I learned that the Doc Johnson “marital aid” company was mockingly named after Lyndon B. Johnson.
I learned that in 2005, high-end vibrators were given to celebrities in the Golden Globe Awards gift suite.
I learned that a 2009 Gallup poll showed that 92 percent of Americans think that having an extramarital affair is morally wrong.
I learned that sexual and romantic relationships in nursing homes typically have a no-pressure, enjoying-the-moment quality to them, since “no one here is burdened with finding the loves of their lives.”
I learned that some queer people still feel a need to be closeted about their queerness if they want a career in politics. And I learned that, for some bisexual people, this is both easier and harder than being gay.
I learned that gay male sex at rest stops is way, way more common than I’d imagined. I learned that if you’ve ever pulled over to a rest area — summer, winter, any season — you’ve been near men having sex.
I learned to wonder about a question I hadn’t thought about before: If you have sex with a girl, and you’re a trans woman who knows you’re also a girl, but your partner doesn’t know that… is it lesbian sex? Is it lesbian for you, but not for her?
I learned that the entire concept of virginity often means something really different for trans people than it does for cis people. (Not that it’s always so straightforward for cis people…)
I learned that sports journalists get really, really weird when confronted with male athletes who are virgins.
I learned that there are some people in the leather community — not all, probably not even most, but some — who think that at SM play parties, people shouldn’t have orgasms or talk dirty. (To which I can only comment: What the actual fuck?)
I learned that when New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote about prostitution ads in he back pages of newspapers, he acknowledged that many prostitutes are consensual and non-coerced, but said, “They’re not my concern.” (I’d say that I learned that Nicholas Kristof is a douchebag… but I already knew that.)
I learned that there exists a group, the Religious Institute, that examines the intersection of theology and human sexuality. Their president, Rev. Debra W. Haffner, is “completely shocked that contraception is being made to seem as if it’s a controversial issue.” Not sure if she’s being deliberately disingenuous, or if she’s really shocked. If the latter, I need to learn what rock she’s been under for the last decade. Seems like an interesting organization, though. Maybe I need to investigate.
I learned that in the late 1940s, ’50s and ’60s, Church & State magazine, the publication of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, was “studded with stories about often-successful attempts to block access to birth control.”
I learned that some people have called the birth control pill the most important invention of the twentieth century. I think that, while this is something of an overstatement, they definitely have a point.
I learned that, while the mainstream video porn industry is mostly tanking financially, porn parodies of pop culture (such as Spiderman XXX) are flourishing.
I learned that in New York City, half of all underage prostitutes are boys — and only 10 percent are involved with pimps.
I learned that Marilyn Monroe was such a big fan of Jean Harlow that she got Harlow’s hairdresser to dye her own hair blonde.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to learn more about a massively varied variety of kinds of sex, ideas about sex, perspectives on sex… Best Sex Writing 2013 is a great place to go.
Best Sex Writing 2013 is edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel and Carol Queen. To learn more about the book, go to the Best Sex Writing 2013 website, Cleis Press, Goodreads, or Rachel’s personal website. The book is available in paperback and on Kindle.