Interesting posts, weekend of July 4, 2010

07/03/2010 at 3:31 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments
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Dear internet, it’s a holiday weekend in the US and even though I just took a vacation a few weeks ago, I most definitely needed another one. Even as we speak I am enjoying the sounds of the overhead fan whirring and birds chirping outside. There’s even a few movies in theaters I’m hoping to get to soon. But it’s not all fun and games – got some paperwork and computer stuff I need to take care of on break. I’m hoping to see my partner again sometime soon, “Soon” being a relative term when you’re doing the long-term LDR thing.

Friendly reminder: I am looking for Guest Posters. I want to hear more perspectives on the themes dealt with here at Feminists with Female Sexual Dysfunction. Because I am dealing with such a sensitive topic, I don’t think I can actively recruit new posters, since if I went onto someone else’s blog and said something like, “Hey u wanna write a post about your sexual health and/or feminism on a public forum?!” that would probably be very invasive. For this reason, Guest Posters requesting to remain anonymous will also be taken seriously.
At this time, criteria for inclusion is, “If you think you would fit in here, you probably would.” This may be subject to change but for now we’ll try that & see how it goes.
In an attempt to preemptively fight spam and rude comments, this blog’s email is private. Please leave a comment on this post if you want to write something. I’ll screen comments so you can remain anonymous if you want. That way I’ll have your email and we can collaborate.
Have something you’ve been working on? Send it my way.
Comments made by new e-mail addresses here are auto-screened before going live, so if you want to stay anon use an e-mail address that you haven’t used here before.

Can’t get enough of feminism and sexual dysfunction on the internet? You may want to think about following the Twitter feed, which is more accurately described as my Twitter feed since no one else manages it. Some of my daily mundane and/or angry thoughts sneak in there but I try to include trendy topics as well as a healthy dose of sexual dysfunction related news when I find it.

Now then, on with the belated blog link roundup. Posts I found interesting over the last few weeks. Share links if’n you got’em.

First up is news related to sexual dysfunction because that’s kind of what we do around here… I got some good news and I got some bad news. Not in order.

Dr. Oz ran a repeat episode, the one which included a surprisingly comprehensive 5-minute clip on vulvodynia, originally broadcast in January 2010. (My thoughts on the Dr. Oz coverage of vulvodynia are over here.)

The US talk show Chelsea Lately ran a bit on vulvodynia in response to Dr. Oz’s re-airing of the above episode.  I have the Chelsea Lately video for you sans transcript, but if you’re a regular reader here or if you’re a woman with vulvodynia who stumbled upon this blog while searching for the video, you’re probably not going to like it… Having borne witness to the Amanda Palmer Evelyn Evelyn disability blog debacle a few months ago, I feel I have no choice but to refrain from critiquing the video in great detail. Once again my need to feel personally safe is greater than my need to educate. Anyway, some hits to this blog were coming in from searches for “Chelsea Handler vulvodynia.” You asked and I deliver, though I’m numb from handling it. Chelsea Lately vs Sexual Suffering-Vulvodynia [VIDEO]

An Oasis for those in pain! – a dilator series review by a sex blogger who also deals with vestibulitis and vaginismus! Eerily familiar. If you’ve been thinking about getting a dilator kit and you live with vulvar pain, check this one out!

Flibanserin Defeated; What Is Accomplished? – Veeeery interesting and refreshing take on the New View Campaign vs. flibanserin; dare I say, I recommend reading this post. Even sex therapist Dr. Marty Klein has criticisms of the tactics of the New View Campaign in its quest to defeat Flibanserin! I never would have expected that. They’re pretty solid criticisms too, like, how the New View Campaign does not center women with FSD and how calling it “Pink Viagra” is a misnomer which leads to confusion about what flibanserin and Viagra do and confusion about the difference between desire and physical arousal.

In that same spirit, I’d also like to present to you Flibanserin: Is a ‘Female-Desire’ Drug a Bad Thing?, a post by someone who actually has personal experience dealing with prescription hormones. Found via Womanist Musings.

I also enjoyed “Why Not Me?” Ask Women As FDA Turns Down ‘Female Viagra’, which talks about the flibanserin study results – what happened, side effects, etc. Yes, ASK WOMEN. TALK TO WOMEN. Who have FSD, in this case, HSDD in particular. Talk to them!

Camille Paglia talked about flibanserin… I think. Shit I can’t even figure out what she’s talking about. She wrote in an op/ed piece to the New York Times and it’s this… on the surface, it starts out as being about “Pink Viagra” so she’s referring to flibanserin, (and as Dr. Klein just pointed out like 5 minutes ago the above post I linked to, that’s not a completely accurate description.) But I’m really struggling with what to do with this piece. What is this post even about??? I don’t know, I read this editorial 3 times and I keep losing her train of thought. I… think it’s supposed to be a distilled, distorted version of the social construction model of sexual dysfunction, so it’s got elements of “FSD isn’t real, it’s just that everyone is shitty in bed due to shitty music and television. Also people don’t conform to their gender roles and THAT IS BAD FOR SEX.” What? Also punctuated by racism and classism. Anyway, here’s No Sex Please, We’re Middle Class.
(::mutters to self:: “Sexual malaise?” Has she ever used the internet and found a sex blogger’s site? Any sex blogger? I don’t even…)

A few feminist bloggers have produced responses to this weird NYT piece, some of which are better than others. I wouldn’t even know where to begin. I am willing to bet cash that sooner or later a feminist blog post is going to be written which will contain some permutation of “I’m not agreeing with Paglia, but…” and then say something which basically agrees with the worst parts of her arguments and climbs on the “FSD isn’t real” bandwagon… I am not actively looking for such a post, but it’s happened before, and it will happen again. BUT I haven’t found such post yet so in the mean time here’s a pretty good skewering by Holly of the Pervocracy. No sex please, I’m a complete twit.

Understanding restless legs syndrome – People joke about it and don’t understand it but it’s actually pretty serious, and has connections with other chronic health conditions – including sexual dysfunction, though in this article that’s only briefly mentioned. Still, how interesting and relevant. Via FWD.

Stuff not necessarily about sexual dysfunctions:

Good Vibrations House Calls: Sexual Surrogate for a Gay Man? – Interesting because you might remember a few months ago that I watched a movie about sexual surrogacy and asked some questions of Shai Rotem of IPSA.

Scientists invent first male contraceptive pill - I have no idea how far this will get in human testing since supposedly this little pill has been in the works since I was in high school. Here’s to hoping it works well without damage. Coices and options and shared responsibility is a plus.

One reason why humans are special and unique: We masturbate. A lot – Seems like everybody and their grandmother is talking about this Scientific American post. I liked Bering’s summaries of documented historical observations on masturbation in the animal kingdom, the health of sperm and the attitudes of old time experts towards masturbation, but I did not like all of his opinions formed based on the readings. In particular I did not like his questioning asexuals’ orientation on the basis of what their sexual fantasies may be. Fantasy is not reality and it’s not cool to judge what someone’s sexual orientation is based on their fantasies.

Disability Blog Carnival #67: Proud Voices. – Been waiting for this one. Wow Dave really did a nice job rounding up the posts.

Anti-Porn Profiteering: What They’re Selling - Is this accurate? Selling “Cures” for masturbation??? Violet Blue usually does her homework, but to say these organizations are selling a cure to masturbation? It sounds too rich to be true. Why does this need a cure? Does this apply to people without sexual addiction, which I know is controversial? I don’t want to cure my erotic fantasies!

Why you should not see “The Last Airbender” movie, but watch the cartoon instead. – Not on my list of movies to see to begin with (I never got into that show.)

White House aide meets with LGBT media – no news, lotsa spin – Pam Spaulding met with white house representatives on LGBT rights, on the record.

Iceland Legalizes Gay Marriage, Prime Minister Marries Partner – Making PM Johanna Sigurdardottir “The world’s only national leader with a same-sex spouse”

World Cup Fever: Has it Really Led to an Increase in Trafficking? – Which is what I heard, but Audacia Ray has a more nuanced discussion:

Trafficking is a very serious topic, but it’s important to recognize the differences between trafficking and sex work, without doing so, we do a disservice to both victims of trafficking and sex workers.

And Now For Some Unabashed Jingoism! - July 4 is Independence Day in the US, Canada Day is July 1.

On Cure Evangelism – Attention grabbing early on since the post quickly defines Cure Evangelism as,

Put simply, cure evangelism involves aggressively pushing a medical treatment or approach to a medical condition or disability on someone, without that person’s consent, interest, or desire.

The High Price of Industry: Cancer Villages in China - Since China has been industrializing at such a fast rate, the rates of cancer have increased. These cancer cases cannot always be averted with lifestyle changes because the causes are all around people.

Sometimes a Strange Notion – A survey of attitudes towards equal rights for men & women globally.

You don’t get to out me - Above a 101 level discussion of trans topics; this one is about how allies sometimes mess up by outing bloggers as trans men or women but in this case trans women especially. If you out someone, you probably won’t have to deal with the worst of the fallout directly.

Posts that might be triggering:

Tracking Shit On The Carpets – [Trigger warning] – Not actually about what the title is. Kinky spaces are not “Anything goes” spaces. You still need consent.

Police Don’t Really Protect Victims of Battery or Sexual Assault… Why Believe They “Protect” Sex Workers? – [Trigger warning] Figleaf goes over 6 points why we should question protection as motivation for police involvement in sex work.

On Dismissing Sexual Violence Against Some Women As “Cultural” – [Trigger warning] – On the need to recognize rape as a threat to security and take it seriously.

Human Rights Violations at the G20 – [Trigger warning] – Protesters, and in this case, a journalist, were arrested outside the G-20 convention. Afterward, the detained were subjected to threats, abuses and assaults. This ensures security how?

Does Rape-aXe prevent sexual assault? – [Trigger warning] The short answer is no probably not, it only works with PIV rape, and it places a burden on rape victims.

The complicated relationship of sexual aggression and porn – [Trigger warning] Seen a couple of blogs going back-and-forth about a study on pornography and sexual aggression, I particularly enjoyed this one, mostly because of the following paragraph:

I’ve noted in the past that I think the outsized role that misogyny plays in porn probably has to do with the fact that a small percentage of heavy duty porn users dictate the market.  I speculated that most men spend not very much time looking at porn compared to other activities, but that some men are complete pornheads who have to be staring at it all the time.  I suspect that men who look at porn well beyond the basic “get on, get off, get on with some other activity” amount are way more likely to be in it to see women hurt and degraded, on top of just wanting to get off.  And since they look at it way more and spend way more money on it, the industry caters to their demands.  Which is why, to quote a friend of mine, in a lot of porn videos there seems to be a need to have a winner and a loser of the sexual encounter, and the woman is the loser.  And men who are less interested in having their ego shored up this way simply tune out or refuse to analyze some of the misogyny in a lot of porn, because they see it mainly as a masturbatory tool.

[Trigger warnings] On the subject of prenatal use of dexamethasone, I’ve seen the discussion go in two directions. One direction focuses on the use of this risky drug as guiding sexual orientation while a fetus is still developing: Doctor Testing Dangerous Drug to ‘Prevent’ Lesbianism? The other direction focuses on administration of the drug as a prenatal treatment for ambiguous genitals which may be associated with intersex conditions, Discussion Thread: Dexamethasone and “Fixing” Broken Girls. Feministing has, I think, a pretty good breakdown of what intersex means – intersex is not necessarily a problem at all; doctors and a kyriarchy culture make it into a problem.

I’m sure there’s more…

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  1. Re: that Camille Paglia thing… oh sheesh. I’ve had my differences of opinion with Holly Pervocracy, but I most definitely agree with her that androgyny can be extremely attractive. (Well, yeah… the fact that it can be is not news to anyone who’s ever been in JRPG fandom, and seen the characters that many female fans go for, heh.) Also the comment about “Why do people listen to her at all? Why won’t she just go away?” is about how I feel about Paglia, honestly. For all that I can grasp the social dynamics around why people like her at all, she seems to have a talent for spouting esoteric-sounding nonsense that somehow endears her to certain kinds of people who want to feel smart and academic, especially people who secretly enjoy some idealized fantasy of 50s suburbia or something. I can’t really describe it, just… there are some kinds of people who have some kind of uber-romanticized “vive la difference” ideal of How Things Should Be regarding gender roles, who have apparently never experienced what it’s like to seriously be incapable of conforming to your social gender role in some way and getting shit for it. And the way Paglia seems to act like All Those Primitive Jungle People are naturally and innately hypersexual is incredibly disturbing, to say the least.

    • Haha don’t forget anime characters.

      This Paglia article, it’s, it’s begging for analysis over here and I like, I don’t even know what she’s talking about. The structure of her op/ed piece is so disjointed & jumpy I can’t keep up with it.

      I looked up her biography & work online and the impression I get is … she seems infatuated with herself.

    • You know, I’m thinking about it and thinking about it, and the more I think about it, the more Paglia reminds me of someone I know. Hopefully not myself.

      I think I’ve had professors and teachers like her… based on what I’m reading in the biographies, she very reminds me of one of my old art teachers. And one or more of my literature professors.

  2. Also re: dismissing rape of Congolese women as “cultural,” some of the stuff in that post reminded me of a book called “The Lucifer Effect,” by Phillip Zimbardo, the psychologist who conducted the Stanford Prison Experiment. One of the things he discusses in that book is behavior like mass rapes during war, and his conclusion is that some power structures, like prisons and the military, are highly likely to draw violent behavior out of people that they wouldn’t have believed themselves capable of, under normal circumstances. And that these violent behaviors can happen anywhere, in any human culture, whenever these power structures arise.

    In the beginning of the book he also discusses the aftermath of the genocide in Rwanda (I’m pretty sure it was in this book, anyway), where it’s mentioned that while there were lots of rapes committed by men against women, some women also assaulted and sexually mutilated other women. I know that disproportionately, worldwide, most rapes are men assaulting women, but I guess I’ve been weighing the question lately of the problems that may result from denying the fact that women can also commit assault and be rapists. I have… personal reasons for having a grudge against the idea that women can’t commit sexual assault. I’m kind of starting to think that while, yes, it is statistically far more likely to be a male thing, it’s also a way of forcibly asserting power over and degrading another human being that can be done by almost anyone, under the right circumstances. It’s less about being male or having a penis than it is about having a power-over role, and in general those with power-over are most likely to be male, but in some places, on some scales, that’s not universally so.

    • Ohh, I remember that Prison Experiment now… I took some psychology classes in college, that was a topic that the professors went over, though only briefly. I don’t think it was in our text books but some of the professors talked about it, and the Milgram experiment. But the Rwandan genocide – although in a different class, we learned about that too, we did not learn about the role of women except as victims – perpetration of violence by women wasn’t mentioned. In my women’s studies classes though… some of the classes did a better job addressing violence to women by women. Like how FGC is often carried out by and with the cooperation of women, including a girl’s mother, and domestic violence in same sex relationships. I think that violence against women is carried out disproportionately by men but being with and around women all the time is no guarantee of safety.

  3. Anti-Porn Profiteering: What They’re Selling – Is this accurate? Selling “Cures” for masturbation??? Violet Blue usually does her homework, but to say these organizations are selling a cure to masturbation? It sounds too rich to be true. Why does this need a cure?

    Oh, it’s accurate. XXXChurch and Dirty Girls Ministries has been making the rounds lately. As for why they might be selling it, well, I doubt it’s because masturbation needs a cure and I’m pretty confident XXXChurch and Dirty Girls Ministries would like the money. They’re not shy about promoting their products.

    • Well. Now. That… certainly is… what is this? I looked at the Kink on Tap article, the Alternet Article, the Good Morning America and the Wikipedia article and this is a real thing isn’t it. To give up masturbation? Even if it averages out to an hour a week? That’s a threshold?

      This goes against basically all of the sex therapy/advice books I’ve read so far. I still have plenty to go, true. What a bummer to have to miss a great opportunity to talk about attitudes towards sex and incorporating a new device into a relationship.


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