Ethical porn choices via Violet Blue.

Many have criticized pornography as exploitative; there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that some workers are not treated with respect or dignity, particularly by certain producers.

More recently, though, there has been a move towards increased labour rights and respect of performers. The top performers have always made a good living and are typically treated well. The ethical pornography movement takes it one step further. A core part of the approach is that performer rights are paramount.

There is also concern that pornography negatively affects consumers. Porn likely affects different people differently, and type of content interacts with intrapersonal characteristics. The research shows that the consumers who we should be most concerned about are those (men) who are characterized by hostile masculinity (e.g., attitudes supporting violence against women, rape myth acceptance, hostility towards women, etc.) and antisocial traits (e.g., impulsiveness, low empathy, etc.). They're the same viewers who are likely to choose content that represents the worst of the porn industry (e.g., exploitative, misogynistic, etc.). For these men, porn use can increase risk for sexual violence, and also feeds their nasty attitudes about women.

Another concern is that porn is replacing sex ed for teens. Sex ed in some geographical regions is great; in most others, it's still pretty terrible or superficial. If teens watch porn without sex ed to balance it out, their blueprints for sex and relationships will end up being based on the fantasy world of pornography, and not reality.

As far as we can tell, though, the vast majority of porn consumers reject the type of content that could be considered problematic, and now that porn has become ubiquitous, many have argued that the industry is moving in a more positive direction (not all agree, however). There's also lots of new research coming out showing that porn consumption is related to all sorts of positive outcomes and experiences, despite the narratives you hear in the media and online.

I've already discussed ethical and non-ethical porn on the blog previously so I'm going to pass it over to Violet Blue for her insight. If you have the stomach for it, contrast her recommendations with the content produced by people like Max Hardcore and Khan Tusion.

(VB's recommendations at the bottom)

She's an expert on everything sex - she's an educator, a writer, and sex-positive advocate superstar. I posted some of her work early last week. Her website (link here) is an excellent resource for all things related to sex, including ethical porn. She's written several books, including Best Women's Erotica 2010/2011/2012/2013, A Smart Girl's Guide to Porn, and Fetish Sex: A Complete Guide to Sexual Fetishes. There's a sample chapter from A Smart Girl's Guide to Porn posted on Oprah's website: link here.

Ms. Blue regularly posts softcore and hardcore galleries from some of her advertisers, who she's chosen because of their commitment to quality and ethics. The advertisers appear in the sidebar of her site. Keep in mind that her tastes are varied, and that she's into women and men. Here are some samples from her list of advertisers, past and present (click names to link to sites - very NSFW!!!!!):

Lust Cinema - the brainchild of feminist porn producer/director superstar Erika Lust; something for everyone (girl/boy/queer)

Dorcel Club - mostly hardcore, "luxurious" porn (boy/girl, girl/girl)

Girls out West - featuring "natural girls", softcore and hardcore (boy/girl, girl/girl). a similar site: Abby Winters

Explicite Art - original hardcore and softcore from France, diverse ethnic backgrounds (boy/girl, girl/girl)

Nubile Films - "capturing the essence of sensuality", (boy/girl, girl/girl)

For the Girls - featuring heterosexual content for women, softcore and hardcore (boy/girl), erotic fiction

Joymii - hi quality hardcore and softcore, "The Art of Erotica" (girl/girl, boy/girl)

Some other similar sites: Watch 4 BeautyErrotica ArchivesBright DesireJoy BearPink LableCocky BoysHot Movies for Her - online store featuring movies for women (or at least appealing to women), including user reviews

That should get you started on your research (for academic purposes only!). More sites are linked from Ms. Blue's website.

Sadly, few of her recommendations are intended for gay and lesbian consumers - perhaps you have some recommendations of your own? In the reply section, I've included a list of producers making "real" lesbian porn. It's by no means exhaustive.

25 years of Savage Love.

Savage Love | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy Vancouver

It's hard to believe that it's been 25 years. I remember first encountering Savage Love in the Georgia Straight (or was it the Ubyssey?) back in the early 90s.

Dan Savage has been the sex advice columnist who would go where others would dare not tread. He's beyond sex-positive. His column has always been irreverent and compassionate, yet he still calls people out if need be. There's a good reason that he's as successful as he is.

The Stranger just published the first Savage Love column in celebration of the 25th anniversary. Go check it out: link.

Brian Anderson on being the first out pro skaterboarder

Photography: http://kristinapattersonphoto.tumblr.com/

Photography: http://kristinapattersonphoto.tumblr.com/

Brian Anderson is a badass.

He's won Thrasher magazine's Skater of the Year award and won the World Cup of Skateboarding back in 1999. His video parts are legendary, and not surprisingly, he's a hero to many kids who skate.

And now there's even more reason to like and respect him - he publicly came out as gay.

Many of the people close to him have known for a while, but it wasn't until recently that BA felt like it was safe to share with the public.

In this clip from Vice, he describes how one of his main motivations for coming out was to make it easier for other kids who are in the closet.

What's most shocking are the comments in the YouTube comments section. Usually the comment section is a cesspool of the worst of humanity, but in this case, the comments are consistently supportive and positive. How rad.

If you've got the time to watch the clip (and you skate), it's worth it.

Jonah Falcon, the man with the world's largest penis.

Jonah Falcon has the world's largest, officially recorded penis.

He's an actor and writer, having made appearances on several TV shows.

A few years back, he appeared on John Stewart's The Daily Show. Clip here (clip only available in the US).

While his appearance on the show is undeniably funny, his life story is more complicated. A significant part of his self-identity has been tied to his huge penis; this isn't really that surprising, given how central penis size is to masculine identity. People that have met him claim he's somewhat socially awkward, and struggles with the balance between pride in his penis and the need to be recognized as a person separate from his massive member.

This clip from the show Strange Sex tells his story:

Here are some more recent clips:

Playboy takes aim at catcalling.

Playboy nails it with this flowchart (at bottom).

I love this approach to educating men about catcalling. It's effective without shaming, and acknowledges and validates men's sexuality without letting them off the hook for shitty behaviour.

Someone on a related Reddit thread clearly described why catcalling can feel so threatening. She invites men to imagine what it would be like to experience the following:

  • being catcalled by someone over a foot taller than them
  • who starts bothering them while they were busy
  • and then starts ordering them around or making sexual comments and won't go away
  • and is much stronger and could easily hurt them
  • and makes them feel afraid and ashamed
  • and that this happens week in, week out

Check out the entire Reddit thread here: link.

Playboy catcalling sexual harassment | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy Vancouver | Squarespace Blogging

Penis-stealing witches.

monty python witches penises holy grail | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy Vancouver | Squarespace Blogging

The Middle Ages (5th-15th centuries, AD) were characterized by anti-intellectualism, cultural stagnation, and the predominance of magical thinking regarding the sciences and medicine. Not surprisingly, books were burned, education was discouraged, and the arts were basically banned.

It's during these times that belief in witchcraft became a dominant theme in understanding illness, disease, and mental health. Pretty much any problem you can think of was blamed on witches. And if a woman was accused of being a witch, there was no recourse - she would be typically be killed.

*As an aside, if you've never seen Monty Pythons and the Holy Grail, you should. The witch scene is at 16:30.*

It likely won't come as a shock, but people believed that witches would steal men’s penises. This belief is described in the 15th-century book Malleus Maleficarum, which is ostensibly about witch hunting.

A recent article in Broadly described this belief in more detail:

Witches Allegedly Stole Penises and Kept Them as Pets in the Middle Ages
by Callie Beusman
According to a 15th century guide to detecting and eradicating witchcraft, witches were capable of making penises vanish—and some even kept them in nests and fed them oats.
Since time immemorial, men have worried irrationally about perceived threats to their penises. Long before there was castration anxiety, there was something far more sinister: the myth of phallus-stealing witches who kept wriggling, dismembered members as pets.
The best-known description of this practice occurs in the Malleus Maleficarum, a 15th century witch hunting manual written by Heinrich Kramer. Historians typically regard it as a ludicrous and misogynistic text that nonetheless resulted in countless vicious murders of women accused of witchcraft; in The Salem Witch Trials Reader, Frances Hill describes it as "one of the most terrifying and obnoxious books ever written." The Malleus is rife with obvious anxieties about female sexual desire—as folklorist Moira Smith notes in her paper, Penis Theft in the Malleus Maleficarum, "Many of the crimes (maleficia) attributed to witches concerned sexuality: copulation with incubus devils, procuring abortions, causing sterility and stillbirth, and impeding sexual relations between husbands and wives."

Read the rest here: link.

Humans aren't the only species that engage in oral sex.

In a 2009 study, researchers described fellatio in a species of fruit bat. Oral sex appears to be rare in the animal kingdom, so it was a surprising finding. As part of the study, they used nighttime cameras to film the bats' sexual escapades. Here's an example:

A recent study found that another species of bats (Indian flying foxes) engages in oral sex, only this time they observed cunnilingus. The bats' sexual experiences were characterized by longer periods of oral sex punctuated by shorter periods of intercourse. Here's a clip from their study:

National Geographic provided a nice review of the research. You can check it out here: link.

And a snippet of the review to help explain the observed behaviour:

In the summers of 2010 and 2011, Jayabalan Maruthupandian and Ganapathy Marimuthu clocked 1,170 hours watching a colony of flying foxes near a south Indian village. They saw the bats mate 57 times, most of which involved a brief amount of penetration bracketed by longer bouts of cunnilingus. The male would fluff up his penis and sidle over to a nearby female. He craned his neck over and licked her vagina for up to a minute, mounted her for around 15 seconds, and returned to 2.5 minutes of cunnilingus.
The actual sex isn’t exactly lengthy, but as in the short-nosed fruit bat, the flying foxes prolong their liaisons with oral sex. The males bought themselves an extra 2 seconds of penetration if they spent an extra 15 seconds of cunnilingus beforehand.
So: why? There’s the obvious explanation: it makes both partners more aroused, and the extra saliva keeps everything nice and lubricated.
In the case of the Indian flying fox, Maruthupandian and Marimuthu suggest that a male could remove the sperm of past partners by licking a female’s vagina. That doesn’t explain why he would continue after having mated himself, but Maruthupandian and Marimuthu did find that he spends less time on oral sex after penetration if he spent more time on it before. This might give him the best odds of removing a competitor’s sperm but not his own. Although, as they write, “Observation at close-range is needed to find out whether the male’s tongue enters the vagina or not.”

Bisexual Awareness Week: September 19-26.

bisexual sexual orientation | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy Vancouver | Squarespace Blogging

It's bisexual awareness week!

This is particularly important given the discrimination that people who are bisexual face.

Research has shown that both heterosexual and homosexual people tend to judge those who identify as bisexual quite negatively. This is based on some myths and faulty assumptions about what it is to be bisexual. They're described in this clip from GLAAD:

For more information, check out the GLAAD bisexual awareness week here: link.

The truth about marriage.

marriage | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy Vancouver | Squarespace Blogging

Alain De Botton wants you to get real about your relationships.

Many people grow up believing that marriage is in some way magical - the bringing together of two people who are perfect for each other. A marriage characterized by ever-present happiness and love, little conflict, and shared desires, likes, goals, and values.

Research in the states has shown that almost 75% of people believe in the idea of a soul mate, or one true love. Unfortunately for them, research has also shown that the more a person believes in the idea of one true love, the less likely that person is to be successful and happy in their relationships. They tend to bail when things get difficult.

It comes down to expectations, and commitment to relationships when they don't meet unrealistically high expectations.

People with realistic expectations, and a willingness to struggle through difficult times while still committed to the relationship, tend to do best. A key component of this is self-awareness, more specifically recognizing our own idiosyncrasies and why we might be difficult to be with.

This piece in the New York Times lays it all out, raw:

Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person
By Alain de Botton
IT’S one of the things we are most afraid might happen to us. We go to great lengths to avoid it. And yet we do it all the same: We marry the wrong person.
Partly, it’s because we have a bewildering array of problems that emerge when we try to get close to others. We seem normal only to those who don’t know us very well. In a wiser, more self-aware society than our own, a standard question on any early dinner date would be: “And how are you crazy?”
Perhaps we have a latent tendency to get furious when someone disagrees with us or can relax only when we are working; perhaps we’re tricky about intimacy after sex or clam up in response to humiliation. Nobody’s perfect. The problem is that before marriage, we rarely delve into our complexities. Whenever casual relationships threaten to reveal our flaws, we blame our partners and call it a day. As for our friends, they don’t care enough to do the hard work of enlightening us. One of the privileges of being on our own is therefore the sincere impression that we are really quite easy to live with.

Read the rest here: link.

Meet the clitoris.

Most people have no idea what the clitoris really looks like. Not out of intentional ignorance, but simply because we are never taught.

The part of the clitoris that's visible from the outside of the body is relatively small compared to the structures inside.

The part that you can see is mostly what's called the glans of the clitoris, which is homologous to the glans of the penis. This means that they both come from the same original embryonic tissue (see previous post from last week).

The glans tends to be the most sensitive part of the clitoris, although research (and lots of anecdotal evidence) shows that stimulation of the interior part of the clitoris through pressure from penetration of the vagina and even the rectum can also provide intense pleasure. This type of stimulation can result in what's known as g-spot orgasms.

On average, clitorises are about 25mm long, 5mm wide, and protrude between 3mm-10mm from the body. Keep in mind, though, that these are averages - there are clitorises that are smaller and larger, and that's completely ok.

Given that the clitoris is the only part of the body in either males or females that's sole purpose is to provide pleasure, it's surprising that most people have no idea what it really looks like. In France, that's about to change.

From The Guardian:

clitoris sex sexuality women | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy Vancouver | Squarespace Blogging
This is a 3D model of a clitoris – and the start of a sexual revolution
by Minna Salami
It looks like a tulip emoji, but this anatomically accurate clitoris will aid education and debunk myths that have repressed women’s sexuality for centuries.
This month, pupils across France will be able to use the first full-size anatomical model of a clitoris in their sex education classes. Considering all the technological, medical and scientific achievements humans have made, this seems to have taken a long time. The distribution of this model has been possible due to 3D printing technology; but even three-dimensional MRI scans, which previously produced the most accurate representations of the clitoris, only became available in 2009.
But it was worth the wait. The truth is, you might struggle to gain pleasure from a tool you don’t even know you have. In 2016, women finally know without speculation what the whole of their sexual organ looks like; and for many it won’t be quite what they imagined.
You may be wondering, what’s the big deal? Is the clitoris not the “small, sensitive, erectile part of the female genitals at the anterior end of the vulva”, as Oxford Dictionaries defines it? And isn’t the real issue simply whether it brings a woman sexual gratification?
Well, decide for yourself. The popular opinion seems to be that the 3D printed clitoris resembles a wishbone. To my eyes, it also (fittingly) resembles a fleur-de-lys, or, to use a more contemporary example, a tulip emoji.
But the important thing is that it debunks myths that have repressed female sexuality for centuries.

Read the rest here: link.

And some more 3D images so that you can better see the structures:

clitoris women sex 3D | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy Vancouver | Squarespace Blogging
clitoris women sex | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy Vancouver | Squarespace Blogging

 

Dan Savage's Hump Tour coming to Vancouver Sept. 23-24.

If you're not already familiar with Dan Savage, he's the brains and columnist behind the hugely popular, globally syndicated Savage Love (link). He provides advice on the sorts of problems that you rarely see addressed elsewhere.

Several years ago, he started inviting people to submit homemade, alternative, arty porn to be vetted for his Hump Tour. Here is an example from a past year (NSFW):

From the festival description:

hump tour porn amateur art | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy Vancouver | Squarespace Blogging
About HUMP!
The HUMP! Film Festival has been bringing audiences a new kind of porn since 2005. The festival features short dirty movies—each less than five minutes—all created by people who aren’t porn stars but want to be one for a weekend. The filmmakers and stars show us what they think is hot and sexy, creative and kinky, their ultimate turn-ons and their craziest fantasies. Our carefully curated program is a cornucopia of body types, shapes, ages, colors, sexualities, genders, kinks, and fetishes—all united by a shared spirit of sex-positivity. HUMP! is a celebration of creative sexual expression. You will see films at HUMP! that shock you. You will see films at HUMP! that make you laugh. And you will see films at HUMP! that turn you on. You will also be touched by the sincerity and vulnerability with which these films are lovingly made. HUMP!’s main mission is to change the way America sees—and makes and shares—porn.

The tour will be here in Vancouver September 23rd-24th. You can buy tickets here: link.

And the trailer for this year's festival:

Homologous genital structures, explained.

In the early stages of development, male and female embryos are almost indistinguishable. Over the first few weeks of pregnancy, the gonads (what will eventually become the ovaries or testes) start to develop and differentiate (i.e., become different).

After about the seventh week, the male gonads begin to produce male sex hormone (a relation of testosterone), which causes the genital tissues in males to become masculinized. Female development continues without the presence of male sex hormone.

Because the female and male genitals come from the same original embryonic tissue, and differentiation is simply the result of the presence of male sex hormone, much of the male and female genital anatomy can be traced back to a shared origin. The parts of the anatomy that come from the shared original embryonic tissue are called homologous structures. For example, the glans of the penis is homologous to the glans of the clitoris (they come from the same original embryonic tissue).

This video does a great job of explaining the concept: