Sex can be a perplexing topic. Sometimes we’re writing about, discussing, reveling in so much good, and other times we must wade through and deal with so much bad. This week’s Sex Stories We Love dwells a little on the dark side of sex, but this doesn’t mean these are necessarily bad themes. They are important stories and issues. They are conversations that must be had.

Sex Survey Says...

When you need to get your sex nerd stats and figures fix in all aspects of sex and sexuality, you’ve got to head over to Dr. Justin Lehmiller’s blog Sex and Psychology. This week, he offered up a quick reference analysis of Gallup's recent Value and Beliefs Survey. This poll, when offered up against the 2001 results, reveals a significant shift in American’s acceptance of certain sex- and sexuality-related topics, included gay and lesbian relationships, procreation outside of wedlock, and general sexytimes outside of the bonds of marriage. Divorce, stem cell research, and even polygamy have made gains! Personally, I’d love to see this contrasted with other countries around the world to gain an understanding of the global attitudes concerning sex and sexuality. Checking out this one view is a great start though!

Perplexing Porn Payments

It is always about the money. Depending on how you choose to consume pornography, you might not be at all aware of the background machinations involved in porn’s creation and reimbursement. Lux Alptraum, with the help of Ela Darling, takes us behind the scenes of the payment processing regulations and limitations imposed on the smut business.

Because major players like PayPal and the main credit cards won’t process porn, other businesses have popped up to fill the void as you’re filling your imagination. There are still so many rules! And, vague rules, to boot. Just the kind of rules nobody likes. Piss, violence, fisting, scat, blood, menstruation ... almost all are invariably banned by payment collection sites. Menstruation? Really? Never mind that all of these can be safe and hot fantasies for people but, as Alptraum notes, the ban on menstruation bleeds into many feminist realms. I’d never much thought of Bitcoin, but if it could be a useful tool, I’d be all over that.

Loonie Game Over, Please

These days, after close to 20 years documenting and commentating on sex and sexuality the world over, I am rarely shocked. I’ve seen all kinds of porn. I’ve heard of many curious sexual practices. I try to keep up with the parlance of the times. I’ve been to a fair number of strip clubs.Yet, the "game" of throwing coins at strippers has me completely flabbergasted and shaking my head. According to an article in Vice, throwing one-dollar coins, or "Loonies" as they're called, is a thing in Alberta, Canada. There are certain times and places you are encouraged to toss coins: a pretty fountain, a party game, the carnival. In a club at a naked woman? Who the fuck thought of the Loonie Game? For those outside Canada, trust that Alberta is one of the most perplexing parts of Canada. Ridiculously conservative at times, it also has a significantly bent streak at others.

War Machine Backfires

Unfortunately, if you thought that was the only degrading-to-women story that I have for you, you might have missed the utterly asinine defense that MMA fighter War Machine decided to employ in his trial for sexually and physically assaulting porn star Christy Mack. Apparently, as the defense strategy goes, it was all good for War Machine to sexually assault Mack because she works in porn. Apparently, that gives him (and presumably anyone else) a free pass with adult entertainers. Because, of course, porn means 100% consent, 100% of the time. Fortunately, the judge saw right through this ploy by the attorney and immediately shot it down. That has to be noted because of the other stupid things judges have said to rape victims. Utterly despicable.

Domination Comes in All Forms

There can be something so damn hot about breaking the rules. Even if those rules are completely arbitrary and locally defined, stepping outside of the norm can elicit a wonderfully naughty thrill. When you challenge sexual conventions, such as by being a dominant woman who loves to suck cock, you’re going to turn some head(s). From an outsider’s perspective, BDSM-based relationships seem to have a lot of rules and expectations, not only in acts but also in demeanor. Given the way blow jobs are used and perpetuated as a male-dominating act, it seems at odds for a dominant woman to want to “give up” that power to her submissive male. Yet, nobody’s giving anything up. In fact, both partners have a lot to gain!

For the Love of Keyboard Connections

Ah, Craigslist. While other dating and hookup sites and apps might have all the bells and whistles, good old Craigslist is always there as a reliable indicator of the human sexual condition. Despite our overwhelming embrace of technology, there are often cries that there is not enough ‘human connection’ because of the ability to meet someone online. Kayla Lords recently wrote about her explorations of the "Casual Encounters" section (and others) and came up with an “almost refreshing” revelation on the positive aspect of dallying online: you can easily and unabashedly put yourself out there - your kinks, your desires, your needs - without looking another person in the face. As an introvert, I have always loved this aspect of online connection. Getting all of the “details” out of the way can be relieving and help the possible meeting go more smoothly. Long live Craigslist!