Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Fuck Of Seagulling

I'm seeing a lot of this kind of thing about these days - alarming assertions that access to online grot is turning The Kids into a pack of depraved sex fiends, or at least the male half of The Kids at any rate.

The author's contention is that young men are now making all manner of outrageous sexual demands that they wouldn't have done without porno giving them big ideas, which I think is perfectly possible.  When things become mainstream after all, they tend to be normalised.

Nonetheless, the sizeable lacuna in all this is surely who's missing from this rollcall of young male depravity, and that's gay guys.

Now, I don't have any more interest in what gay guys are doing with their nuts than I do in what straight ones are, but I'd say that we have a pretty good control group there, since the biology and psychology are surely either similar or identical.  (Please forgive/ignore my scientific ignorance on this point).

I'm no expert in the world of gay smut, but I'm willing to bet that it's no more edifying than its heterosexual equivalent.  The anatomy might differ, but I doubt the gangbangs are delivered with any more respect or affection and I'm fairly sure that the recipients are more likely to be degraded than exalted.

So do we know what effect this is having on young guys in their relationships?  Are their partners following up that first chaste kiss with demands for instantaneous, arse-spraying mayhem?  Do we have a thousand tales of spunk-splattered youngsters complaining that their porn-addled boyfriends treat them like sex slaves?

And if this is some wholly new phenomenon, can we measure the extent of it?  Can we establish its effect and potential harm?

I wouldn't particularly want anyone jamming a boner into my ear unexpectedly, but how destructive is that kind of thing in a sexual relationship between consenting humans?*  Is it harmful enough to require state intervention?  Because if we can measure all this, is the government's long, scaly proboscis the correct organ to be ramming into the issue?

I mean, look, I'm all for sex education, but all I'll say about it as a panacea for porn-prompted golden showers is that the mandated drug chats they gave us at school did a wonderful job of making up pupils' minds on which pills and powders would be most suitable for them.

Maybe sex is now like that mind-crushing Altered States strain of grass that the papers tell me you can buy these days - weaponised beyond our fragile and wrinkled oldster understanding and buckled out of all recognition.  Who knows - maybe the world has changed in the long years since my adolescence and Kids These Days would be far more receptive to awkward lessons involving diagrams of naked ladies with arrows pointing out Acceptable Spunking Zones. 

Or, more likely, not.  It seems to me that kids already get a lot of sex ed along the lines of Your body is yours and you don't have to do anything you don't want to do, and that this is probably the correct teaching method.

And while this will annoy folk who would find it morally better to hector the guys who are demanding reverse exploding bumsex after a first date, it seems to me that it's probably more likely to have a positive real-world effect.

And this is before we get onto the seagulling**.

*The point there being the "consent" part, because if we're not talking about consent, then we're really describing a very different issue.   I suspect that consent is being elided with force in that Graun column, not least because of the following passage:

** Seagulling: "We need sex education because of a practice called "seagulling", a boarding school import... that has spread to some university halls of residence. It involves a group of guys standing outside a mate's door while he has sex with a girl, and then bursting in and ejaculating over her, all at once". 

In spite of the bits that strike me as credible, it's assertions like this that incline me towards filing the whole piece in the Bullshit Drawer.  I'd usually believe anything of public schoolboys, but anyone in the audience who's ever met any young men might like to consider how likely it is that this is even a vanishingly rare occurrance.  


Bruschettaboy said...

Not being a young, I am poorly informed about their sexual habits and intend to stay that way (oh Christ, I've got three kids. Am I going to have to have The Talk? I suppose I am. Is "The Talk" going to have to include seagulling? Surely it can't. A kind universe wouldn't do that to me).

But, if I understand this correctly, young men have got it into their heads that pulling out at the last minute and then manually finishing yourself off, rather than a particularly irritating consequence of Catholic doctrine, is really great fun if you can combine it with some sort of target practice exercise.

And they learned this from videos. To be honest, if someone's that dumb there's no helping them.

flyingrodent said...

To be honest, there's a mischeivous part of me that would love to see some legislative attempt to curtail this threat - the look on the Queen's face as she announced the Withdrawal Prevention Act 2015 alone would be worth it.

Really though, this chat strikes me as oddly reminiscent of that old Onion article in which the Republicans introduce the Ocular Penetration Prevention Act in order to "discourage skull-fucking", a phenomenon that they've all read about on the internet. Biologically speaking, that was at about the same level of likelihood as "Seagulling" as a popular pastime.

organic cheeseboard said...

Porn is easier to come by than it used to be but surely this stuff has always happened - boys being influenced by representations of sex in the media.

to link porn to that 'seagulling' thing is just bizarre. and by 'some university halls of residence' we should probably read 'some' as 'one or two halls at elite universities dominated by boarding school alumni' - thus it happens at probably one Durham college. Not representative of anything.

Am really wary of these articles which cite a couple of anecdotes, claim that anyone who disagrees 'doesn't know enough young people', requests a 'comprehensive survey' of, um, something unspecified, and then cites an episode of 'Girls' as evidence.* The whole point of those sex scenes is that they're making a point themselves, about something which is not all that widespread - TV show in 'being not very realist in order to make a point' shocker. And the butt of the joke there is the weakness of the woman who indulges it.

Sex ed as it stands does about as much as it can, as you say FR. If people are genuinely going to expect sex to be like it is in porn, there's not very much more we can do than to tell them that they're idiots.

*'Girls' is awful anyway - unfunniness is the chief problem, and by god it is unfunny, but also containing absolutely no characters of any interest whatsoever.

Bruschettaboy said...

I am with Rodent on the "seagulling". Simple consideration of the logistics tells you that there are at least half a dozen stages in this production number which are beyond the organisational abilities of a group of lads, and to be honest it's a mediocre practical joke. I can believe it happened once, probably in the context of a rugby tour. And that's a maximum.

My problem with "Girls" is the amount of media attention it takes up, given that we are the UK, not the USA, and it is only shown on a subscription-only satellite channel here (albeit one that a lot of people bought in order to get "Game of Thrones"). It is quite possible that the actual ratings of that program didn't make it into six figures here.

Richard J said...


162,000 for the last season premiere.

Or slightly less popular than CRIME MUSEUM UK WITH MARTIN KEMP on Quest in the same week (169,000)

organic cheeseboard said...

Yes, I meant to mention this 'coverage versus popularity' thing with Girls too. It's presumably true of the USA as well, where you have to specifically pay for HBO to see it.

Though a lot of the people watching it might well be doing so either illegally or via things like Netflix (NB I have no idea if it is on netflix or anything else).

since discovering recently that Lena Dunham first appeared in the pages of Vogue aged c.14 I'm also very sceptical of the processes by which it got sanctioned given the mediocrity of the writing (to reiterate, it ain't funny - the best joke in the first episode was a mishearing of the word 'twigs' as 'Twix'). reminds me a lot of the old 'Martin Amis, My Struggle' joke.

I can believe it happened once, probably in the context of a rugby tour. And that's a maximum.

I'm more or less in agreement here. for a start, all the blokes have to be climaxing at the exact same time. What on earth have they been doing - and in a Halls hallway?

I remember the good old moral panic days, when seagulling involved a schoolkid wiping ejaculate onto a friend's coat. even then I doubt it happened very often.

flyingrodent said...

to link porn to that 'seagulling' thing is just bizarre. and by 'some university halls of residence' we should probably read 'some' as 'one or two halls at elite universities dominated by boarding school alumni' - thus it happens at probably one Durham college.

In terms of biological capability, I suspect that it would be much easier to get everyone who reads this post to sneeze simultaneously at 7pm on the dot tonight.

And that's before we consider exactly what, for example, five nineteen-year-olds would discuss when they're lurking, cranking it in a hallway and waiting to pounce. An awkward silence and little eye-contact in that scenario, I imagine: a definite "it seemed like a good idea at the time, but".

Given that, I'd say we're almost certainly addressing a dormitory urban myth, here.

Not that this is a catch-all excuse for waving away every other claim in the piece (although it does demonstrate fairly extreme credulity on the author's part), but it is very noticeable that it seems to be based entirely on anecdote.

I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest to discover that some of the stories she relates are fairly common. Whether sex-ed could lessen the phenomenon is another matter, and whether it should is by no means as clear-cut as the author seems to think it is.

organic cheeseboard said...

I did a bit of a Google search or this seagulling thing and it looks to be an entirely invented myth. Apparently you're meant to lurk behind curtains, under the bed etc then all jump out, immediately orgasm, then run around the room 'flapping your wings' making seagull noises. If you ask me, the only 'ed' we need as a result of that is the 'ed' for a journalist not to take obvious bullshit at face value. It's fankly laughable for her to say in the same breath that 'we need a proper survey done' - since that survey, if carried out properly, will undoubtedly show us up, as a nation, to be a bunch of sexual conservatives. Cue column inches, of course.

Septicisle has written well on this by the way. As he (I think it's a he) says, people 'requesting anal on the first night' will likely be swimming in slightly different circles (ie pick up bars / internet hookups) from yer average woman going on a date; and the 'ejaculating in someone's hair' fetish seems to be just that, a festish, which doesn't have a very large pornographic 'backstory'.

but I agree, this stuff might be fairly common, and I think there is a problem with misogyny on some University campuses (usually the big, traditional ones, weirdly enough, perhaps indicating that sex ed is a big problem in private schools) but to blame the easy accessibility of pornography is a simplistic way out, especially since the only control measure we have is, um, someone's memory of what things were like back in the day. I seem to remember Clothes for Chaps (my life's been enriched by not reading him any more) having much the same complaint. Weird how often it's the people who condemn radical Islam or hating the West's sexual freedoms who also, er, condemn the west's sexual freedoms (see also M. Amis).

septicisle said...

I am indeed male. At least I think so. Unity over at MoT has also posted about seagulling, and also thinks it's utter bullshit. That's what I don't understand: Cosslett's argument is fairly sound, if not by any means wholly convincing, and some of it clearly isn't about sex ed but rather about not being a misogynist idiot. Why she then has to relate such fantastical nonsense is beyond me, unless she's trying to make the more staid museli eaters choke on their breakfast as the flip through the Graun.

Mooser said...

"how likely it is that this is even a vanishingly rare occurrance."

Well, it's very expensive, and requires a lot of organising.

Anonymous said...

"Nonetheless, the sizeable lacuna in all this is surely who's missing from this rollcall of young male depravity, and that's gay guys."

Well the whole anti-porn racket is just a measure to reintroduce sodomy laws in through the back door, no pun intended. It's why in any feminist anti-porn rant there will, without fail, be some complaint about 'being forced' or 'being expected to' perform either oral or anal sex, because porn.

A few of us gay guys have now sat up and started paying attention to what this latest wave of the 'social purity movement' (which was always a female majority movement)are doing. But unfortunately not enough.