Sex Around the World

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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Singing, Dancing—and Eroticism, Around the World

I’m teaching this week in Buenos Aries, Argentina. It’s still warm here (it’s their autumn), and the streets of this cosmopolitan metropolis (13,000,000 people) are filled, day and night. The Portenyos (residents) are both passionate and physical; for starters, men and women walk with a casual, confident air, moving their hips, tossing their hair about. They hug and kiss each other on the street. No matter where you go, there’s always several couples making out. The habits of the locals here are very, very different from those in Vietnam. If you followed my trip there in January, you’ll recall how…

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Seeing the Story of Rice—From Farm to Philippines

Today was a satisfying day on the Delta. Rice is the principal form of food for half the world. And we saw its entire life cycle in just a half day. We started by taking a boat to a small village. We gingerly walked the edges of a rice field, admiring the beautiful green plants, row after row, as far as we could see. We also saw the vegetables grown to the paddy’s side, with three women on their haunches pulling weeks. The two young women were the niece and daughter-in-law of the older women. I was dripping with sweat…

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Life on the Mekong Delta

The Mekong Delta was already hot and humid at 8:00 on a winter morning. But I’m getting ahead of myself. After driving south from Hue I checked into the Golden Sands Hotel in Hoi An, and was ushered into a suite about 35 feet from the South China Sea. I spent the next few days walking on the beach, looking at the beach, and thinking about the beach. In between these important activities I also toured ancient Hoi An. The Golden Sands Hotel is exactly the kind of resort that I don’t think should be built. But now that it’s…

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On Vietnamese TV

Sexual Intelligence continues reporting live from 3 weeks in Vietnam. Last night I was interviewed for an hour on O2, Vietnam’s independent lifestyle TV channel. The set was pretty familiar, as was the three-camera setup, spike-haired makeup guy, and sound guy who threaded the mike cord under my shirt with a nonchalant air of entitlement. Eventually it was 3-2-1 and we were rolling tape. The interviewer had clearly been to my website, knew my books (a happy contrast to American TV!), and asked very intelligent questions. We discussed differences between U.S. and Vietnamese ideas of gender, love, and marriage; I…

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Teaching Counseling Skills in Hanoi

Sexual Intelligence continues to report from a three-week trip to Vietnam. I’m reaching the end of 5 days in Hanoi. Today I began my two-day seminar in Hanoi. I have 2 days with 20 professionals, teaching both general counseling skills and sexuality counseling. It’s quite a challenge, as the group is heterogeneous in terms of experience and background—some hotline workers, some physicians, some long-term clinicians, etc.. Only 4 of them are over 30 years old. And only 3 are men. As in many non-western countries, a lot of their concept of counseling involves telling people what to do—either from a…

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