The Tech Innovator Fighting to Give Women Better Orgasms:

Share

‘It’s About Helping People Understand Themselves’

The Osé

By Aurora Snow

Lora DiCarlo won the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Robotics Innovation Award for Osé, the company’s premiere product—“a robotic massager for hands-free blended orgasms.” A few months later, CES parent company Consumer Technology Association took the award back, calling it a mistake due to the nature of the product.

“There’s a lot more to that story than, ‘They took an award away and gave it back.’ When they took it away and called it obscene, that was too much. It was shocking. This is sexual health and wellness,” says DiCarlo, CEO and founder of the company. “When we challenged them, we pointed out their gender bias. They had male sexuality representation on the floor.”

Just a few years prior, a Mashable reporter chronicled his VR porn experience at CES. Thousands of attendees reportedly flocked to a well-known adult entertainment company’s booth to test-drive the new tech, and as a bonus participate in an intimate VR experience featuring explicit POV-style sex scenes, all filmed from a heterosexual male perspective. VR porn continued to be made available during the CES conventions that followed in 2018 and 2019, when DiCarlo’s award for her patent-pending microrobotic women’s device was rescinded. In a letter cited by TechCrunch from CTA to DiCarlo, entries judged “in their sole discretion to be immoral, obscene, indecent, profane or not in keeping with the CTA’s image will be disqualified.”

Though the award may have been temporary, DiCarlo’s presence has become permanent, in part due to the debacle. It caught fire, and the amount of support she felt was “jaw-dropping.” When CTA circled back to the company last year to make amends, DiCarlo seized the opportunity to make a difference—not just for her business but also for her industry. “We realize as women in this space, in this sexual space in sex tech, we understand that all boats rise with the tide. So when this happened to us last year at CES, one of the first things we wanted to do was shine a light on the disparities that other women in tech had experienced,” recounts DiCarlo. “We’ve kind of just grasped hands even though we are competitors and tried to raise each other up across the board.

“[We wanted] to take advantage of this opportunity to do right by not just ourselves, but the people who deserve to be at this show, in this industry. There is a lot of tech that is being done very tastefully, very respectfully, that doesn’t objectify bodies or demoralize women and that deserves to be in [this] show,” adds DiCarlo. “They said, ‘What if we give you your own section?’ We were like, ‘NO. You already did that.’” (AVN’s Adult Entertainment Expo, aka the Oscars of porn, began in the 1980s as a part of CES.)

Recognizing sexual health as an unsegregated equal within the health and wellness genre is pivotal to addressing the stigma and bias that shadow it. “If it’s a constant conversation you are having then it’s something you slowly get used to, and the awkwardness melts away over time,” says DiCarlo, who’s focused on broadening our sexual-wellness dialogue.

“I was very surprised by how little we know about our bodies,” says DiCarlo. “In the amount of people we surveyed, we found a staggering amount of women didn’t know exactly where their clitoris was or exactly how to locate their G-spot, and even fewer straight women knew how to identify those structures.”

To develop the ideal product and mimic her experience without a partner, DiCarlo says she “wanted something that didn’t vibrate, that moved like human partners do.” At first she was focused on creating a product to replicate her experience, but as DiCarlo gathered data for the project she began to see this as an opportunity to give back, to create a better society. “It’s become a purpose-driven mission that is much bigger than Lora DiCarlo. It’s about helping people understand themselves and understand others.”

In DiCarlo’s pursuit of a hands-free self-pleasuring product with biomimicry, she made a startling discovery: women had hardly been studied this way. “In order to fit multiple bodies, you need data about multiple bodies. I’m pre-med at the time so I know how to look for that information and I find it doesn’t exist. Nobody’s ever gathered it before, no one’s asking about women’s clitorises,” says DiCarlo. “No one’s asking where they’re positioned on most people’s anatomy, and then half the people don’t even think the G-spot exists. Which is ridiculous.”

Proactively surveying people to better understand not only the issues they encounter in the sexual health and wellness space, but also what motivates or prevents them from exploring their interests, has become a company-wide quest. “It’s data-driven, it’s curious, we’re trying to solve problems that exist within sexual health and wellness by creating and using new technology in order to solve these problems,” says DiCarlo. “We’ve had vibrators for 80 years, we’re due for an overhaul.”

Gathering data only solidified DiCarlo’s belief that sexual pleasure is health and wellness. “We send out multiple surveys asking: What are the problems? What do people want to explore, and what is stopping them?” says DiCarlo. “We asked people, ‘Why do you masturbate? Why do you use toys? Why do you explore your body the way that you do?’ The top three answers were: 1) to sleep better, 2) they wanted to reduce stress, and 3) was better mood in pursuit of pleasure. To me all three of those screamed health and wellness.”

Sexual health isn’t a new concept. The World Health Organization (WHO) implemented the term nearly 50 years ago, which today is defined as “a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled.”

Complete Article HERE!

Share

Best and worst foods to eat before sex

Share

What’s best for the bedroom may come from the kitchen. Food, like sex, is a sensory experience, so it’s no surprise that the two are intimately intertwined. To that end, here’s a list of some of the best—and some of the worst—foods to eat before getting busy.

By John Murphy

BEST

Watermelon

Watermelon naturally contains an amino acid called L-citrulline. In the body, L-citrulline is converted to L-arginine, which enhances nitric oxide-mediated vasodilation and endothelial function. This contributes to the hardness of erections, according to the authors of a study published in Urology.

In the study, men with mild erectile dysfunction (ED) taking L-citrulline also reported more episodes of intercourse per month vs those taking placebo and were “very satisfied” with the intervention. More research is needed to determine how much watermelon you’d have to eat to provide the desired effect, but researchers predict it could be an alternative for men who don’t want to take ED drugs like Viagra.

Fenugreek

Fenugreek is an herb that’s been used for centuries as a cooking spice in curry powders and spice mixtures in India and other parts of Asia. Fenugreek is also found in one-third of the top-selling sexual supplements created for men. Also known as “methi,” fenugreek is believed to improve hormonal regulation, with possible positive effects on male sexual health. In one study, researchers found that its use was associated with improved male sexual arousal and orgasm, with no adverse effects. (A spicy curry, though, may not be the most appetizing dish to eat before sex.)

Pistachios

Besides being high in unsaturated fatty acids and low in saturated fatty acids, pistachios are also great for the penis. In a study published in the International Journal of Impotence Research, a 3-week diet of 100 g of pistachios per day in 17 men was associated with improved erectile function scores. Another plus: Participants’ lipid parameters drastically improved following this diet.

Maca

Maca is a Peruvian plant that has long been used to treat infertility in men. In a low-power, double-blind, randomized, pilot study involving 10 men with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)-induced sexual dysfunction, maca 3.0 g/day significantly boosted libido. The authors noted that “maca root may alleviate SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction, and there may be a dose-related effect. Maca may also have a beneficial effect on libido.”

Carrots

Carrots and other fruits and vegetables that are high in carotenoids—such as squash, grapefruit, oranges, and apricots—have been linked to increased virility in men. Carotenoids are red, yellow, and orange pigments that act as antioxidants. In a cross-sectional study published in Fertility and Sterility, investigators assessed 189 men and found that increasing levels of carotenoid intake were correlated with increased sperm motility and, in the case of lycopene (a carotenoid that colors fruits and veggies red, like tomatoes), enhanced sperm morphology.

WORST

Alcohol

A glass of champagne or a shot of tequila can release one’s sexual inhibitions, but a booze-fest can lead to a snooze-fest between the sheets. As Shakespeare wrote, alcohol “provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance.” Scientifically speaking, a low dose of alcohol can cause an acute increase in blood testosterone levels (sexual desire), but heavy alcohol consumption decreases blood testosterone (sexual performance). Furthermore, both women and men—despite their expectations—have reported that sex is more enjoyable without drinking alcohol than with it.

Beans

As the playground rhyme goes: “Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart / The more you eat, the more you fart / The more you fart, the better you feel / So eat those beans at every meal.” But your heart may not feel so amorous if you eat beans before being intimate. (Even the word “legume” is a turn-off.) While beans are nutritious, high in fiber, and rich in protein, they also contain oligosaccharides—indigestible sugars that the body can’t break down easily. The after-dinner results are often cramps and excessive gas—two things that certainly don’t add that special something to a romantic mood.

Onions

During a romantic dinner, don’t order the French onion soup. This is a no brainer, obviously. If you’re expecting some hanky-panky, don’t eat foods laden with onions. Not only will it affect your breath, but it could produce some skanky body odors, too.

Stinkiness aside, onions are good for boosting testosterone. Onions also promote nitric oxide production, which increases vascular dilation and improves blood flow to the nether regions. Fried onions were even considered a traditional aphrodisiac in India. Many in Western cultures, however, consider a person who smells like onions to be a turnoff. But if the smell floats your boat, then lucky you.

Tofu

A light meal may seem like a good idea before things get heavy in the bedroom, but eating too much tofu or other soybean foods can sabotage your sex drive. Soy contains high amounts of phytoestrogens, which can affect estrogen production. In women, high levels of soy can decrease estrogen and disrupt ovarian function, according to researchers of a study published in The Journal of Nutrition. In men, just a half serving of soy per day was enough to reduce sperm count by 40%, Harvard researchers found in a small study.

Microwave popcorn

If a night of “Netflix and chill” actually starts with Netflix instead of “chill,” then you might want to consider a different movie-time snack than microwave popcorn. Chemicals used in the inner lining of some microwave popcorn bags—including perfluoroalkyl acids such as perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)—have been linked to a lower sex drive in men. These chemicals, also found in nonstick pots and pans, are known to significantly lower sperm counts as well, according to researchers. Although PFOA and PFOS are being phased out in US manufacturing, alternative compounds to replace them have raised similar concerns of toxicity.

Bottom line

When it comes down to getting down, there really are no “best” or “worst” foods for sex. Intimacy and stimulation usually depend more on what’s in your mind and heart than what’s in your stomach. So, let whatever works for you simply work for you. (But, really, do your partner a favor—skip the onions.)

Complete Article HERE!

Share

Transgender People on What They Wish They Had Learned in Sex Ed

Share

From safer queer sex to less gendered language.

 

By

Across the United States, sex education curriculum is severely lacking. Many receive abstinence-only education, which can leave out important things like the emotional aspects of sex, how to use protection, and that it is not only normal to have sex, but normal to seek pleasure from sex.

I grew up in a small town in Oklahoma and my sex education did not prepare me at all. In middle school, I was asked to sign an abstinence pledge. In high school, the only time I heard anything about the LGBTQ community was when we watched a video on HIV/AIDS. I felt alone. I was a closeted queer and trans person who had no idea how to voice what felt good. Because I never heard the term transgender during sex education, I thought that there was something wrong with me for not feeling like a girl.

I am certainly not alone in my experiences as a transgender person feeling like an outsider in discussions surrounding sex. So, I talked to 12 transgender people from across the country about their experience with sex education and how curriculum can improve to be more inclusive of transgender bodies.

Include Education Specific for Transgender People

Most sex education curriculum is geared specifically toward cisgender, straight people. As such, transgender people are not getting information that is necessary for their own bodies and sexual experiences.

Not all transgender people experience gender dysphoria, but for those who do, it can be very difficult to have sex at all. Val Wiestner of Alhambra, California, said that a discussion of gender dysphoria in sex education courses would be helpful for cis- and transgender people alike.

“I think it would be amazing for these classes to include things like gender dysphoria. As a trans man…I have found myself having to explain over and over about my body and why I do not like certain things,” he said. Liam Gillin, a student at Marist College, echoed a similar statement. “Something I wish I had learned in sex education was more about how you can stay safe as someone who was [assigned female at birth] and LGBTQ+, and more about how to alleviate gender dysphoria during sexual activity.”

Genitals Don’t Equal Gender

Often, students are separated into two groups (by gender) for their sex education. This can mean students are not getting holistic or accurate education on body parts and bodily functions. When we separate students by their assumed genitalia for sex education, we are reinforcing the idea that genitals are equal to gender, and that there is no difference between sex and gender. This is a bioessentialist viewpoint, teaching people that gender is biological, rather than a cultural construction.

“My experience with sex education was, being in Oklahoma, abysmal,” Aileen Gibson, a student at the University of Oklahoma, said. “While I was taught about safe sex once, the majority of it was awful. The ‘boys’ learned only about the ‘male’ reproductive system, ‘female’ secondary sex characteristics, and what a ‘male’ orgasm looked like. I didn’t even know what a tampon was until sophomore year of high school, (which I had to look up because I had no clue).”

By educating students in a less binary-centric format, transgender youth could find more validation and acceptance from themselves and their peers.

“One of the easiest ways for sex ed curriculums to be more inclusive is to drop the outdated language of ‘female body parts versus male body parts’ and teach everyone about the human body together while acknowledging the vast array of intersex people whose anatomy may not fit into the simple, standard boxes of male and female,” said University of Michigan student Elijah Haswell. “My uterus is not a ‘female body part.’ It’s just that — a uterus.”

Removing the idea that gender and genitals are one and the same can also work to reduce violence against transgender people.

“As a trans person, specifically an agender individual, I wish I could’ve been taught from an early age that genitalia does not define your own gender identity or realm of existence,” said University of Central Oklahoma student Fernanda Casanova. “Specifically teaching sex ed without trans inclusion or overall intersectionality is an act of violence against trans people. That type of mind-set will continue to marginalize trans individuals. You cannot teach separately either; cis individuals also need to know about trans education. That is how you can start to avoid violence against the trans community.”

Teach Alternatives to Heteronormative Sex

There are many ways to have sex outside of a man putting his penis inside a woman’s vagina. By not informing students of other methods of having sex, many may be left with the idea that there is no way for them to safely and pleasurably have sex — especially if they are transgender or gender nonconforming.

“As a nonbinary and gender-fluid person who is also queer, one thing I wish I learned in sex education is more about safer sex between people of the same sex,” said Christine Miyazato. “My sex education mostly revolved around sex that involved cisgender people and heterosexual relationships, so I never really got to learn about what safer sex could look like between people of the same sex. Most of my knowledge about the matter came from going to LGBTQ-inclusive sex ed workshops on my college campus or by word of mouth and from listening to friends’ personal experiences.”

Offer Medically Accurate Education Beyond Abstinence Only

By now, we know that abstinence-only sex education does not work. This method of sex education is not helpful for any students, but particularly for transgender youth who are trying to figure out their gender or what sex looks like for them.

“My sex ed teacher in high school actively sought to teach an abstinence-first mind-set, and all mentions of anatomy, hormones, biological processes were painfully gendered,” said George Washington University student Aedy Miller.

It is also imperative that transgender students are receiving medically accurate information about sex, though most states don’t require sex education to live up to that standard.

“Because public school education is largely state-controlled, sex education policy and curriculum vary wildly from state to state,” said Sin Guanci, a Ph.D. student at Ohio State University. “Accordingto the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS) 2018 state profiles, only 31 states and D.C. mandate sex education, seven require culturally appropriate sex ed and HIV/STI instruction, only 12 require that sex education be medically accurate, and only four states mandate that health education affirmatively recognize different sexual orientations and gender identities/expressions (SOGIE) or teach the dignity or worth of all people regardless of SOGIE.”

Guanci said that the lack of policy requiring that sex-education “recognize and affirm” all people based on their sexuality or gender is not the biggest barrier. Unfortunately, seven states prohibit the mention of LGBTQ people in sex ed except for when it comes to portraying them negatively in terms of disease transmission. This inaccurate information can make transgender youth feel like they need to stay in the closet or that there is something wrong with simply being who they are.

Talk About Consent and Healthy Relationships

Setting boundaries and understanding what consent looks like is vital information for all students in sex education. For transgender people in particular, it can make all the difference in the world when it comes to a sexual encounter being safe and affirming or traumatic and dysphoria-inducing.

AC Facci from Oklahoma City said that pleasure and consent should be discussed more meaningfully by sex educators. “I have a vague memory of learning what constituted sexual assault but I never remember being taught anything that affirmed my ability to say no at any point during a sexual encounter, not just before sex began,” they said.

It is also important that sex educators accurately discuss what healthy relationships look like, especially for students who are LGBTQ.

“I wish that asexuality had been covered, and that there had been more open conversations about emotional involvement rather than just sex itself. Knowing how healthy relationship dynamics work could have saved me and a lot of people I know from some awful and just awkward situations,” said James Washburn, a student of Cornish College of the Arts.

Understand That Inclusion of Trans People Can Save Lives

“During sex education, I often felt alone,” said Athena Schwartz. “I felt like I couldn’t talk about myself or my identity. As someone who has been very passionate about health education, I felt trapped in my shell. I felt like I was watching the class behind a wall; like I was an outsider. A lot of what I learned about trans people was outside of my own high school. I had to go out of my way to even learn the term nonbinary. While I loved what I learned outside of high school, I wish that it was taught in school. I think if more people learned about trans people, then more people would be inclusive toward us.”

When we do not include transgender people in sex education, it can cause significant distress to people from those communities who are present. It can be incredibly invalidating to have educators never acknowledge your existence, especially if you are not finding support outside of the classroom. Just having educators that support their needs and validate their experiences can make all the difference in the world for transgender youth.

“Simply having a word for one’s experience can provide a world of comfort and open the door to greater introspection, self-understanding, and a more comfortable orientation toward the world,” said Jamie, who asked that his last name be omitted. “Having a space for these discussions, even just acknowledgement of the existence of these discussions at the bare minimum, is invaluable to young trans lives.”

Another important step that sex educators can take is to let students know that it is okay to be trans — that being transgender does not make you a burden or mentally ill, that your feelings and gender are nothing to be ashamed of.

“I wish I’d been told that the feelings I was having were okay to feel,” said Aedy Miller. “I wish they’d taken a more expansive approach and taught us more about gender identity as opposed to just sex/anatomy, as that might’ve given me the words to describe how I was feeling in a safe environment.”

Complete Article HERE!

Share

Examining The Cannabis Sexual Wellness Market

Share

By Andrew Ward

Sexual wellness is a subject sweeping the globe that is expected to trend upwards in the years to come.

An April 2019 Arizton Advisory and Intelligence report on the global sexual wellness market projects it will rise to around $39 billion in value by 2024, with a CAGR of over 7%.

Little to no data on the cannabis sexual wellness market has been published at this time. Yet two once-taboo subjects have become more mainstream in recent years, with varying public acceptance.

Now, with consumers and a few lab studies suggesting efficacy exists, the market may be poised for significant growth.

Anecdotal evidence has long suggested there is a benefit to combining cannabis and sex.

Cannabis In The Bedroom

CBD use results in more intense orgasms as well as enhances a couple’s satisfaction in the bedroom, according to a survey conducted by Remedy Review

Daniel Saynt, the founder and “chief conspirator” of NSFW, a cannabis and kink community in New York City, discussed why cannabis may help sex.

“Cannabis is a social lubricant. Smoking the right strain is more effective than alcohol in making you feel comfortable in a sexual situation.”

Zachary Zane is a freelance writer who covers subjects including sex and cannabis.

Cannabis helps Zane to not “overthink” in the act, he said.

“Cannabis allows me to be more present in the moment and to really enjoy the experience.”

The Research On Cannabis And Sex 

In 2009 a research report concluded that endocannabinoid receptors are found throughout the human body, including sexual organs.

Dr. Sadie Allison, a sexologist, author and sexual wellness entrepreneur, recently expanded into the CBD space with the launch of GoLove CBD Sensual Lubricant.

The sexologist entered the market after research on the subject produced “very promising results,” she said. 

CBD has a beneficial effect on anxiety and pain perception as well as inflammation and increasing blood flow, Allison said.

Rachel Braun Scherl leads the female sexual health unit at biotech startup Manna Molecular Science in Massachusetts.

Scherl spoke directly to how she said CBD can benefit a woman’s sexual health.

“CBD is a clitoral and vaginal smooth muscle relaxant that, thus, facilitates clitoral engorgement and vaginal lubrication and ultimately orgasm.”

Alison Krongard, a co-founder of the recently launched Her Highness cannabis line, touched on the different applications cannabis has for men and women. Krongard, whos company produces CBD and THC sexual wellness products, said the rise in the number of products targeting females is a reflection of how much women love the plant.

And it’s healthier than many alternatives, she said. 

“A lot of women finish the day with a glass of wine and a Xanax.”

Cannabis Sexual Wellness For Men, Gender Neutral Consumers 

For men, NSFW’s Saynt said cannabis can desensitize the genitals due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

A potential area of benefit in Saynt’s view is cannabis suppositories, for those who enjoy anal stimulation.

“There is some demand, but there’s a lack of education and very little is being done to target the gay and bi community with these products,” he said.

GoLove’s Allison said she has seen an uptick in men purchasing sexual wellness and pleasure products over the past two decades, noting the expanding array of choices as a factor.

“Men are historically the largest buying segment of cannabis and cannabis-related products, [and] I have no doubt that the demand for male-focused cannabis sex products will grow in the same way as the adult products industry.”

Manna’s Scherl highlighted the importance of gender fluidity and gender neutral products.

“Today, we know so much more about the fluidity of gender, but as a society, we still have so much more to learn,” said Scherl. “It is no longer sufficient to have solutions focused on people who identify only as male or only female.”

On the other hand, Zane said many products like cannabis lubes can already be enjoyed by all genders.

“[Men and gender neutral people] don’t necessarily need specific products if it can work for all genders,” the writer said. “That said, if there are sexual issues and topics that specifically pertain to men and GNC folks that cannabis can help, let’s do it!”

Cannabis Sex Product Development

To ensure product quality and safety, companies often engage in years-long research.

Krongard said Her Highness worked for roughly three years on its product development.

“We went through a couple of different formulators before we found the team that really understood what we were doing.”

Saynt and NSFW are developing a strain of cannabis flower aimed at enhancing sexual wellness.

In collaboration with Cherry Kola Farms, the duo combined three separate strains known for their stimulating properties.

Club members have responded well to test runs, Saynt said.

“We’re hoping to create our own line of lubricant with this custom strain, as we feel the type of cannabis you use in your lube is important,” he said.

The Challenges Ahead 

While cannabis and sex are more widely accepted now, Krongard said it’s far from universal.

“I had one meeting with the guy who owns a dispensary who just could not wrap his head around talking to women about a pleasure oil.”

Others echoed a need for additional education and acceptance. They also believe a change could come through the marketplace. The interest and investment in the sectors will create a “sea change,” said Manna’s Scherl.

“We are already seeing consumers, buyers and patients voting for the products and solutions they want, and will pay for in dozens of categories related to both sex and cannabis.”

Complete Article HERE!

Share

Arguing With Your Partner Makes You So Damn Horny. Here’s Why.

Share

Blame it on science. No, really.

By

It’s a classic Hollywood plot: Couple starts an epic screaming match with each other, then mid-fight, one partner pushes the other up against the wall, they kiss oh-so passionately, and things escalate to hot, steamy makeup sex. (I mean, raise your hand if that scene from The Notebook still leaves you hot and bothered.)

The argument = over. Relationship = restored. The end.

You and I both know this actually happens IRL too. Whenever my ex and I would argue, I’d immediately want to tackle him—not in a physical fight kind of way but more in like an I-suddenly-need-to-jump-your-bones way. The makeup sex was always soooo good.

Why is this a thing? Is there a link between being angry and horny? Or are we all just kinky mother-effers? After speaking with psychotherapists, physiology experts, and sexperts, I’ve learned that there is def some science behind this madness. Here are seven solid reasons why some people get turned on after arguing with their partner:

1. Hormones

Hormones like testosterone, adrenaline, and cortisol (the stress hormone) all spike when we fight with someone, including our romantic partners. “When cortisol is released from stress, our bodies and minds may yearn for the closeness that sex provides,” explains certified sexologist Jenni Skyler, PhD.

The relief of orgasm and pleasure increases serotonin, dopamine, adrenaline, and oxytocin (the love hormone), explains sex and relationship therapist Andrew Aaron, LICSW. TL;DR: This means that while the hormones released during a fight can rile you up, the hormones released after a fight calm you down, make you feel satisfied, give you feelings of power, and increase your sense of safety—which, conveniently, all magically combine to make you want to bone. A true climax and resolution.

2. Evolution

Banging after an angry fight with your partner unlocks a deep and primal part of your psyche. “Sex after a fight not only provides relief, it also creates excitement. You go from being threatened to feeling triumphant in overcoming the threat by surviving,” says Aaron. Basically, you may feel like you’ve overcome something major, so your body celebrates by getting all excited (read: horny AF) as a result.

3. Anxiety and arousal

Arousal and anxiety are sister sensations that increase your heart rate, blood flow, and breathing. “The excitement from one of those emotions is likely to transfer to another,” explains sexologist Robert Thomas, cofounder of Sextopedia.

“When we’re under stress, such as the stress induced by an argument, our sympathetic nervous system is aroused,” says relationship and sex coach Michele Lisenbury Christensen. (Aka, this is why fights turn you on.) “This also sparks your fight or flight response, which fills you full of energy and makes you motivated to want to physically act in some way,” adds physiology expert Elesa Zehndorfer, PhD. What better way to satiate that need to get physical than with that hot person right in front of you who’s also pissing you off? Sounds like the most logical option, IMHO.

5. You’re into sadomasochism

Did you know that the word “passion” has a Latin origin that actually comes from “patior,” which means to suffer? So, like, “Hurts so good” is a saying for a reason. “There’s a close link between anger, passion, suffering, and connection,” says relationship coach Valarie Merced, founder of Precipice Magazine.

Fighting can stimulate sadomasochistic sexual fantasies (aka gaining sexual pleasure from inflicting or receiving pain), explains Gail Saltz, MD, a psychiatrist specializing in relationships and mental health. But, FWIW, just because you like makeup sex doesn’t mean you’re a hundred percent going to be into BDSM. Although, if you *are* already into it, you might be one of the ~lucky~ ones who get turned on from fighting. (Hi, guilty as charged. Now, handcuff me. JK, not JK.)

6. Makeup—aka “mad at you”—sex is awesome

Wanting to reestablish a connection and forgive your partner (or yourself) is a high-priority post-fight…which is exactly why you may turn to some “Fuck me like you hate me” sex to repair the bond. The evidence:

  • “I’m almost ashamed to admit it, but fucking after we fight is hot. Everything’s heightened and you’re breathing heavy. It’s you and this other hot-blooded person you’re presumably sexually attracted to. That makes me want my man. Like, he is MINE,” says Nicole, 33.
  • “We’re both desperately waiting for the fight to end because we’re still so physically and emotionally drawn to one another as we fight.” says Scarlett, 26.
  • “Who the hell doesn’t love makeup sex? It makes things more passionate and aggressive, which is always a plus,” agrees Kayla, 23. “It starts off with anger and rage but slowly transitions into love and passion and ends up being sweet.”

Clearly, we’re all IRL Sour Patch Kids.

7. It‘s a way to cope with trauma

Traumatic events that contained fighting or intense anger (during childhood or some point of your early years) can sometimes get connected to sexual feelings, says Dr. Saltz. Because of this, it could be that you’re horny whenever you fight with your partner.

“Psychologically, when couples fight, they often instigate a trigger or very scared part of their younger memory system,” explains Skyler. Fear creates a sense of abandonment, inadequacy, or both, so sex can sometimes alleviate that fear by increasing intimacy and reestablishing feelings of safety.

If this is the case for you, you may want to seek therapy to unlearn this type of conditioning and coping mechanism. “Better understanding this part of you will help you to find methods to get that sex-fueled romp that’s less destructive to your relationship than purposely picking fights,” Dr. Saltz says.

Complete Article HERE!

Share

Five new books by trans and non-binary authors you really must read in 2020

Share

John Waters once said, “If you go home with somebody, and they don’t have books, don’t fuck ’em!”

Five books by trans and/or non-binary authors

By Vic Parsons

So, treat the queer, queer-adjacent or curious bookworm in your life to one of these books by trans, including non-binary, authors.

Juno Roche – Trans Power

Juno’s last book, Queer Sex, was a landmark exploration into queer and trans people’s sexuality. A series of intimate interviews that delved into, well, intimacy in the trans community, and how gender identity and sexuality feed into our experiences of that.

For their latest book, Trans Power, Juno used a similar technique – a series of warm, nuanced conversations between them and other people in the trans community. Some of these were conversations with our most prominent thinkers and activists – like Travis Alabanza and Amrou Al-Kadhi – and all of them contained revelations about how gender is constructed, layers of identity and being trans.

Juno’s also breathtakingly honest about their own feelings towards their gender, an insight that is rare in an era of hot-takes and carefully crafted narratives about ‘the trans experience’.

Dr Meg-John Barker – Gender: A Graphic Guide

 

Author of too many books on gender, relationships and sex to name, Meg-John’s latest is a very accessible and beautifully illustrated guide to gender.

It’s perfect both for family members in need of a little education and queers wanting to learn more about how our current conversation on trans issues fits into a wider context. Written from a staunchly feminist, anti-racist and intersectional perspective, Meg-John goes deep into gender non-conformity and trans history, without assuming the reader has prior knowledge of any of those things – truly a gift.

Plus, their favourite gay animal is the notoriously lesbian long-eared hedgehog – the kind of author trivia we endeavour to provide here at PinkNews.

Buy it online here or head to your local bookshop.

Glamrou – Unicorn: The Memoir of a Muslim Drag Queen

A mandatory read for anyone on the queer and/or gender spectrum who’s had a less-than-perfect coming out.

Amrou tells all our queer stories of self-acceptance and learning to celebrate every part of ourselves in some of the most heart-breaking and heart-warming pages of the year. Readers will be finding immense affinity with Unicorn and thanking Amrou for sharing their story for many years to come.Charlie Leslau

Non-binary, Muslim drag queen Amrou Al-Kadhi sees queerness as a part of their faith.

Andrea Long Chu – Females

Short, unconventional debut book/essay/investigation from a New York Times-published writer on what it is to be female.

Chu spends this essay trying to defend the statement that “everyone is female, and everyone hates it”. She draws guidance and inspiration from the SCUM Manifesto (1967) and its author, Valerie Solanas – the radical feminist best known for shooting Andy Warhol.

In a similar style, Females is also an uncompromising and at times intense read, but rewarding.

Buy it online here or head to your local bookshop.

Samantha Allen – Real Queer America

If you buy one book on this list – and you made it this far – make it this one. We hear so much about homophobia and transphobia in the States, but that masks a truer (and better!) story about queer resistance in small towns and cities, away from the national media.

Samantha is a trans journalist, and Real Queer America weaves her own personal story of coming out, finding love and creating family with the stories of other trans people who she meets.

In a road trip across the country, she talks to activists, old friends, legislators and – most compellingly – with young trans people who are staying put in the places they were born, rather than moving to the nearest big city when they turn 18.

This book is a way of getting outside the bubble, for city queers, and it’s a non-patronising lesson in hope and resilience for all.

If you want more books by trans authors like these, then these were the seven new books by trans and/or non-binary authors to read last summer.

Complete Article HERE!

Share

The Questions Sex-Ed Students Always Ask

Share

For 45 years, Deborah Roffman has let students’ curiosities guide her lessons on sexuality and relationships.

Deborah Roffman

About 25 years ago, a public school in the Baltimore suburbs invited Deborah Roffman to teach a class on puberty to fifth graders. Roffman, who was known as the “Sex Lady” at the private Park School of Baltimore, where she had been teaching for two decades, was flattered. But she was troubled by the restrictions that the public school’s vice principal had given her: She couldn’t use the words fertilization, intercourse, or sex. And she couldn’t answer any student questions related to those subjects. That wasn’t going to work for the Sex Lady.

Eventually, Roffman reached a compromise with the public school: Students would get parental permission to attend her talk, and Roffman could answer any question they asked, even if it meant using the S-word.

Roffman’s title of human-sexuality educator has not changed since she arrived at the Park School in 1975, but the dimensions of her role there have steadily grown. So, too, has her outside work in consulting and teacher training: Over the years, she has advised at nearly 400 schools, most of them private.

Initially, Roffman taught elective classes in sexuality to the juniors and seniors at Park, but within two years, she had expanded to seventh and eighth graders. In the 1980s, she added fourth and fifth graders to her roster. She also meets annually with the parents of students as young as kindergartners, to coach them on how to talk with their children about sexuality, and she leads summer training for the Park’s elementary-school teachers on incorporating sexuality instruction into their classrooms. “There is this knowledge that we keep in a box about sexuality, waiting until kids are ‘old enough,’” Roffman told me. “My job is to change that.”

During her 45 years of teaching, Roffman has witnessed the evolution of the nation’s attitude toward sex education and, as her experience at the public school shows, how uneven that education can be.

Perhaps more than any other subject, sex education highlights the country’s fierce loyalty to local control of schools. Twenty-nine states require public schools to stress abstinence if they teach about sex, according to the latest count by the Guttmacher Institute, a think tank based in Washington, D.C., and New York that promotes reproductive rights. Some of the more outrageous abstinence lessons employ troubling metaphors, such as comparing sexually active, unmarried women to an old piece of tape: useless and unable to bond. Only 17 states require sex education to be medically accurate.

Most research has found that sex education for adolescents in the United States has declined in the past 20 years. Like art and music, the subject is typically not included on state standardized exams and, as the saying goes, “what gets tested gets taught.” In the case of sex education, waning fear about the spread of HIV and AIDS among heterosexual youths has contributed to the decline in instruction, says John Santelli, a professor at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health.

But some bright spots do exist, says Jennifer Driver, the vice president of policy and strategic partnerships at the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States. For example, in some parts of Mississippi and Texas, there has been a shift away from “abstinence only” to “abstinence plus” curricula, with the latter permitting at least some information about contraception.

Roffman remembers her own sex education while growing up in Baltimore as being limited to a short film in fifth grade about periods and puberty. She began working in sex ed in 1971—when access to birth control was rapidly expanding amid the sexual revolution—helping Planned Parenthood train health-care professionals who were setting up family-planning clinics in the region, and doing broader community outreach.

Four years later, she followed her Planned Parenthood supervisor to the progressive Park School, where students often address teachers by their first name and current tuition runs about $30,000 a year. When she arrived that spring, she heard that the senior-class adviser had recently rushed into the upper-school principal’s office, exclaiming that something had to be done before the seniors’ graduation, because “we forgot to talk to them about sex.”

During the next several years, Roffman not only made sure the school remembered to talk to students about sex but steadily built up the curriculum. At Park, students learn about standard fare like birth control and sexually transmitted diseases but also delve into issues such as the history of abortion rights, changing conceptions of gender roles, and how to build respectful, intimate relationships.

Students start by learning about the reproductive systems, the importance of open communication, and the fundamentals of puberty in their first classes with Roffman, in the fourth and fifth grades. In seventh grade, they take a deep-dive course on human sexuality, covering everything from pornography to the use of sex in advertising to gender identity and sexual orientation. They see her again for a shorter, related course in eighth grade. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Roffman’s seventh graders spent most of a semester researching the candidates’ differing views on sex, gender, and reproduction. “In the process of doing that, I got to teach about every topic I wanted to teach about,” she said.

In high school, students take a required sexuality-studies seminar. The specific content varies year to year, but it’s always based on what Roffman calls the “eight characteristics of a sexually healthy adult,” which include staying healthy, enjoying pleasure, and relating to others in caring, nonexploitative ways.

The through line of her approach, at any age, is letting students’ queries guide her instruction. So she asks her students to submit anonymous questions at the start of the semester, and makes sure that she answers them as the course progresses.

Regardless of whether they grew up in the ’80s or the aughts, kids of certain ages always ask versions of the same questions, Roffman has found. For instance, middle-school students, she said, want to know if their bodies and behaviors are “normal.” Many older students ask her at what age it’s normal to start masturbating.

High schoolers routinely ask about romantic communication, relationships, and the right time for intimacy: “Who makes the first move?” “How do you know if you or the other person is ready for the ‘next level’?” “How can you let someone down easy when you want to break up?”  

But some contemporary questions, Roffman said, are very different from those she heard earlier in her career. Sometimes the questions change when the news does. (More than 30 years ago, Roffman started reading two newspapers a day to keep up with the rapid pace of news about HIV and AIDS; she’s maintained the habit since.)

She said she received a flood of questions about sexual harassment after the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, in the early 1990s. The same decade ended with a spike in student interest in oral sex and behaviors that had previously been considered more taboo, such as anal sex.

Sometimes changing student questions signal broader cultural shifts, like the recent surge in student queries about gender identities. “There would have been questions 20 years ago about sexual orientation, but not about gender diversity,” Roffman said. But one recent eighth-grade cohort submitted questions like “How many genders are there?” “What does ‘gender roles’ mean?” “What is the plus sign for in LGBTQIA+?” and “Why is ‘gay’ called ‘gay’?” She finds a way to answer them all.

Roffman’s students appreciate her blunt and holistic approach. As a sixth grader at a charter school several years ago, Maeve Thistel took a brief unit in sex education. The teacher seemed uncomfortable and nervous, she remembers. The condoms the teacher brought for a demonstration were expired, and split when she took them out of the package. Thistel came away from the class with the impression that sex was both “icky and disturbing.”

Thistel, now a college freshman, transferred to Park for high school, where she found that Roffman presented some of the same material quite differently: Her very first step in the lesson on condoms was to point out that all of them have an expiration date that should be noted and heeded.

Under Roffman’s guidance, sexuality at Park has come to be treated as something closer to social studies, science, or other core subjects. Sex ed is “just another part of the curriculum, not carved out as its own special thing,” says David Sachs, a 1988 graduate who studied with Roffman and whose son, Sebastian, is now in 11th grade at the school and has her as a teacher as well.

Like all Park students, Sebastian Sachs had to complete an eighth-grade project wherein he examined the root cause of a social-justice issue. His team picked sexual assault and, with Roffman as their adviser, focused on consent education and how to introduce it in the youngest grades. Sachs and his teammates created a curriculum for preschoolers that, among other things, encourages them to ask permission before hugging a classmate, borrowing a pencil, or swooping in for a high five.

In Roffman’s ideal world, the school would implement lessons like these, and other age-appropriate sex and relationship education, from the earliest grades. Several of her co-workers agree. “Fourth grade might be too late for us” to begin this kind of education, says Alejandro Hurtado, Park’s Spanish teacher for the lower grades. Last summer, Hurtado participated in a voluntary two-week workshop led by Roffman that aimed to create a sexuality-education curriculum for Park’s elementary-age kids. “It will be subtly woven in,” he says, noting that he plans to talk more explicitly about traditional gender roles and expectations in some Latino cultures as part of his own class.

In her teacher training, Roffman encourages colleagues to be scientifically accurate and use age-appropriate language when answering even the youngest children’s questions. Four-year-olds are beginning to understand place and geography, so they will frequently ask where they came from. “The proper answer is that there’s a place inside a female body called the uterus, and that’s where they grew,” Roffman said.

Sarah Shelton, a Park third-grade teacher who also participated in the summer workshop, says Roffman inspired her to not dodge students’ questions about bodies and sex. In the past she’s deflected sex-related inquiries, such as when a student asked about birth control last year.

“I told her, ‘Great question. Ask your parents,’” Shelton recalls. “If that were to occur again, I would say something like ‘When reproduction happens in the body, there is medication that you can take to stop it so you can have sexual intercourse without creating a baby.’”

Sarah Huss, the director of human development and parent education at the private Campbell Hall school in Los Angeles, says Roffman helped her rethink her school’s sexuality education. Huss reached out to Roffman after reading her book Talk to Me First: Everything You Need to Know to Become Your Kids’ “Go-To” Person About Sex. The ensuing dialogue prompted Campbell Hall to begin sexuality education in third grade and to significantly shore up its middle-school programming. Prior to meeting Roffman, “I had taught sex education as ‘Don’t get hurt, don’t get pregnant, don’t get a disease,’” Huss says. “That wasn’t a hopeful message for the kids.”

Huss admires her colleague’s patient tenacity. “She’s walking into schools where there is so much emotional baggage around a subject,” Huss says. “To suggest doing it differently, you have to confront years and years and years of thinking that talking with young kids about sex is dangerous.”

After decades of striving for change both within and beyond Park’s walls, Roffman is optimistic about the future of sexuality education at progressive private schools like Campbell Hall and Park. “I’ve always believed that independent schools have the responsibility to give back to the larger educational community,” she told me. “It’s up to us to demonstrate that, yes, this can be done well and successfully.”

By contrast, “I see very limited movement in the public sector,” she said. And in a country where only a minority of states require medically accurate sex-education classes, her dream of seamlessly integrating the subject from kindergarten up may be a long way off. But Roffman has lived through one sexual revolution, and she holds out hope for a second in education.

Complete Article HERE!

Share

21 Things Scientists Discovered About Sex In 2019

Share

By Kelly Gonsalves

Given that sex has existed as long as the human race has, you’d think our scientists, doctors, and psychologists would have collectively figured out all there is to know about sex by now. But the truth is, there are still many, many aspects of human sexuality that are a big, unexplored, confusing question mark. The good news is, 2019 has been quite the year in the world of sex research. Here are a few of the most fascinating findings we’ve made this year: 

1. Women are still struggling to talk about what they want in bed.

In 2019, more than half of American women were still struggling to talk about what they want sexually. A study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior found 55% of women in the U.S. reported experiencing situations in which they had wanted to communicate with a partner about how they wanted to be touched and what sexually turned them on but decided not to say anything. About one in five women didn’t feel comfortable talking about her sexual desires at all, and one in 10 had never experienced sex in which she felt like her partner valued her sexual pleasure.

2. Just saying the word “clitoris” out loud is linked to better sex for women.

Yes, it really matters that much. As we’ve known for a while, the clitoris is the key to sexual pleasure for people who have them—but mainstream narratives and norms around sex prioritize P-in-V penetration as the main act of sex, despite the fact that the majority of clit owners can’t get off from that alone. Further proving how important the clit is, the same study cited above found that just being comfortable using the word “clitoris” is associated with greater sexual satisfaction and being less likely to fake orgasms. The researchers said their findings indicate why it’s so important for us as a society and as individuals to start talking openly about our sex lives. When you’re comfortable talking about sex—including the specific body parts where you like to get touched—you’re way more likely to convey that to your partners and then get the type of stimulation that actually feels good for you. 

3. Not all orgasms are good.

Orgasms are not the definitive marker of good sex, as it turns out. In another study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, researchers found 55% of people had experienced a “bad orgasm,” including orgasms that physically hurt, orgasms that didn’t feel as pleasurable as past orgasms, or orgasms that happened in sexually coercive contexts, such that having the orgasm led to intense psychological turmoil.

4. People in relationships really are having less sex.

Experts have been talking about a so-called sex recession for the last year or so, in which several different data reports have been showing people are having less sex these days than in generations prior. One multiyear study published in the BMJ this year found the majority of the dip is happening among married people and cohabiting couples. Some of their key findings: In 2001, 38% of women and 30% of men in serious relationships had no sex in the past month. In 2012, that number jumped to 51% for women and 66% for men in serious relationships. What’s more, even sexually active couples were having less sex than usual: In 2012, just 48% of women and 50% of men in serious relationships reported having sex at least four times in the last month, meaning about half of couples are having sex less than once a week.

5. But millennials don’t think they’re in a sex recession.

Cosmopolitan conducted a nationally representative survey on over 1,000 people. Their findings showed 71% of millennials feel “personally satisfied” with how much sex they’re having, and 62% of millennials think their friends are having “plenty of sex” too. So maybe it’s all relative?

6. Commitment and better sex are linked.

Researchers surveyed hundreds of couples in several weeks of couples’ therapy to ask about their commitment levels and sex lives each week. Published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, their study found commitment and good sex were definitely linked: Having good sex one week was associated with couples feeling more committed to each other the following week. The reverse was also true. Feeling more committed to each other one week was associated with the couple having better sex the following week. The two seem to feed off each other.

7. People who love casual sex are more committed to their relationships when those relationships are consensually non-monogamous.

If you think people who love casual sex are inherently less committed in their relationships, think again. A study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior found that, in consensually non-monogamous relationships, enjoying casual sex (i.e., “sociosexuality”) was associated with being more committed to your relationship.

8. Childhood trauma is associated with less sexual satisfaction in adulthood.

People with more traumatic experiences in childhood tend to have less satisfying sex lives in adulthood, according to a study published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy. Why? Experiencing trauma as a kid is associated with experiencing more daily psychological distress and with being less mindful, two qualities that may affect one’s ability to engage and feel pleasure during sex.

9. More than half of seniors are unhappy with their sex lives.

You know what you hear about people having less sex as they get older? That might be true, but it might not be because seniors want less sex. A study published in the journal PLOS ONE found 58% of men and women between ages 55 and 74 are not satisfied with their sex lives. In another study published in the journal Menopause, 78% of the more than 4,000 postmenopausal women surveyed were sexually inactive. Of these sexually inactive women, the top reasons for not having sex were not having a partner to have sex with, having a partner with a medical condition making sex out of the question, and having a partner dealing with sexual dysfunction.

10. These three key factors reliably turn women on.

A study of 662 straight women identified three factors that made women more likely to experience sexual desire for someone: intimacy (i.e., feelings of closeness and deep affection), celebrated otherness (i.e., seeing yourself as a separate entity from your partner instead of seeing yourselves together as a single unit), and object-of-desire affirmation (i.e., being told you are desirable).

This is an oft-repeated myth, but findings published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences have officially disproved the idea that men are “more visual” than women are when it comes to sex. The researchers reanalyzed over 60 studies, each of which had hooked up men and women to fMRI machines while showing them porn to try to see how their brains reacted. Gender was the least predictive factor in determining how activated a person’s brain was while viewing the erotic material.

12. One in four women experienced pain during their most recent sexual experience.

In a study of over 2,000 women published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, researchers found nearly a quarter of women had experienced pain the last time they’d had sex. Of those who’d experienced pain, 49% didn’t tell their partner about it. Those who’d experienced little to no pleasure during the sexual experience were also three times more likely to not tell their partner about the pain.

13. Vaginal dryness and atrophy begin in perimenopause.

During and after menopause, hormonal shifts tend to cause the vaginal walls to become thinner and lubricate less. Known as vaginal atrophy, these changes tend to cause vaginal dryness, which predictably leads to more difficulties having sex. (Nothing that a little lube can’t fix, of course.) However, a new study published in the journal Menopause has found that these symptoms of vaginal atrophy, vaginal dryness, and the sexual pain that comes with them may actually begin in perimenopause—the period of time right before menopause hits, around ages 40 to 55.

14. Better sex ed improves LGBTQ kids’ mental health.

Sex ed is important for supporting people’s sexual health and helping people navigate sex safely. But it also has important mental health benefits for people in the LGBTQ community, according to new research in the American Journal of Sexuality Education. The study found kids who received sex ed that was inclusive of people with diverse genders and sexual orientations tended to have less anxiety, less depression, and fewer suicidal tendencies.

15. Open-minded people are more likely to cheat.

A study published in the Personality and Individual Differences journal found the personality trait most associated with cheating was open-mindedness. In other words, people who are more open to new experiences and people tend to be more likely to cheat as well. Seems obvious, but open-mindedness is also correlated with being more welcoming, more creative, more sexually liberated, and more extroverted. So…uh-oh?

16. There are at least some psychological components to why some people struggle with their sex drive.

Researchers interviewed about 100 couples where one partner struggles with sexual desire and about 100 couples with no such struggles. Published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, the study identified a few common traits among the partners who struggled with desire: They were more likely to pursue sex simply to avoid negative consequences (like a disappointed partner) and less likely to pursue sex to experience positive outcomes (like orgasms and connection). The findings also suggested they may “have difficulties recognizing and responding to their partners’ sexual needs due to having fewer sexual needs themselves.”

You can’t make this stuff up! A study published in the journal Sex Education found female students who had taken a sexuality class that discussed the orgasm gap tended to have more orgasms and better orgasms after they took the class than before.

18. Parents have better sex when they like each other.

Yes, researchers talked to 93 couples and found those who complimented each other more and had higher opinions of each other tended to have higher levels of sexual satisfaction in the relationship. It might seem obvious, but many long-term couples (especially parents) will readily admit that just because they’re married and in love does not mean that they always like each other. That means couples should never dismiss the importance of making sure actual feelings of affection and positivity still live on in their relationship.

19. Postcoital dysphoria affects men too.

Postcoital dysphoria refers to inexplicable feelings of sadness, frustration, or distress after having otherwise pleasurable sex. Some people assume that women are more likely to be emotional after having sex, but a study published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy found 41% of men have experienced PCD, and 20% experienced it in the last four weeks.

20. How you feel about your genitalia affects your sex life.

Feeling self-conscious about your vulva or penis might actually affect how much pleasure you’re experiencing during sex. A study published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy found people who felt more confident about their genitalia tend to have less stress about their “performance” during sex and better sexual functioning, which includes getting turned on easily, having more vaginal lubrication, and being able to orgasm with ease.

21. Sexual desire is buildable.

For couples, experiencing sexual desire today makes you more likely to experience sexual desire tomorrow and have sex tomorrow, according to a study published in the Archives of Sexual Desire. That means couples who want to improve their sex lives should consider starting small: Just adding a few moments of heat and turn-on daily, even without having sex, will build up sexual desire over time.

Complete Article HERE!

Share

‘Sex tech’ aims to rise above negative image

Share
Sex toys have cautiously been allowed into this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas

Sex toys are for relaxation. For education. For healing after childbirth. For long-term or long-distance relationships. For women’s emancipation.

And also… for pleasure.

But manufacturers aiming for respectability tend to save this argument for last.

“Sex toys have an extremely negative connotation,” said Jerome Bensimon, president of Satisfyer. “So we’ve rebranded ourselves as a ‘sexual wellbeing company.'”

The company has gained attention for its pressure wave technology used for clitoral stimulation, and has plans to launch a smart phone app for controlling sex toys, in particular by using voice commands.

At its booth at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, vibrators and Ben Wa balls sit alongside mini vibrators shaped like ice cream cones.

After some ups and downs, “sex tech” is testing the waters this year.

As recently as last year the display likely would have been banned.

At the 2019 show, the Consumer Technology Association, which runs the expo, stripped the Ose massager of an award for innovation, saying it was disqualified for being “immoral,” “obscene” and “profane.”

After an uproar, the CTA reversed itself and returned the prize to Lora DiCarlo, the company which manufactures the Ose.

Sex toys “are consumer electronics just like any other but are not treated like that,” said Janet Lieberman-Lu, co-founder of Dame Products, which manufactures small devices for clitoral stimulation.

Given their widespread use, “sex toys are by definition mainstream…. They’re more adopted than a lot of products at CES.”

Her company has taken New York City’s public transportation system to court, complaining that it allows advertisements for erectile dysfunction medications and ads that contain humorous references to sex — but not for sex devices.

Crave shows its wearable vibrators at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show

“When you say that male sexual function is healthy and necessary but vibrators for women are obscene, you’re saying that men are supposed to be able to have sex and women aren’t supposed to be able to enjoy it,” said Lieberman-Lu.

“That’s what leads to rape culture.”

– Starting the conversation –

Entrepreneurs in this industry, many of whom started out in conventional consumer electronics, medicine or cosmetics, say pleasure and health go hand-in-hand.

Given that school textbooks only recently began including information on the shape and size of the clitoris, they say they are on a mission to educate the public.

It is often “much easier to talk about health than pure pleasure, which can involve fear of rejection,” said Soumyadip Rakshit, CEO of Mystery Vibe, which develops vibrators that deal with both erectile difficulties in men and postpartum vaginal scarring in women.

To open up, people often need a catalyst.

“Everyone is keen to talk about it but no one wants to be the first,” he said.

“If someone does that for them, a company, an article, a doctor… it makes that so much easier.”

Ergo-Fit presents its sex toys at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show

Elsewhere on the showroom floor, Gerard Escaler, chief marketing officer at Lovense, explains how a male “masturbator” works.

The tubular objects have internal sleeves and are pink when intended for straight users and translucent for gay users.

The Hong Kong-based company offers several internet apps for use in long-distance relations — with a partner or with online erotic performers like “cam girls” who sell access to live web video.

Lovense also is developing a virtual reality game for the male sex toy with female characters. Visitors have to imagine the contents, however, since the imagery, even if artificial, is not allowed during the consumer expo.

But the “sexual wellbeing” industry, which could swell to nearly $40 billion by 2024, according to a forecast from market research firm Aritzon, may have good reason to maintain an air of mystery and controversy.

Without the storm it created last year, the $300 Ose vibrator might not have taken off quite the way it did, said Lora Haddock DiCarlo, founder of the eponymous company which produces it.

“When we did our presale with Ose, after its long-awaited release at the end of November, we hit our yearly sales goal in five hours,” she said, as she road aboard a transparent mobile showroom plying the streets of Las Vegas during the show.

The roving booth, like a fishbowl on wheels, displayed the catch phrase: “The pleasure is all yours.”

Complete Article HERE!

Share

Will We Ever Figure Out How to Talk to Boys About Sex?

Share

Teenagers and young men still don’t have the right vocabulary. Can we help them get there?

By Peggy Orenstein

A while back, during a discussion I was having with a group of high school students about sexual ethics, a boy raised his hand to ask me, “Can you have sex without feelings?” The other guys in the room nodded, leaned forward, curious, maybe a little challenging. Strictly speaking, of course, even indifference is a feeling, but I knew what they meant: They wanted to know if they could have sex without caring: devoid of vulnerability, even with disregard for a partner. To put it in teenage parlance, they wanted to know whether it was truly possible to “hit it and quit it.”

I thought about those boys this week as I watched Harvey Weinstein, in an Oscar-worthy performance of abject harmlessness, hobble on his walker into the New York Supreme Court in Manhattan. The #MeToo movement has exposed sexual misconduct, coercion and harassment across every sector of society. But shining light on a problem won’t, in itself, solve it, not even if Mr. Weinstein ends up with (fingers crossed) the longest prison sentence in history. To make real change we need to tackle something larger and more systemic: the pervasive culture that urges boys toward disrespect and detachment in their intimate encounters.

Despite a new imperative to be scrupulous about affirmative consent, young men are still subject to incessant messages that sexual conquest — being always down for sex, racking up their “body count,” regardless of how they or their partner may feel about it — remains the measure of a “real” man, and a reliable path to social status. As one high school junior explained: “Guys need to prove themselves to their guys. So to do that, you’re going to be dominating. You’re going to maybe push. Because, it’s like the girl is just there as a means for him to get off and a means for him to brag.”

I never intended to write about boys. As a journalist, I have spent over a quarter of a century chronicling girls’ lives — that has been my calling and my passion. But four years ago, after publishing a book about the contradictions young women still face in their intimate encounters, I realized, perhaps inevitably, that if I truly wanted to promote safer, more enjoyable, more egalitarian sexual relationships among young people, I needed to have the other half of the conversation. So I began interviewing young men — dozens, of different backgrounds, in their early teens and 20s — about sex and love, hookup culture and relationships, masculinity and media, sexual consent and misconduct. #MeToo wasn’t the impetus for my work (I began well before the Weinstein story broke) but it quickly underscored the urgency.

Few of the boys had previously had such conversations. Certainly not with their parents, most of whom would rather poke themselves in the eye with a fork than speak frankly to their sons about sex. I can’t say that I blame them: It’s excruciating, and it’s not like our own parents offered a template.

Yet that silence has troubling implications. According to a 2017 national survey of 3,000 high school students and young adults by the Making Caring Common Project, a large majority of boys never had a single conversation with their parents about, for instance, how to be sure that your partner “wants to be — and is comfortable — having sex with you,” or about what it meant to be a “a caring and respectful sexual partner.” About two-thirds had never heard from their parents that they shouldn’t have sex with someone who is too intoxicated to consent. Most had never been told by parents not to catcall girls or use degrading terms such as “bitches” or “hoes” — this despite the fact that nearly 90 percent of the girls in the survey reported having been sexually harassed.

Adults may assume those ideas are self-evident, beyond the need for comment, but given the rates of coercion, misconduct and assault among men both young and old, boys are clearly not getting the message by osmosis. The vast majority of teenagers, though, who did have conversations like these with their parents — and boys even more than girls — described them as at least somewhat influential on their thinking.

Nor will schools pick up the slack. Most states still require sex education to stress abstinence (a legit option, for sure, as long as it’s one among many: not a mandate that equates sexually active teens with, say, chewed pieces of gum). But many more progressive, supposedly comprehensive classes aren’t much better, often focused predominantly on risk and danger: avoiding pregnancy and preventing disease. Increasingly, sexual consent is being added to that cautionary to-do list, as it should be. Too often, though, that question of yes or no becomes a stand-in for all conversation about sexual decision-making: another way to dodge more nuanced discussions of personal responsibility, open communication, establishing relationships, understanding gender dynamics and — the third rail of sex ed classes — reciprocal pleasure and the L.G.B.T.Q.+ perspective.

I found gay boys, by the way, to be notably more willing and able than others to negotiate the terms of a sexual encounter — they had to be, since who was going to do what with whom could not be assumed. They often seemed puzzled by heterosexuals’ reticence. “I don’t know why straight guys see consent as a mood-killer,” one college sophomore said. “I’m like, ‘if we’re talking, that means we’re going to have sex — this is great!’”
Editors’ Picks
She Was a Star of New York Real Estate, but Her Life Story Was a Lie
The Balancing Act
They Were Victorian Dandies Who Made Art. Now They’re On the Outs.

Dan Savage, the syndicated sex advice columnist, refers to “the four magic words” gay guys will use during a sexual encounter: What are you into?” That’s a very different perspective than that of straight boys, who usually aim for one-word assent to options they define. I do fear, though, that since girls, as I’d previously found, are so often disconnected from their bodies’ desires and responses, their answer to an authentic conversation-starter might well be, “I have no idea.” What might happen, though, if teenagers learned to start talking to each other that way early on?

Absent guidance from trusted adults, boys look to the media as a default sex educator, where they are bombarded by images of female sexual availability and male sexual entitlement. With the rise of the internet, smartphones and video-sharing sites like Pornhub, parents worry about the potential impact of pornography on teens’ sexual expectations. Let me be clear: Curiosity about sex is natural. Masturbation? Great! What’s more, there is all kinds of porn — ethical porn, feminist porn, queer porn. But the most readily available, free content portrays a distorted vision of sex: as something men do to rather than with a partner and women’s pleasure as a performance for male satisfaction.

Boys frequently expressed ambivalence to me about their porn habits. “I think porn affects your ability to be innocent in a sexual relationship,” a high school senior commented. “The whole idea of exploring sex without any preconceived ideas of what it is, you know?”

Even if parents could block all the triple-X sites (and good luck with that), the reality is that exposure to sexual content in media consumption of any kind — TV, movies, games, social media, music videos — is associated with greater tolerance for sexual harassment, belief in rape myths and the objectification of women. “I think music has some of the biggest impact on how guys treat girls,” another high school senior told me. “In the car, my friends and I listen to all this stuff that’s just” — he rattled off several oh-so-unprintable lines about women and sex. “When you hear that, like, five, six, 10 times a day, it makes it hard to escape having that mind-set.”

The promise of hot sex with a cold heart animates college (and increasingly high school) hookup culture — which is why, according to Lisa Wade, a professor of sociology at Occidental College, getting wasted beforehand is so crucial: Alcohol girds young people against the near-fanatic generational fear of the awkward while creating what Ms. Wade calls the “compulsory carelessness” necessary for a possible one-off. Most of the guys I met knew that sex with an incapacitated person is assault. Yet because, in their minds, you need to be hammered in order to hook up, the trick became being (and finding someone who is) drunk enough to want to do it but sober enough to be able to express a credible “yes.” And who is to be the judge of that?

Drunk boys, as it turns out, tend to vastly overperceive a girl’s interest in sex, often interpreting expressions of friendliness as It’s on. Alcohol has also been shown to diminish their ability to hear “no” or notice a partner’s hesitation. Wasted young men are more likely than they would be sober to use coercion or force to get what they want and — still looking at you, Brett Kavanaugh — they are less aware of their victim’s distress.

In consensual drunken hookups, the sex still tends to be meh. It “can feel like two people having two very distinct experiences,” a second-semester college freshman who’d had multiple partners told me. “There’s not much eye contact. Sometimes you don’t even say anything. And it’s weird to be so open with a stranger. It’s like you’re acting vulnerable, but not actually being vulnerable with someone you don’t know and don’t care very much about. It’s not a problem for me. It’s just — odd. Odd, and not even really fun.”

According to Andrew Smiler, a psychologist specializing in adolescent male behavior who surveyed over a hundred teen boys about dating and sex, most guys, in fact, prefer physical intimacy with someone they know, trust and with whom they feel comfortable. I found that to be true, too, though they seemed to view it as their personal quirk, not shared by their peers. Mr. Smiler suggests, then, that adults can ask boys what kind of sexual experience they want. “Not just whether they are looking to have an orgasm,” he said, “but about the context and quality of that orgasm. If we’re willing to be more vulgar and pointed, we might even ask, ‘Do you want a partner who’s more than just someone to masturbate into?’”

It occurs to me, after a quarter-century of talking to teens, that the activism on behalf of girls could offer a model to better guide boys. Back in the 1990s, when I first began writing about young women’s quandaries in a changing world — loss of confidence, stunted ambition, negative body image, sexual shaming — there was both a desire for and an apprehension about change: Some parents worried, not irrationally, that raising a daughter to be outspoken or sexually empowered would come at a social cost, that she would be labeled a bitch or a slut. Others raged that girls were being pushed, against their nature, to become “more like boys.”

But years of attention to girls’ experience, of work by parents and professionals, has reduced some of those fears, eased constraint, expanded girls’ roles and opportunities: Things aren’t perfect, not by a long shot, but they are better. Nonetheless, I found myself wishing, in my conversations with girls, that their early sexual experiences did not have to be, as they so often were, something they had to get over. That will require reducing the harm boys cause, whether out of monstrous venality, entitlement, heedlessness or even (maybe especially) ignorance.

For their own well-being, as well as their partners’, they need a counternarrative to the one that elevates the transactional over the connected, the sensual, the kind; boys need to value mutual gratification in their sexual encounters, whether with one-offs or long-term partners. That won’t be accomplished in a single “sex talk,” nor, really, any one easy fix, any more than you could teach your child table manners in one sitting. But at the very least, listening to their struggles is a start. I think about a guy I talked to early on, a rising college junior who’d equated a girl’s invitation back to her room with sexual consent. “I want to do the right thing,” he told me, “but I don’t know what the right thing is. I just know what I know, which is a lot of really confusing and wrong” stuff. He pressed forward unthinkingly, one might say manfully — or as he described it, “boom, boom, boom, boom” — until she put a hand on his chest, saying, “Whoa! I don’t want to do that.”

“And in that moment,” he said, “I could see just how wrong it was. The utter lack of communication that took place in those five to 10 minutes. And even realizing that I didn’t feel great myself about what we were doing. I just…” He shook his head regretfully. “I thought that was the only option. I thought that was the way things were supposed to be.”

Complete Article HERE!

Share

Shame Isn’t an Education

Share

by Emily Newman

How did you learn about sex? Were you taught that it’s a natural part of life or that it’s a sin? Did you receive medically accurate information that prepared you to make safe and responsible decisions regarding your sexual activity? Or were you told that all sexual activity is bad and that having sex makes you unwanted and dirty, like chewed gum?

As odd as that metaphor may sound, it’s just one of several used by abstinence-only and sexual risk-avoidance programs to shame students, instead of providing reliable, accurate information. Now, condom brand Trojan and Advocates for Youth are raising awareness of such unethical strategies by turning chewed pieces of gum into protest symbols with their #Not
ChewedGum cam­paign (NotChewed
Gum.org or SRAisAbstinenceOnly.org). On October 30 the two organizations coordinated a billboard-sized exhibit in front of the Capitol in Washington, DC, with the message “You Are Not Chewed Gum. Information Is the Best Protection” crafted entirely from chewed gum.

Other insulting examples used to shame students include:

  • The used piece of tape: Students stick a piece of tape on their own arm then take it off and pass it to another student, who does the same. The teacher notes that the tape isn’t sticky anymore, concluding that when you have sex with multiple people you ruin your ability to experience emotional intimacy.
  • The cup of spit: Multiple students spit into one cup and the teacher asks if anyone wants to drink it. When no one does, the teacher explains that the cup of spit symbolizes someone who has had sex with multiple partners; “no one will want you.”
  • The dice roll and paper doll: Students roll dice and are handed a paper baby based on the roll. The lesson is that sex is risky and can always result in pregnancy, no matter if contraception is used.
  • The shredded heart: After students write their hopes and dreams for the future on a paper heart the teacher selects a student’s heart to tear into pieces. The teacher tells the class that once they have sex their hopes and dreams are destroyed.
  • The toothbrush: The teacher shows the class a used toothbrush and asks the boys if they would like to use it. When they say no, the teacher then turns to the girls and says that once they’ve had sex, they’re like the used toothbrush; “who would want you?”
  • The unwrapped candy: The teacher unwraps a piece of candy, has the students pass it around the class, and then asks if they’d rather have the candy that everyone touched or a wrapped candy. The lesson is that once you’ve had sex you’re like unwanted unwrapped candy. People will choose the untouched candy instead of the “dirty” one.
  • The crockpot and the microwave: Teachers explain that girls are like crock pots because they “heat up” slowly, while boys are like microwaves because they “get hot” quickly. Girls are also taught to be responsible for making sure boys don’t heat up too quickly.

“We need to counter harmful and shameful programs, and give people resources and tools so they can gain as much knowledge as possible,” said Bukky (pictured here), a nineteen-year-old representative of the Advocates for Youth International Youth Leadership Council and a current Howard University student who was present at the October 30 event in DC. She’s interested in working on global reproductive justice because she had a very “don’t ask, don’t tell” understanding of sex as a direct result of growing up in Idaho and attending the Church of Latter Day Saints’ schools. “If you talked about consent and birth control, you were shamed.”

Abstinence-only lessons are especially cruel to girls by claiming that they—unlike boys—are less valuable after having sex “whether they wanted to or not,” implying that sexual abuse is a female’s responsibility to avoid. This inequity is reinforced by the societal protection of girls’ virginity and the simultaneous celebration of boys’ promiscuity. Recently, rapper T.I. boasted in an interview that he takes his eighteen-year-old daughter to get an annual “hymen check,” but is fine with his fifteen-year-old son having sex. In response to that interview, feminist writer and Humanist Heroine awardee Jessica Valenti reminds us that there’s no medical definition of virginity. “There is no physical marker on men or women’s bodies that demonstrate virginity (not even hymens), and sex means something a lot broader than heterosexual intercourse.” However, seven states require only negative information be provided on homosexuality as part of sex education and several states aren’t even required to provide medically accurate information.

“We use sex to sell everything else, but as a culture we can’t talk about sex,” Trojan 
Marketing Director Stephanie Berez pointed out at the gum wall on the National Mall. This lack of frank conversation has led to Congress spending over $2.2 billion on ineffective abstinence-only programs and has permitted Donald Trump’s administration to cancel funding for eighty-one successful teen pregnancy prevention programs. It has resulted in cases of gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis reaching an all-time high in 2018, with about half of all new STD cases occurring in young people aged fifteen to twenty-four. And it means we’ve failed to equip young people with education for all genders and sexual orientations in order to prevent harassment and promote healthy relationships. As the Society of Adolescent Health and Medicine’s 2017 review of abstinence-only-until-marriage policies and programs concluded, access to sexual health information “is a basic human right and is essential to realizing the human right to the highest attainable standard of health.”

While the #NotChewedGum campaign focuses on the gross and backwards lessons of abstinence-only programs, the #ThxBirthControl campaign by Power to Decide celebrates the unlimited possibilities contraception gives individuals, couples, and families. People are encouraged to learn more about birth control and related legislation, share their stories, and ask questions, providing the comprehensive sexual education that should be in every classroom.

Complete Article HERE!

Share

Almost 10 million in U.S. have faced sexual violence at work

Share

By Carolyn Crist

Almost 1 in 18 women and 1 in 40 men have experienced sexual harassment in and related to the workplace, according to a U.S. study.

That represents almost 7 million women and 3 million men who have reported assault, unwanted sexual contact or verbal harassment by a boss, supervisor, coworker, customer or client, the study authors report in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

“Sexual violence is a prevalent issue and is also preventable,” said Kathleen Basile of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, the study’s lead author.

The term “sexual violence” is defined as unwanted penetration through the use of force, alcohol or drug facilitation; pressured or coerced sex; unwanted sexual contact, such as groping; unwanted experiences, such as exposure of sexual body parts and sexual remarks.

“Given the recent media attention to this issue and the re-emergence of the #metoo movement, the time seemed right to focus on it,” Basile told Reuters Health by email.

The researchers analyzed 2010-2012 data from the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, which included about 23,000 women and 19,000 men. Basile’s team studied the prevalence of several types of sexual violence by a workplace-related perpetrator, including both authority figures and non-authority figures. They also looked at the numerous after-effects of these experiences, such as psychological problems, safety concerns and absence from work or school.

The study specifically focused on sexual violence by a workplace-related person but couldn’t determine whether the actions occurred at the workplace itself, the authors note.

(Reuters Health) – Almost 1 in 18 women and 1 in 40 men have experienced sexual harassment in and related to the workplace, according to a U.S. study.

That represents almost 7 million women and 3 million men who have reported assault, unwanted sexual contact or verbal harassment by a boss, supervisor, coworker, customer or client, the study authors report in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

“Sexual violence is a prevalent issue and is also preventable,” said Kathleen Basile of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, the study’s lead author.

The term “sexual violence” is defined as unwanted penetration through the use of force, alcohol or drug facilitation; pressured or coerced sex; unwanted sexual contact, such as groping; unwanted experiences, such as exposure of sexual body parts and sexual remarks.

“Given the recent media attention to this issue and the re-emergence of the #metoo movement, the time seemed right to focus on it,” Basile told Reuters Health by email.

The researchers analyzed 2010-2012 data from the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, which included about 23,000 women and 19,000 men. Basile’s team studied the prevalence of several types of sexual violence by a workplace-related perpetrator, including both authority figures and non-authority figures. They also looked at the numerous after-effects of these experiences, such as psychological problems, safety concerns and absence from work or school.

The study specifically focused on sexual violence by a workplace-related person but couldn’t determine whether the actions occurred at the workplace itself, the authors note.

The research team found that 5.6% of women and 2.5% of men reported some type of sexual violence by a workplace-related perpetrator. About 4% of women reported harassment by non-authority figures and 2% reported harassment by authority figures. About 2% of men reported harassment by non-authority figures and about 0.6% reported harassment by authority figures.

For women, the most commonly reported sexual act was unwanted sexual contact, and for men, it was unwanted sexual experiences such as sexual remarks.

About 1 million women, or 0.8%, have been raped by a coworker, who was more likely to be a non-authority figure. About 400,000 men, or 0.4%, have been sexually coerced by a coworker and 184,000 were forced to penetrate another person.

“The typical public perception of sexual violence in the workplace is that it is mostly verbal harassment or creating a hostile work environment,” Basile said. “Sexual violence involving physical contact, including forced penetration, while not the most common type, was still reported as having been committed.”

For both men and women, fear was the most commonly reported effect of sexual violence.

“Much of the perpetration is being done not by bosses, as is often the assumption, but from co-workers and, importantly, clients and customers,” said Adrienne O’Neil of Deakin University in Geelong, Australia, who wasn’t involved in the study.

“I hear this a lot from nurses, psychiatrists and emergency workers, where they’ve been made to feel that they are to put up with unwanted sexual advances and assault because their priority is to treat patients above all else,” she told Reuters Health by email. “We’ve known for a long time that these factors put you at risk of heart attack.”

Workplace-related sexual harassment also affects co-workers who witness the behavior, the victim’s loved ones and the victim’s children, said James Campbell Quick of the University of Texas at Arlington, who wasn’t involved in the study.

Company policies should include stricter enforcement around sexual harassment, he said, which includes providing high-risk employees with help before they act. Workplaces should “become obsessed with deviant behavior,” he added, and socialize everyone with proper training, starting with first-line supervisors.

“The greatest tragedy is that this is not a workplace accident,” Quick told Reuters Health by email. “It is a preventable form of malicious, motivated behavior. One act of sexual violence in the workplace raises the threat level for the entire workplace.”

Complete Article HERE!

Share

Clitoris, Clitoris, Clitoris:

Share

It’s Not a Dirty Word and I Think Kids Should Know What It Is


By Jackie Gillard

It may seem shocking and vulgar to some, but teaching appropriately aged children of all genders about a body part existing only for a woman’s sexual pleasure isn’t just about a woman’s pleasure.

Almost all Canadian school sex-ed curricula avoid discussions on pleasure and focus on reproduction or risks, in either clinical information or warnings to our kids against all the “bad” things that can happen from having sex.

Even naming body parts often excludes the clitoris — it’s labelled in only a few suggested curricula. Yet sexuality educator Nadine Thornhill, PhD., emphasizes, “A child’s knowledge of all sexual body parts — including the clitoris — and understanding what feels good physically versus what doesn’t, are vital components of ensuring children truly comprehend what consent is all about.”

It’s a concept that can be difficult to grasp if you belong to the school of thought that heterosexual sex is about a man “doing” something to a woman; it’s not, and never should be classified as such.

A man asking if he can “do” those things is only one facet of consent.

If a woman doesn’t understand what feels good to her, is her agreement truly consent? Does she actually care or even know she’s not obligated to participate in any kind of sexual interaction that is not pleasurable for her as well? These concepts apply to men, too.

In the age of #MeToo and #TimesUp, men need to comprehend that a woman’s body does not exist simply for their pleasure or reproduction.

The idea that only men are sexual and women are reproductive is incorrect. Both genders are reproductive and both are sexual. The taboos around sexual enjoyment only perpetuate a disservice to both — women grow up feeling shame for bodily agency and sexual enjoyment, while men grow up not fully understanding the sexuality of their partners or how to satisfy them sexually.

We can’t possibly continue to uphold a secretive cover to women’s bodies and their pleasures. Our kids shouldn’t grow up believing anatomy like the clitoris and its functions are dirty, gross or simply a mystery they may go looking to potentially dangerous sources like the internet to have explained.

As parents, it’s our job to ensure we instill in our families a healthy sexual education based on gender equality and fact.

A few years ago, the creation of three-dimensional models of both the inner and outer clitoris taught me — at the ripe old age of 46 — what this integral part of my anatomy looked like inside.

I was born in the sexual liberation decade of the ’70s, yet didn’t even know the correct name or function of a clitoris until my early twenties. Interestingly, I had full comprehension of what my reproductive system looked like, as well as the inner and outer anatomy of mens’ sexual parts, when I was a teenager.

For those unaware, the clitoris actually is formed during gestation from the same tissues that becomes a penis in men. In fact, scientific studies have confirmed that the penis and clitoris have many similarities; enough to have some refer to the clitoris as the “female penis.”

Sadly, the penis and the clitoris are treated very differently by society. Modern culture still blushes at the mention of the clitoris and is generally lacking in even the most basic information about it. I consider myself a feminist, yet I too failed to name and describe this integral part of a woman’s sexuality with both my kids during every one of our open and honest discussions of sexuality.

Only a few Canadian provinces list the clitoris in the curriculum for naming genitalia, and it seems only Quebec discusses the concept of sexual pleasure with high school teens, at the interpretation and comfort level of the teacher leading the classes. My own daughter had a teacher in Grade 4 who only discussed girls having vaginas and didn’t even name the vulva, let alone the clitoris.

Contrary to what I believe to be the erroneous fear that teaching kids about the clitoris will somehow push them towards premature sexual activity, studies have shown honest discussions about sex actually have the opposite effect.

Curiosity is often what motivates youth to experiment sexually, and coupled with a lack of knowledge, can lead to unsatisfying, unpleasurable or even painful or negative sexual experiences for both genders. In the Netherlands, the sex-ed curriculum includes topics like sexual communication and differences between porn sex and real sex. Pleasure is discussed in the context of comfort with one’s own body and communicating personal sexual desires to a partner. The outcome? The Netherlands reports three times less sexual violence than America and has a lower teen pregnancy and STI rate.

At the bare minimum, those with a clitoris should know its name in the event of clitoral health issues. Like any other part of the body, the clitoris can require medical attention. Sadly, bodily shame about problems “down there” prevents some women from discussing issues of concern with even their own doctors.

Complete Article HERE!

Share

‘Sex Can Be Anything’

Share

By

Last month, the writer, activist, and sex worker Rachel Rabbit White published her debut book of poetry and threw a costume party in New York to celebrate. (Earlier this month, she threw another in Los Angeles.) While Porn Carnival is White’s first full-length poetry publication, she’s been writing — for Playboy and Vice, among other outlets — about sex, desire, consumption, capitalism, and the uncomfortable meeting place of all these themes for years. On the occasion of her book’s publication, we spoke about the innate pressures of heterosexuality, the similarities between writing and desire, and whether she thinks today’s young people have a new relationship to gratification.

I want to know what your thoughts are on the words associated with sex — how their meanings are so determined by context.
I was recently having a conversation where someone said they hate the word pleasure, and I was like, oh, I love the word pleasure. It’s almost the opposite of the word desire, and yet the two are so close.

In many ways Porn Carnival is a book about romance. It’s about the hope for joy outside the work life but it’s also about the agony of love and the simultaneous hope of love. In between laboring, there is a constant search for community, for orgy, for romance while still knowing that in romance is always a lack, a trap. A lot of people have focused on the despair about work in the book but there’s a maybe more pleasurable despair about pleasure itself.

I am a pessimist about romance and yet, like maybe all of us, romance still has a grip on me. I do think that romance, like all things is tainted by capitalism. And that second wave feminists were right to criticize romance as the site of women’s subordination. But it’s not necessary to defend romance in order to understand its pleasures, the euphoria of falling in love.

Where is the line between experiencing eroticism and performing it? Does that line disintegrate at times?
It can be pleasurable to perform pleasure. Everyone has a different persona tactic when it comes to sex work (the girlfriend, the therapist, the good girl who shouldn’t be here, the party girl, the guys’ girl), but I’ve always done best playing the femme fatale. It’s a role that requires a glamorized distance — tease and denial — and because of that a dominant physicality (I use strip-club moves mixed with with light femme domme energy in order to keep the session in my control). I get pleasure from the routine of femme fatale, from successfully building a fantasy that works for someone, which also allows me to keep my boundaries. But the lines between performing pleasure and experiencing pleasure get blurred in any sex. Because sex and romance are always mediated by capitalism, we are all actors, and it often takes acting to summon up a belief in romance, even if we don’t realize it.

As a side note, though: Plenty of women do the work of sex work without trading sex for money or capital. The work of sexual entertaining, as well as the many emotional labors of sex work. Every woman is expected or pressured in heterosexuality to do the labor that sex workers do, but not every woman is a sex worker. I think sex workers are strangely more equipped, though, to ponder the problem of romance, because we sell sex and love as our job, and have this strange distance and closeness with the theater of gender relations.

Your poetry, too, has a seductive relationship with the reader. As a writer, do you employ fictional identities?
Some art, in order for it to be truly full, requires a persona. My favorite artists are the ones who recognize this and play with persona, making their life blur with their art. I am guilty of this! And sometimes, being self-deprecating, I say that it’s because I lack imagination, the imagination to create completely fictional narratives and not write about my own life — but if I am being honest, not living my life as though I were its protagonist, and then not writing about my experiences, just strikes me as boring.

You seem to be sort of a pleasure mentor for some. What kind of advice could you give someone who might have a fraught relationship with sex or self-discovery?
Sex can be a vehicle for self-expression and it can be a theater; sex doesn’t have to be serious, and sex can be anything. The most important thing I’ve learned is how to make boundaries a part of your seduction, your flirtation, an inherent part of your sex. I think that the first thing to realize to have a good relationship with pleasure is that enjoyment (the consumption of pleasure as a commodity) is not everything, that pleasure is not everything, that our sexuality and sexiness is not all that there is. It’s one of the reasons why I have worked very hard to have a place for writing in my life, this very cruel practice that requires loneliness, concentration, and deferment of pleasures and gratification. And poetry especially comes with very little perks: it doesn’t bring money, it rarely brings fame, and it is even less read than most genres. But to me that doesn’t matter; that’s my space where I gratuitously spend myself and my love for the word and other poets, expecting nothing in return.

What is better, enacting someone else’s fantasy, or having someone enact one of your own?
The best is to find where your fantasy crosses with someone else’s. You make sex from where you overlap.

Do you think that younger generations have very different understandings of gratification (meaning your generation compared to older ones, and also the generation younger than you)?
I don’t think it’s really that different. The habits and the knowledge with which we approach pleasure might have changed, but the underlying attitudes towards it I believe are largely unchanged. Sex fascinates and scares the younger generations in the same way it did the older generations. In the same ways, we want to protect ourselves and those we love from the dangers that come with it. We see our openness to gratification and the practices that requires shrink the more we age into complex life situations with responsibilities, duties, and long term plans. To deal with satisfaction is not an easy task, and it requires freedom, time, and especially money. It is an expenditure, and as such it is not something — unfortunately — that is available for everyone, or at least not to everyone all of the time, or even often.

So, it is understandable that with this inequality of access also comes a whole lot of different approaches and opinions about desire. Varying attitudes are there in every generation, and honestly, I think when people say  that today’s younger generations are excessively prudish, or excessively libertine, they’re just projecting their own politics. Young people are young people: eager to grow up and scared of what it means, naive and yet savvy, open and idealistic and reticent and sarcastic. They are moving their first steps into the unknown waters of an autonomous life with all the uncertainties and ambiguities that come with this newly found independence.

Complete Article HERE!

Share

What Does “Sex Positive” Mean?

Share

If you’ve got an open and non-judgmental mind when it comes to sex, you’re on the right track.

By

The term “sex positive” is used to describe an attitude towards sex that’s well, positive, and judgment-free. Contrary to what you might think, being sex positive doesn’t necessarily mean you’re kinky AF (although you can be), but is more of an umbrella term used to describe an open attitude when it comes to all things sexual.

“Sex-positivity can be defined in many different ways but generally refers to an attitude and approach to sex that prioritizes personal agency and preferences and minimizes moral judgments,” says Jess O’Reilly, PhD, and resident sexologist for Astroglide.

One of the most important factors about sex-positivity is the idea that sex can be used for pleasure and not just procreation, explains Robert Thomas, a sexologist and co-founder of Sextopedia.

Another important aspect of sex-positivity is the ability to talk freely about sex, without shame or judgment towards yourself or others. “Sex positivity views sex as one of the best things in life and doesn’t demonize it in any way or attempt to make anyone feel guilty for their urges and desires,” explains Alex Miller, sexologist at Orchid Toys. A sex-positive person doesn’t judge others for their sexual desires or fetishes, and instead keeps an open mind.

And yes, you can be totally sex-positive if you identify as vanilla and personally don’t engage in kinky sex. “You, or other adults around you, can choose if, when, how, and with whom they want to have sex, and not be judged about their decisions,” adds Thomas. As long as you’re not judging other people for their proclivities between consenting adults, you’re sex-positive.

You can also be sex-positive without even having had sex, says O’Reilly. As long as you acknowledge that sexuality evolves and exists on a spectrum. This spectrum can include anything ranging from consensual non-monogamy to abstinence and everything in between.

It might also help to think of sex-positivity as similar to freedom of speech. Someone who believes in freedom of speech may not personally hold every contentious opinion in the land, but their underlying belief that others should be able to have clashing opinions or beliefs that don’t align with theirs is key.

“The sex positivity movement is very closely related to the sentiment of Voltaire…’I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,'” adds Tami Rose, owner of Romantic Adventures.

Translated for a sex-positive crowd, their version would be something like: “I may not enjoy what you do, but as long as it is going on between consenting adults and is not damaging or endangering anyone… rock on,” explains Rose.

In short, think of sex-positivity as the celebration of freedom of choice, as O’Reilly calls it. Being sex-positive is an attitude that embraces personal agency and choice and respects the sexual decisions made between consenting adults.

Complete Article HERE!

Share