Thursday, November 30, 2006

Promises Should Be Kept: World Aids Day 2006

Today is World AIDS Day, and the theme this year is accountability. In 2000, heads of state around the world made a pledge to stop the spread of AIDS by the year 2015 -- are they keeping their promise?
New reports by UNAIDS and the World Health Organization (WHO) indicate that, as of 2006, the epidemic continues to spread in every region of the world. By now more than 65 million people have been infected with HIV and well over 25 million people have died of AIDS since 1981, 2.9 million in 2006 alone. At this rate, the WHO predicts that in the next 25 years another 117 million people will die, making AIDS the third leading cause of death worldwide.(From a World AIDS Campaign press release.)

This year, World AIDS Day is calling leaders to account for what progress has -- and has not -- been made.

I'm away for the weekend for some inspiration (send me a message if you're in Northampton and you want to hang out!), but I would like to leave you with this link: the trailer for The Bi Apple, written-produced-directed by the amazing Audacia Ray. Congrats, Dacia! Get excited for this one, kids, it's gonna be good.

EDIT: Clearly, when I said today I meant Friday December 1st, not Thursday November 30th. That's what I get for preparing a post ahead of time!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Circumcision as STI Prevention?

The New Zealand study which found that circumcision reduces the risk of STI infection in males has been showing up everywhere. When I first saw I thought about blogging it, but I couldn't quite gather my thoughts enough to be coherent.

Generally speaking, I've had better luck with circumcised men. Since my most serious relationship was with a Jewish man, I spent years assuming that my little baby boys would be circumcised. I gave some thought to it at that point -- what it meant as a sign of the covenant, whether it made sense even if the children wouldn't be raised Orthodox -- but since then I haven't had the opportunity to reevaluate my thoughts on the subject. The only way it enters my consciousness now is when I hear about anti-circumcision activism, which often likens the removal of the foreskin to female genital mutilation. That kind of rhetoric terrifies me. They're not comparable. Period.

So when a close friend told me this afternoon that his sons would never be circumcised, I was surprised. And nervous. I asked why, but I wasn't sure I wanted to know the answer. If he said anything about FGM, I was going to be pretty upset. Instead, he shocked me by offering an incredibly sensible argument against circumcision:
There was a recent study published that uncircumcised men are more likely to end up with STIs and I fear that parents will run with that. If your son knows how to protect himself he doesn't need to lose his foreskin for it. And if he's taught how to clean he'll be clean. And if he's taught that it's ok for his to look different than his classmates' he'll be ok with that, too. It doesn't make sense to change someone's anatomy for your own comfort.

And suddenly, my entire perspective shifted. He's right! Sure, circumcision can reduce the risk of STI infection in men. But using a condom can too, and if we would just instate comprehensive sexuality education maybe we wouldn't need to perform genital surgery on infants. How silly does it seem to surgically alter the bodies of our children rather than just educate them about safer sex?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Sugasm #56

This week’s best of the sex blogs from the bloggers who blog them. Highlighting the top 3 posts as chosen by Sugasmer participants. Want in Sugasm #57? Submit a link to your best post of the week using this form.

This Week’s Picks

Same Time Next Year (

“She nodded again, grabbing the doorframe as she pushed against the finger.”

Fuck me- it’s friday. (

“I won’t pretend to be coy- because I know what I want.”

Sexual Things You Don’t Know About Me (

“My own erotic inner self has been piqued these last few days by a wonderful fantasy; maybe I can help pique yours by sharing.”

Mr. Sugasm Himself

Happy Thanksgiving (

Editors’ Choice

Fast and Furious (

Sponsored Link

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“Next-gen vibrator gives everything you and your partner need to enjoy music

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More Sugasm

Join the Sugasm

Sex News & Reviews

Lesbian Sadomasochistic Schoolgirls for PlayStation 2 (

Q: Can non nude porn be hot? (

Remote Control Wireless Vibrating Egg Review (

BDSM and Fetish

Happy HNT - Classroom paddling (

A Nawty Story: Kitten’s After School Special (

And One for Luck (

Working late, Part I (

Erotic Writing and Experiences

100 Things I Want To Do Before I Die (

clIMax for breakfast (

Home cooking, part 3 (

Hotel (

The Other Side of Jen (

Throbbing Cunt… OH I Need An Orgasm! (

What I did to Devil in a Blue Dress (

Sex History

Instruction And Advice For The Young Bride (

Sexy Humor

Chicken Man (

Those sexy italians (

NSFW Pics (& videos)

Alison Angel - Christmas (video) (

Black and White Erotic Photos by JS Hicks (

Half-Nekkid and Begging to Be Asked (

Happy Thanksgiving! (

Shay Laren Masturbates (video) (

Sex Work

PSO’s Thanksgiving (

Thoughts on Sex and Relationships

Craigslist Personals (II) (

Soft Porn is Greedy (

Sex & Politics

A National Addiction to Porn? (

Sex Positive Feminism: A Statement of Beliefs (

Monday, November 27, 2006

the other side of the camera

I'm not photogenic. It's that vicious cycle: I don't photograph well, so I hate having my picture taken, so I wince whenever someone points a camera in my direction, so I photograph terribly. There's a line in an ani difranco song, "it took me too long to realize I don't look good in pictures 'cause I have the kind of beauty that moves." I'd like to think of it as my photographic motto, but I'm really sure it's true. All I know is that my "mirror face" (which is very cute) does not translate to pictures.

But I love being on the other side of the camera. I don't know a lot about photography, but I do have a general sense of what makes for an interesting photo. And... I just love it.

In an attempt to use my love of photography to become more photogenic, I've been taking a lot of self-portraits the last couple of months; some of them on a timer, some of them at arms length. They've mostly been terrible. Today I got fed up. I decided that it doesn't matter if I make a funny face if you can't see my face.

They came out okay -- not amazing or original, and kind of blurry, but they're pictures of me and they don't make me want to cry. And that's a step in the right direction! I'm not posting any actual nudity here, because (call me inhibited, but) there are too many people reading who know me personally and who, I'm sure, can do without nekkid Amanda.

A Thousand Tiny Sexes

Have you read Anne Fausto-Sterling's The Five Sexes? Written in 1993, it discusses intersexuality and the ways in which our Male/Female system of sex-categorization is insufficient. I was only 10, so I can't tell you how radical a notion that was at the time, but I can tell you that theorists and activists and scientists -- including Fausto-Sterling herself -- have taken the building blocks of The Five Sexes and used them to continue to evaluate and reimagine the way we think about sex.

A Thousand Tiny Sexes is a book project whose aim goes way beyond just five sexes. From the website:
To imagine that there are only two sexes - M & F - is an absurdity. There are at least 1000 sexes. The daily lived reality of transgender and intersexual people (and gay, lesbian, queer and all other people, for that matter) proves this over and over again, yet many people continue to operate as if 'M' and 'F' are the only sexes, the only options, the only expressions, the only goals, the only way ("the way it is").

The ideology behind A Thousand Tiny Sexes is quite radical. They're not just talking about gradiations of female and male; they're looking for submissions that "entirely reimagine sex as a biological, cultural, political, and social category." Really interesting stuff; I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product.

Image: "Found Sex #1" by kanarinka, one of the editors of A Thousand Tiny Sexes.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Pornographic Relief for Comics Nerds

Good lord, I'm tired of posting about politics. Are you sick of reading it? I like sex, I started a blog to write about sex, so where is all the sex?

Well, here's some. I've never really enjoyed photo spreads -- the kind you see in magazines like Penthouse, I mean. There just isn't enough action in them for me, or enough expression, or something. I'll take a grainy, slow-to-load free web clip over a glossy photo spread any day.

But now, Xmics have brought action back into the overlit photographic bedroom! I have to admit I kind of dig this site: they take photo spreads and turn them into comics by inserting speech bubbles and narration, so you can imagine what the models are thinking and feeling without actually having to imagine it. Sounds good, right? Plus, it's free, and there are a ton of different themes and episodes. They're able to make it free because each comic links back to the paysite that provided the photo spread. (Via Fleshbot. What would I do without Fleshbot?)

Burglar alerts police to massive child porn stash

This is very nearly unbelieveable. And really funny, except for the whole child porn part. From the Montreal Gazette:
A local man has been jailed after an outraged burglar spotted massive amounts of child pornography on his computer and called police. William Mitchell was charged in October 2005 and pleaded guilty. The RCMP had received an anonymous tip saying someone had broken into Mitchell's residence and taken a video camera. The camera, the tipster said, had images of child pornography and would be left on the steps of a church. Police retrieved the camera and, following the address printed on the burglar's note, seized computer equipment containing about 60,000 images of children in various stages of undress.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Mitt's Mad

(Posting from safari on a Mac, so pardon my temporary lack of formatting)

"Gov. Mitt Romney filed a lawsuit Friday asking the state’s highest court to order the legislature to vote on a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage or to place it on the 2008 ballot if lawmakers do not take up the provision." (NYT, Massachusettes Governer Sues to Compel Vote on Same-Sex Marriage Amendment)

First of all: It's over. You lost. Move on. And please, if you're ever by some bizarre chance elected president, don't brag about having been our governor. We're not proud of it. It was a weak moment.

The goal of the lawsuit is to force the legislature to vote on the amendment -- if fifty legislators vote it up two years running, it'll be on the ballot for the state in '08. Mr. Romney, if you get to vote on my marriage, do I get to vote on yours?

Trying really hard not to get angry. Sour grapes is all it is. And apparently legally frivolous.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Sex in The Guardian

An editorial in The Guardian claims that "The west's attitude to issues of reproductive health, especially in the US, causes women's deaths all over the world."

Bravo. More:

The consequences of such moral superiority are grave - not only in the fight against Aids but across the whole field of sexual and reproductive health. We have the US preaching abstinence from sex as the answer to Aids in Africa and refusing funds to any family-planning clinics across the world that provide abortions or even counsel women about them. This head-in-the-sand attitude towards abortion leads directly to women's deaths. Every year nearly 20 million unsafe abortions are carried out on desperate women in ill-lit rooms and illegal clinics. You don't stop that happening by refusing to talk about it.

"Our moral superiority about sex is proving deadly," Sarah Boseley, Friday November 24, 2006

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

"Don't Bet on Barack"

I really appreciate this opinion piece posted on The Advocate's website. I had been feeling anxious and left out of all the "Obama '08" rhetoric because of his position on same sex marriage (namely, that he opposes it). An excerpt from the Advocate article:
“I was reminded that it is my obligation not only as an elected official in a pluralistic society, but also as a Christian, to remain open to the possibility that my unwillingness to support gay marriage is misguided,” Obama wrote in his recent memoir, The Audacity of Hope.

But Obama’s audacity is not only his unwillingness to support the issue, but also his misunderstanding and misuse of the term “gay marriage.” The terminology “gay marriage” not only stigmatizes and stymies our efforts for marriage equality, but it also suggests that LGBT people’s marriages are or would be wholly different from those of heterosexuals, thus altering its landscape, if not annihilating the institution of marriage entirely.

I'm already so nervous about '08. If my options are Barack, who opposes marriage equality, and Hillary, who (let's be realistic) doesn't have a prayer against McCain... lordy, I just don't know. Anyone more politically savvy want to weigh in? And maybe make me feel better?

Come for Peace

Anti-war activist Donna Sheehan, originator of the Baring Witness movement, and her partner Paul Reffel have organized another peaceful demonstration: Global Orgasm.

WHO? All Men and Women, you and everyone
you know.

WHERE? Everywhere in the world, but especially in countries with weapons of mass destruction.

Winter Solstice Day - Friday, December 22nd,
at the time of your choosing, in the place of your choosing and with as much privacy as you choose.

WHY? To effect positive change in the energy field of the Earth through input of the largest possible surge of human energy a Synchronized Global Orgasm. There are two more US fleets heading for the Persian Gulf with anti-submarine equipment that can only be for use against Iran, so the time to change Earth’s energy is NOW!

Sheehan and Reffel believe that war is essentially male sexual posturing on a grand scale -- that is to say, "my nuke is bigger than yours, nyah nyah." They believe that the huge release of human energy with peaceful intentions can actually have a positive impact on the Earth's energy, and they reference Princeton's Global Consciousness Project as their scientific backup.

I don't pray for peace, or meditate on it. You might call what I do "hoping against hope" for peace. It's a very anxiety-ridden activity. I think evolutionary psychology is a slippery slope, and I'm not sure I buy the science behind the Global Orgasm, but I'm willing to do my part to create more positive energy in the world. It can't hurt, right? Hurt the peace movement, I mean. If it hurts you, you should probably have that looked into.

From the San Francisco Chronicle

From Wired's Sex Drive Daily
The Global O Blog

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Global Campaign to Decriminalize Homosexuality

International Day Against Homophobia (or IDAHO. Yes, go ahead and giggle.) Announced yesterday the launch of a global petition to the United Nations in favor of a resolution to universally decriminalize homosexuality. From the press release:
“With more than 70 countries in the world still making homosexuality a crime by law — and punishable by death in twelve of them — this is a legal scandal which the petition for a proposed U.N. resolution decriminalizing homosexuality gives people a concrete way to fight,” Tin [president of the International Committee for IDAHO] said.

Read the rest of the press release and check out IDAHO, or click here to go straight to the petition.


I'm in a blogging mood today, what can I say? Via Hanne Blank's blog (and thanks to YouTube), this is Skinny by Lo-rider (the uncensored version). It's really freaking hot, and not work safe, unless you want to have to take an extended "bathroom" break.

Life's Defining Moments

My family and I were having a "funny hospital stories" conversation when I realized that my own personal funny hospital story is actually kind of revealing:

I had my tonsils out a few years ago. When I woke up in the recovery room, the first thing I noticed was that my shoulders were bare. The first words out of my mouth after surgery were, "am I naked?"

I was not, in fact, naked, as the kind (and highly amused) nurse pointed out to me. My gown had slipped off my shoulders. It's just so unusual for me to wake up with clothes on!

What's that you say? You want more from a blog post than a silly anecdote? Fair enough. Check out this essay from The Huffington Post, called Feminism From the Gut. Here's a teaser:
When I told one friend that I now belly dance, she nearly spat out her coffee. "How can you do that?" she asked, "It's so repressive."

I thought about it, and I understood where she was coming from. The paleo-feminist ideal of how women should be tells us not to be feminine, but rather to reject all traditional forms that celebrate being female.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Transgender Day of Remembrance

In the midst of a family illness, I nearly forgot that today is the 8th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. Created to recognize and remember the lives of those killed due to transphobic violence, the Day of Remembrance also serves to increase awareness of acts of violence connected to transgender based hate. From the official website:
We live in times more sensitive than ever to hatred based violence, especially since the events of September 11th. Yet even now, the deaths of those based on anti-transgender hatred or prejudice are largely ignored. Over the last decade, more than one person per month has died due to transgender-based hate or prejudice, regardless of any other factors in their lives. This trend shows no sign of abating.

Many of the people who will read this live in a community where it's perfectly acceptable to be gender-variant and to talk about gender-variance openly. I myself often forget that for the rest of the world, it isn't that easy. Transgender Day of Remembrance is a good time for us, in particular, to take a minute to think about those struggles. And maybe to spread the word, because clearly the media isn't going to do it for us.

I wish I could be more eloquent. Sorry, guys, I just don't have it in me tonight.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

the little r, or, Why Life > Java

I’m teaching myself java. Ambitious, maybe, but the website project is drawing to a close, leaving me with lots more time and a newfound interest in website design.

Java is case sensitive, which means that if you mean Print and you type print, your program won’t run. Life, generally speaking, is not case sensitive. Sure, rules of grammar and punctuation apply, but the upper and lower case letters that populate our everyday speech are, by and large, negotiable.

There are some words for which this doesn’t exactly hold true. My 10th grade history teacher taught me the difference between people and People, power and Power. When Lincoln said “Power of the people, by the people, for the people,” each instance of the word people may have been written with a lower case p, but the President was speaking in capital letters.

Every once in a while, you’re not sure what case someone is speaking in, and you feel compelled to check. Or we crack jokes. Somewhere around a year ago, my significant other showed up in the midst of a hard-core study session with chocolate soymilk. He tossed it to me, and I (stressed, parched, and incredibly grateful) blurted out “Oh my god, I love you!” Of course, this was not my great declaration of Love for him, and we both knew it, but he raised his eyebrow at me and I laughed nervously and blushed and explained the rogue l-word away by saying “not like that.” In retrospect I realize I should have just shrugged and told him I was talking to the soymilk.

Sometimes, the differences between capital and lower case letters in our lives are so small we barely notice them. What, really, marks the difference between a relationship and a Relationship? There’s the official agreement of exclusive coupledom, of course, but what does that mean? I think you’re something special. I like the way I feel when I’m with you. I want you in my life on a regular basis. I’m not interested in anyone but you. I want to see where this can go. I’m taking an interest in your happiness. You’re so damn good in bed that I’m willing to sleep with you, exclusively. I’m prioritizing you in my life – not before everything, but before a great many things.

We’re lucky life isn’t like java. Program “relationship” runs just fine, capital letter or no.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Sex Positive Feminism: A Statement of Beliefs

I am a sex positive feminist. I believe that being in control of one’s sexual self involves having access to information that allows for informed decision making. I also believe that it involves access to the medical treatments and technology –from condoms to regular Pap smears to Gardasil to abortion procedures – that put women in charge of their bodies. I believe in sexual self-determination, that each person has a right to determine who she will be intimate with, and in what context, without being judged for her choices or forced into others. I believe that being in control of one’s sexual self is an integral part of autonomous adulthood, and until women are given the right to control our sexual selves we will continue to be treated like children in this paternalistic society.

I reject the traditional representation of all things sexual as dirty or shameful. I do not believe that “anything consensually sexual goes, as long as orgasm is the aim.” I believe that anything consensually sexual goes; I don’t care if you’re doing it or not, how you do it, what genders you prefer to do it with, how many people you do (at once or separately), if you’re using porn or sex toys, or if you like it kinky, as long as you’ve got the information you need to make informed decisions. I stand just as strongly for a woman’s right not to have sex (of any kind) if she doesn’t want to, and I believe that women who make that decision deserve support and protection as well. I do not believe that I am an object belonging to the person I’m having sex with, unless I want to be. I do not believe I am a victim of masculine sexuality.

I also believe that my role is a political one: not just to advocate for freedom-to-fuck, but to advocate for women’s rights over their bodies, access to care, and comprehensive sexuality education, and to keep assholes like Keroack from ruining the progress we’ve made. Without these fundamentals, how can we be in control of our bodies? I don’t believe in the transformation of sexuality, because it is too fluid to mold; it isn’t sexuality that needs to change, but the gendered and judgmental framework within which we view it.

Do I believe that’s all there is to feminism? No. But I do feel the need to differentiate my feminist beliefs from those of women who believe that pornography and sex work are the means by which men are keeping women in their place. I refuse to be a victim of some imaginary universal male sexual sadism, and I refuse to believe the only way women can be equal with men is by denying our sexual selves. I like to be good and fucked now and then (or now and... now). Does that make me a tool of the patriarchy? I don’t think so.

(This post was inspired by Candy, and Andrea Dworkin.)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Media gives Working Moms the Shaft

Elizabeth Vargas, co-anchor of 20/20 and former co-anchor of ABC's World News, gave up her coveted, well respected seat at World News this summer when she went on maternity leave. Her decision was met with protests by working mothers who felt that Vargas was sending a bad message about mothers in the work force. Vargas defends her decision by saying
I loved my job at "World News," but the prospect of doing it well, and still finding time to be a good mother to 3-year-old Zachary and my new baby, Samuel, felt impossible.

The quote is taken from an article, written by Vargas herself, which introduces the topic of tonight's 20/20 special report: Can Working Mothers Have It All?

According to the article, the report is an investigation into why more hasn't been done to help working mothers. It discusses maternity/paternity leave, good/subsidized childcare, and workplace flexibility, all places where the US lags behind other industrialized countries.

But if all you knew about this report -- if all you heard in passing -- was its title, Can Working Mothers Have it All?... well, I don't know what you'd think, but I would think it was an attack on working mothers. Not an outright "get back in the kitchen and make me some pie!" attack, but the more lethal, subtle variety, the kind that makes it sound like it's in women's best interest to choose: children or career, ladies, you can't have them both. According to a recent report by the Center for Worklife Law, this characterization is common in news media. According to the report (pdf), women are often described as "opting out" of the workforce to become "full-time moms," when in fact they are being pushed out. Articles often describe a psychological or biological "pull" toward motherhood, when according to another study the Center for Worklife Law references, women most often cite problems like workplace inflexibility for their decision to leave (Ms. Magazine Newsbrief).

Then there's the Momtini crowd. According to a New York Times article called Cosmopolitan Moms (Stacy Lu, 11/9/06), moms across the country are sipping wine with friends at their children's playdates. I myself don't see anything terribly wrong with a woman having a drink with friends while their children play, and the article cites many women who feel that having a drink and some grown-up social time allows them to take back their adult life a little bit while still caring for the children. The article also points out the double-standard in drinking:
“In this culture there is a still a double standard,” said Dwight B. Heath, an anthropology professor at Brown University who has written extensively on alcohol attitudes. “It is more acceptable for men to drink, more often, and in greater quantities, and in public."

On the other hand, the article likens the Momtini crowd to bored, lonely 1950's housewives who turned to alcohol for consolation. Think Julianne Moore in The Hours:
“Is the drinking purely social or is this an underlying message that there is something missing?” Ms. Barash said. “This might be a happy event, but it certainly wasn’t for their predecessors. The drinking was just a coping mechanism for loneliness and unhappiness.”

Are a great number of home-working mothers unhappy? I have no idea. I wouldn't blame them if they were. A great number of many subcategories of people are unhappy. I guessI'd say that getting together with friends to share stories from the week (and maybe a drink) isn't a bad way of coping with unhappiness, though. There's something about this characterization of mothers that I object to.

In short: Dear Media, please stop making motherhood out to be a perpetual struggle. I'm all for lighting the way to better family policies in the US, but do we have to make moms look like hell along the way?

And if you're wondering what all of this has to do with sex, think of it this way: If the US gave mothers more support -- childcare options, maternity leave, tax breaks, etc -- becoming a mother might not be the life-altering, plan-changing, "dream-wrecking" event it is considered today. And if women didn't have to be afraid of what having a baby would do to their future, they would be less suceptible to terrorizing abstinence-only messages from the government, which would open the door to comprehensive sexuality education, and then... just think of all the awesome healthy sex you'd be having! As someone dear to my heart said recently, "It's a baby, not the plague."

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Sony: World's First TV for Men and Women

This is without a doubt one of the more braindead ad campaigns I've seen in quite awhile. Sony's TV ads for the new Bravia television set advertise it as "The world's first TV for men and women." Having no idea what was even meant by that, I went to the website. What you get at the website is four different endings to the commercial: two for men, and two for women. Obviously, when you try to encapsulate the interests of an entire gender into a couple of 30-second clips, you've got to make some generalizations. Some disgustingly sexist generalizations, that mock women's with careers in medicine and make us out to be nothing more than a pair of pretty feet. The ads also make men out be ridiculous, violent, and women's only savior.

Am I taking it too seriously? Being one of "those" feminists? In my head I'm imagining an old friend laughing at my ire over these commercials, but his politics suck anyway, so what does he know? This ad campaign is so stone-age it's almost unreal.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Birth Control for Men, Susie Bright on the Elections, and No Sex for You!

A New York Times article this week discusses the hopes and failures in the search for a reliable, reversible birth control method for use by men. One of the scientists interviewed acknowledges that they've been saying for years now that birth control for men will be on the market in 5-10 years, but, he said, "Now I’m saying it with a twinkle in my eye.” The article focuses on taking the pressure of family planning off of women, and cites some promising statistics about the number of men who would be willing to take responsibility for birth control. Still, I've been reading Andrea Dworkin all week, and though most of it acts as devil's advocate, there's a part of me that is very suspicious of how long it's taking them. Does the scientific community really want to assume responsibility for spreading the weight of family planning equally? (Contraception as an Option for the Man, Michael Mason, 11/7/2006)

A darling friend of mine told me earlier that she's proud of her country for the first time in forever, and I've got to say I'm feeling the same way. Of all the media I've scanned through today, Susie Bright's blog post --with its series of updates-- is my favorite. Take this quote, for example:
Rumsfeld is "stepping down," hopefully right onto his own sword. And he's being replaced by Daddy's old friend... Robert Gates? He's a former Eagle Scout and CIA Director... why does that strike me as a porn movie?
Susie's political savvy is something I admire and aspire to.

In her post, Susie also references this story:
The federal government's "no sex without marriage" message isn't just for kids anymore.
Now the government is targeting unmarried adults up to age 29 as part of its abstinence-only programs, which include millions of dollars in federal money that will be available to the states under revised federal grant guidelines for 2007.
The article goes on to discuss how women ages 19-29 are the group having the largest number of children outside of marriage, so the shift in policy is meant to encourage people to wait until they're married to have children. Some of those women are certainly having children on purpose (outside of marriage? The horror!), and many probably will never get married. The policy claims to be aimed at all adults, but in reality it's an incredibly paternalistic way of controlling women's bodies and women's sexuality well beyond their youth. Don't have sex, ladies, but make sure you're treating your pre-pregnant bodies properly!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Condom Lubrication, Pronto!

Several weeks ago I noticed on Come As You Are, the website of an awesome Canadian cooperatively owned sex toy store, a claim that "While many people are unaware of it, most lubricated condoms use a silicone lube." Shortly thereafter, a friend noticed the same claim on the same page, and emailed me to confer about whether we thought it was true. I had never heard that before, and it concerned me. Silicone lube is bad for silicone and cyberskin toys. Here I am telling people to cover their dildos and vibes with condoms to make for easier, safer sharing and cleanup, and the lube on the condoms may be breaking down the material of their toys! So I sent out some emails that went something like this:

Dear Trojan,

I would like to know what kind of lube is used on your lubricated condoms.


I sent the same email to Durex, Lifestyles, and Kimono. So far I’ve only heard back from Trojan. They not only sent me a lovely email within two weeks, but they also sent me information and a coupon via snail mail! Did you know that Church & Dwight manufacture not only Trojan Condoms, but also Arm & Hammer and Brillo, among many other products? Me neither.

But on to what’s important:

Dear Ms. [Amanda],
[…]In regard to your inquiry, most of our Trojan® condoms have a water- based lubricant. Our Trojan® Supra Condoms, which are made out of polyurethane, have a silicone-based lubricant.[…]
LaMarr Jefferson
Consumer Relations Representative

My guess is that this statement is representative of most other companies. Kimono, in particular, loves to promote the pH balanced, silky Aqua-Lube they use on their condoms. Generally speaking I’m willing to rest assured that my latex condom-covered toys are safe from both bacteria and breakdown.

Now, what to tell sex-toy users with latex sensitivity? I'll let you know what I hear from Durex about their Avanti polyurethane condom!

In the meantime, via Fleshbot, check this out: Pronto Condoms are easily applied in a matter of seconds, without fingernailed-hands ever having to touch them. Quite the innovation!

DykeTees, Gender in NY, So Long Santorum!

I wish I had owned this teeshirt during my Smith career, and especially this summer in P-town, because it's hard to be a queer woman with a boyfriend sometimes! DykeTees actually has a lot of awesome teeshirt designs -- and if your friends are like mine, these tees would make great ramakwanzhanumastice presents!

New York City is moving towards the separation of sex and gender; the city's Board of Health will be voting in December on a proposal that would allow an individual to change the gender marker on his or her birth certificate without having had what is usually clinically termed "sex reassignment surgery". The costs of surgery are prohibitive for many and this alone is good enough reason to change the way gender assignment legality is handled. Many don't feel that they need surgery in order to live as their true gender; that the NYC proposal reflects this ideology is a major step forward. Those wishing to change the gender marker on their birth records (which opens the door to changing all legal IDs) will still need affidavits from a psychiatrist and a medical doctor. They will need to have lived in their gender full-time for two years. The Times article on the subject ("New York Plans to Make Gender Personal Choice", Damien Cave, 11/7/2006) is relatively well done, although I strongly dislike the term "gender of choice". In any case, good work New York City!

It is now 11:15 PM, and the pundits et. al. have called Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Ohio for the Dems. I'm reluctant to get too excited until more of the votes have been counted, but I can't resist the moment: So Long, Santorum! We'll be seeing you (in our bedrooms).

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Update Like Woah

Wow, it's been ages. I can't remember the last time I went this long between posts.

I spent the last 5 days in Northampton. I was visiting a friend for his birthday, and since I was in town I arranged to have coffee/lunch/dinner/drinks with Smithies galore. I also managed to spend a lot of time sitting in my favorite coffee shop reading. I feel totally refreshed and ready to take on the world (or at least the job applications I've been putting off).

I love the fact that a certain amount of sex-positivity is taken for granted in Northampton. At Monday night's birthday celebration, between conversations about the social politics of stripping and the book The Ethical Slut, a friend asked a question about HPV. I turned to two other friends to see if they knew the answer more specifically. The topic quickly turned to the HPV vaccine, and something beautiful happened. What had been a 4-person conversation suddenly encompassed the entire party, and there we were: 12 of us, different ages, vastly different interests, all discussing Gardasil over drinks. Is it any wonder that I miss the Pioneer Valley?

There's so much I want to write about! SAME SEX [not just gay] marriage in New Jersey, Andrea Dworkin and anti-porn feminism, dressing in girl-drag, people who should be in porn, women (especially lesbians) as vampires, and sex... lord, for the first time in a long time, I really just want to write about sex. Not sure how much of that I'll post here, though.

Unfortunately, all of that will have to wait, because tonight I have to write about anal toys for the store's website. Rough, huh?