some actual data on college “hookups”

So late to the party on this one because I’ve been busy with my actual job preventing sexual violence, but: You have probably heard about the Carry That Weight campaign protesting college sexual assault. New York Magazine‘s big story about the original case included this interesting paragraph:   Is there a rampant hook-up culture on campus today? Of course there is. Does the promiscuity that third-wave feminists heralded as empowerment look a little less attractive when practiced by teenagers with little experience and less maturity? You bet. And frustration with hook-up culture is undeniably a part of the anti-rape movement. 

sex positivity defined

There are a lot of great definitions of sex positivity out there, but I haven’t found one that I can use in a talk, an interview, or in a blog post that quickly, unambiguously, unmistakably summarizes what I mean. So I thought about it, and here’s what I came up with:   SEX POSITIVITY: (n) The radical, all-inclusive belief that each person’s body belongs to that person     To say that I am sex positive means no more or less than that I believe your body belongs to you, my body belongs to me, everyone’s body belongs to themselves. We

in which emily isn’t convinced that “female” is a gender

This past week I was talking with a group of students, and toward the end one raised her hand asked if I would stop using the phrases “female bodied people” and “male bodied people” and instead say “people with vaginas” and “people with penises.” The student said that phrases like “male bodied people” unnecessarily impose a gender on people with those bodies. We talked about it for a while and I’m pretty sure I accidentally pissed her off, since she and her friend sat on the floor texting each other furiously immediately after, right in front of me, which is

in which emily practices reflective self-compassion

[TW discussion of sexual violence] This email came through my blog this week (details edited like this [...] for privacy)   I just came across your post on anti-sex positive feminism [...]. I think that the woman who wrote Ethical Prude is right on. Sex positive feminism does not protect rape survivors. I learned that when you didn’t trigger warn for rape at a training I went to this past summer [...]. I had to rush out of the room with a panic attack because you said to a group of women “For those of you out there who have been

with gratitude to Beverley, Carol, and Victoria

with gratitude to Beverley, Carol, and Victoria

Today was Day 1 of the FDA Workshop on Female Sexual Dysfunction. Among other conversations, three women read narratives of their experience with sexual problems. Because my goal – my only goal – is to maximize women’s sexual wellbeing, it’s important to me to honor the women who were willing to share their experiences with sexual problems in a public setting. This is a personal topic that women often feel ashamed about, and it can’t have been an easy decision for any of them. Respecting and BELIEVING their descriptions of their personal experience is the least any of us can do, to

why I signed this important petition the second it landed it my inbox

why I signed this important petition the second it landed it my inbox

On Monday begins a two-day FDA workshop on the medicalization of women’s sexual health. As a part of that, an important petition is being circulated by the New View Campaign in response to the misleading “Even the Score” campaign (which I blogged about here) because the drug company funded campaign suggests that approving a pharmaceutical treatment for women’s sexual difficulties should be a greater priority for the FDA than protecting American women from unsafe, ineffective drugs. If you’re like “activism, blah blah, I know, but can you tell me how to fix my sex life?”the answer is: Yes! Effective nonpharmaceutical treatments for low desire exist! As a beginning, allow

the social justice argument for self-compassion

This is one of those posts that’s definitely about sex, but could just as easily be true about pretty much every domain of life.   One of the things that’s true about high achieving women – and maybe also, ya know, most people everywhere – is that they compare themselves with their peers, and base their sense of self-esteem on how they’re doing relative to other people. Most of us have an intuitive sense that this kind of comparison doesn’t do anybody any good, but I’ve been trying to figure out some way to articulate why it doesn’t do us

I may possibly have articulated the real secret to sex positivity. What do you think?

I may possibly have articulated the real secret to sex positivity. What do you think?

I can’t be the only one who does this: You’re puttering around the house, doing dishes or sweeping up dog hair, or you’re riding your bike to work, or you’re sitting in a terrible meeting, and you start talking to yourself in your head, rehearsing an answer to a question no one has asked you yet but you feel sure they should and will ask. The question for me was, “Emily, what do you really mean by ‘confidence and joy’? What is confidence? What is joy? How do you create them?”   The reason I think people should and will