Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Monday, December 27, 2010

Footlocker Ad



Here is an amazingly sexy Footlocker ad. And that's a sentence I never thought I'd type...

Via Violet Blue

Friday, December 24, 2010

Have a Merry and Safe Christmas



Japan is a place with more psychosexual weirdness going on than the rest of the world combined. I've got to admit, I don't totally get it. But I thought this video was kind of amazing. It seems really obvious when you say it, but this is the first time I've ever seen sex used to market safer sex in an effective -- and Christmasy! -- way.

Also, I have too many friends who would enjoy watching a video with some hot Asian gay guys and a drag queen for me to buy Christmas presents for all of them, so I'm giving them this post this year. Merry Christmas.

Via Tiny Nibbles

Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas Is in the Air!

Everywhere I go they're playing Christmas songs. I have one to play too! This music video was just sent to me on Facebook by its director, the creator of the Family web series, as well as another upcoming series about being a poly parent. No nudity but there are some racy moments that are most definitely NSFW. Enjoy!


"Christmas Down South" music video - rated R version
Uploaded by 3DogPictures. - Watch more music videos, in HD!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Dirty Christmas List

I haven't been blogging much lately. I've been working on two large writing projects that involve a lot of research on the front end and then a lot of writing. The first project isn't very sexy so a lot of my time has been taken up with not-very-sexy topics lately. However, I'm almost done with the research on that project and I have a good start on the actual writing. Very soon, I'm going to be shifting focus to the researching the second project... and that promises to be a lot more fun!

So here is my dirty Christmas list: a list of books I'm planning to read eventually for research. You don't want me to have to go to the library to get them, do you?

Fiction
  1. Dangerous Liaisons, by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
  2. 120 Days of Sodom, by DAF de Sade
  3. The Story of O, by Pauline Reage
  4. Fanny Hill, by John Cleland
  5. The Well of Loneliness, by Radclyffe Hall
  6. Last Exit to Brooklyn
  7. Black Spring, by Henry Miller
  8. Sexus, by Henry Miller
  9. Lolita, by Vladmir Nobokov
  10. Naked Lunch, by William S. Borroughs
  11. Venus in Furs, by Leopold Von Sacher-Masoch


Non-Fiction
  1. Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, by Alfred Kinsey
  2. Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, by Alfred Kinsey
  3. The Technology of Orgasm, by Rachel P. Maines
  4. The Destroying Angel, by John Money
  5. Sex in History, by R. Tannahill
  6. The Velvet Underground, by Michael Leigh
  7. The Velvet Underground Revisited, by Michael Leigh

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Make Love, Not War!



I would like to recommend an article that Betty Dodson just wrote about Christine O'Donnell on the liberal website Truth Out. With everything that has been written about Christine O'Donnell in the last few months it didn't really occur to me that the voice that was missing was Betty Dodson's. As Dodson points out, on the subject of masturbation she is the exact opposite of Christine O'Donnell -- Betty Dodson has spent forty years helping women learn how to masturbate and understand their own orgasms, whereas Christine O'Donnell built her career around the idea that masturbation is a sin.

Dodson writes:
Still, I can see our commonality. We were two cute but undereducated girls with many handicaps and a lot of courage to make a difference by speaking out. Masturbation is a lustful sin in her eyes, and she is now a polished TV personality. I've been supportive of this basic human activity for decades and I can't even get arrested.

The rest of the article goes into the reasons why Dodson feels that the lack of personal sexual freedom and the ignorance of both men and women about their sexual bodies -- ignorance that masturbation would help them overcome -- is actually at the root of all of the world's problems. You might think that she's over simplifying things with this "make love, not war" argument but she actually manages to make a surprising amount of sense.

Until we acknowledge and accept masturbation as the foundation for all of human sexual activity, we will continue to be a nation of fast-ejaculating men and pre-orgasmic women. Through the consistent practice of masturbation, girls can become orgasmic women who are rarely victims because they have self-esteem and can speak their minds. Boys who have trained themselves to control ejaculation will become men with sexual self-assurance who are less prone to violence. By lessening sexual ignorance, boys and girls will make better social adjustments. Once we can accept sexual diversity as the law of the land, the quality of everyone's lives will improve.

Finally, the entire article is worth reading for this double entendre alone:
Finally the GOP gave sex-starved Americans a sex scandal - blow jobs in the oval office! Ken Starr blew a load of taxpayers' money detailing the entire episode.
Priceless! (emphasis mine)

Read the whole thing here

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

VOTE



Please don't forget to vote for some Democrats sometime today. It only takes one hand to punch a ballot!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Durex Ads That Made Me Smile



I just saw these ads from Durex that made me smile. You can click them to see larger versions. They depict the back of a fridge and the back of a television, and the writing at the bottom says, "Gel lubricant from Durex. Enjoy the other side."

Gel lube, of course, is designed to be used for anal sex. And, while Durex undoubtedly has a better ad campaign, if you're going to get some I recommend you buy Boy Butter.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

This Bugs Me

Okay, I'm going to go really, really geeky here but I'm a writer and I get hung up about language so just let me rant.

I like good funny tee shirts. I like wearing them and they make good presents and since I'm poly and have a lot of friends who are poly, I thought a good, funny poly tee shirt would be a great thing to find. I've looked several times but the only one I seem to be able to find is this one.



This shirt bugs the heck out of me. Not because the joke is a little long-winded, possibly a bit awkwardly phrased. Not because it's an etymology joke. I'm the kind of person who would love a knee-slapper about hilarious suffices. And you've got to admit that this kind of humor is pretty appropriate to the subject, since polyamorists are generally a pretty smart, geeky group of people who could enjoy a dorky joke like this just as much as I would.

No, this shirt bugs me for a much simpler reason: Who the heck says it's wrong to mix Latin and Greek roots in the same word?!? That's perfectly normal. It's called a hybrid word and there are plenty of them. Automobile, dysfunctional, kilometer, electrocution, hyperactive, bilingual, sociology, sociopath, television. Even the most heteronormative etymologist wouldn't have a problem with polyamory on a grammatical level. If he did, he'd be a complete hypocrite because heteronormative is another Greek-Latin hybrid, with a French suffix to boot.

Besides polyamory, a lot of words to describe sexuality are also hybrids, like heterosexual, homosexual or bigamist. Polyamory is just the latest in a long tradition of English words that have smashed together bits and pieces of other languages. That's what makes the English language great!

So you heard it here first, kids. Polyamory is most definitely NOT wrong.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

RE: What the Fuck Is Going On?!?

Actually, this seems like a pretty reasonable explanation for what appeared, at first glance, to be one hundred percent bullshit from the Obama Administration. Not that I'm happy about what is happening, but maybe there is an explanation other than some sort of desperate move to the right from a panicking party facing a midterm defeat.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Thursday, October 14, 2010

WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON?!

Okay, kids. Let's review.

REPUBLICANS (the Log Cabin kind, but still) file a lawsuit asking a judge to file an injunction stopping Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Check.

The judge files said injunction. The military can't kick out gay people now. Check.

DEMOCRATS (our heroes, the Obama Administration) ask for a stay on the injunction so they can appeal it and try to make it okay to kick people out of the army for being gay again. Waitaminute, huh?

WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON ?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Dogging

I just came across this article in the New York Times about "dogging," which is English slang for having sex in public in places where people will see you and watch. In the town of Puttenham, in Surrey, so many people are coming from out of town (usual pun disclaimer) that it is becoming quite a nuisance.

Puttenham, about an hour’s drive from London, has fewer than 2,500 residents and is famous for its ancient church; its friendly pub, the Good Intent; and its proud inclusion in both the Domesday Book — an 11th-century survey of English lands — and “Brave New World.”

Unhappily for many people here, it is also famous for being featured on lists of good places to go “dogging” — that is, to have sex in public, sometimes with partners you have just met online, so that others can watch. So popular is the woodsy field below the ridge as a spot for gay sex (mostly during the day) and heterosexual sex (mostly at night) that the police have designated it a “public sex environment.”
Read the whole thing.

Okay, people. I do not object to having sex outside in public areas. I have had sex outside in public areas. I've actually done it kind of recently. However, when your outdoor sex has a voyeuristic aspect, you are including other people in your outdoor sex, and including people in sex with you without asking their permission first is WRONG. I would be all in favor of a world where people could take off their clothes and have sex wherever the mood struck and no one would have a problem with it. But we don't live in a world like that and people do have a problem with it. So let's do our best to respect everybody's bountries. Okay, mates?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tim Gunn's It Gets Better Video



Over the past week I've been watching quite a few of the It Gets Better Project videos while reading Slog and I've really been blown away by what I've seen. That said, I have to say that I've liked the videos by ordinary people much more than the videos by celebrities -- for example, the video by Perez Hilton didn't do much for me.

However, for whatever reason, I just watched Tim Gunn's it gets better video and I was totally blown away. In it, Gunn admits that he was in so much despair about being gay that he attempted suicide by taking pills when he was seventeen years old. Now, I'm not a huge fan of Gunn's reality show (see how I avoided saying the name of the show as if I'm not totally sure if it's the one with the models or the designers) but it strikes me that admitting to a failed suicide attempt is a pretty big step for a celebrity to take. These people are very concerned with their public image and it says something about Tim Gunn that he's willing to take a risk in the way he's perceived in the media if he can help a gay kid. So I say bravo to Tim Gunn, just as I said bravo to Dan Savage for starting this whole thing. Well done, guys.

Friday, September 24, 2010

It Gets Better Project

In response to the recent rash of gay teen suicides -- or maybe I should say in response to the recent rash of the media paying attention to the gay teen suicides that have always been going on -- Dan Savage announced in this week's column and podcast that he's starting a YouTube channel.

As Dan explains in his column:
Nine out of 10 gay teenagers experience bullying and harassment at school, and gay teens are four times likelier to attempt suicide. Many LGBT kids who do kill themselves live in rural areas, exurbs, and suburban areas, places with no gay organizations or services for queer kids. (...)

I wish I could have talked to this kid for five minutes. I wish I could have told Billy that it gets better. I wish I could have told him that, however bad things were, however isolated and alone he was, it gets better.

But gay adults aren't allowed to talk to these kids. Schools and churches don't bring us in to talk to teenagers who are being bullied. Many of these kids have homophobic parents who believe that they can prevent their gay children from growing up to be gay—or from ever coming out—by depriving them of information, resources, and positive role models.

Why are we waiting for permission to talk to these kids? We have the ability to talk directly to them right now. We don't have to wait for permission to let them know that it gets better. We can reach these kids.

So here's what you can do, GBVWS: Make a video. Tell them it gets better.
This is such a fantastic idea I don't know why anyone has thought of it until now. Needless to say I'm a big Savage Love fan but this time Dan is taking things beyond his usual entertaining smear campaigns against Republican politicians, subversive attitude towards monogamy, and ingenius verbal take-downs of clueless letter-writers. This time I firmly believe he's going to save somebody's life. You only need to watch the video he posted with his husband Terry to see that this is coming from the heart, more so than some of his past projects.



Please head over to It Gets Better Project to see not only Dan's video but the videos submitted by other gay adults. And if you're gay, lesbian, bi, trans or queer and you have some words of wisdom to help the younger generation tough out the bad times, post a video of your own.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Leader of Stonewall Raid Dies

Seymour Pine, the police inspector who led the raid on the Stonewall Inn in 1969, has died at the age of 91. Read his obituary in the New York Times.

In 2004, Inspector Pine spoke during a discussion of the Stonewall uprising at the New-York Historical Society. At the time of the raid, he said, the police “certainly were prejudiced” against gays, “but had no idea about what gay people were about.”

The department regularly raided gay clubs for two reasons, he said. First, he insisted, many clubs were controlled by organized crime; second, arresting gay people was a way for officers to improve their arrest numbers. “They were easy arrests,” he said. “They never gave you any trouble” — at least until that night.

When someone in the audience said Inspector Pine should apologize for the raid, he did.

“There’s been a stereotype that Seymour Pine was a homophobe,” Mr. Carter said. “He had some of the typical hang-ups and preconceived ideas of the time, but I think he was strictly following orders, not personal prejudice against gay people.” (...)

“He once told me,” Mr. Carter said, “ ‘If what I did helped gay people, then I’m glad.’ ”

This is a man who was on the wrong side of history and seems to have recognized it, after the fact. To me he comes off rather sympathetically in this obituary -- someone who had the prejudices of his time, acted on them and did something wrong, then had the humility to admit he was wrong. If only all of the opponents of gay rights were like that.

Adam Carolla on Savage Lovecast

As a straight guy, I just want to say that listening to Adam Carolla guest-star on last week's Savage Lovecast to give the perspective of straight guys was extremely painful. He launches into a whole bunch of bullshit about how if a woman wants to have a threesome it means she's unsatisfied with the relationship that she's in and she's going to break up with her partner in a month, and suggests that all the "fun" in your life is over when you get married. All the while he steadfastly manages to avoid the question that Dan is asking him -- should a straight guy be willing to have a guy-guy-girl threesome in order to get a guy-girl-girl threesome? Would Adam Carolla do it? He refuses to say. And his jokes about all the gay sex he used to have with Jimmy Kimmel back in the Man Show days (Kimmel is a "power bottom," says Carolla) are funny but don't redeem him.

Click here to listen to this wandering, cringe-worthy diatribe. It's about a quarter of the way into the show, after the question about student loans.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sacrilegious Fun

A friend of mine just started a Twitter feed called Xtianity_inbed. It operates on the same principal as the fortune cookie game in which you add the words "in bed" to the end of your fortune with frequently hilarious results. My friend, however, is playing the game with Bible verses. Here's a taste.

Lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them... in bed. Luke 2:9

Don't miss a minute of the sacrilege: Go follow her!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Mile-High Club



About a week and a half ago, my partner Esmé and I found ourselves on a trans-Atlantic, red-eye flight. There came a moment somewhere in the wee hours -- time kind of breaks down as you fly across the time zones -- when the lights were out and everyone on the plane was asleep. There was only one thing to do: try to sneak into the airplane bathroom and have sex.

We ran the standard play. Esmé went to the bathroom. A minute later, when there was no line, I got up, knocked on the door and she let me in. The bathroom was tiny and smelled less than pleasant. I had the nervous shakes, imagining how we would try to leave one at a time only to find a line of passengers waiting outside. It was difficult to find a position, so we finally settled for me sitting on the closed toilet while Esmé sat on my lap. We fucked as quickly and quietly as we could. I left first. Thankfully, no one was waiting and no one seemed to have been awakened by any moans we had failed to stifle. I went back to my seat, Esmé joined me a moment later. We had successfully joined the Mile-High Club.

It's safe to say the main reason to engage in airplane sex is for bragging rights. The threat of discovery adds a certain thrill to it, but the setting isn't particularly romantic, nor is the sex especially good. But not many people can say they've done it, so the opportunity was too good to pass up. I wouldn't want to only have sex in airplane bathrooms but the novelty of doing it once was pretty fun.

The fantasy of having sex on an airplane is surprisingly prevalent. I went on the Internet afterward to see what I could find. Perhaps naïvely, I was only expecting to find a few humorous, probably bullshit first-person stories, maybe a How-To page on About.com, and some info about possible legal consequences. Silly, silly Pendard... I had no idea that airplane sex is some of the geekiest sex there is.

First of all, it appears that Rachel Kramer Bussel edited an entire book on erotica on the subject. I haven't read it but I have difficulty imagining enough different scenarios to fill an entire book.

I also located the official Mile-High Club website, where you can post the story of your high-altitude hook-up and even buy the tee shirt to commemorate the experience.

And if my less-than-steamy description of the airplane bathroom failed to turn you on or you're scared to risk discovery and (unlikely) prosecution, don't despair! If you're willing to spend a little money you can join the Mile-High Club in comfort and style by chartering a plane. There are a number of companies that explicitly offer the service, including Mile-High Club Chicago, Mile High Atlanta, Intimate Skies in Honolulu, and Mile High Flights in Gloucestershire, UK.

Or you can just do it the old-fashioned way. Some suggest discretely fucking in your seat on a nearly empty flight but I don't see this going so well -- for one thing, all flights are overbooked these days. Your best bet is the bathroom. To get in there, you'll need to book the latest flight you can, either cross-country or trans-Atlantic, then just wait until everyone is either sleeping or engrossed in the in-flight movie to make your move. Unless you happen to find yourself on one of the new Airbus A380s. Singapore Airlines has beds in first class but so many people have been loudly taking advantage of them the airline has added a no sex rule.

Sad news, but I'm sure people will continue to find a way.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sex at Dawn - Highly Recommended



On this week's edition of the Savage Lovecast, Dan Savage took the remarkable step of dropping his usual call-in format for the first time I can remember to interview Christopher Ryan, author (along with Cacilda Jetha) of a new book called Sex at Dawn. The book is about the origin of human sexuality in pre-agricultural, gatherer societies and what habits we might have evolved then that make the present-day commitment to life-long monogamy so difficult for so many people. I say that Savage interviewed Ryan, but the fact is he spent a significant amount of time gushing about how great the book was.

I love reading books about science and sociology and I love reading books about polyamory, but normally I wouldn't give a book like this a second glance. Why's that? Because I'm suspicious of books where people attempt to apply science or history to present-day problems. Frequently these books are the worst kind of science, the kind that comes up with the conclusion before doing the research and then ignores whatever evidence doesn't support the pre-selected topic. Take, for instance, that section in the first edition of The Ethical Slut where Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy say that monogamy was only invented because society needed to know who should inherit stuff. It's an interesting theory, sure, but Easton and Hardy are not anthropology experts and are definitely biased towards polyamory so can you really trust what they say? And, sure enough, that section disappeared in the second edition.

But Dan Savage recommended Sex at Dawn. In fact, he called it "the single most important book about human sexuality since Alfred Kinsey unleashed Sexual Behavior in the Human Male on the American public in 1948." It's true the man has an agenda when it comes to sexuality but he also has a nearly infallible bullshit detector and isn't know for ignoring or glossing over facts that contradict his beliefs. So I went on the book's website and noticed two very good signs. The first was that, Savage notwithstanding, most of the people who had reviewed and recommended the book were from academia, experts in fields that the book draws its evidence from, such as psychology, biology, anthropology and primatology. The second that the authors specifically state that their book won't make recommendations about how to interpret the information they're presenting and how to apply it to modern life. They waive their right to an opinion and an agenda.

So I headed out and bought a copy yesterday evening and I haven't been able to put it down ever since. I've read about a third of it in the last twelve hours. I was seen wandering down sidewalks in my neighborhood while reading, bumping into innocent pedestrians (I'm not proud). Every polyamory book club should put down what they're reading and start reading this immediately, that goes without saying. But this isn't just a book for poly folk. Although Ryan and Jetha are arguing it's likely that for ninety percent of its existence the human race was organized into hunter-gatherer bands that were sexually nonmonogamous, they never make any sort of attack on modern-day monogamy. Rather, they seem to hope that their research will lighten the load of modern humans who have chosen to be monogamous, to give them peace of mind when the going gets tough. When tempted towards adultery in the twentieth year of a monogamous marriage, they will be reminded by this book that there's nothing wrong or unusual about their desires, that they don't mean they've fallen out of love, and that errant desires, in and of themselves, don't constitute a betrayal of their partner.

Once I finish the book and find the time I'll post a full review. But, especially recently, waiting for me to blog about something involves running the risk of death by natural causes so I encourage you to visit your local independent bookstore and pick up a copy now.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Today in the Times...

In today's New York Times, Camille Paglia editorializes about the recent search for "female Viagra," a drug that will boost the female sex drive. According the Paglia, this Holy Grail will never be found. A drug cannot turn frigid women back on, claims Paglia, because their problem is not caused by physiology but by the sexless culture of the white American middle class.

The implication is that a new pill, despite its unforeseen side effects, is necessary to cure the sexual malaise that appears to have sunk over the country. But to what extent do these complaints about sexual apathy reflect a medical reality, and how much do they actually emanate from the anxious, overachieving, white upper middle class?
I'm not completely convinced by Paglia's arguments but there are definitely interesting ideas to be discussed in this article, and I was pleased to see it in the mainstream press.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Stacks - Bondage for Sex

Bondage for Sex, Volume 1
by Chanta Rose
BDSM Press, 2006

Bondage has two kinds of practitioners. There are the ones who are using rope as a medium to create mind-blowingly gorgeous works of art. And then there are the ones who just want to tie 'em up and fuck 'em. This book makes no bones about the fact that it is written for the latter group. I find that refreshing because most books about bondage seem to be written by and for the artistic types.

I've always found myself in the second group. I like rope, I think it's beautiful to look at and fun to use (even if it takes awhile) but every once in a while I meet a real expert and I realize that I have nothing even approaching their level of skill or interest -- for some it's a full-blown fetish. And I've all but given up listening to The Ropecast because I know I'm never going to have that level of commitment to rope. Chanta Rose, who has designed bondage for several sites in the Kink.com constellation (most famously, Chanta's Bitches), is one of those experts, beyond any doubt, but she had the benevolence or the business sense to write this book for the rest of us.

Bondage for Sex's simple concept is right there in its title: this book isn't about bondage for it's own sake, it's about bondage to enhance sex. It presents about a half-dozen basic ties, each with a few variations. Unlike other bondage books I've looked at, which include drawn diagrams that frequently confuse the hell out of me, Rose has included photographs of the ties in every stage of completion. Not only is this much easier to follow, it's considerably more fun to look a photographs of beautiful bondage models than crude pen-and-ink sketches.

At this point, I've tried nearly every tie in this book with my partners, so I can report that the book's directions are straight forward and easy to follow. The most difficult tie, a chest harness, takes a while to get the hang of, but it is a great design -- unlike several other chest harnesses I've seen/attempted, it has a very convenient "handle" positioned on the upper back for which there are no end of uses.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in bondage. It's a fantastic place to start!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Filthy Gorgeous Things

I have an article on Filthy Gorgeous Things

And, like, I promise to actually do some blogging and stuff pretty soon. I've had a few ideas for posts but I've been in the middle of a decidedly non-sexy research project.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Safety First!



Please watch this video. It could save your life.

Via Slog

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Scary Stuff

Surprised Employer Fires Sex Blogger

A St. Louis-area nonprofit has fired a 37-year-old office worker – after discovering that in her own time, the woman blogs about her polyamorous escapades. (...)

According to TBK, her boss – at the suggestion of top management – searched the web for information about employees, and discovered the sex blog. When she arrived at work April 27, she was fired on the spot.

Per an account TBK posted on another website, Aagablog, her boss was furious. “I need to let you go," the woman said, according to TBK. "Corporate office suggested I Google employees. I typed in your name and it took me two seconds to find your website. How COULD you put that stuff out there? What were you thinking?! I feel like I’m talking to a 14 year old! We’re DONE.”
I came across this article while surfing the web last night. It is scary stuff. While I don't provide intimate details about my own sex life on my blog like TBK did, I don't imagine that would necessarily be enough to save me if my employer found out about it. TBK's mistake was signing up for a Twitter account using her real name. She didn't realize it was going to be displayed, and by the time she changed it it had already been archived by a search engine. I quickly ran and Googled my real name (something I haven't done in a while) to make sure I hadn't sprung any leaks. So far so good.

I've often wrestled with the idea of giving up my pseudonym. I also write more conventional things online and offline under my real name and it would be very convenient to shed the alias. I've always admired people like Rachel Kramer Bussell or Susie Bright that have made the decision to live their lives out in the open. If my conventional writing ever takes off, I might be in a position to "come out" and acknowledge this blog as well. In fact, I might have to, since some of my conventional writing still deals with polyamory, kink and other kinds of alternative sexuality. (Some doesn't, but some does.) However, as long as I have a day job -- in fact, as long as I foresee the possibility of needing to interview for a day job -- I've got to try to keep the genie in the bottle. It goes against everything I believe about being open and proud of who you are, but I guess that's the price of a little privacy.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Making of "Fun Home"

A friend of mine had to do a project for her graduate program featuring a novel or movie about grief and loss. I suggested to her that us use Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel, which is a graphic novel memoir by a lesbian woman about her father, who was gay and in the closet and who dies under conditions that may or may not be suicide. It's an excellent book and I really love it. I've been meaning to review it in this space for a long time but I've never gotten around to it. Now that her project is finished, my friend sent me this YouTube video she found, in which Bechdel discusses how she made the art in Fun Home. I thought it was really fascinating so I'm sharing it here. I'll write a review soon, hopefully.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Never Have I Ever...

About a month ago I played a game of Never Have I Ever as part of the TMI Party I threw for a group of friends. I'm kind of bad at thinking of things on the spot so I made a list. Here's part of it.

Never have I ever received money in exchange for sex.

Never have I ever had intercourse in public.

Never have I ever broken a piece of furniture while having sex on it.

Never have I ever cheated on someone.

Never have I ever had sex with a co-worker.

Never have I ever been in an orgy.

Never have I ever had sex while dressed as an animal.

Never have I ever had sex with someone I regretted having sex with later.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Nonmonogamy in France (But Not for Long)



I know there are people out there who are very concerned with the legal rights of poly people, who want to legalize plural marriage and get existing laws to recognize that a person can have more than one domestic partner. I've never felt the need to be one of those people. I feel like a drama queen pretending that poly people face hostility and institutionalized discrimination on the same level as, say, gay people. Most poly people have one domestic partner or they have no domestic partner -- in other words, their either functionally coupled or functionally single. Either way, the existing laws work fine for them. Only a minority try to have more than one domestic partner. They're the ones all the activists in the community are working for.

All too often, when a story comes along that should really be a wake-up call, we dismiss it. Laws used to target nonmongamous people are usually used against the polygamous marriages of Mormons and Muslims.

Today, I happened on the story of Liès Hebbadj, a French restaurant owner born in Algeria. He lives in Nantes and has four partners. While he's maintaining that he has multiple unmarried partners, French authorities are accusing him of practicing plural marriage, and Brice Hortefeux, prefect of the Loire-Atlantique region, wants to strip Mr. Hebbadj of his French citizenship because of it.

From Le Monde, a French national newspaper (my translation):
According to the Minister of the Interior, the man, who was born in Algiers, has four wives and each one receives Single Parent Aid—offenses, the minister days, for which he deserves to be stripped of his French citizenship which he obtained through marriage in 1999. Liès Hebbadj admits having “mistresses.” “If you can be stripped of your French citizenship for having mistresses then a lot of Frenchmen could be. Mistresses are not forbidden by Islam. Maybe they are by Christianity, but not by France, as far as I know,” he has told the press. (…)

[Hebbadj], 30, is not described as an extremist by local authorities. He had a halal butcher shop in the south of Nantes and is the president of a Muslim cultural association in Rezé, in the Nantes suburbs. He is only officially married to one of his partners.

None of the offenses alleged by Brice Hortefeux are punishable by loss of citizenship. But the cancellation of his naturalization could be obtained, with the permission of the Council of State, if the man was already officially married at the time of his marriage in 1999 and therefore obtained his citizenship “through lying and fraud.”

I briefly lived in Nantes a few years ago, so I think I had better start by deflating a few images you might have of France. First of all, France has a reputation of being a country of sexual libertines where anything goes. This is not true. It looked that way to US government book censors in the 19th century and to American expatriates in the 1930s, but the United States has made great strides since then, whereas France has not. France doesn’t have sex-positive movements to the same extent as the US today. Sexual subcultures remain mostly underground. In the US, gays and lesbians led the way for everybody else by making sure their existence was in everyone’s face. In France today, tolerance for gays does not extend to offering marriage rights. Just a few days ago the openly gay mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delano, said that the French gay rights movement movement is going through “a sad period of silent regression,” pointing out a laundry list of recent homophobic crimes. In the most heinous, a middle aged gay couple from Couy, a small village in the Loire valley, was buried alive last year. Polyamory, BDSM and other subcultures are not nearly as visible. Sexuality in general seems to be surrounded by uniquely French flavor of erotic mystique which interferes with any attempt to confront it in an objective and realistic way.

Secondly, France also has the reputation for being less racist than the United States. Again, I’m sure it seemed that way to African American expatriots coming out of Jim Crow in the 1950s but that doesn’t make it true today. The French have historically had a very strong sense of their national identity. As long as immigrants assimilated to that identity, race wasn’t a big problem in France. In recent years France has seen an influx of Muslim immigrants of North Africa who have the radical notion that they would like to hang on to some of their own culture, perhaps even integrate parts of their culture into French society. This has provoked a radical backlash from the far right Front National political party. President Sarkozy’s UMP party is also concerned with this issue. Sarkozy has created the Ministry of Immigration, Integration and National Identity -- its name alone should give you an idea of its goals. Even the French left is on board with the most famous discriminatory measure, the headscarf ban in French schools. I’ve heard Socialists defend the ban by saying that schools should be secular institutions. However, although the ban technically covers any religious expression, it is not enforced when Christian children wear small crosses around their necks. For all of the left’s arguments that the veil is a tool of misogyny, it is undeniable that these laws curtail the freedom of an unwanted minority group to express itself in a way that goes against the beliefs of the majority in French society. For some French racists, the fact that Muslim girls are now forced to attend separate Islamic private schools to get around the public school law is a feature of the law rather than a flaw -- just as the French seem unconcerned by the fact that the law President Sarkozy has just proposed against wearing full-body veils in public will keep conservative Muslim women confined to their homes, as if France were run by the Taliban.

Now back to Mr. Hebbadj. This guy is going to get royally screwed. He’s transgressing against France’s “national identity” in two different ways: he’s a Muslim and his marriage doesn’t follow the state-sanctioned, monogamous model. Notice the catch-22 of the French argument: the French government will only recognize Mr. Hebbadj’s marriage to one person, yet they refuse to pay a single parent child support credit to Mr. Hebbadj’s four wives because they aren’t really single.

Worst of all, Mr. Hebbadj is probably not going to have any support from anyone in the French sex-positive community, such as it is -- nor would he in the American one. The polyamorous and open relationship crowds aren’t comfortable with forms of polygamy in less sex-positive forms. They don’t see that there’s a connection between their right to run their love lives the way they see fit and other people’s right to run their love lives the way they want. They don’t see that the same people who want to protect society from people like Mr. Hebbadj want to protect it from people like them. Even though very little information is currently available in the press about Mr. Hebbadj and his partners, the sex-positive poly people assume the four women made the decision to marry Mr. Hebbadj because of some kind of oppression, even though if a white woman made a similar decision they would believe she was exercising her freedom. Those people are making the same argument for the headscarf ban: that Muslim women don’t have enough experience with freedom to exercise their freedom of choice without being exploited, so they should be denied freedom of choice in some areas for their own good. It is undeniable that exploitation occurs in some cases, but taking away their right to choose isn’t the way to fight it.

I've already written in support of Mormon polygamy, but the truth is that polygamy in a religious context is an uncomfortable gray area for me. It is for many polyamorous people. As a group, we're mostly sex-positive and humanist. Though we have every reason to be more tolerant, our bias against religions that practice polygamy is the same as the bias against it in the monogamous culture that surrounds us. We imagine that there are always exploitations and consent problems in a religious polygamous marriage (but not a religious monogamous marriage). But the truth is that, especially in the western world where such things are not the norm, people who choose nonmonogamy in a religious context deserve to have their decision respected just as much as people who choose nonmonogamy in any other context. And when the laws of supposedly liberal western nations are used against these people, we should be very, very afraid.

---
UPDATE 4/29: I finally found an English version of this story, which you can read here. Via @polyamorie

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Moral Indignation, by H. L. Mencken


The loud, preposterous moral crusades that so endlessly rock the republic -- against the rum demon, against Sunday baseball, against Sunday moving-pictures, against dancing, against fornication, against the cigarette, against all things sinful and charming -- these astounding Methodist jehads offer fat clinical material to the student of mobocracy. In the long run, nearly all of them must succeed, for the mob is eternally virtuous, and the only thing necessary to get it in favor of some new and super-oppressive law is to convince it that that law will be distasteful to the minority that it envies and hates. (...) The hardworking householder who, on some bitter evening, glances over the Sunday Evening Post for a square and honest look at his wife is envious of those gaudy drummers who go gallivanting about the country with scarlet girls; hence the Mann Act. If these deviltries were equally open to all men, and all men were equally capable of appreciating them, their unpopularity would tend to wither.

-from Damn! A Book of Calumny (1918), public domain

The most amazing thing about reading H. L. Mencken is that, if there weren't occasional references to historical events, you would completely forget that his criticism of American society is nearly a century old. The main theme of his career was to mock and excoriate the small-minded idiots who attack art, literature, science and harmless fun in the name of morality, virtue and religion -- to do so viciously but without ever sacrificing humor. Reading him today is at once remarkable and depressing; remarkable because he sees so clearly into the heart of the American character that his criticism transcends his era, and depressing because we're still fighting the same battles today that he was then. I wish he was still around to help us.

I'll leave you with one more quote from the same book:
It is argued against certain books, by virtuosi of moral alarm, that they depict vice as attractive. This recalls the king who hanged a judge for deciding that an archbishop was a mammal.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Green Porno Is Back!!!!!



It's too good to be true. Isabella Rossellini has made a follow-up to Green Porno called Seduce Me. She covered the bees in Green Porno, so Seduce Me touches on the birds and other non-mammals -- with Isabella in all of the bizarre animal costumes you could ever want. Also, a lot of beefy arms. You can watch the "first season" by following the link. It features three minute segments about cuttlefish, ducks, snakes, salmon and bedbugs and it's as wonderful and weird as ever!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Bravo, Mr. President

The New York Times reports:

President Obama on Thursday ordered his health secretary to issue new rules aimed at granting hospital visiting rights to same-sex partners.

The White House announced the rule changes, which will also make it easier for gay men and lesbians to make medical decisions on behalf of their partners, in a memorandum released Thursday night. In it, the president said the new rules would affect any hospital that participates in Medicare or Medicaid, the government programs to cover the elderly and the poor.

“Every day, all across America, patients are denied the kindness and caring of a loved one at their sides,” Mr. Obama said in the memorandum, adding that the rules could also help widows and widowers who rely on friends and members of religious orders who care for one another. But he says gay men and lesbians are “uniquely affected” because they are often barred from visiting partners with whom they have spent decades.

I like Obama but he has been less than a full-throated supporter of gay rights. (That's right, I said "full-throated," deal with it.) He may be making a tiny incremental move like this one because he hopes to tap some gay money for the midterms. But whatever his reasons this is great news.

Nerd Sex at "In the Flesh" Reading



Tonight I went to the In the Flesh Reading Series where Rachel Kramer Bussel's topic of the month was nerd sex, a topic after my own heart. A lot of the readings were rather off topic although still good.

The two stories that stood out most to me, however, were also the two nerdiest. Mike Albo read a story set in the fantasy world of pornographic spam e-mails. Mike prefaced his story by saying he does nothing but stare at his computer and masturbate all day and then read an extremely witty and hilarious piece where buxom fantasy sluts who write in broken English hit on the reader, go on about their affairs with butterflies and the Nike logo and then transform into desperate bored gay men or sex-starved Midwest housewives.

Emerald closed the evening with the only actual erotica story of the evening -- that is to say, the only one with an explicit sex scene. In it, the protagonist takes her broken laptop to the Apple Store Genius Bar, meets three beautiful computer geeks who she invites into the back alley, one at a time, to fuck her while the others fix her computer. The story is apparently in Best Women's Erotica 2010 and was so hot that I'm planning on picking up a copy just so I can read the whole thing.

All in all, it was an even more fun time than usual -- nerdy sex stories warm my comic-loving, sci-fi watching, little Trekkie heart. Here's hoping Rachel comes back the the topic with more actually nerdy material. Nerds rule most every sex subculture, so you know there's gotta be some great material!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Vault - Breaking Upwards

Breaking Upward (2010)
directed by Daryl Wein
written by Peter Duchan and Zoe Lister Jones
starring: Zoe Lister Jones, Daryl Wein

I went into Breaking Upwards with a misapprehension which I admit is going to color this review: I thought it was a movie about polyamory. I could be excused for making this mistake. The film’s trailer shows the central couple questioning monogamy, talking about seeing other people, discussing the terms of seeing other people, going on dates, cruising Greenwich Village hipsters at a Greenwich Village hipster party together, and dealing with jealousy over interacting with other people. It has gotten some attention in the poly blogosphere, which is how I heard about it.

But Breaking Upwards definitely isn’t a film about polyamory. It is a film about Zoe and Daryl, a young, Jewish, artistic couple that live in Greenwich Village. They love each other but the passion is gone. However, they are so co-dependent that neither one can take the blow of instant separation so they concoct a novel scheme of progressive separation. They begin by spending three days a week apart from each other, then tentatively begin seeing other people. They quickly start to notice other people and let them into their lives, causing a number of conflicting feelings. Daryl helps Zoe hit on a man at a party but is jealous about her casual sex with an actor. When he sleeps with his writer boss and a new acquaintance, Zoe asks not to be given the details.

Their arrangement perplexes their parents. Daryl’s mother is left out of the loop (leading to some destructive prying) but Daryl’s father seems to quietly understand what his son is going through. We get the feeling from certain remarks Daryl makes about his parents’ marriage that his dad understands what it means to love someone but not be in love with her anymore but the filmmakers never follow up so I couldn’t tell if Daryl’s insights were real or if he was too young to understand his parents yet. Zoe’s mother is much more free-spirited. She has dabbled in polyamory and takes the young couple to a meeting of middle aged poly people. The parents were the best part of the whole film, because they added some wisdom, perspective and humor to Zoe and Daryl’s melodrama.

Zoe and Daryl briefly flirt with the idea of maintaining their open relationship. He even considers turning down a career opportunity that requires him to move to Vancouver to stay with her. But his mother forces them to ask themselves if this kind of relationship can last. I’d answer yes, but the movie says no as if it’s a foregone conclusion. They don’t want a complicated open relationship that requires them to confront their feelings for each other and fly in the face of Daryl’s mother’s expectations, they choose to avoid all that drama and end it… in the middle of a Passover Seder with their families and friends looking on and participating in the recriminations. Well, so much for avoiding all that drama. Daryl decides to move to Vancouver after all and as the taxi arrives to take him to the airport he sees Zoe across the street crying and smiling and waving to him. Meaning they are no hard feelings? I’m not quite sure. It was a weird scene.

I saw the movie with my partner Annabelle River. The two of us laughed very loud at a moment in the movie when Zoe and Daryl are seen reading Fear of Flying, by Erica Jong. Annabelle liked that book while I couldn’t even finish it, and my problem with this movie was exactly the same as my problem with the book. I found it very difficult to sympathize with these people as they floundered in a problem of their own creation as if it was something that had just happened to them. Occasionally the film delivered a poignant and touching moment where I really connected with Zoe and Daryl but more often their interactions with each other and others were cold and ambiguous. I couldn’t tell why the filmmakers had included many of the scenes or what they thought I would get out of watching them. Furthermore, all of the secondary partners that Zoe and Daryl interact with were poorly developed, mere plot devices, as if making them more than clichés (a pretty girl next door, a horn dog who bolts after sex, etc.) would bring up questions the filmmakers didn’t want to address. For that matter, Zoe and Daryl don’t have much going on in their characters. I can’t think of a single thing I learned about either one the doesn’t have to do with their relationship, their jobs (he’s an aspiring writer, she’s an aspiring actress) and the fact they’re Jewish. The parents were developed much better and I suspect that had more to do with good acting than good writing.

So to sum up, Breaking Upwards is well made and feature some great actors. It has some nice moments and some beautiful footage of Greenwich Village at its most charming. Despite this, the characterization and story are mostly a yawn. The film poses some interesting questions about alternative ways to set up relationships and then ignores them. If the filmmakers had been interested in exploring the answers, their film would have been much more interesting.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Well, That's... Interesting... ????



Wii Fit Injury Turns Woman Into a Sex Addict

I just followed a Slog link to this article on Yahoo! news. And I have absolutely nothing to say about it. Nothing insightful, nothing mocking, nothing funny. It sounds fake to me. But it's geeky sex, so here it is! Enjoy... I guess...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Stacks - Scalped #36

Scalped #36: "A Fine Action of an Honorable Catholic Spaniard"
written by Jason Aaron
illustrated by Davide Furnò
DC Comics/Vertigo, 2010

You may not be familiar with Scalped. It certainly hasn't done anything before now would warrant mentioning it on a blog like this. It's a crime comic book that follows the adventures and misadventures of a number of Native American cops and robbers on a Lakota reservation is South Dakota, a reservation haunted by violent years of government repressionand civil rights activism in the 1970s. (For a brief history lesson, click here.)

Scalped has been compared to The Sopranos, except with Indians instead of mafiosos. So far the series has focused on the undercover FBI agent and general badass Dashiell Bad Horse. He is trying to take down corrupt tribal elder and casino owner Lincoln Red Crow -- and discovering things are not as morally black and white as he assumed. The series also features an ensemble cast from all walks of reservation life, many of whom it has only begun to explore 36 issues in.

One of these is Shunka. He's Red Crow's trusted right-hand man, doer of the dirty work. He's part hitman, part consigliere, always in the background, the only man on the reservation who might be a bigger badass than Bad Horse. Writer Jason Aaron hasn't developed the character beyond that. Issue #36 opens with Shunka breaking and entering, holding a man at gunpoint, threatening to kill him -- then embracing him and fucking his brains out. Shunka is gay, and deep in the closet.

The issue explores homosexuality and homophobia among modern American Indians. Shunka's lover Joseph Crane tells him that Indians traditionally respected gay and transgender people, whom some tribes dubbed Two-Spirits, but that in modern times they have assimilated the homophobic attitudes of the white rural communities surrounding their reservations. In the story, Crane is a tribal leader in a neighboring state who embarrassed the wrong people by coming out. Shunka is there to help intimidate him into silence but it doesn't work and Joseph Crane ends up murdered. Shunka's first reaction is to shrug and leave town, but he has started to fall for Crane. The issue ends with Shunka deciding to unleash his own brand of justice on the men who murdered Crane.

Since Scalped is frequently compared to The Sopranos, people are going to want to compare Shunka to Vito Spatafore, the closeted mobster who is outed and eventually killed on that series. But the comparison doesn't do Scalped justice. Jason Aaron is giving us a much more interesting portrayal of homophobia in gangland. Vito Spatafore's story always rubbed me the wrong way -- the moment he was outed is he suddenly becomes every gay cliché in the book, as if now that he's out he's reverting to type. One moment he's a mob enforcer, the next he's going to BDSM clubs in full leather gear, running away to a small town in Massachusetts to hang around in antique shops and live in domestic bliss with a tough but sensitive biker. Shunka, by contrast, remains the same person after we learn he's gay. Before, he was a violent badass that we didn't really like. That hasn't changed -- although, romantics that we are, we're rooting for him to get justice for his murdered lover.

That's the reason why Scalped is handling its gay story better than The Sopranos did -- no stereotypes. Shunka is a criminal and a murderer. He doesn't go running to the antique shop when we find out he's gay. He stays true to form and gets ready for a blood bath, gay stereotypes be damned. This story is not being played for laughs. It is deadly serious.

The story concludes in Scalped #37, on sale on April 28.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Breaking Upwards



Somebody (not me) has recently said polyamory is the new black. Yeah, it sort of is. There's a new movie coming out about a poly relationship. Normally, I would be very wary but its trailer is so charming that I'm totally disarmed. I will go see this movie, no problem. Maybe it's beautiful use of New York as a backdrop. Maybe it's the parents, who seem hilarious. Maybe it's the naturalistic sounding dialogue, which reminds me a lot of the absolutely fabulous Humpday. I don't know. But I definitely have a good feeling about this movie. Yes, it's going to be melodramatic -- every attempt to address poly is melodramatic because, let's all admit it, poly is melodramatic. But I feel like it has promise anyway.

According to the website it opens on Friday in New York. You can see it in Los Angeles and San Francisco shortly thereafter.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pope vs. Dalai Lama



from John Safran vs. God
via Feminisnt

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Evangelicals Threaten Traditional Families More Than Gay Marriage

I want to recommend everyone read an article from Friday's Christian Science Monitor called "High Divorce Rates and Teen Pregnancy Are Worse in Conservaive States Than Liberal States".

The headline of this article shouldn't surprise anyone. Everyone knows abstenience-only education doesn't work so it's no surprise that teen pregnancy rates are higher in areas that have a large number of evangelical Christians who think try to scare kids away from sex by downplaying contraception. The high failure rate of marriages in these communities also shouldn't shock anybody -- evangelicals believe a lot of myths about marriage, enter into them with unrealistic expectations and end up more disappointed. No surprise there.

No, the reason you should read this article is that it follows up this news with some very well-reasoned analysis. In fact, it if the first time that I've seen a mainstream media source explicitly state something that I have always believed -- conservatives, not liberals, are responsible for the decline of the American family.

The reasoning goes like this: Evangelical Christians in Nevada, Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama and Oklahoma look around them and lots of divorce and teen pregnancy. They think, "Why is marriage in so much trouble in my state?" They look at all of the alternatives to marriage gaining popularity in places like New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and Maryland. They think, "These cultural changes are creating misery all around me, but they aren't fully established yet where I live. I should oppose them with religion, abstenience-only education, and by oppressing gay people."

They don't realize that Nevada, Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama and Oklahoma have the highest five divorce rates in the country, while New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and Maryland have the lowest five divorce rates in the country. When it comes to teenage pregnancy, those liberal states are 44th, 50th, 46th, 48th and 40th nationally. Meanwhile Nevada, Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama and Oklahoma are 19th, 10th, 2nd, 5th and 6th nationally. Since the evangelicals haven't bothered to look up the stats, they don't know that traditional families in New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and Maryland aren't experiencing any of the negative effects supposedly caused by the decadence surrounding them -- gays and swingers and kinksters and polyamorists and abortionists and so on. And the ignorance of the statistics cuts both ways: To the people in the blue states, the red state crowd seem to have lost their minds since they're freaking out about things that don't seem like big problems.

The evangelicals never consider that the high divorce and teen pregnancy rates they observe all around them are caused by something going on in their own state rather than by the decadence they perceived in other parts of the country. So they step up their attempts to fight the decline of the family, in the process forcing people who don't want traditional marriage at all and people who aren't ready for traditional marriage yet into traditional marriages, while feeding disinformation about sex to their children. And their problems get worse. So they try harder. And their problems get even worse. So they try harder still.

I was so happy when I read the Christian Science Monitor piece. For a long time, it has been completely maddening to me that no one in the mainstream media has ever explicitly talked about this theory. It's too bad that the Monitor buried the true subject of their article under a headline that just cites the statistics. I would have prefered something more explicit like, say, "Evangelicals Threaten Traditional Families More Than Gay Marriage" -- but I'll take what I can get. I just hope it won't be too long before news agencies all over the country pick up this story and run with it, because I'm a kinky, polyamorous, sex-positive, gay-friendly guy and I want to protect the traditional family from all of its enemies!

Lazer Tits



I used to spend my Saturday morning lying on the couch watching cartoons. Now that I've grown up I spend it lying in bed surfing around the Internet. It's the same basic concept.

My favorite site of the morning (so far): a blog called Lazer Tits. The name pretty much describes it. It's a bunch of retro girlie pictures the subjects of which have apparently discovered, after all these years, the ability to shoot lasers out of their tits. And these bloggers have decided to showcase these talented ladies in all their disco glory (and, as you will see, it is a lot of disco glory!).

You know, every once in a while I tell someone the title of this blog and they don't get what geeky has to do with sex and I have to try to explain it. From now on, I'm just going to send them to Lazer Tits.

Via Slog

Friday, February 26, 2010

Going for the Gold

I know there is a rumor that the reason that I haven't been blogging for the past few weeks is that I'm an Olympic athlete and I've been in Vancouver competing. Sadly this is not true.

I say sadly because Carnal Nation is reporting that the athletes in the Olympic Village have used up all the condoms that have been provided for them, a total of 100,000! Apparently 8,500 emergency condoms are being rushed in. According to the article:

Canadian skier Emily Brydon believes the condoms are being used for safer sex. "What happens at Olympic Village stays at Olympic village,” she says. “There's a lot of stress pent up over the week, so it's safe to say that some good times happen."

Snowboarder Crispin Liscomb agrees. "Everyone focuses so much on their event for their days, that in afternoon it's on. After four years, and really months and months for some of the sports with nothing but water and granola, these guys are ready to part and enjoy and vent."

Some might say it is a little be sensationalist to imply that the entire Olympic Village has turned into a huge orgy full of very beautiful, very athletic people... but that's what I prefer to believe so I'm going to imply away. Yes, the hottest, most exclusive orgy you'll never be invited to is going on right now in Vancouver, and the countries of the world are being united as never before.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Those Crazy Trannies Aren't Crazy Anymore in France

The French government has just announced that it no longer considers transsexualism to be a mental illness. It is the first country in the world to do so.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

V-Day Approaching: Save the Vaginas

This article horrified the hell out of me this morning. It is called "The Six Weirdest Things Women Do to Their Vaginas."

And as weird as these six things are, the weirdest thing that I've ever heard of doing to a vagina -- bedazzling it, also known as (and it's hard to even write it) vagazzling -- is not on the list.

Come on, people. Leave vaginas alone. I promise you it ain't broke. Please, for the love of God, don't try to fix it!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Make Haiti Your Valentine?

Today's Savage Love Letter of the day:
I enjoyed the opening to "Savage Lovecast" 172 in which you described being asked for advice from mainstream publications on "spicing up" couples sex lives. I thought your response was great. My wife and I, big fans of yours and the show, saw the devastation from the earthquake in Haiti and felt the need to do as much as we possibly could. We decided that we'd take the money we'd normally spend on Valentine's Day—flowers, dinner out, and the other stuff you came out so strongly against—and donate that money to the relief effort in Haiti. We're encouraging others to do the same. It's cheesy and lame but love doesn't cost a thing, and neither does staying home on Valentine's Day and fucking.

The Stacks - Howl on Trial

Howl on Trial
edited by Bill Morgan & Nancy J. Peters
City Light Books, 2006

Allen Ginsberg's poem Howl was first published by the small press run by San Francisco's famous City Lights Bookshop in 1956. The books, printed in the UK, were seized by Customs as they entered the US on the grounds that they were obscene material. The seizure created enough press to justify a second edition, which City Lights owner Lawrence Ferlinghetti had printed locally so that Customs would have no authority. In 1957, undercover officers purchased a copy of the book at the bookstore and then brought charges against Ferlinghetti and the clerk that sold the book. The book was labeled obscene and banned. The court case that followed was one of about a dozen cases that changed America's strict obscenity laws so that books that employed gutter language and sexual imagery (frequently homosexual imagery) in pursuit of lofty literary goals could be sold in the Land of the Free.

Reading Howl, it isn't difficult to spot the passages that the censors may have objected to.
who lost their loveboys to the three old shrews of fate the one eyed shrew of the heterosexual dollar the one eyed shrew that winks out of the womb and the one eyed shrew that does nothing but sits on her ass and snip the intellectual golden threads of the craftman's loom,

who copulated ecstatic and insatiate with a bottle of beer a sweetheart a package of cigarettes a candel and fell off the bed, and continued along the floor and down the hall and ended faiting on the wall with a vision of ultimate cunt and come eluding the last gyzym of consciousness,

who sweetened the snatches of a million girls trembling in the sunset, and were red eyed in the morning but prepared to sweeten the snatch of the sunrise, flashing buttocks under barns and naked in the lake,

who went out whoring through Colorado in myriad stolen night-cars, N. C., secret hero of these poems, cocksman and Adonis of Denver -- joy to the memory of his innumerable lays of girls in empty lots & diner backyards, moviehouses' rickety rows, on mountaintops in caves or with gaunt waitresses in familiar roadside lonely pettycoat upliftings & especially secret gas-station solipsisms of johns, & hometown alleys too, (...)

In the end, the publishers convinced the court to rule that Howl was a serious work of literature, to add support to the legal precedent set during the Ulysses obscenity trial that held that an artistic work must be judged as a whole and not on the basis of a few passages taken out of context, and slam the door on the argument that a serious work of literature could be banned entirely because it was unsuitable for children.

Howl on Trial is a fantastic record of these historical events. It contains some historical perspective -- an introduction by Ferlinghetti, a timeline of important dates in the history of censorship, etc. -- but the genius of the book is that it tell most of its story through primary source material. It contains the text of Howl, news articles, editorials and criticisms by famous critics, letters to the editor by ordinary San Francisco citizens both in support of and in opposition to the poem, and the full transcript of the trial.

This is going to be a short review since there isn't much to review. You can't exactly criticize a court transcript based on its literary merit! If you are interested in history, if obscenity trials interest you as much as they interest me, you will find this account as fascinating as I did.

I have only one complaint that I wish the book had addressed. It is all well and good that Howl was ruled to be literature and not smut -- and therefore not subject to censorship. But what about the smut? Neither the historical figures, nor the historians who contribute their opinions stand up for the rights of authors and publishers to publish obscene material that doesn't have literary value. That omission makes me think we might not have come as far since 1957 as we think we have.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Webster's Dictionary Banned in California for Sexual Content



The Guardian reports some southern California school districts have banned Webster's Dictionary because of it's "graphic" definition of oral sex as "oral stimulation of the genitals." Banning books in a hysteria over sexual content has truly, truly reached a new low.

This strikes me as the perfect thing to post on a blog called Geeky Sex -- it's an attack upon sex and upon geeks. I mean, who else would look up oral sex in the dictionary, right?

I could point out how ridiculous this is on a number of levels: for instance, it is so non-graphic a person who had no idea what oral sex is probably couldn't picture the act from this definition and would at the very least need to look up "oral" and "genitals" as well.

But what would be the point of explaining how ridiculous it is. I would rather talk about the fact that sex-phobics have become so frightened of sex that they have started attacking words, rather than ideas, and attacking them in the most basic, elemental way. In the past they've been content to ban ideas that are adjacent to sex -- for instance, the 779 pages of Ulysses that don't contain explicit sexual imagery. But that no longer is enough. Now they will not be content until they have banned the entire English language, for it isn't until children are condemned to a state of total illiteracy and ignorance, able to communicate with each other in only through grunts and gestures, that they will be safe from knowledge of sex.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Five-Foot Shelf - Update #1

A few weeks ago, I wrote that someone needed to make a list that collects the absolutely indespensible sex-positive sex books so bookstores that don't have a clue about good sex writing would have a standard to aspire to. I likened this to the Harvard Five-Foot Shelf, a collection of supposedly indespensible literature in 51 volumes selected by the president of Harvard University about 90 years ago.

I was foolhardy enough to undertake this project. However, I wasn't quite foolhardy enough to believe I could select the 51 essential sex books all on my own, so I sollicited recommendations from my readers. I've received a few comments and e-mails full of suggestions

Here's what we have so far.

Annabelle River, of Annabelle's Manifesto recommends:
- Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller
- Mommy's Little Girl, by Susie Bright
- Public Sex by Pat Califia
- Fear of Flying, by Erica Jong
- The Devil at Large, by Erica Jong
- Different Loving, by Gloria Brame & William Brame
- Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities, by John D'Emilio
- The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance, by Elna Baker

Teresa of The Teresa Jusino Experience, recommends:
- Virgin: The Untouched History, by Hanne Blank

Via e-mail, D. M. recommends:
- Whipping Girl, by Julia Serrano
- My Husband Betty, by Helen Boyd
- Gender Outlaw, by Kate Bornstein

Cleofaye recommends:
- Sex for One, by Betty Dodson

I wish to also nominate the following books that no one else mentioned:
- Justine, by DAF de Sade
- Philosophy in the Bedroom, by DAF de Sade
- Opening Up, by Tristan Taormino
- The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women, by Tristan Taormino
- Henry and June, by Anaïs Nin
- X: The Erotic Treasury, edited by Susie Bright
- Sex for Dummies, by Dr. Ruth Westheimer & Pierre Lehu
- Under the Roofs of Paris, by Henry Miller
- Some of the themed erotica collections from Cleis Press edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel -- but I've only dipped into a few of them and don't know which specific ones to nominate!

Finally, I wish to use my editorial power to promote the following books directly to the list:
1. Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, by Alfred Kinsey
2. Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, by Alfred Kinsey
3. The Guide to Getting It On, by Paul Joannides
4. SM 101, by Jay Wiseman
5. The Ethical Slut, by Dossie Easton & Janet W. Hardy
6. Anal Health and Pleasure, by Jack Morin
7. The Good Vibrations Guide to Sex, by Cathy Winks & Anne Semans
***

We're off to a good start but we're never going to finish it without your suggestions. Please send them -- and encourage your friends to send theirs!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Young James Dean

You must watch this music video of "Young James Dean" by Girlyman. It is directed by Margaret Cho. The song is about queering gender identity and the video features a lot of really hot butches, femmes, trans guys, drag queens and other awesome queer people.



Via Margaret Cho's Blog

The Paradox of 1960s Erotica



This weekend I was in Chicago to visit Annabelle and to do some research on a new project. For the project (which I'll talk about later), I spent part of the day on Saturday and Sunday at the Leather Archives & Museum in East Rogers Park looking at vintage erotica and learning about the history of the Chicago gay leather scene. I've already written almost a year ago about LA&M's exhibits on the history of the gay leather community in Chicago and their wonderful collection of books about BDSM -- I'm still looking for a private collection to equal it in New York.

Most of the erotica that I looked at at LA&M this weekend was the pulp variety from the 1960s. It always strikes me how very different old erotica is from today's variety. Today, erotica stories tend to be fairly realistic depictions of sexual encounters you could actually have. Not so in the pulp stories of the past. Those stories are full of fantastic and bizarre situations. They take place in exotic locales -- Europe, New Orleans and (the most debauched of all) New York. They're filled with immoral Oriental girls and insatiable mulattos who coerce their victims with razor blades. And despite the fact that these books were being labeled obscene and their writers, publishers and distributors persecuted for being moral degenerates, the stories are -- fascinatingly -- full of negative messages about sex. Promiscuous female characters are shamed as sluts and harlots. As surely as the sun rises, a woman who gets a taste of sex will fall into a spiral of depravity and degradation, homosexuals usually end up dead, and sadists are possessed of an uncontrollable bloodlust that inevitably leads to murder.

This echo of moral judgement is one of the most fascinating things about erotica of this period -- the very condemnation and sex-negativism that interfered with the sale of this kind of material is the source of most of most of its stories. It nearly qualifies as Stockholm Syndrome. The books ridicule and perpetuate harmful stereotypes about the very kind of people who presumably consumed them. Why do the authors and publishers decry and lament the conditions that allow them to make a living? Why do the readers of these appreciate such a thorough denunciation of perverts like them (or, at least, the type of pervert they would be if they could find the courage)? It is paradoxical, so say the least!

Another striking thing about these books is how many of them insist that the subject matter is true. Often this comes as a disclaimer on the cover or before the title page that goes something like this: "I wish I could tell you what you're about to read was fiction but, sadly, every horrible word of it is true." It then goes on to explain that the names, locations and other particulars of this true account have been changed to protect the identity of the characters from anyone who might try to fact-check the "true story."

Another variation on this theme is the so-called "documentary" book. These expose the "sordid" details of the underground sexual communities of the day -- homosexuals, sadomasochists, sex workers -- in a format that poses as either journalism or psychology. One suspects from the very unrealistic dialogue in the "interviews" that the material in most of these books is made up wholesale, but some of the most famous ones are probably actual reportage. These books are so fascinating because they both condemn sexual "perversion" while at the same time feeding it. I mean, for what reason would anyone buy such a book except for the thrill of reading about all the hot things it condemns? One wonders how many people found their sexual subcultures after reading condemnations of them in books like Louis Berg's The Velvet Underground.

***

While at the Leather Archives, I also had the chance to see a fascinating documentary by filmmaker Ron Pajak called Quearborn and Perversion. The film details the history of the gay community in Chicago, beginning in the 1934 and ending in 1974. The film was a fascinating account of what it meant to be gay and lesbian in one of America's toughest cities at that time. It takes it's name from the Chicago police department's nickname for the corner of Dearborn and Division Streets, a prominent gay cruising area at that time.

I wish I could discuss the film at length but I was recovering from the flu that night and rather loopy, so some of the details are eluding me today. However, I did very much enjoy the Q&A after the film with director Ron Pajak and Chuck Renslow, who opened the famous leather bar Gold Coast in June 1958 and spoke very eloquently about the period, including some interesting anecdotes about bribing the police to avoid raids.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Geeky Sex: Now on Twitter

Somehow I forgot to mention... I'm a Twit.

I joined Twitter a week or two ago. If you have an account, please follow me. We'll see if I can say anything interesting in 140 characters and I'll make sure you never miss a Geeky Sex post.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Sex Worker Literati - 1/7/10

Yesterday night I went to Happy Ending Lounge on the Lower East Side to see Sex Worker Literati, a monthly reading by people who are or once were sex workers of various different types. Sex work activism (and I think this event qualifies as activism since increasing sex worker visibility is a major goal) is a cause I support but in which I don't feel very engaged -- I've never been a sex worker, nor have I ever known one well (to the best of my knowledge). Having never been to this event before I was a little worried that I wouldn't relate to the stories. Turns out anyone can relate to good writing!

Sex work activist Audacia Ray hosted the event along with David Henry Sterry, the author of Hos, Hustlers, Call Girls and Rent Boys, a book about sex work that has been getting quite a bit of press lately. A number of writers read on the theme of "My First Time." Ray started it out with a story about anally fisting a New York Fire Fighter when she worked at a massage parlor and the evening took off from there. Zoe Hansen told about the first time she used heroin (and made us all want some). Chelsea Summers told about her first night working as a stripper. Jennifer Blowdryer told us about her first porn movie with hilarious, deadpan delivery. David Henry Sterry told the most heartwarming bestiality story anyone's ever heard. Scarlett Fever told us a hot story about working in a Times Square strip club. Damien Decker closed out the evening by telling how a black man raised in upper middle class Sweden fakes enough racial hatred to become a professional interracial cuckolder.

This highpoint of the evening for me was somewhat unrelated to the main event (so often the case). I met Chelsea Summers through a friend of mine, and talk to her about why men aren't often sex writers and whether Fleshlights are creepier than giant veiny dildos. I've been a fan of Summers's writing for Filthy Gorgeous Things and her blog pretty dumb things ever since I heard her interviewed by Susie Bright more than a year ago.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

So True

The Onion reports: Nation's Nipples Severely Under-Clamped, U.S. Bureau Of Masochism Reports.

This article is both funny and heartening to see.

Many have praised the study as an urgently needed wake-up call, saying they hope it will encourage more direct government involvement in the public's eroticized pain needs.

"With any luck, this study is just the beginning," Topeka, KS submissive Glenn Lange said. "Unless we want to live in a nation where you'll only find nipple vices or welting rods in a museum, the government needs to step up."

However, citizens like Nathan Cardozzi of Boston disagreed, claiming that increased government regulation would only stymie what has always been a private act of exquisite torture between two or more consenting adults.

"Mmmph mmmph mrrrr mmmmph," Cardozzi said through the ball gag he was forced to wear to plug his filthy voice hole. "Mmmmrh mrrrhhhhh mmmph mummm."

"Mmmrphmphmmhmmmrh," he added, slowly shaking his head.

via My Licit Affairs

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Sex, or the Lack Thereof, in Contemporary Literature

Just in time for my Five-Foot Shelf project comes a a fascinating article about sex in modern literature in yesterday's New York Times Magazine!

The article, written by Katie Roiphe and entitled "The Naked and the Conflicted," essentially accuses the most recent generation of male novelists of being prudes, and it backs up its claims. Citing the work of Michael Chabon, David Foster Wallace, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers, Benjamin Kunkel and Jonathan Safran Foer, and comparing them to male novelists of the previous generation such as John Updike, Norman Mailer and Saul Bellow, the author makes a case that male novelists have become a lot more hesitant to explore sexuality than their prececessors.

Rather than an interest in conquest or consummation, there is an obsessive fascination with trepidation, and with a convoluted, postfeminist second-guessing. Compare Kunkel’s tentative and guilt-ridden masturbation scene in “Indecision” with Roth’s famous onanistic exuberance with apple cores, liver and candy wrappers in “Portnoy’s Complaint.” Kunkel: “Feeling extremely uncouth, I put my penis away. I might have thrown it away if I could.” Roth also writes about guilt, of course, but a guilt overridden and swept away, joyously subsumed in the sheer energy of taboo smashing: “How insane whipping out my joint like that! Imagine what would have been had I been caught red-handed! Imagine if I had gone ahead.” In other words, one rarely gets the sense in Roth that he would throw away his penis if he could.

The literary possibilities of their own ambivalence are what beguile this new generation, rather than anything that takes place in the bedroom. In Michael Chabon’s “Mysteries of Pittsburgh,” a woman in a green leather miniskirt and no underwear reads aloud from “The Story of O,” and the protagonist says primly, “I refuse to flog you.” Then take the following descriptions from Jonathan Franzen’s novel “The Corrections”: “As a seducer, he was hampered by ambivalence.” “He had, of course, been a lousy, anxious lover.” “He could hardly believe she hadn’t minded his attacks on her, all his pushing and pawing and poking. That she didn’t feel like a piece of meat that he’d been using.” (And of course there are writers like Jonathan Safran Foer who avoid the corruptions of adult sexuality by choosing children and virgins as their protagonists.) (…)

The younger writers are so self-¬conscious, so steeped in a certain kind of liberal education, that their characters can’t condone even their own sexual impulses; they are, in short, too cool for sex. Even the mildest display of male aggression is a sign of being overly hopeful, overly earnest or politically un¬toward. For a character to feel himself, even fleetingly, a conquering hero is somehow passé. More precisely, for a character to attach too much importance to sex, or aspiration to it, to believe that it might be a force that could change things, and possibly for the better, would be hopelessly retrograde. Passivity, a paralyzed sweetness, a deep ambivalence about sexual appetite, are somehow taken as signs of a complex and admirable inner life. These are writers in love with irony, with the literary possibility of self-consciousness so extreme it almost precludes the minimal abandon necessary for the sexual act itself, and in direct rebellion against the Roth, Updike and Bellow their college girlfriends denounced. (Recounting one such denunciation, David Foster Wallace says a friend called Updike “just a penis with a thesaurus”).

This generation of writers is suspicious of what Michael Chabon, in “Wonder Boys,” calls “the artificial hopefulness of sex.” They are good guys, sensitive guys, and if their writing is denuded of a certain carnality, if it lacks a sense of possibility, of expansiveness, of the bewildering, transporting effects of physical love, it is because of a certain cultural shutting down, a deep, almost puritanical disapproval of their literary forebears and the shenanigans they lived through.

I live at the crossroads of being a sex geek and a literary geek (as well as several other kinds of geek, to be perfectly honest) and I have been feeling exactly what this article is describing this way for a long time, without being able to express it so well. I’m a fiction writer and lately I’ve been wrestling with the question of how to incorporate my interest in sexuality into my work. I’ve been having a hard time. While I’m certainly familiar with all the great writers who have talked about sex in very interesting ways I can’t get over the feeling that sex is not literary. Or at least not appropriate in contemporary literature.

Roiphe does an eloquent job documenting this, but doesn’t go looking for the causes (except for suggesting at one point that novelists of the past generation might have been emboldened by court decisions to explore topics formerly banned under obscenity laws). It’s nothing but speculation but I wonder if it’s a side effect of the proliferation of writing workshops, and the homogenizing effect they have had on the most recent literary generation. The creative writing workshop has moved novel-writing into the academic sphere. When Plato separated intellectual rigor from physical pleasure, he bequeathed a stuffy attitude about sex to modern academia.

I also wonder if the publishing industry has something to do with the decline of sex in contemporary literature. It’s difficult to prove that publishers rule out publishing authors write about sex—but the fact that most books that take a serious look at sex are published by small presses is People’s Exhibit Number One. With the exception of a few smaller presses like Cleis or Greenery that publish erotica that is also well written, major publishers are not especially eager to take literary writing that includes sex.

A personal experience also makes me suspicious of publishers. A few years ago, I had very little trouble getting a story I wrote about a political topic published in a major literary review. My follow-up story was about polyamorous teenagers and I shopped it around to a dozen major reviews without any luck. Maybe they just didn't think the story was as good as I thought it was -- there's no way to know -- but I couldn't help feeling the topic played a role. It seems likely that the sexual revolution of the ’60s and ’70s, coupled with fall of obscenity laws, created a brief period when writers who talked about sex were welcomed by publishers. The backlash of second-wave feminism and political correctness may have set up the opposite effect. Today’s writers may want to write about sex but concentrate on other topics because they just can’t get those books published.

In any case, I greatly recommend you read the entire article and not just the excerpt posted above, and kudos to the Times Magazine for choosing to publish such a thought-provoking piece.