Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the vampire Fleshlight. For those amongst you who have dreamed of being blown by a bloodsucker.

Happy Halloween, kids!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Annabelle River -- Now a Blogger!

It gives me great pleasure to present to you my wonderful partner Annabelle's new blog, Annabelle's Manifesto. Annabelle has been writing for for nearly a year and is now making the leap into running her own blog. There she will share her rather amazing insights into BDSM, polyamory, sexuality and feminism with the world, despite being cursed with a very midwestern modesty that has her mystified that anyone would care what little-old-her has to say. Annabelle, you're awesome, and frankly your sex writing is way more interesting than mine. (Ha-ha! Now who has more midwestern modesty?! In your face!)

In honor of Halloween, you might want to start with a post she wrote a few days ago called In Praise of "Dress Like a Whore" Day.

It's almost Halloween again, which at least in the United States means it's time for the annual panic shared equally by the right and the left: Girls' Halloween costumes are too slutty.

Surely An Historic Moment

Dan Savage writes about touring the Kinsey Institute over on Slog.

UPDATE: Kinsey Institute researcher and sex advice columnist Debbie Herbenick also has an interesting account of Savage's visit to the Institute, including his encounter with her vulva puppets.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

900 Dudes

Sify news has an article up right now called: Sex Mad Oxford Graduate Has Slept With 900 Men. Despite its sensational title the story itself doesn't condemn the woman. It just quotes her extensively on how she slept with 900 men in nine years by swinging, sharing partners with her friends and picking up guys for one night stands. But a lot of people commented on the article to accuse the woman of being a slut or a sex addict.

There's already a great commentary by my friends over at the Revolving Door Commune Blog but I'm going to add my two cents anyway.

1. Is this woman have a truly insane amount of sex?

No. To have sex with 900 men in nine years, mostly in one night stands, you'd need to fuck about twice a week. If a woman had sex with one partner -- say, her husband -- twice a week or even a bit more I don't think anyone would think it unhealthy. People aren't shocked with how much sex she had, they're shocked by how many partners she had.

2. Is this woman a sex addict?

No. First of all, sex addiction doesn't exist. It is not recognized by psychologists. That's because you get addicted to a substance -- like drugs or alcohol. When behavior gets out of hand it is a compulsion. The term "sex addiction" was coined by some sex-negative crusader because "sex addiction" conjures up more negative imagery than "compulsive sexual behavior."

So, now that the simantics are taken care of, was this woman sexually compulsive? I don't think so. Since it isn't possible to scientifically define how much sex is too much sex, the definition of sexual compulsion centers around one important criterion: did the person engage in the behavior because he or she liked it, or was the person unable to stop themselves from engaging in behavior that brought them no pleasure. When the woman in the article talks about her experiences she says things like "we just made sure we all had fun and enjoyed ourselves" and "it was the most thrilling, satisfying, fulfilling thing I've ever done." If you take what she says at face value she's not sexually compulsive.

3. Did this woman take unreasonable risks?

Even the writer at Revolving Door Commune has a tone of disapproval about the number:

That many people definitely increases your risk for all sorts of STDs and pregnancy no matter how much protection you use, or what kind of pill you’re on. I mean, that’s just a matter of numbers.

Prompting me to ask: Really? How so?

The failure rate of nine years of birth control pills is the same no matter how many people you have sex with in that period. The failure rate of nine hundred condoms is the same whether they were all worn by one man or by nine hundred different men. And, hypothetically at least, someone who knows they are taking a risk is more likely to be careful.

4. Is what this woman did therefore a sex-positive thing?

I don't know. I can't say it is, I can't say it isn't. On one hand I don't believe this woman is mentally ill and I completely support her right to do what she wants with her sex life without being judged. I believe sex is fun and good for you and as long as you're enjoying yourself I don't think there's a limit to the number of people you can fuck.

On the other hand she clearly has a reason for doing what she is doing. I don't think it's compulsive sexual behavior or any other kind of mental illness but she must have a reason because if she just wanted to have a ton of sex it's easier to find 40 people and have sex with them 25 times each than to have sex with 900 people.

Now maybe she's just one of those people who gets obsessed with numbers -- like a collector trying to collect 900 shot glasses or action figures is something. In her case it's sex partners. If that's the case I think this woman subscribes to the idea that more equals better which isn't necessarily true.

She also talks several times about how she doesn't want to have a serious relationship, just fun sex. Many people -- dare I say most? -- believe sex breaks down into two categories: serious long term relationships and one night stands. She knows she doesn't want a relationship, so clearly one night stands are the only choice. Like a lot of dichotomies people believe in without ever examining them (sweet and sour, good and evil, Democrat and Republican) the false choice automatically rules out an entire universe of other possibilities. When I read about her I found myself wondering if she had seriously consider the possibilities of having a group of sexual friends.

But who am I to say that's the case. Maybe she has looked at the entire spectrum of possibilities and decided that one night stands are the way to go. As long as she's happy about her choice, everybody -- including me -- should shut the hell up.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Feminism in Dollhouse and Mad Men

There is a fascinating article by Emily Nussbaum on the New York Magazine website about the exploration of sexual consent in recent episodes of Dollhouse and Mad Men. I'm a huge fan of both shows and I think one of the reasons that both of them are so compelling is that both explore sexuality in compelling and sometimes disturbing ways that. The only show on television that can really compare is HBO's Hung.

This article is noteworthy because for the most part critics haven't really had the guts to talk about the way these shows deal with sex. Critics of Dollhouse usually limit themselves to expressing distaste of the show's "prostitution" subject matter, while only the sexism of Mad Men's male characters. As Nussbaum explores in her article, both shows have very complicated sexual dynamics where the supposed victims are often so morally compromised as to be complicitous with the victimizers.

If you're a fan of either show the article is worth reading.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fuck Religion

Last night I was having a very interesting conversation about all of the things religion has to offer. Today I read this statement put out by the Catholic Archbishop of Guam.

Islamic fundamentalists clearly understand the damage that homosexual behavior inflicts on a culture. This is why they repress such behavior by death...It may be brutal at times, but any culture that is able to produce wave after wave of suicide bombers... is a culture that at least knows how to value self sacrifice.

Basically a Catholic bishop in the United States (for those of you who aren't so good at geography, Guam is a US territory) just held up Islamic fundamentalist suicide bombers as examples to which we should aspire because they have no qualms about using murder to repress gay people.

The statement was made in response bill in the Guam legislature which would legalize same sex domestic partnerships. The effort to pass the bill is led by B.J. Cruz, an openly gay legislator who was – wait for it – abused by a priest when he was a child.

Un. Fucking. Believable.

Via Andrew Sullivan, via Slog.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Finally, A Reality Show I Would Watch!

I'm back! Loyal readers, thank you (both) for waiting patiently during my blogger lapses. Sometimes my real life gets crazy and I stop posting. The crux of the matter is I don't really regret having a real life that can interfere with blogging. That may mean I'm not a very good blogger...

A little more than a month ago I laid into Mistress Matisse for being dead wrong about vanilla sex so I think it's only right that I point out when she is dead right about something. In her Control Tower column in this week's Stranger, she is reviving an idea she has mentioned before -- creating a reality show called America's Next Top Dominatrix. It was a funny joke before but this week she goes into some ideas for the structure of the show and what the challenges would be and, I've gotta say, not only is this a reality show that I would watch, I think it has the makings of a crossover hit that would unite the BDSM community (a small group), people with an interest, expressed or unexpressed, in kinky shit (a much larger group), people who want to watch reality show contestants do strange and humiliating things (nearly everybody), and gawkers (probably a bunch of shitheads but they can pad the Neilsens and spend money on the advertisers' products too so I guess we'd better let them watch). I think this idea really has legs and I think Matisse might well the the perfect host -- she's kinda the Tyra Banks of pro dommes. Now where is a producer with the stones to finance this surefire hit?