Archive for the ‘Sex’ Category

The One You Love

This is the sort of stuff that terrifies me. Wait until after you get married to have sex – an academic study and a family therapist say so!

The therapist’s logic is that as sex is one of the most common causes of rows in relationships, it’s better to delay sex until after marriage. No, I’m not following either. The study, though interesting, is from an institution run by Mormons, in the notoriously conservative state of Utah, so let’s not pretend that there might not be some small biases here.

More depressing is the experience of two Irish couples speaking about their decision to wait to have sex before they get married. It’s the idea that you have “clearer heads” if you’re not sexually active; that it’s “weak” to give into sexual feelings; that if men (only men, their responses imply) have slept with someone other than their wives they’ll be discontent, and most irritatingly, the definitive “Couples who refrain from sexual activity before marriage are just going to be happier”. Full stop.

I know, I know. This is the kind of thing that newspapers love to print so that people can get annoyed about it. It’s also the kind of thing that validates a lot of assumptions – that everyone wants to get married. That everyone will get married. That a good relationship means getting married. That despite it all, despite the crazy liberal bias out there (where? Where?) really at the end of the day everyone just wants their one true love and to be settled down with the Love Of Their Life.

I don’t believe in Loves Of Your Life. The American journalist and sex advice guru Dan Savage (‘Savage Love’) talks about how every relationship you are in will fail, until one doesn’t. Excuse me, mister. The end of a relationship is not automatically a failure. Painful, often, sure, but the point of many relationships isn’t that they last forever – it’s that they’re good while they last. In an era where people may frequently move jobs, move towns, move countries, it makes far more sense to think about relationships as something which need to be with The Love Of Today – by all means considering long-term possibilities, plans and goals where appropriate, but always ensuring that each relationship is in itself a good thing. Not something which will later be compared to a marriage, not something which prepares you for the ‘real’ love later on, not something which seems like it could ‘become’ good if you follow a rigid path, but something worthwhile in itself.

The Love Of Today might sound pretty flippant, but the benefit of it as an overarching theory is that it works for all relationships, not assuming that everything needs to lead to marriage or long-term commitment or monogamy. It reminds us that people grow and change and that the person who’s a perfect fit at fifteen might not be at twenty, or be great for us at twenty and completely wrong at forty. We don’t always want or need the kind of relationship that could last forever – and there’s a whole lot of worthwhile, valid and meaningful middle ground between the fleeting one-night stand or holiday romance and the lifetime commitment.

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Stop all this rampant casual pill-popping wanton humping, for God's sake...

In yesterday’s Irish Independent rambo-catholic David Quinn sought to portray himself as a martyr for free speech. Whilst he demonised women for seeking the morning after pill in Boots (preferring restraint or chastity!) Quinn also whined to high heaven about being the victim of repressive feminazis on Twitter. Poor Dave! Apparently some had the cheek to define his views on women’s control over their own bodies as ‘medieval’. He also claimed he’d been insulted and called a cunt. He scrambled about in the dark for 40 dazed seconds wondering ‘how we ever got to a point where there’s even a demand for a product like this’. The word demand here of course meaning a desire for sex outside of a committed relationship, such as a deluxe married one. There are no offers of stats accompanying this ancillary demand. Rather, he seems to have taken the product name: ‘Morning After Pill’ to heart, like Head & Shoulders shampoo could mean decapitation to a psycho. Availability of such a product will simply encourage the easily swayed fairer sex to indulge in quick-fix hot rampant park-n-ride humping at a moment’s notice.

The type of woman Dave sees wanting this pill: ‘Young, single women who were out on the tear over the weekend.’ Why don’t you just call them ‘slags’ and be done with it, someone snapped back on Twitter. Women scrambling for this €45 ‘abortifacient’ offering − in David’s comely eyes a kind of preemptive breakfast muffin termination − doesn’t seem to include 30 or 40-something women like me dealing with a burst condom scenario. Sorry Dave, but I do tend to like it a bit frantic and it’s happened twice, or a married woman worried her ordinary pill may not work after a bout of sickness/diarrhoea. And a myriad of other situations where emergency contraception is needed, including in cases of sexual assault. Imagine in the dark old days if such a service was available to women, especially young women who fell pregnant through incest, rape and abuse. And don’t say those scenarios were rare! If there was a morning after pill in 1983, for instance, maybe the young woman who died giving birth in that dreadful desolate place at Granard might never have been put in such a lethal position.

Instead, P for Pill in the Quinn context seems to spell PROMISCUITY to a congregation of tunnel visioners. He refers to pro-contraception folk as ‘moralising anti-moralisers’. It’s an inversion of the truth to portray those on the liberal side of the sexuality debate as the newfound ‘old right’. Such a dishonest move turns all logic and meaning on its head. ‘The problem with your thesis is that you want to legislate for an aspirational society that doesn’t, and may never, exist,’ another twitterer responded. Nor does he mention anywhere in his quickie-porridge-oats analysis, health concerns or issues surrounding the actual taking of the morning after pill. Even that would be a type of progress or perceptibility. He prefers to finger-wag at the female sexual gambol, citing that ‘demand can only be high where there is a high level of self-defeating, self-destructive behaviour’.

I seem to recall similar fears about the potential for mass-hysteria triggered divorces back in 1997 too. And God forbid if we should ever have abortion available in Ireland, we’ll be dashing out to get preggers just for the Nilfisk novelty of it all. While I’m all for the I Believe In Talking Snakes lobby having their divine say, it’s worth remembering that concrete church & state roadblocks obstructing liberalism began to crumble back in the late-1980s, when contraception became more freely available here in all its ambrosial forms. So the marauding tart tanked up on cheap booze and gagging for it without any prior contraception sorted, is tired nugatory nonsense. Coincidentally this change in our society arrived around the same time news broke in the international press of rampantly repressed Irish clergy brutally raping children on an industrial scale. Here’s hoping Boots launch a 2011 Here Cum The Girls campaign, with two for the price of one thrown in for good measure. In the meantime you can read Dave’s latest sermon here − I’m off out to buy some lube and jump on the first cock I see.

June Caldwell is a writer, who after 13 years of journalism, is finally writing a novel. She has a MA in Creative Writing and was winner of ‘Best Blog Post’ award at the 2011 Irish Blog Awards. You can read this post on her own blog here:

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No use crying about it

Much of what modern science does, and why, baffles me, so I suppose it shouldn’t be too surprising to learn about studies which show that women’s tears have been shown to reduce male sexual arousal. It’s the scent of the tears apparently, rather than any visual cues that might affect his testosterone level – and only real tears, rather than saline, will do.nomoretears

While the researchers plan on studying the effect of men’s tears on women and men, their reduction of sexual arousal to hormone levels and brain activity in the rather strange environment of sniffing tears while looking at a series of female faces seems a little dubious, as does the notion that a sympathetic response to someone crying may be now read as an involuntary physical response on the part of men.

Given the small sample (24 men took part in the study) it isn’t particularly scientifically relevant, but it seems to make good news – plenty of opportunity for one-liners about having found “one good man crier” or talking about how red noses are already enough of a turnoff for men.

I haven’t found an article yet which poses the question of whether a crying woman might actually want a man to find her sexually attractive or not. Funny that.

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Hurrah! We’ve just had another annual tits ‘n ass fest previously known as Halloween, and it was like Kentucky Fried Chicken out there, with all those breasts and thighs.

French maids, slutty vampires, busty pirates, micro-minied milkmaids, pussy in boots, all available on a street near you, probably goosebumped but bobbing merrily, and not for apples I hasten to add.

Once upon a time – quite possibly in a book I read – a costume entailed a sheet with holes for eyes, or donning all the black layers in your wardrobe, lashing on black eyeliner, investing in a warty nose and working on your evil cackle.

But now the snout is out and the pout is in, ladies; yes, flesh is the new black, and the witches are bewitching.

Halloween pumpkins in Damariscotta, Maine: not the fashionable costume choice this year.

For next year, remember that small is the new big, and BIG is out, out, OUT, so don’t hit the town dressed as Princess Fiona, a pumpkin, or Ann Widdecombe.

For 2011’s festivities, you could be a dirty devil, a Playboy bunny, Wonderwoman (leaving people to wonder how you manage to pee wearing that Lycra one-piece) or cavewoman, you lucky little hussies, or a belly dancer (always practical in the far northern hemisphere) or perhaps a kitty cat, with a long tail, a body stocking and a happy helping of camel toe.

I believe Red Riding Hood was hot this year, but then she would be, wouldn’t she, in corset and fishnets? Whips were big too, but hemlines are very, very small.

According to The Times (Saturday, 30 October 2010), spending on Halloween has risen from £12 million a decade ago to £300 million this year. Asda alone has flogged 60 000 pairs of fangs, 42,000 vampire suits and 30,000 tubes of fake blood.

Supermarkets – those recognised purveyors of couture and good taste – sold more than two million costumes. PVC and polyester outfits lined the rails, each one an itsy-bitsy, flimsy fire hazard for a floozy.

In fact, Halloween sales have actually outstripped Valentine’s Day’s merry shopathon, and this time the men didn’t even need to try…
It’s a trick women somehow played on themselves, and a treat for all the well-covered fellas.
So now who’s the pumpkin?

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Do straight women enjoy sex? Or is it simply the price they pay for being in a relationship with a man?

According to writer and broadcaster Stephen Fry, it is the latter. He claims, in an interview in November’s Attitude magazine, that women only have sex with men “because sex is the price they are willing to pay for a relationship”.

As reprinted in today’s Guardian, he went on to say:

…he believed most straight men felt that “they disgust women” as they “find it difficult to believe that women are as interested in sex as they are”.

“If women liked sex as much as men, there would be straight cruising areas in the way there are gay cruising areas. Women would go and hang around in churchyards thinking: ‘God, I’ve got to get my fucking rocks off’, or they’d go to Hampstead Heath and meet strangers to shag behind a bush. It doesn’t happen. Why? Because the only women you can have sex with like that wish to be paid for it.”

Fry, 53, continues: “I feel sorry for straight men. The only reason women will have sex with them is that sex is the price they are willing to pay for a relationship with a man, which is what they want,” he said. “Of course, a lot of women will deny this and say, ‘Oh no, but I love sex, I love it!’ But do they go around having it the way that gay men do?”

His remarks  – which were ironically in the ‘Role Models’ issue of Attitude – have garnered a huge amount of criticism, not least from outspoken feminists such as Rosie Boycott.

The reaction on Twitter has been huge, with the majority of people shocked by his comments.

A man much-loved for his openness about his own life, particularly his sexuality and his mental health, Fry has demonstrated that even noted intellectuals can be prone to generalising about female sexuality. His comments show a startling lack of knowledge about what heterosexual women enjoy about sex with men, that not all women have the same sex lives, and ignores the fact that there are many women who enjoy having sex with women.

His belief that if women enjoyed sex they would be out cruising and cottaging is curious as it also ignores the social and cultural reasons why these practices evolved – one of which was the criminalisation of homosexuality. Then there are the many other reasons why straight women don’t generally cruise alone for sex (though there is dogging, which generally involves couples and single straight men), such as safety.

As one of Antiroom’s founders Anna Carey said on Twitter:

“Cottaging etc developed cos of centuries of taboos re gay & extramarital sex. He ignores socio-cultural history. And men traditionally had much more freedom than women, esp middle/upperclass women, to go out looking for sex.”

Also bizarre is his comment that the only women who would have sex “like that” must be prostitutes, who like sex as much as men only because they are being paid for it.

Though there are some who argue that Fry’s comments are referring to the ‘differences between the sexes’, women’s sexuality has evolved in the past century.  Here in Ireland, as the grip of the Roman Catholic Church loosened on society women were more free to explore their own sexuality. The legalisation of the Pill, availability of condoms, the growth of the LGBT movement and feminist movement all had roles in creating freedom of sexual expression for Irish women.

This is not to say that sexual freedom has been ‘won’, but that women in Ireland today can enjoy sexual freedoms hard fought for.

To have someone of such a high profile as Stephen Fry treat female sexuality like it is a ‘price to be paid’ for being in a relationship is quite baffling, and not a little infuriating.

Perhaps he needs to educate himself in how enjoyable (and different) women’s sex lives can be – this recent Anti Room group post might be a good place to start.

What do you think of his comments? Let us know below.

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Whether you’re a fan of Christine O’Donnell or not (and I’m not), this grubby, tell-all piece by a 25-year-old man who had a Halloween one-night stand with her is mean and personal. Apart from criticising her sexual prowess and her, er, lady garden, the tone throughout is meant to undermine and demean O’Donnell. The night in question was three years ago and Tea Party hopeful (dressed up as a ladybird) is painted as predatory – yes the word ‘cougar’ is blithely used – and because she made the first move, is described as “aggressive”. This guy agreed to let her use his apartment to get changed, then dressed up himself for Halloween, went to a bar, drank heartily with her, got “cosy” on the couch in his apartment before moving to the bed.  So maybe the sex wasn’t great and that he had a bad hangover on no sleep, but does the encounter warrant this sort of mean attack, which is so personal?

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Like some of the best and worst ideas, this post was inspired by a slightly wine-fuelled conversation – when did you have your first orgasm? Orgasms can be a tricky subject for women – unlike the vast majority of men, many women don’t have orgasms until well into adulthood, and some never have them at all. Some never have them through penetrative sex, while others can never really please themselves. Here, some very anonymous Anti-Roomers remember their first times. And yes, this is totally anonymous – not even the editors know who wrote these confessions.

We'll have what she's having

Orgasms were treated with scepticism among my teenage friends in 1980’s Dublin – there was an impression that only men got them and that women’s orgasms were invented by women’s magazines. That they were a myth.

Anyway, I soon knew better: I got my first orgasm was when I was 15, standing at my parent’s front door with my then boyfriend. It was about 7am, we had been to his debs and were crawling home. He fumbled for a bit under my bridal hoop (yes, the dress was a disaster!). His groping was less inept than usual and suddenly I was enjoying it. Woo! It felt like I had wet myself, which was weird but I was chuffed when I realised that I had had my first orgasm; I felt a bit superior. I dumped him a few days later. Job done.

*            *            *            *            *            *            *            *

My first orgasm happened during a blackout under a fish tank. Not an electricity blackout: a gin one. Worse than that, it was at the hands of a woman and I wasn’t even gay or bi. She was the daughter of psychiatrists – recovering from an abortion – her best friend had just died of moles. Some of the best friend’s clothes were vacuum-packed in the wardrobe. Kate Bush waaa waaa waaaa’d in the background. “She wouldn’t leave the sun alone,” she said, pouring more gin down my throat. There was a Victorian bath in the house which she showed me just before I collapsed. My last memory was her standing on the scales announcing that she’d stay seven stone all her life because all she ate was a small bowl of tuna & pasta per day: no biscuits or crisps, pastry made her sick. Six weeks later she told me that we’d slept together on our way to a History of Ideas exam. I never remembered the moment and never got over missing my first orgasm.

*            *            *            *            *            *            *            *

I was 18. He was 35, unavailable and therefore deeply unsuitable. But I was in thrall to this experienced man, convinced we were in love. Our meetings were infrequent, clandestine and unbelievably thrilling.

He would pick me up in his car at a prearranged spot, well away from my house (I still lived with my parents) and we would drive to a quiet seaside or country spot. After a walk or a drink in the pub we’d head back to the car for some action.

Man, did that guy deliver on the orgasm front – I got quite an education. Oddly, we never had penetrative sex (but hey ladies, no woman gets orgasms from penetration eh? Am I right?). He never even took his trousers off. Everything was done for my pleasure, things progressed with exquisite slowness – he always made sure I was ready before moving on to the next stage. I had the time of my life, but I was never quite sure what he was getting out of it.

Our meetings came to an abrupt end when my parents confronted me about my secret life – a concerned person had reported his suspicions. They agreed when I begged to be allowed meet him one last time. No orgasms that night, he couldn’t wait to get away when he heard my news.

That was the last time I ever saw him. I was technically still a virgin, but I had had some amazing sex.

*            *            *            *            *            *            *            *

Which kind do you mean? Because I know there are at least two.

Would you believe me if I told you I have never had an orgasm brought about by having penetrative sex? I’ve had lovely lovers who knew what I was talking about, but not one of them ever made my body convulse through repeated stimulation of my g-spot with their erect penis. Am I weird? Do I not have a g-spot? Is it a myth?

I love having sex, I have a high sex drive, I’ve been an active masturbator since my early teens, and probably before. My clitoris jumps when I click my fingers, and swells and shivers under an expert tongue. The orgasms it fires through me are heaven. It’s brought me more fun and games than I could ever record. But inside, deep inside, where The Other Orgasm happens? I draw a blank, or it draws me.

This is the truth. I just haven’t met it yet.

*            *            *            *            *            *            *            *

My turn. I so get you. I’ve had precisely one proper penetrative orgasm in my very long sexual life, and I actually stopped what I was doing in surprise. The only thing that was different from the usual (perfectly pleasant) experience was, well, it was outdoors. Must have been the moonlight.

I’m expert at faking it. Why? Because it’s the only way to get a guy to stop before you get friction burns. I’ve tried explaining that penetrative orgasm is stupidly rare, almost mythical, but each man wants to think that he’s different and that he’s got the knack. Bless. It’s sweet, but not biologically likely.

*            *            *            *            *            *            *            *

Mint ice-cream. When I remember my first orgasm, I can never forget the mint ice-cream. It was a wintry, Sunday afternoon and I was sitting on the bed of my first boyfriend, who lived at home. We had just had dinner with his parents downstairs and brought our dessert upstairs. Our relationship was three months old and I was 17. It was intense, first love stuff, but had been very physically innocent, that is until he removed my underwear that afternoon, placed mint ice-cream between my thighs and proceeded to lick it all off. When the orgasm finally happened, I thought my head would explode. He never made me come from penetration, but he was spectacularly good with his tongue.

*     *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

I was 21 before I had an orgasm, which in retrospect makes me quite angry because if I’d known how easy it was, I’d have had plenty of them a lot earlier. Thanks to a sex education which paid absolutely no attention to female pleasure, I wasn’t exactly sure where the clitoris was, and teenage attempts at masturbation had involved trying to stick in my finger in, which wasn’t in any way pleasurable. A few inept boyfriends later, I thought I’d had an orgasm – a sort of quivering feeling – but as it turned out, I hadn’t. I finally discovered what a real orgasm felt like when I was away for the summer and went out with a very talented young man who was particularly good at cunnilingus. And this was how, on hot July morning, I came for the first time and realised that there was no mistaking this particular feeling. Luckily, I was able to make up for lost time. He was so good that one morning I came so many times I was literally too exhausted to go to work and had to call in sick. Once back home, I realised that I couldn’t live without coming, and quickly figured out how to give them to myself. I haven’t looked back since.

*     *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

Strangely, I can’t remember my first orgasm but I know where it happened and with whom.

I met my first boyfriend when I was sixteen, by which time I was proficient at The Art of Self-Love. Two years previously, my hippy aunt had loaned me her copy of Our Bodies Ourselves, which had an entire chapter devoted to masturbation and was full of stories of sexual awakening that I found very…err…inspiring. Needless to say, the book was never returned.

At sixteen, I’d never gone further than kissing but that all changed when Boy #1 appeared on the scene. After the preliminary niceties had been observed, it was all fumbling, all the time. My earliest orgasms with him came about in a frenzy of fully-clothed grinding on the gravel footpath of a park near my house. Neither of us was deterred by the possibility of discovery nor by the painful grazes caused by our encounters and it was several months before we moved on to more comfortable locations.

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