Sexy Sex Newsy News Week of December 6-12, 2013

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James Bond in the News — 007 and the Angle of the Dangle 

Now here’s some research.

“According to a study in the British Medical Journal, 007 was probably incapable of stirring his own drinks as a result of alcohol-induced tremors,” reports metro.co.uk. “Two researchers read all 14 James Bond books, noting every time he drank and the number of units he put away. They wrote: ‘The level of functioning as displayed in the books is inconsistent with the physical, mental, and indeed sexual functioning expected from someone drinking this much alcohol.’” That’s right, Bond fans: All those babes basically had a bloke on their hands who was suffering from advanced alcohol-induced ED. CNN noted Bond’s at risk of premature death from all the boozing he engages in between bouts of derring-do; what was author Ian Fleming thinking? The press is all atwitter with this, which tells us something interesting about the things that really matter, eh? “[T]he paper darkly questions Bond’s supposed success as a womaniser,” reports The Nation. “Given the vast quantities of drink he consumed before bedding a conquest, the evidence may not have stood up.”

I’ll add, sexologically speaking, that less Viagra would be sold if fellas would lighten up on their alcohol intake; given the doses this research documents, maybe the little blue pill wouldn’t even have helped. You don’t need an erection for fabulous sex, of course, but if someone’s that drunk, it can be a challenge to locate the clitoris. Or anything else that might make sex play worth the time.

James Franco’s Penis* Thinks George Clooney is Gay?

Wait! No! See, this is how rumors get started.

Really that credit should go to Perez Hilton, who reports this week that George Clooney won’t say he’s not gay! So that means there’s still hope! (Although maybe not for the ladies.)

Franco, however, factors in because this week he was quoted as saying he understands why the sexuality of celebrities — inherently cultural objects — is of interest to the public; Digital Spy tells us that he told the Guardian, “Celebrities the media love to track, they become surfaces or icons for people to project on to, or read into, and they are touchstones for the greater community to talk about, or help themselves understand who they are. They’re reading into celebrities the same way they’ll read into a book or a movie or a major event.” Once again Franco’s interesting take on sex and celebrity is notable — and makes him at least as trenchant a commentator on Clooney’s erotic preferences as anybody else.

But that just gets me to thinking… Clooney… Franco… May I just say… that is a movie I’d watch.

*James Franco’s penis was the subject of an item in our very first edition of SexySex, NewsyNews.

The Grinch, in India

Just as occasionally higher courts in the US overturn the decisions of lower courts, for better or for worse, so it is in India, whose Brit-dominated legacy had made homosexual behavior (particularly male “buggery”) against the law. Gay sex was ruled lawful a few years back; this decision was appealed; and this week, a higher court overturned that ruling. Buggery is illegal again.

India is now a major world power, even if it wasn’t when the legal framework that disallowed homosexual conduct was imposed by English colonial rule. Now other post-colonial countries are struggling with the tension between gay rights and anti-sodomy laws, as National Geographic points out; it assembled an update on gay rights in a number of former colonies. Things are especially fraught in Africa and the Caribbean. The Hindu provides details of these Indian court battles over homosexuality.

Catching Up with Previous Stories

CinemaBlend included some commentary about the Wonder Woman body image kerfuffle; the author reminds us how fiercely loyal to their image of characters comics fans are. Fair enough, but it may be worth reminding those devoted fans that comic characters’s bodies — especially women’s — tend to be drawn in ways that flesh-and-blood mortals are hard-pressed to emulate. Lara Croft? Hello? I’m just sayin.’

Slate visited the “men’s vs.women’s regrets” research that we addressed a couple of weeks ago; Amanda Hess dug into the study and noted that one of its elements was a reliance on evolutionary psych. “As the study’s authors put it, the results show that the ‘psychology of sexual regret’ was shaped by ‘sex differences in selection pressures operating over deep time,’” reports Hess. I’ll remind you that this “deep time” was being channeled by college sophomores, so. “Scientists in the field make projections about our deep ancestors that are colored by their understanding of contemporary human beings; then, they use those projections to ‘explain’ why differences between modern men and women have been set in stone for millennia, and are unlikely to budge any time soon,” notes Hess. Word.

And may I just say: It’s bad enough when contemporary researchers researching contemporary things get caught up in bias and misunderstandings. When you’re pretending to clarify the experience of millennia-gone forebears? Oh, come on.

Vice published a takedown about sex toy materials — we looked into the commentary on this issue recently, after Bitch ran an article about “toxic toys” last month. Bitch hinted around at it, but Vice goes there: “maybe-the-fda-should-regulate-sex-toys-huh” is built right into the dang URL. They didn’t touch base with us about this article either; they don’t address Good Vibrations’ leadership in addressing this issue, but perhaps worse than that, the article makes it sound as though the science is conclusive; it isn’t.

And the FDA? Please! I just want to revisit what I said last time in case anyone missed it: “A lot of the people who are outraged that not enough is known about material safety (count me among them) also seem to feel that part of the problem is a lack of government oversight. I’d just like to remind everyone that we have a government that’s been nosing around in people’s porno-watching habits and that seems unmoved about the several states that still make buying pretty much ANY sex toy against the law. While you can still buy a nice zucchini in most of those places, the US is hardly a sex-positive locale on an official level when it comes to sex-related regulations and government procedures. And, um, choice? Do you really, truly trust these guys with your dildos?”

Kelly Marcel, 50 Shades of Grey screenwriter (and the writer who brought Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers to life in just-out Saving Mr. Banks, watched “a lot of porn” while adapting E. L. James’s novel for the big screen. This just in from Vanity Fair. Somehow that seems almost inevitable.

Love this gig. Just got to write “porn” and “Mary Poppins” right next to each other in the keywords.

Finally…

I can always count on Salon, and this week it’s an interview with “the world’s most famous vaginal knitter.” Aussie Casey Jenkins pulls wool from her vadge (she’s stashed it there in advance — it doesn’t just grow there or anything) and, as you’d expect, doing this turns into a “Jenkins’ work has long been concerned with questioning and subverting the conversation around the vagina and its place in society, as well as what constitutes women’s activities — in this case, knitting,” says Salon, quoting Jenkins: “I think that there are misogynistic attitudes toward the vulva, and there’s widespread repulsion in my audacity to show it. And then there are also misogynistic attitudes toward knitting, as it’s associated with something that women do,” she explained. “There is a dissonance between the two. They’re both constructs, patriarchal constructs … and people don’t know what to do when they walk together.” Well, we know! You knit vulvas! They look pretty adorable. Knit one, purl two, Casey.

And The Gloss includes a thought-provoking article about sex workers’ dating habits and sexuality, an interesting compare-contrast about the assumptions that sex workers are hyper-sexy and insatiable, and the notion that they couldn’t possibly enjoy sex at work or out. The reality, as usual, is in between, and/or way more complicated than that.

Finally, our friend Pepper Schwartz takes to CNN to look into the question of generational patterns of divorce. It turns out that most divorces are among Baby Boomers; she considers why that might be in a fascinating essay. For one thing, the Boomers sought to re-make everything and mold reality to suit them — no surprise that they would do the same with marriage; and younger people are both quite sensitive to the human collateral of divorce (that is, the kids, who don’t always know how to cope with such an enormous change to their world) and aware that in a shaky economy, you may feel you have to couple up and hunker down.

Dr. Carol Queen

Carol Queen has a PhD in sexology; she calls herself a "cultural sexologist" because her earlier academic degree is in sociology: while she addresses individual issues and couple's sexual concerns, her overarching interest is in cultural issues (gender, shame, access to education, etc.). Queen has worked at Good Vibrations, the woman-founded sexuality company based in San Francisco that turned 35 years old in 2012, since 1990. Her current position is Staff Sexologist and Good Vibrations Historian; her roles include representing the company to the press and the public; overseeing educational programming for staff and others; and scripting/hosting a line of sex education videos, the Pleasure-Ed series, for GV’s sister company Good Releasing. She also curates the company's Antique Vibrator Museum. She is also the founding director of the Center for Sex & Culture, a non-profit sex ed and arts center San Francisco, and is a frequent lecturer at colleges, universities, and community-based organizations. Her dozen books include a Lambda Literary Award winner, PoMoSexuals, and Real Live Nude Girl: Chronicles of Sex-Positive Culture, which are used as texts in some college classes. She blogs at the Good Vibes Magazine and at SFGate's City Brights bloggers page and contributes to the Boston Dig. For more about her at carolqueen.com.

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