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.