Menstuff® has compiled information, books and resources on the issue of sexuality. You can get advice and seek support any time on the message board Sex Matters® with Louanne Cole Weston, PhD, And, for more on Sexual Health, check out the Sexual Health Library

Season's Greetings

An experiment with sex, aging and photoshopping

We should all be nude in bed
Why we should be thinking of sexual intimacy in terms of pizza
When Did You Choose to Be Straight?


Proper condom use can prevent the transmission of many STDs including HIV/AIDS

An Honest R&B Song
Women Like One-night Stands, Too!
"Men aren't the only ones who want a quickie. ...
Two Night Stand
Jennie and Steve have never met. 18:23 - fun
What's Secretly Sexy About Women?
6 Sex Hacks For Better Sex
Asking Strangers to Have Sex
Asking 100 Girls For Sex In Las Vegas
Breathing for Better Sex
Asking Strangers to Have Sex
Asking 100 Girls For Sex In Las Vegas
Never Make Eye Contact While Eating a Banana
Part 2: What would you do?
Never Make Eye Contact While Eating a Banana
Girls check out guys crotch bulge on train
Central Michigan University Girls On Spit Or Swallow *
San Diego State University Girls on "Does Size Matter?" *

Lesbians Answer Questions You’re Too Afraid To Ask

Lesbians Explain Sex To Straight People

Vagina Weightlifting Can Empower Women

Women Try Vaginal Weightlifting For The First Time

Two girls explain
How to eat a girl out
Monogomy (isn't natural) Netflix s1 no 3
India's most Sexually liberated Tribe with a Jaw Dropping rule !
Weird Sexual Rituals Followed Around The World

* Means somethiing different in Montana sponsored by Compenhagin


Click on covers for more specific information.

Sex Health
Minor Details
It On
Sex Talk
Joe Kort

 Newsbytes - Short news items
Talking With Kids About Tough Issues
Glossary of Sex Terms

Sexual Orientation Discrimination


Sexual Fluidity
Sexuality - Gay/Bi/Trans

The Scientific Quest to Prove Bisexuality Exists

Lumbersexual Is The New Metrosexual (video)
Lumbersexual - Anonymouse Is A Woman Humor: The new ultimate drag king
Reparative Therapy
Good Sex
Sexual Dysfunction
Hypersexual Disorder
Oral Sex
Oral Sex Safety
Oral Sex at the Synagogue
When Did You Choose to Be Straight? 2:59
Ben Carson, When Did You Choose To Be Straight? 7:23
So You Call Yourself an Ally: 10 Things All ‘Allies’ Need to Know
To Those Who Teach the Children Shame
10 Sex Myths You've Believed Basically Your Whole Life
Americans Are Cool With All Kinds Of Sex, Just Not The Extramarital Kind
Here’s Why All Teens, LGBTQ And Not, Need To Learn About Anal Sex
Do Men And Women Have Sex For Different Reasons?
What You're Really Doing in Bed
12 Kinds of Sex Every Couple Should Have
The Most Erogenous Zones of the Body Will Surprise You
His Orgasm -- 10 Things He's Dying to Tell You
5 Ways The Boomer Generation Changed Sex Forever
Opening the kimono: 14 sensual, seductive, and mysterious facts about Geishas
Are your ready for sex?
Condom Sense
Campus Sex … With a Syllabus
Women Like One-night Stands, Too!
Two Night Stand
Only Yes Means Yes
Global study dispels common myths about sex
Sex, Mythinterpreted
Experts Define Premature Ejaculation
But Is It Legal
Carnal Crackdowns
When the Thrill Is Gone
What it’s really like inside a sex club
Why Women Lose Interest in Sex -- and 10 Tips to Rekindle Desire
Better Sex - Good Food for Better Sex?

Sexist Vintage Ads: A History Lesson
Sex and Aging
What Makes a Woman Happy
Rx for Healing Low Desire: Six Homework Assignments
All About Semen
The XXX Files
Sexual Complaints
365 Nights of Sex: Can It Strengthen a Marriage?
Fall TV Has Cups Running Over
Body Perks
Fire In The Hole!
The Sexless Marriage
Sexuality in Later Life
Women's Sexual Arousal Is All-Encompassing
New Emergency Contraception Works
Testing for Virginity
Multiple Orgasm
Don't have Sex in Mississippi
Teens & AIDS
The 10 Greatest Lovers in History
Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Own Sex Toys
Penis Envy
Cock Rings
Vulva Envy
The 14 Most Beautiful Vaginas On The Planet
The Scandal Over Rihanna's Bathtub Pic Raises an Important Question
To Those Who Teach the Children Shame
4 Questions All Mistresses Should Ask Themselves
Despite Stereotypes, Women Are Just As Likely To Cheat As Men
Free Sex & Relationship Newsletter
Is she normal? Let’s take a look and see
Having Fun With Condoms
The History of the Condom
How Does He Taste?
A New Way To Masturbate
Is Swallowing Safe?
When You're Not In The Mood, And She Is
Why Men are Attracted to Breasts
Human eggs created from male embryos?
Doctors: Pedophile "Cured" After Surgery
Public Nudity
The Bizarre History Of Sex Toys, From Ancient Butt Plugs To Steam-Powered Vibrators
A (Straight, Male) History of Sex Dolls
Hundreds Of IVF Babies Celebrate
2 New Viagra Rivals Head For U.S. Market
Real Men, Real Depression
Eating Disorders in Men
Resources and the Facts of Life Line
Latest Sex News plus our own Newsbytes
Comprehensive List of LGBATQQI + Term Definitions
Glossary of Sex Terms
Journals - on Sexual Abuse and Trauma
Periodicals -Gay/Bi
Seize Sexual Safety Hazards - Poem
Books and also related topics of Gay/bi, and Transgender.
Related Issues:
Sexual Orientation, Homoseual, Bisexual, Transsexual, A Thousand Beautiful Vaginas


To Those Who Teach the Children Shame

Shame on you -
with your acid tongues methodically etching
away at the tender capsule that
protects the guiltlessness of our
children from your disturbing thoughts.

Shame on you -
for deliberately pitting their delicate
shells so that your teachings of
humiliation will have a surface on
which to adhere.

Shame on you -
for disguising yourselves as teachers
when you have not yet confronted
your own truths and fears so often
laden with guilt and contradiction.

Shame on you -
for limiting a child's self-discovery.

Shame on you -
for causing the mothers to withdraw
their children from artists' view.

Shame on you -
for interrupting my vision.

Susan Copen Oken

This poem comes from a publication called Aperture: The Body in Question. This issue was on sex and sexuality and the powerful efforts that are underway to define and control expressions of sex and sexuality and to reinstate the traditional family and institutionalized religious practice as ideals. One can recognize the support that such families and belief systems, at their best, can provide, and still feel that to impose any particular way of life as the American norm is to indulge a repressive impulse. What we are in fact threatened with is a drive toward a rigid social conformity, with the body as the pawn, or (as Barbara Kruger has termed it under the Lenny icon) the "battleground" in struggles between differing conceptions of public morality and individual freedoms. This issue unabashedly seeks to explore these issues, beginning with an examination of gender - the body created and recreated - and then moving through photographs and texts that consider, among other dynamics, the body abused, objectified, discovered, aroused, desired, censored, mythologized, manipulated and celebrated. The images are corporeal, about the strengths and vulnerabilities of this most tangible manifestation of personal experience, ourselves, whether the body in question is a child, a person with AIDS, a victim of physical violence, or someone at the point of orgasm. Conversely, many conservative political and religious leaders, nervous that certain presentations of the body, of difference, challenge their notion of public morality (Mayor Guillani), seek to suppress these issues and have launched an attack on the arts in the United States in such a way as to undermine the First Amendment by attempting to have conditional (that is, limited) freedom of expression. Artists' studios are being raided and work confiscated, NEA grants are being revoked, a museum and its director are being tried on obscenity charges, and more. In light of these events, it is not surprising that some of the artists represented in this publication, particularly those whose work focuses on children, feel threatened. Initially, a few of them considered withdrawing their pictures - pictures to which they are committed, and which they , and the publication, believe to have integrity and merit. Although the publication shared their concerns - having no desire to put the magazine and its contributors at risk - we feared succumbing to them, for what could be rationalized as an editing decision might really be an instance of self-censorship, one of the most subtle and insidious of the possible results of the ongoing assaults on literature and the arts. Clearly, it is difficult to remain impervious to the demoralizing effects of assaults by those who so aggressively and manipulatively cast aspersions on others' convictions, motives, and choices: working through issues of quality (and what constitutes an "art" image), elitist attitudes, self-censorship, and even exploitation became an impassioned process as the editors considered the images for the issue. Some readers may think we have erred in our selection. But without the free play of images and words in magazines, book, exhibitions, and other public forums, it would be impossible to address and debate the vitally important ideas involved as fully and deeply as their seriousness demands. We hope that our audience will take this issue to heart and mind at a moment when our right to our bodies - to represent, use, protect, enjoy, and view them - is increasingly questioned and menaced. Aperture Foundation, 20 East 23rd Street, New York, NY 10010 (4 issues/year, $36.) Fall, 1990

Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace occurs when an employee is subjected to negative employment action, harassment, or denial of certain benefits because of their sexual orientation, or the sexual orientation of someone they are close to. Sexual orientation discrimination has been part of the workplace in America for decades, and while federal, state and local laws, as well as increased social awareness have improved the situation dramatically, many people who are not heterosexual still face obstacles at work related to being gay, bisexual, asexual, or pansexual. It is important for employees to have the right information about what constitutes discrimination based on sexual orientation, what constitutes harassment, and how sexual orientation discrimination can tie in with other prohibited forms of discrimination like, sex, disability, gender identity, and marital status.

Sexual orientation discrimination can affect your job status, your working environment, your health benefits, and a host of other issues in the workplace. The law in this area is changing rapidly for the better. If you feel you might have been discriminated against because of your sexual orientation, read below for more information and resources about sexual orientation discrimination.

1. What is sexual orientation discrimination?

2. Which federal law covers sexual orientation discrimination?

3. Are there any other laws which make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation?

4. What if I am being harassed by someone of the same sex or because of my sexual orientation, how does harassment relate to sexual orientation discrimination?

5. Are homophobic jokes or slurs against the law?

6. What if my employer does not know my sexual orientation?

7. Can I be asked not to discuss my sexual orientation or display a picture of my same-sex partner at work?

8. Am I entitled to employment benefits for my partner and family?

9. Can my employer justify their discrimination on religious grounds?

10. Can I take leave to care for my partner or my partner's family members?

11. What is the difference between sexual orientation discrimination and gender identity discrimination?

12. Who enforces the law?

13. How can I file a complaint?

14. What are the remedies available to me?

15. How much time do I have to file a charge of discrimination?

1. What is sexual orientation discrimination?

Sexual orientation discrimination means treating someone differently solely because of his or her real or perceived sexual orientation: lesbian, gay (homosexual), bisexual, asexual, pansexual, or straight (heterosexual). This means that discrimination may occur because of others' perception of someone's orientation, whether that perception is correct or not. It may also occur based on an individual's association with someone of a different sexual orientation. Someone who is discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation may also be discriminated against or harassed on the basis of sex, gender identity, disability (such as actual or perceived HIV status) or marital status.

Examples of sexual orientation discrimination include:

Different treatment: you are not hired, not promoted, disciplined, or fired specifically because your boss thinks you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or straight etc. This goes beyond simply being yelled at for showing up late. Being overlooked for a promotion, wrongful termination, receiving a write-up with no basis, and other serious negative employment actions may qualify as different treatment. Some companies have policies that explicitly discriminate against lesbian, gay and bisexual employees, while in other companies the discrimination is more subtle but no less real. You may find that you start to be treated differently once you come out as homosexual to coworkers or place a photograph of your same-sex partner on your desk. The discrimination may come from just a few people in the company, from your supervisor, or from the company's CEO.

Harassment: you are forced to experience comments about your mannerisms or sexual activity, sexual jokes, requests for sexual favors, pressure for dates, touching or grabbing, leering, gestures, hostile comments, pictures or drawings negatively portraying a specific sexual orientation, or sexual assault or rape. Your harasser may be an employer, supervisor, co-worker, or customer, and may be of the opposite or same sex.

If any of these things have happened to you on the job, you may have suffered sexual orientation discrimination.

2. Which federal law covers sexual orientation discrimination?

In light of the Supreme Court's recent decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, same-sex couples are guaranteed by the Constitution, the freedom to marry in every state and territory, being afforded the same benefits and protections heterosexuals have always had in marriage. Outside of the newly clarified right to marry, there is currently no federal law prohibiting other types of sexual orientation discrimination. Sexual orientation is not protected by federal law the way race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, and disability are for private employers. Around two dozen states still don't have anti-discrimination laws protecting individuals from being discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation.

Nonetheless, many companies, workplaces, and legislators are working to change that. While there are efforts underway to pass additional federal laws to make discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation illegal, no bills on this topic have become law yet.

Despite the Supreme Court ruling that LGBT Americans can now legally get married, they are still at risk of being denied services and risk being fired simply for being married. Due to the lack of legal protections, new legislation has been introduced but not passed in Congress. The Equality Act is a comprehensive federal LGBT non-discrimination act that would provide permanent protections for LGBT individuals in the most important aspects of their lives, including but not limited to matters of employment, housing, access to public places, federal funding, credit, education and jury service. In addition, it would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in federal funding and access to public places.

Aside from federal legislation, President Obama has also pushed for sexual orientation, and gender identity fairness in the workplace. On July 21, 2014 President Obama signed an Executive Order that amended previous executive orders and added sexual orientation and gender identity protections for all federal workers, including contractors and subcontractors of the Federal government. Previous executive orders only protected workers from workplace discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

Additionally, many federal government employees are covered by provisions in the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 which prohibit sexual orientation discrimination. One of these provisions 5 U.S.C. 2302(b)(10) makes it illegal for any employee who has authority to take certain personnel actions from discriminating among employees or job applicants on the basis of conduct that does not adversely affect employee performance. This language has been interpreted to prohibit discrimination based upon sexual orientation.

Currently, 22 states and the District of Columbia, as well as several hundred municipalities (counties and cities) also have laws that prohibit sexual orientation discrimination. 20 of these states prohibit sexual orientation discrimination in both private and government workplaces. This number is constantly changing, so you should also check with an attorney or local gay legal or political organization to see whether any new laws apply to you.

3. Are there any other laws which make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation?

As noted in the last question, many federal employees are covered by anti-discrimination provisions. Since the recent EEOC holding discussed below, these protections are also extended to private employees who file EEOC claims. Similarly, some states, counties and cities, even those without specific laws protecting all employees, have executive orders and/or civil service provisions making discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation illegal for state and/or local governmental employees. In fact, 22 states and the District of Columbia have laws explicitly protecting LGBT workers from being fired because of their sexual orientation. However, this means that there are still 28 states that allow an employee to be terminated on the basis of sexual orientation, and in those states legal remedies are often narrow for private sector employees.

Many union collective bargaining agreements (contracts) include an anti-discrimination provision, which may include sexual orientation. If such a provision is included in your union contract, it gives you a basis to file a grievance if you have been discriminated against because of your sexual orientation. Additionally, many workplaces are implementing their own rules on this issue. In fact, 91 percent of Fortune 500 companies prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, and 61 percent prohibit discrimination based on gender identity.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been helping to pave a legal avenue for those individuals who have been discriminated against in the workplace based on both gender identity and sexual orientation. In July 2015 the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) addressed the question of whether discrimination against LGBT individuals is covered by the ban on sex discrimination in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In a 3-2 vote by the five person independent commission, the EEOC ruled that existing civil rights laws do bar sexual-orientation based employment discrimination. The ruling will apply to federal employees' claims as well as any private employee who files a claim with EEOC offices nationwide. The decision says that sexual orientation is inherently a sex-based consideration and the agency will look to whether the agency relied on any sex-based considerations or took gender into account when making the alleged employment action. While this ruling is recent and only the Supreme Court can give a conclusive interpretation, the EEOC ruling is still groundbreaking, and paves the way for further decisions much like this as Federal courts give EEOC decisions significant deference. The Justice Department announced a similar view to the EEOC in December 2014.

The law in this area is constantly changing, with numerous legislative efforts currently in progress around the country to add sexual orientation to state laws, local ordinances, governmental regulations, and corporate policies. You should check with a local attorney, gay and lesbian rights organization, or your corporate human resources department to see whether there have been any recent changes in the law or policies affecting your employment. Even if there is not legal protection affecting your employment, you may be able to encourage your employer to voluntarily cease discriminatory activity and/or to educate others in your workplace to help improve your employment situation.

For more information on which states have anti-discrimination laws see

4. What if I am being harassed by someone of the same sex or because of my sexual orientation, how does harassment relate to sexual orientation discrimination?

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that is prohibited by federal law and the laws of most states, regardless of whether the state also has a law against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. However, many courts have focused on the differences between the two legal concepts to prevent gay and lesbian employees who have been harassed from having the same legal protections available to non-gay employees who have been subjected to similar comments. These courts have ruled that comments focused on the victim's sexual orientation represent discrimination on that basis, not covered under federal law, instead of sexual harassment, a form of sex discrimination that is covered under federal law. Other courts have ruled that these types of sexual comments, as they relate to gender stereotypes, are a form of illegal sex discrimination under federal law.

Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature is considered sexual harassment, when submission to, or rejection of, this conduct affects your employment, unreasonably interferes with your work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment. The U.S. Supreme Court has specifically ruled that the victim does not have to be of the opposite sex to be able to bring a legal claim for sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances:

  • The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, an agent of the employer, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or a non-employee.
  • The victim does not have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.
  • Unlawful sexual harassment may occur without economic harm to the victim, such as loss of a job.

The harasser's conduct must be unwelcome.

Recently, individuals who were terminated because of their sexual orientation have tried to sue for sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Their argument is that they are being harassed and discriminated against because they do not conform to male and female stereotypes since being gay is not considered stereotypically male or female, and they do not conform to their traditional gender stereotypes. Thus, their termination should be considered unlawful sex discrimination. While this argument has received some recent success, the results have not been consistent overall due to some early court rulings explicitly holding that Title VII does not protect sexual orientation discrimination. However, the EEOC recently issued a decision that sexual orientation is inherently a sex-based consideration, and that existing civil rights laws do bar sexual-orientation based employment discrimination. While only the Supreme Court can provide a conclusive legal interpretation of the existing civil rights laws, Federal courts will give EEOC decisions significant deference, thus paving the road to protection for sexual orientation.

If you are being sexually harassed, you should directly inform the harasser that the conduct is unwelcome and must stop. If you are a union member, it may also be helpful to contact a union civil rights committee for appropriate action. You should use any employer complaint mechanism or grievance system available, as your employer is under a legal obligation to take immediate and appropriate action when an employee complains. For more information, see our page on sexual harassment. If you have been subjected to these types of comments, you may wish to consult with an attorney who specializes in sexual harassment and/or sexual orientation discrimination to determine what laws may offer legal protection in your state.

5. Are homophobic jokes or slurs against the law?

It depends. Jokes or slurs about your sexual orientation may be considered a form of harassment, which courts have held is a form of discrimination under the law. However, federal law and the laws of most states does not prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not extremely serious. The conduct must be sufficiently frequent or severe to create a hostile work environment or result in a "tangible employment action," such as hiring, firing, promotion, or demotion. For more information, see our page on sexual harassment.

6. What if my employer does not know my sexual orientation?

You may choose to keep your sexual orientation a purely private matter; nothing requires you to disclose this information to your employer if you do not choose to do so.

However, if you are undergoing discrimination or harassment at work, you may wish to disclose your sexual orientation when speaking with your company's human resources department and/or a member of management to see whether your employer can work with you to solve the problems you are facing. Otherwise, your company may claim it was unaware of your sexual orientation, and as a result incapable of resolving any discrimination or harassment against you on the basis of your sexual orientation.

Also, as more and more people become aware of their gay co-workers, neighbors, family members, friends, and professionals, withholding basic civil rights protections in employment becomes increasingly difficult for an employer to justify, so you may wish to disclose your sexual orientation to your employer for that reason.

7. Can I be asked not to discuss my sexual orientation or display a picture of my same-sex partner at work?

If you live in a state or city with provisions which make discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation illegal, the answer would generally be no, especially if other employees are allowed to discuss activities with their spouses or opposite-sex partners, or to display pictures of their spouses, opposite-sex partners, or children on their desks.

In the absence of any legal protections, however, private sector employees are employed "at-will," which means the employer has the right to terminate your employment at any time, for no reason at all or for any reason (including a bad one), so long as the reason is not illegal even if your performance has been outstanding. Therefore, if you disobey your employer's request, you may find yourself without any legal recourse.

If you find yourself in this situation, you may wish to speak with your company's human resources department, other supervisors and co-workers, or a local attorney to determine whether you can work with your employer to resolve this issue. Even if there are not legal protections affecting your employment, you may be able to encourage your employer to voluntarily change its discriminatory policies and/or to educate others in your workplace to help improve your employment situation.

8. Am I entitled to employment benefits for my partner and family?

Many employers subsidize all or a large portion of health, dental, vision, and other benefits for spouses and families of married employees without giving similar compensation to unmarried and/or childless workers in some other form. Recently the Supreme Court, in Obergefell v. Hodges held that the recognition of same sex marriage is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution. Once married, your spouse and family are entitled to your employee benefits including health insurance. Denying benefits solely because you are married to a person of the same sex violates federal law. Additionally, some states have domestic partnership laws which provide the basis for some companies to provide equivalent benefits to unmarried couples who meet the state's partnership or civil union requirements.

At the federal level, since the Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), employers were already required to provide benefits for both opposite sex and same sex married couples and their children. That decision, however, only protected Federal employees, and did not require states to change their own discriminatory laws. Now, under Obergefell employee benefit plans, are required by the Constitution to treat same sex and opposite sex married couples equally.

Prior to the Obergefell decision, many employers, even in states where same sex marriage was illegal, had already extended employee benefits to domestic partners of gay employees since they did not have the option to legally wed. And many employers extended those benefits to opposite sex couples as well. In fact, 66 percent of Fortune 500 companies offered domestic partner benefits to employees prior Obergefell. Since same-sex marriage is now the law and same sex spouses are now afforded the same employee benefits as opposite sex spouses, it is unclear whether those companies will continue offering domestic partner benefits.

Some companies may continue to offer domestic partner benefits. But others, including Verizon, Delta Air Lines, IMB and Corning, have already, or will soon give their employees a time frame to marry or lose their partner's benefits, thus replacing domestic benefits with spousal coverage. Human rights advocates are encouraging employers to keep domestic partner benefits for everyone. Some groups suggest the best way to handle domestic partnerships is to implement cafeteria-style benefits programs in which all workers, regardless of marital or familial status, receive the same amount of credits to be used for benefits. Giving domestic partner benefits to same-sex and heterosexual unmarried couples also helps eliminate discrimination against unmarried workers who have a partner. Some companies have adopted an "extended family" benefits program to fairly compensate unmarried employees who live with a dependent adult blood relative.

If you feel you have been treated unfairly due to your sexual orientation, or marital or familial status, you may wish to explore with your employer's personnel or human resources department whether additional options are currently available or under consideration, and discuss with other workers whether they also object to the difference in benefits.

9. Can my employer justify their discrimination on religious grounds?

In states where sexual orientation discrimination is explicitly prohibited, if you work for a non-religious employer, your employer may find it difficult to maintain a legitimate business justification for policies or practices which discriminate against employees based on sexual orientation. The personal religious beliefs of a particular supervisor would rarely, if ever, be a legitimate basis for discrimination in this situation, especially if other company employees had been treated differently.

Most employees of religious organizations are also still protected by federal, state and local non-discrimination laws that prohibit discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation or gender identity, although in some states, religious employers, like churches and private religious schools are exempted from anti-discrimination laws. If you work for a religious organization and perform religious duties as part of your job, your employer may not be subject to non-discrimination laws. Some places of worship and religiously-affiliated institutions are entitled to hire employees who share the religious beliefs of the organization.

With respect to sexual orientation discrimination against members of the public, in April 2015, Indiana passed controversial religious freedom legislation prohibiting the passage of any law that would substantially burden a person's or company's exercise of their religion. The law would arguably protect business owners who discriminate, on religious grounds, against same-sex couples in providing goods and services. Amid pressure from big businesses including Apple, Angie's List, and Wal-Mart, lawmakers amended the law to state that businesses cannot use the law as a legal defense for refusing to provide goods, services, facilities, or accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other factors. Governors in both Michigan and North Dakota have urged their legislatures to extend their current anti-discrimination laws to protect LGBT individuals amid the uproar in Indiana and a similar situation in Arkansas.

The law is rapidly changing in this area, and it is not yet clear whether a customer or coworker could use these laws to justify refusing to work with particular employees on the basis of their sexual orientation. Based upon precedents in other areas of discrimination law, an employer typically cannot use customer or coworker preference as a justification for discrimination.

10. Can I take leave to care for my partner or my partner's family members?

The primary federal law protecting the right to take family or medical leave without losing your job and health insurance benefits, or suffering retaliation is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the definition of "spouse" did not historically include an unmarried partner. However, since the Supreme Court's decision to repeal Section 3 of Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodgesand since the Department of Labor issued a regulatory change to the definition of spouse, effective March 27, 2015, eligible employees may use FMLA to take leave to care for a same-sex spouse, or legal common law partner., no matter where they live, even if they reside in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage so long as the place they entered into the same-sex marriage or common law marriage does. This allows the individual to take unpaid, job-protected, leave to care for their spouse or family member, including step-child or step-parent, even if the employee does not have in loco parentis (day to day responsibilities over the individual or financial support). These changes in DOMA, and in addition to the new same-sex marriage ruling, ensure that the FMLA gives spouses in same sex marriages the same ability as opposite-sex spouses to exercise FMLA rights. However, these changes still do not include Civil Unions or domestic partnerships since civil unions and domestic partnerships are not considered marriages under the FMLA. Under FMLA, if you are also the parent of your partner's child, through adoption or acting in a parental capacity, you may be able to take FMLA leave to care for you and your partner's child.

The law in some states may be more protective than federal laws. For example, California law requires that employers offer sick leave to care for domestic partners and/or your partner's children. Your company's leave policy, especially if you have domestic partnership benefits and/or a non-discrimination clause which includes sexual orientation, may provide for leave even though it is not required by law. If you need leave for this reason, consult your company handbook or corporate human resources department to determine whether your employer will allow you to take leave.

11. What is the difference between sexual orientation discrimination and gender identity discrimination?

The term "sexual orientation" is generally understood to refer only to whether a person is homosexual (gay), heterosexual (straight), or bisexual, while "gender identity" refers to one's self-identification as a man or a woman, as opposed to one's anatomical sex at birth. Not all transgender people are gay. Many transgendered people identify as straight; many transgender women have male partners and many transgender men have female partners. For more information, please see our page on gender identity discrimination.

While 22 states and the District of Columbia make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, only nineteen states and D.C. define 'sexual orientation' to either include 'having or being perceived as having a self- image or identity not traditionally associated with one's biological maleness or femaleness, or specifically make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender identity. In other states, where courts have analyzed the state's sexual orientation anti-discrimination law, courts have been divided: some narrowly interpreting the laws to exclude gender identity, while others interpret the law to provide some protection with respect to gender identity.

12. Who enforces the law?

Protections under state and local laws are generally enforced by state or local anti-discrimination agencies, which may be called a "fair employment," "civil rights," or "human rights" commission or agency. For more information about your state and local agencies, see our page on filing a complaint.

13. How can I file a complaint?

To file a complaint under state and local statutes, please contact your state or local anti-discrimination agency or an attorney in your state. For more information, see our page on filing a complaint.

14. What are the remedies available to me?

For remedies available under state and local statutes, please contact your state or local anti-discrimination agency or an attorney in your state. For more information, see our page on filing a complaint.

15. How much time do I have to file a charge of discrimination?

Because there are many sources of state and local laws relating to discrimination based on sexual orientation, there are too many different deadlines to summarize here. To protect your legal rights, it is always best to contact your state or local governmental agency, or an attorney promptly when discrimination is suspected. For more information, see our page on filing a complaint.

Androphilia is a romantic or sexual orientation in which one feels attraction to men or masculinity, regardless of one's own gender identity.

Asexuality is a sexual orientation characterized by lack of sexual attraction. This is often accompanied by low or absent interest in sexual activity. Asexuality is distinct from abstention from sexual activity and from celibacy, which are behavioral and generally motivated by factors such as an individual's personal or religious beliefs. Asexuals may have attraction sometimes but is not performed practically. Though asexuals lack in sexual attraction to any gender, may engage in romantic relationships. Some asexuals identify as MOGII. This can be because they feel that the category is appropriate because they experience discrimination for their sexuality like lesbian, gay, and bisexual people, because they experience romantic attraction to the same gender, or both.

There are many kinds of sexual orientations in the asexual spectrum. One of many kinds of asexuality is gray-asexuality, a sexual orientation that partly lacks sexual attraction.

Bisexuality is a sexual orientation in which a person feels sexual attraction to more than one gender of people. Some define this as attraction to women as well as men. Others define bisexuality as attraction to two genders of people: the same as one's own gender, and different than one's own gender. Others define bisexuality as attraction to people of any gender. What "bisexuality" means when nonbinary identities are taken into account is a matter of debate. Many people feel that "bi-" reinforces the gender binary, and erases nonbinary identities, preferring pansexual or polysexual. Other argue that "bisexual" was originally coined to describe a sexuality which included aspects of both heterosexuality and homosexuality, and that in a nonbinary context heterosexuality should be interpreted as inclusive of attraction to all other genders or sexes.

Demisexuality is a sexual orientation in which a person feels sexual attraction only to people they have formed a strong bond with, friends for example. It's similer to, but not exactly the same as grey-sexuality.

Gynephilia is a romantic or sexual orientation in which a person feels attraction to women or femininity.

Heterosexuality is a sexual orientation in which a person tends to feel sexual attraction only to people of a different gender identity than their own. For example, women who usually feel attracted only to men. This is heterosexuality even if one or both of the people are transgender, because this is based on gender identity rather than sex. Heterosexuality is often defined as attraction between persons of opposite gender. However, the idea "opposite gender" only makes sense within the gender binary, which sees all people as being either of only two genders, and that those two genders are supposedly opposites to each other. What "heterosexuality" means when nonbinary identities are taken into account is not agreed upon. By its etymology, it could imply "other" or "different" gender. In that case, a heterosexual nonbinary person could mean one who feels attraction to one gender other than nonbinary, to both binary genders, or to all genders other than their exact own. Nevertheless, heterosexuality is often assumed to refer to attraction between men and women only, even when nonbinary identities are acknowledged. This can cause distress to nonbinary people in a relationship and their partners as they struggle to find a labels for themselves. The question of whether a nonbinary person can identify as heterosexual-- and how exactly that person defines their heterosexuality-- is up to that individual person.

Homosexuality is a sexual orientation in which a person feels sexual attraction only to people of the same gender as one's self. Nonbinary people who are only attracted to other nonbinary people can call themselves homosexual.

Gay People who identify as gay men have a male gender identity, and are attracted only to men. This word is applicable regardless of whether one or both people involved are cisgender men or transgender men.

Lesbian People who identify as lesbians have a female gender identity, and are attracted only to women. This word is applicable regardless of whether one or both people involved are cisgender women or transgender women.

Pansexuality is a sexual orientation that involves sexual attraction to people of all genders. Pansexuals are attracted to all types of people. They are gender-blind (because if they're not gender blind than it's called Omnisexuality), asserting that gender is insignificant or irrelevant in determining whether they will be sexually attracted to others. Some people prefer to call themselves 'pansexual' rather than bisexual because of the latter term's binary implications.

Polysexuality is a sexual orientation with sexual attraction to several genders of people. Polysexuals are attracted towards two or more genders, but not all (as in pansexuality) and not just both binary genders (as in some understandings of bisexuality). Not to be confused with polyamory, which is about having more than one partner at the same time.

Skoliosexuality, or ceterosexuality, means a sexual orientation in which a person feels sexual attraction to nonbinary people, and perhaps other kinds of transgender people as well. Some believe the term is only to be used by non-binary people, though it was coined in the context of binary people's attraction to non-binary people. Non-binary people who are attracted to other non-binary people may also use the term homosexual/homoromantic. Due to a somewhat problematic etymology (skolio- comes from the Greek for "crooked"), some prefer to use the term ceterosexual, from Latin "cetera", meaning "other".

Androgynesexual and ninsexual refer to attraction to androgynous or gender neutral people. However, androgynesexual carries the connotation that the person of attraction is both masculine and feminine, rather than neither. (Editor's note: John Money's Bi, Stright and Everything In Between has identified 23 different sexual orientations.)


The acronym stands for Lesbian, gay, bisexual, asexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and intersex. However, the list could get quite long if John Money offers his listing. As Emeritus Professor at Johns Hopkins Hospital and School of Medicine and a leading researcher in the understanding of the intricate links between anatomy, body chemicals and life experiences in shaping sexual and gender identity with the ability to function sexually, the list could include at least 23 various proven sexual identities. For more on that, check out his book Gay, Straight and In-betweenThe sexology of Erotic Orientation.

So You Call Yourself an Ally: 10 Things All ‘Allies’ Need to Know

As happens every time that I read something from Black Girl Dangerous , I recently found myself snapping, nodding, and yelling out “YES!” while reading a piece from Mia McKenzie.

Her article “No More ‘Allies ’” made me profoundly uncomfortable – which is a good thing.

I was uncomfortable because it was a call to reflection about my own “ally” identifications and my own work.

It’s time for those of us who fashion ourselves “allies” or as “currently operating in solidarity with” to have a conversation.

More and more, I am seeing precisely what McKenzie is describing – people of identity privilege who are identifying as “allies” almost as if it is a core part of their identity.

What’s worse, I keep seeing people respond to criticism about their oppressive language or problematic humor with, “But I’m an ally!”

For instance, I recently saw an acquaintance (who notably identifies as Straight) post a pretty problematic joke about Gay men on Twitter.

Aside from expressing my discontent in a tweet, I reached out to her in a private message to explain why I took issue with her joke.

Her response, though, was to say, “Jamie, you know that I’m an LGBT ally! I speak out for Gay rights all the time! This was clearly just a joke.”

And therein lies the problem.

The identification of “ally” was so prominent in this person’s mind that she couldn’t even hear criticism of how her actions were out of alignment with her professed desire to be an “ally!”

So “allies,” let’s talk.

Credit Where Credit is Due

Before I say anything else, though, I should note something important about this article.

None of what I am writing here are my ideas.

They are drawn from Mia McKenzie’s piece, from conversations I’ve had with people of many different marginalized identities, from theorists, novelists, bloggers – but none of them are inherently mine.

They are the ideas of the People of Color, Queer-identified people, women, differently-abled people, poor folks, Jewish people, Muslim people, Atheists, undocumented citizens, and others.

And noting this is important.

Because part of being an ally means giving credit where credit is due and never taking credit for the anti-oppressive thinking, writing, theorizing, and action of the marginalized and oppressed.

Which I guess leads me to my point.

10 Things Every ‘Ally’ Needs to Remember

There are lots of ways to be a great “ally” – and innumerable ways to be a terrible one.

But it’s not rocket science.

There are simple things you can keep in mind and do in order to be a better person “currently operating in solidarity with” the marginalized or oppressed.

And while this list is not comprehensive, it’s definitely somewhere to start.

1. Being an Ally is About Listening

As McKenzie puts it, “Shut up and listen.”

As someone striving to be an ally, the most important thing we can do is listen to as many voices of those we’re allying ourselves with as possible.

Now, does this mean that we should assume that just because, say, one Person of Color said it that it’s the absolutely truth that we should parrot? Absolutely not.

If that were the case, then Don Lemon would clearly speak for all Black people.

But listening to a diversity of marginalized voices can help you understand the core of any given issue.

And it also can help you understand why the opinion of your one gay friend is not necessarily the best defense of your use of heterosexist language.

2. Stop Thinking of ‘Ally’ as a Noun

Being an ally isn’t a status.

The moment that we decide “I’m an ally,” we’re in trouble.

As Mia McKenzie puts it:

“’Currently operating in solidarity with’ is undeniably an action. It describes what a person is doing in the moment. It does not give credit for past acts of solidarity without regard for current behavior. It does not assume future acts of solidarity. It speaks only to the actions of the present.”

3. ‘Ally’ is Not a Self-Proclaimed Identity

Really, being an ally is not an identity at all, but it’s vitally important that we understand that we cannot simply decide we are allies.

Being in solidarity is something we can strive for, but in the end, it is the choice of those we are attempting to ally ourselves to as to whether they trust us enough to call us an ally.

Additionally, just because one person considers me an ally, that does not mean that every person of that marginalized identity considers me an ally or should!

Trust is something earned through concerted action, not given simply because of our actions in a particular arena or context.

4. Allies Don’t Take Breaks

The thing about oppression is that it is constant.

Those who are oppressed and marginalized in our society do not get to take breaks and respites.

Thus, if you truly want to act in solidarity, you cannot simply retreat into your privilege when you just don’t want to engage.

This is one of the hardest things for me in being an ally.

Sometimes I just don’t have the energy to respond to my super classist uncle or to that racist comment form a Facebook friend.

I don’t want to get into an endless discussion about how they “didn’t mean it that way” or how I’m “just being too PC or sensitive.”

But People of Color have no choice but to resist racism every single day of their lives. Women have no choice but to weather the shit storm of misogyny every day of their lives. Differently abled people have no choice but to deal with and respond to ableism every day of their lives.

And in the end, part of the privilege of your identity is that you have a choice about whether or not to resist oppression.

And falling back into your privilege, especially when you are most needed, is not being in solidarity.

5. Allies Educate Themselves Constantly

Standing in solidarity with a marginalized or oppressed person or people means that we need to know our shit.

We need to educate ourselves about the issues facing those with whom we want to be allied and about the history of said oppression.

One of the most important types of education is listening (see #1), but there are endless resources (books, blogs, media outlets, speakers, YouTube videos, etc.) to help you learn.

What you should not do, though, is expect those with whom you want to ally yourself to teach you.

That is not their responsibility.

Sure, listen to them when they decide to drop some knowledge or perspective, but do not go to them and expect them to explain their oppression for you.

6. You Can’t Be an Ally in Isolation

To a certain degree, it is entirely possible for someone to stand in solidarity with a group of marginalized people even if they have no relationships with said people.

At a surface level, you can support the cause and advocate in your community for equal rights or speak out against oppression.

But solidarity in total isolation lacks one vital thing: accountability.

This is particularly important for people of privilege, but really any person who wants to act in solidarity needs to recognize that allyship cannot exist in isolation.

This is not to say that your “one Black friend” legitimizes all of your actions and self-professed “allyship.”

In fact, some of the most important accountability comes from relationships that are not friendships.

But without a diverse community to engage with and without other activists to hold you accountable, your understanding of “solidarity” can very quickly become paternalism or, worse, outright recreation of oppression.

7. Allies Don’t Need to Be in the Spotlight

I can’t help but acknowledge the irony of my writing this one, as my work literally puts me in the spotlight in some conversations about oppression, but hang with me.

True solidarity means supporting the work of those you’re allying yourself to, not solely creating a platform for your own voice and work.

Sure, your privilege may afford you the spotlight sometimes, and there are times when you can use that spotlight to talk to people who share your identity (see #8), but whenever possible, allies turn that spotlight away from themselves and to the voices that are so often marginalized and ignored.

In my own work, I work hard to ensure that my work is grounded squarely in the scholarship and lived experiences of those with whom I ally myself, and I work hard to share or abdicate the spotlight to those with whom I attempt to act in solidarity whenever possible.

Perhaps I fail more than I succeed in this realm, but it is something I must continue to keep central in my praxis.

8. Allies Focus on Those Who Share Their Identity

As a person who benefits every single day from White privilege, it is not my place to engage People of Color in a discussion about what is or is not racist. That’s not solidarity.

However, I have a very specific responsibility in engaging conversations about racism: talking to other White people.

Beyond listening, arguably the most important thing that I can do to act in solidarity is to engage those who share my identity.

As a man, I have a specific responsibility to engage men in building a more positive masculinity and standing up to misogyny and sexism.

As a White person, I have a responsibility to stand up to racism and work to bring White people into the anti-racist conversation in a way that they can hear and access.

As an able-bodied person, I have a responsibility to call out examples of everyday ableism.

9. When Criticized or Called Out, Allies Listen, Apologize, Act Accountably, and Act Differently Going Forward

The single most important thing I’ve ever been told about being an ally came from a professor of Color who profoundly impacted my life:

“If you choose to do social justice work, you are going to screw up – a lot. Be prepared for that. And when you screw up, be prepared to listen to those who you hurt, apologize with honesty and integrity, work hard to be accountable to them, and make sure you act differently going forward.”

There are few lessons more important for “allies” to understand than this one.

  • When you screw up and damage trust and hurt and anger those you have allied yourself to, listening is important, but it’s not enough.
  • Apologizing earnestly is important, but it’s not enough.
  • Working hard to make sure you are accountable to those you’ve wronged is important, but it’s not enough.
  • In addition to all of these, you have a responsibility to learn from the mistakes you’ve made and to do better going forward.

10. Allies Never Monopolize the Emotional Energy

One of the things that I love about the White Privilege Conference is its commitment to accountable racial caucusing spaces where White folks can meet with other White people, holding them accountable as they process their feelings or learning and where People of Color can process without the intrusiveness of White privilege and oppression.

In my experience, the White caucus can get pretty emotional, but the facilitators are trained and ready to hold people accountable to their privilege and process.

I’ve also heard that the various People of Color caucuses can be pretty emotional, charged with anger and sadness and hope and community.

That space is vital.

Virtually every year, though, there is a White person who doesn’t get the need for these spaces.

A few years back, a White woman burst into one of the People of Color caucuses, throwing herself on the floor, crying, asking for forgiveness, bemoaning her Whiteness and her role in oppression.

And I honestly think this woman would have considered herself an “ally.”

One of the more common and egregious mistakes supposed “allies” can make is to expect emotional energy from those to whom we ally ourselves.

To once again quote McKenzie, “[T]he people who experience racism, misogyny, ableism, queerphobia, transphobia, classism, etc. are exhausted.” 

The last thing they need is our monopolizing of the emotional energy to only further their exhaustion.

Surely allies need emotional support, but it must come form other allies.

Don’t expect marginalized people to do the emotional work for you or feel sorry for you or forgive you.


Solidarity is vitally important to any movement toward social justice, but it also runs the tremendous risk of recreating the very power structures of oppression that it purports to challenge.

Sure, the above list is a start, but as someone striving to work in solidarity, I recognize that I should never have the final word.

So please, what would you add?

What else must we who seek to be allies remember if we hope to advance rather than hold back the struggles for justice?

Want to discuss this further? Login to our online forum and start a post! If you’re not already registered as a forum user, please register first here .

Jamie Utt is a Contributing Writer at Everyday Feminism. He is the Founder and Director of Education at CivilSchools, a comprehensive bullying prevention program, a diversity and inclusion consultant, and sexual violence prevention educator based in Minneapolis, MN. He lives with his loving partner and his funtastic dog. He blogs weekly at Change from Within. Learn more about his work at his website here and follow him on Twitter @utt_jamie . Read his articles here and book him for speaking engagements here .

10 Sex Myths You've Believed Basically Your Whole Life

Myth 1: Men think about sex every seven seconds

That would mean men think about sex 514 times every hour. At their jobs, at the grocery store, on the toilet, etc. Even though that statement alone seems flat out ridiculous, there's also research to debunk this myth. A study found people thought more about food, sleep, personal hygiene, social contact and even coffee more than sex. Plus, everyone is different so you can't say that all people—especially gender-specific—think the same way.

Myth 2: Foot size correlates with penis size

Anna (from Frozen) was right—foot size does not determine whether or not guys have big junk. Neither does having large hands, big ears, etc. However, if you really want to get scientific, there's a study that suggests the shorter a man's index finger is in relation to his ring finger, the longer his penis is...Hmmm.

Myth 3: The bigger the penis, the more sexual satisfaction

Guys really have no reason to be self-conscious about what's going on down there. In fact, guys with bigger penises actually might have a disadvantage and here's why: the G-spot is located two inches inside the vagina and is stimulated with the head, and a big penis often misses the spot completely.

Obviously, everyone has different pleasure preferences, but guys can rest assured knowing they need not be self-conscious of penis size.

Myth 4: It's impossible to conceive another baby while pregnant

OK, this is extremely rare (like, one in a few million pregnancies) but not impossible—it's called superfetation and has been documented a few times.

"Here's how it happens — egg and sperm, implant. Of course, that's your first pregnancy, says NBC's Dr. Nancy Snyderman. "But if you ovulate more than one time a month, and women do, and a sperm happens to meet that egg and they, too, implant, guess what, you get a second fetus. You just have to hope it happens within that early window."

Sooo maybe still use protection just to be safe.

Myth 5: Pulling out is always ineffective at preventing pregnancy

First of all, STDs and STIs are the first concern when your partner goes in without protection. Depending on your partner's self-knowledge and control through (and how much you trust them) pulling out can be "as effective as condoms at preventing pregnancy," according to a 2014 study. Another study says that if practiced at rockstar level, only 4 percent of couples who do this will get pregnant in a year.

Myth 6: The hymen breaks and bleeds the first time you have sex, and it's painful AF

If you've watched any teen movie, you've heard dudes dish about "popping a girl's cherry." First of all, EW, and secondly, NOPE. Not how it works.

The hymen (or the cherry, to continue the gross metaphor), don't always rip and bleed upon first penetration. While this may happen to some women, others hymens break over time through athletic activities, using tampons, etc. Furthermore, this article says that when women experience pain during sex it has less to do with hymens and more to do with nerves and tight muscles.

Myth 7: All women orgasm from penetration

Ahhhhh, that's almost laughable. According to Planned Parenthood, 80 percent of women have difficulty climaxing from vaginal intercourse alone. 80 percent! So no, there's nothing wrong with you if you feel like you're never able to climax from G-spot stimulation during sexy time. Don't worry, there are other ways to get that big O, which brings me to...

Myth 8: The clitoris is just a teeny tiny sex organ

NOPE. The part we can visibly see is about a centimeter or two long, but it actually extends inside, and that's where pleasure city happens. Most of the organ is located inside the body and is about the size of a medium zucchini. And I will leave you with that visual.

Myth 9: Only men have wet dreams

While statistically, men have more wet dreams than women, a study found that 37 percent of women reported having a "nocturnal orgasm." In fact, these sleep-gasms are pretty common, they're just not as easy to track as men's for obvious reasons.

They happen during the REM stage of sleep when blood rushes to the genital area. Whether you're fantasizing about Ryan Gosling or the donuts you had for breakfast, these dreams don't always have to be sexual, much like with men.

Myth 10: You can only lose your virginity through P to V penetration

Society has led us to believe a woman is a virgin until she's had a penis inserted into her vagina—but this is very misconstrued. Everyone has different definitions of virginity and what sex is in general, and NEWSFLASH, it's not always heteronormative.

The idea that sex is strictly penetrative contact excludes a large number of people who don't think of themselves as virgins...and their definitions will be unique to them.



Americans Are Cool With All Kinds Of Sex, Just Not The Extramarital Kind

Academic studies can be fascinating... and totally confusing. So we decided to strip away all of the scientific jargon and break them down for you.

The Background - Between sexting, hookup apps and dating sites for people seeking affairs (yes, really), it's easier to cheat now than ever. But while we seem to be more open about infidelity these days, does that mean we're officially cool with it?

The Setup - To find out, a set of researchers turned to the General Social Survey, a longitudinal survey of over 33,000 adults between 1972 and 2012, which asked participants about sexual norms (among other things). This provided the researchers with a rare bird's eye view of how opinions about sex have changed over the last 40 years, and it served as the basis for their recent study on America's shifting attitudes about sex.

The questions included: "Do you think it is wrong or not wrong if a man and a woman have sexual relations before marriage?"; "What if they are in their early teens, say 14 to 16 years old?"; "What about a married person having sexual relations with someone other than his or her husband or wife?"; and "What about sexual relations between two adults of the same sex?" Respondents could answer "always wrong," "almost always wrong," "wrong only sometimes" and "not wrong at all."

The Findings - While people have become significantly more tolerant of premarital sex, adolescent sex and same-sex sexual activity since 1972, it seems people still aren't open-minded about extramarital sex (defined as "sex between a married person and someone other than his/her spouse" by the researchers). In fact, people have actually become less OK with cheating over the years -- 4 percent of respondents said it was acceptable in 1973 (5.9 percent of men and 1.9 percent of women), but only one 1 percent said the same in 2012 (2 percent of men and a mere .6 percent of women).

The Takeaway - It may be easier to find sex outside of marriage nowadays, but cheating is still considered incredibly uncool -- and thinking that doesn't make you some sexually regressive curmudgeon (unless you're in France).

5 Ways The Boomer Generation Changed Sex Forever

Yes, Virginia, there was a time when everyone waited until their wedding night to have intercourse. And perhaps even more shocking: Yes, that's actually what they called it. For real. Everything about what currently occurs in our bedrooms has completely changed since boomers came of age -- including the fact that "what we do in our bedrooms" is no longer only being done in our bedrooms. Sex has spilled over on to our kitchen counters, our beaches and the front seat of our Ferraris if "The Wolf of Wall Street" is to be believed.

While boomers may not have invented sex (the way we did the Internet), we certainly pushed its envelope and altered the way it is done, with whom, when and where, and even why. Here are five things boomers have done to change the course of the history of sex:

1. Boomers made outdoor sex OK.

What? You thought Woodstock was about the music? Sorry to disappoint, but nobody was really listening to Jimi Hendrix. That's right. And while the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame knows of no head count of babies born nine months later, 1969 wasn't dubbed "The Summer of Love" because of Ritchie Havens singing "Freedom."

But freedom was at the core of things. In 1965, five years after oral contraception got FDA approval, 6.5 million American women were on the pill, making it the most popular form of birth control in the U.S. and freeing a generation from the fear of unwanted pregnancies.

2. Boomers made indoor sex more interesting.

Anyone remember Plato's Retreat? Me neither. But the notorious swingers' club epitomized the free-sex atmosphere of pre-AIDS New York City. Clothing was optional, only couples were admitted (although encouraged to mingle), and the centerpiece of the experience was a public "mat room" for exhibitionist sex. Going to the mats took on a whole new meaning when Plato's opened in 1977.

AIDS, of course, changed everything.

3. Boomers took honoring thy neighbor to the biblical level.

Long before car keys were collected at parties from those who drank too much, suburban swingers in the 1970s collected them for a different reason. As they entered the party, the men would deposit their car keys in a bowl by the front door. On the way out, the women would fish a set of keys from the bowl and that's who they'd go home with.

Boomers invented the American Swinger.

A Psychology Today report in 2013 dubbed the 1971 study by Gilbert D. Bartell "the most in-depth look on the swinging culture to date." And here's what Bartell found: Of the estimated one to two million American Swingers, most were middle-class suburbanites. In a fact that can only amuse, the Bartell study found that a whopping 42% of the male Swingers were salesmen. More than three-fourths of the female Swingers were stay-at-home housewives, most of them with kids. Contrary to what some critics believed, Swingers tended to be anti-drug and “anti-hippie,” not at all aligned with the lifestyle or values of the counterculture. Swinging, Bartell found, was something quite different than the “free love” of the sexual revolution, and its advocates wanted to have little to do with the rebellious, anti-establishment youth culture. Mostly, they just wanted to have sex with someone other than their spouses.

4. Boomers changed the language of sex.

Calling sex "intercourse" went out the window long before Bill Clinton wished Monica Lewinsky would have. While our former Prez "didn't have sex with that woman," the term for doing the nasty (that'd be circa 1977) used to be balling in the 1960s. For a while, women were "boinked," "porked" or "got laid." Sometimes, we got "nookie" or were "screwed" and occasionally they had a "slap and tickle." Today people "hook up." And of course, the F-word has been around since the cavemen and that's probably who still uses it the most.

5. Boomers changed dating rituals.

Because we fumbled them so badly, obviously! Aside from inventing the Internet, which made it possible for online dating sites to exist, boomers totally blew dating. We may have originated the one-night stand, but we always struggled with long-lasting relationships. Maybe the bad bar scene and the people our mothers fixed us up with were just the kiss of dating death. Admit it: If anyone today bellied up to the bar next to you and asked you what your astrological sign was, you'd probably run for the exits, right? Yes, much safer to sit with your tablet swiping Tinder prospects to the side.

Nowadays, you see someone's profile and start following them on Twitter. You check out their LinkedIn profile and see who they're friends with on Facebook. One of the selling points of some dating apps is that they actually show whether you have friends in common so you can do some real-time investigating. The result is that long before you meet the person, you know his or her online persona, which as one younger friend noted, sometimes is a total disconnect from the real person.

Still, we think it probably beats putting your keys in a bowl.


  • Mixed bathing came to an end when Americans introduced body-shame to Japan after WWII.. Razor, 5/02
  • The Australians, unlike the Americans, don't think sex and nudity are the same thing. Razor, 5/02


Sex saturates newsstands. Not just men's magazines, but women's magazines, teenage girls magazines, and even some regular magazines like Golf, National Geographic, Natural Health, New Age, Town & Country, TV Guide, USA Weekend, and Discover to name a few. Take a journey through the following: (Display as wide as possible)

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Legend:  It's all about sex, everywhere we turn.

S = Women's magazines: Allure, Bazaar, Black Woman, Complete Woman, Cosmopolitan, Ebony, Elle, Essence, Frank, Glamour, Jane, Mademoiselle, Marie Claire, Mirbella, New Woman, Redbook.

E = Men's magazines:  Arena, Attitude, Black Man, Deluxe, Details, Esquire, FHM, Front, Gear, Later, Loaded, Maxim, Men's Fitness, Men's Health, POV, Sports Illustrated, Sky.

X = Youth directed:  American Baby, Cosmo Girl, Girl's Life, Jump, YM, Brides, Girls, Seventeen, Raising Teens.

! = Miscellaneous:  Lara Croft, Sex Life, Vanity Fair, InStyle

Underline = General magazines:  Golf, Cracked, Entertainment, Heart & Soul, Life, Mode, More, MS, National Geographic, Natural Health, Newage, Psychology Today, Rolling Stone, Town & Country, TV Guide, USA Weekend, Woman's Fitness, Vogue, Discover.

Teen Prom Magazines: 

Teen Prom 2009 cover not only shows clevage but sells sexy hair and amazing makeup. 392 pages with lots of ads selling sex.

, Your Prom, Spring 2009 cover promotes Your Hottest Prom Body in just 4 weeks, Sexy Hair and Makeup (how original) with a Bonus: Juicy Prom Horoscope. 212 pages.

Only Yes Means Yes

We've all heard that when someone says "No." it means "No!" And, while there are all kinds of social situations where our boys and girls have been trained differently, that is the law. When I was growing up, the saying was "If a lady say no she means maybe. If a lady says maybe, she means yes. If a lady says yes, she's no lady." There was a hit country song a few years ago still echoing those thoughts. "When I say no, I mean maybe." Some situations have been played out on television shows like Jump Street, where, if the guy doesn't play the game, it goes around that he must be gay. In a world that calls a girl a "Slut" if she sleeps with someone (see our book review of "Slut" by Leora Tanenbaum), non-the-less, the game is still being played. So, what we say is "Only "Yes!" means yes. But, that leads to the next question.

But Is It Legal

While, admittedly, this may be outdated information, it was the law stated in the last information we have been able to find. It shows that it is still a crime to cohabitate (live together as if husband and wife) in 20 states and fornication (sexual intercourse between a man and a woman who are unmarried) is illegal in 17 states with 3 other states, Alabama, Alaska and Michigan, where the law is ambiguous. In some circumstances, mere acts of sexual intercourse may be considered to violate the statue prohibiting cohabitation. Furthermore, if one of you is married and you have intercourse or live together, you are committing adultery, which is a crime in many states. You may also be vulnerable to a charge of bigamy. Here's the most recent information we could find. Please update us if you have new information. C=cohabitation, F=fornication.

Alabama: C: First conviction: min $100 fine and/or sentence to prison or hard labor for max. 6 mos. Second: min $300 fine and/or sentence to prison or hard labor for 1 yr. Third: 2 yrs sentence.
Alaska: C: Max $500 fine and/or 1-2 yrs sentence.
Arizona C: Felony. Max 3 yrs sentence.
Arkansas C: Misdemeanor. First conviction: $20-$100 fine. Second: $100 and max. 1 yr sentence. Third: 1-3 yrs sentence.
Florida C: Misdemeanor Max 60 days. F: Same
Georgia: F: Misdemeanor.
Hawaii: F: $15-50 fine and/or 1-3 mos. sentence.
Idaho: C: Misdemeanor. Max $300 fine and/or max. 6 mos. sentence. F:  Same
Illinois: C: Misdemeanor. Less than 1 yr sentence. F:  Same
Indiana: C: Max. $500 fine and/or max. 6 mos. sentence. F:  Same
Kansas:  C: Misdemeanor. $500-$1000 fine and/or 1-3 mos. sentence.Massachusetts: C: Max. $300 fine or max. 3 yrs sentence. F: Max $30 fine or max. 3 mos. sentence.
Michigan: C: Misdemeanor. Max. $500 fine or max. 1 yr. sentence
Mississippi: C: Max. $500 fine and 6 mos. sentence. F:  Same
Nebraska: Max. $100 fine and 6 mos. sentence.
New Jersey: F: Misdemeanor. Max $50 fine and/or 6 mos. sentence.
New Mexico: C: Warning by judge.
North Carolina: C: Misdemeanor. Max $500 fine and/or 6 mos. sentence. F: Same
Rhode Island: F: Max $10 fine.
South Carolina: C: $100-500 fine and/or 6 mos-1 yr. sentence. F:  Same
Utah:  F: Max. $299 fine or 6 mos. sentence. Makes you think you're not being punished as severely as in Idaho.)
Virginia:  C: Misdemeanor. First conviction: $500 max. fine. Thereafter: $1,000 max. fine and/or 1 yr. sentence. F: Misdemeanor. Max $100 fine.
West Virginia: C: Misdemeanor. Min. $50 fine and/or min. 6 mos. sentence. F: Misdemeanor. Min. $20 fine.
Wisconsin: C: Max. $500 fine and/or max. 1 yr. sentence. F: Max. $200 fine and/or 6 mos. sentence.
Wyoming: C: Max. $100 fine and/or max. 3 mos. sentence.
Washington, DC: F: Max $300 fine and/or 6 mos. sentence.

I wonder if once convicted you are then termed a sex offender. This isn't a flippant question. Read on.

The fact that few people have been prosecuted under these laws doesn't remove the possibility for some Assistant DA to try to make a name for him/herself. While the laws still exists, there exists the danger of them being applied. On, I believe, Oprah, within the past year, there was a boy 18 and a girl 19. They had a child out-of-wedlock, but the boy committed to raise the child and both sets of parents were supporting the couple. However, the two had conceived while both under 18 and the local DA was charging the boy, and asking for a prison sentence. The girl, who as an adult at 18 was having sex with the boy, then 17 (a minor), was not charged because she needed to raise the child. But that's not the end to what can happen. If convicted, the boy would be listed as a sex offender and would never be able to visit his daughter without supervised visitation. Tell me there isn't a strong connection between church and state. And, these laws need to be eliminated before they end up putting one of us or our children in prison for a personal choice.

Are your ready for sex?

I believe it is natural to feel nervous and scared when we do something we don't know much about at that point. If you are unsure about when to become sexually involved, you may want to spend time talking this over with your partner. If you are unsure, I feel it is always better to err on the side of waiting, rather than rushing into something you may regret later. Certainly, any sexual relationship should be based on mutual consent. Some other guidelines indicating you might be ready for sex include:

  • You might be ready for sex if you're not trying to prove your love, increase your self-worth, prove you're mature, or rebel against parents or society;
  • You might be for sex if it will be an expression of your current feelings rather than an attempt to improve a poor relationship or one that is growing old;
  • You might be for sex if you can discuss and agree on an effective method of birth control and share the details, responsibilities, and costs;
  • Finally, you might be ready for sex if you can discuss sexually transmitted infections and provide protection.

Deciding whether or not you are ready to become sexually involved is an important decision, a choice we make for ourselves. It should be a responsible one and it's yours alone. No one should force or push you into it. Don't wait until the last minute to decide; there are lots of things to consider. You decide!
Source: Dr. Caron,

Why Some People Never Want To Have Sex

You may very well know someone who is asexual. As a new and emerging sexual orientation, asexuals are still looking for acceptance in a society that can be seen as a little sex-crazed.

Society as a whole knows very little about asexuality. There's not a lot of information about this type of sexual orientation so it has become largely misunderstood. In the most basic sense, asexual people are not sexually attracted to either gender, male or female, and have almost no interest in sexual activity. As asexual writer Julia Decker explains in an article for Time in reference to her sexual encounters, "all my experiences were exactly what I'd expected: at best tolerable, at worst uncomfortable. Never enjoyable, never exciting, never intriguing enough to make me want more."

Many asexuals first notice they are different during adolescence when their peers begin to express interest in sex and they don't find themselves experiencing similar feelings. At first they might feel like something is wrong with them before ultimately realizing this is just the way they are. Although it is a small percentage of people, asexuals exist all over the world and have been around for a long time. The growth of the internet as a communication tool has allowed them to connect and form a community for the first time, helping them gain recognition and acceptance.

Just like discussions on the cause of homosexuality, and sexuality in general, it is not fully known why asexuality exists. Is it a genetic issue, a psychological issue, or environmental factors? It is known, however, that asexuality is not a disorder. An asexual person has nothing inherently wrong with them, and any distress they feel is usually imposed by society's naivete. Asexuals often lead very happy, normal lives, with the absence of sexual activity.

The XXX Files

Lust is in the air and on the air waves. In fact, it's saturating the airways (see "Fall TV has Cups Running Over" below). And Oprah, on one of her recent shows on fashion that was so popular it was selected as a special repeat, announced that underwear is out (not meaning bra straps and underpant hems showing, but stating that the new style for women is going without any underwear). Dawson's Creek's Season Premier opens with a stripper going down on Dawson, who is just starting his Junior year. We don't know that it happened, but he crashed his father's boat in the process and ended up having a bunch of stripper's at his house to earn enough money from the boys in school to pay for the boat and dock repairs. In the print media, it's gone way beyond the places where we would expect to see it - magazines like Sex Life and Libido. Sex is plastered over magazine covers on everything from Entertainment Weekly's "Sex on TV:  It's everywhere you turn, but just how far will it go?" to USA Weekend showing Heather Graham's unbuttoned blouse, to Rolling Stone with Angelina Jolie selling their "Hot List 99" to Life magazine with comparable pictures of a teen from 1950 with the lacy mid-cut top to today's teen displaying her cleavage (note the same head tilt that hasn't changed in atleast 50 years). TV Guide plays up "TV's 16 Sexiest Stars" and provides one cover for women with a no-smile pose by David James Elliott of Jag and another cover for men with Alyssa Milano of Charmed, showing much cleavage and her hand between her knees with a hiked up red dress. Town & Country's Special Fashion Issue Elegance 2000 has Annette Roque Lauer in an Armani low-cut and Golf has supermodel Heidi Klum with a cleavage shot to the naval with the tease "as you've never seen her before - in your pants." Then there's National Geographic showing a woman in sexy black leather with the older woman to her left covered by a promotional flap. From Instyle to Heart & Soul, to Mode, to Natural Health, to Newage, to Psychology Today and Discover - sex sells general magazines on the newsstand. And, the "Swim Suit" issues have gone from Sports Illustrated to American Baby, to Muscleman, and even Cracked magazine, thought it was something to spoof.

You'd expect men's magazine to play it up, but the magazines where almost every cover features a woman in a low cut and something with the word "sex" in it, are the women's magazines. From Harper's Bazaar for adult women "Fall's New Dress Code:  100% Sexy. Sharp suits." and similar messages to adolescent girls in the new ComsoGirl. Even Modern Maturity has two cover stories in their 9-10/99 issue - "Great Sex: What's age got to do with it?" And "Who's Sexy Now?" Check out what is going on in women's magazines as well as what the industry is tell our adolescent girls - CosmoGirl even has a young male centerfold for their teen audience with his underwear showing. And, one final note. It's nice to see, finally, that one of the national magazines (Gear below) has exposed women's magazines, something we have been doing for years. Celia Farber writes in the article's subhead "Men's magazines get accused of exploiting women. Have you see a women's magazine lately?" See additional information and articles on this subject under Breasts.

Fall TV Has Cups Running Over

It figures to be an entertaining TV season. Which means that out of more than three dozen new network series, seven or eight deserve a peek. But this is no longer your father's television cosmos. For one thing, your father has been summarily judged too old to watch most network TV . Instead, programmers are luring young viewers with a mixture of sex and shock. It seems that this falls TV lineup is a barrage of people looking for it, talking about it, or having it. ABC, Fox, the WB and UPN are leading the charge.

The pilot episode of every new ABC show, except "Snoops", deals with young people including a 15-year-old boy, having or seeking sex. And that's the Disney network. Fox is dead set on shocking the public into paying attention. Fox's "Action" is a scathingly funny satire of Hollywood. But it comes within a nano-bleep of introducing the F-word to the TV prime-time lexicon. Christmas carols ("Do you see what I see?") become audio sexual puns. The female lead is a prostitute. Eventually, the pilot episode's key plot device is the size of a studio mogul's penis. "Get Real", a domestic comedy-drama on Fox, begins its broadcast life with the "oh, God, oh God, oh God" wail of a woman in orgasm. "Malcolm in the Middle" starts with a housewife shaving her husband's hairy back while he stands nude at the breakfast table, perusing the morning paper. Later, she does the laundry and answers the doorbell topless. Of course, the camera blinks.

The first words in the pilot of a WB high school drama, "Popular", spoken by a teenage girl: "Have you ever stood naked in front of a mirror and looked at yourself?"  Later she imagines one of her teachers unbuttoning his shirt and unzipping his pants in front of her, and she wonders, "If he saw me naked, would he laugh?"  Nah.

UPN has decided this year that it's the network for teenage boys. While UPN isn't especially frothed sexually, its programming centerpiece is "WWF Smackdown!", featuring the mock violence of pro wrestling.

NBC promised in January to pare gratuitous sexual content from the network's prime-time shows, and the fall lineup suggests that they are making good on their word. Then again, NBC's "Cold Feet" pilot included a scene of one of the male leads serenading his girlfriend in the buff, with a rose jammed between his buttocks. It made a little sense in context. But, the most extravagant new series on NBC is "The West Wing", a Wednesday drama about the inner workings of the White House. Let's just say that it's not as sexy as what we've learned about the real thing.

Sexuality in Later Life

Most older people want and are able to enjoy an active, satisfying sex life. Regular sexual activity helps maintain sexual ability. However, over time everyone may notice a slowing of response. This is part of the normal aging process.

Normal Physical Changes With Age

Women may notice changes in the shape and flexibility of the vagina. These changes may not cause a serious loss in the ability to enjoy sex. Most women will have a decrease in vaginal lubrication that affects sexual pleasure. A pharmacist can suggest over-the-counter vaginal lubricants.

Men often notice more distinct changes. It may take longer to get an erection or the erection may not be as firm or as large as in earlier years. The feeling that an ejaculation is about to happen may be shorter. The loss of erection after orgasm may be more rapid or it may take longer before an erection is again possible. Some men may find they need more manual stimulation.

As men get older, impotence seems to increase, especially in men with heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes. Impotence is the loss of ability to achieve and maintain an erection hard enough for sexual intercourse. Talk to your doctor. For many men impotence can be managed and perhaps even reversed.

Effects of Illness or Disability

Although illness or disability can affect sexuality, even the most serious conditions should not stop you from having a satisfying sex life.

Heart disease. Many people who have had a heart attack are afraid that having sex will cause another attack. The risk of this is very low. Follow your doctor's advice. Most people can start having sex again 12 to 16 weeks after an attack.

Diabetes. Most men with diabetes do not have problems, but it is one of the few illnesses that can cause impotence. In most cases medical treatment can help.

Stroke. Sexual function is rarely damaged by a stroke and it is unlikely that sexual exertion will cause another stroke. Using different positions or medical devices can help make up for any weakness or paralysis.

Arthritis. Joint pain due to arthritis can limit sexual activity. Surgery and drugs may relieve this pain. In some cases drugs can decrease sexual desire. Exercise, rest, warm baths, and changing the position or timing of sexual activity can be helpful.


Most people worry about having any kind of surgery-it is especially troubling when the sex organs are involved. The good news is that most people do return to the kind of sex life they enjoyed before having surgery.

Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the womb. Performed correctly, a hysterectomy does not hurt sexual functioning. If a hysterectomy seems to take away from your ability to enjoy sex, a counselor can be helpful. Men who feel their partners are less feminine after a hysterectomy can also be helped by counseling.

Mastectomy is the surgical removal of all or part of a woman's breast. Although her body is as capable of sexual response as ever, a woman may lose her sexual desire or her sense of being desired. Sometimes it is useful to talk with other women who have had a mastectomy. Programs like the American Cancer Society's (ACS) Reach to Recovery can be helpful for both women and men. Check your phone book for the local ACS listing.

Prostatectomy is the surgical removal of all or part of the prostate. Sometimes a prostatectomy needs to be done because of an enlarged prostate. This procedure rarely causes impotence. If a radical prostatectomy (removal of prostate gland) is needed, new surgical techniques can save the nerves going to the penis and an erection may still be possible. If your sexuality is important to you, talk to your doctor before surgery to make sure you will be able to lead a fully satisfying sex life.

Other issues

Alcohol. Too much alcohol can reduce potency in men and delay orgasm in women.

Medicines. Antidepressants, tranquilizers, and certain high blood pressure drugs can cause impotence. Some drugs can make it difficult for men to ejaculate. Some drugs reduce a woman's sexual desire. Check with your doctor. She or he can often prescribe a drug without this side effect.

Masturbation. This sexual activity can help unmarried, widowed, or divorced people and those whose partners are ill or away.

AIDS. Anyone who is sexually active can be at risk for being infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Having safe sex is important for people at every age. Talk with your doctor about ways to protect yourself from AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. You are never too old to be at risk.

Emotional Concerns

Sexuality is often a delicate balance of emotional and physical issues. How we feel may affect what we are able to do. For example, men may fear impotence will become a more frequent problem as they age. But, if you are too worried about impotence, you can create enough stress to cause it. As a woman ages, she may become more anxious about her appearance. This emphasis on youthful physical beauty can interfere with a woman's ability to enjoy sex.

Older couples may have the same problems that affect people of any age. But they may also have the added concerns of age, retirement and other lifestyle changes, and illness. These problems can cause sexual difficulties. Talk openly with your doctor or see a therapist. These health professionals can often help.

More Information

For a list of publications from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) including an Age Page called AIDS, HIV, and Older Adults, contact:

NIA Information Center, P.O. Box 8057, Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8057, 800.222.2225, 800.222.4225 (TTY)

What it’s really like inside a sex club

If we were hardcore investigative journalists, we’d go inside every famed local sex club and tell you what happens around every sweaty, who-moans-like-that corner. But we’re not. So we did the next best thing.

We found some fascinating firsthand accounts from people who’ve actually gone to sex clubs. Indulge your curiosity by clicking the NSFW links below. It’s so worth it!

  • Everyone had to change into a white towel… A fairly innocent first-timer’s account of a NYC sex club.
  • The night's theme is feet. Atlanta has three swingers clubs. This is what it’s like to have sex at one of them.
  • A "fantasy suite" includes six queen-sized mattresses. These rooms are where the orgies take place. South Florida has five on-premises sex clubs. Get to know them intimately.
  • Some people are into S&M. I don't want a guy to lick my boots. Just one girl’s average night out at a Manhattan sex club with her boyfriend.
  • When a man approached me and asked if he could “touch my cupcakes”, I raised an eyebrow, narrowed my eyes, and shook my head “NO”. Simone’s blog Skinny Dip has a hilarious account of her first time at a sex club on the eve of Halloween.
  • At one point I forgot that the woman I was conversing with was wearing nothing but a Stetson, Cowboy boots and a holster containing two cans of Squirty Cream. What it’s like to spend an evening at the Sex Circus across the pond.
  • Fire and nudity are two things I would have thought are best avoided in combination, but Paradox keeps emphasizing the fun. Do sex clubs offer seminars on fire play? Yes. In Seattle they do.
  • Our party tends more towards the poly side than the swinger side. All about Chemistry, from the founders of this NYC sex party.
  • There are doctors, lawyers, teachers, and all kinds of regular people here. Overlook the typos and tour two of El Paso’s sex clubs, Great Expectations and Quiet Expressions. (Yes, those are real sex club names.)

Heading out to a sex club near you? (There are many listed on Yelp.) Make sure your birth control is super effective and good for STI prevention .
Source: eMail from Bedsider

12 Kinds of Sex Every Couple Should Have

Every couple needs to change up their sexual routine every now and again so it doesn't become just that -- a routine. Sexual experimentation is key for keeping a long-term relationship fresh, fun and fulfilling. Opening up about your desires can also bring you and your partner closer together. "Experimenting with each other requires a willingness to be vulnerable, which improves intimacy," says Mort Fertel, a Baltimore marriage counselor and creator of the Marriage Fitness Program.

What types of sex might you and your partner be missing out on? Read on to learn what every couple should try.

Holiday Sex

If there's a three-day weekend associated with any holiday, you better believe that couples are getting busy between the sheets. Valentine's Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July and especially New Year's Eve see a spike in sexual activity and conception in the United States, according to biorhythm researchers. No wonder. Who doesn't want to start the New Year off right?

Make-Up Sex
A passionate argument can lead to some just-as-passionate action between the sheets. Fighting causes dopamine and adrenaline levels to rise, making you and your partner excitable in more ways than one. Every couple faces occasional conflict, and sex after a disagreement can be a great way to get your relationship back on track. "When you're upset with each other, you need to be able to get over it and move on," says Fertel. "Sex changes the momentum after an argument."

Vacation Sex

The two of you may be tucked away in a private room, but the deed can still feel thrillingly public. And those crisp, clean sheets are just begging to be rumpled. Best of all, a vacation can be a great opportunity to re-connect with your partner sexually. "One of the benefits of a vacation should be to renew your sexual intimacy," Fertel says. If you usually plan every minute of a trip, make sure you schedule time for sex. For example, plan to stay at the hotel until mid-morning or to come right back to your room after dinner for a relaxing night together.

Animalistic Sex

A sense of urgency can turn up the heat in a major way. Being aggressive can be fun and unexpected -- romance with a twist. After all, it's an element of mystery that defines romance. "It's when you don't quite know what to expect," Fertel says. So if you're in the mood, ripping each other's clothes off and skimping on foreplay could be an exciting change of pace.

Comfort Sex

Like meatloaf and mashed potatoes, sometimes you just need something that's simple, familiar and satisfying. It's one way to provide love and support when you or your partner has had a rough day or is feeling down. This is when it might be time to use your favorite stand-by position, one that you and your partner always enjoy. "When it comes to the climax, sometimes it needs to be in a certain way, and that's OK," says Fertel.

Hope-We-Don't-Get-Caught Sex

If you're at a boring party or family gathering, add a little spice to the evening by sneaking away to the spare bedroom. The possibility of getting caught adds a new level of excitement to your sex life and can even give you a reason to look forward to spending the holidays with the in-laws.

Fulfill-Your-Fantasy Sex

Everyone has sexual fantasies, and as long as both you and your partner feel comfortable acting them out, there's no reason you shouldn't try them. "We should be pursuing each other's fantasies, assuming they're appropriate," says Fertel. For example, if your partner has always dreamed of doing the deed on a boat, why not rent one and spend a romantic night at sea? All aboard!

Quickie Sex

If you're pressed for time, don't write off sex just yet -- this is when "the quickie" comes in handy. Just make sure it's something both parties want; an unfulfilling experience for either one of you can foster resentment and, over time, weaken the relationship. When someone says yes to sex when she really means no, "she's not doing him a favor; she's making a mistake," Fertel says. "It will turn her off to him sexually long-term."

Romantic, Sensual Sex

Taking the time to savor sex without rushing through it can be luxurious and fulfilling on many levels. Connecting with your partner by taking it slow means you get to enjoy every moment of being together and lets you take advantage of the emotional connection that makes sex better. Whether it takes candles, music or some bubbly, building the mood can provide a major boost between the sheets.

All-Over-the-House Sex

Switching up your lovemaking location can be a great way to inject some spontaneity into a relationship, which in turn can make your partner feel even more desirable. "Spontaneity is beautiful. It's fun and exciting," says Fertel. "Too often people get into a routine where they have sex at the same time, at the same place." If you and your partner are doing the laundry together, for example, pulling him or her close for a quick rendezvous can be surprising and refreshing. It's good, clean fun -- no detergent required!

Outdoor Sex

You tell your kids to go play outside -- now it's time to practice what you preach! Bringing your sexual escapades outside can be fun and invigorating. If you're camping in a tent or live on a large piece of property, those can be great opportunities to try something new. But to avoid legal problems, it's best to keep your shenanigans private. "The caution is to make sure you're somewhere where you could not be in the public eye," Fertel says. So venture outside to learn more about the birds and the bees.

Position of the Week Sex

Trying out a new position offers the chance to learn more about what brings your partner pleasure. Some positions work better than others for helping a woman orgasm, and experimenting with new ones can give you a better feel for what works -- and what doesn't. Mixing it up keeps sex fresh and prevents it from becoming routine, Fertel says. That makes it more likely you and your partner will keep doing it -- literally.

Marathon Sex

Come rain, snow, sleet or hail, when the weather gets frightful this winter there's no better excuse to spend an entire day in bed. Think of it as Bedroom Olympics. Work together for a common goal, like breaking your record for how many times you can do the horizontal tango in a row. When your sexual energy is finally tapped out, you'll both be exhausted and satisfied.

Do Men And Women Have Sex For Different Reasons?

Meston’s [Cindy M Meston, Ph.D., Professor, The University of Texas at Austin; Director, The Sexual Psychophysiology Laboratory] lab recently examined that question. In a large sample questionnaire study, she and her colleagues looked at all the reasons folks from eighteen to seventy might have for getting busy. The results surprised them.

“You always hear that women are more likely to have sex for love, men for physical gratification. And we did see some of that,” said Meston. “For example, men were more likely to engage in opportunistic sex and women in sympathy sex. But across that age range, we found many more gender similarities than differences. The top three reasons for having sex were the same in both genders—they were having it for love, for commitment, and for physical gratification.”

You heard it here. Sure, gender differences are seen in a variety of studies. Many of them support the ideas we have about the ways men and women view sex. But there are a lot of similarities there too. Subjective reports of arousal, our reasons for having sex, show a lot of overlap between the genders.

“Some of these differences may be explained simply by differences are aroused. That is a pretty hard thing to ignore. It is a strong, apparent signal grabbing his attention, probably distracting him from other things that he may need to get done. With women, the sexual response is tucked away, and the vagina does not hold as much blood as the penis. It may not be as strong a signal. So in this case, it may be what is going on in the rest of the world that is the distraction, not the arousal itself. Those anatomical differences might explain a lot of the gender differences you hear about.”

Love remains the same

What about love itself? Is what I experience when I feel love qualitatively different from what a man experiences? If I consider Semir Zeki [Professor of Neuroesthetics at University College, London]’s hypothesis that literature and art across the ages show a common substrate for love in the mind, I might suggest that descriptions of sex by male and female authors and artists are sometimes different. But descriptions of love by writers of both genders? They aren’t all that dissimilar.

Although previous neuroimaging studies of romantic love by Zeki and Fisher included members of both sexes, a precise comparison of brain activation between the two was not undertaken. Zeki and his collaborator John Paul Romaya decided to take a closer look to determine whether there were gender differences in the way men and women experience love.

They compared cerebral blood flow in twenty-four people in committed relationships who claimed to be passionately in love (and scored high enough on a passionate love questionnaire to back that claim). Twelve of those participants were men, and six of those men were gay. The remaining group of twelve women was also made up equally of gay and straight women. The study paradigm was identical to Zeki’s initial romantic love study: each participant’s brain was scanned as he or she passively viewed photos of his or her partner and a familiar acquaintance matched in gender and age to their true love.

Zeki and Romaya found similar patterns of brain activation and deactivation across all participants, replicating the findings from Zeki’s original romantic love study. Once again measurements of cerebral blood flow support the idea that love is both rewarding and blind. But there were no significant differences between activation patterns in men and women. Considering the sexual dimorphism seen in many parts of the brain, it’s an intriguing result. It appears that love is love, no matter what gender you are.

When I asked Zeki if he was surprised by the finding, he chuckled. “To be honest, I was entirely agnostic,” he said. “I cannot say I was surprised by the results. But I think this is one of these studies where people would have said, ‘I’m not surprised,’ even if the results had gone the other way.”

So are Men and Women Different or not?

It is easy to fall back on old stereotypes, to simply say that men and women are poles apart. And perhaps those differences are enough to fuel those storms you commonly see in relationships. It would almost be easier if we could say that male and female brains are just too dissimilar, that they perceive and process love and sexual stimuli separately; it would give us something to hold on to when no other explanation for our love-related woes seems available. Alas, it is not quite so simple.

“When we talk about sex differences in the brain, people want to go all ‘Mars, Venus’ on you. They want to take these results and try to spread males and females way apart on function and ability,” said Cahill [Professor, Neurobiology and Behavior, School of Biological Sciences at UC Irvine]. “It is not like that. When you are talking about sex influences on brain function, you may have two bell curves that are significantly different from one another in certain instances. But those bell curves are still overlapping.”

Goldstein [Jill Goldstein, Ph.D., director of The Clinical Neuroscience Laboratory of Sex Differences in the Brain] concurred. “There is more variability within a given sex than between sexes in cognitive behavior and the brain. That is important. In fact, I always say it twice so that people really understand that,” she said. “There is more variability observed between women than between women and men in both the size of different brain regions as well as the function.”

Meston saw the same kinds of overlapping bell curves in her research.

“Every person brings their own individual history to any sexual situation,” she said. “The reasons why they are having sex, the way they feel about the sex, and the consequences of having sex are all very different across individuals no matter what gender they happen to be.”

That’s something to consider the next time you want to chalk up your partner’s quirks and shortcomings to his or her gender alone.

The Most Erogenous Zones of the Body Will Surprise You

The science of sexuality has moved out of the candle-lit bedroom and into the laboratory. (See? Science can be fun!) Recent research was aimed at revealing "the magnitude of erotic sensations from various body parts." The results ended up being a little predictable, a little unexpected, and a lot of sexy.

The Guardian reports on the work of researchers in South Africa and the United Kingdom, who published an article in the journal Cortex. They surveyed 800 men and women, asking them to rate 41 different body parts for their erogenous capabilities.

The sexiest body parts were a no-brainer: genitalia, lips, ears, and inner thighs. Surprisingly, shoulder blades ranked as one of the more pleasurable spots for both men and women.

But the real interest came in the lowest-ranked body parts. Knee caps and feet both received a zero ranking on the sexy scale. Now, as most of us are initiating a face-palm and saying "Well, duh!" as we think about knobbly knees and fragrant feet, consider this: For many years, scientists have thought that feet were one of the most erogenous zones of the body. It's believed that the area of the brain that handles nerve impulses from the feet is right next door to the processing center for genitalia sensations. So our feet ought to be just one exit down on the Highway to Heaven, at least in terms of brain signals.

Not so, the survey found. Feet were a sexual flop for most of the survey respondents. Study authors note that while foot fetishes (such as shoe obsession, foot massaging, etc.) may be common, there appears to be a big difference between a fetish and an erogenous zone.

Another startling find was that men and women are very similar in their ranking of erotic body parts. Oh, there were a few differences (men often found hands and the back of the legs very erotic, while women ranked them lower), but overall the scientists were surprised to find "remarkable levels of correlation" between the sexes. This goes against the traditional belief that women are loaded with erogenous zones and men only have one obvious hot spot.

Study authors were also amazed to discover that the erotic rankings held steady no matter what a person's age, socioeconomic status, cultural background, or sexual orientation. Human beings all seem to share common erogenous zones, the scientists conclude. This suggests that in most cases, our sexual proclivities are hard-wired, not based on ethnicity or experience.

So, next time you're looking for a little nookie, you might want to skip the toe-nibbling and opt instead for some shoulder blade-action. And you can thank science for this admirable quest to quantify sexiness. Not only does research tell you which spots to twiddle, but also the optimal speed at which to stroke human skin for maximum pleasure. It's 5 cm per second, by the way, just in case you're hoping to do a little experimentation of your own.

Is she normal? Let’s take a look and see (for and about women)

Women grow up. They develop. They learn to love their body and use it in adult ways. Then one day something catches them off guard and all of the sudden they're wondering if they’re normal. Let’s tackle a few of those scenarios and find out.

Smelling. Sweat glands. Secretions. Bacteria. Men and women have a lot of stuff going on down there and it’s normal to exude a variety of mild musky scents . You should see a healthcare professional if your scent becomes yeasty, fishy, or noticeably different from your usual.

Bleeding/not bleeding. A normal period lasts about five days, but birth control may alter your cycle —or keep you from bleeding altogether—so look up your method to see how it typically affects menstruation. See a healthcare professional if you have really heavy bleeding or any of these period irregularities .

Making sounds. A little trapped air in your snooch can create quite the queef . Totally normal. Condoms and certain sex positions are common causes, but really it can happen during sex, after sex, or even in pilates class . Please, try not to be embarrassed .

Squirting. There’s female ejaculation and then there’s squirting. (Read more about the differences .) Some women can do one or both. Some can’t do either. Dry orgasms and wet ones are normal, so whether you gush or not, you’re normal.

Changing. Things like childbirth and aging can change the muscle tone, strength, and look of your vulva. As long as it is functioning, healthy, and sexually satisfying, please consider it normal.

You know what else is normal? Trying different kinds of birth control until you find one that works best with your body. So don’t give up.

After reading this, we hope you relax knowing that you’re more normal than you think. You’re also pretty spectacular. And so is your lovely vagina, no matter what it looks like.

(BTW, that last link will show you hundreds of vaginas—all of them unique—and all of them NSFW.)

Opening the kimono: 14 sensual, seductive, and mysterious facts about Geishas

When it comes to erotic history, Geishas are fascinating. They were artists, entertainers, and sometimes concubines. Fashion leaders and highly educated conversationalists. They knew how to cultivate desire and provide pleasure a thousand different ways. Here are 14 facts to give you a small taste of their immense culture.

1.Geishas were not prostitutes. They were talented entertainers in song, music, storytelling, and dance.

2.Yes they were paid companions for wealthy men, but much of their massive allure was insightful conversation. Geishas were well educated so that powerful men could enjoy talking with them.

3.But it wasn’t all talk. The mizuage was a coming-of-age ceremony celebrated when a geisha-in-training was ready to become a full-on geisha. It often involved selling her virginity to the highest bidder.

4.A danna is a man who fully supports a geisha by paying for all of her wants and needs. Basically, he pays to keep the geisha in a long-term arrangement and all to himself. (Sex is okay with a danna.)

5.The perfect hair and makeup. The elaborate and beautiful kimono. The artful, coy, mysterious personae. All cultivated to create desire and the illusion of female perfection.

6.Training to be a geisha takes almost as long as it takes to become a doctor.

7.A kaburenjo is a school dedicated to training geisha. In addition to musical arts, dance, tea ceremony, flower arrangement, languages, and calligraphy, geishas are also taught to be graceful and things like “how to flatter a shy man, an arrogant man, and a disinterested man with equal success.”

8.Geisha districts are called hanamachi or flower towns and the most popular ones are located in Tokyo and Kyoto.

9.A geisha’s kimono exposes her neckline. In Japan, they consider it the most sensual part of a woman.

10.A geisha exposing her bare wrist while serving tea was also believed to be very erotic and a sign of seduction.

11.A geisha’s hairstyle, makeup, and kimono change to reflect different levels of her career. When prostitution was legal in Japan, people were able to tell the difference between geishas and prostitutes based on how they dressed up.

12.What about birth control? We read an account of geishas using bamboo paper (um?) and another of modern geishas using condoms. FYI: Japan didn’t allow the pill to be used as contraception until 1999.

13.The first geishas were actually men. They were called honko and they juggled, sang, joked around, and danced for clients in bars, restaurants, and tearooms.

14. Today there are about 1,000 registered geishas, but back in the 1920s there were 80,000.

Interested in the sex and relationship secrets of an American geisha? You could read this not-so-politically-correct book and find out. And if that leads to sex for you, don’t forget the birth control.


New Emergency Contraception Works

Health officials in the U.S. estimate that about half of the 2.7 million unintended pregnancies are caused by contraceptive failure. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 11 million American women report using contraceptive methods associated with high failure rates, including condoms, withdrawal, periodic abstinence and diaphragms.

In Denmark, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, and some Eastern European countries, emergency contraceptive pills are specifically packaged in the proper dosages with instructions for clinicians and patients, which make them easier to prescribe and use. No large pharmaceutical company markets or advertises this product in the United States. However, a small company, Gynetics Inc. of Somerville, NJ, brought this new emergency contraception drug to the market in the United States. Research has shown that a levonorgestrel-only pill is more effective and provides fewer side effects than the ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel combination that is currently available for sale as part of Gynetics' Preven emergency contraception kit.

The Preven Emergency Contraceptive Kit is the first FDA-approved product available in the U.S. It is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy after a known or suspected contraceptive failure, or after sex without birth control when treatment is started as soon as possible within 72 hours. The pills work to prevent pregnancy in the same way as regular birth control pills. Available only by prescription from your healthcare professional, it is available in many pharmacies and family planning clinics such as Planned Parenthood (except Wal-mart).

For more information call 1.888.PREVEN2 or Also check or or 1.888.NOT.2.LATE or

Testing for Virginity

In a revival, boys and girls of South Africa's Zulu get exams certifying they have not had sex. Backers say it fights AIDS. Critics see it as a human rights abuse. For the boys, a piece of wire is extended three feet above the ground. They are instructed to pull down their trousers and, without using their hands, urinate above the marker. For the girls, a straw mat is unraveled on the floor of a mud hut. They are required to undress, part their legs and submit to a vaginal exam by a female inspector. The tests are repeated each month. In the monthly exams, boys who clear the wire with a steady stream and girls whose hymens are deemed intact are declared virgins. The youths are feted with traditional Zulu songs and dances and awarded certificates of virginity. "Hallelujah for being pure!" a crowd of bare-breasted girls in beaded skirts shouted as inspectors kissed the cheek of the final examinee. Tens of thousands have joined this controversial revival of the long-lost Zulu custom of virginity testing. Sexually active teenagers are the target but infants as young as 4 months are being tested to guard against child abuse, and women well into their 50s also undergo inspections to demonstrate the growing social prestige of virginity. Critics fear that advocates are giving too little consideration to the destructive messages the exams may impart and to the potential danger they pose for girls in a country experiencing one of the world's highest reported incidences of rape. "We are trying to teach children 'Your body is your body', and then we send them to a woman who invades it." Also, because desperate men in many poor communities across South African believe that sex with a virgin can cure AIDS and other maladies. Thus, newly branded virgins, many of whom wear colorful dots on their foreheads to mark their purity, have become walking advertisements to the worst elements in society. For boys, there are several different checks, none thought to truly prove virginity. In the case of the urine exam, it must be conducted when the bladder is full. Boys who are not pure, he said, usually spray when they urinate - rather than casting a single stream - and are unable to maintain the three-foot height. A second inspection, examines the front and back of the knees. If the boy is a virgin, he is unable to press a finger in the softer spot of the kneecap. Also, the veins behind the knee will be light silver in color. The veins turn darker are intercourse, because of the rush of blood. The skin on the genital area is also examined. If it is firm and tough, the boy is pure. Proponents of the male tests attribute the Zulus' reputation across African as fierce warriors to the custom of abstaining from sex. However, in a culture in which having multiple sexual partners is common and condom use is not a regular practice, AIDS has become an epidemic. About 3.6 million of South Africa's 40.5 million people have HIV or AIDS. And, the number of pregnant teenagers with HIV rose by 64% last year. Looking for anything that can slow this trend is worth investigating.

Multiple Orgasm

"Global Discussion on Multiple Orgasm for Men and Their Partners" at hosted by John L. "Jack" Johnston, M.A.. It has over 400 files of information, articles, and annotated index with links to full transcripts of three years of "coaching/discussion" chats, an indexed Knowledge Base Forum for continuing tips, stories, testimonials, and Q&A. By request, I host periodic free coaching/discussion chats, including chats on "MMO" for disabled men. My work is endorsed by author Barbara Keesling PhD, Mitch Tepper MPH PhD host of - a site for sexuality and the disabled, Sib Burton, Vermont State Chairman of the American Parkinsons Disease Association, and others. Jack Johnston Seminars 800.349.9866 e.mail:

Hypersexual Disorder

Former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) is the latest politician to get caught in an embarrassing sex scandal and bring renewed attention to this condition (though that's not to say he's been diagnosed with it). Hypersexual disorder involves recurrent and intense sexual fantasies, sexual urges and sexual behavior lasting at least six months, according to the experts considering its inclusion in the DSM.

These experts say there's a need to label this disorder as a unique mental health condition because some people have "recurrent, 'out of control' sexual behaviors that are not inherently socially deviant." Deviant behaviors, such as pedophilia and fetishism, are already included in the DSM.

Stern said "most people would endorse that some people have symptoms that are considered 'hypersexual,'" but added that research is ongoing to determine whether the behavior rises to the level of a disorder.

Other symptoms of hypersexual disorder include spending excessive time on sexual fantasies or behavior, and experiencing excessive sexual behavior or thoughts in response to stressful life events. Further, for a person who has the condition, attempts to control the behavior are unsuccessful, and he or she usually engages in this behavior despite potential harm to themselves or others, the DSM experts say.

Don't Have Sex in Mississippi

Did you know that adultery is against the law in Mississippi. So is having sex if you're not married. So is living together. It's illegal to have an erection, even if you're dressed. You can't legally have oral or anal sex, even with your wife or husband. But it's not all bad news. Although 32 states prohibit having sex with or marrying a first cousin - that's perfectly legal in Mississippi. (It's also legal in Alabama and Louisiana.) I guess Jeff Foxworthy's joke, "Rednecks go to family reunions to meet women" isn't a joke after all.

Teens & AIDS

Knowing that fewer than 20% of parents teach sex education to their children and that the highest growing counts of AIDS victims is among teenagers, Marin County CA high school students decided to start the Marin AIDS project after a teacher died of AIDS. December 1 was World AIDS Day and students from the project, laden with banners and thousands of red ribbons, wouldn't let you forget it. Project volunteers adorned their local high schools, recognizing all those who have fought hard with the deadly disease. But this is just one of the many days each year they devote time and energy toward fighting the AIDS epidemic. Developed five years ago, these programs teach teens about the virus, sending them out into the community as informed messengers. Through peer-to-peer education in the classrooms and participation in community events, members are using prevention as their arsenal against AIDS. Contact Janet Horewitz, Director, Marin AIDS Project, 1660 2nd Street, San Rafael, CA 94901 or call 415.457.2487 to learn how to start a similar program in your community. See also AIDS Slide Guide 

Good Sex

1. Sex is a beauty treatment. Scientific tests find that when woman make love they produce amounts of the hormone estrogen, which make hair shiny and skin smooth.

2. Gentle, relaxed lovemaking reduces your chances of suffering dermatitis, skin rashes and blemishes. The sweat produced cleanses the pores and makes your skin glow.

3. Lovemaking can burn up those calories you piled on during that romantic dinner.

4. Sex is one of the safest sports you can take up. It stretches and tones up just about every muscle in the body. It's more enjoyable than swimming 20 laps, and you don't need special sneakers!

5. Sex is an instant cure for mild depression. It releases the body endorphin into the bloodstream, producing a sense of euphoria and leaving you with a feeling of well-being.

6. The more sex you have, the more you will be offered. The sexually active body gives off greater quantities of chemicals called pheromones. These subtle sex perfumes drive the opposite sex crazy!

7. Sex is the safest tranquilizer in the world. IT IS 10 TIMES MORE EFFECTIVE THAN VALIUM.

8. Kissing each day will keep the dentist away. Kissing encourages saliva to wash food from the teeth and lowers the level of the acid that causes decay, preventing plaque build-up.

9. Sex actually relieves headaches. A lovemaking session can release the tension that restricts blood vessels in the brain.

10. A lot of lovemaking can unblock a stuffy nose. Sex is a natural antihistamine. It can help combat asthma and hay fever.

Remember, however, that you can never have great sex with an unwilling partner.

Sexual Fluidity: Q&A with Lisa Diamond

Editor's Note: Even though the following article and interview with Lisa Diamond is primarily about women, I believe that men are not far off from sexual fluidity.

In 1995, Lisa Diamond traversed New York State in a beat-up car, visiting softball games, picnics, and gay-pride parades. She was hunting for young women who had experienced same-sex attraction (even if it was fleeting).

Diamond wanted to find out how such women understand - and label - their own desires.

In this country, we tell a certain story about homosexuality: We believe that people who come out as gay almost always stick with that gay identity for the rest of their lives. Diamond's research reveals that - at least for some females - that story might be wrong.

She followed dozens of women for 10 years, as they graduated from college, worked their first jobs, fell in love, changed their minds, and tumbled into the arms of new partners. Most women's behavior had little to do with the "gay for life" story. Some switched their sexual identity many times. In fact, when asked to define themselves as "gay," "straight" or "bisexual," a number of women refused to take any label at all. Others invented their own labels; for instance, one interviewee called herself a "reluctant heterosexual."

About one-fourth of the women reported that their choice of sexual partners had nothing to do with gender. "Deep down," said one woman, "it's just a matter of who I meet and fall in love with, and it's not their body, it's something behind the eyes." These women often had no words for the way their hearts were wired.

As soon as Diamond began publishing in academic journals, she discovered just how controversial - and easy to distort - her findings might be. Christian-right groups have trumpeted her data as proof that homosexuality is optional. Her research has become fodder for therapists who claim to be able to "cure" gay men by turning them straight. In a forthcoming book, "Sexual Fluidity," the University of Utah professor talks back to all those who have misrepresented her data. Sexual attraction may be quirky and mercurial, she says, but it is certainly not under our control.

To read the questions and answers go to "Sexual Fluidity"

The 10 Greatest Lovers in History

  • King Solomon - Had 300 wifes & hundreds of mistresses
  • Cleopatra - Took her first lover at age 12 and could alledgedly take dozens of lovers a night
  • Empress Theodora - Took dozens of lovers each day
  • Queen Zingua - Had her lovers killed in the morning when she was through with them
  • Giovana Giacomo Cassanova - Seduced thousands of women, over 100 of them are recorded
  • Catherine The Great - An insomniac, consequently taking hundreds of lovers
  • Marquis De Sade - Sadism is a term we get from his name, was put in an asylum for all his sex crimes
  • Mae West - Had an active sex life until her 80s, and had one lover that lasted for 15 hours
  • Mata Hari - Spy who slept her way to war secrets to kill over 50, 000 soldiers
  • Bridgit Bardot - Admitted that she 'Must have a man every night'

Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Own Sex Toys

  • Relaxation and tension release.
  • Travel well for those long, lonely trips.
  • Fulfill fantasies.
  • Can reduce the pressure for individual performance.
  • They're always in the mood...
  • ... and keep going & going & going.
  • Spice up your sex life with an inventive and playful partner.
  • Get to know your body through exploration.
  • Provide new sources of pleasurable sensations; enhance and add sexual stimulation
  • They're fun & they feel good!

Women Like One-night Stands, Too!

"Men aren't the only ones who want a quickie. ...

Two Night Stand

Jennie and Steve have never met. 18:23 - fun

Lumbersexual Is The New Metrosexual (video)

Tim Teeman joins HuffPost Live to explain why lumbersexual is the new metrosexual. "The biggest drag queens."

Cock Rings

We don't promote sales of products other than books, tapes and videos, but we were totally intrigued by this web site's variety of cock rings. We still aren't recommending purchase of a cock ring or purchases from this web site, but think it's interesting to know about variety.

Boomers invented the American Swinger.

A Psychology Today report in 2013 dubbed the 1971 study by Gilbert D. Bartell "the most in-depth look on the swinging culture to date." And here's what Bartell found: Of the estimated one to two million American Swingers, most were middle-class suburbanites. In a fact that can only amuse, the Bartell study found that a whopping 42% of the male Swingers were salesmen. More than three-fourths of the female Swingers were stay-at-home housewives, most of them with kids. Contrary to what some critics believed, Swingers tended to be anti-drug and “anti-hippie,” not at all aligned with the lifestyle or values of the counterculture. Swinging, Bartell found, was something quite different than the “free love” of the sexual revolution, and its advocates wanted to have little to do with the rebellious, anti-establishment youth culture. Mostly, they just wanted to have sex with someone other than their spouses.

Campus Sex … With a Syllabus

“Where did I learn about sexual consent?”

Jonathan Kalin was standing before an auditorium of Trinity College freshmen, pressing play on a clip from the movie “Superbad.”

The 2007 film, you may recall, tells the story of two schlubby high school friends on a quest to lose their virginity before college. In this particular scene, the main characters, played by Jonah Hill and Michael Cera, are standing in the middle of a soccer scrimmage dissecting whether or not Mr. Hill’s romantic interest wants to hook up with him. The evidence, in this case, is booze: She had asked him to help her buy some for her party.

Mr. Hill relays a familiar scenario to his friend: Girl gets drunk at party; girl has sex with guy; the next morning, girl regrets what happened. He pauses, excitedly. “We could be that mistake!”

The students in the room laughed, albeit hesitantly. This was a lecture about consent, after all.

“So what did we just learn about sexual consent from Michael Cera and Jonah Hill?” Mr. Kalin asked.

“There wasn’t any, really,” a young man in the front called out.

“Exactly,” Mr. Kalin said. “It’s not just that it’s O.K. to get drunk and have sex with them, it’s that it’s actually cool.”

Mr. Kalin is the 24-year-old founder of a group called Party With Consent — a slogan displayed in neon behind him (and on T-shirts he would later hand out). On this Saturday, he had traveled from Providence, R.I., where he worked at the Swearer Center for Public Service at Brown University, to Hartford to speak to Trinity students about the importance of understanding what has become a campus buzzword of late: consent.

The lecture, which he would give four times on this day, to four different groups of students, was part of a sexual assault curriculum that Trinity College freshmen were required to complete (and had their attendance recorded to ensure it).

It was followed, later that night, by an actual “party with consent” — an all-ages event with bands, an open bar and bowls of colorful condoms that read, “Did you ask consent?” Trinity was one of the half-dozen campuses Mr. Kalin had visited since the school year began.

“In my experience, when you ask men on college campuses where they learned about consent, they sort of look at you blankly and say, ‘What do you mean?’” Mr. Kalin said to a reporter. “This is meant to be like a pre-intro intro course. Hopefully it’s a gateway to a larger conversation.”

In the movies (that are not “Superbad”), sexual consent goes something like this: the lights dim, the mood swells, two people silently move toward each other at the same exact time, knowing what the other wants without speaking a word. Clothes come off seamlessly; lovemaking ensues. Consent is implied, not spoken.

But in real life — and, ever more frequently, on college campuses — what constitutes consent is wildly more complicated. Sometimes one person initiates; other times it’s both; still other times it’s hard to tell. Sometimes one party wants to engage in part of the sex act but not all of it; other times a person may consent to doing one thing at one moment, only to withdraw that consent as the thing actually begins to happen.

In some cases one party reads a signal — a physical cue, a look, a text message, something else — to mean one thing, while the other intended it to mean something entirely different.

No, most rape is not the result of a misunderstanding. To the contrary, one-fourth to two-thirds of rapists are serial attackers, studies show. And yet how we understand consent has been at the core of a number of recent rape cases, and it is a focus of a growing field of study. When it comes to young people today, and college, and hooking up, and drinking, and rape culture, and consent, there’s enough confusion that the services of people like Mr. Kalin are in high demand.

The statistics by this point are familiar: More than one in five college women will become victims of sexual assault, most of them by somebody they know, with very few coming forward to report the crimes. In the vast majority of these cases (80 percent, according to a 2009 study), alcohol is involved, for both women and men.

More surprising, perhaps, is that the way men and women understand consent is in almost direct opposition to each other: One study found that 61 percent of men say they rely on nonverbal cues — body language — to indicate if a woman is consenting to a sexual act, while only 10 percent of women say they actually give consent via body language (most say they wait to be asked).

“People often ask, ‘Why teach consent?’” said the sociologist Harry Brod, a professor at the University of Northern Iowa and a longtime lecturer on the topic of consent. His answer: “Because we often have entirely different understandings of what it means.”

Mr. Kalin’s own lecture grew out of that realization, as part of a group he was involved in as an undergraduate at Colby College, where he was captain of the basketball team, called Male Athletes Against Violence. At the time, he had noticed a tasteless slogan cropping up on T-shirts on and around campus. It read, “Party With Sluts.” Mr. Kalin decided to turn the slogan on its head.

He’s no longer a rare voice, as college campuses across the country, responding to increased scrutiny, incorporate consent education programs into their curriculums.

A number of campuses have adopted a program called “Consent Is Sexy,” a poster campaign and workshop series developed by a psychologist and a former campus minister that can be tailored to individual campuses. There is a traveling assault education improv show called “Sex Signals,” while new students at Columbia must complete a course in “sexual respect.” During the fall orientation at the University of California, Irvine, a video featuring student actors explained that “consent is knowing your partner wants you as much as you want them.”

The rise of these programs lies in evolving federal guidelines about how universities must handle response to, and prevention of, sexual assault on campus., the government website devoted to Title IX compliance, recommends that universities define consent for students, including language to indicate that, among other things, consent cannot be granted by somebody who is incapacitated; that past consent does not imply future consent; and that consent can be withdrawn at any time.

Trinity is among the estimated 1,500 colleges and universities that, along with state systems in California and New York, have adopted what is known as the “affirmative consent” standard, which requires students to consent with a clear indication of “yes” — sometimes every step of the way — in turn making the default response (or no response at all) “no.”

It is a shift from the “no means no” mantra of a generation ago, the idea being that having to give, or ask for, a clear “yes” will help eliminate ambiguity.

And yet there is a learning curve.

Campuses like Trinity’s have thick handbooks full of sexual assault resources, filled with pages upon pages of legal definitions and situational scenarios. But that doesn’t mean that students necessarily understand the new policies. Yes, “consent” is now emblazoned on T-shirts and posters — it was the subject of a recent public service initiative at Columbia, “Consent is BAE,” that was criticized by students — but even that does not ensure that students can define it.

“I think it’s when two people agree to have sex, yeah?” a young woman, a junior at the Fashion Institute of Technology, said when approached on a recent day in Manhattan and asked if she could define “affirmative consent.”

“Isn’t that when only yes means yes? But not really?” said another woman, a dance and fashion major at N.Y.U.

“I know what consent is; is this different?” said a young man, a sports management major, also at N.Y.U.

And there is a whole new vocabulary to memorize, with terms like “enthusiastic consent,” “implied consent,” “spectrum of consent,” “reluctant permission,” “coercion” and “unintentional rape.” Even “yes means yes,” the slogan of the anti-rape movement is sort of confusing.

“It should be ‘Only yes means yes,’” said Dr. Brod, the sociologist. (And if you still can’t tell, then ask.)

The questions from students are seemingly endless: Can consent only be given verbally, or can it be indicated by body language (and if so, how can I be sure it “counts”)? What’s the difference between “affirmative,” “enthusiastic” and “effective consent,” and why do all of these terms vary by campus (and sometimes even within them)? How does a person gauge or indicate interest, or demonstrate consent, without having to awkwardly ask, “Is this O.K.?” a thousand times over again (or is this simply the new norm)?

Even in the best situations, it can take some getting used to.

Seated with a group of students in the women’s center after Mr. Kalin’s talk, Caroline Howell, a sophomore at Trinity, described a hookup scenario with a guy who — every step of the way — asked for her permission.

“As much as I was like, ‘This is awesome,’ I was like: ‘This is weird. This is awkward,’” she said. “And then I was like, ‘Wait, we went through that whole thing and I didn’t ask a single question — shouldn’t I be asking too?’”

Then there is the drinking issue. Campus policies are clear about the inability of a person to consent if she or he is drunk (or, in other words, if Jonah Hill acted out his wish, he could be considered a rapist). But what if a student has just one beer — or even just a sip?

“I think one of the biggest misconceptions about consent is around alcohol consumption,” said Emily Kaufman, a sophomore at Trinity.

“Yes,” another young woman said. “Like, if you have one sip of alcohol you can’t consent.”

“And girls too,” Ms. Kaufman added. “They think, ‘If I drink at all, I can’t have sex that night?’”

Trinity’s definition states that if a person is “mentally or physically incapacitated or impaired so that such person cannot understand the fact, nature or extent of the situation, there is no consent.” But what does that really mean?

“These things are very tidy on paper, but in the private sphere, with two people going into a room, bringing with them expectations and assumptions, very often they are not on the same page,” said Jason Laker, a professor at San Jose State University, who, with a colleague, Erica Boas, created a project called Consent Stories, which aims to document how students communicate consent.

“There’s a big gap between the laws and policies that stipulate consent, and people’s understanding of it,” Dr. Laker said.

There is also seemingly nobody keeping track of how it’s being taught: no governing body to review these programs; no standardized definition of consent; nor much research into types of prevention strategies that work. It’s not dissimilar, said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat of New York, to how campuses have handled their response to cases of sexual assault: with little uniformity. (Senator Gillibrand is the co-sponsor of a bill that would create a standard for those response procedures, including bringing in credentialed experts.)

“I think a certain amount of chaos is expected when you’re going through social change,” said Jaclyn Friedman, a longtime sex educator and the co-editor of a book called “Yes Means Yes!” “But I also think there’s still a lot of confusion.”

Mr. Kalin hopes he can try to close the gap, or at least make students think about the culture that surrounds it. At Trinity, he peppered his talks with pop culture details and references to LeBron James in an effort to speak to students in “their language.” He also discussed “sexist foundations,” “notions of masculinity,” “social constructs of gender,” “social hierarchies” — gender studies terminology to which many in his audience appeared to stare blankly.

He shared some of his most vulnerable stories: the death of his father in an auto accident, when he was 12, and how it affected his perceptions of manhood; finding out in college that a woman he knew had been sexually assaulted (and assuming that that type of crime could never happen on his campus).

At N.Y.U., one part of the sexual misconduct training freshmen are required to attend takes the form of a musical. “I mean, N.Y.U. is a great school, it has is a great drama program, but it’s still a musical about consent,” said Meghan Racklin, a senior. Ms. Racklin is a founder of a photography initiative called #BetterSexTalk, which asks students to answer the question, “If you could give one piece of advice to a younger sibling about sex, what would it be?” (“A crash-course in sexual respect during college orientation,” the group’s website reads, “will never atone for years of inadequate sex ed.”)

Some schools use the language of traffic lights (if you’re in the yellow, you must get to red or green), while others show a popular YouTube video that compares consent to tea (“If you say ‘Hey, would you like a cup of tea?’ and they’re like, ‘Uh, you know, I’m not really sure,’ then you can make them a cup of tea, or not, but be aware they might not drink it,” the video explains.)

In one workshop in Manhattan, led by Dr. Brod, an audience member told a story of a sex educator in Philadelphia who uses a pizza analogy to explain consent. (“When people decide to eat pizza, there’s a discussion about toppings,” the man said.) Sports analogies are useful. So is candy. (“If I know Jessica likes candy, and I’ve shared it with her in the past, is it O.K. for her to take my bag of candy without my consent, even if I’m putting it in front of her face?”)

Back at Trinity, Abdul Staten, the training and program coordinator at the Women & Gender Resource Action Center, which hosted Mr. Kalin, described using a roller-coaster analogy: If you’re trying to convince a friend to go on a roller-coaster ride with you, but they don’t want to, what are you going to do to try to convince them?

“The students respond with things like, ‘I’d bribe her,’ ‘I’d give her pretzels,’ ‘I’d offer to hold her hand,’” Mr. Staten said. “They yell out all these things that are somewhat coercive, and then I say: ‘So let’s say you’re in a dating situation and someone says all these things to you, and you go along with it. Are you giving consent?’

“I get that that’s a really surface way of looking at it,” he continued, “but with a lot of survivors, it’s not about being held down. It’s like, ‘He kept asking, so I finally said yes,’ or ‘I didn’t want to be rude,’ or ‘He wouldn’t leave so I just did so he would.’”

Of course, part of the teaching is all about context. What do you actually say if you want to say stop, or are unsure, or need a minute to think about it? Are there ways to indicate you’re into it without having to say yes over and over again?

And what about the larger cultural framework? How do you tackle these concepts in a world where women are empowered to say yes — but taught that they must be coy when they do it? When they’ve been socialized to think that “yes” means you’re a slut, “maybe” means you’re a tease, and “no” means you’re a prude — or that, from the male perspective, as one friend recently put it, “no is always negotiable”?

“I think that if you’re going to teach about consent, you need to also talk about culture,” said Jing Qu, a junior at Columbia who has been involved in activism around consent education on campus. “It’s the oversexualization of female bodies on TV and in magazines. It’s this idea of like: ‘Oh does she want it? She won’t give me a straight answer.’ It’s the idea that she’s ‘asking for it.’ It’s literally like Justin Bieber saying” — while rolling around half-naked on a bed with a woman in his new video — “‘What do you mean?’” (It’s the title of his new song.)

Mr. Kalin, for what it’s worth, tries to fit his talk into the bigger context. Back in the auditorium, he asked the Trinity students which nights were the “party nights” on campus.

The room was silent.

“Now tell me: On a party night, before men go out, what do we tell them to do?” he asked.

“What about women?” he said. “What do we tell them to do before a night out?”

The students suddenly became animated.

“Stick together,” a woman in the front said.

“Travel in groups,” another called out.

“Don’t put down your drink.” “Dress appropriately.”

“Put your keys between your knuckles.”

Mr. Kalin nodded. “Does anyone have any idea where I’m going with this?”

4 Questions All Mistresses Should Ask Themselves

The mistress role in the affair triangle is often either vilified as an unfeeling predator or overly sexualized as an irresistible temptress, but for the many women out there who have been the mistress, it is a complex, personal, and often difficult position.

The messages we get about love focus so much on how to get the guy that we often ignore the choices we make once he is interested. That fresh rush of love and lust makes it hard to think clearly, but if you find yourself in "the other woman" position, it is important for you to ask yourself some questions and to consider carefully how to best take care of yourself.

1. What do you want in a relationship? Love is one thing: It can exist independently from external realities. What we don't often hear in stories of romance is that those external realities are still very important for a happy, fulfilled life. Love that asks you to sacrifice a whole list of other things that are important to you may not be worth the cost.

So ask yourself: What are you looking for in a relationship? Do you want a life partner? Do you want someone to go to family holidays with you and be available to celebrate your raise at work? Do you want someone to be with you at the hospital if your parent gets sick? If those are things you want, know that your affair partner may not ever be available for them. It is tempting to believe that he will leave his wife to create that life with you. Just be aware that the stats are very much against you; only 3 percent of men end up marrying their mistress, as Jan Halter writes in her 1988 book Quiet Desperation: The Truth About Successful Men.

2. What is the affair status bringing you? There are lots of elements that are exciting in an affair. Love and lust can thrive in risky, dramatic situations. Maybe you feel special because he is breaking his vows for you; maybe you even feel powerful. Or maybe for you the affair is a way to keep things uncomplicated for your emotions — to maintain distance and a life of your own. After all, there are benefits to not having to meet family or spend every weekend together.

Ask yourself what feels good about this scenario and know what the role of the mistress offers you. Then ask yourself if there is a way you can get that for yourself in a relationship that might be more in line with your integrity.

3. Are you prepared to be seen as the bad guy? Each relationship has its own complexities, and it is difficult to really understand the dynamics from the outside. However, as the mistress, it's important to prepare yourself for negative responses and blaming. Are you prepared to take responsibility for this choice and the consequences that may come from it? Ask yourself how you would feel if important people in your life found out about this affair. That may also help you to see your own values and whether you are compromising yourself. What else are you risking?

Also know that if the affair is found out or your partner chooses to end it, you may be cut off emotionally in an abrupt and harsh way. You deserve to be treated respectfully, but you will have little say or right to negotiate how the affair ends if your partner is trying to repair things with his wife.

4. Are you getting support? You need someone to talk to confidentially so that you can process what you're feeling. It's helpful if this is someone who won't take sides and can help you see the big picture. Even though it may be painful, remember that there are at least three people involved (more if there is family), and each deserves consideration. The wife is not your enemy, and seeing things in black and white won't serve you. And if you choose to walk away or the relationship ends with your partner calling it off, you need time to grieve. Get support from someone who understands that saying goodbye to a lover is hard, no matter what the relationship looked like or how it developed.

Melissa Fritchle is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist & Sex Therapist with a holistic private practice in Capitola, California. She is also an award-winning international sex educator offering workshops and trainings around the world. Follow her blog, Conscious Sexual Self at

Despite Stereotypes, Women Are Just As Likely To Cheat As Men

Have you ever had a guy cheat on you and then someone (maybe even the guy himself) says, "Whaddya expect? Guys are wired to cheat." And then maybe they give you some mumbo jumbo about the cavemen and how they had to spread their seed and guys are just really still cavemen and blah blah blah. Well, scientists seem to have finally figured out that men are not wired to cheat after all -- at least not any more than women are. In fact, it seems that waaaay back in the day, when we were all living in caves and roasting freshly-killed bison for dinner, men and women were equally non-monogamous. But then men and women evolved into a monogamous species -- at the same time. And the reasons are pretty interesting!

Scientists studied the mating habits of monkeys and came up with "conclusive proof" that humans all used to be non-monogamous. If you think about it, that makes sense. Non-modern man lived in caves with groups of people, they hunted and foraged together, they had sex together, they gave birth together, it was all like one big hippie commune.

Except for one thing. The men were killing off the children. Women were busy tending to their babies so they didn't really want to have sex anymore (much like today! ha!) and the men didn't want to wait around to have sex while the kid grew up -- so they just offed the kid!

This was putting a damper on the whole procreation thing, so humans evolved into monogamous creatures, where the man would only have sex with one woman and would help take care of and protect their children rather than kill them. Make sense?

So what has this all got to do with cheating? It sounds to me like we all started out non-monogamous (other books make this claim too) and then gradually we all became monogamous -- because we had to for the good of mankind.

And since both men and women evolved this way for specific reasons, one isn't any more likely to be "hard-wired" to cheat. In fact, some recent studies say that women are even more likely to cheat than men!

After millions of years of this, monogamy is in our DNA. But don't fool yourself. That inner sex-hungry Neanderthal still lurks within -- and sometimes busts out for a little playtime!

The Scandal Over Rihanna's Bathtub Pic Raises an Important Question

The photo, which was posted to Instagram this past Tuesday, shows the nude singer bathing

While many of her followers saw the post as a sweet moment — a child enjoying bath time with her aunt — some on the internet saw the photo as inappropriate. Others have even gone as far as calling the picture child pornography.

But while the internet has been divided over the issue of the appropriateness of this picture, it has raises the question: “Could such open behavior affect a child’s development?” Turns out, the actual effects are quite positive for the child’s mental health.

According to what clinical psychologist John Mayer, Ph.D., author of “Family Fit: Find Your Balance in Life," told Yahoo, it’s pretty normal for young children to be naked in front of family members they are close to. “In fact, it has many benefits,” he told Yahoo. “It helps children accept their bodies and who they are. It helps them accept differences between people.”

Mayer explains that it can also actually keep a child from being bullied in the future: “If a child is raised in a home where body acceptance is taught, then you protect your child from future bullying.” But he also points out that as children get older (around preschool age) you should stop being naked around them so they learn that being clothed is the social norm.

He goes on to explain that, to a child a kiss on the lips isn’t viewed as anything beyond a simple sign of affection and that for some families it's the norm. So there’s really nothing to write home about there.

But while it turns out that the situation depicted in Rihanna’s picture is actually pretty normal and healthy behavior between family members, the issue becomes that the moment is open to the public for criticism by being uploaded to social media. Not to mention that there are predators that lurk on social media.

So if you do decide to allow your child to grow up in a body-positive family, it may be wise to keep those moments offline — just to be on the safe side. (Check this out!)

The Bizarre History Of Sex Toys, From Ancient Butt Plugs To Steam-Powered Vibrators

With the oldest-known dildo clocking in at 28,000 years, sex toys are older than civilization, religion, and marriage combined.

The sex toy market is booming. Between more variety in toys than ever — including vanilla vibrators and BDSM tools — and the rise of eCommerce platforms like Amazon, getting your hands on a toy of your unique fancy has never been easier or more satisfying.

In fact, the sex toy market was valued in 2018 at a whopping $26.5 billion — and that's just in the United States. It makes sense, though, with 53 percent of Americans stating that they use adult toys.

However, the Asia Pacific region is not far behind, with China housing the highest number of sex toy manufacturing facilities in the world. Here they make and distribute everything from dildos to A.I. sex dolls to countries across the globe.

Asia has a long history with sex toys, far outdating the recent advancements of the American market, which is just starting to shrug off its taboos.

Going as far back as the ancient Han Dynasty, Chinese aristocrats enjoyed artfully crafted jade butt plugs and bronze strap-ons. The butt plugs were apparently used by embalmers to prevent bodily essences, like chi from leaving the body. Many of the strap-ons were light and used for either men or women and were bespoke.

These were not the first dildos in human history, however. The oldest sex toy to be discovered so far clocks in at 28,000 years old and is eight inches in length.

It seems dildos are older than civilization, religion, and matrimony combined.

Humans have been crafting dildos from whatever resources they had access to. They started with stones and bones, then moved to marble and metal, then even bread, before settling into our modern-day use of plastic and rubber.

The Expansion Of Adult Toys

As the human race became more creative generally, so too did their sex toys.

The Araucanian people in South America tied bundles of horsehair together to stimulate the clitoris during sex. Dyak men pierced themselves with bamboo and ivory to increase the pleasure of their partners.

Thousands of years later, Burmese Balls or Chinese Ben Wa balls were created. At first, these tiny metal balls were meant to be inserted into a man's penis in order to increase his pleasure. Then, women created larger balls for their own pleasure.

When inserted into the vagina, the balls would move and click together releasing waves of satisfaction.

Soon after, 17th-century seamen began experimenting with sex dolls or what they called dames de voyage.

In order to ward off lonely nights during long journeys, they tied bundles of straw together to replicate a human form, then dressed it in women's clothing.

Ushering In The Modern Era Of Sex Toys: Enter, The Vibrator

Finally, in the era of industrialization and the attitude of a "New World," Victorian-era peoples conceived of and created vibrators to achieve sexual pleasure.

The devices started small and needed to be hand-cranked in order to work, but soon advanced to steam-powered toys.

The Manipulator, the first of its kind, was a terrifying steam-powered tool patented by an American man in 1869. It was supposedly intended for medical use, though most likely not to cure a woman's "hysteria" as a prominent myth would imply.

Instead, the Manipulator and a variety of other vibrators of the time were marketed as cures for sore necks and weight gain. While we can't be sure if the creators of these devices knew what their target audience was actually using them for, there's no doubt that they quickly became the latest and greatest sex toy.

This false advertising continued up until the late 20th century, perhaps most notably in the case of the now-infamous Hitachi Magic Wand. First sold as a back massager, this most revered of vibrators gained a cult following during the sexual revolution of the 1960s and '70s, which has continued to this day.

Breaking Sexual Taboos In The 21st Century

After the sexual revolution of the '60s and '70s, sex-positive experts and enthusiasts began to sell adult toys for what they were.

Feminist sex stores, such as Eve's Garden and Good Vibrations, opened their doors and catered to women who didn't want to experience the shame that went with asking a department store clerk for the latest Hitachi model.

Shows of the '90s and early aughts such as Sex and the City continued to break the model of secrecy put forth by the Victorians, featuring vibrator heavyweights such as the Hitachi and the more modern Rabbit.

Finally, as we enter the third decade of the 21st century, sex toys are advertised and discussed with unprecedented openness.

This is perhaps thanks in part to the advent of the internet and social media, as well as a more open attitude about sex in general, from pre-marital sex to the LGBTQ+ community and even the world of kink.

At our fingertips now are new and improved versions of humankind's ancient favorites, such as remote-controlled vibrators, and even VR-controlled sex simulations.

Indeed, it seems that sex toys are a primal corner of human history and aren't projected to disappear anytime soon. We've come a long way from bone and bronze phalluses, and who knows what sophisticated toys are in our future.

A (Straight, Male) History of Sex Dolls

Since ancient times, men have been getting it on with synthetic women. Is this just fancy masturbation, or something more troubling?

The story of Pygmalion goes like this: A sculptor carves a statue in the shape of a beautiful woman. It’s so beautiful that he falls in love with her, prays that she could become real, has his wish granted, and lives happily ever after. The tale has been reimagined countless times since its initial publication as part of Ovid’s epic poem Metamorphoses in 8 A.D. Pinocchio, Frankenstein, My Fair Lady, and 90s makeover movie She’s All That all have their origins in that myth.

But Pygmalion’s true modern heir might be Davecat, a man who lives in southeastern Michigan with three high-end sex dolls. His first purchase, which he named Sidore Kuroneko, he considers his wife; the other two—named Elena and Muriel—are just intimate friends. Though he didn’t sculpt them, they are his creations. He designed their bodies before they were manufactured and their personalities after they arrived. “There was never a moment when [Sidore]—or any doll, for that matter—was merely an object to me,” he told me when we spoke last year.

Though Davecat may be one of the most visible modern sex doll owners—with an active blog and appearances in articles, documentaries, and TV spots—he’s part of a community called iDollators. These owners of high-end, anatomically correct dolls use them for sex, love, art, and companionship.

If Pygmalion lived in today’s world, none of this would be too foreign to him. In Ovid’s original story, there is some implication that the sculptor was not only in love with the statue but that he had sex with it before it came to life, according to The Erotic Doll, a book by Dr. Marquard Smith, the head of doctoral studies and the research leader at the Royal College of Art’s School of Humanities. Other tales of statue-love can be found throughout classical antiquity. For example, the Greek rhetorician Athenaeus wrote of a man who had a physical love affair with a statue of Cupid. In a somewhat more recent example, a gardener was reportedly found attempting to get it on with a replica of the Venus de Milo in 1877.

Throughout history, men without access to beautiful statues—but with an inclination to make love to women-shaped things—have made do in various ways. Sailors often used cloth to fashion fornicatory dolls known as dame de voyage in French, or dama de viaje in Spanish. In modern-day Japan, sex dolls are sometimes known as “Dutch wives”—a reference to the hand-sewn leather masturbation puppets made by the 17th-century Dutch sailors who traded with the Japanese.

Though sailors’ dolls were just generic substitutes for the female form—any female form—there are some instances of men creating dolls as stand-ins for specific women. In 1916, after the Austro-Hungarian artist Oskar Kokoschka was jilted by his lover, the pianist and composer Alma Mahler, he wrote that he had “lost all desire to go through the ordeal of love again.” (This is a refrain that doll owners have repeated through the ages.) He still desired Mahler, though, so much so that he provided her dressmaker with incredibly detailed instructions for a life-sized replica of Mahler, specifying not only her appearance but everything down to how her skin should feel. Historians differ on what happened after Kokoschka received the doll. One thing is for sure—it was extremely furry, covered in “skin” more reminiscent of a plush stuffed animal than a human woman. One account says he was “enraptured” by it all the same; others say he was disappointed. He made several drawings of it, and, according to some reports, eventually destroyed it at a party, either burning it or burying it in his garden.

In 1877, a gardener was reportedly found attempting to have sex with a replica of the Venus de Milo.

But the most public prelude to the modern sex doll was the mannequin-based art created by Surrealists like Man Ray and Salvador Dalí. A work called “Mannequin Street,” featured at the Exposition International du Surréalisme at the Galerie des Beaux-Arts in 1938, included 16 mannequins outfitted by different artists, while Dalí’s “Rainy Taxi” centered on a female mannequin whose half-undressed body was crawling with live snails. Man Ray once claimed that the Surrealists not only infused these works with eroticism but personally “violated” their mannequins.

A persistent urban legend holds that Adolf Hitler charged one of his SS commanders to design sex dolls for German soldiers during World War II, to prevent them from slaking their lust with non-Aryan women. Whether or not this is true, the commercial sex doll does find its origins in Germany. The Bild Lilli doll—invented in the 1950s and modeled on a sexy, outspoken comic-strip character called Lilli—was an 11.5 inch plastic model, not a penetrable sex doll. In his book The Sex Doll: A History, Anthony Ferguson calls the Bild Lilli “a pornographic caricature.” Although it was marketed to adult men, the doll is widely cited as the inspiration for Barbie, so, you know, take that and run with it.

In the United States, sex dolls were first advertised in porn magazines around 1968, when it became legal to sell sexual devices through the mail. By the 1980s, they could be found in most sex shops—though they were the inflatable kind, more suited to be gag gifts at a frat party than to actually withstand sex with a person. “Most of the attention and craftsmanship was focused on the penetration areas, the mouth, vagina and the anus,” Ferguson writes, but “the in?atable can only support a certain amount of weight or repeat usage before the seams in the material deteriorate.”

The realism and utility of sex dolls took a giant leap forward in the late 90s, when artist Matt McMullen started working on a lifelike silicone female mannequin and documenting its progress on his website. Before long, he began getting emails asking if it was … anatomically correct. At the time, it wasn’t. But the demand was there, and so McMullen provided the supply. Hence, the eerily lifelike RealDoll was born. After shock jock Howard Stern got hold of one and seemingly had sex with it on his radio show, McMullen’s company grew quickly, and he now sells anywhere from 200 to 300 high-end customizable sex dolls per year.

Most of McMullen’s dolls are female; he makes a small number of male ones, but there are fewer options for customizing them, and they account for just 10 percent of his sales. “As an artist, I was always drawn to the female form, so that’s what my subject matter was,” McMullen says. “The female form was my muse.” He insists that actual women have nothing to fear from his dolls. “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Do I think the dolls will replace women or threaten to replace women? Absolutely not.”

Throughout history—from Pygmalion and his marble bride to Oskar Kokoschka and his fuzzy companion—the creators and users of sex dolls have been overwhelmingly, if not exclusively, straight men. “In the content analysis I did of magazines and books, I don’t think any of [the examples] involved women,” says Cynthia Ann Moya, vice-president of the erotica database Book Gallery, who wrote her Ph.D. dissertation at the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco on artificial vaginas and sex dolls from the late 19th century through the 1980s. “This is not to say that it never happened. But the mythologies that people tell each other about these sex dolls all involved men.”

The twin questions this raises are: “Why aren’t more women using sex dolls?” and “Why are so many men drawn to them?”

Some answers are purely practical. For instance, only 25 percent of women can consistently orgasm from vaginal sex alone, which makes a doll far from the most efficient sex toy. Also, when it comes to RealDolls and their ilk, everyone I spoke with told me how heavy they are. (Female RealDolls weigh between 75 and 115 pounds.) Some mentioned it sheepishly, others matter-of-factly, but there was a general consensus that the dolls are difficult for many women to move around.

There’s also plenty of speculation about the difference between men and women’s masturbation styles. In his 1936 book Studies in the Psychology of Sex, the English psychologist Henry Havelock Ellis wrote that men are more visual, while women are more imaginative and rely more on their sense of touch. Both Smith and McMullen reiterated this conventional wisdom, and, allowing for individual differences, it seems like a plausible enough explanation for why most dolls, like most porn, are made with men’s interests in mind. Most women care mainly about the actual tactile sensation, while men like things to look real, the thinking goes. When a man is getting it on with a doll, especially a modern one with its silicone skin and almost-human expression, it’s easier for him to pretend it wants him back.

There are some women who buy female dolls. But McMullen says many of them purchase the dolls with a male partner—or with the intention of dressing them up and enjoying them as fashion dolls. “A lot of women like the dolls because they’re like life-size Barbies,” he says.

Barbara, a 61-year-old small business owner from California, is one of the few women involved in the iDollator community. She says she first heard about the dolls through a news story about people who were using them to cheat their way into carpool lanes. Then she saw Davecat on the TLC show My Strange Addiction, got in touch, and found him “extremely welcoming.” The community as a whole embraces female members, despite being mostly male, she says.

Barbara and her husband own four dolls, which she says they use only for photography, though she has “not the slightest objection to people who use them for their ‘intended purpose.’”

“Feminists seem to be totally horrified by these dolls, which puzzles me, as I am a feminist,” Barbara told me in an email. “They say that the dolls ‘objectify’ women because they are so beautiful that real women cannot hope to compete with them on the basis of looks.”

Most feminists, however, probably aren’t objecting because they’re worried about entering into a beauty competition with the dolls. Complaints about objectification centered on men who treat women as objects—disregarding their agency or feelings and viewing them as mere tools to be used for selfish ends. Sex dolls are objects; they’re also, critically, objects you can own. And these objects you can own are shaped, almost all of the time, like women.

In her Ph.D. dissertation, Moya questions why there is something uniquely perverse about owning a sex doll. As she puts it, “A better spatula does not inspire lengthy monologues about human alienation and the reifying effects of technological mechanization on our lifestyles.” Sexuality is an appetite, not unlike hunger, but we treat the devices used to satisfy that appetite differently. If the doll owners aren’t hurting anyone, why should we condemn something that is basically just fancy masturbation?

But sex dolls do retain something of an ick-factor, even as vibrators and other sex toys have become more mainstream. That’s because the dolls are tied up with questions about gender and power in a way that spatulas (and even vibrators) are not.

According to Smith, any sort of non-reproductive sexual behavior has historically been seen as perverse. These days, though, many people are okay with sex that isn’t reproductive. We’re less okay with emotional attachments that aren’t socially productive, and so it seems the distaste is strongest for the small subset of men who consider themselves to be in romantic relationships with their dolls, rather than just using them for sex. We expect a relationship to involve mutual consent, a kind of equality and reciprocity that is impossible with a doll. By its very nature, the relationship is one-sided—a teeter-totter with only one person sitting on it.

But realistic dolls often do inspire real affection, and even devotion. Some men assign personalities and preferences to the dolls they design (Davecat’s dolls even have Twitter accounts), and they talk about them as one would a live partner. “There is genuine empathy here,” Smith writes, “what the Germans call Einfühlung, an entering into the feelings of an other.”*

A love for one’s own creation, though, is also, in a way, self-love, or narcissism. “This is why so much of it has to do with masturbation,” Smith says. “These things are not unconnected.”

“There is genuine empathy here, what the Germans call Einfühlung, an entering into the feelings of an other.”

Narcissistic or not, that attachment can become isolating. Smith points out that, especially in the age of technology, intimate relationships with objects aren’t so uncommon. “Think about the way you use your iPhone,” he says. “You hold it, and you stroke it, and you scroll. You’re holding it to your ear as we speak. It’s kind of a part of you. It’s an extension of you.” But things are different when the object is human-shaped and the relationship is sexual. Owning a doll can have “social and psychological consequences for men who want to develop these intimate and erotic relationships with an inanimate human form. I don’t want to pathologize anyone, but I think there’s a danger around the way that processes like that objectify men’s relationships with themselves in a way that restricts an authentic emotional intelligence.”

Sarah Valverde, a researcher and mental health therapist, did her masters thesis in psychology on the demographics and psychological characteristics of sex doll owners. She says that many of the men she surveyed for her research felt shame or embarrassment about owning sex dolls. But contrary to popular stereotypes, they were just as satisfied with their lives, on average, as the general population, and didn’t suffer higher-than-normal rates of depression or other mental illness. Owning a sex doll “is certainly a deviant sexual behavior from our norm,” she says. “But unless it’s all-consuming and it impacts other areas of life, we really can’t define it as a disorder.”

There are many understandable, even sympathetic, reasons for owning sex dolls. Some doll owners are just having fun. Some suffer from social anxiety or even disabilities that might make human relationships difficult. Some people just want to take arty photographs. The whole phenomenon is surprisingly hard to nail down.

“You want a quote, don’t you?” Smith asks at the end of our wide-ranging conversation, when I ask if he can summarize all we’ve discussed. “I’ll try and make one up for you. It would have something to do with narcissism, something to do with fantasy, something to do with creativity, something to do with persons and things. It has to do with struggles over questions of intimacy. I think that’s really quite key.”


This is the doll-lover’s frequent lament: Women are unpredictable and dolls are steadfast; women will leave you and dolls are loyal.

These questions of intimacy inevitably come back to the relationship between the genders. We may not be able to extrapolate much from one person’s motives for buying a sex doll. But the phenomenon as a whole is like a funhouse mirror—it may show a skewed reflection of male-female relationships, but it emphasizes some aspects we’d rather not see. These woman-shaped things, which can be whatever their owners want them to be, represent the far end of a spectrum of social attitudes. Plenty of men would like real women to be a little more like dolls.

When I spoke to Davecat last year, he was offended by this idea. “Ninety-eight percent of the iDollators and technosexuals I know treat their Dolls like goddesses,” he insisted. “A lot of men are lonely because they’re misogynist pricks, true, but a lot of other men are lonely because they don’t meet women’s expectations.” But then he went on: “Dolls don’t possess any of the unpleasant qualities that organic, flesh and blood humans have. A synthetic will never lie to you, cheat on you, criticize you, or be otherwise disagreeable.”

This is the doll-lover’s frequent lament: Women are unpredictable and dolls are steadfast; women will leave you and dolls are loyal; women demand things and dolls accept you for who you are. Women are human and dolls are not.

The inventor of the Fleshlight, a popular masturbation toy for men, also submitted a patent in 1995 for a “female functioning mannequin.” (Within the mannequin’s “cavity,” as the patent puts it, would have been a cartridge full of “oily elastomer.”) According to Smith’s book, the inventor cited “as the reasons for its invention the fact that women are cruel, venal, superficial, that they humiliate and break the hearts of men and that dolls on the contrary are reliable, compliant, companionable, and loving.”

Valverde’s research (along with plenty of anecdotal evidence) suggests that the dolls do provide comfort, and a sexual outlet, for some men who can’t find or don’t want a human romantic relationship. But in the grand history of time, women and gay men have surely felt rejected and lonely—straight men don’t have a monopoly on those feelings.

Valverde has her own explanation for why many men use the “women are cruel” argument to explain their attraction to dolls. “Margaret Atwood’s quote: ‘Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.’ I think that’s true.”

Owning a sex doll is not a violent act. But as these creations come to look more and more realistic, their lifeless, prone silicone bodies are reminders of unequal gender power dynamics that play out in the real world. And as human women become more empowered, sex dolls offer a way for men to retreat into relationships where they are still in control. A doll is a woman-shaped thing that may bring a man comfort, may inspire devotion in him, and may drive away his loneliness. It will never challenge him, and it will certainly never do anything to make him feel ridiculous.

*     *     *

It only seems kinky the first time.

Sex on television can't hurt you unless you fall off.

The raging fire which urged us on was scorching us: it would have burned us had we tried to restrain it. - Casanova


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