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Travel Sexing & the TSA

Posted by Sarah Sloane on Jun 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

An article just popped up on SFGate’s website that assures us that vibrators are legal in your carry-on & checked luggage- as well as a few other items that aren’t so obvious! Pop on over to the original article…then come back here to read a little more.

Some helpful hints for traveling with your sex & kink toys:

-Check the TSA website & make sure that none of your toys are specifically on the list of prohibited items. Needles, especially in quantity, are a no-no in carry-on bags but are fine in checked baggage. Knives should always be checked. Your Hitachi, however, can ride shotgun with your paperback novels in your carry-on.

-Your (high quality) piercing jewelry should not cause a problem. You may want to swap out for smaller / non-metal jewelry, or use titanium instead of steel, in order to have it less obvious, however, you should not need to remove any piercing jewelry without exceptionally good reason. I’ve walked through with eight rings and one barbell and had no worries, and have friends with 00 gauge genital piercings never get pulled aside…so I promise you, it’s okay!

-Print out the list of prohibited items and tuck it into your bag or your passport case. I’ve had this save my bacon once or twice over the past few years; often, the rank-and-file security screeners may not know all of the ins and outs of what’s permitted. If you’re challenged on anything, you can pull it out & show them (politely). If you feel that you’re in the right, then ask for a supervisor (again, politely).

-Know what is illegal in various jurisdictions. A friend was arrested at an airport a few years ago for packing a blackjack (a lead-cored leather weapon), which was illegal to own in the county the airport was located in. You’ll especially want to check on any police or military paraphernalia, as well as any laws around knives. In general, though, floggers, paddles, whips, and rope are all legal.

-Make sure that when you take bottles of lube with you, they don’t leak. The flip-top bottles are my travel nemesis – they always leak in my bag, so they either stay home or I tape the lids & pack them in a plastic sandwich bag. This is actually a perfect use for the sample size “pillow packs” of lube that many stores sell or give away as promotions…if you’re not planning on anything that requires more than an ounce or so of lube, they are discreet, sealed, and take up very little room in your carry on. If you put them in your carry-on, make sure that you follow the same rules as you would with shampoo, mouthwash, and lotions.

-Don’t be a jerk to the TSA folks. Wearing your massive metal chastity device or a steel butt plug through security may be a hot & sexy fantasy for you, but nobody from the TSA wants to have to pull you aside & frisk you. Don’t involve them non-consensually in your sex life. And yes, nobody likes the search process, but if you’re kind to them, they will generally be kind to you in return.

-If security staff asks what something is, tell them honestly what it is – it will save you the barrage of follow-up questions that you’ll get it you’re obviously lying. If you’re traveling with anyone that you’d be uncomfortable hearing (or seeing) what you’ve got tucked in your bag, you might want to let them go WAY ahead of you in the security line, or pack it in your checked luggage (and yes, that means if you and your boss are traveling together to a conference, you may want to be a bit more discreet about your “Big Johnson Rotating Vibrator with Swivel Feature”).

 
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Pride Week Book Report

Posted by Sarah Sloane on Jun 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

I’ve added a few books to my “need to read” list – one of which I happily downloaded on Kindle two days ago, and one of which I am waiting to order.

Photo courtesy of Steve Lenius

The first book is “Life, Leather, and the Pursuit of Happiness: Life, history and culture in the leather / BDSM / fetish community” by Steve Lenius. Mr. Lenius has been active in the Minneapolis/St. Paul leather community since the mid-1990’s, and for 15 years he has penned the Leather Life column for Lavender Magazine. His thoughts on the community expand beyond the usual topics of definitions and events; I was personally pleased that, in the introduction, he describes why he expanded his initial definition of the leather community to include pansexual, heterosexual, and other kinky folk that may not otherwise “fit” into the (then) commonly-accepted definition of community. I’m only a chapter into this book but already I’m enjoying it tremendously (I think, when I get a paper copy of the book, I”ll shelve it next to Robert Davolt’s “Painfully Obvious” as a study in contrast & comparison).

Second is a book that I just got word of a few days ago. A gentleman that I have had the pleasure of working with in the past, and a well respected colleague in the sex education field, Dr. Richard Wagner (who some of you may know as Dr. Dick), has finally released a book that he hinted about a few years back: “Secrecy, Sophistry, and Gay Sex in the Catholic Church“. Rev. Wagner is the only Catholic priest with a degree in Human Sexuality; his 1981 groundbreaking thesis “Gay Catholic Priests: a study of cognitive and affective dissonance” (which is re-printed in the second part of this book) sparked outrage at all levels of the Catholic Church, and brought his ability to minister publicly as a priest to an end. In his book, he speaks out about not only the church establishment’s reactions to his attempt to openly talk about gay men in the priesthood, but also contrasts it with the cover ups and defensive reactions of the church as it was forced to deal with the long-hidden abuse perpetrated by clergy over decades. I was pleased to have been able to read the forward, and will be ordering my copy of it as soon as I can!

 
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Joining the faculty of the Sex-Positive Professionals Group

Posted by Sarah Sloane on Jun 16, 2011 in Uncategorized

For the first half of 2011, Dr. Ruth Neustifter has been the brains & brawn behind a unique offering – a group for sex-positive professionals. She’s included one-on-one coaching, group “open office” sessions, and an amazing curriculum covering a wide variety of topics to help both new and seasoned professionals (and those on the path to becoming one) improve their skills & business practices.

Yesterday, Dr. Ruthie announced the big news – I’m joining the group as a co-facilitator! While she will be continuing her amazing curriculum as well as some fantastic expert interview available to group members, I will be offering the monthly individual coaching sessions and the Office Hours. I cannot begin to express how honored and excited I am to be working with some amazing minds (some of which I’ve known for years!) – and how much I’m looking forward to growing right along with our group members.

If you’re a sex positive professional from any part of the spectrum, and you’d like to check out the group for yourself, please visit her website for info! Prices will be going up in July but if you get in right now, you can join up at the current rates…so check it out asap!

 
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Sexual Maturity

Posted by Sarah Sloane on Jun 10, 2011 in Uncategorized

No, not the “Over 60” kind of maturity, where you get discounts on early bird specials and overpriced theater tickets. I’m talking about the kind of maturity that allows us to have the kind of sex, love, and relationships that we want – and that are healthy for us.

Sexually mature is about being responsible for our own pleasure – making sure we ask for what we want and communicating with our partners on how we can make it happen.

Sexually mature is about appropriate boundaries – we understand our limits, we can say no to what we don’t want, and we can say yes to what we do. It’s also about enforcing those boundaries, to the extent that is possible, and speaking up when they’re crossed.

Sexually mature is about being mindful – we do not feel the need to constantly drown out sex in a river of booze or haze of smoke, and we work to be present when we’re being intimate with ourselves or with other people.

Sexually mature is about being fair – we don’t use sex (the act of sex, or the act of withholding sex) as a weapon, a bargaining chip, or a punishment.

Sexually mature is about being responsible for our health – we are tested regularly if we’re non-monogamous, we negotiate barriers & safer sex with our partners, and we understand how our bodies work and what activities could cause problems.

Sexually mature is about being teachable – we regularly read new information about sexuality (even if it’s not about our own experiences or interests) to keep ourselves thinking and exploring new ideas.

Sexual maturity isn’t about an age…there are people under 18 who get these concepts, and people over 50 who don’t. Sexual maturity isn’t about income, or race, or gender, or orientation, or any other defining demographic. Sexual maturity IS about taking responsibility for ourselves, our actions, and our part in our relationships. It’s about joyfully living with our sexuality, rather than being ashamed of it.

 
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Some things still turn my head…

Posted by Sarah Sloane on Jun 6, 2011 in Uncategorized

It’s very, very rare that I find something that’s actually new when it comes to toys & accessories – this week, I’ve found out about two, and while I haven’t had my hands on either of them (YET!) I wanted to give them both a shout out. As always, they’re from small companies where creativity & quality are prized, and they’re both from companies that do a lot of giving back to the communities that they serve.

Black PETE briefs, side/front angleTres from Spare Parts dropped me a note earlier this week and mentioned that the brand new PETE UnderWear are now available! I heard about PETE a few months ago in conversation with Tres, and was thrilled – underwear for people that like to pack (for those of you that aren’t hip to that terminology, it means people who like to wear a “packing penis” in their pants). There are four styles, ranging from very slim & trim jock strap to briefs to a boxer brief style – and they all offer secure, comfortable options for how you pack. I’ve got guy friends out there who have been bemoaning the options that they have had for years, and I’m really excited to see these hit the market! Oh, and by the way – they are drop dead sexy. You can purchase them at Babeland, Good Vibrations, and the Pleasure Chest Stores. And do me a favor – once you get your own PETE, come back here & let me know what you think of them!

Two views of the vaseline glass plug - one in full lighting, and one lit by a blacklightThe other bit of exciting that I wanted to tell you about is a merging of two of my favorite things – sex toys and vintage glass. I love the small collection of carnival & depression glass that I have…antique glass (especially from the early 1900’s) has a sense of style, beauty, and whimsy that calls to my heart. Now, Crystal Delights toys has created a brand new line of anal plugs that are calling to a whole ‘nother part of me! They’ve taken their gorgeous glass plugs, and rather than crowning them with crystals, they’ve added a beautiful piece of vaseline glass to finish it off in a truly unique way. Vaseline glass became popular early in the last century, and it’s lovely under normal lighting – but when exposed to black light, it glows a gorgeous green! You can take a look at the pictures here – but you’ll have to wait a few more weeks for them to be added to their website!

 
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The Value of Lay Education

Posted by Sarah Sloane on Jun 2, 2011 in Uncategorized

Earlier today while talking with an amazing writing colleague, I decided that a great way to describe non-professional sex educators would be to call them “Lay Educators”. While it was initially just going for the pun (and I, as a cunning linguist, must always go for the wordplay), today I’ve been thinking about just how important the concept of “Lay Education” is.

Let’s face it – most people will never walk into a class on how to use a condom, or how to stimulate a G-spot, or what the variety of sexual experience can look like. The majority of people will not get more than three or four books in their lifetime about sexuality, and only one or two of those books will be realistic and sex- and pleasure-positive. So who reaches those people? Friends. Relatives. Lovers. Coworkers. Ministers. In short – lots of people who have tremendous influence and are not professional sex educators. And those people wield a tremendous amount of influence.

Each of us can be an amazing sex educator. We may not ever have our name up on the list of the top ten non-fiction bestselling authors; we may not ever be invited to lecture at an Ivy League school or teach at a widely-known sex shop. We may never have more than 100 followers on Twitter, and may never blog or write about sex. But we have a chance on a regular basis to talk about sex and share our knowledge with others. When friends talk about why they can’t connect with their new partner in the bedroom like they want to, we can share what we know and suggest other resources. We can listen when someone we love talks about their frustrations over how their body doesn’t work the way they want, and we can help them find the nerve to talk to a doctor about it. We can let people know that it takes all kinds of sex to make the world go round, and chances are that even if they think they’re not normal, the chances are that they’re more average than they ever knew.

We can talk about our own truth – our exposures to STI’s, our failed sexual experiements, the ups and downs in our libido, our pregnancy scares, and our coming to terms with who we are as sexual beings. We can create safe space for our friends and family to share their own stories. We can laugh with them, cry with them, and hold their hands through the rough spots. We can give ourselves – and them – a chance to be real, and to identify with others about things that society tells us that we shouldn’t talk about.

And that doesn’t require a degree, or a business card, or a website. It requires a heart and a mind.

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