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The World’s Ultimate Libertine Gets Jealous?

January 21, 2010 Books No Comments



I was in college when The Sexual Life of Catherine M. came out. That, for me, was the perfect time to indulge in the auto-biographical account of the French critic’s orgies and anonymous sex days. That book and I enjoy a somewhat adversarial relationship now due to its detached, blatantly unerotic nature, but even so, I love that an intelligent, established woman came out about her sexual exploits.

“I reveled in it,” Millet says when she looks back on it. “It’s what I was truly good at–what I was the best at. I loved particularly the anonymity, the abandonment of orgies. The sensation that one was glorying in this unbelievable freedom, this transcendence… My sex life was always very important for me, for the construction of my personality, the definition of myself.”

Millet is back, this time with a book to shock us because of its emotional and psychological honesty. Her new book Jealousy covers three years during her marriage to Jacques Henric, when she discovered he was having infidelities. She had her own lovers, but the discovery still destroyed her. The Guardian elaborates:

“I had no need,” she has written, “to go and build love stories out of sexual relationships.” And: “I had love at home. I sought only pleasure outside.” So this sudden and vicious attack of “the timeless and universal malady”, she explains, was “a real crisis. Physical. I felt like there was no way out; I was living a contradiction. I knew I could never make him understand the pain he was causing me; I could only agree when he said: But how can you possibly reproach me, with the life you’ve led? Morally very difficult to deal with.”

The Sexual Life of Catherine M took a long time to write,” Millet explains. “But that was mainly just my own technical difficulty in writing. For Jealousy, I had to make a real effort, not so much to describe the crisis itself, but to relate the way I had behaved. Going through his papers, opening up his drawers, reading his letters–it doesn’t exactly cover one in glory, does it? That took me ages. Forever. These are very deep impulses, and they’re much more difficult to write about than mere sex.”

The jealousy is sprung not just at the idea of Henric with others, but also at the notion that sex was no longer what it had been for her.

“It was in the period when I was taking less and less pleasure in orgies,” Millet recounts. “And the discovery that Jacques was having relationships with other women perhaps exacerbated a feeling that I was returning to the state of self-doubt I’d known when I was younger. It’s as if I no longer possessed the sexual excellence that was mine when I was young; Jacques had it now. This was his moment, not mine. I imagined him enjoying a pleasure, a privilege, that I had once enjoyed. I suffered more from that than from any fear that he might leave me.”

Jealousy details the spectrum of her emotions and thoughts as carefully as her previous books does orgies and sexual positions.

When The Guardian‘s Jon Henley asks her whether the experience had changed her perspective in regard to having relationships, Millet doesn’t hesitate:

“I continue to believe that love and sexual desire are feelings you can experience divergently,” she says. “You can be attracted to and love many people at the same time. Of course, there are relationships that are more important, deeper, than others. But there are an infinity of ways in which a person can experience love. We’re fighting against the heritage of romanticism, mon ami. I hate giving advice, but we need to rid ourselves of the notion of l’amour unique. It’s not like that in real life. Romantic love affairs generally end in tears, you know. The point is that even having a relationship like that doesn’t stop you having others. Even from loving others.”

Jealousy is now available in the U.S.

Image from Groove Press. Information from The Guardian.

What’s Too Kinky?

January 5, 2010 Books, Culture 4 Comments

The zeroes flew by, didn’t they? We’re here to give you a recap of books that caught our eyes, captured our hearts and made us think during the noughties.

by Angela Koh

According to Judy Dutton’s How We Do It, 60 percent of adults fantasize about kinky sex.

Why would we rather smell a wet sock than kiss someone’s lips?

Dr. Richard von Krafft-Ebing was the first to publish a list of these paraphilias in Psychopathia Sexualis.

The Latin couldn’t keep readers away from the book:

Formicophilia: attraction to small animals or insects crawling on parts of the body

Chremastistophilia: arousal from being robbed

Telephonicophilia: arousal from making obscene phone calls to strangers

Voraphilia: arousal to the idea of being eaten or swallowed alive

We can’t forget about Japan’s omorashi or the arousal from having a full bladder. There’s even historical relevance to the fetish for gas masks in Great Britain after World War II. Today, Kraft-Ebing’s list of medical problems is simply diagnosed as human preference. Researchers found men who identified as sadists were not closet misogynists. Women with particular SM tastes were also activists in feminist groups.

With no psychologically unhealthy reason for such kinks, it’s become natural to push the envelope in bed. Dutton reports that the SM community has recently included activities of scat (feces arousal) and “ageplay” (enacting adult/child sex) as a part of Living in Leather’s programming.

Some fans argue that the rush of “edgeplay” like using guns and knives is well worth the risks. Angelina Jolie herself is rumored to have a room of ropes and sharp objects for her sexual disposal.

With the STD epidemic and the growing appetite from today’s internet-rampant sex fetishes, at what point must our generation return to question the sanity and safety of kinky sex?

What It Feels Like For A Girl(friend)

January 3, 2010 Books, Culture 2 Comments

The zeroes flew by, didn’t they? We’re here to give you a recap of books that caught our eyes, captured our hearts and made us think during the noughties.

Thirty-four years ago, a young, unknown graduate student tackled the myth that most women should be able to orgasm through vaginal intercourse in a book that revolutionized our understanding of women’s sexuality. The book was The Hite Report on Female Sexuality and it shot its author Shere Hite, to center stage.

Having surveyed over 3,000 women about their sex lives, Hite had enough data to back up a revolutionary claim: that conventional sex placed unrealistic expectations on women.

“I was making the point that clitoral stimulation wasn’t happening during coitus,” Hite told The Independent in an interview several decades later. “That’s why women ‘have difficulty having orgasms’–they don’t have difficulty when they stimulate themselves. Shouldn’t we just rethink the idea of what sex is and what equality is?”

Hite’s wasn’t an attack on men, it was an attack on a general lack of understanding about female sexuality. Being able to delight in sex as much as one’s partner is a matter of equality and human rights.

Since that revolutionary work, Hite has explored other areas, such as the societal pressure placed on men to perform, and her belief that religious extremism in the East and West is the manifestation of protest against the growing power of women.

Her 2007 book The Hite Report: On Women Loving Women, is an examination of friendship and partnerships between women and why they fail.

Jessica Brinton at the Times Online offers her take:

Hite says that there is an underlying tension in relationships between girls that makes us compete with each other rather than get along. She thinks that if we could only overcome it, we would be all set for a new kind of 21st-century female power, one that relies not on trying to be sexier than one another, but on helping each other out.

On the face of it, she’s spot-on. We do give other girls an unnecessarily hard time. These days, it isn’t considered chic to bitch, Dynasty-style – we leave the crude viperishness to the Jordans, the Cheryls and the Poshes. Competitiveness comes in a different guise: an awesomely sophisticated game of one-upmanship. Do you have the latest Mulberry bag? Are you wearing this season’s key shape in denim? Will you go back to work after having a baby – and if so, how long after? Is your baby sleeping through the night? No? Oh, you poor thing. Urgently trying to guess a woman’s age the moment you meet her is not very sisterly. Nor is our morbid fascination with the collapsing lives of Misses Winehouse and Spears.

And even when we are not getting one over on other women, we are probably still forgetting to give them the respect they deserve. Yes, we tell each other when a new haircut looks fab, but if we are honest, our girlfriends are mostly there to play a supporting role in our lives with men. Married women complain how hard it is to make and maintain new friendships. The only permanent fallout I have ever had with a close girlfriend happened because of a stupid misunderstanding over a man. The ITV series Mistresses was hit girls’ television but, like Sex and the City and Desperate Housewives before it, the implication was that the beautiful friendships at its centre wouldn’t have had anything like the intensity without the fuel of romantic crisis.

On Hands And Knees In Disney’s Underbelly

December 28, 2009 Books, Culture 1 Comment

Last week, I received a curious e-mail from a man named Chris Mitchell who told me he had secrets about the Magic Kingdom–dark, stormy secrets, the kind we here at Sex and the 405 are all about.

Mitchell had worked at the Orlando theme park for a year as an official photog.

Now, he’s coming out with the stories he heard on the field, a sort of incredible expose that will change our notions of the Magic Kingdom forever.

On the day before Christmas, another e-mail arrived from Mitchell, this one containing a chapter of his book, Cast Member Confidential.

“The lawyers who work for my publisher made me edit this one pretty heavily, but I’m sending the unexpurgated version…” he wrote.

And like a good girl, I waited until Christmas to open the gift.

Three in the morning, there I sat at my desk, cigarette freshly lit, and opened “The Bear Necessities.” Enjoy, with the proper mixture of delight and horror, as I did:

For ten years, Brady was the pride of the character department: Chip, Dale, Quasimodo. He brought Roger Rabbit to life in a way that no other performer could match. But, by far, his favorite was Winnie the Pooh with his bashful smile and his honey colored fur and his pot belly that was just big enough to jack off inside.

“What flavor today, Brady?” one Pooh coming off stage would ask.

Brady would pull the ubiquitous sucker out of his mouth and smack his lips. “Butterscotch,” he would say, then the greeter would Velcro him in to the suit and he would shuffle on stage, his crooked leg giving Pooh a comical gait.

This was the late-nineties, when Pooh wore a honey pot on his head with bees flying around it. A performer could pull his arms inside the costume to wiggle the bear’s nose and then push them back into the paws to sign autographs. Or, at least that was the original plan.

Brady liked to pull his underwear down around his thighs and hold his balls. He’d walk around like that for a while, then lift his fingers to his face and sniff them. The scent of his musk and the sheer naughtiness of the escapade broke over him in waves of arousal and he would stroke himself off right there, in front of everybody, where nobody could see.

How could he? How could he masturbate and sign autographs and pose for photos without losing focus or breaking character? Surely, that kind of multitasking required supernatural concentration. Simple. He could do it because he was, above all, a professional. He knew the choreography by heart and was able to do the dance steps in his sleep. He could sign with one hand, sniff the other and wiggle Pooh’s nose with his elbow. Since Pooh is a right-handed character, Brady became adept at jerking with his left hand. After all, it wasn’t like there was a whole lot else for him to do inside that suit for thirty minutes straight.

The lollipops were perfect for covering up the smells around his fingers and face. Some days he used cinnamon, some days spearmint. And every night, when he turned in his costume, the wardrobe department dutifully washed away the seminal fluids.

One day, Brady went to pick up his Pooh costume, and received a shock.

“It’s a new design,” beamed the wardrobe lady. “Isn’t this an adorable face?”

One look at the new body confirmed the worst for Brady. “Arms,” he said. “It’s got actual arms.”

“Yes, he does! Oh yes he does! The cute widdle bear has arms!

Brady was crestfallen. The new design meant he would not be able to pull his hands inside the pot belly. It wasn’t like he was going to leave the character program or anything, but he felt gypped. Ball fondling had been his hard-earned perk. For three years, he coasted along in the character program, picking up new characters, learning animation for parades and autograph sessions. And then, one day, salvation came in the form of Monsters Inc.

One of the stars of Monsters Inc., Mike Wyszowski, fell right into Brady’s height range. Basically, a giant eyeball with stick legs, Mike Wyszowski was shaped in such a way that the performer had to keep his arms inside the costume at all times. He could eat a burrito in there if he wanted to, or check his voice mail, or, yes, even jack off.

Once again, going to work was a treat. A day of Mike Wyszowski was better than any day off – imagine doing the one thing you truly love and getting paid for it! Plus, consistent with tried and true marketing techniques, every day from the opening of the movie until the DVD release, the coordinators scheduled a park full of Monsters Inc. characters. Which meant that Brady, who had carefully made himself indispensable as the friendly eyeball, was more or less on constant call.

And the best part was, there was even a shelf inside the costume with little holes that accommodated extra lollipops.

Unexpurgated excerpt from Cast Member Confidential by Chris Mitchell, out January 1, 2010. Image via Chris Mitchell’s blog.

Hos, Hookers and Truths

December 17, 2009 Books, Culture 2 Comments

hoshookersThe public loves a juicy story about hookers and the media is fast to provide. The problem is these stories are two-dimensional at best, either told as a cautionary tale or paraded as the height of empowerment, with no regard for the nuances or humanity across the spectrum.

David Henry Sterry, author of the sex work memoir Chicken: A Portrait of a Young Man for Rent is looking to change that with a collection of stories told by sex workers called Hos, Hookers, Call Girls and Rent Boys, which came out this summer.

You want to know what sex work is about? Quit watching the news. Get in bed with this.

Here’s an excerpt of an interview with Sterry by Violet Blue:

Violet Blue: What drove you to pick the range of sex work covered in “Hos”?

David Henry Sterry: Right now in these great United States, in every major metropolis, there are people at the very bottom of the food chain, who are basically sex slaves, being exploited in the worst ways imaginable by the most vile evil predators. And there are women, men and transsexuals who are over the age of 18, in full command of all their faculties, and are choosing to use their body and their brain to make money in the sex business. And the crazy thing is, these two sides have a hard time acknowledging the truth of the other. So I tried in my own small way, to document all voices.

I had no political axe to grind: if you worked in the sex business, and you had a story to tell, and you had the skill to tell it, you were welcome in our book. As a result, I have writing by 15-year-old girls who were raped, beaten, burned, starved, degraded and exploited by the worst scum of the earth. And I have women who used sex work to pay for their master of fine arts degree at Berkeley. And everything in between: Working class, meat-and-potatoes sex workers; fabulous rent boys; phone-sex operators; former Olympic athletes; undereducated and overeducated.

VB: You are a former sex worker — what kind of work did you do?

DHS: I was an industrial sex technician, which is my preferred term for the work, for nine months — one human gestation period — when I was 17 years old, living in Hollywood, and studying existentialism at Immaculate Heart College in Hollywood, California. I worked mostly with women, although I did, toward the end of my career, get paid to verbally and physically humiliate men. One of them was a judge. He came out of the bathroom in his judge’s robe. Underneath he was wearing a diaper. Even at 17, this made me seriously question the American judicial system.

This anthology, as it is, could only have happened because I used to be in “The Life”. One of the chief advantages to being an ex-ho myself is that I’m tapped into many of the networks that we have. All the best hos I know are excellent networkers. Netsexworkers. Plus, I was invited to teach a writing workshop with people in San Francisco who had been arrested for prostitution. Many of them were, or had been, drug addicts. I did this for two years, once a week. So I became friends with this population, from the poorest parts of America, as well.

Then I got invited by the United States Dept. of Justice to come to Washington for a Survivors Conference, leading this writing workshop with all these young women who had been savaged in the sex business. These are voices it would be virtually impossible to get if you were not in fact someone who had been in the business. But I was determined to show America the human face of all the people in the sex business, to get people to understand that we are sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles, cousins, grandmothers, dads and moms. I would never have gotten the opportunity to do this, if I hadn’t come out myself as a sex worker.

When I got into that room, to run that writing workshop in Washington, with all those diamond-hard girls, they laughed at me, made fun of me. But then when I told them my story, all of a sudden they wanted to tell their stories. Over and over I’ve seen the healing properties of telling your story while putting this book together. And if I hadn’t first done this myself, struggled for years to try to tell my story, then finally to come out of the sex-worker closet, I wouldn’t have been able to help other people do it.

VB: What’s the most unforgettable story in the book?

DHS: Well, my own of course, because it happened to me. You don’t easily forget executing some extremely challenging cunnilingus on an 82-year-old woman. But as I look beyond the narcissistic shackles of myself, it’s hard for me to single one out, because the stories have become like my children. I don’t want to disrespect any of them. I love them all, even the worst of them.

In “My Daughter is a Prostitute” this woman keeps trying to explain to her Russian mother that she’s a dominatrix, that she doesn’t actually have sex with men. But her mother just will not understand, keeps saying over and over again, “My daughter is a prostitute.” “It’s a Shame About Ray” by Bay Area luminary Kirk Read, is a funny, poignant beautiful piece of writing. I could go on, but I won’t.

VB: What will people be most shocked by in these stories?

DHS: I think “Raped 97 Times” is horrifying. There’s also a very, very disturbing story by a great, great Bay Area writer, Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore. And there’s a story in the back of the book by a woman who is trying to kick heroin. Her mom comes and visits her, and shoots up in front of her, tells her, “Too bad you can’t try any cuz yer pregnant.” That piece is called “Thanks A Lot.” And of course the most disturbing is a piece by a woman who has become my friend, Jessica Bertucci, it’s called “Helping Daddy Pay the Rent.” Enough said.

VB: The need for sex and the need for money is blurred throughout many of the very real stories in this collection. Why did you make that choice as an editor?

DHS: In the exchange of sex for money, a window in the soul opens. I want people to take a peek. I’m fascinated by what happens when love, power, money, sex, obsession, and God knows what else all collide, usually in a small room. I think people make the mistake, when they’re writing about this subject, and in fact generally speaking when the write about sex, of focusing on the sex organs. I’m much more interested in how these encounters affect people mentally, spiritually, emotionally, how it changes them as human beings.

Go, my minions, go feast yourself on reality. You might not thank me for this, but that’s OK. You’re still welcome.

Information from SFGate, via SeattlePI.

LAID: Sex Ed, Overshare-Style

December 14, 2009 Books, Culture No Comments


I was fortunate in my sexual discovery: I never contracted any sort of disease and while not every encounter resulted in dynamite sex, I never found myself in a threatening situation.

I like to think this has to do with the fact that I am fairly intuitive and committed to my personal health, but we all know there is a fair share of luck in there, too. Accidents happen. People are misread. You have too many drinks. Condoms break. The list is endless and it doesn’t just involve your physical health. Rape is a mental and emotional trauma. Even consensual sex carries with it a danger of emotional damage.

These are all issues addressed in Laid: Young People’s Experiences With Sex In An Easy Access Culture, edited by Shannon T. Boodram. What initially looks like a collection of sexy coming-of-age tales is actually a sex-ed Trojan horse.

I’ll confess something—at first, I was put off by the book. Chapter one made mention of “wasted” virginities too often for my taste. I am a staunch opponent of the idea that the first time is a sacred time and everything else is meaningless or somehow defined by it. To me, that’s a poisonous construct. Every sexual experience should be viewed as an opportunity to reach for the divine.

But as I read on the collection of accounts of sexual encounters I saw the book for what it is: a collection of different experiences and personal truths. Every chapter deals with a different aspect of sex. Yes, there are accounts that bemoan a lost gift, but there are many that celebrate responsible sexual freedom, too. And there are also accounts about consequences of sex (from abortions to HIV); accounts about rape; and tales of those who made the choice to abstain.

This book is a complete collection of sexual experiences, told in the voices of many people, men and women, across North America. It’s not a textbook, filled with clinical language, or a philosophical call-to-arms, heavy on the agenda.

It’s like sitting with a group of friends and letting them tell you what they went through. Oversharing, as the kids say nowadays.

Read the whole review at BlogHer.

Brace Yourself For Some Bad Sex

November 20, 2009 Books, Culture 2 Comments


This was not soft porn. This was no longer two unclothed women caressing and kissing on a bed. There was something primitive about it now, this woman-on-woman violence, as though in the room filled with shadows, Pegeen were a magical composite of shaman, acrobat, and animal. It was as if she were wearing a mask on her genitals, a weird totem mask, that made her into what she was not and was not supposed to be. There was something dangerous about it. His heart thumped with excitement – the god Pan looking on from a distance with his spying, lascivious gaze.

Phillip Roth, The Humbling

For the past 17 years, the Literary Review magazine awards authors for “rude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel.”

Unsurprisingly, Philip Roth’s totem threesome has landed him on the shortlist this year–but he’s in good company.

Nick Cave made the list with his The Death of Bunny Munro, about a nymphomaniacal door-to-door salesman (“He is naked and his clothes sit in sad, little heaps on the living room floor.”). Sanjida O’Connell, the only woman to make it, was chosen for The Naked Name of Love, about a young Jesuit priest who learns to love with a mystical shaman woman in the steppes of Mongolia (“Her skin was smooth and she felt sleekly muscled, like a dolphin might…”). Simon Van Booy’s collection of little love stories Love Begins in Winter, offered this gem: “After, we kept very still, like the only two roots of the forest.” Acclaimed Israeli novelist Amos Oz joined the list with Rhyming Life and Death: “He feels the ripples in her skin, as though he has been transformed into a delicate seismograph that intercepts and instantly deciphers her body’s reactions.”

Here’s the shortlist:

John Banville for The Infinities
Nick Cave for The Death of Bunny Munro
Jonathan Littell for The Kindly Ones
Richard Milward for Ten Storey Love Song
Sanjida O’Connell for The Naked Name of Love
Amos Oz for Rhyming Life and Death
Anthony Quinn for The Rescue Man
Philip Roth for The Humbling
Paul Theroux for A Dead Hand
Simon Van Booy for Love Begins in Winter

Image via The Stranger. Information via The Guardian UK.

Good Morning Class, Today We’ll Read About Savage Masturbation

November 20, 2009 Books, Culture 1 Comment
Top: illustration for Chuck Palahniuk's Guts. Bottom: teacher Greg Van Voorhis.

Top: illustration for Chuck Palahniuk's Guts. Bottom: teacher Greg Van Voorhis.

A young teacher in New York is in trouble for assigning an incredibly graphic short story by Chuck Palahniuk about masturbation and consequences.

True to form, the media is thrilled with the prospect of putting the word MASTURBATION and its variations in huge font across its pages, and hasn’t taken a lot of time to ask 30-year-old Greg Van Voorhis why he selected this story for his class.

We’ll have to tweet him about it.

I read “Guts” when it ran in Playboy a handful of years ago. I will be completely honest with you: it fucked me up. I will never forget that story–because of the use of language, the social comment it makes, and how well it functions as a sort of cautionary tale.

I read much weirder in high school, but I went to those progressive sorts of schools that let you make your own curricula and develop at your own weird little speed, so I don’t know that my experience is good comparison, but I do not think it is any heavier than 1984, A Clockwork Orange, The Catcher in the Rye or even Sons and Lovers.

Now, would I assign this to juniors if I was a high school teacher? Probably not without discussing with parents. Although at the same time, regardless of whether this is a desperate attempt to fameball on Voorhis’ part, the entire circus has brought attention to the literature syllabus and that’s important.

It does bear mentioning, after all, that Voorhis students’ reportedly perform better than others (96 percent of test-takers passed the English Regents with a 65 or above last year, compared to 68.6 percent at other schools in the city)–is it possible the renegade teacher is on to something?

OK, fine, enough about education, you pervs, here’s your snippet from this SHOCKING! STORY! ABOUT! MASTURBATION!:

This must be why girls want to sit on your face. The suction is like taking a dump that never ends. My dick hard and getting my butt eaten out, I do not need air. My heartbeat in my ears, I stay under until bright stars of light start worming around in my eyes. My legs straight out, the back of each knee rubbed raw against the concrete bottom. My toes are turning blue, my toes and fingers wrinkled from being so long in the water.

And then I let it happen. The big white gobs start spouting. The pearls.

It’s then I need some air. But when I go to kick off against the bottom, I can’t. I can’t get my feet under me. My ass is stuck.

Emergency paramedics will tell you that every year about 150 people get stuck this way, sucked by a circulation pump. Get your long hair caught, or your ass, and you’re going to drown. Every year, tons of people do. Most of them in Florida.

I know it’s a lot to ask, as you can hardly read a tweet completely, but given you’ve gotten this far, go read Guts by Chuck Palahniuk in its entirety.

Also, if you feel strongly about supporting Voorhis, you can join Save Mr. V on Facebook or follow him on Twitter, where he’s @Gvdubs.

Image from The New York Post and The Cult, information via Gothamist.

Surprise! Teens Have Sex!

November 12, 2009 Books No Comments

doctorowCory Doctorow’s young adult novel Little Brother is the tale of a 17-year-old who leads a guerilla army of teens against an oppressive U.S. government. Doctorow was surprised to receive critique from parents not because of the rioting and torture described in the book, but because the main character loses his virginity during the course of the story and at another point, has a beer.

An excerpt of his essay Teen Sex follows:

First, because teenagers have sex and drink beer, and most of the time the worst thing that results from this is a few days of social awkwardness and a hangover, respectively. When I was a teenager, I drank sometimes. I had sex sometimes. I disobeyed authority figures sometimes.

Mostly, it was OK. Sometimes it was bad. Sometimes it was wonderful. Once or twice, it was terrible. And it was thus for everyone I knew. Teenagers take risks, even stupid risks, at times. But the chance on any given night that sneaking a beer will destroy your life is damned slim. Art isn’t exactly like life, and science fiction asks the reader to accept the impossible, but unless your book is about a universe in which disapproving parents have cooked the physics so that every act of disobedience leads swiftly to destruction, it won’t be very credible. The pathos that parents would like to see here become bathos: mawkish and trivial, heavy-handed, and preachy.

Second, because it is good art. Artists have included sex and sexual content in their general-audience material since cave-painting days. There’s a reason the Vatican and the Louvre are full of nudes. Sex is part of what it means to be human, so art has sex in it.

Sex in YA stories usually comes naturally, as the literal climax of a coming-of-age story in which the adolescent characters have undertaken a series of leaps of faiths, doing consequential things (lying, telling the truth, being noble, subverting authority, etc.) for the first time, never knowing, really knowing, what the outcome will be. These figurative losses of virginity are one of the major themes of YA novels — and one of the major themes of adolescence — so it’s artistically satisfying for the figurative to become literal in the course of the book. This is a common literary and artistic technique, and it’s very effective.

… Adolescents think about sex. All the time. Many of them have sex. Many of them experiment with sex. I don’t believe that a fictional depiction of two young people who are in love and have sex is likely to impart any new knowledge to most teens — that is, the vast majority of teenagers are apt to be familiar with the existence of sexual liaisons between 17-year-olds.

Should sex be a part of young adult literature?

Information via Locus Online.


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Gamers Won’t Be Seduced, Will Stare At Random Cleav Instead

That Steam allows the objectification and sexualization of female characters in a variety of its games but refuses to accept a game about actually engaging with women in a more interactive fashion is astonishingly backward.

FetLife Is Not Safe for Users

That the site doesn’t take measures to protect user content and has shown incompetence or negligence in regard to user privacy, all the while prohibiting victims from warning others about predatory behavior creates an environment where it is nearly impossible for members of the community to take care of themselves and one another. By enabling FetLife to continue espousing a code of silence, allowing the spinning self-created security issues as “attacks,” and not pointing out how disingenuous FetLife statements about safety are, we are allowing our community to become a breeding ground for exploitation.

Why You Should Vote No On Prop 35

Should people who benefit (parents, siblings, children, roommates!) from the earnings of “commercial sex acts” (any sexual conduct connected to the giving or receiving of something of value) be charged with human trafficking? Should someone who creates obscene material that is deemed “deviant” be charged as with human trafficking? Should someone who profits from obscene materials be charged with human trafficking? Should people transporting obscene materials be charged with human trafficking? Should a person who engages in sex with someone claiming to be above the age of consent or furnishing a fake ID to this effect be charged with human trafficking? What if I told you the sentences for that kind of conviction were eight, 14 or 20 years in prison, a fine not to exceed $500,000, and life as a registered sex offender?

Pretty and Calls Herself a Geek? Attention Whore!

If you are a woman, you might be given a chance to prove yourself in this community. Since there is no standard definition of what a “geek” is and it will vary from one judge to the next anyway, chances of failing are high (cake and grief counseling will be available after the conclusion of the test!). If you somehow manage to succeed, you’ll be tested again and again by anyone who encounters you until you manage to establish yourself like, say, Felicia Day. But even then, you’ll be questioned. As a woman, your whole existence within the geek community will be nothing but a series of tests — if you’re lucky. If you aren’t lucky, you’ll be harassed and threatened and those within the culture will tacitly agree that you deserve it.

Cuddle Chemical? Moral Molecule? Not So Fast

Zak’s original field, it turns out, is economics, a far cry from the hearts and teddy bears we imagine when we consider his nickname. But after performing experiments on generosity, Zak stumbled on the importance of trust in interactions, which led him, rather inevitably, to research about oxytocin. Oxytocin, you might remember, is a hormone that has been linked previously to bonding — between mothers and children primarily, but also between partners. What Zak has done is take the research a step further, arguing in his recent book, The Moral Molecule, that oxytocin plays a role in determining whether we are good or evil.

How to Avoid Pissing off a Stripper

Let’s talk about the strippers. Whether they like to be half-naked or not, whether they enjoy turning you on or not, there’s one thing they all have in common: they’re working. Whether you think that taking one’s clothes off for money is a great choice of career is really beside the point (is it a possibility for you to make $500 per hour at your job without a law degree? Just asking). These women are providing fantasy, yes, but that is their job. And as a patron of the establishment where they work, you need to treat them like you would anyone else who provides a service to you.


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Robert Fischer

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