Hey, Jezebel, a word in your ear:
Some of your stuff is great. Some is interesting, some is funny, some is stridently an powerfully feminist in a way that makes me want to shout 'fuck yeah!' But unfortunately, some of your stuff is horribly judgemental, and makes me want to take a red pen to entire paragraphs and draw a frowny face in permanent marker on my laptop screen.
Things such as this article mocking men's mags for giving ridiculous sex tips. It was originally written for Nerve, by a bloke called Ben Reininga, but Jezebel are doing this thing now where they're feltching other people's content.
I don't want to sound like a po-faced, humourless twat or anything, because the article itself is funny. We on the internet had a good laugh at it last week – we joined the author in mocking some of the more unusual advice that magazines had given to men such as 'rent private fighter jets' and 'pour peppermint schnapps into a girl's belly button.'
Some of the advice is hilarious, and beyond the abilities, inclinations and bank balances of a large proportion of the population.
However, some of the snide jokes touched a particularly raw nerve with me. Most notably, in a section mocking mags for suggesting their readers try Craigslist, Ben made quite an odd and unnecessary judgement. He decided that the reason this was bad advice was not because it was dangerous, or even tedious (as it can occasionally be). No, he decided that the reason men shouldn't look for sex on Craigslist is because the women on Craigslist are fictional.
"Maxim backs up their claims by telling you all the sexy things these totally non-fictional girls did with guys they met online.
"...we snuck off to a side room, where I gave him a killer blowjob. By the time I was finished, there was a crowd of people watching, which had always been a huge fantasy of mine."
"I ended up hooking up with a busty blonde while he enjoyed the show."
"I took him home and told him exactly how I wanted him to do me."
Eagle-eyed readers will have noticed a tiny hint of sarcasm in the phrase 'totally non-fictional girls' and to those of you who did – well done. Because what the author is implying is that women who meet men for sex on the internet are not just rare, they are fictional. Fictional like unicorns and Harry Potter: they don't exist.
Call me a boastful, oversexed wench but none of those stories sounded particularly fictional to me. Perhaps if they had been more like the following I'd have conceded the author's point:
“He screwed me with all the zeal of a recently fallen angel, finishing up with a cum shot so copious that not one inch of my body was left un-spunked.”
“His dick was like a Sainsbury's Taste the Difference artisan baguette, and as he thrust it gleefully into my mouth I found myself so aroused by his mighty weapon that I came – immediately and forcefully – into a puddle on the floor.
“We made love suspended upside-down over a tank of piranhas. At the moment of climax he severed the rope and we plunged head first into the pool, where we battled for our lives, aroused into a second round of frantic, watery sex by the searing rush of adrenaline.”
See? That's some obviously fictional sex. By contrast a threesome, a group scene, and a pretty standard shag are not exactly the realms of CS Lewis. My point is that the author (a who I am sure is lovely and doesn't deserve nearly this much of my rage) decided to assume that all of these stories were fictional, despite them displaying no signs of actually being so. Maybe because sex tips have been Ben's shtick for a while now, and because his articles don't tend to be particularly feminist (it's more of an American 'ha-ha look how stupid! type critique), he feels that it's okay to make such sweeping statements. But in that case, why on earth would a feminist blog like Jezebel use his stuff when they are capable of far superior snarky satire?
Perhaps Ben just disbelieves the more spicy elements. After all, your average person doesn't ever get to have a threesome or group sex. But then your average person probably doesn't hook up with strangers on Craigslist – the very nature of the website means that the people on it are more likely to be willing to engage in scenes that others would shy away from.
So the stories themselves aren't particularly wild, and yet the author still thinks these women are probably fictional – why? And – more importantly – why do I give such a pedantic and patronising shit about it?
Well, quite simply, I don't like being told that I don't exist. More generally than that, I don't like the implication that women just couldn't – or wouldn't – do the sort of dirty things that men do, such as meeting strangers for a shag on the internet.
In no particular order, here are some things I have done:
- had the best threesome of my life, with a friend and a man I met on a swinging website
- wandered into a sex cinema with a friend, in the hope that all the guys would touch me
- had a fun afternoon with a boy and a gay bondage freak that we'd recruited from a fetish forum
Women on Craigslist are 'fictional'? That's demonstrably not true.
What's more, having dealt the rather cruel blow of telling me (and plenty of other women) that we don't exist, the article then goes on to tell us that a woman should be 'honest and open about what kind of sex she likes.'
Here's some honesty: there are women out there who like anonymous sex. They might not be in the majority, and they might not always be available on sites like Craigslist, but one of the key reasons they're currently absent is because books, films, TV shows, and articles like this tell them that they cannot possibly exist. When I first launched my sex blog one of the main questions people asked me was “are you secretly a man?”
I know that yours was just a throwaway comment, but a lifetime of throwaway comments like this can knock a pervy girl down until she's too depressed to even think about writing a Craigslist profile, let alone arranging some group sex in a fetish club. It's hard to stand up and shout about the pervier, more fucked-up things that get our knickers slick if we're faced with people who refuse to believe that female desire can extend beyond anything other than pastel-coloured, fluffy-handcuffed, gently kinky sex.
So if you want women to be honest about our sexual desires, all I can tell you is that we're trying. But if you want our honestly you have to have all of it – not just the things that your editors think are 'normal', but things that are raw, and dangerous, and hot.
The problem is not that the women on Craigslist are fictional, the problem is that you tell us that we are. I'm not asking much - you don't have to rent a private fighter jet to impress me or anything. But if you'll believe I'd let a dude pour peppermint schnapps into my belly button you'd better damn well believe I'd let him fuck me in a car park.