2010 – The Year in Sex

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While public acknowledgement of healthy human sexuality took a tumble this past year, thanks to people like anti-masturbator Christine O’Donnell and teenage mother and poster child of abstinence education Bristol Palin, there was enough news that came out of the sciences, religion, and society to give sex positive folk a reason to be optimistic about 2011.

Just when we thought we couldn’t really improve on the male condom, the new Sensis Condom now presents an easy to use method to make sure that the condoms go on correctly, via “pull tabs”. This purports to make it easier to tell the top from the bottom, and helps to end the “user error” side of condom failure. In even better news, the FC2 female condom became widely available in US stores after it was approved by the FDA in late 2009. This condom, made of nitrile, enables users to insert the condom prior to penetrative sex, and can be used both vaginally & anally. It’s also been reported to be less “squeaky” than the FC1, which was made of polyurethane.

The “pink pill” got caught up in a storm of opinion when its German manufacturer approached the FDA to get approval to market the new medication in the US . The pill, said to improve women’s low sex drive, started off a flurry of conversation about what the “normal” sex drive is, and the range of women’s experiences of sexual pleasure. Given that the sales of men’s ED drugs (including Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra) are well over $2 billion dollars each year, pharmaceutical companies (as well as potential users) definitely got a little hot & bothered over the idea…

And while we’re talking about pills, May 9, 2010, was the 50th anniversary of the women’s birth control pill in the US. Many historians and sociologists call the advent of oral contraceptives the beginning of the modern-day sexual rights movement; it freed women from dependence on male cooperation for pregnancy prevention, and gave women of all socio-economic levels the ability to determine their own parental destinies. Now, we are just waiting for a men’s pill to be approved – which may happen as early as 2015.

Later in the year, Pope Benedict XVI flipped years of Vatican directives on its ear by stating publicly that “there may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility”.   And while everyone at the Vatican says that this is not a reversal of their stand on birth control use, it is at least a step in the right direction in the acknowledgement of safer sex needs around the world.

It looks like our younger Americans are getting the message earlier, thankfully! Despite the confusing reports of the effectiveness of abstinence-focused education, a study from Indiana University found that the age group most likely to use condoms was – no, you’ll never guess – teenagers. 14-17 year old teenagers reported over 80% use of condoms the last time they engaged in intercourse (as compared to 50% or less of 25-29 year olds).

The clitoris – I mean, the WHOLE clitoris, including the clitoral body (aka “clitoral legs”) – finally got it’s due in a study released in 2009 but widely circulated earlier this year, involving sonogram images of the clitoris in a variety of positions. It seems that one reason that vaginal penetration feels so good may be due to the clitoral body’s location close to the front wall of the vagina. I guess we should throw that into our g-spot and stroke it, eh?

And finally, one of the most questionable sex toys of the year, the “Lady Gag-Gag Doll”  hit the market to great amusement and some seriously disturbing tag lines, such as “She loves it when you poke-her face!” and “I wanna take a ride on your disco stick”. I’m guessing that you’ll have to supply your own lube, soundtrack, and lack of shame for this one, folks…

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