Art & Culture

Recent posts

Systemic Racism, Systemic Sexism

The consequences of racism, sexism, and other intolerant attitudes are far-reaching and deep in America, and yet they also result in everyday acts that wear us down, battering at our sense of self-worth and value as a human being. Many of these acts are systemic, meaning that they are the results of a social system that has been in place for a long time and goes largely unquestioned. These daily acts of racism and sexism mirror each other in strange ways, and yet each brings with it unique circumstances. When I read Michael Twittty’s open letter to Paula Deen (regarding the accusations of her racist speech and acts), it resonated with me. Not because I am African-American; no, my ancestors were largely European, and I recognize that I come from a place of privilege. Continue Reading →

Gender Roles And Sexual Roles

In one of my posts in the informed consent series I wrote, I explained the idea behind the Zimbardo prison experiment: that in a normal population of college students, roles were randomly assigned so that some students became prison guards, and others became prisoners. The guards quickly began acting abusive, as though the roles became their identities. I was discussing this experiment with a friend in the BDSM scene, and she pointed out that maybe the same thing is happening with American gender roles and sexuality. That is, because so many men are conditioned to become aggressive and forceful, this could be one reason why there is both anecdotal evidence and statistical evidence for there being many more men than women who prefer the dominant role in sexual encounters. If mainstream society is molding men to express their sexuality (indeed, their overall identities) in terms of acquisition, conquest, and violence, then perhaps that also accounts for the sexual roles that many men prefer. Continue Reading →

My Visit to the Icelandic Phallological Museum

I first heard about The Icelandic Phallological Museum when I was an undergrad student taking my first Human Sexuality classes and discovering the big-wide-world of people who study sex. I was somewhere on the internet, reading a top-ten list of weird sex places and lo and behold – a penis museum, in ICELAND. Needless to say, this shot to the top of my bucket list faster than you can say “baculum.”
Just last week, during a complimentary Icelandic Air stopover on my way from London to New York, I got to check this one off the list. Immediately after dropping off my bags, I headed straight to the museum like the die-hard sex geek that I am. Coincidentally, the Airbnb accommodation I’d booked was just a few blocks from the shrine to all things penile. Continue Reading →

Why “Daggy” Should Be the New “Sexy”

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this gem-of-a-slang-word, “daggy” (adj.) is an Australian term used semi-affectionately to describe things that are unpopular, un-chic, or uncool. It’s a bit like “nerdy” but without the intellectual association. The noun form, “dag,” can be used to classify people as in “Kate, you like watching NCIS marathons with your parents? You’re such a dag.” It’s not insulting exactly – more like the kind of sarcastic teasing Aussies do when they like you. Literally, a “dag” is the clump of wool around a sheep’s bottom that is matted with poop. Continue Reading →

My Name is Strong: Raising Awareness About Gender-Based Violence Through Art

I was made aware of a creative new anti-violence initiative and awareness campaign called My Name Is Strong through a volunteer job. The description instantly caught my attention: “our commitment is to turn a single room into an overpowering exhibit of human strength.” My Name Is Strong aims to empower all individuals who have been impacted by gender-based violence through creative expression. The campaign isn’t just for survivors, but anyone who has been impacted by rape, harassment, sexual assault, etc. My Name Is Strong is based out of St Louis, Missouri and you can view submissions on their Facebook page. Continue Reading →

Sex Ed Isn’t In Text Books?

The past few weeks I have been greatly enjoying the tv series “How Sex Changed The World” (it’s on the History Channel’s sibling station H2). According to History’s website, the series is about one of the necessary things to survival; “powerful need that has transformed history, silently steering us at every turn… sex.  HOW SEX CHANGED THE WORLD spans thousands of years and sheds light on how sex has changed history.” In two sentences, they have made it possible for my history nerd friends to not only get along with, but have several conversations with my sex geek friends. courtesy of H2

While I do think if you are interested in sex and history this is worthy of watching, I have one contention with the program. During the voice over that begins each episode, they mention how interesting and unique this is, especially because these are “the stories you won’t find in textbooks.” Continue Reading →

Magic: In Paper or People?

As a sex educator, therapist, and Magic: The Gathering player, I almost gasped out loud when I was forwarded this Buzzfeed quiz that has you guess whether a phrase is a Magic card or a position from the Kama Sutra. I never really put these two things together, but I’m glad someone did. Try it out, see what you get. I got 100%. Well, almost. Continue Reading →

What If We Took Every Marriage Proposal Seriously?

When I made Caesar salad from scratch, my dinner guest proposed to me on the spot. Fortunately, we already happened to be married, so we didn’t really have to do anything about that proposal. But what if I had someone else over for dinner, and the same thing happened? What if it happened again and again, because my Caesar salad recipe is just that good? Obviously it’d be ludicrous to suggest that I should take every marriage proposal seriously, since I’m already married. Continue Reading →

Clarifying Sex-Positivity

My post on supporting consenting adults doing whatever they want sexually articulates one facet of what’s known as a sex-positive outlook. And yet there are actually a number of ways to interpret what it means to be sex-positive; some people think of it as “yay, orgasms solve everything!” while others use it to mean having a non-judgmental attitude toward sex. For that reason, I’m a big fan of Pervocracy’s What I Mean When I Say I’m Sex-Positive post. The post presents a clear and comprehensive explanation of what the author means when the term sex-positive is used. Continue Reading →

Does Storytelling Require Rape?

A friend linked me to this blog post (trigger warning) by author Seanan McGuire about whether she will ever write rape into any of her female characters’ stories. Her answer is no, she will not. And since she’s writing fantasy, her readers should be just as capable of suspending their belief that sexual violence is needed to move along a story as they are of accepting that magic exists in the worlds she writes. I hope that more writers and media-makers realize this: rape is not the only interesting or dramatic thing that can happen to a woman. Continue Reading →