Cheap Thrills Thursday: 70s Feet Edition

In the 70s, footprints were big things. Sometimes they were quite literally big things; such as the giant, and very fuzzy, footprint rugs my sister and I had in our room. (See other things that may have been in your bedroom back then.)

vintage footprint rug ad

Other times, the feet were smaller.

And in pairs.

If you were cognizant in the 1970s, you likely recall all the pairs of mating feet. Because many adults labored under the incorrect belief that such pairs of feet were somehow not understood by children (umm, this is exactly what many children saw when they opened the door to your bedroom), these sex feet were everywhere.

Bare Feet Sex Knockin' Boots 1978 Solid Brass Vintage Belt Buckle

And — surprise! — there’s sexism involved in such a sexual revolution.

Typically, sex feet are shown as heterosexual couplings in the missionary position; which is neither all that revolutionary or, for many, very pleasurable. We are able to see that it’s a man and a woman doing it missionary style as there are two sets of feet — but not of the same size. This is typically deciphered to mean that the larger feet belong to a man. After all, hetero-normative rules state men are to be larger than their lady partners. And his feet must be much bigger because, you know, big feet mean big penis. That’s the myth, anyway. And he must be on top because he is The Top.

vintage retro master slave Sew on Cloth Patch Badges 1970's

Besides, who would change their minds (cross their legs and feet) and say “no” other than a woman?

2 Sets of Feet Glass Vintage Ashtray I've Changed My Mind

But if you think this is all about the Free Love movement, sex feet were often presented or captioned with odd supposedly humorous notions revealing traditional values. Like this ashtray and its “Man does this mean we are engaged” speech bubble.

Kitsch Risque Ashtray bare feet Man Does This Mean We're Engaged - Grizelle Japan

Along with confusion caused by missing punctuation, there’s more than a little cognitive dissonance between the “free love” and the marital sentiments or concerns. But then, the liberating 70s was always more than a little confusing that way.

March’s What I’ve Been Reading (& Writing) Report

As I mentioned, I’m downsizing; so lately, I’ve primarily been focused on listing in our Etsy shops. (1, 2, and, now, 3.) This has led to lots of posting at Things Your Grandmother Knew and Kitschy Kitschy Coo. (But don’t worry, the next stack of ephemera has plenty of “women’s issues stuff”, so then this blog will be busy. To everything, there is a season…)

lgbt antique rppcOne of the more rare items I am parting with is this antique real photo postcard featuring two female couples. I’m rather certain this is a legit “lesbian interest” photo, as it is called in the trade, and not some mere drag party of the past. However, without any living folks to tell the tale, it is hard to say definitively. There is a certain combination of affection and defiance as opposed to the hamming it up for the cameras which is usually found in ye olde crossdressing and drag parties and films of yore.

This reminds me of the fact that many sellers will call any photo of same-sex folks being affectionate as LGBTQ history. Rather than rant about that, I will simply direct you to where others have done a good job covering the issue: Brothers In Arms (NWS), naked Vintage Soldiers (NWS), and Touch Isolation: How Homophobia Has Robbed All Men Of Touch. (It is perhaps no surprise that all of this talk involves men, not women, but then “everyone loves a lesbian.” …Well, almost everyone. Everyone does love Lincoln, however.)

Yes, I’m still Tumblr-ing and Scooping. (You might mostly be interested in what goes on at the women Tumblr tag and the Herstory & Dare To Be A Feminist topics.) But I have still managed to make a bit of time for reading…

What I’ve been reading:

the-minnesota-connectionMy friend Gracie compares the past and present of sex trafficking: 1978’s The Minnesota Connection Vs 2015’s Trafficked: The Exploitation Of Women & Girls In The Bakken & Beyond. (Oh, sure, North Dakota, sex trafficking gets coverage, including a 30 minute news documentary; but the environmental damage being done in the Bakken and the related train bombs notsomuch. The legislation is even worse.)

Speaking of politics… Oh, if only!

Yes, as a collector of vintage magazines, I am very aware that little has changed in beauty ads.

At ErosBlog, Bacchus discusses (NWS) this article at The New York Times. (See also my earlier article: Grandma Was A Swinger: Estate Sales & The Ephemera Of Women’s Lives.)

That’s it for now; time to make the donuts get back to work listing the collectibles.

Let’s Talk About Sex — With & For Youth With Disabilities & Special Needs

As a parent, I’ve long been upset with the sad state of sex education in this country. As a parent of a (now adult) child with special needs, I’m even more upset. Children and even adults with special needs, especially those with disabilities which are not physical or so easily seen, receive even less sex ed than their mainstream counterparts. And this lack of knowledge apparently extends to the professionals and staff which work with those who have disabilities.

This has been made quite clear to me over the past few years in staff meetings for my daughter — especially when I have broached the subject of getting my now 25 year old daughter a vibrator or other sex toy. I don’t find it odd or irresponsible to teach young adults, especially young women how to please themselves; like former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, I believe a lot of good can come from masturbation (pun kind of intended?). Or at least a lot of bad, including bad relationships, can be avoided if a person knows how to thrill and please themselves. But while I have often been reminded by the professionals in my daughter’s life that “those with disabilities have the right to fail”, few, if any, have any comprehension that part of a full life is the right to a sexual life — and a pleasing one at that.

This was why I was so astonished and delighted to find this series of videos produced by KIDS, a charity which works with disabled children, young people and their families. While broken-up into three parts, the videos are from The Love Programme – Relationships and Sexuality, a Young Person’s Perspective, a film mad by and for young adults with disabilities. These young adults discuss good and bad relationships, personal space, forms of birth control (including which ones prevent sexually transmitted infections and diseases — and which do not), how to buy and use a condom — and part three even has a section for parents, with links to resources, and an amazing glossary (which even includes the word “consent”!).

Watch and be amazed.

[Be prepared to turn up the volume after the intro song (Let’s Talk About Sex, of course); the voices are a bit quiet.]

But, of course, the KIDS organization is in the UK.

Meanwhile, we in the US still fight over whether or not there should even be any sex education for “regular kids”. Never mind that if there’s one expectation in the “family values” culture, it is to produce a family. So shouldn’t one know just how that happens?

For the sane among us, we also know that there’s more to sex than pregnancy. There are health matters to contend with, such as STIs and STDs. And there are relationship issues as well. Which is why I so applaud the KIDS videos. The icing on top is the frank and accepting matter of sexual orientations as well.

Recommended Reading

Sex education: young people with learning disabilities are being left out:

“Learning about sex and relationships equips young people not only with the skills to say yes, but to say no, too,” [Gill] Leno says. “Understanding emotions, boundaries and how to stay safe are vital for people with learning disabilities. A good, well-rounded awareness of sex and relationships is important as it helps to protect against abuse and exploitation as well as providing a solid framework for appropriate behaviour, both sexually and socially.”

Sex Education for Physically, Emotionally, and Mentally Challenged Youth:

Myth 1: People with disabilities are not sexual. All people—including young people—are sexual beings, regardless of whether or not they live with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities. And, all people need affection, love and intimacy, acceptance, and companionship.

…Start talking with your children about sexuality while they are very young. Do not wait until they reach puberty (or later) for these conversations!

Additional resources on Sex & Disability at the Sexual Health & Disability Alliance (SHADA).

FireShot Screen Capture #397 - 'The Love Programme - Relationships and Sexuality, a Young Person's Perspective Part 1_mov - YouTube' - www_youtube_com_watch_v=4ASCysU1wto&feature=plcp

Sex Toy Bans in the Twenty-first Century: What Would Cleopatra Think?

Head in HandsSometimes, when looking at the current state of affairs, I find myself asking, “What decade is this again?” If you sometimes feel like our society is moon-walking backwards in time, you’re not alone.

Take, for instance, the fact that it’s illegal to buy and sell sex toys in some American cities! Sandy Springs, Georgia is in the center of a recent article that highlights the ludicrous city ordinance that deems “‘any device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs’ obscene material, and prohibits their sale, unless ‘a bona fide medical, scientific, educational, legislative, judicial, or law enforcement purpose’ exists.”

Talk about the dark ages!

This ordinance has forced one resident, Melissa Davenport, to go through the insulting process of getting a sex toy prescription from her doctor. You see, Mrs. Davenport has multiple sclerosis, which impacts her ability to have enjoyable sex. She needs the help of sex toys to make sex with her husband pleasurable. “The ordinance,” she said, “basically says the government can stick its nose in your bedroom… It’s appalling. I just think it’s ludicrous.”

And it is.

Civil rights buffs might be reminded of Lawrence and Garner v. Texas, the landmark 2003 Supreme Court decision, which declared it unconstitutional for the government to have any say in what goes on in the privacy of one’s bedroom. In this case, it was a couple of men enjoying consensual sex.

And yes, this ruling does seem to apply to Mrs. Davenport’s case. It certainly did in 2008 when a federal appeals court struck down a similar ban on sex toys in Texas. According to, the opinion of the court was that “the case is not about public sex. It is not about controlling commerce in sex. It is about controlling what people do in the privacy of their own homes because the state is morally opposed to a certain type of consensual private intimate conduct. This is an insufficient justification after Lawrence.”

Phil Harvey, president of, one of the plaintiffs in the case, spoke of the company’s plans to expand sales in Texas to include home parties. Previously, the company had been hesitant to pursue this because of the Texas law.

At the time of the ruling, there were two other states with sex toy bans on the books—Alabama and Mississippi. Since then, Mississippi’s ban has been lifted, but Alabama’s inexplicably remains.

There’s reason to be optimistic, though. And maybe Melissa Davenport of Sandy Springs will soon be able to see light at the end of the tunnel. It sure seems like a no-brainer, both constitutionally and rationally.

The fact is, sex toys have been around just about as long as human beings have been having sex. According to, archeologists have excavated numerous wood and stone dildos dating back to the Paleolithic era. It’s even believed that Cleopatra might have invented the first vibrator—a hollowed out gourd filled with angry bees!

If it seems completely asinine that there would be bans on sex toys in the twenty-first century… Well, just imagine what Cleopatra would think!


Politicians: Erect & Standing Up, But Not For Women

Maybe you don’t want to call it a “war on women”. Maybe you find the word “war” to be over-the-top, despite the facts regarding bombings, shootings, rape, and other violent attacks against women, including the places where they seek access to medical care. Perhaps you just don’t think that violence is enough to be called a “war”. But what about when you factor in the legislative bombs aimed directly at women here in the USA?

Legislating against women’s rights is at the center of politics. In the past three years, state legislatures in the US have enacted a record-setting 205 restrictions on women’s reproductive rights. That exceeds the total number of such restrictions enacted during the entire previous decade — and that last decade was no small potatoes either. Between 2001 and 2010, states passed 189 abortion restrictions. (Data from a Guttmacher Institute report.)

women's rights restrictions in states

Legislating against women’s rights is so popular right now, that one candidate for congress in Virginia, Richard Black, thinks that marital rape should be legal again, like it was in 1965, and that military rape is “as predictable as human nature”. That says a lot about his nature. And a lot more about a society in which someone espousing such beliefs can run for office.


Maybe 1965 isn’t so far back that we need a stone tablet to mark the date, but we sure are moving backwards.

And all this while, from 2006 to 2011, Medicaid was paying $175 million for 473,620 claims for penis pumps — you know, so men can have sex. Sex that maybe their spouses didn’t want to have. Sex that maybe resulted in unwanted pregnancies, because, you know, birth control isn’t always an option. It’s a limited option with many private insurance companies and with Medicare. And it’s even less likely that your insurance or Medicare will cover an abortion. But let’s just be glad that men not only have the right to those erections but the access to medical help to force those erections too.  Isn’t it nice to know that men are all about standing up for themselves?

Servant of God, or Prostitute?

The Devadasi, a centuries-old caste of sacred temple priestesses, struggles to have it’s own renaissance. One woman leads the way…


The origins of the practice are often disputed, but historians agree that in India by the 10th century this caste of sacred temple servants enjoyed great wealth & property as signs of respect & clout.


Considered married to the Hindu deities, the Devadasi were talented dancers, singers & even viewed as political advisors. At the core of Devadasi faith is the belief all men are incarnations of the male deities & so in addition to performing sacred temple ceremonies, Devadasis offered sexual services. In the act of making love, a man & a Devadasi enact the sacred marriage of god & goddess which therefore allows them to become divine themselves.

See on

19th Century Sex Magic Is Sex Positive

At the Picture Collection and Periodicals Collection at the Visual Arts Library blog, a post featuring some materials from a “Gangs, Cults & The Occult” folder. Among the most interesting to me (at least at the moment), was this one:

Ritual America by Adam Parfrey & Craig Heimbichner

Below the “Shriners at play”, there is an intriguing passage from what appears to be a work by Paschal Beverly Randolph. Randolph was, among other things, a medical doctor, occultist, and writer who is often noted as the man to bring the principles of sex magic to North America. Since this about secret societies, Randolph is also said to have established the earliest known Rosicrucian order in the United States and to been a member of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light. But it is the sex magic which seems to stand out here. If this is by Randolph, the full passage, circa mid-1800s, would then read:

The average husband’s wife is full of aches, pains, wrinkles, gray hair, fallen womb, [lencorrhae]; and a good many of them are nicely inoculated with syphilis by their lords, and the doctors hide it, and their ignorance too, and call it “Fluor Albus;” besides which, the usual husband attacks his victim as pigs their food, for all the world as if she had neither soul, sense, feeling, womanhood, delicacy, or human rights. At the beginning he says, “Now!” at the end he grunts, “There!” and, instead of a loving, grateful hug and kiss, in five minutes he is snoring away like any other hog; while she, poor soul, sobs her life away, and wonders how long she is to remain in that particular section of Hell. He never tries to change her cold to warmth—her indifferences to chaste desire; nor knows he aught of the meaning of use of gentleness, persuasive caresses, continual kindness, or of deliberation; above all, he utterly forgets that it is his duty to wait for her, if it takes six months, till he wins the soul and passion, as well as the “duty and obedience,” of the mysterious being he calls Wife!—God’s profoundest miracle, the bearer of the mysterious womb.

For the record, the image on the opposite page shows a Masonic piece featuring “sex (point in circle) and death motifs” said to “figure prominently in Masonic symbolism”.

Casual Sex Feminists?

Seeing that this article, Mediocre Sex – The Price Women Pay For Freedom? by Jennifer Kabbany, was published at right-wing college site The Collage Fix, I should have resisted and not given it a click — but, as a wise woman once taught me, you do have to listen to differing opinions. And, hey, maybe it wouldn’t be as bad as I thought.

But I was wrong.

It was bad from the start:

The infamous college campus hook-up culture celebrated by feminists suggests female students love casual, no-strings-attached sex, and enjoy one-night stands without guilt, shame or regret.

Oh yeah – then why aren’t they having orgasms when they do?

Feminism as a movement doesn’t celebrate hook-up culture; it just says that if it is allowed for men, if it is considered a right of passage or otherwise bears no lack of respect for men who do it, then it ought to be the same for women.

The article refers to studies and stories included in an article at the Times, which state that women are twice as likely to reach orgasm in serious relationships as they are in hookups and that casual sex does not bring the physical pleasure for women that men experience. Kabbany wrote:

The Times’ report interviewed several people who had all sorts of ideas as to what’s going wrong in the bedroom, such as that young men don’t care about pleasing a women they see casually, and the twosome doesn’t know each other well enough to know how to get each other off. Predictably, it goes on to quote sources who say sex without orgasms is fine for women seeking to scratch that carnal itch – that “mediocre sex” is the price women pay for freedom.

But the truth is women engaged in casual sex don’t reach orgasm because – on some level – they know they’re selling themselves short. They’re giving away their ace in the hole, pardon the pun, to some guy who barely knows their name and is likely too drunk to remember it in the morning. They’re offering themselves to a man who has committed nothing to them, cares nothing for them.

This isn’t about “inequality” in the bedroom, as the Times suggests. It’s about women with low self-esteem, who set the bar low for themselves, who search for affection and affirmation in the wrong way.

These studies prove that even if campus feminists are fooling themselves, their not really fooling themselves. Their subconscious knows the truth. Sex Ed 101 tells us that females climax on emotional/mental levels while men climax to physical/visual ones.

I obviously don’t agree with Kabbany. But she also missed some of the key points in that Time‘s article by Natalie Kitroeff:

By contrast, roughly three quarters of women in the survey said they had an orgasm the last time they had sex in a committed relationship.

“We attribute that to practice with a partner, which yields better success at orgasm, and we also think the guys care more in a relationship,” Dr. England said.

Indeed, young men surveyed in Dr. England’s study often admitted that they are less focused on sexually pleasing a woman they are seeing casually than one they are dating.

Duvan Giraldo, 26, a software technician in Elmhurst, Queens, said that satisfying a partner “is always my mission,” but added, “I’m not going to try as hard as when I’m with someone I really care about.” And with women he’s just met, he said, it can be awkward to talk about specific needs in the bedroom.

“You’re practically just strangers at that point,” he said.

The lack of guidance is common, Dr. England said. “Women are not feeling very free in these casual contexts to say what they want and need,” she said. Part of the problem, she added, is that women still may be stigmatized for having casual sex.

Dr. Garcia said, “We’ve been sold this bill of goods that we’re in an era where people can be sexually free and participate equally in the hookup culture. The fact is that not everyone’s having a good time.”

What women need to achieve orgasm can be very different from what they find in casual sex. Roughly one-quarter of women reliably experience orgasm through intercourse alone, according to a review of 32 studies conducted by Elisabeth Lloyd, a professor of the history and philosophy of science at Indiana University, in her 2005 book “The Case of the Female Orgasm: Bias in the Science of Evolution.” Another third of women rarely or never have orgasms from intercourse.

This highlights several key points. One, it’s pretty clear that people like Kabbany are illustrating Dr. England’s point about stigmatizing women, and, two, men who don’t care are often men who don’t care. But almost everyone is forgetting that women’s orgasms are more complicated to learn to achieve period.

Unlike the simple male organ (upright & locked in position in front, rendering it uber visible, its secrets easy to decode), female genitalia is more elusive (not only virtually hidden but offering more options). It takes more time for females to learn how to manipulate, arouse, and reach orgasm. (Note: It takes about the same amount of time for men and women to reach orgasm; it just takes more time for women to learn how to do this. Which is why I am so in sync with what U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders was addressing.) Given the physical and cultural complexities, how many college-age women know both how to please themselves and how to communicate that to another? Shit, how many women even know how to do this in their 30s.

vintage sex hook upFeminism is all about a woman’s right to embrace her sexuality. That includes masturbation, hook-up sex, sex in relationships — any safe, sane, and consensual sexual act a woman wants. And without shame or regret. But feminism does not “celebrate” hook-ups, as if they were mandatory. Not for anyone, man or woman. And feminism certainly doesn’t expect women to suffer mediocre sex because that’s what men want.

As Shanté Cosme writes in Why Sorority Girl Rebecca Martinson Writing About Double Blowjobs is Terrible for Ladies and Completely Our Fault, one should not confuse embracing one’s own sexuality with trying to please others — and in this case, we are talking about women trying to increase their value by trying to please men. Trying to please men in any capacity is not feminism.

Feminist Porn Depicts Sexuality’s Unruly Side Too

As this type of porn gains visibility, it reflects a greater demand for explicit sexual representations among women, where sex isn’t always a “ribbon-tied box of happiness and joy,” say editors in this excerpt from “The Feminist Porn Book.”


…With the emergence of new technologies that allow more people than ever to both create and consume pornography, the moral panic-driven fears of porn are ratcheted up once again. Society’s dread of women who own their desire, and use it in ways that confound expectations of proper female sexuality, persists. As Gayle Rubin shows, “Modern Western societies appraise sex acts according to a hierarchical system of sexual value.” Rubin maps this system as one where “the charmed circle” is perpetually threatened by the “outer limits,” or those who fall out of the bounds of the acceptable.


On the bottom of this hierarchy are sexual acts and identities outside heterosexuality, marriage, monogamy and reproduction. She argues that this hierarchy exists so as to justify the privileging of normative and constricted sexualities and the denigration and punishment of the “sexual rabble.”


See on


What Are Women Earning? (And How Are Men Shrinking?)

If you’re following my Dare To Be A Feminist topic at Scoop.It (or have just been paying attention to the news), you probably noticed all the discussion about the Pew Research Report that states that women are earning more than their husbands in 40% of American families with children:

A record 40% of all households with children under the age of 18 include mothers who are either the sole or primary source of income for the family, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The share was just 11% in 1960.

These “breadwinner moms” are made up of two very different groups: 5.1 million (37%) are married mothers who have a higher income than their husbands, and 8.6 million (63%) are single mothers.1

The income gap between the two groups is quite large. The median total family income of married mothers who earn more than their husbands was nearly $80,000 in 2011, well above the national median of $57,100 for all families with children, and nearly four times the $23,000 median for families led by a single mother.2

If you, like many other people, just skimmed that headline, here’s what you need to really know about this discovery:

Compared with all mothers with children under age 18, married mothers who out-earn their husbands are slightly older, disproportionally white and college educated. Single mothers, by contrast, are younger, more likely to be black or Hispanic, and less likely to have a college degree.

The growth of both groups of mothers is tied to women’s increasing presence in the workplace. Women make up almost of half (47%) of the U.S. labor force today, and the employment rate of married mothers with children has increased from 37% in 1968 to 65% in 2011.3

(There’s also discussion of the dreaded single mothers; so I urge you to read the entire Pew findings.)

One should also note that this is not simply a matter of “feminism having won, so just let it all go away.” For the findings also reveal that “total family income is higher when the mother, not the father, is the primary breadwinner.” Thanks, pink collar ghetto, unequal pay, and continuing notions of gender inequality in the workplace. Not to mention all the BS traditional notions of motherhood.

Never mind the facts, however; let’s just get to the million dollar subtext question Liza Donnelly put forth regarding the 37% — the married mothers who have a higher income than their husbands: Can Husbands Handle Being Outearned By Their Wives?

The answer is, quite clearly, “No.”

Exhibit A: Lou Dobbs and his all-male panel of guests. Here, the comments range from Doug Schoen’s “a catastrophic issue” that “could undermine our social order” to Erick Erickson’s statement that this is the real “war on women.”


If you want to dismiss all this as the ramblings of irrelevant talking asshats on Fox (for which I will gently remind you that their rhetoric is often too dangerous to be dismissed), you’ll need to also know about this other study, called In Sickness and In Wealth, from Washington University in St Louis’ Olin Business School.

This research found that “men are more likely to experience problems with erectile dysfunction and other forms of mental and physical anguish as a result of his female counterpart being the primary breadwinner”.

Olin Business School professor Lamar Pierce and Michael S. Dahl of Aalborg University in Denmark write: ‘Male sexual desire and behavior is tied to cultural and social factors such as patriarchy and money, potentially causing men to suffer reduced sexual desire or dysfunction when perceiving their traditional role of provider to be usurped.

‘In fact, the medical literature has shown that anger and frustration can lead to serious sexual problems such as erectile dysfunction (ED), a problem also linked to unemployment and decreasing household income.’

Additionally, Pierce told NBC News: ‘There is a powerful social norm for many men that it’s important to make more than their wives and, essentially, when that social norm is violated, what this does is make them feel emasculated.’

And men do not usually suffer alone, as research found that the female breadwinner also has problems with insomnia and anxiety.

Men in such a relationship have also been found to be more likely to cheat in an effort to regain their bedroom mojo.



It seems we have not come a long way, baby, in terms of marital duties, especially not in terms of how men think. Shudder. Bigger shudder. Because this all sounds like a lot more permission slips are about to be handed out.

Of course, not all men are this primitive. But for some reason, primitive still prevails in the politics (and libidos) of our lives.

guys love it

Horsing Around With Lolita Smut

Because (nearly) every little girl loves horses (I sure did!), it shouldn’t be surprising that a shelf full of horse figurines would be among the decor shown in smut to designate the juvenile status of the woman. However, in this case, one would be pretty hard-pressed to suspend their disbelief that this “babe” disrobing to her stockings and suspenders is an innocent teen; she looks a lot more like a mom in her daughter’s room — perhaps there to dust the Breyer horses, nodding dogs, and 45 RPM records. For more thoughts on this: When Lollipops Make Us Suckers (NWS).

Strong Enough To Submit To A Man

Daniel writes in with a comment regarding the 50 Shades of American Women magazine and the whole 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon:

I’ll confess that as a feminist, I’ve had a rough time accepting my submissive streak. I purchased that magazine — but speaking loudly about “what a joke it must be” to friends, rather than letting on how the idea turns me on. I may have accepted this side of my sexual personality, but that doesn’t mean I have to share it with anyone other than my lover!

The magazine wasn’t very good, but thanks to articles like yours I’m feeling ready to go from erotic fantasy in my mind to sexual adventure in the bedroom. I’ve laid the ground-work with my man, talking about it, and I’m pretty sure we’re both willing… Looking forward to it, even. So the question is, how do we go from talking the talk to walking the walk? And I’ve been reading that some men find it to be a fantasy killer for the submissive woman to take the lead on — they find it to be too much pressure to perform. So where do I begin?

Congrats, Daniel, on accepting who you are and for not letting the political negatively impact your personal life. Liberty and equality pertain to the bedroom as well as the boardroom or any other sphere the world thinks we should limit women’s rights to.

While this isn’t my area of expertease *wink* here’s what I say about trying anything new in general: Keep an open mind — and a sense of humor. That means, if you feel the need to nervously giggle, let the laughter out. Both of you. It won’t ruin the mood in the long run. In fact, laughter helps alleviate the tension so you can move past it and on to other things.

Practically speaking, the first step is to any sexual role play is to get a prop, toy, or costume piece. It will help to set the tone, give you something to work with, even when you have a giggle fit.

When it comes to bondage gear, go for something simple that isn’t too intimidating for you or your partner. You can always add things as you and your role play progresses.

And don’t forget the lube. Anxiety and even a bit of fear can literally provide physical resistance, and lube will help you slide into things just fine.


Boil, Toil & Trouble: What You Don’t Know About Women’s Changing Bodies (A Halloween Special)

It occurs to me, as I sit awake, unable to sleep because I am a sweaty mess of hormones and hot flashes, that we have done women a(nother) great disservice.

You know how we start in grade school to educate girls about that special “womanhood” thing? We separate them from the boys, and tell them all about their changing bodies — even before those bodies are changing. I’m not saying it’s all aces in terms of such education; but there are far fewer girls running home crying thinking the blood in their panties means they are dying. So why don’t we pull young women aside in say high school, and them them all about the other changes their bodies will go through — namely menopause or perimenopause.

And when we teach it, we should teach all of it.

First of all, menopause isn’t “the change.” As a woman, we experience lots of changes. Menstruation, for example, is not the mere existence of blood in the crotch of our panties. It’s not even the evidence of the miracle of life in terms of the biological machinations. Yeah, egg released, womb is lined, womb is shed — but no one tells you about what that means for you and your changing body.

No one tells you that the hormones requires to start this perfectly natural cycle will make you feel like 900 pissed-off and pointy cats live inside of you. Their sharp teeth and claws may not exactly puncture you internally; but are like sandpaper on every last nerve.

No one tells you that the process for shedding the uterine lining means more than “cramps”; how the body resists and reacts to these cramps with everything from hot constipation and burning diarrhea (yes, often both) to increased breast and genital sensitivity and increased sexual desires (yes, often with both again). You may not want to know the details of my lovely cycle, but let’s just say it’s the frustrating crush of a fist holding everything, including my breath, tight and still — followed by a rush of “everything must get out.” That includes skin eruptions and bowels along with my uterine lining.And while everything is sensitive, those utero-contractions make me feel like I’m on the edge of something… Like a great big orgasm, so let’s get on with that and get it out too. (Which reminds me, ladies, if we had proper sex education, we’d be telling young women about this reality — and how great vibrators and sex toys can be. Heaven knows, if I’d had known about the joys of a Hitachi Magic Wand in my 20’s, I’d have skipped many a bad romance, and better coped with my periods too.)

You’re right; this isn’t “ladylike.” But it’s what happens to ladies, to women; so let’s stop denying it.

Now, when it comes to menopause, there’s a lot more to the ending of this monthly cycle — which, while often hellish, is our damn monthly cycle. We can hate it, but we’ve just spend decades getting used to it, and now what the hell?!

Thanks to women’s magazines and shows like Oprah, there’s been some talk about menopause. Frankly, I didn’t tune into them all; like the little girl I once was, I figured that change was so far ahead in my life, I didn’t need to worry my pretty little head about it. Which is why it was great that sitting down to hear it was a forced mandatory school thing. Hence my belief that the same should be done regarding teaching the realities of menopause to young women in high school.  But anyway, like many of my sisters who are ushering in the age of chronedome, I am amazed to discover there is lots that I don’t know about this specific change. Knowing that this particular biological trip is the end of creating life, that this agonizingly slow, back and forth of you have a period then months without it, then BAM! have a period of some sort again, isn’t all there is to the story.

You’ve likely heard of those hot flashes. Well, they are real.

And they are a real bitch.

If you didn’t already have insomnia, the hot flashes are enough to give it to you. You lay awake, sweating. You kick off the covers. You turn a fan on, even when just hours before, you were begging your husband to turn the heat up. And when you do pass out for a bit, you wake up frigid. (Not just temperature wise, but sexually too. Because you are sleep deprived and you are aware just how much you freakin’ stink from sweating, so the last thing you can imagine is having sex. But wait a while… Your hormones will demand otherwise soon enough. Just pray you haven’t alienated your partner too much. Or hit that vib for medicinal reasons — because there will be times that orgams will be the only way to knock yourself out well enough to sleep a few hours.)

And then too, the fan is awesome white-noise to help alleviate insomnia in general. Your partner may not dig this. At best, this adds stress to an already stressful time — leading to more insomnia for you. At worst, you find yourself yelling sarcastically, “Yes, please do turn the fan off. I am completely faking all this wretched sweating just to make you cold at night! It’s all about you — always!”

Like I said, it’s not pretty. Especially when there’s little understanding. And how can there be understanding when the bulk of knowledge about menopause if a joke about the little old ladies with fans?

One other ugly thing I am experiencing is boils. Big nasty, angry-ass boils.

No one wants to talk about these hideous things. Just the other day, I was swapping horrible night-sweat stories with a friend. You know, in that bitter misery-loves-company way involving bitter laughter — until you cry. But I didn’t dare bring up the boils. They are just too ugly. Normal, it turns out; but still ugly.

But the whole drive home, I kept kicking myself in the ass for not saying something — for not speaking the truth. What if she had them, but didn’t know they were normal? What if she blamed herself for some imaginary hygiene problem? What if she was too embarrassed to talk to her doctor? What if she did mention to her doctor, but that doctor was an ass about it, like mine was? It took me going through some basic boil info to realize that boils are often a part of perimenopause because boils are caused by ingrown hairs (something affected by hormonal changes) and plugged sweat glands or oil ducts (thanks again, hot flashes). So a-duh you can have boils at this time. But thanks, Dr. Ass-Hat, for making me spell it out for you. (Thankfully, you can also have a new doctor at this time too.)

For these reasons, I remain silent to longer.

“Hey, world, I am a suffering yet another painful change in my body and life! This one comes with mood swings, the loss of ‘beauty’ (i.e. clues to health and fertility) and societal value, hot flashes, sleep deprivation, and big ol’ boils! Arg!”

And when people don’t get it, when they call you insane or mock you with even the slightest of eyeball rolls for your hormone-ridden life — be it menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause, you want to scream, “Hey, buddy, you can leave any time you friggin’ want — me, I’m f-ing stuck here with this situation!”

Now, maybe it’s sleep deprivation talking, but all of this reminds me of the depictions we have of witches…

Witches are usually old; with grey or white hair and long noses. Witches are typically depicted with what we call warts, often with a hair jetting out of them. Here I see boils. Boils, as mentioned, are often sprung from a hair follicle.

And witches are often shown sweating over a huge caldron of boiling something-or-other. Is that a reference to hot flashes?

Unlike the idea of wise crones, witches seem to be the ugliest, scariest, icons of menopause.

Perhaps the flying on brooms thing is about older women now being able to leave home and hearth; the scariest thing of all for a woman to do — other than be sexual, of course.

50 Shades Of Humiliating

Fifty Shades Magazine

When I spotted the cover of the Fifty Shades magazine leering at me from it’s in-your-face product positioning in the check-out lane at a local grocery store, I immediately broke out into a grin of disbelief. Here? In Fargo, North Dakota?! How utterly fabulous!

In a world where human sexuality is taboo — and women’s rights to have it is steadily shrinking, I was so giddy with the mere idea of the magazine sitting on display so blatantly, so defiantly, that I pounced on a copy. And unable to contain myself, I dared to speak aloud.

“I bet you’ve seen a lot of these leaving — and with old ladies like me,” I said to both the male cashier and the bag boy precisely at the moment the cashier was scanning the publication.

The cashier managed to avoid eye contact and comment via hyper-focus on his check-out duties. The bag boy, caught off guard, looked to see what I was speaking about as it was handed to him and he awkwardly, loudly, replied, “Umm, we must have just got these in; I haven’t seen them before now.” Followed by profuse blushing as his brain caught up with what his eyes were reading.

It was rather anticlimactic.

Even though I’m not sure what I was expecting or hoping for.

But if buying this magazine was anticlimactic, it was a major disappointment to read it.

Filled with pages of uncredited “articles” which were so bland it would make the much disliked and even hated Cosmo seem intelligent, Fifty Shades just left me feeling sad, yet again, about the sad state of magazines for women.

In Underwary, feminist platitudes serve to bolster mocking men — while focusing primarily on male pleasure: “It’s your body,” “Men don’t understand lingerie,” “He will blow it,” “Instead of letting him navigate the world of satin and lace all alone, surprise him and say you’re going shopping together. He’ll think you look great, you’ll feel great, and everyone will benefit. (But mostly him.)”

Oh, and don’t forget to exercise and diet too.

Because it’s important for women to focus on their appearance even during fantasies.

*heavy sigh*

Now, I’ve never ready any of the 50 Shades books, so as an ethical reviewer I can’t say anything about how “true” the magazine is to the “steamy series”. But that won’t stop me from having an opinion — an educated opinion — regarding the reaction to the books.

As a woman, I’ve not only taken a rather long road to my own personal sexual discoveries and satisfaction, but along the way I’ve uncovered and pondered our historical and cultural cues regarding sexuality — these being, largely, the reasons it was such a long road. And as a collector, I’ve been documenting this as a part of women’s history as well. The short story is that this whole Fifty Shades thing is not new. Not in terms of books; not in terms of shock and backlash either. We have a lot of dumb rules and taboos about gender and sex (NWS).

For those reasons, this Fifty Shades magazine will not be tossed out but rather saved as part of my collection. As will my scarlet letter “A”. (I got mine! Did you get yours?) The difference, obviously, is which one I believe in, like, admire…

The biggest question then is, do I leave some sort of notes about that so that my kids or future people know why I saved these things, what kind of person I was?

Reflections On A Pretty Baby

I often wonder about Brooke Shields, especially when I see Pretty Baby. It’s been a few years now since I’ve watched it last, but when I saw this image, I started thinking about the movie and the actress again.

Most people wonder about young Brooke for her notorious advertising gigs, and for the film Blue Lagoon (NWS), but it’s Pretty Baby which makes my head spin. That’s why I’ve watched the movie several times. The are multiple layers of uneasiness and creep that I know I must work out for myself, so I continue to watch it. (This posting likely ensures a viewing sooner rather than later.)

In the film, a 12-year-old Brooke Shields plays Violet, the 12-year-old daughter of a prostitute working in Storyville, the red-light district of New Orleans, in 1917.  It would be an interesting and uncomfortable story by itself, but unlike a book, film requires more than your mind — characters are brought to life by actors. As noted in the post about Blue Lagoon (above), a lot of watching a film is about what we bring to it. I didn’t see the film when it came out in 1978 (yet I often wonder what my 14-year-old self would have thought about it);  I was both an adult and a mom. And as a mom — who knows that Brooke is a mom — I can’t help but wonder about the actress herself. What was it like to be a child and pretend such a role? When a kid plays in a horror movie, I have those thoughts too; but then kids know scary monsters under the bed. I’m no prude, and I don’t think sex is worse than violence, but Pretty Baby is/was different. Its sophistication is what makes it a great film. But is such sophistication suitable for children — viewers or actors? …Was young Brooke aware that her position as a child actress was a lot like the role she played? How does Brooke the mother feel — would she allow, encourage, or discourage one of her children from playing such a role?

Brooke’s written books, but her autobiography was written before she was a parent, and I doubt the postpartum depression book mentions any of this… I’d love to get my hands on a copy of her 1987 senior thesis, The Initiation: From Innocence to Experience: The Pre-Adolescent/Adolescent Journey in the Films of Louis Malle, Pretty Baby and Lacombe Lucien; but that too was ages ago. Has age and motherhood changed how she views these experiences?

Happy Birthday Me

Birthdays are a time of reflection — but don’t worry, this isn’t one of those sentimental personal pieces full of beauty and gratitude, a wistful and wise piece about aging, or even one of those sad yet triumphant stories of survival. While I have moments of deep gratitude, brief bits of wisdom, and small moments in which I feel triumph sits on the horizon like a ship I can see and might one day board, I’m still working on all those things.

Instead, this birthday is like most birthdays since I was to turn 16. That year I told my parents that I didn’t need or deserve a party; I had achieved nothing and they deserved the credit for having kept me alive. Today I feel rather the same — only with a much heavier sense of futility. For in 48 years, neither the world, my status in it, nor my feelings about it has changed much.

I was born on June 21, 1964; I joined this world, as Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney left it. My mother’s screams may have been dulled by the twilight sleep of that time’s hospital deliveries, but I passed through the same veil, entered the ether echoing with the agony, pain, and fear of those men, their families and friends, and all who possess any shred of humanity… And I have lived in a country filled with those sounds and the stink of racism ever since.

I was born white; but such privilege doesn’t preclude the ability to know how wrong racism is, to hate what separates and enslaves.  …To feel the futility of such efforts even to educate that we the privileged have an obligation to do what is right is a heavy rope around my own neck.

I was born a girl; I joined this world with my rights up for debate and my womb under the control of others men. Any progress towards equality and the right to my own person has been met with struggle, abated with state allowed terrorism, and, indeed, is being wrestled away as I sit here today. Such abuse, rape, and control by the state fills me with the same pain, indignity, helplessness, and shame as the abuse, rape, and control experienced at the hands of individuals. …And then there are the more subtle, less violent, means of control — disrespect, dismissing, muzzling, belittling, economic inequality, shaming — used to assert government control, which perpetuates the abuses by individuals.

I was born “straight”; but, like being white, I know that my privilege of heterosexuality obligates me behave as a human being towards my fellow human beings. Ostracization and inequality based on orientation &/or gender identity is still in practice, in vogue in some places. It sickens, saddens, and wearies me as if it were my own personal struggle. …Then again, since this is very much tied to male power, beliefs about sexuality, it really mirrors — nay, is, my personal struggle.

I was born without silver spoon in mouth, or nearby. My parents worked tirelessly to provide a better future for their children. It was achieved; but brief. Those born with silver services and gold flatware have worked just as tirelessly to ensure that the poor and middle class would assume their place at the feet of their economic masters. I now work tirelessly to ensure my children survive; “thrive” is a question which lies under the boot heels of social and economic masters — i.e. wealthy white men and their corrupt corporations which are allowed human status.

Survival isn’t as easy as it sounds.

So you’d think I could hang my proverbial birthday hat on that, give myself some credit for just having made it to 48.

But I am just too tired.

Too tired to even go, as is my birthday custom, and visit graveyards and cemeteries. For when I see how the nuns who gave their lives in service and faith are buried like paupers, adoringly facing the monuments of their male leaders — presumably to serve even in death, I cannot bear the energy such emotion evokes. Not even when I see that the little cement slabs which mark where the nuns lay are less lavish, less cared for, than the markers for the never-born, the aborted. Really? Are female lives given in such service worth so little that they must still be treated as less-than virtual beings, ideas of beings?! It’s all just too-too much.

A lifetime of so little progress is just too much.

If It’s Antique Is It Still Porn? (NWS)

If you thought the matter of who makes art exploring the issue of abortion difficult, perhaps the following antique erotic artworks will be too upsetting. That’s your warning to leave.

For these works go beyond the issue of basic nudity in art, beyond even the matter of erotic art, to  explore sexuality along with religion and what appears to be the opulence of wealth.

I’m no expert, in art or in the French language, but I’m rather certain these works by Marcel Vertes (Le Pays a Mon Gout aka The Country to Your Taste, 12 original lithograph prints, circa 1921) and Martin van Maele (De Sceleribus et Criminibus , 11 erotic etchings circa 1908) are not theoretical works expressing confusion or commentary on the corruption of religion or other issues of decadence, but rather are fantasies exploiting such distorted delights — i.e. they are 100% erotica, illustrated meant to arouse.

But does that make them any less interesting in terms of art? Does their age make them more credible as art? Does the status of the artists, one an Oscar winner the other an illustrator for the works of H. G. Wells, improve your opinion? Is it art, erotica, or just plain old porn?

…And if you say “porn” or “old porn,” doesn’t that mean it still moves you?

Which would rather give points for “timeless” or “classic” to the works as well as kudos to the artists themselves, wouldn’t it?

Abortive Art

Look at this sketch closely…

My first thought was that this was the agonizingly personal doodles and notations of a woman contemplating abortion. There are lists of check-marked points, like pros and cons, with one side only listing “career, “money,” and “birth control,” while the other lists “guilt,” “alone,” “instability,” “social pressure,” and “environment.”

Frankly, looking at it made me more than a little uncomfortable — not only because I felt like I was reading a page in someone’s private diary, but because I’ve had my own experiences with such thoughts. I wanted to reach out, somehow…

But this work is not the intimate struggles of a lone woman.

It’s the beginnings of a work of art.

Following up on the only credits appearing on the Tumblr page where I found the inked sketchings and notes, I discovered that this sketch is the work of Julian Murphy, self-proclaimed maker of “Tantric Pop Art.” And, according to this interview, this is indeed a page from the artist’s notebook, though no final work is noted. Nor can I identify which work it might have led to. This is problematic for me as seeing the finished work may make me feel a lot differently than I do now.

Few decision are as personal and female — and attacked — as an unplanned, unwanted, or unhealthy pregnancy. Knowing that a man created this?! It’s quite difficult to bear.

Reading the words “excuse/reason“…

seeing an arrow with the words “liquidiser” pointing below the waist on a female figure

the rectangle drawn around the words “Abortion — Liquidised Asset” in all caps…

some sort of gauges apparently measuring “justification”

the whole exercise ending in “easioption“.

Easy option?! *snort*

Anger bubbles. Foam flecks my lips.

Especially when this male artist brings you something as unoriginal as a nudie clothes hanger.

Even if he’s also done a male version.

Even if some of his works are provocative — in a good way. At least without seeing his notes, reading the words used in his process, there’s the possibility of exploration, of fantasy. But this is the male artist who brings us the blindfolded submissive woman as a vacuum cleanerwhat on earth could his intentions of a liquidizing female abortion thing be? Some sort of blender?!

I believe in the right of artists to explore issues; I’m no censor. But when a man uses such painfully loaded language to work on his concept — this concept, I really need to see the final work, to hear the artist discuss his thoughts. Maybe he is as woefully unaware of the language he is using as he is ignorant to the issues women face.

Abortions are not “easy.” Hell, they aren’t even options in many places — regardless of laws stating the right to such an option. And Murphy’s language, his “reasoning,” just scares the hell out of me.

Combining My Love Of Vintage Fashions With My Feminist Notions To Create An Intoxicating Confusion

At Here’s Looking Like You, Kid, Jaynie shares a feature on Christian Dior’s New Look fashions published in the February 2012 issue of Harper’s Bazaar. Here’s the most lovely conflicting passage I wish to direct your attention to:

“Dior said that the forward thrust of the hips was a way for women to advertise their childrearing abilities, so he was certainly tapping into the emergence of the baby boom,” says Timothy Long, the costume curator at the Chicago History Museum. “But there’s no surprise that that whole idea of hyperfemininity is going to continue.” Long is the force behind the current exhibition Charles James: Genius Deconstructed which sheds new light on the unique way that the American couturier-said to have influenced Dior- crafted his dresses.

Does this mean that those 1950s-1960s New Look fashions we find so sexy are indeed incredibly sexist — by design? Or is our fertile femininity to be acknowledged, even celebrated, without judgement? It’s nearly impossible to say… History teaches us just how limited and controlled women were in those times. And the return of such looks — can it be completely coincidental in terms of the current assault on women?

The Charles James exhibit is at the Chicago History Museum through April 16, 2012. Maybe if I can get there, I can figure some of this out.

I Read, I Write: The Kitsch Slapped Link Round-Up

A link round-up of what I’ve been reading and writing — not all of it, just the stuff I think you Kitsch Slapped readers might like.

What I’ve been writing:

What Girl Scout Cookies Fund

I wrote about the Girl Scouts celebrating 100 years, which reminds me of this graphic some anti-Girl-Scout, control-all-the-wombs, misogynistic self loathing person made. It’s supposed to make me not buy the cookies. But in fact, had me double my order this year. My hips can totally carry the extra weight; I can’t bear any more attacks on women and women’s rights.

I’m talking about celebrity deaths in terms of capitalism, collecting, and class.

Silent film fans, those who like to collect vintage beauty items, and those who like to consider beauty pageants and/or gender issues may be interested in Of Valentino, Mineralava Beauty Pageants & Pink Powder Puffs.

And I’m back at Collectors Quest, so check out my columns.

What I’ve been reading:

Big busted women talking about bra minimizers and breast reduction surgery; myth and bra busting with facts and insights.

Victorian sex tips, for men and women. It may or may not all be true; but it’s amusing in a twisted sort of a way.

Some facts and collecting tips on Rudi Gernreich’s No-Bra Bra (for Exquisite Form).

The strange and intriguing tale of the “tits tee” begins here, folks!

This I actually read in hard copy — belatedly. Having grabbed a copy in November when I was seeing family for the holiday, the paper remained tucked inside my suitcase until I got home and after unpacking it, plopped it onto the magazine pile. Anyway, it’s still a fabulous read: Daughter Thinks It’s Time To Have Sex Talk With Parents.

Now That You’re Big, Stop Being A Sexist Pig

Now That You’re Big, by Simon Greiner “with apologies to Dr. Seuss,” is an amusing parody of the classic kids’ books with a twist: Now That You’re Big is about sexuality. Including the one activity that is supposed to make you go blind — masturbating.

At first glance, it’s down-right clever; but then something creeps in and creeps you out… Men are having all the fun in this book, not women.

Ms.JayLynn notices and points it out too:

The Dr. Suess nature of this is great, but unfortunately I have to offer a bit of criticism. You’ve done a lot to reinforce standard gender stereotypes.

The section for guys reinforces the idea that it’s ok to ogle girls, and masturbate. The section for girls is all about “be careful because you might be pregnant. Really? Is that the message you want to be sending?

How about teaching girls that masturbating is a good thing and not something to be ashamed of? And what about teaching guys the importance of being respectful and mature about birth control?

Also, where’s the safer sex message? With the millions of euphimisms about condoms, there’s gotta be a way to put at least one of them in a Dr. Suess fashion. Don’t you think that’s an important message to put out there?

Maybe this was all done in fun and games, and you were just amusing yourself with it. Great! I’m glad you had some fun and put together an awesome piece in the style of Dr. Suess. However, there’s a much bigger picture here as well, and I hope you’ll take a few minutes to consider it.

Be well.

Despite her “Be well,” Ms.JayLynn was, of course, bashed for not having a sense of humor.

Hey, Ms.JayLynn, come on over here where we understand that sometimes inequality just isn’t funny. Sometimes even jokes and humorous pieces when just left to their own comedic devices do more than inspire giggles — they perpetuate the stuff that makes us insane. Like treating women as problems not people entitled to their own pleasures. Like not discussing the health concerns by omitting condoms — but still pointing out pregnancy, as if it were “the worst” and something women are responsible for. Ugh.

As for those leaving nasty comments to MsJaylynn, here’s something for you to consider: Now that you’re big, stop being a sexist pig.

In Which Gardasil & I *Almost* Make The News (Or, Ethics In Medicine & Media)

Last week I watched The Republican Debate at the Reagan Library. I found myself astounded by the fact that these people with limited intellectual reasoning, if not limited intellectual functioning, were in positions to actually be running for President of the United States of America. I’ve more to say on that subject (expect another post soon), but for now, I’m just going to focus on the one subject in which I found myself even more shocked: the one time when I found myself agreeing with some of the things the potential candidates said.

Faux Vintage Gardasil Ad

The subject was mandatory use of the Gardasil HPV vaccine; something I’ve long considered dangerous — especially as it’s equated with crony capitalism. Now, to be clear, I’m not one of those who thinks that preventing a disease which is linked to sexual behavior is akin to giving young women (or anyone) a Go Out & Screw card; you should know by now I’m not that kind of silly. But I’ve been concerned for a long time about the dangers of Gardasil, a drug pushed through quickly and forced upon young women and their families who are kept ignorant of the dangers — including deaths — of the vaccine. However, as I was soon to be traveling, I decided I didn’t have time to write about this subject again. Until…

Not long after I arrived home last night, my father in law called me. A reporter, Kristin Helgeson from Valley News Live, had left a message for him, asking if he was related to a Deanna Dahlsad. Yes, he is; yes, I called the phone number Helgeson left, and left her a message. But it wasn’t until this morning that the reporter and I connected.

Seems Michelle Bachmann stepped in it again, this time taking one individual and unverified comment and making the claim that “Gardasil led to mental retardation,” and Helgeson, having found my coverage of Gardasil at my other blog, wanted a comment from me. However, now that it was the next day, the story is “over.” While Helgeson was interested in pursuing the information I had, her boss, News Director Griff Potter, felt new and more accurate information wasn’t warranted — at least not enough to continue the story on air. Instead, Potter feels that I should just add a comment to the news story on their website.

It’s here that my story turns, for the moment, from one of the dangers the Gardasil vaccine, to that of the problems of The Media.”

In Valley News Live‘s coverage of the story, they reported:

On their website, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has a review page for this vaccine. None of the serious side effects have been linked to the vaccine and there have been no reports of mental disability. In fact, the most serious side effect they found was fainting. They now ask patients to sit down for 15 minutes after they get vaccinated.

This may be true — but it’s clearly not the whole story! As I’ve uncovered, there are deaths linked to Gardasil — in the US and India.  While Valley News Live may not find their omission “retraction worthy,” surely they should present the other information that the public ought to be informed about.  And they should do so in the same format as their original coverage.  One hopes that the folks at Valley News Live know that their television viewers are not necessarily those who will turn to the Internet and look for updates on earlier stories (or trust the comments left by some “kook” like me); if there was something important to add to the story, they’d show it on the news right?  Wrong.

I want to be clear here and state that Helgeson wanted/wants to proceed with the story.  And I did call Mr. Potter to voice my concerns too; as of this writing, he has not returned my call.  I hope he is out to lunch in the literal sense, not metaphorically, and that I will hear from him — or from Helgeson, saying Potter has reconsidered.  But until then, this whole thing just makes me so angry.

How long will the arbitrators of news continue to dismiss the issues in this story?  How long will they continue to discount women — not just as part of their audience, but in general?  For cutting or ignoring the facts from stories like this only perpetuates the problems of poor ethics in everything from medicine and politics.

For more, see my other related posts, at varying sites:

Is Medicine At Odds With Women’s Health?

Controlling Parts Is Controlling The Sum Of Its Parts

The Dark Side Of Medicine

What If Everything You Knew About The Corset Was Wrong?

And do see my Gardasil coverage.

Sexy Sanitary Belts?!

I can only tolerate so much. And “Vintage Sexy Women Sanitary belt Panties Lingerie” goes past that place.

Do you still remember the sanitary belt from last century, which was only used for women monthly period, now we have them in new design, some of them are with pure cotton material inside, some are made with rubber inside…. please see below for the difference

You can also put them on as sanitary belt by place sanitary pads on, but more important, they are new underwears making you sexier and more special. just image it!!

1. Condition:100% new, never been wron
2. Size: one size fits more with the straps
belt length:around 17.0″, width: around3.0″ .
3. Color: show as the picture.
4. Packing: simple plastic bag, then packed in dark grey bag when shipment is made to keep private.

Hey, these garments come from China, so I’ll excuse the English as a second language issues — but the garment itself? No way.

I realize there’s a sexual fetish about everything, including menstruation, but really, so in your face about it? Really?!

The old sanitary pads that were worn with sanitary belts were like bricks. I know. I’m old enough to have seen them. First, in that grade school girls only “changing bodies” talk in the gym. And, yup, those thick brick sanitary napkins were on store shelves too. Mom warned me about them, and I, when I reached that special time, opted for the modern marvel of sanitary pads which were both thinner and had adhesive on the underside so they stayed in place in your panties. Even then, I quickly switched sides and became a “cork girl.”

“Corks,” that’s what we called tampons around our house; it was corks or pads. No one opted for bricks, though I’m sure they were still available. On store shelves then too. After all, you can still find them today at hospitals and stuff, so someone is making them, selling them.

Now that I’ve already digressed…

Here’s a horrifying truth from my young womanhood: When my sister, mother, or I had “the curse,” we had to remove our sanitary paper product, wrap it thrice in toilet paper, place it neatly into a small paper lunch bag (kept in supply neatly in the cabinet under the bathroom sink), close the paper bag by folding down the top three times, then carry the whole thing out to the garage — immediately. How’s that for communicating the evils of bodily female functions?

One tradition I did not hand down to my daughters.

Anyway, back to the “sexy sanitary belts.” Elastic strips are not sexy, or comfortable. Hell, that’s why I hate thongs. Adding areas for storing menstrual flow is not sexy. I repeat: not sexy.

I’m not saying women should be ashamed of their monthly cycles (say by removing all signs of it from the household asap). Or that women should feel uncomfortable about using pads rather than corks (that’s just my personal preference). And yeah, you have my permission to love and lust the periods and products of your periods; to each their own includes kink and fetishes. But to market sanitary belts as sexy panties is to clearly not understand what is generally sexy, what the general human population will respond to as sexy, or why people would enjoy this particular kink.

The whole thing shows a lack of understanding about marketing as deep and vast as the complete lack of understanding of taboos as turn-ons.

That is unforgivable.

And the Christmas tree lights border around the whole page?! Oh, gawd, puh-leeze give me a toaster or appliance instead. I know that small appliances are no-nos as gifts for a woman, especially from her spouse or lover, but now that these “sexy sanitary belts” are an option… Well, honey, you have my permission to get me a toaster. No, make that a mixer; I do have a fetish for those.

However, you can buy these sexy sanitary belts for men and women here.

The Sweet Smell of Sex

Over at Pretty Dumb Things, Chelsea Girl wondered about her committed relationship and why they were having less than stellar sex:

And I have tried, I have tried and I have tried to get Donny to hear my complaints. I have mentioned how he used to tie me up and wasn’t that fun, wouldn’t he like a go at the old ropes again? I have said, wow, I really liked it when you dripped me with candle wax, whaddaya think, got a match? I have said, you know, I really enjoy being spanked. How about spanking me? I have insinuated, intimated, directly addressed, queried, said outright and asked point blank. I have done so for almost a year, and for almost a year, I have seen our sex life get more and more firmly entrenched in what I can only term in absolute honesty as a rut.

Saturday, I lost patience, and I kinda sorta, no really, let Donny have it. I told him that I was dissatisfied. I reminded him of the sex we used to have–long, languorous and perverse loops of time and experience where we held each other suspended in passion and occasional pain. I told him that I realized that this kind of sex wasn’t an everyday option, but given how rarely we do fuck, that I needed it to happen more frequently than it had.

I told him, in short, that we were in a rut. I told him that I wanted out. Whether I meant the rut or the relationship was intentionally ambiguous.

“Well,” he said, a stricken look on his face, “when I met you and we did all that stuff, I wasn’t in love with you. But now I love you, and…” his voice trailed off.

Which leaves me to wonder. What has love got to do with it? Why now that my boyfriend is in love with me and I with him, now that he takes care of me, now that he’s committed to me, why with all of that, does the nasty need to go away? Why can’t he fuck me like the little whore I used to be (and still am in my mind)? Why must I sacrifice the wild ecstatic pleasures to the domestic delights? Why do I have to lose my lover to gain a partner?

Why can’t I have it all?

…I hope fervently that we can relearn how to be beasty in the bedroom and keep the commitment. It’s a lot less easy than I thought it would be.

Yes, Chelsea, it is. It will be. Relationships take work and sometimes that work along with the daily grind make sex between committed partners seem more like sex with a friend or a sibling even. (Yeesh!)

That spark, that je ne sais quoi, that makes folks tumble into bed together is dampened if not completely put out by the wet blanked of security, familiarity and comfort which we all prize in our relationships — well, at least until it smothers the sex, then we wonder if it’s all it’s cracked-up to be.

Without trying to play counselor to Chelsea and Donny — the former I’ve ‘conversed with’ a few times, the later I don’t know from Adam — I do have general advice for this general situation of a general sexual rut. And it’s really simple: Hit him in the nose.

No, not literally. Use his sense of smell to get him in the mood.

Memories, complete with all associated emotions such as arousal and lust, can be prompted by smell. I’m serious — it works for both men and women. And I’m not talking about pheromones or other odors you either aren’t aware of or cannot control; I’m talking about recreating the fragrances you both fell in lust with. Your perfume, his cologne, candles, incense — even the smell of a smoky bar can literally be that magic “something in the air” which you’ve been missing.

Smells are strongly linked to memory, so simply spritzing on that signature perfume you always used to wear when you were dating or lighting candles in the same scents you first made-out to can take your partner back to those emotional feelings. I personally know a couple whose sex life soared to re-newed heights when she took a part-time job back in waitressing. Every night that she returned home smelling of fried foods it took him back to when he used to pick her up after work late at night… They were young then, and their night was just beginning…

Who knew fried foods could be so sexy?

Well, in truth, it’s not the fried foods but the smell connected to emotion. One whiff and he was transported back in time… A time when he couldn’t wait to get a chance to feel her up under her polyester uniform and prayed for more. His drive returned with the memories (and she made a bit of extra spending cash to buy herself new trinkets which made her feel sexy too). Win-win!

So dig out that bottle of perfume or cologne you once put on for every date night — I don’t care if those fragrances are so last year (or even so 1980’s), just put them on again. (Unless these bottles themselves have turned bad, then head to the store and buy a new bottle. If they stopped making that fragrance, ask the lady at the perfume counter to help you find the latest scent which is the closest match.) Ditto on the candles — burn Christmas candles all year long if you were getting hot and sweaty during holiday time.

If you don’t believe me, then believe Dr. Alan Hirsch founder of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago. Dr. Hirsch has studied olfactory-evoked nostalgia (sometimes called the Proust Effect) and he says, “The quickest way to affect somebody’s moods or behavior, quicker than with any other sensory modality, is with smell.”

This is because of how smell and memory are linked — in fact, we must first remember a smell before identifying it. This means that not only is odor linked to experiences, that smell evokes memories, but that smell is better at this memory cue effect than the other senses. So if you want him to remember a special time, a special feeling — that feeling — think less about how you look or what you are wearing, but about what you both are smelling.

This is entirely unconscious, so you need not get your partner to agree — or even tell them about your sweet-smelling seduction plans!

Of course, some scent memories may have changed over time. For example, some women can no longer wear their old favorite fragrance because that smell is linked to the memory, and nausea, of morning sickness. But this too is good news — it’s proof that your smell-memory connection can be relearned. If your partner isn’t keen on smelling like fried foods every night just to get it on, start spritzing on a new perfume, lighting candles, or even get a new car fragrance tree on the rear-view if you can’t wait to get home to do it — whatever new scent you add to the hot steamy sex will quickly become the new sexy smell memory.

If all else fails, serve him pumpkin pie while burning a lavender candle. Or burn a pumpkin candle and a lavender candle at the same time. Because Dr. Hirsch found the smell of pumpkin pie, when mixed with the smell of lavender, stimulated male sexual arousal more than any other aroma tested. It increased penile blood flow in test subjects by 40 per cent, 13 times more than designer perfume.

And keep those candles burning until you are done and both (I hope!) blissfully basking in the afterglow, because after sex there’s an increase in the production of the hormone makes the brain to form new neurons in the olfactory center. Which not only improves sense of smell, but, again, helps link the smell to the sense of satisfaction.

Vintage S & M Restaurant Ad

This ad from This Week In The Land of the Smokies and The Southern Highlands dated May 1963 (yes, for the month of May, despite it’s “This Week” title) is for the S & M restaurant in Gatlinburg.  In case, you know, you’re traveling and looking for a place to stop and munch.

I’m not sure if this place still exists (let me know if it does), but here’s what it looked like:

And, because I am amused by such things, note in these two vintage postcards, how the similar the cars in the lot are. (The last one appears to be the color version of the photo used in the ad.)

Shoes Like A Chastity Belt

Knee High Birth Control

With the current state of affairs — i.e. republicans trying to defund Planned Parenthood, it seems these Knee High Converse shoes might become affordable birth control. (Yes, even at $60+ they are a one-time purchase.) Since, even with the zipper, it takes a good 15-20 minutes to get them on or off (my 14 year old timed herself and tells me so), greatly delaying the removal of the unfortunately popular skinny jeans, jeggings, etc. (which are so tight they must be completely removed), these shoes might just be as good as a chastity belt.

Image via.

PS These shoes come in more than just black; in case you’d like your birth control to match more of your wardrobe.