Posts Tagged sex

book review: Future Sex


Future Sex by Emily Witt. Farrar, Straus and Giroux| October 2016| 210 pages | $25.00| 9780865478794

RATING: *****/5*

“I had not chosen to be single but love is rare and it is frequently unreciprocated. Without love I saw no reason to form a permanent attachment to any particular place. Love determined how humans arrayed themselves in space.”

Technology changes everything. It changes how we meet people and it changes how we interact with others. There’s more sexual fluidity and experimental sex than in the past because of both changing ideologies as well as the ability to remain anonymous online if one chooses to indulge in one’s fantasies. Whatever you fancy you’re likely to find it. However, society still expects people to couple up to have families. Author Emily Witt writes: “If every expression of free sexuality by a woman would be second-guessed, it left men as the sole rational agents of sexual narrative. The woman was rarely granted the heroic role of seducer. If a woman pursued a strictly sexual experience, she was seen as succumbing to the wishes of the sovereign subject.” We live in a rampant rape culture. Women also get slut-shamed for wanting and pursuing sex. Can someone subsist outside of a monogamous relationship? Does everyone need to be part of a couple? This book strongly suggests that it’s not essential although how far outside the cultural norms must one go to be happy? Witt explains: “I supposed that since then I had been nonmonogamous in the sense of sometimes having sex with several different people within a specific period of time. As I said this both the idea of counting people and the idea of grouping them within a time frame seemed arbitrary. This was just my life: I lived it and sometimes had sex with people. Sometimes I wanted to commit to people, or they to me, but in the past two years no such interests had fallen into alignment.” Future Sex reads as a fascinating sociological study on sexuality that delves into orgasmic mediation, internet porn, webcams, Burning Man and polyamory. Witt combines personal experience with research and reporting in a darkly amusing, honest and real manner.  Witt investigates sites I’d barely heard of: Chaturbate; Porn Hub;; Fetlife. She attends an orgasmic mediation workshop [looked up on YouTube and there are tutorials] and travels to Burning Man. She interviews tons of people such as polyamorous Google employees, the founder of OKCupid, a 19-year-old webcammer as well as a woman who creates female-centered porn. Witt doesn’t make a spectacle of what may be absurd. Instead she writes analytically, astutely with brevity and a sharp edge.

–review by Amy Steele

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Emily Witt will be at Harvard Book Store on Monday, October 17, 2016

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Going Down– oral sex stories: book review

Going Down: Oral Sex Stories edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel. Publisher: Cleis Press (2012). Fiction/erotica. Paperback. 206 pages. 978-1573447898.

I’m not the blushing type when reading sex scenes like those described in this collection. The focus being on something I enjoy immensely, I appreciated these stories. If you too like oral sex, you’ll Going Down: Oral Sex Stories. If you find oral sex strange or gross or something, read these and your mind will surely open to greater possibilities. A woman keeps track of all the ways she can give her guy oral in “The Thousand and One Ways.” When she hooks up with her neighbor’s husband, a woman discovers that this woman she’s envied isn’t the woman she thought she was at all in “Pretty Dull.”

“Lavender” by Cynthia Hamilton details a meeting of strangers at a hotel room told from the man’s point of view—“Then you tease the snug opening with the point of your tongue again, this time drawing her slick cream upward, parting the soft, pliant lips, then flattering your tongue to deliver a slow lick over that sweet little bundle of nerve endings.” In the fun “Dover to Victoria Station,” author Roxy Rogers describes a coupling in the loo—“That is what I want: his undivided attention, his craving. It’s what all women want from their men, whether they’ll admit it or not.” Another I particularly enjoyed [and made me think of 50 Shades of Grey, which I haven’t read and do not plan to read] describes a woman’s secret adventure in the senses and in passion. Blindfolded, she’s pleased by numerous people she can’t see but can touch, feel, smell, taste and hear. “I try to steady myself, gasping from the first sensations, so close to orgasm, still feeling their tongues, fingers, the warmth of their bodies against mine.” Every woman will find several stories in Going Down that will intrigue her and maybe even make her tingle.

purchase at Amazon: Going Down: Oral Sex Stories

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In the realm: female condoms

As a feminist, I look at the entertainment world with an undeniably feminist perspective.

I had a site where I could discuss more serious/ non-entertainment issues [such as female condoms] but as I discontinued that site, I have to cover some women’s issues here.

Of course sex is well within the realm of entertainment.

Always ahead of us with sex and drugs but fortunately NOT rock n’ roll, female condoms [FC] have been available in Europe since 1992. Our FDA approved the FC in 1993. I was two years out of college and still hadn’t had sex at that time.

Of course I’ve heard about the female condom but I’ve only bought male condoms at CVS [but I’m going to check]. Just as I have a standing script for Emergency Contraception [EC] aka the morning after pill, I feel I should check out FC especially as its in the news lately. Newsweek recently reported that the female condom is “better.” I didn’t like the quote in the piece where a woman compared the FC to “two sandwich baggies rubbing together.” Sexy time for sure.

U.S. Health officials are pushing the use of the female condom and it makes sense. I’m single and 40 and before sex, many guys have thought that a condom would not be needed. Right. I do not think so and therefore always carry condoms with me.

The FC look a lot like the cup things that I tried to use for my period but I just didn’t like it all that much. I’m not sure I’m a huge fan of putting latex inside my vagina when I don’t want to keep a tampon up there for hours on end either.

I will admit that I’d be more likely to try female condoms if the names weren’t so feminine and lame: Reality, Femidom, Dominique, Femy, Myfemy, Protectiv’ and Care. C’mon! On the other hand condoms are from Durex and Trojan. Disparity? Of course!

More information on female condoms at Planned Parenthood and AVERT.

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book review: The Female Thing

[this is an older book that I read for a challenge related to books on women’s studies]

Title: The Female Thing
Author: Laura Kipnis
ISBN: 978-0375424172
Pages: 192
Publisher: Pantheon; First Edition (October 12, 2006
Category: gender studies
Review source: own copy
Rating: 3/5

In The Female Thing, author Laura Kipnis, a professor of media studies at Northwestern University researches what she calls the “female thing.” To her she considers that the female psyche although much of the book focuses on the vagina through research and discussion on orgasm, rape, and sexual equality for women in pleasure, cleanliness, and confidence. I didn’t find any of her research or theses new but simply reminders that women still do not get the attention we need and desire in the bedroom. Kipnis also is quite funny in her wording and the way she addresses all the issues she brings up in The Female Thing. She breaks it up as: Envy, Sex, Dirt and Vulnerability. I found the sex chapter most interesting.

A few tidbits:

Please read what follows as an account of the female psyche at the twenty-first century mark, which is to say, in the aftermath of second-wave feminism and partway to gender equality, both factors having put many female things into question lately. [p.vii]

Face it, we all inhabit at post feminist world: it was, after all, feminism that brought women equal treatment under the law, voting rights, access to public life, some progress toward pay equity, and so on, and even the most diehard “I like being a woman” set, you don’t find too many arguing with the right to own property or wanting to hand back the vote or anything silly like that. [p. 6]

She wants to have orgasms the womanly way: during penetration, even though the therapists assure her that some 75 percent of women don’t. [p. 40]

Most recent studies still put the number of women who don’t consistently have orgasms as high as 58 percent (The Hite Report: A Nationwide Study of Female Sexuality) [p. 42]

While not an insurmountable obstacle, some percentage of the male population has yet to fathom these female anatomical complexities, despite the ongoing education efforts. And why were the organs of sexual pleasure and those of sexual intercourse not combined into one efficient package, as with the lucky male? [p. 44]

Many report that they simply can’t have orgasms with a penis inside them because they often dislike, distrust, or don’t want to “open up to” the men on the other end of them . . . [p. 55]

She Comes First is similarly girl-friendly: here men learn how to identify the eighteen parts (!) of the clitoris . . . [p. 56]

Orgasms are, needless to say, the Holy Grail, and male ineptitude the dark forest of ignorance through which the hero must traverse. Men! If only they could find the clitoris, the blundering idiots. [p. 57]

Proto-feminist novelist Doris Lessing also devotes a fair amount of attention to the dual-systems issue in her 1962 novel The Golden Notebook. Ella, a novelist, resents her lover Paul’s attempts to provide her with clitoral orgasms, which she regards as his flight from commitment and emotion. Even though the clitoral orgasms are far more powerful and thrilling, there’s “only one real female orgasm and that is when a man, for the whole of his need and desire, takes a woman and wants all her response.” [p. 60]

The G-spot is basically where the clitoris should have been located—this is, if sexual intercourse actually made sense from the standpoint of efficient female pleasure. [p. 63]

If you’re a chick, you’re sitting on some pretty valuable real estate. Is any other human body cavity so laden with symbolic value, not to mention actual monetary worth, particularly for exclusive access? [p. 123]

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book review: Will Marry for Food, Sex, and Laundry

by Simon Oaks

Here we go again. Another book for women on how to snag a guy. As if all women want to get married. As if all women are clueless on how to attract men and keep them interested. Apparently, the publishing industry feels there is a market for these books because He’s Just Not that Into You was a bestseller and is now a film (which makes absolutely no sense and is a ridiculous, sexist film) and comedian Steve Harvey’s book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man is on the NYT Bestseller’s List and Oprah planned an entire show for Harvey with an entire female audience asking Harvey questions as if he were a relationship guru.

So this guy who is married Simon Oaks wants to put women back where they belong: in the kitchen, doing all the “female-oriented” chores around the house and sexually pleasing their guy (never mind that he needs to rock your socks off as well or the relationship will never work—to Oaks’s credit he does mention that in passing). This book is so offensive it’s beyond anti-feminist. Also, most of what Oaks states is really obvious. Women know what they should and should not do in relationships. Men also know what they should and should not do in relationships. That is how women and men learn from past and current relationships to make a relationships work.

To take away his commitment-phobia, you have to take away the risk factor. Make him confident to walk through that minefield blindfold for you by standing on the sidelines and directing him to safety.

Oaks discusses four phases:
1. How to Find Him
2. How to Attract Him (here’s the Food, Sex, Laundry draw)
3. How to Keep Him
4. How to Stay with Him

I didn’t learn anything new and found myself speed-reading the final few chapters of the book (the How to Stay with Him part). Will Marry for Food, Sex, and Laundry just does not disseminate any new or essential or secret information that women need to understand men any better. We know that guys like sports, food, sex, and being the strongest, wealthiest, most attractive guy in the room. Oaks says of sex: “Your man seems perfectly normal, but he has plenty of fantasies bouncing around in his head.” Oh, really. Is that why so many guys look at internet porn? C’mon. Tell me something I don’t know. He goes on to list what some of the fantasies guys have are: stockings, nurse uniforms, role play, outdoor sex, sexy underwear, bondage, and three-way. Oh, I am so shocked! (total sarcasm) Perhaps someone in a small town in Tennessee or South Dakota might learn something from this book but for someone living in an urban area, sigh, most of us have probably already experienced at least a few of these things ourselves. Some of us may be more experienced than our boyfriends. It is 2009. We have the Internet, Craig’s List, HBO, women’s magazines and Oprah.

Then without being subservient, cook like his mother would and do his laundry and “go that extra mile” because “Women tend to be nurturers. It’s your skill. A man in a stable, loving relationship will live longer because there’s a woman looking out for him and he’s looking out for her.” Okay, first, we may be nurturers but that could make us be nurses or care more about our cats than our boyfriends. Second, women are not responsible for the longevity of men.

In the chapter on getting a ring from a guy, Oaks suggests allying with his mother, giving an ultimatum, and reminding him what he’d be missing (sounds like another way of giving him an ultimatum). For me, an ultimatum is terrible. Deciding on marriage should be mutual. Of course, I suppose there is something terribly wrong with me because no guy has every proposed to me and I’ve never been married and I’m over 35! Shocker!

Oaks says, “Treat him mean to keep him keen. If he’s taking you for granted, shake things up. Let him discover that there is no such thing as a self-emptying dishwasher.” But then a little later he says, “Stop annoying him, he’ll stop annoying you. Contrary to popular belief, men can do things without women correcting them all the time.” Okay so what do you want us to do, let the man be independent or coddle him and guide him along all the time? It’s unclear. Apparently either might work okay to “get” and “keep” a man.

One last thing that Oaks shared courtesy of the National Institutes for Health:
“Divorced men are more likely to suffer from depression, die in a car, commit suicide, and indulge in substance abuse than married men. The reason for this is marriage and relationships come with responsibilities and obligations, which suppressions risk taking.”

You know what else comes with responsibilities and obligations?
• a career
• a pet
• a child
• a house/condo
• a car

So read Will Marry for Food, Sex, and Laundry at your own risk. If you are independent, perhaps steer clear. If you really need a guy at your side all the time, this may be the guidebook for you.

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