September 1, 2011
From the beginning of time, women have been blamed for every conceivable sin including the ousting of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. It’s pretty well accepted that poor, unsuspecting Adam was duped by the undisciplined floozy, Eve. Eve supposedly enticed the lad into breaking God’s commandment. Bad girl, Eve. Adam, you’re off the hook.
Then there’s the ancient myth of the 3 seductresses who lured sailors into wrecking their ships with enchanting music. I dare say these tales were invented by men on the premise that men are not responsible for bad behavior. This precept is woven into the fabric of our society.
In this modern world of evolving culture, it appears, little has changed. To this day, general opinion and, worse, powerful people still hawk the theory that women are the seducers of evil.
Now we have the rattling of testosterone sabers, implying that women encourage rape by the way they dress. In the Philadelphia Weekly, June 21, 2011 Tara Murtha published a column referring to the editor’s letter that Dan Rottenberg wrote in Broad Street Review, an online arts mag:
“…A photograph of Lara Logan, the CBS and 60 Minutes news correspondent who was sexually assaulted by a mob while covering the Egyptian revolution in Tahrir Square in February, illustrates his column. Snapped in 2008 at the Gracie Allen awards, Logan’s smiling bright, wearing a pale gown that sets off her tan cleavage.
“Rottenberg’s column was a response to an earlier Broad Street Review essay by contributor Sara Kay Smullens, who also used the rape of Lara Logan as a jumping-off point to discuss sexual assault in the U.S. But Rottenberg had a different twist. ‘ “Smullens argues that women need to speak up and speak out when they’re victimized, as Lara Logan has done, and of course she is right,” ’ writes Rottenberg. ‘ “But having stumbled across a CBS publicity photo for Lara Logan, I can’t (help) thinking that women also need to take sensible precautions before they’re victimized…Earth to liberated women: When you display legs, thighs or cleavage, some liberated men will see it as a sign that you feel good about yourself and your sexuality. But most men will see it as a sign that you want to get laid.” ’
If someone suggests that a photograph from 2008 is the instigating factor in a sexual assault that occurred in 2011 then this how I picture the traumatic incident:
A screaming mob surrounds the victim who is a reporter wearing ordinary, unreavealing clothing. “Wait,” says one of the men to the rampaging men. “I think I have a picture of that woman.” Everyone stops, scratches their chins and waits. He pulls a stack of magazines and newspapers out of his camel-skin backpack and leafs through them. After half an hour he finds it. “Oh here it is.” He jabs the picture with his finger. “This is very provocative dressing. She must be looking for IT. We must rape her.”
Now here’s a dilemma. Not every man concentrates on boobs and cleavage. What about those who love other parts of women? If a woman is wearing a dress up to her neckline, but her arms are bare. Many men are attracted to the smooth skin of a naked arm, the crook of the elbow, the curve of the shoulder. How about the ankle, once a notable symbol of sexuality? If a woman exposes those parts of her body, is that a reason for rape?
Will a foot fetishist rape women who wear heels or bare their toes? Do we need to throw away our sandals? Should women cover their entire bodies? What about hair? That’s a big-time sexy turn on. As far as I’m concerned that’s one of the reasons why burkas, nun’s habits and shaving women’s heads were invented. In this way, a man declares his property and even if it defaces a woman he hopes to keep other men away from his property. Best of all, he can say he’s following religious rules – kind of like saying Eve made me eat the apple.
Let’s look at populations who are raped: Old women, young children, infants, toddlers, pre-adolescents, adolescents, teenagers, young women, mature women, blind women, women wearing heavy coats or dresses up to their necks, religious women, little boys, young boys wearing choir outfits, mature men, boy scouts, girl scouts, women in burkas, women hiding in huts, or under beds while hordes of invaders seek them out. Then there are the flat-chested women, homeless women, male and female prisoners and women caught in the throes of war. What about incest and pedophiles? And the list goes on.
Looks like every female in the spectrum and large numbers of males get raped. Obviously, cleavage is not a factor in the overwhelming number of the above mentioned victims. Rape is a violent, vile act whether against men or women – plain and simple.
Stu Bykofsky of the Daily News wrote on Monday, August 8, 2011 a response to “…a misguided cop from Toronto.”
The cop echoed Rottenberg’s sentiments. Bykofsky was clear, rational and eloquent (the article dealt mostly with the Slut Walk, a protest against the theory that scantily clad women invite rape).
In his response to Rottenberg’s column Bykofsky said; “…The wrongheaded column managed to blame victims, insinuate that all men are potential rapists and insanely connect the Cairo rape of CBS reporter Lara Logan with a sexy dress she had worn to an awards show in the States three years earlier.”
The people who blame the victim should stop and question the effects of widespread purchases of magazines that show naked, sexy women as well as porno magazines and internet sites that depict vicious sex acts. Why aren’t they taken into account? Could they possibly have a hand in instigating the epidemic of rapes in this country?
What about the men who enhance bulges in their crotches, wear flimsy and clinging pants to expose the outlines of genitals, men posing for sexy underwear ads, butt cracks showing in public, men shirtless, in spandex biking outfits, speedo bathing suits, magazines with naked men, men dirty dancing – is this a stimulus to rape?
This isn’t an anti-porn or male bashing. I’m trying to examine why someone in this day and age would suggest the victims of rape are the perpetrators. That kind of thinking is an insult to the intelligence of woman and most men! To the minority of gentlemen and ladies who buy into this concept, you should realize that it is a wrongheaded misconception. To me, such rhetoric demonstrates that an underlying (and often not subtle) demeaning attitude toward women still exists in our society. We must go more deeply into societal stereotyping – slut or Madonna. It’s time to see women as intelligent people with good minds as well as bodies. If she says no she means NO.
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June 29, 2011
Where have all the marriageable people gone? As we know by now, the statistics from the census found that there were more singles than “marrieds” in the USA. The percentage of households in the U.S. with a husband and wife dropped from 55% twenty years ago to 48% in 2010. This compares with the 1950 statistic where 78% of households were dominated by married people. The average age for men marrying is now 27 years-old.
There is another change that complicates the issue. There is a large increase in single parents, couples cohabitating or those living alone. Celebrities seemed to have set the pace in removing the sin factor of living together rather than marrying. Taking it one step further, they have legitimized having children without the state of wedded bliss.
The online article, As Marriage and Parenthood Drift Apart, Public Is Concerned about Social Impact; Generation Gap in Values, Behaviors from the Pew Research Center Publications, July 1, 2007. The findings are from a telephone survey conducted from February 16 through March 14, 2007.
In their executive summary they said: “A Generation Gap in Behaviors and Values. Younger adults attach far less moral stigma than do their elders to out-of-wedlock births and cohabitation without marriage. They engage in these behaviors at rates unprecedented in U.S. history. Nearly four-in-ten (36.8%) births in this country are to an unmarried woman. Nearly half (47%) of adults in their 30s and 40s have spent a portion of their lives in a cohabiting relationship.”
Okay, so people are marrying and having children later in life, if they have kids at all. They are also having more out-of-wedlock babies. Is this new morality good or bad for society? The more conservative element might tell you it is wrong and harmful for children. Some feel strongly that if you haven’t cemented your relationship by promising to love, honor and cherish with legal sanctification it isn’t a real or lasting commitment.
Some more liberal groups may feel that an atmosphere where the parents aren’t trapped by what they consider an outdated institution is much healthier and so children benefit. If things don’t work out the couple can split without huge legal costs – and still not desert the children.
There is also a belief that couples living together might be better behaved as opposed to those using the shield of marriage to be more verbal about frustrations. Knowing that divorce is so hard for people to endure, a spouse might criticize more within a marriage rather than they would in the courtship phase. The dirty laundry on the bedroom floor at one time didn’t incite anger but once married it may become fuel for contention.
Society appears to be polarized in how we feel about marriage. We really need to dig deeper to understand the undercurrents of these dramatic changes to what we thought was an unalterable tradition.
In some camps it’s felt that it’s the women, not the men, seeking marriage. The reasons given are that males can pretty much have sex on demand with little required in give-backs. Economics plays a part – so some men say. They want to be in better financial shape and even maybe own their own house before marriage. I find this reasoning curious. What happened to two can live as cheaply as one? Don’t working couples provide a household with more income?
On the flip side of the coin, some experts believe that women with demanding careers may be more responsible for putting off marriage than men. The average age for women getting married is now 25, and 27 for those college educated. Go one step further and we find that when a female goes to graduate school and/or becomes a professional the age jumps to 30ish.
Maybe women are no longer romanticizing marriages of yesteryear as much as they once did. Back in the day, marriage was vital for women, not always romantically charged. Overall, women in previous generations rarely had careers and marriage was simply a way to survive. They were dependent on husbands for everything – protection, supporting children and a lifestyle. In an unabashed patriarchal society, marriage was a means of survival. These women had little input into decision making. As a result, idealizing marriage has diminished greatly.
But now we have an interesting phenomenon that has made marriage unpalatable to many women. Even today, domestic responsibilities are still pretty much in a woman’s court. Add that to working a full-time job, as most women do, and it is not an appealing picture to many women. Marriage often means that a woman takes on two major careers – in and out of the home. Women may now be postponing marriage because so many more are able to support themselves and can make choices.
For some odd reason (for exploration in another article) marriage often changes the rules in a relationship. 50% plus of all marriages end in divorce, and that doesn’t take into account the large number of those who choose to remain together but are unhappy. Where once two people were carefree and madly in love during courtship, they find that marriage dampens the relationship with its prescribed rules and regulations.
I think that traditional marriages with its one-size fits all theory is outdated. The way the institution of marriage has been rigidly structured puts people in a box. Once that certificate is signed expectations may and often do change. For instance, no matter how modern we are, the old values of assigned male/female roles come into play because that is still how we are, to this very day, socialized. Without insight, we react to relationships in a traditional manner (granted it is more subtle) and wind up painting ourselves into a corner.
We have to look at marriage with a fresh, more realistic slant and get out-of-the-box. Also, it is not a panacea for curing all ills – past and present. Each individual must take on the responsibility of understanding where they are coming from on their own. If one is unwilling to self-examine, which takes lots of work, then watch out.
To have a healthy and successful relationship one must dissect their individual behavior. Each has to share tasks and make compromises. I believe these are key to keeping love and adoration alive. Unconditional love is not a password here. Everything is conditioned on what we bring to a relationship. Carefree doesn’t mean free. It takes lots of communication and work to achieve that state of mind. But the payoff is superb.
The direction I see for the more successful marriages is that couples have to make their own contract. And I am not referring to open marriages! We have to allow for changing boundaries so that couples can grow and deepen their love and commitment.
For example, if two people are offered jobs that they yearn for, but they are in different states, why does one have to sacrifice? True it is hard to make a long distance marriage work, but with frequently planned get-togethers it can be like a honeymoon. Who is to say geographic distance is not good for a relationship?
Communication is of the utmost importance – both before and after walking down the aisle. Know what you are getting into, what you are giving up and what the positive gains might be. This is especially true when it comes to having children. Many men are especially vulnerable to bad reactions when offspring arrive, probably because they are ill-informed about the emotional toll that being fruitful and multiplying takes. It isn’t for everyone and that includes some women.
Harmoniously working toward common goals can be a wonderfully exhilarating experience. A couple must understand their expectations and share them. Maturity is emotionally freeing. What is better than knowing that you and your beloved care and support each other? The impact of this will infuse every area of your lives – including the bedroom.
April 30, 2010
By the Sexy G.
To continue delving into the article, Reinventing Sex: New Technologies and Changing Attitudes, by Eric Garland, published in Integrative Spirituality 3/24/10, and I quote: “While a great deal of published research on sex today covers pregnancy, disease, and violence, comparatively little expert literature available deals with how sex will change in coming decades, according to a 2003 white paper by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. This makes sense, because these topics pose the greatest risks to health and society. Very little research shows positive trends in human interaction. Not enough understanding exists to show how the basic human function of sexual behavior will shift along with trends in society and technology.
“The mainstream media cover changes in divorce and dating, but the ways in which sexuality and attitudes toward sex will change in coming decades are topics that require more investigation. Indeed, the media will cover many of these shifts, leaving fewer people to feel isolated about their natural inclinations. Unfortunately, few sexuality topics are deemed appropriate to discuss forthrightly, despite the fact that so much regarding sex is changing right under our noses.”
Wow, that’s potent stuff, but what does it mean for us? We already are aware that many people both men and women 55+ are engaging and thinking about sex into their advanced years. How has television and the internet affected us and how will it continue to have impact? Of course, porn on the internet is rampant. Even people in the workplace spend hours a day downloading porn. We’ve seen a some exposes of this happening in breaking news recently.
To continue what Eric Garland said in his article: “One arbiter of loosening public attitudes toward sex is that censors are relaxing on television. Television has come a long way from the days when married characters shocked viewers by sleeping in the same double bed. Clearly, television censors now allow much more frank discussion of sexual behavior…On an episode of CBS’s popular detective show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, a murder victim is shown to be in a community of “plushies,” a group of people who enjoy sex while dressed up like stuffed animals. Never before has there been such an open discussion on the fetishes, proclivities, and preferences that are part of all human diversity. ”
I’ll never forget the first time I heard an ad for erectile dysfunction. I was kind of lackadaisical about it until I heard them say that a four hour erection could send a man to the ER. My first thought was that the man in that situation could hire himself out to several women for a period of time before heading to the ER.
But a world of revelation about sexuality and choices has emerged from the loosening of censorship which is a healthy thing I believe. Even sex toys have evolved into the electronic age (this for a later blog) for multiple and super orgasms.
Again Garland states: “Researchers are working hard to realize Woody Allen’s “orgasmatron” as visualized in his futuristic film Sleeper (1973). One U.S. surgeon has already patented a pacemaker-sized device implanted under the skin that triggers an orgasm, and begun a clinical trial approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.” (I wonder how that will work if you forget to turn it off during a job interview).
Hey, obviously from the blogs I’ve written I’m no prude and all of these new devices and changes are fine with me. But what does this say for the future? I’m looking for enhancement of the old-fashioned approach – one-on-one and person-to-person. Why isn’t there talk of improving and increasing personal intimacy? It all seems to be more in mechanical development where strides are being made. To me none of what I’m reading appears to improve actual relationships.
Why aren’t we talking about ways to minimize the different approaches as to how we socialize boys and girls? How can we make boys more sensitive and able to empathize, especially with a woman? Society encourages men to minimize or even demean emotion. Then when feelings are out of his realm of understanding we applaud that as he’s from Mars. Bull. It is so encoded in our rearing habits we don’t even notice when we do it to our children. There are unpleasant names for men who respond with emotion. This makes genders divisive and contributes to divorces.
I’m all for increasing sexual pleasure, but we have to be cognizant that we still want two humans involved. It reminds me of how frustrated we’ve become to being answered and helped by computers on the telephone. When we finally get a human voice on the line (if that’s even possible) it’s like a bright new world opening up and colors are much brighter. Same with good sex between two people.
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February 6, 2010
By The Sexy G.
Over time, I have had experiences with people who feel a sense of entitlement and lack civility. I believe the two go together. These types of people are intensely self-absorbed. Recently, I seem to be running into this attitude head first, and it perplexes me. In some ways it’s connected to the last blog where I talked about empathy and how young male children are not encouraged to have it. Instead too many young children are pushed toward intense competition which seems to negate compassion. As a result these people grow up focused inward on themselves and lose the capacity to make changes later in life.
One of the comments I received from that blog mentioned that many women as well fit into this category of lacking compassion and empathy. I agree there are women like this. It does seem to be more of a male problem, but women are certainly not exempt.
Within the experiences described here, I want to note that they are fictionalized and superimposed with only a nugget of reality – as fiction is. But, all of you will no doubt have met up with one or more of these types who have behaved in a similar way —both men and women.
Take the person who is a guest in your home for a period of time. She uses your body lotions (tons of it), make-up (only the very good and expensive kind), and borrows clothing which you have to wash after her stay along with her towels and bed linens. She eats your food and sits around while you do the dishes. Hair droppings, used cotton balls are everywhere are strewn about. When later it is brought to her attention that she needs to be more aware of the universal manners of being a guest, she berates her host for not being hospitable enough.
How about a visitor who reverses the placement of furniture in a guest room without asking permission (some very large pieces), leaving large dents in the carpeting? Then to add to the insult they sneak a dog into the room even though forewarned that the building forbids animals. Then, perhaps, thinking she hadn’t done enough damage she leaves a huge pile of dirty laundry in the hamper after the visit. Don’t forget, she likes bed sheets changed every three days.
Okay, try another fictionalized situation. Let’s take a man who I had possibly dated briefly who turns out to be rather unpleasant, arrogant, manipulative and rather hostile to woman. During the very short “courting period” he asks me to stop seeing a man who was a friend and at one time more than that. It was to be only the two of us. So, more out of curiosity, I hint that I’d go along with that edict. I want to see where he was really going because we hadn’t gone out enough to commit to one another.
He asks me repeatedly if I’ve really made a clean break with my friend and maybe I would have done that if I thought there was anything to our relationship, but I am very suspicious. After suggesting that I have made the break he promptly dumps me – coldly and on a voice-mail. Luckily, he’s very obvious, and I could never have become emotionally involved with him. There’s more to this story.
Six months later, a call comes in from him, asking for the telephone number of my girlfriend without so much as asking how I am, what’s new, am I well, sick, dying — nothing. I represent an object to him to further his advantage. Funny thing was I offered him up to my friend when I got dumped, of course, explaining his proclivities and let her make the decision. She said no emphatically. I tell him she had decided not to date him from the get-go. Obviously, he doesn’t believe me.
He asks for her last name anyway. Is his ego so artificially inflated he assumes I’m going to give confidential information when asked not to? Or that I’m lying to get even? Well, truth is, had she not turned him down as a potential suitor, I would have had to think long and hard about whether to introduce this self-absorbed, seemingly narcissistic man to anyone. In this instance my friend didn’t want to go near him with a ten foot pole. She had good instincts.
More examples: In a single home surrounded by lots of ground one can be stand-offish, unconcerned and distanced from neighbors. But living in a building can be tricky. It brings to mind the person who gives you a churlish look when you smile in passing. Does that make them feel more important? Do they feel they’ve gotten one over on you? I suspect it’s a problem of the person lacking a sense of self-worth and grooving on being mean – as in all the fictional examples given.
How about the person who you ask politely to lower their voice when you’re watching a movie, playing tennis, working on your computer or some such activity that needs concentration and they deliberately go several octaves higher.
These fictional events point up the utter lack of civility some people have. There have been brief moments where I’ve wanted to be in that person’s shoes just to know what it felt like to be totally selfish and self-absorbed. But it is only for a sliver of a second because it does creep me out. To me, that kind of personality is intolerable. Many times kindness, decency and concern for humanity come around full cycle. Remember, so do the evil acts.
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January 28, 2010
By The Sexy G.
At one time, women tended to marry up. Now it seems the opposite has occurred.
In a Pew Research Center Publication; a study was done by Richard Fry and D’vera Cohn, Pew Research Center, January 19, 2010. It is entitled, New Economics of Marriage: The Rise of Wives. The Executive Summary stated that “The institution of marriage has undergone significant changes in recent decades as women have outpaced men in education and earnings growth. These unequal gains have been accompanied by gender role reversals in both the spousal characteristics and the economic benefits of marriage.
“A larger share of men in 2007, compared with their 1970 counterparts, are married to women whose education and income exceed their own, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of demographic and economic trend data. A larger share of women are married to men with less education and income.”
This is startling news especially to an older generation. What happened to the earnings of men? How did women get into the lead when they still earn less income as compared to men in similar jobs? The Pew Report also states “…Women’s earnings grew 44% from 1970 to 2007, compared with 6% growth for men. That sharper growth has enabled women to narrow, but not close, the earnings gap with men. Median earning of full-year female workers in 2007 were 71% of earnings of comparable men, compared with 52% in 1970.”
The Pew Report continues, “Part of the reason for the superior gains of married adults is compositional in nature. Marriage rates have declined for all adults since 1970 and gone down most sharply for the least educated men and women. As a result, those with more education are far more likely than those with less education to be married, a gap that has widened since 1970. Because higher education tends to lead to higher earnings, these compositional changes have bolstered the economic gains from being married for both men and women.”
In an online article entitled Dime Crunch, Gwen Parkes discussed the Pew Research Center report by Richard Fry and D’Vera Cohn. What struck me is the last two paragraphs which she titled; Results. She refers to the writings of Andrew Cherlin, a sociologist at Johns Hopkins University. He wrote, “The Marriage-Go-Round: The State of Marriage and Family in America Today, “It’s not that women are calling the shots. It’s that husbands and wives are sharing the decision-making power.”
According to Parkes, “Cherlin hit the nail on the head. Yes, there is a noticeable change that has occurred in marriages and gender roles within the last 30 years, and yes both men and women are benefiting from these changes, because it has become more of a shared partnership between the couple. After all, isn’t that the exact definition of a partnership and the purpose of a marriage? Obviously couples in the U.S. are getting better at working together toward common goals so that both partners can reap the benefits. Now if we could just get the divorce rate down then we would be the picture of marriage perfection.”
It seems to me that Parkes hit a hot button. So, now that there is a tendency towards more equality in relationships, why is the divorce rate so high? I think one very important factor is that women, despite earning more or working in more prestigious jobs, are still basically responsible for domestic issues whether it may be all of the home scene or in large part. When a woman is working as hard or harder than her spouse and still has to tend to most of the chores at home and the children’s activities, a good deal of resentment develops.
Rebecca S. Powers, is an assistant professor at East Carolina University. An online link called SpringerLink, quoted Powers’ article, Doing the daily grind: The effects of domestic labor on professional, managerial, and technical workers’ earnings, published in a journal called, Gender Issues, publisher is Springer New York, and dated June 25, 2004.
The abstract states: “Using two waves of data from the National Survey of Families and Households, I examined how domestic labor tasks including daily grind tasks, female-type and male-type tasks affected the earnings of workers in professional, managerial, and technical occupations in the short and long term. The results show that performing daily grind tasks reduces the earnings of college-educated workers in high prestige occupations immediately and over time. Further, domestic labor explained an additional 19 percent of the gap between the earnings of women and men in professional, managerial, and technical occupations. These results suggest that despite having jobs that offer higher pay and more autonomy, the time spent doing the daily grind, negatively affects earnings, especially for women in professional, managerial, and technical occupations.”
I find it ironic that women are in a better position economically now yet can’t close the gap in earnings for similar positions compared with men. Nor, for the most part, can they equalize the domestic responsibilities. Yes, men participate more these days but often it is to placate the spouse or it is minimal. Come on guys, just go the distance. Let’s get that divorce rate down. Remember, men who are truly equal partners are having more and better sex with their wives.
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January 14, 2010
By The Sexy G.
I have two grandsons and both are wonderful, brilliant children (of course). The other day the six-year-old sent an e-mail, thanking me profusely for giving him an Ipod for the holidays, and he used it to send me the message. He expressed how much he had wanted one and how wonderful that I answered his wish. He asked how I was and sent his love.
Then I received an e-mail from my eight-year-old grandson. He asked how I was feeling, and how I was getting along in the cold weather. He then told me he was having a great Sunday and asked me about my activities for the day. I told him it was too cold to go out so I stayed in and did my writing. He asked me what I was writing about. I responded and mentioned the concept of a short story that I was working on and about an interview I had done. He said that was cool!
Stay with me here. This is not merely about bragging rights. I have a point to make. These children were curious and sincerely interested. I won’t even say I received this kind treatment because I’m their grandmother. I’ve seen them show the same interest to their parents and friends.
Mind you, they are boys through and through. They play soccer, baseball, basketball, tennis, ski, swim, wrestle and fight with each other from time to time. They love music as well and play piano and guitar. At the same time they are being encouraged to allow a sensitive side to develop. Sports and a moderate amount of competition are quite compatible with nurturing skills.
The point I’m making is that the brief interlude, approximately fifteen minutes of back-and-forth messaging, demonstrated more interest, empathy and concern than ninety-five percent of the men I have dated over the last eight years, present beau excluded. They showed more curiosity and expressed more feelings in fifteen minutes than some of my dates did in five months or so of being involved in a relationship.
I don’t mean this for every male, but I have seen it in enough men to detect a pattern. So, here’s the generalization; the most glaring flaw in men, in my opinion, is an emotional disconnect that runs through so many. I try to dredge up reasons by looking at society’s attitudes and the blatant male entitlement that is rife from infancy to adulthood to old age.
What I see is that heavy duty competition is placed on males at an early age. Then on to Little League which appears to do the most damage. I don’t believe it is the sport itself but the intense desire of parents to see their children win – winning at all costs. The concept of team cooperation is excellent. But playing up the winning angle removes a big chunk of childhood. That time of life should be about fun, games and a time to foment creativity. They should be taught to play for fun, have consideration for kids of lesser ability and even care about the opposition. Rather I see all too often that the attitude is “kill” the competition as in warriors entering the arena to face the lions.
Then we have society telling males they must succeed – another intense component of competition. They must best others. Very little is said about compassion for mankind because that can become a hindrance to success. It is implied that giving an inch to someone means they will take a yard. It is considered sissy for men to be compassionate and nurturing. Yet, these are qualities that necessarily must be instilled at an early age or it becomes a grating issue in adult relationships. I don’t believe it can be learned later in life and if it can it has to be extremely difficult.
I don’t get it. We no longer live like cave people, vying for a limited amount of food. Why do we raise our male children and stifle their ability to develop a deep emotional capacity? Why do we discourage their sensitivity? When I discuss this with men, many times they insist they are sensitive. Yes, I agree. They are sensitive to their own needs and hurts. If they feel disrespected, humiliated or insulted then sensitive they are. But the ability to empathize that sensitivity to others seems lacking.
My fervent hope is that my grandkids never lose the compassion and concern for fellow humans that they show now. Yes, they will see the lack of these qualities in some of their contemporaries along the way. I hope it’s not catching. Men have to be very strong to not repress their emotional life. It is not a trait in men usually applauded in our society.
A good guy friend always tells me that life is only about bucks, fucks and adventures. Say it isn’t so.
January 8, 2010
By The Sexy G.
I’m going off the usual path on this blog based on personal experience. A friend of mine recently had serious back surgery at a well-known hospital. My expectations for service were high. Instead I found myself in a position of combative advocacy against, what I saw as, a staff hiding behind vague rules that contained little humanity or compassion – much to my dismay.
The first two days after an operation my friend was zonked out on pain medication and the effects anesthesia after major surgery. He could only utter a few words within three seconds before he conked out again. After searching for his nurse, I asked how long he’d be in the hospital and would he be sent to a rehab center. He had good insurance and his stay in a rehab would be covered. The answers were not only fuzzy but, to me, downright nonsensical.
I was already disconcerted because there was no approval prior to surgery for the rehab. It depended on his condition. How many people after major surgery are ready to go home? If he was discharged on the third day post surgery, as was suggested, he had to be home alone with no way to get food, shower, dress or tend to himself. The bathroom was down a flight of steps. He was not allowed to drive for at least 6 weeks and was required to wear a neck brace at all times during this period of time.
When I approached the nurse she told me they would question the patient on the third day post-surgery as to whether he felt he could go home by himself or not. I pointed to the patient who was totally unconscious. I know my friend. In his semi-comatose state, he’d woozily probably say sure he could go home. They’d have to carry him on a stretcher in order to get him into an ambulance. Then what? Drop him in bed and leave?
When I mentioned the home situation, she tried to blow me off. She insisted he could walk and even do stairs. How did she know this? I have no idea for the man only awakened in order to say hello and then immediately lapsed into a deep sleep again. He managed to inform me that they helped walk him to the bathroom which was six feet from his bed and more than that he could not do.
After much insistence she told me to talk to the case manager who didn’t show up in person. She called on the phone instead. Now comes my second awakening.
After the came manager repeated the same gibberish about talking to the barely-awake patient, I told her I was simply making a case about his home condition. He could not survive in those with no one there. That had to be taken into consideration. His son was in Reading and worked all day. I lived almost an hour away and work. If he fell, which seemed like a certainty, he was a dead man. And in less than 24 hours they wanted to discharge him with the possibility of no rehab.
In a somewhat haughty manner she told me it was, after all, elective surgery which I took to mean that he had to suffer the consequences for choosing to have this operation with no one at home to help. Elective? He’d gotten to a point where he was barely able to walk, with numb toes – hardly elective. In a short time he probably wouldn’t have been able to walk at all. He had counted on rehab to get him to a point where he could manage at home however ineffectively. The next thing she wanted to know was if I lived near him, implying I guess that I should become the caretaker. Due to a large geographic distance it wasn’t possible.
Then she informed me I didn’t have power of attorney and she’d speak to his son who was so designated. My friend’s son was working non-stop and unable to communicate with the hospital during the day. I insisted this was a situation that needed clearing up now. Then she informed me after this grueling conversation that I’d have to talk to the physical therapist as it was their decision in the final analysis. Why was I put through this grinder, having to make an urgent appeal for the health of this patient? I thought it was their job.
From my perspective she was making me the case manager. I said I had no idea who in PT had seen my friend and suspected I’d get another run-around if I finally did contact someone. I asked that since I wasn’t in the hospital 24/7 could she please inform them of his home situation. She reluctantly agreed.
I thought her questions of me were impertinent. Instead of saying she’d take the matter into consideration and handle it she insisted they’d have to question the patient prior to discharge – tomorrow, the third day following surgery, a man hardly awake. I could only imagine him falling down unable to get up for hours until someone came to visit – if they did that day.
I left the hospital without any firm commitment. The next day, the case manager informed my friend’s son he’d be in the hospital for another three days and then admitted to rehab for four days. No more questions. No more arguments. What happened? Were they afraid of a lawsuit in case my friend fell? Was it my persistence?
Maybe, just maybe there is a case for advocacy. I see the moral of this story as — don’t let yourself be pushed around. What about the patients who have no one to advocate for them? I hate to think about it.
I have to wonder what underlies this line of thinking. I know the insurance companies are demanding people be discharged from hospitals as quickly as possible, many times before it is safe. But I don’t get why they were so reluctant to send him to rehab. It doesn’t seem to me to be any skin off their teeth. If anyone out there knows, I’d be happy to listen.
December 29, 2009
By The Sexy G.
Several weeks ago I attended a lecture at a local Center City book store. The woman, Mara Altman, wrote a memoir about her quest for an orgasm, Thanks for Coming: One Young Woman’s Quest for an Orgasm, Harper Collins, April 3, 2009 She had her first sexual experience at 17 and then went on a crusade about learning the mechanics of the female orgasm even meeting up with sex gurus.
Altman once worked as a staff writer for the Village Voice. She is an intelligent, gracious speaker and well-informed. The premise was that she spent a decade trying to achieve an orgasm with a variety of men. She tried therapy, sex conventions and various lovers with no success. The talk was most honest, daring, interesting, fun and informative.
The audience was young – 20’s to late thirties with a fair share of men. And overall they seemed very attentive and right there with the speaker. The room was pretty well packed and when questions were asked, something strange happened. To be honest, I was taken aback by the reaction of several of the males.
Here’s what struck me. And it wasn’t the concept of the book. When I closed my eyes and listened to the men speak, I could have sworn the responses were virtually no different than the male contemporaries of my older generation.
When they expressed that they were confounded by what women wanted lots of women in the audience reacted and offered suggestions. It all seemed fine with lots of the usual curiosity. But when the speaker or someone in the audience responded, some of the questioners seemed to go off on a tangent. It my opinion some in the audience had come with their own agendas that had nothing to do with learning about better ways to communicate and having mutually more satisfying sexual experiences. Whenever women spoke about needing various aspects of romancing, there was audible snickering from a few. And I want to make it clear these young men were articulate and intelligent.
There was the implication that when women made known the ways they wished to be pleased for better sex it was interpreted as an insult and a put down on the man’s ability in lovemaking. In other words, when a woman asks for something the man isn’t giving on his own it immediately sets up a hostile environment.
Another young man kept repeating how upsetting women were because almost none of them wanted to have anal sex. Another spoke about the really exciting, hot and sexy women willing to do one-night stands but then weren’t interested in seeing him again. On the other hand, the ones he went out with over the course of several months were sexual duds in bed but wanted a long-term commitment. What was he to do?
For the most part the women seemed eager to make it a two-way street, but several of these young men seemed to have closed minds. There were one or two males who sounded sensitive, but they spoke in a convoluted and preachy manner – almost like a prepared speech. They seemed to be using the right words but, to me, their statements made very little sense as it pertained to the topic.
When questions and answers were nearing the end, one young man who had complained about women who brought attention to their own sexual needs asked the speaker if she were a feminist. The women in the audience protested that the question was irrelevant, and the speaker refused to answer because of the obvious – feminism had nothing to do with a woman searching for an orgasm. I assume that meant a feminist will make unreasonable demands sexually. Does that make her a ball-buster? To be honest, I’m not sure exactly what he meant.
What really rocked me was I heard the retorts I’d expect from an older generation of men, but not from enlightened young ones. So, for the most part, I didn’t see any remarkable changes of understanding and seeking paths to better relationships. The evening set up a rather angry male/female environment that is damaging and perpetuates a lack of communication. I didn’t see men from Mars and women from Venus. I saw a few men unwilling to give up an inch of control, men unable to hear what a woman needs, acceptance that physically, emotionally and psychologically women work a bit differently from men.
As the audience mingled when the talk was over a young woman leaned over and whispered to me this must be the “The Madonna Complex” shockingly still exists. And it is a potent factor in this generation that says there are two categories of women – the Madonna pure mother image or the slut.
Since becoming widowed, I’ve found in my generation of men that there are two major reactions by men when I have made suggestions that might enhance sexual pleasure. One is a smile and a nod of agreement and then a total disregard that anything was said. The other is outright annoyance. The suggestions were rather basic and not experimental. But, for the most part, I could have been talking to a wall and gotten the same response.
And that’s what I was hearing from some of these much younger men. Supposedly, this younger generation of male attitudes toward women had changed for the better. In this venue I saw very little change. Worse, much of the same hostility and resistance to meeting women’s needs still exists loud and clear. It’s true that I’m talking about a handful of verbal males who were willing to speak up on this evening. But, on the other hand, no guy got up to defend the position of the women.
Gentlemen, please open your ears, your understanding and empathy. We might need slightly different kinds of attention and touching than you do. We need romancing. Is that too much to ask when they payoff can be sensational? All we ask is that you listen.
The SexyG firstname.lastname@example.org
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