Tag Archives: masturbation

One Hour Mark: The White Ribbon

This is a dour image from 1:00:00 into Michael Haneke’s Palme d’Or-winning period piece The White Ribbon (2009). Conveniently for me, it’s also near-identical to the film’s poster, and therefore pretty emblematic for the whole movie. This is Martin, one of the disturbed children living in Eichwald, Germany just before World War I. Eichwald has been the site of a series of mysterious, violent attacks in the style of Bergman’s The Passion of Anna (1969), and Martin – along with his sister Klara – is somehow connected to this intangible evil.

He’s also the son of a strict pastor, one of the town’s guiding authorities. At this point in the film, his father is giving him a stern (and emotionally abusive) lecture about the dangers of self-abuse, bullying his son into a tearful confession despite never raising his voice. The scene is a microcosmic demonstration of Haneke’s grand thesis throughout the film: that the atrocities of the twentieth century are rooted in the sins of the fathers – i.e., the psychological damage that children suffer at the hands of their hypocritical, puritanical parents, and the irrational, destructive behavior patterns in which that damage manifests itself. Think of The White Ribbon as an austere, postmodern Rebel Without a Cause.

It’s also one of the most beautiful films I’ve ever seen in theaters. Christian Berger, the DP, shoots it in such pristine black and white that it feels as if the screen is about to ice over. Here, the photography complements the rigidity of life in Eichwald, as each character is bound by a set of painful social and religious strictures; in Martin’s case, they’re symbolized by the titular white ribbon tied to his arm, which his father put there as a reminder of purity. Under the pastor’s iron fist, personal freedom something foul which must be hidden behind locked doors and under bedsheets.

The scene takes place in the father’s den, which is neatly decorated with all the trappings of middle-class propriety: a bookshelf, a little bureau, a cross on the wall (and, behind the camera, a desk and birdcage). As Martin stands there stiffly, he’s circumscribed by these visual tokens of patriarchal authority, being simultaneously tormented and indoctrinated. His face sours into a guilt-riddled scowl and he averts his eyes from the camera’s gaze, even as his father opines that a child guilty of chronic masturbation had “avoided looking his parents in the eye.”

Leonard Proxauf, then only 14, plays Martin as a sad-eyed, fearful child with a not-quite-concealed capacity for evil, emotionally torn apart by his father’s impossibly demanding brand of anti-sex Christianity. Haneke never draws too straight of a line between these teachings and the frightening bursts that punctuate the film’s gloom, but it’s clear that the pastor’s lessons of self-hatred and self-esteem-destroying proclamations are important factors in the evil that engulfs the town. The moral poison surrounding the children of Eichwald is ultimately untraceable, but its seeds are everywhere. When they engage in unpredictable spurts of violence, it’s reminiscent of that classic anti-drug PSA: “I learned it by watching you.

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Sex-positivity FAIL.

The other night, Epiphora was tweeting some pretty crazy stuff from some crazy-ass website. I decided to have a gander at this website. Holy shit.

HealthyStrokes.com. It is a website that is trying to be sex positive. But failing so, so hard. There’s just so much warped advice being given. I am all for educating young people about masturbation instead of making it a taboo thing. I’m such a hardcore pro-masturbation advocate. I fucking <3 masturbation. But this website is fucking ridiculous. It makes me sad because it’s well intentioned but so poorly thought out, researched and executed. While it’s telling young people that masturbation is normal and healthy it’s also putting forth ridiculous statistics as truth, makes sweeping generalizations and seriously, at least once referred to dildos as ‘penis shaped objects’. FOR REAL? I have exactly one very vaguely realistic toy; it has a gently molded head. Other than that, the rest of my toys look nothing like a penis.  And on another occasion, when a girl asked if her father forcing her to sleep in his bed with him (even after she had expressed vocal desire to sleep on the couch because she was uncomfortable), even while the father’s girlfriend was present and THEY WOULD HAVE SEX ON THE BED WHILE THE DAUGHTER COULD HEAR AND FEEL THEM HAVING SEX NEXT TO HER, if it was abuse and was told no. WTF? But my biggest gripe with this site is its rampant, inexplicable hatred of all anal exploration:

I’ve read that stimulating the prostate will make me ejaculate a lot. How do I stimulate my prostate? (age 15)

I advise against this experiment. The prostate is stimulated through the rectum. Unless you know what you’re doing, you’re apt to hurt yourself, and unless you’re planning to make anal sex with males your main sexual outlet in life, you’re setting yourself up for a form of arousal that can’t be duplicated in ordinary sexual activity.

If I stimulate my prostate through my anus will this result in an orgasm? (age 14)

It’s possible. Distention of your rectum, bleeding, and excruciating pain are more likely results.

Oh. My. GOD. Like…seriously? So much epic fail! Let’s tackle this bit by bit, shall we:

First of all, you tell this young person that ‘unless they know what they’re doing’ they’re going to hurt themselves. Uh, how the fuck are they supposed to learn how to do it right if 1. you discourage experimentation and 2. YOU DON’T FUCKING GIVE THEM ANY REAL ADVICE OTHER THAN TELLING THEM NOT TO DO IT?!

Unless you’re planning to make anal sex with males your main sexual outlet in life… Sooooo, there’s no such thing as a strap-on? Men never get fucked by women wearing harnesses? Women never fuck other women with strap-ons? Dildos can’t go up asses? THERE AREN’T TOYS SPECIFICALLY FOR PROSTATE AND ANAL PLEASURE?! Nope. Only gay men have THE BUTT SECKS.

What is up with this irrational hatred of anal exploration? Distention of your rectum, bleeding, and excruciating pain are more likely results. Seriously, what kind of fucking bullshit is that. Uh, lubes? Proper toys (see above rant)? How about instead of shutting these kids down when they come for advice you do a little fucking research on anal sex/masturbation instead of throwing out stereotypes about it. Ya fucking douche.

My disappointment in this website knows no bounds. It is a very vast website and I couldn’t even begin to delve into its depths without going completely insane at the infuriating information therein. At times it seems to be giving sound advice (simply being a website that tells young people that masturbation is healthy and even good for you is a great thing) but then counters all of it with contradictory information (as in, giving the advice to one fifteen year old who has threesomes that she should use protection and telling another fifteen year old how to go about buying a vibrator but telling yet another fifteen year old that she ‘should wait a few years’ before using a dildo. What the fuck? I think this person is confused and thinks there’s some massive difference between a vibrator and a dildo), ineffectual information (there’s no mention of body-safe materials anywhere on the site) and flat-out sex-negative or overly traditional biases (like with the anti-anal bullshit or having weirdly puritanical views on group masturbation and an infuriating focus on ‘developing a healthy sexuality so you can have successful sex with a partner’). It saddens me to think that these young people, who are taking the initiative to try and learn are getting such unsatisfactory, unhelpful or even totally untrue answers.

Listen. If you are under 18 and have questions about sex, masturbation, toys, etc. please visit Scarleteen.com. I wish I had had a website like this at my disposal when I was younger. They have answers for all your questions and even answers to questions you might not even have. Don’t be afraid of your body, your sexuality, your anus or anything like that. There are answers out there, hard as they may be to find; Scarleteen can help you find them.

For more on this fucked up website, please read Carnivalesq’s and Epiphora’s epic post on it: MASTURBATION MANSPLATION!

And Epiphora’s epic post: Thanks for the mansplation, but I greatly prefer my vibrator.

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Seduction of the Innocent: cartoons and sex

I’ve often discussed on this blog the things that affected my sexuality as I grew up and a lot of those things are cartoons. Almost all kids watch cartoons. And lots and lots of cartoons have some kind of subtle sexual things going on, or some sexual or oversexualized character. I’m not here to discuss the worrying sexualization of things like Dora and Strawberry Shortcake. I’m not really talking about that kind of thing; it’s more of an inherent sexuality that, in its own gentle way, reflects that life is sexual, humans are sexual beings. It’s not pornographic or vulgar (most of the time). BUT there were many, many images of female characters, female characters with some kind of power, that impacted my sexuality greatly as a child. So this post is going to be dedicated to all those wonderful characters.

Jessica Rabbit

Ohhh, Jessica. Many a young person, of any gender, has swooned over your luscious, heavy-lidded, Veronica Lake-inspired visage, your impossibly, surreally curvy body and your mysterious, aloof disposition. Possibly the animated femme fatale to end all animated femme fatales, I had the HUGEST crush on Jessica Rabbit from about age 6 to…now. I watched Who Framed Roger Rabbit all the time as a child and was completely smitten with her. But she wasn’t just a sizzling sexpot or homage to noir femme fatales; she was pawn in a plot against her husband, one of the many people caught up in something they couldn’t control. Her motives become clearer as the story goes on and she transcends what she originally seems to be. I <3 Jessica Rabbit.

The Sailor Scouts

I’ve discussed at length the impact Sailor Moon had on my sexuality. I was attracted to practically every single scout; they were part of some of my earliest sexual fantasies. At 13, I had a very large clothe scroll image of the Inner Senshi…in swimsuits. There’s no denying the incredible affect this show had on me. Hot girls in short skirts kicking ass? Yes, please. Young me was totally excited about it. And young me also wasn’t stupid enough to buy that Haruka and Michiru were cousins. And thinking back on it, it’s very possible that Michiru and Haruka’s relationship, thinly veiled as it was by the censors, made me feel more comfortable with my own lesbian fantasies. All in all, this show was a fucking godsend for my sexuality, regardless of all the fucked up messages it sent out.

BulmaAfter Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z was the most important anime of my childhood. It was the “masculine” to Sailor Moon’s “feminine” and I liked the balance. And Bulma was the complete opposite of our ditzy lead Senshi, Usagi: she was an all around well-rounded character almost from the start. She felt very real to me: she had issues, she had a flawed love life, she was very, very intelligent (a scientific genius actually; it runs in the family) and kind-hearted but she was also temperamental and immature at times. She had believable progression as a character, as did all of the Dragon Ball characters (the series starts when Goku and Bulma are quite young). She goes from fifteen year old kid genius adventurer to believable young woman to mother of two children. Pretty intense character development for what was deemed ‘a kid’s show’. I was drawn to Bulma as a character, not just because she was attractive (very attractive) but because she seemed like someone I could know in real life.

Catwoman

Specifically the Batman: The Animated Series incarnation but really, any Catwoman will do. I loved Catwoman so much when I was younger that I would pretend to be her all the time. I had this hideous pair of leather boots that looked like elephant skin and went up to my shins that I called my Catwoman boots and I wore them EVERY WHERE. I would take black driving  gloves (that were my mom’s) and put needles, point out, carefully in the finger tips to give myself claws. Catwoman is another femme fatale archetype; a sleek, sensual pussy cat who sexually teases Batman while committing all kinds of crimes. And she has a whip; she’s into bondage and that’s awesome. While Catwoman may not be a supervillain and rather more of an anti-hero than anything else, she was still a very compelling character, especially once you delve into her history and all her different incarnations.

Esmeralda

This is another character that I’ve talked in depth about in the past so I won’t dwell on it here too long. Other than being in the film that first exposed me to the idea of repressed desires and tormented sexual psyches, Esmeralda the character was defiant, rebellious and concerned for the rights of her people. She represented a marginalized group and wouldn’t tolerate injustice. But during all this she maintains an air of good nature and flirtatious mischief. And something that I’ve only started to think about recently: Esmeralda expresses sexuality (through the power of pole dancing) and yet, she is not set up as an immoral character; rather it is the puritanical Frollo who is represented as the monster.

Ms. Sara Bellum and Sedusa

It’s no great surprise that Ms. Bellum from The Powerpuff Girls, what with her uncanny resemblance to Jessica Rabbit, should draw my attention (as I’m sure she did with many other viewers). The ironic humor of the character lies solely in the absence of her head: despite the fact that visually she is nothing more than a very sexy body she is the brains behind the mayoral office that runs Towsnville. The Mayor is nothing more than an incompetent manchild. The mix of quiet confident intelligence with that surreally curved body creates an overall delightful and incredibly attractive character.

Sedusa, on the other hand, is completely insane. She is all the negative feminine stereotypes people believe wrapped into one ball of wicked energy: maniacal, dangerous vanity (in the form of her killer locks); sexual teasing and coercion to turn men into idiots that will bend easily to her will (as demonstrated quite well in “Mommy Fearest” and “Something’s a Ms“; the latter of course is an awesome clash between Sedusa and Ms. Bellum); huge temper tantrums when she doesn’t get her way. She’s not quite the femme fatale that, say, Jessica Rabbit or Catwoman are. But she’s a great villain and honestly, sometimes there’s nothing more attractive than a great female villain in a tight suit.

Red Hot Riding Hood and the burlesque mouse from The Great Mouse Detective

Red Hot Riding Hood is a kind of unfortunate character: she exists solely to be looked at and drooled over (quite literally). There are a few different incarnations of her: Swing Shift Cinderella, Little Rural Riding Hood, Wild and Woolfy, and a few others but they are all basically the same character and all serve the same purpose.  This is one of the few characters that I was drawn to almost entirely because of the way she looked; she was very sexualized and the cartoons were so energetically sexual and suggestive that censors actually demanded that some of the scenes be cut! And I think that with the mix of oversexualization and fractured fairy tale, it was easy to get drawn into.

The burlesque mouse, as I call her, from The Great Mouse Detective serves a similar purpose. She’s a sexy little mouse who sings a suggestive song in a seedy bar. This was one of my favorite parts of the movie. But why do I consider these two characters, who aren’t really much of characters in terms of development, as something that impacted me? Because I found them really, really sexy and was attracted to the way they looked; THAT impacted me. And they were the first exposure I had to burlesque; both characters are something that you’d be hard pressed to get away with in children’s entertainment now. They’re overtly sexual and I responded to that in a big way when I was younger.

So there’s a short list of some of the cartoons that had an affect, big or small, on my sexuality. I can look at all of these characters and figure out how they fit into my progression as a sexual person. And you may be wondering, well, why are they all girls? Did these cartoons make you queer? Of course not; there are hundreds of girls out there who watched these same characters just as much as I did and are straight. I gravitated towards them because I was attracted to the female form before the male. These cartoons sparked some of the earliest sexual attractions I had; I was naturally drawn to these female characters and they helped me further understand myself sexually. I appreciate the willingness of some animators to NOT shy away from the fact that humans, and yes, children, are sexual. Including sexuality of some kind in a cartoon or cartoon character does not pervert it or make it pornographic. These are all subtle forms of sex and sexuality. But they speak volumes. I appreciate every one of these characters for helping me understand myself, for helping me recognize the beauty of the female body without demonizing it, and for making me feel like it was okay to touch myself while thinking of women. These cartoons are fucking amazing.

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Pleasurists #60


by yana.

Pleasurists is a round-up of the adult product and sex toy reviews that came out in the last seven days. For updates and information follow our RSS Feed and Twitter.

Did you miss Pleasurists #59? Read it all here. Do you have a review for Pleasurists #61? Use our submission form and submit it before Sunday January 17th at 11:59pm PST. Be sure to read our submission guidelines.

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e[lust] #4

Editor’s Pick

  • Liberator Axis Hitachi by Carnivalesq
  • Epiphora commented that “the Hitachi takes up like entire vulva,” and therefore wanted to know “if I have to like buttsex to have it work for partner play.” I argue that the Hitachi does not take up the whole vulva, but recognize that I may, in fact, be super human.

    Note: Carnivalesq’s Illustrated Axis Hitachi Positioning Guide is just awesome and you should read it. ‘Nuff said.

Editrix
Scarlet Lotus St. Syr

On to the reviews…

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