Hillary Clinton became nationally known early on, when she was still a college student. In 1969, she was elected to be Wellesley College’s first student commencement speaker at graduation. During her speech, Clinton (then known as Hillary Rodham, her maiden name) addressed remarks made by Massachusetts Republican Senator Edward W. Brooke, who’d previously spoken about the rise of student protests on university campuses. Rodham Clinton then spoke off the cuff in favor of the protests, reasoning that they had a place in public discourse.
Last week, “Modern Family” actress Sofia Vergara’s former fiancé Nick Loeb penned an op-ed for “The New York Times” regarding Vergara’s frozen eggs. The pair had initially frozen the eggs via in-vitro fertilization (IVF) in case they later wanted children, before their relationship ended last year. (Vergara is currently engaged to “True Blood” actor Joe Manganiello.) Now Loeb wants to unfreeze an eggs to implant within a surrogate, and have a child using his ex-fiance’s egg. (When the two were together, they had signed an agreement regarding using the eggs only with permission from both of them, but there wasn’t any discussion on what might happen if they split.) Vergara, as owner of said egg(s), is (naturally and understandably) refusing to release her eggs.
I wanted to find out of there was a precedent set for IVF egg custody. According to “Chicago Lawyer” magazine, there are no definitive laws or one-approach-fits-all (yet), but 10 states so far have made rules regarding IVF custody and procedure cases.
One big commonality between a lot of these approaches is an issue familiar to sexuality: consent. Courts are generally weighing the desires of each partner, called “balance of interests.” This can be applied if one partner wants to use the eggs, but the other doesn’t want that person to use them. Iowa takes a “co-consent” approach, in that both parties must agree to “sign off when the embryo is implanted in the woman.”
Contracts guide decisions in other states. In these instances, courts rely on “contracts drawn up by the couple before the embryos were created.” New York, Washington, Texas and Oregon follow this method.
Some states take a blended approach (kind of like a blended orgasm). Tennessee, New Jersey and Pennsylvania first look for existing contracts between both parties before moving on to consent.
Other states are complete outliers in their approach. Iowa has “contemporaneous-mutual-consent,” which is a written agreement that states that both parties must sign off on use of the embryos. Massachusetts is another outlier, stating that the woman receives custody of the embryos in event of divorce.
Vergara and Loeb’s situation may bring attention to this dilemma shared by other ex-couples, and it could drive inquiries and move future legislation forward. We’ll have to see how it plays out.
Happy Friday! Last month, Massachusetts passed a law requiring businesses to give eight weeks of paternity leave. That’s right, paternity leave. For the fathers. The U.S. doesn’t have a paid paternity leave policy (come on, we don’t even have a paid maternity leave policy), though the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act offers 12 weeks of protection, but only if the employee has been working for the company for over a year and the company contains over 50 people. The new law would include companies with a minimum of six employees.
Work-life balance is increasingly becoming more of a concern for men as well as women, and the concept comes sharply into focus with the addition of children. The U.S. lags behind other countries in our paternity leave policies. A 2013 Pew Research Center study examined 38 countries, and found that 25 of them have guaranteed paternity leave for new fathers. Time off can range from less than one week to over eight weeks.
Several countries that offer paternity leave are within Europe. Norway, Ireland, Iceland, Slovenia, Sweden and Germany have protected paternity leave, which would allow a new father time off secure that he’ll be able to return to his job without being fired or let go. At least a portion of this time off is required to be paid, except in Ireland.
South Korea also has a paternity leave policy, in which new fathers can take up to five days off. But parents with children under three years old can request to work part- or full-time for one year to care for their child. It appears that this policy applies to both mothers and fathers.
Hopefully this new law will push policy towards a national paid leave policy, for both mothers and fathers.
Dell Williams, who died last week at age 92, is credited with founding the first woman-friendly sex shop in the nation. Her store Eve’s Garden, founded in 1974, was born out of a need for a safe space for women to embrace and grow their sexuality and respective needs and desires (as well as selling high-end toys and products).
Williams was very much ahead of her time in that respect. Over forty years later, we now have many woman-friendly sex stores. They tend to be founded in same spirit of celebration and discovery of sexuality that Eve’s Garden was. Education and empowerment go hand-in-hand.
Here’s a timeline of how woman-friendly sex shops have evolved:
1970s: After gaining popularity in the gay community, The Pleasure Chest becomes more couple- (and woman-) friendly.
1974: Dell Williams opened Eve’s Garden, the nation’s first woman-friendly sex shop.
1977: Joani Blank opened the first Good Vibrations store in San Francisco.
1993: Noticing a niche needing to be filled, Claire Cavanah and Rachel Venning founded Toys in Babeland in Seattle.
1998: Toys in Babeland opened a store in New York.
2003: The Smitten Kitten opened in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
2005: Toys in Babeland changes its name to simply Babeland, to better reflect a sexually satisfying lifestyle.
2006: Good Vibrations opened a store in Brookline, Massachusetts. It was the fourth store total, and the first to open outside of California.
2009: Evy Cowan and Jeneen Doumitt opened She Bop in Portland, Oregon.
This is just a handful of woman-friendly sex shops.
It’s interesting to note that not only are these stores woman-friendly, but they were also founded by women. Clearly, it takes one to know one, in the case of knowing what women want in their sex toy shopping experience. There also appears to be a link between owning your sexuality and entrepreneurship. Very interesting!
I wanted to see how many times kinky sex was searched for online, so I decided to do a Google Trends comparison. I used “vanilla sex” as a search term since I figured that using plain “sex” would be too broad for my question. I searched only within the U.S. and used 2004-present as my timeframe.
Surprisingly, the “vanilla sex” results (blue line) were much smaller than the “kinky sex” results (red line). My guess is that nobody really searches for vanilla sex (since you can get that pretty easily), and so people turn to the Internet to learn about kinky sex either for mere curiosity or are interested in pursuing it.
Let’s look at the results breakdown:
“Vanilla Sex” by Subregion:
Illinois heads up this list, with Pennsylvania and Michigan tying for second with 96%, and Massachusetts and New Jersey tying for fifth with 92%. New York places third with 94%, while California achieves 89% in ninth place. Texas brings up the rear with 86%.
“Vanilla Sex” by Metro:
Yeah, this doesn’t look comprehensive. I find it very hard to believe that New York is the only metro area Googling “vanilla sex,” considering I found that the same metro area was madly Googling sexy Halloween costumes last month.
Unless it’s a case where the numbers need to hit a certain threshold to become visible, this does not look viable. At all.
“Vanilla Sex” by City:
Chicago unsurprisingly tops this list, considering how Illinois topped the subregion list. New York and Los Angeles sit at third with 83% and fourth with 79%, respectively. Seattle, Atlanta and Houston have a three-way (heh) tie with 73%. San Francisco closes out the list with 57%, the lowest I’ve seen so far in doing these Google Trends.
“Kinky Sex” by Subregion:
Here’s where it gets interesting: All of the top states score at least 87%, which means these states have a big interest in kinky sex (nothing wrong with that, of course). Cueing the jokes about the South, Kentucky tops this list, with West Virginia a close second at 98%.
“Kinky Sex” by Metro:
Missouri’s St. Louis and Kansas City appear at #1 with 100% and #3 with 90%, respectively. Charlotte, NC sits between them with 92%.
Aside from that, the rest of the metro areas are scattered among Texas, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Ohio, California, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
“Kinky Sex” by City:
Southern cities Tampa and Atlanta tie for first, with St. Louis coming in at third with 95%. The rest of the lis is scattered geographically.
It’s difficult to draw any concrete conclusions from the findings. It appears that Googling kinky sex is widespread and not limited to any particular region, metro area and/or city.