Sexual Health

Talking At Lovers

Two weeks ago I spent the weekend in Tacoma, Washington, a guest of Lovers—a large chain of high-end stores selling the latest vibrators and dildoes, whips and handcuffs, DVDs, lube, books, and a million brands of condoms. They do a lot of bachelorette parties there, so they have tons of lingerie on display. Wearing corsets, bustiers, and fishnet hose, the mannequins looked really, really hot. Oops, did I just say that out loud? I only meant to think it. The company is also committed to education. Their stated mission, in fact, is “to provide an exciting environment to explore human…

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Emergency Contraception—Good Preparation for New Year’s Eve

Perhaps your checklist for New Year’s Eve includes: * sexy clothes: to get yourself or a partner in the mood * mood-altering beverage: see above * money: for meals, gifts, fun * extra money: to make sure you get home from all that fun * clean the house or apartment—at least the bedroom (or at least the bed!): just in case * clean and strategically place the sex toys: optional What’s missing from this picture? If you and your colleague are of different genders, birth control. And in case that fails—or, more likely, you do—Emergency Contraception. This is a reminder…

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Condoms: Modern Miracle or Dirty Little Secret?

If you had told Socrates or Queen Victoria that one day there would be an inexpensive little gadget that would prevent pregnancy while allowing you to enjoy sexual intercourse, they would have said “No waaay!” Well, “Waaay!” That gadget is here, and it’s the condom. As with everything sexual, the U.S. has a love-hate relationship with condoms. Americans spend millions of dollars buying millions of condoms every year. But stores often make them hard to find; a billion dollars in your tax money has been spent to discourage young people from using them; people are never shown using or even…

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Pure Romance, 1000 Women—And Me

I recently returned from Las Vegas, where I spoke at the annual convention of Pure Romance. For two hours I was on stage in front of 1,000 ladies who sell sex toys and related items at Tupperware-type parties in their friends’ living rooms. The company thinks of their sales force as peer sex educators, which is fantastic. They realize that a lot of their customers want more than a vibrator—they want sympathy, they want permission, they want information. Some of them want the experience of saying the word “sex” out loud. The executives running Pure Romance actually want to make…

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10 Facts of Life for the New Surgeon General

Among his many tasks, President-elect Obama must select a new Surgeon General. While in many ways it’s a ceremonial post, the SG is supposed to be the country’s medical advocate. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has been suggested as the probable choice. In addition to his other credentials, Dr. Gupta was named one of People Magazine’s “Sexiest Men Alive” just a few years ago. What a contrast. For eight years the Bush administration has been obsessed with regulating Americans’ sexuality–seeing sexuality as a political issue rather than a health issue. So this seems an excellent time to remind the incoming Surgeon General…

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Facebook Bullies Ban Breast-feeding; Breast-feeders Blameless?

Facebook (motto: “nothing is too boring for Facebook”) has banned photos of breast-feeding. Facebook claims the photos are “obscene” and threaten the safety of “children” who go to the site. Yeah, we all know how traumatizing it is for kids to learn that tits are for anything other than sex. As a private company with Terms of Use, Facebook can do whatever it wants. It can even pretend it doesn’t know that “obscene” is a legal term, not applicable in this context. And like senators, priests, and Morality in Media, Facebook can lie and claim that pictures of children nursing…

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