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Sure would you not have a small bit?


On The Rampage: What A Load Of Arse

Posted August 29, 2012 by Lisa McInerney in Ramp Specials

And you thought we were over this nonsense about what we’re obliged to do to please our partners sexually.

Well, we’re not. No matter how sexually liberated this society is – and it’s doing alright – we’re still being told how to have sex, in what order to have sex, and what kind of sex we’re supposed to be having in accordance with our perceived gender.

Forgive the pun, but fuck that.

For example, have you noticed that anal is the absolute norm at the moment? Inspired by your common or garden, post-Millennium porn standard, men and women across the world are declaring that anal sex is the very end. Now you have a fifth base, hetero types. Kissy, touchy, sucky, fucky, shitter.

Women are learning that just because you can’t see your own bum doesn’t mean you get away with neglecting its aesthetic properties. You gotta bleach that extremity, ladies, because it’s a different colour to your buttocks and while your menfolk might be brave enough to probe that orifice, they’re certainly not vulgar enough to disregard clashing hues.

Men, for their part, are learning that vaginas are far too warm and welcoming for the sexual audacity expected of modern Lotharios, and so the only way to really be a manly pioneer is to ignore her Cave Of Wonders and go spelunking instead in the Cleft Of Odorous Suggestion. Real men don’t do vanilla sex! Rarr! Arse pirates!

 The old bumdinger is bad news, which is why it’s such good news. 

It’s gotten so ubiquitous that last week, Vice UK published two articles from female writers, one of whom was adamant that women don’t ever enjoy anal, and the other who was adamant that all women enjoyed anal purely because it was so unenjoyable. Pretty much on the same side of the coin, no? The old bumdinger is bad news, which is why it’s such good news. The comments on both were, naturally, filled with men pshawing at the former and sending delighted ‘dirty bird!’ congratulations to the latter.

But hey, if you’re not already doing the Backdoor Rumba, perhaps you’ll have made amends by getting into some seriously fashionable BDSM. No, no, you don’t have to feel a genuine pull towards BSDM. It’s not self-expression or exploration of your sexuality with a respectful partner, it’s totes fucking hot and therefore everyone must get their gimp on, or get on their gimp, whichever applies.

Still lagging behind? Why not loosen up with an Ann Summers party, or a trip to a Gentleman’s Club (double liberation points if you’re a woman), or a visit to Amsterdam where you can giggle in the sex shops and make goo-goo eyes at women dancing in windows or watch exotic ladies shoot all manner of foreign objects out of their hoo-has. Isn’t sex hilarious? Sex is hilarious, you fucking prude.

In reality, sex isn’t hilarious. Sex is no one thing. You can take it as hilarious if you like, of course; you can take it any which way you like, because you’re a grown-up. And one important part of growing up, apart from the decision of whether you’d like some sex and in which way you’d like to proceed with it, is realising that in reality, there is no such thing as standard sex. There might be a standard in common-or-garden, post-Millennium porn, but there isn’t a standard in consensual sex between respectful adults.

You can pick and choose your orifices, employ any manner of toys, or do it upside down in a Queen Anne cabinet for all anyone else should care. Sex is different for everyone; haven’t we worked that out yet? So PornHub, commercial butt plugs or Anastasia Steele has led you to conclude that anal sex is a-okay. Well, it is. It’s fine and dandy. But it’s not standard, and therefore not okay to conclude that everyone else is doing it, wants to do it, or just needs to be shamed into joining you up there in the Chinese Year Of The Ass.

The shaming is the thing. For every direct, non-judgemental article about how to get the most out of your sexual preferences, there’s another, backed up with oddly sniffy comments, about how to get your partner into the same kinks and kicks as you are. How To Convince Her To Try Anal. How To Get Him To Go Spank You. How To Persuade Your Significant Other To Wear Tights On Their Head And Call You ‘Naughty Goat-thing’ Whilst Hanging Out Of A Window With Your Toe Up Their Bottom. The assumption – the tactic – is that everyone else is doing it, so why can’t your beloved fuckbuddy give it a whirl/lash/socks?

The sexual liberation of the masses has turned into quite the high school whisper campaign

But look, here’s the crux of the matter. Having an open mind about sex is helpful, because it gives that bit more room to have one’s mind blown. But even with that supposed open mind, what a lot of us are missing is that sex is not some sort of rigid (fnar!) process and it doesn’t subscribe to anyone’s Hot or Not scale. There’s nothing wrong with liking a bit of kink. Equally, there’s nothing wrong with having no interest at all in a bit of kink. The sexual liberation of the masses has turned into quite the high school whisper campaign. Aren’t you doing it yet? No? Well, what’s wrong with you?

A healthy sexual relationship could include anal, or BDSM, or dressing up like characters from Japanese animé, or giving each other’s chakras a good thinking at, or gazing into one another’s eyes in the missionary position, or being all husky at each other down the phone, or having a friendly orgy, or having an unfriendly orgy, or whatever the living fuck you’re into. Maybe you’re not really into anything, which is grand, too.

An unhealthy sexual relationship is one that depends on pop cultural pointers.

Granted, Ireland’s not that long out of an abusive relationship with the Catholic Church, and as such, perhaps a significant number of consenting adults still need a gentle reminder that there are more ways to explore one’s sexual identity than one sees in Jennifer Aniston romcoms. Fair enough. But what’s irritating – and counterproductive – is this concept that sex is fashion, instead of an intrinsic, complex part of one’s identity. And if your boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, friends or local tabloid agony aunt is insistent on your removing your inhibitions and jumping on their bandwagon, then perhaps it’s time to find yourself a brand new coterie. Or harem. Or whatever you’re having yourself.

In short, the Do The Buttman! crowd can take the Spanking’s Mandatory crowd and just go fuck themselves. It’d be better for all involved.

About the Author

Lisa McInerney

Lisa’s soul is so damn sensitive, she has to invent and occupy parallel universes just to spread herself evenly. This is also known as being a frustrated novelist.

  • http://twitter.com/SerialBlogamist Catherine C

    It’s about damn time someone wrote about this! (or at least wrote about it somewhere I read things)

  • http://twitter.com/TheKavOfficial Peter Kavanagh

    Phwoarrr…Dirty Bird! etc. etc.

  • http://twitter.com/ElleEmSee Laura C

    Thank you for all these brilliant methods of saying ‘bottom sex’, Lisa. They’ll be worked into conversation henceforth at every opportunity, be it appropriate or not.

    • http://www.lisamcinerney.com Lisa McInerney

      You’re very welcome, Laura. I do like to make a difference to people’s lives.

  • http://twitter.com/nuckpang Stephen R.

    I’m amazed and slightly worried that people need to be told “Hey, you know the stuff that you want to do in the bedroom? Do that. And the stuff you don’t want to do? Yeah, don’t do any of that. Got it? Cool, have fun!”

    • http://www.lisamcinerney.com Lisa McInerney

      Now there’s a Motto For Life I can get behind.

      There’s some amount of people (women especially, though bear in mind that blokes are often told that they’re not supposed to raise concerns about sex and just be glad they’re getting some) who can recount some terrible sexual experience that they just did to please their partners. It’s as if no one ever told them that you actually don’t have to perform any sexual act if you don’t really want to. That’s Contentedness 101, people!

  • http://www.krank.ie/ Neil

    I disagree with most of this article, although I think I share your sympathy for the folk who are having unhealthy sexual relationships.

    If you’re trying to show that the writings (or whisperings) of moronic people prove that our whole society is swirling down the drain of obligatory sexual servitude, then I call a loud echoey “Bollocks”.
    Just like a handful of peoples misuse of whatever the fad website is at the minute should not reflect badly on the entire userbase or the admin team, a few dumb articles on a few dumb publications does not an anal-is-mainstream make.

    I am holding my hands up and saying I could very well be wrong disagreeing with this and blessed with having fantastically understanding and non-moronic contacts both online and IRL. Maybe if there were some links to stats or something?

    • http://www.lisamcinerney.com Lisa McInerney

      More than a handful of people bought 50 Shades Of Grey, Neil. Vice magazine is no dumb publication. Cosmo is not some sort of tiny fanzine.

      I don’t know where you plucked the notion of obligatory sexual servitude out of this Rampage – that seems hyperbolic. What I’m getting at here is the homogenisation of sex to suit certain pop culture movements, rather than a rather more organic, open-minded approach which allows people to figure out for themselves what they’re into.

      Look at the 4-base system, for starters, which has been around for decades. That’s probably the most obvious example. In this, we have a path drawn out for sexual expression – you kiss, you touch, you perform oral, and then you have vaginal sex. That’s not some from sort of moronic handbook, either; it’s pretty much as standard today as it was years ago (although the bases have moved – there used to be just kissing, kissing with tongues, touching, sex).

      That kind of “standard” doesn’t allow for people to explore their own sexual identities, and it’s heteronormative. According to the four bases, all gay people are virgins.

      As regards publications which routinely have articles about how to convince your other half to try new sexual practises, they veer rather dangerously close to shaming. And when you start convincing someone to try something they’re not into, it becomes a debate about consent.

      There’s no “bollocks” (pun intended) in examining these factors.

      • Kevin

        More than a handful of people paid to go see The Fast and the Furious, that wouldn’t legitimise an article on how modern culture is forcing young boys to partake in illegal street racing. Vice magazine may or may not be a dumb publication, it still has dumb articles (e.g. http://www.vice.com/read/guide-shagging-muslims-103-guides ). Like most of your article, you draw conclusions that you portray as logically connected that in reality aren’t.
        You argue that there is a pop culture homogenisation of sex and yet there is absolutely nothing in your opinion piece to back this up. If anything, modern culture, the internet and magazines (such as Vice and Cosmo) are de-homogenising sex by making it tacitly accepted that all kinds of sexual pleasure are acceptable. Whether it’s anal (which seems to be your personal pet-peeve and the sole genesis for this shambolic article), stockings fetish, face-sitting, domination and power play, etc etc – all are discussed more openly than ever, and with no lingering traces of scandal or disgust.
        You also don’t seem to understand what a standard is. A standard is a baseline, it isn’t a stringent requirement that obviates any deviation. Having a basic standard for sexual exploration is perfectly normal and acceptable, societies are built on social standards. That you don’t understand or grasp this speaks volumes about the wider insights you try offer. I would suggest you might actually investigate sociology a little bit more before attempting to offer profound insights on it, might be a little bit less embarrassing.
        I originally thought this was a parody. I am deeply troubled that it isn’t.
        I hope this doesn’t come across as too harsh, but if you’re going to write journalistic pieces, a higher quality than a bulletin board rant should be expected.Regards,

        • http://www.lisamcinerney.com Lisa McInerney

          Oh dear. Well, as the title will show, this is an On The Rampage piece (tagline: Ranting, Ramp.ie style), which is our weekly OTT whinge with a humorous slant, so it’s not a “journalistic” piece and you can safely return your horror to its holster.

          Your assumption that I don’t understand the terms I use is deeply patronising, so much so that I’m at a loss as to how to respond to points you’ve raised – it’s hard to respond legitimately to something like this. I get the feeling you felt this piece was somehow having a pop at sexual expression, rather than a piece about how tiresome pointers on new fads can be?

          Your assumption that all sorts of sexual expression are discussed more openly than ever, with no lingering traces of scandal or disgust, is rather perplexing. Perhaps you surround yourself with some very open-minded people, but the notion that people can openly discuss even fairly common fetishes without judgement seems rather naive. Would that that were true!

          Your definition of the term ‘standard’ is, of course, correct. However, in this instance the term refers to certain sexual ideas/acts being held as ‘normal’, and those who do not wish to partake of them are seen as being somewhat backwards – not personally up to standard. Just as it’s healthy to explore new sexual ideas, it’s healthy to not wish to explore them. Just as someone shouldn’t be shamed for a fetish, people shouldn’t be shamed for not having any fetishes.

          And also, a parody? Eh? Of what, exactly?

          Anyway, it’s late, and I get the feeling there’s no real point in trying to discuss this. Your comment doesn’t really invite discussion – it’s too weighted with personal criticism.

          I’m sorry you didn’t find what you were looking for. Onwards and upwards, lad.

      • http://www.krank.ie/ Neil

        Oh come on, buying 50 Shades doesn’t mean you have to live by it nor does having a large audience mean that it has become the norm. It’s a book, nothing more. You complained before about people reading too much into Disney films? I think that is possibly what has happened here.
        Sex is a pretty intimate thing. Just because you seem to have put this together doesn’t make it a reality for everyone or even a large number of people.

        I’ve never heard of the four base system taken so seriously… Again, myself and those I surround myself with are blessed in our ignorance of all of this nonsense. As Stephen said “Hey, you know the stuff that you want to do in the bedroom? Do that.
        And the stuff you don’t want to do? Yeah, don’t do any of that. Got it?
        Cool, have fun!”. That was always the way with us.
        You brought up shaming in the article, but you didn’t shown where this scummy practice is happening. You say in your response to me that these publications (whatever they are) are veering close to shaming. I think this might be an opinion thing, again, your personal idea.
        I asked on Twitter and Facebook and only a handful of lovely Twitter ladies and two fellows responded and they were as bamboozled by all of this as I was. To quote one lady : “I don’t really get the problem either. It’s like “I enjoy this thing, it’s fun – you should try it!” is pressure now?If pressure is coming from a partner, that can be shit — but that’s a problem with the partner, not with anal.”

        I wasn’t saying bollocks to examining it, far from it. I was (and still am, I’m afraid) saying bollocks to the conclusions you seem to draw from a rather personal opinion instead of an actual study.
        Anyway, as I said, I think it’s mostly falling on difference of opinion and I don’t think we’ll see eye to eye on this, especially after the response below.

        • http://www.lisamcinerney.com Lisa McInerney

          Well, of course it’s about differing opinions – it’s a Rampage piece! Come here often?

          It’s actually rather odd that you’re complaining I’m taking the four bases over-seriously, bearing that in mind. I’m not sure what kind of argument you think this is.

          I didn’t write the piece on Disney films. Catherine did. Catherine also wrote a great piece recently – in Opinion, I think – about how holding up 50 Shades of Grey as a romance is potentially dangerous, considering that Christian Grey is no romantic hero, but rather an abusive piece of shit. It’s all very well to say that no one in their right minds would take him seriously, but again, one can’t really assume there’s no weight or influence in massive pop cultural movements. Of course there is.

          But again, a rant piece isn’t the best place to delve into this too deeply. Still, my rant does have a basis in reality – a jumping-off point, so to speak. The shaming culture in, let’s say, women’s magazines like Cosmo has been poked at here, but it’s not something I just pulled out of the ether. As Eilish says in her comment, it’s nothing new. But then, it’s doubtful you read many women’s magazines! Maybe you do; I don’t know.

          The central theme of the rant is that sex is intimate, and personal, and one should try what appeals and not try what doesn’t. Is this not something we’re all agreed on?

  • http://twitter.com/anspideog Eilish Burke

    This is nothing new. Cosmo and More magazine has specialised at sex-life oneupmanship targeted at teenagers for decades

    • http://www.lisamcinerney.com Lisa McInerney

      I remember More’s Position Of The Fortnight with a mixture of fondness and… well, tittering. Every one of them looked very difficult, so much so that they had to get Barbie and Ken to act them out.

      But even though you laughed, at the back of your mind you’d be asking “Shit, is that what I’m supposed to be doing?”

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