Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'

-Bob Dylan, "The Times They Are A-Changin’"


Action to Access

I’m going to do just a little bit of chest-thumping here as I am really proud to learn this amazing fact about Canada. Back in the late 1960s, which is a time that we all think of as this big sex-in of free love, it was still illegal to advertise, distribute, or sell birth control. Abortion was just out of the question. In defiance of this law, a group of students at McGill University in Montreal created and distributed "The Birth Control Handbook." Now, I’ve been involved in DIY publications for a long time, and I can tell you that these things are not easy to make. And, of course, this was completely illegal at the time. But that didn’t stop these pioneers of sex education. They went on to print more than 3 million copies of the work, sending it to campuses and sexual health organizations all over the world and helping spur changes in law and societal attitudes.

34 No More?

When the world changes, the rules change. I doubt anybody ever thought that would be the case with the most hilarious rule not on the books, but it is altogether possible that Rule 34 o f the Internet will someday be true. For those not familiar, Rule 34 says that if it exists or if you can imagine it, there is porn about it. As it turns out, that was particularly true back in the day. That day being the 2000s, when anything and everything was popping up online.

Times change. Now porn is largely consolidated and access to indie producers and whatever curious predilections they may have is much more challenging. There are no lazy searches. You have to weed through sites that attach tags that point to other more popular content, such as inserting “MILF” everywhere. I wonder if there’s porn for that? Hot shots of people inserting tags on images that don’t relate to that tag …

Awful Behavior

Sometimes, however, rules do change for the better. Especially when those rules are abusive, victimizing and entirely asinine (and here’s where my Canadianism takes a hit). Brandon University recently canceled its use of a behavioral contract for victims of sexual assault. The document was given to survivors in order to manage interactions between them and their assailants. However, this contract required survivors to not speak to anyone except their school counselor about their assault, and to avoid reporting the incident to the police. Failure to comply would result in suspension or expulsion. Fortunately, when this heartbreaking bureaucracy was brought to light, it was rectified and the contract is longer used. It took a number of months of investigation and a media hit ... but it happened.

One Hand Clapping

Could a general sex culture shift be headed back to simpler times? Could we be ready to romanticize more basic acts? Could the handjob be making a comeback? That's what Mandy Stadtmiller argued over at The Cut last week. When did it ever go away? That would be my first question. And did people really think so poorly of one of the nice, quick and sensual forms of pleasure that we’ve got going?

I will present my bias: I have a penis and I have always liked handjobs. Sure, for those providing the handjob, it can be a fairly one-way act. However, as these stories relate, the handjob is not just a milestone accomplishment on your way to bigger and better things. It can be imbued with eroticism and excitement for everybody involved. So, we’re not really talking about a change here, because buttstuff, mouthstuff, vulvastuff, vaginastuff, and all the other stuff should be equally remembered and recognized - along with handstuff - as making up the many different flavours of sex.

More Choice for Poly Folk

It seems you can’t go anywhere these days without hearing or reading about or meeting people who are polyamorous - and this is great. Poly is an important relationship dynamic that has been around forever, but has rarely been recognized. In culture, this is just starting to change, but institutionally, it is taking longer. According to an article by Tracy Clark-Flory that appeared in Vocativ this week, you can't even choose "Polyamorous" as your status on Facebook! Even though it is a pseudo-institution, have you ever noticed how many people lose their shit when someone’s relationship status changes? It is established as the announcement tool. However, it has no feature to select poly. Could this change with a petition? If Facebook changes its designations, might it be influential in the change of others?

Follow the Animals

Finally, this video is just sweet and beautiful. Watch as people enact courtship and mating rituals as animals. I couldn’t help but think of what I’ve seen out in the wilds of the human world. Is what we do much different? Do we wrestle like foxes or put on intricate dances like the blue-footed booby? Why have animal rituals persisted - along with their populations - while humans have gone through various types of connection, from arranged marriages to picking up in bars and, well, far more violent and barbaric means? Could we learn from animals and change how we interact and meet?