Monthly Archives: November 2013

Bad Sex Awards

FRENCH TO OUTLAW SEX WORK?

France’s ruling Socialist Party has tabled new legislation aimed at criminalising paying for sex. If the legislation goes through, anyone found guilty could face a fine of €1,500 and be required to attend an “awareness” course on prostitution. The magazine Causeur has started a protest campaign called “Touche pas a ma Pute!” (Hands off my Tart/Bitch!), led by writer Frederic Beigbeder. Beigbeder condemned the government for trying to “decree norms for desire and pleasure” and the campaign has claimed that the proposed law seeks to control women, not liberate them. The Socialist Party has hit back, claiming the campaign’s real aim is the preservation of “male domination and female submission”.

Many who work with prostitutes also oppose the bill; they fear that the law will drive the sex trade further underground making workers more vulnerable to exploitation. It is estimated that up to 90 percent of France’s 20,000 prostitutes are foreign nationals and one of the aims of the new legislation is to ‘tackle sex trafficking’ – for which many will read ‘oppose immigration’ – and forced prostitution.

SURVEY SAYS BISEXUALITY NOT REAL

This one will anger many and rightly so. A study by the University Of Pittsburgh found that heterosexual men and women have serious doubts about the legitimacy of bisexuality as a sexual orientation. Researchers administered a 33-question survey to an online sample of 1,500 adults and found that heterosexual men were the most likely to cast doubt on the existence of bisexuality as a legitimate sexual orientation – but straight women, gay men and lesbians had similar negative feelings. According to the authors, the study confirms the “prejudice, stigma and discrimination” faced by the bisexual community.

ASHLEY MADISON SUED

Ashley Madison, the website specialising in promoting extramarital affairs, is being sued by a former employee for work related injuries. Doriana Silva has claimed that typing up hundreds of fake female profiles for the site has left her with permanent damage to her wrists. She is seeking a whopping $20 million claiming that the company unjustly enriched themselves at her expense and another $1 million in punitive and general damages. Ashley Madison charges men to access the site but women join for free (can this be legal??) The fact that the company uses fake profiles to separate men from their money is not at all surprising.

SEXTON’S MISCELLANY BAD SEX AWARDS

The shortlist for the Literary Review’s 22nd Annual Bad Sex In Fiction has been announced and there are indeed some (cringe)-worthy entrants this year. Past winners have included famed writers including Sebastian Faulk, Norman Mailer and AA Gill. The purpose of the prize is “to draw attention to the crude, badly written, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel, and to discourage it” – but it doesn’t seem to be working.

There is some terrible literary sex going on. This extract from Jonathan Grimwood’s The Last Banquet is the cheesiest (ho ho) sex scene you’re ever likely to read: “In my mouth her nipple turned from strawberry to deep raspberry but the taste I wanted was missing. I had sweat and what had to be soap from washing her dress or herself. Reaching behind me, I found the Brie and broke off a fragment, sucking her nipple through it.”

Here is the full shortlist:

House of Earth by Woody Guthrie

Motherland by William Nicholson

The City of Devi by Manil Suri

Secrecy by Rupert Thomson

The World Was All Before Them by Matthew

Reynolds

My Education by Susan Choi

The Victoria System by Eric Reinhardt

The Last Banquet by Jonathan Grimwood

All about Virginity

LIGHTS OUT!

How is this even possible? A study has found that one in six women don’t let their husbands see them naked. Of these, forty-five percent explained that lack of body confidence was the issue; around a third said lack of sexual desire was the problem – since they didn’t want sex there was no need for their partners to seem them without clothes. The study was limited, so I do hope the numbers have been skewed because of it. Lack of body confidence is a growing issue amongst men and women, and it is very difficult to have a satisfactory sex life if you are overly concerned about spare tyres or cellulite.

 

SEX BOX SUCCESS

Channel 4’s Sex Box may not have been a resounding success, but Zurich’s sex boxes may well be. The drive-in sex boxes opened two months ago as a way of combating public prostitution. The boxes are fitted with alarms, security guards and reminders of the importance of safe sex. Michael Herzig, director of social services for Zurich’s sex workers, has said that there have been no problems with violence or pimps. On average, fourteen sex workers use the boxes each day. They pay a small yearly fee to use the facility, as well as a daily fee. Prostitution is legal in Switzerland, but sex workers must be registered with authorities and have health insurance. Despite this, there have been claims that authorities will be closing parlours where many legal sex workers are based, which could see them forced into illegal prostitution.

 

BUT IS IT ART?

A student at Central Saint Martins in London has decided to lose his virginity as an art project. Clayton Pettet’s performance piece is entitled, ‘Art School Took My Virginity’, and he claims that the idea is to desensitize the concept of virginity as a hetero-normative term used to value a person’s worth. Pettet has not revealed any details of his prospective partner, only that he is a fellow art student and someone is he “physically and emotionally attracted to.” Pettet and his partner will cover their bodies in paint and have sex on a blank piece of canvas, thus leaving a physical artefact of the act and performance.

 

SEXTON’S MISCELLANY

ALL ABOUT VIRGINITY

Talking about virginity, did you know that it is actually pretty difficult to define? There is no medical or biological definition for it and instead we have to make do with a cultural definition – the state of never having had sexual intercourse.

The problem with this is that the state of virginity almost refers exclusively to penetrative sex. That’s fine if you are straight, but if you are not heterosexual, penetration may not be something you do anyway. Using this definition, if you’ve had several lovers but only had oral sex, or used fingers, or even a dildo, you’d technically still be a virgin. Which, of course, is nonsense.

There are a number of cultural myths about the hymen, but it is not a reliable marker of whether or not a woman is a virgin. Women who’ve had sex may still have one, while other women can have lost it early on, without any sex having taken place. This means there is no way of knowing for sure whether or not a woman has had sex.

Virginity doesn’t mean a woman will have a tighter vagina. Nerves around first time sex may cause a woman to clench, but having sex does not magically make your vaginal canal bigger. This is a pathway of muscles, and like other muscles, the vagina can stretch and retract.

There is a similar myth that having sex will give you a bigger penis. Sorry, it won’t.

Teenagers who are part of the abstinence movement often think the magical blessed state of virginity is preserved if they have anal sex, or if the man doesn’t ejaculate, or if neither partner has an orgasm. Nope, all of these activities count as sex.

The abstinence movement also claims that virgins are somehow “better” than sexually experienced people – this is the biggest myth of all. Sex does not change who you are as a person, or devalue your worth. Instead a happy sex life is psychologically, emotionally and even physiologically good for you.