Thursday, July 19, 2012

The 'Bed of Shame': Stripping human intimacy from the most intimate of human encounters

This is a rumination and a personal opinion, and should not be taken as anything more. I rarely assert it, but it has often occurred to me that for a dizzying high percentage of cases we talk about on this blog, the consensual sex act that led to the false rape claim occurred in the absence of true emotional intimacy between the parties, often on one night stand hook-ups.

We are stranded in an era where, for too many of our young people, the drunken barnyard rutting of the hook-up culture has displaced the staid, time-honored rituals of courtship that previous generations honored.  If you're getting the idea that I don't respect the decisions made by a lot of the people we defend on this site, you would be correct. That doesn't mean they haven't been victimized, and my guess is that most readers would never know of my disdain for the lifestyles that breed a lot of these claims.

The paradigmatic example of a hook-up without human intimacy might just be group sex. Here's a little victim blaming, guys: how dazed and confused must you be to engage in group sex with a girl? Think Hofstra, and I could cite a number of other cases in the past few years. Please understand that a girl's stupid but consensual decision to engage in group sex never, ever, ever justifies a false rape claim, but group sex provides a primary reason why young women lie about rape: to "explain" a socially unacceptable or illicit sexual encounter.  In Hofstra, the girl was happily cheating on her boyfriend with a group of strangers and she feared that one of the boys would talk or that her boyfriend would otherwise find out. Need I say more?

Just when I thought things couldn't get any coarser on the sexual front, along comes the "Bed of Shame." What is that, you ask? Recently, a star of the UK's Geordie Shore (The UK's version of Jersey Shore) posted a tweet inspiring his 500,000+ followers to tweet photos of their sleeping, naked partners with the hashtag #bedofshame.

Some, and perhaps many, young men obliged, and photos cropped up depicting horny, shirtless college-aged men using their sleeping female bedmates as photo-op props.

How, exactly, do we describe a culture where someone engages another human being in the most intimate of acts, then rolls over, mugs for a camera, and turns into a proud angler standing on the dock showing off the fish he'd just hooked?  I looked at the boys in those pictures and wondered if we'd be writing about any of them on this blog sometime soon.

Am I saying that the "boys will be boys" culture breeds false rape claims? Yep, but that, of course, doesn't excuse the false accusers, and the fact is, "girls will be boys," too. Remember Karen Owen's "Fuck List"? A college girl prepared a clinical report on the sexual prowess of her college athlete sex partners the way a local newspaper would rate the town's pizza. Ms. Owen evinced an obsession with the male organ of copulation. Under her “Physical Attractiveness” criteria, she included "penile structures.” Another criteria was size: “Points were determined based on the length and girth of the Subject’s hardware.” In fact, every "subject" was rated, in part, on his appendage: "He is enormous,” she gushed about one. About another: ”I was actually rendered speechless. . . . I wasn’t even sure what to do with the situation at hand (erm, mouth?).” Another was “huge”; another was “very well equipped”; and another was “packing some decently sized hardware.” But she wrote of one hapless young man:“Wait. . . . Was that his dick? No, it couldn’t be.” And, yes, that poor young man's name was splashed all over the Internet.

But wait, you'll enjoy this. Germaine Greer attacked the Fuck List's obsession with penis size. "That’s not what women are interested in,” she insisted. But talk about irony, this is the same Germaine Greer who once did a television special  in the UK about the beauty of boys, as opposed to physically mature men, and the show featured a full frontal nude 18-year-old male model who posed while Greer waxed poetic about -- better sit down for this -- young male sperm. This is a quote from Greer: “There are many ways in which a boy is an ideal fantasy partner for a woman,” she clucked in her best professorial voice. “Any woman of taste would have a boy for a lover rather than a man. He’s easier to manage. His sperm flows like tap water, which happens to be a biological fact. And quicker recovery time and all that kind of thing. More rewarding in all sorts of ways. Conversation might be a bit lacking, but then, who does it for conversation?”

Pardon my skin for crawling.

Personally, I don't know what to make out of any of this, except that when we strip human intimacy from the most intimate of human encounters, it can lead to bad things, that's all. Call me a retrograde prude if you'd like, but we routinely see some of those bad things on this blog. 

Here endeth the sermon.
See here and here