Thursday, April 25, 2013

Sexual Edumacation

Couple demonstrating "sexual gateway activity"
Breaking news from my time machine that travels back to one week ago...

Reports Jezebel:  
Yesterday, the Ohio House Finance Committee's Republican members voted to adopt a state budget amendment that mandates an abstinence-only approach to sexual education....The idiotic measure will "prohibit the teaching of sexual education coursework that endorses non-abstinence as an acceptable behavior or promotes sexual gateway activity." "Sexual Gateway Activity" — what's that?: 

ORC 2907.01(B) “Sexual contact” means any touching of an erogenous zone of another, including without limitation the thigh, genitals, buttock, pubic region, or, if the person is a female, a breast, for the purpose of sexually arousing or gratifying either person.

In addition, teachers can't distribute contraceptives at school, because nothing keeps a teen not pregnant more than not giving them condoms.

So I want to be all mad about this, but not only am I far too aroused by the erotic writing of ORC 2907.01(B) to think straight, but the part of my brain that gets mad at people for being stupid does not want to become engaged with this.  Especially the thought that spawns of these Ohioans, made sexually ignorant by their mandated sex-free sex ed, will predictably--yawn--fuck incorrectly and poorly, but not poorly enough to prevent unwanted pregnancy, thus producing even more of their kind. And so on and so on.

Nope, I'm gonna look the other way today. To good things happening in sex education, which I would define as sex ed that provides, you know, education. (This does not include my own 1970's sex ed in Georgia which was taught by the gym teacher and involved lots of talk of vas deferens. I learned nothing about real sex. The whole good part--attraction, arousal, or hell, even a basic how-to--was dismissed with a vague reference to "the sperm meeting the egg.")

So, yes, good sex ed, like:

1.  The adult sex ed classes offered in San Francisco by They feature real life people demonstrating real life sex, orgasms and whatnot for the class.  

Writes Tracy Clark-Flory in My X-Rated Sex Ed Class:

It isn’t just a live sex show, though. Before any pants were removed, [instructor Madison] Young passed around a diagram of the g-spot, reviewed the anatomy, dispelled myths about female ejaculation and goaded the audience members into talking about how they liked to be touched. Then she whipped out a speculum and brought her model Ava, or “stunt pussy,” up to the front of the room. In went the clear plastic device and then Ava began to stimulate herself with a Hitachi Magic Wand in an attempt at making her g-spot swell and become more visible.

.....My mind was blown by this sex-ed class even before the squirting began — but that was plenty mind-blowing on its own. Ava got up on the table in front of the class, spread her legs and began stimulating herself with a Hitachi and a stainless steel g-spot stimulator. Young explained what we were about to see: “It’s the release of all the juicy fluid that’s building up in the para-urethral sponge … and then it pushes forth through the urethra.” Young answered audience questions over the buzzing of the toy and Ava’s growing moans. And then there was a sudden burst of clear ejaculate that splattered inches from my feet.

After a vigorous demonstration of hand techniques on a melon, Clark-Flory leaves not only with an unsettling image of Gallagher, but the realization that there is still so much to learn about our bodies.

...Even having grown up in hippie-dippie Berkeley, Calif., having attended a feminist-minded women’s college, having read about hand-mirror-toting consciousness raising circles, having ended up reporting on sex for a living, I had never clearly seen what the vaginal walls actually look like — at least not outside of an illustrated diagram. I tell you, it was a revelation: I wanted to hightail it to the nearest Good Vibrations and buy my very own speculum — and one for each of my ladyparts-having friends. It made me angry that all those times I’ve had a gynecologist uncomfortably perched between my legs, they’ve never offered to hold up a mirror.

2. Meanwhile, the French, who continue to do, well, life, better than the rest of us, offer their postpartum women free classes in la rééducation périnéale, or reeducating the listless post-baby pelvic floor muscles so that they can actually work again. The classes include biofeedback and a coach to help teach proper Kegel techniques.

Writes Claire Lundberg in  The French Government Wants to Tone My Vagina:

Despite the occasional embarrassment, these sessions actually work. There haven’t been extensive studies done, but what studies exist show that la rééducation significantly reduces incontinence and pelvic pain at nine months after giving birth. Frankly, I’m happy there’s a medical professional paying attention to what happened down there. Rééducation périnéale gets scoffed at in American and Canadian publications as one of the most lurid examples of the indulgent French welfare state, but as far as I can tell, we do exactly nothing in the United States to help women get back into shape after giving birth.

An American woman gets her six-week postpartum checkup and, if nothing is seriously wrong, she’s cleared to have sex again and sent on her way. If she’s lucky, the doctor or midwife reminds her to do her Kegel exercises, but without much guidance. Meanwhile, at least in the experience of many of my friends, she may still be experiencing a variety of symptoms that, while not medically serious, sure are annoying, embarrassing, and strange, and not at all conducive to reinvigorating her sex life. Elective “vaginal rejuvenation” through plastic surgery is on the rise in the U.S., though this surgical reconstruction is largely aesthetic and pays little or no attention to returning sensation or control to the woman. Americans’ lack of attention to the female body after giving birth is our own version of the modesty gown or the word vajayjay; we’re covering our eyes and pretending there’s nothing there to see, until it can no longer be ignored.

So yeah, there is good stuff happening. Just not right now, or last week for that matter, in Ohio.


(photo via Lady Cheeky)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Real Sex Lives: Nola, "I had an affair. Now what?"

This is the latest "True Wife's Tale," an IBWMW series about real people (doesn't have to be a wife despite "wife" being right there in the name) telling the truth about their sex lives. As I've tiresomely overstated, the idea is that knowledge=power, the truth will set us free and any other number of slogans I learned watching Saturday morning cartoons in the 1970s. In that spirit, don't be a Judgey Judgerson and be criticizing dear Nola's choices. You haven't walked in her moccasins (see above: life philosophy gleaned from 70s children's TV), so even if you think her moccasins are slutty, amoral moccasins, keep that $%$% to yourself.  Here then, is Miss Nola, or Ms. Nola, I suppose, since she's married:

I hadn't had sex with my husband for a year.  Which in a way was fine. Not the no sex part, which was soul-killing, but the "with my husband" part. We had been together a very very long time and sex, which had never been the focus of our relationship, had dwindled down over the years until our sex life was only definable by its absence.

When we used to have sex, it was...fine. Orgasms were had, equipment worked, words of love were exchanged. But it was never hot. Or creative. Or after a time, something that either of us seemed to want. At first this was okay--I had kids to raise, a job to do, books to read. But after I turned 40, I experienced some sort of rebirth and, for the first time in my life, felt my own sexuality. I felt free and sexual and full of life.  I tried to turn it back on with my husband. I'd ask him to have sex and though he seemed perfectly happy doing it, he'd never instigate. Whenever I tried to explore things a little further, I got the feeling I was making him uncomfortable.

Eventually I resigned myself to a sex life with my own hand. 

But still... I felt so ripe and ready. I looked at my body in the mirror and it was still good.  Maybe better than it had ever been. I wanted someone to appreciate the particular curve of my hip and the way my nipples poked out through my shirt. I wanted to be kissed well and hotly desired. I felt like my body and sexuality were going to waste.

This is the point where the old lover appears via Facebook. Mine did and he was just as hot and dangerous as ever. We exchanged insanely sexy texts, emails and pictures and had phone sex in which I came so loudly I was afraid the neighbors could hear. Back in college, Old Lover very blunt and very sexual. He would say things to me like "Your pussy is so wet" which, to me, accustomed to the earnestly fumbling boys I'd been with, felt so dirty and scandalous. I was so prissy then and the way he talked about sex and so relished it was incredibly freeing. 

Talking to him 20 or so years later, I felt the same freeing feeling about sex which--depressingly--I hadn't experienced since him. My body still reacted instantly and violently to him. To this day, he is the only person who can make me go wet just from the sound of his voice. I concocted elaborate fantasies to tell him on the phone, and as I whispered the details to him, I relished the way his breath would quicken, the way he would gasp out "You have me so turned on right now" and his moans as he came. Once I sent him a picture of my boobs while he was at work and he had to go into the backroom to jerk off. I loved how sexy and beautiful he made me feel.

So yes, not only was he making me feel hot and gorgeous and letting me see my body in a whole new light, but in talking about sex and sharing these fantasies, I was--finally!--getting to share my sex life with someone who was not me. Which I was, and for the rest of my life will be, incredibly grateful.

When we finally met in person, the sex was amazing. But not in the way I'd pictured. I thought it would be all dirty and elaborate, perhaps ending with me crawling around the floor or something. Instead it was pretty basic, some very sweet kisses, a lift of my skirt and in.

As he kissed me and slid slowly inside of me, I felt something that was beyond sex. I felt the most sublime squishy glowing pleasure I've ever felt. I don't know if he was shaped differently than my husband or was just bigger (yes), but his cock was touching me in some deep deep place, both metaphorically and literally. It was fucking profound.  Which I guess is the same thing as profound fucking, which it also was.  For me, it wasn't a tensing thing that would lead to orgasm (and in fact it didn't), but something that was beyond orgasm.  It didn't need to go anywhere because it was already there--in this amazing spot of squishy grand fuckiness and oh-god his scruffy cheek and sweet lips and floating in a sublime space that was like somehow existing inside an orgasm.

I couldn't do anything but clutch onto his big hairy shoulder and cling to him and feel just...gratitude.  Gratitude for him and for this incredible feeling he gave to me. It was the best moment of my life.

"I contain multitudes"--Song of Myself, Walt Whitman.

Of course it ended badly. (Who could've seen that coming?) And I've done a lot of furtive weeping. But I don't regret any of it. I'm glad I'm jumped into the fire and got to feel that feeling. I got to live in passion and threw myself into life, fully and with an open heart.


A few days after it ended and the weeping continued, my friend recommended I have a toss with my husband. We did and it was...decent. It did stop the weeping. And I realized that one of the things I'd been crying about was the idea of going back to a sex life alone. I saw that I could have pretty good sex, in home, with none of the emotional b.s. 

I'm still not sure if that's gonna be enough for me.

I have a little bag of sexy lingerie and some sex toys I bought when I thought I'd be going to see Old Lover again. Right now it's sitting unused under my bed. I'm thinking of it as my sexual Hope Chest.

Thank you to dear Nola and the rest of you who have been so honest and brave to share. If one of the rest of y'all has a tale to tell, rip your little heart out and send your story to:


(photo: Lady Cheeky)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Bill Gates and Condoms, A Big-Ass Tub o' Lube, Monsanto, and Other Notably Unrelated Things.

Improper condom use
When I lived in Ann Arbor, I wrote for a magazine section named "Tidbits." "Tidbits" is a terrible name. Tidbits are a low-end dog food, or possibly something you have to sweep up from a rodent's cage. When talking about my work, I would use convoluted verbal arrangements--much like this sentence itself--so as never to actually have to call the little blurby things I wrote "tidbits." Because I have my dignity, you know. Fucking "tidbits." Still hate it.

However, today's blurby post proves that although I am now far, far away from Tidbits, I still have some tidbitiness about me. (Sweep those up, will you?) But hell if I'll call 'em Tidbits. Here...let me think of a Theme. Let's see, the theme today is Things That Don't Go Together. Which is lame, but at least it's not Tidbit lame.

1. Bill Gates and Condoms
Emily sent in the financially important news that Bill Gates is offering $100,000 to the person who can design a better condom. The idea is this: Although condoms have been around at least 400 years, people don't really like them. Yes, they're cheap, easy and very effective in preventing STDs and pregnancy--so calm down, no one's saying don't use them or anything. However, they do feel kind of sucky and I think we can all agree that they look a bit ridiculous. (Pssst, not talking about you. You look sexy as hell in a condom. Your condom-encased penis looks absolutely nothing at all like a burglar wearing pantyhose over their face.)

Anyway, the idea is that you develop a condom that's somehow...better. Maybe it gives more sensation, maybe it's easier to put on, maybe it just looks mighty fine. All up to you.
What walks down stairs, alone and in pairs?

This ORIGAMI male condom is an example of what the Gates people consider to be an innovative condom. Besides that fact that it looks like it might make a pleasing SPROING noise, the folding design offers the following "advantages," according to its makers:

1. Easy donning method slides the condom onto the penis in 2.8 seconds.
2. Consistent expansion/contraction of the condom provides a natural reciprocating motion of the penis inside the lubricated condom.

Still, I think they still have a way to go aesthetically, and hell, perhaps the condom you design will go on in 2.7 seconds. However, if you are timing your own condom-donning, keep it to yourself or your partner will be gone in 5.4 seconds. Deadline to enter May 7, 11:30 a.m. Pacific Time.

2. Vinegar and Douche
A question for you: Why are there vinegar douches? Vinegar smells horrible.  There is no smell anyone's got going on down there that could be improved by adding vinegar to the mix. I get that vinegar's a weak acid (or I do now after Googling it) and it might have something to do with balancing flora or something, but is there no other weak acid to do the trick? Maybe a can of Sprite, or, hell, if you're shoving stuff up there anyway, how 'bout something inherently decent smelling like a basil leaf or an Altoid? (Btw, pretty much everyone besides the makers of Summer's Eve products agrees that douching is bad, unhealthy and not advisable. Especially using stinky-ass vinegar.)

3. Lube and Bulk Buying

The crush-worthy Firehorse_on_SL alerts us to the availability of this 55 Gallon Drum of Lube"Maybe a purchase for a very open-minded shopping club?" she suggests. It comes with a pump, weight 522 pounds and costs $1,235.94, which seems a bit steep, but the shipping is free so maybe it all works out. There are only "new" tubs available, which is probably for the best.

There are some semi-funny reviews over there--not anywhere near as good as the ones for the BIC Cristal For Her Pen (if you haven't seen them, go there at once) --and I am ashamed to admit that I laughed at one recommending the lube tub as being perfect for a session of schtupping the old, and presumably vaginally arid, Helen Thomas.

In case you're wondering, I just looked up the veteran newswoman to see if she was dead and she's not (Good news, Helen!), so I don't feel quite as bad. However, I don't want to malign her. Maybe ol' Helen is a tight and slick as...well, a Helen Thomas. "Oh God, watching you slide that Origami male condom on in 2.8 seconds is making me so...fucking...wet. Helen Thomas wet."

4. Monsanto and Sex Blog

I have a new piece up at DAME magazine, Monsanto: Six Truths and a Lie.  It's about the various dickish things Monsanto has done, which, upon researching, were actually more numerous and hideous than I'd ever dreamed.  Go on over and comment and/or share via Facebook or Twitter if you're feeling Fight the Powerish.


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