Recent posts

5 Ways to Celebrate World AIDS Day


In honor of celebration week, I wanted to write about an important event that just happened this past weekend: World AIDS Day. In case you missed it, or want to keep up the spirit of World AIDS day for all of December, here are 5 things YOU can do to celebrate World AIDS day. Donate (your time and/or money) – Go here to find an AIDS Service Organization (ASO) near you. Give them a call and ask to speak to their volunteer coordinator. You could hand out condoms, make condom packets, work the table at events, or even answers the hotline phones with a little training. Continue Reading →

Biology: Sometimes Hard To Ignore

Of the many interconnections of sex and nature, an obvious one is biology: the fact that we are living beings that interact with the natural world, ranging from the environment to other organisms. Some of those other organisms include viruses such as HIV. And sometimes people aren’t clear on how they work, as when Republican Tennessee state Sen. Stacey Campfield claimed: ”My understanding is that it is virtually — not completely, but virtually — impossible to contract AIDS through heterosexual sex.” It turns out that the organisms inside our bodies don’t care what kind of sex we’re having: if infected fluids (such as semen, vaginal fluids, breast milk, or blood) are shared, then there is a risk of HIV transmission. Period. I’m starting to wonder how many people are conflating biology/nature with social norms and could use a refresher course! Continue Reading →

HIV Awareness Through Dessert

Public health campaigns take all kinds of forms, whether it be billboards, public service announcements, or kitschy jingles. But Alvin Leung, head chef at Bo Innovation restaurant in Hong Kong, China has taken a whole new approach. According to this article from, Chef Leung has created a dessert called “Sex on the Beach,” which features an edible pink condom over edible sand. The condom, made of a “kappa and konjac” mixture and shaped around a cigar, also features a “white gooey substance” inside, made of mixture of honey and ham. Sounds appetizing! Continue Reading →

Want To Donate Blood? Make Sure You Don’t Look Gay.

Blood banks in the US will not accept blood from men who’ve had sex with men in order to try to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS (despite the fact that the blood is tested before it officially can be used). Not only does this practice prevent potential donors from giving blood, it also allows for arbitrary and idiotic discrimination, as in this case of an Indiana man who was rejected because he “seemed” to be gay. This discriminatory policy costs hospitals healthy blood, and individuals their dignity: regardless of one’s sexuality, to have one’s appearance used against you is wrong. Follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor. Follow Jeana, the author of this post, @foxyfolklorist. Continue Reading →

Review of Jonathan’s Engel’s “The Epidemic”

As promised, here is my review of The Epidemic:

The Epidemic: A Global History of AIDS promises two things in its title: to explore HIV/AIDS both from a global and from an historical perspective.  This promise of comprehensive coverage is met with aplomb as Engel takes us on a dizzying tour of the trajectory of HIV/AIDS.  Starting with its alleged origins in Africa, he traces the vectors of the disease into the gay population in the U.S., on to IV drug users, then back across the ocean to talk about how it currently affects the developing areas of Africa and Asia.  Along the way, he discusses the politics, civil rights issues, and how the disease actually works.  Engel approaches issues from all angles, making sure all dissenting opinions and seemingly crackpot theories are mentioned.  He debunks myths, gives proper credit for important advances, and attempts to keep a neutral tone while discussing these hot-button issues. Continue Reading →

Condom Sign in India

While in Shillong, Meghalaya (a state in the north-east of India), I saw this sign in the middle of a bustling marketplace:

I saw a handful of signs like this around the city, but I don’t know where local folks can get condoms, so is the message really doing any good? Follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor. Follow Jeana, the author of this post, @foxyfolklorist. Continue Reading →

Sex Education in India

Greetings, MSP readers! I just returned from 3 weeks in India, and I can’t wait to go back! While I was mostly occupied with sightseeing and attending talks at a conference in my home discipline, folklore, I was also attuned to what was going on with sex education and sexuality in India. Here are some interesting facts that I learned while there. Sex education is not universally offered in Indian schools. Continue Reading →

Urban Legends About Travel And Sex

Dearest MSP readers, posts from me will be scarce for a while as I’ll be traveling through India for roughly three weeks. I’m incredibly excited because I’ve been interested in Indian cultures for a while (for example, I’ve researched women’s dress in India), and this will be my first time visiting. I’ll be presenting a paper at the International Society for Folk Narrative Research in Shillong, and also visiting friends of my aunt. Continue Reading →

“Too Gay To Give”: Are Blood Donation Restrictions Outdated?

As of late, there have been numerous blood drives taking place on IU’s campus – attempting to peak students’ interest in donating blood. The Red Cross buses have been parked outside of popular buildings on campus – with signs littered about campus and chalk on the sidewalks leading towards their location – in hopes of attracting new donors. Yet this emergence of visibility has not just peaked the students’ interest in donating blood, it has helped raise awareness surrounding the discriminatory restrictions that the FDA has placed on gay mens’ ability to donate. Continue Reading →