June 25, 2012

Woman Fights Right Not to Cover Up at Pool {featured news}

Jodi Jaecks
Public nudity is allowed in Seattle but this woman — Jodi Jaecks who has undergone bilateral mastectomy and who describes herself as an androgynous lesbian woman — was told to cover up at a city pool.

Apparently, Seattle Parks and Recreation officials felt that the exposed scars would upset the "family friendly" environment they seek for their pools. I wonder what they think would be most unsettling: the scars as reminders of cancer or the scars as reminders of the breasts that once were.

Not only is wearing a post-mastectomy swimsuit uncomfortable for Jaecks, she also stresses that baring her scars is important because it was the photo of a mother who had undergone a mastectomy lying freely on a beach with her children that first inspired her to get a mastectomy, rather than a less-invasive procedure. A drastic decision, it ultimately freed her from fear of more frequent surgeries, mammogram checks and possible cancer resurgence.

June 20, 2012

The Fluidity of Male Sexual Desire {featured read}

The fluidity of female sexual desire is given increasing attention whereas male sexual desire is typically dismissed as either straight or gay. Gender studies professor, writer and blogger Hugo Schwyzer takes this to task in a recent post at The Good Men Project, rightly arguing that "We accept that women’s sexuality is remarkably fluid. That’s a good thing, as that recognition opens up a whole world of possibility. But the flip side is the continued insistence that male sexuality is static, simple, and comes in only two distinct flavors: gay or straight.

That thinking doesn’t just sell bisexual guys short. It reinforces the toxic myth that men can never have inner lives as rich, complex, and surprising as women so evidently do."

Sharing his own bisexual experiences, Hugo's post is a compelling read. I highly recommend it.

The Good Men Project: Mythbusting Bisexual Men

A few highlights:

June 18, 2012

New Cultural Trends of Becoming or Not a Mother {featured reads}

Two recent articles on new cultural trends regarding motherhood struck my attention. The first was a news feature reporting on so called "choice moms:" women who in the end opt for single motherhood while hoping to find a co-parent/spouse later on. The article explains this trend in terms of men taking longer to mature and women not wanting to settle for less or miss out on their chance of motherhood.

The second is a personal essay by a single woman in the last year of her thirties faced with the very real possibility of not becoming a mom. Reflecting on the cultural and peer pressures of becoming a mom and joining the motherhood party — as also recounted in a recent New York Times Motherlode post — she makes a compelling plea that we recognize the party of those who do not become moms too:

June 11, 2012

Talking Sex with My Three-Year-Old: From Baby-Making to Self-Pleasuring and More

I've been talking sex quite a bit this past year with our three-year-old. Most recently, at almost four, the conversation has focused a lot on conception and birth, primarily because she'd love for us to make another baby, and also because she's been wanting to look at pictures from when she was very little, including in my womb. We look at pictures of my big pregnant belly and those documenting her birth. She gets that it hurts to push a baby out of a tiny vagina.

Because we've been teaching her the correct names for all body parts, she is quite comfortable with the concepts of penis and vagina. I've explained to her that papa's penis enters mama's vagina where it releases tiny sperm cells that swim as best as they can to find an egg in my womb. Anatomically this seems to make good sense to her; she came upon my husband and I one weekend afternoon in bed with him on top of me in fact trying to conceive a child (and no; I haven't gone into different positions with her). In terms of what happens inside my body, she in fact seems to grasp quite beautifully the internal encounter of the sperm and the egg, as I report in this post.

June 4, 2012

The Fluidity of Women's Sexual Desire {featured news}

A team of Norwegian researchers has found that women, unlike men, feel hornier in the spring because their sex drive is more affected by external circumstances, including light and sun. Sunlight is known to have an impact on the amount of various hormones, such as endorphins, produced by the body and an explanatory factor determining heightened sexual activity. Reports The Local,
According to sexologist Bente Træen at the University of Tromsø, men's sexuality is considered to be more stable while women's is more affected by surroundings and by menstruation. She argued that while men produce testosterone all the time, female hormones affecting sexual interest increase as the amount of daylight increases. "This is connected to the feeling of being in love and the secretion of dopamine, which stimulates the pleasure centre in the brain."
I'm intrigued by the fluidity of female sexuality, also addressed in this New York Times feature on male and female sexuality:
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