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Girly Man, With Son

I don’t know if anybody saw this article in The New York Times a week or so ago. It says that men’s testosterone levels drop after they have children. This study prompts the Old Gray Lady to ask, “Dads, are you no longer manly?” That’s right, it’s official, according to science. Being a dad has also made me a woman.

I have friend, a new father like I am, who answered the proposition that we’re not macho anymore with one word:  “Good!” What’s not to like that we don’t pick fights or try to pick up other people’s chicks anymore? What’s bad about the fact that my maternal instinct has kicked in around my newborn son Xander, who doesn’t, I think, need a football coach at this point?

Sorry to sound like a shrill feminist, but on one level, the questions the paper asked are insulting and set up a completely false dichotomy. If men really are more nurturing, less aggressive, less randy and less territorial after they make sprog, then there is obviously some biological imperative at work, right? Some good reason? Yet we’re supposed to get our panties in a wad, says the paper of record, because this biological phenomenon doesn’t accommodate the totally cultural concept of masculinity. In other words, the paper asks, shouldn’t we be protecting the image of ourselves as macho ass-kickers at all costs, even if nature doesn’t even think it’s necessary? What the hell is that all about, New York Times? Whom exactly, I ask, are we doing this for? Our relatives in the military? Clint Eastwood? Arnold Schwarzen-lecher? Our dads? The other guys in the locker room in junior high?

Nature, we’ve got to admit, really mocks us when it comes to reproduction. Our mandates, science suggest, are not static, but change. We are attracted often to people who are not good for us in any way. We often want someone badly who we later don’t want at all. Researchers have found that women like macho guys at one time of the month and girly men at other times–when they are not ovulating (the story I read said Sean Connery is more attractive during ovulation and Leonardo DiCaprio at the other end of the cycle. Put that on a movie poster! How about we call it “Moon Men”?) And while evolutionary biology has explained a lot of things, it still doesn’t explain why some of us are born attracted to the same sex and can’t be changed under any circumstances.

What in the hell kind of lessons are these to take from our vindictive Hebrew deity evolution? I remember an Esquire article written years ago called “The Big Dog Gets the Girl–The Return of the Alpha Male.” I loved the writer (a manly man himself who actually offered me a job once) but hated the ideas. He forced the reader to confront the thought that certain attributes generally considered “male,” including the randiness, the out-of-control lust, the aggressiveness, etc., were necessary and useful in a world of animals, which of course we are. You don’t have to go much further than your corner bar to see that females, regardless of education and despite all their bitching, respond to aggressive behavior and turn up their noses at the weaker protein (and these patterns don’t necessarily disappear if you’re gay). I have to admit that these are points hard to argue with. But then you get in trouble with your generalizations when you encounter people who don’t adhere to the rules. There are lots of guys who are effeminate (not homosexual, which is a different thing, FYI) and women who want to join the Army and go kill.

I think we lose our way when we think these mix ups are a bad thing. We err when we draw broad conclusions about what a girl or boy is. In fact, in a perfect world we could share, switch off, take turns at being boys and girls when the mood strikes us. The diversity among us–and within us–is just part of the imperfection of the sex drive, whose hallmark more than anything else is its drive to diversity (Thank you, Mr. Kinsey.)

This doesn’t have to be distressing news to you douches out there with your proud douche heritage. Nor to women who revel in the rich rewards of their feminine wiles and all the free margaritas that come with them. Because being only an alpha male all the time, guys, or being only girly girls all the time, girls, are limitations that can rob you of the richness of experience, whether you have a dick or not. This is what the sexual revolution was partly about: playing the rigid roles 24/7 was making us all assholes. Haven’t you watched Mad Men?

So, if you have read The New York Timesand feel confused, I personally give you a dispensation. Go be a boy. Or a girl. Or not.

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–*Finishing the roof

–*Waxing the car

–*Getting a bikini wax

–*This really great pop song written for our favorite Ukrainian restaurant in Greenwich Village, Veselka.

–*How we just can’t enjoy this sexual act when the United States is going to socialist hell.

–*How for a minute there during foreplay we thought we had almost grasped Kurt Godel’s incompleteness theorem of formal mathematics.

–*Wittgenstein’s concept of language games

–*Your mother-in-law’s concept of language games

–*Chang and Eng and how weird their sex must have been

–*Why does our cat get upset when we do oral?

–*The perfect ending to our 1,000 page novel.

–*Shit! I forgot to get a baby shower present!

–*Shit! I forgot to brush my teeth!

–*Shit! I forgot to scrub with Purell.

–*Angelina Jolie

–*Brad Pitt

–*Obama Girl

–*Obama

–*”I wonder if Sigmund and the Sea Monsters is on DVD?”

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(Originally posted Monday, February 16, 2009)

Los Angeles, Calif. (API) Now that she has finished using him for mating purposes, Oscar-winner Angelina Jolie has begun consuming film star Brad Pitt, the father of her children, it was reported Thursday. The couple’s last two children were born in July 2008, and following a hectic season of movie releases, Jolie began the oft-observed natural phenomenon of sexual cannibalism that brought a swift end to Pitt’s life and career.

Jolie, the internationally renowned film star, multiple-Golden Globe winner and goodwill ambassador to the U.N. Refugee Agency, started eating Pitt, star of 2008’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, sometime last week on the couple’s giant bed, and it is not certain whether she has quite finished gorging on him.

“It’s a sad day,” said Pitt’s friend George Clooney. “But that’s the miracle of life. It happens.”

Pitt and Jolie first encountered each other on the set of Mr. and Mrs. Smith in 2005, sparking an international scandal when tabloid rumors swirled that she had broken up Pitt’s marriage to Jennifer Aniston. Jolie soon became pregnant with Pitt’s child, Shiloh Nouvel-Jolie Pitt, and Pitt has since sired two other biological children by Jolie, the twins Knox and Vivienne, which they’ve added to a brood of three other adopted children, Maddox, Pax and Zahara.

“This is true Hollywood royalty, and a truly new kind of American family,” said former Vanity Fair Tina Brown. “It was sad that it had to end this way, but nature took its course, and we humbly regard its mysteries.”

Susan Sarandon, Pitt’s co-star in Thelma & Louise, remembered him as a dynamic movie star whose presence and sexual charisma were so appealing, she joked, that he could arouse the mating instincts of almost anybody–no matter what their gender, sexual persuasion, breed, order, class or phylum.

“He was one of the bright lights of our industry,” said Julia Roberts. “I can’t tell you what a loss this is. But of course, he knew what he was doing.”

Sexual cannibalism is often found in cases of sexual dimorphism, when the female is much larger than the male. Biologists have noted that there are many reproductive advantages to the behavior, such as the female’s ability to root out inferior DNA by eating males before reproduction, and of course the male’s nutritional value, which can lead to a more rugged brood.

Jolie has been married to two other mates, Billy Bob Thornton and Jonny Lee Miller, but many observers said that these men were inferior specimens who were unable to supply Jolie with the superior genetic material she required. Neither man was consumed by Jolie.

“I guess I dodged a bullet there,” said Thornton. “Really, I wish Angie all the best.”

Pitt, an Oklahoma native, rose to meteoric international fame with the films A River Runs Through It, Legends of the Fall, Interview With the Vampire, Seven and 12 Monkeys.

Jolie, who at first tried to downplay their affair on the set of Mr. & Mrs. Smith, eventually admitted that she had immediately seen Pitt’s biological advantages, his statuesque features, his strong square jaw, high forehead, facial symmetry, erect posture and good waist-to-shoulder ratio.

“And of course People magazine said he was the sexiest man alive, which confirmed these genetic traits,” said Jolie. “It was fairly clear we would mate.”

Jolie, star of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, is one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood, and she’s now up for another Academy Award for best actress for her role in The Changeling. She will likely accept the award for Pitt if he wins the Oscar for Benjamin Button, though she was still unavailable for comment while she finished eating the father of her children. In advance of the Oscar presentation, it is likely she is incubating many eggs now, say scientists, though it is unclear how many of them will survive the first molt.

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(Originally posted Monday, February 02, 2009)

Adelaide, Vermont (API) — Everybody at Hutter Farms, a free-love hippie commune in upstate Vermont, wants to sleep with the new blonde 23-year-old arrival Bethany Woodruff, the commune’s leaders reported today. Though all comers are welcome to the community, which its elders describe as a village of peace, labor and brotherhood, the elder members are a bit nonplussed by the presence of the almost-six-foot-tall blonde, whose milk-white skin and highly erotic facial structure, they worry, could upset the order of the community.

“This is just a nightmare,” said Marion “Mother Hen” Dubrowski. “The other night at the tribal meeting we asked who’d like to work with Bethany on the grist mill and about 95% of the tribe raised their hands. I mean, how could we get anything done if all we ever did was separate chaff? Am I going crazy?”

Hutter Farms, a “back-to-the-land” commune built in 1975 to espouse the values of labor, eco-friendly energy and anarcho-primitivism, has also had a free-love belief system since inception. This has led its members to tear up old social conventions, and so members ask each other for sex in weekly group meetings in which everyone is involved. As part of the mating dance, everyone weighs in with their feelings, and if the sex is to be consummated, the whole group chimes in with a mating dance with horns and songs and goat’s urine.

“I’m all about free love, but I just threw down the clipboard when I saw Bethany coming,” said tribal elder Peter “Gray Wulf” Jones. “Every once in a while this happens. Some little hottie comes along and shreds the revolutionary social fabric. I’m really depressed.”

Woodruff, a B.A. graduate in botany from Syracuse University, is five feet 11 inches with fluent limbs, a good chest, and a smattering of freckles. She came to the colony with her husband Jim Woodruff so that they could “get away from the depredations of modern industrial culture,” they said.

“Honestly, though, it was really Jimmy’s idea,” said Bethany. “Now I’m in this pit every night and each time I get here some old hippie wants to have a go at me. I’m a little frightened.”

The nightly gatherings were arranged in 1976 as a way for members to be able to ask for sex in ways that were not socially awkward.

“The old system of marriage is just so backward,” said Milton “Antler Warrior” Schonstein. “Here, it’s just laid back. You’ve got the whole camp behind you helping you tell the girl you’re attracted to that you’d love to share sex with her. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s just so much better than regular society.”

“I’m not going anywhere near that guy,” said Bethany Woodruff when asked if she would like to sleep with Schonstein. “He’s got shit in his hair.”

Hutter Farms was formed as many urbanites fled the Vietnam War and decided to recreate American society in a new pastoral idiom that eschewed war, meat, unsustainable energy and, most important, sexual inhibition.

“If we were all having sex more, there would be no more war,” said 90-year-old “Pa Hutter” who founded the society after leaving a job at Dow Chemical in 1968 over a stock options argument. “Everyone rise tonight and say who it is you’d like to express your love to!”

“Bethany!” yelled everybody.

Among the other values embodied by the community are radical self-expression, respect for mother nature, respect of spirituality in all forms that are not patriarchal or demeaning, and the enlightenment that comes with cleansing the doorways of perception.

“Bethany is a great soul,” said Schonstein. “She’s come here because she’s curious and looking for answers and the deteriorating industrial ideal just held nothing for her anymore. She’s like Eve in the Garden of Eden. Naked. So naked. I really get her.”

“They want me to go to the tribal meeting tonight and talk me into having sex with somebody who’s got crab lice,” Bethany said. “Wait! Did you hear that? They’re talking about me. Somebody’s in the bushes!”

According to the tribal log, those who have expressed a desire to have sex with Woodruff are 21-year-old Denny “God Breeze” McClaine; 25-year-old Johnny “Banjo” Gansevoort; 53-year-old Michael “Dizzy Hawk” Hochstein; 28-year-old Richie “Eglantine” Prichard; 22-year-old Lyle “Rabbit Foot” Babbit; 52-year-old Sheila “Moonchild” Daniels; 62-year-old Marion “Mother Hen” Dubrowski; 72-year-old Mavis “Ghost Dog” Searling; 19-year-old Dennis “Hiawatha” Ostin; 90-year-old Lenny “Pa” Hutter; 13-year-old Starshine Mathers; 7-year-old Jake “Doolittle” Smalls; 14-year-old Charlotte “Moonbeam” Pasternak; and 42-year-old Dolores “Squeaky” Procnow.

A notable exception was Woodruff’s husband Jim.

“I’m just so over attachments and strings,” said Jim Woodruff. “I was really an unevolved person before, and I think it was holding Bethany back. It just wasn’t fair for me to be so possessive. Now she’s free and I think our love is stronger for that.”

“They’re out there!” Woodruff whispered in horror. “All of them are outside my tent waiting for me. I’m doomed. I’m a hunted animal. I think I’m losing my mind.”

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(Originally posted Monday, June 23, 2008 )

TERRE HAUTE, IND (AP)–April Wilkerson was visiting her grandmother one night last May when she heard disconcerting sounds coming from Grandma Trudy’s bedroom. At first, she was worried that it might be an intruder or some kind of wild animal. To her utter horror, she discovered that her beloved grandmother was performing the act of sexual intercourse with a man she knew from the soda counter at the five and dime.

“I couldn’t believe it,” says April, who is 18 years old. “I have been in therapy ever since. How could this be happening in America?”

Across the nation, American teens like April are becoming increasingly distressed to find that their grandparents are engaging in sexual intercourse, sometimes more than once a month.

“It’s disgusting and immoral,” says Randall David, 17, of Pacific Palisades, Calif. “These are our grandparents we’re talking about. They’re the ones who remember our birthday and give us cookies. To think of them engaging in sex when they can’t possibly reproduce anymore just sickens and depresses me.”

David and Wilkerson recently corresponded by MySpace and have formed an outreach group called “Let’s Stop Old People From Having Sex.” Here they have met many others like them who say that the spread of “geriatric canoodling” is on the rise and is a cause of growing concern.

“What if they, like, die while they’re doing it?” asks Wilkerson. “I mean, they’re old. Anything could happen. I just don’t understand why they would want to even do something like that. You’re supposed to grow out of sex and start knitting or something.”

Marva Wainwright, a sex therapist in Austin, Texas, says that it is often the case that older people continue to have intercourse if they value it, and a recent New England Journal of Medicine study reports that a quarter of those between 75 and 85 were having regular sex. About one third of those said they had given or received oral sex in the last year.

“Uggghhhh!” screamed Wilkerson. “I’m gonna vomit! I can’t believe my freakin’ ears. I mean, it’s OK for teens to have sex, because we’re good looking and all, and our bodies are like, wanting it all the time. But for Grandma Trudy to do something like that … ugh, I can’t even think about that.”

Maribeth Lundegaard, a 17-year-old from Belleville, Kansas, who was recently named student council president at her high school, agreed with her peers.

“Sex is a serious topic,” says Lundegaard. “It is not only a matter of personal freedom, but a matter of social responsibility and personal morality that every person must give serious thought to before engaging in. That is why, as a teen, I have taken serious precautions and talked about my choices responsibly with a doctor. However, old people having sex is just disgusting.”

Asked about her sexual behavior, Wilkerson’s grandmother Gertrude Stuyvesant said, “MYOB. Mind your own beeswax. … April’s birthday is September 27.”

“Listen,” said David, “I love my Grandpa Dwayne. And he used to tell me lots of stories of being serviced in Mexico in the 1940s. But those were different times. He’s got to stop having sex right now. He doesn’t know what it could do. It’s like they told us in school … it could mess up your future.”

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(Originally posted Tuesday, October 30, 2007)

This year, a “sexual theme park” opened in London’s Piccadilly Circus, which its sponsors hope will dispel notions of sexuality as somehow dirty or unhealthy.

Here are a list of rides currently operating at the park:

“The Matterhorny”

“The Panty Raids of the Caribbean”

“Water Sports Arena”

“Face Mountain”

“The Wild D-Cup Ride.”

“Sexual Boundaries Frontierland”

“Gash Mountain”

“Finding Cha-Cha Submarine Ride”

“The House of Shoe Mirrors”

“The Flying Coochie Ride”

“The Rockin’ Tug”

“The Zero G-String Ride”

The “Everybody’s Family” Treehouse

“The Magical Carousel of Polyamory”

“Will You Love Me Tomorrowland”

“Glass Bottom Boat”

“The Enchanted Peter”

“The Great 90 Degree Muff Dive”

And the multicultural excursion, “A Thai Hooker Gave Me A ‘Round-the-World’ After All.”

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