Proper Condom Use

What do you use condoms for?  Do you use them to prevent pregnant? Prevent STDs/STIs?  Do you ever think that condoms interfere with the pleasure of having sex?  Do they ruin the romance of sex?

Peter Chua’s article Condoms in the Global Economy help us understand condom use by focusing on the use of condom among different groups.  Especially town particular, at risk, groups, such as gay mean and young women.  Researchers have sought to understand the social factors that prevent condom use; this includes the study of the role that education and public information that is available.  With this public and private agencies can minimize unwanted pregnancies and disease (509).

Here’s an example of sex education being wanted because the adults of South Park don’t want their kids to learned about sex from the television:

http://southpark.cc.com/clips/152837/sex-education Continue reading

What’s Sex got to do with…. Marriage?

According to Erica Hunter marriage is a “legal and social contract, and an institution that includes romance and weddings that reinforce gender roles and heterosexuality” (Hunter 308).  Is that really the case now though? I think not.

Hunter explains that marriage provides a lot of couples with many personal benefits as well as a marker of transition to adulthood.  With that, marriage helps legitimate heterosexual relationships because the relationships between marriage and sexuality is created and maintained through gender expectations and roles.  Heterosexual marriage is celebrated in our society and is sitting at an outstanding 90% of population that will be married in their lives (Hunter 309).  This clearly shows how marriage is an institution that reinforces the idea that heterosexuality is the way to be.

Nonethess, over time marriage has drastically changed.  One of the main differences is that same-sex couples are now allowed to marry.  In 35 states: AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, HI, ID, IA, IL, IN, KS, ME, MD, MA, MN, MT, NC, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, UT, VA, VT, WA, WV, WI, and WY, plus Washington, D.C. and St. Louis, Missouri – same-sex couples have the freedom to marry.  Below is a map that explain it in detail. Continue reading

What’s Sex got to do with…. Danny Glover?

“Okay, cool, okay, bool, I love her; I’mma save her, yes, like Danny Glover; I’mma call my partner ‘fore; I fuck her mother; I pass them a molly, now they kiss each other; Every time I fuck I gotta hit me least like two bitches; For that dope he whipped, you need a new wrist; Foreign car outside, that bitch got two digits; Money stand like eight feet just like two midgets.”

Young Thug’s song Danny Glover really addresses one of the major double standards in our society: this it is okay for guys to sleep with multiple girls, but when roles are reversed and girls have multiple partners, they are called sluts.  Young women’s sexual desire is still not considered an anchor for their sexuality; dressed in heels thongs and short skirts, in the end, it is desire for relationships that is what girls are supposed to have (Tolman 155).  But why not have young men think the same?  Without understanding or acceptance that girls too have and are entitles to sexual feelings, this double standard will not go away.

Here’s the video to check out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPbzMMorE_E Continue reading

What’s Sex Got to Do With……. South Park?

What does it mean to be transgender?  According to Tauches, “transgender is an umbrella term that is used to describe a group of people who intentionally “mismatch” their sex and their gender identity” (134).  Let’s ask Eric Cartman what he thinks it means to be “transginger”…..

http://southpark.cc.com/clips/ms8uv8/im-transginger

In this clip you can see that Principal Victoria doesn’t really know what it means to be transgender as she says that since Cartman want to be a girl that he must be attracted to boys.  This also ties into how heteronormativity, or the view that heterosexuality is the only acceptable form of sexuality, figures prominently in American sexual culture (136).  Heterosexuality is seen as “normal” or the right ay for people to be; this is seen everyday life through the assumptions that everyone is heterosexual.

Gender varies at difference levels, such as the personal, international, and institutional level; at the personal level, society dictates what is considered normal for a person ion terms of their gender identity (135).  This includes how individuals use their hair-style, clothing, mannerisms, and their ways of talking to express the gender they choose to have.

Continue reading

For the Love of Porn

Let’s start here:

In Chris Pappas’s article “Sex Sells, but what else does to do?” he discusses the study of pornography in the American culture. He explains how porn represents a “vital and active mode through which pass carious strands of thought, research, and practice about gender, sex, sexuality, culture, organizations, and economics” (Pappas 320). Perhaps the question that first needs to be answered is what is porn? No one can agree on a single thing that makes something pornographic because most people never have a steady definition of what porn is exactly, but there is always the obscene material, sacred and profane scenes, along with erotic and vulgar language in the flux. If you ask Supreme Court Justice, Potter Stewart, he knows it when he sees it. Therefore many definitions focus on porn as sexually explicit material that is made to cause sexual arousal (321). This leads to the debate of what is considered property nudity and what is offensive, and because of this in 1973 the US Supreme Court set the frame for defining unprotected obscenity in Miller v. California. They came up with the “Miller Test” that had three conditions: the average person, contemporary community standards, and appeal to the prurient interest (321). The problem with this is of course the debate of what you would describe the average person as and how to determine what they decide as offensive in comparison to another person. Another tool that was used was the “SLAPS Test” meaning that the obscene work much in some way lack “S”erious “L”iterary, “A”rtistic, “P”olitical, or “S”cientific value (321). This provides problems because there is no concrete, consistent definition of what constitutes literature, art, and value.

Pornography can be framed as a social problem because of the obscene and unwanted behavior and because of this conservatives claim that porn contributes to moral decay and corruption. In contrast radial feminists say that porn is used to uphold the patriarchy, sexism, and the continued devaluing of women (321). A similar attempt to define what pornography is came from the second wave feminists and previous feminist that had worked on anti-sexual violence campaigns. They claimed, “that such cultural symbols taught and reinforced notions of male supremacy and gender/sexual inequality, and that taken together they created a “rape culture,” or a context wherein the sexual abuse of women was normalized and justified” (322). Other feminists tired to make a division between erotica (non-violent, egalitarian, loving form of sexually explicit material) and pornography (hate, violent, and exploitative). Then there were feminists like Andrea Dworkin and Catherine MacKinnon who attempted to pass anti-pornography laws in multiple cities. These laws would establish porn as a civil rights issue and gave the women who participated in porn or women who were abused because of porn a way to challenge their abusers in the court setting (322). Dworkin and MacKinnon followed the logic that the cultural products caused unwanted behaviors and contributed to social ills. Around 1980, psychologists tried to show that men felt more animosity towards women after viewing porn; especially porn that was considered “violent” (323). But years later that information was thrown out, and in result anti-pornography feminist began to be criticized.

Besides the question of what is porn, the next important question is who buys/watches porn and who makes it. Anne McClintock sees the porn industry as a “giant, high profile, multi-billion dollar international business that draws on the most sophisticated electronic systems, vast personnel division, teams of technicians, secretaries, and market analyzers, fleets of transport vehicles and global distribution networks” (323). Pornography is one of the most influential, popular forms of pop culture. Annual profits range form one to ten billion dollars; this does not even count internet porn, which had given individuals easy access to sexually explicit material. Pornography has emerged as a mass industry and this shows how the beliefs and moral are changing. With that being said, according to the General Social Survey (GSS) the number of people who have watched porn had drastically increased and therefore, it is becoming more socially acceptable (324). Nevertheless, because of porn’s easy access to everyone, this is not precise way or source that can account for everyone who watches porn.

Along with the audience of porn growing, we also know that the number of women who watch porn has also increased. Because of this major changes in the content of porn has happened: the sex industry began to go away from the straight male domain and veer into the market for couples. With that pornography also expands to gay and lesbian couples as well; honestly, for any social or sexual category or sexual fetish there is porn that favors.

Check out this link for a very interesting, detailed porn survey:

http://www.cosmopolitan.com/lifestyle/videos/a20835/how-you-watch-porn-survey/

In conclusion Chris Pappas dissected the history of contemporary pornography and many ways to define and regulate it based the context of feminists debates. However, with the more we now know about pornography, we can now more accurately analyze its heavy influence and significance to society. Pappas believes that with this new approach, porn should be taken seriously as a massive, organized, popular industry for the entertainment of pleasure.

What’s Sex Got to do with… LHHATL?

Love and Hip Hop Atlanta (LHHATL) is one of the most popular reality shows out there. It involves different couples all in some way connecting with the music industry, but perhaps the most talked about couple last year was Mimi Faust and ex-boyfriend Nikko Smith. It was reported that after a vacation, Nikko’s bags got stolen and in the bags there where homemade sex tapes the couples had made together, and now they were about to be leaked when the tapes got in the hands of adult entertainment giant Vivid Video, the same company who was responsible for the distribution of Kim Kardashian and then-boyfriend Ray J’s infamous tape.

After receiving information that the tape would be released, Mimi and Nikko then took a trip to discuss the distribution of the tape. Episodes later when the tape was released there was a bit of questioning of the true production of the tape. Was this tape really homemade?

In the clip below Mimi finally admits it wasn’t all homemade as she had claimed it was before:

http://www.vh1.com/shows/love_and_hip_hop_atlanta/mimi-finally-reveals-the-truth-about-the-sex-tape/1067559/video/#id=1729915

Therefore, in fact, this is pornography.

Mimi constantly defended the tape and her reasoning for releasing it: this was a tape “with her man” and she made a good amount of money by releasing it through the company. In other words , Mimi Faust was expressing her sexual liberation through this tape. In Kristen Baker’s article Sex and Power, it is argues is pornography shows gender dominance or sexual liberation. While some feminist lean towards the gender dominance argument, many feminists believe that porn is a potential way by which women can learn to be more sexually open and assertive. It is argued that much of pornography offers images that encourage women to explore and improve their sexuality and freedom (46). It is further explained that porn can prompt women to play with sex and allow them to create an image of healthy, free female sexuality. This was definitely shown when after Mimi’s and Nikko’s tape was released there was a high rise in the sale of shower rods, due to the tape infamous “shower rod scene”.

It was stated that after Mimi’s adventure on the shower rod portion of the tape, many women wanted to try it out; this proves Barker’s point that porn creates a form of feminism that encouraged women to really explore their sexuality. Porn then becomes a safe place for women to play with power if they are able to control their own fantasies (i.e. shower rods) (47). All in all, Barker argues that pornography encourages women and couple to expand on their understanding of what is sexy, which in return gives them sexual liberation.

Back Door: Open or Closed?

Simon Hardy describes “Phallic Sexuality” as “the dominant way of doing and thinking about sexuality in modern Western Culture”; this form of sexuality “centers the penis and its penetrative role in coital intercourse”. It is also “patriarchal because the act of intercourse is understood in terms of an anatomical dichotomy in which the penis is seen as active and the vagina is seen as passive”; therefore, the male partner is superior to the female partner who is inferior (107). Recently anal sex has been included in this phallic sex model when the anus has become the substitute for the passive vagina. Although the male is seen as superior, in such cases of male-to-male anal sex, some men came can take on the inferior role. Hardy’s article looks at how anal sex can be encountered in a variety of guises: as a method of contraception, as a health risk, as a heterosexual substitute, as a perversion, as a routine variation of sexual repertoire, as a special/ultimate intimacy, as a fashionable theme of cultural representation, as an obligatory pornographic number, and as an act of phallic domination (107). I will dissect the method of contraception, the health risks, the heterosexual substitute, the routine variation, and as a fashionable theme.

The method of contraception focuses on how females cannot get pregnant form anal sex. It states that anal sex is practiced as a practical method of contraception by heterosexual couples where anal sex is a direct substitute for “regular” vaginal intercourse. While, this might help the pregnancy rate, it sure does not help the STD/HIV percentages. Maybe not in America as much, but this has been cited by public health agencies in Africa that this is a possible contributing factor to the rapid spread of HIV infections. This could be because since they know they cannot get pregnant from anal sex, they chose not to protect themselves with condoms, therefore exposing them for chance of disease (107).

This leads into how anal intercourse is heavily associated with a number of health issues. In addition it is above all the potential for the sexual transition of HIV infection. This can be seen in the down low community. The Centers of Disease Control released in 2001 estimated that 30 percent of black men where infected with HIV. Of these men, majority of them had had anal intercourse with other men (Hoy 380). This is the practice of “barebacking”: where young gay men have unprotected anal intercourse leaving them for a high chance of being infected (107).

This is a picture of gay porn star Rod Daily who is infected with HIV from having unprotected sex with men.

In is stated that a lot of the men who do gay porn are not really “gay”, but instead they are “gay-for-pay.” This means that they just get into gay porn because of the money they get in return. Do you buy this statement? Why or why not?

Next, is a heterosexual substitute; this focuses mainly on male inmates in prison where male-to-male penetration can substitute vaginal penetration, not for the purpose of not trying to get pregnant like purposes of contraception, but because of the absence of women (108). John Gagnon and William Simon’s classic study of the sexual conduct of the prisoners showed that this “homosexual” acts where between “straight” men. They where not doing so to release their sexual tension but instead to affirm their masculine identity. In prison the performance of sex act is the key of demonstrating a powerful, commanding masculinity. Their masculinity depends more on the roles they take on during sex rather than their actual sexual partner; masculinity is affirmed by anally penetrating (108).

In the movie Lockdown, the character Dre experiences this as soon as he gets to prison. Just shortly after meeting her cellmate, Graffiti, Dre is raped as takes on the passive role in the male-to-male intercourse while Graffiti affirms his masculinity by being the one who does the anal penetration. Below is the scene from the movie:

We can now look at anal sex as a routine variation of the sexual repertoire. In long-term relationships, anal sex brings the erotic force of norm violation to bear as a routine variation, so basically it’s the next step to improve you relationship sexually. Gagnon and Simon’s research on heterosexual couples show that as relationships become more established, anal intercourse was one of the number of variations that is gradually integrated (109). This usually starts by the male partner’s use of his fingers followed by increasingly attempts to penetrate. The National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles found that the proportion of men that have experienced anal sex in the past year has risen from 7 percent in 1990 to 12.3 percent in 2000 (109). The proportion of women had increased from 6.5 percent to 11.3 percent over the same about of time.

With support form the figures above, you can see that anal sex has become a fashionable theme of cultural representation. More and more teenagers are not adding anal sex to their daily sex talks. They say that anal sex is the only kind of sex that people are interested in now (109). It is definitely safe to say that anal sex has come from out the closet and hit the cultural mainstream hard. A lot of this has to do with everyone’s obsession with the ass in general. The ass has surly become a symbol for a new cult of voluptuous sensuality (109).

In conclusion, by dissecting anal sex as a method of contraception, a health risks, a heterosexual substitute, a routine variation, and as a fashionable theme we can attempt to imagine anal sex through various lens. On one had the gay practice of reciprocal anal penetration has been seen as de-centering the phallus has been the heart of normative sexuality; while on the other hand, in the heterosexual mainstream erotic imagination anal sex remains as an act generally understood in terms of a symbolic power relation (111).