Day 101: Sex Myths

‘Secret Diary of a Call Girl’ writer Brooke Magnanti recently spoke at the Sydney Opera House for their ‘All about Women Day.’ While not TED talks, these entertaining and informative sessions are far too good to not post on. Best of all, they can be accessed for free online now!
People are surprised when they meet Magnanti, a former sex worker with a PHd who workers as a child epidemiologist. This may have a lot to do with the perceptions we hold about sex, which Magnanti herself admits to feeding during her part-time work as a columnist. Some of the most common sex myths she lists are:
– Drug addicted street workers are more common than call girls.
– Porn is the biggest entertainment industry.
– All men are potential rapists.
– Women don’t want sex, just companionship.
– Many women are forcibly trafficked.
– Sex addiction is a growing disease.
Media, chick flicks and women’s magazines galvanise these myths using a feedback model that goes something like this: Shock statistic is spotted and fitted to predetermined image, little or no critical thought is applied, story written and so on.
In this talk, Magnanti discusses sex addiction and the notion that women don’t want sex, with humorous and interesting results.
So are you a sex addict? The IITAP has a useful survey which may answer this question for you. It contains questions such as, ‘Did your parents have sex problems?’ and ‘Have you ever been in an abusive relationship?’ One wonders how these answer if you’re a sex addict!
Questionnaires about female sexual dysfunction are similarly useless. They take into account how the woman may have felt at any point in her life, with research often pointing out obvious statements such as that stress can affect sex drive. The average woman’s magazine is preoccupied with sex; are we doing it right, are we having enough, how should we please our partners. These are questions that don’t seem to arise in similar publications for men.
So what are Magnanti’s statistics? Indoor sex workers outnumber streetwalkers by 10:1. Women also like sex and enjoy porn, as evidenced by the popularity of novels such as the infamous ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.’ And a few more truths: The average age at which virginity is lost is rising, while the STI rate continues to fall. It may be funny to preach untruths about sex, but unfortunately this detracts from the real causes needing attention. My vote would be that we start dealing with the culture of rape.


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