My Podcast Interview with “Geeks Without God” »« “This is about adding to, not taking away”: Interview With Charlie Glickman, Co-Author of “The Ultimate Guide to Prostate Pleasure”

Some Things I Learned From Reading “Best Sex Writing 2013″

Best Sex Writing 2013 coverSome things I learned from reading Best Sex Writing 2013: The State of Today’s Sexual Culture (available in paperback and on Kindle):

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.

Comments

  1. freemage says

    I learned that a 2009 Gallup poll showed that 92 percent of Americans think that having an extramarital affair is morally wrong.

    I suspect that what was really learned there was that Gallup (normally pretty solid) still has a long way to go when it comes to designing polls on some subjects. I’d be interested to know if they made any attempt to define their terms or present other options. For me, ‘affair’ entails a deliberate deception of your partner(s), and thus, yes, is wrong. An open relationship, or even an agreed-upon temporary fling, is a completely different beast. A poll that gave folks a menu of options to choose from might come up with more insightful numbers. (Also, that one should really be paired with the estimates of the number of people who have affairs themselves.)

    I learned that, while the mainstream video porn industry is mostly tanking financially, porn parodies of pop culture (such as Spiderman XXX) are flourishing.

    No surprise, there. Given the general ubiquity of internet porn (most of it free-with-viruses), the mainstream stuff on video has pretty much had their entire milkshake drunk by the online community. Parodies (and some other niche) are actually geared to amuse/entertain, rather than just provide wank material, and thus at least make some folks giggle during the non-sexy parts. Casting can be key, here–I’ve been curious about the Scooby-Doo parody ever since I saw the cast pictured on a demotivational poster; they’re about as good a match to the cartoon as you could ask for.

  2. muletonic says

    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?)

    Divorcing sex and BDSM has a long history, possibly originating from back when it was illegal to depict BDSM and sex together in porn, but legal to depict them separately. I think these days there’s a bit of an attitude that truly evolved BDSM practitioners aren’t in it for the sex – instead, it’s some ritual spiritual practice centered around control/consent and sensation.

    Anyway, if folks want to beat each other up and not get off, then more power to them. For me, sex without BDSM is like a cake without topping. I mean, there’s “topping”, but no cake. Nevermind.

  3. leftwingfox says

    Heh, back in the days before the internet, my friends and I were big fans of the parody porn.

    Well, big fans of going into the adult area of the video store and laughing at parody porn titles and descriptions. Not so much the actual porn. It was about 10 minutes of titillation, 30 minutes of “Mystery Science Pornography 3000″ Then 15 minutes of boredom, with some vague enjoyment when rewinding as the men became living shop-vacs.

    My single all-time favourite was a german film. Nothing special… except it was dubbed. Everything. Even the moans. 70’s B-grade kung-fu film dubbing. It was the most awesome thing I ever heard.

  4. Holms says

    I learned that a 2009 Gallup poll showed that 92 percent of Americans think that having an extramarital affair is morally wrong.

    I’m confused. Is this point notable because it’s so …high?

  5. says

    Not to defend Kristol — who is a giant douche-nozzle — but I would be more concerned about sexual slavery and coerced prostitution than the “escorts” and such. I hope that’s what he was on about (but I can’t be arsed to find out).

    Trafficking in women as sex slaves is still a pretty big business.

  6. tyle says

    Kevin, I had the same reaction. Kristof has plenty of shortcomings, but I think he’s okay here. One of his concerns is sexual slavery (a horrific and very real problem; anyone who doubts this, go read Somaly Mam’s book The Road of Lost Innocence). Kristol has opponents in this fight who point to instances of consensual prostitution. His typical response is “that isn’t what I’m fighting against”, or “that’s not what I’m talking about”.

    In other words, Greta’s quote sounds to me like Kristol defending himself against a derail-attempt by a sexual-slavery apologist.

  7. says

    The book is available in paperback and on Kindle.

    But no audiobook (yet, I hope)? Audible appears to have the 2009, 2010, and 2012 editions (I guess 2011 was an off year?). I’m sure Susie Bright is on the case, but for now (for me) this is just a tease!

  8. says

    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.

    Oh. I, uh… thought this was obvious. It was certainly a fact that I was keenly aware of when I was a horny gay closeted Kansas teenager and debating what to do about it. Applies to campground public showers, too, although those are less trafficked.

  9. okstop says

    I think muletonic (#3) has an interesting theory on this, but I’ve definitely seen it. I was briefly involved with a group of very experienced BDSMers who thought talking dirty was okay, but absolutely forbade any SEX during play parties. No one SAID anything about it, of course… it was just UNDERSTOOD.

  10. Uriel238 . says

    I learned that the Doc Johnson “marital aid” company was mockingly named after Lyndon B. Johnson.

    LBJ named his penis Jumbo and had an obnoxious tendency to wave it around when the cameras were off.
    .

    I learned that a 2009 Gallup poll showed that 92 percent of Americans think that having an extramarital affair is morally wrong.

    This sounds like one of those fishy ambiguous polls. An extramarital affair is typically presumed to include deception and a breach of implied sexual exclusivity.
    .
    I wonder if the stats would be the same for an affair with consent of the spouse.
    .

    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.

    Arthur C. Clark decided the two technologies that ushered in a social golden age in Childhood’s End were 1. a perfect contraceptive and 2. the ability to genetically match children with their fathers. I’m not sure if he imagined the stink that the religions would make over losing their control to license sexual relationships.

  11. Uriel238 . says

    I was briefly involved with a group of very experienced BDSMers who thought talking dirty was okay, but absolutely forbade any SEX during play parties. No one SAID anything about it, of course… it was just UNDERSTOOD.

    One of the local play party hostesses wrote an article “How does somebody get laid around here?” And then themed her next play party Fucking! She and I were the only ones who actually had sex at the event. Myself, I found the intimacy to not mesh well with the semi-public nature of the party (we were in a side-room but it was still open access and others freely walked in on us).
    .
    I’m still not sure how one could prohibit orgasms, or even enforce them not taking place.

Leave a Reply