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Becoming a Sexuality Professional: The Beginner’s Guide to Finding Their Way Within Sex Ed

Becoming a Sexuality Professional: The Beginner’s Guide to Finding Their Way Within Sex Ed is a 30+ page guidebook for anyone curious, emerging, or established in the sexuality space. It covers many of the most common questions about getting into the field from “what is a sexuality professional?”, “Do I need to get certified?” and everything in between.

Get your copy today!

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The Not-So-Secret BDSM History Of Wonder Woman


Comic book stores are pulling out the stops for next weekend, offering any number of events and special issues to coincide with the premier of the new Wonder Woman feature film.

The things we do for this job. April and Coral get tied up in William Moulton Marston's classic Wonder Woman imagery.

The things we do for this job. April and Coral get tied up in William Moulton Marston’s classic Wonder Woman imagery.

Julia Oppenheimer/OPB

One store in Portland will peel back the curtain on Wonder Woman’s secret history as a bondage queen. (Come on. What did you think those bracelets and lasso were really about?)

Multi-disciplinary artist, comic book fan, and kink enthusiast Coral Mallow will give a lecture May 31 at the Portland comic book retailer Books With Pictures, covering some lesser-known facts about Wonder Woman’s character origins and history.

If you caught Jill Lepore’s 2014 book “The Secret History of Wonder Woman,”you’ll know where this is going, but if not, brace yourself. With straps. And possibly ropes.

Turns out, Wonder Woman creator William Moulton Marston was a man of broad-minded politics and wide-ranging tastes. A psychologist and inventor and avowed female supremacist whose claims to fame include the creation of the lie-detector test, Marston was very interested in the dominant and submissive currents in human sexuality.

An example of an early Wonder Woman panel incorporating William Moulton Marston's ideas about dominance and submission.

An example of an early Wonder Woman panel incorporating William Moulton Marston’s ideas about dominance and submission.

As he created Wonder Woman — a hero just as capable of solving disputes with compassion as with strength — he farmed in imagery and scenes that betrayed some of his interests. (When you start looking at the art in the old comics, it’s like Marston can hardly get through an issue without ladies tying up ladies.)

Click play on the player at the top of the article to hear Mallow tell more.

The Not-So-Secret BDSM History Of Wonder Woman

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Speak Out Against Twitter’s Censorship of Sexual Health Info

To all sex educators and sexual health activists!

A petition is launched on Change.org to reverse Twitter’s ban on sexual health ads and education messaging– and this movement needs the support from sex positives like yourselves!

SIGN THE PETITION HERE

The petition calls for Twitter to remove health items like condoms and other sexual health information from their adult content category which also prohibits weapons, drugs and hate speech.

What does sex education have to do with AK-47s and the KuKluxKlan? Nothing.

dick_tweet1

Sexual Health Information Is Not Shameful; It Saves Lives

If you restrict the distribution of safer sex education your are impeding efforts to save lives.

This ban prevents business and organizations from extending their messages across one of the largest social media channels in the world- simply because this has something to do with sex. Such a policy only works to reinforce the shame and stigma attached to sex, which silences people and obstructs the ability to make informed, healthy choices.

A Twitter spokesperson did reply to this petition telling Think Progress that condom ads and safer sex messaging are allowed as long as they do not violate Twitter’s policy on sexual content. However, the spokesperson did not clarify what Twitter determines as appropriate “sexual content”.

The experiences of blacklisted organizations and companies proves that Twitter’s interpretation of “x-rated” can range anywhere from STD testing to condom size information.

People Are Speaking Out

Several safer sex advocates are speaking out. The STD Project was kicked off Twitter’s sponsored tweet program for their message explaining consultation services available for people recently diagnosed with an STI or have questions. The STD Project does not sell any adult sex products nor is linked to any sexually explicit content. Bedsider, a company that provides birth control information to young people has been blocked from Twitter’s ads on and off. In order to eligible, “[Twitter] asked us not to talk about sex in a way that is overtly pleasurable, if you will,” Larry Swiader, Director of Bedsider told RH Reality Check. “It’s a funny request because sex is pleasurable, it should be, and it’s healthy when it is.”

Companies Lucky Bloke and Momdoms have also explained that their promotions of safer sex have been deemed too x-rated for Twitter. Lucky Bloke’s entire account is blocked due to their sponsored tweet that read: “Tired or lousy condoms?” You can read more about Lucky Bloke’s story here at their safer sex education website.

How You Can Help

>—- Sign the Petition at Change.org here —-<

Use the hashtag #Tweet4Condoms

Share your thoughts @TwitterAds, @Twitter and Twitter CEO, @DickC

Go here for some pre-made tweets and images to share.

Share the petition with your networks and friends.

Join Us!

Be heard and help us advocate for access to comprehensive sexual health education across major media outlets. Have you signed the petition yet?

Have you been subject to Twitter’s irresponsible policy? Share below or on Twitter using #Tweet4Condoms

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The pain that is vulvodynia

VulvodyniaVulvodynia is pain of the vulvar area which is currently described by the  International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease as “discomfort, most often described as burning pain, occurring in the absence of relevant visible findings or a specific, clinically identifiable, neurologic disorder”.  Meaning, in layman’s terms:  there doesn’t seem to be a specific reason found for it occurring.  Research is ongoing and there are several theories developing, but so far no single or even regular grouping of causes have been identified.

The number of females who experience vulvodynia, depending on the study, has ranged generally from 5-19%.

While it is most often a burning pain, it can also be throbbing, itching, pain during intercourse, irritation or rawness, stinging, and other painful sensations.

Vulvar pain can be localized or at various points.  It can cause entering the vagina or even touching the vulva to range from uncomfortable to unbearable.

Vulvodynia can be short term or chronic.

Due to no known, set origin treatment methods are also widely varied and hit-or-miss in effectiveness.  Some involve physical therapy, psychiatric care and therapy, medication for pain and topical anesthetics, anti-depressants and anti-convulsants to address potential nerve pain, local injections of various medications, dietary changes, clothing and soap changes, hormonal treatments, and more.

Given these facts it’s easy to see how this can interfere with many females’ sexual lives and for some even daily non-sexual activities.

It can be not only physically painful but also emotionally distressing for both the female effected and for any partner(s).

I can speak on vulvodynia’s effects to an extent personally.

At first, there was rare and minor discomfort during sex and nothing that was enough to cause concern.  It was the type of thing one associates with being positioned just wrong or perhaps not well enough lubricated that time.

Then it became slowly more common and intense during any insertions into my vagina… eventually the sensation was that of being burned by acid when anything even slightly entered me.  It stopped any type of sexual encounter of that type between my partner and I and I decided it was necessary to pursue help from a gynecologist.

I was given pelvic examinations a couple of times, by two different doctors, which were excruciating. As each time no irritation or unusual discharge could be found and the STD testing they did each time came out negative, I was told to come back in a few months if I still had pain.  They couldn’t see anything wrong with me, so I was brushed aside so to speak.

On my third visit to the gynecologist, the second one pelvic exam doctor, I had expected more testing or another pelvic.  I was told frankly and directly at a sit-down office meeting that they did not know what was wrong with me and they couldn’t do anything for me.  He then got up to end the appointment.  I stayed seated.

Through pure stubborness on my part he eventually offered to sent me to both a psychiatrist to try and find out if my pain was caused by a mental health issue and to another gynecologist that specialized in vaginal pain.

The psychiatrist referral never came through, but the gynecological one did.  I was given a pain-mapping procedure where the doctor uses a swab and touches various areas of the vulva and vagina to find where exactly the pain is occurring.  Mine was not deeply internal so he chose not to subject me to an internal ultrasound due to the extreme pain any insertions caused.  I was put on an anti-depressant used for nerve pain and assigned a course of 5 weeks of daily lidocaine application, with the plan for physical therapy to be started.  However, I had to move states shortly after and could not follow with this gynecologist further.  He assured me that at that point I would have his files to continue forward with care at my new doctor.

The trip to that specialist helped to such an extent I cannot say emotionally.  With no diagnosis and essentially no treatment prior to him I was at a loss as to why I was experiencing such intense pain, concerned it may be something along the lines of cancer potentially, and I was frustrated with my body and my sexual limitations with my partner.  But now, finally, I had a name for what was wrong, vulvodynia, and a doctor who was completely honest about the facts concerning it but had begun a course of treatment.

Given the word, I was able to better Google.  I found other females experiencing the same and similar pains; I found sites filled with information.  I was no longer completely blind as to what was going on with me.  Still concerned, still morbid worries, but no longer at a complete loss and alone.

Moving states and file-transfer issues have started my treatment from square one again, but thankfully with another gynecologist who is motivated to help me find a cure if possible.  A doctor who has sent me for an external ultrasound to rule out more possible causes and who has expressed full willingness to refer me to a specialist again if the basics he wants to cover don’t find anything.

Thankfully, my ultrasound has come back just fine.

But it has now been twenty-one months, a year and nine, that a part of my body has been only a source of pain with no explanation as to cause, no set and reliable course of treatment known, and has hindered my private and partnered sexual life.  It is frustrating.  It is scary.  It is something awkward to explain to new potential lovers… “No, I can’t have anything involving my vagina. Yes because of pain. No, I don’t know why. Yes, I promise it is not due to infection as I’ve been repeatedly tested”.

If you are female and experience unexplained vulvar pain or are involved with one who does, know you are not alone.  Push for testing to rule out what can be.  Don’t let yourself be set aside medically.  Seek out support groups and information in hard copy and online.

Try to be understanding and accepting of yourself or your partner.  Patience is hard, especially when it comes to such an important part of one’s identity, physical functioning, relationship interactions and how or if the cause will be resolved.

It has a name, many of us experience it, and help can be pursued.  Again, you’re not alone.

 

 

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Genderfree Female – No, I’m not the girl in our relationship.

Gender People without gender are largely an overlooked group even within the transgender community. And anyone who is not cisgender tends to run into expectations to be so… and then on top of that, cisgender and transgender people tend to be expected to fall into stereotyped gender/sex roles.

So what to do when you’re a genderfree female, especially in a heterosexual relationship where you’re default not just by body but by partnership assumed to be “the girl”?

Not just the outside world can have a difficult time with this concept, even our own partners. Add on top of that that many of us do “do” feminine at times or all the time. Then add on top of that that many of us are perfectly comfortable being in a female body. Not on the binary, no gender at all, feminine at times, transgender and fine being female. It can make for confusion in those that live with and love us.

Partners often at first and even down the road can be unsure on how to address our bodies, sexually and non-sexually. If you’ve never been part of or heard a discussion on what people prefer their body parts like their genitals or breasts to be called or even if they want them acknowledged then you may not be familiar with this issue. But it’s there… When I’m speaking of my female partner’s body, what is the right word to use that will be fine by them but hopefully not confusing to others? During dirty talk is it okay to say things like “your pussy”?

Partners often don’t know how to address us as people… what pronouns, what references, to use in speaking with others. Is “she” okay? If not, what is? Do I refer to my genderfree lover as my girlfriend or wife, is that comfortable and/or appropriate? Again, if not, what is?

Partners often wonder why a female companion expresses not having a gender while dressed up to the stereotype of femininity: lacy undies, clinging dress, high heels, long and elegantly styled hair, the oh so carefully applied makeup. While presenting within more masculine expectations can also be confusing for them, the seemingly matched femininity and female body can raise a lot of questions.

That brings us then to the confusion that does also occur when a genderfree female partner presents as masculine part of or all of the time. “Are they actually female-to-male transexual?”. “Will they be mistaken for a lesbian?” (because, of course, there are stereotypes to sexualities, too).

Then throw in those who genderfuck on top of identifying with no gender and things get messier.

And how as a cisgender man do you approach sexually someone who isn’t a boy or girl or even any other gender identity? There are traits assigned to these regardless of whether they universally apply. Their are understood and culturally imbedded expectations in the mating ritual from first date to full on fucking. Do they want the door held for them, should I be the one pursuing… and heck, the occasional “am I gay or not?” because deep down they still expect a binary identification regardless of body sex.

Sex itself… Less of an issue if the male partner doesn’t have firm gender roles assigned to bedroom activities, but oh it can and does come up for some. We get back to the above of what phrases and labels are okay for body parts during dirty talk? And what about vulgar descriptions and nouns otherwise used at times during The Deed… would “dirty whore” or “cumdump bitch” be correct phrasing?

(Let’s put aside for the moment whether or not these types of phrases would be acceptable for cisgender females, either. They’re just used here as examples of some very pointed ones ones out there in some people’s sex lives.)

Will my partner want to fuck me with a strap-on, since they don’t identify as female?” – again, that binary sexual stereotyping.

Would it be offensive to buy my lover obviously gender-oriented gifts or sex toys or lingerie?”

And endless other wonderings and questions that can’t all be touched on here and are also beyond my ability to think up there are so many.

The simultaneously unfortunate and fortunate answer to dealing with all of this is that one needs to take the time to talk to one’s partner. Learn what an absence of gender means to them, personally, and how it relates to their connection with their body. Have those detailed and in-depth discussions about sexual expectations and comfort-zones. Find out what makes them happy and acknowledged in how others are led to view them in your relationship. While, of course, they should be finding out all the same about you.

I’ve spoken from a heterosexual angle with a cisgender male lover referenced in this all, but only because I wanted to address the issues related to that specific arrangement. There are countless others and this is just one, I addressed it as it is the most common one I personally run into with myself being a genderfree female.

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The DSM-5 Says Kink is OK!

The American Psychiatric Association has depathologized kinky sex – including cross-dressing, fetishes, and BDSM – in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). Now the paraphilias are considered to be “unusual sexual interests,” while those who have sex with children or people who haven’t consented, or who deliberately cause harm to themselves or others, may be diagnosed with a Paraphilic Disorder.

 

“The APA has made it clear that being kinky is not a mental disorder,” says Susan Wright, Spokesperson for NCSF. “That means people no longer have to fear being diagnosed as mentally ill just because they belong to a BDSM group. We’ve already seen the impact – NCSF immediately saw a sharp rise in the success rate of child custody cases for kinky parents after the proposed DSM-5 criteria was released three years ago.”

 

NCSF would like to thank everyone who participated in signing our DSM Revision Petition and for telling the APA about their own stories of discrimination and persecution. NCSF also thanks every member of the APA Paraphilias Subworkgroup for responding to our concerns, and drawing a hard line between consensual adult kinky sex and those who willfully engage in nonconsensual or harmful activities.

 

NCSF is proud to build on the work of kink-aware professionals who have come before us, including Race Bannon and Guy Baldwin, who helped make seminal changes in the DSM-IV in 1994.

 

The following are some statements about the various paraphilias in the DSM-5. Although highly clinical in language, they show the APA’s intent to not demand treatment for healthy consenting adult sexual expression:

 

“A paraphilia is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for having a paraphilic disorder, and a paraphilia by itself does not necessarily justify or require clinical intervention.” p. 686

 

“In contrast, if they declare no distress, exemplified by anxiety, obsessions, guilt or shame, about these paraphilic impulses, and are not hampered by them in pursuing other personal goals, they could be ascertained as having masochistic sexual interest but should not be diagnosed with a sexual masochism disorder.” p. 694

 

“Many individuals who self-identify as fetishist practitioners do not necessarily report clinical impairment in association with their fetish-associated behaviors. Such individuals could be considered as having a fetish but not fetishistic disorder.” p. 701

 

“Clinical assessment of distress or impairment, like clinical assessment of transvestic sexual arousal, is usually dependent on the individual’s self-report.” p. 703

 

To support NCSF, go to www.ncsfreedom.org. NCSF relies entirely on your donations to advance the rights of consenting adults and to do advocacy like our DSM Revision Project. Please donate now!

 

Quick Links…

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phone: 410-539-4824
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Sex Blogger Tips

sex toy bloggingMy guide to sex toy reviewing and blogging by heyepiphora

15 rules for writing a sex toy review that doesn’t royally suck by heyephiphora

Dangerous Lilly’s Sex Blogger Education posts

That Toy Chick’s How to be a Bitchin’ Blogger

Kara Sutra’s Building Your Blog, Becoming an Online Affiliate, and Writing a Review

Mistress Kay’s Sex Blogging Resources

 

This list has been brought to you from HeyEpiphora.com

I will add more links as I find them

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Speak Up! Guide to Strategic Media

speak upCreated by the “Red Umbrella Project” the Speak Up! Guide to Strategic Media Tools and Tactics to Amplify the Voices of People in the Sex Trades 

is a really helpful, concise presentation of how to interact with the media to make sure the message your sending is the message you’re intending.

Sign up for their newsletter to get the whole guide plus keep up to date on their live training courses, news & more.

 

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The Next Level

iStock_000007813019SmallEverybody has to start somewhere. For most of us, we begin to present classes and workshops because we’re known for a particular skill set or a certain type of knowledge, and we teach what we know. Eventually, though, many of us come to the conclusion that we don’t want to just teach the same thing, over and over – we want to do something different, or expand our offerings, or just break out of the rut of being a “one trick pony”.

What do we do when we want to grow as an educator? Some people consider going back to school, or taking (often pricey) classes to help them get more credentials, but that’s not a possibility for everyone (nor is it even a good idea, depending on how much energy you want to give towards your experience as an educator). There are, however, some amazing things you can do without breaking the bank (or your schedule)! Here are some basic concepts for ongoing growth & improvement that you can use.

1. Read. Read everything you can get your hands on (and find interesting) that relates to sexuality. Read synopsis of things that you think you already know about. Read a review of things that aren’t that interesting. Every new piece of information that you learn has the potential to change how you teach, and to inspire you to teach something new.

2. Learn basic presentation skills, either by taking classes in it or reading books. Passion about your topics of choice will only get you so far; what makes an effective presenter is the ability to communicate information to others in a way that helps them learn & apply it to their own lives.

3. Go to workshops. Seriously. When you keep an open mind, you can always learn something new. At a recent educator’s series that I co-facilitated, a newer presenter taught a brief class on flogging – a topic that I normally get bored with pretty quickly. However, they had a technique that they demonstrated that I had never thought of, and I could immediately see ways to use to improve my ability to use a flogger. Look! An old dog CAN learn a new trick!

4. Be mentored. Ask someone to teach you the basics of a new skill, or the finer points of one that you already have. Work with another presenter to hone your abilities. Have friends edit, make suggestions, and give guidance to you when it comes to writing your bio, your handouts, and your class outlines. Even if you are always the “go-to” person, working with someone else can help expand both your range and your depth of knowledge.

5. Mentor someone else. Teaching one-on-one rather than one-on-many involves a different set of skills, and has more of an exchange of information than a usual classroom setting allows for. Often, people that mentor find that it improves their own skills – both as a technician, and as an educator.

6. Ask for feedback & ideas. I often get more inspiration out of comments, questions, and resources that attendees at my classes offer than I do out of my own reading. The ability to integrate the experiences (and lessons) of other people into our work allows us to offer a far wider perspective than we would otherwise be able to.

7. Stay humble. No matter how fantastic your skill set is, there is always room for a new technique, a new way of looking at things, or a better practice. As soon as we think we know it all, we close ourselves off to new experiences and risk becoming obsolete. And really – nobody wants to be “that person” that knows everything and eschews any other way of thinking.

8. Network with other educators. Nothing helps us plan our next steps like knowing what the options are, and our colleagues (whether non-professional or professional) are the ones who are already thinking about the same things we are. By sharing our experiences and asking each other questions, we can become better at finding our own direction & developing classes that we’re excited about.

By Sarah Sloane (originally posted on FearlessPress.com August/2011)

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American Academy of Pediatrics Supports Same Gender Civil Marriage

American Academy of Pediatrics Supports Same Gender Civil Marriage

3/21/2013

For Release:  March 21, 2013

 

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) supports civil marriage for same-gender couples – as well as full adoption and foster care rights for all parents, regardless of sexual orientation – as the best way to guarantee benefits and security for their children.

 

 

The AAP policy statement, “Promoting the Well-Being of Children Whose Parents Are Gay or Lesbian,” and an accompanying technical report will be published in the April 2013 Pediatrics (published online March 21).

 

“Children thrive in families that are stable and that provide permanent security, and the way we do that is through marriage,” said Benjamin Siegel, MD, FAAP, chair of the AAP Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health, and a co-author of the policy statement. “The AAP believes there should be equal opportunity for every couple to access the economic stability and federal supports provided to married couples to raise children.”

 

In a previous policy statement published in 2002 and reaffirmed in 2010, the AAP supported second-parent adoption by partners of the same sex as a way to protect children’s right to maintain relationships with both parents, eligibility for health benefits and financial security. The 2013 policy statement and accompanying technical report adds recommendations in support of civil marriage for same-gender couples; adoption by single parents, co-parents or second parents regardless of sexual orientation; and foster care placement regardless of sexual orientation.

 

“The AAP has long been an advocate for all children, and this updated policy reflects a natural progression in the Academy’s support for families,” said Ellen Perrin, MD, FAAP, co-author of the policy statement. “If a child has two loving and capable parents who choose to create a permanent bond, it’s in the best interest of their children that legal institutions allow them to do so.”

 

A great deal of scientific research documents there is no cause-and-effect relationship between parents’ sexual orientation and children’s well-being, according to the AAP policy. In fact, many studies attest to the normal development of children of same-gender couples when the child is wanted, the parents have a commitment to shared parenting, and the parents have strong social and economic support. Critical factors that affect the normal development and mental health of children are parental stress, economic and social stability, community resources, discrimination, and children’s exposure to toxic stressors at home or in their communities — not the sexual orientation of their parents.

 

According to the policy statement, the AAP “supports pediatricians advocating for public policies that help all children and their parents, regardless of sexual orientation, build and maintain strong, stable, and healthy families that are able to meet the needs of their children.”

# # #

The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.