Monday, August 11, 2008

What is a utopia? Why do we seek it?

After a lengthy hiatus from this blog I felt motivated to post something today. Perhaps more out of consideration for those of you that have done me the past kindness of reading what I have written rather than from inspiration. During my absence I have done considerable thinking and once again I am in what lifestyle people would term a “vanilla” relationship. While not perfect, it does in many ways meet the basic needs of the human experience and I find satisfaction and contentment within it.

Perhaps my desire and search for a dominant female partner interested in pursuing a female led relationship was a bit too utopian. The roots of the word “Utopia” in the ancient Greek actually mean “no place” or “a place that does not exist.” And yet, it is a timeless, relevant human desire to find such a place. Sir Thomas Moore conceptualized “Utopia” as the name for an ideal society, in his book written in 1516 describing a fictional island in the Atlantic Ocean, possessing a seemingly perfect socio-politico-legal system. “Utopia” is sometimes used pejoratively, in reference to an unrealistic ideal that is impossible to achieve.

After much thought and research, I have come to conclude that my expectations at least for this day and time are simply not realistic. There is too much evolutionary conditioning to overcome on the part of both sexes. Society continues to raise male offspring to be dominant and female offspring to be submissive. Even those women who possess natural dominance I think succumb to the perpetuation of the species “prime directive” I have written about previously and are inextricably drawn to strong, dominant, take-charge men rather than sensitive, submissive types. Even among the more enlightened females, I think submission continues to be equated with weakness even if on an unconscious level.

Matriarchal society may at some point in the future develop and thrive, but I have come to seriously doubt I will experience that in my lifetime. Better I have decided to suppress the submissive side of my nature and knuckle under to the expectations of society and be the “normal” assertive, dominant partner in a relationship than to long for an unrealistic ideal.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Is There Really a Point to This?

An email from a friend I received the other day prompted me to turn my thoughts to this blog and whether it is actually in any measurably way meeting the intent behind its creation. Primarily I intended this to be an exercise in throwing out my own ideas about things I am learning about D/s, submissiveness among men, female led relationships and related ideas associated with these particular concepts of an alternative lifestyle, and hopefully to spark discussion about them so that I could benefit from the perspectives of others.

Almost from the beginning I have been chagrined by the lack of comments from readers. Occasionally I do get very wonderful well thought out comments which I have deeply and sincerely appreciated. I don’t often respond to comments because I have already stated my own opinion and don’t wish for people to feel I want to re-direct the discussion back to my own stated position. Nothing couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m trying to learn and figure things out myself and I know I don’t have all the answers. So my desire for comments is not motivated by ego or any other selfish motive beyond wanting to know what others who share an interest in the things I write about think. On the best day to date, five people took time to make comments about an essay of interest to them but on most days, no one comments.

Yes, I do understand that some people come here just to read and participating through commenting is just not something that interests them. Yet when I read other blogs, as I do on a habitual basis, I rarely see a post with no comments and many posts have several each day. Based on the average number of daily visitors to this blog, one could assume that there must be those who are interested in reading what is posted here or the numbers would it seem decline over time yet they remain fairly constant. But I have to believe that number of comments really is the criteria I should be using to judge whether this blog is or is not a success as far as my intent for maintaining it.

My friend suggested that my posts may be too lengthy and given that many of us these days have rather short attention spans or are pressed for time, some simply can’t devote the time necessary to completely read the posts much less think about the topic and formulate a comment. I admit I do tend to be wordy and when I’m thinking about a particular topic I tend to write almost everything that occurs to me about it. So perhaps there is some truth to my friend’s opinion.

It was my decision to create this blog and to continue posting to it so I’m not of course looking for sympathy. But to be honest it requires a good bit of time to research a topic and then create what I hope is always a cogent essay about the topic that people will find interesting to read and consider. Time I could easily use for other things like working on my own relationships, trying to complete my novel or any number of other worthwhile endeavors. If by and large this blog does not reflect ideas you consider worthy of considering and discussing then there is really no point to it or to the expenditure of time I give to it.

I’m not begging for comments here nor am I asking anyone to step beyond their comfort level and comment when that isn’t something they find appealing. But more and more I am considering whether the time and effort in finding topics, researching them and posting essays daily is really an efficient use of time, a resource we all have in limited supply.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The New Breed: Alpha Female?

Recently I came across an interesting article pitching the idea of the “Alpha Female”. I do think from considerable reading combined with real life experiences, that women in general are more “take charge” and assertive than in times past when it comes to their professional and public lives. In some respects I think this has resulted from a basic survival need. With the pervasiveness of divorce these days, one of the largest demographic segments is the single mother. A woman who must provide for her own living, support her family (often with no assistance from the biological father), and in the meantime try to carve out some degree of happiness for herself.

It has been said that necessity is the mother of invention and I think it is an accurate observation that many women have found it necessary to re-invent themselves with respect to their role as a woman in society and as far as their interpersonal relationships. This phenomenon is not limited to only “single mothers” as the divorce rate has been spiking for at least a couple of decades now and many of the female children produced from divorced families have now grown up observing their mothers and learning the lesson that a woman does not need a man to complete her. Advances by feminists have opened doors to the extent that today more than at any previous time, there are opportunities for women to choose practically any career path hat appeals to them. Statically, it is a fact that more and more, women are waiting until later in life to choose marriage and having children as many of them choose to get their education and firmly establish themselves in their chosen careers before turning their attention to these matters. So I do think it is fair to say that perhaps there is some truth to the idea of the emerging “Alpha Female.”

On the surface this would seem a boon for submissive men. But the jury remains out on one important issue. Does the “Alpha Female” in the office and in public life translate to the “Alpha Female” in the context of female led relationships? Within the context of historical perspective, a couple of decades is little more than the proverbial blink of an eye and a large supply of women who desire and embrace the idea of filling the dominant role in the bedroom and within their romantic relationships may still be something still on the distant horizon of human experience.

It has been several years now since scientists first proposed that human beings likely possess a degree of “genetic memory” in that we unconsciously retain the conditioning effects of thousands of years of evolution of our species. One example that comes to mind is the “flight or fight” instinct which has arguably has been with us since the dawning of time when early humans faced human enemies or other predatory animals. Even though we now live in a much more civilized environment and have sadly accomplished quite efficiently the destruction of most other animals capable of challenging our supremacy at the top of the food chain, we still retain this basic instinct.

Think of the past hundreds, perhaps thousands of years of evolution during which women were conditioned to fill the submissive role in relationships, especially from a sexual perspective. I think it will take a lot of determination on the part of females to challenge this idea and escape from it for those who find themselves having the desire to live life according to a dominant female model. Previously I wrote a couple of essays examining the concept of “nice guys” and why women seem to find them less attractive as potential relationship partners. Since writing those essays I have discovered several scientific sites that seem to provide one possibility as far as an explanation. Some suggest that even now in the twenty-first century, a woman’s choice as far as a mate is still largely ruled by evolutionary conditioning based on the historical primitive primate mate selection strategy. In other words she will choose a male she perceives as the strongest genetically. Since nice guys tend to be viewed in unflattering and unappealing ways like spineless, weak, milk toast and potentially passive-aggressive, clearly they seem genetically weak and not a good bet as far as a dependable choice to ensure the survival of a woman’s offspring. Others suggest that given their conditioning, the average women to feel sexually satisfied must feel submissive to her sexual partner which is why most will choose a dominant rather than submissive male. All of this occurs not as a result of conscious but unconscious thought. The dictatorial nature of evolutionary conditioning demands this even in circumstances where a woman is not even interested in pro-creating. Still unconsciously, “survival of the offspring” has a major impact on male mate selection.

Will some women ever escape this apparent “prime directive”? Yes, I think so but when is the real question. Human beings have proven to be a very versatile and adaptable creature. Perhaps the “Alpha Female” of today will in the future develop beyond the office and public persona to the domestic front and will actively seek out men willing to submit to her dominance in all aspects of a relationship. Still despite the adaptability of the species, such a quantum leap in behavior does not occur overnight. Sadly, I have to conclude we are still a good distance away from a society pre-dominantly matriarchal.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Your’s for the Peeping

Recently I started a new blog for the purpose of exploring the possibilities of an online D/s relationship with a close dominant female friend. With this blog, while intended solely for adults I give careful attention to what I write about and what kind of art I post in hopes that people who visit it will not be put off or offended and will take time to read what I write with an open mind. The other blog exists for a different purpose and because it will in time be a bit more edgy and include photographs that might be offensive to some, I chose to designate it as an “adult content” blog which notifies visitors upfront of what to expect and requires them to acknowledge with an affirmative mouse click that they understand and accept that before the are allowed to proceed to the actual blog content.

Today I noticed to my surprise that in less than two weeks of existence, my new blog has received over 25,000 hits as compared to just a little more than 5,000 hits for this blog. Actually I don’t believe the content of the other blog justifies its apparent “popularity” as at least what I have posted there thus far likely would not have great appeal to anyone other than myself and my friend for whom the blog was designed. While I don’t know this to be fact and if it is I certainly don’t know how to do it myself, but I rather suspect there must be some means of “googling” adult content blogs and that is the explanation for why so many people have visited my new blog.

The reason I mention all of this is simply to explain why today, it occurred to be to write on the topic of “voyeurism”. In general, voyeurism is defined as human sexual behavior involving achievement of sexual arousal through viewing the sexual activities of others, usually strangers, who may be naked, in the process of disrobing or even engaging in sexual activity. To some extent voyeurism is widespread and various types of sexual display are a normal part of sexual attraction and mating behavior in most animals, including humans. In current society a certain amount of voyeurism is considered normal, such as watching sexually explicit movies or perusing sexually graphic magazines. Even if masturbation occurs during, or shortly after, these accepted types of voyeuristic activities, are still considered to be normal, not deviant behavior. Even if a person found himself sexually aroused when unintentionally noticing by accident someone who was undressing, naked, or having sex, it wouldn’t be considered a deviant behavior. A variant form of voyeurism involves listening to erotic conversations; e.g. telephone sex. Another variation could involve visiting “adult content” blogs or web sites.

Generally voyeurism is only considered a paraphilia or a psychosexual disorder when a person engages in activity with the specific intent of observing unsuspecting, non-consenting individuals who are naked, in the process of undressing or engaging in sexual acts and the act of looking or peeping is undertaken for the purpose of achieving sexual excitement. The observer generally does not seek to have sexual contact or activity with the person being observed. If orgasm is sought, it is usually achieved through masturbation. This may occur during the act of observation or later, relying on the memory of the act that was observed. Frequently, a voyeur may have a fantasy of engaging in sexual activity with the person being observed. In reality, there is no intent of actually consummating this fantasy. Voyeurism is considered a deviant behavior when a person actively seeks out such experiences and when observation ceases to be merely one factor in sexual attraction and becomes the sole or primary source of gratification. The risk of being caught is an additional element in the excitement of the voyeur.

Thinking and reading about voyeurism has caused me to conclude that there is a little bit of voyeurism in most of us, in modern society. Many of us have a fair bit of curiosity about the sexual activities and intimate thoughts and feelings of others which I think could explain the popularity of “adult content” blogs. This argument is supported too by the popularity of social web sites like YouTube and Flickr. While these sites enjoy steady web traffic and heavy, they were designed for the purpose of helping users share photos, videos, and knowledge with each other but only small fractions of overall users actually use the services to upload content. According to published reports, only 0.16 percent of YouTube's total traffic is made up of users who upload videos. Similarly, only 0.2 percent of Flickr's regular users are there to upload photos.

The raging popularity of such web sites as YouTube, Facebook and My Space, as well as blogs imply there may be a definite connection between voyeurism and another paraphilia – exhibitionism. There seems a behavioral connection with the consciously “for show” lives of those spending more and more of their time online, where domestic activities are recorded in achingly specific detail. In modern society people use the Internet to gradually open themselves up, first at very superficial levels of their personalities, and then they carefully move on to more intimate areas, feeding some felt need to feel exposed, or open, to perfect strangers - a sly commentary on a culture that continues to find new ways to display ever more intimate, and mundane, details of domestic life.

There is no scientific consensus concerning the basis for voyeurism. Most experts attribute the behavior to an initially random or accidental observation of an unsuspecting person who is naked, in the process of disrobing, or engaging in sexual activity. Successive repetitions of the act tend to reinforce and perpetuate the voyeuristic behavior. But as long as the behavior and resulting fantasies or urges do not become the cause of significant distress in the individual or become disruptive to his or her everyday functioning, it seems to be a rather benign thing.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Female Sexuality More Fluid?

Sex is a powerful factor behind why people do what they do so of course the topic of human sexuality is a subject which interests me a great deal. Recently in view of writing an essay on the topic, I have been researching the demarcation between the concepts of sexual arousal and sexual desire for both women and men. This had led me to discover two very interesting things; 1) That using “Female Sexuality” and Female Sexual Desire” as search terms, returns are dominated by the topics of sexual dysfunction and low libido; and 2) The rather remarkable differences between what women and men find sexually arousing under laboratory conditions. My article today is concerned the second item listed, but I will be writing an essay on the first item in the near future with stress on attempts at understanding the causative factors behind the alleged sexual dysfunction and low libido believed to be such a prevalent condition among females.

A good many sexuality research studies have been conducted where researchers measured the psychological and physiological sexual arousal in homosexual and heterosexual men and women as they watched erotic films, a typical scientific model of research using a stimulus (erotic films) and measurement of response (sexual arousal) experiment. Generally three types of erotic films are shown to participants - those featuring only men, those featuring only women and those featuring male and female couples. Consistently it has been observed by researchers that men generally are more specific in their sexual tastes: straight men are physically turned on only by heterosexual porn, gay men only while watching gay porn - a very "either/or" proposition, apparently verifying the idea that a man's cock is his compass. In contrast, both homosexual and heterosexual women showed a bisexual pattern of psychological as well as genital arousal. That is, heterosexual women were just as sexually aroused by watching female stimuli as by watching male stimuli, even though they may have reported a preference for having sex with men rather than women.

Based on these studies it appears that female sexuality is more complex than that of men. Measuring physiological sexual arousal by blood flow to the vagina or vaginal pulse amplitude while women viewed various videos, researchers found that women were physically aroused by almost anything with sexual content, whether straight, lesbian or even animal, regardless of their professed mental arousal or avowed sexual orientation. It seems that on a genital level women are likely to respond to a certain degree to almost anything that has sexual content, whether they're mentally aware of it or not or even if mentally it leaves them cold. Women's sexual orientation is apparently more fluid and less clear cut than men's and the inference is that their potential for bi-sexuality greater.

Actually I don’t find the research results to be terribly surprising based simply on my own life experience. Over the last decade I have more and more frequently become acquainted with women who have told me that they perceive themselves to be bi-sexual. Also, I personally know very few women who deny that they sometimes meet other women for whom they feel a sexual attraction for and/or have frequently had sexual fantasies involving intimacy between themselves and other women, even though the majority of them state that they have never had a same sex encounter and were unsure whether they would actually engage in sex with another female.

The sexual orientation poll I am currently conducting does not at least in the early stages seem to correlate with the findings of research that there seems a greater potential for bi-sexuality among women than men. Out of the initial 45 responses received, four women (8%) have identified themselves as bi-sexual and two others (4%) have identified themselves as bi-curious. In contrast, six men (13%) have identified themselves a bi-sexual with an additional two men (4%) identifying themselves as bi-curious. There are a number of possible explanations for this. First when taken as a ratio of the number of hits this blog receives on a daily basis, 45 responses could not be considered a statistically valid sample and so the results may change over time as more responses are received. Yet since I have been watching the poll closely thus far it appears to me that the percentages are remaining relatively constant. Another issue I have identified is the fact that based on my own observations, it appears that the potential for bi-sexuality among men who are involved in D/s and BDSM is greater than that for men in general. I actually attribute this to the fact that men involved in these alternative lifestyles are generally more sexually enlightened and less inhibited than men in general. This in theory at least would infer that they are more open to the idea of same sex intimate encounters even though they may have a decided preference for females as sexual partners. Finally based on the results of the gender identification poll, a much larger number of the readers of this blog are male than are female, so that may have some bearing. Hopefully before the current poll closes, a similar number of responses will be received as were received on the gender poll and I can at some point make a correlation between the percentages of readers who are men versus women and who are bi-sexual men versus bi-sexual women.