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Sex Positive
Sexuality as a human right.
Curated by Deanna Dahlsad
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Kerry Has Big News For Same-Sex Couples

Kerry Has Big News For Same-Sex Couples | Sex Positive | Scoop.it

The US will immediately begin considering visa applications of gay and lesbian spouses in the same manner as heterosexual couples, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday.


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Misinformed Media Touts Bogus Sex Addiction Study

Why the media takes one bad study and distort its conclusions for shock value.

By Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S and Stefanie Carnes PhD, CSAT-S

July 24, 2013


In a nationally distributed study published last week, a group of researchers argued that what is often termed as “sexual addiction” could be better understood as a pathological variation of “high sexual desire.” After the publication of this article, a multitude of media outlets suggested that the conclusions of this study demonstrate that there is no scientific basis for the diagnosis of sexual addiction. This has occurred despite the study being the first of its kind, riddled with methodological errors, and at best inconclusive with its findings. Nevertheless, it continues to get a lot of media attention, most likely because it addresses problematic human sexual behavior, which is always a media attention-getter.


In the study, researchers monitored the brain activity (using EEG technology) of 52 men and women who self-reported as having “problems controlling their viewing of sexual images.” The researchers then asked these individuals to look at more than 225 still photos - pictures of everything from violence to people skiing to men and women being sexual together - while the EEG measured their brain activity. Participants also completed several questionnaires about their sexual desire and activity. Essentially, researchers were looking for a correlation between EEG readings and the participants’ scores on the various questionnaires, thinking that any correlations might shed light on whether problematicporn use is caused by addiction (which is in essence a neurobiological dysfunction) or merely a high libido.


Since the study’s release, critics have cited numerous flaws in it, including concerns that the sample group differed significantly from treatment-seeking sex addicts and that the individual test subjects were not screened for other possible co-morbid conditions that could have interfered with the results. Additionally, there are serious questions about the strategy used to score one of the instruments in the study, which likely invalidated the measure and distorted the statistics. Basically, the researchers’ determination of a subject’s hypersexuality was primarily based on that individual’s responses to questions about having sex with a partner, whereas the brain scans were used to monitor solo sexual activity. As any sex addict can tell you, there is a huge difference in how most of them feel about and respond to in-the-flesh sex versus on-the-screen activity. The most readily apparent methodological error was the research team’s misuse of the Sexual Desire Inventory (SDI). Oddly, the researchers decided to use only part of this comprehensive questionnaire - inexplicably ignoring the questions about solo sexual activity, which, once again, was the exact activity they were monitoring with the brain scans.


Feeling confused? So are we.


Furthermore, the pre-screening of test subjects was wildly inadequate. The study lumped anyone who reported “issues with porn” into the same category. This means that some of the subjects were not likely porn addicts, while others may have been severely addicted. Adding to the quagmire is the fact that the researchers chose vastly different test subjects - men, women, heterosexuals, and homosexuals - and then showed them all the same heterosexually oriented sexual images (when clearly a gay participant would not respond to heterosexual images in the same way). In addition, the test subjects were shown only still images - hardly the streaming HD videos and live webcam shows that most were likely used to using.


Another criticism is the authors’ reliance on EEGs to measure subjects’ brain activity. Yes, EEGs are a useful scientific tool, but only to a certain extent. The simple truth is EEGs measure brain activity from the outside of the skull, making them the neurological equivalent of a blunt instrument. This is hardly definitive when looking at the complicated interplay of the numerous brain regions involved in the creation and expression of sexual desire (rewards, mood, memorydecision-making, etc.)


So, in a nutshell, this study is inconclusive at best, with conclusions drawn by the authors that don’t correlate to the data.


At least the researchers are not overtly indicating that the issue doesn’t exist. Instead, they argue that the problem is not an addiction and that conceptualizing it as “high sexual desire” would be more accurate. However, these researchers did not study the same areas of the brain or use the same technologies that have been utilized in previous research looking at process (behavioral) addictions. In an article released in the journal Socioaffective Neuroscience and Psychology, Dr. Donald Hilton summarizes much of the brain research that does lead scientists to believe that sex (and other natural processes) can be addictions. For a thorough review of this scientific literature see his article here. None of the brain regions looked at in Dr. Hilton’s work or the studies he cited were discussed or examined in the recently released study.


Amazingly, despite the study’s poor design, bad execution, and obvious limitations, the authors chose to formulate misguided conclusions and publish, even sending out an international press release touting their “achievement.”


Dr. Hilton argues that we are on the brink of a paradigm shift in our conceptualization of process addictions. He states, “During the shift, crisis and tension predominate, clouding the significance of the shift in the present. Nevertheless, the new combined paradigm that amalgamates addictions to both substances and processes is beginning to assert itself.” This assertion is evidenced by the fact that in the PubMed literature database the term “sexual addiction” is used almost three times as often as any other term that describes the disease. So is this current media frenzy simply part of the “crisis and tension” clouding our view during the midst of a shift?


Why is it that when two excellent articles come out, one supporting the addiction framework and one questioning it, that the media hones in on one and distorts its conclusions for shock value? What are the resulting repercussions for the tens of thousands of patients whose reality is denied and invalidated? In the 1980s sex addicts were told by mental health practitioners that their problem didn’t exist. Well, it did exist, and because therapists didn’t help them they created their own support groups, and now that network of “S-fellowships” provides critical, free care to tens of thousands of people daily. So while we as clinicians can continue to argue whether this is an addiction, a compulsion, an impulse control problem, or high sexual desire, we should not be arguing that the problem doesn’t exist. And the media shouldn’t either.


A similar phenomenon occurred with alcoholism at the turn of the century. Alcohol addiction was seen as a “moral failing” brought on by a “lack of willpower.” It wasn’t until many years later, when we began to fully understand the disease concept of addiction, that it became better understood. So why is it that society would rather call sex addicts “womanizers” and “schmucks” than use a paradigm that is helpful?


So, let’s consider the repercussions of our labels… So far we have sex addiction, sexual compulsion, impulse control disorder, hypersexual behavior disorder, out-of-control sexual behavior, problematic sexual behavior, and now a new one: high sexual desire. Using the label “sex addiction” rather than the others has a multitude of advantages. First, it is the language that the clients speak. Clients do not come to therapybecause they think they have “hypersexual behavior disorder,” they come because they are “sex addicts.” Second, it is the term most often used by physicians. Third, by using an addiction perspective you can reduce the shame, normalize the behavior, provide lots of ancillary resources and materials, and immerse the client in a community of support that involves accountability and taking responsibility for one’s behavior. In contrast, how are we as therapists to effectively help a patient with his or her “high sexual desire”?


And when did high sexual desire and sexual addiction become mutually exclusive concepts? Simply put, diagnosing a person as having a high sexual desire does not rule out sexual addiction. In fact, the research discussed above does nothing to refute the concept of sexual addiction and the growing body of literature that supports that idea. Either way, until a definitive ruling is out, let’s stick to the label that’s clinically useful (especially since it looks like the majority of the existing research supports that paradigm).

 

Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S is Senior Vice President of Clinical Development with Elements Behavioral Health. A licensed UCLA MSW graduate and personal trainee of Dr. Patrick Carnes, he founded The Sexual Recovery Institute in Los Angeles in 1995. He has developed clinical programs for The Ranch in Nunnelly, TennesseePromises Treatment Centers in Malibu, and the aforementioned Sexual Recovery Institute in Los Angeles.He has also provided clinical multi-addiction training and behavioral health program development for the US military and numerous other treatment centers throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia.


Dr. Stefanie Carnes, Ph.D. is a licensed marriage and family therapist and an AAMFT approved supervisor. Her area of expertise includes working with patients and families struggling with multiple addictions such as sexual addiction, eating disorders and chemical dependency. Dr. Carnes is also a certified sex addiction therapist and supervisor, specializing in therapy for couples and families struggling with sexual addiction. Currently, she is the president of the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals. She is also the author of numerous research articles and publications including her books, Mending a Shattered Heart: A Guide for Partners of Sex AddictsFacing Addiction: Starting Recovery from Alcohol and Drugs, and Facing Heartbreak: Steps to Recovery for Partners of Sex Addicts.

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BuzzFeed • Everything you wanted to know about transgender...

BuzzFeed • Everything you wanted to know about transgender... | Sex Positive | Scoop.it
Everything you wanted to know about transgender people but were afraid to ask. 
Deanna Dahlsad's insight:

Click for all the images/info.

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Suzy Favor Hamilton Shouldn't Be Shamed For Turning to Sex Work

Suzy Favor Hamilton Shouldn't Be Shamed For Turning to Sex Work | Sex Positive | Scoop.it

In 1983, the Big Ten Conference established a women's Athlete of the Year award and later named it after Suzy Favor Hamilton, a University of Wisconsin middle distance runner and alumna who followed her illustrious college career with three appearances in the Olympic Games. She was more than qualified to have her name attached to such a prestigious award. Unfortunately, the conference announced on Tuesday that her name would be removed from the award after it was revealed in December that Favor Hamilton had worked as an escort since 2011.


"I do not expect people to understand," she wrote on Twitter, "but the reasons for doing this made sense to me at the time and were very much related to depression." She added that her husband knew about her work and didn't approve of it.


But something that the Big Ten needs to realize — along with the rest of the country — is that sex work is one of the most stigmatized professions in the world.


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Transgender women of Paris in the Fifties and Sixties

Transgender women of Paris in the Fifties and Sixties | Sex Positive | Scoop.it
  These beautiful photographs of transgender women, in Paris from the late 1950s and early 1960s were taken by Swedish photographer Christer Strömholm, who traveled to Paris in the late-fifties, where he hoped to create a new kind of night-life...

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Margaret Cho’s Laughing Orgasms

Margaret Cho’s Laughing Orgasms | Sex Positive | Scoop.it

This is kind of fun: in the most recent installment of Hysterical Literature, Margaret Cho keeps breaking out in squirming giggles and laughter as she orgasms — and eventually drops her Kindle — while reading aloud at the table...

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Deanna Dahlsad's curator insight, July 18, 2013 2:59 PM

From Hysterical Literature http://hystericalliterature.com/about/ :


Hysterical Literature is a video art series by NYC-based photographer and filmmaker Clayton Cubitt. It explores feminism, mind/body dualism, distraction portraiture, and the contrast between culture and sexuality. (It's also just really fun to watch.)

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What 10 Old People Think Of Gay Sex

What 10 Old People Think Of Gay Sex | Sex Positive | Scoop.it

"This one of the best things I have watched in a long time. Maybe it’s that I was expecting it to be horribly offensive, and I think that’s actually what they’re trying to address– that there is a stigma that people of generations that aren’t ours are rather unaccepting of the LGBT community.


Now while that may be true of some people, it certainly isn’t for all, lest we forget that they are even members! Something else to note is some of the terminology they used that I’m not sure we’d consider PC these days, but hey, one thing at a time."

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How America Interrupted Wilhelm Reich's Orgasmic Utopia - VICE

How America Interrupted Wilhelm Reich's Orgasmic Utopia - VICE | Sex Positive | Scoop.it
How America Interrupted Wilhelm Reich's Orgasmic Utopia
VICE
If the American public wasn't ready for Dr. Freud, then how much less prepared would they be for Dr.

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Nepal's Third Gender

Nepal has just completed its first national census that officially includes a third option in the gender categories that citizens can select, opening the way...


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CMT 'Open for Business' Panel Addresses LGBT Issues, Future of the Workplace

CMT 'Open for Business' Panel Addresses LGBT Issues, Future of the Workplace | Sex Positive | Scoop.it

The panel, appropriately titled “Open for Business” was a part of CMT's way of celebrating National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,...


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WATCH: Trailer For New Animated Movie Makes History By Featuring Same-Sex Parents!

WATCH: Trailer For New Animated Movie Makes History By Featuring Same-Sex Parents! | Sex Positive | Scoop.it
Laika, the same company that brought us "Coraline" and last year's Oscar-nominated "Paranorman," returns with the trailer for their next feature, "The Boxtrolls." Anyone who saw "Paranorman" (co-directed by out director Chris Butler) knows the...
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Sex Toy Safety: Fuck Yourself The Healthy Way | Sex~Kitten.net

Sex Toy Safety: Fuck Yourself The Healthy Way | Sex~Kitten.net | Sex Positive | Scoop.it

Are jelly toys safe? What are the concerns ~ and how can you best protect yourself?


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Supreme Court helps Obama correct course in the fight against AIDS — MSNBC

Supreme Court helps Obama correct course in the fight against AIDS — MSNBC | Sex Positive | Scoop.it

It hasn’t drawn as much attention as targeted killing, warrantless wiretapping, the ill treatment of Guantanamo prisoners, or White House meddling with the drug approval process. But the Obama administration’s dogged defense of the so-called “anti-prostitution pledge” has puzzled progressives as much as any policy in this president’s Bush-like second term.

 

The pledge law, adopted in 2003 to appease religious conservatives, bars U.S. support for any international health group that fails to speak out against prostitution—even if its clients are sex workers. Organizations as varied as UNAIDS,  the World Bank and the World Health Organization have condemned the rule for undermining the fight against HIV/AIDS, but Obama’s Justice Department hasn’t budged.

 

Now, thanks to a new Supreme Court decision, the pledge will finally be scrubbed from the books. In a Thursday morning decision, the court declared that the anti-prostitution pledge violates the constitution’s First Amendment. As Chief Justice John Roberts helpfully pointed out, that’s the one that “prohibits the government from telling people what they must say.”


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Catching Women. A Guide For Trappers and Hunters.

All this is about sex as warfare or as a hunt.  The beautiful women are the prey, the object is to get them in bed, and the advice the PUAs give is all about that.  The scoring is based on how many one-night stands a man can get, preferably with women who weren't that much into him in the first place.  And the basic trick is male dominance.  You pretend to be a dominant alpha male, and then you get all the pu**y that rightly belongs to you.

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Snoop Dogg Talks Sex Ed in 'One Life to Live' Cameo

Snoop Dogg Talks Sex Ed in 'One Life to Live' Cameo | Sex Positive | Scoop.it

Snoop and Gorrie—who plays a reluctant dad—chat about fatherly responsibility and the birds and the bees. As the Lion so sagely puts it to the young man looking to shirk his paternal duty, "This is the part of the story where the bird gets pregnant, smart ass. But they don't teach you this sh-t in school."


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Despite Images Of Affluence, LGBT Poverty High : NPR

Despite Images Of Affluence, LGBT Poverty High : NPR | Sex Positive | Scoop.it
Movies and television shows frequently depict gay characters as rich, but a new study finds that families led by LGBT Americans have higher rates of poverty than those headed by heterosexuals.

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How a new children’s sex-ed book steers clear of S-E-X

How a new children’s sex-ed book steers clear of S-E-X | Sex Positive | Scoop.it

In a quest to include everyone, the author of What Makes a Baby is deliberately vague.

 

...“If you have kids, you probably have four books about colours and 12 books about trucks and three books about sharing, giving or morality. But often parents have just the one book about sex ed. It’s a big part of our lives.”

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Sex-Ed For Graybeards

Sex-Ed For Graybeards | Sex Positive | Scoop.it

The truth is slowly dawning on American women that those dear men, perhaps husbands, fathers, or grandfathers, are demonstrating a lack in their education, specifically in their sex-ed, whether it was taught to them by their own fathers, older brothers, or the big boys who stood out on the street corners of their home towns. The poor fellows simply don't know any better! However, they are more than happy to display their ignorance at every opportunity. All one has to do is to stick a microphone in their faces and start asking them questions about some of the foremost debates of the day.

Thus, this old lady, being immune to the fear of death and too jaded to worry about any retaliation, will undertake the task of informing them of those lessons they missed. First, they are not to blame. Traditionally, the sex education of boys has fallen to either fathers or gym coaches -- most of whom suffered from the same ignorance of the subject or were too embarrassed to discuss the topic with the wide-open and expectant faces of the pubescent boys who were so eager to learn. I'm not talking about the "how-to" of the subect. That comes naturally and few boys require any assistance in mastering it.

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French geographers publish global atlas on sexuality

French geographers publish global atlas on sexuality | Sex Positive | Scoop.it

Where are people most unfaithful? Who uses sex toys? On a darker level, where is child rape more prevalent? French geographers have tried to answer these questions and others in a global atlas on sexuality.

 

From legislation and the dynamics of couples to prostitution and violence, the book maps out the evolution of sexual habits and acts around the world by collating various surveys, figures and reports already available.

 

“Sexuality is everywhere on our city walls and on our screens, in lighter news or in darker events,” said Nadine Cattan, research director in geography at France’s National Center for Scientific Research.


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Sex education after age old tradition of bael bihe

Sex education after age old tradition of bael bihe | Sex Positive | Scoop.it

According to the Newar tradition, young girls are married to Bael, which is the symbol of Subarna Kumar. The fruit is considered to be without any flaw and if a young girl gets married to it before her menstruation starts, she will never be considered a divorcee or a widow according to the religion.

 

...After the ceremony is completed, the young girls are kept in a dark room for 12 days and taught sex education.


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Deanna Dahlsad's curator insight, June 11, 2013 1:49 AM

Not the usual fare here, but remarkable

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Of Femdoms & Feminists: Part Two Of The Vintage Smut Writer Interview With Irv O. Neil

Of Femdoms & Feminists: Part Two Of The Vintage Smut Writer Interview With Irv O. Neil | Sex Positive | Scoop.it

You mentioned having a feminist girlfriend which made porn a no-no. Most of us know the history of feminism and pornography — which most people prefer to describe in terms of “feminists say porn bad”. There were actually various distinctions (between porn and erotica, and between feminist thinkers as well), but in your case, you had a feminist girlfriend who actually said porn was a no-no?


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The History of Burlesque

The History of Burlesque | Sex Positive | Scoop.it
"For too long these burlesque girls have been held down on the low rung of the entertainment ladder . . . but no more" declared Dixie Evans, the former Marilyn Monroe of Burlesque.

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The Erotics of Invisibility

The Erotics of Invisibility | Sex Positive | Scoop.it

This is paper I wrote on lesbian visibility and eroticism for a class on Renaissance literature and history in 2011. It is very dense– but perhaps still enjoyable.

 

...What I argue is that this invisibility of female homosexuality is not merely a result of the historical distance from the period, but rather a consciously acknowledged component of the understanding of female same-sex erotic desire at the time. In “Sappho to Philaenis,” the secrecy and immaculateness of the title characters’ sexual activity operates as one of Donne’s central arguments for the superiority of a female-female sexual relationship.


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OMG! Mommy Has Sex!

OMG! Mommy Has Sex! | Sex Positive | Scoop.it
The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article by Elizabeth Bernstein titled "How Often Should Married Couples Have Sex?

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Gracie Passette's curator insight, May 24, 2013 11:10 PM

Maddona/Whore lives on.

Curated by Deanna Dahlsad
An opinionated woman obsessed with objects, entertained by ephemera, intrigued by researching, fascinated by culture & addicted to writing. The wind says my name; doesn't put an @ in front of it, so maybe you don't notice. http://www.kitsch-slapped.com
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A Marketing Mix
Adventures in advertising and marketing - the contemporary, the historical, and the hysterical. http://deanna.dahlsad.com/
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Collecting old things; heirlooms and new to you things! Companion to http://www.inherited-values.com/
Colorful Prism Of Racism
Racism past and present. Companion to http://www.kitsch-slapped.com/category/colorful-prism-of-racism/
Consumption Junction
Consumerism meets marketing; who & what manipulates the free market of goods & services. See also: http://www.kitsch-slapped.com/category/ze-big-mouth-promotions-stuff/
Crimes Against Humanity
From lone gunmen on hills to mass movements. Depressing as hell, really.
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The roots of culture; history and pre-history.
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The stuff of nerdy, geeky, dreams.
Readin', 'Ritin', and (Publishing) 'Rithmetic
The meaning behind the math of the bottom line in publishing and the media. For writers, publishers, and bloggers (which are a combination of the two).
Sex Positive
Sexuality as a human right.
Vintage Living Today For A Future Tormorrow
It's as easy to romanticize the past as it is to demonize it; instead, let's learn from it. More than living simply, more than living 'green', thrifty grandmas knew the importance of the 'economics' in Home Economics. The history of home ec, lessons in thrift, practical tips and ideas from the past focused on sustainability for families and out planet. Companion to http://www.thingsyourgrandmotherknew.com/
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