Category Archives: Sex

Steamy Hot Air


Way to go, Illinois! Legislators in my old home state yesterday passed a same-sex marriage bill. Huzzah!

Chicago Tribune Photo

Chicagoans Celebrate

The scoreboard now stands at 15 states allowing same-sex marriage and 35 not. So, the New Civil Rights Movement is approaching the one-third landmark in this holy land. That would seem to be a tipping point after which same-sex marriage would fast become, under the law at least, just another norm.

Of course, many, many, many folks in those 35 states (as well as holdouts in the enlightened 15) feel we’re no longer a holy land because we’re allowing men to marry men, women to marry women, and, next thing you know, 60-year-old lechers to legally molest kiddies and wacky old crones to hitch up with their cats.

Image from Forbes

Man, some people sure have scary imaginations.

I’ve been around lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgendered people, and those questioning their own identities all my life; that is, until I got to Bloomington which seems oddly bereft of such folk. I would have figured that this burgh, being one of the last outposts of the former Soviet Union and, even worse, a college town, would be a haven for what society has heretofore considered sexual outlaws.

Perhaps I’m wrong. If so, my pals Carol Fischer and Helen Harrell over at WFHB‘s bloomingOUT radio show for the LGBTQ gang can set me straight on that matter (pardon the pun).

Speaking Of Sex

Sex geek extraordinaire Debby Herbenick put in an appearance at the Book Corner yesterday.

Photo by Kevin Donahue

Research Scientist Debra Herbenick

No, she wasn’t doing a signing or reading; the BC doesn’t go in for that kind of thing (and least not yet). Herbenick simply was looking to buy a book. Naturally, she walked out of the place with a half dozen.

Doc Herbenick told the Pencil she just scored a deal for is working on yet another book. I’m telling you, this dame can find more ways to ponder sex than the average 14-year-old boy. Only her pondering elevates the science of bonking. She is, for all my non-Bloomington readers, one of the most acclaimed sex researchers on this happy planet.

Here’s a short list of Herbenick’s previous publications:

Sex Made Easy: Your Awkward Questions Answered—For Better, Smarter, Amazing Sex

Because It Feels Good: A Woman’s Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction

Read My Lips: A Complete Guide to the Vagina and Vulva

Go check out her advice page on the Kinsey Confidential website. She helps jes’ plain folk come to grips (you’ll pardon the expression) with their sex dilemmas and misunderstandings. For instance, one of her recent posts answered the question: My penis is slightly curved; will this affect intimacy?


Honestly, this poor chap’s idiosyncrasy probably vexes him more than all the philosophical disputes conjured by women and men since the beginning of time. Me? I would respond to his plaint thusly: That all depends on which way it’s curved.

Which, of course, is why a noted professional like Debby Herbenick should help guide him through the thicket of penile geometry rather than some snot like me.

Then again, after a careful reading of the good doctor’s response, it turns out I was right! Sheesh.

Anyway, Herbenick’s looking forward to hunkering down and writing the new book. “It should be fun,” she said.

I’ll bet.

I Feel Love

The Meaning Of It All Hot Air

I Think, Therefore I Am — I Think

I like pretending to be a philosopher — ergo, this blog. Funny thing is, I’m spectacularly bored by guys who are acclaimed as philosophers. And yes, philosophers usually are guys; maybe if more women got into the racket, it’d be more compelling.

Anyway, I sold a Foucault book yesterday and, being the smart-ass I am, I asked the cust. if he was suffering from insomnia. He laughed. I was serious.

I like the old (I mean +2000-year-old) definition of philosopher: That is, someone who thought about what was then considered science. Once science became divorced from questions of the divine and Why? and subsequently married to the questions of What, Where, and How?, the Why guys slunk away and dedicated themselves to telling the rest of us unwashed, unread slobs about the meaning and purpose of life.

Let me save you a lot of time and eyes-rolling-to-the-back-of-your-head boredom. The reason we’re alive boils down to two words: Just Because.


The Great Philosophers

You’re welcome.

Then again it can be said that all the books ever written really are philosophy books. That entails a fairly broad definition of of the term. Even so, I can’t muster up much of an argument against it. Even I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell postulates a philosophy of a sort. Of a heinous sort, sure, but of a sort.

That’s why, I suppose, the list-fetishists at BuzzFeed compiled a roster of 28 “Favorite” Books That Are Huge Red Flags. The idea being, if someone tells you that one of these titles is the best or most important or greatest book in the world and/or you don’t have to read another thing after reading it, you should run like the wind away from them.

How many of these have you read? Have you ever gushed over one or more of them?

  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
  • The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
  • Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
  • The Stranger by Albert Camus
  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  • Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
  • American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
  • The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
  • On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  • Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
  • Any Harry Potter book by J.K. Rowling
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  • Exodus by Leon Uris
  • Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
  • I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell by Tucker Max
  • Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler
  • Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth
  • The Game by Neil Strauss
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel
  • Any Narnia book by C.S. Lewis
  • Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce
  • Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

So, back to philosophy. One of my fave philosophical pontifications has been Never trust people who don’t have books in their homes. Which, BTW, I thought of long before I read John Waters‘ notorious epigram, If you go home with somebody and they don’t have books, don’t fuck them.

Funny thing is, I’ve always lived by that Waters rule. I can’t recall ever initiating an intimate relationship with anyone who didn’t proudly display their books or who hinted that they didn’t read. That was true even when I was a dopey 21-year-old.

See? I’m a born philosopher.

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