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Dear Stranger from out of town, I’m not an unpaid prostitute.

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Online dating is the social experiment that keeps on giving.  I’m always amazed at hidden agendas it reveals.  If I select that I’m looking for casual sex in my profile, I will literally get over 100 emails in a 24 hour period.  Men are looking for no strings attached sex, but few will be completely open about their intentions.  One of the strangest phenomena are men from out-of-town who seek sex with New York City women.  My inbox overflows requests like these, yet nothing on my profile indicates that I’m looking for hook-ups.  A typical email goes like this:

I think you’re hot. I’m going to be in New York City next week and I’d love to hook-up if you’re game for that sort of thing. If you aren’t, then my apologizes.

The straight forward approach is a bit unnerving, but they are easy enough to dismiss.   I always admire anyone who has the courage to ask for what they want.  As I’ve said many times on this blog, I wish more men were open and honest.  For every email like that one, I get about 10 of these:

I really think we have a connection. Even though we haven’t met, I can tell from your profile that you’re a caring and loving woman. Something about your eyes, and smile are so inviting to me.  I also think we have a lot in common, and we’d have a great time together.  I’ll only be in town for a week, and I really need someone to show me around the city. I know I could just sit in my hotel room in between my work, but I’d rather spend it with someone special like you.

Those make me want to vomit. It’s also an obvious cut and paste.  A guy will send the same email to dozens of women hoping one will bite.  My profile is mostly random movie quotes.  A savvier man will comment on the films I’ve quoted, or at least acknowledge that my profile is slightly unconventional.  Talking about my eyes, smile or the many things we have in common is intentionally vague.  Every woman has eyes, and most are smiling in at least one photo – so I guess a few might fall for complete drivel like that.  Others might realize the guy is a total phony but they think he’s attractive enough for a one-night stand.

Then we have the truly slime inducing ones:

Look, I’m going to be in New York City next week.  I’m going to be extremely busy.  Maybe if you’re hot enough in person, I’ll make some time for you.  You won’t regret it but you’d better be hot, or forget it.  I’ve got nine inches of pure manhood and I love to make hot chicks moan.

Luckily men like this are rare.  When I’ve gotten emails like these I’ve responded, “Why aren’t you on tinder” or “Hire a prostitute” or “I don’t need an out-of-town STD.”

Usually the men who proposition me for such liaisons aren’t exactly drop dead gorgeous, but a few have been.  I’ve still never taken the bait.  I’m not comfortable with these situations for a number of reasons.

  • Are these men married? Who knows?
  • Safety issues – Theft, sexual assault or worse
  • Drugs – Will I be slipped something that will knock me out?  Will the man be blazed out of his mind?
  • Privacy – Photographs, video, webcams – technology has gotten so small anything is possible
  • Unusual requests, unexpected kinky sex, inappropriate boundaries
  • BAD SEX

The last one is in all caps for a reason.  Sex with strangers is like rolling the dice, you really have no idea if you are going to have a steamy, hot night of passion or an awkward, uncomfortable evening of disappointment.  Simply put sex with a total stranger, is sometimes not just mediocre but downright scaring.  Most of the time when men have sex, they’ll at least have an orgasm.  Any woman knows we aren’t always as lucky.  A selfish or unskilled lover can make the entire enterprise one long night we wish we could forget forever.

Women also get hit up for free sex all the time.  If I want no strings attached sex I can probably get that from someone I already know and trust a bit.  I also don’t need a girlfriend or wife tracking me down weeks or months later when they’ve discovered an “affair” which was really just a random hook-up.

Overall these requests make me feel like I have no value.  A sex worker might put up with strange sexual requests, a selfish one-sided lover or an uncomfortable experience.  A prostitute at least gets paid, and usually quite well for their services.  Of course some women love the turn on of having sex with a total stranger who they will never see again.  However most women who want hot sex from out-of-town men are on hook-up sites like Adult Friend Finder and Tinder.  It’s a bit of a leap for any man to assume all women want this type of sexual experience.

Basically. if you want to buy shoes, don’t go to a hat store.  Plenty of women are waiting for your emails you just need to look for them on sites specific to your search.  Sex workers are also always available, they might be pricy but there’s nothing wrong with an agreed upon transaction between consenting adults.  Never assume the average gal on OKCupid or Match.com is waiting for your “Nine inches manhood.”  We know it’s probably closer to six inches anyway. 🙂

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Dating in NYC: Top 10 Tips for Dating Multiple People

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Before I even tackle this subject I will openly admit I’m a solidly monogamous person.  As I’ve written before the whole idea of multiple lovers, hookups and sexual relationships with near strangers baffles me.  I can’t keep several plates spinning while I’m trying to write this blog, work on my memoir, get stage time in New York City and pay my rent.   I’m writing this though because this issue comes up all the time, and I’m annoyed that most of the articles I’ve found about this topic are written only for men.  I’ve based these tips on experiences I’ve had and what a lot of my friends have gone through.  I not advocating for any style of dating, nor would I say this would work for every person.

There are many variations on dating multiple people, too many to list here really.  The key to having multiple partners should NOT be about lying, sneaking around and deception.  Lies are evil.  As I have said before:

I would rather have an honest sinner than a phony saint.

The following are just guidelines.  It’s really about what any two people are comfortable with in any partnership.  If you only have sex with a person once, they really don’t need to know much.  But if you are seeing more than one person on a regular basis, communication is key to keeping everyone happy.

1. Let a new partner know early on that you are not looking for a sexually exclusive relationship: Of course this can change as the relationship develops.  Neither partner should assume though that a casual open relationship will turn into a committed monogamous one. When in doubt – communicate.

2. Avoid getting involved with people who aren’t also honest with their primary partners – A friend who has been polyamorous for years put it to me this way.  “I avoid being the ‘other’ woman.  If a man tells me he is in an open marriage, I tell him I will have to speak to your wife about this, just to make sure”  It might sound crazy, but if the couple is in an open marriage, this sort of request probably happens to them all the time.  It’s better to make sure everything is above-board, before you find some woman calling you a home-wrecker or threatening to kill you for sleeping with her husband.

3. Don’t assume one lover wants to hear details about any others – Some partners honestly may not mind this, but not everyone is different.  One woman might not want to know that another regular partner is younger, thinner, lives closer to you or has a cat.  If these relationships truly are separate, then there is no reason to share this sort of information.  Simply establishing that you are not exclusive is usually enough.  If you want a change in your relationship, then let your partner know.  NEVER ASSUME ANYTHING! 

4. Always use protection – If you are having sex with multiple people – DON’T BE AN IDIOT.  Use condoms and practice safe sex.  Other than the usual STDs we all fear, there is a strain of antibiotic resistant Gonorrhea going around New York City that is all sorts of awful. Spreading STD’s is irresponsible and reckless.  If you want to have condom free sex, then maybe you might want to find one primary partner and at least use condoms outside of the main relationship.

5. Beware of Social Media – If you tweet naughty messages to one woman know that anyone can see it. You don’t know who knows each other or which partner might be a regular cyber sleuth.  Facebook profiles are even more transparent – comments, likes, even old conversations with partners are there for life unless you remove them.  A simple comment like, “You are so beautiful” could get you in trouble if you post it where another, more neglected lover, could see it. Basically you have to treat all comments on social media as if you are standing on top of a mountain declaring them for the universe.  The internet holds no secrets.

6. Don’t treat you casual lovers like girlfriends/boyfriends – Again there are no hard rules to this, as some polyamorous relationships are anything but casual.   This is the number one complaint I get from both men and women about casual relationships.  You can’t expect someone who you see only for sex on occasion to get that emotionally invested in you.  They aren’t going to necessarily want to meet your friends, go to social functions with you, listen to your neurotic ramblings or bring you chicken soup when you get a nasty cold.  When these lines get blurred, people are more likely to get their feelings hurt.  Anyone can have a primary relationship and still have multiple lovers on the side, but not without some boundaries first.  You should never assume a regular hook-up is a girlfriend, or even wants that role.

7. Treat everyone with respect – This should go without saying in every dating situation.  I’ve seen a lot of alarming language on dating sites, where a man or woman will go on and on about their primary partner and then send an email that is just rude and inappropriate to a total stranger.

8. Don’t make anyone feel like they are last on your list – This might be OK with some partners, but overall you don’t want to make a person feel like you literally called up three or four people before you decided to settle on them.

9. Don’t complain about other lovers – This is just rude behavior.  If a woman complains to a partner about another man she is seeing, he is likely to assume she will turn around and do the same thing to him.

10. When in doubt communicate – Of course you can lie and sneak around, but there is a good likelihood that you’ll get caught.  When you get caught a betrayed lover might slash your tires, show up at your workplace and scream “Whore” as you walk down the street, stalk you or one of your other partners, text you incessantly for hours, post naked photos of you online, write Facebook statuses trashing your name, or even threaten you with physical violence.  Deception brings out the worst in people.  Some people are emotionally unstable, mentally ill, cruel, narcissistic or have deeply entrenched personality disorders.  No amount of open communication can prevent a person from reacting in a completely irrational or psychotic way.  However a string of lies is more likely to make a perfectly well-adjusted human being buy a ticket to a place called crazytown.

It’s really up to you and your partners – Other than practicing safe-sex and respect, it’s really up to each person.  When in doubt be open and COMMUNICATE. Some of the biggest problems in any relationship come from not understanding what both partners want.

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Weinergate: Can We get Real about Slut Shaming?

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Slut (Photo credit: artgoeshere)

I’ve written about this topic before as I am growing increasingly frustrated by the entire concept.   To quote FinallyFeminism101

Short answer: Slutshaming, also known as slut-bashing, is the idea of shaming and/or attacking a woman or a girl for being sexual, having one or more sexual partners, acknowledging sexual feelings, and/or acting on sexual feelings. Furthermore, it’s “about the implication that if a woman has sex that traditional society disapproves of, she should feel guilty and inferior” (Alon Levy, Slut Shaming). It is damaging not only to the girls and women targeted, but to women in general an society as a whole. It should be noted that slut-shaming can occur even if the term “slut” itself is not used.

Personally I don’t agree that the term ‘slut’ is gender specific as I know plenty of men who also proudly call themselves sluts or slutty.  I do however think slut shaming is a real problem and that the media uses completely different criteria for the appropriateness of sexual behavior of men and women.  There is a very strong double standard that reinforces the notion that ‘good’ women don’t like sex, don’t have many sexual partners and don’t express themselves sexually.

Recently Think Progress tried to make the argument that the media was using the recent Anthony Weiner sex scandal as an excuse to slut shame the women involved.  Although I agree with them that they have a point, I don’t think Weiner’s sexting partner is best example.

The facts of the story as we know it is that AFTER Anthony Weiner publicly humiliated himself, resigned from congress and nearly destroyed his marriage he started yet another virtual relationship with Sydney Leathers, a 22-year-old from Indiana.  Leathers knew Weiner had a sexting problem, was a married man, and that his wife was expecting their first child.   Informed of all of this, she decided to have a virtual sexually explicit relationship with him.   According to her, Weiner promised her an apartment, political contacts and even a possible job.   After months of these exchanges she grew bored, realized any monetary gain was not forthcoming and ended the relationship.  When she discovered that Weiner was running for mayor she decided to share her story to show the world that he was not a changed man.

During her brief interview with Howard Stern, Leathers came across as flippant and completely uncaring towards Weiner’s wife Huma Abedin.  She seemed completely unrepentant of any pain or humiliation that she might have caused Abedin.   It takes two people to have an affair of course, and Weiner is more culpable for damaging his marriage than anyone.

I don’t see a victim in Ms. Leathers.  What I see instead is an opportunist who knew completely what she was doing and when she didn’t get her promised rewards of a condo or a job she figured she would cash in somehow and take revenge on her lying virtual lover.  If anything her actions have been quite regressive.  Women like her reinforce the stereotype of the shallow, heartless succubus exploiting men when they get the opportunity.

Is anything sacred anymore?  Have we completely thrown out the rule book?  Is it OK to have sex with any adult at any time and refuse to take any responsibility, regardless of the consequences?  Does marriage mean anything?  I can’t bend my morality to the point that all behavior no matter how selfish or hurtful towards others is simply written off.   If Leathers wants the notoriety for being the ‘other’ woman she has to accept the good with the bad.  Not everyone is going to champion a cheater.

Will Leathers appear in pornographic films, get her own reality show or column in the NY Post?  She didn’t accomplish anything, she merely had no  qualms about having an affair with a married man.  She also turned on him on a dime when she saw the opportunity.  Are these values that we want to promote?  Do I have to support every woman’s poor choices in life?  Both Weiner and Leathers made poor decisions and they should live with the consequences.   I’ll save my outrage for slut shaming when a person is actually being shamed inappropriately.   Such as the teacher who lost her job years after her porn past, or the 15-year-old who was harassed by a TSA worker, or when someone blames a rape victim for their own attack.   If we use the term ‘Slut shaming’ when it doesn’t apply we weaken the power of the label.

Women are not inherently victims.  We are human, and just as likely as men to make bad choices.   I seriously doubt any woman rushing to Leathers’ defense, would feel so strongly if they were in Abedin’s shoes.  It’s one thing to knowingly have an affair with a married man, it’s another entire to mock the wife on a national radio program after the fact.  Leathers will disappear into obscurity soon enough, and Weiner has destroyed his own political career.  The person shamed and humiliated is Huma Abedin.  Hopefully she will find the strength to realize she might be better off without a lying, cheating sex addict for a husband.

Dating In New York: Anatomy of a Hook-up

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bed (Photo credit: Quiet Here)

I have been meaning to write this one for months now.  So please don’t anyone get concerned, I am doing fine.  I just wanted to capture in a slightly different writing style than my usual.  Also this is not in reference to any one specific person.  This is a piece of fiction based on my life…the incident that inspired it actually happened several months ago.  So please don’t anyone think I am writing about them again…for the love of Pete! 

I always tell myself – I’m never going to do it again.  It is a poor substitute for what I really need.  I go for months without physical contact from another human – skin touching skin, the warmth of another body, the sound of another heartbeat.  When I was younger it seemed so much easier.  Everyone was so willing to fall so quickly.  Now every man I meet is so jaded, too guarded to let anyone in.  I’m skittish myself, no matter how hard I try it’s difficult to feeling anything.  The men become little more than a body.

I keep hoping that I will find another partner and become entwined with them in every way possible.  The wait lasts forever and nothing seems to change.  When I finally succumb to my carnal desires, not so much desires as a basic human need, I know I am not going to find anything more than a fleeting moment.  All of the bottled up longing and loneliness suddenly explodes.  My body unable to stand it one day longer.

This one seems harmless I think to myself.  I doubt this guy will give me a hard time, stalk me, make my life difficult, hate me or curse my name into infinity, send me hateful emails, dramatically kick me off his Facebook profile or dump me from his twitter,  so I give in.  What is normally a fortress – difficult for most to enter, the lucky devil is given the key to the front door.  I get so sick of always saying no. I am not interested.  You’re too young.  You’re just a player.  I have trust issues.  I don’t do casual things well.

I finally connect and let someone close but it always feels like a faded facsimile of the real thing.  Memories swirl in my head of the last time it meant so much more.  The last time this actually felt real.

As we go through the motions I can still see his face, and smell his skin.  I hear his voice with words so sweet they were like a million sugar cubes dissolving in my mouth all at once dripping down my throat and filling me up in an instant.   Were they lies or was it the truth?  Does it matter? I believed them.

Don’t make me look at you, don’t make me look into your eyes, that’s asking too much.  I’ll do nearly anything you’ll ask, I’ll put up with your sexual theatrics, but don’t ask that of me.  Reenact your pornos, turn me into your sexual doll, but don’t make me try to care about you.  I’m not your true love, I’m not your dream girl, I’m just a hit of drug you so desperately need.  Tomorrow another woman will soothe your demons, calm your soul and get your rocks off.

Your hands replace his hands, your eyes his eyes, your breath his breath.  The ghost of what I once had wraps itself around me, while I kid myself with a stranger.  I wonder who do you think of as you kiss my lips, stokes my hair, and hold the small of my back?  Who is the one still burned in your brain?  I know it’s not me, but I grind away anyway hoping for a savior, or at least a release.

Please don’t cuddle up to me afterward.  Please don’t go on about you day, or tell me your troubles, and by all means don’t tell me about your other women.  Whatever you do just tell me anything about her.  Don’t remind me how insignificant I am.  She doesn’t want you, she has moved on and she is so cruel she shoves it right in your face, yet you can’t let go of her.  You’re a slave to a dead dream.

I get so tired of playing this same game over and over again.  My defenses come back.   I teach myself to become numb again.  Give him no ammunition – I tell myself.  Give him no reason to reject you, reject him first, blow him off, cut them off, do not care or at least pretend to not care.  It is not that he doesn’t  want you.   You don’t want him.

The euphoria lasts sometimes for a few minutes and sometimes hours.  Maybe if I am lucky I get a day or two.  The indifference returns.  In an instant the spaces between hundreds of bricks built on disappointments and broken promises fill with defensive mortar and solidify around me.  The great wall of self-protection is back.   Until the next time when I just can’t take it anymore, and what seems like a bad idea, what I know is a mistake, suddenly has to happen.

I remember when it was so different, when a sigh or touch could melt away the fears and pain.   The glimpse of someone’s eyes could warm my heart and for a moment I could feel something.  I don’t know if I will ever get back there, or if this is the new normal.

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Dating Online: The Body Experiment

Anyone who knows me and knows this blog understands my complicated relationship with online dating websites.  For the most part I loathe the entire online dating experience, but when I go offline I rarely meet anyone appropriate.  I noticed that my online dating profile was becoming a magnet for the most pretentious men in New York City. My inbox filled up with book long diatribes full of ostentatious vocabulary and self-aggrandizing biographies.  I had no idea what was attracting these men.  I just knew it had to stop.

I wiped my profile clean and started over.  My current dating profile has next to no information on it.  I mention that I am a performer, I live with two cats, I am a vegetarian, I am a liberal and little else.  My profile redesign gave me an idea.  I decided to create a blatantly sexual, shallow and slutty profile and see what kind of mail I would get.  I was not shocked by what I found, but the numbers were overwhelming.

I won’t mention the dating website I used for fear that they will have me banned for life.   For the purpose of this article I will refer to my alternate profile as “German Girl”.

My actual profile.

Age 39, Vegetarian, Cat owner, Agnostic, Bachelor’s degree in the arts.  My regular profile has 10 photos on it, but for space I will include only three representational photos here.


One performance photo, one from a wedding and one of how I look while at home writing.

German Girl – The Body profile

Originally I had these two photos associated with the profile but they were taken down for violating the rules of the website for being “extreme close-ups”

I am a pear-shaped athletically built woman with a small bust and wide hips.  So I decided to go with my best assets…my abs.  I also used somewhat blurry photos on purpose, to hide my identity and to cover up any flaws.  I don’t think I have a perfect physique or anything, and I am not 25.

The following three were perfectly acceptable and approved for use on the site.

The lingerie shot, the abs shot and the bikini shot were the three photos that made up German Girl.  I made myself one inch taller at 5’8″ and six years younger.

My profile went along the following lines.  I am editing it for length.  .

The first things people usually notice about me

My eyes. I am not showing my face for a number of reasons. But I am blonde and most people would find me attractive. I might send you a photo, if I like yours.
1. Sex
2. Creativity
3. Music
4. Intellectual stimulation
5. Open minded people
6. Freshly baked bread.
Finding men that are compatible with me. I am a bit strange. I like them smart and nerdy. The nerdier the better.

You should message me if

You aren’t a total jerk.

I added freshly baked bread as a bit of a joke, as I keep seeing bread references on nearly every other profile.  German Girl was also a vegetarian, atheist and non-drug user.  I also gave her a Masters degree in the “Arts”.  My alter-ego was childless like myself, but without pets.

Here is what happened.  In the course of two weeks time, here is how these two profiles did in a head to head competition.

Regular Profile – Total emails – 15

German Girl – Total emails – 541

The headless photos of myself…got 36 times the email that my regular profile.

Here are just a few of the breakdowns of the emails sent my headless body.

  • 193 – Quick simple one sentence message
  • 92- Emails that just said simply Hi
  • 43 – Used humor in their emails
  • 32 – Asked for more photos
  • 27 – Asked for Sex Directly
  • 18 – Referred to me as gorgeous, cutie, adorable, beautiful  – (I am not sure how a body can be “adorable” but their words not mine.
  • 13 – Sent a mild insult
  • 12 – Were also profiles of photos of male bodies with no face.
  • 11 – Sent a several paragraphs
  • 11 – Sent a message that was obviously a cut and paste that is sent to dozens of women
  • 9 – Requests for BDSM Sex
  • 8 – Asked the simple question where is your face?
  • 1 – Told me I had a nice smile
  • 1 – Called me curvy (I wish I was curvy but I found that compliment to be way off especially with my flat abs and B cup breasts)  I have hips but I don’t exactly have curves.

German Girl got email from men of all ages, demographics and parts of the New York Metro area.  The profile even got email from out-of-town men who asked to meet up for a drink or sex for the brief time they would be in New York.  My favorite comment that I got repeatedly was “I can tell by your profile we have so much in common” which was especially funny since there was next to nothing on the profile.

About a week into my experiment I got a strange email from one of the founders of the company urging me to answer some of my hundreds of emails.  It felt like a mild threat, as they seemed to know that my profile was fake.  I decided to send some responses but I did so in the weirdest way possible.  A few of the several hundred men got one or two-word cryptic answers.  For instance:

Man: “Hey there!  I like your body what are you doing this weekend?”

German Girl: “Weekend?”

Or if they would say something like

Man: “Girl, you are hot I would love to get to know you”

German Girl: “Know me!”

My bizarro answers would deter some but most men would still try to chat with me anyway.  I was only answering a few emails so the site wouldn’t kick me off.   I didn’t want to lead anyone on.

In the case of the handful of men that emailed both profiles they tended to write a lot more to my actual profile. German Girl was lucky to get a sentence.  Nearly 200 emails simply said…”Hi!” or “Hey there”.  It gave me amazing insight on communication with men.  When they are thinking of you as a just a piece of meat, they won’t bother with much chit-chat.  When they are hoping for a girlfriend…they might send several paragraphs.

In the case of the men who emailed both profiles, if sent German Girl an email I didn’t take them seriously on my regular profile.  The whole thing acted like a screening process.  A few men that I knew, looked at German Girl but did not contact her, a fact that I found reassuring.  Not every man took the bait.  I am sure many found German Girl tacky and vacuous.  A few guys I had gone on dates with didn’t recognize me and sent German Girl an email.  These were men I had just had a drink with and nothing else.   They hadn’t exactly seen my body!

I also got several emails from men that looked exactly like German Girl – all photos were of body shots and no head.  So a headless body was sending another headless body email begging to hook up.  I actually respected the direct hook-up requests seeing as German Girl herself was fairly straight forward.

When I briefly added another shot of my mostly obscured face, the flood of emails slowed down.  I would love to do another experiment with one profile with a face and one without and see which one gets more mail.  Somehow a face made me too intimidating, it was easier to send mail to a detached body.

I am not surprised by the outcome of this experiment.  I knew the body shot profile would get more attention and more email.   Any woman seeking casual sex and posting bikini photographs is going to have a full inbox. What shocked me were the overwhelming numbers.  I have had multiple friends find partners, even spouses online.  I am beginning to feel though that their success had more to do with sheer luck than anything else.  If I ever decide to just start hooking-up with random strangers though, I might just resurrect Ms. German Girl and give it ago.  Maybe I will get some freshly baked bread out of it, or an STD.  For now, I will just stick to my profile with a face and hope I get lucky.

Slut-Shaming: To What End?

gone wild

gone wild (Photo credit: istolethetv)

Lately I have found myself frustrated with other feminists over the cry of “Slut-shaming“.  Although I agree that women have been unfairly judged for their sexual appetites and behavior for hundreds of years, I also think that some sexual behavior actually hurts the cause of feminism.  We shouldn’t return to the days of corsets, ankle length skirts when the very mention of female sexuality was taboo.  Yet we should also not champion obvious degrading and detrimental sexual behavior in the name of feminism.

For instance, is a drug addicted, physically abused, low paid prostitute dominated by a male pimp anything to celebrate?  Is a young woman with low self-esteem who performs sexual acts in public to gain personal validation off-limits to criticism?  Is a sex-worker who doesn’t hide or shield her children from her occupation really making a bold step forward for female empowerment?  When do the issues of narcissism and self-destructive behavior enter the dialog?  Are all forms of female nudity and sexuality empowering?  When does it become exploitative?

It is not such much specific behavior as it is the context.  Expressions of female sexuality and nudity can be empowering, politically brazen and extremely pro-woman but they can also be degrading and demeaning.   If a woman is playing into the victim complex or treating herself as an object not worthy of respect she is part of the problem, not the solution.  Are we supposed to champion a drunken college student who decides to flash her breasts in a Girls Gone Wild video?  Should the woman who recently decided to have her anus publicly tattooed on camera be held up as some sort of example of female sexual liberty?  Or is she just a woman who has made some extremely poor decisions?  The porn industry has become so saturated with women willing to have sex on camera that wages and celebrity status have plummeted in the industry.  What was once something that only the desperate or the truly sexually liberated would do has become almost mundane.  At the same time there are prostitutes that have complete control over their income, working conditions and clientele who aren’t drug addicts, aren’t being abused and have turned the tables on the power structure in the industry.  No single sexual act or occupation can be singled out as “feminist” or “anti-feminist” if the behavior is coming from a place of pride and self-worth it is entirely different than if the source is self-loathing, fear and need of approval.  Not every sex worker or sexual exhibitionist is a victim, nor are they necessarily being exploited.

Yet during these changing times regarding female sexuality, misogyny is at an all time high.  The anti-feminist forces have gone from empty rhetoric to promoting legislation challenging our reproductive rights and even basic health care.   They want to do away with laws that might protect us from having to pay twice as much for our health insurance based on our gender, make many forms of birth control illegal, and make abortion a criminal act.  Many legislators voted against the Violence Against Women Act and the Lilly Ledbetter act, which were ultimately passed but in June the senate blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act which would have helped woman sue for equal pay.

I am not here to blame the victim, but it does discourage me when I meet so many young women who don’t seem to even know a political struggle is happening and then treat themselves with such low regard.  They are only giving fuel to the critics who would claim that all pre-marital sex is an abomination and that a sexualized female is something to fear.  I can’t help but see parallels in the civil rights movement.  Many in the African American community cry out against crime and violence, gangster rap and the thug culture that actually discourages achievement.  Of course racism is very insidious and still a huge problem, but if no one inside the community calls out the self-defeating behavior…it just makes everything more of a uphill battle.

I thought feminism was about being in control of our lives, having a right to speak our minds, and having the same opportunities as men have in the bedroom, in the workplace and in our government.  I didn’t think it was about declaring all sexual behavior as an empowering statement against patriarchy.  When I see a young woman disrespect herself my heart sinks.  When I see a woman desperately cling to some man doing anything and everything sexually in the hopes that he will stick around it saddens me.  When I see a bright intelligent woman with multiple options for her future resort to sex work it depresses me.  Although I understand its appeal, as sex work is one of the few high paying options available to young women.  The only non-sex based profession where women make considerably more money than men is the modeling industry and the largest scholarship program for women in the world is still the Miss America pageant organization.  I want every young girl to see the entire universe available to them, to know that they are more than their looks or genitalia.   It is a fine line we tread between celebrating our sexuality and allowing others to exploit it.

I do not propose that I have any answers to these ethical quandaries but I am not going to pretend that women treating themselves with disrespect and playing into negative stereotypes is a good thing.  A woman cannot treat herself poorly and then try to defend it by crying “slut-shaming” when she is the one shaming herself.  Some would argue that there is no sexual behavior that is negative or exploitative no matter what the situation.  But when a woman flashes her breasts for a Girls Gone Wild video or a woman engages in prostitution to pay for her drug habit, that is not a step forward but a step back.  To achieve real equality with men we need to respect ourselves in all aspects of our lives including our sexuality.

 

Rush Limbaugh – Sluts, Prostitutes or just a pack of Lies?

English: Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh

Image via Wikipedia

OK so regular readers of this blog know that I have a very popular entry with the title

Dating After Divorce in a City of Sluts

That one article completely changed the course and direction of my life, got me international press and indirectly a literary agent.  When I used the term, I used it in a lighthearted attempt to describe the sexual behaviors of the entire city of NYC.  To quote myself.

I find frustrating is that if you really want to get to know a guy first before having sex with him, it seems like there is no end to the women who will jump into bed with them. And this isn’t to say that only men do this, as women engage in the same behavior as do people of all sexual orientations and gender identifications.

So although some have misinterpreted my use of the term slut, I do indeed refer to every adult male, female, gay, straight, bisexual and transgendered person indirectly as a slut.  Not to say that every adult in NYC engages in slutty behavior, but people from every sexual orientation and gender specification certainly do.  Why people felt obligated to associate the female gender to the term “slut” is beyond me, but I meant slut in terms of people who engage in promiscuous behavior.  Some men and women proudly identify as sluts so given the context, I really didn’t see what the fuss was about.  But now that we have my history with the term “slut” addressed I would like to move on to Rush Limbaugh.

Rush Limbaugh decided to personally attack Sandra Fluke, a law student at Georgetown University who testified before the congressional committee on the cost of birth control.  For sharing her personal story about the high cost of her birth control Rush labeled her both a slut and a prostitute.  I am not going to address the name calling or equating a woman using birth control as a prostitute because it is pointless to even bother.  But I am going to break down his arguments.

Hormonal birth control is prescribed to many woman for health related purposes that are not related to preventing pregnancy.  NO ONE in the press wants to address this.  Birth control pills are prescribed for many female reproductive health problems such as – ovarian cysts, heavy periods, irregular periods, painful periods, hormone imbalances, light or infrequent periods, early onset menopause even cystic acne.  In many cases, the pill is effective in most cases for reducing these symptoms, it is not exclusively taken to prevent pregnancy.

The cost of hormone based birth control when compared to condoms.  Rush and his staff “crunch the numbers to try to show that hormone based birth control pills are not cost-effective.  But comparing condoms to birth control is like comparing a raincoat to an umbrella.   According to AmericanPregnancy.com hormone based birth control pills have a 93-97%  success rate when used in real life conditions.  And according to the same site, condoms have a 14-15% failure rate.  So solely basing birth control on condom use would result in more unplanned pregnancies.  Also according to AmericanPregnancy.com the cost of delivering a baby could reach as high as $6000-8000 which does not include prenatal care or the extensive costs of a complicated pregnancy, especially one requiring a Caesarian section.

The Tax Payer is on the hook for birth control Rush also claimed that the “tax payer” is somehow paying for Sandra Fluke’s birth control but I don’t know where he is getting that other than thin air.  The subject being debated on congress had nothing to do with the federal government spending any tax dollars on anyone’s insurance.  If Rush would like to debate that topic he is free to do so, but this particular issue has to do with either the employer or the health insurance company paying for birth control, it says absolutely nothing about the government paying for anything.  It is designed to set national standards for essential healthcare benefits.  And using that logic, anyone in a health insurance plan is paying for another member’s care.  Pay $8,000 in yearly premiums, but use only $2000 worth of care?  Then you are paying directly into the profits of the health insurance company but also for another member’s heart surgery, cancer treatment or for a premature infant clinging to life in an incubator.   That is just how health insurance works, most people pay more into it than they get back and a few patients cost the plan more than they put in.  If it didn’t work this way the companies wouldn’t be able to turn a profit.

The women are having too much sex and that is why they need birth control – The way hormonal birth control works a woman has to take it for an entire month and stay on it for months whether she is having sex daily or once a year.  The amount of sex is irrelevant.

Married couples should not have hormonal birth control as an option for helping them control the size of their families? Rush doesn’t address this directly but the vast majority of women including Catholic women in the US use some form of birth control.  The Guttmacher Institute in a new report, Countering Conventional Wisdom: New Evidence on Religion and Contraceptive Use. The report showed that, “among all women who have had sex, 99% have ever used a contraceptive method other than natural family planning”  Are married women who use birth control sluts in Rush’s world view? Most married women only have one sexual partner, not exactly a slut.

And of course his last ridiculous statement simply made to get press more than anything else. –

Since “WE” are paying for it, these women should video tape their sexual encounters.  According to the proposed legislation, the health insurance providers or the employers would be paying for the birth control, NOT the tax payer.  And even with that insane logic, then Rush might as well start producing some of his own tapes, after all a health insurance plan most likely helped pay for his Viagra.  So everyone paying a premium to the same insurance company better start demanding videos of his erections, just because they helped pay for them.

And if he is going to make personal attacks – Rush Limbaugh – married four times, yet has no children, three of his wives were of child baring age, so either he is sterile, or someone was using birth control.  No one knows this for sure, perhaps he successfully used the rhythm method for each wife and through some miracle no one got pregnant.  Rush who has had problems with abusing prescription drugs himself, was caught entering the country with the erectile dysfunction drug Viagara.   So is it acceptable for a health insurance company to pay for a drug that certainly would increase the sexual capacity for a man, but not for birth control for a woman?  That seems like ridiculous hypocrisy to me and most Americans would agree, in fact according to A Kaiser Family Foundation survey nearly 2/3 of American Adults favored Obama’s birth control policy.

Rush Limbaugh is a blow-hard who says crazy things to get attention and press.  He might have finally gone too far.  Attacking half of the adult population directly is not always the best method for winning over converts to his cause.  But we shouldn’t tell him that, let him alienate half the voting population.  Seems like a winning strategy to me!

Weekend Sunrise Interview – Dating After Divorce in a City of Sluts

Below is a clip from an interview I did on Morning Sunrise, Australia‘s #1 Breakfast talk show.  It is their equivalent of the Today Show or so I am told.  They interviewed me based on my Huffington Blog post “Dating After Divorce in a City of Sluts”

The link to the article is here.  It was ridiculously popular having something like 7,000 people “like” it on Facebook and 1400 comments.  I am an unknown, unsigned comedian so the whole thing has been mind-blowing.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/juliet-jeske/dating-after-divorce-in-a_b_944133.html

So they didn’t tell me beforehand that they were going to even mention my ex-husband’s homosexuality.  That was a complete shock to me, they also veered from the script.  I have dealt with the press before so I wasn’t really shocked by that.  The saddest thing is that the interviewer actually says

“In your book”

When in reality it was just one article, no book.  Although I am currently trying to make that happen.  I have no idea how to do it, but I am looking into it.  If I end up getting published you know I am telling everyone on the planet.  🙂

My working title for my book is “Dating in a City of Sluts” or something like that.  I never thought I would write a book in a million years but since I have gotten so much overwhelming positive feedback to go for it, I thought I would give a shot!

City of Sluts the Aftermath

So this whole thing has been insane. If you haven’t yet read the original blog post here is the link.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/juliet-jeske/dating-after-divorce-in-a_b_944133.html#comments

I had been writing this blog for a while and it was slowly but surely becoming more and more popular. On the advice of a friend, I decided to take my most popular post and submit it to the divorce section of the Huffington Post. I had been published numerous times in the comedy section but always in the form of satire videos. This was my first attempt at getting anything I had written published online or elsewhere.

I had no idea of the insane amount of popularity the post would generate. I didn’t know the editor beforehand, and she took a couple of days to get back to me. She thought the article was well written and she liked my voice, so she decided to run it as the lead story for labor day weekend. I don’t think either one of us had any idea that it would cause such a fervor.

Most of the feedback that I have gotten has been positive, and my twitter account went from about 260 followers to over 650 in a matter of a couple of days and is still climbing. The article got picked up by a number of news sources on the internet and the readers kept rising. Right now the story has been favorited almost 5,000 times on Facebook and has over a thousand comments. I have received personal email, subscribers to this blog, fans added to my youtube account, and fans added to my facebook account.

The criticism has been so diverse I have to break it down in sections. I find it stunning that so many people had such different reactions to the piece.

  • I hate men
  • I hate women
  • I hate sex
  • I am misrepresenting polyamorous people – I honestly don’t know much about the lifestyle but I really don’t have a problem with people who are openly polyamorous 
  • I should move to another city
  • Several people have told me they have the exact same problem in their city
  • I am somehow Christian or pro-Christian – I am staunchly non-religious and identify as agnostic
  • I am fat or unattractive – I am 5’7″ and a size 4, I am nowhere near fat, unattractive is in the eye of the beholder I guess but I am not even close to being overweight.
  • I should have stayed married – Well my husband was gay so that wasn’t going to happen
  • I was somehow spoiled by my ex-husband and now I am bitter – that is so far off the mark it isn’t funny.
  • I am whiny and negative – Well I guess but if it was an article that just stated how happy I was I doubt anyone would have read it.
  • I have had numerous people give me dating advice – some good, some crazy
  • I need to lower my standards and date older men, younger men, or less attractive men
  • I have also had several men ask me out, or want to start a correspondence with me online
  • I should love myself more
  • I am attracting the wrong kind of men because of something I am doing
  • I deserve to be alone because I am a bitch
  • But I have gotten a tremendous amount of people saying they are going through the exact same thing, and that they completely agree with me!!!!!!!

I obviously struck a nerve or it wouldn’t have caused so many people to respond.  My general response to anyone who gets seriously worked up over this article or anything else that I write is this…

Write your own blog and try to submit it somewhere and see what happens.

I only glance through the comment section as there is no way I could or would want to read all of them, so it is honestly wasted energy on anyone making a comment.  But I do find it hysterical how people literally project their own agenda on to a fairly straight forward article.

I basically say, I don’t like feeling pressured to have sex with  a virtual stranger, and that if people like that behavior and it works for them then great!  I also point out that both men and women and people of all sexual orientations engage in promiscuous behavior.   I never say my way is better than another choice, nor do I tell people how to live.  But that doesn’t stop the comments.

So thank you to all of the people who have supported the article, and to my detractors well there is no such thing as bad publicity so keep it up!  HA!!! 🙂  Oh and if anyone knows of any PAID writing assignments send them my way!  HA!!!  I am an unpaid blogger for the Huffington Post, I am not a reporter, I am not a published author.  I make very little money as a performer, but I do perform all over New York city.  Since leaving my husband my income has been devastated as I used to work with him, so I am just looking for a place to land.  Will write for food!  HA! 🙂