YALE/NYC TOUR Part III: Education, Celebration and Controversy at SEX WEEK at YALE 2008



The Climax: Skull & Boned at Toad’s
Obviously, after seeing porn at the Yale Law School, we needed to release…

Audrey Webster, Dr. Susan Block, Michael Blum, Paul Thomas

So we headed over to Toad’s Place for the Skull & Boned soirée. The title was tongue-in-cheeky in more ways than one. Skull & Bones is Yale’s most elite secret society. Toad’s is the great equalizer.

Toad’s was one of my old haunts in my student days. I performed Commedia dell’Arte there as Columbine, opening for George Thorogood and The Destroyers back when they were the Delaware Destroyers.

The Toad is much bigger now, having gobbled up a few neighboring units like, well, like a toad swallows flies.  The main area is so huge, it’s easy to get lost.  We wiggled through the crowd up to the VIP lounge where our friend Michael Blum ’95 and a bunch of revelers were waiting for us with beverages and smiles.  We shmoozed and boozed with professors and porn stars, Yalies and townies.  I chatted with Mating Intelligence researcher Scott Barry Kaufman and found out we both grew up in Lower Merion.

Four scantily clad young ladies gathered around, eager to join in on whatever we were doing.  “You go to Yale?” I asked.  They nodded vigorously, maybe a little too vigorously.  “What residential college are you in?”

This was a test question (which any Yalie could answer in a half-second), and these girls broke up into embarrassed giggles, then confessed,  “We don’t go to Yale. We’re from Quinippiac!!”

I tried not to sound patronizing as I replied, “That’s okay.”  Quinippiac is a small private university in Hamden, a town just outside of New Haven.  I remember when I was a student, certain Yale boys would go out with Quinippiac girls who seemed so much more relaxed, easy-going and less complicated (all of which often translates into “sexier”) than Yale girls.

But there were plenty of sexy Yale girls at Toad’s, including the charming Audrey Webster ’09 and vivacious SWAY Assistant Director Jacquie Coe ‘09, plus a bunch of hot hockey players and a contingent from the football team.

Everybody danced, romanced and fantasized about the captain of the football team making it with Savanna Samson who looked like the ultimate hot cheerleader.  Exhilarated by his controversial appearance that night at the Law School, porn director Paul Thomas (PT) declared that he was now ready to teach a seminar at Yale.

Somebody led a bunch of us out onto the stage where we boogied in back of Savanna and a Conga line of Quinnipiac girls and townies, with a sprinkling of intrepid Bulldogs.

Marinating in the warm fuzzy fellowship feeling that the great god Bacchus bestows, Yalies and Quinnipiacers forgot their differences, embraced, grinned like inebriated fools, and felt the power and glory of positive connection.  Praise be to the Power & Glory of Sex Week at Yale! We are all Brothers and Sisters, Lovers and Sinners.  Hallelujah! It was a euphoric moment of communal ecstasy, impossible to describe without sounding utterly goofy, but as great an achievement for Sex Week at Yale as the lectures and panels, maybe even the climax of The Week.

The Afterglow: Saybrook Master’s Tea
If the Toad’s Experience was the climax of Sex Week, my Saybrook Master’s Tea the next day was the afterglow, the cozy, intimate pillow talk after the orgiastic fireworks.

Personally, these are the moments I love best, suspended in  the afterglow of sex, when I’m really relaxed, with all that oxytoxin flowing through my system, my mind now stable enough to savor the benefits of what my body just did, my spirit floating on waves of pleasure and peace.

This was my second Master’s Tea.

Yale is filled with Masters. And we’re not even talking about the secret societies yet.  Of course, in the sexuality field, when people talk about a Master, we think of a big guy in leather looming over us with a whip. At Yale, a Master is the distinguished leader of one of the undergraduate school’s twelve residential “colleges,” each housing about 250 students, a dining hall, library, theater, seminar rooms and other amenities, modeled along the lines of Cambridge and Oxford, to provide the friendly feeling of a small college along with the opportunities of a world-class university.  When I was a student, a Master was always a Mister. Nowadays, Yale has female Masters, and they don’t call them Mistresses (that would be too kinky); they call them Masters.

One of them is Master Mary Miller, Vincent Scully Professor of the History of Art, avid squash player and mom.  Master Miller presides over Saybrook, one of the oldest, most beautiful residential colleges at Yale, its gracious courtyards flanking one side of Yale’s Great Gothic Phallus, kingly Harkness Tower.

As Saybrook was my college at Yale, I am always delighted to revisit its castle-like architecture infused with homey ambiance.

For my first Master’s Tea at SWAY ’04, I talked about “Sex at Yale.” This time, I spoke about “Sex & God.”  It was Sex & Spirituality Sunday, and we spent the day grappling with this most slippery, emotional and political of subjects.

I outlined my talk in my Valentine/Lupercalia Bloggamy, so please give that a good read, if you haven’t already, to get the gist of what I talked about.   As always, the Doc Johnson Pocket Rockets were a big hit and the perfect icon (Drop Pocket Rockets, Not Patriot Missiles).  It was a great honor and pleasure to sit again in Master Miller’s gracious and spacious living room, addressing some of the brightest and most privileged young adults on the planet (Saybrook won the Gimble Cup for the higest overall GPA at Yale last year) on matters of Sex & God as they thoughtfully sipped Earl Grey tea and munched on sugar cookies, and the chimes of great Harkness reminded us that we were in heaven.

The Lover’s Quarrel:  Sex & Spirituality Panel
If Toad’s was the climax of The Week, and my Master’s Tea was the sweet afterglow, the “Sex & Spirituality” Panel  after the Tea was the lover’s quarrel after the afterglow.  This was one of those SWAY ’08 cases of right-on intentions, off-balanced chemistry.  Good panel chemistry is tricky to create.  It’s as important as relationship chemistry, but different.  Unlike a relationship, fellow panelists don’t need to love each other to make a great panel.  They don’t even need to agree; in fact, it’s better when they don’t.  But they should have the right balance of controversy and conviviality, disparity and respect.

The Sex & Spirituality Panel was out of balance in more ways than one.  First, there was the religious background imbalance:  All five panelists were Jewish, or at least, had been Jewish.  When Joe had told me the panel composition a week before SWAY, I’d warned him that there were “too many Jews” for a panel that is supposed to address a broad spectrum of points of view on Sex & Spirituality for a student body that is mostly Christian, as well as Muslim, Hindu, etc.  I must confess I felt awkward and politically incorrect about saying this, especially to a student, but I was trying to head off that imbalance .  Joe agreed and sent out invitations to religious organizations and Yale Chaplains in Christian denominations, as well as the Muslim and Hindu faiths.  None of the chaplains responded, except one rabbi.

So there we were, Stevie Jay, a Jewish performance artist; Dr. Judith Kuriansky, a JewBu (Jewish Buddhist) media psychologist; Dawn Eden, a Jewish-born rock journalist (originally Dawn Eden Goldstein) who converted to Catholicism, found chastity and became a Born-Again Virgin, Jane Bernard, a Jewish writer about intuition, and me, the token Jewish Pagan Ethical Hedonist Bonobo.   Dawn Eden called me a “lapsed Jew” in her blog.  I don’t consider myself “lapsed;”  I prefer “evolved.”  I wonder if Dawn Eden Goldstein would call herself a “lapsed Jew.”  More likely, she believes she has gone “beyond” Judaism in her acceptance of Jesus Christ.  Jesus is her rock star now.  One more Jewish panelist, Slifka Center Rabbi James Ponet, didn’t even join the panel, but stayed in the audience.  Maybe he thought there were already too many Jews on the panel.  Or perhaps he just felt safer this way.

Living legendary WOR-AM (710) New York radio personality Joey Reynolds was the moderator.   Joey is a really sweet and very cool guy, but he didn’t seem prepared to discuss, let alone moderate this panel.  Maybe it was because of all the Jews he saw before him, but he started things off with a Never-Ending Story about Al Goldstein, yet another Jew in Sex.  It seemed unrelated, or was Al Goldstein actually Dawn Eden Goldstein’s Uncle Al? It was beginning to feel like a semitic-erotic conspiracy…

The Jewish Question aside for a moment, it was great to see Dr. Judy again after so many years ago, when we met on “The LA Morning Show,”  where I was promoting my first book “Advertising for Love” (Morrow) that forecast the personal ad revolution still raging on the Internet today, and she was just emerging as a media psychologist.  Now she’s an expert in Tantra. When Joey introduced her, she hopped up to the lectern and gave a power point presentation that seemed a bit out of place since the rest of us were just there to talk.  But I like Dr. Judy; she’s got a good, practical but loving, down-to-earth approach to sex and spirituality, and she had the chutzpah to bring along some kind of animal penis fossil that she passed around the class.

Stevie Jay refuses to be labeled, and well he shouldn’t be.  He’s the kind of guy you feel more comfortable hugging than shaking hands.  He started out by gently chastising Dawn for calling him “gay” in her blog, then went into a performance arty description of a spiritual/sexual outercourse experience he had with one of his fans.  Jane talked about the communal ecstasy of love-ins, her voice warm and a little woozy, as if she were just emerging from the afterglow of the 1970s.

And then there was Dawn Eden Goldstein, the Jew who converted to Christianity, who had, in fact, become more Christian than most Christians, more Catholic than most Catholics, and substantially holier than thou.  While the others on the panel had evolved from Jewish upbringings toward an even more relaxed, sensuous spirituality, Dawn had taken the opposite path into the punishing dogmas of chastity.  It was tough for the rest of us JewBu types not to gang up on her, especially when she said Sex Week didn’t present any events about relationships.  What about Relationship Monday with Dr. Pepper Schwartz and Dr. Ruth?  I had devoted a portion of my “Sex & God” Master’s Tea to relationships, marriage and how to make love everlasting.  But of course, these were three more Jews talking about relationships. Oy!

Dawn did make a valid point when she said it looked like Sex Week at Yale was sponsored by pornographers.  Calling Saturday “Vivid Day” was not a brilliant idea.  Ironically, Vivid had given no money to SWAY, but simply “absorbed the cost” of sending their CEO and stars to Yale.  Interestingly, the Church and Nightline “absorbed the cost” of The Great Porn Debate.  Maybe there was a little too much Porn and too much Church in SWAY ’08.

But there was nowhere near enough Church for Dawn.  She complained that Sex Week wasn’t expressing her point of view, even though she was an invited speaker.   She seemed so fragile, the chaste girl among the heathens. She used her own personal life as a constant barometer; at one point, stating authoritatively that long before she “realized that masturbation was sinful,” she found it “depressing.”  She then concluded that after masturbating, “people” feel depressed.  Well, at least she didn’t say “people” go blind or grow hair on their palms.

Still, I felt obliged to clarify. “Certain people feel depressed. Depressed people feel depressed.”  Most people, of course, feel better.  Masturbation takes the edge off, relieves stress, frustration and physical as well as mental congestion, helps you to discover the deepest pleasure points in your body and mind, lets you sleep, can be sex educational, inspirational and even spiritually healing.

I was about to say all this when suddenly, I heard Dawn snapping at me, “Lay off the ad hominems”  after I said that people who feel depressed after masturbation are generally depressed people. I hadn’t meant to say that she was depressed, but since she brought it up, well… She did seem like she was ready to burst into tears – or sue me – so I just left it alone.  Maybe I should have gone on the attack and said if she’s going to extrapolate from her own personal post-orgasmic depression to say that “masturbation leads to depression,” then she’s inviting ad hominems galore. But I didn’t. I’m a lover, not a fighter.  I wasn’t out to hurt the woman’s feelings.  I was just saying that masturbation isn’t inherently depressing any more than other kinds of sex.  Depressed people get depressed after all kinds of sex, including marital sex.

One reason why some people feel depressed after masturbation is that they believe what their religion has told them: that masturbation is wrong. These folks spank their monkeys like everybody else, at least occasionally, but they feel tremendous guilt and shame about it, because they are doing something their culture frowns upon. Some religions, such as Catholicism, are more vehemently against masturbation than others, promising an eternity of hellfire for just one little wank. Perhaps Dawn’s depression is, in part, a form of shame, thanks to her conversion to Catholicism which, for centuries, has induced a strong sense of shame in masturbation and other forms of sexuality to maintain control over its flock at the deepest levels of emotion.

Dr. Judy Kuriansky, Dr. Susan Block & Dawn Eden on the Sex & Spirituality Panel at Sex Week at Yale
Dr. Judy corrects Dawn’s sex disinformation

Dr. Judy declared that Dawn’s contention that masturbation causes depression was outrageous.  But Dawn was undaunted. She tried to be “scientific” about it, carefully explaining that orgasm releases oxytocin, which is sometimes called the “cuddle hormone.”  Therefore, she concluded, if you are masturbating by yourself with no one to cuddle, you will get depressed.

EXCEPT that oxytocin is about much more than cuddling.  It’s about pleasure. It’s a natural pain-killer, relaxant and confidence booster. It makes you feel better, whether you’re cuddling your lover, yourself or your pillow.  It’s released in a woman’s bloodstream during the birthing process, stimulating contractions and easing the pain, and it helps with breastfeeding.  Oxytocim is also released through orgasm, through masturbation as well as other kinds of sex, creating that feeling of euphoria, well-being, relaxation, tranquil power, the after-glow.  Sure, oxytocin can make you want to cuddle, especially if you’re next to someone cuddly.  But it can also just make you feel good, all by your cuddly loveable self.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Also, everybody masturbates, or almost everybody, and not everybody is depressed. Moreover, as George Carlin said, if God had intended us not to masturbate, He would have make our arms shorter.

As long as we’re getting personal, let me say I have enjoyed many an oxytocin highs with my husband, other lovers and all by myself. And it concerned me to hear that Dawn was actively avoiding oxytocin like it was HIV. I wondered if consistantly low oxytocin levels lead to depression. I tried to give Dawn a Pocket Rocket, but she refused to take it.  I told her she didn’t have to use it on her genitals (though Jesus never said there was anything wrong with vibrators.).  If she couldn’t bear to use it on her vulva, she could use it on her aching back or shoulders cramped from blogging.  Vibrators or “massagers” are marvelous for releasing all kinds of tension, sexual and otherwise.

Dawn looked at my Pocket Rocket like it was a pocket knife.  In the restroom before the panel, she had confessed to me that she had some back problems that a vibrator might really help, but she “could not” take this gift from me, though she did take my 10 Commandments of Pleasure, once I assured her that there were no naked pictures inside.  I was tempted to say, “My child, take the Pocket Rocket, and say three Hail Maries,” but I let her go.

Why wouldn’t she take the vibrator, even though she acknowledged needing it for her back?  Must her whole body suffer for the sake of chastity?  Or is it publicity? Her body would probably love it, and her spirit too.  But her Church Group supporters would not appreciate news of Dawn Eden accepting a Pocket Rocket from Dr. Suzy. For the Chastity Queen of the Church Group and College Circuit, this was a sponsorship gig, her sponsors being the Yale Christian Fellowship, part of InterVarsity, and Yale Students for Christ, to be, in her words, the “token chastity advocate.” Did they also “absorb the cost”?

Dawn’s book is called “The Thrill of the Chaste.”  I have just barely cracked it open, so to speak, though I’ve already blogged about the lighter side of chastity: the art of the tease. But Dawn’s idea of being “chaste” is much more pious than seductive teasing, which brings up the darker side of the chastity fetish: hypocrisy. Let’s compare the trajectory of Dawn’s life so far to another chastity zealot: Saint Augustine of Hippo. I don’t think she’d be offended by this comparison; in fact, she may well be delighted, since Augustine was one of the theological Fathers of the Catholic Church who elevated the state of chastity to a great virtue, and celibacy to an even higher virtue.  Prior to him, most Pagans and Jews considered celibacy more of an eccentricity or inconvenience.

Chastity came late in life to both Augustine and Dawn who seem to have experienced plenty of pre-marital sex in their twenties and early thirties.  Augustine spent his youth enjoying many hedonistic escapades (of which his wealthy Catholic mother disapproved) with the 4th century AD equivalent of “sluts,” one of whom was his concubine for 15 years. Likewise, Dawn alludes to having had various lusty, though unrewarding sexual encounters, as would be expected of a reasonably cute blonde rock writer.

Somewhere in their mid-thirties, both Dawn and Augustine burned out on all the sex.  Dawn seems to have gotten tired of the rock ‘n sex lifestyle, as many rockers do when they inevitably age; then she reinvented herself into a Catholic Born-Virgin Jew for Jesus.  Augustine dumped his girlfriend and converted to Catholicism when his mom threatened to disinherit him if he didn’t.  Both Dawn and Augustine chose the path of “chastity,” i.e., no sex (including masturbation). In Augustine’s case, this meant celibacy from then on, while Dawn expects to have sex again when she gets married some day. Chastity is a legitimate personal choice, especially for people who were sex fiends in their youth.  The problem I have with both Augustine and Dawn is that they insist that this is the only virtuous path for everybody.  And then there is the hypocrisy.  They tell young people “Don’t do as I did.  Do as I say,” even though one vital reason they appreciate chastity in middle age is because they sowed their wild oats when they were younger.

They also seem intent on turning Sex Week at Yale into Chastity Week.  Or Marriage Week.  Maybe they’ll settle for Relationship Week. This is what bugs me about religious crusaders. I don’t have a problem with people practicing their religion, just as I don’t mind when people indulge their fetishes. But when religious zealots try to convert the perceived heathens and enemies of God, that’s usually when the bloodshed begins.

A female student in the front row asked the panel why there weren’t more relationship-oriented events during The Week.  Without much in the way of moderation, all of us panelists talked over each other, trying to answer her in a big  cacophonous JewBu mess.  Then SWAY founder Eric Rubenstein strode to the front of the class and verbally jumped on this sweet-faced female student, telling her that she shouldn’t be asking the panelists a question like this; she should come to the meeting the next day and pose it to the students who planned Sex Week.  Of course, it wasn’t Eric’s place to jump on any student for asking a question, and he soon realized his mistake and apologized.  Freedom of Speech goes both ways.  But let’s be fair.  This wasn’t just any sweet-faced female student questioning the curriculum.  This was a “plant,” a conservative Christian blogger named Nicola, there to support Dawn Eden, and, in her own words, to “offend,” and perhaps disrupt Sex Week at Yale.

Then Carlo, a former Catholic who was “tortured by nuns” and later converted to Judaism, raised his hand from the back of the lecture hall and asked Dawn an obscure yet poignant question about why so many unbaptized babies and Jews were still languishing in limbo.  Dawn recoiled from the question as if he’d asked what kind of underwear Pope Benedict has on under his dress.  Limbo is obviously not on her Collegiate Chastity Talking Points. After all, limbo (a Catholic theological concept created by St. Augustine of Hippo) may not be part of Church doctrine, only part of their scare tactics.

Shortly after limbo and before the end of time, Joey decided we’d had enough.  We then disintegrated into smaller groups to continue quarrelling, snapping photos of each other holding our books, penis fossiles and calendars, or bloviating before the cameras of the always congenial Sex Week: the Movie students.

Then the Lord (and/or Lady) brought forth torrents of rain, thunder and frizzy hair, so I took my little entourage of hot men across Old Campus and past Claire’s Corner Copia to the Owl Shop Smoke Lounge on 268 College Street, “smokin’ since 1934.”

Actually, first we ate at the Anchor Diner next door, then went to the Owl to drink, smoke, dance, whip willing buns in honor of the Lupercalian Bun-Whipping Season, and take the Sex & Spirituality conversation to a higher level.

What a cool place, a little bit like the Speakeasy, and just a few steps from Yale.  I danced with all my marvelous men, then we ran through the rain, vamping like Jules & Jim in front of the old Tomb of Skull & Bones.

Then it was time to settle in for the night and enjoy the private glories of a middle-aged married couple in love in a real castle.  That’s when Carlo and I put the SEX back in Sex Week at Yale

Sharing the Pleasure
In the afterglow, with the oxytocin flowing, we yearned to share the pleasure.  We wanted to give something back to Mother Yale.  Not that we’re the Harkness family here, but we felt the urge to donate. Why not start with Saybrook?  Our guest suite had all kinds of wonderful amenities, Victorian dressers, shelves of books by Yalies, fireplace, couch, chairs and coffee table, but no desk, no place to comfortably keep our laptop.  So we went up Broadway, stopped at the Campus Customs Boola-Boola Shop, then picked up a nice little computer desk at the Yale Bookstore which we carried back to Saybrook.  We were a sight, strolling down Broadway carrying a desk, but it fit perfectly in the bedroom between the windows overlooking the courtyard, and its wood matched the wood of the floor.

On Broadway, we ran into Stevie Jay, and (of course) hugged him, then hung out for a while, continuing the Sex & Spirituality conversation, wandering through the amazing Sterling Memorial Library, and ogling gargoyles, chimera and architectural oddities, including a carving of a student drinking beer, smoking a cigarette and looking at a “girly” magazine that I remembered Dr. Wesley Needham, one of my instructor’s and Yale’s architects, showing me in my student days. Then, it was a secret treasure. Now, it’s on the Internet.

We also sat in on the last event of The Week on Safe Sex Monday, a look at America’s Sexual Health through the Trojan Condoms “Evolve” campaign with Trojan Group Product Manager David A. Johnson. Here at The Dr. Susan Block Show, we feel like we’re part of the extended Trojan family since most of the Condomania condoms that we use and giveaway are Trojans.

At the same time, in the room next door, Dawn was giving an insurgent “Chastity” lecture to a handful of people that had no relation to Sex Week, and directly competed with the Trojan event.  Who says a student interested in chastity might not also want to learn about condoms?  Eric wasn’t happy about the conflict, but being the peacemaker that he is, he wanted to find common ground for the sake of future Sex Weeks, so he attended Dawn’s lecture instead of the Trojan talk.  She appreciated it, which probably portends more chastity in Sex Week 2010, so Dawn and I may well meet again.  Oy.

Later that night, I got a googlealert that Dawn had blogged about me.  Whoa, Miss Chastity is fast. I’d barely been able to check my email since the panel, and she’d already blogged about the whole event in misleading, self-serving, gory detail.  Well, when you’re chaste, you don’t have much to do besides blog when you get home.  I’d been having sex, as well as dancing, drinking, smoking and donating a desk.  I got to hand it to her: she’s quick with the spin.  She’s also a nasty little thing.  The Chaste One spits fire and brimstone.  Maybe it’s because she’s not getting her fair share of oxytocin, but Dawn seems to take a kind of obsessive pleasure in criticizing every little detail about me she could come up with, from my Lust et Veritas Thong to my Lupercalian whip (made by Gene) to the fact that I was wearing “Yale blue…Marian colors” to my multiple blasphemies.  My bloggamy was her blasphemy. I was really trying to like Dawn (she said, gritting her teeth) and welcome her into the Big Tent of Sex Week at Yale and the general sexual liberation that is going on around the world and that is, despite the vicious backlashes of various militant fundamentalist religions, getting more liberated every day.

But she was out for blood.  Then it “dawned” on me: It’s the Christian way.

Perspective: Blasphemy and Bloggamy
“She called me a blasphemer!” I announced indignantly. Carlo laughed at me for even hoping that someone who works for the Church would say anything “nice” about a “Jewish Pagan Ethical Hedonist Bonobo.”  I felt like the SWAY students must have felt about Fox TV.  I also felt like maybe I should heed my own counsel. Here I’d been lecturing the students like a schoolteacher about how you have to be tough:  When you do work in the sexuality field that is worthy of an ‘A’ according to some, you’re bound to receive an ‘F’ from somebody else. Not to mention get called all kinds of names.

It IS tough to take these ungodly insults, even from obvious prudes and fundamentalist loonies.  Since my recent near-death experience, I know better than to fear false gods or God(s). Still, Dawn’s slurs sting the little girl within me who felt cold spit on her hot face when called “Kike” by a couple of young thugs for Christ back in the old schoolyard.

The sad and kind of ironic part of this “Lover’s Quarrel” is that I really do love the Bible – Old and New Testaments – as much as any of these religious folks.  I just don’t believe it’s the “Word of God” or a Truth above other truths.  I love it as Western culture’s most influential work of literature, with some passages that I would consider erotic literature, such as the Song of Songs, the Book of Esther, and yes, in a bizarre, sadomasochistic way, Jesus suffering, almost naked, outstretched upon the Cross, for our sins.

That’s another thing we have in common: We’re all sinners, Dawn and me, Carlo and Eric, and everybody else at Yale and in the world.  Whatever Jesus died or didn’t die for, we’re all brothers and sisters, lovers and sinners. And we are all Children of Sex. We may or may not be Children of God, Jesus or Allah or Buddha or Brahmaramadana, but we are all Children of Sex, reaching out, taking risks, making mistakes, loving one another, hurting one another, forgiving one another, and struggling to make sense of our not always sensible sex lives.

Sex Week at Yale ’08 was an Ivy Revolution in Higher Sex Education, the biggest SWAY yet. With nine days of speakers and thousands of students attending events, it was also the most controversial.   Words were exchanged, but no blows were thrown.  Despite the Skull & Bonehead currently in the White House, most of us Yalies prefer Weapons of Mass Discussion to Destruction.   It was my honor and pleasure to be a part of the SWAY Discussion once again.  At the end of our tea, Master Miller graciously asked me back for the next SWAY, and I’m already looking forward to 2010.  I think I’d like to talk about Relationships this time.  Or maybe Carlo and I will give a talk about Marriage.

If you’d like to get more information and support future Sex Weeks at Yale, going into its fifth year in 2010, click here. Or call our office at 213.749.1330, and ask for Carlo.

Hannah in Babeland
We flew back to LA just in time for a more So Cali approach to the subject of sexuality:  A Sex & Dating panel at Babeland in Hollywood for our friend Dorota Skrzpek chic new book Sex, Life & Hannah.

I was jet-lagged from Yale and NY, and the moon was in an eclipse, but I was happy to talk with all these relatively easy-going couples and sexy singles who had no apparent interest in chastity.

This panel was more like a party.  We weren’t molding the minds of the future leaders of the world.  We were just sharing pleasure and advice about sex, love and hooking up.

There wasn’t a religious fanatic or anti-sex feminist on the premises.

True, I was “preaching to the choir,” a bit like a beach vacation after all the stress, controversy, rain, snow, fire and brimstone of Back East.

With Hannah Hotties in Babeland

Though I adore the cerebral challenges of Mother Yale, it felt good to come home to the  more sensuous life of LA.

Tao Ruspoli’s FIX
A few days later, Teri and I went to a USC screening of Tao Ruspoli’s new film “Fix,” based on the true story of his relationship with his brother, featuring his stunning wife Olivia Wilde (niece of my Counterpunch publisher Alex Cockburn) and the casually gorgeous Shawn Andrews.

Shawn Andrews and Olivia Wilde in Tao Ruspoli's "Fix"
Shawn Andrews and Olivia Wilde in “Fix”

It was exciting enough to run into Mercedes McNab of Buffy fame when we arrived, but the movie itself (written by Tao and Jeremy Fels) is a marvelous cinematic journey, layered with pathos, humor, emotion and redemption.

Filmmaker Tao Ruspoli and Dr. Susan Block at USC screening of "Fix"
With Mercedes McNab at Screening of “Fix”

It’s about a documentary filmmaker (Tao playing himself but called Milo) trying to raise the cash to get his drug addict brother out of prison and into rehab, a particularly timely subject with the recent news that the United States leads the world in both the number and percentage of residents it incarcerates, with more than one in 100 adults (and one in nine black men) in jail or prison, leaving far-more-populous China a distant second, according to a study by the nonpartisan Pew Center on the States. Fix also has excellent, mind-boggling editing (Paul Forte) and simply delicious cinematography (Tao and Gallo), filled with an intoxicating variety of eye and ear candy flavors, capturing the many beautiful and scary neighborhoods, freeways and faces of LA.

Purim Easter Bacchanal: 3/22
Speaking of LA, don’t miss our Spring Equinox Purim Easter Bacchanal on Saturday night, March 22.  Make your reservations now. Come blaspheme with us Jewish Pagan Ethical Hedonist Bonobos and other sinners, and ring in the spring…

Categories: Article

26 Responses so far.

  1. Jessicagrorm says:

    Very nice blog. I totally agree with your thoughts.

  2. ArianaNult says:

    I just love your weblog! Very nice post! Still you can do many things to improve it.

  3. heather deville, princeton '99 says:

    Fantastic blog, dr Suzy. You do so much to help others, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, especially when they spell “lewd” as “lude.”

  4. dibstruth@yahoo.com says:

    Dr Suzy,Your attitude presumes everyone has free choices in life. You teach our young adults to emotionally disconnect and think they are filling the voids in their lives sexually. Young people searching for acceptance and love in this way are vulnerable to greater pain and hurt. You do not know who in your audience has been raped or molested. You do not know who has been forced into a life filled with shame and lying and denying to cover their hurt. You don’t know who has real fear hanging over their heads if they dare tell the truth. You don’t know who has had loved ones ripped out of their lives because they are too fearful for the truth to be known. You don’t know who is being exploited. You don’t know who has been taught to value sex and money over a human life. You don’t know the price some have paid to speak out against the evil of others. If you chose to delude yourself that you are loved because you can lure someone into the rack, guess again. They are users like you are. But teaching that to others is a malignancy that puts others at risk.Follow the link and see what happens to young women. One woman was promiscuous and ended up murdered. The other was exploited and she lost her life trying to free herself and be a complete person. http://groups.google.com/group/joan-webster-murderSexuality is a beautiful and loving act shared between people that value and respect each other. Without that emotional connection and genuine intimacy, it is nothing more than a lude act that can be solicited anywhere. Stop teaching others to devalue themselves. Dibs Truth

  5. audrey w. says:

    hey dr susan (and co., of course!)I’m glad you enjoyed the pictures/yale/toad’s. i appreciate the kind publicity (not that anyone knows me anyway!!!)Good luck in all of your pursuits, and never forget that happiness and success are just words with fabricated meanings– all we are sure of is now.much loveaudrey(ps. on a side note, dr. susan i LOVE LOVE LOVE that you understand the differencebetween being a “whore” or “easy” versus being kinky when you are with a man/woman you get pleasure from (with platonic meaning or not….haha :) )maybe sometime we can talk about this at more length. few girls are open about these things.stay beautiful,audrey w. ezra stiles 09

  6. walter a. davis says:

    HI Suzy, My niece said you gave a great talk at Yale! Best, macwalter a. davisProfessor Emeritus, Ohio State Universitywww.walteradavis.com

  7. William Patrick Haines says:

    Certainly true morality must be voluntary. One of the biggest gripes I have with religious zealots of any kind is when they impose their beliefs on others, stifling intellectual discourse such as yours. Unfortunately, the United States is still a very immature anti-intellectual / anti-literate society. Hopefully the fundies will never wield the kind of power the Catholics did. At least there were some scholars among the anti-literate Catholic thugs who worship capitalism, first and foremost, as much as the fundies do.

  8. Rev. Bookburn says:

    After watching an especially stupid episode of Law and Order, in which pornography, consent and abuse were meshed together in an anti-educational way, I read the Sex Week at Yale Part III bloggamy. It was good to return to a reality-based and pleasurable perspective. At first I thought the guy with the panties over his face wanted to be a part of horny western movie, but that’s my imagination in action.Your coverage of the panel with Dawn Eden Goldstein was very revealing of the stupidity that extends from the Law and Order show to the Puritans of Christian-Taliban churches. So many of the followers of these types of church leaders use the worst “I’m a loser” stories to talk about their good fortune of becoming mindless sheep… as if panels and press conferences were their personal rehab testimonials.The content of the messages is too absurd for words. If anything, the lack of masturbation could lead to depression. The ‘chaste’ message is so absurd, their own leaders take the church money and run to their next scandal. Rather than live with a healthy balanced appreciation for sexuality, they advocate sexual repression that is as realistic as saying ‘just say no to air.’ Even the pretence of this kind of repression is what creates the kind of monsters that her new church has seen by the thousands.Dawn’s new church has to be the most laughable presenters of any kind of ‘morality.’ They advocate defying nature and creating deranged monsters that resulted in no altar boy being safe. Then they preach to the world as if they do not represent the worst Chesters in modern history.It’s sad that Dawn has such a pathetic life story. It’s unfortunate that she cannot think for herself. It’s her loss that she could not appreciate or participate in the fun during Sex Week. But our sensitivity to her becoming a dupe for the Church of Pedophilia ends when she represents a challenge to freedom.Your temptation to prescribe Dawn to ‘take the Pocket Rocket and say three Hail Maryies’ should have been been fulfilled! She was already at the conference, surrounded by porn and sexual freedom advocates. Despite the posturing, she probably needed it.It sounded like such a fun week. I think I’ll reread the bloggamy, masturbate and work on the Palm and Stroke Sunday broadcast.Rev. BookburnRadio VoltaPhiladephiaReverendBookburn.comYoutube.com/revbookburn

  9. Paul Thomas says:

    I’d love to attend one of your evenings. I’ve several candidates to bring as guests. More importantly I’d like to spend more time with you. Kindred souls on certain levels, we are easy company and have much to share. I know far too few kindred souls with whom I can trip the light fantastic, share a joint, maybe a caress and also hold a decently intelligent conversation. pt

  10. Chris D. says:

    Susan, thank you so much for joining us in Babeland for Sex, Life & Hannah. You provided great insight, wisdom, and resources, and we couldn’t be more thankful. Chris D.Producer / Marketing StrategistTelevision – Live Events – Digital Media

  11. Carlo in portofino says:

    Why is it that good christians like to call liberated women “Whores”? See comment above. Then there is Happy Papist. Dr. Block is certainly not bashing christians. She is just writing about the history, methodology and daily deeds of Christianity, and the words that discribe the actions of Christians throughout history reveal the brutality or their actions. That’s not bashing, Happy Papist. These are just facts about the Christian Church. Of course, not all christians are responsible for these actions. There are millions of good christians and a lot of bad apples. But do believe this: if you are not of my faith which is the faith of the Great Owl, you will burn in hell for eternity, and your flesh will be torn from your bones. But if you drink the sacred blood of the almighty Great Owl, your blindness shall be lifted and you shall see the truth. But you must be sprayed before death, for those who are not sprayed shall not stand before the Great Owl…May the Great Owl bless you,Carlo

  12. Saybrugian says:

    I was at the tea, and I found your talk quite honest and illuminating. Provocative, yes, but not “blasphemous” (and I am a Christian). I was one of the first arrivals fortunate enough to receive one of your famous Pocket Rockets which I haven’t yet tried (waiting for just the right moment). Thank you for sharing your wisdom and experience with Saybrook and Yale!

  13. happy papist says:

    This is anti-Catholic Hate Speech. You are no better thanthose you criticize, and probably a LOT worse

  14. Stevie Jay says:

    Needless to say, it was FANTASTIC meeting you and hangin’ with you on your old stomping grounds! I really appreciate what you do in the world, Susan, and I SHO’NUFF appreciated your presence up there in New Haven…in a multitude of ways! I look forward to visiting L.A. very soon for some extended schmoozing and performing.Looking over some of your materials, I saw the phrase “peace through pleasure” and it made me wanna share a couple of my posters with you– so I pasted in a few links below.x.o.Lots of love ’til then,; – )Steviesteviejay3.com/gravity/sex_world_peace_2up.pdfsteviejay3.com/gravity/men_guns_2up.pdf

  15. blazingtommyd says:

    I would Love to attened your Purim Party – you ought to tell your story it’s the best :)

  16. Glen in Lancaster says:

    DOC, You have Guts and my Admiration! XOXO glen

  17. Michael Blum, Yale MBA '95 says:

    Awesome! It was a great time indeed. Let’s keep that tape rolling SuzyQ!! Luba:)Michael

  18. Viktoria says:

    Dr. Block, magnificent provocative blog. I’ve been aware of your work for quite a while now. I appreciate how you share with me the viewpoint that orgasm is not just physical pleasure, but it’s spiritual, theraputic and recuperative for everyone.

  19. Wallace Jackson says:

    Susan: Hi. Do you miss me, sugar??? I miss you. Ha! I may call upon you in the near future to ask you a BIG favor. No, not that! Ha!

  20. good christian says:

    you think your so smart, watch what happens when you go to HELL for being a liberal jewish whore

  21. Cee Bee says:

    Blasphemy. Wow. What a great crime to be accused of. Pretty sexy.

  22. Tom in NY says:

    dawn eden is nothing. most women are sexually dead on the east coast. Believe it

  23. David A. Johnson says:

    Dr. Suzy – It was a pleasure to meet you at Yale. I looked through your website and am impressed with your breath of knowledge in the area of sexual health. I’m sure you’ve made a lot of your readers really happy.David A. JohnsonGroup Product Manager Sexual Health CareChurch & Dwight Co., Inc.

  24. Carlo in Portofino says:

    What a trip that was! Your bloggamy is so wonderfully descriptive and brings it all back to me. I must say, I was ready for the snow, sleet and rain, but I was not ready for this woman Eden Dawn the Catjew plotting the infiltration and crucifiction of Sex Week @ Yale leaders who were so gracious to invite her. I was born and raised Catholic, and she reminds me of all the damage the Church has done with their fairy tales, indoctrination and fear-mongering of innocent people from the moment they are born. Catholic theology is great at the game of slander and deceit. We are born sinners (based on the myth of the Garden of Eden, without which there would be no reason for God and Jesus) and must be constantly punished and forced to do unnatural things. Those of us who were born in the 1940s know full well the Church’s violence and intimidation of young children. The Prince of Peace would be appalled, and God would smite them all as heretics and hypocrites. And then there’s the question of that place called limbo which preacher Dawn tried lamely to obfuscate. To this day the Church has not repudiated this cruel and vicious story that has caused so many parents such pain and grief. I could go on and on, but it’s all very obvious that these fairy tales no longer work. The state of the Catholic church is dire and desperate, like Dawn herself.On another note, that beautiful girl Audrey was great. We need more women like her in the world to counter-balance these anti-sex, anti-female, anti-reason folks.We must be careful, we must bring change and we must work to end the rein of terror that these religious people have rained on the world for two thousand years. The snow-job is over. We’ve gotten out the limbo in Great Neck and can see the sun shine in California and Italy, warming up the darkness of our souls.You look beautiful, by the way. Love all the photos.Carlo

  25. Devinne Darkness in Ohio says:

    Dr. Suzy, I love your blog and admire you so much for what you do, I wish I had the courage to be as out in the open with my life.

  26. Gram Ponante says:

    Dr. Suzy, Great blog on Sex Week at Yale – there are a lot of things here that no one else talked about.

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