Republished from Love.TV
Laura Ryan is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a practice in Austin, Texas.
Virginia Jones is a comedian and writer in Los Angeles with no formal licensing that she can recall.
We are sisters, and we are talking about d*ck pics.
1) What entices a man to send a woman an unsolicited ‘crotch shot?’
Laura: I see this as a similar line of thinking as your uncle giving you a Neil Diamond’s Greatest Hits CD for your birthday. That’s what he likes, so he assumes that you will like it too. I believe that men would LOVE it if women would take photos of their genitals and send them out. Men are visually stimulated and perhaps believe that women are stimulated this way, too.
Virginia: I can see the logic, but I assure you- we don’t like you for your d*ck. If we like you, we like your d*ck. If we aren’t interested in you, I don’t think your d*ck is gonna turn the tide. On their own- they’re just not that photogenic. I’ve never gotten a pic and thought “You know, I’ve gotta give this guy another shot!” Each of them is unique, but there’s not as huge a variation as you’d think. Almost all of them are fine.
2) Psychologically speaking, what about an anonymous environment provokes men to engage in risky behaviors?
Laura: I think it is exciting to feel like I can send out a d*ck pic and a woman will be sexually aroused. I think that maybe the ideas about women that are perpetuated by the pornography industry feed into this belief that all women would enjoy this kind of attention.
Virginia: It’s interesting to think about people like Anthony Weiner, who has literally lost everything- his career, his marriage- to his impulse to send pictures of his weiner to different people. For his sake, I hope it’s a really great weiner!
Laura: It sure must be!
3) Do you think there is a misinterpretation when it comes to women’s sexual interest?
Laura: There is definitely a misinterpretation of women’s sexual interests in our society. The pornography industry caters to men’s interests and a man’s perspective. I believe that online pornography is the main education that young men are receiving about sexuality today. In this format, women are ready to have sex at any time, require very little emotional engagement, are visually stimulated and don’t expect or need anything more than the briefest of foreplay before engaging in penetration.
Virginia: But in porn’s defense, the women are usually paying for a pizza, and then they get to have pizza. And d*ck.
4) Do you believe crotch shots from men could be linked to a biological urge to indicate sexual interest to women?
Laura: Most of our sexual urges are linked to biology. Other mammals publicly display their sexual interests and we have gotten away from that with the advent of clothing and the creation of polite society. If you are a chimpanzee or a bonobo who wants to mate, you probably display your penis to get female attention and that works when females are in estrus.
Virginia: It is interesting to think about how the impulse to send a picture of your junk is linked to our caveman self, but what makes it possible is human technology. In the future, men will send a sculpture of their d*ck to your 3-d printer. You go try to print a vase or a little bear or something and you’re all “Great, whose d*ck is this?”
Laura: As I’ve told you many times, let’s get you scheduled with a therapist.
Virginia: Shut up.
6) How has modern technology ‘encouraged’ this type of behavior?
Laura: In the past, if I wanted to send a photo of my penis to a woman, I would have to take a photo with my camera that I couldn’t see beforehand, take my roll of film to the drugstore and let all the photo-lab employees see my junk (or refuse to print my photo), then find out what the woman’s mailing address is, stamp my envelope and snail mail my genital pic to her.
Virginia: Lots of legwork there.
Laura: Exactly. The digital age has taken down all of these barriers and I can now view my photo in the privacy of my own home, use the right angles, correct imperfections with Facetune, and send the same picture out to as many women as I want.
Virginia: Oh god, do you think they’re Facetuning their d*cks?
Laura: I am absolutely certain of it.
7) What would you recommend men to do to indicate sexual interest, other than sending a crotch shot?
Laura: Let’s go “old school” and tell the woman that you think that she is pretty and want to get to know her. Ask her out on a date and see where the night takes you.
Virginia: A rule that works well- don’t send an un-asked for d*ck pic. If you’re seeing a woman and she makes a request and you want to honor it, great. But sending an unasked for picture is at least rude and possibly upsetting. Also, your unasked for d*ck pic will be passed around at brunch, laughed at, and you’re gonna get talked about in not a good way, and word will get around and later your girlfriend will ask why you’re sending d*ck pics to other women.
8) Story Time: Do you remember your first d*ck pic? What was your reaction?
Virginia: I got one on my first smartphone, I had started working as a comic and my phone number got around on my business card. I got a very impressive-looking member from an anonymous person- It came with a message like “want to sit on this?” and I wrote back, “Hey, nice dick! Is this yours?” and after a minute they wrote back and said, uhhh. No. And I asked, why are you sending a stranger another person’s d*ck? And they didn’t write back after that.
Laura: Thankfully, I have never received a crotch shot directly. I have had a couple of scares when swiping through Tinder. I mean, honestly, you made a picture of your penis your profile photo and you think that most women will be into that?
I have a male friend who is gay and one evening he showed me an entire iphone screen chock full of genital pics. He was so happy about it and this was the moment when I realized how fundamentally different men and women feel about this subject.
Virginia: Hey! That’s a good idea. Send your d*ck pics to other men! Maybe you can form a club!
Your friend gets engaged. Another friend gets engaged. Two friends move in together. Another friend is on vacation with a guy she met three months ago.
You check your phone.
You don’t have a response back from a text you sent last night.
Why does your boyfriend keep saying he’s busy and that you expect too much? Well, he’s not your boyfriend officially, but you’ve been dating for a couple of months, so at some point he’ll be your boyfriend, right?
Congratulations! You’re dating an attachment avoidant!
Does this sound like your partner?
“My partner always seems to be comparing me unfavorably to some past, or ideal future partner”
“My partner flips on me, very affectionate one day and cold the next.”
“My partner seems to find it difficult to emotionally connect with or support me.”
“My partner gets uncomfortable when I get too close.”
Conversations with an avoidant:
A: “I’m surprised that you’re angry that I was seeing (other friend), I thought you knew I was seeing other people.”
B: “Of course I knew you were seeing other people, you kept giving me your address and asking how my weekend was over and over and re-introducing me to your cat, and sending non sequitur texts that you were also sending to other people, and going offline for long periods of time. What is it that you want?”
A: “Oh, I don’t like to stay in anything too long if it’s not working.”
B: “It seems like you planned for failure- I didn’t hear from you much, and we weren’t really building on any kind of intimacy, because you didn’t want it. Romantic attachment is not something that just happens to you, like winning a lottery or being hit by a bus. It’s something two compatible people who like each other build. If you’re just running through women looking for the ‘right’ one who will make you have emotions, that’s not going to work.”
It sometimes feels like everyone on the dating scene is an attachment avoidant. That’s just because avoidants are busy meeting new people, like Alice’s White Rabbit, they’re always late for another date! Although it’s hard to believe, they only represent 25% of the general population.
50% of adults have a “secure” dating style, they’re people with healthy boundaries who aren’t afraid to connect with the right person, and who are actively looking for that connection. 25% are “anxious”, people who are obsessed with connection and overly concerned about their partner’s love and fidelity, and 25% are “avoidants”, who are always looking to meet but never to connect.
It can feel like everyone on the internet is an Avoidant because:
Secure people tend to enter into healthy, balanced relationships, and they tend to stay in them for long periods of time. If you meet one, it’s because they’ve left a long relationship, not because they just “have been dating around” for a decade.
Avoidants tend to bounce out of relationships pretty quickly, and they don’t date other avoidants, because if two people are avoiding returning a text, that fizzles out pretty quickly.
Avoidants see most people as “crazy” or “anxious” or “clinger stage 5” because they see healthy interest in another person as something to be avoided.
What do I do to stop dating attachment avoidants?
First thing- let go of the idea that it is naïve or old-fashioned to want a relationship. Relationships make us live longer, happier, more fulfilled lives.
Second thing- They say that the only way to find a prince is to kiss a million frogs. Your path to meeting someone who actually wants to get to know you and have a relationship is through filtering avoidant partners. Call ‘em f*ckbois, call ‘em ghosters, call ‘em whatever you want, but stop calling ‘em:
If you meet someone who says “All my exes are crazy.”
Or “You want to know if we’re dating? I really don’t like labels.”
Or “I need a lot of space.”
Or “Work’s so busy, I don’t have time for anything serious.”
Or “Women are always trying to trap guys into relationships.”
Or “I’m not ready to commit” (even after dating for months or years)
Just stop interacting with them. You don’t owe them anything. Keep meeting new people. When you meet someone you like who’s clear about wanting to see you again, who makes plans and keeps them, who listens to you and shares intimate details with you, think about continuing to see that person.
I was talking with a friend, and she told me a story about “my boyfriend, but he isn’t really my boyfriend, he’s just a guy I’m sleeping with, you know. I mean, who has a boyfriend anymore?”
I told her that I had one.
She asked, “How did you do that?” She thought maybe I had some grandfather clause or a deal with the devil.
I told her, “I have a new rule I’m following, and it’s simple: I don’t have sex with people who don’t want to be with me.”
She stared at me wide-eyed.
I continued: “I know it sounds weird and unachievable, but it isn’t. I met someone who was secure and who cared about me, and who wanted to be in a relationship. Before that, I made out with a couple people, and kissed lots of people, but I didn’t have sex with anyone until I met someone who really wanted to be with me. I’m not missing anything but a series of disappointing partners, feelings of rejection, and being made to feel unreasonable for wanting something more.”
It’s totally OK to date casually, but it’s also OK to want something more. Don’t listen to people who tell you differently. Date to find the people worth keeping, and move on from partners who don’t want the same thing that you do!
Based on quotes from Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller
I am not the hero of this story.
I want to start off by saying that.
I love and value my female friendships. I want to say that. I cherish and prioritize them.
Also, women can hurt each other more deeply than men. Many of my women friends list their worst betrayal, their worst hurt, as being dealt to them by another woman friend.
Women will hurt each other over men, because they don’t value their friendships of many years over fucking some dude who’ll be gone in a fortnight.
I’m going to anonymize this woman by calling her Jen, although that is also her name. We were both born in the 70’s so everyone is named Jen.
She was never my friend.
In high school, in Suburban Dallas, Texas, she was in love with the first boy I ever had sex with, who was a chubby goth with a speech impediment where “Cotton” and “Latin” sounded like “Coddon” and “Laddin” and it was adorable. He tried hard to have a Dave Vanian (lead singer of the Damned) white streak in his black hair, but since he did it at home, and he was an idiot, it was usually a duck-yellow streak or a slightly green one. He lives in San Marcos, Texas and has a wife and kids and we are facebook friends. Don’t worry about him.
She hated me for being with him. Women do that. It had nothing to do with me. After I broke it off with the Dallas suburban speech impediment Dave Vanian, she slept with him the same night, which annoyed me but was out of my purview.
He did not become her boyfriend after this, incidentally. Nothing between them changed, except that they had slept together. If he had wanted to be her boyfriend, it would have happened when they met, probably. It had nothing to do with me.
She went to college in Austin and I went in Dallas. I heard a story about her getting kicked off campus for beating the shit out of her dormmate. I graduated and moved to Portland, Oregon. Tom Waits went on tour and his Oregon show was in Eugene, a college town two hours south of Portland. For the next ten years, everyone I was ever friends with or in bands with or dated had been to that show. And also Jen. Of all the people I didn’t want to see, she was it.
There is a theory of human communication called disruption. If someone is mean or dismissive or cruel to you, and you are kind and patient back, it is difficult for them to continue to treat you badly. We want to mirror behavior to each other- so if you’re shitty to me, I’ll be shitty back, and it can just escalate until we’re fighting or screaming or posting something on Facebook while our heart races one million beats a minute. If you’re shitty to me and I am kind back, it’s hard to keep going in that direction.
She did not respond to my attempts at disruption.
“Hi! Jen! Man, I didn’t think I was gonna see anyone from high school today! How you doin’?”
Jen: “When the fuck did you move here? I guess this town really has gone to shit.”
A little after I moved to Portland, Oregon, I started dating a deathrocker who looked more than a little like Nick Cave, lead singer of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, so much so that my admiration of the actual Nick Cave has been tarnished by the experience.
He worked in a record store, because what else is he gonna do, and he mentioned his co-worker Jen.
My mouth fell open a little and I shared with him our history.
He paused for a minute, and he said, I should just tell you now, I have a past with Jen. I don’t want you to find out later and be angry. When I was married, we had an affair. It’s long over and we’re just friends. I’m also not going to cheat anymore- my marriage ended badly and I learned my lesson. (This was not true, but it is another story.)
We started seeing each other seriously, and one day, she looked over his shoulder at work as he was sending me a note on Myspace, because I am very old, older than any of you can possibly imagine, and she blanched and started screaming.
GINNY RYAN? YOU’RE DATING GINNY FUCKING RYAN?
This is not my name now, but it was the name she knew me as.
For some reason, despite being opposed in all things, we had the exact same taste in men: Men who at least tried to look like the lead singers of seminal goth and punk bands.
She let him know that I was a bad person, a dishonest person, that I was a thief and untrustworthy, and unworthy of love.
He said ok, but that he would give it a shot anyway.
In the following weeks, she called him repeatedly, at different levels of drunk, trying to fuck him. Sometimes I was with him, listening to her messages as she left them. That’s right! This is before cell phones! You could write someone an email or you could call them, but you couldn’t booty text! Imagine that, children!
Within a month, she had him fired from the record store, because she said he had stolen and lied and was untrustworthy, and my now-fiancee was unemployed for a year, because managing a record store is really the only job he was fit for in life.
A couple of weeks after that, I was drunk in a parking garage in downtown Portland and I saw her car and my heart stopped.
Portland is a small town now, and back then it was a tiny town. She had left her car in a garage across had gone drinking in the bar across from the record store.
I had had a drink myself. I had had several drinks. I was drinking something called the dirty monkey, and I had leaned into the bartender and asked, now make me a FILTHY monkey.
The statute of limitations in Oregon for property damage is six years. This story is from ten years ago.
She drove a very distinctive car. I checked with my fiancee to see if it was her car. He said he thought it was, because he had had sex in it before. I checked the cement garage for cameras. There were none. I put down my handbag and turned my ring around, like I was getting ready for a high school fight.
I scratched down the side of her car first with a key, which is a rookie move, but which was a warm-up and a declaration of intent.
I kicked off her driver’s side rear view mirror with a boot. There is no sales tax in Oregon, so lots of state funding is provided by traffic stops. I knew she’d never limp home without getting pulled over. I pounded her car in the weird, echo-less, sound-dampened garage.
I managed to break a taillight but not a window, and my dude said, that’s enough, let’s go. You’re done. You’ve beaten up her car. I was flooded with endorphins and delighted and proud and ashamed, but I couldn’t tell anyone, not until you.
Her job at the record store was over within the year, after she punched a customer in the face. The regional manager let her know that you can be snide to customers, you can ignore them, but you can’t actually assault them. She sold her record collection to my husband and moved back to Texas, where she was lots easier to avoid.
Instead of writing or working, I have updated my map of mostly everywhere I can remember doing comedy. If I’ve ever done your show and you wondered what I thought about it, you can probably find out!
I first saw Cindy Sherman’s Untitled #122 in 1990 in Columbia, MO when I was an art student and it’s my favorite piece of hers, I wrote an art studenty little paper about it then and was delighted to see her used in promotion for the exhibit Imitation of Life at the Broad Museum. Cindy made it for Interview magazine in 1983, when they lent her a rack of clothes and said “do something cool with this”, I believe this might be a Romeo Gigli suit. Anyway, I love her fury and glamour and red-rimmed eye and balled up fists, and she’s who I think of most when I do my comedy: a woman right on the edge of absolutely losing her shit.
So, what we have learned from the Aaron Glaser case is that if a woman doesn’t report a rape to the police, or if she does but it doesn’t go to trial, we’re not allowed to talk about it in public and no repercussions, no matter how minor, are appropriate. If the law doesn’t hand down the appropriate punishment, if there is insufficient evidence or a rape kit is lost or a thousand possible things, her experience isn’t valid and she can’t talk about it, because it was never proved in a court of law. That’s some witch trial shit.
Other dudes say “He’s a good dude”, which means, “He’s never mentioned being a serial rapist.”
The dude might say “I’m not a rapist”, because he thinks maybe I raped somebody 3-4 times or whatever, that’s not what I AM, I baked a cake once, I’m not a BAKER.
If a woman says, “I don’t wish to do comedy around my rapist”, her option is to stay home.
If a woman says, “I don’t wish to file charges and go public about being raped, which will make me feel vulnerable and strange and it will make people treat me differently”, her option is to shut up.
What do we do, as women comics? We talk about it amongst ourselves, in secret groups, we get called gossips and shit-stirrers, we maintain secret lists of people we’ve heard are rapists or sexual predators because that makes us feel safe.
That also means, if a woman is attacked who didn’t remember a name from the list or isn’t a member of a secret group, it’s back to being her fault.
This week a friend asked me about a comic I know, who I know to be someone who sexually assaults unconscious women. The word is that he has raped a comic in my old town when she was drunk.
Is the comic going to report it? No. She feels guilty. She feels ashamed. She has been violated. She wants to comfort herself and put it away.
So, we can’t do anything to protect each other or ourselves, all we can do is repeat, I’m sorry. I’m sorry that happened. I’m so sorry. I’m sorry. I believe you. I’m sorry.
My own policy on rape and sexual assault is: I always believe the victim, because 1. false reports are rare and 2. society is predisposed not to believe the victim.
My policy has lost me friends, because I didn’t “back up” an accused assaulter and other men in our circle think I’m not a good pal, because he’s a good dude.
I am beginning to identify with Valerie Solanas and the Society for Cutting Up Men. Andy Warhol was still a strange choice for shooting, though.