Sexual Intelligence Blog

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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If I Say “Blowjob,” Will I See Dental Floss?

You’ve probably had the experience of going to Amazon.com and receiving suggestions about what you might enjoy next, given what you recently purchased. You like Frank Sinatra? Try Ella or Duke. You bought Season Three of American Idol? Here’s 10% off on a lobotomy. But now that’s so Old Thing. The Next New Thing is an internet phone service that will be completely free—in exchange for sending you ads while you talk. Special ads related to what you’re discussing on the phone at that very moment. As with Skype, consumers plug a headset and microphone into their computers, dial a…

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“Garden-Variety Porn?”

I testified as an expert witness last week in San Diego. Mr. N. was on trial for allegedly molesting his three nephews and raping his niece. The police found 5,000 porn images on his computer, which was being pushed as a key piece of evidence. The defense attorney requested my testimony about the typical relationship between collecting porn and violating people. The American trial system is frankly adversarial. That means the government’s lawyer tried to make me look like an unqualified, prejudiced, drooling idiot. Of course, people do that in other parts of one’s life, but they usually don’t admit…

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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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Limiting Marriage to Pregnant Brides & Shotgun Weddings

Maryland’s highest court has upheld a 34-year-old state law banning same-gender marriage, rejecting an attempt by 19 adult Americans to marry the partner of their choice. The divided (4-3) Court of Appeals ruled that limiting marriage to a man and a woman does not discriminate against gay couples or deny them constitutional rights. Since marriage is a government-endorsed contract that confers government-created benefits (regarding taxation, inheritance, travel, healthcare, etc.), how can withholding those benefits from certain couples NOT constitute discrimination? More troubling than this illogic, however, is the judges’ statement that prohibiting same-gender marriage promotes the state’s interest in heterosexual…

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The Real Loss of September 12

For the first time, today’s column is not about sex. Every American knows what happened on this day six years ago. And every American knows what we lost: people, buildings, our sense of predictability. We lost the last remnant of civilized air travel. One by one, we lost many of our cherished rights. We lost over 1 trillion dollars—10% of America’s entire annual Gross Domestic Product. Our government started a war against an innocent country ruled by a sadistic tyrant—a war that still rages out of control. No one knows if we are now actually safer. But every American feels…

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