Radical Masculinity: Masculinity & Dominance

My latest Radical Masculinity column is up over at CarnalNation:

Masculinity is not essential to the recipe of being a dominant sexual partner. And yet, this identity alignment assumption, the assumption that masculinity and dominance go together and are always aligned, prevails in nearly all aspects of contemporary Western culture, and is a key part of what defines the stereotypical male gender role. But what about all of those men and masculine people of all genders who like to be submissive? Should they be made to feel ashamed of their desires, their power identity and orientation? What about the ways that submission and bottoming can be physically, emotionally, or even spiritually pleasurable? Should we deny that experience to someone because of their gender identity or gender expression?

Of course not. Men, butches, genderqueer-masculine-leaning folks, and all sorts of others in the masculine quadrants of the gender galaxy should be able to be dominant, submissive, top, bottom, switch—or however they feel best expresses themselves in the bedroom. And yet, that is not a common understanding of the ways masculinity and dominance work.

Read the entire thing over at CarnalNation.com

Radical Sex: What’s In It For Men?

Clipped from: Carnal Nation by clp.ly


Consuming sex and pornography have been seen as men’s domain for hundreds of years, if not more. I have my own theories as to why women have been denied sexual agency, such as the fear of the power behind women’s sexualities and thus the patriarchal need to control and confine such power, but that is perhaps for another column.

In the past four decades since major advances in sex and liberation, such as the sexual revolution, the rise of the pill, free love, and feminism, women have pioneered a new era of sexual education and sexuality. Woman-owned, woman- and queer-positive sex toy shops are all the rage. As they should be! They can at best completely transform your relationship to your sexuality, as I fully credit Babeland with doing so for me, and at least totally transform your bachelor/ette party.

Continue reading Radical Sex: What’s In It For Men? at Carnal Nation

Radical Masculinity #3: When Men Wear Skirts

When Men Wear Skirts
December 31, 2009
Radical Masculinity for Carnal Nation

At a bar last week, catching up with some feminist queer old friends, I began discussing my ideas around Radical Masculinity and the theories I am putting forward about the ways masculinity needs work. I drunkenly argued that women have surpassed men with some of their access, range, and gender acceptance, only to be met with dismissive pshaws.

“Come on,” they said. We all come from a feminist, women-are-oppressed-in-this-patriarchal-hierarchy background. “Men aren’t oppressed!”

“It’s true!” I drunkenly argued. “Can women wear pants, acceptably, with no consequence?”

They laughed. Yes, of course.

“And can men wear skirts?” I pressed.

“Uhh …”

“The word you’re looking for is no.

“Can men have long hair and still be considered manly (outside of the heavy metal scene)? Can men bake cupcakes or needlepoint or grow sunflowers without taking shit from his buddies? Can a butch order a vanilla vodka and cranberry without getting sneered at? Can you name five positive, good traits about masculinity? Can you point to positive masculine role models? When men wear skirts, with no consequence, with no backlash, with full acceptance, then I’ll accept that we’ve reclaimed and revalued femininity and masculinity to the same extent.”

I was ranting, it’s true. But the point still remains: masculinity has a long way to go. Masculine people still need social permission to be able to pursue the wide range of interests or activities or personal tastes that are (for the most part, though not without caveats) already available to women.

Continue reading “When Men Wear Skirts” over on Carnal Nation

Radical Masculinity #2: How to Make Masculinity Stop Hurting

How to Make Masculinity Stop Hurting
Radical Masculinity column at Carnal Nation
November 11, 2009

My dad’s best friend died last week. Heart attack. He was 60, barely older than my dad, not old enough for his heart to give way. They’ve been friends for 35 years, longer than I’ve been alive. I got a heartbreaking email from my father about how they met, where they’d traveled together, and his favorite joke (What did the Buddhist say to the hot dog vendor? Make me one with everything).

In his eulogy, his son wrote that he was “a devoted family man, one who extended the term to cover a great many individuals, supporting and caring for those who needed him.”

And I thought, that’s radical masculinity.

How does one learn how to be that? How do you grow up into a masculinity, a maleness, an adult manhood, despite this culture’s obsession with bad boys and lunkheads, to be a caring protective provider, to make effective, positive changes in this world, to build something that will last, to be generous with your heart and mind and love and time?

Traditional, limitational masculinity says don’t talk about your feelings. That masculinity says be strong all the time. It says a “real” man is tough, and the worst thing you can be is a sissy, a pussy, a girl, feminine, weak.

Radical masculinity says: I am listening. Who do you want to be?

Read the entire thing over at Carnal Nation.

Radical Masculinity #1: A Manifesto for Radical Masculinity

A Manifesto for Radical Masculinity
Radical Masculinity column at Carnal Nation
September 30, 2009

Remember back in the Spring of 2009 when two young boys committed suicide within a week of each other, both eleven years old? Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover of Massachusetts and Jaheem Herrera of Georgia were both being subjected to unbearable anti-gay bullying at school. Whether or not these boys were actually gay, using homophobia to police masculinity is practically the oldest trick in the book. In the aftermath of these suicides, and in the discussions that ensued on the Web and in print, there was extensive lip service given to gender and the inevitable complaint that boys have it so hard, that feminism has stripped men of their manliness, that men don’t know how to be men anymore, that we’ve got a Crisis In Masculinity.

That might seem like anti-feminist rhetoric, but I agree with it—at least in part. I agree that masculinity is changing, for some in dramatic, drastic ways. I have witnessed and observed cultural changes around the masculine and male gender roles which are shifting, yes, as a direct result of the recent feminist and other gendered social change movements.

Read the piece in its entirety over at Carnal Nation.