Mark Green's Atheopaganism Blog

Living an Earth-Honoring Path Rooted in Science

Protip for Straight Pagan Men

There’s a thing straight Pagan men do. As I’ve observed it, they kind of do it a lot. Recently, I’ve had a couple of conversations that have brought this issue into high relief.

They do it mostly to signal to women they don’t know very well—but are attracted to—that they are hip and cool and sex-positive.

It’s this: they make sexual jokes. Double entendres, puns. “That’s what she said.”

Guys, please stop this. It’s creepy. It makes people uncomfortable.

Not to put too fine a point on it, when it’s unwelcome, it’s sexual harassment. By definition, unwelcome sexual overtures, jokes, suggestions are all sexual harassment.

And here’s the thing, gentlemen: with people who you don’t know very well, you can’t tell if it’s welcome or not. People might laugh along, while inwardly dying.

So please, don’t do it. With your friends, fine; you know them, you know what they find funny and acceptable. If the person you’re talking with starts in on that vein, then also fine: they started it, and you’re welcome to play along. But when you’re attracted to someone new and you’re trying to make an impression, don’t be creepy. Lay off the sexual “humor”.

Being sex positive is not the same thing as being sexually enthusiastic. It means being respectful of the sexual agency of others, as well as yourself. It means embracing the principle that consent is ultimate, and that if someone isn’t interested, it’s time to knock it off.

The conflation of male lustiness with sex positivity is a legacy holdover in the Pagan community from the male-dominated “do what feels good” unconsciousness of the Sixties. It’s been 50 years, and it is long past time we made a definitive effort in the Pagan community to put that to rest. It’s sexist as hell and it excuses what is, to be frank, rape culture.

Obsessive focus on sex is really the same thing as being sexually repressed: an unbalanced approach to sexuality.

Don’t be a sniggering teenager. Don’t be a marauding creep.

Just be a respectful, healthy man.


(I have not been able to confirm this, but I suspect the illustration is a cartoon from


  1. Sounds like you’re a mental case with major sex hang ups. Deal with it ,men will be men. So sick of people afraid of sexuality. But,that being said, you made me think and respond to your post, which is awesome. I’m sure hoping I’ve not come across to others as being creepy or a jerk. And I will definitely be more aware of others and how I may be disrespectful in what I say.

    1. Sounds like you don’t know me at all, because your first sentence bears no resemblance to me. But I’m glad I made you think. And I’m glad you’ll pay more attention to being respectful.

      1. You might be interested to know that this post elicited an outpouring of ‘Thank you for this” responses when posted to Facebook. From women, all of them.

    2. This is super old so my response may, or may not, be of interest. But in case any cis-het men see this comment and go, “Yeah! That! We can do whatever we want and it’s fine.”


      This whole “men will be men” attitude is the problem. No where in this comment did T.Ritch say that women aren’t bothered by sexual humor. They ONLY wanted to say that people need to “deal with it” and/or imply that men have no control over their actions. No. If you’re making someone uncomfortable, its up to you to both recognize this and stop. It is not women’s responsibility to just get over it and be okay with lewd behavior. Thank you for this article, Mark.

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