At a recent dinner party, a guy friend of mine mentioned that he wanted to start a podcast about sex. He’s been hitting Tinder hard, and felt that he and his guy friends had enough hookup stories—ranging from sexy to awkward to horrendous—to sustain a funny and enlightening radio show. However, the immediate response at the table was, “Eww, no. You’re a creep.” The consensus was that two straight dudes can’t have a podcast about sex and dating without the whole thing coming across as... sleazy.
Ms. Sciortino is quite right, I think. If you're male and straight, you can't talk about sex--- experiences, problems, stories, fears, hopes ---without being thought of in the age of the gender wars as creepy or as a braggart. Those are regarded as the default settings for any straight-male accounts of sex. (There's also the New Age-y voice straight males might use at Good Men Project, but that's regarded as sad and easily mocked as silly--- God knows I certainly laugh at things like that) Karley Slutever writes that all the real writing about sex and sexual experience today is done by women, and that it's disheartening. Men aren't allowed to talk about sex without being seen as creepy or as PUA weasels, she says. All the real work in talking about sex is being done by women.
She's right, Ms. Sciortino is. Males--- straight males ---are no longer regarded as having any place in such discussions. Whatever problems or thoughts straight males have, whatever stories they have to tell--- hilarious, poignant, horrifying, awkward, romantic ---straight males aren't supposed to talk about them. No one wants to hear the Black Speech of Mordor, after all.
Well, let's admit that a fair number of male sex blogs in the recent past were either frat-bro bragging or PUA propaganda. The gender warriors found ammunition left lying to hand. That's true enough.
But Ms. Slutever is right that the gender warriors see all male essays/blogs about sex as being some sort of assertion of power and aggression. There's little enough space for straight males on line to write about their own experiences or their own anxieties without being attacked as creepy or dismissed on ideological grounds.
It's an awkward thing, though. I agree with her that there should be more male voices in conversations about sex and the labyrinths of sexual experience. Yet I have to ask myself if I'd read any blogs like that. I read sex blogs by women as...novels. As film scripts. As sources for lists of accoutrements (fashions, wines, toys) worth having for sex and lists of things to try and places to try them in. I read sex blogs by attractive twenty- and early thirty-something girls as novels, as travelers' tales, as Zagat guides. I read them because I want to imagine being someone who could be part of the girls' stories. I don't want to read accounts of experiences by other males because I, well, as a straight male of a certain age, I...can't. For reasons that are obvious but probably deeply problematic.
How very awkward, no? Yes, there should be spaces for males to be able to talk about their own stories, to open up exchanges and share advice. There are travelers' tales to be told by males that are worth reading. It's just that I wouldn't read them myself, that I can't imagine letting another male tell me about things sexual. So where does that leave me? Where does that leave the whole idea of men being able to talk about sex?