Hey, sorry for the delay. My interest in men’s issues actually started years ago. I have always considered myself more of a humanist than a feminist. When I was 20 I started a series of abstract portraits based on people’s experiences of orgasm. I chose the topic as my senior thesis in college because it was experience everyone could have, so technically I could interview anyone about it. I ended up interviewing about 20 women and 20 men, and when I spoke with the women it was a fun bonding experience. But when I spoke with the men it was like a confession or an emotional release for them. Many of them had never discussed anything intimate about themselves because no one ever asked or cared! I thought about how good it feels to be able to be open and expressive and how many men don’t have that option.
That series also sparked my interest in men’s issues because what I discovered was people are all incredibly unique, but there is so much overlap. We all really want the same things at the end of the day, but have different ideas about how to get there. In general, sex means more to men, they remember more details about the whole situation. In part, it’s because men have to work harder to get sex and then perform, whereas a woman just has to say “yes.” Women more often remember the feelings and emotions around it. Trust is the biggest factor in women’s pleasure. For example, one woman told me she never orgasmed until she was married — she realized she had a mental block around truly letting go until she could trust in the relationship. For men, it varied with age. Guys below 30 were like, “oh, what, there’s another person here?” They were focused on their own pleasure. Guys older than 30 were mostly focused on their partner and experiencing pleasure together. Needless to say that’s when I started dating older men!
Through these conversations I was struck by how much more selfless men actually are than women, how much more compassionate and appreciative of life they tend to be (even though society tells us the opposite). I think it’s because men are more often faced and have to make many more difficult decisions throughout their lives. They have more responsibility are more disposable so they have to work harder. Women in general don’t have as much awareness around when the times are good. We tend to be more focused on what we don’t have. All these things came out in the conversations and I could start to connect people’s attitudes with how they approached and experienced pleasure.