Featured Reads

BlogHer >>
A Mother's Sexuality: Taking Back MILF

(July 17, 2011)

I've entertained the discussion of women as Marilyns or Jackies, generalizing to describe problems of misaligned expectations between partners, but it wasn't until I finished reading America's Queen, Jackie Kennedy Onassis' biography by Sarah Bradford, that I realized how wrong these assumptions are, and how damaging they are to women who fall into Marilyn versus Jackie discussions.

... My point is that these two women against which so many of us have measured ourselves are not points on a spectrum between virgin and whore, good and naughty, mother and home-wrecker (Marilyn may have slept with JFK, but Jackie became close to Aristotle Onassis during her sister's affair with him and never stopped competing for his attention with his lover of nine years, the soprano Maria Callas). No, these women aren't points on a two dimensional plane, they're complete beings, with their own motives, drives, goals and stories. Just like every one of us.

Time Magazine >>
The Science of Cougar Sex: Why Older Women Lust

(July 12, 2011)

Men who cheat on their spouses have always enjoyed an expedient explanation: Evolution made me do it. Many articles (here is one, and here is another), especially in recent years, have explored the theory that men sleep around because evolution has programmed them to seek fertile (and, conveniently, younger) wombs.

But what about women? If it's really true that evolution can cause a man to risk his marriage, what effect does that have on women's sexuality? Read More >>

BlogHer >>
Orgasmic Meditation: Practicing Sensory Awareness

(July 10, 2011)

"In just fifteen minutes every woman can become orgasmic," the PDF promised. It was part of a press kit for a new book about sex called Slow Sex: The Art and Craft of the Female Orgasm by Nicole Daedone. That the PDF told me all kinds of other things about the book, its philosophy and practice and its author, didn't matter, all I could do was groan.

I've become weary over the years of advice writers, self-help gurus, and authors who capitalize on sex by perpetuating messages that further hinder the enjoyment of our bodies instead of helping us. You’ve seen me rail against the lie-detector techniques perpetuated by AskMen.com, GQ's sex-for-chores barter system and even this new craze with the 40 beads. I worry because these suggestions focus on sex in a way that makes it about everything but sex. Read More >>

My Pleasure >>
The TSA Knows That’s a Vibe and They Don’t Care

(July 7, 2011)

Recently I read an article where a Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) agent discussed inspection of sex toys in luggage during airport screenings. Basically the agent said if you don’t want it inspected don’t pack it or bring it on your trip. If it is in your suitcase, it will be inspected just like any other item.

While I know TSA agents have probably seen every type of item come through the conveyor belts and x-ray machines, and nothing shocks them, I was happy to see the agent normalizing sex toys as just another item people pack and not a big deal. Read More >>

Kinsey Confidential >>
What’s The Deal With Rape Fantasies?

(July 6, 2011)

For many “rape fantasies” seem controversial and somewhat of a social enigma. On the one hand, we are talking about rape fantasies so questions come to mind like—why would someone want to fantasize about a real-life situation which is traumatic and repugnant? On the other hand, we are also talking about rape fantasies which are unconstrained by social consequences, so can’t a person fantasize about whatever they would like to? In order to help alleviate some of the conceptual challenge for people, it may be helpful to better understand rape fantasies. Read More >>

Salon >>
Is age really just a number?

(July 3, 2011)

News that "Lost's" Doug Hutchison, 51, had married a 16-year-old girl sparked outrage this week -- both over the general skeeviness of it (the groom is four years older than the bride's father), and the fact that such a partnership is actually legal with parental permission in Las Vegas. (But a marriage between two gay adults? Nope.) And a New York Times Vows item raised eyebrows after telling the story of a newlywed couple that met when the bride was a 17-year-old high school student and the groom, a John McCain staffer, was 28.

[But] what does the research into adult-teen relationships -- not to mention men and women with first-hand experience -- have to tell us? Read More >>

Psychology Today >>
If a Teenage Girl Has Sex, Does This Means She's At Risk?

(June 30, 2011)

We don't like to talk about teenage girls and sex. Sure, we see it everywhere. Teenage girls in provocative clothing flood the media. They have sex on Gossip Girl and Glee. And they definitely have sex on reality shows like the The Real World and 16 and Pregnant. But when we discuss adolescent girls and sex, it is only in one way: don't have sex. This is easier than anything else. We tell teenage girls to stay away from sexual behavior and to practice abstinence. Don't have sex, we say, because we don't like to imagine them having sex. If they do, then we have to think of them as sexual creatures, and that makes us squirm.

In fact, much of the promiscuity among young women, both heterosexual and homosexual, is likely to go undetected because it makes therapists uncomfortable. When I appeared on Dr Phil to discuss two teen girls whose parents were unhappy they were having sex, the tagline next to the girls' names when they were on screen was "sexually active," as though that was a disorder or a crime of some sort. Read More >>

Sex After 50: The Naked Truth

(June 29, 2011)

The author of Better Than I Ever Expected is back with a new book, Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud About Senior Sex (Seal Press), inspired by the many readers who wrote to her asking about how to deal with issues ranging from vulvar pain to breakups, illnesses such as cancer and Alzheimer’s, as well as “dating while older,” erectile dysfunction, divorce, grief, even hiring people for sex or erotc touch. The tone of the book is supportive but realistic; Price isn’t telling seniors to expect to have the exact same kinds or frequency of sex, but instead that if you’re adaptable, sex can continue (with yourself and others) for one’s entire lifetime.

Throughout the book, Price and a series of experts such as Charlie Glickman, Lou Paget, Carol Queen, and Candida Royalle offer tips related to specific queries in concise, practical responses. Price is a big sex toy advocate as well. “When I review a sex toy on my blog, I concentrate on what it does well (or is supposed to do well!), and how well it works from a senior perspective. e.g. It shouldn’t hurt arthritic wrists; it should last as long as we need without overheating or turning itself off, and more.” Read More >>

UNESCO: Sexuality education for young people highly cost-effective

(June 24, 2011)

Sexuality education programmes can be highly cost-effective, especially when compulsory, adapted from existing models and integrated into the mainstream school curriculum. This is the major conclusion emerging from a seminal study released by UNESCO during a meeting of the UNAIDS Inter-Agency Task Team on Education in New York on 27 April 2011.

The study, Cost and cost-effectiveness: Analysis of school-based sexuality education programmes in six countries, examines a range of programmes in Estonia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, the Netherlands and Nigeria. It highlights significant cost savings in a number of settings. It also shows that compulsory programmes are more cost-effective as they reap the benefits and greater impact of full coverage of the student population. Read More >>

Good Vibrations Magazine >>
Fuck Me, I’m Fat: A Hot Guide to Fat Sex

(June 23, 2011)

Ever read the sex tips in Cosmo and thought “seriously, I am not a yoga master, how the hell am I supposed to do that position” or thought “wow, are the only people who have experimental sex skinny?” I know I’ve certainly scoffed at sex position cards that suggested acrobatics that would qualify me for the Olympics!

It’s really sad when you look up “fat sex how to” or “bbw sex guide” it only takes about 5 entries before you get to either degrading porn or weight loss tips. Ugh. And then, of course, there’s all the body-negative bullshit to wade through. Way to remove sexual agency from fat people! Read More >>

Filament Magazine >>
The art of male burlesque

(June 22, 2011)

Why is the art of removing cool home-made outfits to retro music so rarely performed by men? Burlesque writer Claire Doble investigates the emerging male burlesque scene, and examines the issues it faces....

Burlesque, at its best, is cheeky, entertaining and in an increasingly airbrushed world, real. The wobbling thigh, the dodgy tattoo, the home-made costume – something we can each identify with as human beings. Nude human bodies are both beautiful and fascinating, and it seems about time that both women and men are becoming increasingly bored with the cliché that the male form is silly-looking and awkward compared with the female form.

The Wonderful, Wacky World of Sexhibition >>
Marilyn Monroe and Me! Who Knew?

(June 21, 2011)

Marilyn Monroe, who would have been 85 years old today and arguably still the most iconic sex symbol, apparently had a very surprising secret: The inability to orgasm! ... She was rescued from this horror by learning how to masturbate. Difficult to believe, but I actually have something in common with Marilyn! ... Sadly, masturbation has been much maligned in our society, especially when it involves its practice by women. As a disabled woman with a progressive disease, I can assure you that I have ONLY been able to hold onto my sexuality — at all — because of masturbation.

Solo sex (and it is REAL sex) allows me to function when partner-sex is too physically difficult, if not downright impossible at times because of my disease, and some of the medications I take. Masturbation protects and reinforces my Divine birthright as an honestly sensual, sexual woman. Read More >>

Charlie Glickman >>
You Don’t Get to Be Normal

(June 20, 2011)

One of the most common questions that sex educators hear is “am I normal?” A lot of people feel incredible amounts of anxiety when they imagine that they aren’t normal, especially when it comes to sex. That has plenty of consequences for people’s sex lives and relationships. Ironically, it’s rooted in what I call the Myth of the Normal, rather than how things really are.

I’m sure you’ve seen the magazines that offer articles with headlines like “Am I Normal Down There?” I’ve lost track of how many sex advice columns and books I’ve read that talk about sex as if there’s one way to do it or experience it. And of course, many of the ongoing debates arguments about homosexuality, polyamory, BDSM, and gender diversity are fueled by the difficulty some folks have with people who are “abnormal.” Read More >>

Tiny Nibbles >>
Gay Teen Girl Abducted and Tortured at For-Profit American “Re-Education” School(s)

(June 17, 2011)

In a post that’s (hopefully) due to hit the mainstream press and cause public outrage, Reddit user Pixel8 posted the horrifying first-person story of a teenager named Xandir who was forcibly abducted from her home, publicly restrained, and transported to a program for “troubled teens” where she and others were psychologically and physically threatened and tortured as “treatment” — solely, or at the very least primarily, because she is gay. Read More >>

The New York Times >>
‘Bikini-Ready’? Who’s Judging?

(May 30, 2011)

EVERY spring, as sure as cherry blossoms bloom, so does the notion that women should diet, exercise and even liposuction their way to bikini-ready bodies. Magazines like Shape and Self reinforce the idea that preparation is essential, with months-long bikini body countdowns (100-calorie snack tips included) and workout DVDs like “Bikini Ready Fast!” as if the beach reveal were a test on par with the MCAT and only a slacker would settle for a one-piece.

“It really sends the message that you’re not worthy right now to put on a suit,” said Malia Mills, a swimsuit designer whose brand’s motto is “Love Thy Differences.” Ms. Mills, 44, said shoppers often declare in one of her 10 stores: “I just wanted to see what you had. I’m coming back when I lose five pounds.”

As our culture increasingly enshrines physical perfection, the bikini has come to inspire dread and awe. It wasn’t always so. In the 1960s, when bellybutton-baring suits first became popular in America, “it was a youthful phenomenon definitely,” said Sarah Kennedy, the author of “The Swimsuit: A History of Twentieth-Century Fashions.” Then the high-fashion set and movie stars began to put on bikinis, and by the ’70s, she said, the bikini was “worn by all ages.” Read More >>

Feministing >>
Report back from the Annual Conference of the Council on Contemporary Families

(May 29, 2011)

I just returned from the annual conference of the Council on Contemporary Families, a group that is a terrific resource for the latest research on gender, sexuality, family trends, and race, ethnic, and class diversity.

“Tipping Point? What Minority Families Become the Majority” was the theme of the April 8-9 Conference at the University of Illinois Chicago. Highlights included an evaluation of the interpersonal implications of new racial and ethnic data from the US census, an in-depth discussion of multiracial identity, a fascinating panel on sexual diversity, a discussion of the racial and ethnic tensions surrounding paid and unpaid caregiving, and a riveting series of reports on the challenges of raising children who can thrive — from the differences in the gestural communications between mothers and babies in various racial and income groups, to understanding the high suicide rates of Latina teens, to the efforts of Chicago Ceasefire to reduce violence in Chicago’s streets using the same methods that epidemiologists use to interrupt the spread of contagious diseases. Read More >>

Jezebel >>
Barnes & Noble Censors Cover Featuring Androgynous Male Model

(May 28, 2011)

Barnes & Noble recently took an unusual step — the bookstore chain required the magazine Dossier wrap its new issue in opaque plastic before agreeing to stock it. The problem with the cover? Nudity. More specifically, the nude torso of the famously androgynous male model Andrej Pejic. Barnes & Noble was concerned customers would mistake Pejic for a shirtless woman.

Dossier co-founder and creative director Skye Parrott told me that the directive came as a shock. "We knew that this cover presented a very strong, androgynous image," said Parrott, "and that could make some people uncomfortable. That's partly why we chose it. I guess it has made someone pretty uncomfortable." Added Parrott, "I've been talking to all my friends who work in magazines, and nobody I know has ever heard of anything like this happening. Especially with a guy. Guys are shirtless on magazine covers all the time." Read More >>

The Good Men Project >>
What Women Don't Tell You

(May 24, 2011)

Are you trying this and then trying that and finding nothing works to get her there? There’s a strong possibility she actually knows exactly what needs to happen, because she’s had practice masturbating, but is afraid to say so because her path to orgasm has been perceived by other men or the culture at large as bitchy or emasculating. She might feel that bringing a vibrator in bed will make you feel like less than a man, or she might worry that having you eat her out at length is boring for you. So she won’t ask. If you suspect this might be the case, it’s well worth bringing up. But don’t do it during sex, when fear of judgment is that much higher. While you’re sitting on the couch watching American Idol will lower the stakes of this discussion tremendously. Read More >>

Kinsey Confidential >>
What Can Sex And Dating Teach Us About Race And Ethnic Relations?

(May 21, 2011)

Despite the ongoing debate over the origins of human sexual orientation — whether it is biological, genetic, environmental, or even chosen — we are comfortable in our understanding of what sexual orientation is.  Sexual orientation is an individual’s sexual, emotional, and romantic attraction to a particular gender or genders (e.g., cis- and transwomen, cis- and transmen).  Unlike the role of gender in our sexual orientation and desire, we are less clear in our understanding of the role of other social characteristics, including race, ethnicity, social class, body shape, age, etc.

An important perspective that many social scientists use in their research is an understanding of the way that various systems of inequality intersect and mutually reinforce one another.  This perspective, known as intersectionality, helps us to see how people are simultaneously privileged or disadvantaged along the lines of race, ethnicity, gender, social class, age, nationality and immigrant status, and ability. Read More >>

Betty Dodson with Carlin Ross >>
The Evolution of My Wank Style

(May 15, 2011)

May is masturbation month, and it is also my birthday month! Yes, I am a Taurus (with Scorpio rising to be more specific), and today I will be talking about the evolution of my wank-style. I know, how very Taurus of me.

I have already discussed my first momentous wank at the tender age of fourteen, but solo sex, like most of life, does change over time. When you're young, hormones are like alchemy; they transform the raw lead of lust into the pure gold of orgasm. After a certain age, it becomes a question of mind over matter. My brain is definitely my biggest sex organ. That's one of the reasons, I believe that women who don't masturbate have more sexual problems with age. They have less self-knowledge and often less of an erotic imagination at a time when the body is closing down the baby-making machine (which, of course, is the real purpose of all those heat inducing hormones).

Masturbation builds sexual muscle; it connects the vulva with the pleasure centers in the brain. Over time, these connections become stronger. We all know how hard habits like smoking are to break, and there is a reason for this. Habits exist on a biological level. When you repeat an action over and over again, you form neural connections in the brain that facilitate the repetition of this habit. Masturbation can fine tune sexual response, reinforce those neural connections and, therefore, enhance partner sex.

Ms Naughty >>
Anti-Porn Feminists Can’t Acknowledge Feminist Porn

(May 12, 2011)

A couple of weeks ago I was interviewed (in my Louise Lush filmmaking persona) by Alyssa McDonald and the end result was published today in the SMH: Feminist Porn Faces Hardcore Critics.

I had a decent chat with Alyssa and showed her my film which she enjoyed. I think the end result isn’t too bad, although I wish she’d included some of the other things I’d said. I also have an issue with this paragraph:
The vast majority of explicit material is made for a male audience; at best, it is degrading, and at worst it is often physically harmful to the women featured in it.
This is too much of a generalisation and not backed up by facts. Porn is not inherently degrading and it’s doubtful that porn is “often” physically harmful to the female performers. Not to say that these things are concerns but this is too much of a blanket statement.

My other problem is that last quote about “objectification.” It hasn’t quite come out right. I was questioning the entire concept and the way it’s always trotted out as a criticism of porn. No-one really questions what it means, or whether “objectification” is something that only happens in porn. I was pointing out that objectifying others is a human trait, it happens in everyday life all the time including when we’re at the supermarket. Read More >>

My Pleasure >>
Masturbation is Healthy

(May 10, 2011)

Jerking off, self pleasuring, beating around the bush, letting your fingers do the walking, answering the bone-o-phone. A euphemism by any other name is masturbation.

May is National Masturbation Month. When I found that out, I got to thinking about how uncomfortable our society is with masturbation. I’ve never really understood why. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly agree it is something that shouldn’t be done on the public thoroughfare, but I don’t see why people freak out with the idea of people doing it in private.

Let’s everyone say it all together,”Masturbation is a normal, healthy sexual behavior and there is nothing wrong with doing it!” Say it loud and proud! For someone with no sexual partner, masturbation may be their only sexual activity and outlet.

Daily Mail >>
Why do we give children such confusing messages about their bodies?

(May 8, 2011)

Last week, during one of the hottest Easter holidays on record in the UK, my three children and I went to the local park.

It was sweltering, and after an hour or so of running about with a football, my daughter, Phoebe, who has just turned 11, had turned into a sweaty, par-boiled lobster and desperately wanted to take her T-shirt off to cool down. But she didn’t.

When I asked her why on earth not, she said in an exasperated voice, as if I didn’t understand anything, ‘Mum, I can’t take my top off in a park. People will stare and point!’

Once I’d picked my jaw up off the grass and tried to make sense of what she’d just said, I realised to my utter dismay that her fears were probably completely justified.

Where boys often take their tops off in the hot summer months, many girls, even as young and totally undeveloped as my younger daughter, already feel that they ‘shouldn’t’ expose their top halves in public. Because their nakedness is somehow . . . wrong.

Independent >>
Real Life: A frank and funny guide to what's going on 'down there'

(May 4, 2011)

Some women are still embarrassed about gynaecological issues but a new book hopes to change that

Women are generally more open and honest when talking about health issues, compared to their male counterparts. But according to American gynaecologist Dr Lissa Rankin, there seems to be one last taboo for women -- being able to talk frankly about what's going on 'down there'.

"There is a lot more education now and I credit 'Sex and the City' with helping to usher in a change in conversations -- they were four powerful New York women talking about body parts and sex," she says.

"For some women -- and I particularly see this on tours of colleges with younger women -- there is an openness to engage with the topic. A lot of the college students come into the venue feeling shy and crossing their legs.

Good Vibrations Magazine >>
Sexualization is Sex Negative

(May 1, 2011)

Do you see a happy little girl? And do you see a confused one? I wonder if you can guess which one is my daughter.

Yes, you got it. My daughter is the one on the right, pictured with me posing for an embarrassing photo to advertise her preschool’s annual fundraiser. Goofy as we look, I still find this picture much easier on the eyes than the one on the left. All I can think when I look at this little girl made up like an adult and photographed with bedroom eyes, is how oblivious she must be to the meaning behind the directives she is being given. “More shoulder! Part those lips! Look, um, vulnerable!” Yikes.

This little girl is the victim of “sexualization,” a term which I use to mean the inappropriate IMPOSITION of a NARROWLY-DEFINED sexuality. In case you haven’t noticed, it’s everywhere.

The New York Times >>
Vibrators Carry the Conversation

(April 28, 2011)

TOOTHPASTE? Check. Tampons? Check. Vibrator? Check!

For years, vibrators were bought quietly in sex shops, and later online, arriving in discreet unmarked packages. They were rarely discussed, other than perhaps during a late-night girl-talk session fueled by many glasses of pinot grigio. But now you can find them advertised on MTV and boldly displayed at Duane Reade, Walgreens and other mainstream drugstores, mere steps from the Bengay and Dr. Scholl’s.

The newest model on the shelves is the Tri-Phoria ($39.99), created by the condom company Trojan after a study the company conducted in 2008 in partnership with the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University revealed that over half of American women had used vibrators, and of that group, nearly 80 percent had shared them with their partners. James Daniels, vice president for marketing at Trojan, said: “The idea really came from consumers. They kept telling us vibrators, vibrators. And we just laughed. And then we realized they were serious.” Read More >>

Good Vibrations Magazine >>
But what do they do with their legs?

(April 27, 2011)

Julia Sweeney considered herself an enlightened, sex-is-no-big-deal kind of parent. But that was before an innocent question about tadpoles prompted The Conversation

One evening, on a school night, when my daughter Mulan was nine, we were eating dinner together at our favourite Thai restaurant. It was autumn, over two years ago, and writing about it now I see that Mulan and I interacted much like two roommates. We ate out a lot. We had a handful of favourite places. When you're a single mother who primarily takes her daughter to dinner at restaurants (my meagre defence: I was spending four days a week driving her to gymnastics after school – 45 minutes each way – so, who had time to cook?), it's easy to think of yourselves as a couple. You eat, you talk, and sometimes you just stare at each other in a stupor of familiarity.

At the restaurant, we know the owner and chef, who this night recommended the frogs' legs in hot peppers. We politely declined. Mulan told me her class had begun studying frogs. In fact, she revealed she had a report to do, and began to explain the basic parameters: "So, Mum. First, the frogs lay eggs, in a pond, and then the eggs turn into tadpoles and the tadpoles turn into more frogs." Read More >>

Or you can watch Sweeney's talk from which the above article has been transcribed.

Good Vibrations Magazine >>
The Beginner's Guide to Sexual Euphemism

(April 25, 2011)

Double Entendre, n. ~ A word or phrase open to two interpretations, one of which is usually risqué and indecent. Humor using such words or phrases. (Source: Oxford English Dictionary)

Breaking down sexual euphemisms is yet another way to introduce the topic of sex and sexuality to your children in a way that may be more comfortable for you. It can be used as a good starting point for those who are not as comfortable talking about the physical aspects of sex.

Marcia and Cindy and I had a conversation this weekend about words that have two meanings. Some of these words also have a sexual meaning but they didn’t always. These are the words that are the “bad” words that they know they would not be allowed to say. It all started with the word bitch. We talked about how that word wasn’t always a bad word to call another woman but that originally it meant the term for a female dog. This launched into a conversation about all the different words that have now adapted a second, more sexual connotation. Besides the word bitch here is a list of the words we discussed: Read More >>

Good Vibrations Magazine >>
Teen Fakes Pregnancy for a School Project

(April 24, 2011)

Now this took chutzpah!

High school senior, Gaby Rodriguez, faked being pregnant in order to document the impact of the gossip and reactions that pregnant teens receive. The only people who knew were her parents, her boyfriend, and the principal. She kept the experiment going for 6 1/2 months and revealed it in an assembly. Apparently, part of why she chose to end the project at this time was to be able to go to prom without looking pregnant, but it was also to be able to talk about the project with the other students.

Plenty of rumors flew around during the experiment, like people saying that she was irresponsible, or that she was bound to get pregnant, or that she ruined her life. Some of the other students shamed her and she was socially isolated. I doubt she learned much that plenty of other pregnant teens haven’t also learned. Nevertheless, she’ll be using her experiences to create a presentation about teen pregnancy. Good for her! Read More >>

Betty Dodson with Carlin Ross>>
Porn Wars

(April 21, 2011)

When it comes to creating or watching sexual material, we are still debating what is acceptable to view, create or to enjoy. The porn wars rage on while most guys secretly masturbate to what turns them on while too many women want to censor pornography. Most people will agree that sex is a very personal matter, but now that sexual imagery has become so prevalent with internet porn available on our computers 24/7, I’d say like it or not, porn is here to stay.

The fact that pornography is a multi-billion dollar industry and it was the engine that first drove the internet, that alone proves most people want to see images of sex whether they admit it or not. It wasn’t long after women’s sexual liberation got underway in the 1970’s that women turned against each other to argue whether an image was erotic or pornographic. Unfortunately this useless debate goes on to this day in spite of the fact that we cannot define or control personal taste. Read More >>

Charlie Glickman >>
When Scientists Don’t Understand Sex: Feminism, Dominance, and Arousal

(April 19, 2011)

Psychology Today posted a piece by someone with a PhD in computational neuroscience and someone with a PhD in biologically inspired models of machine learning, which apparently qualifies them to make some remarkable statements about gender, sexuality, and relationships. They seem to prefer making some remarkably reductionist and essentialist claims about how sex works, along with the usual sweeping statements. That might work well in the computer lab, but that’s hardly how people work in the real world.

So I suppose it shouldn’t be a surprise that their recent piece Why Feminism is the Anti-Viagra is more of the same. Their thesis centers on the idea that “gender equality inhibits arousal“. To support this, they offer a few bits of evidence:
  1. many women have fantasies of submission
  2. female rats, among other mammals, adopt a position of lordosis (raising the hips and arching the back to facilitate penetration), which they call submissive
  3. heroes in romance novels “are almost always high status alpha males–billionaires, barons, surgeons, sheriffs.”
  4. an author of erotic romance says that women like “bad boys”
  5. most men are aroused by being dominant
Let’s take a look at some of these. (Note- since their article leaves out diversity of sexual orientation and gender expression, so will I. But take it as a given that I know that this is a serious problem with their article and I consider it to be a sign that they don’t really know what they’re talking about.) Read More >>

Feministing >>
The Feministing Five: Sonya Barnett and Heather Jarvis

(April 18, 2011)

Sonya Barnett and Heather Jarvis are the co-founders of SlutWalk, an incredibly badass protest organized against victim-blaming that was spurred by comments made by a Toronto law enforcement officer who said that women who don’t want to be assaulted, raped or otherwise “victimized” should avoid dressing “like sluts.”

It has also been the subject of much discussion over the past few weeks, inspiring awesome and necessary conversations about violence, assault, and victim-blaming in forums both new and old.

On their website, they proclaim that they are “tired of being oppressed by slut-shaming; of being judged by our sexuality and feeling unsafe as a result. Being in charge of our sexual lives should not mean that we are opening ourselves to an expectation of violence, regardless if we participate in sex for pleasure or work. No one should equate enjoying sex with attracting sexual assault.”

The event in Toronto was so successful that at least 24 more SlutWalks are now in the process of being planned all over the world. I was completely honored to speak with Sonya and Heather about their reasons for starting SlutWalk, their plans for the future, and of course, that whole desert island thing. Read More >>

Sexual Intelligence >>
Mona Lisa Censored From TV?

(April 17, 2011)

Say a deranged woman attacked the Mona Lisa as it hung in the Louvre last week. It would be big news worldwide, including in the U.S.. Your favorite TV station would of course show the painting and discuss its historical and economic value.

Now what if instead of the Louvre it was America’s National Gallery in Washington, and instead of DaVinci’s Mona Lisa it was Gaugin’s Two Tahitian Women. Same deal, right? Some perky anchorwoman would read the teleprompter: “…masterpiece done for the upcoming Exposition Universelle of 1900, similar to Gaugin’s famous works now hanging in London’s Tate and Moscow’s Pushkin. It’s worth eighty million dollars, John, not exactly a picture of dogs sitting around playing poker, huh?”

That would be the grownup way, but this is America—and if a painting involves Tahitian Women, the fear of sex can’t be far behind. So depending on what station you watch, you saw half the painting (duh, the upper half); all of the painting, but with a banner “Gaugin Painting Attacked” modestly covering the models’ breasts; and on fair-and-balanced Fox stations, the entire painting with the nipples blurred out. And yes, some stations showed the masterpiece as it is. Read More >>

Tiny Nibbles >>
HBO’s Game of Thrones: It’s “Porn for Women?”

(April 16, 2011)

In a review of HBO’s new TV series Game of Thrones, the New York Times states that lurid sex is thrown in throughout the show to attract female viewers, who would otherwise not watch the show – because, they claim, women universally hate fantasy fiction like “The Hobbit,” which they say is the sole interest of men.

I thought the New York Times was *already* lost at sea, upon observing its recent decisions around paywalls and attempts at bartering readership retention through cheap social media gimmicks. Like many seasoned bloggers, and like in regard to HuffPo, I had simply planned to avoid linking to the insult and idiocy at every opportunity to do so.

Now with the NYT’s recent review of HBO’s Game of Thrones (A Fantasy World of Strange Feuding Kingdoms by Ginia Bellafante), I realize that the idiocy and insult – and ignorance about media and its consumers – is in the very least shockingly naive, and at a glance, totally has its head up its ass. In other words, we have another big reason to shun the NYT, besides shallow trickery and shortsighted money-grubbing. Read More >>

Solicitation: The Secret Life of Johns, Part Two — The Secret Life of Jane

(April 14, 2011)

If a “John” is a guy who buys sex, is a woman who buys sex a “Jane”? The last installment of “The Secret Life of Johns” asked: Who are these men that buy sex and why do they do it? But now I propose the question: Does “Jane” exist?

Joan Nestle describes female-buyers and Harlem brothels for women in Sex Work — which includes an account of one madam keeping a shotgun by the door to deter unwelcome men.

According to Dr. Melissa Ditmore of the Sex Workers Project: “Women clients seem to be prevalent in places where women have more earning power than the sellers. Consider the female clients of local men in the Caribbean and parts of Africa today.” Read More >>

Rabbit Write >>
Owning your Gender Role or The Thing that No one Tells You about Coming Out

(April 12, 2011)

It was a lazy morning in bed, during the time Ned and I were first dating. “I think this would fit you” he said–and with a slide of the hand produced a red satin dress from his closet. In the mirror, I admired the low back, it was fitted exactly to my body. But where did this magic gift come from?

“It was mine” he said.

When Ned was coming out as bisexual, he was going to Rocky Horror midnight shows and (apparently) wearing backless red dresses to parties at Northwestern. Downtown, I was in tight jeans and Nikes. I stood in front of my bathroom mirror and cut my hair short, long strands falling into the sink. I saved tiny clippings, to later make a myself mustache and beard with spirit gum–for fun. Read More >>

The Globe and Mail >>
How DIY porn might save your relationship

(April 11, 2011)

“I’d like to see more couples making pornography together,” I found myself declaring on television. The show was The Agenda and its host, Steve Paikin, replied, “Sociologically, you mean. Right?” I laughed. “Well.…”

The topic was modern masculinity and I was responding to a couple of the panelists’ concerns that easy access to orgasm via online smut was making men less interested in making it with a real woman.

The deleterious effect of porn on relationships is something of a hot topic these days, although it’s certainly one that gets a new ride every once in a while. Notably, New York magazine recently ran a first person account – “He’s Just Not That Into Anyone” – from a man who felt he’d lost the ability to “finish” with a woman because of his daily porn consumption. Other men he’d talked to spoke of a decreased amount of sex with their partners after they’d become closer with this virtual “other woman” – or other women, I should say. Read More >>

Feminist Fatale >>
Make-up and Hot Pink Toenails- Not Just a Girl Thing

(April 9, 2011)

My toddler son has a thing for all things wheeled.  He can easily distinguish a skip loader from a backhoe and a semi-truck from a dump truck. He’s also intrigued by my jewelery box, stacking bracelets high up his pudgy arms. After watching Mommy’s daily morning ritual of applying some eyeshadow and liquid liner on countless occasions, it’s none too surprising that he’s fascinated by my make-up box, eager to smear eyeshadow across his eyelids (forehead, nose and cheeks). My friend’s little boy loved sparkly ballet flats and dollhouses while another’s had a penchant for his sister’s pink tutu and glittered angel wings.

These boys are commonplace-and not represented in mainstream pop culture. There’s no room for these normal explorations in our hyper-segmented world of marketing. And, as a tragic example further down in this post will show, these normal, healthy childhood curiosities and small pleasures are usually quickly beaten out of boys, figuratively and literally. Read More >>

Salon >>
Men feel the vibe

(April 8, 2011)

For an idea of how the male view of vibrators has changed, look no further than the first episode of MTV's insolent high school dramedy "Skins." Talking on his cellphone, Tony boldly directs his girlfriend, "Ditch after Trig and I'll do you with the 'magic rabbit.'" He pauses, grinning naughtily. "Yeah. I know you like it. Bring batteries."

It's only recently that sex toys became an accepted symbol of a man's sexual prowess. Once upon a time, vibrators were seen as posing a threat to masculinity -- something that might outperform, maybe even replace, men in the bedroom. But now they're seen as a useful item in a guy's toolbox, and many see them as no more emasculating than a power drill. It's not like 20-somethings are carrying around pocket vibes like condoms, but men are increasingly open to sharing the bed with them. Read More >>

Hugo Schwyzer >>
Of orgasms, oxytocin, and myths of misery

(April 4, 2011)

My friend Monica sent me a link to this MSNBC story: Post-coital blues plague a third of young women. Based on a very small sample of 200 young Australians, researchers at the Queensland Institute of Technology found that 1 in 3 women had felt post-intercourse melancholy at least once, and 1 in 10 experienced it regularly.

It’s easy to point out the obvious problem with the study: the sample is very small, for instance, and the focus on intercourse to the exclusion of other forms of sexual activity is problematic. But the real impact of these studies is in how the mainstream media report them, and the danger here is that a small and relatively inconclusive project can get framed as “sex makes women sad.” Read More >>

Tinny Nibbles >>
Restless Legs Syndrome and Masturbation

(April 3, 2011)

This past week, New Scientist reported that Restless Legs Syndrome may be improved by masturbation. But the science NS reports on is neither science nor new. That puts me in the truly bizarre position of having to hold down the anti-masturbation side of this debate — which, if you know me, is pretty freakin’ weird.

In case you’ve never heard of it, Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), in its most common manifestation, is a jerky motion of the legs while one is in bed. In case you’ve never heard of it, masturbation, also known as wanking, self-abuse, self-help, relaxing with one’s thoughts, visiting with Rosy Palm and her five sisters, plus perhaps their friends the Tit Clamp Twins and Bucky Vibrator — well, you get the idea. If you’re reading Tiny Nibbles, I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of masturbation. Read More >>

Rabbit Write >>
How to be as Horny as a Guy

(March 31, 2011)

Lazily plucking an old copy of The Bust Guide to the New Girl Order from the “feminism” section of my bookshelf, I came across a piece called “How to be as Horny as a Guy” written by someone named Lady J. While the idea of “being horny as a guy” felt kinda dated and gender-hetero-normative–I loved the piece. It was a subversive take on the usual lady-mag round-ups. And it was actually helpful.

Inspired, I compiled my own “How to be as Horny as a Guy” tips. Like Lady J warns: horniness may lead to sex! So protect yourself, grrrrl. Read More >>