Archive for February, 2013

Last Day of Sex at Dawn Sale!

by Jason Stotts

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Today is the last day of Amazon’s sale of the Kindle edition of Sex at Dawn for only $2.99!  If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend you do.  If you don’t have a Kindle, remember you can download the Kindle app on any computer or smartphone and read it that way too.  For only $2.99, you absolutely have to get it.

 

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Interesting Links

by Jason Stotts

Here’s some interesting links that you should take a look at.  If you only check out one, read Dr. Marty Klein’s essay about sex addiction.  I am in whole-hearted agreement with him that sex addiction is not a real thing and will be writing more about it soon.

1. You’re Addicted to What? by Dr. Marty Klein

Periodically, some famous politician, athlete, or entertainer gets caught with his or her pants down, damaging or even destroying their reputation, livelihood, and marriage. Within hours, my email starts buzzing, as media vultures circle the fresh carcass and want my expert opinion: Is Tiger Woods a sex addict? Was Katharine Hepburn? How about Eliot Spitzer, David Duchovny, Charlie Sheen, John Edwards?

The twenty-four-hour cable/Internet news cycle doesn’t want experts to talk seriously about this—they simply want people (Maury! Tyra! The ladies on The View!) who will announce, with just the right mix of scorn, smirk, gravity, and total confidence that so-and-so is a sex addict.

The schadenfreude is so thick you can cut it with a knife. Moralism stands in for sympathy. High dudgeon stands in for nuanced understanding. From all corners, we hear a Greek chorus of voices linking someone’s extramarital affairs to feminism, testosterone, the Internet, sadomasochism, consumerism, or even 9/11. And then they inevitably wheel in the heavy gun: “sex addiction.”

Most importantly, these public thrashings are a chance for the audience to condemn sexual acting out while vicariously enjoying it. America loves an excuse to sneakily enjoy unauthorized sex. The fall of the rich and famous is a bonus.

 

2. The Porn Myth: Uncovering the Truth about Sex Stars

Porn stars aren’t particularly keen on being studied. But they are the focus of great public interest and moral debate, which may explain why one man’s in-depth analysis of adult film performers went viral last week.

The average adult film actress is a brunette with a B-cup named Nikki, at least according to blogger Jon Millward, who spent six months analyzing the demographics of 10,000 porn stars drawn from the Internet Adult Film Database. But what’s known about porn stars beyond their breast size? Remarkably little, thanks to practically zero research funding and a community wary of researchers.

3. Why do Some People Have Fetishes?

Fetishes refer to cases where an individual’s sexual desires and behaviors hinge upon a specific object, such as shoes or feet. To be clinically diagnosed with a fetish, desire for this object must occur persistently over a period of at least six months and it must create personal distress (in other words, a fetish isn’t considered a clinical “problem” unless the individual is bothered by it or finds that it interferes with their ability to develop and maintain relationships). People can have fetishes for virtually anything, from the conventional (e.g., silk panties and leather boots) to the unusual (e.g., dirt and cars). It is perhaps no surprise that the most common question people have about fetishes is how they develop in the first place.

4. My friend Alex Epstein is making news with his Center for Industrial Progress, which I enthusiastically endorse: Business Superstar: Interview with Alex Epstein

Alex Epstein is a man on a mission: a new industrial revolution. Yes, that’s quite a mission – and Epstein hopes to achieve this goal with the Center for Industrial Progress (CIP), a for-profit think-tank that he created in 2011.

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A Minor Change to Help Children

by Jason Stotts

An interesting TED talk that argues we could improve the overall health of infants by doing no more than waiting to cut the umbilical cord for 90 seconds.

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Ten Things Didn’t Know About Orgasm by Mary Roach

by Jason Stotts

In this interesting video of Mary Roach at TED, she talks about orgasm and you’ll definitely learn something new from it. Mary is the author of Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, which is a really good book about some of the science behind sex written in a way that is accessible to the average reader.

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Christopher Ryan in LA

by Jason Stotts

Last night I got to meet Christopher Ryan in LA at an event he was speaking at.  Well, “meet” is perhaps a little strong, but I got to shake his hand, talk to him a little bit, get our picture taken, and get my copy of Sex at Dawn signed. (For a couple of people, you’ll be interested to know Technogeisha took this picture.)

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The event was put on by “Mind Share LA,” a group in LA that apparently meets monthly or so to listen to lectures, see artistic events, etc. Clearly, I really don’t know much about them, I only went to see Christopher Ryan.

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There were three speakers last night: Christopher Ryan, Sharon Brock, and Jason Goldman.

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Christopher Ryan gave us his practice run of a talk he’s presenting at TED in March.  He did an excellent job speaking and hit some of the more interesting points from Sex at Dawn.  If you haven’t read Sex at Dawn yet, you really should.  I don’t agree with every part of it, but it’s an outstanding book and it will challenge you to rethink the way you think about sexuality.  Although, realistically, if you’re an Erosophia reader, it might not be that much of a shock to you.

(Oh, Christopher, in the span of 5 minutes you asked us “How many primates are monogamous?”, said “zero”, then showed a slide stating that the Gibbon is monogamous.  You might want to clarify that point before TED.)

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This is Sharon Brock, she talked about the neurobiology of love and relationships.  Honestly, I thought her presentation was mediocre at best.  It could have been because she followed Christopher Ryan, who was an excellent speaker, or it could have been because she oversimplified the neurobiology so much as to given completely wrong information. For example, she explained that in new relationships dopamine spikes and after several years it “goes back to zero.” What she should have said is that it goes back to a person’s basal state.  If it actually went to zero, you’d kill yourself due to extreme anhedonia; it is just wrong to say it goes back to zero.  I guess if you’re new to the idea of neurobiology and relationships, her talk was interesting.

The final presenter was Jason Goldman who is a grad student at USC (I didn’t get a picture).  His talk was on animal sexuality and similarities and differences between animal sexuality and human sexuality (well, mostly it was about the animal sexuality).  It was a very well delivered talk and the information was interesting.  I’ll be interested to see what else he does when I get a chance.

I really loved seeing people take time out of their day to get together to see lectures: I love those who love to learn.  If only there were more interesting lectures and it became a cultural phenomenon, that would surely make our world much better.  I strongly believe that mental lethargy and apathy are killing civilization.

I’m really glad we went to the event and I’m glad that Mindshare put it together.  Listening to Christopher Ryan also made me think about my speaking style and that it could definitely be more engaging. So, I’m going to have to work on that, especially if I end up presenting at ATLOSCon again this year.

Oh, and Christopher Ryan, if you want to hang out while you’re in LA, let me know!

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On Threesomes

by Jason Stotts

I’ve written about having sex with more than one partner before, which I call polysexuality  (or non-monogamy), and I think I’ve covered it pretty thoroughly.  However, recently a friend of mine was asking me about threesomes and I realized that this discussion was very abstract and while it dealt with the same issues, it did it in a way that may not be accessible to everyone.  So, I’ve decided to address threesomes directly here.  Note that I will presuppose the series “On Polysexuality,” so please read that first.

The first question we need to ask is: can a threesome be moral?  I think the answer is yes and I’ve laid out the reasons in depth in “On Polysexuality.”  The short version is that while sex is very important in life and to our happiness, it is not the case that having sex with a person besides your partner necessarily diminishes your capacity to care for your partner or your intimacy together.  Moreover, as long as you are choosing the third person for good reasons (you think they are attractive, you think they have a good character, you share values, etc), then there is no concern on that front either. Finally, as long as you and your partner discuss your plans to have a threesome in advance, are both on the same page, and start at a comfortable pace for both of you, then there will be no damage to your relationship.  This doesn’t mean that your first threesome will go well, but just that you won’t lose your relationship over it.

Next, we should look at the reasons why a couple might want to invite a third person into the bedroom.  There are some reasons that are legitimate and others that aren’t.  If for example, you no longer find your partner attractive, but you don’t want to tell them this and you still want sex (so you need another person), this is a bad reason to have a threesome as it is fundamentally dishonest to both the person you profess to love and care for and also to the outside person.  On the other hand, if you have a really good marriage but are not sexually compatible, then having a threesome might be a good solution (a better solution would be an open relationship or converting your relationship into a companionate marriage).  Generally, and I cover this in “On Polysexuality,” as long as you’re not deceiving your partner or being indiscriminate in your choice of the third person, you’re probably going to be fine.  Good reasons include, but are not limited to: wanting to try new things with your partner, wanting to expand your sexual boundaries, wanting to explore bisexuality, wanting to experience compersion with your partner and enjoy them having sex with someone else.

One perk that many couples don’t realize is that the increased arousal from having new partners actually transfers onto your partner as well so you tend to be more attracted to your partner and have more sex with them as well.  In fact, many couples who are new to polysexuality are surprised to find that their arousal for their partners is also increased and they experience more passion in their own relationship.  Thus, polysexuality actually improves the sex in your relationship as well as providing a new source of excitement.

So, let’s say that you’ve cleared all the moral hurdles (again, refer to “On Polysexuality”) and you and your partner are ready to have a threesome.  Now what?  You need to think about several practical issues:

1) Questions about the third person:

– Who is the third person?

– What sex should they be?

– Should it be someone you know well like a friend or a stranger you will never see again?

– Should you meet several times before the time of the threesome or just meet right before?

The choice of the third person is important.  Not only because it can make the entire encounter either moral or immoral, but also because a good choice of a third can make the entire threesome go smoothly, while a bad choice of a third can make it impossible for it to go well.  The person should be sexually open, they should be respectful of your existing relationship, they should be easy to communicate with and should be open in their communication, the person should be attractive to at least one of the partners (or both if the threesome is a bisexual or homosexual threesome), and the person should be discreet if the couple values privacy.  Although it’s not something you’d know about a person you just meet, but the person should be able to be sexually dynamic and take cues (verbal and nonverbal) from the couple and if you know a person well, you can probably judge if they’d be able to do this.  Having a good third person can make all the difference in the world.  You need to talk to your partner about what you want and don’t want and try to be explicit and think of as many things as you can.  Don’t get too caught up in the concretes of physical appearance, as personality and character are more important here (like most places) than physical looks. For example, if you’re going to wait until you find a 5’9” woman with blonde hair, blue eyes, D breasts, who is bisexual, and an Olympic deepthroater, you might be waiting for a long time.

2) Questions about yourselves:

– Are you going to jump into a no-holes-barred encounter or are you going to start more slowly with the third person merely watching?

– Are you going to use barriers (condoms, dental dams, gloves, etc) for all sex acts or only for certain sex acts?

– What happens after you cum and you’re done?  Does the third have to rush out? Can they stay the night?

– Are you going to drink or use recreational drugs before you start?

Once you have a third person in mind, you need to consider how you want the threesome to go.  Are all three people going to be active at once?  Are they going to take turns while someone watches?  Is everyone going to be sexual with everyone else?  Does anyone have boundaries that you need to be aware of?  Is it going to be a one-off experience or will there be several encounters?  If it’s going to be a one-off experience, you’re going to have to consider that this means you’ll have to do everything you want that one time and so going slowly might be harder.  If you have several encounters planned, then you have the option of ramping up the level of action each time to make sure everyone is still okay. But, you should never feel pressured (from your partner or even the situation) to go farther than you’re ready.  It’s much better to not get to some things you wanted to do and do them down the road instead of going too far and having a bad experience.  If all you are comfortable doing is a threesome that includes only oral sex, that’s still a “real threesome” and can be a lot of fun.  It’s better to ramp up slowly to the actions that you might be hesitant about to make sure you won’t be bothered by them instead of just jumping in (although in some ways this does depend on your personality).

One distinction that has grown up in the swinging community is between couples who are “soft-swap,” who only engage in manual and oral sex with other couple, and “full-swap,” who also engage in vaginal (or anal).  I point this out because having vaginal or anal sex is not a necessary condition of having a successful threesome and a threesome can still be fun and exciting without them.

3) What kinds of boundaries are you going to have:

– Is kissing allowed?

– Is cuddling allowed?

– Are certain positions or sexual acts restricted?

– Is it okay if one person stops or does everyone have to stop?

– If one person leaves the room can things continue?

– Are pictures allowed?

This brings us to our third consideration: what are the boundaries?  Are both partners comfortable with kissing, touching, oral, anal, vaginal, cuddling, etc.?  Many people are surprised to find that affectionate acts bother them more than sexual acts and they never discussed this before heading into the threesome.  As a couple you need to discuss everything that you want to happen and everything that you think might happen. Is the third person meeting you at your house and you’re going to have sex in your bed?  Are you meeting at a hotel? Is the third person just coming over for drinks and a threesome? Will they need to leave immediately afterwards? Or is it going to be a drawn out affair with dinner, drinks, a threesome, and post coital chat.

If you can’t talk about it, you damn well shouldn’t be doing it.

You need to discuss what kinds of boundaries will make you comfortable.  I think you should discuss two different kinds of boundaries: soft-boundaries and hard-boundaries.  Soft-boundaries are preferences that you think you would rather not do, but that you might be open to in the future or the right situation.  On the other hand, hard-boundaries are things you absolutely don’t want to do.  While soft boundaries are flexible over time, they should not be renegotiated while actively engaged in a threesome.  Also, many couples find that their boundaries disappear over time and that things that were at one point hard boundaries, become soft boundaries or even fade all together with more experience.

4) Communication and “being on the same page”:

– What happens if only one of you is having a good time?

– What happens if someone feels left out?

The fourth thing to consider is this: you’ve gotten to the point where you know who you want to the threesome with, you know what your boundaries are and how you want it to go and you’re both on board.  The threesome starts and one of you is uncomfortable and not having a good time or even upset, what now?  Do you “take one for the team” and just grin and bear it?  Do you throw on the emergency break and bring things to a screeching halt?  Do you say that you are uncomfortable and ask to do something else or try again later?  You should consider that even though you both want to have a threesome, the fantasy of it and the reality of it can be very different.  Personally, I think that taking one for the team is a terrible idea that has the potential to hurt your relationship with your partner and I don’t advocate doing things with which you’re uncomfortable.  It’s much easier to fix things at the “I’m not so sure I’m ok with this” stage than the “Holy shit, I can’t believe you did that, you bastard” stage. Your partner may not have any idea that anything is wrong unless you communicate this to them, if you don’t and are upset afterwords or later, they will feel blindsided and defensive.

Another option besides using the emergency stop is to use a graduated scale of telling your partner you’re uncomfortable, like: green=good, yellow=slightly uncomfortable, red=stop.  You could also just openly express how you’re feeling and what you want to change with words, like: “Honey, I feel like our third is getting all the attention and I would like a turn too.”  However you choose to express yourself, make sure that you are clear to your partner about what you want and need and that your comfort is also being maintained.

As an aside, I once heard a story about a couple who was fine having sex with other people (this couple was “full swap, same room”, which meant that they’d engage in vaginal penetration with another couple as long as they all stayed in the same room), but as soon as the man orgasmed, they both had to be done (even if the other man and his partner hadn’t finished yet).  This brings up a good point for you to consider if you’ve never had a threesome before: how are you going to feel about it after you cum and the excitement subsides?  Research shows that arousal overrides disgust and things that might be exciting and fun while you’re aroused, might become disgusting after you orgasm.  Now a full explanation of this issue deserves its own essay, but its closely bound up in how we morally view sexual acts and shame around sexuality.  Nevertheless, it can be an unexpected problem, so keep it in mind.

So, now that you’ve really given it some thought and you feel like you’re as ready as you’ll ever be, what now?  Well, now one or both of you have to approach the third person and see if they’re interested.  Hopefully, they’ve shown some kind of interest before this or you know them to be open to sexual experimentation and trying new things.  I think it’s best to approach the third person together, so that they don’t get the wrong idea that one of you is looking for an affair.  But, since you probably know this person already, you can figure that out for yourselves, given what you know of the person.  If you’re trying to find someone to have a threesome with and you don’t want it to be someone you already know, I would recommend a “lifestyle” website, like Kasidie where you can find someone who will be interested in the same things and who will hopefully abide by the swinger rules, since swingers have created their own subculture with rules to help this kind of sex go well.  You could also use OKCupid, but if you’re going to do that, you need to be really upfront with your intentions and not deceive someone that you might also be interested in a relationship (unless you are).  I would probably not use Craigslist, but that’s up to you.

Before you actually attempt to have a threesome in real life, make sure that fantasizing about it, talking aloud about it with your lover, and even fantasizing together about it during sex is arousing for both of you.  If it’s not hot in your fantasies, it’s going to be even worse in reality.

Lastly, please do remember that your third is still a person and you should take their needs and feelings into account.  Your third is not a sex toy and you need to treat them with respect , especially if you want the opportunity for a repeat performance.

Now, to take a different tack, the foregoing is primarily considerations for people who are already in relationships.  However, what if you’re the third?  The third can be a single person or someone who is already part of another relationship. I think that being the third is more complicated than being in a couple in some ways, but easier in others.  Whether you’re single or in a relationship, as the third you need to get to know the couple.  You need to make sure you’re comfortable interacting with them and that you all get along.  You need to make sure that you clearly understand what is being asked of you (are they expecting you to sexually interact with both of them or just one of them?) and if they have any boundaries of which you need to be aware.  Now, if you’re single, you need to make sure that you don’t develop the habit of taking sex lightly and divorcing it from values and intimacy (I discuss this at length in “On Polysexuality”).  There can be great value in fun and novel sexual experiences, but this should not come at the price of sacrificing your ability to have true intimacy with a partner, which is an important part of happiness.  If you’re the third and you’re already in a good relationship, this is much less of a risk for you.  But, even someone who is in a relationship can end up divorcing sex from values and intimacy, even if you never have sex with anyone but your partner.  Maintaining the close connection between sex, values, and intimacy is more about your approach and your own values than how many sexual partners you have.

Now, you might ask whether this doesn’t take the fun and excitement out of a threesome.  I don’t think it does.  There is no doubt that a spontaneous threesome can be a lot of fun.  However, it also has the highest risk of something going wrong.  This isn’t to say that I’m against spontaneous threesomes, but I think that if you’re already in a couple and you have never talked to your partner about it, they are ill-advised.

I hope that this essay has helped with some of the moral and practical considerations that you should be thinking about before you have a threesome.  If you have more questions, feel free to leave a comment below or email me at Jason(at)JasonStotts.com.

As a closing thought, just remember that your relationship is your own and you should structure it in a way that works for the people in it and if threesomes are something you want to do, embrace it and live your life with integrity, no matter what other people might think if they found out.  Besides, it’d be a far better world if we could all be who we really are.

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Playboy is Now Casting Season 3 of Swing

By Jason Stotts

For those of you who are interested, Playboy has green-lighted Season 3 of Swing and is starting casting for it:

If you’ve seen the show, you know how fantastic it is. We’ll be back, as will Michael and Holli, Ashley and Early, and lots of other Kasidie members you’ve grown to love watching on the series. And there’s room for new cast members, so if you’ve ever wanted to do something fun and wild (on television) then this is your chance!

Some info before we paste in the official Playboy text…

When: Filming will be most likely in late March or in April (they are still putting that together), the show will air 4 – 6 months after filming wraps.

Where: Los Angeles – they rent a giant mansion, you’ll have your own room, they cover flights, food, etc.

Who: Hot Kasidie couples who can come for a single episode (2 days) or the entire series shoot (3 weeks).

NEWBIES – they want fun, open, willing-to-jump-in, attractive (this is Playboy) newbies who are preferably in their 30’s (exceptions made for especially mature 20-somethings or uber-hot 40-somethings). Must have a solid relationship, may have “some” lifestyle experience but haven’t full-swapped with other couples in a swinger setting yet (and will be open to this for ‘Swing’).

CAST – looking for hot couples from 21 – 45 who are experienced lifestylers, no drama, open to being nude AND playing on camera. Prefer full-swap couples.

It’s a LOT of fun, and you do have downtime to get out and explore Los Angeles between episodes. So come join us if you can!

Here’s the official language from Playboy…

THAT’S RIGHT PLAYBOY TV’S HIT REALITY SHOW SWING IS BACK FOR A NEW SEASON OF SEXY ADVENTURES FOR COUPLES! PLAYBOY TV IS NOW CASTING COUPLES FOR SEASON 3 OF THE HIT REALITY SHOW… SWING.

ARE YOU 21-45 YEARS OLD AND IN A COMMITTED RELATIONSHIP BUT LOOKING TO ADD MORE SPICE INTO YOUR SEX LIFE? HAVE YOU AND YOUR PARTNER EVER FANTASIZED WHAT IT WOULD BE LIKE TO INVITE SOMEONE ELSE INTO YOUR BED? ARE YOU YEARNING FOR MORE FANTASY IN YOUR LIFE?

PLAYBOY TV IS SEEKING RELATABLE COUPLES WHO ARE CURIOUS ABOUT THE SWINGING LIFESTYLE.  DOES A 2 DAY VACATION TO A PRIVATE, EXCLUSIVE HOUSE IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA INTEREST YOU? WE’RE CREATING THE ULTIMATE FANTASY GETAWAY FOR COUPLES WHO HAVE A STRONG DESIRE TO RE-IGNITE THE FIRE!  IF YOU’RE INTERESTED IN ESCAPING REALITY AND MEETING OTHER COUPLES IN A SEXY, FESTIVE SETTING, WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!!

NEWBIES: WE ARE SEEKING FIRST TIME COUPLES CURIOUS AND INTERESTED IN THE LIFESTYLE OF SWINGING.

CAST: WE ARE SEEKING KASIDIE COUPLES WHO HAVE BEEN LIVING THE LIFESTYLE TO BE CAST MEMBERS FOR 1 EPISODE OR MORE.

If you are interested in possibly being on the show, head over to Kasidie for more info.

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Announcement: New Objectivist Educational Organization

by Jason Stotts

My friend Marc Baer asked me to post an announcement of a new organization he is starting with Bach Ho.  I am doing so here purely for informational reasons and not as an endorsement: I have not read all of their claims yet or had a chance to evaluate them.  On the other hand, the more people out there providing high level training in Objectivism, the better.

“Marc Baer and Bach Van Ho would like to make the following announcement:

Due to the lack of an organized and serious effort at professional training of Objectivist intellectuals, we will be forming a new non-profit organization to address just this need.

For the announcement and details regarding the project, please see the Facebook page: Announcing a New Objectivist Educational Organization

Bios

Marc Baer earned his B.A. in philosophy from UCLA (1994), studied philosophy at the Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York (1996-99), and earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of California, Irvine (2002, 2006). He studied philosophy at the Ayn Rand Institute for many years, taking Dr. Leonard Peikoff’s undergraduate seminar in 1991 and the first undergraduate course on Peikoff’s Objectivism: the Philosophy of Ayn Rand, in 1994-95, as well as graduate courses with Dr. Harry Binswanger from 1995-2006. In 2006, he completed the Institute’s graduate program. He was an Anthem Foundation for Objectivist Scholarship fellow at the University of Texas, Austin, in 2005. He has taught philosophy at: the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; the University of California, Irvine; California State University, Long Beach; Concordia College (Bronxville, NY); and Orange Coast College (Costa Mesa, CA). He is a referee for the academic philosophy journal The Journal of Value Inquiry. He lives in Orange County, CA.

Bach Van Ho earned his B.S. in Information and Computer Sciences, with honors and cum laude, from the University of California, Irvine (2004), and his M.A. in philosophy from Arizona State University (2007). He won the Ayn Rand Institute’s 2002 Atlas Shrugged essay contest, graduated from ARI’s Objectivist Academic Center undergraduate program (2007), and studied in the graduate program until ARI closed it in 2009. From 2007 to the present, he has been enrolled in the doctoral program in philosophy at the University of California, Riverside, where he is currently a Ph.D. candidate; his dissertation argues for the individual’s life as the source of moral values. He teaches contemporary moral issues, medical ethics, and environmental ethics at California State University, Fullerton. Mr. Ho lives in Orange County, CA.”

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