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Sex: A Very Oral Report
  • December 11, 2013 : 15:12
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TRISTAN TAORMINO

Author, sex educator, adult-film director

I think we’ve finally seen the emergence of smart and quite purposeful porn stars. The narrative was either you were plucked off the bus from the Midwest and coerced into doing porn, or you somehow fell into it and now you’re there. But then people like Jenna Jameson and Sasha Grey, and to some extent Belladonna and Stoya, began to emerge—these are women who are 100 percent in control of their jobs, their branding, their marketing, their businesses. That really is a shift. And then they, of course, become role models for the next generation. “Oh look, we can do this with standards and boundaries and still possibly move on to something else.” They became role models.

On a superficial level, I definitely like the changing aesthetics of who qualifies as a porn performer. There was a time when there was a dominant aesthetic, when if you wanted to make money, you had to have this kind of California-girl look: blonde with blue eyes, surgically enhanced boobs, a tan. The truth is, that’s one standard of beauty, but there are also tattooed and pierced girls, punk rock girls, girls with pink hair, girls who aren’t a size two, girls who are flat-chested, girls who have an indistinguishable ethnicity. All these different tropes have come in, featuring women with different bodies, different aesthetics. Many of them have managed to achieve success; that has opened the playing field for who can be a performer, who can be a porn star. The people who dominate the female performer pool are white and thin. So there’s that. We aren’t there yet. But we are in a better and different place from where we were. Hopefully that’s going to keep moving. Some of this parallels mainstream Hollywood in many ways. It’s not just the porn industry.

MIRANDA JULY

Filmmaker, author, artist

Just two days ago I was doing an event and a woman asked me, “How come there is so much sex in your books and everything you do?” Part of me was grateful she noticed, because no matter how far in that direction I go, people tend to still just call me cute.

Unless you’re being overtly erotically sexual as a female, people almost don’t clock it as sex. What I said to her was that the territory feels so wide open to me; it feels, surprisingly at this point, that still not much has been done with sex. We’re seeing the same things done again and again, so it just feels fun, like it’s not hard to think of something no one has ever done. And that’s not true with most things that are so much a part of life. A lot of smart people have walked all over everything else. And also, it’s an intersection of power and intimacy and shame and vulnerability, and boringness, potentially—all these things that are interesting to me. It’s not even necessarily that sex is so interesting; it’s that you can get at all these interesting things through it. That has evolved, I think, initially coming out of being a child. I was focused on the sexuality of children, which is pretty impossible to do anything about.

With my first feature film, Me and You and Everyone We Know, I was thinking there should be, that that should exist as its own thing, separate from what we think of as real sex, like adult sex. Children have their own ideas of that, and in some ways that’s part of children’s right to have their version of sex, whatever that is in their heads. I remember thinking this is such a debatable idea, it needs its own sort of branding and logo. I was consciously thinking that when I came up with the “back and forth, forever” symbol, ))<>((, that we used in the movie. I was thinking it could be like the Coca-Cola or Nike logo but for children’s sexuality. So it can have humor in it, because it is funny. It gets less funny as you get older. Kids can see what’s funny about all that. I think that has its own power. And it did kind of work. I think managing to brand children’s sexuality is pretty radical and could even be potentially threatening in a way. Especially a woman doing that—because I’m supposed to be maternal, or I’m just so caught up in my own orgasm.

DR. RUTH WESTHEIMER

Sex therapist, author

Certainly more women know that they have to take responsibility for their sexual satisfaction. Even if their partner loves them, he cannot know what they need to be sexually satisfied. We know that today—not just because of me; there are other people in the field of sex education—there is a tremendous increase in women who know what they need to be sexually satisfied. Women have learned to be the initiators, to not wait for sex to be initiated, to know that this is important for them and their partners. It’s not that she’s going to be aggressive. She is going to be assertive and knows how to be sexually literate.

Also, I think Playboy was very important. Hugh Hefner knows me, but not in the biblical sense of the word. Put that down! Not knowing in the biblical sense, but I certainly have met him many times. I’m grateful to him, because the foundation of free speech certainly had a tremendous influence on issues of sexuality—on talking about it, on being able to discuss it. I want to say one thing for Playboy: I have always told mothers that if they find Playboy under their boy’s mattress, never talk about it. Make believe you never saw it and leave it there.

AISHA TYLER

Comedian, actress, television host, author

I think people have an unrealistic expectation of marriage. I think they have an unrealistic expectation of their spouses. I think most people don’t know what they’re getting into, and they’re more excited about the wedding than they are about the marriage. A lot of people are just not cut out for it. Marriage is not for pussies. It requires an infinite amount of patience, not just with the other person but with yourself. And it requires a willingness to allow someone else to be flawed, and their willingness to allow you to be flawed as well. What makes a great marriage is finding someone who is willing to see the best in you at all times. That doesn’t mean they are a Pollyanna or blind; it just means they see what in you is equivalent to greatness.

I am probably not your typical woman. My husband and I play Xbox together, I love video games, I engineer my own podcast, I love computers and I’m an early adopter. I own probably seven devices. So for me, technology has been great. You know, I probably should spend more time having sex and less time looking at people have sex on the internet, but I think that’s probably everybody’s case nowadays. We all have our problems.

I hope men realize now that that picture of their penis is never not going to be on the internet. When society has crumbled and humans have vanished from the earth, cockroaches are going to walk in on iOS 972 and this picture is still going to be on the internet. So just don’t do it! Unless you want your great-grandchildren to see your cock, don’t do it. It’s not going to work out well for you.

Now people are realizing even if you post something and delete it immediately, it’s too late. As soon as you press tweet, that is the last time you will ever have control of that image. And I think guys should realize that, for better or for worse, our half of the species is not particularly interested in seeing a picture of your penis anyway. Unless it’s a medical marvel and you should be in a museum or a circus, we’re not interested. Take a picture of your bank account or your car or your IQ. Or maybe send away to 23andMe and send us a picture of your genetic makeup that shows you don’t have any cancer precursors and will never have a heart attack. Send us information we can use. A picture of your dick is not going to get it done.

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read more: lifestyle, Sex and Dating, sex, relationships, sex advice, issue january 2014

1 comments

  • Robert
    Robert
    @Natasha Leggero, you have to hire an assistant because women who say they want a supportive man who would do the role of homemaker are liars. Whenever they meet a man with this personality they consider him weak and listless. No matter what they say about this they want the bloodthirsty go-getter pillager guy. That's why women have assistants and men have wives.
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