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Confession: 4 Things Emma Goldman Taught Me About Sex

May 17, 2012

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EMandLO.com contributor Jewely Hoxie, who is studying Human Sexuality at the University of California Santa Cruz — you can read her blog here — has this to say:

Emma Goldman: 1800′s anarchist, philosopher, and rebel women. She believed in free-thinking, free-love, and birth control. The woman wasn’t so much of a suffragist, seeing as she once said, “If voting changed anything, it would be illegal,” but she is known for starting anarcha-feminism. As a radical thinker of her time, she fought for the rights of all genders and sexual orientations. Even in all her extremity (yes, there are stories that she plotted an assassination, politically driven, of course), this rebel woman has had a striking influence on me. She died 72 years ago this week. Get inspired:

1. “It is essential that we realize once and for all that man is much more of a sex creature than a moral creature. The former is inherent, the other is grafted on.”

This taught me that sex is real and normal and human. It is okay to be interested in and ask questions about it. The only judgments that can be made about your sexual fetishes are the ones you make yourself (consent is always a good one though).

2. “Women need not always keep their mouths shut and their wombs open.”

Our sex scripts tell us that women should be silenced and submissive. Thanks to Goldman, I hope we’ve learned that our pleasure is our own and we have the right to tell others what we want (and don’t want).

3. “Real wealth consists in things of utility and beauty in things that help create strong, beautiful bodies and surroundings inspiring to live in.”

I keep this quotation above my desk as a reminder of what gives my life meaning and fulfillment. I would also say this is an understanding we have here at EMandLO.com: we encourage loving our bodies and our surroundings.

4. “I demand the independence of woman, her right to support herself; to live for herself; to love whomever she pleases, or as many as she pleases. I demand freedom for both sexes, freedom of action, freedom in love and freedom in motherhood.

Pretty much speaks for itself, in the most beautiful and real of ways.

Confession: I Lied About Being a Virgin

May 3, 2012


photo via flickr

A female friend of ours, a recent college grad who wishes to remain anonymous, has a confession to make:

When I got to college, I was still carrying around my V card in my back pocket. By then, I had read erotica, watched porn, masturbated, made out furiously with high school boyfriends, even experienced cunnilingus — it just didn’t make sense to me (and, I feared, to everyone else at school) that I hadn’t had intercourse yet. I figured, with some annoyance, that my intact hymen was going to be a major speed-bump on the road to on-campus sexual satisfaction.

Turns out it was also a blow to my on-campus self-esteem. At my college — a very liberal, sex-positive place — everyone was having sex, and talking about having sex, and thinking about having sex. Everyone but me, it seemed. When the topic would come up among friends, I would sit blushing in the corner with nothing to say, uncomfortably aware of my status as outsider, as freak.

My virginity had to go! It didn’t matter who, it didn’t matter how. So when I found an interested party — a rather devastating boy who lived down the hall from me — I didn’t dare mention it. Why risk the transaction? I figured, Let’s just close the deal!

I very quickly realized this was a mistake.

Sure, there was some relief in the moment that actual, official intercourse was finally happening. But that emotion was squelched by an all-consuming fear of the unknown — a fear I couldn’t share with my partner, which ironically made me feel very alone. Then there was the pain. I wasn’t aware of how much I would need to be turned on in order to find penetration pleasurable, and lube (what’s lube?) certainly wasn’t an option back then — so it hurt like a mother. The final indignity — at least at the time — was all the blood. He freaked, I cried, and that was the end of that five-minute relationship.

Thinking back on it now, I realize that what’s worse than the break-up, worse than the physical pain, even worse than the crime scene is the ridiculous power that Virginity with a capital V still holds over our 21st-century culture. It’s like the Scarlet Letter — except this time, inexperience is the crime. Virgins don’t want to talk about it; experienced people don’t want to take it away from anyone. The shame and fear surrounding it make virginity a way bigger deal than it needs to be. After all, intercourse is just one of many different ways to have sex.

Clearly, with this issue — as with so many relationship problems — communication is the key! For all you newbies to intercourse, take it from me: Tell your partner in a non-sexual context that intercourse is new to you, and tell them how you feel about it. If it’s not a big deal to you, say that. If it is, say that too, and why! Then you and your partner can go forth fully informed and aware of what you are doing together. And maybe you’ll have the good sense to put down a towel.

5 Reasons to Have Sex with the Lights On

April 19, 2012


photo via flickr

EMandLO.com contributor Jewely Hoxie, who is studying Human Sexuality at the University of California Santa Cruz — you can read her blog here — has a confession to make:

In the movie Manhattan, Diane Keaton says to Woody Allen that he’s the kind of man she could see herself have kids with — naturally, he tells her to hit the lights. It’s common in movies for the dimming of the lights to be a signal for getting it on (I suppose it helps them steer clear of NC-17 ratings). Like most movie sex, I tend to disagree. I’m not saying you need to see each other under the unappealing cast of florescent lighting — just use a dimmer switch or light some candles. Here are five reasons why:

  1. Sex is considered very much a physical activity — let’s get physical, Olivia Newton John sang. Touching each other makes us feel good. However, I think humans are more complicated than that: visuals can make us feel good too. Let’s get visual!
  2. Seeing your partner and having your partner see you brings a new level of intimacy to the experience.
  3. Not only does it allow you to better get to know your partner, but you’ll also know where you’re going. Going down on someone — especially a new partner — takes enough concentration and difficulty as it is… try cutting off all means of seeing what you’re doing!
  4. Allowing someone to see you naked is a sign of trust and confidence — two characteristics that can make someone very attractive. Body shame is a big issue in our society, especially when we see hundreds of advertisements a week of people with unrealistic bodies. Letting your partner know you want to really see them, even with the lights on, may help them realize they don’t need to be ashamed. No matter your body type, you can still be sexy and still deserve pleasure.
  5. Perhaps I’m alone in this, but when I look at people in the dark, they look like mysterious and scary monsters. I want to know who I am sleeping with!


Confession: I’m a Pubic Hair Pusher Who Occasionally Goes Bare

April 5, 2012


photo via flickr

A contributor friend of ours who recently graduated college (and wishes to remain anonymous) has a confession to make:

For three consecutive years, I participated in my university’s production of The Vagina Monologues. The piece I performed was entitled “Hair.” The moral of this story? You have to love hair in order to love the vagina — you can’t just pick the parts you want! For the first two years, I made the case for pubic hair while proudly sporting a nice little bush of my own. But that third year, while I praised the mighty pube at the top of my lungs, I was secretly rocking — and loving — a vulva as bald as Kojak.

Having grown up in Florida where being swimsuit-ready is a way of life, I had always been meticulous with the grooming of my bikini line. But after getting the sides waxed off at the spa, I always made sure to leave a nice, soft triangle of full-length fluff between my legs. I liked the feeling of that soft spot when I ran my hands over my body after a shower — so much better than the prickliness that comes with close-to-the-bod trimming. I also loved that I looked (and felt) so womanly — that patch distinguished my adult body from my pre-pubescent body. I thought that women who wanted to go completely bare were absolutely crazy. Who wants to look like a 10 year old again?

So why the 180 degree turn? Because a guy finally asked me, “Can I go down on you?”

I had never experienced cunnilingus before. To be honest, I’d never really had much interest in it. But when someone I really cared about presented me with the opportunity — and I finally felt ready to explore something so intimate — I realized that I was actually a bit self-conscious about my hair. Oh, I didn’t care if he wanted to touch it or look at it, but I certainly didn’t want him putting his face in it! Not because I feared he’d get a loose pube caught in his throat, or because I worried my hair would smell extra funky, or because I’d heard lots of guys don’t like pubic hair nowadays. Frankly, I wasn’t really worried about his preferences — I was thinking about mine. I’ve never liked kissing guys with facial hair — too scratchy! So I just figured: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

I booked my usual bikini wax, but went in this time with the option to go whole hog if a few things checked out. Nice, chatty aesthetician? Check. Sensitive-skin wax available? Check. No bubbling (and thus burning) wax? Check. No double dipping by the waxer? Check. All my questions answered? Check. With all my fears allayed, I just went for it right then and there.

I didn’t have time to feel like a hypocrite in the moment, I was too busy thinking “Oh wow, that hot wax feels kinda, well, hot…in a good way” and “I wonder what his tongue will feel like down there?” and “Whoa! That didn’t hurt NEARLY as much as I had imagined — it was even less painful than my bikini line! Who knew?” Any embarrassment I might have felt from a stranger poking around my most private parts was quelled by the fact that the gloved aesthetician explained to me that this was all in a day’s work for her — right before she started talking with me about the complex issue of Israeli politics.

Despite all my pre-visit research, I’d somehow missed the part about the butt-crack. So I was a little confused when the waxer had me turn over and “hold one cheek to the side like this.” But she did it so fast that I didn’t have a chance to worry I might fart in her face.

All in all, the experience actually turned out to be quite positive.

Of course, up on stage, during The Vagina Monologues, my bare vulva and I felt like frauds. There I was telling the men and women in the audience that all ladies have hair and it’s beautiful and sexy and hot. But I myself had waxed it all away because I thought oral sex would be more beautiful and sexy and hot without it.

And I must say: I was right, at least in some respects. I loved my bare, naked lady-parts, and not just because my first time with cunnilingus had turned out to be fantastic. Skinny-dipping became a brand new experience, since now I could feel an unusual and exciting coolness between my legs. Going to the bathroom made me giggle because it actually felt different (apparently hair gives you better aim!). And intercourse became a fun experiment in contrasts: I loved the difference between my soft smoothness verses his rough hairiness. So I kept splurging on those Brazillians every month.

Then, after half a year or so, I wanted my bush back. So I grew it back. And sex was brand new again. Without hair, I had come to appreciate soft touches, light vibrations, little breezes. With my hair grown back, I realized I liked things a little rougher, more pressure-based. Both were great, just different.

If I hadn’t tried the Brazillian I never would have truly learned the importance of the monologue “Hair.” Sure, hair is part of the vagina, but it’s also a part of my body, and my experience of my body, and who I am – sometimes I want it there and sometimes I don’t. The importance is all about choice — being able to enjoy my body any way that I want.

7 Ways to Turn Yourself On

March 22, 2012


EMandLO.com contributor Jewely Hoxie, who is studying Human Sexuality at the University of California Santa Cruz — you can read her blog here — has a confession to make:

I’ll admit it — most of these suggestions will probably resonate more with the ladies than the gents. After all, guys don’t tend to need much help turning themselves on. But most of the following can be universally applied. If you don’t want to try something yourself, consider doing it for your partner instead.

  1. Use a male scent that you like (or, for dudes, a female scent). I was never a fan of Axe, but Old Spice does me in every time. Try wearing it on yourself — you might find it helpful conjuring fantasies. Gents, if your masculinity feels threatened by wearing a gal’s scent, just spray it on something near you instead.
  2. Focus on your partner’s (or your crush’s) hands doing something active. When I see a guy’s fingers plucking a guitar, for example, I imagine how they could be playing me.
  3. Work out. Stretching after going on a run is probably the key to this natural aphrodisiac. It’s a great stress reliever and gets you in tune with your body in order to figure out what feels good for you.
  4. Listen to music. Some people watch porn; I prefer music for getting in the mood. Different styles of music correspond to different styles of sex. Similar to dirty talk, music can enhance the whole experience… even listening hours before you plan to get busy.
  5. Clean up your place. Okay, so maybe breaking out the broom and the Pledge won’t actually get you in the mood to jump someone’s bones — but it will ensure that when the time comes, you won’t be distracted by dirty dishes and piles of laundry (and even if you don’t find those things distracting, your partner might). Sure, some people get so caught up in the moment that they sweep dirty dishes aside to do it on the kitchen counter, but most of those people are imaginary characters in porn films.
  6. Wear underwear you feel good in — and that you know you look good in. Sure, having someone seduce you in sweats or raggedy old boxers can be nice, too. But there’s something awesome about dressing for sex and then unveiling your secret at the end of the day (or on your lunch break). And dudes, this goes for you, too — you know you have a favorite pair that present the goods just perfectly.
  7. Date someone with a feminist perspective. Ladies, there’s no bigger turn-on than being with someone who understands that women have desires too. (This includes a willingness to use vibrators and sex toys in the bedroom, fyi.) And men, there’s no bigger turn-on than being with someone who knows what she wants in bed and isn’t afraid to ask for it.

Confession: It Shouldn’t Matter WHY You Use Contraception, Damn It

March 8, 2012


photo via Flickr

Our new intern, Vanessa Martini, a senior at Bard College, has a confession to make. Well, it’s more of a rant really than a confession, but we’re with her!:

Though the furor around this electoral season’s contraception debate has quieted somewhat in mainstream media, the topic continues to rumble around feminist spaces both online and off, and in op-eds around the country. While any support for a woman’s right to use contraception (or not to) is good support, there is an emerging pattern of anecdotal excuses for why contraception can be necessary. And it’s beginning to irk me.

Married commentators trot out the example of their partners choosing to use contraception in order to keep from having more children. Countless women point out—with immense validity—the variety of associated medical benefits that come from hormonal birth control, usually adding that the prevention of pregnancy is merely a useful side effect. Sandra Fluke, ostensibly the figurehead for much of the outcry against restricting women’s access to birth control, was herself testifying about another woman’s struggle — a gay woman — with polycystic ovary syndrome and how access to birth control would have spared her a much more expensive operation to remove an ovary.

Of course, these are all well and good examples of what birth control can do and how it can be used. But there’s something troubling about the fact that these arguments need to be made at all. Why do feminists feel the need to couch their support for contraception in more “palatable” terms? Why insist that many faithfully married or partnered women use it? Why bring out the example of  a lesbian or queer-identified woman who uses it for medical reasons?

These are concessions to those who oppose birth control as it is denotatively perceived: as something “bad girls” use when they want to have sex without needing to “take responsibility for their choices.” These are attempts to make the basic idea that no one should be denied any kind of medical treatment for any reason go down a little smoother for those who think otherwise where the female body is concerned.

The argument happening now should not be so much about whether insurers should cover contraceptives or not. It should not be about whether “conscience clauses” can allow a pharmacist to refuse dispensing birth control or a morning-after pill. It should not be about whether the state can mandate an invasive ultrasound to women seeking abortion, and it should also not be about whether abortion is legal or not. Instead the argument on the progressive side must become about not allowing the government to determine whether a person can or cannot obtain the medical help, procedures, or implements they seek and occasionally desperately need.

Sexism rears its head when laws propose restricting such access for women only. Classism appears, too, when proposals to entirely eliminate funding for clinics that provide free or low-cost healthcare for women (clinics that vastly outnumber abortion providers) gain traction, as they are now that two front-running candidates for presidential nomination vow to dismantle Title X. The mind-boggling doublethink happening now on the right wants the government to somehow simultaneously decrease in size and increase its invasiveness in the very bodies of American women. Anyone hoping to keep the right to do with their bodies what they will must now turn their focus away from the sadly reliably divisive topic of birth control and toward the fight for bodily freedom and personal liberty.

Vanessa Martini

Confession: Jeremy Lin Is Getting Me Laid

February 27, 2012


photo via Nicholas LA Photography on Flickr

Justin Huang, a.k.a. Yellow Peril, our newest Wise Guy, has a confession to make, entitled “Asian Men with Balls: The Sociosexual Implications of Linsanity”:

I didn’t pay much attention to Jeremy Lin until I realized he was getting me laid.

Story of my life: In which my insecurities take the form of mild-to-moderate narcissism and I ignore a cultural sensation – the Asian Obama, if you think about it – until it directly becomes pertinent to my sex life.

But there this pretty boy stood in front of me, who I considered far out of my league, offering to buy me a drink at Akbar, a trendy gay dive in the Silverlake neighborhood of Los Angeles.

The boy, who I’ll call Tim, was I think mixed race, and generally too attractive for me. (I tend to like gruff guys anyway, the type who look like they can take a punch.) But it’s always pleasant when an Adonis turns out to be good conversation, and after a few drinks, I asked him what he was looking for.

“To be honest,” Tim replied, taking a swig of Anchor Steam, “I’ve been on an Asian kick ever since Linsanity. I think he’s so hot, and I’m surprised I’ve never been with an Asian guy before.”

Normally I don’t like it when guys bring up my race when they’re hitting on me. Without question, race is usually a major component of sexual chemistry (and I certainly have my own preferences), but there’s no easier way to feel like a piece of meat than when you’re being compared to an anime character. But this was different. And it was entirely new to me.

I was being likened to an all-American mainstream superstar, not a niche fetish.

Since then, I’ve gotten wing-manned by Linsanity on several more occasions. On my Adam4Adam account, I have a picture posted that features me clutching a strategically-placed basketball. (I took this picture as one of the subjects of a photography project called Sexy Geeks.) The photoshoot was taken months before Jeremy’s Shakespearean rise to meteoric stardom, when the image of an Asian man clutching a basketball was meant to be a critique on societal stereotypes. How quickly things change.

Now, I’d gotten no less than 30 messages on Adam4Adam that directly comment on the basketball picture, gushing about Jeremy Lin.

I haven’t really paid attention to the NBA since the end of the Golden Age of the Lakers in 2004. And the only reason I paid attention to that was because of the diva bitchfight that was the Kobe/Shaq rivalry. (“Just makeout already!” I’d yell at the screen.) But this Jeremy Lin figure was ramping up my sex life, and I was curious as to why. So I Googled him.

On paper, Jeremy Lin and I have a lot in common. We are both American born. We’re both from good Christian families, we both were stellar students in school, we both grew up in California. Like my mom and dad, his parents came from Taiwan with hopes of a better future for their kids. Like my maternal grandparents, his maternal grandparents fled China to Taiwan during Mao Zedong’s takeover.

But the similarities end there. I was confused. Was it really just skin deep, this sudden spike in interest? Or is something greater at work here?

You see, I grew up completely devoid any role models that I could physically identify with. I am a thoroughly Americanized Asian man, but I’ve always felt that when it comes to my identity, I am an army of one. I feel marginalized by the stereotypes thrust upon me, even defensive. The image I present – one that I believe makes me a serious contender in my social surroundings – I’ve carefully cultivated myself, without a face to base it on.

But now, we have Jeremy. He’s two years younger than me, and while I’m a bit past the age of having role models, I’m quite happy that the younger generation has him to look up to.

It helps that Jeremy Lin is indeed quite handsome, with a megawatt smile and killer body, and, even better, in interviews he seems to be a humble and grounded guy. He’s also openly Christian, so middle America will eat him right up with extra gravy.

And while the rumors of a fling with Kim Kardashian seem at first to just be eye-roll worthy tabloid fodder, you gotta realize that she has been linked to whole roster of male sex icons, from Nick Lachey to Gabriel Aubry to Reggie Bush. In a social context, Jeremy Lin’s sexuality is acknowledged in a titillating manner. Whereas before him the sexuality of Asian men has long been ignored or even ridiculed by American pop culture, Jeremy Lin could very well be the first true Asian American stud.

This was the pre-Linsanity mainstream perception of the Asian male. Yeah... I prefer Jeremy Lin. Let's all scroll back up to his dreamy picture.

And what are the implications of this cultural messiah? Yes, first we’re going to get all the bad puns, ranging from corny to hilariously offensive. But beyond that, Linsanity could very well redefine the Asian American man as a sexually acknowledged being. Frankly put, our basketball whiz kid has given the rest of us balls. (Hey, who said I couldn’t join the bad pun train?)

Because sex is an aspirational sport. We’re hardwired to desire the likeness of success; it’s a remnant of our primordial survival skills mixed with pop culture. It’s why I have a huge crush on my neighbor who looks just like Ewan McGregor, because I associate his face with that of my favorite movie star. And it’s why Tim (the aforementioned pretty boy) suddenly was made aware of my sexual potential as a mate. He’s now been given context in the muscled form of an NBA superstar.

In this sense, Linsanity applies not just to me, but to all Asian men, regardless on where they fall on the sexual orientation spectrum. You see, blonde twinks have David Beckham, and we have Jeremy Lin.

Linsanity is a welcome phenomenon, I don’t think any athlete has gotten this much love since pre-zombie-Ambien-sex Tiger Woods, and I think it foretells a future where the Asian influence on the world extends beyond “Oh, they’re good at math, aren’t they?” I’m sure there are many Jeremy Lins out there, and in due time they will emerge as well.

And the result of these monumental shifts in the tectonic plates of global pop culture? I’ll get laid. Progress!

- YP

This article originally appeared on Justin’s blog, I Am Yellow Peril. It went viral and ended up on the Huffington Post. Which just goes to show, we have excellent taste in Wise Guys. Thanks to Justin for allowing us to republish here!

Confession: Orgasmless Sex Isn’t Just a Female Thing

February 9, 2012


photo via Flickr

In keeping with this week’s “Did You Come?” theme, one of our recent college grad friends has a confession to make:

The first time my boyfriend didn’t orgasm during sex I was completely shocked. This NEVER happened. Was I loosing my touch? Was I not sexy anymore? Was he bored or losing interest? Ironically, it was the first time that I did orgasm during intercourse. So even though I had had a blast and he had seemed pretty damn proud of himself, as we fell asleep there was a lingering, niggling worry in the back of my mind.

I myself had never felt any pressure to orgasm during sex. After all, I’d read the countless articles explaining that most women don’t orgasm from sexual intercourse alone. And I had assumed my body was like most women’s and needed a little extra oomph to get the job done (a vibrator, oral, manual stimulation, OOMPH!). But I always expected my partner to finish during sex. You hear about women faking it, but never about men faking it – presumably because they always come for real! Not only was I used to him orgasming, I thrived on him orgasming. I loved feeling how he’d lose himself in that moment. It felt like the cataclysmic end to an awesome evening. Suddenly not getting that dramatic, climactic conclusion from him was unnerving.

As he began to fall into his after-sex coma, I realized that if I didn’t ask him about it now, by morning my nerve would be gone. So I just blurted it out: “Did I do something wrong?”

Unfazed, my boyfriend lazily rolled over onto his side to face me and laid it all out. “I enjoyed it just as much as always. Maybe I didn’t finish because I was worn out from the previous ten times we’ve done it this weekend. My body isn’t used to being able to orgasm that many times that quickly.” Then he pulled me close and fell asleep.

As reassuring as he was, I still wasn’t completely okay with this new development in our sex lives. Old expectations die hard. But I didn’t press the issue any further that night since I figured it was a fluke occurrence anyway.

Over the next few months, however, it happened again…and again…and again. Each time I’d ask for clarification, and each time he’d try to set me straight. It wasn’t until after the third time that I finally really heard him: sex together was awesome no matter the orgasm count. I needed to stop obsessing over what had gone ‘wrong’ those nights he didn’t finish and instead realize that the main reason he wasn’t finishing was because we had already done quite a lot of things oh-so-right. Just as orgasmless intercourse didn’t mean I wasn’t enjoying myself, the same was true for him.

I felt like yelling “EUREKA!”: It’s not all about the orgasms!

Since then, we’ve had sex end a lot of different ways. Usually it involves him orgasming before we both pass out. But sometimes, neither one of us climaxes. And those evenings (or afternoons or mornings) are some of my favorite memories. There comes a point (no pun intended), around halfway through, when we both realize it’s not going to happen for either one of us. But you know what? That doesn’t stop us! Then we’re just having sex to be close to one another, to express how we feel about one another, and to enjoy each other in a way no one else can. And that’s one of the happiest endings of all.

5 Less Obvious Places to Touch Each Other

January 26, 2012


photo via flickr

EMandLO.com contributor Jewely Hoxie, who is studying Human Sexuality at the University of California Santa Cruz — you can read her blog here — has a confession to make:

There are some perks to being a Human Sexuality major — and I’m not just talking about its potential as a pick-up line. Take the time I used my favorite places to be touched during sex as a way of remembering where we have the most nerve endings. Or my discovery — thanks prof! — that the parts of our body with the least amount of hair have the most nerve endings. Some of the nerve-rich areas are pretty obvious — lips, genitals, duh. But then there are body parts — with sparse to no hair — that don’t get nearly the amount of attention they deserve. Try these next time you’re in bed with someone:

  1. The ear. Try light wisps of warm breath over the ear and maybe some small nibbles at the top during your next make-out session.
  2. The collarbone. It is such a delicate part of the body that someone else’s soft kiss there can bring you to that romantic Bright Eyes love poem kind of place.
  3. The hip bone. This is like the center of movement during sex. Any stimulation here will have a ripple effect on the rhythm of what’s going on. Consider a firm grab of the hips or even a little biting if you’re in the neighborhood.
  4. The inner thigh. This is a good place to go for a tease before jumping in. It can be especially sensitive when your partner is sitting legs apart — the feeling of vulnerability tends to heighten the senses.
  5. The back of the knees. This tends to be the most overlooked sensitive spot. Check in here while roaming down your partner’s body, or perhaps when their legs are flung near your face.

– Jewely Hoxie

Truly Mortifying: Overwrought Teenage Anti-Choice Poetry

December 9, 2011


Embarrassing diary entries, old yearbook photos, junior high love letters — it’s all fun and games until someone breaks out their unhinged teenage anti-choice poetry.

Okay, let’s back up and explain a little here. Earlier this week, the Sundance Channel debuted the original series “The Mortified Sessions,” in which celebrities share mementos from their past — nerdy rock lyrics, awkward photos, etc. It’s based on the popular and hilarious Mortified live show that has been staged across the country.

Anyway, we figured that we’d commemorate the new show by unearthing some of our most mortifying mementos. And it turns out that Em has a secret shameful past as a closed-minded, anti-choice teen zealot who chose bad poetry as her weapon.

We’d like to think that Em has since made amends for this brief, mortifying period of her life — after all, the two of us have toured the country for both NARAL and Planned Parenthood, performing our one-hour show to help spread the good word about reproductive rights. (The write-up in the local paper in Madison, WI, when we performed there was headlined “Abortion Blitz!” Er, hi mom.) We even organized a bus-load of Em & Lo readers to march on DC to fight for abortion rights.

So please, please, when you read the following poem — which takes as its inspiration the Munch painting and takes as its subject abortion — bear all that in mind. Also, Em was young, she was ignorant, and she’d had no decent sex ed to speak of. Planned Parenthood and NARAL — we heart you and everything you stand for. And Em is, well, mortified.

“The Scream” by Munch (circa 1990)

The face was contorted by an emotion
it was never created to control
As the mouth opened to release
the terror of a death before life
Freedom flooded in
choking the scream to silence.

And in the distance stood two figures on a bridge;
one from whom life began
and one who could save it.
But the bridge was struggling
to hold the weight of three
and so the one to drown would be
the one whose scream would be silent.

And I wonder why
they couldn’t build a bigger bridge
but she said it was her right
to cross alone
and his duty
to agree.

There were those who tried to stop her
for long enough to hear the scream
but she told them
if they couldn’t watch in daylight
she would wait
and the death would simply become
a dull stain
against the filth of night

and she closed her eyes
and he emptied her
and the scream was silent.

This post is a part of Sundance Channel’s Naked Love Blog
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