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No More Nudity, San Francisco

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!”

Oppa Condom Style! And a Poll!

With reports from North Korea showing that the general populace has a hard time finding any sort of contraception, a group of South Korean activists have launched several balloons, hoping they will drift across the border and find their way into the hands of North Koreans.

Among other essential items like sanitary napkins, toothpaste, underwear, socks, anti Pyongyang information, and flashlights, over 5,000 condoms were airlifted to drift north.  According to this article, the groups who normally send balloons like these are North Korean defectors, Christian groups, and the South Korean right wing party.

Does anyone else find it somewhat incongruous to see that list?  I did a double take.

[I would like to give thanks to someone on the Jezebel fan page for the title of today’s post.  I’m unsure if I should thank them by name, due to Google searches, but thanks anyway.  It made me giggle.  If you don’t know the reference, what, have you been living under a rock this whole time?  Treat yourself to the magic that is the Gangnam Style video.  Heck, do it even if you’ve seen it before.]
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Today, the Director of the CIA, David Petraeus has resigned his post, citing an extramarital affair as the reason for his resignation.  While I know that within the military there are laws against adultery, and his affair could have had the potential for blackmail and a subsequent security breach, I am outright disgusted at the way the media is treating this entire situation.

I have seen no less than 10 news stories questioning who he had the affair with, and, sure enough, someone has dug it up.  Why are we, as a nation, delighting in what has to be an incredibly painful situation for General Petraeus, his family and friends, and his alleged mistress?  He has resigned his position, and is effectively bowing out of the public life, and has done so with dignity and grace.  To be quite honest, I am looking forward to my imagined utopian-esque future when non-monogamy is no longer a Big Deal for the media.  Give the man some peace.  He’s done the right thing here, and no one should be getting blasted by the media.

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San Francisco has decided to no longer prohibit gender reassignment surgeries from the list of covered medical treatment under the city’s Healthy San Francisco program, a sliding scale health care coverage system that can be used by everyone in San Francisco.  Though the city currently does not have the capacity or surgeons who are skilled in this particular type of surgery, so this is a mostly symbolic move for the city.  Transgender patients currently are able to receive hormone therapy, counseling, and regular medical care under Healthy SF.

While I am glad that the city takes these concerns seriously, gender reassignment surgeries are extremely expensive, and can go into the tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the specific services provided.  As someone who is cisgender, I can’t imagine the mental anguish of someone who doesn’t feel that their body matches their identity and mentality.  I am glad that there may be a solution for the transgender in my community in the next few years.

But to be honest, as someone who is currently covered under this program, I’d like to see Healthy SF start providing some other services first, specifically preventative and non-emergency dental care.  So many other medical problems can be circumvented with regular cleanings and filling of cavities that seems rather odd to me that there hasn’t been a big push for this sort of service.

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In other news, I am considering offering a weekly podcast compilation of each week’s posts.  Do me a favor, and cast a vote below to let me know if you’d like to hear my dulcet tones reading my posts each week!

Let’s Get Idealistic

There’s been so much in the news in the past few months about abortion, contraception, and a woman’s right to choose that as I said in a previous post, I’ve been overwhelmed.  I’d like to take a moment to get a little idealistic.

When I was in high school, I took a class about early human development.  We learned about the stages of pregnancy, and the different stages children go through in their first two years of life.  At one point in my class, we were given the task of brainstorming the ideal situation to have a child.  We already knew that adoptive parents had to fulfill certain criteria in order to be able to have a child, so we were told to imagine a “test” of sorts that a woman (or a set of parents) would have to pass in order to have a child.

If I remember correctly, we came up with the following points:

  • Financially stable, with at least six months worth of income in accessible savings.

We came up with this because pregnancy and raising a child are both expensive.  There’s also the risk of complications with the pregnancy or child’s health leaving one or both parents unable to work for a period of time.  We thought that at least six months of income in the bank would help ease that potential burden.

  • Emotionally stable, with a supportive network of friends and family.

Just like the financial cost, pregnancy and raising a child can be unexpectedly difficult, emotionally.  We learned about postpartum depression, and how the woman’s emotional state can affect the child’s development in the womb.  Having a supportive network of friends and family, especially people who are geographically close, is important to making sure that the parents can have a break occasionally.

  • Good health, and good health insurance.

Making sure that the woman is already in good health when she gets pregnant, and maintains her health during the pregnancy were also stressed during my class.  Proper nutrition and regular exercise, as well as the ability to see a doctor when necessary, were things that we deemed of highest importance to the development of the child.

  • A stable and safe place to live.

Being teenagers in the suburbs, we were imagining owning a house with a large backyard.  While I no longer think that is necessary, I do think that living in a relatively safe neighborhood, and taking the proper precautions to baby-proof your house are incredibly important.

  • Ease of access to hospitals, schools, and other important services.

I think this one is self-explanatory.

I am close to many women who have had children without checking any of these boxes.  Their children are happy and healthy, and they are excellent mothers.  I still think that all of these are important things to have in place before I consider having children, and that is why I chose to get an IUD.  When I decide to have children, it will be because I am ready.  This is not a criticism of any woman or her choices.  I fully realize that this is an idealistic list.

I would posit that is also idealistic of the Republican Party to expect to reduce accessibility to contraception and abortion and to somehow still not have any unwanted pregnancies occur, or for parents to not need some sort of assistance to care for their children.  Abstinence education just exacerbates these problems.  People are going to have sex, and sometimes, despite precautions, pregnancies occur.

If you had to come up with a list like this, what would you put on it?  Do you think that the list we came up with in high school was good?  Have you formulated a similar list?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

I Don’t Care About Your Abstinence, and it Doesn’t Make You Better Than Me

There have been a few recent articles about the “moral case” of either completely abstaining from sex until marriage, or having sex with partners beforehand.

This all started with an incredibly egotistical and almost horrifyingly judgmental article by Steven Crowder on foxnews.com.  In his piece, Crowder calls women who have sex before marriage “floozies”, and is openly disdainful of another couple after meeting the bride at breakfast the morning after their wedding.  That newly married man’s crime?  Deciding to drink at his wedding.

The people next to us that morning? Well, theirs was just one big party.  And the morning after? Just another hangover.

Our “weddings” were the same event in name only. They know it, and we know it.

Honestly?  That is precisely how I envision my wedding next summer: one big party.  I want my family, Fiance’s family, and all of our friends to be there, and to be celebrating our union.  I want dancing and toasting and laughter and fun.  The fact that I am intimately acquainted with Fiance’s nether regions (and vice versa) does not make our wedding, our engagement, or our relationship any less than yours, Mr. Crowder.

Fiance and I lived together for quite some time, and, unlike you, we have already gone through the awkward stages of living together.  We know that we are compatible in practically every way possible, and that includes sexually.  Yes, it still annoys me that he forgets to put his dirty laundry in the hamper, and he is largely baffled by my beauty regimen, but we have reached a point of homeostasis in our relationship and we know that we can actually share the same space.  You’re going to have to learn all of that, and you’re going to have to learn everything about sex.  Don’t worry, Mr. Crowder, I’m here for you and your wife!.

On the other side of the coin, Jill Filipovic (of Feministe fame) wrote a fantastic response article for The Guardian, detailing precisely why it is better to have sex with your partner before a long-term commitment.  I honestly couldn’t have constructed a better article.  This is my favorite quote,

Sex is good whether you’re married or not, and certainly folks who wait until marriage can have a lot of sex once they tie the knot. But waiting until marriage often means both early marriage and conservative views on marriage and gender – and people who marry early and/or hold traditional views on marriage and gender tend to have higher divorce rates and unhappier marriages. We know that, on the other hand, there are lots of benefits to marrying later and to gender-egalitarian marriages. Couples who both work outside the home and also share housework duties have more sex. Financially independent, college-educated women who marry later in life have extremely low divorce rates.

It turns out that feminist values – not “traditional” ones – lead to the most stable marriages. And feminist views plus later marriage typically equals premarital sex.

I wish you luck with your marriage, Mr. Crowder.  I wish you and your wife every happiness.  It’s a pity that you, with your nose in the air, can’t find it in your “Christian” heart to do the same for me and others who are like me.

XO Expo and Pink Cross

I spent a little time this past Friday at the opening evening of the XO Expo, hosted by the Adult Video Network.  I was expecting to see fun new sex toys, maybe some interesting demonstrations, and crowds of people.

I saw none of those.  Instead, there were tattoo and piercing booths, tables of the same sex toys I can find anywhere else, and the crowds were mostly men.  These men were standing around the booths with the porn stars, and the booths that were advertising local strip clubs, staring and taking pictures of the women like they had never seen a woman in a bikini ever before in their lives.  It was gross, and made me feel very uncomfortable.

One booth in particular caught my eye.  It was pretty incongruous with the rest of the expo.  This booth was for a group called the Pink Cross (I am choosing not to link to their website, because I really don’t want to direct traffic to the site.), which is a Christian non-profit dedicated to telling the young women who are involved in the sex industry that they are bad people who just need a little more Jesus in their lives.  I was completely baffled, but after delving into their website a little bit today, I am even more baffled.  Some of the testimonials are just ridiculous.  One was equating BDSM with the occult and devil-worship.  I actually laughed out loud at that one.

While I understand that there are some young women who are forced into sex work, there are even more who choose to be a sex worker.  I have many friends who work in the local pornography scene, and they are happy with what their line of work.  Equating all of the women who choose to work in pornography as unwitting and unwilling participants simply doesn’t ring true to me.  What are your thoughts, dear readers?

Book Review: Sex at Dawn

If you’re a fan of Dan Savage, you’ve probably heard Dan talking about this book on his podcast, Savage Love back in 2010.    In the book, authors Christopher Ryan, Ph.D. and Cacilda Jethá, M.D. explore “The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality.”

Covering everything from the form and function of the modern human, to the ways that we act in relationships, Sex at Dawn turned the study of human sexuality upside down.  Through observing and drawing parallels between modern humans, and our evolutionary cousins, the Bonobo chimpanzee, the authors draw the conclusion that modern humans have a difficult time with monogamy because we are genetically engineered towards multiple partners.

On the website for Sex at Dawn, a chart by Franklin Veaux maps the different relationships that modern humans engage in.  The overlap is fascinating.

Although it may seem that the authors are advocating for non-monogamous relationships, they claim that is not their purpose.  An excerpt from the FAQ on the website for Sex at Dawn:

So you’re recommending the everyone should have an open marriage or not get married at all?

Definitely not. We’re not recommending anything other than knowledge, introspection, and honesty. In fact, as we say in the book, we’re not really sure what to do with this information ourselves. We hope Sex at Dawn advances the conversation about human sexuality so people can focus more on the realities of what human beings are and a bit less on the religious and cultural mythologies concerning what we should be and should feel. What individuals or couples do with this information (if anything) is up to them.

It took me longer than I expected to read Sex at Dawn, because each page has information that borders on revelation.  I found myself having to stop frequently just to absorb each new piece of information.  I am normally the type of person who breezes through books, but I simply couldn’t do it with Sex at Dawn.  The authors did an amazing job at fully researching the topic, and presenting it in a way that is entirely accessible to those of us who are not in the academic field.

If you are struggling with any sort of infidelity in your relationships, read this book.  If you found yourself suddenly no longer attracted to a partner after going off of hormonal birth control, read this book.  If you are curious about how and why the modern human body and sexual organs are shaped differently than every other species, read this book.

If you’d like to support Nice Girls, you can purchase Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality through this link.  As an Amazon Affiliate, I will receive a small amount of the price of your purchase.  Thanks!

Some Blogs I Follow

Good afternoon everyone!  I’ve been busy reading books to review for you all on Nice Girls, and I thought that in the meantime, I would share some of the fantastic blogs I follow.

For reading up on feminist issues, these are my top four:

Patriarchy Survivor.  This blog comes from a Facebook page I follow: No, I will NOT be quiet.  This blog has a lot of submitted personal stories, and some of them may be triggering to anyone who has experienced rape, sexual assault, or domestic violence.

Make Me a Sammich.  The author describes this as “a place to read and talk about being a woman in the USA in the 21st century.”  It’s a great description, and she recently started posting some pretty awesome fiction!

Another Angry Woman describes her blog as “Part anarchist. Part feminist. All angry.”

Damn Right I’m a Feminist has shorter posts, mostly about current news articles and some fantastic quotes.  Don’t miss her Sexist Song of the Day posts.

For some reading that is a little lighter in topic and tone (in other words, you’re much less likely to read something that will make you angry), check out these blogs.

Sex Lives of Moms has some occasionally hilarious posts, but offers advice and commiseration for those awesome moms who are struggling with regaining intimacy with significant others.

Online Dating – Why I’ll Soon Be a Crazy Cat Lady always cracks me up.  If you’ve ever tried to find the genuinely good guys in the cesspool that is online dating, you will probably recognize your experiences in her blog.

 

Tomorrow’s post will be a review of Sex at Dawn!

The Nice Girl’s Guide to Fellatio

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

I’m Overwhelmed

There is so much talk going on right now regarding Todd Akin’s ridiculous comment about “legitimate rape” that it is actually making my head spin.  Of course, that also could be the cold medicine I am taking too.  But seriously, I tried opening all of the pages I bookmarked and I actually managed to crash my Google Chrome browser.   Bear with me, there are a lot of links in this post.  Oh, and the images are gifs.  I’m not sure why they aren’t animating on my blog.

If you’ve been under a rock (or curled up in bed and sick like me) and haven’t seen the clip, here it is in all its facepalming stupidity:

So, Todd Akin actually has spoken to a “doctor” who believes that a woman can’t get pregnant due to rape.  Here is a direct quote from Dr. Willke, via the New York Times,

“This is a traumatic thing — she’s, shall we say, she’s uptight,” Dr. Willke said of a woman being raped, adding, “She is frightened, tight, and so on. And sperm, if deposited in her vagina, are less likely to be able to fertilize. The tubes are spastic.”

Someone, please, take that man’s license to practice medicine from him.  He clearly didn’t attend his anatomy or human reproduction classes.  Spastic tubes?  Really?  Of course, every doctor with any sense is denouncing Dr. Willke.

As every politician who makes a controversial remark, Akin has attempted to backtrack, to “clarify” what he “misspoke”.  First by saying that he didn’t mean “legitimate” rape, he meant “forcible” rape.  Of course, this is the same language used by Mitt Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, in the legislation he co-sponsored with Akin!  (Psst.  Romney also was pretty proud when the quack Dr. Willke endorsed Romney as a presidential candidate!)  When Romney and Ryan started distancing themselves from Akin, even denouncing his remarks, Akin “clarified” further, by saying he only meant “false” rape.  Honestly, at this point, he’s just digging himself further and further into a hole.

Now, even though Romney and Ryan have denounced Akin’s remarks, when the GOP drafted their Party Platform earlier this week, they refused to add wording that would allow a woman to have an abortion in cases of rape and incest.  Congratulations, Republicans.  The official stance of your party now says that a woman should be forced to have any child she conceives.  Do you include the mentally challenged 10 year old who was raped by her uncle in Kansas?  Yep.  According to GOP policymakers, that little slut had it coming.

Honestly, at this point, I’m ready to just throw my hands up in disgust.  Just like this Jezebel writer.

Oh, and some pretty awful people at American Vision are comparing the backlash against Todd Akin to “political gang rape”.  I just…  I can’t even begin to describe how much that blows my mind.

Comprehensive Sex Ed? Not in Clovis USD!

Hey everyone, I am still very sick, so I apologize again for the short post.

I am very proud of California’s commitment to comprehensive sexual education in the school systems. A law passed in 2003 requires that sexual health education in California’s public schools be comprehensive, medically accurate, bias-free, and appropriate for students of all sexual orientations.

Unfortunately, the Clovis Unified School District is now being sued for their abstinence-only and heavily religious leaning sexual education curriculum.  They are now being sued by two parents, the American Academy of Pediatrics California District IX, and the Gay-Straight Alliance network, with the ACLU providing free legal assistance.

Students were being taught that HIV could be spread through kissing, and that getting “lots of rest” was an effective way to prevent STIs.  Both of these statements, of course, are ridiculously inaccurate.  There were also passages in the textbook “Lifetime Health”, published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston, comparing a woman who is not a virgin to a dirty shoe, and states that men who are aroused are unable to control themselves.  Oh, and there are no mentions of condoms.  Anywhere.  At all.

Congratulations, Clovis.  You have now handed these young men the mental excuses they need to rape someone: “But I just couldn’t control myself!  Besides, she’s not a virgin, so she’s dirty anyways.  Condoms?  Eh, those don’t work anyways.”

Fresno County has had one of the highest teen pregnancy and birth rates in California for over a decade now. The Central Valley area also has one of the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases.  Why, then, are the schools barring their students from medically accurate information?  It almost seems like they are proud of these statistics.

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