Mary Katharine Tramontana writes for The New York Times, Esquire, Playboy, and others. She's also worked as a sex research assistant at Kinsey Institute. She lives in Berlin. firstname.lastname@example.org
She Never Wanted to Be a Mother. Now She’s Written a Book for Women Like Her.
Ruby Warrington has never wanted children. Not while she was growing up in England and not later in her life, a commitment that was tested by an unplanned and rare pregnancy — she was using an IUD at the time — when she was 23, shortly after she graduated from the London School of Fashion. She had an abortion.
She moved into magazine journalism af...
The Sexual Heresy of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s 'Teorema'
Pervert icon John Waters once quipped, “I thank God I was raised Catholic, so sex will always be dirty.” A pervert recovering-Catholic myself, I know what he’s talking about. Prohibition excites. Ban a film and you have a PR wet dream. Ban something inevitable – “impure thoughts,” non-procreative sex, female desire – and you’ll not only make it more appealing, you create a sin-repent cycle that keeps ‘em coming back for over 2000 years. But you don’t need to be raised with religion for sex to...
‘There’s Not Just One Type of Porn’: Erika Lust’s Alternative Vision [print]
BARCELONA, Spain — When Billie Eilish called pornography “a disgrace” in a recent radio interview, the quote made headlines. The Grammy-winning musician said she had started watching at around age 11, to learn how to have sex, and that she was now angry about the way she felt porn misrepresented women.
When people talk about pornography, they’re often referring, like Eilish, to its commercial, heterosexual variety, which is what most of the free porn online tends to be. On those sites, you’d ...
Women Who Said No to Motherhood [print]
Zoë Noble was 32 when her doctor told her “the clock is ticking.”
The hysterectomy Ms. Noble needed to remove a fibroid was not up for discussion so far as her doctor was concerned, despite the fact that she didn’t want children. It took years of pain and an emergency room visit before she was finally granted the surgery at 37.
The practice of a physician denying a patient surgery on the assumption that a woman will change her mind about wanting children is common.
“It’s as though a woman’s p...
Ernest Hemingway: The Old Man and the Androgyny
Bullfight-lover. Big game hunter. Deep sea fisher. Brawler. Boxer. Drinker. War hero. Ladies' man. Even for his time, Ernest Hemingway was masculinity in hyperbole. The outsized writer of stripped-back prose was also, a new documentary argues, an explorer of gender fluidity in the bedroom – both in his literature and his life. At a cultural moment which favours simplistic interpretations of iconic figures as villains or heroes, American filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick muddy the waters of...
Planted in Sickness, Derek Jarman’s Garden Still Gives Joy [print]
On the flat, otherworldly, shingle expanse of Dungeness, a headland in southern England, stands a wooden cottage with a small garden. The tar-black cabin with its canary-yellow trim is surrounded by rambling flowers and driftwood totems bedecked with sun-bleached crab claws and snail shells: a quaint scene thrown off-kilter by a nuclear power plant that looms in the background.
The house, called Prospect Cottage, was home to the British fi...
A Fresh Bite Of Peaches: The multimedia artist and pop provocateur continues to fight for erotic liberation—this time with the help of a dexterous sex toy [print]
A new era for Peaches began with an online review of a men’s pale-pink silicone double masturbator she happened upon in January 2019. The multimedia artist, best known for her sex-drenched music, found herself shocked by two facets of the clip.
“The first was the look of the object,” she says. “It was so disembodied, like ‘Danger!’ Here’s what a woman could be reduced to: a mouth with some red lipstick and a vagina.”
Then there was the reviewer himself. “It became clear he’d never had sex wit...
How to Make a Relationship Last? Make It Open, Christopher Isherwood Said [print]
A museum show explores the British writer and the painter Don Bachardy’s partnership, which lasted through uncertainties and ecstasies for 33 years.
I talked with the artist David Hockney, writer Edmund White, and painter Don Bachardy about Christopher Isherwood and his open relationship.
The Long Fight for the Female Orgasm: Revisiting the Sexual Revolutionary Wilhelm Reich
There’s a photograph of Kurt Cobain in a garden in Kansas in 1993, waving through a porthole, beaming, in what appears to be a one-person sauna. The rectangular cabinet he’s seated in, which belonged to William Burroughs, is an “orgone accumulator” — an invention of the renegade Marxist psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich.
If you have or haven’t heard of Reich, it’s probably thanks to that contraption. Once one of the most esteemed analysts in the world, his book, The Mass Psychology of Fascism, was ...
André Aciman Wants ‘Total Fluidity’: The ‘Call Me by Your Name’ author on sexual labels and the ever-changing nature of desire
I sat down with André Aciman to talk about his new sequel novel and how bisexual desire, fluidity, and open relationships are missing from discussions of Call Me By Your Name, why those aspects make it such a powerful, resonant story, and what their erasure says about our culture.
Battling the Clit Crisis
Did you know that the vagina is not the source of female orgasm—for anyone? (It's the clitoris.) The vast majority of women don't orgasm from vaginal sex, but language, movies, museums, and even medical textbooks used to train doctors gaslight girls and women into thinking they should.
Questioning the Modern Obsession With Identity: A Convo With German Literary Star Sasha Marianna Salzmann
Our contemporary moment is obsessed with identity. Sexual identity. Gender Identity. National identity. So when a novel emerges that deals with all those themes—plus some Shakespearean influence thrown in for good measure—one should take notice. German writer Sasha Marianna Salzmann has created just such a novel with Beside Myself, a debut that challenges the idea of fixed, immutable identities and whether they are even worth having.
Salzmann was born in Volgograd, grew up in Moscow and emigr...
Why Do We Still Have ‘Girl Stuff’ and ‘Boy Stuff’?
When boys want to play princess and wear dresses, Diane Ehrensaft, director of mental health at the Child and Adolescent Gender Center at the University of California, San Francisco, says parents come to her asking, “What’s wrong with that little boy?” She hears, “Oh, that’s a trans girl.” Before that, it was, “He must be gay.” Actually, Ms. Ehrensaft said, “All we know is, it’s a boy in a dress.”
Paul B. Preciado: “One day we’ll see assigning gender at birth as brutal”
The punk trans philosopher on the future of gender, how to declare a uterus strike, and what it’s like on the other side of the binary.
Why Are Men Still Explaining Things to Women?
It’s common. It’s cringeworthy. And it’s been documented, some might argue, since at least the 17th century. It happens on Twitter. It happens at work and at Thanksgiving dinners. In barrooms and in classrooms. Famous men do it. Uncles do it. Politicians, colleagues, bad dates, bureaucrats and neighbors do it. (Some of you may do it, ironically, in response to reading this.) Yes, we’re talking about mansplaining.