So, it feels like an odd form of slightly obsessive “soul retrieval” to be pulling my old Carnal Nation columns out of web.archive.org and putting them up here on my blog. It’s the kind of thing that is actually laborious and time consuming and that you don’t dare stop for fear you’ll loose interest.
It’s fun to revisit these – I’m not really reading them through as I go, but I’m picking out the choice bits and remember how great it felt to work with the editors (I had three) and to have an audience. I loved being able to go in the ‘back door” of the website and check my stats. A lovely, lovely feeling that!
So here’s the first half of 2010, from January to May.
Excerpt: Suave, attractive men used to be known as “smoothies.” Now I know why. A male friend shared a lover’s delighted comment after fellatio: “It tastes like a milkshake!” His conclusion? “Pineapple juice really works!” That’s a glowing testimonial to the power of the “pineapple pay-off;” however, only twelve of ninety-seven semen taste survey respondents have actually tried pineapple juice to improve their own flavor.
[The next three columns were written in Hawai’i.]
Excerpt: In the old days, the clouds were forms of na akua (gods and goddesses). Each snowfall signified the appearance of Poliahu, the snow goddess of Mauna Kea. Rain and mist are evidence that Wakea, the sky father, is making love to his earthly consort, Papahanaumoku. This happens a lot in Hawai’i. It’s probably happening this very minute.
Excerpt: [Miranda] Shaw quotes from the ancient Cakrasamvara commentary:
“If one who aspires to enlightenment
Generates anger toward a female messenger,
The merit accumulated over ten million eons
Will be destroyed in an instant.”
Doncha hate it when that happens? Dudes, a word to the wise…
Excerpt: “First they make us put on clothes, then they take theirs off!”
I’m talking story with one local guy and I’ve never heard a better summation of the first and most enduring insult inflicted on the Hawaiian people. From the dour Congregationalist missionaries of New England to the sun-kissed tourists whose “parts” are too well known, the foreigner’s knack of inflicting shame is a gift that keeps on giving.
Excerpt: I haven’t had this much fun since the last time I wrote a column! Googling around, I found “semen sautée[sic]” on the Urban Dictionary. Sounds like you can just fry up those li’l lip-smackin’ critters of love. My only question is “non-stick pan or a light coating of oil?” The semen cuisine craze can be found even on such far-flung websites as the DiscoverVancouver.com/forum. One Canadian describes his wife’s favorite hearty breakfast “i [sic]… jerk off and shoot my load all over the pan on med heat and it cooks up just like pancakes and it bubbles and forms into a flat pancake and my wife has eaten it scrambled even with syrup. its [sic] amazing how sperm cookes [sic] in cooking pans but the smell is horrible and haunting. it [sic] smells like fish eggs and sour milk and flesh blacch [sic].” Well, I suppose if you’re out of Canadian bacon…
Excerpt: Baristas take note. Natural Harvest: A Collection of Semen Based Recipes contains a recipe for “Cappuccino de Semi” (also referred to as “Cappuccino de Seme”). The author says, “Mixing the semen with the milk before steaming enhances the flavors of both the milk and the semen.”
Now I am well aware that in the brave new future of global warming and peak oil depletion, we might well be eating a number of things we’d normally reject today. I had a friend who was enthusiastic about road kill meals (he had anosmia—no sense of smell—so that explains a lot) and kept an armadillo in his freezer. Fortunately, he never got around to cooking it up for me, and for that I am deeply grateful.
Excerpt: A box of tissues and a capacious wastebasket—these are essential tools of my trade, second only to my cell phone and laptop. Handing out tissues is part of my job. People cry. I encourage them. Today, however, I’d misplaced the wastebasket. So tear-soaked tissues were strewn about my office like petals dropped from the magnolia trees that are blooming just now.
Excerpt: The erotic life of any human being is complex beyond belief. Anyone purporting to offer support or treatment in the realm of eros must have up-to-date knowledge as well as an acceptance of a variety of orientations, preferences, behaviors, etc.
Excerpt: Erotic hypnosis is used to create a direct experience of sexual pleasure in the hypnotic subject. It can create a “cum on command” or bring a person closer to a cherished fetish or kink. People have sought hypnosis in order to turn into an animal or adult baby; to heighten their ability to serve a mistress or master; or to free their gender expression from social fetters and inner constraints. And of course, hypnosis can immobilize a person without physical restraint.
Excerpt: Issues surrounding disparate ages and sex are extraordinarily charged, even if all involved parties have reached the age of legal consent. Adult lovers of disparate ages invariably conjure scenarios involving lust, predation, exploitation, and/or Oedipal complexes, none of which are necessarily the case. (Please note, “lust and predation” can be hot elements in a consensual relationship, a fact lost on those who feel called upon to comment or blog.) We feel completely justified in scrutinizing and questioning the motivations of people involved in “May/December” relationships, inevitably pathologizing them.
Excerpt: First of all, that Galway incident supposedly invoking an 1837 Unlawful Accommodation of Donkeys Act is apparently a hoax. However, I have seen, with my own eyes, photographic evidence of BDSM garden gnomes. Second, Kinky Devil, “Ireland’s largest adult shop,” emphatically does not sell Leprechaun-shaped vibrators, shamrock pasties or anything that might be associated with St. Patrick’s Day. In Ireland, St. Patrick is still a significant religious figure and his saint’s day is not an entirely secular celebration devoted to parades and beer, the way we think of it here in the United States.
Excerpt: The more I experience learning through the SAR process, the more I feel committed to it as an essential modality for anyone who ventures to counsel or educate about sex. I know we’re all awash in sexual material these days, what with the internet and all that, but there’s still something about the choreography of the SAR that makes it all come together (no pun intended). I think the SAR allows people to figure out where they are in the picture, particularly when they are asked to professionally assist another person’s sexual integration or comment upon behavior.
Excerpt: Funny to be a disembodied voice, talking about sex and intimacy, bringing some of that good ol’ down-home San Francisco/Berkeley sex radical vibe into an entirely different area of the country. I don’t know what the listeners made of it but I had a blast doing this program. I still experience this fact with some degree of giddy surprise: I really, really love talking about sex!
Writing about it, too, in case you haven’t noticed! In fact, the minute I finish my weekly column, I can’t wait to do it all over again! I’m actually kind of…insatiable!
Excerpt: Disgusted reactions to all kinds of sexual behavior seem to combine visceral sensations with socially determined (but arbitrary) standards of behavior, personal likes and dislikes, ignorance, misunderstanding, a deeply ingrained sense of shame, all within the context of pervasive, cultural sex negativity. What’s not to like?
Squick is in the viscera of the beholder.
Excerpt: Sometimes strange bedfellows share good politics. And good politics sometimes makes for splendid ephemera, which may then be collected by one or both strange bedfellows. Such is the story of one small sliver of my life and of my brief but meaningful fling with the AOUON (“all of us or none”) Political Poster Archive which, with 25,000-plus posters, is one of the largest private collections of progressive political and counter-cultural posters in the world.
Excerpt: Two weeks before our day of national bloodletting (April 15th), I whipped up a profile and made my debut at Vampire Chat City. As “HemoGoblin,” I stumbled through the virtual equivalent of saloon doors into what was clearly an off night.
Excerpt: “Sometime, I wish that instead of Pilgrims a bunch of hula dancing Hawaiians had first stepped on Pilgrim Rock. The moral equation of this nation might have been improved immeasurably.”
That’s a quote from the late Sammy Crowningberg Amalu, Honolulu columnist and con man extraordinaire, a man who claimed descent from high ranking Hawaiian ali’i (nobility). And from what I’ve read about Mr. Amalu, he’d be tickled by the irony of a posthumous revival at the hands of a sexologist writing from Northern California (a region that includes Folsom Prison, where he’d spent a deal of time).
Excerpt: Like the large “17 Reasons Why!” sign that once loomed over Thrift Town at 17th and Mission in San Francisco, I find myself installed at the crossroads of sexological inquiry and practice. However no one (except me) really knows the whole story of “why.”
Excerpt: Here’s the reality or, rather, one piece of it: “In California, transgender female clients of publicly-funded counseling and testing sites have higher rates of HIV diagnosis (6%) than all other risk categories, including MSM (4%) and partners of people living with HIV (5%), and African American transgender women have a substantially higher rate of HIV diagnosis (29%) than all other racial or ethnic groups of transwomen (16). Estimates from California’s urban centers also suggest that HIV prevalence rates among transgender women are extremely high, especially for transgender women of color and African American transgender women in particular (2, 15)…” And that’s from a 2008 study called “Serving Transgender People in California: Assessing Progress, Advancing Excellence.”
Excerpt: A couple of year’s ago I met someone at the Center for Sex and Culture who told me that this two-part column was pivotal for her understanding of her own sexuality. That was the most meaningful praise I’ve ever had for something I’ve written. The columns are somewhat dated now – and I’ve taken the phrase, “nothing about us without us,” more to heart, but they are still an interesting attempt at understanding.
Excerpt: As the study of human sexual behavior owes quite a lot to the gifts and determination of at least one Aspie researcher (and I am sure there are others!), it seems fitting that I chose Asperger’s Syndrome and sexuality as my own first foray into sex research.
Excerpt: The spirit of eugenics is apparently alive and well in New Hampshire. “Dear Abby” just this week ran a letter from the mother of a 24-year-old son with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). The son, “Jasper,” started dating and was eventually seen with a hickey on his neck. So the mother’s best friend, taking note of this badge of distinction, suggested the mother have Jasper “fixed”—as in “sterilized.” The mother writes to Dear Abby and asks, “How should I respond to my friend about her suggestion? When she made it, I didn’t know what to say.”
I dunno about your gut response, readers, but mine is to borrow a line I heard so often from three-year-olds in my children’s preschool. “You’re not my friend!” would do it for me, though “How dare you!” would be more adult.
Excerpt: Yet a certain number of adults on the autism spectrum—perhaps more than we might think—do share similar sensory variables and may choose to explore them through various forms of erotic sensation play, including BDSM. Do the parents know? Did they suspect? Were they realistically and intelligently prepared to witness the emergence of their adult children’s erotic nature and allow for variations in behavior that represent the individual’s own chosen accommodation to sensory needs and sociosexual desires?