I’ve heard a lot of questions lately wondering what’s next for the #MeToo movement. Far be it from me, as a white man, to presume upon an organization primarily created by and for women freeing themselves from mostly male sexual oppression. Yet, as a gay activist and a sexologist, I’ve learned a thing or two about sexual trauma over the years. Therefore, I do have a few suggestions that might be creatively constructive to the cause, and as many have pointed out, men probably need to be the ones to take these steps:
1. America’s resolutely limited understanding of sexuality needs to grow up.
The problem with a youth oriented society is that our general maturity level tends not move much beyond the “teens.” This is especially true for our sexual understanding, and we tend to glibly think that’s more than enough. To make matters worse, much of America still keeps sex education censored from our teens as much as possible, and then we wonder why sex feels so “ookie” and awkward or why many relationships never seem to reach a certain depth. We are heartbroken when our connections don’t turn out to be like a 20-minute sitcom, a romance novel, or a rom-com. Oddly enough, by all estimations there are just as many adults who need some solid sexuality education as there are teens who need it— probably more!
I’m not talking about a cursory search on the internet. I’m suggesting you take an actual class, retreat, or intensive from trained sexological professionals who can give you the real tools to be great in bed (as if this would be a horrible thing – you’d probably have a blast!). Hasn’t that been part of the problem? Some guys just assume they are “hot stuff” simply by waving their “magic wands,” so to speak. Sorry boys, it takes more than that, and a Sexual Being knows it takes knowledge, experience, sensitivity and skill to really please both your sexual partners and yourself at the same time. What’s to lose but great sex for everyone involved?
2. Healthy sexuality needs more air time.
What makes talking about sexual abuse and harassment so particularly uncomfortable is that we are not comfortable talking about sexuality in general (another feature of our sexual immaturity). When we uncomfortably force any topic of sexuality behind the closed doors of “it’s a private matter,” sexual abuse has free reign behind those doors. That’s why all this harassment has gone on for so long, because we make it just so damn hard to talk proactively about sexuality at all. At the same time, double standards abound. It’s fine to exploit sex to sell products and titillate movie-goers, but to have a constructive honest conversation about positive sexuality is usually cast in a disparaging light, and of course, it doesn’t get the ratings like a scandal does.
If we don’t allow public discourse about the positive experiences and benefits of healthy sexuality, then the only time we hear about sex is when it’s cast in the most horrible and damaging situations. Sooner or later, the negative intensity will get to be too much and it will all go underground again. Although we must bring all the abuses to light, we must be responsible in showing the wonderful and amazing aspects that make sexuality worth enjoying. We need counterbalance, because informing about healthy sexuality is part of the solution. In fact, great sexuality is the best part of the solution! Let’s talk more about it!
One of the easiest ways to further bring positive sexuality into the light is giving credit where credit is due. There is an enormous number of men who already treat their partners and relationships in a respectful, consensual, sexy manner. Organizations like goodmenproject.com and movies like The Mask You Live In are providing a platform for men to throw off outdated and disrespectful roles that end up hurting everyone, including themselves. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel to show how men should treat their love interests when there are already wonderful men out there providing examples of great and positive boyfriends, husbands, fathers, and sex partners. We just have to give them the microphone. This doesn’t make them perfect. This makes them real and all the more reason we need to hear their stories. All we have to do is have the courage to talk about it.
Thank you, ladies and all people who have fallen victim to sexual abuse and oppression, for calling us out. There are so many of us who want to do better. Thank you for never letting us get away with this shit ever again. We WILL do better.
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Well stated Jallen !!
How are you? Still in SFO area?
Thought I saw a PSP area address somewhere. I’m now retired and living in Portland Oregon. Been a while since Atlanta days.
Yeah, Brad. I’m in Palm Springs now. Thanks for staying in touch!
I’m so tired of the way our curse words continue to reflect this. What does “f— you” mean except “rape you”? It certainly doesn’t mean, “make love to you” or “have great sex.” Then there’s “bitch” – worse when you say it to a man! “You are like a woman.” We tone it down with “ son of a bitch,” to remove the insult of calling a guy a woman to the son of a loose woman (presumably one who has indiscriminate sex like a female dog, right?) then we get into various forms of sexual organs, male and female. Seriously has to be revised in our thinking. Crap, bullshit and piss at least remove the genitals from the equation.
Har! Wow Marsha, you go! It is so true. In general most of our “cuss” words are sex negative stigmatized slurs. Working to get out of the habit of using them is a challenge even for me. Thank you for your honest and “profane” input – wink!
Don’t forget “that sucks” which has become completely acceptable == although it usually means. “That’s too bad.”
Encouraging men who are “not perfect” to speak out is a step in the right direction. I suspect most men have violated the recently new rules of consensually agreed upon boundaries at some time in their lives. They were products of their own past “rules.” So they remain quiet now. They are waiting to feel safe to participate in this discussion without becoming targets of persecution.
It’s so true, John. I’ve made mistakes in the past. I’ve done everything to correct them, AND we gotta tell our stories. Thank you for speaking up!
Many straight men and women were taught strict gender roles. Men were expected to be aggressive and women to say NO, even if they wanted to yes, and the men were to keep trying until she had no choice in the matter. If you didn’t play by those rules, you were not a real man or woman. And for gays and lesbians the rules were even more crazy. As a bisexual, I felt as if I could not touch or even approach anyone! How “f-ed” up is that?
Very thoughtful insights!
Loved reading your perspective, Jallen. Your thoughtful words need to reach a much wider audience. Thank you for your contribution!
Thanks brother, please feel free to share…..