Archive for the The Body Politic Category

Knocking Socks Off: Testicular Cancer Awareness Week

Posted in Male Room, Sexual Health, The Body Politic, Trans Toolbox on April 8, 2014 by anacroniste

We here at the Sexploratorium News Desk were more than pleasantly amused when the newest of NSFW social media trends crossed our path last week: the Instagram and Twitter hashtag #CockInASock.

Bevies of gents doffed their clothes with naught but a lone sock covering their naughty bits and posed for their own cameras, sending the Internet abuzz and all in the name of testicular cancer awareness!

Check out the photos that started this trend!

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April 1st -7th was Testicular Cancer Awareness Week, yet organizations like the TC Awareness Society are dedicating the entire month to promoting education and consciousness about this disease, which is mostly detected in those between the ages of 15-35.  While the vast majority of these organizations cater to the education of cisgendered men,  all persons who have testicles (including transwomen and gender nonconforming people) should be aware of their risks, and what to look for. Self-examination is the first line of defense against this highly  treatable disease, with survival rates of up to 95% or higher if caught early.

In order to further the cause of Testicular Cancer awareness, Sexploratorium will be donating a percentage of cock ring sales for the month of April to the Testicular Cancer Awareness Foundation. Here’s to knocking those socks off (and knocking cancer out)!

 

 

 

TransJourney: An FTM’s Search for Identity

Posted in PASSION 101, Sexual Health, The Body Politic, Trans Toolbox on May 25, 2013 by Just B

Chapter 1

Coming Out To Myself–Childhood Reflections

     Admitting to myself that I was transgender – and then realizing I was transsexual – was no easy task. I’ve known for 10+ years that I was attracted to girls, but I could never explain why I was attracted to gay men and why I felt most comfortable in their presence and community. Many women have gay friends. I’ve heard of quite a few that claim to feel like a gay man trapped in a woman’s body without implying they were transgender. Why should I think I was any different?

Some people know their whole lives that they were born with the wrong body. Growing up, I was not blessed with this keen self awareness. I remember being 4, wishing I had a penis and telling my mom that I wished I was a boy. Clearly I was her precious little girl so she set out to make me her protege. She spent my childhood teaching me everything she knew about how to be a girl. Instinctually, I wanted nothing more than to win the approval of my parents, so I ate up her lessons eagerly. Despite her explanations about how to wait patiently to attract men, I couldn’t help but chase the boys. It has always been in my nature to be the pursuer. All I knew was boys liked girls, and I was a girl, so that must be a good thing. From 4 years old up until puberty, I consistently had little boyfriends. This made my mother proud, and it made me happy to be connecting to the boys.

We lived in a small neighborhood surrounded by farmlands so I was never exposed to objections to cultural norms. To be different was to be alone. I always felt very different from everyone else, but I blamed this feeling on having mentally unstable, divorced parents. The pain I carried from that trauma was enough of an explanation for my differences. So I spent A LOT of energy doing my best to fit in. I was always the shy observer. In any new setting, I would watch everyone, decide which behaviors were acceptable/desirable and which were not, and simply act accordingly.  There simply was no room for me to question my gender.

Puberty hit me like a sack of potatoes in the face. Overnight I became exceedingly anxious for no good reason. When I was 12 I cut my hair up to my earlobes, but let it grow out after I kept getting teased. I knew I was different, but I continued to focus all my energy on being as normal as possible – which still fell very short of being acceptable. Somehow the bullies could see through my best efforts. When I was 14 they gave me the nickname GG. It stood for Gay Guy, because I was told I looked like a gay guy when I walked down the street. I was mortified at the time, but perhaps now I should thank them for their insight.

Finally, by high school, there were enough weirdos to be friends with that I no longer felt the need to act “normal.” I started dressing in gothic clothes. When I saw that it was cool, I finally admitted to myself that I was attracted to girls. Being bisexual was considered hot, but I still preferred my rebel boyfriend. The first guy in high school that liked me back turned out to be a closeted transvestite. The whole thing was completely foreign to me, but I quickly realized how much I enjoyed dressing him up in women’s clothes. Sadly, his inability to accept himself resulted in him lashing out with abusive anger. I only stayed with him because I loved his alter ego so much. High school ended, and so did that relationship. College gave me a new lease on life. I gave up my anger and gothic attire in exchange for hippie clothes, peace, and love. I excelled at school and found myself a husband by the time I was 22. Life was falling into place just as it should, or so I thought…

“Ultimately” Complex and Cognizant: A Review of The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability

Posted in Book Nook, Bottom's Up: Dating & Relationship Advice for the Non-Traditional, PASSION 101, Reviews, Sexual Health, The Body Politic on March 13, 2013 by feministtimeandplace

The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability!

Unpacking and introducing the multifaceted complexities of sexualities in one book – as The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability (published by Cleis Press) sets out to do – is an ambitious undertaking. If I were asked before reading Ultimate  if it were even possible to compose a comprehensive guide to sexuality and disability, my response would have taken a skeptical tone. However, Miriam Kaufman, M.D., Cory Silverberg, and Fran Odette have written an incredible primer on sex and disability that touches on masturbation, oral and anal sex, communication, S/M, sexual health, and even sexual violence relating to disabled bodies. It also addresses sexual education in an accessible, honest, and quite moving style. All three authors of The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability come at this project from different positions and collaborate on an effective and additionally affective guide to sexuality and disability.

At one point, I was brought to tears by the way in which they address the reality of healing from, understanding, and interpreting chronic forms of pain through sexual play and performance. Since the book ranges in topics, as reflected in the three authors different positions in fields of sex education, this book covers everything from yoga to anatomy to BDSM to sexual assault. If there is something you have ever had a question about relating to intersections of sexuality, gender, bodies, and disability, this book probably at the very least touches on it, if not goes into depth and examines the topic. The book destabilizes myths surrounding sexualities as well as those surrounding disabilities, and offers sex positive advice, as well as perspectives and exercises for readers at the end of each chapter. Various snippets of personal narratives and experiences representing the chapters are woven and interspersed throughout each one. The resources in chapter 14 are referred to multiple times throughout the book and present a comprehensive guide of contacts, organizations, and various other resources relating to all of the topics they address throughout the book.

I started reading this book on a flight to Oakland a couple weeks ago and was unable to leave off. I would open it up and read on the train, in the park, at a cafe, on break from work, and wherever I happened to wander into. In closing, though an “ultimate” guide to sexuality might sound a little too ambitious for anyone to complete, this book comes as close to achieving it as I can imagine.

Playing Well With Others: A Warm and Welcoming Guide to the Kink, BDSM, and Leather Communities

Posted in Book Nook, Events, PASSION 101, Reviews, The Body Politic on December 28, 2012 by feministtimeandplace

In Playing Well With Others, Mollena Williams and Lee Harrington articulate a supportive atmosphere representative of minority sexual and fetish communities as places for healing and wellness through sexual expression and interpreting conflicted desires as a means of comprehending different realities. As a part of this marginalization, Harrington and Williams sympathetically call attention to entering these diverse sexual communities with suggestions to listen to others, be well with others, and, most importantly, to play well with others. Both of them are deeply invested in these fetish communities and demonstrate their attraction to and thorough understanding of them.

playing wellHarrington and Williams present practical points to discovering and navigating fetish communities that is as accessible as it is kind, endearing, and personably inviting. The tone throughout the book is supportive, sincere, and consistently comical. Both share some telling moments about experiences they have had while moving through different spaces. Williams has one particularly humorous anecdote about traveling through TSA security in the airport on their way to a kink conference while sporting a slave collar with a suitcase full of dildos, vibrators, whips, and bondage rope. Security takes Williams aside and examines their bag and receives a baffled look as the security person takes a look inside the bag and then a good look at Williams wearing their collar before telling them to move along.

Williams and Harrington situate themselves, their desires (both sexual and non-sexual), and their positions and experiences in fetish communities while giving detailed layouts of what to prepare for financially, packing-wise, and emotionally when heading off to a munch, a kink conference, or a night out at a fetish club. As someone who has read extensively about kink communities, but has not been to many community events, this book resonated strongly with questions that I have had, but have honestly been too shy or embarrassed to ask people who are so deeply devoted and involved in these communities. Luckily, both Williams and Harrington share their deep personal investments and perspectives on fetish communities as a well-mannered “how-to” guide for understanding and navigating these communities.

Regardless of whether you have been involved in kink, fetish, BDSM, or leather communities for years, feel that you have a thorough understanding of diverse desires and bodies, or are just curious, this book openly and accessibly presents perverts in their most honest, whole, and wonderfully engaging fashion.

If you do become an instant fan or are merely curious after this, Mollena Williams will be presenting at Sexploratorium on South 5th Street, right off of South Street this Saturday, December 29 at 5 pm. Come learn what she has to share about submission and bottoming!

Religious Sex: Kink & Christianity

Posted in Religious Sex, The Body Politic on November 12, 2012 by Kali Morgan

1 Corinthians 13:4 …Love suffers long…

In a world where religion and sexuality are seen as opposing forces, a refreshing voice sings a unique and open truth from the City of Philadelphia. Reverend Beverly Dale, also known as Rev Bev, is the creator of an online video series called Sex is Good whose monthly installment focuses on kinky sexual expression this November (see below)

This Thursday, November 15th, 7pm, Rev Bev will be at Sexploratorium presenting Sexuality and Christianity: Keeping the sexy without losing the faith Advance tickets are on sale now!

This class will be presented just prior to the kickoff of Diabolique Ball weekend, which just happens to be Religion-themed. This year’s ticket proceeds will benefit Philadelphia Search and Rescue as well as One Step Away newspaper.

Rev Bev stopped by Sexploratorium and PASSIONAL Boutique a few weeks ago to borrow items for her newest video.
Check it out below:



Continue reading

The Body Politic: Sex & Money in North America

Posted in The Body Politic on April 3, 2012 by Kali Morgan

This week saw some struggles and some victories for pleasure professionals in North America, demonstrating both the need for more activism  on this continent, and the benefits of organizing against  unfair laws and practices.

In North America: Philadelphia arrests exotic dancers, Lousianna removes "sex offender" status for those convicted of "crimes against nature" and Ontario upholds the planned decriminalization of prostitutes.

PENNSYLVANIA LOSES Philadelphia Daily News recently reported that several exotic dancers in Philadelphia “Gentlemen’s Clubs” have been arrested for agreeing to perform sex acts for money. In the article, anti-porn activist and sexual trauma counselor Mary Ann Layden was quoted as saying. “You can’t truly separate stripping from prostitution. It’s a continuum.”

Using this logic, it could be argued that shaking hands and anal sex are a continuum, but most folks have shook hands with many, many more people than they have had anal sex with (if in fact they have ever had anal sex). It might also be asserted that dating and sex, or sex and rape happen in a continuum. The “typical scenario” Layden describes in the Daily News column may be typical for exotic dancers that end up seeking counseling in the sexual trauma and psychopathology center she directs, but seems by no means “typical” for the myriad of female college graduates who have moved on after stripping their way through school. If you want to provide counter-opinion to this news story, which quoted only enforcement and pro-enforcement voices, email the Daily News and tell them that they should not exclude the voices of the true victims in this story, women who are doing their jobs (in some cases above and beyond the call of duty) and are harming nobody.

Philadelphia burlesque performer Melissa Bang Bang is organizing a day of actions to protest both the police actions and the media coverage of the Philadelphia stripper busts. Look for news posted in the comments section.

The larger issues at hand are why the government is even involved in the logistics of consensual sexual entertainment/ activity. If the same women arrested in strip clubs this past month were having sex in private without the money, there would be no crime. Without a victim, where is the crime to enforce in a city where violent crimes like assault, robbery and murder are prevalent?

This is not an issue that is specific to Philadelphia. There is a movement, often fueled by the religious right (but on this issue often supported by liberals and feminists) to limit/criminalize sexual activity, especially where the exchange of money is involved, in the name of “protecting women and children” from abuse. Anti-sexwork crusades have shut down the adult entertainment sections of Craig’s List and are attempting to shut down the adult sections of The Village Voice‘s Backpage online classifieds, without acknowledging that lack of a voice drives workers underground where there is less “evidence” and where it potentially would be more difficult to track and prosecute violent and abusive customers.

Victories have been won elsewhere on the North American continent, though, so here’s hoping that Philadelphia’s law enforcement and criminal justices systems will find more worthy battles to fight than crimes without victims (other than the people arrested).

LOUISIANA WINS: From Center for Constitutional Rightsattorneys from the Center for Constitutional Rights argued that individuals convicted prior to August 2011 under Louisiana’s “Crime Against Nature by Solicitation” (CANS) law should not have to register as sex offenders, a federal judge for the Eastern District of Louisiana agreed and granted summary judgment to the plaintiffs. The statute was amended in August 2011 to no longer require those convicted of CANS to register, but the change was not made retroactive until March 29,202. READ MORE

Decades of activism pay off in Ontario!

ONTARIO WINS In 2010 , a judge in Ontario overturned many of Ontario’s prostitution laws in an effort to allow prostitutes to create safer working conditions and to report violent crimes against them. Last week, Canada’s high court upheld the limited decriminalization that will go into effect next year.

Get involved!
If you are  a sexworker or an ally (customer, family worker, friend, etc) looking to support and create safer working conditions and full civil liberties for persons involved in these industries, take a moment to plug in to groups and organizations fighting this fight.
Demand basic human rights for all adults who perform pleasure professionally.
Exotic Dancer Advocacy Resources
Sex Industry Advocacy Resorces

Charity children’s toy drive

Posted in The Body Politic on December 22, 2011 by Kali Morgan

Sexploratorium is collecting new, unwrapped children’s toys for homeless and needy families through Friday December 23.

 

Donate three toys at Sexploratorium and get a FREE adult toy from the clearance rack!

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