Communication

Recent posts

Queer Alphabet Soup: Moving Beyond Sexual Inclusivity

LGTBQIA…and the list goes on. What we once simply called gay expanded to gay and lesbian, then to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender, and then further to include the umbrella term queer, as well as intersex and asexual. A recent New York Times article by Michael Schulman tackles this expansion of inclusive terms, discussing the new generation of queers and the gender inclusivity that they are striving for. “If the gay-rights movement today seems to revolve around same-sex marriage, this generation is seeking something more radical: an upending of gender roles beyond the binary of male/female. The core question isn’t whom they love, but who they are — that is, identity as distinct from sexual orientation. Continue Reading →

Tangerine Consent

On a lighter note, my partner and I were recently driving somewhere, and I was feeding him a tangerine (as he was the one driving). We generally have good communication in our relationship, especially when it comes to consent, which we took to a silly level with the act of eating a tangerine. Me: *tries to put a tangerine slice in his mouth*

Him: “I don’t consent to this. My silence is not consent.” Me: “But your body language made it look like you were asking for it!” Continue Reading →

Further Explanation Of Why “Creepy” Can Be A Useful Term

Here at MSP, we’ve touched on the continuing debate on whether the word “creepy” is useful or reductive, including its place in the geek community, its relationship to respecting boundaries, and how not to be creepy in public. Feminist blogger Xenologer wrote a comprehensive post explaining why women “need a word to refer to guys who freak us out and make us feel unsafe, and that word for ‘failed my risk assessment’ doesn’t need to meet the approval of men.” Basically, while the word “creepy” is about men, it is not for men. This is a useful way of thinking about the word and its functions; it refers to the insider/outsider distinction we use in the study of folklore (often termed esoteric/exoteric). Sometimes the insiders of a group use special terminology related to their social needs, which outsiders can misunderstand, and this may well be one of those cases. Continue Reading →

Communication Fails: www.HeTexted.com

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Last week, I stumbled upon HeTexted.com, a website devoted to “interpreting” cryptic text messages from men. Here’s how it works: a user sends in a text message, includes their own comments giving necessary background information, and leaves the decision up to the internet. Anyone in the blogosphere can vote in one of three ways regarding the sender’s intentions: either he’s into you, he’s not into you, or the verdict is still out. Sound familiar? My first instinct was to hate it, to repost the link with some snarky comment about the novel idea of actually asking your partner what they meant.  My second instinct was to hate it more, wondering why these people couldn’t just ask their friends what they thought rather than airing all their dirty laundry on the internet. Continue Reading →

My Mentor, Sex Therapist and Author Sallie Foley

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One of my mentors during my graduate studies was Sallie Foley. Sallie has been a social worker and sex therapist for 30+ years and currently runs the Sexual Health Certificate Program at the University of Michigan’s School of Social Work. Check out that amazing program here. My first contact with Sallie was when I was the Peer Education Coordinator at the University of Michigan and I helped to put on ”Sexpertise”, the University’s annual conference on sexual health. Sallie was an integral part of this important conference and one of the premiere speakers, talking about her research and giving workshops on sexual pleasure. Continue Reading →

My Mentor, Sexuality Educator Ivy Chen

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While many people have trained me, offered me career guidance, and encouraged my career as a sex educator, my very first (and most influential) sex ed mentor was Ivy Chen. When she’s not mentoring, Ivy’s a lecturer at San Francisco State University and teaches age-appropriate sexuality education classes to primary, middle, and high school students throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. I first learned about Ivy when I read an article in the San Francisco Chronicle about her work in schools. The article described her passion for educating young people about making healthy choices and reflected the sex-positive approach she takes to her work. At the time the article was published, I was starting my first year as a sexual health peer educator at my university and just beginning to learn about the possibilities for how I could turn my love of teaching others about sexuality into a life-long career. Continue Reading →

Nurturing Sex Geeks

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One of the things I’ve read that has been the most beneficial to me as a sex educator has been Bill Taverner’s article “Tips for Emerging Sexology Professionals: Networking and Nurturing.” While this article about the importance of networking and nurturing among sexology professionals is from 2006, I still think it’s extremely relevant. Lots of my friends have been discussing New Year’s Resolutions, and I am aiming to put more effort into sex education. I’m still somewhat new to the field, and it can be extremely difficult to make a living doing this (no one gets into this for the money), as can breaking into the sex education field at all. There are definitely some amazing and supportive individuals in this field (I count everyone that writes for My Sex Professor among them), but I’ve also encountered some less than helpful individuals. Continue Reading →

This Week on MSP: Mentorship

Mentorship – the art of nurturing a relationship between a mentor and mentee – is important in all fields but mentorship is particularly crucial for those of us who study sexuality. There’s no Occupational Outlook guide for how to become a sex educator or researcher, so it’s left to mentoring relationships to help us navigate that career path. Since January is National Mentoring Month, it seems an opportune time to reflect on the mentorship process and to honor and highlight the efforts of those who’ve nurtured our work. This week on MSP, the blogging team will be writing about their individual mentors’ work as well as about mentorship in the sexuality field in a broader sense. For aspiring sexuality professionals, this week’s posts might shine some light on future directions you might take. Continue Reading →

The “Delayed Notification” Phenomenon

It’s bad juju to publicize your pregnancy before you’ve reached the second trimester. This delay in notification is practiced widely in Western culture, but nobody has really asked why we keep our early pregnancies a secret. As a component of a recent research paper I wrote about miscarriage and fetal personhood, I anonymously interviewed 17 women who have given birth in the past seven years about this practice. The results were striking. According to my survey results, 10 out of the 17 women chose to keep their pregnancies secret until after the three-month mark. Continue Reading →

Join the Consent Revolution

Last week, two media-savvy feminists launched the Pink Loves Consent campaign. Designed to look just like the actual Victoria’s Secret website, their site sells underwear boasting empowering slogans such as “ask first” and “let’s talk about sex.” Additionally, the home page of their website features a gorgeous plus size woman of color – something that would never happen on the real page. Image courtesy of Baltimore Fishbowl

The website caused quite a stir. In my opinion, creators Hannah Brancato and Rebecca Nagle chose a fantastic way to draw attention to rape culture and attempt to make social change. Continue Reading →