Book Review: "Are Men Necessary?"

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So, are men necessary?  That’s the question a book title asked me and you're right: I was sucked in.

According to Maureen Dowd, author of “Are Men Necessary? When Sexes Collide”, ah, well men are not necessarily necessary and there’s quite a bit of evidence to support it!

The most notable reason is biological: the Y chromosome is shrinking (138), apparently like the egos of the masculine men in the subsequent age of the feminist takeover. 

The book is a tongue in cheek representation of feminist views that makes good points among the rhetoric of feminist dogma and philosophy.  Don’t get me wrong as I believe in women’s rights and first on that list is freedom of reproductive choice and health.  However, my feminist views don't fall in line with common feminist views (as in this book) and so I read the book purely for information worth noting, so I'll focus there.

Let's begin

The best segment of “Are Men Necessary?” was on the Y chromosome.  According to several doctors, experts, research and studies, the Y chromosome is not only shrinking literally but there have been several reproductive miracles from technological advances that have proven males are not needed for reproduction. At all. We know of the cloned sheep but more striking, Japanese scientists created a 'perfectly normal female mouse without using a male at all...it's not cloning.  They took the egg from one mouse, and then instead of mouse sperm, they took the DNA from another egg.  Bingo!', said Dr. Sykes, a leading British researcher on sex chromosomes (141). Mouse cock not needed. Imagine what this must do the the Mouse King? Certainly this shakes things up a bit.  Maybe Virgin Mary was in fact, a sweet tight one. The idea of artificial insemination by aliens is more realistic than the Bible version but we can debate that later.  Clearly, males were simply the prototype.

A few experts discussed a world without men and ultimately led to how it couldn’t really work in the idealistic “Wonder Woman/Diana Huntress” way we might imagine because "there's always a subgroup that becomes the aggressors" (145). Hence, in this case, aggressor females would essentially be “replacing” the males and their aggression. In other words, there is no stopping the natural order of control and submission. Even if we think equality, as in team effort, there still has to be less Chiefs than Indians or it doesn’t work so someone has to be in charge.  Therefore, in short, a world full of lesbians would eventually create a subgroup of “male-like” females and in that case, why rid of the males?  Gender isn't the problem.  Sex and communication and responsibility are actually the core weak points.  

Clearly the idea of an all female planet isn’t realistic on many levels but it does feed the mind the thought experiment of what if men did not exist?  Besides less lies and porn (we think), would it be more peaceful and frolicy? Would there be less violence and sports bars? Sex would surely be different.  The Lesbian Planet is ultimately what we would have, which suits, well, lesbians.  One researcher posits that eventually a new kind of gender would come about, this synthesized being of female egg and female egg. Being society is digesting the male/female/trans gender debate, why not bring on a new challenge to keep it interesting?  

The Cosmo Girl and the Modern Boy

It is men who make me feel like a woman.  Women make me feel like a friend and a mom peer.  There is no debate on this one.

What often leaves me disappointed is this continuous feminist discussion that leads to the subtle hit of the pretty girl or the one who likes to be a girly girl and thus the one who likes to give out to boys because pretty and girly and slut are apparently synonymous with each other.  The author drew an interesting vision for her readers when discussing Helen Curly Brown, the former long time editor of Cosmo magazine (back in the days when I still read it and at the height of its success).  Dowdy pointed to how devoted feminists in the 80s were on Capitol Hill fighting for women’s rights - for example, in the middle of the Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas trials - and Brown’s magazine merely suggested a myriad of ways to “please your man” and how to entice the inner sex kitten to come out and play with him.  While written as respectfully as possible, the subtle hints of Brown’s girly support as “less than” was evident. Though the author mentioned Glamour magazine as headed into the sex crazed and sex selling genre following suit to Cosmo, it was not the case when I was reading it in the 80s that I can recall. I was a magazine collector to put it mildly.  It's all I had available pre-Internet days along with books to gain an education outside the boredom-sphere of public school education.  

I had a choice of Glamour magazine, created for “smart girls” called feminists and then Cosmo magazine, created for the “pretty girls” called potential sluts I learned later (the advertising didn’t come out that way in my mind back when I began buying them at 14 years old).  In reading both magazines regularly (I also read Discover Mag, National Geography, Conde Naste Traveler, the Enquirer and more), I eventually dumped Glamour in favor of Cosmo because the male bashing was thrown into every chance it could be.  I held the same view as Brown, Cosmopolitan's editor, that sexuality played a vital role in our relationships with men and that sex and being pretty was fun and worth exploring. 

Screw the grimacing feminists of Glamour magazine and the dirt they often saw around the male view doing little than throwing blame - and I considered myself a feminist but I didn't consider myself a feminist because I blamed men.  I considered myself a feminist because I was in favor of female reproductive and health choices as female rights and ultimately, that's the card women cannot ever give away again.  All else is negotiable. 

It’s not that those typical male views weren't true in action to women across the nation but it’s that many feminists didn’t seem to know how to take those male advances or sexualized views and embrace or reform them for their better good. Instead they dismissed, judged and shunned the sexuality behind them, and with it, a subgroup of women who basically catered to it.  I’m not suggesting that asshole men don't exist or that "boys will be boys" is the response for stupid, immature behavior but there have been truly few assholes in my life who have been males who have fit the mold of what feminists claimed men were like.  I found it confusing because I wondered where these men were?! 

Relationships themselves in general are the asshole of our lives, not a specific gender.  And truly, no matter what gender, we all want some sexual or feel good or loving attention.  This is human nature.  To downplay it is downplaying a human need for a balance of emotion that makes us healthier and usually happier.  

To quote the Cosmo editor herself:

"I was accused of hurting the cause [feminist movement] because I was still talking about women as though they were sex objects.  But to be a sex object is a wonderful thing and you're to be pitied if you aren't one... I have this possibly benighted idea that when a man finds you sexually attractive, he is paying you a compliment...when he doesn't, that's when you have to worry"(172).

I agree. However, I do want to make note that "sex object" today is a far cry from what it was back in the 70s and 80s when Brown described it.  (Research into more modern porn has been an eye opener which I'll discuss in future posts)

The last notable section of the book I want to bring up (though there are more, just not as interesting for me to write about) is then Men's Health Magazine editor in chief, David Zinczenko's comments about how men, confused by feminism, are becoming less masculine and more feminized: 

"Society sends men confusing signals.  Society tells men to be more like women, more sensitive, more caring, more thoughtful. And you know what happens then?  They end up in 'Styles of the Times' in stories about why men are becoming more like women, ordering wine by the glass as well as the bottle"(184).

Ed Needham, Maxim's then editor, however, describes men as simpler: "Eating, sex and sports are the Europe, Asia and Americas of the male mental map.  That doesn't leave a lot of room for much else" (185).

I agree there too.  

In Conclusion

It’s wonderful for a man to love and admire a woman.  It really is, and vice versa. Ultimately each have strengths and weaknesses built up from evolution of our biology and our culture, so not everything we dislike about the opposite sex can change.  However, there’s something to be said about the value of getting wet for a man who can love and fuck too, one who can balance the caring with the masculinity that makes his Y chromosome worthy in the first place. That's just as much pressure on males as females have to be a porn stars in the bedroom and Madonnas in the public-sphere.

I fear one unfortunate direction we may be headed into in the long term based on all this science and evolutionary change is men will be "downsized" to less than and as such, their innate masculine testosterone aggression – their fight for their place in this world and dominated by their own flood of hormones and genetics – will eventually seep into culture as perhaps it has seeped already via slices of modern day Internet pornography, specifically. No debate porn is growing in violent and degrading exhibitions towards women and it's worth pondering that in part, it may be an unconscious reaction males desire a place to express the masculine-power feminism has boxed inside them further than society itself has.  Don't blame it ALL on the porn industry when it is the private consumer who decides what ultimately gets produced and what doesn't.  

Will the modern male come to learn what it means to be a "weaker", second sex themselves or to be put down and used? Outside dominatrix quarters, it doesn't happen much, does it, that men are "put into place"? Maybe now it is more so with the #metoo movement but we also face a very touchy and sensitive society these days that it's hard to tell who was getting revenge for past mistakes and who was actually in the wrong.  I am not defending the assholes but remember, women can be bitches so take your pick on the gender scale. I'm equal on shitty people here. Gender makes no difference there.

How best to exert this growing male subordination (and the unconscious anger behind it) but to act out violently via sex through a Millennial Pornography Lens onto women or to humiliate or degrade the very femaleness that seems to lure men in like a siren’s call but acts out like a black widow onto them?  Men are in a precarious position. 

Perhaps there is a Karmic spirit for the females but I like men for their masculinity and women for their femininity and clear strength and superiority over men (childbirth and motherhood).  Why would a woman want to be a man when the right man can cater to her inner woman?  Maybe what we need to look into is what defines a female being, looking like and feeling like a woman rather than just being female? 

In porn, men have a place to outlet their Y chromosome bullshit.  It has been proven that more porn consumption lowers rape practice and not the other way around.  Men need sex and women are taught to not need sex but modern times shows they cater to their own sexual objectification more and more (i.e. sexting, porn live cams, loose attitudes on sex and hooking up, etc. )  Women don't go around raping men: women seduce them. As anthropologist Helen Fisher, author and expert on love and mating said, "...every time a man is sleeping around, he is sleeping around with a woman.  It's basic math..." (141). What I'm saying is that heterosexual women need men because ultimately they need what men offer and what they offer is different for each one; however, the baseline is feel-good-attention that revolves around Human Sexuality.  Females have enough friends, thanks.  Furthermore, female friends' compliments don't go as deep as the guy's compliments and that's because the opposite sex adds the erotic element all females need to feel like an extra dose of woman.  Girl looks pretty, guy gets hard, they have sex, life is good (total reality until the kids come). 

Yes, men are very much needed.  Their lies and bullshit aren’t but that’s not a male thing.  That’s a relationship thing and it extends to all of us so let’s call it out where it truly sits. Until technology takes over our bodies and minds for clear benefits or Borg-like control, we still need each other in our utmost humanity in its physical form.  For some, it is primal and primal often equates to some form of aggression or control (or surrender and submission).  Really we are tapping into the humanity of our sexual selves. What is needed more than the discussion about our need for each other is lessons on communication between the two, both inside and outside the bedroom. Now that's a harsh "C" word for any relationship, female or male.

Next up, do we need pornography as much as we need men?  I’ll be reviewing “The Porning of America” by Carmine Sarracino and Kevin M. Scott next. It's the best book I’ve read since my review of "Sex at Dawn" (an even better book).

Hope I offered some interesting thoughts for you to ponder today. Back to painting I go. 

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Promiscuity, monogamy and our ancestral deposits

High time I gave you something good.  Winter has me hibernating with cotton canvases...

Let’s start with sex.  That’s always a good place to start.  If not, it’s great place to finish.  We should be able to accomplish both here today.

“Making love with a woman and sleeping with a woman are two separate passions, not merely different but opposite.  Love does not make itself felt in the desire for copulation (a desire that extends to an infinite number of women) but in the desire for shared sleep (a desire limited to one woman). – Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

This might get complicated, as sex and love and sleeping with women (or men) does eventually but I’m going to try to make it all simple.  The latest book I’ve read "Sex at Dawn" – which I had on my shelf since 2010 (serious shame) that could have really helped me narrow my theory I draft completed and abandoned in 2009.  (it's like a bad love affair so please let's not go there).  This book, Sex at Dawn, challenges typical notions about our ancestors and their sexual lives, most specifically, that we are a promiscuous species and not a monogamous one by nature.

I don’t believe true monogamy works optimally in our species in general, though cheating and serial monogamy has been quite popular as a solution.  I credit monogamy as a wonderful ideal concept, kind of like Utopia but we know that place ain’t near us permanently except when we close our eyes and fantasize.  It doesn’t stop us from attempting to pursue it but the reach is difficult to sustain - and "Sex at Dawn" paints a damn good picture as to why, at least monogamy, may be what's got us into a modern mess. 

Now, culturally we’ve been told and taught and pounded with the idea and “evidence” that our ancestors were brutal cavemen and had little control over themselves and thus, somewhat judgmentally, we assume their sexuality was similar.  They were rudimentary, primitive, brute, primal and reactive; Homo sapiens of the modern kind were above that and so begins the journey of biology suppression in lieu of brain power, choice and achievement. We’ve also been told us humans were meant to be pair-bonded to keep up with the concept of caring for our young for better survival rates for the species; to develop "love" as a way to keep the male and female focused on the family and basically creating the concept of the nuclear family as we have it today - a mythological tale extending on old serpent skin that holds the remnants of the Garden of Eden's man, woman and child at the center.  

The authors make a very convincing case for our prehistoric origins to have held more promiscuous factors in so called “pair-bonding” than culture or anthropologists to evolutionary psychologists really want to admit.  Who wants to know their ancestors fucked the village as though it were okay? These are the actions of an uneducated kind, no? This is a story about whores and studs, right? Yet, authors Ryan and Jetha want you to know and want to tell everyone about our ancestral promiscuity.  Why?  Because monogamy isn’t helping us nor our happiness and it's time science helps us because our sex, lies and porn tapes have not.

OH THE NOVELTY, MY MAN, I DO UNDERSTAND

"There seems to be no question but that the human male would be promiscuous in his choice of sexual partners through the whole of his life if there were no social restrictions." -Alfred Kinsey
  • If there is one thing you should hold on to in this writing, be it the above quote.  If you are a female, I beg you to accept this as fact and make course adjustments or you will be gravely disappointed that you weren't truly his "only one" at least by the standards society has created for you or your guy.  Being the "only one" is complicated. Perhaps his "only one" is the one to sleep with as Kundera mentions in his quote above, but rarely will that one be his only one to fuck or make love to.  Sure not all men are the same but they all have a penis and when you learn about it's biological determination, you might reconsider; but give me a dot island and I'll round up the group of men who don't fall into biology's hold. Shouldn't take long. And, it's not necessarily a bad thing he's wired for novelty; it's a bad thing we're rewired for modern thinking without flexibility on sex versus love.

Women may be into the romance novels but men are into the sexual novelty. Period.  Fact. Of. Life. While it’s difficult to hear, read, understand, accept, the reality is that men are not capable of withholding their biological needs of the Coolidge Effect - "the invigorating effect of a variety of sexual partners" (289) and they face - all of them - moments when that spice would be nice.  Of course, women have their own Coolidge effect but I think women can control it better - maybe because of our biology or maybe because we've been taught to keep ourselves so modest with love rather than vulnerable with sex.  

When you understand just how much of our reproduction and sexual desires and behaviors depend on factors so unconscious to us that we cannot detect it from our senses, then you have to momentarily step back and say “Hey, we’re Human Beings, yes, but still, we are primates; we are mere animals”.  Yes we have conscious control but how much of our sex life is guided by our unconscious chemical and cellular makeup? A lot more than you think. 

We need access to our primeval self and sex is a beneficial primal part of our core being that exists; except, we’re often not allowed access that part of the self because of societal rules, expectations, demands and illusions.  How to be sexually true to oneself and be part of "normal" society?  I don’t know. I've never been part of "normal" society. Just be you?

Easy to say, right?  This isn’t a “just be you" campaign where you shine on stage and sing your heart away – clearly an acceptable form of “just be you” expression, i.e. Ru-Paul.  A little weary in the beginning but the public got used to the strut and humored wit.  This is sex we're talking! What do you do when “just be you” is your sexual self and your current partner (spouse, boy/girlfriend, name it yourself) isn’t all that into the new authentic self you exposed? (I'm not suggesting homosexuality, just a sexual self like being vanilla and going rough or learning a new fetish or talking dirty or even just expressing vulnerability in whatever form you define it, whatever your thing is that is private, personal and intimately yours).  Most people never even discover or open up their authentic sexual selves in fear of well, fear. Sexual authenticity and its expression is something a lot of people deal with on many levels, surface to deep but I think most of you understand me on this: to be authentic in our self expression is only limited to the audience provided for that expression, otherwise you’re back to being alone expressing the authentic you to yourself.  Meaning, if your spouse or lover isn't into it, do you look to satisfy it elsewhere or do you block and suppress it?  If it's truly a true expression of your authentic self sexually, the stakes can get high and as politics has shown us, many good men have fallen off the Trojan horse to see over the fence.

This book was packed full of info I had no idea existed but the idea of a non-monogamous family and societal group wasn't far fetched to me, which made me feel really good and rather justified for once in that a good scientific case was made for it. It's deserving. Understanding most people, I can see why this book is thought to be revolutionary on the topic of our sexual origins as it exposes our true sexual nature to be promiscuous and in a monogamous minded society, that's prehistory shame.  "Sex at Dawn" is a good read I highly recommend.  Here are highlights of info:

THOSE DOMINATING SPERM

1)  Semen is good for you. While ejaculate is a merely 3 to 5 percent actual sperm, the rest of the white goo (that looks like my acrylic medium I paint with, which is disturbing sometimes) is packed with nutrients.  Packed. Nevermind protiens and vitamins, it’s full of neurotransmitters, hormones, endorphins, serotonin, oxycontin, melatonin, prolactin, estrone, immunosuppressants and about 50 ingredients in all, much of the vital stuff associated to positive feelings, pleasure and happiness.  Semen is most logically acting as an anti-depressant. Guys, just keep it cool on this one, okay? (a good SciAmer article on this topic to add to your knowledge base here on the semen but that also gets into why lesbians don't experience the "McClintock" effect like heterosexual women do which I don't want to tie up into this segment but it's worthy to mention.)

**(on a side note, semen is also infused with 2 female hormones, both of which are involved with female ovulation, one that triggers its onset. Why would male sperm contain hormones to trigger female ovulation?  It has a purpose.)

2) Since semen is so nourishing, it’s also self-empowering.  Scientists have observed that an ejaculate has approximately 3 to 9 “pumps” or "spurts" worth of fluid ejected. Spurt one has chemicals "that protect the sperm from the chemicals in the latter spurts of other men's ejaculate. Final spurts contain a spermicidal substance that slows the advance of any latercomers" ... so "competing sperm from other men seems to be anticipated in the chemistry of men's semen..." (228).  Why does evolution expect to find sperm in a monogamously wired Homo sapiens?

3) Speaking of ejaculate and penis behavior, the penis is specially designed to “pull out” those pools of other men’s cum so that it can deposit its own.  Clever domination of securing seed fertilization. 

4) Much more of reproductive success depends on sperm competition than fitness of the sperm itself.  While we think the fittest sperm will fertilize, the fact is that the fittest sperm for "that particular woman" is the chosen one and not just any fittest sperm in the group.  So basically, your child is officially "the chosen one" even if he or she isn't Jesus or Jewish. (to note, only one in 14 million ejaculated human sperm even reach the oviduct." (264) 

5)  Science proves that monogamous creatures such as Gibbons are relatively the same body-size dimorphism ratio male to female while polygynous - one male to multiple females - creatures such as Gorillas are almost twice as large male to female.  Curiously, promiscuous primates body –size tend to be 10% to 20% larger males to females - that's us.  Humans, bonobos and chimps fall under the promiscuous category if this body-size dimorphism is taken into account because bonobos and chimps share our body-size dimorphism and they are promiscuous so why wouldn't we be since we're so genetically close? Because agriculture and the rise of organized religion changed the use of our land, our mind, our behavior and our sexuality. (Body-size dimorphism refers to the average size differences between males and females in a given species (pg 215).  But wait! There’s more.

6) Testicle and penis size determines much too, and not just about sperm count and pleasure.  Sperm competition is BIG in the animal kingdom.  It happens either externally as in Gorillas fighting for the female for mate wins or it happens cellularly between the sperm in the vaginal canal.  The primates who fight for the female, who must expose dominance for the one female as in the polygynous Gorilla family, those have tiny testicles and penises. Imagine that jock joke!

Good thing human males have the longest and thickest dicks of the primates, ladies. We're in luck. All three primates closely related to each other – humans, bonobos and chimps – all have relatively larger sperm producing sacs (and larger penises) because they need more sperm to fight each other to get to the egg. It's an egg chase, people; it's all about the egg. Fuck the chicken. Male sperm competition happens inside the female for promiscuous species and not in the grounds of the jungle and as with bonobos versus Gorillas, “since everybody gets some sugar, the competition takes place on the the level of the sperm cell, not the level of the individual male” … there’s more on this in chapter 15. It's pretty powerful stuff.

7) Heard of female copulatory vocalization?  You did when the neighbors were doing it and she was the one making all the noise.  Evolution needed the female to vocalize her mating state: I AM READY! For bonobos, the males come hither because the female calls.  For human females? We put a pillow over our mouths to keep it down for the neighbors.  There's modern monogamy for you.

...Though, one male in the human village seems hardly enough for the developing female orgasm to hit its high note on a few minutes worth of copulation.   If our species was to be monogamous, us females should be quiet like the Gibbons, good pair-bond birds who don’t even make a peep when doing the wild thing.  Female copulatory vocalization aka mating call  promotes sperm competition (257) and biology demands boys play by its rules while girls scream for cream. (okay fine that was bad but I'm a mood)

8) AH!  But the male isn't all so clever.  Females have quite the chemical make up to keep sperm from getting to their destination, a rather harsh entrance envirnoment and according to the authors, "There is striking evidence that the female reproductive system is capable of making subtle judgments based upon the chemical signature of different men's sperm cells...[and] the genetic compatibility of different men with a given woman means that sperm quality is a relative characteristic". This means that her body "might be better informed than her conscious mind" about which sperm is the quality match. (264) 

8) Scent.  If we could bottle up our lover’s scent, we'd probably be horny all the time.  Good thing we can't.  Personally, I have to focus. 

What surprised me, both contextually and that I didn’t know this until recently, is that birth control pills affect a female's sense of smell of her man, especially if she falls for him while on the pill and then goes off the pill to get pregnant for example.  According to science, her olfactory centers may be way off from usual and her once sexy man now isn’t. This is a case of your nose knows better but your brain may not. Talk about unconscious marital problems. Pheromones are the leaders in the sex domain: our sense of smell is as primal as you can go.

9) Humans “outcopulate even chimpanzees and bonobos – and are far beyond gorillas and gibbons.” (242)  In fact, we spend more time on sexual activities than any other primate, never mind our time on porn. Makes you wonder who the animals really are, no?  I guess we're the smarter species because we found a way to make people pay per view.

10) Countless evidence exists of prehistory ancestors enjoying a promiscuous existence opposed to the monogamous one that is painted for us today if we consider some of the arguments Ryan and Jetha provide. Promiscuous wiring is a valid answer that makes sense and helps explain why 50% of marriages fail and millions of wives and husbands are cheating, even though they may still love each other. Sex is sex.  Love is love. Both genders confuse them when they are together because that's when the rules change, when the lines get fuzzy and the interpretations become Human minded, emotional. 

Of course, the next best choice to promiscuity in a marriage is divorce because that's helpful and solves the novelty problem. The ruined family is a mere consequence of trying to keep faithful to an idea created after the onset of power shifts created by the agricultural revolution and Christianity's beginnings.  

11) Researchers confirmed men get turned on by images “depicting an environment in which sperm competition is prevalent" and one woman with multiple males is in fact among the most popular porn viewed.  In fact, "there's evidence that men viewing erotic material suggestive of sperm competition produce ejaculates containing higher percentage of motile sperm than men viewing explicit images of only three women." (231) 

The book authors importantly ask why males in a species that have been “wearing the shackles of monogamy for 1.9 million years”  should be sexually excited by group sex where men ejaculate with one or two women. (231) Sperm competition is a demanding evolutionary reality, isn’t it?  I just wonder sometimes if men “controlling” their biological sexual needs is similar to females “controlling” their PMS.  Which gender has it worse?  We each carry our shackles and for that we should respect and support each other despite our inherent calls.

Biology is strong. Rather than fighting it, it's best to work with it and find coping mechanisms and strategies that lead to intelligent and mindful solutions. 

 

Altered States of Kink

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Those into kinky sex know there's something primal and exotic about it; desire elevated to expressions generally beyond the norm. It should be no surprise then that researchers have found that various BDSM roles facilitate altered states of mind.  Aside from meditation and good pot brownies, what other greatness lies in the realm of altered states?  Sex, that's what.

One highlight is that such altered states of consciousness have potential to unlock an inner creativity.  So, um, if you feel creatively stifled, may I suggest a dose of BDSM?  If you've ever read anything on creativity research, you'll be familiar with the book "Flow" by Csikszentmihalyi.  What a name. Anyway, the idea is simply that,

"Flow is a nine-dimensional altered state conceptualized by Csikszentmihalyi, and is achieved during ‘optimal experiences’...The dimensions of flow include ‘challenge-skill balance, action-awareness merging, clear goals, unambiguous feedback, concentration on task, sense of control, loss of self-consciousness, time transformation,’ and feelings of intrinsic reward."

Opposite that is Dietrich's transient hypofrontality which "relates to daydreaming, runner's high, meditation and even some drug highs".  As the article continues, 

"The experiments revealed that the bottom role and the top role in BDSM are each associated with a distinct altered state of consciousness, both of which have previously been tied to creativity.

According to the researchers, ‘topping’ is linked to the state which aligned with Csikszentmihalyi’s flow, while ‘bottoming’ is associated with both Dietrich’s transient hypofrontality and some aspects of flow." 

So, if you felt funky about getting kinky, don't.  It's out of this world. 

source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3903392/Can-kinky-sex-make-creative-Researchers-claim-BDSM-help-people-achieve-altered-states-consciousness.html#ixzz4PN7WJRUL 
 

Sexual desire under the influence of birth control

A current article on Playboy by Dr. Lehmiller about the effects of birth control on sexual attraction blew my mind. 

In short, various studies have been conducted to validate the ovulatory shift hypothesis, which is the idea that a woman’s ovulation cycle changes her sexual attraction towards men. When at the height of ovulation and hormonal shifts, her desire for more masculine men increases ( as would her flirtation and chance of cheating) and when the cycle levels down to “normal”, her idea of a sexy guy can be different and it had nothing to do with anything anyone really did but everything to do with what her hormones did.  The kicker is women on birth control don't experience this cycle flux and thus have a more stable, so to speak, attraction towards particular men.  Really think about the implications of this in how we understand ourselves and the way we deal in sexual relationships.

If you thought relationships were difficult before, the involuntary activity of hormones has just thrown us a fundamental curve ball into the understanding of relationships and sexual desire even more than just "the menstrual period".  It's the ovulation that dampers or enhances the attraction and chaos of emotion and action. I keep saying it because it's true: everything is centered around sexuality. 

Ovulation doesn't just effect HER, the woman at "that time of the month" when men don't get it.  It effects HIM, the way the guy - boyfriend, husband or lover - is sexually attractive to her and she's not even in conscious control of it. If you want to talk about a loss of control, the guys are on the bad end of the stick here.  This puts both sexes into a confusing mess but for men it must be even more difficult to understand why or why she's not interested.  This also has some deep implications for questionable rape cases where she found his dominance erotic a few weeks ago and now she's changed her mind.  I'm not making light of rape but it does call into question the means by which her yes may have changed to a no and not clearly to him or her during the time of sex.  It adds a layer of complexity which might modify the blame factor to a different footing...not necessarily making it easier but if we seek truth then we must be open to the information that propels it to the surface. 

This birth control affects sexual desire information changes the spin on what we really know about ourselves and the control we have over our thoughts versus our actions affected through the interaction of hormones in our body.  It literally changes the perception men and women have of each other.  It begs deeper inquiry and contemplation to the fact that society prints too many regulations – moral, social and sexual – into these defining terms of what’s expected of and from us in “relationships”, “sex” and “love”. 

In my mind, after researching love and sexuality through philosophical means for over 10 years, I am continually drawn to the realization that free will works best for our interpretation from point B to point C, but from point A to point B, there’s a deeper force at work.  Call it hormones or call it divine, the reality is that there simply are mysteries that nudge us or force us into actions we might not have made while not under the influence of hormones. How responsible does this truly make us?  These are fine lines difficult to discuss because the tendency is to simplify blame and error onto "shoulds" that naturally might not be existing but merely from the perceptual seat of one's consciousness dictating demands over involuntary bodily mechanisms.

Relationships are challenging enough and when we dismiss the real effects of hormone shifts in us, we dismiss an inconvenient truth: we are not 100% in control of how we feel or behave; we merely attain to be and society, culture and religion create and demand strict efforts despite times when biology pulls its sovereignty on its own terms. This conflict is the Human life, to be in control of what is primal within us because our primal nature can be so unpredictable and wild. To balance them, the primal and the "consciously human" is the goal. Good luck with that too.  I'm still on the balance beam on that one. 

Super Fabulous Resources Page

With schools in session and thinking caps on, perhaps a hint of desire sparks you to discover something new?

I created a resources page just for you!

There are a few select people, books, and things that have truly  moved me at some point and I'd like to share that inspiration.  

I've also included a few helpful links such as acrylic painting's conservation care, a few erotica minded museums and such.  On this note, if you have suggestions, please add them to the comments below. 

If nothing else, I highly suggest listening to all the links under "Blogs and Talks" for great relationship information.  However, if you're looking for more depth on what the heck created all this challenge between the sexes, I suggest my book section, particularly the video lecture about Dr. Leonard Shlain's "Sex, Time, & Power: how women's sexuality shaped Human evolution.   

Click here to view  Tatiana's Super Fabulous Resources Page

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