Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday Night Common Sense

Yes, I'm on a love tip for a second...or eons. But I do adore this quote from Othello:

Scene 5 Act 2 Lines 332-334

then must you speak
Of one that loved not wisely but too well

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Femme-Macho & Virgin-Whore Dichotomy circa 2004

I enjoy looking back at what I wrote in my blog over these past 5 years. There's a lot of growth that I can see and there is also a lot of similarities that I see remaining. This is exciting for me. I started writing online in 2004. Here's one of the first entries I ever published. Lots of ideas here; kind of incoherent at times, but important thought processes occurring.

Virgin/Whore Dichotomy?!

why am i and my latina homegirls plagued by the virgin/whore dichotomy!? why must we be seen as either sex feigns or virginal? what about women who buy into this only to say "i'm neither, i'm in the middle"? am i really a femme-macho for now. don't know what that is? check out aida hurtado's the color of privilege three blasphemies on race and feminism. hurtado defines a femme-macho as one who: unlike the virgin or the whore, can either be attractive or unattractive. A strong personality is what characterizes her. The strength of the femme-macho does not lie in her racial/physical appearance but, rather, on remaining emotionally uninvolved though sexually active.

The man’s challenge is to deflower the femme-macho emotionally. "The femme-macho can be sarcastic, funny, outrageous, aggressive, mean, or belligerent, but she cannot be tender, loving (except in a political or abstract sense), frightened, or insecure (p. 50-51). This description is in some ways liberating and in others restricting. A woman who chooses not to give up her ability to enjoy herself sexually, can only do so at the cost of not experiencing an emotional relationship with her partner(s).

The issue of fluidity comes into play when Hurtado states that the “femme-macho also plays with the notion of bisexuality” (p. 51). Identities such as bisexuality have not been discussed in Latina feminist literature, or queer literature, as much as lesbianism has. Hurtado used her discussion of femme-machos to discuss lesbianism in the Chicano community. In Gloria Anzaldúa’s book Borderland/La Frontera, she discusses her perspectives on the Chicano community and her lesbianism. Anzaldúa writes “I made the choice to be queer (for some it is genetically inherent)” (emphasis Anzaldúa’s) (p. 41). Her statement to be queer speaks to her conscious decision to challenge stereotypes about women and the relationships they are capable of having and their positioning on the hierarchy Hurtado discusses.

Emma Pérez writes that the “arguments that men pass down to white women are passed down to us. We are forced to address issues as they define them, not as we define them. Our work reconstructs as much as it has always deconstructed the white-male order and white-feminist assumptions about women of color” (1991, p. 161). If anything, the virgin/whore dichotomy is not a Latino construct, it is a white one, along with ideas of machismo and Marianismo. The theories are backwards.

In Puerto Rico, traditional sexuality and relationship formation does not mean sexual oppression, traditional means historically known, autonomous, liberated sexuality, and oppressive and rigid sexuality and relationship formation is historically known to be a construction of colonizer’s “white” sexuality. The idea that Puerto Rican women, when sexually active, having more than one partner in their lifetime, and cohabitating with a partner, is not a result of acculturation to US society, but is actually a result of historical “traditional” Puerto Rican ways of living, loving and creating social support systems.

Attempts all racial/ethnic researchers, scholars, authors and others make to identify Latinas, especially Puerto Rican women’s, sexuality and relationships as dichotomous in a virgin/whore situation is inaccurate. I perceive this attempt to be a “new” and “modern” form of colonization of Puerto Rican women. Neocolonization doesn’t occur too far from “home,” and this example of Puerto Rico demonstrates that point.

I believe that it is appropriate to end this paper with a quote by Anzaldua. In her section “somos una gente” (we are one) she writes “I think we need to allow whites to be our allies…They will come to see that they are not helping us but following our lead” (p. 107). What is currently considered “liberated” white acculturated sexuality does not help Puerto Rican women and some Latinas, it is Puerto Rican women and Latinas helping liberate white sexuality.

I would rely on the memory of my mother telling me that I should live with a man for at least one year before marrying him. When I asked her why she said that, she responded that it was something she wished she had done before marrying my father (they have been separated for 10 years), that people change and that I will change and that I have to be aware and prepared for those changes before I get married and/or choose to share my life with someone.

Clearly, my Puerto Rican mother supports cohabitation and advocates it, she uses her own experiences to guide me towards a better understanding of my relationships and sexuality in hopes that I come to realizations about who I am and what I want, deserve, desire and need before I make life changing commitments. I believe this is her guiding me to creating and achieving what Chela Sandoval calls “revolutionary love.” June 8, 2004: 7:13 pm

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Love Shrines & Links

Mira gente, this week's Sunday Night Common Sense was just as much for me as it was for you! I'm struggling. My heart broke and I'm quickly putting the pieces back together and happy doing it this time around! In between talking with my homegirls Erika Lopez and dopegirlfresh and ME, I realized a thank you letter is what I will write to my last/past/ex/lover. As Erika said to me last night, I did dodge a bullet with this one!

Today I've got the courage up to work on the Crafty Chica Love Shrine I purchased on my trip to Arizona in February! Yes, the box has been looking at me for that long. It's time. So I'll work on my Love Shrine, when I'm done I'll post the pictures and share the process. Just so you know, I'm also reading this book to review for my editor which definitely speaks to the space I'm in right now!

In the meantime, here are some links that really helped me reflect and challenged me this week:

My man Marty Klein is at it again! His latest article Oprah: Anti-Vagina, Anti-Sex (which was published again this week) came off a bit harsh at first as someone who believes that acupuncture, massage, ritual, and other non-traditional medications and practices DO work for many people, he's on point (as usual) with O's discomfort on the topic. Check it out and tell me what you think!

Released this week by the Guttmacher Institute is this story NO CRYSTAL BALL NEEDED: TEENS ARE HEADING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION which finds that teens are "just as likely to have sex, but less likely to use contraception than they were a few years ago."

Yesterday was Octavia Butler's birthday.

My article on the Top Sexiest Songs (to get it on to) was published with audio! Which reminded me of how fierce the film Amores Perros is (and can't believe it's almost 10 years old!) and how this song is one of my favorite songs on the soundtrack!

(I just love how the people use their mouths!)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday Night Common Sense

Sometimes things get hectic. We get side-tracked. Distracted. When I find myself in this space, I look to one of my several James De La Vega (known simply as De La Vega to followers and fans) items. I have several of his pieces. As I write this I know I should go visit him again this week. I haven't been at all this year.

This foto reads "The pressure of survival in the big city will make you lose sight of your dream...Hang in there."

You can find this and many other amazing affirmations by visiting De La Vega at his Saint Marks Place shop!

foto credit Kindom Khuong

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

GLAADs New President is LATINO

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), of which I was formerly employed, has announced their new President Jarrett Barrios.

In the GLAAD press release (lea en espanol) it states Barrios was a State Senator for Massachusetts, a parent, and a partner. He is the son of Cuban immigrants and will begin working at GLAAD on September 7, 2009. I'm not sure of this, but he may be the FIRST Latino President for GLAAD.

Bienvenidos Jarrett Barrios!

*****It's official Jarrett Barrios IS the FIRST Latino President of GLAAD*****

foto credit (c)Violentz

Condoms That Are Barely There

I’ve written about how condoms can save lives and how they have become more and more unavailable to communities that need them. I also know that there are folks out there who think condoms are uncomfortable, ruin the “mood,” and reduce pleasure for both partners.

I understand this. I’ve held the same ideas. Today I want to share what I’ve found through trial and error to work for me while using condoms with partners or on my toys. I want to make it clear that I do not have any financial or professional investments with any brands.

Here are some condoms that I love, that my partners have loved, and that I have in my arsenal (i.e. handbag, bedside table, backpack, basket in living room, you must always be ready).

Lifestyles SKYN is one of the only options for folks who want to spend less but have a latex allergy. Usually polyurethane condoms are available for folks with latex allergies, however they are often more expensive. Lifestyles SKYN condoms are made of a non-latex material called polyisoprene and is proven to protect against pregnancy, HIV and STIs when used properly and consistently. They are also fairly easy to find in stores and are priced similarly, if not exact, to latex condoms. When these first came out I gave some to friends to try out and they said they could tell a difference in the sensations they experienced, in a good way! Lifestyles SKYN condoms feel thin when you open them and are mildly lubricated.

Trojan Ultra-Thin condoms are the condoms that when I open them I can instantly feel how thin they are without rolling it down. The color is also more clear than other thin condoms which doesn’t mute or alter the color of your partner or of the toy you are covering.

Trojan Magnum Thin my last partner and I used these exclusively. They work great and do feel thin. However, in comparison to the Trojan Thin above, they are not as obviously thin once opened.

Crown Skinless Skin
is a Japanese-made condom. I appreciate this condom becaues it doesn't have any ridges or extra things going on to distract me or my partner. It works great and feels great too. I find this one to be the most lubricated of all the condoms. Sometimes difficult to find in drugstores and pharmacies, you may find the easier at online pharmacies or stores/boutiques specializing in condoms and accessories.

I’d like to recommend Condomania which has an amazing supply of brands, textures, flavors, lubes, toys, and instructions to help you find the best condoms for you. They also have great sample packs to give you an opportunity to test out several and see which work best for you and your partner. They do not offer free samples but they do offer:
offer 100 FREE CONDOMS with every order over $49.00 as well as a gift certificate worth $20.00 for every order over $79.00. Plus if your order is over $29.00 we throw in a shipping credit worth $3.50.
They can ship internationally also which I know can help those of you reading outside the US.

Finally, if you want free condoms Condomania recommends you visit Condoms4Free where you can select from 4 different brands to send you samples. I’ve done it and it does work.

If you are an organization in NYC you can sign up to receive FREE condoms, including FREE female condoms and lube, here.

I'm thinking about a Lube post that can accompany this because it is very important you don't forget your lube. Yet, just like condoms, lube comes in various types, flavors, textures, and prices so expect that post shortly!

Learn how to properly put on a condom here. It's ok to practice even if you are by yourself! Sometimes we get nervous when we are with a partner. Even I have had trouble putting one on my partners. It's a skill. An important skill to have. Get to practicing!

*all fotos were (c) of RipNRoll

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sunday Night Common Sense

Today's Common Sense comes from my new good friend Judith Steinhart. She invited me to a soiree with her and 20 other women a few weeks back and gave us this handout:

Your Sexual Self

Your sexuality is yours.
You choose to share it.
Your sexual self is evolving.
Your sexual self is made up of your mind, body, and spirit.
Your sexual self lives and thrives.
Your sexual self is okay.
Your fantasies are okay.
Your worries and concerns are okay to have.
Your sexual self is unique.
You are unique.
.....and we are delighted!!!!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Thoughts on 16 & Pregnant?

So, if you watched MTVs 16 & Pregnant what did you think? For those of you who have no clue what this show is about, view the trailer below.

Here are some resources if you are thinking of talking to a young person in your life regarding this topic.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Reminder

I'm traveling and will have limited access to a computer. As a result all of your comments will be posted when I return (Monday). Please feel free to comment, but don't get frustrated if you don't see it pop up instantly!

In the meantime check out these links:

The Doula Project Seeks Caregivers
A doula provides emotional support, pain management and relaxation techniques, and information to her clients as needed. The Doula Project is a pro-choice New York City-based organization that was started in 2008 to provide services to lower-income individuals across the spectrum of pregnancy. They are recruiting doulas for all components of their mission, though priority is given to those who are interested in being both Birth and Abortion Doulas. Please see the application on their website

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has released the first immigration law practice manual for attorneys representing transgender clients. Immigration Law and the Transgender Client, co-authored by Immigration Equality and the Transgender Law Center (TLC), provides practical advice and information to assist attorneys representing transgender immigrants. Find out more about Immigration Law and the Transgender Client.

Here are some Resources that Examine Racial and Ethnic Disparities Among Women at the State Level and include including a comprehensive report, state fact sheets, and interactive data tables, that illuminate and document the persistence of disparities on 25 indicators between white women and women of color, including rates of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, AIDS and cancer, and access to health insurance and health screenings.

Finally, if you find yourself missing me, you can always go back and listen to me on Radio Capicu! or try to find me in the Adipositivity project site! There are 4 fotos of me. Here is one and here is another. Can you find my other 2?

Paz, Luz y Amor

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sex y Desert

Before I go on my trip (I'll be gone till Monday), I wanted to share some of my fotos from Arizona with you all. I've been to AZ twice this year and I really do love the desert.

One of my best homegirls, Elena, a Chicana, lives there. I stay with her and her family when I visit. After our Friday night event, we had plans to hang out with some of my friends who I have not seen in years. We went to the pool, got tanned (I got burnt! That sun is NO joke) and then went to have dinner and drinks with good friends.

Jump to our excursions in the desert. I told Elena I would love to see Sedona so we made plans to go there. It's a 2 hour drive away. While driving there I got to see how the desert changes. I always thought the desert was bare and dry like in the movies. Yet that's only one way the desert can look. Here's what the desert looks like from Phoenix all the way to Sedona:

On our way to Sedona we passed by signs advertising "Montezuma's Castle." This is a structure indiegnious people created and has been preserved. Why they gave it the name Montezuma when it was NOT created by the Aztec, but by the Sinaguan is unclear to me and Elena who is an anthropologist and artist.

What we did pass was this sign that I thought read in a particular way, but alas, it was not what I had hoped for. Fortunately, with a bit of photo-shopping I was able to make the sign into what I had hoped it would say:

It's good to dream.

We knew we were getting closer to Sedona when we saw this:

We knew we were IN Sedona when we saw this:

So we stopped to take fotos. And we found a scat exhibit and I found a NYC UFO card:

Then we stopped at a little spot that Elena always goes to when she visits Sedona. It's off the main road, a little shopping area where I think we took some of the most beautiful fotos. Here are my three favorite:

The entire time I was in AZ I knew in every part of my body that I was really in Mexico. My body, my mind, my spirit knew of the space regardless of the "border." I knew I was on sacred ground with the steps I took. I saw the cactus grow in between concrete (not the cacti that were imported, but the rebel cacti). I felt my skin heat up from the sun. I craved water every day all the time. I slept in the most quiet of spaces. Chihuahuas licked my toes. I ate authentic Mexican food. I spoke English. I spoke Spanish. I watched the clouds move over the mountains.

What would it be like to have sex under the scorching sun in the desert. The preparation needed for that alone would take away the spontaneity. Yet the lathering up of suntan lotion on the back of a lover is erotic. Would our bodies get red if we were to play on the rocks in Sedona?

The desert reminded me of sex and sexuality. It can take many forms, but it is still the desert. It can be alluring but if not prepared for it's atmosphere you can get burnt, hurt, or die. I know I'll be back for more.

FREE Training!

Did you know that I am a Master Trainer with the National Association of Social Workers/Lambda Legal LGBTQ Out-Of-Home Youth project? I was one of 40 selected from a large group of providers, activists, educators and advocates selected.

This collaboration began to provide youth and service providers information and support for young LGBTQ people who are involved with the child welfare, juvenile justice, and homeless service systems. I am providing FREE trainings for service workers (social workers, social work students, case workers, case managers, directors, program managers, program directors, and everyone else working with LGBTQ youth.

As a Master Trainer I bring all of the materials to YOU, your organization and can conduct a training based on YOUR needs FREE of charge. I can modify the training to be a 3-hour training to a full day training. I can do one training on LGBTQ 101 Intro to LGBTQ youth and a second training on LGBTQ 102 focusing on transgender youth.

If you are interested in having me visit your organization and provide a FREE training please contact me by either leaving a comment for this post or email me at

If you are in NYC I can travel free of charge. If you are in another neighboring state I would request transportation support. Travel from NYC to DC/MD/and parts of VA can be negotiated.

Read more about this collaboration here.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Links I'm Loving: Seasoned Latino Sexuality!

Sometimes the days are just filled with amazing news and writings that I'm reminded of from years ago. It is times like these that I like to go back and read those articles again. It was these series of current briefings that reminded me of other readings. First the current links, then the throwbacks!

1. The American Association of Retired People (AARP) has released the information on their most recent research regarding older Latino workers. Research shows that Latinos work later in life than their peers, make less pay even in older age, Latinos live on average 3 years longer than their peers, and that older Latinos can help fill a void in the job market.

2. AARP has created a publication called Segunda Juventud for Latinos over 55 years old. Not only is this publication in Spanish, but it's also created towards Latino members, not just the English publication translated. For example, this issue has an interview with Sheila E!

3. One of my favorite sexologists is Dr. Marty Klein. Not only do I love his blog Sexual Intelligence, but I reviewed his book America's War on Sex. Today I found this article by him: Why There's No Such Thing as Sexual Addiction -- And Why It Really Matters: Part 1. One of the reasons I love this article is for this quote:

"sexual energy is powerful and demands expression"

All of these reminded me of the AARP report produced in 2005 entitled: Sus vidas y amores… (Their Lives and Loves…) Latino Singles At Midlife and Beyond

I LOVED the Golden Girls. They were on the vanguard of so much and are not only classic TV, but still relevant today! I'm on my way to a Cruise for the first time in my life. I'm hoping it's a Golden Girls cruise. I'll have stories and fotos to share when I get back! In the meantime enjoy this clip

(PS, lamb skin/natural skin condoms are porous and bacteria and infections can get through. Go for Latex, polyurethane and/or polyisoprene).

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunday Night Common Sense

I've been able to relax this week. I hope each of you have had the same opportunity. As a result, I've written a lot more which is always cause and pause for reflection. Reflecting is sometimes painful. It is with this understanding, and the rituals I have incorporated to help me cope with this pain when it arises, is were today's quote comes from:

"No one's hurt me more than you. And no one ever will."
Lauryn Hill, Ex-Factor, 1998

Giving ourselves the permission to recognize the pain and choose not to let it overcome who we are and what we do is something that I still struggle with. I have chosen to unlearn the lies I was told and replace them with knowledge and what I see as my/our truth. We have more power than we think.

Here's the full official video for Lauryn Hill's song:

Dr. Tiller, Abortion & Communities of Color

I received a link to I am Dr. Tiller. Before I began to think about what I would post as an abortion provider, I clicked on the link "Writings About Dr. Tiller" and was sent to the Our Bodies Our Blog page.

Saddened that there were no postings by communities and organizations of Color regarding his murder, I commented below with a handful of posts I knew off the top of my head and found links for in under 5 minutes. These links are of community of Color writers who wrote about Dr. Tiller's murder. Please feel free to add your links below. It is imperative to let the world and anti-choice folk, that communities of Color are pro-choice, we are not silent, and we continue working and ensuring our bodies are protected with dignity, safety, and quality care!

Below is my post:

I think it's extremely important, as a woman of Color, to include the commentary and writings by pro-choice communities of Color who also mourn his loss. Below are just a few, but our writings are not scarce!

Latino Sexuality

National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health Decries the Murder of Dr. Tiller


Angry Black Bitch

Culture Kitchen

Jack & Jill Politics

Countering Anti-Choice Terrorism by Melissa Harris-Lacewell

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Friday Nights in AZ

Elena picked me up from the Sex Conference on Friday and we went straight to the Heard Museum to hear a panel on art, gender, and sexuality. I was just really excited to hear women of Color speak on these topics, especially from after the last session I attended at the conference. I was also super excited to hear the Crafty Chica. Some of you may not know this but there are some folks who are just famous to me, she is one of them, so when I saw her walk in I got all uber nervous and chickened out on talking to her! For those of you who have received my gifts of candles, it was her book that inspired such art!

There was the gorgeous DJ Brazillia spinning great music prior to the talk. I saw my favorite Mexicans who I had not seen in years! And we took our seats for the presentation. I rather not hash out the specific discussion of the panel, but I do want to add that Crafty Chica was the best on the panel (of only 2 women of Color out of the 5 women). I asked a question about how women can control the gaze and make choices to engage their sexuality through performing their gender expression in a particular way and two outspoken panelists were very condescending in ways that I wish I could forget from my days as a graduate student in a Women’s Studies program.

They argued that women can not control the gaze when working in particular spaces. I found this ironic for second wave feminists to state since choice and agency are at the heart of that time period. They tried to “school” me, but what they really did was misunderstand what my question was. When I didn’t back down, and told them that I’m asking about “next steps” from the “not controlling the gaze” to a space where women have choice and agency, then what? Can they speak more about that? Only the Crafty Chica did.

What does it mean that in a space devoted to this topic, a field of which I’ve been an active part of for over a decade, two panelists can so comfortably tell me I’m wrong and do not know what I speak of? What does it say about them, as women, as artists, that they cannot allow themselves to imagine a space where women do and can have such choice and agency?

After the session my hermanos y hermanas said they “understood my question” and that it was a “good” question. As if I were a magnet, two White women approached me and said they agreed with what I had to say, that they appreciated it, and wanted to engage me more. I shared what I wrote above. I also wondered to myself why they hadn’t said these things within the group versus with just me on the side. To be fair, one woman had spoken briefly about her courtship practices, but at the time I could not see the connection to my query.

This always seems to happen to me. Folks approach me after the conversation is over to tell me they agree with me. They appreciate my comment. They like my perspective. Yet that support, encouragement, community is not there the moment shit hits the fan and I get all the backlash. Does it matter that people approach me after the verbal lashing?

Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t.

This time it did.

Sex Goddess: Iris Chacon

Iris Chacon is a Puerto Rican Sex Goddess!

Here are some vidoes of her in action! I especially love this first one because a majority of her dancers are men of Color, Black men, Black Latino men. It's important for me to see that we are represented in all our colors!

My parents used to sing "Cielito Lindo" to my sister and I.

Iris was NOT just for the male gaze. Women, Puerto Rican women, loved her as well:

It's time she gets the recognition she DESERVES! I'm *THIS* close to creating a call for proposals for an anthology on the Iris Chacon Effect!

Only Iris Chacon can cover this song in my opinion:

Who are YOUR sex goddesses?!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Part 3: The Future of Sexuality and Communities of Color

Before reading this final piece of my triptych on my experience at the Sex Conference read part one here and part two here.

I left off at the ending of a presentation on race, class and sexuality and at the beginning of a new session on how African-American women use ehealth to find health information on the internet. It was at this space that I saw the most women and men of Color. There were a sprinkle of White practitioners, some allies, some not.

This was one of the first times that I have heard about that AASECT had a planning meeting with activists and some members (no members in leadership positions on AASECT) focusing on how to diversify the field and the organization. I was not able to attend since this was on one of the last days of the conference and I could only afford to pay for one day, but I shared as much as I could with the people I knew would be in attendance.

From that one conversation action plans were made and here is what happened:

• The Woman of Color Sexual Health Network listserv has been created. If you are reading this and are interested in joining this listserv please comment and I will send a request to add you. Currently, there are 12 people on this listserv.

• In addition to the Women of Color Sexual Health Network facebook page has been created. Please add yourself and share the work you are doing! Currently there are 88 people signed up!

• I have made contact with women of Color in the field and I know these will be long term relationships and collaborations.

• We are planning on submitting presentations for next year’s conference in Pittsburgh, PA.

• We are planning on doing a carpool from NYC to PA.

• We are planning on getting more people of Color into leadership positions at AASECT.

• I am very close to gaining my certification and membership into AASECT.

I’ve realized that with my membership and certification comes another way for more people of Color to gain access into AASECT. One of the requirements is mentorship and a letter of recommendation for sexuality educators. If I am a member, I can offer mentorship and letters of recommendation as well. This is powerful. This is power. This is how my activism has shifted as I age and I am becoming more comfortable working in this way bit by bit. It still feels foreign for me to be in such spaces having this much power (yes, some of you may laugh, yet to me, this is a TON of power and it's frightening) in such a hierarchical space, especially when I was hardly mentored myself to be in such a space. I’m learning as I go. There are good people helping me and in return helping us.

I can’t help but remember the last time I went to Arizona, when Elena had us perform a renewal ritual. We wrote the things we wanted to get out of our life and write the things we wanted for this year. Here is what I wrote:

I feel accomplishment towards these goals.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sex Goddesses In Living Color

If you follow me on twitter you know I already asked this. But it is one of the reasons why I came to this field, not to see my work being ignored, my lives work at that. Either way: I wonder why one of the "nationally recognized sex toy boutique" provides a list of Sex Goddesses, but they are all White.

I say we come up with a list of more inclusive Sex Goddesses. Send me your suggestions and I'll compile the list and forward it to Babeland, who originally compiled the colorfree list.

Share anyone and everyone because as people of Color, as women of Color, communities that are under-resourced, I know we do sexuality education on a regular basis just not with a publisher, in front of a camera or with a huge budget. Here's your chance to mention a Sex Goddess in our community. Let's recognize one another and add our voice.

Oral Sex: There IS risk

Let's make sure we are all on the same page first:

Oral sex means someone's mouth comes in contact with another person's genitals (vulva, vagina, clitoris, anus, perineum, penis, scrotum, (and sometimes breasts and nipples).

Here's another reason condoms are great and save lives. They come in flavors, can be cut to cover a vulva or anus if a dental dam is not around, and it creates a barrier between a person's mouth and the genitals of their partner(s).

The Center for Disease Control has created a new fact sheet on Oral Sex. Check it out for information about transmission of HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI).

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Part 2: One Persons “diversity” is Another’s Klan Rally

Go read part one of my adventures in Arizona at the Sex Conference.

Friday had arrived and I was ready to attend the conference. I wore one of my favorite dresses for the warm weather. It is low with a v-neck but conceals my tattoos enough that I’m not stared at even more than I already am. It also allows me the opportunity to wear my favorite liquid silver necklace I got on my first trip to AZ in February.

In the package that I waited a long time for was information on the conference, my nametag and pronoun stickers.

There was a continental breakfast so that saved me money, which I appreciated. The first session I went to began at 8:30 am and focused on female survivors of cancer. The presenter focused on ways that clinicians and physicians can assist survivors in their body image challenges. I learned a lot in this one-hour presentation. The presenter had a UKish accent and was very interactive in her presentation. My only note of how it could have been improved according to the evaluation form was for the presenter to discuss keloids for women, especially women of Color at the site of their incision and surgery.

I chose to wait in line to speak with the presenter but decided against it when I realized there were several of us who wanted to speak with her. I moved onward to my next session in the sea of White bodies. I told myself: “I knew what to expect, I knew there would be limited faces like mine, and I knew to take deep breaths to cope with the space.”

This session was on sexological worldview and how sexologists come to create and utilize a world view. It was at this session that I saw the first men of Color at the conference. This session was very engaging. The presenter was a peer, about my age who had just earned his doctoral degree (EdD) and was sharing part of his finding from his qualitative analysis for his dissertation. The presenter Justin Sitron, is now full time faculty at Widener University, which is one of the only schools on the east coast that provides such higher education training in sexology. I have more to say on this as the facilitator of the session was his mentor and an important figure in the field of psychology and sexuality. Why do women of Color I know not have this same type of support by our women of Color faculty mentors?

He interviewed about 30 sexologists by asking those on the AASECT listserv to meet with him. It was a very colorfree sample with only 5 participants identified as “non-white” (which we know could mean anything). He provided the worldview as a process similar to the process I’ve heard when speaking about cultural competence. He was very receptive to feedback and inquires about his work. I asked him about his sample, reflexivity, how his gender identity and expression may have impacted his sample. I shared how race and class was not ever mentioned in the sample and information presented and how that may speak to where the sexological field in the US is currently. It was this session that I heard a White woman say that this was the “most diverse AASECT conference she has been to in 9 years.” This shocked me. After the session a woman from the SAR came up to me as we exited sharing that I had very good questions.

My next session was on disability. There were several images used that I found encouraging of people with disabilities loving and living. In addition, a conversation about feminist theory, disability theory, and transhuman and embodied theories which I had not been familiar with until I came to this session. I also learned: when people with disabilities adopt children with disabilities they proactively embrace discussions of sexuality, disability, and their children being sexual beings. I don't know many able-bodied parents who do this! In addition, I learned a few new things about Helen Keller: She was an anarchist and had many lovers. Why do they exclude that part of her history in stories about her?

Although lunch was catered I chose to have a quiet lunch in the hotel restaurant. They used real fresh sea salt on their french fries. I sat by myself and admired the older woman across from me who was doing the same thing. The men who were working at the restaurant were pleasant and helpful. It is the south after all, even if it is the southwest. After lunch I decided on my last two sessions, both the only sessions about race that day. The first was on teaching race, class and gender within the context of sexuality and history, the second was about how African American women use e-health to obtain information on sexual health.

I saw some women from the SAR waiting around to attend their next session, which was not the session I was going to. The session on teaching using intersectional frameworks and theories (terminology the presenter never mentioned) was a very 101 level for me. After all, I have taught these subjects for my entire teaching career (over 10 years) simultaneously versus in silos. This is the way I teach. The presenter was an older man who has been in the field for decades and just recently received AASECT certification. This I appreciated hearing him say as it is my situation. He was open to questions during his presentation and I took advantage of that.

Unfortunately, I was worried that his take on history started with exploration, conquest and colonization. When I asked him about this he said he only had 12 days to prepare for his class. The he went to a large corporate bookseller and purchased the first book he saw on sexuality and history (I can only imagine how colorfree the text is). I did not come back and share that I only had two days to put together a similar syllabus and was equally if not more successful in incorporating the themes in various forms. I asked him how/if students responded to him as a White man teaching about race, gender, class and sexuality as my students often say in course evaluations that “this is a class on sexuality not on race” or that in my class there was “too much focus on race.” I take these evaluations to be a compliment on the colorfree education they received and how my teaching challenges that comfort and expectation.

One thing I did appreciate about this session was that I met so many people. There were educators in the room that I met and know I will have in my circle of colleagues for a very long time. One person came to speak with me as her question was about Margaret Sanger and how her students are shocked to learn her role in the Eugenics Movement as this is rarely discussed. I shared with her that my students have the same reaction and we spend a week on the topic and read parts of Jennifer Nelson’s work on nationalist communities in the US working towards reproductive rights in the 1960s and 1970s. She uses the same text and we have the same student reaction. Interesting how one article can trigger such a response in students.

I also met women of Color who were instructors and had the same challenges I did with students claiming they spoke too much about race. We exchanged cards, sat next to one another and prepared for the second session on race, which was in the exact same room. Prior to that session starting I went to sign in and met Judith Steinhart. She came up to me and told me she had heard me at the Guttmacher Exchange and did not have a chance to talk with me after my questions. We swapped information and went to our seats. Judith was sitting in the same session as I was as well.

The final session about African American women was amazing! I thought it could have been two hours versus the one it was given. A presentation filled with examples of media images, how communities access information, how women of Color have multiple messages sent to them, and how we read into them. This was a session I could have been a part of for the entire day. This is where the most women of Color and people of Color were at during the conference and I was there too! I can’t begin to share how rejuvenated I felt. I originally felt hurt, ignored, invisible, exhausted, isolated, and in the wrong space. I left feeling the complete opposite after just 2 hours. If you don’t know of the website Our Health Our Lives you do now.

Having community makes a difference.

Part 3 of the Sex Conference will discuss what has changed, what work is being done and the activism that’s taking place as we speak for diversifying the field of sexology in the US.