Visibility is an important factor in advancing our sexual world. This week’s Sex Stories We Love explores different ways we make ourselves known to others—on our own terms, when we’re surprised into doing it, and when we don’t necessarily want.

Hot and Not

Oh, the complexities of being ‘hot.’ Some people chase you, desire you, and want to “have you” while at the same time believing you to be vapid, superficial, and lacking intelligence. On the flip side, hot people find fault in the other hot people they try to connect with for all of the same reasons. There are so many contradictions flying around about what we should do with the attractiveness dilemma it makes my head spin. Sure, it is well-acknowledged that we often seek dates and sexual contact with people we consider to be physically attractive—though I suspect that marker is more societally determined that personal choice much of the time. However, the people in this article aren’t really talking about sex. They’re talking about relationships. Despite not finding what they need in hot people, they still don’t mention markers that are commonly considered essential in relationships: kindness, care, compassion, humour, similar values, and more.

Transition of Understanding

It was a big week for trans visibility—for the worst of reasons. I didn’t realize that “Survivor”—the long-running reality show where people are trapped in a forsaken place to do cruel things to each other—was still on the air, but it is and it provided a significant moment. Often, the show features villains, who do anything to get ahead. Well, this time, the baddie was a guy named Jeff Varner who outed another contestant, Zeke Smith, as transgender. Shock and outrage ensued...but not in the manner you might think. Right from the get-go, people rallied around Zeke and the response has been supportive and positive. It is heartening to know that people are understanding that outing anyone is unacceptable and that being trans is not a form of deception. (That this seemed a little set-up and that the villain is a gay man is problematic, but that’s another column). It is heartening to see the representation of trans folks is changing. This story line happening in a major television show is good for wider exposure. Because trans people still struggle with how they are perceived, still do not get enough platforms for representing who they are. And trans people are doing a lot in this world that needs to be understood, recognized, and cheered.

STDiscussion

These days, in some parts of the world, candid sexual discussion has become more acceptable. Yet that doesn’t mean it still isn’t a challenge—even with those people we care about. One of the topics people find difficult to discuss is sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). For far too long, this common occurrence of human sexual life has been the subject of shame and stigma. This has led to people being unable to deal with these feelings and, likely, the reason many other folks have contracted STDs. Fortunately, we are getting better at communicating our situations to other folks, but if you’re still finding having a discussion about STD concerns difficult, this great little guide can help you. It is also a valuable resource for people who will, eventually, be on the receiving end of and STD themed chat.

Sex and Parenting 101

Gotta give all the props in the world to Lanae St. John in how she handled a situation many parents dread: her kid finding her vibrator. When a child confronts a parent’s sexually so head-on, the natural impulse is much like a game of dodgeball. And it needed be that way. Lanae makes an important distinction that people who fear sex ed often forget: just because you inform a child what a sexual act or toy is, doesn’t mean you’re going to teach that kid how to do it or use it. I hope more parents can be calmed by how Lanae handled this situation and remember it if their kid happens upon their own toy collection someday.

Man of Steel

Superheroes are big business these days, with the next Marvel or DC blockbuster surely to set box office records and move that all-important merchandise. While these larger-than-life characters often battle secrets and inner demons, did you know that one of the co-creators of the greatest superhero character of all time eventually worked to create sexy artwork? There are books and documentaries out there that further examine of life of Joe Shuster, the illustrator of Superman, but in a nutshell, there’s an important message in his story. After losing out on a vast fortune from creating the Man of Steel, Shuster found himself in sex work, creating very NSFW artwork for fetish magazines. It is not hard to understand why someone would hire him—just look at how he drew Superman, all bulgy and clingy outfitted. More interesting, though, is that his style endured in his new work and he just may have introduced some of the earliest comic book crossovers. Take a look!

Furry Fallout

Finally, one group in the furry community is experiencing big problems. For some, being a furry is about sex and fun. For others, it seems to be about actually embodying the feral nature of the animals they wear costumes of.