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Sexies Winners Announced

on Wednesday, 20 January 2010. Posted in Media Updates

The board and judges of the Sex-Positive Journalism Awards are proud to announce the winners of the 2009 Sexies. Selected from about 100 entries (not counting multiple nominations of the same piece!) submitted by both writers and readers, the winning entries cover subjects from teen pregnancy to conjugal visits, vaginal plastic surgery to prudish responses to public art. The winning articles come from all across the United States and Canada, and represent a range of genres, from news to advice columns.

What they all have in common, however, is that they succeed in embodying the Sexies criteria for sex-positive journalism far better than the vast majority of their counterparts, helping to improve the quality of dialogue around sex and create a more well-informed reading public. "Without clear-eyed, informed journalism about sexuality, the public runs the risk of seeing sex-related issues through a murky scrim of ignorance and biased attitudes. The Sexies help show the media-and the citizenry-how it can and should be done," says Carol Queen of the Center for Sex and Culture.

The first-place winners are:

Mainstream News Sources (Newspapers/National News Magazines/TV Station Print Affiliates: "Plastic Surgery Below the Belt," Laura Fitzpatrick, Time Magazine

News/Features (Alt-Weeklies, Monthlies): "Growing Up Glouster," Rachel Baker, Boston Magazine

Columns: Carnal Knowledge, JoAnn Wypijewski, The Nation

Opinion: Tie: "A Poverty of Solutions," Judith Levine, 7 Days,  and "The Great Porn Misunderstanding," Michael Bader, Alternet

Here's the list of all the winners, with links to online versions of their stories where available, and comments from the judges. All entries were read by at least two members of the Sexies judges panel, including at least one with a journalism background.

The judges were: writer, speaker, educator and activist Carol Queen, PhD; journalist Kai Wright; journalist and 2008 Sexies winner Debbie Nathan; journalist Liza Featherstone; journalist and radio host Doug Henwood; journalist and 2008 Sexies winner Amanda Robb; sex educator and columnist for The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction, Debby Herbenick, PhD, MPH; and writer, editor, and blogger Rachel Kramer Bussel. (Full bios.)

A note about the sex-themed publications category: After careful consideration by our judges, we have decided not to give awards in this category this year. The judges felt the quality of the submissions did not measure up to the work submitted last year. We started the Sexies primarily to give mainstream journalists encouragement and support for covering sexual topics in unsensationalistic honest fashion. We added this category to give some recognition to folks in the trenches who are writing for publications that devote themselves to this topic. We are immensely grateful to those writers and those publications, and yet we feel that when writing about sex is expected and not an achievement in itself, to be award-winning, a story must really push our boundaries and be risky and challenge even the assumptions of the sex-positive community. We look forward to receiving more pieces in that vein in the future. We know they're out there!

Thanks all the writers and readers who sent in entries (and apologies for the various delays). We encourage all of the writers who entered or were nominated to keep up their crucial work. Submissions for the 2010 Sexies (for articles published in 2009) are open and they will be accepted through June 2010 at

The Sexies would also like to thank our corporate sponsors, Babeland (founding sponsor), UltraVirgo Creative, and all of our individual donors. It's not too late to become part of that sex-positive number:

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