‘sexual culture’

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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How To NOT Get An Erection

Sex therapy can be complicated. Fortunately, sometimes it isn’t. About three months ago my patient Sam finally started dating again after his wife left him last summer. After a few nondescript experiences, he met Yolanda, they hit it off, and a few weeks later he found himself in bed with her. Two days later he came in for his weekly session. Five minutes before it ended, he mentioned how he couldn’t “y’know” when he wanted to “y’know.” “Oh,” I said. “You didn’t get an erection when you wanted one?” Yes, that was it, poor guy. I knew he wasn’t taking…

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Everything is Now “Potential” Child Porn

It’s official—every picture with a minor in it is now “potential” child porn. Imagine this perfect storm: * A mean-spirited Sheriff’s Department with too much time on their hands; * A school run by spineless bureaucrats; * A population of compliant students’ parents * Detectives who apparently think “innocent until proven guilty” is SO over. They all came together last week at Big Bear Lake High School in Southern California. After the school’s annual yearbook had been out for a while, someone discovered, in the background of a photo of a school dance, a couple in which a young man…

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Anthony Weiner’s “Bad Judgment:” That is SO Not the Point

I wouldn’t want to be Anthony Weiner right now. Because everyone can see he’s conflicted about sex. But c’mon, aren’t you? Isn’t everyone? As Somerset Maugham wrote almost a century ago, “There is hardly anyone whose sexual life, if it were broadcast, would not fill the world with surprise and horror.” Would you want your mental sexual architecture exposed? Of course not. And that’s the problem: Everyone in America is conflicted about sex. But only people with certain kinds of sexual conflict get caught. Some people conflicted about sex never masturbate, never ask a woman what time it is just…

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What Sexual Conditions DON’T Need Treatment

June is Men’s Health Month. So let’s talk about what sexual conditions don’t need treatment. * Juan has no interest in sex most of April Wrong diagnosis: “inhibited desire” Juan is an accountant, and so April 15 is the toughest day of the year for him. Actually, April 14 is the toughest day for him, and the two weeks before that are tough, too: he’s flooded with email and phone calls from anxious clients, angry clients, scared clients, and clueless clients. He works 18-hour days in April, and as the 15th draws closer, he knows what’s coming. Every year it…

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Criminalizing Circumcision: Self-Hatred As Public Policy

Full disclosure: I’m circumcised. Too much information? Tell that to the people—well-meaning or otherwise—who have actually created a ballot measure to criminalize circumcision in San Francisco. Yes, this fall, San Franciscans will vote on whether or not babies (and all minors) can be circumcised. In the wake of the ban’s (unlikely) passage, one can imagine the surgical equivalent of speakeasies or underground abortion clinics to which families bring little Joshua, Omer, or Justin. In the law’s hostility to Judaism, one recalls the 1492 Expulsion ordered by Spain’s Ferdinand & Isabella. But hostility to religion is only one impetus for the…

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