Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Vault - Milk & The Times of Harvey Milk

The Times of Harvey Milk (1984)
directed by Rob Epstein
starring: Harvey Milk, James Fierstein

Winner of the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 1985, The Times of Harvey Milk uses archival footage and interviews to reconstruct the political career of the first openly gay elected official in the United States. The film briefly details Harvey Milk's campaign, his eleven month stint as a City Supervisor in San Francisco representing the new gay neighborhood in the Castro, his fight against Proposition 6 (a California ballot initiative that would have made it possible to fire all gay teachers and anyone who supported them) which gave Milk statewide and even national prominence, and his assassination by one of his colleagues, Supervisor Dan White, who also assassinated Mayor George Moscone. The final twenty minutes of the film follow White's trial, where his lawyer successfully convinced the jury that a combination of financial stress, family trouble and junk food caused White to become temporarily insane -- a travesty of justice that became known as "the Twinkie defense." White was convicted of manslaughter and served only six years in prison. He was released in 1984, the same year as the film (and committed suicide three years later, though that's not in the documentary).

On its artistic merits alone The Times of Harvey Milk is a pretty standard documentary: archival footage and audio supporting interviews with several of Harvey Milk's friends and political allies, all stitched together by James Fierstein's narration. But the filmmakers have done the one thing that every documentarian hopes to do -- they've found a story that is both fascinating on a human level and relevant in a larger social context.

Milk (2008)
directed by Gus Van Sant
written by Dustin Lance Black
starring: Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin, Diego Luna, James Franco

So, with such a wonderful, critically acclaimed documentary in fairly wide distribution, did director Gus Van Sant (My Own Private Idaho, Good Will Hunting, Elephant) need to give Harvey Milk the Hollywood treatment? Yes, I think he did. As we watched Sean Penn (as Milk) and his minions fight against Proposition 6, I doubt anyone in the audience could keep themselves from thinking of the recent battle against Prop. 8. That's a sure sign that the story of Harvey Milk needed to be told again, after 22 years. Sean Penn's performance is superb. Penn has clearly spent quite a bit of time looking at old video to get Harvey's mannerisms and voice right, but he gives his version of Milk something more than I saw in the documentary: a quiet vulnerability. Penn's Milk is fiercely determined, yes, but he's also a man who wears his heart on his sleeve no matter how much the birds peck at it. This touching performance rescues the film on the rare occasions when Van Sant and screenwriter Dustin Lance Black lay it on a little too strong -- such as the midnight phone call from the handicapped, suicidal gay teen or the attempt to turn Harvey's relationship with an ex (James Franco) into a romantic through-line even though it wants to be a close friendship.

Van Sant and Black aren't just trying to recreate the documentary with actors and that's what ultimately makes Milk a success. They use the historical events and a lot of the archival footage from the documentary as the skeleton of their film but then spend most of their time focusing on Milk himself. We see Milk as a Wall Street broker decide to come out of the closet and move to San Francisco. We see his humble entry into politics in the Castro, his three failed election campaigns, the suicide of someone close to him, and his role as a mentor to future AIDS activist Cleve Jones. The film also explores the motivations of Dan White in a way the documentary couldn't. Since we can only speculate about why he did what he did, the documentary could only follow the trial. Milk can show a fictional White (Josh Brolin) becoming more and more erratic, rejecting Harvey's attempts at friendship, and eventually surrendering to some personal demons which may, the film suggests without insisting, have included his own secret homosexuality.

Sean Penn's performance and Gus Van Sant's light touch make Milk one of the rare biopics that can actually stand on it's own as a good movie. But the experience of watching it will be vastly improved if you see The Times of Harvey Milk as well, and since the documentary is available for free at you really have no excuse not to, even if it isn't carried in your neighborhood Blockbuster.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Special Holiday Greeting From the Wet Spots

Stop the Presses: Week of DECEMBER!

I haven't posted many links to news stories about sex recently. Rest assured I've still been reading them. Here's some of the interesting things I read in December:

Savage Love 12/23/08: Dan tells three letter writers to dump their partners, then uses all the space he's saved to address high sodomy rates among straight teens and high pregnancy rates among gay teens. "This is where abstinence education and homophobia have gotten us: Gay kids are having vaginal intercourse and straight kids are having anal intercourse. Good work, sexphobes!"

Control Tower 12/23/08: Matisse suggest which kinky Christmas gifts certain public figures should buy for others. "From John McCain to Sarah Palin: a moose-hide strap-on harness and dildo with a card reading, 'You got me up and going, but then you fucked me in the end. Now you can do that to other guys, too.'"

Virginity Pledges Don't Work (Washington Post/MSNBC): A large federal survey shows about what you would expect -- teens who pledge sexual abstinence have the same amount of sex as teens who don't. But they are significantly less likely to use protection when they do have sex.

Teenagers Who Skip Breakfast More Likely to Have Sex (The Guardian): Pledging abstinence doesn't work, but according to a study in Japan, teenagers who eat breakfast lose their virginity two years later on average. Researchers conclude that breakfast indicates a better family life.

Labor Orgasms Called "Best Kept Secret" (ABC News): ABC will report in the January 2 edition of 20/20 that many women experience incredible orgasms during childbirth.

Gay Teen Suicides Linked to Homophobia (AP): No big surprise here. A study shows the more homophobic a family acts when a kid comes out, the more likely that kid is to kill himself or herself. The thing is, there are plenty of religious fundies who use gay suicide rates as an excuse for homophobia. Slick, huh?

RIP Bettie Page (New York Times): The queen of the pin-up poster died on several weeks ago.

UN Declaration Against Homophobia: This month the UN made a declaration against government-supported homophobia. It was non-binding and there was a counter-declaration, so it was about as effective as most of what the UN does. The Vatican issued a statement that stopped short of supporting the resolution but did support tolerance of homosexuality, which is a big step for them. The French newspaper Le Monde interviewed Louis-George Tin, president of the International Day Against Homophobia, which inspired the declaration. In the article (in French, alas), Mr. Tin points out that the Catholic Church's position on gay rights depends on which way the wind happens to be blowing since it raises most of its money in tolerant countries but converts more followers in intolerant ones. Mr. Tin also points out that institutionalized homophobia was introduced to a lot of the countries where it now thrives by colonial powers that have since rejected homophobia.

Pre-Marital Sex Rates Rise in Iran (The Guardian): Iran has attempted to promote marriage amongst it's young people. Instead they've been having more and more pre-marital sex, which is illegal under Iran's Islamic law.

Gay Marriage Ban Inspires New Wave of Activists (New York Times): The Times reports on the recent explosion of gay activism following the passage of Proposition 8.

Savage Love 12/11/08: Dan gives a straight guy advice on how to design a very special sex toy, talks to a 30-year-old male virgin, insults a pathetic and manipulative mom-to-be and gives a college girl advice on how to deal with annoying neighbors who are ticked off by her noisy lovemaking.

Savage Love 12/18/08: Dan helps a couple keep the drama alive, counsels a guy who's gal has embarrassingly bad manners, and discusses the merits of dating strangers vs. friends vs. enemies.

Last but not least -- I know you've already seen it already and it is only marginally related to the subject of this blog, but here's SNL's Jizz in My Pants.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Vault - Sex: The Annabel Chong Story

Sex: The Annabel Chong Story (1999)
directed by Gough Lewis
starring: Grace Quek, Ron Jeremy

This documentary follows Grace Quek, a gender studies and sexuality student and rape survivor who became a porn actress under the pseudonym Annabel Chong, gravitated towards gangbang movies and became famous by setting the gangbang record in a porn video where she had sex with 251 men in ten hours. In the documentary Grace says that her goal was to do something so outrageous that it would turn the traditional image of female sexuality on its head -- and she certainly succeeded, judging from the sex-negative comments she inspires frThis documentary follows Grace Quek, a gender studies and sexuality student and rape survivor who became a porn actress under the pseudonym Annabel Chong, gravitated towards gangbang movies and became famous by setting the gangbang record in a porn video where she had sex with 251 men in ten hours. In the documentary Grace says that her goal was to do something so outrageous that it would turn the traditional image of female sexuality on its head -- and she certainly succeeded, judging from the sex-negative comments she inspires from a few pornstars and directors. But you can't watch this documentary without getting the impression that she had a few other reasons for what she did.

It is easy to dismiss Grace Quek as self-destructive or exploited. In fact, a friend of mine who came in halfway through the movie began ranting that very thing within three minutes of entering the room. It is a fact that Grace was the victim of a gang rape after having consensual sex with a stranger in London. It is also a fact that she grew up in an extremely sexually repressive culture in Singapore, and that (according to friends) she was very sexual when she moved to London and LA for college. In one scene in this movie we see her cut herself. In another we see her tearfully reveal her career to her mother, who demands Grace find a way to restore her (the mother's) honor. One porn director she works with seems sleazy. The gangbang producer doesn't appropriately screen participants for STIs and cheats her out of $10,000 (Grace claims not to care in either case).

But, on the other hand, Grace herself seems extremely self-aware and, on many occasions, insightful. She has healthy friendships with people who support her career. She articulately discusses her motivations for getting into porn. And, unlike, say, Catherine Millet, who joylessly describes her gangbang experiences in the book The Sexual Life of Catherine M., Grace Quek seems to actually enjoy the sex. Despite her tears when faced with her mother's condemnation, she doesn't seem to seriously regret doing porn. We never see her second guess herself.

We see a lot of facets of Grace's personality in this movie but I don't feel like we ever learn enough to analyze her -- which, paradoxically, is what this film is inviting us to do. She is without a doubt an extreme fetishist. She's going further than nearly anyone would want to. An aggressively sex-negative person would say she's a victim. An aggressively sex-positive person would proclaim her a totally empowered woman. I think she has elements of both, as you might expect from such an extremist. Does the fact that she was raped mean she's not allowed to be so hypersexual? I don't think so. Nor does her repressed upbringing mean she's now out of control. She seems like she knows what she's doing. She seems like she understands and accepts the consequences. In the end I could only draw one conclusion from this movie: Grace Quek is a complicated person.

The Vault - The Education of Shelby Knox

The Education of Shelby Knox (2005)
directed by Marion Lipschutz and Rose Rosenblatt
starring: Shelby Knox

Shelby Knox is a high school student in Lubbock, Texas, a community full of evangelical Christians whose approach to sex education for teens is summed up in one word: abstinence. The community also has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in America. The film follows Shelby through her junior and senior years of high school. An Southern Baptist, Shelby has pledged in church to abstain from sex until marriage, but as part of the city's Youth Committee she makes it her mission to get the School Board to adopt a comprehensive sex education program. This struggle gets Shelby involved in an LGBT student group's lawsuit against the Lubbock school district.

Shelby is up against a lot. She lives in a town where teenagers believe most gay people die by the age of 30 and where a sex ed class teaches students they can catch an STI by shaking hands with an infected person who has masturbated. Questioning what she has always been taught about sexuality is clearly painful for Shelby, a very intelligent young woman and you empathize as her personal experience challenge her entire belief system. The truth is so clear to her that, as an optimistic and somewhat naïve young person, she is positive that simply pointing it out to her peers, her pastor and the School Board she will change the world. It's hard to watch how devastated she is when she learns it isn't that easy.

This documentary is the story of not only Shelby's coming of age but of the belated coming of age of her parents. This is where the film is at its strongest. Adults may be set in their ways, and their conservative town might reinforce their conservative beliefs, but parents with real family values like Mr. and Mrs. Knox love their children no matter what -- and their children's battles have a way of becoming their battles. So what if the School Board uses political pressure to scare off the Youth Committee leader, and the LGBT group loses its court case? Shelby's quest has clearly made at least two converts in Lubbock and that's a good start.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Prop 8: The Musical

Music and lyrics by Marc Shaiman (Hairspray). Starring Allison Janney, Neil Patrick Harris, John C. Reilly, Andy Richter, Maya Rudolph, Margaret Cho, and Jack Black as Jesus!

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

Stop the Presses: Week of 12/1/08

Open Source Sex: Violet Blue discusses sex and the economy, from the recent plethora of recession-themed ads in Craigslist's casual encounters section to the sex trade that evolved between real estate brokers, mortgage wholesalers and bankers during the subprime mortage boom.

Couples Staying Together Because of Poor Economy (Huffington Post): One unexpected consequence of the financial crisis -- married couples are giving it another shot (or at least continuing to live with their exes) because they simply can't afford to get divorced at the moment.

Control Tower: Craigslist has recently started charging posters to use it's erotic services section and Matisse (who is, of course, a sex worker herself) is fed up with sex workers talking about how terrible it is.

Savage Love: Dan explains why a monogamous lesbian is having trouble dating a nonmonogamous lesbian using very small words so the monogamous one is sure to understand, then explains why college boys believe tree-fuckers are gay. He also asks his readers to write a post card to Barack Obama.

And, in case you missed it, Dan Savage debated Tony Perkins on Anderson Cooper 360 and kicked his butt:

Okay, I'm Back

The last couple of weekends I've taken long weekends. In the first case it was for sex, in the second case it was for food. Both were wonderful, thank you very much. But the time off meant I was very busy at work and not updating this blog. Still a little swamped but I'm back now.

I'll be trying to catch up on my podcast and article links in the next few days, and I'll be reviewing at movie I saw...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Keith Olbermann Supports Gay Marriage

It bothers me every time Keith Olberman ends one of his rants by saying "good night and good luck," the closing made famous by Edward R. Murrow. Murrow used to end every broadcast with that phrase but in our memories it will always be linked to the speech Murrow gave on March 9, 1954, opposing Joe McCarthy's Red Scare witch hunt. By evoking Murrow, Olbermann is implying that his speeches are as courageous as Murrow's was, which isn't often the case.

This time, however, Olbermann's speech is worthy of Murrow. MSNBC reaches a national audience and in many parts of this country it is courageous to support gay marriage and question the relgious and moral integrity of those who oppose it. Despite the set backs gay marriage encountered this year in California, Florida and Arizona, the fact taht it is legal in two states (Massachusetts and Connecticut) and means it won't disappear from American politics any time soon. By taking a stand, Olbermann risks creating a controversy around MSNBC. If things get too hot he could lose his job for what he said. But those who want marriage to be just and equal for all need to speak truth to the religious and social conservatives. That's what Olbermann did.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Stop the Presses: Week of 11/9/08

Savage Love: Dan Savage ain't happy about the outcome of Proposition 8 and he's getting revenge by exploiting the rampant insecurities of straight guys whose girlfriends have discovered their prostates.

Girl With a One Track Mind: The Girl reviews Durex Play O Female Orgasm Gel. Applying it during masturbation or sex apparently makes orgasms easier to reach and more intense. "Viagra for women," according to the Girl.

Control Tower: Matisse discusses ways of making ballot measures to decriminalize prostitution appealing to the average voter.

Open Source Sex: Violet Blue -- not a fan of Prop 8 either, it turns out.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Gays vs. Mormons

The Mormon Church donated as much as 80 percent of the funds raised to pass Proposition 8 in California. You have to admit that's somewhat ironic coming from a group that has famously had its marriage rights attacked. Mormon groups from Utah helped to finance a misinformation campaign that scared some Californians into voting for the measure by falsely claiming that without it schools would be required to teach about same-sex marriage, that parents would have no control over what their children learned about sex in school, that churches would be forced to change their doctrine, and that people could be sued for anti-gay beliefs.

There have been numerous groups that have recently suggested punishing the Mormon Church in some way. A number of activists and blogs, such as America Blog, have begun doing research into the possibilities. Gays have already showed their displeasure at a protest at the headquarters of the Church of Latter Day Saints in Salt Lake City on Friday night.

A few other ideas retaliatory ideas have been floated. Mormons Stole Our Rights, a new website, is dedicated to revoking the Mormon Church's tax-exempt status as a religious institution. The law says that religious institutions must refrain from significant lobbying efforts and trying to affect legislation. However it isn't clear if the Mormon Church violated the letter of the law, since it did not give money to the Yes on Prop 8 campaign, just encouraged its members to do so.

Another idea is to take our displeasure out on Mormon-owned businesses, a surprisingly long list of large corporations, including American Express, the Marriott Hotel, Dell Computer, Novell and Check the Mormon Stock Index for a complete list.

The most extreme notion that I've heard is a boycott of the entire state of Utah. Utah rakes in a lot of money each year through tourism and some gay activists think that boycotting Utah ski resorts, national parks and the Sundance Film Festival might send a powerful message to the Mormons.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Stop the Presses: Week of 11/3/08

Red Sex, Blue Sex (The New Yorker): New Yorker contributor Margaret Talbot takes a look at the different attitudes of evangelical Christians surrounding sex. She finds that the more socially conservative the area and the lower the age of sexual activity, the higher the instance of teen pregnancy. "Social liberals in the country's 'blue states' tend to support sex education and are not particularly trouled by the idea that many teen-agers have sex before marriage, but would regard a teen-age daughter's pregnancy as devastating news," she writes. "And the social conservatives in 'red states' generally advocate abstinence-only education and denounce sex before marriage, but aare relatively unruffled if a teen-ager becomes pregnant, as long as she doesn't choose to have an abortion." A fascinating article.

Savage Love: Dan gives advice to a woman whose boyfriend is into bestiality and wants to watch as she screws the pooch.

Open Source Sex: Armed with righteous indignation and plenty of snark, Violet Blue sets the record straight about the supposed dangers of porn.

Tomfoolery (Tango Magazine): Obama is a sometimes cockblocker, writes Tom Miller, but only occasionally and by accident. "Obama, for a hot sec, lost sight of the bro code. By law, Lovelady is allowed to request a condom, a wingman and a semi-private room from a fellow dude. And he got none of the above."

Click Me: Bonnie Ruberg visits an online community for women and men whose spouses have lost interest in sex.

Obituary of Gerard Damiano (New York Times): The director of Deep Throat died last week at the age of 80.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Podcast Round-Up: Week of 11/3/08

Savage Lovecast, ep. 107: After placing a curse on the genitals of any podcast listeners who don't vote for Barack Obama, Dan answers questions from a personal trainer looking for a long term relationship, a teenager whose girlfriend is afraid to try oral and a man who wants to stop coming like a geyser, among others.

Ropecast 11/2/08: Graydancer gives advice on giving people advice, brags about his teaching ability, tells us about steam punk and shares his thoughts on meatloaf.

Poly Weekly, ep. 178: Minx tells us five things you should say on a first date.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

US vs. Sex

The New York Times reports that the attorneys general of 40 states are on the warpath against Craigslist to make it weed out the most objectionable "erotic services" ads. Craigslist has long been used by people who want to hook up for no strings attached sex. The site has already begun verifying the phone numbers of people who place sex ads. Now they're going to start charging a $10 fee for their ads as a way of getting people's credit card information and learning their identities. The message is very clear. If you're gay, if you're kinky, if you're a sex worker, look out... Big Brother is watching you.

A few years ago a flamer posted a fake Craigslist ad posing as a kinky submissive woman looking for a male top, then published the personal information of all the men that replied. Some lost their jobs or were outed as kinky to their families. You don't have to be ashamed of your sex life to want and expect a certain level of privacy. This is yet another example of the government doing something that it has gotten very good at during the eight years of the Bush Administration: trying to control people's sexual expression through intimidation. Will Obama change this policy? I'm not holding my breath.

UPDATE 11/9/08: Mistress Matisse has just posted on her blog about the Craigslist situation and she took a more positive view of it than I did, which is surprising coming from a sex worker. She acknowledges that there is a danger that the government could subpoena Craigslist's records but says that's a lot of effort to go to in order to bust independent prostitutes. Simpler methods already exist. The only people who are in danger according to Matisse are pimps and the shadier escort services, and Matisse doesn't mind if "the riff-raff" goes to jail. I think she's missing a larger point -- that the government is intimidating Craigslist into intimidating prostitutes, which drives sex work farther underground and makes it less safe. But she definitely knows more about the subject than I do. Maybe I should give the standard liberal, sex-positive defense of sex work a rest.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election News

California residents passed Proposition 8, amending the state's constitution to ban any further gay marriage. Tens of thousands of gay couples have married in California since a State Supreme Court decision overturned the state's marriage ban. It is unclear whether those marriages will remain valid or whether Proposition 8 will be applied retroactively.

Gay marriage was also banned in Arizona and Florida.

In Arkansas, a referendum made it illegal for gay couples to adopt children.

A Colorado ballot measure that would have defined life as beginning at conception, was soundly defeated. The measure could have made abortion and many kinds of birth control illegal.

A South Dakota ballot initiative to limit abortion was defeated. It was the sequel to at 2006 initiative that banned abortion outright, including cases of rape, incest and instances where the life of the mother was at risk. This ballot initiative made exceptions in those cases and was expected to pass.

Oh, yes, and Barack Obama became the 44th President of the United States in a landslide, while his party dramatically increased their majority in the Senate and House.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Top 10 Political Sex Scandals of the Bush Era - Part 2

It's time for the second half the Top 10 Political Sex Scandals of the Bush Era. Read part one, scandals numbers 10 through 6, if you haven't yet.

5. Bob Allen (R-Florida) -- State Representative, 2000-2007

Bob Allen was a family man and a Republican member of the Florida legislature. He went to a park known for gay cruising, saw a hot black man and offered to fellaciate him, at which point the man told Allen he was an undercover cop and arrested him. It was all pretty banal until Allen started making excuses. Then it got pretty funny. Allen claimed that he was going for an nice, relaxing, innocent, totally heterosexual walk in the park when he was confronted by an imposing black man (apparently the cop was quite the physical specimen). In fear for his life lest this Negro savage should harm him, Allen made a completely natural, totally heterosexual attempt to save himself by offering to blow the man. You can get by in public service as a closeted queer and a racist but Allen is the one thing that no politician can afford to be: a really bad liar.

The most incredible thing about this story is the insight into Allen's prejudices. If Allen thought his cover story was even remotely plausible as he concocted it, can you imagine what mental image he has of blacks and gays? In Allen's mind gay people are predators and rapists, while black people are so violent and sex-crazed that a gay one would attack an ugly, overweight middle aged white guy in a public park. If Allen didn't believe those things, why would he make up such a ridiculous story? And besides, when it comes to gay people why shouldn't Allen believe that they're so pathetic, ashamed and filled with self-loathing that they'd engage in the most debasing and high risk kinds of sexual activity? I mean, Allen himself is gay and that description fits him perfectly!

4. David Vitter (R-Louisiana) -- US Senator, 2004-present

David Vitter has spent his career campaigning against abortion, denying federal funding to organizations that distribute contraception and trying to pass a Constitutional amendment against gay marriage. That's why it was particularly satisfying when escort service owner Deborah Jeane Palfrey (the so-called "DC Madam") revealed that Vitter was one of her clients. This led to revelations that Vitter was a client of a New Orleans escort service where he had indulged his diaper fetish with prostitutes who had given him the nickname "Vitter the Shitter." Fortunately for Vitter he didn't like to practice his fetish with men. Where some of his gay colleagues had to resign or face censure for lewd behavior, Vitter gave an apology speech to the Senate and received a standing ovation.

There's a lot of variety in diaper fetishism. Sometimes a diaper fetish goes along with infantalism role play, sometimes not. Some diaper lovers urinate or defecate in their diaper, some don't. We might suspect Vitter did, given his nickname, but not a whole lot of information is actually available (I couldn't help noticing that Vitter's Wikipedia article has been scrubbed clean of all references to diapers). In the end, like Spitzer, Vitter's problem wasn't sex, it was hypocrisy. Vitter tried to legislate against other people's sexual freedoms while at the same time reveling in his own. His decision to go to a prostitute may mean he was ashamed of his fetish but Vitter's ability to say one thing and do the opposite makes me suspect a different explanation: he is simply so arrogant that he believes the rules apply to everyone but him. The consequences of being a diaper fetishist (the effort required to find a partner open to doing it discreetly and the responsibility of accepting the sexual desires of others) are for other people, in Vitter's mind, so he's justified in lying to his wife, family and constituents to get what he wants sexually. Unfortunately Vitter's Republican colleagues didn't want his replacement appointed by Louisiana's Democratic governor, so Vitter's belief that he was above the rules others have to follow was confirmed.

3. Mark Foley (R-Florida) -- US Congressman, 1995-2006

Foley was the chair of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children and one of the staunchest opponents of child pornography in Congress. Not bad for a day at the office. Unfortunately at night Foley was busy getting drunk and sending sexually explicit Instant Messages to sixteen-year-old congressional pages. In 2006 ABC reported the information and Foley resigned, but the scandal had just begun. Evidence surfaced that Republican leaders had been aware of Foley's harassment since 2005 but had failed to stop him. In a year when the Iraq War was hurting Republicans the Foley scandal was hugely demoralizing to values voters and played a big role in helping the Democrats gain control of Congress.

Foley's crusade against child abuse was genuine -- Anthony Mercieca, a retired Catholic priest, has admitted to molesting Foley for two years when Foley was a boy. While no saint, Foley never did anything so despicable while perpetuating the cycle. He deserves at least a little credit for confining his harassment to boys above the age of consent (in Washington and the majority of the country, though not Florida) and for not engaging in sexual contact with his victims. Being attracted to older teens makes Foley a pedarast, not a pedophile. That's good news for him because it means he can funnel this kink into a healthy relationship (say, with a young looking 25-year-old man). When the scandal broke, Foley resigned quickly, checked himself into alcohol rehab and came out as gay, which are good first steps. Now that he's acknowledging his problems rather than repressing them Foley may be able to find some real happiness.

2. Ted Haggard -- Former Leader of the National Association of Evangelicals

Ted Haggard led an evangelical Christian movement thirty million strong. Every week Haggard gave spiritual advice to George W. Bush and his advisers. Then Haggard supported a ballot initiative banning gay marriage and Mike Jones, the male prostitute Haggard had been paying the last three years for sex and methamphetamine, spilled the beans. But all's well that ends well, I guess: Haggard underwent "treatment" and was declared "completely heterosexual" after only 21 days. How was he cured so quickly? The minister who "cured" him said it was because his homosexual activity wasn't "constant." "By that standard," wrote sex columnist Dan Savage, "I've been completely heterosexual since, gee, about 10 minutes after 2:00 this morning."

What possesses a person to deny who they are, then, when they're caught lying, deny it again? Perhaps making a lot of money as the head of a mega-church has something to do with it, but I really wouldn't know. Plenty of people manage to reconcile their Christian faith with their homosexuality, mostly by remembering that if they weren't gay a literal interpretation of the Book of Leviticus would still send them to hell anyway for shaving, eating lobster or wearing wool-linen blends. Haggard could have lived out of the closet without denying his spirituality. He chose not be honest, was outed, then chose not to be honest again. I guess the worst hells really are the ones we make for ourselves.

1. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) -- US Senator, 1991-present

It can’t come as much of a surprise that Larry Craig is the top sex scandal of the Bush Era. In June 2007 this moral values conservative who opposed gay marriage, voted against making gay bashing a hate crime, and once called Bill Clinton “a naughty boy” because of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, was arrested for soliciting sex from an undercover cop in the men’s room of the Minneapolis airport. Craig plead guilty like he thought maybe nobody would notice, then when they did he entertained everyone with a string of ludicrous denials that he maintains to this day.

Craig’s wide stance is now the butt (er, subject) of a thousand jokes but its significance didn’t stop there. The Craig scandal was a watershed moment in Bush Era politics -- the moment where, in the wake of Haggard and Foley, people seriously began to wonder if every anti-gay crusader in the Republican Party was in fact a closeted homo. Everything I've said about McGreevey, Murphy, Allen, Foley and Haggard goes for Craig as well. Sexuality is part of who we all are. If we can't accept it and be open about it, we're doomed to fulfill our sexual needs in secretive, unhealthy, unsafe and deeply shameful ways that can have serious effects on careers and loved ones. Honesty is the best policy, the truism goes. Larry Craig is one of an enormous group of people who hasn't learned that lesson yet.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Samuel L. Jackson -- Badass, As Always

Samuel L. Jackson lends his voice to the No on Proposition 8 campaign in this television spot.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Stop the Presses: Week of 10/27/08

Control Tower: Mistress Matisse imagines what would happen if Obama, McCain, Biden and Palin showed up at the Folsom Street Fair to try to win the kink vote. Highly recommended -- I nearly hyperventilated reading it!

Open Source Sex: Happy Halloween! Violet Blue is definitely on to something when she points out that if you want to have really hot sex, it helps to be a freakin' zombie!!

Teresa's Modern Life: Teresa Jusino of Pink Raygun (the mecca for girly geekiness online) writes that geeky girls shouldn't wear sexy versions of geeky costumes for Halloween. I respectfully disagree.

Savage Love: Dan's advice is sorely needed. A girl moves in with her boyfriend, only to find he thinks a two liter bottle is a good midnight alternative to a toilet; a guy wants to name an impossible sex act; and a gay guy has a question about extracting his boyfriend's come from his ass and drinking it in a champagne flute. Seriously, it's like a train wreck. You can't look away.

Tango Magazine: Tango reports that, according to a new study, body weight has no effect on the age when women lose their virginity or the number of partners they have. Nice to know.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Podcast Round-Up: Week of 10/27/08

It's a light week for sex podcasts, but here are two that are worth listening to.

Savage Love, ep. 106: This week, Dan gives a man advice on how best to fuck a canalope; gets a call from a college boy who thinks his 17-year-old girlfriend is immature and overlooks the possibility that the blame lies closer to home; talks to a guy who can't get off from sex, just one very specific masturbation style; commiserates with a guy whose wife gets offended every time he asks to expand their sex life beyond her two favorite positions; and counsels a baby fag from California who wants to come out to his extended family to get them to vote no on Proposition 8.

Sex Is Fun, ep. 147: Kidder and Friends continue their conversation about friends with benefits.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Top 10 Political Sex Scandals of the Bush Era - Part 1

One week to Election Day! An era is coming to an end. Whether John McCain or (as appears more and more likely) Barack Obama wins this year's presidential election, the Bush years will finally be over. I feel like celebrating this political landmark, but my blog is about sex. Fortunately those subjects sometimes overlap and whenever they do the results are messy, surreal and hilarious.

Therefore I'm proud to bring you THE TOP 10 POLITICAL SEX SCANDALS OF THE BUSH ERA. I offer this retrospective not to hypocritically point fingers, but to point out how a healthy, open, positive attitude about sex could have saved ten people enormous pain and humiliation.

10. Jack Ryan (R-Illinois) -- Candidate for the US Senate

Which of us, if married to television bombshell Jeri Ryan, wouldn't take her to a sex club with the intention of having sex in public? Unfortunately, Jeri (Seven of Nine on Star Trek: Voyager, for my fellow geeks) wasn't feeling as adventurous as her husband Jack Ryan and used the incident in a custody battle when the couple divorced. Both Jack and Jeri fought to keep these records private when Jack ran for the US Senate in 2004, but all for naught -- and Illinois voters proved unsympathetic to Jack's quest for a little sexual adventure. Jack's Democratic opponent, Barack Obama, went on to win the open Senate seat, and has been doing pretty well for himself ever since.

Jack Ryan is just like any red blooded American man of the moderately kinky variety. We might delight in the fall of a would-be Republican politician but Jack Ryan's fate shows everything that's wrong with American politics. The sobering truth is that we live in a country where wanting to spice up your sex life with your own wife disqualifies you from political office.

9. John Edwards (D-North Carolina) -- US Senator, 1998-present

Being caught in an extra-marital affair is never easy, but knowing that you were caught by The National Enquirer adds insult to injury. That's what happened to Senator Edwards. Edwards admitted to having an affair with Rielle Hunter, a campaign worker, in 2006. Whether he's also the father of her child is the matter of some speculation. In the wake of some other high profile affairs, Edwards has gotten off pretty easily, with the toughest criticism coming from Democrats who say he courted disaster by running for President in the 2008 primary.

Elizabeth Edwards, Senator Edwards's wife, has been suffering from breast cancer for four years. While no one would call cheating on your sick wife honorable, I think most people can understand why a man or woman who's partner is unable to have sex for the foreseeable future might choose to have an affair. Some sick spouses give their blessing, under the circumstances. But I don't mean to excuse Edwards's behavior. Even if seeking sex outside his primary relationship was his only choice (The Guide to Getting It On, by Paul Joannides, has a few tips for adapting your sex life to breast cancer), he should have sought his partner's permission. Though I suppose we don't know that for a fact that he didn't... Either way, knocking up your fling is definitely a no-no.

8. Eliot Spitzer (D-New York) -- Governor of New York, 2007-2008

This Democratic governor of New York, made his name as a state prosecutor who was particularly hard on prostitution. In March 2008, his chickens came home to roost when the New York Times revealed he had paid more than $15,000 for sex through Emperors Club VIP, a call girl agency -- and as much as $80,000 total on prostitution! Spitzer resigned in disgrace, and call girl Ashley Alexandra Dupré (not her real name, shockingly) became an unwilling celebrity.

While it was sex that kept Spitzer's face on the cover of the New York Daily News day after day after day, Spitzer's major crime was hypocrisy, not sex. That, and paying way too much money for some play. As for his moral transgressions (adultery with prostitutes is pretty serious), maybe Spitzer should have thought about marrying a partner willing to indulge him in all the kinky shit he liked -- or, more likely, should have grown a pair and asked his wife if she'd help him explore his kinks before seeking professional help from Ms. Dupré. But it could have been worse: at least Spitzer wasn't gay...

7. Jim McGreevey (D-New Jersey) -- Governor of New Jersey, 2002-2004

Spitzer's neighbor in New Jersey, Governor Jim McGreevey, didn't pay for sex. He broke no laws yet his scandal was far more salacious because this married man also happened to be gay and in the closet. In the end, he was forced to resign for that reason. Being gay and cheating on your wife equals being straight and cheating on your wife with high priced call girls. Got it? (It probably didn't help that McGreevey appointed his lover, Golan Cipel, as homeland security advisor. Cipel, an Israeli citizen, couldn't even be granted the security clearance he needed to do that job. But whatever.)

The gay community didn't exactly rush to McGreevey's cause, and there was a good reason for that: he was a cowardly closet case. McGreevey denied the truth about his sexuality. He brought misery to himself and those around him. New Jersey is a blue state. Would an out gay man have had a chance of being elected governor there? I don't know, and neither will anyone else until a qualified gay candidate with the courage to be forthright about who he is runs for that office. Jim McGreevey wasn't that man.

6. Glenn Murphy, Jr. (R-Indiana) -- President of the Young Republicans

When you're a naïve, Republican college boy in the full flower of youth and you sleep over at your sister's house with the newly elected president of the Young Republicans, you don't normally expect to wake up to find your cock in his mouth. In the case of Glenn Murphy, Jr., that 2007 incident was only the beginning of the scandal. It turns out another instance of Murphy sexually assaulting a man in 1998 had gone unreported until his second transgression came to light.

Being in the closet, like Jim McGreevey, is bad enough. Some people take it a little further. They are so consumed by guilt and shame over their homosexuality that they repress and deny it. But sex is quite literally a force of nature. It can't be contained for long and in these poor dumb fucks it comes to the surface in the most self-destructive ways possible. Douchebags like Glenn Murphy, Jr., create themselves in the image of all the terrible things they believe about gay people. The irony would be funny, if it weren't for the victims -- such as a 22-year-old boy who found himself on the receiving end of a non-consensual blowjob.

Stop by the blog this weekend for the continuation: the top five sex scandals of the Bush Years!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sex Poll in The Observer

The Observer, a UK daily, has recently polled British people on their sexual attitudes and experiences. The poll is broken into a series of articles covering different topics: Quality and Quantity (how much sex people are having and how good it is), Home and Away (sex with friends, coworkers and prostitutes), Manhood and Monogamy (penis-size, sex toys and monogamy, or lack thereof), Homosexuality, Safe Sex, and Education and Ethnicity (sex ed and interracial sex).

A few things stood out to me.
(1) While gay marriage is legal in England, homophobia seems to be alive and well there.
(2) Contraception seems to be used regularly there, but 81% of respondents have never had an HIV test, which is rather shocking.
(3) It may have been a juxtaposition gone awry but by putting a question about sex toy use next to penis size, it seems to suggest a connection between feeling of inadequacy and need to use sex toys. 55% of British people have never used sex toys, and should really try it.
(4) I know I shouldn't be surprised but the part of the poll dealing with monogamy does not include any questions about nonmonogamous relationships, only cheating. One suspects that open relationships and marriages are as common in England as they are here.

Friday, October 24, 2008

I'll Draw You a Map

A friend just shared this hilarious Sex Map. Click to see it bigger.

Stop the Presses: Week of 10/19/08

The Economist asks if being gay is genetic and gay people don't breed as much as straight people, what keeps the genes in the gene pool? The obvious answer is that "the genes for gayness bring reproductive advantage to those who have them but are not actually gay themselves." (I'm posting this because it's an interesting article. However, in my opinion, trying to determine what makes someone gay or kinky or into cross-dressing or whatever is like trying to catch the wind in a net.)

Legal prostition in San Francisco might be just around the corner if voters approve Proposition K next month, reports Yahoo! News.

Psychology Today: Why do straight men have sex with other men? Not every straight guy who gets it on with a dude is in the closet or in denial, writes psychologist Joe Kort.

Savage Love: Dan gives people the advice they bought by donating money to No on Proposition 8. (Click the link to donate money to them. It's gonna be close.)

Last but not least: These are a few weeks old and I should have posted them sooner, but there are features about Poly Pride in the New York Times and the New York Post.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Reality Series About Polyamory

A independent television production company in Brooklyn, Linton Media, has announced an open casting call for a reality show about polyamory. Produced by Birgitte Philippides, president of Polyamorous NYC, the series will follow five polyamorous people and their various partners. The producer is willing to cast 20 to 35 year olds, gay, straight, bi or trans, longtime poly people or the poly-curious. The audition notice claims there is "strong network interest," and indeed Linton's previous work (which has dealt with LGBT issues, homophobia, AIDS, and drug culture) has aired on Logo, VH1, PBS, HBO, Bravo, TLC, A&E and Sundance Channel.

You're probably wondering how's this going to work? Is it going to follow these five lucky people around cinéma verité style? Will they vote one poly person off the island (Manhattan) every episode? Will the show be a real exploration of an unknown and very misunderstood type of alternative sexuality, or is is just meant to thrill and delight viewers by letting them gawk at the sex freaks? "This is not the kind of show that people will get voted off, I assure you!" Katherine Linton, president of Linton Media, told me this week. "We are looking for dynamic people to follow. Birgitte is one of the Executive Producers so yes she is very involved and will be conducting the casting call."

Auditions for the show are this Friday, October 24, at 68 Jay Street, Suite 409, Brooklyn, New York.

Podcast Round-Up: Week of 10/19/08

Savage Lovecast, ep. 105: "I'm not your therapist, I'm just some dumb faggot with a podcast," says Dan during this week's Lovecast. Up this week are a woman who doesn't think her ass is up to the girth of her husband's cock, a lady loner who's suddenly feeling co-dependant, a bisexual guy on the outs with his boyfriend, a vanilla woman confused about her relationship with a nonmonogamous, bisexual cross-dresser, and a 17 year old girl who has apparently been the victim of abstinence-only education.

Sex Is Fun, ep. 145: Kidder, Laura Rad, Coochie and Gay Rick discuss the ins and outs (so to speak) of friends with benefits.

Poly Weekly, ep. 177: Minx continues her coverage of Poly Pride with interviews of Birgitte Philippides, president of Polyamorous NYC; Pete Benson, author of The Polyamory Handbook; and Reid Mihalko and Marcia Baczynski, creators of Cuddle Party.

The Ropecast, 10-16-08: Gray Dancer covers the TOROGRUE bondage conference in Toronto.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Stacks: Opening Up, by Tristan Taormino

Opening Up
by Tristan Taormino
Cleis Press, 2008. English. 299 pp.

Polyamory is going mainstream -- or so the leaders of the polyamory movement keep telling us. At first glance monogamy seems to be firmly entrenched as the way western society falls in love but one sign of change is the number of books that have been published about poly relationships recently. Opening Up, by sex columnist and porn director Tristan Taormino, is one of the best.

This book isn't only about polyamory (the lifestyle choice of multiple open relationships at the same time). Taormino's ambitious goal is to explore all the alternatives to traditional monogamy, and to do so she relies on far more than her own experience -- she conducted interviews with 126 practitioners of alternative relationship styles. With their experiences to help her she defines six basic types of open relationship (partnered nonmonogamy, swinging, polyamory, solo polyamory, polyfidelity and mono/poly combinations) and proceeds to lay out the pros and cons of each, along with strategies to fight jealousy, weather sudden changes, come out to the people in your lives (or not), raise children and find compersion.

For more than a decade ago a book called The Ethical Slut, by Dossie Easton and Catherine Liszt (aka Janet Hardy), has been considered the definitive book on polyamory, the last word on the subject, so to speak. My question going into Opening Up was: Can Tristan Taormino find anything fresh that justifies writing her own book?

Taormino's broader approach, her determination to capture nonmonogamy in all its variety and complexity, does the trick. In the past, poly books have mostly focused on partnered nonmonogamy and polyfidelity. Taormino covers those, along with the usual communication skills that polyamorists value so. However, this book blazes some new ground by giving equal treatment to solo polyamory, nonmonogamy for people who temporarily or permanently aren't interested in a primary relationship; and mono/poly combinations, relationships where one partner is monogamous and the other isn't. This last type of relationship is extremely common, yet many people, monogamous and nonmonogamous alike, have difficulty accepting it. The poly partner must be taking advantage of the mono one, right...? (Wrong.)

This book also impressed me with its nuanced approach to the discussion of children in poly relationships. Since nonmonogamous people are not protected by the law, some of Taormino's interview subjects have lived nightmare scenarios, being declared unfit parents because they were out of the closet about their open relationships. In some cases, biological poly parents have even fewer rights than gay adoptive parents. That's an important thing to hear if you're considering this lifestyle, and something other books have been known to gloss over.

Those other poly books were written only from the authors' personal experience. That's where Taormino's research allows her to stand out. Other books have nothing approaching the variety of experience she's presents and that's why Opening Up succeeds so brilliantly.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Is Sarah Palin a Sex Symbol? You Betcha!

One of my partners, Ana, just read the most recent Click Me column in the Village Voice, which talks about erotica author Rachel Kramer Bussel's plan to edit a website of erotica stories about Sarah Palin. Ana heard somewhere that Susie Bright is planning something similar and she was a little appalled. She asked me if I have any insight into why Palin is a sex symbol.

I've never fantasized about Governor Palin. Not my cup of tea. But when you think about it, it isn't that hard to see why thoughts of Sarah Palin keep so many men warm through the cold Alaskan night.

Republicans cry sexism the moment people start to define Palin by her gender but the fact is there's something to it. While no one can deny that she's more than the sum of her ovaries, it's clear that John McCain chose her as his running mate because she's a woman who would -- he hoped -- appeal to female voters. More over, Palin is a mouthpiece of the Religious Right, a group that, for all its talk of family values, completely defines itself by sex. Whether they're opposing gay rights, picketing abortion clinics, teaching abstinence-only sex ed, crusading against pornography, BDSM, nonmonogamy or gay parents, it is clear that the more Christian evangelicals try to repress themselves, the more they become totally, utterly, irrevocably obsessed with sex! With her high profile pregnancies and former career as a beauty queen, the sexuality in Sarah Palin's life is front and center for all to see. Plus there's the little matter of forcing her seventeen-year-old daughter into a marriage with the delinquent who knocked her up...

All this explains why Palin is catnip for conservative men. But a Palin fantasy is arguably way hotter for a liberal or a lesbian. How many horny teenagers in Catholic school dreamed of fucking some sense into the pretty nun who taught their English class (or conjured an even more imaginative scenario involving a bit of corporal punishment)? Sarah Palin is the ultimate forbidden fruit, the ice queen of Wasilla within whose breast lurks a wild slut just waiting to be unchained by some rough sex, forcing her to face those dark desires she has tried to repress for so long. Who's cock or strap-on inspires this brutal catharsis in our poor pitbull? Is it the person entertaining the fantasy, or have they chosen a surrogate? Barack Obama, maybe. Hillary Clinton. The entire starting roster of the New York Rangers. The possibilities are endless.

It is clear that there are no shortage of reasons to find Sarah Palin hot and if she turns your particular crank you should stop feeling guilty and just enjoy. Just remember that it's only a fantasy, and -- whatever you do -- don't vote for her!

Podcast Round-Up

Polyamory Weekly, ep. 176: Minx talks about her trip to NYC to attend Poly Pride, and about the first National Poly Leadership Summit. She interviews a few luminaries in the poly community and with more interviews to come in the next few episodes

Savage Lovecast, ep. 104: Dan answers questions from a man who wonders if he's addicted to relationships, a girl who's mom will only pay for college if she doesn't move in with her boyfriend, a woman who's already in couples counseling with her fiancé, and a bisexual dude whose boyfriends have an annoying habit of falling in love with him.

Sex is Fun, ep. 145: In the second part of a two part interview, Rachel Kramer Bussel talks to Kidder and Company about writing erotica, her own turn-ons, and a career hazard for sex writers -- all the people they know who can't talk openly about sex want your advice on everything!

Mistress Matisse's Podcast: Matisse and Monk are answering the mail. A bi girl who's into rough sex, bondage, anal, pressure point play and has hot fantasies about submitting to men and dominating women wants Matisse to tell her if she's kinky or not. Plus, a guy wants to know how to start a professional relationship with a pro domme.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Kinky Advertisements

Mini Cooper is advertising that their cars will dominate winter. Naturally, their spokesman is a beautiful woman in a skin tight vinyl outfit, brandishing a whip and a crop. The site invites you to "click as hard as you like" and lets you know the safe word up front -- although "battery safety terminal" and "safety belt pyrotechnical tension system" might be hard to remember in the heat of the moment.

Meanwhile, the ad campgaign for Rémy Martin's "champagne cognac" (somebody needs to explain that to me) seems to be advocating bathroom sex, bondage with chains, and polyamory. These sexy posters are all over certain NYC subway cars.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Stop the Presses

Open Source Sex: It appears the failing economy is on Violet Blue's mind this week. She's out to sink the old cliché that "sex sells," citing a spree of layoffs in sex journalism. "While a nice rack might get a spike in traffic or sales," she writes, "they're not the most reliable meal ticket. Unless, of course, you're an infant."

Savage Love: Dan answers the questions of people who made large donations to the campaign to defeat Proposition 8, the referendum to re-outlaw gay marriage in California, and reveals what sex act almost makes his dry heaves become wet ones.

Click Me: Bonnie Ruberg interviews erotica writer Rachel Kramer Bussel about the strange sex appeal of Sarah Palin. Bussel intends to launch (it's not live yet, hence no link). While I'm generally sex positive I believe having sex with Sarah Palin is a kink too far! However, it's an interesting article...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Podcast Round-Up

Sex Is Fun: In episode 144, Kidder, Laura, Coochie and Gay Rick interview Rachel Kramer Bussel, an editor and writer of erotica.

Mistress Matisse's Podcast: BDSM experts Mistress Matisse and Twisted Monk answer questions from women who are interested in work as professional dominatrices and in Australia's legalized sex industry.

Savage Lovecast: In episode 103, Dan answers questions from a weepy woman who's breaking up with her boyfriend to prevent him from leaving his children for her; a gay man with a desperate crush on a co-worker; and a lesbian who wants her cowardly older brother to come out to their parents like she did.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Green Porno

Green Porno is a series of extremely original short films starring Isabella Rossollini. In elaborate costumes and aided by sometimes ridiculous set pieces, Rossollini tells you all you need to know about the sex lives of insects. You heard right. Turns out spiders fuck surreptitiously, snails enjoy S&M and a male bee's penis gets stuck and rips off during sex, poor guy. At first you might wonder what the hell you're watching but in the end you'll be won over by this fascinating look into the sexual microcosmos.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Connecticut Legalizes Gay Marriage!!!

In a 4-3 decision, the Connecticut Supreme Court has overturned a lower court's ruling and has legalized gay marriage in that state. This makes Connecticut the third state in the US, after Massachusetts and California, to legalize same-gender marriage.

On that subject, polls conducted by No on Proposition 8, the campaign to defeat the California ballot amendment that would make gay marriage illegal again, show a statistical dead heat with a slight advantage to the anti-gay Yes voters. No on Proposition 8 is running low on money and needs your donations -- to give them money go to Your donation can get you personalized sex advice from Dan Savage if you play your cards right.

It's Leather Weekend!

This weekend is Leather Weekend in NYC. It's a all weekend long celebration cowhide and kink. I'll be at some of the events to give you a report, but in the meantime you can get all the info at their official site.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Poly Pride

What's polyamory? The blog's still new so let me define that basic term. It means a lot of different things to different people, but basically it means dating nonmonogamously. A polyamorous person believes that sexual monogamy is not a necessary ingredient in love, and as long as everybody knows what's going on it's okay to have sex and fall in love with more than just one main squeeze. If you've heard of swinging, ménages à trois, or open relationships, you've heard of polyamory.

Last weekend (October 3-5) was Poly Pride in New York City and yours truly was there for most of the events. As usual, Polyamorous NYC did a great job organizing.

The kick off was definitely the most fun of the whole weekend. On Friday night Reid Mihalko and Marcia Baczynski, founders of the even popular Cuddle Party, hosted a "super massive" version of their signature event at the LGBT Community Center in Greenwich Village. With a hundred and twenty people in attendance it was the biggest Cuddle Party ever, according to the hosts. The Cuddle Party is a workshop that teaches people how to safely touch others and be touched and not be touched in our touch-starved, touch-phobic culture -- but mainly it's a chance to cuddle with hot friends and strangers!! I cuddled with a sexy art student from out of town, and made a few new friends to boot. I also got to meet Cunning Minx and Alan from the Poly Weekly podcast, which was a hoot. I had talked to Alan for twenty minutes before I recognized his voice.

The next day was the Poly Pride rally in Central Park, hosted by Hedda Lettuce, the greenest drag queen in the five boroughs. There were some great speakers like Cunning Minx, Robyn Trask from Loving More and sex columnist Tristan Taormino, not to mention a hilarious poly clown show. It was followed up by an afterparty which was a bit of a disappointment to me. Last year's party was a much more mellow outing featuring a performance by the inimitable Wet Spots. This year the organizers opted for a more traditional dancing and loud techno music sort of evening. I couldn't hear a word anyone was saying. That's ironic -- polyamory is supposed to be all about communication! The weekend concluded at Bluestockings bookstore with a reading/signing of two new books about polyamory: Opening Up, by Tristan Taormino and Open: Love, Sex and Life in an Open Marriage, by Jenny Block.

Nonetheless it was a great weekend, a celebration of one of the most accessible, most feared, least understood kinds of alternative sexuality.

Stop the Presses

Here's the latest from three of my favorite sex columnists!

Savage Love, by Dan Savage: Dan gets questions from a young woman who wants to know if secretly slipping off a condom during sex is just something guys do, and from a guy who's having trouble finding a chick as into his crossdressing and occasional bisexuality as he is. Dan also offers personalized sex advice to anyone who donates money to support gay marriage in California or Florida.

Control Tower, by Mistress Matisse: Mistress Matisse offers advice on how to turn a vanilla partner kinky, and still finds time to make a few zingers at Sarah Palin's expense.

Pucker Up, by Tristan Taormino: In a report from kinky sex camp, Tristan tells us why role playing prostitution never stops being hot.

Sex Geek

I'll start with definitions. A geek is somebody who becomes abnormally obsessed with a certain topic and gets hours of glee exploring its intricacies -- they "geek out," if you will. The word geek conjures up images of comic books, video games, Star Trek and Dungeons & Dragons, but that's unfair. The biggest, most mainstream group of geeks in the world is, of course, sports fans.

I'm a geek for sex. I'm fascinated by it. I want to read every book, visit every website, listen to every podcast, go to every convention, exhibit and event. I have a healthy interest in personal experience too, but that isn't going to be the (primary) subject of this blog. For about two years I've been seriously delving into this subject and the more I see the more I want to see. So I'm starting this blog to share some of the information I find with all the other sex geeks I feel certain are out there somewhere.

There's only two things you can expect from this blog: (1) All sex, all the time; and (2) I'll try to keep the entries short unless the subject is really interesting. Therefore, this introduction is over now.