Tag Archives: sexual trends

Is Netflix To Blame For Decreasing Sexual Activity?

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For most of human history, society regularly concerned itself with how much sex people were having. It wasn’t always just a matter of people having too much sex. The collective forces of religion, government, culture, and social norms all worked together to encourage people have the “right” kind of sex.

I put “right” in quotation marks because the whole concept of there being a “right kind of sex” is asinine to begin with. The concept only exists to the extent that it reflects the genuine, pragmatic concerns of previous societies about maintaining a growing population in the face of constant war, famine, plague, and whatever other forces were conspiring to wipe out the human race.

Pragmatic or not, the amount of sex that people have is still a concern and probably always will be to some extent. Unlike 99 percent of human history, though, having enough sex to make enough babies to keep the species going is no longer an issue. If anything, having too many babies is a larger concern.

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It’s within this unprecedented situation, one in which the human race has made so much progress and dominated the world so completely, that we’re also facing a growing issue. People are having less sex. According to the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, overall sexual activity has been declining since the mid-2000s.

The rate of decline is even more significant among the younger demographics. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the amount of sexually active teenagers declined from 47 percent in 2005 to 41 percent in 2015. Considering that at least half of the teenage population was sexually active throughout the 90s, that is not a trivial decline.

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I’ve talked a bit about this decline in sex. Being an aspiring erotica/romance writer, it’s one of those trends I need to keep up. I’ve posed a number of potential explanations. I’ve explored the possibility that society is becoming more sexually uptight. I’ve also talked about how the ongoing anti-harassment movement may impact our sex lives.

However, there may be an even more powerful force at work that’s hindering our collective ability to get frisky, especially among youth. For once, it has nothing to do with religion, government initiatives, or hashtag movements. In fact, this force may be more powerful than all those forces combined. It has a name and it’s one we know well: Netflix.

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This actually might be one instance where I don’t need to present a long, detailed explanation about how something affects our sex lives, our culture, and our society as a whole. There’s no need to employ caveman logic or scrutinize agendas. I think most competent can probably look at these trends in sexuality and readily accept that Netflix might very well be a factor.

I admit when I first heard it, I thought it made too much sense. I first saw it in an article in Politico that I thought was an Onion spoof. Apparently, it’s a serious story entitled “Too Much Netflix, Not Enough Chill: Why Young Americans Are Having Less Sex.” Granted, a lot of it is lumping correlation without digging into the causation, but it does make some pretty compelling points.

Dating has fallen precipitously in recent years, at least among teens, as smartphones and screens have become more popular. In the past 10 years, the share of high school seniors who reported ever going out on dates fell from about 70 percent to approximately 55 percent. We don’t have data for dating among adults, but “socializing offline” is down among them, too. For all the talk about young adults’ “Netflix and chilling,” many young men and women may end up just bingeing on Netflix, not chilling.

Within those points, however, is a growing sentiment in which people opting for Netflix is more a reaction than a provocation. The article spends a lot of time breaking down other ongoing trends, including a few from the anti-harassment movement. It’s not that people want to cut themselves off from intimacy, but the risks of getting intimate are greater, albeit not for the same reasons that we had in the past.

These days, young people are less concerned about being branded with a scarlet letter or challenging the sexual norms of our uptight ancestors. However, they are concerned about navigating an ever-changing social landscape that seems to disparage horny men and horny women.

For full-grown adults, it’s already pretty dangerous, as Aziz Ansari found out recently. For inexperienced teenagers, it’s probably even more terrifying. The article even highlighted a few of the notable pitfalls that are likely discouraging young people from putting themselves out there.

One is that in an era where concerns about sexual consent are becoming more salient, false allegations of sexual assault or rape may become more likely to proliferate, driven partly by a lack of clarity about how to define consent in sexual encounters that are often ambiguous and alcohol-fueled. Think of the fraternity accused of gang rape in the retracted Rolling Stone story about the University of Virginia. Or the bizarre charges made by Columbia University’s “mattress girl,” Emma Sulkowicz, against her former friend and lover, Paul Nungesser. Or the sexual assault charges lodged against Alphonso Baity that led to his expulsion from the University of Findlay, despite the fact that multiple witnesses were willing to testify that he engaged in consensual sex with his accuser. Or the successful cases that have been brought by men thrown out of college for alleged sexual assaults. Such allegations can do untold harm to the reputations and lives of many parties—mostly men—who engaged in what seemed to them to be consensual sex.

This is where Netflix comes in, almost by accent. In the past, it was a lot harder to stay entertained and content while also suppressing sexual urges. Why else would chastity belts have been a thing? When there wasn’t much entertainment beyond books and games, it was only a matter of time before those basic urges caught up with people.

Netflix does something that even the strongest chastity belt can never hope to do. It actually succeeds in keeping people distracted and content so that those base desires can’t occupy our thoughts. When there are so many amazing shows, from “Bojack Horsemen” to “Travelers” to “House of Cards” to “Stranger Things,” who has time for sex?

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I write that only half-jokingly because, while it’s not possible to completely overwrite our base desires, it’s still possible to distract us. Human beings are, from a biological standpoint, pretty easy to distract. In the era of the internet and streaming media, it has never been easier to forget about the fact that you’re not having sex.

Add on top of that the growing risks with just attempting to get sex, thanks to concerns about harassment and assault, and Netflix suddenly seems like the path of least resistance. You won’t get accused of assault or harassment by staying home and watching Netflix. You also won’t get pregnant or a nasty disease, either. Add the inherent entertainment of the content and even I can’t deny the appeal.

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Now, it’s still doubtful that Netflix and others like it are the primary reason for the decline in sexual activity. As anyone familiar with logical fallacies will tell you, correlation does not equal causation. However, when scrutinized within the context of evolving sexual attitudes, the deficiencies of the past, and basic incentives, I think it’s reasonable to conclude that Netflix is a factor.

That trend, like all trends, is likely to change over time. It’s impossible to predict how our sex lives will change in the next few years, especially as emerging technologies start to affect sex and society at large. For now, there are a lot of factors affecting our sex lives. Netflix is just one, but as someone who is a big fan of “Bojack Horsemen” and “Stranger Things,” I think it’s more powerful than we think.

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

More Women Are Watching Porn (And Why That’s A Good Thing)

I don’t often talk about the porn industry on this blog. I know that sounds like an oversight, but it’s a deliberate oversight. In my experience, porn is just one of those things that either bothers certain people to no end or is just shrugged off by everyone else.

We know it exists. We know it’s a big business that has always existed, to some extent. Sure, it’s controversial. Some still try to fight it, but to date, nobody has ever won that fight and the sheer amount of porn that exists is proof of that.

As an aspiring erotica/romance writer, who also happens to be a straight man with an internet connection, I’m very much aware of porn, the industry that makes it, and the consumer base that fuels it. While erotica novels aren’t quite as taboo as porn, it does have many similarities. “50 Shades of Grey” proved those similarities aren’t that subtle.

In addition, those same trends can also reflect evolving attitudes towards sex, sexuality, and how people treat intimacy. One might be forgiven for thinking that everything involving sex, intimacy, and how we consume erotic content is devolving into chaos. However, in the midst of all these unsexy trends, I’d like to offer some news that should further complicate the evolving sexual landscape.

According to recent data released by PornHub, also known as the most popular porn site on the internet, 2017 saw the biggest surge in porn consumption came from women. More specifically, the search term “porn for women” increased in popularity by 359 percent. Even if you’re terrible at math, you understand that’s a significant increase.

It’s an increase that the porn industry is noticing, among others. They kind of have to notice it because women still make up half the population last I checked. Even though catering to mostly men has helped make porn a multi-billion dollar industry, it still has room to grow and women are the key, just not in the way the industry is used to.

Whether it’s due to the impact of “50 Shades of Grey” or the impact that feminism has had over the past few decades, more women are consuming porn than ever. Granted, that could just be because more women are willing to admit it, but the data is there. This is happening, regardless of what men or other women say about it.

The type of porn they’re consuming is also noteworthy, if only because their patterns of consumption are different from those of men. According to Vice.com, the type of porn women search for varies in terms of theme and genre. They’re not wildly different from men, but it does highlight some differences in terms of the erotic content both genders pursue.

While I’d love to talk more about the types of adult content women are seeking, if only to highlight how I can work that content into my novels, there’s a particular detail to this story that I want to highlight. I have a feeling it’ll be controversial for some. I’m willing to take that risk because I think this is worth saying.

More women consuming porn is a GOOD thing for both genders.

Take a moment to finish rolling your eyes. I understand that sounds exactly like something a man who regularly writes about sex robots and sex-positive superheroes would say. That doesn’t make the statement any less valid.

While I won’t claim that trends in women consuming porn are all good, as the breadth of human nature is far too broad for a claim that bold, I strongly believe that this is one of those trends where the positives outweigh the negatives. It’s not just because it shows women are more comfortable exploring sexy things. I actually think the positives run much deeper than that.

That’s because in recent years, the porn industry has only ever made headlines for all the wrong reasons. Between the recent spike in porn stars committing suicide and uptight politicians declaring it a public health crisis, it’s safe to say that porn has a public image problem, to put it mildly. However, I think the foundation of that problem goes beyond the explicit content behind it.

To illustrate that, it’s necessary to point out an unusual quirk in the effects of porn on men compared to women. There have been plenty of studies on how porn affects men. Some of it documents negative effects while others reveal positive or no effects. For women, though, the effects are considerably different.

It often occurs whenever there’s a correlation between a negative consequence, like broken relationships and porn consumption. Whenever that correlation exists for men, it rarely occurs to the same extent, if at all, for women. That means that even if there are harmful effects of porn consumption, it does not affect women as much as men.

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To further complicate those insights, as often tends to happen in sexually-charged issues, research has shown that couples who watch porn together are either not negatively affected or enjoy greater levels of satisfaction. That means when it comes to the effects of porn, context and attitudes matters. I’ve mentioned the importance of context when it comes to assessing masculinity. It seems to apply even more to porn.

That’s why I believe women consuming more of it is a good thing, in terms of evolving that context. Unlike other hobbies, porn is unique in that it involves sex and sex often other people. When only one part of that equation is consuming the content, then that content is going to skew in the direction of those consumers. That’s just basic economics.

In this case, those skewed economics can have unpleasant consequences. To those who claim porn creates unrealistic expectations about sex, this is why that occurs. When the consumer base is so narrow, it’s going to become unbalanced. We saw that in the disparity of contraceptive development. Porn did the same.

Over time, that has the effect of narrowing the appeal of the content. To those not consuming that, it takes on a strange, if not taboo context. In the past, this has been reflected by women seeing men’s consumption of porn as creepy or perverse. It’s not unlike how comic books used to be seen as something for kids. Then, they evolved to capture a wider audience.

With women entering the consumer base, the porn industry has a chance to change that narrative. If women are watching more porn, then it becomes less taboo. On top of that, it expands the industry. I’ve talked before about how taboos fade or die off. One of the most potent ways taboos falter is when there are economic forces working against it.

In a sense, the best way for women to make the porn that men consume more equitable is to consume it themselves. By giving the industry a powerful incentive to balance out the content, they create the necessary incentives for producers to make the kind of erotic content that both gets them off and spices things up with their lover. It’s ironic that this is how to make the porn industry friendlier to women, but it’s also somewhat fitting.

As it stands, women’s taste in porn are still evolving and the industry is still figuring it out. However, there are a number of sites out there looking to tap this once overlooked market. In wake of the recent sexual misconduct scandals, there’s even a new sub-genre of porn called ethically produced porn. Think of it as fair-trade coffee for sex.

Regardless of how some feel about the porn industry, in general, or women entering a consumer base once dominated by men, their presence will have an impact. That impact may make some uncomfortable or upset at first, but I believe in the long term, it’ll be a net positive.

We’re entering a world where it’s not taboo for a woman to say she enjoys watching porn. It’s also a world where men don’t have to be as ashamed or secretive about their own porn consumption. I think when those respective taboos fade, it’ll be easier for men and women to have honest conversations about what they like, what turns them on, and everything in between.

Sure, it’ll be awkward. Men and women talking about their respective porn consumption is bound to cause more than a few stressful conversations. However, if the end result is a more open and honest understanding of our sex lives, then I honestly say that extra awkwardness is worth it.

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Filed under gender issues, Marriage and Relationships, sex in media, sex in society, sexuality

Shifting Demographics: A Dangerous (And Unsexy) Trend To Worry About?

At what point does our willingness to have sex to make babies become a larger social problem? That’s not a rhetorical question, by the way. I’m not even the first person to ask that question. Ongoing changes in demographics are a real issue. Yes, the human population is still growing at a remarkable pace, historically speaking. However, the way it is growing is generating all sorts of problems.

I know talking about demographics isn’t all that sexy, but I think it should be. Demographics involve population. A population of any measure requires that people have sex. I’m in the business of telling sexy stories so changes in demographics will indirectly affect me to some extent.

To understand this issue, it’s necessary to sift through some annoying levels of fear-mongering. Not too long ago, there were some pretty dire predictions about the impact that our rapid population growth would incur on the environment. While these are still pressing issues, we’re not living in a “Mad Max” style hellscape for now.

More recently, much of the doom-saying has come from those anxious about the declining fertility rates of the industrialized world, some of which have dropped below replacement levels.

You don’t need to know much about the particulars of demographics or statistics to understand the implications. For any society to prosper, both economically and functionally, it needs a steadily growing population. Old people die off. Their children take their place. More children grow into productive adults that contribute to society and the economy. It is very much the life-blood of civilization.

That process got a massive boost in the mid to late 20th century thanks to improvements in medicine, technology, and economics. Around 1900, the world population was below two billion. By the end, it had tripled to six billion. As of this post, the global population stands at approximately 7.5 billion. It’s very possible that we may cross the 8 billion mark by the end of the decade.

However, that continued growth is starting to encounter some obstacles. The rates of growth, especially in the industrialized world, are starting to slow. Just this past year, the fertility rate in the United States dropped below replacement level for the first time in a century. That’s a major milestone with some major implications.

Some parts of the world are already dealing with those implications. In some areas, they’re slowing so much that it’s causing major concerns for the future of that society. Japan, especially, is dealing with some unprecedented issues with a society that has a booming elder population and a dwindling pool of youth.

I won’t get into the specifics of the apocalyptic visions associated with declining fertility rates. That kind of doom-saying is rarely productive and often flat out wrong. However, a declining population carries with it all sorts of issues.

A society with a declining population has very poor economic prospects and I’m not just talking about a smaller market for my sexy novels. A declining population means fewer workers, fewer customers, and fewer people to come up with sexy new ideas. For a community and a culture, it’s basically the social equivalent of rapid decay.

In some cases, this decline can be compensated through immigration, but that brings with it a whole host of hot-button issues that I don’t care to discuss on this site. After all the anti-immigration rhetoric that erupted from the 2016 presidential election, there’s little chance that anything productive will emerge from that issue.

What concerns me more about this ongoing trend are the more personal implications behind it. There has already been a noticeable decline in overall sexual activity among younger generations. That doesn’t mean people are less horny. That just means less people are actually getting together and doing it.

The reasons for this are hard to quantify, but I’ve mentioned some of the obstacles that millennials are dealing with, beyond their sex lives. There will likely be even more obstacles once Generation Z, their successors, take hold.

In essence, these coming generations are drowning in debt and lack the economic of their predecessors. It’s hard to find time to seek a lover, start a family, and raise multiple children when there aren’t as many well-paying jobs to go around and the cost of living just keeps going up. The stress alone in dealing with all these issues is enough to kill anyone’s libido.

Others will claim that trends like growing acceptance of abortion and contraception, two issues that I’ve discussed more than once, is a major factor here. I tend to disagree, at least in part. Historically speaking, economics tends to drive fertility, politics, and most other major trends. Money is just that powerful.

I don’t doubt that having a greater control over our fertility from a medical standpoint is an issue, but just having that control doesn’t necessarily undermine our inherent desire to procreate. It’s the resources, circumstances, and conditions that have a much bigger impact on peoples’ desire to have children.

I even see this among my friends, family, and peers. Most of the people who are my age or younger are not in a situation where they have the resources to have a family. Most are struggling to find steady, well-paying jobs. Some are struggling just to find affordable living space, an issue I only recently addressed. Even if they’re still horny, they are not in a position to exercise their fertility.

While that’s understandable from a pragmatic point of view, the long-term implications are still there. If a large enough chunk of society faces these same issues, then at some point, the shift in demographics becomes unavoidable. Fewer children being born, along with a higher cost of raising them, carries with it all sorts of uncertainties that promise to make a tense situation even worse.

It may still be too early to worry about this trend, even the context of an aspiring erotica/romance writer. Trends have a nasty way of changing erratically. The old investor adage of past performance not guaranteeing future results has held true on many occasions.

Paul R. Ehrlich‘s “The Population Bomb” found that out the hard way because it failed to anticipate how humanity would react and adapt. Given how notoriously hard it can be to predict the future, it’s not smart to make too many assumptions about what will happen with these trends in declining fertility rates.

That said, if I have to adapt my novels to cater to an aging population, I’m willing do to that. It just may mean that I’ll have to learn how to describe sagging boobs in a sexier way.

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Filed under Current Events, gender issues, sex in society

Cheap Sex, Sexual Revolutions, And Why It’s A GOOD Thing

When something is cheap, you tend to get what you pay for. I learned that the hard way when I tried to spend as little money as possible on a trip to Florida. I ended up staying in an awful hotel with dirty sheets, piss-poor room service, and towels that felt like sandpaper. I definitely paid for not wanting to pay too much.

In any functional economy, that’s how it’s supposed to work. If you’re not willing to put effort and resources into a product, then you’re not going to get much out of it. It’s the cornerstone of how western society has prospered, according to Adam Smith. With sex, however, you can’t always apply the same rules.

Granted, I’ve often tied certain sexual attitudes to economic factors. I still stand by some of those comparisons, but I don’t deny some special circumstances, with respect to sex. Unlike the stock market, new smartphones, or junk bonds, sex isn’t a product, nor is it a simple service.

We’re not hard-wired to want to buy the new iPhone X, even if some people feel otherwise. We are, however, hard-wired to seek sex. It’s one of the most basic drives any animal can have, including humans. Unlike other markets, we can’t just opt out or cash in our investment, so to speak. Even those who try to avoid it, the desire is still there. In some cases, avoiding it can have a high cost as well.

I bring this up because current sexual trends have certain people who care a lot about how much sex other people are having seem to be taking our society into uncharted territory. Even though sexual activity among younger people is down, there’s a growing sentiment that the sex people are having is cheap, dispassionate, and empty.

Now, I’m certainly not the one saying this. As a man who writes erotica/romance novels, I always put a special premium on all thing sexy. That may make me an anomaly, but others interpret our sexual trends differently.

That brings me to the article that inspired this post. According to Ian Snively of the Daily Signal, our society is being undermined by the notion of cheap sex. While I certainly don’t agree, this is the argument he makes.

He says people’s dependence on “cheap sex” has a lot to do with the influences of the “sex market.” Specifically, the products and media that promote sex don’t cater to women’s best interests.

“The mating market no longer seems to favor women’s interests like it once did,” said Regnerus. “It favors men’s interests, which is why so many women find dating in their 20s and early 30s so frustrating.”

Regnerus thinks that because women generally want a long-term commitment in a relationship, their interests make selling sex more difficult. Instead, the sex market plays into the interests of men, who generally prefer less commitment.

“If you asked men and you asked women, ‘What is your ideal relationship?’” he said, “more men than women will say, ‘Oh, I would love something short-term, where I can just go over, and replace whenever I feel like it.’”

And because the market has exposed society to “cheap sex” for so long, Regnerus thinks people have a hard time getting out of that mindset.

“People have been so trained into cheap sex, that they don’t know how to get out of this pattern that’s been bothering them,” he said.

Now, I’m going to resist the urge to go on a long-winded tirade about how this man interprets our current sexual climate. In many ways, he’s not much different from any priest, mullah, monk, or rabbi who claims that too many people aren’t having monogamous, missionary-style sex for the sole purpose of producing new adherents/tax payers/workers/etc.

The one aspect in which he’s all too similar to these age-old, anti-sex sentiments is how he makes the broad assumption of what women want in a long-term commitment and what men want, conversely. The idea that all women want the same thing and men always want something inherently different is, to be honest, both insulting and misguided.

Mr. Snively doesn’t entertain the possibility that maybe some women might want a casual relationship wherein the sole purpose to have regular, recreational sex for the sole purpose of enjoying the toe-curling pleasure it brings them. At the same time, he doesn’t entertain the possibility that men actually want love and commitment.

He’s basically assuming that every gender stereotype that every teen movie ever made is correct. Never mind the fact that movies have a horrible track record when it comes to reflecting reality, especially with firearms. The man here is building his entire understanding about “cheap sex” around assumptions that anyone with even a little non-Hollywood life experience knows are flawed, at best.

Mr. Snively calls these trends in cheap sex a new sexual revolution. Having already written about the prospects of future sexual revolutions, I can say his standards for revolutions are laughably low. In addition, just researching sexual revolutions reveals that there’s nothing revolutionary about cheap sex.

No matter what religion, government, culture, or peer pressure tries to do, horny men and horny women, alike, will seek outlets. Some will be legitimate. Some will be illicit. In any case, the culture and attitudes will ascribe a cost to getting that outlet.

If the cost is high and sex is expensive, then not everyone can afford it. Sure, the rich and the powerful will have their mistresses, concubines, and side-lovers. The not-so-rich, however, will have a problem. They will have an unmet need that their biology won’t allow them to ignore completely. Like famine, you can only do so much to ignore how hungry you are.

It’s for this reason that others have argued that societies full of sexually-deprived people will be an unstable one. When the cost of sex is that high and your biology won’t let you forget you have this unmet need, you’ll do anything to meet that need, no matter how irrational or horrific it might be.

That’s cost of expensive sex. Flip the scrip, make sex cheaper, and suddenly, there’s a different dynamic at work. In a world of cheaper sex, it’s easier to meet those needs. With the rise of dating apps like Tinder and eHarmony, it’s easier today to seek both cheap sex and deeper relationships. Individuals have options to pursue, depending on what they seek and why.

Mr. Snively sees this as revolutionary. It’s really not and I’m not just talking about the old hippie concept of free love. There have been numerous cultures where sex was even cheaper than it is today. Those cultures functioned and faltered in their own unique way. The cheapness of sex was not seen as all that groundbreaking.

That’s not to say that cheap sex came without a cost. It certainly did. Cheap sex does have consequences that include increased transmission of diseases, unwanted pregnancies, and unstable family structures. However, I would argue that those costs are far less than the alternative.

I’ve mentioned before how fascist regimes need to control sexuality to some extent. Therein lies the key, though. It takes an extremely authoritarian government to impart the kind of force necessary to counter something as powerful as the human sex drive. Pretty much every government/church that has tried that in the past has failed in the long run.

In a sense, the cost of trying to make sex more expensive is actually far higher than making it cheap. It requires a lot of power, suppression, and micromanaging to manage, let alone contain the sex drives of every person in a society. That kind of effort requires a level of cost and resources that no government can hope to manage, especially in the long run.

That’s why I believe Mr. Snively is wrong. Cheap sex is not that revolutionary. In addition, cheap sex is actually far better for a free and open society than the alternative. In that sense, it should be celebrated and I intend to use my sexy novels to contribute to that effort.

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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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A Second Sexual Revolution: The (Sexy) Precedent

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In any human society, nothing becomes a revolution until after people realize just how revolutionary their ideas were in the context of the times. Few people who end up being part of a social movement, see their activities as part of a revolution. That assumes they’re sober, which history tells us can be a factor.

Those who oppose revolutionary activities are even less inclined to call them as such. They see these kinds of movements as chaos, criminal, and dangerous because it’s distracting people from doing more important things like paying their taxes, pumping out babies, and giving money to their preferred religious service.

It’s hard to really transform a simple protest to a full-blown revolution is what I’m saying. That brings me to the sexual revolution of the 1960s and the possibility of other sexual revolutions in the future.

I’ve talked about the sexual revolution of the 60s before. It was fueled by two powerful factors that helped loosen sexual norms, namely the advent of effective contraception and the elimination of major sexually transmitted diseases thanks to antibiotics. For the first time in recorded history, human beings had more flexibility in exercising their sexual desires.

Advances in technology, science, and public health gave people the ability to explore their sexuality without fear of negative health consequences. Unwanted pregnancies and life-threatening diseases were no longer as big a concern. Men and women could engage in various sexual activities more freely and openly. The only obstacle in their way were the prudish sexual norms that remained.

That’s where the revolution came in. Science and technology can do a lot of things for us, such as curing disease and preventing pregnancy. However, it can’t convince people to just abandon their beliefs, values, and assumptions about certain subjects. That’s why we still have people in positions of great power who don’t believe in evolution.

Anyone who has ever dared to read the comments section on a news site understands it all too well. There’s a segment of people who ardently cling to the norms of the past. There’s also a segment of people who cling to the emerging norms of the present. When the two meet, it can get ugly.

The sexual revolution of the 60s was basically the comments section of a New York Times article made flesh. An entire generation of youth, who now had both the tools and the desires to explore their sexuality, was running into the brick wall that their elders had established.

They were taught from the days of Elvis’ evil hips that sex was a generally bad thing. It’s only acceptable function was to make babies that will work in factories, pay taxes, and go to church. Any orgasms that anyone had were optional. It’s easy to see why a whole lot of horny teenagers heard that message and decided to rebel.

In many respects, the spirit of the sexual revolution of the 60s was a direct response to the incredibly uptight, annoyingly prudish attitudes of a 1950s culture where couples sleeping in the same bed on TV was seen as scandalous. One generation bombards the other with endless morality lectures. The other rebels. The next thing you know, you’ve got mud orgies going on at Woodstock.

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It’s not necessarily a new pattern. Throughout history, cultures have gone through periods of sexual prudishness and sexual promiscuity. Cultures like the ancient Egyptians and the ancient Indians were well-known for their liberal attitudes. Then, you have extremely restrictive mores of  the ancient Chinese and Victorian England. By and large, sexual attitudes have been downright erratic.

When you examine the history of these attitudes, you see a cycle of sorts. That cycle usually plays out like this:

  • There’s some kind of upheaval in society, usually caused by economics, famine, or disease.

  • A large segment of society seeks more order so they embrace morals that encourage more uptight, restrained attitudes.

  • Those attitudes extend to sexuality and more prudish attitudes take over, giving any sexuality that doesn’t involve procreation a negative connotation.

  • Society stabilizes and comes to accept these attitudes for a long stretch of time.

  • A new generation is born, never knowing the upheavals that previous generations faced.

  • That generation sees the overly prudish attitudes of their elders as flawed and rebel.

  • New attitudes emerge that loosen sexual standards, often in ways that shock and horrify older generations.

  • The new attitudes become a spectacle and the shock value wears off.

  • Eventually, the attitudes result in another round of upheaval in society, which is magnified by a rises in sexually transmitted diseases or unstable family structures.

  • Another generation emerges and adopts more restrictive sexual attitudes once more.

Like every revolution, the sexual revolution of the 60s did incur a backlash. The emergence of new diseases like AIDS, as well as less stable family structures, contributed to all sorts of ills that played out over the course of several decades. You could make the argument that it’s still playing out.

That leads us to today. At the moment, it’s hard to say where in the cycle we are. Unlike previous periods in history, technology and modern infrastructure has taken society into uncharted territory.

Even if sexual attitudes regressed after the 60s, the growth of the porn industry and the widespread availability of erotic content, thanks to the internet, kept the backlash from going too far. It’s one thing to regress in a society dominated by uneducated masses. It’s quite another to do so in one with high literacy, fewer famines, and unlimited access to full-frontal nudity in their pockets.

However, I have made the argument before that our society is steadily becoming more sexually uptight. We’re seeing it in the way people react to sex in the media. It’s becoming more taboo for female characters in movies and video games to be sexy in any way. It’s also becoming taboo to use sex as much in advertising, as Carl’s Junior recently found out when they dropped their sexy ads.

There are also shifting trends in what society seeks to shame. There are now buzzwords like “toxic masculinity” and “rape culture” that skew sexual attitudes. Every week, it seems, there’s a new moral crusade against some sort of sexual injustice, be it sexual assault or inequalities in the LGBT community.

These crusades are putting sex into a negative context, not unlike the one it had in the uptight 1950s. In the current cultural landscape, any and all negative manifestations of sex get more attention and are blown out of proportion, either intentionally or unintentionally.

Never mind the fact that rates of sexual violence against women have declined by over 60 percent since 1995. Fear, dread, and upheaval still pervade whenever issues of sexual violence emerge, even if it turns out to be false. Remember the first part of that cycle I mentioned? Well, that upheaval element is there so the cycle might continue.

If that happens, then the end result will be similar to what we saw in the 60s. There will be another sexual revolution of sorts in response to emerging trends or as a backlash to the ongoing moral crusades. The human libido is powerful and erratic, but it never sits on the sideline when we aggressively attack our own sexuality.

Now, I’m not a good predictor of the future. If I were, I’d be picking stocks and betting on football games for a living instead of writing erotica/romance. However, my caveman brain still sees patterns, especially the sexy kind. What I see now and what I see in the past with the 60s sexual revolution checks more than a few boxes.

It’s hard to know how it’ll manifest, but I think there will be another sexual revolution of sorts. Within a generation, we’ll see young people engaging in sexual behaviors that shock and horrify today’s latte-loving millennials. What kind of behaviors might that entail? It’s hard to say, but it’s fun to imagine.

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How NOT To Talk About Marriage

Picture a scenario with a man and a woman. No, it’s not one of those scenarios. They’re both fully clothed, in public, and otherwise normal. Then, imagine the kind of outrage/public shaming that would occur if this took place in front of one too many cameras.

Woman: I’m so sad! I’m so lonely! Why does the world so cruel?

Man: Maybe it’s because you’re really fat. Were you abused as a kid or something? Just exercise more or get some surgery.

You feel that? That’s the inescapable urge to roll your eyes because you know what kind of outcry this is going to cause. You know the kind of arguments, insults, rants, and raves that’ll emerge from this topic. Human can be pretty crazy and unpredictable when it comes to certain topics. Topics that involve marriage or gender issues, though, are annoyingly consistent.

So why do I bring up this scenario and the predictable outcry it tends to cause? Well, it was inspired, in large part, by a video I came across recently. It involves a small talk show discussing recent trends in marriage, namely why men are more and more reluctant to get married.

I’ve talked about this issue before, namely the part where the legal system gives men and women one too many tools to screw each other over and not in the way they enjoy. I generally avoid talking about it because it tends to make people less horny, which isn’t good for any erotica/romance writer. However, sometimes I do feel compelled to comment on something that feels overly relevant.

With that in mind, here is the clip in question. To get to the part that really annoyed me, fast forward to the 2:20 mark. I should warn you though. You may feel the urge to punch your computer screen.

Did you see it? Is your computer screen still intact? Are you confused as to why someone who is single, in his 30s, and worried about his romantic future would feel uneasy with this exchange? Well, let me break it down in a way that I hope won’t cost anyone a new computer screen.

The argument the man in the clip makes is not a new one. They’ve been made before, the pitfalls of marriage and the reasons men aren’t too eager to participate. In fact, Fox built one of its most successful sitcoms about the ills of marriage and what it does to men. These are not new issues is what I’m saying.

Even so, there’s still this imbalance of sorts between men and women when it comes to the decline of marriage. There’s still a stigma against those who are reluctant to join an institution that has become exceedingly unjust for legal, political, and social reasons that are too complicated and unsexy to get into.

That stigma, however, doesn’t apply to both genders equally. I know this because I’ve actually felt this inequality to some extent. It plays out like this:

  • You’re a woman and you don’t want to get married? You go girl! You don’t need a man! You just need to be you! Girl power!

  • You’re a man and you don’t want to get married? What the hell is wrong with you? Are you gay or something? What kind of creep stays single all his life?

See the difference? The clip itself doesn’t do justice to the extent of this difference, but the man does get crap for making these arguments. When he calmly and reasonably lays out his arguments, the first response isn’t to take them seriously or ask more questions. The response is, “Were you hurt?”

To the man’s credit, he laughs it off. That shows he has more maturity and self-awareness than 95 percent of the people I see on talk shows these days. It’s still a very telling assessment though, assuming outright that the man is criticizing marriage was somehow hurt in the past.

Even as a man who does want to find love and does want to marry someone, I find that pretty insulting. I get that marriage has rarely, if ever, been an equal institution. I get that for most of human civilization, women had it pretty rough with respect to marriage. I’m not denying that.

However, if I’ve learned anything from all the superhero comics I’ve read over the years, it’s that you can’t fight injustice with more injustice. That’s like trying to fight a wildfire with napalm. It’s only going to make the situation worse.

At the moment, marriage is not a good deal for men. At the moment, women have more legal and social protections with respect to marriage then men. Women can divorce their husbands whenever they want for whatever reason and, in many states, get half their husband’s assets by default. They can get custody of kids, get favorable treatment by courts, and are more readily believed with accusations of spousal abuse.

Now I’m not Al Bundy in that I see marriage as its own circle of hell for a man. I believe marriage, love, and all the passion that comes with it is a beautiful thing. The problem is that our assumptions, legal traditions, and social constructs are horribly imbalanced at the moment. It’s only when marriage becomes a relationship of true equals that its beauty can be appreciated.

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One More Point On Gender Double Standards (Courtesy of Cracked)

Are you tired of hearing me talk about gender and double standards? I don’t blame you. Can I guarantee I’ll never talk about this issue again? Of course I can’t. Making promises on the internet is pointless. In a digital world, anything you write (and even some stuff you don’t write that gets attributed to you anyhow) can come back to bite you down the line. So please, I beg of you, don’t make me belabor this more than I have to.

Double standards are important to point out, especially with respect to gender. There’s a reason I chose to explore this subject. It’s not just relevant in an era where Chris Hemsworth is a sex symbol when he takes his shirt off, but Nicki Minaj is a slut for shaking her ass too much. It affects my aspiring career as an erotica/romance writer.

Gender dynamics are kind of an important component of romance and erotica. By important, I mean that trying to work around them is like trying to perform open heart surgery on an angry lion. These dynamics shape and guide relationships, characters, and the overall sexiness of the product. These are all factors I must take into consideration when crafting a sufficiently sexy story.

I don’t just want to tell stories about some random guy or girl going out and falling in love/getting laid with some schmuck. I want to forge a relationship of equals. There are enough of those on the market today, from erotica novels to re-runs of Jerry Springer. Relationships of equal are more difficult and, as a result, much rarer. That’s why I went out of my way to highlight one when it showed up in an X-men comic of all things.

I won’t pretend the results of my efforts are perfect. I’m positive I’ll mess up along the way. Every writer does. Every goal worth seeking requires at least a few mistakes along the way. That’s exactly why we need to be aware of the obstacles in our path and double standards are just one of those obstacles, although finding a publisher has been a bit harder at times.

So in the interest of belaboring double standards just enough to get the point across, I’ll turn back to the fine folks of Cracked.com. They’ve been an insightful source for information and comedy on this blog before. As it just so happens, they did an article earlier this year on double standards we, as a society, just accept or turn a blind eye to.

Some are small and indirect. Others have major political implications that people on talk radio won’t shut up about. They’re all relevant in the sense that they’re a byproduct of these powerful double standards that shape relations between men and women. The more I think about it, the more I’m amazed that either gender can resist the urge to strangle one another.

With that upbeat thought in mind, here is another wonderful article from Cracked.com about double standards and the implications for gender relations. Just to be safe, keep your hands in your pocket for a while after you read it. You’ll thank me later.

Four Gender Double Standards Everyone’s Apparently Okay With

Number Four: Adele – Stalker

Seriously, listen to the lyrics of Adele’s hit song, “Hello.” I love that song too. Don’t get me wrong. However, if you really listen to what she’s saying and what she’s doing, it’s hard to differentiate that from a stalker. If a man sang this same song, then he’d be in line for a restraining order.

And let’s be honest: While in a scholarly way, we’re willing to admit that any scumbag thing a man can do, a woman can do as well, it’s generally with a reluctance that anyone would admit to a sexual crime perpetrated by a woman against a man.

Number Three: Sex Tapes/Selfies In The Media

Let’s be honest here, something that the internet often has a problem with. There are a lot of naked women on the internet. Men like looking at naked women and women (and even other men, to some extent) love to shame them. As for the naked men on the internet?

Well, we just all shrug and go back to searching for pictures of baby kittens on our phones. Jennifer Lawrence gets her phone hacked and nudes of her go all over the internet. Suddenly, she’s this tragic victim who had her privacy violated. Hulk Hogan gets his privacy violated, arguably in a way much worse and nobody can give two licks of a donkey’s ass. Is that fair? Hell no, but since when do double standards give a damn about fairness?

This is just one sad example from a site with the journalistic integrity of me after ten shots of whisky and a bribe, but it’s noteworthy for the way at least some of the media approaches the idea of invasion of privacy: Men have none, while women do. Hulk Hogan, whom not even science wants to watch have sex, must be watched! Jennifer Lawrence, darling girl of the Internet, must be white-knighted to the safety of Gawker towers, where none shall dare even glance at her ankles again!

Number Two: Hillary Clinton vs. The World

I am not going to get overly political on this blog. I would rather bathe in a tub of honey and stick my face in a beehive than talk politics. It’s the fastest way to ruin relationships, kill a mood, or offend everyone around you in a way on par with chronic diarrhea.

That said, I don’t think it’s disputable that Hillary Clinton and female politicians in general have to play a rigged game with a stacked deck. On top of that, she has to play cards that nobody with a white penis ever has to deal with. Again, it’s not fair. Regardless of what you think of her or her policies, the double standard here is pretty disgusting. Seriously, nobody should have to defend their record on anti-poverty spending and fashion choices at the same time.

Except Clinton’s getting raked over the coals for her emails, for her husband banging an intern about 20 years ago, for Benghazi, for various financial and ethical issues, and for her Wall Street ties. In other words, people have an entire list of genuine concerns about her as a politician. And then they want to know why she’s wearing an orange pantsuit. Clinton’s “free pass” costs just as much as any candidate’s, with the added bonus of having a dress code.

Number One: Amy Schumer’s Speech

Specifically, this one refers to a speech that comedian, Amy Schumer, gave back in 2014 where she recalled an incident with her, a drunk guy, and a night of sloppy sex. Now there’s nothing inherently wrong with sloppy sex. It happens. It’s the reason why romance/erotica writers like me have a job. We like to imagine stories where it doesn’t involve alcohol, regret, and a lack of orgasms.

However, if you break down the details of the story, you see a pretty serious double standard here. Listen to it again, reverse the genders, and what do you get? You’ll get a guy whose life is over because in the court of public opinion and Twitter hash-tags, he assaulted her. Anything a woman does while drunk makes her a victim. If a man is drunk though, then screw it. He’s drunk. What does it matter?

The man is so drunk that he’s fumbling and stupid. He can barely get hard. It’s like he doesn’t know what’s going on. My God, Amy Schumer is a sex devil! But read the actual words Schumer spoke, and it actually reads closer to her being the one sexually assaulted. The only difference is that because she was hopeful for the encounter — because she wanted it to be good, to be that fairy tale romantic moment — she allowed it to continue. She didn’t rape the man; she let a drunken bum get off on her while she effectively rubbed a lamp and hoped for a romance genie to appear. But it never did

For safety reasons, I recommend everyone still keep their hands in their pockets for a few more minutes. It’s okay. The kind of sentiment you’re feeling is normal. As I said before, our caveman brains do understand fairness on some fundamental level. By exposing these double standards and the unfairness behind them, we can let caveman logic do the best. It’ll be good for both genders in the long run.

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How Men and Women (Legally) Screw Each Other (Over)

There are a great many ways for men to offend women. In fact, there are so many that men these days have to walk on egg-shells every day, picking and choosing their words as carefully as possible. They have no idea whether asking a woman about her favorite kind of ice cream will result in a date or a sexual harassment claim.

We’re at a point in our culture where pretty much anything can be construed as sexual innuendo. Take the following sentence:

Sure, I can give you a ride, ma’am.

It seems innocent enough. People probably say this in polite conversation every day. Now, channel you’re inner 13-year-old who just discovered internet porn. That ride isn’t referring to a car and what the man wants to give the woman has nothing to do with traveling. If the guy’s dick had a mouth, it would probably say this:

Sure, I’ll give you a ride, ma’am. Now come over here and sit on my dick while I fuck you!

I’m not saying that happens outside a bad porno. I’m just saying that it’s implied more than we care to admit.

We live in an era where the old patriarchal order is giving way to a new, more equitable way of doing things. By and large, this transition has been very positive. Few outside the clergy and Congress would argue that society is better when both genders get a chance to live their lives as equals instead of adhering to a rigid caste system where the individuals at the top get to decide what, who, and how often they fuck.

As positive as this new way of doing this is, there are a few wrinkles that we’ve yet to iron out. I’m not just talking about the wage gap, spousal abuse, or gender discrimination either. Instead, I want to focus on something a bit more subtle. I want to focus on the other side of the gender imbalance coin that often goes unnoticed.

One of the oldest and most effective ways to offend a woman these days is to tell her to get back in the kitchen and make a sandwich. I don’t know what it is about wanting women to make sandwiches. Making is a sandwich is not that hard. Plus, I kind of like making my own decisions about how much peanut butter I use. That’s just me.

For whatever reason though, the idea of a woman making a man a sandwich is symbolic of that old Father Knows Best mentality that women belong in the kitchen, men belong at work, gays belong in the closet, and sex belongs in a darkened bedroom. We all know that old trope and even most men thinks it’s laughable. However, there’s another unspoken side to that laughable trope that few talk about and isn’t a laughing matter.

Let’s re-examine that old sandwich joke for a moment. Let’s examine it from both sides time. We all know this side from the man:

Shut up and make me a sandwich!

However, what about the side of the woman that says:

Shut up and sign this legal document that entitles me to half your shit and custody of your kids whenever the fuck I feel like it!

Does that sound right? Does that sound like something any woman would say out loud? Of course not. Women wouldn’t say this out loud these days any more than a man would order them to make him a sandwich. However, this dynamic is an inescapable part of modern gender dynamics and it’s making us hate each other way more than we should.

I’ve discussed before on this blog how certain cultural taboos are driving the two genders apart and ruining our sex lives. At least those taboos and quirks aren’t legally enforced. What I just described though does have the full weight of the law behind it. We don’t call it a taboo though. We call it no-fault divorce.

I can already sense some people cringing at the mere mention of the word. Divorce is one of those few concepts that’s hard to make sexy, even for an aspiring erotica/romance writer. I know how ugly it can get. I come from a family that was shaped by divorce. While my family never let it get too ugly, it’s still the ultimate mood-killer that can turn any kind of passion into a toxic (not to mention expensive) mistake.

The modern concept of divorce is actually very new in the grand scheme of things. For most of human civilization, divorce was only granted if there was cause. If a man beat up his wife, cheated on her, or lied to her about the premise of their relationship, then that was grounds for divorce. People couldn’t just get divorced because they felt like it.

That all began to change in the mid to late 20th century. Here in America, the great state of California enacted the first no fault divorce law in 1969, a year that isn’t that ancient when you consider how many people these days recall/complain about it. By 1983, the same year Michael Jackson released Thriller, nearly every state in the union had no-fault divorce laws on the books. When you consider that civilization as we know it is over 4,000 years old, this may as well be the historical equivalent of an abrupt kick to the balls.

This is a painfully apt metaphor because this phenomenon completely changed the dynamics of marriage, especially for men. It shows in the data. According to the Centers for Disease Control, divorce rates really began to spike around the late 60s and early 70s, which is around the same time that no-fault divorce entered the picture.

Granted, there had been spikes before, but these usually came in conjunction with wars and economic upheavals. That’s understandable to some degree. It’s easy to imagine a marriage getting overly strained at a time when bombs are dropping and everybody is flat broke. No-fault divorce took a different path, but this time it screwed over one side more than others.

Once again, it all comes back to economics. I know. It’s right up there with chicken pox and dead kittens in terms of unsexiness, but it’s still the primary driver of damn near everything that guides human civilization.

Using the same caveman logic I’ve used before, we can see the incentives that guided marriage for most of human history. Remember, it wasn’t until recently that people started marrying for love. Most of the time, marriage was a loveless business arrangement. Even without the love though, it had incentives.

Men needed women who could bear children that would inherit their property and/or work the fields. Men can’t have children so they need to provide a home for a woman in which to bear those children. By marrying a man, a woman got a home and a steady supply of care. By marrying a woman, a man got children who could work the fields and inherit the property. It’s a model that served civilization well for a long time…to a point.

The problem with this model is that it had a lot of incentives to keep women in the home and out of the workforce. Remember, this is also an era where most women died in childbirth and there weren’t as many tools with which to maintain the home. Keeping women in the home helped protect them to some degree while the men did the back-breaking labor that their wealthy overlords demanded.

That model needed tweaking in the modern era. It was no longer enough for men to just work the fields and fight wars anymore. The economy became more complex. Opportunities became more varied. As a result, new incentives emerged that drew women into the workforce. Over the course of the 20th century, women became as integral a part of the economy as men. They still aren’t entirely equal in many cases, but compared to 95 percent of human history, it’s pretty damn equal.

Unfortunately, this equality doesn’t extend to divorce. While women are gaining more education and independence, we still have these old taboos and biases that cling to us like ticks. Is a marriage in trouble? It must be the man’s fault. Is a woman unhappy? It must be the man’s fault. Is a home unstable and unhealthy? It must be the man’s fault.

Turn on any sitcom, watch any movie, or listen to any song and the themes are almost all the same. Every problem in every relationship can be heaped on the selfish, arrogant, whiny, insecure, irresponsible, irredeemable man. Men don’t love their children as much. They don’t put as much energy into a relationship. They’re more selfish and stupid. It’s the basis of pretty much every single episode of the Simpsons and Family Guy.

Is it any wonder why, according to the National Parents Organization, that there’s an unmistakable bias in the judicial system towards men in divorce court? Women tend to get custody of the kids, half the man’s assets, and regular alimony payments. On top of that, the man doesn’t even have to cheat on her. She can get this all if she fills out the right paperwork and has a competent divorce attorney. In that sense, the movie Liar Lair may as well be a goddamn documentary.

Go back to the economics for a moment. Look at the incentives as they stand. Then, picture this overly simple conversation between a man and a woman.

Sure! I’ll have sex with you and have your kids. Just sign this legal document that entitles me to half your assets and custody of your kids if I ever feel unhappy enough for any reason whatsoever.

Is it any wonder why marriage rates are declining rapidly among millenials? Is it any wonder why men are reluctant to commit these days? Is it any wonder why some men show hostile attitudes towards women?

This is a problem. This is making it difficult for us to love each other. Men and women can hate each other all we want. Our biological wiring doesn’t give a shit what the law says. It still drives us to want to be together. We can’t turn that drive off, but we can do something about these perverse incentives. We just have to acknowledge they are perverse and realize that there are more effective ways to love one another.

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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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