Sexy reading

1 10 2009

Here are some good resources for people who are interested in sex, sexual politics, comprehensive sex education, or being a sex educator a sex therapist.

Books:

Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Sex and Science by Mary Roach

Slut! Growing Up Female with a Bad Reputation by Leora Tanenbaum

Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children from Sex by Judith Levine

America’s War on Sex: The Attack on Law, Lust and Liberty (Sex, Love and Psychology) by Marty Klein

Cunt: A Declaration of Independence by Inga Muscio

Sperm Wars: Infidelity, Sexual Conflict, and Other Bedroom Battles by Robin Baker

The Guide to Getting It On by Paul Joannides

Pornified: How Porn is Damaging Our Lives, Our Relationships and Our Families by Pamela Paul

Websites:

Adult Video News

Carnal Nation

Feel free to add any other suggestions by leaving a comment!





Have you seen the Midwest Teen Sex Show?

30 09 2009

The Midwest Teen Sex Show is a sex positive, comprehensive, funny and entertaining sex educational show that I just learned about tonight in a Sexuality Education workshop.

From the About section of their website:

Teens and sex. It happens. Not every teen is having sex and not every teen is abstaining. We hope the Midwest Teen Sex Show will create a space for frank discussion of all things related to teen sexuality. Broadcast media shies away from any real exploration of the topic, and they forget that not all teens live in Orange County.

…we like to call it sex information. We’ll leave the formal education to classrooms and textbooks. Midwest Teen Sex Show is here to provide sex information in a clear and entertaining way. We won’t pretend to be experts, but hopefully a few of our own embarrassing experiences and insights will keep you out of trouble.

Episodes can be viewed for free online and are released once a month and cover a range of topics including Condoms, Oral Sex, Orgasms, Female Masturbation and Abstinence. The Midwest Teen Sex Show just got a spot on Comedy Central though, so you can start watching it on television as opposed to online soon.

For a taste, here is Episode 18, Fetishes:





What’s scarier than a clown itself? A clown that teaches ab-only sex ed.

27 08 2009

Needless to say, abstinence-only sex ed is proven ineffective. Not only does ab-only sex ed eliminate a lot of (slash all) important truthful information about safe sex: using contraception (condoms, birth control, etc.), but it also is highly moralizing (who are you to tell me what choices I should make concerning my body and my sexuality?), slut-shaming and heterosexist by alienating the LGBTQ population. Ab-only sex ed relies on false facts (which are essentially lies), scare tactics, and the reinforcement of patriarchal gender roles. Furthermore, countless studies have proven that students of ab-only sex ed don’t have decreased rates of pregnancy, HIV and STIs. The research shows that after receiving ab-only sex ed, people are less likely to use contraceptives when having sex.

The latest in ab-only sex ed epic fails: clowns teaching sex ed. Elizabeth’s New Life Center in Ohio employs Derek the Abstinence Clown to go around to middle schools teaching them that having sex before marriage is “just like juggling machetes!” (yes, what an apt comparison) and “will destroy all your life’s dreams!” Seriously, this is what our tax dollars are funding?! Clowns using ridiculously absurd scare tactics to tell kids not to have sex until they’re married?! Sigh…just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse.

And then, over at Feministe I saw Operation Keepsake’s Are you a treasure or a target? quiz. Operation Keepsake is one of Ohio’s highest funded ab-only sex ed proponents and providers. And the quiz questions? Absolutely ridiculous, as expected. One of the questions is:

Your crush asks you out.  He seems really nice but you’re not sure he values waiting to have sex until marriage like you do.  You:
a. Ask him straight up.
b. Go with the flow-it will come up sooner or later.
c. Assume he’s a good guy. I mean, he’s cute and dresses well.

Who would ask someone right after they’ve asked you out, “Do you value waiting to have sex until marriage too?” Seriously, come on!! More evidence that ab-only sex ed is waaaaaaay out of touch with reality.

And then when you’re done answering all the questions and add up your score, you will see that if you are a treasure, then:

You know who you are, what you believe, and where you want to go in life.  When it comes to guys, you value yourself and your future too much for random hook-ups.  Besides, it takes time and some investigation to find out what someone is really all about.  And, while you appreciate looking good, you know that if a guy wants to be with you simply because you look hot, that could be trouble down the road.  Our advice: continue respecting yourself!  You’ll build healthier relationships if you do.

Such slut-shaming language. Only girls who don’t have sex until they get married “know who they are, what they believe, and where they want to go in life” (because having sex before marriage will ruin all your future career and life aspirations!) Meanwhile girls who have sex before marriage don’t respect themselves and don’t build healthier relationships. Ab-only sex ed doesn’t teach about healthy relationships, healthy sexuality, communication and mutual consent. It just reiterates over and over again, DON’T HAVE SEX! JUST DON’T DO IT!

But I digress…If  you’re a Danger Zone, then:

You value yourself, but when you’re in tough situations you have a difficult time speaking up for the things you value.  You get scared that your friends or your guy will think you’re stupid, so you don’t speak up.  It’s normal to feel scared, but if you want to be a leader instead of a follower you’ve got to practice speaking up and doing the right thing.  You may get laughed at for the moment, but in the long run you’ll be better off.

If you’re a target, then:

You make decisions based on what others think instead of what is best and healthiest for you.  It’s not a big deal when it comes to picking simple things like shoes, but when it comes to major decisions-like who you date-you could be in a lot of trouble.  If you want to be truly respected and valued for the real you, then you’ve got to know what makes you truly valuable.  Hint:  It’s more than your body, your looks, the friends you hang with, and the guys you date.  If you don’t know what really makes you valuable, then why would anyone else?

Aha. Of course. What makes you truly respectable and valuable is if you “save yourself” until marriage. Because you don’t want to just toss your “treasure” to just anyone; no it’s just too valuable and irreplaceable. Saying “…but when it comes to major decisions – like who you date – you could be in a lot of trouble” is fear-inducing, slut shaming, and victim blaming rhetoric.

Thank goodness President Obama is eliminating the federal funding for ab-only sex ed for the 2010 budget. But that doesn’t mean that this madness will just end, like it should. It will be up to the jurisdiction of state/local governments and whether or not the ab-only organizations can manage to stay afloat on their own.





I Heart Nicholas Kristof

24 08 2009

Nicholas Kristof frequently writes great pieces for the New York Times about different feminist issues in a global context. This weekend’s Times featured a pretty lengthy excerpt from a book called Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide written by him and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, a former Times correspondent, that will be published next month. The piece is called The Women’s Crusade and it is an engrossing read that left me eagerly anticipating the book’s release.

Kristof and WuDunn make several critical points. In the second paragraph, they make the point that in order to help a country, you must first help out and elevate the most marginalized of the population. In other words, you are only as strong as your weakest link:

The world is awakening to a powerful truth: Women and girls aren’t the problem; they’re the solution.

They go on to discuss how educating women and girls and providing them with microfinance opportunities are two simple ways to uplift the status of the female population for many countries worldwide. The piece is laden with personal stories that humanize gender oppression and the plight of many women and girls worldwide. Later on, Kristof and WuDunn write:

WHAT SHOULD we make of stories like Saima’s? Traditionally, the status of women was seen as a “soft” issue — worthy but marginal. We initially reflected that view ourselves in our work as journalists. We preferred to focus instead on the “serious” international issues, like trade disputes or arms proliferation.

The mainstream media consistently dismisses gender issues as not important enough and often casts them off to the side. This is why we seldom get coverage of women and gender related issues, like how thousands of infant girls die in China because their parents didn’t think it necessary to give them quality medical care or attention simply because they are female, or bride burnings in India which occur about once every two hours, or sex trafficking. Even in the New York Times, “All the news that’s fit to print”, doesn’t feature such stories.

Kristof and WuDunn also suggest realistic foreign-aid policies to help further women’s roles in economic and societal development, such as allocating $10 billion over five years to fund education for women and girls worldwide, sponsoring a global drive to eradicate iodine deficiency across the globe, allocating $1.6 billion over twelve years to eliminate obstetric fistula and a childbirth injury that affects many women in less wealthy countries.

Read the whole thing here.





Who is more man-hating? Feminists or non-feminists?

2 08 2009

The stereotype that all feminists hate men is such a ridiculous stereotype that I, along with many of my feminist friends, find it too silly to take seriously.  Researchers at the University of Houston in Texas recently conducted a study to determine whether feminists really hate men.  They interviewed 500 undergraduates using “The Ambivalence Towards Men Inventory”.

The results?  Feminists reported feeling less hostility towards men than non feminists.  So the stereotype that feminists hate men?  Not true, according to this study.  In fact, the opposite is true – non feminists are more man hating.

study

study 2

I don’t know how legitimate this study actually is, but it is pretty interesting.  H/t to the F Word.





Sunday Catch Up

26 07 2009

Here are a few things we missed:

This Is What Rape Culture Looks Like.

A woman walks into a rape, uh, bar…

New laws help domestic violence victims.

Human rights violations in U.K. jail.

Women and the Minimum Wage.

Women don’t ask for nasty voyeurism.

Complimentary.

On Gendered Language.

On the word “transition”.

Perhaps Silverton is Not Completely Accepting of their Trans Mayor.

Banning Cesar Chavez: Whites “Sanitizing” US History Again.

Same crap, different day.

Marketing Asian Women to Anti-feminist Men.

When the Outside Looks Like the Inside.





Quick Hit: Healthy Teen Initiative amendment passed

25 07 2009

On Wednesday July 22nd, the US House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the Healthy Teen Initiative amendment to the proposed health care reform bill, Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009.  It passed 33 to 23.  Congresswoman Lois Capps (D-CA) introduced the Healthy Teen Initiative amendment, which supports comprehensive sex education by allocating $50 million dollars in state grant funding for “evidence-based education programs…to reduce teen pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.”  The grants are to be available to both public and private nonprofit programs, including ones presented in schools, community-based, and faith-based organizations.

President and CEO, Joseph DiNorcia, Jr. of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) said:

It is far past time that we start addressing the challenges to health and well being of young people with programs that comprehensively address sexual health and behavior instead of with programs that are ideologically based or narrowly focused. Thanks to the leadership of the Energy and Commerce Committee, we are one step closer to achieving this goal.








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