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The Artvoice Guide To Sex From A to Z

26 informative tidbits about gettin' it on.


This may be news to some, but teenagers like to bone. Shocking though it may be, this has remained a relative constant throughout history. Still religious and moralizing forces, buoyed by $1.5 billion in federal funding, conspired to make the 2000’s the ‘decade of naivete’ when it came to teen hormones. They believed that a policy of preaching ‘just say no’ (a resounding success with drugs) against every biological urge, could solve the problem of adolescent sexuality. But a 2007 study commissioned by Congress found that middle-schoolers who were taught abstinence only ed were just as likely to have sex as their more hedonistic schoolmates. And after dropping 28% from 1990-2000, teen pregnancy rates actually increased 3% from 2006-2007. While correlation doesn’t equal causation, many argue that abstinence only ed just breeds ignorance and misinformation when it comes to the ‘forbidden knowledge’ of proper condom usage, sexually transmitted diseases and the implications of pregnancy. Whoulda knew??!?

Buffalo Gals

The jovial anthem has long held a place in the roots of traditional American folk music, but most people don’t know is the seedy nature of its origin. You see when the Erie Canal opened in 1825, Buffalo’s strategic position on the western terminus transformed the sleepy village into a bustling boom town [Yes, ‘Buffalo’ and ‘boom town’, words that seem incongruous today]. The influx of longshoremen, steamship crewmen and fresh-off-the-boat immigrants would transform a now-defunct Canal Street into a notorious district of bars, brothels and bawdiness. Crime and disease were rampant and the streets were brimming with working girls. It was in 1844 that minstrel singer John Hodges, who performed under the name “Cool White”, first penned his serenade to Buffalo’s ladies of the night.

Client 9

The past few years have been a goldmine for sex scandals involving politicians (Mark Foley, Mark Sanford, Larry “Wide Stance” Craig), but arguably one of the biggest was the downfall of former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, a.k.a. “Client 9”. After building a career on his reputation of being tough on corruption, it was revealed in 2008 that Spitzer had utilized a high-priced escort service to spend upwards of $80,000 on prostitutes over the course of several years. With his spurned wife by his side, Spitzer would resign days later at one of the most awkward press conferences in history. Spitzer’s worst crime however were the allegations that he wore calf-length black socks during his sexual trysts, a curious kink and fashion faux-pas that he would later deny.


Once used to describe generally the class of women who worked as prostitutes among Parisian cafes and music halls, demimonde now is used to describe anyone who exists on the fringes of society, sexually or otherwise. (See “Queer.”)


A once popular club drug that intensified one’s desire for sex while sapping one’s ability to enjoy it.

Family Video

The ironically named video outlet is currently under siege from morality police in the Town of Tonawanda for its distribution of adult content in violation of town zoning laws. The Tonawanda Town Board filed an injunction in State Court in November of 2009 to stop the rental or sale of pornographic material in a 150 square-foot back room of the chain’s Colvin location. Family Video, which does in fact rent thousands of family videos, is challenging the law. The results of the Town’s actions are still pending. It’s hard to argue against the proliferation of porn but all of this just begs the question: With millions of terabytes of free and easily accessible pornographic material online, who the hell still rents erotic movies on VHS?


Fear of marriage. The rate at which Americans get married has continued to edge downward in recent years, but so has the divorce rate, suggesting that those who are terrified of marriage are smartly shying away.

Hite Report

Shere Hite, a historian and sex educator whose works include Sexual Honesty, by Women, for Women and The Hite Report on Female Sexuality, reported in the early 1970s that of the women she’d surveyed, only 30 percent had ever achieved orgasm through thrusting intercourse. Hite criticized earlier studies by the likes of Masters and Johnson which suggested that women who failed to achieve orgasm through thrusting intercourse were dysfunctional.


You can thank Japan for just about every WTF-moment in the world of sex over the last 20 years. While Germany may have a greater per capita share of shocking sex practices (Scheiße!), when it comes to downright weird, Japan’s on top. The history of weird can be traced all the way back to around 1820 and the bizarre woodcut “The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife”, the first example of arguably Japan’s weirdest sexual subculture: tentacle erotica (this, mind you, from the same nation to bring you vending machines filled with schoolgirl’s panties, bukkake and ridiculous amounts of toilet fetishism). Shokushu goukan really took off in the 1980’s due to censorship laws that forbid depictions of penetration by means of penis. Naturally smut peddlers found a way around this by drawing the forced and often multiple penetration of a woman by tentacled monsters. Sounds reasonable enough. Don’t believe us, look it up. This stuff is big there.

Keri Sable

She’s probably the most well-known adult actress born in Buffalo. The 23-year-old has starred in over 80 films including “Barely Legal All Stars 7”, “Naughty College School Girls 34” and a whole host of films with titles so profoundly inappropriate they can’t be repeated in print. A veteran of the adult film industry already, Sable started working after she turned eighteen, before she even graduated high school.


Buffalo attorney Paul Cambria, who first achieved notoriety for his defense of Hustler publisher Larry Flynt against obscenity charges, has long been known as a vigorous defendant of the First Amendment. However back in 2001 Cambria helped draft what became known as “The Cambria List”, a catalog of acts and topics that the sex industry should shy away from to avoid scrutiny from law enforcement. Adult producers were concerned about the implications of a more conservative Justice Department appointed by to the George W. Bush administration. The list contains the usual and expected degree of deviancy, but there were some curious choices including: “No black men-white women themes”, “No food used as sex object”, “No coffins” and the baffling guideline “No peeing unless in a natural setting, e.g., field, roadside”.


One of the most heavily trafficked websites on the Interwebs, Craigslist is a collection of local message boards where you can find jobs, apartments, concert tickets and sure enough, sex. Aside from the pros and escorts one of the most popular features of the site is the “Casual Encounters” section, a place where consenting adults can get together for NSA (no-strings attached) sex. In large cities like Seattle and Atlanta the hookup scene is a a thriving community. Casual Encounters caters to almost every kink and users post codewords to describe their gender and predilection: m4w (man for woman), w4t (woman for transsexual), mw4mw(group), t4mw (you get the picture).

Niagara Falls

Back when the American side wasn’t as dilapidated, it was known as the “Honeymoon Capital of the World” and was the place where a serious number of our parents and grandparents got it on. It all began when Theodosia Burr, the daughter of United States Vice President Aaron Burr traveled to the Falls in 1801 with her new husband. Many newlyweds would follow, spurred by the White-invented myth of an Indian virgin, or “Maid of the Mist”, sacrificed at the Falls. After the first World War, as cars became more affordable, tourism boomed. The sexually charged beauty and danger of the Falls was further exploited in 1953 with the Marilyn Monroe thriller “Niagara”. Norma Jean’s femme fatale cemented the Falls as the destination of choice for East Coast America’s working class. There may be a scientific reason why the Falls is so conducive to people doing as rabbits often do. Falling water ionizes the air negatively, which some people say accounts for the euphoric sensations and a positive feeling of “love” in the air.

Oamnia vincit amor; et nos cedamus amori

”Love conquers all,” wrote Virgil, “so let us surrender to love.” To which Mae West added, “Love conquers all things except poverty and toothache.”


This word, once used derisively, has long since been reclaimed by LGBT activists as an umbrella term for the entire demimonde whose sexuality transcends the heteronormative. But its meaning has become even more inclusive than that—especially as it becomes more difficult to nail down precisely what “heteronormative” means, or to find anyone whose sexuality can be completely circumscribed by its definition. Yes, Virginia, we’re all queer now.

Rule 34

[rül thər-tē fȯr] -noun

1a. A generally accepted principle that states that sexually related material or pornography exists for almost every conceivable kink the mind can fathom. b. The phrase draws its etymology from online message boards where the anonymity of the Internet allowed people to be more expressive of their sexual perversions. For instance, an innocuous conversation about ‘_______’ would inevitably draw a smartass remark about ‘spreading _______ all over their _______’ for the purpose of sexual gratification. c. An invocation of Rule 34 states that if one were to look hard enough, they would most likely find the aforementioned sexual activity and its practitioners already in existence. 2. So take comfort deviants, you’re probably not alone.

Safe Word

The kinky world of BDSM (bondage/dominance/sadism/masochism) is not without its’ inherent risk of danger. But in the interest of keeping the local Homicide Squad out of bedroom affairs, some practitioners of the more hazardous and painful practices like to have a codeword to signify when to pull the plug. The idea being that the submissive participant, who might scream or beg the dominant to stop in order to enhance the role playing experience, can reliably communicate when a physical or emotional threshold is reached. So the next time you hear your adventurous neighbors through the walls (banana, BANANA!) you’ll know they aren’t talking about fruit.


Leave it to Texas to arrest two middle-aged adults in 1998 for the crime of consensual same-sex butt-loving. The two gay men, John Geddes Lawrence and Tyron Garner, were charged with misdemeanors and fined $200 for violating the state’s anti-sodomy laws. While sodomy statutes at the time were rarely enforced, at the time of their arrest, sodomy was still technically illegal in 19 mostly southern states (New York’s sodomy laws were struck down in 1981). Lawrence appealed his conviction all the way to the Supreme Court and in 2003 by a 6-3 decision the law was struck down. While the landmark ruling held that consensual sexual conduct was protected by the due process clause under the Fourteenth Amendment the only thing you need to remember is that both gays and straights nationwide could now engage in all kinds of freaky and fun behaviour in the sanctity of their bedrooms without fear of criminalization. So tip your glass and tap that ass in honor of John Geddes Lawrence and his fight for equal rights and sexual freedom.

Up In The Air

A fine movie, nominated for several Oscars. Does anyone out there know what Vera Farmiga meant shen she told George Clooney she liked how he’d “burrito-ed” her in the couch cushions? If so, please write to


As in the San Fernando Valley, the land of Hollywood dreams deferred. Also known as the “San Pornando” or “Silicone” Valley, this suburban stretch of North Los Angeles is not only the subject of many Paul Thomas Anderson films, but also the headquarters of America’s (and thus the world’s) pornographic movie industry. Beginning in the 1970’s; today the Valley produces an 90% of the legally distributed erotic films in the United States, generating an estimated $13 billion in annual revenue.

Water Sports

Like water-skiing. Or water polo. Or urophilia.


It’s usually pretty hard to come up with an X for these lists but luckily the 23rd letter is pretty much synonymous with sex. The lascivious letter was first used in the United States in 1968, when the Motion Picture Association of America first started rating films. Intended to apply to any film with content deemed inappropriate for minors, adult film producers quickly began adding extra X’s to their ratings to make the content seem more extreme. ‘XXX’ quickly became the standard designation for films that contained hardcore material. Fun Fact: 1968’s Midnight Cowboy is the only film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture with an X-Rating.


It’s the answer most of us are looking for in our pursuit of love and sex, as so ably illustrated by James Joyce’s Molly at the end of Ulysses: “...I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.” Alternately, Yes is a prog rock band which you should never play, under any circumstance, no matter your sexuality, if you’re looking to get lucky. Worst makeout music ever.


You know when your partner just won’t stop flirting with others, and he’s watching you from across the room as you get progressively more steamed, and he actually seems to be enjoying how angry you’re getting. Perhaps he’s a zelophile—that is, he’s sexually aroused by jealousy.

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