Whether it is the Beatles, New Kids on the Block, the Backstreet Boys, or the current teenage heartthrobs One Direction, young women have been obsessing over boy bands for decades now. For me, it was Hanson. Three boys with long blonde hair MMMBopped into my life when I was 14, and they’ve never left. I’m actually attending one of their concerts later this month! [Side note: I am LOVING this new song of theirs!]
For at least a couple of years, I was obsessed. I collected pictures of them, listened to their music non-stop, read every article about them that I could get my hands on and I fantasized about situations where I would meet Isaac, the oldest of the three brothers, and we would fall in love and live happily ever after. I am not kidding when I say that these were elaborate fantasies. Had I known what fan fiction was at that point, I would have been writing it. Had I met him in person at that time, I probably would have fainted after screaming like a banshee in his face. Of course, I am aware (now) that there was almost zero chance of those daydreams ever coming true.
The vast majority of these bands, especially the bands of the last 30 years, have been manufactured to appeal to the broadest spectrum of teenagers. There’s the heartthrob, the “bad boy”, the smart one, the older one, the pretty one, the young one; all calculated to make as many teenage girl hearts go pitter-pat as possible. Every media interaction is scripted, nothing is said that is too extreme, or would show that the band member is anything more than his role in the band. There is crazy amounts of merchandise that is marketed towards these girls, and a lot of them will push to buy the more expensive version of something, because it has the band’s logo on it. Heck, Hanson still does that today!
Right around the same time that I was getting over this obsession, I watched, baffled, as other Hanson fans who liked Taylor (the middle brother) threw tantrums and posted threats against his wife. The wedding came as a surprise to the fans, and a lot of girls were angry that their favorite guy was no longer on the market.
The same thing has happened in previous decades – just think of the hate that still pervades with Yoko Ono – and it happens today still. The sheer volume of screeds targeting Taylor Swift when she was dating the One Direction band member Harry Styles, and against Selena Gomez (who is Justin Bieber’s on-again-off-again girlfriend), are alarming. It is as though these girls can’t stomach the thought of their favorite singer being in a relationship with anyone except themselves. Even today, in the Hanson fandom, there are girls who feel the need to create drama between the band members and their wives in their heads, and then post it on the internet.
Why? What is it about these musical celebrities that produces such obsession?
One could posit that it is the fault of the media. When I was a teenage girl, I could go to the supermarket and buy weekly issues of Teen Bop (is that even still around?) or other teen magazines, and read ridiculous articles about “What color is <insert band member’s name here>’s toothbrush and what does it say about HIM?”. I would carefully cut out pictures of my favorite band, and buy two copies if they had back-to-back pictures. (There is certainly a comparison that can be drawn between the pictures that girls post of their favorite band member in their locker, and the stereotypical nude pictures of women in a guy’s garage.) Today, there are the celebrity gossip websites that post every single paparazzi picture possible. I’m looking at you, TMZ and ONTD. It can feed into that obsession.
I think it goes deeper than that. I think that young women are encouraged – through the same media mentioned above – to objectify these young men. I know I certainly did! I had no idea what my crush was like, at all, as a person. Everything I knew about him was extrapolated from reading the aforementioned stupid articles, yet my young teenage mind was convinced that he was the perfect man, my soulmate, and that if we could only meet just once, he would know that too.
It was a way for me to have fantasies about a relationship without actually being in a relationship (and sexual fantasies too!). While I do think that an active imagination is healthy, I know that I and some of my friends took it to extremes. I know that there are girls who do that today. The cult of celebrity remains strong, and new members are added with each new boy band.
My teenage self would be mortified that when I did finally meet Isaac Hanson, he didn’t immediately fall in love with me, and that instead, we talked about social media strategies for their charity. My adult self is very satisfied with that exchange. I have the experience and the wisdom to know that there’s no way he could have lived up to the imaginary person I created in my head, and I am happy that he was a kind, intelligent, and thoughtful person. I’m also happy I didn’t scream like a banshee and faint.
Why do you think that teenage girls have such obsessions with boy band members, and teenage boys don’t? Who was your boy band crush?
Jezebel’s new sex advice columnist is still absolute crap at giving advice. Here’s my responses to the questions directed at “Slutever”.
Dear Slutever, I do not engage in any sexual activity unless my prospective partner and I both get full STD testing. In the past five years, not one woman that I dated agreed to this. Why are so many women against getting tested prior to sex?
While I agree with Slutever’s assertion that you should probably start presenting this in a different light to your dates (and using condoms!), I’m more concerned with your reasons behind this request. Would you stop seeing someone if they tested positive for an STI?
As someone who has struggled with germ phobias, I would suggest that you engage the services of a therapist who specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy so that you can get past this particular quirk. Condoms and dental dams, when used correctly, are extremely effective at preventing transmission of most STIs, and I suspect that you know this already. So, before jumping into the sack with someone, even if they’ve shown you a clean bill of health, take care of yourself first and talk with a trained professional about your concerns.
I’ve been at war for the past three years but I’m coming back next week, and I really need to take my mind off things and want to lose myself in some self-love. I’m in a small town with little access to sex shops, so I was wondering if you had any unique ideas for sex toys I could fashion out of household items, or any tips that would help achieve a great orgasm experience. I really need something to get excited about!
First of all, congratulations on finishing your tour of duty! I really wouldn’t recommend fashioning your own sex toys or using things from your kitchen. There are intricacies of the human anatomy that are better left to the experts. Fortunately, although you live in a small town, you can easily order masturbatory aids online that will be shipped to you in discreet packaging. Smitten Kitten comes to mind immediately! As for interesting sex toys, there are a plethora that you can choose from! If you are interested in penatrative objects, there are items like the NJoy butt plugs, or vibrating butt plugs/perenium massagers. If it tickles your fancy, you could also experiment a bit with sounding, though I can’t find any online retailers that I would wholeheartedly recommend. For other masturbatory aids, there’s the ever popular fleshlight, and along the same lines, you can purchase a Tenga egg masturbation sleeve, or the slightly more elaborate Tenga 3D masturbation sleeves.
Just make sure you eat and drink plenty of fluids, use lubrication, and go out of the house every once in awhile during your “me time”. It would be tragic to see a headline like “Soldier Starves to Death During Marathon Masturbation Session.”
I am a 31-year-old woman who has been married for 5 years. We still have frequent and awesome sex, but I have an issue that (oddly) seems to be getting worse with age. I orgasm way too quickly! And then I’m basically over sex. I’ve never had multiple orgasms, ever. I have one gigantic, eye-popping orgasm after about 3-5 minutes of intercourse and then I’m ready for sex to be over. I’m constantly telling my husband to slow down or stop totally during sex so I can prolong it enough for him to get off too, but it’s getting to the point where he’s a little hurt that I can’t “hang on.”
Much like last week’s column, I would recommend that you spend a lot more time on foreplay, concentrating on getting your husband close to orgasm. It would also help if you talked about this outside of the bedroom, and make sure that he knows you are asking him to slow down or stop because you want him to enjoy sex too! The numbing agents that Slutever recommended can help, but you also might have an adverse reaction to them. I know a lot of women, personally, who find that creams or lubricants that are supposed to numb their genitals give them a burning sensation instead.
It is uncommon for a woman to orgasm that quickly, especially if there isn’t some sort of direct clitoral stimulation during intercourse! A little more communication between you and your husband can really go a long way here.
I think this is going to be a regular post for Nice Girls, at least until Jezebel hires a better sex advice columnist. Some of Slutever’s recommendations are downright dangerous or unhealthy, and I hope my responses provide a needed balance. Let me know what you think in the comments!
Jezebel introduced a new columnist yesterday. Karley Sciortino, aka “slutever” has published her first column, and honestly, I can’t tell if this is satire or not (if it is, it is poorly done), so I’m going to go ahead and write my own answers to the questions posted.
I’m a 26-year-old European exchange student currently studying in the US for five months. I have a (relatively new) boyfriend back home who I’m totally into, and before I left we agreed to be monogamous. But now I have a dilemma: I love Chatroulette, and I usually skip over the random masturbating men, but recently I’ve been fantasizing about not skipping over the dicks and engaging in some hot, anonymous Chatroulette-cybersex. Would that be cheating? I want to think not, but I also realize it’s different than porn — it’s an actual sexual interaction with another human being. My boyfriend and I Skype sometimes, but it hasn’t turned into Skype-sex. And besides, the fantasy is more about the anonymity of it. So: cheating or not-cheating?
While my personal inclination leans towards “not cheating”, your long-distance boyfriend may have a different opinion. Tell him about your fantasy, G. Who knows, he might also find the idea hot, and he might try to be the person that you have hot, anonymous Chatroulette-cybersex with! A supportive partner should try to help you fulfill your fantasies, especially when you are trying to make a long-distance relationship work.
I would caution you to make sure that your face and any other identifying characteristics are hidden from view if you do engage in anonymous cybersex. Protect yourself, just as you would if you were engaging in real-world sexual activity. Like some STIs, images on the internet are forever, and can come back to haunt you at the most inopportune times.
Ever since I started having sex I’ve always shaved my vagina without even thinking about it. It may look a bit nicer, but it’s a pain in the ass having to plan ahead and make sure you’re pristinely smooth every time there’s the possibility of sex. I don’t know if I’d like it grown out, but I think I want to try it. But I’m terrified the guy I’m sleeping with will freak out! It’s my body so I can do whatever with it, but should I tell/ask him about it before the experiment begins? Where do you stand on the ‘to shave or not to shave’ debate?
Hopefully your partner likes you for more than your pubic hair grooming habits, Reba. Any guy who actually freaks out at the sight of the perfectly natural hair between your legs has probably not had much experience with women, and may have some maturity issues. It’s your hair, and while your partner may offer input about his preference, it is ultimately your decision. Pretty much every partner I’ve had has expressed the opinion that they are fine with pubic hair, but they would like it if I keep the area trimmed. I bought a $10 trimmer from my local big chain drugstore, and have used that ever since.
Dear Slutever, I am a 26-year-old boy, and though I’m not a virgin, I am terribly inexperienced. I’ve recently started seeing a girl (yay!), however I’ve been having a little ejaculation problem. The problem isn’t that I cum too quickly, but rather that I stay hard all night and can’t ejaculate! It’s no problem for me to get hard, and stay hard, but it just requires too much mentally and physically for me to reach the point of orgasm. Am I not emotionally connecting? Is my problem psychological? Should I find some way to ‘sensitize’ myself?
I’m interested to find out your masturbation habits, M. If you are the kind of person who masturbates frequently, you might want to hold off on that until you find that you are able to orgasm more easily. You and your partner should also try doing more foreplay before penetrative sex. Kissing, fondling, oral sex, and mutual masturbation are all ways that you can get your motor revving and ready to go before sex, and you may find that the increase in stimulation will make it easier to orgasm during sex. Just make sure that she also reaches climax!
What do you think, readers? How did I do in comparison to the writer on Jezebel?
When visiting my local Good Vibrations a couple of weeks ago, I was very excited to see a copy of Tristan Taormino’s newest book, The Ultimate Guide to Kink: BDSM, Role Play and the Erotic Edge, displayed prominently among fetish accoutrements. I eagerly picked up a copy, and devoured it from cover to cover in three sittings.
I have previously discussed my adoration of Ms. Taormino’s work before, and she showed once again how well she understands the world of non-normative sexuality. Instead of writing the entire book herself, she sought out the experts in each subject and asked each of them to write an essay about their experiences.
The list of authors in this book reads as a veritable who’s who in the space of kink, and each voice shines through when they are talking about their area of expertise. Midori, Mollena Williams, Ignacio Rivera, and Madison Young (sites are all NSFW, depending on your workplace) are among the contributors who bare their souls and their sexuality for the sake of education. Each chapter covers a different subject, and every area is discussed thoughtfully and with respect to the practitioners.
With topics ranging from the topics people usually think of as kink: sadism, masochism, bondage, submission and dominance; to the less public faces of kink, like age play and edge play, this book is as close to perfect as possible. If you are interested in kink, either intellectually or would like to practice, this book is a great tool to learn to articulate your thoughts and desires. Longtime practitioners, who are generally in a never-ending quest to learn more about their desires and the desires of their partners, will also find the viewpoints interesting and informative.
Overall, I highly recommend The Ultimate Guide to Kink. Ms. Taormino, thank you for putting together such a fantastic overview of the broad spectrum of kink. Once again, I tip my proverbial hat to you.
You can help support Nice Girls by purchasing The Ultimate Guide to Kink through the Amazon link above. A portion of each sale goes towards keeping my blog up and running!
With reports from North Korea showing that the general populace has a hard time finding any sort of contraception, a group of South Korean activists have launched several balloons, hoping they will drift across the border and find their way into the hands of North Koreans.
Among other essential items like sanitary napkins, toothpaste, underwear, socks, anti Pyongyang information, and flashlights, over 5,000 condoms were airlifted to drift north. According to this article, the groups who normally send balloons like these are North Korean defectors, Christian groups, and the South Korean right wing party.
Does anyone else find it somewhat incongruous to see that list? I did a double take.
[I would like to give thanks to someone on the Jezebel fan page for the title of today's post. I'm unsure if I should thank them by name, due to Google searches, but thanks anyway. It made me giggle. If you don't know the reference, what, have you been living under a rock this whole time? Treat yourself to the magic that is the Gangnam Style video. Heck, do it even if you've seen it before.]
Today, the Director of the CIA, David Petraeus has resigned his post, citing an extramarital affair as the reason for his resignation. While I know that within the military there are laws against adultery, and his affair could have had the potential for blackmail and a subsequent security breach, I am outright disgusted at the way the media is treating this entire situation.
I have seen no less than 10 news stories questioning who he had the affair with, and, sure enough, someone has dug it up. Why are we, as a nation, delighting in what has to be an incredibly painful situation for General Petraeus, his family and friends, and his alleged mistress? He has resigned his position, and is effectively bowing out of the public life, and has done so with dignity and grace. To be quite honest, I am looking forward to my imagined utopian-esque future when non-monogamy is no longer a Big Deal for the media. Give the man some peace. He’s done the right thing here, and no one should be getting blasted by the media.
San Francisco has decided to no longer prohibit gender reassignment surgeries from the list of covered medical treatment under the city’s Healthy San Francisco program, a sliding scale health care coverage system that can be used by everyone in San Francisco. Though the city currently does not have the capacity or surgeons who are skilled in this particular type of surgery, so this is a mostly symbolic move for the city. Transgender patients currently are able to receive hormone therapy, counseling, and regular medical care under Healthy SF.
While I am glad that the city takes these concerns seriously, gender reassignment surgeries are extremely expensive, and can go into the tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the specific services provided. As someone who is cisgender, I can’t imagine the mental anguish of someone who doesn’t feel that their body matches their identity and mentality. I am glad that there may be a solution for the transgender in my community in the next few years.
But to be honest, as someone who is currently covered under this program, I’d like to see Healthy SF start providing some other services first, specifically preventative and non-emergency dental care. So many other medical problems can be circumvented with regular cleanings and filling of cavities that seems rather odd to me that there hasn’t been a big push for this sort of service.
In other news, I am considering offering a weekly podcast compilation of each week’s posts. Do me a favor, and cast a vote below to let me know if you’d like to hear my dulcet tones reading my posts each week!
I found this article via Jezebel, and I am intrigued! Apparently, the lovely and amazing Betty Dodson, founder of the sex-positive feminism movement, teaches masturbation classes for women in New York City.
Does anyone else remember the scene in Fried Green Tomatoes where Evelyn Couch and her friend Missy attend a class intended to “get the spark back in marriage”, and Evelyn practically runs out of the room when they are instructed to use mirrors to look at their own vaginas? I laughed at that when I was younger, but now I find it so sad.
Get out those mirrors, girls, and take a look. Get acquainted. I declare your vagina to be beautiful.
With so much cultural mystery surrounding the “elusive” female orgasm, I think classes like this are a fantastic idea. I mean, honestly, researchers just rediscovered how complex of an organ the clitoris is, and how, like a TARDIS, it is bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside. (Thanks to Doctor Xtreme for that line, and the awesome portmanteau, CliTARDIS.)
Can you imagine a world where young women were encouraged to learn to appreciate their genitals and taught how to achieve orgasm? How about classes where partners were encouraged to explore your genitals and taught how to help you achieve satisfying orgasms? I want to live in that world.
Would you attend this kind of class? I will definitely be looking into Betty’s classes the next time I am in NYC!
There’s been so much in the news in the past few months about abortion, contraception, and a woman’s right to choose that as I said in a previous post, I’ve been overwhelmed. I’d like to take a moment to get a little idealistic.
When I was in high school, I took a class about early human development. We learned about the stages of pregnancy, and the different stages children go through in their first two years of life. At one point in my class, we were given the task of brainstorming the ideal situation to have a child. We already knew that adoptive parents had to fulfill certain criteria in order to be able to have a child, so we were told to imagine a “test” of sorts that a woman (or a set of parents) would have to pass in order to have a child.
If I remember correctly, we came up with the following points:
- Financially stable, with at least six months worth of income in accessible savings.
We came up with this because pregnancy and raising a child are both expensive. There’s also the risk of complications with the pregnancy or child’s health leaving one or both parents unable to work for a period of time. We thought that at least six months of income in the bank would help ease that potential burden.
- Emotionally stable, with a supportive network of friends and family.
Just like the financial cost, pregnancy and raising a child can be unexpectedly difficult, emotionally. We learned about postpartum depression, and how the woman’s emotional state can affect the child’s development in the womb. Having a supportive network of friends and family, especially people who are geographically close, is important to making sure that the parents can have a break occasionally.
- Good health, and good health insurance.
Making sure that the woman is already in good health when she gets pregnant, and maintains her health during the pregnancy were also stressed during my class. Proper nutrition and regular exercise, as well as the ability to see a doctor when necessary, were things that we deemed of highest importance to the development of the child.
- A stable and safe place to live.
Being teenagers in the suburbs, we were imagining owning a house with a large backyard. While I no longer think that is necessary, I do think that living in a relatively safe neighborhood, and taking the proper precautions to baby-proof your house are incredibly important.
- Ease of access to hospitals, schools, and other important services.
I think this one is self-explanatory.
I am close to many women who have had children without checking any of these boxes. Their children are happy and healthy, and they are excellent mothers. I still think that all of these are important things to have in place before I consider having children, and that is why I chose to get an IUD. When I decide to have children, it will be because I am ready. This is not a criticism of any woman or her choices. I fully realize that this is an idealistic list.
I would posit that is also idealistic of the Republican Party to expect to reduce accessibility to contraception and abortion and to somehow still not have any unwanted pregnancies occur, or for parents to not need some sort of assistance to care for their children. Abstinence education just exacerbates these problems. People are going to have sex, and sometimes, despite precautions, pregnancies occur.
If you had to come up with a list like this, what would you put on it? Do you think that the list we came up with in high school was good? Have you formulated a similar list? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.
There have been a few recent articles about the “moral case” of either completely abstaining from sex until marriage, or having sex with partners beforehand.
This all started with an incredibly egotistical and almost horrifyingly judgmental article by Steven Crowder on foxnews.com. In his piece, Crowder calls women who have sex before marriage “floozies”, and is openly disdainful of another couple after meeting the bride at breakfast the morning after their wedding. That newly married man’s crime? Deciding to drink at his wedding.
The people next to us that morning? Well, theirs was just one big party. And the morning after? Just another hangover.
Our “weddings” were the same event in name only. They know it, and we know it.
Honestly? That is precisely how I envision my wedding next summer: one big party. I want my family, Fiance’s family, and all of our friends to be there, and to be celebrating our union. I want dancing and toasting and laughter and fun. The fact that I am intimately acquainted with Fiance’s nether regions (and vice versa) does not make our wedding, our engagement, or our relationship any less than yours, Mr. Crowder.
Fiance and I lived together for quite some time, and, unlike you, we have already gone through the awkward stages of living together. We know that we are compatible in practically every way possible, and that includes sexually. Yes, it still annoys me that he forgets to put his dirty laundry in the hamper, and he is largely baffled by my beauty regimen, but we have reached a point of homeostasis in our relationship and we know that we can actually share the same space. You’re going to have to learn all of that, and you’re going to have to learn everything about sex. Don’t worry, Mr. Crowder, I’m here for you and your wife!.
On the other side of the coin, Jill Filipovic (of Feministe fame) wrote a fantastic response article for The Guardian, detailing precisely why it is better to have sex with your partner before a long-term commitment. I honestly couldn’t have constructed a better article. This is my favorite quote,
Sex is good whether you’re married or not, and certainly folks who wait until marriage can have a lot of sex once they tie the knot. But waiting until marriage often means both early marriage and conservative views on marriage and gender – and people who marry early and/or hold traditional views on marriage and gender tend to have higher divorce rates and unhappier marriages. We know that, on the other hand, there are lots of benefits to marrying later and to gender-egalitarian marriages. Couples who both work outside the home and also share housework duties have more sex. Financially independent, college-educated women who marry later in life have extremely low divorce rates.
It turns out that feminist values – not “traditional” ones – lead to the most stable marriages. And feminist views plus later marriage typically equals premarital sex.
I wish you luck with your marriage, Mr. Crowder. I wish you and your wife every happiness. It’s a pity that you, with your nose in the air, can’t find it in your “Christian” heart to do the same for me and others who are like me.
If you’re a fan of Dan Savage, you’ve probably heard Dan talking about this book on his podcast, Savage Love back in 2010. In the book, authors Christopher Ryan, Ph.D. and Cacilda Jethá, M.D. explore “The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality.”
Covering everything from the form and function of the modern human, to the ways that we act in relationships, Sex at Dawn turned the study of human sexuality upside down. Through observing and drawing parallels between modern humans, and our evolutionary cousins, the Bonobo chimpanzee, the authors draw the conclusion that modern humans have a difficult time with monogamy because we are genetically engineered towards multiple partners.
On the website for Sex at Dawn, a chart by Franklin Veaux maps the different relationships that modern humans engage in. The overlap is fascinating.
Although it may seem that the authors are advocating for non-monogamous relationships, they claim that is not their purpose. An excerpt from the FAQ on the website for Sex at Dawn:
So you’re recommending the everyone should have an open marriage or not get married at all?
Definitely not. We’re not recommending anything other than knowledge, introspection, and honesty. In fact, as we say in the book, we’re not really sure what to do with this information ourselves. We hope Sex at Dawn advances the conversation about human sexuality so people can focus more on the realities of what human beings are and a bit less on the religious and cultural mythologies concerning what we should be and should feel. What individuals or couples do with this information (if anything) is up to them.
It took me longer than I expected to read Sex at Dawn, because each page has information that borders on revelation. I found myself having to stop frequently just to absorb each new piece of information. I am normally the type of person who breezes through books, but I simply couldn’t do it with Sex at Dawn. The authors did an amazing job at fully researching the topic, and presenting it in a way that is entirely accessible to those of us who are not in the academic field.
If you are struggling with any sort of infidelity in your relationships, read this book. If you found yourself suddenly no longer attracted to a partner after going off of hormonal birth control, read this book. If you are curious about how and why the modern human body and sexual organs are shaped differently than every other species, read this book.
If you’d like to support Nice Girls, you can purchase Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality through this link. As an Amazon Affiliate, I will receive a small amount of the price of your purchase. Thanks!
Ooh! A saucy and sexy topic to start your Monday off right. Today’s post is most definitely Not Safe For Work, so for those of you who read Nice Girls at work, you might want to either switch to your mobile device or hold off until you are at home to read this one! Read the rest of this entry