Fetishes and Paraphilias

Fetishes: Why unusual things turn some people on.

fetish high heels paraphilia men autgynephilia | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy | Blogging on Squarespace

Dr. Debra Soh has interviewed several hundred people with unusual sexual interests as part of her research.

While it's still not clear what leads to various sexual preferences, interviews such as those conducted by Dr. Soh provide some clues.

In this piece, she discusses six fetishes and why they can be a turn-on for some people.

From Men's Health:

1 In 6 People Has a Sex Fetish. A Neuroscientist Explains Why
This sex researcher has interviewed hundreds of people with peculiar erotic tastes. Here’s what she’s learned
By Debra W. Soh
You might think that fantasizing about being swallowed by a large animal sounds weird. 
But a new study in the Journal of Sex Research finds that paraphilias—unusual sexual interests—are actually common: One in three people have experimented with one at some point in their lives.
Paraphilias range from kinks you’ve heard of before, like stiletto fetishes, to more rare interests, like the fantasy about being swallowed.
Why would someone be into that? Why are some people turned on by golden showers, or wearing diapers? The subject is so riveting that I’ve made a career out of studying it.
As a neuroscientist, I’m interested in what it is about the brain that makes people like the kinds of sex that they like. When guys come in to do my fMRI study, we spend a few minutes scanning their brain. Afterwards, I ask them lots of questions about their sex lives.
Needless to say, my work never gets boring. At last count, sex researchers estimated that about 549 different paraphilias exist.
So, for starters, here are six fascinating fetishes worth learning about.

Read the rest here: link.

Objectum sexuality.

Objectum sexuality is characterized by a strong romantic and sexual attraction to inanimate objects. Objectum sexuals develop relationships with the objects that they love.

The best known objectum sexual is a woman named Erika Eiffel. She's appeared on several American talk-shows, and is the central character in the documentary Married to the Eiffel Tower (it looks like it's a dead link, but click play):

Vice published a piece early last year discussing objectum sexuality that describes the struggles and judgment that Erika Eiffel has experienced. It also discussed the nature of objectum sexuality.

From Vice:

Breaking Up with the Eiffel Tower: Heartbreak Is No Less Real for Objectum Sexuals
By Nell Frizzell
Loss, grief, heartache: Breakups are no less painful when you're doing it with a bridge. Or a pylon. Or a wooden fence. Or the Eiffel Tower.
So argues Erika Eiffel, the tower crane operator and former award-winning archer made famous by the documentary Married to the Eiffel Tower. Erika is one of the few public objectum sexuals—people with a love orientation toward objects—and, in addition to holding a commitment ceremony with the 186-year-old French iron tower, has fallen for fighter jets, fencing, and is currently in a relationship with a crane. She also runs the support website Object Sexuality Internationale.
We don't know how many objectum sexuals there are in the world—not enough data has been gathered and people are, understandably, reluctant to identify their orientation in such a climate of distrust and misinformation. We do, however, know that objectum sexuality is found in both men and women across the world. In 2010, the clinical sexologist Dr. Amy Marsh wrote in the Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality that, while it is often assumed that OS is "a pathology" or related to "a history of sexual trauma," there is, in fact, no data to support such a claim and that "OS appears to be a genuine—though rare—sexual orientation."

Read the rest here: link.

 

 

Documentary: The Man Who Ate His Lover (Vorarephilia).

Another documentary on the subject of paraphilias.

This one addresses vorarephilia (and masochism). Vorarephilia is a sexual preference for eating another person. It's likely very rare, although we don't know for sure - there isn't any research available. It's presumably even more rarely acted upon. However, there are a few recorded cases. The one described in this documentary is the most well-known.

From the description:

Consider the following story line for the ultimate video nasty. Single man meets radical male masochist on the Internet. On their first date, the masochist offers up his penis as main course in a romantic dinner for two. After some teething problems over the best way to prepare the food, the two men enjoy a meal of garnished genitals. Satiated, and feeling woozy, the masochist is led upstairs to the bathroom, where he is left to bleed to death. Hours later, our host pops in to see how his date is doing, and finishes him off with a knife to the throat. He then butchers the body and barbecues the meat.

Even as fiction, this extreme tale of human weirdness would be difficult to stomach. So how do we respond when two middle-aged computer engineers turn this incredulous plot into jaw-dropping fact? Two words: shock and awe. Just when you thought you'd heard it all, along comes a German cannibal, Armin Meiwes, and his willing victim, Bernd-Juergen Brandes, to rewrite the book of bizarre human behaviour. Rarely has a criminal investigation aroused such ghoulish curiosity or raised such difficult questions about the dark places that the human mind can go.

His Wikipedia entry is here.

Documentary: Animal Passions (Beastiality).

Being turned on by fantasies of having sex with animals is not entirely rare. Based on the scant research available, somewhere in the range of 10-15% of people likely have these sorts of fantasies (e.g., link).

Acting on those fantasies is uncommon and in many places, including Canada, it's illegal. In some states in the US, however, it's legal.

Ethicists have struggled with the idea of sex with animals. They have identified two primary issues for consideration. First, animals can't consent. However, zoophiles argue that their animals enjoy the experiences and may even initiate. Second, we eat animals, kill animals for sport, and use animals to test consumer products and new medical devices and drugs. They do not consent to these experiences, and surely wouldn't if they were able to.

The documentary Animal Passions (2004) addresses these issues and many more. It features shockingly candid discussions and stories from zoophiles themselves.

From a review on IMDB:

One of the most extraordinary documentaries I have ever seen. I watched it with mouth agape as half a dozen Americans spoke of their love for animals and their intimate relationships with them. Producer Christopher Spencer reserves judgement and provides us with a very clear picture of why some human beings' love for animals extends to having sex with them. This is not an XXX-rated, Brazilian bestiality film featuring bad photography, crappy sound and pornographic imagery. This is an English documentary from a renowned documentarian who introduces us to some of the most marginalized people on Earth. The interviewees, both men and women, are incredibly candid about their zoophile lifestyle (an illegal lifestyle in most parts of the world) and come across as intelligent, articulate and resigned to their unconventional sexual proclivity. I admit that one early scene in which a group of male zoophiles admire a couple of horses and make lustful comments about their bodies made me feel slighty uncomfortable and reminded me that I'm more conventional than I thought. "Animal Passions" (not to be confused with the often bootlegged Color Climax porno film, "Animal Passion") is beautifully shot in rural America and stands as the most non-exploitive word on the subject so far. Although some of the docos on famous animal lover Bodil attempt to penetrate the mind of a zoophile, these are still geared towards the porno market and are only superficial "documentaries". Though this is sexually non-explicit, it is the most explicit exploration of this inflammatiory subject I've seen and stands as a fine anthropological document. Highly recommended.

The full documentary can be downloaded here (not for the faint of heart!). If it is unavailable, try again in a day or two - my Dropbox account limit keeps getting hit. Alternatively, you can view it on YouTube (NSFW language):

How unusual are unusual sexual interests and behaviours?

bdsm bondage fetish kink paraphilias sex power | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy | Blogging on Squarespace

When people think of unusual sexual interests (i.e., kinks, fetishes, etc.), they usually assume that they're uncommon and perhaps even rare.

The corollary to this is that people with unusual sexual interests may feel that they need to keep their sexual interests and desires secret because others will not understand them and will be judgemental. For some people with unusual sexual interests, this can lead to feelings of shame, anxiety, and/or guilt.

In the clinical world, unusual sexual interests are thought of in three ways:

  1. paraphilic sexual interest - a sexual interest in something that is anomalous (i.e., unusual)
  2. paraphilia - a persistent and intense sexual interest in something that is anomalous (i.e., unusual)
  3. paraphilic disorder - a persistent and intense sexual interest in something that is anomalous (i.e., unusual), and that causes the person distress or problems in their lives

A recently published study from Quebec asked people about their experiences with unusual sexual interests and behaviours. While the study is by no means perfect (self-report bias, how well the sample matched the more general public, etc.), it does provide a rough snapshot of how common unusual sexual interests and behaviours may be. Here are the categories of sexual interests explained:

  • voyeurism: watching a stranger, who was unaware of your presence, while they were nude, undressing, or engaged in sex
  • fetishism: inanimate objects
  • exhibitionism: showing your genitals to an unsuspecting stranger
  • frotteurism: touching or rubbing oneself against an unsuspecting stranger
  • masochism: being made to suffer, or being dominated or humiliated
  • sadism: making someone suffer, or dominating, or physically or psychologically humiliating someone
  • transvestism: wearing clothes of the opposite sex
  • pedophilia: sex with a child aged 13 old or less, when you were an adult

This table shows the main results. The numbers are the percentages of people responding in the affirmative.

paraphilias kinks fetishes

Needless to say, interest in and desire for unusual sexual behaviours is not all that unusual. Keep in mind that other studies have reported a range of prevalences, with some reporting lower rates. You can find this study here: link.

Oh Joy Sex Toy by Erika Moen.

Erika Moen is an artist and educator. She is the authour the comic strip Oh Joy Sex Toy. It started out several years ago as a sex-positive, diversity-friendly sex toy review but has expanded into all aspects of sex and sexuality. There is no topic that she's afraid of addressing. The strips are fun, subversive, educational, and visually appealing. You can read more about her here and here. Check out all her comic strips and reviews here. And a sample of her work:

how to eat pussy erika moen cunnilingus oral sex  | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy | Blogging on Squarespace

Is it possible to be a feminist and like rough sex?

rough sex feminist kink bdsm | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy | Blogging on Squarespace

The feminist movement, in its various forms, has fought long and hard against gender power inequality and the oppression of women by men (intentional and unintentional).

When it comes to sex, power is almost always at play. And in the context of consensual sexual experiences, playing with power dynamics can be hot and a fun part of sexual experiences. Rough sex is an extension of power.

For opposite sex couples, it might seem that feminism and male dominance in the bedroom are incompatible. But that's not necessarily the case, as explained in this article.

From Mashable:

Can you be a feminist and like rough sex?
By Yana Tallon-Hicks
Slapping, choking, spitting — if a woman gets off on a little consensual degradation in the bedroom, does that make her less of a feminist?
Many women who demand equal pay by day and harder spanks by night wake up feeling conflicted (and a little bruised) about their two favorite F-words: feminism and fucking.
Almost every version of feminism has been hell-bent on equalizing power structures and fighting gender-based oppression. But those feminists who are also hell-bent on bending over in the bedroom — using those very same power structures to get off — may be faced with questions about whether or not their political walk matches their pillow talk.
“I love being spat on during sex,” says Zoe, a 28-year-old graduate student I’m sipping espressos with. “The nastier the spit, the better. Does that make me a bad feminist? Do I need to burn all of my Audre Lorde books? Give back my Smith College degree?” She tosses aside a lock of hair as she laughs at the ridiculousness of her own rhetorical questions. I wonder how many times she’s caught a loogie.
Of the 1,500+ self-described “kinky” women Jennifer Eve Rehor studied in 2011, the majority were found to have participated in “at least one of the following activities for their own sensual or erotic pleasure: physical humiliation, deprivation, punishment (physical), breath play, obedience/training, verbal abuse/humiliation, other forced activities and service-oriented submission/domestic service.” They did so in the role of the receptive or submissive partner.

Read the rest here, including the ways in which kink, rough sex, and feminism can work in harmony: link.

 

 

Pornhub's 2015 review: Porn, porn, and more porn.

For those unfamiliar with Pornhub, it is a pornography sharing website. It's the biggest porn site on the web.

Pornhub has its own data analytics team, and they regularly publish findings from the piles of data that they collect. You can check out their blog, Pornhub Insights, here: link . I've posted from the blog before (I love stuff like this).

pornhub insights 2015

Every year, Pornhub Insights publishes its annual review. It's long, and chock full of super interesting data. Here are some of the key, or most interesting, findings of 2015:

  • 4,392,486,580 hours of porn were watched
  • there were 21.2 billion visits
  • the highest page views per capita belonged to the USA at 191 (Canada was 3rd with 165)
  • average length of visit was 9 minutes and 16 seconds
  • most searched term worldwide was lesbian; teen and stepmom were almost tied for second
  • teen and milf were searched almost equally frequently worldwide (although teen still more)
  • largest gain in proportion of searches was giantess (giant women), with a 1091% gain
  • top searched porn stars worldwide were: Kim Kardashian, Mia Khalifa, and Lisa Ann - these three were far more popular than the all others
  • 24% of viewers were women
  • the average age of viewers was 35.3, but 60% were millennials (a skewed distribution)

Below is the first of many interesting infographics. Go check out the whole review here: link.

pornhubinsights5

Turtlenecking.

Passed along by Alex (thanks!).

Turtlenecking is a fetish, or paraphilia. It's related to wool fetish (i.e., woolies). The images in this post are from a tumblr featuring turtlenecking: link (You can also check out a dedicated wool and bondage website with photos here: link)

The tumblr site includes a good description of turtlenecking and why it's such a turn-on for some people:

Turtlenecking or facewank is a fetish about rubbing face with collar of turtleneck sweater. It is a game when head plays a role of dick and turtleneck plays role of foreskin.  “Condom” can be used - nylon stocking or pantyhose over ther head to make frictions easyer and protect face. During frictions wool is producing smell which is important part of play. Also there are analog of cum - if turtlenecked person asked to keep liquid in mouth during wanking or if ballgag used which produces saliva drooling. Originaly fetish appeared at website  woolbondage.com. At the “students party”  ordinary turtleneck sweaters are in use. In advanced fetish games players can use special collars with rubber bands under armpits for moving collar down. There are self-turtlenecking and turtlenecking by partner. Practicers believe that stimulating of head which has many erogenous zones can have as a result sensitive emotions up to orgasm.

Dinosaur erotica.

Link posted in the comments section this week (thanks!).

When it comes to kinks, fetishes, and sexual interests in general, the rule goes - if you can imagine it, there's someone somewhere who gets turned on by it.

From IFLScience

Dinosaur Erotica Novels Are A Real Thing
by Tom Hale
As well-read as you may be, you’ve probably never heard of this obscure subgenre before. Yes, “dinosaur erotica” is dedicated to the niche world of dinosaur fetishes and mythical beast penchants, with some of its titles including “Mating with the Raptor,” "Taken at the Dinosaur Museum,” and “Ravished by the Triceratops“.
[...]
The Huffington Post asked Alara Branwen, coauthor of several dinosaur erotica books, about what she felt the appeal of fantasy dino-sex was. “I think it’s because dinosaur erotica appeals to our more base, carnal natures,” she said. “Some people also probably like the idea of a big, powerful, massive male roughly having sex with a smaller female. It’s like the ultimate sexual experience with an alpha male, which is something that we are all inherently wired to enjoy.”

Read the rest here: link.

Documentary: Fat Girls and Feeders (Feederism).

Feederism is considered a fetish or paraphilia.

Feeders derive sexual pleasure from feeding their partners (often to the point of extreme obesity).

Gainers derive sexual pleasure from eating (and typically becoming as large as possible).

However, most feeders are not in relationships with gainers, who are rare - they're typically in relationships with obese partners who gain weight to sexually satisfy their feeder partners. These partners are called feedees. For the sake of simplicity, I will refer to feedees as the partners of feeders, even though some are clearly gainers.

There's an ongoing debate about the nature and health of feeder/feedee relationships.

Fans of feederism typically claim that feeder/feedee relationships are fully consensual, that power is shared equally between the partners, that both the feeders and the feedees derive sexual pleasure from the feeder/feedee dynamic, and that the couples are fulfilled by their relationships. This is likely true for some, if not many, feeder/feedee relationships (although there isn't any good research, so we don't know).

On the other hand, critics argue that feeder/feedee relationships are highly exploitative and manipulative, and are extremely dangerous for the feedees. Critics claim that the feeders are predatory, taking advantage of women with extreme low self-esteem and poor body image.

Fat Girls and Feeders is the documentary that explores the feeder/feedee relationship. It paints a very pathological picture.

You can download it here (NSFW and not for the faint of heart).

On YouTube:

Not long after the documentary was released, Gina, the woman featured in it, had these scathing words to say in defence of her relationship: link here.

There are websites devoted to the feeder scene. These two appear to be the largest: links here and here.

For a critique of feederism, click here.

There's a defence of feederism in the reply section, submitted by someone who is not part of the class but who came across the post last year.

Another mini-doc about feederism from Vice:

New research on gynandromorphophilia, or sexual attraction to 'shemales' (pejorative).

Bailey Jay

Bailey Jay

It appears that a growing number of heterosexual-identifying men are seeking out pornography featuring performers who were born male, retain their penises, but otherwise are female. These trans women performers and sex workers are often called shemales or tgirls, although many consider both terms pejorative. Typically, their transitions include the use of feminizing (i.e., female) sex hormones and breast enhancement surgery.

Many heterosexual men with this sexual preference are understandably confused and question their sexual identities. I've worked with several of them in my clinical practice. The objective of our work together is to increase understanding, acceptance, and integration of their sexual interest within the context of their heterosexual identities (much like any other unusual sexual interest).

As for the exact nature and origins of this sexual interest, nobody is entirely sure. Some, such as Dan Savage of Savage Love, have suggested that what drives these men is a sexual interest in penises, but not men. Framed this way, trans women with penises are a man-free and safe way to satisfy a sexual interest in penises.

Another theory suggests that a sexual interest in trans women with penises is related to, or a manifestation of, autogynephilia. Autogynephilia is a paraphilia (an unusual sexual interest) seen in heterosexual men, and characterized by sexual fantasies of having a woman's body.

A study recently published in the journal Psychological Medicine is the first to shed some light on this topic.

The main findings were that men with gynandromorphophilia really are heterosexual (and not homosexual or bisexual), but exhibit a unique pattern of sexual responding to stimuli featuring trans women with penises.

You can read the full academic journal article here: link.

Abstract

Background
Gynandromorphophilia (GAMP) is sexual interest in gynandromorphs (GAMs; colloquially, shemales). GAMs possess a combination of male and female physical characteristics. Thus, GAMP presents a challenge to conventional understandings of sexual orientation as sexual attraction to the male v. female form. Speculation about GAMP men has included the ideas that they are homosexual, heterosexual, or especially, bisexual.

Method
We compared genital and subjective sexual arousal patterns of GAMP men with those of heterosexual and homosexual men. We also compared these groups on their self-ratings of sexual orientation and sexual interests.

Results
GAMP men had arousal patterns similar to those of heterosexual men and different from those of homosexual men. However, compared to heterosexual men, GAMP men were relatively more aroused by GAM erotic stimuli than by female erotic stimuli. GAMP men also scored higher than both heterosexual and homosexual men on a measure of autogynephilia.

Conclusions
Results provide clear evidence that GAMP men are not homosexual. They also indicate that GAMP men are especially likely to eroticize the idea of being a woman.

Art show at the Belkin: Maria Eichhorn's Film Lexicon of Sexual Practices.

Passed along by Franz (thanks!).

Running this fall at UBC's Belkin gallery is a retrospective of German artist Maria Eichhorn. One of the pieces is a series of films that she began almost 20 years ago. Here's the description from the Belkin's webpage:

Film Lexicon of Sexual Practices, begun in 1999, consists of 20 three-minute long (the length of a roll) 16 mm films. Each film depicts in a single shoot a close-up of the sexual activity named in the respective title – Anal coitus, Mouth, French Kissing, for example. Every time the work is exhibited, new films are produced. This is the fifth time the work has been shown and the Belkin has commissioned three new films for the exhibition: Japanese bondage, Wax play and Needle Play. Visitors to the exhibition can choose films from the titles listed on the wall and request the films to be screened by the attending projectionist.

More information: link.

Possibly another field trip?

Female paraphilia case studies.

Paraphilias only become a clinical concern if they cause significant distress or dysfunction to the individual, or cause some sort of harm. In other words, simply being kinky is not a disorder. As clinicians, we have to be exceptionally careful not to pathologize healthy variants of sexual interest and expression.

The cases of female paraphilics presented in a paper by Fedoroff, Fishell, & Fedoroff (1999) demonstrate how paraphilias can become a clinical concern. Here is a sample case:

Case 2. This bisexual woman was brought to the emergency room by police, but not charged. Police had been called to a man's apartment when she appeared at his door and told him she wanted to have sex with him after she tied him to the bed. Instead of letting her in, the man called the police. When they arrived, she told them she would go with them quietly if they first let her carry out her sexual wishes. She was searched and a rope and large hunting knife were seized. On examination, she was hyper-talkative, grandiose, and irritable. She reported an insatiable sex drive directed toward the man she had intended to rape. She also described a belief that her mother had been attempting to poison her.

Comment: This woman was clearly in the manic phase of a bipolar mood disorder at the time of assessment. During the previous 3 weeks she had also shown symptoms of erotomania. Erotomania is a delusional disorder. It is one example of a psychiatric disorder that can result in behaviour (e.g., stalking) that is sometimes confused with paraphilic behaviour (Menzies, Fedoroff, Green, & Isaacson, 1995). She had become convinced that the man, with whom she had daily but casual contact, had become madly in love with her and seduced her by sending her coded messages to which she had responded.

When asked why she thought the man in question had not opened the door of his apartment to her she said, "I think he is a naive virgin". Although her presentation was coloured mainly by her major mental illness, she did admit to having strong sadistic and masochistic sexual fantasies (including non-consensual activities) which, while not required for sexual arousal, greatly enhanced it.

This is an interesting case in that her behaviour seems to be driven by her bipolar disorder; however, also contributing to her behaviour is her paraphilic sexual interest. Keep in mind that paraphilias, especially when presentations are more severe such as these, are relatively rare in women. You can read the rest of the cases here (warning: many of the cases involve child sexual assault).

Flare magazine gets racy with an article on sex parties.

Passed along by Ola (thanks!):

I mentioned to you in class about the positive porn movement that has been happening in Toronto. I originally heard about it from this article in Flare, a women's fashion magazine (I guess they decided to push some boundaries!)
Here is a link to the article: link.
I found it really interesting! Hard to imagine being in a room with a group of strangers and watching two people have sex without it being "pervy" as the author described. I found it really heartwarming how they handled the man who approached them wanted to perform in their porn if he lost some weight, and they quickly dismissed any notion about him needing to change.

And an excerpt from the article:

I’ve been to many CrushTO parties since that first one. Whenever I mention them, I can see in people’s eyes a vision of naked hedonists stuffing things in every orifice. But they’re less like raunchy orgies than sexy dance parties. Attendees of every size and shape wear as little or as much as they like. Some go wild and topless on the dance floor, while shyer folks can play spin-the-bottle in a quiet corner. You sense that what you look like matters less than your joie de vivre. Dan, a 34-year-old payroll administrator, has been an I’d Tap That regular from the beginning, attending almost every event over the past couple years (and even appearing in two Spit shoots—shocking, given how timid he seems). He likes the fact that there is open communication about what potential partners are looking for: “It’s an accepting atmosphere. I’ve had the confidence to do things that I never would’ve done before—and I don’t even mean the porn shoots, I mean just talking to new people.”
Lucia O’Sullivan, Canada Research Chair in Adolescent Sexual Health Behaviour and a University of New Brunswick psychology professor, says that millennials, despite their wanton gallivanting, have “one of the most conservative sexual health records—definitely in comparison to their parents and grandparents. The research shows there are lower-than-ever rates of pregnancy and abortion.” She does grant that, while use of birth control and condoms has improved, STIs are still on the rise, but that uptick is happening across generational and sexual-preference spectrums, not just among free-wheeling Gen-Yers. “Their attitudes are much more progressive. They’re more open and appreciative of diversity,” she continues. “A lot of people confuse this approach to sexuality with a more permissive sexual life, but young people are still making very healthy decisions.”

 

And more from Ola:

Here is a link to the people who hosted the party and are "leading an anything-goes, everyone-welcome social sex revolution": link. The shoot was specifically for their subset magazine called "Spit".

 

A dominatrix challenges some long-held beliefs.

A very unique perspective on some of our cultural myths and assumptions, from a professional dominatrix.

From the article at the Rumpus:

There’s no such thing as:

  1. Intimacy without vulnerability
  2. An accurate definition of sex 
  3. A typical submissive man
  4. A woman who isn’t someone’s wildest fantasy
  5. A neat cause-and-effect explanation for the nuances of human psychology
  6. “Normal”
  7. A replacement for hard work
  8. A one-sided relationship
  9. Universal taboos
  10. A good age to stop playing

Read the whole thing to get all the details(it's a good read): link.

Bad sex media bingo.

Brought to you by Sense About Sex (link), a brilliant and fun way to counter all the misinformation that seems to get repeated over and over again in the media, despite no scientific evidence to support it. Read below the card for information from the Bad Sex Media Bingo site (link).

Notice any claims that you thought were true? For the explanations, click here.

From the site:

Why Bad Sex Media Bingo?

So much coverage of sex in the media is boiled down to the simplest of clichés and the loudest of headlines. People with vested interests – campaigners, people selling toys, remedies and dubious fixes – are uncritically quoted as experts.

There are many ways to spot a bad sex programme or article – one that’s been made to fit an agenda, perhaps, or one that is more about prurience and sensationalism than accuracy or helping people.

So we’re inviting you to play Bad Sex Bingo with us. How many of our bingo numbers can you spot during each new programme or article about sex? Will you be able to call House! first?

Play along with us on Twitter: our hashtag is #badsexbingo.

We also hope you’ll use Bad Sex Media Bingo to inform media production, to teach and train on these issues, to support activist work in this area, and for any other purposes for which it is useful.

Each of the points in Bad Sex Media Bingo is:

  • Commonly repeated in the media (across broadcast and print media),
  • Problematic and potentially harmful,
  • Easily recognisable, and
  • Covers a range of areas.

For each of our bad sex media examples we also have explanations saying:

  • Why they are a problem,
  • What negative impacts they can have, and
  • What would better ways of presenting sex there are.

The Hanky Code: Signalling sexual preferences in gay culture.

The Hanky Code originated in 1970s San Francisco gay culture, although some have suggested that it goes back to the time of the Gold Rush, when access to women was limited.

It is a way for men looking to have sex with men can communicate the type(s) of sex they like, and what type of role they would like to play (e.g., top versus bottom). It may vary slightly by region to region, but generally the code is pretty consistent.

The Gay Entertainment Directory created the following decoder that captures most combinations. Check it out (click to make larger):

This weekend: Hump! movie tour hits Vancouver.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Hump! movie festival, it's the creation of Dan Savage of Savage Love. People are invited to create short porny films and submit them for review. The best ones are chosen and become part of the Hump! tour, which makes it way around the continent.

From the homepage:

Since 2005, the HUMP! Film Festival has challenged ordinary people from all over the Pacific Northwest to become temporary porn-stars by making their very own five-minute dirty movies for a chance to win big cash prizes. And they did not disappoint! The resulting short films run the gamut of sexual styles: straight, gay, lesbian, transgender... every color in the sexual rainbow. Created and performed by sex-positive people just like you, HUMP! films are sexy, funny, thought-provoking, artistic, outrageous, and oh so real. Now, we're bringing the very best of HUMP! to your town! See 18 of the hottest HUMP! films in action. They'll make you laugh, squeal, and marvel at the broad (and creative) range of human sexuality. It's the best of HUMP! You'll be glad you came.

If you're interested in checking it out, it's this weekend. You can find more information and tickets here: link.