A bit of a giggle

I’ve always been confused by the mixed messages I have received on the subject of female sexuality. From an early age the standard observation was that women had very little interest in sex and even less interest in the naked male body.

Whereas we males react instantly to sexual stimuli in the form of naked or even semi naked women, females regard the penis as an object of amusement, something rather inconsequential other than for a laugh when having drinks with their friends.

The idea that women lusted after men or felt the slightest tingle in their nether regions when they observed a youthful, muscular man in his prime digging trenches in their backyard or chopping wood on a burning hot summer’s day was as ridiculous a notion as suggesting the moon landing was faked.

But my anecdotal observations seemed to suggest something different.

As a young boy I remember the public interest when male celebrities posed naked for women’s magazines. The magazines flew off the shelves.

I heard the oohs and aaghs from the female spectators when a male player removed his sweat soaked shirt during the break as he sat courtside.

I saw women flinging their underwear on to the stage as Tom Jones belted out one of his iconic songs.

I heard the electric screams of thousands of young women as Elvis shook his pelvis or the Beatles simply walked on stage.

As I grew, I continued to be informed that this was all tongue in cheek fun and in no way indicative of women’s interest in or desire for the male body.

I remembered reading a book on the Beatles and the extraordinary lengths women went to in order to sleep with any of the fab four.

I saw endless footage of young women in a mindless frenzy when they actually had an opportunity to be close enough to actually see these men let alone touch them.

What was this behavior other than clear proof that girls and women do indeed experience sexual lust and a desire to have it satisfied?

A couple of decades ago, Hen’s Nights became very popular. The term is simply a descriptor for a night when a woman on the cusp of marriage goes out with her girlfriends for one last wild night before matrimony reigns her in.

Let’s just have a closer look at this paragraph which I have copied from a page promoting Puppetry of the Penis for private Hen’s parties.

We have been operating private parties in Victoria since 2005. It is a great alternative for hens nights. There is of course male nudity but it is a non sexual comedy show with lots of laughs. The mums and the nanas love the show too. We have proudly been a part of over 3,000 hens parties since we began offering this service.

The woman who owns the business assures her readers and prospective clients that there is of course, male nudity, but it is a non- sexual comedy show with lots of laughs. Why even mums and nanas love the show so it can’t be remotely sexual. They have had three thousand such parties to this point in time and the sky appears to be the limit. That’s a lot of women keen for a bit of a giggle with the girls!

Imagine promoting a Buck’s (Stag) night with the same comment explaining how dads and grandpas have a great time viewing the naked women as they play with their breasts so it’s clearly all a bit of a laugh!

I know just the reaction such a claim would bring.

Dirty old men

Why bother to have naked men demonstrating origami with their penises at all if it is all about comedy and having a good laugh? Why don’t the girls hire a comedian if it’s laughs, they are after? It is truly disingenuous to deny that part of the allure of this entertainment is the nakedness of the men and perhaps the size of their dicks.

Women attending male stripper shows proffer the same standard explanation for their choice of entertainment-it’s a bit of a laugh and a fun night out.

I can think of countless ways these women could have a fun evening out without any danger of encountering even one exposed penis all night.

These evenings are generally accompanied with penis shaped straws, penis toys, vibrators and dildos and any other type of phallic symbol you care to think of.

But it’s not what you think. No really-it’s not. It’s all a bit of a lark and a giggle. Do you actually think we like looking at penises and naked men?

Paleeese!

This would be accompanied by a headshake and eyeroll just to emphasize the sheer insanity of such a suggestion.

If women were honest about their more hidden motivations about attending male stripper nights it wouldn’t bother me. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. But it is the constant downplaying of the sexual stimulation and pleasure it may bring with the pretense that it’s all about having a bit of fun, which grates. Perhaps male suggestions that they purchased Playboy magazines for the articles drew a similar response from women but that comment was usually a self-deprecating dig by men at themselves.

I think this “it’s all a bit of a laugh” routine has worn thin over the years. I think it has provided women with the perfect camouflage for their natural interest in naked men and their genitals.

Nurses and teachers alike have oft used the, “Oh it’s nothing I haven’t seen before” line, always accompanied by an eye roll or look of concentrated disinterest just to underline how boring the very idea of her having to see you naked really is. In fact, it was probably the very last thing she ever wanted to contemplate-possibly even more distasteful than a forced enema.

I still remember a boy around nine or ten coming to the staffroom and telling me in tears that he had been hit in the testicles. I took him to the first aid room and told him to lie down on the bed and have a rest. A female teacher had accompanied me and asked him to pull down his pants. She actually touched his testicles and then told him he would be alright. She made a comment along the lines of, “I’m a mum and I’ve seen it all”-nothing to see here.

This was back in 1985 but I still recall being stunned by the presumption of the woman. I was not willing to touch him as a fellow male yet she felt no compunction in doing it.

I am not suggesting she got any kind of sexual gratification from her action but that is the point isn’t it? I don’t know and never will. She was protected from any hint of a suggestion that what she did was in any way inappropriate and I think most women know this even if it isn’t a conscious thought. She was a woman. She was a mum. If I had even mentioned the incident to another teacher, they would have shrugged their shoulders and moved on. What do you imagine would have happened had I inspected a girl’s vagina after she claimed it was hurting?

One female teacher used to ask the grade six boys (aged 11 or 12) to tense their biceps and she would feel them and stroke them just long enough to make me very uncomfortable before announcing who had the biggest biceps.

Another female teacher of preps (five-year olds) often regaled her associates with witty jokes about the little boys who played with themselves unconsciously and her favourite line for boys who asked to go to the toilet at an inopportune time was:

“Tie a knot in it!”

Female teachers routinely entered the inner sanctum of the boys changeroom when we took the kids to their swimming lessons. No male even thought about entering the girls’ changeroom. If we had, the outcome could well have been catastrophic.

This same double standard is in play in the wider world of professional sport. Female journalists are free to wander about the men’s changerooms but male journalists are nowhere to be seen in sportswomen’s changerooms while women are in a state of undress.

Here’s a comment from Robin Herman, the first female journalist allowed access to the male changerooms.

‘One afternoon, taking a shortcut to catch a visiting team’s practice, I accidentally walked in on a small group of athletes, long after practice and the dressing room had closed to reporters. They were in, er, full bloom, comparing the size of their equipment.

We were all embarrassed for a moment, and I quickly carried on. The next day, we shrugged it off and everything was normal. You know, for the dressing room.’

Again, I ask you, imagine if this same incident involved a male journalist and a group of female volleyball players.

I was just taking a shortcut…honest to God!

This is one of the reasons why our legal system has been so lenient and forgiving when it comes to alleged sexual misbehavior by females. Men can simply not believe that women are actually interested in sex or aroused by the power they hold over those who are under their control. Most of them had been raised on a steady diet of the same guff I was force fed for the first twenty or so years of my life.

One judge did treat a female sex offender with the severity her crime deserved and the defendant expressed her dismay.

 “Ronk received the punishment with shock, expecting a lower sentence (the range of punishment was zero to fifteen years), to which Judge Grant replied: “[i]f this was a male teacher who had been involved with a 15-year-old female, there would be  people here hanging from the ceiling trying to get every drop of blood . . . [b]ut because it is a woman, there seems to be a winking about what happened”

 The article (linked above) mentions the fact that female judges mete out harsher penalties for female perpetrators than male judges. This comes as no surprise to us.

 Perhaps there was and still is a sense of acute discomfort at the thought of women being sexual predators or abusers. Mothers, aunties, sisters capable of sexual abuse or sexual sadism? Unthinkable. Impossible.

I have heard survivors of abuse at the hands of their mothers express the same sentiment. So deeply ingrained is our society’s beatification of women and motherhood in particular, that even boys abused by their mums felt it was the ultimate shame and something they could never speak of as the backlash or disbelief from the broader society would be shocking.

Fathers raping and abusing their kids? Of course, they’re a dime a dozen according to all “reliable” sources, particularly Hollywood movies. Mothers? How dare you speak such an abominable lie?

 “Sexual assault specialist Holly Richmond PhD, believes our society has trouble seeing women as sexual predators “because…we can’t even see them as sexual beings other than how they have been defined by the traditional male gaze.” She continued, “Women can be sexy, but when it comes to female pleasure for it’s own sake (not her partner’s) and for her own sexual self-efficacy, we tend to take that much less seriously. To give a female sexual predator that much sexual power is culturally antithetical to what we’ve been taught.”

Given these assumptions, Stemple told me, “Women who perpetrate sexual abuse are more likely to be portrayed as misguided than predatory.”

It has only been through the advent of social media that the truth about women’s capacity for sexual abuse and sexually predatory behavior has become known.  There are countless examples of this hitherto hidden problem to be found with a quick Google search. Hundreds of women have raped and sexually abused the boys in their care. But this, I believe is the tip of the iceberg, as the shame involved in saying your mum sexually abused you is so deep to this day, that this crime is seriously underreported.

If women still struggle to speak of abuse by their father in a culture which drowns us in the idea of male sexual deviancy how much harder is it for a young man to speak of his abuse at the hands of his mother?

Another aspect of this rarely talked about predatory sexual behavior can be found in the seedy world of groupies.

This is an issue which has always caused me deep consternation. From an early age I witnessed girls becoming unhinged whenever a celebrity, however minor, was in their general vicinity. I didn’t initially link the hysteria with sexual arousal but what else could explain such out of control behavior? Why did they tear at the clothes and hair of the Beatles? Some suggest many girls lost control of their bladders at Beatle concerts such was the power of the spell the Liverpudlians cast over them.

Is this the behavior of people who enjoy listening to a group’s music?

I always felt resentment whenever I read yet another article demanding young men take control of their sexual urges and misbehavior. Girls were always presented as innocent victims of lecherous boys.

Female groupies (do male groupies exist?) were just another aspect of female sexual behavior to be laughed about and minimized. If anything, it was the men who were culpable for playing upon the emotions of these young innocents.

An article about groupies in the Australian football community made for fascinating reading.

These women made a hobby of casting the erections of rock and roll legends they encountered.

It begins,

‘THEY’VE always hovered behind the scenes, where cameras don’t film and mates don’t talk.

 Splashed in perfume and fake tan, they totter in high heels and short skirts, to prowl bars and nightclubs for their latest targets, and to beg introductions to future marks.’

This immediately establishes the fact that it is the women who are on the prowl, looking for a likely notch on their belt.

‘They are the young women who offer themselves to AFL players. When a player reciprocates interest, they will slip away with him in the night, for a forbidden embrace or grope – usually with no strings attached.

Yet Wayne Carey, (an ex-champion of our local game) in last year’s confessional, The Truth Hurts, referred to such female attention as a “fringe benefit”.

There was never a shortage of women, he wrote. Commonly known as “groupies”, Carey called them “star f—ers”.

“If your eyes met with theirs more than two or three times in a short space of time, then you knew she might be interested,” Carey wrote.

“It was almost like a game . . . they were almost predatory at times in the way they hunted down their prey. I’ve had complete strangers come up and say to me and say, ‘I want to f— you tonight’.”

What has always staggered me is the AFL’s endless lecturing to and about the young men who play our game when it comes to sexual misadventures, without them ever even mentioning (in public) the fact that one of the greatest dangers they face is the very predatory women featured in this revealing article. It is as if the very idea of women being held to account for their stalking and ruthless desire to bed these players because they have celebrity status is a taboo subject in most corridors of power and media platforms.

‘Carey’s assertions are backed by a woman who went public last year with claims she’d slept with up to 200 AFL players.

Now 32, she rationalises a sexual past, in a playful tone, that upends conventional measures of morality – if men can claim “notches on the belt”, she says, why can’t women? “I was an easy get,” she says. “And I wouldn’t take any of it back.”

A former AFL player tells the Herald Sun about nightclub liaisons and random encounters. He says women deceived their boyfriends to be with him.

Sometimes, he didn’t even need to be awake to partner up. There were 15 or so times when he was roused in his bed to discover a naked female squirming beside him.

“I’d flick on the light and say ‘Who are you’?” he says.

“I’d look at them and if I liked what I saw I’d go through with the action. If I didn’t, I’d say I want to sleep.”

There were the strangers who demanded immediate physical congress.

Their faces are hazy. Their names? No idea.

Six hundred women in all – give or take 100. Or so he thinks. He can’t be certain.”

Just think about the reaction were men stripping naked and climbing into bed with a female celebrity without her knowledge or permission.

The AFL has distanced itself from the controversy. But all players are drilled in women’s issues through “respect and responsibility” sessions.

Educator Lea Trafford once counselled players, through AFL Players’ Association programs, on strategies to negotiate sexual advances of women. Her curriculum, entitled “Risky Business”, canvassed celebrity pitfalls.

It covered unexpected scenarios, such as claims from the US that women saved condoms after sex with sport stars to use the sperm for fertilisation.

She speaks of some AFL players as country kids bathed in sudden fame, who were pampered like “prized greyhounds”.

Trafford recalls an ex-girlfriend who had a one-night stand with an AFL player to get pregnant.

“We know it is a badge of honour for women to be going out with a footballer,” she says.

“We know it is also a badge of honour if you have a baby with a footballer, even if you don’t end up with him.”

Why is this behavior-so common amongst women in the presence of celebrities or men of status, such an invisible phenomenon?

If written or spoken about at all it is almost always with the sly ‘wink and a smirk’ tone rather than a calling out of female impropriety, or demanding women begin showing respect to men rather than seeing them as a potential notch on their belt.

I’ve always felt there was something slightly more honourable about a man wanting to have sex with a woman he finds sexually appealing as opposed to a woman hunting down a man, however repulsive, because his money or status is sexually arousing.

A case in point is the less than attractive AFL player mentioned in the same article.

“On end-of-season trips, the player, who wasn’t handsome, failed to attract interest, year after year, despite great effort.

No one knew him overseas. “Yet he always picked up girls in Melbourne. He was famous here, in demand, simply because he was a footballer.”

It may well be the result of an inbuilt evolutionary trait that sees some women desiring men for their fame and status but that doesn’t make it any less ugly.

I would be delighted if our schools began programs in which they taught girls to resist their predisposition to seek out sex with young men based upon their fame, wealth or exceptional skills in any given sport or field of endeavor.

They need to learn to respect young men for who they are, not what they do or have.

A man can dream, can’t he?

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