Pornography and Agency

15 06 2007

The excellent sex-related blog, Figleaf’s Real Adult Sex, has a posting about the relationship between enjoyment of pornography and whether you imagine being an “agent” or being an “object” in the porn. I added a couple comments, giving some references to studies which indicate he’s onto something.

Agency, erotic appreciation, and advertising, in Pornography, on Figleaf’s Real Adult Sex:

I think the predominantly women’s call for plot and motivation comes not from an *intrinsic* requirement for that, it’s just that *since* mainstream porn is so male-agency oriented, *when* an effort is made to add depth to the characters or stories it increases the chances that some potential opportunity for women’s agency will emerge.

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Article on a Cuban Sexologist

9 06 2007

The New York Times has an article on the work of a granddaughter of Fidel Castro, who is a sexologist:

A Castro Strives to Open Cuban Society’s Opinions on Sex – New York Times:

While her father is known for his strait-laced bearing, Ms. Castro has a more down-to-earth air. A mother of three who is married to an Italian photographer, she speaks of topics that might make others blush.

“Sexuality does not just have a reproductive function,” she declared in an interview on the front porch of a Havana mansion, where the center is located, noting that sex is also about love and pleasure and discovery and experiment. “Human beings are much more diverse than we think.”

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Petra Boynton on Sex Research

10 05 2007

The excellent psychology blog, Mind Hacks, has a very interesting interview with a psychologist and sex researcher, Petra Boynton. I link frequently to her blog. Here, she talks about one thing I always try to emphasize in my teaching — behavior in a historical-cultural context.

Knowing your history. You can’t study anything in social science without understanding historical and cultural issues. This is particularly the case in the study of sex where there’s a trend towards reductionism – just studying hormones, the brain or behaviour. To really understand sex you need to understand history, culture, global differences and sex as an holistic issue rather than just one issue. Otherwise it just doesn’t make sense.

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Sex worker blog

6 05 2007

I was pointed toward an interesting blog by and for sex workers. It contains many interesting posts on the lives of sex workers, news, and labor rights issues. Check it out.

Link to Bound Not Gagged

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Catching up on Human Sexuality posting

3 05 2007

I’ve been away from reading for a while, and getting back to the weblogs I read usually. Here are some interesting things from the web pertaining to Human Sexuality.

Petra Boynton’s blog covers the relationship between whether one-night stands are a good idea or not.

New research from a book called ‘The Rough Guide to the Brain’ claims that having sex early on in a relationship releases hormones that could lead to increased trust and intimacy. Which has been interpreted by some areas of the media as a green light for one night stands.

Unfortunately we can’t tell from just being told about hormone production whether this theory holds water. In order to truly test this we’d need to follow up in a long term study a group of people who don’t have sex on the first date and those who do and see who’s still together some time later.

Her blog also covers a British study about why women seek late (second trimester) abortions.

FigLeaf’s Real Adult Sex blog covers a “new” face of prostitution… The educated, adult, well-connected escort service, ala Pamela Martin and Associates, which is ready to spill its address book of Washington politicos.
A window into contemporary prostitution, in Society and Politics, on Figleaf’s Real Adult Sex:

two years of college, day job, well into adulthood, car and phone; and its benefits: security monitoring, only reputable neighborhoods and hotels, right to refuse calls, “technical” support. Note further there were up to 15,000 client phone numbers in Palfrey’s records so it’s not like she or her employees were hurting for work.

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Misrepresenting sex worker data

14 04 2007

Petra Boynton’s blog has an interesting piece on the effects of misrepresenting data at conferences. Seems a presenter claimed that regulating sex workers would save the government lots of money, and inferred that sex workers are a big part of the spread of STDs. It also made claims that recent immigrants are a source of HIV infection. The article has a link to a good response to the presentation.

Dr Petra Boynton I Blog I When evidence based approaches go out the window sex workers are the casualties :

What this conference presentation and subsequent media coverage does do is hark back to past approaches to the management of prostitution where sex workers, not clients or wider society, were blamed for spreading infection and aggressively targeted. And it certainly makes some very uncomfortable claims that expose already stigmatised community members to further racial prejudice.

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My Humps… On sexuality and women’s power

6 04 2007

So, I had heard the song “My Humps” by Black Eyed Peas, and thought it was pretty amusing, in a vaguely misogynistic way. In case you’ve not heard it, or seen the video, here it is, courteous of the ubiquitous YouTube:

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Anyway, the lyrics, if you listen closely, tell the story of a woman who enjoys the power she wields as an object of desire, and her need to control access to her sexuality, which keeps her in power. Women’s power in our culture is largely located in their sexuality. The irony, of course, is that realizing that women’s power through sexuality — though potent, yet limited — creates despair, the more it is realized.

So leave it to Alanis Morrisette to give us a rereading of “My Humps” that, I think, at once parodies “My Humps,” and also shows how the women’s power of sexuality also carries psychological costs.

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On female orgasm

1 04 2007

The excellent blog Mind Hacks pointed me to an interview with a researcher and author on female orgasm.

Mind Hacks: Science of the female orgasm:

discusses the brain functions and peripheral nervous system structures that support the female orgasm, as well speculating on possible evolutionary explanations for its existence.

The interview is wide-ranging and also tackles the effect of SSRI antidepressant medication (known to delay or prevent orgasm in both men and women), the role of desire in sexual satisfaction and the importance of communication in sexual relationships.

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