State Rape – Transvaginal Ultrasound, Three to Tango – Poly, Dr. Ruth & Jeremy Lin – Sex, Sexualizing Russian Politics – Vladmir Putin, PayPal Erotica e-books, Kick Starter for Porn – offbeatr,

Links to top sex news stories.

Meet the Governors Behind “State-Rape” Transvaginal Ultrasound Laws (It’s Not Just Virginia)

Virginia’s Bob McDonnell isn’t the only governor who’s backed terrifying new laws violating women’s rights (and bodies).
February 26, 2012 |

His name is Bob McDonnell.

We have talked so much about the proposed Virginia transvaginal probe law that I thought I should remind you the name of the governor who wants to run a state that supports legalizing rape.

So, again, his name is Bob McDonnell.

When this story broke, I had so many questions. The immediate ones seemed so basic. I wondered why Bob McDonnell is so cruel. I wondered why Bob McDonnell felt he had the legal authority to force doctors to rape their patients.

And why, why, why did Bob McDonnell, the governor of the great state of Virginia, a man on every Republican presidential hopeful’s short list for vice-president ever feel he needed to?

“But wait!” you say, “Bob McDonnell backed off his support for this bill. He clearly realized that this was one of the most profoundly invasive hideous pieces of legislation anyone could imagine.”

Yeah, not quite.

Holy Search and seizure Batman! His reason is that it may violate the fourth amendment? Ya think?


Sometimes It Takes Three to Tango

In the comments on a recent piece of mine, “If no one’s being hurt, God’s okay with your sexuality,” a woman wrote to share that she is polyamorous — specifically meaning, in her case, that she is (as I learned) living with, in love with, deeply committed to, and basically in all ways but legally married to a man and a woman. I asked our new acquittance if she would be willing to let me interview her. At first she was reticent — but, as she put it, “the opportunity to share with others a glimpse into our life is too good to pass up.”

Could you give us a quick definition of what “polyamorous” is/means?

Honestly, the term “polyamorous” wasn’t on our radar when we fell in love. It was later that we discovered there was a term for what we were. If we need a term, we consider ourselves “polyfidelitous,” which is what polys call those who love more than one person in a long-term, faithful kind of way. Some people consider themselves polyamorous because they believe they need and/or want to be in multiple relationships at any given time. This is not a good description of us. We all feel we could be satisfied with just one person. It’s just that we fell in love with two, pretty much all at the same time… and we discovered (through lots of open and honest communication!) that we were all not just OK with it, but that it was something we wanted.

Truthfully, we don’t think of ourselves as polyamorous. We just think of ourselves as us.


Dr. Ruth Westheimer: What Jeremy Lin, Basketball Teach Us About Sex

Dr. Ruth Westheimer has been tweeting all about her own case of Linsanity. But the die-hard Knicks fan sees lessons for the bedroom (or kitchen floor) in Jeremy Lin’s success.

by | February 24, 2012 4:45 AM EST

Jeremy Lin came out of nowhere to seemingly save the season for the New York Knicks. In the strike-shortened season, the Knicks, despite the recent acquisition of some superstars,  weren’t playing very well together and were losing a lot more games than they were winning. While one player had the ball, the others were standing around. There wasn’t enough flow to the way they were playing the game.

Then the Knicks lost some players to injuries and personal problems, and Jeremy Lin was called off the bench to start. Jeremy isn’t the tallest of basketball players, nor does he have the skills of a superstar, but he’s a Harvard grad—so in addition to his talents, he brings his brains to the basketball court. This allows him to dribble the ball up the court while keeping track of the other players, allowing him to distribute the ball to the players who are open so that the Knicks can score.

Now most of you don’t play basketball, so what does this have to do with you, assuming you’re not a Knicks fan enjoying your team win instead of lose? Well most of you are sexually active, and if you’re not, you probably would like to be. But if your sex life isn’t all that hot, then there is a lot to learn from the basketball court that’s applicable to your bedroom, living room, or kitchen floor!

Sex, like basketball, is a team sport. If one of you is making all the moves and the other is just lying there, you’re not going to have good sex, or even mediocre sex. You have to learn to play together and if you do, you can score repeatedly.

As you know, sports teams practice a lot before the game in order to learn how to work together. That’s something you should be doing, too. And it starts with establishing good communications. If you don’t tell each other what works and what doesn’t, your sex life will sink into last place. No man can guess what gives his partner the most pleasure. She has to tell him. It’s like the alley-oop play. If the guard throws the ball above the hoop and the center isn’t expecting the pass, it will go sailing into the stands. The players have to know each other very well, and so do the two of you.

Foreplay-shirking leads to the dissatisfaction of one partner, leading to less sex and potentially a breakup of the team.


videos regarding a Russian advertising campaign for  Putin that gives new meaning to the phrase “sexual politics”.

In this one minute video<> a Russian woman is telling a man who appears to be a sex therapist “I’m scared.  I want my choice to be based on love”.  He tells her ” I understand you, it’s always scary the first time” while pointing to a copy of Time Magazine with Putin’s picture on it and telling her “trust is love”.  The woman smiles and then happily walks into a voting station.  Then there is this short video<> produced by a Russian social networking group that encourages women to “tear their clothes off” for Putin.  The article “How The Kremlin is Using Sex to Sell Putin<>” provides a link to another Russian video<> of a group of women tearing up a teddy bear and trying to rip each others’ clothes off before Putin apparently
comes to the door.  Anybody willing to devote the time can watch a19 minute video<> in which a man touches the breasts of 1000 women and then shakes Vladamir Putin’s hand in order to transfer the accrued energy to him.  As if that wasn’t enough, this “Girls for Putin”<> video shows the singer drinking Jack Daniels in front of a photo of Putin, painting her face so that she looks like his dog, partially undressing and then smashing a pumpkin with a baseball bat.

This is all described in a Business Insider Europe article published two days ago titled “This New Russian Election Advertisement Might Be The Most Creepily Sexual Yet<>.”  Several of these videos are also referenced in a Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) article, also published this week, titled “How the Kremlin is Using Sex to Sell Putin<>.”

PayPal cracks down on erotica e-book sales

February 25, 2012 | 1:55 pm

Chris Meadows

Remember when Amazon started removing various kinds of erotica from its store? It’s happening again, this time with a number of independent e-publishing sites such as All Romance and Smashwords. Today, Nate Hoffelder called attention to an e-mail from Mark Coker of Smashwords to authors who publish through the platform.

Coker reported that PayPal had issued Smashwords an ultimatum regarding certain categories of erotica published through the site. If books in these categories were not removed, PayPal would stop doing business with the site. Because Smashwords relies so heavily on PayPal as a payment processor, the site is left without any feasible alternative:

You might wonder if Smashwords should simply switch to a different payment provider. It’s not so easy. PayPal is designed into the wiring of the Smashwords platform. They run the credit card processing for our retail store, and they’re how we pay our authors and publishers. PayPal is also an extremely popular, trusted payment option for our customers. It is not feasible for us to simply switch to another provider, should such a suitable provider even exist, especially with so few days notice.

As Hoffelder points out, the categories of erotica being removed aren’t even important in and of themselves. Some people will find them icky, but others enjoy them—and who the hell is PayPal to appoint itself the arbiter over what is and is not acceptable to publish?

It’s the monopolist in the field of online payments, that’s who. It’s been issuing this same demand to other sites, and meeting the same success everywhere. There just isn’t any good alternative to PayPal when it comes to taking and making credit card payments online.

I was going to say that this is an illustration of the danger of allowing any one company to monopolize too much of the market in its field of business. I was going to draw parallels to Amazon in that respect. But a little further research revealed that PayPal may not even be the root cause in and of itself. In a blog post looking at the matter, Selena Kitt explains that credit card companies charge higher premiums for taking payments for services where there is a high risk of chargebacks—such as erotica and porn.


And Now There’s A Kickstarter For Porn

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Well, Kickstarter, it looks like you’ve finally arrived. And I don’t just mean that you launched 27K projects, saw $99 million pledged, or attracted 30 million+ visitors last year — all of which equalled a sizable increase in activity on your compared to the year prior. No, I mean that your winning crowdfunding model has been adopted by the adult industry. Clearly. Indeed, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and Groupon certainly saw its fair share of flatterers after its launch, but it didn’t inspire a response from porn, at least not in the early days. (Though there are those that are trying.)

Yes, according to Xbiz, “the adult entertainment industry’s leading source for business news and information,” a new startup introduced itself today, called Offbeatr, brought to you by the marketplace for adult digital products, Extra Lunch Money.




Facebook’s Top Cop: Joe Sullivan

The day after I posted the piece on, ‘Facebook’s nudity and violence guidelines are laid bare’ an email arrived containing a link to a recent Forbes article about an old friends son. The son just happens to be the top cop at fb. It has been many years since I saw ‘little Joe’ as he was affectionately referred to by his family. He definitely has a tough job, and this article explains quite clearly the power fb has, even greater than our government because of the amount of information in gathers.

Facebook’s Top Cop: Joe Sullivan

Kashmir Hill, Forbes Staff

This story appears in the March 12, 2012 issue of Forbes magazine.

If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest in the world and Joe Sullivan would be head of Homeland Security.

His actual title is chief security officer. The “terrorists” he’s up against include the “Koobface gang,” a quintet of Russians who unleashed a worm that turned ­Facebookers’ computers into enslaved bots; the spammers who flooded the site with violent and pornographic images in ­December; scammers who trick Facebook users into clicking links and filling out surveys for the swindlers’ profit; ­pedo­philes using the site to make contact with minors; and ­scrapers who inappropriately raid Facebook for users’ ­valuable personal information. These scoundrels include those who use malicious apps, hackers and an amateur porn ­purveyor who matches profile pages to private nudie photos submitted by vengeful exes—making it easy to contact, harass and “poke” the unwitting and involuntary porn stars.

The dirt Facebook holds on its users makes it as attractive to cops as to criminals. Among Sullivan’s responsibilities are daily decisions about how much user information to give to law enforcement when it comes calling. And, as a digital nation’s DHS, Sullivan and his team actively police the site for user data worth volunteering to the authorities. Still, he says, “we err on the side of not sharing and have picked quite a few fights over the years.”

Users may have constitutional rights against unreasonable searches by the state, but the only Facebook Constitution is the company’s dense terms of service agreement. It focuses on prohibitions for users, such as bullying, creating fake accounts or uploading images of violence or nudity, as well as Facebook’s rights to intellectual property uploaded to the site. It doesn’t spell out when Facebook may dive into data for ­policing purposes or hand it over to the authorities.

Should Facebook give users a Miranda warning before they sign up—that anything they post and do on the site can and will be used against them? The company gives law enforcement “basic subscriber information” on requests accompanied by subpoenas: a user’s name, e-mail address and IP address (which reveals approximate location). Sullivan insists that everything else—photos, status updates, private messages, friend lists, group memberships, pokes and all the rest—requires a warrant.

Sullivan, 43, usually wears the “Mark Zuckerberg uniform” at the office: gray hoodie, sneakers, jeans. With longish light-brown hair and gray-speckled goatee, he looks more like a bouncer at a country music bar than an ex-federal prosecutor, let alone the guy responsible for safeguarding and investigating Facebook’s 845 million users.

Most of his security team is based at headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. and sits at clusters of desks close enough to take dead aim at one another with Nerf darts. Broken roughly into five parts, the team has 10 people review new features being launched, 8 monitor the site for bugs and privacy flaws, 25 handle requests for user information from law enforcement, and a few build criminal and civil cases against those who misbehave on the network; the rest are handling security situations as they arise and acting as digital bodyguards protecting Facebook staffers (“We have someone trying to hack an employee’s account every day,” says Sullivan). If you include the physical security guards who patrol Facebook headquarters, Sullivan’s team numbers 70 people.

It’s a big kingdom to police, populated with mundane and highly personal information about its subjects. Its value, shaping up to be $100 billion when the company goes public later this year, depends on keeping the populace happy and safe—from overprobing law officials, as well as from predators.

THE OLDEST OF SEVEN CHILDREN, Sullivan grew up in Cambridge, Mass. He describes his father as a painter and sculptor, and his mother as a schoolteacher who wrote mystery stories about a nun who was a private eye. “So I rebelled and went to law school,” he says. (A Google search revealed that the apple did not fall so very far from the tree, though. Sullivan’s mother was a CIA analyst in Russia in the 1960s before she settled down to start a family.)

Sullivan got his law degree at the University of Miami in 1993. A self-described early adopter, he was the first of his friends to get a computer and an e-mail account. In his first job at the Department of Justice in Miami, he convinced his superiors that the office should have an Internet connection.

He has been riding the Internet crime wave since 1997, when he moved to Las Vegas as a federal prosecutor. When the DOJ started a computer crime program, recruiting one prosecutor in every office to work on cybercrime cases, he volunteered and began working on early eBay fraud and software piracy cases. After Bob Mueller, now director of the FBI, started recruiting a high-tech team to work in the DOJ’s Silicon Valley office in 1999, Sullivan jumped at the chance, putting him at the center of cybercrime during the Internet boom. In 2002 he went to eBay, where his security detail included the units PayPal and Skype. That’s when he had to make a fundamental shift in his thinking—not just how best to prosecute criminals but also how much information to hold back from authorities to protect the rights of customers.

“Depending on the product, we had fundamentally different philosophical approaches to the law and user expectations around data-sharing with law enforcement,” he says. As one might expect from someone who had been a prosecutor a scant year before, Sullivan’s relationship with law enforcement when he first joined eBay was cozy. In 2003 off-the-record remarks Sullivan made at a cybercrime conference were secretly taped and given to a reporter at, the Israeli news site. Sullivan claimed that eBay’s privacy policy was “flexible,” allowing it to freely provide information to investigators—“no need for a court order,” Sullivan said. Haaretz wrote an outraged report about eBay’s collusion with Big Brother.

“With Skype we’d tell law enforcement to go through Luxembourg, and good luck with that,” says Sullivan now. “But with eBay, if you were law enforcement investigating a seller, you didn’t even need a subpoena. You could just ask for it on your letterhead and we would hand it over. Back then some people were just putting money in envelopes, sending it to eBay sellers and hoping to get their products. There needed to be an expectation that sellers were being scrutinized.”

Sullivan says the experience of looking through different legal lenses in terms of what to give to law enforcement was “really helpful” when he came to Facebook in 2008, “where expectation of privacy is paramount and our philosophy has to be the Skype policy.” He claims that “99.9% of the time” when Facebook resists a request, the government backs down.

The rest of this article can be found here:



Defining Porn & Erotica, Barney Rosset – publisher/crusader dies

Barney Rosset, First Amendment crusader dies. As publisher of Grove Press he released classics such as Tropic of Cancer and Lady Chatterley’s Lover, helping to overthrow U.S. censorship laws. USA Today obituary link below.

I am approached often with the question, “What is the difference between pornography and erotica.” It is why I use the words ‘sensexual or sensexuala’ when referring to works dealing with sexual content. The judgement overtones are immediately discarded.

Greta Christina’s free thought blog and the many comments try to grapple with this subject.

Is there a useful difference between porn and erotica?

My usual answer to this question is that the distinction between porn and erotica is pretty artificial. It generally comes down to subjective taste, conveniently dovetailed with character and even moral judgment. “I like erotica; you like porn; they like filthy smut.”

But when I have time to kill, I sometimes amuse myself by trying to come up with an answer. The way I often frame it is, “If someone held a gun to my head and made me give a coherent distinction between ‘porn’ and ‘erotica,’ one that most people who use the words would recognize and might even accept… what would it be?” Regardless of whether I think one is better than the other — regardless of whether I accept the common verdict that erotica is high-minded and beautiful while porn is tawdry and degrading? (Or whether I accept the other common verdict: that porn is exciting and hot while erotica is stuffy and boring?) Is there a useable distinction between the two?

Here’s what I have, provisionally, come up with.

Porn is sexually explicit art that has, as its primary intent, the sexual arousal of the audience, and in which any other artistic/ political/ cultural intent is secondary or incidental.

Erotica is sexually explicit art that has, as its primary intent, some artistic/ political/ cultural goal other than the sexual arousal of the audience, and in which this sexual arousal is secondary or incidental.

Note that these definitions don’t have to involve a judgment about which one is better. They often do, of course — we live in a sex-negative culture, sexual arousal isn’t by itself considered a worthwhile objective, blah blah blah — but they don’t necessarily have to. We can, at least theoretically, discuss whether a piece of sexually explicit art is primarily motivated by sexual arousal or by some other intent, without placing judgment about whether one of these motivations is morally superior.

But I see a serious flaw in these definitions. It’s this:

What if the sexual arousal of the audience is, in itself, an artistic, cultural, or political aim?

The example that leaps to my mind most readily is On Our Backs, the “by lesbians, for lesbians” sex magazine published in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Some of the work in On Our Backs certainly had serious literary, artistic, political, etc. content — Dorothy Alison wrote for them, as did Sarah Schulman, Jewelle Gomez, Sapphire, me, and other serious writers. Ditto for the photography. But plenty of the work in that magazine was porny porny porn porn. It existed to get women turned on, and to get them off. Period.

Yet that, just in itself, was an act of serious political defiance. For women — writers, photographers, publishers, readers — to say out loud, “We like sex, we enjoy smut, we’re going to make it and sell it and buy it and get off on it, and anyone who doesn’t like it can cram it sideways”… that was a serious political statement, with far-reaching effects both within the lesbian community and outside it. And it wasn’t just defiance of sexism and sex-negativity in mainstream culture, either. It wasn’t just defiance of the message that women don’t really like sex, don’t care about sex, don’t pursue sex for its own sake — and that if we do, we’re bad bad people. It was also defiance of a variety of feminism that was very prevalent at the time (and still is, although less so): a version of feminism that was hostile to the very idea of sexually explicit art. (The very name On Our Backs was a satire on the anti-porn, anti-kink, anti-sex-work feminist newspaper, off our backs.) The intent to get women off, with sexually explicit material designed to get them off… that was a political intent.

Another example, I think, is gay male porn. For decades, even the raunchiest, tackiest, porniest gay male porn has been an important source of gay pride: an important way for gay men to reclaim their sexuality from a culture that reviles it. That was true during the repressive fifties; it was true in the gay liberation seventies; it was true during the worst years of the AIDS pandemic; and it remains true to this day. Writing a story, taking a photograph, drawing a cartoon, saying “Gay sex is cool” — that was, and is, a political act.

But you see the problem, right? To some extent, this is true of pretty much any porn/ erotica/ whatever you want to call it. Playboy, Penthouse, Hustler, Deep Throat, the mainstream video porn industry, amateur and low-budget Internet porn… all of this has had an effect on the culture. The mainstreaming of explicit sex magazines; the increasingly blatant sexuality of those magazines; the “chic” of the porn film industry in the 1970s; the home video revolution and the filtering of sexually explicit movies into the living rooms of millions of everyday couples, the Internet porn revolution and the democratization of porn production — all of these have had a powerful effect on our sexual culture. Whether you think this effect has been positive or negative or a complicated stew of all of the above (my vote is for the last one, btw)… the culture and political impact is undeniable. And it’s often a conscious one. Hugh Hefner has a political and cultural and artistic vision. So does Larry Flynt. You may or may not like that vision… but it exists.

And I’m reminded of one of my own pieces of porn/ erotica: the novella “Bending,” part of the three-novella collection Three Kinds of Asking For It (currently available, btw, on Kindle and in dead-tree physical form). When I was in process of writing it, I sent a partial draft to my editor, Susie Bright, who gave me this feedback (paraphrasing here), “You have enough erotic treats for the readers — you don’t need any more sex scenes, focus now on fleshing out the story.” My reaction was to think, “What the fuck? This is porn. It’s supposed to be about sex. So screw you. I’m going to write more sex scenes. In fact, I’m going to write nothing but sex scenes. I’m going to make the entire novella be just sex, from beginning to end.” And that’s what I did. With the exception of a couple/few paragraphs, every sentence in that story involves people either having sex, talking about sex, or thinking about sex. And that’s how the story gets told. Characters change, conflicts emerge, relationships develop, insights are gained, crises unfold… all through sex. And if I can be arrogant for a moment here, it’s pretty freaking hot sex.

So what’s the primary intention? Is the primary intention to arouse the audience, or to tell a story?

To read more link to:

USA Today obituary link

Facebook’s Treatment of Nudity and Violence

If you plan on posting illustrations on fb, beware of their hidden policies.

The Guardian

by Charles Arthur

Nipples are rude but crushed limbs are OK – a document leak has revealed the social network’s attitudes to sex and violence

Facebook’s censorship guidelines, dictating what kinds of sex and violence can be depicted in photographs, have been leaked. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Facebook bans images of breastfeeding if nipples are exposed – but allows “graphic images” of animals if shown “in the context of food processing or hunting as it occurs in nature”. Equally, pictures of bodily fluids – except semen – are allowed as long as no human is included in the picture; but “deep flesh wounds” and “crushed heads, limbs” are OK (“as long as no insides are showing”), as are images of people using marijuana but not those of “drunk or unconscious” people.

The strange world of Facebook’s image and post approval system has been laid bare by a document leaked from the outsourcing company oDesk to the Gawker website, which indicates that the sometimes arbitrary nature of picture and post approval actually has a meticulous – if faintly gore-friendly and nipple-unfriendly – approach.

For the giant social network, which has 800 million users worldwide and recently set out plans for a stock market flotation which could value it at up to $100bn (£63bn), it is a glimpse of its inner workings – and odd prejudices about sex – that emphasise its American origins.

Facebook has previously faced an outcry from breastfeeding mothers over its treatment of images showing them with their babies. The issue has rumbled on, and now seems to have been embedded in its “Abuse Standards Violations”, which states that banned items include “breastfeeding photos showing other nudity, or nipple clearly exposed”. It also bans “naked private parts” including “female nipple bulges and naked butt cracks” – though “male nipples are OK”.

The guidelines, which have been set out in full, depict a world where sex is banned but gore is acceptable. Obvious sexual activity, even if “naked parts” are hidden, people “using the bathroom”, and “sexual fetishes in any form” are all also banned. The company also bans slurs or racial comments “of any kind” and “support for organisations and people primarily known for violence”. Also banned is anyone who shows “approval, delight, involvement etc in animal or human torture”.

The 13-page manual, which is continually updated, is the bible for workers for oDesk who are deployed to police the posts and images that are sent to them any time somebody on the huge network clicks on a “Report” button. An early version was released last Thursday by a disgruntled employee of Odesk, Amine Derkaoui, a 21-year-old Moroccan who told Gawker that he was paid $1 per hour to trawl through the reports and determine whether they should be removed from the site or not.

“It’s humiliating. They are just exploiting the third world,” he told Gawker.

The site pointed out that Facebook’s banning of some content – often with sexual overtones – has drawn the ire of users. Besides protests from “lactivists” over breastfeeding photos, it has had to contend with anger from art lovers over the removal of a nude drawing (the new guidelines say explicitly “Art nudity OK” – though “digital/cartoon nudity” is not) and in April 2011 censored a picture of a gay kiss.

A Facebook spokesperson said: “In an effort to quickly and efficiently process the millions of reports we receive every day, we have found it helpful to contract third parties to provide precursory classification of a small proportion of reported content. These contractors are subject to rigorous quality controls and we have implemented several layers of safeguards to protect the data of those using our service. Additionally, no user information beyond the content in question and the source of the report is shared. We have, and will continue, to escalate the most serious reports internally, and all decisions made by contractors are subject to extensive audits.

“We are constantly improving our processes and review our contractors on an ongoing basis. This document provides a snapshot in time of our standards with regards to one of those contractors, for the most up to date information please visit our Community Standards page .