Arts & Culture
The Other Side of Desire, by Daniel Bergner
The best part of Daniel Bergner's new book, The Other Side of Desire, is that it very thoughtfully takes an open-minded and open-hearted look at the lives of four people whose sexual desires fall outside of mainstream norms. Through in-depth interviews and time spent hanging out with those he profiles, Bergner gives us a sense of really getting to know these four individuals, and helps us see them in terms of more than just their sexualities. This potentially goes a long way toward destigmatizing unconventional sexual expression.
The Other Side of Desire is broken into four sections, each focused on an individual whose story, Bergner hopes, will help answer questions like "What do we do with the desires we cannot bear, the desires we or the society around us strain to restrict or strangle...?" (Introduction, x). We first meet Jacob Miller, a severely learning-disabled yet successful salesman with a foot fetish that causes him such shame he is sexually alienated from his wife and driven to seek anti-androgen therapy to diminish his desire. Regardless the source of Jacob's foot fetish, his story is one about the destructive power of shame.
The next story, that of the Baroness, a designer of latex clothing and a consummate sexual sadist, demonstrates the satisfaction a person with very kinky desires can have when they are free of shame. The Baroness is all self-confidence and self-acceptance. She has found community with others who share her orientation to sexuality and in doing so has maintained a happy marriage to a man whose sexuality is much more "vanilla." As she walks around her New York City neighborhood she creates an air of acceptance for other "misfits." Bergner writes "The effect might have been due to her flaunting her difference, to their recognizing a champion misfit. But she claimed another power. She said it was because she was willing to look at them" (61-62). The social good that comes from truly looking at each other, and at ourselves, and accepting what we see, "deviant" or not, is the lesson of the Baroness.
It is Sex Work Awareness Month and on the day that Bettie Page has died I want to take a moment to express my gratitude for the life of a woman whose work is iconic not only for its imagery but also for its lasting impact on generations of women and men who look at porn differently because of who she was. Her life was not an easy one after her modeling career and much of that difficulty is not-so-indirectly linked to the stigma attached to the kind of work she did.
The New York Times had her obituary-of-record today, and ended with a moving wish on Page's part:
And support Sex Work Awareness with your purchase!
It's official: The 2009 Sex Blogger Calendar has officially launched! And if success can be measured by crowd size, we had a spectacularly successful launch party on Friday. And I understand that in just a few hours we raised nearly $2000 for Sex Work Awareness.
My only regret about the party? So many wonderful people and not nearly enough time -- or space! -- to talk to so many of them. I especially regret that, while I was called to join in a group photo with Candida Royale - a woman whose work I have admired for years - that I never had a chance to say more than a brief hello. In addition to being a pioneer in woman-produced porn, Candida and her companies, Femme Productions and Natural Contours, helped sponsor the calendar. And I don't think I even said "thank you" in person! How did I let that happen?!? Click here to read more about the party, the sponsors and the calendar.
SUBMIT TO CINEKINK!
Call for Entries Extended - CineKink NYC/2009
CineKink has announced a deadline extension for entries to its upcoming film festival, CineKink NYC.
"Like many folks, we've been so caught up with the election the past several weeks that we lost sight of our upcoming final call for entries. So, to accommodate everyone that might be in the same frame of mind, we thought we'd offer a little extra time," said Lisa Vandever, co-founder and director of CineKink.
While an original "final" deadline of November 15th remains, the extended "final-final" deadline for the festival is November 29th.
(Cross-posted from the Sex Blogger Calendar Blog)
Want to have your world rocked like Zoli’s in this OhMiBod ad for their Naughtibod? Well, we can make that happen for five of you.
Each day from now till 10PM Saturday we’ll randomly choose one winner from our calendar orders. So this is a really good week to pre-order your calendars. I have seen the proof and the calendar is not only beautiful but a testament to what a commUNITY effort can accomplish. Without all of you who helped us by linking to our blog, putting up our buttons, donating products, buying days and sending much needed funds, it would not have been possible.
Now I’d like to thank Suki & Brian of OhMiBod for giving all of you the opportunity to feel the music.
NYC Sex Bloggers Calendar - $20.00 (plus Canada Shipping)
NYC Sex Bloggers Calendar - $20.00 (plus Overseas Shipping)
The sponsors of the 2009 Sex Blogger Calendar have donated prizes and we're rewarding early orders with a chance to win. If you order your calendar this week you will be entered to win the Natural Contours Petite Pink Ribbon vibe, donated by Candida Royale and Natural Contours.
Candida Royale started Femme Productions, making porn from a woman's perspective, in 1984. In 1999 she created Natural Contours. She is an author, educator and amazing advocate for women's pleasure and for sexual freedom and autonomy for all of us. I'm personally thrilled that she is a sponsor of our calendar.
If you are in need of a small pink ergonomically designed vibe and you don't win this one this week, you might like to know that Natural Contours ® is donating 10% of the sales proceeds from the PETITE PINK RIBBON™ to Breast Cancer Action (BCAction.org). Not that our readers generally need any philanthropic rationalization to by sex toys.
Order a calendar and you are automatically entered. Use the handy buttons on the sidebar!
Another example of chutzpah that rivals even the archetypal parricide is that of the Chassidic Jews in Brooklyn who've recently gotten into a snit because "scantily clad" women ride their bicycles on the bike routes along the bike paths on the streets running through the South Williamsburg area:
A dozen of your favorite New York City sex bloggers and sex educators are joining together to support Sex Work Awareness, a non-profit whose mission statement says it all:
We believe that all sex workers have a right to self-determination; to choose how we make a living and what we do with our bodies.
We aim to empower our diverse community by building the capacity of sex worker-serving and sex worker member-based institutions as well as the skills and resources of sex workers themselves.
We also conduct research about sex workers and the sex industry in order to better understand it, develop public education initiatives, and advocate for the rights of sex workers.
The theme is burlesque. The poses will be sexy. And who will be posing? Take a look, below the fold!
I saw the delftware dildo on Audacia Ray's Naked City and then followed the links to the reviews by Tess at Urban Gypsy and by Always Aroused Girl, but I really wanted to know about who made the thing. So I followed links to the Oooms home page and the collection above is what I saw.
Can I just say I think it's really cool that a company selling tables and chairs and salt and pepper shakers isn't afraid to put anal beads and dildos amongst its other merchandise? In fact they almost get lost in the picture, which is a shame really given how beautiful they are. But if you look closely you'll find them. There they are in the center near the bottom. How appropriate :) (Click on their image to see a larger photo.)
(Co-authored with Elizabeth Wood.)
Emily of Sexual Ambiguities has rightly called for the recognition and addressing of the real issues of transgendered people that so often get ignored or dismissed even within the broader framework of the equality movements of feminism and gay rights.
We have not blogged about any of the recent heartbreaking and horrifying stories in recent months, not because we don't think they are important - we think they are incredibly important - but because we have been at a loss for words, unable to think of anything new to say. After reading her call, we believe that we don't need to have anything new to say. It is enough to add another voice to those calling for attention to stories like these:
Angie Zapata, 18, of Greeley Colorado, was killed on July 16, 2008. She was killed because she was transgendered. The New York Times reported yesterday morning that Allen Ray Andrade, the 31-year old charged with killing her, is being charged with murder as a hate crime.
Andrade reportedly confessed to police that he bludgeoned Zapata to death the day after they had met. When they met, he said, Zapata performed a sex act on him. The next day some pictures in Zapata's apartment made him wonder about her gender. Reportedly he asked her. She answered "I'm all woman," he grabbed her crotch, found a penis there, and started beating her up with a fire extinguisher.
He told police that at one point during the assault he thought he had "killed it." Then he realized he hadn't. And then he did.