Sex Around the World

Film Review: Fellini’s “Amarcord” (“I Remember,” 1973)

Today I had the great pleasure of watching the masterpiece “Amarcord” again. The film is a charming series of vignettes set in Fellini’s seaside hometown during his childhood in 1930s Italy. A warm and gentle comedy, it lovingly skewers the platitudes by which everyday people manage their daily lives. Although Fellini is ever the romantic, he is also honest. And so a film about early adolescence includes story after wry story of adolescent sexual fantasy. We see daydreams of erotic conquest, braggadocio that cannot be fulfilled (including the largest breasts on this earth), boys lovingly tailing the town’s glamorous hairdresser,…

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Sex Ed & China: Ambivalent to the Core

If you’ve been following my travel blog, you know that I’ve been in China, training sex education teachers and psychology graduate students. China has 1.35 BILLION people (4 times the size of the U.S.), and has been involved in policy debates regarding family planning and sexual behavior for decades. They’re currently reevaluating their “one family, one child policy,” and of course sex education is part of the policy debate. The other night I lectured for two hours to sex education teachers-in-training at Chengdu University, in south-central China. The topic was “Teaching Sexuality Education: How? Why?” About 100 students, most between…

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“Feminism” In Iceland: Saving Women From Their Own Adulthood

Iceland, the world’s oldest democracy, is now heading in exactly the opposite direction. And they’re doing it in a familiar way—by eliminating choices regarding sex. Iceland has now criminalized all strip clubs. And forget even something as quaint as a topless bar; the repression of the 1950s is looking positively progressive, as the law even makes it illegal for a business to profit from the nudity of employees. What makes this law particularly repulsive is the crowing of self-proclaimed “feminists” and “women’s advocates,” who seem unable to grasp the simple idea of adult choice. Member of Parliament Kolbrún Halldórsdóttir says,…

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Ukraine, Darwin, & Miniskirts

I’m wrapping up a two-week teaching and vacation trip to Ukraine. The former Soviet republic is west of Russia, east of Poland, south of Belarus, and north of the Black Sea (oil anyone?). It’s been a rough neighborhood for some 20 centuries. For years people have raved about the beautiful Ukrainian women. Sure, whatever. Well, now I get it. They are beautiful—and not only do they know it, they show it off every minute of every day. But it’s confusing, which is why I’m telling you about it. This is a country of poverty and powerlessness. There isn’t enough money…

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Talking About Sex in Austria

I’ve been in Graz, Austria since Friday, teaching a couples seminar on Authenticity. We spent today discussing sexuality. Actually, I did most of the discussing. Talking about sex is not something people in Austria do easily. When they did talk about sex today, it was mostly to discredit talking about sex. “Asking your boyfriend questions about sex takes the fun away,” said one 30-something businesswoman. “Yes,” agreed another, “it takes time. And it makes everything too slow.” “You just get into hassles,” said a tall man from Slovenia in his late twenties. “You say something, she disagrees, and soon you…

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