Archive for sexuality

It’s all About Communication

spinach caught in teeth

Shelley Berman did a comedy routine back in the sixties in which he described being on a date and every time you go to kiss the girl she turns her head.  Then when you get home you look in the mirror and find a big piece of spinach RIGHT  HERE.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if such a scenario were impossible.  In my perfect world it would be, because people would talk to each other.  Like this: “You know, I’d really like to kiss you but you have a big chunk of spinach in your teeth and it’s grossing me out.  How about we get rid of that and try again?”

Is that really so hard?  Why don’t I live in that world, instead of a world in which people identify with and laugh at Shelley Berman’s story?

And given that my perfect world doesn’t exist, can we do anything about this?

 

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A Believer Being Right for a Change

Neil at Australian LutheranThere is so much annoying nonsense coming from religious believers, it’s tempting to dismiss them all as unreasonable idiots.  But it’s important to give them some credit when credit is due.

Neil writes at a blog titled Lutheran Church of Australia: In My Opinion. He is trying to single handedly reform the leadership of his church when it comes to LGBTQ issues.  He’s good.  He’s worth reading.  He’s entirely too intelligent and reasonable to be a Christian, but he insists that’s what he is.

The leadership of the Christian Church in Australia including the leadership of my own church enjoy a position of real power and influence in this country. They have, for decades, in a coordinated and well-funded manner spoken against our LGBT brothers and sisters labelling them as sinful, disordered and diseased.

But things have changed. Others have voiced their support for LGBT rights and equality and have begun to publicly question the Church. Some have even gone so far as to call the church*s views bigoted and homophobic.

The churches response? Rather than entering into genuine dialogue with those who have been hurt by their teachings,  the Church have pulled up the drawbridge, manned the ramparts, dug deeply into their persecution complex storehouse and cried *Discrimination.*

You’d almost think PZ Myers was his ghost writer.  His latest post is one of his best.

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Vancouver Pride 2013 Featuring Intactivists

As always, the Vancouver Pride parade this year was a great party.  There seems to be nothing like celebrating tolerance to bring out the best in people, and though one could easily become cynical at the political and corporate opportunists who are now flocking to raise the rainbow flag, it’s hard to imagine a more pleasant way to spend a summer’s day than surrounded by happy smiling people having fun. (click on any picture to see it more clearly if you can’t read some of the writing on the signs.)

Some of the parade now has nothing to do with being gay, though everybody claims to be celebrating diversity.  Some of it is just showing off and having fun, like these guys on their pedal powered walking sofa.

Paul and George on their walking sofa.  Vancouver Pride 2013

There is still some mild protest going on.

A mild protest of Russia's new anti-gay laws.  Vancouver Pride 2012

And the bondage faction added their usual colour….

The kinky guys and girls show off their pride.  Vancouver Pride 2013

There were eye candy hunks and babes…

Hunks and babes at Vancouver Pride 2013

 But most of the Pride Parade is safely bland good clean fun.

Christianity was well represented, with several churches declaring that the nasty opposition to gay rights is all being done by the other guys.  Not them.

The Anglican Church marchers in Vancouver Pride 2013

Every political party got an oar in the water, even the one that would like to take us back to 1956. But the good guys were also represented.

The Green Party of Canada at Vancouver Pride 2013

Vancouver City Counsillor Adrian Carr at Pride Vancouver 2013

I was very pleased to see the extent of the participation by intactivists such as the Childrens Health and Human Rights Partnership, who had a tent set up at Sunset Beach where the parade ended.

The CHHRP tent at Vancouver Pride 2013

I got to meet Kira and Tim, and thank them in person for their efforts to end the barbaric practice of infant male circumcision. They tirelessly explained the issue, which they correctly label as “forced circumcision”, to a stream of visitors.

Kira Antinuk explains the medical facts at Vancouver Pride 2013

I also met James Loewen under his sign reading “His Penis His Choice”.  James is a video blogger with the BONOBO3D YouTube channel.

James has some great videos on his Bonobo3D Youtube channel.

If you still have any doubts about what circumcision takes away, or about what you have lost yourself, you need to watch this.

One group that couldn’t participate in the parade, but were there to protest was Foreskin Pride .  You really should watch their video from last year.  They had approval for nudity before the parade last year, but there were “complaints”.  The Pride Parade committee to their shame found excuses to exclude them this year.  As their founder said, the Pride Parade is trying to be very “family friendly” and corporation friendly, which means that in your face activism doesn’t fit any more.  So sad that Gay Pride has morphed into this safe and mainstream celebration of diversity, with every politician and corporation jumping literally on the band waggon. Who could be against diversity?  But please… let’s keep it family friendly.  Let’s not offend anybody.

Foreskin Pride - banned from the parade but still there as protesters.

The great thing about Foreskin Pride and their campaign is that these are intact men, lucky bastards.  They are stepping out to refute the claim that a foreskin is dirty, that a foreskin has no importance in sex, and that a foreskin is a bad part of a penis, claims that any thinking person will see as bullshit. It takes men who still have their foreskins to start correcting the myths and misinformation.

My first reaction to these guys was to think, why are they here?  They still have their foreskin, so why should they care?  Why should they be fighting infant male circumcision.  Then I realized that I have no stake in the issue either.  My foreskin is gone and it’s not coming back. I’m an intactavist because I see something being done that is wrong and I want it to stop.  It’s not about me now, it’s about the infants who are still going under the knife.  I also realized that most of the women campaigning against FGM were not mutilated themselves.  They just recognize the crime and the horror.  So I’m grateful that these men as saying no, my foreskin is not ugly and my penis is not dirty.  The foreskin is the most enjoyable part of my body and cutting it off an infant is a crime against human rights and a crime against nature.

Foreskin Pride was banned from the parade, but they were there protesting.  I hope they got more press than I can give them here.

Foreskin Pride signs: Infant Circumkcision is Medical Fraud, Infant Circumcision Violates Medical Ethics, Genital Cutting is NOT a Parental Right Foreskin Pride signs: Forced Circumcision is Assault, Put Down the Knife Step Away From the Baby

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Do Yourself and Do It Yourself

What Nicolaus Hartsoeker imagined he could see in a sperm cell back in 1694, in the days when women only provided the vessel.My partner and I are both too old to have another child, a decision we reached when we found out the odds of having a downs syndrome baby once a woman is over forty.  So we’ve been using the notoriously ineffective coitus interruptus method for birth control.   A condom simply doesn’t work for me.  Put latex on my dick and it might as well be made of wood for all the sensation that makes it through the rubber, one more gift of circumcision.  It takes me long enough to achieve a climax as it is.

I never seem to dribble before I shoot, so coitus interruptus works well for us.  But it has the obvious disadvantage that I have to closely monitor my ejaculation, which pulls me out of the moment.  We both look forward to those times of the month when her period has reduced from a gusher to a trickle, and I can just stay where I want to be and explode into her without fear of contributing genetic material to a rug rat.  That means the really great sex happens once a month, provided I manage to slip through that window of opportunity.

Before we decided that pregnancy was too dangerous, we were trying to have a child.  I still would like one.  She’s never had one.  But two years or so of unprotected sex did not result in a pregnancy.  A while back she wondered out loud whether she is even fertile.  It’s a question.

There’s also a question about my fertility.  For all I knew, I could be shooting blanks.  I’m getting old.  Sex is still great, when it happens, but I do notice a marked reduction in my sex drive.  I’m just not the three times a night stud that I used to be.  Now it’s more like three times a month, if I can get it up.  And that can be a problem too.

Pretty much what my son's microscope looks like, only older.I happen to be visiting my son these days.  He’s a sciency type of guy and owns a microscope.  You can see where this is going, right?  Yesterday I took a…ahem…. sperm sample.  This is not as easy as it once was, but still possible with patience and vigorous stimulation.  I put a drop of my ejaculate on a slide and positioned it on the stage of the microscope.  Focus.  Focus.  My son’s microscope is a bit of an antique, though I’m sure it would have given Charles Darwin a pulge if he could have got his hands on one like it.  I couldn’t get the highest level of magnification to show me anything, and don’t know why.  But the middle objective lens gave me an image. Lo and behold there were dots in my cum.   Very active dots with tails.  Millions of active dots with thrashing tails.

I spent quite a while staring at those wiggling dots with tails.  It’s rather awesome to think that each one of those dots with a tail contains half my genetic material, and that the son I am visiting started out as a similar dot that managed to luck out and find a fertile egg in appropriate place in my first wife.  It was a feeling akin to looking at a newborn baby, except not as cute of course.  Missing those adorable fingers with tiny fingernails.  So strange to see something that came out of my body, yet remains so obviously alive, one might almost say purposeful.  That didn’t last.  After twenty minutes there was nothing to see, as if the cells had dissolved into the background goo.

I’ve read that one ejaculation from a healthy human contains enough sperm to impregnate every woman on the planet.  I don’t know if this is true, but there sure were a fuck of a lot of sperm in that drop of cum, and that drop was just a tiny fraction of my total ejaculation.

This is a bit bigger magnification than I had, but I could tell that those dots were active.That answers the questions about whether I still need to withdraw before I inject sperm into my wife’s vagina.  Now I realize that I could have done a more complete and definitive sperm count if I’d just spent the time for a bit of research.  I should have read this first.

Oh well.  It’s another couple of weeks before my wife joins me at my current location, deep in the back woods of a former British colony.  I have time, and possibly something else, on my hands.  Perhaps I’ll feel motivated to refine my technique and get more definitive.

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Texas? Again? A Vote Against Freedom

Banning abortion does not mean fewer abortions, only more dead women.Oh, they think they are so moral.  They think they are defending babies.  They frame the debate as defending babies against those horrible doctors and women who want to (gasp) kill babies! They say shame on you, you baby killers.  We won’t let you do that.  They are so sure their hearts are in the right place, that God is on their side.   They put the rights of the unborn above the rights of the women who must surrender their bodies to the state.  Such is the freedom loving state of Texas.

The Texas Senate gave final passage on Friday to one of the strictest anti-abortion measures in the country, legislation championed by Gov. Rick Perry, who rallied the Republican-controlled Legislature late last month after a Democratic filibuster blocked the bill and intensified already passionate resistance by abortion-rights supporters.

The bill would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and hold abortion clinics to the same standards as hospital-style surgical centers, among other requirements. Its supporters say that the strengthened requirements for the structures and doctors will protect women’s health; opponents argue that the restrictions are actually intended to put financial pressure on the clinics that perform abortions and will force most of them to shut their doors.

Mr. Perry applauded lawmakers for passing the bill, saying “Today the Texas Legislature took its final step in our historic effort to protect life.” Legislators and anti-abortion activists, he said “tirelessly defended our smallest and most vulnerable Texans and future Texans.”

When self righteous politicians and pious religious ideologues take the personhood away from women and usurp the prerogatives of doctors, priorities are seriously askew.

The people who want government to get out of their business, and let their fertilizer factories blow up for lack of regulation,  have no problem with government taking all rights away from women.  That’s what forcing a woman to carry an embryo to term means – taking away all her rights, for the crime of being pregnant.

The governor who let an innocent man die from a state administered lethal injection is defending babies.  Provided they aren’t born yet.  After they are born, fuck ‘em.

Texas.  What an embarrassment to America.

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Oh fuck, Not My Dick Part 2 the Ultrasound

Many thoughts have been boiling through my brain since my last post, wherein I revealed my newly discovered Peyronie’s Disease which is making my dick look like I’m wearing an invisible cock ring when I get an erection, which hasn’t been all that frequent an event lately.  There’s good news and bad news.

The good news is that Viagra actually works, and I’m pretty sure it isn’t just the placebo effect.  Of course the flip side of that good news is that it seems I must pay Pfizer and assorted middlemen sixteen bucks every time I want a stiffy.  Maybe I can find the stuff cheaper someplace other than the first drug store I walked into.  But I have to say that the chemical solution to this problem does not make me deliriously happy, no matter what the cost.  I’d much rather solve it with diet and exercise, but maybe that isn’t enough.

Viagra, with the active ingredient actually called sildenafil citrate,  also comes in another form, marketed as Revatio, for the relief of pulmonary hypertension.  Revatil is sold as 20mg. round white tablets.  Purchasing Viagra in this form gets away from asking for the recognizable drug, which could embarrass some people, and avoids the distinctive blue diamond colour and shape.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the implications of ageing.  For one thing, there will be a last time for most of the things I enjoy.  I may already have had my last time exploring tropical reefs in scuba gear.  The last time I did that I found it so exhausting that I only had two of the three dives I had paid for.  I know a lot can be done to slow the decline, chiefly the aforementioned diet and exercise, and I used to laugh at the Viagra ad in which the chubby guy who didn’t look a day over forty came skipping out the door singing “It’s a Wonderful World”.  Of course you can’t get it up, idiot.  You’ve let your body fall apart.  I would never do that.  And for the most part, I haven’t.  I’m packing a few extra pounds right now, but most mornings I do get on the elliptical trainer for half an hour.  I have good energy.  I watch my diet.  I’m in good shape.

Warning: NSFW below the fold on this post.

Jack Lalanne claimed to be having a hot sex life into his nineties, but of course he owned and lived in a gymnasium.

“Sex at my age is like trying to play pool with a rope.” – George Burns at age 98.  Attaboy, George.  Yuk it up.  That’s what you were good at.

Nelson Mandela, one of the great statesmen of our age, just died (Oops. News of his death was exaggerated.) Surely he would have the best of medical care.  If it can happen to him, it’s most likely going to happen to me.   Charlton Heston died recently (this one has been confirmed), presumably with his gun clutched in his cold dead hand, another rich dude who seemed to keep himself in good shape and must have been able to afford the best of medical care.  All those upbeat TED talks telling me that if I can just live for another twenty years I’ll probably see four hundred… Nope.  Not bloody likely.

Mark Twain said that growing old is a privilege denied to many.  Indeed it is.  I’ve always promised myself that I will grow old gracefully, with a minimum of whining.  And then it hits me in the dick.

Okay, enough whining.  There’s more good news. I went in for the ultrasound today, which was plenty interesting.  According to the doctors there’s really very little wrong with my cock, and not enough to get all sobbing and bent out of shape over, if you’ll pardon the pun..  It’s not cancer.  It’s not, according to the doctors, even a big deal.

Ultrasound, the ultimate sex toy.  Not.

What the technology sees.

Of course that’s easy for them to say.  It’s not their dick.

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Oh Fuck! Not my Dick.

Every once in a while reality really bites.

Despite the fact that there’s some of it missing, due to an unfortunate event shortly after my birth, I have always enjoyed my dick. It’s been my best, if mostly hidden, feature. One former lover, some time after we had ceased to be lovers and while she was looking for a new lover, described my erect cock as “beautiful”. I kid you not.

So it was with some alarm that I noticed… what the fuck… notches in the base of my erection. Spots where the erection didn’t seem to be happening. This about the time that I noticed I was having more and more difficulty even getting an erection. My sex life has been withering on the vine, so to speak.

My erection has been chewed by beavers.I went to see a doctor. He put on disposable plastic gloves and palpated my member, noting a lumpy spot. He mentioned something called “penile induration” or possibly “Peyronie’s disease” . I’d never heard of either. So, naturally, it’s to the Internet. The results of my research are not encouraging, except for the news that this disease is very seldom fatal, and all fatalities result from suicide. The problem seems to be fibroid scar tissue that interfere with erection, so that the notches are like a band of tape around a balloon. Nobody is quite sure why the scar tissue develops, possibly because of an injury, too much of a bend in the wrong direction, maybe wanking with too much enthusiasm really has done some damage.

It’s almost enough to make me believe in God, the megalomaniac bastard of the Old Testament, the god who will really fuck you up. I have loved sex ever since discovering that it isn’t a bad thing. If there’s a god who is as anti-sex as the religious seem to think, a god who would want to punish me, hitting me in the penis is probably the best place to aim. No, second best. The brain is certainly a better target for a truly malevolent deity. But the penis runs a close second.

Of course I’m not going to ascribe any deeper cosmological meaning to a personal misfortune. Shit happens. Apparently this particular shit happens to as many as 10% of men over the age of 40. So my number just came up.  I should be thankful that my erections, flabby though they may be,  are not painful, which is something that is quite normal with this condition.

I keep telling myself that it could be worse, but then I always have to ask… How? The obvious answer is penile cancer. Something that requires a life saving dickotomy. That would be worse. But allow me a few minutes of “why me” and self pity. This is upsetting enough.

I’m trying to think of it as a built in cock ring, but that isn’t helping either.

As we get older, more and more things are taken away from us. Our youthful strength. Our sexual vigour. Our driver’s license. All of these things seemed so far off in the future. I’m only sixty-five he wailed. Does it have to start now.

I’m scheduled for an ultrasound next week. That should be interesting. I’m trying not to let my imagination run away with me, and I’m sure it won’t be painful. But the thought of that gel on my dick and the ultrasound generator… I wonder if it will give me a pulge.

Worth noting:
Peyronie’s Disease can be a physically and psychologically devastating disease. While most men will continue to be able to have sexual relations, they are likely to experience some degree of deformity and erectile dysfunction in the wake of the disease process. It is not uncommon for men afflicted with Peyronie’s Disease to exhibit depression or withdrawal from their sexual partners.  – Wikipedia entry on Peyronie’s Disease

Tell me about it.  The authors of this Wikipedia post seemed to think a citation was needed for this paragraph.  Really? If so, you can cite this post.  Devastating might be a strong word in my case, and I’ll try to avoid depression or withdrawal from my partner,  but it sure as hell is not good news.  No, maybe “devastating” is a good word.

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May is Masturbation Month?

May is Masturbation Month, and I almost missed it.  But that’s okay.  I celebrate masturbation every month.

I’ve been saying for years that masturbation should be taught in schools.

Masturbation has been with us for a long time.  Isn't it about time we celebrated it.And not just in sex education classes.  Masturbation should be celebrated.  Masturbation should be encouraged.  Especially for teenagers.  It’s our one and only truly safe sex.  As Woody Allen put it, it’s “sex with someone I love.”  Or it should be.

Mutual masturbation is a good, safe, alternative to full on PIV sex.  No risk of pregnancy.  No risk of disease.  Shared intimacy. A nice way for a couple to get to know each other.

There is simply no downside to solitary masturbation.  Not even the risk of emotional entanglement.  You don’t need to ask for consent from anybody.  You don’t need anything more than a few minutes of reliable privacy and possibly some Kleenex for the ejaculate.  In my case, no Kleenex is needed and I’ll leave it up to your imagination as to why.

In my early teens I felt terribly guilty about masturbating.  I worried that it could do me some harm.  After about fifty-five years of turning masturbation into my own personal art form, I’ve come to realize that there is no harm in the practice.  None.

And now, thanks to Mano Singham, I learn that there’s a whole month dedicated to the joys of the wank -  the Merry Masturbatory Month of May.  I shall never feel the same about this month again.

Mano also provides a link to an article by Hugo Schwyzer.   If you don’t have time to follow the link, here’s a taste of what you’re missing.

The view of masturbation as benign and beneficial is a new one. The Judeo-Christian tradition has long been hostile towards self-pleasure, at least for men. The Talmud compares spilling seed to spilling blood; the Zohar (the central work of Kabbalah) calls it the most evil act a man can commit. The traditional Christian view was no more tolerant; Catholic and Protestant authorities framed masturbation as a deeply sinful (though forgivable) waste of precious semen. Women were left out of these prohibitions for the obvious reason that most male religious authorities didn’t consider the possibility that women were capable of or interested in giving themselves orgasms.

The article gives a fascinating look at the history and rationale behind attempts to curb masturbation.  I have a particular bone to pick, so to speak, with the forces of sexual repression, those who tried to prevent what a pocket dictionary I once owned defined simply as “bodily self pollution”.

The campaign against masturbation became medicalized in the middle of the 19th century. Health reformers like Sylvester Graham (of the cracker) and John Harvey Kellogg (of the cereal) warned against the feminizing and enervating effects of male masturbation, describing it not as a sin but as a habit that could rob boys of their vital life force. At the same time, doctors began to warn of something theologians either hadn’t considered or dared to mention: the dangers of female self-pleasure. Beginning in 1858, Dr. Isaac Baker-Brown—the president of the Medical Society of London—began to encourage surgical clitoridectomies to prevent hysteria, epilepsy, mania and even death that would surely follow as a consequence of the stimulation of the clitoris.

The medical hysteria over the totally speculative and imaginary harm done by masturbation is one of the main reasons I’m missing a part of my body, my foreskin.  Circumcision was promoted as a “cure” for the practice.  I don’t think this worked for anybody.  As a cure it was a total failure in my case, and for any circumcised man I’ve ever met.  Certainly, circumcision reduces the pleasure of a wank.  But it’s only a reduction, and once lubrication is discovered, it’s hardly a “cure”, hardly an impediment at all.  And wanking off is one revenge against the assholes who called for a generation of mutilated dicks.’

Now, of course, comes the big question.  What is the most appropriate way to celebrate Masturbation Month, more than I usually celebrate I mean?  Hmmmm…. Let me think about it.  Maybe my wife would like to get involved. A mutual hand job could be a nice variation, and she tells me that she gets off better with manual stimulation than with straight PIV.

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Suspicion Confirmed – a foreskin is not a problem

In case you didn't know the names for the parts.  I’ve often heard the argument from defenders of infant male circumcision, more correctly known as infant male genital mutilation, that it’s really best to do it while the child is an infant because he will never remember the pain (not that there is any pain of course, they claim) and it’s really terrible if a man needs to have his foreskin removed later in life.  Which often happens.  Very often. Often enough to justify removing a potentially troubling part of a boy’s body in a preemptive strike.

One man, who said he is a former military medic, cited the case of a shipmate under his care who required circumcision, causing him great discomfort. He stated as fact that ten percent of men who are intact will require an “emergency circumcision” at some point in their life.  Ten percent?  Really?  Ten percent?

Needless to say, this is a claim that should be backed up with some evidence.  Ten percent of intact men will require “emergency circumcision”?  What on earth could this emergency possibly be?  The foreskin is just that, skin. Okay, skin and a few other anatomical parts most people don’t even know about, like the frenulum and the ridged band, important parts not to be lightly discarded, but mostly skin.  Skin is amazingly flexible and adaptive.  I can imagine an infection causing a problem, but not a problem that requires surgery.  We don’t usually perform surgeries for infection.  And perhaps a sudden case of phimosis could leave a man in discomfort, but again it’s hard to imagine a surgical solution being necessary, at least not a surgical solution calling for the complete removal of the foreskin.

Yesterday I found myself in a meeting with several Chinese doctors, one of whom is a fertility expert at a maternity hospital in mainland China.  I asked him if circumcision was a usual practice in China.  He said no, it is very unusual, and only done in cases of a congenital defect or other serious problem.  He told me that the Chinese believe that their body is a gift from their ancestors, and it would dishonour the ancestors to remove or reject a part of their body.  Then I asked if he was aware of older men requiring circumcision later in life.  He seemed surprised at the question.  No, he said, if there is a problem we advise cleaning under the foreskin and might give medicine to cure an infection, but I’m not aware of any circumcisions being done because of a problem.

So there you have it.  One more argument of the pro-circumcision lobby shot down in flames.  In a country with a huge population of uncircumcised men, we are not seeing lineups at the clinic of men demanding circumcision.  Nobody in China seems to see any problem with possessing a foreskin.  The excuse that the operation should be done to an infant because  it will be necessary, and much more painful, later simply isn’t true.

As if we didn’t know it.

By the way, I also asked what the Chinese doctors thought of the campaign in Africa to circumcise men as a measure to prevent transmission of HIV.  They thought that idea is as crazy as the idea that all infants should be circumcised.

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Whose Religious Freedom

Jews meet with Mayor Bloomberg and health officials in New York to discuss circumcision.

You say it’s about religious freedom.  Let me ask you, were you given a choice?

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