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Another review of my book

Another review of my book, this time in marvelous E-zine — Oysters & Chocolate.

Click on the O&C logo above to view the interview.

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Book Review

Thoughtful review of my book on the Men of Color Blog.

Click on the MOC logo to view the interview.

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Dr Dick’s Sex Positive Doctrine

No podcast today; instead there’s this…

Have you ever wondered about the term, sex positive? If you’re like me you see it all over the place, especially on sex-related sites. I confess I use it way more often than I should. It’s become one of those industry buzzwords that has, over time, become so fuzzy around the edges that it’s now virtually meaningless. In fact, if the truth be known, I believe the term sex positive has been taken over by the sex Taliban who have made it a cover for their strict code of political correctness. Oddly enough, this is the very antithesis of its original meaning.

If you want to shame someone in the sex field—be it a sex worker, blogger or adult product manufacturer—you label that person as sex-negative. You may not know anything about that person other than you were offended by something they did, said or made. But still, you hurl the epithet as if you were exorcising a heretic. This is a very powerful tool for keeping people in my industry in line. But I’ve begun to wonder, who is setting themselves up as the arbiter of what is and what is not sex positive? I have to ask: What is the agenda? I mean, could compulsory ideological purity of some artificial standards of thought or behavior be “positive” anything? I say, no!

Like all good ideas that have gone bad due to overuse—or worse, sloppy use—the sex positive concept once had meaning that was life-affirming and enriching. Sex positive has been in the lexicon at least since the mid-1950s. It frequently appears in journals and research papers to describe a movement that examines and advocates for all the other beneficial aspects of sex beyond reproduction.

I’ve been using the term since 1981 when I opened my practice in Clinical Sexology and Sexual Health Care. The opening words of my mission statement read: “I affirm the fundamental goodness of sexuality in human life, both as a personal need and as an interpersonal bond.” Way back then, I was flush with my quixotic pursuit to stand steadfast against all the cultural pressures to negate or denigrate sexuality and pleasure. I dedicated myself to spreading the gospel that healthy attitudes toward sex not only affect a person’s sex life, but his/her ability to relate well with others.

This came relatively easy for me, because I’d learned something very important about evangelization in my life as a Catholic priest. (Another quixotic pursuit, but we’ll have to save the details of that misadventure for another time.) One of the first things one learns in seminary is how to proselytize, to sow the seeds of a creed, and then nurture them taking root by endless repetition of the articles of faith. Of course there is a downside to this, too. Repetition fosters mindlessness, stifles creative thought, and worse makes things boring.

But the creed statements of the world’s three great monotheistic religions are masterful works of theological art.

Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha’olam!
Allaahu Akbar!
In the name of the Father, and of the Son and the of the Holy Spirit!

Each contains the most profound kernel of religious truth the believer needs to know, but all are easy enough for a child to learn. And like I said, the secret is in the repetition. For the true devotee, these creedal statements are uttered dozens of times a day and to great effect.

Early on in my career as a sexologist, I decided to put the principles I learned in the Church into disseminating my new belief system. First, keep the message simple! I settled on: “Sex is Good—and Good Sex is Even Better.” This has been my mantra for decades. It contains everything you need to know about being sex positive, but it’s easy enough for a child to learn. Even now, I close each of my podcasts with this same article of faith. To this day it soothes me to hear myself say these words. And it comforts me in the same way blessing myself did in my priestly days.

Despite my apprehensions, I continue to be an apostle of the sex positive doctrine. I know that even though my industry has corrupted the concept, others have yet to hear the good news. And there’s something almost spiritual about seeing someone grasp the idea for the first time. Let me tell you about one such instance. Some while ago I was asked to offer a workshop for a group of doctors on the topic: Health Care Concerns Of Sexually Diverse Populations. Unfortunately, just a handful of doctors attended the workshop—which was pretty disconcerting, considering all the work I’d put into the presentation. I guess that’s why kinksters and pervs, as well as your run-of-the-mill queer folk, are often frustrated in their search for sensitive and lifestyle-attuned healing and helping professionals.

Since the group of doctors attending was so small, I decided to ask them to pull their chairs in a circle so that our time together could be a bit more informal and intimate. Frankly, I’ve never found it easy talking to doctors about sex; and discussing kinky sex was surely going to be very tricky. So, I decided to start off as gently as I could. My opening remarks included the phrases “sex positive” and “kink positive.”

Sitting as close to my audience as I was, I could see at once that these fundamental concepts weren’t registering with them. I was astonished. Here was a group of physicians, each with a large urban practice. Could they really be this out of touch? I quickly checked in with them to see if my perception was correct. I was right! None of them had heard the term, sex positive. The two who hazarded a guess at its meaning thought it had something to do with being HIV+. I had my work cut out for me.

I decided to share my creed with them. “Sex is Good—and Good Sex is Even Better.” I asked them repeat it with me as if I were teaching a catechism to children. Surprisingly, they did so without resistance. After we repeated the mantra a couple more times, I exposed them to the sex positive doctrine unencumbered by political correctness.

  • Sex Is Good! Sex is a positive force in human development; the pursuit of pleasure, including sexual pleasure, is at the very foundation of a harmonious society.
  • And Good Sex Is Even Better! The individual makes that determination. For example, what I decide is good sex for me, may be boring sex to someone else. And their good sex may be hair-raising to me. In other words, consensual sexual expression is a basic human right regardless of the form that expression takes. And it’s not appropriate for me, or anyone else, to call into question someone else’s consensual affectional choices.
  • Sex Is Good! Everyone has a right to clear, unambiguous sexual health information. It must be presented in a nonjudgmental way, particularly from his or her health care providers. And sexual health encompasses a lot more then just disease prevention, and contraception.
  • And Good Sex Is Even Better! The focus is on the affirmative aspects of sexuality, like sexual pleasure. Sexual wellbeing is more than simply being able to perform. It also means taking responsibility for one’s eroticism as an integral part of one’s personality and involvement with others.
  • Sex Is Good! Each person is unique and that must be respected. Our aim as healing and helping professionals is to provide information and guidance that will help the individual approach his/her unique sexuality in a realistic and responsible manner. This will foster his/her independent growth, personal integrity, as well as provide a more joyful experience of living.
  • And Good Sex Is Even Better! Between the extremes of total sexual repression and relentless sexual pursuit, a person can find that unique place, where he/she is free to live a life of self-respect, enjoyment and love.

Finally I told them they ought to think creatively how they could adapt this concept to their own practice. It was up to each of them to make this creed their own. As it turned out, this primer was just the thing to open my planned discussion of health of kinksters.

In a way this experience was a bit of a spiritual reawakening for me, too. Despite my misgivings about the contamination of the sex positive doctrine by malicious people bent on using it as a weapon against those they disagree with. I can’t tell you how refreshing it was to watch these sex positive novices hear, and then embrace, the message for the first time. It was nothing short of a religious experience.

What’s Gotten Into You?

Name: Janet
Gender: Female
Age: 32
Location: Sacramento
Recently I accidentally discovered that my husband is downloading porn onto his computer from the internet. There’s a lot of it and it all features teenage girls. I feel sick at the discovery. Why in the world would he hide something like this? I don’t get it, and I don’t know what to do about it.

Let’s see, why would your husband hide his sexual fantasies from you? Ahhh, maybe it’s because he knows that if he ever did share this private little part of his life with you, you’d pitch a fit just like you are doing now.

So your husband has a harmless fantasy life. Big deal! Get over it, darling. You want honesty in your marriage, Janet? Then stop being such a prig.

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Fact is, most straight men groove on young female flesh. (Gay men on young male flesh.) Where’s the surprise in that? The male brain is hot-wired to find youth attractive and alluring. It has something to do with the original purpose of sex — procreation. Youthfulness equals fertility; it’s as simple and genetically programmed as that. Your husband is just bein’ a guy. Why would you berate him for that? You sound like a real charmer.

Even though most mature straight males want to gawk at teenage titties, they are rarely stupid enough to think they can compete with hot and hunky younger men for theporn_cartoon.jpg affections of these nubile vixens. Despite their rich fantasy life, they are more likely to stick with the adult females they’ve married. The guys who are to dense to figure this out, are likely to be absolutely miserable in the pursuit of what will constantly elude them. So give your old man a break, and let him enjoy a little virtual thrill.

Oh and Janet, and all you other people out there who are snooping around in other people’s private affairs — stop it! Do you honestly think that I fell for that “oh, I accidentally discovered downloaded porn on my husband’s computer” bullshit? Shame on you for prying into his private life without his permission. You have no right to do that. Even in a marriage an individual has a right to privacy and you, my dear, violated that trust. If anyone ought to be upset at this discovery it should be him.

Name: Richard
Gender: male
Age: 26
Location: Duluth MN
I’ve been practicing periods of celibacy and the way that I practice celibacy is by not ejaculating. I’ll still have fornication with my girlfriend and things like that but without ejaculation. My question is that I notice that when I end a period of celibacy by finally ejaculating that my energy level is extraordinarily low afterwards. Are there supplements I can take to counteract the sleepy feeling I have after I ejaculate? Basically I would like to have the same focus day to day as when I am practicing celibacy but while I have a sexually active life. Any thoughts or answers would be great.

Before I get to your question. Richard, let’s work on some of your vocabulary, shall we? The sexual practice you describe is not a type of celibacy. Celibacy has a very specific meaning. It is the state of being unmarried. You actually happen to be celibate, not because you’re cock_art.jpgpracticing ejaculation control, but because you’re not married (i.e. the GF). For the sake of clarity, the only thing we ought to be able to say for sure when someone identifies him/herself as celibate is that he/she is not married. Period!

You’re not really being sexually abstinent either, which is a concept that is often confused with celibacy. I’m gonna go way out on a limb here and guess that you’re a Catholic, or you were raised as one. Who else would use the term “fornicate” when talking about having sex with his GF?

While technically you are correct, in “church-speak” unmarried partners fucking is fornicating. This is opposed to adultery, which refers to a married person fucking someone other than his or her husband or wife. The term fornicate has a very pejorative connotation. It’s a word religious people use to describe sinful behavior. Is fucking your girlfriend sinful in your mind, Richard? If it is, stop fucking her right away! If it isn’t, then don’t refer to your sexual relations with her as fornication. If you can’t bring yourself to use the term “fuck” to talk about what you two do together, there are plenty of other less negative euphemisms. For example, intercourse, or even coitus works. Just jettison the fornication, why don’t cha!

Now, on to the very interesting sexual practice you describe in your message. If it isn’t a “type” of celibacy, what is it? I think you maybe talking about a tantric sex practice. You have sex — solo as well as partnered sex — but you avoid ejaculating, right? You don’t really say why you do this other than you seem to believe you conserve energy this way. Tantric practitioners talk about this practice in similar terms — preserving one’s energy or chi. And that’s what leads me to think what you’re doing is a form of tantra.

Tantric sex is very interesting, if for no other reason it distinguishes between orgasm and ejaculation. Although they often happen at the same time for us men, we are capable of having orgasms without ejaculating and ejaculating without an orgasm. Perhaps, you’ve already discovered this.

Ejaculatory control, which is what I think you are doing, is what makes it possible for Tantric lovers to harness and extend the energy of orgasm. By refraining from, or holding off on an ejaculation, men can become multi-orgasmic. Some men achieve this by a practice known as edging or controlling the wave of orgasmic energy without ejaculating.

Further, you ask if there are any drugs that can help you regain your strength, or chi after you finally ejaculate. Rather than seek a chemical solution, why not delve deeper into tantra for the answers you seek. You are already more than half way there. You might want to look into chi power training too. Because, if I’m not mistaken, that’s what you’re actually talking about.

Name: Leila
Gender: Female
Age: 38
Location: Trenton, NJ
My husband and I have been married for 15 years. He wants sex way more often than I do. It’s not because I don’t love him, it’s because he’s ballooned to over 85 pounds more than he weighed when we were married and he was a big guy back then. About a month ago, I told him why my libido was low. This hurt his feelings and I got the silent treatment for a week. I’ve been trying to convince him that it’s in his best interest that he slim down. He’d feel better and live longer. I cook healthy food at home, but I have control over how he eats when he’s on his own. I’ve tried getting him interested in exercising, but none of this is working. The best I get from him is an occasional guilty feeling that makes him order a diet soda to go with his giant sized fast food meal. I love the big lug, but he’s grossing me out.

Holy cow, your fat slob of a husband is about to lose the best thing he’s got goin for him, huh Leila?742_funny_fat_men.jpg

Listen up folks; a marriage license does not authorize you to go to seed. People marry each other because they’re attracted to their partners emotionally and physically. When a husband or wife, lets him or herself go to the point of radically changing his or her physical appearance, that person can’t complain when his/her spouse’s libido drops off to nothing, or he or she starts to wander.

Level with your obese husband, darlin’! He’s got to know that he has a choice to make — you or the junk food. You have a right to demand that he not eat himself out of a sex life, or worse eat himself to death.

Here’s the thing; many people, myself included, believe that obesity is the moral equivalent of drunkenness. That’s right, you heard me. Out of control eating is just as bad as out of control drinking. Health risks alone make obesity a national crisis, surpassing even alcoholism.

jabba-the-computer-nerd-1.jpgWould you stand helplessly by and watch your husband get hammered every day? Would anyone be surprised to learn that your libido slipped away because your husband drank himself into a stupor every night? I don’t think so. So why do we tolerate self-destructive food consumption? It’s as damaging to one’s body and one’s sex life as too much booze.

Listen Leila, you need to tell your spousal unit that his current size and shape is a turn-off to you, and that’s why you’re not putting out for him any more. Take my advice and don’t mince your words just to spare his feelings.

And for all you out there who think I’m being heartless bastard. Just imagine how cruel it would be if Leila did or said nothing and her old man suddenly keeled over leaving her not only without sex, but a widow to boot.

Name: Cap
Gender: male
Age: 27
Location: Georgia
I’m an Iraq vet, two tours of duty. I’ve been home now for nearly 6 months and I can’t pull it together. I’m depressed and angry all the time. I even find myself crying for no reason. I love my wife, but I can’t get it up. I get frustrated and embarrassed and the whole thing falls apart. My wife tries to be supportive, but I know she’s not happy. What should I do?

The first thing we all need to recognize is that the young men we send off to war are never the same men who return from war. The experiences you had in Iraq have fundamentally altered you, Cap. You are now realizing that the hell that is war doesn’t stop when one is discharged.
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It’s painfully clear to me that you are suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome. You report all the classic symptoms. Are you not getting any professional therapy to help you readjust to civilian life? If not; why not? You shouldn’t be trying to handle this on your own. Reach out for the help you need. You fellow citizens owe you this much…at least.

Not surprisingly, I’ve been hearing from a number of vets lately, the Puget Sound area is a big military hub. Many vets report difficulty connecting with a spouse upon returning home. Like you, Cap, they continue to have affection for their partner, but for some of these men and women the eroticism has gone out of the relationship. Is this just what happens when one of the partners has been gone for such a long time? Or is there more to it than that? I know some vets are so consumed by their unresolved depression and anger that it is interfering with their sexual response, making it impossible for them to perform. Some vets are turning to drugs and alcohol to numb their psychological torment. Some are simply shutting down emotionally, because their internal turmoil is just too great and there’s no room for anything else. Is this what’s happening to you, Cap?

You can’t expect your long-suffering wife to hang in there indefinitely, especially if you are not actively involved with a therapist to resolve your war-induced nightmare.

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The good news is that many men who have preceded you to war in previous generations have come home as broken and abused as you. But they have, with the help of others, pulled their lives together once again. I encourage you to move in that direction. The longer you wait, the more pronounced the symptoms will become. Left unattended they will destroy your life as sure as if you had been an actual causality of an IED. Don’t let this awful war claim even one more victim.

Good luck ya’ll

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