A few days ago, I received several messages from friends saying they heard a segment on NPR about kink that mentioned me. Naturally, I was curious to give it a listen, but mostly because kink is a topic that I’m not sure I’ve ever heard covered on NPR—and I listen to NPR a lot! It turns out that the segment is all about what the kink community can teach us about sexual consent and communication, and it’s pretty well done.Read More
Sexual consent is all about having solid communication with your partner(s). However, many of us aren’t very good communicators in general when it comes to sex and, further, many of us don’t have a good model for how consent communication should actually go—when should it happen and what are the key things that should be discussed?Read More
In the last year, I have been approached to consult on a number of legal cases that center around disputes over whether a given sex act constituted consensual BDSM or sexual violence. This prompted me to do more extensive research into the area of BDSM and the law, which led me to a recent book titled Consensual Violence: Sex, Sports, and the Politics of Injury by Dr. Jill Weinberg, who happens to be both a sociologist and a lawyer. I decided to give it a read and I’m glad I did because it was nothing short of fascinating.Read More
Paraphilia is the term psychiatrists and psychologists use to refer to any type of unusual or “non-normative” sexual interest. The number of sexual fantasies that have been deemed paraphilic has grown substantially over the years to the point where hundreds of things have now been labeled as unusual turn-ons. As it turns out, however, a lot of these fantasies aren’t so uncommon after all.
Here are three specific sexual fantasies that are typically considered to be paraphilic, but that are actually quite common in terms of the number of people who have fantasized about them before.Read More
There’s a big assumption built into the way most people talk about sexual consent, which is that sex is exclusively a two-person activity. While it’s true that sex most often occurs in pairs, it’s definitely not the case that sex only ever involves two people. Sometimes people have threesomes or participate in orgies or other group encounters. So how does consent work when you have more than two people involved?Read More
Many sex education programs in the United States fail to meet the needs of sexual and gender minority students. This is especially true for programs that have an abstinence-only focus. Research has found that LGBTQIA students who take such courses report that they not only reinforce negative stereotypes, but they are also seriously lacking when it comes to providing useful and relevant information and resources .
We need comprehensive and inclusive sex education—and there are a lot of wonderful people in my field who are working to change the way that we approach sex ed around the world; unfortunately, however, there’s a lot of political resistance and progress is slow. The good news, though, is that some sex educators have begun to put together valuable educational resources for LGBTQIA students that are readily available to anyone with an internet connection.Read More
There's been a lot of talk about the issue of sexual consent in response to the #MeToo movement. Much of this talk has focused on getting men to understand that obtaining consent is the right and respectful thing to do—a point that they increasingly appear to recognize and appreciate. However, something a lot of guys do not yet seem to realize is that focusing on consent can be worthwhile for at least one other reason: it has the potential to make sex even better. Here's why:Read More
Paraphilia is a very general term used by psychologists to refer to any kind of unusual sexual interest. The number of desires that have been deemed paraphilic has grown substantially over the years to the point where hundreds of things have now been classified as unusual turn-ons. As it turns out, though, a lot of these desires aren’t so uncommon after all. In this article, we'll take a look at three specific sexual desires that are typically considered to be paraphilic, but that are actually quite common in terms of the number of people who have fantasized about them before.Read More
How should we teach people about sexual consent? This is a question that has been getting a lot of attention lately from scientists, politicians, and sex educators alike. Increasingly, one approach people have taken is to use analogies. Because sex is a topic that’s difficult for many people to discuss, the thought is that by analogizing it to something that’s perceived as less taboo or controversial, it has the potential to help bring more people into the conversation.Read More
This Valentine’s Day weekend, a lot of couples will be heading out for dinner and a movie—and for many of them, their film of choice is likely to be the big-screen adaptation of the popular book Fifty Shades of Grey. Fifty Shades tells the tale of Christian Grey, a successful and sexy businessman who introduces a young female college student, Anastasia Steele, to the world of bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism, and masochism (BDSM). For some viewers of this film, it may very well be their first exposure to the topic of BDSM—and that’s rather unfortunate. Not only does Fifty Shades perpetuate false stereotypes about the people who are into BDSM, but it also presents an inaccurate portrayal of how BDSM plays out in the real world.Read More
Every Friday on the blog, I answer people’s questions about sex, love, and relationships. This week’s question comes from a reader of the blog who wanted to know more about what it really means to be sex-positive.
Do you think there ever comes a point when being sex positive has its limits? I mean, like anything else, being extreme is usually not a good idea. Let me elaborate using an example: I try to be a very sex positive person, and attempt not to judge other peoples' preferences, perspectives, fetishes, etc. However, I have come across a few scenarios where I found myself hesitating. One is a guy who will only have sex with women who are cheating on their spouses because that's the only thing that turns him on, and he takes zero responsibility for potentially hindering someone else's relationship. Another is a couple I met where the husband was a feeder and said he won't be "truly" attracted to his wife until she's well over 1000 lbs and basically immobilized. At this point I can't help but ask myself if being sex positive might actually be promoting something that is unethical (and unhealthy). In theory I'd like to think that sex positivity in and of itself is an ethical approach, but these extreme cases make me question that theory. What are your thoughts on this? I know it's not my place to judge others' decisions, but if we want to live in a just and respectful world, it seems that we all need to take responsibility for ourselves and play a role in that, no?