Category Archives: Sex and Gender

THE ACCIDENTAL CREEP: DON’T BE THAT GUY!

LURK

Yesterday evening as I was walking home a man followed me.

On the bus I noticed him staring at me, and when I got off, he did too. As I crossed the road, I realised he was behind me and that we were going in the same direction, up the same quiet dark street. I hung back on the busier main road corner and fiddled with my handbag. A couple stopped to ask me for directions. After about five minutes — plenty of time to create distance between us —I continued on my way. As I reached the next corner, there he was — standing in the shadows beside a hedge. I turned and fled back down to the main road.

I realise there is a possibility — even a probability — that I over-reacted. There are a hundred and one innocent explanations for his behaviour. Perhaps he had not been staring at me on the bus, but had been thinking of something else while looking at me. Maybe he wasn’t waiting for me on a dark corner. He could have been lost. He may have been delayed because he stopped to answer his phone or remove a stone from his shoe. Maybe he was a creep, or maybe he was just an “accidental creep” — a person who doesn’t realise that their actions are unnerving to others.

Every woman I know has a scary story. I have plenty — I’ve been followed on several occasions; grabbed unexpectedly by strangers; had insults and threats shouted at me from cars; and had an encounter with a knife-wielding would-be attacker who followed me into a public bathroom. When I walk by myself, especially after dark in quiet areas, I am constantly alert to danger. After your first bad experience — and if you are a woman you’ll almost certainly have more than one — you learn to be cautious. I realise that men are not immune to random attack either, but the threat of sexual violence is not an ever present fear for most guys.

Most men don’t realise the state of semi-paranoia that is the lot of many women when we walk down quiet dark streets alone. Because of this, men sometimes behave in perfectly innocent ways that terrify us. The accidental creep is not someone with bad intentions, but someone who is oblivious to the effects of their actions. If that’s you, I’d like to make you aware of the little things you could do so that you don’t accidentally creep someone out. These are not rules — you are not obliged to follow them — they are merely suggestions.

HANG BACK
If you find yourself behind a woman walking down a quiet dark street, please keep a reasonable distance. Most women get a little freaked out hearing footsteps rapidly approaching from behind. Yes, I realise you are probably in a rush to get home, but a few extra minutes won’t make a huge difference.

CROSS OVER THE ROAD
If possible, cross over to the other side. I’m always grateful when a man does that because it means he is sensitive enough to be aware of his actions and is clearly indicating that he is not a threat.

DON’T CROSS OVER TOWARDS A WOMAN
Let’s say you are walking down a street; a woman is walking in the opposite direction on the other side. You need to cross over. Fine. But please don’t cross over walking towards us. It looks like you are coming for us, even though you’re just aiming for the corner.

DON’T FLIRT IN QUIET AREAS
One evening I was in the dog park. It had been a raining all day and the park was empty. Then a man arrived. He asked if my dog was dangerous. I said no. He then walked up towards me, held his hands out towards my face and told me I was pretty. Now, by themselves each of these remarks are innocent. In combination — especially with his actions — they seemed like he was wondering if he would get bitten if he touched me. A minute later, a second woman with a dog arrived so I distanced myself, told her what had happened, and we stuck together for the duration of our time in the park. I’ve spoken to plenty of men in the park, and I don’t think you should never talk to a woman in quiet areas, but flirting is a bad idea here.

DON’T GET OFFENDED
There may be occasions when you accidentally frighten a woman and you realise she is looking at you as if you are a potential rapist. To the average guy, this is insulting. I know that, but please don’t get offended or angry. This will only make the situation worse. Don’t try to explain either. The best thing to do is excuse yourself and walk away.

Most men are perfectly harmless — I know that, you know that, everyone knows that. What women don’t know is whether or not any particular man is a threat or not. We also know that statistically speaking, a woman is far more likely to be sexually assaulted by someone she knows. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t worry about “stranger danger” — we do. It is not pleasant to be regarded as a threat; but I’m pretty sure being on that side of the equation is better than the heart-stop fear of feeling threatened. Please be aware of that. Use your judgement — and a little consideration. Trust me, it’ll be appreciated.

Do heels make a women sexier?

Once back in the mists of time — well, truthfully, last year — I went on an OKCupid date with a man who had more than a passing interest in my shoes. Before the date he emailed me to ask how tall I was. I had neglected to include this nugget of information in my personal info for two reasons: firstly, I don’t care about height, either my own or a man’s; and secondly, I can never remember. Seriously, I know I’m “average” and somewhere over 160cm — hold on, I’ll check! I have just measured myself and it appears I am just over 164cm or around 5’4”, which is pretty average for women in Ireland — and taller than I thought!

You’d think I might have remembered this because I measured myself last year and sent the information to my date. He was French, and I’ll call him Pierre. Pierre expressed relief. He was on the short side, he told me, but taller than me. “Fantastic! You can wear high heels!” he joyfully informed me. I was less than thrilled by this, since I hate high heels and only wear them when I absolutely have to.

On the evening of the date I considered wearing heels, but it was a cold and miserable day. We were meeting for a drink, and personally I don’t see the point in getting dolled up to the nines for the pub — or for a man I didn’t know, for that matter. Heels would also have required a taxi, as the pub was more than ten blocks from my bus stop. I didn’t fancy either wet or painful feet, or worse, both. Taking all of this into consideration, I decided to wear boots. Pretty cool boots, even if I say so myself, and sexy in a Nancy Sinatra “these boots are made for walking” way, but definitely flat.

For the next few hours, Pierre quizzed me about my shoe choice. How often did I wear heels? How many pairs did I own? Were any of my shoes designer? Would I wear heels if we went out a second time?

Perhaps Pierre had a shoe fetish, or perhaps, like his countrymen, he just found high heels a lot sexier than flats. A study conducted by the French social scientist Nicholas Gueguen found that men are more likely to respond positively to a woman if she is wearing heels.

Gueguen conducted an experiment with a young woman dressed soberly in a black suit and white shirt. She approached various men asking them to take part in a survey. When she was wearing heels, 83% of the men she approached said yes; when she was wearing flat shoes the number of willing men dropped down to 47%.

Gueguen was also interested in whether or not this preference would be noticeable in “mate selection” and he wasn’t disappointed. It took men on average 7.49 minutes to approach women wearing high heels in a bar. For those wearing flat shoes, it took 13.54 minutes.

Gueguen hypothesis seems to correct — most men prefer women in heels. But meh — so what? I prefer to walk in comfort, and not risk bunions, hammer toes, nerve damage, stress fractures and ankle sprains. I don’t care that only 47% of the men I might encounter would respond to a request for help, or that it would take me a whole six extra minutes to find a dude in a pub if I was so inclined. Men may prefer high heels, but lots don’t care that much — and those are the men I prefer.

It won’t be much of a surprise when I tell you I never saw Pierre again, which was just as well. He was quite entitled to his preferences as I am to mine, Either way, we were not a good match. He hated my favourite boots; I hated being quizzed about my sartorial choices, especially by a man whose hair could have done with a wash… I don’t care about shoes, or height, but basic grooming? That’s just good manners.

Bad Sex Awards

FRENCH TO OUTLAW SEX WORK?

France’s ruling Socialist Party has tabled new legislation aimed at criminalising paying for sex. If the legislation goes through, anyone found guilty could face a fine of €1,500 and be required to attend an “awareness” course on prostitution. The magazine Causeur has started a protest campaign called “Touche pas a ma Pute!” (Hands off my Tart/Bitch!), led by writer Frederic Beigbeder. Beigbeder condemned the government for trying to “decree norms for desire and pleasure” and the campaign has claimed that the proposed law seeks to control women, not liberate them. The Socialist Party has hit back, claiming the campaign’s real aim is the preservation of “male domination and female submission”.

Many who work with prostitutes also oppose the bill; they fear that the law will drive the sex trade further underground making workers more vulnerable to exploitation. It is estimated that up to 90 percent of France’s 20,000 prostitutes are foreign nationals and one of the aims of the new legislation is to ‘tackle sex trafficking’ – for which many will read ‘oppose immigration’ – and forced prostitution.

SURVEY SAYS BISEXUALITY NOT REAL

This one will anger many and rightly so. A study by the University Of Pittsburgh found that heterosexual men and women have serious doubts about the legitimacy of bisexuality as a sexual orientation. Researchers administered a 33-question survey to an online sample of 1,500 adults and found that heterosexual men were the most likely to cast doubt on the existence of bisexuality as a legitimate sexual orientation – but straight women, gay men and lesbians had similar negative feelings. According to the authors, the study confirms the “prejudice, stigma and discrimination” faced by the bisexual community.

ASHLEY MADISON SUED

Ashley Madison, the website specialising in promoting extramarital affairs, is being sued by a former employee for work related injuries. Doriana Silva has claimed that typing up hundreds of fake female profiles for the site has left her with permanent damage to her wrists. She is seeking a whopping $20 million claiming that the company unjustly enriched themselves at her expense and another $1 million in punitive and general damages. Ashley Madison charges men to access the site but women join for free (can this be legal??) The fact that the company uses fake profiles to separate men from their money is not at all surprising.

SEXTON’S MISCELLANY BAD SEX AWARDS

The shortlist for the Literary Review’s 22nd Annual Bad Sex In Fiction has been announced and there are indeed some (cringe)-worthy entrants this year. Past winners have included famed writers including Sebastian Faulk, Norman Mailer and AA Gill. The purpose of the prize is “to draw attention to the crude, badly written, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel, and to discourage it” – but it doesn’t seem to be working.

There is some terrible literary sex going on. This extract from Jonathan Grimwood’s The Last Banquet is the cheesiest (ho ho) sex scene you’re ever likely to read: “In my mouth her nipple turned from strawberry to deep raspberry but the taste I wanted was missing. I had sweat and what had to be soap from washing her dress or herself. Reaching behind me, I found the Brie and broke off a fragment, sucking her nipple through it.”

Here is the full shortlist:

House of Earth by Woody Guthrie

Motherland by William Nicholson

The City of Devi by Manil Suri

Secrecy by Rupert Thomson

The World Was All Before Them by Matthew

Reynolds

My Education by Susan Choi

The Victoria System by Eric Reinhardt

The Last Banquet by Jonathan Grimwood

Beware of Horny Ladies

BEWARE OF HORNY LADIES

A ‘female Viagra’ is due to be released in 2015. The drug, called Lybrido (ho ho), has passed stage-II clinical trials and should be approved by America’s FDA within a year. The problem with Lybrido appears to be that it actually works, which has lead to questions about the advisability of it – horny ladies being a huge problem apparently. Andrew Goldstein, a scientist with Emotional Brain, the manufacturer of Lybrido, has claimed that “a fear of creating the sexually aggressive woman” stalled the process. A New York Times report claimed that Emotional Brain was concerned that the FDA would reject the drug out of concern that it would lead to “female excesses, crazed binges of infidelity, societal splintering.” Hmm… Sexually active women – ruining a society near you soon. Hopefully.

 

BEWARE OF HORNY  IRISH PEOPLE

In a second news story that got my blood boiling, and not in a good way, an article on a popular New Zealand website has essentially accused Irish folks of being riddled with sexually transmitted diseases. The article claims that rates of chlamydia have increased, as has the number of Irish people attending a sexual health clinic in Christchurch. The article quoted a doctor who claimed that Kiwi women had higher STI rates than in other countries and that many of them “found the Irish accent alluring.” Unsurprisingly the article has angered Irish people living in New Zealand. You could draw a completely different conclusion from these facts if you wished – namely that Irish men have been infected by locals, and are at least smart enough to deal with the problem (even if they weren’t smart enough to wear condoms initially). The author defended the article claiming that statistics for other nationalities were not yet available. Dear oh dear…

SEXTON’S MISCELLANY : WEB BONDAGE JUNKIES

Bondage Junkies offers original amateur bondage photos and films, but despite the amateur status the quality is really good. The site is new and currently has over seven hundred downloadable photos, and a total of 155 minutes of downloadable movie files. The site has a transparent preview so you can see exactly what you are getting before you download. The site costs $19.95 for a single month’s access or $15.95 for a monthly subscription. See bondagejunkies.com for details.

 

WEDDING NIGHT BLUES

More than half of newly weds don’t have sex on their wedding night. That is according to a survey of 2,000 British people, which found that 52 percent of just hitched couples skip wedding night sex. The majority of the couples surveyed (72 percent) said that sex on the wedding night was not the big deal it once was. As most couples have consummated the relationship long before wedding bells peal, that’s hardly surprising. The biggest factor for lack of sex was a squiffy groom who either couldn’t or couldn’t be bothered. For shame!

 

Here are the top ten reasons newly weds didn’t bed:

1. The groom was too drunk (24%)

2. The bride was too tired and fell asleep (16%)

3. The bride was too drunk (13%)

4. Had to look after our children (11%)

5. We had an argument before wedding reception ended (9%)

6. Needed to leave for our honeymoon (9%)

7. Stayed up all night partying/celebrating with guests (7%)

8. The groom was too tired and fell asleep (4%)

9. Neither of us felt like having sex (4%)

10. Other (3%) – I hate to think what this could cover.

Gender Recognition in Oz

The Australian Senate recently backed an amendment for sex and gender recognition guidelines that will recognise intersex and “non-binary” trans people. If it passes, Australia will be the first country in the world to legally recognise intersex and trans as discrete identities instead of “male” or “female”. Activists claim that the legislation will help combat the discrimination that intersex and trans people face on a daily basis.