Heading into the final half of 2010, was I hitting my stride as a columnist or in danger of burning out? Read on and you tell me!
I only know it’s not supposed to be easy to write a weekly column, yet I was doing it, loving it, and not in any danger of running out of topics. I mean, sexology?! It’s an endless gold mine of cultural diversions. And I was beginning to add more autobiographical material as well.
I also enjoyed the “muscular” exercise of writing weekly, the discipline… (and the readers, always the readers).
Here’s the last half of 2010, until Carnal Nation suddenly quite publishing. Remember, folks, this site was NSFW (not safe for work).
Excerpt: During the heyday of punk, I was making wearable art out of clear vinyl, cut up Chinese newspapers, colored electrical tape, burst balloons and other residues of civilization as we know it. I was organizing fashion shows, created the ad hoc “Society for Mandatory Modern Dress,” and had a lot of fun. Science fiction books and movies were major influences. I was designing for the apocalypse even before Mad Max came along. In fact, my fashion manifesto for the show I put on at the Mabuhay Gardens read something like “garbage worn as fashion because that’s all that’s left…” Deep, huh?
A short NASA film, featuring orbital and re-entry footage, took me in a whole different aesthetic direction. I created a series of space costumes based on the stages of space flight. And then Carl Sagan’s Cosmos series came along and basically blasted me from one stage of life to another. Goodbye, punk apocalypse. Hello, epiphany of the future!
Excerpt: Real “pyrates” may have been lusty and bold, but they were also filthy and often cruel. So how did they become so sexy? Hans Turley, author of Rum, Sodomy & The Lash – Piracy, Sexuality & Masculine Identity, considers the pirate figure as the “ultimate outsider,” an economic, cultural and sexually transgressive anti-hero. Even given the “homosocial” setting of any sailing ship, Turley still hedges a bit: “I shall not make claims that the pirate was a sodomite and that pirate ships were rife with buggery. What interests me is the way pirates have been eroticized through the past centuries.” This is what interests me too.
Excerpt: Pirates are like Texas. Everything is bigger: hair, frock coats, weapons, amount of leather in a boot… and lust. Everyone aspires to a lustier (and bustier!) swagger. Voices boom, beards billow, rustling skirts are as loud as canons, enticing the randy “sea dogs” (and “sea dog-ettes”?) with invitations to pleasure found within.
SF PRIDE, 2010.
Excerpt: “Next year, I want a float,” I yelled in Dr. Zientara’s ear.
Excerpt: Imagine the Venus of Willendorf as a giant Macy’s Parade balloon. As the prehistoric goddess soars aloft we can appreciate her form and the logic of her proportions. Now imagine inflatable breasts parade-balloon size attached to a very skinny cis-woman in hot pants and heels, bouncing, flouncing and squirting fake milk.
This column was later picked up by Jezebel and retitled The Mind-Boggling Sexual Humor of Teenage Boys. The Jezebel piece has been read by 34.6 K readers, with 470 comments. The comments I’ve read mostly roast me as the worst mother ever.
Excerpt: I sit writing my column, while in the next room the kid spews references to dicks, cream, anal sex, Michael Jackson, masturbation, and other things his mother never told him. Why did I never tell him? Well, by the time I thought he was ready, he’d already heard all about it and then some, watching Family Guy and American Dad and “Machinima” videos online. He got the references before he ever got the context, so my job now is to kind of mop up around the conceptual edges and provide opportunities for more balanced conversation. Which does happen sometimes.
Excerpt: I notice there is room for more conscious work – and proactive intervention – regarding certain influences of culture, particularly in the realm of race and racism. I notice that residual attitudes or gestures still linger, though in a diluted and subtle form – not intentional, but unconscious. As I view the phenomenon of the Western Tantra explosion in this country, black Tantra and yoga teachers are not visible in the best known Tantra networks and circles. My point is not that people of color are intentionally excluded, but that they are not intentionally and explicitly welcomed.
Excerpt: In old Hawai’i, the powerful creative forces of sex and reproduction were considered sacred. All ma’i (genitals) had special mana. However, the mele ma’i (chants) and hula ma’i (dances) were mostly composed to honor the genitals and reproductive capacity of the chiefs (all genders). They were often composed at birth, perhaps with the hope that these chants would function as self-fullfilling prophecies as the youngster came of age, but could be written for a person at any stage of life.
Excerpt: Restoration. Sovereignty. Anything I write about Hawai’i, including what I write about the old sexual traditions, has to be deeply grounded in acknowledgment of the true historic and political state of affairs. Otherwise I will be just one more foreign person kicking “America’s Tibet” when it’s down, picking through the remains of a truly great culture for my own purposes.
Excerpt: World history, as seen through the eyes of a sexologist, could be viewed as a massive, continuous stomping of sex-positive people and cultures by sex-negative ones.
Excerpt: That miscarriage plunged me into my first investigation of toxic chemicals and their effect on human reproduction. I researched teratogens, mutagens and reproductive hazards contained in paints, lacquer and other art supplies. What I found was alarming, so I wrote a tract called “Paint and Pregnancy.” I gave copies to a few paint stores in San Francisco, hoping shop clerks would hand them to female customers as a cautionary measure. But probably they just got chucked in the wastebasket.
Excerpt: Ecosexology is to sexology as ecopsychology is to psychology. Ecosexology merges environmental consciousness with an expanded inquiry into human sexual behavior. But unlike ecopsychology, ecosexology is newly born. Though we can sense the vast terrain of ecosexology, it remains largely uncharted and mostly unexplored.
Excerpt: The first premise [of ecosexology] is that we can’t escape our relationship with the planet and ecosystems where we evolved over eons, though we can disrupt or deny it. This includes our erotic nature. Many cultures continue to develop and promote energetic practices which are grounded in this premise, such as Tantra, Healing Tao, Qi Gong, etc.
The second premise is that “healing” of some sexual concerns may be gained or enhanced, in some cases, through an awareness of erotic ecology and active reconnection with nature and the energies of the earth (perhaps through the above and similar practices).
The third premise is that certain types of erotic behavior and consumer choices cannot fail to add to the burden of pollution affecting countless ecosystems. And that the effects of pollution in turn affect human health and capacity for erotic behavior.
Excerpt: We could call it POK for short—a support group for parents of kinky teenage and adult children. Of course, if it were called Parents and Friends of Kink, we could then call it P-FOK. “Hey, hon, I’m heading over to the P-FOK meeting!” is a lot more fun to say. Plus, including friends is good. So P-FOK it will be!
Seriously, I want this group, and since I haven’t found anything like it already, I’m considering pulling one together. This is one of the last frontiers of parenting.
For one thing, many people assume that anyone who is into BDSM was probably abused as a child. Otherwise they wouldn’t be drawn to kinky, perverted things. And if you’re a parent who happens to know that your teen or college-age student is drawn to kinky stuff, or is already involved in it, you probably won’t want to mention your child’s new interest to anyone you know—because they’ll think you did it. You made your kid that way.
Excerpt: Resignation is not consent. Weariness and terror are not enjoyment. What seems compliant is not necessarily voluntary. Symptoms of the Stockholm Syndrome are not equivalent to a submissive’s consensual dedication to service. A submissive may want out—badly—but doesn’t know how to go about it or where to turn. And because it’s not consensual, what’s done to that person is illegal. And wrong.
Excerpt: Like children, older adults in our society are perceived to be at greater risk for abuse and exploitation, and therefore in need of specialized protection and intervention. Last week I wrote about domestic violence masquerading as BDSM. This week, I flip the topic to BDSM mistaken for domestic violence, specifically among older adults. I am particularly concerned with this question: What happens if a social worker gets involved?
Excerpt: A real fig leaf apron would undoubtedly cause blistering eruptions right smack dab on Adam’s and Eve’s private parts. And if that’s not a clear message from sex-negative agents of a wrathful god, I don’t know what is!
Excerpt: It was an ugly death for such a pretty boy. Neighbors complained of the smell. Police clambered into the canyon and soon found the corpse, rotting in a heat wave, a distilled water bottle between its knees. The body was dressed in jeans and a shirt printed with tiny Carmen Miranda banana ladies. It wore an unusual, heavy gold ring, which was shown on local television in the hopes that someone would recognize it and supply information to ID the body. Someone did see the ring and knew enough to send the cops to me. When the coroner finally knocked on my door, he told me that animals had munched on the body. I wish he hadn’t said that.
And then, on Oct. 13th, just as I was about to submit a column on aquaphilia, Carnal Nation abruptly quit publishing. No notice, no explanation, just a “good-bye” written by Theresa Ikard, Editor-in-Chief. It was a sad business. A number of great San Francisco Bay Area writers and “sex community” folks had written for the website – Carol Queen, Midori, Simon Sheppard, Kitty Stryker, Suzzane Rachel Forbes, and many more – including my oldest son. I think that in another year or so, we all would have amazed ourselves by what we’d collectively created.