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Carnival of Sex and Sexuality 2 – Work It

June 2, 2008

Welcome to the June 2, 2008 edition of carnival of sex and sexuality. NSFW topics and language to follow.

Sex and sexuality are work, and hard work at that. While reading through the submissions for this month’s Carnival of Sex and Sexuality, I was struck by the number of ways work is incorporated into both. There’s sex work, the obvious, but then there is work about sex, like academics who study sex or professionals who provide support on the subjects of sex and sexuality. There are the many activists who work tirelessly to get rulings like the recent one in California, giving gays and lesbians the right to marry. There are companies for whom sex is their work, like toy-makers and pornographers. There are organizations who use sex and sexuality to bring attention to their non-sex-based work. And then there is work in the sociological sense: the work people put into their sexuality performances such as the work that is required everyday to present as a gender other than the one typically associated with your sex, or the work that goes into negotiating how your relationship is viewed by outsiders. All of these meanings are explored in the submissions to this month’s Carnival. I hope you enjoy the perspectives. And please, get involved in the conversations!

Let’s talk about professional sex work first. These two links examine sex work from the point of view of the client. In the first, a college student pays a sex worker for cuddles and chat and finds out that she’s a real person with hobbies and opinions on world events. In the second, a writer describes the process and experience of visiting a professional submissive.

Jordan C. Butler wrote I Paid $100 to Cuddle With a Prostitute at The Nevada Sagebrush.

When she placed her hands back on my chest, I realized that Toni didn’t want me to leave. I came to the brothel to cuddle as a prank—and it was funny that I talked about the Democratic primary and America’s declining economy with a prostitute—but then it turned into a genuine conversation on traveling, Lake Tahoe, Harry Potter and what we wanted to do with our lives.

Greta Christina presents Buying Obedience posted at Greta Christina’s Blog. This is a four-part series: make sure you read part two, part three, and part four as well. They’re all fabulous.

I liked the idea of paying someone so I could have the session be about me me me, so I could be sexually selfish without feeling guilty. That’s a big reason I decided to hire a submissive instead of an escort or a dominant — it fit so beautifully into that fantasy. But would it really be like that?

Sex and sexuality can be work for other groups of people too, such as academics and therapists. The following articles is from a therapist interested in explaining how “It’s not easy being an academic and competing for attention, especially when you’re writing about charged topics like homosexuality,”

TherapyDoc presents Accepted posted at Everyone needs therapy? Lessons from a family therapist.

Nathan: So what did you DO in Israel?
Me: This, that and the other, also learned a lot about homosexuality.
Nathan: So you should do your dissertation in THAT!
Me: Well yeah, but I can’t wrap my head around it for research. I’m a relationship/family therapist. I wanted to do something family relationship-ish.
Nathan: So think. Think real hard here. What might a family problem be for homosexuals?
Me (no dummy): Oh, acceptance perhaps?
Nathan: So smart.

With the recent ruling in California that allows same-sex marriage, it’s important to remember all the hard work activists, organizations, and human-rights bloggers put into making these issues visible and enacting change. The following set of articles includes several on the California ruling, one explaining exactly why denying marriage to gays is bigotry and one chronicling the sad history of anti-gay oppression. It is important to remember that not everyone agrees that allowing same-sex marriage is a step forward, and if you have an article that makes this point, I’d love you to link to it in the comments. It is also important to remember that homosexuality is not the only frontier of sexual bigotry. One of the articles in this section describes the challenges mixed-race couples face when forming a life together. Finally, if you want to get involved, the last article in this part is a list of organizations you can help out.

Melissa McEwan posted California Court Overturns Gay Marriage Ban! at Shakesville.

And because California already offers domestic partnership which afford same-sex couples the same legal rights as opposite-sex married couples, it doesn’t leave opponents of this decision much wiggle-room.

Rev. Irene Monroe presents California Gay Marriage Backlash Begins at Alternet.

When society narrowly defines marriage as the union between a man and a woman, it is not only policing the sexual behaviors of lesbian and gay people, but society is also policing the sexual behaviors of heterosexuals. Handcuffing marriage to a heterosexual paradigm merely chokes its possibility of ever flourishing and lasting, especially as we are coming to understand the fluidity of not only gender and sexual identities but also of the constant changing configuration of family units.

Seth Manapio presents On Sober Reflection, Yes posted at Whiskey Before Breakfast… the Blog.

Crack emcee asked, in the comments “Is everyone who challenges gays in defense of marriage a bigot, Seth?”

The answer to this question is “Yes, everyone who challenges gays in defense of marriage is a bigot, Crack.”

focusorganic presents 21st Century Oppression – Denial of Basic Rights For Homosexuals posted at Focus Organic.com.

Because of anti-homosexual discrimination, gay people are two to seven times more likely than heterosexual people to commit suicide. They are also more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol. The fear of being alone is significant. When a young person realizes that they are homosexual, they may have nobody they can trust to talk to, and they may feel very alone and misunderstood. How can they know whom to trust when so many people feel that homosexuality is wrong?

Chris presents Mixed Relationships in Asia – a Status Quo posted at nomad4ever.

For sure the days of strange looks and talking behind someones back aren’t completely over yet. Be it in Europe, when a guy visits some friends with his Asian girlfriend or wife; sooner or later the usual stories about ‘Mail Order Brides’ will pop up. Or that he brought her home from his recent ‘Sex Bomber Trip’ from Thailand.

Amanda Moore presents 106 Organizations That Are Changing the World – Are you helping? posted at VagabondetteVA.

I fully admit that this list tilts towards my personal interests so please feel free to recommend additional groups in the comments section and I’ll add them to the list.

We’ve all heard the aphorism that sex sells, and it seems undoubtable that it does. This next section highlights two articles which talk about the intersection of sex and commerce or marketing.

Julia Cooke wrote Sex-Mex for Conde Nast Portfolio. (I know it’s not a blog, but it’s a good article.)

When the show’s owner, Mexican entrepreneur Alberto Kibrit, inaugurated the country’s first-ever sex-industry trade fair in 2004, “talking about sex was completely taboo in Mexico,” he says. “The issue and the industry were very closed.” But now, as he and other entrepreneurs are quick to point out, the adult-entertainment industry is an increasingly respectable sector for small-business owners in Mexico.

Holly Ord presents PETA Uses Girls in Bikinis to Draw Attention to Their Cause posted at Menstrual Poetry.

PETA isn’t new to using scantily clad, or even naked women as means to drive attention to their causes. For their latest demonstration, they decided that it would be a great idea if they locked some girls wearing yellow bikinis up in cages.

As a sociologist, this next section is about my favorite type of work: the work of self presentation. ABC News did a mini-experiment on the public reception of gay and straight PDAs, and found, unsurprisingly, mixed results. A blogger reports on this experiment and on the constant need for gay folk to self-edit in the following link an. Also worth a mention, the Metafilter thread on this article includes over a hundred personal comments on the experience of self-editing in public.

PortlyDyke presents Take My Arm, My Love at Shakesville.

Every single time I take my partner’s hand on the street, or toss my arm over her shoulder or around her waist, hug her goodbye or hello, I do a little, tiny “security sweep”. I notice who is around, and where I am, and what the energy feels like — before I touch her in public. It’s a tiny amount of attention, most often, but it’s there.

Finally, not every post that was submitted could be crammed into some sort of sex/sexuality and work category. In this last section we have an exploration of media representations of sex and sexuality in reference to a country where these things are not usually talked about, and an article describing how a very public murder trial is leading to the criminalizing of kink in the UK.

Renee presents Cross Dressing, And Muff Diving In The House Of Saud posted at Womanist Musings.

In my perusal of the New York Times, I came across an article that at first seemed to explode with the potential for subversion, in a country known for its strict control of its citizenry. It is entitled, “Love on Girls’ Side of the Saudi Divide“. My first thought was, finally a side of Saudi Arabia that never makes the press.

Brittany Ransom presents “Extreme” Pornography and The World’s fear of sexuality continues posted at Hellationships.

All of those “extreme” porn topics I listed above are all fantasies. I get so tired of people assuming that we as humans can’t decipher the difference between finding something arousing and needing to act it out ourselves.


That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of Carnival of Sex and Sexuality using our carnival submission form, or volunteer to host an upcoming edition. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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  1. 21st Century Oppression - Denial of Basic Rights For Homosexuals | Focus Organic.com
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