Tag Archives: sex-positive

Sell and Be Sold

Big Dick Niggas Eat Pussy Too / Trplblk, 2012 (album art by Jane Fader + #bruiserbrigade)

Big Dick Niggas Eat Pussy Too / Trplblk, 2012 (album art by Jane Fader + #bruiserbrigade)

Yesterday on the bus a man was loudly joking about all the luxury items he would one day be able to provide for his friends. One of these items was “a whole bunch of white women.” The man and his friend laughed especially hard at this proposition, leading me to believe that there is some cultural consensus that white women are of high value to non-white men.

This wasn’t my first time considering the power dynamic of race in romantic relationships, nor was it the first time that I had thought about the dualistic nature of fetishism, but it was the first time I witnessed this kind of attitude and subsequently felt like a damn fool.

But why am I so disheartened by someone regarding the occupants of my demographic as high-value goods when each day I am disproportionately concerned with creating and identifying value in my self for the ultimate purpose of exchange?

Who has the authority to determine and prescribe value? Is value contextual? Is it subjective?

Is my value as a sexual object exclusive to my value as a capitalist subject? Will those who want to trade me also want to trade with me? Can you respect what/who you sell? Is it necessary for you to respect those you do business with? Can you be a merchant in some circles and function as a good in others?

If the lines between object and subject are fluid, how much integrity do the object and subject actually have?

I Am Still Not a Sugar Baby

Image by Jane Fader

Image by Jane Fader

Hi John,

It’s probably no big deal, but I don’t feel good about yesterday.

I like you, John. I am attracted to you, I feel drawn to you, I am fascinated each time I learn more about you, I seek your thoughts and opinions. I like your warm fuzzy chest. Your sexual style happens to be exactly what I am set out to experiment with right now. I really like the fact that you have so many great relationships with so many women, and I like your social style in general–the way you interact with other people, the consciousness you put into your interactions. Your friendliness.

Without taking anything away from any of that…

The way we met, the way we hang out, each of our individual essences and interests, and the way we relate to each other is all very gendered and sexualized. This is not a value judgement. I have always thrived in situations with higher levels of sexual energy and I think you do, too. It doesn’t mean sex is going to happen or that it’s even desired. It’s just an energy that we enjoy and that accentuates the parts we like best about ourselves.

To clarify again: I’m not making a value judgement. But that doesn’t mean that values and judgements and emotions don’t exist within these gendered/sexualized situations that we choose to socialize in. They are sticky. That sexual energy that you and I love to be in–it’s sticky, too.

After the argument you told me in private that I was obsessed with sex and gender, and I conceded that my interest in this type of stuff has been heightened in the past few weeks. But it’s also an interest that I’ve had for 10 years–I’ve studied it, spoken on it, wrote about it, researched it, made videos on it, etc. Now, I don’t always see the world through these glasses first (nor are the lenses usually this dark), but it is an enormous part of who I am. I have a critical relationship to pleasure. It’s sticky. But I enjoy sticky. I like working through sticky. My interest in you is sticky, too. If it’s not sticky, it’s not satisfying to me.

Having said all this, I see now that these relaxing summer days are not really the right time for me to be initiating such intense conversations with you and your friends. It’s fun, lighthearted time, and I see where the boundary is now. I think I have trouble socializing without a crutch–a piece of art, an article, a topic, etc.–and historically I have trouble socializing with women, so to be with you and your friends with no books and no boys has been quite a challenge for me. One that has been fucking AWESOME, by the way. And again–sticky. Thank you for always inviting me.

I won’t start critical conversations about gender or sex in these laid-back situations anymore, but I do need to have these conversations. And, John, I can only pursue my interest in you as far as I can engage you on these subjects that are so important, so little talked about, so inherent to our relationship with each other and our personal histories.

I’m interested in being your friend after summer is over. I think that we would be valuable people to each other, mostly because of the very thing yesterday’s friction was about. I want to be a better person, I want to learn, I want to grow, insert-west-coast-comment-here.

Jane Fader
Seattle, WA

Orgasm is NOT Female Ejaculation

Female pleasure is so confusing.

Female pleasure is so confusing.

When I wrote about my difficulty with orgasm, I got a lot of questions from people asking whether I was talking about my difficulty achieving orgasm or my difficulty achieving female ejaculation. Any confusion is totally understandable. I would estimate that about 2/3 of the people I talk to about female sexual response are not aware that there is a difference between female ejaculation and orgasm. The words orgasm and ejaculation are practically synonymous in American culture. I am aware of this and and since I have been discussing female ejaculation for the past five years or so, it’s important that I clearly distinguish orgasm from female ejaculation.

As sophisticated sexual creatures, we must understand that orgasm is not female ejaculationOrgasm and female ejaculation are two very different sexual responses that occur by way of two very different sexual stimuli, are experienced through two very different directions of muscular contraction, and have two very different ways of making their occurrence known. I created this table to help distinguish between the two:

Orgasm is not female ejaculation

So to clarify, my last post was about my difficulty achieving orgasm, NOT my difficulty achieving female ejaculation. I have never ejaculated. From my understanding, it is an “advanced” sexual ability for most women, and because it is the stimuli that is pleasurable and not necessarily the response itself that is pleasurable, my motivation to achieve female ejaculation is not as strong as my motivation to be orgasmically “regular.” I have difficulty with orgasm, and I think that a lot of other women do, too. And while I find female ejaculation extremely interesting on an intellectual level, having orgasms is and has always been more important to me.

The Hangover

It is more than apparent in the thoughtful comments spurred by “Scotch, Cigars and Sexism” that sex and gender are important issues to members of our community. This pleases me to no end. We are dealing with something that operates and must be addressed on many levels: philosophical, emotional, statistical, feminist, pragmatic, political, cultural, psychological, and creative-casual. I am humbled that my site will serve as the public archive for this gathering of Detroit-based intellectualism and political consideration. Generating interest has never been so fulfilling.

Having said that, clarifications are in order. Our virtual billow needs to be freed of noise, summarized, and refocused in order for it to be productive as a conversation or have potential as a springboard for change. As we all know, too much scotch can make things blurry.

Before anything else, it must be stated that whether or not there exists a gender imbalance in leadership positions in Detroit’s tech/social media communities is not the question. In fact, it is not even a question. It would be nice if actual research could be published on these numbers, but until then let’s move on to something worth engaging, like, What is the question?

 

Saab Advertisement Playboy Scotch and Cigars TedxDetroit

From your comments emerge four discursive themes, each of which breed a unique set of questions. Clearly dividing these should help further guide our conversation.

  1. Do men intentionally exclude women from professional and platonic personal relationships?
  2. Is there a relationship between one’s gender and whether they are perceived as popular/cool?
  3. The social media community is largely homosocial, but is it perceivedas such?
    1. Does the perception (or lack thereof) of male dominance or the exclusion of women matter? Why and to whom?
  4. Most significantly, does male homosociality in business and social situations matter? Why and to whom?
    1. If it is a problem, is it a problem worth fixing?
    2. If it’s a problem worth fixing, how can it be fixed?

Please know that it is just as important to me to clarify the ideas I myself put forth in “Scotch, Cigars and Sexism,” and certainly will be doing so. Little birdies tell me that my use of words was hurtful and harmful. Please know that I come from a place of self-exploration, truth-seeking, rigerous attempts for honesty, and a genuine desire to make things more comfortable in the world—beginning with my own corner of it.

Scotch, Cigars and Sexism: A Feminist Response to Henry Balanon and His/The Social Network

As I watched “Mark Zuckerberg” repeatedly hit refresh on a laptop that at five years old appeared somewhat archaic, I whipped out my iPhone and tweeted:

The Social Network is the most homosocial shit ever.

David Fincher’s contemptuously sexist telling of the arduously sexist story of Facebook’s genesis is certainly a disappointment worth discussing. However, I am far more concerned with the similarity between the social organization portrayed in the film and the one that shapes so much of my reality: that which I classified as homosocial. Homosociality describes a community that revolves around and is engrossed in same-sex bonding and relationships.

You see, just like the dorm in which Zuckerberg nested, like the fraternity he so desperately wanted to be a part of, like the family he made for himself in the California rental house, and like the glamorous big-money world of Sean Parker, the creative communication field in which I work* is a homosocial mecca. And despite its historically unique intention, motivation, and raison d’être, this exclusionary social configuration is disadventagous to women on levels both personal and professional.

Scotch, Cigars and Sexism

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Last week at TEDxDetroit, my friend Henry Balanon gave an important talk called “Building Relationships Over Scotch and Cigars.” The title of this speech is not a metaphor. It is not a charming projection of mythical, old-fashioned “adult” masculinity. IRL, the male population of my tightly knit Metro Detroit social media community periodically enjoys “scotch and cigars” together. And Balanon’s presentation hit the nail on the board: It is in the intimate space of “scotch and cigars”—the homosocial space—where relationships are formed, be they personal, professional, or creative-casual.

Since I myself enjoy smoking and scotching—not to mention building friendships and exploring new possibilities for vocational and artistic excursions—I was enthusiastic about joining in on a night of “scotch and cigars” as soon as I became aware of their happening, so one evening over some pre-#tweetea banter, I asked a male friend if I could come along to the next scotch/cigar occasion. He was not inclined to extend an invitation.

These men are my friends, and I trust that they enjoy my company as much as I enjoy theirs. So when I am excluded from such a highly regarded bonding ritual, I can only assume that my presence as a woman is somehow inhibitory to the creation of meaningful male-male relationships…and to the creation of “billion dollar companies.”

When I first became active in my regional social mediascape, I immediately observed the dominance of male leadership in/and/of “boys clubs” in the well-intentioned organizations that were forming and collaborating online and off. iDetroit consists of an exclusively male ensemble. Along with Terry Bean and Charlie Curve, Balanon and the men of iDetroit (Hubert Sawyers, III, Adrian Pittman, Brandon Chesnutt, Ken Burbary, David Murray and Damian Rintelmann) come together in various combinations to spearhead nearly every significant social media/technological/entrepreneurial/start-up/etc. event and community formation in Detroit.

I am proud to be friends with these men and support their endeavors to the brink of my personal means. I do not believe they would make a conscious effort to make me feel unwelcome or uncomfortable. Yet at the same time, I cannot shake the haunting feeling of  “no girls allowed.” Nor can I reduce it to political paranoia…

The awkward Harvard students in The Social Network are over-exposed, delicate, castrated, self-castrating, and bitterly beyond-the-point. The distant yet uncritical portrait of Zuckerberg as well as the screenwriter’s inclusion of the inconsequential truth-telling lawyer suggests a similar inhumanity and self-involvement in the films’ creators.

Contrary to the fictionalized Father of Social Media, the men I know are all socially apt, confident, self-aware and outward looking. Nearly all have wives and girlfriends with whom they share a healthy and supportive (or at seemingly so) relationship. This tells me that these men are capable of connecting with the opposite sex in meaningful ways and on both intellectual and emotional levels. Yet statistically inter-sexed relationships are something that remains in the personal realm, and the homosociality that has for so many centuries cock-blocked women from political and economic arenas remains in check. One might argue that male dominance in the public sphere is even mightier today, given that no argument can actually be given against the pretentious grin of neoliberalism.

The homosociality of geek “boys clubs” are something I think about a lot and have been concerned by for a good deal of my life. Despite years of preoccupation (back-burner though it may be), I am too timid to make and defend any statement regarding the reason such blatant gender divisions exist in the here and now. Even in my own head I shy away from constructive philosophical thought about the soft exclusion of women—particularly single women—because I am uncomfortable with the speculations that I make (“and it wasn’t good, because it was in secret”).

I’ve got a pretty nice bottle of scotch on hand if you ever find yourself having similar thoughts or discomforts…

Or…you know…we could always kick it online…

*ocassionally work