The opportunity to talk about sex openly is a relatively new phenomenon. For so long, we were denied the space for open discussion. Unfortunately, we’re still trying to figure how to talk to each other about sex, because some folks just aren’t getting it.

Shame and Stigma Suck

Shaming and social media go together like rancid peanut butter and rotten jam. Sadly, many fantastic people are feeling the grossness of this fetid combination. Ella Dawson is one of my personal heroes. Her work to destigmatize herpes and those who have herpes is a phenomenal testament to perseverance, care, and fortitude. Her efforts have reached and touched so many people. Unfortunately, because our culture allows and celebrates it, many others have taken to social media to spew the most vile, hateful bullshit Ella’s way. It is remarkable and disgusting the things one human will say to another through the keys. Ella is human, and it can be really damn hard for her to carry on. Yet she does, and we are all lucky she does. I can’t wait for her TEDx to be posted!

Lewinsky Carries On

Can you imagine just how awful things would have been for Monica Lewinsky had social media been around in 1998? Arguably the most shamed person in western media, Lewinsky still suffers the effects of the public onslaught she was assaulted with to this day. Because she is not greatly interested in being a public person (understandably so), it is important to listen to her words when she does allow us the opportunity. She became an international laughing stock for having sex with a man. He didn’t. Countless other politicians who have engaged in similar activities haven’t to the same degree. Yet Monica Lewinsky was subjected to the most horrible of shame campaigns, and her words as a survivor of that time are so very important.

Forum Fail

Whenever people get together to talk about sex online, there is the potential for trouble. Not saying there will be problems, just that the potential for sparks is undeniable. It used to be that you weren’t supposed to talk about politics and religion with new acquaintances. Well, now that we’re moving toward great comfort in talking about sex, you might want to pull that back—and that pains me to the core to say! Maybe this won’t be the case in person because we don’t have the anonymity of bytes to hide behind. Yet as an online forum erupts when the umbrella of kink is used to deflect accountability, it is clear that our progression in sexual discussion has advanced and regressed. It is great that we now speak openly about the insistence for consent, the importance of trigger warnings, and the general idea that your personal satisfaction and titillation does not supersede the care and compassion that others require. Yet so many folks aren’t listening or are selectively applying these concepts. Perhaps the real discussions don’t need to happen outside of the sexual world; maybe they are pressing inside it.

Rendezvous Roughness?

There has always been something so beautiful in the portrayal of secret romances. Romeo and Juliet, arguably the most revered love story in Western culture, is held up as a standard of fighting against the odds to be with—and who’s kidding who, be with means fuck—the person of your dreams. Even if the world says no. Well, a recent study is now showing that secret romances can, ultimately, be less enjoyable because of the stress they cause, among other concerns. Clandestine connections and sneaking sex can really take a toll on the continued happiness of a couple. Is it worth it? In some instances, yes. Sometimes a couple really does have to keep their relationship quiet. Perhaps for religious reasons, perhaps for familial reasons, perhaps for sexuality reasons.

Tie One On

Cara Sutra spanks it just right with this introduction to BDSM and bondage for beginners. What makes these tips so important is that they clearly, succinctly, and honestly layout the ins and outs of exploring BDSM and bondage. The desire, lifestyles, and activities encompassed by these broad terms do enjoy unprecedented current public attention and knowledge. As Cara points out, people have been getting up to these sexy shenanigans for a long time. Unfortunately, for almost as long, commentators of various stripes have misrepresented almost every aspect of BDSM and bondage. Taking that back, correcting those wrongs is happening and this is a great start.

Artistic Impressions

Finally...art! One of the best ways to learn about cultures, current, past, and ancient, is to examine how they present sex in art. If you take a look at this collection of sex-filled paintings, sculptures, drawings, and more, you can see that sex has been a common theme among cultures around the world. Of course, we do not always know the context of these works, making their interpretation a challenge. It is nice to think that sex has always been portrayed with enthusiastic positivity. However, if we take our own varying sexual media as an example, we know that there is always a story beneath the surface.