve nudity. I like to explore these topics because the world is a diverse and sexy place. I want this blog to reflect that, as well as entertain/titillate.

So when news emerges that involves superhero comics and a potential for entertainment/titillation, expect me to mention it at some point. When that news involves someone like Deadpool, a character who has built his entire appeal on that and dick jokes, you can pretty much set your watch to it.

I’ve talked about Deadpool many times before. I’m not the only one either. Deadpool is the new golden boy for Fox, Marvel, and the entire superhero genre. He was once a niche character with an especially loyal set of fans and cos-players. Then, former sexiest man alive, Ryan Reynolds, made Deadpool the hottest thing in spandex not named Jennifer Lawrence.

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The Deadpool movie wasn’t just a game-changer. It dropped a metric ton of napalm on the game, blew it up with C4, and roasted marshmallows over the entrails while strippers danced in the background. If that sounds crazy, then congratulations. You now have some insight into why Deadpool is so appealing.

The first Deadpool movie completely shocked the established superhero genre, grossing $783 million on a $58 million budget. At a time when many superhero movies need budgets of at least $250 million to be taken seriously, that’s not just impressive. That’s downright jarring.

The fact that Deadpool did this while being rated R, complete with exposed breasts and Ryan Reynold’s jerking off with a stuffed unicorn, makes it all the more astonishing. It proved that superhero movies could be mature, sexy, and appealing. It also proved they can be extremely profitable and nothing speaks louder in the entertainment industry than money. Why else would Disney have made fivePirates of the Caribbean” movies?

The impact is still being felt, but it’s already starting to show. Just this year, Fox proved that Deadpool’s success was not a fluke. The R-rated “Logan” movie made $606 million on a $97 million budget while generated critical acclaim. Once can be an anomaly. Twice is the beginning of a trend.

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In an effort to continue that trend, Fox and Marvel announced this past week that they will be making a Deadpool animated series for the FXX network. That’s the same network that hosts such kid-unfriendly shows like “Archer” and “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.” There couldn’t be a more appropriate home is what I’m saying.

Now, this news might not seem like a big deal to non-comic fans. Deadpool had a successful movie, making Fox and Marvel a boatload of money. With a sequel already in the works, why not capitalize on his popularity with a cartoon? It sounds like a normal money grab by big corporate media giants who are never satisfied with merely having a few pools of money to swim in.

There’s no doubt that’s part of the dynamic here, but there are far larger implications, some of which might have an impact on erotica/romance. Bear with me, here, because this is where I try to gaze into a crystal ball and not throw up. Since I haven’t won the lottery or predicted the Super Bowl yet, assume my ability for foresight is limited.

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Earlier this year, I talked about the success of the “Fifty Shades of Grey” movie, as well as the challenges associated with creating quality erotica/romance. Some of these challenges aren’t insurmountable, but they are daunting. The success of “Game of Thrones” might be nudging public attitudes to some extent, but only to a point.

Since Hollywood is too damn impatient when it comes to exploiting a market, I speculated that animation might actually be the key to future erotica/romance. It effectively circumvents many of those daunting challenges I mentioned. Cartoon characters don’t get too testy when you ask them to take their clothes off.

With a Deadpool cartoon being on FXX, there’s a lot more potential for raunchy sexiness. We already see it in shows like “Archer,” which doesn’t shy away from the kind of crude humor that is usually reserved for “South Park.” Unlike “Archer,” though, Deadpool has more brand recognition. He generates far more attention and not just because he’s been known to cross dress every now and then.

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Deadpool will be entering a market that’s ripe for growth. Adult-themed animation has been around for years, but has never been more than a niche market. That might be changing just in time for Deadpool.

In recent years, shows like “Archer” have inspired other shows like “Rick and Morty,” gaining more than just a cult following. These shows get away with plots and humor that would never make it past the network executives who are routinely terrified of getting a call from the FCC. By being animated, they can push the proverbial envelope in ways that go far beyond an exposed nipple.

Deadpool doesn’t stop at nipples, though. He’s a character who married a succubus and flirted with Spider-Man. He does things that made the kid-friendly executives at Disney faint. With a cartoon, they can even do things that Ryan Reynolds would never agree to and he’s the guy who agreed to do “R.I.P.D.

The potential that a Deadpool cartoon has cannot be understated. He can do more than just create another hit cartoon for a network that already has a few under their belt. He can foster a new audience that’s hungry for more mature animation.

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Between the success of movies like “Fifty Shades of Grey” and TV shows like “Rick and Morty,” Deadpool is coming along at the best possible time. By creating a larger audience, it’ll let the big wigs at major media studios that audiences do want sexier content. They want media that’s fun, sexy, and not afraid of showing a few nipples every now and then.

There will always be a place for kid-friendly cartoons, but animation need not be a medium that appeals to one segment of the population. There are many more people out there who want sexier material and they don’t need to whine to their parents for money to buy it.

A Deadpool cartoon definitely has plenty of appeal, especially to those who enjoyed the sex and violence of the movie. It has everything it needs to be success. However, it’s the implications of that success that may have far sexier implications.

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Filed under Comic Books, Jack Fisher, Superheroes, Jack Fisher's Insights, Uncategorized

Why Women (And Men) Need More Sex-Positive Role Models

There was a time when we just didn’t talk about the sex lives of role models and superheroes. To talk about what Superman, Wonder Woman, or Captain America did in private with lingerie, bottle of lube, and a willing partner wasn’t just obscene. It was akin to hearing your parents talk about the night we were conceived, right down to the color of the nipple clamps our moms used.

While we still shudder at the thought of our parents describing their sex lives to us, we’re a bit more comfortable with our heroes and role models filling us in on their intimate lives. In some respects, we’ve come a long way. We’ve gone from joking about how Superman can have a baby with a human woman to big (not so) shocking reveal earlier this year that Wonder Woman is bisexual.

The topic of superhero sex lives has always been somewhat taboo, except for perverse fan fiction, some of which I actually write. There’s an even greater taboo about the sex lives of our real-life role models and that can be very damaging, especially if the private sex lives of those role models become scandalous. Just ask Tiger Woods.

As an aspiring erotica/romance writer, who often navigates taboos and favors more sex-positive superheroes like Starfire, I feel like we’re vampires working in a blood bank. We’re putting ourselves in stressful, self-destructive circumstances that will only lead to disappointment and heartache with respect to our role models.

I get it. We want our role models to embody ideals. We hold them to a higher standard. We want Superman to not be concerned with whether his wife can bear his child. We want Tiger Woods to be a faithful, upstanding pillar of virtue. The problem with having such high standards isn’t that it puts undue pressure on the role models. The problem is that it makes it way too easy for us to hate ourselves for being human.

The problem with ideals is in the very definition. According to Dictionary.com, the core meaning of the word is:

  • A conception of something in its perfection

  • A standard of perfection or excellence

  • Something that exists only in the imagination

We expect our role models to embody these ideals, whether they’re real or fictional characters. The fact that we can’t even get our fictional characters to live up to those ideals, as evidenced by Superman’s role in a porno tape with Big Barda, is pretty damn telling. So why should anyone expect Tiger Woods to live up to that ideal?

What we need now isn’t an ideal for a role model. We don’t even need a flawed role model either. We already have plenty of that with Batman, Wolverine, and Mick Jagger, who just had his eight kid at 73. What we need, in my humble opinion, is a true sex positive role model.

By “sex positive,” I don’t mean a role model who isn’t afraid to talk about their sex lives. We already have plenty of celebrities and superheroes who do that. We have Cortney Love, Tony Stark, and pretty much every hair metal band from the 1980s. By sex positive, I mean someone who both embraces sexuality and subverts the stigma.

It’s that last part that’s the challenge here. It’s one thing for a hero or an icon to have sex and be casual about it. It’s quite another to do it in a way that undermines the stigma that still surrounds sex.

Make no mistake. That stigma is still there. We expect rich and successful men to have a lot of sex with a lot of random women, but when a woman does it, we think there’s something wrong with her. There’s still this frustrating taboo surrounding female sexuality and it’s ruining our sex lives, among other things.

It goes beyond the rich and powerful too. Even among youth and adults, there’s still this strange disconnect with our sexuality. It’s legal for two consenting adults to have sex for whatever reason they want, but we still shame and stigmatize it. We still have this arbitrary standard that if you have too much sex, then something’s wrong with you.

How much is too much? Well, that’s the tricky part. Nobody knows. One person’s slut is another person’s free spirit. One person’s stud is another person’s beta male. We just don’t know because we don’t talk about it. We don’t discuss it. We can’t even agree on what constitutes consent in sex anymore.

Enter a sex-positive role model. Enter someone who will approach sexuality the same way most people approach a hot cup of cocoa on a cold winter day. They don’t just embrace the crude elements of it. They embrace the beauty as well. They shatter the awkwardness. They spit on the taboos. They don’t need to flaunt their sexuality. To them, it’s just normal.

Sadly, there aren’t a lot of role models like that right now. In fact, I could only come up with two: Starfire and Deadpool. I’ve already made it abundantly clear why Starfire is the perfect sex-positive superhero. The fact she looks like this only helps.

With Deadpool, it’s a little trickier. He’s not much of a hero. He even says as such in his hit movie. However, while he’s crude in pretty much everything he does, he’s not crude when it comes to sex. It’s not this dirty, forbidden act. It’s just this basic thing that people do.

Sometimes it’s for love. Sometimes it’s for fun. Sometimes it’s how you celebrate the holidays with your lover. In that sense, Deadpool perfectly captures that spirit.

As much as I love Starfire and Deadpool, I don’t think they’re nearly enough. I think we need more sex positive role models and heroes. Some, like Amber Rose, are making an effort. I think we’ll need to make an even greater effort because all taboos and stigmas, be they sexual or not, don’t fade easily.

We human beings are anxious and uptight about things that make us uncomfortable. Our culture, going all the way back to the Puritans, the Vatican, and the Mullahs, has done too good a job at making us uncomfortable about sex. We’ve made progress over the centuries in breaking that discomfort. More sex-positive role models and heroes can only help.

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The Cult/Myth/Absurdity Of Virginity

I talk a lot about the absurdities in our culture that undermine or ruin our ability to love, make love, or just plain hump. These absurdities are important to me because I’m in the business of telling sexy, romantic stories. If there’s something that hinders or attacks our natural inclination to love and hump one another, then it’s going to affect the ability of my readers to get the most out of my books.

Since I want my readers to get the most out of my sexy love stories, I feel inclined to confront these absurdities. Sometimes it comes in the form of radical feminism. Sometimes it comes in the form of religious dogma. There’s no one singular force that’s putting the locks on our collective panties. It’s more of a drunken brawl of forces that are coordinating to attack one person, but don’t realize it.

It’s chaotic. It’s controversial. It’s bound to offend certain people with certain sensibilities. For that, I apologize, but I still feel that these absurdities need to be called out for what they are. It doesn’t matter if sticking your hand in a deep fryer is a sacred tradition. It’s still an absurdity on some levels.

The absurdity in this case has to do with the big V-word that we in the erotica/romance world must navigate. No, I’m not talking about a certain body part for a certain gender. I’m talking about the other big V-word. I’m talking about virginity.

Say that word out loud and measure your reaction. Then say another word like pencil and measure your reaction as well. Is it the same? If so, then you’re excused from reading the rest of this post. You’re more than equipped to appreciate the sex appeal of my books, which I highly recommend. If not, then this is something we need to talk about.

The whole concept of virginity is one of those concepts we, as a society, actively avoid scrutinizing. As a definition, it’s not that hard. Virginity is just a colorful term we used to describe those who have never had sex. If that were there was to it, then it wouldn’t be an issue. We’d lump it together with words like “moist” and “juicy.” They may make some people uncomfortable for entirely personal reasons, but most just shrug it off.

The problem is that, for reasons that have a lot to do with pre-modern culture and little to do with actual physical traits, the concept of virginity has been conflated, twisted, and in some cases deified. There’s a reason why the Virgin Mary has that moniker. If she were just the Hot Blond Mary, it would not have the same impact.

So why does it have this impact? Well, I’d love to say that there’s some complex, fascinating, socio-political reason for it. I’m sure there are some people who teach entire classes on this subject who can conjure complexities from this issue that make it seem akin to quantum mechanics. I’m not one of those people. That means I’m the answer I give is simple, crude, and frustratingly concise. Spoiler alert: I’ll be using caveman logic again.

Virginity has this impact for a pretty simple reason. For most of human history, we didn’t know squat about diseases. We didn’t have reliable pregnancy tests. On top of that, our best contraception involved trusting men to pull out at just the right moment. We can barely trust men with smartphones these days. You really think we can trust them that much when orgasms are involved? Just ask Anthony “Carlos Danger” Weiner.

This means that virginity is pretty much the only thing our ancestors had to be certain that a woman was disease free and not carrying someone else’s child. Marrying a virgin means there’s little chance she has the plague. It also helps guarantee that the kids she has are going to be yours biologically.

When your entire society is based on land-owning, agrarian traditions, that’s kind of a big deal. By kind of, I mean wars will be fought and people will lose their heads (among other body parts) if they find out their bride slept around or had a kid who wasn’t theirs.

Naturally, our caveman brains can’t process this on a wholly rational basis. Our biology, and the mechanisms that drive it, are blunt instruments. That means they’ll see an issue that may be as simple as a bent nail, but try to fix it with a jackhammer. It’s bound to cause some collateral damage. Unfortunately, the collateral damage in this case undermines the sexuality and agency of women.

It’s no coincidence that every major religion, including Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and pretty much every major religion founded before Scientology, places some emphasis on virginity. For these traditions, virginity isn’t just a pragmatic tool for ensuring disease-free, bastard-free brides. That’s too logical. They have to turn it into this esoteric, mystical brand of purity.

A virgin woman, in this context, is like a freshly-baked cookie that no one else has touched. It’s like perfectly ripened fruit that hasn’t been harvested yet. It’s like polished Rolls Royce that comes fresh from the factory, never driven and never sat in.

Is this starting to get creepy? Is comparing women to food, cars, and things that don’t have thoughts or feelings starting to bother you? Well, don’t go running to the toilet yet. That’s normal. That’s what happens when you peel back the layers about virginity and why it’s so deified. It really just comes down to a convenient excuse for old sexual traditions.

It’s still absurd, but it’s at least understandable to some degree. We didn’t know what we didn’t know for a long, long time. We only had these traditions and superstitions to guide us. The fact that we’re still here as a civilization and a species shows they did have some merit, but that merit is exceedingly limited, especially to those of us who think women should have agency in their sex lives. What a concept, right?

The concept of virginity became obsolete as soon as we discovered methods of contraception that don’t rely on trusting men to pull out at the right time. It’s become even more obsolete as medical science has advanced to a point where the diseases that used to render women sterile, weak, or dead are either curable or treatable. It’s a wonderful thing, women not being sick or at the mercy of their fertility.

Unfortunately, these outdated concepts of virginity didn’t die as soon as condoms and birth control pills became easier to obtain than cigarettes. Once again, our caveman brains screw us over and not in the fun way.

Remember, the caveman brain is not rational. That means it will cling to irrational crap for as long as possible because completely re-thinking a concept takes too much time and energy. That time and energy needs to be spent preparing for the winter and avoiding hungry bears, damn it! At least, that’s how our caveman brains see it.

As a result, the idea of virginity still has this strange place in modern society. It’s only strange because some people take it to distinctly creepy extremes. Those extremes lead to something like this.

That’s a purity ring. It’s one of the tools/gimmicks that extremely conservative types use in pushing their preferred brand of sexual education, “abstinence only.” They believe they can override an onslaught of hormones and millions of years of biological imperatives in impressionable, irrational teenagers. I want to admire their bravado, but at some point the absurdities are just too much.

They try to paint it as something romantic like, “true love waits.” As a romance/erotica writer, I just find that offensive. These religious, conservative types have their hearts in the right place. They don’t want young people engaging in risky sexual behavior that they’re not ready for. That’s entirely respectable, but extremely misguided.

It’s true that some people are better off waiting to have sex for the same reason some people are better off waiting to get their own credit card. They need to first make sure they’re responsible enough to handle all the proclivities that such things entail. Taking the abstinence route would be like not giving kids driver’s ed before they get a driver’s license. You’re just asking for trouble in the long run.

Even for those who wait, the religious dogma has a nasty tendency to misconstrue our libido. It’s why the idea of porn addiction is more prevalent among religious people compared to non-religious people. It’s also why some who do wait end up regretting it.

Sex is a lot like that road trip your parents to you on as a kid. You didn’t want to go. You worried and complained about it. Your parents just kept saying that if you think it’s going to be terrible, then it’s going to be terrible. You never admit they were right because you convinced yourself of something before you knew anything about it.

The same thing applies to sex. If you think it’s this dirty, evil deed that Satan created so that he could make babies to sacrifice, then you’re not going to enjoy it. It doesn’t matter whether it’s your wedding night or your prom night. You’ve already convinced yourself it’s going to be terrible.

You bought into all the dogma and let it rewire your brain, which still has that nasty imperative to survive and reproduce. It’s the one way you screw yourself that you can’t enjoy.

To make matters worse, our society still struggles with shaming women who decide to defy these notions of virginity. We don’t do it to men because men are just expected to hump everything with a pulse, which is offensive in and of itself to me, but that’s a post for another day. The women still disproportionately suffer the bulk of the shaming. Lose your virginity and you can expect to be shamed.

Human beings are sexual creatures. We’re also loving, passionate creatures. Trying to temper or restrain that passion for all the wrong reasons is going to have some nasty side-effect. Sadly, women are the ones who suffer those side-effects the most. Women are the ones who get stoned to death in certain parts of the world for not being virgins on their wedding nights. They’re the ones who get shamed when they try to enjoy sex.

As an erotica/romance writer, I want to celebrate and explore these feelings for men and women alike. I think they should be celebrated, but false notions of virginity and purity are getting in the way.

It’s still part of our culture, this idea that women should be pure and virginity is a virtue. It’ll continue to be part of our culture, even if we get to a point where contraception is fail-proof and medical science cures all diseases. Like many absurd traditions, it doesn’t stop being absurd.

With this in mind, anyone looking to learn a bit more about the concept of virginity and purity should check out this book by Jessica Valenti. It’s called “The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession With Virginity Is Hurting Young Woman.” I highly recommend it. If nothing else, it’ll give you another reason to enjoy my books.

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Thought Experiments On Double Standards

I’ve done a lot of whining on gender and double standards this week. For that, I apologize. I know that’s a real mood-killer. I’m an aspiring erotica/romance writer. Talking about these issues isn’t making anyone horny. That’s not good for my creative energy or my prospective customers.

That said, I’m not a fan of whining just for the sake of whining. That’s what children, internet trolls, and annoying reality TV stars do when they want to distract themselves from how little they actually contribute to society. I’m not a whiner. My parents had a low tolerance for whiners. Whining isn’t sexy and even the best erotica/romance writer in the world can’t make it sexy.

I bring issues like double standards up because it’s not just relevant in terms of where our society is at the moment. It also affects my work. When I’m working on a novel, I find myself hesitating at times to take the story in certain directions because of the gender of the characters involved.

One particular issue that came up recently involved my book, “The Final Communion.” That book has a sizable glut of erotica elements, to say the very least, but I did find myself struggling with certain scenes. I always intended to tell the story from the perspective of a female character. However, when I brought some male characters into the mix, I struggled at times to give them the depth I wanted.

This is largely because within those erotica elements, it’s hard to develop male characters outside the expectations we have towards society as a whole. Compared to women, those expectations are horribly skewed and unbalanced. We expect men to be aggressive. We expect men to be callous. We expect men to jump through any number of hoops just to get a chance at having sex. Do you see the running theme here?

I admit I played into some of those expectations in “The Final Communion.” I tried to add depth where I could, but it’s unavoidable in some respects. Our culture and our expectations shape our collective tastes. It affects how we relate to one another, how we seek love with one another, and how aspiring erotica/romance writers craft their novels.

So far, I feel like I’ve painted a bleak picture of sorts. I’m giving the impression that it’s hopeless. Men and women will never get along. They’ll never be equal. There will always be conflict between the horny men who just want to have sex without all the red tape and the horny women who want to just want to have sex without the stigma.

Does this mean double standards will never go away? Well, I don’t like to think in terms of such absolutes. At the moment, the research is not all that promising. According to an article in Psychology Today from 2014, which cited multiple studies, this is our current situation:

  1. Unlike premarital sex in committed relationships, which was once a hot-button topic but now viewed as OK by most Americans, the battle over the acceptability of casual sex has not (yet) been won by either side.

  2. A multitude of attitudes exist simultaneously among young people: Some consider casual sex wrong for everyone; others consider it OK for everyone; and others still consider it wrong for some but not for others.

  3. Women continue to be more conservative than men in their attitudes toward casual sex in general.

  4. There is still a double standard in the population as a whole, but only a minority of young men and women endorses it.

  5. Among those who endorse a traditional double standard, most are men.

The data is mixed, as it often is with all the insane complexities of the human condition. It’s also not final. No study ever is and those claiming to be are probably funded by tobacco companies, the Koch brothers, and the Vatican.

At the very least, it does highlight some trends that offer at least some glimmers of hope. Most notably, it reveals that Rick Santorum’s efforts have failed miserably. Acceptance of pre-marital sex is becoming so common that we’ve stopped punching each other in the genitals over the issue. When there are so many health benefits to orgasms and promiscuity, I call this a win.

However, even as acceptance of pre-marital sex grows, our inclination to shame others and whine about it still lingers. This is to be expected. Human beings are amazing creatures, but we’re still at the mercy of clunky, inefficient biological processes that often manifest in our societies.

Hell, we still have countries in this world where women don’t even have the right to drive a car. We can’t expect some of these outdated attitudes to disappear just because enough people whine about it.

For me, the most promising revelations of this study is that, while the sexual double standards for men and women are still there, the participants don’t exactly approve of it. This, to me, is the glimmer of hope that’s worth highlighting.

A lot of these double standards aren’t overt. They don’t walk up to you, slap you in the face, and scream into your ear for five hours every day. We tend to fall into them for the same reason we thought wearing bell-bottom pants was fashionable. It’s just the collective tastes of our peers that we don’t notice or scrutinize.

However, if you point it out to people and make them aware of it, they see the inherent unfairness of these double standards. That’s important because fairness is one of those powerful concepts that’s very important to the survival of a highly social species like ours. We don’t have the teeth of a shark or the muscles of King Kong. We need to work together to survive. That means fairness is a big fucking deal.

Current research also supports this. According to a study published in 2012 in Psychology Science, infants in the second year of life already possess context-sensitive expectations relevant to fairness. That means even when some of us are still in diapers, we have bullshit detectors that reveal the inherent unfairness of these double standards.

I still concede that some of these double standards have some basis in caveman logic, but only to a limited extent. It’s culture, injustice, and unequal power structures that skew these standards to an excessive degree.

For this reason, I believe that the double standards we apply to genders with respect to sex will one day fade, just as our attitudes towards casual sex did. It won’t happen overnight. We probably won’t even notice it. Angry old people complaining about today’s youth will still probably whine about it, but some people will always find a reason to whine. It’s better for society as a whole if we don’t make it easier for them.

With that in mind, let’s try a little thought experiment, which I hope to explore in future books. Let’s imagine a time several decades into the future where these egregious double standards between men and women simply fall out of favor. By all accounts, society is equal with respect to gender, or at least as equal as any sexually dimorphic species will allow.

This means that men and women are punished equitably for the same crimes. Nobody shames each other for having too much sex or wanting more sex than they have. Radical feminists and men’s rights activists aren’t influential or are all dead from whining themselves to death. What kind of society would that be? How would it operate?

Picture the following scenario. It’s one I’ve used before, but let’s apply the thought experiment to it.

Man: Hello ma’am. You look very beautiful today.

Woman: Thank you. You look quite handsome yourself.

Man: Thank you. I appreciate that. Listen, I’m single at the moment. I’m not looking for any long-term relationships at this point of my life, but I find you very sexually appealing and if you want, I’d like to have sex with you tonight.

Woman: I appreciate your honesty. I’m single at the moment too. I’m certainly open to long-term relationships, but I respect your current desire. And since I find you sexually appealing too, I’d be happy to have sex with you tonight.

Man: Great! Would you like to do it at my place or yours?

Woman: Let’s do mine. I live closer. It’s just easier.

I admit this is a laughably simplistic scenario. It’s so simplistic that it wouldn’t even qualify as a script in a low-budget porn movie. Even so, it highlights the necessary elements.

Two consenting adults walk up to one another. They don’t bother with elaborate flirtations or games. They just honestly tell one another what they want and respect each other’s desires. That’s as simple and basic as it needs to be.

This same scenario could’ve even played out another way. Consider this.

Man: Hello ma’am. You look very beautiful today.

Woman: Thank you.

Man: Listen, I’m single at the moment. I’m not looking for any long-term relationships at this point of my life, but I find you very sexually appealing and if you want, I’d like to have sex with you tonight.

Woman: I appreciate your honesty. I’m single at the moment too, but I’m afraid I don’t find you sexually appealing. I’m also not really in the mood for sex right now. I appreciate the offer though. I’m sorry.

Man: That’s okay. I’m disappointed, but I understand.

Woman: Thank you.

Again, it’s laughably simplistic, but it reflects the same underlying theme. Both individuals are up front and honest with their desires. Men don’t have to act like James Bond and women don’t have to act like every female character in “Seinfeld.” They can just be fair and honest with each other in matters of sex, love, and desire. What a concept, right?

I offer this thought experiment because some of my ideas for novels take place in the future. I enjoy looking to the future and imagining how our world and our society will change, both in terms of technology and in terms of how we’ll relate to one another.

It’s a concept I don’t see explored often in romance or erotica. I’d like to explore it in whatever unique way my perverse mind can conjure. I don’t have any clear plans at the moment, but when I do, rest assured I’ll do what I can to make those plans sexy as hell.

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Double Standards And How They Screw Both Genders Over

A couple years ago, I took a trip to New Orleans. While I was there, I frequented many bars on Bourbon Street, as many people do when they visit the Big Easy. In doing so, I noticed a common theme of sorts, one that highlighted some rather annoying differences between men and women.

It played out in two distinct scenarios. If you’re a man sitting by yourself at the bar, slamming back cheap beer and tequila shots while occasionally glancing towards the pretty girls, then congratulations. You’re a creeper. You couldn’t be more creepy if you wore clown makeup and had a machete growing out of your ass.

The second scenario is the exact same situation, but with a woman. If you’re a woman sitting by yourself at the bar, slamming back the same cheap beer and doing just as many shots of tequila while glancing towards any man, then congratulations. You’re probably going to get laid that night and chances are you won’t have to worry much about your reputation. It’s New Orleans. Like Las Vegas, the whole city may as well be a giant mulligan.

This highlights an annoyingly common, but not wholly illogical double standard between men and women. Call it the slut-versus-stud dilemma. Call it unbalanced sexual dynamics. Call it anything you want. It’s still a frustrating inconsistency for anyone who claims to value freedom, gender equality, and everything Rick Santorum stands against.

We all know how this inconsistency plays out. A man goes out, has sex with two Japanese twins, a Sweedish bikini model, and a Russian gymnast in one night. The next day, he gets high-fives and praises form all his friends. Hell, some them will want to smell his cock just to get a whiff of the sweet scent of pussy. The man is a stud.

On that same night, a woman of the same age and level of attractiveness goes out and has sex with a bouncer, two joggers, and one of Brad Pitt’s stunt doubles. The next day, she’ll probably endure an intervention from her family and friends. What kind of woman goes out and has that much sex for no other reason than because she enjoys it? She’s a slut. There must be something wrong with her. End sarcasm.

It’s one of those unspoken rules that some will talk about, but in the wrong way for the wrong reason. When it comes up, it usually focuses on the slut-shaming that women endure for wanting to have more sex than society deems appropriate. This sucks too. Slut-shaming in general is a major dick move, if that’s not too fitting a term. However, there are two sides to this coin and I’d like to talk about the other side.

I don’t deny it. When a woman goes out and has more sex than celibate priests say is acceptable, she gets a lot of shit for that. It can affect her family and friendships. It can affect her job prospects. Hell, female teachers have been fired for being too sexy. That sucks. That’s an injustice. We, as a society, should call bullshit on that.

However, let’s at least try to be fair because there is a part of the male perspective that’s equally unjust. Sure, a man probably won’t lose his job if he has sex with ten bikini models over the weekend, but there’s another injustice within that dynamic that should also be called out.

It manifests in the form of expectations and assumptions that men and women share about sexual intimacy. I’ve mentioned it before when I’ve talked about sexual promiscuity. Our current culture, with respect to gender dynamics, sets it up so that men have to jump through all these hoops to even have a chance at getting sex.

Those hoops include going out on dates, paying for meals, giving rides, offering expensive gifts, remaining in constant contact, and accommodating the woman in every way in hopes that she’ll decide he’s worth seeing naked. Every woman has a different set of standards, but at the end of the day, she’s still the primary decision-maker. A man can jump through all of these hoops, and even a few he doesn’t have to, and she can still decides he doesn’t get sex.

Needless to say, this can be annoying and frustrating to men. It’s a reason why some men hold deeply misogynistic views. That’s also part of the reason why men respect and admire those who can get so much sex without jumping through all these hoops. They’re like gurus or infomercial salesmen. They have skills and insights that we want to mimic, copy, or buy.

We’re men too. We want sex too. We want to know the tricks of the trade. That’s why we’ll eagerly befriend others who have better success at getting sex from women. That’s why we won’t shame them and will make every possible excuse to defend them. We want to be like them, learn from them, and draw from their experience.

Using caveman logic again, this makes perfect sense. Like all living creatures, we’re hard-wired for two major imperatives: survival and reproduction. If there are any ways to improve our efforts with the latter, we’ll be inclined to do it and make every possible excuse to justify it.

This means that men’s pursuit of sex isn’t always rational or ethical, for that matter. We’ll make whatever excuses we have to because it’s a biological imperative. Those imperatives tend to trump laws, culture, and social norms. Biology doesn’t give a damn what sort of arbitrary rules we make or what deities we conjure. We need to survive and reproduce, damn it!

So let’s revisit that frustrating double standard. Let’s re-evaluate it with the perspective of both the man and woman in mind. There’s a lot we can say about it. There’s a lot to interpret. Thankfully, a brilliant comedian named Jim Jefferies has already nicely summed it up with the following anecdote.

Once again, comedy tends to echo with a harsh truth. Now I would take issue with his concept of how fair this double standard is. It’s debatable what constitutes fair in matters of sex and gender dynamics.

It does, however, highlight the deeper inequalities that only make some amount of sense when we look at it through the harsh lens of caveman logic. Despite what radical feminist types may claim, men and women are very different.

The human race, like many species, is sexually dimorphic. That’s just a fancy sciencey way of saying that the different genders of a species exhibit unique characteristics beyond having different body parts to rub together. Human beings have plenty of those characteristics. We’re different in terms of muscles, body hair, facial structures, bone structure, hormone balance, and all sorts of other characteristics that I’m not qualified to describe.

The most defining trait, however, is that women are the ones who bear the babies. Men only provide the seeds. That means there’s an inherent imbalance in the sexual dynamics at play. If a man has sex with 25 women in one night, he has a chance to get them all pregnant with his genes and, thereby, propagating the species as his biological imperative says. A woman, on the other hand, can have sex with 25 men, but still only have one or two children in that same time-frame.

This is where the caveman logic bleeds right into basic economics. Nature is crude, blunt, and doesn’t give two whiffs of a skunk’s ass about our assumptions and expectations about sex. Nature just wants our species to survive and reproduce. That means it’ll follow crude incentives.

Now that’s not to say we should just accept these injustices and imbalances. We shouldn’t. Slut-shaming women and deifying promiscuous men to the extent we do asinine, even by the standards of basic biology and caveman logic.

Our attitudes and expectations towards sex and gender dynamics are skewed. It gets teachers fired. It makes social outcasts of people who don’t deserve it. It also creates every annoying antagonist in every teen movie ever made. We don’t need more of that in our society. We don’t need to distance ourselves from one another more than our genders already do.

We can’t circumvent our biological imperatives or our caveman brains beyond a certain extent. We just tend to push that extent way farther than it needs to be. There are injustices and inequalities in our current attitudes towards men, women, and sex. These injustices and inequalities are making it harder for us to relate to one another, to understand one another, and (most importantly) to love one another.

We can acknowledge our inherent differences on a biological basis. We can modify our attitudes towards how we go about sex, how we pursue relationships, and how we relate to one another. It takes work, more so than an aspiring erotica/romance writer can provide alone. I hope my books can inspire others to re-shape those attitudes.

Unjust assumptions can only lead to unjust actions. Unequal attitudes can only lead to unequal understandings. At the end of the day, we’re still wired to seek out love and intimacy with one another. Let’s not make it harder on ourselves.

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I Wish Ads Were THIS Honest

I saw this ad on a message board today and just had to share it. It’s a wonderfully relevant summation of the issues I discussed last week on radical feminism and sexual objectification. I know I said I didn’t want to keep talking about those issues. Believe me, I’d rather get a prostate exam from a lobster than talk more about these issues. Sometimes though, you just have to make an exception when it’s warranted.

When I saw this ad, I knew it was warranted and I’ll gladly make an exception because it reflects a point I didn’t get a chance to make in my previous posts. In our overly politically correct culture, we tend to get so emotionally worked up about overly specific shit that we can’t see the forest from the trees. If we’re not careful, we end up burning the whole goddamn forest down.

This particular tree already has wilting branches and dead leaves. It’s the tree of sex in advertising. Like peanut butter and jelly, Jack and Coke, or ketchup and damn near everything, it’s the go-to target for the politically correct crowd that loves to complain about objectification of women. To be fair, it’s hard to blame them when the target it this big.

However, this whining (like pretty much all forms of whining) doesn’t fix anything, nor does it acknowledge the actual context of the situation. It’s the other C-word that offends so many people without realizing it. That word, context, is the key to making sense of so many politically correct absurdities.

In the case of this ad, it basically says what shouldn’t need to be said to a reasonable mind, male or female. The fact we have to actually remind ourselves these days is deeply troubling for both genders. I guess some things just need to be belabored.

With that in mind, I’ll belabor the same point that this ad belabors so retreat to your safe space if you have to:

It’s okay for a heterosexual man to find a beautiful woman attractive.

I’ll give everybody a moment to stop gasping. I know. Shocking, isn’t it? Are we really at the point in our culture where we have to remind ourselves of shit like this? Do we really have to explain slowly and carefully to people that there is a context to all this sexy advertising? I’m usually pretty good at resisting the urge to punch my computer screen, but some days are harder than others.

There’s this disturbing trend in our culture where we’re shaming heterosexual men for finding women beautiful. We may as well shame them for breathing, farting, and coughing as well because this isn’t some elaborate patriarchal conspiracy. This is human biology 101. Heterosexual men find beautiful women attractive. Why does that have to be controversial?

Beyond the controversy, there’s another important point in the ad that’s worth belaboring. Again, retreat to your safe spaces because this may get heavy.

You’re not obligated to look at this ad and it’s perfectly okay to ignore it

This is where I feel like people give way too much credit to the human attention span. We live in a world where everyone cares about a dentist killing a lion one day and Kim Kardashian’s ass the next. We, as a species, are not good at paying attention for long periods of time. Anyone who fell asleep at an economics lecture understands this.

This is where my old friend, caveman logic, comes into play again. We have to have a finite attention span. Pay attention to one thing for too long and either a lion eats us or we forget to procreate. Our brains are wired in a way to help us forget trivial shit and what’s more trivial than an ad?

That’s not to say an ad can’t be offensive. An add that uses the Nazi holocaust to cell an oven is a bit harder to ignore because it exploits an egregious tragedy that actually killed people. A beautiful woman is not on that same level. It’s not even in that same time zone.

I get that some people find things more offensive than others. I get that some people are offended by next to nothing while others are offended by damn near everything. That makes ignoring trivial shit like ads all the more important. It serves everybody better.

Now, there’s one more point in the ad I’d like to make and this is probably something else that requires certain people to hide in their safe space.

Ads that involve beautiful women are targeted towards heterosexual men

I know it’s obvious. I know it’s downright inane, but it still needs to be said because it’s a context that some politically correct types just refuse to see. These ads aren’t just thrown out into the world to piss people off. There is another reason for it and, shockingly enough, it involves selling shit to a specific market.

Like it or not (and some do hate it), heterosexual men make up a good chunk of the market. They are a sizable chunk of the human population and, as I’ve pointed out before, tend to be much more visual compared to women.

They also make a lot of money. Heterosexual men don’t have babies and, historically speaking, have made up a larger chunk of the workforce. It wasn’t really until the 20th century that women, thanks to the development of birth control, were able to join the workforce in larger numbers.

Heterosexual men have money. Advertisers want them to buy their products so they can get some of that money. They make money by getting the attention of customers and what’s the easiest way to get the attention of a heterosexual man? Use a beautiful woman. It’s not just pragmatic. It’s basic biology. I’ll even argue there’s beauty in that biology.

Are you back from your safe space? Have you avoided any possible trigger warnings? Good. I’m glad I could share this ad and this insight.

As an aspiring romance/erotica writer, I want to appeal to everybody, be they heterosexual male, transsexual female, or something in between that I’m not equipped to define. As such, it doesn’t make sense and is kind of a dick move to single out one chunk of that population for shaming.

It’s okay for men to find beautiful women attractive. It’s okay for women to find handsome men attractive. It’s okay for gay men and women to find their own gender attractive. It’s also okay for ads to use this imagery. It’s not going to change our biological wiring. No amount of shame is going to change that. It’s better for everyone if we just accept it, hug each other, and move on with our lives.

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Sex-Positive vs. Sex-Negative Feminism

I know I keep saying I don’t like talking about feminism. I know I make it a point to belabor that concept way more than I should. Well, it still needs to be belabored.

It still needs to be emphasized too because I really don’t want to get too deep into this issue. It’s only going to distract from the larger purpose of this blog, which is to get people interested in issues that will make them inclined to by more romance/erotica novels, hopefully the ones I write.

Well, as much as I don’t want to talk about this, there still a few more things that I feel need to be said. Then, we can get back to talking about more interesting topics, like the several different kinds of orgasms. Again, if this is the kind of discussion that makes you want to punch your computer screen, you may want to skip this article and Google “cute baby pigs” to cheer yourself up. Here, I’ll even help.

Still with me? Did the cute baby pigs help? If not, then I’ve done all I can. It’s up to you to brace yourself from here on out because I am going to talk about feminism again. I want to get this over with as much as you so let’s do this.

I didn’t originally intend to write another post on feminism, but during my research (which is basically nothing more than multiple Google searches) for my article on sexual objectification, I came across an issue that ties in closely with this concept. It’s an issue that highlights an ongoing struggle within feminism that, at least from the perspective of a straight male who writes romance/erotica, is a major source of division and disdain among those in this field.

A big part of the issues the surrounding sexual objectification of women in movies, TV, and video games comes from these sets of assumptions that certain feminists hold regarding female sexuality. These assumptions include esoteric concepts like “rape culture” and “male gaze.” I won’t discuss these concepts at great length, if only because they require even more assumptions than I can reasonably make for this discussion.

However, these assumptions are at the core of a larger conflict. That conflict is between feminists who consider themselves sex-positive and those who are more sex-negative, who are often referred to as radical feminists. It’s not an irrelevant conflict. Sex is pretty damn important in any issue that involves either gender. As an aspiring romance/erotica writer, I know how important it is.

In that sense, it’s completely understandable that there would be disagreements among feminists about how to handle sex. Hell, there are disagreements among men about how to handle sex, but it’s more likely to involve whether breasts or butts are sexier. With women, there are more issues at play here and these are issues wholly unique to women.

As a man, I really can’t contribute much. As I’ve said before, I believe that women’s issues are best handled by women and men like me have next to nothing to contribute. However, since men have sex too and it is kind of important to us, I feel like I can add at least something to this conversation. I’ll just try my best to be polite and thoughtful about it.

First, here’s a little background on the conflict. Back in the 1970s, a time when wearing bell-bottoms wouldn’t earn you awkward glares, the emerging feminist movement developed some radical elements, as all movements do. Just look at recent trends in boy bands for proof of that.

Within these radical strains of feminism, this extreme ideology developed on issues involving pornography, prostitution, and marriage. These strains saw all these things as inherent evils of a patriarchal, white heterosexual male dominated society that must be destroyed, outlawed, or overthrown. Pretty much anything men deemed sexy was considered wrong. Even by non-patriarchal standards, it’s pretty extreme.

In response to these radical strains, which also created some nasty PR for those who didn’t want to live in world devoid of sexiness, a different strain of feminism emerged. This was sex-positive feminism and, as the name implies, they had a much more positive view about sexy issues.

That’s not to say they didn’t oppose certain patriarchal traditions. They most certainly did. However, they did not agree with their radical counterparts that the world needed to be devoid of pornography, prostitutes, and sexy Super Bowl ads. A society like that isn’t very free or just. Look at Saudi Arabia for proof of that.

It’s an entirely reasonable response. It happens in every movement that gets too radical. One part goes too far so another has to emerge to counter it. It’s like a house party that’s starting to get out of hand. Someone needs to step in before they burn the whole house down.

This debate between sex-positive feminism and radical feminism remains unresolved and will probably never be resolved. As is often the case with ideology, be it feminism or opinions on a message board, people are fairly entrenched in their beliefs.

They will not, and in some cases cannot, change their minds on an issue until there is a clear benefit to doing so. I’m not going to try to change anyone’s mind with this post. I know I’ll fail. Instead, I’m going to try and assess this conflict within a proper context.

Since the issue of sexual objectification was the catalyst for this post, I’ll use this to help make my point. There are cases when women (and men to some extent) are overly objectified and exploited. Slavery, forced labor, and forced prostitution reduce women and men to glorified slabs of meat whose thoughts and feelings have the same value as a dead fly. Those are crimes. Those should be fought.

However, the picture of a sexy woman in lingerie or a man in tighty-whitties should not be lumped into the same category. The same goes for the porn we consume and the romance/erotica that guys like me write. We can, and sometimes do, sexualize things to an extent that sends a bad message.

Nobody should assume that a shampoo endorsed by Jennifer Lawrence is going to make someone as beautiful as she is. Nobody should assume that a diet pill endorsed by David Beckham is going to make them as fit as he is. Nobody should assume they can fuck like porn stars after watching a few hours of porn. This is that obscure gray area where we, as a society, have to inform one another that the real world still exists.

Yeah, it sucks. It has limits. Some of us are incapable of exceeding those limits while others have more opportunities than they deserve. However, that doesn’t mean that we should obsess over making sure nothing is sexually objectifying to anyone. That’s not possible. Human beings are sexual creatures. We are going to see our media and each other through a sexual lens. It’s just how we’re wired. It’s part of what makes us human.

This is where the radical feminists get too radical and where the radical Men’s Right’s Activists follow suit. In this extreme context, a few stains on a couple shirts warrants throwing out an entire wardrobe. One crack in a single window warrants demolishing the entire building. Can you see why that approach is problematic, not to mention needlessly destructive?

It already manifests in ways that are disingenuous to women and men alike. Recently, Playboy magazine featured its first Muslim woman wearing a hijab. Naturally, it’s going to generate plenty of criticism from a population of religious zealots who think their god wants women to be glorified pets/baby-makers. However, even some women got worked up over this.

One of them was a blogger named Nishaat Ismail. In many respects, she takes on the radical feminist ideology that all sexual media is inherently exploitative towards women. Considering that many Islamic countries continue traditions that are grossly exploitative towards women, it’s pretty ironic. Look up “honor killings” for proof of that.

It is a twisted form of irony that radical feminists would share the same sentiment as religious zealots, who would prefer to see women subjugated and censored in a way that even Christian Grey would find excessive. Ms. Ismail did try to make her criticism sound reasonable though, but the irony is still there.

Blogger Nishaat Ismail also questioned in an opinion column the wisdom of Tagouri associating with an institution “based on the objectification of women.”

“Are the voices of women — and in particular Muslim women — buried so deep under the cries of those who claim to speak on our behalf that our only available response is (to) involve ourselves with Playboy, a magazine that has solely existed for the past 63 years for men to gawp at the bodies of half-naked women?” wrote Nishaat.

“Is this really how we reclaim our own narrative?”

I can actually answer that to some degrees. Yes, it’s part of how you reclaim your own narrative. You’re a woman. You’re a human being. Humans are sexual creatures. So why suppress what you are? Celebrate it!

There are flaws in our society and some of those flaws dis-proportionally affect women. There’s no doubt about that. We live in an imperfect society full of imperfect people. That’s why it’s important to keep making improvements every step of the way.

This is why, in the grand scheme of things, sex-positive feminism is more conducive to the human condition. It acknowledges that women are sexual creatures too. It acknowledges that women can enjoy sex just as much as men and why shouldn’t they? It’s something that gives pleasure to both genders when done right. It literally brings us together in a deeply intimate way and that’s definitely a positive.

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