The slant is sex. That’s the tagline for this site, and while pithy, it’s not complete. The slant is a lot more sex — and in this section, we’ll explore what that is so you can clearly see our biases. We’ll also disclose our relationships to companies and personalities that we may write about so that you can call us out if we’re too tangled in relationships to see the story for what it is. This happens — which is why we believe transparency is so important.
This blog is written for all genders — yes, all genders, not “both” genders. Over the course of our lives, we’ve come to realize that the gender binary (that is, the notion that there are only two genders) is an illusion far less simple or benign than people realize. We generally see gender roles in a similar way — for women, and men as well. Women have a ways to go in terms of achieving equal footing, but we believe we are making progress. The violent policing of masculinity as a cultural phenomenon, however, remains worrisome and largely unaddressed.
Sex, desire, and relationships are the main topics of this blog. This includes how the law is applied to them, what science has to say about them, how entertainment and news media is representing them, and what products, technology, services are being developed to make the experience better for people seeking them. Because we believe sex is also a form of labor, we have an interest in the pornography industry, the adult entertainment industry and their criminalized counterparts within the rest of the sex industry.
Like other decent human beings, we are concerned about coercion in the workplace — any workplace. This includes coercion in sex work. However, we do not believe that all sex workers are victims. We recognize that most sex workers arrive in the industry by choice or due to circumstances in their lives and that the best way to help them lead good lives is to reduce stigma and decriminalize as many aspects of sex work as possible. Doing this enables sex workers to form part of the society to which they belong, leave sex work if they choose, all while retaining access to law enforcement and the criminal justice system, as well as other critical services. We believe it is impossible to fight health crises, human trafficking and other abuses of vulnerable populations as long as people in the sex industry are afraid of exposure from coming forward. We believe that rights are more important — and more humane — than rescue.
Our advice for anyone who thinks that sex work is a terrible blight on society is to pack up their moral indignation and take it somewhere where it might fight poverty and inequality — the main culprits behind coercion and the economic circumstances that sometimes lead people toward sex work. Some circumstances, you must realize, are driven by other things, and there’s certainly nothing you can you do about a person’s free and willing choice to be a sex worker — as we have seen, criminalization only opens the doors to coercion and abuse.
Choice matters, whether the sex is work or fun. People have a right to say yes, and they also have a right to say no. People also have a right to not have to spend their entire day having to say no because they can’t walk down the street or run errands without one hundred people asking for their attention. Yes, that is a reference to Hollaback’s street harassment video. While harassment is not something only women and transwomen experience, it does happen to them far more than it does anyone else. It’s important to note that: these impositions (some of which may represent serious perceived or actual risk) do create a disadvantage for them in many areas of life.
And this is where things start to get feminist. This is, in fact, a feminist blog. However, due to the surge of radical feminist ideas online, it is important to clarify what exactly we mean by the term. We believe, for instance, that privilege exists, but that privilege is not absolute. You can benefit from privilege on one axis as a man, but lack privilege others benefit from because of your race, your socioeconomic status, your access to formal education, your sexual orientation, your gender presentation, or your disability, for example. Likewise, a woman can have a great deal of privilege due to a number of factors, which create for her blind spots when assessing others. The word “privilege” isn’t an insult, it’s an indication of the ease with which we move through life that many people don’t have in common with us.
We know men get sexually harassed and raped too and it is an outrage that the Federal Bureau of Investigation didn’t bother to update its definition of rape to include this fact until 2012. We have lived a long time under assumptions and generalizations related to gender, only now beginning to realize that erections aren’t consent just as the absence of no isn’t consent. These issues matter.
We believe in leading a life that acknowledges that people have desires without making them feel ashamed for them, but we also believe that everyone has a right to a life where their sense of safety or productivity aren’t hijacked by someone else’s desires. We believe that no one is entitled to anything from another person — not their time, not their attention, not their personal information, certainly not their bodies. Not even gratitude. An individual may give someone else any one of these things, but they should be able to give them freely and without fear. That is the sort of society that we hope for.
We also hope for a society that is more scientifically literate, technologically aware and, perhaps most importantly, a society that remembers where it has been. For this reason, we follow stories that relate to science, technology and history when they overlap with sex. We have no patience for products or techniques that promise much without supporting data. We recognize that we live in a time where anti-intellectualism is a largely bipartisan effort, and consider our refusal to participate in it as bordering on an act of civil disobedience. But we make mistakes, too, so if you catch any, you should leave a comment on the post or write in and let us know.
We feel very strongly about the censorship of adult content by regulatory agencies and technology companies. We believe adult content is the canary in the coal mine in terms of free speech. We must not forget that it’s not only porn that is targeted by such efforts, but science, literature, art and dissent as well.
That is a much more complete elucidation on the slant. But before we finish, we would like to clarify a few more things. Our founder and editor has worked in media for a number of years, which means that she has a number of relationships with people at other publications. These include, but are not limited to: Village Voice, LA Weekly, Los Angeles Times, Scientific American, Wired, National Geographic, Rolling Stone, LadyBits, Vice, io9, Gozmodo, Refinery29, Slate, and Salon. If you have been reading us for any amount of time, you know we have no qualms writing about these publications if we feel they’ve handled a story poorly, but the familiarity may make us more likely to link to them or share their sex-related content on social media, simply because that’s where we tend to read things first. If you are a writer who’s written something about sex and you want us to highlight it or disseminate your link on social media, please tweet or write us. Friends are bound to get more incoming links and shares, but there is no reason you can’t be a friend, too. Some goes for any writer who has a gripe about a publication’s position on or treatment of sex-related stories.
Because we’re based out of Silicon Valley, we’re connected to a number of people in technology. Specifically, we have ties to people at Google, Twitter, Facebook, Microsoft, Sonos, 500 Startups, MiKandi and OhMiBod, among others. Some of these companies aren’t relevant to sex, but nevertheless: when we cover them, we do our best to put our readers before our friends. This isn’t foolproof, though, so if you feel we aren’t being fair, or are leaving someone out of our coverage, please don’t hesitate to yell at our editor on social media or send us an e-mail.
Because we have been writing about sex for a while, a number of publicists have become good friends. These include, but are not limited to Brian Gross, Anne Hodder, Devan Cypher and Christopher Ruth. You too can be a good friend, just by dropping a note about yourself and the sort of product, people, and services you represent. Please note that no amount of friendship will make us write about your client — we pick stories based on what we think our readers would like, not our love for you. And remember: we are not bound to your time table! We have our own editorial calendar and stories may get shuffled or pushed if pressing news break. The best way to kiss up is to remember that we get a lot of e-mails, and only send us press releases for things that aren’t relevant to sex and relationships.
We’ve covered beliefs and social ties, and now it’s time to discuss money. Our founder has helped develop editorial teams and calendars for Sextoy.com and Sexcusemoi.com, two boutiques that cater to consumers of sexual products. She writes a monthly column for MiKandi, Android’s adult app store, and firmly supports their mission to enable developers of adult apps to make a decent living. They pay her money for the column. (A rule of thumb when you see anything written by her is to assume that she was paid for it. She is a huge believer in a world where creatives get paid for their work. If you ever have reason to question your worth as a creative, watch this. If that doesn’t work, tweet her. She’ll set you straight.)
She once attended a party for Durex, for which the condom manufacturer’s publicists paid her money. She has gotten a tablet from Samsung, a phone from HTC, another phone from Klout, Windows 7 Ultimate from Microsoft, speakers from Sonos, shoes from ainsley-t, dresses from a designer whose name she can’t remember, and more books, vibrators and porn than we could possibly list for you. If you are a frequent reader, you have probably reaped the benefits of that extravaganza. Despite all the technology, our founder is unbelievably fond of going to the post office physically and sending little care packages to readers from the “porn fairy.”
In the past year, our founder has contributed to the following crowd-funding efforts: SNAPSHOT, a feature film by the award-winning director Shine Louise Houston that is both an coming out story and an erotic thriller; WordRates & PitchLab, a publishing platform for journalists to share payment structures, rate editors and sell pitches; and the fundraiser for Kamylla, a sex worker whose involvement with 8 Minutes, the A&E television show about “rescuing” victims of sex trafficking, led not to rescue, but to her arrest.
In 2014, our founder donated to the following causes: Sex Workers Outreach Project, Red Umbrella Project, the National Center for Transgender Equality, Médecins Sans Frontières, Second Harvest Food Bank, One Warm Coat, Humane Society Silicon Valley, Bay Area German Shepherd Rescue and Theater Works. She supported a crowd-funding campaign for The Gender Book, a primer on gender identity; and contributed to the Sex Workers Outreach Project’s fund to organize events nationwide to bring attention to the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. She sponsored the feminist tech culture platform Model View Media’s September 2014 issue on sex and sexuality.
If you know of an organization that may be of interest to her, please do not hesitate to let her know. It needn’t be in her area. Sex worker “rescue” organizations need not even bother to apply.