‘It stopped me having sex for a year’: why Generation Z is turning its back on sex-positive feminism

The movement championed the right to enjoy sex and was supposed to free women from guilt or being shamed. But now many are questioning whether it has left them more vulnerable

Lala likes to think of herself as pretty unshockable. On her popular Instagram account @lalalaletmeexplain, she dishes out anonymous sex and dating advice on everything from orgasms to the etiquette of sending nude pictures. Nor is the 40-year-old sex educator and former social worker (Lala is a pseudonym) shy of sharing her own dating experiences as a single woman.

But even she was perturbed by a recent question, from a woman with a seven-year-old daughter who had caught her new partner watching “stepdaughter” porn involving teenage girls. Was that a red flag?

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Our long-term relationship is stale. Is this something that happens to everyone? | Leading questions

It doesn’t matter what is normal, writes advice columnist Eleanor Gordon-Smith, you have to decide what you want for yourself

I’ve been with my boyfriend for almost seven years, and our relationship has gotten stale. We both feel that we are not very happy, but we don’t want to break up, as we love and care for each other.

We’ve both been working from home throughout the pandemic, and work long hours. No doubt this has impacted our relationship, and our sex life is poor. I just feel like relationships should be more than this, that they should add something to your life. Right now we are more like flatmates.

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The secret to great sex? It’s not what you think …

There’s more to good sex than complicated positions or wild lust. The authors of a groundbreaking study explain what really makes it great

Far from what films and TV shows might tell us, truly magnificent sex has very little to do with daring feats of seduction or screaming orgasms. In fact, according to the latest research, erotic intimacy is more a state of mind than a physical act.

In a recent study, Magnificent Sex, psychologist and sex therapist Dr Peggy J Kleinplatz and her colleagues at Ottawa University in Canada realised that, while whole library sections were dedicated to bad sex (and how to make it better), there was almost no literature dedicated to great sex. What did it feel like? Who was having it? And what made it so great?

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The Lovers’ Guide at 30: did the bestselling video make Britain better in bed?

It featured an erect penis, and could be bought on the high street. The groundbreaking film changed attitudes to sex and censorship – paving the way to the Pornhub era

The second sexual revolution began 30 years ago, on 23 September 1991, with the release of an educational videotape called The Lovers’ Guide. The revolution’s unlikely figureheads were a film producer who had been making how-to videos about gardening and pets and cooking, and a 56-year-old doctor, while their ally was an American former TV and theatre director who had become Britain’s chief film censor.

The producer was a man called Robert Page, who had been approached by Virgin – which had recently started making condoms – to make a sexual health film for men that explained how to use one. There were two difficulties with that. The first was that no erect penis had been shown on screen in Britain. The second was that Page had no interest in making a film about penises. The censor – James Ferman, the director of the British Board of Film Classification from 1975 to 1999 – took care of the first issue.

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‘Sex isn’t difficult any more’: the men who are quitting watching porn

Addiction to pornography has been blamed for erectile dysfunction, relationship issues and depression, yet problematic use is rising. Now therapists and tech companies are offering new solutions

Thomas discovered pornography in the traditional way: at school. He remembers classmates talking about it in the playground and showing each other videos on their phones during sleepovers. He was 13 and thought it was “a laugh”. Then he began watching pornography alone on his tablet in his room. What started as occasional use, at the beginning of puberty, became a daily habit.

Thomas (not his real name), who is in his early 20s, lived with one of his parents, who he says did not care what he was doing online. “At the time, it felt normal, but looking back I can see that it got out of hand quite quickly,” Thomas says. When he got a girlfriend at 16, he started having sex and watched less pornography. But the addiction was just waiting to resurface, he says.

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‘I don’t want sex with anyone’: the growing asexuality movement

Asexual representation is becoming more common – but the orientation is still widely misunderstood. Not wanting sex is not the same as not wanting romance or intimacy – something, its advocates say, the rest of us would benefit from learning

Yasmin Benoit realised she was asexual around the time her peers in Reading figured out they weren’t. “Everyone seems pretty asexual until puberty hits and then they aren’t. But I didn’t feel the same way. I realised something was up,” she recalls.

But when the then-teenager came out as asexual, no one believed her. “They were, like: ‘You don’t look asexual, you’re probably just insecure, or you must have got molested or you must be gay… Maybe you’re a psychopath and can’t form proper connections with people.’”

You can have an intimate life-altering relationship without sex or romance

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Sex Education creator Laurie Nunn: ‘You can’t make sex scenes flowery!’

She scored a global smash with her TV debut. As the taboo-busting show is green-lit for a return, the writer reveals how she turned teenage dorkiness – and her own experience of sexual assault – into dynamite drama

Laurie Nunn is remembering her own experience of sex education. It was, she says, “practically nonexistent” at her school, which is ironic, given that she is responsible for one of the most candid TV shows ever made about the subject. “They didn’t talk about female pleasure at all,” says the writer. “I’m in my 30s and I feel like I’m only now starting to get the right language to talk about my own body. I think, ‘God, I wish I’d known this stuff when I was in my 20s.’”

When Sex Education was picked up, Nunn had no big credits to her name. She had written and directed a couple of short films and had worked up ideas for production companies, but nothing had quite landed. Then, suddenly, she had a hit – such a hit that Netflix’s UK headquarters now has a Sex Education-themed floor. (We meet on the Stranger Things floor, though. Perhaps the Sex Education floor would have been just too weird.)

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Sex Education creator Laurie Nunn: ‘You can’t make sex scenes flowery!’

She scored a global smash with her TV debut. As the taboo-busting show is green-lit for a return, the writer reveals how she turned teenage dorkiness – and her own experience of sexual assault – into dynamite drama

Laurie Nunn is remembering her own experience of sex education. It was, she says, “practically nonexistent” at her school, which is ironic, given that she is responsible for one of the most candid TV shows ever made about the subject. “They didn’t talk about female pleasure at all,” says the writer. “I’m in my 30s and I feel like I’m only now starting to get the right language to talk about my own body. I think, ‘God, I wish I’d known this stuff when I was in my 20s.’”

When Sex Education was picked up, Nunn had no big credits to her name. She had written and directed a couple of short films and had worked up ideas for production companies, but nothing had quite landed. Then, suddenly, she had a hit – such a hit that Netflix’s UK headquarters now has a Sex Education-themed floor. (We meet on the Stranger Things floor, though. Perhaps the Sex Education floor would have been just too weird.)

Continue reading…

Sex Education creator Laurie Nunn: ‘You can’t make sex scenes flowery!’

She scored a global smash with her TV debut. As the taboo-busting show is green-lit for a return, the writer reveals how she turned teenage dorkiness – and her own experience of sexual assault – into dynamite drama

Laurie Nunn is remembering her own experience of sex education. It was, she says, “practically nonexistent” at her school, which is ironic, given that she is responsible for one of the most candid TV shows ever made about the subject. “They didn’t talk about female pleasure at all,” says the writer. “I’m in my 30s and I feel like I’m only now starting to get the right language to talk about my own body. I think, ‘God, I wish I’d known this stuff when I was in my 20s.’”

When Sex Education was picked up, Nunn had no big credits to her name. She had written and directed a couple of short films and had worked up ideas for production companies, but nothing had quite landed. Then, suddenly, she had a hit – such a hit that Netflix’s UK headquarters now has a Sex Education-themed floor. (We meet on the Stranger Things floor, though. Perhaps the Sex Education floor would have been just too weird.)

Continue reading…

Polyamory in a pandemic: who do you quarantine with when you’re not monogamous?

Coronavirus is forcing people in poly relationships to make tough choices about who to be intimate with

Earlier this month, after being exposed to the coronavirus, Chaele Davis had to decide if she would spend her quarantine with her primary partner, whom she has been dating for a year, or her secondary partner, with whom she just celebrated a four year anniversary.

Davis, a polyamorous woman living in Brooklyn, had arranged her life not having to make choices like these. “But when you love two people, in a time like this, you just have to make the call,” she said.

Related: Can I have sex? A guide to intimacy during the coronavirus outbreak

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