We have to talk about sex. There's no way to deny this anymore. As much as people still try to keep sexual discussion quiet and discreet, we need to bust that myth wide open. Sex is all around us, encompassing many different aspects of our lives. This week's Sex Stories We Love looks at different sex topics that desperately need a more prominent platform for discussion.
Sex Stories We Love: Idealized Lifestyle Sex, Keeping Sex Ed Free, & Help with Sober Sex
Denying Equal Sex Product Space
The tech industry remains one of the most contradictory when it comes to advancing discussions of sex. It also remains one of the most provocative in more ways than one. Sure, sex tech is booming and will continue to flourish with new technological advances arriving every day. Unfortunately, the folks from Lora DiCarlo, who invented the fantastic-sounding Osè robotic massager, learned that the tech industry continues to remain a boys' club where toys for boys are the only items deemed appropriate. Osè was awarded an Innovation award at the annual Consumers Electronic Show, but that was later rescinded on dubious grounds following obscenity and because there's not a category for sex toys. Not allowing a product designed for vulva, vagina, and clitoral pleasure, especially a product already accepted and judged by a panel to exhibit significant technological excellence, highlights a prime example of extreme sexism and shows us that sexism remains a top priority in sexual conversations.
The Potential of Advertising
Lora DiCarlo isn't the only company dealing with sexist sex tech issues. Dame Products, who launched one of the most successful crowdfunding initiatives ever, recently had their sex product advertising plan with Metropolitan Transit Authority pulled despite entering into an agreement last summer. Seems the subway is no place for pleasure products...unless, as Alexandra Fine of Dame notes, that pleasure product helps a penis. Ads for erectile dysfunction are okay because the purported solutions are considered medicinal in nature. Here's the thing: sex toys are also deemed therapeutic as well as pleasurable. Yet, the common thought is they are just for fun. I kind of image a penis wrapped in a condom propped up by pills is probably just for fun, too, by that logic. We have to start talking, and advertising, the many uses of sex toys.
Idealized "Lifestyle" Sex?
One of the biggest knocks on porn is that it gives viewers, particularly male views, an unrealistic expectation on what they think sex will be like and who they think they should be having sex with. The fear is that porn will create an idealized version and that real-life will not ever live up to that. I have issues with the validity of that possibility, but I wonder how the advent of "lifestyle" porn will swing this potential idealized vision. Will folks want to have sex hanging out of helicopters or in view of the Eiffel Tower while clad in all of the most fancy-ass brands? Will lifestyle porn help cement the fantasy of porn, making it on-par with enjoying thrilling adventures, such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Will it become something completely unrealistic? Let's all have a sip of champagne while we ponder...
Keeping Sex Ed Free
It remains critical that we continue to strive for better sex education throughout the world. There is no place, there are no people, without the need for comprehensive sex education that crosses all borders. There are topics, including sexual health and consent, that are universal. It should not be surprising, given the current world state of embracing conservatism, that China has, in the last 20 years, pulled back its sex education in schools. Unfortunately, in doing so, the country has seen a rise in consent issues. STI rates have increased. Children are just not getting the information they need. Yet some folks are trying to get China back on track in terms of sex ed by the creation of engaging sex ed videos. Here's hoping they can continue.
Help with Sober Sex
As we continue to struggle with different legal wranglings around sexual education in different jurisdictions, we continue to discover more and more information that must be included in a comprehensive, universal sex ed curriculum. There's no mistaking that we love mind-altering substances. Alcohol sales will never dry up. Marijuana is increasing in legality. Other drugs have not abated in use. Some drugs just become more "in style" during certain times. Some folks can live lives enjoying substances with little to no ill effect while others struggle. These struggles can cause problems with our sex lives. Some folks turn to the world's oldest therapists for help. Studies have shown that queer folks have higher rates of substance abuse for various, significant reasons. Now, some gay escorts are offering specific, sober sex alternatives to help clients.
Ease Into It
Finally, sometimes you need to be a little subtle when provoking sexual discussion. If you want to further last week's discussion on exhibitionism and public sex, having sex in the middle of the road might be a little too aggressive. Just like first gear with a tricky clutch, ya gotta ease into it.
Jon Pressick is a sex-related media gadabout. For more than 20 years, Jon has been putting sex into our daily conversations at his long-running site SexInWords—as a writer, editor, publisher, sex toy reviewer, radio host, workshop facilitator, event producer and more. These days, he focuses on writing for Kinkly, GetMeGiddy, The Buzz and PinkPlayMags and editing Jason Armstrong's series of Solosexual books. You can find him on Twitter at @Sexinwords.