Head Over Heels For My Puddin

Let’s talk about the intersection of female sexuality and public opinion. As you all know, this topic is an Internet staple. Lately it’s been revved into overdrive by the release of Suicide Squad – a film I haven’t seen and don’t plan to see. Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter are rife with the trending hashtag #relationshipgoals attached to a photo of Harley Quinn and The Joker, Warner Bros has released a line of merchandise that proclaims the same, and the attendant screeds that wish to put to a stop to this phenomenon are full throated and annoying as hell. At first, I ignored it. Now that this film has grossed over $280 million and the voices of dissent are becoming louder and more ubiquitous, it’s impossible to continue ignoring it without unfriending half my mutual followers. The Negative Nancys usually unfurl the following argument: 

“The Joker and Harley Quinn are in an abusive relationship” – insert comic panel showing The Joker punching Harley or otherwise hurting her – “and should NOT be idealized.”

Then there’s a whole lot of bloviating about the nature of domestic abuse and Stockholm Syndrome, as well as a horde of mansplaining comic geeks that want to remind us all that Harley Quinn is an allegory for domestic abuse (a contentious topic), and should never be emulated. “She isn’t badass – she’s a victim!” is repeated ad nauseum, and there are passionate diatribes about what a delusional person she is, how she and Mistah J are definitely NOT in love, definitely NOT a “relationship goal,” and that the women who fantasize about these two need to be educated on what a healthy partnership looks like.

I’ve been clenching my teeth on the subject, because I’m not a DC fan and am therefore not personally invested in the discussion, but now I wish to say something, because this is a carousel that has gone around more than once. The central tenets are always the same: women don’t know what’s good for them, deserve to be lectured about their troubling sexual fantasies, and can’t grasp the concept of fiction. It happened in 2008 when The Dark Knight came out, and here it is again, bigger, louder, and more misogynist than ever.

A woman making a statement about the type of person she's attracted to? UNACCEPTABLE.

A woman making a statement about the type of person she's attracted to? UNACCEPTABLE.

What I’m going to present to you all is the idea that women are capable of identifying the difference between fantasy and reality. Shocking, right? Suicide Squad is a silly action movie starring charismatic actors. It’s set in the darkest of the popular comic book universes, and its heroes are the clinically insane and criminally violent. It’s pure escapism. Who doesn’t occasionally dream of inhabiting a fictional world? That’s why these things exist. Furthermore, Hollywood glamorizes all kinds of horrid, unhealthy shit, and this is what moralizing assholes are seizing upon? I’m sure it has nothing to do with policing female sexuality and everything to do with protecting victims of abuse and promoting good role models for women, right? Yes? No.
    
Eight years ago, the internet exploded with erotic Joker fanfiction courtesy of Heath Ledger fans who really dug his turn as the Clown Prince of Crime. Luckily for them, the DC universe comes equipped with a ready-made Mary Sue in the form of Harley Quinn, so that fanfic was easy to churn out. Almost immediately there was a wave of outrage (not all of which came from “nice guys” who were butthurt that the geek girls of their dreams were getting off to thoughts of a psychopath), including op-eds from fairly respected sources like the A.V. Club. Men and women of all stripes came forward to admonish these fans and let them know that they didn’t want to hook up with The Joker. I don’t think I need to point out that these criticisms were lobbed exclusively at women. There was no condescending finger-wagging aimed at the legions of male fans who rabidly loved Ledger’s Joker, because apparently it is perfectly okay to imagine being a violent man, but not okay to imagine fucking one. I also found no mentions of gay men who may have dipped their toes into the warm waters of erotic fanfic. It was a decidedly gendered backlash, and in their haste to make pronouncements about female sexuality and share their very un-asked for opinions, these neckbeards and wannabe pop psychologists failed to acknowledge a couple of things.
    
For one, fantasizing about a fictional character is different than wanting to actually experience a real world approximation of that fiction. Fan clubs devoted to real serial killers are rare. People aren't posting photos of Chris Brown and a battered Rhianna with the caption “relationship goals.” If women really wanted to be brutalized, they’d have no trouble locating a brute. Maybe all this Joker/Harley fetishization is just –gasp! A FANTASY.  And hey, maybe it isn’t up to you to armchair psychoanalyze these women and lecture them about their fantasies. Maybe women’s fantasies are none of your business, Dr. Freud. Just because they’re writing about them on the Internet doesn’t mean they’re inviting you to weigh in on their emotional states and/or intellectual competence.
    
Some women have rape fantasies. As icky as many of us may find that, it’s pretty common. Human psychology is complex and varied. Even people with PhDs don’t fully understand how it all works. Why does every Tom, Dick, and Harry assume they know how it works? Assuming that women can’t separate fantasy from reality is insulting, not to mention inaccurate. Some women are into BDSM. Some women are into humiliation. Someone women are masochists. The last time I checked, The Joker was a fairly sadistic character. Why not use him as a cipher in your erotic fanfiction? Why not use Harley Quinn as a stand-in for yourself if you want to get off to hardcore sadism? It’s a safe space to play out scenarios that could not and would not ever happen. Stop yelling about how “unhealthy” it is, and stop lecturing women about relationship dynamics. This is kink-shaming of the highest order.

If you're gonna be kinky, make sure it's nonthreatening and easy for men to exploit.

If you're gonna be kinky, make sure it's nonthreatening and easy for men to exploit.

 ”But Candace, it can and does happen!” I hear you screaming. “Women find themselves in abusive relationships all the time! Lots of abused women identify with Harley Quinn.”

And of course you’re right. But this feeds problem number two: Are you claiming that those women ended up in abusive situations because they idealized them ahead of time? If so, that’s blatant victim-blaming. That’s another iteration of “she asked for it,” and lets the abuser off the hook. Women fall into abusive relationships for a slew of reasons, but I promise you that fantasizing about mental patients in a comic book universe isn’t one of them. The Joker’s relationship with Harley Quinn is abusive at times, but these are criminally insane freaks in clown makeup who don't exist. What woman is honestly idealizing that relationship and basing her own life decisions on it? Women don’t need morality exemplified by a fucking superhero movie. We can think for ourselves, thank you. Jerking off to something doesn't mean we've lost all sense of morality.

It’s also likely that many women fantasize about extreme sexual and romantic situations out of boredom, regardless of personal fetishes and kinks. Female sexuality is repressed, policed, and controlled at every level of society. Maybe The Joker and Harley Quinn represent an alluring nihilistic escape from such puritanism. Maybe women aren’t the fragile little angels you think they are. Maybe women are so sick of being told they must fall in love with “nice” men that they’ve developed an attraction to very, very bad men. I’m certainly not the first person to suggest that. And maybe those same women enjoy imagining themselves doing taboo, violent, and illegal things without consequences. Again, it's called escapism and it's why fiction exists. I don’t see anyone bitching when women insert themselves into Jane Austen novels. That’s considered perfectly normal, but swap Mr. Darcy for The Joker and everyone gets upset. Why? Because one of those fantasies is socially acceptable and the other isn’t? Let's take a moment to ponder why that is. Additionally, Joker/Harley storylines are varied. Even someone with only a glancing knowledge of the Batman canon knows that Harley Quinn's character has been through dozens of re-imaginings, and her relationship with the Joker redefined again and again. Certainly all those stories aren't abusive. I know for a fact most of the fanfiction isn't, so these women are clearly seeing something in the characters that the squalling naysayers are either missing or ignoring. 

The only argument I halfway agree with is that Suicide Squad’s marketing tactics are irresponsible. The offending Joker/Harley merchandise is clearly targeting teens and pre-teens. I know who shops at Hot Topic, and those kids are not mentally equipped to navigate the complexities of BDSM or the blurry lines of consent that accompany it. Branding an extreme kink as a relationship goal and selling it to a demographic with only a nascent understanding of romantic relationships is pretty sleazy. The budding sexuality of young women should probably not be subjected to images of a grinning masochist experiencing orgiastic pain/pleasure at the hands of a deranged maniac. Without anything else to compare it to, some unhealthy ideas could form. On the flip side, there’s a plethora of toxic Hollywood romances that aren’t as obviously cartoonish. I'd like to think that no kid, regardless of age, believes movies like Suicide Squad represent the real world. Parenting should come into play here, but I acknowledge that not everyone’s parents are stellar. So maybe, maybe it’s not great to show these kinds of relationships to teenagers. Having said that, human beings are not robots that become hopelessly indoctrinated by the media they consume. If someone, even a young person, finds herself titillated by a screen couple’s relationship, that means that some part of her resonated with what she saw. That isn’t something a writer, director, actor, t-shirt, or hashtag is responsible for. 

Now our children are gonna be jumping into vats of acid to impress their crushes. THANKS, HOLLYWOOD

Now our children are gonna be jumping into vats of acid to impress their crushes. THANKS, HOLLYWOOD

Keeping women safe is important. Awareness of domestic violence and abusive relationships is important. Promoting healthy and happy human connections, romantic or otherwise, is important. All too often, media and entertainment utterly fail to do those things, but shaming women for their sexual fantasies is not the answer. That speaks to misogyny and nothing more. If you want to write angry screeds about the film industry's irresponsible portrayals of domestic abuse, that’s fair. If you think teen-friendly clothing shops at your local mall should refrain from carrying Suicide Squad merchandise, feel free to organize a boycott. You have a right to protest things that you believe are unethical or in bad taste. What isn’t fair is berating female fans for having fantasies that you don’t approve of. Stop kink-shaming. Stop victim-blaming. Stop trying to control female sexuality. The next time one of these movies comes along and makes a big splash, stay in your lane and recognize that women have a right to enjoy whatever escapism floats their boat, just as men do.

There have already been Internet rumors of a stand-alone Harley Quinn movie, and possibly even a Joker spin-off (obviously Jared Leto is hoping this is the case – otherwise, why would he have been such a try-hard?), and I’m preemptively bracing myself for the inevitable tide of outrage that will follow in their wake.
 

Is You Is Or Is You Ain't: Bisexual Edition

Submitted by P. Wozniak

There are so many manifestos about bisexual erasure on the Internet these days, and I want to state for the record that I support them 100%. Bisexuality absolutely does exist, and the way both the hetero and gay communities often treat it is ignorant and disrespectful. However, just as I also support the basic tenets of the Fat Acceptance Movement, I do still have a few bones to pick. Not because I necessarily disagree with anything being said, but because there appears to be a lack of nuanced discussion about this issue. To draw a further parallel, should obese people be shamed, bullied, or discriminated against? Hell no! But should we all pretend like obesity isn’t a gigantic health crisis that claims thousands of lives every year and costs billions of dollars? Um, no. Not at all. That’s destructive and promotes misinformation. In a similar vein, in this crusade to prove the existence of bisexuality and dispel the myths surrounding it, a whole hell of a lot of people are failing to acknowledge that some of the accusations leveled at bisexual people are legitimate, and that some bisexual erasure is actually a positive thing. I know this is an unpopular position, but hear me out. Members of the queer community will understand what I’m saying, and I hope we can get a dialogue going whereby we put an end to this “all or nothing” mentality in regards to bisexuality.

Gay culture is seen by many as trendy and cool, and there are a lot of straight people who want to carry a queer card for the cache it lends them. We’re all familiar with “party bisexuals,” and the “bicurious,” and people who lie about their sexual orientation so they can seem more open-minded or edgy or whatever. Those people aren’t as common as the queer community sometimes fears, but they definitely do exist. Let’s stop pretending like they don’t. I don’t think it’s enough to identify based on sexual desires alone; I think we need to look at the bigger picture and consider our deeper feelings. Romantic, rather than sexual, orientation is the real revealer of identity. There are tons of people who have queer desires, but only a fraction of those people actually experience queer love. Same-sex marriage is finally legal in America, and queer relationships the world over are steadily gaining the respect and protection they deserve. More people than ever are out, and even though our society has a long way to go before there’s true equality, the social landscape has improved to the point where we should all re-evaluate the way we contextualize our sexual desires, because now the stakes are higher than ever.

We're sorry to inform you that as beautiful and amazing and perfect and gorgeous as this is, it's not for everyone.

We're sorry to inform you that as beautiful and amazing and perfect and gorgeous as this is, it's not for everyone.

Unfortunately, bisexuality is the biggest culprit of romanti-sexual crises in the queer community. I know, I know; bisexuality has this totally unfair stigma attached to it, and we’re all working hard to change that (me included), but the ugly truth is that all those stereotypes and misconceptions about bisexuality are not always false, and we’re not going to legitimize bisexuality as a sexual orientation until we acknowledge and deal with that. There really are fake bisexuals in the world (for a super famous example, look at David Bowie. He once said that coming out as bisexual was the worst mistake of his career because it wasn’t true and people continued to believe it even after he took off his sequined leotards and said, “Just kidding! I never blew Mick Jagger or Lou Reed”). We’ve all met at least one or two. There really are bicurious people who vastly play up their curiosity so as to seem like honest members of the queer community, and then when someone is interested in them, they start backpedaling and backing off and acting weirded out by the attention. Um, hello, you’re in a gay bar! If you’re not open to the possibility of gay love or gay sex, get out. I mean, that’s just common courtesy. Nobody expects you to put out, but if you’re just barely okay with receiving sexual attention from a queer person, you need to exit our spaces. If we’re not safe from humiliation in our own spaces, where are we safe? And then there are the people who do it for attention, or to advance their careers (usually in music or showbiz – see above), and the list is just endless. The fact is, a lot of bisexual people do need to prove themselves, because there are a lot of pretenders. It hurts me to write that sentence, because it validates bisexual erasure, but goddamn, it’s fucking true, and as much as I want to, I can’t make it untrue.

Don't crucify me yet. Consider this:

People say that behavior doesn’t define your sexuality; desire does. Well, I agree completely, but nobody says you have to shout about your desires from the rooftops. When it comes to dealing with other people, and representing yourself to the world, you might want to consider only announcing what your behavior can corroborate. Otherwise, you end up looking like a big, fat liar. If you have secret sexual desires for people that you would never, ever allow yourself to fall in love with, please don’t tell the world about it. Your closest friends and family, sure. You confide whatever you want to your inner circle. I’m talking about the rest of us.

The vast (and I do mean vast) majority of bisexual people I’ve met say that while they’re attracted to multiple genders, they only have relationships with one. And I’m sorry to say, it’s usually bisexual woman who are most guilty of this. Most of the bisexual women I’ve met are romantically interested in men only. Though they feel physical desire for women and sometimes have sex with women, they do not want to seriously date women. They do not ever fall in love with women. They only fall for men and form relationships with men. This is a problem, folks. On one hand, a person’s sexual habits are no one else’s business, and I’m not proposing that we create some kind of queer police to evaluate just how queer someone really is. That would be fucked up beyond measure. On the other hand, there’s a huge difference between having the capacity to really love someone and merely finding someone sexually alluring, and most bisexuals do not acknowledge this. Most of society does not acknowledge this. Hell, think of all the horrible little straight fuckboys out there who think that women are living, breathing blow-up dolls that exist for the sole purpose of their sexual gratification. They don’t view women as people, and they don’t want to have relationships with them. Not really, anyway. They just want to fuck them. We don’t ever question whether or not they’re straight, and why not? They seem to love their male friends with a great big passion, while women are subhuman and only exist to drain their cocks. “Bros Before Hos” sounds an awful lot like a misogynist gay anthem to me. I mean, which is more meaningful? Real love or merely getting off?

Anyway, I digress. The point is, for someone who is romantically queer, dating bisexual people is a minefield. Dating in general is a minefield, and when you’re queer it’s just that much harder. Think of it this way: If you’re romantically queer and you go out with someone who is only sexually queer, what do you think is going to happen? If you’re both attracted to each other, and you spend enough time together, the romantic queer is likely to feel a real connection and develop real feelings, and the sexual queer isn’t. The sexual queer is going to enjoy the sex but never consider her partner a real love interest, and thusly the romantic queer will inevitably get hurt. Separating the people who want to use you for sex from the people who are genuinely open to a relationship is difficult. One of the things that makes it so difficult is that almost everybody identifies as queer now. It’s just too tempting not to. If you’re a straight woman who sometimes feels tingly when she sees Kate Upton’s boobs, then you must be bi! Hooray! You’re queer! Tell everyone! Throw a party! Except, maybe don’t do that, because there’s more to a romantic identity than just tingly genitals. Maybe examine your desires and try to figure out if they point to anything deeper, or if you’re just admiring the sex appeal of a sexy person (or, God forbid, supporting the sexual objectification of women). Sexuality is fluid, after all. We know this. Science has proven it again and again and again. Sexuality is fluid, and just because you feel turned on by someone it doesn’t mean that your romantic orientation includes that person.

There are bisexual, pansexual, and asexual people out there who are genuinely romantically attracted to multiples genders. They really do exist. I submit that we’re moving toward a future where the majority of the population fits one of those descriptions. As rigid sexual socialization falls by the wayside, and we move toward gender equality and gender neutrality, we may find ourselves in a future where our genitalia are the least important parts of us. That would be beautiful, wouldn’t it? Until then, we’re trapped in the now, and in the now most people have “preferences.” I think we should allow those preferences to guide us and be a little more selective about how we identify to others so as to minimize confusion, and to allow those of us who actually do include multiple genders in our romanti-sexual orientations to be recognized. The term bisexual has been used too loosely for too long, and it has caused nothing but problems. Whenever I read articles that justify this muddiness, I feel annoyed. I think, why the fuck are we counting people as bisexual when they’re obviously straight? I’m sick of meeting “bisexual” women who can’t love me because I don’t have a penis. They're straight. You’re straight if you’re a woman who only loves men. Admit it, own it, and move on. Stop thinking you need to be queer to be cool.

She has no idea I'm only dating her because an acceptable penis-haver hasn't swept me off my feet yet.

She has no idea I'm only dating her because an acceptable penis-haver hasn't swept me off my feet yet.

Women are people, not an assemblage of body parts. If you’re not passionate about the people who own the body parts you're lusting after, then your attraction is shallow indeed. If you like to eat pussy, but you could never fall in love with someone who has a pussy, then you are not really bisexual. You're just sexually fluid. This is why so many lesbians are leery of bisexuals, and why so many just refuse to even entertain the idea of getting involved with one. Treating women like sex objects and upholding the dominant paradigm of woman = sex does not make you queer. Loving women makes you queer, and I’m sorry to say, there are a ton of women who identify as queer who have never had real romantic feelings for another woman and never will. And know they never will.

There is nothing wrong with experimentation. Experiment all you want! Be bicurious! Be fluid! Come to the gay bar and hang out! Just. Be. Honest. About. It. Don’t tell people you’re queer if you’re romantically straight. That’s dishonest. If you know your interest in someone will never progress beyond the physical, be up front about it. Yeah, that might result in someone deciding you’re a waste of her/his time and declining to fuck you, but that’s fair. People who are interested in relationships should not be tricked into hooking up with someone who can’t or won't commit because of identity confusion/misrepresentation. Don’t lead someone on if they’re just a lay to you. Be honest about the fact that you want nothing but sex, and that said sex is not terribly important to you. That person may or may not go for it. If they do go for it, then they’re doing so with full consent. If they don’t, that’s their prerogative. They wanted something you couldn't provide and made an informed decision not to put their feelings on the line. That’s ethics, my friends. Does it mean you’ll have less sex? Yeah, probably. But it also means you’ll hurt fewer people, and that’s a good thing for everyone involved.
    

In Defense of Mistresses

Submitted by Anonymous

[The author of this post asked that her identity be redacted for reasons that will soon become obvious.]

Here's a confession: I prefer to have affairs with married men rather than pursue so-called “real relationships” with so-called “available” men. The reason why is simple: married men are better lovers, and I'm going to make a case for it. Buckle in, darlings. This is going to be a bumpy ride. 

In addition to their considerable sexual experience and unspent energy, I prefer married men to single men because they don’t smother me. I want fleeting intimacy on my own terms with no obligations. I want to be appreciated, but not possessed. People say, “Then just have casual sex with single men. Don’t be a homewrecker; there are plenty of single guys who aren’t into commitment.” Not so fast. My dears, there is no such thing as casual sex with single men. I have never had an affair with a single man that didn’t end with him trying to rope me into a relationship. Never. Even if he doesn’t want a relationship himself (and he usually doesn’t), he wants me to want one. He’ll say and do anything to coax me into exclusivity. This new generation of womanizers isn’t looking for sex. They’re looking to conquer a woman’s heart. They crave love and fidelity from their lovers with no intention of providing those things. Only guys who get their love and fidelity elsewhere are truly accepting of my decision to live independently and with no serious emotional strings attached. The moralizers cluck their tongues and say that this isn’t true, but it is. 

Married men don’t lie to me. They don’t fill my head with romantic nonsense or make promises they don’t intend to keep. Unlike single men, convincing a woman that they’re crazy in love with her so that she’ll fall crazy in love with them is not in their best interests, so they don’t do it. In fact, they actively avoid cultivating too much intimacy so that their mistresses won’t fall for them. When your mistress decides she wants you all to herself, you have a problem, so married men give me plenty of space and make damn sure not to lead me on. They don’t want all my attention. They don’t want to conquer me. They just want some excitement in their lives, which is exactly what I want. I’m not looking for a “real” relationship, whatever that is. I simply want the thrill of being desired, some passionate sex every once in a while, and to share the company of someone who genuinely likes me. All this monogamous domestic partnership shit is for the birds. It’s mostly founded on lies, and I see precious few opportunities for feminism to exist in that space.

I’m sick of being treated like a prize that men want to win. Even when I didn’t fall into their traps, the manipulation games came thick and fast. Being someone’s mistress is simpler, more honest, and affords me the autonomy and dignity I deserve. “But how is there any dignity in infidelity?” the moralizers ask. My dears, let me posit something: monogamy is not the holy grail of human love. There. I said it. Life is not a Disney movie. Furthermore, a cheating man is a cheating man. People will do what they want, and if your husband isn’t sleeping with me, you can rest assured that he is sleeping with someone else. I don’t attempt to entice anyone who isn’t already willing, so it might as well be me your husband fucks, because I’m not trying to ruin your marriage. I know it will hurt your feelings if you find out, but I try very hard to keep my affairs secret, and if your husband isn’t a complete dumbass and really does love you, he’ll be discreet too, and you’ll never know about us. Be glad it’s me he’s seeing and not someone who wants a husband of her own. I’ll never try to take him away from you.

And don’t bother to make the polyamory argument, because that’s just as bad as monogamy. In fact, most polyamorists are actually monogamists. I won’t get into the details of that sticky wicket, but I’ve seen it again and again. Polyamorists are just the same as single men. They encourage women to form expectations that will never be fulfilled. Give me swingers any day of the week. They want sex, and so do I. You can keep your flowers and poetic words, and all the manipulative shit you say to women to make them feel like they can’t live without you. I don’t want it. All I want is a warm body in my bed and a passion that is unspoiled by deceit and familiarity. You’ve heard the phrase “familiarity breeds contempt?” It’s true. Beyond a certain point, the more I get to know someone, the less I like him. Married men seldom wear out my patience. They’re not around enough. They provide the perfect balance of attention and neglect. When I’m done with them, they’re usually done with me. Nobody’s heart gets broken in these situations. We just run out of steam and then go our separate ways. It’s natural, fair, and stress-free. Relationships with married men are far more egalitarian than relationships with single men, because single men always want to wield this huge amount of power over their lovers, while married men just want to have a good time.

Instead of being hurt by infidelity, I would rather be the other woman. If I can exist independently, what do I need a relationship for? The reason so many men dislike commitment is because they don’t need it. If you’re attractive and successful, why on earth would you tie yourself down to one person? You wouldn’t. The real reason women are relationship-oriented is because it’s so much harder for us to achieve financial stability. It’s hard to earn enough money to completely support yourself. Relationships take some of the burden away by letting you share it. This is why Baby Boomers and the preceding generations were so against workplace equality. The knew what equal opportunity and financial independence would mean for sexual relations between men and women. Keeping women dependent means keeping women desperate, and keeping women desperate for a partner ensures that men get to call the shots. The only way to truly be free from all of this is to make your own living and be utterly secure. Once that is achieved, you will not feel so much internal pressure to fall in love, settle down, and tie down some man. You’ll find that you’re far less clingy than you thought you were, and that you really don’t fall in love as easily as you thought you did. There have been other factors influencing that. Take those factors away and you might find that you enjoy being single and free. Now you’re wondering what this has to do with sleeping with married men.

The equation is simple. Single men demand to be needed, not merely wanted. For their egos to be fully fed, they need to feel like they own you. They will sweep you off your feet with the most magnificent lies you’ve ever heard, talk about the wonderful future they hope to have with you, and generally work as hard as they can to make you feel like you can’t live without them. Single men are needy, dishonest, and will always burn you, even if they do make a commitment. There are some men who are faithful, sure, but the majority isn’t. Sooner or later your long-term male partner is going to fool around on you, and most of them are going to leave you. So then what? Do you just never settle down? Of course, but there’s more to it than that. In order to remove the danger of being roped into some guy’s romance game, you can’t just rely on yourself to resist. There will always be at least one man who can break your resolve, get inside your head, and get you to cave. Loneliness is powerful. To avoid this altogether you need to date men who won’t try to break you in the first place.

Being a mistress is really the ideal situation for a heterosexual woman, because she can enjoy intimacy on her own terms. As long as you’re not secretly hoping for happily ever after, you're safe. The less you put on the line, the less damage they can deal you. It’s also worth taking note of the power you have over them. Single men risk very little when they ensnare you. As I mentioned, they are the manipulators and therefore wield all the power. Married men, on the other hand, are risking quite a bit to be with you. If they wish to stay married, they’re putting their lives on the line, and that potential sacrifice isn’t lost on them. They realize that they need to keep you happy to make sure you don’t ruin their lives, and depending on the situation, their jobs may be in danger as well. I recommend having an affair with a man who is both married and your colleague or boss, because that way you have sway over more than one aspect of his life. You’ll be amazed by how forthright and fair a man can be when he knows you have the potential to hurt him. Naive women who date single men delude themselves into thinking that they can hurt men the way that men hurt them. Not so. The things that hurt you will never hurt a man, because men are not invested in relationships the same way women are. Again, they don’t have to be. But when you have the power to cost him his job or marriage? He’ll be very, very sweet to you indeed!  Even more importantly, he won’t make promises he can’t keep. He’ll be honest.

And this is the crux of the matter, ladies. The way things are, you have two choices: Be a patsy or be a lover. Be the broken-hearted partner or the sexy mistress. It isn’t wise to bank on being one of the very, very few happy non-broken-hearted partners in the world, because they’re rare, and the odds that you’ll be one of them are low. I personally choose to be a lover, because I enjoy sex and romance. I believe those things are transcendent human experiences, but only when they’re pure. Most men are incapable of purity unless you force their hand. They must exhaust their trickery on someone else before they can give you something meaningful. 

I know that the women reading this are probably thinking, “Oh my god, what century is this?” And I do agree that what I’m positing here sounds ridiculously antiquated. It seems like we’ve stepped into a time machine, I admit. But honestly, when you go out in the world and start dating these little fuckhead millennials, you’ll see that men are depressingly slow to evolve. Even though we have bigger and better feminism, polyamory, Internet, gay marriage, more trans recognition and rights, and a better understanding of gender and sexuality, the vast majority of men are the same Neanderthals their grandfathers were. My advice is absolutely sound. Don’t believe me? That’s cool. Go spend seven or eight years dating twenty-somethings and then report back with your findings. Go on. Do it. Off with you.

You'll come around.