As Featured on News Cult: Why I’m Considering Switching to Girls

I’ve only ever dated and primarily been attracted to men. And if you can’t tell, it’s not going well (which you can totally tell because that’s like all I talk about). So I’m seriously considering switching to women. And before you jump down my throat for implying that sexual orientation is a choice, let me just say that I think it can be. I don’t think we can control most of what turns us on/what and who we are sexually attracted to. But I think we can choose if/how we act on and pursue that, which is easier in some ways and more difficult in others. I’m all for embracing your sexual orientation, however you personally define or conceive of it. If that means going for who you’re instinctually attracted to, great. If that means going for someone else, for whatever reason you decide, great.

I can easily see myself dating a girl and being into it, even though it hasn’t been the obvious choice for me up until now. I find women to be attractive in lots of ways that men aren’t. And I’m not really talking about physical or sexual attractiveness. I think for me, that type of attraction varies depending on the person, and isn’t like a “I’m attracted to the female form” kind of thing (although I do find the female form beautiful). Like, I’m either physically attracted to an individual or not, man or woman.

But the mental, emotional, soul parts of women are what attract me most. In my experience, men are lacking in emotional intelligence—there isn’t much depth to them. They aren’t super considerate or sensitive, or thoughtful. They kind of operate on a “how will this serve me or not?” basis. Which is just, like, the most unappealing thing when in a relationship with someone. Trust me, I don’t need to have cry sessions every night with whoever I’m dating and talk about all of our feelings and make sure we’re meeting each other’s needs, and understand our different love languages, and validate and communicate and listen and oh my god I’m so bored I literally would rather impale myself on a fence—like the whole fence—like the length of my body ALL along the fence—than be here doing this with you, which is the worst. But it’s nice to be with someone who actually gives a shit about you and how he/she may affect you. And sorry, men, but you just don’t give enough of a shit.

Conversely, I have the sense that women give a shit about each other in relationships. I’m not saying that all women are paragons of emotional stability or intuition—God knows I’ve encountered my fair share of female frenemies—but when it comes to feelings, emotional well-being, etc., women are better at understanding. I can’t tell you how many times a guy has done or said something to me that I’ve found hurtful, and when I explain the situation to a female, she totally gets it. Whereas the guy clearly didn’t. Or he got it and chose to do it anyways. Either way, women are not as harsh or lacking in self-awareness.

I also feel like women are less judgy in romance. They’re more accepting, and less intimidating. I don’t get the sense that in romantic contexts, women are harshly evaluating each other’s bodies, or blowing off each other’s feelings. Maybe it’s because as a woman, you understand women better? I hate to be that person, who’s like “we’re all in tune with each other’s female needs, so much so that our cycles sometimes sync up, and we gather on the full moon to howl together in our feminine power” or some bullshit, but maybe it’s true that women get women, simply by virtue of being women. At least when it comes to the body—it’s easy to understand and love and know what feels good for someone’s body when you experience it similarly.

I know these are generalizations, but I’m also fairly confident they hold true as such. I know my experience isn’t universal, but I feel like I’ve had enough of it, and know about enough other girls’ experiences with men, to safely represent a well-rounded sample. Resort to the tired, lazy retort often used on feminists or any women who report any negative experiences with men and call me a man-hater, if you will—that’s fine—I do hate men, sometimes and in some ways. I also hate exercise, and doing laundry, and people who don’t like mint chocolate chip ice cream, and cats, and happy people—I don’t discriminate when it comes to hate. But I maintain that women are far less disappointing than men when it comes to relationships. And I for one am tired of being disappointed in relationships. So if I can find a connection to a woman that is mutually fulfilling, which at this point I believe is more likely than finding it with a man, then that’s what I’ll do. [Insert joke about taking a dip in the lady pond, or switching teams, or going through the experimental stage I missed in college—a women’s college, no less—here].

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As Featured on News Cult: Porn: Let’s Discuss

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Porn is a real doozy. I have so many thoughts and emotions and questions about it. It’s the one thing I can never make a solid decision about. I could spend hours (and have) debating back and forth on the subject. That may make me sound crazy, but what else is new. You’re probably thinking “Really, Alex? What is so complicated about porn?” Well since you asked, let me tell you.

Porn is supposed to be all about sexual fantasy. It’s a tool to stimulate fantasy and pleasure. And I have no problem with sexual fantasy or sexual pleasure, theoretically. I actually think they’re good. I think they’re normal and a part of life that is fun and exciting. And we shouldn’t feel guilty about our sexuality, like many of us have been taught, but we should express and enjoy it. But porn is the crossroads between fantasy and reality. It is real people acting out fantasies. So can it really remain in the category of fantasy? Sure, someone watching porn isn’t physically involved with whoever is in the pornography, but whoever is in it is a real person, somewhere, someplace.

And the reality of porn isn’t necessarily a problem, either. Except that we don’t know the circumstances under which it’s made. Namely, we don’t know the situation that the actors are in. Sure, some of them are renowned and so we know their history in more detail, including their age, background, “career path,” etc. But a lot of porn features nameless bodies and faces, whose stories we don’t know. We don’t know if they’re consenting, or if they’re even of age (barring cases where it’s blatantly obvious). And that’s one of the things I’m wary of. Especially when the porn is exploitative in one way or another.

For example, of the countless “categories” of porn on any given site, there are many that focus on a domination/submission dynamic. Whether that involves whips and chains or a gang bang or a teen/adult dynamic. And again, part of me is tempted to say that porn represents fantasy, and we shouldn’t condemn our fantasies because they’re natural parts of us, and fantasy is ok, if for no other reason than it’s not reality. So even if some porn promotes a domination/submission fantasy, it’s still ok because it’s just that: fantasy.

But another part of me can’t accept that. Because it may just be fantasy, but what if the fantasy is wrong? Like, I think people would generally say gang bangs are not great and a little rapey (if not actual rape), and adults having sex with underage teens is against the law, etc. So does the fact that porn is just a theatrical presentation of these acts that society at large would discourage in reality make it exempt from criticism?

This all begs the question too, is there even such a thing as “wrong” fantasy? How much can we control what turns us on, and how much should we? I know that as a feminist, I’m tempted to condemn the majority of porn because it exploits and objectifies women. But at the same time, if that is the fantasy that turns someone on, am I allowed to condemn that, any more than I’m allowed to condemn their sexual orientation (which I believe I am not)?

And of course there’s still the issue of not always knowing the age of the actors or how much control they really have. Like, in the case of the “teen” category–are the actors of age but playing underage? Or are they actually underage? And when it comes to the whips and chains, is the person being whipped and chained actually ok with it? How much are these actors agreeing to and how much are they not?

I realize I’m really just posing a bunch of questions here, but that’s because I think porn is a huge grey area. And while I recognize that this discussion is a complete boner killer and takes all the fun out of porn, I find it to be inescapable. Does anyone else wonder these things? I feel like a lot of us just turn on the porn, click on whatever video stimulates us the most, without scrutinizing why it turns us on, if it’s ethical, if it’s even ok that it turns us on, etc., and we just get to work and then move on with our lives. Which I’m not even saying is wrong–part of me thinks that’s great. But that’s exactly my point, though–how much questioning and analysis and thought are we required to put into porn, if any? I honestly don’t know the answer. What do you guys think?

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