Now that the excitement from the MCON 12 weekend is slowly winding down, we have other business to attend to – we have an ebook for sale and we want bloggers and writers to review it for us on their own sites and on Amazon.
We’ll be starting the carnival on April 10th and want to schedule a blogger a day until the end of the month. If you’re interested email firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get you a copy of the PDF and a review date.
Here’s a summary, thanks to Rebecca Chalker, of the essays that comprise the anthology.
* In the introduction, Dr. Joycelyn Elders shines the spotlight on sexual ignorance perpetuated by Bush-era abstinence programs and issues a clarion call for fact-based, comprehensive sexuality education.
* To begin with, Rebecca Chalker identifies the yet unacknowledged dynamic feminist Pleasure Revolution that changed sex for women and their partners after the sexual revolution of the 1960s left intercourse-centered sex as the only route to pleasure.
* Therapist Esther Perel, author of Mating in Captivity, examines the Puritan roots of our discomfort with sexuality, argues that the American focus on achievement blocks erotic expression, and asserts that a healthy sense of erotic entitlement is built upon a relaxed, generous, and unencumbered attitude toward the pleasures of the body.
* Sexuality journalist Lara Riscol’s survey of anti-sex rhetoric will make your blood boil, but she cools it down, insisting that the best sex is for pleasure. “It’s morning in America,” she boldly asserts, “and she has a hard-on!”
* Ramapo College senior Jill Grimaldi describes the rewards of educating her peers on the possibilities of self-empowerment through sexual knowledge.
* Joan Price, author of Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex, says it is “time to fight what I call the “ick factor”: our culture’s attitude that…that seniors who enjoy or desire sex are icky, pathetic, even ludicrous.”
* Ned Mayhem, a queer scientist and pornographer, points out the need for research on sexuality beyond the ivory tower and describes the PSIgasm Project, an open source independent science project creating devices to measure arousal and orgasm in the body directly.
* Bill Taverner, Director of the Center for Family Life Education, and author of numerous books, including Taking Sides: Clashing Views of Sexuality, tells his own circuitous route to becoming a sexuality educator from scratch and makes a passionate argument for encouraging young professionals in the field of sexuality education.
* Professor Stef Woods explores the variegated opportunities, rewards and pitfalls of social media.
* Cultural sexologist Carol Queen dissects the benefits of pornography with a feminist critique and argues for porn in which “women’s sexuality [is] depicted as women would like our sexuality to be understood.”
* Allison Moon, author of the lesbian werewolf novel, Lunatic Fringe, and investigates the vertiginous advantages and pitfalls of new-media and self publishing.
* Polyamory advocates Lisa Speer, Brian Ballard and Jasmine Goldman explore the chilling effect that self-censorship has on sexuality and encourage new conversations, self-expression, and activism as antidotes to “the a partially expressed life.”
* Queer feminist legal activist Avory Faucette interrogates gender and sexual identity based on her own experience: “The word “queer” fit for me, and I started to build up a self-description of my “orientation” in a way that doesn’t reference gender as an overarching concept, and offers a sage collection of ideas for designing your own unique sexual orientation.
* In “Queer Is A Verb,” Charlie Glickman, Education Program Manager at Good Vibrations, explores the revelatory potential of “queering” to examine received wisdom, assumptions, even our sexual identities. By queering, he notes, “Even when we leave something unchanged, we have changed our relationship to it.” Queer, he suggests, “has less to do with who you have sex with and more to do with how you do it, why you make the choices you make, and how you look at the world.”
* Sex and relationship expert Tammy Nelson, looks at the crumbling foundation of monogamy, defines the new monogamy, and provides a theoretical roadmap employing honesty and transparency to open stalled sexual relationships within marriage to new sexual possibilities.
* Cunning Minx, producer and host of the Polyamory Weekly podcast, offers sage advice on how to relate, negotiate, misbehave responsibly, and get results from sex-focused social media. “The internet has offered alternative weirdos something wonderful: a place where we can feel safe to explore, connect and let our freak flags fly.”
* “Sex-hacker,” performer and activist Maggie Mayhem presents a larger spectrum of sexual assault responses and things that community members can do that supports the victims or survivors of assault and cultivates a culture of change against sexual assault. Training in this area is essential, she insists, because “Sex communities …lack the resources of mainstream support and this is why sex positive dialogue about sexual assault and abuse is so vital.”
* In her well-documented piece, polyamorous feminist librarian Nadia West exposes the silencing of sexual assault, rape or abuse victims within kink communities and through the lens of personal experience asserts the need to actively support victims. “If you don’t get involved, don’t take sides, then you are by default supporting the perpetrator,” she says.
* Ruthie Neustifter, author of The Nice Girl’s Guide to Talking Dirty, observes that “Our sub-cultures exist within the context of a larger society that endorses intimate and sexualized violence through enforced, misguided constructs of romance, heteronormative gender roles, and entitlement, and she argues that countering the culture of intimate partner violence requires the constant, active rejection of the isolation, ignorance, and denial surrounding it.
* Sarah Elspeth Patterson, community organizer with the Sex Workers Outreach Project of New York City, points out that all too often, gender identity, sexual orientation, sexual behavior and LGBTQI rights are discussed within the context of violence, discrimination, stigma and judgment, ignoring the “holistic and affirmative aspects of sexual life, including expression, autonomy and pleasure.”
* Sex worker advocate Sabrina Morgan critiques the class divisions in sex work, the social and professional fallout of being outed, violence because of the stigma attached to the job, suppositions about choosing sex work, stereotypes and assumptions about clients.
* The founder and director of the Red Umbrella Project, Audacia Ray argues that while sex-positive feminism been supportive of the rights of sex workers, it has not adequately engaged in the realities of sex work, especially regarding class, race, disability, and stigmatized sexualities; and that the media promotes stereotypes by not letting sex workers speak for themselves. “It’s time to find a new paradigm, one that will allow for a more authentic pursuit of the human rights of sex workers and will be more inclusive of the broad spectrum of experiences of people in the sex industry.”
* The book ends with the lush, pleasure-positive poem “Easy Does It,” by Leela Sinha, a self-described “rogue sex educator since middle school,” and founder of the 30 Day Pleasure Project.