Sex-Positivity, Setting Boundaries, Hearing Boundaries

One of the biggest sticking points in sex-positive communities is that there’s a pattern of not don’t openly acknowledge the ways in which sexual intrusion, assault and trauma shape sexuality. Discussions of sex-positivity rarely include what it means to live in a world in which effectively every woman (both cis- and transgender) and many of

Boundaries vs. Ultimatums

One of my Facebook friends posted a question recently that I think has a lot to do with sex: how do you differentiate holding non-negotiable boundaries from issuing ultimatums? This is one of those tricky questions that gets to the heart of relationships, communication, and (by extension) sex. On some level, both boundaries and ultimatums

Thank Your Partner

In both my personal and professional life, I’ve noticed that a lot of people drift into treating their partners and family members with less care than they treat friends, acquaintances and strangers. The saying “familiarity breeds contempt” comes from one of Aesop’s fables, in which the Fox gradually became so used to the Lion that

What Sex-Positivity Is

One of the difficulties that I’ve faced in discussing sex-positivity with some folks is that there are two different lenses that a lot of people use when talking about these issues. Some use an entirely personal lens, as in “I like doing this thing, or I find it empowering, so that makes it OK.” And

Polyamory Isn’t An Alternative to Cheating

Every so often, I see an article or hear someone who says that polyamory is an alternative to cheating. In my opinion, that’s mixing apples and oranges. Polyamory isn’t an alternative to cheating, it’s an alternative to monogamy. So are swinging, having a triad, polyfidelity, open relationships, a single person having multiple partners, and other

The Performance of Masculinity

I’ve been teaching workshops on male gender socialization for about 15 years or so. The foundation of my presentation is the Act Like a Man Box, which I learned about from Paul Kivel’s book, Men’s Work: How to Stop the Violence That Tears Our Lives Apart. I like calling it the “Act Like a Man

If You Don’t Respect Sluts, You Don’t Respect Women

In all of the discussion and debate about women’s sexuality: if you don’t respect sluts, you don’t respect women. There have been other articles, like Yasmin Nair’s In Defense of Sluts, that touch on this. As she said, The widespread support for Fluke is built entirely on the idea that she is not a slut

On Feeling Delight

I’ve notice something. Or perhaps more accurately, I’ve given words to something I’ve been seeing for a while. There isn’t much room for delight in this world. That seems like a tragedy to me. I think that we’d all be much happier if more of us would give ourselves permission to feel it, to express

Unavailability Isn’t the Same as Rejection

There are a lot of reasons our sexual desires and interests don’t always match up with those of our partners. Changing tastes, medical or mental health challenges, busy work schedules, stress and juggling different demands, and simply having different libidos can make it hard to find a common ground. In both my personal life and

When Men Say No To Sex

I got a text from a guy I know about a challenge he’s facing: How do you deal with turning down a woman you’re not interested in sex with? At first, this might seem like the answer is obvious. Just say no, right? But there’s a lot more to it than that and it’s worth

I’m Not Easy. I’m Selectively Convenient

One of the things that often surprises people is the fact that being queer, kinky, and poly doesn’t have to mean that someone is promiscuous. “Promiscuous” is such an interesting word. My dictionary has two definitions for it: having or characterized by many transient sexual relationships demonstrating or implying an undiscriminating or unselective approach; indiscriminate

Sex & Pelvic Pain

Sex has been a challenge for my partner and me lately. Molly* has been experiencing pelvic pain, which makes sex uncomfortable at best, and really unpleasant at worst. Molly’s pain has a few different causes. She has endometriosis, which can be really excruciating. In the two decades we’ve been together, she’s had four surgeries for