Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Men, women, and sex: It's not what you think it may be.

I was cruising the web (as one does) and I found this report on sex site statistics. It confirms what I have always believed - we are all far more complicated than the stereotypes say we are.

Women look at Internet porn, but they're much less likely to pay for it.

The most popular paysites featuring adult videos, including Brazzers, Bang Bros, and Reality Kings, typically attract an audience that is around 75 percent men. Of course, that does mean that one out of four visitors is a woman — a minority, though a significant minority. But when it comes to actually paying for porn, the gender gap widens into an abyss. According to CCBill, the billing service most commonly used by the online adult industry, only 2 percent of all subscriptions to pornography sites are made on credit cards with women's names. In fact, CCBill even flags female names as potential fraud, since so many of these charges result in an angry wife or mother demanding a refund for the misuse of her card.

MILFs are as popular as nineteen-year-olds.

It's true that "youth" is one of the most popular search terms in Internet porn. But when Ogas and Gaddam looked at searches for specific ages, they found something interesting — while teens were indeed popular, so were older women: Though the popularity of adult women doesn't quite reach the stratospheric heights of teens, it's worth observing that more men search for fifty-year-olds than search for nineteen-year-olds. There is a rather shocking number of searches for underage women, but you may be equally surprised to discover there is significant erotic interest in sixty- and seventy-year-olds.

Plenty of guys think grannies are hot.

According to Ogas and Gaddam, "out of the 42,337 sites on the Alexa Adult List [a list of the most popular porn sites], 313 are granny sites." Such porn is especially popular in Britain — one "adult industry veteran" says "there's a lot of interest in older ladies from the Brits because when a lot of them were schoolboys they were spanked or slapped or pinched by a schoolmarm." The authors quote a Granny Sex Forum user named LoveSelsie, describing a new love interest: "She was about 5 foot 5 inches tall and just a little fluffy. Her hair was gray, short and straight. She was a very appealing lady and I wanted to get to meet her." They add, "It's worth observing that LoveSelsie focuses on the visual attractiveness of GILFs, as do many other granny fans." Shocking indeed!

More men search for fat women than for skinny ones.

Adjectives describing body size (such as "chubby" and "thin") are the third most frequent category of adjectives appearing in Dogpile searches. Are most of these searches seeking the slender bodies of cover models? For every search for a "skinny" girl, there are almost three searches for a "fat" girl. [...] On the Alexa Adult List, there are more than 504 adult sites explicitly dedicated to heavy ladies (such as Fat Tube, Sugar Fat Girls, and Hippo Girls), and only 182 explicitly dedicated to skinny ones (such as Skinny Teens Naked). However, the authors also point out that "the majority of women in mainstream porn are skinnier than average."

Guys — even straight guys — love looking at dicks.

Ogas and Gaddam cite an eye-tracking study finding that "men consistently direct their gaze to the male crotch, though women rarely do so." They also note that "out of the hundred top-rated images on [adult content aggregator] Fantasti.cc, twenty-one feature close-up shots of a penis." Surely some of these fans must be gay visitors, but straight men like seeing penises too — and many prefer big ones: There are 1,072 Web sites in the Alexa Adult List that feature heterosexual porn with large penises such as Monsters of Cock, Mr.Biggz, and Teens Like It Big. The number of Alexa sites devoted to small penises? Just three: PinkyDick, Little-Cock, and My Tiny Dick.

Trans women are popular in porn, and their audience is mostly straight dudes.

According to Ogas and Gaddam, "T-girl" is one porn term for "a transsexual woman who has been treated with hormones so that she possesses breasts and a female figure but still possesses a penis." The authors say, "if you categorize the sites on the Alexa Adult List by the names of the sites, then T-girl sites are the fourth most popular category of adult Web site." Also, "'shemales' is the sixteenth most popular sexual search on Dogpile, more popular than 'butts,' 'threesomes,' and 'interracial sex.'" So who's doing the searching? Ogas and Gaddam quote Housekeeper, operator of several transsexual porn sites: My main audience, and the audience for most shemale porn, are straight dudes. That's how it's always been. I will say that all of the visitors to transsexual sites are straight.They also quote a fan of T-girl porn: "I like her soft looks, sexy body. Very nice long legs. And then there's that added bonus ... I can't really explain why it affects me."

Monday, April 25, 2011

Men, women, and sex: It's not quid pro quo.

A long time ago, my mother told me that men traded love in order to have sex and that women traded sex in order to have love. In other words, men will put up with cuddling and speaking gentle words as long as the woman allows him access to her vagina. Likewise, she will tolerate his thrusting for what she really wants - companionship and warmth.

My mother was a wise and generous woman.  Throughout her far too short life, she had given me a great deal of stellar advice. In this case, though, I intuitively knew this was complete bull-pucky.

This belief turns a lover's trailing caress into a transaction, bought and paid for. Not a shared pleasure, not in invitation to play or share, but an exchange best for a brothel.  I could feel it in my teenaged bones - if you treat your partner like a prostitute, it will lead to resentment, anger, and the death of something that once was joyful and a source of delight.

Quite frankly, a real prostitute gets more respect from the open exchange of money than anyone involved in the hostile exchange described above.
A brothel picture from Pompeii.
The nastiest part of that saying? It's an insidious belief, one that is not spoken of directly. Instead, it lurks in our unspoken assumptions, leading us into a starvation economy of affection, touch, and attention.

I want lovers to come to each other for pleasure, a sharing of passion and excitement.  I'm doing my best to destroy this pernicious saying.

And I want you to help me. Tell me what stereotypes about love and relationships you want to eliminate.

Friday, April 22, 2011

An army travels on its stomach.

The U.S. Navy SEAL Guide to Fitness and NutritionUnfortunately, The U.S. Navy SEAL Guide to Fitness and Nutrition doesn't have any pictures of yummy men, but what an awesome resource for my straight arrow hero!

Since the Seals are a male-only force, the book is of limited use to women, but come on! How often do you get to read articles titled, "Nutritional Considerations for Endurance Activities"?  With tables named "Table 11-3. Typical Land Warfare"?

Many years ago, I read a monograph on the food needs of Alexander the Great's campaigns. I need to find it again and compare it to the statistics in here.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Dare to be Average, part two

"Ok, Ms. Smarty-Pants," I hear you saying, "How exactly does Dare to be Average work? If I don't push myself to succeed, I'd spend my time in slothful idleness, surrounded by clutter, and I'd never get anything done. This is what works for me."

Fair enough. Here's the scoop- I know exactly what you mean by "needing that motivation". Self castigation is a time-honored way of getting yourself off your duff.

The problem? Fear and self-loathing aren't effective long term motivators. A bit of self disgust might work now and again, but quite simply, it is not sustainable.

Calling yourself names (lazy, fat, disgusting, etc.) hurts more than it helps. I know that I work very poorly for a person who belittles, insults, and castigates me. In fact, I will actively avoid working for that person.

So why am I trying to motivate myself that way?

If I look at a project that I am resisting (like writing this blog post - I so did not want to do it), I realize that it is because I am using negative motivators. By thinking, "Fine. I will write an average blog post", I am freed. I can play, draft, and eventually post.

It's not a world shaking post, but it is here, it's done, and I got my point across. If I am for average as opposed to HEARTBREAKING, EARTHSHAKING, SUPER GENIUS, GUT-WRENCHING TRUTH, I have a much better chance of actually finishing something.

Next time you find yourself frozen with perfectionism, take a deep breath. Think, "Fine. Let's aim for average and see what happens."

I bet you'll surprise yourself.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The best writing advice I've gotten

I've been fortunate enough to receive some brilliant advice from a wide variety of sources. I hope to explore some of these A-ha! moments in the upcoming days.

The most important words I have are:


I found this in (where else?) Feeling Good by David Burns

Most people write (or want to write) are perfectionists. If we don't write perfectly, then we are failures. If we don't sell a million copies, we are failures. 

You might have noticed that this doesn't lead to happy writing.What the heck? What have you got to lose? Perfectionism doesn't work, so why not try something new? You might feel awkward at first, but the liberation will stun you.

To quote:
For any activity, instead of aiming for 100 percent, aim for 80 percent, 60 percent, or 40 percent. then see how much you enjoy the activity and how productive you become. Dare to aim at being average! It takes courage, but you may amaze yourself! (p. 356)

By taking off the pressure to a staggering super genius, you and I can write with our own clear voice. Ideas become fun, instead of sources of anxiety. Mistakes become a game, not the end of the world.

Try it for a day, or even a week. Tell me what happens when you dare to be average! Do you feel less anxious, more productive, or did you have to face the fears that fueled perfectionism? 

Friday, April 8, 2011


A new fan for Spring! The camera read the color as blue, but it is actually a lovely deep purple with platinum colored embossing and black spokes. (I call it Maleficent after Disney's antagonist in Sleeping Beauty).

And the question for your sunshine-addled brains is:

What is the name of my heroine for my new story, Sister of God?

First to comment here wins!

Monday, April 4, 2011

My universe is constantly expanding.

There seems to be a stereotype that writers can only work in one genre for one audience, forever. We are amazed when a mystery writer attempts a foray into action-adventure. We applaud when Nora Roberts takes on the futuristic police procedural as J.D. Robb.

And one never, never crosses over from fiction to non-fiction.

Frankly, I don't do well with rules. I started off with non-fiction writing until I was hijacked by my wonderful Valerie, Lance, and John for Dracula's Secret. Sophia is running amok in my brain in Sister of God. But my passion for history is not letting me go.

There aren't a lot of American women who study Middle Eastern history. As a Western feminist who is familiar with various cultural mores, I have insight into the forces that create the image of Islam that Americans struggle with. I have things to say about how events in the 1600s still effect what everyone experiences now. As a fiction writer, I can say them in an interesting and vibrant way.

Someday, I'm sure I'll need to create a second blog for my history work and how that is going. I don't think many publishers want the author of a popular history posing in a cocktail dress with a wine glass. After all, serious writer r serious, you know. *makes serious face*

Of course, the field just might need an author who wears rhinestones. It certainly would make book talks more interesting....

I can't give up my beautiful boys and girls who search for love and passion while saving the world. I'm going to write them until I die. :)

I'm just going to add more excitement into my life. This is going to be fun!