Sexual Intelligence Awards honor individuals and organizations which challenge
the sexual fear, unrealistic expectations, and government hypocrisy that undermine
love, sex, and relationships--and political freedom--today.
Look for stories about the Awards in USA Today and other
publications. In fact, increase sexual intelligence everywhere--please
tell your local newspaper, radio, and TV station all about them.
of the 2012 Awards are:
Dr. Larry Magid, (sane) Internet Safety Advocate
Larry Magid is an educator, journalist, and public policy analyst in the area of digital technologies and the internet. He is a regular contributor to CBS News, CNet, Forbes, and Huffington Post.
He is also the creator of SafeKids.com, SafeTeens.com, and is co-director of ConnectSafely.org. All the way back in 1994, he wrote "Child Safety on the Information Highway," and he has been writing, speaking, and testifying about the issue ever since.
Larry has become a recognized insider: he's a board member of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an advisor to both the Family Online Safety Institute and to Facebook (yes, THE Facebook), and he served on President Obama's Online Safety & Technology Working Group.
What's most impressive about Larry's work, though, is his sanity. While swimming amongst ignorant politicians, cynical prosecutors, hysterical decency crusaders, and frightened parents, his message is consistent: the internet is not a predator-laden swamp, there is no epidemic of cyber-sexual-assault, and there are plenty of tools parents and communities can use to protect young people. Larry develops some of those tools, he creatively uses language to calm the cyber-panic, and he consistently counsels decision-makers to respond to fact, not fear. And his technical expertise puts muscle behind his proposals.
This is a guy bringing Sexual Intelligence to the internet--and its users of all ages.
Dr. Debby Herbenick, Sex Researcher and Author
Remember this name, because in 20 years she will be the best known professional in American sexuality.
Still years away from her professional prime, Debby has already written several books, including Because It Feels Good: A Woman's Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction and the new Read My Lips: A Complete Guide to the Vagina and Vulva (co-authored with Dr. Vanessa Schick). She's also published an e-book on anal sex.
But we're just getting started on Debby's resume. She is currently a sexual health educator at the Kinsey Institute, and is a research scientist at Indiana University's Center for Sexual Health Promotion. She's also one of the lead scientists associated with the 2010 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, the largest nationally representative survey of sexual behavior in America.
Debby started the blog MySexProfessor.com five years ago. It now has 8 regular contributors, and is an important source of sexual information for college students.
I've heard her speak. She's fabulous--witty, relaxed, appropriately demanding, and always ready with facts to support her statements. She's practically a one-woman crusade for Sexual Intelligence. We're fortunate she's on our side.
Sex At Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality, by Christopher Ryan & Cacilda Jethá
This book is a complete shock: it is creatively conceived, well-written, fully-documented, entertaining, relevant to both our bedroom behavior and public policy
issues--and it's popular. People are buying it! People are even reading it!
Ryan and Jetha question some common assumptions about evolutionary psychology. Instead of conceiving humans as inherently competitive and warlike (like chimps), they conceive of humans as inherently relaxed and cooperative (like bonobos)--until the invention of agriculture 10,000 years ago, with its territoriality and resulting artificial scarcities.
They also demand a recount on some of our cherished beliefs about our ancestors. Monogamy? Not that common. Dyadic marriage? Only one of several common models. These international scholars know their archeology, primatology, anthropology, even their art. If this book weren't so damn enjoyable, it would be easy to resent its tour de force of world culture.
Ryan and Jetha show that our ancestors lived in egalitarian groups that shared food, child care, and often, sexual partners. Just as importantly, they explain why: they describe the nature of life before agriculture, and how it inevitably shaped and supported the human capacity for love, cooperation, and generosity--including sexual generosity.
This is a book that adds to our Sexual Intelligence--and even shows us how to use it.
Sexuality Policy Watch (www.sxpolitics.org)
Sexuality Policy Watch (SPW) is a global forum composed of researchers and activists from across the globe. Co-chaired by sociologists Sonia Correa and Richard Parker, SPW has offices in Rio de Janeiro and New York.
SPW's goals are to (1) contribute to global policy debates about sexuality, and (2) promote more effective linkages between local, regional and global initiatives about sexuality.
Over the past few decades, sexuality has become the focal point of political controversy, and is now a key domain for social change. Issues such as protecting sexual freedom and enhancing access to sexual health resources are among SPW's central concerns. And so SPW undertakes and publishes policy analyses with which to empowher NGOs and influence governments.
SPW is particularly focused on initiatives directly relating to reproductive rights, gender, LGBT activism and HIV/AIDS. Because these issues are now interconnected with issues of global democracy, poverty, secularism, and health, SPW's work cuts across virtually all aspects of society. For example, they have published powerful papers on the implications of the Pope's visit to Brazil, America's international foreign aid doctrines, and the manipulative homophobia of political Islam.
They also convene ongoing dialogs about the intersection of sexuality and geopolitics in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. They're not just bringing Sexual Intelligence to the U.S., but to the entire world.
of the 2011 Awards are:
Fritchle, International Sex Educator
The first miracle was that she was invited to Uganda. The second is that
she went. The third is that she made a difference.
There's an obvious danger to being a sex educator in Uganda. This is
the country proposing life in prison for "homosexual acts."
Even counseling a client or family member committing such "crimes"
is punishable with jail time. This is the context in which gay rights
activist David Kato was recently beaten to death after a newspaper published
his photo and home address under a banner reading "hang them."
A California Marriage & Family Therapist, Melissa shrugged off the
terror campaign to create Uganda's first human sexuality curriculum for
professionals. Her students included parts of the country's bureaucratic
infrastructure: HIV/AIDs counselors, military officers, priests, nuns,
and school administrators. Never apologetic, Melissa's approach began
with "what does sex have to do with our work?" It concluded
with people talking about how to bring new levels of positive sexual awareness
to their communities.
As a bonus, Melissa had to deal with local anger at the West's perceived
sexual immorality, fueled by America's wealthy puritanical Evangelical
movement. In a loving conclusion to her work in Uganda, Melissa gifted
two university libraries with sex-positive books and media--the only such
materials in the country.
Braun-Harvey, Drug/Alcohol Treatment Pioneer
The drug and alcohol treatment field has always avoided sex as much as
possible--except to describe it as a danger to sobriety. Discussions of
sex have typically focused on abuse, affairs, and impulsivity; pleasure
was a foreign concept, a siren call of no value to recovering addicts.
The result has been a self-fulfilling prophesy: unprepared to deal with
sexuality without drugs or alcohol, sex has been the focus of a lot of
relapse and self-destructive behavior for people in recovery.
Doug is changing that.
For 10 years he has been integrating sexual health approaches with drug
and alcohol treatment. His collaboration in a three-year, half-million
dollar study funded by the California Endowment led to his two books:
"Sexual Health in Recovery: Professional Counselor's Manual (2011),
and "Sexual Health in Drug and Alcohol Treatment: Group Facilitator's
Books and seminars like these bring solid thinking to the obvious but
previously ignored needs of men and women in recovery from drug and alcohol
addiction. Doug has spoken the unspeakable: not only do those in recovery
need to get more comfort and skill in dealing with sexuality, so do professionals
who treat them. He's just the one to provide the comfort and skills--and
to change the field's prejudices and philosophy.
Community Health Activist
Nebraska is the state in which the government's health website deleted
"erection problems" as a marker for diabetes--too controversial.
This is the state whose capitol responded to an epidemic of gonorrhea
by doubling funding for abstinence-only training. This is the state in
which Medicaid deleted its single question about family planning services
from their intake form as "unnecessary."
Into this environment walks Valda Ford, a valiant warrior in inner city
Omaha. Chosen to head the county STD Initative because of her skills in
nursing and community health, she tirelessly worked public events and
gatherings of young people. Offering on-the-spot testing and education,
and a message of dignity and self-empowerment, her efforts were bearing
fruit--when the county pulled her funding.
Now here's passion: despite losing the funding, Valda continues this
work as a volunteer. Additionally, she was the lead witness in the state
legislature hearing on comprehensive sex ed bill for children K-12--and
she wowed 'em.
Federoff, Forensic Psychiatrist
Dr. Paul Federoff is Director of Forensic Research for the Institute
of Mental Health Research, and Director of the Royal Ottawa Sexual Behaviours
Clinic, which has treated over 3,000 sex offenders since 1983.
For 25 years, the psychiatrist has challenged the popular belief that
sex offenders are untreatable. He's done that by treating them successfully.
In the past 10 years there have been no hands-on sex offenses committed
by anyone in his program. He has also researched other treatment programs.
He concludes that fewer than 15% of sex offenders re-offend--information
the government and popular press refuse to accept or popularize.
Paul argues that the problem for most sex offenders and potential sex
offenders is not "sex" but rather but a failure to develop pro-social,
consensual sexual relationships. So he runs both social skills groups
and relapse prevention groups for offenders, as well as group therapy
for spouses of offenders, and marital therapy for couples who want to
In a world in which many people want to prevent sex offenders from ever
living normal lives, Paul stands out as a clinician and scientist successful
at both healing offenders and protecting society.
Originally published in
issue #133 of Sexual
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of the 2010 Awards are:
Years For Choice (www.4000yearsforchoice.com)
4000 Years for Choice is a campaign created by artist Heather Ault. It dispels
the common idea that abortion and contraceptive rights began with 20th-century
Using beautifully designed postcards featuring facts about historic forms
of contraception and abortion, the campaign is both supporting women's health
clinics across the country and educating people of all generations.
What did the ancient Egyptians do for birth control? Why did abortion become
common and accepted among middle-class New Yorkers in the mid-1800s? What
herbs were used to carefully induce abortion in Europe during the Crusades?
For examples of the colorful postcards, interesting historical timelines,
and more, see www.4000yearsforchoice.com
Milton Diamond, Sexual Scientist (www.the-scientist.com/2010/3/1/29/1/)
Milton Diamond is a professor of biology and Director of the Pacific Center
for Sex and Society at the University of Hawaii Medical School. During his
half-century long career, Dr. Diamond has pioneered research in a variety
of sexual fields, including sexual orientation, studies of twins, fetishes,
Dr. Diamond consults with governments across the globe, including places
as diverse as Cuba, Gaza, Mongolia, and Japan. Later this year he's even speaking
at Tennessee State University.
Dr. Diamond is arguably the world's expert on the effects of pornography
on various societies. For decades, he has been publishing data showing that
in country after country, when the availability of pornography increases,
the rates of sexual violence and childhood sexual exploitation decrease.
This science, of course, rather than emotion or religious dogma, is what should
be driving public policy in America and around the world.
Check out his latest, very readable article on the subject at www.the-scientist.com/2010/3/1/29/1/.
Dr. Paul Joannides, Psychoanalyst and Author (www.goofyfootpress.com/book/)
A confession: I had trouble taking Dr. Joannides' masterpiece seriously for
a long time because of its title: "The Guide to Getting It On."
Then I had trouble taking it seriously because it was so wildly popular among
college students. My prejudice was confirmed when Oprah Magazine called it
"warm, friendly, liberating, thorough, and potentially sex-life-changing."
Then I checked it out more carefully. And I listened to what serious people
said about it. Oh, now I get it: It's really wonderful. Friendly, easy to
use, and amazingly comprehensive. No wonder it's in its 6th edition.
But Joannides contributes even more to the world's sexual intelligence. He's
been running an online survey of sexual attitudes and behavior for years.
The questions are actually interesting ("Is there a big gap between your
fantasies and the sex you have in real life?" "Are there things
you do to help maintain your arousal while putting on a condom?"), and
he shares the data, rather than hoarding it. His interpretations of the data
are often creative and counter-intuitive.
The guy lectures at a dozen universities each year, trains psychologists,
and has even written an article about genital injuries in the Iraq War. When
does he sleep?
For information about his amazing book (and possibly a free copy!), see www.goofyfootpress.com/book/
Books About Global Sexuality
To prepare for my recent three-week trip to Vietnam, I read a half-dozen
books about the country and its culture. None were more wonderful than:
* Sexuality in Contemporary Vietnam: Easy to Joke About But Hard to Talk
About, by Khuat Thu Hong, Le Bach Duong, & Nguyen Ngoc Houng; and
* For Better or For Worse: Vietnamese International Marriages in the New
Global Economy, by Hung Cam Thai.
The first book is a ground-breaking survey of Vietnamese sexual culture.
It offers the voices of both genders, of various social classes, from both
urban and rural settings. It presents Vietnam's current ideas about virginity
(painfully mandatory for women before marriage), expertise (excruciating pressure
on men), sex education (considered unnecessary), and the very reasons for
having sex (honoring traditional family structures, creating children, and
maintaining marital harmony).
The second book is a study of Vietnamese men who emigrate to America and
later marry women still living in Vietnam. The couples are typically separated
for 2 or more years while her immigration application is processed. The author
skillfully describes how the men often lose social status when they come here,
while the women often gain social status--and how this affects marriage between
people who may not have known each other much before marrying.
In addition to providing the pleasure of learning about another culture,
both books challenge our Western ideas of how sexuality is understood--of
what's "normal." When we see how the Vietnamese (or any other society)
construct their version of sexuality, it's impossible to ignore the fact that
that's exactly what we do here in America--construct our own local version.
Our sexuality isn't "normal"--it's just one way among many, many
ways around the world.
Originally published in issue
#121 of Sexual Intelligence.
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of the 2009 Awards are:
Vermont Law School is one of only two U.S. law schools that bar military
recruiters from campus. Their reason: the discriminatory nature of our governments
Dont ask, dont tell policy, which prevents openly
gay Americans from serving in the military.
The schools ban on military recruiters disqualifies them from certain
federal fundingso VLS is really putting their money where their mouth
is. They are showing their students that the practice of law requires just
lawsand that just laws often require social action.
Doug Kirby, Sexual
Behavior Research Scientist
Dr. Doug Kirby is internationally known for his work in the field of adolescent
sexuality. His most important publication is the widely acclaimed Emerging
Answers 2007. Sponsored by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy,
it is the essential scientific report
documenting the failure of abstinence-only school programs to reduce pregnancy
In this and others reports, Doug has generated the most comprehensive picture
ever of factors associated with adolescent sexual behavior, contraceptive
use, pregnancy, and STDs. He also continues to identify the common characteristics
of effective sexuality education and HIV education programs throughout the
world. He has addressed the governments of countries including Nigeria, Ecuador,
Kenya, Uganda, and Englands House of Commons.
Douglas Richards and his company Reliable Consultants had the courage to
file suit against the State of Texas, challenging their Sexual Device Ban.
won, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit sustained their
challenge, taking the opportunity to say that the goal of "protecting
children" couldn't possibly be served by the Texas law. Even more eloquently,
the court said the Texas law is "about controlling what people do in
the privacy of their own homes because the State is morally opposed to a certain
type of consensual private intimate conduct. This is an insufficient justification
for the statute."
We also applaud Reliable's attorneys, Jennifer Kinsley and Lou Sirkin of
Cincinnati, who generously and intelligently pour their hearts into every
First Amendment and free expression case they handle, as well as philanthropist
Harvey, who joined the Reliable case as a co-defendant.
for Reason & Justice (NCRJ.org)
Far too many innocent Americans have been unjustly imprisoned, accused of
sex crimes against children and teens. Most have been convicted because of
bizarre (and often prompted) eyewitness testimony, coerced confessions,
vindictive perjury, or the courts acceptance of junk science.
All these accused have the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty,
and to receive fair trials. But social hysteria and media frenzy often make
this impossible. Ironically, most innocent people accused of childhood sexual
exploitation cant be helped by DNA technology--because no actual crimes
NCRJ sponsors many of the wrongfully convicted, marshalling legal, financial,
and other support on their behalf. NCRJ also fights to bring the profound
injustices of our judicial system to public attention. Most people dont
know, for example, that in many states, an innocent person imprisoned for
child molestation who refuses to confess is considered unsuccessfully
treated and cant be released, regardless of his/her prison behavior.
NCRJs Board includes award-winning journalists Debbie Nathan and Judith
Levine. Its advisors include psychologists Carol Tavris, Leonore Tiefer, and
Elizabeth Loftus, winner of our first Sexual Intelligence Award
back in 2000.
Go to their site (www.ncrj.org),
read a few shocking stories of how profoundly our justice system can betray
perfectly nice people--just like you and me--and send them a tax-deductible
donation, grateful that you havent needed NCRJ for yourself or a loved
Originally published in issue
#109 of Sexual Intelligence.
* * * * * * * * * *
of the 2008 Awards are:
Larry Hedges, Ph.D, Psychologist
Dr. Larry Hedges has been a Southern California psychologist for 25 years,
specializing in the training of psychotherapists and psychoanalysts. In addition
to helping thousands of patients, he has trained therapists across the U.S.
and influenced several generations of therapists as director of the Listening
Perspectives Study Center and the founding director of the Newport Psychoanalytic
One of Hedges' great innovations is teaching professionals not to be afraid
of sexuality--their patients' or their own. He helps therapists tolerate their
fantasies about their patients--both gentle and aggressive--which better enables
them to support patients in tolerating THEIR fantasies.
Hedges understands that sexuality is not something that people do, it's who
they are. Thus, he sees it suffusing many of therapy's basic, "non-sexual"
issues, such as power, anger, fear, anxiety, self-discipline, and creativity.
Not surprisingly, he is one of today's most effective innovative psychologists.
Hedges is also at the forefront of issues regarding patient-therapist sexual
misconduct, and false or unfair accusations of such conduct. For fearlessness,
professionalism, and creativity, Hedges is honored for his Sexual Intelligence.
the book & film
Petals started as a book, edited by Nick Karras and published in 2003
(currently available at www.amazon.com/Petals-Nick-Karras/dp/097435628X/ref=pd_bbs_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1204653874&sr=8-1).
Now it's available as a DVD, directed by Beck Peacock. The film describes
how Karras created the book, a lovely collection of black-and-white photographs
of vulvas. Yes, vulvas. Similar to Femalia (a wondrous achievement) but different
in tone (it's amazing how much softer and more artistic the pictures look
in black and white), Petals is a simple yet powerful series of photos
of the body part most women and men never look at.
And are these vulvas gorgeous! They range from tidy to voluptuous, from art
deco to baroque.
The film shows some half-dozen of the photos. It also features interviews
of some of the women shown in the book, and even follows one woman before,
during, and after being photographed. The women's words are moving, funny,
Our foremother Betty Dodson is also interviewed, and some of her early vulva
artwork is shown. In all, the book and film are a wonderful contribution to
the appreciation of our precious sexuality. Vulvas--so important to most of
us, so complex in our thoughts, so lovely in their displayed glory.
Williams, Sex Toy Activist
For nine years the state of Alabama has insisted that Sherri Williams
is a criminal. And so she has taken the state to court over and over
during those nine years. She has won a handful of times, only to have
the state appeal and win a subsequent round in court.
As we have documented (SI #s 9,
Alabama has criminalized the sale of sex toys. And that's what Williams
does for a living--sell objects to adults designed to enhance their
sexual pleasure. "Dangerous," "immoral," "obscene"
objects like vibrators, dildoes, anal beads.
Last fall Williams (and a dedicated team of pro bono attorneys) asked
the Supreme Court to overturn a recent, final decision affirming Alabama's
right to criminalize sex toys. When the Supreme Court declined to take
the case, it looked like Williams--and five million Alabamans--had reached
the end of the road. But earlier this month, a Circuit Court overturned
Texas' law banning sex toys. The case had been brought by another SI
Award winner, our beloved Phil Harvey (SI #s 18,
This leaves Alabama holding the bag (empty, as it were) on sex toys.
Most observers agree that Alabama's law will either wither or be repealed.
Either way, most people will live and die without knowing about Sherri
Williams' fight. We salute her for her commitment.
Why is the fight for sex toys important? Because anti-vibrator laws
are based on the belief that the state has the right--indeed, the obligation--to
patrol the "morality" and "safety" of private bedroom
behavior. Such beliefs have been used to criminalize contraception,
homosexuality, pornography, and sadomasochism. They can be used to criminalize
anything--adultery, oral sex, premarital sex.
Any of those interest you?
Originally published in issue
#97 of Sexual Intelligence.
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of the 2007 Awards are:
for Sexual Morality, Justice, & Healing
Comedian Alan King used to say that if you want to talk about sex and you
want to talk about marriage, you need to have two conversations. Some people
feel that way about sex and religion: that they require two separate conversations.
Institute, founded in 2001, challenges that belief by advocating for sexual
health, education, and justice in faith communities. As we said
in 2002, "their founding declaration is a gorgeous document which affirms
that sexuality is a life-fulfilling, divine gift."
The Religious Institute provides education and training
for clergy and congregations, and their staff (led by Director Reverend Debra
Haffner) regularly appears on major media outlets such as NPR. Their message
is consistent: faith requires justice, and justice requires sexual justice.
The Religious Institute issues periodic Open
Letters, which creatively define how faith communities can address issues
of the day about which there is conflict. They've done these about sex education, abortion,
and other topics, most recently adolescent sexuality.
Most importantly, they take back sex from the more conservative,
sex-phobic wing of the religious community. They're developing a network of
religious leaders committed to sexual justice, and they're helping to create
sexually healthy congregations. They help men and women conceptualize sexuality
in harmony with faith values--stressing godliness, compassion, truth, integrity,
and moral decision-making. By encouraging people of faith to speak out progressively
on sexual issues as people of faith, the Religious Institute is bringing
sexual intelligence and healing to our world.
& Ray Noonan, Encyclopedia Editors
Imagine an encyclopedia of sex. An international encyclopedia of sex.
Imagine all the work it would require to create it.
Now imagine that the people who did that have given it
away for free. That's what editors Robert Francoeur and Ray Noonan have done.
Honorable mention goes to Continuum International Publishing Group, which
licensed the free access, and the Kinsey Institute, which provides the institutional
home for the massive project.
You can, of course, buy
your own copy. But now everyone can use it, free, online.
You get 200 contributors, countries from A to Z, and new ideas about what
people do sexually, why, and how that fits into their unique culture.
This award honors all the hardworking contributors, of
course. But the real heroes, delivering the original 3-pound book and supervising
its transformation and revisions, are Dr. Robert Francoeur--author
of 22 books and editor-in-chief of The
Complete Dictionary of Sexology, and Dr. Ray Noonan--sexuality professor
and web editor of SexQuest.
When it comes to sexual intelligence, you could say they
wrote the book.
Jr., Pastoral Supervisor and Historian
Reverend Lawrence has spent a very long career involved in Church affairs.
The Church has not always been pleased about this.
Lawrence recently retired
as Director of Pastoral Care at both New York Presbyterian
Hospital and the New
York Council of Churches. He has supervised the training of tens of thousands
of pastoral counselors--and he feels that sexuality needs much, much more
positive attention than it's typically been given.
Lawrence has navigated this tricky situation--how to train
professionals to counsel people about problems they're not supposed to have,
helping them to help others envision and embrace a sexual world that they've
been taught is dangerous--with grace and dignity for decades.
In 1988 Lawrence
Poisoning of Eros, an exquisite demonstration of the persisting conflict
of sexual values set into motion by power struggles in the early Christian
even argued that Paul's epistles were ultimately mistranslated to make him
appear far more sex-negative than he really was.
expands on this theme with his brand-new book Sexual
Liberation: The Scandal of Christendom. In it he describes how sexual
pleasure has been devalued and demonized in the West by the historical forces
of Christendom. Since Christianity has been the West's principal bearer of
public values for 17 centuries, this is a subject that affects every part
of our lives, from international family planning policies all the way down
to local school board elections.
The book caps a life's work of Episcopal parish work, theological
essays, and teaching. Lawrence's moral courage and scholarly research
have enhanced the sexual intelligence of millions of souls.
By 1966 the U.S. military had some 50,000 swingers
under investigation, intending to court martial and discharge all of them.
When civilian aerospace engineer Robert McGinley was identified as one of
these "sexual deviants," he lost his Air Force security clearance (and therefore
his job). In 1975 McGinley founded the
Lifestyle Organization (LSO); in less than five
years, LSO was hosting weekend conventions attended by 500 or more couples.
An industry was born, and LSO now hosts the largest "lifestyles" conventions
in the world. Each year, tens of thousands of couples from around the world
vacation and play together. It's a new kind of Woodstock, with similar
cultural and political possibilities.
It didn't happen easily. McGinley has been in court time
and again, fighting government discrimination against sponsoring hotels and
even bribery by state officials attempting to discredit him. Before the ACLU
became involved, he spent $100,000 of his own money. In 1998 he
won an enormous victory court over California's Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission,
which was chastised for practicing "State Gestapo-ism."
Even if you don't swing, go on nude cruises, or attend
lifestyles seminars, McGinley has helped protect your right to express your
sexual preferences in private--and hotels' right to host events that might
challenge the "morality" of those who disapprove of the events. This includes
events involving S/M, tattooing, same-gender relationships, and contraceptive
Not content with merely creating a socio-cultural movement
for millions of swingers, McGinley has recently gone south of the border.
LSO now sponsors an annual Erotic Art Walk and Fiesta in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, the world's largest public
exhibit of sensual and erotic art. This is of historical importance in an
overwhelmingly Catholic country. McGinley is bringing sexual intelligence
Charles Moser &
Peggy Kleinplatz, Sex Researchers
Caution: what your physician, psychologist, or attorney think they
know about sex could be hazardous to your well-being.
Moser and Kleinplatz take this threat seriously. Dr. Peggy
Kleinplatz is Associate Professor of Medicine and Clinical Professor of Psychology
at the University
of Ottawa. Dr. Charles
Moser chairs the Department of Sexual Medicine at the Institute for Advanced
Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco.
Together, they are one of the most important and prolific
team of sex researchers working today.
For 10 years, they have been calling attention to the various
ways in which professional psychology, medicine, and the justice system undermine
sexual and emotional health. They have eloquently challenged the DSM (the
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association),
showing that its classifications of sexual pathology are not based on science
or evidence. Instead, the DSM typically mirrors and reinforces America's
cultural biases, seeing dysfunction and mental illness where they don't exist.
Another career highlight is the recent publication of Sadomasochism:
Powerful Pleasures. In it, as in much of their work, they show how
various forms of sexual transgression are pathologized, criminalized, and
marginalized by professions trusted by the public to understand such things.
The practical consequences of society's misconceptions about alternative sexualities
range from the loss of jobs, child custody, and security clearances to long
jail sentences for consensual behavior.
Moser and Kleinplatz have published dozens of articles
in peer-reviewed journals. The APA's 2003 symposium about
whether gender identity disorders and sexual sadism should remain classed
as mental illness remains a historical watershed in professional psychology.
So do the new treatment guidelines for sadomasochism published in 2005 by
The two dedicated researchers have endured not just professional
misunderstanding, but censure and threats of violence. They have even been
accused of supporting pedophilia--a perfect example of the negative, irrational
environment they have so eloquently described in their work. In broadening
our concepts of sexuality, Kleinplatz & Moser have increased the sexual
intelligence of clinicians and our justice system.
Originally published in issue
#85 of Sexual Intelligence.
* * * * * * * * * *
of the 2006 Awards are:
Taverner, Sex Educator
Bill has directed Planned Parenthood of Greater Northern New Jersey's
Center for Family Life Education for almost ten years. He is one of the country's
pre-eminent sex educators, trainers of sex educators, and sex education theorists.
He has authored or co-authored many books; last month we gave Making Sense
of Abstinence a rave review.
In 2005 Bill, with veteran sex educator Elizabeth Schroeder, launched the
American Journal of Sexuality Education (see the first issue at www.haworthpress.com/store/sampletext/J455.pdf).
The Editorial Board is a who's who of international sex educators (including
three past winners of Sexual Intelligence Awards™), which could only
be assembled by someone with Bill's stature and personal magnetism. The Journal
will be a place where research, social psychology, educational theory, and
social science intersect and refine each other.
Beyond all the publications, curriculum development, mentoring, and training,
Bill offers one more thing. Sex educators live in a frustrating, disempowering
world, in which the government and religious Right use deception, bullying,
power politics, and manipulated emotions to prevent or destroy what we hold
dear. In this environment, Bill is remarkably warm, friendly, optimistic,
and generous. For that alone, for making the lives (and therefore the work)
of other sex educators better, he deserves to be honored.
And it's just like Bill to encourage us to honor co-editor Elizabeth Schroeder
for her work on the new Journal, and Sue Montfort for co-authoring several
books with him. We gladly give each an Honorable Mention.
Ricci Levy, Administrator &
Ricci Levy has been a sexual freedom activist for almost a decade, starting
as the Director of Operations of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom.
In 2002, she helped found The Woodhull Freedom Foundation, and has been the
Executive Director ever since. You ought to know about Woodhull--the non-profit
organization working to affirm sexual freedom as a fundamental human right
via research, advocacy, and professional and public education (www.woodhullfoundation.org).
Working tirelessly with dozens of organizations from the ACLU to NOW, Ricci
has put "sexual rights as human rights" on the progressive and humanist agendas.
She has helped educate many such groups and the national media about the importance
of issues such as polyamory, age of consent, sexual minorities, sex worker
discrimination, and sex-positive feminism. That's sexual intelligence
Ricci also publishes Woodhull's daily electronic newslist, an extraordinary
resource exposing sexual censorship and covering sexual politics around the
U.S. and the globe. This unique, free publication supports journalists, civic
groups, and activists, as it provides inspiration and networking, and shadows
the dark side of local, state, and federal decision-making about sexual rights.
If a subscription cost $500 per year, it would be a bargain. And if this were
Ricci's only accomplishment, we'd say she has more than earned her many recognitions.
Everyone who cares about their sexual rights should hope that Ricci doesn't
burn herself out running around Washington, working on their behalf. Of course,
we give a grateful nod to the Woodhull Foundation itself, and its Chairperson
and benefactor Dick Cunningham. But Ricci gets our Award: without her, the
Woodhull Foundation would just be one more good idea.
Dr. Roumen Bostandjiev,
Dr. Roumen Bostandjiev is Bulgaria's pre-eminent sexologist. To describe
why he's being honored, we can't do any better than excerpt the article we
wrote about him last year.
Roumen runs a program that's training 200 physicians and therapists, establishing
national standards for the treatment of sexual issues; he is training over
1,000 teachers in school sex education, funded by the UN and Bulgarian government;
he is running an HIV prevention program, funded by the World Bank; and he
is convening a series of conferences on health and sexual education, creating
a collaboration with journalists, government officials, and professionals.
In post-Soviet Bulgaria, Roumen faces political obstacles, hypocritical posturing,
and social prejudices as he attempts to bring sexual literacy to the country
he loves (sound familiar?). In a nation with a highly religious population,
very traditional gender roles, and an insufficient number of computers and
fax machines, this is no small thing.
Roumen epitomizes sexual intelligence: in a time of social disruption, he
is helping to steer his country away from sexual ignorance and fear, and toward
information and empowered decision-making. We could use a few hundred of him
here in the culturally-backward U.S.--where we have plenty of computers, but
insufficient political and social courage.
Mark Kernes, Journalist &
Mark says he was "born in 1948 to Communist parents who successfully
indoctrinated him in socialism." At age 18 he worked as a dishwasher at a
Communist Party enclave, a meeting described in the New York Daily News with
the headline "Secret Commie Camp Exposed."
Like his father, Mark became a court reporter, and remained one for 19 years.
During that time he developed an amazing ability to understand legal proceedings
and explain them in simple terms. And that's how he adds to our sexual intelligence.
As a senior editor of Adult Video News, Mark attends government hearings and
reads court opinions, all related to the attempted regulation of Americans'
sexual behavior and decision-making. His concise, thoughtful reports are mandatory
for staying current with the Bush theocracy. Mark also keeps up with material
published by the extreme religious Right, an onerous task for which few of
us have the stomach.
Mark has received several awards for his journalism, and here at Sexual Intelligence
we rely on his expertise and appreciate his generous consultations. And his
wicked sense of humor.
Canada, the Country
There's plenty to love about the US of A, but the more progressive, tolerant,
and sophisticated country lies to the north. During the last 12 months, Canada's
Parliament legalized same-sex marriage, their federal health agency approved
over-the-counter access to emergency contraception, and their Supreme Court
ruled that clubs featuring group sex and swinging are legal.
You'll notice that none of these is true in America.
True, many of Canada's 31 million people are against these three changes.
But most aren't getting hysterical, won't hear their clergyman threaten God's
revenge, and aren't accusing their judiciary of hijacking the country, and
few are predicting a "culture of death," an epidemic of adult incest, or a
new trend of people marrying their golden retrievers.
Canada isn't perfect, but at a time when Americans have fewer and fewer rights
to see, read, and do what we want sexually, it looks damn good. We may be
the land of the free and the home of the brave, but our neighbor is the home
of sexual intelligence.
Drew Mattison, Sex Researcher, Clinician,
This is our second posthumous award (the first was in 2003). Drew died
December 29 at age 57.
Drew's fame as a sexologist began with the ground-breaking research he did
with his life partner, psychiatrist Dr. David McWhirter. In 1984 Prentice
Hall published The Male Couple, their in-depth study of the quality
and stability of long-term homosexual relationships. Based on five years of
extensive, structured interviews with gay couples, it was the first book to
document the variety and longevity of gay relationships. To this day, it is
an essential work refuting the ignorant assertion that gay men simply want
to get laid, nothing more. The book also described how many gay couples successfully
navigate sexual issues after their initial passion wanes with time, an issue
that tens of millions of heterosexual couples still struggle with.
The book (and companion video) gained international attention. Drew and David
traveled the world lecturing on the dynamics of gay couples, and were among
the first to do so in traditional countries like India. The pair even had
a shot on Oprah.
When AIDS began to decimate the gay community, Drew and David wrote extensively
on how to counsel lesbians, gay men and their families on the effects of HIV.
This eventually led Drew to research the phenomenon of gay circuit parties
("raves"), at which unsafe sex and drug use often intersected. His research
resulted in the first systematic description of "rave" risk behaviors, and
theories of context-relevant interventions in a number of areas.
As a medical psychologist, Drew helped found the first federally-funded center
dedicated to researching the impact of AIDS on the brain. The HIV Neurobehavioral
Research Center opened at the U.C. San Diego Medical School in 1989. With
his legendary political and people skills, Drew helped link the scientific-academic
enterprise with the communities that clinicians and scientists were studying.
Strikingly good-looking with a 1,000-watt smile, Drew was a classy man who
enhanced the charm quotient wherever he was. At the dinner parties he and
David had at their unique Southern California home, one could always count
on plenty of fresh flowers, fine food, and thought-provoking conversation.
And there was always room for erotic thoughts, stories, and feelings. Researcher,
clinician, educator, envoy, and lover, Drew had a surfeit of sexual intelligence,
shared it generously, and left us all richer.
Originally published in issue
#72 of Sexual Intelligence.
* * * * * * * * * *
of the 2005 Awards are:
Dr. Eli Coleman,
Sexologist & Visionary
Dr. Eli Coleman has created a flame that will burn long after we're all gone.
He has directed the University
of Minnesota's Program
in Human Sexuality since 1991. One of the oldest and largest such programs
in the country, it has been a center of sexuality research, education, and
patient care for 35 years. The Program's commitment to the principles of science
and social justice are a direct reflection of Dr. Coleman's vision.
This alone merits (and has earned him) tremendous recognition. But in 2004
he accomplished something absolutely unique: he created the nation's first
Endowed Chair in sexual health. He launched a fundraising campaign, criss-crossed
the country, and persuaded several hundred donors to pledge a total of more
During his 30-year career, Dr. Coleman has been president of both the Society
for the Scientific Study of Sexuality and the World Association of Sexology.
He was honored for being a Senior Scientist contributor to the 2001 Surgeon
General's Call to Action to Promote Sexual Health. He is particularly known
for his research on the treatment of compulsive sexual behavior.
Above all, it's creating the Endowed Chair that shows Dr. Coleman's true
Sexual Intelligence. Because no matter how hostile to sexuality America's
political or academic environment becomes, training and scientific research
in sexual health promotion will continue in at least one place.
To contribute to the second phase of the endowment, write Julie Barger at
Kane, Red-Hot Musician
A voice like Janis Joplin, a life story like Billie Holliday, a soul like
Etta James, and the eroticism of the girl next door--if the girl next door
is a 200-pound bisexual ex-stripper.
Born in East Los Angeles, taught by her
parents to shoplift at the age of 9, Candye Kane has lived the classic blues
life. At 16, she abandoned a music scholarship when she became an unwed mother
involved in gang culture. On welfare to support herself and her young son,
she became a sex worker. She appeared on the covers of skin magazines such
as Hustler, Juggs, and Floppers.
But she never lost her devotion to music. Using money from her lucrative
sex work, she hired musicians, wrote songs, and booked studio time. In 1986,
Kane finally signed a development deal with CBS and recorded a demo. But the
label dropped her when they found out about her "inappropriate" experiences.
Managers and agents encouraged her to lose weight, renounce her past, and
reinvent herself as a wholesome country singer.
Kane continued writing songs, and accidentally discovered brash blues women
like Big Mama Thornton and Bessie Smith. She found a universe where women
had colorful pasts, and were often plus-sized like her. Most had grown up
in oppressive circumstances, which they turned into passionate music, celebrating
their sexuality. Candye Kane found a home in the blues.
With even more resolve not to change or hide her Dionysian character, Kane
finally recorded her first commercial CD in 1994--and has made six more since
then. She has played with or supported B.B.King, Ray Charles, Etta James,
Johnny Lang, Jerry Lee Lewis, k.d. lang, Van Morrison and many more.
Candye's live show honors the bold blues women of the past and today's modern
sexual woman (and man). She delivers barrelhouse blues and soulful ballads,
often laced with sexual innuendo. She sometimes says she's a black drag queen
trapped in a white woman's body; in her low-cut gowns, she sometimes strides
over to the piano to "play the 88s with my 44s." No one in the audience can
miss her message: everyone needs love, everyone deserves respect, and everyone
should enjoy their body and sexuality. No wonder she's especially loved by
the disenfranchised, such as bikers, porn fans, the overweight, the kinky,
and the misunderstood.
At this point, Candye Kane doesn't apologize for anything--and offers the
best damn blues show money can buy. She sings about sex, love, sex, loss,
sex, desire, and sex, never far from the many forms of sexual imagination.
When she sings that she's 200 pounds of fun, she obviously means it (although
she passed 200 a few years ago). Unwilling to renounce her sexuality as the
price of a career, building her success around her sexual integrity (sure,
a fantastic voice and band help, too), feeling and being sexy in her own way--no
matter what she looks like or what we think--those add up to Sexual Intelligence,
which we're glad to recognize.
For some good clean fun, catch one of her shows or albums. Her website is
Frank Rich, Columnist
If you don't read the Sunday New York Times, Frank Rich is enough reason
to start. In his weekly column on page 1 of the paper's Arts section, he often
discusses Sexual Intelligence--and bemoans its opposite--with ascerbic wit
and sophisticated research. His recent titles include "The Great Indecency
Hoax"; "The O'Reilly Factor For Lesbians"; and "It Was
the Porn That Made Them Do It."
Keep in mind that this is the New York Times--not some blog read by 12 people.
Some memorable Rich quotes:
Will it be the Jews' fault if ''The Passion of the Christ,'' ignored by
the Golden Globes this week, comes up empty in the Oscar nominations next
month? Why, of course. ''Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who
hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular,'' William Donohue,
Catholic League president recently said.
If we lived in Afghanistan
under the Taliban, perhaps it might make sense that Janet Jackson's breast
(not even the matched set!) would lead to one of the most hysterical outbreaks
of Puritanism in recent, even not-so-recent, American history.
For exposing bigotry and hypocrisy in high places, showing the profound financial
and operational ties connecting today's political, media, and Christian organizations,
and consistently believing in the twin ideals of public information and private
choice, we recognize Frank Rich's Sexual Intelligence.
Catholics for a
After the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, Catholic bishops
suddenly emerged as the principal opposition to legal abortion. To organize
resistance to the church hierarchy's campaign, Joan Harriman, Patricia Fogarty
McQuillan, and Meta Mulcahy founded Catholics for a Free Choice (CFFC). These
three women believed that the bishops did not represent American Catholics
on reproductive rights issues. They knew that Catholic women had abortions
and that Catholic women and men supported legal access to abortion. They decided
their task was to get that fact out to the public.
Today, 30 years later, CFFC sponsors a variety of campaigns. These include
www.condoms4life.org (“we believe
that sex is sacred; good Catholics use condoms"), www.catholicvote.net (“The Bishops
gain little and risk a lot from their use of the sacraments as a political
football"), and statements about how Catholic theology can support the choice
to have an abortion. They also publish Conscience, the news journal
of Catholic opinion.
Many people think religion is all about fearing God, attempting to stay out
of hell, adhering to a complex set of rules that have nothing to do with them--and
involves little compassion or attention to individual circumstances. They
think that people should serve religion, rather than the other way around.
CFFC doesn't dismiss religion--it's a group of religious people dedicated
to showing their fellows how Catholicism can offer them
grace and healing. CFFC uses church law, history, and loving logic to show
believers how contraception and other sexually responsible choices can bring
them closer to God and their faith. They offer hope to millions of the faithful
who feel cruelly forced to choose between the affection of the church and
the decisions they believe will best nourish themselves and their families.
This is the essence of Sexual Intelligence--seeing our sexuality as a gift
that each of us can administer in our own unique way, understanding that if
our decision-making involves honesty, responsibility, and consent, the community
cannot be harmed by our sexual choices.
Henry Waxman, Congressman
"An honest man in politics shines more there than he would elsewhere,"
said Mark Twain in A Tramp Abroad. And that helps explain why Congressman
Henry Waxman's publication of an accurate evaluation of federally-funded abstinence
programs is so astonishing. The repercussions are still vibrating; as you
read this, a national campaign is gathering Congressional resolve to continue
As described last month (issue #59),
Waxman's approach was simple and elegant. His report is an exciting read;
to see it, click
The report provided wonderful media and educational opportunities. For example,
SIECUS's Vice President for Public Policy, Bill Smith, was on TV two dozen
times the day the report was released.
For years, the government has sponsored a nasty ideological war over sexuality
education. It has given hundreds of millions of dollars to its religious allies,
in the guise of educational support. Waxman's report is a key moment in opening
a second front in this war--science. Fact. Data. Numbers.
Information, leading to more enlightened public policy and better individual
decision-making: that's Sexual Intelligence at its finest.
Jeff Laurie, Publisher,
SexNewsDaily! was just that: a news service devoted to sexual issues.
Two or three times a week, some 15,000 subscribers received news from around
the globe about sex--health, surveys, politics, history, and the just plain
goofy. The price was more than fair: it was free.
Unfortunately, SND! ceased publication last month. After 541 issues,
publisher Jeff Laurie simply couldn't keep pouring money into it, and advertisers
just never saw it as an opportunity for them.
SND! Drew from an enormous range of sources, and it was always a valuable
resource for SI. Publishing one issue of SI per
month is daunting enough; it's almost impossible to imagine publishing eight
to 12 issues per month, exclusively as a labor of love.
For his outstanding contribution to the public (and to us), we recognize
publisher Jeff Laurie. We look forward to welcoming him back into the world
of sexuality publishing soon.
Condon, Writer and Director, "Kinsey"
When SI reviewed the film Kinsey two months ago (issue
I didn't mention the setting in which I saw it--a screening for 200 sexologists
at a conference. It was an extraordinary experience: a group of prestigious,
accomplished professionals, most of them marginalized all their careers, watching
the life of our scientific ancestor as it rose, blossomed, and was destroyed.
There wasn't a dry eye in house--nor a single person whose resolve to carry
on wasn't strengthened. No one felt alone that night.
Reviews by the general public have been divided according to agenda. Critics
say it's good filmmaking. Audiences apparently find it entertaining and rewarding.
Those who hate or fear sex (almost none of whom have seen it) call it an ode
In contrast to those erotophobes, Director Bill Condon trusted Kinsey. He
trusted him enough to show his imperfections, his obsessiveness, his naivete.
Condon wanted to show us the man as he was, and the times as they were. Both
Millions of Americans have learned from Kinsey, but not enough have learned
from the times. There will never be another Kinsey. Unfortunately, Kinsey's
time--defined by a fear of information, belief in the value of ignorance,
reliance on superstition, and the demonization of sexuality--is still too
much with us.
Highlighting Kinsey's majestic accomplishments without making him a saint,
and portraying sexual ignorance and fear honestly, without preaching--that's
Originally published in issue
#60 of Sexual Intelligence.
* * * * * * * * * *
of the 2004 Awards are:
Susan Wilson, Sex
Susan Wilson's career has been dedicated to an idea--that knowledge helps
teens make better decisions--that is accepted across America with only one
Wilson launched her career during a term on New Jersey's Board of Education,
when she drafted the state's then-radical policy requiring sexuality education
in public schools. She is now chair of the New Jersey Advisory Council on
Adolescent Pregnancy. For 22 years, she has run the extraordinary Network
for Family Life Education at Rutgers University, a combination technical assistance/advocacy/resource
organization working on behalf of teens' right to medically accurate sexuality
In 1994 Wilson asked teens if they would read a newsletter about sexuality
and health written by their peers. The enthusiastic response led to the National
Teen-to-Teen Sexuality Education Project. This features:
- youth media outlets, placing accurate, teen-written features on sexuality
for the teen media (such as Teen People Magazine and MTV), and
- information for teens on how to evaluate and change their school's sex
The real jewels of Wilson's program are www.sexetc.org
and the SEX, ETC. newsletter. Both written by teens, the newsletter
reaches 2 million students three times each year, while the website gets 7
million hits per year.
And Wilson's program isn't just a pretty face. A study by Dr. Catherine Sanderson
in the Journal of Adolescent Research (November 2000) concluded that
students who read SEX, ETC. showed significant increases in responsible
The Network for Family Life Education offers the essence of empowerment:
in addition to teaching kids about sexuality, it shows them that they can
participate in effective mass communication and community action. This is
Sexual Intelligence at its finest: encouraging citizenship and rational decision-making
at the same time.
Thanks for this nomination goes to Peggy Brick, another veteran sex educator.
In many ways, Peggy has made the work of Susan, me, and many others possible.
Laura Kipnis, Cultural
Dr. Laura Kipnis knows that sexuality connects almost everything important.
That's why her bio on Northwestern University's website (she's a professor
there) explains that her work focuses on "the intersections of politics,
body, and psyche, with detours through aesthetics, love, Marx, adultery, scandal,
Freud, pornography, and the legacy of the avant garde."
Kipnis has been writing and making videos about sexuality for two decades.
The titles of her three books show her provocative intellect:
- Against Love (2003) (a polemic about intimate relationships)
- Bound & Gagged (1996) (pornography and the politics of fantasy)
- Ecstasy Unlimited (1993) (sex, capital, and gender)
Kipnis gives her readers plenty to ponder, delightfully unmoored from the
conventional wisdom or political correctness of the Academy, feminism, or
liberalism. In a recent issue of Slate, she commented on the increasing number
of universities banning student-faculty sex: "The problem in redressing
romantic inequalities with institutional blunt instruments is that it just
confers more power on the institutions themselves, vastly increasing their
reach into people's lives."
In a recent New York Times op-ed piece on the decreasing percentage of married
Americans, she noted that President Bush is in denial, insisting that heterosexual
marriage is a fundamental, enduring institution of our civilization--"Shortly
after his own administration floated a proposal for a $1.5 billion miracle
cure: an initiative to promote healthy marriage, particularly among low-income
couples...In this Administration, the economic benefits filter upward, the
marital meddling filters down."
With the insight of a scholar and the passion of an artist, Kipnis's book
on pornography takes dead aim at the interface of American politics, emotions,
eroticism, and capitalism: "Pornography...has attained popularity because
it finds ways of articulating things its audiences care about...It speaks
to its audience because it's thoroughly astute about who we are underneath
the social veneer, astute about the costs of cultural conformity and the discontent
at the core of routinized lives and normative sexuality."
Kipnis's creative efforts to enlighten readers, students, and the power structures
of the university, media, and government are the embodiment of Sexual Intelligence.
There are thousands of websites devoted to abortion. This one is absolutely
It's a place where women tell their stories about an often difficult choice
they felt was necessary at the time--and that they'd make again in similar
circumstances. A year ago, founder Patricia Beninato noted the abundance of
websites portraying abortion as a "personal tragedy" followed by
"lifelong sorrow" and even so-called "post-abortion stress
syndrome" (which has never been validated). She knew that there was another
side to the abortion experience.
The core of this website is the ever-changing display of women's letters,
which arrive every week. Writers are young and old, wealthy and poor, from
every ethnic group and continent. They give voice to a uniquely female experience,
about the intersection of sexuality, pregnancy and life circumstances. The
letters are remarkably candid and thoughtful, as women discuss these crossroads,
their partners, and their complex decision-making--the "why" of
The anti-choice movement seeks to homogenize both the experience of abortion
and the reasons leading to it. On this website, women can acknowledge their
difficult experiences without having to regret them. Just as importantly,
their stories show the extraordinary range of situations that lead to abortion--illustrating,
in a non-ideological way, that every woman needs to be able to make her own
choice, that no rule could possibly do justice to that range of unique situations.
For many women, the letters they write to the site are the first time they
have ever admitted having an abortion. Tentatively or dramatically, they are
seizing the chance to come out about a powerful secret, free of the judgments
and political exploitation that has kept them in the closet, in some cases
for a half-century.
By honoring this website, we also honor the individual women who raise their
voices and share their diverse personal stories there, revealing their relationships
to their bodies, their fertility, their lovers, and their families. We join
www.ImNotSorry.net in celebrating
its first anniversary this week.
Special Ironic Mention: American Family Association
What could suddenly mobilize a half-million people to petition Congress,
asking that gay marriage be legalized?
The AFA, strong believers in democracy when people agree with its positions,
posted a poll on its website two months ago asking constituents to voice their
"opinion" on gay marriage. They expected overwhelming opposition
to it, and planned to forward the results to Congress to help pressure them
into banning it.
But darn, that democracy thing can be so untidy. Once the poll's existence
and URL got out beyond the AFA, people around the country voted. More than
half a million of them, 60% of respondents, said they favored legalizing gay
marriage. An additional 66,000 (7%) favored gay 'civil unions.' The AFA poll
wasn't killed, it was just rendered useless as a partisan tool.
"Homosexual activist groups around the country got a hold of the poll
and they decided to have a little fun," said AFA representative Buddy
Smith, "turning their organizations around the country onto the poll
[to distort it], and they succeeded."
But that's where the AFA, conservatives, and most of the media are wrong.
Gay marriage isn't a "gay issue" propelled by indefatiguable
"gay activist groups." The AFA poll hopscotched around the internet
via blogs, networking sites like Friendster.com
and justice-oriented e-mail lists. Even Sexual Intelligence discussed it (issue
The AFA has pulled the poll off its website, and won't be taking the results
to Capitol Hill--revealing their contempt for how "the American people"
For mobilizing those who believe in basic fairness for all sexual expression,
for involving straight people in the fight for gay marriage, and for showing
us that we can influence major-league politics, the AFA gets an Ironic Sexual
Aba Aziz Makaja, "South-Slavic
A few weeks after we opened nominations for this year's awards, I received
email from people across Europe promoting the candidacy of a man who had changed
their lives. They said he had developed a spiritual system (Komaja), gave
seminars throughout Europe, had a website devoted to erotic liberation (www.komaja.org),
that his work was increasingly recognized for curing drug addiction, and that
many of his followers lived, like he did, in long-term, non-monogamous spiritual
communities. I was skeptical but intrigued.
Reading further was like a delightful step back into the '60s. Makaja's "love-erotic
therapy" envisions love as healing energy for individuals, communities,
and the planet. He sees sexual anxiety and the cultural repression of eroticism
as destructive to people and communities. I put on some old Crosby, Stills,
& Nash, and continued reading about Komaja as a way of cleansing blocked
erotic energy and of living more consciously.
The guy had more than just flowers in his hair, though. I read that his work
was being funded by a university, municipality, and an international aid organization,
was being evaluated and published in academic journals, and that he'd even
presented at the World Association of Sexology.
Last week I read all the email from his followers in one night. Their sincerity
made their imperfect English sing.
"Currently Macedonia lies in political, economic and social crisis
where basic needs are not satisfied, let alone the deeper needs of the soul.
Erotica and sex are covered by a veil of shame and guilt, and are seldom discussed
honestly and openly in public or within the family. In an environment where
no sexual education exists, Makaja's books are a true spiritual refreshment
for all Macedonian citizens."
"Thanks to the endeavors of Mr. Makaja, DANI was the first newspaper
on the ex-Yugoslav territories which has informed about the existence and
activities of the "World Association of Sexology" and has published
their Declaration of Sexual Rights...Mr. Makaja is meritorious in many respects
for the "de-tabooization" of sexuality on the territories of former
"For Croatia in which number of drug addicts is strongly increased
during 1994 to 1998 because of war and its consequences, Makaja's methods
being efficient in curing addicts is effect of significant importance."
"Unfortunately, Serbia is still very conservative and patriarchal
in all fields of life, especially in sexuality. Makaja is the only south-Slavic
sexologist who has a remarkable influence on the consciousness of the Serbian
public. I consider Aba Aziz Makaja as the "south-Slavic sexual enlightener".
I absorbed the feelings of an amazing variety of people--from a professor
to a ballet dancer, engineer, physician, journalist, psychologist, even an
air traffic controller--from Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia, Slovenia, Macedonia,
and Albania, as well as Germany, Switzerland, and Britain.
This political reach is the ultimate importance of Makaja's work. In a part
of the world that has obsessively focussed on people's differences--with disastrous
results, century after century--Makaja focusses on people's common human heritage.
He talks of the erotic oppression that burdens them all, and teaches a way
of living that focusses on what all people share: the potential for erotic
fulfillment and conscious loving. I've been to the Balkans myself, and I've
seen how desperately the people there need something to break the spell of
ethno-aggressive nationalism and ethnocentric religion. Higher erotic consciousness
and sexual self-acceptance just might be it.
Makaja's no pushover, though. Persecuted by both the Catholic and Orthodox
Churches throughout the former Yugoslavia, he sued the national Church magazine
that called him a "satanist" (a serious charge over there). The
slander trial will finally proceed this summer. He no doubt will use the trial
to expand the public's Sexual Intelligence.
Posthumous: Edward Schempp
This year we give our first posthumous honor to Edward L. Schempp, who died
November 8, 2003 at the age of 95.
Schempp's lawsuit against the required reading of Bible verses in
public schools led to a landmark Supreme Court decision restricting such practices.
The 1963 ruling barring mandatory Bible reading in public schools helped define
the pragmatic line between church and state. Madalyn Murray O'Hair was also
a participant in the lawsuit.
Schempp became concerned about a Pennsylvaina law requiring the reading of
10 Bible verses and a joint recitation of the Lord's Prayer each day in school.
In 1956, his son Ellory protested by reading from the Koran during the Bible
reading. After he was reprimanded, his father, supported by the ACLU, filed
suit against the Abington school district. The district and the state lost
and appealed several times. After seven years, Pennsylvania appealed to the
Supreme Court and lost. Every one of us--including highly religious people--have
been freer ever since.
Sexual Intelligence requires more than access to accurate information; people
need a social environment in which they can discover their erotic selves,
free of institutional pressure to adopt a single approved view of gender,
pleasure, and the body. Abington vs. Schempp meant that public schools
couldn't sponsor or require religious beliefs or activities.
Unfortunately, thousands of public school districts across America now promulgate
religious agendas in a more insidious way, through mandatory abstinence training
classes. These curricula are, for the most part, taxpayer-funded religious
or moral tracts stating that condoms don't work and that premarital sex is
always dangerous and wrong. Attempts to require that these curricula be "medically
accurate" to qualify for federal funding have been defeated in Congressional
Originally published in issue
#48 of Sexual Intelligence.
* * * * * * * * * *
of the 2003 Awards are:
defendant Jesse McClure
As described last month (issue #36),
Jesse McClure is the teen who successfully challenged Georgia's fornication
law, which criminalized consensual sex between unmarried people.
McClure and his girlfriend were 16 (over the age of consent)
when her mother found them having sex in the girlfriend's bedroom at 3 AM.
Charged with a crime, McClure was ordered to pay a fine and write an essay
on why he should not have engaged in sex. In response, he wrote that it wasn't
any of the court's business. With the help of the ACLU, he fought and had
the law overturned.
"Invading personal privacy just isn't right," he said
after the decision. "It now goes that way for everybody." For risking
jail time and ultimately making Georgia the 40th state in which unmarried
adults can legally have sex, we honor McClure.
We're ready to honor whoever can make another state the 41st.
officials Jack McGeorge, Hans Blix, & Kofi Annan
In November, the Washington Post reported that Jack McGeorge,
one of the U.N. weapons inspectors in Iraq, was a national leader of America's
growing S/M community.
McGeorge is hardly in the closet about this; he's a founder
of the Black Rose support and education group, an officer of the Leather Leadership
Conference, and a former Chair of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom.
When confronted by the Washington Post about his involvement
with S/M, McGeorge was unapologetic. "I have been very upfront with people
in the past about what I do," he said, "and it has never prevented
me from getting a job. I am not ashamed of who I am--not one bit."
Nevertheless, to protect the work of the U.N. weapons inspection
program in Iraq, McGeorge offered his resignation to Chief Inspector Hans
Blix. "I cannot allow my actions, as they may be perceived by others,
he explained, to damage an organization which has done nothing to deserve
Blix rejected McGeorge's offer to resign, pointing out that
his sexual activities have nothing to do with his competence. Believing McGeorge
to be "a highly qualified technical expert," Blix's office said,
"We are not aware of any grounds for his resignation."
When the U.N. Secretary General was asked whether McGeorge's
S/M involvement might be offensive to Iraqi Muslims, Kofi Annan's office noted
that all weapons inspectors are required to be sensitive to local cultures.
And that was that.
For his honesty and refusal to hide, we honor McGeorge; for
their refusal to discriminate against an irrelevant sexual preference, we
honor Blix and Annan.
And if you're thinking that these awards trivialize the "real
news" regarding Iraq and the U.N., be reminded that this whole conflict
is about a clash of values and civilizations.
York State Senators Velmanette Montgomery & Carl Andrews
Last month, State Senators Montgomery and Andrews introduced
SB 1634, requiring all New York hotels to have condoms available for sale
on the premises. They contend that this is part of the larger fight against
AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections.
As long-time readers know (issue #6),
the city of Managua, Honduras experimented with providing free condoms in
the rooms of 19 hotels several years ago. It was a rousing success.
Unfortunately, many New York hotel operators oppose the condom-availability
bill. Says Michael Blackman, general manager of The Michelangelo on West 51st
Street, "We have a basket of amenities, razors to nail files to toothbrushes,
anything you might have forgotten. I don't think we've ever been asked for
condoms." If we gave a Sexual Duh award, Blackman would get it. Since
we don't, Montgomery and Andrews get honored for their recognition that we
can actually change customs and attitudes with practical policy-making.
activists Amelia & Ashley Massey
It all started when someone told Ashley Massey's gym class that
15-year-old Ashley was a lesbian--which Ashley acknowledges. It ended with
Ashley's mother Amelia suing the Banning Unified School District for discrimination
on the basis of sexual orientation.
In between, Ashley was excluded from gym class for over a week,
until Amelia confronted the principal and demanded to know why. No one accused
Ashley of behaving inappropriately; her gym teacher and the principal say
they were concerned about other girls being uncomfortable. That's the definition
of discrimination. The Masseys' suit will be the first of its kind since California
passed the Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act of 2000, extending civil
rights protection to gays and lesbians in public schools.
Ashley acknowledges the experience has turned her into a more
political person: "I used to be kind of quiet and keep to myself,"
she says. "Now that I have news cameras in my face asking what I think,
I have to have something to say." On the other hand, she also reports
that she's still anxious about going to school, and "I always have my
Ashley's mom Amelia says the lawsuit is aimed at other schools,
too: "A lot of school districts have gotten by with a lot of things.
There are kids who aren't going to be strong enough to fight it, and we don't
want to have to see other kids go through what Ashley did. We just want the
law enforced. You don't take a child and throw her out."
Adds Ashley, "There's a lot of gay and lesbian teen suicide
because kids are afraid to come out. I hope other kids see me, and maybe they'll
take a stand too. Nobody should have to hide who they are."
And that's the kind of sexual intelligence we're pleased to
Walker: Sex Ed Policy-Challenger
A parent in northern California is fighting to end CryBabies,
an abstinence-only program in her local school district that features biased
information about abortion. First Resort, the organization that provides the
CryBabies program, operates Christian anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers
throughout the San Francisco area.
Renee Walker felt that the CryBabies program was biased and
inaccurate, and insufficient in teaching how to prevent pregnancy or STDs.
Her son learned that one disadvantage of abortion is "killing a baby."
At the end of the eight sessions, the seventh-graders can volunteer to sign
a pledge to remain abstinent until marriage--as if 12-year-olds are in any
position to make such a decision.
School officials responded to Walker's complaint by saying the
program provides factual and unbiased information about the consequences of
sexual activity and the options for pregnant students. They repeated the common
misconception that abstinence is the only sure way to prevent pregnancy and
STDs--a myth continually contradicted by the fact that vows of abstinence
are commonly broken.
Crybabies faced similar criticism two years ago when a parent
in the Oakland School District complained about its inaccurate information.
California state law requires that if schools teach sexuality education, lessons
must be "medically accurate, objective and stress abstinence."
The Mt. Diablo school district has assembled a task force to
review the health curriculum, including the CryBabies program. For caring
so much about the sexual health of her community's children, and for having
the courage to speak out against inaccurate sexuality education, we gladly
honor Ms. Walker's sexual intelligence.
Tuaolo, ex-football player
For nine years Tuaolo made his living as a professional nose
tackle. In 1991 he made the NFL all-rookie team as Brett Favre's 280-pound
teammate with the Green Bay Packers. Four years later he played in the Super
Bowl with the Atlanta Falcons. Tuaolo retired in 2000.
Four months ago, Tuaolo became the third ex-football player
to announce that he's gay. He did it in both ESPN Magazine and The Advocate,
finally integrating his sports life and gay life into a unified personal world.
No active athlete in any professional team sport has ever come
out as gay. It would be physically dangerous, especially in football. Teammates
depend on each other for their physical safety during practices and games,
and a simple mistake--unintentional or otherwise--by an anxious or angry teammate
can result in a concussion, spinal cord injury, or disabled limb.
The locker room culture that Tuaolo describes is so hostile
to homosexuality that it seems clear that anyone's career would be over the
minute he came out. Ex-teammate Sean Salisbury agrees: "There is a big
problem with ignorance in the NFL, and I'm not sure the league has any idea
how to deal with it." Maybe now, he says, "at their rookie orientations
and symposiums, this might be a topic they'll have to cover."
For forcing the NFL to deal with homosexuality--even for a few
moments--Tuaolo's sexual intelligence is recognized. An Honorary Award goes
to Dave Kopay, the first ex-NFL player to come out. Tuaolo notes that Kopay's
1975 book changed his life when he read it in 1996: "Dave played in the
NFL for nine seasons and hid being gay. This was me! His book helped me quit
Originally published in issue
#37 of Sexual Intelligence.
* * * * * * * * * *
Winners of the 2002
* S.F. County Supervisor
Politicians who pass up money to stand on principle?
Last spring, Congress passed the Children's Internet Protection Act,
requiring America's libraries to install Internet filtering software by
2003. On October 1, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously
voted to ban filters from library computers, probably costing the city
$20,000 in federal funds. Supervisor Mark Leno organized San Francisco's
defiance of the Act, the nation's first city to do so.
Says Leno, "Filters block people from finding important information
on AIDS, sexuality, breast cancer and other potentially controversial topics,"
as well as Super Bowl XXX and the San Francisco Chronicle. And library
Internet access "is often used by folks from different ethnic communities
who may not have computers in their own homes. That's where the free speech
issue is especially significant and unfair."
Even more impressive, Leno tackles today's "what about the children"
panic head-on: "Youth need access to HIV and reproductive rights information
that Internet filtering software can block," he says. "Installing Internet
filtering risks giving parents a false sense of security that they need
not take responsibility for their children's activities. It's more important
that the library along with parents teach our children how to use the Internet
responsibly, and there is no filtering device that can substitute for that."
For demonstrating sexual intelligence, and for trusting his constituency's
sexual intelligence, we honor Supervisor Mark Leno.
* Speak Out!
It started out innocently enough last fall. A few high school kids in
Santa Ana, CA started talking about how their friends were getting pregnant.
They realized that their health class wasn't helping--all it said about
sex was "wait until marriage." Their textbook didn't help either--it said
"wait until marriage." The students knew they needed more.
They decided to organize and collect information about teen pregnancy
locally, and how it could be reduced. They examined various sex education
curricula, and learned how some--like the abstinence-only program in their
school district--were far less effective than others. They received encouragement
and technical support from the Campfire USA Speak Out! program,
where they also learned research methodology and presentation skills.
They started talking to everyone about the issue. Surveying other students,
they discovered 60% were already sexually active. No wonder a sex ed program
with the single focus "don't do it" wasn't helping--students were already
doing it. Further surveys discovered that the curriculum improvements they
wanted were supported by 90% of the district's parents and a majority of
their health teachers.
When they finally got their chance to address the school board, the
teens were ready with statistics, survey results, and emotion. Board members
were deeply impressed by the kids' work and their desire for information
and guidance relevant to their lives. The Board has established a committee
to look into the problem--the "problem" that students want better education.
We hope they'll understand their kids' needs as well as the kids do.
Honorable mention goes to Campfire USA, which encouraged the students'
civic involvement, and secured funding for it. We also salute the California
Wellness Foundation for funding the project. The 15 teens themselves are
hereby recognized for spreading sexual intelligence--among their peers
and among the adults in charge of their well-being.
* Dr. Stan Dale
Dr. Stan Dale is the founder and director of the Human Awareness Institute,
based in San Carlos, CA. HAI offers unique love/intimacy/sexuality workshops
which have been attended by more than 50,000 people in Northern California
and around the world. Dale and his personally-trained facilitators create
an extraordinarily safe environment in which participants experience a
blend of structured exercises and perfectly-timed opportunities for honest
sharing--which lead to personal breakthroughs around sex, body image, performance
anxiety, gender, and trust.
Bringing inspired HAI graduates with him, Dale travels tirelessly around
the world meeting with private citizens and government officials. During
trips to places including China, the USSR, Iron Curtain Eastern Europe,
and Japan, Dale and his delegations unleash a tidal wave of loving energy
and creative, culturally-appropriate programs for enhancing trust in sexuality.
Dale's recognitions for this include the coveted Mahatma Gandhi Peace Medallion
and appointments at universities in China and elsewhere. Dale sows sexual
intelligence wherever he goes. The HAI website is www.hai.org.
* Marjorie Heins, J.D.
Marjorie Heins directs the Free Expression Policy Project of NCAC, the
National Coalition Against Censorship. Heins founded the project as a miniature
thinktank on free expression, providing factual sex-positive research to
government and advocacy groups, and legal participation in key court battles.
Adding to her illustrious legal career, Heins' recent accomplishments
For her tenacious challenges to sexual fear, and for providing valuable data to
help support sexual intelligence in government policy, we salute Marjorie
Heins. Her ongoing work can be seen at www.NCAC.org/projects/feppintro.html.
Challenging the government committee investigating strategies for protecting
kids from internet pornography--by documenting the lack of data to support
the presumed need for such protection;
Participating in successful Supreme Court challenges to both the Communications
Decency Act and the Child Online Protection Act;
Publishing a summary of 70 studies showing the deficiencies of internet
Writing Not in Front of the Children: "Indecency," Censorship, and the
Innocence of Youth (Hill & Wang, 2001; reviewed in Issue
#20), in which her historical and scientific scholarship demolishes
the "harm to minors" argument for censorship. The book was recently honored
by the American Library Association's Office of Intellectual Freedom.
* Dr. Alexander
At the tender age of 40, Sasha Stulhofer is a central figure in the
sexual life of Croatia. As Chair of the University of Zagreb's Sociology
Department, Stulhofer has led his (overwhelmingly Catholic) fellow Croatians
into the modern world of sexual relations. He has done the seminal Croatian
study in each of a dozen fields, including teen sexual risk-taking, male
and female sexual problems, prostitution, and sexually explicit entertainment.
Each year, his research tells Croatians about another part of themselves.
Stulhofer is neither shy nor parochial--he is a model for scholars of
emerging European nations. With grants from a variety of countries (and
a Fulbright), he is training a new generation of sex researchers throughout
south, central, and eastern Europe. Last summer he organized the first
in Transition conference, attended by scholars from countries such
as Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia, and Belarus. This historic event examined
sex and sexual politics in the postcommunist world, creating a network
of scholars that will bear fruit for years. He is already busy creating
a 2003 program which will train most of the country's sex therapists and
We recognize Stulhofer for bringing sexual intelligence to his nation
and to a part of the world with a troubled and angry history.
* * * * * * * * * *
Winners of the 2001 Awards are:
* NBC's Just
The NBC sitcom recently had Finch [David
Spade]'s boyhood friend Bert visiting with surprising
news--via surgery, he has become a sexy woman named Brandi.
This causes problems for Finch when he becomes attracted to
Brandi. "Am I a freak?" wails Finch. This comedy treated the
issue of transsexualism with a human, non-condemning touch.
* Philip Roth
Mr. Roth has written dozens of novels portraying
sexuality in all its confusing, contradictory, selfish,
spiritual reality. "Portnoy's Complaint" scandalized some, but
relieved far more people concerned about their sexual
normality; subsequent works such as "The Breast," "Deception,"
"Counterlife," and "Sabbath's Theater" have held up an
excruciatingly accurate, and often funny, mirror to our
eroticism. Roth routinely describes the masturbation,
fantasies, sadism, fetishes, and longings most of us think are
unique to us--reducing our isolation and shame, and challenging
our culture's deadly code of silence. 2000's "The Human Stain"
continues Roth's fearless exploration.
* Philip Kaufman
Mr. Kaufman has written and directed films that have
portrayed human sexuality as a potent political force
throughout history, including "Henry & June"
(depression-era France), "The Unbearable Lightness of Being"
(Eastern Europe under Communism), and the new "Quills"
(Napoleonic Western Europe)--which questions whether sexual
repression is far more sadistic than the Marquis de Sade ever
* Peacefire &
is the pre-eminent website devoted to exposing the myths
surrounding Internet filtering software ("censorware," they
call it). After documenting exactly which sites were blocked by
popular censorware programs--including Breast Cancer Awareness,
Focus on the Family, and N.O.W.--Peacefire itself was added to
Cybersitter's list of "pornographic" websites. As the Bush
administration attempts to control what we may see on the
Internet, Peacefire will become a key resource for attorneys
and citizens everywhere.
* Dr. Elizabeth Loftus
University of Washington Professor of Psychology
Loftus is an expert on memory's unreliability. Her research has
exposed the false assumptions and biased methodology that led
to the extravaganza of fantastic child-abuse convictions in the
1980s. Her many books, including "The Myth of Repressed
Memory," have led to the recent trend of overturning mass-abuse
cases around the country: Five states including California now
bar prosecution based on repressed memories.
* The Free Speech
FSC lobbyists throughout America protect the public's
right to make sexual choices, as they track legislation and
educate judges and legislators. FSC's legal team is a veritable
who's who of First Amendment attorneys, whose most recent
success helped overturn Attorney General Reno's interpretation
of Internet pornography. FSC's weekly electronic newsletter,
Free Speech X-press, provides weekly censorship updates from
around the country.
& New York Departments of Health
New York and California are the first Medicaid
programs to say they will cover RU-486 for poor women under all
circumstances. California will cover the pill's use from
state-only funds. New York officials note that all FDA-approved
drugs must be covered by Medicaid, and they are interpreting
RU-486 as one of these. In contrast, most states have not said
to what extent they will cover RU-486 for poor women. Officials
around the country are protecting their jobs while awaiting