Ask Slutever: Why Am I Attracted to Ugly Dudes?

Dear Slutever,

Is it weird to fantasize about fucking ugly people? I’ve noticed that often, when I see a guy who I don’t find physically attractive, I immediately have thoughts about us fucking doggy-style. I’m semi concerned that subconsciously it’s because I want to be the more attractive person in a sexual scenario, making it a self-esteem issue. . . but I don’t know, maybe I’m just legitimately into ugly dudes? Help, Sarah

Honestly, I’m at the point where I don’t think it’s “weird” to fantasize about anything. The human mind is incredibly perverted, and I think most of us wouldn’t admit–sometimes not even to ourselves–where our deepest, darkest fantasies could lead us if we let them. Having said that, I don’t think “fantasizing about fucking ugly people” is even particularly that dark. And not to be overly PC, but I wouldn’t use the world ugly, because it just feels kind of cruel, ya know? But I do understand what you mean about desire to fuck someone who you–or who general society–wouldn’t deem a standard beauty.

It’s no secret that, since the dawn of sex, people have been attracted to things that are “dirty,” and have felt the impulse to have have types of sex that polite society says we shouldn’t be having–e.g. anal sex, piss sex, fucking your friend’s spouse, or your teacher, or your student, sleeping with prostitutes, eating your girlfriend out on her period, being treated like a dog and kept in a cage… whatever, there’s a million examples. And I think your impulse probably falls into a similar category. 

My personal fantasies evolve and change over time, but there was a period that lasted for about two years where every time I masturbated I would think about being gangbanged by a group of really gross, hairy, fat, brutish guys, which is literally the exact opposite of the the type of person I’m actually attracted to in a relationship way. At the risk of sounding egotistical, I think I liked the idea/the perversity of being used and abused by guys who “didn’t deserve me.” My friend, the sex blogger Tea Hacic, used to have similar fantasies–we’d talk about it all the time. We even nicknamed it (quite narcissistically) the “Beauty and the Beast complex.” And I guess maybe you could link that to a self esteem issue, but I don’t think it has to be. Like, I enjoy getting smacked during sex sometimes, and that doesn’t mean that I devalue myself or think that I deserve abuse in my regular life–I just like it, OK? Sometimes we’re just turned-on by stuff, and we don’t have to over-think it, but that can ruin the fun and impulsiveness of it.

It does seem like what you’re talking about is specific to sex, and not “romance,” because you mentioned that your immediate impulse is to get fucked doggy-style by these guys, rather than to kiss and hug them. And actually, there is such a thing as “teratophilia,” which is defined as “the sexual paraphilia characterised by sexual attraction to deformed or monstrous people / Attraction to monsters.” Maybe that’s you! Yay, you have a paraphilia–now you’re officially special.

But basically, no, I don’t think it’s weird or harmful to have these fantasies, and I of course don’t think it would be bad to act on them either, so long as your less-attractive partner doesn’t feel objectified, or like a novelty (unless that’s what he/she is into, I guess… ugh, sex is confusing).

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… and the Slut Lived Happily Ever After

Me by Stacey Mark
Below is an essay I wrote for the current issue of Purple magazine:
Slut (noun): a sexually successful female

That, of course, is not the definition of “slut” we often hear. However, it’s my personal definition, and I think if it caught on, a lot more people would be open to the idea of “slutty” and “role model” existing in the same breath. 

I’m not here to talk at length about the sexual double-standard. We all already know the deal: for men, promiscuity is encouraged and praised, while women are punished and shamed for the same behaviour. Duh, old news. However, that is slowly beginning to change, and–at least in my experience of liberal, educated circles–the playing fields of dating and casual sex are leveling. However, sluttiness–hedonistic sexual adventure and promiscuity, for the sake of one’s own pleasure and thrill–is still a taboo, especially for women. And in my opinion, a big reason for the lingering stigma is that we don’t have enough slutty female role models–intelligent, sex-positive, responsibly promiscuous women, acting as living proof that having a high sexual appetite, and satisfying it, does not mean you’re an awful person, or doomed. 

Of course, we are all influenced by the people and stories that make up the culture around us; everything from film and TV, to fashion ads, to images of the celebrities we idolize help to shape the way we think about ourselves, and what we can become in thr world. It’s difficult to cite an example, either real or fictional, of a happy, healthy, promiscuous person–let alone, a woman. There’s yet to be a character in a movie that says, “I have sex with five different guys a month and feels great about it,” because that makes people uneasy. Usually, instead, the story goes that the slut gets punished—whether she dies in the end, or ends up miserable and alone—because that’s the narrative our society is comfortable with. The promiscuous woman is painted as evil, inconsequential, or disposable. The “slut” doesn’t get to become a lawyer and live happily ever after.

There are countless examples of this. Lars Von Trier’s sex-epic Nymphomaniac was a powerful film, but we can’t ignore that by the end, the protagonist Joe was physically and emotionally destroyed by her high sex drive. There are classic examples from literature like Bell Du Jour, Anna Karenina and the Scarlet Letter, all which feature a woman whose sexual curiosity and subsequent infidelity leads to her entire life falling apart. Then, there’s the fact that in basically every horror movie ever made, as soon as a girl has sex, she dies. In the real world, there’s the recent scandal of the Duke Pornstar, who, after being exposed for performing in porn to help pay her high tuition, was the target of such intense slut-shaming, and so many violent threats, that she couldn’t go back on campus. Growing up up, I was obsessed with the famous Sweet Valley High book series, about a pair of beautiful blond twin sisters–not surprisingly, Jessica was the “bad” twin because she was boy-crazy and Elizabeth was the “good” twin because she wasn’t. And then, perhaps the most clear-cut example of the lot, is the 1977 film Looking for Mr. Goodbar, in which Diane Keaton plays a woman with an increasing appetite for extreme sexual experimentation–in the end, she’s beaten, raped and killed. These are just a few examples of many, but the lesson in all of these stories is resoundingly clear: your promiscuous behaviour will not go unpunished. Writer Tina Fey really hit the nail on the head in Mean Girls, when the high school sex-ed teacher tells his young female students: “Do not have sex. If you have sex, you will get pregnant… and die.” Funny, yet eerily poignant. 

So why are the images we see of promiscuous women in the media always so grim? Yes, it’s certainly possible to have sex in an unhealthy or obsessive way that’s harmful to one’s life and relationships–for both men and women. But there’s also plenty of women out there having plenty of sexy, who are plenty happy about it. Through my job writing about sexuality, I have lots of friends who engage in open or poly relationships, who do sexy work, or who are just proud, self-appointed sluts (like me, yay!), which means I see first-hand what a progressive, happy sexual lifestyle can be like. However, these stories are rarely told–they’re brushed under the rug in favor of another slut-shaming tragedy.

The sad fact is, we live in a sex-negative society that conflates having a lot of sex with being a bad person. Not only that, but it can even be considered an illness–as seen in Hollywood’s recent obsession with sex addiction–which means that people who have a lot of sex automatically experience issues of shame, doubt and guilt, and often their friends and partners inflate those feelings by worrying about them, or treating them as though they have a problem. But it’s important to remember that it’s conduct, not quantity, that makes sex unhealthy. It’s possible to have a small amount of sex in an unhealthy way, just like it’s possible to have lot of sex in a healthy, fun way. Having a lot of sex, in and of itself, is not a bad thing, no matter what your gender.

But it can be hard to embrace that, especially when everything around you seems to be saying otherwise–and it gets even harder as we get older. We associate promiscuity with youth and bad decisions, and are expected to calm down with age. Some begin to regret their promiscuous pasts. I can already feel it myself–at 28, between friends, there’s certainly less talk around the dinner table about our sexual exploits than there was just a few years ago. People are becoming more “polite,” and it’s kind of a bummer. People often ask me how I “deal” with the thought of getting older, and my potential future kids being able to see the trail of my sexual history online–everything from nude photos to my old blog posts about the drug-fueled orgies of my early 20s. But I’m kind of insulted by the idea that just because I get older, I should automatically reject the less inhibited behavior of my past, and things that were once important to me, like creating an open dialogue around sexuality. Surely, the past incarnations of ourselves are valid parts of who we are.

Thankfully, there are a few beacons of light in the otherwise puritanical media: Samantha on Sex and the City, with her unapologetic, self-aware sluttiness, is still one of the most empowering figures around for women with a high appetite for sex and adventure. Then there’s pornstars like Sasha Grey and Stoya–intelligent, sex-positive women who promote extreme sexual exploration, while also speaking out about sexual health. In the 40s there was Anaïs Nin–one of the first women to write erotica, she wrote about her sexual exploits with Henry Miller and other lovers, and was a pioneer rebel of slut pride. Madonna held down the fort in the 80s, and today, I personally love Chelsea Handler’s brazen, more-is-better attitude about sex. These women are great, but we need more like them, especially in the mainstream. 

Which is why I think if you happen to be a happy, healthy, slutty woman, it’s important to not be ashamed, in order to set an example. You should “come out,” so to speak. I realize that sometimes, writing or talking about sex and one’s sexual behavior can get very cringy very fast–it can feel egotistical, preachy, or like you’re showing off. But I think it’s important to find a way to talk about female sexuality in an open, honest way, that communicates that just like some men, some women like to have a lot of sex, too, and that doesn’t make us evil monsters worthy of death. We cannot be what we cannot see, and until we see more happy, intelligent, responsible, empowered sluts in positions of influence, it will be a difficult to aspire toward such an image.

Posted in Slutever Rants | 23 Comments

Drifting Further From Reality with Director Drew Tobia

See You Next Tuesday is a movie about a mentally unstable, very pregnant young woman named Mona. As Mona drifts further from reality, and thus closer to her mental breakdown, we watch as the people close to her – namely her alcoholic mother and manic lesbian sister – get caught in her downward spiral. As the film’s website puts it, “See You Next Tuesday is a dark comedy the whole family can enjoy cutting themselves to.”

This Brooklyn-based indie is the debut feature film from director Drew Tobia. Provocative and quick-witted, the movie feels at home in the world of fringe, queer cinema – a descendant of peculiar creative minds like Todd Solondz or John Waters. I recently hung out with Drew in New York to talk about divisive characters, girls who kick ass, and gay representation in film.

(Oh and p.s., I have a tiny role in the film–like literally two lines–and you can spot me in the trailer below the interview!)

Why did you want to make a film about a pregnant girl?

Drew Tobia: Well, I was interested in taking a concept that would be considered “mainstream,” but making it subversive and weird, while also retaining some semblance of heart. I wanted to create weird characters that I pushed to moral and emotional limits, and then dare the audience to like them.

Watching it, one does grow really fond of Mona, despite the fact that she’s a train wreck and not necessarily making efforts to improve herself.

Drew Tobia: That’s partly why I cast Eleanore Pienta to play the role, because she just immensely charming, so she can get away with saying almost anything and people still like her. There are still going to be people who have a violent reaction to her character, but clearly this movie isn’t for those people. But I still love all the characters in the film, even though they do terrible things.

Do you think it’s accurate to put the film in the category of queer cinema?

Drew Tobia: I definitely feel there’s a queer sensibility to the film– not necessarily in the forefront, but more in the execution of the humor, which can be dry and sarcastic, like an obnoxious gay man – a.k.a. me! Honestly, I was a bit surprised when none of the gay festivals we submitted the movie to wanted to show it. The thing is, there are two lesbian characters in the movie, but they’re not exactly the protagonists, and they’re not always portrayed in a positive light – they’re not in a very stable relationship. But because they’re lesbians, some people took their volatile relationship as a comment on lesbian relationships in general. But it has nothing to do with being gay or not – most relationships are unstable!

I liked the fact that the movie normalizes their gay relationship. It’s not glorifying anything about gay culture –the lesbians in the film are just as flawed or weird or boring as everyone else. I find it annoying that so often, especially in mainstream media, gay characters–their personalities and interests–are defined solely by their homosexuality.

Drew Tobia: I know, I hate that! Like, whose life experience is like that? I’m gay and I obviously love gay people, but I think it’s dangerous to define oneself as one single thing. It’s funny – following multiple screenings of See You Next Tuesday I was asked by audience members, “So, why were they lesbians?” And it’s like, “I don’t know, why wouldn’t they be lesbians? They’re just people. Also, I’ve been constantly asked “Why would you want to make a movie about women?” Of course, female filmmakers almost never get asked “Why did you want to make a movie about a man?” For some reason, making a movie about women is abnormal. When I began writing the script, I wasn’t setting out to make a movie about women or the female experience, because clearly I don’t know about that. But I’ve always loved movies about girls who kick ass. I loved the Fifth Element, I love BuffyEnlightened was amazing. I actually think I’m discovering my inner vagina, because I only listen to female singer-songwriters from the ’70s at the moment. It’s bizarre.

Watching SYNT I was reminded of the films of John Waters, partly because of the atypical characters, and also Todd Solondz, for its moments of bleakness…is it bad to us the word ‘bleak’?

Drew Tobia: Well, John Waters was a big influence of mine. When I was a kid I watched his movies on loop, especially Pink Flamingos. And I think you can use the word bleak, sure. Todd Solondz is amazing at capturing characters who are going through an extreme trauma, but portraying it in a way that’s both funny and heartfelt, and that was a big part of what I was trying to do with this film.

See You Next Tuesday is now available on Amazon and iTunes.

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People Who Just Had Sex: Deep Gay Love

The new episode of People Who Just Had Sex is out, yay! If you’re unfamiliar with the series, the idea is simple–we go to people’s houses and talk to them before they fuck, wait around while they fuck, and then interview them again after they fuck. 

In this episode I meet Tobias and Brian, a Brooklyn couple who have had particularly unique and experimental sexual histories—from gay porn auditions, to Tobias losing his virginity on a plane, to three-way relationships, to a stint of anti-gay therapy prompted by the Mormon church. The couple met during pride in San Francisco five years ago, and after years of friendship they began dating seven months ago.

And if you’re still thirsty for more after you’ve seen the video, below, Tobias and Brian discuss all the juicy details of their sexual past and present that you didn’t see in the video.

Slutever: So, you guys both had pretty unique experiences when losing your virginities.
Tobias: Well, yeah, the first time I had sex was with a woman… on an airplane. I was 15, flying back to San Francisco from my boarding school in New York, and I was sitting next to this woman who seemed around 30. We were talking, and she got really drunk, and she eventually started slipping me drinks and rubbing my leg like “Oh, you’re so handsome.” She asked me what I did, and I said “going to school,” so I guess she assumed that school meant college. And then she just said “meet me in the bathroom.”

And you managed to full-on fuck in that tiny stall?
Well, she went to the bathroom first, and then I joined—she started to rub my chest, and I touched her breasts. And ya know, when you’re a teenager you get rock hard right away as soon as anything remotely sexual happens. She gave me a blow-job, and then she sat me down on the toilet and got on top of me, and in like 5 seconds it was over.

That’s a hard story to beat. Brian?
Brian: Well, I didn’t really do anything sexual with anyone before college. Then at college I worked at the gym on campus, and one day these two guys came up to me and said, “We’re going to a club tonight, do you want to come with us?” I was so nervous—I don’t think they knew that I was so new to this “gay thing,” but I was drinking my way through it. So they drove me downtown to this club and we were waiting in line to get in, and the one guy literally just put his arm around me and instantly I was rock hard. It was so embarrassing. I was wearing khaki pants and trying to cover myself, but he noticed, and I think it excited him. We ended up not even making it into the club, we just went back to his friend’s studio apartment with a couple other guys. So his friend took out a literal chair pad and put it on his kitchen floor and was like, “You guys can sleep there.”  We started making out, and soon his friends start watching. One thing led to another, and I ended up losing my virginity while two other guys were watching, jacking-off.

Did that turn you on?
At the time it was amazing. It’s so funny though, because when I look back, I never had that whole “romantic, losing my virginity” thing. But in a way I think it was a good thing to just get rid of it, ya know?

Yeah, I guess virginity is sort of like a disease. So you mentioned that you both auditioned for porn, but eventually decided against it. Have either of you ever considered other forms of sex work?
Tobias: I’ve done sex work before. I worked as a stripper, and as a naked cleaning guy, so when I auditioned for porn I’d had experience in the sex industry, but it’s completely different when you go on camera.

Naked cleaning guy—how cinematic. What were your clients like?
It varied. I had “stereotypical” guys that were huge and disgusting. I also had this one guy who had a totally filthy house. I walked in and was like, “Oh my god, am I really going to have to clean this?” And he was just like, “Whatever, just jack-off.” But then this other guy had a house that was eerily spotless, and he just wanted me to walk around naked wiping the clean counters while he jerked-off.

That sounds like a good job.
It’s a great job.

So do you guys ever use sex toys?
Brian: We have. I own a dildo, and we have wrist constraints that we use a lot. Tobias has a cock ring.

We gave you a double-hole sex toy from TENGA to try. I know at first you said that it was a little bit tight for Tobias but now there’s an ultra-sized version of the toy which is bigger. What I think is cool about it is that it’s a masturbation toy, but you can use it together, so it’s creates a different way of interacting with each other. I like to use a couples vibrator for that reason.
Yeah, that’s why I really enjoyed the toy too. When we first started dating, we did a lot of just mutual masturbation, which I think can be really intimate.

Brian: Yeah, when we started dating we waited almost two months before we had full-on sex. We fooled around, but it was important for us to take our time, because the goal was for this to be a serious thing. But masturbation with eye contact can be just as intense as sex. It’s hot watching someone give themselves pleasure—watching their movements, and learning what they like it. I personally really liked the egg masturbator too. It looks like your dick wouldn’t fit in it, but it’s actually really stretchy. It’s this really weird, squishy, stretchy material.

Tobias: I was using the egg on him, but I had to stop because he was about to cum, and we’d only just started fooling around.

Have either of you ever experimented with non-monogamy in the past?
Brian: I was in a three-person relationship for a year in college. The other two had been together for a couple of years before I joined, so I guess I was their “secondary parter,” as it’s called. And then sometimes we would bring even more people in, so I’ve had a fair amount of group sex.

Is that complicated?
It was fun, but yeah, it can get complicated. I ended up breaking up with them, but they stayed together.

But you guys are monogamous now, right?
Yeah, we’ve both had a lot of partners and casual sex, and what I’ve come to realize is that, when you’re in a relationship and building a life together, or even just building a sexual relationship together, the more you get to know that person, the better the sex is. And yes, I can find someone on my phone or go to a gay club and just have random sex, and it would probably be good, but our sex is better because of the level of intimacy we’ve established. I know that I have flaws, physically or whatnot, but I also know that Tobias is very accepting of me, so I can just be myself and not have to worry about ‘does my butt look good from this angle’ or whatever.

Tobias: Yeah, I think in terms of casual sex, you’re always trying to look good—to present a certain experience. But we’ve gotten to know each other on a very intimate level, and we’ve talked so much about our physical and emotional flaws. It did actually take me a while to get out of my head, but eventually I felt comfortable enough to Brian to let go, and that’s when sex becomes truly amazing.

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