Jane Ryan is a couples and family therapist based out of Tacoma, Washington. She is also my mom. I was lucky enough to not only grow up learning from her wisdom, but to also chat with her recently about her work with relationships, the myths about sexuality and sex addictions, and the unique and vulnerable nature of each individual’s erotic template.
Ansley Clark: How did you get involved with sex therapy? When did you first discover that this was a field you were interested in and passionate about?Continue Reading
by Melissa Brooks
I was once a love-forlorn little girl. I harbored a seething desperation to grow up just so I could find my soulmate. It seemed nothing in life could ever possibly match the ecstasy of falling in love that I witnessed in songs, books, movies. In Disney’s Cinderella, I was captivated when our heroine and the prince first locked eyes and gravitated to one another immediately. Without a word they begin dancing, enchanted with one another and oblivious to the world around them, sharing a harmonious, telepathic duet: “So this is love. So this is what makes life divine. The key to all heaven is mine.”Continue Reading
by Diana Odasso
He hurries into my room in the dim early light. I can see he’s upset from the way he stands: his knees hyperextended, fists clenched at his side. Even in the semi-darkness, his eyes are intense, his brown irises glow black.Continue Reading
Tiny Dictators and Purple Lattices
by Rose Hawthorn
It was 2 a.m. and I had just peed behind a dumpster in a parking lot. My shoe was in the wrong place at the wrong time and small wet dots speckled its toe. Away from the dumpster, I pulled my pants down for a second time, just enough to show a guy I barely knew a purple latticed bruise covering my right ass cheek. “Holy shit!” he said. We were drunk.Continue Reading
by Rachel Busnardo
I just can’t stop talking about Steven Universe, Cartoon Network’s first show created solely by a woman, Rebecca Sugar.
Cartoon Network launched on October 1, 1992; Rebecca Sugar is the first female to create a show. Let that sink in for a second.
First, let me tell you I’m a woman in my 30s and I love this cartoon. I loved it before I ever knew a woman created it, and loved it even more after. And, yes, it’s made for children—but the older I get, the more I realize that the loving/wounded child in me needs nurturing too. That girl will always have more room in her heart for narratives featuring a gender buffet of badass female-presenting superheroes voiced by an ensemble of diverse, talented women.
by Melissa Brooks
When I first moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, I rented a bedroom in a house co-owned by a middle-aged woman and her twenty-six year old son. The son didn’t live there, but the mother did, making her simultaneously my landlord and roommate. Three weeks went by and despite the awkward set up, I thought things had mostly been going okay. No arguments had ensued and we regularly asked after one another’s wellbeing. I made sure to clean up after myself, stay out of the way, respect her privacy and be quiet. So it came as a shock when one day she spontaneously started yelling at me, boldly proclaiming that “this situation” wasn’t working for her and she didn’t like me. Confused by what I had done to offend her, she boiled down her hostility to a single trite creed:
“Women can’t get along.”
by Fei Cai
Hymen. Maidenhead. Cherry.
For something that people do not seem to know much about, it definitely has a lot of names.
I am not sure when I first heard about the hymen. Like many growing up, I thought it would hurt to tear it, and that it was some kind of physical sign that a woman had lost her virginity. I was convinced that the first time I had sex, there would be bleeding and pain, which of course, added to the already huge amount of anxiety I had about having sex for the first time.Continue Reading
by Melissa Brooks
The perks and pitfalls of being a tomboy
When I was a kid, being a tomboy was cool. It seemed every girl in my grade claimed to be one whether they really were or not. My friends and I argued about who was the most authentic tomboy. I remember challenging my friend Jennifer’s authenticity because she wore dresses. “Tomboys can wear dresses, too!” she spat back.
We tried to act tough, which amounted to pushing the boys or stealing their baseball caps. We underwent “boot camp” training on the playground, during which a kid named Mike put us to a series of tests assessing our toughness, such as flipping off of the playground’s 6-foot-high metallic bridge.1 I remember feeling triumphant as I overcame my fear and did it, and feeling more triumphant as the-too-girly Jennifer couldn’t work up the nerve.
by Courtney Morgan
While I mean what my title says, I’m not talking about the type of harm that may immediately spring to mind. I’m not talking about physical harm or violence. I’m talking about something that seems much more benign and innocuous. I’m talking about the daily, hourly, sometimes minute-by-minute attack I commit with my thoughts, my words, with my mental and emotional responses to other women’s bodies.Continue Reading
by Kathleen J. Woods
Pornography has long been a topic of impassioned debate among Western feminists. Anti-porn feminists argue that porn’s representation of degrading language and behavior is harmful to women. They believe that porn is a tool of the patriarchy that normalizes the subjugation of women and the violent power of men. As Robin Morgan concisely stated, “Porn is the theory, rape is the practice” (The Feminist Porn Book 10). Anti-porn feminists have supported legislation banning or drastically limiting the production of pornographic materials.