Friday, 28 September 2012

What's with the lack of penetration?

A dear friend of mine has recently posted a couple of blogs - they are intelligent, feisty and well thoughts out - worth a read if you have a mo. 

They got me thinking back to a joke I used in my show Get Laid or Die Trying, which went along the lines of "what I really can't stand are those women who take guys home and then don't have sex with them. They're giving the rest of us a really bad name."

It was a joke admittedly, but it's a point I've argued time and time again. How is penetration more intimate than oral sex? Why get into bed with someone and do everything but penetration? Obviously, not all sex involves penetration, and there are times when it's not feasible - periods, lack of condoms, you haven't had a shower. I'm kidding. Or just when you want some variety.

But what I'm talking about it, is going home with someone and then witholding the penetration, or even in some cases, the removal of pants. If you speak to those who do it, they will say it's about waiting, or that they only do "that" once they're serious. Some don't offer any explanation. I once took a man home, more than once, who my friends and I named Strokey. He liked to stroke, he'd bring me to orgasm, but he wouldn't take off his pants or let me touch down there. Baffling. We even made up a song:

'Strokey, Strokey... Didn't want no Pokey, Pokey". I won't subject you to the verses...

I've had plenty of male friends of mine talk about getting a woman home, whose behaviour up until the point when they were on the sofa back at hers, had lead them to think they were in for a long night of supreme shagging. Only for them to discover said woman would steadfastly refuse to take off her pants, though she would give them a handjob or a blowjob....

Call me old fashioned, but isn't it all rather high school? And conversely, isn't it rather anti-feminist? Why do the boys get all the fun, whilst the women don't get to get off? In secondary school the boys were getting blowjobs and the girls the odd finger, but primarily, the sexual activity was centred around the males. Shouldn't we have progressed by the time we hit adulthood?

I genuinely don't understand the point in taking someone into bed and then not going the whole hog out of a sense of preserving chastity, or for religious beliefs - I really don't see how those hold up if you're going to do everything bar penetration. 

I guess I'm a bit all or nothing. I also think I would have probably lacked the willpower to keep my underwear on, even if I had set out intending to do so.

But at a more serious level, I think there's also an element of women being a little more transparent and up front about their intentions. Of course, we've all had nights when we might have changed our mind on the route home, or even when we've got home. I'm not suggesting that a woman has an obligation to have sex with a guy at any stage of the courtship process - be it 15mins in, or 15 weeks in.

What I am suggesting, is that as women, we have a responsibility to ourselves to treat others as we wish to be treated. To be adult - with the ownership that that brings. Say if you like someone, say if you don't, say if you just want sex, say if you want something more. It's terrifying, and you will get knocked back some of the time, but there is something liberating in being transparent about it all. Don't spend all evening flirting with someone you've got no real interest in - it's a waste of their time and yours, and it suggests that you're really just using that situation for your own issues.

Similarly, if you like someone and you want to have sex with them, then do it. Don't embark on some mission to get them to earn the right to penetrate you, whilst letting them go down on you. It's a mixed message and it doesn't really ring true. Pun intended. If you want to hold out, hold out fully, and for the right reasons and explain why, should the conversation arise. I could be wrong, but I think they'll respect that more.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

The age old age-gap....

My boyfriend is 13 years older than me. Apart from the odd music or film reference that goes over my head, the age gap is utterly inconsequential. And I think I was always going to end up with someone older: Aged 8, I played Marta in The Sound of Music. All the other girls fancied Frederick. I fancied Captain Von Trapp. Aged 10 I played Annie, and yes, you guessed it, I fancied Daddy Warbucks. I still remember his name - Colin Marsh. How many nights I spent thinking Colin and I would get married.....

I had a thing for Dr Finlay on TV, and for Martin Shaw, not in re-runs from the 70's, but as The Chief -  1990's cop drama where Mr Shaw was probably late 40's/early 50's, sporting some salt 'n' pepper grey. Then there was Harold Pinter aged 70 (admittedly I wouldn't have wanted to get naked with him, but boy was he charismatic on stage), Ciaran Hinds (on the hit list since an early re-make of Jane Eyre with Samantha Morton), Clooney obviously, and Alan Rickman, in whose presence I became a quivering wreck. I could go on!

If you had shown me any of those men in their 20's/30's, I probably wouldn't have looked twice. Now, you might say it's a father complex, a la Freud, and you might be right. I'm not really sure how you prove or disprove that.

Now, the question I have is, is this inbuilt? Was I always going to fancy older men? Is it a father complex, or more pertintently, is it social conditioning to some degree? Obviously all women don't end up with men that are older. Or certainly not in their first marriage...... And thus it begins. Because men don't necessarily age better than women. We just think they do. We are told they do. And I think that becomes self-perpetuating, as you see women get older (I'm talking 60's upwards), and quite a few of them become more anxious, busier, whilst the men seem to get quieter and slow down. I can only talk of the people I know, who to be fair, are mostly related to me, so it could be the genes. But for the most part, the guys seem more and more rooted as they get older, and the women seem less so. They seem more nervous. Less confident.

Now, that is probably just old age manifesting itself differently in the sexes... But I wonder at a younger level, a la 40's upwards, whether those differences kick in... and whether they are innate, or whether they are the result of where society's attitudes are at...  I think there are probably very few men in their middle age worrying that their wives are going to leave them for younger men. But I reckon there are plenty of middle aged women panicking that their husbands will leave them for some young thing. That is the 'norm' that is played out in the media. Who knows what the reality is? I'd love it if in fact the statistics showed that more women are heading off to toyboys than the other way around!

I'm sure there will be women who will clamour that they get more confident as the years go by, and I totally agree with this. I just see that diminishing when they hit pension age. And I hope that for my generation, that changes.

But, to return to the age gap. We live in a world where Trevor Eve gets to shag a woman younger than his daughter on BBC1. Ditto Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, probably Tom Cruise in a few years. Unless he gets to shag a man young enough to be his son, and that would be a turn up for the books..... And it's not just the dramas and the movies - TV and News presenters follow a similar pattern - the man is usually a good 10yrs older than the woman.

So, in such a world, where the media perpetuates the age gaps, representative or not, is there not some irony in the hubbub that is the reporting on 15yr old Megan Stammers and her 30yr old Maths teacher?

I'm not saying it's right - at 15yrs, she maybe mature for her age, she may know her own mind, but she isn't an adult, not really. I don't think I hit what I would define as proper adulthood until my mid 20's. So although she thinks she knows what she is doing, she probably doesn't. And he, at 30yrs, one would hope, should know better. I also think the police are worried for her safety, given the parental appeals, so I really do hope that he isn't a nutter, that she is safe and well, and that they have the presence of mind to return home to families and friends that are worried about them.

But, a 15yr age gap further down the line would be neither here nor there. And in less than 12 months, she will be 16yrs, legal to all intents and purposes. There has to a line drawn somewhere, but given that we consider age to be so arbitrary as time goes on, is there not a little hypocrisy in an outcry that probably wouldn't make the news if she was 16?

We can't have it both ways - we can't glamourise older men with significantly younger women, and then not be willing to deal with the consequences. I'm not saying that those media stereotypes provoke age gap relationships, but I'm saying that the reportage and repetition of those stereotypes has its effects. The more we see it, the more normal it becomes. And I'm not saying that it's not normal :-) I think it's fairly common! Age is a number - we accept that; we judge individuals on their maturity, their behaviour, their sense of responsibility. And I guess that's the point with Megan and her older lover - it's not really to do with how old they are, it's more to do with the fact that they ran away, which is possibly the most immature thing either party could do. 

And sometimes an age gap can be problematic. Like last night when my boyfriend was tired and wanted to go to bed, and I was wide awake. He said I should stay up. My response: 'But I'll have no one to play with"! Tongue in cheek, but you get my drift :-)

Holiday Hiatus

Apologies for the lack of posts... We were on holidays. In Santorini. It was beautiful. So beautiful that I didn't do any writing whilst I was there, and have had holiday blues since we returned ;-) 

So, normal service about to resume. In the interim, should you wish to visit the most gorgeous place on earth, here is a link to the hotel - The Grace, Santorini.

Love Gem x

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Bad Boys and Crazy Women

Last night we watched the first part of Mrs Biggs. A woman with an oppressive father, falls for a man who turns out to be living with another woman, has been in prison twice, and gets her to steal from her job within a matter of days, so that they can run away together. And despite the rather wonderful cast, I was slightly baffled as to why she would stay with him. Especially when they were being chased by dogs and policeman and she had to take her heels off...

But then, I'm a bit older and wiser. Which isn't to say that I've previously been out with petty criminals. Well, not to my knowledge. But I think we spend a good few years lusting after or dating, bad boys, or to widen the scope slightly, inappropriate men.... And similarly, a large percentage of men spend a significant amount of time craving crazy women - inappropriate women.

So why is that? I think most obviously, it's an unrecognised fear of settling down. At a basic level, if you continue to fall for people that aren't interested in you, you get to bathe in the melancholy of unrequited love, which, although an unhappy place to be, is also a fairly safe place to be. You know the deal, you've already set the perameters from the off. You won't be disappointed, because your desires and hopes are already dashed. So you get to think that you're pursuing a healthy relationship, that you're ready to settle down, it's just that you're unlucky.

And therein lies self-delusion. You're not unlucky. You're just picking the wrong ones because you're not ready for the right one. Basic, but true. But what happens if you end up sleeping with, or getting into a relationship with a wrong'un..? What if there is reciprocal love with someone who is patently not right for you?

There it becomes a little more complex. Because then you can convince yourself that you really are engaging with love, in a committed way. When realistically, you're probably still just avoiding it, but with the outward appearance of all being well. There is far too much literature, music and film dwelling on unrequited love, on relationships which are doomed from the beginning, but somehow suggest that because there is so much pain involved, it must be the real thing - true love. A couple of friends who shall remain nameless, were in and out of a relationship for over a year - they constantly fell out, he even dealt the Ross 'we were on a break' card, having slept with someone else on some downtime. It was all very Burton and Taylor, and I think they would readily admit, looking back, that they liked that - it felt epic, dramatic, true. And yet, it really wasn't. Then she got together with another friend, and it was like they had just fallen together. There was no drama; they just got along, they were happy, they fancied each other. There was a calmness to it. And it was like watching the lights on a dimmer go up little by little - that that was actual love - that was what it was really about. And yes, I'm sure they have their ups and downs, but their relationship is solid.

Now, I know every relationship is different. But I think the universality, is that we have to fall for a few that are wrong for us, before we find the right one. And that's not just to do with not being ready to settle down. I think it's also tied in with self-avoidance. If you fancy someone who's tricky, if you're involved with someone who is difficult, then you get to focus on them, their issues. And you don't have to look at yours. I have many male friends who have dated a string of mental, high maintenance women, and I think that's the equivalent of us women going for the bad boys. So maybe us finding the right person is also about us having sorted out our shit a little bit. Yes, there are the lucky few that meet young, and somehow manage to grow and develop alongside that person, and find that the person they married in their early twenties, is still the person they want to be with in the sixties. But I think those incidences are pretty rare.

I can only speak from my experience - pretty substantial on the whole 'fancying the men who don't fancy you' front, much less substantial on the committed relationship front. But, without reverting back to the literature/movie cliches I attacked above, there was a sense, on that first date, that he was right for me. Admittedly, I did go home and complain to my flatmate that he hadn't made a move at the bus-stop, had I lost my touch, yada yada. Swiftly alleviated by a text and subsequent dates. And although I spent a fair amount of time downplaying it to my friends, in a 'we'll see what happens' sort of a way, somehow, I felt deep down that we fitted, that he would be important. There was no drama, well, other than me on stage doing my comedy routine about boobs, which, given that he is a boob man, I think sold it.

And who knows that the future holds. Hopefully, we'll still be mimicking each other and attempting rugby tackles (on each other, not on strangers, unless we go senile) into our old age. And given that it's all fairly new, I'm not putting myself forward as 'all knowing' in any sense. But if you're reading this and you're still finding yourself dating nutters, or lusting after the one who just isn't interested, maybe take a step back and assess. I think I spent 2 or 3 years thinking I was ready and wanting a relationship, and with hindsight, I was neither.