Eroticon 2013 – Towards A New Landscape

(Note – It’s been pointed out to me that there were indeed more male bloggers and writers present than I assumed. Which is great news! But I still stand by my words and hope that, next year, even more men will show up. And I would like to thank the likes of DomSigns, Mario from Someone Once Told Me, Justin Hancock, Guy New York (who wasn’t there physically but still managed to do his sessions via Google Hangouts) and every other wonderful dude who attended for attending and being awesome. You guys ROCK.)

It’s officially The Day After Eroticon 2013 Weekend. Now, I’m not a fan of day afters, especially days after a particularly excellent weekend. When we finally got home yesterday, I felt like I was going to collapse in a heap of dead Lady. But this morning, I feel alive. I feel more creatively alive than I have ever been, and that is due to the fact that I learned so much this weekend. I am raring to go into the next year (between this and Eroticon 2014) with more ambition and inspiration than ever before. Of course, there will be low moments where I will want to never get out of my bed again, but you take those moments and live them until they have worn their course and you can move on to the next good thing.

Anyway.

One of the things I was looking forward to this weekend was hearing businesswoman and founder of MakeLoveNotPorn, Cindy Gallop, closing the conference. She did that incredibly well, and I was very pleased that she took the time out for us to do so (in fact, I really hope she comes over to the UK for next year’s edition). Now, I am a shameless fangirl when it comes to her. I think that she has a fresh look on the landscape of pornography and, to put it in a way she might agree with, knows her shit. I ate her words up like the stroopwafels Rose gave me at the start of the weekend.

But then this morning I woke up, having processed her words. And I felt that there was some case for arguing. I do not mean ill on Ms Gallop, but I do want to address some things she said in her plenary.

At a certain point, she asked if she could make the assumption that the crowd was evenly split, gender-wise. I looked around, but already knew the answer. Cindy then went on to say that all industries are dominated by men at the top. We should harness the power of women and let gender diversity drive innovation. Women challenge the status quo because “we are never it”. A 50/50 gender divide is the future of porn and sex. There is a huge amount of money to be made from taking women seriously.

(note – The bits in Italics are quoted verbatim from my trusty notebook)

I genuinely agree with all of that. It is incredibly disheartening to see so few women at the top of major companies, in life as in porn. The power of a female voice should be harnessed because we have a hell of a lot to bring to the table.

My problem, however, is that the right words were pitched at entirely the wrong audience.

As I said, when I looked over the audience in the Max Nasatyr room that afternoon, I knew the answer to her question. The audience at Eroticon is predominantly female. It was last year and it was this year and it will probably be so in the years to come if change doesn’t happen.

Sex writing, erotica writing, sex work, sex education,… the people that are willing to have some visibility among the community are mostly female. I of course did not get the chance to speak to everyone I wanted to speak to, but I’m willing to bet that the only active male sex blogger in the building was coincidentally the one I share my life and bed with. Similarly, Justin Hancock, of BishUK, was one of the few, if not only male sex educators in the building. The rest appeared to be (and correct me if this wasn’t so) interested spouses, the odd speaker and a collection of journalists.

What I am trying to say (and I hope I said it well) is that the sex writing/sex work business seems to be one of the very few businesses dominated by women. Which I applaud with all my heart because God knows….

But I think that Cindy’s words should be take into mind (albeit the other way around, gender-wise). Why are there so few male sex writers/workers/educators speaking out about their job? Why are there not more male sex bloggers? I mean, I do know a couple but that pales in comparison to all the women I know who are out there, being proud about their sexuality online.

Maybe it relates to the point that was made in the Sex and The Media session. There are not enough privileged white, straight men willing to come out for their sexuality (be it in a safe anonymous environment online or in real life). They have a responsibility to speak up, because minorities speaking up have a lot more to lose than they do.

Or maybe it doesn’t.

Either way, I absolutely lament this fact. Men have shit to say about sex too. They do not all have the same standpoint (that of a sexist, anti-feminist,…) that the media is more than willing to attribute to them. The men I know are smart fuckers, in both ways. They have Things To Say and they have their own completely valid points of view. Not all men are shits.

If we can reach that 50-50 equality that Cindy talked about, with more men going into sex ed/writing/and the likes, maybe the sex writing industry can be one of the few industries that has a perfect gender balance.

I’m not saying this will happen. I’m not saying that we can indeed blow the spectrum open and change the entire world through sex. But what I am saying is that it is my humble wish for more men to speak out. Maybe next year, we can have a whole bunch of ass-kicking men in the Max Nasatyr room, speaking about how they are going to rock the world.

If you don’t agree with my views, that is absolutely fine. These are, after all, my personal views, written on a Monday morning after one of the busiest and most exhausting weekends of my life. But I hope that you may find some sliver of agreement in here. Feel free to challenge me, but please do it in a polite way.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have writing to do.

xoxo

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7 Comments

  1. I actually quite agree with a lot of this. I’d love to see more male sex writers.

    One small point: your quotation is pretty much word-for-word perfect, but! she actually premised it by saying that she assumed there were probably more women in the room, and followed it by saying that because this community is predominantly female were are in a position to effect change.

    Other than the fact that there were actually a handful of male sex writers there (it wasn’t just ILB), the rest of what you’ve said still stands up; it just doesn’t quite follow from what Cindy Gallop said.

  2. I agree – although it wasn’t just me, as has been said a few times. Although forgive me for presuming that I was the only male sex blogger (as opposed to varied writer) there – but if I’m wrong, correct me.

    Not that that matters. Gender shouldn’t make too much of a difference anyway.

    In any case, I agree with the points you made in this article – nicely phrased and easy to understand; very easy to agree with.

    I’m not sure we’ll get a truckload of men at Eroticon 2014 though. :p

  3. Great writing, Lady – especially for a Monday morning!
    I think it’s interesting to note that a couple of the men present at Eroticon (at least on the Saturday) were from publishing companies, which once again makes you realise the gender disparity at the top, so to speak. Women may be doing most of the writing when it comes to Erotica, but apparently men are still calling the shots… We should encourage not simply more male writers, but also more top female publishers like Hazel Cushion to redress the balance. Innit?

  4. Yup, agreed! And I think the imbalance arises from a patriarchal culture where female sexuality is deemed more interesting than male because historically, we have not been allowed to express ourselves. I wrote about this issue a few years ago: http://eroticacoverwatch.wordpress.com/category/sage-vivant/

    It’s kinda dense so you may want to recover from Eroticon before you read! But I’m with you, and always keen to hear more authentic male voices in the arena of sexuality.

  5. I know around here, in the schools, boys don’t think they can write well, and girls don’t think they’re strong in math. Perhaps that genderization discourages the male writers. I don’t have nearly as many male bloggers that I follow as female – there simply aren’t as many. My own lover hates to write, and lacks the grammar to be articulate at it (but the content is often amazing).
    I also agree with Kristina, that it may be because women are often (still) pressured into silence about their sexuality. Because I am willing to discuss sex, I am often labeled as a woman with “loose morals”, whatever that is.

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