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STI Rates Among Swingers

Posted: June 27th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on STI Rates Among Swingers

New data from health clinics in The Netherlands shows 12% of people practice swinging, indicating far more couples swing (consensually engage in sex with different partners) than believed. In America, estimates put swingers at 2% of the population, but if the Dutch numbers are any indication, American swingers are way more prevalent. Also, Cory Silverberg writes, "swingers, particularly swingers over 45, had a higher prevalence of STIs when tested at the community clinics."

In fact, swingers "had the second highest rate of combined STIs" among the groups considered, which "included men who have sex with men, sex workers, [and] straight people who weren't swingers." Evidently, STIs don't only target sex workers, despite contrary claims from anti-porn activists. "The researchers rightly point out that swingers may be a population public health folks should start paying some attention to," Cory says, offering common-sense advice about STI risk.

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Update: Cory Silverberg wrote an interesting followup to his piece about this study, which includes more figures and notes that “sex workers as a group are no more homogeneous than any other group, and no more broken than actors in LA or psychiatrists in ERs.”

The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health » RI News: RI Governor Carcieri Praised by The Family Research Council

Posted: June 27th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments »

After Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri "vetoed a bill that would have expanded that state's existing hate crimes" laws to make it illegal "to attack or harass a person for their gender expression and/or gender identity," the Family Research Council (FRC) issued praise for his decision. FRC president Tony Perkins said, "it’s troubling that any legislature would invest time and taxpayer monies to consider such a superfluous agenda-driven maneuver. […] Carcieri deserves praise for his strong stance for the families of Rhode Island."

So, in Perkins' hateful mind, genderqueer people aren't part of "families of Rhode Island" and outlawing hate crimes against them is "superfluous." Funny, I think it's "superfluous" to note FRC co-founder George Rekers famously hired a male prostitute and, under current laws, would be protected against hate crimes for that—but not if he were wearing a skirt. No, that, according to Perkins, would be an "agenda."

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‘.xxx’ Ruling Has Far-Reaching Implications for the Internet | TechNewsDaily

Posted: June 26th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on ‘.xxx’ Ruling Has Far-Reaching Implications for the Internet | TechNewsDaily

On Friday, "The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the international corporation that regulates domain names like .com and .net, said…it will reverse a previous decision and allow .xxx addresses for adult entertainment web sites," Stuart Fox reports. Interestingly, the decision troubled both pornographers and political conservatives, and could have "implications beyond just the porn industry…that are sure to change the nature of the Internet in the coming years."

Domain registrar company ICM Registry has lobbied for creation of .xxx for over 10 years. Stuart Lawley, president of ICM Registry "thinks a .xxx TLD will help consumers find safe adult entertainment and make it easier for parents to shield children from the same content." But adult entertainment industry spokespeople fear it's a "prelude to legislative action" that will "ghettoize" them and enforce Internet blue-law style censorship. Conservatives fear it will give children easier access to porn.

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Update: Citing Mr. Lawley as their source, The New York Times reports that, “Each domain registration will cost $60 a year, with $10 going to a nonprofit organization promoting ‘responsible business practices’ for the industry.” While ICM Registry has already seen over 100,000 pre-registrations for .xxx domains and expects at least 500,000 by the time they officially open for business, Diane Duke, executive director of the Free Speech Coalition, “said many of those were likely to be ‘defensive’ registrations, from businesses that wanted to prevent their names from being hijacked.”

Shakesville | We Live in Modern Times

Posted: June 25th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Shakesville | We Live in Modern Times

The clever advertisers at French car manufacturer Renault have had a brilliant realization: If sex sells, perhaps safe, liberated, accepting sex will sell even better. They've created a series of short, funny ads, including a son pulling up to a club, recognizing one of the drag queens outside as his father and saying "Hey, Dad, can you get us in?" and a grandmother finding a strawberry flavored condom in her daughter's bag, saying "Sophie…I thought you didn't like strawberries" and then tucking the condom away in her own pocket. The ads, for their new car model the Twingo, end with the tagline "We live in modern times" – and as a modern person with a love of safe, gender variant sex, I've got to say I'm fairly sold!

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The agony of a girl who just wanted to fit in – The Boston Globe

Posted: June 22nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Jenna Russell tells of a high school freshman's ordeal with bullies. "Lexi would suffer in many ways during her first year," she wrote. "Lexi’s ordeal did not end in death or attract widespread attention. But in many ways, her case illustrates forms of bullying that are far more common, and is more instructive of the difficulties that school administrators across the state are likely to face this fall as they try to comply with Massachusetts’ new antibullying law."

Lexi, her friends, and their parents "described weeks of daily taunting, boys calling [them] 'whore' and 'slut.' Their conduct…amounted, in her view, to sexual harassment" that began after pictures taken by a former friend were posted to Facebook. But school officials were also struggling, saying, "the same students play both roles, acting as bully and victim." Ultimately, Lexi "doesn’t think schools or laws can stop bullying." Myself, I wonder how youth are expected to learn civility while forcibly imprisoned in school.

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Gay and Transgender Youth Homelessness by the Numbers

Posted: June 21st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Gay and Transgender Youth Homelessness by the Numbers

According to the non-partizan Center for American Progress, "estimates suggest that disproportionate numbers of [homeless] youth are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender." Their report, On the Streets: The Federal Response to Gay and Transgender Homeless Youth breaks the issue down by numbers. 20-40 percent "of the homeless youth population…are gay or transgender, compared to only 5 to 10 percent of the overall youth population." On average, a gay or lesbian youth in New York becomes homeless at age 14.4. For transgender youth that age is even lower: 13.5.

"These vulnerable gay and transgender youth often run away from home because of family conflict and then face overt discrimination when seeking alternative housing, which is compounded by institutionalized discrimination in federally funded programs," they say. "Congress…should make a financial commitment to services directed at these young people."

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Despite Legal Restrictions, Many Brazilian Women Have Abortions

Posted: June 21st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Despite Legal Restrictions, Many Brazilian Women Have Abortions

A new survey conducted in Brazil and coordinated by Debora Diniz, a member of IWHC’s Board of Directors, reveals that despite its current criminality, "one out of seven urban women age 18-39 has had an abortion." That amounts to "approximately 5 million Brazilian women who’ve gotten abortions," Denise Hirao writes at Akimbo. Of those women, 55 percent, more than 2.5 million women, "were hospitalized due to complications of the procedure" thanks to the fact that "the restrictive laws in Brazil [mean] women who manage to get abortions frequently are subjected to unsafe and unsanitary conditions."

"The survey reveals the face of the woman who has an abortion," Diniz said. "She is not someone else, she is one of us. She is our colleague, our neighbor, our sister, our mother. In general, she has a partner and follows a religion." Hirao asks, by supporting anti-choice laws "are [Brazllian officials] really saying that 5 million women should be incarcerated?" Technically, I guess they are.

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Booted Boy Scout Testifies | News |

Posted: June 21st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Booted Boy Scout Testifies | News |

For all the talk of the perils of "big government" and attempts to scale back federal control over local governments, religiously-backed groups like the Boy Scouts of America don't seem to think the same principles apply to them. After "Greg Lattera, the gay 25-year-old at the center of the Philadelphia Boy Scout trial" appeared on "television in 2003 and laud[ed] his chapter's antidiscrimination policy," the national Boy Scouts organization in Texas "pressured Philadelphia's Cradle of Liberty Council to expel him," which they did. That's when the municipality rescinded the group's $1-a-year lease on its "city-owned offices because the organization didn't comply with the city's antidiscrimination laws," Editors report.

Now the Boy Scouts are at trial against the city, trying to get their almost-free and definitely not-as-in-freedom lease back. "The trial will now decide whether Philadelphia has a right to rescind the lease."

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Update: The New York Times reported that “the jury found the city’s reason violated the scouts’ First Amendment rights,” and while the “judge said the city’s antidiscrimination policy was ‘principled’,” the ruling forces the city’s $1-per-year lease to be reinstated. It is certainly interesting that the First Amendment can be used to support both equality and discrimination.

Vibrator Use Among Gay and Bi Identified Men

Posted: June 21st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Vibrator Use Among Gay and Bi Identified Men Guide to Sexuality Cory Silverberg highlights findings by scientist Michael Reece, who recently published data about vibrating sex toy use among gay and bisexual men. "Along with Debby Herbenick and colleagues at Indiana University's Center for Sexual Health Promotion, Reece has managed to find the funding and time to conduct basic research on sex toy use that has long been needed," Cory writes.

Although the study leaves many questions unanswered, it provides interesting data, like "while 49.8% of men said they have used a vibrator, only 27% said they had purchased one." Most respondents use vibrators for anal pleasure. 59 percent said they hold or rub a vibrator against their penis. "The majority of people agreed that vibrators increased arousal, pleasure, and orgasm," but none said this emphatically. "I note this because, particularly online…you often read stories of blissful satisfaction, where the toy seems to be satisfying every need, solving big problems," Cory says.

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The Texas GOP Wants To Punish Straight People Who Support Gay Rights | Gay Rights |

Posted: June 20th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

"Texas Republicans would like the state to have the power to criminalize LGBT folks for having sex," Michael A. Jones writes of the 2010 GOP party platform. But don't take his word for it, read the platform: "We oppose the legalization of sodomy. We demand that Congress exercise its authority granted by the U.S. constitution to withhold jurisdiction from the federal courts from cases involving sodomy." Since straight couples engage in sodomy more often than gay couples, I'm sure the GOP would prosecute equally strongly regardless of the perpetrator's sexual orientation. (End sarcasm.)

Moreover, the GOP platform reads, "We support legislation that would make it a felony to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple and for any civil official to perform a marriage ceremony for such." Sheesh. As Michael wrote, "it is pretty shocking that in 2010, a state GOP…would support criminalizing queer folks and the straight people who support them."

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