SL Letter of the Day: Three-Second Rule

Comments

203
@199: I don't actually think it's a function only of how often the hitting-on happens; I think it's a function of the fact that men are culturally trained to expect sex to satisfy them and to be the ones in charge. If a guy thinks a woman is fantasizing about him, he's much more likely to believe she's fantasizing about him having the sex HE wants to have rather than being made to perform like a virtual porn star. Similarly, I'll bet guys WOULD be uncomfortable at the thought of women they didn't trust or feel safe around (another cultural imbalance--how many men feel unsafe around certain women, versus women feeling unsafe around certain men?) viewing them pornographically.

I'm suggesting that people treat each other with respect, and consider it a value for a good person to respect the wishes of others in ALL aspects of how you think of them...and if you don't, it will probably show more than you realize, and it actually *will* affect others.

No, actually, I don't think it's just those who are already mean-spirited who are affected by treating others cavalierly. I think if you are having those person-objectifying fantasies you are BY DEFINITION being at least a little mean spirited. Also, people are products of their time, culture, and education in terms of what is considered acceptable. That's kinda the thing about privilege--you can be a really nice and well-meaning person who is still hurtful to others because the way you are hurting others is so insulated from you that you never have to square that with your all-around niceness. Consider the casual homophobia of 30 years ago: most of those people weren't intentionally cruel, but they didn't realize their values excluded gays from important rights and caused emotional torment. We're not inherently better people than them, we've just been made aware of those issues and know to be ethical about them. Similarly, a person who has been taught to believe he can use/imagine/consider someone as a sex object without thinking about it, will be vastly more likely to perpetuate that sexual objectification elsewhere without thinking about it precisely BECAUSE he doesn't realize he's doing it and doesn't realize it's wrong.
204
@201--we're not saying we're the be-all and end-all; we're just saying we're human and deserve to be treated with human decency, and that INCLUDES not being leered at, objectified, or sexualized by people in whom we're overwhelmingly not interested. As complete beings, we're entitled to decide whom we find attractive. It's not something we need to "grow up" about, because it's a basic part of being an autonomous person. We don't owe anyone their ego trips or their sexual fantasies, because NO ONE owes ANYONE that.
205
203/Alemana, I have to disagree with you that if a guy thinks a woman is fantasizing about him, "he's much more likely to believe she's fantasizing about him having the sex HE wants to have." I'd think you'd be surprised at the percentage of men who would get turned on at the thought of the woman being in charge, at the thought of her fantasizing about the kind of sex she wants to have. In addition, I think that plenty of men would want the sex to be mutually satisfying. You seem to view men as mostly "takers" when it comes to sex. While I'm sure men like that exist, I think that most men are "givers" as well, putting a woman's pleasure on a par with their own.

I'm suggesting that people treat each other with respect, and consider it a value for a good person to respect the wishes of others in ALL aspects of how you think of them

I'm curious how you see that applying to fantasies?

No, actually, I don't think it's just those who are already mean-spirited who are affected by treating others cavalierly. I think if you are having those person-objectifying fantasies you are BY DEFINITION being at least a little mean spirited.

So, to make sure I understand... anyone -- a woman as well as man -- who has sexual fantasies about someone is, by definition, at least a little mean-spirited? Do you feel the same way about porn, that anyone who watches porn is also, by definition, a little mean-spirited?

Similarly, a person who has been taught to believe he can use/imagine/consider someone as a sex object without thinking about it, will be vastly more likely to perpetuate that sexual objectification elsewhere without thinking about it precisely BECAUSE he doesn't realize he's doing it and doesn't realize it's wrong.

I understand your reasoning because it's the same kind of reasoning that anti-porn feminists use. They argue that porn is bad because it causes men to see women as only sex objects. I disagree. I think that the kind of men who see women as only sex objects would do that even without the existence of porn. And I think that the kind of men who see women as whole human beings see women that way even if they look at porn (or have sexual fantasies.)
206
Alemana, I hadn't read any of your previous posts. I just did so and wanted to comment on a couple things...

55: Maybe we deserve to have friends and acquaintances who want to talk to us to hear our thoughts & enjoy our company--platonically--without having to go through our lives thinking "This person thinks of me as a sex object first and a conversationalist second."

You're absolutely right, all women do deserve that. But if a guy meets a woman who he thinks is smart and really interesting and a great conversationalist and he also finds her physically attractive in some way he is very likely going to imagine being intimate with her. That doesn't mean he thinks of sex with her as the first (or only) thing. It doesn't mean he'll be constantly thinking of what she looks like naked as she's talking, ignoring everything she's saying. Being interested in her, in what she says and her interests, and being interested in being intimate with her are not mutually exclusive things.

153: To those saying, "Guys think of every girl they've seen and jack off to them, so get used to it/get over yourself!" I think this has a lot to do with how guys trivialize women and generally think of them as not worthwhile unless sex is a possibility.

First of all, guys don't "think of every girl they've seen and jack off to them." Second, while a guy will likely not view a woman as "worthwhile" for a potential relationship unless sex is a possibility (since most guys are going to want physical intimacy in a relationship), it does not mean he will view her that way as a friend or a human being. Third, women are no different in this regard. If a woman doesn't see sex with a man as a possibility (because she's not attracted to him) then she's going to view him as not "worthwhile" for a potential relationship.

207
@205, Roma:

"He gets turned on by..." is still male-desire-centered. He is still getting what he wants, and is not having to face being a part of what he DOESN'T want. He's so culturally in control that he is not in any way threatened. That is totally, TOTALLY different from the way a woman feels about being objectified and used in a scenario that's uncomfortable for her.

I've dealt with men who are both "takers" and "givers" when it comes to sex. However, our culture most definitely encourages men to be "takers" and often they don't even realize how self-centered they're being (case in point: the recent Savage Love letter from a kid who thought his girlfriend wasn't giving enough to him, because EXACTLY ONCE she was tired and didn't have sex the instant he wanted to).

I'm curious how you see that applying to fantasies?

I have to ask, are you a man? Have you ever actually had to deal with someone who has been fantasizing about you when you aren't interested? Because I have, and it really does affect you. Have you actually dealt with the repeated and casual disrespect of people who view women as sex objects?

A person is being a little mean-spirited if they're having a sex fantasy about a person WHOM THEY HAVE NO REASONABLE CAUSE TO BELIEVE IS INTERESTED IN THEM--because they're using that person independent of that person's desires.

I think it depends on the type of porn--I have no problem WHATSOEVER with people getting off on consenting adults who want to be filmed having sex. HOWEVER, let's not conflate "porn" as it is currently sold now, with the simple interest in seeing consenting adults having sex on camera. Mainstream porn is hugely invested in misogynistic stereotypes--punishing and humiliating women ("dirty little slut gets fucked," etc.), or showing them being so cartoonified and easily satisfied by only what the man himself would want, having no agency, depth, or genuine sexual desire. So, I'd say someone who watches that kind of casual-humiliation porn is a little bit mean-spirited, or at least they're entitled & self-centered in that they make no effort to seek out porn that gets them off while treating women well.

As for porn causing men to see women as sex objects--yeah, it plays a part, but it's part of a much bigger culture that does very much the same thing. And, do you really NOT think that sexual desires can be shaped? Men in Imperial China were incredibly turned on by bound feet...did thousands of people spontaneously decide bound feet were their particular fetish, or did culture play into it? Did men's preferences for body types magically change at around the same times that Marilyn Monroe, then Twiggy, then Christina Hendricks became popular? Have you noticed that the average guy's obsession with MFF threesomes (and a VERY small percentage of these guys who want their girlfriends to indulge their MFF desires would EVER consider doing a MMF fling!), facials, and anal sex tracks pretty much perfectly to their appearance in porn? That shaved bushes are now considered standard? Women and girls report an overwhelming pressure to conform to what's in porn, and that they feel men aren't satisfied with anything less than the full porn aesthetic and behavior? Meanwhile, even Bill Maher is complaining that men are more interested in porn than their actual wives and girlfriends.

I also think you're wrong to say "the kind of men who see women only as sex objects..." It's really not so cut-and-dried. There is a whole continuum of how people behave toward each other, and people are shaped by a wide variety of cultural influences. Yes, there will always be SOME men who are clearly, overtly assholes, BUT there are also men who--without realizing it and in subtle ways--take women for granted, feel unreasonably bitter when women aren't into them, just don't quite see women as being as competent as they are, or can't imagine why she wouldn't be completely satisfied by those sex acts he likes. Porn, rape culture, declaring it's okay for men to view all or most women sexually regardless of the desires or intentions of those women, all contribute to the subtle-but-wow-you-totally-notice-when-someone-is-being-a-shithead-to-you feeling you get, which I'm gathering you've never actually experienced.

For instance, read the comments on the recent Salon.com article about "ex-girlfriend" porn:

http://www.salon.com/life/feature/2011/0…

They almost all defend the genre 'cause it shows them the tits they like to see, and they never seem to care that distributing sexual videos without the individual's consent IS A CRIME (which they rationalize with, "it's probably faked," but never actually care enough to MAKE SURE they're watching ethically-produced porn), nor do they make ANY effort to see what, ostensibly, is all they want--natural-looking T&A--from porn that does NOT pretend to violate a woman without her consent. After 47 letters, exactly ONE says, "knowing that she wanted to show herself is much more of a turn on to me than spite-based surreptition," and only one is from a girl saying, "I was taught that humiliating people for fun is wrong," after the mostly-male readership fantasized that women love to be vindictive to men such that it totally justifies their fantasizing about watching a non-consenting ex-girlfriend. Also, a lot of these writers castigate the female sex writer (who is gainfully employed to write analytically about sex) for being too interested in sex, while they proudly declare their tastes in porn and don't think it makes their (male) opinions any less valid.
208
@206: I think you're failing to understand this in terms of certain men who think of women sexually almost ALWAYS, even if it's not that particularly special girl. These are the men who evaluate the sexiness of any woman, anywhere (from Natalie Portman to Hillary Clinton) as the main determinant of her worth. That's not to say *all* men, but it's a much-too-high and much-too-vocal segment.

And, if you think a woman is interesting, cool, AND physically attractive--why aren't you pursuing a relationship with her? But, ostensibly being "friends" with someone when that's not your true intention (the NiceGuy(TM) phenomenon), or not respecting when she's not interested in being sexually involved with you, is pretty entitled and callous.

As for post #153, you obviously haven't read post #168.

Also, when I was talking about women being worthwhile, notice *I* didn't say "worthwhile for a relationship." YOU conflated that. I am talking about guys who act like women who won't sleep with them are not worthwhile AT ALL. They do exist--I'm glad to hear you're not one of them, but they most definitely exist. These are the guys who get bitter and angry if a woman isn't interested in them, and those who think that interacting with a woman is a chore for which they deserve sex. They can't imagine women being actual members of their circles of friends, they exclude women from their spaces or harass them with "show me your tits" & such, and it's a lot more prevalent than you think.
209
There are some great discussions here.

I think that people should fantasize about whatever they want. If people think that the video reel playing in my head makes me treat others differently, then we're just going to have to disagree about that. There is no point in making sure that everyone in my fantasies approves of the sex we're (not) having because 1: nobody is perfectly sexually compatible with anyone else and 2: nobody agrees completely on what constitutes degradation.

A logical conclusion of that thinking is that we either have no right to fantasize about any human or we have to run through a checklist of acceptable sexual fantasies with everyone we fantasize about.

"Is it okay if we're having anal? How bout cunnilingus? Okay, so I can pretend that we're going doggy-style as long as I don't imagine your ass and as long as I'm wearing an imaginary condom and as long as I imagine that the lights are off because in real life you only have sex in the dark. Cool. I'm gonna go wank now."

@208. You say "if you think a woman is interesting, cool, AND physically attractive--why aren't you pursuing a relationship with her?" I'm just throwing out a random example (and not responding to the specific context of your discussion with 206): the woman is my spouse's friend. So I'm not pursuing a relationship because I already have one. I just want to imagine fucking my spouse's friend.