Sex Around the World

My Topless Italian Friend—America’s Enemy?

After two days of teaching in Croatia, I’m taking a couple of days to relax in northeastern Italy before teaching in Germany and New York. Two Italian friends took me to Grado, the seaside town that started as a maritime possession of Imperial Rome, and three centuries later gave Christianity to Venice. I was looking forward to a long walk on one of the Adriatic’s rare sandy beaches. We drove to the shore, parked the car, and walked two minutes. Once on the sand, Marina took off her shirt. She had nothing under it. Our colleague Roberto hardly seemed to…

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London Fears Pics of Really Big Ben

I generally don’t talk about repressive legislation or sexuality witchhunts in other countries, where adulterers can be stoned to death, gays can be executed, consumers of porn can lose their jobs or kids, and artists creating “blasphemous” art can be jailed. But when our cousins across the pond threaten the fundamental rights of their citizens to own sexy pictures, we should care. Especially when their proposed laws sound very, very close to ours. The British Parliament is set to approve a law next week that would criminalize the mere possession of images which the government deems “too extreme.” These would…

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Male & Female In India

Today’s the last day of my 3-week trip to India (click here to see my travel blog), so here are some observations on gender and male-female relations. * First, it really matters which India we’re talking about—Muslim, Sikh, Kerala, tribal, etc.. For example, most women here in the south are so liberated, even Catholics use birth control; in Orissa, by contrast, a friendly adolescent girl said I couldn’t take her photo because “my husband wouldn’t like it.” * Regardless of location, though, India remains a sexually conservative country. Clothes don’t reveal women’s bodies. This seems normal after just a short…

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India’s Ancient Erotic Sculpture

I’m still in India, now in coastal Orissa state. Today we went to a world-famous 1,000-year-old Hindu temple. It was enormous, gorgeous, spectacular. Every inch of the stone exterior was carved with scenes from local and palace life from 10 centuries ago. And so today’s visitor sees wonderfully-preserved scenes of battles, animals, musicians, families…and sex. Lots of sex, in just about every position. Same-gender sex, threesomes, group sex, oral sex–you get the picture. Well, perhaps not. Here, sitting in a park, is this display of explicit erotic behavior bigger than the Lincoln Memorial. And people from across the country come…

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My Work In Delhi

Surprise! I am in India lecturing and vacationing. Yesterday I lectured to the staff of an international NGO on challenges in sexual and reproductive health, a great experience. Monday and Tuesday were my days to meet with the executives and staffs of various NGOs promoting sexual and reproductive health. The work they’re doing in both urban and rural settings is inspirational and instructive. They deal with challenges both similar to and beyond the ones I and other American professionals deal with. These Indian programs are often tied to work in women’s rights; reducing domestic violence; HIV prevention; and promoting the…

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Cheerio From London and Charles Darwin

I just returned from 4 days in London. Great monuments. Lousy food. Charming people. How do they stay so charming eating that lousy food? Say what you will about the Brits (the food isn’t their only fault), they gave the world parliamentary democracy. Not to deny their imperialism and funny hats, but they have often been an island of sanity (literally) in a world gone mad. And every day of my visit last week, I had some of that sanity in my hand. Their 10-pound ($20) bill features a picture of Charles Darwin on the back. Can you imagine that…

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