My apologies. It’s been too long since I’ve written any fun sex trivia questions, or anything at all for that matter. Finally, it’s officially my summer break from science teaching and I’m looking forward to writing and posting more regularly. Do you have any suggestions for me or should I start digging into my swelling list of reader questions?
Tune in for some of the overdue answers to sexy reader questions on the Shame Free Radio Show that I’ll be joining on Monday, June 25 at 9PM. The host of the show is author, sex educator and relationship coach Veronica Monet (and fellow Beaver) and I’m saving some of our most interesting sex questions just for her!
Do you have a sex question that you want answered? Then ask it HERE. Or simply call in to the show at (888) 627-6008. Shame Free Radio is on air from 9-10 PM (Pacific time) every Monday and call-ins are encouraged.
Plus, Veronica and I will undoubtedly discuss some of the results of the 7,500+ sex surveys that continue to pile up…so tune in for those as well.
I promise to post some more fun sex trivia questions, answers and sex survey results for you soon!
I’m sure you’ve all heard by now that two Michigan state representatives – two FEMALE state representatives- have been banned from speaking on the floor of the House of Representatives. One of them, Lisa Brown, used the word “vagina” in a speech, while opposing Michigan’s new abortion law. The other rep, Barb Byrum, was also told she could no longer speak, apparently because she spoke out of turn.
As a result, #VaginaMovieLines are making the rounds on Twitter. These are famous movie quotes mutated through substituting the V-word. I read a few, wrote a few, and whattaya know, thought me up a gen-u-ine #VaginaMovieLine parable.
Our story starts with Michigan’s Majority Floor Leader, Jim Stamas, who was so very offended by legitimate medical terminology. Let’s imagine that tonight he is tossing and turning in his sleep, not altogether easy in his mind, maybe even agitated by a profound disturbance in the Force. In his fitful slumber, he has a dream… and in this dream he is visited by the spirit of an enormous, pulsating, unmentionable, talking body part:
“Allow me to introduce myself. I am the Invisible Vagina.” (1) The vulva looms over his bed, unfurling her labia as a cobra opens its hood.
Stamas recoils from this Ghost of Excess Past, and shrieks, “Get away from me, you hairy vagina!” (2)
Leering with delicious irony, the vulva replies, “If you can’t sleep, it isn’t the coffee – it’s the vagina.” (3) She snickers.
Stamas pinches himself, but still doesn’t awake. “I never dreamed that any mere vaginal experience could be so stimulating!” (4).
The vulva looks him straight in the eye, “”You gentlemen aren’t really trying to kill my vagina, are you?” (5) Though fingerless, her manner suggests impatient red lacquered nails tapping on a rosewood desk.
Stamas mutters under his breath, “”Some days, you just can’t get rid of a vagina…” (6) Hearing this, the vulva turns bright red and doubles in size. Alarmed, Stamas tries charm, “You’re very pretty, Pretty-Pretty.” (7)
The spirit sneers, “My name isn’t Pretty-Pretty. It’s Vaginarella.” (8)
“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!” Jim had had just about enough of that word! (9)
“There are worse things than chastity, (10) Mr. Stamas.” The spirit paused, with a menacing look.
“Yeah, lunacy and vagina!” (11) It was Stamas’s turn to sneer.
The spirit ignored him, “I’m here to deliver a very serious message, Mr. Stamas: ‘No wire hangers. No wire hangers, EVER!’ (12). She paused, ”…I’m NOT gonna be ignored.” (13)
Stamas shrieks, “You’re out of order! You’re out of order! The whole vagina is out of order!” (14)
The vulva silences him with a look, “I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass… and I’m all out of bubblegum.”
Jim’s legislative bravado crumbled. Just thinking about his visitor chewing bubblegum fried what was left of his manhood. “I guess I’ve learned my lesson,” he whispered, “‘A kiss on the hand may be quite continental, but vaginas are a girl’s best friend.’” (15)
At this, Vaginarella began to fade. Her spectral voice sounding one last warning, ”…Remember, no matter where you go, there you are.” (16)
Realizing that something fine and true was about to leave his life forever, Jim shouted, “Wait! Wait! ‘Was it as good for you as it was for me?’” (17) And then he awoke, a wire hanger twisted in his hand and the sheets were stained, as if with blood.
(1) Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
(2) The Hairy Ape (1944)
(3) Christmas in July (1940)
(4) The African Queen (1951)
(5) North by Northwest (1959)
(6) Batman (1966)
(7 & 8) Barbarella (1968)
(9) Gone with the Wind (1939)
(10 & 11) Night of the Iguana (19 — )
(12) Mommie Dearest (1981)
(13) Fatal Attraction (1987)
(14) …And Justice For All (1979)
(15) Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
(16) The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984)
(17) The War of the Roses (1989)
The “children” are of all ages – tiny to advanced in years. I’m a contributor to this book – and too connected to review it, so I suggest you check out this review at Kirkus, where the book is called a ”stark, important anthology.”
What I can share is my own emotional response to the book. I’ve been too excited to wait for the publisher’s copy and so yesterday I bought one off the shelf of a local Berkeley bookstore. And I devoured it in one sitting. I was so riveted by the accounts written by other mothers!
In reading this book, I realize how isolated I’ve been as a parent – emotionally and in terms of community. I have two amazing children, but no one to really engage with around the little things and the bigger milestones. There are personal reasons for this, and I won’t go into them – I mention this only because I didn’t realize how accustomed I’ve become to this isolation. Now, it’s as if the floodgates are open. I crave community, conversation, and deeper involvement – particularly around the issue of being the parent of a transgender kid.
Will this book help me find all this?
This craving must have been working its way up to the surface this last week, before I even read the book, because three days ago I found myself creating a Meet-Up group for parents of trans kids. No one has contacted me yet, and perhaps these two meetings (the first in June) will go unnoticed and unattended. But I hope some kindred parental spirits find the meeting, and me!
What do I want to talk about? Fear. Definitely fear, transphobia, providing job training, activism, tender stories about our kids, all sorts of things. What it felt like when my oldest kid moved out… The kinds of things you only share with someone else raising a kid. The kinds of things you can only share with someone who is also grappling with how to best nurture gender variance.
We have a book party and reading taking place June 6 at Books, Inc. in Berkeley, CA. I’ll be there with four other contributors who will be sharing from the book. If any Sex Your Brain readers are in the SF Bay Area, I invite you to come on down.
So, how do I begin to explain queerness, and what it is? Hmmmm….
Here is the beginning of your Queer Theory 101 (What is Queer?).
I work from a feminist viewpoint, and within that I am a social constructionist. What does this mean? This means that I believe that the way we view gender and sexuality is developed within a cultural context.
For example, in the US, men and women typically shave, and we typically shave different parts of the body. Men typically shave their faces and women typically shave their legs, for example. Why is that? Is there a need to do this? Normally no, but we have but a construct around body hair that is gendered.
Social constructionists believe, in a nutshell, that gender and sexuality are constructed as well. We make up what qualifies a person’s gender and sexuality by the labels we place on them. A person with a penis is male. A man dating a man is labeled gay. A person with a vagina is female. A woman dating a man is labeled straight. A transman dating a transwoman can be labeled…huh?
Ah HA! This is where the fun begins, and why queer theory works for me. When we remove the gender binaries of male and female from the equation, suddenly sexuality starts to fall apart, too. And queer theory embraces this eruption of sorts, and encourages people to remove themselves from these binaries of male-female and gay-straight.
Confused yet? Don’t worry, there’s more to come.
Any questions? Bring it.
I’m here to help,
Whenever I’m involved in a spate of press coverage on Objectum Sexuality (OS), my client base magically disappears. It’s odd. I doubt my clients are aware of my “other life” as an objectum sexuality media expert (if anyone can be said to be an “expert” at this point – we really know so little!), but there still seems to be this financially devastating drop in my private practice whenever I comment on the topic. It happened after I interviewed with Tyra Banks in 2009 and it took my practice months to recover! Of course, I could blame the drop in clientele on the false eyelashes I wore at the insistence of the TV make-up artist, or perhaps the economy, but that’s another story…
Now, by blogging about this springtime spate of media attention, I may make matters worse. However I’ve come to accept the karmic link – or whatever it is – that has drawn me to the periphery of this very interesting sexual minority. What I enjoy most are the occasional, off-the-record emails and chats I have with people in the OS community. I keep these conversations confidential. I learn a lot in my interactions with these folks, and sometimes even feel like I might have done some good.
Recently I was asked for quotes for the articles linked below that were both published this merry month of March.
Objectophiles – meet the people attracted to objects, The Sun, London.
Woman in love with Statue of Liberty ‘not alone’, 9 News, Australia.
As you can see by the crudities in the public comment section of The Sun article, Objectum Sexuals are seldom given much respect. In fact, they are targeted with a great deal of misogynistic hatred – as OS women have gotten the bulk of the media coverage. However, I was taken by this particular response: “I assume using actual sex toys don’t count as objectiphillia? I hope not [sic].” Ah! A rare moment of thoughtful self-assessment!
Just what is the history of human erotic involvement with objects anyhow? Back in 2009, I actually created a grid of degrees of Human-Object Intimacy to answer this very question! If I could, I’d post it here.
The general public – at least the snarky trolls who post hateful responses – will never understand anything more complex than a simple poke in the patoosis, so I’m not too concerned with them. The important issue is to get helping professionals to get up to speed. People who identify as OS are an emerging sexual minority and already experience all the internal and external turmoil that goes along with coming out of the closet, individually and as a group. OS people generally feel quite natural about their orientation and relationships, but they are also quite vulnerable to anxiety, discrimination, exploitation, and possibly even violence. The ones who are autistic, even more so. It is essential for counselors, therapists, social workers, and the like, to understand enough about OS to deliver appropriate and respectful care to an OS-identified patient or client – just as they should to anyone who is LGBQ, gender variant, or in an alternative “lifestyle.” (I sure hate that word…sigh.).
So I created an online class for helping professionals, based on a sexological assessment of the topic: Objectum Sexuality – What Is It? A Clinician’s Guide. The two-hour lecture provides a foundation for learning more, and for stepping back from judgment and negativity in the fine old sexological tradition.
Meanwhile, where have all the clients gone? Long time passing…
Hello from the blogosphere! I am happy to be joining you. I am Dr. Jen, and I consider myself to be a queer theorist and sex educator. Don’t know what that means? Well, then you better keep reading my blog then, right?
I’ve been pondering how to begin blogging and I thought an introduction might be best. I work as a social justice educator and researcher within higher education. I am specifically interested in two things – queer students and rural sociology – and how these two interact in public schools. I just did a national study of sex educators who work in rural environments and are queer-inclusive. But, let me not get ahead of myself here, I’ve got lots of internet time to share all that with you…
So, on a personal note, I am legally married to my female-identified partner of 13 years, and we have a house and a dog and two cats. I identify as female myself. In “polite” circles the term lesbian is used to describe me, in the inner sanctum I would identify as queer. Why? Well, keep reading my blog and find out!
I want my blog to help inform you, let you know what’s on my mind, and help bring a queer perspective and attitude to the blogging universe. I have had to fight a lot of battles about the word queer, and here I plan on sharing some of that with you. Stay tuned.
Finally, I encourage you to contact me with questions! I would love to write directly to what you need and/or what you’re thinking. Engage me, peeps! I’m here for you!
It’s spring and a journalist’s fancy turns to… what else? Objectum Sexuality! I swear, I’ve had about four or five interactions with various journalists in the last three weeks, from a major talk show nibble to someone from a far, far Oceanic continent. Inquiring minds want to know.
I’m getting pretty good at these conversations, particularly because English-speaking members of the Objectum Sexuality (or OS) community were good enough to participate in a survey I did, back in 2009. It was not a scientifically designed research instrument, because its original purpose was to obtain data about OS members to present to journalists and interested professionals. But this survey continues (as far as I know) to contain data no one else has bothered to collect. You can read a rather large article about it in the Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality, if you like.
And if you don’t like, and you’re scratching your head in dismay, here’s the quick skinny on the topic: a romantic and/or sexual attraction to an OBJECT which goes beyond fetishism into full blown relationship mode. That’s it. And it’s usually not caused by trauma or abuse, and probably not related to any mental conditions except perhaps (for some, not all) autism.
Oh yeah, and my pet theory (with a little bit of data to back it up), is that object personification synesthesia may also play a role, at least for some. Since, it stands to reason that if you detect personality in objects, you may grow fond of certain ones and perhaps – human beings being what they are – the personable objects become erotically attractive as a result.
You see, OS goes far beyond a mere fetish. It’s an orientation. The relationships are complex, multi-layered, and not without grief, joy, jealousy, and all the rest of the glories and hellish funks of being in love.
But after my conversation with the far flung journalist, Jane Austen’s Reverend Mr. Collins came to mind (in Pride and Prejudice). So too are the OS people longing to publish their propserous loves. The journalists are equally excited about printing the same. We wish them both joy.
If I sound a bit clipped, it’s because I’ve got an important object on the stove…my dinner.