Things I’ve read this past week, and you should too:
Things I’ve read this past week, and you should too:
Links, links, links!
Last week was vagina facts, this week it’s time for: Penis facts!
I’m in love with this website for a documentary made on couples’ relationships; check out the poly/mono clip, cheating clip, best sex clip, and take a look at the activity they provide for couples. I love that they have hetero couples, gay couples, mono couples, poly couples, young and older people, wealthy and poor people: TheAnd
Some research suggests that believing one’s relationship is a journey, and not destiny, make the relationship more resilient to challenges
Let’s redefine our relationships- is monogamy really that common?
And, explaining bisexuality to Larry King
Links to share:
This is a pretty fascinating summary of research done on the perception of different types of nonmonogamy; spoiler alert, poly folks were perceived to be more moral while swingers were perceived to be more adventurous.
A pretty awesome piece written on the lessons to be gained from dating someone in an open relationship
A fun compilation of vagina facts
Ginny on using language to be more gender-inclusive
The Gottman blog on self care, autonomy, closeness, and relationship interdependence
Interesting ideas on why childfree couples seem to cheat less than their counterparts with children
I love this infographic from The Lancet on HIV and sex workers:
The importance of kindness and “turning toward” in maintaining healthy and positive long-term relationships: Masters of Love
Fearless self-love: My “Naked” Truth
Older article, but well written and articulated; on how polyamory is bigger than coupledom: Polyamorous Relationships Are About More Than Just Couples
I recently did an interview with Aubrey and it was really fun! If you fit her criteria (live in Portland, 18-29 years old, identify as nonmonogamous or polyamorous) definitely consider participating. She is especially needing some men-identified folks. It’s a confidential interview- while you print and sign the informed consent with your real name, you get to choose a fake name to use for the interview and the two are not connected.
The questions were comprehensive: demographics, sexual/gender/relationship identity, and community identification. I even got to draw my very own polycule and talk about the significant relationship dynamics that I have experienced. It was really gratifying to contribute to the body of ethically nonmonogamous/polyamorous knowledge and satisfying to talk about my experiences.
Thanks for including me Aubrey! Can’t wait to read your final product 🙂
Want a sexy Wednesday pick-me-up?
See photos of exotic dancers from the 1890s here
See this for descriptions (with awesome cartoons!) of different animal mating rituals here
(I don’t know how accurate all the information is, but it’s entertaining and interesting nonetheless!)
If you want something more dense, this article is definitely worth reading: The Scientific Quest to Prove Bisexuality Exists
There are a ton of passages in this article that I liked, but I like this one in particular:
“To their credit, both Rieger and Savin-Williams were thoughtful in their conversations with me about the challenges of studying bisexuality. Savin-Williams, in particular, said he was mostly interested in understanding the “incredible diversity” among bisexuals. He told me about one young man he interviewed whose arousal looked “extraordinarily gay” in the lab. But he was romantically interested in only women. “He falls madly in love with girls all over the place,” Savin-Williams said, “and it’s not because he hates the ‘gay’ part of himself. He just connects romantically and emotionally with women in a way he doesn’t with men. Will that change? Perhaps. But right now he’s not 50-50 interested in men and women — it’s almost like he’s 100 percent and 100 percent, but in two different ways. Most of the time sexual attraction and romantic attraction will overlap, but for some bisexual people, there’s a discrepancy between the two.”
Rieger nodded. “People constantly surprise you,” he said, recalling one young man who announced that he was “50-50 bisexual” but who only showed arousal to women in the lab. “His arousal was like a perfect straight guy,” Rieger told me.
“Sounds like he’s romantically attracted to guys but sexually attracted to women,” Savin-Williams said. “I think there’s a lot more sexual complexity and nuance among men than researchers have assumed for years.””
Any fun links to share with me?
In the March issue of Psychology Today, there are two pieces that I wanted to discuss here. One is a short snippet on kissing. Interestingly, a study published in Evolutionary Psychology found that far more men than women would have sex with someone without kissing that person first (53% of men versus 14% of women). Would you have sex without kissing them first? (I know I wouldn’t. Well, for the most part 🙂 )
Another interesting finding from a study published in Western Journal of Communication found that couples who increased their kissing time (variable unknown- how long did couples increase their kissing time to?) experienced lower stress over time. The piece mentions that “just 15 minutes worth of kissing…can reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol”- but I don’t know if that is 15 minutes per week or what. (J and I have been joking that it must be 15 minutes a day! Go get it!)
Another, longer piece discussed casual sex and hook-ups, and recent studies indicating that many young people who have casual sex later regret it. Gender-based differences were found in these studies: in “a collection of studies in the Archives of Sexual Behavior… [demonstrated that] On average, women most regretted the sex that they had; men were more likely to regret the sex they didn’t.” Women tended to be more regretful of losing their virginity to the “wrong person” while men tended to regret not being more “sexually intrepid.”
Have you ever regretted a casual sex encounter? Why? What happened?
I think this gets into a larger question about regret and the meaning of sex. If you learned something, do you necessarily need to regret it? Is your regret based on the meaning you ascribe to sex? What do you all think?
Last night I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Emily Kennedy, a sociology PhD student studying the role of the Internet in shaping the ways in which we view sex work and sex workers. It was a fantastic experience- one of the highlights was when I started talking about my experience with withdrawing from my counseling program and she jumped in her seat: “That’s you?! I saw that post on Tumblr!! I can’t believe you’re part of my interview sample!” She was so excited, and I loved that she had seen the HoP post. We talked about how Internet use has helped me attract customers, how I have communicated with regulars, how I got started stripping and why, who I have disclosed my experiences to and why, if I have had any negative experiences with school or law enforcement or other people in my life, and whether I think there has been a shift in general attitude toward sex work in the past 10-20 years. It was really fun to talk about all of that with a sociology student who herself has direct experience with sex work and also has a deep curiosity for how sex work is viewed and treated culturally in our country.
My interview came after an interesting afternoon at work, something I am still somewhat processing. I met with a coworker to discuss planning a financial planning workshop for sex workers in the area, and after about 20 minutes of me offering a lot of information without much clarity of source, she asked me:
So… how did you get involved in this work?
I stumbled for a minute, and probably looked a bit uncomfortable. Ummm…
You don’t have to tell me at all! It’s okay.
No, I’ve been struggling with this. And so I guess I’ll just tell you, and you (as I nodded to the coworker who I share an office with). I’ve actually been a stripper, so that’s how I got really interested in sex workers rights and advocacy.
Well that is so cool! You have a lot of insight then and probably a better ability to reach this population. What an asset. How great!
After I told my two coworkers I started doubting myself- was that a smart decision? Why can’t I just keep my mouth shut? What is wrong with me? So many people don’t talk about their personal lives at work- why do I have this compulsive need to be out everywhere?
I remember Louisa Leontiades telling me in a Skype chat once:
It’s addicting to be yourself.
It’s so true. Once you have felt what it’s like to be yourself, totally and completely, without shame and without regard for what others think, it’s hard to go back. It’s hard to stuff pieces of yourself away, for fear of retaliation or judgement.
I had a longer conversation with my officemate after the other person left, and she understood completely my need for discretion and to continue to feel out the culture of our program and the attitude of other coworkers. I trust her and I don’t worry about her telling anyone or gossiping about it. Then later, I emailed my other coworker and thanked her for her understanding and respect and discretion. And she replied with more kindness and a confirmation that she adheres to the Vegas rule- whatever was said in our office, stays in our office.
I need to trust my intuition about people- my coworkers felt like safe and supportive people to disclose to, and they are. While I have largely had good experiences coming out as a stripper, I also have enough experience from my school snafu to know that not everyone sees my stripping experience as an empowering, rich, and positive perspective. So taking it slow in my new work environment in disclosing feels like a good path to take. I am also feeling more “all here,” which is freeing and grounding at the same time.
One of the last questions that Emily asked me last night was: You’re only 25, but how do you think general attitudes toward sex work has changed in the past 20 years?
To which I replied:
Well, I was only 5 20 years ago, but I know from the time I was in high school to now, I personally have undergone a massive shift in how I view sex work. I used to have my mom’s attitude toward sex work- that it is objectifying, degrading, and hurts all women and people. I carried that through college, and it wasn’t until my partner and I opened up that I had a catalyst to unpack my views surrounding sexuality and sex work. I have noticed that a lot of other women in my age cohort have gone through similar transformations with how they view sexuality and sex work, although they have had different catalysts than me. It gives me hope!
She laughed and agreed.
I love Sex at Dawn– many of you know if we are friends or if you’ve followed this blog since the beginning that the book is what kick started J and I into exploring nonmonogamy. There are those out there who find the book and arguments within it preposterous or outlandish or unsubstantiated. And the truth is- you can argue just about anything, especially when it gets into prehistorical human behaviors. But the overarching argument Ryan and Jetha make (that humans are evolutionarily and naturally promiscuous and that monogamy is a social construct) still holds for us, and the evidence that they bring together provides a really strong foundation for their argument. I still recommend that book highly to anyone who asks about it.
Here is Ryan on TED; it’s a solid video worth watching, and would be a great introduction for people who haven’t yet read the book and a nice recount for those of us who have read it.
I read this article a few days ago while waiting for the crowd to come into the strip club: “Move Night Can Double as Therapy”
I’m curious what people think about this idea- of watching “relationship movies” as a couple instead of going to couples counseling. It seems like it would take a lot of self-initiative on the parts of both/all people involved, and that the people in the relationship would not find it necessary to have a counselor present to move forward on thorny issues. I suppose if the purpose of counseling is simply to help people reconnect with one another, that this could do just as good of a job (again, as long as all people involved want to reconnect and rediscover one another). However, if there are any major challenges or hurdles within the relationship, it seems like having some outside support could be more helpful than a movie.
Thoughts? Have you gone to couples counseling? Would you opt to watch a movie with your honey instead, and talk about it afterwards?
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