Blog Archives

Masturbation Class? Why Not?

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!

Post Election Recap

Last night was a night of things both wonderful and heartbreaking.  Here’s my pros and cons:

Pros:

  • Same sex marriage (also known as “marriage”) has been legalized in three states (Maine, Maryland and Washington), and a fourth (Minnesota) struck down a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage.  I’m pretty proud of my former home state, Washington.
  • Wisconsin elected the first openly gay Senator, and she’s their first female Senator!  Congratulations, Tammy Baldwin!
  • The first Asian American female Senator, and the first Buddhist Senator, is Mazie Hirono from Hawaii.
  • Bonus points to Hawaii for electing the first-ever Hindu Senator too.
  • There are now 20 women in the Senate.  That’s an additional three from the previous record!
  • All of New Hampshire’s delegates, AND their Mayor are women.
  • Most of the candidates who made headlines with ill-conceived notions regarding rape, abortion, or contraception were defeated!

Cons:

  • Proposition 35 in California won by a landslide.  But there’s some good news, as the EFF and ACLU have already filed suit to strike it down as unconstitutional.  I will remain heartbroken about this until it is struck down.  I have friends who are sex workers, and I am very concerned about how this will affect them.
  • Some really awful people decided that calling our President a monkey, and the “N” word were totally acceptable on Twitter.
  • Donald Trump completely lost his mind last night.

Overall, I think that it was a great night, with impressive leaps forward for women and the fight for equality.  I am proud of my country for making huge strides forward.  Now let’s fix that economy!

PS: This marks the 100th post for Nice Girls!  Thanks for joining me on this ride, and here’s to a few hundred more.

Californians, Please Vote NO on Proposition 35, Part 2.

So, I know that I already had a blog post about this, but honestly, this issue is too important to me and people I care about to let it sit.  If you haven’t read it already, please take a look.

There’s even more to the story. People need to know that the proposition with the “feel good” name isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.

From this post:

Another HUGE problem with Prop 35 is that it mandates that anyone convicted of lewd conduct since 1944 register as a sex offender. Lewd conduct is what the police like to charge women and men working on the street with when entrapping them for solicitation seems like too much of a hassle. So thousands of people who are not traffickers and were never accused of being traffickers are going to have to register as sex offenders. And here’s another kicker – throughout the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, when it was practically illegal to be queer, the police had a tendency to charge gay men with lewd conduct. So now thousands of gay men will be required to register as sex offenders – because they’re gay. Yes, there are people being exploited, sexually and otherwise, and they should be getting help. But Prop 35 is not the way to do it. Maybe the police should start enforcing the laws we already have against rape, statutory rape, assault, and kidnapping.

This bill has over $1.85M backing it, and the people who oppose it have no budget to buy commercial time on the radio, or TV, or for big splashy advertisements in local papers.  Please.  Please share this information.

Californians: Please Vote NO on Prop 35

Proposition 35, also known as the Ban on Human Trafficking and Sex Slavery sounds like the kind of bill that no one can argue with, right? I mean, no sane person actually thinks that human trafficking or (non-consensual) sex slavery is a good thing, right?  Right.  That’s why these things are ALREADY illegal.

So why has Prop 35 been introduced?  There is more to the bill than what meets the eye in the small blurb in your voter guide.  This bill would broaden the definitions of human trafficking and sex slavery to a point where the terms could include people who have chosen to be prostitutes, as well as their customers, and people who have chosen to be adult entertainers (working in porn or as strippers).  These people (men and women) who have chosen to engage in sex work could be prosecuted as “human traffickers” and sentenced to a decade in jail, with a $500,000 fine.  If the police chose to do so, you could be charged with human trafficking merely by having sex with a date that paid for a meal.  There’s nothing okay about that.

Here’s an excerpt from The Myth of Sex Trafficking, regarding Prop 35,

Here’s a riddle:

Q: Under §6(h)(2) of the CASE Act, what makes a sexual act into a “commercial sex act”?

A: That it occurs on account of anything of value being given or received by any person.

Here’s another riddle:

Q: Gee, does “anything of value” include buying someone dinner?  A ticket to a movie?  A drink?

A: “Anything of value” is not defined — but if it meant “money or its equivalent” it would say so.

Here’s a final riddle:

Q: Do you really think that prosecutors will think that they can get a jury to convict for a 19-year-old boy who takes a 17-year-old girl (or boy) to a concert, leading her to be grateful and to engage in a sexual act with him, under the CASE Act?

A: Maybe not.  But if it’s your son facing 12 years in prison and being branded for life as a registered sex offender as a result of the conviction, would you be more likely to tell him to accept a plea bargain just in case?  And don’t prosecutors like plea bargains to pad their conviction statistics?  And have they ever been known to deploy their prosecutorial discretion somewhat selectively?

(By the way, that could be your daughter in the above example rather than your son.)

I highly recommend that all of my California readers go to the websites that discuss the pros and cons of Prop 35 (especially the blog linked above, for the cons) and educate yourself.  While the proposition title sounds like a great idea, in reality, it will only increase the number of frivolous arrests and prosecutions of legitimate sex workers, and will increase the already overloaded court system.

I will be voting “no” on Prop 35.   Instead of going after women and men who work in the sex industry by choice, why not help the women and men who have asked for the court’s assistance?  I’d much rather see that energy, manpower, and judicial resources going towards processing the over 180,000 rape kits that are languishing in California.

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?

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!

Slutwalk SF 2012

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 ❤ 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!

Street Harassment: Ladies Just Can’t Win

If you’re a fan of Nice Girls on Facebook (and if you’re not, then you should definitely go click “like” right now!), then you’ve probably already seen this post I shared yesterday.  Trigger warning: there’s an account of a pretty verbally violent situation.

A friend of mine had shared it, and I got pretty angry at the conversation in the comments on her page.  I had never been witness to such oblivious “mansplaining” in my life.   I’d like my readers’ thoughts on this conversation (names have been intentionally omitted): Read the rest of this entry

Book Review: The Choice Effect

To be honest, I don’t remember purchasing The Choice Effect by Amalia McGibbon, Lara Vogel, and Claire A. Williams, for my Kindle, but I just finished reading it two nights ago.  I wasn’t impressed.  On one hand, I commend the authors for writing a semi-sex-positive book about dating (except they portray men as completely disposable), and some of the interesting problems the Millennial generation faces.  On the other hand I finished the book feeling vaguely insulted by some of the ways they characterize my generation, and I became increasingly annoyed by the constant pop culture references.

Their term for the ladies currently in their 20s, “choisters” is an interesting portmanteau created from the word “choice” and the phrase “the world is your oyster”.  The entire book revolves around their hypothesis that because, as a generation, we are more mobile and more connected to the world, we are paralyzed by the plethora of choices available to us and refuse to commit to anything.

When it comes to jobs and a place to live, the economy and ever changing job market are the main factors in my generation’s inability to “settle down”.  By and large, companies are no longer promoting from within and rewarding loyalty and increase in job responsibility with higher titles or compensation.  I read articles all the time bemoaning how it doesn’t pay to invest in Millennial employees, because they leave the company in a few years anyway.  It’s become a self-fulfilling prophecy.  It no longer pays off to be a “company (wo)man”.   When you’re looking for a new job every two or three years in order to experience career growth, it becomes difficult to put down roots.

Likewise, with such volatility in the job market, it is difficult to make what is ostensibly a lifetime commitment to a partner unless one or both of you have a mobile career, or an agreement to move if the other person is presented with an amazing opportunity.  The latter can lead to an imbalance in the relationship if one partner is unable to find a job in the new area, or cannot contribute to the household finances as they did previously.

While it is true that my generation is delaying marriage and family life to a much later age than previous generations, I disagree with the authors’ assertion that it is because the women of my generation are constantly looking for someone “better” than the person they are currently dating.  The notion that we are all a bunch of commitment-phobes who just can’t choose a partner, or a job, or a city to live in rings false to my ears.  I’d argue that my generation’s hesitation to commit to a partner, job, or city is born of intelligent caution, and is a legitimate choice, in and of itself.

In the end, it is hard to take a book seriously when the authors are constantly dropping pop culture references to songs, movies, TV shows, and even mobile applications left and right.  I sincerely hope I didn’t pay anything for this book (I can’t find the receipt, I looked), because it wasn’t worth the e-ink it was printed with.

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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