Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Sex: Over 50, over the hill?


I'm not as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was.

Is over 50 over the hill? Or 60 or 70 for that matter? For the younger crowd, I can just imagine them going, "Eew!" After all, who thinks of grandpa and grandma "doing it"?

However we are all living longer. Life expectancy is going up and with that comes the idea that those golden years are becoming more numerous and quality of life is certainly an issue. Of course, as part of that quality, let's not forget one of those most fundamental parts of our lives: sex. If it was good at twenty, why can't it be good at 60?


Wikipedia: Masters and Johnson: Sexual response in the aging person
Masters and Johnson were the first to conduct research on the sexual responsiveness of older adults, finding that given a state of reasonably good health and the availability of an interested and interesting partner, there was no absolute age at which sexual abilities disappeared. While they noted that there were specific changes to the patterns of male and female sexual responses with aging – for example, it takes older men longer to become aroused and they typically require more direct genital stimulation, and the speed and amount of vaginal lubrication tends to diminish with age as well – they noted that many older men and women are perfectly capable of excitement and orgasm well into their seventies and beyond, a finding that has been confirmed in population based epidemiological research on sexual function in the elderly.

The Washington Post: Desire in the Twilight of Life - - Nov 13/2010
Despite the stereotypes and bad jokes, intimacy is alive and well in our aging population. And it's time to get comfortable with it.
By Mark Lachs, Director of geriatrics for the New York-Presbyterian Healthcare System and a professor of clinical medicine at the Weill Cornell Medical College.
A growing body of research on aging suggests that many older Americans have satisfying sexual relationships well into their later years. The largest systematic study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2007, involved just over 3,000 subjects. It found that, although sexual activity does decline with age, about half of individuals between the ages of 65 and 74 remain active, as do 26% of those between 75 and 85. Among those in this second group, 54% said that they had sex at least two or three times a month, and 23% reported relations with a partner at least once a week.
...
There are many erroneous stereotypes about getting older. As we age, we tend to get treated like a number rather than like individuals with a wide range of preferences and abilities. Among the worst of these tendencies is the assumption that after the age of, say, 60, we should simply forget about physical intimacy.

With luck (and with the help of our ever more sophisticated medical technologies), those of us now in the middle years of life will be the "dirty" old men and ladies of tomorrow. In the meantime, we must struggle to overcome the habits and taboos that now interfere with the happiness of so many older people. There is nothing "dirty" about the sexual feelings that attend our lives from adolescence on. The great irony of ageism—and what sets it apart from other forms of prejudice—is that you eventually become the target of your own bigotry. We must begin to approach aging with the honesty and wonder that it deserves.

According to the above, we can physically "do it", maybe not as frequently as when we were twenty but we are definitely still capable.

Okay, we may be "able" but are we "willing"? Does getting older affect our desire or should I say our will to participate? Do the physical limitations or the slow downs of the aging body affect in turn our willingness?

AARP: How Sex Changes for Men After 50
It's not the same as it used to be — and that can be a good thing.
by: Michael Castleman - October 12, 2010
AARP: Association for the Advancement of Retired Persons:
1. Some things change. Take, for example, erections. After 40 and certainly by 50, they rise more slowly, and become less firm and frequent. Sexual fantasies are no longer enough. Men need fondling, often for quite a while. It's disconcerting to lose firmness and suffer wilting from minor distractions, such as a phone ringing, but these changes are perfectly normal. Unfortunately, many men mistake them for erectile dysfunction (ED) and become distraught — only exacerbating the problem. Anxiety constricts the arteries that carry blood into the penis, making erections even less likely.

3. The main attraction may change. When you think of sex, you of course think of intercourse. But after the reproductive years, this main attraction on the sexual menu may become problematic. For older men, iffy erections and ED become increasingly prevalent. Meanwhile, older women, develop vaginal dryness and atrophy (thinning and inflammation of the vaginal lining), which can make intercourse uncomfortable or impossible, even with lubricant.

Some older couples abandon intercourse in favor of what Dr. Haslam calls "outercourse:" whole-body massage, oral sex and playing with sex toys. "With creative outercourse, you can enjoy very erotic, orgasmic sex without intercourse."

Sex After 50: 10 Answers for Better Sex from Dr. Laura Berman
by: Dr. Laura Berman | from: AARP | August 2008
5. Among people who have healthy sexual relationships as they get older, what's working for them that isn't working for others with problems?
One, they probably have open communication with their partner in which they can talk about what's working and what’s not working. Sharing feedback is important. They also probably work hard to keep their sex life exciting, by taking romantic trips, wearing sexy lingerie, trying out erotica. Just stating they're committed to a healthy sex life is the first and most important step! Diet and exercise also play an important part, as a healthy body fosters a healthy sex life, and an unhealthy body fosters an unhealthy one.

Final Word
Physically, sex is possible but it will more than likely be different. That takes care of the "able". As for the "willing", the experts come back to one principal theme: communication. Being able to talk with one's partner seems to be the key to success.

[chuckles] It seems so easy and yet... it seems so hard. Can I be completely open? Can I tell my partner a fantasy? Can I tell my partner to caress me here or there and in a certain way? Can I tell my partner that if she wore lingerie I would find it exciting?

I'm just as guilty as everybody else when it comes to being open and honest. What reaction am I going to get if I reveal a personal part of me? Will it be, "tell me more" or "let's discuss" or will it be a freak out with "Eew, that's disgusting"? Yes, I'm hesitant. Yes, I'm uncomfortable. Yes, I'm apprehensive, no, sometimes I'm actually scared. I have a lifetime of experiences both direct (my own experiences) and indirect (those around me, in the newspapers, on television) which have reinforced the idea that silence is golden; do not talk about certain things under penalty of ridicule, being ostracised or even criminal prosecution. Do we need a frank discussion? You bet! However, I'm apprehensive; you're apprehensive; we're all apprehensive if not scared and that is a big hurdle to get over.

Sex over 50: Whew, I'm not over the hill. Nevertheless, there are a few challenges to making this work. All I have to do is overcome of lifetime of not necessarily being the best communicator.


References

Michael Castleman: GreatSexAfter40.Com
With a few adjustments, sex after 40, 50 or 60 can be the best sex of your life
http://greatsexafter40.com

Dr. Laura Berman
http://www.drlauraberman.com/public/index.aspx
Quite a comprehensive web site: a weekly program, books, advice, etc.

2010-11-30

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My "Dream" Cherry Cheesecake

When I grew up, Mom made this from time to time as a family treat. Considering my childhood dates back to the 50's, it would seem this recipe has been floating around for years.

During my travels, I have eaten a lot of different cheesecakes but this recipe is unique in how it is so different from traditional cheesecake. Oddly enough, I had eaten Mom's recipe exclusively as a kid so in my teens when somebody finally served me a regular cheesecake, I first said, "What the heck is this?" I thought all cheesecake was like Mom's!

To this day, I must admit that whenever I bite into a cheesecake, in the back of my mind is the memory of what Mom made so my taste buds express a little disappointment. I have to mentally prepare my sense of taste for accommodating the flavour of the traditional cheesecake. Ha!

So, to the diehard purists, this is not a traditional cheesecake. In fact, somebody may argue that the only thing cheesy about this is how this recipe is very much a poor man's... or poor woman's cheesecake. Nevertheless, it's easy; it's fast and judging by the reactions from people, it's good. There is no cooking so this one can even be left to the last minute.

Ingredients
  • 1 ½ cups of graham cracker crumbs
    Or 2 cups if you like a thicker crust.
  • 1/3 cup of margarine
  • 2 envelopes of Dream Whip
    Yes, the "dream" in my "dream" cherry cheesecake turns out to be Dream Whip. Ha!
  • 1 cup of milk; ½ cup for each envelope
  • one 8 oz. package of cream cheese
  • 1 can of cherry pie filling

Puttin' it all together
For the base, mix the graham cracker crumbs and the margarine together. The original recipe from Mom added brown sugar to the mix but personally, I found things to be sweet enough so I always leave this out. Spread out the mixture into a rectangular pie dish making sure it is evenly tamped down. You want the mixture just on the bottom of the dish, not on the sides.

You want the crust to be somewhat hard; after all, you are going to cut this and want to be able to serve it with a cake knife. If you are doing this at the very last second, you can stick the entire dish in the freezer for 10 minutes in an effort to solidify the mixture.

Mix up the 2 envelopes of Dream Whip according to the instructions; this entails one cup of milk; that is ½ cup of milk per envelope. You'll need a mixing bowl and a beater but if you have an electric beater, so much the better. A half teaspoon of vanilla for each envelope is mentioned but I always leave this out. Okay, I'm a lazy cook but I can say that nobody has complained!

By the way, the original recipe included icing sugar. Believe me, you don't need it. This thing is already sweet enough to throw your recommended daily intake of sugar off for a week.

Once you have the Dream Whip whipped up which means it is now thick, you want to blend in the cream cheese. If you're doing this with a hand beater, you're going to want to do this a piece at a time until you've put in the entire package. If you have an electric beater, heck, throw in the whole package at once! Let's let the machine do all the work!

Spread your Dream Whip mixture evenly over the crust.

Now, the original recipe talks about refrigerating this to help it solidify. If you've got the time, go for it. But if this is a last minute panic, you can once again make use of the freezer. If you are really, really pressed, go on to the next step.

Spread the can of cherry pie filling over the Dream Whip mixture. If you're doing this in one go, be careful. The Dream Whip will not have the hardest of consistencies so you want to make sure that in spreading out the cherry mixture you do not end up inadvertently blending the two mixtures. With the Dream Whip soft, there is a tendency of having the cherry filling mix with the Dream Whip instead of spreading out over top of it. This is supposed to be three layers: crust, whipped middle and cherries. Try to keep it that way.

True Story: The crust
Years ago I whipped this dessert together for the family when we had some guests. I did include the brown sugar and I think in "winging it", I inadvertently used too much brown sugar and butter. When I got around to serving it, I literally could not cut the graham cracker crust. I ended up having to get a butcher's knife and had to saw my way through the crust in order to serve up the pieces. I think it was even dangerous to bite down on the crust; you had to suck it for a bit before chewing it.

I was slightly embarrassed in front of our guests but everybody in the family found this quite funny especially since I am well known for not being much of a cook. Afterwards, we were laughing about my blunder but the kids claimed it was the best crust ever! They apparently enjoyed sucking on the pieces of hardened graham cracker crust.

Final Word
I admit to not being a cook. Consequently, if I can do this, anybody can do this. The plus side of the recipe is, once again, that you can whip this one up at the last minute and have something of a reasonable quality. I know those aficionados of traditional cheesecake are probably going to be horrified but as I said, this is what I grew up on so for me this is really what "cheesecake" is.

Bon appétit. :-)

Note: My apologies to dltk-kids.com. They had the perfect image of this type of cheesecake so I... ah, borrowed it.

2010-11-30

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Monday, 29 November 2010

Because I Am a Girl

I ride the subway in Toronto and have been seeing for a while now a publicity campaign for something called Because I Am a Girl. Several times, I've looked up and down the car and seen sign after sign on the overhead publicity showing this phrase. Just what's this all about?

Wikipedia: Because I Am a Girl (campaign)
Because I Am a Girl is a campaign by the aid organization Plan. The campaign is made to address the issue of gender discrimination around the world. The goal of the campaign is to promote rights of girls and bring millions of girls out of poverty around the world.

Wikipedia: Plan (aid organisation)
Plan is a child-centred development NGO, and works in 48 countries to provide programs to over 1.5 million children and their families. Within 2007/8, it raised in excess of €474m. The charity was originally founded by journalist John Langdon-Davies and refugee worker Eric Muggeridge. The organisation has no political or religious affiliations. It is active primarily in developing countries in Central and South America, Africa, and South and Southeast Asia, with a staff of over 6,000 worldwide, and a further volunteer force in excess of 50,000. Plan operates long-term to address health, education, shelter, and livelihood issues in the communities in which it operates.

Petition: Because I Am a Girl Canada
The Canadian wing of the organisation has set up an ePetition to lobby the government to declare September 22 as the National Day of the Girl. They say that getting Canada to do this would be one more step to lobbying the United Nations to declare the 22nd the International Day of the Girl.

A popular site. As of this writing, I see that "33,339 People Like This".

Annual Reports
Plan publishes various reports on its activities and each year puts out a report on this program.
Paying the price: The economic cost of failing to educate girls
This is a startling report about the opportunity being lost by not educating girls.

This report presents an analysis of the economic cost of failing to educate girls. Based on World Bank research and economic data and UNESCO education statistics, it estimates the economic cost to 65 low and middle income and transitional countries of failing to educate girls to the same standard as boys as a staggering US$92 billion each year. This is just less than the US$103 billion annual overseas development aid budget of the developed world.

Why? I don't have to look very far. Within my own family, I can easily compare the results of adults with an education and adults without an education. Empirical evidence clearly shows that going to school results in tangible benefits. If I or anyone applies that idea elsewhere in the world, it seems quite obvious that a huge portion of any population is being overlooked.

The State of the World's Girls 2007
In reading over this paper, I think it is easy to comprehend how we in the Western world tend to forget where our own society was just a hundred years ago. History has long been the story of a patriarchal society where women were second class citizens and what we witness elsewhere in other parts of the planet are very much representative of that history. We may have improved our collective lot in Canada - we still have a long way to go! - however elsewhere in the world, the inequality between the genders is absolutely startling. Boys are prized; girls are not.

In chapter 1 Survival, 100 million girls are missing, I read

Discrimination against girls begins at birth, or even before they are born, through attitudes and patterns in behaviour passed down through generations. The disadvantage of being born a girl today includes the facts that girls are more likely to be killed in the womb, girls are more likely to be malnourished, and young mothers are more at risk of developing serious complications both for the mother and her unborn child. These will all have an impact at every stage of a girl or young woman’s life.

In many countries, the birth of a boy is something to be celebrated, the birth of a girl a cause for commiseration. One report notes that: “While a number of national and international legal norms protect the rights of the girl child in theory; in practice cultural and social beliefs about gender and the value of girls and boys have been much more difficult to overcome..."

As we go about our day to day business, do we truly understand what's going on in the world? And let's not forget that while we're thinking of this going on elsewhere in the world, may I remind the reader that just one hundred years ago, women didn't even have the right to vote in Canada.

November 25 - December 10
November 25 is designated as the annual date for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and is marked by the wearing of a white ribbon. It marks the beginning of the 16 days of Activism against Gender Violence. The end of the 16 Days is December 10, International Human Rights Day.

Will the petition take hold? Will we end up celebrating September 22 as the National or someday International Day of the Girl?

Buy a T-shirt
Canada is coming to the end of the year holiday season. Consider participating in the Because I Am a Girl campaign by buying a T-shirt. Read about the movement.


References

official Canadian web site: Because I Am A Girl

Facebook: Because I Am a Girl Canada

official web site: Because I Am a Girl

blog: Because I Am a Girl

White Ribbon Campaign: working to end violence against women

2010-11-29

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Sex: Men fake it too




Men fake it? What!?! The traditional story has always been that women fake it periodically but now, scientific evidence that the hairy Neanderthal beating his chest with cries of victory has also been fibbing a bit?






In the latest issue of the Journal of Sex Research, volume 47, issue 6, we find a reprint of a paper by Charlene L. Muehlenhard and Sheena K. Shippee first presented in November 2006 entitled Men's and Women's Reports of Pretending Orgasm. This study looked at 180 male college and 101 female college students and discovered the following numbers:
  • almost 100% of the participants had experienced some form of sex
  • 85% of men had experienced intercourse
  • 68% of women had experienced intercourse
  • 25% of men pretended to have had an orgasm
  • 50% of women pretended to have had an orgasm
  • of those who had intercourse, 28% of men pretended to have had an orgasm
  • of those who had intercourse, 67% of women pretended to have had an orgasm
  • Most pretended during intercourse, but some pretended during oral sex, manual stimulation and phone sex.
Why did the participants fake it? They explained their reasons as:
  • having an orgasm was not likely
  • they wanted sex to end
  • they did not want to hurt their partner's feelings
  • they wanted to please their partner
The researchers in looking at the results concluded that there was in many cases, a sort of "sexual script" the participants were following and this script stated that women should orgasm before men and men are responsible for women's orgasms.

In reporting on the above study in LiveScience, the journalist Stephanie Pappas analyses why people would fake it.

For men, the most common reasons for faking it were that orgasm was unlikely or taking too long and that they wanted sex to end. Four-fifths of women reported they faked it to avoid negative consequences, like hurting their partner's feelings. Half of men reported the same motivation.

The participants who faked shared a common sexual "script," the authors wrote, in which both genders feel pressure to orgasm during intercourse, with the woman orgasming first. In some cases, people are so wedded to this script they pass up the chance to orgasm for real in order to fake orgasm at the "right" time. The study found that 20 percent of the women pretended to orgasm because their partner seemed about to.

"Some of the women wrote that they actually could have orgasmed, but they chose a pretend orgasm in the right sequence — before or during the man's orgasm — rather than an actual orgasm in the wrong sequence," the authors wrote.

These sexual scripts put undue pressure on both genders, said Carol Ellison, the author of "Women's Sexualities: Generations of Women Share Intimate Secrets of Sexual Self-Acceptance" (New Harbinger, 2000).

"When sex is a performance, and when sex has performance goals — erection, intercourse, orgasms — it's problematic," Ellison, who was not involved in the research, told LiveScience. Ellison argues that sexual success should be redefined as anything that makes you feel good about yourself, good about your partner and as something that enhances your relationship.

"If you change the goal of sex to creating mutual pleasure and finding all the different ways to create pleasure... you'll learn a lot more about sexual responsiveness," she said. "Sex will be a whole different experience."

Hmmm, does this make sex a sort of performance art? So, how many times have our partners "faked it"? Then again, have we "faked it"? In a perfect world, we would always have a 100% success rate but I'm sure we all realise that nobody succeeds 100% of the time. Can we accept that? Can we accept the occasional "negative consequence"?

With age cums wisdom
Of course, let's mix into this the question of age. Amy Sohn of the New York Magazine wrote of this whole question of men faking it back in March 2010 however she delved into the interesting aspect of age in this question.

Men and women experience a role reversal as they age, says Charles. “Only a few young women really want to have sex for its own sake. When you get older, it flips around. By the time guys are losing interest in constant sex, the women are hornier and more into it. For the guy, it may not be as thrilling to have sex for sex’s sake, which is why sometimes, when you do, you realize it’s not what you wanted.”

Ned, 57, an entertainment executive, believes that sometimes faking is the only way to satisfy a woman. They appreciate attentive, generous men, he says, but still seem insulted if the guy doesn’t come himself. “Through their thirties and forties, women start singing a song about how they wish a guy would be more sensitive to what they need, and when a guy reaches the point where a lot of his satisfaction comes from what he can do for his partner instead of from his own orgasm, they get very disappointed. They still think it is their duty to get the guy to ejaculate. So you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.”

Ned considers faking a form of generosity; he knows the orgasm matters to the woman but is bright enough not to blame her for the problem. “Some guys don’t have the presence of mind to fake it. They might even blame the woman as a way to cover up their own shortcoming.” For men who find themselves starring in their own personal remake of Endless Love, he has some advice. “Pump away, give a sudden exclamation of ‘Ahh!,’ toss your back a bit, and spasm.” What if the woman raises suspicions about output? “You say, ‘It’s not always a lot.’ And if you really get down to it, you can say, ‘Where’s yours?’ ”

Over 50
What's that old saying? I'm not as good as I once was, but I hope I'm as good once as I ever was.

AARP: Association for the Advancement of Retired Persons:
How Sex Changes for Men After 50
It's not the same as it used to be — and that can be a good thing.
by Michael Castleman - October 12, 2010
Some things change. Take, for example, erections. After 40 and certainly by 50, they rise more slowly, and become less firm and frequent. Sexual fantasies are no longer enough. Men need fondling, often for quite a while. It's disconcerting to lose firmness and suffer wilting from minor distractions, such as a phone ringing, but these changes are perfectly normal. Unfortunately, many men mistake them for erectile dysfunction (ED) and become distraught — only exacerbating the problem. Anxiety constricts the arteries that carry blood into the penis, making erections even less likely.

Ah, an orgasm can be faked but an erection? :-)

Why would a woman fake it?
In the study "Evidence to Suggest that Copulatory Vocalizations in Women Are Not a Reflexive Consequence of Orgasm" by Gayle Brewer of the University of Central Lancashire and Colin Hendrie of the University of Leeds, the authors discovered that while women tended to have an orgasm when the clitoris was manipulated such as during oral sex, they did not always have an orgasm during intercourse. However, the women tended to make more noise or vocalizations during intercourse as opposed to when they actually had their orgasm. The purpose was to manipulate the behaviour of the male.

The MSNBC reporter Brian Alexander spoke with Gayle Brewer and found out that “women were making conscious vocalizations in order to influence their partner rather than as a direct expression of sexual arousal. Women reported using these vocalizations to ‘speed up’ their partner’s ejaculation due to boredom, fatigue, discomfort, time limitations.”

It was a tactic they used to induce their man to do something, like get it over with. In most cases, they were also trying to be nice. “Importantly, 92 percent of participants felt very strongly that these vocalizations boosted their partner’s self-esteem,” the paper stated, “and 87 percent reported using them for this purpose."

Of course, as Meg Ryan proved in another movie, “When Harry Met Sally,” women can use their voices to fake an orgasm, too. In Brewer’s survey, more than 25 percent of women routinely used vocalization to fake it. They did it about 90 percent of the time they realized they would not climax. About 80 percent faked using vocalizations about half the time they were unable to have an orgasm.

Women do this because their men are so goal-directed they won’t stop until a woman climaxes, the authors say.

Final Word
Women fake it; men fake it. Not all the time, but sometimes. More so for women than for men. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? From the above article by Amy Sohn when she talks about Ned:

"...a guy reaches the point where a lot of his satisfaction comes from what he can do for his partner instead of from his own orgasm..."

Ned considers faking a form of generosity; he knows the orgasm matters to the woman but is bright enough not to blame her for the problem.

Sometimes our bodies just can't keep up with our minds. As I read in a comment written by a man to one of the above articles, "I may not always be able to cum but that doesn't mean I'm still not in love with the idea of cumming." :-)


References

"I Was Tired and Just Couldn't Go Any Longer": Men's and Women's Reports of Pretending Orgasm
Sheena K. Shippee, Charlene L. Muehlenhard, Ph.D.
2006 SSSS Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, November 9 - 12, 2006
http://www.sexscience.org/uploads/media/2006_SSSS_Annual__Meeting_Prelim_Program.pdf

Shippee, S. K., & Muehlenhard, C. L. (2006, November).
“I was tired and just couldn’t go any longer”: Men’s and women’s reports of pretending orgasm.
Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality,
Las Vegas.
Charlene L. Muehlenhard, Ph.D.
http://wgss.ku.edu/people/pdf/Muehlenhard_CV_10_01_01.pdf

Men's and Women's Reports of Pretending Orgasm
Charlene L. Muehlenhard; Sheena K. Shippee
Journal of Sex Research, 1559-8519, Volume 47, Issue 6, First published 2010, Pages 552 – 567
http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/ftinterface~db=all~content=a914174687~fulltext=713240930
Cost: Purchase this single article: $30 USD

Wikipedia: he Journal of Sex Research
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Journal_of_Sex_Research
The Journal of Sex Research is a scientific journal published by the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (New York City). In 1963, the society had published a one-issue journal entitled Advances in Sex Research. The Journal of Sex Research was then first published in 1965, six years before the Archives of Sexual Behavior was established in 1971.

Wikipedia: Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Society_for_the_Scientific_Study_of_Sexuality
The Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (SSSS, or "quad-S"), formed in 1957, is a non-profit, professional membership organization that claims to be "the oldest professional society dedicated to the advancement of knowledge about sexuality." It claims to have more than 1,000 members and has a quarterly newsletter, Sexual Science. It produces two other publications:
  • Annual Review of Sex Research, "An Integrative and Interdisciplinary Review"
  • Journal of Sex Research, a scholarly journal published quarterly
official web site: http://www.sexscience.org

Wikipedia: Archives of Sexual Behavior
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archives_of_Sexual_Behavior
The Archives of Sexual Behavior is a peer-reviewed academic journal in sexology. It is the official publication of the International Academy of Sex Research.

Wikipedia: International Academy of Sex Research
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Academy_of_Sex_Research
The International Academy of Sex Research (IASR) is a scientific society for researchers in sexology. According to John Bancroft, retired director of the Kinsey Institute, IASR "can claim...most of the field's leading researchers." IASR is unique among sexology organizations in that individuals must be elected to membership, which requires demonstration of substantial contribution to sexology, including the authorship of 10 or more professional publications.

official web site: http://www.iasr.org/

LiveScience: Study: Men Fake Orgasm, Too
By Stephanie Pappas, Nov 11/2010
http://www.livescience.com/health/men-fake-orgasms-too-101111.html

New York Magazine: Snow Job By Amy Sohn - March 2010
Women aren’t the only ones who fake orgasm. Men are doing it, too—and getting away with it.
http://nymag.com/nymetro/nightlife/sex/columns/nakedcity/n_9882/

Evidence to Suggest that Copulatory Vocalizations in Women Are Not a Reflexive Consequence of Orgasm.
Gayle Brewer of the University of Central Lancashire
Colin Hendrie of the University of Leeds
Archives of Sexual Behaviour - May 18, 2010
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20480220

MSNBC: Sorry, guys: Up to 80 percent of women admit faking it
Wild noises help boost his ego and speed things up, new sex study finds
By Brian Alexander - June 30/2010
http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/38006774/ns/health-sexual_health/

2010-11-28

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Saturday, 27 November 2010

Theatre Review: Medieval Times

This dinner show recreates, according to the publicity, an 11th century Spain with knights, damsels, ladies and lords. It currently has theatres in various locations in North America: such as Orlando, Florida, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and 6 other locations across the United States. Toronto is the only location in Canada.

The former Arts and Crafts Building of Exhibition Place just beside the Dufferin Gate houses the Canadian Medieval Times and is referred to as the Toronto Castle. I purchased my ticket online and printed my ticket. I took the subway to Dufferin station then took bus 29 south to the Dufferin Gate. I took the bus 29 short run which stops just outside the Dufferin gate but it's only a three minute walk to the building.

Upon arriving, I handed in my ticket and was given a coloured card indicating the number of my table; the colour was the colour of the knight I was supposed to root for. I received a paper crown and was escorted to the waiting area. This is a series of shops with items relating to the show and a bar serving the usual and some extraordinary concoctions plus a little stage with a throne. It turns out that during our wait, the king and Sir Richard come out to celebrate birthdays, knight some young men and welcome ladies into the realm.

As well, there are a number of windows into the horse stalls and a display of live falcons. The entire entrance hall is dressed up with the pageantry one would expect from an era of knights. While I wasn't 100% certain of what to expect, I had the idea this affair was to be more oriented to kids but I did notice a number of groups which consisted of only adults.

Fifteen minutes before show time, we all file in and take our places. The arena which reminded me of a hockey arena has the main part set up with a dirt base. The surrounding seating is made up of long tables with chairs; each place setting has a pewter plate and bowl. According to the web site's FAQ, we are going to be eating our dinner with our hands, a supposed nod to historical accuracy. Don't worry though; the meal ended with us all being treated to a medieval moist towelette to clean ourselves up.

Sir Richard is something of the narrator of the show and he sets up the story to the show which involves some treachery between 2 kingdoms; all of which is designed to get the audience cheering and booing for the good guys and the bad guys. The crowd had been seated into 6 areas identified by colours and each section had its corresponding knight to root for. As their motto states: chivalry, rivalry, revelry.

The dinner was served in stages as the show unfolds in front of us in the arena and was not bad. The bill of fare consisted of tomato bisque and garlic bread which was very good; followed by chicken, ribs and half an herb basted potato and finished with an apple pastry. Alcoholic drinks are for sale but the meal comes with a choice of water or pop and ends with coffee and tea.

By the way, this meal is definitely not vegetarian. Yes, vegetarian meals are available on request but the standard fare has enough meat in it to sink a ship. The chicken is half a small chicken. When they plopped that on my plate then came around with the ribs I was thinking that this is a meat lover's delight; I don't usually scarf down that much of the flesh. I was chuckling about making a connection between the Medieval Times meal and medieval England. A few years ago, my wife and I visited Hampton Court in England where a guide gave us a little history lesson about King Henry VIII: he apparently ate two to three pounds (1 to 1.5 kg) of meat each day. Good lord but that is a lot of meat and that's what I was feeling like scarfing down ribs on top of half a chicken!

The show inspired the audience to cheer their knight on to victory and was very much in good fun. I did find the choreographed fighting with swords and such to be interesting. Not too dangerous but dangerous enough to give us the idea of an actual fight. When two knights would strike at each other and the blades of their swords hit together, you would see sparks flying.

There were even 3 rounds of jousting. I know the lance is made to easily break apart but I did wonder if they have had any accidents. It did strike me that it would be easy to miscalculate one's aim or have a lance which didn't break properly and hurt somebody. Yes, it's a show but it's not one hundred percent without hazard.

Besides the fighting, the show had some horses on display doing some tricks and one segment had a falcon flying around the arena as a demonstration of hunting. I found it interesting counting the number of people involved in this production. At one point, there were 9 horses and 30 people on the floor. This doesn't take into account everybody else providing support. According to the FAQ, the arena can seat 1,400 people!

As I was listening to the patter of Sir Richard, I was thinking about his enthusiasm in trying to get us all on board and excited about the entertainment. I was at the 5pm show and I knew there was going to be another show at 7:30pm that night and the group of them would do this whole thing all over again. Heck, the group of them were doing this over and over again, day after day. That's a lot of the same thing repeated that one has to remain upbeat about. Hats off to the group of them for their professionalism.

Final Assessment
This strikes me as something you would take your kids to see but I'm not sure I would recommend it to adults; it would very much depend on your own taste; I went by myself. With taxes, my ticket cost $75 and yes, that does include the show and a meal. Maybe if I was on vacation in Orlando or Myrtle Beach it might be worth going out as a group to see this. [sigh] When you have kids, you have an excuse to see all sorts of things that as an adult you wouldn't normally consider. My wife and I took the kids to Williamsburg, Virginia a number of times for vacation and each time involved going to Busch Gardens, a fabulous amusement park. But would I go there without kids? I'm not sure it would be as much fun. Medieval Times is worth a look but it probably would have been a blast if I had taken some kids.

Check out their web site for further information or call them at... I'm not kidding...

1-866-WE-JOUST (1-866-935-6878)


References

official web site for Toronto
http://www.medievaltimes.com/toronto.aspx

Purchase tickets for Toronto
From until March, the winter season, shows seem to run Thursday to Sunday.
http://www.medievaltimes.com/toronto/purchasetickets.aspx

2010-11-27

Friday, 26 November 2010

Sex Ed: Violet Blue



Ms. Blue is an author, blogger, sex educator and sex columnist. She has contributed to a number of publications over the years in various formats: a weekly sex column for the San Francisco Chronicle, podcasts, a video blog as well as a regular blog and a feature about porn for woman in the magazine O, The Oprah Magazine. She has written 11 books on various sex topics; edited 9 anthologies of erotica and a half a dozen audio books plus writes for, edits and manages several web sites. However she does work outside the area of sex itself by contributing tech articles for ZDNet and both writes for and edits her own tech blog called techyum. Forbes named her one of The Web Celeb 25 in 2007. A busy woman indeed.




On the main page of Violet's web blog Tiny Nibbles, she delves into various aspects of sex in the section "Accurate Sex Information" which lists:
  • Sex Advice and Techniques
  • Safer Sex + STD Answers
  • Heal From Sexual Abuse and Trauma
  • Porn for Women
  • Porn and Your Privacy
  • Unsafe Sex Toys
  • Fellatio Facts
  • Cunnilingus Facts
  • Rimming Facts
  • G-Spot Facts
  • Hot Erotica
  • How To Kiss
  • Our Porn, Ourselves
  • Fetish Sex
Ms. Blue cover the details of the topic with talk of the pros and cons, health advice and "how to" recommendations. All is knowledgeably presented.

Her Books
As a sex educator, Ms. Blue doesn't stop with a single column in a newspaper or a blog entry with a list of tips. She has written entire books on specific topics. Obviously she must have thoroughly dealt with the issue as I had no idea anybody could write an entire book on fellatio or cunnilingus.
  • The Adventurous Couple's Guide to Strap-On Sex, 2007
  • The Smart Girl's Guide to the G-Spot, 2007
  • Fetish Sex: An Erotic Guide for Couples, 2006, with Thomas Roche
  • The Adventurous Couple's Guide to Sex Toys, 2006
  • The Smart Girl's Guide to Porn, 2006
  • The Ultimate Guide to Sexual Fantasy: How to Turn Your Fantasies into Reality, 2004
  • The Ultimate Guide to Adult Videos: How to Watch Adult Videos and Make Your Sex Life Sizzle, 2003
  • The Ultimate Guide to Cunnilingus: How to Go Down on a Woman and Give Her Exquisite Pleasure, 2002
  • The Ultimate Guide to Fellatio: How to Go Down on a Man and Give Him Mind-Blowing Pleasure, 2002
  • The Ultimate Guide to Cunnilingus: How to Go Down on a Woman and Give Her Exquisite Pleasure, 2nd Edition, 2010
    The forward of this book has been written by Margaret Cho.
  • The Ultimate Guide to Fellatio: How to Go Down on a Man and Give Him Mind-Blowing Pleasure, 2nd Edition, 2010
Pro-porn
Violet Blue is a feminist however, I should point out that she is a pro-porn feminist. In my blog Pornography: Defended by... What? Feminists!?! I list the 3 types of feminists as defined by the feminist author Wendy McElroy:
  1. anti-porn
  2. anti-porn but accept it because they are also pro-free speech
  3. pro-porn.
Violet Blue is very much "pro-porn" and has written extensively about adult entertainment. As well as books on the subject, she has contributed articles to newspapers and Oprah Winfrey's O Network. Not only does she talk about this entertainment, her own web sites sometimes feature women's erotica.

She is an advocate for the freedom to choose and writes on her web site Our Porn, Ourselves:

We women are tired of people trying to control our sexuality by telling us what we should or shouldn’t like sexually (porn) based on what someone else thinks is best for us. It’s like keeping women in a perpetual state of being children about sex. And women who say they are feminists make it worse by discounting all the women who find porn to be an empowering sex toy. Or if not, to at least give us the benefit of the doubt that we can make that decision for ourselves, thank you very much.

OurPornOurselves.Org
This site set up by Violet Blue is described as:

Our Porn, Ourselves is a resource that aims to create an alternative and constructive conversation on the use of pornography by women, and in turn offer balance to the anti-porn feminist agenda.

In the page Origins, Ms. Blue describes how the name of the web site in a tribute to the book Our Body, Ourselves, the classic standard on women's health and sexuality first published in 1973.

Okay, while at first glance someone may say that this is merely a pro-porn web site. However in digging, one finds another aspect to all this which looks at the larger question of sexuality in America.

In the entry A Look at “War on Pornography” and “Shock and Awe” Tactics written by Ms. Blue on June 20, 2010, she talks about how the anti-porn movement uses a campaign of misinformation and shock to push forward their agenda of completely eradicating pornography from the planet. As I pointed out in my own investigation (Pornography: Does it lead to crime? Part 2), such misinformation does not in any way account for this scientifically proven inverse correlation found in society: as the availability of pornography increases, the rate of sex-related crimes decrease.

Ms. Blue has included two videos with her article. One of them from Penn and Teller humorously (and sometimes viciously) points out how the scare tactics used by some so called professionals spouting anti-porn rhetoric come with no scientific studies to them up. (Watch the Penn and Teller video. It is funny and very profane.) The other, a clip of Gail Dines, described by the Guardian newspaper as "the world's leading anti-pornography campaigner", shows a speech which is disturbing in both its assessment of the world and its lack of empirical evidence to back up its claims.

Final Word
Violet Blue is a very, very busy woman. She is passionate about her work and that passion has transformed itself into a substantial body of work. Her sexuality is "out there" and that may be refreshing for some, it may be intimidating for others. The manifestation of this sexuality is her involvement with the pro-porn feminist side of the debate and an interest and creative inclination for women's erotica.

As a sex educator, she is knowledgeable, writes about topics expertly and is very comprehensive in her handling of a subject.

Whatever anybody's take of Ms. Blue may be, there can be no denying she is a force to be reckoned with.


References

Wikipedia: Violet Blue (author)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violet_Blue_%28author%29

official web site
http://www.tinynibbles.com

compilation of articles, pictures and videos
http://violetblue.org

techyum :: news • tech • gadgets • shiny things
http://techyum.com

Excerpt from The Smart Girl's Guide to Porn: Chapter 3: I Was a Porn Virgin
By Violet Blue - The Oprah Winfrey Show  |  November 17, 2009
http://www.oprah.com/relationships/Excerpt-from-The-Smart-Girls-Guide-to-Porn-by-Violet-Blue

AllBookstores.com: 40 titles with Violet Blue as author or editor
http://www.allbookstores.com/Violet-Blue/author

Wikipedia: Our Body, Ourselves
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Bodies,_Ourselves
Our Bodies, Ourselves is a book about women's health and sexuality produced by the nonprofit organization Our Bodies Ourselves (originally called the Boston Women's Health Book Collective). First published in 1973, it contains information related to many aspects of women's health and sexuality, including menopause, birth control, childbirth, sexual health, sexual orientation, gender identity, mental health and general well-being.

Now in its 12th edition, and published in over 20 languages and braille, the current edition, calling itself "a new edition for a new era," contains 832 pages, including new pictures, diagrams, and interviews. The New York Times has called the book "America's best-selling book on all aspects of women's health" and a "feminist classic."

Our Porn, Ourselves
http://ourpornourselves.org/

2010-11-26

Tim Burton's Online Twitter Story

The concept is simple. Tim Burton writes the first line of a story,

“Stainboy, using his obvious expertise, was called in to investigate mysterious glowing goo on the gallery floor #BurtonStory”

Readers are invited to submit their ideas for the next line of the story, obviously restricted to Twitter's 140 character limit and every few hours, the best one is selected and the story continues. Similar to the parlour game called Consequences where everyone writes lines on a piece of folded paper, Mr. Burton's plan calls for the creation of a story by his fans. The project started on November 22, 2010 and will end on December 6, 2010.

The main character, Stainboy is a character from a series of animation shorts made by Burton in the vein of his film The Nightmare Before Christmas. As an aside, for me Nightmare itself is directly tied to one Edward Gorey. The artistic influence of Gorey in the formation of the characters in the film is not just strong; it almost seems like homage if not a copy. For anybody who is not familiar with Gorey, read his Amphigory. It is Nightmare!

Burton's unusual exercise is to build a story line by line but using lines created by numerous individuals. This lends randomness to the project. At the moment of this writing, the story is now at line number 32 and it is somewhat comical to read the 32 lines one after another as a story then reflect on the fact that each line has been written by a different person. It makes for a comical take on the tale. Read over the full story (up to this point in time) at the web site Cadavre Exquis.

Tim Burton at TIFF
In downtown Toronto, the Toronto International Film Festival has opened its new building the TIFF Bell Lightbox at the corner of King and John. Currently, there is an exhibition organised by New York's Museum of Modern Art dedicated to the work of Tim Burton. It is on from November 26, 2010 to April 17, 2011.

Postscript - April 16, 2011
The completed story consisting of 88 tweets has been bundled together as a single PDF. All in all an interesting idea for story telling and just now, I've run across something similar called Star Voyage Online.

References

Tim Burton's Cadavre Exquis
http://burtonstory.com

Wikipedia: Consequences (parlour game)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consequences_%28game%29

Tim Burton's home at TIFF
http://www.tiff.net/timburton

Wikipedia: The Nightmare Before Christmas
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Nightmare_Before_Christmas

Wikipedia: Edward Gorey
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Gorey

2010-11-26

Food: The Cook in Heels

The unusual name for this web site, TheCookInHeels.Com which is dedicated to cooking comes from the author's creative interpretation of the sensuality of cooking and eating. The motto of the site is "add sizzle to your life" and as I look through the various videos about food preparation, I can say that no finer words have been spoken.

Each recipe is written out with a list of ingredients followed by instructions on how to prepare everything. But the "hook" for each recipe is a companion video. The author remains out of sight during the videos; you only ever see her hands and her high heels. She never speaks; short text instructions appear periodically and you watch the steps of preparing various dishes. These videos are of a very high quality; they are professionally made. Considering that this is all available for free, I do wonder how this person is paying for all this.

I watched the short clip about stuffing a turkey and preparing a cranberry sauce and holy smokes, even though nothing "dirty" occurred, I still felt I should be holding my hand over the eyes of anybody under the age of 18. Sexy? Gosh, did I see a wisp of smoke rising from my computer monitor?

I ran across one provocatively titled video called S&M which starts with our lady zipping up some high heel boots which seem made for a dominatrix but it turns out that the S&M of the clip stands for spaghetti and meatballs. The author introduces her recipe with "Want to experiment with a little S & M? With this dish you are definitely in command and not likely to get any refusals." I'm looking at that plate of pasta and the Sergio Rossi zippered stilettos and all I can say is that I will obey. :-)

In the About page, the author describes herself being neither a professional chef nor sexual behaviour expert. She just likes to cook but with a sensual eye for food. I chuckled when I read that this character of the web site, this sensual cook in heels is the alter ego of a filmmaker, an unknown filmmaker. She - and here I'm guessing it's a she but who knows? Anything is possible - finds a certain liberty in her anonymity to allow her imagination to wander into "the quirky recesses of my mind". Ah, hence the sensual presentation of the recipes and the high heels; sex and food, what a combo!

The About continues with a little of her philosophy on food and sex and how the two are intertwined. One leads to another; food begets sex. And the shoes? "When you feel sexy, you act sexy. And that spices up any dish."

Some great recipes, some beautifully shot video clips, some appetizing dishes and some inspiring high heels. This all looks like some added fun in the kitchen. Food never looked so good... ah, sexy. Yes, my mouth is watering. :-)


References

The Cook in Heels
http://thecookinheels.com

2010-11-26

Movie Preview: Tron: Legacy

In 1982, a computer generated looking film named Tron came out of the Disney studios with a style never before seen. In the era of Star Wars, this film had a very unique look and considering the state of special effects in 1982, it was a pretty good look too.

Fast forward to 2010, 28 years later and we are about to witness the return to Tron but with the developments of the past decades in the area of special effects with IMAX and 3D. If the trailers are any indication of what we're all in for, this is going to be a visual feast. I am pumped.

How much better could this film be? The original 1982 was made with a budget of $17 million. The budget of Tron Legacy has been pegged at $170 million; a tenfold increase!

The official web site offers activities relating to various parts of the movie as seen in the trailers. I note that you must install a "Unity plug-in" to get "high quality interactive 3D content". You can ride a light cycle - you control the cycle using your keyboard - watch the latest trailer, listen to the soundtrack music by Daft Punk, play games and download posters, wallpapers and "buddy icons". There are lots of other miscellaneous things to explore; it's a nerd's delight.

A video game Tron: Evolution is to be released on December 7, 2010 as part of the movie marketing blitz. It will be available on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox, Wii and Nintendo.

So with various things to occupy us in the run-up to the movie, we can carefully plan out our visit to the cinema for this long awaited sequel to the original. My advice? Don't even bother to see it in a normal theatre. Hold out for IMAX. This is going to be visually stunning and I'm definitely going to see it on the big screen. I want to get my senses blasted and coupled with big sound, this looks very well like the film to do it.

December 17, 2010

Scotiabank, downtown Toronto

IMAX

3D

You will see this:



References

official move web site
http://disney.go.com/tron/

Rotten Tomatoes: Tron Legacy (2010): no reviews yet (photos and trailers)
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/10011582-TRON_legacy/

Wikipedia: Tron: Legacy
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tron:_Legacy

Rotten Tomatoes: Tron (1982): 68%
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/tron/

Wikipedia: Tron (1982 film)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tron_%28film%29


Trailers

official trailer #1


official trailer #2


official trailer #3


Tron: Legacy: soundtrack: Daft Punk's "Derezzed"


2010-11-26

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Sex Ed: Scarleteen

This web site is an independent source of information about sex which was founded in 1998 by Heather Corinna. Presenting a "sex positive" resource with the tag line "Sex Ed for the Real World", this amazing site speaks frankly of every possible topic connected to sex and relationships. Staffed by Heather and a group of volunteers, the site is apparently viewed by tens of thousands of readers each day, as the site says, between the ages of 15 and 25.


How popular?
The web site ranking company Alexa places this site as 37,230 in the world and 13,086 in the U.S. with 709 other sites linking to it. As a comparison, Alexa ranks Google as 1, Facebook as 2, Yahoo as 4, CNN as 57 and The Washington Post as 332. My humble blog is ranked at 6 million so I would say Scarleteen is up there.

Who is Heather Corinna?
From Wikipedia:
Heather Corinna (born April 18, 1970) is an author, activist, and Internet publisher with a focus on progressive, affirming sexuality. She is a self-described "queer polymath: feminist activist, writer, photographer, artist, educator, Internet publisher, and community organizer."' She was one of the pioneers of positive human sexuality on the Internet.

About Scarleteen
From the About page, this site came from a perceived need. Young people had written the founder for information about sex but there was no place to direct them. Heather decided to create such a resource herself. She provides online static content in the form of articles about sex, health and relationships and interactive areas like message boards where people can ask questions and get answers.

Basing itself on a core idea of "A foundation of equality, respect, dignity, fairness, consent, liberty, freedom of thought and expression and other core human rights", the site endeavours and succeeds in delivering up-to-date information following medically-accurate standards of physical and emotional health and well-being including the understanding and knowledge that development and expression of one's own sexuality is one part of typical human and adolescent development.

The material
As I scan through the various topics, I can see that Scarleteen touches on everything. I am sure that some readers new to the site may blush at the intimate subjects covered here but if any of us think about it, just where the heck does anybody go to get such questions answered? I, for one grew up in the 60's and while we all had to suffer through "health class", I wonder just how we managed to survive lacking the sources of information available today via the Internet. How did any of us find out anything relating to sex? In one way, it all seems amusing: the knowing smile of an adult; the wink and a nudge from a friend but on the other hand, who do you talk to, what resource can you consult?

On the main page, I scan down a list of recent blog posts and see the following subjects:
  • How Do You Masturbate?
  • Squirt: On Female Ejaculation
  • anal sex lowdown
  • A little penis inside my vagina?
  • I'm 14, and a virgin, but can fit fingers inside my vagina: is something wrong with me?
  • Is it safe to have unprotected sex ten days after a period?
  • What is that white fluid that came from my vagina?
  • Sex hurts my girlfriend: how do I fix it?
  • I can't get her to reach orgasm, and I really want her to.
  • Why would intercourse feel good for women?
Obviously we're pulling no punches here - the truth and nothing but the truth - we could say that this is not for the faint hearted.

However there is nothing scandalous here, nothing dirty. The information is delivered in an informed fashion presenting non judgmental ideas of the various aspects of having sex. Without moralizing about having sex or not, the authors try to lay out the facts so the reader can make an informed decision.

In the article Driver's Ed for the Sexual Superhighway: Navigating Consent, Heather talks about the concept of consent and the fact that sex should be consensual. I find her ideas to be excellent and should probably be mandatory reading for anybody, teenage first-timer or adult, about not just sex, but any sort of relation we have with another human being. One may think this article is targeting teenagers; however I'm sure there are a number of adults who could greatly benefit from re-reading the "rules of engagement" when it comes to dating whether you're twenty, thirty or any age.

Funding
Scarleteen exists by funding itself. It is not supported by any government agency or corporation and as such, is not beholden to anybody. What comes out of this model is that the content delivered by the site is in direct response to what the readers want, not what somebody else thinks they want. I would advise you to visit the site, assess their work and if in so doing you see some value, you couldn't go wrong if you donated something to support the service.

Final Word
While the web site was originally set up as a source of information about sex for teens, I find the wealth of information of great value to any and all.

For parents, this could be a resource for preparing to have "the talk". Heck, you could look at the site with your kids together but if that's a tad embarrassing, you could just give them the site's address. However, keeping the channels of communication open would be a recommended course of action.

For adults, well, do I know everything? Nope and here's a way of finding out more. This could be informative for adults, partners and married couples. Just where do you go to get the straight dope about sex?


References

Wikipedia: Heather Corinna
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heather_Corinna

official web site:
http://www.heathercorinna.com
Heather's personal web site featuring her photography and her writing

Scarleteen: Sex Ed for the Real World
http://www.scarleteen.com

All Girl Army
http://www.allgirlarmy.org
This site is also from Heather Corinna.
A blogger collective of no more than 29 women between the ages of 10 and 25, who identify as feminist chosen via an application process based on their desire to create and nurture women's community, explore feminist issues and their own lives in context via writing and discussion.

2010-11-25

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Sex Ed: Sue Johanson

For those of you would are unfamiliar with the name, Ms. Johanson is a veritable institution in Canada and the United States in the area of sex education. Her informed, fact based approach to discussing the "final frontier" has garnered her accolades from many corners. She received Canada's highest honour in 2001, the Order of Canada.

Sue Johanson, born 1930, is a registered nurse, Canadian writer, speaker and sex educator. Her first real foray into media was a 14 year stint on the radio station Q107 in Toronto between 1984 and 1998. The Sunday Night Sex Show was dedicated to advice on sex and from 1985 onwards, a parallel show existed on the community access channel of Rogers cable. It became a national show on the Women's Television Network and was picked up by Oprah Winfrey's Oxygen Network in 2002. [sigh] Unfortunately, Sue retired from weekly broadcasting in 2008. Fortunately, her materials live on via the Internet and she does continue to lecture.

Sue is now 80 years old. As you can imagine, this is something of the age of a grandmother however, Sue has had a grandmotherly air about her for years and therein lies her popularity. She is frank; she is informative and she can be funny. However all this coming out of the mouth of somebody you think of as being a grandmother lends a certain air of authenticity and authority to the information. Talking about sex can make anybody nervous but hearing it from somebody's grandmother makes it less embarrassing.

What does she have to say?
In consulting the web site and its index of topics, you can see that Sue has left few stones unturned. For anybody who has questions about any "intimate" topic, I would recommend perusing the index in search of an answer but would also recommend reading over any of the topics as a refresher course in what you think you may already know. I would say this for not just first timers like teenagers but also for adults.

Teens, Courtship and Sex
Sue's advice is very practical and probably would be a great help for any parent who is faced with that dreaded moment of having to have "the talk". Her column on this topic is straight forward and a little humorous.

It is important that [you] have decided ahead of time whether [you] are ready for sex or not. Sex is an adult behaviour, and unless you are adult enough to be comfortable with your own body, unless you know about sex, Birth Control and all sexually transmitted diseases, unless you are in a long-term committed relationship and can talk about sex, unless you and your partner are mature enough to use a good method of birth control and agree to use condoms for SAFER SEX, you are not ready for sex. That should take you to about age 35.

The Unmentionable
Sue covers the gambit with a set of index topics covering but not limited to:
  • male masturbation
    Most teenage males will masturbate about once a day, some much more than others. There is no "normal" - it varies with surrounding stimulation, stress of exams, boredom, amount of sex with a partner, and individual sex drive and desire plus the opportunity. Guys worry, "How much is too much?" Don't worry. You will not hurt yourself, you are not a pervert. Your body will dictate and eventually your brain will be willing but the body weak.
  • female masturbation
    the big secret is to accept the fact that this is an o.k. thing to do. In fact, it is therapeutic, especially if she has never reached orgasm. Most females have their first orgasm all by themselves. Once she has learned what works for her, then she can share that information with her partner who can incorporate the moves into their sex play. Guys tell us what they like, why can't we tell them what works for us?
  • oral sex on men
  • oral sex on women
    The key to performing good oral sex on a female is to talk to your partner, check it out with her, what feels good, what she likes and does not enjoy, listen to her breathing patterns and body responses.
  • the basics such as the anatomy of reproductive organs
Plus she talks about spicing up your sex life and even covers seniors and sex.

For further information, Sue provides an extensive list of books which offer further information on various topics.

Sue and her toys
Sue has gotten involved with several companies that manufacture sex toys. While this may seem odd, Sue had a segment on her shows where she would bring out the "Hot Stuff Bag" and pull out a sex toy to review. I remember watching a number of episodes where she would discuss the pros and cons of vibrators, Ben Wa balls and stimulators for men all with an informative approach as if she was rating a movie.

Passion Parties Inc. which markets sex toys through home parties like Avon cosmetics has Sue as an advisor.

Retired but...
Sue has already published three books: Talk Sex, Sex is Perfectly Natural but not Naturally Perfect and Sex, Sex and More Sex. She continues to write a weekly column for the Toronto Star newspaper and she lectures.

I see Ms. Johanson received the 2010 Citizenship Award from The Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies, located at University College, University of Toronto this past September 22, 2010.

Order of Canada
Recipients of this honour are sometimes the targets of controversy. Right wing activists have gone after Dr. Henry Morgentaler, a doctor who is for legal abortions. They have gone after Jean Chretien for his support of same sex marriages. Dr. Elizabeth Bragshaw, an advocate of the birth control pill was denied the honour for years. And yes, Sue has been the centre of criticism for her work in the area of sex education. I note that the above protests are all focused on things relating to sex; I see a theme from these right wingers.

Final Word
Sue is great. I enjoyed watching her TV show when it was on and I must add that it was one of a kind. Considering the dearth of information about sex, Sue was a breath of fresh air. Her legacy will live on. Go to Google Videos and search for her name. There are a number of videos to be found and enjoyed.


References

Wikipedia: Sue Johanson
Sue Johanson, CM (born March 16, 1930) is a Canadian writer, public speaker, registered nurse, sex educator, and media personality.

Wikipedia: Sunday Night Sex Show
The Sunday Night Sex Show was a live call-in Canadian television show which ran from 1996 to 2005. It aired on the W Network and was one of their most popular programs. Every week, callers would line up on the phone to talk to the host, Sue Johanson, about various topics from how to spice up one's sex life, to advice on how to select the right sex toy, to how to deal with various relationship issues.

Talk Sex with Sue Johanson
official web site

Oxygen Network: Talk Sex with Sue Johanson
There are "webisodes" but they are only available in the United States. [sigh] Nevertheless, there is plenty of stuff to found on YouTube.

Various videos
Go to Google Videos and search for her name. There are a number of videos to be found.

Sue Johanson on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" - Jan 14/2008
Sue talks about the most intimate of subjects and embarrasses Conan. Gee how about homemade sex toys? Carrots? Cucumbers? The electric toothbrush?

Uploaded on Feb 14, 2009 by flukeychicka
Sue Johanson puts a condom on with her mouth
Sue Johanson from Talk Sex shows UNC students how to put a condom on with your mouth.


2010-11-24

Site Map - William Quincy BelleFollow me on Twitter

Votar es un placer

On Sunday, November 28, 2010, elections will be held to the Parliament of the Autonomous Community of Catalonia in Spain. In order to drum up voter support, the youth wing of the Socialist Party of Catalonia has produced a 51 second video commercial that entails a novel look at the pleasure of voting. As reported on YouTube:

In the video the young woman gets increasingly excited and simulates an orgasm while she puts her voting slip in the ballot box.


Both Socialist and opposition politicians have attacked the campaign video but the Socialist Party of Catalonia's leader, Jose Montilla, who is standing for re-election, said, "If it encourages people to vote, it's a good thing".

The leader of the conservative opposition Popular Party of Catalonia, Alicia Sanchez-Camacho, said the video was an "attack on the dignity of women".

The health minister, Leire Pajin, who is a Socialist, called on all parties to show respect for women and to act responsibly.

The Socialist equality minister, Bibiana Aido, said of the video: "If it was true, electoral participation would go up greatly, but I think we are dealing with a misleading advert."

A spokesman for the conservative CiU party, Josep Antoni Duran Lleida, said that the "crude" video would damage participation.

The leader of the Green coalition in Catalonia, Joan Herrera, said it would be "very difficult to reach orgasm voting for any of the candidates, myself included".

It is not the first controversial video to be brought out by a Catalan party ahead of the 28 November elections.

On Tuesday, the opposition Popular Party withdrew a web game which allowed participants to shoot illegal immigrants and pro-independence Catalans.

Gee, I had heard that sex sells but now it seems that sex votes.

¿Votar es placentero? ¡Votar es orgásmico!


References

Wikipedia: Socialists' Party of Catalonia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialist_Party_of_Catalonia

Wikipedia: Catalonian parliamentary election, 2010
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catalonian_parliamentary_election,_2010

2010-11-23

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Movie Review: Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer

For those of you who do not remember, Eliot Spitzer was a New York lawyer who first became New York State Attorney General then the 54th Governor of New York. After little more than one year in office, a prostitution scandal broke in which his involvement forced him to resign. That's it in a nutshell however the story is much more than that.

As a lawyer, he worked in the Manhattan's District Attorney's office and was involved in pursuing organized crime. He launched the investigation which brought down the Gambino family.

In 1998 he became New York State Attorney General and it was in this role he developed a reputation for going after white collar crime. His record is quite impressive pursuing such things as price fixing, stock price inflation, predatory lending practices and fraud at AIG. His investigative work brought about the mutual fund scandal of 2003 with the discovery of illegal trading.

In 2007 he became governor with a first year in office that looked promising in him possibly changing Albany, the state capital, well known for being corrupt. On March 10, 2008 the prostitution scandal came to light and he resigned on March 17.

The film is excellent, receiving a rating of 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. While there is the titillation of a man brought down by sex, I found the other aspects of the film to be a fascinating recounting of bad things going on in politics and big business.

In listening to the story and in doing subsequent reading, I am left with the impression of a good man with good intentions doing good things. In the movie it was suggested he could have been the first Jewish president ah, but for one thing. Let's not forget that this is the puritanical United States and as someone in the film pointed out, if this had taken place in France, Spitzer could have still run for president. I remember how everybody was going after Bill Clinton left, right and centre as someone in the film remarks "for getting a b**wjob in the Oval Office" while at the time Jacques Chirac of France had a mistress, everybody knew about it and nobody batted an eye. Why? The French couldn't have cared about Chirac's private life; they were concerned about the job he was doing as president. Ah, the U.S. and France: vive la différence!

The supposed main girl of the scandal is one Ashley Dupré who has attempted to cash in on her notoriety by posing for Playboy, writing a love/sex column for the NY Times and making a record; she's a singer. However, the surprise of the film is that Spitzer only saw Dupré once. There was another girl whom he saw regularly but she agreed to work with the film makers only if her anonymity was maintained. We never see the woman or hear her voice. The film uses an actress who speaks the words penned by this unknown escort who was Spitzer's main squeeze. This mystery woman is never revealed in the film and remains unknown. It was she and not Dupré who provided the details of Spitzer's affair.

The other surprise of this film is the main character of the film: Spitzer himself. He is interviewed extensively throughout the film; yes, he cooperated fully with the film makers responding to all sorts of questions, some of them personal including why did he think he strayed. Spitzer admits he's not sure why he went a little nuts; why he would do something so foolish and reckless but he does throw himself on the sword and makes no attempt to delude us or himself with some twisted justification. I had to chuckle but I also had to admire his forthrightness. In my blog It seemed like a good idea at the time I discuss how men do crazy things but at the end of the day, the reason is sometimes nothing more than crazy compulsiveness: It seemed like a good idea at the time. I think back to watching Hillary with Bill at various press conferences after his scandal broke then in this film watching Silda Wall with her husband Spitzer. Returning to the puritanical U.S., it makes me reflect on what these women were thinking when they had to face the supposed ultimate of betrayals.

The shame of it all is that Spitzer was a good man who was doing good things. The unfortunate thing for the rest of us is that now we are deprived of that good man. As Attorney General, Spitzer was already in the face of Wall Street uncovering white collar crime. He was in the thick of it dealing with the run up to the financial crisis; he was aware of the idiocy going on before things fell apart; he was going after those who were playing fast and loose with our money.

Spitzer was responsible for uncovering an accounting fraud at AIG in 2005 which resulted in the Maurice Greenberg, the CEO being forced to resign. There are charges still pending against Greenberg although Greenberg has already paid a $15 million fine for some of them. The film details some of what Greenberg was involved with, shady indeed, but when interviewed on camera, Greenberg acts the innocent like "Moi?" This was one of the leaders of Wall Street who contributed to its downfall.

The people discussed in the film, the various politicians, leaders of Wall Street, etc. have a tainted look about them. Nefarious backroom dealings were going on and nobody liked Spitzer shining the light of day on them. The film, in unravelling just how the whole scandal was discovered, does bring up the question as to whether or not one of Spitzer's enemies may have had something to do with informing the authorities of Spitzer's indiscretions. There can be no doubt Spitzer as both Attorney General and Governor was not well liked by many. Spitzer was taking the high road with the intention of not sticking with the status quo which seemed to involve turning a blind eye to corruption. It's a shame to see Spitzer gone.

Or is he? In the film, somebody talked of how Clinton has managed to recover from his own scandal. Will Spitzer do the same? I asked myself why Spitzer would have cooperated with the film maker and for all intents and purposes been the star in this film. I believe the answer lies in the film's story. Yes, there was a scandal; yes, there were some dalliances with some escorts but the entire story shows the impressive track record of a man who fights against corruption; who doesn't accept that things have to remain the same that this is how the world works. Spitzer admits to being flawed but he is also telling the whole story: "Look at the good things I've done."

Since his resignation, Spitzer has made numerous public appearances including publishing articles in various newspapers about the economy and the financial crisis. He has also made television appearances on shows like The Colbert Report and Real Time with Bill Maher so one has to assume he has taken his lumps over the scandal. As of October, 2010, Spitzer has joined a political commentary show on CNN.

Client 9 is an interesting film, a fascinating look at a real story. I would recommend it and would consider this an excellent pairing with the film Inside Job for a thorough look at the events which shaped the first decade of the new millennium including the global financial crisis.


References

Rotten Tomatoes: Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer: 88%
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/untitled_eliot_spitzer_project

Wikipedia: Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Client_9:_The_Rise_and_Fall_of_Eliot_Spitzer

official web site: Client 9
http://www.client9themovie.com

The Internet Movie Database: Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1638362

Wikipedia: Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eliot_Spitzer_prostitution_scandal

Wikipedia: Eliot Spitzer
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eliot_Spitzer

2010-11-23