The Podcast is Back! Online Classes are Here!

Sex Nerd Sandra is one of my favorite podcasters and an amazing resource. I’m going to try and make it to some of these classes, and hopefully so can some of you.

Sex Nerd Sandra

SEX ED DO YOUR HOMEWORK pic finger gunsHi! I’m back from hiatus and stoked to tell you that the podcast is enthusiastically back this week (should be up later today. It’s so much fun!) and I’m introducing live online classes EVERY WEEK for the next 3 months. 

I pledge to teach every class in my catalogue directly to you at 7pm in 3 of Sex Nerdom’s most populated time zones: Sydney/Melbourne, London and Los Angeles/SF. (yes that means I’ll be teaching each class 3 times.)

$10. 1 hour. Every Wednesday @7pm. Choose which time zone works for you.

THIS WEEK: Awesome Oral for Everybody: a workshop with Sex Nerd Sandra

2/10 @7pm Sydney (UTC+10)

2/10 @7pm London (UTC)

2/10 @7pm Los Angeles (UTC-8)

Upcoming topics:

  • Feb 10th –  Awesome Oral for Everybody
  • Feb 17th – Booty Basics: Fun for Everybody
  • Feb 24th – Female Orgasm Basics
  • Mar 2nd – Balls Deep: the Fundamentals of Fellatio
  • Mar 9th – Suck Smarter, Not…

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“The Overnight”

Last night I finally had a chance to view “The Overnight”, an independent film starring Adam Scott (Ben from Parks & Rec), Taylor Schilling, Jason Schwartzman, and Judith Godreche. Dan Savage recommended the film and I figured that means it is worth checking out, especially since it is now on Netflix. Despite not having any ROFL moments I did really enjoy the film and found it entertaining.

There will now be spoilers, so if that bothers you then you should just go watch the film instead of dicking around on the internet. It is only 75 minutes.

 

So, what I really enjoyed about this film was the realism. They touched on several subjects that are not seen that often in popular cinema. It also treated the situations as realistic instead of trying to titillate the audience.

Body Image Issues – One of the male characters is uncomfortable with his penis size and isn’t comfortable naked. This is likely very common, particularly in the US where seeing a male friend naked is kind of rare. There is a ingrained homophobia in this country and seeing another male naked or, even worse, finding them attractive can bring about a lot of assumptions about your sexuality.

Nudity at Parties – Television and movies tend to only show female nudity, particularly at parties. There are scantily-clad or topless women everywhere in media, but that isn’t how most parties in real life turn out. In my experience, it is usually a guy who is willing to go streaking or skinny-dipping. That’s how it is in this film, you see two dicks but no real female nudity (aside from a very short shot of a woman standing without underwear on).

Fluid Sexuality – One of the driving forces of the film is one of the male characters finds another male attractive. After some discussion among the group you find that he is happily married and found his wife very sexy, but as time has gone on he has had a growing interest in other men. We here a lot about bisexual women or sexually fluid women, but there it is still fairly taboo for a man to identify as bisexual or to have sexual fun with a man. In reality, men can be sexually fluid depending on time, place, and the people involved.

Companion Marriage – One of the married couples in the film seems to have a “companion marriage”. They love each other, are best friends, are good parents, and work well as roommates, but they are not sexually or romantically attracted to each other anymore. So, instead of breaking up everything and causing a bunch of chaos they stay married as companions and each person is free to pursue their interests outside of the marriage. I’d love to see more companion marriages talked about in the world openly. It is unhealthy to expect one person to be your “one and only” forever and ever, we need other people to fulfill holes in our life, and sometimes those holes are sexual. The marriage in this movie is a great success, though some would see it as a failure because they aren’t as romantically or sexually interested in each other.

Anyway, I highly recommend the film if you have an hour or so and enjoy watching something a little more socially progressive.

Black History Month

One of the goals for 2016 is to educate myself more on cultures that are different than mine. Black History Month seems like a good motivator to narrow my focus and read some Black* authors. I used to be one of those people who said things like “Well why isn’t there a white history month?!?!?!”. Thanks to some amazing friends, new experiences, and travelling I now view things differently. I’m still a noob, but maybe by the end of the month I will have a better understanding.

Some would say that I shouldn’t care about the race or ethnicity of an artist, but only care about the content of what they produce. Maybe that is true, but I am sticking to the old cliche writing advice to “write what you know”, and the people who know Black culture are going to be people who experienced it firsthand. In addition to authors I am going to listen to more music from Black musicians and research the lyrics to understand more.

So, I will be starting with W.E.B. DuBois’ “The Souls of Black Folk”. It was available on Audible and most of my consumption will be audiobooks. I start my bike ride again next week and will be spending about 30 hours in the saddle each week. Hopefully, I can get through 4-6 books in February. I’m open to suggestions but some other authors on my list for this month are Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr, Huey P. Newton, and Frederick Douglass.

There are many other demographics besides Black that I hope to understand better and devote a month of study to including, but not limited to, women, gay/lesbian, transgender, conservatives, Asian, southern, Hispanic, rural, religious, and straight-edge.

*I hope the use of Black is appropriate. Generally, I would say African-American but I am not limiting myself to just Americans or the American perspective on things. If this terminology is wrong please let me know, I want to learn.

Vacation vs Transformation

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to why I enjoy the things I do. Pleasure inducing activities seem to fall into two, sometimes overlapping, categories: Vacation and Transformation. Vacations are the things that recharge us and allow us to relax. They are comfortable and stress-free. In some ways they are like a physical therapist, but for our motivation. They help us return to a healthy state when we are worn out and tired. The benefits from the vacation rarely last long once the vacation is over.

Transformation, on the other hand, are experiences that encourage us to grow and alter our behavior once the event is over. They are like personal trainers for the mind that make us stronger and happier for a long time, even if progress is slow in the beginning. These experiences are often extremely pleasurable, but they are fundamentally about growing and learning first.

Some events and experiences can fall into both categories, depending on the person. You can go to Burning Man or take MDMA and have that be a vacation. It can be about the moment, the pleasure, the recharge, but it can also be more than that. It can be Transformation when you take what happens during these experiences and use them to alter your behavior and mind once you leave. I don’t think Transformation comes naturally though, it takes some work.

To take an example that is close to me, let’s look at MDMA. While rolling you often are much, much more open to things like cuddling, touch, discussing painful issues, and new experiences. It isn’t like being drunk where your inhibitions go down and you do things you regret, instead it is like tearing down artificial or unnecessary walls to become the person you want to be deep down. The experience can be incredible, but once the day ends and you start to recover then you run the risk of it being a vacation instead of a transformation. You may not feel any regret for what happened and you may logically desire to do those things again without drugs, but there is still a block. The experience becomes an excuse not to change your life, you think “yes, I did that and I liked it, but only because I was (at Burning Man, on Molly, backpacking Europe, etc)” instead of acknowledging that you did it because those are things that you fundamentally want to do, they are part of the person you want to become.

Moving past that barrier is difficult, even when you recognize it. I don’t think I really have any solutions to it. I’m sure there are steps you can take… for example, if you want more platonic cuddling in your life you can actually schedule cuddle sessions with a willing friend. Or if when you are at Burning Man you are inspired to create art then when you get to the “default world” (which is burner talk for life off outside of Black Rock City) you can join an art class and find a way to keep yourself accountable.

It seems that the default position is vacation instead of transformation, at least for me. It is easy to conserve, rest, and be comfortable, even if it isn’t going to help fulfill your life. I guess that is part of what makes humans unique, we can recognize these higher goods and pursue them, even if they are in conflict with our evolved urges. It is never easy, but in my experience transformation is always worth it.

Apathy

I’m having a bad day.

I feel drained, apathetic, and am just generally beating myself up. I feel like I have wasted moments of my life that I’ll never get back. I feel like I’m not living up to my potential. I feel like I piss away opportunities. The hours and days fly by me and I didn’t take advantage of them… instead I just burrowed into my blankets and sucked down another beer.

It seems like all my friends are doing great things. They are starting businesses, traveling the world, creating and inventing a better future. I am filled with all types of ideas and interests. I want to learn German. I want to start a children’s book series about our bicycle travels. I want to do some modifications to my bike trailer. I could exercise. It goes on and on and on… but I can’t seem to find the motivation. I often feel like it is too late to start or it will just be something that I fail at. Sometimes it feels like trying isn’t worth the effort because my history shows that I’ll just give up. I’ll get one super productive day in and then just spend the rest of the week dicking around on Facebook, wasting time on Hearthstone, and napping my life away. I can start a thousand projects and never finish one. Hell, I don’t even get 15% into one. My passion and drive just disappears after a day or two.

I know I am being irrational in a lot of ways, but that doesn’t make it feel less real or painful or depressing. I know that I see my friends doing a lot simply because I have ~2,500 Facebook friends. The law of large numbers virtually guarantees that something awesome is happening every day to a friend of mine. And I know we are kind of encouraged not to share the bad news in our lives. Everything is supposed to be fucking happy all the time… but damn it, sometimes I’m not happy.

I know that part of the problem is chemical. I’m recovering from overuse of serotonin after rolling this weekend. It always drains me for a couple of days. It always passes. But it still fucking brings tears to my eyes as I think about the time I’ve wasted… how much better my life could be if I stopped slacking. My hormones are already on a monthly cycle with periods of moodiness, insomnia, and near depression hitting every month.

Logically, I know my life is pretty awesome. My multi-year bicycle ride is starting up again soon and with it comes greater health, the three months of laziness burning up and firming my body and mind. With that health comes greater happiness as well. With that adventure comes the feeling that I am actually doing something of value in my life (even if I am the only one that gets any value from it).

I don’t know. I’m just having a shitty day. I just kind of feel alone.

 

 

TV Shows

A friend of mine on Facebook requested (I love requests!!!) that I share my TV shows and book recommendations. Both of those lists are probably pretty long so I am breaking it into two parts. First, the TV shows.

Television or, more accurately, Netflix and Amazon Prime and Hulu tends to serve three purposes for me. I watch it actively, passively, and for sleeping. Active shows are the ones that I watch without distraction because I love the show, they cover deep issues, and they tend to require information about previous episodes to follow the story lines. Passive shows are the ones that I have on in the background while working, they provide white noise and the occasional break from work, but they aren’t distracting enough to make me unproductive. Sleeping shows are the ones I put on at night before bed, they are shows I am familiar with and provide a certain level of comfort and consistency to me. So, here we go…

Active:

Black Mirror – I’m completely in love with this show right now. I like it when television shows make you think and this show consistently lead to deep conversations with my partner about technology, transhumanism, human nature, philosophy, political institutions, and where we, as a society, are heading. There are going to be a lot of new ethical questions in the coming years as technology advances. I also really like that each episode is a stand-alone episode, you don’t need to commit to the show to get a lot out of it. It is a universe focused show instead of a plot or character focused show. I can’t recommend it enough.
See also: The 100, The Man in the High Castle

Six Feet Under – This show is representative of the “new tv” that has come from cable television (and later online providers). Without worrying about censorship from the government or commercials they are able to tackle more mature and serious issues. Some shows use this as an excuse to show lots of tits, but Six Feet Under doesn’t do that. There is some nudity and sex, but it is very real and appropriate to the story lines. The show takes place in a mortuary and makes you think about serious issues like family, love, mortality, and how our society views death. The characters are very real and human, there are no good guys or bad guys, everyone has moments of good and evil, they are all flawed people who are just doing their best.
See Also: Hannibal, Sense8, The Wire, Orange is the New Black, Game of Thrones, American Horror Story, Transparent

Face Off – One of my guilty pleasures (okay, it isn’t a “guilty” pleasure, I don’t feel any guilt for the things I enjoy) is reality tv competitions. My favorite is Face Off. I am not a very creative person and it amazes me when I see the creativity and talent that some of these artists show. I love that we live in an age where people can pursue their passions and have opportunities that didn’t exist a decade ago.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – I know this is blasphemy but I think DS9 is my favorite Star Trek series. It is a little slow moving but having a series on a space station allows for some long story arches that tackle issues there were ahead of their time. It was made from 1993-1999 but talked a lot about terrorism and how to combat it, religious conflict with secular societies, military occupation, and the proper role of the military and government. It also was one of the first shows on primetime to show a lesbian kiss, which was highly controversial at the time (1995).
See also: The X-Files, Modern Family

Jessica Jones – I love just about everything that is happening in the Marvel universe right now. The use of TV and movies to create a cohesive universe is an amazing evolution for the art and would likely be impossible just a few years ago. Jessica Jones is my favorite in the series, likely because it is very adult. It definitely isn’t for children and tackles subjects like rape, PTSD, and how society treats those who are different. This is definitely a show that causes you to say “just one more episode” at 2am.
See also: Arrow, Flash, Gotham

 

Passive: 
The Biggest Loser, Pit Bulls and Parolees, Top Chef, Ancient Aliens, American Ninja Warrior, The Voice, Shark Tank

Sleep:
The Office, Parks and Recreation, Star Trek: The Next Generation, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Firefly, The League

Christmas Gifts

Christmas is always kind of an awkward time for me. It isn’t that I’m an atheist pagan, it is the gift giving. Out of the Five Love Languages I rank lowest in “gift giving”. I don’t care if I receive gift and I am terrible at getting gifts for others. Not only do I not know what to get people, it actually decreases my life happiness because of the pressure and stress. This is the one season where giving someone a gift is a strong expectation, it is seen as a true representation of your love or care for others but that isn’t how I work.

I’m just happy the season is over. I wish we lived in a culture where other love languages were seen as just as valuable during the holiday season. Things like travelling to see people or taking time to do things are how I represent my love, not gifts. And when I do get people gifts it tends to be cash or gift cards because that seems the most practical, but often that is seen as an insult. Oh well, the season is over for another year.