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Beyond breadwinners and homemakers, we need to examine how same-sex couples divide housework

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Housework is often understood as a gendered negotiation based on the traditional roles of homemaker (feminine) and breadwinner (masculine). While gender norms have shifted dramatically in the past few decades, theories of housework are still stuck on this 1950s model.

Shifting family structures, including the rising number of same-sex marriages in recent years, mean our understanding of housework needs updating. In our recent study, we highlight that current theories of housework do not adequately address dynamics in same-sex couples.

We present our own approach, arguing that all couples adopt different roles at different life points, and some reject traditional gender identities altogether.

Simply, there is no single way to explain the role of gender in housework. Our theories and data analysis need updating to account for the more diverse ways people behave as men and women in both same-sex and heterosexual relationships.

Housework in theory

Existing theories of housework argue that domestic labour is one way to perform gender for oneself and one’s partner within heterosexual couples. The basic assumption is that individuals are socialised from birth into gender roles that dictate appropriate feminine and masculine behaviours.

Traditional gender roles teach young girls that women are responsible for the physical and mental work of ensuring household chores are completed. By contrast, breadwinner roles teach young boys that masculinity is tied to providing for the family economically.

Traditional housework divisions relegate men to a narrow set of housework tasks – maintenance of the home, yard work and home repair.

Existing theories of housework suggest individuals are socialised into traditional gender roles from birth.

Feminist literature has challenged these ideas, arguing that domestic and economic work should not be distributed based on gender.

Young people today are more likely than older generations to reject traditionally gendered expectations in favour of more equal divisions of paid and domestic work. Yet we know that gender remains a major factor in unpaid divisions of household labour.

Housework and same-sex couples

Research shows that same-sex couples have more equitable divisions of housework than heterosexual couples, but the partner who engages in more childcare also does more “feminine” housework tasks. However, the question of how to explain these divisions remains.

Existing theories assume same-sex couples either behave just as heterosexual couples, with one specialising in the home and one in the workforce, or do not divide housework by gender at all.

One argument is that same-sex couples are able to negotiate housework in the “absence” of gender. As the argument goes, one partner does the washing, dishes and vacuuming not because they are male or female but because they prefer these chores, have less money or spend less time at work.

Existing studies show that same-sex couples have more equitable housework divisions than heterosexual couples.

However, we argue that same-sex couples’ housework divisions and relationship dynamics may function in more complicated ways, rather than simply doing or undoing heterosexual gender dynamics.

Women, regardless of sexual orientation, may view a clean and well-dressed table as one way to be a “good” woman. But, for others, housework may tap into more nuanced gender relations. For example, resisting the urge to constantly tidy up after children and partners may, for some women, be a form of feminist rebellion, a challenge to patriarchal norms.

Same-sex couples may have more scope to engage in a greater diversity of housework tasks, without the boundaries of heterosexual norms of “feminine” and “masculine” chores. But their performance of these chores is often interpreted through traditional gender norms (for example, gay men clean, cook and decorate as a sign of femininity) that have homophobic connotations.

Applying heterosexual norms to same-sex couples housework negotiations is fraught with false gendered assumptions and homophobia.

Cultural narratives of gender

To fully explain the way same-sex couples might negotiate housework, we need to leave our old theories of gender behind.

Take two examples. The idea that men using power tools to feel a rush of masculinity is evident in our cultural narratives. Similarly, the notion that women bake cupcakes to shower their families with feminine love is also ingrained in our traditional gender norms.

If we switch the genders here – have women use power tools to be feminine and men bake cupcakes to be masculine – we can see that the logic of these theories falls flat. Of course, men bake and women use tools, but how these tap into gender identities is lacking from existing research.

Men may bake to show care for their partners and this action may tap into other dimensions of masculinity (such as caring and nurturing). Gay men may engage in baking and lesbian women in using power tools as a way to tap into different dimensions of their masculinity and femininity (such as care or empowerment), not to demonstrate their rejection of either gender identity.

Or, housework may have less to do with gender among modern heterosexual and same-sex couples and more to do with preferences, leisure and relaxation.

Important questions

As ideas of gender as a simple binary (masculinity and femininity) are increasingly challenged, the question of how gender affects couples’ housework divisions is important. Existing studies on gender and housework ask standard questions about gender (male/female/other) but fail to ask detailed questions about gender identities and gender expressions on a continuum.

Within same-sex couples, housework is less likely to be a source of patriarchal domination, but that doesn’t mean gender is absent from negotiations. Today’s adults were raised in the context of our society’s gender norms, and being in a non-heterosexual relationship requires a re-evaluation of these norms.

This can create flexibility in how gender is expressed to the outside world, to people’s partners, and to themselves. And identifying to what extent gender remains coupled to inequality is important, especially given that housework inequality jeopardises relationship quality regardless of sexuality.

Complete Article HERE!

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Men who masturbate often have better sex lives

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May is National Masturbation Month

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There’s no shame in masturbating.

It’s a stress reliever, it’s the only form of entirely safe sex, and, as new research notes, it might actually make you better at sex with another person.

Sex toy brand Tenga have revealed that men who masturbate weekly are 10% more confident in their own sexual performance than those who masturbate less often.

Men who masturbate weekly or more often are also 12% more satisfied with the quality of their orgasm, and 6% more confident in their own body.

Tenga surveyed 2,000 UK men for the results, asking them about their solo sex habits and their experiences with other people.

They found that 96% of British men masturbate, and that the average person discovers masturbation at age 15.

The top three reasons why we masturbate are to achieve pleasure, to relieve sexual tensions, and to de-stress. Other popular reasons include to aid sleep, to deal with boredom, their partner isn’t up for sex, and to help improve sexual performance.

Of course, this study only shows a positive correlation between masturbation and improved sexual satisfaction and confidence in your own body. What’s not clear is a cause and effect relationship.

It’s possible that men who are more sexually confident are more comfortable masturbating more, or that men who are comfortable in their bodies tend to be more open to exploring themselves sexually, rather than the other way round.

But what we do know is the many, many benefits of masturbation for all genders – stress relief, the ability to learn what gets you off, and the empowerment of being able to give yourself pleasure.

Alix Fox, sex and relationships educator and ambassador for Tenga, commented: ‘It doesn’t surprise me at all that male masturbation goes – ahem – hand in hand with being a better lover!

‘Guys who regularly take time to pleasure themselves and appreciate their bodies are more likely to feel comfortable and confident in their own skins.

‘This in turn means they’re more likely to be relaxed when playing with a partner.

‘It’s a lot easier to pay attention to the sensual signals someone’s giving off; to be fully immersed and present in a shared moment; to be switched on to your lover’s needs and turned on yourself if you’re not distracted by getting hung up on your own hang ups.

‘A regular masturbator is more likely to have been experimental in their solo sessions, too. They may well have discovered a broader range of erogenous zones and stimulation techniques that make them tick. They may even have tried some toys.

‘This greater self-awareness and open-minded attitude – honed via testing new things out alone – makes for more exciting, creative partnered sex.

‘The more men discover how their own bodies can feel wonderful in myriad ways, the more they are likely to try to bring that same liberated sense of adventure and those same fresh thrills to their lovers.’

Complete Article HERE!

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If You Get Super Anxious About Sleeping With Someone New, Read This

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Firsts tend to come with a lot of anxiety. While there’s some expectation when it comes to driving your first car or having your first kiss, there’s nothing like the pressure and the build up of sleeping with someone new. Nerves are normal. Whether it’s a casual fling or someone you could get serious with, the following reminders should help to calm your fears.

1. Tell all the insecurities you have about your body to go to hell. There’s nothing quite as panic-producing like knowing a guy is going to see you naked for the first time. Suddenly you recall every single moment in your life you felt pudgy or like your boobs were too small. Memories of that time that kid in third-grade said you had a boney butt come rushing back without warning, and you start to worry that this new guy won’t like what he sees. Well, he’s a guy, so he probably will. Plus, it’s not like you’ve been wearing a cloak this whole time, so I’m pretty sure he has a good idea of what your body looks like.

2. Think about the situation in the most logical way possible. Try to take emotion out of everything if you can. Understand that sex is just sex, and you can have a good time if you stop worrying so much about the future or what will happen when it’s over. Get over the fear of what he or people might think, and be a badass who just does what she wants.

3. Forget about what he’s getting out of it and on focus on what you are. Guys don’t have to be the only gender who enjoys a good booty call. Stop worrying about how he feels about the situation (and if you really don’t know, just ask), and start focusing on what you want out if it.

4. Remember you have a right to be selfish. Do not feel any obligation to cater to what he wants to do just because it’s the first time. Speak up and tell him what you want. Sex is supposed to be a mutually beneficial act, so make sure you’re getting some benefits, girl.

5. Pay attention to little hints that he just wants to sleep with you. While there are scumbags out there, the majority of men aren’t good at leading women on. Women are just really good at hearing what we want to hear, so get your head out of the clouds and open yourself up to the idea that he just might really want to sleep with you. If you still want to go through with it, then you’ll be in the right mindset.

6. Stop being paranoid that he won’t call after. I’m not saying he will because he could be giving you all the signs that he won’t, but you need to understand that you’ll be okay no matter what happens. You won’t be able to enjoy any part of sex if you’re worried about him running the moment it’s over. If you let loose and just have fun, you’re likely to be fine with either outcome because it doesn’t change the way you feel about yourself.

7. Remind yourself of what a badass you are. Sex has a funny way of making us super vulnerable, and when we have it with someone we want to get closer to, it makes us feel even more exposed. The whole “what if we have sex and he doesn’t want to see me anymore?” question will keep you up at night if you let it, but this whole idea that you need a guy to want to marry you after you do the deed is something that’s been ingrained in our female brains for centuries. The truth is, you don’t. When you stop expecting these grandiose things from people, you’ll start to enjoy the little stuff more. Know your standards, don’t be naive, and remember that no matter what, you’re still the boss.

8. Remind yourself that he probably doesn’t feel the need to have this inner pep talk. The sad, stupid part about all of this is that most guys don’t feel this crazy pressure to be liked after sex. Sure, they probably have some thoughts of not wanting to be bad at it, but unless they really like you, they’re just pumped they get to do it. Remembering that might help you realize that it doesn’t have to be a big deal.

9. Do something prior that makes you feel really sexy. Stop waiting for a guy to make you feel hot and do it yourself. Whether it’s getting dressed up or putting on a certain kind of perfume, figure out what it is that makes you feel like a sexy beast and go do it.

10. Have fun. Once you’ve made the mental decision that you want to have sex with this person, you need to tell yourself that the work is over. You’re not going to ponder or worry about it anymore. So get out of your head and have some fun.

Complete Article HERE!

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This is the difference between gender and sexuality

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The two are incredibly different

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Many assume gender identity and sexual orientation are linked, but the two concepts are different and it’s important to know why.

On a very basic level, gender identity is described as being more about who you are, and sexual orientation is defined as who you want to be with.

If someone is transgender, for example, some people assume that they must also be lesbian, gay or bisexual – but this is not the case.

However, gender and sexuality is (obviously) much more complex than this.

What is gender identity?

Gender identity is your own personal perception of yourself – and there are many different genders outside of male and female. And importantly, the gender with which someone identifies might not match the gender they were assigned at birth.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, gender identity is the “innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither – how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves.”

Gender is complicated because different genders come with a host of societal expectations about behaviours and characteristics, which can have negative impacts on people.

Societal expectations of gender norms – or gender roles – often dictate who can and should do what.

A Pakistani transgender activist

For instance, women have historically faced setbacks in the workplace, or fewer opportunities, purely because they are women and for no other reason.

Whereas from a traditional viewpoint, men are expected to make decisions, and naturally be authoritative when at work.

Gender also has legal implications. In the UK, anyone who wants to legally change the gender they were assigned with at birth has to apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate, but it is a lengthy and difficult process so not everyone chooses to do this.

To qualify for the certificate, people must have lived for two years in the gender they identify with and have a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria.

Gender dysphoria is a condition where someone experiences distress because there is a mismatch between their gender identity and biological sex.

What is transitioning?

Transitioning describes the steps which a transgender person may take to live in the gender with which they identify.

The process is different for each person and may include medical intervention such as hormone therapy and surgeries, but not everyone wants or is able to have this.

It may involve transitioning socially, either by wearing different clothing, using names or pronouns or telling friends and family.

Gender expression is how someone expresses their gender identity externally, for example, through appearance – clothing, hair or make-up – or through their behaviour.

This is the difference between gender and sexuality

Complete Article HERE!

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A Glossary of Terms for Talking About Sex and Gender in 2018

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As our understanding of gender and sexuality is evolving, so are the words we use to describe them. There are many more sexual identities and expressions than previously acknowledged, so it’s about time we named more of them.

“The binary options of gender—man or woman—and sexuality—heterosexual or gay—are way too limiting to capture the complexity of human life,” says sex educator Kenna Cook. “There are so many variations in our personalities, beliefs, and DNA that limiting human sexuality to a tiny box of two choices makes it impossible for people to exist authentically.”

Learning the correct terminology for different expressions of gender and sexuality is essential not only to participate in conversations on this topic in an educated way, but also to support the people in your own life who might identify with them. “Language gives us ownership of our identities and autonomy over our personal choices,” says Cook. “Having words to communicate our identities gives us a way to find others similar to us. Words can help us feel seen.”

So, in the interest of educating ourselves and others, here’s a guide to a few human sexuality terms that you might not know, but definitely should.

Cisgender: Identifying with the same sex you were assigned at birth. A cisgender woman, for example, may have been born with female anatomy, like a vulva, and assigned female at birth.

Transgender: Identifying with a gender that differs from the sex you were assigned at birth. For example, trans women are people who may have male anatomy and been assigned male at birth and identify as women.

Queer: Anything other than straight and cisgender, or, more generally, breaking the mold of what society teaches us are the default options for gender and sexuality.

Sexually fluid: Feeling attracted to different genders at different times in one’s lifetime, or open to sexual relationships with a gender that one is not normally attracted to. For example, a heterosexual women who occasionally is attracted to women might identify as sexually fluid.

Pansexual: Attracted to all variations of gender identities. Because there are more than two genders, pansexual people may not find the word “bisexual” adequate to describe their sexual identities.

Asexual: Not experiencing sexual attraction to other people. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t have sexual urges or romantic attraction to others. In fact, many aseuxal people masturbate and have romantic relationships. Some people also feel some sexual attraction to others but view themselves as on the asexual spectrum.

Pangender: Feeling an affiliation with multiple gender identities. A pangender person, for example, might feel they embody male, female, and other genders simultaneously.

Agender: Not identifying with any gender. Agender people might disagree with the whole concept of gender or simply feel that it does not apply to them.

Non-binary: Not exclusively identifying as male or female. Non-binary people may also identify as agender, pangender, or trans. They can also identify as male or female in addition to being non-binary. Some non-binary people use the pronouns “they/them”.

Genderqueer: Expressing gender outside of cisgender. This could include someone who is trans, non-binary, pangender, agender, or simply “genderqueer,” without any other gender label.

Gender-nonconforming: This term is sometimes used simply to denote a lack of adherence to typical gender roles or stereotypes. Other times, it indicates a refusal to identify with a gender. Some non-binary and trans people also identify as gender-nonconforming.

Polyamory (a.k.a. ethical non-monogamy): Consensually having romantic relationships with more than one person, whether with one primary partner and other secondary partners or with several partners given equal importance.

Open relationship: A relationship in which one or more people are permitted to have other sexual or romantic relationships. This type of relationship agreement can exist in both monogamous and non-monogamous relationships.

Solo polyamory: Someone who considers their primary relationship to be with themselves. Sometimes this means having multiple partners but not a “primary” relationship with anyone.

BDSM: an acronym for Bondage, Dominance, Submission/Sadism, and Masochism.

Kink: a term that is representative of alternative sexual interests like BDSM, sexual fetishes, and other forms of sexual expression that depart from what’s considered “vanilla” sexual expression.

Keep in mind that all these definitions are personal, so you won’t be able to say which term applies to another person unless you ask. For this reason, it’s important not to make assumptions about who someone dates, who they have sex with, or how they identify based on how they look or act.

Complete Article HERE!

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