New Documentary: Americans in Bed

So this looks interesting:

. . . wide-ranging interviews with subjects who are filmed in the comfort of their own beds, asking probing questions about what people look for in a partner and how they know when they have found it. From a couple that has been together for 71 years to a pair of fresh-faced newlyweds, she encourages her subjects to open their hearts and minds as they share candid and touching insights into their relationships, underscoring the fact that no union is as simple as it seems on the surface.

Each couple gradually discloses intimate thoughts about the sometimes painfully private issues that affect every relationship, including passion, fidelity, family obligations, separation, conflict, negotiation and illness. As they talk about how they met and fell in love, some even surprise each other with feelings long held back, while others revisit old hurts as if they had happened yesterday.

Americans in Bed premieres Monday, August 12 (9:00 ET) on HBO. There’s a trailer here.


io9 did this interesting article about Freud, and why he remains stubbornly, and maybe regrettably, important:

“Freud is truly in a class of his own,” writes Todd Dufresne, an outspoken critic. “Arguably no other notable figure in history was so fantastically wrong about nearly every important thing he had to say. But, luckily for him, academics have been — and still are — infinitely creative in their efforts to whitewash his errors, even as lay readers grow increasingly dumbfounded by the entire mess.”

It’s not so much whitewashing as having to teach him in order to teach a bunch of other things that reference his works. As someone who teaches, it’s hard not to notice how much of what we read and discuss has been written in response to Freud, but no one really assigns him anymore, either. So much of French feminism, feminist film theory, and post modern theory, rely on a basic working knowledge of some of his concepts, like Oedipal complex and castration anxiety and his ideas about the family’s role in the sex and gender roles, for that matter. (If anyone knows of a useful compendium of some of these major concepts, I’d love to know about it.)

But I was, also, reminded of his remarkable letter to the mother of a gay man who was worried about her son. He wrote:

Homosexuality is assuredly no advantage, but it is nothing to be ashamed of, no vice, no degradation; it cannot be classified as an illness; we consider it to be a variation of the sexual function, produced by a certain arrest of sexual development. Many highly respectable individuals of ancient and modern times have been homosexuals, several of the greatest men among them. (Plato, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, etc). It is a great injustice to persecute homosexuality as a crime – and a cruelty, too. If you do not believe me, read the books of Havelock Ellis.

That’s often the context I teach him in – as part of the movement of turn of the last century sexologists, some of whom, like Freud, were essentially compassionate if also paternalistic. That is definitely not true of all of them – Kraft-Ebing was a pathologizing asshole, for instance – but Ellis, who he mentions, wrote the introduction to the lesbian novel The Well of Loneliness, which was, in turn, brought up on obscenity charges only for portraying lesbian existence.

Bathwater maybe, but not the baby.

Pro Porn?

This is good stuff – a candid discussion about the role of porn in our real life, actual sex lives, and the amazing Nina Hartley is in it!

There’s a short, teaser version of the clip, too, if you don’t have time right now to watch the whole thing, but it’s a very worthwhile 20+ minutes.

(& I’m just going to add: the banana/nutella business is not only crass, it’s wrong. Anal does not necessarily involve fecal matter. See Tristan Taormino’s short clip about anal here.)

Letter to a Crossdresser’s Wife

And while I was away, Laura Stuart of Express Milwaukee wrote this column in response to a woman who wrote in having found out her husband crossdresses.  I think she does a great job for a short column, and of course I appreciate the mention. I’m wondering what some of you might have to say about the Craigslist ad and photo, though, as that seems a little suspect to me — as it does to the wife. It may just be an urge to be seen, but it may be something else, too.


Feminist Porn?

The Feminist Porn Book is out. Here’s one of my favorite excerpts, by none other than the amazing Nina Hartley, which I’ve gone and excerpted:

Actress Cornelia Otis Skinner said, Woman’s virtue is man’s greatest invention. That phrase is both true and telling: everyday men and women both carry the heavy load and pay the cost for this retrograde notion of virtue. Female sexual agency remains a contentious subject that sparks fierce debate and displays of moral outrage, bigotry, and murderous violence. Our culture continues to punish women for their sexuality, from woman-on-woman slut shaming, to continuing attempts by local, state, and federal government agencies to limit access to effective family planning. Our country’s honor killings–ranging from the murder of abortion providers to the killing of a partner in a fit of jealous If-I-cant-have-you-then-nobody-can-have-you! rage–are almost always connected to women’s sexual autonomy and/or health.

I love Nina Hartley.

Sexy Xmas Gifts

No, really, you can get the person with a penis in your life one of these! It’s  called a Tuggie. Not like a Huggie, although I bet you could get one of those to match.

Why buy a boring, bland vibrator when you can buy one that looks like a candy cane? This waterproof vibrating stick of stripey goodness is way more exciting. Add some Secret Santa Tingle Gel for minty freshness.

Or, for those more on the naughty than nice end of things, crack this icicle whip: this winter treat can certainly leave a hot little mark.

Plenty of other toys, outfits and ideas at Adam & Eve will keep you warm this holiday season.


AIS, CAH, Sequential Hermpaphroditism, & Reciprocal Copulation

This is a great short article on the ambiguities of sex as expressed by humans, mammals, fish and various other creatures, and covers topics like chromosomal variety, embryonic sex determination, and reproductive strategies. It’s a nice Sex 101 – and by that I don’t mean sex as in f*cking, but sex as in male/female. A lot of reasonably smart and educated people seem to think that gender is variable but sex is “natural” and binary when in fact that’s not nearly as true either.

You’ve had your turkey. Now get your learning back on.

Keeping Up with Buck

I’ve always been a fan of Buck Angel’s – because he comes from an industry where genitals couldn’t be more important (porn) and yet he managed to make having a vagina work, and that as a person who is undoubtedly male. He also did the first trans-on-trans porn, with Alannah Starr, waaaaay back in 2005, and taught an entire porn crew how not to stutter when saying “her penis” and “his vagina”.

But the cool thing is that he’s now decided to do sex ed, as because he’s retiring from porn. Do also check out this interview with him by Tristan Taormino. Right now he’s down at Southern Comfort (oh, the irony of the name for a trans man with a famous vagina) which happens this fall weekend annually.

Trans Delegates at the LGBT Caucus

This is too cool. Historically cool.

That said, one of my readers has pointed out that a trans person served as a delegate as early as 1968. After that, not until 2002 (as far as I know). And now: 14.

And one delegate is from Wisconsin, even.