An Electronic Newsletter
Written and published by Marty Klein, Ph.D.
Annual Awards Issue
Each year, Sexual Intelligence honors individuals and institutions that have contributed to our world. As usual, we start by listing last year's Award winners:
To see why each of these was honored, go to www.SexualIntelligence.org and click on Awards.
Winners of the 2006 Sexual Intelligence Awards are:
Bill 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 launched, with veteran sex educator Elizabeth Schroeder, 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 & Activist
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 in action.
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, Bulgarian Sexologist
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 & Legal Analyst
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, Author
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.
Update on previous award winners: What have they done lately?
As we prepared the 6th annual Awards issue, we thought it would be fun to follow up some past recipients. We're gratified at the way they've continued their fine work; many have accomplished great things, some achieving additional recognition.
We're not saying that receiving a Sexual Intelligence Award, changes recipients' lives or careers, but…well, it couldn't hurt. Here are follow-ups on three previous honorees:
Esera Tuaolo, Ex-football player & gay activist (2003)
Esera Tuaolo played pro football from 1991-2000, and participated in the 1999 Superbowl. In 2002 he became the third ex-football player to tell the national media that he's gay.
Since his Award Esera has become a lecturer in great demand, speaking on gender equality, being closeted, gay rights, and self-respect. His book about his life and coming out, "Alone in the Trenches: My Life As a Gay Man in the NFL," will be published this month. And he and his partner Mitchell now have twin sons.
In a related story, NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue gave a presentation to NFL employees this summer. As part of the NFL's Diversity Council programming, Tagliabue and his wife shared their journey of loving and fully embracing their gay son and his partner.
Candye Kane, Red-hot blues musician (2005)
Last year, we said Candye had "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." Her message that everyone deserves respect, and has the choice of enjoying their body, is reflected in her own career, which she has built around her sexual integrity and comfort with her plus-size body.
Since her Award she's put out another album, called "White Trash Girl." Not only was it nominated for blues record of the year by Blues Revue Magazine, she was nominated for blues artist of the year. The winners have not yet been announced, but we're thrilled to see Candye getting more of the recognition she deserves.
Awards notwithstanding, Candye will again tour worldwide 250 days this year. To see when she's coming to your town, just go to www.candykane.com.
Dr. Sasha Stulhofer, National sex educator (2002)
Sasha is determined to raise the sexual intelligence of every individual and institution in his beautiful country of Croatia.
Since receiving his Award, Sasha has started the country's first sex therapy training program. To establish what clinical expertise Croatia needs, he did the country's first studies on the prevalence and characteristics of sexual difficulties. Sasha also organized the first research about Croatians' sexual uses of the internet, and a study on HIV sexual risk-taking among Croatian migrant workers. Along the way, he carried out the first validated study on AIDS knowledge, attitudes and behavior among Croatian youth. Each of these studies has been or is about to be published as an article or book.
You may quote anything herein, with the
"Reprinted from Sexual Intelligence, copyright © Marty Klein, Ph.D. (www.SexEd.org)."