An Electronic Newsletter
Written and published by Marty Klein, Ph.D.
Issue #3 -- May 2000
1. Don't come on Redbook
2. Whose nipples on TV?
3. Losing the war of words
4. Vermont: Not obsessed with sex
5. National Masturbation Day
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1. DON'T COME ON REDBOOK
Like every "women's magazine," Redbook presents readers with a monthly stew of sexual myth, unrealistic expectations, and simplistic advice. But they hit a new low several weeks ago in answering a reader's question. She doesn't mind fellatio, she said, but her husband wants to come in her mouth, which she dislikes. What should she do?
Even the neanderthal Reader's Digest knows the importance of sexual "communication," but did Redbook suggest this? No. Instead, they suggested the woman wet her hand and use it as an extension of her mouth, and fool her husband into thinking he was ejaculating into her mouth when he was actually coming in her hand. Manipulative? Disempowering? Guilt-inducing? This is how Redbook supports today's modern woman.
2. WHOSE NIPPLES ON TV?
We already know that TV will show men's nipples but not women's nipples. But where, exactly, does TV draw the line?
Ah, transgenderism, you say, the psycho-political frontier of the moment. Actually, it's both simpler and more complicated than that.
Comedy Central's "The Man Show" recently booked a guest who, to win a bet, had breast implants put into his chest for a year. After a few minutes of kibitzing around with boob jokes, the segment's moment of truth came. "We have to see them," says host Jimmy Kimmel, and Brian opens his shirt. Yup, he's got actual 34-Bs, maybe B+s. Over the audience's hooting, Kimmel speaks every guy's mind: "you got a rack and a right hand," he says. "Who needs to leave the house?"
But, media-philes, take note: Brian has tiny round band-aids covering his nipples! His now-female breasts have apparently transformed his male nipples, for administrative purposes, into female nipples. This isn't just a matter of breast size or shape, because we do periodically see overweight men with large breasts shirtless on TV--for example, Chris Farley on Saturday Night Live. Brian's implants--which, of course, no one can see--transform pecs into tits. And that changes the nipples from neutral to erotic, which must therefore be covered.
Could this guy get busted in Alabama for dancing topless without pasties?
3. LOSING THE WAR OF WORDS
The Supreme Court will be considering Americans' right to an abortion this year. We'll hear a lot about so-called "partial birth" abortions, both with and without the prefix "so-called."
Our right to this medical procedure may in fact be upheld, but calling it "partial birth" is already a victory for the anti-choice folks. It's noteworthy that they have won battle after battle in the war of words: "pro-life," "unborn child," "abortion clinic," "abortionist." I even think we made a mistake with "a woman's right to choose," which marginalizes the issue into one more special interest political group. The right to abortion is of crucial importance to ALL Americans, whether woman or man, gay, straight, or celibate.
I just can't wait until RU 486 makes this part of the culture war obsolete.
4. VERMONT: NOT OBSESSED WITH SEX
The Vermont Senate and House of Representatives have passed a measure granting all 300 civil rights and responsibilities of marriage to same-gender couples. Depending on who you talk to, this is either the end of Western civilization as we know it, or a tiny step forward in the history of human love.
The Vermont law is about such glamorous marital issues as life insurance, hospital visitation, and death taxes. Pragmatic New Englanders apparently know that these things, rather than sex, are the real privileges of legal, long-term relationships.
The Vermont law says nothing about allowing gays to have more or better sex than straights. In fact, insofar as it legitimates long-term domestic unions, one might predict that the law will reduce sexual frequency, variety, and excitement among the gay and lesbian couples who sign up for these "civil unions"--as most long-term heterosexual couples already experience. Will gays now talk about the relative merits of sex before "marriage"? Will gay couples living together now have those inevitable "where's this relationship going?" conversations that straight men have learned to dread?
Yes, Vermont is now the social laboratory for the nation. Californians should be ashamed to have relinquished this role.
5. NATIONAL MASTURBATION DAY
May 7 is National Masturbation Day. In case you missed it, it's OK to celebrate today.
The Day is an opportunity for us jack-offs and jill-offs to come out of the closet. But you won't find any Hallmark cards or office picnics noting the occasion. It seems that most Americans would rather admit having sex with their dog than admit having sex with themselves.
As if 2000 years of religious oppression about this isn't enough, now the government's getting into the act. The state of Alabama last year criminalized the production or sale of "sexual devices marketed primarily for the stimulation of human genitals." The ACLU successfully challenged the law, but the state of Alabama is now pleading its case before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The case will undoubtedly go to the Supreme Court. I think Exhibit A should be some lube, with a Hitachi Magic Wand for Exhibit B. I suggest the Justices retire to chambers to consider the evidence at hand.
6. CALENDAR: Workshops & lectures for professionals
September 15, 2000
Power, Anger, & Trust Dynamics in Couples Work
Family Service Agency
September 22-23, 2000
National Association of Social Workers
San Francisco, CA
October 7-8, 2000
Diagnosis & Treatment of Sexual Issues
The Behavioral Medicine Research & Training Foundation
November 2-3, 2000
National Association of Social Workers
San Francisco, CA
November 4, 2000
Sexual Feelings on Both Sides of the Couch
Lifespan Learning Institute
Los Angeles, CA
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"Reprinted from Sexual Intelligence, copyright © Marty Klein, Ph.D. (www.SexEd.org)."