I have an illness that’s stuck on shop demo. Since last Thursday I have had a sore throat, fever, dizziness, nausea, motherfucking partial blindness, aches and pains, shivers, cold sweats, a chesty cough and a congested nose. I haven’t been able to do much except lie in my bed, cry and occasionally roll over and beg for someone to make me tea.
Obviously in this state, I haven’t been able to write anything so it’s lucky for me that I had a guest writer lined up! This Blog all about why Feminism facilitates rather than impedes people getting laid is all the more relevant now considering the recent totally rational backlash to feminist ideas surrounding consent, masculinity and sexuality. We seem to be in a bit of a series at the moment, discussing why feminism is not at all anti man or anti sex. Of course, seeing as my own sexual activity is a bit limited, I thought I should call in the services of someone with a bit more experience in the matter.
Our Guest Blogger is a noted sex positive feminist, erotic writer and enjoyer of sex who very kindly sent me on this post explaining how by furthering the cause of feminism, you are likely to get laid a lot more.
Hello, lovely readers of BHT! It’s very exciting be here, talking to you, hoping I might be able to entertain you for a few hundred words.
I’ve had too many conversations with straight horny college boys [henceforth SHCBs] – and read about too many other conversation with SHCBs – who complain about feminism in one breath and complain about not getting laid as often as they’d like in the next. Anti-feminist SHCBs probably don’t make up a huge percentage of this blog’s (lovely, charming, intelligent, sexy) readership, but if there are any lurking – and for the amusement of the rest of you – I would like to offer up a primer on why SHCBs should like and indeed vocally support feminism.
[Note for all the already-feminists: all of the things I’m talking about have vastly huger consequences for women than they do for SHCBs, obviously, and please don’t think I’m trivialising that. But “what about the menz?!!?” is a frequent if stupid complaint and “the world doesn’t in fact revolve around you” is a fact some SHCBs struggle to understand. So here’s an alternative response.]
FEMINISM GETS YOU LAID MORE
Reason #1: Feminism makes it safer for us to respond to you hitting on us (and for us to hit on you)
There’s no cute way of putting it: if I flirt with someone at a party, decide I’m not interested, and then later on they rape me, there is a 5% chance that person will ever be convicted. There is a pretty decent chance that anything I say about their actions won’t be believed, and if they boast about getting with me, their friends will congratulate them.
This kind of puts me off flirting with people at parties.
Anti-feminist SHCBs complain – frequently – about women falsely alleging rape. But believing and supporting rape victims, as well as squashing anyone who says things like “a no is just a yes that needs some persuasion” or catchier, rhymier versions of that complete bullshit, is a great way to reduce the number of rapes. If “rape” is eliminated as a possible outcome of “hitting on cute SHCB” then I will be a whole lot more likely to ask SHCBs if I can buy them a drink.
Reason #2: Feminism does not like transactional sex
If I can buy them a drink? Me, a lady-type, buying a boy-type a drink? Isn’t that all back to front and terribly modern and think of the children etc?
By “transactional sex” I do not mean prostitution. I mean the faux-prostitution of “you buy me dinner, I give you a blow job.” Where sex is something that men want and women endure in exchange for something else.
This is not a good approach. I mean, I like having people buy me dinner because I am a poor student, but there’s no dinner/blow job causation here. Sex happens when both parties want sex, not when one party has spent the required amount of money. Maybe this doesn’t mean more sex, always. But it means sex where both people want to have sex because having sex is fun and enjoyable, not because stuff has been bought. Isn’t that way better? And less expensive?
Reason #3: Feminism does like contraceptive choice
You know what else is expensive? A baby.
If having a baby was a possible consequence of having someone put their penis in my vagina – if I could not get condoms in every corner shop and my preferred brand of the pill for €10/month and the morning after pill for €40 and if all that lot fails then an abortion an affordable Ryanair flight away – if all of that did not exist, I would not be letting anyone put a penis in my vagina. I probably wouldn’t let anyone put a penis near my vagina. I would probably start exclusively dating ladies, in case the proximity of a penis tempted me.
Really, “an abortion an affordable Ryanair flight away” is not good enough (I am lucky enough to be able a) to afford it and b) to be an EU citizen and thus able to come and go as I please – there are a lot of women in Ireland not in that situation), but it has been a long, hard, feminist struggle for all the rest of it as well. Wanting to put your penis in a vagina while wanting to restrict what the vagina-haver does with the consequences of that penis-putting is… my kindest option here is “optimistic.”
Reason #4: Feminism does not like body policing
SHCBs, hands up if you fancy this hypothetical woman: size 8, tallish, able-bodied, white, DD boobs, blonde hair down to her nipples, mostly hairless below the neck, no stretch marks, spots or general standard-issue crinkly bits.
That’s OK, I think she could be hot too.
Now take your hands down if you would sleep with a woman who did NOT match that description.
I really hope there aren’t any hypothetical hands staying up. If there are, lads, I have news for you, you’re not going to get laid very often.
Our culture is really good at making women who don’t match up to all or most of those criteria feel shitty about themselves. That sort of feeling shitty about themselves that results in “No sex with the lights on in case he sees my crinkly bits” or “I’d love a shag, but I haven’t shaved my legs in a couple of days so I told my SHCB that I was busy tonight.” This is colossally sucky for all concerned. Obviously body policing occurs for men too. But the amount of things on their bodies that women are supposed to care about – and feel insecure about – is ridiculous. SHCBs, when you say that women with armpit hair are gross, 1) you’re shitty human beings but 2) consider how much your boner would actually care.
Reason #5: Feminism does not like slut-shaming
“Why won’t any of these disgusting dirty sluts sleep with me?!”
This one should be self-evident. If someone will think less of me for sleeping with them, I am not going to sleep with them. If someone is going to insult me for sleeping with them, I am not going to sleep with them. If someone is going to mock me with their mates for sleeping with them, I am not going to sleep with them.
I’m kind of a slut. I use slut to mean “person who has a lot of sex” and I use it in a neutral/positive way. But I don’t fuck anyone who uses it in a negative way. Because I only sleep with people who like me, and someone who casts a moral or social judgement on women who have a lot of sex does not like me.
You know, I could go on. If the average woman didn’t have to work 13.9% longer to earn the same amount as the average man, maybe she would have more average time to have some average sex with him. Maybe I would have been having sex with SHCBs more often this past year if I hadn’t needed to go on so many sodding marches for the sake of basic bodily autonomy! Sex with SHCBs is a LOT more fun than standing in the rain chanting “never again,” but I direct you to reason #3. There are a whole load more things I could list here, but frankly rewriting feminism as a movement to get SHCBs laid more becomes depressing if you keep it up for too long.
Feminism! Good for women, good for horny college boys who want to get laid more often. And now back to your regularly scheduled programming. Over and out.
Niamh ‘I’m Niamh Keoghan and I approve this message’ Keoghan
I hate the friendzone. I hate the word. It’s a shockingly clever concept- a catch all term for shaming women who turn a guy down, or decline their romantic advances, or just plain don’t want a relationship. It has a close connection to the concept of ‘leading one on” wherein a woman is oft accused of stringing a hapless everydude into her web with those feminine wiles only to cut him off cruelly for her own amusement. Most troubling for me is how women have started to use these terms I’ve heard girls say ”’he friend zoned me” or ”I wish he hadn’t led me on”. Hell, I’ve used these terms because there are out there people who will mess you around a little bit, and flirt outrageously. But these people aren’t friendzoning you. And generally this is a guy on girl trope- Some of parlance has begun to creep into lady talk, but it’s an institutional of hetrerosexual men to begin with. (Note- Not all straight men are ‘Nice Guys’in the way I describe them here. I have a lot of male friends and I’m not hating on the menfolk at all, just commenting on something I’ve experienced. Blah, I don’t hate men, these sexist concepts hurt men too, whatever x)
They might be kind of dick, but they’re not friendzoning you because and this may shock you so hold onto your hats and assort beverages the friendzone doesn’t exist. Sorry everyone. It’s just not real. I’ve seen women get messed around by men and men messed around by women, and I’ve never seen evidence of a real life friendzone. I did do a bit of research I stood around while my friends talked about relationships, and have also been in a few disastarous ones, and been on either side of the ‘let’s be friends’ equation. It’s also linked to another concept- that of Nice Guyism that we’ll talk about and discuss why it’s really fucking creepy. Bad romance is my specialist topic- so let’s talk the friendzone.
In the zone
In basic parlence, the ‘friendzone’ is where men who have romantic and sexual notions on a woman are placed when those women declined their advances- ususally with a phrase like ‘I don’t want to mess up our friendship’or ”Í don’t think of you that way’or ‘I love you!… as a friend!’ The zone is the purgatory men go to when women selfishly withold the sex that they are entitled to. Because hey, why does that girl have to be such a bitch and turn you down? You’re a nice guy, you treat her really well, you’re always interested and looking out for her. But okay. Here’s the thing nice guys- Somebody being nice to me is my BASIC prerequisite for continuing to even associate with someone. A guy being polite, courteous and listening to me is my baseline for being his friend- It’s not some magical perk that will automatically make me spit out a sexy time token, and that’s what it’s really about at the end of the day.
And further, the whole nice guy… thing is a bit creepy to be on the receiving end of. Lads, we know when you’re genuinely being nice and when your interest is forced only to make us think you’re nice. I have plenty of male friends who have little to no interest in hearing me discuss the finer points of my as yet unfinished novel, and in return I have no interest in hearing about the details of their record collection. You don’t have to take boundless interest in every single thing I care to mention or be involved in; all encompassing adoration and undying interest are as unsettling to receive as it sounds. It’s not nice. It makes me feel like I’m living in a world of plastic automatic yes men, all poking my ego until sexy time coupons pop out.
The scary thing is when men, after frantic and endless prodding, delude themselves into thinking a sexy time token HAS popped out, and that they ARE entitled to more of me than I am willing to give. That’s when I politely decline, and they scream, with arms thrown to heaven ”’FRIENDZOOOOOOOOONED!”
Sexy Time Tokens
I know I’m the last person that should be complaining about romantic attention heck, usually I’m complaining that nobody’s into me and how much that sucks. But the opposite extreme is scary and unpleasant. I was trying to quantify what makes one a ‘nice guy’ in the sex coupon seeking way I just described, and I have a very handy litmus test to discern between genuinely nice people, and ‘nice guys’-
If asked to give you some space to think and breath, a genuine person will do just that, and back off. They might be confused sure, or hurt or think you’re being dramatic, but they will still give you the space you’ve asked for and respect your feelings. A Nice Guy however, will ignore your requests for space and continue to bombard you with increasingly false-sounding declarations that they will understand and listen to you. They’ll completely ignore the fundamental point of what you’ve asked, and continue to steamroll you. And that’s the point of the Nice Guy, and the Friendzone.
In this whole unpleasant scenario, the woman is just an object to the nice guy. His feelings and his ego are the important things. It doesn’t matter how scared or uninterested or even hostile the object is, she still owes him something; He can wrap it up as a relationship, but in the end, the object becomes his possession, and in that possession there are obligations the object must fill. And if you refuse to play the game, check out and decline the thrilling chance to become an object?
Well, you’re just a frigid bitch who dumped that poor nice guy into the friendzone. You MONSTER.
Niamh ‘Offside in the friendzone’ Keoghan
You know, I’ve been at this for a few months, and consensus seems to be that I’m pretty…. ‘Honest.’ Yeah, I get told I’m ‘honest’ a lot. A few people have seemed a bit uncomfortable with the amount that I share, and I’m kind of surprised about that. Really? I didn’t realise I shared *that* much. I certainly find it really difficult to talk about things that I actually am a bit insecure about- I’ve chickened out on pieces about my body image, self loathing and depression, not to mention today’s topic, periods. I think I’ve tried to write this about five times, with varying slants and approaches. Here is my big confessional; everything you ever wanted to know about periods.
I will never get those purple pants back
It was actually 10 years ago that I got my first period. I was 10, which is pretty young. In fairness to younger me, who I often chastise for being a melodramatic, uneasy girl, I took it like a total pro. After the initial shock of my mother explaining it to me, calmly and carefully in our kitchen, eyes darting to the door to make sure my younger brother wasn’t ear wigging, that for the next 40 years, I’d start bleeding for a week, and not to be scared or upset when it started. A few months later, I started getting tummy aches- the very first cramps that have since become the routine of my month.
I do have a distinct memory from the night before it started, getting into bed thinking ‘I reckon it’ll start tonight.’ and sure enough, when I woke up, I felt an unpleasant wetness in my pyjamas, and wriggled my pants down to investigate. The first time you see the stain, it’s quite visceral. It was dark, rich, and had soaked a circular patch into my purple underpants. I stared at it for a minute, feeling a bit dizzy. It was a Friday morning, around 6AM. I was too shy to say ‘I got my period’ to my mother, so I went downstairs in my pyjamas clutching the stained pants in my hand, and showed her.
All in all, it wasn’t too bad. Mam showed me where the pads lived (she’d already explained how they worked so I was a total pro with the wings) and then, after some hesitation gave me the day off school. I sat in my pyjamas watching cartoons eating cereal. I didn’t have any of the later cramps, emotions or unpleasantness that my period would bring along with it. The next I thought about it was the next week, when my granny took my hand as we walked home from school. ‘Your mammy tells me you’ve joined the ranks of womanhood’ she says pointedly.
‘Eh, yeah, I guess I did.’ I reply primly.
My period is not dirty
Girls, can we all stand on our chairs (or in my case, my bed, where I’m typing from) and say out loud ‘Periods are not dirty’? Because they aren’t- not really, they’re a bit messy and can smell, but they’re not infectious or liable to make you ill upon contact with another period-haver. It’s a fallacy I often see- People comparing Menstruation to pooing or weeing. In reality apart from taking place nearby where pooing and weeing occur, periods are nothing like it. Mostly I hear men make this comparison- ‘You’d be grossed out if I talked about having a shit, wouldn’t you?’ This ignores two things-
1-I live with brothers, and therefore hear men talk about poo all the time [So much that I got into the habit of announcing ‘I have to pee’ when in company, which is very embarrassing.] It is so much more common to see jokes about it in media too- There are poop jokes all over TV; when’s the last time you saw a period joke on a kid’s show?
2- There is nothing like a period. Okay, men, let’s get this out of the way. I will never ever know what it’s like to be kicked in the nuts, but I accept it bloody hurts. In the same vein, you won’t ever really know what it’s like to bleed for a week and not die. Menstruation is a common experience, but not a universal one- Some women have them, some don’t, and men never will.
On the whole, I’ve always maintained that the things we use to hide the fact that we’re menstruating are the real dirty things here. On it’s own, period blood is at it’s most offensive, slightly smelly and scary looking (The first time there were clots in mine, I actually had to have a little cry at how horrifying my body was being). But I will attest that the smell of an over flowing bin of disposed soiled sanitary products smells SO MUCH worse. The smell of old sanitary pad is overpoweringly bad. Tampons have the even more horrifying side effect of potentially poisoning you.
The worst thing I ever heard when I was at school
Because I was a bit young donning my menstruation sombrero, I was already having them for a year before we got ‘the talk’ about hygiene when we were in school. Mam had mentioned tampons to me, but didn’t really explain much about them beyond ‘they go in you, and they’re a bit harder to use until you’re older.’ So I didn’t really know anything about them. It was during this talk which included mild mannered things like ‘remember to wipe and freshen up when you’ve had a wee’ I learned about tampons and toxic shock syndrome.
Basically it’s the worst fucking buzz ever. Tampons are coated in bleach and then put into hard plastic applicators that you jam into yourself for up to four hours. They dry your vagina out by absorbing the fuck out of everything in there- blood, mucus, general vagina-fluids doing their vagina-fluid job, stopping you being dry. They are COATED in BLEACH. The lady explained how they can’t get ‘lost’ up there (A sincere worry of 12 year old pre-menstrual girls. Actually hell, I was worried about that until I was 16) and in the same breath, cautioned that if left in for too long, You could go into septic shock and be poisoned by your own rancid sanitary product.
I could not deal with this information. I could die? If I forgot about a cotton bud? I have let PLANTS sitting on my desk right next to me wither from lack of water. My Chia pet died because I forgot to replace the water! How can I be expected to remember to remove things! Oh dear god! Basically everything about it scared me so badly that I can’t look at tampons without getting very upset indeed.
I got cramps in my back and I ain’t afraid to show it, show it, show it.
I really, really hate it when people blame my hormones for making me emotional and cranky. Like, again, this is something I don’t think guys generally understand. Maybe I’m totally wrong in saying this but in general guys don’t have to deal with massive shifts in their hormone levels on a monthly (sometimes weekly) basis. It affects all women differently. Everyone has their own crazy unhappy side effects to periods. Mine began to emerge around the age of 14- for the first three years, I was too busy dealing with the irregular pattern and getting used to the sight of blood to really notice anything else, but it started to get bad.
Mam had knowingly never told me that periods can make you moody and irrational, thinking that I’d use it as an excuse to be bitchy. But it came anyway, a horrible wave of anxiety and depression. I’m prone to excess anxiety anyway, and I go on highs and lows all the time, but nothing like the dark places I go to when I’m on the rag. For a while when I was very overweight, the dark days got so bad that I was genuinely worried about some of my thoughts. Adding to this problem was the pain.
Oh my god. I don’t like to think of myself as a mimsy- I soldier on when I feel sick, or at least I try to. It’s hard to describe the pain because I’m so accustomed to the sensation now. Firstly, imagine feeling constipated. Then add a gnawing, constant, hot pain in your lower back. then tense every muscle in your lower body and stomach. That’s sort of what it feels like. To be frank for a moment, period cramps are basically the uterus contracting and pushing out the old lining, and it fucking hurts. Other women I know vomit, and others just get weepy or angry, but those are my things. I get anxious, sore and deeply depressed.
I live tweet my Codeine high
The pains got so severe that basic paracetamol wasn’t helping at all, so we went to the chemist for something a bit more specialist. We were pointed in the direction of feminex, a pink-boxed painkiller designed to get at cramps. Does anyone else find the packaging of ‘woman pain killers’ in pink boxes a bit brilliant? I love the campy neon pink of panadol woman, gender norms be dammed. That’s what box I want my meds to come in. Anyway, Feminex is a fucking trip- Codeine, caffeine and the stern advice not to become addicted.
I was like a fairy. It took the pain away, but also left me with a nervous, drunken high. My heart was racing from the caffeine and my head was light from codeine. I wrote some amusingly out there facebook posts, tweeted my hysteria and then crashed, sleeping for 15 hours. I did the same basic routine every time I had a bad period. I still have the box of Feminex somewhere, but I stick to Panadol woman now. I get a bit too happy on Feminex. It’s a trip.
The absolute worst thing I ever learned was that the best natural painkiller for cramps is in fact orgasm. It completely un-clenches tensed muscles and gives you a rush of happy hormones. I will never, ever forgive the universe for designing me with the ability to remove this pain by doing the one thing I really don’t feel like doing at that time.
I am sorry I am so obsessed with my period you guys
And so considering this- that it’s a monthly source of pain both emotional and physical- I hope it’s easier to understand why I go on about it so much. I mean, all the effort that goes into concealing it is ludicrous. Jokes about menstruation are still considered really far out unless they’re jokes about women being all irrational and weepy on their periods, which I point out kind of dis empowers them. You never see jokes about menstrual blood, or cramps, really. People still bristle unhappily when periods are mentioned, even in passing.
I try to be really super delicate when I talk about them- well, not here, but in company. In company, I call it ‘lady pains’, trying to avoid even the mention of the C word. It can’t be a thing of horror for me anymore. It never has been, really. Since the age of 11, I haven’t the luxury of being grossed out. I, like a good deal of women, just have to get on with it. I have to get on with the maintenance and the smells and the countless pairs of nice pants ruined by bloodstains that never really wash out, no matter how much cold water you rinse with.
So that’s the deal. If I have to live the next 30 years bleeding once a week, I’m allowed crack jokes about it. It’s my little way of taking control and agency over myself. It’s uncomfortable and at times difficult to keep in line, but it’s my body. I’m genuinely sorry if that makes people uncomfortable, or if it’s being too honest. So yes, ladies. Everyone up on their chair/bed/ottoman
‘We all got periods, yo!’ Say loud n’ proud.
Niamh ‘I bleed out my vagina and y’all gotta deal with that’ Keoghan
I am so hot for feminist men.
God, it’s ridiculous.
There is just something about a guy who actually sees your views as something not to be eye rolled out, or made fun of outright. It is dead sexy to be considered as an actual intellectual equal. It makes me do a little ‘hnnnnnnngh’ sound when I think about it. I am so hot for any man who understands that there is a relevance to what I have to say and what I think about the experiences I’ve had. It is so devastating attractive when I am viewed as a partner in crime (‘crime’ here meaning ‘sexy things’) and not as an object.
It makes me hot for them. I want to shag guys who apply the Bedchel test to films.
In that age old (i.e. from about 2009) debate, ‘can men be feminists?’ All I can ever say is OF COURSE. OF COURSE men of this generation are feminists. They are the sons of working women- the telephonists and receptionists and university lecturers and all the rest. They are the product of an age transformed by the women’s movement- not even the organised movement, just the basic idea that WOMEN ARE NOT PROPERTY. I am big on that.
I am hot on men who do not consider me to be their property.
I am hot for men who are pro choice, and agree that in the abortion debate, the two genders are coming at it from very different perspectives and that, in the end, it is me who has to actually *have* an abortion. I am very pleased when men say that women have more of a say in abortion policy. I like men who don’t think it’s silly that I want to keep my name if I ever get married and don’t bullshit me about it being ‘nice for a family to have the same name!’ I am hot for men who understand that it’s not a battle and it’s not man VS woman.
I am very hot for it not being a battle.
I am hot for men who understand that periods are just a fact of my existence, and are nothing to be grossed out by. I am attracted to sympathetic nods of solidarity when a week is lost to cramps and hysterical sobbing. I am turned on by guys who don’t think women are just naturally ‘more emotional’ when debating. I am very, very hot for men who know women can be just as funny as other men.
I am hot for men who accept that they can’t tell me what to do with my uterus.
I am also very hot indeed on men who aren’t just saying things to impress me. I am very into the idea of debating, of discussing and in being talked to like a grown up. I don’t like guys who roll their eyes when I say ‘I’m a feminist’. It does not make me hot for them when they scoff and go ‘of course I think women are equal- I’m just not a feminist.’ This is okay for them to say- There is hope for them. In a culture of free speech, it is okay with being critical of feminism- heck, I have my own problems with some aspects of feminist theory under the big umberella of ideas that is ‘FEMINISM’ with a captial F. It is okay for them to not call themselves feminist.
I am hot for respect. I am well hot for good humour.
But I am so hot for men who say they are feminists.
I am so hot for feminist men.
Niamh ‘I am also hot for cardigans’ Keoghan
SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERZZZZZZZZZZ
Seriously, I’m not taking responsibility for this if you get spoiled. Snape Kills Dumbledore.