Monday, December 21, 2009

OMFG Toto, We're Not in Texas Anymore:
Christmas at Good Vibrations

So I'm on vacation in California and will later travel to the East Coast to see my people in DC, Philadelphia, and NYC.

The first destination on my whistle-stop tour of America's most unabashedly liberal locales was, appropriately, a weekend in Berkeley and San Francisco. I always go to whatever feminist sex toy store happens to be in the city I'm visiting so I can see what drool-inducing new toys are out there but also to just be around other sex positive people. In the Bay Area the big player is Good Vibrations, which has locations in Berkeley and San Francisco.

Good Vibes has a great online presence and even publishes its own web magazine that highlights, among other things, famous sex educators like yours truly. I usually visit the Mission store, because it's in the Mission and I like to go there--what could be better than sex toys and tacos, all in the same neighborhood? You'd think, living in Austin, Texas, I'd be able to have such an afternoon in my own town but, alas, I cannot.

I thought I'd share a couple of the totally awesome things I found at Good Vibes that I've never seen before and that I'm either lusting after or highly recommending. First up is the La Femme Harness, pictured above. The photo doesn't do it justice--the edges, ruffled leather, are highlighted by pink zippers. At $169, this is not a beginner's harness but for those experienced players interested in a femmey strap-on, this beauty is a must-have.

I also found the most adorable hand restraints ever, Bound Bliss, pictured at right. The part that goes around the wrists is leather and closes with a heart-shaped padlock, and the bow is real patent leather. Also available in red patent leather (!) these are a bargain at $65. Hint, hint.



Lelo's Ina, at left, was part of my gift guide but I actually got to feel it in my own hands at Good Vibes and I can confidently say that this thing is fucking awesome. If you have a Rabbit now, throw it in the garbage and get this younger, firmer, hotter model. Seriously. It's rechargeable, silicone, and I love that it doesn't have any annoying animal features. This is a grown up vibrator.


One thing Good Vibes does have that I don't see when I go to Babeland is an unparallelled selection of queer and genderfuck porn. They have the whole Crash Pad series, everything out there in TrannyFag world and and more (I know they have Buck Angel titles in the store, but I couldn't find any on the website). They offer Video on Demand, too, so you don't have to live in the Mission to get your fill. Fluid, at right, is one of Crash Pad veteran Madison Young's directorial flicks.

If you're in the Bay Area, I highly recommend a side trip to one of the Good Vibes locations. The stores are clean, welcoming to people of all genders, orientations, sizes, colors, what have you, and their selection of toys is top notch. They carry more "novelties" than I care for (really, must I be forced to browse butt plugs with college kids giggling over penis birthday candles?) but I confess to lusting after more than one three digit toy of the kind I just can't see up close and personal in Austin.





You can read my other gift recommendations here, at my Holiday Gift and Regift Guide.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Holiday Gift (and Regift) Guide

The holidays are here (in the case of Hanukkah) and a'coming (in the case of Christmas) so the time to buy gifts is now, while you can still avoid paying extra for last-minute shipping.

For You (or me):
OMG. Lelo has put out the most gorgeous, simple, fabulous toys and they have outdone themselves with Ina, the rabbit-style vibrator that is missing cloying animal faces or hard to clean nubby surfaces.

Ina by Lelo

It comes in purple and orange (hook 'em!) silicone and medical-grade plastic, which means this toy will be great to use and easy to clean. If you want simultaneous g-spot and clitoral stimulation, this is the toy for you.

For your best friend:
Silk is a group of pretty, smooth, all-purpose dildos made out of hard silicone. They come in 3 sizes and can be used with a harness or as handheld toys. The smooth texture makes these great for anal play, especially for beginners.

Silk

For your boyfriend (and you too):
Simply Blown has delivered a stunning glass butt plug that looks like a Christmas ornament. It features a round base, which is key for comfort during sex, and you can see the color from the outside.

Simply Blown Plug

At 1.5 inches at its widest, this is a good size plug for those working up to anal sex with a male partner. Butt plugs are also great on their own for masturbation.

For the newlyweds:
The Red Heart Crop combines love with anger in a cute, gentle way. It also comes in handy for running meetings.

The Red Heart Crop

This crop won't cause real pain but it makes a satisfying 'slap' sound on contact. Plus it can double as a magic wand if your kid happens to find it.

For Everyone's Stocking:
The P Style is a small plastic object that allows women to pee standing up. Nuff said!

The P Style

Black Dragon Latex Gloves. These come in sizes S, M and L and are great for sex play or, in my case, dyeing my hair or cleaning the bathtub.

You'd be surprised how frequently well-fitting latex gloves come in handy around the house. I also used them this year when preparing my Thanksgiving turkey.

Kimono Type E Condoms. If you need condoms, try these.

Sliquid Organics Natural lube is a great all-purpose lube. It's glycerin and paraben free so even people with very sensitive skin can use it.


To Regift:
The Cone is, in my opinion, completely useless as a sex toy. But you know who loves it? Babies. Seriously. You can put it in their crib and it'll shut them up or leave it out and they'll carry it around, amazed at this pink cone that shakes around.

If you've received one and its stayed on your shelf for months, give it to a sleepless parent near you. They'll appreciate it.

Happy Holidays, everyone!
XOXO,
GTG

Friday, December 11, 2009

There is No Condom for the Eye:
"Jersey Shore"






I normally never, ever watch MTV's "television programs" but earlier this week when my friend T wrote about the new "Jersey Shore" on Facebook I knew I had to make an exception.

I grew up going to Cape May, which while technically a beach in New Jersey, is not really a part of the Jersey Shore (one way you know this is true is because people who go there don't say they're going to 'the shore'). But those who know me personally know I went to boarding school in Southeast Pennsylvania, perilously close to South Philly which is a true velour track suit Ed Hardy paradise.

My brother, A, lives in South Philly above a "t-shirt store" that, when I visited in June, stocked nothing but spray painted jeans, Ed Hardy t-shirts, rhinestone belt buckles, and huge rhinestone sunglasses for dudes. Let that sink in for a minute. They also had a catalog of "custom t-shirt designs" that I looked at, thinking I could get a nice vintage Phillies t-shirt for my then-boyfriend.

When I asked about how much it cost to get a shirt made, the bleached-blonde, Ed Hardied-out gal behind the counter gave me a look that said, "Huh? [translation: "We don't really sell custom t-shirts because we are a front business."]" Just then, a huge dude in a velour track suit walked in, went to the back room, and walked out with a beat up looking shoe box.

Just sayin'. So the firestorm of controversy surrounding "Jersey Shore" is based on complaints that it perpetuates stereotypes of Italian Americans as "Guidos" and "Guidettes," a term every character on the show uses to describe themselves. I've known and loved my fair share of Italian Americans, even some who had vaguely suspicious bookkeeping jobs, and I have never, not even on the Jersey Shore, not even at Rehoboth Beach, heard anyone describe him or herself as a "Guido" or a "Guidette."


The first guy to introduce himself, Pauly D, emphasizes what it's all about for him: "family, friends, tanning, gel, everything." He has a tanning bed in his house--that's how "serious" he is about "living up to this lifestyle." Important Italian Americans, including Alyssa Milano, are pissed:
"In the name of decency and fairness to millions of Italian Americans whose hard
work helped build this Country, and provide a steady source of sponsorship,
revenues, and support for your network, I am writing to your office to demand
that you immediately pull this series before it airs," DiMino noted. "It is also
hypocritical and shameful that MTV openly advocates against this type of
discrimination and racism, (and offers a community program at http://think.mtv.com/Issues/discrimination) yet does the
direct opposite in its programming toward Italian Americans.
I don't know what to say about this other than "There is no condom for the eye."

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Chicago Tribune Copies Laura Sessions Stepp by Telling Girls Hooking Up is Bad


(image from laurastepp.com)

Thanks to my pal "Early Marriage is A-Ok" Mark Regnerus for this article from the Chi-Trib (what, no R. Kelly stories to cover this week?) explaining a "study of more than 4,000 Twilight fans by researchers at the University of Missouri" that apparently demonstrates, once and for all, that girls want love and boys want sex and therefore, hooking up is bad for girls.
"This series represents a backlash to the 'hooking up' culture," explained one author of the study. " 'Twilight' has been a way for young girls to acknowledge their emerging sexuality without actually having sex." In other words, it's a female fantasy. It's also every boy's nightmare. After all, the hooking-up deal works pretty well for guys. Lots and lots of sex, without all that messy relationship stuff? What's not to like?
Hold on a minute. I was 17 once, and I don't recall having fantasies of "acknowledging [my] emerging sexuality without actually having sex." Kind of the opposite, actually. According to who is this a female fantasy? If you think this sounds suspiciously like the official Cassandra of GIRLSEXISBAD, Laura Sessions Stepp, you're right! The author of the newspaper article included this incredible stretch of a statement as though it were fact:
Remember dating? As quaint as is it might sound today, dating required you to get to know a girl before you did anything else. The goal might be the same -- indeed, it often was the same -- but you had to follow several distinct steps to get there. That was far better for girls, who could decide if they liked a guy before physical intimacy began. Now, the order is reversed: You hook up first, then decide if you want to "go out."
Jonathan Zimmerman, did you ever see Grease? Have you read The Crucial Decade? Just because you (if you were alive) were playing Cowboys and Indians in the 1950s doesn't mean teenagers weren't getting busy, you know, in the back seats of cars all over America. What do you think led to the highest teen pregnancy rates in our nation's history? But wait...there's more:
"No real commitment, no real feelings involved, this is like a guy's paradise," Bogle said one male student told her. "I mean this is what guys have been wanting for many, many years. And women have always resisted, but now they are going along with it." The male student is right. Since the sexual revolution of the 1960s, women have made enormous strides in education, income and professional achievement. But when it comes to sex, it's still a man's world. And that's why young women are celebrating an imaginary one, in the movies, where the guy actually loves you before he makes love to you. Even if he is a vampire.(emphasis mine)
Look, I read Bogle's book and she does not make the bogus conclusions Zimmerman claims here--and there were plenty of women interviewed who, surprise surprise, were too busy outperforming boys in the classroom to want a boyfriend--they wanted casual sex, too. Bogle starts out the book with a detailed history of "dating" in America and how the history people like Stepp often look back at with rose-colored glasses is far more layered and complex than a system of calling cards and polite conversations in front of the fireplace with a girl's parents.

And besides, most guys in college do want a girlfriend. They aren't looking for one when they're hooking up at parties, but they do want one. Another fact Zimmerman ignores that Bogle discovered in her research--hooking up often doesn't mean sex. But Zimmerman clearly just read the dust jacket.

Oh, and by the way, Jonathan Zimmerman is the acclaimed author of the groundbreaking book "Small Wonder: The Little Red Schoolhouse in History and Memory."

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Barbara Ehrenreich Takes
Fundamentalist Pinkianity To Task


(from Komen.com)

With the new guidelines on mammography and Pap smears (short version: they're not as necessary as we thought) kicking up a firestorm of conservative idiot behavior (Fox News: "Healthcare Rationing Begins!!!"), Barbara Ehrenreich helpfully takes to task the "pink ribbon breast cancer cult," an unnecessary obsession with breast cancer, that she claims has excluded legitimate women's health concerns from public debate.

She's right, obviously, and she reminds readers how much money was made by oncologists and radiologists made when mammography and the cancers it inevitably detects (not all of which require treatment, and some of which might be caused by the radiation in mammograms) became de rigeur for women.

I went to one of the first Races for the Cure, not long after my mom had breast cancer, and I remember it being a meaningful event--but that was before Komen started putting its name on everything from OPI nail polish to New Kids On The Block tank tops to lingerie from fucking Frederick's of Hollywood to the special edition KitchenAid Cook For the Cure mixer. You can see the exhaustive list of Komen's corporate partners here.


(from komen.com)

Ehrenreich says:
When a corporation wants to signal that it’s "woman friendly," what does it do? It stamps a pink ribbon on its widget and proclaims that some miniscule portion of the profits will go to breast cancer research...When Laura Bush traveled to Saudi Arabia in 2007, what grave issue did she take up with the locals? Not women’s rights (to drive, to go outside without a man, etc.), but "breast cancer awareness." In the post-feminist United States, issues like rape, domestic violence, and unwanted pregnancy seem to be too edgy for much public discussion, but breast cancer is all apple pie.
She's right--breast cancer is even becoming kinda sexy, like the "Save the Tatas" ("Who said fighting cancer can't be fun?") webstore hocking sexy tank tops and "boob lube" to make your BSE easier.



Ehrenreich reminds us that medicine is a business, and that people make money from testing, diagnosis and treatment of all diseases, but especially cancer. She calls attention--young women, I hope you're listening--back to the National Women's Health Network, which has been a cassandra on the risks of mammography, hormone replacement therapy, and overscreening of cervical cancer for ages.

It is also helpful to remember that in the midst of the healthcare debate, the fact that fundamental women's healthcare needs--abortion, contraception, maternity care--are even up for debate reveals how deeply entrenched are the ideas that "women's troubles" are dirty, not appropriate for public debate, and shouldn't be funded.

Unfuckingacceptable.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Cousin Marriage in the New York Times




I don't know what all my readers were doing last week that nobody wrote me to tell me about this article in the Times about marriage between first cousins. Oh, right...Thanksgiving. The weird part is that they've hidden the piece in the "Home and Garden" section, of all places.

The article tells the stories of two couples where the spouses are first cousins, and their families' reactions to their relationships. One said her mother said it would have been easier to tell people her daughter was a lesbian.

I wonder how, in a nation where families may not live in the same town much less state, anyone would even know that two people filing for a marriage license are cousins. Many cousins may not sure last names and, if the two don't disclose, how would the authorities know they were related? I have probably 30 first cousins and I think only 3 or 4 of them have my last name and not one of them lives in my state.

For those cousin couples who do get married, the website cousincouples.com allows them to come out of the closet and find community with other couples. And those pesky genetic problems? Probably not a big deal, say various scientists in the article. Defects are more likely to occur in couples whose families have a long history of intermarriage--in a couple who are the first set of cousins to have children, gene problems are unlikely.

The website is interesting--it has a list of famous people who married their cousins (Jerry Lee Lewis, natch) and an analysis of what Christianity has to say on the matter.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

R. Kelly on Tour!

R. Kelly is back bitches! His official album release party will happen this Saturday, 11/28/09, in Miami. He's currently out on the road for the "Ladies Make Some Noise Tour." Seriously.



Here's some video of Kells getting ready for his show in my old hood, the ATL. He likes to hang out back stage while the lights are still out so he can "Get [his] adrenalines going." I'm devastated to report that Texas gets no love on this tour. I would've driven to all the way to Houston to see my Kells.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The War's Still On

No, really. Thanks to Quaker House for these photos of banners painted by military wives in anticipation of their husbands' return from the field.





Wednesday, November 18, 2009

If You Get in Bed With the Devil Don't be Surprised When Satan Fucks You in the Ass


(image credit)

Following up on Monday's article about big pharma's backhanded price increases ahead of the healthcare reform bill, the Times published an editorial today that takes the Senate Finance Committee and the Obama administration to task for their willingness to get in bed with big pharma and act all surprised that now they're getting fucked by them.
The administration got political benefits from the deal: The drug industry has not opposed health care reform as it did in previous years and has actually run commercials supporting it. But the deal looks mostly good for the drug companies. They stand to gain tens of millions of newly insured customers who will be able to buy medicines.
Well, duh. People with health insurance pay lower prices than people who don't for all healthcare services, so providers--doctors, or, in this case, drug companies--have to raise the price overall to make sure they get their money's worth and make their shareholders happy. When medical care is provided by a for-profit system, the priority is on making money, not on getting people the fucking care or drugs they need.

This sure makes Canada's system seem attractive.

Monday, November 16, 2009

NY Times: Drug Makers Raising Prices To Fuck Newly Insured Americans

The New York Times reports today that in anticipation of the health care overhaul drug manufacturers are up to their old tricks by raising drug prices for consumers. What better way to get theirs from the Americans who will be newly insured and, all of a sudden, have prescription drug coverage?
"A Harvard health economist, Joseph P. Newhouse, said he found a similar pattern of unusual price increases after Congress added drug benefits to Medicare a few years ago, giving tens of millions of older Americans federally subsidized drug insurance. Just as the program was taking effect in 2006, the drug industry raised prices by the widest margin in a half-dozen years."
But before you get mad and write your Congressman, keep in mind how thoughtful the drug companies are to keep coming up with new ways to tweak their medications to keep them under patent and how helpful they are to educate the hell out of us with all that drug advertising we see nowadays:
"But drug companies say they are having to raise prices to maintain the profits necessary to invest in research and development of new drugs as the patents on many of their most popular drugs are set to expire over the next few years."

So price check now, dear readers, and see how your bottom line changes in the next few months with this handy Go-To Guide to Sex-Related Medications:

Yasmin: $76.99/mo
Ocella (Yasmin generic): $59.34/mo (!)
Yaz: $85.60/mo
Valrex: $364.87/mo (!!)
NuvaRing: $77.35/mo
Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo: $67.99/mo
Tri-Lo-Sprintec (OTCLo generic): $55.99/mo
Plan B One Step: $49.99/dose
Viagra: $155.99/10 tablets
Cialis for Daily Use: $133.97/mo

I'll check back with these meds in a month or two and see if the prices have gone up. But Jesus H! The last time I took birth control (oh, Yasmin, I'm still not over you) I paid a just $15 a month with my insurance plan's mail-order drug program.

If the prospect of hundreds of dollars more per year for sex drugs rubs you the wrong way, make an appointment to get an IUD already. You can do yoga on the front lawn! You can finish a book! You won't get your period for 5 years! Think of how much money you'll save on tampons. But seriously, the IUD is the most cost-effective method over time so, as the commercial says, "If your plans DON'T include another baby, consider a contraceptive called Mirena!"

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Q: Condom Broke: Do I have herpes?
A: Dunno yet


Learn more about herpes here.

Dear GTG,

Ugh. I'm sure this is not what you really want to wake up too, but I need someone to comfort me/ inform me of my options right now...

Well... this is totally out of character for me, but last night I had some casual sex. I went off the pill a few months ago and I wasn't really planning on having sex too often so a condom in theory would have been enough. Well, just my luck the condom broke. I managed to get the morning after pill on a sunday in VERY conservative Lubbock, so I gave myself a pat on the back for that. But I'm still really freaked out by the chance of STI's/STD's. I know you have to wait awhile for HIV to show up on a test, but how long does it take for other STI's to show up? Would it be stupid to set up a doctors appt on monday?

thanks for being there for me. jesus. I'm freakin out.

Patti

Dear Patti,

That sucks, but don't freak out yet. If you have contracted any bacterial stuff (chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis) tests should be positive fairly soon after exposure, like 12-14 days, but the viral stuff (hpv, herpes, hiv) can take longer to show up on tests. Keep your spidey sense turned on for any symptoms (be on the lookout for sores) but don't freak out. Gonorrhea and chlamydia are curable, and herpes often doesn't even have symptoms. HIV is scary but the risk of contracting it from a single sexual encounter is low. So don't panic.

I would make an appointment for about a month from now and try not to freak out until then. If you were using a condom for some of the time you were having sex, that reduces the risk somewhat.

To get tested in Lubbock, go to the city health department STD clinic--you can find info about their office and other places in town to get tested here. They may tell you to come back in another few months for follow up testing, but they're the experts so see what they tell you.

Let me know how it goes.

Go-To Girl

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Annals of Obvious:
Comprehensive Sex Ed Works




I barely slept last night so I don't even have the energy to be snarky or clever or even intelligent on this one, really. If I were, I'd do another brilliant point-counterpoint. But I can't. I'm so tired of study after expert panel after conclusive research report demonstrating that abstinence education does not work. But according to the Washington Post, the CDC assembled a panel of experts to look, once and for all, at the comprehensive vs. abstinence education question. And Jeezum Motherfucking Crow, guess what they found:
Sex-education programs that encourage teens to delay sexual activity and teach them about contraception cut risky sexual behavior, increase condom use and lower the chances of getting the AIDS virus and other infections, a panel of independent experts concluded in a report released Friday. (emphasis mine)
I mean, for fuck's sake. Can we please stop listening to the gumdrop brain idiots over at the Abstinence Clearinghouse and the National Abstinence Education Association? They do not know what they are talking about. I'm serious.

Here's what Leslee Unruh, the baby-selling, adoption-pushing*, completely fucking nuts president of the Abstinence Clearinghouse had to say about the study:

“These results present a different picture than the study’s published conclusions, especially for school-based CSE. Policy makers deserve accurate information regarding the lack of effects of these condom-centered programs. Moreover, the emotional health of our children is as important as their physical health and condom education fails youth in both of these areas. Abstinence education protects both.”


There is no condom for the heart, dontcha know.








*see page 3 of the linked PDF.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Hey Virginia, Maryland and DC People:
Free At-Home Chlamydia Test!



(photo from iwantthekit.org)


For real! I stumbled upon this the other day and wanted to make sure those friends in my old haunt(s) knew that they could get, for free, a kit that allows you to collect a specimen at home for a chlamydia test.




Chlamydia, while not my favorite sexually transmitted infection (syphilis, I'll always love you best), IS the one of the leading causes of infertility in women.

From the CDC:

In women, untreated infection can spread into the uterus or fallopian tubes and cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). This happens in up to 40 percent of women with untreated chlamydia. PID can cause permanent damage to the fallopian tubes, uterus, and surrounding tissues. The damage can lead to chronic pelvic pain, infertility, and potentially fatal ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the uterus).
Scary, huh? Even worse: according to MMWR 58(14), in 2007, only 41% of sexually active women were screened for chlamdyia; in the South only 37% were screened.

Get your FREE test here.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Slate: Dystopian Sex Nightmare
In China America

Slate has a great piece about how "millions of Chinese citizens don't know how to have sex without getting pregnant." (Thanks, M) The story reads like a sex educator's dystopian nightmare, where China's billion people are running around fornicating with no inkling that penis-goes-in-vagina, that condoms-go-on-penis, or that semen-makes-babies-inside-woman.*

The article highlights stupid questions kids ask (Can kissing get my girlfriend pregnant? Is oral sex going to kill me? Why didn't he call?) as though being Chinese predisposes teenagers to confusion about sex. Newsflash: confused teenagers everywhere ask those questions. Just look at Go Ask Alice!

China's women famously have approximately 13 million abortions each year--and that's just the number of abortions performed in registered clinics. 10 million doses of "abortion inducing" drugs are sold each year and many speculate that millions more abortions happen in "unregistered" clinics. Acupuncture abortion, coming to an American woo-corner near you?

The article gets really interesting when it transitions to a description of what is actually taught in schools in China:
Today in Beijing, schools offer sex ed in junior high, but there's no standard for what should be taught or how, and teachers have little incentive to emphasize the subject. After all, safe sex isn't going to show up on the national university entrance exam that students spend years cramming for.

Broadly speaking, students learn about reproductive anatomy. They learn they're not supposed to have sex, and that if they do, they must take precautions. And that's that—no guidance about which precautions.

"There's nothing from the schools about relationships. Nothing about pregnancy," said Lily Liu, who heads the China operations of Marie Stopes International, an NGO that runs reproductive health clinics. Condoms? Liu laughed. "No condoms, of course," she said.

Junior high schoolers [are] learning "how to be a man and how to be a woman" in sex ed classes. Would a girl who's taught to be soft and quiet be able to demand that her boyfriend use a condom? Would a girl who insists on using birth control be perceived as a "proper" woman? (emphasis mine)

Sound familiar? It should. I'm no expert on China so maybe things are really different there, but this sex educator sees a reflection of the American dystopian sex nightmare--a generation of young people denied information and resources that can prevent negative consequences of sex. That, my friends, is the true goal of "abstinence" education.

The Texas Freedom Network did a groundbreaking piece of research last year about abstinence curricula used in Texas public schools called "Just Say Don't Know." Can't stand to read it? Don't blame you. But watch the videos. The statements offered by the "coach" are taken, verbatim, from well-known abstinence curricula. The dialogue in the video below comes straight out of Pam Stenzel's "Sex Still Has a Price Tag."




But even in China, as in Texas, is the light at the end of the tunnel (though I don't use bananas):
As a student at one of China's best universities, Liu enjoys many advantages. One is that she attended a sex ed workshop during freshman orientation, where she practiced putting a condom on a banana.
*the article doesn't address what I assume is total radio silence on the fact that some people are gay.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Hurry Up And Wait:
Herpes Vaccine Trial Ending?


(image credit)

Herpes is so hot right now. All the cool kids have it and, really, it's not a big deal.* Unlike gonorrhea and chlamydia, it can't cause infertility over the long term; it doesn't eat your brain like syphilis, and it doesn't kill you like HIV or (occasionally) cause cancer like HPV. Really, herpes is the most friendly of the sexually transmitted infections. Of course, gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis are all curable with antibiotics if you get off your cookies and get tested already.

But as one of the lame, unpopular kids who doesn't have HSV-1 OR HSV-2, I am chomping at the bit to get the Herpevac vaccine, the clinical trial for which ends this month. This latest trial is a Phase 3 trial, which means the vaccine works and they are further investigating it. Here's the description from the NIH Clinical Trials database:
This study is a double-blind, randomized, controlled Phase III trial to assess the prophylactic efficacy and safety of gD-Alum/MPL vaccine in the prevention of genital herpes disease in young women who are herpes simplex virus (HSV)-1 and -2 seronegative. The primary efficacy objective is to evaluate vaccine efficacy in the prevention of genital herpes disease caused by HSV-1 and/or HSV-2 between months 2 and 20 in healthy adult women who were initially HSV-1 and HSV-2 seronegative. The secondary efficacy objectives are to: evaluate vaccine efficacy in the prevention of genital herpes disease caused by HSV-1 and/or HSV-2 occurring between the months 7 and 20; evaluate vaccine efficacy in the prevention of HSV-2 infection between months 2 and 20; and to evaluate vaccine efficacy in the prevention of HSV-2 infection occurring between months 7 and 20.
What they don't say is whether they are going to actually expose women to the herpes virus (presumably, that would be unethical) so I'm not sure how they could guarantee that the vaccine works if the women haven't been exposed. I guess they just assume the women in the trial are high risk enough or that herpes is prevalent enough that they will, at some point during the 20 months of the study, be exposed to the virus just by having sex.

So I don't know what's going on with this vaccine, but there are little bits of news that vaccines are being developed by companies and researchers at universities so maybe we'll know soon.




*Herpes IS a big deal if you transmit it to your baby during childbirth, and it can kill infants. But this rarely happens in the US. It may also increase your risk for HIV infection, because sores can leave skin broken and susceptible to the virus. But in most people who know they have herpes and who undergo treatment, the infection is completely manageable.

Friday, October 30, 2009

DON'T: Choking while Masturbating

Tonight is a quiet night at home for me, as Fridays often are, so imagine my thrill at turning on Law and Order to find a treasure trove of awesome:
  • a dude who dies from auto-erotic asphyxiation (AEA)!
  • the dude from "Clueless" who plays the detective! (not new, but still so cute)
  • Ernie Hudson, Winston from "Ghostbusters," playing S. Epatha Merkerson's husband!
  • Rob Corddry as the head of "flashposse.com" which is perpetrating "corrective social action" against people who drive while texting!
For those who don't know, AEA is when people--either when masturbating or during sex with a partner--cut off their air supply to intensify orgasms. INXS frontman Michael Hutchense famously died of it, and every so often the media runs scary stories about how this sex act could KILL YOU!!

AEA has been cropping up all over the place this summer and Dan Savage talks about it regularly on the podcast as a total don't. Unfortunately, the episode doesn't follow up on the jerking off/choking death scenario.

Anyway, between the hot L & O and the first disc of the last season of "The L Word" it's looking like a good night!

<3>

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Vampire Blow Jobs!


Really! Via Perez Hilton (thanks, K!) my pals over at Fleshlight have come up with a new product for the gay, vampire loving set: Count Cockula.

Apparently Fleshlight is working to help out some of those guys who have what Dan Savage calls "impossible fetishes," like wanting to have sex with a giant woman, or a centaur, or, apparently, a vampire. There's even a photo gallery to get your blood pumping (har har) over the hot, vampire fantasy.


Not a gay guy? Don't worry--there's a vampire toy for you too, called Succu Dry. From the product description:
Succu Dry’s unique Vampire mouth opening isn’t for the faint of heart. This exclusive Undead pale sleeve color is made from the same patented Real Feel Super Skin material that’s made Fleshlight the #1 selling male sex toy in the world. The amazingly detailed vampire mouth and fangs beg you to drive your wooden stake deep inside. To ensure an experience all its own, Fleshlight developed a brand new inner texture for the Succu Dry called “The Fang.” This intensely stimulating texture has dozens of tiny fangs that will gently bite at you until you’re drained of every last drop. Quench your lust and prepare for the ultimate vampire fantasy, but beware, this can will suck you dry!
Yikes. For the bargain price of $44.95, Succu Dry or Count Cockula can be yours.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Levi Johnston Naked for Playgirl:
Wait, Playgirl Still Exists?




Levi Johnston will do full frontal nudity for Playgirl.

So says Page Six. Unfortunately for those who might like to purchase a commemorative copy of the magazine, Playgirl's print edition folded last year and now only appears online.

Hopefully an explanation of how to avoid getting the Republican Vice Presidential candidate's daughter knocked up will accompany the photo spread (hint: use condoms, idiot).

Monday, October 26, 2009

Texas Travesty:
Inspired by Me!

OMG I'm so flattered! The Texas Travesty, UT's hilarious humor newspaper, wrote to me and said they were thinking of me when they wrote this hilarious article:


Do you girls want to go clubbing and talk about the side effects of this new birth control pill?

By Lauren Patterson

Hey ladies! I’m so glad we finally got a chance to have a night out on the town without our boyfriends. Don’t get me wrong…Brad’s a great guy and I totally love him and everything, but I just need a little time for my girls and a few rounds of Cosmos. Lately, I’ve been in such a bad mood around Brad. I thought I was just PMS-ing really badly, so I asked my doctor about it. She prescribed this great new birth control pill called Uteraz.

Uteraz is a new kind of birth control pill that may increase potassium levels, so don’t take Uteraz if you have kidney, liver, or adrenal disease, as this may—I said, DON’T TAKE UTERAZ IF YOU HAVE KIDNEY, LIVER OR ADRENAL DISEASE AS THIS MAY CAUSE SERIOUS HEART AND HEALTH PROBLEMS. ALSO, SWELLING OR TENDERNESS OF THE BREASTS MAY OCCUR. (read the rest here)

This Just In:
Baseball Cheating Scandal!


Phillips and his former lady friend, Brooke Hundley (photo credit)

Another Sunday night baseball game (goddammit, Angels, seriously), another television host ousted over infidelity. Steve Phillips, previous GM of the Mets and now the former host of Sunday Night Baseball for ESPN, has been fired after it came to light that he had an affair with the 22 year-old production assistant pictured above.

This isn't the first time Phillips has had affairs:
When Phillips was the general manager of the Mets, he was forced to take a leave of absence in 1998 because of a series of affairs and an accusation of sexual harassment by a Mets employee. He entered counseling and returned to the Mets, but was eventually fired in 2003.
Furthermore, Phillips is apparently "admitting himself to an inpatient treatment facility to address his personal issues." I think his "personal issues" are going to include being harassed by his crazy former love interest, who sent this threatening letter to Phillips' wife. This is my favorite part:
I was raised Catholic too and while I know our faith dissuades divorce, it also respects it with regards to infidelity because people should have the opportunity to be with whomever makes them happy and can give them what they need.
Um, I wasn't raised Catholic (praise be to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) but I'm pretty sure she's completely nuts on this score. I wish we could know what kind of treatment facility treats half-sorry middle-aged cheaters.

Ironically, Phillips never seemed to imagine he'd be successful at ESPN. When he was named to join the cast of Sunday Night Baseball, he had this to say:
I honestly didn't think I'd be able to make a career of this," says Phillips, who joined ESPN in 2004 and expected he'd be replaced by a more "sexy name.
And how.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Savage Lovecast,
Featuring Yours Truly

Holy Shit I'm on the Savage Love Podcast! I come on about 1/3 of the way through. Sorry to disappoint though, I'm not asking a question about myself.

LOVE YOU DAN.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Multivitamin for Your Dick:
Cialis for Daily Use



Imagine my surprise last night while watching the American League Championship Series to see, mixed in with the commercials for Ford Truck Month, Chevy Truck Month, GMC Truck Month and ads for the insanely titled "Ninja Assassin" (which, the first time they showed it onscreen during the baseball game, I assumed was the name of a new Nissan truck) a commercial for Cialis FOR DAILY USE.

Apparently 36 hours of delicious boner time isn't enough for these greedy middle aged men. They want to be able to have sex whenever they feel like it. Well, lucky for them the geniuses over at Lilly have come up with a solution: Cialis for daily use. It's like a multivitamin--for your dick!


graph from Cialis for Healthcare Providers

As in take a pill every single day for erectile dysfunction. The helpful graph above, from Cialis' website for healthcare providers, shows you the percent of intercourse attempts that were "successful" for ED patients using Cialis for daily use, but it doesn't tell you how many times they attempted to have sex. Or what "successful" means beyond "cock got hard."

Cialis' selling point over Levitra and Viagra has been that it lasts for 36 hours, so you can take it and have from Friday night to Sunday morning to have "successful" sex. None of that four hour window stuff you get with Viagra. Taking this pill every day sounds suspiciously like a way for Lilly, Cialis' manufacturer, to just sell the same medication with a new label and continue to get insurance companies to pay them tons of cash.

Mind you that Cialis for "occasional" use comes in two doses: 10mg and 20mg. The higher dose pills run about $16 apiece and the 2.5mg and 5mg pills, those indicated for daily use, are $133.97 for 30 pills, about a month's worth. The cost breakdown works like this: If you have sex, say, twice a week using the higher dose of Cialis, that's gonna run you $128. Sex twice a week is about average for the non-ED population so I have a hard time believing that taking Cialis every day is going to result in significantly more sex than that which means that this drug is meeting a psychological need--a man's desire not to have to "medicate" himself to have sex "successfully."

While I really sympathize with the guys who have a hard time getting it up as they age--really, as a man, what else do you have to do?--the prospect of taking a medication every single day so that you can have more sex than, let's be honest, you're actually going to have seems pretty ridiculous.

But boners are priceless.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Coming to America:
Cougar Utopia!


photo credit

The Style section of the New York Times is always on the prowl for the latest and greatest in social "trends" which, more often than not, are evidenced by a few friends of the writer doing something and the writer declaring a national movement.

Such is the case with Thursday's piece attempting to humanize cougars, or older women who pursue younger men. CSI: Miami also recently ran an episode that highlighted rich women who threw parties for younger guys; in this episode, the jealous (and cheating himself, of course) husband of the cougar-ringleader kills a bunch of scrumptuous college volleyball players through typically complex CSI: Miami methods, in this case a golf club tied to the top of a lifeguard stand that created an electrical charge in the sand volleyball court through some kind of blue crystals that conducted electricity up through the players' bare feet.

Those cougars! Causing death and destruction wherever they go to satisfy their desperate, feline need for sex!

On a serious note, though, whether there is a "national trend" of older women going for younger guys or not, many researchers (including my pal Mark Regnerus, of "younger marriage is A-ok fame") are concerned about the game-changing implications of higher numbers of educated, high-earning women who don't actually need a man to take care of them anymore.

Frankly, I think it stands to reason that if a woman doesn't need a man for financial support and knows full well that she'll have to take care of a man regardless of his age, why not go for someone young? If the woman wants to have children, the genetic material of a younger guy is going to be stronger and the man more, you know, pliable.

The article says:

Economics is also a key factor. Both women and men, particularly as the wage gap has narrowed, are growing more comfortable with the possibility that she is the higher earner, sociologists say. And while she may not want to take a slacker under her wing, she is less likely to be focused on the status of her partner than women of previous generations.

Same-age men are usually intimidated by women who are more well educated and earn more money so it totally makes sense that women would go for younger men, who are enamored with older women's confidence, success, and ability to say "do this, not that" which women their own age may not be comfortable doing. Maybe it's a Mrs. Robinson fetish that only a few women (and young men) share, but it seems a reasonable strategy to respond to society's gender role card shuffling.

And, really, if it adds up to more hot sex for more people, who's complaining?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Trojan Videos: Finally Getting it Together

As an alumnae of Trojan, I'm so pleased to see that they've finally given up on the too-serious tone they took with the "1 in 4" campaign and the weird, not quite right message of the "Evolve" pigs ads.

For those who don't remember, 1 in 4 featured a lovey-dovey couple standing on a train platform, sharing iPod headphones, with text that said "1 in 4 people don't tell their partners that they have an STD. Not because they don't care, because they don't know. Use a condom."

Yeah...not quite the right message.

Evolve missed the mark because, a) using a condom and not being a pig do not, unfortunately, always go together and b) the dude with the condom doesn't even kiss the girl at the end of the commercial. You've gotta connect the dots for people in these commercials by conveying, very clearly, "If you use our product you will get laid [more]."

I love the ad below because the guy shows up with the condoms and he gets the fuck laid. That is what Trojan needs to focus on in their commercials: condoms lead to fucking and, therefore, not having condoms leads to not getting fucked. It's taken 3 years for Trojan to take the advice I gave them on the original storyboards for the "Evolve" pigs ad, which was "he needs to get the girl at the end."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Annals of Awesome:
Ovulating Strippers Make More Money


Hormone levels in (a) are for women not taking the pill; (b) is for women taking the pill. The spike in green represents a spike in Leutenizing Hormone (LH), which in turn causes an increase in androgens that heighten sexual desire around ovulation in normally cycling women. No LH surge, no increase in sex drive.


The big news story of the feminist blogs this morning is another article*, this time in Trends in Ecology and Evolution, providing more evidence that the pill is bad. We here at Go-To Girl HQ have access to the full texts of scholarly journals and Julie Sunday makes it a habit to always read the entire article that the bloggers are all jammed up about. The headliner finding of this article first appeared in the UK's Daily Mail and is this: women on the pill are attracted to more "boyish" features in men.

Women who are not on the pill lust after more "manly" guys during oestrus because they are (in theory, anyway) better sources of genetic material for reproduction. The "boyish" dudes make better husbands, which explains why women like them more the rest of the month, because you would want to have a guy like that around to change diapers, help with the laundry, and go feed the baby in the middle of the night.


This morning's coverage also provides further evidence to my theory that most bloggers and journalists** only read the abstracts of scholarly works, because this article presents something I've never heard before and that nobody picked up on in the news coverage:

strippers who are not taking the pill report an increase in lapdance revenue around ovulation whereas pill-taking strippers (who are thus not ovulating) do not see a spike in their revenue and earn less throughout the cycle. No, really.


The solid line represents dollars per shift earned by strippers not taking the pill; the dotted line is earnings by pill-using dancers.


The stripper finding is interesting because it supports previous research showing that men find women more attractive during oestrus than the rest of the cycle, and therefore women who are not ovulating at all because they're taking the pill are less attractive to men overall.


Snap! Just get a ParaGard already.

*Alvergne, Alexandra and Lummaa, Virpi. "Does the contraceptive pill alter mate choice in humans?" Trends in Ecology and Evolution. In press. (available in the 11/09 online edition, if you have access via a library)

**see Feministing's piece here and Feministe's here

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Solution to a Non-Problem:
The Sensis Condom




For the record, putting on condoms is easy. It's about as easy as putting on a seatbelt. And just like putting on a seatbelt, somebody (usually your mom) shows you how to do it once and you don't fucking forget. And no matter what kind of car you're driving, virtually every seatbelt works exactly the same way--you put the damn metal thing into the clicker and voila! You probably won't die in a car accident.

So when I first heard about the new Sensis condom (well, I heard about it when it was in development and said "Surely no one will ever bring this product to market because it is STUPID") was when a reporter for the Daily Texan called me up to ask my opinion on it.

I teach people how to use condoms every day. My program distributes upwards of 60,000 condoms each year, every single one of them wrapped in a lil envelope with instructions on how to use a condom. I'm certain no one ever reads the instructions, because USING A CONDOM IS EASY:

Step 1: Put on condom

Step 2: Have sex

Step 3: Repeat as necessary

The Sensis condom has two pieces of what feels like unsticky tape rolled up with the condom and, in theory, you're supposed to pull them instead of rolling the condom all the way down your [partner's] hard cock like a normal person. I have never--truly not once--encountered someone who didn't know or couldn't figure out that a condom is rolled up because YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO UNROLL IT.

The one thing Sensis has going for it is the cool sex line drawing screen saver you can download from their website. But does anyone even use screensavers anymore?

For what it's worth, Dr. Laura Berman is being paid to say they're good.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Guess who's a Nationally
Recognized* SexPert?


Nationally recognized sexpert [Julie Sunday], who attended Scripps for a year before transferring out, recounted campus dating and sex experiences similar to our experience today. Pomona and CMC guys were appealing hookups, “but if you
wanted a boyfriend, Mudd was the place to look,” she said. Now a sexual health facilitator at the University of Texas at Austin, [Sunday] was inspired by Bolton’s “Human Sexuality” course to pursue advanced studies in the subject.

*I should note that one of the writers of this article participated in my workshop a few years ago and may be slightly inflating my stature. Thanks, Julia!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Women Who Want You to Keep It In Your Pants Calendar (by force, if necessary)


Can't wait for the calendar? Get the poster for $8!

OMG. Via Perez Hilton (thanks, K!). The Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute, which is famous for putting out such purity-pushing garbage as Sense and Sexuality is getting ready to release their 5th Conservative Women of the Year Calendar.

Want to have Ann Coulter looking down at you while you look at porn on your work computer? Or that woman from the beauty pageant making you feel really, really bad while you fantasize about her during sex with your girlfriend? You're in luck.

The CBLPI is interested in making women not have sex, and they use the same "But nobody ever told me!" bullshit line as Pam Stenzel and other abstinence pushers. The hilarious thing is that they're right--nobody ever told them how to effectively prevent STIs--because the abstinence pushers were so busy telling them "Just wait til marriage girls, and everything will be awesome. And PS the sex will be great."

The thing that nobody apparently is telling anyone: that you should never have sex. Ever. So buy the calendar and you can have a different conservative scold giving you dirty looks each month reminding you
"Keep it in the pen in 2010."

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Review: Tristan Taormino's "Rough Sex



Since 2000’s “Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women” Tristan Taormino has distinguished herself as a bad-ass, feminist director showing women that porn can be hot. Her award winning titles, including “House of Ass” and the “Chemistry” series, portray hot actors having sex the way they want it with people they want to have sex with.

Her newest foray into smut, “Rough Sex,” breaks from her tradition of making movies that don’t include some of the more degrading features of typical gonzo porn: spitting, slapping, verbal insults, and other stuff that just isn’t hot to most women.

Rough Sex” is all about those degrading elements of porn and how, for some women, they can be turn-ons.

The film has 5 scenes, and the first two are less “rough sex” than “rape fantasy.” If aggressive, nonconsensual sex your fantasy, then these scenes will definitely turn your crank but, if not, please don’t watch.

The last 3 scenes are much more fun and hot. In the first, Francesca is a neglected housewife who tops her powerful executive husband, Christian, with a scene that ends with her adorably yelling “I’m in charge and I want you to make me come!” And how.

“Caught,” featuring the gorgeous and talented “Chemistry” veteran Marie, portrays angry couple sex with some amazing camera work in front of a large mirrored closet.

The headline scene features crossover it-girl Sasha Grey and Danny, who looks like an indie rocker straight out of Austin. The scene is combative and rough, but definitely sexy.

Fans of Tristan’s work, which always features interviews with cast members so they can vocalize their desires and make it clear to (women) viewers that they are in porn by choice, would be well advised to avoid the first two scenes on this disc if they have any rape triggers. But the last 3 scenes are hot and worth watching.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Nip Stim How-To


the Nipplettes Vibrating Clamps from Babeland

Dear GTG,

So I've found that nipple stimulation helps me achieve orgasm, especially when it's someone else (someone less familiar than me) on my clitoris. I've been thinking it might be fun to experiment with something other than my own fingers on said nipples; I've experimented a bit with twisting and pulling, but not too-too hard. Having heard tell of nipple clamps, I did some googling, and I may get a set of adjustables to play with. However, google failed me when I searched for "alternatives to nipple clamps" and I'm figuring that's because I don't know what to search for. As someone with a greater knowledge of sex toys than I, I'm hoping you'll have some suggestions :)

MaryAnn

Dear MaryAnn,

Lots of women are into heavy nipple stimulation. There are lots of nerve endings on the nipples and, with the right amount of warm-up, most nipples can take a lot of twisting, pulling, pinching, and biting. (Hello, breastfeeding?)

For those women who crave nipple stimulation at times when everybody's hands and mouths are otherwise occupied, nipple clamps are a great idea. Most are connected with a chain or string, so you can use one hand to pull and tease both nipples at the same time.

I assume that in your search for nipple clamps you discovered the adjsutable Crocodile Clamps, which are connected with a chain and screw onto nipples for adjustable play. The thing about anything that's adjustable, though, is that you have to adjust it. The Clover Clamps aren't adjustable and probably take some getting used to because they look tight.

If painful stimulation isn't really what you're after, the Nipplettes Vibrating Clamps might be just the thing. They're pink (win!), adjustable, and they're made out of rubber and not metal for a gentler feeling on your nips. The clips don't come with a chain but any piece of hot pink satin ribbon would do just fine.

I'm not sure what "alternatives" there are, unless you mean stuff you don't have to buy from a sex toy store. I assume old fashioned clothespins work just fine for some people, but they're kind of big and bulky for wearing during sex. I Googled "homemade nipple clamps" and, besides clothespins, G Clamps came up as a cheap, hardware store option.

Hope that helps!

GTG