As I collected stories and news for this week’s Sex Stories We Love, a particular theme emerged. The sex community is currently working to break down as many stigma as possible. We are all unique and wonderful creatures in our sexual lives and interests and here are some of those who are rebelling against the norm.

Who Are You Calling A Slut?

I’ve been following The UnSlut Project for some time and I am delighted to see the progress that Emily Lindin has made with her campaign. This initiative, of which a documentary is soon to be available, and others such as SlutWalk are working to question our idea of the word slut and, where appropriate, reclaim it as a word someone might want to use positively. The stigma that has surrounded 'slut’ is one of the most damaging, in particular to women. This is one where men have been given a free pass, but women have been beaten down with the word for too long. Claim it for yourself or not, just don’t use it to belittle others.

Non-sex Stigma?

You’d think a virgin would be the least likely person to be on the nasty end of some sexual stigma. Granted it is actually non-sexual stigma, but still, it relates to sex and can be downright nasty. Ellen Burkhardt relates the difficulties she has with meeting and then establishing relationships with men who just aren’t interested in being with a woman who won’t put out. How shallow does that make those men? How insensitive? How uncaring and self-interested? But...how many of us laughed at The 40-Year-Old Virgin? We did. We know we did. Why? Because it was funny to mock the weirdo virgin. Because it is weird to not pursue sex actively. That’s the prevailing thought—but why? Choosing not to have sex, for whatever reason, is just as valid a choice as being a slut.

Brotherly/Sisterly Love?

Some sex subjects are very sensitive and rarely discussed. Incest is one of them. For one summer in my youth, I was obsessed with The Young and The Restless because a main story arc was the burgeoning relationship between a young man and woman who may or may not be siblings. It had the soap world fascinated! Me too! The whole thing was so very taboo and always produced a major "YUCK!" in discussion. But now a German commission has recently recommended decriminalizing incest between consenting adult siblings under the general premise of "what harm is it?" There are still concerns in regards to procreation, but really...what harm is it? If you can consider the thought (many people won’t even be able to), do you think it will be possible any time soon for an incestuous couple to live openly or will pervading societal shaming get to them?

Understanding Intersex

Sometimes we only challenge our thoughts on an issue when we know someone who faces that issue. This personal letter by Emily Quinn is a wonderful introduction—even though most of us do not actually know her—to what she has experienced in her life as an intersex person. Including definitions help for those who aren’t familiar with the term; but it is her personal narrative that makes readers want to know more, to know her. All too often people of non-binary sex status are labelled as 'freaks." Emily reveals how she was made to feel that way. Fortunately, groundbreaking new media is paving the way to dispelling that awful type of definition.

Moving Forward After Rape

Foxy Box reached out to me from South Africa, to share this empathetic, commendable post about moving on in your sexual life after suffering sexual assault. There are many ideas and tips for not only survivors, but also helping instruction for partners and allies. South Africa has a phenomenally high instance of sexual assault and this push back against a ghastly social phenomenon is empowering and a great example. But the push back isn’t only political. These tips are caring and understanding. The post respects both those who want to move forward in their sexual lives and those who need time. Rape is violent and horrible and yet still so much is written on why it is the victim’s fault. Wounds of sexual assault are some of the greatest sexual stigma.

Give Him A Hand, Not a Hard Time

I know, I know, Buzzfeed. But here’s the thing: everybody checks out Buzzfeed for a good guffaw at the foibles of everyday people and things. Should The Handie—a masturbation aid be included in that laughter? Men masturbating is still the butt of many jokes. It is an endless source of amusement in films, tv, music, books—everywhere. So is it any wonder that people, men especially, have a hard time taking sexual concerns seriously? The Handie might not be for you, but you never know what helps a person get off—and this just might be the thing for some guys.