Regulating DesireLast February academic and social commentator Laura Kipnis wrote a piece for The Chronicle Review about student-academic relationships and the effects of sexual harassment regulations on universities. The piece received a hefty backlash in the form of two Title IX complaints from students, Kipnis' response to which was also published in The Chronicle Review. Having, at one time, been in a frowned-upon relationship myself, I thought I'd offer my twopence to the debate. As relationships tend to do, mine had meandered between underwhelming to disastrous with some good times in the mix. Then he came along. He had a certain something, but I let it go thinking that, with him as my doctor, I'd be stuck for quite some time with any awkwardness that might arise from a rebuffed advance.
Vulva LovingI have a fuck buddy (FB) who refuses to go down on me. He doesn't have an explanation. Well, he does, but it goes like this: "I don't have a reason. I just don't like the idea." Clearly this is not good enough. "But I suck your cock all the time," I say. "I suck your balls, I play with your ass. You told me, just the other day, that you'd never been rimmed before and you really liked it. I'm not keeping a tally or anything, it's just that don't you think you should be a bit more adventurous? You're forty next month and you've never eaten pussy." "Neither have you." "Only because I've never slept with a woman. I've tasted my own juices on my fingers. What about if I smeared jam on myself? Would you lick that off?" "No." "Is it the hair? I'm happy to trim, but I'm not waxing.
The Viagra Man: Pfizer's Creation of the Ultimate MaleThis is an essay I wrote for a university course on understanding technology. I decided to write about Viagra because I'm doing my PhD on sex pills for women so thought I'd better find out all about what was on offer for men at some point. In case anyone's dying to know, I thought I'd share it here, too. The Viagra Man: Pfizer's Creation of the Ultimate Male When fully erect, the average human penis measures between five and seven inches.
“Can I be a feminist and have rape fantasies too?” Objectivity in the Study and Treatment of Female Sexual Dysfunction.I wrote this a couple of weeks ago as a course essay and, having heard the title, a few people asked to read it so I thought I'd put it up here. On the tenth of February 1999, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published an article titled, Sexual Dysfunction in the United States: Prevalence and Predictors, in which its authors, Edward O. Laumann, Anthony Paik, and Raymond C. Rosen stated that, based on a national probability sample of 1749 women, 43% of the adult female population aged between 18 and 59 suffered from female sexual dysfunction (FSD).
Stabbed to Death by StigmaI wrote this for the Huffington Post, but thought I'd share it here, too. On July the 19th protests were held around the globe against the violent abuse and murder of sex workers. Targeting the Swedish and Turkish embassies, they're being held in memory of murdered sex workers, Petite Jasmine and Dora Ozer. Swedish mother of two, Petite Jasmine was stabbed to death by her ex-husband during a custodial visit on the 11th of July. Having been deemed an unfit mother due to her choice of profession, Petite Jasmine had lost custody of their children to their father, in spite of his record of violence towards her. Despite being the poster nation for sexual equality, Sweden's laws on sex work and attitudes towards it are woefully patriarchal.
Dove's Dirty TricksThe nice folks at Dove are at it again: in their bid to convince women that they don't have to look on the point of collapse or have preternaturally symmetrical features and skin unmarked by life to be beautiful, they've conducted what they're calling "a compelling social experiment". Real Beauty Sketches is a film in which a group of women each sit on the other side of a curtain to a forensic artist and describe themselves. Based on their description he draws them, then does another drawing based on a description of them by a stranger. The women talk about the height of their foreheads, shadows, lines, protruding chin and rounded cheeks.
How We Do DeathFour years ago today, I lost my dad.  A veterinary pathologist his whole working life, the doctors knew better than to try and fob him off with the white-coat-god-complex bullshit they usually reserved for their patients.  He was given his pathology reports, indicating cancer of the bowel and offered his treatment options.  He decided to do everything - surgery, chemo, and radiotherapy.  It was an ordeal as these things always are, not least because he hated the boredom of being stuck in hospital.  He'd always hated being bored.  He was used to days spent single-handedly renovating derelict buildings, working on his land rover, and heading off to the west coast for a spot of his late-found pastime, sea kayaking.
Vive la Révolution! The Superheroines of Porn Domination Porna: plural noun (treated as single or plural) - porn that women really enjoy to watch. The kind of porn that teases and pleases them: realistic, explicit, with 'real' people and a well-balanced development of sexual desire, made with respect. ORIGIN: Dusk!, the female-oriented, erotic digital TV channel broadcasting films made for and chosen by women. Set up in 2009, the Dutch television channel provides over 1.5 million viewers with 24/7 female porn (or fem porn), selected by a panel of over 2000 women. Any woman can apply to join the panel and, if accepted, will begin viewing clips and rating them according to how "spicy" they are: one pepper for "it turned me on a bit", two peppers for "spicy enough", and three peppers for "super hot".
Lies, All Lies!Tis the season for making promises to ourselves - and, possibly, others, though they'll have heard it all before - that we know we won't keep. My New Year's resolutions are going pretty well so far. I've resolved to do the following: Deal with things as soon as they arise instead of putting them on my deal-with-at-some-point pile. The first to-do that I must do is bury my pet rat, Georgia, in the garden. I had to have her put to sleep yesterday at the grand old age of 2 years and 9 months which translates into something like 87 in human years. She can't really go on my some-point pile because she'll start decomposing soon. Get rid of all the clothes for a narrower person in my wardrobe.
My Response to Rhoda Grant's Proposed Bill to Criminalise The Purchase of SexThroughout her draft bill to criminalise the purchase of sex in Scotland, Rhoda Grant asked a number of questions for those submitting for and against arguments during the consultation period. These are my answers to her questions. Q1: Do you support the general aim of the proposed Bill? Please indicate “yes/no/undecided” and explain the reasons for your response. No.  The general aim of the proposed Bill appears to be to end all forms of sex work by cutting off demand.  Criminalising the purchase of sex will not end demand: it will force the industry underground. (See response to Question 2 for further evidence.) Grant's purpose appears to be the imposition of her own personal opinion and morals onto an industry about which she is woefully uninformed.
Why I'm Opposed to Criminalising the Purchase of SexThe Member of the Scottish Parliament, Rhoda Grant, believes sex workers are imbeciles who should be denied the right to earn a living and subjected to state-sanctioned sexual assault to ensure that they comply with the dictates imposed upon their profession. Not that she puts it quite like that. In her proposed bill to criminalise the purchase of sex in Scotland (open to public consultation until the 14th of December), she's gone for a paternalistic tone, suggesting authority with her (unfounded and patently untrue) statements about the sex industry while offering protection to the poor souls forced to work in it with promises to keep them safe from the big bad men who exploit them by paying to have sex with them. She's very noble in her presentation: she's also woefully uninformed.
Whatever happened to foreplay?Once upon a time there was a thing called foreplay. Sometimes it was silent: just a kiss in a club and an awkward scuffle in the toilets. Others took more time with it. They wrote sweet lines, sent flowers, asked a lady to dance and, even, for her hand in marriage before they even embarked on it. For some people, it was all about the tease: lips licked over dinner, a glimpse or more of bosom, biceps squeezed with an "Oh you're so chunky!" and a wink, toes moving up trouser legs. It seemed women did this better than men, this slinking about. Or, maybe, they just had more role models. There isn't a male equivalent of Dita Von Teese, unless you count Magic Mike which none of my straight male friends has seen so you can't, really.
Sabrina MahfouzProtest poetry at its finest from Sabrina Mahfouz
Notes on ZeldaThere isn’t a whole heap left to say about Zelda Fitzgerald.  Common consensus states she was a drunk, a Southern Belle, a madwoman, one half of the 20’s most garrulous couple, the definitive Flapper, and a writer, painter, and dancer frustrated at every turn by some wider desire for conformity and the professional jealousy of her husband, Scott. Numerous biographies back this up, attributing to Scott her rise and fall, her ascent into the literati and her descent into alcoholism and madness.  Like a one-man chauvinist show, he paraded his wife as his glamorous assistant before boxing her up and sawing her into tiny pieces.  He drunkenly abused her, ridiculed and plagiarised her work, and imprisoned her in a series of mental institutions.
James Mollison: Where Children SleepThese photos are from James Mollison's collection, Where Children Sleep, some of the most beautiful, horrifying, moving, and disturbing images I’ve ever seen. It’s a fascinating insight into the lives of children across the globe.  See the whole collection at Where Children Sleep.
Weighing in on Marissa Mayer's maternity leave is nothing new for mumsYesterday morning Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer, went back to work after two weeks' maternity leave. Based on the extent of the coverage and breadth of the commentary, this was clearly a momentous event. The range of opinions and those weighing in is pretty varied: Katherine Lewis of the Working Moms heralded it as "a landmark moment for working moms"; over at The New Yorker, Ruth Margalit drew attention to the many women who, unlike Mayer, have no choice over the kind of maternity leave they take and asked where the questions were about Mayer's husband, Zach Bogue's, decision regarding paternity leave (Where indeed?); writing in Slate, Allison Benedikt got very cross with Mayer for appearing to choose her job over parenting, saying "you are not just a CEO anymore.
Decoding Insecurities Here's an interesting development: not only are women faced daily with a barrage of images designed to make them feel imperfect at best and repulsive at worst, now, courtesy of the Wonderbra Decoder, wherever they go, they can carry a picture of a supermodel in her underwear to remind them that they'll never look like she does. Sure to be fantastic for women's self-esteem and body image.
Pink Ribbons Inc Pink Ribbons Inc. by Léa Pool, National Film Board of Canada This is a fascinating film about the hijacking of breast cancer as a cause by corporations. It also reminds me of the time I spent working for a sales company in Melbourne, paid by charities to get people to sign up to direct debits. The first four months' payments went to the sales company and nowhere near the cause with which the charity was involved. I only lasted 15 minutes as a signer upper before realising pep talks and ringing bells if you made your target really weren't my thing. Especially not at six in the morning.
Campaigns Against The SunNo More Page 3 and Turn Your Back On The Sun are campaigns against the daily publication of pornographic images of women on page three of The Sun, a newspaper notorious for its misogyny, racism and bigotry. Women are more than a commodity to be exploited for commercial gain.  A pout, vagina waxed to resemble that of a child, and painfully distended silicon-pumped breasts do not a woman make.  Presenting this as an acceptable summation of all that a woman is - nothing more than an object for titillation and ridicule - creates a barrier to any sort of equality because, vacuous and pathetic in her attempts to attract attention, the woman on Page 3 is unlikely to receive any respect.
Talking Head Vibrator Don't think I've ever felt so embarrassed in my life. There's praise and there's running commentary.
Places I've been latelySome lovely people have been letting me rant and enthuse on their sites. A Feminist's Place Is In The Classroom: on making teenage sexuality a feminist matter Good Vibrations: The Fun of a Fuck Buddy Part Three: Buggery Guest post on the Zero Books blog about some of the latest developments in vaginal surgery - the g-shot and o-shot Good Vibrations: The Fun of a Fuck Buddy Part Two: Women's Porn Good Vibrations: The Fun of a Fuck Buddy Part One: Toys Mookychick: Beauty Pageant Row Over MTF Transexual Talking Orgasms on Talking Sex Post-Hysterectomy on gasm.
New Tattoo
Katie Makkai: PrettyFucking Incredible.  (Also, if anyone happens to know where I can get hold of more of her writing, please let me know.
Travels in (Todd) AkinlandThey've done it again. For their latest every-so-often gift to the Democrats, the Republicans have produced Todd Akin and let him loose to launch himself into subjects about which he knows very little yet comes out with some of the most quotable lines. His latest being "If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down, but let's assume that maybe that didn’t work, or something, I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.
Julian Assange, Tony Benn, and the definition of rape 3:10: in defence of Julian Assange, Benn believes "a non-consensual relationship is very different from rape." I think not. Given that the majority of rapes are carried out by people known to the victim - most commonly their spouse or partner - a "non-consensual relationship" is the circumstance in which rape is most likely to occur.  Seems Benn would rather quibble over semantics than deal with facts, saying that Julian Assange says all he did was not use a condom which, Benn says - delighted with his own wit - that if that were the definition of rape, "a lot of people in this country would be guilty of rape on a daily basis".
Ines                           Saw this walking home. I hope Ines loves him back.
Magic Button TheoryA little while ago, I wrote a post about the enlargement of the g-spot using the injection of a collagen-based substance into the area, catchily known as the G-Shot. In the ongoing in-fighting over whether or not the g-spot even exists (in my own experience, there are particularly sensitive areas in my vulva and vagina, but no hey presto spot), someone has come up with a new surgical vaginal excavation: Vaginal Submucosal/Suburethreal, Labial, and Clitoral Injection of PRP, or its more catchy name, the O-Shot (R). It was invented by Dr Charles Runels who decided that the g-spot doesn't exist but, unable to resist the commercial potential of the magic-button theory of female sexual response (i.e.
Biker ChicksI want to be one of them.
Specsavers: image re-touching revolutionariesReading the papers this afternoon I came across this specsavers advert. It's just a picture of a woman wearing glasses, obviously, which makes a change from the usual stupid "should have gone to specsavers" ads in which a horde of bikini models stampede towards a rather fat man, halting like cattle when he puts on his ugly glasses he, presumably, didn't get in specsavers. What makes this ad interesting is the lack of touching-up that's gone on with the picture. Not only does the woman have pores but she has what looks like a slightly dry patch, messy eyebrows, a visible line, facial hair and, oh dear god, what looks like it might be some stray nasal hair.

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