February 3, 2010

Blogging About Sex: Invitation To Harrassment?

Just who are these people who blog about sex all the time? Natalie answers (part of) that question with thoughts on sex research, blogging, and boundaries.

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The answer to this question (the title of this blog) might be obvious to some readers but others new to Kinsey Confidential may not be aware of what we do here and our purpose in blogging about sexuality and sexual health.

Staff here at the Kinsey Institute and Kinsey Confidential have a passion for learning more about sexuality and sexual health. We love asking questions just as much as we love answering yours in our bi-weekly podcasts. (You can ask us questions by clicking on this link) But what “kinds” of people become interested in blogging about sex? Or researching it?

Who are these “sex people” anyway?

For me, the “kinds” of people I’ve interacted with on a professional level (sex researchers or sex professionals at conferences) are just that – people. They range in age, gender, ethnicity, educational backgrounds, class, and schools of thought. They have a genuine interest in one of the foundations of our society. They want to know why we have sex, what makes sex good or bad and how human attraction works. Sexual health professionals want to educate people on how to be proactive about their sexual health and take steps to have safe, sane and consensual sex while protecting themselves from possible negative health outcomes like STIs.

So you only care about sex, right?

So what does this mean for those of us who blog at Kinsey Confidential? I can’t speak for the other bloggers but, for me, this was a way to go beyond our on-campus work at Indiana University and reach out to a larger audience. I want to tell people about interesting sex stories other bloggers have covered online and about other sexual health websites that are doing new and innovative things to reach out to their readers. I want to tell you about serious activism around sexual rights and then the next day cover the latest sex toy and what it might mean for couples.

But does this mean I want to talk about sex all day, every day? Not necessarily. It’s true that sexuality is not only an academic interest for me. I’m a sexual being as I think we all are (even if it’s recognizing that we might be asexual). But what else might it mean for me to be a “sex blogger”? This post was inspired by a blogger named Epiphora who wrote a blog called “I blog about sex. That is not an invitation.” about her experiences with (primarily) male readers who felt that her reviews of sex toys and openness about her own sexual activities meant that she was up for talking about sex or having sex with them online. She goes into to more detail, but I highly recommend that you read her blog here (some NSFW language, but that’s kind of how we roll around here).

Readers’ Thoughts: What does blogging mean for you?

So if readers out there have their own blogs or even their own sex blogs, how to you negotiate boundaries around what you write to educate/inform/entertain and what readers expect from you? Do you lay out rules for comments or personal contact? How do you deal with it when people cross those lines?

Let me know. I love blogging for Kinsey Confidential (although I must admit that my doctoral program has caused me to take an unintentional hiatus since November) and hope to continue doing so for some time, but I also recognize that blogging for a well-respected sexuality organization like Kinsey affords me some protections and privileges not always available to other bloggers. So shoot me an e-mail, leave a comment here or on our Facebook page to let us know what you think about sex blogging. And happy reading (or listening to our podcasts)!

  • ewysiwyg

    I also intend to be allowed to blog professionally, as an academic (preferably in tandem with the Kinsey institute!) I also blog about sex, my own and others, in a personal blog. Sex blogging does more than just share the intimate details of your own sexual explorations in a public forum for the masturbatory gratification of the masses: it encourages an open, honest, frank discussions about sex. In the Joys of Sex, Dr Comfort recommends talking to your friends whenever you find a fun or exciting new sexual position, or ability to please your partner, so they can learn from your experience, as well as share ideas or attempts they have made, and you can both benefit. Blogging is a way to open that communication to a lot more people. It most certainly does invite uncouth people to make offensive or degrading remarks–but so does wearing a low cut blouse or tight jeans on campus. Do we bow to the rude people, and stop writing, or dressing as we wish, simply because they might say something about it? Or do we continue on, fighting the good fight, for our right to display our sexuality openly in a public forum because that is who we are and who we wish to be? Yes, it does invite harassment: but that doesn't mean we have to cave into it.

  • thepleasurecoach

    Natalie thank you so very much for writing this. As a blogger about sex, this is something has come up for me as well. I am very open sexually and do not have a problem talking about sex however like the other blogger you mentioned as well as others I know, I have gotten propositions. Unfortunately for some people who read our blogs, think that we want to have sex all the time and with anyone. A friend of mine who is an adult actress and I had this same discussion. She was frustrated that a number of the guys or gals she went out with thought they were going to have sex with her but for her that was her job as is blogging is my job. I love my job do not get me wrong and I love to have sex, however as I told one person who contacted me, “I love sex but I am not going to love sex with you”. Again Natalie….kudos on the post

  • never! in today's blogging world,


    I think it is both – Invitation To Harrassment!!

    great article! thanx for sharing! 🙂

  • Miaka Moto

    Sex blogs can be a source of sex education for some ways, I think this kind of blog are really impressive in some ways for they can give you tips and advice, being open sexually is not that bad it is a part of being true to yourself,


  • I am also a sex blogger and I love blogging about something that I have such a passion for.

  • Blogging about sex is just simple freedom of expression of a person and not an invitation to harassment because all people nowadays must be aware in all of the aspects regarding to sex and that includes relationship too.