The Sweet Spot: I Am the Emasculator

​I am known among my friends as The Emasculator. According to them, the man who takes me on must have balls of steel and a very elastic ego. I will admit that I like to argue, know how to change a tire, and have never been known to simper. If I am not moved or impressed, I have a habit of making it known. But though I get an odd satisfaction out of this reputation, I also find it ridiculous.

It is an assumed understanding in our culture that men can be emasculated -- that we as women should be concerned with catering to the male ego, and that masculinity is something so fragile that it can be offended. Even simple things like having a man carry your purse in public is seen by many to be a delicate negotiation.

While walking down Mission Street with my friend Allison Lovejoy, a classical pianist who is highly respected by male musicians, we discussed all the ways in which we are still told by society how to be gentle with masculinity. Don't' criticize men. Don't flaunt that you are better at something than they are. Be unfailingly encouraging. And most importantly, don't be too demanding or instructive when you are in bed with them.

How many years did I spend being afraid that if I told a man that what he was doing was just not working for me, it would upset him? Too many. I am not alone in this. Numerous women silently agree to suffer through unsatisfying sex because they are worried it will make their lover insecure.

Oh, that tender membrane of the idea of maleness, a cloak of strength, know-how, intelligence, and skill that is expected to hang off each and every individual with a penis. And if that individual is, in fact, not very strong at all, if he is instead rather frail, there is yet this social agreement that both people will pretend that he is. Because otherwise he will shrivel up and and become a what? A non-man -- an, oh my God, feminized man!

Which brings me to ask this question; is there a female equivalent of emasculation? Jeff Hester proposed that calling a woman "butch" if she is not actively seeking that designation could be compromising. But he adds that it is, "not exactly the same, since it doesn't require something someone takes away." Ken Yee argues that challenging a woman's fertility, calling her an "old maid" for instance, could be an act of offending her femininity. But it is Indra Lowenstein who makes a powerful point that addresses a potential difference in perspective between the sexes when she quotes, "men are afraid that women will laugh at them while women are afraid that men will kill them."

Guillaume Bechaeux offers this: "A true smile from a woman, every time different on each woman's face, is coming free from the soul. When a woman is hurt, her femininity is injured. When someone is taking off this smile, harmony and femininity disappear." (Yes, he is French.)

Tanya Wischerath and Josh Jacobs upending gender expectations
​So. Back to sex.

As a young woman, I was intensely aware of how much the men I was with wanted me to see them as studs. I felt that I affronted their prowess if I didn't have an orgasm. Wanting them to feel like wild-cocked, seducer warriors, I learned how to fake it. That, of course, became very tiresome, and I finally vowed to never fake it again. But it is amazing how prevalent that experience still is because, sadly, modern westerners still don't (despite those who are actively fighting for this) assume female pleasure to be essential to the sex act. It's a nice idea, but not an expectation.

That is not true everywhere. In her book Promiscuities, Naomi Wolf quotes from the Kama Sutra: "For a man to be successful with women he must pay them marked attention. ... Do not unite with a woman until you have excited her with playful caresses, and then desire will be mutual."

Thumbnail image for pic_kamasutra.jpg
From the Kama Sutra

Masculinity and femininity, like so many cultural ideas, are ever shifting in meaning. And thanks to queers, drag artists, trans folks, feminism, and the enlightened male, gender is going through a creative and very needed revision. And it is becoming increasingly clear that it is as impossible to actually emasculate anyone as it is for the Ken doll to suddenly grow a pair.

So in honor of a braver new world, I will continue to delight in beating a man at billiards only then to take him home and show him exactly how I like it.

The Sweet Spot is a blog column about alternative sexuality by Ginger Murray who is also the editor of Whore! magazine. Check back next week for more.

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I have yet to meet a woman that would tell you what they wanted in bed.


Bravo my dear Bravo!  I loved this piece and I related to so much in it.  You are an amazing and  intelligent woman.  I am honored to call you friend.

Fleur De Lis SF


What I think we'd all like to know is if you've ever had a relationship last longer than six months. I won't speculate; I'll ask: Have you?


To Oira61; what a delightful question! Yes indeed I have. I have been very fortunate to have many wonderful men in my life. In fact, I am in a relationship now and an interesting revelation has come of it. When a man gives profoundly to a woman, it is suddenly an act of organic and delightful ease to honor him in all ways. Though I do have to ask of the gentlemen in this here discussion. Have you considered that you are perhaps, contributing to my reputation?


 Ginger: Thank you for the nice reply.

May I suggest that if you had included this in the original essay, it would change it dramatically. Perhaps this is something you considered originally. Your first five sentences give a very different impression than this reply does.

Best wishes for your future happiness. Keep nurturing that relationship, regardless of the face you show the rest of the world.

Amy Dentata
Amy Dentata

No, there isn't a feminine equivalent to "emasculation". Emasculation is about a loss of power, specifically masculine power. Masculinity requires domination, so there's always something to lose–that coveted position on top. The only way for masculinity to stay on top is if femininity is inferior. So masculinity must neurotically avoid any and all feminine traits, lest it lose its position on top.

This is why "emasculation" exists, this is why men denigrate each other about being effeminate or "gay" to get that coveted position of "alpha male". This is why "effeminate" is an insult. Masculinity is assumed to be desirable, so nobody gives a second thought to a woman being masculine–of course she wants that position of power (and of course she can't have it).

This is why trans men are ignored in the mainstream and given higher status in queer circles; it's why trans women are mocked everywhere. It's also why straight cis men lump gay men together with women and can't tell the difference between trans women and effeminate gay men. As far as patriarchy is concerned, anything feminine is inferior. And the only way patriarchy can hold its position is if gender is defined as innate and tied to genitalia: thus cissexism.

When women are mocked for being "too manly", it's only in relation to sexual desirability toward straight men. It isn't about a loss of power, it's about a loss of value to men, who only value women for their sexual attractiveness. In other words, according to patriarchal definitions of power, women are mocked for gaining power, whereas men are mocked for losing power.

All of this added together is why straight men try to pull things like the "gay panic" defense, and worry so much about "turning gay". That fear of power loss is what drives them to violently police others, and violently attack trans women, who are seen as a threat to their masculinity.

Since women aren't socialized to fear this loss of power, and instead are socialized to fear a loss of sexual interest from men, this is why cis women rarely attack people for being gay or trans. Except for when it cuts in on their territory. Fighting over boyfriends, competing to look prettier, getting angry at attractive trans women for "getting in on their territory", that's where all that nonsense comes from.

It's a very convoluted system of logic that we're all socialized with growing up. It's embedded in all our culture–our language, symbols, and stories. It's embedded so deep that it has gone unquestioned for who knows how long. Feminism, gay rights, trans rights, all these things have exposed this sham belief system for what it is. However, it's still ingrained in all of us. It's still the air we breathe.

Cunning Runt
Cunning Runt

 Wow. I almost cried...

...from laughing.

Asshat. That might (no, scratch that, I'll be as fair as I can) does happen in the lower echelons of life. You know, those that would never fucking read this shit.  But you can bet your wee crooked wrist it does NOT happen in the lives of those who are reading this right now.

Now, I *am* sorry, Spunky, to take away your ball and all, but, surely, you can find something _else_ to play with?

And for the unimaginative couchtards here who are just so unbelievably lazy-in-the-head that you either agree with this crap, nodding your half-lidded thoughtless skulls to the beat of this old drum, or you're too timid to say anything thinking you can't take this on again. (Respect to those of you who, unlike me, just don't want to dumpsterdive again. THAT is understandable. Lazy, but understandable.)

Now do follow along, won't you? Amy "Dentata" (btw, I have never in my fucking life heard of anyone fearing the liberated vag, and find the whole tooth thing to be some of the funniest shit I have ever come across. Kudos at least for that.), and the lot:

Emasculation is to man as ________ is to woman?

Well, we all know YOU'VE given up, so allow me to doink you with this plastic hammer across the face (notice, not the nads, tits or anything else, before the hoi-tardoi start on about my repressed desire to rape or some equally hilariously-predictable shit) and ask: since the above is about a finding a similarity between the two, what does "emasculation" do to a "man"?

It takes away his Number 1 evolutionary raison d'etre! Yay!!!!! So, by emasculating a man, you are saying that he is a loser to the core. He cannot do the one thing he must do: spill his seed as far and wide as possible! Wheee!! (Still with me, Denty?)

Now, what is a woman's evolutionary point of existence? (btw, this is all best said with a horrendously smarmy/snarky inner voice, in case you couldn't tell)

[insert Jeopardy Theme HERE]

Give up?



(hush now)

It's not the same as for a man.


You can't defeminate (whatevs) a woman by saying she can't breed on call. No one cares, because you *would not undermine her role in the biological sex role* like the same does for a man. No. To do that, you have to insult something that speaks to what a woman's biological (note qualifier before responding, kids!) sex role is about: choice.

That's right!!!!

(I can just *feel* those lightbulbs warming up over all your heads)


-That- is the "equivalent".

Now, before we do the predictably-hilarious discussion about how unfair it is that woman can't shag a lot without being viewed[SNOOOORE], please do try to remember that this is not what _this_ discussion is about!

Thanks for playing!



Protip: Trolling is more effective when you don't make your intent so obvious. Subtlety is the key. Thanks for playing, though.

Ginger 1 Like

Dear Amy, beautifully said! Thank you. 

Amy Dentata
Amy Dentata

You are not trans. Don't say "tranny". Just don't. It's not your word to use.


After reading this, I have a hard time believing you actually like men at all. Seems you have personal issues, insecurities, that pit you against men, seeing them more as something to be conquered than anything else.

I don't know where you got your "societal info" but it was skewed. No man I know would mind his lover instructing him in bed, telling him what gets his lover off and what doesn't. Most men get sick and tired of trying to figure out what works sexually from one woman to another, and every man I know is very interested in having his partner enjoy the sex as much as he is as that only makes it more fun and, well, sexual. It's a lot more fun to watch your partner writhe and groan than watching her lay there like a bored corpse.

Is it too much to ask that you're encouraging? God forbid you encourage somebody instead of tear them down. What horror.

That whole "don't flaunt you're better at something blah blah, don't criticize blah blah"? What a crock of shit - what is this, the 50's? Have you been reading up on your nonsensical cliches lately?

Get yourself a strap-on and leave men out of it. Life's hard enough without bitches like you fucking with people for no reason.


 I think you missed the point of the article. She was saying that those outdated molds are what is fed to many young women. Her point was that she wasn't going to go by them anymore. She WAS going to tell men what she wanted in bed from now on and that she wasn't going to live by the "don't flaunt...don't criticize" thing. Her whole point was to live as whole humans and that you COULDN'T actually emasculate a man. He can either deal or he can't. And btw, most woman are still told not to be to criticizing of a man because his "ego is too frail." Her point was that it isn't, or atleast shouldn't be. She was actually in a strange way giving men more credit then they are usually given by saying that they can handle it and you just jumped right to "man hater." Wow.

Amy Dentata
Amy Dentata



What, what?

I understand the convoluted piece you wrote below and I utilize none of the filters you do to process reality. What is it about my retort you don't get?

Read the following excerpt from the "article" and try again. Or don't. Who gives a shit?

"we discussed all the ways in which we are told by society how to be gentle with masculinity. Don't' criticize men. Don't flaunt that you are better at something than they are. Be unfailingly encouraging. And most importantly, don't be too demanding or instructive when you are in bed with them."


"I couldn't care less about this article or any other I've posted on"


*writes four more paragraphs about how much they don't care*

Realist 1 Like

"Amy", I post here out of boredom during meal breaks. Nothing more. I couldn't care less about this article or any other I've posted on; I am the Devil's Advocate, a natural contrarian not prone to going along to get along. If you don't believe me, look at my other posts. Ginger will understand this; takes one to know one.

I'll go away and these posts will again be left to molder without many responses, or be left primarily to responses written by sycophants already aligned with the author's point of view.

You seem intelligent and all, you may even be charming, but you're not really worth debating as you're obviously more prone to stuffing words I did not use into my arguments, e.g., "hating men", than you are to addressing what I said in response to something specific. You probably do that often, changing things to fit your perspective as it suits you. I don't blame you. We all do that, at least occasionally.

And if you think that your worldview is not automatically colored by your own set of filters, you're blind, possibly ignorant. There's no way you've gone through life as a trans individual, or whatever the fuck you like to call yourself, without developing a specific way of processing information and experiences.

Your primary response is true in some cases but it certainly does not cover society as a whole, not even close, not at all. Same with Ginger's. Both of you figure that the way you think things are is the way things actually are. You're both wrong. But fuck it, aren't we all?

My cereal is gone. Gotta go. Cheers.

Amy Dentata
Amy Dentata

I don't get how you jump from an argument for treating people equally to "hating men". That's quite a leap.

BTW, you're right, you don't utilize filters. Filters utilize you. That's how social programming works. You either recognize the presence of those filters, or you let them dominate you.

And apparently, you give a shit. Otherwise, why comment here?

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