Category Archives: Sex Positive
Whether it is the Beatles, New Kids on the Block, the Backstreet Boys, or the current teenage heartthrobs One Direction, young women have been obsessing over boy bands for decades now. For me, it was Hanson. Three boys with long blonde hair MMMBopped into my life when I was 14, and they’ve never left. I’m actually attending one of their concerts later this month! [Side note: I am LOVING this new song of theirs!]
For at least a couple of years, I was obsessed. I collected pictures of them, listened to their music non-stop, read every article about them that I could get my hands on and I fantasized about situations where I would meet Isaac, the oldest of the three brothers, and we would fall in love and live happily ever after. I am not kidding when I say that these were elaborate fantasies. Had I known what fan fiction was at that point, I would have been writing it. Had I met him in person at that time, I probably would have fainted after screaming like a banshee in his face. Of course, I am aware (now) that there was almost zero chance of those daydreams ever coming true.
The vast majority of these bands, especially the bands of the last 30 years, have been manufactured to appeal to the broadest spectrum of teenagers. There’s the heartthrob, the “bad boy”, the smart one, the older one, the pretty one, the young one; all calculated to make as many teenage girl hearts go pitter-pat as possible. Every media interaction is scripted, nothing is said that is too extreme, or would show that the band member is anything more than his role in the band. There is crazy amounts of merchandise that is marketed towards these girls, and a lot of them will push to buy the more expensive version of something, because it has the band’s logo on it. Heck, Hanson still does that today!
Right around the same time that I was getting over this obsession, I watched, baffled, as other Hanson fans who liked Taylor (the middle brother) threw tantrums and posted threats against his wife. The wedding came as a surprise to the fans, and a lot of girls were angry that their favorite guy was no longer on the market.
The same thing has happened in previous decades – just think of the hate that still pervades with Yoko Ono – and it happens today still. The sheer volume of screeds targeting Taylor Swift when she was dating the One Direction band member Harry Styles, and against Selena Gomez (who is Justin Bieber’s on-again-off-again girlfriend), are alarming. It is as though these girls can’t stomach the thought of their favorite singer being in a relationship with anyone except themselves. Even today, in the Hanson fandom, there are girls who feel the need to create drama between the band members and their wives in their heads, and then post it on the internet.
Why? What is it about these musical celebrities that produces such obsession?
One could posit that it is the fault of the media. When I was a teenage girl, I could go to the supermarket and buy weekly issues of Teen Bop (is that even still around?) or other teen magazines, and read ridiculous articles about “What color is <insert band member’s name here>’s toothbrush and what does it say about HIM?”. I would carefully cut out pictures of my favorite band, and buy two copies if they had back-to-back pictures. (There is certainly a comparison that can be drawn between the pictures that girls post of their favorite band member in their locker, and the stereotypical nude pictures of women in a guy’s garage.) Today, there are the celebrity gossip websites that post every single paparazzi picture possible. I’m looking at you, TMZ and ONTD. It can feed into that obsession.
I think it goes deeper than that. I think that young women are encouraged – through the same media mentioned above – to objectify these young men. I know I certainly did! I had no idea what my crush was like, at all, as a person. Everything I knew about him was extrapolated from reading the aforementioned stupid articles, yet my young teenage mind was convinced that he was the perfect man, my soulmate, and that if we could only meet just once, he would know that too.
It was a way for me to have fantasies about a relationship without actually being in a relationship (and sexual fantasies too!). While I do think that an active imagination is healthy, I know that I and some of my friends took it to extremes. I know that there are girls who do that today. The cult of celebrity remains strong, and new members are added with each new boy band.
My teenage self would be mortified that when I did finally meet Isaac Hanson, he didn’t immediately fall in love with me, and that instead, we talked about social media strategies for their charity. My adult self is very satisfied with that exchange. I have the experience and the wisdom to know that there’s no way he could have lived up to the imaginary person I created in my head, and I am happy that he was a kind, intelligent, and thoughtful person. I’m also happy I didn’t scream like a banshee and faint.
Why do you think that teenage girls have such obsessions with boy band members, and teenage boys don’t? Who was your boy band crush?
It looks like medical professionals are getting on the sex-positive bandwagon, and it’s about time.
Yesterday, the American Association of Pediatrics recommended that pediatricians give their young female patients advance prescriptions for Plan B. For those of you outside the US, if you are under 18, you cannot get Plan B over the counter, and need a prescription. Plan B has been available over the counter for those 18 and over for about a year now.
The FDA originally decided that it should be available over the counter to everyone, regardless of age, but Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled the FDA’s decision because of her doubts that young women under 18 would use it properly. This is despite Plan B being safer to use than aspirin or ibuprofen, especially since it is impossible to overdose on Plan B.
This comes one week after the American College of OB/GYNs has recommended that hormonal birth control pills be available for everyone over the counter, just like condoms. I can’t tell you how excited this makes me. It is so important that young women have access to things like this, so they can engage in healthy sexual activity without fear of parental judgement, pregnancy, or the heartbreaking choice of abortion.
With studies showing that teenagers in the US have less sex than teenagers in other first world countries, but are getting pregnant more often, access to emergency birth control in conjunction with comprehensive sex education could help that pregnancy rate continue to decline.
In a somewhat sad turn of events, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors has voted to ban public nudity.
Yeah, I can understand the sentiment behind the ban. The number of people who are grossed out or who find public nudity disturbing far outweigh people like myself, who find it mildly amusing at best. I always giggled a little when I saw our resident nudists in the Castro, and I found it outright hilarious when one of the gentlemen decided to go to Fisherman’s Wharf and give the tourists an eyeful. There were three women who were running from him and screaming while laughing. I’m sure they will be regaling their friends back home with the story of “that weird naked guy” they saw in San Francisco for years to come.
San Francisco has always been the place to go to push the envelope and challenge the status quo. From the Summer of Love in 1969, to Harvey Milk, to the Pride Parade, to Folsom Street Fair (don’t google that at work, please), we are a haven for those who don’t fit in with mainstream society. The nudists were part of that push against normalcy.
As a part of our mainstream society, it seems that people automatically equate nudity with sexuality. Naked bodies mean sex in popular culture. If you are a parent taking an adorable picture of your child in the bathtub, you’re suspected of child pornography, not thinking your child’s chubby thighs are cute.
If you want to sit outside and sip your coffee while naked, then you’re assumed to find the idea that someone is looking at you arousing. But that’s not what nudity is about. Just like any other subculture there are cultural rules, like putting down a towel before you sit down somewhere, and becoming visibly aroused is explicitly within the realm of Not Okay for nudists. It is about being free from clothing, not exhibitionism or voyeurism. It has absolutely nothing to do with sex, and I really think that is what the general population doesn’t understand.
I find it sad that the Board of Supervisors have banned public nudity. It seems like a cultural step backwards for San Francisco, especially considering the city’s rich history of being socially progressive. No one was being harmed by the city’s nudists. In fact, it forced me to re-think my attitude about nudity, and come to the conclusion that my initial feelings of “ewwww” were due to cultural conditioning.
There is nothing gross about the human body. It’s a pity that we can’t all just grow up and say, “If you don’t like it, don’t look!”
I am suffering from some serious writer’s block. I was unexpectedly too busy to post yesterday, but I’ve had a couple of hours to write, and I just don’t have a topic that I can write a full post about today. So today, you get snippets of things that are rolling around in my brain.
First off, can we please STOP calling other women “whores” and judging them for having sex? One of my family members shared this on her Facebook wall, and it made me see red. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I have definitely judged other girls that I didn’t know well, and called them “whore”. But you know what? I look back at those times, and every single time, it was an insult made out of jealousy.
You heard me. I have called other women awful names because I was jealous. I was jealous because I thought they were prettier, or because they had a nicer body, or they wore clothing that I could never pull off, or they were more socially confident than me, or they were better at flirting, or they had the attention of the guy that I thought was cute/dating/liked. Look deep within yourself when you decide to label someone “whore” or “slut”. Unless that person actually works in the sex industry, chances are, the reasons behind your loathing of another person is actually emotions that you’re directing at yourself.
Calling somebody else fat won’t make you any skinnier. Calling someone stupid doesn’t make you any smarter. And ruining Regina George’s life definitely didn’t make me any happier. All you can do in life is try to solve the problem in front of you. - Cady from 2004′s Mean Girls
I’d like to add that calling someone a whore doesn’t make your sex or love life any better.
A couple of weeks ago, I was trying to be funny on the Nice Girls twitter account, and joked that The Ultimate Guide to Kink by Tristan Taormino was so sexy, I was scared I’d run out of batteries.
One of my followers, who is also a friend of mine in real life, said that I should invest in a Hitachi Magic Wand. When I replied that I didn’t really have the money to spend on it, she actually bought me one! It gets delivered tomorrow, and you can expect a review after I’ve taken it for a test drive.
There are some really amazing conferences that I want to attend, but I always find out about them too late. I really wanted to go to CatalystCon, the Good Vibrations Sex Summit, and I barely found out about Arse Elektronika in time to attend one day of the conference. How does one go about getting on the mailing list for these things? Readers, if you hear about an interesting sex conference that you’d like to see me at, or read about on Nice Girls, could you let me know about it?
I read what seemed to be a really amazing, sex positive, open relationship positive book called Sperm Wars: Infidelity, Sexual Conflict, and Other Bedroom Battles. I say that it seemed to be that way, because up until the final chapter, it was purely discussing how women and men are programmed to seek out partners outside of their primary relationships, and it even had some interesting theories regarding homosexuality. In the last chapter, it had a cloying story about an elderly couple and how being monogamous throughout their entire lives was the best possible reproductive strategy. It seemed like an odd way to end an otherwise open minded and rather engaging book. I’m still wrestling with how to review it properly.
In the interest of giving Nice Girls some more diverse voices, I am approaching some of my fellow sex educators about writing articles or columns for this blog. I’m also planning on starting a YouTube channel, so that I can interview some of the interesting people I come across in this line of work, and you can see it all!
Finally, today is the Transgender Day of Remembrance. I’d like for you all to take a minute, and take a look at that website.
And now, I’d like to challenge you to be a transgender ally. When you see injustice, bullying, or any sort of hate-motivated violence (whether physical or verbal), take a stand. Make sure that your words are not going to hurt another. Intervene. Call the police, and then stand witness when they arrive. Make sure that those around you, whether straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or queer, know that you won’t stand there and let someone else hurt them.
Jezebel introduced a new columnist yesterday. Karley Sciortino, aka “slutever” has published her first column, and honestly, I can’t tell if this is satire or not (if it is, it is poorly done), so I’m going to go ahead and write my own answers to the questions posted.
I’m a 26-year-old European exchange student currently studying in the US for five months. I have a (relatively new) boyfriend back home who I’m totally into, and before I left we agreed to be monogamous. But now I have a dilemma: I love Chatroulette, and I usually skip over the random masturbating men, but recently I’ve been fantasizing about not skipping over the dicks and engaging in some hot, anonymous Chatroulette-cybersex. Would that be cheating? I want to think not, but I also realize it’s different than porn — it’s an actual sexual interaction with another human being. My boyfriend and I Skype sometimes, but it hasn’t turned into Skype-sex. And besides, the fantasy is more about the anonymity of it. So: cheating or not-cheating?
While my personal inclination leans towards “not cheating”, your long-distance boyfriend may have a different opinion. Tell him about your fantasy, G. Who knows, he might also find the idea hot, and he might try to be the person that you have hot, anonymous Chatroulette-cybersex with! A supportive partner should try to help you fulfill your fantasies, especially when you are trying to make a long-distance relationship work.
I would caution you to make sure that your face and any other identifying characteristics are hidden from view if you do engage in anonymous cybersex. Protect yourself, just as you would if you were engaging in real-world sexual activity. Like some STIs, images on the internet are forever, and can come back to haunt you at the most inopportune times.
Ever since I started having sex I’ve always shaved my vagina without even thinking about it. It may look a bit nicer, but it’s a pain in the ass having to plan ahead and make sure you’re pristinely smooth every time there’s the possibility of sex. I don’t know if I’d like it grown out, but I think I want to try it. But I’m terrified the guy I’m sleeping with will freak out! It’s my body so I can do whatever with it, but should I tell/ask him about it before the experiment begins? Where do you stand on the ‘to shave or not to shave’ debate?
Hopefully your partner likes you for more than your pubic hair grooming habits, Reba. Any guy who actually freaks out at the sight of the perfectly natural hair between your legs has probably not had much experience with women, and may have some maturity issues. It’s your hair, and while your partner may offer input about his preference, it is ultimately your decision. Pretty much every partner I’ve had has expressed the opinion that they are fine with pubic hair, but they would like it if I keep the area trimmed. I bought a $10 trimmer from my local big chain drugstore, and have used that ever since.
Dear Slutever, I am a 26-year-old boy, and though I’m not a virgin, I am terribly inexperienced. I’ve recently started seeing a girl (yay!), however I’ve been having a little ejaculation problem. The problem isn’t that I cum too quickly, but rather that I stay hard all night and can’t ejaculate! It’s no problem for me to get hard, and stay hard, but it just requires too much mentally and physically for me to reach the point of orgasm. Am I not emotionally connecting? Is my problem psychological? Should I find some way to ‘sensitize’ myself?
I’m interested to find out your masturbation habits, M. If you are the kind of person who masturbates frequently, you might want to hold off on that until you find that you are able to orgasm more easily. You and your partner should also try doing more foreplay before penetrative sex. Kissing, fondling, oral sex, and mutual masturbation are all ways that you can get your motor revving and ready to go before sex, and you may find that the increase in stimulation will make it easier to orgasm during sex. Just make sure that she also reaches climax!
What do you think, readers? How did I do in comparison to the writer on Jezebel?
I found this article via Jezebel, and I am intrigued! Apparently, the lovely and amazing Betty Dodson, founder of the sex-positive feminism movement, teaches masturbation classes for women in New York City.
Does anyone else remember the scene in Fried Green Tomatoes where Evelyn Couch and her friend Missy attend a class intended to “get the spark back in marriage”, and Evelyn practically runs out of the room when they are instructed to use mirrors to look at their own vaginas? I laughed at that when I was younger, but now I find it so sad.
Get out those mirrors, girls, and take a look. Get acquainted. I declare your vagina to be beautiful.
With so much cultural mystery surrounding the “elusive” female orgasm, I think classes like this are a fantastic idea. I mean, honestly, researchers just rediscovered how complex of an organ the clitoris is, and how, like a TARDIS, it is bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside. (Thanks to Doctor Xtreme for that line, and the awesome portmanteau, CliTARDIS.)
Can you imagine a world where young women were encouraged to learn to appreciate their genitals and taught how to achieve orgasm? How about classes where partners were encouraged to explore your genitals and taught how to help you achieve satisfying orgasms? I want to live in that world.
Would you attend this kind of class? I will definitely be looking into Betty’s classes the next time I am in NYC!
L’Shana Tova to any of my Jewish readers! I spent the last two days attending Rosh Hashanah services with Fiance and his family, which was quite an experience. I attended with them last year, and, to be honest, I find the amount of Hebrew kind of overwhelming to someone who doesn’t understand a bit of it. It is traditional for those attending services to take the two days of Rosh Hashanah off of work to celebrate the Jewish New Year, so I did this as well. Learning about Fiance’s culture and religion is fascinating.
As I said previously, I attended the SF Slutwalk, and took a lot of fabulous pictures. I had a great time, and it really re-energized my dedication to Nice Girls. For the complete set of pictures, you can visit the album on my new imgur account (some images may be NSFW). There were some fantastic speakers at the pre-walk rally in Dolores Park, including Carol Queen, the founder of the Center for Sexuality and Culture, who wore a fabulous shirt that said I <3 Female Orgasm; Tommi Avicolli Mecca, who spoke about his experiences being a drag queen in Philadelphia in the 1970s; and, my personal favorite, Assemblywoman Carol Lieber, who told us that she is a slut, and hopes to be one all of her life.
Then, the Slutwalk began. We walked about half a mile, some of the ladies managed to do it in their stilettos! We cheered as a woman came out, asked what the march was about, and joined as soon as she understood. There were chants, but I spent most of my time running around taking pictures of everyone (but not before asking for their consent, of course)! We ended up at a small plaza in the Castro.
At that time, anyone at the walk could take the bullhorn and share a story. A few chose to just thank the crowd of people who attended. I got up and spoke about how the walk had inspired me to continue writing on Nice Girls and some of my experiences with rape culture. There were a couple of men sitting at a table who were definitely angry at their pleasant afternoon being invaded by a group of women, some of them dressed in lingerie. Unfortunately, a couple of the attendees had already responded to the gentlemens’ consternation with some anger, but I took the opportunity to sit down and explain the purpose and the message of the Slutwalk. They seemed a lot less upset afterwards, and I even saw one of them cheering after an attendee’s speech.
Overall, as I said, the Slutwalk was an overwhelmingly positive experience. I had a great time meeting new people, test driving the new-to-me camera, and listening to the poignant and interesting stories each speaker had to share. I can’t wait for next year!
Hey everyone, I apologize for not updating at all in the past few days. I caught some sort of stomach bug from Fiance’s little sister, and have been feverish and nauseated for several days now.
I am so glad that Fiance made me get out of bed early on Saturday morning so that I could attend the SF Slutwalk. You see, I’ve been feeling some pretty serious internet burnout for a few weeks now, and it seemed like every time I found something to write about, it was an issue that made me angry. It is exhausting to be angry for hours every day. I had reached a point where I dreaded sitting down with my laptop, because I knew that by the end of my posts, I would be emotionally exhausted.
SF Slutwalk rejuvenated me. It made me realize that I needed to get back to doing more sex-positive stuff in general, not just finding something to be angry about. Hopefully in the next few days, I will have the energy to go through the 350 pictures I took at Slutwalk (thank you, to those of you who let me take your picture!), and post a write up. For now, I would like to say thank you to the organizers and attendees for giving me some much-needed encouragement.
I’d also like to say thank you to Fiance, for helping me create a schedule and to find topics that still fall under sex-positivity, but won’t leave me feeling disgusted with the world.
I’d also like to thank you, dear readers. I’ll still be posting on feminist issues here, but I’m going to re-focus on sex-positive information, including reviews on toys, books, and yes, even some pornography. Thanks for sticking with me. I hope you’ll enjoy the new content.
Ooh! A saucy and sexy topic to start your Monday off right. Today’s post is most definitely Not Safe For Work, so for those of you who read Nice Girls at work, you might want to either switch to your mobile device or hold off until you are at home to read this one! Read the rest of this entry
In browsing some of the events on the Center for Sex and Culture’s website, I was pretty intrigued to see a series by Airial Clark, author of The Sex-Positive Parent.
Airial and I both attended OpenSF a few months ago, and while we didn’t have the opportunity to chat, I started following her on twitter. During the conference, I was impressed at the level of discourse she presented in a pithy 140 characters or less (with a hashtag, nonetheless!), and I have only become more impressed as I have continued to follow her and read her blog.
To create a culture described in my “This is Why” post, we have to start with the interactions between parents and children. Children need to learn, at an early age, that sexuality and gender are not a source of shame, but of joy. If any of my readers are parents in the San Francisco Bay Area, I highly recommend that you attend Airial’s workshop series later this month. You can purchase tickets here.