'Christian Nymphos' and the Dawn of the e-Sex Revolution and the New Libertines
The past eleven years of rising internet use has led to a quiet sexual revolution in our mores and ways. Attitudes for most people have become significantly more relaxed about sex and sexuality. And across the web, the fruits of this change in attitude can be found, even in the most unlikely places.
The launch of a Christian wives website celebrating their 'excessive sexual desire' shows how once-conservative quarters are also finding new ways to express their sexual appetites.
Called 'Christian Nymphos: Married Sex: Spicy, the Way God Intended it to be', it is all about breaking the guilt-ridden taboos couples have inherited from their parents. It is about not feeling shameful for having a passionate bedroom in a monogynous marriage.
So, how did we get to the place where even old fashioned Christians are sharing their sexual ways on the internet? Another article from back at the dawn of this quiet sex revolution shows how a combination of new laws and big social changes, were mixing with rapid technological changes, turning the free-loving ways of the late 60s and early 70s into a mainstream reality.
By Matthew Moore, The Telegraph
Last Updated: 9:46PM BST 21 Oct 2008
The site, Christian Nymphos, dispenses advice on how couples can spice up their love life without breaking God’s laws.
Suggestions for new sexual positions, scenarios and games are published alongside to links to Bible study websites.
“God wants us to be madly in love with our husbands,” wrote the anonymous women behind the site. “He wants us to keep that fire burning in our marriage beds.”
Christian Nymphos has had more than 800,000 visits since its launch last year, and appears to have hit a nerve with some “Bible Belt” Christians seeking to break the link between sex and guilt that they inherited from their parents.
“It’s good to know that there are Godly women who are not ashamed of the blessing of marital sexual love,” wrote one reader.
Many of the advice articles are responses to queries about what kinds of sexual behaviour are acceptable. In one discussion about whether Christians are allowed to be aroused by Hallowe'en costumes, a female reader asks:
“Any role playing in which you are not married or each other would be under the heading “sinful”, right?
“I can be myself who happens to be a cheerleader, but should not be a high school cheerleader who is babysitting some hot divorce’s kids.”
Although the tone of discussion can be explicit - oral sex, orgasms and sex aides are frequently discussed – the moral message is still strong. Sex outside of marriage is forbidden, masturbation is frowned upon, and erotica is only acceptable if the characters are married.
The site also seems to have attracted several male readers nervous about their sexual roles. The most recent article concerns a virgin who is afraid he won’t live up the expectations of his soon-to-be-wife, who has had previous sexual experiences.
The advice? Consider pre-marital counselling, and remember that she loves you.
And what of the website's provocative name? Does God really approve of nymphomaniacs? The women insist that while their sexual desires may be abnormal - the dictionary definition - compared to those of their peers, there is nothing wrong with wanting to give pleasure to your husband.
"The word Nympho has a negative connotation for some," they wrote. "It doesn’t have to stay this way."
Vintage Story: Id Magazine (Canada), October 3-16, 1996
Meet Steven Wang. The young Toronto distributor of porn magazines and videos is jerking his arm up and down as he describes what sells adult videos.
“Explicit boxes - dick in the mouth, cum in the face makes it sell,” says Wang as he tells me about packaging the videos he distributes.
Wang doesn’t fit the stereotype of a smut dealer. He is wiry, well-groomed and fits in easily amid Toronto’s army of yuppies. Despite the topic of our conversation, he isn’t shy about being graphic in a public place.
Wang admits his parents aren’t too keen about his success as a smut dealer, but he proudly tells me about his latest project, Cybercafe (located on Toronto’s main goodtime drag, Yonge Street). Banks of computers line the walls of the cafe, and a few customers bang away on keyboards and swivel mouses. Blinders on video terminals are quickly jerked forward by shy internet users as each new customer walks by.
Wang thinks the internet is the way forward for porn distribution.
“It’s heading more to bondage, violence - anything that is weird. Haven’t seen it, want to see it. You can only find penetration on VHS (video), though fisting is allowed.” continues Wang, who prides himself on foreseeing trends. “Now that people have seen these things, they want to go to the next step. Because you can only get these things on the internet, 80 per cent of the people are there for the adult material. Internet is the future, period.”
Wang got into distributing porn videos in 1990, just as the Ontario government began to relax the restrictions on hardcore porn movies, as long as they didn’t contain sex involving violence, coercion, bondage, sado-masochism, degradation, incest, animals, or minors under the age of 18.
Wang says he has made some good money, but it’s time to start looking to the next trend. He says those who consume his products have an insatiable appetite for sex in all its forms.
The 90s have seen a quiet revolution in the sale of sex. While paying for sex is nothing new, never before has such a plethora of choices been so openly peddled in Ontario’s newspapers and magazines, mostly at a male audience. There are escort services, so-called massage parlours, phone sex, adult videos, sadism and masochism shops and clubs, strip clubs and swingers’ clubs. On the internet, 127 sex news groups compete with over 200 sex services on the World Wide Web, many charging for the privilege to peek at sex photos. And the sex trade comes at a price, with evidence showing lack of regulation means youths continue to be drawn into the business, while users search for bigger and better thrills.
Toronto weekly Now Magazine has been a pioneer in sex advertising. In September, 1989 the magazine’s back pages of classified ads contained around 130 “business personals,” ads placed by the city’s working prostitutes.
In the September 26, 1996 issue of Now, in seven pages of telephone personals and phone sex ads, there were 514 “Adult Classified” ads, a cornucopia of “massage” parlours, prostitutes, and escort agencies offering shemales, “hot Asian” and “Swedish” beauties.
While there isn’t any one source for accurate information on the size of Ontario’s sex industry, it is obvious it has not only grown in visibility, but in size.
“There definitely seems to be more of everything,” says Detective-Constable Austin Ferguson of the Metro Toronto Police’s vice section. “Look at how pornography video stores have blossomed - the spas, whatever you want to call them. Look through the yellow pages for strip bars, escort agencies.
“You got Now, Eye, pink pages, green pages, you can pick up the Toronto Star, The Sun. The phone lines are everywhere you look. I love it, it’s a great business,” says Ferguson sarcastically.
“Even five years ago, there were only a few massage parlours. Now there are 400 to 500 massage parlours in Toronto alone. It has quadrupled since 1990.”
“It’s an underground revolution,” says Sue McGarvie, a sex therapist and Ottawa talk-radio personality. “You go out on the street and see how many prostitutes there are, and how much more open it is, how many more night clubs there are that are gender neutral, that are fetish.”
McGarvie doesn’t think it necessarily means more people are turning to commercial sex.
“We are having as much sex as we ever had, we have as much sexual desire as we ever had,” says McGarvie. “I think the outlets are changing, so that we are going to have to be flexible about that.”
Steven Wang estimates 3,000 out of 5,000 Metro Toronto video stores carry adult videos. Another 1,250 exclusively carry adult videos. A manager at Toronto’s Adult Video Superstore says, “Sales and rentals have gone up in the last three years.” The Adults Only Video chain, founded by Kitchener-Waterloo resident Randy Jorgensen, now spans Canada with 51 stores, 12 in Toronto. And what internet user hasen’t taken a few minutes (or hours) to play voyeur on the many adult web sites or chat lines?
An Adults Only Video survey found, out of 2,000 customers, 56 per cent watch adult videos with a partner. It also claims 20 per cent of renters are women. Many are skeptical about these claims.
Barking through what sounds like a speaker phone, Larry Gayne, president of sex toy mail-order company Lady Calston, says “It’s all men who look at the back of Now. Some claim as much as 50 per cent of adult video watchers are women. I don’t know if I believe that figure.
“Sex is a US $40-billion business in North America alone. In 1992, more sex aids were sold than breakfast cereal.”
The businesses manufacturing sex try to distance themselves from the more visibly seedy porn stores.
“The explosion in triple X video stores is the only seedy end,” continues Gayne. “The sad part is you take away those triple X stores, there is no seedy part to this industry. Not behind the scenes, not in front. It doesn’t exist. There is nobody seedy at our level. Those people don’t exist, they are just normal businesses. There is in fact a downside to the triple X stores.”
Sue McGarvie is an enthusiastic supporter of greater sexual liberation, even it its expression is through the sex industry.
Speaking between clients from her Ottawa office, she says 36 new adult video stores have opened in Ottawa in the past five years.
“Some are small sections of regular video stores,” says McGarvie. “I’m a big believer, I’m still under 30, my generation is one of the first generations that is no longer attending church as a regular part of what we do. Sex is no longer a moral issue. But people are saying ‘wait a minute, because of STDs I’m going to be stuck with my partner for the rest of my life? I better make it the best damn sex we possibly can have.’ Vibrators are outselling any other appliance.
“I’m poised on the industry of the next decade, the next millennium. Sexuality as an expression is the second most powerful drive after food.”
McGarvie doesn’t think that what is in the adult video stores is unhealthy. “Porn as a term is not right, either. Porn is illegal, but the stuff in the video stores is not illegal.”
McGarvie also doubts adult videos are contributing to an atomised world, similar to Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, where the government controls a population anaesthetized by the buzz of orgasms and drugs.
“I don’t necessarily think it is causing people to be less intimate. The industry needs to stop being in the shadows. Our lives are busy. People are having a hard time connecting with others, but I think that is a separate issue. I think there is a new sexual revolution going on, and if our reality checks catch up with our sex drive, we’ll be okay. We don’t have socially acceptable ways of meeting people that isn’t in a bar when people are drinking.”
Toronto swinger and strip club DJ Ron Michaels thinks the tables are turning on the money-for-sex industry.
“A lot of adult video stores are closing. A lot of strip clubs are on the verge of going under,” says Michaels. “It is like a ghost town in there. I don’t see it is a growing trend. Perhaps it is more front page, more visible. I don’t think it’s any larger than is has been before. I think our society in general is far more sexually liberated than we were 50 years ago. Certainly more than 100 years ago.
“A lot of people thought they could make a fast buck off of it. The market can’t support that number,” according to Michaels.
But is this really just good fun? Unfortunately, there is too much evidence showing a direct connection between a robust sex industry, and the sexual exploitation of minors and demand for degrading sex. A booming sex industry just can’t be disconnected from the exploitation of youths and an absorption in degrading, freaky sex, like defacation or bestiality. The industry may not be directly connected to the much-publicized paedophile rings in the news, but the mainstream sex industry is not adverse to exploiting youths and an appetite for sex with minors to sell videos and magazines.
“We have laid charges on people who were initially operating a reputable business,” says Ferguson, “until they found there was a demand for the seedier stuff.”
Sue Miner, the head of Toronto’s Street Outreach Services, says high unemployment rates amongst youth feeds the sex industry with a steady supply of desperate teens.
“It’s indicative of people needing to survive and not having jobs. I’ve heard enough young people saying they needed some money to pay the rent. A lot of young people do it to survive - survival sex.”
“I have yet to come across an escort agency that uses minors,” claims Ferguson, admitting that because he hasn’t, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. “It’s usually a bit more classier than that. You don’t get your Parkdale hooker types. Pimps don’t run escort agencies.”
A 1984 government study on prostitution, the Badgley Committee on Sexual Offences Against Children and Youth, found one-half of prostitutes had entered the sex trade under the age of 16, 96 per cent had become prostitutes before the age of 18.
The overwhelming majority of prostitutes have run away from home at least once. Street prostitutes leave home at an earlier age than other children, at an average age of 13.7 years, compared to 17.3 years.
The most difficult porn to regulate, as most governments know, is on the internet.
Detective-Constable Ferguson says having photos of bestiality and paedophilia, for a few seconds on a harddrive, is considered by the law to be possession. He also admits because of the ethereal nature of computers, the law is totally unenforceable.
“You would have to get online with that person. Get to know them, chat with them.”
He does warn any internet cafes to stay clear of the stuff. “They are totally nuts to have obscene or child pornography available because somebody would spill the beans pretty quick.”
As for prostitution, the police have a harder time controlling escort agencies because they are careful to never make a deal on the phone, says Ferguson.
“They are only going out for dinner and dance, eh?,” chuckles Ferguson. “Somebody sees a business opportunity to run prostitutes. They are harder to crack. It’s a long, long process to take one of these places down because of all the undercover work involved. What you can, can’t do. It’s no easy task.
“They won’t make a deal over the phone. They might say ‘you can have my service for $150/$200 an hour,’ as soon as you say ‘what do you get for that?’…click.”
McGarvie says she wouldn’t be too happy if her husband went to a prostitute to cope with sexual stress if they were too busy to have sex. On the other hand, she thinks the escort industry would decline if there were more healthy outlets for sexual release.
Toronto feminist and author Susan G. Cole, in her book Power Surge: Sex, Violence and Pornography, and ironically a Now Magazine editor, has called for greater regulation of pornography, arguing the industry really has no claim on freedom of expression. The public, Cole says, can accept a regulatory role for government when it comes to other industries, so why the exception for the smut trade?
This should be extended to the rest of the sex trade, she argues. Body-rub parlours, escort services, street prostitutes, strip clubs and phone sex, should not be allowed to remain in regulatory limbo, only subject to police attention when community groups kick up a storm.
Back at the Cybercafe, Steven Wang is trying to be heard over the Pet Shop Boys’ pounding dance beats.
If anybody wants to protest outside one of Wang’s two Toronto stores, or any other adult stores his videos are distributed in, he would probably make the placards. “Business goes up when we get pickets, negative reviews are always positive for the business - automatically sales go up that day,” says Wang smiling.
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