‘sexuality’

Rule 34: What It Says About Your Sexuality

Rule 34: If it exists, or you can imagine it, there is porn of it. No exceptions. Rule 34 summarizes everything about sexuality. It says that human sexual fantasy is limitless. It says that anything can be eroticized, can be arousing, can be life-affirming. It reminds us that any ideas we have about what’s normal sex are about us, not about sex. I’m always telling patients “don’t blame sex for your ideas about sex.” Rule 34 reminds us exactly what pornography is: a library of human eroticism. Pornography is a celebration of how humans can stretch their erotic imagination—sometimes in ways…

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Norway, Immigrants, and Sex Education

If you asked 1,000 people, “what’s the defining thing about you?” some might say “my sexuality,” but most would not. Norway is holding classes for African and Middle Eastern immigrants whose fundamental values clash with those of Norwegian—that is, Western—culture. And on what aspect of Western culture are classes focusing on? Norway’s values about sexuality. The classes emphasize the equality of women, their autonomy, and their right to say no to sex—even to their own husbands. Attendees learn about local customs—the kinds of things women wear, the fact that they walk around unescorted, and that when they talk or smile…

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(Not-So) Random Thoughts About Sex

Each of these thoughts deserves a post of its own, but after a day of special foods, special company, and hours of Masterpiece Theatre (about Henry VIII), a few words about each feels just right. * Real sex doesn’t feel like porn looks. It’s usually less intense, less gravity-defying, less taboo-breaking, and more about the people trying to connect. Therefore real sex often has a lot of kissing, hugging, and, well, non-“sex” in it. And because it isn’t scripted or edited, real sex often has moments of frustration, awkwardness, disappointment, clumsiness, and misunderstanding. It’s best to laugh together at these…

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The Dirty Little Sex Secret of Therapy

It’s National Psychotherapy Day. I’ve been a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist for 34 years—over 35,000 hours of therapy with men, women, and couples. I make a living from it. Most of my friends are therapists. Like most therapists, I’ve been in therapy more than once. I really, really believe in it. Nevertheless, it’s time, once again, to critique the institution of therapy. Today’s criticism: If the public knew how little most therapists learn about sexuality, they’d be stunned. While there are exceptions, here’s what most therapists (and social workers) in America learn about sex as they’re being trained: *…

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What Italians Want to Know About Sex

Well, it’s actually Croatians. The Croatian medical students with whom I worked in Ravenna last week. More than once, they asked how sex has changed since the invention of the internet. It’s an important question. On the one hand, there are some tangible ways: * Porn is now available everywhere, all the time, in every possible configuration. * There are new ways to meet people for sex: escort services, apps like Grindr, websites like Ashley Madison and Sugar Babies. * It’s easier than ever to buy sex toys, lube, condoms, and other products, with privacy and low prices, from reliable…

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Creating a Generation of Young Porn Criminals

I recently received the following inquiry: I just found out my 9-year-old daughter has been looking at hard-core adult porn (“Ramrod butt busters,” “Sweet on teacher,” etc.). She spent a weekend at my sister’s, who let her use her laptop. When my sister and I reviewed her internet history, it was obvious; then I looked at my daughter’s iPad, and was shocked all over again. I don’t want to shame my kid about sex, but I want her to be safe. The thought of her absorbing this stuff makes me sick. What should I do? Should 9-year-olds be looking at…

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