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October 28, 2008

Women, Men, Romance, Sex Linkage

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* Does anyone else recall the old Ladies Home Journal feature "Can This Marriage Be Saved?" As a kid I gobbled those stories up. Grownup melodramas, eh? I found this feature from the Daily Mail (four women talk about discovering that their hubbies were cheating on them) similarly irresistible. Commenters on the story share some amazingly strong opinions.

* Should the newest edgy French movies be called "porn" or just "explicit"?

* Otherwise open-minded Blazing Shark discovers that she has a few reservations about guys who like trannies. (NSFW)

* Is pornography adultery?

* Men's movement activists in Sweden have a complaint: State-run pharmacies that sell sex toys hold a “misguided and untrue view of sexuality whereby a woman with a dildo is seen as liberated, strong and independent, while a man with a blow-up plastic vagina is viewed as disgusting and perverted." I'd never thought about that angle before, but I think they have a point.

* Stefanie Marsh thinks that being single isn't just not-great, it really sucks.



posted by Michael at October 28, 2008


The Stefani Marsh article about how being single sucks is true...or maybe not.

A lot of it has to do with adjusting to ones fate. Or maybe adjusting is the wrong word. If you've been single, as I've been, your whole life, there comes a time when you are single and can't possibly be anything else (it's not a decision you make, more like a decision that's made for you) and almost all the misery of being single drops away.

In any case, by that time, if you're lucky, you've found a centerpole to your life, a thing that not only occupies you, it obsesses you, you can't stay away from it (in my case painting) and the whole inconclusive impossible messiness of human relationships takes a back seat in comparison.

Doesn't mean you're not lonely at times. But the envy of others seemingly better situations, another illusion of youth, has dropped away as well.

What I'm saying is that Stefani Marsh's unhappiness, IMO, is more about her relative youth than her singleness.

Sorry about being so personal. Only way I could think to be halfway honest about the topic.

Posted by: ricpic on October 28, 2008 8:31 PM

I think I just heard the sound of Shouting Thomas' head exploding.

Posted by: Tupac Chopra on October 28, 2008 8:41 PM

a few reservations is right! thanks for the link!

Posted by: blazingshark on October 28, 2008 9:27 PM

I may be the wrong woman to ask:

Is pornography adultery?

I can speak from experience with an ex-husband who obviously had a similar "addiction" to said media.

When it supplants real life, when it becomes as needful as the next cigarette or shot of bourbon, then yes, there is a problem.

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? (i.e., the mental illness that may have created the addiction, or the easy access to porn that perhaps contributed to a mental deterioration?)

At first, I questioned my own sexuality. Why was it necessary to keep this stuff on the bedroom VCR 24/7? There were other issues with this ex, other addictions, but his porn habit became vile, disgusting and sick.

Because my experience with pornography was so horrendous, I can tell you without hestitation, that yes,for some (hell, probably most)men,porn is just another way to spell a-d-u-l-t-e-r-y.

More than that, fed to an unhealthy psyche, porn can certainly maim the two humans involved in such a three-way with a cold medium.

If 2B readers think this rant must be from some right-winged religious nut job, think again. I am no prude, and certainly not a bible thumper.

It was an excrutiating decade-long ordeal for me. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

Posted by: Burned Once on October 28, 2008 10:43 PM

"My husband had an affair because...I'm a big sloppy cow!"

Posted by: Todd Fletcher on October 28, 2008 10:59 PM

Burned Once -- Sounds like a gruesome ordeal indeed. If you're willing to reveal more I'd certainly be interested in hearing more. One question (among many)? No disrespect meant, but why does everything you say about your ex's porn addiction mean that for him (and/or you) porn was like adultery? It sounds to me more like his porn problem was like an addiction, like crazy gambling, or alcoholism, or drug addiction. Not that it's that important, of course, come to think of it -- it sounds plenty awful no matter what it was. Anything you can share with us about how your ex's porn madness originated and developed? Porn certainly does sometimes seem like a cultural virus that's able to corrode some people's psychic foundations ...

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on October 28, 2008 11:28 PM

I certainly do not want to speak for Burned Once, but I suspect that porn felt adulterous to her because porn replaced her as an intimate partner. Perhaps she was completing with porn for attention. Porn generated feelings of inadequacy. It's not just "another addiction."

Posted by: jz-md on October 29, 2008 12:43 AM

I know a lot of single women. They're lonely.

Posted by: Slumlord on October 29, 2008 1:24 AM

Great links. One: I'm recently an ex-single, things are looking good and feeling great with my new belle (knock on wood!), and I can tell you that I have lost nothing at all worth keeping when I lost my singleton status. Marsh was hilariously right in her essay, though I think she still hasn't worked out whether singletons are "mad" because they're single, or vice versa. I do know that in the short time we've been seeing each other, my belle, a woman, not an overgrown girl like my previouslies, has begun to change me in ways that I think I have been aching to change without even knowing it, for many lonely years.

The new French porn sounds boring, depressing, and unsexy. It's sad that porn, if that's what it is, still has to justify itself by trashing man-porn, by calling itself "empowering" (has anyone noticed what a giveaway that word is? The powerful don't need to be empowered, which is after all, getting your power from someone else), and insisting it's all about by and for women, women, women, women, women, women....

Problem: "women" is the most boring thing in the entire universe. Women are fascinating, but "women" is not. Women fascinate men, but that involves asking And now we're back to porn, man-porn (among other things). The little bubble of self-centered PC empowerment babble these pseudo-porn auteurs sound like they're trapped within, makes me think they're just more of the puritanical left...fundamentally anti-sex, anti-man (and therefore of necessity anti-woman), didactic, hortatory, humourless, lifeless, and therefore ultimately boring, boring, boring...

Like "women". Boring just like "women".

Blazing Shark was the first of the 20 something sex life stories you've linked to that didn't make me want to gouge out my eyes in order to not have to read another word of the trivial drivel these Empty Young Things drip onto the page when they talk about their nothing selves. But note her appallingly clinical description of her device-mediated sex with tranny lover boy. No mention, notice, of whether she even enjoyed herself.

As for the adultery stories...I have a confession. When I was a kid I used to sneak reads of romance comic books, and later, Harlequin Romances. I loved them! I really dig soap operatic romance intrigue broken-heart rival stuff. It was a secret pleasure then. But I love it still...and at last I can admit it.

I like porn. I really do. But I LOVE ROMANCE.

Man, what kind of commie pinko prevert am I?

Posted by: Colonel Pat Guano on October 29, 2008 4:42 AM

Why are all these transgressive, oh-so-edgy controversial, in-your-face, feisty-and-independent-so-deal-with-it, female sex bloggers, anonymous?
What gives with that?

Posted by: Barry Wood on October 29, 2008 8:16 AM

I think being single is a lot easier for women.

Which is why most men end up married at some age.

Posted by: thehova on October 29, 2008 8:58 AM

Barry- I'd rather not use masked photos and a pseudonym but for the time being I am okay with anonymity because I have a real job, an unique name (google is my enemy), and I'm just not ready yet.

Colonel- I appreciate the insightful observation. I felt pretty apathetic about my experience with the tranny-lover. I think you will find different (but still muted) levels of enjoyment in some of my other posts.

Posted by: blazingshark on October 29, 2008 1:51 PM

I think ricpic gets at the heart of the Miserable Singleton Syndrome. I've been happier single than together and found being lonely in a relationship far worse than being single, period. It sounds like the columnist is looking outside herself for happiness--in this case, for the state of being coupled to make everything magically delicious. Could make for a good column (although I don't think this one was it), but it's crap as methodology.

MB, I'd love to hear Burned Once expound on the situation, too, but while we wait for that, I'll second jz-md. Porn as an obsession would have to get huge (haha) before I'd be threatened by it, provided my partner and I were connecting in a meaningful way, porn aside. (Although I'll confess, it's much, much sexier and more fun to be in a relationship where you're each thinking pornular thoughts about each other than bringing in outside materials.)

Finally, @Barry Wood, there are a number of reasons why a female sex blogger would be in-yer-face online and anonymous off. Outside of the Walter Mitty, on-the-Internet-no-one-knows-you're-a-dog factor, there's the simple matter of safety. People can be creepy and so other people--and yes, especially ladies--have to put safety first. Create a world where a lady sex blogger can walk around with zero fears for her personal safety, and I'd wager it would be a different story for many of them.

Posted by: communicatrix on October 29, 2008 2:42 PM

We want more from Burned Once, that's for sure.

While waiting ... The reason it sounds more like addiction than adultery to me is that adultery is usually carried on on the sly. In this case, the guy was super-open about his porn obsession. I don't know many adulterers who behaved that way, but I've certainly seen addicts who have. But in either case, I suppose, the person being treated lousily is being put in second place, whether to her partner's love of gambling or cocaine, or to her partner's straying affections.

Burned Once, straighten us out (on this and other matters.)

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on October 29, 2008 3:02 PM

"Can this marriage be saved?"

I sometimes read these columns at the dentist's and doctor's offices and enjoy them mainly for the descriptions of the states of various marriages, but not for the advice, which is often stupid and inadequate.

The counselor always tries to be balanced even when it is clearly one party which is at fault.

Also, the counselors always have to be even toned and cannot yell at people when they something which is terribly selfish and wrong.


Regarding the column you linked on the 4 women who were cheated on, I think we can deduce some lessons:
(1) After you marry, the way you interact with members of the opposite sex changes. You shouldn't let your husband spend time alone with women. He shouldn't be having long telephone conversations with them, and so on. (His mother and sister and other relatives excepted, of course). I know Michael Blowhard doesn't behave this way. But it's the safe thing to do.
(2) Don't bloat up. Of course, if you become fat, the correct response of your husband should be to tell you (or yell at you) to lose weight, not to have an affair. That said, the chances of an affair happening go up with your weight.
(3) Be highly suspicious of men who aren't interested in working. I have the vague impression that the situation where the man stays at home while the woman works usually doesn't turn out well. It's not that that man is necessarily gay, as was the case with the husband profiled here, but that sort usually seems to be lazy or parasitical or unfaithful or something.
(4) You should manage your finances together. You shouldn't just leave it to your husband, even if you find the task deadly dull. This way you can nip bad habits in the bud before they cause catastrophic damage as in the article.
(5) It's interesting that 3/4 women had strong suspicions that something was wrong. The wife was usually not the "last to know."

Posted by: blue on October 29, 2008 6:06 PM

This is just my experience (married 23 years, divorced the last two)... Ladies, if you want your husbands to not cheat on you with porn, trannies, or women, _have sex with him_. More than once a month. Not always in the bedroom. Not always straight missionary position.

It would also help if you would treat him as a human being and not simply as a paycheck or handyman.

Feel free to beat up on me now.

Posted by: Art on October 29, 2008 8:46 PM

Blazing Shark:
I appreciate the insightful observation. I felt pretty apathetic about my experience with the tranny-lover.

I can't help wondering if your ability to write in a way that draws and holds the attention of the reader is somehow related to your "reservations" as Michael called them, about say, trannie lovers.

There were two previous essays discussed here, both by women of your age range and fairly similar cultural backgrounds who, like you, discussed aspects of their sex lives frankly and openly...and reading them was an ordeal. I finished neither of them, unlike your account.

Why were you so much easier to read? Why were you so much more interesting? Unlike the Two Blank Slates, you seem to possess some degree of detachment from your emotions and impulses, and in that detachment, find yourself engaging in something like moral thought. The Two Infinitesimals seemed oblivious to anything but how they felt from moment to moment; their lack of insight, self-awareness or even conscience, made them seem like shallow ponds, stirred into occasional ripples by some passing breeze.

I hope you keep writing and that you get broader exposure for your blog. Lawdy, by comparison, one of the two Shallow Ends actually wrote 10,000 words about the stupefying banality she called her "love life" for the New York Times Magazine!

Something ain't right here.

Posted by: Colonel Pat Guano on October 29, 2008 10:32 PM

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