A startling piece of gender discrimination

“Is it housekeeping though?” I have bumped into a male acquaintance while clutching the May edition of Good Housekeeping magazine, and he seems confused. The 129-year-old stalwart (91 years old in the UK) made headlines this week with a feature it sweetly and discreetly trails on its cover as “our most intimate test ever”. A hundred Good Housekeeping readers, aged between 30 and 80, have tested a range of vibrators to find out if “they’re hitting the spot” (If you’re interested, the stylish, pebble-shaped Je Joue Mimi was the winner, scoring 77 out of 100 and collecting accolades for not being “scary”). Cue bewilderment from the male populace – my friend eventually decides the feature is a cynical stunt designed to make the magazine “sexy” – and sniggering from the tabloids. The Daily Mirror, for instance, trumpeted the news with the headline: “Housewives’ favourite Good Housekeeping magazine shocks readers with SEX TOY review.”

Well I never. The only really shocking thing about this story is that women using vibrators somehow constitutes headline news.

There does seem to be rather a difference in the way that we regard women and sex toys and men and sex toys. Just as an example, can we imagine, say, Popular Mechanics running a feature on the use and performance of a Fleshlight?

Or to put it another way, men who masturbate are sad wankers while women who do are exploring their sexuality?

14 comments on “A startling piece of gender discrimination

  1. He masterbates: “your a loser. Man up.”
    She masterbates: “you go grlll”
    Multiply by 10 if toys are involved.

  2. It’s the “spreading seed” vs “preserving the womb for Mr Right” thing. Breeding every few days vs breeding every year. So, the “right” thing for a sexually frustrated woman to do is to grab a rampant rabbit rather than an unsuitable bloke.

    As an aside: one interesting thing about the internet is that it’s pretty much created the market that allowed better sex toys for women.

  3. I’ve thought this for a while.

    It’s an insane double standard and just as often internalised by men.

    I always find because I’m incredibly sexually liberal I’ll get caught off guard and realise every so often, oh people actually still think like that.

    Also the worst thing about men’s sex toys is they are a fuss compared to vibrators etc.

  4. Seeing as the likes of Good Housekeeping have been carrying paid adverts for “neck massagers”, “electro-vibratory tension releasers” and the like since the dawn of time it’s only about time they put them through their paces.

  5. I don’t see any sign of double standards:

    The reason men use sex toys is because they are pathetic inadequates. The reason that women use sex toys is exactly the same.

    Because they are pathetic inadequates?

    No, because men are!

  6. greg – “It’s an insane double standard and just as often internalised by men.”

    It is not insane. As someone else has pointed out, sperm is cheap, eggs are expensive. Hence men are like Bluetooth – they attempt to connect to any available socket they find – while women are like Wi-fi – they attempt to connect to the strongest signal around.

    Which works out simply – getting laid is hard work for men. All women have to do is have three pints and stop saying no. Thus a man who sleeps around is a skilled worker, while a man forced to rely on a blow-up doll is a pathetic loser. While a woman who is choosy is a sensible consumer while a woman who sleeps around with strange men is a slut who thinks she is cheap.

    There is no double standard.

  7. It’s changing, though. I know a fair few genuinely sexually liberated women in their 20’s and 30’s and they really do get it. The people who were brought up to think that there’s something wrong with wanking (a religious hangover, surely) are, quite literally, starting to die out.

    So frig away!

  8. The Thought Gang – “The people who were brought up to think that there’s something wrong with wanking (a religious hangover, surely) are, quite literally, starting to die out. So frig away!”

    Is there any culture on the planet where being called a wanker is not an insult? For men anyway.

  9. I think the ‘men who masturbate are pathetic losers’ meme is beginning to die out. Mainly because the availability of internet porn has made it obvious that virtually all men, even ones in relationship (or maybe particularly those, if rumours about the effect of wedding cake on female libidos are true) are wankers. Prior to the net, obtaining suitable material involved potentially socially embarrassing situations, and discovery by wives/GFs etc, and thus more men avoided porn, and pretended they didn’t masturbate. Now everyone knows buxom lasses doing all manner of sexual shenanigans are just a few clicks away on a (fairly) anonymous website, so the idea that a man isn’t looking at, and using it is absurd, unless he’s a religious type (and thats certainly no guarantee).

    I have certainly noticed a more free admission among men of looking at internet porn (among married/LTR men no less), and discussions about it, the unstated admission being that they use it for pleasure too. I’d give it another decade or two, and it’ll all be out in the open, with no value judgements made about it at all.

  10. @SMFS

    “Is there any culture on the planet where being called a wanker is not an insult? For men anyway.”

    Possibly not. But in much the same way that ‘gay’ has become a generic (and negative) throwaway term, quite distinct from the casual homophobia it derives from, ‘wanker’ is just a generic insult used liberally by people who would not, for a moment, deny that they are wankers themselves.

    ‘fucker’ is an insult too. do you think that means those who use it think that fucking is bad?

  11. Jim – “I think the ‘men who masturbate are pathetic losers’ meme is beginning to die out. …. I’d give it another decade or two, and it’ll all be out in the open, with no value judgements made about it at all.”

    I find it hard to believe that anyone is ever going to respect a man who can’t even persuade his wife to sleep with him. It is true that the old rules that kept the true extent of male sexuality from women and children are dying. But people will always admire the man who can get two girls to blow him, not the man who has to pay to watch two girls do it on the internet.

    The Thought Gang – “Possibly not. But in much the same way that ‘gay’ has become a generic (and negative) throwaway term, quite distinct from the casual homophobia it derives from, ‘wanker’ is just a generic insult used liberally by people who would not, for a moment, deny that they are wankers themselves.”

    It was ever anything other than negative? I don’t think it is quite distinct from the casual homophobia it derives from. I think it is clearly chosen for that reason. Although I do think we need some sort of term which means the same thing but without the homophobia. There are times when you really need a word like “f@ggot” in the generic sense.

    At the back of everyone’s mind they know what these terms means and where they come from. Just as people who use racial terms do. It is not about the acts themselves, but what they say about the character of the people so described.

    “‘fucker’ is an insult too. do you think that means those who use it think that fucking is bad?”

    F*cker has always been an interesting one – more respectful than wanker for sure. Even a positive sometimes in the way that Australians can use b@stard.

  12. “I find it hard to believe that anyone is ever going to respect a man who can’t even persuade his wife to sleep with him.”

    The concept that a man who is married has tapped into an endless sea of sex died a death years ago, so its a rare man who says his wife/live in partner provides 100% of his sexual requirements. The people I know with the greatest interest in porn are either married or have live in partners. Every man knows now that marriage is a trap – once you’ve signed on the dotted line, if the wife has a headache on a regular basis, there’s not much you can do about it, unless you fancy getting divorced, being kicked out of your house, living in a grotty bedsit, losing contact with the kids and paying for the privilege of it all. A married man has zero power in the marriage, and everyone knows it, so if he’s not getting his end away, no man I know would blame him for it.

  13. “But people will always admire the man who can get two girls to blow him, not the man who has to pay to watch two girls do it on the internet.”

    Admire the man who can, yes. Disparage the man who can’t no.

    I admire a sportsman who can play at the highest level. I don’t think badly of the fan who watches from the stands because he can’t compete at that level.

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