Friday, April 30, 2010

Sarah Palin:
Texas is Alaska's "Little Sister" State

one of Heroic Media's billboards in Austin

No, really. At last night's fundraiser for "Pregnant? Scared?" billboard pushers Heroic Media Sarah Palin said the following about Texas: it's "Alaska's little sister state." I guess the textbooks up in Alaska are even more hilariously inaccurate than ours since Texas is both older and while Alaska may be bigger than Texas in surface area its population is so small it only has one congressional representative to Texas's 32. Take that, Palin.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

From One Bro to Another:
"How Players Do It"

Imagine my shock when I came to work on Tuesday to find the glossy insert above tucked into in the Daily Texan shouting that 49% of female students at UT fake orgasms and chiding dudes for being bad in bed. But chin up, Longhorns, because a whopping 64% of Harvard ladies fake it (nevermind that, from what I hear, only 5% of Harvard students actually have sex).

All this in service of a video for sale entitled "How Players Do It: A Modern Man's [Uncensored] Guide to Sex." [HDPI] Aww, iddn't that sweet?

There's a wee scandal afoot because apparently the Harvard Crimson made an 11th hour decision to reject HDPI's ad entirely after accepting their money because of HDPI's survey findings on female masturbation at Harvard. By the way, Texas had the highest percentage of female respondents who copped to masturbating: a whopping 85%. Way to go, girls! Harvard lagged behind at 73%. HDPI's Ryan had this to say:

While we don’t believe that The Crimson truly hates female masturbation (btw, totally their loss if they do), something strange is going on behind closed doors at Harvard’s newspaper. They are fine with advertising an instructional sex guide, but the second a piece of blog content involved Harvard, they determined that this information was not appropriate for dissemination to Harvard students. Perhaps they see themselves in the role of junior cop for the administration. If so, this seems like a bizarre role for an independent student newspaper at a top university.
Dang, Harvard.

On the heels of the anti-sex "iChoose" advert of a few weeks ago, I had to get to the bottom of this. So I did some digging and scored an interview with Paul Penfield, the director of marketing for H-Spot, the parent website of HPDI. Here's what we talked about.
JS: What are you doing?
PP: We wanted to create a platform where normal, nonswinger/sexcrazed folks can go to learn and have a conversation about sex. Reading is not that appealing, so adding an element of "this is fun" is a huge piece of what we're doing.
JS: Why are you doing this?
PP: When we looked around at what was out there, what we found was the Better Sex video series, which makes sex really unappealing. Eighties lighting, weird looking people. And guys need a little more help; girls are a little more complicated. Magazines are the dominant source [of sex advice] and they continue to exist on two opposite sides of the pole [male v. female]. We need to bring them together.
JS: Who worked on this project?
PP: We had a great team of researchers, writers, filmmakers and artists. We had a great sex educator who watched the videos to make sure they were okay.
JS: What techniques do you cover in HPDI?
PP: what do girls want? It's non-dirty, informative, how the vagina works, what feels good, what doesn't. [We cover] fingering, oral sex...everyone who has seen it has liked it. We go from kissing to sex to anal sex and there's narration.
JS: What about safer sex practices?
PP: We cover that in the beginning of the movie and prior to the how-to sections. The couples in the film didn't use condoms but they had all either been tested before filming or were real-life couples. The anal scene does include condoms and lube, and we talk about that as a part of the scene.

You can check out the trailer below.

I watched the trailer, and I've read the website, but I haven't seen the video yet. Paul is going to send me a copy and I'll review it later. As someone who talks to college students about sex all day, every day, I can attest to the fact that guys do need some instruction--in how to talk to their partner about what she wants them to do to her.

Not that learning some new tricks isn't a good idea, but it doesn't matter how many instructional videos you watch or articles you read in Men's Health about how to MAKE HER COME TONIGHT, GUARANTEED! if you can't say to her, "Baby, I want to make you come, what should I do?" Maybe that'll be in the next video.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Remake of "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" set for 2011

OMG! The best sex movie about Texas to have ever graced the Broadway stage and the silver screen (I don't think "Debbie Does Dallas" ever made it to theaters) is being redone by Universal Pictures for a 2011 release. No word yet on who's being cast but the team doing the writing is the same duo that wrote Julie Sunday's signature film, "Legally Blonde." So it's gonna be good.

I wonder if they can get Rick Perry to play the sneaky, lying, singing and dancing governor:

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Texas: #3 in Barebacking

image from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy

This morning there was a little bit of a hullabaloo on the feminist blogs about this accusation from Just Out:

"For all the flack gay men get for their sexual antics, it turns out the ladies have them beat for an oft-chastised but ever-present-in-porn act — barebacking."
Ouch, straight girls. Amanda Hess, beloved writer over at The Sexist, responds thusly:

"What the fuck is this headline? “Women Engage in Barebacking at Higher Rates Than Gay Men.” Hey, way to get personal! It takes two to bareback, so why focus all the shaming on the receptive partner?"
It does take two to bareback (or three, or four...) but among straight people, condom use is often initiated at the demand of the female partner. Yes, I know, it's not fair that the responsibility for condom use is on women who are already mostly responsible for pregnancy prevention. But the priority for most men who are under the fuckluence is putting their dick in the desired hole and rates of condom use are higher among girls who say "Wait! Put on a condom!" than those who don't.

I wondered how different states stacked up on unprotected sex, since the survey that made its way around the blogosphere was done by the NYC department of health. Turns out Texas, as always, is high up on the list. Of sexually active high school students, the % below are those who used a condom the last time they had sex:
  • #1: Hawaii, 54%

  • #2, New Mexico, 55%

  • Tied for #3: Texas and Arizona, 56%
    National Campaign analysis of CDC-YRBS data
Yikes. That means that 44% of sexually active high school students in Texas didn't use a condom the last time they had sex. Even scarier? A mere 13% of Texas high school students used birth control pills at last sex. Guess that goes a long way to explain our sky-high rates of teen pregnancy and chlamydia.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

UT Researchers:
Women Want OTC Birth Control

image from Texas Window on State Government

Researchers looking at the El Paso-Juarez border found that women who needed birth control were more likely to go across the border to Mexico to purchase their pills over the counter than go through the extra hassle and expense of going through both a doctor and a pharmacist to get the method in the US.

Dr. Daniel Grossman of Ibis Reproductive Health, one of the researchers, said to

“In some ways our profession has been holding birth control hostage, where women come in and pay that annual ransom of getting that Pap smear,” he said. “We don't make men get testicular exams before they get condoms, even though testicular screening and testing are important health measures. They're not linked.”

Dang! According to a press release from the study's authors: "The fact that many women in El Paso make use of the cross-border option suggests a substantial latent demand for an over-the-counter option at pharmacies in the United States," says lead author Joseph E. Potter, a professor in the Sociology Department and Population Research Center at The University of Texas at Austin.

Imagine the cost savings in our health care system if women could get birth control--and prevent pregnancy--without the added expense and time barriers of having to see a healthcare provider, which in 1993 leading scholars in reproductive health deemed an unnecessary burden on women patients*.

Of course many phsyicians, whose income depends on routine patient visits, don't like this:

Dr. Kristen Plastino, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Texas Health Science Center, said it's important for a woman to talk to her doctor about what kind of contraception would be best. “It's also a reminder: Don't forget about yourself,” she said. “Sometimes I am the only doctor these women see all year. That's where I screen and see that their blood pressure's high.”
It is paternalistic on the part of healthcare providers to take decisions about preventing pregnancy effectively out of the hands of their patients and hold birth control prescriptions for ransom by forcing them to come in and get a variety of unrelated health services--all of which cost the patient (or the state, if they get publicly-funded healthcare) more money. Plenty of women who can't pay for regular health services get "primary care" at publicly funded family planning clinics, but if the cost and time (which is itself a cost) of those services is prohibitive and they forego all of it because they can't afford it, they are at higher risk for pregnancy and the whole enterprise has shot itself in the foot.

I applaud the researchers for documenting that when women have the option to buy birth control pills over the counter, they will, but what this research doesn't tell us is whether the drugs the women bought were actually hormonal contraceptives--I've heard stories of women who wind up pregnant because they've gotten counterfeit birth control from Mexico.

* Trussell J, Stewart F, Potts M, Guest F, Ellertson C.Should oral contraceptives be available without pre-scription? Am J Public Health. 1993;83(8):1094–1099.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Karl Rove:
Fox News to Get Into Texas Textbook Biz?

a Code Pink member at Rove's speech Monday. (Daily Texan)

Karl Rove was a guest of the College Republicans at UT last night and, Code Pink and other protesters aside, it appears to have been a relatively civilized event. The Q & A session at the end was moderated both by members of College Republicans and University Democrats, which have an impressive record of playing well with others on campus.

The Daily Texan did a longer interview with Rove, though, and they asked him about the SBOE textbook revisions.
  • The Daily Texan: What are your thoughts on the State Board of Education’s social studies revisions, which many people consider conservatively biased? How do you think this is reflected in the polarization of conservatives and liberals throughout the state and nation?

  • Karl Rove: I’ve been out of the state for much of the last three months, but these things need to be done with care and accuracy because we buy so many textbooks, and we drive the coverage for the rest of the country. We want to have a fair and balanced book depiction of historical events. (emphasis added)
Jesus H, Rove. Way to blow the lid off of News Corp's diabolical secret plan to venture into the textbook business.* Since I doubt that any legitimate, respectable textbook company will actually bow to the new Texas standards, surely Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck can collaborate on the new "Kids Are Americans Too: The No-Spin Zone for the Real America and Growing into the Patriot God Wants You to Be" for Texas elementary school students.

*I am totally making this up. But it makes sense, doesn't it?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Q &A: It's the Lube, Stupid

Sliquid Organics Silk

Dear Julie,
I was recently having sex with this guy for the first time and midway through I was in so much pain that I had to stop. My vaj was all swollen and red--classic burning sensation. The condom I used was a Durex but it didn't have any special "warming" or "cooling" or "icyhot" lube on it. Am I allergic to latex?

Dear Lindsay,

To paraphrase James Carville: it's the lube, stupid. Symptoms of topical latex allergy are itching and redness, but few people experience severe effects from condom use because the primary way that latex proteins get onto the skin of affected people is through the powder in latex gloves. The lube in condoms actually provides something of a barrier for the protein that causes the allergic reaction.

So in your case, I think one of two things happened. First, and most likely, your condom didn't have enough lubricant on it or you had sex for so long that what was on there wasn't enough. Add more lube. Second, you could be allergic to an ingredient in the lube itself. Most condoms are lubricated with a silicone-based lube which isn't absorbed by the body (and lasts longer) but the lube can contain other ingredients, like glycerin, that can cause allergic reactions in people who have sensitive skin. Especially if they've rubbed their vagina raw from having sex without enough lube.

What you need is a bottle of lube, stat. Here are a couple of organic and allergen-free options from Babeland.
  • Babeland Natural Organic Lube, available in Naked (hint of lemon and vanilla) and Fresh (subtle mint-infusion). Both are free of parabens and petrochemicals and are not tested on animals.
  • Sliquid Organics Silk. Sliquid Silk is one of the best known silicone lubes and now there's an organic version. It is gluten-free, vegan, glycerin-free, and paraben-free so whatever your sensitivity, this lube has you covered and since it contains 12% silicone, it's long lasting and good for use in water. Also, Sliquid is a Dallas-based company. Go Texan!
  • Astroglide Glycerin and Paraben Free lube. Astroglide is an old standby and, of the lubes listed here, the most likely to be found at your local drugstore or grocery store. Also gluten free.
Sliquid Organics has the best bedside-table appeal but any of these lubes will reduce the irritation you felt.

Good luck,

Friday, April 16, 2010

UT Employee Accused of Making Popular Child Porn Videos at Texas Nudist Camp

The logo of the Sahnoans, the nudist club of which Diehl was a member

Uh oh...this has echoes of R. Kelly, minus the amazing music. According to the Austin American Statesman, David Diehl, a computer programmer at the University of Texas at Austin
"produc[ed] a series of videos that have appeared in more than 100 Internet child pornography investigations. Investigators say they think the videos, known as the "tent series," were produced in 2000 at the Star Ranch nudist camp in McDade in Bastrop County. Diehl was living in Austin at the time, investigators said. The videos show a man in a camping tent molesting a prepubescent girl, the complaint said."
Yikes. Guess who the man in the videos is? Diehl. If we collectively learned anything from R. Kelly's legal woes it is to not film yourself raping a minor and then distribute the videos on the internet.

Worse, Diehl is accused of filming the series at the Star Ranch nudist camp in Bastrop, which will surely make life difficult for the nudist community which struggles to make people understand that nudism isn't sexual and will also surely have to defend itself against accusations that their events are havens for people who get off on the nudity of children.

The victim "who identified her abuser as Diehl, a family friend. The victim, who would now be in her 20s, said that starting when she was 8 and until she was 10, Diehl molested her and another girl on several occasions at the Star Ranch."

But it gets better:
"Diehl's ex-wife, Kerry Jenkins, who said she and Diehl began a relationship when she was 15 and he was 31, the complaint said...Before they divorced in 2002, Diehl would tell Jenkins she was "told old for (him) now," the complaint said...FBI investigators looked at a video camera that Jenkins kept after the couple divorced and found a tape of two underage girls undressing for the camera, the complaint said."
God willing the younger students at the University are too old for this guy and he didn't victimize anyone under the nose of the school. But for all of the bajillions of federal dollars and creepy television shows devoted to Catching A Predator it took ten fucking years for them to figure out that this guy filmed these videos? These videos that came up in more than 100 other child porn investigations? Ten years during which this guy has probably victimized lord knows how many other girls?

Maybe the Department of Justice Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section should start investigating the Catholic Church abuse scandals--that way perhaps they'd figure out that the Pope (happy birthday, Benedict!) is responsible in time for, you know, the apocalypse.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Trojan Ecstasy's Texas-Sized Wrappers

Now I have small hands, but SERIOUSLY?

the new Trojan Ecstasy Her Pleasure; standard Trojan Magnum Thin; Durex Enhanced Pleasure

I have been on record for years about how most guys who claim to need Magnums are douchebags, Trojans really aren't that great for grownups who like to be able to feel that they're having sex, etc. So imagine my shock when a student pulled a new Trojan HEY LOOK I HAVE A HUGE DICK! Magnum Ecstasy out of his pocket with its even-more-huge-than-I-remembered gold wrapper. Which, I assume, is the point.

I assumed that this impractically enormous wrapper was isolated to the ego-stroking Magnum, but alas another student brought in a Trojan Ecstasy Her Pleasure (pictured above) and the wrapper was the same size. More precisely, 2 and 13/16 inches square of lovely, won't-even-fit-in-your-handbag lavender foil. Even better, when I went to Target to investigate the condom offerings (as I often do on a Sunday evening trip to Target), I discovered that the Ecstasy line costs the same as a box of non-Ecstasy Trojans and only has 10 rubbers per box instead of the standard 12. Hmm...sounds like the trick food manufacturers are using to deceptively package less product and sell it to consumers for the same price.

In spite of the HEY LOOK I HAVE A HUGE DICK! wrapper, the condoms are not bigger--what makes them "ecstasy"tastic is:

  • UltraSmooth™ Premium Lubricant inside and out for more natural feel.

  • Comfort shape allows freedom of movement for a more natural experience.

  • Larger than standard latex condoms for extra comfort.

  • Tapered at the base for a secure fit.

  • Textured for stimulation

The UltraSmooth™ Premium Lubricant never washes off, I'll tell you that. After blowing up the condom to see what it looked like I rubbed the lube all over my hands and it never soaked in--I had to wash my hands repeatedly. Which is good...right? I heard from a student yesterday that he and his girlfriend were worried they were "doing it wrong" because the semen was dribbling down the side of the Ecstasy Her Pleasure condom they were using. That's what the "comfort shape" gets you: semen leakage. Yuck. And the "texture"? Try 6 ribs at the base that I guarantee will not stimulate any vagina.

Trojan has another clever marketing ploy to try to get insecure frat guys to buy more condoms that kinda actually suck: the new Fire and Ice with "Dual Action Lubricant - warming and tingling sensations for both partners." Seriously. Also comes in HEY LOOK I HAVE A HUGE DICK! size. I'm not sure why you would want to use this product, since the prospect of both warming AND cooling sensations on your genitals at the same time sounds utterly terrifying, but I guess you could get together with your bros and use it with your Icy Hot Chill Stick.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Can Spider-Man Defeat Texas's Abstinence-Industrial Complex?

images via Andrew Farago

Thanks to my student J for tipping me off to this. Apparently in the late 60s or early 70s Planned Parenthood teamed up with Marvel to do a Spider-Man comic about an evil character trying to trick teenagers into having babies so he can use them for child labor on his planet. Sound familiar?

In the image above, the comic's alien villain, Prodigy, says this about his evil plot:
They'll have babies right and left from ignorance, just as I planned for my giant baby snatch. They're needed for child labor on Intellectia, so we superior ones can put our brain power to conquering other planets!
H.O.L.Y.S.H.I.T. If that doesn't remind you of abstinence-pushing family values neoconservativism I don't know what will.

Now that you know what they want, here's the why:

Spidey figures out what Prodigy is trying to do and hits the nail right on the head:
He wants them to be baby machines! Changing diapers, going nowhere in dead-end jobs...sitting home every night trying to find the time and money to go to a movie or buzz out to the burger stand. What kind of life can they have? No chance to develop, they'll never catch on to his crazy scheme, they'll just be his puppets. What a crafty creep!
Surely the 1970s-era Spider-Man didn't know that Prodigy's evil plan would be...a part of the Republican party's platform and still funded by the federal government in 2010 and a fundamental part of Texas's own educational and social policy.

Spidey's motto "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility" couldn't be more appropriate to our contemporary sex ed panic and his approach in the comic is spot-on: provide information to people who need it and let them act accordingly. Spider-Man, please come to Texas and defeat our own evil Governor Good Hair!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Go-To Guide to Phthalate-Free Sex Toys

Houston's Own "Novelty Shop" in a former Whataburger. Ugh.

Texas has few brick-and-mortar options for purchasing high-quality sex toys--most stores in the state are of the beside-the-highway variety where you're likely to find something in a clear plastic box with a semi-famous porn star on the front. In addition to wanting to avoid going into those icky, pinky-purple buildings (Zone D'Erotica, I'm looking at you), the shimmery, jiggly sex toys they carry usually contain a substance called phthalates that was banned last year in children's toys in the United States and banned in the European Union 5 years ago.

Phthalates have been documented to cause attention and behavior problems and genital development defects in male offspring of women with high levels of exposure--namely, their penises are smaller and their testicles may fail to descend. And how do women get exposed? A variety of ways, but sex toys, in the opinion of this blogger-cum-public health nerd, are an understudied pathway.

Phthalates are a plastic softener, which is why they are so often used in children's toys--like teething rings and soft plastic dolls--and they also soften plastic and vinyl used to make "jelly" sex toys. Since sex toys are not regulated by the FDA or the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which regulates children's toys and household goods, manufacturers are not required to demonstrate product safety nor is there a system for reporting potential hazards from exposure. Basically, that means that a sex toy could be completely toxic and totally legal.

If you have any sex toys meeting the "jelly" description I would encourage you to throw them away immediately and trade up to a nontoxic product. Here is my list of Top 5 Phthalate Free Sex Toys. They range from cheap to exorbitant but they're all well worth their price tag and won't, you know, render your future offspring infertile.
  • Combo Vibrator: The Ina by Lelo is the best and brightest of the Rabbit-style vibrators. It's made out of medical grade plastic and silicone, so it's waterproof and rechargeable. ($159)
  • Dildo:A general rule for toy safety is that if it will go inside your body, it should be made of silicone, glass, medical grade plastic or steel. The Rodeo Rick is perfect for Texas size queens: at 7 inches long and 2 inches diameter this is the last dildo you'll ever need. ($110)
  • Anal Toy:The Simply Blown Plug is just gorgeous. It's clear glass with a smidge of color: emerald, ruby, amethyst and aqua. With 3.5 inches in length and 1.25 inches in diameter, this plus is similar to the old standby Ryder but so much cooler.($75)
  • Just 'Cause: The Jimmyjane Form 6 is pink, completely waterproof, and rechargeable. AND it has a 'travel switch' so you can make sure you don't wind up at airport security with a suspicious buzzing in your handbag. Not that I know anything about that...($185, but so worth it)

You can't buy any of these toys in Texas, obviously, so get yourself to Babeland. I never miss it when I go to New York and they only sell the best of the best.

Julie Sunday

Friday, April 9, 2010

Austin's "Fuck You" to Crisis Pregnancy Centers Rained on by Human Life Alliance

On the heels of the Austin City Council's unanimous fuck-you vote targeting crisis pregnancy centers, today's Daily Texan features a 12 page, full color, glossy advertising supplement called "I Care" from the Human Life Alliance that perpetuates all the usual myths about abortion: that emergency contraception causes it; that hormonal birth control causes it; that it causes breast cancer; that it's an evil plot to kill the black race.

"I Care" also touches on such crucial issues as "the science of sex" (spoiler: it's bad for girls, but okay for boys) and the "myth" of overpopulation (spoiler: white people aren't having enough babies and will cause the social security system to collapse).

Perhaps this coincides with the Austin distinguishing itself as only the second city in the nation to force crisis pregnancy centers to be forthright about the fact that they don't fucking do anything. But maybe the timing is just circumstance.

Presumably this won't apply to the advertising campaigns of Texas crisis pregnancy centers, which blanket television networks and billboards all over the state. *sigh*

For actual information about abortion and finding a provider in Texas, check out the National Abortion Federation. And while you're at it, send them some money.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Crazy Things Still Happening in Plano: Anti-Abortion Edition

Leave it to Plano to continually distinguish itself as a place where weird shit goes down. Erlyndon Joseph Lo, a would-be lawyer from the Dallas suburb, was arrested this week after he went to court and filed a lawsuit stating his intent to use force to prevent women from having abortions, and requesting a restraining order to keep the cops from hurting him if he "had" to use violence.

Fortunately, the FBI realized the level of crazy they were dealing with and responded immediately.
"We won't tolerate threats to clinics," said Mark White, spokesman for the Dallas FBI. "We acted swiftly to ensure that no one was injured and that no act of violence actually did take place."
Way to go. The guy is clearly completely nuts, but he does have the following 'aww' statement on his personal website:
Women are awesome. All females are awesome. All females are as good as all males. Any one female is as good as any one male. A person is not better or worse than another based solely on the person's gender. Character is everything. Women must be educated as much as men. Females must be educated as much as men. Males must never abuse females in any way. A male must never abuse a female in any way. A male must never abuse the female he is married to.
Iddn't that sweet? But later his screed takes a turn for the worse:
It is MY SINCERE AND DEEPLY HELD religious belief (from now on "religious belief") that when I am completely innocent, in order to defend or protect myself or my own life, I may use necessary force, and I also may use necessary force to protect or defend the life of an innocent third person, even if that force happens to be deadly. Furthermore, it is my religious belief that life begins at conception. Therefore, it is my religious belief that a baby/child in her or his mother's womb is an individual and person with fundamental rights.
If you feel so inclined to help Lo in his legal matters, he has a convenient Pay Pal set up on his website so you can donate money. Otherwise, let's hope this guy gets the help he needs because he's clearly completely off the rails.