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Sex and Censorship: What Recent Attacks on Online Sex Discussions Have to Do With Your Blog | BlogHer

Posted: August 18th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

With 3 stories of anti-porn's inherent pro-censorship stance, Anaiis Flox illustrates what's at stake: "This isn't an issue of us vs. them, morality versus indecency, conservatives versus liberals, [but] a matter of freedom to speak, freedom to congregate, freedom to learn about ourselves and to share that knowledge."

Anaiis discusses Facebook's rash of censorship, attacks on Jason Goldman's column and Donna M. Hughes' sex-fear-mageddon by way of attacking KinkForAll. Then she turns the "think of the children" argument on its head:

Yes, think of the children—that is, think about what you do when a child disagrees with someone. Do we tell them to make their points by attacking the dissenting opinion or by crafting an argument that is valid and useful?

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the motivation to ask for what you want | Emily Nagoski :: sex nerd ::

Posted: August 18th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Dr. Emily Nagoski got stuck: "In this case the Q is, 'I want to try X. How do I ask my partner for that?' But the A? I’m stuck." Thankfully, from her transparent learning come great teaching opportunities:

I could lecture endlessly about communication skills, self-esteem and self-acceptance, the value of honesty, the importance–indeed the art–of hearing "no" without taking it personally.

But in the end, the answer to, “How do I ask my partner to…?” is “You just suck it up and ask.”

For people like Emily (and, after practice, me) the benefit of asking is so self-evident that not asking seems crazy: "I think my frustration and helplessness with this question comes from my own history of having to beg partners please to just fucking tell me what they need, what they want…. Ask for what you want, I could say, because NOT asking for what you want is dishonest, selfish, and emotionally destructive." Amen!

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Bering in Mind: Oedipus Complex 2.0: Like it or not, parents shape their children’s sexual preferences

Posted: August 18th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

It's an old trope that women grow up anticipating and fearing the point when they will become exactly like their mothers. But do heterosexual women grow up fearing that they will one day marry a man exactly like their father? Jesse Berring writes fascinatingly about the truths of how early experiences shape later sexuality, and comes to the shocking conclusion that incest-avoidant habits are socially ingrained, not biologically, and that the same set of experiences that lead us to find our siblings sexually disgusting lead us to seek out people of a similar genetic phenotype to ourselves; hence those blond-on-blond families we sometimes encounter. It's not always true, of course, and most interesting of all, there is virtually no way to predict whether you'll seek out somebody just like you, or look for someone as different as can be.

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Love makes teen sex less academically harmful, study says – CNN.com

Posted: August 17th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

A new study has "raise[d] some doubts about abstinence-only education programs that link all types of adolescent sex to a wide variety of problems for teens." The study, conducted by Eric Grodsky and Bill McCarthy and released at the annual American Sociological Association's meeting, found that teen sex is not inherently a bad omen for educational achievement. "The authors say students who have sex only with romantic partners have generally similar academic outcomes as students who abstain from sex," CNN reports. The study highlights the reality that the context of sexual activity greatly affects the outcome, positively or negatively. It revelaed "students who describe their sexual activity in terms of 'hook-ups,' 'friends with benefits' or 'bed buddies' are more likely to suffer a negative impact on their education," such as an increased chance of dropping out of school or a lower overall GPA. In other words, sex isn't the problem, lack of mutually rewarding relationships is. Duh!

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Update: We learned thanks to Heather Corinna that, as the media is wont to do, this study was severely misrepresented by journalists all over the place. In her analysis, Heather writes: “Some reporting and discussion of the findings suggests that big differences were found with academics for young people who had sex in non-romantic contexts and those who either have not had intercourse or who have done so in romantic contexts. But the study and the authors’ comments don’t appear to make that statement at all.” There’s a lot more, such as the fact that despite media reports to the contrary, the study never uses the word “causes” to indicate any harmful connection between teen sex and academic achievement, nor does it actually ever use the word “committed” to describe the relationships studied. Poor media reporting about sex and young people, and about young people’s sexuality in particular, is incredibly—infuriatingly—common.

Playboy censors iPad app to pass Apple’s morality test – Telegraph

Posted: August 13th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

Nipples. That's what's "obscene" and, according to Apple, needs to be censored in the App Store. To secure a spot in the App Store, Playboy Magazine agreed to self-censor the digital version of their magazine on the iPad, Matthew Moore reports. "The Playmate of the Month, one of the magazine’s most popular photo features, will only appear on the iPad as a tasteful headshot," he writes. In addition to Playboy, Apple has also not allowed a dictionary containing swear words or an application allowing users to replace the face of Jesus with a photo of themselves to exist in the App Store unchanged, all according to Steve Jobs' self-appointed role to define "moral responsibility" for his customers.

Gee, it almost sounds like the next step is restricting iPhone users from taking pictures of their non-orthodox weddings. Of course, anyone with an iPad can visit Playboy's website where uncensored pictures are still shown, nipples included.

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Little Women: Early puberty and what it means for girls

Posted: August 10th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

No one denies children are entering puberty at younger and younger ages but, predictably, many deny the obvious ways to prepare them before and help them through the transition. As Melanie Abrahams writes, "In the spirit of 'protecting girlhood,' there’s been a lot of brouhaha over naming the culprit of early physical maturation of girls, with both obesity and environmental factors under scrutiny. But instead of pointing fingers, we need to face the facts and focus on the changing needs of girls in our lives and around the world." She goes on to offer suggestions few others have the ovaries to do.

"One of the most obvious things we need to offer to girls is early, age-appropriate, and comprehensive sexuality education. Regardless of when they hit puberty, children should know about their bodies and their rights. … Further, early puberty illuminates the crucial need to fight child marriage on a global scale." Amen at that! "[We can't] afford to simply stick our heads in the ground."

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Sex after 50 | Life and style | The Guardian

Posted: August 10th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

According to some reports, STI rates among elders has doubled. Sadly, many use this as an excuse to express sex-negative prejudice against older people. As Pamela Stephenson Connolly writes, "the prominence and style of these articles underscores the sexual ageism that pervades our society." Of course, a number of those articles are in The Guardian, a point notably missing from Connolly's article (in The Guardian).

Nevertheless, she makes some good points: "We should be encouraging elders, including those facing challenges of illness and disability, to voice their sexual concerns without fearing our prejudice and guilt. … Perhaps the best form of safe sex for older people is exactly what one would advocate for younger people if one could get away with it; out with abstinence preaching and in with promoting fabulous eroticism in all its many, non-penetrative forms."

Must we really "get away with it," or are concerns about young people simply the other side of the same ageist coin?

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Pump Up the Vole-ume: Talking Oxytocin | Scarleteen

Posted: August 10th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Heather Corinna tackles pseudo-science head-on with a very thorough literature review of oxytocin, the supposed love-and-bonding chemical that conservatives love to tout as "evidence" of the importance of abstinence-only sex education, anti-choice programs, and any number of other politically-driven agendas. Morally-minded policy-makers do this despite the fact that researchers whose studies they cite strongly object to their interpretations, and get increasingly frustrated as the media lazily parrots the policy-makers' soundbytes.

As Heather writes, "A lot of the popular claims about oxytocin, like so many made about sex or love, are exclusively or primarily about heterosexuality and binary sex or gender, both of which we know—thanks, science!—aren't binary at all. […H]ow much or how little oxytocin impacts those things, how it impacts them, for whom and in what situations, clearly varies widely." The truth is simply not as black-and-white as conservatives would have you believe.

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Denying Sex Workers HIV Funds | Mother Jones

Posted: August 2nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

After years of discrimination, sex workers and NGOs staged the largest protest against the President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) ever at this year's International AIDS Conference. Back in 2003, mandated by the Republican-controlled Congress and former President Bush, PEPFAR was heralded by many conservatives and liberals as a big step forward for HIV/AIDS prevention in Africa. What many don't know is that an anti-prostitution clause embedded in the bill severed US funding to one of the highest at-risk populations: sex workers.

PEPFAR mandates that any organization receiving US funds enforce "a policy explicitly opposing prostitution and sex trafficking." But, Titania Kumeh notes, "it's not clear whether [PEPFAR's proponents] recognized the difference between sex trafficking and prostitution, spoke to any sex worker-run organizations that combat exploitation, or spoke to groups that seek HIV preventative care and battle sex trafficking," thus harming PEPFAR's own goal.

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China Seeks End to Public Shaming of Suspects – NYTimes.com

Posted: July 29th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

"According to the state-run media, the Ministry of Public Security has ordered the police to stop parading suspects in public and has called on local departments to enforce laws in a 'rational, calm and civilized manner,'" Andrew Jacobs reports. Chinese police are under scrutiny with increasing civil unrest being expressed online. "Last October, the police in Henan Province took to the Internet, posting photographs of women suspected of being prostitutes. […] The police later said they were not punishing the women, but only seeking their help in the pursuit of an investigation."

The Chinese public was not placated: "Why aren’t corrupt officials dragged through the streets?" an Internet posting read. "These women are only trying to feed themselves." Public shaming was embraced by the Communist Party. If you think America is better, think again: public shaming is actually being considered in Massachusetts.

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