Sex Pots and Sex Bots


“The number of sexual acts and lovemaking positions commonly practised between humans will be extended, as robots teach us more than is in all of the world’s published sex manuals combined.”

Sexbots, teledildonics, cybersatisfaction…the time has come for customized cyborg sex, something I once dreamed right here on this blog in “Dream of a Mistress Sex Cyborg,” according to an article in the Guardian today entitled, “Sex, Love, and Robots: Is this the end of intimacy?” Sex toys on steroids, it seems, Realldoll team, makers of sex dolls, is on the verge of  producing sex bots, programmable to be responsive to the user’s whims, apparently, and more life like than…well, life, more accommodating, I would think.

The writer of the Guardian article, Eva Wiseman, does a bang up job of pulling in all the strands of the theme, interviewing the key parties, such as David Levy, author of Love and Sex with Robots, with whom she dances around the obvious ethical concerns about replacing the human, addiction and, of course, pedaphilia. Levy is a bit cavalier with his response about pedophiles, in particular: better acting out with a bot than on a child. He also doffs off the intimacy drain or addiction by alluding to vibrator use now. Levy is not the first to ponder the extent of the post-humanist possibilities. Biologist and academic Donna Haraway in her Cyborg Manifesto did so before him and many others, academics and popularists alike.

Just a couple of weeks ago, in a class discussion of Roe v. Wade and the future of abortion in America, I noted the Supreme Court’s critical consideration of a fetus’ viability (survival outside a womb) at some point after 3 months at which time the weighing of a state’s interests in health of the mother and potential beings against the mother’s right to privacy shifts away from the mother. I mentioned not only the medico-technological developments since that 1973 case that have pushed back viability to 3 months or earlier, but also the possibility of synthetic wombs, baby generator/gestators, like test tubes for conception, and how such a cyborg or mechanical device would change the abortion debate.

The practicality of a mechanical womb would alleviate much of the discomfort in the Roe decision, such as the inability to define a fetus as a person at law (though corporations are persons now) and the state’s intrusion into the private health care decisions a woman makes with her physician. Neat idea, which may even exist or be in the works. Then again, I’m still stoked about the remote control vibrator.

Bro-jobs in Salon

She told us, “They stop each other from killing each other by rub rub rubbing, until they come come come. And then have a banana together or something,” adding, “I think there’s a very positive and certainly very natural aspect to this.”

Despite this slightly offputting ending paragraph about rubbing-to-coming monkeys, I appreciated Salon’s broaching a risqué rather than sensationalized topic of real human behaviors that few, if any, in our still-so-homophobic culture here in the U.S. mention.

Of course, I’m a sucker for all things relationship-exploding. Not destructive eruptions, but exploding sedimented behaviors and expectations based on normativity, wether applicable to marital or sexual definitions, the kinds that clear the path to allowing a little reality to seep through.

Salon’s The “Bro Job”: Why “straight” men have sex with each other explores in an anthropology-light sort of way, the underpinnings of self-identifying heterosexual male sex with other men, reasons–if there need be–for its natural occurrence in what is for some, even many, an unnatural social order of human intimate relationships based on heterosexual monogamy.

Pointing out the diversity of male sexual appetite for meaningless as well as meaningful sex, the author explains how men sometimes want sex that is just…well, sex, not love-making or performance, just men enjoying what men do, for fun, release, something less demanding, I suppose, a more automatic, instinctual and non-committal release.

It makes sense to me. Men–and women–suffer under the continual obligation to try and understand another; sometimes the relief lies in just being what they are without apology.

Though the author is quick to point out that sexual politics and labeling are part of the problem too: so is a man who has sex with men and women automatically bisexual? Quickly jumping to labels is what others do to others to make themselves feel comfortable. But the label does not necessarily fit the identity of the labeled.

Fuck labels.

I recommend this quick and tactful read.

 

Fugue

  

  
Sundays. 

In day-drifts I spend them in lengthy morning sheets, 

woven threads striping maypole my legs with yours.

Skills. 

You have them: attentive, unwavering, intent. 

Your strong gentleness fills our bed with symphonic hum, a vibrational fugue. 

I cry. 

Some tenderness tears at lost time, flaked off bits of skinned cycles round, 

a heart with no hands.

Touch: soft swept fingers warm atop cupped palms, like namaste hands, loose prayers. 

Your hands. 

The edges brush by bristled cheek, full flesh and heated like sun-baked summer squash.

Promises: unsaid, steady and willed. 

You cannot. 

Ties from September past, 

a dozen dozen or more in months melded to seamless years of you and you and you. 

And her. 

Until: always when, yet, but still, then again, for now, someday, and forgive me.

 
credit: thisisnickwhite.com

9 infidelity ‘things’ and more…

     
Salon’s  9 things you might not know about infidelity is one of those numbered titles that packages tidbits of information from the significant to the pandering. And though the author does a fine job of gathering, presenting and contextualizing (sort of) the information, there is never a question in my mind about the transparent motives of articles like these: seduce readers with and for the numbers.

It is all in the packaging. Lost leaders abound.

Opening sentences handshake the readers to the tone and subject:

Monogamy is a nice idea in theory, but in practice, humans are less adept at it than they might admit. 

Yes, so we have read. The author, Kali Holloway, then launches into the biology of two of the nine “things” such as the correlation between ovulation and frequency of infidelity as well as a lesson on spermatology: the race to the egg is a competition including beating the opponent out of the race altogether. 

Next up, sociology. Having participated in society only in the last 100 years, women surpassed previous records of infidelity running a closer race to cheater men:   

A 2010 study from the National Opinion Research Center found that over the last 20 years, the number of married women who admitted to affairs rose a staggering 40 percent. Which we can all agree is a lot. Nearly 22 percent of men copped to sex outside of marriage, a number that’s remained fairly consistent since 1991. For women, that percentage rose to 14.7 percent. A number of theories are floated for this change, including increased financial independence for women, the fact that women spend more time in co-ed working environments (most affairs begin in the workplace) and changing attitudes around women’s sexuality.

Now this next came as a surprise:

Most cheaters, across the board, don’t get caught. A recent survey found that 89 percent of spouses engaged in extramarital affairs are able to keep their infidelity on the down-low. But women are better at keeping their affairs a secret than men. 

Though it somehow does not surprise me. My theory: most spouses do not want to know (read: denial) or silently sigh a relief in the face of infidelity. I have no numbers to back up that hunch. All I know is, sex is complicated, monogamy or not. Conflicting sexual appetites, ebbing and flowing of phases of the moon as well as the decades, and a hundred and one sexual hangups originating from family, society and biology, all contribute to the complications inherent in trying to maintain interest in, let alone quality or quantity of sex in the long term relationship.

Holloway cites a Forbes interview for the following statement by a dating site CEO in item number 6: 

“You often don’t catch the women. Because women naturally think more contextually. They consider long-term vision and potential consequences much more thoroughly before acting.”

Based on which evidence: anecdotal? experiential? statistical? A CEO?

People who make $75,000 and up are 1.5 times more likely to cheat than those whose annual salaries are $30,000 or less. Those with graduate degrees are also more likely to seek sex outside of marriage, being 1.75 times more likely to have an extramarital affair than people who haven’t graduated high school. Living in a city also ups one’s chances for cheating by a factor of 1.5 times.

The take home from these statistics? The struggle to survive financially takes up too much time–none to spare for the affair. No doubt social values of a society in which the measure of an individual is in the size of his or her wallet has something to do with it. The equation of money to power weighs heavier on those with lower salaries and affects confidence, logically. 

As we near ages that end in zeroes, the chances for infidelity increase.

Mortality. Enough said.

…people who use Twitter every day tend to have shorter relationships than those who don’t, regardless of age. And not that it’s totally germane, but daily tweeters were also more likely to masturbate on a daily basis

Ok, how in the world does one measure that last info-bit and who even thought to ask?

And along the same vein (pun intended), appealing to salacious appetites for the sexual, inane, absurd and obvious:

…penis fractures and extramarital affairs may correlate according to a too-small-to-be-significant study that the author includes–just because–in an otherwise responsible gathering of information on recent infidelity findings. The study authors appear credible, at least, and if they are not as strong as the National Opinion Research Center out of the University of Chicago, the author comments upon that fact.

And while the trend for the numbered article annoys me, caters to the soundbite mentality of pop readership, I too cannot resist the draw of itemization, the buffet of tidbits of data big and small, serious and amusing, but most of all, the back story of the findings, the minds of the surveyors who seek quantification and categorization of minutae and the commonplace. 

The story, for me, breathes in the cracks of the facts, the why’s and wherefore’s.

The Lover’s Leap

  

I am sorry.
 
I brought her into bed with us again, she who worries 
too much about her breath and her b.o.
 
all the wrinkles of offense, she who cringes at the thought,
the very idea that she may be seen,
 
imperfect as the smoke hiding the fireworks the other day,
left a trail of sooty stink looming,
 
threatening to mar our view, dim the shiny glee of us.
And now you know.
 
Though the end is not the all, not the being or culminating cause,
we were groomed to believe so,
 
such that her presence stays me, stems the flow, ebbing waves,
impenetrable shield, a barrier, firm and illusory, still
 
and empty as the notion that we need to be THE image
the key to keyhole fit
 
when with a flick of a switch, lights on to view the truth
veins and skin and twisted mouth
 
invisibly drawn to be erased in one full sweeping hearty sigh
honestly gut-of-the-mind uttered
 
by body belief in beauty larger than sight
holier than the mountain
 
we delve in for deliverance in undeniably desirous delight
release and respite, fulfilling
 
in its wholeness, this acceptance, this release, 
this trust in blind care
 
for the principle, for the knowledge of us we share 
enfolded, in threaded limbs
 
that nothing but fear she wedges between permeable doors
open-shut as the thought leaping over the falls
 
cascading down an embracing grip caught in the pupils’ deep
in careful sense, fragile fortitude as the spine of a lover.
 
 
photo credit:  static.yourtango.com 

Zoophiliac’s Dream

  

Credit: http://static.comicvine.com/uploads/scale_small/1/15776/1322468-cat_fem6.jpg

She mewed at him provoking sense and shifted gaze.

The glint in his eye sparked flame among the blue.
Smoke surrounded her, drifting a tail of thin vapor.


His Circe gone, the scent of woman-cum-feline stirred.
The endless voyage in hiatus, his will broke in on itself
feathering out the tics drinking below the surface calm.


Caged ardor pounces a captain’s dreams ad delirium.
The restraints of a space-time compendium of battles
writ to air beats love into holes of clawed subordinates.

Would You Watch This Documentary?

  
The divorce rate for first time marriages in the United States hovers steadily at about 50% according to the Census Bureau’s reports over the last ten years. Yet mindlessly and merrily, Americans march to the altar like lemmings to the cliff, only to free fall over the edge into the depths of that statistic. Despite the concerted efforts of great minds in many fields–psychology, law, medicine, sociology, anthropology, to name a few–there has been little progress in lowering divorce rates overall. 


Except for rate shifts with the rise and fall of the economy, most notably couples choosing not to divorce in a down economy because it is cheaper to live on separate sides of the house than pay attorneys, divorce rates fluctuate little. During some periods, marriage trends toward cohabitation over licensing.


Though there are probably as many reasons for divorce as there are married couples, common factors such as communication, religion, finances, childrearing and roles contribute to the irremediable breakdown of marriages. And while cheating is the last straw when it comes to suffering an unfulfilling relationship and often impels filing divorce papers, it is not so much the cause as the symptom of the bases for disagreement. 


Poor communication about feelings, especially about sex, is a significant cause of injury in marriage. The experts, including Esther Perelman, have written about sex as the communication trouble spot, the sensitivity surrounding sex and the expectations of couplehood, in particular: the beliefs that two people merge and thereby are able to read each other’s minds and that sexual performance critique leaves long lasting scars on marriage sex life, are problematic. 


Though male dissatisfaction is not unheard of, the complaints are more likely by or rooted in women regarding men’s inability to sexually satisfy. Reciprocity in the sexual satisfaction arena breaks down.  When one party is getting satisfied while the other is not, resentments grow and withholding sex or certain sex acts the other enjoys, often results. My evidence is anecdotal, but I am fairly certain the data validates my assumptions.


Why is sex so complicated? I suspect sedimented beliefs and inherited cultural myths about female bodies and leftover Puritanical sexual mores contribute significantly to the complexity.  


And though orgasms are not all there is to sex, they are significant, especially if only one of the couple is having them. In any event, the lack of orgasms coupled with the inability to talk about that lack not only to mates but to friends and family for the discomfort we dysfunctional Americans have in speaking about sex generally, circles the perimeter as well as forms the shadowy core of the divorce abyss. 


Perhaps learning about how women orgasm is a key to lowering the divorce rate in this country. And here to educate all of us, people of all genders, about female orgasm is a documentary by an expert:

“Our culture is obsessed with depicting and idolizing both vag-gasms and intercourse as the ultimate in sexual expression,” says Trisha Borowicz, a filmmaker/molecular biologist who studies orgasm ‘just for fun.” “Everyone acts like there is not a definition for female orgasm when there really is a pretty damn good one.”

Science, Sex and Ladies is Borowicz’s attempt at not only dispelling myths about female orgasm but also teaching how they are achieved. She attacks the accepted model of penis in vagina penetration as the “norm” for fulfilling women. By boldly and explicitly explaining how female orgasm is produced with a real vulva to diagram, she supplies important facts to expose the lies many women grow up believing in the absence of valid information.

5. Contrary to popular belief, most women don’t take “forever” to come. Most women come as quickly as easily as men, given the right stimulation. Men would also take “forever” to come if they were only being stimulated by, say, someone diligently rubbing their pubic hair.

That’s number five of four other fantastic facts needing to be known and provided courtesy of Jill Hamilton’s review of the Borowicz’s documentary in Salon.com (The simple “secret” to making a woman orgasm no one understands). A link to the documentary is provided in the article, well worth the read.

While educating the populace with vulva diagrams is not the antidote to divorce, disseminating accurate information–truths about how women work–improves the health of everyone, especially teens susceptible to the porn industry that fills the gaping hole parents leave when they do not or cannot inform their sons and daughters about the wonders of the female body–no easy task. 

I know my own daughters resist the awkward masturbation and sexual satisfaction conversation that they perceive as foisted on them. Disturbing notions of our mothers as sexual beings haunts the deep recesses of our collective subconscious for centuries, one of many deeply ingrained twists to our sexual proclivities. No wonder we’re screwed up.

The Second Time 

  

Credit: http://www.autostraddle.com

The second time she came was with a boy-man she had attracted while perusing selections in a shoe store. He was a salesman and she was in the market for some comfortable shoes that evoked her style: earth shoes. 

“Do you have these in a size 9?” she asked huskily, then choking slightly, clearing her throat as she held up the shelf model to his smiling eyes. 

It was late 1978. She had already met Sean but he was spending the summer with his girlfriend while she was working and making her way through college as a young, vibrant, jeans-and-flannel 18 year old seeking love and fun in between classes. 

She was thrilled that she caught his attention, he with the thick, sandy brown, wavy, shoulder length hair, the same texture as his full wide bandito mustache of old Spaghetti westerns, that covered his full mouth and detracted from his cobalt blue eyes, the same color as Sean’s. He was clearly flirting, touching her foot in lingering courtesy, as he helped her try on the ugly dirt brown leather earth shoe with its flat rubber sole the color of bottled rubber cement, and hobbit-foot curved toe box. 

“How do these fit?” he asked, grinning too widely for the contextual inquiry.

It was the first of many encounters with Jim, whom she loved to kiss for hours. He may still go down as one of the best kissers ever, someone who could savor a mouth, a tongue, the fullness of a brushing lower lip along another’s thinner, grasping top lip in utter tender breathlessness of passionate study. He clearly understood that a kiss was a conversation. 

He was a natural fit and they had sex often but after a time, made love, high on cheap wine and pot, in synced undulation that moved her body–shoulders to thighs–slithery-slowly in sweaty sensual waves inside the steamy, airless room of a slightly seedy, shared apartment behind the liquor store of the town’s busy main drag. A shoe salesman’s commissions afforded little luxury.

On one occasion, she found herself lying underneath him, hands softly cupping his bare shoulders, fingers rounded relaxed so that her nails lightly tingled the skin of his back as he slowly moved in and out of her, rhythmic but slow-savor of flesh on flesh, every stroke of it on the way in and out, even-calm gliding sweetness that all of the sudden burst tears from her eyes in a full-blown opening that was yet a closeness to his being; it moved her body and heart–an unknown sensation to her prior to that moment and a mystery still as she bathed in the warm tears on her face and the outpour from her brain down to the depths of her, some place she only abstractly identified as the darkness of her womb. 

She was surprised at the tears and the tender feeling of surrender and body deep warmth leaking from her pores and especially her legs, between her thighs. She would many years later identify that sensation in the throes of an intentionally induced orgasm in the bed of the technician, whose fingers worked effortlessly to make her body arch in that final tautness before the release–as an orgasm. 

It was an aha! moment 12 years later while reflecting in the night spent with that technician, “Hotel Jones,” lying awake in glorious incongruous aftermath of body-spent stillness and sleeplessness for the sheer bubbling liquid excitement that stirred inside her: the newness of an unknown man, experience, and sex never before recognized, come to light of her mind, where she knew everything, filtered by ponderous thought and book-learned emotion, how she understood the world and herself.

The Only Organ for Pure Pleasure



An interesting short read accompanied by a HuffPost Love & Sex podcast, Carina Kolodny’s The Power of the Clitoris reminds us that this powerhouse of pleasure is not only often overlooked but most unfortunately misunderstood and misplaced. Hey, it was a revelation even to decades old me when I recently read how long that seemingly small pleasure piece actually is and how far it extends into another key erotic zone.

The podcast features the author, Kolodny, and Noah Michaelson, a professed gay man (even he finds this bit amazing) who advocates spreading awareness of the clitoris, the only human organ with its sole purpose as pleasure, by talking openly about if for not only sex education purposes but for reminding us sex is not purely utilitarian and circumscribed, a predisposition this organ’s mere existence challenges:  sex is not just procreation, procured exclusively for marriage, but exists for the pure enjoyment of it. 

While some may scratch their heads in puzzlement wondering why that is notable, there is still a consciousness among some and a subconsciousness among more that sex is confined to those traditional milieus: procreation and marriage.

And then there’s Freud…