Posts Tagged ‘sexuality’

Slow sex movement in San Francisco

March 16, 2009

From The New York Times:

EVEN in a culture in which sex toys are a booming business and Oprah Winfrey discusses living your best life in the bedroom, a coed live-in commune dedicated to the female orgasm hovers at the extremes.

The founder of the One Taste Urban Retreat Center, Nicole Daedone, sees herself as leading “the slow-sex movement,” one that places a near-exclusive emphasis on women’s pleasure — in which love, romance and even flirtation are not required.

“In our culture, admitting our bodies matter is almost an admission of failure,” said Ms. Daedone, 41, who can quote the poet Mary Oliver and speak wryly on the intricacies of women’s anatomy with equal aplomb. “I don’t think women will really experience freedom until they own their sexuality.”

Carnal Nation launches and Carol Queen on sex positivity

February 20, 2009

Carnal Nation launched yesterday – check it out. Chris Hall from Sex in the Public Square is part of it and they have many interesting pieces up and I believe are going to have a nationwide calendar of sex-related events.

This is from Carol Queen’s piece, “Elements of Sex-Positivity:”

So the notion of “sex-positivity” gave me the perspective I deeply needed to see that there really was not just one (or a few) “normal” way(s) to be a sexual person; that our culture’s push to get us to identify one way or another (and then stay that way) is really a manifestation of sex-negativity–not to mention usually homophobia, because when you’re all but forced into a binary way of identifying, one side is usually the privileged one, the other side the realm of deviance. (In fact, I had gotten very good grades in my undergrad Sociology of Deviance class, which basically covered most of the things I already did or wanted to do: Homosexuality, check! Smoking pot, check! Prostitution… hadn’t done that, but hmm, how much does it pay?)

So let me tell you what I think sex-positivity is now, lest I’ve given you the impression you have to start turning tricks to do it right. You don’t have to be bisexual (or trisexual), kinky, non-monogamous, or even sexually active. In fact, some of the most interesting discussions about sex-positivity I’ve had this year have been with a guy who’s busy organizing asexuals into a community of support and affiliation. Yep, you can even be sex-positive if you don’t ever want to have sex, just as you can be very sex-negative indeed and still have plenty of hot sex that you enjoy to the fullest.

Jaclyn Friedman responds to Daniel Bergner NYT mag cover story

February 11, 2009

Yes Means Yes (which I have an essay in and can’t wait to finish reading; it’s a top contender for a Best Sex Writing 2010 reprint!) co-editor Jaclyn Friedman has a letter to the editor in The New York Times Magazine about the Daniel Bergner cover story on female desire, which I’m reposting below. (via Yes Means Yes blog)

Women’s sexual needs are not a scientific mystery. Want to increase female libido? Put down the pharmaceuticals and free our minds with equal pay, affordable child care and equitable distribution of household responsibilities. Wondering why women gravitate toward sexually passive roles? The answer has far less to do with evolution than with the ways women are shamed for expressing aggressive desire and with the pervasive idea that women who pursue their own satisfaction are asking to be raped.

What this woman wants is an end to tired clichés dressed up as science and the beginning of a world in which women are treated as individuals, each of whom may or may not be turned on by intimacy, back-alley ravishment or any number of things; a world in which anyone wondering what a woman wants knows that the best thing to do is just ask her.

JACLYN FRIEDMAN
Medford, Mass.

The orgasm gap between men and women

February 10, 2009

Hannah Seligson at The Daily Beast on the orgasm gap:

Their research confirms that the orgasm gap is widespread among young people in both casual hookups and relationships. Surveying 12,925 undergraduates from 17 universities, researchers examined four sexual contexts—a first hookup, one to two previous hookups, three or more previous hookups, and a relationship—and found that in all cases, men were twice as likely to orgasm. That gap is far wider in hookup situations than in relationships. In the context of relationships, women orgasm about 80% as often as men.

It’s not just sexual neophytes on college campuses that are having trouble. After looking at 32 studies that included mostly married women and spanned the past 90 years, Dr. Elisabeth Lloyd, author of The Case of the Female Orgasm: Bias in the Science of Evolution and a professor of history and philosophy of science at Indiana University, found that a third of women never had an orgasm during intercourse.

Where does this orgasm gap come from, and why is it so much more pronounced in instances of casual sex than in relationships? Analyzing data from the survey, the researchers found a few possible explanations, one of which has to do with the amount of effort expended in bed—and who’s expending it.

England’s study found that women give oral sex to their male partners in all contexts—from casual hookups to relationships—at higher rates than men do, sometimes dramatically higher. The study’s anecdotal evidence backs this up. “The ratio of oral sex was 4-to-1 in his favor,” says writer Kimberlee Auerbach, 36, of her last long-term relationship. (She adds that despite the lopsided ration, he still was still invested in her orgasm.)

Sex in your college dorm

February 7, 2009

My alma mater’s paper, UC Berkeley’s student paper The Daily Californian, is back with the “Sex on Tuesday” sex column.

Here Carmel de Amicis gives us the scoop on sex in the dorms:

Stopped in mid-action-a frustrating, although typical, end to a dorm hook-up. Privacy in the dorms is certainly an issue, which makes the rules of the dorm hook-up exist on a plane separate from normal reality. Many of you will encounter the awkward “roommate sex,” when you awake in the dead of night to suspicious rustling in the bed next to you. Others of you will venture to questionable hook-up nooks such as bathrooms, lounges, or stairwells. No matter how you achieve your dorm hook-ups, I can assure you they will provide memories for years to come. How could you possibly forget when you snogged/shagged your neighbor/R.A./some random chick when you were on your roommate’s bed/the floor of the handicapped stall/the balcony of the lounge-despite the fact that your roommate was there/you’re a virgin/you just threw up?

All kidding aside, though, some of my best hook-ups in college occurred when I was in the dorms because the sexual tension was amped up by living on top of the guys I wanted. Dorm lust is like a slingshot: It will turn you on more and more until finally you go after who you want and drag them into the nearest shower stall. If you look out for your R.A., you should have no problem making an unforgettable memory. There’s a reason why they say college years are the best years of your life�.

Dark Odyssey: Winter Fire is February 13-15

January 28, 2009

I taught a kinky erotica workshop last year, and met a very hot couple who I sadly didn’t get to play with cause it was at the very end.

I highly recommend Dark Odyssey! Also be sure to read the Shorty Q&A with Tristan Taormino at The Rumpus.

This is their latest email:

Dark Odyssey: Winter Fire
Valentine’s Weekend
Washington, DC
http://www.darkodyssey.com
February 13-15, 2009

We are pleased to tell you that the final list of presenters and workshops
is now online, and it includes:

BDSM & Anal Play with Tristan Taormino
Public Humiliation with Kink.com’s Princess Donna
How to Suck Cock Like a Pro with adult film star Penny Flame
Urban Tantra with Barbara Carrellas and Dossie Easton
Bondage with Hogtied.com’s Lochai
Sensory Deprivation with Lolita Wolf
Metal Bondage with Amanda Wildefyre
Practical Rope Techniques for the Impatiently Kinky with Graydancer
Edge Play with Mistress Constance
Fisting with Sarah Sloane
Poly/Mono Relationships with Anita Wagner
Taboo Play and Working Through Extremes with Mollena Williams
Pleasure as Spiritual Practice with Mark Michaels and Patricia Johnson
Topping Skills with Marc B.
Rough Body Play with Phantom
Objectification with FemCar
Hypnotic Roleplay with Lady Ru’etha
Knife Play with Elkor
Sacred Sexuality with Dan and dawn
Unstuck Your Sensual Self with Amy Jo Goddard
Age Play Discussion with British “Lucky” Paul

…and 47 more unbelievable classes!

Dark Odyssey: Winter Fire is an annual hotel event for people interested in
sex, spirituality, and BDSM that features:

-An amazing line up of nationally-known presenters, including sex educators,
BDSM masters, top-notch Tantra teachers, relationship experts, and
award-winning authors, activists, and community leaders.

-58 unique, dynamic workshops on identity, sex, relationships,
swinging, polyamory, BDSM, Tantra, spirituality, and lots more.

-Our infamous special events including nightly parties, a banquet and
burlesque show, hospitality suite, incredible vendors and, of course, a
huge, fully equipped dungeon and other intimate play spaces.

Registration and Hotel rates go up after February 1st, so please register
now. Visit our website, http://www.darkodyssey.com for more details. We
hope you will join us for this exciting event!

Best Regards,

The Producers of Dark Odyssey:
Greg, Tristan, Karri, and Colten

Panel, “Sex in America: Can the Conversation Change?”

January 24, 2009

This looks really interesting. Though why they want you to call for the location, I’m not really sure. I know and like everyone on the panel except Leonore Tiefer (by that I mean I don’t know her, not that I don’t like her!).

Sex in America: Can the Conversation Change?
Co-sponsored with Huffington Post
Esther Perel, LMFT, Leonore Tiefer, PhD, Ian Kerner, PhD, Amy Sohn and Cory Silverberg
Adultery, abortion, homosexuality teen sexuality, abstinence campaigns, sex education, pornography and family values are all active items on the national political agenda. Despite living in a time of unprecedented sexual freedom in America, the practice of policing sexuality has continued unabated since the days of the Puritans and the profound national discomfort with sexuality is all around us. When we are taught that sex is dirty, but we should save it for the one we love, is it any surprise that so many couples become erotically alienated? How do the politics of sex enter the American bedroom?

Join some of the most bold and distinguished thinkers on sex in America in a thoughtful and provocative conversation about sex, pleasure, desire, eroticism, infidelity and monogamy.

AN EVENING SYMPOSIUM
Friday, February 20, 7:30pm
09WPX04P
Members: $18 / Nonmembers: $20
Please call for location. 212 219 2527 x. 2

Esther Perel, LMFT, Couple and family therapist, is the author of the international bestseller Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence which took the 2009 Society for Sex Therapy and Research Consumer Award. Fluent in eight languages, Esther addresses audiences worldwide. She is a clinical instructor in the department of psychiatry NYU medical center.

Ian Kerner, PhD, is a sex therapist and best-selling author of numerous books, including She Comes First. His most recent book, Love in the Time of Colic, is a sex guide for new parents.

Leonore Tiefer, PhD, is associate clinical professor of psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine, has a private practice in clinical psychology and sex therapy, and has lectured worldwide. In 2000, she initiated a campaign to challenge the medicalization of women’s sexual problems

Amy Sohn was “Naked City” and “Mating” columnist for New York magazine for six years. She is the author of the novels Run Catch Kiss and My Old Man.

Cory Silverberg is a certified sexuality educator, author and the Sexuality Guide for About.com. He has facilitated many workshops across North America on subjects ranging from male sexuality and sex toys to feminist pornography and sex and technology.

Diana Vilibert defends first date sex

January 24, 2009

Whether or not to have first date sex has been a hot topic of late.

Marie Claire‘s Diana Vilibert weighs in with a very strong argument that women should…do whatever they want to do! This reminds me of Tracy Clark-Flory’s piece in Best Sex Writing 2009, called “In Defense of Casual Sex,” leading me to ask why women must always be defending our sexual choices? Men almost never have to, unless it involves paying for sex. But we are guilt-tripped and made to feel like the weight of the world rests on when we put out, and who we do it with, and how many lovers we’ve taken…geez! It’s 2009 already people.

Did I miss the memo that the decision to have first-date sex (or not) is now a statement you are making on behalf of all women? Empowerment comes from control and power over your own sex life and decisions, and confidence in those choices, whether or not they align with popular opinion. I happen to be a fan of first-date sex — but I don’t really expect or want a standing ovation for feeling this way. But neither Emily’s viewpoint or mine makes either of us a lesser feminist, and neither of us, I’m sure, means to speak for all women. If I wake up tomorrow morning to find that celibacy is all the rage, I wouldn’t feel empowered by keeping my legs closed — and there’s no reason anyone should feel empowered by treating sex as a fun, casual thing if they don’t feel that it is for them.

But according to Rich, I’ve been going about it the wrong way, since “Guys like to pursue and feel like they’ve accomplished something when courting a girl…You are a prize, but no one out there deserves to be an instant winner!”

You know, I don’t think I want to date a guy who pats himself on the back when he finally wins the “prize” of having sex with me. Newsflash: women like to have sex, too. We don’t begrudgingly disrobe after you’ve passed a series of tests during a “courtship” period, so please refrain from giving yourself a mental high-five when we sleep with you.

The link between sex and depression, a doctor’s perspective

January 20, 2009

from “Sex and Depression: In the Brain, if Not the Mind” in The New York Times, by Dr. Richard A. Friedman:

Recently, a psychoanalyst colleague — a man known for his skill in uncovering psychopathology — called me about yet another case. He was puzzled about a 24-year-old man whom he viewed as psychiatrically healthy except for intense depression that lasted for several hours after sex.

There is nothing strange about a little sadness after sexual pleasure. As the saying goes, after sex all animals are sad. But these patients experienced intense dysphoria that lasted too long and was too disruptive to be dismissed as mere unhappiness.

Still, the temptation to speculate about psychological explanations of sexual behavior is hard to resist. Psychiatrists like to joke that everything is about sex except for sex itself, which is another way of saying that just about every human behavior is permeated with hidden sexual meaning.

Perhaps, but I wondered whether in these cases, it might be nothing more profound than a quirk in the neurobiology of sex that made these patients feel awful.

Little is known about what happens in the brain during sex. In 2005, Dr. Gert Holstege at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands used positron emission tomography to scan the brains of men and women during orgasms. He discovered, among other changes, a sharp decrease in activity in the amygdala, the brain region involved in processing fearful stimuli. Aside from causing pleasure, sex clearly lowers fear and anxiety.

The anthropologist Helen E. Fisher, of Rutgers, used functional magnetic resonance imaging to look more broadly at the neural circuitry of romantic love. She showed a group of young men and women who reported being passionately in love a photo of their beloved or a neutral person. Subjects showed marked activation in the brain’s dopamine reward circuit only in response to the beloved, similar to the brain’s response to other rewards like money and food.

Could it be that some patients have particularly strong rebound activity in the amygdala after orgasm that makes them feel bad?

Bisexuality in The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica, volume 8

January 16, 2009

My friend Thomas S. Roche, one of the most talented and prolific erotica writers around, wrote about his contribution to the latest collection edited by Maxim Jakubowski, The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica, Volume 8:

“Matching Skirt and Kneepads” is one of those special stories about apparent homosexuals having sex with apparent homosexuals of the opposite sex, a thing once upon a time called “bisexuality” with some frequency, and at other times called “not bisexuality!” in voices both strident and calm, and called many much less polite things, in heated debate and bitter backstabbing shit-talking… leaving shell craters and lingering pockets of mustard gas across the Klein grid.

My fellow survivors of late-80s Santa Cruz and early-to-mid-90s San Francisco will perhaps remember these arguments, in the days while another non-abstract threat was taking far too many lives from the communities for which this debate most mattered.

Now people I know tend to call themselves “queer,” and do whatever the fuck they want. As a heterosexual who’s always been irritated by the very concept of consensus reality, I would be a little bitch if I didn’t applaud that with somewhat terrifying fanaticism. “Queer” is a powerful world because nobody quite agrees on what it means — except the people who feel it describes them. People couldn’t always seem to agree on what a “bisexual” was either (still can’t!) but “queer” by its very nature, and due to its pedigree as an insult, doesn’t ask for consensus.

That said, I so very much appreciate it when people of any gender do things in bed (or, in this case, in a photo booth at Folsom Street) that piss other people off, or perhaps more accurately that they’re not “supposed” to do. That, quite possibly, is my principle turn-on. What can I say? I’m a bad man.

I believe that “Kneepads” is very much an homage to the days when it felt radical to me to imply in my work that there were more than just a few choices here. If you read it, I hope it will inspire you to have sex with someone you’re not supposed to have sex with, even if it’s only in the sleazy motel bed that is your brainpan.