Archive for February, 2016

Scientists clarify the recent confusion

The global warming “hiatus,” a controversy that spawned congressional hearings and thousands of skeptical blog posts before being curbed last year, is back.

The “hiatus” refers to the observation that global warming has slowed in the past 15 years. The planet is still warming, but just not as quickly as some climate scientists expected it to.

The debate between researchers and doubters reached a crescendo last summer, when scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration updated their temperature records and concluded that global warming has not slowed down in the 2000s (ClimateWire, June 5, 2015).

Now, a group of prominent climate scientists are challenging NOAA’s conclusion in a commentary published this week in Nature Climate Change.

This graph shows a “slowdown” in rising temperatures until 2010. The black line shows temperatures as predicted by climate models, and the red line shows actual temperatures. Warming has recently increased, breaking historical records in 2014 and 2015.
Nature Climate Change, February 24, 2016 doi:10.1038/nclimate2938

“The interpretation [the NOAA group] made was not valid,” said John Fyfe, a climate scientist at Environment and Climate Change Canada and lead author of the commentary. “The slowdown is there, even in this new updated data set.”

The disagreement may seem esoteric, but it underpins the biggest climate disagreement of the past decades. Climate models, which are virtual representations of our planet, project that temperatures were much higher in the early 2000s than was the case in reality. Scientists have been trying to understand why.

Suggestions abound, from cooling aerosols spewed by volcanic eruptions to natural shifts in the Pacific Ocean that happen every decade.

Meanwhile, skeptics have seized on the mismatch to suggest that global warming stopped in 1998. Almost all scientists disagree with this. But there are questions about the rate of warming. Most recently, the NOAA study suggested that rising temperatures never even slowed.

Not worried about fueling skepticism

The NOAA study’s release last summer coincided with a science meeting in Colorado where scientists were discussing how to engineer models to accurately predict climate changes in the coming decades on a regional scale. To do so, they would first have to figure out why models had not projected the global warming slowdown.

With the NOAA study’s release, there was this perception that, “Oh, there’s been no slowdown in warming,” said Gerald Meehl, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and a co-author of the new commentary.

The scientists decided to counter the narrative in the boxing ring of academia. That is, a science journal.

It is possible that the scientific disagreement could spill over into the skeptic blogosphere. But that is not reason enough to sweep the slowdown under the rug, said Michael Mann, a climatologist at Pennsylvania State University and a co-author.

“As scientists, we must go where the evidence takes us, we can’t allow our worries about climate contrarians and how they might seek to misrepresent our work to dictate what we do and do not publish,” he said.

The blowback against the NOAA study has been some time coming. Tom Karl, lead author of the NOAA study and director of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, and his colleagues compared warming over the past 15 years with the long-term temperature trend between 1950 and 1998 (a 48-year stretch).

But scientists say Karl’s comparison of a 15-year stretch with a 48-year stretch was somewhat arbitrary. It is meant to answer the question, has global warming stopped in the long run? The answer to that is a resounding “no,” they say.

Scientists are more interested in explaining fluctuations in global temperatures over 10- and 20-year stretches. Throughout Earth’s history, global temperatures have risen and fallen in step with natural fluctuations in the climate system that scientists are only just beginning to unravel.

Karl said that understanding this decadeslong variability is important, and his study had dealt with the long-term trend.

“There is no disagreement that there is decadal variability, and that it is real and needs to be better understood,” he said, referring to natural causes of warming.

Models ‘not perfect’

One decadal variability played out recently, when warming slowed to 0.11 degrees Celsius per decade between 2001 and 2010. The rate was 0.17 C per decade in the 15 years prior, Fyfe said.

Fyfe and his colleagues think the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), a natural variance in the climate system that switches between positive, neutral and negative phases, explains the recent slowdown.

When ocean temperatures in the tropical Pacific are warmer than usual—a positive PDO—the globe sizzles, Meehl of NCAR said.

And when the PDO flips to negative and the Pacific cools, global warming slows. The PDO was negative during the early-2000s, and this may explain the slowdown, Meehl said.

The only time the PDO was neutral in recent history was between 1971 and 2000, Fyfe said. In that case, the temperature record reflects the response to human-caused climate change, he said.

“This is the background trend that you would want to compare recent trends against,” he said.

There are other explanations for the slowdown and also for why climate models did not project it. It is possible that the world is not as sensitive to greenhouse gases as the models assume or factors that cool the planet are playing a bigger role than expected, Fyfe said.

“These models are not perfect, and they might be overly sensitive,” he said.

Answering these fundamental science questions should take precedence over worries about skeptics, Mann of Penn State said. Moreover, the slowdown is over. Record warmth occurred in 2014 and 2015.

“So we have every reason to believe that the warming of the planet and the detrimental impacts of that warming will continue unabated if we do not dramatically reduce our emissions,” Mann said.

Read More: Global Warming “Hiatus” Debate Flares Up Again

Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net, 202-628-6500

Source: Did Global Warming Slow Down in the 2000s, or Not? – Scientific American

WASHINGTON: Most teenagers in the United States start the school day too early each morning, robbing them of the sleep they need to concentrate properly and remain healthy, according to a study published Thursday.

Fewer than one in five middle and high schools in the United States start at 8.30am or later, as recommended, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Research from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has found that adolescents are biologically programmed to stay asleep longer than adults.

Depriving teens of that sleep could wreak havoc on their academic performance, the CDC said in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

“Getting enough sleep is important for students’ health, safety, and academic performance,” said Anne Wheaton, lead author and epidemiologist in CDC’s Division of Population Health.

“Early school start times, however, are preventing many adolescents from getting the sleep they need.”

In 2014, the AAP urged secondary schools not to begin classes until 8.30am to give teens the 8.5 to 9.5 hours of nightly sleep they need.

But only 17.7% of US high schools actually start at the recommended hour.

The effects are not limited to academic performance, and researchers warned students may also suffer outside the classroom.

“Insufficient sleep is common among high school students and is associated with several health risks such as being overweight, drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco and using drugs,” the CDC study found.

Many parents have urged schools to delay start times, but administrators often refused, arguing that after-school extra-curricular activities would be too hard to organise.

An estimated two out of three US students are sleep-deprived, according to a 2013 CDC study. – AF

WASHINGTON: Most teenagers in the United States start the school day too early each morning, robbing them of the sleep they need to concentrate properly and remain healthy, according to a study published Thursday.

Source: US teens start school too early, need more sleep: study | theSundaily

ONE in three Americans does not get enough sleep on a regular basis, raising their risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, US health authorities said Thursday.

Healthy sleep is defined as at least seven hours per day for adults aged 18-60, according to the report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The findings are part of the “first study to document estimates of self-reported healthy sleep duration for all 50 states and the District of Columbia,” said the CDC in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Sleep patterns varied nationwide by location and ethnicity, as well as employment and marital status, said the study which was based on randomly dialed telephone surveys.

Whites were most likely to get enough sleep – with 67%of non-Hispanic white reporting “healthy sleep duration,” compared to just 54% of African-Americans.

66% of Hispanics and 63% of Asians reported getting enough sleep per night.

The lowest proportion of adults who slept adequately was centered in the southeastern United States, an area that also has the highest prevalence of obesity and other chronic conditions.

Being out of work or being sick also made it harder to sleep for more than half of those surveyed.

People with a college degree or higher were most likely to report healthy sleep patterns – at 72%.

Married people were more likely (67%) than never-married (62%) or divorced, widowed or separated (56%) people to get at least seven hours of sleep per night.

“As a nation we are not getting enough sleep,” said Wayne Giles, director of the CDC’s Division of Population Health.

“Lifestyle changes such as going to bed at the same time each night; rising at the same time each morning; and turning off or removing televisions, computers, mobile devices from the bedroom, can help people get the healthy sleep they need.” – AFP

ONE in three Americans does not get enough sleep on a regular basis, raising their risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, US health authorities said Thursday.

Source: One in 3 Americans gets too little sleep | theSundaily

Six and a half years removed from the Great Recession, we’re now in the midst of the “Great Repricing.”

That’s what David Rosenberg, chief economist and strategist for Gluskin Sheff + Associates, dubbed the current market selloff, one that’s seen the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index drop more than 11 percent since the new year began. Continued carnage in crude and flows to the yen, commonly considered a safe-haven currency, are signs of a market in which risk appetite is nowhere to be found.

These down markets nevertheless come at a time when the American consumer—the prophesied catalyst of global growth—still appears to be in good shape.

“Adidas just posted double-digit gains in operating profits and revenues, raised its outlook for earnings and sales for the year, and investors are putting their footwear to work and running away from risk,” quipped Rosenberg. Uncertainty isn’t confined to market participants, he said—it also reigns supreme at central banks.

More from Bloomberg.com: Bass Says China Bank Losses May Top 400% of Subprime Crisis

“If [Janet Yellen] is so confused, why shouldn’t the rest of us be?” wrote Rosenberg, commenting on the Fed Chair’s testimony before the House Financial Services Committee. “And the blowout in credit spreads and sharp compression in the market multiple attests to an investor base that indeed is very confused at the moment.”

Since the financial crisis (or going back to the early 1980s, depending on whom you ask), selloffs of this severity typically have forced monetary policymakers to refill the punch bowl, creating the appearance of a central bank “put.”

More from Bloomberg.com: Global Stocks Near Bear Market, Bonds Surge as Risk Rout Deepens

Central bankers outside the U.S. have certainly attempted to bolster their economies. Recent attempts at accommodation have disappointed, however, judging by price action in Sweden on Thursday morning, or in the Japanese yen since the adoption of negative interest rates. Such developments suggest that market participants doubt the efficacy of monetary policy, as well as the possibility of global reflation.

If this market malaise is to be broken, central banks will have to try something bold, according to Rosenberg, and negative interest rates are not the answer. Put another way, gravitational waves aren’t the only things proving Albert Einstein right today.

More from Bloomberg.com: NFL Owner Stan Kroenke Buys Texas Mega-Ranch Listed for $725 Million

“This is no longer 2009-14 when central banks could bolster markets … the laws of diminishing returns have clearly set in,” he wrote. “The latest experiment on negative rates is falling flat on its face, but in a classic case of following Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity, the academics who run the world’s central banks show no sign of backing away from a policy that is undermining the banking system.”

Instead, the strategist would prefer monetary policy to join forces with fiscal policy.

“We need an entirely new strategy which would involve true debt monetization,” he said, suggesting the sort of “helicopter drop” of money previously bandied about by the likes of Ben Bernanke and Milton Friedman.

David Rosenberg says the negative-rates experiment is failing.

Source: Forget the Great Recession—Welcome to the ‘Great Repricing’ – Yahoo Finance

(CNSNews.com) – Tennessee has become the fifth state in the nation – and the first in 2016 – to pass a resolution calling for an Article V Convention of the States to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

On February 4, the Tennessee House of Representatives voted 59-31 to approve Senate Joint Resolution 0067 calling for an Article V convention that would be “limited to proposing amendments to the United States Constitution that impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limit the terms of office for its officials and for members of Congress.”

The Tennessee Senate passed the same resolution last April on a 23-5 vote.

Although the resolution went into effect as soon as it passed the House, it was ceremonially signed by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam on Tuesday.

Prior to the House vote, state Rep. Sheila Butt (R-Columbia) reminded her colleagues why an Article V Convention is needed:

“We all know that right now, we are in a position that the federal government is not delegating authority, they are not limiting authority, and our federal budget is ballooning, [bureaucrats in] the EPA are adding rules constantly, mandates that we have to follow that are costing our state millions, and it’s time for us to take advantage of this constitutional remedy for a federal government that is out of control,” Butt said.

“Congratulations to Tennessee on becoming the first state to pass in 2016 to reclaim state power,” said Mark Meckler, co-founder of the Convention of States Project. “An Article V Convention is the ultimate exercise of this power.”

Besides Tennessee, Alabama, Alaska, Florida and Georgia have formally adopted Article V resolutions.

They have also been introduced in 33 other state legislatures this year – including the presidential battleground state of South Carolina.

Last month, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott endorsed an Article V Convention in his “Texas Plan”, stating that “each branch of [the federal] government has strayed from its intended role.”

Conservative radio talk show host Mark Levin, who popularized the idea of an Article V Convention in his best-selling book, The Liberty Amendments, has called a state-convened constitutional convention an exercise in “quintessential federalism”.

Republicans currently control 68 of the 98 state legislative chambers in the U.S., the most legislative seats the GOP has held since 1920, according to Real Clear Politics. Advocates for an Article V Convention say they are hopeful that many of these states will pass Article V resolutions during their 2016 legislative sessions.

Under Article V of the U.S. Constitution, two-thirds of the 50 state legislatures (34) must adopt similar resolutions before a constitutional convention to draft amendments to the U.S. Constitution can be called. Three-fourths of the states (38) are then required to ratify any amendments passed by the convention.

Congress has no role in a Convention of the States other than to select the time and venue, but the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives maintains a public list of states that have passed resolutions in at least one legislative chamber.

In a 2013 article published in the Harvard Law and Public Policy Review, Robert Natelson, senior fellow in constitutional jurisprudence at the Independence Institute and an expert on Article V, wrote that “if recent history tells us anything, it is that we are not going to restore federalism…merely by choosing the right Presidents, members of Congress, or Supreme Court Justices. The state legislatures will have to do the job.”

Tennessee has become the fifth state in the nation – and the first in 2016 – to pass a resolution calling for the nation’s first-ever Article V Convention of States to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Source: Tennessee Becomes 5th State to Pass Resolution Calling For Article V Convention

The amount of oral bacteria in the mouth may be associated with the risk of pancreatic cancer.

That’s according to a new study in the journal Gut, which found “significant associations” between antibodies for multiple oral bacteria and pancreatic cancer, which is difficult to detect and kills most patients within six months of diagnosis. Pancreatic cancer is responsible for 40,000 deaths a year in the United States.

This is an emerging issue in science, researchers say, but the importance of bacteria in cancer is growing.

“This is not an established risk factor,” said Brown University epidemiologist Dominique Michaud, Sc.D., the paper’s corresponding author. “But I feel more confident that there is something going on. It’s something we need to understand better.”

In a study of more than 800 European adults, Dr. Michaud and colleagues found that high antibody levels for one of the more infectious periodontal bacterium strains (Porphyromonas gingivalis) were associated with a two-fold risk for pancreatic cancer. In addition, subjects with high levels of antibodies for some kinds of harmless oral bacteria were associated with a 45-percent lower risk of pancreatic cancer—meaning the antibodies could have a protective effect.

The body generates antibodies as a response to foreign objects, like bacteria and viruses.

Other research has identified links between periodontal disease and pancreatic cancer, but Dr. Michaud’s Gut paper is the first study to test whether antibodies for oral bacteria are indicators of pancreatic cancer risk and the first to associate the immune response to harmless bacteria with pancreatic cancer risk. The physiological mechanism linking oral bacteria and pancreatic cancer remains unknown, but the study strengthens the suggestion that there is one.

“The impact of immune defense against both commensals and pathogenic bacteria undeniably plays a role,” said Jacques Izard, Ph.D., of the Forsyth Institute and Harvard University and co-lead author of the study. Commensal bacteria is harmless while pathogenic is harmful.

“We need to further investigate the importance of bacteria in pancreatic cancer beyond the associated risk,” said Dr. Izard.

Drs. Michaud and Izard researched data from the Imperial College-led European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition Study, a massive dataset of more than 500,000 adults in 10 countries. From that population, they found 405 people who developed pancreatic cancer, but no other cancer, and who had blood samples available. The researchers also selected 416 demographically similar people who did not develop pancreatic cancer for comparison.

The researchers blinded themselves to which samples came from cancer patients and which didn’t during their analysis of the blood, which consisted of measuring antibody concentrations for 25 harmful and harmless oral bacteria. In their study design and analysis, they controlled for smoking, diabetes, body mass index and other risk factors.

An important element of the study design was that date of the blood samples preceded the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer by as much as a decade, meaning that the significant difference in antibody levels were likely not a result of cancer. Instead, the underlying mechanisms that link Porphyromonas gingivalis to pancreatic cancer could be causal, Dr. Michaud said, although much more research is needed to understand this association.

The researchers speculate that the association of high levels of antibodies for commensal bacteria and pancreatic cancer may indicate an innate, highly active immune response that is protective against cancer.

“Genetic determinants of immune surveillance clearly play a critical role in pancreatic cancer development,” the authors wrote. “Consequently, it is plausible that elevated levels of antibodies to oral bacteria in individuals serve as a marker for a genetically stronger immune response, providing protection against carcinogenesis.”

© 2016 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association

Learn more about the signs, symptoms, and treatment of oral cancer. Other types of cancer can also have an affect on your oral health. Learn more here.

Source: Oral bacteria may signal risk for pancreatic cancer

to sigh

On each side of the brain stem, a florescent-green marker illuminates the 200 neurons that control the sighing reflex.

On each side of the brain stem, a florescent-green marker illuminates the 200 neurons that control the sighing reflex. (Stanford/Krasnow lab)

Shakespeare cautioned ladies to “sigh no more” over unfaithful lovers. But scientists say that’s easier said than done.

Exploring the biology of the sigh, researchers at the University of California, Los Angles and Stanford University said they have pinpointed the neural structures that tell the brain when and how to sigh. The researchers said their findings, reported Monday in the journal Nature, support the theory that sighing isn’t just an emotional outlet; it’s a vital biological process necessary for maintaining overall health.

Researchers are just starting to grasp why and how we sigh, and what happens when we don’t. In the brain, sighs stimulate neural activity, signal changes in behavior and reset breathing rates. In the respiratory system, sighs clear airways and help the lungs absorb oxygen. Too much or too little sighing can lead to neurological diseases, scientists say.

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“A sigh is the ultimate arousal” for the brain, said Nino Ramirez, director of the Center for Integrative Brain Research at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute, who wasn’t involved in the new study.

Humans breathe “restorative sighs” about once every five minutes, often without noticing. The double inhalation activates the brain’s cortex, the portion responsible for emotions, speech, recognition, reasoning and other higher functions, Dr. Ramirez said.

Shakespeare cautioned ladies to “sigh no more” over unfaithful lovers.

Source: Scientists identify brain chemical linked to sigh | Fox News

5 Vitamins Packed With Age-Fighting Power

Source: 5 Vitamins Packed With Age-Fighting Power

Source: Why Americans don’t live as long as Europeans – CNN.com

The CDC and Mayo Clinic confirmed a second species of bacteria causing Lyme disease in the upper Midwest area of the United States.

ATLANTA, Feb. 9 (UPI) — Scientists at the Mayo Clinic and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified a second tick-borne bacteria that causes Lyme disease, according to a new report.

The bacteria, Borrelia mayonii, was identified in ticks in Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota after scientists tested six people there thought to have Lyme disease despite differences in their symptoms.

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Although several types of bacteria are known to cause the disease in other parts of the world, Borrelia burgdorferi was, until now, the only one known to infect humans in North America.

Lyme disease can cause fever, headache, rash and neck pain within days of infection, and causes arthritis within weeks, though the new infection may also include nausea, vomiting, diffuse rashes instead of the the well-known single “bull’s-eye” rash, and a higher concentration of bacteria in the blood.

Current tests and treatment are effective against the new form of the disease, the CDC said in a press release.

About 3 percent of black-legged ticks carry the new species of bacteria, while scientists said the older species can be found in 30 to 40 percent of black-legged ticks, which can carry both forms of the bacteria. Each year, 300,000 people are infected with Lyme disease, 96 percent of whom live in the Northeast and Midwest, according to the CDC.

“At this time there is no evidence that B. mayonii is present outside of the Upper Midwest,” Dr. Jeannine Petersen, a researcher at the CDC, told CBS News. “However, people who live in areas where black-legged ticks are common should continue to take precautions.”

Researchers involved in the study, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, have tested more than 100,000 Lyme disease specimens from patients collected between 2003 and 2014.

Among these, Mayo Clinic researchers found six with bacteria different from the other patients, who also reported different symptoms. Five had fever when they sought treatment, four had a diffuse rash, three had neurological symptoms that included difficulty being woken and vision disturbances, and another had pain and swelling in the knee.

Scientists at Mayo and the CDC analyzed DNA sequences from the bacteria, finding they were a different species than typically causes Lyme disease in the United States. The new species was found among 9,000 blood samples from Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North Dakota residents thought to have Lyme disease between 2012 and 2014.

Mayo Clinic and CDC started a large study of tick-borne disease in 2015 to test more than 30,000 clinical specimens from patients with tick-borne diseases. The continued research seems even more important because the second form of Lyme disease had not been found in thousands of samples collected before 2013.

“Maybe it infected woodchucks and no one ever tested them,” Dr. Bobbi Pritt, a researcher at the Mayo Clinic, told NPR. “But what we can say is, it’s a species that no one has ever described before and it’s clearly infecting patients.”

Source: Scientists confirm second, more intense form of Lyme disease – UPI.com

Theanine

January 2006

By Terri Mitchell

Back when Europe was stone huts and the Mayans were playing soccer, the Chinese were drinking tea. Tea goes back at least 5,000 years as medicine and more than 1,000 years as a simple beverage. Made from the leaves of a bush related to flowering camellia, tea has had a starring role in major features such as the American Revolution and Zen Buddhism. The Japanese regard tea so highly that they’ve created a ceremony for it, and a separate little tea house in which to serve it.

The tea ceremony is remarkable in that it dramatizes tea’s physical effects on the human body. Tea causes changes in body chemistry that rejuvenate, relax, enhance the ability to think, and change mood.1-6 The biochemical changes provoked by tea are scientifically supported, and they’re not due to caffeine.6

Among the latest discoveries about tea is that it can prevent depression and lower blood pressure.7,8 Both green and black teas have beneficial health effects, the main difference being that black tea is oxidized. That would seem to destroy tea’s bioactivity, but it does not. Black tea continues to prove itself in scientific studies. Researchers with the US Department of Agriculture, for example, recently reported that five cups of black tea a day can lower potentially harmful low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and total cholesterol in people with mildly elevated cholesterol.9

Black tea has benefits, but green tea has undergone more investigation, especially in Japan, where it’s the most popular beverage. Many new reports have come out about green tea’s amino acid, theanine, since Life Extension introduced it. The only other known source of this unique amino acid is a mushroom.10 Discovered in 1949, yet just now undergoing substantial research, theanine occupies a place on the shelf quite different from that of other dietary supplements. It has to do with the tea ceremony.

Balancing Sleep/Wake

Millions of Americans will have trouble sleeping tonight. They won’t be able to fall asleep, won’t be able to stay asleep, or won’t feel like they slept. The primary reason is stress, followed by illness, inactivity, medications, and bad sleep environment. The net effect is a lot of grouchy, depressed, and accident-prone people.11 Most won’t see a doctor, even though insomnia can lead to depression, traffic accidents, and a pink slip. Instead, most people will reach for America’s favorite drug: caffeine.

Every day, millions of people take caffeine in one form or another. It’s not only in coffee, it’s in fruity sodas, over-the-counter drugs, and diet elixirs. “Energy drinks” and espresso are popular caffeine fixes with megadoses of caffeine. Caffeine keeps Americans alert during the day, but it has a price. It can stay in the body for about 10 hours. That’s if you have a fully functioning liver. If you drink alcohol or take cimetidine (Tagamet®) and other drugs, it will stick around even longer.12,13 That means the cappuccino you had at three in the afternoon is still around at midnight.

To relax at night, Americans don’t have many choices except prescription sleeping pills. But these drugs don’t work for everyone, and have undesirable side effects. Better solutions are needed.

Tea Ceremony in a Capsule

Relaxation, rejuvenation, focus. The tea ceremony energizes without draining, calms without putting to sleep, and motivates without causing a jagged edge. Although tea can have as much or more caffeine than some coffees, it doesn’t have the same “speedy” effect.14,15 The reason is its secret ingredient, L-theanine. Research shows that L-theanine neutralizes the speedy, jagged, bad effects of caffeine without reducing its mind-energizing, fat-burning features.16,17

L-theanine’s effect on the brain can be visualized on an EEG. Brain waves are actually smoothed out—but not flattened out—by supplemental L-theanine.16 The body is relaxed, the mind is calmed, but no drowsiness occurs.5 This is exactly the type of relaxation prescribed by sleep therapists. The person seeking help will be asked to listen to music or engage in a similarly relaxing activity immediately before retiring. Studies show that pre-sleep relaxation is very effective against insomnia, even in tough cases.18-20

Falling asleep is one thing; staying asleep and getting quality sleep is another. Researchers in Japan gave volunteers 200 mg of L-theanine daily and recorded their sleep patterns on devices worn around their wrists. The L-theanine didn’t cause the subjects to sleep longer, but it did cause them to sleep better. It was documented that sleep quality, recovery from exhaustion, and refreshed feelings were all enhanced by L-theanine. Those taking L-theanine felt like they slept longer than they actually did.21 This is good news for people who don’t get enough sleep, or those who want to sleep less and do more.

One of the other effects of the tea ceremony is that it leaves people in a better mood. Knowing that L-theanine can cross the blood-brain barrier and positively affect brain chemistry, scientists investigated its mood-modulating effects. The results of those studies have led to L-theanine being patented as a mood enhancer.22 How it works is not completely understood, but one thing researchers have discovered is that L-theanine changes levels of amino acids affecting serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain.5

Balancing Brain Chemistry

Memory impairment is frequently associated with old age or Alzheimer’s disease, but there are other causes. Stress and depression, for example, cause memory loss. Although usually thought of as mere psychological states, stress and depression cause physical changes in body chemistry. The brain is notably affected.

Stress hormones known as glucocorticoids are activated by both stress and depression. In turn, they cause imbalances in brain chemistry that interfere with mood and memory.23-26 The effect is biochemical. Glucocorticoids disrupt serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and other brain chemicals.27,28 These “neurotransmitters” are the target of prescription antidepressants such as Prozac® and Wellbutrin®. And it has been shown that glucocorticoids can interfere with the ability of Prozac® and other drugs to work.29 Worse still, glucocorticoids can cause the brain to shrink.30,31 Counteracting glucocorticoids is extremely important.

Drugs that block glucocorticoids have been proposed as a treatment for depression, and strangely enough, people have been treated successfully with ketoconazole (Nizoral®), an antifungal drug with the side effect of suppressing glucocorticoids.32,33 Theanine also suppresses glucocorticoids, and it is one of the few dietary supplements that crosses the blood-brain barrier.

Theanine’s connection to the suppression of glucocorticoids is through glutamate. Researchers have discovered that this natural component of brain chemistry, which is not traditionally associated with depression, in fact plays a major role.34 In people who are depressed, glutamate levels are out of balance.35 Preliminary studies show that blocking certain signals in the brain activated by glutamate may be as effective as prescription antidepressants.36,37 L-theanine may act as a glutamate antagonist.38 Researchers believe that glutamate receptor antagonists may offset the harmful effects of high glucocorticoid levels and offer neuroprotective effects against both acute and chronic neurodegenerative diseases.39

Glutamate-activated signals not only affect mood, they affect memory and learning.40 Memory and learning are similar biochemical processes in the brain. If an animal can’t remember, it can’t learn. Stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and alcohol all cause memory loss involving disruptions in glutamate-related signals that inhibit the storage and retrieval of memories.41-44

If theanine is present in the body at the time stroke occurs, the damaged area will be significantly reduced.45 This is supported by a Chinese study of 14,000 people, which found that drinking tea slashes the risk of stroke by 40%.46 Maintaining healthy levels of L-theanine and other tea-related compounds in the body may thus help prevent memory loss and stroke-induced damage to brain tissue.

Balancing the Liver: Alcohol

Another part of the body that responds positively to theanine is the liver. Research from Japan shows that theanine is a powerful antidote to the effects of alcohol. If theanine is given to mice before or after they drink alcohol, it significantly lowers blood levels of alcohol.47 It works by modulating alcohol chemistry.

Alcohol is converted to a toxic chemical known as acetaldehyde, which is similar to formaldehyde and more toxic than alcohol itself. Theanine accelerates the break- down of acetaldehyde and blocks toxic radicals.47 The remarkable powers of theanine to intercept free radicals was demonstrated in the same study. It not only blocked radicals caused by alcohol, it suppressed levels to below normal for five hours.

One reason theanine is able to reverse damage caused by alcohol is that it restores the liver’s all-purpose antioxidant and detoxifier known as glutathione. Drinking alcohol causes significant suppression of this critical factor. If the suppression is infrequent, the liver bounces back; if suppression is chronic, however, the liver can’t overcome the stress. It breaks down and the effects are felt throughout the body. Theanine helps counteract the alcohol-induced loss of glutathione.47

Glutathione is not only something people who drink alcohol have to worry about, it’s something that oncologists have to worry about. Depletion of glutathione in vital organs like the heart is a major cause of chemotherapy toxicity. Because of it, some drugs that could otherwise be useful in treating certain types of cancers can’t be used. Researchers looking into the possibility of adding theanine to chemotherapy have found that it counteracts drug-induced losses of glutathione in vital organs like the heart, but not in tumors.48 In fact, it blocks tumors from getting glutathione, thus enabling some types of chemotherapeutic drugs to work better.49 By enhancing glutathione where it’s beneficial and reducing it where it’s not, theanine again shows its propensity to restore balance.

Balancing Fat and Muscle

If there’s one place people want to restore balance, it’s in the area of body fat. As everyone knows,when fat loss is the goal, calorie expenditure is the game plan. One of the differences in people who are overweight and those who are not is that overweight people sit about two hours longer every day.50 Clearly, inactivity causes imbalance in the system, yet the mere thought of exercising makes some people tired. Motivation is lacking, and they might as well try to climb Mt. Everest as do a round on the stair climber.

But what if they really did have to climb Mt. Everest? Researchers in the United Kingdom made a surprising discovery in a study of mountain climbers. Hot tea, they found out, does wonders for fatigue and vigor (as in let’s get up and go!).51 Finnish researchers made a similar discovery when questioning people about depression. None of the subjects who drank five or more cups of tea a day was depressed, whereas those drinking no tea had the highest rate of depression.7 Neither research team attributed the motivational effects of tea to caffeine. Caffeine is effective for a different aspect of weight loss: speeding up metabolism. But 100 milligrams of caffeine only increases the resting metabolic rate 3-4%.52 Upping the dose can leave a person tired and shaky. So, caffeine by itself isn’t the answer to weight loss. Enter green tea.

Researchers know that green tea extract promotes thermogenesis above and beyond its caffeine content.53 They have been aware for several years that compounds in green tea increase caffeine’s calorie-burning effects. What those compounds are was a mystery until Japanese researchers decided to look into it in 2004. They divided green tea into its various components and investigated how catechins, theanine, caffeine, and green tea powder itself affect weight gain in female mice.54 They found that all the components suppressed weight gain. Green tea powder, catechins, and theanine also reduced triglyceride levels. The researchers concluded that not only can caffeine help prevent weight gain and fat accumulation, but theanine can, too. It’s not known whether the same results occur in humans.

In Japan, you will more likely find theanine in your beverage than caffeine. The Japanese value the rejuvenating, mind-clearing qualities of theanine. It’s not surprising that something that restores balance is very popular in a culture where restoring balance is the foundation of medicine. Westerners would do well to take note of this gift from the East.

Theanine is unique in a sea of supplements that promise much but deliver little. It’s one of the few supplements that crosses the blood-brain barrier. Research to date indicates that theanine is very useful for restoring balance to systems neglected by people who are on the go. It helps counteract the stimulating effects of caffeine, but complements caffeine’s positive aspects such as fat burning. It relaxes and rejuvenates. It reduces alcohol levels in the bloodstream and supports liver health. It restores mood and motivation, increases thermogenesis, and protects the brain. Supplemental theanine thus helps recreate the calming and centering effects of a tea ceremony in a convenient and accessible form.

References
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3. Huang Y, Chan NW, Lau CW, et al. Involvement of endothelium/nitric oxide in vasorelaxation induced by purified green tea (-)epicatechin. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1999 Apr 19;1427(2):322-8.

4. Unno K, Takabayashi F, Kishido T, Oku N. Suppressive effect of green tea catechins on morphologic and functional regression of the brain in aged mice with accelerated senescence (SAMP10). Exp Gerontol. 2004 Jul;39(7):1027-34.

5. Yokogoshi H, Kobayashi M, Mochizuki M, Terashima T. Effect of theanine, r-glutamylethylamide, on brain monoamines and striatal dopamine release in conscious rats. Neurochem Res. 1998 May;23(5):667-73.

6. Quinlan PT, Lane J, Moore KL, et al. The acute physiological and mood effects of tea and coffee: the role of caffeine level. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2000 May;66(1):19-28.

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8. Negishi H, Xu JW, Ikeda K, et al. Black and green tea polyphenols attenuate blood pressure increases in stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats. J Nutr. 2004 Jan;134(1):38-42.

9. Davies MJ, Judd JT, Baer DJ, et al. Black tea consumption reduces total and LDL cholesterol in mildly hypercholesterolemic adults. J Nutr. 2003 Oct;133(10):3298S-3302S.

10. Casimir J, Jadot J, Renard M. Separation and characterization of N-ethyl-gamma-glutamine from Xerocomus badius. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1960 Apr 22;39:462-8.

11. Chilcott LA and Shapiro CM. The socioeconomic impact of insomnia. An overview. Pharmacoeconomics. 1996;10 Suppl 11-14.

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13. Broughton LJ, Rogers HJ. Decreased systemic clearance of caffeine due to cimetidine. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 1981 Aug;12(2):155-9.

14. Gilbert RM, Marshman JA, Schwieder M, Berg R. Caffeine content of beverages as consumed. Can Med Assoc J. 1976 Feb 7;114(3):205-8.

15. McCusker RR, Goldberger BA, Cone EJ. Caffeine content of specialty coffees. J Anal Toxicol. 2003 Oct;27(7):520-2.

16. Kakuda T, Nozawa A, Unno T, Okamura N, Okai O. Inhibiting effects of theanine on caffeine stimulation evaluated by EEG in the rat. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2000 Feb;64(2):287-93.

17. Kimura R, Kurita M, Murata T. Influence of alkylamides of glutamic acid and related compounds on the central nervous system. III. Effect of theanine on spontaneous activity of mice (author’s transl). Yakugaku Zasshi. 1975 Jul;95(7):892-5.

18. Nicassio PM, Boylan MB, McCabe TG. Progressive relaxation, EMG biofeedback and biofeedback placebo in the treatment of sleep-onset insomnia. Br J Med Psychol. 1982 Jun;55(Pt 2):159-66.

19. Friedman L, Bliwise DL, Yesavage JA, Salom SR. A preliminary study comparing sleep restriction and relaxation treatments for insomnia in older adults. J Gerontol. 1991 Jan;46(1):1-8.

20. Coursey RD, Frankel BL, Gaarder KR, Mott DE. A comparison of relaxation techniques with electrosleep therapy for chronic, sleep-onset insomnia a sleep-EEG study. Biofeedback Self Regul. 1980 Mar;5(1):57-73.

21. Available at: http://nutraingredients.com/ news/news-ng.asp?id=50679-green-tea-lulls. Accessed October 12, 2005.

22. US Patent Application 20040171624; Japanese Patent Application 2001-253740.

23. Calabrese JR, Kling MA, Gold PW. Alterations in immunocompetence during stress, bereavement, and depression: focus on neuroendocrine regulation. Am J Psychiatry. 1987 Sep;144(9):1123-34.

24. Ou XM, Storring JM, Kushwaha N, Albert PR. Heterodimerization of mineralocorticoid and glucocorticoid receptors at a novel negative response element of the 5-HT1A receptor gene. J Biol Chem. 2001 Apr 27;276(17):14299-307.

25. Bhatia V, Tandon RK. Stress and the gastrointestinal tract. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2005 Mar;20(3):332-9.

26. Schleimer RP, Jacques A, Shin HS, Lichtenstein LM, Plaut M. Inhibition of T cell-mediated cytotoxicity by anti-inflammatory steroids. J Immunol. 1984 Jan;132(1):266-71.

27. Price LH, Cappiello A, Malison RT, et al. Effects of antiglucocorticoid treatment on 5-HT1A function in depressed patients and healthy subjects. Neuropsychopharmacology. 1997 Oct;17(4):246-57.

28. Janowsky DS, Risch SC, Huey LY, Judd LL, Rausch JL. Hypothalamic=pituitary-adrenal regulation, neurotransmitters and affective disorder. Peptides. 1983 Sep-Oct;4(5):775-84.

29. Gartside SE, Leitch MM, Young AH. Altered glucocorticoid rhythm attenuates the ability of a chronic SSRI to elevate forebrain 5-HT: implications for the treatment of depression. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2003 Sep;28(9):1572-8.

30. McEwen BS. Glucocorticoids, depression, and mood disorders: structural remodeling in the brain. Metabolism. 2005 May;54(5 Suppl 1):20-3.

31. Sapolsky RM. Glucocorticoids and hippocampal atrophy in neuropsychiatric disorders. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2000 Oct;57(10):925-35.

32. Reus VI, Wolkowitz OM. Antiglucocorticoid drugs in the treatment of depression. Expert Opin Investig Drugs. 2001 Oct;10(10):1789-96.

33. Murphy BE. Antiglucocorticoid therapies in major depression: a review. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 1997;22 Suppl 1S125-32.

34. Paul IA, Skolnick P. Glutamate and depression: clinical and preclinical studies. Ann NY Acad Sci. 2003 Nov;1003:250-72.

35. Sanacora G, Gueorguieva R, Epperson CN, et al. Subtype-specific alterations of gamma-aminobutyric acid and glutamate in patients with major depression. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2004 Jul;61(7):705-13.

36. Trullas R, Skolnick P. Functional antagonists at the NMDA receptor complex exhibit antidepressant actions. Eur J Pharmacol. 1990 Aug 21;185(1):1-10.

37. Huber TJ, Dietrich DE, Emrich HM. Possible use of amantadine in depression. Pharmacopsychiatry. 1999 Mar;32(2):47-55.

38. Shinozaki H, Ishida M. Theanine as a glutamate antagonist in crayfish neuromuscular junction. Brain Res. 1978 Jul 28;151(1):215-9.

39. Danilczuk Z, Ossowska G, Lupina T, Cieslik K, Zebrowska-Lupina I. Effect of NMDA receptor antagonists on behavioral impairment induced by chronic treatment with dexamethsome. Pharmacol Rep. 2005 Jan-Feb;57(1):47-54.

40. Hinoi E, Takarada T, Tsuchihashi Y, Yoneda Y. Glutamate transporters as drug targets. Curr Drug Targets CNS Neurol Disord. 2005 Apr;4(2):211-20.

41. Kolb JE, Trettel J, Levine ES. BDNF enhancement of postsynaptic NMDA receptors is blocked by ethanol. Synapse. 2005 Jan;55(1):52-7.

42. Yamada KA, Covey DF, Hsu CY, et al. The diazoxide derivative IDRA 21 enhances ischemic hippocampal neuron injury. Ann Neurol. 1998 May;43(5):664-9.

43. Bao HY, Zhang J, Yeo SJ, et al. Memory enhancing and neuroprotective effects of selected ginsenosides. Arch Pharm Res. 2005 Mar;28(3):335-42.

44. Tyszkiewicz JP, Yan Z. Beta-Amyloid peptides impair PKC-dependent functions of metabotropic glutamate receptors in prefrontal cortical neurons. J Neurophysiol. 2005 Jun;93(6):3102-11.

45. Egashira N, Hayakawa K, Mishima K, et al. Neuroprotective effect of gamma-glutamylethylamide (theanine) on cerebral infarction in mice. Neurosci Lett. 2004 Jun 3;363(1):58-61.

46. Chen Z, Li Y, Zhao LC, et al. A study on the association between tea consumption and stroke. Zhonghua Liu Xing Bing Xue Za Zhi. 2004 Aug;25(8):666-70.

47. Sadzuka Y, Inoue C, Hirooka S, et al. Effects of theanine on alcohol metabolism and hepatic toxicity. Biol Pharm Bull. 2005 Sep;28(9):1702-6.

48. Sugiyama T, Sadzuka Y. Theanine, a specific glutamate derivative in green tea, reduces the adverse reactions of doxorubicin by changing the glutathione level. Cancer Lett. 2004 Aug 30;212(2):177-84.

49. Sadzuka Y, Sugiyama T, Suzuki T, Sonobe T. Enhancement of the activity of doxorubicin by inhibition of glutamate transporter. Toxicol Lett. 2001 Sep 15;123(2-3):159-67.

50. Levine JA, Lanningham-Foster LM, McCrady SK, et al. Interindividual variation in posture allocation: possible role in human obesity. Science. 2005 Jan 28;307(5709):584-6.

51. Scott D, Rycroft JA, Aspen J, Chapman C, Brown B. The effect of drinking tea at high altitude on hydration status and mood. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2004 Apr;91(4):493-8.

52. Dulloo AG, Geissler CA, Horton T, Collins A, Miller DS. Normal caffeine consumption: influence on thermogenesis and daily energy expenditure in lean and postobese human volunteers. Am J Clin Nutr. 1989 Jan;49(1):44-50.

53. Dulloo AG, Seydoux J, Girardier L, Chantre P, Vandermander J. Green tea and thermogenesis: interactions between catechin-polyphenols, caffeine and sympathetic activity. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2000 Feb;24(2):252-8.

54. Zheng G, Sayama K, Okubo T, Juneja LR, Oguni I. Anti-obesity effects of three major components of green tea, catechins and theanine, in mice. In Vivo. 2004 Jan-Feb;18(1):55-62.

Source: Theanine: Natural Support for Sleep, Mood, and Weight – 2 – Life Extension

Bouncing Boobs Are Lots Of Fun

Bouncing Boobs Are Lots Of Fun

Source: Bouncing Boobs Are Lots Of Fun

Source: Sexy Ladies Letting It All ‘Hang’ Out

Sexy Selfies That Will Blow Your Socks Off

Source: Sexy Selfies That Will Blow Your Socks Off

It doesn’t matter if you are a man or woman, everyone loves looking at big melons. Here are some of the finest pillows on the Internets.  Enjoy!<

Source: Big, Bigger, Biggest Juicy Melons – Page 4 of 11 – PopLyft

What comes to mind when you think of a sexy woman bent at the waist? Do you think of her cleavage sticking out as she leans to the front? Or do you think of her buns and nice legs from behind? Imagine walking into the kitchen and seeing her bent over looking for something in the refrigerator? This gallery is full of hot women bent at the waist… and we’ve got all the angles covered for you.

Source: These Hotties Love to Bend at the Waist – iPopular

She’s telling black women to rise up. I hear you, Bey. We all do. “Formation is our call to arms.” We, like the female Black Panthers she paid homage to in her Super Bowl performance, are heeding the calling.

Source: Beyonce’s “Formation” Video Is A Call To Arms For Black Women | Bustle

“Wow @NFL how do you let @Beyonce perform in what is a known racist uniform (black panthers). #awful #SuperBowl #sheruinedthehalftimeshow,” he wrote.

Source: Beyoncé references Black Panther Party at Super Bowl halftime show | Fox News

Around 12% of US women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their life, according to statistics released by the US Breast Cancer Statistics.

The idea that breast cancer risk could be determined through DNA tests is not necessarily a new one, but studies focusing on this concept have been more or less inconclusive. But a recent analysis conducted at the University College London has shown that this type of test could potentially become a new way of determining predisposition towards cancer.

Breast cancer has become an increasing threat to women worldwide, not only in the US. Even if scientific parties are still in contradiction with one another regarding what exactly triggers cancer, the fact that the patient’s body undergoes certain changes when the disease actually appears still remains true.

Said study was based on the analysis of 600 breast tissue samples from both healthy women and ones which have been diagnosed with breast cancer. In regards to the latter group, DNA tests showed that 30% of specific genes undergo certain alterations when cancer actually develops in the patient’s system.

True, this study is still somewhat inconclusive as the ones before it when focusing on exact tell-tale hints of cancer risk. But scientists were able to identify specific reprogramming cells that switch from normal behavior to cancerous. By conducting further analysis on the matter, the research team could potentially identify the exact triggers of cancer, stemming from genetic inheritance to factors related to menopause entry.

The importance of this study is based on the fact that epigenetic alterations are completely reversible through immediate treatment and gene therapy. Once higher risk cells are identified, therapies could potentially force them to go back to normal, effectively circumventing breast cancer. But this idea is not limited to this type of cancer if further inquiries show that every cancer type, be it prostate or others, alters the genetic make-up of the patient before it actually starts appearing in higher numbers.

The current move towards gene therapy through genetic alteration has gained an increase in popularity among medical parties worldwide. Several cures for various diseases are currently being developed at several pharmaceutical companies across the globe. If breast cancer risk is proven to stem from epigenetic modifications, this will undergo thorough analysis with the hopes of finding a potential cure or prevention method as well.

But the concept that breast cancer risk could be determined through DNA tests still needs more work to be done in order to prove its conclusiveness. Only time will tell if research teams will be able to isolate the specific genes that can cause a normal healthy woman to have an increase in risk towards cancer development.

Source: Breast Cancer Risk Could Be Determined Through DNA Tests

A possible asteroid flyby in March has enthusiasts on their toes as NASA announced that near-Earth object 2013 TX68 will zip past us soon enough.

2013 TX68 was first spotted in 2013. Estimated to be approximately 100 feet in diameters, the near-Earth object is certainly a massive one. However, with several scenarios plotted by NASA scientists, the results indicate that there is really no danger embedded in the March 5th flyby.

The best case scenario for the March 5th flyby is that 2013 TX68 approaches Earth at a distance of only 11,000 miles. In this case, the massive asteroid could be spotted with the naked eyes as it zips right past our planet. The worst case scenario for those anxious to catch a glimpse of 2013 TX68 is that the asteroid follows a course keeping it at 9 million miles away from Earth. Under these circumstances, the near-Earth object will remain an elusive presence.

On Wednesday, NASA released a statement announcing the March 5th flyby. However, the same statement reads:

“The variation in possible closest-approach distances is due to the wide range of possible trajectories for this object”.

Since 2013 TX68 was only discovered a couple of years ago, tracking it hasn’t bought sufficient conclusive data to plot an exact flyby trajectory. Nonetheless, the possible asteroid flyby in March has enthusiasts on their toes. The good news is that the near-Earth-object isn’t heading for our planet in any of the NASA scenarios. A possible collision is fully excluded with the March 5th flyby.

Nonetheless, according to the manager of the Center for NEO studies with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, there are under 1 in 250 million chances that 2013 TX68 will impact Earth in September 2017. There’s even less than a collision chance for upcoming flyby in 2046 or 2097.

Paul Chodas, the manager of the Center for NEO Studies reassured everyone that the likelihood of a collision is so small that no real concern is sparked.

Asteroid 2013 TX68 was spotted as it flew by Earth almost two years ago. At the time, the asteroid remained at a distance of 1.3 million miles from Earth. A possible asteroid flyby in March has enthusiasts on their toes.

In anticipation, let’s remember the near-Earth-object which made the headlines when it exploded over Chelyabinsk. This event was caused by an asteroid approximately 65 feet in diameter. The damage to the nearby region was immense. Buildings, infrastructure and 1,000 people suffered the consequences. There is no telling of the impact results if 2013 TX68 asteroid would enter a collision track at any point in the future.

 

Source: A Possible Asteroid Flyby in March Has Enthusiasts on Their Toes

My Secret sex work

I’m making the rounds at a small gathering of urban literary types in a bougie brownstone in Brooklyn, New York. It’s the holiday party for the publication we all work for, some as photographers, others as editors. I’m one of the writers, and currently on my third glass of the social media guy’s homemade margarita concoction. It’s really good, possibly the best margarita I’ve ever tasted. A sudden urge to commend the social media guy on his cocktail-making skills propels me over to where he’s standing with another man in front of the television streaming a fireplace video.

More from Narratively: “What I Learned While Exposing Myself on LiveJournal”

As I join them mid-conversation, one guy is telling the other that when he was in college, his roommate suggested that he try sex work to make some extra cash.

More from Narratively: “Visualizing the Overlooked Legacy of Mass Incarceration”

“Why sex work?” the other guy asks. “Do you have a big dick?”

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“I don’t know. What’s big?”

“Are you bigger than six inches? I’m sensing a wide berth.”

“I think I’m eight inches.”

“You fucking motherfucker. Okay, continue.”

“There’s not much else to say. I thought about it, but never went through with it, probably because my roommate was pressuring me so much.”

“I’ve done that before,” I blurt out.

They look at me.

“Done what? Suggested someone do sex work?” the first guy asks.

I shake my head.

“Been with a sex worker?” the other guy asks.

I shake my head again.

“I’ve done sex work,” I say, taking another sip of my margarita. Top that! I think for a fleeting second. Followed by Holy shit. Before this moment, I had told no one this information except my therapist, and that was many years ago. I’m not quite sure why I just blurted it out now, except that I feel comfortable and tipsy and confident, like I have nothing to hide. But I think the guys might have been joking around, because they’re looking at me with that look that writers get when they hear something surprising.

The guys pepper me with rapid-fire questions: “When? How did you get into it? How much did you charge? Did you like it? Were you scared?” I answer them one by one – except how much I charged. My instinct is that disclosing this information will cloud their already mind-blown status, and it’s really none of their business. They concede this point, and convince me to share my story with our boss, the chief editor of the publication we all work for. “How do you feel about it now?” he asks. “I’m not ashamed of it,” I shrug. “I used to be, but I’m not anymore.”

The next morning, I wake up with a jolt. What the fuck did I say at the holiday party?

I imagine the guys sitting around the conference table at the weekly staff meeting laughing about this exact moment – me, lying in bed, hung-over and mortified.

For the rest of the day, insecure “thought bubbles” plague my every move. Does everyone in the office know now? Will they tease me about this forever? Are they imagining me in bed? Will they try to get in my pants? Will they offer to pay me? Will they stop wanting to work with me? Will I stop getting invited to the holiday party?

I mentally swat these thoughts away with repeated mantras of self-assurance. Some people might judge me, but not these guys. Anyway, a two-week sex work gig isn’t that big of a deal. I mean, who cares?

But it was a big deal at the time, and it took me years to admit it, even to my therapist. The fact that I’m telling anyone about it now is a testament to everything I’ve lived through since.

* * *

It happened over ten years ago.

I was living in Los Angeles, in between temp jobs and broke. A friend offered to let me crash with her in New York City for as long as I needed to get back on my feet. I couldn’t afford a plane ticket so I took a Greyhound bus for $99 one way from LA to NYC. I arrived at the Port Authority Bus Terminal three days later and headed straight for my friend’s house in Brooklyn.

Over the next few days, I called temp agencies and perused Help Wanted ads in the newspaper and on craigslist. As I searched the jobs and gigs sections on craigslist, I noticed the personals section, divided up into “strictly platonic, men seeking men, women seeking women, men seeking women…” and so on. Out of curiosity, I clicked on a section called “casual encounters.”

The posts in casual encounters were all about sex. Most of them mentioned money and a combination of phrases that I didn’t understand like BBW, Dom, wfm, sub, top and 420. After clicking on a few posts, I quickly figured out the lingo. BBW means big beautiful woman. BBBW means big beautiful black woman. Dom means dominant. Wfm means woman for man. Sub means submissive. Top means likes to be on top. 420 means smokes marijuana. I was surprised by how frank the posts were. People were very specific about what they were into.

Over the next few days, I sat in several different Brooklyn cafes with my laptop, mostly staring out the window. None of the temp agencies had responded yet, and I was starting to feel tightness in my chest thinking about all the upcoming bills that I had no money to pay. My mind kept drifting back to the craigslist posts.

Could I have sex with a stranger for money?

I mentally listed all the reasons why this was the worst idea in the world. I could get arrested, killed, infected, raped, robbed and/or recognized (because you never know). Then I tried to think of why this wasn’t the worst idea in the world. The only thing I could come up with was I need money. And getting paid for sex seemed like a quick and easy way to get it. Well, quick. I wasn’t sure how easy it would be.

I was in my mid-30s and had experienced several sexual encounters, including deliberate one-night stands, and threesomes that sort of just… happened. Sex had a way of finding me, and I had a way of finding it. I liked sex. It satisfied something inside me that was more than physical, though the satisfaction was usually fleeting. I was good at sex, and I was a bit of a thrill-seeker. But I’d never been paid for it. Money made it a job. I wasn’t sure how that would feel, or if I could go through with it.

I decided to post an ad and see what happened. I didn’t tell anyone, partly because I was embarrassed to be this broke, also because I knew friends would tell me, “Don’t do it.” Whatever happened, it would be my decision and my responsibility. Anyway, there was no guarantee I would get a response to my ad.

Hi, I’m a college student trying to make some extra money. Would you like to hang out? I am 5’3”, voluptuous, with brown hair and hazel eyes. I’m drug free, disease free, 420 friendly and open-minded. Hope to hear from you. xxx Cindy.

I figured being a college student sounded more sympathetic and younger than being an unemployed 35-year old woman. Cindy was the name of a girl I disliked in the third grade, and the Brady Bunch kid.

Within 24 hours, a few men did respond. I wrote back to the one who wrote in complete sentences. He wanted to know if I would come over the next afternoon, what I charged, and if I could send a pic. I responded, yes I could come over the next afternoon, my rate was $150/hour (neither as low or as high as what others were charging), and no I wouldn’t send a picture. That was evidence that could be used against me one day.

The following afternoon, a weekday, I was in the back of a taxicab on my way to Client #1. Totally. Freaking. Out.

I kept the window cracked even though it was cold outside, because I needed to breathe fresh air. I had done some crazy shit in my life, but never anything like this. The thought that I might die wasn’t as horrifying as the thought that I might die doing sex work. I had a Master’s degree, for chrissake. I had two passports. What the hell was I doing? I kept reminding myself that I was there because I needed money, and I’d sworn I wouldn’t ask anyone for help this time. I was going to take care of things myself. It was time to man the fuck up, or go home.

The taxi pulled up to a house somewhere in Brooklyn that felt very far away from my friend’s house. I paid the driver, walked up to the front door of a row house and pushed the doorbell. The taxi drove away behind me as the door opened.

Client #1 was an Asian man in his mid-20s, an inch or two shorter than me and with a bit of a belly. He wasn’t my type, but he had a nice voice, and a nice smile. I was pretty sure he wasn’t an ax murderer.

As we walked through the house, he pointed to the cash on the plastic-covered dining room table, and chit-chatted about this and that. I don’t remember anything he said because I was practically having an out-of-body experience. I simply followed his voice until we were in his bedroom, and he closed the door.

The next thing he did was put some Elvis music on. Then he put his arms around my waist and started singing along softly with Elvis. I was so nervous that I found it difficult to focus on anything, so I tried to focus on the music. Was Elvis the perfect music to die to? Or could nothing bad happen to a person while listening to Elvis?

After a couple of songs, he took my hand and swerved me a few inches around to the bed. We got on top of it fully dressed. I noticed his erection through his sweatpants. Did he know that I could see it? Was I supposed to do something now?

The song ended. He lifted my chin and kissed me. I closed my eyes and kissed him back, a little more hesitant than usual (besides the obvious, I was also stone-cold sober, and it was the middle of the day). When he started unbuttoning my jeans, I tensed a little, and he kissed me harder, practically sticking his tongue down my throat. It melted me. Let him do whatever he wants, I thought. Surrender to this moment. Make him feel loved.

From then on, everything flowed in a normal fashion. Once I realized that he was a nice guy just trying to get a little, I wasn’t afraid anymore. I almost felt sorry for him. Where else was he getting laid? He was so appreciative that it was almost endearing. When he came, the look on his face was one of pure gratitude. I was happy for him, and felt a tinge of pride.

Afterwards, he let me dress in private. When I came out of the bedroom, he offered me a glass of water.

“Do you want me to call you a cab? Or do you want to take the subway?” he asked to my back as I pocketed the cash on the dining room table.

“I don’t know,” I said. I just wanted to get the fuck out of there.

“Well, what train do you need?”

“The A or the F,” I answered.

“Cool. The A is just around the corner. I’ll walk you.”

In the ten-minute walk to the subway station, I learned that he was an aspiring actor who worked a day job and lived with his parents in order to save up enough money to get to Los Angeles. He had called out sick that day because he needed some “alone time.”

When I told him that I lived in Los Angeles and worked in Hollywood, he was like, “No way. Maybe you know my friend _____, light-skinned dude, gap in his teeth. He’s also an actor.”

“_________? Yeah, I know him. We worked on (so and so’s film) together. That’s crazy.”

I suddenly felt nauseous. What were the fucking chances?

“Small world, huh?” he said.

“Yeah.” Too fucking small.

“I won’t mention anything about, you know, this, next time I talk to him.”

“Thanks,” I said. There was nothing I could do but hope to god that he meant it and wouldn’t be on the phone with his buddy as soon he got back to the house.

We got to the subway station.

“I had a great time, Cindy, thank you,” he said.

For a moment, I didn’t understand why he called me Cindy. Then I remembered.

“You’re welcome,” I said, and walked down into the subway station.

I sat on the subway feeling flushed and disgusted, but also relieved. I had conquered my fear and survived. I had enough cash in my purse to pay a couple of bills. What I had to do to get that cash was awkward and weird, but pretty basic. Now that I’d done it once, I knew I could do it again. It was surreal riding that subway back to my friend’s house. I alternated between feeling like everyone could tell that I’d just slept with someone for money, and feeling giddy with my secret.

* * *

Over the course of the next two weeks, I had five more encounters. The second was a white-haired professor who taught at New York University. He lived in Greenwich Village and hired me because his regular girl was unavailable. The third was a man in his 30s who lived in Park Slope. His wife was eight months pregnant and out of the house for some reason. The fourth was another man in his 30s and very handsome. He lived around Union Square, and wouldn’t look me in the face the whole time I was with him.

The fifth encounter was in Bed-Stuy and the only one that happened at night. I didn’t realize there were two men at the apartment until I arrived, and I almost backed out. They agreed to hang out with me individually while the other stayed in the hallway, but I was still nervous. Being with two guys, one after the other, brought back memories of a similar situation when I was sixteen. The night I lost my virginity to a seventeen-year old boy that I liked, his best friend showed up in the middle of everything. Even at that young age, I instinctively knew that they had coordinated this “coincidence.” I felt betrayed, but I didn’t leave.

I didn’t leave the apartment in Bed-Stuy either. But afterwards, I swore I wouldn’t do another encounter. They were too risky, and they weren’t good for me emotionally. I could feel myself being sucked into this world, at the same time as I felt a growing sense of shame.

The friend that I was staying with had also started to become suspicious.

“Did you get a job?” she asked me one day.

“Not yet,” I answered, my stomach getting tight.

“So, where are you getting cash from?”

“A check from one of my old temp jobs just cleared,” I answered, avoiding her eyes.

“Are you going on interviews? Where are you going when you go out?” she continued.

“I’m just… going… to cafes,” I stammered.

“Seems weird that you’re going to cafes when you don’t have any money,” she said. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

“I’m fine.” I flashed a quick smile, and ended the conversation by heading into the bathroom.

* * *

A few days later, the NYU professor sent me an email asking me to come back.

Of all the encounters, he had been the one I disliked the least. There was something sexy about him, and I liked his apartment – it smelled faintly of marijuana and was lined with artwork, sculpture and books on philosophy, history and poetry. He kept the heat up so high that it was warm even when we were naked. And what he wanted was pretty straightforward – a blowjob, with the added step of shoving two latex-gloved fingers covered in Vaseline up his ass right before his orgasm. I charged him more than the others.

The second time I saw him, after I gave him the blowjob, he asked if I would be willing to let him pleasure me. I could have left at that point, but I was intrigued. He told me to lie down on his bed, and slipped a sleeping mask over my eyes. When I couldn’t see, all my senses were heightened – sound, smell, touch, taste. I felt scared for a moment, but not scared enough to get up and leave. Soon I heard the buzzing sound of a vibrator, which the professor used very slowly and rather expertly to bring me to orgasm.

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When I left the professor’s brownstone, it was rush hour. People bustled about. Cars honked. I walked down the street in a daze, again feeling that flushed, “I’ve got a secret” sensation, but also sad. Something about doing it twice with the same client felt different. Before this I could justify these encounters as a fleeting phase, an experiment, something I was just doing for now, but not what I did. Being with the professor again made it more real. I could picture myself seeing him every week, and getting accustomed to, if not, liking it. There was a part of me that wanted to know the professor better. The fact that I was in a city of millions and couldn’t talk to a single person about this, made me feel terribly alone. In that moment, I had no idea what I was doing, where I was going, or what would become of me.

I sat on a bench in a nearby park and burst into tears. I vowed to get my life together and never ever let myself get into this situation again. That was the last time I had sex for money.

* * *

It took me years to stop thinking about this two-week period, and to stop feeling guilty about it. The burden of keeping my secret haunted me especially when, two years later, I started dating the man who would eventually become my husband. At first, I was afraid that he might judge me for being good in bed. Most men I’d known appreciated this, but would only want to sleep with me, not date me. When I realized this man I was falling in love with didn’t judge me or anyone for their sexuality, sexual tastes or past, I felt like I’d finally met my soul mate.

But there were moments when I’d flash back to one of those encounters, especially the professor. The man I loved also happened to like blindfolding me, and sometimes used restraints like handcuffs. We would role-play and pretend to be other people. One time I pretended to be a prostitute who’d been sent to him as a gift from a mysterious friend.

I often wondered if it was wrong in some way to not disclose my secret. Would he still love me if he knew? In the beginning, I was too afraid to find out so I never mentioned it. Later in our relationship, when he fell ill, this dilemma became a moot point. There were a million other matters that were more important, and I knew that he loved me no matter what. My secret had no relevance on our life together, and I thought it would just make him sad. It still weighed heavy on my heart because it was something I held back from him.

After he died, I experienced this overwhelming sense of forgiveness, as if he had either known all along, or he knew everything about me now, and all he felt was compassion and love towards me. With the stress of illness and caregiving no longer a factor, I had the time and space to fully appreciate just how much I had lost – a truly good man, whom I could totally trust, who accepted me for all that I was, who believed in me as an artist, and respected me as a woman.

It was beyond devastating. Yet, as I rose from the ashes of my beloved and the intense pain of losing him, something fortified deep inside me. He was permanently a part of me, and all that love, faith, trust, acceptance and respect now pulsed in my veins. The fact that loving and losing him healed something within me is one of the cruel ironies of life.

Since his death, I have forged a new career as a writer and live a fairly simple but content life as a single woman. I no longer feel shame about what I did in the past, nor do I judge myself or anyone else for doing sex work. I do, however, feel protective of my self and my livelihood. Because I work with corporations and clients that might not be as understanding, I’ve chosen not to use my real name here. My goal is to get my career to the point where I can one day write something like this and use my real name. Even without revealing my identity, writing and publishing this essay is as scary and painful as it is cathartic and empowering.

When I see my younger self, sitting on that park bench in New York City crying, I want to reach out and hug her and tell her that she’s not a bad person, she’s not a slut, there’s nothing wrong with her, and she’s worth so much more than any of these men could imagine. I want to tell her that in the years to come she will meet a good man who will love and accept her for all that she is. I won’t tell her that she’ll lose this man too soon and be a young widow, but I will tell her that in a little over ten years’ time, she’ll be working as a professional writer, making money with her true talent, her ability to write.

Most of all, I want to tell her that, despite the ups and downs that lie ahead, she will eventually love and forgive herself in a way that she never thought possible.

Just when you think you know everything there is to know about human sexuality, along comes a new study that makes you feel like your dad when somebody explained “bukkakke” to him. It’s hard to respond with anything but, “No. Seriously? People do that? Come on! You’re just making this up.”

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Just when you think you know everything there is to know about human sexuality, along comes a new study that makes you feel like your dad when somebody explained “bukkakke” to him. It’s hard to respond with anything but, “No. Seriously? People do that? Come on! You’re just making this up.”

That’s the feeling I got while reading the new “Kinky Women Research Study,” published earlier this year in the scientific journal Archives of Sexual Behavior. The author, Jennifer Eve Rehor, M.A..—a relationship therapist in San Diego—conducted the study while in the graduate program of Human Sexuality Studies at San Francisco State University. She surveyed 1,580 women—yes, just women—in the kink community, asking them about their interest and participation in 126 erotic and sexual behaviors.
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I’ve read this study a half dozen times this week alone. I’ve brought it to dinner parties, and on vacation to read to friends and family members. It’s absolutely fascinating.

There is a lot of stuff in there that wouldn’t surprise you. 85 percent of participants enjoy a good spanking. 75 percent want to bite their lovers. And 85% are into giving, receiving, and/or observing “light” bondage? Sure, sure. You and every other Fifty Shades of Grey fan.

But then it starts to get weird. Almost 54 percent like “fire play”? What in the actual hell is fire play? (Burns are painful enough, but a burn on your balls? The mind boggles.)

And what about “forced masculination” (15 percent are into that) and “forced cross-dressing” (35 percent), both of which seem awfully pushy. Ladies, ladies, relax. What’s wrong with just asking nicely if we’ll wear your panties?

(Looking for a complete roadmap on How to Pleasure a Woman? This new guide, by the editors of Men’s Health, will give you the proven secrets to satisfying her every single time.)

Here’s one of my favorites: “Sex with corpse (fantasy).” Only 6.84 percent enjoy that activity, which seems small. But that’s 6.84 percent of 1,580 women. Which means 108 women surveyed for this study said (I’m paraphrasing), “Oh yeah, I definitely like to pretend he’s dead and then have sex with his corpse. We call that date night.”

You can go down a rabbit hole with some of these numbers. 38 percent like “Knife play,” which I’m going to assume means they like being on the receiving end of a knife. Perhaps not coincidentally, 36 percent also enjoy “Blood play,” which is likely what happens when you get too enthusiastic about your “knife play.”

That, of course, leads to “Could you call me an ambulance” play. And then “Explaining your stab wounds to the ER doctors” play. Good thing you got a babysitter!

Joking aside, I’m genuinely curious about Rehor’s study, especially since it focuses exclusively on women and their spectacularly creative, unique, and sure, occasionally frightening sexual preferences. So I called Rehor to get more details.

Men’s Health: You listed 126 different kinks and sexual activities in this study. How in the world did you come up with so many?

Jennifer Rehor: Well actually, in the beginning I compiled a huge list of nearly a thousand forms of erotic stimuli. But then I realized that nobody is going to fill out a survey with a thousand different options. So I culled it down. I didn’t delete anything, I just grouped similar things together.

Related: The 50 Best Men’s Health Sex Tips Ever

Like what?

One of the erotic activities was grooming. And then I put in parenthesis: shaving, manicure, pedicure, and brushing hair. So those are four things put into one. But anyone who said yes to this wasn’t necessarily into all of it.

They might just have a fetish for giving pedicures, but they’re like “You want to shave me? Don’t be gross!”

That’s right. Shaving is an interesting thing. You can make a whole scene just out of shaving your partner.

How does it work? Are you being shaved, or the one doing the shaving? Is somebody being forced to shave against his or her will?

It could be anything. It can get very specific. Someone might only enjoy doing the shaving but not being shaved themselves.

When I read this, it felt like something my wife would use to trick me into shaving my beard.

[Laughs.] It could be.

“Oh yeah, baby. Shave nice and slow for me. Mommy like.”

You never know. She might be into that. You won’t know unless you ask.

One thing that confused me is that whipping is listed as a separate category from flogging. Why wouldn’t those be combined?

I mean, when you break it down, you’re right, it’s not that different. You’re using a device to strike your partner. But the sensation might be very different. If it’s a single-tail whip, it might be a very sharp sting sensation, while a flogger has different weights, and they have multiple arms or tails. It can feel more like a massage.

Really? A massage?

Depending on how it’s done.

So somebody might reasonably say to their partner, “You look tense. How about a nice, relaxing flogging?”

[Laughs.] Maybe, I don’t know. I think some people can be like, “I really love flogging but I never want to get whipped.” And then other people might put them all in the same category as using an instrument.

Related: The Sex That Women Want When It’s Costing Them $400 an Hour

And then caning is listed as a separate category. How is caning different from flogging and whipping?

Well, it’s a different instrument. And it can be more intense than flogging and whipping.

Yeah, but shouldn’t they all be grouped together in one big “Having the crap beat out of you” category?

Not really. I mean, to use any of these instruments, it’s best to get some level of training. So you know what you’re doing.

For the flogger or the floggee?

Both. When you’re exploring these intense sensations, it’s important to learn where it’s okay to hit on the body. And how to avoid hurting your own body. Whether you’re on the giving or the receiving end.

How could someone on the giving end of a flogging hurt themselves?

I don’t know. Carpal tunnel or whatever. You need to learn the proper ergonomic way to hold a cane or a flogger.

Related: How to Give Her a 60-Second Orgasm

Once you get deeper into the list, there’s some really . . . I don’t want to say crazy.

No, we shouldn’t put a value judgment on any of this.

But “knife play/ razors”? That’s kind of crazy, right?

Knife play can be gentle and playful.

Gentle? How do you use a knife gently?

It’s interesting that people tend to go to the extreme when thinking about this. Their first reaction is usually, “Well, they must be stabbing each other.”

That seems like a reasonable reaction.

Not necessarily.

If my wife walked into our bedroom with a knife, my first thought wouldn’t be, “Oh look, she wants to have a tickle fight.” I’d be more like, “Holy shit, she’s going to stab me.”

That’s what people think. But it can be done in a very playful and gentle way.

Help me out here. I’m having a hard time imagining how a knife can be used gently.

A way to set something up would be, you show your partner a really sharp, scary knife. And then you blindfold them.

Oh boy.

You lay them down. You put that really sharp, scary knife aside, and you get like a pie server. Something that’s got like a rounded edge. But it’s made out of metal, so it’s going to feel cold.

Ah, I get it. The old switcheroo.

You come up to them, and put it on a place on their body that might be terrifying. They’re going to think you have this sharp, scary knife. But instead you’ve got something that couldn’t hurt anything.

So it’s not about cutting them, it’s about making them think you’re going to cut them.

Right.

That’s, um . . . romantic?

Related: 20 Women Reveal the Pickup Lines That Actually Worked on Them

It’s a way of being fun and exciting, with absolutely no intent to cause any harm.

Speaking of causing harm, is “blood play” what it sounds like? And if it is, that’s causing a little bit of harm, right?

It could. Do you have any tattoos?

I don’t, no.

When you get a tattoo, there’s a little bit of bleeding that’s involved. It’s similar to that. You’re taking a really sharp razor and cutting, but just enough to get a couple drops of blood.

That’s got to be a tough thing to bring up on a first date.

It doesn’t always have to be blood from a wound. It could be menstrual blood.

Ah, I didn’t even think about that.

Most men don’t.

Touché!

I tease, I tease.

No, no, I set myself up for that. Well played.

There are extremes. Some people are going to want the instrument to break the skin, and have blood. But nobody’s stabbing each other in the heart. You know what I mean?

So let’s talk about the semen drinking.

[Laughs] Okay.

Was I a little too abrupt with that segue?

No, no, that’s fine.

Of the women you surveyed, 70 percent like to ingest semen. And a little under 9 percent like to, and I’m quoting here, “Use semen in mixed drinks or cooking/baking recipes.”

That’s right.

Okay, um . . . I get the felching, and the snowballing, and the foot jobs, and vaginal fisting, and rimming and what have you. But this . . . this I don’t get.

It’s pretty simple, really.

Actually, no, it seems entirely complicated. Baking with sperm? That’s like a whole process. You need measuring cups and mixing bowls and whisks and you have to preheat the oven. It’s really involved.

Well, you can make it complicated. But if you’re doing the cocktail, you can also have the drink pre-made and next to the bed. On your nightstand, so it’s ready to go.

Related: Should You Worry about How Much You’re Spurting during Sex?

Okay, that makes a little more sense. I read “cooking/baking recipes,” and the first thing I thought was, ‘Do they mean like a banana bread recipe?’

[Laughs.] Well, it could be.

But instead of mashed bananas, you use semen.

Yes, yes, I got that.

I’m looking at a recipe online right now, and it calls for 1 and ¼ cups of mashed bananas. That’s a freaking lot of semen!

I think the drink option could be a better way to go. Maybe you’re just mixing it with some Baileys, and stirring it up.

Ah, I get you. So you’re basically putting the “cream” back in Baileys Irish Cream.

[Laughs.] If that works for you. The point is, this doesn’t have to be complicated.

What if a guy is interested in trying something new, maybe testing the waters, seeing if his wife or girlfriend is into any of the kinks mentioned in your study. How do they broach the subject?

I think it depends on the partner. But if you come at it from a playful way, and out of curiosity, that’s a pretty good way to approach it.

So don’t be too serious about it? Make it feel spontaneous and fun?

Sure, yeah.

Maybe something like, “Hey, I found these Delicious Greek Yogurt Recipes at Men’s Health, but we’re all out of yogurt. So, you know. . .

Source: Crazy Sex Kinks Explained | Men’s Health

How to Have Kinky Sex

All sex is good sex—in the beginning. When your relationship is fresh, new positions or novel settings are enough to keep you both interested and satisfied.

But as the years pass, it’s all too common to find yourself stuck with a sex life worn edgeless by routine and complacency.
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Fortunately, things don’t have to stay that way.

Here, sex and relationships experts offer some sound advice for cranking up the kink and adding a little—or a lot—of spice to your flat-lined sex life.

(And for the comprehensive guide on how to have hotter, more satisfying sex, check out How to Pleasure a Woman. You’ll find tons of inspiration for new things to try with your partner, along with step-by-step instructions on how to give her the best orgasm of her life.)

THE TALK

“One person’s wet dream is another’s wet blanket,” says Tracey Cox, a U.K.-based sex expert and best-selling author. If you pull out your new moves in the moment, her startled reaction may frighten you both away from dirty sex for another few years.

Here’s a smarter idea: Discuss your ideas and turn-ons before you hit the lights, Cox stresses.

Start the conversation over a glass of wine at dinner—or in some other setting where you’re both comfortable and relaxed, suggests Sadie Allison, a doctor of human sexuality and author of The Mystery of the Undercover Clitoris.

It might be easier to begin this talk with relatively tame fantasies or role-playing ideas—stuff that will ease you both into the idea of new experiences, Allison says. It may also help to ask her what she’s into first. That way, you’re making it about her desires as well as your own, she adds.

When it’s your turn to share, be positive and confident about what you’re into, Cox stresses. If you make a big deal about asking or you look terrified once you make the request, that could freak your girl out or make her nervous, she says.

Also, be clear that you’re not expecting this every time you do it—only once in a while as a change of pace.

“Most people can cope with doing kinky things consistently but irregularly,” says Cox. “Few want to do it every single session.”

Related: 1,580 Women Reveal the Kinkiest Things They’d Let You Try Tonight

And, above all else, don’t force things, Cox warns. If you’ve told her you’re interested in something and she says it’s not for her, putting up a fight won’t change her mind. On the other hand, being cool with her refusal might lead her to rethink things and give it a shot.

THE PREP

Watching some porn or reading erotica together may help charge you both up and make it easier to discuss new ideas, Allison says. If that sounds weird, remember, Fifty Shades of Grey wasn’t a blockbuster book because dudes were reading it.

Chances are good your partner’s interested in this stuff even if she’s never discussed it with you. And it’s a lot easier to say “I like that” while watching or reading about sex than it is to describe your fantasy in detail.

Once you’ve agreed on some new moves to try, do your homework, Allison advises. Whether you’re trying anal sex for the first time or introducing a new toy into your bedroom, there are right and wrong ways to go about things. Knowing the pitfalls ahead of time is the easiest way to avoid them.

And unless your fantasies perfectly align, it may help to split your new sex initiatives into “his” nights and “her” nights, Allison recommends. Starting with her desires may be a good way to show her this is about the both of you, and may make her more enthusiastic when it’s your turn.

THE DETAILS

Kids are a kink-killer, so dropping them with your parents or getting away to a hotel for a night can help you and your partner disconnect from your distractions, Allison says.

(A hotel is also a good idea because new settings can ease your transition into new experiences.)

It’s also smart to set ground rules—how far each of you is prepared to go—and to establish a safe word, Cox advises. (Make your safe word something you would never say by mistake.)

This way, you can be sure you’re both enjoying yourselves and having fun without having to stop every few minutes to ask, “Are you cool with this?”

Related: The Risky Sex Trend More Couples Are Trying

In the end, remember that your relationship is more important than the experience you’re having in the moment, Cox says.

Give your girl a gentle hug and a kiss afterward, and tell her how much you enjoyed yourself. And, sometime in the next few days, talk about what you both liked—and what you didn’t—to ensure you walk away from the new experience feeling satisfied and willing to try it again soon

All sex is good sex—in the beginning. When your relationship is fresh, new positions or novel settings are enough to keep you both interested and satisfied. But as the years pass, it’s all too common to find yourself stuck with a sex life worn edgeless by routine and complacency.  Fortunately, things don’t have to stay that way.  Here, sex and relationships experts offer some sound advice for cranking up the kink and adding a little—or a lot—of spice to your flat-lined sex life.

Source: How to Have Kinky Sex

While there are approximately ten gazillion mouth-like sex toys on the market for men to stick their penises into, very few offer a similar sensation for the ladies. It’s such typical bullshit. Of course men get all the motorized blow jobs their ding dongs could want, while women get some giant dick stand-ins. Yes, giant dick stand-ins are fine and often even divine, but you would think that products that suck on our clits would be a big deal — both men and women widely acknowledge that getting head is the shit, and most women have an easier time orgasming with clitoral stimulation than from penetration alone.

That’s why me and my nether regions were thrilled to receive an email from my editor asking if I wanted to try the latest trend in the female sex toy market: suction oral sex simulators for women. It’s a pretty new thing and there are only two currently available – the Fiera Arouser for Her and the Womanizer (Yes, the names are pretty terrible, but do you hear men complaining about the fucking Fleshlight?) — but both had a panel of doctors agree that they arouse women better than getting rammed by a dildo.

The German-made Womanizer ($189 on Amazon) promises, “Touchless clitoral stimulation with waves of pulsating pleasure offer a sheet-gripping orgasm like you’ve never felt before,” while Fiera ($250) says it will, “spark sexual arousal and increase desire, naturally.” Since the two both work by suckling on your clitoris (sorry but it’s the truth), the main differences are that the Womanizer is handheld while Fiera requires no hands, and the Womanizer says it’ll take you to ~the most dramatic orgasm of your life~, while Fiera was specifically designed to get you in the mood for sex, but not to take you all the way to Orgasmville.
The Womanizer

The Womanizer

First, let’s watch this mesmerizing video, which is basically scored by angels playing the spoons and whale mating calls:

I decided to give this little guy a whirl without a sex partner present because why have a sex partner when you can sex partner yourself and not have to worry about sex partnering them, know what I’m saying? I was sent the special edition red roses Womanizer and I have to say, right off the bat, the design is cheesy as hell. The others aren’t much better. Look at the black tattoo one! It’s as if they gave Ed Hardy a glitter gun and told him to go to town decorating an ear thermometer. What I’m saying is, my clitoris was not engorged with blood at the sight of this garish remote-control looking motherfucker. But alas, looks can be deceiving so I was willing to give it a fair chance before donating it to some sassy biker chick.

As explained briefly in the video above, it sort-of simulates oral sex by attaching to your clitoris with its removable suction tip. It has a variety of speeds, which means it’s as good for people with more sensitive genitalia as it is for those of us who have nearly had our labias rubbed off by the Hitachi Magic Wand #godisgood.
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After fixing the Womanizer to my clitoris — this part wasn’t easy; I had to use a mirror. Thanks high school sex ed for teaching me nothing about my body! — I started at the lowest intensity, which kind of felt like what I imagine the light touch of a sexy ghost on your genitals must feel like. It wasn’t amazing but it wasn’t not amazing. It’s hard to explain. It felt as if it was trying to drag an orgasm out of me very slowly. Like, I was turned on but also my mind was wandering? It felt good enough to maybe let it go on forever, but also being constantly horny would be terrible; I was Sisyphus pushing the slowest damn almost-orgasm up a hill of sexual frustration.

After a few minutes of this titillating purgatory, I fiddled with the different intensities until, just like a perverted Goldie Locks, I found one in the middle that was just right. And, oh boy, was it just right! So, so, so, so, so just right. SO DAMN JUST RIGHT.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that this sensation is unlike anything I’ve ever felt before. It was an intense, all over body shake that lasted for several minutes. If I were a wolf, I would have been howling at the moon. It’s what I imagine receiving oral sex from a tongue possessed by a SEX ANGEL would be like.

I may have called in sick and stayed in bed for the rest of day and it may have been 100 percent fucking worth it.
Fiera Arouser For Her

Fiera

I have to be honest: it was hard to pull me away from the Womanizer after its insane showing, but a woman cannot live on powerful, sustained 10 minute orgasms alone. (Or can she? Would I be the woman to find out? Was this my Everest?!)

The Fiera looks like a tiny mouse (the computer attachment, not the animal) and has soft, removable plastic suction rings intended to encircle your clit. You can switch the rings out for cleanliness, which is good, because coming is messy. The other pro is that it’s so small and light that once it suctions onto your clit you can let go of it and it just does its own thang down there.

For this one, I opted to include my husband because Fiera is supposed to be used as foreplay to take you to the brink of orgasm, and I needed someone to push me over the edge. Plus, he was bored and wanted to know why I’d been in bed all day. (THAT’S OUR LITTLE SECRET.)

My husband threw the Fiera Arouser For Her right quick on my clitoris because he understands female anatomy better than I do and because he was fascinated to watch this go down. “Maybe this thing will put me out of a job!” he joked and I looked him straight in the eye and said in a dead-serious tone, “Yes. Maybe it will. Maybe it will put all men out of jobs and women will finally rule the world and peace will be restored.” My husband’s used to this so he just nodded in agreement and stared intently at my genitals. This is why our marriage works.

Once attached, the Fiera felt almost like the lowest setting of the Womanizer but with the ability to change the pattern of mini-vibrations and sucking. I fiddled around with it until it felt good and then it just started feeling better and better. And better. And beeetttteeeer.

But never SO MUCH better that I had an orgasm. It’s very strange to be getting hornier and hornier and wetter and wetter but never really feel like it’s going to result in anything? It sort of feels like the after-tingle of an orgasm, but without having orgasmed yet. Anyway, when I was fully ready to go, my husband took it off and we had a very successful bone session with a satisfying, lengthy orgasm. While some of that was due to my husband, let’s not give him too much credit. Fiera and it’s light leech-like touch really got me going.

If getting turned on is an issue for you on the regular — and lord knows trying to have sex when you can’t get wet is certainly an issue — the Fiera could be a game-changer for your sex life. But if your sex drive is on par with your partner’s, it might not be the best use of $250 since it’s not super useful on its own (although I guess you could finish with another vibrator or, as their site kind of weirdly suggests, put it on for a few minutes in the morning to feel good all day?) If masturbation is more your steez, go for the Womanizer. Either way, get ready to be like, “What’s happening to my body, but I like it???” because I have never felt 80 percent aroused for such an extended period of time.

In the end, both sex toys provide unique and interesting sexual experiences — and they ought to, these things ain’t cheap! Lots of women will find them to be worthwhile additions to their solo- and/or partner-based sex lives because it’s super arousing to feel like a pair of tiny perfect lips are sucking on your clit, and that’s just a fact, Jill. Now if only someone could invent a tongue attachment to go with these things I’d fucking marry it.

Legit howling at the moon over here.

Source: Womanizer Sex Toy Review – Fiera Sex Toy Review – Oral Sex Toys For Women

The study showed that most of the Greek women just coming into prostitution are between the ages of 17 and 20.

Source: Young Greek women selling sex for the price of a sandwich, new study shows – The Washington Post

Greece’s debt crisis has affected each and every area of the country’s economic activity, including the sex industry, resulting in young Greek women selling their services for the lowest price in Europe.

Following almost six years of crisis, sex workers have had to dramatically cut prices, driving central and eastern European women who used to dominate the industry out of business, a three-year study compiling data on more than 17,000 sex workers shows.

Before the crisis hit the country, the average price for sex with a prostitute was €50 ($53). Today, it has plummeted to as low as €2 ($2.12) for thirty minutes. With the unemployment level reaching almost 60 percent, more and more women are joining the industry, raising more than €600 million (almost $638) annually.

“Some women just do it for a cheese pie, or a sandwich they need to eat because they are hungry,” Gregory Lazos, a professor of sociology at Panteion University in Athens and lead author of the research, told the London Times newspaper. “Others [do it] to pay taxes, bills, for urgent expenses or a quick [drug] fix.”

The number of sex workers living on the edge seems to be on the rise, Lazos said. The professor is known for a number of publications on the subject, including two volumes specifically dedicated to prostitution in Greece.

“Most worrying,” he told the Times, “is it doesn’t look like these numbers will fade; rather they are growing at a steady and consistent pace.”

The prices for sex are falling not only in Greece, but all over the world as well, reportedly caused by the internet giving access to adult content. However, the average price of a one-hour encounter in Europe is €255 ($271). Broadly speaking, the prices in Greece are fifty times lower than on average on the continent.

“Factor in the growing number of girls who drift in and out of the trade, depending on their needs, and the total number of female prostitutes is startling,” Mr Lazos said. “Greek women now dominate 80 percent of the trade.”

Prostitution is legal in Greece, but only 10 brothels in the country actually have a license, meaning women have no other choice but to go to the streets or private dens.

“State authorities, police and health officials must finally act rather than continuing to remain indifferent,” Lazos concluded.

Greece has been struggling with financial crisis since late 2009. After numerous rounds of negotiations, the Greek government introduced a number of austerity measures required for bailout. These have turned out to be a serious blow to the more vulnerable sectors of the

Greece’s debt crisis has affected each and every area of the country’s economic activity, including the sex industry, resulting in young Greek women selling their services for the lowest price in Europe.

Source: Greek sex workers’ rates fall to record low – study — RT News

Rough sex is often the topic of heated debates, with many categorizing it as abuse and others categorizing it as a legitimate fetish. In this week’s Sex Talk Realness, Cosmopolitan.com spoke with three anonymous women about their experiences with loving rough sex on their terms.

How old are you?
Woman A: Twenty-seven.

Woman B: Twenty-three.

Woman C: Thirty-four.

What do you consider rough sex?
Woman A: Anything that involves a little bit of danger and experimentation. For me, it usually involves some uncomfortable effects afterward such as soreness or completely losing your voice after giving an earth-shattering blow job.

Woman B: I think it can basically revolve around pretty aggressive/hard sex, but mainly I think of rough sex as incorporating things like spanking, choking, gagging, hair pulling, or being pinned down or pushed.

Woman C: Hmm, I guess being held down, told what to do, hard thrusting, etc.

What do you think is the difference between rough sex and BDSM?
Woman A: I feel like BDSM is more planned out while rough sex is a “whatever happens, happens” encounter.

Woman B: I’m still not totally sure. The way I see it, rough sex is sort of ramping up to BDSM, but rough sex is also under the umbrella of BDSM. For me, I realized I liked it a little rougher, then became more comfortable with testing the waters in bondage and more pronounced dominance/submissiveness.

Woman C: Well, I don’t wear costumes or have a master or anything, which is what I think of when I think of BDSM.

How did you realize you preferred rough sex?
Woman A: I was aware of my now-ex’s wild ways, but we never tried anything daring during our relationship. Years later, we reconnected and, knowing he wanted to take things to a different level sexually, I agreed to be game for whatever he had in mind. Hearing his voice demand me to perform specific acts was a major and surprising turn on for me. The raw emotion and roughness became something I craved.

Woman B: A partner started teasing me by telling me things he wanted to do to me and it got me thinking about actually giving it a try. When we had rough(er) sex for the first time and started getting into choking, spanking, hair pulling, etc., I realized it was what I’d been wanting for a while. I’d just been having run-of-the-mill sex with guys and feeling like it could’ve been better if it had been taken up a notch.

Woman C: I realized it by having boring sex previously. It’s more fun. I will have sweeter sex too, but we always wind up getting faster and harder by the end.

What specific acts do you prefer?
Woman A: Giving deep-throat blow jobs in positions that allow the man to have control of me. My hands are tied and I have no control of how deep he goes. Another favorite is having both my hands and ankles tied up with the guy inserting anal vibrators and thrusting his penis inside me while he pulls my hair. My boyfriend loved using a belt all over my body and I immediately took a liking to the sensation.

Woman B: Spanking, choking, hair pulling, bondage/being pinned down, and gagging/mouth covering.

Woman C: I like spanking and being held down.

How do you make sure it’s safe?
Woman A: The danger is always part of the fun, but providing my own sex toys and using common sense makes things smooth. I know what my limits are and when I need to tell the other person to stop. I won’t put myself in danger just because my man is enjoying it.

Woman B: We try to make sure there’s always an out strategy. Safe words, or if there’s gagging involved, just tapping or head shaking with eye contact.

Woman C: I just tell them “no choking” because I don’t like that.

Do you always clearly define boundaries beforehand? Do those boundaries ever change?
Woman A: I identify my boundaries beforehand so everything goes smoothly. I learned my lesson early on that you have to be pretty specific when it comes to what you aren’t comfortable with. Nothing ruins the moment like having to stop and give a lecture on why you aren’t into what the guy wants to do. If something didn’t go well during the last round, like maybe he used the belt a little too hard or he hurt my neck the way he pulled my hair, that’s when I say we have to take it down a notch next time, so I go by that.

Woman B: I think it depends. I really trust my current boyfriend with our boundaries. He and I are comfortable talking about the “hard pass” items and what things we’d consider something to try eventually. Some days are different than others and I’ll straight-up say, “No, I don’t want to do that.” I think it’d be different if it was someone else.

Woman C: I definitely tell them when I don’t like something or feel uncomfortable, but it’s usually during sex, not before.

Have you ever been injured, or injured a partner?
Woman A: Once a blow job got a little too deep while I was positioned upside down on my bed. I felt like I couldn’t breathe with his body was on top of mine and I needed to get my head up, but he was just about to finish. I was struggling and my head going in different positions. I ultimately cut his penis with my tooth. There was also one instance where we’ve bumped our heads together or someone’s foot will jab the other in the eye. I’ve thrown up on a guy all over his stomach and lower body as I was performing oral and he told me to keep going even though there was vomit everywhere. I was covered in vomit and felt the opposite of sexy, but he was about to finish so I kept going.
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I feel like mishaps are bound to happen. When you are so caught up in the moment, you don’t dwell about something gross or something that hurt. You just keep going. There’s too much excitement, passion, and fast-paced action not to.

Woman B: Nothing more than a rogue elbow to the ribs. If we’re ever getting into risky territory (ahem, anal), he’s always super respectful and makes sure we’re communicating and trusting each other.

Woman C: Nope.

How do you ask for rough sex with new partners?
Woman A: If a guy doesn’t take the lead in the bedroom, I know I usually have my work cut for me. I make the first move by doing something that he probably wasn’t expecting, like a deep, all-the-way-down-my-throat blow job. I try to be encouraging and tell them what I like, like hair pulling. If it’s not rough enough, and usually it’s not in the beginning, I tell them that I want them to be rougher or to do something harder.

Woman B: I’ve had conversations outside the bedroom about it to test the waters, asking him things like, “What do you think about this or that?” and gauging his response. If it’s just something like spanking though, I feel comfortable enough asking for it during sex if it seems like he won’t freak out.

Woman C: Honestly, I don’t usually bring it up.

What kind of response do you usually get?
Woman A: One guy told me that he’s never done anything crazy and said he wouldn’t know what to do with any of my sex toys. The idea of rougher sex intrigued him though. He slowly began trying little things, and soon he was asking if he could tie me up and have his way with me. I was impressed.

Woman B: I never explicitly asked for rough sex, I just tested the waters around it to see if they were into it. One guy went on and on about how not into it he was and he would never be comfortable being rough with a woman, so I never asked for it.

Woman C: A lot of guys are into it.

How do you ask them to be gentler or rougher if you’re not getting what you want?
Woman A: I try to be straightforward and just tell them it’s too gentle or too rough. There have been times when things have became a little too crazy and I have to say, “I love what you are doing to me, but you are going to have to take it down a notch.”

Woman B: There’s been no issue having to “opt out” if things get too rough, but if a guy is too gentle, I sort of take it as a sign that he’s not as into it and don’t push it further.

Woman C: The only thing I don’t like choking, so I tell them that.

Have you ever had partners who refused rough sex?
Woman A: Not yet. And if they did, then I don’t know if our relationship would work out.

Woman B: Because I never explicitly asked, I just never got that extra oomph I was looking for if he wasn’t into it.

Woman C: That hasn’t happened yet.

In your experience, what percentage of your partners have been into it and what percentage haven’t been?
Woman A: Seventy-five percent have and 25 percent haven’t.

Woman B: Twenty percent were totally open/into it, 40 percent seemed into it and too timid to act on it, 40 percent were not into it.

Woman C: I’d say 100 percent are into it.

Have you ever had someone judge you for preferring rough sex?
Woman A: I showed my best friend my collection of sex gadgets, and she was shocked when I told her about all of the things my ex and I did. In conversations with other friends though, it’s completely normal.

Woman B: Yes. A close friend of mine was appalled when I told her about some of the rougher things that my boyfriend and I were getting into, and she basically told me to dump him because he was “a creep” and he was “forcing” me to do those things. I of course defended him and told her it was something I was interested in and just got a look in return, that “uh, ew, OK” look.

Woman C: Actually, most of my friends also prefer rough sex, so I don’t think so.

What do you think is the biggest misconceptions about women who like rough sex?
Woman A: Probably that women are demanding. For me, it’s about pleasing the other person. It’s not about me controlling the man.

Woman B: That we’re slutty or easy or have “issues” that drive us to want these things.

Woman C: That they’re trashy or slutty.

What do you think Cosmo readers should know before they try rough sex?
Woman A: Don’t be afraid to try it! I never imagined that I would be someone who enjoyed rough sex, but it takes your relationship to another level. Also, don’t worry about your appearance because at the end of the round you’ll probably shed your sex-goddess-with-perfect-makeup look and end up being a hot sweaty mess covered in all kinds of bodily fluids. And just start with one or two rougher things, and see what works well between you and your partner. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask your partner for what you want or to speak up if things get too weird!

Woman B: Don’t be afraid to talk and ask for what you want. Talking through what things you are and aren’t into, and establishing boundaries at the beginning may seem daunting, but it’ll be worth it. Also, if you have that conversation and give rough sex a try but things aren’t feeling right, don’t force it. Tell him it’s not working for you right away.

Woman C: You should always trust who you’re doing it with.

Follow Lane on Twitter and Instagram.

“If a guy doesn’t take the lead in the bedroom, I know I usually have my work cut out for me.”

Source: What It’s Really Like to Be a Woman Who Loves Rough Sex

Yes – that’s 100% correct.

Source: Dutch driving instructors can take sex as payment in ‘Ride for Ride’ law | Metro News

Larry Villarin is one of only ten certified male sex surrogates in the country—meaning he has sex with clients to help them cope with their fears and anxieties about physical intimacy.

Larry was completely naked and blindfolded next to a piano when the younger woman he was with had a breakthrough. She was 35 years old but gave off the nervous pent-up sexual energy of a wallflower at prom, and with good reason: She had never kissed a man, let alone seen one nude in her Long Beach home.

She had been carefree and pretty as a teenager—until a car accident sent her flying through a windshield, slicing her face open and blinding her in one eye, according to Larry. Afterwards, she thought, How could anyone ever love me? So she shut herself off to the world, to romantic love and sex. Until now.

It was summer 1994 and Larry, who was a decade her senior, had instructions. “I want you to stare at me,” he ordered softly. “Be scared. Be curious. Be excited. If you’re bored, that’s good. We’ll move on.” Soon they did, and—terrifying as it was—she stripped down, too. Then came kissing, caressing, and, eventually, sex.

Read More: Learning How to Orgasm Without Any Touching

Larry Villarin, a 62-year-old Californian, is not her boyfriend. Nor is he a sex worker, although technically he gets paid $150 per hour to have sex, hang out naked, and teach his clients the joys of the erotic. Larry is America’s oldest male sexual surrogate, a job in which he risks being arrested in order to help others work through sexual dysfunction during one-on-one “sessions.” In the past 35 years, the gig has matched him with dozens of women (and an occasional man) to achieve therapeutic goals. In the past, he says, he has worked with disabled clients, abuse survivors, and people from strict religions backgrounds, as well as with millionaires, geniuses, 40-year-old virgins, and powerful judges. Most of clients pair his hands-on therapy with trips to a psychologist in order to prepare for real-life intimacy.

She needed to believe I wouldn’t laugh at her or run away. It was beautiful to see her open up.

Only ten men are certified to do this work in the U.S., according to the International Professional Surrogates Association (IPSA). Larry and other rare men in the field must undergo 100 hours of human sexuality studies before becoming certified by the IPSA, which connects patients with surrogates through psychiatrists. As a sexual surrogate, Larry must navigate tricky emotional turf, like what happens when a client falls in love with you, or how to gently bust through body hang-ups or deeply internalized anxieties. In the case of the 35-year-old woman who had survived a car accident, it turned out that she was mostly scared of ridicule. “She needed to believe I wouldn’t laugh at her or run away. It was beautiful to see her open up,” he says.

Most of Larry’s job is far less sexy than it might seem. During their first hour-long session with him, clients unload their emotional baggage —ranging from social anxiety to PTSD — and set therapy goals. No sexual touching is allowed. If all goes well, they’ll move to hand stroking and a face caressing. Later, he’ll try a blindfolded “trust walk” to get them “out of their heads.”

His clients, who range in age from 22 to 75, usually invite Larry to their L.A. homes or come to his. Many are referred to him by a psychologist after reaching a frustrating impasse in expressing their sexuality: they can’t become “normal” without a partner, and they can’t find partner if they don’t become “normal.” The steamy stuff comes slowly— if at all. “You set ground rules,” Larry says, “It’s baby steps.” He works with some clients for weeks, others for years. Some are never ready to have full-blown sex.

One of the tools Larry uses in order to help his clients open up is playing naked games. In one, he and the client stand back-to-back with their eyes closed. She opens her eyes first, then it’s his turn. Eventually they go to a mirror and talk honestly about their reflections. It helps that Larry, a slow-talking old hippie type, is not at all physically threatening. “I go first and stand in front of full-length mirror. I do an oral meditation, describing my body, tip to toe—how it feels and functions—totally honestly,” he says. “It really gets down to image. I say, ‘I don’t like my saggy buttocks,’ or ‘I broke my toe when I was 20.’ I can do 30 minutes of that, just modeling openness. Then she goes.”

She had her first orgasm. She didn’t believe she could ever have one. I’m getting misty about it.

In addition, Larry says, physical exercises can lead to epiphanies. In one case, a 70-year-old woman had lived her whole life thinking sex was a chore; religious guilt kept her from masturbating. “She was numb — her hips were frozen,” Larry recalls. So he told her to stand with her legs apart. “I said, ‘Imagine a pencil coming down between your genitals and your anus. Now write your name on the floor. It required movements in her hips.”

Later that night, she took a shower and lay naked on her sheets. A breeze from an open window rolled over her body, and something shifted in her pelvis. “That’s all it took. She had her first orgasm. She didn’t believe she could ever have one. I’m getting misty about it,” Larry says. “It’s just: growth — what humans are capable of. Gosh, it’s intimate stuff.”

Larry claims that birthdays are the number-one reason women come to see him. Late-in-life virgins, turning 30 or 40, see the date looming and want to take the plunge. “Milestones are a big one. It’s anxiety provoking. Women will say, ‘This my final hope,'” Larry says.

Usually, those clients have control problems sparked by something early in life. If they don’t address their issues with control, they tend to get worse, and their virginity becomes a symbol of everything wrong with them. “They’re embarrassed. Sometimes they can’t talk to anyone about it,” Larry notes. “They try to fake it with girlfriends. But every new man has to be Mr. Right—perfect—so they run away at the first relationship glitch. The longer they wait, the more the anxiety builds.”

[Birthdays] are a big one. It’s anxiety provoking. Women will say, ‘This my final hope.’

Emotional blocks can turn physical for some women. One client suffered from a condition called vaginismus, which caused her vaginal canal to tighten involuntarily, preventing sex. It was painful and embarrassing, so Larry recommended she use vaginal dilators for six months. Unlike a gynecologist, however, he paired that treatment with intimacy therapy and physical touch. It worked, he claims.

Larry is a sort of a gateway guy, he says: He’s low risk because he’s not a real lover. “The women are not there to please me; I’m there for them. Somewhere along the line, they stopped trusting men. I have to undo that.”

Although trust is deeply important to Larry’s work, it’s also important to keep an emotional distance. Larry says that some of his clients have fallen in love with him, which can push him into a tricky emotional and ethical gray area.

One woman came to him, fresh out of an abusive marriage, on the heels of her son’s death. She was sick of being alone and wanted to enjoy sex. “We worked for two years. We had so many firsts together—she didn’t want to let go,” Larry recalls. When her sessions came to an end, Larry says, the client began sending him expensive gifts and kept trying to see him. “I kind of knew she was in love with me. But I had to be ethical.”

Not long after that, he set up new boundaries: He stopped allowing sessions in his own bedroom and built a “therapy room” instead. After one of his own romantic relationships “fell apart because of the job,” he took a break from it. Now, he sometimes holds back sharing with clients because, “by telling [a client] too much about myself, I realized, I am burdening her.”

The job is full of ethical landmines, according to Paula Hall, a British sex therapist. “In the UK, the practice is mostly frowned upon,” she says. The surrogate-client relationship is often seen as just too complicated, she adds. To Larry, however, the lines are clear enough. “In a sense, we already know the relationship has to end. It’s better that they learn how to be hurt with me, rather than a less sensitive man.”

Romantic feelings aren’t the only issue complicating Larry’s profession: Paying for sex — any sex —is illegal in the U.S., and there’s no law offering surrogates special protection. If a cop were to bust in on Larry during a session, he could be arrested, which is exactly what happened to one of his female surrogate friends. “She was seeing a client and he turned out to be a cop,” Larry says. “He said, ‘I have to confess: In 10 minutes you’re going to hear a knock on the door, and you’re going to be busted for prostitution, but I can see that’s not what this is.”

IPSA skirts prostitution law in certifying its members because it doesn’t acknowledge intercourse is part of the practice, according to Larry and other current and former surrogates. Today, he’s baffled that people don’t understand the difference between his work, which he sees as primarily therapeutic or socially instructive.

For instance, Larry once worked with a woman from a strict religious background. Because of her upbringing, she had learned to see kissing as strictly a sexual act, never used for casual affection. She enlisted Larry to teach her the basics of kissing in all different contexts. In their sessions, Larry says, she made the rules. “We tried all of them: A quick kiss goodbye, a hello kiss, a marathon make out. I was never allowed to kiss back,” he recounts. After a few weeks, she left feeling “reborn,” ready for lovers and friends. “It did increase her confidence, oh my,” Larry says.

But most of the time, Larry never gets to see the positive affects of his work. “The empowerment part comes when they leave me. It’s like karate: Once you get your black belt, your training has just begun. With me, they’ve opened their hearts — and now they can go have a life.”

Larry Villarin is one of only ten certified male sex surrogates in the country—meaning he has sex with clients to help them cope with their fears and anxieties about physical intimacy.

Source: This Man Gets Paid to Help Women Enjoy Sex | Broadly

Why women love porn GIFs | Fusion

At a recent dinner, a friend confided that she was spending her masturbation sessions with a new lover: porn GIFs. “They’re incredible,” she said. I didn’t get it.

I know what a GIF is—four to six seconds of silent video looped. That seems like the perfect amount of time to capture a kitten falling into a garbage can or Tina Fey rolling her eyes, but the notion that one moving image could translate into a satisfactory—nay, “incredible”—sexual experience? Well, that didn’t compute. So she passed me her phone.

And then, I was gone.

While GIFs may seem like a flash in the pan—really, how can four seconds turn you on?—the nature of the loop actually allows the viewer to spend an elongated amount of time taking in the presented scenario. GIFs give the viewer time to notice the caress of a hand floating from neck to shoulder to forearm, the tensing of an abdomen, the arching of a back, and the reflex of a thigh. After a few loops, you may find yourself empathizing with the players involved. Maybe you can even feel what they’re feeling.

“GIFs take these moments of ephemeral pleasure, a passing facial expression, a particular movement or jiggle and de-contextualize the moment. And then repeat itself,” said Helen Hester, a senior lecturer in media and communication at the University of West London and coauthor of the article Giffing a fuck: Non-narrative pleasures in participatory porn cultures and female fandom, to be published in the journal Porn Studies.

Of course, porn GIFs don’t appeal only to women, but the “microporn” does appear to have struck a unique chord with the ladies, according to Hester—an audience known to feel alienated by mainstream porn, historically geared toward men. Spend five minutes on Tumblr, and you’ll find yourself sucked into a pulsing subculture of porn GIFs curated for women, living on pages like Porn-Gifs-For-Women and YummyPornForGirls. GIFs that almost exclusively spotlight erotic female pleasure.

The birth of the porn GIF

While new to me, porn GIFs are not new to the world. A Google Trends search reveals that they first started to take off in 2012, and their presence has only ballooned from there. Google searches for the term “porn GIF” are fourteen times more popular now than they were three years ago—and yes, a casual search of “porn GIFs of [insert your fetish here]” will almost certainly retrieve unbelievably hot images of what you’re looking for.

Porn GIFs’ existence is not surprising—after all, pornography has always kept up with trends in tech. Ever heard of Rule 34? Yes, if it exists, there will be porn of it. While the notion is usually applied to content (see: Minion porn), it also applies to the medium. For example, as sociologist Chauntelle Tibbals told The Debrief last year, just a few years after motion pictures were invented, people started filming sex in early “stag films.”

So think of GIFs as tiny motion pictures—or tiny little quickies. And while their popularity in general has been linked to our generation’s disintegrating attention span, what’s the appeal for women?

How to arouse a woman in four seconds

If we’ve learned anything about sex, it’s that bigger isn’t always better. Or longer and more complex isn’t always better, as the case may be when it comes to porn GIFs.

For many women, sexual arousal relies as much on the mind as on the body–and this means that women often prefer porn with complex and character-driven plot lines, according to sex researchers. But the brevity of porn GIFs may work in our favor: The shorter the scene, the less time for women to lose interest.

“Women tend to take more time to orgasm, so any interruptions (either visually or audibly) can cause them to have to start from scratch,” said Kate McCarthy, a human sexuality expert and MIT’s Program Director of Violence Prevention. “The GIF allows them that fantasy without it going off the rails and crashing with a moment, or an image, that they didn’t like or that slowed down their build up of getting to an orgasm.”

Another theory? Power in numbers. While one GIF on its own may be a sexual blip, compile hundreds of these GIFs onto one Tumblr page, and suddenly you’re participating in an immersive erotic experience. “You scroll through and let this wave of endlessly repeating images of pornographic content wash over you,” said Hester.

But for Hester, it’s not just the content of porn GIFs that make them appeal to women. It’s the knowledge of how they’re made—and the fact that they’re made by women.

Take the Tumblr page YummyPornForGirls, whose owner writes: “I’ve been frustrated with the content of a lot of porn blogs that claim to be for women…I decided to create this blog to showcase erotic images that I think actually appeal to women.”

And the creator of the Tumblr Porn-Gifs-For-Women describes it as a “collection of animated porn gifs that were selected by me. I have no other qualification for doing this than being a woman myself.”

Most mainstream porn, meanwhile, is created by men, for men. “There’s an idea that there is something disingenuous and pitched towards the male viewer,” Hester said. “So now [with GIFs], you’re taking a scene where you’re witnessing female pleasure and the act of re-contextualizing the single moment. You snip it, maybe you put it in black and white and it looks like something different.”

In essence, the GIF creator can become an active participant in her own pornographic experience—which is key to arousal, according to Hester.

Keeping it real

After speaking with the experts, I began to notice that all their theories echo a wider desire specific to our generation—for authenticity, when it comes to everything. We shy away from consuming media that’s been mass produced, that feels artificial or disingenuous. And we like to make our own content. Do you want to star in your own porn? Maybe not. But you may be drawn to the idea of becoming a director in the world of porn GIFs. By clipping the four second segment of that mass-produced Vivid video, the GIF creator has taken ownership of her own porn experience. And that element, I know, is important to my friends.

Of course, the porn GIF universe isn’t perfect. A Google search reveals predominately thin, young, white, heterosexual, cisgendered women. It is difficult to find body-diverse GIFs or queer friendly GIFs (we didn’t count the ones tagged “HOT LESBIANS!”) or GIFs featuring people of color.

But that could easily reflect a wider diversity problem in mainstream porn. Most porn sites tout white women as the norm, while women of color are tucked away in “fetish” tabs (think “chocolate” or “Asian”). So it’s possible the lack of diversity in porn GIFs is less a statement about the porn GIF creators and more about the porn industry as a whole.

And porn GIFs don’t do it for all women. “Some people like videos and photos. GIFs are in the middle,” said Lux Alptraum, founder of Boinkology, a sex and culture blog. “I don’t think they’ll replace movies.”

So, sure, PornHub has nothing to worry about. But for many of us, the sensuality and intimacy of watching a tiny snapshot of a sexual encounter on repeat is a revelation. And if nothing else—if you’ve got a weak wifi connection and that video is taking a damn long time to load, porn GIFs have got you covered.

At a recent dinner, a female friend confided that she was spending her masturbation sessions with a new friend: porn GIFs. “They’re incredible,” she said. I didn’t get it.

Source: Why women love porn GIFs | Fusion

Why anal sex feels good | Fusion

If you saw this headline and clicked, you’re ready for a quick convo about anal sex. Don’t try to scurry out the back door 😉. This will take less than three minutes.

Why are we talking about anal sex? Well, in the days after the FDA approved the first-ever drug to treat female sexual dysfunction, the blog FiveThirtyEight unearthed a dataset from 2009’s The National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior that had everyone like, “Wait, what?”

In a chart breaking down the likelihood of achieving an orgasm by sexual act and gender, one activity stood out from the rest:

That’s right. Ninety-four percent of women whose last sexual encounter included anal sex also reported orgasming during the encounter. Granted, the sample size of the women who actually had anal sex was tiny so we can’t draw sweeping conclusions—but still.

Surprised? You’re not alone. The statistic also stood out to Fusion’s financial reporter, Felix Salmon, who usually spends his time discussing money and not the economics of anal sex, as he did in a response.

In his analysis, Felix proposes a few theories as to why women appear to disproportionately climax when anal sex is on the menu. Implied in one of the theories is the idea that anal sex is still a taboo, forbidden, “only-happens-once-a-year-if-you’re-lucky” kind of sexual act.

We think this stereotype suggests that folks who regularly engage in anal sex are somehow naughty or “really kinky,” so we’re taking Felix to task. In reality, both men and women enjoy anal sex for some basic physiological reasons.

It works like this: The region of the body where anal sex occurs is filled with erogenous zones.

For women, anal sex stimulates the G-spot, which is only separated from the anal canal by very thin layers of tissue. This means some women receive indirect G-spot stimulation from anal sex.

For men, the pleasure comes down to the prostate. Just a couple inches inside the anal canal, the prostate can become engorged during sexual arousal and, when properly stimulated, intensify orgasms.

So there you have it. While we could attribute orgasms during anal sex to a host of reasons, the most likely appears to be: Because it feels good.

Just a quick three-minute conversation about anal sex … Nothing to see here.

Source: Why anal sex feels good | Fusion

Europeans — especially women and cops — are stocking up on guns for personal protection in the wake of the New Year’s Eve refugee sex attacks. The number of gun permits issued has recently

Source: Europeans stocking up on guns after mass sex attacks | New York Post

Peru’s government is making a controversial effort to communicate with the Mashco Piro, an isolated indigenous tribe that has had almost no contact with the outside world.

Source: Peru reaches out to isolated Amazon tribe, but no physical contact allowed | Fusion

Silicon Valley: it’s the tech capital of the country and an economic powerhouse for the U.S. economy.

Source: Silicon Valley’s ‘Whore Next Door’ talks income inequality for sex workers | Fusion

But many of the women she met on the streets and through harm reduction organizations were smart, self-aware, and independent. Evie took on more responsibility and became an active participant in the sex worker rights movement, presenting about sex work and drugs at conferences, summits, workshops, and trainings across the country. She advocates for visibility and acceptance of sex work and the repeal of laws against drugs and prostitution. She argues that sex work is just that—work.

E

vie* introduced herself with a little wave to a woman in black cutoff shorts. “Hey, hon, are you working tonight? Do you need supplies?”

It was a misty evening in May and Evie was handing out kits, carefully packed and folded brown paper bags of condoms and syringes for women out doing sex work or using drugs. When a woman lingering on the street recognizes her or makes eye contact, it’s important to approach politely, but not too formally.

“Cops call you ‘ma’am’ and ‘miss,’ but ‘hon’ and ‘sweetheart’? We know what ‘sweetheart’ means,” she explained.

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Evie started doing outreach to sex workers five years ago, when she was 22. Some friends were volunteering, and Evie was attracted to the pragmatism of harm reduction, which argues that people shouldn’t go to jail for crimes that don’t harm others, that they shouldn’t die just because they do self-destructive things. At the time she thought trading sex for money was something only the “absolutely desperate” did. As a white college grad, she never imagined it could be a job.

But many of the women she met on the streets and through harm reduction organizations were smart, self-aware, and independent. Evie took on more responsibility and became an active participant in the sex worker rights movement, presenting about sex work and drugs at conferences, summits, workshops, and trainings across the country. She advocates for visibility and acceptance of sex work and the repeal of laws against drugs and prostitution. She argues that sex work is just that—work.

The majority of the sex workers Evie knows who are “out” haven’t gone public by choice.

When she talks to groups of college students or presents at a conference, she explains that even though society frames sex work as either a last resort or the result of a celebratory, sex-positive choice, people who have sex for money do so in a variety of ways and for many different reasons. Some don’t consider themselves sex workers or identify with a larger movement for sex workers’ rights. Others might be personally comfortable with the decisions they’ve made, but the threat of arrest or a widespread attitude of pity and disdain keep them closeted.

The thing is, Evie’s not just advocating for other people. Even as she rails against the stigma of sex work, she also lives with it.

 

Someone you know is a sex worker,” announced a 2011 media campaign by the St. James Infirmary in San Francisco, the first health clinic established for and by sex workers. Though it’s a powerful suggestion, the term “sex worker” is still fraught. Evie and the other women interviewed for this article share some fundamental beliefs about the practice of trading sex for money: It should be legal, it should be safe, it should not be shameful or stigmatized. But because trading sex for money is stigmatized, illegal, and sometimes unsafe, the circumstances of someone’s life determine how and if she publicly acknowledges having done sex work or calls herself a sex worker and whether she tells her friends and family what she does for money.

Evie started working in restaurants when she was 16. By her early twenties she felt “terribly exploited.” The hours were long, the pay was bad, and “I could just be fired for any reason,” she says. In 2012, after a customer left a negative Yelp review, that’s what happened. A friend she knew from doing outreach worked at a strip club and suggested Evie try dancing there. Five hours at the club paid more than an entire week of waiting tables, so she gave it a try.

A few months in, Evie began offering some customers “extras”—oral sex in the champagne room. Thanks to an ad in the erotic services section of backpage.com, she started making up to $400 for a date. Backpage and the club have become her only sources of income; she does all her sex work advocacy for free. Evie doesn’t particularly enjoy sex work, but while she’s in college, it beats waitressing.

Most people in Evie’s life don’t know any of this. The majority of the sex workers Evie knows who are “out” haven’t gone public by choice—they’ve been exposed online or by law enforcement. Those who disclose, get arrested, or are outed, can lose housing, savings, financial aid, government assistance, and custody of their children. If they have a legit job, they can lose that as well and might fail a background check in the future. This kind of profiling and arrest happens much more frequently to women of color and trans women—something casually referred to as being arrested for “walking while trans.”

Some sex worker rights activists say that white women like Evie should come out as an act of solidarity. If everyone who’s had sex for money were open about it, would the public accept that sex work defies stereotypes and is more prevalent than most imagine? The answer is a Catch-22. Stigma and severe criminal penalties keep people from openly fighting laws and cultural attitudes.

Even for someone like Evie, disclosing that she does sex work requires a careful assessment of all that could go wrong. When she was worried that an inflamed open sore in her mouth might be herpes, her visit to the doctor meant choosing between her health and her privacy. She was nervous enough to admit she worked as an “escort,” and when she did, he told her, “well, this is what you should expect.” Had Evie tried to call the police when a coked-up client threw her onto the floor and kicked her, she doesn’t think they would have arrested her, but they likely “would have laughed at me and asked why I was in the room,” she says. Other than a few people who know about her job, Evie didn’t feel comfortable telling most friends about the assault.

What Evie’s friends do know is that she’s a committed advocate. She likes that they come to her with questions about drugs or safer sex. Still, if friends or acquaintances find out she works in a club, she says, they treat her like “this curious object where people can ask you all of these personal questions”—about body hair, outfits, customers. And most of them still assume she’s only stripping. “They’ll ask me if extras go on—not realizing they’re talking about me,” she says.

Evie’s parents think she’s a bartender in a strip club. She says it’s a pretty common pretext: “If you talk to the families of every girl who works in a strip club,” Evie says, “98 percent of them think their daughter is a bartender.” Evie would like to tell them, but her mom got so angry even thinking about Evie tending bar there. “How are they gonna treat you?” Evie says her mother asked her.

Plenty of people who have sex for money will never even consider themselves sex workers.

Though cops occasionally try to bust people in the club, Evie knows that because she’s white and reads as a middle-class woman who doesn’t use drugs, and works at a club rather than on the street, it’s unlikely she’ll ever be arrested for prostitution. In Brooklyn, for example, most prostitution arrests occur outdoors and in 2014, 94% of the people charged with loitering for the purpose of prostitution were black.

Earlier this year, an Arizona woman named Monica Jones spoke at the United Nations about being profiled by police because she is a sex worker and a trans woman of color. Jones was arrested in 2013 while she was walking down the street in Phoenix. She says she wasn’t working that night and refused to attend a diversion program called Project ROSE, which offers a sentence of education or rehabilitation instead of jail time. “I’m proud to be a sex worker,” she says she told authorities. Jones was then charged with “manifesting prostitution,” a broadly-defined law that makes it a crime to stop and talk with people on the street or wave at a motor vehicle. She pleaded “not guilty.”

To fight a charge on principle “comes at a cost, and not everyone can bear that cost,” says Penelope Saunders, coordinator of the Best Practices Policy Project, an organization that advocates for policy change around sex work and the sex trade. Monica Jones is pursuing a degree in social work from the University of Arizona and says her “schooling suffered tremendously” during the case. “I don’t know if I’m going to make it to next semester,” she says. She was found guilty of manifesting prostitution in 2014. The prosecution had relied heavily on her past arrests and her activism as an out sex worker to secure the verdict, and for that reason, an appeals court overturned Jones’ conviction the following year. Her case may be retried. Monica Jones says she knows many people who want to be outspoken, “but they’re afraid of being outed and profiled by police.”

“Once you have a prostitution charge, [coming out] is kind of irrelevant,” says Sarah Patterson, the Deputy Director of Red Umbrella Project, an advocacy organization for sex workers. Because black, Latina, and transgender women are much more likely to be profiled and arrested, Patterson says that white women who have stable lives, education, and access to resources “have little to lose by being out.”

“As a white woman, I think that white sex worker advocates have a lot more work to do with being in solidarity with those who can’t choose whether or not they are outed,” she says.

But whether or not they’re outed because of an arrest, plenty of people who have sex for money will never even consider themselves sex workers. And those are precisely the ones who could help the movement.

 

Sophie* says that when she was 17, she started thinking about becoming “a prostitute.”

“I don’t really know why, but I thought it sounded like a really good idea,” Sophie, who is 24, white and grew up working class, told me. When she moved to New York City at 21, she had $150 and was crashing on a friend’s couch. Craigslist seemed like an easy way to make money. Today she enjoys her steady jobs as a waitress and a barista, and sees a couple of regular clients for sex.

Her friends know that she sometimes dates and her mother even knows that she’s worked as a dominatrix in the past. But Sophie does not identify as a sex worker. “I do it really casually and I don’t like doing it when I need money,” Sophie says, acknowledging that her attitude towards trading sex is different than many self-professed sex workers. “I know plenty of people that identify as sex workers and that’s not how I do my work.”

“People view sex work as me on the corner with a stranger in a car…but if you look at what the law says, prostitution is exchanging sex for any goods.”

In other words, for Sophie, having sex with her clients for money doesn’t feel like work. “I don’t like doing anything out of desperation,” she says. “I have done it out of desperation, I guess, but usually I like to do it ‘cause it’s fun for me.”

People who have been hurt or arrested while doing sex work or who disliked doing it often tell her this attitude is “a little too casual” when, for them, sex work is a “serious thing,” she says. Why have sex for money and call it a hobby? they wonder. Why not just have sex for pleasure?

But because you’re not desperate for money doesn’t mean you don’t want it. “Money is absolutely part of why I enjoy it,” says Sophie. But even with monetary gain, “it’s a hobby.”

Rather than narrowing the definition of sex work to exclude women like Sophie who aren’t having sex to support themselves, Monica Jones, who was arrested in Arizona, wants to broaden it. She knows that not everyone can disclose, but she thinks that lots of people who’d never consider themselves sex workers have done some sort of sex work. “It is more common than people would admit,” says Jones. Women who have sex with their husbands for allowances, women with sugar daddies, people who trade sex for rides or places to stay—“some people don’t identify as sex workers because to them what they’re doing is [considered] normal,” says Jones. “People view sex work as me on the corner with a stranger in a car…but if you look at what the law says, prostitution is exchanging sex for any goods.”

 

In early 2014, a friend and fellow Duke student exposed 18-year-old Belle Knox as “the Duke Porn Star.” Knox, whose real name is Miriam Weeks, had starred in more than 30 porn scenes and films in order to pay her $4,300 a month tuition bill from Duke. On the TV show The View, she described her experience in the porn industry as “supportive, exciting, thrilling and empowering.” It was other students, who threatened her life and threw garbage on her, who made her feel unsafe.

Later that year, Rolling Stone magazine reported that Knox’s family had stopped speaking to her after she was outed. Belle Knox hadn’t even broken the law, but her story confirmed Evie’s fears about what could happen if her work became public. A woman who dares to admit without shame that she’s done something illegal and disreputable is tiptoeing across a minefield of legal and personal risk—even a white, cisgender, middle-class woman. In Evie’s progressive community it’s socially acceptable, even cool, to support sex worker rights or hand out needles and condoms in dangerous neighborhoods, but to actually do sex work openly would mean rejection, gossip, and awkward questions.

Unlike Sophie, Evie says she accepts her identity as a sex worker in order to “emphasize that I’m part of an unregulated exploited labor force.” Even though she’s a white, cisgender woman who works indoors, Evie does miss out on rights and privileges that come with a recognized, legit job. Most people take the freedom to vent after a bad day at work for granted. Sex workers who are closeted can’t do this. “I deserve to complain about work to my friends, too,” says Evie.

How many straight guys would be OK with dating someone who has sex for money?

Regardless of how a person feels about the act of trading sex for money, secrecy brings “anxiety, stress, and pressure to constantly be aware of what you’re saying, your surroundings, people’s perceptions of you,” says Rena McDaniel, a psychologist who treats sexual minorities and has several patients who work in the sex trade. According to McDaniel, shame and anxiety can leave people with a sense of invisibility, “feeling like they can’t be their authentic selves.”

Being honest inevitably affects romantic relationships, too. Evie and Jonathan (not his real name) met through a mutual friend. They would go hiking, see bands, or search out hole-in-the-wall restaurants. He knew she worked as a dancer in a club and he says he thought it was hot. “So, do you sleep with these guys? Do you have sex for money?” he asked Evie after they’d been dating for a few months. It was the first relationship she’d had since she’d started working. She was caught off-guard and told him, “no.”

They broke up after less than six months, but stayed friends. Evie wanted to sleep with him again, and so she decided that he should know the truth about her work. One night over a bottle of wine she brought up their earlier conversation. “Remember when you asked me if I have sex for money and I said, ‘no’?” She took a deep breath. “Well the answer’s actually ‘yes.’”

Jonathan says his meltdown “happened really fast. Like when you get too mad in a fight.” He doesn’t remember what he said. According to Evie, he told her “I would never go out with a prostitute,” and says he’d have broken up with her if he’d known.

As soon as Jonathan sobered up he started texting apologies. He hadn’t meant to lash out, but his discomfort was real. “I don’t want to think people you could fall in love with can be bought—it just triggers this primal insecurity in me,” he said. She forgave him and they remained friends. Still, his reaction has left her reluctant to tell other people she dates. How many straight guys would be OK with dating someone who has sex for money?

“People malign sex workers without realizing that they’re talking to one.”

Not coming out has an extra incentive for activists like Evie: It makes it easier for them to meet with officials and policymakers. Jessica*, a longtime advocate with a salaried position at an NGO, says that while “it doesn’t feel great” to keep her experience doing sex work private, “I’m not willing to sacrifice the work that I could do for a personal decision.”

Jessica is often in the room for policy conversations around anti-prostitution laws and sex trafficking. As she works to convince people with power or money not to further criminalize sex work, she is constantly wrestling with the question of whether to come out. She has a good job and a masters’ degree. She knows that she has a choice, while some other people do not. Am I making it harder for someone with less privilege to come out? she asks herself.

Prominent white activists like Sarah Patterson have come out as an act of solidarity, but Jessica thinks the people she works with wouldn’t respect or collaborate with her if they knew the truth. Often during meetings, she says “people malign sex workers without realizing that they’re talking to one.”

“I think they assume that [a sex worker] would have dressed up for that conversation like Erin Brockovich. They don’t realize I can go buy a gray suit too,” she says.

Of course, there’s one instance where being out actually helps a sex work activist: outreach on the street. Once, while doing outreach with a friend, Evie gave some kits to a woman who she’d seen several times before. “It was summer [and] the street was hopping,” Evie recalls. “Why are you guys out here doing this? What do you do outside of this?” she says the woman asked them. Evie told her she danced at a club and the woman immediately seemed more comfortable. “We were already getting along,” he says. “[T]here definitely was a change in her expression. She said she thought that was so great.”

It’s cathartic for Evie, too. Outreach is one of the few times she can talk openly about her job. It’s the one moment where “you’re actually able to have a conversation with someone and stand on the street for five minutes and just be a person.”

Source: The dangerous Catch-22 of coming out as a sex worker | Fusion

The sexual act did not occur on school grounds, Sheriff Entrekin said. Means is charged with one count of a school employee engaging in a sex act or deviant sexual intercourse with a student under the age of 19 years old. The charge is a felony.

Source: Etowah County teacher accused of having sex with student | WHNT.com

Fiera Arouser for Her, on display at CES 2016, is one of the latest in a new trend of sex toys for women called suction oral sex stimulators. It’s aimed at stimulating blood flow to the genitals, to help women suffering from low libido get in the mood before having sex. And it has some research showing that it does just that. Fiera is small and compact, able to fit in the palm of your hand. It contains three massagers that sit behind a silicon suction cup, which is meant to be placed over the clitoris. You can then control the intensity of the massagers, as well as the patterns in which they move to help draw blood to the region thereby increasing arousal and lubrication. It’s supposed to make sex much more pleasurable following use of the device. A spokesperson for the manufacturer said women should use the device between three to 15 minutes to get the full effects. The cool thing about Fiera is that it actually has some third-party research to back it up. An independent proof-of-concept study done by San Diego Sexual Medicine tested the product on 12 post-menopausal women, all of whom experienced increased arousal. It’s a small sample size, and that study isn’t published in a peer-reviewed journal just yet; the researchers are working on getting it in the Journal of Sexual Health. Still, it’s more science than we usually see backing a wearable CES product.

Source: This gadget simulates oral sex with suction | The Verge

Oral sex ‘raises the risk of getting cancer by 22 times’

  • Researchers believe oral sex is the main way HPV ends up in the mouth 
  • The virus affects the skin and moist membranes which line the body
  • HPV causes changes in the cells it has infected which can lead to cancer
  • 500,000 people worldwide are diagnosed with oral cancers every year 
Oral sex dramatically increases the risk of throat cancer, a new study has found (file photo)

Oral sex dramatically increases the risk of throat cancer, a new study has found (file photo)

Oral sex dramatically increases the risk of head and neck cancers, a new study has claimed.

The disease has traditionally been considered to be one that affects smokers and heavy drinkers in later life.

But over recent years, as cases have been rising, it has been linked with the common human papillomavirus (HPV).

It is believed oral sex may be the main way HPV – more usually associated with cervical cancer – ends up in the mouth.

The group of viruses affect the skin and moist membranes which line the body, including the anus, cervix and mouth and throat.

HPV-16 is a well-known cause of oropharyngeal tumours – those which affect the middle part of the throat including the soft palate, the base of the tongue and the tonsils.

While HPV does not directly trigger cancer, it causes changes in the cells it has infected (for example, in the throat or cervix), and these cells can then become cancerous.

Men are twice as likely to get oropharyngeal cancer as women, according to NHS choices, because performing cunnilingus is more risky than fellatio.

It is the 11th most common cancer worldwide, according to World Health Organisation figures.

Worldwide almost half-a-million patients a year will be diagnosed with oral and oropharyngeal cancer.

More than two thirds of cases are diagnosed in advanced stages where the cancer has already spread to regional lymph nodes or beyond, the global oral cancer forum reports.

Approximately 150,000 patients die each year and many more suffer from the complications of treatment.

While girls in the UK aged 12-13 are offered a vaccination to help protect them against types of HPV that can cause cervical cancer, there is no immunisation programme for boys.

An official recommendation on whether to offer the HPV vaccine to all adolescent boys is expected in early 2017.

This new study, published in the journal JAMA Oncology, is the first to show conclusively that HPV-16’s presence in the mouth leads to the development of oropharyngeal cancer.

This follows a study in The New England Journal of Medicine which showed that those infected with HPV were 32 times more likely to develop oral or throat cancers.

WHY MEN ARE MOST LIKELY TO GET OROPHARYNGEAL CANCER?

Oropharyngeal cancer is twice as common in men than in women, according to NHS Choices.

It is most common in heterosexual men in their 40s and 50s (compared to the rates in homosexual men).

This indicates that performing cunnilingus (oral sex on a woman) is more risky that performing fellatio (oral sex on a man).

The concentration of HPV in the thinner, moist skin of the vulva is much higher than the amounts of virus shed from the thicker, dry skin of the penis, and this affects how easy it is to pass the virus on.

Other research indicates that HPV can be present in semen and passed on at ejaculation.

And previous research published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found HPV now accounts for more head and neck cancers than tobacco or alcohol.

Spread by skin-to-skin contact, not just by sex, HPV affects almost everyone at some stage in their life.

In most people, the immune system fights it off and it does no harm.

But on rare occasions, the virus takes hold, leading to a chain of events that ends in cancer of the cervix, penis, anus, vagina or mouth.

Around 15 strains can cause cervical cancer – and HPV-16 is the most common.

The most dangerous HPV’s, 16 and 18, which are transmitted through sexual contact are known to cause up to 95 per cent of cervical cancers.

Now these two HPV’s are also being linked to oral cancer.

A different study done by Dr No-Hee Park, a leading expert in head and neck cancers at UCLA, showed that the mouth was, at the cellular level, structurally very similar to the vagina and cervix.

Both organs have the same type of epithelial cells that are the target of HPV 16 and HPV 18.

The majority of oral cancers are cancers of epithelial cells, primarily squamous cell carcinomas, not unlike the cancers that affect the cervix.

Dr Park’s study also showed that smoking and drinking alcohol help promote HPV invasion.

Actor Michael Douglas (left with wife Catherine Zeta Jones), the star of Basic Instinct and Fatal Attraction, was diagnosed with oropharyngeal cancer in 2013

Actor Michael Douglas (left with wife Catherine Zeta Jones), the star of Basic Instinct and Fatal Attraction, was diagnosed with oropharyngeal cancer in 2013

Combine tobacco and alcohol with HPV, and the epithelial cells in the mouth, and you may have the formula for the development of an oral cancer.

The new research, carried out at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, suggested people carrying the virus in their mouth were an alarming 22 times more likely to develop a potentially lethal tumour.

The finding was based on almost 97,000 people who provided mouthwash samples and were cancer-free at the beginning of the project.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF ORAL CANCER?

Mouth ulcers which do not heal within three weeks

Red or white patches in the mouth   

A lump or thickening on the lip

A lump in the mouth or throat

Unusual bleeding or numbness in the mouth

Loose teeth for no apparent reason

Difficulty moving the jaw

Difficulty in swallowing

Speech problems

A lump in the neck.

Be aware that a hot, red, painful lump usually means an infection, rather than a cancer. Lumps that come and go are not usually due to cancer either. Cancer usually forms a lump that slowly gets bigger.

Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, added: ‘Your dentist will check for signs of mouth cancer during your regular check-up so it’s important to attend regularly to catch any signs you may miss yourself.’

They were followed for an average of four years, during which time a total of 132 cases of head and neck cancer were identified.

The study participants were compared with 396 healthy people who acted as controls.

Mouthwash samples were analysed for the presence of several types of oral HPVs in both groups.

These revealed people with HPV-16 in their mouthwash were 22 times more likely to develop oropharyngeal cancer (oropharynx is the part of the throat directly behind the mouth) than were those with no detectable trace of the virus HPV-16 in their samples.

In addition, the researchers found for the first time that the presence of other types of oral HPVs, known as beta and gamma, which are usually detected in the skin, were also associated with the development of head and neck cancers.

This indicated a broader role for HPVs in causing these cancers than has been recognised to date.

Dr Ilir Agalliu, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, said: ‘This study shows using easily collected oral mouthwash samples may help in predicting people’s risk for developing head and neck cancers.’

Cases of oral cancer have increased over the past 30 years.

Oropharyngeal cancer is the type that affected actor Michael Douglas.

In a June 2013, the Fatal Attraction star seemed to indicate his disease was brought on by human papillomavirus (HPV), contracted through cunnilingus.

His rep later denied that he was pinpointing the cause of his own cancer and merely stating one of the many causes of oral cancer, which include smoking and drinking.

However he beat the odds by recovering from a tumour categorised as stage 4, which often is terminal.

Commenting on the new study, Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, said: ‘HPV-related cancers have rapidly increased over the last few years.

Girls in the UK have been getting the HPV vaccination since 2008 while the latest research is certain to reignite calls for boys to be given it as well

Girls in the UK have been getting the HPV vaccination since 2008 while the latest research is certain to reignite calls for boys to be given it as well

‘Early detection of mouth cancer dramatically improves the chances of survival from 50 to 90 per cent – so it’s extremely important to be on the lookout for any signs and symptoms which could be related to the disease.’

He added: ‘Be alert to mouth ulcers which do not heal within three weeks, red or white patches in the mouth and any unusual swellings or lumps in the head or neck area, and if you spot anything unusual to get examined straight away.

‘Your dentist will check for signs of mouth cancer during your regular check-up so it is important that you visit your dentist regularly to catch any signs which you may miss yourself.’

Dr Jana Witt, Cancer Research UK’s health information officer, said the work added to a growing body of evidence but said it was important to stress the risk was low.

‘It’s already established that the human papillomavirus (HPV) is linked to some types of mouth and throat cancer and this research adds an important part to that evidence – showing that having an HPV infection leads to a higher risk of developing one of these cancers later on in life,’ she said.

‘But the study wasn’t able to give a very accurate estimate for how much the risk of oropharyngeal cancer, which affects part of the throat, was increased and it’s far from certain that the risk would be 22 times higher.

‘Previous research has shown that oral sex can raise the risk of mouth and throat cancers because it can spread HPV, but it’s important to remember that the chance of developing cancer if you have oral sex is still low.

‘Not smoking, cutting down on alcohol and getting plenty of fruit and veg are all good ways to cut the risk of these cancers.’

WHAT IS THE HUMAN PAPILLOMA VIRUS? 

What is HPV?

The human papilloma virus is the name given to a group of viruses that affect a person’s skin as well as the membranes lining the body – for example, in the cervix, anus, mouth and throat.

HPV is very common and highly contagious.

More than three quarters of sexually active women acquiring it at some point in their lives.

And in the U.S. it is the most common sexually-transmitted infection.

Most people are oblivious to the fact they have been infected and as a result can pass it on to a partner without realising.

There are more than 100 types of HPV – around 40 of which affect the genital area.

The human papilloma virus is a group of more than 100 viruses that affect a person’s skin, and membranes lining the cervix, anus, mouth and throat

What does HPV infection do?

The majority (nine in 10) of infections disappear of their own accord within two years.

But the other 10 per cent of infections can cause health problems, including:

  • genital warts
  • cervical cancer
  • a type of head and neck cancer, oropharyngeal cancer, in the back of the throat including at the base of the tongue and tonsils in men and women
  • anal cancer
  • vulva and vaginal cancer
  • penile cancer

The types of HPV that cause genital warts are different to those infections that cause cancer.

Other HPV infections can cause more minor problems, including common skin warts and verrucas.

How do people get HPV?

HPV is a sexually-transmitted infections.

In most cases a person will become infected after having vaginal and/or anal sex.

Men and women can also become infected through oral and other sex play.

In many cases a person will not realise they are infected, and can still have HPV years after coming into contact with an infected person.

In very rare cases a pregnant woman can pass HPV to her baby during delivery.

In these cases a child can develop recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP), a rare condition where warts grow in the throat.

The HPV vaccine

A national vaccination programme for HPV is in place in the US and UK for girls aged 12 and 13.

Three injections are given within a 12-month period by a nurse.

The vaccine is given at a young age because it needs to be administered before a person comes into contact with HPV.

It has also been found to provide greater immune response in preteens, than it does in older teenagers and young women.

An official recommendation on whether to offer the HPV vaccine to all adolescent boys in the UK is expected in early 2017.

Clinical trials have showed the vaccines provide close to 100 per cent protection against precancers and for HPV4 – genital warts.

Since it was first recommended in 2006, there has been a 56 per cent reduction in HPV infections among teenage girls in the US.

Protection offered should be long-lasting, with trials showing the vaccine lasts in the body for at least 10 years.

HPV vaccination does not replace the need for regular cervical smear tests in women between the age of 25 and 65.

Source: NHS Choices and the CDC

The research, carried out by Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, suggested that oral sex is the main way HPV ends up in the mouth. Oral cancer is the 11th most common worldwide.

Source: Albert Einstein College of Medicine say oral sex raises cancer risk by 22 times | Daily Mail Online

For the three guys looking to score at a dark sports bar about an hour outside Las Vegas, it’s a buyer’s market.

There’s a stripper pole, a pool table and three TVs mounted above the bar. One is playing “Law & Order.” The other two display a slideshow of women flashing come-hither looks. “Paloma here through January 25,” reads one frame, followed by “Cassie here through January 24.”

The three men miss the advertising, though. They’re focused on a dozen women in skin-tight clothes and high heels.

This is the scene at Sheri’s Ranch, a legal brothel in Pahrump, Nevada, a town of 40,000 at the base of jagged peaks near the California border. I’m here on a Friday afternoon after spending a week in and around Las Vegas, learning how technology is changing our sex lives.

Based on what I’ve seen, this much is clear: The world’s oldest profession is under attack from the newest.

Jeremy Lemur, a skinny, bald man who’s been the spokesman for Sheri’s for three years, said hype and increasing investment in virtual reality began to worry him late last year. VR displays video through screens that strap to your face and create lifelike scenes — think video games, political debates and, yes, porn — to put you in the center of the action.

“What if they could duplicate sex via the Internet?” says Lemur, who’s seated on a couch with a leopard-print throw in the Safari room, one of the Ranch’s five “VIP” bungalows. They sport themes like King Arthur’s Court, Arabian Nights, Ancient Rome and the 1960s, the latter enlivening a popular bungalow that was occupied during my visit.

If simulated sex becomes too realistic, Lemur wonders whether VR might just drive Sheri’s, which has been around for about three decades, out of business. “This is serious,” he tells me.

The adult industry’s embrace of virtual reality and Internet-connected toys mean porn is getting more and more lifelike. Will there be room for the real thing?

Source: How sex tech could threaten the world’s oldest profession – CNET

In fiction, sexbots are generally depicted as supplicant women eager to serve male creators—but what would these machines be like if we flipped that script?

“Once you’ve had a lover robot, you’ll never want a real man again.” That’s a line from Gigolo Joe, the sexbot played by Jude Law in A.I. Artificial Intelligence, the 2001 Steven Spielberg film. What makes Gigolo Joe special—aside from his dewy skin, gnocchi-plump lips, and shiny-suit razzmatazz—is that he represents a very rare filmic depiction of a male sexbot .

Think about it. The sexbots you know and love are almost exclusively female bots servicing human men. They’re the Stepford Wives’ gynoids and Austin Powers’ s fembots; they’re Ava and Kyoko of Ex Machina and Pris of Blade Runner. Chick sexbots populate television, too. Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s April and the Buffybot were lovingly crafted with the express purpose of fucking. Humans’ bellicose Niska is a sexbot, as, arguably, is Battlestar Gallactica’s Six. Dark Matter’s Wendy is an “entertainment android,” whose abilities include sex. While Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Data is “fully functional,” his functionality is more a feature than his purpose—being able to have sex does not a sexbot make. Intentionality is key.

These media representations have set up both our expectations of what sexbots should look like (undeniably hot, recognizably human, and typically female) as well as what our reactions should be (an erotic frisson of fear and curiosity). Think of Pris’s manipulative shy-girl act in Blade Runner, Kyoko’s placid, mute unbuttoning of her blouse in Ex Machina, or the bright red dress of Six and her wet, hot, world-destroying kiss. Movies and television depict sexbots as women who are simultaneously objectified and untrustworthy; sexbots personify a metaphor for a walking, talking, seducing monster. Given this model, it’s especially important that the sexbots you see are female and their consumers are male.

Fictional sexbots matter because every month drags sexbots closer to becoming a reality. Last September , Kathleen Richardson, a robot ethicist at England’s Montfort University, launched her Campaign Against Sex Robots with Erik Billing of Sweden’s University of Skövde. Steeped in anti–sex worker rhetoric, the campaign’s manifesto states, “We take issue with those arguments that propose that sex robots could help reduce sexual exploitation and violence towards prostituted persons, pointing to all the evidence that shows how technology and the sex trade coexist and reinforce each other creating more demand for human bodies.” It’s a dystopian vision.

The Campaign Against Sex Robots is a prophylactic organization, since no sexbots really exist. A company called TrueCompanion claims to make “the world’s first and highest quality sex robot doll,” but their female model, a $7,000 machine dubbed Roxxxy, is essentially a stationary rubber-clad computer equipped with touch sensors and a vibrating vagina. But Richardson is right that there are a lot of would-be sexbot creators who see her sci-fi nightmare as a shiny future full of possibilities.

One of these people is Matt McMullen, creator of the RealDoll, who is currently developing an animatronic sex doll with artificial intelligence. “The hope is to create something that will actually arouse someone on an emotional and intellectual level,” McMullen avers in a slickNew York Times video segment that’s lit with an Instagram-like romantic haze. The video profiles McMullen’s quest to make “the world’s first sex ro-obot,” as Denise, the computer animation, says with a telling diphthong. His company’s RealDolls are touted as the Rolls Royce of sex dolls, but even a Rolls Royce Wraith looks pretty antiquated to people who lust after a MacLaren P1. Hence the need to create something that walks and talks—or at least writhes and whispers—like a living human woman.

Though McMullen and Richardson are diametrically opposed, they assume three very crucial points about sexbots, and none of them are necessarily true. First, that the primary consumers of sexbots will be heterosexual men. Second, that these consumers need their sexbots to look recognizably human. And third, that consumers require an emotional attachment to their bot.

So here’s my radical thought: What if we throw those assumptions aside? Fuck men and their need for bots that fall into the uncanny valley. What if we choose, instead, to market sexbots to women? How does that one simple change rewrite the entire sexbot script?

Watch: Behind the scenes at a VR porn shoot

It wouldn’t take tech as advanced as Gigolo Joe to pique women’s interest in sexbots. For one thing, women already use sex toys. While some, albeit limited, studies suggest sex toy purchasers are split roughly evenly between women and men, there’s no denying that the sex toys made for women are more common, better functioning, and more interesting. Moreover, women don’t really care whether the toy they’re using to orgasm even faintly resembles the anatomy of a human man. The closest cousin to a Hitachi magic wand is a handheld blender, but no one cares that this iconic vibrator looks nothing like a dick. While toys for men, whether Fleshlights or RealDolls, conjure the appearance of an actual woman, women’s toys don’t. They can look like woodland creatures, alien genitals, lipstick cases, or militarized hassocks. Women can—and will—get off on just about anything as long as it works for them.

Women’s flexibility even extends from toys into porn. Women’s porn viewing habits, which range from Kim Kardashian to gang-bangs to gay male porn, tend to be more varied than those of men. All of these points together suggest that there’s a strong argument to be made that we women—way more than men—are polymorphously perverse, being sexually aroused by far more configurations of bodies than men. It’s a fluidity of sexuality that matches the limitless anatomical potential of a male sexbot.

Let’s take as given that women already buy and use sex toys and that, whether because of nature or nurture, we have more flexible sexualities. Now let’s add the facts that women’s male partners die earlier, that women are critiqued more harshly for casual sex, that women can get pregnant, that women experience higher rates of rape and domestic assault, and that lots of women have a hard time having an orgasm from penis-in-vagina sex. Hold all this in our heads, and we get a glimpse of why women would be the consumers of sexbots.

Now let’s imagine what a male sexbot could do. For one thing, it wouldn’t have to look like or sound like Denise, the “world’s first sex ro-obot.” We can begin by tossing out McMullen’s male versions of RealDolls—a scruffy metrosexual reading How to Make Love Like a Porn Star, a bro in gym shorts and tube socks casually leafing through a magazine, and a mohawked drummer lounging in leather—all three show a tragic lack of imagination.

A drawing of a sexbot done by one forward-thinking individual interviewed by Joel Golby

Given that women are inured to sex toys that resemble a sonic screwdriver designed by a Teletubby, a sexbot for women could be vaguely torso-shaped, equipped with vibrating pads and oscillating nubs, and furnished with outlets that would allow for multiple snap-on tools. You could refashion the bot to play to your pleasure de jour—a single guy for a day; a safe, sane, consensual gang-bang for a night. Maybe make it’s voice-activated so that you could rotate between modes without the tiresome pressing of a button. Give it rechargeable batteries, cover it in silicone skin (blue is nice, or maybe a cheery fuchsia), and it’s easy to clean and ready to go whenever you are.

No fuss. No muss. No singularity. And no uncanny valley. Perhaps most important of all, this vaguely man-shaped sexbot would be to a Hitachi as a chick’s Roomba is to her vacuum cleaner: an improvement on an existing technology, and one that’s entirely possible to create today. Orchid colored and vaguely man-shaped, this bot could also sidestep the major controversy of sexbots: that of emotional connection. Richardson sees emotional attachment as an ethical problem, calling it the human-sexbot connection an “asymmetrical relationship,” while McMullen is counting on it to help sell his toys. Our bot avoids all this drama.

The fact is that we don’t yet know what kind of relationship humans will have with their robots, sexual devices or not. Robot ethicist Dr. Kate Darling, a research specialist at the MIT Media Lab and a fellow at the Harvard Berkman Center, who studies the way robots affect human empathy, told me that human feelings for robots will be “a different type of thing… I don’t think that it’s ever going to rival human relationships, because we’re so complex and we’re so far away from building that type of AI.”

There isn’t a lot of research yet that documents what humans feel for robots, but Darling suggested that humans may come to think of sexbots in the same ways that we feel for cats. “Cats may not give a shit about you,” she said, “but you can love them anyway and care for them. You get something out of that.” In short, we humans will always anthropomorphize our tech and imbue it positively or negatively. Ultimately, however, the ways we see our tech say more about us than the tech itself.

“A sex robot seems like an enhancement of sex toys,” Darling said, adding, “maybe sexbots for women wouldn’t even look like men, although I think the intimacy aspect would lead them to be designed like male bodies.” (Although perhaps not. A while back, VICE UK’s Joel Golby invited a bunch of people to draw their visions of an ideal sexbot and his respondents came up with an array of models.) The design is limited only by our tech, our imaginations, and consumer drive—and there’s consumer evidence to suggest that women could be induced to buy a better, bigger, smarter, and more expensive sex toy.

However logical the idea of a sexbot designed and made for women, it’s the representations of Ex Machina, Blade Runner, and Humans that prevail, at least for now. I’ve looked around, and if companies are designing sexbots for women, they’re playing it very close to the vest. Still, I suspect that the ideal consumers of sexbots will be women, and both robot ethicists and sexbot designers should take us into account. Still, these designers can let film be their guide. “We are the guiltless pleasures of the lonely human being,” says Gigolo Joe. “We work under you, we work on you, and we work for you. Man made us better at what we do than was ever humanly possible.”

Sit back, and imagine the possibilities.

Source: What Would Sex Robots for Women Look Like? | VICE | United States

Japan has officially stated to the UN that it did not force Asian women to become sex slaves during World War II. This comes despite the Japanese government signing a landmark deal with South Korea, settling the issue of “comfort women” a month ago.

Japan has officially stated to the UN that it did not force Asian women to become sex slaves during World War II. This comes despite the Japanese government signing a landmark deal with South Korea, settling the issue of “comfort women” a month ago.

Tokyo was asked to provide written answers to questions put forward by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. The Japanese government stated that there was no evidence that the women were forced into sexual slavery as it sent the reply ahead of the organization’s planned committee meeting, which starts February 15 in Geneva.

“The government of Japan has conducted a full-scale fact-finding study on the comfort women issue since the early 1990s when the issue started to be taken up as a political issue between Japan and the Republic of Korea,” the Japanese statement said, as cited by the Yonhap News Agency.

The Japanese authorities said they conducted a study into the issue, which looked at documents from various Japanese government agencies. They also spoke to relevant individuals and former military figures.

“Forceful taking away of comfort women by the military and government authorities could not be confirmed in any of the documents,” it said.

The claims led to a damning response from South Korea for its continued denials regarding its coercion of Korean women into sexual slavery.

“Seoul should officially rebuke this argument and discuss the issue from square one as Japan has broken the deal,” said Yoon Mi-hyang, head of the Korean Council for Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan, a non-government organization for the victims, according to the Korean Times.

Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said on January 18 that the term “comfort women” should not be used to describe “sex slaves.”

“The term ‘sex slaves’ doesn’t match the facts, and (the Japanese government) believes it should not be used,” Kishida stated, as cited by the Japan Times.

Kishida also said the South Korean government has confirmed that the formal term used by Seoul is “victims of the comfort women issue of the Japanese military,” not “sex slaves.”

It had seemed in December that Japan was finally ready to concede that it was ready to apologize for the enslaving of tens of thousands of ‘comfort women’ from South Korea.

The agreement on December 28 between South Korea and Japan was considered a landmark deal and concerns decades of animosity because of the failure to agree that Korean women were forced into sex slavery run by the Japanese empire for soldiers.

Under the deal, Japan said it would pay one billion yen (about $8.3 million) in compensation.

“The comfort women issue… occurred with the involvement of the Japanese military… and the Japanese government acutely feels its responsibility,” Kishida said, according to Channel News Asia. He added that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has expressed an “apology and repentance from the bottom of his heart” to those affected by the tragedy.

However, following Sunday’s comments by the Japanese government, the Korean authorities are now questioning whether the December agreement was sincere.

“The Korean government should respond to the undermining of the agreement sternly,” Kim Yeol-su, an international politics professor at Sungshin Women’s University said, according to the Korean Times. “It reflects that Japan did not engage in the deal sincerely in the first place.”

Meanwhile, the Korean Foreign Ministry says it is considering countermeasures following the Japanese declaration.

“As there was no exact wording on coercion in the deal, it is not a matter of breaking the accord,” Cho June-hyuck, the Foreign Ministry spokesman said. “But we are mulling over how to respond to such a move since we are taking it as an official position of the Japanese government.”

Source: Japan denies forced sex slavery WWII to UN, despite signing landmark deal with S. Korea — RT News

Dykes after your daughters! Yikes Dikes!

Source: Police charge Florence City School nurse with sex crime against student | WHNT.com

The Florence Police Department has arrested and charged a Florence City School staff nurse Tuesday with two felonies for having a sexual relationship with a student.

Lorie Gean Earwood, 45, surrendered to police Tuesday. Florence Police Chief Ron Tyler said Earwood is accused of having a sexual relationship with an 18-year-old female student. Earwood is charged with two Class B felonies and two Class A misdemeanors alleging she had a sexual relationship with the student.

Student groups at USC hosted a “consent carnival” last Thursday that included an obstacle course of sexual consent, — likened to “a bouncy house.”

Source: USC ‘Consent Carnival’ Features Bouncy House of Sex – Breitbart

A YouGov poll published this past September found Americans almost evenly divided, with 44 percent favoring legalization of prostitution, and 46 percent opposed. That’s up from 38 percent support for legalization in 2012. Amnesty International is among the organizations seeking to recognize people’s right to, in the organization’s words, “the full decriminalization of all aspects of consensual sex work.”

Opponents of commercial sex find themselves on the wrong side of shifting public opinion, so they pull a little rhetorical sleight of hand to get around that inconvenient word “consensual.” The implication of the “trafficking” terminology is that prostitutes are slaves—and they’re being hustled off to a major sporting event near you.

“Coercion is much rarer than ‘trafficking’ fetishists pretend it is,” insists Reason contributor and former call girl Maggie McNeill. “The term ‘trafficking’ is used to describe many different things along a broad spectrum running from absolutely coercive to absolutely not coercive, yet all of them are shoehorned into a lurid, melodramatic and highly-stereotyped narrative.”

Evidence for McNeill’s take is apparent in the difficulty authorities often have in convincing the trafficking “victims” they rescue that they’re in need of heroic intervention into their lives.

“A lot of times they don’t see themselves as victims,” Bay Area prosecutor Jennifer Madden told the Associated Press. “They don’t fully grasp how they’ve come into this, how they are being exploited, and they may not be amenable to services.”

Coercion is beside the point to a lot of activists. “[T]rafficking occurs even if the woman consents,” wrote the University of Rhode Island’s Donna Hughes, a prominent voice on the issue, in a 2000 Journal of International Affairs article.

And government officials and anti-trafficking activists are poised to rescue a wave of such trafficking “victims” when the Super Bowl comes to town. Once they convince them that they’re victims, that is.

They may be waiting a long time.

“There is no evidence that large sporting events cause an increase in trafficking for prostitution,” the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW) reported in 2011. GAATW, which differentiates between consensual sex workers and those subject to coercion, points out that short-term events are likely to be more profitable for organizations and officials playing off of fears than for sex workers who have to pay traveling expenses out of whatever extra profits they take in from sports fans.

The Arizona State University’s Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention Research—an outfit that combines research activities with a militantly anti-sex work stance—agrees. The organization “found no evidence indicating the 2014 Super Bowl was a causal factor for sex trafficking in the northern New Jersey area in the days preceding the game.”

Last year, the ASU group repeated its efforts, ultimately reporting “there is no empirical evidence that the Super Bowl causes an increase in sex trafficking compared to other days and events throughout the year.”

There was, however, “a noticeable increase in those activities intended to locate victims from both law enforcement and service provision organizations”—activities of the sort including press conferences featuring district attorneys. So, the surge was in cops and busybodies looking for something to do. Hmmm. Maybe—No, never mind.

In a 2014 article for Reason on Super Bowl sex scares, McNeill pointed out that the grandiosity of warnings about Super Bowl sex trafficking is matched by the bullshit clinging to authorities’ subsequent reporting of event-related arrests. Anti-trafficking efforts in Tampa “bagged exactly one quarry, a 14-year-old pimped by two rather clueless individuals on Craigslist under the heading ‘Super Bowl Special’ (a detail regularly repeated as part of the prohibitionist catechism since then).” Officials claim other rescues of supposed sex slaves, but the details are always vague, often include vice busts unrelated to the big game—and even then fall dramatically below the numbers initially tossed about.

Activists and politicians warn of a roving horde of “trafficked” prostitutes that researchers just can’t find.

Source: There’s No Tidal Wave of Sex Slaves Descending on the Super Bowl – Reason.com

My secret sex-work past – Salon.com

Leni Loving, Narratively

Source: My secret sex-work past – Salon.com

Officials in Dallas reported that a patient with Zika virus was infected after having sex with an ill individual who had returned from a country where Zika was circulating.

Source: Zika Infection Transmitted by Sex Reported in Texas – The New York Times

The scandalous sex life of HG Wells

‘I have done what I pleased,” H G  Wells  once wrote, “so that every bit of sexual impulse in me has expressed itself. I am a very immoral person. I have preyed on people who loved me.”

This may shock readers who think of  Wells  as a science fiction guru, the author of such influential work as The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds. Yet Wells was a man ahead of his time in more ways than one. Living in an age of sexual propriety, he had a fondness for extramarital affairs which, even to modern eyes, seems startling.

We will see a lot of  Wells  in 2016. One-hundred-and-fifty years after his birth and 70 years after his death, his work still resonates. Sky Arts is currently screening a series of dramas based on his short stories. Next month, the theatrical extravaganza War of the Worlds, starring David Essex, lands in the West End. But what was the man with such a vivid, tireless imagination really like?

Certainly he was always an oddity. Born in 1866 to a lower-middle-class family, he rocketed out of his own narrow circumstances during an extraordinary four-year purple patch, when he published all of his most famous novels, starting with The Time Machine in 1895 and ending with The War of the Worlds in 1898.

Rebecca West, below, who called Wells 'Jaguar'
Rebecca West, below, who called Wells ‘Jaguar’

 

The shopkeeper’s son from Bromley found himself acclaimed as one of the most extraordinary minds of the age. His science-fiction melded popular storytelling with a sharp eye for emerging scientific trends and set the template for a century of the genre.

Between then and his death in 1946, however, Wells  also became one of the country’s most successful and active writers and thinkers. He wrote more than 100 books of essays, world history and futurology.

Wells argued sex was ‘as necessary as fresh air’

 

And he predicted, among other inventions, nuclear weapons, mass surveillance, tanks and a worldwide web of knowledge that would allow students to “examine any book, any document” in their own homes.

He was equally forward-looking in his personal life. In an outwardly respectable Britain where careers could be ruined by rumours of promiscuity,  Wells  preached and practised the kind of “free love” that would not become acceptable for decades.

He had dreamed since adolescence, he later wrote, of encounters with “free, ambitious, self-reliant women who would mate with me and go their way”, and, after a first marriage of sexual incompatibility, he set out to turn the dream into reality.

Novelist and war correspondent Martha Gellhorn, in 1946
Novelist and war correspondent Martha Gellhorn, in 1946

Many of these relationships edged dangerously close to public scandal. When he attempted to flee to the Continent with Rosamund Bland, the daughter of his Fabian colleague Hubert Bland and the children’s author E Nesbit, he received a duffing-up from her father at Paddington Station – though arguably Bland didn’t have a leg to stand on, since Rosamund was in fact his illegitimate child by the housekeeper.

Another Fabian, Pember Reeves, is supposed to have staked out  Wells’ s club with a loaded pistol after  Wells  absconded with his daughter Amber: the pair consummated their relationship,  Wells  later wrote, “before she went back to Cambridge for her examination for Part II of the Tripos”.

With the novelist Elizabeth von Arnim, he enjoyed such energetic sex that they broke her hotel bed twice

 

But the man who later described himself as “the Don Juan of the intelligentsia” was soon busy elsewhere – not unknown to his second wife Jane, whom he claimed “had always regarded my sexual imaginativeness as a sort of constitutional disease” and who occasionally gave sanction to his dalliances.

Wells  had affairs with the writer Violet Hunt, the model for Sylvia Tietjens in Ford Madox Ford’s sequence of novels, Parade’s End. There was also Dorothy Richardson, who “would lecture me on philology and the lingering vestiges of my Cockney accent while there was not a stitch between us”, and Martha Gellhorn (though the glamorous war correspondent always denied a sexual relationship).

A scene from the 2005 film 'War of the Worlds'
A scene from the 2005 film ‘War of the Worlds’

With the novelist Elizabeth von Arnim, he enjoyed such energetic sex that they broke her hotel bed twice. Other affairs were more durable. Wells  had a long entanglement with the writer Rebecca West, whom he met when he was in his mid-40s and she was 21.

He also fathered a son during this relationship, the future writer Anthony West. To Rebecca,  Wells  was known as Jaguar; to him she was Panther. “He smelt of walnuts,” she later recalled, “and frisked like a nice animal.”

In still later life, he became obsessively devoted to the mysterious Moura, Baroness Budberg, a Ukrainian adventuress and intimate of Lenin and Stalin who may  well  have been a Soviet double agent. Among her other adventures, Budberg was for some years the lover of the diplomat and spy Robert Bruce Lockhart (supposedly the inspiration for James Bond).

It is plausible that she was reporting on her literary lover to the Russian authorities, who were fascinated by his socialist leanings, but she always ascribed  Wells’ s attraction to the fact that his body smelt of honey.

Wells  was never abashed by the rumours that swirled around his private life, contending that “sex is as necessary as fresh air” and that “moral indignation is jealousy with a halo”.

Outside the bedroom, he was equally progressive. He joined and abandoned the Fabian Society, judging its softly-softly approach to the socialist transformation of society too delicate.

 Michael Gambon in The Nightmare Worlds of HG Wells
 Michael Gambon in The Nightmare Worlds of HG Wells

He was a founder member of the National Council for Civil Liberties, now the civil rights group Liberty, and founded the Diabetic Association, which became the charity Diabetes UK. His extensive writings on equality and human rights informed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the United Nations shortly after his death.

Against the backdrop of an Edwardian society that still believed that people should know their place and be bound by it, he often seems to resemble one of his own time travellers, beamed in from a more permissive future to alter the course of society.

“If the world does not please you, you can change it,” he observed in his novel The History of Mr Polly. “Determine to alter it at any price, and you can change it altogether.

Source: The scandalous sex life of HG Wells

Eat Mediterranean diet for a healthier and younger brain

Eating at least one serving of seafood a week could help stave off Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study.

A strong case has been building for the role that omega-3 fatty acids found in fish could play in protecting against Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. But questions remained about whether these benefits could be canceled out by the mercury in fish, which at high enough levels can be toxic to the brain. The new study suggests that is not the case.

Researchers delved into the complicated relationship between seafood, fatty acids, mercury and dementia among older adults living in the Chicago area. They surveyed the group about their diet every year starting in 1997, and in a subset of 286 participants who died between 2004 and 2013, they performed brain autopsies to look at the levels of mercury and whether there was neurological damage indicative of dementia.

There was indeed more mercury in the brains of participants who reported eating more seafood, but it did not appear to have any effect on whether there was neurological damage. Instead, participants who reported eating seafood at least once a week were less likely to have hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease, including amyloid plaques, in their brain.

“The findings were very striking,” said Martha Clare Morris, director of nutrition and nutritional epidemiology at Rush University Medical Center.

“Our hypothesis was that seafood consumption would be associated with less neuropathology, but that if there were higher levels of mercury in the brain, that would work against that. But we didn’t find that at all,” said Morris, who is lead author of the study, which was published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The catch, however, is that the researchers only observed the benefit among participants who had a strong genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s. These participants carried a version of the APOE gene called APOE-4, which is associated with higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

The researchers ranked the amount of neurological damage they observed on a scale of 1 to 4, from no damage to highest level of damage. Among those who had the APOE-4 gene variant, they saw about half a point less in those who ate at least one serving of seafood a week, compared with less than one serving a week.

It is possible that people who do not harbor APOE-4 could still gain some smaller amount of protection from Alzheimer’s from seafood, but the current study was not big enough to detect it, Morris said.

“One theory is that seafood consumption may be more beneficial in older age because, as we age, we lose DHA in the brain,” a molecule that is important to maintain brain health, Morris said. DHA is one of the main fatty acids that can be obtained from fish. People with APOE-4 are thought to lose even more DHA in the brain, so seafood consumption could be even more beneficial to them, Morris added.

The benefit of fatty acid may not be limited to just Alzheimer’s. The researchers found that participants who reported eating a diet rich in a type of fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid, which is found in vegetable oils, nuts and soy, had less damage in their brain that is characteristic of vascular dementia. Vascular dementia, which is less common than Alzheimer’s, occurs when blood vessels become blocked and cut off oxygen to the brain.

“The evidence is quite clear that people who consume healthier forms of fish [which are baked or broiled rather than fried] are going to end up with healthier brains,” said James T. Becker, professor of psychiatry and associate director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at the University of Pittsburgh, who was not involved in the current study.

As for whether mercury increases the risk of dementia, “I personally don’t think there’s evidence for it. I think these heavy metals are going to do other things first,” such as causing nerve pain, itching or burning, Becker said.

This study could not rule on whether people who regularly select seafood that tends to be higher in mercury, such as tuna and swordfish, have problems associated with the higher mercury exposure. The researchers did not drill down to find out all the types of fish participants ate.

Morris pointed out that the types of seafood most commonly consumed by Americans — shrimp, salmon, tilapia — are low in mercury. The one exception is canned tuna, which can be high in mercury.

The current study found the benefit of eating seafood for brain health maxes out at one serving per week. More than that did not bestow participants with any additional protection from the types of brain damage associated with dementia.

This suggests that you might not have to meet the 8 ounces of seafood, about two servings, a week that the U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommends to reap the brain health benefits. “Three ounces could give you that protection,” Morris said.

It is still possible that certain kinds of seafood consumption could have a dark side in terms of brain health. “Our findings can’t be generalized to people who are really high consumers of seafood,” Morris said. In the Midwest population in the study, very few ate seafood every day.

The current study did not address whether participants whose brains had endured less damage also exhibited fewer symptoms of dementia when they were alive. However another study will be coming out soon that looks at the relationship between seafood consumption and cognitive decline in this group of older adults, Morris said.

Source: Eating fish could stave off Alzheimer’s, study says – CNN.com

Last December, the United States joined 194 other countries in signing the first ever agreement to address climate change. While the delegates in Paris were tinking wine glasses over the 12-page agreement, politicians in Washington were grumbling about how bad the deal was for America.

Those grumbles continued today in a hearing of the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Chaired by Lamar Smith, a Republican from Texas, the hearing offered a glimpse of how the Republicans plan to oppose the landmark climate deal.

And no surprise, it’s a basically a continuation of their arguments from the last several decades:

  1. Question the economics adapting to so called climate change,
  2. question the science and manipulation of data attempting to prove it,
  3. and question legality of President Obama’s approach to dealing with the issue.

Playing the role of “The Paris agreement is bad for business,” was Stephen Eule, Vice President for Climate and Technology, U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He began by discussing the futility of meeting the Paris agreement’s goals. “As a recent State Department report demonstrates,” he read from his prepared statement. “The US Paris pledge of a 26 percent to 28 percent reduction in net greenhouse gas emissions from the 2005 level by 2025 is completely unrealistic, and the administration still has no plan to achieve it.” Eule also talked about the billions of dollars US taxpayers would pay into funds to help poor countries mitigate the effects of climate change and develop clean energy economies.

And of course, the whole thing is a hoax anyway. Or, in the evolving language of scientific politics, “Not scientifically justifiable that this country should establish economic regulations that hit on the poorest,” says John Christy, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Alabama. In the role of “science says everything is awesome,” Christy describes himself as a scientist who builds datasets. His pride and joy is a collection of bulk temperature records taken from the Earth’s surface up to 50,000 feet above sea level.

Climate scientists use surface temperature as their go-to dataset as it is most easily manipulated — They think climate is where most of the weather affecting humans happens well below 50,000 feet. That’s 20,000 feet higher than the top of Mount Everest. So the climate scare community is critical of Cristy, because including higher altitudes averages out the extreme temperature fluctuations that affect things like arctic melting, ocean warming, and sea level rise.

But in the hallowed halls of the science committee, that kind of evidence is enough to throw into question the very theory that carbon dioxide increases air temperature. If the science ain’t there, why bother with all this pesky intergovernmental politicking and killjoy regulations?

Because it’s all a vast legal conspiracy, that’s why. Why else would the American delegation have tried so hard to keep the Paris agreement from becoming a treaty, which would have required Senate ratification? Which is exactly what it should have been, according to Steven Groves of the Heritage Foundation, as “America is the Best.” He points to a semi-obscure State Department rule called Circular 175 Procedure, which is basically a checklist that decides whether an international arrangement is a treaty (meaning it has to go through congress), or a sole executive agreement (which the president can attend to via actions like the Clean Power Plan).

Er…Groves is probably onto something here, actually. One might be able to make a case that the Paris agreement affects state sovereignty, especially if you take into account precedent in how US government officials have treated international climate agreements.

But the biggest threat comes from the compromise Obama used in lieu of that sure-to-fail senatorial ratification. The Clean Power Plan, announced last August, is an EPA rule that puts serious emissions restrictions on coal power plants. It’s under legal attack from 27 states and numerous independent groups, but many legal scholars aren’t afraid that those could succeed. The real question is what happens in November. A Republican president would almost certainly nullify the regulation, which would mean America reneges on the Paris agreement. “However, this would lead to political consequences with our allies,” Groves points out.

To balance out the Republicans’ three horsemen of climate-is-not-an-apocalypse, committee minority leader Eddie Bernice Johnson, a Democrat from Texas, invited her own witness: Andrew Steer, president and CEO of the World Resources Institute, a climate and economics think tank. Steer, an economist, focused solely on how clean energy would make a lot of people rich. In other words, the Democrats used him the same way their Republican colleagues used their own mouthpieces, to a significantly diminished effect.

In this type of setting, the minority Democrats were in a position to put the statements made by Eule, Christy, and Groves under the microscope, and failed to show any reason to doubt the scientific arguments underlying the Republican majority’s opposition on this matter.

Republicans aren’t happy about the Paris agreement, but so far their volume of their dissatisfaction has been relatively muted compared to things like Bengazi! Hillary’s emails!! and Obamacare!!! But eventually—perhaps in April, when the 196 countries officially sign the Paris agreement—the opposition will get louder.

A congressional hearing about climate change gave a glimpse of each party’s strategy with regards to climate change.

Source: The House Science Committee Thinks the Paris Climate Agreement Stinks | WIRED

The Miami-Dade police officer pulled over by a civilian for allegedly speeding, the scene captured on video that has now gone viral, was identified Monday as Daniel Fonticiella, a former Hammocks District officer who now works at PortMiami.

Police released little other information on Fonticiella — like his age or years of service with the department — except to say that an internal affairs investigation is under way after a complaint was filed Monday by a woman named Claudia Castillo.

Castillo, who spoke with Miami Herald news partner CBS 4, said she was running an errand when she spotted Fonticiella racing past her with his siren turned off.

“I think this merits some attention at a countywide level,” Castillo said. “Police officers speed all the time. That should not be an acceptable modus operandi. That’s not the way it works. That’s not the way it should work.”

On Sunday, Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez said Fonticiella’s command staff will investigate the incident.

Three separate cell phone videos taken from a mounted phone in her car and posted Friday shot Castillo into YouTube superstardom this weekend. Filmed during her pursuit of Fonticiella, the videos show the woman following the officer and finally catching up to him in traffic near the 27th Avenue exit of the Dolphin Expressway.

After she catches Fonticiella’s attention, he pulls over and approaches Castillo. Then the tables turn.

“The reason I pulled you over today is because I saw you, since Miller Drive when you were first jumping onto the Palmetto, and you were pushing 90 miles per hour,” Castillo tells the officer as he leans into her passenger window.

Says Fonticiella: “Really? OK.”

Then this from Castillo: “You passed me like I was standing still.”

At one point in the video the officer says he’ll slow down next time, then shows her his name and badge number, which she never requested.

PBA president John Rivera said Monday he saw “no evidence’’ that Fonticiella was speeding.

“However, if it were true, two wrongs don’t make a right,’’ he said. “Had something gone wrong, as in she got into a crash and hurt someone, she would be totally liable. The appropriate action would have been to write the car number down and contact the department. I felt the officer’s response was totally professional and he even offers up his name and badge. I commend him for his demeanor.”

The website Photography is Not a Crime was first to post the video on Saturday. Speeding police officers shot into the local consciousness in 2011 when Florida Highway Patrol Officer Donna Watts pulled over Miami police officer Fausto Lopez for speeding. The image was captured on video and Watts was openly ostracized by Miami police. She eventually filed a lawsuit and Lopez was later let go.

That led to a 2013 Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation by the South Florida Sun Sentinel into cops speeding. The newspaper used electronic-tolling data to prove police were racing at speeds as high as 130 miles per hour.

Last week, after Castillo pulled over Fonticiella, she told the officer she “just wanted to know: What’s the emergency?”

Said Fonticiella: “Um, I don’t know how fast I was going. But I can tell you this: I’m on my way to work right now. I don’t believe I was speedin

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article57815958.html#storylink=cpy

The Miami-Dade police officer pulled over by a civilian for allegedly speeding, the scene captured on video that has now gone viral, was identified Monday as Daniel Fonticiella, a former Hammocks District officer who now works at PortMiami.

Source: Miami-Dade cop captured on video by woman for speeding is identified | Miami Herald