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!
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.
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.
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!
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
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.
For those of you who don’t know, WordPress gives bloggers the ability to look at a lot of the data associated with a blog that one owns. The information that I find the most intriguing (and often hilarious) is the search terms that lead people to Nice Girls. The searches are often in the form of a question.
After sharing a couple of these on twitter, I thought I would amuse myself by answering them here. Hopefully you will find these as interesting as I do! 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.
When you become a parent, one of the biggest parts of your new job is protecting your child. You’d never let your child sleep with a plastic bag in the crib; you’d never let him or her ride a bike for the first time without a helmet; and you would never just toss your child the keys to the car without teaching them how to drive it first. So why, then, are so many parents failing at protecting their children from the lies, misinformation, and danger of abstinence-only sex education? Read the rest of this entry