In a week that saw a long-standing international conflict resume in force and a passenger plane - filled with prominent AIDS researchers and activists - blown out of the sky, we can all forgive ourselves for feeling a little less than sexy. But there are still plenty of hot, controversial and unique things happening in the world of sex. Let’s pause for reflection on world events and take some time for some sex reads.

Is This 3D Vulva Obscene?

Japanese sexual culture is very confusing to me. From hentai to tentacle porn to an annual penis festival to schoolgirl obsession to blurred genetalia in erotica imagery, the bodies that rule over the presentation of bodies in Japan have distinct but difficult-to-understand reasoning behind what is acceptable and encouraged - and what shakes morality too much.

Artist Megumi Igarashi has been shaking that morality with her ever-so-shocking 3D-printed creations based on her own vulva. So much so that she was arrested for distributing obscene material electronically when she sent the data of her vulva scans. Can you just imagine how many of us would be arrested for distributing obscene material electronically ... hello, sexting pics!

Igarashi’s work is inspired, whimsical and a definitive statement on the vulva in today’s culture. She incorporates it into numerous scenes and creations and, best or all, a working kayak. An online petition has been started to have the charges stayed.

Moving Past Miscarriage

Miscarriage can be a heartbreaking experience. For those who are actively seeking to become a parent, losing a fetus can have lifelong implications. As Dr. Trina Read notes, one of those implications can be a breakdown of a person’s sex life.

In situations where coupled people suffer this kind of loss, Dr. Read suggests their experience can go one of two ways: it can bring them closer together or it can drive them apart. Communication can become, understandably, strained at this emotional time. Sometimes talking with others can help, but being able to open up to each other is key too.

The statistical frequency of miscarriage doesn't make the loss any less severe for many parents. Frequently, they're told to "get back in that saddle" and try again, that's what’s done is done, that they can’t change things. These are the kind of statements that make matters worse for people who are grieving. Let's give them some space.

Short Men Not Short On Experience

Some say basketball players got game, but apparently short dudes are the ones who are the true ballers. That’s right, men under 5’9" are having the most sex. Keep up the good work, researchers! Now, where are my 30" length pants …

The Age of Erotica

I am really glad that some of the hoopla around erotica has died down. Sure, it’ll pick up again early next year when "Fifty Shades of Grey -The Movie!" (this is how I hope it is marketed, just for kicks) is unleashed. But now we’re seeing a long-overdue appreciation for the genre. In the rush to get as much erotica out there during the boom and rush of a gray silk tie, two things happened: truly talented writers emerged and the readership for erotica and romance fiction diversified and grew. Now we’ve got better smut and more people who are enjoying it. Win win!

Cosplay

I’ve seen a few of these "... is not consent" posts this week, but this one on cosplay resonates. Sure, cosplay can be a very sexual activity and the stuff of fantasy. However, the ornate costumes, make-up and role are not always a signal to sex. And further than that, cosplay is never an invitation to slut shaming and sexual abuse. Reading this interview with Vivid Vivka made me rethink my desire to check out a Con someday. Where is security at these events? Are other cosplayers not allies to help in difficult situations? Sadly, I’m not really surprised these terrible things happen. After all, sexual nastiness is all over.

Transformative Expectations

That said, maybe we’ll learn. Maybe we’ll grow. Actually we are, even if it is just one father at a time. Just as Todd Greenwood has in the process of learning about his trans son.

I think we can all agree that expectation is one of the hardest things to deny. For Todd, he expected his son to grow into the daughter she was at birth. But that was not to be. Sebastian found himself and Todd had to catch up. As a loving father, he had to. What shines through this remarkable recollection is that Todd made mistakes. Todd questioned what was happening with Sebastian and he didn’t always get it right.

But he faced his expectations and made new ones. Cool, right?