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Some Specifics

Oral Sex for Women

Cunnilingus is the fine art of making love to a vulva and vagina with your mouth and tongue. It is a delicate skill, requiring patience, practice, and dedication to get it right, but any woman you learn to do it right for will appreciate you all the more for it.

What applies to the penis applies to the vulva -- every one is different, requiring a different touch to make its owner happy. But few tools can equal the tongue for the amount of pleasure it can deliver to a happy vagina.

This section assumes that you know what a vulva looks like and can identify with some precision the mons veneris, labia majora, clitoral hood, clitoris, crura, labia minora, urethra, vagina, and perineum, to name them (approximately) from top to bottom. If you are unsure, first refer to the diagram in Practical Details.

Don't go after the clitoris like a fireman attacking a fire. Quite often at first, the clitoral glans is far too sensitive for direct stimulation. Lick around it, stimulating the hood and the crura, teasing her inner labia, tasting her. Take your time and listen to her. Some women make noise, and some do not. It will be a while before you learn exactly what your lover prefers as far as oral sex is concerned.

Some women may like additional stimulation-- a finger or two into the vagina, or perhaps even the anus. She may want your hands to reach up and play with her breasts, or she may want your fingers to hold her labia apart so that your tongue can get at her vulva more directly.

As a woman nears her climax, she may want more direct stimulation. In general, fast, rhythmic stimulation is most effective at causing climax -- but there shouldn't be a rush to get there. Take your time and learn to appreciate what you can do for her.

If the taste or smell bothers you or is a concern, ask her to wash first. Most people who enjoy cunnilingus agree that a clean vagina is a good, if acquired, taste. Some people are particularly turned off at the suggestion of cunnilingus during menstruation. If it is a concern to you, then wait. A tampon may well hold the blood back, as will a diaphragm, but some people can't stand the taste anyway. If your partner is healthy, however, there is no particular danger in menstrual blood, and some women find that orgasms during their periods alleviate cramps or are more intensely satisfying than at other times during their cycle. However, it is important to note that there is a minimal risk of transmitting HIV through contact with menstrual blood.

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Oral Sex for Men

Fellatio, giving head, giving a blow-job: Many men love this kind of stimulation, and many people, both women and men, like giving it. Fellatio is the act of applying your lips to a man's penis with the purpose of giving him pleasure.

There are few tips to fellatio that can be given other than "practice." The lips and the tongue are the major sources of stimulation, and it is with the lips and tongue that you should apply the attention to make him feel good. Both men and women respond well to pressure and rhythm. A steady, strong stroke will be enough to get the reaction you're looking for.

This section assumes that you know what a penis looks like and can identify the corona, frenulum, and scrotum. If you are unsure, first review Practical Details.

Every penis is different, and each has its sensitive spots and its preferred ways of being handled. Generally, the corona and frenulum are more sensitive than the base of the shaft of the penis. Listen to your lover. The sounds he makes and the feel of his body tensing are your best clues that you're going this right. Don't be afraid to ask him for specific spots to lick, kiss, or suck -- each man has his own preferences.

Feel free to grasp with your hands whatever of the penis you can't fit into your mouth. As you slide your mouth off the penis, following behind with the hand allows you to linger on the corona longer and with a slightly different sort of pressure. Many men like as much stimulation as possible, and the feel of a wet mouth and a saliva-slicked hand are enough to send them to the brink of orgasm very quickly. Some men like the feel of a hand gently "hugging" their scrotum; some like to be gently stroked with a wet finger down the length of the perineum. Some men may like the additional stimulation of a finger or two in the anus.

Some people feel that the best position to perform oral sex is the 69 position, where each partner lies with their head by the other's genitals. For fellatio, this even makes sense -- most penises curve upwards, towards the head, and in this position that curve matches the curve of the throat. However, it is difficult to both perform and appreciate oral sex at the same time. Try the position, or kneel by his body, but at least in the beginning do one thing at a time.

Deep throating is the act of taking the penis down past your gag reflex. In reality, this particular sexual adventure is very overrated. The best way to give fellatio is still with the lips and tongue, taking only as much as you can without gagging. However, for those that want to know, the basic lesson is still "practice." Take the penis as far as you can without choking, and then close your eyes and concentrate, taking each quarter inch, telling yourself that you won't choke, that you can take it out at any time, and slowly swallow it down. Then rise off of it just as slowly.

If the smell isn't something you enjoy, then tell him to go take a shower! While this is something you're doing primarily for his pleasure, that doesn't mean you have to suffer if he's lacking in hygiene! And if you're worried about germs, your mouth has millions more germs than a clean penis.

Macrobiotic nutritionists have actually done research on the question of whether it is possible to make semen taste better (or different), and the answer is in: you are what you eat. Common sense dictates that if you taste good, your lover will want to eat you more often, so improving your body's taste and smell should be important to you. In general, nutritionists say that alkaline-based foods such as meats and fish produce a buttery, fish taste. Dairy products, which contain a high bacterial putrefaction level, create the foulest tasting fluids by far. Acidic fruits, such as sweets, fruits, and alcohol give bodily fluids a pleasant, sugary flavor. Chemically processed liquors will cause an extremely acidic taste, however, so if you're going to drink alcohol, drink high-quality, naturally fermented beers or sake.

This brings us to an often “sensitive” issue: swallowing ejaculate. For many men, this is important to them -- they like to feel that by swallowing their semen, you complete this act of lovemaking and accept a part of themselves into your body. But many people don't like the taste of semen and can't bring themselves. Talk about this beforehand -- let him know if you can't handle it, and that it's not personal.

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Female G-spot and Ejaculation

Female ejaculation (colloquially known as squirting or gushing) refers to the expulsion of noticeable amounts of clear fluid, always from the urethra during sexual stimulation at or near orgasm. Female ejaculation is accomplished by stimulation of the g-spot (the urethral sponge, named after Dr. Ernest Gräfenberg), an area on the front vaginal wall. More rarely, it can be accomplished through external stimulation of the clitoris alone, the internal tissue of the clitoris then contracting and stimulating the urethral tissue.

The Gräfenberg spot, or G-spot, is a small area in the genital area of women behind the pubic bone and surrounding the urethra. When this spot, located inside the vaginal wall, is stroked, there is a sensation or urge to urinate, but if the stroking is continued during sexual arousal it can be sexually pleasurable. For some women, it can be a primary source of stimulation leading to orgasm during intercourse while having sex in positions that use the penis to stimulate the frontal wall of the vagina. In such positions, it is usually the angle of penetration, so that the penis makes direct contact with the front of the vaginal wall, which induces this stimulation. Because of its hard to reach location and its role in sexual stimulation, some people employ g-spot vibrators for better stimulation.

Women do not have an exact equivalent of the male prostate gland, an essential part of the male reproductive system. They do, however, have structures which are homologous to the male prostate, this meaning that they have developed from the same embryonic tissue. (The testicles of the male and the ovaries of the female are also homologous.) These are called para-urethral glands or Skene’s glands – although the term ‘Skene’s glands’ is often reserved for the two para-urethral glands closest to the opening of the urethra. They are there because, for the first weeks in development, the male and female embryos are not yet differentiated.

The size and structure of the para-urethral glands varies relatively considerably, it seems, from woman to woman. The fluid they produce is similar to that produced by the male prostate and, as in the male, passes into the urethra – and in some cases may pass into the vagina. The glands fill with fluid during sexual arousal and may be felt through the vaginal wall. The swelling of the tissue surrounding the urethra may be a combination of the glands filling with fluid and of the swelling of the woman’s erectile tissue, the corpus spongiosum, which latter, in the male, gives a man his erection. Swelling of the non-visible part of the clitoris will also be evident.

It is, it seems, the rhythmic contractions of pelvic muscle during orgasm which expel the accumulated fluid as at least one constituent of female ejaculation. The amount of fluid released can be considerable, through repeated filling and emptying of the glands during orgasm.

Female ejaculation is not a new concept. The Greek philosopher Aristotle noted its existence, Galen (2nd century) described the female prostate, the Italian anatomist Renaldus Columbus referred to female ejaculate while he was explaining the function of the clitoris and in the 17th century, the Dutch anatomist Regnier de Graaf wrote a book about female anatomy and spoke of female fluid "rushing out" and "coming in one gush" during sexual excitement.

Up until the 1980s female ejaculation was largely ignored by the medical community. At that time the subject resurfaced with the bestselling book "The G-Spot" by Drs. Ladas, Whipple and Perry. The book not only addressed the validity of the g-spot but brought female ejaculation to the forefront of women's sexual health inside the medical community.

While many in the medical and scientific communities are now acknowledging the existence of female ejaculation, there remains a large void when it comes to solid scientific data explaining the process of ejaculation in females or the source of the fluid itself.

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Anal Sex

Anal eroticism is surrounded by a powerful taboo. Yet millions of men and women - straight, gay and bisexual - are experimenting with anal sex. The anus, richly endowed with nerve endings and interconnected with the main pelvic muscles, is the closest erogenous neighbor of the genitals and contracts rhythmically during orgasm. Thirty-five years ago, Kinsey stated that the anal region had erotic significance for about half of the population. In a survey of 100,000 Playboy readers, 47 percent of the men and 61 percent of the women admitted to having tried anal intercourse. Yet the anal taboo inhibits most people from thinking, talking and learning about the sexual use of the anus. Listed here are the ten things most men and women still do not know about anal sex.

1. Anal intercourse is the least practiced form of anal sex.

There are many ways to enjoy the anus erotically. The most common techniques include touching the anal opening while masturbating or stimulating a partner's anus during intercourse or oral sex. Some people enjoy the sensation of a finger - their own or a lover's - insinuated into their anal opening and gently rotated. Others may prefer the insertion of a dildo or vibrator beyond the anal opening and short anal canal into the larger rectum. Many men, including heterosexuals, prefer this form of penetration. Oral-anal lovemaking is popularly known as rimming. The very idea disgusts some people. Others enjoy performing it or allowing themselves to be probed in this special way.

2. Anal stimulation, including intercourse, is not painful if done properly.

The belief that anal stimulation, especially intercourse, has to hurt is a persistent and dangerous myth. Just as pain anywhere in the body indicates that something is wrong, so is the same true of the anal area. With its high concentration of nerve endings, the anus can produce extreme agony when it is mistreated. Yet it can be a source of great pleasure.

When a finger, object or penis is introduced into the anus, the anal muscles go into spasm, as if fighting off an invasion. Pain will result if the partners do not wait for these muscles to relax. Under sufficient stress they will eventually collapse and the pain will subside, unless further damage is done. But, any 'pleasure' afforded from this kind of activity derives mostly from the absence of discomfort.

Maximum anal pleasure requires the elimination of all pain or physical trauma from the anal experience. Self-protection on the part of the passive partner involves being ready to say "no" until he or she is ready to proceed. Readiness is a combination of physical relaxation, usually helped along by plenty of leisurely anal touching, and desire. Occasionally the anal muscles are relaxed, but the passive partner is still not in the mood. Stimulation should mount only in proportion to the degree of receptivity.

3. Anal sex can be enjoyed even if it has been consistently uncomfortable in the past.

Sufficient desire alone does not necessarily guarantee pleasurable anal sex. Nor is an uncomfortable previous experience always the reason for a lack of interest in or desire for anal sex. Chronic anal tension is the most common cause of anal discomfort during sex. Hemorrhoids and constipation are usually signs of this condition. Tension can be relieved by touching the anus and becoming more familiar with it. An ideal time to explore the anal opening is while taking a shower or bath. Deep breathing also affects the anal muscles. Tensing the anus and the letting go is another way of learning to relax it. Anyone who enjoys masturbation might want to experiment with some form of anal stimulation, though he or she should stop if any discomfort occurs.

For many people the turning point in anal sex is when they allow a partner to massage the anus with the understanding that intercourse will not be attempted. Then the recipient of anal caresses can concentrate solely on the pleasure that this erogenous zone is capable of generating.

4. Two muscle rings called sphincters surround the anal opening. Each functions independently.

If you insert a finger about one half-inch into your anus and press your fingertip against the side, you can clearly feel the two sphincter muscles. There is less than a quarter-inch between them. The external sphincter is controlled by the central nervous system - just like the muscles of the hand, for example. You can readily tense and relax this sphincter whenever you want.

The internal sphincter is quite different. This muscle is controlled by the involuntary or autonomic part of the nervous system, which governs such functions as heartbeat and stress response. The internal sphincter reflects and responds to fear and anxiety during anal sex. It will cause the anus to tense up automatically even if the passive partner is trying to relax. Thus, precautions about safety and comfort are essential here.

Even if a person does feel comfortable during anal sex, he or she may still need to learn voluntary control over his or her internal sphincter in order to relax it at will. Doing so requires regularly inserting a finger, perhaps in the shower each day, and feeling the internal sphincter. The muscle changes spontaneously and in response to behavior. In this instance, simply paying attention is more important than trying to relax. Anyone can gradually learn to control the internal sphincter at will.

5. Anal stimulation provides many kinds of pleasure.

The highest concentration of nerve endings is around the anal opening itself. A finger can focus on them especially effectively. When an object or penis is inserted beyond the anal opening into the rectum, other pleasures are involved. The outer portion of the rectum, like the vagina, has several nerve endings. The inner portion responds mostly to pressure.

Some people enjoy the feelings of pressure and fullness once they understand that these sensations do not presage an impending bowel movement. Rectal pressure is especially important to enthusiasts of "fisting," a form of anal sex in which several fingers or even the entire hand and forearm are inserted into the rectum and sometimes into the lower colon.

In men, the prostate - which is just beyond the rectal wall, a few inches in, towards the front of the body - can be a source of pleasure when massaged by a finger, an object, or a penis. Also, the lower end of the penis, or "bulb," is near the anal opening. It is stimulated indirectly by most types of anal sex.

Anal pleasure can be psychological as well as physical. The anal taboo adds to the thrill of the forbidden. The most common anti-anal message (it's dirty!) sometimes returns as a source of raunchy, sleazy excitement. Rimming enthusiasts may enjoy the feeling that they are being disgustingly - and delightfully - perverse. Other people regard the anus as a secret, special place. Sharing it with a partner is an act of openness and giving.

6. Anal stimulation can lead to orgasm.

A minority of men and women can respond orgasmically to anal sex without direct genital stimulation. Women probably do so through pelvic muscle contractions - and a small minority even though the sheer excitement of being anally penetrated. When men experience an orgasm from anal stimulation, they tend to focus on the prostate. No doubt they are also responding to indirect stimulation of the penile bulb.

Orgasms from anal stimulation are most likely to occur when the participants become thoroughly absorbed in their sensations and fantasies. An almost certain way to prevent such an orgasm is to be become determined to have one. Seeking an anal orgasm will create new pressures and disrupt the pleasure. It must be remembered that most people require direct genital stimulation in order to climax. On the other hand, a few people have orgasms only with anal stimulation.

7. Diet contributes to the enjoyment of anal sex.

Regular bowel movements are the major function of the anus and rectum. There must be sufficient fiber in a person's diet to make his or her feces soft, bulky and well formed. This allows a bowel movement to be produced without force or effort. Forced evacuations irritate anal tissues, causing discomfort and adding to muscular tensions. Fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains or unprocessed bran are important sources of fiber.

8. Different rules of hygiene apply to the vagina and rectum.

Since intercourse can be vaginal or rectal, many people assume the same rules apply for the penetration of the vagina and rectum. Although both are lined with soft tissue and are capable of expanding, they are radically dissimilar.

The rectum is not straight. After the short anal canal which connects the anal opening to the rectum, the rectum tilts toward the front of the body. A few inches in, it curves back - sometimes as much as 90 degrees. Then, after a few more inches, it swoops toward the front of the body once again. A person can learn about the shape of his or her rectum by gently inserting a soft object, trying different angles and body positions and concentrating on how it feels. Make sure the object has a flared base so that if you loose your grip, it won't slip into the rectum and become irretrievable.

The rectum does not produce lubrication like the vagina but only a small amount of mucus. Therefore, rectal penetration always requires a lubricant. Chemical additives should be avoided. Water-based lubricants are latex-compatible.

The main function of the rectum is to act as a passageway for feces. But feces are not normally stored in the rectum except just prior to a bowel movement. Yet small amounts may remain in the rectum, especially if the feces are not well formed. Anal douching before lovemaking will help some people especially concerned with cleanliness to relax. For others the idea of dirtiness heightens the joy of the forbidden; for them, douching is anti-erotic.

9. Anal intercourse is not necessarily an act of dominance and submission.

The top-bottom imagery associated with anal intercourse is widespread. No doubt the belief that anal sex has to hurt contributes to this notion. And in fact some people are intensely excited by top-bottom fantasies about anal sex. The thought that they are submitting to such a degrading act is a terrific thrill. However, actual, not fantasized, anal pain can lead to trouble.

For others, the enjoyment of anal sex is inhibited by top-bottom imagery. The idea of surrendering control, and perhaps submitting to humiliation, causes immediate, protective tensing of the anal muscles. These individuals are more likely to relax and enjoy themselves if they can learn to regard anal sex as pleasurable rather than as an expression of power.

10. Anal sex can be perfectly safe, even beneficial.

The taboo against anal eroticism is perpetuated by the almost universal belief among physicians that anal sex is inevitably dangerous. No physical injury from anal stimulation results if both partners refuse to tolerate pain, never use force and avoid the use of drugs.

All the other risks center on sexually transmitted diseases. Each of the common STDs - gonorrhea, syphilis, and herpes - can affect the anus. Intestinal parasites, bacteria or tiny bugs are usually passed along when fecal matter finds its way into someone's mouth or vagina, most likely through rimming.

AIDS has complicated the matter. HIV can pass from the semen or blood of an infected person to the bloodstream of a partner through a tiny break in the rectal tissue during anal intercourse. To avoid this risk, anal intercourse and rimming should not be practiced casually. Those who do enjoy anal intercourse should always use a condom. Rimming should always be accomplished by a latex barrier. Of course, in a monogamous relationship with two healthy people, the risk of disease transmitted anally is reduced.

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Fluid Play


Although more properly called urolagnia, most people refer to this particular realm of sexual kink as "golden showers" or “watersports”. As the name implies, the most common form such play takes is for one partner to urinate in such a way that the other partner can see and or feel the "golden shower" of urine.

Interestingly enough, many people regard golden showers as one of the most taboo of sexual acts, second only to sex play that specifically revolves around feces. Inevitably, however, whenever people want to make sex a little spicier, they head right for the forbidden fruit. Getting pleasure from that which is naughty is a powerful act. From earliest childhood we accumulate a growing list of things that we want to do -- because they are pleasurable or interesting -- that we are expressly forbidden to do because they are messy, dangerous, annoying, unhealthy, or morally prohibited -- according to someone else, usually a parent, teacher, or older sibling.

Of course, there are many people who engage in watersports with very little shame at all. Simply put, not everyone views pee as dirty and shameful. For some it is simply natural, and the sensations (visual and sensual) that it creates are normal and innocent.


Coprophilia, also known as 'scat', fecophilia, fecalphilia or coprolagnia, is the paraphilia involving sexual pleasure through human feces, or rather to its excretion.

Coprophilia is the attraction to the smell, taste, texture or sight of the act of defecation as a primary means of sexual arousal and gratification. Erotic fulfillment with excrement may be practiced alone or with a sexual partner. A common slang term for this is scat sex. Except in the case of consuming feces, generally scat play is safe when played alone and safe with a partner if one uses protection so as not to come in direct contact with a partner's excrement. Women must be particularly cautious, as fecal bacteria are a prime cause of UTIs and vaginal infections.

Some coprophiliacs engage in coprophagia, the eating of feces. This is a potentially hazardous activity due to the risks of bacterial infection. Consuming one's own feces could have potentially harmful consequences, as the bowel bacteria are not necessarily safe to ingest, though it is not as risky as eating a partner's feces. These risks include viral hepatitis and parasitic intestinal infections such as giardiasis, cryptosporidiosis, shigellosis, amebiasis and campylobacter. Those with weakened immune systems should certainly abstain from mucous membrane contact with stool.


A blood fetish (also known as vampire fetish, hematolagnia and haematophilia) is a sexual fetish for blood. Blood fetishists are most often aroused by blood on nude or semi-nude individuals (or indeed their sexual partner). Other blood fetishists are aroused simply by the sight of blood. Witnessing accidental or intentional cuts or blood donating are good examples. Only extreme cases are turned on while viewing an extremely gruesome scene. Blood fetishism is often accompanied by some licking or drinking blood through bloodletting. This is sometimes done by biting (referred to as "love-bites" though they are technically not) however this is not the norm due to the potential for damage from bruising or infection. Most often a razor blade is used. As well as being a sexual fetish, it is often considered an expression of intimacy or bonding.

There is a substantial community centered around the fetish, however it is mostly "underground" due to its controversial nature. It is partly linked with the vampire subculture, however most blood fetishists do not consider themselves "vampires", though some may have a vampire fetish - blood fetishism has a history of being referred to as "vampirism" in psychiatric literature and articles.

Bloodsports or bloodplay are general terms used for any sexual or BDSM play involving blood. It is considered “edgeplay” due to its nature of being able to easily spread blood borne diseases. It is also possible, although rare, to cut the person too deeply and cause them to bleed excessively.

There is also menstrual fetish, which focuses on menstruating women, either having their periods without blocking the flow of blood, or even focusing on used tampons. Some enjoy performing cunnilingus on their menstruating partners. The same can be said for the female; the genital area is often more responsive to stimulation during menstruation and orgasms can be more intense.

Breast Milk

Many couples enjoy the added element that lactating breasts add to sexual play and except in a few special circumstances this practice should be safe for you, your partner and your baby.

The most common special instance during which one would discourage this practice is when mother, partner or baby has an active yeast infection. If anyone in the family is suffering from a yeast infection it should be treated and resolved before oral-breast contact occurs.

Another somewhat common condition that may preclude oral-breast contact between sexual partners is an active herpes infection. Herpes can be transmitted via kissing, sexual intercourse, or any close human contact, especially contact involving mucosal surfaces. There have been cases reported of toddlers with active herpes lesions of the mouth spreading herpes to the mother's breast via breastfeeding.

If you are concerned about the impact on your milk supply, you needn't worry. Your body will make the amount of milk it is called on to make. If your partner takes some of the milk your body will quickly replace it, there is no danger that your baby will not receive adequate milk because of this practice. Most experienced parents find that feeding the baby prior to initiating sex helps to ensure adequate time to enjoy each other without needing to attend to the baby.

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Erotica and Pornography

Pornography (from Greek porne) "prostitute" and grafe "writing"), more informally referred to as porn or porno, is the representation of the human body or sexual activity with the goal of sexual arousal. It is similar to, but distinct from erotica, though the two terms are often used interchangeably. Over the past few decades, the pornographic industry has skyrocketed due to the technological convenience of the Internet.

In general, "erotica" refers to portrayals of sexually arousing material that hold or aspire to artistic or historical merit, whereas "pornography" often connotes the prurient depiction of sexual acts, with little or no artistic value. The line between "erotica" and the term "pornography" (which is frequently considered a pejorative term) is often highly subjective. In practice, pornography can be defined merely as erotica that is perceived as "obscene". The definition of what one considers obscene can differ among persons, cultures and eras. This leaves legal actions by those who oppose pornography open to wide interpretation.

Pornography may use any of a variety of media — printed literature, photos, sculpture, drawing, painting, animation, sound recording, film, video, or video game, and may even be performed in a live venue, possibly in front of a live audience.

We do not sell pornography at Positive Passions, not because of any moral or philosophical objection, but due to our commitment to maintaining a welcoming and sex-positive atmosphere in our store and at our presentations. The reality is that the vast majority of pornographic videos and magazines do not fit with the pleasing aesthetic that Positive Passions has come to be known for.


Pornography is as old as civilization but the concept of pornography as understood today did not exist until the Victorian era. Previous to that time, though some sex acts were regulated or stipulated in laws, looking at objects or images depicting them was not. In some cases, certain books, engravings or image collections were outlawed, but the trend to compose laws that restricted viewing of sexually explicit things in general was a Victorian construct. When large scale excavations of Pompeii were undertaken in the 1860s, much of the erotic art of the Romans came to light, shocking the Victorians who saw themselves as the intellectual heirs of the Roman Empire. They did not know what to do with the frank depictions of sexuality, and endeavored to hide them away from everyone but upper class scholars. The movable objects were locked away in the Secret Museum in Naples, Italy and what couldn't be removed was covered and cordoned off as to not corrupt the sensibilities of women, children and the working class. Soon after, England’s and the world's first laws criminalizing pornography was enacted in the Obscene Publications Act of 1857. The Victorian attitude that pornography was for a select few can be seen in the wording of the Hicklin test stemming from a court case in 1868 where it asks, "whether the tendency of the matter charged as obscenity is to deprave and corrupt those whose minds are open to such immoral influences." Despite their repression, depictions of erotic imagery are common throughout history, and remain so.


Pornographic work contains a number of stereotypes. Although pornography targeted at heterosexual males often includes interaction between females, interaction between males is rarely seen. In hardcore materials, a male generally ejaculates outside his partner's body, in full view: the so-called "cum shot". Penises are almost always shown fully erect (except where prohibited). In heterosexual pornography the choice of position is naturally geared to giving the viewer the fullest view of the woman, making the reverse cowgirl position, and the man holding the woman in a "dog-and-lamp-post" position among the most popular. Fellatio scenes usually involve the woman looking into the camera or at the man, for similar reasons. Especially in American and Japanese porn, women tend to be vocal and loud during hardcore scenes.

Pornography by and for Women

Some recent pornography has been produced under the rubric of "by and for women". According to Tristan Taormino, "Feminist porn both responds to dominant images with alternative ones and creates its own iconography."

Some say no porn could ever be feminist. Lots of us disagree. But that doesn't mean we agree on what it is: each filmmaker defines her or his work differently. For me, feminist porn is about character, choice, and consciousness. I like to collaborate with performers on how their sexuality is represented, rather than give them a script or formula to follow. I want to capture complex, three-dimensional beings rather than stereotypes, to create an open environment that's safe for everyone - especially women - to take charge of their pleasure and be able to express their desires freely. I want to represent sex as positive, fun, healthy, and adventurous. I consciously work to create images that contradict (and hopefully challenge) other porn that represents women only as objects and vehicles for male pleasure.

In my chosen porn genre, gonzo (the cinema vérité of porn, unscripted, where the camera is acknowledged), the trend is toward hardcore imagery that supports every anti-porn feminist's claim that porn is degrading and offensive. Its emphasis is on rough (often bordering on hostile) sex, circus-like stunts, and what I call impalement contests (how many things can we fit into how many orifices simultaneously?). I'm not saying all gonzo is bad or all rough sex exploitative by nature, but a lot of it has become very one-sided. The lack of female pleasure in porn just sucks. I mean, if you're going to go to the trouble of sticking a girl's head in the toilet, you damn well better give her an awesome orgasm. ("Political Smut Makers"; Village Voice; 6/8/2006)

Pro-sex feminists contend that pornography benefits women, both personally and politically. It benefits them personally in several ways:

1. It provides sexual information on at least three levels:

a. it gives a panoramic view of the world's sexual possibilities. This is true even of basic sexual information such as masturbation, which seems to come less naturally to women than to men. It is not uncommon for women to reach adulthood without knowing how to give themselves pleasure.

b. it allows women to 'safely' experience sexual alternatives and satisfy a healthy sexual curiosity. The world is a dangerous place. By contrast, pornography can be a source of solitary enlightenment. Pornography allows women to experiment in the privacy of their own bedrooms, on a television set that can be turned off whenever she has had enough.

c. it provides a different form of information than textbooks or discussion. It offers the emotional information that comes only from experiencing something either directly or vicariously. It provides us with a sense how it would 'feel' to do something.

2. Pornography strips away the emotional confusion that so often surrounds real world sex. Pornography allows women to enjoy scenes and situations that would be anathema to them in real life. Take, for example, one of the most common fantasies reported by women -- the fantasy of 'being taken', of being raped. The first thing to understand is that a rape fantasy does not represent a desire for the real thing. It is a fantasy. The woman is in control of the smallest detail of every act.

Why would a healthy woman daydream about being raped? There are dozens of reasons. Perhaps by losing control, she also sheds all sense of responsibility for and guilt over sex. Perhaps it is the exact opposite of the polite, gentle sex she has now. Perhaps it is flattering to imagine a particular man being so overwhelmed by her that he must have her. Perhaps she is curious. Perhaps she has some masochistic feelings that are vented through the fantasy. Is it better to bottle them up?

3. Pornography breaks cultural and political stereotypes, so that each woman can interpret sex for herself. Anti-feminists tell women to be ashamed of their appetites and urges. Pornography tells them to accept and enjoy them. Pornography provides reassurance and eliminates shame. It says to women 'you are not alone in your fantasies and deepest darkest desires. Right there, on the screen are others who feel the same urges and are so confident that they flaunt them.

4. Pornography can be good therapy. Pornography provides a sexual outlet for those who -- for whatever reason -- have no sexual partner. Perhaps they are away from home, recently widowed, isolated because of infirmity. Perhaps they simply choose to be alone. Sometimes, masturbation and vicarious sex are the only alternatives to celibacy. Couples also use pornography to enhance their relationship. Sometimes they do so on their own, watching videos and exploring their reactions together. Sometimes, the couples go to a sex therapist who advises them to use pornography as a way of opening up communication on sex. By sharing pornography, the couples are able to experience variety in their sex lives without having to commit adultery.

Pornography benefits women politically in many ways, including the following:

1. Historically, pornography and feminism have been fellow travelers and natural allies. Both have risen and flourished during the same periods of sexual freedom; both have been attacked by the same political forces, usually conservatives. Laws directed against pornography or obscenity, such as the Comstock Law in the late 1880's, have always been used to hinder women's rights, such as birth control. Although it is not possible to draw a cause-and-effect relationship between the rise of pornography and that of feminism, they both demand the same social conditions -- namely, sexual freedom.

2. Pornography is free speech applied to the sexual realm. Freedom of speech is the ally of those who seek change: it is the enemy of those who seek to maintain control. Pornography, along with all other forms of sexual heresy, such as homosexuality, should have the same legal protection as political heresy. This protection is especially important to women, whose sexuality has been controlled by censorship through the centuries.

3. Viewing pornography may well have a cathartic effect on men who have violent urges toward women. If this is true, restricting pornography removes a protective barrier between women and abuse.

4. Legitimizing pornography would protect women sex workers, who are stigmatized by our society. Anti-pornography feminists are actually undermining the safety of sex workers when they treat them as 'indoctrinated women'. Dr. Leonore Tiefer, a professor of psychology observed in her essay "On Censorship and Women":

These women have appealed to feminists for support, not rejection...Sex industry workers, like all women, are striving for economic survival and a decent life, and if feminism means anything it means sisterhood and solidarity with these women.

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Spirituality and Sex

For thousands of years and among people all over the planet, sex has been used as a spiritual path. Spirituality often brings with it great complexity:  the sexual relationship and sexuality itself are certainly impacted by religious heritage and the unique spiritual journeys of sexual partners.

When you stop to think about it, spirituality and sex have quite a bit in common:

  • We seek and find transcendence in both — many people experience the ecstasy of orgasm as mystical, and many mystics work deeply with feelings of love that are inherently sexual. 

  • In a broader sense, both sex and spirituality evoke in us a feeling of magic.  Many people who experience childbirth, for example, come away feeling it's as close to a miracle as they've ever encountered, not because it's "supernatural" but because it's completely natural and yet feels utterly, profoundly, awe-inspiringly miraculous. 

  • Both sex and spirituality are kind of scary at times — they make us so terribly vulnerable.  The very intensity that attracts us also seems to threaten our ability to see clearly, stay in control, fit in. 

  • Sexual and spiritual goals and practices often seem quite similar.  For example, common techniques in the BDSM community (BDSM stands for bondage, discipline or dominance, and sado-masochism) resemble traditional ascetic exercises for achieving ecstatic states, and often have exactly that effect on BDSM practitioners. 

  • Neither spirituality nor sexuality tend to be static in your life — in both cases, they look more like a path or pilgrimage that meanders through all kinds of unexpected places, bringing all kinds of unanticipated challenges, ordeals and fantastic rewards. 

  • The most important commonality, though, is that both spirituality and sexuality are interior.  They're important aspects of the uncharted wilderness that is your personal inner life.  Personal doesn't necessarily mean private, of course — other people are often welcome to join you in your explorations — but your experiences there are always yours and yours alone. 

Commonly the concepts of sexuality and spirituality are merged under the umbrella of “tantric sex”. Tantra teaches that lovemaking between partners, when entered into with awareness, is a gateway to both sexual and spiritual ecstasy. Tantric sex is meditative, spontaneous and intimate lovemaking. Through it you learn to prolong the act of making love and to channel, rather than dissipate, potent orgasmic energies moving through you, thereby raising the level of your consciousness. Tantra transports your sexuality from the plane of doing to the place of being. There is no goal in Tantric sex, only the present moment of perfect and harmonious union. Tantra teaches you to revere your sexual partner and to transform the act of sex into a sacrament of love.

As Tantra has become more popular in the West, it has undergone a major transformation which has made Western New Age appropriations of Tantra, more properly called Neo-tantra, very different from the original Tantric traditions of India. For most modern readers, "Tantra" has basically become a synonym for "spiritual sex" or "sacred sexuality", a belief that sex in itself ought to be recognized as a sacred act which is capable of elevating its participants to a higher spiritual plane. Though Neo-tantra may adopt many of the terms and concepts of Indian Tantra, the traditional reliance on extensive meditative practice and rules of conduct, both moral and ritual, have been discarded.

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Sex Work

A sex worker is a person who earns money by providing sexual services. The term is sometimes used as a synonym or euphemism for prostitution, but most scholars define "sex workers" to include individuals who perform sexual or sexually oriented activities in the sex industry, such as strippers, erotic massage therapists, pornography actors and actresses, and telephone sex workers. Depending on regional law, sex workers' activities may be regulated, controlled, or prohibited. For example, prostitution is illegal in many countries, but is legal in the Netherlands, Belgium, New Zealand, Germany, Ethiopia, Indonesia and Nevada. In most countries, even those where sex work is legal, sex workers are stigmatized and marginalized, which can prevent sex workers from seeking legal redress for discrimination (e.g., racial discrimination by a strip club owner), non-payment by a client, assault, or rape.

Sex worker advocates argue that sex workers should have the same basic human and labour rights as other working people. For example, the Canadian Guild for Erotic Labour calls for the legalization of sex work, the elimination of state regulations on sex work, which it deems are more repressive than those imposed on other workers and businesses, the right to recognition and protection under labour and employment laws, the right to form and join professional associations or unions (in order to engage in collective bargaining), and the right to travel and legally cross borders to work. Also, the legalization of sex work, would allow it to be carried out in better organized circumstances (e.g., legal brothels), where regulations (e.g., requiring condom use and regular health checkups for sex workers) could reduce the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Some sex-positive feminists believe that women and men can have positive experiences as sex workers, and that prostitution should be decriminalized. They argue that prostitution isn't necessarily bad for women if prostitutes are treated with respect and if the professions within sex work are destigmatized. Other sex-positive feminists hold a range of views on prostitution, with widely varying views on prostitution as it relates to class, race, human trafficking, and many other issues. Sex-positive feminists generally agree that prostitutes themselves should not be stigmatized or penalized.

The International Union of Sex Workers asserts that sex work is beneficial to society because:

1) Prostitutes can make the world safer for women

Rather than encourage rape, prostitutes are there for people who have a strong sex drive and cannot find anyone to have sex with. They cope with all those with confused and repressed sexualities, removing the risk of attack they cause to other women.

2) Prostitutes can relieve those who cannot masturbate

People with weak, short or no arms may live in perpetual sexual frustration unless they have a toe that reaches, somebody who will help them out or the money to pay a prostitute. Denying them the opportunity to pay for what other people take for granted is denying them absolute human rights.

3) Prostitutes provide orgasms

Some people find it impossible to have an orgasm without expert stimulation, be this physical or mental. Women may be so inhibited that only visiting a prostitute will work for her. Men might have fetishes which need to be enacted before they can reach a really great orgasm.

4) Prostitutes become experts who can offer high quality sex.

If there was not such a stigma, everyone would want to visit prostitutes for erotic inspiration and self indulgence. They provide the chance for new experiences without entering a new relationship which many people find of enormous value at certain stages of their lives. In some cultures, it is customary for all young men to learn about sex from the local prostitutes before they have sex with other women.

5) Prostitution is the oldest profession and should be respected

Like any other profession - there are the experts, the specialists, the “all-rounders”, the scoundrels and the bad people who need hounding out. Bad people ruin the reputation of the industry and must be eliminated - this is where the law should contribute.

Whores in the temples of ancient civilizations were regarded as goddesses. In more recent times, Christians promoting chastity and feminists warning women that men are up to no good, prostitutes have become monsters in the eyes of society, with all the men who frequent them mysteriously coming from the other side of the track. In reality, most prostitutes are mothers too. Their clients are fathers, too. Today's whores are still providing the same holy nourishment, but society refuses to recognize their power, wisdom, skills and spirituality.

Prostitutes call themselves all kinds of names, from whore to therapist; slut to Tantric teacher; hostess to surrogate. Each has their own style but when you listen to what they actually do, most provide approximately the same range of services. They act as listeners (to everyone in pain, including sufferers of child sexual abuse), pacifiers (often of the same), substitute mothers, sisters and brothers, they enact fantasies, dominate to force those who are normally in control in their work and social lives to play submissive; whores may also play sub.

Prostitutes fulfill all kinds of roles: from a quick hand-job behind a carrier bag in the park, to dinner and all night bed companion, to "girlfriend" for a month's holiday. Depending where and who they are, they may get paid anything from 50p round the back of the shed, to £10,000 for a night in the Sultan's palace. Some do this with grace and love, others with one eye on the clock and the other eye on his wallet, hoping to steal it. There are sex workers who can actually adapt their mind sets to "fall in love" with each client, in order to give them maximum benefit of the time spent. There are others who despise all clients and play tricks to make them come fast.

6) It can be a satisfying Job

The fact is that a growing number of women are switching to work in sex rather than in other jobs because they find it gives them more freedom and job satisfaction. You chose your hours, you make more money per hour than most of your friends and you spend your time giving pleasure (and often receiving it too).

Some women who may once have opted for a career in nursing find it more satisfying offering a caring, "hands on" service caring for people's personal needs. So many people in society have never been touched caringly nor had their emotional needs catered to. Sex work allows caring individuals to offer such services and they often just advertise as a prostitute because this is the easiest way to make a living.

7) Many Men Need Teaching

Sociologists recognize that many men pay for sexual gratification and emotional solace because they have not yet learned to find either elsewhere. Many shy, socially phobic and disabled men rely on prostitutes to teach them how to gain a positive body image, seduce and make love. The book Shadow Syndromes by John J Ratey and Catherine Johnson identifies a high incidence of minor forms of Asperger’s Syndrome in males in Western cultures, which means that they can't respond to normal invitations of emotional bonding and socialization.

8) Prostitution enables many women to liberate themselves

It is not uncommon for women to enter the sex industry in order to establish their own sexual identity. Belle du Jour was a classic. There are many situations where women decide to enter sex work because it seems to be the only way they can throw their sexual repressive background to the wall. They usually have to keep quiet about it and never identify themselves publicly.

9) Prostitution provides a better alternative to starving or stealing

When a woman is desperate to feed herself and her children (or a drug habit) and has no other income, prostitution is often the best option for her. One woman is quoted as saying that working as a street worker to provide the money to buy heroin for herself and her partner is better than him going out thieving because he might get a long prison sentence.

10) Prostitutes may be subversive

Many women feel that offering pleasure in a situation which is against the law, in an environment where most of society would be shocked, to be a subversive act. Most keep quiet about their little secret but International Sex Workers Union activist Rona is supported by her company director husband Barry, and was crowned Bonk of England during the City of London J18 riots.

11) Prostitutes Educate

Prostitutes provide a service where people can learn. A young person can learn about their orientation and how to become a good lover. A couple can experiment with group sex. Isolated people can learn how to become intimate, people can learn about S/M and explore their submissive or dominant sides.

12) Prostitutes provide fun

They offer a service of pleasure. In countries where women are allowed to work together, there are clubs where people go along for an orgy: sex parties with several prostitutes and a group of clients. People enjoy visiting prostitutes for light hearted yet intensely erotic experiences, which may be very difficult to find elsewhere.

13) Prostitution is good for mental health

Comforting sex without ties is excellent for mental health, soothing the nervous system, and helping the client improve their sense of well being.

14) Prostitution can cure problems

People with social disabilities, such as people who stammer, can be helped to overcome their problems by loving attention and uncovering anxieties. People who have been sexually abused as children often need a lot of patient body work to overcome sexual difficulties and prostitutes are invaluable in this work.

15) Sex Work can be empowering

People gain personal strength from selling their bodies because their clients worship and admire them, they have as much sex as they want and they defy traditional mores and roles imposed on them. Often prostitutes are extremely healthy, playful, creative, adventurous and independent women.

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1Adapted from “Oral Sex for Women”, retrieved from http://www.luckymojo.com/faqs/altsex/cunni.html

2Adapted from “Oral Sex for Men”, retrieved from http://www.luckymojo.com/faqs/altsex/fella.html

3Sources: “Female Ejaculation” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_ejaculation) and “The G-Spot” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G-spot) in Wikipedia.

4Source: “Ten Rules of Anal Sex”, retrieved from http://www.sexuality.org/authors/morin/analrule.html

5Sources: “Watersports” at rotten.com (http://www.rotten.com/library/sex/watersports/), “Coprophilia” at Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coprophilia), “Blood Fetish” at Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_fetish), “Is It Safe for Your Partner to Taste Your Breastmilk?” at parenting.ivillage.com (http://parenting.ivillage.com/baby/bbreastfeed/0,,6qnp,00.html).

6Sources: “A Feminist Overview of Pornography”, by Wendy McElroy (http://www.zetetics.com/mac/freeinqu.htm), “Pornography” at Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pornography),

7Sources: “Sex and Spirit” (http://www.sex-is-sacred.org/spirit.htm), “Sex Therapy: Sexuality and Spirituality” (https://c2k.valenciacc.edu/CourseListing.asp?master_id=724&master_version =1&course_area=CNH&course_number=82930&course_subtitle=00), “Sex and Spirituality” (http://www.healthyspirituality.com/lpsex.htm), “What is Tantric Sex?” (http://www.tantra.com/mission/lacroix.html).

8Sources: “Sex-Positive Feminism” at Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex-positive_feminism), “Sex Worker” at Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_worker), “Recommendations for Political Policy”, International Union of Sex Workers (http://www.iusw.org/policy/index.html).