Sex and sexology

Incorporating smut, lewdness, and prurience

Frontispiece from Pietro Aretino and Giulio Romano’s sexy sonnets from 1520ish

Although I have listed pornography elsewhere, I felt that some links about what people do rather than what they watch people do would be interesting. What they do sexually, I mean. The crossover is of course interesting too. How society manages what it does sexually is also of interest.

Do we even know about sex?

Seth Stephens-Davidowitz’s amusing book on search-versus-survey polls makes some provocative deductions about how closeted everyone is, in the sense of getting off on surprising things. Disclaimer: I haven’t read the book, and while I can see looking at google search data could do away with certain survey biases, there are obviously many other biases in the data, and I have no idea how/if he dealt with those.

Politics of sex

See also queerness

I enjoy Ozy Brennan’s advice * Kink. Hi:

All human sexuality is weird and embarrassing and vulnerable and politically incorrect. It’s not something we kinky people have a monopoly on. I guarantee you if you could read the minds of people having the sweetest and most loving vanilla sex, it would turn out their sexual interests are related to their insecurities and their body image issues and their yearning for intimacy and all kinds of other stuff you’d be uncomfortable telling the Starbucks barista about. Sexualities are sort of like dreams: they take all the strange awkward uncomfortable bits of you that aren’t fit for public consumption, mix them together with that TV show you watched and your favorite shoes and your third-grade teacher, and produce some unrecognizable and nonsensical yet mortifyingly revealing slop.

That’s one of the reasons that talking about sex is hard. You’re like “here are all my weird uncomfortable bits, fellow human! Please don’t judge me.”

And it’s also one of the reasons that a lot of political ideologies don’t like sex. Sex is stubbornly politically inconvenient. You can get a woman to wear combat boots and no makeup, to split the chores fifty-fifty and practice Health at Every Size, to have a flawless political analysis and to organize at her local domestic violence shelter — and her sexuality will still go “you know what would be hot? If I got a boob job. Just. Giant fucking tits bouncing all over the place. That would be hot.”

Sexology in history

The Wellcome Sexology library has so much cool stuff! Anti-masturbation tracts, and quasi-anthropological smut, and a Pick up artist guide from 1936, sort-of.

Read Paul Collins, Spanking the Monkey, on the weird moment that was Edward Bliss Foote’s gory, mail-order, anti-racism, pro-phrenology, snake-oily, home-health-and-sex edutainment empire of the late 1800s. Some of the books they discuss are scanned and online for your reading and remixing.

Iwan Bloch’s Sex life in England


Ganna, Andrea, Karin J. H. Verweij, Michel G. Nivard, Robert Maier, Robbee Wedow, Alexander S. Busch, Abdel Abdellaoui, et al. 2019. “Large-Scale GWAS Reveals Insights into the Genetic Architecture of Same-Sex Sexual Behavior.” Science 365 (6456): eaat7693.
Jabbour, Jeremy, Luke Holmes, David Sylva, Kevin J. Hsu, Theodore L. Semon, A. M. Rosenthal, Adam Safron, et al. 2020. “Robust Evidence for Bisexual Orientation Among Men.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117 (31): 18369–77.
Zietsch, Brendan P., and Morgan J. Sidari. 2020. “The Kinsey Scale Is Ill-Suited to Most Sexuality Research Because It Does Not Measure a Single Construct.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117 (44): 27080.

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