Sex & Stats’ 2014 Year in Review

Beyonce's 'Flawless' performance at the 2014 MTV Video Music Award

Beyoncé’s ‘Flawless’ performance at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards

We’re almost done with 2014, so let’s take a look back at some important movements in the world of sexuality.

Trans Issues:

After a long time, the trans community has come into the spotlight.

It started back in early March, when Jared Leto took home the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for playing trans woman Rayon in “Dallas Buyers Club.” This was the first time an actor won an Oscar for a trans role, and the second time an actor playing a trans character had been nominated for an Academy Award. (The first time was when Felicity Huffman played a trans woman in 2005’s “Transamerica,” and garnered a Best Actress nomination.) The film also sparked a dialogue about cisgendered actors playing trans roles.

The community has been making strides on a local level as well. This fall, a Texas high school elected its first trans homecoming king.

 

Anal Play:

“We’ve been experimenting with the butt,” a good friend of mine said recently. Though she was referring to what she and her partner were getting up to, this statement also applies to our culture’s newfound fascination with anal play.

Ever since a stripper alleged that Drake enjoyed having his salad tossed, it seems like anal play and rappers  are having a major intersectionality moment. Nicki Minaj has proven this most frequently with her singles “Anaconda” and “Only,” positing herself in the power position of receiving, and greatly enjoying, having her asshole eaten out.

Anal sex also appeared on our broadcast TV screens in mainstream American homes this fall. The “How To Get Away With Murder” pilot and an episode of “The Mindy Project” both featured the formerly taboo act (the former more explicitly than the latter). Bonus points for both featuring interracial couples as well.

 

Feminism:

This is technically a holdover from 2013, but feminism continued to stake its claim in culture this year.

“Harry Potter” actress Emma Watson gave an inspiring speech to the United Nations launching the HeForShe campaign, mobilizing men to do their part for feminism. Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld ended his spring 2015 runway show with models holding up signs painted with feminist slogans. Singer John Legend declared that society would be better if all men were be feminists.

Of course, Beyoncé also had a hand in this. (No surprise there, as her 2013 self-titled album sampled Chiamanda Ngozi Adichie’s now-famous TED talk on feminism.) She started it off strong in January authoring an essay on workplace inequality for “The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back From the Brink.”

But that was small compared to what was to come: During the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards, Beyoncé performed “***Flawless” in front of a giant lit marquee, branding herself as a FEMINIST. IN ALL CAPS. It certainly raised consciousness for many people, because Google searches for “feminist” and “beyonce feminist” majorly spiked that week.

 

2014 has been very eventful, and let’s hope society keeps making sex-positive strides forward in 2015. See you next year!

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Sodomy Laws in the US: By The Numbers

US Sodomy Laws by Year of Repeal/Struck Down

US Sodomy Laws by Year of Repeal/Struck Down

While many states are passing laws allowing gay marriage, some areas regarding sexuality are still in the Dark Ages: Fourteen states still have laws on the books banning sodomy. And these laws aren’t just for the LGBT crowd; they’re for everyone, regardless of orientation.

Contrary to popular belief equating sodomy with only anal sex, these laws can also cover oral sex, and certain sexual acts between homosexual couples, unmarried heterosexual couples and even married couples.

Though these “crimes against nature” laws were invalidated in 2003 with the Lawrence v. Texas Supreme Court case, some remain, and are still enforced, in certain states.

How common are these laws? Let’s take a look:

Number of states with active sodomy laws: 14

Number of states outlawing anal sex: 27

Number of states outlawing oral sex: 24

Number of states outlawing both anal and oral sex: 24

Number of states with laws including certain acts between homosexual couples: 27

Number of states with laws including certain acts between unmarried heterosexual couples: 20

US Sodomy Laws by Year of Repeal/Struck Down

US Sodomy Laws by Year of Repeal/Struck Down

Number of states with laws including certain acts between married couples: 16

 

If you’d like more information, Wikipedia has a very helpful matrix.

Anal Sex on Broadcast TV: “How to Get Away With Murder” and “The Mindy Project”

Danny and Mindy, "The Mindy Project"

Danny and Mindy, “The Mindy Project”

Sex on TV has always been shrouded by the censors. But there’s proof that sexual depictions are finally loosening up–especially with anal sex.

HBO has already tread this territory, with “Entourage” in its seventh season in 2010. Then it blew the door open with the “Girls” pilot in 2012, with Lena Dunham getting anally penetrated by her boyfriend.

Finally, broadcast TV is finally getting on that train. We’ve seen two such depictions in recent weeks.

On ABC, the “How To Get Away With Murder” pilot, which aired on Sept. 25th, showed first-year law student Connor Walsh (Jack Falahee) seducing IT guy Oliver (Conrad Ricamora) to get information about Oliver’s company. We don’t see any penetration, but when Connor flips Oliver over onto his stomach, we know what’s going down.

On Fox, “The Mindy Project” third season’s fourth episode shows couple Mindy (Mindy Kaling) and Danny (Chris Messina) very comfortable in their relationship–so much so that Danny accidentally goes in the back door. Played for laughs, Danny simply says, “I slipped.”

The season’s just getting started, so hopefully we’ll see more sexual adventures from these and other shows very soon!

 

Just How Popular Is Analingus?

Nicki Minaj's "Anaconda" cover

Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” cover

Rimming. Salad tossing. Eating booty.

All of a sudden, it’s the sex act everyone can’t stop talking about (or reading about). But who’s actually actually doing it?

Sadly, I couldn’t find any specific surveys dedicated to purely analingus. (Kinsey Institute, want to get on that?) But we can deduce a couple of things from general anal sex stats.

A 2010 “Psychology Today” article states that “recent surveys” found that around 15% of Americans engage or have engaged in “some form” of anal sex. This amounts to around 20M people. (Also, props to the author for noting upfront that he couldn’t find any analingus stats himself.) But this doesn’t tell us a) how often, or not, Americans are engaged in anal play, and b) what exactly they’re doing with the ass. We also don’t know how “recent” these surveys were, or what length of time they covered.

Slightly more recently, the CDC’s 2011 National Health Statistics report found that 36% of women and 44% of men reported engaging in anal sex, using the cohort group of men and women ages 25-44. But again, this only tells us about one specific act, unless participants were lumping rimming under the general “anal sex” umbrella.

Unless we get an actual study devoted to analingus analytics, we’ll never know for sure. But anecdotally, in mainstream culture, the prevalence of the act appears to be on the rise.