Craig VanKempen

Craig VanKempen

Craig VanKempen, LLMSW/MPH, is a sex educator and therapist practicing in the Detroit/Ann Arbor area. His professional interests include HIV, polyamory, compulsive sexual behavior, religion and sexuality, and GLBT issues.

Recent posts

The Science of Booty Calls

Since I am currently writing a paper on the different definitions of “date” and “hookup”, I am always interested in new research that comes out which talks about the definition and practice of various sexual situations.  That’s why I was intrigued when I found two articles referencing the same scientific study about “booty calls.” Kinsey Confidential’s own Kristen Mark talks about it here. has an interview with the author here. However, shouldn’t there be more technical names for these important sexual issues?  Talking about “the booty call” and “one night stand” seems weird.  What about a “Telephone-Initiated Long term but Mostly Sexual relationship?”  (TILMS)  Or perhaps a “Brief One-Time Sexual Encounter” (BOTSE).  Because, let’s face it, there’s very little standing involved. Continue Reading →

How Fashion Should Feel

One thing that always frustrates me when I hear about fashion shows is that they never let you touch the clothes – sure, they look good on stage, but how would they feel pressed against my body, or better yet, against someone else’s?  Is that leather jacket one I would love to run my hand over when holding my lover?  How does my partner’s ass feel through that satiny dress?  Do the buttons undo easily, or will they need to be torn off? Continue Reading →

Emotionally Safer Sex

I just finished reading the article “Safer Sex…for Your Heart” by Heather Corinna over at Scarleteen, and I must say I have found my paragon of sexual health literature (besides, of course, Because It Feels Good by our own Dr. Debby).  For many years, I have pushed for teaching safer sex in a more holistic way; considering emotional as well as physical well-being.  However, I have found few resources for this that weren’t either overly simplified or overly academic.  This article is neither of these. Heather provides an excellent primer for those who are interested in teaching about holistically safer sex, and I will be sharing this with the sexual health peer educators (Sexperteam!) who I am helping to train this weekend. Check out “Safer Sex…For Your Heart” and let us know what you think.  There’s ample information in this article, including some common sense advice along with a few gems of poetic, useful information.  I am especially fond of this paragraph: Continue Reading →

HIV/AIDS And Stigma: What You Can Do

When my introductory MSP post went live, I unsurprisingly shared it on my Facebook and Twitter accounts, wanting my friends to see the great work I was helping to produce.  And many of my online friends contacted me to let me know how much they liked that I was contributing to such a fun, sex-positive website.  However, one good friend and colleague was disappointed:  “Craig,” he said, “there’s one very important thing that is missing when you talk about your experience with sex, and I think the fact that you left it off shows how important it is to talk about.” As I scanned back through my introduction, I realized what I had done.  Despite having spent the entirety of 2009 providing services to people living with HIV, I had neglected to mention this in my intro.  I could give all sorts of reasons –  I didn’t feel like it was sex-positive enough,  I didn’t think it went with the feeling of the site, etc. But the bottom line is that this site exists to talk about sex, relationships, and pleasure for EVERYONE, and that includes people who are living with HIV. The fact that I missed an opportunity to talk about a group that is very important to me demonstrates how often stigma, fear, and misunderstanding can lead to discrimination and invisibility, whether it is from something as simple as a blog post or as complex as the institution of marriage.  This can happen either unintentionally, as I hope was my case, or simply because this group is feared and stigmatized, and is therefore left out of the conversation.  I think stigma regarding people living with HIV can be reduced in two ways:  knowledge about the disease and familiarizing yourself with those living with HIV in your community. Continue Reading →

The World’s Most Phallic Building – In My Backyard!

Marveling at the beauty of Kate’s vulva tree post, my Special Lady Friend thought I should share one of my favorite genitalia-flavored (yum?) landmarks.  Driving from Ann Arbor to neighboring Ypsilanti (home of Eastern Michigan University, a great teen health clinic, and one of the only beer gardens in the area), you encounter this majestic sight:

Voted “Most Phallic Building in the World” in 2003, the Ypsilanti water tower stands tall and proud, bisecting the highway in an almost-uncomfortable way.  It was erected (get it?) in 1890, and the penis jokes haven’t stopped since then. Continue Reading →

Texting During Sex – Is It OK?

I recently came across this old (by internet standards) information graph on, which suggests that 10% of the 25 and under crowd feel that it’s acceptable to text during sex.  As suggested by the author, I started off being a little worried about the future of our civilization, but was relieved when I followed the rabbit hole back to the original article, where the report’s author clarified: these young folks felt it was acceptable to interrupt sex to respond to a text. While this is still a somewhat questionable act, it ruined my visions of the simple logistics involved in texting during sex.I thought of  one partner bent over pecking away at a keyboard while the other is poking from behind; one partner riding no-handed so she can update her Twitter; one partner facesitting, the other on Facebook.  Interesting ideas for erotica or porn, but not very practical in real life. Continue Reading →

Introducing New MSP Blogger: Craig VanKempen

Hi all,

My name is Craig VanKempen and I’m happy to be a new blogger for!  I hope to add my perspective to this already fantastic site and continue to provide fun sex-positive information and resources for the MSP readership. A little bit about me:

I’m a cisgender straight male living in Ann Arbor, MI, currently in my last semester of a dual-degree graduate program.  I will graduate from the University of Michigan in December with a Masters in Social Work AND a Masters in Public Health (my friend inquired if that makes me a Grandmaster…hmmm…).  Afterwards, I hope to continue my work as a sex educator and, eventually, sex therapist around the Ann Arbor area. I’m interested in many different things about sex and relationships, but here are a few specifics: Continue Reading →