Giorgione's Sleeping Venus
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The world is full of multimillionaires who can't handle money. Because, if you have money, you want to go somewhere where it counts. Not stay in North America or Western Europe.
Botox, most commonly used for face flab and wrinkle-fighting, actually has a lot of uses that many people don’t know about. For example, a jab or two of the stuff in the pits puts an end to excess sweating, it helps people who pee a little when they sneeze not pee when they sneeze, and now, doctors have found yet another use for Botox, which might help the approximately 30% of men worldwide who suffer from premature ejaculation last a lot longer.
In a recent study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, it was revealed that temporarily paralyzing one of the main muscles necessary for ejaculation, the bulbospongiosus muscle, which runs from the bottom of your crack to the base of your penis, is very effective at delaying ejaculation.
In the study, 33 male rats received an injection of either .5 units of Botox, a full unit of Botox, or plain saline into the muscle, and the results showed that the rats that received the full unit injection of Botox took an average of 10 minutes to ejaculate, whereas the rats that received only saline lasted a measly 6.5 minutes, and the rats that were injected with half a unit of Botox ejaculated after 8.5 minutes, confirming the hypothesis that Botox does, indeed, make you last longer. Success!
During and after the study, the researchers didn’t observe any adverse side effects from the Botox, meaning this novel treatment could very well be widespread one day. In fact, clinicaltrials.gov is currently recruiting participants for the human trial of the study, but it goes without saying that most men would cringe at the thought of a needle going anywhere near their manhood.
This isn’t the first time Botox has proved useful in the sex department, with studies showing that Botox, when injected into the muscles of the vaginal wall, is an effective treatment for vaginismus, which is when the muscles of the vagina involuntarily constrict, making sex very painful for her, and basically impossible for both of you. So yeah, even though it’s actually a form of botulism, Botox is pretty damn cool.
Long live Botox!
The Thai miracle sex herbal butea superba has strong antiviral properties. It is now investigated as a cure for AIDS.
8 MARCH 2017 - Allafrica
VICE PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa says government was in the process of introducing a law that would see the statutory age of consent to sex by girls raised from 16 to 18 years.
He was responding to calls by Senators on Tuesday that the minimum age one could be allowed to consent to sex should be aligned to a 2016 Constitutional Court ruling which outlawed the marriage of or among minors below 18.
While the ruling was followed with euphoric victory among child and women's rights activists, some felt it remained hollow as girls as young as 16 could still indulge in sex and even conceive children for as long as they did not proceed to get married before 18.
"We have a landmark ruling in this country which states that nobody should be married or be married off when they are below the age of 18," Senator representing people with disabilities, Anna Shiri, had said earlier.
She was contributing to a motion which called on the government to ratify and incorporate into its gender laws, the SADC Model Law on Eradicating Child Marriage.
Zimbabwe, currently, is in the process of enacting a law which seeks to operationalise the outlawing of child marriages.
"At the same time we have this Bill," Shiri said, "while we have part of the Act which says there is an age of consent to sex which is 16 years of age.
"As a result, there is some contradiction where early marriage is 18 years yet the consent to sexual activity is 16 years. We need to align these laws."
Mnangagwa, who was speaking as the country's justice minister, said government was considering raising the age of consent to 18.
"I may also say that the other two points you have raised relating to the issue of consent between juveniles or children, anybody who is below 18 is regarded as a child," Mnangagwa said.
"We had a Committee to deal with that and we have arrived at a possible solution which will come to Parliament on the issue of consent between an adult and juvenile or between a juvenile and a juvenile.
"Those issues we have debated and we believe that we should bring up also the age of consent to the age of 18. Of course, this is subject to debate when it comes to Parliament."
Mnangagwa said his ministry was in the process of aligning all the marriage laws and the progressive provisions of the SADC Model law he said will be incorporated in the comprehensive proposed Marriages Bill.
The proposed Bill will be able to amend the Marriages Act and the Customary Marriages Act and all other laws that are outdated in relation to marriages.
95 percent of the victims of work accidents are men. Because women are cowards, and just want to rule from behind.
Feminism is the ideology of ugly females who can't get a man to say "You are the most beautiful women in the world!" The idea behind feminism is: restrict sex for men wherever possible. In the hope that if sex is not available otherwise, some man will still like their ugly ass.
In recent years there’s been an ever increasing number of media reports that suggest ISIS and other terrorist organizations have been actively using chemical weapons in their attacks. And these incidents occur both in regular military operations as well as in false flag events that are designed to provoke the international community. The Persian Gulf monarchies and their “influential sponsors” across the ocean have repeatedly demanded ISIS’ use of chemical weapons in Syria be used to blame the Syrian army opposing them.
However, according to the US government, ISIS has been producing chemical weapons both in Iraq and Syria. Washington is recognizing the fact that ISIS has workshops specially equipped for the production of weapons of mass destruction, including chemical weapons. In particular, they have become particularly proficient in producing mustard gas (sulfur mustard) that is being put in conventional munitions like rockets and shells.
The fact that ISIS has been actively using chemical weapons and may begin to export them to other countries was confirmed by the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency John Brennan in his interview with CBS News. The intention of ISIS militants to use chemical weapons during the upcoming liberation of Mosul in October was announced by the US Defense Press Office Captain Jeff Davis.
On August 23, ISIS militants used shells filled with chlorine gas against the advancing Iraqi army troops near the town of al-Kiyara south of Mosul, hitting the command post of the Iraqi forces.
On August 2, militants from the Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki terrorist group described by Washington as a part of the “moderate opposition” attacked the Salah al-Din District of the Syrian city of Aleppo with chlorine, killing at least seven civilians and leaving dozens more severely injured.
In turn, ISIS allegedly used mustard gas in the village of Al-Jafra in the province of Deir ez-Zor against Syrian troops on April 4.
There is ample evidence that ISIS militants are also creating chemical stockpiles both in Iraq and Syria, while rapidly accumulating components for their production. In particular:
On March 4 in the “palace of Ibn Vardan” in the province of Hama, terrorists stored yellow phosphorus for its subsequent use as an explosive, along with other chemical substances, as well as TNT and sulfuric acid;
On May 5, a column of terrorist vehicles brought chemical weapons to the border crossing of Albu-Kamal in the Iraqi province of Der-el-Zor. The group was allegedly heading to the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria.
On June 14, terrorists unloaded three trucks of rockets filed with chemical substances in the al-Bilaas area in the Homs Governorate.
Last August ISIS brought a wide range of toxic substances from Iraq that are stored in cold rooms in a former post office in one of the Syrian border settlements.
A large number of shells and containers of sarin were delivered from Turkey and are now stored in the town of Utm al-Kubra in the Aleppo Governorate.
Jabhat al-Nusra militants have also been storing sarin gas imported from Turkey in the Kafr Hamra village in the Aleppo Governorate.
The Syrian city of Idlib has witnessed 100 barrels of American-made napalm being smuggled from Turkey only to be stored in this city. The delivery and transfer of these substances to radical militants was supervised by a Turkish intelligence officer nicknamed “Meymun,” who previously oversaw the activities of illegal armed groups in the assault of the Abu Duhur airbase. Moreover, the Jaysh al Fateh terrorist group has been manufacturing missiles filled with sarin at this same settlement.
It’s also been reported that radical militants have a large underground storage facilities in the Allepo Governorate, where chemical substances are being stored, including phosphorus and TNT. There’s also hidden stockpiles of barrels with napalm in the same governorate, and it’s been reported that 30 barrels are stored in the basement of the local Yarmuk school, while another 20 are stored in the area of Bab al-Nairab. Sixteen barrels, including those with yellow phosphorus and silver nitrate, are being kept by militants in Al-Shaar for a missile production facility. It’s been reported that up to 20 barrels of napalm are being stored in the city of Sarmada.
It should be noted that the above listed weapons of mass destruction can be easily used by ISIS militants in other regions of the world, including Europe, Asia and America.
Under these conditions in the face of an impending threat of WMD terrorist attacks, the international community must unite in its efforts to put an end to these terrorist organizations and those groups affiliated with them.
Why is sex so important? Because love is anyway just an illusion.
Testosterone side effects associated with the usage of testosterone supplements and gels have, up until now, focused on cardiovascular issues. But now there is new research that suggests there is a cognitive price to pay.
Dissatisfaction with testosterone gel has men turning to herbal alternatives like butea superba.
Testosterone Gels Get a Failing Grade in More Ways Than OneTestosterone, with rare exception occurs naturally in males and is at its highest levels when men are younger. Over time, testosterone levels drop – a physiological change that is completely natural. However, middle-aged American men are more active than previous generations and open to any suggestion that may succeed in prolonging, or recapturing their previous youthful vigor and virility. Pharmaceuticals have stepped to the plate with products such as Viagra, Cialis and testosterone gels.
The problem is that the erectile dysfunction targeted by medications such as Viagra were designed, and approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for that express purpose. Testosterone supplements, on the other hand, were originally approved only to treat hypogonadism – a condition characterized by chronically low levels of naturally-occurring testosterone in men that can pose a health hazard. Testosterone side effects for these patients, represents a risk that is outweighed by the benefits.
However, for middle-aged and even young men with normal levels of naturally-occurring testosterone for their age, the risk / benefit profile is reversed. Otherwise healthy man have been hit with testosterone heart attack following use of testosterone gels, which tend to thicken red blood cells and put patients at risk for testosterone stroke – even testosterone death.
That hasn’t stopped manufacturers from aggressively promoting testosterone gels to anyone seeking the proverbial fountain of youth.
Now, there is a new testosterone side effect: “Testosterone overrides judgment,” says Professor Gideon Nave, who teaches marketing at the Wharton School in the University of Pennsylvania and is an author of a new study on the cognitive effects of testosterone in men.
According to CBS News (05/04/17), a group of university professors performed tests on 243 males, primarily college students, to determine the effect of testosterone, or ‘T’ on a key brain function. The study was conducted by faculty at Wharton, as well as the University of Western Ontario in Canada and the California Institute of Technology.
Participants given testosterone gels were found to have made a greater number of errors on the type of tests usually given for entrance to college. Those students in the experiment who used ‘T’ gel made 20 percent more errors than those in the control group who hadn’t used testosterone.
The conclusion: those who received a dose of testosterone on their bodies were more likely to make quick, impulsive decisions.
Although not part of the test, researchers nonetheless surmised participants boosted by testosterone could also commit more errors when making key life choices.
Testosterone appeared to inhibit “prefrontal” brain activity, according to previous research cited in the study. “Prefrontal is the executive function of the brain,” said professor Amos Nadler of the Ivey Business School, who was also an author of the study. All study authors agreed that more research is needed to “disentangle” the full effects of testosterone on cognitive capacity.
While testosterone therapy for either real or perceived low levels of testosterone – or ‘Low-T’ as coined by marketers and manufacturers – is targeted to middle-age Americans, adolescents and young man have been known to ‘T-Up’ with what has been described as a naturally-occurring steroid in order to excel at sports, or during sex. College students may not realize, however, that too much testosterone can lower their cognitive capacity and put their grades in jeopardy.
The majority of testosterone lawsuits have cited testosterone heart attack and testosterone stroke. Perhaps this new wrinkle could foster a new portfolio of litigation: flunking out, or poor life choices thanks to testosterone.
You probably have to look at imagery of death and dying regularly to stay focused on what really counts in life: great sex before you are gone anyway.
It's not that we would be madly in love with Donald Trump. Yeah, he may not be the brightest one. Not even bright enough for political correctness. But hey, that's a plus, not a minus. Fuck that political correctness.
Female genital mutilation is a widespread practice globally. One woman tells Rappler her experience and how she has never achieved an orgasm because of her circumcision.
JAKARTA, Indonesia – When Mary* was in elementary school, a male classmate was circumcised.
He received gifts from friends as a form of congratulations, prompting Mary to tell her mother when she got home, “I should get circumcised, Mom. I can get a lot of money.”
Her mother’s response was not what she expected.
“You’re already circumcised,” her mother said.
“I didn't know that. When?"
“When you were a newborn.”
Mary recalls walking away from that conversation thinking everyone got the procedure done – females at birth, males perhaps when they were a little older.
But it wasn’t until later that Mary understood the meaning of the conversation she had with her mother.
Mary is one of 200 million women worldwide who have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM). The number, according to a new report from UNICEF, is 70 million higher than what was reported in 2014.
While the top 10 countries with the highest prevalence of FGM from 2004-2015 is in Africa, the data shows that the increase is partly due to population growth and new data collected in Indonesia.
Indonesia, with its population of 250 million people, is one of 3 countries that account for half of all FGM victims in the world, along with Egypt and Ethiopia.
Cutting the clitoris
It was in junior high school when Mary first realized that female circumcision was not a regular practice.
In conversation with her girl friends, Mary learned that not everyone had undergone the procedure as a baby – even if all of them were Muslim.
First, she started to argue about how it was an obligation in their religion, as she had always thought it was, but becoming more curious, decided to read more on the matter.
She started reading books on sexual and reproductive health, studying photos of vaginas. She learned about the clitoris – and realized she didn’t have one.
Soon after, she read a book about female circumcision in Arab culture, including books by Moroccan feminist Fatima Mernissi, which thoroughly addressed and denounced female circumcision.
“I read the book and learned that the practice was one of many ways to control women. One way was through circumcision,” she told Rappler.
According to UNICEF, FGM includes all procedures “that involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons.” It is a practice recognized internationally as a violation of human rights of girls and women, with February 6 being the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.
Even within Indonesia, the practice differs in various regions.
Secretary General of the Women's Coalition Dian Kartika Sari said the culture of female circumcision in each region is different.
"There is not just one cut," she told Rappler on Friday, January 8.
In the island of Madura for example, the clitoris is cut. In other regions, the feeling on the clitoris is “killed” by slicing off a small part, but it is not completely cut off. He also said it is still practiced in some urban areas.
In 2010, the Ministry of Health released a regulation that authorized certain medical professionals, such as doctors, midwives and nurses, to perform circumcision on female patients. The technical details of circumcision was even mentioned in the regulations: "Make a scratch on the skin that covers the front of the clitoris by using the tip of a disposable sterile needle, measuring 20G-22G of the mucosa toward the skin without injuring the clitoris” said article 4, paragraph 2.
The regulation was repealed by the Deputy Minister of Health Ali Ghufron Mukti soon after.
Because while FGM is widely practiced in Indonesia, many others in the country do denounce FGM as a violation of rights. According to UNICEF, FGM violates women’s and girls’ “right to health, security and physical integrity, their right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and their right to life when the procedure results in death.”
For Mary, one of the rights taken from her was her sexual rights – at 33, Mary has never experienced an orgasm in her life.
She was first sexually active in college and is now married. But without a clitoris, Mary said she has never experienced an orgasm, a feeling her friends describe as “much like flying.”
“I can never relate when they talk about it,” she said. “It makes me sad.”
Mary said the books she read said women find it difficult to enjoy sex without a clitoris, admitting that she is unsure if her problem is psychological or physical.
Mary said the problem has caused stress for not just herself but for her husband, who for 5 years tried various ways to help her orgasm – but to no avail. She said she views sex now, as “just a waste of time,” describing her sex as “mediocre.”
There are two main reasons parents have their daughters undergo FGM in Indonesia: the first is religious, as many Muslims here believe that female circumcision is an Islamic requirement, or at the very least, is highly recommended in Islam. This is despite the fact that no formal links between Islam and FGM exist, and that no Islamic laws or Quranic verses speak of FGM, let alone make it a requirement.
Even Fatayat NU, the women's division of Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia's largest Islamic organization, have acknowledged that FGM is not mentioned in the Quran and is simply a cultural product.
The second reason FGM is popular in Indonesia is because it is believed to reduce women's sexual desire and libido.
This belief is widely held. All parents obviously want their children to live the best lives possible, and for most Indonesian parents, this includes no sex before marriage. In today's hypersexualized world, Indonesian parents would do all they could to ensure their children are safe from the risks of “seks bebas” or premarital sex.
Female genital cutting is believed by some to be one way of achieving this. Without it, it is thought, girls will become sexually aggressive and will actively pursue “undesirable” sexual relationships.
Previously furious at her parents who asked that doctors circumcise her and her sister upon birth, Mary has since accepted her fate – and the fact that the effects of FGM is something she will have to live with for the rest of her life.
Mary said her parents were apologetic when she first confronted them about it, saying she was born in an Islamic hospital where it was common practice. Her parents, she told Rappler, didn’t know better.
UNICEF data shows Mary’s experience is not that unique. Data shows that parents are the ones who ask for circumcision for their children the most, followed by religious leaders, relatives, and community leaders.
Even today, many in Indonesia think FGM is still a necessity. Sari said many community leaders still preach FGM which is one reason why the practice still exists in Indonesia. It is also still a widespread myth that FGM has health benefits.
However there is no evidence that FGM affects cleanliness or vaginal health. Claims that urine and genital secretions accumulate and fester in the vulva, vagina or urethra have no medical backing. FGM does not reduce chances of urinary tract infections or infections of the reproductive system. Instead, data shows FGM causes risks to health.
Research reveals that FGM is carried out mostly on young girls between infancy and age 15. The procedure can cause severe bleeding and health issues like cysts, infections, infertility and complications in childbirth, with the increased risk of newborn deaths.
Mary, who now understands that FGM has had zero positive impact on her life, now advocates against the practice. She tells colleagues and other women to avoid the practice in their daughters.
The world is full of multimillionaires who can't handle money. Because, if you have money, you either start building your own kingdom, or it's useless.
The bosomy blonde in a tight, low-cut evening dress slid on to a barstool next to me and began the chat: Where are you from? How long are you here? Where are you staying? I asked her what she did for a living. "You know what I do," she replied. "I'm a whore."
As I looked around the designer bar on the second floor of the glitzy five-star hotel, it was obvious that every woman in the place was a prostitute. And the men were all potential punters, or at least window-shoppers.
While we talked, Jenny, from Minsk in Belarus, offered me "everything, what you like, all night" for the equivalent of about £500. It was better if I was staying in the luxurious hotel where we were drinking, she said, but if not she knew another one, cheaper but "friendly". I turned down the offer.
This was not Amsterdam's red-light district or the Reeperbahn in Hamburg or a bar on Shanghai's Bund. This was in the city centre of Dubai, the Gulf emirate where western women get a month in prison for a peck on the cheek; the Islamic city on Muhammad's peninsula where the muezzin's call rings out five times a day drawing believers to prayer; where public consumption of alcohol prompts immediate arrest; where adultery is an imprisonable offence; and where mall shoppers are advised against "overt displays of affection", such as kissing.
Ayman Najafi and Charlotte Adams, the couple recently banged up in Al Awir desert prison for a brief public snog, must have been very unlucky indeed, because in reality Dubai is a heaving maelstrom of sexual activity that would make the hair stand up on even the most worldly westerner's head. It is known by some residents as "Sodom-sur-Mer".
Beach life, cafe society, glamorous lifestyles, fast cars and deep tans are all things associated with "romance" in the fog-chilled minds of Europeans and North Americans. And there is a fair amount of legitimate "romance" in Dubai. Western girls fall for handsome, flash Lebanese men; male visitors go for the dusky charms of women from virtually anywhere. Office and beach affairs are common.
But most of the "romance" in Dubai is paid-for sex, accepted by expatriates as the norm, and to which a blind eye is turned – at the very least – by the authorities. The bar where "Jenny" approached me was top-of-the-range, where expensively dressed and coiffured girls can demand top dollar from wealthy businessmen or tourists.
There are lots of these establishments. Virtually every five-star hotel has a bar where "working girls" are tolerated, even encouraged, to help pull in the punters with cash to blow. But it goes downhill from there. At sports and music bars, Fillipinas vie with the Russians and women from the former Soviet republics for custom at lower prices. In the older parts of the city, Deira and Bur Dubai, Chinese women undercut them all in the lobbies of three-star hotels or even on the streets (although outside soliciting is still rare).
It is impossible to estimate accurately the prostitute population of Dubai. The authorities would never give out such figures, and it would be hard to take into account the "casual" or "part-time" sex trade. One recent estimate put the figure at about 30,000 out of a population of about 1.5 million. A similar ratio in Britain would mean a city the size of Glasgow and Leeds combined entirely populated by prostitutes.
Of course, there are other cities in the world where the "oldest profession" is flourishing. But what makes Dubai prostitution different is the level of acceptance it has by the clients and, apparently, the city's Islamic authorities. Although strictly illegal under United Arab Emirates' and Islamic law, it is virtually a national pastime.
I have seen a six-inch-high stack of application forms in the offices of a visa agent, each piece of paper representing a hopeful "tourist" from Russia, Armenia or Uzbekistan. The passport-sized photographs are all of women in their 20s seeking one-month visas for a holiday in the emirate.
Maybe young Aida from Tashkent – oval-eyed and pouting – will find a few days' paid work as a maid or shop assistant while she's in Dubai, and maybe she will even get an afternoon or two on the beach as her holiday. But most nights she will be selling herself in the bars and hotels and the immigration authorities know that. So must the visa agent, who gets his cut out of each £300 visa fee.
The higher you go up the Emirati food chain, the bigger the awards. All UAE nationals are entitled to a number of residence visas, which they routinely use to hire imported domestics, drivers or gardeners. But they will sell the surplus to middlemen who trade them on to women who want to go full-time and permanent in the city. The higher the social and financial status of the Emirati, the more visas he has to "farm".
Thousands of women buy entitlement to full-time residence, and lucrative employment, in this way. Three years in Dubai – the normal duration of a residence visa – can be the difference between lifelong destitution and survival in Yerevan, Omsk or Bishkek.
With a residence visa changing hands at upwards of £5,000 a time, it is a nice sideline, even for a wealthy national. And it also ensures a convenient supply of sex for Emiratis, who form a large proportion of the punters at the kind of bar where I met "Jenny". Arabs from other countries are high up the "johns" list, with Saudis in particular looking for distraction from life in their austere Wahabist homes with booze and sex-fuelled weekends in Dubai's hotels.
The other big category of punters is Europeans and Americans, and it is remarkable how quickly it all seems normal. A few drinks with the lads on a Thursday night, maybe a curry, some semi-intoxicated ribaldry, and then off to a bar where you know "that" kind of girl will be waiting. In the west, peer group morality might frown on such leisure activities, but in Dubai it's as normal as watching the late-night movie.
Male residents whose families are also in Dubai might be a little constrained most of the year – you could not really introduce Ludmilla from Lvov, all cleavage and stilettos, as a work colleague with whom you wanted to "run over a few things on the laptop". But in the long, hot summer it is different. Wives and families escape the heat by going to Europe or the US, and the change that comes over the male expat population is astounding. Middle-aged men in responsible jobs – accountants, marketeers, bankers – who for 10 months of the year are devoted husbands, transform in July and August into priapic stallions roaming the bars of Sheikh Zayed Road.
Tales are swapped over a few beers the next night, positions described, prices compared, nationalities ranked according to performance. It could be the Champions League we are discussing, not paid-for sex.
I've heard financial types justifying it as part of the process of globalisation, another manifestation of the west-east "tilt" by which world economic power is gravitating eastwards.
In my experience, many men will be unfaithful if they have the opportunity and a reasonable expectation that they will not be found out. For expats in Dubai, the summer months provide virtual laboratory conditions for infidelity.
Above all, there is opportunity. There is the Indonesian maid who makes it apparent that she has no objection to extending her duties, for a price; the central Asian shop assistant in one of the glittering malls who writes her mobile number on the back of your credit card receipt "in case you need anything else"; the Filipina manicurist at the hairdresser's who suggests you might also want a pedicure in the private room.
Even though selling sex is haram (forbidden) under Islamic law, the authorities rarely do anything about it. Occasionally, an establishment will break some unwritten rule. Cyclone, a notorious whorehouse near the airport, was closed down a few years back, but then it really did go too far – a special area of the vast sex supermarket was dedicated to in-house oral sex. When the authorities ordered it to be closed, the girls simply moved elsewhere.
There are occasional stories in the local papers of human trafficking rings being broken up and the exploiters arrested, but it is low-level stuff, usually involving Asian or Chinese gangs and Indian or Nepalese girls. The real problem is the high-end business, with official sanction. Even with the emirate's financial problems, Sodom-sur-Mer is flourishing. But would-be snoggers beware – your decadent behaviour will not be tolerated.
The multiverse theory explains why each of us lives in an own universe in which we may as well be immortal.
San Diego Free Press
DECEMBER 26, 2016 BY SOURCE
Maybe the real problem is a lack of positive paths to manhood
It wasn’t supposed to turn out like this. We were said to be approaching the demise of a certain type of swaggering, predatory masculinity: let’s call him Homo Obnoxious.
As men like Roger Ailes, Bill Cosby, Anthony Weiner, and Billy Bush scrambled unsuccessfully to find cover in the old-boy bastions of privilege, Homo Obnoxious appeared to be lumbering around like a dinosaur under the weight of his own cultural baggage. His habitat was shrinking: it seemed as if men who defined themselves by devaluing women, putting down men who didn’t think like them and treating sexual relations — and most everything else — as power-tripping performances might be ready for mounting in a Museum of Masculinity Past.
Books like Hanna Rosin’s The End of Men hailed an era in which women, and men of a different mold, would rapidly pull ahead in every arena. In The Future of Men: Masculinity in the Twenty-First Century, Jack Myers heralded a seismic shift in human relations. “We are entering a new age of female dominance and a reshaping of the male psyche, the male libido, and the male ego,” Myers wrote. “This is the new reality, and it will gain greater and greater momentum. Nothing in the history of humanity can prepare us for this newly upside-down world.”
Reality check: Homo Obnoxious is moving into the White House. The world is upside-down, but not for the reasons Myers anticipated.
The president-elect is signaling to boys across the country what it means to be a successful man. He gets more thuggish with each passing day, appointing knuckle-dragging members of his tribe to run the country. Meanwhile, alt-right dudes who cope with masculine anxiety by proclaiming superiority over women and people of color are feeling validated, enjoying influence they could hardly dream of a year ago. As one self-identified “neomasculine” blogger put it, “I’m in a state of exuberance that we now have a President who rates women on a 1-10 scale in the same way that we do and evaluates women by their appearance and feminine attitude.”
Yikes. But before we concede that toxic masculinity has suddenly reasserted itself as the dominant force in the cultural universe, let’s pause to take a breath. Let’s admit, for example, that although arenas of male experiences differ depending on where you live and how much money you have, Homo Obnoxious was never just a creature of any one party, class or region. The truth is that he is nurtured at every stage of an American boy’s journey into manhood, and without trying to understand what our society does to promote his development and how boys and men might be persuaded to reject his allure, he will continue his rampage across the land.
Let’s take a look at three breeding grounds where Homo Obnoxious cuts his teeth.
So many have a story like mine. It was a day soon after I had transferred to a new public high school in North Carolina. Two popular senior boys — baseball stars on a winning team — approached me across a crowded stair landing. I smiled, then felt rough hands shove me against the wall as the two sang obscene lyrics in my ear. That was not the last or the most violent encounter I had with Homo Obnoxious-in-training during my education.
Aggressive misogyny, of course, permeates many school sports teams, as the recent case of the men’s soccer team at Harvard illustrates. There, at America’s most hallowed university, a spreadsheet compiled by male players portraying members of the women’s team in degrading sexual terms was brought to light. A student explained the commonplace nature of the behavior to the New York Times: “I think Donald Trump is so extreme that we like to believe that these extreme incidents of sexism and discrimination are, like, isolated to him,” he said. “But it’s important to recognize that they’re just as rampant in our generation.”
Responding to recent revelations of decades-long sex abuse by both faculty and students at St. Georges, a New England prep school where Billy Bush was an ice hockey star, a former student described the warped sexual atmosphere and lack of guidance from adults in a letter to the rector of St. Paul’s, another elite prep school where a tradition of predatory sexual competition bred danger:
“I went to St. George’s School in the ’80s and am a heterosexual, success-oriented, competitive guy. I remember being self-conscious about my not getting any action while some of my male friends got tons. I felt less-than, like a loser when it came to girls and sex…Nowhere in my development …did any adult ever reinforce in me that it is all right to go at your own pace, that sex isn’t competition. The cultural norm was that sex was another place to be competitive, where you could be classified as a winner or a loser.”
Let’s think about that. When competition is the preferred mode of group interaction, it’s no wonder boys end up stuck with obsessions about the number of their sexual encounters and a tendency to degrade the objects of their pursuits.
In A Bigger Prize: Why Competition Isn’t Everything And How We Do Better, Margaret Heffernan discusses the destructive role that competition plays in American education and how it turns kids off of many potentially valuable collaborative activities. A large percentage end up not wanting to participate anything, including sports, in which being the winner or loser is everything.
Heffernan points out that if we teach kids that success is all about individual performance, they grow up to be what she calls “heroic soloists.” In relating to others, they tend to focus on what’s in it for them, suppressing the instinct to be generous or share credit or empathy. Our president-elect, steeped in the values of self-interest capitalism and competition in everything from football and beauty pageants to reality TV tournaments, is the epitome of a heroic soloist — one who has been rewarded richly in celebrity, power and money.
Teaching kids the value of creative collaboration and offering rational guidance on sexuality or gender relations at school has to be a part of cultivating a different path to manhood. American sex education, for example, if it is taught at all, often consists of either shaming abstinence lessons or alarming medical discussions of STDs and pregnancy, with little acknowledgment of the need to develop compassionate ways to express sexuality or the importance of challenging sexual stereotypes in media and culture. It doesn’t have to be that way; in a New York Times op-ed, Pamela Druckerman highlighted how topics like the complexity of love are openly discussed in French sex-ed, while Dutch teachers work to inculcate respect for people who don’t fit traditional sexual and gender molds.
If they don’t have blueprints of masculinity that allow for confidence and strength without domination in the playground and in the classroom, boys grow up thinking that a hero is somebody who is in everything solely for himself. This does not mean that we send male students to re-education boot camps, as certain right-wing pundits have warned is the true agenda of coastal elites. It means that adults take it upon themselves to guide students, whatever their sexual orientation or gender identity, in imagining ways of being men that are not destructive to themselves and others. It means not shaming them because they are male, but rather encouraging them to develop pride in characteristics and values that are socially beneficial, like putting others before themselves, honesty and strength in caring and self-restraint. That would be a start.
When I arrived at the University of Georgia in 1988, a sophomore from my hometown issued a helpful warning not to ever hook up in a certain popular fraternity house. The guys, I was informed, videotaped girls through holes in the walls and watched the tapes together on Sunday morning. This foreshadowing of the age of digital shaming and abuse was my introduction to the group norms associated with Greek life. Some misogynist rituals were performed under the radar, but others were out in the open and normalized, from parties where lists trashing women in sexual terms were posted on walls to “mixers” with sororities in which fraternity guys inscribed phalluses and misogynist phrases on the T-shirts of freshman girls.
There is nothing wrong with guys wanting to hang out, share common interests and form lasting social bonds with one another. But as young men begin to leave home, there aren’t enough opportunities for them to do this in a way that breeds healthy, socially responsible attitudes and behavior. Beyond the sports field, college fraternities are another place where antisocial activity is too often the norm, a lot of it targeting women. The “Animal House” frat image grounded in the degradation of women, based on fraternity life at Dartmouth in the 1960s, has been ascendant for decades, linking manliness to out-drinking peers and egging them on in sexual exploits. (Was Donald Trump in a fraternity? Of course: he was a Phi Gam at Fordham.)
The negative image is based in reality. On alcohol consumption, a U.S. Department of Education’s Higher Education Center survey shows that 75 percent of fraternity members engaged in heavy drinking, compared with 49 percent of other male students. Some — including many college presidents — have argued that since the drinking age was raised to 21, alcohol consumption has gone undercover, causing students to associate drinking with transgression and pushing it far from the supervision of older adults and more open social events. Lowering the drinking age, they suggest, might bring alcohol back into a more normalized atmosphere where students mix with older adults in supervisory roles, thus obviating the need for secretive binge-drinking and its attendant hazards and regression.
Some say fraternities should accept girls, and in a few cases, colleges have banned frats altogether, arguing that they are obsolete. At Amherst in Massachusetts, where fraternities were prohibited in 2014, students and faculty have discussed ways to create social groups that get rid of some of the destructive things associated with fraternities while providing the cohesiveness and sense of belonging that make them attractive, like residential communities with selective membership centered around a particular theme.
This is all well and good, but how likely is it to spread into regions of the country far flung from elite coastal universities? Places where fraternities have emerged as a way of attracting less affluent students to college with the promise of bonding and bacchanalia, to be translated into fundraising dollars after graduation?
College men — and young men who don’t go to college —need to have positive narratives that allow them to feel good about being men and being men together. Challenging sexual assault is important, but they need to learn much more than “no means no”: they need guidance in emotional honesty and intimacy, the challenges of navigating relationships and masculine ideals to strive for in which cultivating large numbers of women as hookups and drinking into oblivion are not the marks of masculine status. Beyond this, they need to see that life offers them more than the prospect of being a loser in the workforce that awaits them when schooling is done, and they also need opportunities to see that work in areas like caregiving, for example, are rich in positive masculine values. When a male nurse can be viewed as stronger and sexier than a Wall Street parasite, we will have gotten somewhere.
Popular culture reflects a hunger for a vision of masculinity that rejects Homo Obnoxious. Jesse Pinkman, the young meth cook in the TV series Breaking Bad, illustrates the despair of recession-era young men without decent job prospects who search for status, meaning, and self-worth. There’s a lot wrong with Jesse, but in his evolution as a character we see his growing resolve to form intimate, caring bonds with the women in his life and the men in his posse, too. The blockbuster franchise Fast and Furious shows the need for even the most testosterone-driven men — racecar drivers in this case — to develop respect and lasting relationships with the men and women in their social group.
These fictional guys hunt for alternatives to a brutal, global capitalist system that casts them as losers. They want to find the dignity that dissolves when we mire them in student debt, consign them to dead-end jobs and say, Oh well, globalization happens. If we continue to do this, they will bond together in ways that can quickly become dangerous to society as a whole, and they will look for outsider narratives that offer something more that the empty promise of upward mobility currently on offer from politicians who think that the paltry social safety net and worker protections currently in place are over-generous (politicians from both major parties). Sometimes, in the case of the white supremacist groups that have begun to creep out of the woodwork, that something will be very scary.
There has been a lot of recent research on how online porn and video games are helping to inculcate alienation and destructive patterns in boys and young men. Stanford psychologist Philip Zimbardo’s book Man (Dis)Connected): How Technology has Sabotaged What it Means to be Male provides insight onto how Homo Obnoxious gets his brain wired.
Zimbardo discusses how young male brains can become shaped at a cellular level in ways that inhibit their social development through excessive time spent on gaming and porn, even losing their ability to read the social cues of face-to-face contact. Many, he points out, are drawn to these realms as a seemingly safe and easy way to gain a sense of achievement that may not be available in the winner-take-all competition of school and the workforce. These virtual worlds are tailored to provide an addictive system of goals and rewards that produce guys who are afraid of intimacy. They end up eschewing real-world experiments that might result in rejection, and real-time spontaneity that leaves them disoriented and frightened. Drained of self-confidence, they search for narratives of manhood that provide at least the simulacrum of power and dignity.
Some go on to find self-help, intellectual and political forums online collectively termed “the manosphere.” Some of this has merged with the recently designated “alt-right.” In the more benign forums, we find guys like mild-mannered Brian Begin, co-founder of Fearless Man website, who invites guys to join a brotherhood of men who have learned the secret of confidence and self-love. A shy video gamer who found himself working in a miserable office cubicle and unable to talk to women, Begin eventually threw away his games and launched a self-help journey that revealed to him he needed to learn to “feel” — to experience emotions at a deep, visceral level and connect to others despite fear of rejection. Although Begin’s quest for dignified masculinity rests in part on the fantasy of making piles of money and dating beautiful women, his hunger for self-esteem and the experience of genuine emotion seems real, as does his impulse to see women as something other than a collection of body parts. He doesn’t want to be a nervous “beta” male, and while much of his rhetoric is traditionalist and half-baked, he is on to something in pointing to the critical need for connection. In his workshops, the first thing he does is to hug the men who participate.
Unfortunately, much in the manosphere openly promotes the far more noxious stuff, like sexual predation in the pickup community, where guys give each other creepy tips on “mind-controlling” women and duping them into sex. Other sites, like Mensactivism, boil with anger at feminists and take a paranoid stance against what they imagine is an epidemic of false rape claims and women who will take advantage of them at every opportunity. Mensactivism buzzes with articles like “Men are the downtrodden sex” and blogs expressing hope that a Trump presidency “could radically change colleges’ response to sexual assault.” In these sites, loneliness and fear are vented as rage — the rage that comes when people don’t know what to do with their suffering.
Yet for all the bluster and bullying on such sites, you don’t have to dig far to find clues to what is bothering these young men so profoundly at their core. The blogger who likes Trump’s rating system for women asks a series of questions in a meditation on so-called neomasculinity, which despite its name, is mostly a throwback to outdated myths of male superiority: “What code of morality or principles should guide men in their daily lives? Is there a deeper life meaning that can help us set better goals?” The answers he comes up with may be bitter and sad, but the questions themselves are not stupid, and they point to a lack of compass to give direction. Online, the lost boys find each other, making up the missing codes themselves out of a mixture of bravado, hurt and bitterness.
The road ahead
When I sat down to write this article just after Trump’s election, I felt angry and confused swallowing the reality that the country is going to be led by a man who brags about sexual assault. But gradually, I’ve come to feel something else, a sense that the Trump election may in part be a sign that a giant population of American men — particularly the Trump voters but also men across regions and classes — are in turmoil, and that most are looking for a way out. If we simply shout them down and disparage them, we can be pretty sure that the worst among them, the already-committed members of Tribe Homo Obnoxious, will gain strength, not lose it. Some are likely already too far down the road of hate for redemption, but I believe these are a small minority. The rest are struggling, watching, looking for signs, searching for stories that might give them a sense of a more positive path ahead.
Over Thanksgiving, I attended Sunday services at a conservative Southern Baptist megachurch in Raleigh, North Carolina, partly because I wanted to hear and see for myself what men in that context were thinking and talking about it — men who were the most likely in town to have voted for Trump. If I were to believe the assumptions of some of my liberal friends in New York, where I currently live, they would be spewing racial hatred, misogyny and homophobia — a seething collection of “toothless rednecks,” as one New Yorker put it on my Facebook page.
That’s not what I heard. The sermon was delivered by a young minister with the demeanor of a kindly basketball coach, one who was not afraid of emotions and wept at times as he spoke. His message, it seemed to me, was tailored to deliver balm to the heart of hurt manhood. God was the benign father and Christ was a brother — even a lover — who valued those gathered so deeply he would give his life for them. Men were presented as the ones who went out into the world while moms stayed home, a 1950s trope to be sure, but they were also asked to give up their self-centeredness, their narcissism. The minister urged them to see power as something that could be used to confront their own shortcomings, to serve and protect others. The solo adventurer was not vaunted here. Trump was not the emblem of the kind of masculinity valued here.
As much as I reject his outdated gender framework, the minister appeared a man with whom I shared some basic concerns—about the allure of consumerism, for example. He was not an alien, but a person trying to confront the ills of modern society, many of which bother me as much as him, though our emphasis and answers are different.
Men are confused, and how could they not be? Ever since the 1950s brought women into the workforce en masse, and the Pill released them from reproductive shackles in the ‘60s, a profound change in human relations has been happening in painful fits and starts. In the grand scheme of history, a few decades is an incredibly short amount of time to adjust to such a cataclysm. No wonder we’re still flailing about trying to figure out how to cope. Identity, expectations, culture and hormones are a complex dance. Social construction is a dynamic process, and hardly linear.
And let’s face it: Hillary Clinton’s election was not likely to bring a great gender renaissance in America, or any kind of renaissance for that matter. If Clinton were on her way to the White House, there is much reason to believe that ordinary men — and women— would see little improvements in their lives. That would be the case as long as those in charge are stuck in paradigms of dysfunctional capitalism and neoliberal blindness. Anger would continue to fester, and many working-class white men, in particular, would become even more entrenched in their reactionary rage.
As America’s boys see Trump acting out, some will feel their own worst instincts validated. But for others, the idea of “being a man” might mean distancing themselves from his kind of behavior. I do believe that men—and women—are less likely to assert power by denigrating and dominating others when they have a sense of real agency in their lives. It may not be helpful to talk about the end of men, or the rising dominance of women, but rather to remember that for all of us—men, women and transgender—our ability to manifest prosocial behavior depends a lot on having a sense of power and purpose in our lives. Growing inequality, the gig economy, strangling oligopolies, widespread poverty, a shrinking middle class, and government policies geared to appease the rich do not promote this outcome.
For those who reject Donald Trump, figuring out how to achieve a better life for everyone in our society instead of condemning “deplorables” is, in my opinion, a more productive way to go. The co-creation of a more peaceful and fulfilling world requires our most dedicated efforts in imagination, connection and listening to those who do not share our particular vision. Homo Obnoxious will only have the last word if we forget our common humanity.
In Uganda, rich fathers use super high dosages of butea superba combined with tongkat ali to turn their gay sons into heterosexual husbands.
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