Are You A Sex Addict? Part 2

Part 2 of a two part post. Please note: This post discusses many different aspects of my personal sex life — many, many aspects — in a fair amount of detail. Family members and others who don’t want to read that, please don’t. Really, really don’t. This piece was originally published on the Blowfish Blog.

In the last column, we were discussing this Sexual Addiction Screening Test created by Dr. Patrick Carnes, inventor of the term “sex addiction.” We saw a noticeable pattern in this test: the pathologization of unconventional sex; the pathologization of sex that other people are shocked or upset by — regardless of whether they have any right to be; and the pathologization of people who make sex a high priority in their lives. (Thanks to Dr. Marty Klein’s Sexual Intelligence blog for the tip). Today we continue going through the test, looking at all the questions that a sexually healthy person might answer “Yes” to… and examining what exactly is troubling about this test and the model of sexual dysfunction it represents.

(This piece contains explicit descriptions of sex. If you’re under 18, please do not continue reading.)

Continue reading “Are You A Sex Addict? Part 2”

Are You A Sex Addict? Part 2

Are You A Sex Addict?

Please note: This post discusses many different aspects of my personal sex life — many, many aspects — in a fair amount of detail. Family members and others who don’t want to read that, please don’t. Really, really don’t.

This piece was originally published on the Blowfish Blog.

Are you a sex addict?


I seem to be.

Via Dr. Marty Klein’s excellent Sexual Intelligence blog comes news of this Sexual Addiction Screening Test from, a site designed “to help those affected by sexual addiction and compulsivity.” The site was created by Dr. Patrick Carnes: inventor of the term “sex addiction,” founder and designer of multiple treatment programs for sex addiction, and author of several books on sex addiction.

According to Dr. Klein, Dr. Carnes admits he has no training in human sexuality. But let’s not focus on that just now.

Because according to this test, I have a problem.

Which is a bit odd. My life is good; my sex life is great. Things in my life are stable and flourishing, and sex is a happy part of that.

So I don’t actually think I have a problem.

I think this test has a problem.

I think this test has several problems. I think this test represents an extremely narrow, rigid view of what can constitute a happy sex life. It pathologizes any kind of sex that’s unconventional. It pathologizes any kind of sex that other people are shocked or upset by — regardless of whether they have any right to be, or whether their sexual sensibilities are reasonable. And it pathologizes anyone who makes sex a high priority in their life.

And I think this is the problem with the way sex addiction commonly gets treated. In fact, I think it’s the problem with the whole “sex addiction” theory in the first place. I don’t deny that some people behave compulsively around sex, self-destructively and destructively of others. I’d be an idiot to deny that. I just don’t think “addiction” is the right word — or the right concept — for that problem.

And I think this shows up in this test. Specifically, it shows up in the way that unconventional sex, sex that defies conservative sexual mores, or making sex a high priority in one’s life, are all seen as signs of sex addiction.

But maybe I’m in denial. Maybe I’m one of those addicts who can’t admit they’re an addict. Let’s take a look at the test, and at all the questions I answered “Yes” to… and let’s see.

(This piece contains explicit descriptions of sex. If you’re under 18, please do not continue reading.)

Continue reading “Are You A Sex Addict?”

Are You A Sex Addict?

“That’s the fun of it”: An Interview with “Best Erotic Comics” Artist Justin Hall

I’m very proud and happy to present the first in a series of interviews with the artists of Best Erotic Comics 2008. One of the things I’m most proud of with this book is the wide variety of first-rate comic artists I was able to showcase, and I was thrilled to have the chance to talk with some of them directly and find out more about how they work, how they approach comics in general and dirty comics in particular.

Today’s interview is with Justin Hall, best known for his True Travel Tales comic series, and known to Best Erotic Comics readers as the artist of the sweet, kinky, hilarious, and seriously dirty “Birthday Fuck.” Justin and I talked about the comics industry, the sex industry, the challenge of telling true stories, the balance of arousal and artistry in erotica, and lots more.

Please note: Some of the content of this interview, and some of the images illustrating it, are not appropriate for minors. If you’re under 18, please do not continue reading.

Continue reading ““That’s the fun of it”: An Interview with “Best Erotic Comics” Artist Justin Hall”

“That’s the fun of it”: An Interview with “Best Erotic Comics” Artist Justin Hall

Fuck Anything That Flies: Bisexuality, Fruit Flies, and the Causes of Sexual Orientation: The Blowfish Blog

I have a new piece up on the Blowfish blog. Inspired by a post on Pharyngula, it talks about what causes sexual orientation in fruit flies… and what this fact does, and does not, tell us about what causes sexual orientation in people. And it talks about the problem of approaching this question based on what, philosophically or politically, we would like the answer to be, instead of what answer the evidence is pointing to.

It’s titled, Fuck Anything That Flies: Bisexuality, Fruit Flies, and the Causes of Sexual Orientation, and here’s the teaser:

Now, PZ Myers, Pharyngula blogger of song and story, warns that we shouldn’t jump to conclusions about what this might mean for human sexuality. And I think he’s right to do so. Human beings are rather more complex than fruit flies. And our sexuality is, to put it mildly, a lot more complex. Fruit flies don’t, for instance, get hot for spanking, for latex, for women in seamed stockings, for men in seamed stockings, for bits and saddles, for stuffed animals, for cartoon characters, for curly-haired brunettes who look like Bette Davis.

So the fact that sexual orientation is genetically determined in fruit flies doesn’t prove, even a little bit, that it’s genetically determined in humans.

But it does tell us something about humans, and human sexuality.

It doesn’t tell us that our sexual orientation is genetically determined, or even genetically influenced.

But it tells us that it might be.

It tells us that it’s not ridiculous to consider the possibility.

To find out more about this possiblity, read the rest of the piece. Enjoy!

Fuck Anything That Flies: Bisexuality, Fruit Flies, and the Causes of Sexual Orientation: The Blowfish Blog

Lesbian Sex With Men: The Blowfish Blog

Note to family members and others who don’t want to read about my personal sex life: This post, and the post it links to, talks about my personal sex life and my sexual history. If you don’t want to read about that, this would be a good post to skip.

I have a new piece up on the Blowfish Blog. It’s about the first time I had sex with a man after I’d started having sex with women. And a little more generally, it’s about how being bisexual, and especially the experience of having sex with women, changed the entire way I experienced sex — with everybody. It’s called Lesbian Sex With Men, and here’s the teaser:

Before I’d started having sex with women, my reaction to a guy’s premature ejaculation had been pretty traditional: disappointment, frustration, embarrassment on his behalf, attempts to soothe his ego, feeling like I’d done something wrong.

But this time, my reaction was to say, casually and matter-of-factly, “Oh. Well, is that any reason to stop?”

To find out more, read the rest of the piece. Enjoy!

Lesbian Sex With Men: The Blowfish Blog

How Can You Choose Just One? Bisexuality, Blonds, and Monogamy: The Blowfish Blog

I have a new piece up on the Blowfish Blog. It’s called How Can You Choose Just One? Bisexuality, Blonds, and Monogamy, and it begins very much like this:

There’s an odd assumption that often gets made about bisexuals. (It got repeated recently in a letter to Savage Love — third letter from the top — which reminded me that I’ve been wanting to write about it.) The assumption: Bisexuals are constitutionally incapable of being monogamous.

The logic goes something like this:

Bisexuals are sexually attracted to both women and men.

Bisexuals enjoy sex with both women and men.

Therefore, bisexuals are unwilling — even unable — to give up sex with one of those genders. We must have sexual access to both women and men at all times in our lives. Without both, we’ll be dissatisfied, restless… and eventually, we’ll be tempted to stray. We’re attracted to both women and men — how could we choose just one, forever?

Here’s an analogy, to show exactly where this logic goes wrong.

To find out exactly where this logic goes wrong, read the rest of the piece. Enjoy!

How Can You Choose Just One? Bisexuality, Blonds, and Monogamy: The Blowfish Blog

Hypocrisy or Bigotry — Which Is Worse? Huckabee and Guiliani on Gay Rights

Via the HRC:

“Unless Moses comes down with two stone tablets from Brokeback Mountain to tell us something different, we need to keep that understanding of marriage.”
Mike Huckabee

“It’s the acts, it’s the various acts that people perform that are sinful.”
Rudolph Giuliani on homosexuality

There are so many different ways I could go with this.

I could go with Huckabee’s snarky, smirky Brokeback Mountain reference. I could gas on about how “Brokeback Mountain” has become the new “Adam and Steve,” the default catch-phrase for when people want to make bigoted jokes about gays.

I could also point out how wildly inappropriate the Brokeback Mountain reference is. I mean, did he see the movie? Did he think it was a ringing endorsement for gay people denying their sexuality and getting into heterosexual marriages? The whole point of that damn movie was that gay people staying in the closet ruins lives — not just their own lives, but the lives of their wives and their families and everyone around them. To make a “Brokeback Mountain” joke in support of a “traditional marriage” position is clueless to the point of delusion.

And of course, I could go the “laughably hypocritical” route on Guiliani’s comment. The twice-divorced, thrice-married, adulterous Giuliani, lecturing gay people on their sinful sex lives? Please.

But that’s not where I want to go with this. Instead I want to pose a question that kept me and Ingrid entertained for hours:

Which do you think is worse — craven hypocrisy, or close-minded bigotry?

Here’s the thing. I don’t believe for a moment that Giuliani actually thinks homosexuality is a sin. He supported civil unions and domestic partnerships when was mayor of New York. Hell, when his second marriage was breaking up, he moved into the apartment of two gay friends. He did a Victor/Victoria drag show with Julie Andrews. He’s far from the most enlightened person on the planet when it comes to LGBT issues; but I doubt that he has anything against us personally.

I think his move to the right on LGBT issues is purely pragmatic. He wants to be President. He thinks he has to suck up to the far right to accomplish this goal. Gay-bashing is the quickest, easiest way to do that.

Huckabee, on the other hand:

I am quite sure that Huckabee means every word of it. His entire record speaks of passionate homophobic bigotry, fueled by a particularly virulent form of close-minded religious fundamentalism. When he said that “homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle,” I have no doubt whatsoever that he meant every word.

So here’s my question:

Which is worse?

The close-minded, true-believing bigot — or the craven, self-serving hypocrite?

My thoughts:

From a purely ethical standpoint, I think the true believer has the stronger position. Their bigotry is evil, it’s harmful — but at least it’s sincere. It’s not held simply for selfish gain. It’s internally consistent.

But from a purely practical standpoint, I think I’d rather have the hypocrite in public office.

Because you can change a hypocrite’s mind.

If someone is taking a bigoted position purely to advance their self-interest, all you have to do to change their mind is shift the political scales. Mobilize your forces. Make alliances. Get better organized. Convince the hypocrite that their self-interest would be better served by sucking up to you instead of your opponents, and they’ll be your new best friend.

It’s much, much harder to change the mind of a true-believing bigot. If their bigotry is a consistent, integral, fundamental part of their view of the world and themselves, changing their mind about their bigotry requires them to rewrite their entire life story. Very few people are up to that.

And while internal consistency can be an admirable trait, it’s not so admirable when it comes at the cost of shutting out the world around you. Prioritizing your own belief system over human reality is really just another way of being self-serving.

Then again, as Ingrid points out:

If you do succeed in changing a true believer’s mind, chances are that you’ll have them for good. The ranks of LGBT supporters are filled with former bigots who changed their minds when their friends, their colleagues, their children or grandchildren, came out as gay. And their newfound tolerance is as strong — and as sincere — as their old bigotry.

Whereas the craven hypocrite who makes nice with you today will toss you like last week’s leftovers the minute you become inconvenient.

Just ask Giuliani. And the gay friends who took him in when he needed help. The friends who he’s now calling “sinful” — because he wants to be President.

Hypocrisy or Bigotry — Which Is Worse? Huckabee and Guiliani on Gay Rights

Not Butch, Not Femme

This has been a very long, very busy weekend, and I didn’t have time to write my usual Sunday Sermon. So instead I have a piece from the archives. I should have a nice new atheist rant up in a day or two. This piece originally ran in Gilrfriends magazine; it was obviously addressed to a lesbian readership, but I think it’ll be interesting to my non-lesbian readers as well.

Not Butch, Not Femme
by Greta Christina

Once upon a time in the ’50s, all lesbians were supposed to come in two flavors: butch and femme. If you didn’t, you got called “kiki,” and people pointed and scoffed. Then the androgynous ’70s happened, and if you were one of the two old flavors, you got scolded and called a bad feminist. And at last came the sexy, liberating modern era, with its dyke porn and dildos and fuck-as-you-are mentality.

Except it seems like we’re all supposed to come in the two flavors again. And if you don’t, if you say you’re cool with butch/femme but it’s not who you are, plenty of dykes will scoff and sneer and say, “Yes, dear, you keep telling yourself that.”

And it annoys the fuck out of me.

Okay. First, I need to convince you that I’m not a femme. After all, I do have long hair, wear dresses, and even use lipstick now and then. When I’m doing historical recreation, I typically go in male drag (hence the tricorn hat and the Napoleonic uniform in the blog photo)– but in my daily life, I look like a girl. Woman. Whatever.

But here’s how I know I’m not a femme. See, women who are femme usually say it isn’t about clothes. Or makeup. Or how you fuck, or even who you fuck. It’s about something else, they say, some core identity, impossible to explain but still crucial.

And I have no idea what they’re talking about. Oh, I believe it exists for them — I have my share of inexpressible but crucial identity things. But femme, I have to take on faith. On that bones-and-guts comprehension level, I just don’t get it.

But a lot of dykes react to this sentiment with either “Isn’t that funny” or “Isn’t that sad.” Isn’t it funny, the girl thinks she’s not a femme; isn’t it sad how she denies the obvious. Lots of dykes are convinced that butch/femme is universal, a lesbian archetype that applies to every woman with the hots for other women. I guess it’s understandable: plenty of people think the defining features of their lives are true for everyone. Like that headline in the Onion: “Area Stoner Convinced Everyone On TV Also Stoned.”

I gotta tell you, though, it’s annoying as heck. I once worked with a hardcore butch who saw me hauling a 50-pound box downstairs and got seriously alarmed. “You shouldn’t be doing that,” she said, with an obvious stare at my sundress and shaved legs. I laughed it off, reminding her that hauling boxes was, in fact, my job. But I had to wonder: If she’d been boss, would she have even hired a “femme” for the box-hauling job?

And there’s all these conclusions people jump to based on my supposed femmeness. I’m sick of dykes assuming that, because I’m a femme, I therefore must: lust after butches, obsess about my looks, hate physical labor, be a do-me queen in bed, and follow when I dance. (It was ever such fun to come from the hetero ballroom scene, with its assumption that women are always follows, and arrive in the dyke ballroom scene — with its assumption that femmes are always follows.) Even if I were a femme, I might find this stuff presumptuous.

Plus it’s totally patronizing. Telling other grownups that you know them better than they know themselves? When you barely know them at all? Ew. It’s not that I’m always perfectly self-perceptive. But telling adult women that they don’t know who they are — don’t we gripe about the heterosexist patriarchal blah blah world doing that to us? Do we really want to do it to each other?

So cut it out, y’all. Be butch or femme all you want — it clearly means a lot to you, and I think that’s ducky. But quit assuming that it applies to every dyke you meet. It doesn’t. Deal with it.

Not Butch, Not Femme

Right Wing Hypocrisy Part Two: The Scary Black Men Made Me Do It!

This piece was originally published on the Blowfish Blog. Bob Allen was just convicted last week of soliciting a sex act in a park bathroom, so now seems like a good time to reprint this story.

This is just getting ridiculous.

Do you remember in last week’s column, when we talked about Florida state representative/ McCain presidential campaign co-chair Bob Allen? The guy who sponsored a bill to tighten Florida’s public sex laws, and recently got busted for offering a male cop $20 to blow him in a public bathroom?

The story has taken an almost surreal turn. According to the Orlando Sentinel (and a big thank you to the Bilerico Project for the story and the link!), Allen is now claiming that the scary black men made him do it.

I’m not kidding. Quote:

“‘This was a pretty stocky black guy, and there was nothing but other black guys around in the park,’ Allen, who is white, told police in a taped statement after his arrest. Allen said he feared he ‘was about to be a statistic’ and would have said anything just to get away.'”

My question is this:

Just how stupid does he think we are?

Let’s back up for a moment, and take this one piece at a time.

First of all: Racist.

That’s just obvious, and I don’t have much that’s interesting or original to say about it. So I’ll simply say it once more and move on for now: Racist.

Second: Lie.

Allow me to quote from the police report:

“I was standing against the far wall of the stall. Allen closed the door behind him and stood against it. I said ‘what’s up’ and Allen said ‘Hi.’ Allen then said ‘this is kind of a public place isn’t it.’ I said ‘do you have somewhere else where we can go?’ Allen said ‘How about across the bridge it’s quite [sic] over there.’ Allen engaged me in a conversation in which he agreed to pay me $20.00 in order to perform a ‘blow job’ on me.”

Just to clarify: This conversation happened after Allen peered over the cop’s stall — twice — and then pushed his way into it. (Read the whole story for more details.)

And he’s telling us he was frightened of the big scary black men and trying to get away? Liar, liar, pants on fire. This guy was cruising.

Which brings me to my central point:

Just how stupid does he think we are?

I’m reminded of something I wrote during the Ted Haggard kerfuffle. When Haggard’s “counselor” said that, after three weeks of therapy, Haggard discovered that he was “really” completely heterosexual and that “It was the acting-out situations where things took place,” I had this to say:

“Right. Because straight men “act out” by sucking cock all the time.

“No, really. It’s a natural stress response. Long hours, money problems, illness in the family, trouble at home? Every straight guy I know would be running to the nearest male prostitute to suck his cock. It’s a perfectly normal reaction. Very common.”

And that’s exactly my reaction to Bob Allen’s latest statement.

Right. Every guy I know, when he’s in a public place in a situation where he feels threatened, tries to get out of it by offering the purported threatener $20 to suck his cock. I mean, that’s just self-preservation. It’s not like he actually wanted to suck the guy’s cock. He was simply trying to defuse a potentially dangerous situation.

Really. You’ve done that, guys… right? You’re in an alley or a deserted park at night, you see a guy you think might be a mugger… you offer him $20 to give him a blowjob. It’s in all the police brochures on urban safety. It’s just plain common sense.

I said it about Ted Haggard, and I’ll say it again now:

Just how stupid does he think we are?

So here’s what I think is really going on.

I think it’s a bad enough PR problem for Allen’s Republican constituents that he was in a public bathroom offering $20 to suck another man’s cock. But I think it makes the PR problem worse, by several orders of magnitude, that he was offering $20 to suck the cock of a black man.

That’s not just faggotry. That’s race treachery. Not something you want to screw around with in the Republican South.

And I think that’s why he’s offering the “scary black men” defense.

I don’t think the “scary black men” defense is racist by coincidence. I think it’s very deliberate. He’s trying to play on his constituents’ racism — and in particular their racist fears of black men’s sexuality — by shifting the perception of the incident, away from “middle-aged man offering $20 to suck a black guy’s cock in a public bathroom,” and towards “panicked victim of potential mugging or rape by big scary black men, handling it as best he could.”

That’s an image his constituents can probably identify with. And he’s hoping they will. He’s trying to create a smokescreen of racist sex panic that his constituents can sympathize with… in hopes that the racist sex panic will be more emotionally compelling, and more what people want to believe, than the image of the right-wing crusader for sexual morality secretly cruising the public toilets for men to suck off.

I just hope that his constituents aren’t as stupid as he thinks they are.

Right Wing Hypocrisy Part Two: The Scary Black Men Made Me Do It!

Godless is the New Black: Is Atheism Just a Trend?

“This atheism thing is just a trend.”

“I’m so bored with this atheism fad.”

“You’re just calling yourself an atheist because it’s cool right now, and everyone else is doing it.”

“Oh boy, another hanger-on to the (Dawkins/ Hitchens/ whoever) bandwagon.” (I was particularly entertained when a recent commenter in this blog accused me of parroting Hitchens — when I haven’t even read his damn book yet.)

“You’re just being trendy.”

I’m beginning to see this argument — if you can call it that — a fair amount lately. The newly visible, newly vocal atheist movement… it’s just people trying to be cool, jumping on the bandwagon, finding a new and exciting way to piss off their parents. Denying the existence of God, restructuring your life philosophy to a naturalistic worldview with no permanence and no intent behind it… it’s just a fad.

Like hula-hoops, or swallowing goldfish.

So I want to talk about the trendiness of the atheist movement.

And for the 4,626th time, I’m going to make an analogy to the gay rights movement.

There was a period of the gay rights movement, right around the early ’90s, when “gay” suddenly became very trendy indeed. The news media was doing tons of stories on us; movies and TV shows were being made about us in droves; publishers were publishing our books; politicians were sucking up to us; advertisers were all over us like white on rice.

And then the trendiness passed. Fewer news stories, fewer movies and TV shows, fewer books being published just because they were about being queer. (I suppose I should be sad about this last one, but it’s hard to work up much grief over it, since a lot of those books were really, really bad.)

Now for today’s lesson.

Does any of that mean that the queer movement wasn’t important? That being queer and coming out was just a fad, a flash in the pan, something people did to be cool? That the queer movement was, and is, trivial?

No. Of course not.

The queer movement had been happening for decades before it became trendy. And it’s continued to carry on after the trendiness faded. It’s continued to have major social impact, has continued to shape culture and public policy. Our visibility continues to increase — not in an, “Oh, my goodness, gay people!” way, but in a “taking us for granted and just assuming we’re part of the picture” way. The trendiness came and went; the movement continues.

In fact, none of the trendiness had anything to do with the actual queer movement itself. Nothing had happened within the queer movement to make us trendy. We hadn’t all suddenly started dressing cool or something. (We’ve always dressed cool.)

What had happened was that our visibility had achieved a sufficient critical mass for the rest of the world to sit up and take notice.

The trendiness was not created by us. The trendiness was created by the mainstream world, the largely-straight world. We were willing to ride the wave and use it to our best advantage; but the wave was not of our own making, except insofar as our efforts towards greater visibility and recognition created the conditions in which it could happen.

So what does this have to do with atheism?

It would be foolish to deny that atheism has a certain cachet right now. Atheism is trendy — in the sense that the mainstream world, the mostly-not-atheist world, is suddenly realizing that we’re here… and is finding us fascinating.

Does that mean that atheism is “just a trend”? That atheists are “just being trendy,” and when the fad passes most of us will move on to some other popular philosophy?

No. Of course not.

Like the queer movement, the atheist movement had been going on for some time before it suddenly became trendy. And it would surprise me a lot to see it just disappear. There is a world of difference between the realistic acknowledgment that atheism is somewhat trendy right now… and the dismissive attitude that it’s “just a trend,” or that atheists ourselves are doing it “just to be trendy.”

The fact that atheism is having a big rush of attention and prominence in the public discourse right now doesn’t mean that it’s “just a trend.” Quite the opposite. I think the trendiness phase is a natural side effect of any movement whose numbers and visibility have reached a certain critical mass.

I’m sure there’ll come a point when there are fewer atheist books being published, fewer articles about atheism in the newspapers, fewer people gassing on about atheism on talk shows. But that won’t mean that atheism will just disappear into the invisible margins again. Again, I think it’ll be the opposite. Atheism won’t lose its trendiness when the “fad” passes, when everyone stops doing salsa and starts swing dancing instead. It’ll lose its trendiness when it starts being taken for granted. It’ll lose its trendiness when it becomes part of the cultural and political landscape.

Besides… do you really think people could become atheists just on a whim? Any more than people could become queer on a whim? They’re obviously not exactly parallel situations — I don’t think anyone is claiming that people are born atheist, the way people seem to be born queer — but belief isn’t subject to your wishes in that way. You can’t make yourself not believe in God when you really do… any more than you can make yourself believe in God when you really don’t. It’d be like Pascal’s Wager in reverse.

The “atheism is just trendy” trope is essentially a way of trivializing atheism and the atheist movement… without actually taking the trouble to point out anything that’s wrong with it, or to engage in debate with people who are part of it.

It’s the cool, detached, hipster’s way of dismissing the movement without bothering to think about it.

And phooey on that.

If you don’t want to engage with or think about the atheist movement, then don’t. Nobody’s making you. But if you don’t have anything to say about it, then don’t say anything about it. Don’t go into atheist blogs and forums, don’t get into conversations and debates about the atheist movement, if all you’re going to do is unthinkingly dismiss us by saying that our movement is “just a trend.” It’s insulting and trivializing to us… and it makes you look like a high school kid who thinks that not caring about anything makes you look cool.

Godless is the New Black: Is Atheism Just a Trend?