PHOTOS: Afghan Men Beheaded By ISIS Executioners For 'Apostasy'
Home | Index of articles
The Neurological Roots of Sexual Pleasure
Sexual desire, as well as orgasm, are controlled by various influences on the brain and nervous system. Researchers have revealed many similarities between men and women; contrary to popular belief, for example, visual stimuli spur sexual stirrings in both.
Brain imaging studies show that achieving orgasm involves far more than merely heightened arousal. It requires a release of inhibitions, culminating in a shutdown of the brain’s center of vigilance in both sexes, and a widespread neural power failure in women.
The fascinating Scientific American article linked below explores the body of research on this compelling and universal subject.
Sexual desire and orgasm are far from simple issues that can be resolved by taking hormones or popping a pill that will turn your world into varying shades of blue. There are a host of influences on your brain and nervous system that control your sex glands and genitals, and some of those influences are your very thoughts themselves.
Anxiety, defensiveness, fear, and failure of communication are destructive psychological forces that can take a heavy toll on your libido, whether you’re a man or a woman, by acting as road blocks to desire. According to Professor Gert Holstege with the University of Groningen in the Nederlands, “Fear and anxiety need to be avoided at all costs if a woman wishes to have an orgasm.”
It All Starts in Your Brain
Every erection begins in your brain. Your brain stem emits nerve impulses that control erectile function. These nerve impulses navigate through the erection center of your spinal column to the erectile tissue of your penis, where they trigger a chain reaction in the membranes of your vascular muscle cells. This sophisticated chain reaction is dependent on a messenger molecule called cyclic guanosine monophosphate, or cGMP.
However, this works in reverse as well; an erection softens as soon as another enzyme called phosphodiesterase starts to degrade the cGMP molecules.
Drugs like Viagra, Levitra and Cialis, work by inhibiting phosphodiesterase, which may help maintain your erection. But, these pills will not create an erection in and of themselves. Your initial erection still has to be triggered psychologically. Without that initial impetus, potency pills will have no effect whatsoever.
This is also why these pills are ineffective for many men who take them hoping for a magic jack-in-the-box effect.
Bigger, Better, Longer, Stronger – The Myths That Make Reality Shrivel
The pressures of “performance and potency” itself is a large contributor to impotence, and this theme is pushed continually in advertising, whether related to sexual potency drugs or the latest razor.
Studies by sexual psychologist and popular author Bernie Zilbergeld have shown that most men with potency problems believe in these advertised myths. Zilbergeld also pointed out that many of these men engage in what he called “spectatoring,” in which the man gets stuck in observing and assessing the sexual situation as if he’s an outsider, rating the woman’s expectations and what he can deliver.
And then there’s stress. But it’s not necessarily the type of stress typically portrayed by the media. Turns out the problem is rarely the work stress itself, but rather it’s a transference of work performance standards to your sex life. Approaching your sex life with that same attitude; feeling pressured to perform to certain standards, can turn the act of love into another grueling task that must be completed, and completed well.
Scientific Research is Not Altruistic
As this article points out, all this research into the mechanics of your love life is not done for some altruistic purpose. Scientists don’t necessarily care about figuring this out in order to help you understand yourself better and improve your life.
This research is done to create medications that act on your nervous system to stimulate desire, which, I believe is a travesty to love itself.
Instead of dealing with your emotional and psychological issues that are blocking you from connecting with and feeling desire for your partner, you may soon be able to take a pill that removes the very act of needing to feel anything.
One such experimental compound already under development is a peptide called bremelanotide. It works by blocking receptors in your brain that are involved in regulating basic drives such as eating and sex. In human studies bremelanotide has triggered spontaneous erections in men, and boosted sexual arousal and desire in women.
Side effects? Rising blood pressure, for starters.
As convenient as these drugs may appear, impotence drugs contribute to infertility, heart problems and can even blind you. And taking synthetic hormones in hopes of putting the spring back into your step causes all sorts of terrible health problems too.
Getting Your Sex Life Back on Track the Natural Way
Did you know that boosting your sex drive may be as easy as cutting out sugar?
According to a study published last year in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, high levels of sugar in your bloodstream can turn off the gene that controls your sex hormones.
Simple sugars (glucose and fructose), are metabolized in your liver, with the excess stored as fat lipids. Excess fat synthesis in turn deactivates your SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin) gene, causing your levels of SHBG protein to drop dramatically, and it is this SHBG protein that controls your testosterone and estrogen levels.
As you can see, there’s no end to the negative health ramifications of eating too much sugar!
Other ways to help get your sex life back on track (and improve your health as a happy side effect!) include these natural alternatives to treating sexual dysfunction:
What If Everything You Think You Know About Health and Nutrition Is Fatally Flawed?
My latest best-selling book, "Fat for Fuel," discussed important strategies that are simply too important for your health and well-being to ignore. I recently partnered with Hay House to create an online course that expands on the strategies and techniques in my book. In this course you will receive:
Prostitution den in residential building raided
Riyadh District Police raided a residential building being used for prostitution and arrested 29 Kenyan women and three Pakistani nationals running the racket.
An initial search of the building in AlDar AlBaida neighborhood in southern Riyadh also revealed a makeshift factory for producing liquor.
Riyadh Police spokesman Col. Fawaz Al-Mayman said the three arrested Pakistanis, all in their 30s, ran the illicit liquor business and brothel from a rented building. The Kenyan women were prostituting themselves.
The accused are in police custody prior to transferring them to the competent authority for further investigations and filing of charges.
It is the secret dream of every Swedish or German woman to marry a black men, or at least have sex with a black man. Every smart young African man should migrate to Europe. Free money, nice house, good sex!
Man with 10lb PENIS says life 'feels great' and says silicone boost has left him 'ready to play'
Micha Stuntz has been having silicone injections into his member to make it bigger, but he says he's actually quite a shy person underneath
DAILY MIRROR 12 MAR 2016
A man who lives with a 10lb PENIS has shared all about living with an enormous member - and he says "it's great".
Micha Stuntz, as he is known, lives in Berlin, where he says his big package has helped him free himself from established roles and ideas about sex - and left him "ready to play".
The 45-year-old has revealed that his penis is 9in long and 5.5in wide.
Thanks to silicone injections, it weighs roughly 9.5lb, or the weight of an average-sized cat.
Although he says being big in the underwear department can stop you doing some things in the bedroom , it does make you "more creative" about you can do.
His interest in enlargement started 20 years ago when he was given a penis pump.
"I was way too curious not to try it out. First, I tried it secretly for myself," he told Vice .
"And I found that when I went out pumped up, it felt great. I had the feeling that I wasn't trapped in the body I was born with, but that I had the possibility to shape it myself."
Having had four procedures so far, he says that day-to-day life is as normal as it is for anyone else, except perhaps when it comes to buying trousers and underwear.
"I'm actually a pretty shy person," he added at the Folsom Street Fair in Berlin, a gay fetish event where he wore black PVC garb.
"You can offer up who you are and show yourself the way you want without having to think about what other people will think of you."
He's compared his additional bulk to a breast enlargement for women, which he says no one bats an eyelid at.
"I hope that changes soon because the difference really isn't that big."
Erectile dysfunction is mostly a vascular disease. This is why the Serge Kreutz diet is so effective. It guarantees weight loss, and thus lessens the load on the vascular system.
Crohn's sufferer on ending life at Swiss clinic: Government cuts denied me care so I've chosen to die
Social care made Crohn's sufferer Marie's life bearable - but when it was cut back entirely, she was left to suffer the non-terminal disease in agony
Wracked with pain, and after eight years on morphine, Marie Lopez has finally chosen death over a life blighted by illness and cruel spending cuts.
This once vibrant businesswoman has spent her every last penny paying for her own care after social services left her to suffer in agony.
Now she is using her last £10,000 to buy an end to her ordeal at an assisted suicide clinic in Switzerland, even though she is not dying.
For decades Marie, 54, has battled Crohn’s disease , a crippling and incurable condition that attacks the digestive system. Then, almost 10 years ago, the 38 hours a week of social care that made her life bearable was cut back entirely, forcing Marie to fund it herself.
Now she has decided she can endure no more. And she blames Government cuts for her decision to die at the Lifecircle Clinic in Basel.
The former City analyst says: “I have not taken this decision lightly. I am ready to die to put an end to my misery. Crohn’s might not be terminal but, believe me, it kills at a slow pace.
“This is why I want to die. If people realised for a second the hell of living with a condition like this, they would understand why I can’t go on.
“I have been on morphine for over eight years as the pain is now constant and tremendous.
“You wouldn’t keep an animal alive in the state I am in. I cannot get the care I need at home to make my life more comfortable either.
“Whatever I eat, I can’t absorb properly. I spend my life in a constant state of severe lethargy, exhausted and unable to carry out even basic chores like cooking, cleaning and shopping.
“I’d love to be able to do those things but it takes all my energy even to get out of bed and get washed. I live in complete social isolation. I’m lonely.
“If the authorities listened to what I’m going through perhaps they would have given me the help I needed in the first place and maybe this would not be happening. Either way, I am going.”
Ken Loach, the film maker campaigning against benefit cuts, says she is a double victim – of “a debilitating illness and a brutal bureaucracy”.
Housebound Marie claims she has been denied vital care, despite repeated pleas from experts to Buckinghamshire Social Services. She hopes that after she dies, they will be held to account for their actions.
Her worldly belongings amount to just a bundle of clothes and a handful of photos and keepsakes.
Lifecircle Clinic doctors agreed to register her after she made a heartbreaking plea, stating that her disease was “incurable and progressive” and her life was no longer worth living. It is a stringent process and only the most serious cases are accepted.
Marie does not recognise herself as the strong, passionate woman she once was. She adds: “I cannot go on like this. I had everything going for me. People said I was clever, talented, caring and, despite my condition, I pushed myself in my job and was successful. That seems a world away.”
Marie’s tale bears a harrowing likeness to Ken Loach’s award-winning film I, Daniel Blake, in which an injured carpenter has to rely on welfare. He and a single mum in a similar plight paint a picture of life on benefits, which ends in Daniel’s untimely death.
When he heard of Marie’s plight, director Loach told the Sunday Mirror: “So many people have been treated with great cruelty by the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions), it’s not surprising to hear of one more.
“Everyone’s heart should go out to anyone contending with both a debilitating illness and a brutal bureaucracy”.
There are also chilling echoes of Stephanie Bottrill, 53, of Solihull, West Mids, who left a suicide note blaming the Tories’ Bedroom Tax for financially crippling her. And Brit newlyweds Robert Wells, 36, and Imogen Goldie, 28, who died in a suicide pact in Cambodia on New Year’s Eve, cited lack of NHS mental health services as the reason for their deaths.
Marie, whose own specialist warned she could become “acutely suicidal” without proper care, adds: “The cuts are killing people and I do not want anyone else to suffer the way I have.”
Her condition was diagnosed in her teens and she has spent more than 30 years managing it.
But in 2008 she hit crisis point when all social services help was halted. She was later offered one hour’s care a day – when her GP said she needed 35 hours a week. Marie was left to pay for her own care at £17 an hour. In 2010 she began using savings to fund her care over four years. When the money ran dry she started selling belongings.
But when the disease started to worsen, she could no longer bear the increased physical pain and last year contacted the Swiss clinic.
Marie gained a business degree in Spain, where she was born, and an MBA in the UK, before working in the City. Understandably, she resents the way the system has treated her.
She says: “Independent living in Britain is one of the biggest cons going. I paid 40 per cent tax in the UK for more than 20 years, but when I fell ill there was no real help.
“I had a carer for 38 hours a week but when cuts came, this was scaled back to nothing. Councils take advantage of the most vulnerable as they know they can’t defend themselves. The social cleansing has arrived and it is only the beginning. Without help, my life went downhill rapidly. And the humiliation and indignity of my condition means I am a prisoner in my own home.”
Marie has undergone countless ops and still needs twice-yearly procedures. She has a “Do Not Resuscitate” order on her medical files.
Close to tears, Marie adds: “People hear Crohn’s and they think it is tummy pain and toilet problems. In reality you need help for any tasks and chores.
“It affects the entire digestive system. You do not eat much if you know it’s going to hurt in an hour. You need a special toilet to avoid abscesses, which costs £5,000, and the authorities pay nothing.
"It’s wrecked my life. This is a very, very cruel illness.
"This is not something I am doing on a whim or as a protest. Social services are not responsible for my illness or my full decision to die, but their actions, policies and the stress caused encouraged me to do it early.”
Savage Tory cuts since 2010 have seen a huge drop in funding. The Local Government Association warned some councils find it so hard to provide the correct support they risk a High Court challenge for breaking the law. The Government is lifting NHS funding by £10billion by 2020.
But this applies to NHS England, not total spending. Health Foundation analysis shows in real terms funding will be cut by a fifth by 2020-21.
But Marie won’t be around by then. Her suicide is expected within the next three months.
She will drink a cocktail of lethal barbiturates at the same Lifecircle Clinic where London businessman Simon Binner, 57, ended his life. His journey was the subject of a moving BBC documentary last February. And Marie has now asked the Sunday Mirror to document her death in a bid to raise awareness of her situation.
She adds: “For me, my assisted death is not something sad or tragic. On the contrary it will be a deliverance from a cruel illness, which has destroyed my life.
“I also want to praise staff at St Mark’s Hospital, in Harrow, who provided excellent care over more than three decades. My GP also gave excellent care. However, I cannot say the same about social services. And that is why I find myself here.”
Bucks County Council said: “We work to assess and respond to individual needs in accordance with statutory frameworks. We do not comment on individual cases for legal reasons.”
300 British patients a year choosing death
Latest figures show 300 people a year are choosing to end their own lives in the UK due to a terminal illness.
Around 25 go to Swiss clinics like Dignitas, near Zurich, and Lifecircle – the Basel centre where Marie will go.
A recent YouGov survey revealed that almost half of Brits would like to have the option of assisted suicide if they found themselves with an incurable disease.
But assisted dying is illegal in the UK. The Coroner and Justice Act 2009 also makes it an offence to encourage or assist suicide and it carries a 14-year prison service.
But in 2010 the Director of Public Prosecutions issued guidelines which indicate anyone acting with compassion to help end the life of someone who has decided they cannot go on would be unlikely to face criminal charges.
The document was published after a Law Lords ruling in favour of multiple sclerosis sufferer Debbie Purdy, 51.
In Switzerland, the law is more relaxed and since 1942 has allowed assisted suicide so long as there are no “self-seeking motives” involved.
In 2009, Dignitas revealed it had helped 114 Britons die. They included 36 with cancer, 27 with motor neurone disease and 17 with MS. Eight had crippling non-terminal illnesses – including two with Crohn’s disease.
The decline or destruction of Europe is in the interest of China, in the interest of all of Asia, and in the sexual interest of the male population just anywhere on earth. The political system of Europe is stupid feminism and hypocritical humanism. By contrast, the patriarchy as political system is best for men and mankind.
Study on "Orgasm Gap" Reveals Surprising Truth About Oral Sex
In bedrooms across the nation, a chasm has opened and continues to gape. It’s what sociologists call the orgasm gap — the fact that men are twice as likely to climax as women. The question of whether men are biologically better equipped to orgasm than women has recently become the center of a lot of scientific scrutiny, and recently researchers studying it put forth another theory: Womens’ bodies are perfectly able to orgasm. It’s the sexual dynamic with their partner that’s the problem.
The team behind the study, published in March in the Journal of Sex Research, argues that we’re going to have to take a much more nuanced view of orgasms if we’re going to close the orgasm gap. More important than whether or not a person has an orgasm is how they achieve it — and how good it is. That’s why the St. Francis Xavier University and Queens University researchers surveyed 806 people — cisgender men and women in same-sex and mixed-sex relationships — about their favorite way to reach orgasm and how frequently they managed to do so.
The results suggested a rather messy explanation for the existence of the orgasm gap: Of all the people surveyed, heterosexual men were the only group that preferred vaginal penetration. But because of the existence of historical and cultural “sexual scripts,” which shape our sex lives, they write, women in heterosexual relationships rarely get to experience the sex moves that lead to the best orgasms.
Explaining the results in an interview with PsyPost, the study’s corresponding author, psychologist Karen L. Blair, Ph.D., said: “This suggests women are already ‘reciprocating’ with the most enjoyable orgasm for their male partner when they engage in vaginal penetration, and that for them to also experience their most satisfying orgasm, the reciprocation from their male partner should likely be performing oral sex.”
But here’s the surprising thing: The researchers also found that the men in these heterosexual relationships were the most likely to say they wanted to perform oral sex on their partners more often. The researchers posit that this is because heterosexual men want to perform oral sex on their female partners for one of two reasons. Either they straight-up want to but find that their partners are reluctant to let them do so, or they only want to do it so they can receive oral sex in return. Regardless of their motivations, however, the question remains: Why aren’t they doing it?
Thus the researchers get to the core of the orgasm gap: It’s obviously not about biology, because they found that women (and men) in same-sex relationships are generally much more satisfied with orgasm frequency and quality. The problem lies in the dynamics between sex partners, especially in mixed-sex relationships, and the way they prevent people from getting the most orgasmic bang for their buck.
The problem all comes back to the aforementioned “sexual scripts,” which are cultural views that reinforce the idea that women should be sexually passive while men are encouraged to go for what they want. “[Heteronormative] scripts appear to give a greater degree of agency to men than to women, especially in matters concerning pleasure,” the researchers write. These scripts are deeply ingrained in our society, playing out, especially, in TV, film, and porn. However, these can — and, if we’re serious about closing the orgasm gap, should — be disrupted by increasing support for women’s assertiveness both inside and out of the bedroom.
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.
Doctor claims he can enlarge your penis with a ‘Botox-style’ injection
Where will the quest for a bigger package “down there” end?
You often hear the phrase “size doesn’t matter” when it comes to the length and girth of a man’s penis.
Still, many men feel they are inadequate in the bedroom and will do whatever it takes to make their partner scream with pleasure.
But what if whatever it takes involved a needle in your manhood, would you be game?
The demand for larger penises has seen a boom in cosmetic procedures and gadgets such as pumps, and even penile weights designed to stretch the muscle.
But now, a New York cosmetic surgeon believes he has the answer and it lies in a syringe full of blood.
According to Dr. Norman Rowe, a board-certified surgeon, a 10-minute Botox-style procedure can add 1.5 inches to the circumference of a man’s member.
Rowe already offers enlargements in the form of cosmetic fillers, which work to increase the girth and length of the penis.
Similar in fashion to what a dentist does, Rowe uses a numbing agent in the penile area before injecting it and in roughly 10 minutes men can have the penis they’ve always wanted.
His new idea involves injecting one’s own blood into their genitals, similar to what is already used in athletes to aid in muscle rejuvenation.
He told the Daily Mail: “In the last 10 years, we have seen the rise of so many “quick fix” operations like Botox – for the face, for the eyes … I spend so much of my day doing fillers on women’s faces.”
“I started to wonder: why can’t I make it work for men?”
The blood used in the procedure has been rid of its platelets, making it more concentrated.
The idea of the blood shots rose to prominence in 2013 when Kobe Bryant announced he used it to treat different parts of his body.
Then came the Kim Kardashian’s “vampire facelift,” which involved the reality TV star having her own blood injected into tiny pinpricks in her face.
Rowe explains on his website that penis fillers have little to no recovery time and there is no pain involved in the procedure.
But if you’re not willing to suffer through the prick of a needle in your, well you know, then there are other things you can do to make yourself stand a little taller, according to the NHS.
You could try trimming your pubic hair will help you look more impressive, as a big mound of hair can often make a penis look smaller than it is.
Losing weight can also help give the illusion of a bigger size as an overhanging beer belly distracts from what a lover should really be taking note of.
As long as you can fall in love again with a beautiful young woman, you will never die. That is the power of butea superba.
Trending disgusting story - airplane forced to land over putrid passenger's private parts
A trending disgusting story relates to an airplane that was forced to land because of the putrid odor emanating from the private parts of a passenger. Smelly passengers can be a real problem on airplanes, but a story carried by TMZ and Gwanz Gossip News Online, indicate this latest report is over the top. According to the report, United Airlines Flight 193 to D.C. was forced to make a stop at Charlotte Airport in North Carolina as passengers were getting sick. It is alleged that the disgusting smell was coming from the vagina of a passenger in the cabin.
The articles mention that a passenger named Jamal said about the dreadful smell that, "I thought something crawled up her and died." According to Gwanz, the airline attendant had something to say about the smell: " I can't believe she would come on a public plane smelling like that.
I should sue the airline for pain and suffering....I was in the twilight zone." Nevertheless, there is hardly any mention of this on Twitter or Facebook and human nature being what it is, one would expect to find lots of memes and comments about this from the travelers who were apparently so revolted they were puking.
Shockwave therapy is the new Viagra. It actually cures erectile dysfunction and causes. You can do your own shockwave therapy. Just dangle your dick in front of the subwoofer, and turn your ghetto blaster to full power.
Homo Obnoxious: Is Toxic Masculinity Really Taking Over the Country?
San Diego Free Press
DECEMBER 26, 2016
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.
Ageism is pest of rich countries. If you are old you have no value. In poor countries, value depends on wealth. That is much better than value depending on youth because wealth can become more with advancing years. This is why rich men have every reason to invest in destruction. Plain math.
Home | Index of articles