02.13.2008  BY EM & LO

There's a long-standing tradition of linguistic bias that leans toward the dudes when it comes to issues of sex and gender: there's a million slang terms for penis, and very few for its female equivalent, the clitoris; girls are called sluts, men studs; and what's the word for the opposite of misogyny? Our intern Colin, a sophomore women's studies major (nice!) at Yale, stumbled upon another one-sided word to throw into the mix: freak.

One of my friends the other day mentioned to me that he didn't think I'd be into a girl because he had heard she was 'kind of a freak,' sexually speaking. What struck me was that I've never heard this term used in reference to a guy. Can guys not get freaky? If they do, does that automatically take them past the freak realm and straight into perv territory?

Our other faithful intern, Ariel, who's a senior at Hofstra University, replied:

I would say that guys can definitely be "freaks." I actually have a close friend who I would very much consider a freak...so much so that that's one of the reasons we've never dated or hooked up. It's not that I have a problem with people getting freaky, and I definitely don't think of him as a perv, I guess I'm just not enough of a "freak" myself. Like, I'm not really into dildos in the shape of animal penises, which is something he is into. He also has his own plastic speculum.

Let's put aside the crunchy fact that more women should probably have their own speculums for now and just focus on the freak factor. A quick Google search turns up mostly women in relation to the term "sex freak" (and yes, we're counting Ru Paul as a woman here). Which would seem to reflect the long-standing assumption that women don't really like or want sex (at least not nearly as much as guys), and can't simultaneously be upstanding citizens and enjoy being naughty behind closed doors (a.k.a. madonna/whore syndrome). Meanwhile, no particular sexual proclivities should come as a surprise with guys, 'cause they're pretty much up for anything--the term "sex freak" would be redundant when applied to men--or so the story goes. Thus, women interested in anything more than vanilla sex within a loving relationship became "freakish," an idea probably cemented in the popular culture with Rick James' disco hit, "Super Freak." As one male confidant of ours confided: 

I guess a guy could be called a freak, but he would have to be more freaky, know what I mean? He'd have to be into something way freakier to be called a freak, compared to a woman. And yeah, I could see warning someone: you might want to have sex with a woman if she were a freak, but you wouldn't want a long-term relationship with her. It would just be too much work: dressing up every time, having to lay down a mat to get peed on, whatever. It'd just be either off-putting and/or a huge pain in the ass. In a way it would seem to stifle variety.

So what do you think? Can a guy be a sex freak? And is the bar a lot higher when it comes to freakiness for him? And what constitutes freakiness anyway? A penchant for bondage with her, and a proclivity to dress up in diapers for him?


Conrad said:

I'm certainly the most sexual of people in our group of friends, and I'm a guy.
There seems to be a lot of misguided ideas of sexuality in men. For example, I discuss sex so openly only because I grew up hanging out with groups of women. Men rarely discuss sex, or themselves having sex, when in a group. We may discuss how hot someone is, but we are much more likely to not say anything at all, and just 'hang out,' with eachother. Women are definitley more sexual, and more sexually personal (discussing partners, and their techniques) then any man I have ever known.
I was discussing the idea of comparing female anatomy to male anatomy the other night with my wife, and I'd like to point out that it makes no sense to do so. If we are all headed towards being women up until 8 months (or is it weeks?), then the male penis looks like a large clitorus, not the other way around.
Personally, I'd say that there really isn't such a thing as a sex 'freak,' just people that are into different things.

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Em & Lo, more formally known as Emma Taylor and Lorelei Sharkey, are the self-proclaimed Emily Posts of the modern bedroom.

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