Happy New Year, blog followers! I haven't posted in a little while. I've been dealing with the stress of the holidays (that are finally over!), and am just getting over the flu. So I haven't been feeling particularly attractive (enough to want to pose for pictures), and I'm least inspired during the winter months anyway, when it's cold and everybody's all huddled up, covering their bodies under layers of clothing. But I've been reading some great stuff, and I wanted to point out two authors who've written on subjects relevant to this blog, and who I think deserve much praise.
The first is Nancy Friday, a sex-positive feminist who has published several books since the 1970s. I recently read her first book, My Secret Garden, which is largely a collection of women's various sexual fantasies. I tell you, it's enlightening, and incredibly liberating to hear women talk so frankly about their own sexual desires and fantasies. Friday's book is not a scientific survey like Kinsey's was, but it is nevertheless refreshing to hear anecdotes from women who think about sex in ways they're not supposed to, and who defy cultural stereotypes.
I love Kinsey and his work, but this is the one perspective most lacking from his studies, and I would have loved to have heard his reaction to women's sexual liberation, had he lived long enough to experience it. This book confirms that - although every woman is an individual with unique attitudes and aptitudes with regard to sex - there are women who are at least as psychologically stimulated by sex as men: women who fantasize about sex - even very perverted things like rape and bestiality and incest; women who are actually turned on by pornography; women who look at men's bodies the way men look at women's bodies.
It's a huge step forward in equalizing the sexual playing field between men and women and it's concerning that although this book was first published in 1973 - though we have come a long way since then - it still feels somewhat shocking and taboo, which is a testament to how enduring those pesky conservative stereotypes about women's sexuality are. It's also nice in that, being a product of the '70s, it's free (at least to a point) from some of the modern day rhetoric surrounding acceptable and unacceptable sexual fantasies.
The author also includes a scathing introduction that condemns the hypocrisy of all strains of feminism that seek to oppress women's sexuality. But though the author's comments and contributions are welcome, the best part of this book is that it's not about psychoanalyzing women's fantasies, but merely documenting them in the various women's own words. I haven't read any of Nancy Friday's other books yet (although I've got my eye on a few), but this one alone is worth putting on my nonexistent mandatory reading list for all sex-positive progressives.
The other author I'd like to bring to your attention is one Marty Klein, who is actually a prominent sex therapist, with lots of experience counseling couples, giving talks to promote sexual literacy, and even serving as an expert witness in free speech trials. He has a number of books published on various sexual topics, but the one that speaks to me most is America's War on Sex, which lucidly clarifies the battle lines in what is an attack on the principles the United States were founded on (as enumerated in the Constitution, particularly the first amendment) by the moral conservatives who use their discomfort with sex as an excuse to push their oppressive agenda.
It's amazing how pervasive the moralistic dogma of the religious right is, that even normal everyday citizens buy into the shame surrounding normal sexual behavior, and go along with all the false information in the media about the evils of pornography, prostitution, masturbation, contraception, comprehensive sex education, and so on. You hear it everywhere you go, and so it is genuinely refreshing to read from someone who doesn't buy into all that crap. That's what I try to be, right here on my blog, and wherever I share my nude and erotic photography.
And if you don't feel like buying a book, you can read a whole lot of Marty Klein's writing on his own blog, Sexual Intelligence, which I've recently added to my sidebar of recommended blogs. I honestly couldn't praise it too highly - this is stuff I feel like I'd have written, if I had the experience and training and professional standing that Dr. Klein has, and it's so in tune with my feelings and beliefs that if you like what I write, and what I stand for, I think you'll enjoy reading through some of it. This is a guy I'd want on my side in the fight for sexual liberation.