Apr 122013
 

This is a post by one of my Spring 2013 interns, Rebecca. Find more posts from her and other current and former interns under the Intern Corner section.Shanna

Sex, sexuality and sexual safety are important topics of discussion.  Addressing it in our own lives is hard enough, let alone talking about it with our partner, friends, or children.  And when an individual has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) this conversation may seem harder, even impossible.  How do we address these complex and challenging topics?  And really, is it all that important? 

Yes.  Yes yes yes.  It is that important.

But before we get to the how, let us address the how come.

Lisa Mitchell is a counselor who specializes in autism.  She argues that the following points are the top reasons why it is vital to provide individuals with autism accurate and useful information concerning sexuality and sexual safety. 

First, ASD individuals often have limited opportunities for socialization and normalizing social sexual experiences.  The few opportunities they do have are complicated by social skills deficits associated with autism.  Secondly, many individuals with ASD do not have even basic knowledge about sexuality, and low reading ability hinders the chance to learn from written materials and other media such as the internet.  Thirdly, individuals with ASD are people and, like all people, have the right to learn all they are able so they may become a sexually healthy person.  Individuals on the spectrum have the same hormones and urges as their peers deserve the information necessary to make healthy decisions.  Fourth, individuals on the spectrum need additional information to protect themselves from sexual abuse, HIV/AIDS, and STDs.  This is particularly challenging for many individuals with ASD who have low self-esteem that leads them to be willing to engage in risky behavior in order to be accepted by their peers. Fifth, many individuals with ASD do not know when and to whom they may ask questions about sexuality.  This issue can be eliminated merely by making yourself available as a resource.

I would like to expand on the fact that, simply put, individuals on the spectrum have sexualities, too.  Many individuals on the spectrum, along with most individuals with intellectual differences, are not considered sexual beings by our society.  This is false.  Individuals with autism are sexual beings.  However, many individuals on the spectrum have cognitive abilities that are incongruent with their sexual development.  This incongruence often leads to another common misconception: sex education is inappropriate for individuals with autism.  Instead, sex education needs to be tailored to best support each individual.  Let’s be real – navigating the sexual world is hard no matter what who you are.  As parents, friends, cousins, and caregivers to an individual with autism, it is vital we recognize that individuals on the spectrum have a right to sexual education so they may live a healthy and satisfying sexual life. whatever that may be.

Individuals on the also spectrum need quality information so they may lead a life free of sexual assault and abuse, which is the second point I would like to expand on.  As individuals who know and love someone with autism, it is imperative we understand that individuals with neurological differences are extremely vulnerable to sexual abuse.  1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys suffer from sexual abuse before the age of 18.  And sexual violence does not cease when an individual is 18.  The U.S. Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey reports that every 2 minutes a person is sexually victimized in the U.S.  For individuals with intellectual differences the numbers are even higher.  Although no specific numbers exist for rates of sexual abuse among individuals with autism specifically, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that individuals with any type of cognitive, intellectual, and/or developmental difference are 3.44 times more likely to be a victim of abuse (i.e. neglect, physical abuse, or sexual abuse) than their typically developing peers.   But the numbers don’t have to be this high.  With proper sexual education many individuals with autism can learn tools to protect themselves from sexual abuse and communicate any potential or previous harm inflicted, giving others in their lives the ability to take action.

ASD is a spectrum that covers a wide range of abilities.  This means the types of appropriate emotional and/or sexual relationships will vary dramatically for each person. The one consistent aspect of autism is that no one size fits all, and this concept applies to sexual education as well.  In turn, each individual needs personalized instruction that is appropriate for their abilities.

Every person deserves positive and healthy sex education and sexual safety information regardless of their neurology so they may enjoy a healthy and abuse free sexual life.

 

Feb 272013
 

This is a post by one of my Spring 2013 interns, Rebecca. Find more posts from her and other current and former interns under the Intern Corner section.Shanna

As we previously discussed, defining sex for ourselves unleashes a whole world of options.  Instead of adopting mainstream definitions, limits, fantasies, and desires, which are often saturated in far too many “isms” (you know…sexism, ageism, racism, heterosexism…whew…just to name a few), deciding to define sex for ourselves allows us to engage in our own experimental growing process.  But let’s be real for a hot second: coming up with new ideas, and having the courage to then try those new ideas out (solo or with a partner or two), is a lot harder said than done. For real, even trying out new phrases, to make communication sexy, is really hard to do.

So, after doing some serious googling, visiting some of my favorite radical (and not so radical) websites, I’ve compiled a short list of ideas to consider, sleep on, and perhaps even try…

So what’s the big topic numba’ one we’re going to talk about on this fine fine day?!

Masturbation.

Masturbating.

Becoming your own clit master.

Mastering the willy.

Caressing the cunt.

Polishing the penis.

Greeting the genitalia.

Masturbation, despite mainstream promotion, is not just a thing teenage boys do.  Oye vey! No no no!  Masturbation is far too fabulous to ever be dismissed merely as a “thing” and only permissible for one, very small segment of the population. Masturbation is masturbation, not a “thing,” and everyone, of all ages, genders, and sexual orientations can and do masturbate!

Although statistics on masturbation are difficult to come by (pun intended), especially regarding reliable statistics for trans individuals, “Current research shows that around 89 percent of women and 95 percent of men have tried masturbation at some point in their lives, regularly or not,” (Ms. Shanna Katz, Flying Solo). Hmm…some high numbers.

Masturbation is not unique to the adult population either.  In fact, children often engage in genital play as young as six months.

Despite the fact that masturbation is an abundantly common human experience, masturbation continues to be laden with shame. Perhaps we feel unique in our shower ritual.  Perhaps we don’t feel unique in our shower ritual but do indeed try to make it as quick as possible…you know…to not waste water. Perhaps we masturbate in front of our partner to get our romantic candle lit, hot tub, and blindfold filled evening going.  Perhaps we buy the quietest vibrator to make sure our roommates don’t develop an inkling of our late night habit.  Perhaps it has never even occurred to us to touch ourselves down there because it is so gross. Perhaps we tried it once and never again because, I swear, my parents have looked at me differently ever since. Regardless of our present relationship with masturbation, positive, negative, or somewhere in between, it is hard to completely and entirely shake the explicit and (more likely) implicit shame we learned regarding touching ourselves.

Now, before we continue to blindly adopt this shame-based perspective or continue to believe that we have already reached a state of total masturbation perfection and self-love acceptance(you goddess you), we may want to consider the following before abandoning the ship that is this blog:  Masturbation has some seriously (and I mean gravely) positive physical and mental benefits, and provides the opportunity for further improving your individual and partnered sex life for  the novice and cultivated masturbators alike.

Do you dare say? Hmm…intriguing…

“That just ain’t true:” What masturbation does not do

1. Reduce your sex drive.

2. Make you grow hair in odd places. Who thought of that?

3. Make you go blind.

4. Kill you. Really?

 

“Keep whispering those sweet nothings:” The positives of gettin’ jiggy with yourself

1. Masturbation is the safest form of sex there is. After all, it is tremendously difficult (READ: Near Impossible!) to get pregnant when you are getting off by yourself.  Additionally, sexually transmitted infections are also very hard to pass along when you are alone (READ: Impossible!).

2. Masturbating can be relaxing. Trouble sleeping? Try jilling-off before going to sleep.

3. Masturbating often reduces stress and boost that ever needy immune system of yours.

 

Tell me more!?

Okay.

4. Masturbation improves your independent sex life. Think of it this way: you are the most reliable person in your life.  You’re always around so you can get down with yourself whenever.  At noon on a Sunday, 2 a.m. on a weeknight, or all day long on the leap year! You are always down for sex when you want it, you can get as romantic or kinky as you like, no communication is necessary (unless you like talking dirty to yourself, of course).  You can go as hard, as soft, as quick, as slow, as feisty, or as loving as you like – you can get yourself off, no ifs, ands, or buts, exactly the way you want to.  Whew.  Now that is some good sex!  Masturbation is independence, baby.

And…

5. Masturbation can support your partnered sex life to be dynamic, fun, sexy, engaging, and/or fulfilling.  It is simple: if you know what you like, then you can let your partner know what you like. If you feel like your genitalia is as mysterious as your default prepackaged gas station indulgent, then probably so does your partner.  The more you know about your own body, the more you know about what feels good to you, the more you can support your partner (who is not a genie, guru, or mind-reader) in figuring out your body.  Masturbation gives you the time and space to explore your body, and figure out what turns you on.  Then you take that knowledge to your partner(s) and share the wealth. 

Masturbation is like eating.  The more things you try, the more restaurants you go to, the more you cook, the more you realize the cuisines you enjoy (American…Italian…Mediterranean), the way you like your veggies cookies (processed…or steamed…or boiled to oblivion), to the way you like to eat them (in bed perhaps?).  If you only tried sautéed beets, it’s really hard to say what you like, because you have nothing to compare it to.  And when your adorably sweet partner decides to cook you an adorably sweet Valentine’s day dinner and says, “Oh lover, what is your favorite food?” You will respond, “Uhhhh…beets?” And your adorably sweet partner will feel more lost than Milo and Otis in Homeward Bound.

Masturbation gives you more options.  Masturbation supports you as you explore your own personal definition of sex.  And wouldn’t it be cool to be able to say to that adorably sweet partner of yours, “Umm…I love creamy beet risotto, with a side kale and arugula with an Italian style miso-tahini spread with zest-filled lemon juice on the side!”

You just may have the most phenomenal sex of your life.

Feb 212013
 

This piece is written by Spring 2013 intern Natalie, around her thoughts about beginning thesis research on the BDSM and Leather communities. To read more work by current and former interns, check out the Intern Corner section.

As a second-semester college senior, time is winding down and the pressure is picking up. Next week, I begin the two straight months of research and writing that will be devoted to my senior thesis in Feminist and Gender Studies.

The trouble with my thesis is not that I haven’t started yet, or that I’m stressed out about writing it: the trouble is talking to anyone outside of my department about the topic. I am writing my thesis on BDSM and leather culture, likely looking at social hierarchies that exist in this subculture, or at these communities being spaces of resistance. This is a valid topic, and I don’t need to justify it to myself–but I hesitate to answer every time someone asks me what I’m writing my thesis on. A series of assessments begin before I even open my mouth: are they going to judge me? Does this person even know what BDSM is? And if they don’t, I’ll have to explain. And when I do, will this person laugh at me or make fun of me? Will they make assumptions about my sex life?

At a very liberal liberal arts school, I don’t have to be as cautious as I might in the real world. But even so, I made the mistake of opening up to a lab partner a couple of months ago because he seemed genuinely interested, and spent the rest of the homework session enduring jokes about whips and chains at my expense.

The truth is, every time this happens, I am more sure than ever of my choice. A society hostile to deviant sexual expression has driven participants in BDSM acts and relationships to effectively go underground. BDSM practitioners face many of the same issues as other sexual minorities, a realization that to me has been reinforced over and over as I endure an “outing” process every time I talk about my thesis topic.

Given all of this, I was nervous when I applied for a research grant at my school to spend time at the Leather Museum and Archives in Chicago. In fact, I spent most of the proposal justifying why I was even studying this culture, rather than talking about the actual research I will be doing, simply because I was concerned about the review committee’s initial response to a proposal titled “Performative and Actual Inequality in BDSM Culture.” But the more I consider the social stigmas, the more I am motivated to study the histories of leather culture and to be a part of a declaration, reclamation, and creation of an identity. ‘

Feb 162013
 

This is a post by one of my Spring 2013 interns, Rebecca. Find more posts from her and other current and former interns under the Intern Corner section.Shanna

Salt-n-Pepa style. As you take a quick trip back to your jean jacket and spandex wearing days and rock out to this fabulous 90s jam, I must acknowledge that this song (sadly) reinforces some stereotypes around sex and gender that limit both our daily and sex lives (for example, I know many men who enjoy making love). That said, I think Cheryl James and the crew are right about one thing – it is time to truly, and honestly talk about sex.

Americans love sex. We sell cars, laundry detergent, and shampoo with sex. Entire movies are based around sex. Clothing companies write irrelevant words on the butts of women’s sweatpants so we look their behinds. Americans love sex. Or really, American capitalism loves sex. Regardless, every day we are bombarded with images, inferences, advertisements, and conversations about sex, SEX, sex. But what exactly is everyone selling?

We all probably agree that the sex being sold in the advertisement industry is the mainstream definition of sex. Vanilla sex: heterosexual, male on top, female on bottom, penis penetrating a vagina, interaction ceasing when the male ejaculates. Don’t get me wrong: there is nothing wrong with this type of sex. It’s quite lovely. I’ve done it. I can count on one hand how many times my orgasm conveniently, simultaneously, and I might even say magically, paired up with my partner’s, but it has happened and was indeed lovely.

This type of sex is single faceted. I mean, just change one thing about that encounter and you might as well quit. Two men? Whoa!  That just messes up the whole line of events. Female on top? Well…maybe when mainstream culture is feeling a little kinky.

Fascinatingly, when thinking about someone else’s sex life, we commonly default to the sexual interaction described above. When asked to define our own, however, we give as many different answers as there are ice cream flavors in the freezer aisle of your locally-named-chain grocery store. Hmm. Curious.

Jessica Valenti points out in her absolutely stellar book, The Purity MythI’m sorry, stop reading this blog right now, go to your locally owned bookstore, buy this book, read it, let it change your life, return to this bookstore, buy as many copies as you have relatives, friends, and mere acquaintances, then quit your job and begin passing this book out on the street corner, because yes, it is that good…Ahem. As I was saying, Valenti notes that people struggle when asked to get down and dirty and define sex.  Some argue that penetration makes sex. Which is fine and dandy except for the little question of, what is penetrating what?  Is a finger penetrating an anus, a tongue penetrating a vagina, or a penis penetrating a hula hoop? Others argued that engaging in oral sex made sex, sex.  A friend of Valenti’s suggested that the presence of an orgasm determined whether the interaction was sex (a thought provoking definition indeed).

This disagreement on the definition is consistent with the research I conducted at a local college here in Colorado last year. Definitions of sex were not only incredibly varied but also vague.

Let’s recap. 1) We know that we have this mainstream definition of sex that is quite limited. 2) When people are asked to provide their own personal definition of sex, we get a wide variety of answers many of which fall under the mainstream definition and many of which do not. So, why is the definition of sex so important?

Because your sex life depends on it!                                

Whew. Let’s unpack this suitcase. If you wear rose colored glasses, the world looks pink, right?  If you wear goggles that you made out of your younger sister’s training bra…actually if you succeed at that, let me know, that is just impressive…Point is, if you define sex the way the mainstream world defines sex, you can bet your grandpa’s best chocolate fudge cupcake that you won’t be straying far off that road. And even if we do have our own personal definition, we are all being watered by the same rain. It is hard to completely shed the mainstream perspective.

I know what you’re thinking…but you said yourself, that when individuals are asked to define sex they have a wide variety of definitions, not just the one the mainstream pitches to us daily. Absolutely! Amen. But how many people take the time to actually to define sex for themselves?   And out of those, how many individuals first take the time to learn all the things that “sex” could possibility encompass, and then once armed with this universe of possibilities, go forward to then define sex for themselves? And out of those, how many let their partner(s) know their own personal definition of sex?

There are so many possibilities. Thank goodness I found the The Guide to Getting it On, by Paul Joannides to clue me in on the all the options because, holy smokes, they don’t teach you this stuff in sex ed. If you haven’t already heard of this book, it is definitely worth your time, because is a super easy and fun read.

Let’s take the time to explore sex with the hopes of working towards our own definition. This means taking some risks, exploring, allowing yourself to be vulnerable, asserting yourself, and communicating. I mean, let’s be real, isn’t that why we all found our way to this fabulous site?

 

 

 

Feb 082013
 

In the last week, there has been a ridiculous preponderance of racism within the “sex positive” community. Now, racism is ridiculous in and of itself. It has permeated every facet of our culture. However, this racism is beyond blatant, and yet, people within the supposedly allied gay leather community, and the porn community (including a “feminist” identified white cis male porn star) are saying that it is NOT racism, and wouldn’t it be so nice if those angry people of color (and white allies) who are calling it out would just shut the hell up about it, because it is making them uncomfortable that they support, and are amused by/turned on by, something that is racist.

Case #1: Yellow Face in the Burning Angel Parody of the Walking Dead XXX Parody.

First reported by Jezebel here: http://jezebel.com/5980498/walking-dead-porn-parody-relies-on-yellowface. Basically, director Joanna Angel (who has identified as a feminist, and actually done some great things to change the face of porn, and women’s roles in it) decides to put yellow face on actor Danny Wylde, including yellow make up and taped up eyes (yes, people actually do this). I’d assume that everyone would be like “whaaaaa? That’s fucking racist!” Until later, when I saw this: http://business.avn.com/articles/video/BurningAngel-Racist-What-Jew-Talkin-Bout-Jezebel-506028.html#.UQsvDjK_Tpg.twitter. Summation? Apparently, Joanna Angel cannot possibly racist because she’s Jewish. Um. I’m Jewish, and putting someone in yellow face is racist. Period. If for some reason, you couldn’t find a porn start who was ACTUALLY Asian, why not just throw a hat on the actor and call it a day. Since when is porn concerned about being 100% accurate to the script? Alas, it gets worse. Danny Wylde, the actor in question, writes this post: http://trvewestcoastfiction.blogspot.com/2013/01/where-i-try-to-explain-why-i-look-like.html?m=1 about why he looks like an asshole (which he does), and say he’s a feminist (which he’s not – racism is NOT a feminist trait), and then goes on to cisplain/mansplain/whitesplain about how it’s ok, because he plays a rapist on kink.com, but isn’t really, so it’s ok. He never even offers a full apology. A small faction of the porn and a larger faction of the sex positive community went (rightly) up in arms about this incredibly racist act, and they’ve been told that it’s porn, calm the fuck down, and it’s not really racism, because I mean, it’s not like black face or anything. ALERT: It IS racism. Period. And if you support racist acts, you are perpetuating racism. The end.

Case #2: The Portland Eagle leather bar books incredibly racist, classist and sexist drag queen, and then when the community calls them out, they support their decision, and invite folks to attend said performance for dialogue. 

Read all about it (including a video link to said fucked up performance) here on Mollena’s blog: http://www.mollena.com/2013/02/blackface-still-racist-yall/. Based on the previous case of yellow face where people flat out said that it wasn’t racist because it wasn’t black face, then clearly, this is flat out racism, right? Because it’s black face. And making fun of “welfare queens” and women, and mothers, and anyone of color, and the list goes on. CLEARLY, this one is racism and shouldn’t everyone in the marginalized gay community stand up to say this is unacceptable? HA. No. People speaking out against this are now classified as “oh, they’re just Angry Black Women” (um, which they have every right to be given this situation) as compared to community members who are calling out blatant racism. I’m Angry Woman about this issues, and I am not Black. I am white. And guess what, I still calling out fucking racism when I see it. And anyone who tries to defend this act as funny? Guess what. People also think sexist, ableist, homophobic, ageist, classist, etc jokes are funny, but it doesn’t make them any less fucked up. It doesn’t make them any less sexist, ableist, homophobic, ageist, classist, etc. If you like racist jokes, fine – that is your right. But don’t pretend for one second that it ISN’T actually racist. And when your own community members (did I mention that Mollena was International Ms. Leather in 2010?) are telling you that this is messed up and unacceptable, telling them to be quiet, or withdrawing friendships, is not ok. Moreover, if you identify as inclusive, or feminist, or an ally of any sort, say that you’re not going to get involved, or you don’t “comment on these type of things” is ridiculously cowardly. Would you be silent if another type of club booked a comedian that talked about how messed up queer folk and kinky folk were? Would you be silent if someone was beat up for their identity? I would hope not. Remaining silent in this situation is no less cowardly. As Audre Lorde once said, Your silence will not protect you.

I have so much more to say, but it is this is devolving into just a rant, and that is not helpful from me. The people who agree with it know how fucked up these two situations are. I call for other allies, particularly those with white privilege (like myself), to bring more attention to these issues, and to call our community out. It is our responsibility to call out racism and support our brothers and sisters of color. They should not have to be the ones putting themselves on the line about racism, but they almost always are. It is our turn to support them and make sure our communities know that this is absolutely not ok.

Dec 012012
 

Today is World AIDS Day. All day today, December 1st.

World AIDS Day logo

What is it? According to WorldAidsDay.org, “World AIDS Day is held on 1 December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988.”

However, it is so much more than that. Having HIV or AIDS used to be, and still can be, incredibly stigmatized. People are judged for having this illness, regardless of how they got it, their identities, their communities, etc. Originally, it was named a gay man’s disease. Although one of the largest growing group of those newly diagnosed with HIV is straight women of color, it is sometimes still thought of as a disease in the gay man’s community.

Honestly, however people view HIV and AIDS, it doesn’t matter as much as support those who are living with HIV and AIDS (and their loved ones), remembering those who are no longer with us because of these illnesses, and working to prevent the further spread of HIV and AIDS…and that is where it is crucial for people to understand that this isn’t a homosexual disease, that it wasn’t sent by G-d to kill the gays, and that until we can feel empathy or at least sympathy for those living with HIV and AIDS, we continue to stigmatize and hurt those already hurting.

Take a moment today to think about what you have personally done to fight HIV and AIDS, or to support those and their families who have it. Whether it is raising awareness, volunteering with a hospice, donating to a local organization, handing out condoms and dams at Pride, you name it, there are ways to help. Please decide one way that you’re going to help fight HIV and AIDS over the next year…and here’s the important part; DO IT. It’s here, and it’s not going to go away if we close our eyes. So let’s do something to make a change.

Nov 202012
 

transgender day of remembrance

Each year, dozens, and even hundreds of transgender, transsexual and trans* folks are murder world wide because of their gender identity and gender presentation. Today, we remember those we have lost.

More over, those of us with cisgender privilege (our gender matches the sex we were assigned at birth) must work, each and everyday, to make this a safer place for our trans* brothers, sisters and siblings to live. It is unacceptable that they are literally having to fight for their lives on a regular basis, just because of who they are. We must speak up. We must call people out on their transphobic and cisgentric language. We must advocate for laws protecting gender identity for jobs, housing, insurance and more. We must quash violence, and let people know that trans* violence, whether physical, verbal, or emotional, is completely unacceptable and will be punished. We cannot let this continue; this list grows every year, and that needs to stop. Now.

Shanna

Jul 102012
 

Tobi Hill-Meyer, the director/producer of the award winning film Doing It Ourselves (featuring trans women and their sexuality), has a rocking Kickstarter project for a new two-volume film set that is an erotic documentary featuring trans women and their partners called Doing It Again – In Depth.

It is crucial that this film gets the support needed to get off the ground. Trans women, for a number of reasons, are disproportionately under-represented in queer communities, whether queer events, queer conversations, and especially in queer porn. There are a number of discussions about this, and while they are all valid, Tobi, as a trans woman, is moving forward with this project to represent the sexuality and relationships of trans women. This visibility is so important to acknowledge these women as members of various communities, as well as to allow their stories to be shared.

I strongly believe in grassroots community organizing. I know that many of you only have a few bucks to donate; I myself am usually in that boat. However, 10 people donating $5 is $50, and 100 people donating $5 is $500, and it only goes up from there. So please, if you have the ability to support increased visibility for trans women, their sexuality, and their relationship, please donate what you can and help this exciting project get going!

Shanna

Jul 052012
 

I’m not going to lie. I was a hold out. I really, truly, based on the feedback of others, didn’t want to read this book. I didn’t. However, after I started to get requests for press snippets based on the book, I figured that I was being pretty ridiculous to not read it. THIS book is the hot subject in sexuality right now; it’s the Rabbit Vibrator of Sex and the City of 2012. I needed to read it.

So I bought Fifty Shades of Grey and brought it with me on our trip to Florida to read over. I had heard that it poorly represented the kink community, that the writing was terrible, that is was boring, etc. I tried to go in with an open mind, but I’ll admit, I had some bias.

My thoughts:

The writing, especially the first few chapters, felt like an 11th grade essay. It was as if someone had told the author that she needed to be more descriptive, so she would use about four or five adjectives every time she tried to describe something. One might call it flowery language. To me, this was kind of annoying. However, as some folks have pointed out, not everyone has the same reading level, and this use of language might make it more accessible to more people. This is a great point, and while I still may grumble about her descriptions of Kate on the first few pages, I get that this allows more people to read. More people reading is awesome, PERIOD, even if I personally don’t mesh with the writing style.

The characters are interesting in that in some ways, they are over developed, in other ways, they aren’t at all. I think it’s nice having a heroine who isn’t blonde and stereotypically thin yet buxom…on the other hand, I think it’s a little sad that she has to get her self confidence (the little she gains) from someone who is not her. I have trouble supporting the idea that we have to rely on partners to love ourselves. Also, I cannot imagine (also noted by Jack Stratton) that someone is ridiculously “old-fashioned” and formal as Mr. Grey would call Ana “baby.” I mean, really? That was not well thought through.

I have some issues with the idea that he wouldn’t even consider playing with her (or anyone else, for that matter) a few times before bringing up the idea of a full time (or full weekend?) slave contract. I feel like if someone did that in our local community (“If you’re interested in me, you must sign a 24/7 contract before we can see if you like this and if we are compatible together”), we would call out that person for predatory behavior (actually, this has happened in our community, and said person was banned from multiple dungeons for poaching on newbies to the scene, and contracting them to his “house” without allowing them to get their footing first).

So yes, I have issues overall. However, I do appreciate that they covered STI testing and safewords (though I would have rather them talked about dams too, and condoms for oral, rather than just penile-vaginal), which are frequently left out of romance style novels and much erotica. I like that they talked about consent. I don’t like that she was banned from discussing things (I think that is a huge part of being kinky is trying new things, discussing your feelings/reactions with others, and tweaking what your like/don’t like), but I get that is was part of his millionaire schtick.

Is it the BEST intro book into kink? Perhaps not. I personally would recommend Becoming sage by Kasi Alexander
(here is a link to my review of Becoming Sage) as a book I feel better fits the reality of the community (and also has a writing style I like better). However, I think this is a good Gateway Book into kink. If people read this, and it gets them hot, and that then inspires them to join FetLife, read kinky erotica, check out local kink events, and to have their desires fulfilled, then it is absolutely successful, whether or not I think it is perfect. So if you or your “friend” (or actual friend) is considering this, remember to take it with a grain of salt (it IS a romance novel), but know that for many folks, this is the book that revolutionized the way they look at sex. And that, my friends, is an excellent thing!
Click here to buy your own copy of Fifty Shades of Grey .

 

 

May 012012
 

Proud to say that according to GetSTDtested.com and their list of the top 100 Sex, Love and Dating blogs, I’ve been selected as number 29. I’m in good company with Abiola, Scarleteen, Cosmo and more.  What they had to say:

Great sex and relationship blogs are a dime a dozen on the internet, but blogs with written by a qualified sex professional with the same level of sass and realness are rare. Check out Shanna Katz’s website for a high-caliber sex blog written by a woman who knows her stuff. Armed with a master’s degree in human sexuality, Ms. Katz is a Board Certified Sexologist who provides savvy sex education workshops, sex coaching and relationship counseling to the masses by day. But by night, she spreads her sex knowledge in her personal blog that includes Q-and-A sections, insightful pro-sex articles, book reviews and more.
According to a conversation on Twitter, they said they liked how I geared my answers towards all sorts of people, being inclusive of gender, sexes, identities, orientations and more.
To me, this is success. Not being chosen for the list per se, but having people tell me that they notice how accessible the sex education I provide is, and how many people can get use of it.
Win for Shanna Katz.