Accepting Ourselves in a Material World

Fashion in the late 20th century was not a kind industry to the world at large. Consistently providing images of tall, super-skinny youth, the fashion industry does not typically showcase the differences of women’s bodies around the world in a positive and encouraging manner. Personally having grown up in the Vogue magazine shadows of lithe beauties such as German Claudia Schiffer, Canadian Linda Evangelista, Americans Claudia Mason and Michele Hicks, New Zealander Kylie Bax and Nederlander Esther de Jong, I was acutely aware I was as different from them as I was from the cheerleaders in my high school. Even blessed genetically with a high metabolism, a body proportionally balanced and the inability to sit still for more than 5 minutes, I did not resemble the images of the models in Vogue, a magazine I coveted in high school and college. The models all had gaps in their thighs, flat abdomens and long locks of hair. Breasts were either non-existence or perkily smallish. While I did not relate physically to the models in Vogue, I secretly loved looking at the clothing designs, the bright colors and bold patterns, the set locations in cities around the world and the confident attitude splashed throughout the photo spreads. The shoes alone were beautiful creations of cruelty requiring grace of movement and superb balance, which this born klutz simply does not possess despite years of gymnastic and tap dance lessons. At some point in college, I fell in love with my own body and embraced my curves, the lack of a gap between my muscular thighs and my perpetual pixie cut. As I became...

An Unconventional Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

This year, Americans are estimated to spend $136.57 on Valentine’s Day gifts, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey. I am hoping that this amount is spent on something besides candy, cut roses, Pandora charms and giant stuffed bears because I think people can do way better than those clichéd gifts. It’s time to think outside the gift box! For introverted book lovers, give a year’s subscription to Amazon Kindle Unlimited. The book lover can check out ten books at a time from a collection of over one and a half million e-books. Remember to ask the new Kindle Unlimited fan what he or she is reading and pay full attention to the answer. A certain author or genre of particular interest can spark ideas for future gift-giving moments. For book lovers who enjoy talking about books with others, give the gift of a Little Free Library. It is truly a gift that will keep on giving. Give the new LFL steward a supply of books from thrift stores and secondhand bookstores, a collection of totes or a beautiful bookshelf to contain the library stash or accessories for the little library, such as twinkling fairy lights, on future gift-giving occasions. For techie geeks, give the latest techno gizmo he or she has been talking about or posting about on Facebook. Alternately, search crowdfunding sites to discover a cool start-up that mimics his or her interests and buy into the start-up in his or her name. The start-up will usually send supporters new product once production begins. Read up on tech items or search Google for future tech gift ideas....

Debunking the Virgin Myth

I recently watched an episode of Game of Thrones in which two characters were conversing about a bride being free to marry another man based on an absurd notion. Basically, since the purported virgin bride did not bleed on the bedsheets on her first wedding night, the first marriage was never consummated and she could now be married off in a second marriage. Let’s ignore the fact that this second marriage would unite two prominent families and just focus on debunking what I like to call the virgin myth. Let’s start with a solid fact: not every virgin bleeds during her first vaginal sexual intercourse experience. Another solid fact is that nearly every female human is born with a hymen, which is a piece of fringed tissue that is filled with blood vessels and located in between the two folds of the vulva. The hymen develops during the third or fourth month of pregnancy, and the reason for its development is still a bit of a mystery. Hymens, just like vulva, come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, which means no two are alike. The hymen doesn’t actually cover the vaginal opening. Instead, the hymen creates folds that cause the opening of the vagina to be smaller in size than it would be without a hymen being present. The size of the hymen opening can be small enough to prevent some women from using tampons during menstruation. In rare cases, the hymen opening is too small and requires a minor surgical procedure to open it enough to allow for menstruation blood to pass out of the vagina....

Being Thankful

I sat down and researched the history of bondage photography with the intent of writing about its history and its impact on America’s sexual history and culture, but I kept getting distracted by thoughts of Thanksgiving. Coolest. Mom. Ever.’s favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. I take time off from work to spend an extra day with her, and we usually spend that time working side-by-side in the kitchen. I learned at an early age food is a form of love. It’s no wonder I am in a relationship with a partner who knocked down a wall to make the kitchen a more workable space and who bought a gorgeous range any chef would appreciate. I use that range every single day in living and well-established proof that “food is love.” This brings me to my partner, Dutch, who is the stuff of internet dating legend. I am quite open about how it took me 32 first dates to find Dutch and that I almost gave up the search for what is now one of the best gifts I have ever been given. Dutch’s love is just as precious to me as the gift of my mother teaching me to read and then encouraging me to read anything and everything available. Every day I am thankful for Dutch, for our relationship, for being able to come home to Dutch and for the amazing dates and adventures we have together. I recently pondered why our relationship has been so successful because it is the most successful of any relationship I’ve had up to this point. What makes Dutch and I’s relationship so different...

Sex in the News

Representative Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) is planning on introducing legislation that would make the posting or sharing of non-consensual pornography a federal crime. She is calling her proposed bill the “Intimate Privacy Protection Act.” The bill is aimed at reducing “revenge porn,” which is the act of posting or sharing of sexually explicit images online without consent of the depicted. University of law professor Mary Anne Franks wrote in a Huffington Post article the term “revenge porn” is “misleading” because “while a number of cases do involve bitter exes whose express purpose is to harm or harass their former partners, many perpetrators don’t know their victims at all.” Franks further explains, “A more accurate term is non-consensual pornography, defined as the distribution of private, sexually explicit material without consent.” Websites, such as Twitter and Reddit, have taken steps to stop the posting of non-consensual pornography. Google recently announced it would “allow people to petition for such images’ removal from search results” on its site. This is an interesting move on the part of these websites as federal law currently grants legal immunity to Internet service providers and online platforms for most content posted by third parties, with exceptions for child pornography, copyright infringements and sex-trafficking ads. The advocacy groups Without My Consent and the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative have helped increase awareness of online privacy and both sites offer advice on what to do when someone is a victim of “revenge porn.” The mission statement of Without My Consent, which appears in bold print on the group’s main website page states the group “empowers victims of egregious online privacy violations...

Dispelling the Assumption that “Everyone Has Kids!”

The dictionary definition of an assumption is a fact or statement taken for granted or presuming that something is true. The Your Sexy Librarian definition of an assumption is making an ass out of you and me. I organized a meeting at work with several positive, outgoing people from other areas of the building. Our goal was to lay the foundation for a fundraising event. The meeting was going smoothly, until a young woman, who just moments before toted her multiple college degrees, suggested we create a summer fun basket because “everyone has kids!” Sigh. I despise assumptions because the little bastards just keep popping up despite their lack of truthful existence. Some great past examples of failed assumptions include, “Women with short hair are lesbians.” and “Women with short hair are not feminine.” Short hair does not measure femininity at all. That sexy woman with the short hair may very well be sporting matching La Perla undies, which are far more feminine than run-of-the-mill store bought underwear sold at mass retailers. Then there are the assumptions that men with bigger physical statures will be rude or mean, that all people who grow up in a trailer park turn out to be drug-abusing trash, that a rape victim “was asking for it” based on her attire and that all Catholics do not believe in birth control. Assumptions are essentially opinions that some people share without thinking. My absolute favorite asinine assumption was spoken by a middle-aged female newspaper editor. This woman had the nerve to say to me, “Your mom is from the Appalachians. Can she read?” Socio-economics and...