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I've been noticing how in my lifetime there have been significant changes in sexuality. Polyisoprene condoms exist now with the elasticity of latex but without the allergies. Marriage equality is more prevalent. Paraphilias are no longer ipso post facto mental illnesses. And anal sex is a mainstream sexual activity (at least in my culture). In this video I discuss four other significant changes in my lifetime and tag four other creators to make similar videos. In a world full of confusion, when it seems like the news is a steady stream of shit, it's nice to remember that there have been some pretty awesome improvements to society and there's still hope.

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Sometimes we're so busy in our version of the world that we forget the ways it's changed.  For example, here are four changes that have happened in my lifetime which have positively impacted my quality of life.

One.  I'm in Boston now, but I recently visited Hartford, Connecticut, where the first payphone was installed.  It's not there anymore, but when it was, you could use it to make a call.  Late for curfew and need to check in?  Traveling and took a wrong turn?  All you had to do was insert coins and call someone who could give you directions, which you'd then have to memorize or write down.   Now, many of us have personal cellphones that we use to call, text, e-mail, track our periods, sex educate ourselves, and get personalized, verbal, visual, vibrating, and written directions.  We have this now, but we didn't have it in the last millennium.

Two.  In Atlanta, Georgia, I went to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where there is a museum of environmental and economic factors related to health and a huge exhibit about some of the most costly infecions.  Malaria, measles, and HIV.  We didn't have microscopes that could see pathogens or antibiotics to treat some of them.  Some of you might remember the disease GRID, Gay Related Immuno Deficiency.  It was discovered the year I was born and referred to as GRID, the gay plague, and gay cancer because the known cases were among gay men, but thank goodness, we learned that HIV, which causes the syndrome, is transmitted through blood, breast milk, seminal fluid, and vaginal fluid.  To clarify this, the CDC quickly renamed GRID, AIDS, or the Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome.  It's what you might know of now as HIV-3 or 3rd stage HIV.  

Three.  While in North Carolina, we toured Adam & Eve's headquarters and saw how orders are put together from a huge warehouse of sex toys.  The most popular items closer to the front, the less popular closer to the back, and bins of freebies that get included when you spend a certain amount of money.  The order then goes into a bin, onto a conveyor belt, and to a packing station where it's boxed and padded for another conveyor belt that organizes shipments by mailing regions.  Very efficient.  Then those boxes go to semi-trucks that go to other shipping depots that go to you.  It wasn't that long ago that this operation was illegal.  In 1986, 37 armed law enforcement agents raided Adam & Eve's previous warehouse for obscenity.  The founder Phil Harvey then spent the next six years in legal battles for our rights to send and receive erotica, contraception, sex toys, and the like through the mail.  I want to do an entire episode about this man someday.  Access to birth control, porn, vibrators, and education is in part a result of his commitment.

The fourth big change I can think of is something I've noticed everywhere.  When I was growing up, relatives and family friends could scoop you up and hug and kiss you.  If you squirmed, that was just a part of the script.  They'd set you down and pat you on the butt to run off and play.  The thinking was that we squirmed because we wanted to be doing kid things, not because being smothered by an adult was non-consensual physical contact.  When you liked someone, you passed them notes asking them out or you had friends ask them out or you did it yourself directly in any number of ways until you got a yes.  "No" wasn't universally understood as rejection.  It was taken as an invitation to try harder, to show how much you really want me.  

When I've been speaking at universities lately, students are appalled that their textbooks and coursework doesn't include consent.  Why aren't their younger siblings being taught this fundamental lesson in schools?  I explained that consent's not a new idea, but it's certainly a newer practice.  Watch any movie pre #MeToo movement and you'll find sexual harassment is supposed to be comedic and/or romantic.

When I was in college, only 2-5% of people who committed sexual offenses were convicted.  I remember my campus violence prevention advocates discouraging me from reporting a case because then, it caused victims more trauma.  Now, it's not perfect or great, but you are much more likely to be heard and people are much more likely to be convicted.  In just my lifetime, we've increased our abilities to communicate, protect ourselves, and make informed decisions about our sex lives. 

I want to tag the following creators to make their own versions of this video, #NowNotThen.  Nature League's Brit Garner, Sabrina Cruz of NerdyAndQuirky, Hannah Witton for another sex perspective, and Ash Hardell.  You can too, of course.  

What are some of the positive changes you've noticed in your lifetime?  I'm curious.  Stay curious.

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