HOT, HEALTHY AND HORNY: Introduction To This Blog

Margie Nichols, Ph.D.by Margie Nichols, Ph.D.

This blog is named after a workshop designed in the  1980’s by Luis Palacios and Michael Shernoff, two gay social workers and friends who worked with GMHC- Gay Men’s Health Crisis-  in the early days.  Their workshop was subtitled ‘Eroticizing Safer Sex’ and – it did exactly that.   Gay men in 1985 were terrified and bewildered, feeling doomed to celibacy or death.  Michael and Luis were responsible for helping hundreds of thousands of men learn they could enjoy sex without becoming infected with AIDS or infecting others.  R.I.P., my old buddies.

The 1960’s and 70’s were times of expanding sexual freedom in America for everyone, not just gay men.  For a time it seemed we would throw off the restrictive sexual values of our past.

But our Puritan roots run deep.  The inevitable backlash against sexual freedom that arouse in the 1980’s was fueled to a dangerous pitch by AIDS.  It is not surprising that many saw AIDS as a punishment, or that public response to AIDS was so hysterical and virulent.  Deep down, we mistrust pleasure in general, bodily pleasures even more, and sexual pleasure most of all.  We Americans have a peculiar two-pronged attitude towards sex:  we think it’s dirty and sinful – and we are obsessed with it.

Sex is a lot less dangerous for most of us now than it was in the 1980’s.  New HIV cases have fallen and medications have transformed the disease to chronic rather than rapidly fatal. Birth control and abortion make fears of pregnancy less paramount than they were decades ago.

But the sexual revolution has never regained the power it once had.  We still fear and mistrust sex, as much as we find it compelling.  We see it as a dark force in need of taming, preferably through romantic love.   Most of us are still ashamed to talk about our personal sexual experiences, unschooled in the most basic sexual facts and techniques, ignorant about our own bodies and those of our partners. Millions suffer in silence with sexual dysfunctions because we’re embarrassed to admit we have them.  We stigmatize people who practice alternative forms of sexuality like BDSM or those we see as “too” sexual, whom we label sex addicts or sluts.  We don’t teach our kids about sex and we are ‘shocked’ by pornography- even though we watch it in secret. We preach monogamy but practice adultery – and then behave as though having an affair is the  crime of the century. We cripple our relationships with overly romanticized beliefs about sex and love, and confuse monogamy with fidelity.  We are too inhibited to get genuinely playful and creative with sex, and so our long term sexual relationships become stale and boring.

I’ve watched sexual freedom peak, appear to die, and then begin a faint revival.  I’d like to move things along.  So I’ve decided to bring back the spirit of ‘Hot, Healthy and Horny’.  Here’s the ‘manifesto’ of this blog:     Sex is free, healthy, and fun.  It can be loving, it can increase intimacy, it can release tension, it can expand your mind, it can be spiritual, it can be recreational.  Sure, there are ways to screw up with sex – but then we’re already screwing up through ignorance, hypocrisy, irrational beliefs and unrealistic and judgmental cultural norms.

Could we make things any worse if we become more sexually open?  I think not, and that is the point of this blog, which will appear roughly once a week.  Here we are dedicated to truth instead of hysteria, realism instead of romanticism, rational analysis instead of knee-jerk reaction. I want to educate you, give you factual information about sex, help you enhance your own sex life, and assist you in shedding your sexual problems nd hangups.  But most of all, I’d like to challenge your assumptions and beliefs about sex and open your mind.

Recently I’ve been intrigued by the success of the book “50 Shades of Grey” and its two sequels. Whatever else you may say about them, this trilogy has highlighted the fact that American women find dominant/submissive sex stimulating, under the right circumstances.  And yet ‘kinky’ sex, as it is called, is shrouded in mystery and stigmatized through ignorance.  So I’ll be explaining this form of alternative sexuality, often called “BDSM” ( bondage and discipline/ dominance and submission/ sadism and masochism) over the next few weeks.    In fact, my next post will define a lot of these terms in more detail.  Look forward to  hot, healthy, and horny blogging!

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