Idealising the predator

How did certain French intellectuals get away with preying upon young girls, shamelessly, in public and over decades? Lily Dunn is a British writer of fiction and nonfiction. She is the author of the novel Shadowing the Sun (2008), and her essays have appeared in Granta. Her debut nonfiction, Sins of My Father: A Daughter, a Cult, a Wild Unravelling, is forthcoming in 2022. She is co-editor, with Zoe Gilbert, of A Wild and Precious Life: A Recovery Anthology (2020). She lives in the UK. In January 2020, Le consentement (Consent) by Vanessa Springora was published, a memoir exposé of Gabriel Matzneff, a well-known and much-respected French writer, … Continue reading Idealising the predator

Music and sex

A song can take you on a journey of ecstatic arousal. Is music imitating sex, inviting it, or something else altogether? Michael Spitzer is professor of music at the University of Liverpool in the UK. His books include A History of Emotion in Western Music: A Thousand Years from Chant to Pop (2020) and The Musical Human: A History of Life on Earth (2021). Edited bySam Dresser And then she repeats the cycle all over again, dropping back down and rising to a climax twice more, each wave higher and more confident than the one before. The second verse is more intense because the … Continue reading Music and sex

Porn and the sexual imagination

Cultivating your sexual garden with porn by Carol Hay, Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and author of Think Like a Feminist: The Philosophy Behind the Revolution. Porn holds a mirror up to society. Most mainstream porn – the free stuff – is misogynistic and demonstrates a casual loathing of women. The personalized market algorithm that advertises you a new kettle the moment you half-mention to a friend you might need a new kettle, is also mining your search history, location, and other data to bring you the porn it thinks you want – and often in our … Continue reading Porn and the sexual imagination

Let’s talk about sex — in space

It’s naturally part of every human space exploration but remains taboo. Here’s what we do and don’t know about cosmic sex. Author Marie Sina German astronaut Matthias Maurer breezes through interviews, rarely missing a beat when he answers journalists’ questions around his upcoming six-month trip to the International Space Station (ISS). But one topic throws even Maurer off momentarily: sex drive in space.  “We haven’t talked about this, because it’s a professional environment,” he replied to DW’s question on whether astronauts exchange insights on how to handle their desires.  Thanks to commercial space flights, more people are entering the cosmos than ever … Continue reading Let’s talk about sex — in space

Sex on the curriculum

Sex education is a battlefield over morals and young bodies, and has exposed fractures in American life for over a century Kristy Slominski is the assistant professor of religion, science and health in the Department of Religious Studies and Classics at the University of Arizona. She is the author of Teaching Moral Sex: A History of Religion and Sex Education in the United States (2021). Edited by Sam Dresser The state of sex education in the United States is dismal. Shaped by divergent state policies and local school board decisions, programmes are uneven in their content and coverage. There is confusion about … Continue reading Sex on the curriculum

The Transcendence of Tantric Sex

A psychologist argues science can take a lesson from ritual about how to heal. BY DAVID DESTENO Humans have always strived to develop technologies that give us some control, or at least the feelings of control, over the challenges that life throws at us. Psychologists like me devote our professional lives to figuring out why people think and feel what they do, and, in cases where those thoughts or actions are undesirable, to helping people change. We conduct experiments to see whether a certain type of drug or therapy alleviates anxiety or pain. We test “nudges,” such as policies that … Continue reading The Transcendence of Tantric Sex

Debate Erupts (Again) Over Women’s Libido Drugs

A meta-analysis prompted calls for researchers to disentangle horniness from hype. But understanding desire isn’t easy. BY TERESA CARR IN THE FALL of 2016, sex therapist and researcher Leonore Tiefer shuttered the New View Campaign, an organization she had founded to combat what she refers to as “the medicalization of sex” — essentially, the pharmaceutical industry’s efforts to define variations in sexuality and sexual problems as medical issues requiring a drug fix. For 16 years, the group had fought against industry’s involvement in sex research, including its push for a drug to boost women’s sex drives. New View hosted conferences and its members … Continue reading Debate Erupts (Again) Over Women’s Libido Drugs

Don’t leave me this way! Discover your ‘attachment style’ and solve relationship problems

by Amy Dawson What is attachment theory? It’s one of those psychological terms you’ve probable heard bandied around, but never really understood.  But identifying and understanding your attachment style can drastically change the way you form all kinds of relationships, and as a result, your entire life.  Attachment theory works on the premise that we all display one of three major attachment styles – secure, anxious and avoidant. The type we have as an adult is (broadly speaking) dictated by the kind of care we received in our childhoods.  We often talk about attachment theory with regards to romantic relationships, … Continue reading Don’t leave me this way! Discover your ‘attachment style’ and solve relationship problems

Literary prostitutes

I self-published erotica to make ends meet. Could I follow in Anaïs Nin’s footsteps or was I doomed to churn out filth? Sam Mills is a novelist/nonfiction author. Her books include Blackout (2010), The Quiddity of Will Self (2012), The Fragments of My Father (2020) and Chauvo-Feminism (2021). She is also managing director of the publishing house Dodo Ink. She lives in London. Edited by Marina Benjamin The pack: that’s what they called it. A secret guide, discreetly passed to literary authors in need of money to sustain their ‘real’ art. Compiled by such an author, happy to share their experience of publishing erotica on Amazon, it offered … Continue reading Literary prostitutes

“Cheating’s OK for me, but not for thee” — inside the messy psychology of sexual double standards

A Kiss (Getty Images) The mating game often involves convoluted rationalizations By DAVID M. BUSS This article was originally published on The Conversation. Sexual double standards – in which women and men are judged differently for the same sexual behavior – will probably sound familiar to most people. The classic one centers on multiple sexual partners: Men who are promiscuous are lauded as “studs,” “lotharios” or “ladies’ men,” while women who have a lot of sex get called “sluts” or “whores.” Men who cheat on their wives aren’t exactly praised, but they’ll often get a pass. Women who do the same, on the other hand, risk sullying their … Continue reading “Cheating’s OK for me, but not for thee” — inside the messy psychology of sexual double standards