Tag Archives: rant

Girl Guilt

I stood in front of the bathroom mirror running my hands over the marks he’d left on me. Little nibbles and scratches, like sexual graffiti on my skin. Flashes of his flesh surged through my mind and I smiled as I fantasized about what we could do the next time.

And then it hit me.

Girl Guilt.

A knot of post-sex shame tangled inside of me. I’d violated the most primary tenet of female sexuality: Continue reading

The Porn That Could Be

Dear Porn Producers of the World:

Many of you are terrible at what you do. You seem to care more about finishing a shoot in one day, getting the pop shot and marketing whatever cheap,crappy rendition of sexually exciting material you’ve made than creating something of real quality.You aren’t even offending me. You are boring the hell out of me.

This demeans how amazing sex can be. Continue reading

No Pleasure in the Ghetto

Social injustice is a hard wall to break (pic via yoostin.com)

This morning I woke up to a local housing project’s message about canceling a workshop on safer sex. The reason? No funding for outside presenters.

Welcome to the most frustrating injustice in sex education: information access and restricted conversations. Continue reading

Why the Alexa Di Carlo Thing Matters

A wise friend once said, in reference to dating, “It sucks to put your trust in an untrustworthy person.”

Truer words could not apply to the Alexa Di Carlo scandal. I think this paragraph from Expose A Bro, the blog that is outing Alexa as Thomas “Pat” Bohannan, sums up the accumulated violations pretty well:

Bohannan wasn’t just harmlessly getting his kicks maintaining an anonymous blog where he could live out fantasies of being a desirable woman. He knowingly spread lies about sex work, advocated unsafe sexual practices, had sexually-inappropriate online interactions with underage youth, all the while passing himself off as an academic and trusted adult who is trained in human sexuality. (Refuted here.) He used bold-faced lies about his qualifications to try and discredit real sexuality activists, and laughed at their setbacks. He stole images from real models and passed them off as him– implicating these innocent bystanders as suspects in his activities. He bullied one activist by harassing her via email, and gleefully celebrated the demise of a valued sex workers rights publication, $pread Magazine. He threatened to expose another sex blogger. He purposefully mislead and misinformed his large online audience about important sexuality issues. He tricked escorts into talking to him and having sex with him by using “Alexa” to vouch for him as being a safe and respectful client. (More escorts are talking privately about feeling violated by having had sex with this con artist.) He ran a “sex education” message board where minors trusted him enough to share nude photographs of themselves.

Providing sex education for young people is difficult enough as it stands: dealing with fundamentalist groups determined to eradicate any talk of sex in schools, worrying losing your job for uncensored sex discussions, struggling for legitimacy in academia, making your voice heard above the din of bad advice from recognized experts and even defending oneself from personal character attacks.

So when someone makes a fake identity and starts doling out sex information using false credentials, this job gets much, much harder.

And when young people come forward about this person soliciting nudie pics from minors? Sheer litigious rage bubbles forth.

(I’m not even going to get into a discussion about the deplorable way Bohannan allegedly used the false sex worker identity to gain the trust of actual sex workers so he could employ their services. Wrong. Really, really wrong.)

There are some people that insist this person was never using fake credentials, simply mentioning living in San Francisco and going to some graduate program here.

No. I’ll just put that notion to rest with some screengrabs after the jump. Continue reading

Porn is More Boring than Offensive

"Food Porn"by Heather Dinas
My Kind of Money Shot (photo by Heather Dinas)

I have a confession: most porn bores the hell out of me.

When I was a teenager, porn was exciting and titillating because it was forbidden. The shaky camera and dubious acting did nothing to damper my adolescent enthusiasm for flesh-on-flesh visuals. Now I get more of a rise out of a Jeffry McDaniel poem or an Oglaf comic strip (NSFW) than a Vivid production.

What happened? Nothing, which is exactly why it bores me.

Most porn I see is the same linear progression appendage-in-orifice mêlée as in my high school years. The only apparent novelty is how many people can shove how many dicks/toys/vegetables into how many holes. Some people get creative with cinematography and context, but that’s still the same anal sex scene behind the glitz.

I realize I may be desensitized. Years ago, I organized a group called “Girls Watch Porn” where ladies got together to watch and review smut. We found some great films by Shine Louise Houston and Eon McKai along with the 1970s classics. But mostly, we found tired and uninspired videos of sex along with some disturbing and unhygienic scenes. (The raw chicken porn is forever burned into my retinas.)

But overexposure isn’t the best explanation. Porn itself is partially to blame.

Tony Comstock wrote a great little piece about the limitations of porn (found via Figleaf’s Real Adult Sex). He writes that even internet porn:

“doesn’t encompass the range of human experiences and desires anymore than a handicam and a handful of people having sex encompasses the range of human sexual experiences and desires.”

Porn (to me) should be about fantasy and possibility. How much fantasy and possibility can you express through low-budget formulaic porno flicks that spend less time in post-production than in filming? Not a whole lot.

Some people find porn horribly offensive. As with any offensive media in the world, the best bet is simple avoidance.

But I’m not offended. I’m unsatisfied.

I know I’m not alone in this either. This Best of Craiglist from Boston summarizes my feelings perfectly:

You suck, dude.

And I’m not trying to make some sort of cute pun here – you really do suck. You’re awful, horrible, poorly made, and I can think of a whole list of huge problems that you have. (more…)

I wish pro-good porn crusaders had half the psychotic dedication and passion of anti-porn crusaders. What a world that would be.

Kindness and Hot Sex are Not Mutually Exclusive

Yesterday, WordPress caught me with my pants down. I posted some partially formed thoughts on nice guys vs. bad boys in the bedroom. Namely, the pervasive idea that nice guys are duds in the bedroom. Or that any nice person will not be good in bed because sex is naughty and only bad people can be good at naughty things.

Today I’m going further down the rabbit hole. Continue reading

Academia and Its Sexual Malcontents

(image via guyism.com)

In my first year of graduate school, I spoke to an undergraduate class about life pursuing a Master’s in Sexuality Studies alongside an alumni from my program.

While we waited for the professor to introduce us, she leaned over to me and whispered, “Are they still teaching sexuality but not sex in that department?”

My eyes went wide and I only managed to utter a small “Yes” before the professor called the class to attention. Sitting next to that polished, astute woman, all I could think was, “Holy Shit. Sex is taboo in sexuality studies.”

I often feel straddled between two worlds.

On one planet, populated by the smart kids from high school, everyone talks about structural violence, theory, race, sexual identities, gender and queer politics.  The denizens of this planet worship ideas.

On the other planet, populated  by the weird kids from high school, everyone talks about cock rings, lube, blow jobs, anal sex, genital sores and Pedobear. The denizens of this planet worship acts.

I want these two worlds to collide but only if they fit together post-collision. Why can’t we talk about cock-ring use as a part of sexual identity? Lube access as a structural impediment to sexual happiness? Anal sex as it relates to gender?

Academia shies away from sex. We only talk about sexuality, not because academics in this field are prudes, but because we want funding for research. People with lots of money are prudes. They will sponsor HIV/AIDS prevention research but not studies on women’s attitudes towards blow jobs or condom use in the porn industry.

In a rather testy final essay for a professor, I wrote the following on academia and sex:

One major thing I have learned, in general, is that many academics like to skirt around the topic of sex as if the act were something crass, best left to the plebes. I am now absolutely certain that change cannot come from an institution so bent on removing its hive mind from that of the general population. Wherever I have seen organizations doing great change to make people feel comfortable with their own and others’ sexualities, academia is suspiciously absent.

On the flipside, community organizations struggle for funding because they seem unprofessional. Part of this is due to the heavy sex talk but the other part is because they don’t do the polished professional dance practiced by academics. I wonder if this is unconscious distancing.

So I sit in both worlds, always feeling a bit on the outside. Too sex-minded for academia, too theory-minded for grassroots sex ed.

Ideas and action must come together to be effective. Sexual theory and sexual bodies must be understood as inherently linked. I am one of the only people in my cohort with a good grasp on physiological and biological aspects of sexuality.

Go ask someone from my department how an erection works. I would expect an incredulous blank stare for that kind of question. Go ask someone in the streets about queer theory and you will get the same weird stare. Bodies matter when talking about sex. For most people sex = physical.

You can’t spit sexual theory to the general population without relating thoughts to their visceral experiences. And mental masturbation does not count as a sex act.

Vulvanoia

New and Improved Rorschach Test

I love eavesdropping. I am a nosy observer of human nature and adore catching the conversations people think no-one hears.

I overheard a tampon crisis in a university bathroom last week. At first listen I thought the poor girl had dropped her last tampon on the grimy bathroom floor so I started to search through my bag. (While still eavesdropping. I’m awful.)

“The whole thing?,” asked her friend outside the door.

“No!,” said the hidden stall girl. “The applicator! I don’t have the applicator to put it in! It’s on the ground. Iiiiick.”

I quietly dropped the OB tampon back in my bag.

Her friend became exasperated. “If you still have the tampon, just use your fingers.”

“EEEEWWW! Omhigod, no! I don’t want to put my fingers in there! Ugh, whatever, I’ll just fold up some toilet paper.”

The conversation baffled me. I hoped she didn’t want to stick her fingers in her vagina because they were dirty. I know that’s not why. She would have washed her hands and then dealt with it instead of shrieking in panic.

The applicator-less girl feared her own vulva and vadge. *facepalm* Ladies, aren’t we over this? No? No, no I guess not.

From the youngest of ages the land between our legs (Bonny Banks of Lochlabia?) is stigmatized. Dirty, dirty thing that, later in life, will ooze potentially embarrassing blood and possibly get you pregnant. The first time you have sex will probably hurt and whatever you have down there smells. Like itself. Gross. The only pictures you ever see are symmetrical, sterilized versions of  the hair-covered, asymmetrical fleshy folds between your thighs.

The one redeeming quality is the clitoris, but only sexy lady magazines tell you that in passing reference to a new sex position to use. With your male partner sticking his ween inside your gross dirty place, possibly the only thing it’s good for aside from baby delivery.

No wonder that girl didn’t want to touch her own body part. Seems icky.

But it’s not. Our collective hyperfocus on the vulva and vagina as a hygiene issue and birth canal, respectively, leaves out the potential for pleasure.

Imagine a world where we tell girls about clitoral erections. Imagine a world where we discuss the pleasure that can throb between your legs,  the heady rush of orgasm chemicals and how anyone can do this themselves with one (or two) hands.

This is not a world that we need to fill with Vulva Merchandise: charm bracelets, plush pillows, necklaces, paintings. I see no need to make merchandise out of any human body part. That’s just weird. And, no, the first step is not checking it out in a mirror. The first step should be touching your vulva. Touch it, really. I’m sure it’s all kinds of warm and slick and soft.

But we do need to stop freaking out about periods. Understand the pleasure potential of our entire bodies, including the vulva and vaginal walls.

Maybe we can start by pointing out that vulva (outside) and vagina (inside) are two different things.

San Francisco State University Protester Failures

This is how you create change?

This post is not about sex. This post is about San Francisco State University, the place where I study and teach sex. The one university with professors that inspired me to learn, to explore the world and use my knowledge for good.

This post is about the misguided students that trashed the business building on Wednesday in a petulant act of protest.

Dear Protesters,

I get it. Continue reading