Tag Archives: sexual culture

Why Our Assumptions About Male And Female Promiscuity May Be (Very) Wrong

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When it comes to assumption, we tend not to question them, by default. That’s why they’re assumptions. It’s literally in the definition. It’s entirely natural to make assumptions, especially when they have some sort of inherent logic to them. It’s just how we, as a species, make sense of a chaotic world that we’re trying to survive.

The problem is, as I’ve pointed out many times before, our caveman brains aren’t wired logic. They’re wired primarily to help us survive and reproduce. That’s why our brains are so prone to all sorts of logical fallacies. That’s also why it’s hard to let go of assumptions, even when empirical data a very different story.

This brings me to our assumptions about sexual promiscuity. I’m hope I have your attention now because I knew a bland article about logical fallacies, caveman logic, and false assumption wasn’t going to get anyone excited. Put it in a context that’s both sexy and relevant, especially to an aspiring erotica/romance writer, and there’s much more appeal.

Sexy or not, the issue of assumptions in our sex lives are a lot more relevant in the era of “fake news” and “alternative facts.” These days, people are more likely to cling to their assumptions than ever before, even in the face of obvious evidence to the contrary. Hell, “South Park” even did an entire episode about this concept.

There are all sorts of complex psychological and social reasons for this, some of which I’ve covered before in other less sexy discussions. However, I’m not going to belabor those concepts. Most people know that humans can be exceedingly stubborn, even when faced with undeniable data that counters their assumptions.

That becomes a bigger problem, though, when you’re actually trying to make sense of something on an academic level. Our collective sexuality is one of those things that we try to study and understand, even if our efforts turn out to be disturbingly wrong. I like to think we’ve gotten better at it in the modern era, but sometimes fresh data reveals there’s still room for improvement.

This leads me to one of the most common assumptions about sexuality and the particulars of sexual promiscuity. You’ve probably heard it articulated at some point. It’s the basic structure surrounding male promiscuity versus female promiscuity. It goes like this:

  • Men are promiscuous because sperm production is cheap and there’s an biological incentive to have sex with multiple females in order to sire multiple offspring
  • Women are more selective about their sex partners because bearing children is risky and requires resources, which incentivizes securing men who will stick around to care for those children

There are all sorts of jokes and colloquialisms about this, men being dogs and women being angels. It’s also reflective of the most obvious double standards surrounding male and female sexuality and for most people, it makes sense.

A man can have sex with a thousand woman and, in theory, sire a thousand children. Ignoring the egregious child support payments this man would have to pay, it is consistent with the biological imperative to survive and reproduce.

Conversely, it makes just as much sense for a woman to secure a male partner who won’t just have children with her, but stay with her and invest in raising those children with her. This bears out in the many benefits ascribed to two-parent households.

However, if these assumptions were so logical and so biologically sound, then that would be reflected in the data we gather about our sexuality. Logic should be consistent with data, right? That’s the entire foundation of the scientific method, after all.

This is where the details get sketchy, but in a sexy sort of way. In an article from The Conversation, much of the biological data behind these assumptions about sexual promiscuity among men and women gets an added bit of scrutiny. In doing so, some revealing details emerge. Here is a brief excerpt that should raise a few eyebrows, among other body parts.

The common belief was that males and females were radically different. Moreover, attitudes about Victorian women influenced beliefs about nonhuman females. Males were considered to be active, combative, more variable, and more evolved and complex. Females were deemed to be passive, nurturing; less variable, with arrested development equivalent to that of a child. “True women” were expected to be pure, submissive to men, sexually restrained and uninterested in sex – and this representation was also seamlessly applied to female animals.

Although these ideas may now seem quaint, most scholars of the time embraced them as scientific truths. These stereotypes of men and women survived through the 20th century and influenced research on male-female sexual differences in animal behavior.

Unconscious biases and expectations can influence the questions scientists ask and also their interpretations of data. Behavioral biologist Marcy Lawton and colleagues describe a fascinating example. In 1992, eminent male scientists studying a species of bird wrote an excellent book on the species – but were mystified by the lack of aggression in males. They did report violent and frequent clashes among females, but dismissed their importance. These scientists expected males to be combative and females to be passive – when observations failed to meet their expectations, they were unable to envision alternative possibilities, or realize the potential significance of what they were seeing.

The same likely happened with regard to sexual behavior: Many scientists saw promiscuity in males and coyness in females because that is what they expected to see and what theory – and societal attitudes – told them they should see.

There’s much more to the article and I strongly recommend everyone take the time to read it, in full. It’s somewhat long because it references a lot of old research on animal behavior, as well as cultural attitudes towards sex and gender. However, the underlying theme is fairly clear.

The assumptions about coy, reserved females and aggressive, promiscuous males aren’t clearly reflected in the observed data. In fact, cultural attitudes going all the way back to the Victorian Era may have influenced our interpretation of the data, leading us to negate anything that countered those assumptions. That’s confirmation bias at its most basic.

This is similar to the message in the book, “Sex At Dawn,” which basically argues that our caveman ancestors had much better sex lives than we did. In that context, male and female promiscuity plays out in a very different way that also clashes with many of our assumptions.

In both “Sex At Dawn” and the article, the data seems to suggest that promiscuous females have higher rates of reproductive success. Biologically speaking, this makes sense because she’s getting a diverse sample of sperm and the higher quality material eventually finds a way to win out.

I’ll resist the urge to paint too crude a picture, although I will say that women pursuing a variety of men and attempting to weed out the best among them should not be too shocking. When you’re looking to find love and/or a baby daddy, you want quality and you can’t really be sure of that quality unless you find ways to test it. That’s not quite as dirty as it sounds, but it’s close.

With men, the data also clashes with the assumptions that men need only hump as many things with a pulse as possible. The article questions the idea that sperm is cheap and men’s contributions are purely resource-driven. The data actually suggests that men exercise a considerable degree of selection in choosing their partners. Just having a pulse and a vagina is not the only criteria.

As is now also well-documented, sperm production is limited and males can run out of sperm – what researchers term “sperm depletion.”

Consequently, we now know males may allocate more or less sperm to any given female, depending on her age, health or previous mated status. Such differential treatment among preferred and nonpreferred females is a form of male mate choice. In some species, males may even refuse to copulate with certain females. Indeed, male mate choice is now a particularly active field of study.

In essence, men are capable of being selective and downright loyal to their partners. Women are also just as capable of being sexually open, seeking out a variety of lovers in search of quality partners, both for social and reproductive success. In that sense, the promiscuous tendencies of both genders are a lot more level than any Victorian Era assumption would have us believe.

Add on top of this the documented health benefits of sexual promiscuity, as well as the sexual mores of our hunter/gatherer ancestors, and it’s increasingly clear that our assumptions about the sexual promiscuity are not consistent with biology, logic, or reality in general.

In a sense, our society already reflects this. The growing prevalence of blended families shows that the Victorian ideals that later played out in 1950s sitcoms aren’t accurate reflections of human nature. I doubt that this data will shatter the various assumptions that many still have on sexual promiscuity, but as with most excuses, they can only clash with reality so much.

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Filed under gender issues, polyamory, sex in society, sexuality

Bryan Singer, Harvey Weinstein, And The Double Standards Of Sexual Abuse

What does it say about the state of our culture, our society, and our sexuality when every week seems to bring a new sex scandal to light? That’s not a rhetorical question, by the way. That’s a question that many are trying to answer. I’ve certainly tried to answer parts of it, but with every new scandal, that effort gains a new complication.

By now, most people know the famous names, the ruined careers, and the sordid extent of the allegations. Names like Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K., and Bill Cosby are now etched into the public consciousness for all the wrong reasons. The outrage and anguish surrounding their egregious actions evokes all sorts of passions.

It eventually culminated with Time Magazine recognizing the women who brought these scandals to light as the collective person of the year. For the most part, these women have been hailed as brave and strong for coming forward and exposing these crimes. It’s because of them that these powerful men can no longer hide their misdeeds, which is a good thing.

I don’t deny the importance of what these women have done. They’ve helped kick-start a movement that has made people more aware of these egregious crimes. It’s because of those efforts that even powerful people who are inclined to use that power to exploit women can’t hide from the consequences of their actions. In the name of furthering a just society, I think that’s a good thing.

However, and this is where I know I may upset some people, there’s a part of that effort that’s still incomplete. There’s a missing piece of this ongoing battle against sexual misconduct, one that has the feel of a very subtle, but deeply distressing double standard. Having talked about the less obvious double standards in our society, I feel like the extent of this one is only growing.

Recently, a fresh sex scandal came to light involving another powerful name in Hollywood. Bryan Singer, the accomplished director behind “The Usual Suspects” and the architect of the X-men movie franchise, has been accused of raping a 17-year-old boy. We’re not talking about loose bath robes, groping, and shady casting couches. This story involves full-blown rape.

It’s not the first time Singer has been accused of sexual misconduct. To date, he hasn’t been proven guilty in a court of law, which is an important detail to note. False accusations do happen and people in positions of power, like Hollywood, are easy targets.

I’m not going to speculate how true or exaggerated the accusations against Singer are. The details are still not clear and information is still coming out. However, there’s an important element to the news of this scandal that’s worth pointing out.

Unlike the scandals with Weinstein and Cosby, the victims in this case weren’t women. They were men. If you don’t think that matters, then take a second to recall the reactions to other scandals.

When the sordid stories about Weinstein came out, they generated all sorts of outrage. It was a hot topic on the news, social media, and even “Family Guy” jokes. The fact that these men did such disgusting things to women got a lot of people talking. However, when the victims are men, the narrative is different.

Before Bryan Singer, the only notable scandal involving men was that of Kevin Spacey. However, the outrage he generated had less to do with the gender of his victim and more to do with how he used the scandal to come out as homosexual. That upset people, but the alleged crime he committed against his male victim became an afterthought.

This is where the double standard gets uncomfortably apparent. We, as a society, agree that assaulting and harassing women is a terrible crime. We rightly condemn it. However, when it happens to a male victim, and it happens more often than we think, we’re not quite as vocal with our outrage. It’s still a crime. It still involves exploration and pain. When the victim is a man, though, we don’t see it the same way.

I’ve highlighted this to some degree with a thought experiment. However, it plays out in other ways throughout our culture. Stories about women being victims are often harrowing and brutal. Stories built around male victims of sexual assault, though, can be comedies starring Will Ferrall and Kevin Hart.

There are any number of reasons as to why that is. Male victimization, especially in matters of sexual misconduct, carries with it some unique taboos. There’s this idea that men, being the ones with more power and influence in this world, can’t be victims in the same way as women. Never mind the fact that the pain any victim feels is real, regardless of gender. We still treat one victim differently than another.

It plays into this notion that men are just supposed to shake off that kind of victimization and women need some sort of special treatment. In a sense, it’s insulting to both genders and obscures the actual substance of the crimes involved. Whereas there’s an entire movement behind the effort to combat sex crimes against women, the crimes against men just fall to the wayside.

That’s not to say it’s being completely ignored. Some are making an admirable effort. Corey Feldman, a former child star, has been among the few celebrities who have been outspoken about the abuse young men have suffered in the entertainment industry. Terry Crews, a successful actor and former Old Spice Man, has spoken out against it as well.

However, to date their efforts haven’t generated the kind of notoriety and outrage as the movement to protect women from these same crimes. Their voices are often drowned out by other scandals that fit into this overall narrative of creepy, sinister men in power exploiting women.

For reasons that are too voluminous for one blog post, the narrative surrounding scandals like that of Bryan Singer aren’t quite as enticing. The notion of a powerful man victimizing another man just doesn’t come off as the kind of struggle that makes everyone feel more virtuous by joining.

It certainly doesn’t help that the taboos surrounding these scandals also mix with other taboos involving homosexuality. Those attempting to take a stand against male victimization have to be careful with their outrage because if they don’t, they can get labeled as a homophobic bigot and that’s not the crowd most people want to be part of.

In a sense, voicing outrage against the female victimization is easier and safer. There’s little ambiguity. A powerful man victimizing a vulnerable woman has clear, defined lines of injustice. The only emotions we deal with are those involved with our aversion to injustice.

With male victims, those emotions are still there, but they’re complicated by these uncomfortable ideas that don’t fit that narrative. It goes beyond double standards in that it requires us to contemplate the kind of crime that we don’t want to believe happens as often as it does.

That mentality is downright dangerous because it creates the sense that some victims are more important than others. Whereas a female victim will get all the love and support that hashtags and talk shows can offer, male victims have to fend for themselves. That’s a problem because fighting the same injustice with different standards is an injustice in and of itself.

The allegations against Singer remain to be proven and may end up being false, but the fact that this scandal doesn’t carry the same weight as others involving women reveals that ongoing efforts to combat sexual misconduct are incomplete. Until some of these double standards are confronted, then the injustice will continue.

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Filed under Celebrities and Celebrity Culture, gender issues, sex in society, sexuality

The (Potential) Sex Lives Of Generation Z

Talk to any parent with kids younger than 13 and chances are they do not want to think about their children’s’ future sex lives. In fact, I’m pretty sure that they would rather think about anything else.

Some parents would rather stick their heads up the ass of an elephant than think about their precious little gems getting naked, sweaty, and making the kinds of noises usually reserved for the honeymoon suite in Las Vegas. The fact remains, though, that those kids are going to grow up. They’re going to grow breasts, get awkward boners, and feel the urge to hump each other.

I’m not a parent yet so I can’t say much about what goes into those thoughts. I get that parents are very uncomfortable talking to their children about sex. Kids are just as uncomfortable learning about it from parents. Most kids would rather pour boiling water into their eyes than catch their parents in a compromising moment.

On both sides of the equation, there’s an inherent aversion to imagining the sex lives of young people. There’s just as much of an aversion by young people to talk about their sex lives with their parents. On this blog, there is no such aversion. I already talk about sex robots and bionic penises. Those kinds of aversions have no place here.

I say all this as a preface, of sorts, because I’m about to talk about the future sex lives of Generation Z. In case you’ve forgotten, most of the individuals who fall in the range of Generation Z aren’t even old enough to drive, let alone legally hump. A lot of them don’t even know what sex is. They just know to start giggling uncontrollably when someone starts talking about it.

In talking so much about millennials and Generation Z lately, it was only a matter of time before I started talking about their sex lives. Given how much I enjoy speculating on the future of sex, how could I resist?

Like it or not, it’s going to become an issue at some point. That’s because it always becomes an issue when a generation comes of age. Baby Boomers caught a lot of crap from their parents because they started the whole “free love” movement. Generation X caught crap from their parents for ditching the love part, in favor of “friends with benefits.”

At the moment, the millennials are getting their share of crap for things like sexting, which I’ve talked about, or arguing about how attractive people should think Kaitlin Jenner is. The dynamics may change and so do the excuses. The underlying themes are the same, though. Older people will always be appalled by how young people approach their sex lives.

So what exactly will Generation Z do that will horrify the multiple generations that came before them? Given the prevalence of internet porn and the mainstream success of “50 Shades of Grey,” how can they possibly do anything to shock anyone at this point?

Well, as an aspiring erotica/romance writer who thinks more about this issue than most would dare, I have a few ideas. I’ve already contemplated the potential secrets and mentality of Generation Z. Now, I’d like to take those secrets to kinkier depths.

Before I get to those juicy parts, though, I need to remind everyone that I can’t see the future. I’m about as qualified to predict popular trends as I am to wrestle a grizzly bear. It’s very likely that some of these sexy speculations turn out to be dead wrong. A decade from now, I might look like a total idiot for making these predictions. I wouldn’t be the first either.

With that unsexy disclaimer out of the way, here’s what I think we can expect for the sex lives of Generation Z. If you’re a parent, you might want to look away or temper your gag reflex. Some of these speculations might churn your stomach.


Sexy Trend #1: Fetishes (Especially The Kinky Kind) Will Dominate

When it comes to the average sex life in the day of Generation Z, kink is the new normal. Weird is the new ordinary. If it’s freaky, over-the-top, and involves clowns with dildos, then that’s going to get this burgenoning generation horny in ways that will disturb every other generation before it.

With Generation Z, sex will be likely be defined by a multitude of fetishes. At the moment, the fetish world is a niche market, but one that’s already growing. However, it’s a market that Generation Z will take to the next level and beyond, much to the horror of their parents.

Ironically, it’s those same parents from Generation X and the millennials that will have laid the groundwork for this trend. This is the generation that built the internet and internet porn, by default. Generation Z is coming into a world where anyone with a phone can look up countless images and videos of people having sex. It’s so prevalent that it barely qualifies as taboo anymore.

It’s for that exact reason that Generation Z will seek something kinkier. Young people always feel inclined to rebel against their parents. Their parents made a big deal whenever someone found a dirty magazine or unlocked the parental controls on the internet. Generation Z won’t make a big deal of anything unless someone is pierced, tattooed, or wearing a horse mask.

In a future with unlimited internet access to unlimited volumes of porn, those in Generation Z will likely define their sexuality by their own personal kinks. They’ll be more inclined to customize their sexuality, so to speak. It’s hard to know what kinds of fetishes they’ll develop. Whatever the case, I’ll have to adapt my sexy novels accordingly.


Sexy Trend #2: Talking About Sex Will Be (Uncomfortably) Blunt

For most people, talking about sex can either make your pants feel tighter or your stomach churn, depending on the situation. While I generally favor the former, there are still plenty of situations where the latter occurs. I’m pretty sure that’s the case with every kid who endured health class in high school.

With Generation Z, it’s likely that the nature of that conversation will change. It’ll still be awkward. Talking about sex always will be, to some extent. However, a new crop of youth, educated by their already-educated parents, will probably be a lot less filtered. To illustrate what I mean, here’s a quick scenario that may play out in the future.

Man: So, you like sex?

Woman: Yeah, I love sex.

Man: Cool. How do you like to do it?

Woman: I like being on top, having my nipples pinched, and licking chocolate off a man’s balls.

Man: You’re in luck. I happen to love licking chocolate off a woman’s vulva. Want to have sex later tonight? I’ve got plenty of chocolate.

Woman: Sure! Here’s my number. I’ll see you then.

I can already imagine Baby Boomers, millennials, and the Generation X crowd cringing and/or laughing. It sounds so crude, like only something a guy who writes sexy novels would contemplate.

Well, I’m not saying my novels are prophetic, but that overly blunt approach may be the natural reaction to everything previous generations have set up. It was Generation X that began the movement of political correctness that made everyone so anxious about the words they used. It was the millennials who took it a step further with their obsession over gender pronouns and cultural appropriation.

Generation Z is in a perfect position for a backlash, of sorts. They’ll see their parents and grandparents’ anxiety over using the wrong words and do the exact opposite. That means they will likely be a lot more blunt, graphic, and up front about sex, how they like it, and how they go about getting it. I’ll give every parent a moment to writhe in terror.


Sexy Trend #3: Emphasizing Quality (Orgasms) Over Quantity (Partners)

Not every generation sees the sexual practices of their parents and does the exact opposite. Sure, Baby Boomers did a lot of that with the sexual revolution, but Generation X and the millennials basically rode the wave of certain sexual trends. Generation Z will likely do the same.

One of those trends involves an overall reduction of sexual partners. I’ve talked before about the overall decline in sexual activity among young people today. Not all of that has to do with people becoming more uptight, though. Some of that has more to do with economic factors, as well as men and women wanting to build careers before they forge relationships.

While it’s much harder to predict what kind of economy Generation Z will experience, it does seem likely that they’ll continue the trends established by their parents and grandparents. That’s not to say that they’ll become Puritans. It’s more an issue of how they’ll channel their sexual energy.

Along with being more inclined to follow a fetish, those in Generation Z will likely focus less on the amount of sex they have and more on the quality. While that may be bad news for the orgy industry, it could be good news for those seeking love, like myself.

The world, as we know it, is becoming increasingly customizable. We can customize our clothes, our phones, our social media identities, and even our avatars in games. The ability to customize our sex lives in accord with our various kinks seems like a natural extension. In a world full of billions of people, all connected through the web, it’ll be that much easier to find someone who can make you come in just the way you want.

I’ll give every other generation a moment to withhold their raging jealousy.


Sexy Trend #4: Sexier Tech (Beyond Sexting)

Connected to every sexual trend, both with Generation Z and all previous generations, is the impact of technology. The birth control pill was a huge influence on Baby Boomers. The internet was a huge influence on Generation X and Millennials. There are other technologies that we don’t even know about that will likely influence Generation Z.

Some of that technology is already emerging. We’re seeing it with the rise of smart devices, including smart sex toys. We’re also seeing smartphones evolve beyond just taking pictures of pets and sending nude photos. Millennials may have made practices like sexting more common, but Generation Z will have far more tools at their disposal.

Already, tech companies are investing heavily in virtual reality and augmented reality. The devices that Generation Z ends up using will do far more than send naked pictures. As the internet showed previous generations, if it can be used for porn, then it will be used for porn eventually. Don’t think for a second someone isn’t working on that right now.

Beyond better tools to express their sexuality in new ways, there’s also the potential impact of disease-fighting tools like CRISPR and new forms of contraception like Vasalgel. Given how the pill affected the Baby Boomers and how AIDS affected Generation X, it’s hard to overstate the implications for Generation Z if they enter a world of no disease and advanced contraception.

It may very well be the wild card, of sorts. Whenever limits on sexual expression are removed, people tend to react. Some of those advancements might not come until Generation Z has started having kids of their own, but they will have an impact at some point.

Even with those implications, it doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the impact that sex robots will have. However, that’s one advance that will affect all generations and not just Generation Z, probably in ways that are too kinky for one blog.


Sexy Trend #5: More (Sexy And Unsexy) Experimentation

As part of all the other trends I’ve listed, there’s one that sort of connects them all. Generation Z will enter a very different sexual world than that of their parents or grandparents. Beyond the gadgets they use or the accessibility of information about sex, they’ll have an unprecedented ability to connect, learn, and grow sexually.

As a result, it’s very likely that Generation Z will be one of the most sexually adventurous cohort in history. By that, I don’t mean they’ll be having more sex in utility closets and airplane bathrooms. I’m talking about the kind of experimentation that hasn’t even crossed the minds of those who don’t regularly write about sex. Given my knack for writing sexy novels, I like to think I have an advantage.

If Generation Z has a greater ability to exercise their various fetishes, connect with others who share those fetishes, and use advances in technology to mitigate the risks, then there’s nothing stopping them from attempting novel forms of sexual expression.

Maybe their concept of role playing will expand. Maybe the way they set the mood or initiate sex will change. Maybe they’ll put together the kinds of sexy scenarios that only a porn producer on crack would come up with. It’s impossible to know, but they’ll be in a perfect position to try. In matters of sex, you only really need to give people an opportunity and a way to mitigate the risks.

To millennials, and every other generation, it’ll come off as decadent. Even if the Generation Z crowd ends up having less sex with fewer people, those kinds of attitudes will still shock and horrify the older crowd. Some of that might be out of jealousy. I’m sure there are those who simply wish they had access to better contraception and disease-fighting tools when they were younger and hornier.

At the end of the day, though, this may be Generation Z’s idea of normal. To have all these tools and opportunities, but not explore their limits would seem weird to them. It may be the only sexual trend that all generations share. From their perspective, every generation’s sexual proclivities seem weird.

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Filed under Current Events, Jack Fisher's Insights, Marriage and Relationships, Second Sexual Revolution

What The NCAA Says About Our Sexual Attitudes

Is anybody else still buzzing from the College Football Championship game earlier this week? I sure am. I still feel like I just left a rock concert and my ears are still ringing. At least with Monday’s game, I don’t have to worry about permanent hearing damage down the line.

In case you’ve been in a coma for the past several days, Alabama and Clemson played one of the most epic college football games in history. It was a hell of a game from start to finish, full of big plays, big turning points, and players that really rose to the occasion. It highlighted everything I love about football, a sport I’ve loved since I was a kid.

As much as I love football though, there is one component about college football that still bothers me. It’s not necessarily the football part though. That’s the fun part that most sports fans can get behind. It’s the college component.

This doesn’t just apply to football either. I watch other college sports from time-to-time, mainly basketball. When I was in college, I even knew some college athletes. It’s a big part of college life. Between class and keggers, college sports are a big part of the culture. However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to see it in a different context, one that is probably a byproduct of being an erotica/romance writer.

Unlike the professional ranks, college athletes don’t get paid. Sure, they get a scholarship to a school (although it can be revoked and rescinded at any time), but they don’t make any money directly. It doesn’t matter if your Deshaun Watson, the quarterback from Clemson who just became an icon at his school, or some backup point guard on the basketball team. They don’t make a penny directly.

This is kind of odd because the NCAA, the governing body for college sports, made over $1 billion in 2014 alone. They made this money despite not having to pay a dime to the actual people who play these sports that entertain us so much, namely the athletes.

Understandably, there are some folks who have a problem with this. The issue of paying college athletes is a sensitive issue, so much so that South Park dedicated an entire episode to mocking it with crack babies. It’s as entertaining and offensive as it sounds. Since the basic rule of thumb is that if South Park mocks it, then it must be a serious issue, it’s safe to assume there’s some major controversy/injustice going on.

Now I’m not going to dedicate this entire post to arguing for or against paying college athletes. That is a complex issue with more wrinkles than a porn star’s bed sheets. I’m not entirely qualified to discuss the particulars of this issue, but someone like John Oliver is. Last year, he dedicated a show to reviewing this issue and, as he often does, he breaks it down in a pretty astonishing way.

In watching this, it’s hard to feel much sympathy for the NCAA. That would be like feeling sympathy for the New York Yankees for not winning the World Series this past year. It’s an organization full of bureaucrat businessmen whose sole purpose is to make more money for the organization. I don’t mind people making money, but when it involves exploiting people to such a degree, I have a problem.

Then again, there might be other forces at work here beyond the greed of the NCAA and those who share in their profits. It’s a force that John Oliver never touched on and rightly so. It’s one of those forces that’s clearly there, but the implications are hard to see.

Watch that clip again and focus on the parts about the coaches and administrators making all that money from these college athletes. Do you notice something about them? Well, don’t look too hard. It’s fairly bland on the surface. A lot of these people are older individuals. They’re either at middle-age or beyond. They wear suits, they sit at desks, and they have as much sex appeal as a shaved cat.

Why do I bring this up? It’s not just to mock the ages of those involved. That’s just wrong. I mention their ages because it highlights an unspoken facet of our sexual attitudes. Listen to older folk talk about the sexual behaviors of the younger generation for more than five minutes and you’ll probably hear the same story, assuming you have a strong enough stomach.

Most will complain that these kids are out of control. They’re all a big ball of hormones, ticking time bombs that will go off at the sight of anything that looks like a tit. Put them in a room with anything that’s even somewhat alive and they’ll find a way to fuck it. They’re just that horny. They’re just that decadent.

Never mind that this generation, the Millennials, is having less sex than previous generations. This is the perception of the older crowd. It’s a perception that every older crowd seems to have about younger crowds in some form or another. Whether it’s baby boomers, hippies, yuppies, or whatever crazy generations emerged in Ancient Egypt, old people whined about them.

Why do they whine? Why does younger people having sex make them so upset? Well, if you’re older, you’re more likely to have kids. That means you’re also likely to have a daughter. Talk to any proud father about their daughter and chances are, they’ll vomit uncontrollably if they think about their daughter having any kind of sex that doesn’t involve making a grand-baby that will care for them in a nursing home.

It hearkens back to the Bronze Age idea that men must protect their daughter’s virginity, as though it’s some sort of precious commodity that they can later sell for a juicy dowry. Never mind that this isn’t the goddamn Bronze Age and it’s illegal to sell your children. Older men still recoil at the idea of their precious girls being defiled by hormonal men.

So how does this apply to college athletes? Well, anyone who saw the movie Varsity Blues has a vague idea. College athletes are big, strong, handsome, and a good chunk of them are minorities. They don’t just attract women. They can physically overpower them, sometimes in horribly violent ways.

The idea of paying these young men money, which they could then use to more effectively have sex with more women, probably doesn’t sit well with the older men who coach and govern college sports. Some of them may even worry that their own daughters, sisters, girlfriends, or mistresses will fall prey to a handsome, athletic stud’s charms.

It’s fairly undeniable that young athletes are quite horny and quite eager to fuck. The stories that come out of Olympic Village every four years during the Olympics are proof of that. For the NCAA and the old folk who run it, they just can’t stomach the idea of giving these young men too many resources. They’ll just use them to do more humping.

Now this is just the wild interpretation of an erotica/romance writer. I’m not saying that this thought crosses the minds of those in the NCAA when they’re arguing against paying college athletes. However, I do think there’s an unspoken concern that older generations have about the young, one that makes them look for excuses to not give them too many resources.

In some respects, I understand that. I like to think I was fairly mature when I was young, but there’s no way I could’ve made real, adult decisions about the future of my life at 18, which is when most college athletes start their careers. Give me a lot of money and athletic prowess and I might find a way to fuck it up.

Then again, is the problem really that college athletes are too horny and immature? Or is it that we just treat them with the expectation that this is how they’re going to be and they can’t possibly be any different? It’s just something to think about the next time you hear someone make excuses on why we shouldn’t give too much money to young, handsome, athletic men.

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The Forbidden Fruit Factor: How Taboo Skews Our Sexuality

If I were to walk up to you and say, “Don’t kick elephants!” what would be the first thing that pops into your mind? For one, you’d probably be wondering what sort of head trauma I had suffered as a child to issue such a warning. Then, you’d probably think about kicking elephants.

This isn’t just the musings of someone who may have gotten hit in the head with one too many baseballs as a kid because he sucked at little league. This is a mental exercise that author/reporter/TV personality John Stossel uses in his book, “Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity.” It’s as colorful a read as it sounds.

The reason I cite this tactic is because it perfectly demonstrates something that I often see in romance/erotica, be it novels, movies, TV shows, or hardcore porn. Some call it taboos. Some call it tradition. I think it’s best described as the “Forbidden Fruit Effect.” Whatever you call it, it affects our culture, our minds, and our sex lives. Being an erotica/romance writer, it affects my career path as well so I feel I should talk about it.

Most of us in Western traditions know what we’re referring to when we talk about “forbidden fruit.” It comes right out of the bible, symbolizing something tempting that some higher authority have told us to avoid. In the bible, it’s an apple. In real life, it can be damn near anything.

For some people, that fruit is chocolate. For others, it’s alcohol, heroin, or cocaine. It doesn’t even have to be drugs. There have been higher authorities warning people about dungeons and dragons, comic books, and  Pokémon. Some of these fruits are legitimate health concerns, especially with drugs. Others, such as those who whine about Pokémon, are just plain stupid.

For the purposes of this discussion, though, the forbidden fruit effect is applied to something that impacts everybody. Yes, I’m talking about sex. Let’s face it, none of us would be alive if it weren’t for sex. That makes it a slightly more important fruit than Pokémon.

There are a lot of forbidden fruit aspects surrounding sex, erotica, and romance. There are so many, in fact, that I’ll probably have to do multiple posts about it to really explore the breadth of this issue. For now, I’d like to keep things general because this is something that I’m exploring for a reason. I am actively developing a new novel that uses the forbidden fruit effect in an extreme (hopefully sexy) way. Consider this a prelude of sorts.

With respect to erotic issues, there is no one forbidden fruit that applies to every culture or every society in every time period. Human beings are just too damn complex/diverse/eccentric. There is one relatively common fruit that is fairly pervasive in Western traditions, particularly those with roots in the three Abrahamic faiths, namely Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

That fruit pertains to female sexuality. It’s not sex in general. It’s specifically female sexuality that takes on the aura of forbidden fruit. For proof of just how much it affects us, look no further than Carl’s Jr. ads like this.

Show an ad like this to an audience where female sexuality is taboo and it’s easy to imagine the reactions. Such an audience sees this and thinks, “Oh my God! Look! It’s a sexy female! A beautiful sexy female! It’s so wrong! So immoral/sinful! It’s making me think impure thoughts! Help me!”

I admit, that’s an exaggeration. It still illustrates the impact that forbidden fruit has on our minds. It doesn’t even always come from a strictly moral stand either. There are people on the other side of the socio-political spectrum that see that ad and think, “Oh my heavens! There’s a sexy female! It’s so wrong! It’s so blatantly sexist/misogynistic! This is an affront to women everywhere and it must be destroyed!”

Yes, that’s another exaggerated reaction. It illustrates the same effect. If a man were in that ad, it may raise a few eyebrows, but it won’t generate full-blown distress. It highlights just how much that we, as a civilization, have skewed female sexuality.

So how did this happen? Why did this happen? When did we, as a society, decide that female sexuality was this succulent, delicious treat that we dare not seek, touch, or even think about?

Well, the Richard Dawkins’ of the world would love to blame religion entirely and granted, religion does play a huge part in fetishizing this basic component of human sexuality. The bible spends a great deal of time and effort making women and the desire to be with them taboo. The Quran continues this tradition and even takes it to greater extremes. However, it is not the sole culprit.

Culture, primarily those built around economic models that require large farms where large families are needed to grow crops, are also major culprits. I’ve discussed it before. When there’s an economic incentive to make sure women have a lot of babies and men have incentive to make sure those babies are his, then society will find every possible excuse, crazy or otherwise, to manage female sexuality accordingly.

As a result of these forces, female sexuality isn’t just a forbidden fruit. It’s basically the ultimate prize for men, a Super Bowl trophy on top of a pile of gold-plated elephant’s tusks. For women, it’s this inherent shame that they must carry and be anxious of every moment of every day. For both genders, it’s pretty damn stressful.

Naturally, it’s going to screw with our minds. Sex isn’t like chocolate, video games, or Pokémon. It’s a hard-wired basic drive. Nature programs every living thing to survive and reproduce. It doesn’t program us to survive, reproduce, and level up our Pokémon. It’s one thing to stop playing Pokémon. It’s quite another to subvert basic human drives.

This is born out in research. Some call it, “The Paradox of Temptation.” When you establish that something is just another option, then your brain tends to assess them on equal footing, which is what it’s supposed to do. That’s a survival mechanism. We need that.

However, when you establish that something is a forbidden option, then the wiring of your brain gets a little clunky. That caveman logic in our brains comes back to haunt us again. It follows the skewed logic that if this is forbidden, then it must be valuable and if it’s valuable, then it must be sought.

These results have even been born out by studies about cigarette smoking by the National Institute of Drug Abuse in 2010. When you loudly proclaim that something is forbidden and wrong, it gets peoples attention and sparks curiosity, which is basically the goal of every annoying advertisement ever made.

It also plays out in our interest and desire towards sex. Utah is famous for being a religiously conservative state run by Mormon, another religious sect that places a high emphasis on sexual morality. By sexual morality, they mean women should not have sex for any other reason than to make more Mormon babies that will grow into more Mormons who will give the Mormon church more money.

Despite Utah’s conservatism, it still leads the United States in terms of porn subscriptions. The same situation plays out in Pakistan, which expressly forbids homosexual relationships, but leads the world in internet searches for gay porn. Making something forbidden just makes people more aware of it.

Why does awareness matter? Well, remember this famous speech by Alec Baldwin?

Ignore the premium-level assholery for a moment and look at the sale strategy called AIDA (Attention, Interest, Decision, Action). What’s the first part of that strategy? It’s simply getting the customers attention. You could argue it’s the most important step because the other three steps can’t happen without the first.

Attention is the first step towards making a sale. It’s also the first step towards making connections, forming relationships, and finding the love of your life. It doesn’t matter if your one true love walks right up to you. If you don’t get his or her attention, it doesn’t amount to jack squat.

By making something taboo and forbidden, you immediately give it some extra attention. Just like when John Stossel says, “Don’t kick elephants!” you end up drawing more attention to it than it would if it were just another mundane choice.

Apply that to sex and we’re bound to skew, disrupt, or undermine our attitudes towards sex in a multitude of ways. We’ve created a set of assumptions and morals in our culture that say female sexuality is forbidden and should not be expressed in ways that a Mormon priest wouldn’t approve of. As a result, we give a lot of attention to female sexuality because we’ve convinced our caveman brains it’s somehow more precious than other forms of sexuality.

When you take into account the gold rushes, tulip manias, and black Friday sales after Thanksgiving, it’s easy to see how excessive attention and skewed value can mess with our heads. It affects how we structure our relationships, how we seek love, and how we deal with our lovers.

It’s one thing to forbid something that’s genuinely harmful, like heroin and meth. It’s quite another to forbid basic sexual expressions that are an intrinsic part of our nature. It’s a concept I’m exploring for a future novel.

I don’t want to reveal too much at the moment because my plans for this book are tentative, but expect it to be a story that confronts forbidden sexual expressions in the most direct way possible. It’ll be direct, but it’ll also be sexy as hell and just as entertaining. I’ll post more details as the story develops.

Until then, think about all the sexual taboos in our world. Look at them closely. Try to filter out the flaws in our caveman logic. Should these forbidden fruits really be so forbidden? It’s a question worth asking.

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A Personal Story About Circumcision (Seriously)

I know circumcision isn’t a very sexy topic for a blog that’s supposed to be promoting sexy products in the form of erotic fiction. It’s right up there with moles, puking, and diarrhea in terms of its ability to kill a mood. However, as unsexy as it may be, it is something that affects our sex life.

According to the CDC, around 79 percent of males are circumcised in the United States. If circumcision were a movie, it would have a fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Something that prevalent and popular is sure to become entrenched to some extent. It becomes one of those traditions we just don’t question.

It’s not unlike what happens when a certain song or band becomes popular. It attains a loyal following of supporters that dare not question it, no matter what. Just look to Justin Bieber fans for proof of this.

I admit I didn’t really give circumcision much thought. It happened when I was an infant. Nobody remembers much about what happened to them as an infant. In that respect, it’s the perfect time to perform circumcision. What sober-minded adult would agree to let a doctor mutilate his genitals?

I’m sure there are a few. There are men who pierce their genitals, after all. Just google a Prince Albert, but make sure you have a strong stomach. Even with these outliers, it’s hard to imagine 79 percent of all men would consent to something like this. So why should we give circumcision a pass?

This brings me to my personal story. It happened very recently during a conversation with my mother. I won’t divulge the context or situation of the conversation. I have a feeling there are members of my family who would kill me in my sleep if I did. I’ll just say that we were talking about babies and infant care. It’s a topic that’s relevant for certain members of my family. That’s all I can say without looking over my shoulder for the rest of my life.

During this conversation, my mom told me the story about my circumcision. Apparently, I was not circumcised shortly after birth, which is when most babies have the procedure. I had mine a few days after. I don’t remember what went into the decision-making process behind this.

As far as I know, I think the logic was that my father was circumcised. So logically, I should be circumcised as well. It’s a tradition, I guess. Tradition is sometimes the only logic behind certain decisions. Then again, we’re not talking about a Christmas dinner here. We’re talking about a baby’s junk.

Whatever the reason, I had to get my circumcision several days after my birth. My mom then described the visit to the doctor’s office. It starts out simply enough. She says I was a healthy baby. Then, the big moment comes. The doctor breaks out his tools and prepares to cut into my baby parts. This is where it gets somewhat telling.

Before he does what he does, he asks my mother to leave the room. This may be something that’ll be uncomfortable, which ranks right up there with the warnings on imported fireworks as the most obvious statements in the world, and it may make me cry. My mom, trusting her doctor, does what he requests.

However, she says at the time, I give her this look that seems pretty telling. I know I couldn’t talk at the time, but I think I may have been trying to say, “Why are you letting this man cut up my penis, mommy?”

What I try to say doesn’t matter much in the end. I still get circumcised. I don’t imagine it’s all that comfortable. I think it’s pretty fair to assume I cried and there’s no shame in crying over getting your junk cut. Even the most manly of men have to admit that. After that though, my mom never speaks of it again and I never ask about it.

Now let make this clear. I love my mom. I love my dad. I have two of the best parents any guy can ask for. However, my parents are still prone to the influences of tradition and peer pressure. I don’t blame them in the slightest for deciding to circumcise me and my brother.

It’s just one of those inescapable truths. Sometimes society really does function like an 80s high school drama where people eat paste and snort ketchup on a dare. They probably understood that if I didn’t get circumcised, I’d look different than 79 percent of the male population of this country. In a world where people get bullied for awful reasons, it’s not unwise for parents to limit those reasons as much as possible.

So in light of tradition and peer pressure, it seems circumcision isn’t going away anytime soon. However, if tradition and peer pressure really are the primary reasons why we do this, I think it’s worth talking about. This is why I wanted to share this personal story. I know it’s not as entertaining as me admitting that I sleep naked, but this is something that affects me. It’s something that affects the lives of many men. Since it affects our sex lives, it’s going to affect women by default.

So let’s put it out there and ask a few uncomfortable questions. Sure, it’s going to make for some uncomfortable answers. It may even reveal that some of our cherished traditions may be bullshit, but in the same way open communication is important for our sex lives, it’s just as important for our overall health. When the conversation involves cutting up our genitals, I think that’s an conversation worth having.

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An Honest Question: How Open Should We Be About Sex?

How much is too much? Isn’t that an existential question that can apply to so many issues? How much government is too much? How much sugar is too much? How much violence is too much in a PG-13 movie? We ask this question about so many things. Naturally, it comes up a lot during issues about sex.

That’s to be expected. Human beings are sexual creatures. We’re programmed to do two things: survive and reproduce. Thanks to the advent of AK-47, fighter gets, and everything associated with Chuck Norris, we got the survival part down. We used to fear tigers, snakes, and wolves. Now they’re either endangered or they’re our pets. We won the survival game.

With reproduction, however, it’s a different story. Sure, as a species, we’re pretty good at sex. There are over 7 billion humans on this planet. Clearly, we’re doing something right. The problem is that our attitudes about sex are more eccentric than Andy Dick on a double dose of LSD.

We need to reproduce. It’s part of our biology. At the same time, however, we’ve created all these weird cultural attitudes that make us anxious and uncomfortable about sex. It manifests in religion, media, and cultural practices. I’ve talked about it before on this blog, but now I’d like to open the discussion up a bit.

Just how open should we be about sex? It’s an important question to ask. I know I’m asking it from an odd angle because I live in America. This is a country founded by Puritans. As the late Robin Williams once said, these are, “people so uptight, the English kicked them out.” So even though we call ourselves a free country, we have exceedingly prude attitudes towards sex. In fact, it wasn’t until 1965 that the last few obscenity laws that prohibited the distribution of materials on birth control were struck down.

It’s fairly clear that, as a society, we need to be more open to talking about sex. It can’t just be with our kids either. That thought alone is enough to make parents want to vomit violently. Even consenting, mature adults have problems talking about it.

In many cases, there are all these unspoken rules about sex. We’re not supposed to talk about our ex-lovers. We’re not supposed to talk about the really good sex we’ve had with partners who aren’t our spouses. We’re not supposed to talk about the sex we had when we were young. So what the hell are we supposed to talk about?

Again, this is an honest question. I talk a lot about sexual issues on this blog. Some, like various types of orgasms, are just fun little tidbits about our biology. Others are a bit more serious, relating to religion and sociopolitical issues like feminism. So what are the limits? What can and can’t we talk about?

I’ve confessed to sleeping naked. That’s pretty tame by internet standards. Seeing as how I write erotic stories, I feel it’s pretty important to know where that line is how far I should take it. So I’ll open this question up for others to discuss. How much is too much? How open is too open? We humans know a lot about being sexually repressed. How much do we know about being sexually open?

As we contemplate this topic, here’s another video discussing this topic from the fine folks at ThinkTank on this subject. I sincerely hope this generates some meaningful, yet sexy discussions.

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