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  • Detroit group Feral Ground is out to prove hip-hop is alive and well

    By LeeAnn Brown Some people say that hip-hop is dead. Local ban Fderal Ground is proving that is not the case. The seven-member band, consisting of three lead vocalists, a DJ, bass, drums and guitar, plays what they call “living hip-hop.” Their music, peppered with multiple styles, covers all aspects of life from growing up in the D to playing with fire despite knowing you will likely get burned. Their undeniable chemistry and raw lyrics compose a music that is living, breathing, and connecting to their listeners. It has been nearly 11 years since Vinny Mendez and Michael Powers conjured up the basement idea that has flowered into the Detroit funk-hop band Feral Ground. Throughout high school the two wrote and rapped consistently, playing shows here and there. In those years they matched their rap stanzas with the animated, dynamic voice of Ginger Nastase and saw an instant connection. The now trio backed their lyrics with DJ Aldo’s beats on and off for years, making him a permanent member within the last year, along with Andy DaFunk (bass), Joseph Waldecker (drums), and newest member, Craig Ericson (guitar). We sat down with Feral Ground and their manager, Miguel Mira, in their […]

    The post Detroit group Feral Ground is out to prove hip-hop is alive and well appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Yale professor talks Plato, James Madison and Detroit’s emergency manager law

    Much has been made about Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s decision this week to transfer authority of the city’s water department to Mayor Mike Duggan. In what is the most interesting read on the situation, Jason Stanley, professor of philosophy at Yale, pens an analysis on Michigan’s novel emergency manager law on the New York Times Opinionator blog. Stanley deconstructs Michigan’s grand experiment in governance by addressing two questions: Has the EM law resulted in policy that maximally serves the public good? And, is the law consistent with basic principles of democracy? Stanley ties in examples of Plato, James Madison’s Federalist Papers, and Nazi political theorist Carl Schmitt. A short excerpt: Plato was a harsh critic of democracy, a position that derived from the fact that his chief value for a society was social efficiency. In Plato’s view, most people are not capable of employing their autonomy to make the right choices, that is, choices that maximize overall efficiency. Michigan is following Plato’s recommendation to handle the problems raised by elections. Though there are many different senses of “liberty” and “autonomy,” none mean the same thing as “efficiency.” Singapore is a state that values efficiency above all. But by no stretch of […]

    The post Yale professor talks Plato, James Madison and Detroit’s emergency manager law appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Where to meet a baby dinosaur this week

    Walking with Dinosaurs, a magnificent stage show that features life-sized animatronic creatures from the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods, will be in town next week. But to preview the show’s run at the Palace, a baby T-Rex will be making an appearance at four area malls to the delight and wonderment of shoppers. Baby T-Rex, as the creature is being affectionately referred to, is seven-feet-tall and 14-feet-long. He’ll only be at each mall for about 15 minutes, so while there will be photo opportunities, they’ll be short. The dino will be at Fairlane Town Center Center Court at 18900 Michigan Ave. in Detroit from 2-2:15 p.m. today, July 30; The Mall at Partridge Creek at 17420 Hall Rd. in Clinton Township from 5-5:15 p.m. today, July 30; Twelve Oaks Mall at the Lord & Taylor Court at 27500 Novi Rd., Novi tomorrow, Thursday July 31 from 1:30-1:45 p.m.; and Great Lakes Crossing Food Court at 4000 Baldwin Rd., Auburn Hills from 5-5:15 p.m., tomorrow Thursday, July 31.  

    The post Where to meet a baby dinosaur this week appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit website offers stats, updates on city operations

    Interested in reading about what Detroit accomplishes on a week-to-week basis that’s produced by the city itself? Great. You can do that now, here, at the Detroit Dashboard. Every Thursday morning, the city will publish an update to the dashboard because Mayor Mike Duggan loves metrics, even if the data might be hard to come by. According to Duggan’s office, the dashboard will provide data on how many LED street lights were installed, how many vacant lots were mowed, how much blight was removed, and more. This week, the city says it has sold 13 site lots through BuildingDetroit.com, removed 570 tons of illegal dumping, and filed 57 lawsuits against abandoned property owners.  

    The post Detroit website offers stats, updates on city operations appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Long John Silver’s makes nod to Nancy Whiskey in YouTube commercial

    We don’t know about you, but usually Nancy Whiskey and Long John Silver’s aren’t two concepts we’d place in the same sentence. However, the international fast food fish fry conglomerate made a nod to the Detroit dive in their latest YouTube commercial. LJS is offering free fish fries on Saturday, August 2, which is the promotion the commercial is attempting to deliver. But, we think we’ll just go to Nancy Whiskey instead.

    The post Long John Silver’s makes nod to Nancy Whiskey in YouTube commercial appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Michigan’s women-only music fest still shuns trans women

    We came across an interesting item this week: Apparently, a music festival with the name “Michfest” is quietly oriented as a “Women-Only Festival Exclusively for ‘Women Born Women.’” It seems a strange decision to us. If you wanted to have a women-only music festival, why not simply proclaim loud and clear that it is for all sorts of women? But if you really wanted to become a lightning rod for criticisms about transphobia, organizers have found the perfect way to present their festival. Now, we know that defenders of non-cisgender folks have it tough. The strides made by gays and lesbians (and bisexuals) in the last 20 years have been decisive and dramatic. But the people who put the ‘T’ in LGBT have reason to be especially defensive, facing a hostile culture and even some disdain from people who should be their natural allies. That said, sometimes that defensiveness can cause some activists to go overboard; when we interviewed Dan Savage a couple years ago, he recalled his “glitter bombing” and said it was due to the “the narcissism of small differences,” adding that “if you’re playing the game of who is the most victimized, attacking your real enemies doesn’t prove you’re most victimized, claiming you […]

    The post Michigan’s women-only music fest still shuns trans women appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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When sex comes a little too close to home

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Q:

 This is a touchy and gross subject. I am a 17-year-old girl growing up in an adoptive family in Australia. I was sexually abused by my birth family, and I think it really fucked up my sexuality. The only thing that gets me off is the idea of people absolutely destroying their lives for an orgasm. I started with mild S&M stories and then moved on to grosser stuff like murder (stories and online images), pedo (stories only), and lately I've been thinking about my (adoptive) parents. The thing is, it doesn't have to be a particular category. As long as it's the most vile thing I can think of, it will get me off. There isn't a pattern as far as gender, age or relationship to the people I am fantasizing about; it just has to be horrible, the kind of thing that would destroy you in real life. These fantasies alone are scary enough, but because they are literally the only things that get me off, I can't even really tell if I'm attracted to boys or girls or none of the above. I'm scared to talk to a counselor about this because I don't want to freak my parents out. I mean, I've got my quirks, but overall I seem like a pretty healthy kid, and I try not to worry them. I don't expect you to solve this problem via your column, but do you have any ideas for how I could get help with this without messing up my family? —Not Over Painful Experiences


A:

 Sane people can have extreme or violent sexual fantasies, NOPE, and extreme or violent sexual fantasies do not make sane people crazy. (Let's call them EVSFs for short, shall we?)

But you need to talk to a shrink — not because you're hopelessly damaged or the only person out there with EVSFs, but because you're troubled by your fantasies. And that's understandable. It's difficult to have EVSFs — or to find a healthy way to incorporate EVSFs into your sex life, or to figure out how to dial EVSFs way the fuck back if there's no healthy way to incorporate them into your sex life — when your erotic imagination is constantly dragging you to new and more disturbing places. And while most people's fantasies are relatively fixed, i.e., certain types of people or scenarios turn them on, your erotic imagination seems to be on the hunt for new "wrong" thoughts, images, stimuli and scenarios. You need to seize control of your sexuality, and you'll need help doing that, or your sense of estrangement from your sexuality will only continue to grow.

That said, NOPE, you could be seeing causation where there is only coincidence. There are a lot of people out there who didn't suffer the kind of abuse you did — or any kind of abuse at all — but who nevertheless have EVSFs. Some people with troubling fantasies or interests have found relief with low-dose antidepressants; some folks with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have been helped by novel programs that incorporate MDMA, aka ecstasy, into their treatment plans. You could be suffering from PTSD, considering your history.

A good therapist — one with whom you are completely honest — may be able to help you reshape and redirect your fantasies in the direction of still-intense, less-wrong, not-constantly-escalating stimuli that give you the "wrongness" charge you need without nuking your mental health or your life. (Stay away from all pedo porn sites, NOPE, even "stories only" porn. Please.) And a good sex therapist can help you draw a clear distinction between your adult sexuality — whatever form it takes — and your history of sexual abuse. (I shared your letter with a sex researcher I trust, and she urged me to urge you to insist on seeing a reputable therapist who does sex therapy specifically, as they're less likely to be sex-negative and therefore less likely to react with prudish or panicked judgments when you disclose your EVSFs.)

Considering the abuse you suffered at the hands of your family of origin, NOPE, I trust that your adoptive parents are aware that you may need professional help throughout your life and that your asking for help is a good sign about 1) you as a person and 2) them as parents. At your very first appointment, ask your shrink to confirm that your sessions are confidential. If for some reason your shrink tells you he or she can't offer you complete confidentiality (which they can and, in most places, are required to do by law, unless you're a danger to yourself or others), thank the nice shrink for his or her time and ask your parents to make you an appointment to see a different shrink.

Please get help — not because you are or may be kinky, NOPE, but because you're struggling with doubt, you're confused about your sexual orientation, and you're rightly worried about the way your erotic imagination keeps upping the "wrongness" ante. And remember: Not all counselors or shrinks are created equal. If you don't like or click with the first one you see, tell your parents you want to see someone else.


Q:

 I am gay and I have a brother who's gay. The problem is, he is very much into humiliation. He exposes himself online and allows his online "masters" to have control over his pictures and videos. I found his pictures recently, and the embarrassment and humiliation were a huge turn-on for him. (In real life, we've never shown any interest sexually in each other whatsoever. But when he asked if I had any naked pictures, I told him I did and sent some to him, and somehow that was a bit of a turn-on, I must admit.) On to the real problem: Soon, my brother told me that he felt really guilty, cleaned up his hard drive, deleted all his pics and mine and asked me to do the same, and swore off playing online. But I found evidence that he's resumed this habit. This has been a pattern for him, he says, and he insists he was somehow damaged in childhood. I told him I see him as my kinky brother and that he might be happier if he could just accept himself. But I don't think he should quit his "addiction" cold turkey, as it hasn't worked in the past. —Bro Of Kinky Bro

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