"Our life evokes our character. You find out more about yourself as you go on. That's why it's good to be able to put yourself in situations that will evoke your higher nature rather than your lower. 'Lead us not into temptation.'" Joseph Campbell

Monday, March 28, 2011

Needed: condoms for after-sex insults

The Stay-at-Home Feminist Mom wrote about this article on Jezebel: (click to see larger/go to the article)

I think the study, and the resultant discussion at Feminist Mom, and part of the discussion on Jezebel, were all about women already in relationships, with men who might very well be attracted to them, want to sleep with them, but the women feel unattractive anyway. Or in some cases the sex is happening, but there's still this voice in the back your head saying "Why is this sex thing happening? I does not sport a sexy bod!"

But other discussions on Jezebel veered off towards single women and dating, as well as some women who are virgins because of how they feel about their bodies.

I ended up reading all the comments at Jezebel because one woman wrote:
This makes me want to write a book about how men see a naked girl. Come on! A naked girl in front of them!!! How hot is that? They're not sizing up the wobbly bits. Oh my goodness gracious. Poll men. They're not thinking anything except...a girl is nekked in front of me!!!!! Blood is rushing elsewhere in their body...they're not even really thinking. 
...and this started a kerfuffle with some others, as they brought up examples of horrible things men had said after sex. I was curious whether, if I read through the comments, I would find more examples of stupid things men had said, or supportive/accepting things. (The entire thread was mostly about heterosexual sex, because the few bisexual women who chimed in had had positive experiences with other women.)

In the end, more women had examples of nice things their partners had said, than mean things. I copied and pasted as I went, so you can compare the two lists at the end.

A lot of other interesting conversations sprang up, and of course how a woman feels about her body isn't necessarily going to change depending on the support-a-tude, or lack thereof, of her partner. But most people, male or female, will experience some scarring if exposed to cruel or just thoughtless comments when nekkid. It's a hazard of sex, even in a committed and caring relationship. 

And it did get me thinking about how we choose our sexual partners, so we can at least minimize the chances that we're ever told "You'd be really hot if you weren't so fat" after sex. One woman in the comments finally asked: "Now, in the interest of helping ourselves identify and avoid getting naked with partners who are likely to be critical about naked bodies, what do you all consider red flags?"

I'm not sure if you can identify red flags, though I'd love to hear your thoughts.  The longer you date someone, there must be some. One person suggested how he talks about other women, but no one else chimed in.

I think the other way to avoid would be to have less partners. One of my science-ee friends could probably work out a good math equation for this, which would factor in:

* a measure of your self esteem as it relates to your naked body
* how much worth you place on that type of self esteem, in relation to the pleasure you get from sex
* and how much your risk of being exposed to cruel comments goes up, with the number of partners you have.

Which could be adjusted for things like where you pick them up, how long you know them for before you sleep with them, and your state of inebriation. (If you're really drunk, hey, you won't even remember what he said. If he's really drunk, he may not talk!)

In the editorial/song "Wear Sunscreen" Mary Schmich wrote "Don't be reckless with other people's hearts, don't put up with people who are reckless with yours'."  Maybe we could adapt this to: Don't be reckless with your Sense of Self. I'd like to think that a healthy sense of selfatude would sniff out the asshole before he ever made it to your bedroom, but I'm sure--aside from the regular Dumb Nice Guy Stuff*--some jerks do make it through. In which case, I hope we put on our best Miss Piggy and karate chop their asses to the curb, rather than collapse in sadness.

I think I'm entitled to feel awesome while naked in the privacy of my bedroom with someone who *wants* to be there.   (earthly_delight on jezebel)

* Dumb Nice Guy Stuff: Like "Hey that dress makes you look pregnant!" :-D

  • I once had a partner tell me, "You could be hot if you just toned up." This was after we had sex, while I was standing there naked.
  •  I have had two men in my lifetime tell me that I was would look hotter if I lost weight. Ironically, that happened when I was the skinniest I've been in my life. One of the guys was actually fucking me, went soft, and he told me I was just too fat and he didn't find me attractive. 
  • having a had more than one man actually stop mid-sex because they were so repulsed by my stretch marks and cellulite (at a time when I was a good bit more toned than now), been told I'm disgusting to look at and one memorable occasion, spat on by a man for how I looked while naked, I'm unable to relax and enjoy myself around sex these days
  • One of my (straight-up gorgeous) friends slept with a guy, and afterward he listed her flaws and told her she should get plastic surgery. 
  • I have very petite and beautiful friend who has had so much nasty stuff said to her. One of her bfs told her that her boobs were too small, another called her chubby (I won't name weight, but she IS tiny and when she told me that it pissed me off), and another made a comment about her vag being "the wrong shape."
  • "You'd be hot if you weren't such a big fat girl"

  • I'm overweight but when me and the bf (at the time) were intimate, he loved my body while I hated it.  
  • the current bf wants to stroke my legs even when I haven't shaved for weeks
  • Wow. I've been with my fellow at different weights spanning fifty pounds, and I've this has never been an issue. For either of us.
  • I once had a partner say 'I like how you jiggel when we are fucking". 
  • I personally find jiggling flesh (e.g. breasts) very erotic and so have many of my lovers.  
  • lol, my ex once told me "you're so thick" but the way he said it...it was the greatest compliment he'd ever paid me about my appearance. =D  
  • I'm a size 24, and I am so freaking confident. MANY lovers love exactly this aspect of me. 
  • I really don't think he would care (he actively encourages me to stop shaving my legs), but my body hair really bothers me.
  • the understanding of my boyfriend and his reassuring me that I'm beautiful no matter what have helped me stop minding my legs when I'm with him
  • I feel your pain about the body hair (and laser hair removal didn't do a damn thing for it). Luckily, I'm with someone that thinks I'm hot, so I'm a little less self-conscious about it.  
  • I've realized that things that seem glaringly obvious to me are usually things that they'd never notice. I mean, my weight has fluctated twenty-five pounds in the time I've slept with one partner, and he claims that he hasn't noticed.  
  • I also have very pale and delicate skin and stretch marks and scars (some self-inflicted) everywhere PLUS I am overweight and saggy. I have never had sex with a guy who didn't end up finding me attractive while I am naked in their bed. Usually they are VERY vocal about how sexy they find me. I feign confidence really well and guys totally dig that.
  • I don't think he ever noticed my cellulite!!! He is too busy noticing I'm naked. 
  • Most guys don't care about stretch marks or scars. Believe me. you think about it more than they do. 
  • Here's what I've found out though, dudes really don't give a shit.
  • The media made this sweeping decision about what men in their 20s (or 30s or 40s or whatever) should be attracted to but in my experience men are varied. I mean, if men really weren't attracted to cellulite, stretch marks, soft tummies, big boobs, small boobs etc.. than they probably wouldn't be fucking at all!  The media made this sweeping decision about what men in their 20s (or 30s or 40s or whatever) should be attracted to but in my experience men are varied. I mean, if men really weren't attracted to cellulite, stretch marks, soft tummies, big boobs, small boobs etc.. than they probably wouldn't be fucking at all! 
  • Though I'm far from svelte, I don't have this problem, but I think it's because I have a very supportive husband.  
  • I am currently at my highest weight of my life and am all kinds of saggy and jiggly, because I had twins less than a year ago. My husband loves me and he wants to have sex
  • We have a tv show here in the UK called How To Look Good Naked ... almost all of the women say that they avoid letting their partner see them naked as they're so ashamed of their bodies. And their partners almost always say that they still find her sexy and gorgeous and desirable.
  • My partner praises my body every day (he told me his favourite time of day is watching me undress for my shower each morning).      
[For the record, my husband falls in the "Positive" category.]


    widdershins said...

    I've tried to write this comment a couple of times... I've started with phrases like 'internalised body hatred', 'mainstream media manipulation, 'the best way to see something is create a market for it'. and so on... ..

    ..but above it all I just feel sad that so many women carry lifelong damage from our cultural imperative that the 'perfect (and young) body' is the answer, to everything ... sad and ANGRY!...

    ... anyway, as any afficionardo of Douglas Adams knows, the answer is ... 42

    ... well done Miss Mabel... another thought provoking post.

    widdershins said...

    errata: that should read... the best way to SELL something

    ... it's getting dark. I probably should turn a light on!

    London Mabel said...

    These topics have so many layers to them, I feel the same way when I address them. Where to start!!

    If you want to indulge the anger, follow the Feminist Mom (who goes by the name The Fokker). She just lets the fury rip!


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