Help me welcome the amazing Dixie De La Tour and her rockstar storytellers this Wednesday, February 27th in Los Angeles! I’ll be there, so please say hi! If you’ve never been to a storytelling show before this is a great way to get your feet wet. Smart and smutty stories from some of L.A.’s best storytellers and sex nerds! Bring a dirty mind and some smelling salts because it’s called BAWDY Storytelling for a reason! – Lady Cheeky
- Sex educator & Podcast Phenom Sex Nerd Sandra (@SexNerdSandra)
- Moth Host & Emmy nom’d writer+producer Brian Finkelstein (@bsfinkelstein)
- Host/Producer of the Midwest Teen Sex Show, Author NIkol D S Hasler (@NikolHasler)
- Music/Adventure/Mad Science by Rich Riggio
- And YOU! This is part curated Bawdy Storytelling, part BawdySlam: share your 5 minute story for prizes & braggin’ rights
- Giveaways from Big Teaze Toys
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2013
Doors at 7:30,
Show at 8:30 PM
4212 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Tickets $15 or $12 in advance thru Feb 24th
Bawdy Storytelling – America’s Original Sex+Storytelling series featuring Real People and Rockstars sharing their bona fide sexual adventures – is coming to LA! Entering it’s seventh year in San Francisco, Bawdy Storytelling (the J. Edgar Hoover to your size 13 cha-cha heels) will draw LA’s smartest and smuttiest to El Cid’s stage to share tales of our ‘Secret Life’: sex with strangers, assumed names, role playing, and that time with the best boy, the key grip and a roll of gaffer’s tape in the editing room <yes, we know about that>.
This show will be a mix of renowned sex-positive celebrities for the curated portion of our show, followed by BawdySlam (where people just like you take to the Bawdy stage and share personal and intimate adventures for prizes and the title of Dirtiest Storyteller in LA!
Bawdy’s award-winning take on sex and storytelling has made it not only a “don’t miss” event in the cities we’ve already conquered, but it serves as a gathering of the bold, the beautiful, and (if our fan mail is to be believed) an awesome first date destination. Each themed evening of true dirty stories features tales of carnal wins and epic fails with no scripts, no nets, and no holds barred. You may even go home with a few new tricks for your boudoir arsenal!
The historic El Cid is a treasured Silverlake Landmark. Now it’s under new management, and has a new menu under the direction of renowned chef Olivia Hernandez. This is going to be a very special evening. Think tapas, cocktails and flirting…
About the Storytellers:
- Sandra Daugherty (Sex Nerd Sandra) is a passionate sex educator based in Los Angeles. Her irreverent humor and quirky love for details has given rise to her moniker, Sex Nerd Sandra. Sandra is the resident sex blogger on Chris Hardwick’s Nerdist.com. She also works & teaches at The Pleasure Chest in Los Angeles and coaches individuals. She has been seen on ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians,’ the pilot episode of The Wanda Sykes Show, & has also lent her voice to both Playboy and Spice Radio. Sandra believes human sexuality should be a distinct field of study as it is a distinct & important aspect of our lives. And she, for one is happy, quite happy, to study it.
- Brian Finkelstein is a regular performer and teacher at The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Los Angeles, as well as the host of the LA Moth Story-slams. He has performed his solo shows in a variety of venues from the HBO/US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen to the 2012 Summer Nights Festival in Perth, Australia. He’s also an Emmy-nominated writer for his work on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Currently his screenplay, Good Grief is being produced by 72 Productions and he’s touring with The Moth.
- Nikol Hasler is the Producer & Host of The Midwest Teen Sex Show (a regular in top ten iPod health podcasts) which gained press attention from the Wall Street Journal, Glamour Magazine, CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, Nightline, and even The O’Reilly Factor, among others. Hasler has been called upon to be an expert to discuss issues such as teen pregnancy rates, AIDS awareness, and the rise of sexually transmitted infections in American teens, and her video and screen writing work has included original videos for Hearst Corporation and One Economy Corporation She is the author of “Sex: A Book For Teens” which features back cover endorsements from Dr. Jocelyn Elders and Betty Dodson, and has written for Glamour, Fray Quarterly, Beatweek Magazine, RH Reality Check, Alternative Press Magazine, Crushable.com and The Onion’s A.V. Club Chicago.
- Dixie De La Tour founded San Francisco’s ‘blue personal narrative’ movement almost five years ago in a Burning Man warehouse. The off-color nature of her life was at odds with her diehard love of storytelling until she decided to create Bawdy Storytelling, a place for other people with poor self-control to share their antics, too. As a card-carrying pervert who sports both Southern charm and a mouth that would make a Sailor blush, she’s earned her Ph.D in sex-positive culture after more than a decade of hosting, promoting and throwing underground sex parties and events. Dixie runs Bawdy Storytelling full time, writes for the zine SanFranSexy, and recently left full-time employment in Women’s Marketing for an Adult Dating & Hookup site (where she wrote porn star bios and content for the women’s sexuality site SheLovesSex, plus served as Community Moderator for people on the make). She’s currently working on a book of her own adventures, and is planning to take over the world – one bawdy story at a time.
You probably think you know a thing or two about sex…and I’m sure you do. But, you probably don’t know more than the handful of writers I’ve chosen to profile below, because these people are hardcore. By that I mean, they really know their stuff, and their stuff is quite sexy. Most of them write about other topics as well and do a fine job of it, but for the moment I want to get you acquainted with their sensual sides.
Jesse Bering writes the outstanding Scientific American column, “Bering in Mind”. His essays and books are consistently rich and engaging, but some of his best writing comes in response to reader questions — and people will ask him just about anything. The remarkable thing is that no matter the question–whether it’s about a latex fetish or scatological arousal–Bering has a well-researched, erudite response that teaches more about whatever sex-related topic is at hand than quite a few books I’ve come across. I have yet to come away from reading one of his essays or responses to reader questions and not feel considerably better informed than I was just minutes before. Be sure to also check out his latest book, “Why is the Penis Shaped Like That?: and Other Reflections on Being Human” that’s scheduled for release in a couple months.
Sheril Kirshenbaum is an example of a science writer (and scientist) with many interests and the talent to cover them all well, but her claim to fame is a book she wrote about the science of kissing, entitled, fittingly enough, “The Science of Kissing: What Our Lips Are Telling Us”. You think you know what’s going on when your lips meet his/hers? Read this book and I guarantee you’ll start seeing the kiss and physical affection overall in an entirely new light. Kirshenbaum’s triumph is that she’s able to pull that off without leaving us with a clinical, sanitized aftertaste. There’s a fine line between scientific insight that broadens and enriches our perspective, and dispassionate knowledge that dulls our appetite for being human. Fortunately, Kirshenbaum knows where that line is and doesn’t cross over to the dark side.
Jena Pincott is talented, sharp, and an extremely nice person — but most importantly for this list, one hell of a writer. Her sex science gestalt came with her book,“Do Gentlemen Really Prefer Blondes? Bodies, Behavior, and Brains–The Science Behind Sex, Love, and Attraction”. I read the book a couple years ago in preparation for an interview with Pincott and can still remember my astonishment coming across stuff I couldn’t believe I didn’t know. Seems like there’d be an age of sexual cognitive ripeness after which there aren’t any new surprises. Read Pincott’s book and you’ll know that’s far from being the case. More recently, she wrote a book about pregnancy entitled, “Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies?: The Surprising Science of Pregnancy”. If you are considering having a child, or even if you already have kids, this book will teach you a few new things with a style that will make you feel like you’re chatting with someone in the same room.
Mary Roach holds the high honor of having written perhaps the best known sex-science book to hit shelves in the last 10 or so years: “Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex”. When I spoke to her about her experiences writing the book (and she had a few notably salacious ones), she said “Bonk” is what happens when a liberal arts kind of person takes on a science topic — she had to experience the topic to do it justice. If you are already acquainted with Roach’s writing, you know that she is as funny as she is smart. You’d have a better chance of being bitten by a shark in your swimming pool than you would getting bored while reading “Bonk” or any of her other entertaining books.
Kayt Sukel’s work was just recently brought to my attention, but I’m already seeing why she’s a sex-science notable. Her first book, “Dirty Minds: How Our Brains Influence Love, Sex and Attraction” is receiving several favorable reviews and, from what I have read so far, strikes me as a judicious blend of neuroscience, psychology and sociology. She also writes about sex and other topics for The Washington Post, USA Today and The Christian Science Monitor, and writes a regular blog about sex, love and life for The Houston Chronicle. And she’s one of the few writers that I’ve seen embraced with equal passion in the pages of Elle and Scientific American on the same subject. She’s clearly doing something right.
When it comes to finding an expert on all things sex, you can’t come much closer than Marty Klein. He’s written seven books and over 200 articles on the subject, and he writes a regular blog at Psychology Today called “Sexual Intelligence”. Of course, there are thousands of credentialed sex experts out there, but what makes Klein different (and worthy of this list) is his ability to communicate what he knows. He’s also one of the more controversial of the writers on this list for his position on sex addiction (he calls it a “dangerous concept”) and his outspokenness on what he calls the “Oprah-ization of therapy.” His strong stances on those and other issues contributes a grittiness to his writing that I find refreshing. Klein is going to tell you what he thinks with straight-to-the-point prose, and the best part is you’ll learn a lot from reading what he has to say whether you agree with him or not. Check out his latest book, “America’s War on Sex”.
David DiSalvo: I’m a science, technology and culture writer who contributes to Forbes, Scientific American Mind, The Wall Street Journal, Psychology Today, Esquire, Mental Floss and a smattering of other publications. My first nonfiction book, “What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite” (Prometheus, 2011) is available in paperback and Kindle, and my second book, “The Brain in Your Kitchen” is now available for Kindle. More at my website: www.daviddisalvo.org. Contact me at: disalvowrites [at] gmail.com. You can find me on Twitter @neuronarrative and at my website, The Daily Brain.
A common stereotype of a female porn star is an insecure, sexually abused, mentally ill and/or drug-addled woman. It’s one supported by anecdotes (most memorably by Linda Lovelace’s harrowing autobiography) and rhetoric (the feminist scholar Catharine MacKinnon went so far as to claim that all porn actresses were sexually abused as children). But as for actual research? Eh, not so much.
Now, a new study claims to have debunked this truism, which is known as the “damaged goods hypothesis.”
Some performers were amused by the news. “As a happy, healthy female porn performer, my reaction is: thanks, science, thanks so much for proving I am real,” says writer and porn performer Lorelei Lee in an email.
On a similar note, porn actress Dylan Ryan tells me, “It’s about time that research catches up to the realities for a great many women who perform in porn,” she says in an email. “It’s important to me as a performer that the conversation evolve and develop to make space for the (as in any community and population) diversity of experiences, personalities and lifestyles of porn performers.”
Adult actress and director Kimberly Kane took a different tack. “I’ve found that everyone is damaged no matter what line of work they’re in,” she says.
Researchers compared self-reports from a group of nearly 200 porn actresses to those of women outside the industry who were similar in age, ethnicity and marital status. Not only did the report show no higher incidence of child sexual abuse or psychological problems among female performers, but it actually found that pornsters had higher levels of self-esteem and sexual satisfaction.
It’s true, however, that porn actresses are more likely to have ever tried a range of drugs, including ecstasy, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine, according to the study. But as for recent drug use, performers were more frequent users only when it came to that devastating drug known as … marijuana.
Also of note in the study’s findings: Female performers were more likely to identify as bisexual, had sex at earlier ages, had more sexual partners and were more likely to be worried about STDs (although, due to mandated industry testing, they are perhaps more likely to know their status than the general populace).
The study, authored in part by Sharon Mitchell, a former porn performer and founder of the Adult Industry Medical Health Care Foundation, engages in plenty of speculation about what might account for these various differences — for example, in explaining the higher incidence of bisexuality, researchers suggest that “the adult entertainment industry acts as a facilitator of sexual fluidity by providing a supportive culture of same-gender sexual interactions and offers financial rewards for engaging in those behaviors.”
But the most fascinating hypothesis — and let’s remember, it’s just that — is that “being able to be completely naked in front of others” may be associated with higher self-esteem. (The paper cites another study finding that topless women at a beach reported higher self-esteem than those covered up.)
“I think that the misconception of porn performers as ‘damaged goods’ stems from a misconception that only women who have little respect for their body would take place in sexual acts in front of the camera,” says Madison Young, a porn actress, artist and self-described “sexual revolutionary.” “However, women who love their bodies, who are confident in themselves, many who have degrees and other careers, choose to be a part of the authentic documentation of pleasure.” They aren’t the only ones who choose to participate, of course, but that range does exists. “Pornography and the exploration of sexuality on film is a large and diverse realm and those that perform and work in the world of pornography are diverse as well,” she says.
And understanding that diversity means continuing to study it.
(Photo: Spanish News)
That anal sex remains taboo may explain why a study about anodyspareunia – that is, pain during anal penetration – received little attention when it was published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy. The study should have turned heads: It was the first research on anodyspareunia among women; it was conducted by a well-respected scientist (Dr. Aleksander Stulhofer from the University of Zagreb); and it was centered on young women and sex. That’s often the kind of research that attracts media attention (Young women sex! They get pregnant! They give oral sex! You get the picture …). However, anal sex remains such a strong taboo that this otherwise important study barely turned a head.
Except it did turn mine. Here’s why. In an incredibly short period of time, anal sex has become a common part of Americans’ sex lives. As of the 1990s, only about one-quarter to one-third of young women and men in the U.S. had tried anal sex at least once. Less than 20 years later, my research team’s 2009 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior found that as many as 40-45 percent of women and men in some age groups had tried anal sex. With its rising prevalence, I felt it was important to devote a chapter of my first book, “Because It Feels Good,” to anal health and pleasure — only to find that a magazine editor wouldn’t review it because the topic of anal sex was “not in the best interest of our readership.” Even though nearly half of American women in some age groups have done it! She added, “In the correct circles, I personally will be suggesting the book to those with whom I can share such a resource.”
Hmm. The correct circles. Which ones would those be? The ones where scores and scores of women openly sit around talking about anal sex between glasses of wine?
So taboos persist and anal sex remains hush-hush even though more people are doing it. What changed to make it more common, anyway? It’s not entirely clear – after all, rates of masturbation, vaginal sex, oral sex and other sexual practices don’t seem to have changed too much. However, it’s commonly thought that the widespread access to porn played a role. Some research has found that anal sex was shown in 56 percent of sex scenes studied even though national data of real people’s sex lives show that fewer than 5 percent of Americans had anal sex during their most recent sexual experience.
Honest, evidence-based answers to questions about anal sex are difficult to come by. You’d think we would know more about a behavior that’s become a common part of Americans’ sex lives – one that, for all its potential pleasures, remains among the riskiest sex acts when it comes to spreading sexually transmissible infections (STI) including HIV. Yet there is strikingly little scientific research on anal sex. The list of what we don’t know about anal sex is far longer than the list of what we do. This makes it difficult for sex educators to feel truly confident in answering people’s very real and important questions.
This is also what made the recent University of Zagreb study so valuable. They surveyed more than 2,000 women ages 18 to 30 about their experiences with anal sex. Building on limited early research about anal pain among men who have sex with men, the researchers asked about women’s experiences with pain. This was critical because, as much as we often talk about anal sex possibly hurting, and lubricant possibly minimizing pain or discomfort during anal sex, there is almost no research on women’s experiences of anal sex. One exception is a study that I conducted with my research team at Indiana University in which we gave six different lubricants to more than 2,400 women and asked them to use them during their masturbation, vaginal sex and/or anal sex activities. Among our interests was whether using a lubricant helped to make sex – including anal sex – more pleasurable, more satisfying and less painful (it did).
The Zagreb team found that about half of women (49 percent) stopped their first experience of anal intercourse because it was too painful to continue – not surprising considering 52 percent of women report not even using lubricant when they first had anal sex! An additional 17 percent of women also experienced pain or discomfort during their first anal sex, but didn’t stop their partner. Only about one-quarter of women said their first experience with anal sex was pleasant.
That said, nearly two-thirds tried anal sex again (hopefully this time with lubricant), continuing on another occasion. Those women who found it positive, pleasurable and pain-free were more likely to try it again. About 9 percent of women who had anal sex at least twice in the past year said that they experienced pain every single time. Based on what I know about women who experience pain during vaginal intercourse, my guess is that chronic pain during anal sex is even more common – perhaps hovering in the 10-15 percent range – once the women who actively avoid it because it always hurts are taken into account.
This 9 percent figure is important. It tells us that a similar proportion of women experience pain consistently during anal sex as experience pain consistently during vaginal penetration. That’s right: Somewhere around 10 percent of women experience pain during vaginal intercourse or even during daily activities like sitting down or riding in the car. The 9 percent number is also close to the 10-14 percent range that’s been identified as the proportion of men who have sex with men who experience pain during anal sex. And though the Zagreb study asked women what sense they made of their pain (most blamed themselves or their sexual practices, suggesting their pain was linked to not feeling fully relaxed, inadequate anal foreplay, or not using sufficient lubricant), the fact is that we still don’t know clinically what’s causing their pain.
It may be that, like the vagina and vulva, the anuses of some women and men respond to touch or penetration in painful ways and for unknown reasons. It may be that some of these women and men have skin disorders, such as lichen sclerosus, which can affect genital skin (including anal skin), increasing the likelihood of discomfort, pain or tearing. Certainly lack of information and education is at the root of some people’s pain, but it’s probably not the primary cause for everyone. Some women and men do everything “right” – they use gobs of lubricant, they start out slowly, relax, communicate well with their partner, avoid desensitizing or numbing gels/creams – and yet it still hurts. Do they have an underlying medical condition that’s contributing to the pain? Wonky nerve receptors that scream in pain rather than perceive penetration as neutral or pleasurable? We don’t know.
In case you’re wondering, we also don’t know much about the long-term effects of anal intercourse. Certainly enough people have been having anal sex over enough generations that if anything were seriously dangerous about anal sex, we would know it by now. But as for questions about how regular anal sex, rough anal sex or insufficiently lubricated anal sex might ultimately affect the likelihood of a woman experiencing rectal prolapse or of a woman or man experiencing various anal or rectal health issues, we don’t know because no one has studied these kinds of things. It’s 2012 and pretty much all we know about anal sex is that lots of people have tried it, there’s a higher degree of risk for STI/HIV transmission (compared to vaginal sex or oral sex), many people have found it painful on occasion, many people also find it pleasurable sometimes, and about one in 10 women and men experience pain during anal sex on a regular basis. Much of the research involving HPV and anal cancer is focused on men who have sex with men – which is needed — even though more women in the U.S. have received anal sex than the number of men who have received anal sex. That’s not to say that anal cancer isn’t important to study among men – it very much is the case – but women get anal cancer, too, and we need to know more about risk and protective factors (related: check out this I Have Butt What? blog by a brave anal cancer survivor named Michelle).
Knowledge gap, anyone?
Even though most people who have had anal sex engage in it only occasionally, anal sex is a fairly common practice. And if people are going to engage in sexual behavior, then they deserve enough information to help make that behavior as safe, pleasurable and satisfying as possible. To do so, science has to catch up and taboos have to dissipate enough so that more people feel comfortable talking about it and sharing their experiences.
Debby Herbenick, PhD, MPH is co-Director of The Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University’s School of Public Health-Bloomington, a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, and author of five books about sex and love. Her most recent is Sex Made Easy: Your Awkward Questions Answered for Better, Smarter, Amazing Sex (Running Press, 2012).
Check out this TEDx Talk by Debby Herbenick “Why Your Bed is the Ultimate Treehouse”