‘sexual politics’

A Look Back at 2023

2023 was a full year for Sexual Intelligence.

My newsletter now goes to almost 8,000 people every month. That’s in addition to my Sexual Intelligence blog for Psychology Today, which gets 1,100 hits per DAY.

This year I covered my usual topics: making sex more enjoyable; examining America’s War on Sex; explaining & critiquing sex therapy and couples therapy; and sex in the news, including both dark and light-hearted…

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The Scariest Halloween Goblin: Sex Offenders

Every Halloween, in virtually every community, some obsessed individuals play out their heroic rescue fantasies by scaring everyone else about the dangers our precious kids face from strangers waiting to molest them.

Websites, local newspapers, TV morning shows, and activist groups dutifully repeat the same story: that people on Sex Offender Registries right in your own town are treacherous.

And yet the data…

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Two Kinds of Sex—Enjoyment and Identity

People have sex for many different reasons. The more obvious reasons are pleasure and closeness (and for a few people, conceiving). The covert reasons (which a person may or may not be aware of) include feeling attractive; feeling powerful; feeling normal; wanting something in return; and getting revenge on a third party.

This is all pretty standard stuff.

But for many people these days, sex seems to be about something else entirely—not so much about sex as an activity, but as an idea. An identity. A statement of self, of tribe, of belonging. Maybe as a focus of civil rights activism.

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Should Schools Be Allowed to Deceive Parents?

I trust most children to accurately know if they’re hungry, cold, or need a bathroom. I don’t trust children to accurately know if they require medicine, should take math class, or need to lose weight.

Do you?

I trust children to know if they feel uncomfortable, unhappy, lonely, isolated, or different. I don’t trust children to know the best ways to resolve those feelings (it’s our job to teach them). And the more extreme their suggestions are, the less we should trust them.

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Janet Jackson’s Nipple Returns

Way back in 2004 there was Superbowl XXXVIII. The halftime show featured a Janet Jackson-Justin Timberlake duet. Timberlake wore what guys wear in Denny’s, and Jackson wore a black leather bustier over a red lace undergarment.

They closed their song with Timberlake dramatically pulling off the bustier cup covering Jackson’s right breast. For exactly one-half second (I am NOT making this up), half the planet saw her nipple. How do you suppose this story will be re-told in a post-Harvey Weinstein world?

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