Making Sex Better

Beyond Orgasm

Today is National Orgasm Day throughout Great Britain. We don’t have such a day here in the U.S. (although good Americans do observe National Masturbation Day on May 7). In a country that criminalizes vibrators and classifies contraception as abortion, celebrating orgasm is a little advanced. But let me speak against National Orgasm Day for a moment. Because as a sex therapist, I observe people making way too much fuss about orgasm. Don’t get me wrong, I think orgasms are fine—hey, some of my best friends have them. But orgasm lasts, what—six, eight seconds? As good as those 8 seconds…

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New New York Governor & Wife: ‘We Had Affairs’ (Yawn. Yay!)

It’s a great country when a blind black man can become governor of the nation’s most important state. And David Paterson, within hours of his inauguration, made it an even better country by discussing the extramarital sex he and his wife Michelle each had several years ago. Their acknowledgment was elegant in its frankness, lack of apology, and limit on details. “I didn’t want to be compromised, I didn’t want to be blackmailed,” stated Paterson. He said he hoped his openness would help New Yorkers trust him and help everyone move forward to focus on governing. What an amazing idea:…

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College Students and Anal Sex

This week is my annual winter college lecture tour with TV star Sue Johanson. Valentine’s Day is when schools often hold Safer Sex programs, so we’re lecturing to huge groups of college students in upstate New York, Green Bay, and Columbia, Missouri. As always, there’s enormous interest in anal sex: how do you do it? How do you make it less painful? Is it dangerous? How do you talk someone into it? I always answer this set of questions in two ways. First, I share information: the importance of lube, the use of breathing, going verrrrrrry slowly, and why condoms…

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Sex On My Birthday

I don’t expect to have sex on my birthday, which happens to be today. I don’t mind sex on my birthday; I just don’t expect it. My patients have taught me that expectations like that create problems. It’s even worse when you don’t tell your partner what you’re assuming. But say you’re like many people. You look forward to sex on your birthday, anniversary, weekend away, or the day that the kids are with their uncle. You buy a bottle of champagne, or frilly undies, or flavored condoms. Maybe you drop a few hints. You tell your best friend what…

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Growing Beyond Being Sexually “Normal”

Last week I gave a workshop to 120 psychologists in Portland, entitled “When Sex Gets Complicated: Porn, Affairs, Kink, & Other Clinical Challenges.” I talked about the kinds of activities patients—people—do, such as S/M, going to strip clubs, and role-playing in private or public. Yes, and porn, always gotta talk about porn. One of the changes in American sexuality since I started teaching 20 years ago is that today, everybody asks about porn. The attendees listened intently, laughed at my jokes, bought my books, and took away plenty of ideas to use at work on Monday. Despite discussing various offbeat…

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Is “Cum” Vulgar? (Is Lenny Bruce Still Dead?)

Few legal specialties are as boring as trademark law—unless, of course, someone wants to trademark a sexually-oriented device, phrase, or logo. The U.S. trademark office is supposed to be a dull bureaucracy that simply protects Americans’ intellectual property, thereby encouraging innovation. First you invent a clever logo or slogan. You register it with the government, spending way too much on a lawyer whose overworked paralegal fills out a bunch of forms. Then you promote it, the public loves it, and you make money and get laid. Since you registered it nobody can copy it, so you can continue reaping the…

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