High budget gay porn.

[CONTENT NOTE:  This post contains a discussion of gay pornography, as well as links to graphic, sexually explicit, NSFW content on other websites. If you are under 18 or you find this subject matter offensive or problematic, please go away. I don't know, go visit my zoo or something. Just don't feed the conservatives in the mammal wing.]

The WordPress gods have helpfully informed me that a popular search term that drove people to storm the Palace gates this week was this: “high budget gay porn.” A few weeks ago it was “gay arab porn.” Longtime Loyal Readers™ may recall the genesis of this phenomenon a year ago, with the search phrase “is there any gay porn with decent dialogue?” Then as now, I cannot figure out how this blog turned up in that search, but I am beginning to detect a pattern here: these particular gay porn googlers are nothing if not discerning. And if there is one word I would use to describe my Many Tens of Loyal Readers™, it’s discerning.

So welcome, discerning high budget gay porn googlers! You are among friends here. I myself am an unrepentant snob about many, many things, although I must confess I do not have nearly enough knowledge on the topic to be a snob about high budget gay porn. What I do have, however, is an Official Gay Porn Consultant™, who is “always queer to help.”

He notes that the genre is relatively new, and offers this for my new discerning readers:

Heavy on plot, and shot in gorge locales, these HD fantasies become travelogues with sex! They are often released in both hardcore and less graphic “erotic” versions, so as not to be too distracting to plan the next vacay [at the location].

He offers this as a theory:

I guess gays figured if a cable network could make luxurious, expensive TV movies, the most taste-saturated group on Earth could too!

If, on the other hand, you’re really only interested in high quality HD video production, this site and this one look like they’ve got some pretty slick, bandwidth sucking content. If you know what I mean.

World Aids Day, and a plug for Planned Parenthood

Today is the 25th annual World Aids Day. This piece in The Advocate by Vanessa Cullins, M.D., the vice president for External Medical Affairs at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, notes some critical progress against the disease as well as the scope of work yet to be done. Her ambitious call to action is nothing short of achieving an “AIDS-free generation” in less than thirty years.

Of particular note is the disproportionate impact of HIV on sexual minorities and people of color:

In the United States, gay, bisexual, and other “men who have sex with men” have the highest rates of HIV infection in the nation; within this group, young African-American men are at even higher risk. Also among those highest at risk for HIV infection are transgender people, especially African-American transgender women.
And the impact of HIV and AIDS on members of the LGBTQ community goes beyond infection rates. LGBTQ people have unique health care needs: in addition to high rates of stress due to systematic harassment and discrimination — which has been shown to affect physical and mental health — LGBTQ people are less likely to be insured or adequately insured, and are more likely to face discrimination from medical providers. LGBTQ people of color are at an even higher risk for these disparities — which means they often face greater obstacles, delays, and cost barriers to getting testing and treatment for HIV.

Early treatment helps those with HIV live longer and healthier without symptoms, and early treatment reduces risk of HIV spread to others.

Because our government is hopelessly conservative (with all of the inherent corruption that implies), Americans do not have universal single-payer healthcare. The tragedy of AIDS is exacerbated by this inexcusable situation, compounded by piss-poor sexual health education and little or no access to preventive care for teens and young adults. While the ACA promises to make a dent in treatment access for some of those who presently have no health insurance, Planned Parenthood has long been on the front lines in this fight:

On World AIDS Day, as every day, we are committed to helping create the healthiest generation ever, by working to increase sex education and HIV testing, and by helping patients who need additional care connect with trusted, quality resources. These are effective and essential HIV prevention tools.
In 2011, Planned Parenthood health centers provided 680,000 rapid HIV tests (a 16 percent increase from the previous year); reached more than 1 million people through education programs; and served more men than ever — primarily for STD testing services.
By investing in sex education, fully implementing the Affordable Care Act, and increasing access to sexual health care from diagnosis to ongoing treatment, especially for those communities hardest hit — young, black gay and bisexual men, and black trans women — we can help prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS and reverse the course of this epidemic.

Remember this next time your congresscritters are willing to cut Planned Parenthood funding. It’s a major health care issue, and at least Planned Parenthood is working to solve it.

All Americans deserve better.

medicare4all

Let’s all undermine NSA porn surveillance.

In the least shocking revelation yet from Greenwald & Co., we learn that the NSA is spying on the online porn proclivities of its surveillance targets—i.e., you, me and everyone else.

Top-Secret Document Reveals NSA Spied On Porn Habits As Part Of Plan To Discredit ‘Radicalizers’

WASHINGTON — The National Security Agency has been gathering records of online sexual activity and evidence of visits to pornographic websites as part of a proposed plan to harm the reputations of those whom the agency believes are radicalizing others through incendiary speeches, according to a top-secret NSA document. The document, provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, identifies six targets, all Muslims, as “exemplars” of how “personal vulnerabilities” can be learned through electronic surveillance, and then exploited to undermine a target’s credibility, reputation and authority.

Ah! As long as it’s only used against those dastardly Muslims, it’s all good. As we all know, this tactic will never, ever be used against against political dissidents. Despite, you know, all of Western history. Here’s digby:

And why are they doing it? For the usual reasons: defamation and blackmail.

And let’s be honest.”Radicalization” is a very elastic term, isn’t it? It’s not going to just be Muslims, although they are certainly at the leading edge of government paranoia. This is exactly the sort of thing that’s routinely used against political dissidents in times of crisis. We know this because it’s happened. We don’t even have to go back to hoary old 1960s COINTELPRO stuff. Recall that after 9/11 they did stuff like this:

The demonstration seemed harmless enough. Late on a June afternoon in 2004, a motley group of about 10 peace activists showed up outside the Houston headquarters of Halliburton, the giant military contractor once headed by Vice President Dick Cheney. They were there to protest the corporation’s supposed “war profiteering.” The demonstrators wore papier-mache masks and handed out free peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches to Halliburton employees as they left work. The idea, according to organizer Scott Parkin, was to call attention to allegations that the company was overcharging on a food contract for troops in Iraq. “It was tongue-in-street political theater,” Parkin says.

But that’s not how the Pentagon saw it. To U.S. Army analysts at the top-secret Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA), the peanut-butter protest was regarded as a potential threat to national security. Created three years ago by the Defense Department, CIFA’s role is “force protection”—tracking threats and terrorist plots against military installations and personnel inside the United States. In May 2003, Paul Wolfowitz, then deputy Defense secretary, authorized a fact-gathering operation code-named TALON—short for Threat and Local Observation Notice—that would collect “raw information” about “suspicious incidents.” The data would be fed to CIFA to help the Pentagon’s “terrorism threat warning process,” according to an internal Pentagon memo.

That’s not all, though. One of the things we must understand about all this is the fact that if any part of the US Government dragnet turns up what they think is evidence of a crime, they can pass it on to other agencies. So basically, if they are monitoring all of us,which they are, that means all of our private information can theoretically be used by the government if they can find some connection to a potential crime. All police agencies, whether it’s the DEA or the FBI or Homeland Security (or the Commerce department!) can use such evidence to squeeze possible witnesses, set up stings, infiltrate what they believe to be criminal associations, create informants and otherwise use people who they believe might have something to hide in order to make a case. It’s done all the time. But until now there was no central database available to go fishing in for blackmail material.  (And keep in mind that we now know they routinely go back and dummy up the paper trail so the court and the suspect never knows where the original “tip” came from, a practice that might be understandable if it only pertained to confidential informants, but apparently is also used to cover up government surveillance.)

These programs create a huge, global matrix of associations (and associations of associations) and a massive record of information about individuals, all of which could be accessed to provide the government with private and intimate details that people might not want the world to see and which could be used to discredit them or get them to cooperate. I think we know where this sort of thing can easily lead. It’s not just “terrorism” at stake here. We have an entire police state apparatus that could use this information and no way of knowing how or why they might be allowed to do it.

Clearly, people, as U.S. citizens we need to fuck this shit up. Like our brilliant Brazilian counterparts, we can take matters into our own hands. I propose a three-pronged approach:

  1. Destigmatize sex and kink. This step alone will go a long way toward disempowering hypocritical shitweasels. NEWSFLASH: Lots of people fuck! Including your mom! Also: lots of people like kink! Yep. So? If you have sprogs, make sure your kids understand from an early age that sex is normal, natural, nothing to be ashamed of—and can be an amazing and joyous part of their lives. Promote enthusiastic consent as an inviolable principle.
  2. Demand discovery of the porn viewing habits of anyone presuming to accuse, embarrass or prosecute you—or anyone else. Does anyone seriously believe that the very same panty-sniffers monitoring your online porn habits aren’t getting off on the very same porn they’re monitoring—plus a little voyeuristic boost to boot? Of course not. That’s exactly how we got here in the first place.
  3. MOST IMPORTANT: Fill your browser history with the nastiest, dirtiest, boundary-pushing porn searches you dare. You don’t actually have to view any of it: FFS we don’t get scat—but what’s the harm in running scat videos on mute while I’m out grocery shopping? If this isn’t patriotism, then nothing is. Also, this should go without saying, but just in case:

If you are a hapless sociopath and/or a total dumbass,
DO NOT SEARCH FOR PORN THAT IS ILLEGAL/NON-CONSENSUAL.
E.g., no snuff, no pedophilia.

When in doubt, DON’T CLICK. Mmmkay?

We need everyone on board with this. Get your freak on, people. Otherwise, the terrorists win.

Happy International Female Orgasm Day, people!

[TRIGGER WARNING: discussion of hostility to consent and agency, rape,
graphic descriptions of female genital mutilation]

Yep, International Female Orgasm Day is a real thing. Arimateio Dantas, a councilman in Espertina, Brazil, came up with the initiative. He wanted to both honor his wife and raise awareness in others that female orgasms are a healthy and beautiful thing. Apparently, he went so far as to pass a law in Espertina requiring men to ensure their wives have orgasms. This is, of course, a truly terrible idea no matter how well meaning: it is coercive and not centered on the participants’ consent.

But the voluntary celebration of the female orgasm? Now that is something we can enthusiastically endorse, on August 8th and, you know, every other day.

Aside from the obvious benefits — obvious to me, anyway — female sexual empowerment is deeply upsetting to social conservatives and misogynists of every stripe. In many cultures for much of recorded history and continuing to this very day, women’s sexuality has been controlled, denied, punished and outright eliminated. Why else would female genital mutilation (FGM) affect 140 million women and girls around the world? The practice of FGM is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.” That definition seems a bit detached, and “for non-medical reasons” certainly leaves a lot of things open to interpretation when the reality is crystal clear. What is actually going on is this:

  • The procedure is typically carried out on girls between four years old and puberty (although it may be conducted on younger infants and adults). In communities that practice it, it is typically supported by both women and men.
  • It may take place in a hospital (mainly for the affluent in urban settings), but is most often performed without anesthesia by a traditional practitioner using using non-sterile cutting implements such as knives, razors, scissors, cut glass, sharpened rocks, and fingernails.
  • There are several types of FGM with escalating disfiguration, all of which are excruciatingly painful, and almost all of which involve the removal of the external portion of the clitoris. In its more barbaric forms, this is also accompanied by slicing off the inner and outer labia and stitching the wound shut, leaving only a tiny hole for the passage of urine and menstrual blood.
  • Complications include fatal bleeding, acute urinary retention, urinary infection, wound infection, septicemia, tetanus, and in cases of reused instruments, hepatitis and HIV. Those are just the short-term effects; long-term effects are equally horrific.
  • It is unknown how many girls and women die from the procedure: few records are kept, complications frequently go unrecognized, fatalities are rarely reported — and in some cases girls who bleed excessively are regarded as witches.
  • The wound is opened for intercourse and childbirth.

The Wikipedia article on the practice is fairly thorough and provides plentiful citations. Where it fails is in connecting the dots from the practices and attitudes of the deeply traditional societies that engage in FGM to the way similar ideas play out in modern Western culture. It is true, as the piece notes, that the practice of FGM “is rooted in gender inequality, cultural identity, ideas about purity, modesty, aesthetics, status and honor, and attempts to control women’s sexuality by reducing their sexual desire, thereby promoting chastity and fidelity.” But all of that can be crystallized to one idea: women exist to serve men. They are breeding-sows. Property. Pleasure providers and slaves to men and to children, who deserve no pleasure or autonomy of their own. Downright biblical, wouldn’t you say?

That is precisely the view of women that leads to the deadly abortion restrictions we are seeing enacted nationwide, sometimes with exceptions for so-called “rape-rape.” Women must be severely punished—with unwanted children, poverty, and potentially death—if they consent to sex. The parallel movement to outlaw birth control exists solely to prevent women from controlling their own fertility, often put in terms such as “having sex without consequences” (as if that’s a bad thing). Medically unnecessary transvaginal ultrasounds required before abortions are punishment for having consensual sex, nothing more. Until very recently in the United States it was literally impossible to rape one’s wife, and prominent conservatives still argue that a wife’s consent to sex is permanent and irrevocable as of the moment she says “I do.” The rape culture thrives in an atmosphere where women are objects, and not full human beings with dignity, worth, desires and rights of their own. All of these things exist on a continuum with FGM: they are difference of degree, not of kind.

That is what makes the female orgasm a political act.

Of course, it is an empowering personal act as well: a gift of profound pleasure to oneself and one’s lover(s). One writer noted:

According to Dr. Gail Saltz, psychiatrist and author of The Ripple Effect: How Better Sex Can Lead To a Better Life, “the more often you have an orgasm, the higher your overall level of sexual desire and arousal.” Frequent orgasms may increase the body’s natural production of testosterone, which consequently increases desire and arousal, thus creating a spiral effect.

She also urges people to use this day to learn more about the female orgasm in order to empower women to fully experience the sexual life they envision for themselves. To that end, she offers a recommended reading list [NOTE: we have not explored all of these links and therefore cannot provide trigger warnings or suggested age restrictions where these may be appropriate.]:

Ten Explosive Female Orgasms
Do Orgasms Make Us Better Moms?
Mindblowing Orgasms Keep the Doctor Away
Will Faking an Orgasm Keep Your Partner From Cheating?
Masturbation Myths and Truths
Are you Sexually Frustrated?
Sex Beats Botox! Makes YOU Younger
Women and Their Sex Toys
Is Not Having Sex Bad for You?

More resources and information about sex and sexuality can also be found in the Palace Bedroom.

Better get busy celebrating International Female Orgasm Day, people! Enrage a conservative today.

Coathanger lobby update: the Obama administration, redux.

obamalogocoathanger

Hahaha. I crack myself up.

Loyal Readers™ may recall that in 2011, Kathleen Sebelius, President Obama’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, overrode the FDA’s recommendation that Plan B One-Step — the so-called “morning after pill” that prevents pregnancy if taken within 72 hours of intercourse —be made available over-the-counter without a prescription for women and girls of all ages. The move was completely unprecedented in the history of the agency. FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, M.D., said at the time:

The Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) completed its review of the Plan B One-Step application and laid out its scientific determination. CDER carefully considered whether younger females were able to understand how to use Plan B One-Step.  Based on the information submitted to the agency, CDER determined that the product was safe and effective in adolescent females, that adolescent females understood the product was not for routine use, and that the product would not protect them against sexually transmitted diseases. Additionally, the data supported a finding that adolescent females could use Plan B One-Step properly without the intervention of a healthcare provider.

It is our responsibility at FDA to approve drugs that are safe and effective for their intended use based on the scientific evidence…Our decision-making reflects a body of scientific findings, input from external scientific advisory committees, and data contained in the application that included studies designed specifically to address the regulatory standards for nonprescription drugs.  CDER experts, including obstetrician/gynecologists and pediatricians, reviewed the totality of the data and agreed that it met the regulatory standard for a nonprescription drug and that Plan B One-Step should be approved for all females of child-bearing potential.

Despite FDA’s recommendations based entirely on sound scientific evidence, Secretary Sebelius hung her hat on the fact that ten percent of girls in the U.S. reach puberty by the age of 11.1 years, and noted that “the product would be available, without a prescription or other point-of-sale restrictions, even to the youngest girls of reproductive age.” (pdf.) For some reason she said that like it’s a bad thing, when it is, of course, the very point of eliminating age restrictions and other barriers to access in the first place. The Washington Post summarized her position this way:

Sebelius said she reversed the FDA’s decision because she had concluded that data submitted by the drug’s maker did not “conclusively establish” that Plan B could be used safely by the youngest girls.

I wrote at the time:

To which I can only retort:  hey Secretary Sebelius, do you know what cannot be used safely by the youngest girls?  The birthing process However, young girls need neither a prescription nor parental consent for that.

Flash forward to April of this year: in ruling on a lawsuit brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights, federal Judge Edward Korman called Sebelius’s decision “politically motivated, scientifically unjustified, and contrary to agency precedent,” and ordered the agency to make Plan B One-Step available over-the-counter without restriction.

Late yesterday, the administration appealed that decision. In the meantime, on Tuesday the Obama administration approved over-the-counter sales of Plan B One-Step for those age 15 and above — in defiance of Judge Korman’s order. In a noxious bit of lawyering befitting the sleaziest of the profession (and that is saying something, my friends), the administration relied on its brand new 15+ approval rule to argue in its appeal that the case is moot because the plaintiffs — who happened to be 15 or older —”now have access without a prescription and without significant point-of-sale restrictions to at least one form of emergency contraceptive…”

It’s bad enough that this leaves girls 14 and under to their coathangers and friendly neighborhood Gosnells, but it isn’t even true. 15 year olds — particularly urban and/or poor 15 year olds — typically have no drivers licenses or access to other forms of state ID, and thus will not be able to purchase Plan B. FDA spokeswoman Stephanie Yao said in an interview, “If a 15-year-old is unable to verify their age, they will not be able to purchase Plan B One-Step.”

Let us briefly consider some facts:

Adolescent pregnancy is associated with higher rates of illness and death for both the mother and infant.

Death from violence is the second leading cause of death during pregnancy for teens, and is higher in teens than in any other group.

Pregnant teens are at much higher risk of having serious medical complications such as:

It is also worth noting that here in the Greatest Ever Country Ever in the World Ever, 10-year olds give birth. (pdf.)

The Palace stands by and hereby reiterates its previous pronouncement on this matter:

IF A YOUNG GIRL HAS THE GOOD SENSE TO SEEK OUT
EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION WHEN SHE NEEDS IT,
WE SHOULD FUCKING GIVE IT TO HER.
(FOR FREE.)

The Palace also stands by and hereby reiterates its theory on the Obama administration’s otherwise inexplicable actions in this matter:

obamarepublican

Barack Obama: “NOW can I be a Republican? PLEASE?? Aww, come on guys!”

It’s Time to Smite Two Religion-Based Impositions on American Liberties

What Robert Green Ingersoll said of the Bible (About the Holy Bible, 1894) applies as well to the Christian religion that promotes it, namely, it imprisons the brain and corrupts the heart.

While many examples could be cited, what clearer illustration of this reality could be found than in the positions advanced by religionists on the two issues now before the U.S. Supreme Court, namely, DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) and California’s Proposition 8 banning gay marriage?

Religious dogma leads otherwise decent people to deny certain basic human rights to others that affect them in no way whatsoever. In the case at hand, dogma has motivated Christians to oppose marriage equality. Why? Because Christian faith beliefs persuade followers that if others are allowed to do what they find sinful, namely allow marriage equality for gays and lesbians, this will be a  violation of their religious liberties .

How convoluted is that? Is intolerance a Christian virtue?

Gays and lesbians are not seeking to compel any churches or religions to do anything they don’t want to do. At present, gays or lesbians can marry without any involvement of religious officials, though some Christian ministers are supportive of such marriages and will perform such ceremonies in states where same sex unions are recognized.

Secularists and Christians and other religiously-oriented Americans who support freedom are wise to join in common cause to protect basic human rights and oppose religious encroachments on our laws and public policies.

Besides DOMA and Prop 8, other issues can be identified where liberties and personal freedoms are compromised, distorted, restricted or otherwise constrained by religion-inspired repression?

*  Restrictions on sexual conduct, including but not limited to same-sex relations between consenting adults.

*  Overt discrimination in the military. Only in the past year has the infamous don’t ask, don’t tell policy, which banned openly gay or bisexual from serving in the military, been overturned.

*  The status of women, who until the twentieth century were viewed as subordinate to men, lacking a full capacity for reason and dependent on husbands and other males. Not entirely but to a considerable extent, this prejudice was religiously inspired via holy books and suppressive elements of dogma and religious authority.

How odd that many still associate religions with the teaching of ethics when it fact religious policies and practices often are unethical. Freethinkers base their ethics not on ancient texts or the pontifications of pontiffs and other religious authorities but on reason and evidence. Religious dogma, usually vague and filled with you better the hell not threats, seems a sorry basis for ethics or public policies.

Who knows for sure that there is a God or, if one wants to believe there is, what his or her factual position is on freedoms and human rights?

There is only one reliable source for identifying the nature of human rights – us. We, the members of a given society, determine the nature of the rights we get to enjoy. In most Western nations, we rely on democratic processes to identify desired human rights based on our sense of desirable conditions under which we wish to live peacefully and productively with others with shared values. This is how we came up with what humanists call common decencies. We do not need religions to know that it is in our interest not to kill, steal, injure or plunder, break agreements, tell lies, ignore commitments, fail to assist others and so on.

Do you need a god or a religion to know these things? If someone is unlikely to refrain from doing such things save for fear of a god who will water-board him, hang him upside down and  burn him forevermore in some future life-after-death hellhole, would you want to associate with such a fiend?

Do you think this after-life form of justice motivates Christians who choose to oppose gay marriage?

Most of us accept the secular codes of conduct and common decencies of a positive nature even though we sometimes fail to function accordingly. (Self interest, temptations of varied kinds, special circumstances and so on lead us imperfect humans astray, some more often than others.) We accept these purely secular core norms, though often religionists give their faith traditions credit for their good, ethical behavior.

In this country and many others, we also embrace a variety of quite secular liberties for ourselves and others, including freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of religion, freedom to pursue an education and so on. For those who take their freedoms seriously, such liberties extend to sexual freedoms, though this is an area that brings conflict with those under the influence of religion.

Which brings me back to DOMA and Proposition 8. In the current issue of Free Inquiry Magazine (March 25, 2013), Ronald A. Lindsay has an article entitled, “Humanism, LGBT Equality and Human Rights. It concludes with this summary:

The freedom to marry is different from other fundamental liberties. To speak freely, to exercise your religion freely, and to have intimate relations with the partner of your choice, government just needs to stay out of the way. Marriage, however, is a State-run institution. One cannot get married without State support and approval. But these facts do not change our analysis significantly. If the State supports an institution such as marriage, which allows couples to obtain certain benefits by legally solemnizing their union, then all individuals should have the same right to take advantage of this institution. Denying same-sex couples the right to marry makes no more sense than denying women the right to vote or African Americans the right to attend integrated schools.

Let’s support a society wherein everyone enjoys fundamental human rights. Let’s recognize that religion is often no friend of liberty, though many Christians either have already or will come to favor human rights over dogma if the issues of freedom are communicated effectively.

Americans have a great stake in the current battle to gain equal rights for LGBT citizens. The right to marry based on reason and this nation’s commitment to liberty should trump the tenets of ancient religious texts.

I’m proud to be associated with the American Humanist Association, the Center for Free Inquiry, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Freedom from Religion Foundation and a diverse coalition of many other secular and humanist organizations that are leading the fight to have the Supreme Court strike down these two infamous, religion-inspired constraints on everyone’s liberty. Let’s hope that the religionists on the court decide the cases not so much in accord with the make-believe better angels of their nature but in concert with their training in law and passion for justice. If so, we should expect their support for what we secularists believe is the best interpretations of liberty of, by and for the people.

My next vacation destination: the Icelandic Phallological Museum.

Icelandic_Phallological_Museum_logoIn case you missed it, Wikipedia’s featured article yesterday was about the Icelandic Phallological Museum in Reykjavík.  I have long wanted to visit Iceland.  But a museum that houses the world’s largest collection of penises?  This totally seals the deal.

The museum’s aim is to obtain penis specimens from every mammal in Iceland, including humans.  So far, the collection contains 280 specimens from 93 species.  It finally obtained its first human penis in July 2011.  Unfortunately, things did not quite work out as originally envisioned:

Its detachment from the donor’s body did not go according to plan and it was reduced to a greyish-brown shrivelled mass pickled in a jar of formalin. The museum continues to search for “a younger and a bigger and better one.”

If you are wondering exactly what sort of person would donate his penis to the Icelandic Phallological Museum, there are currently four, including the Icelandic owner of the aforementioned greyish-brown shriveled mass.  A purported womanizer in his younger days, he donated his penis to the museum to ensure his “eternal fame.”  When he died at the ripe old age of 95 he was said to still be active, “both vertically and horizontally.”

Then there’s an American d00d:

Canadian film-maker Zach Math comments that the American “is an ordinary guy but he has this quirk where he thinks of his penis as a separate entity from his body — Elmo. He has this dream that he wants it to be the most famous penis in the world.” According to [the museum's owner], the American donor “wanted to have his penis cut off even during his lifetime and then visit the museum.” The American sent a cast of his penis to serve as a substitute in the meantime, along with photographs of it dressed up as Santa Claus and Abraham Lincoln. The donor also tattooed his penis with the Stars and Stripes to make it look more attractive.

Of course.

There is also a German donor and a Brit, but the Wiki article doesn’t tell us anything about them.

A collection of penises from mink whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata).Wellington Grey (2008)

A collection of penises from mink whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata).
Wellington Grey (2008)

The largest penis in the collection is that of a blue whale: it measures 67 inches (170 cm) in length and weighs 150 lbs. (70 kg).  If you think that’s impressive, consider that the specimen is only the tip of the whale boner.  When it was intact it would have been about 16 feet (5 m) long and weighed about 770–990 lbs. (350–450 kilograms).  The Iceland Review dubbed it “a real Moby Dick”.  Hahaha.

The smallest penis in the collection at only 0.08 inches (2 mm) long belonged to a hamster.  A magnifying glass is required to see it.  I’m guessing it probably looks something like this:  -

Inside the Icelandic Phallological Museum.  The lamps are made from bull scrotums.

Inside the Icelandic Phallological Museum. The lamps are made from bull scrotums.
ThomasWF (2012)

Iris can haz peenis muzeeum nao plz?

It’s Sunday — and we are totally worshiping the Lord!

shivalinga2

Linga (symbol of god Shiva) in the Meenakshi temple of Madurai
Hector Garcia (2006)

Now here’s a religious ritual I think at least a few of us can really get behind:  tonight is Maha Shiva ratri, the yearly Hindu festival celebrating Lord Shiva.  Long time Loyal Readers™ will recall that we have long been partial to Vishnu, but as it turns out Vishnu’s got some, *ahem*, stiff competition:  Lord Shiva is represented in the form of a penis.

According to Hindu legend, the god Shiva’s peen was cursed by some sages (?!) whereupon it fell to the earth, and — get this — it was so hawt that everything in front of it would become instantly engulfed in flames!  So Lord Shiva’s wife, the goddess Parvati, transformed herself into a vagina (a “yoni”) and she calmed that flamethrowin’ bad boy right down by holding it inside her.  (Way to take one for the team, Parvati!)  Tonight’s Maha Shiva ratri is the ritual commemoration of this blessed event:

The phallus symbol representing Shiva is called the lingam. It is usually made of granite, soapstone, quartz, marble or metal, and has a ‘yoni’ or vagina as its base representing the union of organs.

Shivalinga

Shivalinga.

Devotees of Lord Shiva circle around the lingam and worship it all night.

That’s right: all night.

It is bathed every three hours with the 5 sacred offerings of a cow, called the ‘panchagavya’ – milk, sour milk, cow dung, cow urine, butter.

You know, I think we can skip that step.

Then the 5 foods of immortality – milk, clarified butter, curd, honey and sugar are placed before the lingam.

Okay, we can definitely work with this.  Perhaps the vegans can substitute olive oil?

All through the day the devotees keep severe fast, chant the sacred Panchakshara mantra “Om Namah Shivaya”, make offerings of flowers and incense to the Lord amidst ringing of temple bells.

VanessaDaou-ZIP-CD-CoverWe are going to have to make a few minor modifications to the traditional ceremony.  First, no fasting.  I’ve already had breakfast, so that’s a non-starter.  Second, instead of chanting “Om Namah Shivaya” we will be substituting the mantra “Oh god, oh god, oh god.”  Frankly we would be chanting this anyway, only from now on please note that we will be referring specifically to Lord Shiva when we do.  Third, flowers are fine but I detest incense, so scented beeswax candles will have to suffice.  And for chrissakes who can concentrate with all those infernal bells ringing?  I’ll be spinning Vanessa Daou’s Zipless.

Praise the Lord.

[h/t Taslima Nasreen]

Handy retorts to godbags.

A correspondent was annoyed when someone started off a discussion in a professional industry chat area on LinkedIn with this bit of scripture:

Phil 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

In reply, my godless correspondent went on a righteous rant about “superstitious tripe,” what an evil @$$hole the god of the bible is, and how professionals need not appeal to a genocidal figment of the imagination for anything.  Then came a response from another godbag so utterly typical in such contexts that one could easily predict every word of it:  calling my correspondent angry at god, announcing that a bunch of Christians are now praying for his immortal soul, and winding up with the most tedious finish ever, “God bless you” — followed, of course, by yet another banal line of scripture.

Yawn.

This only irked my correspondent further.  And why would it not?  It is just so dreary and dull to be accused of being angry at a god that one does not believe exists.  (How does that even work, anyway?)  But by giving a perfectly rational, fact-based reply to the godbag, my correspondent missed a golden opportunity for some great fun.  After all, if reason or reality could sway such people, well, they wouldn’t be godbags in the first place, would they.  It is also well-established that nonbelievers know more about religion than its professed adherents do.  And I am here to tell you, Loyal Readers™, there is much joy and satisfaction to be had in quoting scripture back at scripture-quoting godbags.  For example:

There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.  -Ezekiel 23:20

Awesome.  Amirite?  Or how about this one:

My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him.  -Song of Solomon 5:4

Hahaha.  That one usually gets ‘em pretty torqued up.

I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.  -Song of Solomon 2:3

The LORD approves of enthusiastic blowjobs.  (Duh. He’s a d00d.)

The LORD will visit Tyre, and she shall turn to her hire, and shall commit fornication with all the kingdoms of the world upon the face of the earth. And her merchandise and her hire shall be holiness to the LORD.  -Isaiah 23:17-18

The LORD loves this fornicating whore.  Neat!  And here’s something special just for the ladies:

Come … blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.”   -Song of Solomon 4:16

The reason I recommend deploying these scraps of scripture in particular is because by and large the Christians I’ve encountered who post bible quotes on the web tend to hold seriously unhealthy views about sex and sexuality.  Like most social conservatives, they seem obsessed with “purity,” and particularly with the perverse concept of sexual purity.  And nothing — nothing — riles them up more than the thought of kinky, dirty, wanton sex co-mingled in the very pages of their pure, holy book.

Much of the bible is morally repellant (that god character does not come off well at all). however many godbags have apologetics at the ready for the more well-known absurdities.  But no matter:  there is just so much utterly bizarre stuff in the bible to choose from it’s nearly impossible to pick a favorite verse.  Here’s another good one:

You shall eat the flesh of your sons, and you shall eat the flesh of your daughters.  -Leviticus 26:29

And here I thought only we atheists ate BBQ babies.  Huh.

Another favorite bible story comes from Genesis 19, wherein two angels are sent to the city of Sodom to visit Lot, a “just and righteous man” according to the god.  Apparently, these two angel d00ds are gorgeous hotties, and the pervy Sodomites surround Lot’s house and demand that he hand the angels over to them so they can, you know, have their way with them.  Lot refuses.  Instead, he offers up to the mob his own two virgin daughters, saying “do unto them as is good in your eyes.”  Gee thanks, dad!  So they rape Lot’s daughters all night long and somehow manage not to kill them.  I guess they are good at this.  Anyway, then the god kills everyone in Sodom and Gomorrah, but he lets Lot and his daughters escape and they camp out in a cave for a while.  There the daughters get their father drunk, then they each rape him in order to get pregnant and bear his sons.  (Sons. Of course.)  Now are those some just and righteous family values or what!

The timeline isn’t entirely clear to me, so I don’t understand how everyone can be so sure that the children were conceived with Lot and not one of those angel raping horndogs.  But hey, it says so right there in the bible, so it must be true.

Deploy.  And enjoy.

Redecorated Palace Bedroom.

bedroom2

Once upon a time, the Palace bedroom walls were mostly bare, and there were only a few forlorn items lying around.  Since then, we have spared no expense filling it with links to sex-positive writers and reality-based resources.

There are now discrete areas for:

—BLOGS & ADVICE.
—GENDER & SEXUAL ORIENTATION.
—KINK.
—SEXUAL HEALTH & EDUCATION RESOURCES.
—SCIENCE OF SEX.

PLEASE NOTE:  You must be 18+ to hang out in the Bedroom.
NSFW.

I did (and still do) consider the Bedroom a work in progress.  It is by no means intended to be an exhaustive catalog of sexuality-oriented sites on the web (as if…), but more a portal to explore and celebrate the extraordinary diversity, power and vibrancy of human sexuality.  By the same token, while it is neither intended nor possible to capture every facet of human sexuality on a web page, I have attempted to ensure that the Bedroom is inclusive and respectful in its content and language.  Where I fall short in this regard, I would be grateful for criticism and/or suggestions for additional links and resources.

There are presently no discrete sections for porn/erotica, sex work, or books, although such sections are contemplated for the future.

As I mention at the entry to the Bedroom by way of introduction, the Palace holds that providing factual, interesting, informative and useful information about sex and sexuality is a worthy public service in its own right.  But in addition, providing factual, interesting, informative and useful information about sex and sexuality makes conservatives apoplectic—so obviously it’s just FULL OF WIN.

In summary:  if you are over 18 (and not at work), please feel free to explore the newly redecorated Palace Bedroom any time, 24/7/365.