Category: Sex

What women look like – dissent

Lawrence Boothby doesn’t think much of sculptor Jamie McCartney’s plaster vulvas:

Vulva inset - 250Pale, monochrome, rigid, dry, repeated – it was interesting to me how the medium of plaster, the context of the exhibit, the isolation of one part of a woman’s body from the rest of her body (and emotions), and repetition, alters a viewers’ perception. For artistic purposes, the 400 tiles could have been of almost any set of objects that were similar yet unique. Four hundred color photographs of the same size would have better captured the beauty of vulva including their hair, but he wouldn’t have been able to charge the women as much for photographing them. In watching the video interviews on his site, I was reminded of the recent dental casting of a broken tooth I just underwent.

McCartney, who has a background as a theatrical prop maker, does have a business making and selling many varieties of custom body casts. But I think Lawrence’s assertion that he charged the women who posed for this exhibit is not correct.

What women look like – feedback

An anonymous reader writes:

Marriage is the cruelest form of celibacy, so I thank you for the reminder of what women look like.

What women look like

the-great-wall-of-vagina-panel

English sculptor and prop maker Jamie McCartney arranged 400 plaster casts of vulvas into a nine-meter polyptych, to be displayed at the Brighton Festival Fringe in May. The project took five years and a quarter ton of plaster. Subjects ranged in age from 18 to 76, and included mothers, daughters, identical twins, transgendered men and women, one woman before and after giving birth, and another before and after labiaplasty (a practice McCartney hopes his exhibition will discourage).

For many women their genital appearance is a source of anxiety and I was in a unique position to do something about that. Vulvas and labia are as different as faces and many people, particularly women, don’t seem to know that.

Subjects talk about the project in this video; McCartney in this one.

Spirit Place? How about Atheist Heights instead?

My netizen pal Angela Mombourquette makes a good case for the proposed seven story housing project that has stirred opposition in the otherwise low-rise, middle-income neighborhood where church elders want to build it.

Venerable St. John’s United Church, which currently occupies the lot at Windsor and North in a residential neighborhood of Halifax’s West End, has reached its best-before date. The congregation proposes to replace it with a building, called “Spirit Place,” that will house both a place of worship and an independent living facility for old people — all wrapped into a seven-storey structure. Furthermore, St. John’s specifically promotes Spirit Place as “an affirming, welcoming space [for] seniors of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (GLBT) community.”

The hitch? The neighborhood is zoned for 2-1/2-storey, one- and two-unit dwellings not exceeding 35 feet in height. Spirit Place weighs in at 65 units and 72 feet in height. It would turn this neighborhood…

spirit-place-old

…into this:

spirit-place

I have a vested interest in the issue, because my own part-time, low-rise abode sits just four short blocks away. I could conceivably be a resident someday, if the Ross Ferry wing of  Baddeck’s Alderwood Home wont take me in! Nevertheless, and notwithstanding Ange’s endorsement, I bristle at everything about the way the church folks are promoting this project.

The effort to wrap their quest for a very substantial variance in a holier-than-thou display of welcome to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered residents smacks of a diversionary tactic. The church elders are, in effect, starting a fire at one end of Main Street, so no one will notice them robbing a bank at the other.

Every apartment building in Nova Scotia welcomes gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered residents. That’s the law, which forbids landlords and land developers to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. Is there any evidence — a study, a survey, a public opinion poll, a rumor? — that old gay folks face discrimination in housing? If so, please bring it forth for public inspection and debate. Otherwise, please remove these red herrings from the path to a zoning hearing.

My suspicion deepens in light of the haste with which proponents of this housing development have cried homophobe at anyone who objects to the massive variance they seek. If Wal-Mart planned a seven-storey superstore at the same location, but offered to host a garden for endangered wildflowers at the rear of the parking lot, would we take seriously any attempt on the company’s part to paint opponents as anti-conservationist?

Mistrust festers further in light of the proponents’ churchy, Goody Two-Shoes language. There’s the name, for starters. While objectively no worse than once fashionable tropes like “Windsor Arms” or “Willow Manor,” the proposed moniker smells of daffy New-Age spiritualism. Speaking for myself, I’d rather move into a building called “Atheist Heights” or even “Homo Haven,” and I’d be mortified to put “Spirit Place” on my personal stationery.

In the same vein, a board member speaks not of planning the development, but of being called to build it. Called by God, one presumes, or at the very least, by the Still Small Voice. Great! Now anyone opposed to doubling the height restriction is not only homophobic but anti-God and perhaps a friend of Satan.

I remain undecided about this development. I see its size and height as big drawbacks, but they may be necessary to allow affordable housing. I wonder about parking. I dislike Halifax’s habit of fearing, then thwarting, every new development, but I bristle at the promoters’ patronizing dismissal of concerns about this one as mere “resistance to change.” I personally tend to seek out social settings featuring mixed incomes, backgrounds, ages, and sexual orientations, so I wonder at the wisdom of ghettoizing the elderly. Would the neighborhood be better off with a mixed-age apartment building?

I do agree with Ange on one point:

[W]ho has the most potential to be seriously awesome neighbours? Gay seniors, of course. Imagine the incredible dinner party circuit.

If any Spirit Place-supporting gay seniors are planning such a meal, I’m open to offers.

So, ah, do you like the taste of beer?

If someone asks you that on a first date, they could be asking a proxy question.

BeerGoggles

OK Cupid, the dating site that uses its database to research the sociology of romance, has been considering the best questions to ask on a first date if your real goal is to find out something altogether different:

Among all our casual topics, whether someone likes the taste of beer is the single best predictor of if he or she has sex on the first date.

H/T: Nathan Yau

Papal homoeroticism

The Fratelli Pelligrini (that’s Pilgrim Brothers in Italian) perform at the Holy See. It’s hard to pick out the weirdest element: the boys themselves, their bare chests denuded of hair; the Pope’s rapt expression; the nuns’ ecstatic approval; or the cheesy martial music:

Sex-partner math revisited

Reader Ritchie Simpson challenges me to consult a mathematician on my assertion that “one should always be sceptical of surveys that show heterosexual men had more partners, on average, than women, since this is a mathematical impossibility.”

While I do not fundamentally disagree with your observation about “heterosexual men,” I am dubious about your math.

My go-to guy on matters arithmetic is retired Cape Breton University professor Doug Grant, now living in exile in Kitchener. His response after the jump.

Read more »

Compare and contrast: gays and straights

The dating site OK Cupid dips into its database of 3.2 million users to compare gays and straights, debunking a few myths along the way. A few highlights:

  • Gays and straights have the same number of sex partners: six, on average; the same for men, women, gays, and straights.*
  • Gays do not pursue sex with straights. (Only 0.6% of OKC’s gay male users have ever searched for straight matches; only 0.1% of its lesbians users have ever done so; only 0.13% of straight users’s profile visitors are gay.)
  • Straight people sometimes have gay sex, straight women for more so than straight men. (One in four straight female OKC’ers has had sex with a woman and enjoyed it; one quarter of those who haven’t would like to give it a try. For men, the corresponding numbers are one in 16 and one in 14.)

To underscore the last point, OKC provides this heat map of bi-curiosity by state and province. Red is more curious; blue less so. (Alas, the map omits Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and PEI, but surely we’re just as bi-curious as Albertans!)

HeatMap

In other findings, OKC’s gay male users were more ambitious, artsy, compassionate, generous, introverted, literary, political, spontaneous, and trusting. Their male straights were more adventurous, aggressive, competitive, confident, dorky, horny, into sports, kinky, optimistic, polite, romantic, religious, and violent.

* One should always be skeptical of surveys that show heterosexual men had more partners, on average, than women, since this is a mathematical impossibility.

Cleavage

The setting for this cleavage shot by New York artist Bethany Jean Fancher is a tad unusual, but something else about the photo, from a newly published book of similar images, seems slightly off. To find out why, follow this link, but be prepared to confront and perhaps reconsider your own notions of sexuality and female objectification.

cleavage

Hat tip: Daily Dish.

One good thing about SITC2- updated

No sensible person would go see Sex in the City -2 after reading (or even hearing about) the appalling reviews. But one good thing has come out of it: this delicious review, by Lindy West in Seattle alternative paper, The Stranger. The lead:
We’ve been thinking it for two long years. All of us. Gnawing our cheeks at night, clutching at sweaty sheets, our faces hollow and gray, our once-bright eyes dimmed by the pain of too many questions. Sometimes we cry out, en masse, to a faceless god and a cold, indifferent universe that holds its secrets close. What… rasps the death rattle of our collective sanity. What is the lubrication level of Samantha Jones’s 52-year-old vagina?Has the change of life dulled its sparkle? Do its aged and withered depths finally chafe from the endless pounding, pounding, pounding—cruel phallic penance demanded by the emotionally barren sexual compulsive from which it hangs? If I do not receive an update on the deep, gray caverns of Jones, I shall surely die!
Please don’t die. The answer is… fine. Samantha’s vagina is doing fine. She rubs yams on it, okay? She takes 48 vagina vitamins a day. It accepts unlimited male penises with the greatest of ease. Now let us never speak of it again.
Read on…

Samantha JonesNo sensible person would go see Sex in the City 2 after reading (or even hearing about) the appalling notices. But one good thing has come out of the sequel: this delicious review, by Lindy West in Seattle alternative arts and culture paper, The Stranger:

We’ve been thinking it for two long years. All of us. Gnawing our cheeks at night, clutching at sweaty sheets, our faces hollow and gray, our once-bright eyes dimmed by the pain of too many questions. Sometimes we cry out, en masse, to a faceless god and a cold, indifferent universe that holds its secrets close. What… rasps the death rattle of our collective sanity. What is the lubrication level of Samantha Jones’s 52-year-old vagina? Has the change of life dulled its sparkle? Do its aged and withered depths finally chafe from the endless pounding, pounding, pounding—cruel phallic penance demanded by the emotionally barren sexual compulsive from which it hangs? If I do not receive an update on the deep, gray caverns of Jones, I shall surely die!

Please don’t die. The answer is… fine. Samantha’s vagina is doing fine. She rubs yams on it, okay? She takes 48 vagina vitamins a day. It accepts unlimited male penises with the greatest of ease. Now let us never speak of it again.

Read on

[Update] OK, OK, smarter people than I point out that it’s SATC.

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