I was recently interviewed by Salon. com about the impact that Dr. Ruth Westheimer has had on my career. It was amazing to reflect on exactly how much I’ve followed in Dr. Ruth’s footsteps. As you’ll read in the article on Salon, Dr. Ruth forged the path that allowed me to become a media sex educator. I owe her a debt of gratitude, as does everyone who appears on TV or radio to talk about sex. The interview was sponsored by Cole Haan. As that company celebrates its 85th anniversary, it is honoring icons like Dr. Ruth who were born in 1928. This series of articles on Salon is called, “Inspiration Foundations,” and it pairs contemporaries with those being honored to show the influence they’ve had on us. Those born in 1928 who are included are: Dr. Maya Angelou, Capt. James Lovell, Elliott Erwitt, China Machado, Vidal Sassoon, Dr. Ruth, Andy Warhol, and Maurice Sendak.
What you don’t hear on TV is that the crowd gathered around David Blaine is buzzing about his sex appeal.
David Blaine is hanging upside down in Central Park. I went at sunset yesterday to get the sex scoop on the scene. When I arrived, he was lowering himself to his fans’ eye level. Folks were jovial and intrigued. As David hung there signing autographs, he answered questions from the crowd. A woman asked how his “penis was doing.” He said that everything was fine, and a security guard explained that he has a catheter attached to it to contain his urine. One guy called out to him, “David, how do the girls look upside down?” David laughed, and one of his crew answered for him, “He has had ‘em that way before.” A petite brunette standing near his head seemed a bit embarrassed. Has he really tried upside down sex? We’ll never know, because David just grinned. A giggling woman pointed out that his grey-blue underwear was showing as he curled his back up to stretch. “Sexy!” she said to her girlfriend. I asked them why he has such sex appeal. She swooned, “his eyes,” which were hidden behind sunglasses that magically stayed on his upside-down head. Perhaps it’s more about his mystery than his eyes.
I just got off the air from the appearance during which I discussed the MTV Video Music Awards. See the photo below of me standing in front of the camera. Host Mike Galanos is based in Atlanta, so I was on via satellite from CNN’s gorgeous studio in NYC. In two segments, Perez Hilton and I discussed Jordin Sparks’ remark defending purity rings. Also on the air for the first segment was Joanna Weiss who wrote about this story for the Boston Globe. I agree with Perez Hilton that Jordin was right to say something, and given the fact that her remark was unrehearsed, she did fine. However, it is wrong to classify people — as she did — as either virgins or sluts. It’s the myth of that dichotomy that often keeps us from discussing the reality of most teens’ and young twentysomething’s sex lives. Most teens and twentysomethings have sex in the context of relationships, and at least 87% use birth control. Perhaps teens could feel more comfortable talking about sex with mom and dad if their parents understood that when teens have sex it is not always harmful or ”bad.” Perhaps teens would also feel more comfortable reaching out to get sex education if they knew that our culture would not categorize them as a “slut” if they responsibly choose to have sex.
Adding more media chatter about teen sex and abstinence, last night on the Video Music Awards, Russell Brand, Jordin Sparks, and the Jonas Brothers, all weighed in. I’ll be on CNN headline news today to discuss whether the media has an impact on teens’ sexual choices. Plus I’ll have the chance to comment on this remark by our American Idol, Jordin Sparks: “It’s not bad to wear a promise ring, because not everybody – guy or girl – wants to be a slut.” Stay tuned…
Today on CNN Headline News at 5 pm, I’ll be talking about the Katy Perry song, “I Kissed a Girl (and I liked it)”, and whether the song could pressure teenage girls and college women to be interested in same-sex kissing. Preview…
Most often when a teen girl or college women identifies herself as heterosexual, but chooses to kiss another girl or women, it is because she feels attracted to the other person, because she is striving to define her sexual orientation for herself, because she is curious, or because of any number of other personal reasons. Could they be pressured by a pop song? It’s possible, but unlikely. Possibly, and stereotypically, IF a woman feels any pressure to kiss someone of the same gender, then that pressure could be coming from a guy and alcohol could be involved – as depicted in Katy Perry’s song. Her catchy besong is not so troubling to me, but it’s the video that I find offensive. It’s anti-woman and anti-feminist. Katy Perry’s album is called “One of the Boys,” and that’s exactly what the “I Kissed a Girl” video is about. She is pandering to a male heterosexual fantasy to sell CDs. The video is not all bad. Some of it is sexy and sensual, and some images simply allude to sex, including Katy on a bed stroking a pussy cat. But the disturbing images are those in which her harem of black-lace clad women are depicted not as whole people, but rather in pieces – a shoulder, a leg, a neck — seemingly dismembered women. The still shot below is taken from the video. The image is shown in the video just as it is here, with no context. She is not seen going under the couch, nor does she leave the couch. Is it a sexual joke that I’m missing? Are they just trying to come up with something “edgy” and unusual? Or is it solely intended to degrade women? Drop me a note if you have any thoughts on this image.
In the other Sept. 08 Cosmo article that I am quoted in — “100 Crazy Sex Questions: Answered in 20 Words or Less” (p. 146-149) — I was asked to write exactly 20 words each to answer thirteen sex questions. Compulsive, but fun. Also, it was challenging to answer accurately enough in exactly 20 words. (This is what a “sex expert” does for fun on a Friday night.) Here are the questions they sent, with the actual 20-word answers I wrote. (more…)