Monday, June 30, 2014

If you want something done right... (and another PSA)

Did you know that Craigslist is still a thing?  I didn’t until a couple of months ago, when a friend was telling me that he was looking for some NSA action, and I jokingly suggested he post on Craigslist.  And then I became curious.  Do people still use Craigslist?  I mean, when I lived in the States, I used it for everything: finding work, shared rides, buying and selling everything I owned.  However, since I’ve been in Korea, I haven’t given it a thought. 

So I hazarded my way into the dark forest of the Craigslist personal ads (if Craigslist were Middle Earth, the personal ads would totally be Mirkwood), and what stood out most was that there are SO MANY PEOPLE looking for elusive unicorns.  Which is what you’d expect in a fantasy forest, I guess. 

Most of the ads were easy to laugh at:
Subject: hot lady wanted 4 3some
Message Body: American guy 5’11” 180 and sexy Korean girl looking for another girl to join us in the bedroom… if ur a bi girl message me we can have some fun this week.  Ttyl

A couple ads, though, intrigued me; they were actually written with sentences (and whole words), and the people writing seemed to be genuine and smart.  So I thought: Yeah, okay.  Why not?  But here’s the thing: In order to have sex with someone (consensually and while sober), you generally want to be attracted to that person.  Unfortunately, not all of us find everyone else attractive.

I messaged a couple with my picture, and they sent back pictures of themselves.  While I found the woman attractive, I didn’t find the man attractive at all.  Our timing happened to not work out, so that was fine.  I emailed a woman with my picture, and she sent a picture back; her listed age said 35, but she looked much older and wore really heavy makeup.  That's a no go.  I emailed another couple, and this was the worst: the guy responded without a picture; he told me that because they were both married, but not to each other, he didn’t want to send a photo of his face… but he would send naked pictures of himself “posing” if I wanted that.  Also, he said, if his lady friend couldn’t meet with us, he’d be happy to meet me alone and I could “make [him my] bitch” and later asked if I were into water sports and cross dressing.  No thank you, sir.*  He wouldn’t even sign a name; he just wrote an initial.  Yikes.  I mean, I get the need for privacy; I’m an intensely private person.  But someone who’s not willing to send me a picture of his / her face is someone I feel uncomfortable meeting in person.

Which brings me to Teachers Have Sex Public Service Announcement, Part II

Dear straight guys posting personal ads and creating profiles on dating websites:

I'm not quite sure where your extremely confident belief that every woman has a burning desire to see you naked comes from (probably from the same place that makes you hit on women on the bus), but it's obviously there.  I get it -- you think that your cock is the cock to end all cocks.  However, not everyone can be the Cock King, so chances are that shit is pretty average.  So for god's sake, stop posting and sending naked photos.  No one wants to see that as their first image of you (okay, not *no* one -- I certainly can't speak for everyone).  In general, however, women do not look at dick pics and say to themselves, "Wow -- what a handsome penis!  I'd sure like to have sex with the man who's carrying that around!"  Women all over the internet have, however, seen a picture of the beautiful face of a convicted felon and lost their shit, saying things like, "Hell YES.  I would love to fuck that guy.  Weapons possession, gang activity, and armed robbery?  Doesn't matter -- look at those pretty eyes!"  For real.   

Anyway, I decided that if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.  I put up my own very specific posting in the women for women section, and while I did get a couple of unsolicited responses from men (happens every time), I also got a few really lovely replies written in whole sentences with face pictures attached.  Hot.  Craigslist is still thriving, people.  Get your NSA on.            

*Not unless I'm getting paid for it!  I did direct him to FetLife, where I thought he might be able to find a more suitable match than he could on Craigslist. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Guess I'll have to add "sociosexually unrestricted" to my OK Cupid profile...

I feel like I've been waiting for this article my whole life. 

I can't count the number of times I've been told by friends and strangers (not to mention ALL THE MEDIA) that casual sex is detrimental to my well being and / or psychologically damaging.  That something must be wrong with me for wanting to hook up and never see the person I hooked up with again.  That I have a lot of "emotional growth" to do because most of the time, I prefer casual sex over the idea of engaging in an ongoing relationship.  When someone says to me, "You know, I guess that's fine for you, but gosh, I could just never do it," it feels like shaming.

So thank you, Zhana Vrangalova.  You just made my year.  Dr. Zhana also did a great podcast with Sex Nerd Sandra about casual sex recently - give it a listen!  

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Curve

I teach conversation classes to third and fourth year English majors.  They easily have the highest-level English skills of all of the students at my school; they’re engaged, funny, and really dedicated to being the best students they can be and advocating for their own education.  They actually come to my office hours just to chat!  This is why it is so heartbreaking that I’m giving a C+ to students who earned a 90% in my class and a B+ to students who earned a 96%.  The difference between an A and a B student in one of my classes was that one of them came to class late once.   

Most university classes in South Korea are graded on a curve; at my university, only 30% of the students can receive an A -- no matter how successful they are or how hard they’ve worked.  They could all bust their asses, come to every class, practice presentations until they’re blue in the face, and still only nine of thirty-two can get an A.  Another 30% must receive a C or lower -- for some reason, the computer grading system has decided that although the percentage is the same, nine students can get an A, but ten students must receive a C.

This won’t stop after university.  Most jobs in South Korea have mandatory professional development and evaluations in place that rank employees; raises are partially based on these rankings.  This system of hyper-competition has real life consequences.  If a student has less than a B average at my university, he or she is unable to participate in special programs, like our English intensive course or study abroad.  This means that students are effectively being punished for actually earning As that we’re taking back from them. 

There are those who praise the education system in South Korea for forcing students into high achievement tunnel vision simply because it affects student test scores; however, this model of education is deflating and destructive.  It lowers student and teacher morale. 

The school computers won’t allow grades to be submitted if there is a higher percentage of A grades or B grades than is supposed to be there, and the way we enter grades is by typing in number scores from student work.  What this means is that we have to purposefully enter egregious numbers to lower our students’ scores.  This is not just a practice at my university, but at most private universities in the country.

I’m at a loss for how this is supposed to a good thing in any way for anyone.

UPDATE!  I teach one class that was promoted throughout the department as not having a curve, which is part of the reason students sign up for it; it's a multi-course program that all of the foreign instructors are part of.  We graded fairly and told the students their grades last week.  Today we got an email telling us that actually, the academic affairs office has decided that only 40% of the students in that class can receive an A... which means that students who think they're getting an A+ will really be receiving a B.  Way to go, Terrible U! 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Put a condom on that shit!

You know when you're doing something that you know is wrong, but you just think to yourself in order to justify what you're doing, "Eh... this can't be that bad."  Turns out it can be!  

Semi-recently, I had sex with someone using her sex toy, and we didn't put a condom on it.  I know better.  In the past, I've always put condoms on sex toys that I shared with people.  And I remember thinking at the time, "This is probably a terrible idea."  I was right.  Here's why! 

If you don't want to read the full article, here are a couple of juicy tidbits from it:
  • HPV can live on thermoplastic elastomer for twenty-four hours after use.
  • HPV can live on various materials even after they're cleaned with a commercial cleaner
  • A shitload of people use sex toys.  Probably lots of people you know and love, like your grandma. 
  • Don't blame the sex toys!  HPV can be transmitted via skin-to-skin contact, even with a barrier.  However, just like in regular penetrative / oral sex, barriers always help to minimize risk. 
Now go out, get a silicone dildo, and remember to put a rubber on that bad girl.  Safer sex is hot sex! 

If you're up for more reading on risk potential and barrier use, check out this article from Salon on oral sex.