Best Line from Last Night’s Late Night Talk:

“I just can’t imagine dating without a partner!”

Haha 🙂 It’s amazing to have wonderful support, love, and encouragement from someone… and even more amazing to have all of that when meeting other people can be so rough!… and even more amazing when new relationships DO work out, and it means we have even MORE support, connection, and love in our lives!

Surgery = No Sex???

So we had an eventful weekend. I went into the ER on Friday morning from what turned out to be appendicitis… I had my appendix taken out on Friday afternoon and came home on Saturday. J has been the most perfect hausfrau and nurse, and hopefully I will be back to my normal self in the next week or so. 

BUT: it hurts to laugh, sneeze, cough, and basically do anything that uses my abs.

WHICH MEANS: I can’t have sex until I am healed! Which means, I am going to be a very sexually frustrated individual :-/ How sad, how very, very sad.

The crazy part of this to me is that none of my providers even mentioned this tiny little fact to me! They said, rest, walk around when you can, no strenuous exercise until fully healed (about 1-2 weeks). But, in my delirium, I didn’t put it together that this also meant NO SEX!

Luckily, this is where Sexual Intelligence comes in super handy. Making out, massage, cuddling, giving hand jobs or oral… all of these would be totally satisfying for me. Even if I can’t masturbate or orgasm, giving someone else pleasure is a pleasurable activity for me. So maybe I can stop crying about it and start whispering dirty things into J’s ear 😉

"Unhooked" Review

Wow. There are just so many things about this book that warrant a 1-star review.  I just finished “Unhooked” by Laura Sessions Stepp and it was absolutely awful.  Below are some of the many many things that I did not like about the book.
1) Sensationalist Reporting: This book is obviously nothing more than an attempt by the author to create a book that sells.  She has tons of stories that are so clearly the exception rather than the norm but she suggests that these stories reflect on an entire culture.
2) Poor Study Design and over-generalizations: The author uses a “Case-Series” study design in which the author talks to less than 100 woman about their personal as well as these women’s friends’ experiences.  She then suggests that this data is reflective of the entire population of college youth in the current generation.  The author interviews almost entirely woman in the “Greek” or “Sorority” life and then suggests that these woman are reflective of the entire college woman’s population. 
3) Incredible Bias while trying to paint a picture of “objective” research: The author begins the book by stating that she will merely be reporting on the “hookup” culture in an unbiased way.  However, the author then proceeds to use very judgmental language such as, my favorite line, “Hookups which are, by definition, self-centered and selfish [. . .].”
4) Finally, one particular theme in the book that I found to be absolutely ridiculous is the author’s idea that people involved in the “hookup culture” are being so impacted that they will no longer want what she refers to as “real relationships.”  The author then interviews many women who were previously involved in the “hookup culture” who have met boys and are now involved in these so called “real relationships.”  The contradiction in this seems to blatantly obvious but it apparently escaped the author and editors of this book.
In summary, don’t bother reading this book.  It is offensive and the research is limited to such a tiny class of people that there is very little to glean about the actual sexual culture of today’s youth.

Relationship Styles Presentation

For all of our lovely friends who read our blog:

I am giving a presentation in a Human Sexuality class on relationship styles, and I would love your feedback on my draft presentation! If there are critical components of open relationships, or about monogamy, that you think I am missing, please let me know! Leave a comment or send us an email. I want this presentation to be relevant and interesting for my class! Or if there are other pieces of information that you think I should include, or points I should definitely make, please let me know 🙂



Relationship Styles Presentation
(the link should take you to the Google doc of the presentation)

Thanks!
~K

Oprah On Sex- Ugh!

From my recent read of “America’s War on Sex” by Dr. Marty Klein I became inspired to check out some of the things that he mentioned in the book.  The first one that I decided to check out was his statement that Dr. Phil and Oprah hate sex.  I was pretty surprised since K had mentioned that Oprah has had Violet Blue on her show before to talk about pornography and erotica.  However, I checked it out and these were the disturbing articles that I found that show that Oprah and Dr. Phil do indeed have a very limited understanding of what is “appropriate” and “normal” sexual expression.

For a brief summary of this issue I encourage you to read a short article by Dr. Klein titled, “What Oprah and Dr. Phil Don’t Understand about Sex.”  Here is the link: http://www.martyklein.com/what-oprah-dr-phil-dont-understand-about-sex/.  It is filled with hysterical and enraging quotes like the brief excerpt below points out:

“When it comes to sex, Oprah believes that men are like ATMs–ready to go 24 hours a day, rain or shine. When she recently read mail from viewers complaining about their husbands’ lack of interest, she was stunned–”Hard to believe,” she said. “We thought, you know, men always wanted it.” Dr. Phil also finds it hard to believe. When confronted by Robert, who doesn’t want sex with his wife, Phil says “it’s just not natural that you’re just laying there thinking about work or something. What is it you don’t like about” sex? And to Rod, whose wife felt sexually deprived, Phil demanded “are you some kind of weirdo?”

Now, here are some links that my own research on Oprah’s website revealed.  Keep these links in mind when you are talking to women like your Mom that may idolize Oprah; just remember that some of their views about sexuality and “appropriate” sexual expression may have been shaped by her show.

Article 1:

Oprah on Open Marriage: http://www.oprah.com/relationships/Do-Open-Marriages-Work/1.  This article was written by a contributing writer to Oprah’s website.  It is, in my mind, a very poorly written, one-sided argument about why Open Marriages are bad and, even more, why they actually aren’t “marriage” at all. 

Some of the more disturbing quotes from this article are: 

I must confess, every time I type the words “good open marriage,” my fingers twitch. These words feel oxymoronic.”

“By the end of my research, I firmly believed that open marriage is merely an excuse for getting away with behaving self-indulgently and recklessly. In my book Prince Harming Syndrome, any man who wants an open marriage is what I call a Prince Harming. Prince Harming is someone who does not make his partner feel safe, calm, secure, confident—and the idea of an open marriage does not leave me feeling that way.”  

The second quote personally makes me cringe because I can’t believe there are people out there who think that it is their partner’s job to make them feel “safe, calm, secure, [and] confident.”  A person that needs all of these things are what I think Dan Savage would describe as “not in good working order.”

What I found most disturbing about this particular article was the layout.  The first section was titled, “What’s good about open marriage.”  The second section was titled, “What’s bad about open marriage.”  The third section was titled, “What’s #[email protected]%^! about open marriage.”  You may realize that the third section has exactly the number of characters needed to spell FUCKED.  So, it is broken down to “the good, the bad, and the FUCKED.”  That doesn’t seem very balanced. . . this layout reflects a very unbalanced attack on open marriage so I guess it is appropriate. 

Article 2:

http://www.oprah.com/relationships/The-Negative-Effects-of-Porn.  This is just a brief excerpt from Rabbi Shmuley.  He hates porn. Check it out!  My personal opinion on Shmuley’s conclusions is that this man has clearly not watched a lot of porn OR he has experienced considerably different effects than most of the 50 million people in the U.S. who regularly watch porn.

Article 3:

http://www.oprah.com/relationships/MaleFemale-Friendships.  Ugh. I just had to put this on here to point out some rules that I hope you are all following 😉 Besides the fact that this article is extremely heteronormative, it is messed up in so many other ways too!  There is so much to dislike!

The following is an excerpt from the article:
  • You can’t go out to late night dinners together. You can have lunch together in a public place, but you should not order alcoholic beverages. “The embers of attraction really can grow in situations like that, and suddenly it’s not so innocent, it’s not just friendship anymore,” Rabbi Shmuley says.
  • You can’t take long drives or long flights with the other person, even if it’s for work. “Even if you have to work with a colleague [of the opposite sex], there are still certain boundaries you need to preserve,” he says.
  • You cannot place yourself in any situation where romance can grow. “Romance grows when people are alone; romance grows when people tell secrets,” Rabbi Shmuley says.
  • You can’t share secrets with a platonic male or female friend that you don’t share with your spouse. “Because then you’re sharing an exclusivity with a member of the opposite sex that you’re not with your partner, and that can lead to a big no-no,” he says.
  • You should not be friends with ex-lovers.
How well I personally did with the rules:

1) Broken.
2) WTF? Even for work. . . haha. I hope I never have to work with a colleague of the opposite sex.  If I do, I will just explain to my employer that I need to take a separate flight so that I am not on a flight with her.  Maybe we should have sex-segregated work places, flights, cars, buildings, schools. . . OR, maybe Rabbi Shmuley should just recognize that people who want to be intimate with others will be intimate regardless of the arbitrary rules that he develops to help keep people from developing “inappropriate” friendships with people of the opposite sex.
3) Broken.
4) OH NO! It can lead to a “big no-no.”
5) Broken.


"America’s War on Sex" Book Review

This is J writing. . . finally! It has been so long since I have written a post but K told me that I have three book reports to write and they were all due yesterday.  Oops. Now that I am on vacation I am trying to catch up on all the books that I put off reading while I was in school.  My next blog post will be about “Gay, Straight and the Reason Why” by Simon LeVay which is a book that explores a lot of the research that has been conducted into sexual orientation.  However, the first book that I read this summer was “America’s War on Sex” by Marty Klein; it was published in 2006, before “Sexual Intelligence.”
“America’s War on Sex” was essentially a summary of the immense discomfort that our culture experiences in regards to sex and how that discomfort manifests in an attack on sex and sexual expression.  He covers a variety of topics relating to sex and sexuality such as: sex education (with a focus on abstinence-only education programs), pornography, gay marriage, swing clubs, abortion and reproductive rights, and mass media and censoring.  The book is a sort of A-Z of every way in which the right is attempting to limit your sexual expression and sexual freedom.  Dr. Klein makes no attempt to hide his disdain for right wing leaders like George W. Bush, Rick Santorum, Jerry Falwell and others who he sees as responsible for attacking a citizen’s right to freely express themselves sexually without interference from the government.
The main theme of the book seemed to be that regardless of what your own level of comfort is with someone else’s sexuality, this is America and people should have the right to express themselves freely and openly so long as they are not harming others.  This closely dovetails with an important point in the book, which is that those who are not at ease with their own sexuality see attacks on their way of life everywhere – in the media, on billboards, in sex education programs, in the mere existence of pornography, and in books like “Fifty Shades of Gray.”  Because some people are so uncomfortable with the fact that they are sexual beings, they are unable to simply recognize and then dismiss those parts of the culture that are sexual; they must seek to control and limit the sexual expression of others in an attempt to protect themselves from what they see as a “sexual onslaught” in which they are being constantly attacked.  Dr. Klein sees this need to control the sexuality of others by limiting their rights to free sexual expression by watching pornography, going to strip clubs, et cetera as distinctly “un-American.”  After all, part of living in a pluralistic society means tolerating those with different views and expressions than you. 
I personally think that Dr. Klein did an excellent job of explaining how the law and especially the U.S. Supreme Court shape our sexual culture through their interpretation of the First Amendment.  The foreword to the book was written by the president of the ACLU and specifically commended Dr. Klein for the excellent job that he did covering how the law is involved in shaping what sort of sexual expression is permissible and where it is permissible.  One thing that I think that he somewhat glossed over is the fact that while the Supreme Court has been the most protective branch of government in terms of allowing people the right to sexual expression (even if what they have done has been pretty limited) they are essentially the last resort; these sorts of cases in which a person is not being permitted to express themselves freely only make it to the Supreme Court because of laws that were passed by legislatures and signed into law by governors or presidents.  If we convince our elected officials to not give into the pressure placed on them by those who are too fragile to handle other people’s sexual expression, the Supreme Court would not have to “put it’s foot down” in order to protect our First Amendment rights.  For example, there is currently a circuit-split (when two circuit courts rule on the same issue in different ways) regarding whether a state may pass a law that makes it illegal to sell sex toys.  Texas and Alabama have both passed laws making the sale of sex toys illegal.  The 11th Circuit struck down the Texas law finding that it was unconstitutional but the 5th Circuit upheld Alabama’s law finding that it was reasonable.  You can read more about this issue here if you are interested: http://newyorklawschool.typepad.com/leonardlink/2008/02/a-circuit-split.htmlThe bottom-line is that this case only matters because states like Alabama and Texas are bothering to pass these laws that then call into question whether or not a person has a constitutionally protected right to buy sex toys or not; if state’s would not pass these ridiculous laws then it wouldn’t matter whether you had a constitutional right to buy a sex toy.
Another important point from this book is the extreme misinformation that is proffered by those uncomfortable with sex and sexuality in their attempt to limit the sexual expression and freedom of others.  He discusses the immense quantity of evidence that has been put forward against abstinence-only education and the fact that the right continues to tout abstinence-only education as the only effective means of preventing pregnancy and disease. Dr. Klein cites a figure that abstinence fails 88% of the time; he gets this from the fact that 88% of those people making an “abstinence-until-marriage pledge” will have sex before they are married.  Furthermore, those breaking the pledge are statistically less likely to use safe and effective forms of contraception and/or to use the contraception properly.  Another interesting piece of misinformation that Dr. Klein refers to is the idea that pornography causes violence or sexual assault; peer-reviewed studies tend to show the exact opposite which is that access to pornography reduces the number of sexual assaults in a community.  The book is loaded with misinformation commonly volunteered by the right as well as citations to peer-reviewed studies that refute this misinformation.
The last really important point that I got from the book is the way that the “war on sex” has been framed by those warring against sex and sexual expression.  It is framed, according to Dr. Klein, as an “us versus them” battle in which the “us” are the “righteous crusaders” who are uncomfortable with sex set out to save the community from the “them” who are perverts who do things like watch pornography, go to strip clubs, swing with their neighbors, and teach their children about contraception – you know who you are 😉  This framing has the effect of making this small but vocal minority seem as if they have the moral high-ground which makes those people who consume pornography, go to strip clubs, swing, et cetera refuse to speak up and stand up for themselves since they are afraid of being attacked and smeared by those in this small minority.  One of my favorite examples from this section of the book was about a populated place that had many residents as well as strip clubs.  When the area became incorporated one of the first acts of the new city council was to pass zoning laws making it illegal for the strip clubs to continue to operate in their city.  In this decision the city council framed those that went to the strip clubs as “them” – perverts coming from other places to go to the strip clubs – but Dr. Klein asks the question “Who did this city council think were keeping these strip clubs in business? Probably the people who lived within a few miles of the clubs.” 
While the book was a bit disheartening because it reminded me of all of the ways in which sexual expression is limited and about the constant attack that sexual expression and freedom is under, I ultimately think it is a worthwhile read.  I think it is important to be knowledgeable about the constant attack on sexuality and sexual expression so that we can defend our right to express ourselves sexually in ways that are not unfairly limited by the government.