Tag Archives: sex

#BOAW2015: Heavy Petting is a No-No, or Sex Ed for the Saint of Heart

It’s the fourth annual Beauty of a Woman BlogFest hosted by the talented and illustrious, August McLaughlin!

Inspired by the outpouring of stories shared by readers after her revealing post, Does Dirt Have Calories? – (in which August exposed her early battle with an eating disorder) – she kicked off the blog hopping happiness that is the Beauty of a Woman BlogFest. She has a made a space for women and men to safely gather and share their stories of female beauty: what it is, how they found it, what they hope to find for their future.

In 2014, August expanded her blogfesting empire to include stories of female sexuality and empowerment under her latest trademark, GirlBoner. Today, bloggers from around the globe gather to celebrate the beauty of a woman, her sensuality and sexuality. I am so pleased to be joining August and my fellow writers for the third year.

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Heavy Petting is a No-No

I was raised Catholic. I went to Catholic Church, I went to Catholic Sunday School, then I entered Catholic Kindergarten and stayed through Catholic Eighth Grade. I spent my Sundays genuflecting, kneeling, and singing loudly lest our Catholic priest halt Mass altogether (as he was known to do) if he couldn’t hear his parishioners praising God loud enough.

I was a smart, happy-go-lucky girl who grew up in Small Town, North America with nothing very big to complain about. I loved my classmates and my teachers, but there seemed to be something missing.

In all my nine years at Catholic school, we didn’t talk about sex. Except in the “Don’t have it until you’re married or you will go straight to Hell,” kind of way. I vaguely recall that message coming through.

Every story in the Bible seemed to portray women as either unachievably good or a complete harlot. Or worse, just there. In the background. And I have always, always felt the need to be the lead in my own story.

Sometime around seventh or eighth grade, my school boasted of purchasing advanced reader religion books for the middle school to use. These books were said to be collegiate level and we should revere them with holy esteem. And I was proud of these textbooks, until I read the heading “Heavy Petting is a No-No.”

Yes, our textbook felt the need to include that little logline. And that’s when I stopped listening. Yah, I literally stopped listening because my teacher was trying to convey the beauty of “marital relations” and the “joy of childbirth.” Her eyes were all getting all glinty and I had to swallow the bile rising in my throat. Hello, I was 13! Ew.

What was more sickening than my teacher’s impromptu testimonial though was the language. Heavy Petting is a No-No? It was offensive and infuriating. Offensive, because we were teenagers and didn’t need the language dumbed down to tell us something’s a “no-no.” That’s a phrase for toddlers. And infuriating because what we did need dumbed down were the words “heavy petting.” I went to Catholic school, remember, this wasn’t covered in the priest’s homily last Sunday.

It was clear our teacher kept talking because she was uncomfortable. She was not a trained health education teacher, she taught music originally. I hardly see the connection between teaching kids how to play the guiro and sharing the story of your wedding night. That can’t be a prerequisite on one’s resume.

I honestly don’t think I knew there was a difference between sex and sexuality until college – where, in fact, no textbooks of mine defined anything as a “no-no.” I may have had a small inkling about these terms one semester in High School when I took an independent study in psychology. I was supposed to be using my scheduled time to edit my final paper from the previous semester’s work, and send it off to psychology journals for potential publication. But since I spent 80% of that semester actually surfing the internet for tattoo ideas, I sadly would not get my research published at that time. What I did learn during that hour break each day was about a French bohemian author named Anais Nin, who is best known for her tell-all series of diaries chronicling her torrid love affairs with both men and women. I spent my class time reading short stories by the author, most of which fell in the erotica genre.

She stuck with me, Anais Nin. Her works contained empowered women and men, who’s verbal tete-a-tete was as strong as their physical one. In her time, Nin’s work was so risque that police often tore down posters advertising her readings on the grounds of obscenity and indecency. To get around this, Nin’s posters placed symbols rather than her name to alert the public where she would be reading.

It was two years later, I walked into a tattoo parlor and inked one of those symbols on my hip.

If the lack of sex education has taught me anything about sexuality, it’s that the education piece never ends. And how sad it would be if it did. The beauty – of a woman, a man, a trans individual, someone who is still questioning – is that there is an infinite amount to learn. We can learn about ourselves, we can learn about others, we can learn what we like and don’t like. And, we can change our minds. We are forever learning, that is…as long as you don’t think sexuality is a no-no. 😉

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If you enjoyed this post, please check out the many other BOAW2015 participants.
There are so many stories being shared.
And drop me a line! I may be searching for my next tattoo, but I promise to reply.

 

 

 

 

 

Guilty Pleasures Friday: The History of the Vibrator

Oh, got your attention did I?  Things are getting steamy over at the Happiness Project!  And why not?  Nothing says guilty pleasure like a little self indulgence!

You all know I’ve been a movie watching fiend lately reporting the raw truth on all things Oscars!  To settle down from the award nominations, I caught up on a few fun films this weekend.  My favorite pick?

Hysteria

Hysteria:  n.  The term hysteria was once used to describe a medical condition thought to affect only women. Symptoms of the illness included partial paralysis, hallucinations and nervousness. The term is thought to originate from ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, who associated these symptoms with the movement of a woman’s uterus throughout different locations in the body. The term hysteria is from the Greek hysteria, which means uterus.  http://psychology.about.com/od/hindex/f/hysteria.htm

amazon.com

The film Hysteria is a raucous retelling of history and how Dr. Joseph Mortimer Granville invented the first vibrator.  A medical aid turned sex toy that is the most popular novelty item sold now!

In the early 1900’s, hysteria was a common medical diagnosis for women.

Symptoms of hysteria:

  • Faintness
  • Nervousness
  • Sexual Desire
  • Insomnia
  • Fluid Retention
  • Muscle Spasms
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Loss of Appetite

Huh, I have a feeling 99% of women are suffering from sheer hysteria every day!

In 1952, female hysteria was removed from the medical list of diseases, and took various psychological routes which would become schizophrenia and anxiety disorders.

But before we knew very much about the female body, hysteria was a commonplace disorder that had a very distinct kind of treatment.  It was believed that the symptoms of hysteria were caused by the retention of fluids in the vagina, and therefore treatment was a [“pelvic massage” – manual stimulation of the genitals by the doctor until the patient experienced “hysterical paroxysm” (orgasm).]  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_hysteria

No joke!  Women all over the country were going to their doctors for hand jobs! 

(image courtesty Mrs. Inman Artwork – Creative Commons)

Don’t you just love history?!

Ok, so Dr. Granville is a young, up and coming (he he he) doctor that can’t withstand the treatment demands from the growing number of patients.  Trying to create a mechanical tool that would offer the same results with less demanding skill from the doctor, he created the first electromechanical vibrator.

Early Form of Vibrator (copyright CreativeCommons)

What this accomplishes is a decrease in skillset required by the doctor, and faster treatment time.  Instead of an hour long treatment, some women were released as early as 10 minutes.  More patients could be seen, and with more visits came more money!

Behold:  The Birth of the Vibrator

Advertisements for vibrators showed up all over and more and more models were made.  There was roughly a 40 year period where we didn’t hear much about them and conservative beliefs took over mass media.  But with the rise of the 60’s, they were back.  The second wave of Feminism also helped the vibrator become buzzworthy again!  Female sexuality was being studied.  Workshops about orgasms were held!  And as history unfolds, we begin to learn more and more about women’s health – sexual and otherwise.

(Mrs. Inman Artwork – Creative Commons)

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As a girl who performed in The Vagina Monologues four years running, climaxing to the role of “The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy” I must say I thoroughly enjoyed this film and history lesson.  And as a side note, if you’ve never seem TVM, you should really go see that play too!

If possible, I highly recommend you rent the actual DVD for this film because the special features have a fantastic short documentary about the history of female orgasm and early vibrators.  Did you know in some states the sale of vibrators is illegal???  And there are also laws out there that limit the number of sexual toys a person can own!  Seriously, you have to watch the documentary because it also introduces us to a teacher who was trying to make some extra cash by becoming an in-home sex toy saleswoman.  An obscenity charge was filed and a warrant for her arrest made!  Even though she was never convicted, she lives the rest of her life with this stigma of being a bad person – all for selling a few dildos to women who welcomed her into their homes!

Who knew the vibrator had such a long and scandalous history?  Learn more yourself by viewing this positively electric film!

On behalf of all women, may I say “Thank you, Dr. Granville!” 

What are your thoughts?  Had you any idea the vibrator began as a medical aid?  Tell me about the first time you learned what a vibrator was!  When it’s Guilty Pleasures Fridays, it’s good to indulge!

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