Have you ever had one of those moments where you notice something that has been staring you in the face for a long time? I read and follow many different sex bloggers who cover a wide variety of topics from sex toy reviews to sex news to personal essays to sexual health and education and much more. The seeds of sexual learning are planted by so many!
One morning, as I was doing a lazy stroll through my sexy garden of blogs, the root of something finally took hold of me: the creators and curators of most of the sex blogs I read are female-identified.
OK, it isn’t that I suddenly just noticed the gender of those I read - I just hadn’t made the connection that the vast majority are women. To take this realization to a ridiculous level, I run a regular column on my own blog, The Hook-up, wherein I interview sex bloggers. There are currently 32 interviews posted. Only two are with male-identified bloggers.
Seriously, just two.
And that is not through any grand selection process. When I choose to interview someone for that feature, it is usually for one of three reasons:
- I’ve been reading their work for a while and think it would be neat to talk to them
- I just read something really awesome on their blog and think it would be neat to talk to them.
- That person has asked and I think they’re neat.
At the same time, it is pretty damn weird that less than 10 percent of my interviews have been with male-identified sex bloggers. Or is it ...
Take a look at some of the recent "Best Sex Blogger" lists that have come out. On Kinkly’s Sex Blogging Superheroes, less than 10 percent of the bloggers are male-identified. Same goes for Rori’s annual selections on Between My Sheets.
What gives? What draws women to the increasingly popular genre of sex blogging while men just aren’t getting into the game?
I took these curious thoughts to three well-known male-identified sex writers and bloggers to see what got them into online sex writing.
Mr. Will of of Mr Will’s House of Thrills had a fairly typical entrance into the sex blogging world. While he started off much like many female-identified writers by doing reviews of sex toys, he moved from there into more involved and in-depth writing on sex and sexuality, first with Eden Fantasys, then on his own site. Jerome Stuart Nichols of LTASex began his sex blogging as a response to a series of anti-abortion pieces and negative articles about Janet Jackson’s exposed nipple back in 2010. Joe Johnstun, chief columnist at sexylittleideas, offers the most primal reason to get into online sex writing, saying, "I love sex. And I love writing," he said. "Me, writing, and sex was a logical threesome."
All three have definitely taken note of the uneven gender ratio (probably faster than me!) and offer different interpretations of what causes it.
Joe considers it a matter of supply and demand, with men being the more active consumers of sex blogs and, by extension, sex blogs written by women.
"Men wanna hear about, and actively seek out, and even pay for women having sex. Women being filmed having sex, women talking about having sex, women writing about having sex. I don't know if this is due to culture, paternalism, the extra X chromosome, or just a big misunderstanding, but women seem to have much less of a hunger (and a pocketbook) for men having sex," Joe told me.
Mr. Will, on the other hand, sees a different kind of imbalance. He sees a marketplace of topics more geared toward women bloggers.
"I think it all boils down to societal roles and the market for adult products. A very large portion of the market share is held by products designed and marketed solely to women, and women are generally more open and honest about their sexuality than a lot of guys," Mr. Will said.
Jerome’s take on the situation considers more historical gender politics and roles. He posits that men have traditionally had an easier go of sexuality, both physically and societally. Men haven’t had to "chase" after and capture sexuality the way women have. However, that malaise (from men themselves and women who presumed men to be content with the status quo) has resulted in men being left behind when it comes to positive sexual expression.
"It’s only recently that people are acknowledging just how atrociously men have been failed by society. With that, more men have found it necessary to define - for themselves - what it means to be a man. The complex, emotionally intelligent, compassionate and considerate male is slowly becoming the rule. Eventually, mainstream culture will take note and this won’t be a problem anymore," Jerome said.
When I asked the fellas whether they had any apprehension about getting into sex blogging, both Mr. Will and Jerome described some significant fears. Mr. Will ascribes his trepidation to both his physicality and sexuality.
"Not only am I a guy, I'm a big white guy. There is so much animosity these days toward cisgender, heterosexual white men that often I find it easier to bite my tongue than to try to have an intelligent discussion," Mr. Will said. He fears the sex-positive writing on his blog will get "trumped because someone doesn't understand true equality."
Jerome also notes his sexuality and how it has helped him.
"If I hadn’t learned the privileges being gay has in female spaces, I probably would not have felt welcome enough to really make a go at it. Through the years, it’s become increasingly clear that, even as a gay, there’s still plenty of vitriol and general anger directed at me due to my testicles," he said.
As for me, well, I have to admit that these responses made me feel both naive and confused. Maybe it's because I was raised by my mother and sister. Maybe it's because I have two daughters. Maybe it's because I have had so many female BFFs over the years. But even when I figured out the tale of the tape of the sex community, I just took it as a given. The positive figures in my life have predominantly been women, and that goes for sex bloggers as well.
While I was a bit stunned, something Joe said really resonated with me. He believes that sex writers, regardless of gender, need to be confident in what they are writing. And if we are then "maybe the prudes will have to take a spin on the intimidation merry-go-round. It's just about their turn anyway."
In the end, Jerome, Joe and Mr. Will offered these seeds to plant in the ambitions of potential male-identified sex bloggers.
"[G]etting to know yourself sexually will really improve your sexual experiences. And writing about sex is one of the best ways to open yourself up to that side of you. So if sex blogging = better sex, then that's really all that needs to be said," Joe said.
Jerome offers an even more positive view, saying, "Your experience is just as real and valid as anyone else’s. Your male privilege gives you a lot of things, but not invulnerability."
"[I] mainly offer advice because it's the best thing I have right now," Mr. Will said. "If i[blogging] is something you are interested in or you are part of a niche of male sexuality, consider diving in!"