A Republican-controlled committee in the North Carolina General Assembly approved a bill on Tuesday that would require teenagers to present a notarized parental consent form in order to access sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment, mental health counseling, pregnancy care or substance abuse treatment. Teenagers without a parent or guardian would be required to stand before a judge and request a judicial bypass in order to obtain those health services. North Carolina already requires parental consent for teenagers seeking abortions. House Bill 693 would be the first law in the U.S. to amend that parental consent law to include STD testing and treatment, mental health counseling and other health services. The bill, sponsored by State Rep. Chris Whitmire (R), passed out of the Health and Human Services Committee along party lines by a vote of 14 to 8. If it passes the House and Senate, both of which have Republican supermajorities, only teenagers with medical emergencies would be exempt from the parental consent requirement.
I'm thinking we should borrow a tactic from the anti-choice crowd. You know how they like to wave gruesome photos of aborted fetuses around? Maybe having people show up at town hall meetings for GOP legislators—or standing outside North Carolina's capitol building—waving around gruesome photos of untreated sexually transmitted infections (link not safe for work, not safe for lunch) might give 'em pause.
by Dan Savage
on Thu, May 2, 2013 at 9:03 AM
A "Savage Love" reader with phimosis recently wrote and asked for advice. Dr. King, my guest expert, suggested circumcision as one possible fix. Toby Butterfield also suffered from phimosis and wound up getting circumcised. Butterfield told the story of his circumcision—and his first post-phimosis orgasm—at a recent installment of Portland's Mystery Box Show, a performance series dedicated to stories about sex.
Emily Heil at the Washington Post says Mitt Romney gave a commencement speech at the University of Virginia over the weekend. Part of his advice for graduates? Don't wait until you're in your 30s or 40s to get married and have kids:
“They’re going to miss so much of living, I’m afraid,” Romney said of the sad, single losers who opt to spend their 20s without a ring (he says, unsurprisingly, nothing of those who might want to get hitched but can’t.).
Of the Bible, he tells the young folks: “When it says ‘marry,’ listen!...Have a quiver full of kids if you can.”
As Heil mentions, Romney was against gay marriage all during the six years he was running for president, even signing a pledge to vigorously defend DOMA. So he's not for everyone getting married. (And depending on the day, he's not even in favor of gay couples adopting kids.) But that's pretty much par for the course for Romney; one of his favorite rhetorical tics is ignoring the people he disagrees with rather than even dignifying them with a slight. You can read a full account of Romney's speech at the Roanoke, but why would you want to?
by Dan Savage
on Mon, Apr 29, 2013 at 4:24 PM
Turns out this pipe isn't for smoking pot. If only someone out there made a locking hairbrush that doubled as a male chastity device—a product like that would help this mom avoid an awkward conversation with her kinky son, huh?
Her experience is not so different from that of many young American women now, caught in a post-post-feminist narrative in which it is proposed that sexual emancipation may be achieved through emotional disengagement. Whatever light “Waiting to Be Heard” does or does not shed on the awful death of Meredith Kercher, it offers a dispiriting account of prevailing mores. It is not new for students to “give casual sex a chance.” (Today’s twenty-year-olds may be surprised to learn that even their parents might have tried it.) It is new for girls to strive to adopt the sexual behavior of the most opportunistic guy on campus. “I wanted sex to be about empowerment and pleasure, not about Does this person like me? Will he still like me tomorrow?” Knox writes. But if empowerment, that much abused and much diminished term, means anything it means being able to say no as well as yes, without censure or shame.
Mead's point is subtle and finely argued, but there's a faint whiff of disgust in it, isn't there? The comparison Mead makes to Portrait of a Lady does something to honor Knox's own desires and agency as she set out for Italy, but then the knife turns, and it turns on the question of Knox's attitude about sex. I mean, if an adult woman wants to "adopt the sexual behavior of the most opportunistic guy on campus," shouldn't she be allowed to? Isn't that her prerogative? Granted, The Stranger hasn't gotten our copy yet, so I'm just spouting off here. But isn't there something a little dispiriting in what Mead's saying, too?
These young men don't look so tough at all. They seem to be down for whatever. I see in each of them, in the softness of their eyes, in the elegance of their eyebrows, in the smoothness of their skin, a touch of that character Daniel Day-Lewis plays in My Beautiful Laundrette.
A West Virginia high school student is filing an injunction against her principal, who she claims is threatening to punish her for speaking out against a factually inaccurate abstinence assembly at her school. Katelyn Campbell, who is the student body vice president at George Washington High School, alleges her principal threatened to call the college where she’s been accepted to report that she has “bad character.”
George Washington High School recently hosted a conservative speaker, Pam Stenzel, who travels around the country to advocate an abstinence-only approach to teen sexuality. Stenzel has a long history of using inflammatory rhetoric to convince young people that they will face dire consequences for becoming sexually active. At GW’s assembly, Stenzel allegedly told students that “if you take birth control, your mother probably hates you” and “I could look at any one of you in the eyes right now and tell if you’re going to be promiscuous.” She also asserted that condoms aren’t safe, and every instance of sexual contact will lead to a sexually transmitted infection...
First conviction of domestic violence in Ohio? A $1,000 fine.
If you're a repeat domestic violence offender in Ohio and you beat up your partner a second time, expect a $2,500 fine.
But teach kids in public schools about sex? A $5,000 fine—assuming Ohio Republicans get their way, which they very well might, since they have majorities in the senate and house.
Mary Anne Mosack of the National Abstinence Education Foundation calls their budget proposal "very, very, very wise." The Columbus Dispatch reports that the House Finance Committee approved the budget along party lines:
The sex education addition says that any instruction must not promote “any gateway sexual activity or health message that encourages students to experiment with sexual activity.”
It goes on to prohibit distributing certain materials, conducting demonstrations with “sexual stimulation” devices, or distributing contraception.
If a student receives such instruction, a parent or guardian can sue for damages, and a court may impose a civil fine of up to $5,000.
It's tough out there for teachers in Ohio. As Cienna wrote yesterday, a Catholic high school just fired a teacher for—wait for it—mentioning her same-sex partner in an obituary for one of her family members.
A federal judge ruled Friday that the government must make the most common morning-after pill available over the counter for all ages, instead of requiring a prescription for girls 16 and younger. In his ruling, he also accused the federal government of “bad faith” in dealing with the requests to make the pill universally available, and said its actions had been politically motivated.
Says Senator Patty Murray:
Today's ruling highlights the importance of Food and Drug Administration regulations being based on science, not politics. As numerous medical societies and patient advocates have argued, improved access to birth control, including emergency contraception, has been proven to benefit a woman's personal, economic and social health and stability. Increasing access to obtain a safe and effective product they may need to prevent an unintended pregnancy is an essential part of basic health care.
You're goddamn right, judge and senator. The 2011 decision by Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius to overrule the FDA's recommendation on the safety and regulation of a medicine was a fucking embarrassment. It was backhanded political bullshit and it had really serious implications: A drug that has been proven safe for all ages and loses efficacy by the day should not be made more difficult to acquire for people who really need it—young teenagers who just had unprotected sex (for any of a variety of reasons) and don't want to be pregnant. The judge today called the government's continued refusal to lift restrictions on the drug "arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable."
Did you ever have to acquire Plan B as a teenager and find it confusing, difficult, and embarrassing? Ever buy it for a terrified younger friend who didn't know how to navigate the health-care system alone? Thanks to this ruling, those days may be over. Finally. Unless the DOJ decides to appeal. Also, let's recall that it's not always easy to get ahold of emergency contraception even if you can find a pharmacy that carries it. NARAL Pro-Choice Washington has a handy map of pharmacies that dispense it and ones who've said they may not, usually on moral/religious grounds. Still, a celebration is in order.
J & D's Foods, a Seattle company that also makes bacon lubricant—which "began as an elaborate April Fool's prank and was never intended to be a real product" but nonetheless persists out of sheer novelty—has topped itself by offering a pork-flavored prophylactic.
Initially, males groomed their penises to go erect before approaching females. When they gently touched females with their wings, females typically moved away, and males followed. When the females stopped moving, the males started licking the females’ vaginas—the act known as cunnilingus. This foreplay may help arouse and lubricate females, the researchers said. Each case of cunnilingus typically lasted about 50 seconds. The males then mounted the females for 10 to 20 seconds, and then went back to cunnilingus for 94 to 188 seconds. The researchers found that the longer the stints of cunnilingus before mating, the more copulation was prolonged.
A carefully groomed penis? And two-to-four minutes of the act known as bat cunnilingus for every twenty seconds of BPIBV (bat penis in bat vagina) intercourse? Math is hard, like Barbie said, and it's especially so at this hour. So I'm not going to try to figure out what the precise ratio is of intercourse-to-cunnilingus for lady bats. But I imagine that figure would make most human females jealous and/or depressed. Maybe it would be better for all if no one attempted that calculation. Let's just leave it alone, shall we?
A plague is striking Chinese officials in the southeastern county of Shuangfeng. One by one their photographs are being nabbed from government websites, their faces cut out and then pasted into pornographic movie stills—explicit Photoshop mashups that would surely horrify the morality of any good Communist.
The Chinese Photoshop masters share the photographs with their victims, along with a threat: pay up, or we'll post these all over the Internet.
But how can you tell if it's really real or really fake? What if some of those pictures are the real deal? How can we be sure?
by Dan Savage
on Thu, Mar 7, 2013 at 12:18 PM
It's been quite a week at Slate. First William Saletan sticks his foot in his mouth trying to say something ("ick") about BDSM. (Saletan continues footfucking his own face today.) And this morning Prudie gave terrible advice to a guy with a micropenis who worries that he'll never be able to satisfy a female partner and that any female partner he winds up with will eventually cheat on him.
Prudie directs her tiny-dicked reader to dating sites for the disabled. Because... having a small dick a disability. And non-disabled women with small-dicked men will cheat whereas disabled women will not. Because... um... a disabled woman isn't allowed to have preferences about penis size and she should be happy with whatever she gets. And on disabled dating sites, says Prudie, small-dicked men can find women "for whom intercourse may not be the primary way of expressing their sexuality but who want a physical connection." Because obviously a man with a small dick isn't interested in—or really qualified for—PIV or PIA or PIM intercourse, right? And disabled women never cheat. Ever.
Did someone fill the water cooler at Slate with Everclear over the weekend?
Everyone should be open to different types and people with disabilities can be great partners and terrific lovers. "Check out dating sites for the disabled" is good advice for all, not just for guys with tiny dicks. And guess what? Some disabled women enjoy intercourse. Some of them have a preference for big dicks. And disabled women sometimes cheat on their partners. Because they're only human, just like non-disabled women.
Here's what Prudie should've told her tiny-dicked reader: biologically speaking, a penis is a big clit and a clit is tiny penis. And guess what? There are lots of people out there with clits—bisexual women, lesbian women, trans men—who intercourse the shit out of their partners on a regular basis. And here's how they do it: strap-ons. You don't have to be a lesbian or a trans man to purchase a strap-on. And guys with small-to-average dicks who wanna take a walk on the hung side have options as well. Check out the cock sheaths and cock-extenders for sale at Oxballs.
Prudie's tiny-dicked reader can have a big dick whenever he wants or needs one.
Some women won't settle for a big silicone dildo when what they want is a big flesh-and-blood dick. But a woman who falls in love with a small-dicked man may be willing to go there. And a bi woman who has used strap-ons in previous relationships with women has already gone there. And if this guy is able to set his own ego aside—if he can learn to use a strap-on expertly and without bursting into tears; if he can see strap-ons and cock-extenders as his friends—the women he dates won't be faced with having to choose between being with him and having the shit fucked out of them on a regular basis. They'll be able to have him and all the intercoursing they want.
Prudie's tiny-dicked reader needs to love and accept his dick and build an awesome collection of sex toys. Because a tiny dick isn't a deal breaker for all women, disabled or able-bodied. A tiny dick attached to a guy with insecurity issues that prevent him from doing what the lesbians and trans men do—strapping on a big ol' dick—is going to be a deal breaker for many, many more women.
UPDATE: I was just going to revise my response to include this point, but Clayton beat me to it in the comments thread:
Prudie should have asked the man if his fingers and tongue were the usual size.
It's not all about PIV, PIA, PIM, people.
@fakedansavage @slate On behalf of disabled people I would like to remind Prudie that we are human beings & not someone's consolation prize
by Dan Savage
on Mon, Mar 4, 2013 at 3:41 PM
William Saletan has an anti-BDSM screed up at Slate. He doesn't approve of BDSM generally, but Saletan seems particularly tormented by the idea of a coworker at Slate bringing her girlfriend to the office Christmas party on a leash. (As that's never happened at the Stranger, William, I can't imagine it's going to happen at Slate anytime soon. So chill.) While I agree with the distinction Saletan makes between sexual orientations and sexual activities (a distinction I've made myself), Saletan goes out of his way to shock vanilla readers by linking to shit like this without so much as a "NSFW."
But yes to this: straight, gay, bi, or lesbian is something you are, BDSM is something some of each of the above do. A lesbian can't have a relationship—she can't date or marry or start a family—and keep her sexual orientation "private." But a kinky lesbian can date and shack up and get married without disclosing her kinks to friends, family members, and coworkers. No one is harmed if she is open about her kinks, of course, but her sex partners are the only people who really need to know about them. And most of us—kinky or vanilla—run our sex lives on a "need to know" basis. Into bondage? Your girlfriend needs to know. Your mom? Not so much. That Saletan guy in the cubicle by the photocopiers? Not at all.
There are certain assumptions we make about the sex lives of our friends, family members, and coworkers. We assume the straight couples we know are having vaginal sex, the gay couples are having anal sex, the lesbian couples (and everybody else) are having oral sex, etc. And most of us are perfectly comfortable with not knowing more than we need to about the particular interests, kinks, and fetishes of our friends, family members, and coworkers. It isn't hypocrisy. It's boundaries.
But Saletan seems terrorized by the thought of all the BDSMers in his life—he knows he knows people who must be into BDSM—coming out about their kinky sexual lives en masse. That's no more likely than his vanilla friends coming out about the delight they take in giving or receiving head. Most people into BDSM are like most other people: content to keep the particulars of their sexual activities private. But in our post-Fifty-Shades world, the only way for vanillas to make sure the closeted BDSMers in their lives stay closeted, Saletan's piece implicitly argues, is for vanillas to ramp up the fear-mongering and start reviving defamatory stereotypes: BDSMers are crazy and dangerous! To that end Saletan lards his post with links to hardcore images sure to traumatize as well as links to the idiotic blatherings of self-appointed BDSM "experts" on YouTube.
But it's unfair—unfair bordering on unhinged—of Saletan to describe consensual BDSM as "domestic violence." I don't know who should be more offended: good people into BDSM or actual victims of domestic violence. And here's a sadistic twist of the knife: Saletan holds up the kink community's own discourse about abuse and abusers—the willingness of the kink community to address the issue—as evidence that abuse is somehow unique to the kink community or more widespread in the kink community. Is there data on that, William, or is that just prejudice? And can you name a single community that doesn't have abusers? Some BDSM relationships are abusive, of course, but some vanilla relationships are too. There are "normal" straight guys out there—guys who are only interested in missionary-position sex—who beat their wives and girlfriends. Sometimes to death. I could write a post packed with links to stories about vanilla abusers. And what would it prove? That no one should fuck anyone at all?
Yes, BDSM can be dangerous. Yes, there are dangerous idiots and asshole abusers out there. Yes, the D/s dynamic is tricky and it can complicate negotiations and some bad players exploit it. People into BDSM need to be smart and cautious and on their guard. (Same goes for people who aren't into BDSM.) The potential for injury in BDSM is why you don't want someone pinning your cock to a butterfly board unless she know what she's doing and it's why you don't let someone you know nothing about tie your ass up. That's why it's important for kinksters to have a community—however imperfect—that shares information, teaches safe practices, and provides a degree of accountability. That community can't exist without a public face and that means some kinksters—for the good and safety of all—need to be out. Even if traumatizes William Saletan.
There's lots of talk lately about sex trafficking, women and girls and boys forced into prostitution, ways for lawmakers to crack down, and police stings to bust prostitutes and johns. But are we better off legalizing it? We could bring the whole thing above board (like we just did to pot) so we can separate the responsible players from the dangerous, illegal ones, undercut the some demand for human trafficking, establish legal standards for safe sex, regulate the market, and tax the fuck out of it.
If not, why not? And if so, how should we regulate it? Discuss.
If you don't have tickets to the Valentine's Day party at the Neptune on Thursday—which is also a live taping of a Savage Lovecast—uh, you're going to have to stand outside and beg someone, cuz it's sold out.
by Dan Savage
on Tue, Feb 5, 2013 at 8:09 AM
Vice's Kat George—doing her best impression of a Jezebel writer (and I mean that as a compliment (I read Jezebel every day, Vice not so much))—interviews the founders of Bang With Friends, a new app that allows you to, well, let Kat explain:
Do you click through your friends' Facebook photos furiously masturbating? No? Well friend, get with the times, because according to the new app “Bang with Friends” everyone has a secret hard-on for their pals, and moreover, a burning desire to, as the moniker would suggest, bang with friends. Bang with Friends allows you to peruse photos of all your Facebook friends, and anonymously select who you’d like to fuck. The friends you chose will only ever find out that you want to bone them if they want to bone you too.... And nevermind that you’re not even consenting to have your image used on this glorified whorehouse (the founders’ email is simply “Online Pimp”), because being sexually objectified is “flattering,” just like being catcalled in the street.
The guys who created Bang With Friends explain what they were thinking:
How do you think people will feel about having their image used as a sexual object without their consent or even knowledge? Flattered? This happens all of the time offline and online via Facebook. We're all adults here. Let's be honest about our sexuality!
You talk about wanting to take the "awkwardness" out of sex. How is your app doing that? It can be awkward to breach the subject of your sexual interest in a friend unless you know it's mutual. We take down that barrier. It should be something that is celebrated and open, not something anyone should feel awkward admitting is their goal.
As a woman, I find the homepage image you guys use on your site quite disturbing. An inert, faceless woman on a bed with a dress pulled up over her head doesn't exactly scream "equality for the sexes." Why did you choose a woman and not a man? We liked the erotic, laid-back, and whimsical nature of the photo. But rest assured, we'll be updating it for the ladies and gents who swing that way.
When I log on, I'm only able to see males from my friends list. Why the heteronormative standard? To be honest, we built this in two hours and never expected it to take off. We built the most basic version we could to keep it simple and get to the result of getting people bangin buddies! We are working on expanding it to help everyone.
1. When did Vice start tossing around Queer Theory lingo like "heteronormative standards"? I thought Vice was proudly heteronormative. And some of the most disturbing images I've ever seen were in Vice.
2. This new attempt at a Grindr for straight people... just might work. A previous attempt, Blendr, didn't take off because it was designed to help people hookup with strangrs. Lots of gay men are into anonymous hookups, and lots of straight men would like to have anonymous hookups, but not that many women are willing to risk 'em. Which is why I predicted that Blendr wouldn't work:
by Dan Savage
on Mon, Feb 4, 2013 at 1:11 PM
We're gay and all, both of us are highly susceptible to underwear ads, we've been known to enjoy nearly-naked men... but Calvin Klein's first-ever Superbowl underwear ad didn't do much for the gays at my house. How about your house?