Chris's picture

Taking the Joy Out of "The Joy of Sex"

I completely missed the news last September that Alex Comfort's groundbreaking sex manual The Joy of Sex has been released in an updated version, as revised by British psychologist Susan Quilliam, who describes herself as an "agony aunt" on her personal webpage. In the Toronto Globe and Mail's interview with Quilliam, their reporter calls the new edition "refreshingly conservative," which sends up all sorts of red flags from the start. Unfortunately, reading what the author herself has to say doesn't set my mind at ease:

Chris's picture

Studs Terkel, 1912 - 2008

On the eve of one of the most important elections in American history, historian and journalist Studs Terkel died last week. His work wasn't specifically geared toward sexuality, but his death is a loss for anyone who's ever felt like their story wasn't being told in the media. Terkel was best known for his oral histories like Working, The Good War, and Hard Times, which recorded the voices of ordinary Americans talking about the effects that major historical events had on their everyday lives. What I liked about him even more than his approach to history, though, was that he was irascible and unapologetic in his commitment to progressive politics.

Elizabeth's picture

Tell the candidates and the media to talk about sex like (reasoning, honest, courageous) adults!

From RH Reality Check, Care2 and The Petition Site:

In the final presidential debate, Senators Obama and McCain debated abortion, sex education and Roe v. Wade. When this important issue comes forward, let's demand that the campaigns and the mainstream media engage the full range of sexual and reproductive health issues and not treat women's reproductive health like a political football. Demand an honest discussion on:

- comprehensive sex ed v. abstinence-only programs,
- contraception and efforts by the far-right to take it away,
- life and health exemptions for mothers with crisis pregnancies,
- U.S. ranking 41st among nations in maternal health,
- high costs of contraception and reproductive health care, especially for unemployed and uninsured, and
- HIV/AIDS and its impact in the US and around the world.

The campaigns and the media should honestly discuss the complexities of sexual and reproductive health and not reduce the topic to abortion soundbites from extremists fanning the flames of the Culture War.

Let's talk about sex like adults, use medical facts and discuss the best public health strategies to give all Americans the tools to lead sexually healthy lives.

We cannot expect sound sex-related policy if we can't have courageous, reasoned, honest conversations about everything connected to sex. If you agree, please click here to sign a petition directed at the presidential candidates and the mainstream media, calling for an educated, evidence-based, and adult conversation about all aspects of sexual health and sexual rights.

Technorati Tags: law, politics, media, sex

Chris's picture

The Shrinking Public Square

If you want to get a good idea of what we're on about with the title of this website and why the concept of "the public square" is so important to us, go on over to Audacia Ray's site, Waking Vixen. You should be doing that anyway, but if you haven't been checking her out recently, she's had some experiences lately that illustrate neatly the realities and risks of talking publicly about sex.

  • First of all, Dacia tried last month to open an account at Citibank for her business, Waking Vixen Productions. After filling out the preliminary paperwork, she received a voicemail delicately informing her that her line of business made them unable to take her account.
  • Then, early this month, she got a similar notice from iTunes, notifying her that her podcast, Live Girl Review, could no longer be included in their directory. ITunes was less direct than Citibank, saying only that podcasts could be excluded "for a variety of reasons." On checking out their podcast spec sheet, she found "strong prevalence of sexual content"  included among the possible reasons that Apple can kick you to the curb.
  • And just last week, Google yanked her Google Checkout account, barely twenty-four hours after she'd put her new short film The Love Machine up for sale. According to the e-mail Google sent Dacia, "the products or services [she's] selling on [her] website are considered ‘Restricted’ per our policy- Adult goods and services."

Chris's picture

Media Necrophilia on the Body of a 'One-Legged Hooker'

I'm going to give a mixed response to Reneé at Womanist Musings today. On the one hand, props on her masterful, passionate analysis of the media coverage of the murder of Elizabeth Acevedo, a 38-year-old disabled woman who worked as a prostitute. Avecedo was fatally struck on the head in the hallway of her apartment building, possibly by a client. And like I say, I have to give props to Reneé for her post, but part of me is pissed at her for ruining my otherwise excellent mood. Acevedo's death is tragic enough in itself, but the coverage of her death is just damn ugly. In particular, the gossip site Bossip describes her death as "comedy gold." Acevedo lost a leg in a train accident several years ago; therein lies the humor of her too-early death, and it seems that newswriters can't use the phrase "one-legged hooker" quite enough, as though 38 years can be summed up in those three words.

Gracie's picture

The Myth Of The Happy Hooker (Or, All Sex Worker Activists Are Angry)

There's always been a lot of talk about sex worker happiness, or a lack thereof, and lately the attacks have turned to the sex worker community and its own media bias with accusations that we are so busy romanticizing or defending our happiness that we do not cover "enough" of the "unhappy sex worker" stories. To get to the root of this one must examine two things: the basics of sex work and the nature of activism.


Chris's picture

Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Sex Work....

It's no wonder it's so hard to get a rational discussion going about sex workers. Even for genuinely interested, well-meaning people, it's hard to get any solid information. Before you can even start talking about solutions to the problems that sex workers face, you have to first have to correct the ideas of what sex workers are. Any conversation in the mainstream media about sex workers starts out with icons forged from sensationalism and half-truths, as we've seen from the coverage of the Spitzer scandal lately. The images of trafficked junkies who need to be rescued or decadent young women who have had their souls twisted by their lives of deception sell papers and television time better than a nuanced picture full of shades of gray does.

I wrote earlier about Sex Work Awareness, the new activist group founded by members of $pread, SWANK, and PONY to address this very sort of issue in the public consciousness. They've just launched a new blog called Sex Work 101 devoted to answering the questions that most people have when they're just starting to look past the surface. Audacia Ray writes that the idea of Sex Work 101 occurred to her at this year's Women Action and Media conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts:

Chris's picture

The New York Times Sets It Straight

Sarah Jenny Bleviss brought this Editors' Note in the New York Times to our attention, in which the paper admits to serious reporting errors in its coverage of sex workers. An entire two-thirds of the original article has been deleted from the article, which supposedly profiled three "high class call girls" in New York. It turns out, though, that two of the women were sex workers but not prostitutes:

Chris's picture

SITPS Beaver Shot of the Day

There's typically few things more crass and disturbing than tampon ads in the United States. Honest to god, the coy manner of most menstruation product advertising is only one step away from openly calling it "the curse." This ad for U Tampons from Australia is a refreshingly playful approach to the vagina and its myriad functions. It makes me appreciate the old Aussie saying even more: "Thank god we got the convicts and the Americans got the puritans."

Chris's picture

Goodbye to Tucker

So, it seems that it's official. My favorite fag-bashing fratboy media figure is no more. He's not actually going to die of a fatal disease. It's even worse; Tucker Carlson has had his television series taken away.

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