The Humpday Gazette

Posts Tagged ‘March 2011’

Kate and Michelle: Bodies

In March 2011 on April 4, 2011 at 4:42 am

 

I think smart is sexy. I like smart people. People that are comfortable with themselves I think is very sexy. My cat is really sexy.

–       Gina Gershon

 

There are definitely a few of you out there who are reading the above quote and thinking there is nothing sexy about a cat. But let’s face it: whatever the human equivalent of purring and twining around somebody’s ankles is, it would certainly make us all hot and bothered. Across the animal kingdom, there are as many definitions of “sexy” as there are species of animals. Some species, like the peacock, appeal to their mates on a purely physical level. Others, like the European house wren, attract their mates through intelligence and potential parental skill, in this case shown through the construction of a nest. Some animals may choose their mates based on scent (studies show that individuals whose immune systems are complimentary to a potential mate’s will have a more appealing smell). Others may simply mate with whoever is available.

Not to self call homo sapiens, but we do all of these things. Physical attraction, intelligence, a sense of humor, horniness, unexplainable chemistry (that has a bit to do with scent), and thousands of other factors all affect how we form relationships, especially sexual relationships, with. While these are all important, this issue we will be dealing with the physical aspects of the body. Many people feel they must be physically attractive for others to be sexually or romantically interested in them. Men and women who are considered physically “attractive” become sex symbols who all others must strive to be. The set of physical parameters that are considered attractive may not lead only to self image and esteem issues, but also reduces us to our most superficial elements: physical appearance. With this mindset, even the most self-assured of us deal with issues regarding appearance: am I too fat? Too thin? Too hairy?  Through open discussion, we believe that we can attempt to address the issues of one’s body in sexuality, with the reminder that being sexy is much more than purely physical.

 

Have fun and be safe,

Michelle and Kate

 

Perspectives on the Vagina Monologues

In March 2011 on April 4, 2011 at 4:36 am

For our body issue, we wanted to talk to some people involved in what is probably the most significant event on campus named after a body part- Vagina Monologues. So, we asked Christine Averill, ‘13, who acted in the monologues, and Emily Baxter, ’11, who directed, a few questions about their involvement in the Vagina Monologues and V-Time!

 

  1. First, a pretty basic question- what caused you to be interested in helping organize V-Time?

 

Emily Baxter: I am a lifelong feminist and actor.  I have been performing in theater since I was 12 and, well, I was just raised to be a feminist, no question (thanks, mom and dad!).  I should say that my contribution to V-Time was just a small portion of all the preparation that many, many people did to make the events happen.  I did not do any of the logistical planning (that was Stephanie Chesnut at the CWG and all of the interns who work there); I only directed the Vagina Monologues.  As for wanting to participate in the Vagina Monologues, despite my feminist leanings, I had only seen the play performed once when I was 14; I was usually involved in other plays at Dartmouth, so I never had time to be involved or even see our Vagina Monologues.  Moreover, I had learned about Eve Ensler in some of my theater classes and how she can be a controversial figure in the theater/human rights world.  BUT, I knew this was my last chance to participate in an event that was so empowering to many people.  I realized that it was an  opportunity to combine my love of theater with my desire to participate in women’s rights activism.  So, when I auditioned, they asked if I had any directing experience.  I have directed some in the student Shakespeare company, the Rude Mechanicals, so I jumped at the chance.  Directing the Vagina Monologues was both an artistic challenge and an opportunity to critically look at the piece as a play in women’s rights activism.

 

Christine Averill: I remember V-Time being a really powerful week last year, full of empowering activities. It was my first time watching the Vagina Monologues, and I found them incredibly powerful. I laughed and cried through the whole thing, and left feeling empowered about the community of women at Dartmouth College, and even felt so much strength and empathy in the various things women have faced (with respect to vaginas) both in this country and internationally.

 

2.            This is our bodies issue of ‘The Hump-day Gazette.’ Seeing as V-Time is, in name at least, based on a body part, what sort of role do you see women’s body’s playing into issues of women as a whole, whether through body image, sexuality, etc?

 

EB: This sounds like an essay question from an exam on Judith Butler!  Women and Gender Studies jokes aside, to follow her line of thinking, the body can certainly be a place for the reiteration or change of cultural structures, beliefs, and practices.  In fact, that’s what the Vagina Monologues is about; confronting issues women – and men – have with discussing the physical, body part becomes a way of discussing larger issues of gender, sexuality, and feminism.  Bringing up these issues by focusing on the physical body shows that who we are as embodied beings cannot be separated from how we deal with issues of gender inequality.  For the Vagina Monologues in particular, it shows how accepting or discussing the vagina in a forthright manner – something that cultural convention tells us not to do – becomes an analogue or, at least, a method for accepting one’s body and womanhood both physically and mentally (and seeing those aspects of part of an integrated whole!).

 

CA: I think there is a lot of shame built around vaginas. Women are not encouraged at an early enough age to love their own vaginas, to look at them and take pride in that most feminine part of themselves. I think that learning to take pride in the beauty of the special body part is an extremely valuable attitude, that gives each woman who feels that pride to take on a special kind of confidence.

 

3.            What are some issues you feel women face regarding sex and sexuality? What steps can we take to try and find solutions?

 

CA: I think a lot of women struggle with stereotypes in defining their identities. I think the most harmful dichotomy of identity is that of being either a “virgin or a whore”. I know so many young women who fear pursuing pleasure solely because of the negative stereotypes they fear being assigned to. The fact the cattiness among women, sisters of our own gender, exists to prevent people from having comfort in being sexually liberated is something that sincerely bothers me. We should all support each other and the personal choices each of us makes in regards to pursuing (or not pursuing) sexual activity, and learn not to be competitive or perpetuate harmful gendered name-calling stereotypes like “slut,” “whore,” or “bitch” in order to grow mutual acceptance and respect for exercising whatever manner of womanhood each of us desires to express.

 

EB: I think that at the base of many issues of sex, sexuality, and  gender inequality is a lack of education.  Whether you are talking about female genital mutilation, lack of access to careers, or believing that a size 2 is the “ideal” size for a woman, men and women need to be educated to make this world a better place.  In issues of development, it has been shown over and over that one of the keys to growth – along with access to food, water, and healthcare – is access to education for girls.  In our own dear College, however, think about the discrimination and victim blaming that persists because people do not educate themselves about the facts, dangers, and misperceptions around sexual assault.  So, to me, education of many kinds is the solution.

 

Trichomoniasis

In March 2011 on April 4, 2011 at 4:34 am

Although not widely known, trichomoniasis is a common STI that affects 7.4 million men and women every year.  Trichomoniasis is caused by the single-celled protozoan parasite, Trichomonas vaginalis, and is more likely to infect woman than men. The parasite affects the vagina in women and the urethra in men. It is sexually transmitted through penis-to-vagina intercourse or vulva-to-vulva contact with an infected partner; woman are able to contract the parasite through both heterosexual and homosexual contact while men can usually only become infected through heterosexual intercourse. Men are often asymptomatic, but when symptoms do occur they have an irritation inside the penis, a slight/mild discharge and burning after ejaculation and urination. Symptoms in women may include yellow-green vaginal discharge with a strong intercourse, discomfort during intercourse and urination, and irritation and itching of genital area. The inflammation caused by the infection may also increase the risk of a woman contracting HIV if she is expose to the virus, as well as increasing the probability that a woman infected with HIV will pass the virus to her sex partners. Trichomoniasis is diagnosed by a health care provider, although infection is harder to detect in men than in women. Trichomoniasis can be cured with prescription drugs that are taken orally in a single dose. These drugs, however, only cure the one infection and do not make a person less susceptible to contracting the parasite in the future.

 

Sex Site of the Month: Are You Smarter than a 6th Grader?

In March 2011 on April 4, 2011 at 4:34 am

Are you smarter than a 6th grader (who passed sex ed)? Take the quiz at- http://www.sextoys.org/sex_ed/

Sex Song of the Month: Lola

In March 2011 on April 4, 2011 at 4:33 am

 

Lola: The Kinks: Sexiness that transcends norms of gender and physical appearance, packed into a song that most likely will get stuck in your head.

 

Sex and the News: March

In March 2011 on April 4, 2011 at 4:31 am

–  WHAT HAPPENED TO CREATING JOBS? On February 18, the House decided to bar federal funding for Title X, which provides $317 million to family planning services, most prominently Planned Parenthood. While this issue will likely stall in the Senate, we would like to lay out a few crucial issues on this action, and possible repercussions.

  • What and who this affects:
    • The money that would no longer be given would have gone towards cervical and breast cancer screenings, STI testing, contraception, and sex education.
    • More than 5,000,000 people’s reproductive healthcare and education are provided by Planned Parenthood
    • 75% of these clients have incomes at or below 150% of the federal poverty level
  • What this doesn’t affect (but has dominated the conversation):
    • Abortions performed by Planned Parenthood account for less than 5% of all patient services
    • None of Planned Parenthood’s federal funding goes towards abortions
    • Planned Parenthood services prevents an estimated 800,000 abortions a year [USA Today]
    • It also doesn’t affect NASCAR, whose $7 million dollar per year scholarship will continue to be funded by the national government, as the same day.

–       HETEROSEXUAL GUILT? Sociologist Beth Eck did a study on gendered reaction to nude images and discovered female, sensual, nudes resulted in primarily discomfort and feelings of inadequacy from women and judgments as to the model’s attractiveness from men. Meanwhile, both men and women, when presented with male nudes were uncomfortable, with many men asserting their heterosexuality, and the minority of women who felt lustful, saying the feelings was mixed with feelings of shame or guilt. [Sociological Images]

–       IT’S LIKE A SEX-POSITIVE OFF CAMPUS UGA: On a lighter note, for anyone taking an off term in NYC, there is now a free iPhone app that allows you to find five places near you that will provide free condoms! [The Daily News]

 

Fully Exposed

In March 2011 on April 4, 2011 at 4:28 am

It may come as a surprise that the time that I felt most comfortable about my body was when I farted in the shower with my boyfriend. I recognize that the expected reaction would have been running away naked back to my room through the first floor of Mid-Mass. Yet, for some reason, after I let out this fart, the boy just threw back his head and laughed.

There we were. In the shower, under the bright and unforgiving fluorescent lights, and I had just farted and he had just laughed. And not one of those embarrassed, “I can’t believe this girl just farted, this is so awkward” laughs. It was actually funny, so I started laughing too.

It was in this moment that I was the most at peace with my body. I had just done the most embarrassing, least sexy thing possible. I had been imagining erotic soaping and washing (I am not that kinky, so forgive me for being unable to provide a more exciting scenario). But, the point is, I had farted. Farted! With a boy! I fart all the time in my room when I’m alone, but in front of a person I’m trying to impress with my sexual prowess? And naked, no less?

When I look back on it, it does sounds quite horrifying. But in the moment, when we both laughed at the situation, I realized that we had eclipsed the phase where we felt the need to maintain a sexy façade at all times. People fart. Girls poop! I poop! You poop!

In that moment, we had fully accepted each other. It did not matter if one of us did something embarrassing or disgusting. I realized then that it is possible to embrace every aspect of your body and your self. I eat too many fiber bars, so I fart. It’s me, and it’s okay.

This boy and I have since broken up, but I still look back on the farting incident as one of the best moments of our relationship. While I maintain strong feelings about the importance of lacy thongs and leopard print push-up bras, I have learned that at some point these props are no longer necessary. There comes a time where it is okay to be stripped down to your barest, most human self and love that self. And maybe, if you’re lucky, someone else will recognize the beauty of that self as well.

 

Note: this was not a smelly fart. For those hoping to push the boundaries of acceptable behavior in erotic situations, employ a cutesy, delicate, “girl fart.” Smelly farts are never funny.

 

Canoe Canoodling

In March 2011 on April 4, 2011 at 4:25 am

We can’t say if the sex position of the month is sanitary, safe, or even a good idea. However, we at the Hump-day Gazette are really excited for spring to actually begin. Therefore, when we saw the picture for ‘Canoe Canoodling’ in Cosmo, we decided it would be nice to think ahead a few months when the snow has melted from the green and the river isn’t frozen. To have your own fun in the sun (or in any location while pretending to still be on Spring Break and floating around the Caribbean), have the partner being penetrated stretch out and rest their head on their lower arm for cushioning, while the penetrating partner spoons them from behind with their arm wrapped around the other’s waist. In a boat, you’ll have a nice rocking sensation, and in bed, you can just enjoy some slow and sensual spooning sex.

Sex and Money: Are Luxury Condoms Worth It?

In March 2011 on April 4, 2011 at 4:03 am

Sex is commonly accepted to be something where money is not an issue: let’s be real, it far predates the modern economic system. However, in modern times, more and more, sex is becoming a costly subject. You have to deal with the cost of contraception, sex toys, lube – and that’s not even talking about money spent on dating. While you expect some of these to be pricey (some sex toys look like they belong in an art museum), condoms, the lowliest of the contraceptives that you can often snag for free, aren’t exactly what I think of when imagining “luxury” sex items. However, companies such as the Original Condom Co. and Sir Richard’s, have decided a niche market exists. Sir Richard’s $13 12 pack tries to appeal to the type of people who pay extra to shop at Whole Foods and buy Tom’s shoes- not only are the condoms vegan and in a snazzy wrapper, they also send a condom to a developing country fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS. The Original Condom Co., founded in Condom, France, seems to be looking more for aristocrats with money to burn, selling 6 condoms in a box that looks suspiciously like it should be holding an engagement ring, for $20. They also give a portion of every purchase to fighting HIV/AIDS and attempt to produce condoms in a more eco-friendly way.

Neither condom has been proved to enhance sex in ways a cheaper condom wouldn’t. Instead, both websites work on selling the product from an ideological and aesthetic angle, with the Original Condom Co.’s motto being “Safe Sex with elegance, chic and eco-aware.”  Is this a case of good hearted people who want to help minimize the spread of HIV/AIDS, and realize condom-buyers feel the same? Or money grubbers whose pretentious condoms are not only silly, but also risk turning sex into a classist affair? You guys can decide for yourselves, but as someone whose dates usually end up being grabbing dinner wherever I have a coupon, I think we know what I’m going to chose. [Info and pictures from the companies’ websites and Salon.com]