Category Archives: Sex

Objectification: How do you cope?

I have been objectified. It’s one of the worst feelings I have ever experienced and now I wonder: how can women put up with this?

It all started as a little personal project I decided to undertake for my own pleasure first. I take black and white pictures of the same thing on various backgrounds representing various everyday tasks such as shopping, DIY, gardening, teaching, cooking, baking…

The process is quite a long one because I want all the pictures to be framed the same way but as I am using my phone from above, I have no preview of what I am photographing until I see it so I tend to take up to 20 pictures every time. I then compare it with the original one before I edit it to black and white.

After about a dozen of them, I decided to share them on social media at a rate of once/week so I have time to work on new ideas and keep the flow running steadily. However, now, I don’t want to anymore, because the first reactions I received were men admitting getting off on the pictures and asking for more…now! Two of them were actually begging. I removed the comments and block them but the damage was done.

There is no nudity involved whatsoever. I would understand their reactions, had I started posting pictures the likes of Kyle Krieger’s but the most you can see of me is a bit of my ankles. The rest is the main subject, not sexual, on backgrounds that, as I said, are nothing but common: a watering can and a shovel, some fruits and groceries next to a shopping bag…For me, it is some kind of art on which I spend a lot of time. I guess the point of art is to trigger feelings and emotions but never, even for a second have I thought it could be seen as remotely arousing or sexual.

I know we live in a society that sexualises everything. A woman cannot breastfeed anymore without half the people out there being outraged as this “disgusting display of open porn”. Still I don’t understand how women manage to carry on when they are subjected to this on a daily basis.

So I asked my mother, who I know is the subject of everyday objectification by men just because of her looks, and she said the ‘Monica moment’ in Friends is normal for women. The moment where she is asked to make a meal as part of an interview to work as a chef. The owner is a downright pervert who finds women working with dirty hands and food arousing and has no boundaries when it comes to turning Monica into an object for his own pleasure.

She told me everything you do, are, say, the way you behave will be subject of sexual objectification by someone somewhere…Suddenly, I can’t shift that vision of Richard in Ally McBeal who finds the flesh under women’s neck or arms arousing. I found it cringe-worthy at the best of time. Now I understand the intended comical effects and sociological reflection, the fact that it says more about him and society than it does about women but the cringe lingers.

Akin to Monica and Richard’s objects of desire, you are just being you with no ulterior motives. You are living your life as you do and suddenly it hits you in the face: that guy who stares at you, the one who makes constant comments, the ones who go as far as to try and touch you as if you were nothing but the button to their hormone switch.

Now that it happened to me, not only do I feel violated and discouraged to post more material, which I enjoy making, but I can’t help but thinking that maybe my being overweight or speaking with an accent or even the clothes and perfumes I wear are as many hormone switches to some people out there. They are not all perverts for they obviously know how to keep it for themselves but my view of the world has changed and my question stood: How do women cope?

My mother just replied: You just live your life. Yes, you know it’s there, everyday, lurking behind you. So you try to understand, you rationalise it, you find it disgusting anyway so you fake it until you are with your peers and can finally let out all your anger and disgust because what alse can you do? Never go out anymore? Hide yourself? Useless! Some men find inaccessible women to be a sexual fantasy anyway… (The growing trend of “Arabic women in burqa having sex” on the Internet proves her point.)

The fact is: there will always be someone who finds something sexual: high heels, pearl necklaces, pregnancy…; suits, beards, glasses, nerds…That’s not the problem, desire is a natural urge. The issue is perversion: the lacking of that social skill that makes you fathom where the boundaries are between your urges and how they should manifest in everyday life. In that case, the fact that you don’t have to openly express every single one of them every single time.

What I have come to learn with this very innocent series of pictures is that when it comes to open and proud objectification, there is no winner, just people who think it’s their right to act up on their urges. I also learn to once again rely on women to find a way out of and find the strength to carry on so I will post more pictures and carry on blocking the ones who can keep their boners out of their trousers because at the end, it’s about me, not them.

Advertisements

On the front now with your cake, eating it.

I had a blazing row with my mother earlier. I love these because we are both very stubborn, are usually in bad faith, like to keep the debate on terms we define and stop on semantics as a way to counter the other one. But we do part with a kiss on the cheek as if nothing happens. No pouting. That’s how I learn how to argue and fight.

It all started when I said I find somehow amusing the rather sickening irony that some of the people who were using Ashley Madison to cheat on their spouse were now taking to the courts against the website on the moral ground that their private life had been exposed and risks complete annihilation because of the website’s inability to keep its promises.

I mean the irony of people who paid to deliberately and consciously break their wedding vows suing a website who didn’t keep its promises is rather amusing. My mother wanted the debate to focus on their right to have their private life kept private and I did not disagree but wanted to stay on the irony. “Dialogue de sourds”

I get her point and although I disagree with anyone’s private life being publicly exposed without their consent, I do have trouble feel sympathy for these people because there are many reason why a country-worth of people are facing turmoil in their private life today.

I will sound very righteous but, as a gay man, we fought hard to get the right to get married so I do see it as a honourable institution and an important personal step in my life. A step that needs to be made free of social constraint, and the result of years (maybe a decade) of personal and couple development. Which I am sure, not a lot of these people’s marriages were to begin with…

The third reason for me is the hackers. My mother think it’s the first reason, I think it’s the third. As I said, I do not condone what they did. They try to take the moral high ground and tell us that it was to prove the website was lying to all its customers about security and the deleting of past information. The truth is that there could have done it in many other ways than publishing the names, addresses et al for everyone to see. Or they could have targeted some individuals such as Josh Duggar or Sam Rader and other famous, very vocal, self-righteous and self-promoting Christians who have been campaigning against gay marriage using the sanctity of the said institution as an argument. People who were saying that “the gays would destroy marriage” when it turns out they were themselves users of Ashley Madison. There was no need to out everybody as far as I am concerned, just the hypocrites whose dedication and faith is only a matter of self-interest and the up-keep of their privilege.

These hackers belong to the same breed of hackers who published naked picture of celebrities all the while trying to make us believe it was the only way to prove the iCloud was not safe and Apple were deceiving all of us. They were just trying to ride the wave of sexual shaming (of women mostly) but it did not work because it was made clear very early that there is nothing wrong with Jennifer Lawrence sending a private picture of herself to her boyfriend. There is however everything wrong with Apple storing it and it’s beyond the pale for hackers to publish it.

In that way, Ashley Madison’s hackers have been cleverer because they know it is and will be difficult to defend people who are willingly looking to cheat on their unknowing spouse. Even if it is not forbidden by the law, the social stigma is there and words like cheaters, liars and cowards are still in our heads when we think about the victims of this very hacking. Can these people really be victims or did they just get what they deserve in cheating? The hackers are trying to be the hand of God here.

They are just preying on people they disapprove of and decided to be the judge, the jury and the executioner in exposing their private in what is nothing but a modern form of Inquisition. They knew the papers would devour and analyse every development, and push people to find more about who is who. They knew the appetite for sex and dirt on our neighbours is endless in all societies. They could have used their time more constructively but not everyone has the courage of a Julian Assange or Edward Snowdon, have they?

The second reason is the website itself, its creators and its owners. They lied, they deceived, they tried to abuse their power and they failed in providing their customers what they were promising and charging for: an absolute anonymity and breach-proof security. It’s all well and good to prey on people’s emotional and sexual misery, as well as to play coy with social rules, to sit on a bed with a smirk and advertise for a life of lies and sexual musical chairs but you have to be able to at least protect the people you are preying on because you make them trust you. Trust…The irony again…

For what I understand, the website was not free and even deleting your account was to be paid for so having an affair was a right to enjoyment but it would indeed cost you even to stop having one. Now, they are facing with lawsuits that will cost them millions and frankly, except for the waste of time and public money in said courts, I am not going to shed a tear.

However, what we tend to forget in the middle of the storm and victimisation of all these people is that, first and foremost, the reason why their private life is in the open and in tatters is because they put it in this situation. They broke their promises, they abused the trust their spouse put in them to be where they are now.

No one forced them to go on that website, to use money to pay for anonymity. They are all grown-ups and when I agree there could be a couple of people who genuinely thought it was nothing but yet another dating website, all of them knew what they were willingly getting themselves into.

The very first reason why they are now facing with the prospect of losing everything, in addition to public humiliation, is them and their willingness to bet on their private life. So for them, the ride will be choppy because the question is: how far can you go in playing dumb, naïve, angry or outraged when you were the one who decided to secretly bet everything and throw the dice again when you had sworn to settle down? How far will the people sympathise or simply empathise with you?

I understand uncontrollable sexual urges of a one-time thing but to methodically pay, find a fake name, fill a profile and go on the pull, it’s more than just an urge. It’s compulsive cheating. I know I am sounding very self-righteous but haven’t they all agreed to marriage and instead of having the courage and honesty to break it, just lied and cheated?

Studying the economic and social background of these people, ready to pay for sex in a way, would be absolutely fascinating because I am pretty sure most of them come from backgrounds that have carved into their head a certain view of the world where marriage and emotional commitment in closely linked to social and financial status – cue Sam Rader.

Throughout my 20s, I have acquainted and slept with many of these, usually over 30 men:

  • The weaklings whose education has pushed towards a marriage in which they are not happy anymore but will never dare break or try to fix because they “have so much to lose now”.
  • The immature teenager pushing constantly toward anything socially forbidden and cheating provides the kick they need. The social taboo that is not punished by the law is too great to ignore before they eventually “take the fun out of cheating”…
  • The deeply unloved ones. The ones who are in what I call pre-historical relationship where marriage is only the legal and social bed on which the male, as a sperm bank, will fecundate the female, the baby factory, in order to provide  the country with its 2.7 babies it needs “to survive.”

There are many more and they all have in common their inability to take responsibility for their own life and happiness. They think they do by joining Ashley Madison but it came as a price and a fake name. And now, naming and shaming. Is it really happiness?

I have difficulties feeling empathy for these people for two reasons. The first one is physical: I find sickening the irony that these people who willingly jeopardised their private life are now asking for the right to be offended because it is facing troubles. If you want your sexual history to remain private, don’t put it on a website and the hands of strangers to begin with. It reminds me of the super injunctions taken by footballers to shut up the many people with whom they are cheating on their wife. Take the hit, you provided the bullet.

The second is because I do believe today’s society offers enough alternative to the single-minded view of marriage as the sole source of security and happiness for them to not have to rely on lies, deceit and alibis provided by a website in exchange for money. Yes, it is difficult to find these alternatives, I know. To fight against the principles of a society built on religion, to argue for the right to be together without the word “forever” and the prejudice of resenting the idea.

As a gay man who had to grow up in a world where marriage was forbidden, I had to find other ways to understand and picture long-time happiness but it does exist. However, it does take some courage (more than hiding one’s fucking strangers in motels) to stop always having a reason for cheating and to start facing the truth.

For me, there is a time in your life when you have to stop behaving like a teenager and blame the rest of the world for what is happening to you. When you are 15, you bow to pressure, cannot find it in you to say “no” and do try a cigarette, it is understandable but when you are 40, married for 15 years, you know you’re unhappy but the only decision you make is to lie and cheat, you cannot decently play the victim. You should have enough strength and baggage to take responsibility and not blame someone else.

I see people making these decisions everyday: some finding the strength to say to their spouse that they are not happy and want to divorce, some coming out and making a whole new life for themselves despite all the hurt and tears because they do understand that this is what it takes to be happy.

You cheat and you get caught? No matter the way (that’s another issue)…Well then, you just look down, take responsibility: beg for forgiveness or do make changes in your life. You especially do not go publicly to say that you are a victim of deceit and fakery when it all started because you couldn’t commit to truth and trust. No one is fooled. Yes, you are a victim when it comes to your address being published but when it comes to your squalid private life, you put it there and you bet on it, you just lost. No one truly has the cake and gets to eat it too. Except me, but I baked it.

Thou shall not force anyone to come out

This week is starting with the coming-out of Joey Graceffa which, for me, is indeed a major event for the gay community. His coming-out is pretty common in terms of what he says about being gay in itself. He has, like many of us, come to terms with the fact that, notwithstanding the expectations and rules of the outside world, his sexuality does not and will not define who he is, what he does. It’s just a matter of heart. However, it is important because it was seen by, at least, his four or so million subscribers.

What interests me is he mentions the fear of being outed and that’s what I want to address because it is also a major issue within and outside the community.

For all of us, coming out is much more than saying out loud to the world or just one person that we like to “get it up the arse”. This is, first and foremost, the most visible, public outcome of months, years, maybe decades of struggles with your inner self during which you are realising more or less slowly that you don’t belong to what is considered and shown as “the norm”. Not matter how tolerant your family and society you grew in might be, homosexuality is still not a norm. It has still not reached the same status of normality that heterosexuality has always had. Being gay is still tainted with many positive and negative prejudices.

So you are something else but what does that mean? What does that involve? It was easy to have girlfriends when I was a boy because I could just be like my dad and mum, like the people on TV, in books and everywhere. But what does it mean to be gay? Does it change my way of being altogether? Will I get AIDS too? I remember being terrified of it because I heard gay people get AIDS. I don’t know why or how exactly at the time but I was terrified of being sick because I would just think one of my classmate was rather cute.

Do I always choose the girls when playing video games because I am gay? Am I a feminist because I am gay? Do I own a pink tie because I am gay? Am I a good baker because I am gay? Am I close to my mother because I am gay? Are straight men never doing or being any of the above? Was I conditioned…am I still conditioned solely by my sexuality above all else? Am I just a programmed thing whereas straight people enjoy the freedom of choice, being born free of their sexuality?

Even I, who grew up in a non-homophobic family, am still struggling trying to define who I was, who I am and therefore what my place within the society could and will be. I never had to worry about what my family would think or do but I am one of the exception. Some…many people, in fact an important majority of LGBT people does not have the support of a family who treats you exactly the same as your straight relatives and they are not born in a country where mentalities are changing. People are still being hung and murdered by their own parents so coming out for them is not just question of finding out and defining who you are, it is also a question of survival. How much of the people you love you will eventually lose. How many of them will reject you, will hit you, will go as far as killing you , blinded by their faith or their eagerness to save face and remain part of the murderous community.

I never faced death. I was born in Versailles, the posh and influencial, well-educated Western suburb of Paris and yet, I did experience stones and cigarette burns on my neck and that’s when people just assume I was gay so I don’t know if I could ever be as comfortable as I am today with my sexuality if someone else had just officially outed me when I was not ready. I would have withdrawn, rejected my true nature because people would have started filling my head again with their definition of who I am supposed to be: “You are gay so you have to do, be, think, fuck and act this way”. I feel like my life would have been limited to certain jobs, certain places, certain people and I would have never been able to say: Yes, I am gay…What has it got to do with teaching German grammar?”

Outing someone without their permission is therefore not just an act of disrespect, it has deep psychological consequences that can go as far as life-threatening for we don’t know the ins and outs of someone’s private life, whether they are famous or simply a neighbour’s kid or even of our own family. There are actually very little cases of accidental outings. Most of them are acts of revenge, retaliation or simply and purely of destruction of the other and we, the LGBT community, must be able to draw from our own struggle to understand the scale of coming-out so we can protect people who are not yet ready to do so but also support our peers who wish to keep it private without shaming them, calling them “cowards”, “closeted”, “half-baked gays” and reducing to second-class gays.

If the message is that sexuality is a private matter irrelevant to public life, coming-out, the act of making one’s sexuality more or less public, shall remain a personal decision and not become a matter of social pressure.

And this goes for famous people as well. I do not buy to this tabloid-like rhetoric that they have a responsibility to be role-models, to expose their private life, to speak for the community, to educate the world. That they deserve, they should, they have a mission to have every single of their word analysed, every single of their moves followed, every single of their interviews dissected by all parties to serve the purpose each are pursuing.

I don’t believe, like some said with outrage, that Tom Daley coming out last year means he should have boycotted the competition in Moscow because of Russia’s treatment of gay people. He’s a diver and coming out has not made him a speaker for the whole community. He has not said he wanted to be a speaker for the community, he never pretended that what he did or said was a reflection on the whole gay community (whatever that is). He just felt the need to tell people that he had come to terms with a long struggle. I don’t expect him to be a speaker just because he can dive. This would be desperately foolish of me. Coming out should not force him to give up on trying to be the world’s best diver. It’s a choice he should be able to make one way or the other without being treated like a second-class gay.

I talked about his coming-out previously and why I think we still need people like him to do so. Because they are banalising being gay to irrelevance, they are showing that who they are and who they fuck are not linked and that the prejudices we are all trying to see out of are actually irrelevant, whether they are good or bad. You can be, do, think, believe anything and be gay.

However, not matter how much I believe how useful and a blessing these coming-outs are, I am appalled by the (frankly angry sometimes) endless calls, even from within the community, to famous people to come out so they can put on the supergayhero cape, fight discrimination and be role models to the rest of the world. I read newspaper where columnists are asking, even demanding famous footballers, rugby players or tennis players to “finally!” come out because they think it would stop homophobia in their respective sport. We need some high class gay footballers to come out so we can show all the idiots you can be good at football and get it up the butt. That’s the message I read, even in papers like the Guardian or Le Monde.

Why is it their responsibility to display their sexuality in order to change mentalities? Why is it the responsibility of individuals to publically talk about what kind of gender they fuck so that reactionary idiots stop abusing them? Why is it that the victims have to reveal even more of their private life so their executioners stop trying to murder them? Was it for the victims to prove themselves, to prove they don’t deserve the hits and insults to begin with?

If some people want to do so, it is a major commitment and responsibilty. We should therefore encourage them but if people do not want to do it, we should respect and accept it. After all, we have already had hundreds if not thousands of famous people in all walks of life who came out and are proving homophobes wrong on a daily basis. Some of them by just being themselves, others by taking a bigger step and campaigning, talking, raising awareness. How many more famous gay people will have to say “I like sucking dicks” before the papers and the community are satisfied? All of us? Is “out loud and proud” a prerequisite to being a “real gay”, the way “real Catholics” are only the ones going to church?

If homophobia remains strong in football or other aspects of life, it is not because gay footballers are “closeted cowards” but because there is a systematic, willful failing by the state and the relevant institutions to educate. It’s not because the famous gays have failed their community by choosing to keep their sexuality a private matter, it is because we still expect the victims to be solving the abuse they are suffering from on their own.  “Your fellow gays are being abused, it’s your responsibility to come out, help them and lead by example” is basically the mantra.

 

Not a single gay person, famous or unknown should be forced to make their sexuality public for whatever reason or purpose, good or bad, because coming out means coming to terms with a whole new vision of the world. This is not just the beginning of a new life but the end of another. It is like being forced out of your parent’s home by some strangers because they decided it was time for you to do so. What if you are not ready? The consequences can be and are often terrible and irreversible.

It is time we acknowledge the deep struggle a coming-out is putting an end to.

It is time we acknowledge that coming-out never means life is from then on going to be easy and that it can actually open the way to more existential questions if not the actual Pandora’s box.

It’s time we acknowledge that no degree of fame will ever make that struggle easier and that we need to stop begging for famous people to come out thinking they are going to solve the problem of homophobia by exposing their sexuality.

It’s time we stop forcing people to come out or simply stop outing them to begin with.

It’s time we praise and respect the ones who choose to keep their sexuality a strictly private matter as well as the ones who are using it to fight intolerance because both are serving the same purpose: to make homosexuality irrelevant to who a person is.

Sex myths II: Misperception – No penetration = no sex.

Massive issue when it comes to sexual assault (“It’s not rape, I did not penetrate her!”) and cheating (“I just gave her head”) but I want to keep it on a much lighter note.

My point is: if you consider having sex only if there is penetration, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. And frankly, you’re limiting yourself.

I hear some people complain that they just have sex once a month and that’s because they consider having sex when they have physical penetration. However, getting ready for penetration does take a lot of time, not just for gay sex and yes, one doesn’t have always the luxury of time. Morning sex is fantastic but who has the time for a quick cleaning before breakfast, work and everything? Also one has just woken up and rings are tight in the morning so the foreplay tends to last a bit longer than after a wine-filled romantic diner, sure.

So do enlarge your definition of what is sex and you’ll find out you (can) do a lot of it!  Foreplay is sex, blowjob is sex, handjob is sex, masturbation is sex…I would say that anything intended for carnal pleasure is sex.  No having time for penetration does not mean you don’t have time for sex and they can all be as fulfilling and pleasurable as penetration. A good handjob with a bit of cum-control given by your partner in the morning is beyond!

So don’t feel like sex was bad or rare because you did not put it in some hole in the pelvis area or you did not get anything up there. Thank God we consider bondage as sex even without penetration or it would basically be nothing but torture. Which I guess it is for people whose conception of sex is limited to a penis in a vagina.

I know the whole idea of sex=penetration coming from the belief of sex as a sole act of conception and the penis-envy that supposedly comes from it. Thank you Freud! The implication of the penis as the centre of our sex lives are numerous: like as men not being able to fathom that lesbians can have sex without using penis-shaped utensils. Yes, lesbians do not always use dildoes! “What do they do, then?” asked my brother, stunned.

There is also reducing the definition of a couple to the simple act of penetration. I know a gay couple who never had anal sex so people say they are not a real couple or not gay. Yes, they are a couple because they live together and love each other. They have sex because they do other things together. And yes, they are gay because they love men. The definition of gay doesn’t require taking a penis up your anus. It’s just a plus, the definition of being a gay man is just being attracted to men.

Now it’s up to you but look carefully at your sex life and you’ll find it you have sex more often than you think. Also widen your definition of sex will allow you to do more of it in various times, shapes and forms.

PS: You can also have an orgasm without ejaculating. The joy of anal sex!

Sex myths I – Let’s get into it: Gay men have quickies like in the movies

You might find what I’ll say offensive but I’m not here to discuss porn. Rather the everyday sex between two people which unfortunately is largely taboo and left undiscussed, and therefore deeply misconceived by the influence of myth-riddled porn.

So yeah, the sudden, passionate love-making between two men on TV or in movies, usually in the toilets of some place or a cupboard…We see it more and more now. That’s cute and clean. And bloody hot! But also false.

Anal sex requires preparation, that is quite technical sometimes, and some products! I am not just talking about the essential plug or dildo to stretch gently and gradually during foreplay, or the never-forget-me lube during penetration so it’s actually a pleasure and you avoid haemorrhoids.

Also, and mainly, the fact is that when you use that hole, if unprepared, there’s something happening in this area that sex dares not speak the name of. Yes, it’s here, that’s what it’s for basically.

So if you do want to have a quickie, bring a condom and be ready to get hurt, unless you’re as a horny pig as John Terry. Actually…Make it two or three condoms because there is a chance brown is going to soil and be ready for a quick clean-up too. Not so sexy anymore. Or quick, the gay quickie on TV.

In a nutshell, have anal sex is you really want it, not because you think you have to or because you’re just a bit horny.

And you need lube! So have one in your pocket with your phone.