American Masculinities Conference

This sounds great, AND my friend Tom is speaking.

The New York Metro American Studies Association (NYMASA) is delighted to announce our 2013 annual one-day conference, AMERICAN MASCULINITIES

Saturday November 2nd
at Pace University, Downtown Manhattan Campus

In recent years, scholars in American Studies have turned their attention to men and masculinity. This year’s NYMASA conference will continue this exploration, interrogating the various meanings and manifestations of manhood, manliness, and masculinity in the United States from the colonial period to the present day.

Highlights include a lunchtime presentation by Michael Kimmel, and a culminating roundtable featuring David Leverenz, Robert Reid-Pharr, and Tom Léger.

For a full schedule of events and registration, please go to the NYMASA website at Questions? Email

We are thrilled to include a pre-conference event in our schedule:

Friday, November 1st from 4:00pm-6:00pm
Niobe Way (NYU) will be speaking on
“Boy’s Friendships”
Sponsored by the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities Seminar
Stony Brook Manhattan, 387 Park South, 3rd Floor
Entrance is around the corner at 101-113 E. 27th Street, just beyond the Devon Shop

Men & Strippers

I found a blog of men’s letters about their experiences going to strip clubs – some stories of first times, or lifelong membership, but others try to explain the why of going.

Its unfair to say that all women in strip clubs are weak pawns in a male dominated world, some entries here suggest the opposite, but it was true of this place. I went to a strip club to prove to the world I was a man, maybe I did but as the brother to 3 sisters I don’t think I can justify it on the basis of my self esteem again. I’m pretty bad with women but I prefer rejection to guilt.

While most Feminist would say that a strip clubs demean and objectify women, I believe any woman who has the ultimate control in this situation, really, has the upper hand. Does it bring them self confidence? Perhaps this is just a slimy justification on my part. I imagine most women dance; not because they enjoy it, but because they have to feed their families or something else. This is the cold reality of strip clubs but I prefer to think they dance for the pleasure of making me poorer. Regardless of what I think; I will pass along my Benjamin’s, and when that Benjamin is passed along there is always that look in the girl’s eyes that says I got you sucker…

You pay a fee. For this a naked girl sits on your lap and listens.

It’s ludicrous. I’m forty, drive a Cadillac, have traveled the world and am fully clothed. The girl is half my age, drove her mothers Hyundai to work, hasn’t been out of the state since a trip to Disney World when she was ten and is stark naked.

But she listens for a bit and all is right with the world. That’s why I go.

I’m going to have a hard time not staying up all night reading it.

“Herbivore” Men

It’s something akin to metrosexualism, but in Japan, there is a male gender called “herbivore men”. The term was coined based on the play between “flesh” and “sex” and “meat”.

Author and pop culture columnist Maki Fukasawa coined the term in 2006 in a series of articles on marketing to a younger generation of Japanese men. She used it to describe some men who she said were changing the country’s ideas about just what is — and isn’t — masculine.

“In Japan, sex is translated as ‘relationship in flesh,'” she said, “so I named those boys ‘herbivorous boys’ since they are not interested in flesh.”

We might use the term effete in English, but that might be a mistake because this term isn’t about men being feminine per se — it’s about them being less sexual, less lustful, or maybe even asexual. I’m sure it varies greatly depending on the “herbivorous” man in question.

There has always been a connection between meat-eating and passion, of course, as Graham well knew when he created Graham crackers – the intent of which was to curb lustfulness – but as someone who has recently returned to vegetarianism, I find the equation of sexless and meatless a little ridiculous, along the lines of thinking rhino’s horn will embolden erections.

In that same CNN article, the author also notes:

Typically, “herbivore men” are in their 20s and 30s, and believe that friendship without sex can exist between men and women, Fukasawa said.

Aside from the obvious heterosexism of that idea (assuming all men desire women, & vice versa) thats the When Harry Met Sally thesis all over again, isn’t it? It makes me tired.

I am very interested in separating out the various threads in this mishmosh of ideas. On the one side we’ve got desire, meat-eating, & masculinity; on the other, asexuality/low libido, vegetarianism, & femininity.

Which makes my brain go in about a million directions at once: yes, we could use more monkish men in the world, absolutely. But also: the whole dislike of virility/violence/masculinity kind of pisses me off, too.


Myths of Male Orgasm

Why not link to a post about male orgasm for Boxing Day? Too much eggnog & so too drunk to fcuk, as as the Dead Kennedys used to sing… or maybe that itch isn’t getting scratched in the ways it needs to.

I will add one other “myth” about male sexuality that I find most people don’t realize: plenty of heterosexual men want less sex than their female partners. Lots of them need trust, and love, and commitment to get turned on and to get off.

That is, as Sarah Sloane points out, we all tend to think of ourselves as gendered sexually, when mostly we’re just individuals with different hormone levels, libidos, attitudes about sexuality, ways that we use/desire sexuality, intimacy & orgasm (which are, of course, three different things, & do not always exist together). Some attitudes & aptitudes are encourage more in men and women, and vice versa, but all of us should expect not to live up the “superhero” versions of our sexualities as presented by – well, porn, Cosmo, romance novels, etc.