Are Bloggers Afraid To Talk About Sex?
I'm a sex writer. Well, I'm more than simply a sex writer, but I'm very open about the fact that I write about sex-related topics in my blog and in other media. I have no problem with being known as a "Sex Writer" mainly because I feel that women have the right to speak openly about sex from a sex-positive point of view, rather than a shaming one. I encourage women to speak freely about their sexuality, sexual identity, and yes, sexual behavior. I recognize, however, that doing so publicly can be rather daunting.
Image: Jam Ikidena via Flickr
Since working here at BlogHer, I've scoured all types of blogs and posts and I find that women love to write about dating, marriage, love, divorce, reconciling relationships and parenthood, being single, etc. Fewer women are actually writing explicitly about sex itself. I really enjoy the thoughtfulness of the blogs I read about the other topics in this section. The women really capture the spectrum of emotions and experiences, and I love having insight into their lives. I've featured posts that I think provide diverse coverage of a wide range of topics.
Where's the sex?
I've noticed a trend towards bloggers featuring more advertising and product reviews/endorsements woven in between their personal content. I understand that blogging has become profitable for many women and I support your efforts to earn extra income through something as fun as blogging. This might explain why some women shy away from overtly sexual content; they don't want to scare off advertisers. My personal blog contains sexually explicit content, so I notice that I get solicitations mostly from people selling sex-related products or offering similar services, not so much others. (Note: I don't allow commercial advertising on my blog unless it's to help a friend promoting a small business) I've even had some people say they'd love to advertise on my blog, but the content is a bit too "adult" for their consumer-base.
That tickles me. Their consumers are having sex. Please believe it! Sex is such a tricky area, though, so for the sake of brand management, many marketing folks err on the side of G or PG when choosing blogs to advertise with.
Women are still very much judged by what they talk about and write about, so I get why some shy away from sex writing in that regard as well. Women who write openly about sex are too often assumed to be "loose" women, or women who are "promiscuous". Can't a woman who has had only one sex partner write about sex, too? And this idea of being "promiscuous", of course, is troublesome. Assuming there is something wrong with a woman who has had numerous sexual partners (and chooses to write about) it is problematic as well. I find that in discussions about the number of sexual partners a woman has had, men and women usually have that number where they draw an invisible line and begin judging women negatively if they cross the threshold.
I just... I just wish it weren't that way.
Then there's the "sex is sacred and private" way of thinking. I can't knock that, honestly. Some people feel that by talking openly about their private sex lives, they're somewhat devaluing the intimacy of the act and they'd rather keep things private and closer to home. I respect that. I don't think you have to write sordid details about your personal sex life to be a sex writer though. Sometimes, the best writing about sex is theoretical and metaphorical. It's in the questions we ask and seek to answer that we find some of the greatest writing about our sexuality. I enjoy the exploration I read in some of the sex writing I encounter, and I'm particularly intrigued by those who don't have it all figured out. Maybe some women expect that they have to write gratuitously or write erotica to be sex writers. I'd like to shut that idea down this instant! I'm not seeking literary porn, though I'd enjoy reading samples if you have it *wink wink*. I'm looking for women unafraid to express their thoughts, praises, laments, security, confusion...whatever they're willing to write about.
I write for another online publication and some of the comments I get on my blogs, when I'm discussing very real, natural behaviors, are quite condemning. People shame the publication for even publishing the content which is, quite frankly, rather mild by my standards. It reminds me that people are conservative, for the most part, when it comes to sex. Some people still giggle or blush when saying words like "penis" and "vagina". I get it. I get it.
I'd love to know who some of your favorite sex writers are and if you have links to bloggers who write really great pieces about sex and sexuality, share them in the comments.