2017 Kept Us Sexually Trapped With the Oppressive Term ‘Masc’

2017 Kept Us Sexually Trapped With the Oppressive Term ‘Masc’

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Words hurt, and all language spoken either empowers or oppresses our community.  

The term “masc” is short for masculine but big on being offensive, as it reinforces the idea that femininity is neither sexy nor acceptable and that masculine is the only allowable way to be.  

Online apps — as the current nexus for finding love and sex — have become ground zero for all the internalized cultural and childhood struggles individuals bring into their romantic lives. Shockingly common then is the problematic usage of “masc for masc” and “no fems” on many profiles to promote the idea that anything less than performative masculinity will be rejected. It also reinforces the anxiety of always being seen as masculine and manly to feel desirable.  

The childhood of any “male” in our culture is one where femininity was always put down and shamed as a way to regulate the behavior of “men” and perpetuated both homophobia and transphobia, as well as misogyny. Our culture is obsessed with the gender binary — of maleness versus femaleness — and we do everything we can to put and keep everyone in one of these two boxes. 

Divergence always gets punished, especially sexually, where masculinity is prized and sought out, and those reinforcing it act like they are victims to it and play no role in maintaining it. Please know that if you speak in these terms, then you are part of the problem. Yes, we all have different arousal templates (all the things that turn us on), but to dismiss an entire segment of people, and to do so openly, is both mean and oppressive, and also just not honest.  

Gender is a performance, and it changes based on cultural norms and values throughout time. As a culture and community, we get to choose what we will police and deem to be acceptable and erotic, and what we will oppress and marginalize. Healthy identity, sexuality and gender presentation are all about creativity and diversity, and should allow for multiple ways of presenting along and outside of the masculine and feminine binary.   

The needed work in 2018 is the acceptance of gender fluidity and in remaining open to finding eroticism in all gender and body expressions. Lose all the problematic body-shaming qualifiers (“hung,” “masc,” “gym bodied”) and remember that your “wish list” of required attributes for dating or sex is just your ego and social anxiety talking.

None of those terms promise connection or compatibility, but they do harm those who don’t qualify needlessly. There is no need to use oppression language to find the sex and love you desire.  


Dr. Chris Donaghue is a lecturer, therapist and host of the LoveLine podcast, a weekly expert on The Amber Rose Show, and a frequent co-host on TV series The Doctors. He previously hosted WE tv’s Sex Box and Logo’s Bad Sex. He authored the book Sex Outside the Lines: Authentic Sexuality in a Sexually Dysfunctional Culture and has been published in various professional journals and top magazines, from The New York Times and Newsweek to Cosmo and National Geographic. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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