Living Your Dear Penthouse Letter

As my wife and I were discussing the (apparently false) rumor about Penthouse Magazine discontinuing its print edition, we started to reminisce about experiences we have had in the past that would have been a good letter to Penthouse.

I don’t want to set the bar to high. We’re not rock stars and, while our sex life is pretty awesome, we don’t often hang by the rafters in our underwear. But we have had some pretty good times.

One that came to mind that was equal parts sexy, improbable and crazy… We were at a clothing optional resort a couple years ago. It is a nice place, where public sex and swinging are allowed (although certainly not required). We’ve always liked the voyeuristic and exhibitionistic vibe of the place, so we’ve gone many times.

One evening, well after dark, my wife and I were on one of the beach beds around the pool, just beginning to have sex in the open air. There were four people on the bed next to us, having a very sexy group sex session. We caught glimpses of them, and them of us… sexy fun. About 15 minutes in, one of the women from the adjacent bed came over and sat on the corner of our bed. We knew her from around the resort and had been chatting earlier in the day. She asked if she could watch.

For the next half hour, she sat on the corner of our bed, naked and masturbating, watching my wife and I have sex. She was every bit as enthusiastic about the whole thing as we were, encouraging us on with dirty suggestions and telling us how hot and wet the scene made her. My wife loved the soft dominatrix style, as she instructed my wife to go down on me or to get on all fours and put her ass in the air. And our new friend was a squirter. At least 5 times over the course of the 30 minutes she would achieve loud, gushing, squirting orgasms as she played with herself. Neither my wife nor I had seen someone squirt before, so the sight and energy was incredible. For my wife, the sights and sounds of this women so close and so turned on was spellbinding; she had more orgasms than I can ever remember. For me, it was heavenly. As was ready to ejaculate, our friend asked if my wife would take my cock in her hand and let her watch me explode. My wife was happy to indulge her and we finished the encounter sweaty, happy and exhausted. We hung out for another 20 minutes or so chatting on the bed, and then made our way back to our respective beds.

So, to you all… any Penthouse Letters-worthy escapades?

Talking to Your Kids About Masturbation

Our 12 year old daughter loves romantic comedies, and she has wanted to watch There’s Something About Mary for a while, as a few girls in her class have seen it. In what may have been a poorly thought through decision, we let her. Last night.

Neither my wife nor I remembered clearly how adult a lot of the jokes and content are in that movie. But, be that as it may, she watched it.

And the questions ensued.

Firstly, ‘does everyone masturbate?’ My wife gave her an honest answer and told her that, yes; as people get a bit older than she is now, many of them masturbate.

The problem was, she still didn’t know what masturbation was. Again, my wife gave a pretty honest and, I think, age appropriate answer. She explained that it was when you touch your private parts because it feels good. She said it was a private thing and that it usually starts in people older than she is now. My daughter didn’t ask when it usually starts and I’m not sure what we would have said had she asked.


The my daughter turned to the more operational questions. ‘Do most people have a vibrator’. We asked her how she knew about vibrators and she said that some girls in her glass talked about them but that she didn’t really know what they were. My wife explained that they were something that some women use when they masturbate, and she left it at that.

The she turned to sex. She asked how often my wife and I had sex. We said that was provate. She asked if we had had sex since she was born. We said yes. She asked if we had it a lot and we, again, said that was private.

All in all, it was not a bad talk, but it did get me thinking. We really need to have the sex talk with our 12 year old. We’ve put it off because our older daughter has no interest in sex and is in no hurry to mature that way.

Our younger daughter is, however, growing up fast. And she is very curious. We have to get in front of this.

Give Britney Her Due

You have to hand it to Britney Spears.  How many times haas she been on the cusp of either oblivion or self destruction. Yet she always comes back.  She weebles and she wobbles but she don’t fall down.

Her recent video shows her back in amazing shape. By all accounts, the media loves her again. And she’s a multi-million dollar hit in Vegas.

Not bad for a chick who cut off all her hair to avoid having her kids taken away for drug abuse.

Can You Get Too Much of a Good Thing?

In the past few years, we seem to have passed a tipping point when it comes to masturbation. What was once taboo is now – quite widely – accepted as a positive and healthy part of your sexual life and, simply, your life.  It’s a pleasant pastime, a great way to better understand your body and sexual style, and a fantastic stress reliever.

But can you get too much of that good thing.

I was out with a few friends last night and one woman confided something quite interesting. For years – and years, and years – she had never masturbated.  She simply thought it was wrong and something that good girls did not do.

But then she saw the light.  Enough friends told her she was being a prude that she decided to give it a whirl.  And whirl she did.  She loves it! To the point that she finds herself having a tough time keeping her impulses in check.  She told us about a day in her life, recently: before getting out of bed she rubs out a quick one; at least once during the day she heads to the bathroom and does the same; and during the evening she will frequently find herself settling down with some porn and having a longer masturbation session.

And she asked… is she out of control?

Before answering, a few caveats.  She said she is in no way shirking her work or parenting responsibilities – her morning and afternoon sessions are quick and during her spare time; and in the evening she waits until the kids are in bed.  As well, when she takes longer during the evening watching porn, she would otherwise be watching TV (ie. she’s not jerking off instead of out saving the world).  She didn’t tell us that to justify her behaviour, but merely to make the point, that while she feels a little obsessed, she honestly does not feel that her new hobby/passion is interfering significantly with other parts of her life.

So, what do you think?  Is she getting too much of a good (great) thing?

Its Porn Awards Time in Las Vegas

Start organizing your office pool and preparing your picks.  This week, porn stars and the fans who love them gather in Las Vegas for the AVN Awards – the porn ‘Oscars’. Along with the expected calories of best film, best actress and best actor (no one cares much about this one), you find loads of titilating categories – best anal, best girl-girl, best new starlet, and – my personal favourite catch-all – most outrageous sex scene.

For those uninitiated, the AVN Awards are a sweet mix of glamour, trashiness, hilarity and drunken debauchery.  Above all, they are not to be missed.

Consider first, the monumental task of giving awards to the porn industry.  There is a new porn video produced in the US every 39 minutes – that is almost 15,000 movies a year. PornHub receives almost 2 million visitors every hour.  Sifting through this mountain of erotica is a monumental task; sifting through and sorting the good from the bad and then honing in on the truly award-worthy… I can’t even imagine.  But, God love ’em, they manage to give out awards in almost 100 categories. And in a feat of editing genius (that Oscar organizers would be well advised to consider), they edit it down to a slick 90 minute broadcast that Showtimes picks up every year.

And the entertainment value.  Unparalleled. The ‘what are they wearing’-value eclipses Oscar night by a San Fernando Valley mile. The dresses are a equal parts gorgeous, outrageous, provocative to downright slutty… what’s not to love.  The variety of dresses is matched only by the spectrum of acceptance speeches. From heartfelt to hilarious; from poetic to, you-guesses-it, slutty.  Again… the Oscars could learn from the level of cantor and sincerity that walks across that Las Vegas red carpet.

I’m not a huge porn fan but I will say this.  For pure entertainment value you can’t beat the AVN’s.  I haven’t watched there Oscar Awards for years… but I never miss the AVNs.

How We Think About Our Sexuality

Pansexuality. If there is one word that best summarizes the findings of the new  Centre for Disease Control study on sexuality, it is pansexuality.

The biggest change in sexual habits we are experiencing has nothing to do with how early we start having sex, how frequently we sex or the types of sex we have.  The big change going on is in with whom we admit enjoying sex with.

The new CDC study is seeing a very rapid movement shift, from seeing our sexuality as a binary (we are gay or we are straight) to being along a spectrum (we are different degrees of bisexual, sometimes more and sometimes less).

The numbers are interesting:

  • 17.4% of women report having had a same sex experience (up from 14% in the last survey, only 5 years earlier). While this increase may not seem he, bear in mind it is a 30% increase;
  • almost 50% more women are reporting themselves as bisexual (from 3.9% last survey to 5.5% this time around)
  • the increase in the rate of men reporting themselves as bisexual is even more startling – increasing from 1.2% to 2% – this is almost an 80% increase;
  • men are far more like to state that they are ‘mostly’ attracted to the opposite sex, rather than ‘only attracted’

On the face of it, these numbers are not huge, but there are two really important points to consider.  First, the degree of change is startling.  Reported rates of bisexuality are up 50-80% in only five years.  These trends are very significant. Secondly, these are the reported rates. There is little doubt that the ‘social space’ to come out as bisexual is widening; with so many celebrities coming out as bisexual and the LGBT rights movement having been so successful, it is much easier to admit your own bisexuality the it was a few years ago.

Taken together – more bisexual out and proud and more social space to be pan or bisexual – make you wonder if we are not approaching a tipping point. There is strong physiological evidence that a lot of us – like 70% of women and 30% of men – have physical reactions to same sex porn.  Otherwise stated, they are at least somewhat turned on by same sex sex.  Are we approaching a stage where more and more of these people begin to acknowledge that they are somewhere on a sexuality spectrum, and not just gay or straight.

Could pansexual be ‘the new normal’?

Wither Print Media

I’m going a little off topic today. This has been a tough week for print media in Canada, and it deserves reflection because we are seeing similar – troubling – trends in the United States and elsewhere in the world.

Within five days, we have learned: the largest newspaper chain in Canada – Postmedia – is undertaking another round of job cuts and is amalgamating many of its daily newspapers; one of our oldest daily newspapers is discontinuing its print edition; and our oldest independent newspaper – the Halifax Chronicle Herald – is facing a strike because working conditions for reporters have gotten so bad.

These are a few of this week’s examples, but it is all within a context of a print media that has undergone massive cuts and restructuring in order to competed with internet news sites and compete in a 24/7 media cycle.

Some may say: ‘So what… it’s the evolution of media and I’m perfectly content to get my news from the web’.

But this glib reaction – writing off the stone age newsies as victims of technological evolution- misses the point. An important point. Traditional media is not in decline because of its format –large newspapers are – finally – realizing they need a digital presence that is at least as professional and fostered as their print editions.

No. Print media is in decline because they spend money on reporters, investigation, fact checking and writing.  And this is absolutely essential is we are to keep our politicians, corporations, and public institutions accountable.  Online news sites, on the other hand, curate content from newswires, freelancers and stringers, all of whom are paid by the word, irrespective of the quality of those words. There is an aphorism in journalism now that every story is a ‘two paragraph context, one quote from each side, online within 15 minutes’.

In this age of complex issues and divisive politics, we have never needed a powerful ‘fifth estate’ more than we do now. Politicians and businesses are attacking very complex issues – think terrorism, climate change, stimulation of industrial innovation – that need long term, nuanced approaches.  And the current news media need to reduce everything to a quote or a sound bite – quite simply – failing to provide us with the tools we need to engage.

The news media was never supposed to become an opium for the masses; it needs to be a tool for informing us – objectively – on the important issues of the day.  To enable us to exercise our roles as citizens of a democracy . In order to do this, we need journalists who hold politicians – fairly and objectively – accountable; critiquing their policies and positions and not how much they spent for breakfast that morning.   We need journalists who don’t simply tell us what we want to hear and what pleases (or aggravates) us, but makes us think more deeply on complex issues.  And this means journalists who are given the time, resources and editorial license to research, investigate and write their findings.

But we are not getting this quality of journalism.  And the newspapers and websites are not at fault. They are providing exactly what the consumer wants.  So while the free market media is giving the market what it wants, it is failing society.  So what do you do?

We fund public education because, even though kids would likely not choose to go to school, we know it’s good for society if they do.  I think it’s time for governments to rethink their relationship with the media.  We obviously don’t want the government owning or controlling the media – this clearly is at cross purposes to a media that holds government accountable.  But what about public broadcasting?  Using public money to fund – no strings attached – the investigative capacity of a limited number of ‘newspapers of record’ for the country.  It has worked quite effectively in radio in Canada and Great Britain.

Our America neighbours are quick to point out that citizenship come with responsibilities.  One of these responsibilities is to become informed though impartial, thoughtful analysis… even if it reveals to us truths we do not like. This is worth investing in!