Sexy Sex Newsy News Week of November 8-14, 2013

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Speaking Up about Sex, Bush, and Body Image
Our fabulous colleague Melissa Tapper Goldman is finally getting the ink (bits & bytes?) she deserves for her excellent project Subjectified: 9 Young Women Talk about Sex. Fave sex columnist Tracy Clark-Flory interviewed her in Salon this week, and she said hella-smart things that rarely see the light of mainstream media (though some might argue about Salon‘s mainstreaminess, come to think of it). Check out her fierce commentary in that interview on the cost of shame.

Subjectified “features nine young women from diverse backgrounds across the United States talking about their experiences with sex,” says the article about the project in Vitamin W. “They discuss… everything from pubic hair to masturbation to abortion.”

Speaking of pubic fur, and body image more generally, women across the pond are tackling this not-so-hairy topic with the help of a rad ad agency. It seems that recently Mother London, Elle magazine and the Feminist Times sat down to attempt to re-brand feminism (don’t think small, kids!) — in the end determining that was a bit much to bite off, they settled on doing ad-supported consciousness-raising about the nearly-forgotten muff, and are doing a photo campaign of women’s bush to get the point across. More about this also in the terrific Vitamin W.

More body image in the news: The Hunger Games‘ Jennifer Lawrence spoke frankly about weight, youthification, and other pop-culture and image issues with the BBC; smart woman, using her fame to wrangle with the things her young fans are wrestling with themselves.

Subjectified creator Tapper Goldman’s new blog is Do Tell, and presumably all these topics and more will find their way onto it as old-school consciousness-raising goes increasingly digital.

Do You LOVE Your Smartphone?
One of the smartest pieces I’ve ever seen on smartphone use comes to us via Business Insider this week; the author MyGirlFund argues that smartphones are fundamentally changing human sexuality and their own relationship to their human keepers, since we keep our little robots close at hand, fondle them more than we do each other and our pets, and frequently utilize them directly in sexual arousal situations: they’re becoming our sexy little parasites, or is it the other way around?

Catching Up with Previous Stories
We recently mentioned women in competition, evolutionarily, and our pal Annalee Newitz has a very interesting piece about the topic in Discover this week. Evolution is steered by competing females, she reports, who without generally resorting to the the kind of violent competition we associate with males can make or break other women’s reproductive chances. I liked the T-shirt study better (we covered this a few weeks ago), since reproduction has never been my first priority, but this is a smart piece that resonates with a book I read several years ago and liked vary much, Kate Fillion’s Lip Service: The Myth of Female Virtue in Love, Sex, and Friendship. Plus pop superyouth Lorde was called out in Salon for her own calling out other women in music (“Lorde’s Putdown Feminism”), which may in fact be this competition phenom in action, only with record sales instead of sperm; she thinks Beyonce is a “goddess,” though, so the precocious Kiwi may indeed be wise beyond her years, because who really is going to argue with that?

And Time magazine offers up an article to make the blood of an old safer sex activist run cold; why aren’t teens using condoms and in other ways taking risk reduction seriously? Partly because people around them are not dying of AIDS in such numbers; partly because most sex ed is not very good about safer sex education, in spite of gains that have been made in US sex education generally. And partly — same as it ever was — because young people tend not to think of the people they intend to sleep with as possibly carrying an STD. They resemble many older people in this respect. Come on, people: in a year full of news about superbugs, HPV, and other notable (and pretty scary) info about sexually transmitted conditions, we can do better than this.

Finally…
More charming sex writing in the New York Times‘ Booming column, this time a meditation on what will happen to older folks’ sex stuff when they shuffle off this mortal coil (or shuffle off to a care center, having forgotten where they left their stash of dildos). Super-amusing author Joyce Wadler recommends jettisoning these items before it comes to that; “…disposing of sex paraphernalia — actually all those embarrassing items you have stashed around the house — is something every boomer should be concerned about,” she advises. “The days are dwindling down to a precious few and some of you have a nasty cough.”

Of course, I just happen to know a lil’ archive that will give some of that stuff a good home, though probably not the used dildos of America.

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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