I can’t see how wearing a bunny tail or any other act meant to charm makes a woman out to be infantile or helpless. It is pretty obvious to any one with even a brain stem that any woman trying to look and act cute is doing it to turn men on. Doing it for that purpose doesn’t make a woman stupid or childish or helpless, and it is transparent to anyone that a woman can be smart and capable and cutesy at the same time, if she wants to be. So being offended at women trying to push our buttons this way seems really weird to me, and is a bit offensive to me, as it doesn’t respect the way men’s sexuality works.

Don’t forget, the bunny tail is one aspect of the Playboy-type sexuality that I am talking about. You yourself talked in your first comment about men being attracted to childish and infantile features or behavior in women and women accentuating those attributes in order to turn men on.

Yes, I mentioned the physical features that turn men on to bring the discussion back down into an earthy physical reality and away from viewing all social interaction as socially constructed. I mentioned it to try to bring a little honest empathy for the male condition. To pry away sexual submission from the concept of sexual oppression.

You won’t catch me ever assuming that all strippers, Playboy models, and porn stars are idiots or weaklings. But the widespread sexual culture, at least in the U.S. , is all about portraying women as such.

I’m not seeing it. If you watch a beauty pageant, you’ll see a man is looking for the whole package, and personality and intelligence are a part of what is ranked. It happens that the U.S. has a bible belt, people who are afraid of sexuality, and try to stifle the free expression of it. They will slander those who make them sexually uncomfortable. I don’t see it as accurate to say that either men or women think that sexuality – any form of it – actually makes a woman dumber, or that only frivolous women can be blatantly sexual. Didn’t Italy have a porn star do well in politics? Don’t business women in France wear low cut dresses in the office? It isn’t a male domination thing to want to keep sex in the bedroom of married couples and ostracize everyone who does not – that is a bible belt thing. The same culture that wants to keep women in the kitchen wants to keep them married and sexual only to the husband. Freer sex naturally comes with seeing women as empowered. Men do not equate sexuality with being ditsy – we just don’t. Bible belt morons who closet all their fantasies are ditsy.

(I disagree with your emphasis, however. I don’t think that women who pursue traditionally masculine behaviors or opportunities have much trouble attracting men.

Yes, we are saying the same thing, but with different emphasis. I don’t see men as turned off by a woman having any type of career. That is a separate issue from if a woman is willing to also push our tried and true sexual buttons. A person can do both.

It’s the other way around. Women who publicly evince a submissive or infantile type of sexuality have trouble being taken seriously as leaders and doers in realms that are not sexual.)

If this is so, then I hope women will learn to stop playing by our rules, and prove that a woman can be both publicly erotic and in all other ways empowered.

I am not really offended at the women. (Why would I single out the women, anyway? Playboy and Girls Gone Wild are run by men.) It’s not so much about being offended as critiquing conflicting expectations placed on women, as well as the effects that a universal, cookie-cutter portrayal of infantile female sexuality may have on the view of women in our society.

I don’t agree that there are conflicting expectations. I think the sexually repressive expectations go hand in hand with all other forms of repression. Free up one and you will free up the other. And hasn’t it worked exactly that way?

What turns men on is not caused by social constructs that can be changed through social discourse. We have some very basic buttons that can be pushed. Women are free to either push them or not. It isn’t a matter of us in any way oppressing you by being born with these buttons that you are free to push if you like.

I don’t buy your contention that the sexuality you describe in your first comment is universal.

Show me the men’s magazines with pictures of middle aged rotund women with plain features. Sure, men are individuals – some of us have some pretty kinky turn-ons. But it doesn’t take a lot of investigative effort to see what physical features turn most of us on.

If women are acting cutesy, and if that turns some men on, then some men are turned on by that and some women are choosing to turn on the men who are turned on by that. I don’t think we need much discussion about how else men could be turned on and how else women could turn men on. The world is the way it is, and people are getting turned on, and choosing to turn each other on. That’s just great! More power to us!

I also think the interplay between the biological and the cultural in the area of sex is mostly unknown at this point.

The interplay may be unknown, but it must be admitted that men are born with some hard wired sexual response. Otherwise we could all learn to be gay – which we can not.

But if you are correct and if men’s sexuality universally hinges on the degradation and/or submission of women, then we have a real problem: how can a woman “respect the way men’s sexuality works” and respect herself at the same time?

I don’t see the problem. You see some sex acts as degrading, but I don’t. I’ve put my tongue in places that would make a nine year old say “oooh, gross”. I don’t feel degraded by any effort that was successful to make a woman feel pleasure. I have never made myself small in order to make a woman feel big – I have submitted to her whims, with not only free will, but with an empathy that makes me very turned on, as if I can feel her pleasure as I please her.

I can’t imagine any erotic act that degrades. Although I don’t see any sexual act as inherently degrading, that it can be intimate to play with the edge of what would normally be considered degrading. These acts can highlight the fact that nothing is degrading, that all can be loved and accepted. For instance my lover likes to watch if I use the toilet. Normally I’d be too shy to let anyone do that, but between us there is nothing ugly. We can accept all of each other – even use all of it erotically.

I’m trying to follow your argument here. You say that American porn shames women, and that this shaming of women is part of the turn on process for some men. You object to men getting of on shaming others.

Did I get that right?

If so, here is how my view differs. If you are correct that some women are deliberately shaming themselves in order to turn some men on, then that’s just great – and more power to those women to do that.

I also think that not all women will share your view of what is shameful to them. What might be considered shameful to you, will not be considered shameful to all women, and I’m sure you will see that you can’t speak as the voice of all women.

Whether it is shameful to some, all, or none, if women choose to do it, then more power to them.

And whether shaming women turns on all, some, or no men, more power to them for engaging in consensual acts of sexual fun. No harm, no foul.

And I can’t see where you get all this moral authority to say that women are snookered into doing something shameful they will want to hide for the rest of their lives. Not everyone feels shame about their bodies. Some people get off, enjoy, choose, are proud of, smile at the memory of, their public eroticism. Men don’t shame women through our attitudes – if you are a woman and feel shame, that’s your business to feel shame. Can’t you understand that? There is no act that is inherently shameful – if YOU choose to see it as shameful, that is YOUR choice, and therefore your choice to act in ways that you consider shameful or not. No one forces women to act in ways that they consider shameful.

Also, your basic attitude that women are in a position of weakness, being snookered into doing something that they really don’t want to do, at their expense, for the pleasure of another, is extremely degrading to women. As if women are really that stupid, and men are so much more clever as to be able to manipulate them into positions of extreme weakness.

I mentioned that I don’t think that you care to respect men’s sexuality. It also occurs to me that you may be less than well educated as to the pre-sets of a woman to become turned on by a man. There are groups of men who study and document and hone the practices of the arts of seduction. You might be surprised to learn that the female gender has on the whole some very unflattering ways to be seduced. You talk and talk of what Utopia should be like, if only things were better, the way they should be. But I choose to see this world, love this world. At least try by acknowledging the realities of this world. Men have a generality of ways that we are turned on that are different than the ways of women, and women also have a generality of ways that are different than men. Men and women try to turn each other on, in the ways that actually work – NOT in the ways that SHOULD work, if only men were better people, or if only women were better people.

— I do, however, find it “shameful” when a woman’s whole life is predicated on submission and also when this submission is extrapolated to all other women (i.e. the notion that one constantly hears quoted that posing in a bunny tail or being “Miss America” is what “every little girl dreams of” or the “the biggest honor in a woman’s life.”)

A woman’s whole life depends on how many years have gone into it. Younger men and women are more dependent on and thrilled by the praise of others. Men sometimes define their manhood in terms of praise for bravery. Women sometimes define their womanhood in terms of being seen as sexually attractive. It is one stage in individuation that we feel not only accepted, but sexually praised, by the group we are trying to interest. It’s just a normal human stage – not a pathological society dependent sickness. I haven’t noticed anyone extrapolating onto all women that the highest possible honor is to be seen as sexually attractive. Yes, most woman do want to be, and many will take extra pains, pains that they would not chose to take solely for their selfish ends, to appear attractive to the opposite sex.

It is not a sickness that men can be turned on in ways that take effort. Short skirts and makeup and sexy dancing are not any type of male oppression or female bowing down to male power. It is what works, the pragmatics of the situation – pull this lever if you want to receive this reward.

No one blows that up into a “whole woman’s life”. That is not happening. It is one important aspect of life, and people put varying emphasis on it. I put a huge emphasis on sex, and that’s my choice and value system. Others put less. I am careful to know how to pull a woman’s levers, in ways that are mutually satisfying, and I am careful to teach my intimates the ways of intimacy. My lovers congratulate me for waking up their dormant sexual selves. We all have our job to do. To do it well, you have to start with what is, not with what would be really cool if only.

I used to really resent women, because I was a sensitive feminist, and women prefer Alpha Males with Power. I got over it, and learned to stop worrying and to love the bomb. I really love women, of all ages. I’ve been in love with women of all shapes and ages, many one or nearly two decades older. What am I loving – a reflection of what I want? Honestly, women suck at least as much as men. They just suck differently. Bitching and moaning about them is good, but how to love them, commune with them, get the tension and passion to a sustainable energetic resonating pitch of bliss? You got to give up and just love them – see where you can shove your foot in the door, learn to dance, see how you can groove, and get on with it.

Unlike you, I think that private sexual behavior is far more diverse than what is reflected in Playboy and Girls Gone Wild.

Porn is mostly commercialized crap. Like most things overly commercial, the focus is narrow and to the lowest common denominator. But there is still a message in it. If the lowest common denominator tends to buy that kind of storyline, then that’s what they buy. Action films, pulp romance. All genres are polluted with crap, and of course the diversity of the human experience won’t be shown on a daytime soap. I’m suggesting that the market to look at the portrayal of women as physical objects of desire who will pander to our sexual fantasies is not a sick selfish twist on human relations that warps minds into playing roles that don’t fulfill our real deep desires, but that it is instead one way the human condition displays itself. Men have certain styles of longing, that are often unfulfilled, and we paint them with porn, and women help to express a portion of our lust. Yes, porn doesn’t express our full longing – it’s mostly myopic crap. Still, it’s part of the human condition, a condition my experience has grown to see as beautiful, in it’s totality. Seeing the totality of it takes a resolve of embrace. A resolve of embrace. Men and women are partly ugly – excommunicating our ugliness in the name of the higher glory is counter productive to true faith.

My point is that predominant cultural views do not subsume the individual – at least not the adult individual. Joe Francis can be a prick if he wants, that’s his business. That says nothing towards the intentions of the women who flashed their wonderful titties. His intentions can not shame their intentions. He can not pull the wool over their eyes, snooker them, get one over one them, ruin their lives with the shame of their wonderful titties. Maybe the girls have a right to have their own pride towards their titties, and could care less how much of a prick Joe Francis is.

Also, don’t forget that Francis, by all accounts, gets off on coercion of very young girls who aren’t especially eager to take of their shirts or have sex with him in the tour bus.

And here you are angry at men’s sexuality again. The fact that the thrill of the chase is part of what turns us on. A woman who says yes right away isn’t as exciting as a woman who says and means no, but who we think we can seduce into saying yes anyway. I’ve never seen Girls Gone Wild, but I am familiar with the various dynamics of lust towards a stranger who is possible to seduce. I suspect that you are most familiar with becoming friends first, then opening up in mutual trust and generosity towards a romantic coupling. But there are many other ways that people approach eroticism – many other ways that turn both men and women on. Look to women’s romance novels and count how many references there are to bodices being ripped. “Coercion”, as you call it, is not oppression. To say it is oppression is an insult to the brainpower of the women who are “coerced”. Seduction has many flavors.

For instance, I’m in a monogamous loving relationship now, with a young woman who was nearly virgin when I met her. On our first date my style of seduction pushed her comfort level. And on our second, and third, and so on. She has gone from being a frightened girl incapable of enjoying penetrative sex to being an incredibly empathetic and passionate and curious and open and wild lover. Many women have to wait until their thirties to really get into sex. How did her flower petals open? How did her sexuality ripen so quickly? As with any subject to study, the trick is to push yourself just past your ability level. To have your comfort level pushed just beyond your usual limits. Only just a bit – nothing overwhelming.

They say that with hypnosis you can’t get the subject to do anything that they don’t really want to do. Seduction is like that – you can’t force someone to flash titties for a camera – you can only create a context where inhibitions are lessened. And how is that a bad thing? Your Utopia would have all women empowered with padlocked shirts that could not be opened unless under the most romantic of conditions, and my Utopia would have see through shirts.

So Joe gets girls to flash a bit of skin. Wow. I don’t know what U.S. you are living in, but I never met one person in the U.S. who would be in the least bit impressed one way or the other that a little tittie skin was bared. Wow. Gosh. Golly gee, tittie skin – oh, my oh my. Oh, what would her mother think.

Hefner is a different matter. It’s undoubtedly the case that numbers of young women want to take off their clothes for Playboy. Taking one’s clothes off for Playboy has, after all, been a ticket to fame and fortune for many of the models. So no, I don’t think it’s a foolish choice for a woman to make, and I never have (degrading perhaps but not foolish). I think Hefner is a massive prude as evidenced by his presenting a rather antiseptic, cookie cutter, unthreatening female sexuality in which the women never appear fully adult (again with the pigtails and the yearbook entries and the gushing).

Here you go again with your cookie cutter imposition of what an adult is supposed to look and act like.

One phrase for you – role playing.

One more: Why not?

Also, it’s nice that you seem concerned about turning women on but these publications have nothing to do with that.

The reason I talk about the fact that I have learned what turns women on and make the effort, is because you are talking as if it does not make a difference what turns men on, as if women should not have any self-esteem reward for making an effort to do what a MAN wants. You seem to portray women as a Monolith to be adored – love her or leave her – but don’t expect her to put out any effort to be anything other than her monolithic self. And if she is to make sexual effort, it should be entirely on her terms. I mention that I try to please, and that sex is about trying to please, and therefore your one sided view of sexuality – that a woman is just a woman and if she gets down on her knees or puts on makeup or does any other subservient act than she is degrading herself and bowing down to oppression – I think that’s all , what’s the word, anti-libido. No fun. Oppressive to TRUE sexuality. Trying to mold sexuality into something nicey nice and clean and virtuous.

You don’t, however, seem concerned at all between the way in which men’s alleged desire for submissive and childish qualities and women is in opposition to the qualities women need to succeed in other spheres of life– probably because it isn’t your problem.

Careers and eroticism are distinct. You can have your career and school girl uniform outfit too. They don’t compete against each other. You can be a sexy scientist. You can be a lawyer and wear a low cut shirt.

Up to you.

Sexual submission is not submitting all your power and ambition. Submission is not bad! It is something we do, sometimes, and it feels good and is fun. We all do it, men and women, and it is good. No problem.

Don’t conflate everything. Every time you see submission you see male domination.

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