Category Archives: Entertainment

Curve Magazine

If you don’t know about it, you should. If you are just coming out and scared to check it out I suggest looking at the website online, it has articles, interviews, advice, etc.They even have a section of the website for a forum and a hook up blog! which I didn’t know about until a minute ago. I think since its new, the relationship advice section is sort of limited unless you want to check out their regular monthly advice section (which is sort of witty and sort of helpful and sort of essentialist).

The magazine has a variety of representation and does not have an abundance of ads. During the L Word, they had interviews with most of the cast and the most recent magazine had an interview with a surfer (pretty sweet, huh?).

I suggest taking a look. Something my boss at Sappho (a lesbian bar in Amsterdam) told me rings true right now. She said it in reference to movies, media, etc: “I don’t need them when I’m in a couple because I know I’m a lesbian, I know I like girls. When you’re single you have this need to be near it, to know that they are out there, you know?” After I thought about this I realized how true it is. Since straight people see other straight people all the time they don’t need something to validate their existence, glbtq do and this magazine helps. It helps you feel like you are not alone and in the magazine, there is someone for everyone to relate to.

(http://www.curvemag.com/)

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Vogue (dance)

Introduction

While I was in Philadelphia for the summer, I went to a Ball with my friend. At first, I had no idea what Ballroom was until I heard of the movie Paris is Burning. After I watched Paris is Burning, I wanted to learn more about voguing, which is what they do at a Ball. You might never have heard of Balls or voguing, but now you will know about the history if you haven’t heard of Willi Ninja.

History of Voguing

Since I don’t know that much about voguing, I’m going to refer to my favorite site wikipedia and give you some background information:

Vogue is a form of modern dance characterized by photo model like poses integrated with angular, linear and rigid arm, leg and body movements. The style of dance arose from the Harlem ballrooms back in the early 1930s, which was then called “performance” and evolved into the more intricate and illusory form that is now called “vogue”.

There are two distinct styles of vogue: Old Way (pre-1990) and New Way. Old Way is characterized by formation of lines, symmetry, precision in the execution of such formations and graceful, fluid like action. New Way is characterized by a more rigid, geometric pattern movement coupled with “clicks” (limb contortions at the joints) and “arms control” (sleight of hand and wrist illusions). Vogue also encompasses other forms of dance and movement, namely modern jazz, ballet, gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, martial arts, breakdance, yoga, etc. Some dance historians even point out that breakdance and vogue evolved out of each other, with artists from both sides interacting with each other in New York City’s Central Park, West Side Piers, Harlem and Washington Square Park during the 70s and early 80s.

Voguing has evolved since its beginning and continues to be developed further as an established dance form that is practiced in gay dance clubs in New York, and other big cities throughout the United States–mainly Atlanta, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Miami and Chicago.

Though voguing usually takes place in gay clubs frequented by African Americans and Latin American males, it is also practiced by a small number of non-gay individuals and outside of the club scene. Formal competitions occur in the form of balls held by houses or collectives of dancers and performers.

Some influential houses include the House of Xtravaganza, the House of Revlon, the House of Ninja, the House of Infiniti, the House of Aviance and the House of Milan” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vogue_(dance)).

Paris is Burning

To learn more about voguing, you should definitely watch the movie Paris is Burning. Its a documentary (I know, boring) and in the end you want to try the dance moves yourself or check out a ball late at night.

Here is a synopsis: “Paris Is Burning is a 1990 documentary film directed by Jennie Livingston. Filmed in the mid-to-late 1980s, it chronicles the ball culture of New York City and the poor, African American and Latino gay and transgendered community involved in it. Many consider Paris Is Burning to be an invaluable documentary of the end of the “Golden Age” of New York City drag balls, as well as a thoughtful exploration of race, class, and gender in America”

Conclusion

While I was in Philadelphia, I went to a glbtq youth center and saw kids practicing for a ball. It made me happy because I knew what it meant. A Ball was created and has survived as an outlet, a dance outlet, for people to survive through homophobia, racism, and poverty. I knew how it felt because dancing is when I can forget, feel like I am above, in ecstacy. Voguing is both a legacy and a party.

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Mel’s Diner

Introduction

I stumbled on this, sort of by accident, as I was exploring this site, quite wonderfully titled “the gay agenda”, and discovered history in the making. On September 29th, 1976, a sitcom called “Mel’s Diner” aired a controversial episode just as the gay liberation movement started. Two people go out on a date, Alice (played by Linda Lavin) goes on a date with Mel’s longtime friend Jack, a former football player, to find out at he’s gay.

There’s a New Girl in Town & a Gay Man Too The scene goes like this:

“Alice, you’re a wonderful person…”

“That follows with a but..Married?”

“No”

“Engaged?”

“No”

“Girlfriend?”

“No”

“I’ve run out of things to say after the but.”

“…but I’m gay”

…and then she stares at Jeff. I probably didnt get the script word for word, but I think you get the general idea. This scene is particularly important because Alice approaches Jack’s confession with acceptance.

To watch this video, go to this site: http://www.gayagenda.com/2008/09/theres-a-new-girl-in-town-a-gay-man-too/#

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Pornography: The Opposition, the Support, and Alternative sites

Introduction

Ever since the Internet has been invented, and way before, Pornography has loomed large within the sexual mystique. Within the last few decades it has become a multi-billion dollar industry within the United States and possibly outside as well. The debate for it and against it has been yelled over by those of the Christian right, the staff of Planned Parenthood, Porn Stars, mothers, fathers, feminists, professors, young couples, the queer community, and many more. The most unexpected people will debate for the topic or against it, and there is always the expected identity, for example, a pastor, to identify against porn (what I would guess would be argued as “tempting”).

As an introduction to this topic, for those of you who have never heard of Avenue Q (The Musical), there is a song that is fabulously called: The Internet is For Porn. The Musical is sort of like a parody of Sesame Street where the actors use puppets to act out the scenes. Here is a youtube video of the original: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-TA57L0kuc.

In addition, I provide the viewpoint of feminists. The view point of feminists was always an amorphous being because not all women are the same.

In conclusion, this post is going to be about debates that have been filmed, debates among the educated, debates among feminists, and any debates I can possibly find online. This is just an outline of the opinions as I am sure they differ in minute details and in specific situations. This is just the beginning.

Disclaimer

I am, by no means, supporting rape, harmful fetishes, or non-consensual touch of animals for sexual purposes by promoting educating others about both sides of pornography debate. I do not approve of human trafficking, kiddie porn, or sex slaves. Though I acknowledge people do engage in these acts, I do not promote them, but I also do not judge it either. I am in no place to judge the people who freely (or not) choose their behavior. What I aim to provide with this information is a resource and hopeful some eye-opening. I hope this post will do that and will help others to further investigate their own opinions.

Also, I do not attempt and will not attempt, to cover every perspective there is on porn. I have found some on the internet and these might be some of the more prevalent, obvious ones, or the ones that are more extreme than middle ground. The media likes extreme and that is probably more of what is out there. I could write a book on this topic so I do not expect to cover every little niche and cranny about the topic. This is just an overview, though it may be quite long.

To conclude, Sex will never be rational, controllable, or politically correct. Our desires are never completely politically correct.

For-Porn

The people who are thought of as for-porn, who are usually in the lime light, are people who are in the porn industry, men, and liberals (who, obviously, are for free speech). Although, many people who fall into these identities are anti-porn because of other identities they may have.

I could not find an abundance of information on this viewpoint. Do you have a pro-porn viewpoint? Do you know a site where they display an actively pro-porn perspective?

The Feminist Position

“As a “pro-sex” feminist, I contend: Pornography benefits women, both personally and politically. It provides sexual information on at least three levels:

  • It gives a panoramic view of the world’s sexual possibilities. This is true even of basic sexual information such as masturbation. It is not uncommon for women to reach adulthood without knowing how to give themselves pleasure.
  • It allows women to “safely” experience sexual alternatives and satisfy a healthy sexual curiosity. The world is a dangerous place. By contrast, pornography can be a source of solitary enlightenment.
  • It offers the emotional information that comes only from experiencing something either directly or vicariously. It provides us with a sense how it would “feel” to do something.

Pornography allows women to enjoy scenes and situations that would be anathema to them in real life. Take, for example, one of the most common fantasies reported by women – the fantasy of “being taken.” The first thing to understand is that a rape fantasy does not represent a desire for the real thing. Why would a healthy woman daydream about being raped? Perhaps by losing control, she also sheds all sense of responsibility for and guilt over sex. Perhaps it is the exact opposite of the polite, gentle sex she has now. Perhaps it is flattering to imagine a particular man being so overwhelmed by her that he must have her. Perhaps she is curious. Perhaps she has some masochistic feelings that are vented through the fantasy. Is it better to bottle them up?

Pornography breaks cultural and political stereotypes, so that each woman can interpret sex for herself. Anti-feminists tell women to be ashamed of their appetites and urges. Pornography tells them to accept and enjoy them. Pornography can be good therapy. Pornography provides a sexual outlet for those who – for whatever reason – have no sexual partner. Perhaps they are away from home, recently widowed, isolated because of infirmity. Perhaps they simply choose to be alone. Couples also use pornography to enhance their relationship. Sometimes they do so on their own, watching videos and exploring their reactions together. Sometimes, the couples go to a sex therapist who advises them to use pornography as a way of opening up communication on sex. By sharing pornography, the couples are able to experience variety in their sex lives without having to commit adultery.

Pornography benefits women politically in many ways. Historically, pornography and feminism have been fellow travelers and natural allies. Although it is not possible to draw a cause-and-effect relationship between the rise of pornography and that of feminism, they both demand the same social conditions – namely, sexual freedom.

Pornography is free speech applied to the sexual realm. Freedom of speech is the ally of those who seek change: it is the enemy of those who seek to maintain control. Pornography, along with all other forms of sexual heresy, such as homosexuality, should have the same legal protection as political heresy. This protection is especially important to women, whose sexuality has been controlled by censorship through the centuries.

Viewing pornography may well have a cathartic effect on men who have violent urges toward women. If this is true, restricting pornography removes a protective barrier between women and abuse.

Legitimizing pornography would protect female sex-workers, who are stigmatized by our society. Anti-pornography feminists are actually undermining the safety of sex workers when they treat them as “indoctrinated women.” Dr. Leonore Tiefer, a professor of psychology, observed in her essay “On Censorship and Women”: “These women have appealed to feminists for support, not rejection. … Sex industry workers, like all women, are striving for economic survival and a decent life, and if feminism means anything it means sisterhood and solidarity with these women.” (http://www.secularhumanism.org/library/fi/mcelroy_17_4.html)

Articles/Blogs

This blog, called Feministe, includes Feminist Porn sites and is an extensive explanation of this woman’s view on being pro-sex and pro-sex workers, or rather, she is an activist for these things: http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2008/07/23/feminist-porn-sex-consent-and-getting-off/

This site is by a woman, who wrote XXX: A Woman’s Right to Pornography after interviewing hundreds of sex workers. It also includes a letter that was wrote by a man about empathizing with the women against porn and an article about Feminism and Porn:

http://www.secularhumanism.org/library/fi/mcelroy_17_4.html

This is an article which supposedly “uncovers the fallacies of anti-pornography feminism”. See for yourself: http://fty.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/6/1/45

Anti-Porn

Many of the people who are seen or thought of as being anti-porn are women (but are mostly men) or are religious in some manner, but there are probably many people who are for-porn who are religious, women, and religious and women.

This is a really informative site (as Wikipedia always is) about the Anti-Porn position (it includes the law surrounding it, the medical position, etc): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-pornography#Feminist_criticism_of_the_anti-pornography_position

Medical Research Objections

“Dolf Zillmann asserts that extensive viewing of pornographic material produces many sociological effects which he characterizes as unfavorable, including a decreased respect for long-term, monogamous relationships, and an attenuated desire for procreation.[1] He describes the theoretical basis of these experimental findings:

The values expressed in pornography clash so obviously with the family concept, and they potentially undermine the traditional values that favor marriage, family, and children… Pornographic scripts dwell on sexual engagements of parties who have just met, who are in no way attached or committed to each other, and who will part shortly, never to meet again… Sexual gratification in pornography is not a function of emotional attachment, of kindness, of caring, and especially not of continuance of the relationship, as such continuance would translate into responsibilities, curtailments, and costs…[2]

Additionally, some researchers claim that pornography causes unequivocal harm to society by increasing rates of sexual assault[3][4], a line of research which has been critiqued in “The effects of Pornography: An International Perspective” on external validity grounds[5], while others claim there is a correlation between pornography and a decrease of sex crimes[6][7][8], an issue discussed further in public health effects of pornography.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-pornography#Medical_research_objections)

Religious Objection

“Some religious conservatives, such as Jerry Falwell, criticize pornography on religious-moral grounds. They say sex is reserved for heterosexual married couples, to be used only in accordance with God‘s will, and assert that use of pornography involves indulgence in lust (which in Christianity is a sin) and leads to an overall increase in sexually immoral behavior.[citation needed]

Gordon B. Hinckley, former president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was well known within the faith for expounding the church’s sentiments against pornography. Of pornography, he said, “It is like a raging storm, destroying individuals and families, utterly ruining what was once wholesome and beautiful…suffice it to say that all who are involved become victims. Children are exploited, and their lives are severely damaged. The minds of youth become warped with false concepts. Continued exposure leads to addiction that is almost impossible to break. Men, so very many, find they cannot leave it alone. Their energies and their interests are consumed in their dead-end pursuit of this raw and sleazy fare.” [9]

Many are opposed to pornography because of religious convictions and morals, as exemplified by the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which states:

“Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties. It offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other. It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. It immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world. It is a grave offense. Civil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials.” Section 2354[6]” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-pornography#Religious_objections)

The Feminist Position

“Feminist positions on pornography are diverse. Some feminists, such as Diana Russell, Andrea Dworkin, Catharine MacKinnon, Susan Brownmiller, Dorchen Leidholdt, Ariel Levy, and Robin Morgan, argue that pornography is degrading to women, and complicit in violence against women both in its production (where, they charge, abuse and exploitation of women performing in pornography is rampant) and in its consumption (where, they charge, pornography eroticizes the domination, humiliation, and coercion of women, and reinforces sexual and cultural attitudes that are complicit in rape and sexual harassment). Many feminists differentiate between different sorts of porn.

Beginning in the late 1970s, anti-pornography radical feminists formed organizations such as Women Against Pornography that provided educational events, including slide-shows, speeches, and guided tours of the sex industry in Times Square, in order to raise awareness of the content of pornography and the sexual subculture in pornography shops and live sex shows.

The feminist anti-pornography movement was galvanized by the publication of Ordeal, in which Linda Boreman (who under the name of “Linda Lovelace” had starred in Deep Throat) stated that she had been beaten, raped, and pimped by her husband Chuck Traynor, and that Traynor had forced her at gunpoint to make scenes in Deep Throat, as well as forcing her, by use of both physical violence against Boreman as well as emotional abuse and outright threats of violence, to make other pornographic films. However, in the documentary Inside Deep Throat, directors Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato interviewed several people connected with the filming of Deep Throat, including director Gerard Damiano and co-star Harry Reems; all stated that Lovelace was not forced in any way to participate in the film, and specifically that they never saw a gun on the set. Dworkin, MacKinnon, and Women Against Pornography issued public statements of support for Boreman, and worked with her in public appearances and speeches. Boreman’s criticism focused feminist attention not only on the effects of the consumption of pornography (which had dominated feminist discussions of pornography in the 1970s), but also the effects of the production of pornography, which they claim is rife with abuse, harassment, economic exploitation, and physical and sexual violence. They point to the testimony of other well known participants in pornography such as Traci Lords, and expressed in recent feminist works such as Susan Cole‘s Power Surge: Sex, Violence and Pornography. MacKinnon applies the critical test to determine whether the production of pornography is exploitative: would women choose to work in the pornography industry if it were not for the money? Critics note that this test fails to distinguish pornography from any other industry.

Some anti-pornography feminists — Dworkin and MacKinnon in particular — advocated laws which would allow women who were sexually abused and otherwise hurt by pornography to sue pornographers in civil court. The Antipornography Civil Rights Ordinance that they drafted was passed twice by the Minneapolis city council in 1983, but vetoed by Mayor Donald Fraser, on the grounds that the city could not afford the litigation over the law’s constitutionality. The ordinance was successfully passed in 1984 by the Indianapolis city council and signed by Mayor William Hudnut, and passed by a voter initiative in Bellingham, Washington in 1988, but struck down both times as unconstitutional by the state and federal courts. In 1986, the Supreme Court affirmed the lower courts’ rulings in the Indianapolis case without comment.

Many anti-pornography feminists supported the legislative efforts, but others — including Susan Brownmiller, Janet Gornick, and Wendy Kaminer — objected that legislative campaigns would be rendered ineffectual by the courts, would violate principles of free speech, or would harm the anti-pornography movement by taking organizing energy away from education and direct action and entangling it in political squabbles (Brownmiller 318-321)

Many anti-pornography feminists describing themselves as “sex-radical” such as Ann Simonton and Nikki Craft and other members of Media Watch have advocated working against pornography and been arrested for public nudity and apply civil disobedience against corporations by ripping up single copies of magazines that contained violent pornography that they insist glorify rape as sexual entertainment. They advocate rejecting the representations of sexuality as exemplified in publications like Hustler and Penthouse.

The Supreme Court of Canada‘s 1992 ruling in R. v. Butler (the “Butler decision”) fueled further controversy, when the court decided to incorporate some elements of Dworkin and MacKinnon’s legal work on pornography into the existing Canadian obscenity law. In Butler the Court held that Canadian obscenity law violated Canadian citizens’ rights to free speech under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms if enforced on grounds of morality or community standards of decency; but that obscenity law could be enforced constitutionally against some pornography on the basis of the Charter’s guarantees of sex equality. The Court’s decision cited extensively from briefs prepared by the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), with MacKinnon’s support and participation. Dworkin opposed LEAF’s position, arguing that feminists should not support or attempt to reform criminal obscenity law.

Controversy between anti-pornography feminists and their critics grew when the Canadian government raided and prosecuted Glad Day Bookshop, a gay bookstore in Ontario, in its first obscenity prosecution under the Butler criteria. The bookstore was prosecuted for selling copies of the lesbian sado-masochist magazine Bad Attitude. In 1993, copies of Dworkin’s book Pornography: Men Possessing Women were held for inspection by Canadian customs agents[10], fostering an urban legend that Dworkin’s own books had also been banned from Canada under a law that she herself had promoted. However, the Butler decision did not adopt the whole of Dworkin and MacKinnon’s ordinance; Dworkin did not support the decision; and the impoundment of her books (which were released shortly after they were inspected) was a standard procedural measure, unrelated to the Butler decision.

In Britain in the late 1970s, there was a wave of radical feminism. Groups such as Women Against Violence Against Women and Angry Women protested against the use of sexual imagery in advertising and in cinema. Some members committed arson against sex shops. However, this movement was short-lived. Its demise was prompted by counter-demonstrations by black and disabled women, who dismissed pornography as a minor issue that had been prioritised by white middle-class women above the discrimination that black and/or disabled women were facing.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-pornography#Feminist_objections)

Criticism of the Anti-Porn Position

“Other feminists support unregulated access to pornography; some describe themselves as sex-positive feminists and criticize anti-pornography activism. They take a wide range of views towards existing pornography: some view the growth of pornography as a crucial part of the sexual revolution and they say has contributed to women’s liberation; others view the existing pornography industry as misogynist and rife with exploitation, but hold that pornography could be and sometimes is feminist, and propose to reform or radically alter the pornography industry rather than opposing it wholesale. They typically oppose the theory of anti-pornography feminism — which they accuse of selective handling of evidence, and sometimes of being prudish or as intolerant of sexual difference — and also the political practice of anti-pornography feminism — which is characterized as censorship and accuse of complicity with conservative defenses of the sexual status quo.

Additionally, many point to the hypocrisy of advocating a ban on some forms of communication which may often be sexist (namely sexually arousing/explicit ones) while not advocating a ban of other, equally or more sexist communications (albeit not sexually arousing/explicit) “It’s a far different criticism to note that porn is sexist. So are all commercial media. That’s like tasting several glasses of salt water and insisting only one of them is salty. The [only] difference with porn is that it is people making love, and we live in a world that cannot tolerate that image..” notes Susie Bright in her book Sexwise. Notable advocates of these and similar positions include sociologist Laura Kipnis, columnist and editor Susie Bright, essayist and therapist Patrick Califia and porn actress and writer Nina Hartley.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-pornography#Feminist_criticism_of_the_anti-pornography_position)

Articles/Blogs

This article was not what I expected. From what I read it targets the liberal minded and asks them to question their views based on what pornography promotes: racial oppression, women’s oppression, and fetishization of sex. By making pornography an act of freedom of speech, this article asks: what are we supporting by supporting porn’s right to free speech?

http://www.alternet.org/story/21095/

This site includes many arguments against porn and also includes blogs, porn myths, rape scenes, “Why I am an Anti-Porn star”, and many other interesting things. I cannot possibly include all of the information on her website, so, check it out for yourself:

http://www.oneangrygirl.net/antiporn.html

The XXX Porn Debate

When searching and wondering about opinions on porn, I came across this article titled: “Porn Star and Pastor go head-to-head” and I was immediately intrigued because two thoughts popped in to my head. Either the people are having a debate or they were caught having sex in a scandalous sex tape. Unfortunately, it was not the latter. These two witty men, Ron Jeremy, who has been in over 1,800 porn videos, and Craig Gross, who is “a pastor and founder of xxxchurch.com – a Web site promoting a religious view on pornography” (http://media.www.redandblack.com/media/storage/paper871

/news/2007/08/29/News/Porn-Star.And.Pastor.Go.HeadToHead-2941052.shtml) go around and dish it out in front of large audiences of college students around the United States.

You can find the article about them, featured by Georgia University, at the URL above. The two men also have a site called The XXX Porn Debate, where you can watch a video of them throwing points at each other and learn more about how to recruit them to speak at your college about a hotly debated issue. The two men have also debated at Yale and the event is featured in the ABC News (http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=4245514&page=1).

The XXX Porn Debate: http://www.porndebate.com/

On this website, you can download bios, media articles, myspace banners, and a poster for the debate.

Feminist Porn

This is just a start to the collection of sites that I will introduce. I plan on posting again on this topic, so I will only post a few of these sites here, but the main theme to Feminist porn are female directors, women obtaining as much of the lime light as men, having as much pleasure (orgasming), and having more control over the situation in the porn. These are some of the examples of the sites out there:

“Heather Corrina
The goddess herself. Also check out her sex-positive webzine and teen sexual health site.

Erotic Red
Feminist menstruation porn by women of all shapes and sizes who are, naturally and authentically, on their period. As the woman who runs the site writes, “In an industry where photos of women being throat-fucked and pissed on are commonplace portrayals of human sexuality, women enjoying themselves on their periods are viewed by most pornographers as horrifyingly obscene.” Erotic Red is out to change that.

VegPorn
One of my fav’s with models of all shapes and sizes. This site features only vegetarian and vegan models and is very inclusive of gender and sexual diversity including queer and trans models. It’s also woman-owned. I’ve thought of applying to model here, but am somewhat afraid of losing my job or causing a local scandal…which is usually a sign that you should not do something!

No Fauxxx
“Porn that doesn’t fake it!” A great site with self-proclaimed “radical porn” that is inclusive of all natural body types and embraces queer and transfolk. Porn with a political edge.

Good Dyke Porn
A brilliant new site based out of Vancouver with all lesbian, bisexual, queer women and transfolk artists. I especially love this site because they go out of their way to eroticize safer sex. You’ll see lots of gloves, dental dams, condoms, lube, and consensual kink on this site.

Furry Girl
The official site of Furry Girl, who also owns and runs Erotic Red and VegPorn and a vegan sexual aid shop. Furry Girl is an all-natural, hairy, self-proclaimed feminist that really gets the difference between the mainstream sex industry and pro-sex feminist pornography.

Nerd PrOn
This is not just some schoolgirl fantasy bullshit. Yes, this woman is putting herself through college with her porn site, but she is super brainy and proud of it. And yes, she writes the code for her site herself.

Berg’s Queer Foot Porn
Berg is a close friend of mine. Her site may or may not actually be porn…it’s up for debate, but this website is brilliant. It is a feminist deconstruction of women’s pleasure and a manifesta against violence against women. Coming from an anti-rape perspective, Berg’s critique of society and sexuality is truly poignant. I encourage you to check it out.” (http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2008/07/23/feminist-porn-sex-consent-and-getting-off/)

Conclusion

Porn has many faces. It has been viewed as destructive, helpful, oppressive, and economical. Porn has also been incredibly fantastical and demonized. The thing about porn that many do not realize is that it is not real (though many people may be pushed into the occupation, or be pushed by their director). The people, though they may be feeling pleasure, and not all do take this perspective, is in the end, a job, an act. The porn debate is much like the debate about videogames. That fetish porn creates fetishes and rape scenes in porn create more rape fetishes as akin to violence in videogames creates more violence. The attitude towards porn will create what porn is to society. If we view porn as positive, as a way for people to express themselves sexually without acting out harmfully, it will be that for people. If porn is seen as destructive, it will become that. Porn is what people see it as and right now, it is a series of mixed attitudes and may always be.

Feedback

What do you think? What opinion do you align yourself with? What needs to be done next? Is making porn really freedom of speech, expression? Is porn cheating?

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Pornography: Alternative

Introduction

A few months ago I was talking to my friend near a lake and we came upon the topic of porn. She told me of a site where it it only featured people from the neck up and was all about the noise. To me, the news of this site was miraculous. For me, and perhaps other people, noises during sex is extremely arousing. When I talked to her I did not get the site, but now I have it. Unfortunately, it requires a fee (but it would be so be worth it), but they have a few samples. This article is about that site: beautifulagony.

About BeautifulAgony (“The Agony Principle”)



“Beautiful Agony is dedicated to the beauty of human orgasm. This may be the most erotic thing you have ever seen, yet the only nudity it contains is from the neck up. That’s where people are truly naked.

The videos were made in private by the contributor (and sometimes their partner). We don’t know what they’re doing, or how they are doing it, we just know it’s real and it’s sexy as hell. Make your ears blush by putting on your headphones and turning the sound to eleven.

Yes, there are free samples. Look for the ones with the red borders and the text underneath that says ‘free sample’.

New agony comes five times per week (at least).

They all have sound.

Overkill is our magazine section where we post interesting snippets, interviews and outtakes. If you find any orgasm-related stuff on the web which might be of interest to our readers please email us.

Some Agonees have told us their dirty secrets, and we will let you watch, so long as you promise not to tell. Look for the word ‘confessions’.” (http://beautifulagony.com/public/main.php?page=about)

Overkill

This is the site for Overkill, BeautifulAgony’s magazine, which is not what I expected. They seem like a series of what seem to be like podcasts that are formatted like a forum, a discussion, divided into sections sort of like a magazine.

View Overkill: http://beautifulagony.com/public/overkill/index.php

Forum

This forum is divided into two sections: BeautifulAgony and General. The BeautifulAgony section is a discussion about the videos and what each viewer thinks of them. The General section discusses sex, orgasm, why the site does not film below the neck, and has topics on billing for the site. To view the forum, go here: http://beautifulagony.com/forum/index.php

Confessions

This page is about people making confessions. Dirty, clean, something they have kept secret for a long time. Since I have not watched them, I assume that they are mostly about sex, but there may be a few surprises in there about opinion, life in general, are kept in emotions.

If you want to view the confessions click here: http://beautifulagony.com/public/main.php?page=view&mode=confessions

Store

When I viewed this part of it, I was expecting sex toys. There were a few, but there were also t-shirts. Imagine wearing a porn site t-shirt. I’m not sure I would be that brave, but if you are, go for it. Check out the store, they have limited sex toy options, but they may be of high quality because they are priced so high.

http://beautifulagony.com/public/main.php?page=shop_step1

Subscribe

If you wish to subscribe to the website, click here: http://www.beautifulagony.com/feck_subaff/redirect.php?id=d703f783

Conclusion

This site may be what people call “feminist” porn, though in some ways I refuse to think so. I think it glorifies the orgasm for both genders, created some sort of equality, mutuality, and maybe that is a feminist ideal, but it seems more like something Americans would say like “liberty for all” but instead of liberty, orgasm.

I think this new mantra is something we all need to practice because for a long period of time, and still, the man’s orgasm is the most important during sex or men measure their potency (I know my boyfriend did) by giving their partner about orgasm.

This site is important because it promotes equality, pleasure (orgasm!), and something arousing other than genitalia. Maybe its a fetish, maybe its a normality, but who knows what is normal anymore. This site may be a step towards progression.

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Pride Parades

Introduction

Pride is something difficult to attend, but fun even for the whole family. Many cities have held it as a tourist attraction, but it is mostly seen as something where you can present sexuality, be proud of it, so there are a lot of people who dress up in leather, are nearly naked, and are drag queens. There are also the fully clothed, the activists, the floats, and the queer community allies.Pride is magnificent, though not when you are uncomfortable with your sexuality, the protesters, or trying to avoid an ex.

Below is a short brief on Pride, mostly taken from wikipedia.

What is Pride?

Pride parades for the LGBT community (also known as gay pride parades, pride events and pride festivals) are events celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) culture. The events also at times serve as demonstrations for legal rights such as same-sex marriage. Most pride events occur annually and many take place around June to commemorate the Stonewall riots, a pivotal moment in the modern LGBT rights movement.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gay_pride_parade)

History of Pride

“On 28 June 1970, the one-year anniversary of the riots, the Gay Liberation Front organized a march, coordinated by Connor Weir, from Greenwich Village to Central Park in New York City in commemoration of the Stonewall riots.[2][3](Archival footage of March) On the same weekend gay activist groups on the West Coast of the United States held a march in Los Angeles and a march and ‘Gay-in’ in San Francisco.[4]

The first marches were both serious and fun, and served to inspire the widening activist movement; they were repeated in the following years, and more and more annual marches started up in other cities throughout the world. In New York and Atlanta the marches were called Gay Liberation Marches, and the day of celebration was called “Gay Liberation Day”; in San Francisco and Los Angeles they became known as ‘Gay Freedom Marches’ and the day was called “Gay Freedom Day”. As more towns and cities began holding their own celebrations, these names spread.

In the 1980s there was a cultural shift in the gay movement. Activists of a less radical nature began taking over the march committees in different cities, and they dropped “Gay Liberation” and “Gay Freedom” from the names, replacing them with “Gay Pride“.

Many parades still have at least some of the original political or activist character, especially in less accepting settings. However, in more accepting cities, the parades take on a festive or even Mardi Gras-like character. Large parades often involve floats, dancers, drag queens, and amplified music; but even such celebratory parades usually include political and educational contingents, such as local politicians and marching groups from LGBT institutions of various kinds. Other typical parade participants include local LGBT-friendly churches such as Metropolitan Community Churches and Unitarian Universalist Churches, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), and LGBT employee associations from large businesses.

Even the most festive parades usually offer some aspect dedicated to remembering victims of AIDS and anti-LGBT violence. Some particularly important pride parades are funded by governments and corporate sponsors, and promoted as major tourist attractions for the cities that host them. In some countries, some pride parades are now also called Pride Festivals. Some of these festivals provide a carnival-like atmosphere in a nearby park or city-provided closed-off street, with information booths, music concerts, barbecues, beer stands, contests, sports, and games.

Though the reality was that the Stonewall riots themselves, as well as the immediate and the ongoing political organizing that occurred following them, were events fully participated in by lesbian women, bisexual people and transgender people as well as by gay men of all races and backgrounds, historically these events were first named Gay, the word at that time being used in a more generic sense to cover the entire spectrum of what is now variously called the ‘queer’ or LGBT community.[5][6][7]

By the late 1970s and early 1980s, as many of the actual participants had grown older, moved on to other issues or died, this led to misunderstandings as to who had actually participated in the Stonewall riots, who had actually organized the subsequent demonstrations, marches and memorials, and who had been members of early activist organizations such as Gay Liberation Front and Gay Activists Alliance. The language has become more accurate and inclusive, though these changes met with initial resistance from some in their own communities who were unaware of the historical events.[8] Changing first to Lesbian and Gay, today most are called Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) or simply “Pride”.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gay_pride_parade)

Where is Pride?

Belgrade

On 30 June 2001 several LGBTQ groups from Serbia attempted to march through Belgrade‘s streets and peacefully demand their rights and an end to oppression. The event was registered with the local police for safety reasons and according to the law, however, when the people started to gather in one of the city’s principal squares, a huge crowd of soccer fans, clerics leading ultra nationalist youth, and skinheads stormed the event, attacked and seriously injured several participants and stopped the manifestation from taking place. The event was extremely tense as the police were not equipped to suppress riots or protect the Pride marchers. The conflict unravelled in the streets of Belgrade as the opposers of the event took to the streets triumphantly singing songs about killing gays and lesbians. Some of the victims of the attack took refuge in the building of the student cultural centre where a discussion was planned following the Pride event. The building was surrounded as well in attempt to stop the forum from happening, and it was successful. There were harder clashes between poorly equipped police and assilants in the area where several police officers were injured as well. The aftermath was characterized by sharp criticism of the assailants and government and security officials from the NGO‘s and a number of public personalities. Government officials did not particularly comment on the event nor were there any consequences for some 30 young men arrested in the riots. Serbia remains a hostile environment for the LGBTQ population and all attempts to organize subsequent Pride marches failed. This was the first Pride march organized in this region.

First Eastern European Pride

Pride parade as part of the 2005 GayFest in Bucharest, Romania

Pride parade as part of the 2005 GayFest in Bucharest, Romania

The very first Eastern European Pride, called The Internationale Pride, was assumed to be a promotion of the human right to freedom of assembly in Croatia and other Eastern European states, where such rights of the LGBT population are not respected, and a support for organizing the very first Prides in that communities. Out of all ex-Yugoslav states, only Slovenia and Croatia have a tradition of organizing Pride events, whereas the attempt to organize such an event in Belgrade, Serbia in 2001, ended in a bloody showdown between the police and the counter-protesters, with the participants heavily beaten up. This manifestation was held in Zagreb, Croatia from 22-25 June 2006 and brought together representatives of those Eastern European and Southeastern European countries where the sociopolitical climate is not ripe for the organization of Prides, or where such a manifestation is expressly forbidden by the authorities. From 13 countries that participated, only Poland, Slovenia, Croatia, Romania and Latvia have been organizing Prides, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania, Slovakia and Lithuania have never had Prides before. There were also representatives from Kosovo, that participated apart from Serbia. It was the very first Pride organized jointly with other states and nations, which only ten years ago have been at war with each other. Weak cultural, political and social cooperation exists among these states, with an obvious lack of public encouragement for solidarity, which organizers hoped to initiate through that regional Pride event.

Jerusalem

On 30 June 2005, Israel‘s fourth annual parade took place in Jerusalem. It had originally been prohibited by a municipal ban which was cancelled by the court. Many of the religious leaders of Jerusalem’s Muslim, Jewish, and Christian communities had arrived to a rare consensus asking the municipal government to cancel the permit of the paraders. During the parade, a young Haredi Jewish man attacked three people with a kitchen knife.

Another parade, this time billed as an international event (see WorldPride), was scheduled to take place in the summer of 2005, but was postponed to 2006 due to the stress on police forces during in the summer of Israel’s unilateral disengagement plan. In 2006, it was again postponed due to the Israel-Hezbollah war. It was scheduled to take place in Jerusalem on 10 November 2006, and caused a wave of protests by Haredi Jews around central Israel.[9] The Israel National Police had filed a petition to cancel the parade due to foreseen strong opposition. Later, an agreement was reached to convert the parade into an assembly inside the Hebrew University stadium in Jerusalem. 21 June 2007, the Jerusalem Open House organization succeeded in staging a parade in central Jerusalem after police allocated thousands of personnel to secure the general area. The rally planned afterwards was cancelled due to an unrelated national fire department strike which prevented proper permits from being issued.

Latvia

Main article: Riga Pride and Friendship Days

On 22 July 2005, the first Latvian gay pride march took place in Riga, surrounded by protesters. It had previously been banned by the city council, and the Prime Minister of Latvia, Aigars Kalvītis, opposed the event, stating Riga should “not promote things like that”, however a court decision allowed the march to go ahead.[10]

In 2006, LGBT in Latvija attempted a Parade but were assaulted by “No Pride” protesters, an incident sparking a storm of international media pressure and protests from the European Parliament at the failure of the Latvijan authorities to adequately protect the Parade so that it could proceed.

In 2007, following the international pressure, a Pride Parade was held once again in Riga with 4-500 people parading around Vermanes Park, protected physically from “No Pride” protesters by 1500 Latvijan police, ringing the inside and the outside of the iron railings of the park. Two fire crackers were exploded with one bing thrown from outside at the end of the Festival as participants were moving off to the buses. This caused some alarm but no injury but participants did have to run the gauntlet of “No Pride” abuse as they ran to the buses. They were driven to a railway station on the outskirts of Riga, from where they went to a post Pride “relax” at the seaside resort of Jurmala. Participants included MEPs, Amnesty International observers and random individuals who traveled from abroad to support LGBT Latvijans and their friends and families.

In 2008, Riga Pride was held in the historically potent 11 November Krestmalu (Square) beneath the Presidential castle. The participants heard speeches from MEPs and a message of support from the Latvijan President. The square was not open and was isolated from the public with some participants having trouble getting past police cordons. About 300 No Pride protesters gathered on the bridges behind barricades erected by the police who kept Pride participants and the “No Pride” protesters separated. Participants were once more “bussed” out but this time a 5 min journey to central Riga.

Taipei

Workers of Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association participating in Taiwan Pride in Taipei in 2005.

Workers of Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association participating in Taiwan Pride in Taipei in 2005.

Main article: Taiwan Pride

On 1 November 2003 the first LGBT pride parade in Taiwan, Taiwan Pride, was held in Taipei with over 1,000 people attending [7], and the mayor of Taipei, later president, Ma Ying-jeou, attended the event. Homosexuality remains a taboo in Taiwan, and many participants wore masks to hide their identities.

Poland

In 2005, a gay pride in Warsaw was forbidden by local authorities (including then-Mayor of Warsaw Lech Kaczyński) but transpired nevertheless. The ban was later declared a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights (Bączkowski and Others v. Poland).

India

On June 29, 2008, four Indian cities (Delhi, Bangalore, Pondicherry, and Kolkata) saw coordinated pride events. About 2000 people turned up overall. These were also the first pride events of all these cities except Kolkata, which had seen its first such event in 1999. India’s gay pride events are ironic, given that the act of “unnatural sex” is still criminalized (under an archaic British law presently under constitutional challenge in the High Court of Delhi). The pride parades were successful, given that no right-wing group attacked or protested against the pride parade, although the conservative opposition party BJP expressed its disagreement with the concept of gay pride parade. The next day, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh appealed for greater social tolerance towards homosexuals at an AIDS event.[11]

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gay_pride_parade)

Opposition/Conflict

“There is opposition to pride events both within LGBT and mainstream populations. Critics charge the parades with an undue emphasis on sex and fetish-related interests which they see as counter-productive to LGBT interests. The argument is sometimes taken further, arguing that they expose the “gay community” to ridicule.

Those who take socially conservative political positions are sometimes opposed to such events because they view them to be indecent and contrary to public morality. This belief is partly based on certain things often found in the parades, such as public nudity, S & M paraphernalia, and other highly sexualized features.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gay_pride_parade)

Other Prides

Pictures

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Manchester Pride Parade - 007

Tel Aviv gay pride parade 2007.jpg

hillary-gay-pride-parade-new-york-2000.jpg
Photo by Getty Images

Links of Interest

Conclusion

People have pride every day, but do not have parades for it because their power is already acknowledged. Pride Parades give the queer community power. Let us keep giving each other, not just for our identity, but for our humanity, the power of our voice and our lives that we deserve.

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OneTaste

OneTaste

I discovered this site via a friend who told me I would be interested in it. On the website (http://onetaste.us/index.php), I found their vision, what they provide, a calendar, and their education services.

According to Wikipedia, this is the information provided about the organization in San Francisco:

OneTaste is a communal society that promotes individual wellbeing through “orgasmic meditation” and other activities in the neotantra tradition. The society, found by Nicole Daedone in 2001, has “urban retreat” centers in San Francisco and New York where several dozen members live full or part-time.[1] With the self-described goal of “helping individuals live full, integrated and conscious lives,” the group also offers workshops to the public in communication, relationship dynamics, and personal growth. OneTaste’s precepts state that we all want the same thing: to love and be loved, to see and be seen, to feel connected and to know one’s purpose.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OneTaste)

OneTaste’s goal can be found on the website:

OneTaste is about connection. Our people are experiential researchers who have dedicated their lives to understanding the nature of relationships, the meaning of intimacy, and the richness of connection. Our centers in San Francisco and New York are oases, urban communal retreats where we welcome you as a friend, and provide a range of services that nourish your body, your mind, and your spirit. Our signature classes in “Connected Living” will move you into deeper levels of awareness, help you see and feel the people in your lives clearly, and find you the relationships you want and so richly deserve. Our growing online community connects you to others seeking the richness of a connected life, whether they live across town or on the other side of the globe. Founded in 2004, OneTaste is a unique experience, an experiential research laboratory open to the public, an open experiment in connectedness, and a welcome forum for anyone seeking meaning in friendship, love or intimacy. Come experience OneTaste for yourself”

Location(s)

OneTaste San Francisco
1074 Folsom Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
415 503-1100

OneTaste New York
196 Grand Street
New York, NY 10013
212 343-4208

What they offer

Education: (http://onetaste.us/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=28&Itemid=325)

Chat rooms and connection : (http://onetaste.us/index.php?option=com_comprofiler&Itemid=76)

Y. Now:

“…is the beginning of a global cultural shift in the Y-generation. We demonstrate and teach a new paradigm of conscious and playful connection as a way of being in relationship. Our goal is to be present in our bodies, conscious in our intentions and honest in all our interactions.

Connection as a practice is the primary goal of all our events, workshops and online social networking. “ (http://onetaste.us/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=43&Itemid=367)

Y. Now, as seen when you go to the link, has such events as cuddle parties, automated lectures, in-groups, naked yoga, and a “play” course (not sure what that is…)

Calendar

Calendar of events: (http://onetaste.us/index.php?option=com_jcalpro&Itemid=78)

Reviews

From reviews I have found on a review site, yelp.com they claim that OneTaste ranges from being a cult, orgy, a spa, telemarketing about whether you are achieving spiritual orgasms with your partner, and to having amazing naked yoga. Apparently, OneTaste is way more than it appears to be from its website which is a cheerful “fostering of connective relationships”.

Most of the reviews are biased, reflect that they do not like the place, just go for the yoga, or have had positive interactions with community building.

All of the reviews that I checked out were from (http://www.yelp.com/biz/onetaste-urban-retreat-center-san-francisco).

These two are the one that I thought reflected it the most, though I haven’t been there.

The first one is from Dan C. of San Francisco California and the second one from Doc D. of San Francisco California.

“I went here to see a presentation by a former prostitute and porn star. I thought it would be interesting to hear the story of someone in that line of work. She didn’t really talk about her career. Instead she talked about orgasms. She really stretched the definition of the word. It seemed like you could call anything an orgasm if you wanted to. Then she led an exercise where you lie on your back and move your hands around while breathing heavily. This was supposed to produce an orgasm but since there would be no um, output, I guess this was another special use of the word.

I studied mechanical engineering in college. I wrote software as a living. I only make decisions when I have concrete justifications backed up with data. If I have a headache, I take a pharmaceutical that affects the chemical reactions in my head and the headache goes away. I believe what I can see or what other people can see with their expensive microscopes.

So, I desperately want to be able to see things the way the One Taste sort of people see things because they seem pretty happy. I even went to burning man last year in hopes of ‘getting it’. But I don’t get it. All the talk about “energy” moving around in your body just doesn’t get through to me. One of the people running the presentation even remarked how scientists were identifying hormone secretion centers in the parts of the body purported as “energy chakras”, but this didn’t seem to change her belief in these non-physiological constructs.

I envy you, One Taste people. You seem very happy in your woo woo world, and your women are beautiful, horny, and not ashamed of it or frigid. It is always good to see revolutionary ideas in action and, judging by the testimonials, the women who go here seem to be much happier. It seems like One Taste activities elevate the status of women in relationships at the expense of the status of men in relationships. I hope that I’m wrong about that. It would be nice if neither role had to be second class, but perhaps that’s impossible.”

“Little more than a cult that uses sex as a lure. They charge $2,000 A WEEK to be resident there…oh, unless you’re a girl who can provide other ‘services’. Having spoken in depth about their business plan with their CEO (which gives me an insight few others have), I can tell you for certain the aim is to encourage lonely horny men to part with considerable sums of money, whilst cloaking it all in a New Age aura of raising self-awareness through intimate (read: sexual) contact. A phrase that stuck in my mind was “It’d be nice to be the Starbucks of the world of sensuality (i.e. a branch of OneTaste on every corner) but we’ll settle for being the Peets Coffee”. Last time I checked they had some 60 folks resident there, and were opening a branch in New York. If only half the residents pay full price…well, you do the math. Add to that the charges for massage, orgasmic healing, etc and you can see what a nice little earner the owners of the holding company are onto. Don’t be fooled by the “non-profit” – all that means is that a business cannot have residual money at the end of the tax year…so if you have $100K left in the bank, you have to spend it somehow or reinvest in the business. Non-profits DO pay their staff, and can give bonuses, and do all kinds of things that can make the people that run them very comfortable in their lives.

As for being a cult…I’d certainly say so, in regard to how they go about recruiting new blood, and how they discourage them from leaving, not to mention they prey on folks who could use some genuine psychotherapy. None of the leaders of OneTaste have any kind of psychotheraputic training as far as I can tell, yet they make broad claims as to how they can turn around the lives of people through sex, some of whom are obviously in a vulnerable place psychologically.

Its a shame, because they do have speakers there who are independent of the place who DO offer valuable insights and training in many areas of human sexuality. To me, it is like a worthy venture that has been perverted by the pursuit of money.”

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