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Cambridge Women's Pornography Cooperative publishes Porn for Women

At some point, someone somewhere was talking about Sexy Men and What Women Want. I said I know full well what this woman wants, and it isn't some sexy young man sidling up to me at a bar trying to entice me into joining a fitness club.

If he was in his dress whites while doing the aforementioned sidling, and then murmured, low and sexy, "I'm a fully vetted, licensed and endorsed fabulous childcare provider...let me care for your children while you recline on your bed and alternate between reading and napping. I cook, clean, and tidy up behind myself and the kids, too. Plus I'll solve that pesky little potty training regression you've been dealing with, and if you like, I can fix the hitting and tantrums in the two year old." Now we're talking!

Apparently, that this is what women---young and old, rich and poor---want is no surprise whatsoever.

The Cambridge Women's Pornography Cooperative (did you know there was one?) recently published Porn for Women.

98 pages of photos of hot men doing all the things that make women go oooohhhh ahhhh and oh yesssssss, such as

* cooking

* cleaning

* listening (and, I assume, paying attention and replying after internalizing your gem-filled words)

The Cambridge Women's Pornography Cooperative (CWPC) was formed in 2005, "to redefine the way we look at pornography. Our mission is to recover the term ‘pornography’ from the gold-chained, hairy-chested, leisure-suit-wearing, mouth-breathing knuckleheads, and reclaim it for the rest of us. CWPC members have opted to keep their membership roster unpublished, out of concern that our colleagues in academia, medicine, and the media may still have underdeveloped senses of humor. We hope this book will change that.”

They created this humorous book after allegedly interviewing women---all across the age, socioeconomic and marital status scale---to discover what really turns women on.

In two years, they have accomplished what Cosmopolitan has been striving for since 1886: demystifying for women (and men) what it is that women really want.

Fortunately for everyone, women are a collective who all want the same thing all the time. It does take 98 pages to explain what women want, which is probably longer and more complex than some out there had hoped---but at least it's very visual.

There is, of course, no question about what men want. There is, of course, the well-accepted assumption that we all already know what all men want. In case I need to spell that out for you, it's supposed to be sex. Men are supposed to be driven in all aspects of life to seek sex, aka The Thing Men Want.

I do not recall spending any point in my life, single or married, feeling confident and foot-sure about men because I already knew exactly what they all wanted. Sex. My friends and I found (and find) men confusing creatures. They seemed to be more complex than a bundle of hormones looking for quick release.

Take my husband (just for a sec, hon, I promise). He appears to have other drives, goals, and motivations above and beyond a sex drive. He has other interests, too. He is falling outside the Known Zone.

Now what am I supposed to do with that?

See, if you understand a person's motivation---what he wants---it simplifies all interactions.

You'd think this CWPC initiative and published findings (the porn book) would be the Rosetta stone for male-female communication and relationships.

However, about twenty years ago I finally gave up on anything being the Rosetta stone for that and began accepting that we are each far more than simply our sex (no pun intended). I grew to understand that every person was very unique, and traits, likes, dislikes, abilities, interests and so forth tended to fall more on the personality spectrum than the gender spectrum.

But we so frequently get hemmed in by these pre-set identities. And once in them, or even once out of them, the results aren't often what we expect.

BookDaddy says:

I'm unemployed -- sorry, I mean, freelancing -- these days. I have plenty of time to clean house and do the laundry. And my wife Sara is grateful. But our lives have not zoomed into sweaty dreamland. That's partly because Sara started teaching elementary school full-time six months ago. I'm lucky if I can see her when she's not falling asleep exhausted over a pile of student papers.

BookDaddy goes on to say:

A man who'll vaccuum the house, who'll lend an appreciative ear: Women certainly like these things, they'd appreciate them. But they're not -- as the Cooperative puts it with such scientific precision -- what "gets women hot." Trust me. If men like that truly did turn women on, George Clooney and Daniel Craig wouldn't have careers. Does anyone believe women look at those two and fantasize about sharing a cup of chamomile tea?

It's true.

These things will keep you on the list, but are not a surefire way to get anything beyond a happy and healthy relationship with your wife or girlfriend.

Vanessa at Feministing says it better than I ever could:

While a part of me feels like I need to get my hands on this book, it’s sad that we would need pictures and descriptions of “considerate men” to jerk off to rather than expect it or have it from the men in our actual lives. Porn generally consists of sexual fantasy; making me dinner should be a standard, not something I fantasize about.

It's true.

Jokes about men in dress-whites offering to clean, military clean, my house and watch my children aside, I don't actually fantasize about domestic chores. Participation in domestic chores is an expectation of mine, not a fantasy.

Who gets your vote? Clooney, the People magazine choice for sexy in 2006, or Colbert, the Salon pick for sexiest man in 2006?

'Neither' is a choice, too, or you may speak on behalf of someone else. I know women are usually okay saying things like, "That Sally is looking hot these days!" whereas I haven't heard too many men say similarly about another man.

BookDaddy is right: I don't think women look at Clooney or Colbert and fantasize about dusting and washing dishes.

See, those are needs, things that must be done.

Fantasies are about wants.

And in that, Vanessa is right: consideration with regard to needs should be a given.

That means, I'm afraid, that the answer of what "turns on" women (and men) is still Out There, and varies by person.

With that in mind---my own perfectly well-developed sense of humor aside---I have to wonder what good does it accomplish to continue feeding into the gender roles and gender divide, even if done in jest?

I might need to lighten up, but it does trouble me some.

I can't help but remember the lovely Shane of my youth who once said, speaking over John Mellencamp, "I wish holding hands still meant something..." Until that very open, honest, and vulnerable moment it had never occured to me that sex felt like a big, unwelcome pressure to some guys, too.

I had been so brainwashed---and possibly the boys had, too---into believing all guys only want One Thing. The modern age told us more than that though: girls were supposed to want it too. We were all supposed to be sexually driven creatures. It was supposed to be No Big Deal.

But for some of us, it was a big deal.

I suspect if people set humor aside, men and women would have pretty much the same answer: I want someone to look deep into my eyes, see me for real, and think I am the best thing ever.

Now that's sexy.

copyright 2007 Julie Pippert

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Girlplustwo said…
i agree. and you know, i've never understood why we celebrate the normal...he's so good with the kids!

um, yeah. me too. and?
Kyla said…
"I want someone to look deep into my eyes, see me for real, and think I am the best thing ever." That pretty much sums it up.

But a healthy dose of Dr. McDreamy? That's good, too. Haha!
S said…
what jen said.

and clooney, if you really wanted to know. though not when he's acting, cuz i've never thought he could act.

i'll take him any and all other times.
NotSoSage said…
This is why you, my friend, are brilliant.

Two things:

1) People always comment on how "helpful" Joe is and how great it is that he cooks, cleans, etc. It's true, but I also think it's what's expected of each of us in the partnership. It shouldn't be exceptional.

2) Porn is not about what people want in a partner. Sure, EVERYONE would love to have a partner who shares the work with them equally...but that's partnership. Porn is not about partnership. It is, by its very nature, one-sided. And so, yes, I do believe the question goes unanswered.
Unknown said…
A friend sent me a card once that was a bunch of women watching a man on a stage vacuuming. They were making catcalls, stuffing dollar bills in his pants, etc. It was very funny--as a joke. I agree, things like that aren't any accurate indicator of what a woman wants.

To know and to be known. I think that is the ultimate for anyone.
Bones said…
You hit, with your usual scary precision, the issue-nail right on the head.

Sometime in the 90's, porn shifted from being about sex to being about humiliation. Watching some lady have sex with the pool boy or photocopier fix-it man used to be sexy enough, but now there has to be bondage and verbal abuse - and it goes downhill from there.

Maybe the porn for women with guys doing "girl stuff" (and women, please don't go jumping down my throat for using that phrase, because that's exactly what the porn for women legitimizes) is the corollary of humiliation porn. Is porn for women suggesting that it should be humiliating to men to vacuum, cook, and listen? If so, it's setting the Rosie the Riveter movement back a dozen years.
Rachel Briggs said…
I agree with Mary-Lue, and many other comnents here. Seems like they're trying to "re-brand" porn to make it appeal to women it just seems so patronising. But then porn in general is so patronising! I don't want someone telling me what my fantasy is supposed to be like/look like/act like. Luckily, I'm living with him so I have an advantage ;-)!!
Gwen said…
Except that I actually do find the way my husband parents our daughters incredibly sexy .....
K said…
Clooney, I mean come on the man exudes sex.

But, the other night as we watched "Blades of Glory" Roy said (about Will Ferell)"He's the only guy I really worry about you leaving me for."

Who I find sexy and who I want are not exactly the same.
Julie Pippert said…
Where are the votes for Colbert? I'm so bummed. Who doesn't find a sharp-featured hilarious nerd HOT HOT HOT? Well all I can say is...more for me. ;)



Jen...O.M.STARS. BEEP <-- just pushed my big ole button

Yes, I think noticing and appreciating the normal is fabulous...but why throw a party and toss confetti?

I used to get so burned at my daughter's school in MA. The teachers FAWNED over my husband because he split the drop-off/pick-up with me 50/50.

To him: OH Julie's DH, you are so WONDERFUL, Patience is SO LUCKY to have YOU, WONDERFUL MARVELOUS YOU! You are the BEST FATHER EVAH!

To me: Hello, have a nice day.

or alternatively

To me: You must just ADORE your FABULOUS husband...isn't he the greatest? I mean, SUCH a commitment and involvement with his daughter...he's Mr. McWonderful.

My husband came home over the moon. I came home bitter. Where's the love for MOM? LOL

And if you think I'm kidding I will make my husband comment that I am 100% accurate and true.

Due to his long commute to Big City, he never gets to go to the kids' school now. He is sad about that.

But deep down, I think he misses the fawning.

Here's his consolation: these teachers do not fawn. LOL
Julie Pippert said…
Kyla, I admit I do appreciate the aesthetic. I didn't watch Keen Eddie solely for the witty repartee. But...that's nice for TV. The rest is the real deal. :)


Slouching Mom, sure Clooney...oh but I am a fan of his work. I loved him in the Elmore Leonard (Out of Sight), I liked Three Kings, and we're big fans of O brother Where Art Thou. I think he sometimes goes too wide, maybe.


Sage, ooohhh a compliment! Thanks!

You know, one time I made the mistake of speaking by which I mean complaining to my MIL about my husband. Her reply was basically, well that's a woman's lot in life; men are just too important to be troubled with all the little details like cooking, cleaning, appointments, social schedules, etc. My husband has regretted moving from MA ever since.

And that is, indeed, what porn is.

M-L, yeah it's a laugh but then I freeze and am like, whoa.

And amen about the knowing.


Bones, oh did it shift? I am VERY intrigued now and must go check. We sort of lost touch after Shannon Tweed retired. ;) And I do wonder if that is about when it shifted.

I won't jump down your throat because that's exactly my objection to the designation and perpetuation of sex roles (by which I mean gender stereotypes---must clarify when talking about porn).

And hold on---wait for it---okay little mindblow at the idea that this is about HUMILIATION.



Rach, you've got so many happy hormones ahead of you. I'm almost envious. ;) Yeah, bow chicka can be pretty patronizing (dude, I just put in an s there like I'm British or Canadian or European LOL). I think ideas can be much more erotic, and healthier for a relationship if you channel everything back into that.


Jenny, thanks!


Gwen, the relief/joy is continuing to find things appealing in our long-term partners. :) I admit I find it appealing when my husband does a great job with the builds my emotional attachment which in turn supports the physical one. But I can't quite say mowing the lawn is sexy. When I did it, it freaked my husband out, he certainly wasn't humming "Bow chicka bow bow." Oh well. ;)


Kim ah YES...the difference between what someone finds sexy and what someone wants in a partner. Absolutely.

And another Clooney vote.


It's like Adrian Paul. Now that's another who exudes.

I'm LOL just a little about the Will Ferrell thing. My husband occasionally has a sort of existential crisis when he considers some who I find sexy. He usually says, "OMG are you SERIOUS? Are you smoking CRACK? OMG and you find me attractive too? OMG what does this say about ME?" LOL
Anonymous said…
Until that very open, honest, and vulnerable moment it had never occured to me that sex felt like a big, unwelcome pressure to some guys, too.

I had been so brainwashed---and possibly the boys had, too---into believing all guys only want One Thing. The modern age told us more than that though: girls were supposed to want it too. We were all supposed to be sexually driven creatures. It was supposed to be No Big Deal.

Sadly, I never found out until too late that it had all been so much brainwashing. I pretty much thought "Grease" was the true story of high school and set about preparing myself for it.
Julie Pippert said…
SB, ohhhh Grease. Well. You know? Sometimes being a boycrazy tomboy had its benefits. It helped to have boys confiding in me. That brainwashing. It's tough.
Unknown said…
Compelled to comment at the request of better half, it is certainly true that the teacher fawned over me and my dedication as father. Now the benefit I had here was that we chose a school 2 minutes from my office and 10 minutes from home.

As such, I got to drop her off and pick her up almost always. Rare exceptions when I had a meeting and couldn't pick her up Julie got the assignment. TBH, it was one of the VERY rare situations in our life as family that I was the point person for parenting. I owned it!

It's true the teacher loved me and showered me with parenting praise, but it wasn't totally without merit. I did not just drop her off and run or sweep in and pick her up. I was very engaged in that school, the program, her class, her day and her teachers/classmates.

Much the same way Julie does now. And the new director aside, they absolutely fawn all over Julie at that school (even if not to her face, or as overtly) least that is the impression they give me when I see them.

Much like she was bitter in MA, I am bitter of what I have lost by our present situation...where my involvement in the school is relegated to rare dropoffs and special events. And nobody fawns over me anymore...most of them don't even know who I am.

My only solace is I get a similar reception at daddy and me gymnastics (which by the way is known in print as mommy and me...I felt like I needed special permission to sign up for the class).

So in summary, expectations are to a degree different...and the more involved a dad is the more incredulous society is...after all it's unusual for a man to be capable of parenting.

At the same time though, different mom's have different levels of involvement too. Afterall, we sneared at the nanny moms in MA (mind you, the stay ay home moms that had a nanny take care of the kids so they could do whatever with their day). Or now there is the car dropoff kids that drive by shove the kids out the door and run...then zip in and pick em up after school, never so much as laying an eye on the teacher not to mention getting the daily blow by blow that Julie gets.'s all relative I guess. We inevitably get different reactions from different people and in general an involved dad is perceived as unusual and an involved mom is to be expected. But who should be offended by that notion more?

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