If he had to define himself in a few words, he would pose as an “anthropologist of the ass”. Journalist director, on Instagram, he is Sainte Palucheand feeds its page with testimonials and articles on everything related to sex, from masturbation to threesomes, prostate pleasure, mental load, porn or sex during menstruation.
An anthropological work that Sainte Paluche wanted to deepen in I strip therefore I am *a book in which he intends to deconstruct the relationship to sex conditioned by patriarchy, tackle toxic virility and deliver “the keys to a fulfilling, benevolent and less phalloccentric sexuality”.
“I’m hard therefore I am”, the title of your book speaks for itself. For you, the majority of men define themselves with their whole being by virile masculinity and sexuality?
Yes. In any case, this is the schema in which the majority of men construct themselves, so I wanted to talk about male sexuality, how the cult of performance, toxic virility and the gaze of other men influence their being, their daily reactions and their sexual life. Many people say that men think with their penis, and for many, it’s true!
Many men are driven, even dominated by the cult of performance, obsessed with the size of their penis, their endurance during coitus, the number of partners during their sex life, but it goes much further. The cult of performance is also their relationship to other men, the way they apprehend their virility in comparison with them. A form of pressure that will be expressed beyond the sexual sphere. If the women, among themselves, often speak quite freely about their sexuality, the guys will never confide in their friends about a complex about the size of their penis or their suffering from being a premature ejaculator.
And in his quest for performance, when a man sleeps with his partner, in reality he sleeps with her: “I have a hard-on, I penetrate, I ejaculate”, and clap the end. He’s not into sharing, because he’s too busy evaluating himself, having sex like a rabbit, thinking only of himself. As he’s seen in the thousands of porn movies he’s watched his whole life. Porn of which I was a compulsive consumer, and which I hate today.
From porn that formats from adolescence to a phalloccentric sexuality…
We can never talk enough about the ravages of porn: most kids discover it very young, at 12, in the greatest secrecy and with the hormones boiling. They open a door to an unreal world where all the actors are hung like ponies, and where everything goes through the man and for the man. In ultra-patriarchal mainstream porn, the woman is at the service of the pleasure of her ultra-virile partner.
On the other side of the screen, teenagers are “educated” in sexuality in the idea that the woman is there to give pleasure to the man, that she can only take pleasure through him. . This gives rise to men who masturbate like robots in front of increasingly trashy videos, and who build a virilistic sexuality that leaves little room for imagination and sharing, who find that cunnilingus and sex during rules are dirty. And who, in the end, live a rather boring and toxic sexuality, both for their partner and for themselves.
I was able to realize this a few years ago, by testing the No Fap Challenge, which consists of stopping porn and masturbation for a given time, and aims to get out of porn addiction. I lasted two weeks and started to masturbate again, but without porn, just “in thought”. Not only was it fabulous, but I realized the destructive force of porn, and how it had permeated my relationship to sexuality, and made me a poor lover.
After the awareness, how in practice to deconstruct these patterns of toxic masculinity and phalloccentric sexuality?
At first, I was disgusted, felt stupid and ruminated a lot. Then I began a reflection, read, spoke, and listened to my partners. If you don’t know how to go about it, all you have to do is ask. “Care me like this instead. Stay here instead.” Dialogue works wonders.
One day, while I had “finished” my coitus, my partner at the time, very benevolent, said to me “you don’t want to continue and take care of me? Because I haven’t finished. For many guys, there are foreplay and the purpose of the sexual act is penetration, which ultimately comes to disconnect him from the rest and from the other. I remember being shocked but in the end, a new world opened up. From there, I practiced non-penetrative sex a lot, observed reactions, explored all sources of pleasure, to re-educate myself in sexuality, and find mutual fulfillment.
Penetration should not be the end, and by “disconnecting” our penis, testing everything else – tenderness, oral sex, prostate pleasure – we open up to something else, we reprogram our software to get out of the heteronormative sexuality.
You also insist on your desire to bring down an entire phallocentric and heteronormative patriarchal system. What are the other aspects of this system which affect sexuality and which, in your opinion, must be deconstructed?
My book is for everyone, but it’s still initially a tool for guys shaped by patriarchy and porn. So if a phallocentric guy undertakes this journey, “learns” to give pleasure to his partner, that’s good.
But this is only the beginning: he must also learn to invest himself on other levels, in particular by taking his share of the mental load, integrating that it is natural to take care of the house, the children and shopping. It is this whole journey that will make him a better person, more open-minded, more attentive, more tolerant and benevolent, and in bed, the virtuous circle will continue. It is by becoming generous, feminist and attentive to the other that he will be loved and ultimately, loved himself.
But that means being ready to confront your beliefs. It can be difficult, but in the end, breaking free from this patriarchal shackles allows you to gain confidence, to open up and to dare to experiment with new practices, up to BDSM or prostate pleasure, without worrying about the idea that it would call their manliness into question. It’s very liberating.
Finally, all these mechanisms also and above all reflect a great lack of sex education, don’t they?
Obviously ! Sex has been made shameful and unhealthy when it is natural. Instead, if parents or teachers at school taught us when we are teenagers that we are equal, that we must respect each other and their consent, that all bodies are beautiful. That no, that means no, that a girl doesn’t want to be accosted when she walks alone in the street at night. And that yes, boys – and girls – can masturbate and watch porn, but that it should not be abused and it is not the reality, that would change everything! Even in the mental or contraceptive load.
* “I have a hard-on therefore I am. Introspection of a male conditioned by the patriarchy”, by Mr. Sainte Paluche, illustrated by Marie Casaÿs, Editions Kiwi, in bookstores since November 10, 19 euros.