Thinking Sex: Representing Desire and Difference
A Feminist and Gender Studies Course
Bryn Mawr College, Fall, 2002

Archive 20: Final Praxis Presentations

Name:  Anne Dalke
Subject:  Final Set of Postings
Date:  2002-12-02 15:44:40
Message Id:  3930
Welcome to the last module of our course on Thinking Sex. During the last two weeks of class, you will be presenting your own and listening to/engaging w/ one another's presentations of "slices" of your final project: a sex ed curriculum designed for your field site. During this time, please post your reactions to, questions about, and reflections on the presentations--as well as a short summary of your own work.

Please remember, as you do so, that this web forum is a place for PUBLIC conversation. Think about ways in which you can speak honestly, openly and respectfully about what you have learned, in a way that it can be heard in a forum that is larger than our class, in a way that can be read, in particular, by both the clients and service providers @ your field sites. Think, in other words, about how to say what it is you really think, in a way that is mindful of how it might be heard by others--not just the members of our class--who are invested in the larger conversation.

Looking forward to hearing your further thinking--

Name:  Sarah H.
Subject:  Learning Experience
Date:  2002-12-02 19:03:34
Message Id:  3931
I think the biggest thing I learned at my field site is that generally, the "real world" is alot different than theorizing in a classroom. For me, working with specific people in a specific organization meant that my idealizations of what I wanted to do, what I wanted to convey, and how I thought things could be improved were not always possible. For example, it was much easier for me to be in a classroom, thinking "these women should realize their self-worth and set aside time for self-reflection," than to be confronted with the population and to try to find a way and a time to pass on this information. Working with a real population within real monetary and time budgets taught me not that ideals have to be compromised, but that they need to be realistic within the parameters of the audience and my contact with that audience. It's also helping me pinpoint exactly what I think has the most educational value, as I sift through possible focal points of this sex-ed curriculum.
Name:  Anne Dalke
Date:  2002-12-03 15:42:43
Message Id:  3949
All of you interested in "sex across the life span" should be interested in this talk, sponsored by The Center for Science in Society :

A Special Lecture by Judith Houck
University of Wisconsin-Madison
"The Social History of a Biological Process, Menopause,1897-1980"

5 December, Thursday
4:00 PM, Park Building, Room 338
3:30 PM, Refreshments, Room 338

Judith Houck is assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin Madison with appointments in the departments of Medical History, Women's Studies, and the History of Science and the Center of Women's Health and Women's  Health Research. Her research centers on the history of women's health. She is currently finishing a book on the history of menopause, tentatively titled, More than Hot and Bothered: Women, Medicine, and Menopause in America, 1897-2000. Her next project focuses on the women's health movement
in the United States, 1969-2000.

For information, please contact Tomomi Kinukawa at

Name:  LH
Subject:  womanspace
Date:  2002-12-04 19:42:56
Message Id:  3971
HY and Maggie's site really intrigued me. It did not sound the like the site was really functioning at its highest potential and I felt HY and Maggie were taking a nice approach to dealing with the women and their problems. I do not really see how you can rehabilitate these women while they are sitting around watching TV all day. These women need more structure than they are provided. It is important for these women to experience daily routines while they are going through the program. If all they do is sit around, detox, and watch TV they are just getting the drugs out of their system, they are not really making any lifestyle changes that would encourage them not to go back to doing drugs. I really liked the idea that they need to exercise more, get out, run around, and have some fun. If they can get endorphins flowing and energy levels up they are going to feel physically better and if they feel better physically, its going to be easier for them to get over physical [and mental] addiction.

I'll write more later if I think of other things I want to say. In the mean time, good luck ladies!

Name:  Chelsea
Subject:  Joke!!
Date:  2002-12-04 21:24:43
Message Id:  3973
Hehe, this one was posted in our bathroom last week...(paraphrased)

There is an elderly woman in a nursing who steals a wheelchair and begins racing around the halls. As she passes an open room, an elderly man jumps out, "Excuse me, ma'am, but I believe you were speeding. I need to see your driver's license." The woman digs around in her purse and pulls out a candy wrapper. The man examines it, hands it back and sends her off.

Back she goes again racing up and down the halls. Again, the man pulls her over. "Ma'am, I think you crossed the center line back there, can I see your registration?" The woman pulls out a receipt. Again, the man looks it over, returns it and sends her on her way.

She goes again, weaving all over, up and down the halls. As she passes the old man's room, out he jumps, stark naked with an erection. "Oh no!" says the old woman, "Not the breathilizer test again!"

Name:  ngoc
Subject:  reflection
Date:  2002-12-05 09:21:13
Message Id:  3978
in this class, we've had great opportunities to explore and question sex and sexuality from quite many angles... through ou this process we never cease to question the language that we use to understand and to communicate... in some of conversation, i notice that language is being criticized and deemed as inadequate to express our thoughts, experiences, etc... (language itself is a sign of loss...that once you speak or try to communicate, you've already lost some of what you are trying to express) it seems as though the more we explore, the more we read, discuss and question, the more language seems inadequate .... maybe it's just my feeling... but i don't think we are giving language its credit in allowing us to communicate...if not more ... it has been my experiece that after each time we learn a new way to explore, to examine sex and sexuality, i feel as if i've been given another set of language, of tool to express myself... it's almost an empowering experience ...consider where i am coming from... the only set of language i've ever learned is that from high school and so much exposure from the media... as for the other part--of being vietnamese helps little -- consider silence is the language of sex and sexuality in vietnamese culture... it may be hard for those who have always had the power, the language to discuss and to express themselves to understand how acquiring, learning this new set of tool can be empowering... it's almost like at that instant you are given a right to express yourself... you feel legitimate... satisfy...

being critical, questioning and doubting are great... but never forget to look back and see how far the thing we are doubting, questioning bring us so far in our conversation, in life... (just a little thought =] )

Name:  Fritz Dubuisson
Date:  2002-12-05 10:20:33
Message Id:  3979
I really agree with with wha t Ngoc had to say on language. It is through our constant battle with language that I have come to appreciate the ability to do so freely. Language may seem an inefficient tool at times but the simple fact that there are some experiences that we have no words for shows the power of that experience.
Name:  sheir
Username:  sfernand@bmc
Subject:  frtiz and nia
Date:  2002-12-05 10:45:17
Message Id:  3980
I think it's important for you guys to talk about abst. in your placement. Is seems to me like you guys wouild be the only way for them to hear about the possiblity of not having sex until later in life or marriage. It really is a valid option- or at least one that could be very valuable for them to understand. Nia maybe has a better chance of telling her kids the pros and cons. Not everyone who is in a happy healthy relationship is having sex. I have no clue how you could actually tell these kids who know everything the abst. is a possibility. Good luck.
Name:  Anne Dalke
Subject:  This is just to say...
Date:  2002-12-05 16:13:00
Message Id:  3984
...(to those of you who didn't make it) that we DID have class today, w/ 6 presentations. They raised for me a number of questions about the most useful attitude to take when engaging in praxis work. I'm thinking that the critical mode I've been advocating--"what is wrong here? what is missing? how can we fix it?"--may not be the most helpful one.

Perhaps asking ourselves, @ this point in the semester, what we have learned from our sites, and from our engagements w/ the people who come and work and live there, might take us further than the interrogatory mode we've been using so far. What did we NOT know, three months ago, that we know now, from having gone into a space we hadn't been before? What has OUR curriculum looked like, and what else do WE need to know, in order to fill in the gaps in our own (sexuality) education?

We also vetted today a number of questions which had been raised (for me, @ least) in Tuesday's presentations: is it possible to do a presentation about the subjects you are studying, which they themselves can comfortably hear? What might that look/sound like? What right have we (do we have the right? and do we have permission?) to tell others' stories? What responsibilites do we have, to tell them respectfully?


Name:  Sarah
Subject:  Same-Sex Marriage/Prostitution Response
Date:  2002-12-06 00:04:52
Message Id:  3986
This is mainly in response to Jennifer and Louise's (the Columbia students) posting which, I might add, was a very exciting addition to our site. I suppose I'm responding to it specifically because I'm so glad some new voices have joined our group (at least temporarily).

I'm in and out of reading a book by Michael Warner entitled, "The Trouble with Normal," discussing his opposition (and also the opposition of many gay men and women for decades) to legalizing same-sex marriage because of his opposition to marriage in general. Towards the middle of the book, he includes a list (which I include below) of reasons the gay movement has resisted pushing a platform demanding legalization of marriage and I think that it offers some interesting points to consider, especially in response to Jennifer and Louise's questions about marriage and same-sex marriage.

It called attention to the mythology by which marriage is idealized.
It recognized the diversity of sexual and intimate relations as worthy of respect and protection.
Indeed, it cultivated unprecedented kinds of commonality, intimacy, and public life.
It resisted any attempt to make the norms of such straight culture into the standards by which queer life should be measured.
It especially resisted the notion that the state should be allowed to accord legitimacy to some kinds of consensual sex but not others, or to confer respectability on some people's sexuality but not others.
It insisted that much of what was taken to be morality, respectability, or decorum was, in practice, a way of regulating sexual pleasures and relations.
It taught that any self-esteem worth having must not be purchased by a disavowal of sex; It must include esteem for one's sexual relations and pleasures, no matter how despised by others.
It made itself alert to the invidiousness of any institution, like marriage, that is designed both to reward those inside it and to discipline those outside it: adulterers, prostitutes, divorcees, the promiscuous, single people, unwed parents, those below the age of consent—in short, all those who became, for the purposes of marriage, queer.
It insisted that any vision of sexual justice begin by considering the unrecognized dignity of these outcasts, the ways of living they represent, and the hierarchies of abjection that make them secondary, invisible, or deviant.
It became alert on principle to the danger that those same hierarchies would continue to structure the thought of the gay and lesbian movement itself—whether through "internalized homophobia," in-group hostility, or simply through the perspective unconsciously embedded in so much of our thought and perception.
It tried to correct for the tendency of U.S. debates to ignore other societies, on whom they nevertheless have an impact.

In thinking about the likening of marriage to prostitution, I've come to the tentative conclusion that the prostitution component of the analogy comes into play not as much within the couple but as within the society. The fact that marriage is a discriminatory institution against all of the above mentioned individuals (adulterers, prostitutes, divorcees, the promiscuous, single people, unwed parents, those below the age of consent), likens them ALL to the prostitute who remains unprotected by the law. By denying all these individuals and couples legal rights, lawmakers are essentially declaring their existence worthy of punishment and inflicting upon them the same gruesome injustice that they have inflicted on the unprotected sex worker.

Name:  Anne Dalke
Subject:  Code of Ethics
Date:  2002-12-06 16:17:09
Message Id:  3990

After Judith Houck's talk this afternoon on "menopause," or "why scientists should care about history," I took her and several other young BMC faculty members to lunch...and found myself describing to them my qualms about our representing the stories of others, which I'd outlined in my posting above. Melissa Pashigian, the new medical anthropologist here, suggested that we might all find useful the Code of Ethics of the American Anthropological Association. Particularly noteworthy to me in this code is the call to be "alert to the proper demands of good citizenship or host-guest relations"; the acknowledgement that the "development of knowledge can lead to change which may be positive or negative for the people worked with or studied"; the reminder "to consult actively with the affected individuals or group(s), with the goal of establishing a working relationship that can be beneficial to all parties involved"; and the realization that the "informed consent process is dynamic and continuous...through implementation by way of dialogue and negotiation with those studied."

    Always learning--(and always grateful for the nudge to do so)--

Name:  Anne Dalke
Subject:  Tests for Sexually Transmitted Disease...
Date:  2002-12-07 14:46:19
Message Id:  3999
Comments: be offered to Phila. high schoolers (from the 11/30/02 Philadelphia Inquirer):

"As part of an aggressive effort to curb a rampant sexually transmitted disease among teenagers, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health will provide voluntary screening at all city high schools.

Health Department officials said that up to 30,000 students are expected to be tested for chlamydia--a common bacterial infection that can damage reproductive organs and lead to infertility. They said the disease has become epidemic among 15- to 19-year-old Philadelphia females, with a citywide infection rate of about 1 in 12.

In two high schools where the education and screening program was tried last year, the figure was even higher: One of every six girls taking the test had the disease. Health Department data showed about 5 percent of the boys were infected....

Paul G. Vallas, the school district's chief executive...called the project a 'no-brainer....It is an abstinence-first philosophy, and we have to take it up a notch,' Vallas said. 'This is high-risk behavior, and there are consequences.'"

Name:  elisa
Subject:  Presentations Day 2
Date:  2002-12-08 21:03:45
Message Id:  4007
I just wanted to respond to something I thought of while I was sitting in class this past Thursday.

I agree with what Anne has already said in her earlier posting, stating, "I'm thinking that the critical mode I've been advocating--"what is wrong here? what is missing? how can we fix it?"--may not be the most helpful one."

The group volunteering at the site for queer youth expressed a lot of frustration at being treated as "outsiders" by the people at their site.

As I listened to the well intentioned attempts at bridging the gap between them and the people at their sites, I wondered whether or not the gap was being furthered by their lack of understanding. It seemed that the students in our class felt the fault was more a flaw of the organization and the people at the organization than within the things they were attempting to do with the groups. For example, two students stated that they tried to get the youth at the site to read a poem and then another time they played music during an art session, but the youth werent into it. The two students from our class were very frustrated by this (as would I be if I were them), and as they explained their frustration, all I thought was "Did they ever think that reading may not be the way to "get" these kids? Did they ever stop to think that teenagers have fears about reading/performing in front of their peers? Did they ever stop to think that some of these teenagers cant read? What kind of music did you play? Is it the type of music that these (inner city, majority people of color) youth identify with?"

I think one of the biggest problems we all have in entering our praxis sites is that we are mainly "outsiders" coming in to a space that has not been created by us or for us. Even if we percieve ourselves as being "insiders" with the group, I can still understand why some people would not be so happy with our presence in these environments, but why there may be a need for an outsiders perspective. The best way for me to summarize this is to cite the first paragraph of Zora Neale Hurston's, Mules and Men . She writes:

"I was glad when somebody told me, "You may go and collect Negro folklore."

In a way it would not be a new experience for me. When I pitched headforemost into the world I landed in in the crib of negroism. From the earliest rocking of my cradle, I had known about the capers Brer Rabbit is apt to cut and what Squinch Owl says from the house top. But it was fitting like a tight chemise. I couldn't see it for wearing it. It was only when I was off in college, away from my native surroundings that I could see myself like somebody else and stand off and look at my garment. Then I had to have the spyglass of Anthropology to look through at that." (introduction)

I think that we should keep in mind that our complex positions as "outsiders" peering through the "spyglass of anthropology" (even to things that appear familiar to us) to our sites is beneficial in some way, but that we should also remain careful of being too critical. An organization may be full of "insiders" blinding it from seeing things it may not see are problems. However, we should not forget our own blind spots as "outsiders"--- there may be a dynamic/people/programs that are occurring within our sites that go unnamed, yet keep things functioning and, I dont think it is out right to impose our visions of what we think is "faulty," when we may not understand the whole picture.

Name:  elisa
Subject:  Another thought...
Date:  2002-12-08 21:21:08
Message Id:  4008
In class, I made the suggestion that the students who are working with the queer youth organization in philly might want to work on a curriculum to train the trainers/facilitators at the organization. If you need a starting place, you might want to check this out--- an organization for queer people of color in NYC, called the audre lorde project, hosts a variety of events such as a Young Women of Color Leadership Program: For Lesbian, Bisexual, Two Spirit, Transgender & Questioning Young Women of Color (ages 16–20) (in the summer) which covers topics such as:

-Direct Action Organizing
-Public Speaking
-Leadership Skills
-Facilitation Skills
-Use of art/culture as activist tool

I think learning all of these skills may aid the organization in leading disucssions about sex, community, etc. Something like this may help in turning the philly organization for queer youth into a more politically active one. For more info on the Audre Lorde Project, what is does, and info for contacting them by phone/email/mail, there website is:

The best way to see what kind of events and trainings they have is to go to the calender section.

Name:  Anne Dalke
Subject:  FYI
Date:  2002-12-09 11:49:34
Message Id:  4015
This event @ Penn this week will be of interest to some of you:

WEDNESDAY, 12/11, 8am-9am, CHOP, Joseph Stokes Auditorium
"Human Sexuality and HIV in the New Millenium"
A lecture by Wade Cates, NIH HIV Networks
For further inforamation, contact

Name:  Maggie
Username:  mscottwe
Subject:  presentations
Date:  2002-12-09 21:03:30
Message Id:  4018
I just wanted to say that I am really enjoying the presentations people have been doing. It's really good to finally get to hear about everyone's praxis placements, and the experiences/problems they've had. Also, it's a great way for us to use each other as resources. I wasn't sure about the idea but I'm really glad we're doing it.
Name:  shier
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  philly schools sex tests
Date:  2002-12-09 21:56:04
Message Id:  4020
I think this is great! In a perfect world anyone who thought that she was ready to have sex and understood the consequences could have all the sex he wants and then not have any repercussions. This would break things down into real life. There- that cool senior you want to be like- he has herpies. Not so cool anymore huh? It can happen to us. . I don't remember what issue, but I read in Jane that in less than 10 years anyone who has had more than one sexual partner will have an STD.

I know that high school kids know people who have had an STD and have had babies, but an in your face test might change things.

I think all schools should have it. In a local Private Acadamy the middle school girls have an outbreak of ghonaria of the throat. It's not just philly, it's the richer neighborhoods too.

Name:  Nia Turner
Subject:  Sex and Media
Date:  2002-12-10 00:59:40
Message Id:  4021
The mainstream perception of beauty and sex appeal in the United States is the Caucasian woman with blonde hair, blue eyes, fine facial features, and a slender figure. Why is this the case? I believe that Black women historically symbolize both strength of character and physical strength. This is not to suggest that Caucasian women do not posses these attributes. The mainstream thought is that there exist a strong correlation between beauty, sex appeal, femininity, and fragility. In a historical context Black women have never been the epitome of fragile. My foremothers survived the inhumane conditions of slave ships, slave blocks, and plantations. The master's wife was " too delicate" to nurse her own babies. Who fulfilled this capacity? Black Women. Over generations they have been the backbone of the Black family structure. Furthermore, it amazes me that the media has blatantly put down Black women for having more pronounced facial features. For example up until recently fuller lips were seen as a less attractive feature, but now Caucasian models are having surgery to enhance their lips. The message this sends is that Black women have a history of setting trends. Apparently, our society has not made sufficient progress towards recognizing the beauty and sexuality of all women, despite differences in ethnicity, race, and culture. I have to read Ebony, Essence, or Jet magazines just to see women that look like me. As a teen I resented the fact that teen magazines did not provide beauty tips or makeovers that would apply to me as a young Black woman. I hope that by the time I have a daughter that perceptions of beauty and sexuality will evolve to encompass a diverse body of women.
Name:  elisa
Subject:  Food for thought...
Date:  2002-12-10 11:12:44
Message Id:  4023
My friend went to boston and found out about this place.

Continuing our side conversation concerning sex and food, here is an example of sex in food (?!), sex and food... i dont know how to label this... check it out for yourself and see what you think...




Name:  Maggie
Username:  mscottwe
Date:  2002-12-10 19:13:10
Message Id:  4039
First, thanks to Elisa for the candy... that was fun = ).

Today when Bea was talking about the people who go to her praxis site, she mentioned how she often hears them talking about how their god is angry with them, or disapproves. Almost all of the women at my praxis site are very faithful Christians and it amazes me to hear them talk about their religion. They say that God has always been with them and watching out for them or else they never would have made it through what they did, and they wouldn't be where they are now if it wasn't for God's guidance. The discrepancy between the two praxis sites is really interesting. I'm curious about what causes a difference in faith between two groups of adults who have probably both gone through a lot of difficulties in their lives. (I say probably because I'm assuming about the people that Bea works based on her presentation.) Anyway, that was just something interesting I noticed.

Name:  Anne Dalke
Subject:  Police posing as prostitutes for a sting
Date:  2002-12-10 21:37:00
Message Id:  4043
Another (front page) Philadelphia Inquirer article (12/9/02):

"Too often, police say, school children walk home against a backdrop of users, dealers and prostitutes. Responding to a request from those who live and work in lower Frankford, police mobilized in greater force to help clean things up. While prostitutes are frequently arrested, police decided to also go after those looking for their services. Since the operation began in late spring, 47 men have felt the sting....police can't stop prostitution throughout the city, but they can, at least, help keep it out of some neighborhoods. 'It is the oldest profession in the world...And we'll never completely get rid of it.'"

Name:  Monica Locsin
Subject:  Presentations
Date:  2002-12-11 03:22:35
Message Id:  4044
These presentations are a great way for all of us to share our experiences at our praxis site. I presented my site today and I feel more comfortable than I was before about writing a curriculum because of the positive and wonderful ideas the class shared with me. I related alot to Sheri's presentation today because I have a cousin who attends the same type of school Sheri worked in. I understood her when she reiterated the fact that some parents are hard to approach regarding some issues because it is hard for a parent to be told how to handle things with his/her child and it is also hard for a parent to accept the fact that he/she might have been wrong somewhere down and the road. The child already needing these special needs makes it arduous for the parent to see what was done wrong. Sheri's presentation touched me because I have had experience with what she encountered and it was nice to hear that she had a curriculum well planned.
Name:  Nancy
Subject:  Scare kids into abstinence?
Date:  2002-12-11 12:37:24
Message Id:  4046
While I don't think sex ed curriculums should necessarily encourage middle school aged children to have sex, I worry about the 'scare tactics' some of the sites seem to use. Telling kids about the dangers of sex and the horrible consequences of aquiring STDs if one thing, but I don't think spreading fear of these outcomes should be the only way to encourage abstinence. Wouldn't teaching adolescents how to make informed decisions, when to know if they are ready, and (also) the risks of having sex be more effective? I know it is difficult for everyone in the 'abstinence only' sites to come up with an informative curriculum becuase sex can't be put into language without restraints. I do have one question for those of us at these types of sites-- would an informative sex ed program that stressed abstinence but still taught alternatives be 'allowed'? Other than that, I think everyone's presentations have been really interesting and informative and I think it's really great that everyone's final projects are going to be so unique.
Name:  ngoc
Subject:  perspectives and standards
Date:  2002-12-12 16:25:27
Message Id:  4058
Elisa commented in class today on how she's not sure about her feelings when those who have been in the situation and thinks that it is okay or even "miss" that kind of relationship (the example mentioned in class)... Her uncertainty then led her to speculate on the question of standard of what's right and what's wrong...what's okay and what's not... at first the child does not think or believe that the relationship is wrong or inappropriate... does it mean that we, as society, are implementing, enforcing a standard of what's right and what's wrong...and when individual follow/accept/recognize the standard...that the relationship becomes questionable and inappropriate?

I think this is a very important question that have not been given adequate time for discussion... is it our society, our make up, our standards that make things wrong... or is it inherent in our nature? how cultural is this perspective and standard? and is it okay for someone who has experienced that kind of relationship to not feel like a victim? since this has to do with young children, there is also the question of at age do we believe children can appropriately interpret their experience... do we accept their perspective when they find that their experience is not negative? or will we denny their perspective because we consider them too young to understand the consequences... but then again, these consequences are what we think they are... not necessarily the way the person feel...

just a thought =]

Name:  Anne Dalke
Subject:  Where's the clit?
Date:  2002-12-12 17:18:54
Message Id:  4061
I thoroughly enjoyed the "finale" which Deborah and Chelsea staged this afternoon; it was great fun to enact w/ you all my impregnation and birth....

but (it ocurred to me afterwards; actually, a friend asked me this question, as I was describing our enactment w/ such glee):

"where was the clitoris? hasn't this been a course on sex? what kind of sexual experience can happen w/out....

the clit?"

Name:  Anne Dalke
Subject:  How do you think about sex?
Date:  2002-12-12 17:23:58
Message Id:  4063
I pass this on:

maybe some students in our class would like
to submit something?!

SLUT issue #4 "the mind"

Slut is the Women's Center annual zine composed of original stories, poems, artwork, songs, and photos. Absolutely anyone can submit their work and everyone is encouraged to do so to get the full spectrum of ideas and opinions. This year's topic is "the mind".

E-mail submissions (sledoux or 2002 TS student) or campus mail to box 1403 by January 27, 2003 (THE EARLIER THE BETTER!!!)

We want to know...

How do you THINK about sex?

What is running through your MIND during that first kiss...that last
kiss..when someone calls you a SLUT...when someone whistles at you from a passing car...

What do you THINK about during class? Or rather who do you THINK about during class...

What is on your MIND?

Inquiring MINDS want to know what you THINK!!!
(submit to SLUT!)

Name:  Anne Dalke
Subject:  Final Celebration
Date:  2002-12-12 17:27:12
Message Id:  4064
The Final Celebration for "Thinking Sex" will @ my house on Monday evening, December 16th, 6-8 p.m. Everyone who has a car has agreed to be @ the BMC campus center @ 5:45, to offer rides to those who need them.

Directions to Anne Dalke's house
410 Oak Lane, Wayne

Take Lancaster Ave. west through Bryn Mawr,Rosemont,Villanova,St. David's to Wayne.
In center of town, turn right onto N. Wayne Avenue.
Go 3 blocks and turn right, at large fir tree, onto Walnut; then immediately left onto Oak.
I'm in the 2nd block, green house, in the middle, on the left: #410.

Or take Paoli Local (four stops past Bryn Mawr) to Wayne;
walk north on North Wayne Avenue one block;
turn right on Walnut, and immediately left onto Oak:
2nd block, green house on left: #410.

Name:  Sarah
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  Way back at the Sex in Art presentation
Date:  2002-12-12 18:02:58
Message Id:  4065
At the subject's request, I am posting the last line of the description of the sexual art I found in the room the day we had Sex in Art in Pem West living room. The art I described was another person in the class eating an orange and trying to write about it as HER example of art.
Describing the way she ate a piece of the orange that stayed on her lip for a moment, "Then the tongue moved out and the lip moved up, and it was lost to the deliberate movements of the body that fed off it."
Name:  Jill
Subject:  Reading Safe Haven
Date:  2002-12-13 00:40:46
Message Id:  4067
My initial response to Safe Haven was really cheesy, but it might be worth sharing if it can inspire a laugh or two.

I see the elements: earth, fire, water, and wind. All depend on the others and all sustain the others. At the centre, however, is the biggest element: love. These five elements keep the universe flowing ever onward. This universe is self-centered and small; it could be one of the members of the milky way or it could be a single blood cell. In a way, they're the same...

Name:  Jill
Subject:  A Range of Languages
Date:  2002-12-13 00:52:46
Message Id:  4068
Humor is a language for sex that is grossly underestimated. It is very easy to overlook. I, however, think it is vital. When someone is intelligent enough to make me laugh, they become sexy. Part of attraction for me has always been the other person's sense of humor. But, more importantly than all of this, humor stands in a code that I have tried to live by: if you're not comfortable enough with someone to laugh in bed with them, you shouldn't be sharing that bed.

Humor, like all languages, has its limitations, but I have found that it adds immensely to a sexual experience.

This is not the only language necessary to explore sex by any means. I believe that there are countless languages to aid in this process, and I do not pretend to know what they all are. Perhaps this is one aim for this course--teaching us all different languages that would have not occurred to us before.

Name:  Jill
Subject:  Sex Across the Lifespan
Date:  2002-12-13 01:04:08
Message Id:  4069
The articles on oral sex in middle schools reminded me of an experience I had around that age. I was first introduced to the idea of oral sex at that time. In middle school, I knew everything about everything. I was an all-around expert, just like all of the other kids in my school. We were practically adults. The only thing our parents were good for was driving us around. At one point, rumors started passing around about several of the kids in school. One girl had a chip out of one of her front teeth, and guys would swear up and down that it was because she had "sucked too much dick". Another rumor was of a couple that spent their bus rides to and from away games in the back seat going down on each other. The last rumor that I remember is from seventh grade. I remember vividly that one of the head cheerleaders was going to have sex with her football jock boyfriend under the bleachers in the gym, except that she had her period, so they waited. I started to feel very young and innocent after that rumor found its way to me. I realized that I was far from being grown up. So were all of the other kids in my school.

I am not sure if these ramblings mean much of anything to anyone, but I can certainly say that this is not a new trend in kids.

Name:  Jill
Subject:  Course Commentary and Requirements
Date:  2002-12-13 01:13:30
Message Id:  4070
It is very necessary to have a language of sex in the classroom. For many kids, including myself, that language was never offered at home. This is not a commentary on parents, but mine, for example, were too conservative and/or shy to offer that language to my siblings and me. I found the language of sex from my friends and the sex ed courses in school. They were not ideal or all-inclusive, but they were my education for a long time.

For a younger set of kids, there's always going to be the people who make light of the language and the situation, but I firmly believe that it is necessary to give them the option of learning the language. More likely than not, they will learn something even if it's unintentional.

Name:  Jill
Subject:  Pornography and Fear
Date:  2002-12-13 01:21:18
Message Id:  4071
Our class found it troubling to define pornography. Before this discussion, it would have been very easy for me to do so. I was able to see a distinction between porn and anything else as black and white. Now, the seed of doubt has been placed in my mind. I think this scares me more than anything else. If I cannot say for sure what is erotic vs. what is pornographic vs. what is art vs. what is merely an ordinary object, then where do the boundaries of appropriateness lie?

This troubles me not as a control issue but as a fear of not understanding the world at all. I was taught to believe in a solid line between good and bad, right and wrong, etc. This discussion has smudged the line.

Name:  Jill
Subject:  Social Science and Science Talk About Sex
Date:  2002-12-13 01:29:50
Message Id:  4072
Professor Grobstein's talk about sex threw me for a loop. His very specific definitions felt limiting, which starkly contrasted the general views of our class discussions. "Sex is a specific act between specific organisms." I have never really been interested in biology, so I cannot understand these concepts as he does, but they do not make sense to me. We have had class discussions about how generally a sex act can be defined. The biology talk (attempted to) disprove all of that discussion, albeit unintentionally.

On a happier note, I was quite pleased with Professor Grobstein's views on homosexual sex acts. It was thrilling to know that there are at least some biologists who think this way. Quite possibly not at Bob Jones University, but that is a different matter entirely. (They haven't quite reached evolutionism yet...)

Name:  Jill
Subject:  The Languages of Law, Poetry, History, and Religion
Date:  2002-12-13 01:43:39
Message Id:  4073
This has been one of my favorite poems since I first heard it. I hope you enjoy it as well.

A Majestic Love Song

You are beautiful, like prophecies,
and sad, like those that come true,
calm, like the calmness afterward.
Black, like the white lonliness of jasmine.
With sharpened fangs: she-wolf and queen.

Your very short dress is in fashion,
your weeping and laughter come from ancient times,
perhaps from some book of other kings.
I've never seen foam at the mouth of a war horse,
but when you lathered your body with soap
I saw.

You are beautiful like prophecies
that never come true.
And this is the royal scar;
I pass over it with my tongue
and with pointed fingers over that sweet roughness.

With hard shoes you knock
prison bars to and fro around me.

Your wild rings
are the sacred leprosy of your fingers.

Out of the earth emerge
all I wished never to see again:
Pillar and window sill, cornice and jug, broken pieces
of wine.

--Yehuda Amichai

Name:  Jill
Subject:  Sex in the Law and Media
Date:  2002-12-13 01:58:25
Message Id:  4074
I think that our class discussion about sex in the media was well shaped, and I also think that the group did the best they could to present what they found.

That said, I would like to focus more on Elisa's questions about sex in the law. I do not think that public sex laws have much effect on private sex lives. This is, of course, assuming that the private sex lives are being performed in a private space. People will do bizzarre things in their bedrooms just as they have been for many years, regardless of laws. As long as no one is harmed, I have no objections to these practices.

The fact that a public institution, namely the government, is making decisions about my private sex life is at once troubling and amusing. It is bothersome that the government would assume that it can control what I do in the privacy of my bed. (It would be terrifying if the government actually could control that.) However, it is also amusing that it assumes this. Either G.W. is on another one of his power trips, or someone is grossly misinformed about how much power the government actually has over the privacy of citizens.

I do not think that it is possible to write laws about how people should have sex or whether they should. In order to cover all options, the laws would have to be extremely specific, and because of this, they would be largely verbose and useless. I do not think all sex laws should be eliminated, for sex offenders do not deserve encouragement. All in all, this is a troubling question, and I do not think I can answer it fully.

Name:  Jill
Subject:  More Sex in Art
Date:  2002-12-13 02:03:43
Message Id:  4075
I was very pleased with the way that our class turned out. We did not get to cover all of the art mediums, but our brief class period could not possibly allow for that. I am also pleased that other people seemed to enjoy the class.

The art projects that were created are absolutely amazing, and the ones that survived made a trip to Athena. Hopefully, the goddess of wisdom will shine down on all of us a little more for the donations...

Name:  Jill
Subject:  Final Comments
Date:  2002-12-13 02:09:35
Message Id:  4076
My Praxis experience taught me quite a bit. I went into the site expecting one thing, and I was given something entirely different. I was a little disillusioned by this, but I have learned new things nonetheless.

My curriculum will be a difficult project. I am not sure how I will be able to create a project that I feel could benefit my site and also be graciously accepted by my site. I do not think that they would use it either way, but I would feel much better if the site would be open to any changes.

I plan on writing a curriculum to help remedy the stagnant population at my site. I feel that if the community is opened more, the site will greatly benefit.

Name:  LH
Subject:  columbia men???
Date:  2002-12-13 02:30:31
Message Id:  4077
Ok. I overheard anne saying that we need 14 postings. I think i have 12 as of now. Nice catch-up Jill..

As i went through the postings i came across the posting from the 2 columbia students and my reaction was really frustrating. I put so much effort into trying to think outside of the box. When i heard the 2 columbia students posted, i assumed they were men. Turns out i was wrong. Im not sure why i felt the urge to post this, but it seemed relevant to our class and venting makes me feel better.. perhaps there will be more thoughts on this later...

Username:  lhildebr
Subject:  sex ed.. ... ...
Date:  2002-12-13 02:38:50
Message Id:  4078
I am having some trouble with my thoughts about our praxis sites and our sex Ed curriculums. It seems that everyone has a valid complaint about her site (except tamina who seems pretty satisfied) and many people think their site needs a full overhaul. The attic kids seemed incredibly frustrated with the site. I am not so sure where this gets us. If we are supposed to write a realistic sex Ed curriculum, how realistic can it be if we cannot work within the organizations we are learning from? We cannot reform the attic. We cannot take over MomMobile. I'm not criticizing anyone's ideas. I think everyone so far has been incredibly creative and has put plenty of thought into their curriculums, I am just worried that maybe a sex ed curriculum in some places is not so easy. My thoughts for the attic were that since it is essentially a dating service that could be a great means to get a curriculum across. Use what the site is. Also I loved Elisa's idea that there could be a curriculum for the faculty/staff. In fact I totally think you could design an entire curriculum around the staff and help them learn to help the members, and then maybe design a curriculum for the staff to use on the members
Name:  LH
Username:  lhildebr
Subject:  sex ed.. ... ...
Date:  2002-12-13 02:38:58
Message Id:  4079
I am having some trouble with my thoughts about our praxis sites and our sex Ed curriculums. It seems that everyone has a valid complaint about her site (except tamina who seems pretty satisfied) and many people think their site needs a full overhaul. The attic kids seemed incredibly frustrated with the site. I am not so sure where this gets us. If we are supposed to write a realistic sex Ed curriculum, how realistic can it be if we cannot work within the organizations we are learning from? We cannot reform the attic. We cannot take over MomMobile. I'm not criticizing anyone's ideas. I think everyone so far has been incredibly creative and has put plenty of thought into their curriculums, I am just worried that maybe a sex ed curriculum in some places is not so easy. My thoughts for the attic were that since it is essentially a dating service that could be a great means to get a curriculum across. Use what the site is. Also I loved Elisa's idea that there could be a curriculum for the faculty/staff. In fact I totally think you could design an entire curriculum around the staff and help them learn to help the members, and then maybe design a curriculum for the staff to use on the members
Name:  LH
Username:  lhildebr
Subject:  clit
Date:  2002-12-13 02:53:57
Message Id:  4080
good point anne. where was the clit??? but hey, a woman can get pregnant without recieving the same sexual pleasure her lover recieved.
Name:  LH
Subject:  polygamy??? no. polyamorous
Date:  2002-12-13 03:17:06
Message Id:  4081
I think this is my last posting for the night.. sorry to do this to you Anne..

I had one more though for Elisa's curriculum. You may already have this, but everyone was on a time crunch... anyways, I think it is really important for part of your sex ed curriculum for these kids to be to make them as comfortable as possible with their sexuality. I've seen several people who were sexually abused or raped jump from one night stand to one night stand and from one bad relationship to another. (disclaimer- I am not saying one night stands are bad – am saying that these women I have known haven't really wanted to be in the positions they end up in after their trauma) I think it would be really great for you to do a sex ed curriculum that tried to make these kids comfortable with their sexuality really being theirs.

You could do some really crazy/fun hands on activities. it is really important to reclaim your sexuality after these kinds of trauma, and I think sometimes programs focus too much on teaching these people to PROTECT themselves when they should be learning that it is all right to open up to people (sexually and emotionally). Their instinct is to protect themselves. This can manifest itself in really dichotomized ways. One could really fear sex and intimacy or one could seek out attention by bed hopping. It is really the bed hopping that I am concerned about because I think it becomes so cyclical. If you are looking for affection and just getting one night stands you are going to feel pretty shitty about yourself and your sexuality. Or if you are actively seeking one night stands because you are scared of intimacy beyond that, you haven't emotionally dealt with your past experiences...

I really want all women to be comfortable with their own sexuality. If you are a mono-amorous* (see below) person or a one night only person that's fine as long as that's what you want and you are expressing yourself. The problem I see is that many of these women aren't really expressing themselves, they are expressing their experience.
* some of us down in batten house went to visit this commune in VA (twin oaks –its been around since 1967 – feminist – each person works 40 hours a week to sustain the commune and taking care of kids can be counted in that 40 hours- really cool place- great playground "the playground of death" as they call it– nice river – ok that's my plug) and we encountered a new word: polyamorous.

I always hated the words monogamy and polygamy because the "gamy" is woman and that implies that relationships are determined by men and how they define their relationships. And damnit women can have multiple lovers and there should be a term for that. In fact i think there is. I know there is. I can't remember it though. Shows how much that is used. The word was something like, poly + something meaning man. Still implies that gender is polarized. Screw that. Love works. For now at least. Ill find a problem with it later.

Sorry for being so wordy. It happens to all of us...

Name:  Anne Dalke
Subject:  Two more questions
Date:  2002-12-13 11:29:11
Message Id:  4084
Two responses (actually, two questions in response) to two of LH's postings:

1. "I put so much effort into trying to think outside of the box. When i heard the 2 columbia students posted, i assumed they were men. Turns out i was wrong."

I don't understand what you are saying here (that thinking outside the box would have meant you intuited that our visitors were female....?)

2. "hey, a woman can get pregnant without recieving the same sexual pleasure her lover recieved."

sure: but since when have we been defining sex as getting pregnant? when chelsea and deborah instructed us to "enact the biological process," why did they tell those of us who were representing female body parts to RESIST the onslaught of the sperm, to keep 'em OUT? and/or why was the goal to get pregnant, rather than be sexually pleasured?


Name:  Maggie
Username:  mscottwe
Subject:  clit and right/wrong issue
Date:  2002-12-13 21:26:48
Message Id:  4091
In defense of Deborah and Chelsea, and to half answer Anne, the point of their lesson was biological (could the students adequately "build" the female reproductive system and reenact pregnancy). As part of a lesson that would be included in their curriculum, the goal would be for the students to possess that knowledge, not to learn about being sexually pleasured. But I do agree that there should have been a clit... and shame on our class for not noticing. And I think the resistance to the sperm wasn't supposed to represent the woman's resistance (either to the man or to getting pregnant) but was more of a reflection on how the sperm have a long journey and have to fight each other, etc.

Also, the point that Elisa brought up about some of the children not thinking the relationship was their 'abuser' was wrong... wow. And Ngoc's comments were also insightful. I think it is very hard for us to think of sexual acts between (as in Elisa's example) fathers and young daughters as okay. The problem of accepting things that we don't understand often confronts us when we are talking about different societies. Would it be different if there were a society that completely accepted those types of relationships? Then would we (Americans? Western culture? Our class?) say that those instances were understandable, maybe even allowable, but that ones in our culture weren't? Or would we say that all such instances should be condemned? Would we feel comfortable condemning people for doing things that their society/culture told them were perfectly acceptable?

Name:  Nancy
Subject:  teach pleasure? why not!
Date:  2002-12-14 21:13:45
Message Id:  4095
I think the absence of the clit signifies something about usual sex ed curriculums-- it's okay for sex to be centered around reproduction, and it's okay to 'act out' a woman being impregnated BUT is is not okay to teach girls how to find sexual pleasure. As I watched those dated SEx Ed movies with the health class form my praxis site, I noticed that while the boys (on the video) got the talk about masturbation, the girls had the talk about getting and 'treating' their periods. The topic of female masturbation was never even touched upon (no pun intended). What a statement it makes that our 'creation' featured no clitoris, and what a difference it would have made if the purpose of the activity was to show how a woman might orgasm, rather than how she might get pregnant.
Name:  Nancy
Subject:  teach pleasure? why not!
Date:  2002-12-14 21:25:31
Message Id:  4096
I think the absence of the clit signifies something about usual sex ed curriculums-- it's okay for sex to be centered around reproduction, and it's okay to 'act out' a woman being impregnated BUT is is not okay to teach girls how to find sexual pleasure. As I watched those dated SEx Ed movies with the health class form my praxis site, I noticed that while the boys (on the video) got the talk about masturbation, the girls had the talk about getting and 'treating' their periods. The topic of female masturbation was never even touched upon (no pun intended). What a statement it makes that our 'creation' featured no clitoris, and what a difference it would have made if the purpose of the activity was to show how a woman might orgasm, rather than how she might get pregnant.
Name:  Nancy
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  Paper Frustration abounds
Date:  2002-12-14 21:34:32
Message Id:  4097
Sorry about the multiple postings above!
I think Lauren is right, everyone does seem to have at least one complaint (or rather, new idea for betterment) of their Praxis site and it brings up an issue I've been thinknig about for awhile. I know that this assignment probably will not change the way Sex Ed is taught at my Praxis site, not because they are not respectful of my ideas, but for a multitude of reasons like time, money etc. I am just worried that my paper may be taken as an assessment of what is wrong with the site and taken as criticism.
Name:  Elisa
Subject:  last responses
Date:  2002-12-15 19:03:16
Message Id:  4102
Well ladies, this is my last posting... just a few comments to wrap things up for myself...

First, a BIG thank you to everyone that had some advice for my final project.

Also, a big thank you to Anne for teaching this class, and providing a space for all of us to talk about a topic that usually doesnt get too much direct attention in the classroom.

Finally, I just wanted to say that my feelings walking away from this experience in our classroom are quite similiar to those expressed by Sarah H. above. I too have come to realize the ways in which theory and successful/ meaningful application can be quite far apart. That is not to say, however, that I dont find the value in theory... as a way to create a blueprint or framework that can allow people to think in different ways about--- well, in our case--- sex ed. Many people in our class expressed that many of the students at our praxis sites were all at different levels, and I am guessing that one of the main goals of our praxis experiences is to attempt to develop a theoretical blueprint that could be successful for as many of these people (and ourseleves) as possible.

One more thing!!! For all of those students who were interested in Sex and Music... watch _The Red Violin_. The film traces the "life" and "journeys" of a red violin as it is passed on from person to person. One of these people, a male violinist, composes (and literally plays the violin) as he has sex. It sounds odd, but the director (I think) is quite successful in creating an example of sexual expression in music (as if the music is a language). Check it out if you can!

Alrighty! Thats it for now! Bye! :)

Name:  LH
Subject:  thanks for the questions anne
Date:  2002-12-16 01:53:52
Message Id:  4103
Ok sorry for the lack of explanation.. i'll try again.... But, please don't challenge me any further, i'm getting distracted from my senior seminar papers because this is way more interesting....
Me-- "I put so much effort into trying to think outside of the box. When i heard the 2 columbia students posted, i assumed they were men. Turns out i was wrong."
Anne --- I don't understand what you are saying here (that thinking outside the box would have meant you intuited that our visitors were female....?)
Me-- responding --What i meant was that i really try to not think about things the way our society would expect us to think about things. A friend of mine recently had my do a psych study which had sentences about gender and jobs and my job was to write if it made sense or not. Some of the sentences were (at least similar to)
· After cheering at the football game, the cheerleader went home and changed his clothes.
· When the secretary was done with work he went home.
· After a long day the executive came home saw her children.
They were generally a little more complicated than that, but you get the idea of what i am talking about. When i did the survey most of the sentences made sense to me. The purpose of the study was to judge my reaction time. Did i hesitate more when a sentence challenged gender roles. I do not know the exact results but i remember that i was automatically pushing yes (for it made sense) for 90% of the sentences. But then when i was posed with something outside of this study, my reaction was that of course they were men.
My problem is that my perception of upper tier universities is that men go there. Or at least that's what my reaction told me.
--Me-- "hey, a woman can get pregnant without recieving the same sexual pleasure her lover recieved."
--Anne- sure: but since when have we been defining sex as getting pregnant? when chelsea and deborah instructed us to "enact the biological process," why did they tell those of us who were representing female body parts to RESIST the onslaught of the sperm, to keep 'em OUT? and/or why was the goal to get pregnant, rather than be sexually pleasured?
--Me responding -- That's exactly what i meant. I was saying that the clit is not necessary to get pregnant, so we didn't need it in the demo. But it is a shame that biological processes focus on male pleasure (via ejaculation) not female pleasure.
Name:  Sarah
Subject:  Sex and Alcohol
Date:  2002-12-16 03:20:41
Message Id:  4104
I was talking to a friend the other day about a mutual friend who has never had sex sober and immediately thought of Maggie and HY's mentioning of women at Woman's Space who had the same sex-alcohol assocation. I can imagine very easily how such an assocation might begin but am having trouble creating a curriculum (just within my head) that would tackle disassociating the two. It seems to me that someone in the midst of an attempt to get over alcohol abuse would long perhaps even more intensely than usual for a relationship to distract or sustain her, or even more simply, to offer some small pleasure during what I imagine is a pretty hellish time. How then do you assure these women that sexual activity with a partner need not be accompanied by a mind altering substance? Simply push them to jump into bed with the next guy they meet? Obviously not. Also, how do we deal with the fact that often their sexual pasts include some kind of abuse from their partner. Now we are dealing with self-inflicted abuse (the alcohol) and physical abuse (the partner). In these situations, do women consider this self-inflicted abuse as protection against abuse from an outsider? Like fighting fire with fire? Or is their idea of alcohol so distorted that they see it as some kind of savior from that pain. If so, how do we untangle the mess that's been created? Separate alcohol and sex, abuse and abuse, pleasure and pain?
Also, it was suggested that these women were considering turning to women as sexual partners as a result of abuse from their former male partners. Now I'm caught trying to untangle this one. I know that it may seem like a rational response--hey a guy hurt me, maybe a woman would treat me more gently. But I have to say that that's a very offensive idea to me, the idea that women are sexual objects to be resorted to when men let you down. I think that in trying to address this issue, to explain that loving women is not so much a choice as it is a way of life might help explain a lot of the entangled issues by adding this element of individuality. Sexually abused women do not all turn to men as a result of their physical/emotional pain. The circumstance might trigger something within a woman to make her realize what was potentially always there--her love/attraction for and to women. Using individual examples seems safer to me and also more effective. Perhaps if we could dig into some of the very personal and individual lives of these women, we could find a place to start untangling these complicated issues. To make blanketed statements concerning sexuality or use a kind of universal alcohol abuse program that touches on sexuality in general seem to me a very ineffective way to address the problems at hand. Does Woman Space have individual programs? Can we afford to offer individual programs to every alcohol abusing woman (or man for that matter)? If not, does anyone have ideas concerning a universal program dealing with the disassocation of sex and alcohol?
Name:  Nell Anderson
Subject:  final projects
Date:  2002-12-16 08:55:55
Message Id:  4105
I want to respond to Nancy's concern that she will be perceived as critical of her site because of the curriculum she has developed, which she does not think could actually be implemented there. I haven't seen her curriculum, but I think the way it would be percieved is partially dependent on whether it was developed with input from the teacher who she was working with. Did Nancy talk to the teacher about her observations of the way boys and girls were taught about sex in such different ways? Did she talk over her ideas for additions to the curriculum with the teacher? Was the teacher able/willing to help Nancy focus on additions which could be realistically implemented?

I realize that many of you haven't had a lot of contact with your supervisors, so that this type of collaboration has not been possible in developing your final projects. In spite of this, I have heard about many very creative ideas for curriculum. I have heard ideas which were expressed respectfully and which took into account the particular realities of the field sites.

I know from reading some of the postings, that some students really think their sites need total overhauls. Fortunately I haven't heard about anyone actually attempting to overhaul whole programs through their projects. The final project for this course was not to critique your organization, but rather to figure out a way to create something useful to the organization. Anne and I knew that the sites would not all be able or willing to implement your pieces of curriculum, but we hoped that some would. When I spoke with the supervisors to set up your placements, this is how I described the final project.

I realize that what is planned at the beginning of the semester, and what actually happens, are often very different. I know that some of you really had a hard time connecting to and getting settled in your fieldwork. Thank you for your persistence. Thanks also to those who showed great openness and flexibility in going to sites which were not their first (or second or third)choice.

Name:  Jess
Subject:  Thoughts on Praxis Presentations
Date:  2002-12-16 13:17:21
Message Id:  4108
I just want to start this posting with saying how happy I am that we've had this opportunity at the end of class for everyone to present about their praxis sites. It has been very interesting/informative to hear what everyone else has been doing at their sites.

Being someone who had an observational role in 5th grade classrooms, I really appreciated hearing about all praxis sites we've heard from so far. The diversity in the praxis sites and project possibilities was something I found very valuable to be exposed to. I think it's easy to feel secluded in our Praxis sites, so hearing what everyone else is doing can really expand our horizons.

Some thoughts on everyone's presentations:

HY & Maggie: Their presentation really kind surprised me. The women that they are at their Praxis site have lives that are so different from anything I really have any experience with. I didn't really realize that there would be Praxis sites like theirs.

Fritz & Nia: I can understand the difficult of having an abstinence-based program for a group of people/space that it doesn't seem appropriate. My program is in a public school and by state law Sex Ed and STI Ed must focus on abstinence and cover other contraception. If you'd like to see any of the info I have from my praxis site (the same age groups) let me know.

Ngoc & Monica: The concept of a sex Ed curriculum in relation to religion seems like something very difficult to tackle. There not general two topics that can be brought together without a lot of controversy.

Lindsay U: I definitely agree that the sexuality at your Praxis site is often avoided in the public. I think your idea for your project is great though. Have you thought of including pictures of the people at your site? Or just real people instead of models/advertisements?

2002 TS Student: The project you're working on sounds really cool. Is the site, or would it be part of your project to try and get more females to come to the site?

Emily, Iris, Lauren, and Jill: I feel really bad about the difficulties you've been having at your site. You all mentioned that the space is not very inviting when you enter the site. Have you considered redesigning that space? Making it more inviting? Perhaps having and information/sign in table right near the door which club kind of act as a welcoming station for new people?

Tamina: You were talking about having anonymous e-mail questions. I think using the Internet adds a lot of complications. At my site there is an anonymous question envelope that's left in the students' rooms and they can add questions whenever they want. It's just an idea to consider.

Bea, Sheri, and Nancy: It was really interesting hearing about your sites. I can imagine how difficult to be in a situation where the people have problems processing information and then because of financial issues sex Ed is not a priority.

Elisa: I think it's really interesting that you want the participants to identify themselves as victims. But that brings up a few questions for me... How old are the participants going to be? Can 9 year old identify themselves as a victim? Will the "class" happen w/ in a certain amount of time of the crime?

Chelsea and Deborah: Your exercise in class was a lot of fun and very interesting. But you said it wasn't something you felt would be appropriate given peoples comfort levels. What are you planning to do for your project?

Jenny: It was so interesting hearing about the site that I was originally intended to work at. Thanx!

Everybody else: I can't wait to hear about your projects tonight!

I just wanted to comment on some things that I've noticed throughout the presentations.

Most of us went into our Praxis sites feeling that we are not a part of the site, and I think unfortunately I got the impression from a lot of presentations (esp. Emily, Iris, Lauren and Jill) that we're still not part of the sites.

I don't know how successful a sex Ed curriculum can be if we don't feel invested in the site--- there has to be some genuine desire to improve the situation. Although at the same time, my role was very observational at my Praxis site and I feel that it was very beneficial to me. If I had to be teaching the classes, I don't think I could have really had the opportunity to see/figure out as well what could be improved/changed. I think that I would have been so busy just trying to get through the class and meet the needs of the 30 students in the 40min to be able to actually issues w/ the program.

So I think for someone to be successful in planning a curriculum/program they need to both be invested and separated from the project. To be able to see the program somewhat objectively, but also to still care about the value of the program.

I can't wait to hear about the rest of the sites!
see you tonight!

Name:  Jess
Subject:  Humor Sex Ed Website
Date:  2002-12-16 13:28:51
Message Id:  4109
Some one sent me this link to a Sex Ed website. The site gives instructions on how to use a vagina and how to use a penis. I thought it was pretty funny. And I thought it might be a nice study break from us writing our own sex ed cirriculums.

How to Use a Vagina and Penis


Name:  Jess
Subject:  clarification about site language
Date:  2002-12-16 13:41:55
Message Id:  4110
While I was posting I just wanted make a clarification about my project and the language used at my site. Last Thursday, I told the class that I was going to cut down on some of the biology explanation of how the body/reproduction works to add another section.

A comment Chelsea made at the beginning of her presentation, made me feel like I left the impression that I didn't think the medical/biological explanations of the body weren't important at all. This isn't true. I just feel that my site puts more emphasis on the biological explanation and the terminology than is necessary. This is for several reasons. The first being that the information usually just sails over the kids' heads and they don't understand it. The second being that I think the depth that the site emphasizes would be more appropriate for a science class than a class that's ultimate goal is to get kids to be able to make informed, safe decisions about sex.

I'm not getting rid of all of the biology. I'm just cutting it down to concepts and understanding of what happens in the body. (Getting rid of some of the depth and technical terms.)

Just wanted to clear up any confusion

Name:  Nia Turner
Subject:  The Language of Poetry and Religion
Date:  2002-12-16 21:14:56
Message Id:  4114
I thought the class may find this poem interesting."Food for thought"
After you finish reading this ask yourself one question? What is a real woman? Please post your thoughts.
A Real Woman...
Appreciates God's design of men an woman
Likes being a girl
Behaves like a lady
Cherishes her femininity
Knows that she is special.
A Real Woman...
Believes in God
Has high moral standards
Is prayerful and strong
Wants to do God's will.
A Real Woman...
Recognizes goodness
Delights in truth and beauty
Respects herself and other people
Stands up for what is right
Gives compliments and praise
Is concerned about others
Knows how to listen and be a friend.
A Real Woman...
Unselfish, thoughtful and kind
Honest, faithful and trustworthy
Patient, sincere and forgiving
Modest, pure and chaste
Compassionate, caring and giving
Understanding, humble and secure.
A Real Woman...
Understands chastity
Values her sexuality
Appreciates her fertility
Controls her passions and desires
Knows her body is a temple of
the Holy Spirit
Never uses other people.
A Real Woman...
Loves babies
Nurtures her family
Is the heart of her home
Finds Strength in her husband
Understands sacrificial love
Is happy and content.
A Real Woman...
Knows, loves and serves God, and
strives to accomplish his plan for her life.
© Diocese of Memphis NFP Center
Mother/Daughter & Father/Son Programs
5825 Shelby Oaks Dr., Memphis, TN 38134-7389
(901) 373-1285
Name:  Nia
Subject:  Sexuality and Spirituality
Date:  2002-12-16 22:07:13
Message Id:  4116
Sexuality and Spirituality

This excerpt is taken from the book Secrets of an Irresistible Woman by author Michelle McKinney Hammond

"Yeah, girl it's time to talk about our favorite subject-sex. Now what is sex exactly? Sex is worship. Did you know that? It's important to know what we are dealing with here because this is an area that in a lot of respects is still taboo. Because they don't talk about it, people experiment and use sex for all the wrong reasons. Let's get down to basics and build from there. Everything in the earthly realm has a parallel in the spirit realm. Marriage is the earthly parallel of our union with the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ Himself, in eternity. It is also the reflection of the kingdom living. Sex is the earthly parallel of the oneness we will experience when we finally join with him. The orgasm is the earthly parallel of ecstasy we will feel throughout eternity from that union!"

I believe this is interesting because even as a Christian I never thought about sex in this way before. I do believe that in American culture the sanctity of sex has been lost. Why? I believe we are bombarded with sex, and you can't escape it unless you live in a bubble. Even something as simple as an Herbal Essence commercial suggests sex. There is more to life than sex, and there are ways to experience intimacy without engaging in intercourse. I think that some people mistake sex for intimacy. It is not the same thing!

Name:  Jess
Subject:  question for today's group...
Date:  2002-12-17 00:44:49
Message Id:  4117
I didn't get to ask/suggest this at Anne's tonight, but I did want to bring it up to Kathryn, Michelle, Sarah M, and Lauren H.

During the presentation you passed around pamphlet/info that was black and white. I was just wondering if you were going to change(or were thinking about changing) the organization/design of these pamphlets to be more asethically appealing?

I know it seems silly, but people are more likely to read something if it's more aesthically appealing/accessible. If you weren't already thinking about it, perhaps it would be good to ad graphs, colors or change the layout, to make the imformation more appealing (to be read) for people you are trying to serve.

just an idea

Name:  Sarah
Subject:  Life examples of sex within sexual descriptions
Date:  2002-12-17 01:34:11
Message Id:  4118
To add to Sarah H's posting, I'm posting here what I wrote during the second art presentation when we were asked to describe an example of art. I wrote in prose then but made it into a poem when I got back to my room that day. The example I was describing was the actual piano but I felt it impossible to describe why I considered it sexual without giving an anecdote that involved sexual beings. I think that even when I consider an inanimate object as sexual, I am making subconscious connections with animate, sexual beings. Even if a poem using sexually descriptive language did not specifically refer to some kind of sexual act or the beings involved in that act, I'd consciously infer my own sexual memories or fantasies. I'm wondering if anyone thinks it is possible to exclude life examples of sex from plain imagery (say, a description of a blossoming flower, just to be cliched about it), whether within the actual medium and/or the imagination that responds to the medium and still convey the same intensity of sexuality.

It was midnight and raining.
Your hair was
Soft to the touch.
Sitting to my left,
I could make out
Only one angle of your
Made even redder by the cold.
They parted as you smiled,
Flipping through sheets of scores,
Through compilations of pieces.
I remember
One wet finger
Nervously on a black key.
"Harder," I spoke softly.
You turned to me then,
Lifted your free hand to my
Moist cheek
And laid it gently there.
"If you played this for me, I think I'd have to marry you."
My chest hurt and I remember now wanting
To push against you,
To simultaneously pull you in.
I turned back to the keys
And played upon them,
For then.

Name:  sheri
Username:  sfernand@bmc
Subject:  Red Light Group
Date:  2002-12-17 09:12:40
Message Id:  4119
You guys did a rewally great job. I'm really impressed with the amount of thought and preparation that went into your project. I do have a question.
I know that your time and resources are limited, but are nyou guys thinking about fighting for making prostitution legal? I know that's a different issue, but it seems like that has a big effect on what we've heard both from you and the speaker we had on sex workers in africa (anyone remember his name?).
Name:  sheri
Username:  sfernand@bmc
Subject:  special education
Date:  2002-12-17 09:19:33
Message Id:  4120
for those who had questions regarding why special needs students are mixed in classes with only blind students in some schools-
There are laws against this that say children must be in the least restrictive enviroment possible. Children that are misplaced can be moved if the parents are willing to fight. Most of the parents just do not know their rights.
Locally there is a catholic school for only the blind. I went to visit- it was really cool. I didn't notice a sex ed class, but I didn't get to look at a class list. Parents can get funding for schools like this from the state, but there is a long and streeeful legal battle that accompanies.
Name:  Anne Dalke
Subject:  His name is Bob Washington
Date:  2002-12-17 11:39:05
Message Id:  4121

His name,Sheri, is Bob Washington, of the Soc Dept here.

Name:  Anne Dalke
Subject:  Withdrawal
Date:  2002-12-17 11:44:07
Message Id:  4122

Thank You

...all for coming--to the course, into this out-there experiment, to my house for supper last night. I want to close things out w/ another of Sharon Burgmayer's paintings, since she does such a wonderful job of putting into images what I have trouble putting into words @ this time of year. It's called "Withdrawal," and expresses both my sense of the deeply-colored field we explored together, and my sadness that we are now withdrawing from it. (That the image also looks like a woman giving head is probably not @ all irrelevant--is actually wonderfully pun-full-- in the particular context of "Thinking Sex.")

    Yours in gratitude (and withdrawal),


Name:  Jess
Subject:  hmmm...
Date:  2002-12-17 16:53:12
Message Id:  4127
Now Anne,

I wonder how many of us would not have noticed about the resemblence to the women giving head, if you hadn't said anything. :-)

I think at this point we're all so hyper aware of the sexual that we would have noticed.

Thank-you for dinner, for the picture, and most of all for the great class!


Name:  Lindsay
Username:  2002 TS student
Subject:  Sexy SLUT
Date:  2002-12-17 21:14:28
Message Id:  4129
HEllo ladies,

as Anne/Elisa had posted earlier
SLUT (BMC's feminist Zine)
is seeking Submissions for the upcoming issue "The Mind"

give me anything and all you have to do with the mind, i would be much obliged. just email me it as a word attachment


Name:  Sarah
Subject:  Redlight Project
Date:  2002-12-17 22:11:37
Message Id:  4130
It occured to me while giving our presentation that our mindset regarding sex work might have seemed like a lot to swallow. I'm not sure how we all went into this project but I know that we all came out of it with a very clear sense that sex work is a profession and that regardless of the reasons for entrance into it, no sex worker should suffer because of the service she provides.

When we asked you to write down the first thoughts that came to your mind when we said "sex work" and also to give us reasons why someone would NOT enter the sex industry, we had no idea whether what was returned to us were expressed biases or actual opinions. Though those facts might have been relevant, a 45 min presentation at Anne's house seemed like an inappropriate time to get into people's REAL thoughts on sex work. I'd like to acknowledge that the majority of the US population is uncomfortable with the idea of legalizing sex work. Just like the words you threw out, they believe it is immoral, dirty and dangerous.

In doing some research concerning society's reaction to sex work, I found that in a survey studying attitudes on prostitution policies, 63% of men and 77% of women answered that they thought prostitution involving adults over 18 years old should be made illegal. Another question in the same survey asked participants to answer how much they agreed or disagreed with the following question: "There is nothing inherently wrong with prostitution, so long as the health risks can be minimized. If consenting adults agree to exchange money for sex, that is their business." 25% of men and 40% of women, the highest percentages in both categories, answered that they disagreed strongly. (Sex for Sale, 2000. pp163-165)

While I realize that some may truly consider sex work to be all those words: immoral, dirty and dangerous, I hope that our presentation at least opened up the idea that for some women, an element of choice exists and for others who may have been forced into the industry, they too deserve equal access to health care and to earn the money they work for.

In honest response to Sheri's question of whether we planned on fighting for legalization of sex work, we haven't really thought about it. I think the reason for that is simply because in going through all the information concerning the law as it is written by state and as a country at large, we've realized that legalization is really no where in the immediate future. The point of Redlight is to get the most useful information out there as quickly as possible. We are concerned with the safety and health of these women before anything else.

Thanks to all of you, too. I'm sure that listening to our presentation on the Monday of finals week when there was so much good food to be eaten and vaginas on the mantle to stare out, must not have been easy :)

Name:  Kathryn McMahon
Subject:  Polyamory
Date:  2002-12-18 00:15:52
Message Id:  4131
Polyamory (many lovers). For those who might not know, this does not mean having group sex (although I see nothing wrong with that either), but having several different partners at any given point in life for short-term or long-term relationships, and making all partners aware of this dimension to their love and/or sex lives. I had my first exposure to lesbians who practiced polyamory this past summer when I helped organize the DC Dyke March. I was very against it in the beginning because of the potential for INSANE amounts of drama, but as I saw the other organizers interact with their lovers, sometimes being affectionate with lovers in front of other lovers, it became obvious to me the overwhelming amount of positive sexual energy and emotional strength that they experienced. They supported their lovers¡¯ decisions, and while jealousy issues definitely came up, they recognized each other¡¯s sexual energy as valid and fluid. Sexual friendships seemed perfectly natural to some of them. They welcomed everyone¡¯s capacity, curiosity, and need for desire and exploration. I have never met anyone as self-aware and self-empowered as these women. And they practiced safe sex, too.
It kind of made me wonder WHY I had always had jealousy issues. Why did I care what my girlfriend did as long as she was safe and enjoying herself? Why did I feel that we had a right to impose restrictions on each other or on ourselves in each other¡¯s name? I think this relates to Sarah M.¡¯s posting about gay marriage and prostitution. Society legally and/or morally regulates sexual behavior and behavior in general (anyone ever read Durkheim and his ideas about social facts?). I¡¯ll be damned if I¡¯m not turning into an anarchist¡¦

P.S. Anne, there wasn¡¯t exactly a dick either. Sperm don¡¯t usually crawl across the room and right past the labia on their own.

Name:  Kathryn McMahon
Subject:  more about sexual control
Date:  2002-12-18 00:34:32
Message Id:  4132
I want to comment on the question in class about women turning to homosexuality after they¡¯ve been abused. I agree with Sarah M. Someone else controlled these women¡¯s sexuality and their bodies at one or more times in their lives, and they were never encouraged to explore their sexuality outside of this context or possibly think about it as existing outside of someone else¡¯s domain, but now they are. I also want us to keep in mind that sometimes drug and/or alcohol abuse is a way of coping with being gay and not feeling safe, normal, etc. Now that they are recovering, maybe they feel more confident about exploring their attractions to women.
More about sexual control: Sheri, yes, I would like to personally work towards decriminalizing sex work, although Redlight does not take an official stance on it.
Speaking of other kinds of sexual ¡°control¡±: Elisa, thank you and Kirsten for bringing in that candy from Sweet and Nasty. That made my day! I just now looked at their website and I am happy all over again to see that they have chocolate handcuffs. Mmmm. ;)

Hey Anne, that¡¯s a gorgeous picture, but I think it looks like a woman eating out the earth.

Name:  Kathryn McMahon
Subject:  Scaring kids into abstinence
Date:  2002-12-18 00:57:54
Message Id:  4133
Okay, I think I¡¯ve hit a nerve (for myself). I am not a big fan of abstinence education (more socially mandated sexual control), because the way I have always perceived it is that teachers use scare tactics to stop kids from having sex (I think Tamina mentioned this about her site). I realize that this may work for now, but why should we instill in these kids a sense of fear when it comes to sex and their bodies? They may take that fear into adulthood, or conversely, if they experiment with sex, and come in contact only with ¡°clean¡± people, they may believe that the caution they should apply to sexual activity has been blown out of proportion, so they then stop taking any precautions. I¡¯m also afraid scare tactics will deepen the stigma against people with STDs, and make it harder for them to seek treatment and support. The problem of stigma also applies to pregnant teens. And of course there is the stigma about promiscuity and ¡°sluts,¡± and the guilt that we are told we should have if we have sex outside of marriage, or at most, outside of a loving and committed relationship.
I would really like to see an abstinence program that does not exploit feelings of fear or guilt, and also teaches a way of building relationships outside of sexual domains. Nia, I think you were talking about emphasizing activities that kids, teens, or adult couples could do together that would focus on nonsexual pleasure. Is there also a way to build in ideas of egalitarian relationships so that when these kids grow up, even if they wait until they are married to have sex, they will want to engage in sex with their partner that is fulfilling for both of them? And I really doubt this would be a possibility at this moment, but like Nancy wrote, what about pleasure? Is there a way to teach kids about sexual pleasure that doesn't "count" as oral sex or heterosexual sexual intercourse or any other exchanges of body fluid?
Name:  Anne Dalke
Subject:  Polyamory
Date:  2002-12-18 10:59:17
Message Id:  4135

if you're interested in learning more about the concept of polyamory which Kathryn mentions above, check out

Name:  Anne Dalke
Subject:  Abstinence Education
Date:  2002-12-18 11:04:44
Message Id:  4136

You know...the course has stopped. The issues/questions haven't. Front page of this morning's Philadelphia Inquirer (12/18/02):

"Abstinence stirs passions. A N.J. law is sparking spirited debate over sex education."

Then inside:

"What our children learn--and when,"

including the observation that

"Researchers estimate that nationwide, 50 percent of all teenagers will have sex before they graduate from high school. About one million teenage girls will become pregnant annually, and about four million teenagers will become infected with a sexually transmitted disease such as syphilis, gonorrhea or chlamydia.

'Our goal is: How can we raise sexually healthy individuals? ...I don't think we can do that by not talking about it.''"

Name:  Bea
Subject:  God, Religion, and Praxis
Date:  2002-12-18 23:26:00
Message Id:  4139
Sorry - I'm a little slow with getting all of my postings up.

Anyway, going back a few days -

Maggie, you said you said you found it interesting how the individuals at our praxis sites differed regarding their views on religion and God... I'm not sure if there is that great of a difference. I realize now that I may have made it seem like they're more frightened of God than anything, but that's not exactly the case. There are quite a few that are very faithful, much like the individuals at your site. They also believe that God has taken care of them, and feel that they may have been a lot worse off were it not for the strength of their belief in a higher being. However, their faith may be strong, but their guilt inhibits them from actually pursuing relationships. Of course, this isn't the case with all the community members. Anyway, it's because of the feelings of guilt that I have observed that I realized it would be difficult to teach them about dating, relationships, and sex if they felt God wouldn't find such talk appropriate. So, I'm trying to figure out a good way of finding a link between sex and religion that would alleviate any guilt they may feel for participating in the curriculum. Not to mention, many of the people I work with are paranoid schizophrenics, and it seems that the worries they experience are much more magnified than our own. So, I'm trying to find a sensitive way of approaching these topics. Any suggestions?

Name:  Bea
Subject:  Abstinence Education
Date:  2002-12-18 23:53:49
Message Id:  4140
While I feel that scaring kids into abstinence isn't the right way to educate kids, I do feel that abstinence should still be presented to them as an option. When educating people about sex, they should be informed of STDs that may affect their lives at some point, and they need to know about methods of prevention. Abstinence is definitely one of those methods, and people should know that it's always an option. As Sheri has said, not all healthy relationships involve sex, and not everyone is ready for that step. I mean, I think that teaching these kids about the risks and consequences related to STDs is a scare tactic in itself, but it is also valuable information that these individuals need to be exposed to in order to protect themselves.
Name:  Anne Dalke
Subject:  More on Polyamory
Date:  2002-12-19 08:12:01
Message Id:  4145

    Unmasking the Green-Eyed Monster: Managing Jealousy in Open Relationships        

Models of Open Relationships            

Are You Open to an Alternative Lifestyle?

Name:  chelsea
Subject:  sparkly queen
Date:  2002-12-19 10:53:49
Message Id:  4148
I've been thinking about something that strikes me as being very funny. So, when you think of a women sexually in a physical/biological sense (strictly), I think the top two things on most people's lists would be her vagina and her breasts. Generally, I think that is the biological/physical embodiment of a woman's sexuality in our culture. So, in media all we get are boobs, and in art we get both and in this class we celebrate vaginas- which is fantastic, don't get me wrong. But I was wondering WHY...because breasts are social more acceptable to be displayed in public than to have a vagina as the centerfold of cosmo? Why?! I happen to love my breasts just as much as I love my vagina, and they want equal representation in all realms of art, media, music, everywhere!!! My breasts want to take over the world and my vagina is going to be there with them. It's a whole package, people...why are they separated? Maybe you could say they aren't really, but one is only obscurely implied and the others are pretty difficult to avoid. One is worshipped, the other is hidden and hushed up...So in this class we hauled our vaginas out into the light and said wahoo, yippee for all the cool stuff you can do- orgasms are fun!! but then we forgot our breasts...with the possible exception of halloween:). My breasts would like to be introduced to you all as viable, healthy sexual beings who enjoy sexuality just as much as the next vagina. Class, meet Betty and Wilma. A note- a woman can orgasm through stimulation of her nipples...try it sometime! In any case, just remember to give props to your breasts AS WELL AS your vaginas as being fantabulously sexual and wonderful, hail your sparkly queens!
Name:  chelsea
Subject:  last-minute thoughts and farewell
Date:  2002-12-19 12:05:12
Message Id:  4151
the first thing i saw when i looked at 'withdrawal' was a vagina. the green fields were the labia and the woman's head was the clit(nice symbolism there)...maybe because i need it to be the clit since i forgot it in class the other day. i do think, though that it captures well the feelings i have about the was a beautiful, bright, colorful world, and now that we withdrawal back to our homes, our lives besides this place, it does seem bland in comparison. thank you anne for being a constant source of energy and inspiration, thank you all so much for a wonderful, titillating semester, i will (for better or worse) think of you all now when i sit down and have a think about sex. have a wonderful break
Name:  Maggie
Username:  mscottwe
Subject:  jealousy and polyamory
Date:  2002-12-19 14:58:08
Message Id:  4152
I know that the class is over, but I just went to the links about polyamory, and I had to post on them. The information about jealousy hit pretty close to home because I tend to be jealous and it bothers me a lot that I am. The core beliefs that cause jealousy really seemed to cover all the bases, and I agree strongly with Kathy Labriola that those beliefs infiltrate our minds without us knowing and then are very difficult to get rid of. Even more interesting than the information on why people get jealous was the models about different types of open relationships. They were all interesting, and I think it's admirable that people CAN have those relationships without jealousy eating at all of them. What I did think was interesting was that in some of the more open situations, the "other" partners that were listed were married, but nothing was said about their spouse. I think open relationships are fine if everyone involved knows about it and is okay with it. But the spouse of the "other" person is definitely someone who should know about it, and to be honest, probably doesn't. Still, very interesting links! Thanks, Anne.
Name:  Monica Locsin
Subject:  Thank You
Date:  2002-12-19 22:23:57
Message Id:  4161
Thank you Anne for the delicious supper and wonderful get together. Thank you everyone for making this class one which I will never forget. But most of all, thank you Anne for making this one of the most incredible class experiences I have ever had!

Have a great vacation everyone! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Take care:)



Name:  EmTeel
Subject:  Freewrite- Written on the Body
Date:  2002-12-20 01:54:09
Message Id:  4167
This is the second time that I've read this novel. The first time I never even noticed the genderlessness of the speaker- reading it in CSEM as a freshman I assumed that the speaker would be male.
This time, I decided ahead of time to read "per" as female...and it turned out to be completely impossible. Per continually shifted from male to female to in-between. When talking about sex she was female and when threatening Elgin he was male. My conflict with it makes me feel so guilty about whatmay be my own mind's compulsory heterosexuality!Instead, I would like to think that maybe it is simply an indication of what I first imprinted to the story and the relationship (I am capable about being open-minded....I AM capable of being open-minded!). It's like seeing the movie and THEN reading the book, you read the characters as you have already seen them. So maybe the key is for me to run into genderless speakers more often...

I love this book. I find the dizzying moments of description and obsession as real as any description of love as I have seen.
But I ask how much of this relationship, of any relationship really, is made up of the cliches, the formulation that we learn from fairytales and films...Per was in love to the point of obsession, but what of relationships that are physically intimate without this kind of maddening "love"...? What are the options...?

Name:  Emily
Subject:  ORGASM!!!
Date:  2002-12-20 02:01:20
Message Id:  4168
I promised to check this one out [according to the OED]
Enjoy ladies ;-)


(gæz()m) [ad. mod.L. orgasmus, a. Gr. type *, f. - to swell as with moisture, be excited or eager. Cf. F. orgasme 'an extreame fit or expression of anger' (Cotgr. 1611).]

1. Immoderate or violent excitement of feeling; rage, fury; a paroxysm of excitement or rage.

2. Physiol. a. Excitement or violent action in an organ or part, accompanied with turgescence; spec. the height of venereal excitement in coition.

b. attrib.

Hence orgasmal a. = ORGASMIC a.

Name:  Emily Teel (yes, I want this t
Subject:  MY reactions...
Date:  2002-12-20 02:32:20
Message Id:  4169
This has to do with my last posting, but also with an important aspect of female sexuality that we never actually discussed in the classroom:

What about the people out there who DON'T experience ORGASM?

I know that you're/they're/we're out there, and I was well aware of my erotic potential before I came anywhere NEAR orgasm. I still consider myself a part of this category and I represent myself and SO many of my friends with the same "problem" when I say that I feel that it comes (no pun intended) not from physical inability to experience orgasm, but from the expectation to do so and the emotional reprecussions of feeling inadequate when things don't go as planned.
Part of the expectation might come from porn (though there seem to be so few female orgasms in porn, I don't think that it can really be blamed...), part may come from a lack of conversation about it and the shame that goes with that, however, my personal opinion is that even information that's available for consultation for the "pre-orgasmic" women can be terribly limiting in the advice that it offers.
It's one thing to tell a woman to masturbate, it's another to explain how, and no one can presume to know or understand the range of what different people will find pleasurable....
If orgasm can be associated with rage and the extreme release of that anger, what if it doesn't happen? SO many people just have to swallow all of that energy back into themselves...Imagine all of it concentrated and compounded by a culture that expects your body to work a certain way by virtue of your gender... sheesh...
I'll get off of my soapbox now...

Name:  [a morose] Emily
Subject:  More on Written On the Body
Date:  2002-12-20 02:47:00
Message Id:  4171
"I'll never let you go"

what with promises like this one and Winterson's constant mention of measuring love on a scale of loss, here's my question:

When one dies, do they betray the trust of loved ones?
and in the process of grieving, is the loved-one-left-behind enacting selfishness by feeling that loss so acutely?

I would like to think of my grieving-self as NOT inherently selfish, but I'm forced to remember the long dead whose bodies are no longer in existence on the earthly world. They have become a part of the world and with their bodies have faded the memories of their existence...their voices, movements. Their words, their caresses only exist in memory.
What is the value of memories that may be different for the living than for the dead? How do we put that expression into language? How do we begin to discuss it?
I'm overwhelmed...

Name:  Emily
Subject:  !!!
Date:  2002-12-20 03:05:17
Message Id:  4172

I'm frustrated.
No, not like that.

I'm one of the Feminist & Gender Studies Majors and every semester, usually once or twice, I have one of these meltdowns where I just get so overwhelmed and concerned for women and sexual/gender minorities on this planet! (This time it was Bob Washington's talk that got me...)

May I rant for a moment?

It's just that AIDS is such a huge issue in Africa [and everywhere], and rape is still a military tactic to humiliate and demoralize a population by infecting and tearing down the women....
And for anyone to realize the devestating potential of such a strategy they MUST acknowledge that women are IMPORTANT!
They/we play an integral role in every part of society, and nearly everywhere they/we bear and care for the children...and it's just cruel...
and I don't even know where to begin in this quest of mine to protect everyone.

There's just so much where sex is tied with power and control, and perhaps it's the biological nature of any sexual relationship to include some kind of power dynamic, but I'm afriad for women (and everybody else I just mentioned), that sex will never be an exciting, free exchange when in some parts of the world, and indeed, in the United States as well, it is a malicious tactic. It breaks my heart and leaves me with so many doubts.. What is the true nature of humanity? And how narrow is the line between loving and hating?

Name:  EmTeel
Subject:  funny
Date:  2002-12-20 03:45:36
Message Id:  4173
"what happens to a piece of a carrot if you cut it off and put it in water?"- Paul Grobstein


Name:  Emily
Subject:  the point of sex
Date:  2002-12-20 04:06:49
Message Id:  4175
Grobstein was an excallent guest Anne, thank-you for inviting him.

As far as thoughts go, I find myself rejuvinated. If "the point of sex is to try out something new, something that has never existed before" than one can concieve of individual sexual encounters and their products, whether they are orgasms and the release of energy, or brand spankin' new human beings, or just a whole lot of wetness, every version has some kind of impact, and thus, some kind of value.
So, whether you're into one-time-only, no attachment, exciting, spontaneous sex, or long-term monagamous serious reproductive sex, or sex with lots of people, or sex with different people. Sex with men, or women, ir both or neither or inbetween. If you're a virgin or a victim of rape, or a rapist, or a sex worker, or a housewife, or a professor, or a doctor or a circus performer or a have this right to own and identify with sex as you concieve of it.
Even if it's not always good, even if it's scary or bad or painful, by virtue of the fact that it has never happened quite in the same way with the same people before, and the necessary intimacy of it gives it a uniqueness that is uncharacteristic to any other kind of interaction.

It gives me hope that in realizing this in our class, perhaps there is the possibility of finding a more universally supportive definition for permissable sex [in a sex positive, advocating consensual sexual encounters] kind of way for our nation. It's not perfect yet...but at least we're discussing it. I like to envision the validation of childhood sexuality, same sex couples wanting to bear children, promiscuity, non-vanilla sex, and sex-work as legitimate, positive aspects of sexuality and not issues that seem to constantly be under regulation.

Name:  Emily
Subject:  oh please
Date:  2002-12-20 04:21:13
Message Id:  4176
I was looking through my notes from the day that Mary Conway visited and we spoke about sex in the legal arena. I wrote:
"lesbian sex is so transgressive that it cannot be depicted in rational language" to which I want to say, "Oh please..." Yes it can! One can easily describe lesbian sex, more easily than heterosexual sex even, without straining the limits of 'rational language'. The thing is that everyone is so afraid to be frank about sex in conversation, especially legal conversation, when realistically saying anything about sex is only difficult if you allow yourself to be overtaken by fear. (I offer the example of Judy Porter who can lay pretty much anything out in the open with relative ease)
I don't know what it is we're afraid of (perhaps being judged by a society that has a reputation for being hypocritical with regards to sex), but whatever it is it extends to the rest of the nation as well, or it would not be most apparent within the courtroom, and we wouldn't have to defend our credibility so stringently when discussing sex, or anything that we fear being judged for.
Name:  Emily
Subject:  questioning
Date:  2002-12-20 04:27:14
Message Id:  4177
a few evaluations....

what is our obsession with creating a universal understanding of sex, or anything, in language?

To translate, to interpret, to create as inadequate, as incomplete of an understanding as we can within out little, individual scopes of experience.

Perhaps we do it to begin to seperate the dark from the dark that we feel between each other. Sex helps us to lessen the space, thus, a discussion of sex helpus us to better understand one another as individual entities within the tremendous universe.

Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  realizations
Date:  2002-12-20 04:36:54
Message Id:  4178
Something that I have come to realize about sex within our presentations is that it seems to act, over and over in fact, as a breaking point, one that is both personal and cultural or societal. The language of sex conflicts so sharply with the clinical language of Western medicine, with the academic and the legal- but at the same time, finding a clear alternitive offers little but ambiguity of expression. It seems that for two people to actually discuss sex, on a personal level [our class is unique in that is seems to straddle (hmmm) the limits of what is personal or theoretical, individual or cultural] the two must undertsand one another, which may take nothing more than the relaxation that a few drinks provides...why is the move from culture to culture, or personal to legal so much more difficult?
Name:  Emily
Subject:  End of the road, or maybe we're just on our own now, but could we ever actually be...?
Date:  2002-12-20 04:48:09
Message Id:  4179
Well ladies, we're done.
It was inspiring for me to hear about all of your work at your fieldsites, so many good ideas :-) I did end up taking on Deb's suggestion of reorganizing the space that "The Attic" provides, including a visit to their new building, and am happy to report that the soon-to-be new home of The Attic is lovely! (or will be when renovation is complete) and is very close to what I had in mind. Perhaps a reunion class is in order for next Fall?

Anne, thank you for dinner, and to everyone for our wonderful discussions. They were simply mind-blowing.

in parting...
Hopefully all of us will be as honest with our lovers and ourselves as we can and maybe, eventually, our society and what we teach one another about sex will begin to reflect the reality of the discussions and exchanges that happen. Best of luck to everyone.

Name:  Bea Lucaciu
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  RE: chelsea's post
Date:  2002-12-20 23:09:19
Message Id:  4185
Yay for Chelsea! Your post definitely brought a smile to my face. And - I agree with most of what you've said. It seems that we don't often find that the whole packaged is appreciated... Usually attention is drawn to one or the other. But I feel that sexuality relates to so much more... What about a woman's mind? Is there really a way to possibly bring it all together? Well, I think we've (at least) come very close in our class. We brought the entire package together and appreciated it for how great it really is.
Name:  Bea Lucaciu
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  sex ed.
Date:  2002-12-20 23:17:43
Message Id:  4186
While putting the finishing touches on my curriculum, I realized how, when all written out, it wasn't obvious that it was written for a group of mentally ill adults. It almost appears as if it had been written as a refresher course on dating, relationships, friendships, etc. It caters to the areas that they wanted to focus on, but never undermines their ability to comprehend what is being taught. I felt that it was important to not treat them as being terribly disabled. Instead, they are taught things that I would probably teach a "normal" group of people, but at a slower pace. I've realized that this curriculum (or something similar) would do them a lot of good, but that it is best to remember that these people are highly-functioning people with desires. They have been truly amazing to work with, and I only hope that this curriculum will do for them what I hoping it will.
Name:  Bea Lucaciu
Subject:  final remarks
Date:  2002-12-20 23:27:11
Message Id:  4187
I thank you all for making this class a truly remarkable experience. I may have been one of the quiet few, but everyone's words and ideas were not lost on me. The exchange of ideas helped me to develop new ideas and perhaps even broader preexisting thoughts. I was given the opportunity to work with an incredible group of people at my praxis site, and then had the pleasure of spending 3 hours a week in the midst of a class of amazing women.

Thank you Anne for making this one of the best classes I've taken thus far!

Name:  Iris Dickerson
Subject:  from sex to art to language
Date:  2002-12-21 04:13:50
Message Id:  4191
putting a photograph into language:

shadows. that which is unknown. light. illuminating, discovering the body. carressing and exposing it. the hard form and an unknown body gently touching. it revers and worships. trembling and supple underneith. the hand, strong...concrete, claims the body, if but for a moment, as it's kingdom. soon the body this hand is servant to will be equally exposed. equally hidden. equally treasured by the light.

Name:  Nia Turner
Subject:  Aids Epidemic in Africa
Date:  2002-12-21 07:01:18
Message Id:  4192
I just wanted to reflect back on the discuussion about AIDS in Africa. I thought Dr. Washington's experiences were very intriguing, and specifly I found it striking that his research simply didn't reflect the percentages of AIDS cases in Kenya, but that he put a face to each case study. At least from his lecture it seemed like he got to know each woman on an individual basis, but maintained his objectivity. I find it astonishing that women in Africa , but Kenya in particular don't have a choice in deciding if a condom is used during sex. I think this calls for us to rethink our role as women on a larger scale. Women need to educate one another about sex.The male psyche needs to be reconditioned, because we are talking about an individuals life. I don't think that in communities where AIDS is spreading in large proportions, that the message of sex is being taught effectively. People don't seem to realize the significant difference making the safer choice about sex can make for an individual, family, community, and state.
Name:  Nia
Subject:  Homosexuality in the Black community
Date:  2002-12-21 07:23:26
Message Id:  4194
I just wanted to make a suggestion to the individuals volunteering at *****.I remember hearing the idea that **** was not what it could or should be and that to you it seemed like a just another "closet". I believe it is helpful to understand the history of homosexuality in the Black communities in order to better serve this group. Homosexuality is a taboo within the Black community, and is not discussed or tolerated by family. I was reading an article in Ebony that talked about Black gay men living a double life. One thing you must realize is that it is hard enough being a Black man, but to complicate the situation even further its even more difficult to be Black and homosexual.As you ladies were introducing your site a thought came to mind. A suggestion is that maybe you could initiate conversations about homosexuality in the Black community. Explore the how and why it is not talked about amongst this particular community.
Name:  Nia
Subject:  Sex and Art
Date:  2002-12-21 07:34:52
Message Id:  4195
I would like to comment on what I believe I learned from the presentation of sex and art. As one of the individuals responsible for planning the activity, I wanted students to interact with the art on an intimate level. Also I wanted them to think about what makes art sexual or not sexual. Furthermore, I thought it would be interesting to experience art through the senses. Our presentation was unique because the students were asked to put their individual experience into language, and then transform the language back into art. I was glad that the students really seemed to enjoy the activity.
Name:  Jenny Wade
Username:  jawade
Subject:  Sex and Art
Date:  2002-12-21 10:53:42
Message Id:  4201
As one person has alreay commented, out art gallery that was meant to focus upon art and sex using all the senses seemed to be mainly visual and although people did indulge in using other senses, the visual stood out overwhelmingly. It is interesting because I agree that the visual was the most powerful in eliciting reactions from the class and when given a chance to explore the gallery, the class seemed to focus mainly upon visual stimuli (although in helping put it together I actually focused least on the visual personally). It is interesting that while with our class the visual seems to be overwhelmingly strong, at my praxis site, the students tend to be discomforted by visual stimuli. I'm trying to figure out what this says about sexual experience (or in recreating/retelling it). Can it truly use all of the senses equally (abandoning none as in real life) or is it much harder/impossible to convey certain senses in the context of sex?
Name:  Jenny Wade
Username:  jawade
Subject:  Sex and poetry and senses
Date:  2002-12-21 11:07:39
Message Id:  4202
The following poem is by Cat Townsend who has acually published a collection of poems entitled "Sex is Poetry". Her poems are inherently sexual, somtimes embracing the darker side of sex as in her poems on rape or sometimes offering very sensual accounts such as in the following poem which makes interesting use of smell. Perhaps as I said in my past posting it is because we are expecting the visual stimulus that makes this so stiking, but either way it is an amazingly powerful poem:

His scent infected my senses
Festered into an uncontrollable
eruption in his sheets Convulsing
and hyperventilating as the fever
flowed out my pores and left
me tingling into better health

Name:  lindsay
Username:  2002 TS student
Subject:  feliz navidad
Date:  2002-12-25 05:03:30
Message Id:  4204
Comments: i know its christmas eve....but all i can think about is...well you am so blaming Anne for this one....i COULD not at ANY family member the same way after this class...the sexual jokes passed from one member of the family to the other...took on new meaning...and the thought of any two of them grossed me out and amused me at the same time...

so in reading the postings...i wanted to make a few comments in resonse to some of the points made recently that somehow i missed.

Elisa. in regards to outsiders/insiders...i have a really good piece for you to read, but its at school so remind me. but..i did want to say that i know i particularly paid very close attention to the insider/outsider models. Specifically those i know via philosophy, when interacting at my site. The important thing to remember about the site however, and i think where most of the comments were coming from, was that if the purpose of the site was to make outsiders feel welcome, it was our overwhelming feeling that that was not happening with everyone. Especially with those of us who should be considered insiders to the group the site was targeting. I think that was the criticsm being made, more then anything.

Katy. Polyamourous. just for the record, so that people don't think its just a "gay" thing. polyamorous relationships occur among hetereosexuals as well.

Nia. i appreciate your comments regarding gays in the black community. I think its important to remember however that there are gay people in EVERY community, and in every community they are greeted with hatred and love, it depends on the people in the community. you said that "Homosexuality is a taboo within the Black community, and is not discussed or tolerated by family." I can't speak fromthe point of view of a lesbian of color, but given my experiences i do feel comfortable saying that it is a taboo in many communities and families. I think its important to realize that while it may be living a double life being black and homosexual, similar conflicting roles exhist for instance being catholic and gay or even a woman and gay (another instance of a double minority, as in the case of the gay black man). just food for thought mostly. i think understanding the role of gender/sexuality and norms indifferent cultures are fascinating as certainly differences do occur, but i do think we need to be careful about the generalizations that are made about groups and their beliefs regarding homosexuality.

um. ok. i think that was it. i sex-ond the reunion idea.hahahah.
ok merry christmas if you celebrate it and happy wednesday if you don't

Name:  Elisa
Username:  eespirit
Subject:  response
Date:  2003-01-03 15:12:13
Message Id:  4206
hey lindsey...

i just read your comment and i think you misinterpreted my earlier posting...

i was under the assumption that you all were volunteers there, correct? if so, as volunteers, wasnt it your duty to make others feel comfortable, not the other way around? volunteers do not go to the site under the same pretenses as the community the site is trying to serve. you all were going there with some resposbility in aiding/furthering the "openness" of the environment through your volunteer positions (bc through that position, it is assummed that you are dedicated to the missions statement of the site).

i think there was too much focusing on how you were all treated like outsiders and not enough concentrating on how it is the responsibility of the people that work and volunteer there to create that openness, not benefit from it.

all i was attempting to do in my earlier posting was draw attention to these dynamics and to simply ask, were there things we cannot see because we are coming into our environments with an academic eye?

Name:  Anne Dalke
Subject:  final frustrations
Date:  2003-01-06 11:11:47
Message Id:  4208
To all my sexy thinkers--

I've just finished a (long) weekend reveling in your portfolios. Thanks to you all for all your thinking and re-thinking, for your engagement and creativity, for your good humor and hard work. Grading was more of a challenge for me than it usually is: aside from the usual axes of 1)contributing to others' thinking in class and 2) opening on-line "windows" for the rest of the world and 3)preparing short papers, then a final project and portfolio that give written witness to what you're learning...there was, this time, the praxis axis...all to be reduced to a single number. Ridiculous.

I'm reading (betwixt the reveling) a Christmas gift from a friend,Tor Norretranders' "The User Illusion: Cutting Consciousness down to Size." A passage @ the end of chapter 11 seems an apt description not only of my frustrations in reducing the complexities of your learning to a number, but also our shared frustrations, all semester, about "squeezing" sexual experience into language:

"The bandwidth of language is far lower than the bandwidth of sensation. Most of what we know about the world we can never tell each other...Our sociolinguistic fellowship with one another is based on exchanges at a bandwidth of sixteen bits a second. Our direct-natural fellowship with the world is based on exchanges via a bandwidth with a capacity of many millions of bits per second. Therefore we can only talk about what matters when we do not talk but act. We can show things to one another, feel things together, learn from each other...take pleasure in one another's skills. But we cannot describe them in detail to one another...."

As a final thought, I pass on a l'il code Kathryn told me about in her portfolio. When someone in our class said to someone else, "See You Next Tuesday," she was saying

See (C) You (U) Next (N) Tuesday (T).

Maybe we HAVE found a language of our own...
that others can use as well?

Anyhow: thanks again to all, for coming along on this adventure, and for everything you've taught me along the way. Keep in touch, and let me know what else you're learning in the future!

Always, fondly,

Name:  chelsea
Subject:  haha
Date:  2003-01-10 13:54:15
Message Id:  4209
hey guys! i miss you:( i tried explaining our class to one of my friends and she just kind of looked at me liked i'd sprouted sweet potatoes out of my ears or something...and she definately thought it was odd that i've become so attached to my vagina (she understands the boob thing- i really don't get it), oh well.

anyway, my grandmother has essential tremors (basically, her hands shake as if she had parkinson's, but it isn't parkinson's) and when i told my grandparents (and my aunt and my uncle and my mom and my dad- that was a new experience) anne's joke about the couple in the nursing home, my grandfather burst out laughing and said, "too bad it isn't parkinson's" and my grandmother says, "it's ok, i still have the essential tremor!" hahahahaha...ok, i thought it was funny, hope you guys do too:) bye! enjoy the rest of your break!


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