Why We (Men) Don’t Write About Our Sex Lives

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A scoff. A prolonged, intense, and bemused scoff. Followed by an aggressive bite of a granola bar.

This was my first reaction when reading “Why Is It So Hard for Men to Write About Sex?” — a piece from Slate’s Amanda Hess that gave some sociological (and, potentially, biological) reasons for why it’s more difficult for us (men) to write about love-making.

I mean, had she not been to VSB? (Probably not, but play along.) Had she not read the dozens of pieces I’ve written about sex, sex acts, when to have sex, when to have certain sex acts, who to have sex with, who not to have sex with, who to perform certain sex acts on, what you’re supposed to do when an eager cat is watching, etc? Did she not know that the longest chapter in Your Degrees Won’t Keep You Warm At Night — a book about dating, relationships, and SEX — was titled “19 Things About Sex I Definitely Didn’t Learn In Sex-Ed” and contained 28 pages of sex-related topics written by me, a man?

Basically, what the hell was she talking about?

But then I finished my granola bar. And another. (I like granola bars.) While in the middle of that second bar, I started to think about the sex-related pieces I’ve written. By the time I was finished, a realization hit me: She was right. Well, she was right when it comes to me. And, since she’s right when it comes to me, she’s right when it comes to (straight) men.

As mentioned earlier, I’ve written about sex quite a few times. And the sex-related topics have varied. But, despite this variety, they all seem to fall under one of three categories:

1. “Explain” pieces. Usually tongue-in-cheek, these bring up a sex-related topic, and “explain” why you need to do it, why it’s not important, why you need to do it differently, etc. Example: “The Dos and Don’ts of Making a Sex Tape”

2. “Mandom” pieces. These tend to adopt a collective male voice while giving insight into a “difference” between men and women. Something with a title like “Why Men Love Sex On The First Night.”

3. Anecdotal pieces. These are usually humorous stories about a sex-related incident in my past. Example: “My First Time.”

While these types of pieces serve their functions, all stay on the peripherals of sex, using humor, observation, and an occasional bit of sophomoric overshare to talk about sex without actually talking about sex. VSB has been up for almost six years now. In that six years, I’ve had sex at least 1,000 times. (2,000 if you count sex with myself.) Yet, I’ve never written about my sex life. Nothing about the myriad feelings — physical, mental, and emotional — associated with sleeping with someone. Nothing about the difference in preparation and performance between sleeping with a one night stand and sleeping with a f-buddy. Nothing about the awkwardness of being with someone new, or the extra awkwardness of sleeping with someone familiar but thinking of someone new. Nothing about any sexual fantasies. Nothing about my own sexual prowess (or lack thereof).

Of course, there’s one very obvious reason for this lack of openness. Every woman I’ve been with in that time is aware of VSB. Some of these women also have friends and family who read, and it just wouldn’t have been the best idea to provide sexual details about those relationships.

But, while this reason is practical, it’s a bit of a cop-out. I’ve written about other intimate relationship-related topics before. Some of these topics were very sensitive in nature, but that didn’t stop me from finding a way to express myself without being too explicit. Also, even if the women I’ve been with didn’t read VSB, I still wouldn’t feel very comfortable sharing anything sexual.

Why? Well, it’s complicated. Part of it is stylistic. My work tends to be more observational/distant, and that type of writing doesn’t lend itself to detailed conversations about the bedroom.

Also, it just doesn’t feel…right. Writing about sex makes me feel like I’m either humble-bragging or pandering. There’s no inbetween. Even earlier, when I mentioned how many times I’ve had sex in the past few years, I was tempted to delete it. Despite the fact that it’s an innocuous stat and a (relatively) unremarkable number, it felt tactless to include it.

This feeling of tactlessness is present whenever I see other men writing about sex. Sharing those type of details seems, for lack of a better term, feminine. And yes, I realize the irony in thinking that a straight man sharing details about sex with women is feminine, but I can’t deny that the feeling is there. Considering how rare it is to see straight men talk openly and explicitly about our own sex lives, I don’t think I’m alone in feeling that way. We’ve been socialized to think that sharing those types of intimate details about what happens in our bedrooms is something women do, not men. Sure, there are the storied “locker room” conversations, but those are more about reporting conquests than sharing details about them.

Also — and this goes back to the humble-bragging point — because of the language commonly used to describe sex, it’s difficult to really talk about it without using certain verbs and adjectives that suggest that you are, in fact, bragging. The way words like f*ck, bang, screw, pop, hit, beat, and bone are usually incorporated drive home the conquer/conquest concept. And, if you prefer to use less aggressive language that suggests you were receiving more than giving, it feels soft. Unmasculine. So instead of striving to find the perfect language to hit that sweet spot between “too aggressive” and “too weak”, we just don’t talk about it. (And, if we want to, we use a fifteen-year-old rap song as a proxy.) The best writing is inherently, sometimes painfully vulnerable. And we (men) can be vulnerable about family or fear or even love. But, when it comes to (straight) male sexuality, there really isn’t much room for it.

This brings me to my last point. Perhaps we don’t talk about it because no one really wants to hear it. Maybe there’s just no real audience for a straight male version of someone like Feminista Jones. Which sucks for me. Because I did want to start talking about my sex life more often.

Actually, nevermind. Even if there was an audience for it, there’s one person — a person I’m marrying this summer — who I know wouldn’t be happy with me sharing. So I won’t.

Drats.

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

Let’s Talk About The Richard

I’m going to attempt to use as many euphemisms for the peen (and never repeating the same one twice) as possible during the writing of this post. Sort of as an exercise in creativity and because why not? Might as well have fun with it, which coincidentally, IS WHAT SHE SAID. Oh, and there’s gonna be a whole lot of potential TMI. You’ve been warned.

130108_richard_nixon_ap_328Penis envy is very real thing. You know how I know that it’s a real thing? Because I’m a man and I’ve literally had a woman examine my wang with envy. Like, while I was laying there, she treated it like a Frankenstein science experiment. Not doing anything remotely fun or exciting with it, just actual examination and asking questions. I’m talking real study. While I was watching television. Now, as a man, you kind of get used to this. I hope I’m not telling tales out of school, but I’m sure most men can relate. At some point after you’ve reached “be naked around each other for no reason at all” level of comfort, your woman will randomly hold your johnson in both amazement and curiosity.

[And security. I used to date this chick a long time ago who literally would hold my dong whenever we drove somewhere in the car. Without fail. Church? Grocery store? Blockbuster? She just felt more comfortable holding on in the car. It didn't seem weird until I just typed this out. Go Redskins! Wait, the football season is over? F*ck. Awwwwkward.]

You know, the fact that schlong envy is a real thing is slightly non-sensical. The pickle is really an inconvenient apendage in all other facets but sexual. For instance, I wrote this almost six years ago:

More nuttage: Getting my nuts caught in a door - Say I’m doing naked cartwheels in my house one day…and I’m having a dinner party. Why would I be doing naked cartwheels during a dinner party? I have no clue. Anyway, say I’m doing a carthweel thru my hallway and somebody goes in the bathroom and because I’m King Beef, they slam the door and my shit gets slammed in the door. Seriously, that’s some scary shit. That’s on par with clowns.

Why do I bring this up? Well, yesterday while perusing the social medias, I came across this post by Ms. Lucas of A Belle in Brooklyn fame entitled, “You Never Held It While He Pees?” – Her which made me laugh because, well, I’ve had that happen before. A woman I was dating asked me (and made a big enough deal that I relented) if she could hold my doodle while I peed. She actually used to want to do that frequently. I suppose its an odd request, but curiosity is a real thing so I understood. I mean I was always curious about the sun, moon, stars and sh*t like that. RICKYYYYYYY. It wasn’t until I read Demetria’s post that I realized women found it difficult to aim.

I suppose that all of our urinary moments are just constant practice at shooting straight. And lord knows you do get better over time. Any person with boys can tell you this. It’s a wonder bathrooms don’t just smell like urine if you’ve got little boys. The “if you sprinkle when you tinkle, be a sweetie and wipe the seatie” signs aren’t just decorative, ya know. It seems like some women just aren’t prepared for the power of the stream. And of course, boys being boys, well we do boy things like piss our names into snow, or into the urinals. I do it all the time. In fact, you are not only not f*cking with my clique, you are absolutly not f*cking with my urinary cursive game. You just aren’t. I’ve gotten to caligraphy, my nword. Caligraphy. But I suppose it can be hard to aim if you’ve never had to do it before. It’s like a water hose. Or shooting a gun. First time you do it, you aren’t ready for the recoil action.

Similarly, I’ve also had women ask to shave (my face) me before, which….Color Purple. You are not shaving me, Celie. You better go run through a field of purple and say makidada with your homegirl. Moving on.

The wanting to hold the dingaling thing does make some sense though. Most women I know have told me in various fashion what they’d do if they had a weenie for a day. This also lets me know how crude women are because nearly every single goal has included either beating off or coming remarkably close to rape. Basically, right after holding the twig and berries for a while, they’d go out and make sure to USE them. Can’t blame y’all actually.

On the flipside, I can honestly say that I’ve never had the desire to examine and fawn over the vajayjay, no matter how much I love it and its possibilities. I mean of course there’s the standard “it don’t smell” test, but that’s purely goal oriented. But rarely are most dudes going to just stand and fiddle for educational purposes. I’ve never wanted to sit down peeing or experience cramps. I’ve had shin splints though and like athlete cramps. And pneumonia. They all hurt. Fight me. Why would I want to add menstrual cramps to that. I don’t want an ovary. Or two. And Phillippine tubes seems like an Olympic event though I can’t decide if its winter or summer. I’m guessing winter.

And I don’t want boobs. Them joints can be maaaad heavy. Flat drinks we call A-cups.

But women seem to have that curiosity about the wanderings of pirate named, One-eyed Willie. Does the python do a dance? Can you make the snake slither? After reading the post above, I asked various women I know about holding  a man’s pecker. Most were like, “ewwww, why?” but I got a few, “I mean, yeah, like I just needed to understand the mechanics of my mechanic”

TUNE UP.

So after all that, ladies, have you had an odd-ish type of requests for your man’s woody? Fellas, what about you? Are you as interested in the science of the beaver as they seem to be with the weasel? Who holds the peen in your relationship???

-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka MR. PUT IT DOWN AFTER YOU PICK IT UP, PLEASE AND THANK YOU aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL HE A 3

When Your Worst Behavior And Best Behavior Is The Same Damn Thing

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We’ve all heard the story before:

Boy spots Girl at 6th annual Delta “Chicken Wing Eating Contest For The Mouth Gout Cure.” Boy approaches Girl. Girl, impressed by Boy’s use of “intersectionality” and “motherf*cking goat cheese ravioli” gives Boy her number. They eventually date. And, after a couple surprisingly fun trips to Walgreen’s and a very intense bout of post-Thai buffet car sex, they decide to date exclusively. 

Months later, things continue to go well. She’s beginning to get used to his strange penchant for burping when he’s nervous, and he’s gotten used to her strikingly large clitoris. But, there has been one pretty major bump in the road. She has a penchant for laziness. Not life-crippling laziness, but she tends to do things on her own time. And sometimes “her own time” means “only when reminded repeatedly” or “not all at.” Which is a problem for him, because he’s naturally a detail-oriented and concrete-sequential person. 

What makes the problem even more complicated is that Girl’s laidback attitude and generally calm demeanor is what attracted him to her in the first place. (Well that and her thigh gap.) He was used to drama-filled relationships with manic-depressive women, and the fact that she’s so cool and calm made him want to put a Nuvaring on it. The thing he loves most about her came from the exact same place as the thing he’s most annoyed with.

As the Gay Reindeer and I near our wedding date, and conversations about guest lists, parenthood, and gotdamn recycling are regularly had, a few things have become more apparent:

1. I made the right choice.

2. I need to make more money to afford all the toilet paper we’re going to need. 

3. I’m going to have to get used to the things that annoy the hell out of me about her.

The first two I’ve known for some time. I knew she was the right choice before I even made the choice, and every month my bank statement reminds me I spend so much money on toilet paper you’d think “Charmin” was a stripper I’m sponsoring.

That third one, though, is a monster. While she has many lovely attributes and talents, she’s not perfect. And there are some parts about her that irritate me. Maybe that’s only 4.5% of her (as opposed to the 95.5% that’s f*cking awesome), but we’re getting married. And we plan to stay married. And we plan to stay alive. And, over a span of 30 or 40 or even 50+ years, that 4.5% will add up.

Some of these irritating things will soften over time. I’m sure she’ll learn that the 4th quarter of a tied game isn’t the time to ask me about scented bleach and fried zucchini. But most of those things will always be there, because they’re an inherent part of her. And, without getting too specific, each of these annoyances come from the exact same damn place as the parts about her I fell in love with.

This has a tendency to make things very ironic. Not cute, hipster irony. But “I love that you’re so thoughtful and hate that you overthink things sometimes” irony. That grown-ass, “butt naked in the house on a Saturday night eating steak salad and watching Shark Tank reruns” irony.

And, since I don’t want to suppress those great parts about her, I have to learn to live with that four point motherf*cking five percent.

Oh, and yes. I know she can say the same things about me. Most of the things she loves most about me and most of the things that annoy her the most come from the same place in my (very large) head. Some parts will get better. I’ve already stopped using nine different glasses every day (I’m down to five), and I’m definitely getting better at giving non-verbal feedback while she’s talking to me instead of the bemused indifference my resting face usually conveys. (I’m not indifferent. But I always look like I am. Which, I guess, can be annoying.)

But some parts will always be there. And for this to work she’ll have to choose to suck it up. Which, all things considered, is an easy choice if you made the right choice.

—Damon Young 

The Big, Fat Lie About Black Marriage

I think these are Black people

I think these are supposed to be Black people

Monday night, my fiancee and I attended the first of seven sessions for a pre-marriage counseling class. It’s a decent sized group with roughly 15 engaged couples, and the course is led by a husband and wife team who’ve been married for 36 years and reminded me of Aunt Helen and Uncle Junior from The Jamie Foxx Show.

Before attending, I thought the comparison of the relationship-based topics I occasionally touch on here with the topics discussed in the class would make for a good piece, and I planned on writing about it this week. But honestly, there really wasn’t much we went over that night that we haven’t already written about on VSB and my fiancee and I haven’t already discussed. Communication matters, relationships are work, and women use a lot of toilet paper.

Still, there were a couple things that stood out

1. They give you pizza at these things

Everyone who’s ever gone to any type of evening gathering like this knows how important is it to have food, right? Of course! Without it you can’t concentrate, you get irritable, and you spend the majority of the time counting stomach grumbles and waiting for it to end. Right? So, why do so many people hold food-less evening events? Why is it a pleasant surprise when there actually happens to be food? Who are the people who think it’s a good idea to invite a bunch of grown-ass men and women to be somewhere for 90 minutes without food, and why do they still exist?

2. EVERYBODY GETS MARRIED! EVERYBODY!

Now, when I say “EVERYBODY GETS MARRIED” I (obviously) don’t mean every single individual person is getting married. Nor does every single person need to get married. Even if there is someone for everyone, sometimes the world is a better place if some people never meet.

What I mean is this. If you read enough, watch enough TV, or listen to enough conversation about the state of young Black marriage, you’d think the only marryable Black people were Idris Elba/Neil Degrasse Tyson hybrids and PhD-ed Briana Bettes with active fathers and good credit.

But, aside from the age — everyone was relatively young (between 28 and 40) — it was like someone threw all of Black America in a plastic bag, and randomly pulled people out. You had short people, tall people, light-skinned men, dark-skinned women, people with nice bodies, people with not so nice bodies, virgins, former players, people who looked like they were upper middle class, people who looked like they were working class, introverts, extroverts; basically any type of Black person you can think of was there. I know this was just one class in one city, but I think it’s good snapshot of the type of Black people who get married. Every type.

Again, I’m not bringing this up to convince people they should get hitched. Or make anyone who wants to get hitched but still happens to be single feel bad about it. Just that if you put — or allow others to put — arbitrary limitations on and requirements for who and what you need to be in order to get married, you need to stop. All types of people (Black people!) are getting married all the f*cking time, including people who look, talk, think, act, and smell just like you. 

And no, you don’t have to thank me for this information. Just, if you ever invite me to an evening event, make sure to have some f*cking food there.

Please.

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

Macklemore’s Real Problem With Black People

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Imagine a world where…

1. Justin Bieber and Beyonce performed together at a major event

…and…

2. During the show, Beyonce “accidentally” made an obscene gesture that kinda, sorta seemed planned by her and Bieber

…and…

3. When questioned about the gesture, Bieber threw Beyonce under the bus, allowing Beyonce to receive all the negative press by herself

…and…

4. Within the next several years, as Beyonce continued to suffer from the public relations hit, the Black community would begin to embrace Bieber while collectively forgetting about her.

Seems completely far-fetched, right? I’d even say that it was impossible. Like, not f*cking possible in a million Pharrell years. But that would make me a liar. Because this exact thing happened 10 years ago. 

Janet Jackson may not have been as big then as Beyonce is now, but she was close. And Justin Bieber today might not be as big now as Justin Timberlake was then, but he’s close. But those are minor details. The major detail remains the same: Black America collectively “forgave” a 20-something White male for his role in effectively ending the career of a Black music icon.

There are myriad theories for why this was able to happen. You could argue that Janet was already on the downside of her career, and this was just a nail to a coffin that had already started to close. You could argue that the entire controversy was just another example of the double standard for male and female and Black and White performers. You could even say that Janet was blacklisted because she was the one who actually had a body part exposed.

While each theory has some truth to it, none really explain why Black people have been so quick to embrace Timberlake. I mean, he’s on every Black awards show, he works with the best Black artists, and he’s the White celebrity crush for like 17% of Black women.

The answer is simple: Timberlake has talent.

That’s it. Talent is the great neuralyzer; powerful enough to make us forget and forgive anything. It makes us liars and hypocrites. Excusers and enablers. Things we say that really, really, really, really, really matter to us like integrity and loyalty and even racial solidarity stop mattering once someone is talented and cute and makes us laugh with his dick in a box.

He’s cool with us because he’s cool.

Timberlake isn’t the only example of this happening. I’m sure many of us can think of suspect stuff we’ve let slide because of how much we liked a person’s music or movies or pizza. It happens to me, too. Quentin Tarantino has a long history of saying and/or doing racially problematic things, but I look the other way because I love his movies.

All of this helps me understand what’s happening with Macklemore right now.

Macklemore is literally everywhere right now. And by “Macklemore is literally everywhere right now” I mean “Think pieces tying Macklemore to White privilege and disingenuousness and cultural appropriation are literally everywhere right now.” Seriously, on my way to the bathroom earlier, I tripped and fell over a 1,100 word long piece comparing Macklemore to John Boehner and Joseph Caiaphas. It was sleep on the floor. I gave it a granola bar.

He has become both pop culture’s and Black America’s punching bag of the week. I even joined in the fray during the Grammys, tweeting that he was the only Grammy winner where the “get off the stage” music is better than his. 

While the heat he’s receiving now will eventually die down, one thing is certain: He will never, ever, ever, ever receive the same type of embrace from us that Timberlake or even Eminem does. Never, ever, ever, ever. He’s not quite the male Miley Cyrus. But, as far as him symbolizing “everything that’s wrong with the music industry” and “White people stealing shit again”, he might as well be.

Which proves (again) that we’re all hypocrites.

The only thing really separating Justin Timberlake and Eminem and Robin Thicke — all White artists who’ve been embraced by Blacks despite doing and/or saying some racially problematic things — from Macklemore is that we think Macklemore sucks. We don’t diss him because of appropriation or undeserved Grammy wins or Instagrammed messages to Kendrick Lamar. I mean, we say that we do, and we do a very good job of seeming upset about that stuff. But, when you consider that some of the White artists we embrace have done much worse, the Macklemore hate comes down to the fact that we think his music is simple, saccharin, and stupid. If he was a little more talented, a little less awkward, and maybe a little more handsome, we could be convinced to look the other way. But he’s not, so we don’t.

Perhaps you don’t agree. Maybe you believe it’s not just about talent. That Macklemore comes off as fake and Timberlake seems authentic so that’s why we embrace him. And, you know what? I believe you.

Actually, let me rephrase that. I will believe you if you can do one thing for me: Name the last Janet Jackson LP.

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)