Gaga Pantyless, Circumcision Rates Down, Sex Work Declared Slavery, Kim Kardashian [Sex News]

by Violet Blue on September 2, 2011

  • Finally, unbiased data on HIV and porn: How big a problem is H.I.V. among porn actors? Competitive Enterprise Institute policy analyst Michelle Minton crunches some numbers over at the OpenMarket blog. “The rate of HIV infection among the LA porn population is somewhere around 0.0007% of the population versus the general population’s 0.0016%.” Mandating Condoms? (Reason Magazine)
  • Just announced: male circumcision rates have dropped in the US. The CDC used three different measurements to estimate the number of newborn male circumcisions. Researchers found that the procedure is somewhat less common today than it was 10 years ago. Circumcision Rates Are Dropping in the U.S. (Web MD)
  • It’s Gender English Month on the Macmillan Dictionary blog! Look for “manbroidery.” Gender English (Macmillan)
  • (Um, best efforts to make $3 million?) Despite her best efforts to keep the 39-minute clip private, Kim Kardashian‘s video has now been viewed millions of times worldwide. And it has made her a pretty penny in the process. She’s grossed £3million from it after striking a deal with the current rights holders. 10 Most Shocking: Celebrity sex tape scandals (The Sun)

  • What are the boundaries of acceptable behaviour between a man and a woman? When does flirting become uncomfortable, unwanted attention? This is the story of how what could have been an intelligent debate about sexism in the sceptic and atheist communities descended into a free for all, name-calling brawl. Dawkins, Watson and the elevator ride (Mail & Guardian Online)
  • This weekend’s movie A Good Old Fashioned Orgy: “I seriously cannot remember a single line of dialogue I laughed at, though I do remember cringing at what was supposed to be a hilarious comedic riff on cervical cancer. It’s not giving anything away to say that the orgy does, indeed, happen.” A Whimper, Not A Bang: A Good Old Fashioned Orgy (SFAppeal)

  • Attorney General Rob McKenna on Wednesday said he and 45 of his colleagues nationwide have sent a letter to Backpage.com, telling the Village Voice Media website that police have said is a an accelerant of underage prostitution to “put up or shut up” and prove that it’s taking active efforts to fight sex trafficking. “Let’s be clear about this, prostitution is a form of human trafficking, a form of human slavery,” McKenna said at a news conference. McKenna, 45 AGs, tell Backpage.com to end online sex ads (Seattle PI)
  • A diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks reveals that United Nations peacekeepers in Ivory Coast enticed underage girls in a poor part of the West African nation to exchange sex for food. Cable: UN peacekeepers traded food for sex (Forbes)

  • Boardwalk Empire‘s Paz de la Huerta ia Agent Provocateur‘s new face for Fall. “It’s a little known fact that the kitchen grease orchid Spaz de la Huerta is a master at crotch acting and teaches a class at Juilliard to aspiring crotch thespians who want to learn how to deliver a raw emotion performance from the top of their pussy bones to the tip of their taints.” Spaz de la Huerta’s Crotch Gives The Performance Of Its Life! (Dlisted)
  • Over on the Huffington Post, a ladyreporter for the house of Ariana has caused a stir with this trend piece on gay college students using wealthy older men, (“Sugar Daddies” in the parlance of our times), to pay for their college tuition. HuffPo’s response does not fill us with good feelings. GLAAD Tells Huffington Post to Stop Promoting Anti-Gay Stereotypes (SFist)
  • Dan Savage explains why cheating is not conditional monogamy. “That said, LAH, it is perfectly obnoxious to go ahead and fuck other people in violation of a monogamous commitment unless you have grounds. And while it doesn’t sound like your husband has grounds, it certainly sounds like he’s fucking other people. I suspect that your husband is fucking someone you know—a coworker, a neighbor, a friend, a relative (shudder)—and, realizing that it’s only a matter of time before you find out, he’s bullying you into retroactively giving him permission to fuck other people and unfairly dragging me into it.” Cheating Pieces (Dan Savage, Savage Love, The Stranger)
  • The Russian metropolis Moscow has a new attraction to delight the eye in the shape of a museum of erotic art. Totschka-G – or G-Spot – as the new attraction is known, shows what has long been freely on view in the west, from huge penises and erotic drawings of the sex act through to sculptures of copulating people and animals. It nevertheless breaches a range of taboos, including homosexuality, in a society still seen as prudish.Moscow’s G-Spot – Russia’s first museum of the erotic arts (Monsters and Critics)

Violet Blue

The London Times named Violet Blue "One of the 40 bloggers who really count" and Self Magazine named TinyNibbles one of the “Best Sex Resources for Women.” Blue is an autodidact and pundit on sex and technology, hacking and security, porn for women, privacy and bleeding-edge tech culture. She is a journalist for ZDNet, CBS News, CNET; she's an educator, speaker, crisis counselor, volunteer NGO trainer, and the author and editor of over 40 award-winning books.

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{ 8 comments }

1 Elf M. Sternberg November 5, 2011 at 1:44 pm

@Zaftiguana:

The site does take a mealy-mouthed “some women like it, but…” attitude toward kink. That’s why it annoys me. The section on anal, for example, says “Guys, try to imagine something being shoved up your butt and you’ll understand what I’m talking about.”

I understand what you’re talking about: you’re trying to make people scared of anal sex. Well, I’m here to say that, as a guy, I like anal sex (as a bottom) so much I can only buy my sex toys from, maybe, three outlets. They’re the only ones who make toys big enough. Which was exactly my point: MakeLoveNotPorn, for all its good intentions, treats anything out of the ordinary with The Precautionary Principle. It asks people trying any kink to consider the downsides first, rather that mitigating them after you’ve found the desire. I find that attitude frustrating.

2 zach September 6, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Thanks for the clarification! You’re certainly an expert and it’s interesting to hear about the background of these scandals with the anti-porn HIV outreach orgs, of which I was unaware.

Lastly, I think there is a straight community, which is basically mainstream society. Of course, this doesn’t have any community ethos or sense of responsibility attached to it like subcultures do, which I think is what you’re saying. However, where there really is no community, in the sense of a group of people to identify with, is for bisexuals (or any other sexual orientations than gay or straight). This has led me to conclude that sexual orientation is primarily about membership in a community, not gender preference in your partners. This insight comes from personal experience, as opposed to my comments about HIV and the opinions of the porn viewing public on condom usage, which are mostly speculation.

3 violet blue September 5, 2011 at 6:34 pm

Zach, it’s so great to see you here! I’m glad you brought a critical eye to the discussion as well…

The HIV-in-porn story has a lot of moving parts, and there is history and politics – and an ugly ton of behind the scenes mess. Back in the mid-1990s there was an HIV outbreak in porn, and one of the people that was at risk set up a testing system and the entire industry adopted it. It was mandatory to show up to porn shoots with these standardized tests, and it did the community a lot more good than anyone knows – in addition to keeping the rates of infection below the “civilian” population. A few years back, along came an anti-porn HIV outreach organization that has made it their mission to target the adult industry – they openly work with christian anti-porn orgs that want to make porn illegal. (I’ve written about them in the SF Chronicle, a nasty bunch of people.) They pretty much succeeded in getting the testing clinic closed (though there is another clinic now in its place). They’ve been doing everything they can to make it appear is if straight porn is an HIV and disease factory. It is not. This anti-porn org gets a lot of favor from mainstream media outlets that report on the situation, likely because it’s still popular to be porn-phobic in outlets like the LATimes – even though they get lots of mileage out of headlines with “porn” in them.

Now, that’s why I thought it was pertinent to find some analysis of HIV rates in porn that was unbiased – from no side that stood to gain from tipping the argument one way or another.

As to your other points, I think we’re in agreement with a few minor corrections.

There is risk, to everyone – naturally. It is much less to performers than anyone thinks – especially because of the testing procedures. It is risky to viewers because it shows unprotected sex out of context. But that has always been the issue with porn, as it shows sex out of context, period – and I’ll argue that many viewers would like to have that context put back in. But as an in-the-field sex educator that does direct client counseling (to teens as well) I can tell you that no one is watching porn and thinking that they won’t catch anything if they have sex without condoms. People are having unprotected sex, but their risk choices have nothing to do with porn (it is usually abstinence education, fear of discovery, or same-sex shame). There might be modeling of unsafe sex acts and positions from porn, but pretty much most porn viewers at this point know that porn sex isn’t real sex. People like me have spent the past 10 years raising awareness, and it’s working.

“It is my understanding that no major straight porn studio will allow performers to wear condoms.”

Not so. Many major studios have a policy that allow performers to wear condoms if it is their desire to do so. However, most of the mainstream commercial porn studios (not the ones I link to in the sidebar) believe that condoms spoil the fantasy for viewers and ruin sales – so they may discourage condoms, but I don’t have that on any quotable authority.

“This is the case with gay porn, where I believe the responsibility towards their viewing community regarding the reality of HIV/AIDS is taken more seriously and barebacking has been relegated to a fetish mostly seen on the web.”

Yes, and I’ll add that gay porn sells just fine with condoms in the mix. But, gay porn has a completely different approach to performer safety and community responsibility (and in this instance I’m including viewers as the community – the gay community*). There is no testing standard in gay porn, but condoms are ubiquitous because as HIV/AIDS devastated the gay porn community decades ago, they decided the safest way to proceed was to do sexual behavior that operated on the notion that everyone might be infected. So, condoms for all penetration and external come shots became the rule. Only in the past 10 years have bareback fetish videos started to surface more and more, and they are seriously considered taboo. Like, one year I went to the Folsom Street Fair and there was a bareback video booth and no one – NO ONE – would go near it.

* I’m observing that there is no straight community.

Let me know if you want links for further reading. I’ve followed this closely for over a decade :)

4 zach September 5, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Sorry to be the universal contrarian, Violet, but at least you got one more reader of your blog from being on Google+’s suggested user list, right? Regarding HIV stats in the porn industry and the Brian Pumper affair, the issue isn’t risk to performers, but risk to viewers. It is my understanding that no major straight porn studio will allow performers to wear condoms. Ultimately, the content of porn influences what viewers find sexy just as much as viewers determine what porn sells and the responsible thing to do would be for studios to take the active role (pun intended) in this interchange by making condoms mandatory. This is the case with gay porn, where I believe the responsibility towards their viewing community regarding the reality of HIV/AIDS is taken more seriously and barebacking has been relegated to a fetish mostly seen on the web. Just my two cents.

5 violet blue September 3, 2011 at 1:50 pm

Ugh, I feel the same about the circumcision article. The misinformation about HIV and male circumcision is dizzying, and no one is trying to report facts – they’re just taking what is basically anecdotal information and lazily respinning it, which seems like foreskin phobia to me.

And Zaftiguana you touched on another thing I wanted to point out about the Forbes article being dated. Gallop’s views on porn and sexuality changed considerably after MakeLoveNotPorn came out – they became more inclusive and realistic instead of reactionary. But Forbes seems to like the less realistic reactionary frame – not incorporating that the world of women and porn (and male sexuality in relation to porn) is very different. Nor was Cindy the first to do this; look for Susie Bright circa 1995.

6 Zaftiguana September 3, 2011 at 10:40 am

Re. the circumcision article, I hate the way that African circumcision study gets portrayed, despite the authors of the study themselves pointing out that it was a collection of statistics, not a reflection of actual research and experimentation, that it was only done in select African communities, it showed only correlation, and (the kicker) they themselves say that the supposed risk reduction from circumcision is nowhere near that of condom use and that telling men that circumcision reduces their risk may actually cause them to be overconfident in their reduced risk and make poor safety choices in their sex practices. The way the media ignores that and misrepresents the information uncritically really irks me.

@Elf, whether or not someone approves of Cindy or her site, the site makes a point of saying that some women love anal sex, enjoy having men cum on their faces or spit on their pussies, get off on abusive dirty talk, etc. That’s not my idea of vanilla.

7 violet blue September 2, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Elf – you know, I mostly think Forbes screwed the pooch with the title of Gallop’s interview. Like Cindy or don’t like Cindy, that title made Forbes look clueless and laughably late to the discussion.

8 Elf M. Sternberg September 2, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Gah. I hate MakeLoveNotPorn. It may as well be called HaveBoringVanillaSexNotAnythingKinky.com

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