Want to Participate in Updating "Our Bodies, Ourselves"?

By Christine Cupaiuolo — January 26, 2010

Help update OBOS for 2011!Feel free to re-post this call on blogs, listservs and newsletters. If you have any questions, leave a comment below.

Our Bodies Ourselves is seeking up to two dozen women to participate in an online discussion on sexual relationships.

Stories and comments may be used anonymously in the next edition of “Our Bodies, Ourselves,” which will be published in 2011 by Simon & Schuster.

We are seeking the experience and wisdom of heterosexual, lesbian, bisexual and queer women. Perspectives from single women are encouraged, and you may define relationship as it applies to you, from monogamy to multiple partners. We are committed to including women of color, women with disabilities, trans women and women of many ages and backgrounds.

In the words of the brilliant anthology “Yes Means Yes,” how can we consistently engage in more positive experiences? What issues deserve more attention? And how do we address social inequities and violence against women? These are some of the guiding questions that will help us to update the relationships section in “Our Bodies, Ourselves.”

The conversation will start Sunday, Feb. 14 (yes, Valentine’s Day) and stay open through Friday, March 12.

Participants will be invited to answer relevant questions (see sample below) and build on the responses of other participants. We’ll use a private Google site to post questions and responses.

Personal stories and reflections are welcomed, along with updated research and media resources. While we intend to use some of the stories and experiences in the book, names will not be published.

We hope the open process* will spark robust discussion. We expect new questions to arise that challenge us to re-work this section even more.

If you would like to participate in this conversation, please e-mail OBOS editorial team member Wendy Sanford: wsanford@bwhbc.org

In your email, please tell us about yourself and what you would bring to the conversation. We need to hear from you by Feb. 5 and will let you know soon thereafter about participation. Thanks for considering this!

*We have thought a great deal about privacy. If you want to share a story or information, but do not want to participate in the private Google site discussion, please indicate that in your email. We may send you questions that you can answer on your own.

* * * * * *

Sample Questions

Participants can suggest other questions

How do you define — and express — intimacy?

What are you looking for in a relationship? What kind of relationship do you seek at this time in your life — monogamous, non-monogamous, long-term, short-term, one partner or more than one? How is this related to being a woman or to your gender or sexual identity in the society(ies) and culture(s) to which you belong?

What do you enjoy most about being sexual?

What are your experiences in a relationship that spans differences such as class, race, age, physical or mental ability, chronic illness, other?

How does it affect your relationships when you are with someone whom the world gives more or less power than you have — because of race, income, gender or disability?

What role has love played or not played in your relationships?

Describe a time when you realized that despite the romantic images you may have grown up with, a relationship you intended to stay in over time was going to be work.

What are some obstacles that can get in the way of our relationships? What images or stereotypes in popular culture add to the difficulties?

What helps? What books or other resources do you trust to speak honestly about relationships?

What is it like to be in a relationship with a man/with a woman when you don’t like some or all of your own body?

How have specific acts of sexual violence against you, or general societal/cultural acceptance of violence against women or LGBT people, affected your intimate sexual relationships?

If you have been in intimate sexual relationships with both women and men, are there special dynamics and challenges that you have noticed in each?

If you have experience with online dating networks, what would you want someone to know who was just starting to explore that venue? What are the safety issues?

12 responses to “Want to Participate in Updating “Our Bodies, Ourselves”?”

  1. Christine,

    Thanx for doing this and submitted my answers. Of course passed this along on though email, facebook, forums that I belong to.

  2. This is a wonderful opportunity for women to participate. I’m going to re-post this on my blog. Good luck with the project!

  3. “We are seeking the experience and wisdom of heterosexual, lesbian, bisexual, queer and trans women.”

    Are you saying then that trans women aren’t heterosexual, lesbian, bisexual or queer?

  4. Thanks for the re-posts!

    Regarding the language, we wanted to make sure transwomen knew they were invited. You were right about the sentence construction, and I’ve updated that graph. Thanks!

  5. Hey Sarah, send an email to Wendy!

    JoA, we will definitely be including asexual women, more so in the sexuality chapter. We have received several emails from individuals who want to share their stories. I encourage you to do the same if you’d like.

    In future months, we’ll post again for more stories to include in other chapters.

  6. Joan, thanks for the call-out, and Christine, glad to hear we’ll be included in discussions of sexuality. I’ve sent an email with my pov.

  7. Would you include perspectives of women who haven’t been in relationships at all? Women who don’t have sex and not because they are asexual? You list of questions suggests an assumption that all women experience the same things (“What do you enjoy most about being sexual” instead of “Do you enjoy being sexual”) which is a shame.

  8. The chapter is about sexual relationships, though we’re certainly interested in hearing everyone’s perspectives. And we don’t expect everyone to answer the same questions. As noted above, those are just sample questions, and participants can add their own.

  9. How does the private google site work? Will the conversations be private to outsiders but visible to the participants? Will the other participants be able to see e-mail addresses & contacts or can users choose nicknames to go by?

  10. K, yes, the conversations will be visible to participants, not to outsiders. Participants will need to be logged into a google account; the information that’s viewable depends on your settings. I believe you can choose a nickname, but if you don’t use any name, it shows your email address.

    Those with privacy concerns (or access issues) can request to answer questions by email instead of participating in the online discussion. We hope to create a safe space and expect participants to respect everyone’s privacy (no quoting from the discussion in other arenas or sharing personal information).

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