I get that New Years is a time of resolution, a time when people feel compelled by the time of year to make themselves better. The holidays are over, all that weight is back around your midsection, and there’s never been a better time to get back in shape, to stop that bad habit, to become better with women, to…on and on and on.

On the second of January I received an astonishingly fitting pair of postal letters. The first letter was the new catalogue of The Stockroom, one of the largest online sex toy retailers, and the second letter was from a local church that promised me blessings for using their special prayer rug. Dear readers, I kid you not! Of course, I promptly tossed the Jesus-decorated prayer rug in the trash, flipped through the Stockroom’s catalogue until I got bored seeing women tied up, and then gave it to Eileen, since she’s far more excited by that idea than I will ever be.

I suppose it should strike me as not at all odd that I’m seeing a disturbing influx of sexist, incendiary material fill every possible orifice of my news feeds. Most infuriating of all is that it’s not even that much more than usual, which is to say that the litany of aggravating material I’ll briefly discuss below is far more often the rule rather than the exception and that, itself, is the most depressing thing about them.

First, via The Sex Carnival, this Boinkology post links to SellYourSexTape.com with more cheerful humor than I could ever muster. It showcases with quite explicit flair exactly how marginalized a sexuality like mine is, as if there wasn’t enough of that already.

[…]if you want to make the big money ($2000, for the curious), you’ll have to document your sex life for an hour a day for an entire week, making sure to keep it interesting. Bonus points for shots of “daily life” and minimal shots of the boyfriend — this is straight porn, after all.

Oh, and kinksters need not apply: “Sex scenes should be natural and loving and happy, no violence, but don’t forget the money shots! Do not include anything illegal or “obscene”. ie. no interspecies, no golden showers, no forced sex, etc.”

Once again we have these time-honored, incredibly insulting assumptions about porn and sexuality. Men consume, women are the product. Anything that isn’t straight, hetero-normative sex is “unnatural,” or “obscene.” Rougher, more “violent” sex is okay so long as it’s the woman on the bottom, for “the money shot,” but if you can call it kinky then it’s immediately cut. No concern is ever paid to the woman’s sexual satisfaction, as long as we get to see the man ejaculating. Also, we don’t want to look at men because men aren’t sexy, they’re just facilitators; a man’s value is in his finances.

In an even more mainstream outlet, Tom found the kicker when he came across AskMen.com’s recent article called, of all things, How to Dominate and Dominant Woman. Augh! As Tom put it rather succinctly:

Because, you know, [women] all secretly want to be submissive. Not to mention that they will respect men who do this.

I could barely get through the introduction to this article without gritting my teeth:

We often associate dominant women with whips, chains and a pitiful man groveling at their feet while licking a pair of vinyl boots. This certainly occurs with some regularity, but you may be surprised to learn that dominance doesn’t always translate into sadism. On the contrary, many dominant women play the superior role in relationships simply because their man hasn’t learned how to dominate them. She may be strong-willed, feisty and independent, but this doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to be ravished like any other female might. If you’re ready to take charge in the bedroom, the following tips will show you precisely how to sexually dominate a dominant woman.

It’s precisely this kind of narrow-mindedness that keeps both men and women enslaved to gender ideals that make only a very small percentage of real men and women happy. In one fell swoop, this introduction alone manages to insult just about every possible orientation I can think of, including submissive men (by calling us “pitiful”), dominant women (by implying they should be playing an “inferior” role in a relationship), and dominant men (by stating rather explicitly that not dominating a dominant woman means they haven’t been ready to “take charge” yet). I think the only insult I’m not seeing is one aimed at submissive women—but that’s probably because they’re so inconsequential anyway that their influence doesn’t really matter in the first place.

(Elizabeth, please do an 87-part series on this. Please. PLEASE!)

From yet another corner of the blogosphere I was shown this “orgasmic experience simulator” that, while obviously someone’s idea of a joke, basically denigrates the male sexual experience as devoid of diverse value even though it seems to be making fun of the female orgasm at first glance. The simulator is a simple two buttons, one for experiencing orgasm as a male and another as a female. Click the male button and your browser window shakes just a smidgen and you’re presented with the following JavaScript alert box:

Total Time (including undressing, dressing and somking a cigarette): 58 seconds

Press the female button and you’re guided through numerous jump-through-the-hoops alert dialogues that ends in a climactic window-shaking experience. This is an example of the prevalence of the misguided belief that men are all the same, the same belief that has that disgusting AskMen.com article thinking the only submissive men are pitiful examples of masculinity.

But wait, there’s more!

Lolita found a video about which she asks “is it bondage porn, or an Agent Provocateur video?” Once again, all I see is blatantly misogynistic understandings of sex, with (once again) submissive women centerfolds. What’s striking about this instance is that it is so obviously an advertisement directed towards both men and women, yet it is still women on which the camera unapologetically focuses throughout the entire video. The message is, once again, crystal clear: it’s the female form and only the female form worth embracing for the singular purpose of abating the carnal desire of men.

Poor, hapless, helpless men, one might think! In both the vanilla world and the kink world men are treated very much the same: as victims of their own biology, always thinking with the wrong head. Control sex, it’s thought, and you control a man, because sex is worth more to men than anything else. How much more? Good question!

Thankfully, Eileen showed me this post of Bad Man’s that links to CostOfSex.com, which has a handy calculator to show us exactly how much time, effort, and money men spend each day on their high-priced hookers called girlfriends and wives. Oh, and hookers. Can’t forget the hookers. The takeaway from this link is that the message of men-as-monetary-value and women-as-sexual-value is so ingrained in men themselves, that they are taking a perverted sense of pride in their efforts to get the most sex for the least amount of money. That is, after all, exactly how men are taught to prove their manliness!

Lest you think that it’s only people like you and me who can see the sexism here, note that the CostOfSex.com calculator is courtesy of a site that calls itself Mr. Sexist. They sell T-Shirts. Want to know my favorite?

I’ve got an 8-inch thick wallet.

I do realize cultural and sexual progress doesn’t happen at the blindingly fast pace that we’re all used to technological advancements happening, but, seriously…if this is what 2008 has in store for me, I’m going to keep wishing I could hibernate until 3008 rolls around. Again, I do realize some of these are jokes—and yes, they’re kind of funny in that “I’m only half-joking” sort of way. What hurts me right now about all of these things is the insurmountable disparity of privilege in regards to sexual power—in what ways power is or is not okay to be shared or expressed—that results in the stigmatization or, worse, the invisibility of submissive men like me (and, for that matter, dominant women, too).

Will it really take ’til 3008 to stop hurting?