‘sexual politics’

Oral Sex: You Said A Mouthful

Before the Sexual Revolution of the 1960s, there was a joke popular in New York nightclubs. What do eggs benedict and a blowjob have in common? They’re two enjoyable things you don’t get at home. Yes, kids, there was a time when oral sex was exotic, primarily the province of prostitutes and gay people. Well, times have changed. In the 1994 “Sex in America” national study, Ed Laumann and colleagues 3,432 American adults. They found that about a quarter of their sample had had oral sex in the past year. Today, depending on the study, it appears that over half…

Continue Reading
0 Comments

James Deen, Sex Workers, & Rape

You may have heard that several porn actresses have accused porn actor James Deen of sexual assault. In response, various production companies have terminated their contracts with him. Yeah, there’s bad people everywhere, even in the porn industry. If he raped anyone I hope he’s locked up for a thousand years. The case reminded me of a symposium I attended at Stanford University Law School a few weeks ago on the possible connection between sex work and trafficking, and America’s legal response to each. Panelists included a prosecutor, a sociologist, an anti-trafficking activist, and Maxine Doogan of ESPLERP (Erotic Service…

Continue Reading
0 Comments

Superbowl Sex Trafficking Increase? Super Nonsense

Sex trafficking—the real thing, not the political consumer product or object of sloganeering—involves kidnapping or manipulating someone out of their community, forcing them to engage in sex acts somewhere else, and not allowing them to leave at will. It’s horrendous. It’s not simply prostitution, not even underage prostitution. It’s not making porn films, even under onerous conditions. It’s not stripping or being an escort. An increasing number of groups are intent on persuading Americans that we have a terrible and growing problem with sex trafficking. Their data is virtually non-existent, elided with words like “experts agree,” “a shameful epidemic,” and…

Continue Reading
0 Comments

Should Prison Inmates Have the Right to Masturbate?

I was interviewed about this on Public Radio yesterday. Since it’s a subject I hadn’t given a lot of thought, I prepared by reading up on it just a bit. And I was shocked. It’s actually against the law to touch yourself sexually—in private—if you’re in jail. Sounds barbaric, doesn’t it? OK, you’re behind bars, your body is no longer your own. But if you’re not allowed to masturbate, neither is your soul. Worse, if there’s any disagreement about whether you’ve done it, you automatically lose the argument. There are many cases in which guards either misinterpret prisoner activity and…

Continue Reading
0 Comments

Abstinence Sex Ed? “I’m Baaack…”

Like a bad penny—or like an abusive ex-husband, or a public policy cancer—abstinence is back, just when we thought it was gone. Through the 1970s, U.S. policy was to reduce teen pregnancy. In 1981 the goal was changed, to funding programs to reduce teen sexual activity. During the Bush Administration, $1.5 billion was spent trying to get kids to have less sex. These programs failed completely (other than transferring federal case to Bush supporters). In 2009 the federal government ended most funding for abstinence (although states and school districts continued funding abstinence programs locally), and began funding comprehensive sex ed.…

Continue Reading
0 Comments