FOCUSED GROUP

gspot

Bull’s eye! “G” marks the spot — if only!

The discussion went from the practicality of fake nipples (“I’d be worried they’d slip and end up stuck to my face,” said one woman) to the Keeper, a reusable rubber cup inserted to catch a woman’s menstrual blood. And that was in the first five minutes.

Ya gotta love women. Some of this lot had never even met.

But the 13 women who were at my house for a G-spot workshop weren’t exactly reserved.

That said, while workshop leader Tara McKee offers a get-nekkid version, we all agreed to keep our clothes on.

As I said in my email invite: “I’m not sure how comfy all of you are sticking your fingers up your twats in front of each other but because some women don’t know each other, I suggest we go with the no-nudity version.”

So, while the workshop was called, “Let it Go, Let it Flow,” the only thing that flowed was about a case of wine.

Once the discussion of vaginal accoutrements wrapped up and introductions were made (yes, in that order), McKee quieted us down enough to get started.

First question: “Why are you here?”

Answers ran the gamut:

“I ejaculated once but I was stoned and the guy thought I’d peed on him.”

“I was married for 10 years married and never had an orgasm. Then, with my first partner after I left my husband, I sprayed like a cat. But I can’t do it myself.”

“I’ve had boyfriends poking, prodding, unable to find my G-spot. Maybe I lost it somewhere.”

“I’m convinced I don’t have one.”

“All women have a G-spot,” McKee tells us. “Our anatomy is similar; how it responds is not.”

As for where it is, McKee uses a Vulva Puppet (that definitely doesn’t look like any vulvas I’ve seen) to show us that the G-spot is about a knuckle’s length inside on the upper inside wall of the vagina.

“It feels like corduroy,” she explains.

“Oh, that’s normal?!” cries one woman.

Another mystery solved.

While we’re at it, the G in G-spot comes from Dr. Ernst Grafenburg, the dude credited with “discovering it” in the 50s, though we all decided it should stand for “Good Spot” instead.

“I’ve found it before but nothing happened,” one woman pipes up.

“Like your clitoris, it’s not a button you just push and get an orgasm,” says McKee. “It needs to be coaxed and teased.”

And it’s actually more like a tube around your urethra than a button, she adds.

“A lot of women are told to pee after sex to avoid bladder infections,” says McKee, “but you’ll notice sometimes you can’t. That’s because the G-spot is swelling around your urethra and pressing it closed. It’s like a guy trying to pee with a hard on.

“So I do have one!” exclaims one woman, who’d tried to follow her doctor’s advice to pee after sex and found she couldn’t.

“So if I don’t ejaculate, does the fluid stay inside me,” asks one woman.

Since most of us aren’t walking around with a big sack of ejaculate between our legs, that’d be a “no.”

Just like guys who get aroused and don’t come, the fluid is reabsorbed back into our system and peed out, explains McKee.

As for the whole concern about “peeing the bed” McKee advises you pee BEFORE you have sex.

“That way if you feel the urge during sex, you know it’s your G-spot filling and swelling and you can push out without worrying you’ll pee,” she explains.

To demonstrate, McKee pops in Deborah Sundahl’s video How to Female Ejaculate.

Once we get over Sundahl’s crazy 80s hair and padded shoulder blazer (“Wait ‘til you see her pubic hair,” laughs McKee), a push of the speculum and a pushing out of her vagina elicits a collective “Whoooa!” as Sundahl’s G-spot takes full frame.

The room falls silent while we watch Sundahl stimulate herself until she erupts and we erupt as if we’re watching the hockey game: “SHE SHOOTS. SHE SCORES!!”

Then McKee offers tips on how we can “score” too.

During intercourse, shorter thrusts just at entrance of vagina will cause more G-spot stimulation, for example.

“Tell him to visualize a bull’s eye where G-spot is,” she suggests. “The image helps him focus away from deep thrusting.”

A penis that curves up helps. So does a curved G-spot toy.

Penetration from behind is good because his penis hits the front wall of your vagina, as long as you elevate your bum so he’s pointing down, away from your spine.

Woman on top is also good because she controls his thrusts and he gets extra stimulation from her bumpy G-pot if she keeps the thrusts shallow and slow.

The three-hour workshop was enlightening and fun, but in the end, at least one woman wants to know if the G-spot lives up to it’s hype.

“Is it just because it’s novel and rare that’s there is such a fascination with it,” she asks.

McKee explains that it’s not about the goal of achieving a G-spot orgasm but getting to know your body and empowering yourself.

“Especially when the porn industry perpetuates the idea that ‘if he pumps me really hard, I’ll come,’ which, of course, we don’t [and neither do the girls in these films because they’re often faking it] and end up feeling inadequate.”

Or you have women telling their doctor they peed during orgasm and, next thing you know, he’s shaving or sewing up her urethral sponge.

“It’s happened,” warns McKee.

McKee says she teaches women about their G-spot not because it’s a “better way to come, but another way.”

As one woman in the workshop put it:

“Bottom line, if I have an orgasm, whatever way, it’s all good!”

MAKING IT BETTER?

tristan_001

Me and House of Ass director Tristan Taormino making history at the very first Feminist Porn Awards. .

When I first started writing this column 12 years ago, porn and feminism weren’t exactly fond of each other.

“Pornography is the theory. Rape is the practice,” was the line being towed by anti-porn crusaders Andrea Dworkin and Catherine McKinnon.

Part of the reason I started my column was that I wasn’t quite comfortable towing the line. After all, I was a feminist. I watched porn. And I liked some of it.

So it was with great excitement that I found myself on stage two weeks ago at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto at the very first Feminist Porn Awards presenting the very first award for “Best Anal Adventure” to Tristan Taormino for her film House of Ass.

“Here’s to someone who gets it,” I beamed with pride as I handed Tristan her Emma award — a glass butt plug mounted on a trophy stand — named after Canadian pro-sex feminist pioneer Emma Goldman.

The mood of the 300-strong crowd that evening was practically giddy as Emmas for “Best Smutty Schoolteacher” (Betty Dodson for her Educational film Orgasmic Women), “Fiercest Female Orgasm” (Nina Hartley’s Guide to Double Penetration) “Indie Porn Producer” (Dana Dane of Erocktavision) and “Lifetime Achievement in Women’s Erotica” (Candida Royalle) were awarded to the crème de la crème of smut for girls.

What exactly is feminist porn?

According to founders of the awards Good For Her, a women-oriented sex shop in Toronto (goodforher.com), the winning films had to meet three criteria: a) they had to show genuine female pleasure (in other words, no faking it) b) they had to be directed or produced by a women and c) they had to “expand the range of female sexual expression currently seen in porn.

Oh, and they had to be hot.

Made perfect sense to me. Porn has traditionally been a male-dominated industry. Celebrating he fact that women had made any inroads at all seemed like a no-brainer.

Still, put “women” and “porn” in the same sentence and you’re bound to get a few peoples knickers in a twist.

Some reactions were a scary throwback to those lovely backlash days in the early 90s when feminists were branded “man-hating Feminazis.”

On the weekly radio segment I do on The Edge in Toronto, the three male hosts made jokes about how the evening was no-doubt just a bunch of hairy-legged lesbians who ‘were probably ugly.”

Nice.

Some reactions were slightly more indifferent running along the lines of: “Lots of women watch porn. Nothing new. Why do they need their own awards?”

And, not surprisingly, a few of the old anti-porn feminists arguments reared their heads. “All porn objectifies women and calling it “feminist” doesn’t change that,” one woman said to me.

“Oh lovely, now we have something called ‘Feminist Porn,’” wrote another woman on a forum about the awards on feministing.com. “What’s next, ‘The Battered Wife of the Year Awards?’ or maybe ‘The Proud to be Degraded Festival for Young Feminists?’”

I think putting feminist porn in the same category as battered women is a bit much, but I do think she raises an interesting point.

Is “feminist porn” an oxymoron?

Not for Tristan Taormino, who, in a panel on feminism and porn right before the awards, described her definition of feminist porn.

“It’s all about creating a fair working environment and empowering everyone involved – both men and women – to have a say in the representation of their sexuality rather than simply having me tell them what to do.”

Fair-trade porn, if you will.

Good For Her manager Chanelle Gallant believes that, “Good porn is a human right” and says feminist porn is all about creating “sexual images that make us feel good about ourselves and about sex.”

Still, as some of the women on the Feministing.com forum argued that, no matter who creates the images and how much the women in these films get off, porn is inherently exploitative and the majority of its consumers are still men, getting off on images of women, feminist or not. So-called feminist porn will remain in the margins because as one woman posted “women (feminist or otherwise) and feminist men account for near zero of the porno buying market.”

The only beneficiaries of these awards, she goes on to say, will be “1) the mainstream porn industry thanks to the positive exposure of porn and 2) The massively MALE majority of pornography consumers who will now be watching ‘fetish’ films depicting a ‘feminist’ taking it up the ass.”

Hmmm….she might be right that feminist porn may never reach mainstream status, it’s clear to me from the letters I get from women looking for porn that “speaks to them” as one reader recently put it, that women (and yes, some guys too) desire an alternative.

And simply throwing up your hands and saying that creating it won’t change the big picture is cynical and kinda sad.

As for smut being inherently exploitative, well that’s kind of the point, isn’t it? As one contributor to the feministing.com forum put it:

“…you’re exploiting people to get yourself off. So either we need to have a more expansive view of the nature of exploitation, or we need to have a drastic upheaval of sexual arousal; so that exploitation becomes unsexy, and we can only get off to completely unexploited characters and themes.”

And that’s hot, right?

Not every women has to like porn or even support its existence, I just think that the women who do, deserve something better.

As someone at the awards said: “The answer to bad porn isn’t no porn, it’s better porn.”

Adult Film director Candida Royalle on “Feminist” porn:

“I don’t mind the term “feminist”…I am a feminist, have been since college days. To me feminist means self determination and choice. As a feminist I am siezing control of the reins of production and creating adult movies that I as a woman would prefer to see.

It’s the porn word I take issue with. Pornography has come to mean a certain kind of visual imagery or depiction of sex that I don’t feel accurately describes my work.

The word “pornography” comes from, I believe, the Greek or Latin word that means “prostitute”, so historically pornography came to mean the stories of prostitutes. Eros is the root word for sexual love. Though not all my work is about sex as it relates to love, some of it’s racier, about fantasy and sometimes more forbidden themes, it is not about prostitutes, it’s about real people engaging in the expression of sexual desire and sometimes sexual love.

In addition, the word “pornography,” or “porn,” conjures up images for many women that are distasteful. They assume it’s something they won’t like. Having been the first film-maker to try and appeal to women viewers, calling my work porn was likely to turn them off before they even gave it a chance and took a peak! Erotica or adult entertainment seemed much more suitable and more productive in terms of marketing as well.”

ARE YOU GAME?

naughtyamericasex

My, what hot pixels you have.

I logged on to Second Life looking for some kinky fun.

From everything I’d heard about the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), it was a virtual world whose 200,000 inhabitants were not only busy getting to other levels, they were just plain getting busy. Let’s see, how did one article describe it: “a gender-bending, fetish fantasy free-for-all,” I believe it was.

Half an hour after I downloaded my free version, I was still trying to shorten the sleeves on my avatar’s (that’s what the virtual people in these games are called) t-shirt and get her hair right.

Frustrated, I decided to press on and headed out into the virtual world with bad bangs and a bad outfit to find me some bad behaviour.

I spent the next half hour walking into walls or flying around trying to figure out what the hell to do. I tried to go shopping at the “fetish boutique” in the marketplace (when in doubt, go shopping!) but kept being teleported into another dimension.

I never got to the sex but I’ve been assured it’s there.

“These online games are enormous social spaces,” says Brenda Braithwaite, a game designer known as the “Sex in Games Lady” and chair of this weekend’s Sex in Games conference in San Francisco (June 8 & 9). “And just as when you get any group of humans together in a social space – be it a bar, a dance hall or even a library, they start to flirt.”

And next thing you know, your SIMS characters are humping under the sheets.

Not being much of a “gamer” (Donkey Kong is about where I got out), the last sexy video game I played was probably MacPlaymate –that early 90s Mac game in which you used a “hand” icon to try and “stimulate” a hand-drawn Playmate to orgasm. Remember, it turned into a spreadsheet at the click of a button if your boss suddenly walked in?

Three-D graphics and faster computers and internet connections have made virtual worlds – and subsequently, virtual sex, more and more realistic and explicit.

And while “emergent” sex – that is, when people turn a perfectly innocent little video game into a potential pick-up joint – has shown up in most RPGs like Second Life and World of Warcraft, some game makers are ready to let go of the pretense and just get to the sex already.

Naughty America: The Game is scheduled for release this summer and Spend the Night is set to come out later this year. Both games are like a graphic version of a chat room. An array of characters – from divas to surfer dudes –meet and interact in virtual environments – in a bar, on the street, and most importantly, in the bedroom. But unlike the SIMS – where all groping happened under the covers – you get full-frontal, hardcore pixelated action (In a screen shot sample of Naughty America, you see a naked couple doing it doggy style).

Watching a couple of naked avatars go at it doesn’t exactly do it for me – in fact, I find it a little creepy looking – but from what I can tell (neither game is available for trial yet), the interface seems more user friendly than something like Second Life, which is designed for hardcore gamers.

And that’s the key if sex video games are to have a mass appeal, says Regina Lynn, the Sex Drive columnist at wired.com and author of the Sexual Revolution 2.0 who will be speaking about how to appeal to non-gamers at this weekend’s conference.

“People are intrigued but if they decide to try a game and it’s too hard and they don’t have a first good experience, they won’t come back,” she explains.

I certainly haven’t gone back to Second Life.

Sex Games also need to appeal more to women, says Braithwaite, something both Naughty America and Spend the night are trying to do. Naughty America, allows players to set their own “raunch level” from “sexy” to full-on “freak” giving them more control over how far things go.

Just as women often need time to warm up in real life when it comes to sex, they don’t go from 0-60 graphically either, she says.

“Women don’t necessarily respond to ‘Hi my name’s Bob, let’s have sex,” explains Braithwaite. “They might want to start by just talking and getting to know you.”

It’s not that women aren’t into sex, she says (“Look at Harlequin’s steamier lines. Women buy them like crazy!”), but game makers need to think about what turns women on and then facilitate this.”

Braithwaite suggests game producers consult with sexologists, for example.

Unfortunately, given the number of mainstream porn industry players registered for the conference, the industry seem to be heading in the opposite direction.

And this makes Regina Lynn nervous.

“The adult industry is looking at video games and realizing how big they are,” says Lynn. “But I just worry that the entire industry will end up in the hands of the porn people, and they’ll stop consulting with the games people on how to keep it a game.”

She hopes the many women in game development will get involved at the ground level to stop it from simply turning into another extension of the existing mainstream porn industry.

“I really want sex video games to be successful,” says Lynn. “They have such potential to be a safe, eduational playground for sexual exploration that could help us in our real-life relationships and sex lives.”

As for concerns that people will be spending too much time having “sex” online to even have real life sex lives, Braithwaite scoffs.

“Sexy books or movies don’t replace real life but they’re sure fun for a while.”

And once I figure out how to dress myself, I plan on gettin’ me some!

PERSONAL CHECK

checklist

It’s a good time of year to examine your personal checklist.

I’ve never been a fan of long-term goals. I don’t mind a rough game plan but I prefer to play things by ear. It leaves more of a margin for possibility.

Plus, if we spend all our time living in some imagined future in which all our goals are met, we often don’t deal with who we’re becoming as a person en route to said goals. So, this year, rather than set any lofty goals or make a few sure-to-be-broken resolutions, take stock of the present and see where you’re at on the road to being the kind of person you’d like to spend the rest of your life with.
To help in your reflection, here’s a handy check list of some of life’s most popular personal struggles…

Self-confidence 

And I don’t mean the kind of cocky self-assuredness that so many try to pawn off as self-confidence. Have you gotten over that feeling that you’re fooling everyone and started truly believing in yourself yet? Are you still letting your insecurities run your life? Send $19.95 to the address on your screen…
But, seriously, for example, when’s the last time you let someone you respect criticize something you’ve done — without secretly wishing them grave harm.

Envy 

How you cope with envy is a good indication of your level of self-confidence. It may have been okay in high school to stack the locker of the guy who humiliated you by telling the girl you had a crush on that you were a bed wetter. But, as difficult as it is, you eventually have to accept that others can also be good, or even better, at some things. It’s cheating, but you can ease into it by admitting someone you’re envious of may be better at some things knowing you’re way better at others (and he’s probably a bed wetter anyway, right?). You know you’ve really got envy licked when you can let that tactic go and accept that people are good at different things and that’s a good thing.

“I always try to look at myself from an outsider’s perspective and think of the things they might admire about me,” is how one friend tells me he deals with feelings of envy.

Fear of failure 

This is often why we feel envious of others. We’re terrified we’ll never be able to accomplish what they have. What’s really gonna happen if you fail? You’ll be struck by lightening or condemned to a life of Everyone Loves Raymond reruns? The first is unlikely and you’re already being subjected to the last one so what’s stopping you? Besides, who hasn’t learned the best lessons in life from their mistakes? I say fail, fail again. Just don’t stop trying.

Kindness

If we’re truly confident, kindness should be second nature. Do you consider yourself a conscientious person? This doesn’t simply mean you remember birthdays or to bring someone flowers once in a while (though these are welcome prerequisites).
True kindness means you are aware of the consequences of your actions and your words. It means you are able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes at any time and act accordingly. It means not being a jerk.

Joy 

When’s the last time you felt real joy in your life? In fact, do you even know what makes you really happy? Not just I-got-the-last-free-dryer-in-the-laundromat happy, but happy like when you were a kid and had a whole summer stretched out before you. What would it take to make you experience that kind of joy again — without drugs or alcohol?

Friendship 

My true, blue, scrape-me-out-of-the-gutter-once-in-awhile-friendships are my greatest source of joy. A guy I met complained to his therapist that he couldn’t find any friends. “There are no friends out there,” was the therapist’s response. “Friendships are created — by us.”
And our friendships, like our relationships, are only as good as we make them. How much effort do you put into your friendships? Do you know what you need or expect from your friends and how to get it — without having to resort to bribery?

Work

Along with friends, work is supposed to be a source of satisfaction, and, yes, joy in our lives. That’s why we’re all so happy to be back at it, right?

Our first question when we meet someone is often: “What do you do?” emphasizing how much a person’s entire identity is tied to how they receive (or don’t receive) a paycheck. If poverty wasn’t such a drag, I think occasional unemployment would be good for us — especially if it got us thinking about how we define success in our culture. How much does your work define who you are? If you suddenly found yourself unemployed, what would you do? Are there things that your work stops you from doing that you would like to do?

Creativity 

Probably the most common thing people say work stops them from doing — except maybe those who are lucky enough to make a living off their art – is exploring their creative side. Most of us never do — no doubt, in large part because of our fear of failure. But tapping into this part of oneself can do really help bring the rest of this stuff together.

Love 

The grand prize. Love pulls it all together, right? Well, if you haven’t yet, it might be time to let that belief go and start realizing it works the other way.
And since I’m getting all sappy on ya, I might as well say it: you have to love yourself before you can love someone else. Well, it’s true. That old notion that you’ll meet the “right” person, fall in love, and the rest will just follow is naive. Figuring out what you really want from a relationship and then finding it is a more realistic, albeit, bigger challenge. Why do you think we’d rather complain about it than do the work?

Happy New Year.

JUST ASKING…AGAIN

15585dawson

…And the survey says!

Way back in January 1995 (can you believe MMB turns 12 next month?), I published the “First MMB Traditional New Year’s Survey” in a column called “Just Asking.” Well, so much for tradition. I never did a second. So, this year I’m starting a new tradition. Welcome to “MMB’s Every-11-Years Traditional New Year’s Survey.”

As I wrote back then: “It’ll provide a good distraction while you’re trying not to smoke, eat, drink, have sex with an old boyfriend or whatever else you vowed to give up yet again this year.” Plus, you get to read the results on Valentine’s Day (that’s right, only 34 shopping days left!).

Are you:

a) Male?

b) Female?

c) Somewhere in between?

Are you:

a) Straight?

b) Gay?

c) Somewhere in between?

Are you:

a) Under 25?

b) 25-40

c) 40+

Are you:

a) Single?

b) In a relationship?

c) Married or Common Law?

You had your first orgasm when you were:

a) Under 16

b) 16-20

c) 20-30

d) 30+

Are you satisfied with your sex life?

a) Yes

b) No

c) What sex life?

What sexual activity have you not tried but would most like to?

a) Three or moresome

b) Fetish play

c) Tantric sex

d) Role playing

Do you like porn?

a) Always have.

b) Used to, but not anymore.

c) Never did, but now I do.

d) Never tried it.

e) Hate it.

What’s your favourite type of porn?

a) Magazines.

b) Internet.

c) Video/DVDs

d) Erotic stories.

What’s your favourite sexy website? ________________

Do you agree with the Supreme Court’s recent decision to make Swingers’ Clubs legal?

a) Yes, I love to swing.

b) Yes, just don’t make me go to one.

c) No, I think it’s wrong.

d) What’s a Swingers’ Club?

Would you describe yourself as:

a) Sexually dominant.

b) Sexually submissive.

c) Depends on the partner.

A woman who sleeps with a guy on a first date:

a) Is a slut.

b) Has low self-esteem.

c) Probably won’t hear from him again.

d) Is fine by me.

A guy who sleeps with a woman on a first date:

a) Is a slut.

b) Has low self-esteem.

c) Probably won’t hear from her again.

d) Is fine by me.

When it comes to oral sex, you prefer to:

a) Give.

b) Receive.

You use condoms:

a) If they’re handy.

b) If my partner has one.

c) If we’re complete strangers.

d) My partner and I are don’t use condoms.

e) Every time I have sex.

Anal sex:

a) Is gross.

b) Rocks!

c) Okay, on occasion.

d) Something I’ve never tried.

Paying for sex is:

a) Fine, but not my thing.

b) Immoral.

c) The only way I get any.

Casual sex is:

a) Wrong.

b) Fun.

c) Not worth the effort.

d) Don’t know, never had it.

You would have live sex on the internet for:

a) Free!

b) $100

c) $1000

d) Name your amount _____.

e) No amount of money.

What’s the weirdest/craziest thing a partner has asked you to do?

______________________

Where’s the weirdest/craziest/riskiest place you’ve had sex? ______________________

What do you like best about your sex life so far? _______________________

What would you most like to change about your sex life so far?

_____________________

If you could sleep with anyone living or dead just once, who would it be?

TERMS OF ENDEARMENT

I know a writer of erotica who keeps a list of sex terms beside her computer to draw from whenever she needs yet another way to describe whatever sex act her characters are about to engage in.

I don’t keep a list, but after writing a weekly sex column for over a decade, I sometimes feel like I need one. For example, it can get tiresome trying to find different phrases for “down there.”
Especially given the plethora of icky terms for, well, the “crotch” region (or “cratch” as a friend jokes, pronounced, of course, with a thick Southern twang).

Anatomically correct terms are equally unsexy. “Genitals” sounds like Geritol. Vagina and penis are so perfunctory – and yes, I realize that “vagina” isn’t even the proper anatomical term, but would you really rather use “vulva?”

There simply aren’t many good names for the whole package, or “the unit” as one woman I spoke to prefers. I’m rather attached to “niggly bits” or plain old “bits,” but I’ve been scolded that these are “horribly British.” So, what are my options: “Flamboro Fluffy Sausage Wallet?” Yes, one woman actually heard this one.

How do other people deal with this naming problem?
One woman suggested calling it “downtown,” (as opposed to “uptown,” another fun region on the ladies), which is kinda cute.
For many, it all depends on context. One gal says that at doctor’s appointments she uses vagina but during sex she prefers pussy or cunt, “depending on the mood.”

“Pussy” is by far the favoured term for ladies’ privates.
“It sounds wet and juicy and inviting,” says one woman. “Purring the word in a man’s ear at, say, a public function yields wonderful results.”

“It’s a little mysterious and slinky,” says another. “Purring contentedly one minute, savage and fierce the next — a skilled stalker and hunter, yet affectionate and soft.” But another woman tells me she finds the term infantalizing, “like a woman’s pussy is some kind of bright-eyed little-girl plush toy.” Still, she says, “it seems all the other words I can think of are hard, and have a derogatory connotation, like twat, or cunt.”

Though, as another woman put it, “Cunt is very naughty so it has its moments.”
She’s not the only women I know who likes the “C” word. Another fan tells me. “I think it wields huge power. It’s visceral, potent. Red. Intense.”

Some terms are universally disliked. Like “beaver.” As one woman explains, “It conjures up images of coarse beaver skins being thrown about some outback hunting cabin.” And besides, says another woman, “it looks nothing like a beaver.”
If you think it’s tough finding good names for our girly bits, have a go at the boys. As one woman told me, “There is no term I find adequate.”

I know what she means. I mean, “weiner?” Really now.
“Cock” seems to be the preference. “I think of the rooster metaphor, where the cock is the first one up in the morning, crowing loudly and proudly, strutting around the barnyard, and it seems appropriate,” says one woman.

Most guys prefer “cock,” especially while doing it, whereas “dick” is often used when chatting with the fellas (one guy I spoke to likes “Richard” as the, ahem, “long form”) and “penis” in mixed company.

“‘Cock’ is nice and traditional, and rather versatile,” says one guy. “It can be used as a noun or an adverb and it can sound as nasty or as vanilla as you like.”
“Let’s not forget the balls,” adds another guy. No, let’s not.
So…? “I just call them ‘my balls.'” See, and that just doesn’t get me wet. A female friend says she prefers to call them “almonds.” Sweeter than “nuts,” no?

I have a soft spot for the Spanish term “los cojones,” but again, not so sexy in the heat of passion.
Borrowing from other languages and cultures can be risky. “Los ping-pongs” — another Spanish term for “balls” — is amusing, but a little too cute. “Omanko,” the Japanese term for “pussy,” is nice, but the male equivalent, “chimpo,” might not go over so well in the sack. And while one woman I spoke to likes Yoni (an ancient term for the female sex that’s popular among the Tantric set) because it sounds like a yummy flavour of ice cream, another told me anyone using this should be gagged.

Obviously, naming our privates is a matter of personal taste. One man’s “Sperm Toilet” is another’s “Bunny Hollow.” He might think “dinkydoink” is perfectly acceptable, but she might find it weird coming from a guy who is, say, an adult. Ditto for hearing a grown woman refer to her vulva as her “nunny” or “my ‘P'” — which stands for “pee-pee or pussy.”

As far as I’m concerned, childhood names for your, um, nether regions (you see the challenge) should be left in childhood. Like “bippy.” As in, “My mom used to tell me to dress warmly, so I wouldn’t ‘freeze my bippy off!'”

This also goes for naming your parts after characters from childhood, like “Gumby” and “Pokey,” as one woman confesses she and her partner have named each other’s bits. Others are more romantic. One couple I spoke to refers to each other’s genitals as Juliet Woo and Romeo.

Then again, I supposed this is better than, “Purple Helmet Mayonnaise Cannon,” a name for his dink that almost rivals “Flamboro Fluffy Sausage Wallet” for the ladies. “Velvet Taco” — a fun term for the ladies – kinda works for me but, I dunno, “Kidney Wiper,” “Beef Syringe” and “Fish Hook” are just a little over the top.

But I think my favourite nickname came from a guy who says he simply refers to his wife’s “Kitty” as “Home.” As in, “Ahh, home again.” Sweet, ain’t it?

PUSSY PRAISE

The conversation started innocently enough: I asked her if anyone had ever complimented her crotch.
The friend with whom I was having this enlightened conversation was telling me she’d recently had her crotch elaborately bejewelled and it just seemed to me that, after all that effort to look perty, she deserved a little verbal appreciation. She had to think about it. She couldn’t remember any specific comments beyond some registering of delight and surprise at her hardware.

After last week’s column (Terms of Endearment, Jan. 19), it occurred to me, that at least part of the reason we all struggle to find appropriate pet names for our nether regions is because of the shame so many of us still have about our bits (sorry, I still like it, even if it sounds horribly British).
Not only do we struggle to name our “treats” as one reader who responded to last week’s column calls her, well, “treats,” we obviously aren’t showing enough appreciation for each other’s “treats.”

I mean, a gal might tell her guy he’s handsome, for instance, but would she tell him he has a beautiful cock?
I paid a guy this compliment once and he looked at me with surprise. “Wow, no one’s ever told me that,” he said rather shyly. What a shame, I thought, because it really was quite lovely, as it curved ever so delicately up his abdomen.

And sure, I’ve had guys say “nice pussy” in the heat of the moment, which is sweet, but some guys get off sticking their dicks in vacuum cleaners so I don’t exactly trust this comment as a sign of discriminating taste.
Speaking of taste, gastronomical opinions do appear to be more forthcoming.

“You taste salty and delicious/like honey/like a peach,” among the compliments women I spoke to have received.

But not all of us are able accept a compliment.
“Sometimes, women stiffen up when you tell them you like the way they taste,” one young man told me. “They don’t want to be reminded that they have a taste at all.”

Which is understandable when there are people out there like the guy who reportedly gave it a lick and told his girlfriend, “Oh, I didn’t think it’d be so acidic.” Not everyone is this subtle. One woman told me a guy once simply told her that her crotch “smelled.” “I slapped him,” she says.
Can you blame us for being sensitive?

As one woman told me: “It’s taken me nearly 30 years to escape an upbringing that maintained our genitals were disgusting stinky microbial stews, definitely not to be looked at or admired god forbid, let alone consumed.”

Which is why we love it when a guy says, “Your pussy is beautiful, your lips are delectable, and you taste so sweet that I want to make love to your pussy with my mouth and tongue for hours,” as one nice fella said to a woman I spoke to. How could we not oblige?

And how can a gal resist a guy who says, “Wow your lips are so luscious and tender, it’s like French-kissing your face, only sideways!” — another fine compliment one woman received from her man.

Another woman I spoke to once had a man say to her, “Oh, we’re having a good vagina day,” explaining that she was perfectly trimmed, and had just the right amount of moisture and good flavour.
Charming, if you wanna feel like your pussy is being reviewed for Bon Appetit.

I find the flower metaphor a little cheesy but it seems variations of “it looks like a beautiful flower” are popular. Apparently, they do the trick.

“I tell women it’s a wonderful, sweet-tasting flower that blooms when we make love and I am always amply rewarded,” said one fella.

At least, it’s better than having a guy ask you to “hold back the bush, it’s getting in my eyes.” “I was mortified,” says the recipient of this delightful comment. “I’m blondish and don’t have much body hair. It couldn’t have been that bushy!”
Now people, this is what I’m talking about. How are we supposed to feel good about ourselves with this kind of nonsense going on?

Guys aren’t the only insensitive ones out there. Gals can also be pretty harsh. One guy told me he once had a woman say to him that he “made up in quantity (of semen) for what you lack in potency.” Harsh AND confusing, Especially when you’re in your 20s and too shy to respond.

One guy had a woman tell him he has a porn star cock. I’ve seen some pretty ugly dicks in porn but I guess she meant it as a compliment.

Not surprisingly, several guys admit that they like to be complimented about their size even if we’re, um, stretching the truth. “I am always pleased when someone says I’m big, even though I know it’s not true,” says one guy. I don’t always feel like bringing out my inner porn actress (“Oh baby, it’s sooo big”) and it’s a little unoriginal, but at least it’s something.

But I prefer the compliment one woman says she gave to a lover. “I told him his penis had such a complex personality, and that I had such interesting conversations with it without saying a word.”

Another woman says she once told a guy that his cock was nicer than any dildo she’d ever seen because it was attached to him.
“Then I told him that if it were a dildo I’d definitely pay more than 100 bucks for it.” His reaction was to use his “dildo” on her immediately.

Much nicer than having someone you’re getting frisky with suddenly say, “Ack! Put it away!” “I complied,” says the poor guy on the receiving end of this one.
See? We could stand to be a little kinder to each other’s privates. After all, you wouldn’t have dinner without complimenting your host on the beautiful table and the fabulous meal, would you?

ADVANCES IN DATING

Remember the good old days of dating? You picked up someone in a bar, went home with him and decided the next day if you actually wanted to date. Or, if you were feeling ambitious, you agreed to date a friend of a friend who was reeeeeally nice and would be purrrfect for you. Which he wasn’t, of course. But at least you tried. Then you picked someone up in a bar…

These days, you gotta enroll in dating boot camps, consult scientific advisers, and keep track of all your action in your computerized dating organizer.

I mean, whatever happened to just going for coffee?

Heck, even speed dating seems comparatively quaint.

Now, you practically need a rocket science degree to get a gal to meet your glance across the room if you believe the folks who are trying to sucker you, I mean, help you meet the guy or gal of your dreams.

Like this “Mystery” dude. I’m not sure who decided this but, apparently he’s considered to be “the world’s most foremost expert in the art and science of social dynamics” and, according to his website (mysterymethod.com), The Mystery Method (trademarked, of course) is “a practical, field-tested method that allows men from any background to meet, attract, and build relationships with exceptional women of extraordinary beauty and quality.”

For a mere $2400, you can attend a three-day “comprehensive boot camp” (or get the “Encyclopedia five-DVD set for only $294) that will teach you how to “put women under your spell” with things like the “indirect game,” “canned material,” and the “hoop theory” and useful tactics such as the “Neg” and the “3-second rule.”

Sounds mysterious all right.

But dating isn’t simply becoming more, um, academic, it’s also getting more high tech.

“Hooking up with any chick, any time, anywhere! Such is the power of a man equipped with the right technology… And that technology is GirlFriend X!”

That’s right, for a mere $19.95 a month, you can subscribe to the GirlFriendX software (girlfriendx.com) which can help track your online dating, (“If you have too many chicks on the line, our proprietary Yield Calculator will suggest who gets the boot and tell you who’s providing the booty!”), tailor date ideas to each girl’s interests, and send emails, poems, and reminders to send gifts to the right girls at the right time. All with the assistance of your GFX Wingman of course, which syncs Girlfriend X software to your pocket PC or Palm Pilot so you can “make your moves on the move.”

Seem a little cold? If you’re looking for a more human touch in your dating technology, for the same price as Girlfriend X, you can get a monthly subscription to econfidant.com and have all your dating dilemmas and questions answered by a real humanoid within 24 hours. Not so handy if you’re in the middle of a date and trying to decide whether you should kiss her or not, but, hey, it’s still better than having to figure this stuff out using old-fashioned methods like common sense isn’t it?

Of course, why use common sense when a video game can teach you all the right moves. Games like Sims: Hot Date and Singles: Flirt Up Your Life can help you brush up on all your best moves and possibly improve your joystick action.

Not only is dating getting more high tech, but it’s also getting more scientific. My favourite anthropologist Dr. Helen Fisher was recently named the Chief Scientific Officer at match.com’s new very scientific sounding dating site, chemistry.com, whose slogan is: “Putting a little science into the search for Mr. or Mrs. Right.”

What is the very “scientific” secret behind their very serious sounding “patent-pending system?” Why, “Helping America’s 89 Million Singles Spend Less Time Online and More Time Face to Face,” of course.

That’s right. No encyclopedias, video games or Wingman gadgets. Just actually meeting someone… in person? Wow. Now that is some serious science. Let’s hope they get that patent.

Yes, finding and dating people you actually like can feel like a mystery sometimes. And we’re all searching for ways to crack it.

But, while I’m all about being open to new possibilities and meeting people anyway, anyhow, making people believe they simply need to unlock a scientific formula to get a date or put women under a spell to get into her pants, is just depressing.

If you really want to get scientific about meeting people, consider this piece of data from a recent Elle magazine article entitled “How to Be Single.”

“In 1995, statisticians projected that about 88 percent of American women of our generation would marry at least once. Basically, if marriage were a deadly disease, your chances of catching it would be terrifying.”

So relax and put down the gadgets and the magic wands. I’m not saying that everyone wants to get married but if you really want to meet someone and fall in love, your number will eventually come up.

It’s a scientific fact.

More Wacky Science

Before they came out with Viagra, 21% of men suffered from erectile dysfunction. Comparatively, 43% of women are non-orgasmic or will be for a significant period of their lives. And what are we doing about it? Well, The O Tapes is at least letting women talk about it candidly. Toronto sex shop Good For Her describes the documentary as “the absolute best we’ve seen on the topic of female sexuality and orgasm.” For more info, go to goodforher.com.

The Secret’s Almost Out!

Made In Secret: The Story of the East Van Porn Collective is a brilliant, multi-layered “documentary” that has you questioning your beliefs about sex, porn, representation and whether one can really make such a thing as “smart” porn. To order your copy, go to, www.onetinywhale.com.

MUSCLE CONTROL

Dear Josey,

I suffer from premature ejaculation. My girlfriend is trying to help me and found a device online called a Super Kegel Exerciser. Is it helpful for men? I do not want to damage my PC muscles, only strengthen them. How many times should a man exercise his PC muscles per week?

Exercising Options?

Dear Exercising,

Your very helpful girlfriend has steered you in the right direction…sort of. Strengthening your Kegel, or pubococcygeus (PC) muscle will help improve control. Shelling out good money for contraptions like the Super Kegel Exercisor, however, is a bit like buying a Thigh Master or whatever other contraption is collecting dust bunnies your bed. The thing that will get the most exercise from this kind of contraption is your wallet.

“Many men achieve more ejaculatory control from exercising their Kegels but it’s unnecessary to use a special contraption,” agrees Shelley Taylor, president of Venus Envy in Halifax and Ottawa (venusenvy.ca). Taylor suggests giving your PC muscle – the muscle you use to stop your pee midstream – a squeeze a dozen times a day or so. She also advises men who come before they want to (notice, she doesn’t say prematurely, eliminating the idea that there’s a “correct” amount of time to last), to also try using a cock ring during sex or to practice holding off coming while masturbating.

And, unless you’re bench-pressing a small car with your crotch, you’re unlike to damage you PC muscles by exercising them, though some research suggests that, like any other muscle, you can strain them. Taylor says it’s important to fully release the muscles after squeezing so they don’t tighten up. Even my favourite male anatomy expert Dr. Yosh Taguchi in Montreal says there is no potential danger in exercising your Kegels. He encourages it, especially in male patients who are recovering from prostate surgery as a way to speed up recovery and enhance urine control.

Dear Josey,

I’ve seen quite a number of porn clips that show females ejaculating during anal sex. Is this possible?I thought a female squirts only when her G-spot is stimulated.

Rear Exit?

Dear Rear,

Having never squirted as a result of bum sex, I took your question to the Queen of all things bum sex, columnist, author and pornographer Tristan Taormino.

Taormino says she’s seen lots of women ejaculate during anal penetration.

“One of my favorite porn starlets (now retired) who became known for it was Alisha Klass. Klass did many an anal scene in Seymore Butts’ movies in which she squirted like crazy,” she says. “Many women experience indirect G-spot stimulation during anal penetration, and this stimulation can lead to ejaculation. I can’t speak for all porn movies or all performers (since there are fakers out there), but performers like Flower Tucci, Cytherea, and others are genuine ejaculators.”

There you go, straight from the horse’s bum, I mean mouth.

But even if you don’t squirt, even plain old orgasm during anal can be a special treat, says Taormino. “When I work my clit while my ass is being fucked, and I come, the orgasm definitely feels different than if I was just having clit stimulation,” she explains. “It feels stronger, more intense, more like a full-body orgasm, rather than one primarily centered between my legs.”

Check out Tristan Taormino’s just-released House of Ass video as well as the second edition of her book The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women, this one with an actual ass on it. Apparently, when the first edition came out in 1998 the publishers insisted the cover only feature text and the word “anal” be in the lightest colour. We’ve come a long way, baby, in part thanks to wonderful enthusiass-ts like Tristan (puckerup.com).

Dear Josey,

I have an embarrassing problem that’s wreaking havoc on my sex life. And when I say wreaking, I mean reeking. My vagina smells and nothing I do eliminates the fishy odour. I also have a lot of discharge and thought I might be experiencing a yeast infection but yeast infection treatments have been unsuccessful. Any help?

Odour Eating Me Up

Dear Odour,

Vaginas are practically their own ecosystem, with pH levels trying to stay in balance while good and bad bacteria battle it out like an episode of Survivor. According to Dr. Renee Blumenfeld, a Toronto-based GP, bad bacteria sometimes wins and can cause a little-talked about bacterial infection known as Bacterial Vaginosus, that causes discharge and leaves you smelling like the Catch of the Day.

Blumenfeld says overgrowth of nasty bacteria can be caused by physiological changes during your menstrual cycle, birth control pills and swimming in chlorinated water. And get this, even sex, or any other activity that leaves you hot and sweaty, can throw your pH balance out of whack.

Unchecked, BV can cause infections of the uterus and fallopian tubes and premature delivery in pregnant women, warns Blumenfeld.

BVs (unlike yeast infections) do make you smell but, unlike yeast infections, they don’t usually make you feel taking steel wool to your muff. But because yeast infection ads are everywhere and treatments are available over the counter, most women go this route rather than visit a doctor to inquire about their smelly crotch. There are oral prescriptions to treat BV, says Blumenfeld. Meantime, here’s a novel idea: Pop your vadge a vitamin. Apparently Vitamin C makes your vagina more acidic and more good-bacteria friendly. Now before you go shoving a Vitamin C tablet up there, don’t. It’ll burn. And taking them orally won’t help, either. Today Daily pH vaginal vitamin tablets and Today Balance Restore vaginal vitamins are new products available over the counter and might restore pH order down there, says Blumenfeld. According to the company’s literature, “A vitamin a day keeps the ‘gyn-ee’ away.” And it beats feeding it an apple a day.

SEXERCISE ME!

I know you were full of piss ‘n vinegar when you made that New Year’s Resolution to start exercising and get in shape. So why are you sitting there shoving potato chips in your mouth watching Bathroom Diva?

Cearly, you need some added incentive. How about this? Regular cardiovascular exercise will improve your sex life.

Before you grab your butt-floss spandex and Olivia “Let’s Get Physical” Newton John sweatband on that info alone, consider this: A University of California study reported that a group of sedentary middle-aged men made love 30 per cent more often and masturbated 50 per cent more often after nine months of regular workouts.

Exercise not only relieves stress, relaxes you, increases your energy and stamina, and improves self-esteem and self-confidence (all very sex-positive), working yourself into a big, smelly sweat actually also makes you horny. Cardiovascular exercise elevates endorphins in your bloodstream and increases adrenaline and testosterone (in women too) — all the things your brain needs to make you want to say “Do me!”

There are other sex-specific benefits from exercise.

For women, regular exercise keeps your muff nice and fit. Like other muscles in your body, the ones around your vagina get flabby with age, allowing you to enjoy the pleasures of incontinence or a condition known as prolapse, when your womb gets lazy and slumps down toward your vaginal canal. Keeping fit also helps keep the juices flowing as you age, which not only makes sex a lot more fun but also protects you from infection.

And guys, you’re not always going to be the studly young things you are now. In a chapter called “Drop Your Lard and Get Truly Get Hard” in the book Sex: A Man’s Guide, it says that men’s levels of arousal and their ability to maintain erections wane as you age. Regular exercise helps avoid this.

And a good set of butt and lower back muscles just might stop that shaky feeling like you’re about to collapse when you’re doing the nasty. Abs of steel (or at least aluminium), strong thighs and a decent set of shoulders don’t hurt either, and that goes for men and women.

Sex itself is a good work-out. Most cardiovascular fitness routines recommend that to get and keep fit you need to raise your pulse and keep it an increased rate for 20 minutes, two or three times a week. So if you can’t afford a gym membership…

An enthusiastic session of sex (the kind that leaves your legs rubbery and your head light), multiplies your hearth rate as much as three times and you can burn up to 300 calories. And a good, toe-curling orgasm helps tone every muscle in your body.

Exercising together is a big turn-on. Getting hot and sweaty with your partner can be great foreplay. And keeping your balance while doing in the shower together afterward will help keep you fit.

You don’t even need to go to the gym. Some of the best sex I ever had — with a guy who was otherwise a bore in bed — was after a good naked wrestling match. Crawling over the equipment in a kids’ playground and then crawling all over each other can be a lot of fun and a good work-out, too. Even romantic walks together are a great way to get some exercise and get turned on.

Of course, one of the main reasons we work out is vanity. We want to look hot. And there’s no denying the appeal of a fit body.

I’m not talking beefcake — I like my men with necks. But someone who looks like he takes care of his body, no matter what his body type, is a big turn-on. People are drawn to you – and you to them — when you feel good about yourself physically. Just keep in mind, there’s no bigger turn-off than someone who’s too caught up with their image and the shape of their body.

Also, I know it’s tempting to nag if you think there’s something your partner should do about their physical appearance. But a critical glance as the tubby love of your life reaches for a second helping of Double Fudge Brownie Delight will likely only lead to you wearing it in your lap.

The best way to make your partner feel like you love his or her body is to send out a steady message of acceptance. We tend to slow down the compliments as we get more comfy, when they’re really most important. No need to lie. Just focus on things you genuinely like and mention them often.

Of course, relying too much on your partner to reassure you is annoying if you do nothing to accept yourself. A girlfriend said she really noticed the difference when she stopped being so self-conscious about her body, and started parading around in the buff not making any effort to avoid bad lighting or rear views. It made her feel great, and the men she was with found her body confidence extremely sexy.

And remember, just because guys don’t sit around and whine to each other about their saggy bits (“Oh God, Doug, I just hate my gut.” “Oh c’mon Steve, you look great!”) doesn’t mean body image isn’t an issue for them. Be nice.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the bedroom for a little 20-minute workout.