The Real Meaning of MILFs

Can a porn star be a mom?  Can a breast do “double duty?”

These are some of the questions raised by Madison Young, the adult actress who recently gave birth to a daughter. Rather than discreetly hiding her motherhood from the public as many stars in the industry do, Young chose to challenge assumptions about the sexual and the maternal. As Salon reports this week, she’s launched a performance-art exhibit called “Becoming MILF.” The show forces her audience to deal with her both as an object of desire and a mother; at the premiere, “she served up self-made breast milkshakes and displayed a baby quilt made of burp cloths and ‘porn star panties.’”

A fellow pornographer, the notoriously anti-feminist Furry Girl, took angry issue with Young’s exhibit, suggesting that Madison was pimping out her daughter to pedophiles. A Twitter war erupted in which Furry Girl insisted that the breast (at least of a porn star) would always be an erotic image; Young responding that “[T]he only one sexualizing this image of me breastfeeding is you. Which makes me feel truly disgusted and violated.”

Furry Girl isn’t alone in her implication that a woman can’t be both openly sexual and a good mom. In 2005, psychiatrist Keith Ablow wrote a piece in the New York Times in which he reported that many of his male patients experienced permanent “trauma” as a result of witnessing their partners give birth. Unable to reconcile the visceral messiness of childbirth with sexuality, these men lost sexual interest in their wives. Ablow, like Furry Girl, suggests that men are incapable of doing the internal multitasking required to see the women they love as both moms and as objects of desire. His concluding line:

Women may want to consider the risks as they invite their partners to watch them bring new life into the world. For some of the passion that binds them together may leave their lives at the very same time.

As a husband and a father, I’m exasperated that Ablow (and Furry Girl) are each peddling a different variation of the tired old version of the Madonna-whore complex. According to the psychiatrist, men lack the sexual and psychological dexterity to be turned on by the same thing that gives birth to and nurtures a child. “Furry Girl” goes further, implying that any man who could do both is a pedophile, aroused more by the child than by the body of the adult woman who gave birth to it. What they have in common is a refusal to see men as adults capable of seeing women as complete, complex human beings.

Healthy male sexuality doesn’t need mystery to continue to thrive.   Grown-ups don’t need to be kept from the normal human realities of things like childbirth, menstruation, or the inevitable explosive consequences of food poisoning in order to remain attracted to their partners. Men ought to be angry at those (like Ablow) who insist that our libidos are so frail that they can be permanently damaged by exposure to natural biological processes. We’re better than that because we’re more flexible and adaptable than all that.

 ♦◊♦

Though we had planned to have a home birth, in the end my wife needed a Cesearean in the hospital. (Our daughter was wedged into a breach position, and few obstetricians will support a vaginal breach birth these days.) I was at my wife’s side during the procedure, holding her hand and whispering encouragement, while watching with great interest as the surgeons did their work—blood and viscera galore.

I got to see the amazing moment Heloise was pulled (butt first, of course) from my wife’s body. I was there when our daughter latched on for the first time to Eira’s breast. I was awed and humbled by what I saw. And though I wasn’t turned on by watching the birth and the 15 months of subsequent breastfeeding, witnessing my wife’s transition into motherhood did nothing to reduce my attraction to her. That doesn’t make me unusual or heroic.

One of the first times we had sex after our daughter was born, Heloise woke up and staring wailing just as things were getting really hot and heated. Later on, Eira and I would both laugh with mutual appreciation at how rapidly we’d each switched gears from lovers to parents, leaping from bed to go to Heloise’s crib. My wife nursed our daughter back to sleep, and once Heloise was down, we stumbled back to bed and picked up right where we’d left off. I know many other parents who do the same.

Madison Young’s point is not that all men need to drink breast milkshakes.  Rather, she’s challenging all of us to do a better job of acknowledging that women can be both sexual and maternal. Her creative embrace of the porn acronym MILF (for a Mom I’d Like to F*ck) is a reminder that adult men really are turned on by the very same women who give birth to and breastfeed children. But as Young’s vicious critics make clear, for far too many the Madonna-whore complex still endures.

—Photo  Orin Zebest/Flickr

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About Hugo Schwyzer

Hugo Schwyzer has taught history and gender studies at Pasadena City College since 1993, where he developed the college's first courses on Men and Masculinity and Beauty and Body Image. He serves as co-director of the Perfectly Unperfected Project, a campaign to transform young people's attitudes around body image and fashion. Hugo lives with his wife, daughter, and six chinchillas in Los Angeles. Hugo blogs at his website

Comments

  1. I honestly don’t understand the problem anyone has with breastfeeding. As Young points out, the whole problem is in the small minds of those who have a problem…and who aren’t actually being FORCED to watch it anyway.

    I wonder how many of Ablow’s patients also use porn or prostitutes to substitute for things their wives are “too pure” to actually want to do or enjoy. I’d guess it’s probably a high percentage. That is, after all, the unspoken other half of the Madonna/whore problem.

  2. Men ought to be angry at those (like Ablow) who insist that our libidos are so frail that they can be permanently damaged by exposure to natural biological processes. We’re better than that because we’re more flexible and adaptable than all that.
    I can’t speak for all of us but I am.

    Rather, she’s challenging all of us to do a better job of acknowledging that women can be both sexual and maternal.
    Well I say that at least she is not trying to pathologize us for thinking that women can be sexual because of maternity.

    And this FurryGirl (I’ll be checking that site later when I get home from work) seems to not be able to handle that there are men out there that are fully capable to finding a woman sexually attractive after having a child. But its not surprising since women are so unfairly bombarded with messages telling them that motherhood permenantly renders them unattractive (which is bull). Maybe those messages are why FurryGirl thinks such men are interested in the child and not the mother, thinking that said men have bought into those messages.

    Just another case of trying to force men to live by the limited script of being a man.

    (On a side note. I can appreciate Young’s efforts on using the term MILF but frankly that’s pop culture. A lot of the folks that toss that word around do so because they think its makes them hip for being attracted to older women.)

    • I hate the term MILF. There is nothing revolutionary about the idea that men can be attracted to women of all ages — if they are hot! So, a young breast-feeding porn star can still be a sex object. Wow, who would have thunk it. Not sure how this provides any comfort to average women who don’t have the time, money, energy or genetic gifts to maintain the body of a 25 year old through middle age.

      I think some women lose interest in sex after they have children because they simply don’t feel attractive enough any more given the brutal pressure on women to be physically perfect. It’s hard to get in the mood when you have to plot how to undress without calling attention to your body, or when every caress makes you think, “ugh my breasts are saggy” or “does he notice my stretch marks?” The MILF phenomenon is just another way to make average women feel inadequate, IMHO. Okay, end rant.

      • Hotness is a state of mind more than a physical body thing.

        • Yes, Playboy always chooses models based on their state of mind. :-)

          • Playboy is Playboy. Who cares? What matters is reality. People are capable of being attractive and sexy/hot without looking like Playboy models. I know quite a few people like that. The more you buy into the Playboy concept, the more power you give it.

            A lot of men I know may think Playboy models are physically attractive and a few may be willing to fuck a Playboy model but only one or two would be interested in actually having a relationship with one. As one male friend told me a few years ago, “Beauty queens are a pain in the ass.”

            I’ll say it again, most men I know would prefer to be with a real woman who is comfortable and confident in her own sexuality than with a Playboy model.

            • Sorry, but that just hasn’t been my experience with men. Obviously, there is a range and men don’t need to be with a Playboy model to enjoy sex, but I think men do prefer hot women to non-hot women and I think there are fairly objective and well-understood criteria of what makes women “hot,” which most men (and women) by into. That’s the world we have to live in. You are talking about your own point of view and that’s great, and yes we all need to strive to be happy with ourselves, and it’s good that you feel the way you do. But that doesn’t change what other people think, and men do like physically attractive women more than they like unattractive women, there’s just no getting around that.

            • Yes, well, we all like physically attractive people. However, I know women who are pushing 50 and are admittedly obese who have multiple lovers. My own boyfriend has admitted to me that he finds her sexy. Why? Because she puts out a sexy, attractive vibe. Another male friend told me about his ex-girlfriend who was, as he said, not particularly physically attractive (also in her late 40s at the time). Nonetheless, as he put it, men were always attracted to her because she WAS sexy and confident.
              How do you reconcile these two realities? All I can say is that you create your reality. That’s fine but be careful about blaming men or anyone else for the situation you create for yourself. The outside world will only mirror what you believe about yourself.

            • But that doesn’t change what other people think, and men do like physically attractive women more than they like unattractive women, there’s just no getting around that.
              Mainly because that’s what we are told is the ideal (via the message that a “real man” goes for physical beauty). But in real conversation with real run of the mill guys we don’t spend all of our time only talking about the thinking about Playboy model type women. That’s not to say that no men do that though.

            • Excuse me but isn’t claiming that most men wouldn’t want a relationship with a Playboy Bunny assuming A) that you can’t be beautiful AND have a great personality and B) supporting that whole madonna-whore complex thing?

              I love this qoute “Beauty Queens are a pain in thass”. Quick, someone please hit me with the ugly stick so I can get a man…*rolls eyes. Another popular statement that is supposedly suppose to make women feel better, “for every hot woman out there ther is a guy sick of bleeping her”. These seem more like incredibly hateful commnets about women then positives ones. But I guess because they mock beautiful women, it’s suppose to be okay and even good for all us “average” girls.

            • Erin,

              A) A woman can be beautiful and have a great personality. Plenty do. At the same time, a lot of beautiful women seem to very insecure. After awhile, that gets annoying to be in relationship with. Playboy bunnies seem to be extreme cases of women focused on their physical appearance.
              B) The Madonna-whore complex thing is only pertinent if it is based on gender AND promiscuity. As far as I am concerned there are plenty of people of both genders who I’d be willing to fuck but not be in a relationship with. Personality alone is sufficient to eliminate someone from my potential relationship list. As I mentioned above, Playboy bunnies seem like they’d be high maintenance and insecure. Most guys I know would get tired of that pretty damn quick.
              There’s only one male friend I have who consistently dates women who look like Playboy bunnies. Guess what? He’s constantly complaining because they make his life a living hell. He keeps going back to them though, like a moth to a flame. It’s astonishing to watch but everybody’s got their own karma to work out.
              Hence, the pertinence of the quote “beauty queens are a pain in the ass” which was uttered by a good male friend of mine who is close to 60 and seems to know people pretty well.
              There’s some truth to the saying, “for every hot woman out there there is a guy sick of bleeping her.” It’s called the Coolidge Effect and it’s common in most mammals. Check it out. It’s not hateful, it actually occurs and there’s empirical evidence to prove it. Maybe God (if you believe in him/her/whatever) created the Coolidge Effect to make the “average” girls feel better but I doubt it.
              Believe me, a person’s personality and character will attract or repel more men/women than his/her body ever will. A person may have a great body and a pretty face and may attract more attention initially but most folks are not stupid. Nobody will want to be around people who are angry, blaming, or bitter no matter how attractive they are.

            • So Jeni, It seems to me that you are saying that beautiful women can be both secure and wonderful and insecure and annoying. Which is completely different from saying that “beauty queens are pain in the asses”, especially if you understand enough to know that beautiful women can be secure, wonderful people. You’re facilitating a stereotype you don’t even believe in.

              Further, the madonna-whore complex doesn’t have to even involve promiscuity. All it has to involve is gender and sex. Which goes back to thinking that mothers can’t both be sexy and mothers at the time. Their level of promiscuity has nothing to do with a person forming that opinion of them.
              Trying to make women feel better about their mate’s porn use on the back that the woman in porn *might* be a certain way is totally illogical. And it continues to put that separation between what “good” girls do and what “bad” girls do. “Good” girls don’t do playboy..”Good” girls worthy of relationships don’t do such things. But it’s okay for husbands and boyfriends to enjoy the “bad” girls that do. When did we step back into 1950?

              Aww yes, the Coolidge Effect. I have heart of it. Where every woman becomes a disposable item for a man’s next conquest. What a nice way to represent men and women. Where every woman is just one step away from being a tired old fuck.

            • Erin,
              I have no doubt that beautiful women can be both secure and wonderful. I have met precious few who are both of the Playboy bunny class and secure. Of course, I don’t find Playboy bunnies to be beautiful. I can see what men like about them but I don’t find them beautiful. Anyways, that’s the basis of the stereotype around beauty queens/playboy bunnies.
              You’re right about the Madonna-whore complex. I was incomplete in my description and I will blame that on responding to your comment before I had finished my coffee this morning. It does have to do with promiscuity to the extent that women who are mothers are not permitted to be sexual (no sexuality = no promiscuity). My view that humans are inherently promiscuous obviously skewed my wording.
              I never mentioned porn in my responses to this article so I don’t know where you’re coming from on this one. The concept of “good” girls being worthy of relationships and the “bad” girls not being worthy of them didn’t even enter my mind. In my opinion, a person is worthy of a relationship when s/he is looking for the same thing as his/her potential partner, has sufficient character, and is emotionally mature enough to handle it.
              Regarding the Coolidge Effect, I don’t know what to tell you. It is what it is. It is partially why I don’t require or fight for sexual exclusivity in my relationships. On the other hand, it says nothing about the impossibility of long-term pair-bonding. In fact, it tells you that, if you’re in an open relationship and your partner sticks with you there’s clearly something more holding you together as a couple than sex and physical attractiveness.
              Also, there’s evidence that the Coolidge Effect also occurs in females but to a lesser extent. Men are in a very similar boat.

            • As usual, we disagree. You’re making some heavy judgements about beautiful women and it’s those stereotypes that aren’t healthy. You don’t even believe the phrase you preach. Not if you understand that there are many lovely, kind hearted physically beautiful women out there. As for the comment about Porn, I was refering to Playboy. To me Playboy is still porn, softcore. I also think using the Collidge Effect as the basis of a relationship is a bit sad.Telling women they are only as good as the newest fuck isn’t even true. And perputuating that idea doesn’t help men or women understand themselves. All it does is create a rift between the genders. No, it’s not “it is what it is”. Maybe for you it is, and that’s fine. But while phsyical attraction and sex aren’t the only part of the relationship, to deny that it’s health in a relatinship doesn’t matter, wouldn’t be right either. For many people, the health of sex in the relationship matters a great deal. Just as it matters how you get along when you’re not between the sheets.

            • First off, the page isn’t allowing me to reply directly to your comment (there’s no ‘reply’ button). Weird!
              Yes, I suppose we do disagree.
              Yes, I am making some heavy judgments about ‘beautiful’ women. My judgments are based on personal experience and conversations with men about said women. I hope I am proven wrong.
              Yeah, I suppose Playboy is softcore porn. I guess when Jill mentioned Playboy bunnies I didn’t think of their profession as much as I did about the appearance and personality traits of women who can fit into that grouping.
              Are you saying that the Coolidge Effect is false? What evidence have you found to prove your claim? I’m confused.
              Look, you’re the only one who has said that women are “only as good as the newest fuck”. I never did. What I have said is that there is a scientific basis for why men and women in relationship lose interest in each other after having reached a certain level of sexual satiety. This occurs regardless of what the female or male looks like. My understanding is that this is because life-long monogamy does not best serve the goal of perpetuating the species or creating a more varied gene pool. You can make value judgments about this if you would like. I prefer to accept reality.
              I don’t know how it creates a rift between the genders to turn to the men I am in relationship with and tell them that it’s okay if they look at other women, that they flirt with other women, that they have sex with other women, or that they develop loving relationships with other women. The men I know are thankful to know I don’t expect them to live up to some unrealistic ideal. It creates a bond, an intimacy, and a trust between us.
              Honey, I never denied that sex wasn’t important in a relationship. For me, it’s very high on list. If I don’t click with a man in bed, he doesn’t get invited back a second time.
              Honestly, I don’t understand how discussing the importance of the sexual health of a relationship is pertinent to this conversation.

            • The Wet One says:

              They could also just be simple statements of the truth. Why does everything have to a “incredibly hateful comment”? Seriously… We’re not suggeting that women be put into gas chambers. That was incredibly hateful. We’re not even suggesting that women be killed and put into the sausage a la Willy Pickton in Canada. That was hateful. We’re just pointing out the fact that guys get tired of women’s crap in general no matter how hot she is. Is that hateful or just a fact? You decide…

              Alternatively, is it easier to deal with humble people who aren’t full of themselves or not, or is it easier to deal with something who thinks they’re better than everyone and everyone ought to kowtow to them and hang on their every word, action and decision?

              The saying captures all of that in so many fewer words, but nooooo… It’s “incredibly hateful” to say this in a certain shorthand. Really????

            • Well Wet One, thanks for not suggesting women be put in gas chambers. That’s real kind of you and all. I guess we should be happy with that and when we are told how tired guys are of bleeping even beautiful women, average regular girls should come crawling on our knees in thankfulness.

              I wonder how it would appear to men if women ran around making a comment about how, “for every man out there there is a woman tired of dealing with his needy mother issues.” Or something equally degrogatory. Would you like a statement being tossed around like that? Or perhaps, “for every man out there there is a woman tired of pandering to his masculinity to sooth his ego”, or “for every man out there, there is another man with more money around the corner”. Are these nice ways to describe men? At least I’m not advocating that we put men in gas chambers or anything right?

            • The Wet One says:

              I would be happy if you made the “for every man out there there is a woman tired of dealing with his needy mother issues,” comment. It would add some levity to the situation. Furthermore, I wouldn’t assume that it’s misanthropy either. I find nothing derogatory about it at all. I find it to be part of the banter between the sexes. All of those comments are good and some of them I’ve heard (esp. the “for every man out there, there is another man with more money around the corner”) none of which amounts to misanthropy in any way shape or form.

              And I’m glad you aren’t advocating the placement of men in gas chambers because they are men. That shows you aren’t a misanthropist.

              See, we agree! Was that so hard?

            • The Wet One, we didn’t agree on anything. You’re okay with nasty phrases (my own opinion obviously) to be passed around about women in some bleeped up mindset that it’s either suppose to make the women that ‘aren’t like that” feel good or it’s suppose to be a way for men to make fun of women. And you don’t mind if it happens to your own gender. Although, I suspect if those phrases really caught on, I do think more men would be bothered by them than not. I wouldn’t even want to spread those kind of lines around about men because then I would be placing judgements on men that I don’t deserve to make.

              My comment about not advocating placing men in gas chambers was a mockery of your comment. As if women should be grateful for that much. As if as long as we aren’t being placed in gas chambers, it’s all good. I’m just shaking my head over here in my little corner of the world.

            • Erin,

              I’m definitely holding out hope that the woman I end up with will be both hot and intelligent, compassionate, funny, and confident. When I think of actually pursuing a relationship with a Playboy model, though, one thing (among others) stops me: I really don’t think I could be with a woman who’s job is “stand in place while someone takes pictures of you.”

              No offense.

      • That plus I recall when being attracted to older/old women was sign for ridicule from men and women (namely jokes about wanting to have sex with someen’s grandmother as grandmothers can’t be sexually attractive or that there is something wrong for finding them attractive). So its a bit aggravating to have some poser who had never so much as has sexual thoughts about a woman more than 5 years older than himself (meaning at 18 we’re talking 33ish) before American Pie released prancing about talking about how hot MILFs look.

      • I think the term MILF became popular precisely because there is so little in pop culture to suggest that women with children can be attractive or even have sex at all. It’s extremely rare in movies and on TV to show a woman who is a mother and is attractive and has an active sex life, especially if it involves sex with her husband. Marital sex is still practically as taboo on TV as it was in the fifties. The implied message in the word MILF is that “surprisingly for an M, I’d L to F her.” In part, it’s an expression by people who have come to realize that pop culture may have misled them.

      • “So, a young breast-feeding porn star can still be a sex object. Wow, who would have thunk it. Not sure how this provides any comfort to average women who don’t have the time, money, energy or genetic gifts to maintain the body of a 25 year old through middle age.”

        Firstly, how do you know that Young does have the time, money and energy?

        Secondly, why does this exhibition have to provide comfort to anyone?

        Thirdly, why are you so quick to dismiss this woman’s artwork, lived experiences and exploration of these themes? Is it because she makes pornography or because she’s still in her 20s?

        • I’m not dismissive of her, I’m dismissive of the whole MILF concept. I don’t find it revolutionary or empowering (whether presented as seropis artwork or otherwise) to think that anyone wants to f&*k a woman who is a porn star, even if she is a mother. She’s a mother, that’s awesome. But of course men want to f&*k her, that’s kind of the idea, right? She has a career in the sex trade and her f&*kability is her product. That is nothing against her personally or her choice of a career. I just think the MILF phenomenon is one more thing that puts pressure on ordinary women and mothers — most of whom who can’t hope to look like a porn star — that no matter how long we live, we are only defined by our f&*kability. So whatever point Madison Young is trying to make on behalf of women (if that’s what she’s doing), she doesn’t speak for me.

          • Meant to type “serious” not “seropis” — whatever that is! — sorry for typos.

          • The Wet One says:

            Hmmm….. Women only defined by their f&*kability? Really? Soley and uniquely their F&*kability? I thought they were the majority of the workforce, taxpayers, voters, moms (everyone has moms), writers, lawyers, artists and all the rest of it too.

            Yes, they all have vaginas and most straight men want to get back in (into some more than others to be sure), but most men (though not all to be sure), see women as more than the sum of their f&*kability. Heck, in these difficult days, a wise man might just want to hook up with a sugar momma to take care of his behind…

            Jill, I think you should trying seeing more of what men see in women other than their sexuality. Yeah, the sexuality is a big part of things, but there’s more to it than that. Don’t look to the media either. Ask your dad, your brothers, your uncles, your grandpa etc and especially your boyfriend, lover, husband or whathaveyou. Yeah, they’ll say (if they’re honest) that women are a pain in the ass, but they won’t say that they only valued your mom, aunt, grandma, etc. for their f&*kability or defined them solely for their f&*kability. Your myopia in this area is a bit disturbing. Porn ain’t real kiddo. Get over it. Also, life ain’t fair, so if you’re hoping to land Brad Pitt, well, I’d like a Playboy Bunny too, but it’s not in the deck I was dealt. Such is life.

            • Wet One, I really appreciate your comments and I wish more men were willing to say things like that, and I might be less cynical. :-)

            • Jill said: “I just think the MILF phenomenon is one more thing that puts pressure on ordinary women and mothers — most of whom who can’t hope to look like a porn star — that no matter how long we live, we are only defined by our f&*kability. So whatever point Madison Young is trying to make on behalf of women (if that’s what she’s doing), she doesn’t speak for me.”

              I completely agree with this. Women are defined through their fu*ckability. Otherwise men would be making billiong dollar businesses about our good hearts or junk like that.

              The Wet One: “Porn ain’t real kiddo. Get over it. Also, life ain’t fair, so if you’re hoping to land Brad Pitt, well, I’d like a Playboy Bunny too, but it’s not in the deck I was dealt. Such is life.”

              “Porn isn’t real Kiddo”…condsending much The Wet One. No one said porn was real. However it is a reflection of what men really desire. Otherwise men wouldn’t be so lured by it. It also has become something men are consuming much more then just 20 years ago. The arguement was never if porn itself was real. It’s about the expectations men place on wome nbecause of it. Even saying things like “I’d like a Playboy Bunny” shows that you do infact buy partcially into the photoshopped, heavily made-up, sometimes surgierally enhanced pictroials. By the way, I never found anything extrodinary about Brad Pitt. He’s jsut a regular guy and any man I’ve dated I’ve found 10 times more sexy. But I guess expecting that level of loyalty from a guy in return when it comes to Playboy Bunny’s is also something that isn’t real.

            • The Wet One says:

              Hmmm…. Trying to think of a thing to say to you Erin, but I figure what’s the point. You’re in her world and I’m in mine. We will not agree. And that ‘s fine.

              You’re not in my life (except on website) and I’m not in yours.

              I trust that you live is filled with peace, enjoyment, love and all the wonderful things you want. Mine for the most part, is.

              Good luck and godspeed!

              P.S. I’m sure I’ll respond to you in future on some comment or another (after all, you’re not the only one listening to me, nor am I the only one listening to you), but for now, I’m done. Better things to do with life. Cheers!

          • Point taken, however I don’t believe Madison Young was speaking on behalf of anyone but herself in this exhibition, nor do I think it advocates the mainstream ‘MILF’ concept (which I agree is neither revolutionary nor empowering). From the gallery website: “Madison Young will be opening her exhibit of Becoming MILF, which addresses her journey through pregnancy and birth while continuing her work in the adult industry.”

            • You are correct, I don’t really know what message Madison Young wants to convey or what her personal reasons are for the exhibit. I suspect fundamentally she is just marketing herself by creating something with shock value that creates publicity for herself and more customers for her fins. And it’s certainly worked. I suppose one message I get (whether or ot that’s what she intends) is that mothers are f$&kable (that seems to be the message Hugh got too) — I take that from the “becoming MILF” title of her exhibit — and that’s where I have a negative reaction because, as I’ve said, there is nothing surprising about a porn star being f$&kable even after giving birth. I find her posturing about motherhood and sexuality to be kind of patronizing toward other women, actually. Kind of in the same vein as Paris Hilton complaining about how tough her life is. However, I think the exhibit is really aimed at men, who are her primary audience. So perhaps I am wrong to think she is trying to speak for women or trying to convey any kind of message for women. Her breasts are part of her product and showing herself breastfeeding is another way of moving product.

            • Damn autocorrect. Films, not fins! That makes it sound like she’s doing dolphin porn. LOL

            • Lol, I now have this image in my head of a man dressed up like a giant dolphin flapping his fins saying “come here baby”.

  3. Furry Girl and Ablow are idiots.

    I’m more attracted to my wife post-childbirth than previously. I was right there holding one of my wife’s legs when my son was born, so I saw everything. Granted, it’s slightly jarring and mystifying that something the size of a watermelon can successfully pass through an opening the size of a lemon. But it certainly didn’t diminish my lust for my wife in any way, shape or form.

    The thought that men are really grossed out by a stretch Armstrong vagina during childbirth to the point they can’t function sexually afterwards is just kind of silly. After all, put yourself in a straight woman’s shoes dealing with male genitalia for a lifetime. Talk about ugly…

    • Granted, I am bisexual rather than straight but regardless, I find male genitalia very attractive. I’m happy to have my vulva because she brings me oodles of pleasure but penises are very nice!

      You may not find penises as beautiful as I do but, rest assured, they are wonderful and miraculous!

  4. The real problem, as I see it, is that Young and Furry Girl have taken it upon themselves to speak for men, about men’s feelings. Let the men speak for themselves.

    Also, a good friend is a birth doula. She asked her husband about this theory, that some men are turned off to sex with their wives after seeing them give birth. Was it true? Not the straight guys, he said.

    • How is Young speaking on behalf of men/claiming to speak on behalf of men?

    • On the hand, I have read some articles with anecdotal stories about guys getting so freaked out by childbirth that they were permanently turned off by sex with their wives. Maybe it happens to some men, but it could be a small minority. I don’t know. I don’t have kids but I always thought I’d leave it up to my husband to decide if he wanted to be there. I think it’s hard to make generalizations since it’s a very intense experience, and people may react very differently. If someone is very squeamish about the body, it could be too much for them. For example, I didn’t want to watch my sister give birth, and she didn’t want me there, because in my family we were very private about bodily functions. But I know women who’ve had like 20 people with them, including friends who brought their own kids for the “experience.”

      • The Wet One says:

        Wasn’t there a show on Oprah about this? And no, I’m not being facetious. I’ve heard of it too. Heck, my one friend (with 3 kids now) described the first birth and the results as being akin to a sucking chest wound (or some other greivous bodily harm). He clearly got over it.

        After awhile, I think all guys think of their partner’s body as part of their own. When such precious goods get bent out of shape, well, dang! That’s my home getting torn up! That’s where the family jewels go for adoration and satisfaction. I think all guys get a little choked about it. Most move on. Others, well, big guys faint at the sight of blood. Not surprising that some guys, after seeing their precious puddy being all banged up, can’t imagine it being put back to its funner uses. The mind is a strange thing. Some see misogyny in every comment, other’s can’t see sexy in mother’s post birth vajayjay… Weird world isn’t it?

  5. Henry Vandenburgh says:

    I watched my daughter being born. In fact, I cut the cord. I enjoyed sex with her mother for years afterward. Real women are sexy. “Hot” women may not be. It depends.

  6. Welcome back! Can so relate to all of this! From attempted home birth to partner involved in all of it. You are right: modern men are belittled in this discussion.

  7. once again Schwyzer proves his obsession with sex. That’s all this guy rambles on about. And, for a guy who is so anti-porn he cites a porn star by name. Wait, he dislikes porn, yet knows the performers by name? how can that be? Another thing, he mentions how he was at the side of his wife when she gave birth. Schwyzer writes: “I was at my wife’s side during the procedure, holding her hand and whispering encouragement, while watching with great interest as the surgeons did their work—blood and viscera galore”. He states this as if this is a badge of honor and a rarity. Sorry Hugo, but it is more common than your ego would allow you to believe. There are countless men, myself included, who were at the their wive’s sides holding their hands during labor. So, please, get off your high horse.
    Schwyzer then goes on to write: “Madison Young’s point is not that all men need to drink breast milkshakes. Rather, she’s challenging all of us to do a better job of acknowledging that women can be both sexual and maternal. Her creative embrace of the porn acronym MILF”. Is Schwzer serious when he states this? A porn performer challenging us? I never realized porn or its performers could challenge thought and speak intellectual debate. She is creative in embracing the MILF acronym? an acronym, which belittles women ( so much for that feminism you claim to champion Mr. Schwyzer. The MILF acronym is demeaning to women. or are you so clouded by your obsession with sex to recognize it?). Porn in itself is predicated on the homosexual because it is predicated on watching the male ejaculate. It is called the money shot. Males receiving a vicarious and voyeuristic thrill from watching another male ejaculate on screen is homosexuality plain and simple. Maybe Schwyzer’s obsession with sex and posting online about sexual topics is nothing more than him trying to deal with his sexuality.

    • 1. He’s a professor of gender and sexuality. Of course he’s going to talk about sex a lot.
      2. Did you not notice the link to the Salon article about Madison Young’s exhibit, an article that mentions her by name?
      3. You apparently also missed this; “That doesn’t make me unusual or heroic.” in reference to his presence at his wife’s side during child birth.
      4. Thinking it impossible for someone in porn to be intelligent and capable of intellectually challenging you is a pretty damn sexist sentiment. That sounds more like your problem than Hugo’s.
      5. Explain to me how MILF is demeaning to women when it’s being used to describe one’s self.
      6. Your opinion about porn for straight men being “predicated on the homosexual” is utterly stupid and reeks of homophobia.
      7. Hugo has been open about his bisexuality for some time on his own blog. It seems unlikely that he’d develop an “obsession” to deal with something he appears to be perfectly at ease with.

      So, to summarize; you’re an idiot. I’d guess that you’re probably some anti-feminist twit who’s so intent on criticizing Hugo that you have to make serious grasps at straws to do so.

      • First, the acronym MILF was never used by a woman. It was used by men in porn to describe Mother’s they would like to f***. I remember seeing young girls wearing shirts saying “I’m a future MILF”. When I told them what it meant they looked shocked. I have never seen a woman wearing a shirt like that again. It is demeaning, sorry to break it to you. It places women only on a sexual level nothing more. It means women are only good for sex. Porn subjugates women, it is a medium that promotes male sexual dominance through aggression. That’s demeaning in my book.

        You’re passion for Hugo Schwyzer’s mental prowess has clouded your objectivity. Schwyzer studied History and did his graduate work in Medieval History if my memory serves me well. He did not specialize in Gender Theory or Sexuality. The guy is simply rehashing ideas he reads as he goes along.
        And for calling my idea about Porn being based on a homosexual construct stupid and homophobic. Well, guess what, I did my undergrad and grad work with and emphasis in Gender Theory and sexuality. The idea of Porn being based on a homosexual construct is from Gender Theory. Read “Gay Male Pornography” by Christopher Kendall. I read it, I guess that makes me homophobic. And, guess what, PORN is based on a homosexual construct. Read more and you will find that the only reason Porn producers and directors started showing the male climax was because MEN were demanding to see it. They wanted to know that the make was climaxing and it was not fake. So, MEN demanded to see the male ejaculate. That is homosexual in my book. That is not homophobic. I didn’t demean homosexuals in any way. Maybe you were made to feel uncomfortable because you watch porn and get enjoyment at watching the male ejaculate?
        So, nice try, but BURP. You resort to calling me an idiot because you don’t have the intellectual capacity to have a rational discussion about a topic. When you are made to feel uncomfortable or your lack of knowledge on a subject is revealed you resort to name calling.
        I can give you a reading list to expand your mind and free yourself from blind allegiance to a guy who has lived his life in the ivory tower.

  8. @Steve: For the record Schywzer works at a community college. He would never be allowed to teach a class on Gender and Sexuality at a university based on the fact that he has no background in that field. He has never published any work on Gender Theory or Sexuality. His area of expertise is History, medievlal or whatever. Historians are well known for twisting facts.

  9. Black Iris says:

    But on the other hand, she’s a porn star. When she puts her breastfeeding into that context, she’s creating a lot of strange connections. I don’t think she can be hurt that someone sees her as sexualizing the whole thing.

  10. Black Iris says:

    MILFs misses the whole point of the sexuality of mothers. We are not just people men want to sleep with. We are people who want to have sex. The porn star isn’t changing anything either – she’s showing that she can be an obect of desire and a mom. That’s not the revolution we need.

    • If anything I’d say maybe that that’s not the entire revolution we need.

      As we know there is a common belief that a mom cannot be sexually desirable (trust me on this its true, its damn true). Its true that there is mom’s own sexual desire missing from this exhibit but I still think what she is doing has value in other ways (as I just mentioned). I do think with this exhibit she is going beyond the “I have a kid but I’m still fuckable” facade that the term MILF carries. An actual mom under actual conditions (instead of a copy of a performance under the lens of a camera under conditions that may get downright unrealistic).

      Perhaps some mom will come along and maybe do an exhibit where she showcases men that she (and other moms) find desirable with a reminder that having a kid does not exstinguish the sexual fires. But even that would not invalidate what’s being done here.

      • Black Iris says:

        Showing men pictures of men we moms find attractive wouldn’t really make the point for me.

        What I would really want goes beyond the realm porn can handle. I’m thinking of men seeing women who are moms all day, but think about sex and want sex and have it when they can. They’d have to be real women, though, with stretch marks and sweatshirts and mini-vans. The trick is getting people to see that sexuality is something that comes from within and has nothing to do with the person looking good to the person watching the movie.

        • Showing men pictures of men we moms find attractive wouldn’t really make the point for me.
          That’s why I said “perhaps”. Not like it was and all encompassing perfect solution.

          I’m thinking of men seeing women who are moms all day, but think about sex and want sex and have it when they can. They’d have to be real women, though, with stretch marks and sweatshirts and mini-vans. The trick is getting people to see that sexuality is something that comes from within and has nothing to do with the person looking good to the person watching the movie.
          One big step to that goal would be for society to “give permission” to men that already think that way (because seriously the vast majority of my sexual thoughts are about men and women that see about town on a regular basis). I think a lot of people already see what you say about sexuality but are just too scared to say so because of what society on the whole says about sex.

  11. Just left a link to your blog on my own as a Versatile Blogger Award Nomination. Thanks for writing!
    The Good Men Project is my most recommended blog. Wonderful stuff!
    This particular article is very close to my heart.

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