Winners of First Sex-Positive Journalism Awards Announced

ALBANY, N.Y. — The board and judges of the Sex-Positive Journalism Awards have announced the winners of the 2008 Sexies.

Selected from more than 100 entries submitted by both writers and readers, the winning entries cover subjects like sex in nursing homes, prostitution, sex in Iran, and panics over Internet sex.

The Sexies were established to reward pieces of journalism that touch on sex — sexual practice, health, or behavior — in some manner.

"Too many mentions of sex in the media recapitulate our culture's biases about sexuality and sexual diversity, especially as far as 'controversial' topics are concerned," said Sexies judge and sex educator Carol Queen.

"Publications' editors are too often afraid to let their writers show all sides, and certainly the sex-positive side, of a story," Queen added. "The Sexies give us a forum to highlight the exceptions, and hopefully shine a light by which all journalists can see more clearly."

Articles considered by the contest judges were meant for a general audience and required to meet high overall standards of reporting, fact-checking, and writing.

Other criteria included; specifically challenging sex-negative assumptions or practices in society at large or in a specific community; educating the public as to the diversity of sexual behavior, without sensationalizing; and celebrating sexuality as a positive force in human lives.

This year's winning articles were first published in 12 different U.S. states and one Canadian province, representing genres from news to advice columns.

All entries were read by at least two members of the Sexies judges panel, including at least one with a journalism background.

The first-place winners are:

News or feature (daily newspapers): “Never Too Old for Sex,” by Jill Bauer, Miami Herald

News story (other general-topic news publications): “Hysteria, Exploitation, and Witch Hunting in the Age of Internet Sex,” by Debbie Nathan, Counterpunch

Feature (other general-topic news publications): “Naughty Nursing Homes,” by Daniel Engber, Slate

News or feature (sex-themed news publications): “Sex in Iran,” by Pari Esfandiari and Richard Buskin, Playboy

Opinion (all news publications): “Abstinence 1, S-CHIP 0,” by Amanda Robb, New York Times

Column (all news publications): Between the Briefs, by Alysha Rooks, Res Gestae, University of Michigan Law School

XBIZ writer Joanne Cachapero was a runner-up in the Sex-themed Publications category, for her feature article "The Bareback Controversy."

The list of all the winners, with links to online versions of their stories where available and comments from the judges, is available here.

The awards will be presented at a cocktail party open to the public in New York City in October.

The Sexies were suggested by journalist Miriam Axel-Lute, and were brought about in collaboration with writers, readers, and activists from The Center for Sex & Culture and the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom. Corporate sponsors for the Sexies are founding sponsor Babeland, Alt Life Films, the Playboy Foundation and XBIZ. Support also comes from individual donors.

Submissions for the 2009 Sexies are open and will be accepted through March 2009 at the Sexies website.