Sexy Sex, Newsy News–Week of January 26-February 1, 2014

 

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Chapel of Love… At the Grammys!
These days, if a same-sex couple wishes to tie the knot, they may have to move to another state, light magic candles to try to nudge their attorney general in the forward direction of the arc of history, or just throw a huge party in the backyard, and screw the State. OR they could go to the Grammys! Pluses: You don’t have to hire a DJ, as there is plenty of music; there are photographers everywhere, so you save on that detail as well; and you can arrange for a hella-foxy wedding officiant like Queen Latifah! With a beautiful and quasi-churchy-lookin’ backdrop behind the 30-some couples (gay and not), serenaded by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis doing their song Same Love and Madonna with her might-as-well-be-a wedding-anthem Open Your Heart, the Grammys turned the Staples Center into the Chapel of Love.

Awwwwwww! Even for a not-marrying-kind like myself, this is sweet stuff.

Though Fox News thought it was “political”–honestly! Did they say that when the Reverend Moon hitched up all those Unification Church couples? And group gay weddings are hardly a new thing; my ex and her lover were wedded in a mass nuptial by none other than Troy Perry, founder of the Metropolitan Community Church, the first ministry to LGBT people. That happened over 20 years ago, at the 1993 March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay, and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation.

Is Queen Latifah going to found a church now? Ooh, I might want to join it.

The NY Times, NY Daily News (which embedded a Daily Caller video of the blessed event), and the GuardianLV.com, among many others, covered the story. The Huffington Post‘s Gay Voices reports that boyishly attractive actor Kirk Cameron went all ballistic on his Facebook page, though, apparently both unhappy about the nuptials, which he called “an all out assault on the traditional family,” and eager to promo his new family-values movie. Way to multi-task, Mr. Homophobe. The logic of the anti-marriage equality folk persistently eludes me; lesbians busy planning their lives together have so much less time on their hands to flirt with married ladies, it’s practically the opposite of an assault! Gay men researching honeymoon destinations are distracted from the otherwise amusing pastime of offering straight married men better blowjobs than they could get anywhere else. Again, the opposite of an assault! Maybe it’s really just like the way some folks (ahem, some of the same folks) believe there can’t be global warming, because it snowed!

Relatedly, the Washington Post ran an interesting piece on the political shifts associated with marriage equality; apparently the Democrats are increasingly thinking it’s a horse they can ride. At some point (arc of history again) they’ll be right.

Again, Allegations of Sex Trafficking at the Super Bowl
And again, it’s CNN, house organ of the anti-trafficking movement, writing it up. Each year since these activists have gotten well-organized in the US, the Super Bowl has been considered ground zero for trafficking, though to hear sex worker advocates tell it, most arrests are of adult prostitutes, not trafficking victims. (The two are often conflated, but “trafficking” means a lot more than engaging in sex for money.)

But moral panics are nothing new at the Super Bowl! The Atlantic ran a terrific look-back called “The Legacy of Janet Jackson’s Boob”: author Nolan Feeney writes, “Jackson’s right breast was visible for a mere 9/16ths of a second, yet its cultural and political legacies span years… In his 2006 book inspired by the performance, The Decency Wars, Frederick S. Lane would argue the Super Bowl scandal was even responsible for the prominent discussions of ‘moral values’ and ‘media decency’ in the 2004 presidential election.” It’s been ten years since that fateful wardrobe malfunction, people! (And we have the event to thank for that evocative and useful phrase, as Feeney reminds us.) It also includes a fascinating report on media analysis done by a Clemson University academic, Shannon Holland, who noted how frequently Justin Timberlake’s role in the kerfuffle was all but erased and how Jackson’s sexuality was focused upon. Good stuff from a mag that’s publishing better and better sex-related articles all the time, including another fine post this week called “When Big Data Meets Porn” that I know some of you are just exactly geeky enough to appreciate.

Catching Up with Previous Stories
Our Gal Miley
Golly, we haven’t talked about Ms. Cyrus in, what, about twenty minutes! Let’s get right back to her, huh? ‘Cause this week she did a really fun thing: She sang a duet with Madonna. Yes, the same Madonna who serenaded the Grammy wedding party: She’s really getting around right now too! The Province reported on the MTV Unplugged shoot, at which the two pop stars did not, apparently, just sing; they also spanked, and so forth. (The LA Times uses the term “grinds” in its URL for the story.)

“Cyrus spanks the 55-year-old Queen of Pop during the duet, which made Madonna’s Britney Spears kiss feel like it was way more than 10 years ago,” said The Province, which: yeah! And the LA Times reported, “During breaks she joked with the audience, ‘MTV’s paying me today in ones so we can all go to the strip club after this'” and “‘That was pretty … cool, you guys,’ Cyrus beamed after. ‘It was one of those days that was pretty easy to get out of bed. I get to perform with Madonna in bedazzled cowboy boots. I can’t really complain about anything.'”

Gotta love a young woman who keeps it all in perspective.

Lena Dunham’s Power Nudity
Since the Photoshop scandal of, what, two weeks ago, Lena Dunham’s role in the culture is getting clarified with fabulous punditry. Salon ran “Six Reasons Female Nudity Can Be Powerful”:

“Women too often are made to embody male power, honor and shame.  It’s not good for us.  Our bodies, and the bodies of people who are gender fluid and non-binary conforming, are sites of moral judgment in ways most men’s are not, especially in public and in protest. Some of us experience our bodies, in particular our nudity, as objects of repression, oppression and powerlessness. Representing them as no one’s but our own, counter to prevailing representations, is important.” And the piece just gets smarter from there! The LA Times called Dunham’s Girls nudity “a revolutionary act.”

Finally…
Zach Howe writes a fascinating analysis of male homophobia in Slate, “Homophobia Is a Real Fear… But of What Exactly?” “Clearly, men in America have grown up learning to be scared of gayness,” he says. “But not only for the reasons we typically think—not only, in the end, because of religion, insecurity about their own sexuality, or a visceral aversion to other men’s penises. The truth is, they’re afraid because heterosexuality is so fragile… [A]s long as people think you’re exclusively attracted to the right gender, you’re golden. But perception is a precarious thing; a ‘zero-tolerance’ policy has taught men that the way people think of them can change permanently with one slip, one little kiss or too-intimate friendship. And once lost, it can be nearly impossible to reclaim.” Howe goes on to point out that men aren’t allowed sexual fluidity to the degree women are, a point that especially interested me because of all the media I’ve been reading trying to explicate research studies that (sure enough) don’t find sexual fluidity in men but that also rarely seem to understand the role this social pressure may play.

And speaking of sex research, The Atlantic reports that the Archives of Sexual Behavior has just published a study proving that rebound sex exists and explaining why–it makes us feel better when we’ve been dumped! I hope to mercy none of those politicians who like to make fun of research get their hands on this, though. The resulting snark would make my ears hurt, I feel sure.

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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