Category Archives: Sexuality

Way, Way Too Much of a Good Thing.

A woman talks about dealing with Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder, a condition which causes her to have 100-200 spontaneous orgasms a day. Her  condition has caused her to shy away from human contact, and left her depressed and lonely.

[via Gerry Canavan]

Your Monday Random-Ass Roundup: Nuts about ACORN

Today in my office, a pimp and his prostitute came looking for advice on where to score some blow and advice on how to fill out their W-2s. When I told them what they could do, they accused me of encouraging them to engage in public masturbation. I hope Beck and Co. don’t get hold of the video:

pimp

It’s hard out here for a pimp. No, really. James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles (not pictured above) risked their lives, limbs and a camcorder to infiltrate the den of “thug criminality” that is the largest organization of poor and working families in America.

This is a time for us to appreciate their deep commitment to maligning ACORN, which clearly is an issue of utmost importance in these most troubled and divisive of times. I am sure their hearts and motives are pure.

Now if we can, let us move forward and consider some of the news of the weekend:

1. As always, if you want to learn something new or interesting or possibly infuriating about health care reform, reading Ezra Klein is essential. (Blackink)

2. Are pregnancy, bunions, acne, or receiving therapy or counseling pre-existing conditions that might allow health insurers a reason to deny people coverage? Of course. Best health care system in the world, eh? (Blackink)

3. Officially, according to a U.S. Census report, the Bush years were full of fail. h/t John Cole. (Blackink)

4. Go with your first instincts, Roxanne Wilson. (Quadmoniker)

5. Massachusetts might appoint an interim replacement for the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by the late Ted Kennedy by the end of the week. (Blackink)

6. In an e-mail sent to friends and supporters last week, Van Jones made his first public comments since resigning from the White House. Said Jones: “Of course, some supporters actually think I will be more effective on the ‘outside.’ Maybe so. But those ideas always remind me of that old canard about Winston Churchill. After he lost a hard-fought election, a friend told him: ‘Winston, this really is just a blessing in disguise.’ Churchill quipped: ‘Damned good disguise.’ I can certainly relate to that sentiment right now. :)” (Blackink)

7. D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty is cutting federally funded child care in the poorest wards of the District. Making it more difficult for single mothers to bring in money (or inviting child neglect cases) seems like a counter intuitive way of addressing city budget issues, at best. (Shani-o)

8. Something we probably won’t see in any campaign brochures from Texas Gov. Rick Perry next year: Texas remains first in the nation in rates of uninsured residents and uninsured children. Upholding family values and rebuffing creeping socialism … I love my home state. (Blackink)

9. Also related: Perry is not a very smart or honest man. (Blackink)

10. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) backed off prior claims that President Obama is a socialist because, uh … he’s not one. (Blackink)

11. Among those at the Values Voter Summit this weekend, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee was the clear choice for 2012 Republican presidential nominee. The 600 voters said abortion was the most important issue in determining their choice. What else is there to say about that? (Blackink)

12. Also at the Values Voter Summit, the chief of staff for Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma made the case that: 1. we should trust the sexual instincts of prepubescent boys; 2. bigotry against homosexuals is fine by him; and 3. “all pornography is homosexual pornography.” Video here. Sigh … Michael Schwartz and his ilk are almost completely beyond ridicule. (Blackink)

13. So rather than resort to ridicule, Amanda Marcotte moves the conversation forward to talk about some of the very real problems with porn. Which don’t include making boys turn gay. (Blackink).

14. Don’t you love links about porn? Yes. Well, here’s another: “The awkward truth, according to one study, is that 90 percent of 8-to-16-year-olds have viewed pornography online. Considering the standard climax to even the most vanilla hard-core scene today, that means there is an entire generation of young people who think sex ends with a money shot to the face.” Whoa. (Blackink)

15. Feminist Finance speculates on where she’d be if she hadn’t rejected all the “dudely money advice” she’s received over the years. (Shani-o)

16. BitchPh.D puts out a call for volunteers for the 40 days for CHOICE campaign. (Blackink)

17. For John and Elizabeth Edwards’ sake, I hope his former aide is lying about this: “Mr. Edwards once calmed an anxious Ms. Hunter by promising her that after his wife died, he would marry her in a rooftop ceremony in New York with an appearance by the Dave Matthews Band.” Please let that be a lie. (Blackink)

18. Let us mourn the death of American civility with Jude at First Draft. (Blackink)

19. Bruce Bartlett remembers Irving Kristol, father of neoconservatism. (Jamelle)

20. According to Marcus Buckingham at the Huff Post, women have grown increasingly unhappy as they made professional and social progress over the past 40 years. There’s a lot to digest in the provocative piece, and I get the feeling something is missing from this analysis. I need someone smarter than me to fill in the gaps. (Blackink)

21. After six years, Leslie Bennetts says The New York Times is finally attempting to set the record straight about the “Opt-Out Revolution” – well-off women who quit their careers to become full-time mothers. (Blackink)

22. Crooked Timber highlights a recent op-ed in The Chronicle of Higher Education that points out the problem of poor, black and Hispanic students choosing to go to less-demanding college institutions and an overreliance on standardized tests. (Blackink)

23. Colorism isn’t just the purview of black folk — it exists in the South Asian community as well. Sepia Mutiny notes a campaign that’s attempting to address the fear of darker skin. (Shani-o)

24. After charges were dropped last week against five men accused of raping a Hofstra University freshman, Amanda Hess parses some of the many problems of living in a rape culture. That includes false rape accusations. (Blackink)

25. In case there was ever any doubt, Andrew Sullivan has major pull. (Blackink)

26. While I was watching the Giants thump the Cowboys and the season premiere of “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” apparently Neil Patrick Harris and the Emmy Awards were putting on quite the show. (Blackink)

27. I’m finding myself agreeing with Alyssa again: you should definitely get down to your nearest newstand or bookstore, pick up a copy of the latest New Yorker and read Ta-Nehisi’s piece about MF Doom and hip-hop. And, like her, I might quibble a bit with a few parts of the feature. Then again, we’re both from the South. (Blackink)

28. Harry Allen asks if Kanye is doomed to become “the next O.J.”? At the least, Kanye’s “victimization” of Taylor Swift has drawn out some of the bigots among us. (Blackink)

29. Nearly four-fifths of NFL players are bankrupt or struggling financially within two years of retirement. The Business Insider looks at some of the reasons why. (Blackink)

30. And because I’m from Houston and hate the Dallas Cowboys, I really enjoyed this:

Feel free to drop some links that would be of interest or chat among yourselves. Let’s hope we’re all in for a great week.

Deuces.

Does It Pay to Play Hard to Get?

A reader, “Unsure” asks Dan Ariely, the author of Predictably Irrational, for advice: she wants to jump into bed with a guy [George] that she really likes, but wonders whether she should I make him wait.

“After all, there must be some reason that all those books and magazines (not to mention my mother) champion the make-him-wait rule,” she said. “But does it really work?”

Ariely’s response raised my eyebrow.

…making the guy sweat a little (no, not like that) is in your best interest if you want to maximize the chances f a long term relationship. The reason lies in cognitive dissonance, which refers to what we do when our beliefs and actions misalign: Can’t change the cold, hard facts? Then change your beliefs!

The classic experiment here comes from psychologists Leon Festinger and James Carlsmith, who had participants perform a boring task and then paid them either $20 or $1 to convince someone else that the task had been great fun. Everyone then rated the task, with the result that the $1 participants rated the task more positively than did the $20 crew. While the $20 group could explain away the dissonance between their action (“I told someone the task was riveting”) and their belief (“It actually bored me to tears”) via money (“I was paid to promote the task”), the $1 individuals could not because they could not justify misleading others for such a small amount of money– so they changed their initial belief (“I must really like the task, to have promoted it”) and they ended up rating the task more positively.

To give you an example that is closer to our social life, look at fraternities: loyalty to frats increases with the amount of hazing, since pledges tell themselves, “I did a lot of embarrassing stuff for my frat – it must really matter to me.”

So, going back to your dilemma, Unsure, cognitive dissonance suggests that if you really want a guy, you have to create a dissonance for him, so that he will say, “Wow, if I put in all this effort for the woman – I must love her.”

This means that instead of putting out early, you have George pursue you. Instead of splitting the check, you let him pick up the entire tab. Instead of calling him up and suggesting dates, you leave the calling and planning up to him. In other words, make him work, and he will rationalize it by deciding he loves you.

Yeah, no. I’m not sure this reader wants to follow dating advice from someone who seems to believe in the fundamental rightness of both The Rules and the fallacy of sunk costs. And that frat/hazing analogy is all kinds of janky; I’d wager that greater loyalty from longer pledging periods has to do with the relationships you form with your fellow pledges (who also act as a buffer against dropping out midway through pledging) and more time being exposed to the rigorous indoctrination of the intake process. None of that is true in actual flesh-and-blood dating world. (Or maybe it is and I’ve just been really lucky.)

But what if “George” hates all those quaint little dating games? What if he’s a struggling grad student who would really cotton to a cool, understanding woman who offered to go dutch (or  GASP! — pay for the whole meal)?  Way too many variables, because, y’know, people are complicated, with different turn-ons and dealbreakers.* There are lots of practical arguments for waiting before getting it in (conversations about expectations and sexual health, etc.) but this isn’t one of them.

*In my experience, people tend to shoehorn the narratives of their failed relationship into neat little boxes that overemphasize deviation from their personal values (“he/she didn’t respect me because i slept with him/her too soon!”) while paying less attention to the practical shortcomings of those relationships (immaturity, incompatibility, external obligations, and so on).

Your Monday Random-Ass Roundup: A drinkable moment

If this post from Thomas Lifton passes for true American Thought, then we’re all doomed: “I think this photo constitutes another major Obama blunder. As some AT commentators point out, this picture becomes a metaphor for ObamaCare.” A former colleague once told me, “Blackink, don’t argue with logic. Because logic will argue with you.” Truer words …

On a slightly more positive – and logical – note, here’s your PostBourgie-approved reading material from the weekend:

Have you all seen President Obama’s official Kenyan birth certificate? The document that finally proves – once and for all – that Obama is the Antichrist sent back to Earth to turn the U.S. into a third-world mudhole and bleed hard-working real Amurikins of their tax dollars in the form of reparations? No. Of course not. Because one doesn’t exist. (Blackink)

According to a bunch of economic indicators, the recession may be slowing down. Good news, but any potential recovery probably won’t be quick enough for the 1.5 million people who will probably run out of unemployment benefits in the next few months. (G.D.)

This is your new Republican party: Writes Like She Talks posts 13 candidates in the GOP “Young Guns” program — an initiative to challenge sitting House Dems (unsurprisingly, very few of them are actually “young”). Guess what? Out of the 13 GOP challengers, one is a woman, and two are Asian men. Meanwhile, five of the races are challenging Democratic women. (Shani-o)

Our very own Jamelle, Matt Y, Steve B and Ezra offer thoughtful rebuttals – some might call them smackdowns – of Ross Douthat’s column today praising Texas as a “model” economy. As a sort of aside, I had quite a chuckle when Jamelle referred to Ross “an affirmative action hire.” Good one. (blackink)

Adam at TAPPED notes the state of leadership in Black America. It ain’t pretty. (Shani-o)

Lou Dobbs has become a “publicity nightmare” for CNN. (G.D.)

In case you missed it, here’s the text of the e-mail Boston police officer Justin Barrett sent to Boston Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham. What’s funny is that he criticizes Abraham for her “ridiculous” and “substandard” writing. What’s scary is that he thinks suspects don’t have rights. Here’s hoping no one ever again sees this guy trailing them in their rearview mirror. (Blackink)

In the early 1800s, firefighting was a private, for-profit industry in most urbanized U.S. cities. And it might surprise you – or not – to know that the industry was “corrupt, bloated and expensive.” Sound familiar? (Blackink)

Hortense at Jez takes to task another one of the “stupidly named sociological gangs” women frequently find themselves placed in by the world. Like Cougars, MILFS, and PUMAs, the latest term is “TWITS” and it stands for “Teenage Women in their Thirties.” Ugh. (Shani-o)

Michael Pollan, self-appointed champion of food and foodies everywhere, pens a piece in the Times Magazine on television’s role in the death of real home cooking. mute sees his latest pronouncement as snobby and ineffective; Amanda Marcotte calls him antifeminist. (I wonder what our resident kitchen maestros universeexpanding and Jamelle think about his conclusions) (G.D.)

There’s absolutely no reason that a cop should tase a 72-year-old woman on a dare. (Blackink)

Business woman and blogger Penelope Trunk muses about when to work on romance, and when to work on … work. (Shani-o)

A luxury condo in downtown Fort Myers, Fla., has 32 stories and only one tenant. (Blackink)

College Humor offers a solution to MySpace’s problem: dead accounts. (I think I might need that MySpace Hospice option.) (Shani-o)

Baatin, one-third of the original Slum Village lineup, was found dead in his home. He was 35. (Jay Dilla, the hugely influential producer who was the group’s most famous member, died in 2003 from complications due to lupus.) (G.D.)

New York, Boston and Chicago round out the top 3 on Forbeslist of best cities for singles. But Milwaukee at No. 9 and Miami at No. 29? Really? (Blackink)

The best take on Michael Vick, The Commish and the sanctity of The Shield that I’ve read so far: “Since he was first covered by the media, prosecuted by the government, and admonished by the NFL with such brio, Vick has served as a vessel for the country’s anger toward black men. There was little effort made to understand what he did and why he did it, as though stopping to do so would necessarily excuse it. Beyond this lack of general curiosity and empathy, there was an ugly racial element. To be blunt, Vick’s crime was a black one.” (Blackink)

Rob Neyer, Scott Lemieux, Allen Barra and Will Weiss take issue with Toure’s somewhat poorly reasoned review of three books largely centered on steroids in baseball. (Blackink)

Joe Jackson explains to us the difference between spanking and beating. (Shani-o)

And at this point, Mariah has pretty much proved her point about Eminem being obsessed with her. Who keeps the voicemails of someone they slept with once, several years ago? More on this later in the week. (Blackink)

Oh. And could someone tell Stephon Marbury to turn off the camera? Please?

“Let Me Wear You Out.”

Ever have a song catch you off guard while you’re doing something else? I was doing some reading, and I had my “Indie Soul” playlist going when a song I love came on. I recognized it and smiled when it started, and then went back to reading. But it dragged me out of my book after about 4 minutes, when the final lyrics were moaned out by the fantastic Tunde Adebimpe (it was a TV on the Radio cut, of course).

Now you’re two hours away from the start of your day
And you can’t be late, so let’s get straight
Let me wear you out…let me wear you out…

The track is “Wear You Out.” It’s one of the hottest songs about desire ever recorded.

Ta-Nehisi had a great discussion going this week over at his spot, about the lyrics of another TVoTR song from their latest album Dear Science called “Lover’s Day.”

Adebimpe sings: “I want to love you all the way off, I want to break your back.”

From what I read, the disagreement amongst his commenters was over whether the lyric was an innocent expression of desire, or if there’s simply violence and domination inherent in sexuality, or if the violence is accepted because that’s the way men frequently express desire. Ta-Nehisi suggests that those of us interested in learning about how men process desire should listen to more TVoTR.

I did and do get disturbed by certain common phrases used to discuss hetero sex by a lot of the dudes I knew in college. There’s “beat it up” and “smash” and “cut” and “blow her back out” and many more that I’m sure I’m not remembering. And on one hand, those phrases contain the potentially thrilling expressions of strength and dominance that many women enjoy. But they don’t speak to the tenderness and submission that are just as often parts of sex. Without context, they appear to be about pure, unadulterated violence.

Now, for some reason, “wear you out” and “break your back” don’t irritate me the way “beat it up” and “smash” do. I don’t know exactly why. But I do know that, in many circles, saying “making love” would earn me a snicker, while any one of the former expressions would pass without comment.

I think I’m rambling now. I guess I could tie this to some grander point about gender and misogyny and sexual violence in the hip hop community, but I think I’ll quit while I’m ahead. I do think this might be something as simple as: men talk about sex more frequently and in more spaces than women do, so the terminology they use becomes normalized, for better or worse. And I wonder if it’s my responsibility, as a thinking woman who is firmly anti-misogynist, to call it out when I hear it.

Thoughts?

Revisiting a Bad Mel Gibson Movie.

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The New York Times  decided to delve deep into the juicy depths of female sexuality. Meredith Chivers, a 36-year-old sexologist, has probed the subject long and hard, wrapping herself into contradictions trying to answer the question posed by Freud a century ago: “What does a woman want?”

Ok, sorry. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so surprised, but the story is the Times most e-mailed today, and it is being chattered about everywhere. Is the work discussed ground-breaking? Sexist? Great discussions, but I warn you now: You won’t find any of them here.

The article poses a lot of ideas that ring true with me, because of my life experiences, and some that don’t. I confess, though, these were the most pressing questions my mind raised as I read the article: How did the women insert the little probe used to test vaginal blood flow? Were they naked when they took the test? What kind of calisthenics was the woman doing (and is there more than one kind)? Do bonobos have sex face-to-face (I thought it was only humans and chimps)? How did the women in the fMRI scanner masturbate (toys, or the trusty-old right hand)? And who volunteers for tests like this, anyway? And I thought, of course women like the idea of being pinned up against the wall. I can’t even write about it without my mind going. . .  elsewhere.

Maybe my mind’s dirty. I also think it poses what I find a fatal flaw in the piece: I just don’t think female desire is all that mysterious. I also don’t think it’s necessarily bad to posit the idea women might think of being submissive during sex. Just because that might be true doesn’t mean they can’t also be in control of their sexual destinies, or view women as sexual objects rather than sexual subjects. We’re assigning submission a negative quality.

It’s not to say these inquiries aren’t worth it. But the increasing medicalization of desire (researchers are working on a female Viagra-type drug) was one of the topics discussed in the book “Sex in Crisis,” (which is not good, but I just finished anyway); it posited the way we think about sex today as a dangerous new revolution. And one of the things I took from the book is that the Christian Right has changed the way we think about sex because it treats our sexual behavior as something at odds with the way we want, or ought to want, it to be. I think this article does as well. This is sexist, but I kind of wish it had been written by a woman. Its gee-whiz quality annoys me.

But this post was meant to find out what you all thought about the article. So please, do tell.

Getting Ahead, Getting Head.

Penelope Trunk tries to figure out why it is that educated women get more head. Her editor said the link is “coincidental, not causal,” as women who are more educated are also more self-confident and thus more likely to ask.

Megan has some ideas.

…I think it’s worth noting that societies that allow and even encourage women to achieve educationally and professionally are also societies in which women have (some and increasingly more) autonomy over their lives and their bodies. If you are free to pursue your own life, your own career and your own relationships, then you are also more and increasingly free to pursue sexual pleasure. So, I’d agree with Trunk’s editor that while there is likely a statistical correlation between women’s income level and cunnilingus rates, the correlations is probably due more to the fact that these women are increasingly less likely to take up sexual roles proscribed by traditions that specifically discourage them from outside employment and equal earning power.

That said, in the spirit of full disclosure, I did receive the most oral sex per annum the year I made the most money, but that was because I had a boyfriend at the time and he had a few things to apologize for.