“Balls!” said the Queen. “If I had them, I’d be King.”
Reading my daily dose of pop fodder in the Guardian, one of several publications I read daily, I, of course, was drawn to the titles that aim to lure cheesy-lover readers like me: When it comes to sexual desirability, balls are often treated as an afterthought. Mike Barry has my admiration for a good writer’s trick–making something from nothing.
Yes, it is interesting that testicles are often overlooked in the sexual realm. Most regard them as unlovely, on the modest side, to gross, on the other end of the spectrum of ball aesthetics. But really, what’s the point? They still get all the privileges and priorities that the patriarchy has offered their owners for all of recent history, which I consider since prehistoric times: power.
As Barry points out, balls are associated with guts and strength, ironically enough given their sensitivity and vulnerability; in fact, they are notoriously the target of anyone’s defense in warding off a male attacker or downing an opponent in a fight. Betty White (at least according to Facebook “facts”) publicly defended the vagina’s replacement for the myth of tough balls since the vag “takes a licking and keeps on ticking,” (pun intended) to steal a phrase from an old Timex commercial. With all the pounding of penises (real or replaced) and punishment of birthing its built for, female genitalia more appropriately earns the accolade, “She’s got vagina!”, to praise an individual’s chutzpah.
However, one paragraph gave me pause in Barry’s article:
I certainly never thought I could feel sexually empowered by my entire package until I met my now-husband: he was the first person to celebrate all parts of my body rather than avoid or ignore some of them. Being with someone who didn’t view half of my sex organs as extraneous to our sex life forced me to reevaluate my own view of my anatomy. As gay men, our sex life was already considered transgressive; without the pressure to conform to a “normal”, heterosexual view of male sexuality as defined by my ability to penetrate a partner, I could allow my entire self to become a source of sexual self-confidence.
The intrigue lies not in the observation that a loved one can appreciate all of his beloved’s parts, even the socially stigmatized or ignored ones–a banal truth, in my mind–but in exposing the underlying assumption of the socially constructed male: his genitalia is defined and evaluated in terms of its heterosexual penetrative utility, i.e., big penis=big satisfaction (vaginally speaking).
How freeing not to be heterosexual just for loosing that construction, opening up the space to heart-see a man’s body parts in light of how two people enjoy–actually experience–their relationship.
Sigh. Is it ever possible to free ourselves from the prison of preconceived notions grown from lazy, unconscious pattern makers, our predecessors?
Nope, it’s too nice outside on a Saturday of a three-day weekend to get my panties wadded up over long-standing social ills. I’d rather spend the time with my daughter succumbing to ad-men/women pitching holiday sales at us, like Victoria Secrets’ 7 for $27 panty sale (buys me another day ignoring the pile of laundry in my bathroom).
Seriously, I found this piece, Thirteen Problems with Balls in Cosmo, though not current, timeless and informative (yes, Cosmo!), far more balls up entertaining than Barry’s piece, despite the poignant heart-felt human connective moment referred to above.