Yesterday I listened to a podcast from Sexology Institute. It is an interview with Angela Michelle who is a photographer. She is a very interesting person that really has faced some changes. Part of what has motivated me to create this site and blog have been changes I've been going through.
One thing that really hit me strongly in the podcast episode that is the first part of the interview is how the really toxic interactions that society has permitted between men and women have affected some people. She tells of some of her experiences and how they challenge her outlook on life at times. Then she is having health challenges.
The changes that really jumped out at me were when the interviewer, Mac Jones, asked her about her thoughts on how men could approach women in this era of #meToo. How do you approach a woman in a way you are saying you are interested in getting to know her that could lead to sex or not. Once your in a relationship the steps to getting consent for whatever activity would be different than when you are just getting to know someone. Also the activities would increase.
Like I remember a hotwife I used to follow on Twitter that tweeted a picture of her and asked her followers what she was thinking about. There where all sorts of responses about different sexual suggestions but it was the look she gave her husband when he suggested they install a putting green in the yard. Even people who are out in public with sexual blogs, podcasts, or social media accounts have lives outside of sex.
So pretend I'm a single guy who sees a woman he is interested in at some sort of social event. How do I approach her to say I'm interested in getting to know you but not come across as some creep?
I'm not even going to go into some of the alternative lifestyles for this post. They talked about where they see some of the boundaries. She tells what she feels could be said to communicate the guy is interested and thinks she is sexy but not cross into sexual harassment. Now this could not happen in a work situation. Angela points out that professional situations need to be free of anything sexual. That makes sense to me as you want to concentrate on getting the job done without these other feelings causing problems. I remember the British TV series "Are You Being Served" where the women covered their behinds when Mr. Lukas approached. Women shouldn't need to worry about such things while in the workplace.
In the podcast, Mac points out that our desire for sex is a result of evolution favoring those with a desire to procreate. Humans are kind of interesting creatures as we engage in sex for fun as well as procreation. I think some scientists are convinced some other primates, like bonobos, engage in sexual acts for reasons other than reproduction, but I haven't heard of very many other species that use sex for fun. Why is an old man like me promoting sex-positive attitudes not just in general but also into the golden years? It's fun.
There are also other benefits from healthy sex. Benefits for health, for our relationships, for our emotions, etc. Besides feeling good, it is good for us. I think more discussions like Mac and Angela had need to happen. Not just between a couple of people either, but as a society to help us deal with changes that need to happen for our society to continue to move forward. I have been reading a book about prostitution in the west during the nineteenth century. Many of the attitudes that have been giving us problems recently were part of the culture at that time. There have been many other changes and our views on sex need to catch up with the rest of our world. We need some of my favorite thing, communication. We need women to start telling men what they feel would be good ways to not be threatening but still get across we are interested. We need women to understand they have to speak up for communication to happen. Men need to listen to the women and validate their positions. Men need to be willing to change. Women need to be willing to change.
I think the common boundaries need to be defined so when people want to find ways to cross those boundaries the communication can lead to consent. In the second part of the interview, Angela tells of when some boundaries were crossed without consent in her photography work. In her work now she has to communicate new boundaries that the clients might not be used to and get consent to cross the old boundaries to work within the new ones to create some wonderful art. It sounds like most of her clients have a wonderful experience helping create some beautiful art.