Category Archives: Sex In The News

Review: An Intimate Life: Sex, Love and My Journey as a Surrogate Partner

Hey sex fans!

I have another swell sex-positive book to tell you about today. Anyone who frequents this site will already be familiar with my dear friend and esteemed colleague, Cheryl Cohen Greene. If ya don’t believe me type her name into the search function in the sidebar to your right and PRESTO!

Not only will you find the fabulous two-part SEX WISDOM podcast we did together, (Part 1 is HERE! And Part 1 is HERE!) you will find a posting about the movie The Sessions. You’ve seen it right? It’s the award-winning film staring John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, and William H. Macy. It’s the story of a man in an iron lung who wishes to lose his virginity.  He contacts a professional surrogate partner with the help of his therapist and priest. Ms. Hunt plays Cheryl, the surrogate partner in the movie

Cheryl also contributed a chapter on sex and intimacy concerns for sick, elder and dying people for my book, The Amateur’s Guide To Death And Dying.

With all that as a preface, I now offer you Cheryl’s own story: An Intimate Life: Sex, Love, and My Journey as a Surrogate Partner. The first thing I want to say is this book is it’s not a clinical or technical tome. It is an easily accessible memoir. And that, to my mind, is what makes it so fascinating.

She writes in the Introduction:An Intimate Life

I started this work in 1973, and my journey to it spans our society’s sexual revolution and my own. I grew up in the ‘40s and ‘50s, a time when sex education was—to put it mildly— lacking. As I educated myself, I found that most of what I had been taught about sex was distorted or wrong. The lessons came from the playground, the church, and the media. My parents could barely talk about sex, much less inform me about it.

What follows is a candid and often funny look into the personal and professional life of a woman on the cutting edge of our culture’s movement toward sexual wellbeing.

Cheryl comes out of her conservative Catholic upbringing and her often tortured family dynamics with what one would expect—her own sexual awakenings as well as the conspiracy of ignorance and repression that wanted to stifle it. This is a common story, the story of so many of us.

Starting when I was around ten, I masturbated and brought myself to orgasm nearly every night. … If my nights began with anxiety, my days began with guilt. I became convinced that every earache, every toothache, every injury was God punishing me. … I couldn’t escape his gaze or his wrath. Sometimes I imagined my guardian angel looked away in disgust as I touched myself and rocked back and forth in my bed.

The miracle here is that this troubled tween would blossom into the remarkable sexologist she is today.

rsz_1greenecherylSome of the chapters in her book describe one or another of her hands on therapeutic encounters as a surrogate partner, but equally important and compelling are the chapters that describe Cheryl’s own sexual struggles as she moved to adulthood and beyond. Cheryl’s acceptance of her own sexuality enables her to build a career out of helping others do the very same thing.

Everyone has a right to satisfying, loving sex, and, in my experience, that most often flows from strong communication, self-respect, and a willingness to explore.

Despite the frank discussion of sexual topics within the book, there is no prurience or sensationalism. For the most part, Cheryl’s clients are regular people, mostly men, who have pretty ordinary problems—erection and/or ejaculation concerns, dating difficulties, as well as self-esteem, guilt and shame issues. Cheryl helps each of her clients with the efficiency and confidence of the world-class sex educator she is. Most of her interaction involves her supplying her clients with some much-needed information, dispelling myths, and giving them permission to experiment. As she says;

I continue to be amazed at how solid education delivered without judgment can eradicate much of the guilt and shame that turns life in the bedroom into a struggle instead of a pleasure.

Her most famous client, Mark O’Brien, the 36-six-year-old man who had spent most of his life in an iron lung after contracting polio at age 6, was the author of How I Became a Human Being: A Disabled Man’s Quest for Independence, in which he writes about his experience with Cheryl. This, of course, was adapted into a film, The Sessions, which I mentioned above. For her part, Cheryl delivers a most poignant remembrance of Mark early in her book.

I explained Sensual Touch to Mark. Although he was paralyzed, he still had sensation all over his body, so he would feel my hands moving up and down. … I encouraged him to try and recognize four common reactions: feeling neutral, feeling nurtured, feeling sensual and feeling sexual.

An Intimate Life chronicles Cheryl’s life-long interest in human sexuality. Her life and sometimes-turbulent loves are on display, but in the most considerate fashion. She teaches by example. She’s even able to speak with great compassion of her time living with and through cancer.

As I inch toward seventy, I appreciate more and more how much I have to be grateful for and how fortunate I’ve been. I was lucky to find a wonderful career and to be surrounded by so many smart, adventurous, caring people. My personal sexual revolution auspiciously paralleled our culture’s, and in many ways was made possible by it. I am eternally grateful to the pioneers, rebels, and dreamers who made our society a little safer for women who embrace their sexuality.

There is so much I loved about this book, but mostly it’s the humanity I found in abundance. Cheryl’sdr.-cheryl-cohen-greene enlightened soul shines brightly from every page. Her no nonsense approach to all things sexual is an inspiration. And her perseverance to bring surrogate partner therapy into the mainstream is laudable.

…what separates surrogates from prostitutes is significant. When people have difficulties grasping [that], I turn to my beloved and late friend Steven Brown’s cooking analogy that I’ve so often relied on to help me through that question: Seeing a prostitute is like going to a restaurant. Seeing a surrogate is like going to culinary school.

Finally, An Intimate Life is the culmination of Cheryl’s life as a sex educator, her surrogate partner therapy practice being just part of that mission. I highly recommend you read this book. You will, I assure you, come away from it as I have, a better person—enriched, informed, as well as entertained.

Cheryl, thank you for being in my life and being such an abiding inspiration. Thank you too for this marvelous book; now you can be in the lives of so many others who need you so that you can inspire them along their way.

Be sure to visit Cheryl on her site HERE!

REVIEW: My Life on the Swingset

Hey sex fans!

Have I got some marvelous news for you! My friend and colleague, Cooper S. Beckett, has written a new book.  It impressed me no end so I thought, rather than keep this all to myself, I’d share it with you.

Ya’ll remember Cooper, right? OK, maybe ya don’t; it’s been a long time since he was last seen skulking around my site. Way back in March of 2011 I had the pleasure of welcoming Cooper and his ever so lovely sidekick, Ginger, to my Sex EDGE-U-cation show for a two-part interview. You can find both parts in the Podcast Archive HERE and HERE!

Cooper and Ginger are the hosts of the Life On The Swingset podcasts, where they discuss a wide range of topics, with a focus on consensual non-monogamy. swingset

Cooper’s new book: My Life on the Swingset: Adventures in Swinging & Polyamory, is a collection of essays on…wait for it…his personal journey through ethical non-monogamy. This is what he says about it in the Introduction:

You should read this book because it represents my journey. From starry-eyed newbie swinger, through my dealing with jealousy and conflict, through the triumphs of orgies and play parties, through the devastation of breaking up, through exploring polyamory, through divorce, through major life changes, through depression, through success and failure, through the rise and fall of new relationships.

Triumphs of orgies?? How you do go on, sir!

It’s no secret that Cooper is unabashedly biased when it comes to swinging, polyamory, as well as other forms of ethical non-monogamy. And why shouldn’t he be? As he plainly states he has grown in his appreciation of himself and his sexuality in the process. Now, how many of us can make a similar claim? However, in his enthusiasm, he doesn’t gloss over the difficulties. He speaks honestly and earnestly about this particular way to live one’s life. He describes the opportunities that allow for growth in terms of understanding one’s sexuality and one’s loving relationships through experimentation and self-reflection.

To my mind, there is nothing more compelling than a “coming out” story. It’s one thing to quietly self-identify as a fellow big-fat-pervert, as I am apt to say on my podcasts, it’s quite another to tell the whole world. I am pleased to welcome Cooper to the Out-There-Come-What-May club.  It’s good to have you here, my friend.

One of my favorite chapters in the book is titled: Bi The Way – Male Bisexuality and Swinging. Cooper, Ginger, and I talked about this very thing, at length, in our podcast together. So it was delightful to find him exploring this concept in print as well.

There is a huge double standard in the swinging lifestyle when it comes to acceptance of bisexual males. We all know this, it’s endemic. As swingers we seem perfectly happy that our women are bisexual. We encourage and expect them to be so often. Some more than others, but by and large, definitely bisexual. Now don’t jump down my throat here, I’m well aware that straight swinging females exist, and probably in a decent sized number, but wouldn’t we all agree that the VAST majority of females in the lifestyle are bi? This fact isn’t really shocking, as even the mainstream vanilla world has embraced girl-on-girl dalliance action in the past ten to fifteen years. So when a lifestyle such as swinging presents itself as an option, affording them the opportunity to play with girls, well, there ya go, that’s where the bi girl inside comes out. Many of the swing couples I’ve met said that this was one of the prominent reasons they got into this lifestyle in the first place. So Mrs. could play with another woman. You raise the call for bisexual males, however, and tumbleweeds blow by. Invisible because it’s been made very clear in club and party rules and pricing that a man who wants to play with another man is an unwelcome addition to the scene. This doesn’t make sense.

See why I like Cooper so much?

Another thing I liked a lot about the book, and I think every reader will echo my feelings about this, is Cooper’s thoughtful addition of a glossary of pertinent lingo. If you don’t know the difference between a Full Swap and a Soft Swap or don’t know PIV and PIA from a hole in your head (someone’s gonna appreciate that pun, don’t cha know), not to worry because Cooper takes great pains to spell it out for you.

On a personal note, I want to say a special thanks to Cooper for his chapter titled: Podcasting Can be Lonely. I thought I was the only person who thought this way.

Podcasting can be a lonely pursuit at times. You predominantly interact with people that don’t have physicality in your world. They’re avatars, they’re ones and zeros. They exist for real somewhere, of course. (Most of them, there are the bots after all.) But few exist beyond text on a screen. Writing for a website is the same way. It’s a lot of work, and a tremendous output of self. We sex bloggers reveal so much to so many people (at least we hope for “so many”) and can often get to wondering if we’re just shouting into the void.

Funny, erotic, thought provoking, authentic, and true. My Life on the Swingset: Adventures in Swinging & Polyamory raises the bar for all of us who are trying to live honest ethical non-monogamy and talk with others about our experiences. Cooper Beckett, you are an inspiration!

My Life on the Swingset is available exclusively as an Amazon Kindle e-book. A print edition will follow later this month. And be sure to look for the audiobook release in the spring. Check it out, sex fans; you’ll be so glad you did.

More SEX WISDOM with PJ Raval — Podcast #422 — 06/23/14


Hey sex fans, welcome back.

Award winning filmmaker and documentarian, PJ Raval is back with us again today to continue our discussion of his PJ 01groundbreaking move, Before You Know It. Like last week, he’s here as part of the SEX WISDOM series because his film shines a spotlight on an often-ignored segment of our youth-oriented culture, LGBT seniors and elders. And the result is nothing short of stunning.

But wait, you didn’t miss Part 1 of our conversation, did you? Well not to worry if ya did, because you can find it and all my podcasts in the Podcast Archive right here on my site. All ya gotta do is use the search function in the header; type in Podcast #420 and Voilà! But don’t forget the #sign when you do your search.

PJ and I discuss:

  • Difficulties faced by LGBT seniors and elders;
  • His earlier film, Trinidad;
  • Dennis, his alter ego, Dee, and his coming out story;
  • Rainbow Vista;
  • Ty and his work with the Harlem chapter of SAGE;
  • Robert “The Mouth” and his Texan drag bar;
  • Intertwining the three stories for the greatest effect;
  • Collaborating with other artistic people;
  • Sex and aging;
  • Queer Bomb;
  • Christeene.

PJ invites you to visit him on his movie’s site HERE! And be sure to like his film’s page on Facebook HERE! His movie even has its own twitter feed. You’ll find it HERE!

(Click on the movie poster below to find out more about PJ’s movie.)

before you know it

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Look for all my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll find me in the podcast section, obviously. Just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.

Today’s Podcast is bought to you by: Fleshlight & FleshJack.

Fear, Rage And Lust, A Volatile Concoction

It’s not often that I receive a message from someone that chills me to the bone. But what you are about to read does precisely that. Sadly, my correspondent chooses to remain anonymous, so I can’t address him directly or personally. But, with a little luck, this very unhappy person will return to my site and find the heartfelt response I’ve prepared for him. If not, I fear the worst will happen.

 

I was raised to believe that fornication would ruin my future marriage, and I believed it. But as time went on, and had trouble attracting women since I had social phobia, I noticed that no one else was waiting until marriage. I felt angry, as if I had been betrayed and left behind. As I get older, the possibility of finding a “pure” woman my age dwindles (I’m almost 30 now). I’m still a virgin myself, and fear having sex with a woman my age because she might judge my inexperience and clumsiness. I also fear that she would compare me with other men. I’m now an atheist, and I know these doctrines are wrong, but I can’t stop feeling jealous and depressed knowing that women my age have all loved other men by now, and I’ll probably never be anyone’s first. Is there treatment for this? Or even a name for this condition?

My friend, thank you for reaching out to me. I only wish you had done so in a way that I could communicate directly and personally to you. I will do my level best to be as kind as I can while I address your many-layered problem. But if I wind up being sharp with you, it’s only because I believe the situation demands that I not soft-pedal my advice to you. So here goes.ShameHands

You, sir, are in critical condition! Yes, there is a treatment for what you have and yes, there’s also the name for what you have. You suffer from acute misogyny. And my treatment recommendations are as follows.

You need to be in the care of a skilled professional, one who understands both your religious background and your current sexual malaise. I could be that person for you, but I won’t take on that responsibility through an anonymous exchange like what we’re doing here. Be a man, stand up, identify yourself, and own your shit. This will be your first step toward healing the rift you have between what you desire and what makes you angry and ashamed.

I can’t help but make the comparison between your message to me and those chilling videos made by the UC Santa Barbara shooter before he went on his rampage some weeks ago. Like you, he was motivated by his intense misogyny and his sense of entitlement to sex. And it scares the bejesus out of me that I have you within reach, all lustful and enraged, yet I am unable to help you personally.

RageI want to first address your religious upbringing. And I think I’m qualified to do this because I was a Catholic priest for 20 years, many years ago. As you now can see for yourself you were duped. The fundamentalism you were fed as a youngster has made you into a bit of a monster. It has made you sick with rage and lust and it has also made you as vengeful as the God of the Hebrew Testament. Surely you can see that nothing good can come from this volatile combination.

I call your condition misogyny because your lust and rage is directed toward woman. Somehow you got it in your head that you are entitled to some pussy and that pussy had better be virginal pussy to boot. And if you don’t get what you think is rightfully yours, because this is the birthright of all men, there is gonna be hell to pay.

Listen up, buckaroo; you are not entitled to anything sexual, no one is. You are particularly not entitled to pussy. And plank_in_eyewhoever told you that you are or suggested that you have something coming to you simply because you’re swinging some pipe between your legs is as big a fool as you are for believing that shit. I’m also pretty certain that you got this message right along with your religious indoctrination, which makes it all the more insidious. The curious thing is, I can’t tell if your fundamentalism is Christian, Jewish, or Muslim. And, in the end, I don’t suppose it make much difference. But I am willing to wager every cent I have that it is one of those three. I say that because monotheistic fundamentalism is at its core, misogynistic. The acolytes of the male god of these three traditions have enshrined the male privilege and women have been paying the price for that bullshit for millennia. It has got to stop!

When men, like you, get it in your head that one woman in particular, or all women in general, have deprived you of what is rightly yours, you know someone is gonna get hurt and hurt badly. Curiously, you don’t take yourself to task for your social phobia and awkwardness even though you acknowledge that these are precisely the things that get in the way of you making yourself attractive to the women you desire. Rather, it is somehow the fault of women because they won’t look beyond your loutishness to see the sweet guy beneath your caustic exterior. Sometimes I’m embarrassed to be a man.

perception-of-fundamentalismI’m sure glad you identified how fear and bitterness has crippled you. You are afraid that women will judge your inexperience and clumsiness and compare you with their other lovers. Welcome to the real world, my friend. We all make judgments; we all make comparisons. Just look at all the judgments you are making about women. Shame on you for trying to point out the speck in someone else’s eye while you have a plank in your own.

Instead of humbling yourself and asking for the help you need to overcome your social and sexual awkwardness, you project hate and show absolutely no compassion toward the very women who are in the ideal position to help you. What does that say about you?

This lethal concoction of hate, shame, fear, and a sense of sexual inadequacy is what perpetuate the rape culture that plagues our society. You sir, are the problem! And until you acknowledge the fact that you are the agent of your own frustration, and get your shit together, all the women around you should be afraid for their virtue as well as their life.

Another telltale sign of this facacta religious fundamentalism that has poisoned your psyche is your preoccupation with the virginity of your perspective mate. So you want someone “pure,” a woman unsullied by another man, huh? Well then here’s a tip. That kind of purity, if there is indeed such at thing, is reserved for someone equally pure; and I don’t mean sexually inexperienced. You should be pure of heart. And there is nothing pure about your heart. Your rage, shame, and lust defile you and make you base. You are, to use religious language, unclean.Love-Lust

It never ceases to amaze me that people, like you, think sex sullies a person. And yet you crave the very sex that will make you and your prospective partner impure. Believe me when I tell you this; even if you enter a marriage with a virgin, as a virgin, just like religious fundamentalists prescribe, you will come away from your first sexual encounter feeling as defiled as you know your wife will be. That’s because your sexuality is based in shame. Your vocabulary betrays you. No wonder even religious fundamentalist women keep their distance from you. You are like a suicide bomber’s vest, ready to detonate.

One more thing, you are definitely not an atheist. And no amount of you saying that you are will make it so. What you are is a disgruntled religious fundamentalist. I mean I completely understand why you are livid. You’ve been consistently lied to about sex and you never learned anything about love. Besides atheists don’t need any more angry doctrinaire lugheads, like you. They have plenty of those already. In fact, it’s often difficult to tell religious fundamentalists apart from atheistic fundamentalists these days. Everyone is so fuckin’ pissed off all the time.

misogynyHere’s my prescription for getting better. Start working with someone who will help you shed the terrors of your religious upbringing and who will show you the way to embrace a more caring and loving God? I think we both know that you will always be a theist; luckily you get to decide what kind of god will be your god.

Start working with someone who will help you heal the rift you have between what you desire and what makes you angry and ashamed. This will make you a happier person, a better person too. You will, in time, learn that sexuality is gift, not a weapon and certainly not an entitlement. You might even learn how to approach women as your equal, to honor them, not denigrate them. And if you give this therapy the time and effort it deserves you will no longer be jealous and depressed. And hell, you might even get laid.

Good luck

More of the SEX WISDOM of Benjamin Law — Podcast #420 — 06/11/14


Hey sex fans, Benjamin Law-2

Benjamin Law, the author of the critically acclaimed book, Gaysia; Adventures in the Queer East is back with us for Part 2 of his turn on this is the SEX WISDOM show. I’m so glad he has more time to spend with us again this week because he charmed the pants off me last week.

But wait, you didn’t miss Part 1 of this conversation, did you? Well not to worry if ya did, because you can find it and all my podcasts in the Podcast Archive right here on my site. All ya gotta do is use the search function in the header; type in Podcast #419 and Voilà! But don’t forget the #sign when you do your search.

And I’m sure we’ll have another opportunity to hear Benjamin read from his book.

Benjamin and I discuss:

  • Sham marriages and marriages of convenience;
  • Growing gay consciousness in China;
  • Reparative therapy through the power of Christ, Allah, or Yoga;
  • Colonialism and sexual oppression;
  • The resilience of the sexual minority communities throughout Asia;
  • Asia, the gayest continent;
  • Cultural relativism and cultural imperialism;
  • How his travels changed his life;
  • Our queer family is global
  • His next book project.

Benjamin invites you to visit him on his site HERE! And he’s also on Twitter HERE!

Click on the cover art below for more information about Gaysia; Adventures in the Queer East.

Gaysia Adventures in the Queer East

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Look for all my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll find me in the podcast section, obviously. Just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.

Today’s Podcast is bought to you by: Fleshlight & FleshJack.

SEO Powered by Platinum SEO from Techblissonline
Get Adobe Flash player