The Impact of Porn on a Relationship

Sexual Obsession? Step away from the porn.
We’re not talking about the old Playboy or Penthouse
from years ago. That stuff of yore is tame in
comparison to what is more easily and readily
available without the embarrassment of taking it off
the store shelf. We are talking about the effortlessly
accessible material from the Internet, ready for the
asking within the comfort of your own home.
With the accessibility and availability of porn from
the Internet there is no filter like the neighbor or
grocery clerk looking over your shoulder to cause
any embarrassment or discomfort. Without these kind
of natural filters, anything goes. And apparently,
anything does go.
More to the point, the more obscene, the more
counter culture, the greater the audience as
the material appeals to voyeuristic tendencies. What
starts as a sneak peak, turns into a long gaze followed
by the hunt for more graphic and more outlandish
material. The titillation of simple and softcore
pornography wanes and the voyeur come viewer,
come consumer, eventually seeks material that is
increasingly disturbing as a deeper obsession like
desire develops for extreme forms of erotica.
Trailing behind is the partner of those persons
obsessed by ever increasing extreme forms of erotica
and sexual gratification.
In the context of an intimate relationship, the partner
is subjected to greater demands for sexual
experimentation. Eventually the request goes beyond
the partner’s comfort. A conflict develops with the
partner feeling blamed for not meeting the sexual
needs of the one whose secret passions are fueled by
an undisclosed obsession with far more outlandish
forms of sexual behaviour brought on by exposure to
material from the Internet.
For the one seeking the more outlandish forms of
sexual behaviour, their time on the Internet has
desensitized them and shifted their thinking in terms
of more usual forms of sexual expression. Further,
the more usual forms of sexual expression are now
minimized or dismissed as too simplistic and
certainly unsatisfying.
When couples grappling with a conflict of sexual
behaviour are seen in counselling, the issues may be
disguised as a myriad of other conflicts. If the issue is
raised, it is often done sheepishly, particularly with
one being blamed a prude with the other whose
sexual preferences has shifted being presented as
normal and reasonable.
From a gender perspective, this is most frequently but
not exclusively seen with the woman presented as
prudish and the man as normal. There is the air of
controlling or power and control issues as typically
the fellow seeks to meet his needs for sexual
gratification over the needs and comfort of the
woman. Careful exploration of this dynamic may
show other indicators or power and control issues,
some as precursors to the sexual issues.
Counselling is aimed not only at facilitating
communication between the couple with respect to
mutually acceptable sexual behaviour, but is also
aimed at addressing any coexisting power and
control imbalances.
In addition to counseling, it may be necessary for the
sexual adventurer to step away from the porn to
reduce the impact of sexual exploration from the
Internet. In other words, controlled access to the Net.
Monkey see, in this case, is not monkey do. It is not
likely that your partner will want to participate in the
sexual behaviour you see on the Internet. Don’t push
it and address what has become your own sexual
Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
(905) 628-4847
Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario,


Sexy Candy Land? Sad Candy Land

Even Candy Land Isn't Safe From Sexy
Hasbro Games
New examples of the sexualization of girlhood crop up all the time. Of course there are the dolls that look like Sesame Streetwalkers—Monster High, Winx Club, Bratz; the makeup lines for third-graders; the padded bikini tops for seven-year-olds. But a Facebook reader recently pointed out evidence of this phenomenon in the last place I'd expect: Candy Land.
Here is the original Candy Land, circa 1949:
orenstein_Candyland-1949.jpgYum. Here is the game in 1978:
I dreamed of those ice cream floats...
Things begin to change more significantly in the 1980s. That's when Candy Land ditched the Dick-and-Jane outfits for generic his-and-hers overalls:
They also added some friendly candy characters: Plumpy with his plum tree, Mr. Candy Cane, Gramma Nutt, Princess Lolly, Queen Frostine. More on some of them in a moment.
Then we hit 2010. On the upside, Milton Bradley finally recognized, at least in some versions, that there are children who are not white and blonde (nothing against blonde white kids—I was one myself—I'm just saying):
Beyond that, though...Yikes! Check out today's board!
In case you can't see it: here's the new Princess Lolly:
And Queen Frostine turned into a Bratz doll:
Candy Land isn't the only classic that has, without our notice, gotten a hot makeover. (And I'm not the only one who finds this evolution alarming.) The Disney Princesses have grown gradually more skinny and coy over time. And, check out Strawberry Shortcake, Rainbow Brite, Trolls (now called "Trollz"). Even Care Bears and My Little Pony have been put on a diet.
When our kids play with toys that we played with, we assume that they are the same as they were when we were younger. But they aren't. Not at all. Our girls (and our boys) are now bombarded from the get-go with images of women whose bodies range from unattainable to implausible (Disney Princesses, anyone?).
Toymakers say they are reflecting the changing taste of their demographic. Maybe, but then it's the change that's so disturbing. Consider a recent study on body image among elementary school-aged girls. Psychologists at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois used paper dolls to assess self-sexualization in 60 girls ages six to nine recruited largely from public schools. The girls were shown two dolls: One was dressed in tight, revealing "sexy" clothes and the other in a trendy but covered-up loose outfit. Both dolls, as you can see, were skinny and would be considered "pretty" by little girls.
Using a different set of dolls for each question, the researchers then asked each girl to choose the doll that: looked like herself, looked how she wanted to look, was the popular girl in school, was the girl she wanted to play with. In every category, the girls most often chose the "sexy" doll.
In another study, researchers engaged three-to-five-year-old girls in games of, yes, Candy Land as well as Chutes & Ladders, asking them to choose among three game pieces—a thin one, an average-sized one and a fat one—to represent themselves. While in the past children that age showed little ability to distinguish between average and thin weights, today's wee ones grabbed thin pieces at higher rates not only than fat ones but than those of "normal" weight. When asked by researchers to swap a thin figure for a fat one, the girls not only recoiled but some refused to even touch the chubbier game piece making comments such as, "I hate her, she has a fat stomach," or "She is fat. I don't want to be that one."
There's ample evidence that the ever-narrowing standard of beauty creates vulnerability in our girls to low self-esteem, negative body image, eating disorders, poor sexual choices. Not to mention the negative impact fat-shaming has on overweight kids. I think a lot about something that Gary Cross, a historian of childhood, once told me: that toys traditionally have communicated to children our expectations of their adult roles. What are we telling girls we expect of them with this?

This post is adapted from a piece that was originally published on the author's personal website.


Project Bendy Pants...

Project Bendypants: Practicing Yoga While Fat

Project BendypantsBy Tiffany Kell
So if you want to make gains in flexibility, there’s an obvious option, right? You take up yoga.
Well, maybe. Me and yoga? We’re complicated.
When I started Project Bendypants, I committed to taking two classes of yoga a week, in addition to my regular daily home practice. I thought hey, yoga instructors are professional teachers of flexibility! Clearly they could take me further than I could go on my own. And given that I live in Los Angeles, there’s a yoga studio on every corner. Win!
Turns out, it wasn’t so simple. You see, I apparently committed an unspoken offense to many of the yoga teachers I encountered: I attempted to practice yoga while fat.
I expect a certain amount of fat bias in every fitness class I attend. After all, the majority of the country has the (scientifically false) idea that fatness and fitness are mutually exclusive. And I’m under no illusions. I know that many people take fitness classes just so *they won’t end up looking like me.* Sigh.
But yoga has been a little different from other classes for me, I suspect for two main reasons. First, I am different in yoga classes. In particular, I struggle, a lot. (See: reasons I’m undertaking Project Bendypants.) In most fitness classes, I get the unmitigated pleasure of disproving all those secret and not-so-secret assumptions that people have about fat folks and athleticism. I am fit, I am strong, and I am athletic, and that tends to freak people out, in the best possible way. Typically, not only am I keeping up, I’m one of the best students in a class.
With yoga, not so much. Flexibility really is my Achilles heel. There are some beginning poses I can’t even get into yet, much less do well. So I’m a rank beginner, and as a struggling fat student, I fit into the stereotypes that many teachers have about fat people.
I’m not going to lie. This is difficult for me. I lean on the privilege of being athletic and able-bodied to buffer me from the hostility that people sometimes throw at me for being a fat person working out in public. With this shield stripped away, I am left vulnerable, naked of my normal defenses. I have to keep reminding myself that this privilege should not be the admission ticket to acceptance, even if people often treat it that way. Here’s the reality: athleticism is not some kind of moral requirement, and I don’t owe being *good* at something to anyone. But man, giving up that privilege is hard stuff.
There is, however, another difference. In most of the yoga classes I’ve attended, the instructors offer guidance on non-physical elements. They ask us to quiet our minds, focus on our breath, connect with the earth. They give attention to both the body and the spirit.
Though I live and work in the hard sciences, I love this stuff. With the right instructor, a little woo with my yoga helps center me and enriches my practice. But this kind of holistic focus can be an invitation for concern trolling when you’re fat.
Many yoga teachers assume they know a lot about me because I’m fat. A lot. They make assumptions about me and my relation to my body, and not only are those assumptions false, they are offensive.
Often, yoga teachers ask me if I’ve ever considered *starting* a fitness program. I let them know I work out 10+ hours a week.
Often, yoga teachers treat me differently than all the other students, either peppering me with questions about my “disabilities” or refusing to make eye contact with me.
Often, they assume I’m new, without asking.
Often, they offer me “encouragement” that yoga will help me lose weight. I have taken to replying that I’m currently focusing on losing height.
Often, they refuse to touch me, offering minor adjustments to aid other students into poses and just leaving me to my own devices. Or they insist on trying to physically adjust me into poses that are are not possible with the shape of my body (those DDDs aren’t two dimensional, you know).
Of all the sports and athletics I have participated in as a fat person, yoga has sadly been one of the most judgmental and the least emotionally safe. This is particularly painful given the principles of compassion and reflection that yoga is built around. I’m not entirely sure what to do with this.
The worst part has been that when the yoga’s good, it’s *great.* I mean that. I could seriously get into this stuff. I have fallen madly in love with a particular Yin Yoga class. Yin focuses on reorienting the body relative to gravity. Practitioners use props — lots of them — to assist in poses, and then you hold those poses for minutes at a time. It opens you up in ways that simple stretching just can’t accomplish, and it’s the perfect compliment for someone like me, whose training primarily focuses on strength.
But here’s the thing: it’s not the yoga itself that makes the class great. I like Yin, but I’ve taken it with a number of instructors now, and it’s always different. No, the thing that makes my favorite class so great is the instructor.
He is fantastic. Every night, he asks the whole class if anyone is new to yoga, or has any injuries or concerns he should know about, making no assumptions. Every night, he invites each student to wave him over if they want assistance. He welcomes us individually, making eye contact with each of us. And more than once, when I’ve been shaky in a hard pose, he appeared at my side with a bolster or a block, silently sliding it into place to support me. He’s not afraid to touch me when it will help my practice, but he doesn’t do it when it won’t. He makes me understand why people fall in love with yoga.
The only problem? I haven’t found many more like him. When I become independently wealthy, I intend to hire him as my personal yoga coach and learn to meditate my way to a standing heel stretch. But in the meantime, I have this membership to a yoga studio and only feel welcome in a few of the classes.
But you know what? If we only go where we’re welcome, we’ll leave a lot of doors closed. So I’m trying to go to more yoga, beyond my beloved Yin class. If the instructors don’t love having a fat person there, well, then it’ll be a good learning opportunity for everyone. And if they’re not willing to love bodies like mine, I’ll love it enough for both of us.
Tiffany Kell is a dancer with More Cabaret, a professional troupe of fat dancers and athletes based out of Los Angeles. She is a newly hatched yoga fanatic. When she is not twisting her body in interesting ways, she teaches at a local university.
Article originally published at, reposted with permission.


Free Music / Unplugged / Hillcrest / Adams Ave April 27, 2013

Date: April 27 - 28, 2013 Price: Free
Follow Us On:
The line-up for the second annual Adams Avenue Unplugged is set and will feature more than 135 artists performing at 25 venues along Adams Avenue on Saturday, April 27, 12:00 to 10:00 PM, and Sunday, April 28, 12 to 7:00 PM.
This year's headliners include:

  • San Diego roots band Los Alacranes with Special Guests Louie Perez and David Hidalgo (Grammy Award winners and founders of Los Lobos and the Latin Playboys)
  • Country music masters Geoff Muldaur and Jim Kweskin, founders of the Jim Kweskin Jug Band, who almost singlehandedly brought about a national revival of interest in pre-World War II rural music with their string of albums and good-humored performances
  • Reilly & Friends, will showcase Oscar nominated actor and musician John C. Reilly, along with Tom Brosseau, Willie Watson and Dan Bern
  • The Americana band Haunted Windchimes comprising of five young troubadours from Colorado. Musically, the Windchimes' catalogue is full of barnburners, campfire sing-alongs, and lush four- and five-part harmonies
  • Brooklyn-based gospel inspired band Spirit Family Reunion
In addition to the headliners, a variety of San Diego's top musicians will also perform, including Cindy Lee Berryhill, Jeff Berkley, Chris Clarke, Tomcat Courtney, Patty Hall, Joey Harris, Robin Henkel, The Lovebirds, Joe Marillo, Gregory Page, Sara Petite, Podunk Nowhere, Lisa Sanders, Seaholm-Mackintosh, David Blackburn & Robin Adler, Mark Jackson Trio, Joe Rathburn, Wendy Bailey Ross Altman, Dave Humphries, Phil Boroff, Christopher Dale, Ben Powell, Alan Land, Suzanne Reed, Whitney Shay Trio, Billy Watson, Nena Anderson, Marie Haddad, Jeffrey Joe Morin, Charlie Imes, Bill Dempsey, Curt Bouterse, Kenny Eng, Folding Mr. Lincoln, Beston Barnett, Simeon Flick, Doug Walker, Craig Ingraham Band, Lovers & Circles, Nathan Welden, Jim Hinton, Coco & Lafa, Bayou Brothers, Will Edwards, Trails and Rails, Kev Rones, Shawn Rohlf, and John Bosley.
The festival will feature performances staged in participating restaurants, bars, coffeehouses and galleries, as well as four community stages along Adams Avenue. Many of the unplugged performers will play multiple sets to allow attendees to catch their favorite artists while enjoying the neighborhoods many distinctive shops along the Adams Avenue business corridor.
Adams Avenue Unplugged will be held along a two-mile stretch of Adams Avenue, from University Heights on the west end, through Normal Heights, and into parts of Kensington on the east. Since street parking is limited, organizers will provide free trolley service along Adams Avenue, during the event, as well as a bike valet service. In addition, mass transit bus service (MTS #2 & 11) will also be available since Adams Avenue will be open to traffic. We encourage festival-goers to wear comfortable shoes and enjoy the music and vibe that Adams Avenue offers.


Teen Volunteers Needed at Library Summer 2013

 Teen volunteers needed for Summer Arts CampsWe're seeking responsible and creative teen volunteers ages 15 to 19 to become Summer Arts Camp Counselors for the City of Carlsbad's Cultural Arts Office camps programs. Volunteering during our Club Pelican or Creative Arts Camp programs is a fun way to spend part of your summer and a great way to learn about various types of art forms, working with children (and adults) and a great way to gain experience. All teen volunteer application materials are due on Friday, May 31 by 5 p.m. Download an application.


How to Choose a Reputable Charity, Michael Mosley on PBS Vid

 Here's how to find a well-respected charitable group. Give wisely.
"Eat, Fast, and Live Longer"


Pat Tillman Foundation and His Widow Soldier On

Soldiering On: Pat Tillman's Widow Turns the Page on Tragedy


Soldiering On: Pat Tillman's Widow Turns the Page on Tragedy
Marie and Pat in 2001 on a break from Cardinals training camp in Flagstaff, Ariz. [Courtesy of Marie Tillman]
Pat Tillman's widow, Marie, author of a new memoir, tells how she turned the page on tragedy by looking forward and giving back.

Say the name Pat Tillman and most people know his story: A star with the Arizona Cardinals, Tillman put his NFL career on hold to fight for his country after 9/11, losing his life in ­Afghanistan in 2004. But not many know the story of his widow, Marie, who was just 27 when Pat died as a result of friendly fire, a fact the Army initially covered up. Marie spent the next few years struggling to make sense of it all and trying to do as Pat urged in a letter he gave her to open in the event of his death: go on with her life. In her new book, The Letter: My Journey Through Love, Loss & Life, Marie tells how she coped, eventually ­taking on a bigger role at the Pat ­Tillman Foundation, a nonprofit that serves veterans, active service members, and their spouses. We recently spoke to Marie about the book, her new family, and her work for the foundation.

PARADE: Why did you decide to tell such a personal story?
I started writing without the intention of turning it into a book, but more as a means of therapy, really. Once I could put some time and distance between me and what happened, though, I was able to get out there and talk to people. And the more I did, the more I heard stories of loss. When I was going through really difficult times, those were the people I connected with. At some point, I realized that in the same way other people’s stories helped me heal, maybe mine would be helpful for someone else.

You recount meeting the soldier who issued the “fire” order that resulted in Pat’s death. You’ve forgiven him, but have you forgiven the military?
That’s such a tricky question. I look at what happened and know that fingers can be pointed in a variety of directions. But the military is made up of individuals, the majority of whom are amazing, wonderful, hardworking, ethical people. I see that in the work I do every day with the foundation.

Pat wanted you to move on with your life. How did you do that?
It took a long time, and it was not easy, certainly. I just decided I wouldn’t let the experience shape my life in a negative way—that I would live as Pat had asked me to in his final letter and stay open to life. Going about things with that attitude allowed all these wonderful things to come into my life.

And now you are married [to Joe Shenton, an investment bank director] and have a new baby [Mac ­Patrick] and three stepsons [ages 10, 9, and 7]. How did that come about?
Joe and I just had this connection from the very beginning. [With other men I dated] there always seemed to be something uncomfortable about my past.

How old is Mac Patrick now?
He’s 6 months. It’s an amazing experience to be a mother. He’s a reminder of how far I’ve come.

Tell us a little about the ­foundation you run.
We provide scholarships for ­veterans and their spouses, who are often the sole breadwinners when their soldier is killed or comes back wounded. We have 231 scholars we support across the country; our goal is to keep growing.

Do you think Pat would be proud of the work ?
I hope that he would. I feel so grateful that I have the opportunity to do the work I do in his memory. To be able to do such great things for people—it’s an honor.

Click here to learn more about the Pat Tillman Foundation


May 11, 2013 - Family Free Studio Day!

Green Header 

happylittleboyThis all-ages, hands-on art making event for new Cannon Gallery exhibitions is a big hit with local families! All materials and workspace are provided and you can stay as long as you like. Two programs each year include a PLUS element-free performance reflecting the exhibition's theme. For "Vanishing Traditions: Textiles and Treasures from  Southwest China," our guest performers are the Southern Sea Lion Dance Association, whose colorful costumes, dazzling footwork and rousling music demonstrate a centuries-old Chines tradition.

Who: All ages
When: Saturday, May 11,11 a.m.- 2 p.m.
Performances occur at 11:45 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. 
Where: Carlsbad City Library courtyard, 1775 Dove Lane
Admission: Free. No registration required.  


Thank you to Tom T. for such cool logos!


How to Dress for Your Shape

How to dress for your shape: are you human-shaped? Play up your confidence and natural sex appeal by wearing whatever the heck you want.

Life Tip: As the weather gets warmer, continue to wear whatever the heck you want. Flaunt everything or keep it cool under cover. Dress to make yourself feel rad.

How to get a bikini body: Put a bikini on your body

Want sexy own-the-beach summer legs? Shave, or don’t because they’re your damn legs.