Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Sex, lust, fantasy and the truth about men

By Aussiegirl

A trip through the mind of a post-modern man taking advantage of all the internet and the society at large has to offer. Is he exceptional? Or is he the norm?

Sex, lust, fantasy and the truth about men - Sunday Times - Times Online
The Sunday Times May 07, 2006

Sex, lust, fantasy and the truth about men
Sean Thomas’s candid memoir about his sexual adventures does women a service — by revealing what it is to be a 21st-century man, writes India Knight

A few months ago a proof copy of Sean Thomas’s new book, Millions of Women are Waiting to Meet You, landed on my doormat. I flicked through it over breakfast. A few pages in, I cancelled my entire working day to read it in one go. I had just come to this bit about his first sexual experience as a child: “The first thing I had an orgasm over was the cleaning woman . . . I am weird, terminally peculiar.”

The book is ostensibly about that revolutionary and now ubiquitous phenomenon of online dating, but it is also a sexual memoir, a deft first-person account of 42-year-old Thomas’s entire sex life, warts and all. Thomas loses himself in online porn for days on end: “This is compelling stuff. So compelling I think I’m going to do exactly the same tomorrow. And maybe the day after that I’ll do the same. And the week after that. Indeed the next time I do this, I might stay up for 24 hours at a stretch; after all, who needs sleep when there are people having live group sex in Ontario?”

He is fairly brutal in his assessments of the women he meets: “Her life seems slightly tragic and she appears to be a little mixed-up, but she’s got a Pulitzer prize-winning bottom.” His opinions about women and sex generally verge on the outré: “To this day I find short skirts and gingham dresses very exciting. I also like girls with bare legs.” And he is alarmingly frank on the question of not having sex for a while: “Once, during my schlep across the Sinai of celibacy, I caught myself looking at a ‘naked’ mannequin in a shop window. With lust.”

All of this makes his book compulsive; it is eye-poppingly candid about both sexual successes and crushing failures (Thomas is not of the delusional “I’m so hot it hurts” school), and it is also very funny, even if the laughter is often of the horrified variety. Here, for instance, describing a date who is having difficulty understanding Queen, The Musical:

“The woman is a moron. She is a cretin. She is, I fear, emblematic; in other words, she is crystallising a question that has been locked in the attic of my mind for some time. Just why are so many women so thick?”

I doubt my laughter would be appalled if I were a man — I’d probably be whooping with recognition. But I suppose I find all this rather grim because I am a woman who likes to imagine that men are evolved, sensitive creatures who don’t have sex on the brain 24 hours a day; and I am horrified because I also recognise that Thomas is a kind of Everyman, and that a lot of what he says about women — or rather about what men think about women — is probably true, particularly the bit about sex on the brain or about the way men judge women instantly (of yet another date, who doesn’t look much like her online picture and who puts this down to changing her hairstyle: “I felt like replying: and your dress size? And your beard-shaving regime?”)

[...]Are men becoming more tender, and if so how does that reconcile with the fact that I found so much in the book shockingly full-on? “It’s how men are,” he says. “A woman today told me she’d enjoyed the book, but then she said, ‘Is that really how men think?’ I didn’t have the heart to tell her the truth, which is that yes, in my experience, it is. They might not necessarily share these particular thoughts with the women they know, but we all present a persona to the world.”

[...]Thomas has, I think, done his generation of men a service by telling it like it is, not just on the subjects of pornography and sex, but by mapping out a guide to men’s emotional landscape, and in doing so telling men that being themselves is okay. They will thank him for articulating what they think but are too scared to voice. Women should thank him too — not just for the timely lesson in social anthropology, but also for giving them a genuine insight into what it means to be a man in 2006. If you’ve ever wondered why the date you thought you’d got on with wonderfully never called, you need to read this book.


At 5:06 AM, Blogger TJW said...

"Men are evolved, sensitive creatures who don’t have sex on the brain 24 hours a day!"

It's true! Well, except for that last bit.

In my humble opinion That Mr. Thomas should speak only for himself. What lurks within the confines of my brain is completely and utterly unique.


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