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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2014 11:51 am 
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Jon Snow: 'I am in touch with my feminine side'
by Jon Snow
Friday, 17 January 2014

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Jon Snow: 'My feminine side is revealed, for example, in colours and clothes … hence the ties.' Photograph: Johnny Green/PA Archive/Press Association Ima

As a man about to take part in the Southbank Centre's first ever Being a Man festival, I have been thinking a lot recently about what 'being a man' actually means.

In discussing the subject with a few women and, admittedly, fewer men, I have found, perhaps unsurprisingly, that it is not the sort of thing we really feel comfortable talking about.

In the course of my research, I spoke to a psychiatrist friend, who talked about dividing men and women into male and female portions. Some men are male/male; some are female/male or male/female – the dominant gender attribute coming first. We both agreed we are each female/male. My wife, he asserted, is male/female – she didn't disagree, and nor did I. He went on to argue that men who are female/male tend not to get on well with similarly gendered female/male women. In other words, like poles repel.

Now you may argue that this is all nonsense, but the more I think about it, and apply it to myself and others, the more I find myself agreeing with the analysis.

I have always felt that for a man to call himself a feminist is somewhat presumptuous, because although I aspire to be one, it is probably for others to judge. But I do argue that I am in touch with my feminine side – something I would have been teased, if not beaten up, for saying when I was at school. My feminine side is revealed, for example, in colour and clothes. One instance is that I notice what both men and women wear, and if I like it I invariably comment on it. Another is that I paint in watercolours. I wear colours – hence the ties.

And while I can manage my bit of such a conversation, I find football talk unrewarding. I find massed male activity as manifest in sport, largely unappealing, and to an extent alienating. It seems to me so much a predominantly male escape from talking about things that might affect daily life very much more. Don't get me wrong, I do understand that for some people, Arsenal's fortunes in the Premier League are paramount and have nothing to do with gender. Nevertheless, I think many men find safety in numbers and in activities that evade the issues between our sexes.

I am fortunate to work in an environment where sport is talked about and participated in, but never to the apparent exclusion of everything else. But too many of us men seem to be too happy to go along with the herd and talk about predominantly male sport, instead of breaking out to discuss art, music, inequality, politics and the rest. Where, in my experience, women are happy to discuss feelings and emotions, many men will run a country mile to avoid such stuff. As a result, I seem to be prepared to confide in women more than I would in a man.

Since the 1960s, we men have been on a journey. A journey during which, for example, women have entered our workplace. In the early days, many men molested and verbally demeaned women at work – some, albeit fewer, still do. The cascade of celebrity sex abuse allegations tells us something of how far we have come from what was tolerated just four decades ago.

Many men have thrived in the new environment, but others – dragged along in the slipstream of change – have found it harder. They have felt challenged by the increasing role of women. Challenged too by the increasing demands made of them for equality in the home – childcare, cleaning, cooking, and more. So I cannot help but wonder how discussions at the Being a Man festival will pan out. Will it draw women who want to talk about men, or men who have been dragged along by their women? Will men en masse even want to talk about being men? I believe that men in particular have a lot of thinking to do about the emerging discourse of the sexes. Politics and even everyday conversation are lagging behind both the changes in our lives, and in the balance in the sexes. And that's something we really do need to talk about.

• Being a Man festival, 31 January – 2 February, Southbank Centre, London

Source: Guardian UK.

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PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2014 11:33 am 
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What have 93% of young straight UK men done together in bed?
29 April 2014
By Joe Morgan

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James Franco and Keegan Allen like to sleep together in bed. But what do other straight guys like doing?
Photo by James Franco/Instagram.

Over nine in 10 straight young British men have spooned with another man, new research has revealed.

Not only that, but a full 98% have shared a bed with one of their guy friends.

Two British sociologists, Eric Anderson of the University of Winchester and Mark McCormack of Durham University, have examined what they call ‘homosociality’ and published their findings in journal Men and Masculinities. They believe as straight guys become less homophobic, they are happier to be more intimate with their friends.

‘We’re always cuddling, my lot,’ Jarrett, one of the young men who was interviewed, said. ‘We’re all comfortable with each other.’ Max, another survey participant, described how he and his friends would nurse their hangovers together at university. Following a night out, he said he’s happy to watch TV, play video games, and frequently cuddle with friends. ‘If your mate has a headache you can like massage his head, or you just lie there together holding each other and laughing about how awful you feel,’ he said.

39 out of the 40 students surveyed also said they’d slept in a bed with another guy at least once since starting college. Some cited practical reasons like accommodating a friend who’d come to visit a cramped dorm or crashing at a friend’s house after a night out, but others said they just wanted to feel close to their ‘mates.’

‘Most indicated that it was not necessary to be close friends to share a bed with someone,’ the researchers said. ‘These men are able to share beds with other men without risking their socially perceived heterosexual identity.’ Anderson and McCormack said while they were aware the sample size was small, they were hoping to extend the research to other universities and age groups in order to get a wider view of what straight guys get up to in bed.

Source: GayStarNews.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2014 4:54 am 
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Quiz: Are you a spornosexual?
By Theo Merz
11 June 2014

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The spornosexual's primary concern is his body Photo: Alamy

Yesterday, the writer who first coined the term ‘metrosexual’, Mark Simpson, explained the rise of the ‘spornosexual’ - a social media- and selfie-obsessed male who takes cues on his appearance from sport and porn.

While metrosexuals fretted over their wardrobes and their complexions, the spornosexual’s primary concern is his body. Still not sure where you fit in all this? Take Telegraph Men’s spornosexual quiz to find out…

1. You’re logging into Facebook to…
A) ...post a picture of you having dinner with friends. You look amazing in it but that’s by-the-by.
B) ...keep up to date with news from friends and family. Your cousin’s just had a baby - maybe a picture will be up?
C) …check how many ‘likes’ your gym selfie has got. Your guns are looking huge in this one, but so far only 149 people have left positive comments. Is it your hair that’s the problem?

2. You’re switching on the TV to watch…
A) ...the football. Footballers always seem to be one step ahead of the latest grooming trends.
B) …the football. You’d never miss one of your team’s games.
C) ...Geordie Shore. When you’re not looking at you, you want to be looking at people like you.

3. If you were a comic book character you would be...
A) Batman. You may or may not be in a gay relationship with your sidekick but that’s not really the point. You also have a basement stuffed with sweet gadgets.
B) Superman. Save the day, get the girl.
C) The Incredible Hulk. Because bigger is always better.

4. It’s a big night out. What’s your poison?
A) Red wine. There was a period when it would have been cocaine too, but the ethical implications worried you - not to mention what it did to your skin.
B) Real ale.
C) Double vodka Red Bull. You’re always getting offered MDMA in clubs but you’re not sure how it will react with the steroids you’re taking.

5. Time for party small talk with another man. Your first question is…
A) This is Prada, right? I’ve been trying to track one down in cobalt blue for ages.
B) Did you catch the game last night?
C) Bro, do you lift?

6. Time to approach a woman at a party. Your opener is...
A) A woman in an A-line dress should never be standing by herself.
B) Are you a parking ticket? Because you’ve got "fine" written all over you.
C) My mate’s up for a threesome. You in?

7. It’s the morning after the night before. What do you eat?
A) Ottolenghi’s Middle Eastern take on Full English - a simple twist on a classic.
B) Full English, what else?
C) Full English with 18 eggs, 20 rashers of bacon and no bread. This machine runs on protein.

8. How would you describe your relationship with porn?
A) You watch it a couple of times a week but understand it doesn’t have much bearing on reality.
B) Strained now that Nuts has folded.
C) You’ve uploaded a couple of videos of you and the girlfriend to amateur sites but should really try professional soon.

9. Let’s talk t-shirts. V-neck or crew neck?
A) If your face is long, you'll try to offset this with a plain crew neck - and vice-versa if your face is round.
B) You don’t talk t-shirts.
C) V-neck - the deeper the better.

10. Which of these best describes your approach to life?
A) Always look out for number one.
B) Hope for the best, expect the worst.
C) Sun’s out - guns out.

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TOWIE's Dan Osborne (right) shows off his spornosexual physique (Rex Features)

Mostly As - You are a metrosexual. While your appearance and interest in grooming products may have attracted comment in the early noughties, you’ve now been surpassed by the spornosexual. Try upping your weights at the gym or, if that fails, taking steroids.

Mostly Bs - You are a 20th century male. You don’t read men’s lifestyle magazines so you probably have no idea how outdated you really are but, if this quiz has raised any concerns, try borrowing some moisturiser from a metrosexual friend/colleague before attempting to go full sporno.

Mostly Cs - You are a spornosexual. Congratulations - you are an outstanding specimen of masculinity, though opinions may differ in what sense you are outstanding.

Source: Telegraph UK.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2014 7:27 pm 
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Having homosexual thoughts 'is an essential part of human evolution' study suggests
By Gordon Rayner
25 November 2014

image

In evolutionary terms, homosexuality presents something of a paradox.

According to Darwin, any trait that makes an animal less likely to reproduce will die out in a few generations, yet the percentage of people born gay or lesbian remains more or less constant.

Now researchers at the University of Portsmouth believe they may have found the evolutionary reason for homosexual behaviour: it helps us bond with people of the same sex. A study of predominantly heterosexual men and women found that people with higher levels of the hormone progesterone are more likely to have homoerotic thoughts. Because progesterone, which is produced by both men and women, is associated with affiliation, the researchers concluded that homosexual thoughts can go hand in hand with the need to forge same-sex alliances, which can be traced back to the teamwork of the earliest hunter-gatherers.

Dr Diana Fleischman, the report’s author, said: “In the paper we talk about why homosexuality persists, and we do explain why. "From an evolutionary perspective we tend to think of sexual behaviour as a means to an end for reproduction. However, because sexual behaviour is intimate and pleasurable, it is also used in many species, including non-human primates, to help form and maintain social bonds. We can all see this in romantic couples who bond by engaging in sexual behaviour even when reproduction is not possible. Having some degree of attraction to the opposite sex is a type of adaptive behaviour, and in any adaptive behaviour you will see extremes of the spectrum, hence some people will only be attracted to members of the same sex. But the research suggests that having exclusively heterosexual thoughts is a disadvantage – it’s better to be a little bit attracted to the opposite sex.”

Dr Fleischman said her research did not point to any correlation between environmental levels of progesterone and sexual orientation. She said that while a synthetic form of progesterone is used in the contraceptive pill, which then enters drinking water supplies, “we didn’t find any difference between women on the pill and women not on the pill”. She added that while environmental levels of progesterone have increased, there is no evidence that the percentage of people who are gay or lesbian has gone up.

Gerard Conway, Professor of Reproductive Endocrinology at University College, London, agreed, saying: “The idea of hormones from the contraceptive pill permeating drinking water is an urban myth. The amounts are so tiny you can’t even measure it. Progesterone is just not on the radar as an environmental toxin.”

Dr Fleischman’s study, published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behaviour, asked participants to answer questions such as: "The idea of kissing a person of the same sex is sexually arousing to me," and: "If someone of the same sex made a pass at me I would be disgusted.”

By comparing their answers with the progesterone levels in their saliva, the researchers were able to establish an apparent link between progesterone and homosexual thoughts. Progesterone is produced mainly in the ovaries in women and in the adrenal glands in men. It is one of the main hormones responsible for caring or friendly behaviour and levels rise when people have close and friendly interactions. It does not, however, increase sexual desire; sex offenders are sometimes treated with progesterone to quell their sexual urges.

Dr Fleischman said that studies of other animals in the great ape family also pointed to homosexual behaviour being used to maintain and forge new friendships. She said: “The ability to engage sexually with those of the same sex or the opposite sex is common. In humans, much, if not most of same-sex sexual behaviour occurs in those who don't identify as homosexual.”

Prof Conway, however, questioned whether the research had proved anything. He said: “It is a plausible theory that there is a societal benefit from homosexual behaviour, but the link to progesterone is probably spurious. It’s a long way from proving cause and effect.”

Source: Telegraph UK.

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