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sexism

Casual...Cool? Making Choices About Casual Sex

Casual sex: what is it? Why would you want to have it, and why wouldn't you? What can make it more likely to go right or so wrong? We've got your guide to all this and more right here.

Decoding Sex in the Media: How Lily Allen's "Hard Out Here" (Sadly) Missed the Mark

I really wanted to love Lily Allen’s new song and video, “Hard Out Here."

The British artist, who took time off to start a family, has recently burst back into the music scene with a punchy, sarcastic pop song that slams the widespread objectification and harsh criticism of women’s bodies in so much of modern media. Far sharper than Beyonce’s generic brand of girls rule!, “Hard Out Here” addresses specific feminist issues with acuity and wit.

She discusses the double standard surrounding women’s sexuality (“If I told you about my sex life, you'd call me a slut/when boys be talking about their bitches, no one's making a fuss”), the unrealistic beauty standard for women (“You should probably lose some weight/'cause we can't see your bones/you should probably fix your face or you'll end up on your own”), and even makes a jab or two at Robin Thicke’s rape-y hit song with the sarcastic lyrics like, “Have you thought about your butt? Who's gonna tear it in two?”

It’s about time for an empow

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Decoding Sex in the Media: Tampon Commercial Weirdness

I’ve noticed recently that, of all the hygiene product advertisements—ads for deodorant, toilet paper, diapers, soap, tissues, etc.—menstrual pad and tampon commercials are by far the weirdest.

Many involve cheerful women in colorful clothes and tampons that bloom and twirl in mid-air. Many demonstrate the effectiveness of pads and panty liners by pouring blue liquid —to represent red menstrual fluid, as if red fluid was somehow unavailable that day —onto the product. Many show random men staring at attractive women—these seem to say “You need our product so that men will still enjoy looking at you while you have your period."

Freakier still, a Russian tampon brand released an ad in which a woman is eaten by a shark because she decides to swim in the ocean with a leaky tampon. Admittedly, I laughed when I watched this, because I know that it is highly unlikely—maybe even impossible—that menstrual blood would attract a shark, but tampon companies certainly shouldn’t perpetuate these typ

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Decoding Sex in the Media: Why the Media Should Leave Kate Middleton's Baby Bump (And Everyone Else's) Alone

On Monday, July 22nd, England’s beloved Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, gave birth to a son—Prince George Alexander Louis. This child, dubbed the “Royal Baby” by news sources across the globe, garnered an enormous amount of media attention and sparked world-wide conversations. Reporters—and a few independent enthusiasts—have already traced the monarchial origins of the name. Jo Frost, widely known as the “Supernanny” from her reality TV show, publically offered the royal parents her child-rearing advice. A small, vociferous internet group has argued that the Duke and Duchess shouldn’t assign their child a gender, but wait until s/he chooses a gender for him/herself.

But throughout this newsworthy affair, the public spotlight has not strayed from Kate: in fact, media scrutiny of the new mother has intensified.

Before she had even left the hospital, the United Kingdom’s edition of OK! magazine published a “Royal Baby Special,” which included bright, punchy headlines promoting “Kat

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How Do I Let Go of Feeling Sexually Unattractive?

Porphyria asks:

I had sex for the first time shortly after turning 20 (about a year ago), but I wish I had done it sooner. I know I had been ready and willing at age 16 or so -- the problem was just that no one was interested in me that way, but in the other girls around me. It still hurts, in a bizarre and surprising way. I feel like being a virgin for so long was not my choice; I feel like the decision was made for me by other people who decided I wasn't attractive enough to be with. To this day I still wonder if I'm intensely sexually unattractive, and if the occurrence at age 20 was just a fluke that will not repeat itself. How can I let go of this? How can I cope with late loss of virginity and stop seeing it as a personal failure to pass muster in terms of attractiveness?

He's Queer, I'm Straight, and It's Great Except...

elinor asks:

Help! I'm in a relationship with a man (I identify as a straight woman) who identifies as queer. He's mostly had sex with men in the past (there might have been 1 woman), but this is first heterosexual relationship. It's also my first relationship with a queer man. I really care for him, but I am struggling with checking my own heteronormative attitudes. For example, I don't know how to get over the fact that he enjoys watching gay porn, and mostly gets off to men. We still have great sex together and I know he is attracted to me, and I try to remind myself of this when I find myself getting bothered by what turns him on. I'm learning to love, not accept, that he is queer and that he has made me shift my thinking about relationships and sexuality so much. However, I still don't know how to get myself out of these moments, sometimes ongoing, of insecurity.

I take birth control because it is my f*@&I#g right to take it.

I am so fucking fed up.

The latest is from Arizona: now, if an employee uses the company’s health insurance to purchase contraceptive pills, they must prove to their employer that they are using them for “non sex” purposes. If they don’t, they could be fired.

How is this supposed to go?

“Oh, yeah here is my ultrasound from my ovarian cyst. See it over there? Yeah, its a big one.”

“Here is a testimony from my ex-boyfriend about just how terrible my PMS is that it lead to our eventual, inevitable catastrophic breakup. Then he became gay.”*

How are you supposed to prove that you have ovarian cysts popping a mile a minute and a slough of gay ex’s to prove how terrible your PMS is while simultaneously proving that there is no way in hell you are using it for "sex purposes?"

How are we supposed to prove that birth control–whose very name not so implicitly implies controlling a birth–is not our bang without a baby free card?

We can’t even refer to it by its official name, contraception: it

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I had casual sex, and my friends reacted pretty badly. Now what?

morphobutterfly asks:

I'm a 20 year old girl, who's...well, I'm not going to say perfectly confident, because I do have some fairly major esteem issues, but I know my own mind, I'm independent & I'm not one to go with the crowd just because it's the "done" thing.

Three years ago a guy I was making out with on a regular basis, assaulted me sexually. While I escaped without being raped, it was a terrifying & traumatic experience. Needless to say it was a difficult time. I was a virgin when the assault happened, & because of this incident I was left wary of men, sex & romantic interactions in general. During the years since, a few of my good friends have expressed feelings for me, but given that I was not in the right state of mind to deal with any serious romantic situations, the fact that these guys were looking for the types of relationships that I'm not comfortable with, & also that I was afraid of ruining our friendships, I turned them down, explaining my reasons & repeatedly expressing how important their friendships were to me. All of these guys are still my close friends, & all have had relationships/flings with other girls since asking me out. I'm having a problem with them, though.

So, About That Video...

I tried several times to leave a comment at the National Campaign's blog on this, but alas, it wouldn't let me. I'm pretty savvy with web forms, so it's probably just some kind of temporary technical snag over there. Since it wouldn't let me do so there, I'm doing it here.

After hearing complaints about the video at sex::tech from audience members at one of my own panels, a video I had not seen myself, then getting an email the following morning with some of those complaints CC'd to me, I had a private conversation with Larry Swiader, in his role there as a representative of the NC, about the reactions the video got (which I did look at before our conversation, and was not a fan of myself). This was a conversation where I was primarily trying to help support someone new in the field facing an intense swell of reactivity, however valid. I know how challenging working in sex education can be, especially when you're new to it, and I also know how overwhelming it can be to face en-mass

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My culture insists on virginity: did I break my hymen with masturbation?

prince_12 asks:

I hope you would be able to answer my message as soon as possible. It is very urgent. I have passed through the site and decided of asking you some questions maybe you could help me. I am an Indian girl. My age is 26 and I never had ever sexual intercourse because it is against our traditions here. A girl is not allowed until she is married. I never ever masturbated using machines or finger. I never ever touched my area down before. I even never knew anything about girls and guys masturbation. Here we are not taught about sex issues. I entered accidentally one of the sex sites and most probably out of curiousity about a new thing, depression, and much free time. I started chatting dirty(no voice) with these guys and I watched some. I never did this before in my whole life really. I noticed that i gave water from under when I chatted dirty or watched a guy and I become very jelly like down there. I really never knew this is masturbation i am really ignorant about that. I did this only about two months but I chatted and masturbated several times in a day.

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