Where in the World is the Wondrous Vulva Puppet? New Zealand Edition

Nothing makes my sex geeky heart sing quite like being sent photos of a vulva puppet hanging out in Middle Earth (OK it’s just New Zealand, but still). Las Vegas-based sexuality educator Dr. Amanda Morgan got in touch with me after taking her vulva puppet on vacation with her to Hobbiton and the Otrohanga Kiwi House in New Zealand. Below you can see a few of my favorites (or favourites as the Kiwis would say). I particularly like the vulva puppet with the vulva tree. All photos are by Dr. Amanda, who you can find on her website Askdramanda.com. Continue Reading →

What If We Thought About Consent In Terms Of Food?

In my attempts to theorize consent, I sometimes think of it in terms of metaphors and stories (see my joking “tangerine consent” post for an example of this). Along those same lines, I began wondering: what if we thought of sexual consent in the same terms that we think of food? Ponder these scenarios:

A woman is really tipsy, and someone who’s talking to her reaches toward her mouth with a piece of food in hand, as though about to begin feeding her. The conversation has not been on food, and she’s not given any indication that she’s hungry. A man is napping, and someone comes up to him and begins to work open his mouth with their fingers so a morsel of food can be inserted. Continue Reading →

Body By Derby

For an interesting take on body image, check out The Rollergirl Project, with part one and part two, illustrating how female roller derby players train and treat their bodies. Aiming to show the physical effects of derby on the bodies of players for the Naptown Roller Girls of Indianapolis, this website documents their training regimens and how their bodies have changed over time. I was intrigued by the beautiful photos as well as the information that many of the women have actually gained weight while playing derby… by putting on lots and lots of muscle! Body image is often a highly individual thing, but I love the idea that getting stronger as part of a community can be an effective way for women to feel good about their bodies. Continue Reading →

Promiscuity As Strategy

One of the topics that kept coming up in the class I taught on non-monogamy this fall semester was slut-shaming. We had many a fruitful discussion about how rape culture and slut-shaming intersect to create an environment full of sex-negativity, virgin/whore complexes, and misogyny. Research on female promiscuity tends to whole-heartedly condemn it or ignore it. This is not, as you might imagine, a useful approach to sexual behavior that often happens regardless of whether it is stigmatized. Hence I’m a big fan of evolutionary anthropologist Eric M. Johnson’s new Slate post on female promiscuity in humans and other primates. Continue Reading →

Lelo Ida Review

I am so excited to be reviewing a Lelo product! Lelo makes beautiful, ergonomic luxury sex toys, and they seem to come out with new toys every time I blink. The lovely ladies at Good Vibrations sent me the Lelo Ida, a remote-control partner vibe. Here’s the scoop: the protruding end is inserted into the vagina. It rotates and vibrates while the circular base vibrates against the clitoris, providing even more stimulation. Continue Reading →

Obstacles To Teaching About Racism And Sexism

Discussing structural racism in the classroom recently made news when a professor who lectured on this topic was reprimanded for making white students feel uncomfortable. The Slate article reporting on this makes a number of excellent points, which I’ll summarize here and apply to other educational situations. Article author Tressie McMillan Cottom points out that “When colleges and universities become a market, there is no incentive to teach what customers would rather not know. When colleges are in the business of making customers comfortable, we are all poorer for it.” We know that gendered and racist micro-inequalities and micro-aggressions persist in academia, which is ironic because the ivory tower is supposed to be a place of free thinkers and intellectual inquiry. Continue Reading →

Compulsory Monogamy Going Mainstream?

Perhaps I should clarify: compulsory monogamy is already mainstream. It’s already the norm, and a largely unexamined one at that. What I mean to discuss here is how the idea of compulsory monogamy is now under discussion in the mainstream, thanks to its application to The Hunger Games movie franchise. This essay, Compulsory Monogamy in The Hunger Games, by Mimi Schippers, PhD, has been picked up by The Huffington Post and Jezebel. Meaning, it’s now reaching a lot of readers. Continue Reading →

Let’s Go Into The Snowman’s Vagina

Clicking on Jezebel showed me yet another reason why Chicago is a wonderful city (that I don’t get to spend nearly enough time in) – a giant bouncy snowman that doubles as a bounce house. The best part is that to enter the snowman bounce house, you hop in through the snowman’s vagina. The snowman was originally posted on Chicago’s Navy Pier Winter Wonderfest website. Kate Dries notes on Jezebel that “this Snowman is clearly biologically a Snowoman.” Do you think kids pick up on the fact that canal to enter is a vaginal canal? I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to head to Chicago pronto. Continue Reading →

The Oklahoma Example Of Sex Education

Oklahoma has the fifth highest rate of teenage births in the country, and yet sex education is not a state-wide requirement. This is leading to outcry among educators in Oklahoma City, the state’s largest school district. The pattern is a familiar one to sex educators and public health officials: lack of information leads to teenage experimentation, with consequences like high rates of STI transmission, teenage pregnancies, and other health risks (the CDC has released a study to this effect). How long will it take before legislators catch up with educators? Continue Reading →

The Must-Read Article On Herpes

Yes, yes, I know you’re probably thinking: “I don’t have herpes, why should I read an article on it?” Actually, you might. By some estimates, anywhere from 60% of adult Americans to 90% of adult Americans have herpes simplex 1 (HSV-1), which most commonly manifests as cold sores. There is not much stigma in having a cold sore, whereas the genital sores associated with herpes simplex 2 (HSV-2) can cause not only physical pain but also emotional stress around disclosure. According to the CDC, around 16% of Americans have HSV-2, but around 80% of them are unaware that they have it. Continue Reading →