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Book Review: The Ultimate Guide to Kink

When visiting my local Good Vibrations a couple of weeks ago, I was very excited to see a copy of Tristan Taormino’s newest book, The Ultimate Guide to Kink: BDSM, Role Play and the Erotic Edge, displayed prominently among fetish accoutrements.  I eagerly picked up a copy, and devoured it from cover to cover in three sittings.

I have previously discussed my adoration of Ms. Taormino’s work before, and she showed once again how well she understands the world of non-normative sexuality.  Instead of writing the entire book herself, she sought out the experts in each subject and asked each of them to write an essay about their experiences.

The list of authors in this book reads as a veritable who’s who in the space of kink, and each voice shines through when they are talking about their area of expertise.  Midori, Mollena Williams, Ignacio Rivera, and Madison Young (sites are all NSFW, depending on your workplace) are among the contributors who bare their souls and their sexuality for the sake of education.  Each chapter covers a different subject, and every area is discussed thoughtfully and with respect to the practitioners.

With topics ranging from the topics people usually think of as kink: sadism, masochism, bondage, submission and dominance; to the less public faces of kink, like age play and edge play, this book is as close to perfect as possible.  If you are interested in kink, either intellectually or would like to practice, this book is a great tool to learn to articulate your thoughts and desires.  Longtime practitioners, who are generally in a never-ending quest to learn more about their desires and the desires of their partners, will also find the viewpoints interesting and informative.

Overall, I highly recommend The Ultimate Guide to Kink.  Ms. Taormino, thank you for putting together such a fantastic overview of the broad spectrum of kink.  Once again, I tip my proverbial hat to you.

 

You can help support Nice Girls by purchasing The Ultimate Guide to Kink through the Amazon link above.  A portion of each sale goes towards keeping my blog up and running!

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!

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!

Oh, Toronto

Once again, Toronto is making headlines across the nation for slut-shaming.  As you might recall, last year, a Toronto police officer sparked a firestorm of criticism and outrage when he said  “women should avoid dressing like sluts not to be victimized” during a speech.  That outrage turned into a movement that has swept across the US and Canada: The Slutwalk.

But apparently that wasn’t enough.

Now, shortly after Toronto police held a news conference to warn women in the area about a series of sexual assaults, Krista Ford, the niece of Mayor Tom Ford, and daughter of a Councillor, sent an awful tweet (screenshot courtesy of Gawker media):

Some People Just Never Learn

 

Don’t dress like a whore?  Really, Ms. Ford?  Guess what?  My clothing is never an excuse for someone to sexually assault me!  It’s never an excuse, period!  People of both sexes, all ages, professions and styles of dress have become victims of sexual assaults.  It’s not just the drunk girl walking home by herself after dancing at a club all night, it’s the girl wearing jeans and a sweatshirt, it’s the guy rushing for a frat who is getting hazed, or anyone who finds themselves in a vulnerable position.

With all of this in mind, I have signed up to attend San Francisco’s Slutwalk, occurring next weekend, September 8th, at Dolores Park.  I hope that all of my readers in the Bay Area will join me.  For those of you who are not in San Francisco, I’ll be taking some pictures!

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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