I missed last week’s Wednesday Wanderings due to Christmas, but I’m not really apologizing for that anymore. Instead, I’m just going to move right on into this week’s personal (and somewhat random) picks. Check them out:

  • The most exciting (by far) find of the week for me was Reverend Debra W. Haffner’s blog titled Sexuality and Religion: What’s the connection?. Debra is also the founder of The Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing and to many people’s surprise despite the name, that does not mean they advocate solely abstinence-only education, anti-abortion political agendas, or rigidly define the sanctity of marriage in a sexist (solely heterosexual) way. Debra is a breath of fresh air in and from a direction that sorely needs it. In a recent post regarding teen pregnency, Debra writes:

    The U.S. continues to have the highest teen birth rate in the developed world. Our teenagers need their parents to educate them about sexuality; our faith communities must address adolescent sexuality; our schools must provide comprehensive sexuality education; sexually active teens must have access to reproductive health services. That’s what happens in other countries that have a teen birth rate much lower than our’s…that’s what we need to do here.

    I’m so happy that she’s speaking out, and even more grateful for her advocacy.

  • Another recent and interesting addition to the portion of the blogosphere I watch is the sweet submissive man who writes at Unspeakable Axe. His blog chronicles many of his attempts at finding dominant women and, sadly, he is a perfect example of the kind of nice guys out there who just can’t find submissive sexual fulfillment despite all their efforts. He writes about women who expect money even after financial transactions were already negotiated out,

    “How much can you pay?” she asked.

    “What? Nothing. I don’t pay for play so why would I pay to meet?”.

    I almost sounded dominant. She knew that I wasn’t looking for that, why would she even suggest it?

    “Really? Ok well maybe we can just be friends then. You’re cute so I’ll let you meet me for free and maybe you can clean my apartment.”

    I was glad we were on the phone, otherwise she would have seen me roll my eyes at her.

    And he writes about women who use submissives like him for an easy ego-boost:

    I know what she’s doing. Whenever she needs to feel wanted or desired she calls me. She constantly gets my hopes up only to cancel at the last minute. She’ll talk about wanting me to sleep at the foot of her bed chained and used just to get me excited. Then she’ll cancel hours before meeting. Over and over we’ve played this dance. She’s probably canceled close to a dozen times.

    And even about women who don’t want an eager submissive, but a challenging alpha-male type to break:

    She enjoys making a man do something he wouldn’t normally do, she loves the challenge. With me, there’s no challenge, she knows I’ll eagerly submit to her desires and because of that I’m no use to her. She made several comments about how there’s nothing hotter than making a man submit who normally wouldn’t.

    Though I’ve been saying it to her forever, it took Eileen to start reading Axe’s blog before she finally fully understood the extent at which submissive men long for something we are only rarely able to find. Thanks to the simplicity with which Axe writes and the personal stories he tells, he can make the problems submissive men face when trying to find opportunities for play partners that are satisfying exceptionally, heart-wrenchingly painful—even if you’re not a submissive man. I think his has now become a must-read blog, so it’s been added to my blog roll.

  • Richard Evans Lee, whom I know primarily from Down On My Knees and as a moderator of Fetish Lore (a BDSM-focused discussion board) has a new project up at FemaleLedRelationships.Net. To my eyes, in much the same way as “pro-life” is a term that has been co-opted to mean “anti-abortion” by conservatives, the term “female led relationships” has been co-opted to signify a specific brand of narrow-minded and harmful relationships involving female sexual domination of men. Richard is taking back the phrase by writing insightful, targeted posts about various topics of female domination as only he can so eloquently do. You’ll find this on my blog roll now, too.
  • Isn’t That Special? is one of Mistress Matisse’s articles for her regularly appearing column, Control Tower in The Stranger, a Seattle-based newspaper. It is also an incredibly brief (500-some-odd words) and incredibly poignant piece that relates a classic misunderstanding that can occur in polyamorous relationships to riding a bike. From the article:

    Pat’s emotional crisis is of his own creation. He took an arbitrary symbol—”Chris sleeps with only me”—and gave that one symbol a lot of power. He made it the solitary litmus test of whether his relationship with Chris was stable and safe. People do this because it’s simpler than having to really examine themselves and their feelings. It’s basically replacing sexual monogamy with some other symbol. But as long as you assign power to symbolism rather than what’s real, then you’re mistaking the form of love for the substance. Sleeping with Pat is not what makes Chris love him and treat him as special.

    In other words, go read it right now. Mistress Matisse is, in general, an excellent writer and worth a look herself. She also keeps a blog.

  • Finally, even though it often has little to do with sex directly, I want to point readers to the incredible wealth of knowledge and inspiration that is available for free at the TED Talks Video Blog. Many of these are must-see videos that are not only eye-opening, but truly unique, beautiful and touching stories as well. Some of my favorites are Sir Ken Robinson’s talk about education and intelligence, Steven Pinker’s talk explaining the intricacies of human thought through an analysis of how we use language (with direct implications for understanding sexuality!), Peter Donnely’s talk about common but tragic mistakes due to misunderstanding statistics, Mena Trott’s talk about how blogging is changing the world by making the personal important, Jimmy Wales’s talk about why and how Wikipedia works as well as it does, Helen Fischer’s talk explaining the science behind love (also with direct implications for understanding sexuality!), Barry Schwartz’s talk about the paradox of choice and how it relates to happiness, and Eve Ensler’s understanding of happiness through the exploration of vaginas and so, so many more.

Everything is, in the end, related to everything else; it’s all connected, even if you can’t see how just yet. One of the things I am wishing for myself in 2008 is a greater ability to be at peace with myself in those times when I see that I can’t see something. That would be true vision.