Ray Rice and Johnny Depp: Victim Blaming and Why Women Stay

Monday, September 15, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Sexuality/Relationships

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard have recently hit the news media for something other than illegally bringing their dogs into Australia: Heard has alleged that Depp abused her. Immediately following these allegations came the public retaliation: Heard is a gold digger. Heard is making it up. Let's be clear: I don't know much about this particular case. The issue that concerns me is that our first response to domestic violence is generally: "She probably deserved it."

Other abused woman out there aren't looking at whether Depp is innocent. They're seeing a society that won't believe them if they do come forward. That's a problem. And the issue hasn't changed since the first time I wrote about domestic violence, when it was Ray Rice beating his partner in an elevator.  ...  continue reading

Whips, Chains and Penises, OH MY! Fantasy and the Feminist Argument for Bondage

Friday, August 01, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Sexuality/Relationships

A teenager's mother finds an S&M bondage magazine in her room. The mother, very upset, shows the magazine to her husband. "What do you think we should do about this?" she asks him. 

He looks at her and says, "Well, I definitely don't think you should spank her!"

(Ba dum dum, ching)

Fantasy may evolve as a way to combat early childhood insecurities or as a way to explore sexuality. From wild woman fantasies, to playing the victim, women are highly sexual creatures equipped with the ability to use fantasy in a variety of ways. We may use it to explore our own femininity, rehearse future possibilities or enhance self esteem. We may also use fantasy as a way to reduce guilt and enhance pleasure or as a coping skill to deal with past trauma. All of these issues are discussed in more detail in the last post: Can Fantasy Be Useful? Fantasy Roots, Functions and Fifty Shades of Awesome. 

But in recent months, our fascination with Fifty Shades of Grey has become an antifeminist scapegoat among mounting concerns that perhaps such depictions of submission are a disservice to women. Through this series, I hope to show that while some elements of our fantasy lives may come from a society bent on patriarchy, the way we use them is not shameful or wrong. Some of them are even evolutionarily relevant....  continue reading

Can Fantasy Be Useful? Fantasy Roots, Functions, and Fifty Shades of Awesome

Monday, July 28, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Sexuality/Relationships

Fantasy is a funny thing. Most everyone engages in it, though some won't admit it. When we do discuss it, it is in hushed whispers over wine amidst nervous giggles punctuated by the occasional, "Me too!" or "Ewww!"

But there are some fantasies that are far more taboo than others. The fantasies of rape, submission and sadomasochistic practices are among them.  

I know, I am late to the whole Fifty Shades of Grey party. 

"WAIT...THERE WAS A PARTY!?" Not that kind of party, people. Simmer down.

Since the trailer came out, I have listened to Fifty Shades being reduced to an antifeminist conspiracy, with many encouraging a boycott of the movie. I have heard things like, “It’s a glorification of rape, which increases the notion that women are asking for it.” I have heard others, male and female alike, ponder how we can stand idly by and allow a movie that depicts violence against women to become a box office hit. I assume they are just upset because sex in elevators is wrong on many levels. (Hey-O!)

At any rate, in emails and personal conversations, my opinions have been sought by those who believed that I would, in my decidedly feminist way, be pissed at anything that shows male dominance. 

Right? 

I am late to this party because I am a thinker. And in my pondering, I have decided that I like this whole Fifty Shades of Grey thing. I do not believe that Fifty Shades of Grey is a disservice to women, though I do believe that those who shame women for their arousal might be contributing to more female shame responses than the movie itself. If anything, Fifty Shades gives us a platform to discuss these issues and normalize the process for those who feel ashamed of their responses. In addition, bondage is not rape, though rape fantasies are also common. And whether it's bondage, submission or wild orgy sex, our fantasies change over time due to hormones, aging, attempts to conquer subconscious fears or guilt, or in response to new insecurities. There can be healing and beauty inherent in these fantasies even if the reasons for this are not immediately obvious. And all these fantasy elements can play a positive role in the female psyche....  continue reading

Talk Dirty To Me: But First, Tell Your Husband

Friday, June 20, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Sexuality/Relationships

Sometimes, happy couples have shitty sex lives because of a disconnect between what partners are thinking and what they say. 

“I want her to be happy, but everything just gets so…hard. And I never know when it’s going to be hard and when it isn’t.”

“That’s what she said.”

He laughed. 

“No, seriously, sir, that's what she said. You guys need to talk more.”

“That’s what she said” is a phrase I want to say more often. Not because I love a good sexual innuendo (which I obviously do), but because if she actually “said” it , I wouldn’t feel obliged to....  continue reading

Why We Need Maury Povich: Sexual Selection, Trust and Misunderstanding

Monday, June 16, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Sexuality/Relationships

How did you choose your lover? Sexual selection is more than a choice of position, though that is by far the most fun definition. 

"Tonight's sexual selection shall be....the reverse cowgirl."

In evolutionary psychology, sexual selection refers to the idea that specific traits evolved over time for the purpose of attracting a  mate, and not for survival. Examples in the animal kingdom would include the dancing ability of a bird, or bright colors on a frog.  

However, for humans, sexual selection does not stop at the physical. With the development of higher order cognitive functioning, and more complex social interaction, came other criteria for mate choice....  continue reading

"You're Not Pretty (Enough)": The Media, Low Self Esteem, Porn and Rush Limbaugh

Monday, May 12, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Sexuality/Relationships

The subconscious mind is one sneaky bastard.

Advertisers are well aware of this fact, spending obscene amounts of money on ad campaigns devoted to encouraging viewers to buy their products. Even restaurants embrace certain color schemes that subconsciously trigger hunger responses.

All of this pandering is very effective. Our brain is able to trick us into all kinds of things, especially when we don't know what it is we're responding to. 

But, it is more than just a drive to purchase. The way we see our world, and those around us, may change the way we think about ourselves....  continue reading