Category Archives: Stuff We Like

Celebrating Mapplethorpe

A great new resource capturing the life and work of the late Robert Mapplethorpe was recently unveiled by the art-via-internet access project, Artsy.  At Sex Across America, we are honored to support their mission of helping to make all art accessible to everyone through the web—and in particular by highlighting such an innovative pioneer for both the art world as well as for positive sexuality: Robert Mapplethorpe.

The online Mapplethorpe gallery can be viewed here.  We highly recommend sharing the resource far and wide throughout your social circles. Thank You.

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Top Gun Love

It’s an all-too-familiar scene that happens to the best of us:  A confrontation occurs with your significant other and, as things heat up, one wants to break contact and cool off while the other wants immediate resolution and just can’t seem to let it go.  Is it just a “normal” relationship dynamic?  A sign of incompatibility?  Verification that opposites attract?

According to relationship coaches Judith Claire and Frank Wiegers, the core of such issues is actually rooted in biology.  Their new book, So That’s Why They Do That!, uses an interesting and innovative approach to not only explain the physiology of intergender communication, but also offers effective, easy-to-use strategies for working through and improving many other related concerns.  The first in what they intend to be a series on relationship dynamics, the book applies a fresh approach that balances being user-friendly for men while being fully engaging for women.  Systematically, they describe this approach as Top Gun Love.

Without a doubt, it’s a catchy name, but there’s also some interesting background in how it came about.  Understanding that the primary market for relationship improvement books is comprised of women, the authors wanted to create a unique approach that would be equally inclusive for men.  Wiegers, who earlier in life was a Vietnam-era fighter pilot, recognized that military-style operations manuals used a highly effective syntax that made it very easy for a diverse audience– comprised mostly of men at the time–to capture essential information and put it to immediate use.  Collaborating with Claire, who has over 30 years of relationship counseling and coaching experience, they developed a systematic methodology that basically resulted in a “user’s manual” for interpersonal relationships–and one with a balanced feel that is evenly appealing to both genders.

The eclectic blend of their respective styles and experiences works in ways that are both informative and entertaining.  More importantly, their collaboration has produced a useful system for people to proactively share a relationship with compassionate understanding instead of suffering through the reactive effects that seem to be so common.  With almost 140 years of practical experience and expertise between them, it’s certainly worthwhile to take a few moments and see if what they have to offer might benefit you and your loved one.

(If you would like more information about Judith Claire and Frank Wiegers along with their Top Gun Love approach to satisfying relationships, you can connect with them through their accounts on Facebook or Twitter.  Their website, TopGunLove.com, will officially launch in early July.)

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Today’s Swingers’ Scene: Bigger Than Ever

Quick!  Turn on a fan!  It’s like the Sixties in here!

No, avocado-gold decors and shag carpets aren’t making a comeback, but there are some groovy things filling up the old-but-new-again bin—and swinging is among them.  In this era where you just about have to boil people before touching them, it almost seems hard to believe that swinging lifestyles are not only thriving, but even trending as big business.

According to clearing houses such as the North American Swing Club Association (NASCA), the renaissance of “The Lifestyle” as it’s called by those in the know is percolating rapidly throughout all classes and communities, fueling the expansion of efficiently organized events and the emergence of top-tier resorts and five-star excursions that cater to the unique needs and desires of swingers on a global scale.  As you might imagine, much of the growth in swinging—and a key difference between what’s happening today versus days gone by—is due to the internet.  Although the numbers are difficult to pin down accurately because of the confidential nature of the animal, it’s estimated that about two-thirds to three-quarters of today’s swing club participants meet up through popular lifestyle and club web sites.  Ultimately, what used to be strictly taboo is gaining significantly greater acceptance as time goes on and the idea that network and mainstream cable outlets have jumped on board is an indicator of how far things have come.  Even the Discovery Fit & Health channel has swung over to swinging, producing Secret Sex Lives: Swinging, a mini-series.  (Of course, being billed as a “reality show” likely means there will be very little that’s real about it, but it should still be pretty interesting.)

So, what’s behind the resurgence?  Is this trend just a throwback to the free-love movement or are couples having some sort of relationship A.D.D. these days?  Is the concept of marriage itself becoming outdated?  Or is all of this simply a sign that the pendulum is swinging (pardon the pun) away from uptight hypocrisy and over towards more evolved and open-minded sensibilities?

To get a handle on all of this, it’s important to understand that “The Lifestyle” is pretty loosely defined, perhaps by design.  Succinctly, swinging is generally about committed couples having sex with other people, but how that’s done these days takes on many different forms—along with differing rules and occasionally with double standards.  For example, it’s commonly acceptable for single women to participate in club events while single men are often prohibited.  Some clubs even have fairly arbitrary “attractiveness” gauges that limit joining in based on looks.  As with most things, there are pluses and minuses.  The point is there’s actually no singular “lifestyle” per se, but rather a broad umbrella that encompasses many different ways to go about it—all based on adult consent of course.  A common denominator, however, is that most see a key difference between swinging and cheating—a difference that is both a major point of attraction for those who enjoy the scene as well as a big reason why swinging enhances their main relationship rather than detracts from it.  Successful swingers attribute the feat to honesty, open communication and feeling secure—all of which help to solidify the foundation in their basic committed relationship.  They enjoy being able to safely add variety and excitement in close concert with their partner while preserving the security of their primary bond.

The swingers’ scene is thriving–and getting bigger all the time with about 700 clubs in North America alone.  It’s certainly not to the extent of being a completely hiccup-free zone yet, but more and more appear to be learning to live and let live.

Yeah, baby.  Groovy indeed.

(For more information about today’s Swinger’s Scene, we recommend visiting NASCA.com and LifestyleMagazine.com.  We also welcome all thoughts on the topic–pro or con–so please consider commenting and helping us to further publicize our content.  Thank you.)