Tag Archives: youth issues

In Defense Of Hook-Up Culture (To A Point)

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There are certain cultural phenomena that are difficult to defend. Things like big businesses, the NFL, or the current president come to mind. However, some of those things are attacked, denigrated, or hated for misguided reasons. It’s not always the case that they should be defended, but there are times when a little balance is needed.

When it comes to a topic that’s easy to criticize, hook-up culture has a bigger target than most and that target has only grown in recent years. It’s one of those issues that has fronts for both the unceasing war on horny women and the escalating war on horny men. To defend it means fighting a two-front war, which has historically been a bad idea.

I’m still going to try, though, and not because I think hook-up culture in its current state deserves to be defended. There are certain aspects about that state that I find flawed, some of which I’ve discussed before. Even so, I do believe some aspects of hook-up culture should be defended. I still intend to pick my battles very carefully, though.

At the moment, hook-up culture has been getting attacked on multiple fronts. It used to be that only cantankerous old people whined about young people having more sex than what priests, mullahs, rabbis, and monks deem appropriate. These people saw hook-up culture as antithetical to the idealized nuclear family model that was glorified in every 50s sitcom.

Most people, these days, don’t take that kind of whining seriously. However, a new attack on hook-up culture is actually coming from other young people and otherwise educated people that are smart enough to recognize why those idealized 50s sitcoms were pure fantasy. Instead, they’re attacking hook-up culture as some inherently toxic manifestation that’s destroying men and women alike.

Make no mistake. This attack isn’t restricted to extreme conservatives who see hook-up culture as an affront to traditional values or liberals who see it as a tool of oppression that’s inherently objectifying. It’s not even restricted to man-hating feminists who think cat-calling constitutes assault or women-hating men who see every woman is a gold-digger who wants to ruin his life.

The attack runs deeper than that. Taken all together, these attacks reflects a sentiment that isn’t always hostile to sex, but treats it the same way most people treat a phobia. Regardless of political or agenda affiliation, sex from the attackers is almost always in a context of anxiety, fear, and hyper-vigilance. That phobia manifests in different ways.

If you’re a conservative traditionalist, hook-up culture evokes a fear that anything other than the nuclear family will destroy society and hurt those who participate.

If you’re a liberal progressive, hook-up culture evokes the fear that men will exploit women, using them for their own selfish reasons and subsequently contributing to their continued oppression.

To some extent, I can understand those fears. However, like most phobias that don’t involve spiders, those fear are not justified. They also reflect some very unhealthy attitudes about sex, intimacy, and romance in general.

Some of those attitudes play out in the sensationalized headlines surrounding hook-up culture. In these stories, it’s often portrayed as callous, bland, and overtly hedonistic. People aren’t getting together to fall in love, get married, and make babies. They’re just having sex the same way they would scratch an itch.

For some people, that’s unnerving, especially if they have children above the age of consent. There may even be a twinge of jealousy in that these young people are enjoying the kind of fun that older people didn’t get to experience when they were that age. While I suspect that’s a factor, I don’t think it’s the root cause.

Beyond the cause, though, the attitudes feed the sex-phobic sentiments whenever there’s news that hook-up culture may be harmful. There has been research on the topic and while the American Psychological Association does not draw any sweeping conclusions, it does take the position that hook-up culture is often prone to complications.

Chief among those complications, which also provokes the sentiments of the liberal progressive crowd, are the instances in which people regret hooking up. This is especially sensitive for women. In one study, over 75 percent of the women who’d hooked up with someone regretted it.

For some, it was just an unsatisfying experience. For others, it was somewhat traumatizing. This has become especially taboo since the recent scandal with Aziz Ansari in which the line between regret and misconduct is difficult to see. If you have an agenda, though, confirmation bias will allow you to see these situations as either misogynistic assault or man-hating extortion.

That’s what I find particularly dangerous/revealing about these attacks on hook-up culture. It’s so easy to find instances where people have a bad experience with it or are negatively affected by it. By singling these instances out, whether it’s mental health issues or part of a major celebrity scandal, every side can point to hook-up culture to justify their various sexual anxieties.

It probably doesn’t help that these anxieties may very well contribute to the ongoing orgasm gap between men and women. It also doesn’t help that trends in social media have made hook-up culture even easier to pursue than ever before. By nearly every measure, hook-up culture has little way of defending itself.

This is where I come in and I’m already bracing myself for the criticism.

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When I take a step back and look at the intent of hook-up culture instead of the anecdotes surrounding it, I do see something that’s worth defending. I’m not going to discount the negative impact it might have on some people, but I think the sentiment behind hook-up culture deserves more merit.

To highlight that merit, I need only ask a few questions. I doubt I’ll get honest answers from everyone, but at least consider them when contemplating hook-up culture.

Is it possible that hook-up culture reflects some of the inherent flaws with our traditional approaches towards seeking love and sex?

Is it possible that those engaged in hook-up culture are actually looking for some casual intimacy and NOT just hedonistic indulgence?

Is it possible that men prefer hook-up culture because they don’t want to jump through all the hoops of a relationship to get the intimacy and sexual release they desire?

Is it possible that women prefer hook-up culture because they just want to enjoy the toe-curling pleasure that comes with basic sexual intimacy?

Is it possible that some people just want to explore their sexuality without committing too much of their time, energy, and life to a relationship?

None of the questions above are rhetorical or factious in any way. They’re serious, honest questions that I think need to be asked when assessing the issues surrounding hook-up culture.

Regardless of whether or not hook-up culture exists, people are going to get horny. People are going to want to express their sexual desires. There’s no way to stop that. Religion, government, and culture has tried desperately over the years, some going to more extremes than others. All have failed.

This is what I think it hook-up culture’s best defense. It reflects and acknowledges the inherent need of people to express and explore their sexual desires without navigating the myriad of legal, social, and cultural rituals associated with it. In some respects, that reveals the inherent shortcomings in those rituals themselves.

I don’t doubt there are risks associated with hook-up culture. Disease and unwanted pregnancy are at the top of that list, along with instances of exploitation and assault. Focusing on those outcomes is like calling Eddie Murphy’s entire career a failure just because he stared in “Pluto Nash.”

There is a larger context to consider. Remember that study about people regretting their hook-ups? Well, science is rarely that definitive when it comes to matters of human psychology and sexuality. Later studies reveal that the extent of that regret isn’t very strong. It turns out that, like paying to see “Pluto Nash,” we tend to get over it. Most functioning human beings do.

Those same studies also make clear that the quality of the hook-up matters. If someone hooks up with someone for sex, but the sex isn’t satisfying, then of course there’s going to be some regret and anxiety later on. That’s what happens whenever our expectations aren’t met. Just ask anyone who got excited about the Jacksonville Jaguars’ failed Super Bowl guarantee.

This is where the extent of my defense of hook-up culture ends. While I think the various criticisms and anxieties about it are unwarranted, it does carry some baggage that makes all those unpleasant anecdotes so common.

Hook-up culture, in its current form, has all sorts of heavy expectations surrounding it. Whether it’s people actively engaged in it or those observing it from the outside, there’s this sense that hook-up culture is this non-stop party where everyone is enjoying the Caligula-style orgy and nobody leaves unsatisfied. That’s just not how human sexuality works.

Human beings are a passionate, social species. When hook-up culture becomes too dispassionate, which can happen, then it ceases to be a healthy expression of human sexuality. In that context, it’s basically glorified masturbation. As a romance fan and an aspiring erotica/romance writer, I can’t get behind that sort of callousness.

However, I think the attacks on hook-up culture are more misguided than hook-up culture itself. Men are seeing it as an agenda that beautiful women are exploiting. Women are seeing it as an agenda that misogynistic men are exploiting. Liberals and conservatives are seeing it as an affront to everything they deem good and moral. In attacking it, though, they all reveal their own sexual anxieties.

If our collective sexual attitudes are to improve, along with our overall satisfaction, we need to confront these anxieties. Hook-up culture isn’t going away because people wanting to enjoy sex with fewer strings is not going away. We can either learn from it or fight it, with the understanding that fighting it rarely ends well for either side.

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Should We Re-Think Our Expectations Of Teenagers?

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When I was a teenager and in a particularly bad mood, which happened more often than I care to admit, there was this one thing my parents often told me that really pissed me off.  It came out in many forms, but this was the underlying sentiment.

“If you EXPECT it to be a bad experience, then it’s GOING to be bad experience.”

I can’t recount how many times I heard something like this. I just remember it pissing me off even more every time I heard it. They usually said it to me whenever we were going out to do something that didn’t involve me sulking in my mood. Being the great parents they were, they didn’t let that happen. They got me off my ass and out of that mindset.

They probably didn’t know at the time, but that bit of good parenting reflects a real phenomenon within our collective psyche. It’s called expectancy theory and it’s kind of what it sounds like.

It’s based on the principle that if someone has certain expectations about something, it’ll affect how they approach it. If they have a positive, hopeful attitude, then they’ll be more likely to evoke positive, hopeful outcomes. If they’re negative about it, as I often was, then it’s not going to turn out well and confirmation bias will help make it worse.

With that in mind, I’d like to apply this to an experience that’s pretty much universal for everyone. Specifically, I want to focus on our expectations as and towards teenagers. Now, I know I’ve given teenagers a lot of crap on this blog, often highlighting how they tend to do dumb things and have misguided attitudes. In my defense, my own confirmation bias has somewhat affected that.

I did not have a good teenage experience. I had a terrible attitude for much of my teenage years and, despite having great parents and amazing social support, I found ways to make myself miserable. However, for the purposes of this discussion, I want to focus less on my own experience and more on the concept as a whole.

Take a moment, whether you’re a teenager or not, to ask a few important questions about the sentiment you have towards teenagers. Don’t just think about how you feel about it, personally. Think about how we collectively approach the teenage experience.

Are teenagers more deviant because of basic developmental biology or because we expect them to be deviant?

Are teenagers more immature because of basic developmental biology or because we expect them to be immature?

Are teenagers disrespectful because of their basic developmental biology or because we expect them to be disrespectful?

Are teenagers more prone to risky behavior because of basic developmental biology or because we expect them to do risky things?

See the pattern? There seems to be this underlying assumption about teenagers that rarely gets scrutinized. It’s this idea that all the biological changes that teenagers go through with puberty somehow transforms them from these sweet, innocent children into these reckless, irresponsible, proto-adults who aren’t capable of managing themselves.

It’s fairly likely that all those biological transformations that teenagers go through has some affect on their mentality. However, even the most up-to-date research on the issue concedes that our understanding of the mechanisms behind the process are extremely limited. What that means in a scientific context is we should not assume that our assumptions at the moment are wholly valid.

It may very well be the case that our expectations about teenagers have a significant impact on how we treat them. In turn, how we treat them ends up affecting how they act in response. Then, when they react, we use confirmation bias to justify our expectations. It comes off as one elaborate self-fulfilling prophecy to which we all contribute.

When you think about it, the signs are there. If you’re a teenager, just look at how the world treats you. If you’re an adult, think about how you were treated as a teenager and how you treat teenagers now.

We impose strict curfews about what they can do with their private time. We don’t trust them to consent to sexual activity until a certain age. We regularly send them to educational institutions where their lives and schedules are strictly controlled, not unlike that of prisoners. Whenever there’s a crime or an act of deviance, we tend to expect teenagers to be involved.

From my own experience, I can attest to this. When I was in high school, I noticed a distinct change in the way adults and teachers dealt with us, compared to middle and elementary school. Suddenly, everything we did was subject to greater scrutiny. It was as though everyone thought that we, a bunch of hormonal teenagers, were just one impulse away from becoming violent deviants.

I’m not going to lie. I found that kind of insulting. Teachers, adults, and even police officers would talk down to us whenever they discussed things like sex, crime, and even our personal lives. It wasn’t just that we were expected to screw up. It was almost as though we were supposed to screw up.

It never really crossed my mind that being a teenager could mean anything else. The idea that these attitudes were somehow flawed never entered my mind. I don’t think many people, including other teenagers, give it much thought now. That may very well be a problem that only makes itself worse the longer we have these expectations.

Part of what inspired me to write about this topic is an article from TheVerge that pitched the crazy, yet oddly logical idea that we should consider those under the age of 24 to still be teenagers. I admit I thought it was a joke at first, albeit not of The Onion variety. However, the author does make some interesting points.

Compared to earlier generations, youth today are staying in school longer, marrying and having kids later, and buying a house later, writes Susan Sawyer, the chair of adolescent health at the University of Melbourne, in an op-ed published today in the journal The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health. The transition period from childhood to adulthood lasts far beyond age 19, when it is popularly thought to end. As a result, she writes, we should change our policies and services to better serve this population.

In a sense, the author of the article is doubling down on the expectations. Now, it’s not just people who don’t have a two in front of their age to which we should ascribe these assumptions. We need to apply that to people even older because somehow, they’re still not meeting the other expectations we have of functioning adults.

Personally, I think that’s taking things in the wrong direction. If we’re going to start expecting more deviance and immaturity from more people, then that’s what we’re going to see and not just from confirmation bias. Just as I did as a kid, my negative expectations led to negative manifestations. Now, they may follow young people beyond high school.

It’s not magical thinking to say that attitude matters when it comes to dealing with people. Human psychology is extremely complex and varies wildly from individual to individual, but humans are still a very social species. As such, treating others with respect and maturity will provide them with incentives to do the same.

I don’t deny that certain assumptions are difficult to escape, especially when some of them are incorporated into actual policies. Even if we woke up tomorrow and started treating everyone over the age of 13 as a responsible adult, it probably wouldn’t resolve the many issues we still have with youth in society. However, as I came to learn as an adult, having a good attitude goes a long way towards achieving a good outcome.

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Teaching About Sex, Consent, And Relationships (Through Video Games)

Let’s face it. Most kids aren’t that eager to learn about the stuff that their teachers, parents, and school administrators want them to learn about. They’re not interested in knowing the skills that will make them healthy, productive, tax-paying consumers who will keep society running. They’re interested in the skills that will make them popular and/or get them laid.

The deficiencies of our education system are many and I’ve made no secret of my disdain for the experiences I had within that system. However, I don’t want to dwell too much on that this time. Talking about how much I hated high school is rarely that sexy.

Instead, I want to focus on something that most kids are eager to enjoy and how some people are using that to improve their understanding of sex, sexuality, and relationship. What could kids possibly excite kids that much to learn about something that they would rather not learn from the same gym teacher that makes them run laps in winter?

The answer is more obvious than you think. It’s video games. Admit it, that almost makes too much sense.

There’s no question that kids love playing video games more than learning about quadratic functions. According to a survey done by the MacArthur Foundation, approximately 97 percent of kids between the ages of 12 and 17 play video games. When it comes to statistics and surveys, you can’t get much more definitive without asking kids whether chocolate fudge tastes good.

Kids might not be able to agree whether Superman could beat the Hulk, which he totally could, but they agree that video games are awesome. So if kids love video games so much, why not use that love to teach them valuable lessons about sex, relationships, and consent?

That’s not a rhetorical question. I’m not being facetious either. It’s not about the medium or whatever asinine controversies it may have. It’s about working with what kids already love and using that to help them in valuable ways. It’s not that radical a concept. Hit movies have been made about it.

When it comes to teaching kids about sex, though, I wouldn’t expect Edward James Olmos to star in a movie about that. That doesn’t mean the concept is entirely flawed. Teaching kids about sex is hard enough. Teaching them in a way they’ll remember and take seriously might be beyond the power of Hollywood.

That still doesn’t stop some from trying. In a story by Kimberly Lawson at Vice, an associate professor of medicine at Yale University has helped create a game called PlayForward: Elm City Stories. It’s a fairly straightforward, two-dimensional role playing game that is less about killing aliens or Nazis and more about guiding players through a narrative, showing how their decisions affect them along the way.

That’s not quite as radical as it sounds. Role-playing games represent a large chunk of the video game industry. Major game franchises like “Mass Effect” and “Final Fantasy” are built around the idea of having players make choices and face repercussions of those choices. Take away the aliens and the monsters, though, and you’ve got a solid basis for understanding real life choices.

PlayForward: Elm City Stories plays less like Dungeons & Dragons and more like the classic board game, Life. In it, you play as avatar in a fictional, but fairly realistic city where you have to navigate a variety of activities and make choices along the way.

Some of those activities involve who you your friends are. Some involve going to certain events and parties. Some even involve whether or not to make out with a cute girl. It may sound mundane, but like most RPGs, the appeal is diving into the world of the character and leading them through it. Here’s how Vice describes the experience.

Players have to make important, life-changing decisions, including whether or not they should go upstairs to make out with someone, if they should use a condom or not during sex, and whether they should accept pills found in someone’s grandmother’s medicine cabinet. At any point, they can fast-forward to the epilogue to see what their character’s life looks like at 30, based on the decisions they’ve made.

Through that experience, players learn about more than just saying no to the guy on the street corner offering a free hit of crack. They experience both the short-term and long-term impacts of their decisions. Given the notoriously short attention spans and limited foresight of kids, that kind of insight in indispensable when teaching them about sex and relationships.

It’s no “Super Mario Brothers,” but the lessons it conveys are more valuable than any princess. It puts the players in a position to choose the right and wrong path. It shows them just how right and wrong those paths can be in the long run for their character and themselves, by default.

Beyond just consequences, the game gives players a chance to explore situations involving intimacy, consent, and relationships. Their choices help forge the relationships they have throughout the game. To get a better outcome, they actually need a better understanding of intimacy and consent. The fact that gives them tools to apply those lessons in the real world just a pleasant side-effect.

In a sense, PlayForward: Elm City Stories is coming along at the perfect time. We live in a world where sexual harassment and sexual assault are heated issues. We, as a society, are not as willing to turn a blind eye to these sorts of indiscretions anymore.

Just punishing the Harvey Weinsteins of the world isn’t enough, though. We need to teach the emerging generation that there’s a time and a place to show a beautiful woman your genitals. Knowing those circumstances will be the difference between having a great sex life and being sued into oblivion.

Kids aren’t going to learn those skills through lectures, after school specials, and cute puppets. Some of the most effective learning methods involve active engagement with real activities that offer real rewards. In that sense, video games are the perfect medium for that kind of teaching.

While I doubt that PlayForward: Elm City Stories will win any game of the year awards, it sets an important precedent that is worth building upon. Saving princesses and shooting killer aliens is still fun, but learning about relationships, consent, and sex will take a player much further in life.

Kids, and people in general, learn best when they don’t know they’re learning something. Video games may still have a nasty reputation in some circles, but it offers opportunities to teach valuable skills that aren’t easy to teach, especially to hormonal teenagers. We should take advantage of those opportunities and hopefully, PlayForward: Elm City Stories is just the beginning.

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How To Tell If Someone Is Serious (About More Than Love)

In every great love story, be it a play from Shakespeare or a terrible Hugh Grant movie, there’s usually a point where one or both aspiring lovers asks a simple question.

“How serious is he/she about loving me?”

It’s not an unreasonable question. You could argue that it’s one of the most important questions any lover can ask that doesn’t involve a marriage proposal, meeting their partner’s parents, or elaborate role playing during sex. I would tend to agree with that argument.

In addition, that same question is often asked, albeit in a slightly less romantic context. At some point in our lives, we encounter someone who has all these ambitious goals. They want to become a famous singer. They want to become a famous movie star. They want to protest the injustices that every straight, white, cis-gendered male ever committed throughout all of human history.

The scope and extent of those goals vary, but most will come off as dead serious about them. They’ll claim they want to achieve these goals every bit as much as two lovers seeking to vindicate their love. Since the stakes are so high, involving love and people whose goals may help/hinder/frustrate our own, it’s an important question to answer.

There are many who claim to love someone with all their heart, only to cheat on them. There are those who claim to oppose a particular injustice, but turn out to be total hypocrites. In general, we want to know how serious these people are before they become an unflattering meme on social media. It spares everyone in our lives more heartbreak in the long run.

So how do you sift the potential hypocrites from the potential allies/spouses? Well, I have a method. I’m not saying it’s a perfect method. It’s just something I’ve noticed in writing sexy novels and exploring romantic themes. Feel free to incorporate it as part of your own. It’s simple and doesn’t require you to invest in any elaborate life coaching. It only requires that ask and answer one additional question.

“How much is he/she willing to inconvenience themselves?”

It’s a more specific question to answer. The first question can’t be answered without reading someone’s mind. Since we haven’t perfected that technology yet, although we’re working on it, we have to stick with something more practical.

In my experience, the most telling signs of someone’s sincerity comes largely through what they do when compared with what they seem willing to do. They’ll never say it out loud. They may never even get asked. It’ll show in subtle ways, though. If you can see the signs, then you’ll get a rough idea of just how serious this person is.

Here’s a quick example that comes right out of one of my novels. In “Passion Relapse,” the main character, Mary, went out of her way to reach out to Peter from the beginning. Doing so was only a mild inconvenience, at best. However, it didn’t stop with just reaching out to him. She went out of her way to build more connections with him and he returned the favor.

Mary’s actions made clear that she was serious about forging a meaningful connection with Peter. If you want to know how meaningful (and sexy) it got, I highly recommend you buy the book. It’ll make my point that much clearer and make you horny.

For a more classic example, look at the original “Star Wars” trilogy. Specifically, look at how far out of his way Han Solo went for Princess Leia. He got paid a lot of money for saving her, but then he came back, risked his life, and helped the Rebels destroy the Death Star.

He went even further than that, though. He ended up getting frozen in carbonite, but still went onto love her. That’s not just dedication. That’s real, honest love. Ladies, if a man is willing to get frozen in carbonite for you after you gave him a lot of money, then he’s a keeper.

Contrast this with a character like Zach Crenshaw in my book, “Skin Deep,” or someone like Cal Hockley in “Titanic.” They never say it outright, but their selfishness says it for them. They refuse to go out of their way for others, unless it benefits and/or harms them directly. They’ll even resort to violence and make terrible excuses to justify it.

In real life, it’s not as obvious, but still plenty apparent. It often crosses my mind whenever I see politically correct types protest about overly sexy advertising or uptight religious zealots complaining about who or how many other people we’re having sex with. Sure, it’s still annoying, but you can surmise the sentiment indirectly.

These same politically correct types may complain about a sexy female character in a video game, but they won’t say a word about real horrific injustices that actual women endure in other countries. Those same religious zealots may complain, but they’ll never fly to New Orleans for Mardi Gras and try to actually stop these people from doing all the sinful things they love to do. That would be both hard and inconvenient.

That’s usually the most telling sign. If someone is not willing to inconvenience themselves, be it for love or for a goal, then that shows they’re not as serious as they claim. Sometimes, they’ll just say what others think they want to hear. They’ll even virtue signal to make themselves feel better about what they’re not doing.

Think of this next time you see some protest on a street corner. Think of it next time you find yourself with someone that you think you could build a life around. Will they be like Han Solo and willingly freeze themselves in carbonite for you instead of paying off Jabba? Will they ditch you on a sinking ship the second they get the chance like Cal Hockley?

You can’t always answer those questions directly, but you can look for clues. If you find out that the person you’re dealing with isn’t willing to be too inconvenienced, then chances are they’re not going to be serious with you, their goals, or damn near anything that would hinder their ability to binge-watch the new season of “House of Cards.”

It may be hard to distance yourself from those people, especially if they’re family members, but the sooner you know, the sooner you can be proactive. You don’t want to find out on the deck of the Titanic that the person you’ve placed your love and trust in can’t be too inconvenienced to share their life vest.

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A Sexy Story From My College Years (But Not In The Way You Think)

I know this post may be a little late. I would’ve posted it sooner, but I wanted to capture the sexier elements in just the right way because those elements are worth capturing. If I’m going to be a successful erotica/romance writer, then I need to make those details count. Like love, sex, and the stories I write, there needs to be an equal balance of quality and quantity.

With summer ending, most kids and college students are already back in class, grinding away at textbooks, tests, and homework. It’s not a pleasant transition, going from sleeping in on a Tuesday to having to get up at six in the morning just to catch a bus full of half-asleep kids.

I’ve made no secret about my poor experience with school. I’ve even shared a few stories that highlight just how miserable and socially awkward I was. I’d like to change things up a bit and add a little sex appeal, as I often try to do. Believe it or not, there were parts of my education that were actually enjoyable. I’ll give everyone a moment to stop gasping.

Most of those moments, however, didn’t come in high school. They came in college. Yes, those were truly enlightening years and not just because I lived away from home, had a high-speed internet connection, and could eat dinner whenever I damn well felt like it.

They were also the years where I had my first steady girlfriend. They were the years where my ambitions to become an erotica/romance writer really picked up, thanks to some of the friends I made and the teachers I met. It was also the time my acne problem finally cleared up. By any measure, it was a huge step up from high school. It was my first true taste of adulthood and I liked it.

Beyond the improved living situation and a steady decline in misery, college exposed me to more than a few sexy situations. Some of them involved me as a participant. Others involved my friends and random strangers who were overly friendly. I’ve been debating just how much or how little of those experience I should share on this blog.

Then, I remembered this site can never have too much sex appeal so I’d like to share one of the more colorful experience I had during my college years. For those who are returning to college, just starting college, or just a few years away from college, I can’t say your experience will be the same. I’m just saying the potential is there.

For this particular story, I need to establish a bit of context. It occurred in the early parts of my senior year and it involves a party, as is often the case with many sexy college stories.

The year before, I had a roommate that I became good friends with. Of all the roommates I had, I probably got along with him the most. He returned the favor by inviting me to this big birthday party of his at a house he and three other guys now shared. They basically cleared the entire first floor to throw this party. It wasn’t quite on the level of “Animal House,” but it had a few similar themes.

I arrived after the music started playing and the drinks started flowing. It was already pretty damn hectic, but I quickly found my roommate and we caught up. There was plenty of food, beer, and pretty much everything you’d expect at a party. My roommate, being real tech-savvy, even built this elaborate stereo system that blared music at a level that felt just like a club.

As I got comfortable, I started dancing a little. At the same time, I began admiring the ladies that had attended the party. There were definitely more than a few. In terms of raw numbers, there was about an equal amount of women and men at this party. Apparently, loud music, free food, and beer attracts both genders. What a concept, right?

I talk to a few of them. I even flirt a little. Keep in mind, though, I’m still more socially awkward than most. On top of that, I had broken up with my girlfriend the year before and found out she’s with someone else. I’m not exactly in the best state of mind to hook up with someone. That, however, isn’t part of the spectacle.

That only happens towards the end of the party, which is past midnight and well after plenty have exceeded the legal limit for alcohol intake. While I didn’t see anyone throw up, I could easily pick out which among them would be badly hung over the next morning. That didn’t stop one particular couple from going for broke.

For the sake of this person’s privacy and dignity, which I’m pretty sure he surrendered that night, I won’t say his name. For now, I’ll just call him Brad. He and his girlfriend helped plan my roommate’s party. I actually knew the guy somewhat because he dropped by my dorm to visit me and my roommate fairly often.

Brad never struck me as much of a party animal. If you saw him in a crowd, he would be the last guy you’d think would cut loose and do something crazy or sexy at a party. He’s no John Belushi or Sean William Scott. He basically looked like a thinner version of Leonard Hofstadter from “The Big Bang Theory.”

At this party, though, I’m pretty sure Brad could kick Leonard’s ass, sleep with Penny, and get Howard to lick dog shit off his boots. What Brad lacked in size and muscle mass, he more than made up for in other areas and I’m not just talking about his endowment. The fact his girlfriend was pretty hot was already proof of that.

He put all of these traits on full display in what became the finale of this party. Just as people are about to leave and get a head start on their hangover, Brad plays one last round of music. Keep in mind, he’s had five beers and several jello shots. He’s more than a little inebriated and so his his girlfriend.

To take full advantage of this intoxication, he decides to do something special for his girlfriend and everyone else watching. He sits her down on the small, but dirty couch that already has a number of food and beers stains on it. Then, he channels his inner Chippendale dancer, and gives his girlfriend the kind of lap dance reserved for an uncut version of “Magic Mike.”

Picture, for a moment, someone who you would never expect of having much sex appeal suddenly becoming Channing Tatum. He’s thin, he’s pale, and his lanky, but that doesn’t matter. In this moment on this night, he’s the sexiest son-of-a-bitch on the planet and his girlfriend knows it.

I’m not going to apologize for putting that mental image in your head, a lanky guy giving his girlfriend a lap dance. Believe me when I say it a lot sexier than you think. This guy went all out, licking his girlfriend’s neck, shaking his ass in her face, and even doing a handstand right there on the spot. If I hadn’t seen it myself, I never would’ve believed it.

It worked too. I remember his girlfriend’s face lighting up like a kid who just saw a pool full of chocolate fudge. Sure, she too was pretty drunk, but she had that look on her face that said, “Every man on campus is going to envy your dick after tonight. I promise!”

Now, I don’t claim to know the intimate workings of their relationship. Maybe this was their thing and it was how they kept things hot. Maybe it was just a one-time thing they did under the influence of alcohol. Whatever the dynamics, it captured a moment and a feeling perfectly. It was sexy, affectionate, and loving, all at the same time. I honestly can’t think of a more beautiful spectacle at a party.

Brad’s performance earned him the biggest applause of the night. Even my roommate, the birthday boy, gave him props. After that, I don’t remember seeing where Brad and his girlfriend went. They kind of disappeared after the crowd dispersed and the music stopped. I can only imagine that they had the kind of sex that put all the novels I’ve written to shame.

That night was a memorable night, albeit for reasons I didn’t expect. That happened a lot in college. It was so different from high school, which was so regimented and structured. I actually got a chance to explore things in college. That proved both enlightening and sexy.

I hope those returning to college, or just starting college, have similar experiences. It’s a wonderful time in your life and it’s something worth cherishing. I certainly cherished that party. I don’t know what came of Brad or his girlfriend, but I like to think they cherished that night as well for the best possible reasons.

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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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Rick Sanchez: Hero Of Generation Z?

Every generation has heroes, icons, rebels, and blowhards. While they don’t always define that generation, they often act as their voice. Sometimes, they even become a metaphor that embodies their hopes, dreams, and struggles. Other times, they reflect just how screwed up certain parts of that generation became.

The Baby Boomers had the Beatles, JFK, MLK, the Rolling Stones, and the average hippie. Generation X had Nirvana, MTV, NWA, “The Simpsons,” “South Park,” and Bill Clinton. For better or for worse, these people embodied the spirit and attitudes of that generation. Sure, the worse tends to make more headlines, but those who are part of that generation fondly remember the better.

The book is still being written on the millennial generation, which I’m just barely a part of. They’ve still assembled their share of heroes and icons. Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, and Barack Obama would definitely fit into that category. I would also list Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, and Kanye West as musical icons. For heroes, I’d basically put the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe on that list.

That list of heroes and icons is still in flux for millennials because many of them are still young. They’ve yet to go through the natural evolution of a generation where spirits get crushed, rebuilt, crushed a few more times, and then stitched back together in a way that embodies the breadth of their story.

For Generation Z, who I’ve also been talking about, that story is barely beginning. Most of that generation isn’t even old enough to drive or buy a beer, let alone establish who their heroes and icons are. Right now, much of their identity is still tied to that of their millennial parents.

Make no mistake, though. They’re going to rebel against those parents. Every generation does that. It’s like laws that govern gravity, atoms, or the inherent appeal of female breasts. They see what they’re parents are doing, decide that it’s “uncool,” and try to forge their own path. Along the way, they often forge new heroes and icons.

I’ll give millennial parents a moment to dread this process. At the moment, though, Generation Z is still too young to latch onto any icon that isn’t a stuffed animal, a homework assignment, or a game they can play on a smartphone. However, that doesn’t mean some aren’t already emerging.

Once again, I’m going to try and speculate here. That means I need to make the same disclaimer I did with my last post about Generation Z where I say I am woefully unequipped to predict the future. I’m an aspiring erotica/romance writer. I’m as qualified to predict the future as an unlicensed plumber. Please keep that in mind as I attempt to make sense of a generation too young to pay its own phone bill.

I’m still going to take that chance because I feel like there is an icon emerging, as we speak. He already resonates with a sizable crowd of disillusioned individuals from previous generations. In some respects, he’s a force for utterly deconstructing everything that Generation X, Baby Boomers, and millennials held dear. As a result, he may very well be the first hero/icon that Generation Z rallies around.

To complicate matters even further, he’s not even a real person. He’s a cartoon character on a show that doesn’t air on Saturday mornings. I’ve talked about him before and I’ll probably talk about him again for any number of reasons. His name is Rick Sanchez, the raging alcoholic, nihilistic super-genius from “Rick and Morty,” the greatest show on TV that doesn’t feature a naked Emilia Clarke.

Those who watch “Rick and Morty” as avidly as I do are probably cringing at the idea of him being the voice of any generation, let alone the one the millennials are creating. This is a character who once turned himself into a pickle to get out of going to family therapy. I swear that last sentence is real. Trust me, it’s even crazier than it sounds.

I could spend multiple blog posts talking about the various antics, exploits, and traits of Rick Sanchez. I could spend even more posts talking about why a show like “Rick and Morty” is so unique compared to every other cartoon, sitcom, or TV show managed. I may end up talking about Rick Sanchez almost as much as I talk about X-men comics and Wonder Woman.

For now, though, I’m going to restrict the discussion to why Rick Sanchez may be their first iconic voice of a new generation. If you’ve read my post about the possible secrets that this generation may possess, I recommend you check that out first. That’ll help make sense of why Rick Sanchez embodies many of the traits that may shape Generation Z.

If there’s one trait that makes Rick Sanchez stand out, even more so than his raging alcoholism or trademark portal gun, it’s his unique brand of nihilism. Granted, it’s not the same nihilism that would’ve made sense to its champions in the 19th century. They probably would’ve drawn a line at turning themselves into a pickle. With Rick Sanchez and Generation Z, the context here is more subtle.

Throughout the various antics in “Rick and Morty,” there’s one common theme. Nothing you do really matters in the grand scheme of things. Nobody has an inherent purpose. There’s nothing mystical, special, or unique about you or the world you live in. Even Friedrich Nietzsche would find that extreme.

As a result, none of the conflicts that play out in “Rick and Morty” follow the traditional path of a story. It’s basically the antithesis of every cartoon, sitcom, or general narrative that we all follow in high school English classes. In the world of Rick Sanchez, all that crap is a total farce.

In many cases, especially in episodes like “Meseeks And Destroy” and “Ricksy Business,” the conflict is either forcibly contrived by someone or is revealed to have never been a conflict in the first place. In most cases, Rick Sanchez already knows this and usually can’t be bothered to make much of it. He’s so smart, so capable, and so devoid of ethical boundaries that there’s really no conflicts he can’t resolve with ease.

This is part of why I highlighted him as an anti-hero forged, in part, by boredom. The issue for him is that because he’s so smart, he’s aware that he’s part of a vast multi-verse filled with infinite versions of himself, his family, and everyone he’s ever dealt with. He’s even made allies and enemies with alternate versions of himself in some episodes. It basically reinforces the notion that nothing he or anyone does truly matters.

It doesn’t matter of he succeeds at anything. In another universe, he failed. Conversely, it doesn’t matter if he fails either because in another universe, he succeeds. The biggest example of this, by far, is the events of “Rick Potion Number 9.”

In that episode, Rick and Morty essentially destroy their entire world. Every human being gets turned into a monster and civilization collapses. Rick’s solution to this is as simple as it is pointless. He and Morty just travel to another universe where he did succeed, but died afterwards. They just go to that universe, bury their own bodies, and take their place.

It might be one of the most disturbing, but telling messages of the show. While Morty is horribly traumatized, Rick just shrugs it off. One minute, he’s burying his own body. The next, he’s drinking a beer and watching TV. That’s because he understands how pointless everything is in the grand scheme of things.

In a sense, Morty’s trauma is a metaphor for the millennial mindset. Many millennials are so driven by their sense of passion, social justice, and community. When that gets shattered, it’s pretty traumatic. That’s why a lot of millennials will suffer a major meltdown at some point in their lives. I know this because I’ve had more than a few.

Conversely, Rick Sanchez is the perfect response to that mindset. He’s so smart, aware, and informed that he understands all that drive means nothing in the grand scheme of things. In world that’s so small in a universe that’s unimaginably big, all those hysterical theatrics are pointless.

It’s because Rick’s attitudes are so utterly opposed to those of millennials like Morty that it’ll strike a greater chord with Generation Z than it will with any other generation. Unlike all previous generations, this is a cohort of people that is actually over-educated and over-informed.

Yes, it is possible to be too educated and too informed. The millennials, the most educated generation of all time, have already begun crossing that line. They helped forge a society that has unlimited access to information and is more socially accessible than any generation before it.

However, in recent years, all that information and education has unveiled a problem that only someone like Rick Sanchez could’ve foreseen. Given the sheer breadth of information, as well as the inherent chaos that comes with people in general, it’s impossible to know what’s real, what’s fake, and what’s just plain stupid.

Most of Generation Z isn’t even old enough to drive, but they’ll be entering a world where known falsehoods are alternative facts, all news is fake, everybody lies, and nobody can be trusted. The implications are unavoidable. If everyone is special, then nobody is special. If nobody is right, then it doesn’t matter how wrong everyone is.

That’s not to say there’s no meaning, whatsoever. Even Rick Sanchez shows throughout “Rick and Morty” that he is driven by something. It’s just not the same crap that drove millennials, Baby Boomers, or Generation X. In a sense, everything that drives Rick is more petty and personal.

Rick uses people, selfishly indulges in self-destructive vices, and crosses any line he has to, even before he knows its there. He does all of this because while he understands that there is no meaning to what he does, he still challenges himself. Sometimes it’s just because he can. Sometimes it’s because he really likes a certain flavor of dipping sauce.

Rick Sanchez doesn’t just understand this. He basically lives it in every episode and he’s fine with that. He doesn’t try to prove himself to anyone, even other versions of himself. He doesn’t bother virtue signaling or making excuses. He just does what he does, understands it’s meaningless, and enjoys himself along the way.

That, more than anything, is what will resonate with Generation Z. They’re inheriting a world where uncertainty is the only certainty. Their millennial parents whined and protested about it. They just accept it, shrug it off, and watch TV like Rick. That’s what will make him a true voice for a burgeoning generation.

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