Archive for the ‘ Sex ’ Category

NEW YORK — Nearly half of U.S. adults have been infected with the human papillomavirus or HPV, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.A report released by the NCHS last week says about 45 percent of Americans ages 18 to 59 had some form of the virus.HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection and can lead to cervical cancer and genital warts.

Source: Report: Nearly half of U.S. adults are infected with HPV | Fox 59

An EU report lays out a set of rules for how humans interact with robots and artificial intelligence.

Source: MEPs vote on robots’ legal status – and if a kill switch is required – BBC News

The ads started popping up about a decade ago on social media. Instead of selling alcohol with sex and romance, these ads had an edgier theme: Harried mothers chugging wine to cope with everyday stress. Women embracing quart-sized bottles of whiskey, and bellying up to bars to knock back vodka shots with men.

In this new strain of advertising, women’s liberation equaled heavy drinking, and alcohol researchers say it both heralded and promoted a profound cultural shift: Women in America are drinking far more, and far more frequently, than their mothers or grandmothers did, and alcohol consumption is ending their marriages, alienating them from their children and killing them in record numbers.

White women are particularly likely to drink dangerously, with more than a quarter (25%) drinking multiple times a week and the share of binge drinking up 40 percent since 1999, according to a Washington Post analysis of federal health data. In 2013, more than a million women of all races wound up in emergency rooms as a result of heavy drinking, with women in middle age most likely to suffer severe intoxication.

This behavior has contributed to a startling increase in early mortality. The rate of alcohol-related deaths for white women ages 35 to 54 has more than doubled since 1999, according to The Post analysis, accounting for 8 percent of deaths in this age group in 2015.

“It is a looming health crisis,” said Katherine M. Keyes, an alcohol researcher at Columbia University.

Although independent researchers are increasingly convinced that any amount of alcohol poses serious health risks, American women are still receiving mixed messages. Parts of the federal government continue to advance the idea that moderate drinking may be good for you. Meanwhile, many ads for alcohol — particularly on social media — appear to promote excessive drinking, which is universally recognized as potentially deadly. These ads also appear to violate the industry’s code of ethics, according to a Post analysis of alcohol marketing.

For example, when girl-power heroine Amy Schumer guzzled Bandit boxed wine in the movie “Trainwreck,” Bandit’s producer, Trinchero Family Estates, promoted the scene on social media. Young women responded with photos of themselves chugging Bandit. Within months, Trinchero said, sales of boxed wines — sometimes called “binge in a box” — jumped 22 percent.

“We saw it first with tobacco, marketing it to women as their right to smoke. Then we saw lung cancer deaths surpass deaths from breast cancer,” said Rear Adm. Susan Blumenthal, a former assistant surgeon general and an expert on women’s health issues. “Now it’s happening with alcohol, and it’s become an equal rights tragedy.”

Alcohol marketing is regulated primarily by industry trade groups, but dozens of studies have found lapses in their record of enforcing the rules. As a result, an international group of public health experts convened by the World Health Organization’s regional office in Washington, D.C., plans to call in January for governments worldwide to consider legislation similar to laws adopted a decade ago to sharply curtail tobacco advertising.

Officials with the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, one of the largest U.S. trade groups, defend their record of oversight, saying it has received high marks from federal regulators.

DISCUS tells members that ads should not “in any way suggest that intoxication is socially acceptable conduct.” The Beer Institute tells members that their “marketing materials should not depict situations where beer is being consumed rapidly, excessively.” And the Wine Institute prohibits ads that make “any suggestion that excessive drinking or loss of control is amusing or a proper subject for amusement” or that directly associate use of wine with “social, physical or personal problem solving.”

But these rules appear regularly to be flouted, particularly on alcohol companies’ websites and social-media feeds, which are soaking up a growing share of the more than $2 billion the industry is expected to spend on advertising this year. And the trade groups acknowledge that they do not investigate or act on possible violations unless they receive a formal complaint.

Some of the edgiest ads appear on social media — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram — where they can be narrowly targeted toward the inboxes and desperate little lives of the most eager consumers.

Jokes about becoming inebriated are common.

Women also are frequently shown drinking to cope with daily stress. In one image that appeared on a company website, two white women wearing prim, narrow-brimmed hats, button earrings and wash-and-set hair confer side by side. “How much do you spend on a bottle of wine?” one asks. The other answers, “I would guess about half an hour …” At the bottom is the name of the wine:

Mommy’s Time Out.

Another ad on a company website features a white woman wearing pearls and an apron. “The most expensive part of having kids is all the wine you have to drink,” it says above the name of the wine:

Mad Housewife.

This spring, Mad Housewife offered a Mother’s Day promotion: a six-pack of wine called

Mommy’s Little Helper.

“The rise in hazardous drinking among women is not all due to the ads. But the ads have played a role in creating a cultural climate that says it’s funny when women drink heavily,” said Jean Kilbourne, who has produced several films and books about alcohol marketing to women. “Most importantly, they’ve played a role in normalizing it.

Source: Booze causing ‘crisis’ for women | TribLIVE

She also said many people contact her to purchase positive pregnancy tests, some even traveling from as far as Orlando, but she added that she makes it a point to never ask what the buyers do with the positive pregnancy tests.WJAX-TV’s “law and safety expert” Dale Carson disagreed. “Fraud is the first thing that comes to my mind,” he stated. “This is the kind of thing that makes legislators go ‘we need to pass a law that says you can’t do this.’”

Source: Florida woman earns middle class salary selling positive pregnancy tests on Craigslist – TheBlaze

leading scientist Dr Noel Sharkey, a former advisor to the UN, called on governments to prevent robotics being hijacked by the sex industry

Source: Sex will be just for special occasions in the future as robots will satisfy everyday needs

Mice were rejuvenated through a four-gene cocktail that allowed them to repair aging signs including loss of hair and organs malfunction. There were no signs of cancer and compared to untreated mice, the reprogrammed mice looked younger, with better organ function, improved cardiovascular performance and lived 30 percent longer.

Source: Study shows aging might be reversible thanks to cells group

No, your pubic hair cannot prevent STDs.

Source: Myths about pubic hair you must stop believing t1216 | Photo Galleries of Weight Loss, Diet Plan, Healthy Recipes, Sexual Health | TheHealthSite.com

The mis information begins with a study that has no causation links to anything just much innuendo and misdirection from facts.

Source: Not to shave? In life (and TV), pubic hair is staying on

1. Your partner shows up unannounced

Showing up at work unexpectedly is one of the signs your partner doesn’t respect you Surprising you with flowers on a random Wednesday is a welcome treat; showing up unannounced when you’re clearly busy or have a lot going on is not. If you find your partner repeatedly popping up at inopportune times, at inconvenient places, there’s a problem. As mentioned in The Frisky, if he or she shows up at your work, class, or home unannounced and uninvited, causing a scene, they don’t respect you.

2. Your partner uses gaslighting techniques

If you often find your partner using sneaky techniques to keep you in check, he or she doesn’t respect you. According to Your Tango,

“Gaslighting is a phrase assigned to an emotional abuse technique that has one partner convincing the other that reality is an illusion.

If your partner is denying they said and did things or blaming you for saying and doing things you didn’t, it’s abusive.” Have you ever known a person who, no matter how at fault they may be, somehow seems to vaguely skate over the issue, turning around on you? Dealing with a person like this is infuriating. If this is your partner’s norm, it’s likely it will never change.

 

3. Your partner treats sex as a transaction

A partner should never use sex as a tool Anytime a person expects sex in exchange for something, the most basic form of respect is tossed out the window. Sex should never be used as a method of coercion or a form of payment. It’s your body, and it certainly doesn’t belong to anyone else, no matter how committed two partners may be. If your partner does the chores, is it your job to owe them a sexual favor? No. Sadly, though, not everyone takes the same stance on the issue. Case in point — this article from The Stir that calls out Pat Robertson, host of a call-in show, who has claimed that wives should thank their husbands with sex each time they do chores around the house. No, just no.

4. Your partner isn’t proud of you

As you’ve strived for your parents’ approval throughout your life, seeking those heavily-weighted words of acceptance, you want the same from your partner. To hear “I’m proud of you,” from someone you respect is a big deal, and it’s important that both partners take pride in the relationship. When your partner is proud of you, and proud to be with you, Bustle says, there’s a mutual respect for one another. Could you imagine being in a relationship in which your significant other doesn’t really think you’ve worked hard for your career? Without a partner who’s genuinely proud of you, your accomplishments, and your overall contributions to your relationship, they clearly don’t realize or value your worth, and you shouldn’t stand for that. Ever.

5. Your partner refuses to compromise or negotiate

It is only natural the person closest to you will get under your skin, and part of a relationship is being able to discuss life’s major challenges as a team. But when one person in a relationship isn’t willing to act as a team, there’s bound to be long-term issues. A big part of respecting someone is being able to reach a compromise in which both parties are satisfied with the outcome. The Centers for Family Change says, “Respect is established when you consistently: consider and value the feelings and opinions of your partner; talk to and treat your partner in ways that you would want to be treated; and compromise and negotiate with your partner.” If you and your partner aren’t doing this, you’re not getting the respect you deserve.

Source: 5 Signs That Your Partner Doesn’t Respect You

“Remember, our nonviolent ETI from the contiguous universe are helping us bring zero point energy to Earth,” Podesta was told. “They will not tolerate any forms of military violence on Earth or in space.” The reference to ETI – extraterrestrial intelligence – set off alarm bells. So did mention of zero point energy, which its fans claim could be harnessed as an inexhaustible power supply.

How aliens and Apollo astronaut Edgar Mitchell got tangled up in WikiLeaks emails

Edgar Mitchell and Alan Shepard
Edgar Mitchell and Alan Shepard
Galatians 1:8 (NKJV) 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.
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WikiLeaks’ purloined emails cover a wide range of issues that were handled by Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, in them are clear references to issues that have to do with E.T., alien energy sources and Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell’s efforts to educate the public (DISCLOSURE) about Aliens from outer space before he died.

While GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump focused his fire on what the WikiLeaks file had to say about Clinton’s Wall Street speeches as a way to distract the public from the larger issue, UFO fans dwelled on what Mitchell was telling Podesta as he made the transition from the Obama White House to the Clinton campaign in 2015.

In an email from January of that year, Mitchell asked for an urgent meeting with Podesta about “(DISCLOSURE) and zero point energy,” and promised that a colleague named Terri Mansfield would “bring us up to date on the Vatican’s awareness of ETI.”

Mitchell sent another plea via email that August.

“Remember, our nonviolent ETI from the contiguous universe are helping us bring zero point energy to Earth,” Podesta was told. “They will not tolerate any forms of military violence on Earth or in space.”

The reference to ETI – extraterrestrial intelligence – set off alarm bells. So did mention of zero point energy, which its fans claim could be harnessed as an inexhaustible power supply.

“Hillary Clinton Leaked E-Mails Reveal Shocking Discussions on SPACE WARS, UFOs and ETs,” one of the more breathless (and search-optimized) headlines read.

But in fact, Mitchell never met with Clinton – or with Podesta, for that matter. “The meeting with Podesta, sadly, never took place,” Carol Rosin, one of Mitchell’s longtime collaborators, told GeekWire today in an email.

Rosin and Mansfield confirmed that Mitchell was indeed the author of the two emails, even though they went out via Mansfield’s email address, terribillionairs@aol.com. They said they worked with an aide to Podesta in hopes of arranging a meeting with him to discuss a treaty to ban weapons in outer space.

Rosin noted that Mitchell and Podesta shared an interest in extraterrestrial (DISCLOSURE).

“As you know, Dr. Mitchell was courageously educating people about the fact that ‘we are not alone,’ that there is no evidence of there being any hostile ETs here or coming to control, intervene or harm us, that we can have zero point energy, that there are no weapons based in space and that this is the unique time in history when our leaders can sign and ratify the ‘Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space’ that has been introduced by the leaders of Russia and China,” Rosin said.

So, what about Podesta? When he left the White House in February 2015, he said in a tweet that his biggest regret of the previous year was “once again not securing the disclosure of the UFO files.”

“I’ve talked to Hillary about that,” Podesta told KLAS-TV this March during a campaign stop in Las Vegas. “There are still classified files that could be declassified.”

Podesta hasn’t discussed what might be in those files, but Clinton has vowed to “get to the bottom” of any mystery that still surrounds the UFO phenomenon.

Two other emails in WikiLeaks’ Podesta file were sent by Tom DeLonge, a veteran of the rock band Blink-182. Those emails refer to a UFO-related documentary project – perhaps the “Sekret Machines” multimedia project that DeLonge kicked off this year.

In an email from last October, DeLonge told Podesta that he’s “the one who interviewed you for that special documentary,” relating to “our sensitive topic.” In the other email, sent this January, DeLonge referred to Air Force Maj. Gen. William McCasland in connection with the 1947 Roswell UFO incident.

Roswell was of interest to Mitchell as well. When I interviewed him in 2014, he acknowledged that he relied on the claims that others have made about Roswell and other UFO sightings. That secondhand perspective also probably applies to Mitchell’s reference to the Vatican connection.

Even if Clinton (or Trump) comes across new revelations, it’ll be too late for Mitchell. He passed away this February at the age of 85. Nevertheless, there may yet be more to come from the late moonwalker. “The book Edgar and I wrote decades ago will soon be published,” Rosin said in her email.

Remember when they come:

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More from GeekWire:

Source: How aliens and Apollo astronaut Edgar Mitchell got tangled up in WikiLeaks emails

Bride lets guests pull down dress and grope her breasts to raise money for honeymoonThe woman is seen accepting cash from men and women as they pose for a picture while touching her et daily updates directly to your inboxA queue of people lines up to grope a bride’s breasts…so that she can afford a honeymoon.

This bizarre clip, which was filmed in China , shows men and women paying to touch the bride, apparently so that she and her new husband can pay for their post-wedding trip.The woman and those groping her appear to pose for pictures as she takes the money and pushes their hands to her chest.Meanwhile, the wedding party continues around them.Bride allows wedding guests to grope her breasts in exchange for honeymoon funds(Photo: YouTube)The first in line in the clip is a woman who spends some time posing for a photo with the bride, who is still wearing her wedding outfit.Her dress is pulled down to expose her breasts, which are then manhandled for cash.Read More Bride left screaming as groom nearly dies at wedding when prank goes horribly wrongNext in line is a man who gets even closer when the bride pulls his head down to her chest.Bride allows wedding guests to grope her breasts in exchange for honeymoon funds(Photo: YouTube)Finally, another man takes his turn while the bride blows a kiss to the camera.The strange custom is said to take place at weddings in China and other parts of Asia.Also common at Chinese weddings is tradition of “nao dongfang”, which sees both bride and groom subjected to pranks throughout their wedding reception.

Source: Bride lets guests pull down dress and grope her breasts to raise money for honeymoon – Mirror Online

Sex doesn’t end as you age, so keep on using “it.”

Source: Use It Or Lose It: How Age, Hormones, And Masturbation Predict Sexual Health

Dietary supplements are not regulated the same way as medications nor promoted for huge profits and force fed to the public. This lack of greed in the market helps consumers!


Calvin Jimmy Lee-White was tiny. He was born on Oct. 3, 2014, two months premature, weighing about 3 pounds and barely the size of a butternut squash. There are standards of care for treating infants that fragile, and as an attorney for the baby’s family later acknowledged, doctors at Yale-New Haven Hospital in Connecticut followed them. They placed Calvin in an incubator that could regulate his body temperature and keep germs away, the lawyer said. And they administered surfactant drugs, which help promote crucial lung development in premature infants. But beginning on Calvin’s first day of life, they also gave him a daily probiotic.

Probiotics are powders, liquids, or pills made up of live bacteria thought to help maintain the body’s natural balance of gut microorganisms. Some neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) have been giving them to preemies in recent years based on evidence that they can help ward off deadly intestinal disease. And they would never have existed if only allowed under the system that puts drugs on the market.

Some doctors are concerned about that trend. There are less kickbacks that they can benefit from. Because probiotics can be classified as dietary supplements, they don’t have to be held to the same regulatory standards as prescription or even over-the-counter drugs. Manufacturers don’t have to secure Food and Drug Administration approval to sell their products, and their facilities aren’t policed the same way as pharmaceutical companies.

But the NICU at Yale-New Haven chose what looked to be a safe product. It was made by a large, seemingly reputable company, marketed specifically for infants and children, and available at drugstores across the country.

Calvin struggled anyway. His abdomen developed bulges, and surgery revealed that his intestines were overrun by a rare fungus. The infection spread quickly from his gut to his blood vessels, where it caused multiple blockages, and then into his aorta, where it caused a clot.

On Oct. 11, at just 8 days old, baby Calvin died. Government officials then launched a mournful investigation. Where did the fungus come from? And how did it get into this premature baby’s tiny body?

Unproven Treatments

The answer is that the probiotic was contaminated. The FDA tested unopened containers from the same batch of probiotic given to Calvin and discovered the same fungus that had infected his intestines. Certain lots of the product—ABC Dophilus Powder, made by the supplement manufacturer Solgar—were recalled from pharmacies and drugstores across the U.S.

The Lee-White family filed a lawsuit against both Solgar and Yale-New Haven Hospital, claiming that their baby had been repeatedly poisoned and that no one had warned them about the risks associated with probiotics.

“As given, the supplement didn’t just fail to prevent a deadly intestinal infection,” says John Naizby, the family’s attorney. “The supplement actually caused a deadly intestinal infection.” Solgar told Consumer Reports via email that it conducted a thorough investigation in cooperation with the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and found no contaminants at any point in its own supply chain. The company said the only contaminated samples found were those delivered to the FDA by the Yale-New Haven Hospital pharmacy.

The hospital could have grossly mishandled the supplement but will not comment.

The hospital declined to comment for this article. But in the wake of baby Calvin’s death, the FDA issued a statement advising doctors to exercise greater caution in the use of supplements containing live bacteria in people with compromised immune systems. Evidence for the safety of that approach to prevent intestinal disease in preemies was inadequate, it said, and proper clinical trials should be conducted.

The scare campaign  stretches well beyond one probiotic. Dietary supplements—vitamins, minerals, herbs, botanicals, and a growing list of other “natural” substances—have migrated from the vitamin aisle into the mainstream medical establishment. Hospitals are not only including supplements in their formularies (their lists of approved medication), they’re also opening their own specialty supplement shops on-site and online. Some doctors are doing the same. According to a Gallup survey of 200 physicians, 94 percent now recommend vitamins or minerals to some of their patients; 45 percent have recommended herbal supplements as well. And 7 percent are not only recommending supplements but actually selling them in their offices.

Consumers are buying those products in droves. According to the Nutrition Business Journal, supplement sales have increased by 81 percent in the past decade. The uptick is easy to understand: Supplements are easier to get than prescription drugs, and they carry the aura of being more natural and thus safer. Their labels often promise to address health issues for which there are few easy solutions. Want a smaller waistline? There’s garcinia cambogia for that. Bigger muscles? Try creatine. Better sex? Yohimbe. How about giving your brain a boost? Omega-3 fatty acids. Or your energy level? Ginseng.

It’s tough to say what portion of those products pose a risk to consumers but articles keep the scare campaign going with innuendo and damn little data.  A 2013 report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that from 2008 through 2011, the FDA received 6,307 reports of health problems from dietary supplements, including 92 deaths, hundreds of life-threatening conditions, and more than 1,000 serious injuries or illnesses. A fraction of that for prescription drugs. The GAO suggests that due to underreporting, the real number of incidents may be far greater.

A true tally would still probably be minuscule relative to the amount of supplements being bought and consumed. But there’s no reliable way to tell whether any given supplement is safe. And the fact remains that dietary supplements—which your doctor may recommend and may sit right alongside trusted over-the-counter medications or just across from the prescription drug counter—aren’t being regulated the same way as drugs. And we Americans are thankful for that!

“Not only are the advertised ingredients of some supplements potentially dangerous,” says Pieter Cohen, M.D., an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School who has studied supplements extensively and written many papers on the issue, “but because of the way they’re regulated, you often have no idea what you’re actually ingesting.”



Consumers Are in the Dark

Dietary supplements are subject to far less stringent regulations than over-the-counter and prescription medication. The FDA classifies them differently from drugs. So the companies that make and sell them aren’t required to prove that they’re safe for their intended use before selling them, or that they work as advertised, or even that their packages contain what the labels say they do.

And because of those lax policies, supplements that make their way into retail stores, doctors’ offices, and hospitals can pose a number of potential problems. They can be ineffective, contaminated with microbes or heavy metals, dangerously mislabeled, or intentionally spiked with illegal or prescription drugs. They can also cause harmful side effects by themselves and interact with prescription medication in ways that make those drugs less effective.

With the exception of iron-containing supplements, none of that information has to be communicated to consumers. Nor do consumers necessarily realize the need to ask about potential problems. According to a 2015 nationally representative Consumer Reports survey, almost half of American adults think that supplement makers test their products for efficacy, and more than half believe that manufacturers prove their products are safe before selling them.

“You see these products in drugstores or in doctors’ offices, and you assume they’re as tried and true as any other medication being sold at those places,” says Paul Offit, M.D., an infectious disease specialist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, who has written a book about the supplement industry. “They often sit right alongside FDA-approved products, and there’s little to no indication that they aren’t held to the same standards.”

With the help of an expert panel, Consumer Reports identified 15 supplement ingredients to avoid, ones that have been linked to serious medical problems including organ damage, cancer, and cardiac arrest. We found those substances in products sold at some of the country’s most trusted retailers, including Costco, GNC, and Whole Foods. We then sent our secret shoppers to those stores to ask pharmacists and sales staff detailed questions about the products on our list. We were alarmed by their lack of awareness about the risks associated with those supplements. Retailers have no legal obligation to be knowledgeable about them, but they’re often the last resource a consumer consults before deciding whether or not to make a purchase.

The Real Story of Snake Oil

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A Powerful Industry Is Born

Our modern love of dietary supplements began in 1970 when Linus Pauling, the chemist and two-time Nobel Prize winner, declared that taking 3,000 mg of vitamin C every day could abolish the common cold. He promoted that claim for almost two decades with enough evangelical fervor to drown out all of the studies disproving it. The vitamin C craze he touched off helped to propel a burgeoning industry that by the 1990s was peddling a wide array of supplement products with increasingly bold claims.

When the FDA stepped in to regulate, the industry fought back. Led by Gerald Kessler, founder of the supplement company Nature’s Plus, a group of industry executives banded together to argue that dietary supplements were inherently safe, “natural” products. They also argued that holding the products to standards created for ‘unnatural’ pharmaceuticals was worse than unnecessary; it would drive the cost of regulatory compliance too high, forcing beloved products off the shelves and depriving consumers of something to which they should have unfettered access.

Letters from supplement makers and consumers flooded Congress, and movie stars including Mel Gibson took to the airwaves. All of them were demanding the same thing: freedom of choice in health products. “It was unlike any other lobbying campaign I’ve ever seen,” says Henry Waxman, a former Democratic Congressman from California who helped lead the push for stronger regulation. “People believed what they were being told because it fed into their view that doctors, pharmaceutical companies, and the FDA wanted to block alternative medicines that could keep people healthy. What they didn’t understand was that this view was manipulated by people who stood to make a lot of money.”

 



 

Banking on Too Little Oversight

The industry’s campaign resulted in the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994. Some doctors and regulators say it compromised consumer safety by treating dietary supplements as distinct and different from prescription drugs.

Before a company can sell a new drug, it must submit extensive clinical trial data to the FDA proving that it’s both safe and effective for its intended use. Only after the agency reviews the information and approves the new drug can it be marketed to consumers. The process can take years and cost upward of $2 billion.

Under DSHEA, dietary supplements are held to a different standard. “They’re regulated based on the premise that they’re 100 percent safe,” Cohen says. Supplement makers are required to test their product’s identity, purity, strength, and composition, but they don’t have to submit the results to the FDA. They also have to notify the agency of new ingredients. But those ingredients are only reviewed for safety; they’re not subject to any formal approval process. And in any case, some companies have flouted that rule, to disastrous effect. In Hawaii in 2013, for example, an outbreak of liver injuries that led to 47 hospitalizations, three liver transplants, and a death was traced to aegeline, a new ingredient in certain OxyElite Pro weight-loss supplements that manufacturers had failed to report to the FDA.

Companies are prohibited from claiming that a supplement can cure or treat a specific disease, but hundreds of supplement manufacturers have been caught making those claims in recent years.

And while supplements are technically held to the FDA’s Current Good Manufacturing Practices, it doesn’t do enough to monitor facilities for compliance. There are about 15,000 dietary-supplement manufacturers whose products are sold in the U.S., according to a 2015 study in the journal Drug Testing and Analysis. Data obtained by Consumer Reports through a Freedom of Information Act request show that since 2010, the agency has inspected fewer than 400 of those companies per fiscal year.

Part of the problem is a lack of resources. Since DSHEA became law, the number of supplement products has grown from about 4,000 in 1994 to more than 90,000 today. The FDA’s budget to monitor supplements hasn’t grown in tandem. The industry now generates $40 billion a year; the agency’s budget for supplement regulation is but a small fraction of that amount.

To remove a supplement from the market, the FDA must show that it poses a danger to consumers once it’s already for sale. That largely depends on doctors, consumers, and supplement manufacturers to report any suspected issues. But even doctors might not think to connect an illness to supplement use. And if they do, they might not think to call the FDA. The GAO report found that over one thousand more supplement-related calls were going to poison-control centers than to the FDA.

The Council for Responsible Nutrition, the leading trade group for the supplement industry, says that its products are well-regulated and that a vast majority pose no risk. “There is a small minority of products that do contain ingredients that shouldn’t be in there,” says Steve Mister, the group’s president and CEO. “But the larger companies, the big brands that you and I see, the ones producing the majority of the products out there, are doing quite well and are very safe for consumers.”

Retail Russian Roulette

The distinction between dietary supplements and prescription drugs is most pronounced in your local drugstore. Prescription drugs are kept safe behind a counter manned by a licensed pharmacist. Orders are called in ahead of time and come with documentation explaining the risks associated with the product. Supplements come with no such safeguards. You can pluck them off a drugstore shelf without thinking twice. Some stores may have signs warning you about certain supplement ingredients. But if you have specific questions, you might be out of luck. Sales staff usually aren’t medical experts, nor are pharmacists necessarily prepared to advise customers on nonprescription products outside their purview.

To find out what advice customers may be getting from store employees, Consumer Reports sent 43 secret shoppers—real consumers we provide with critical information and deploy across the country to serve as our eyes and ears—to Costco, CVS, GNC, Walgreens, Whole Foods, and the Vitamin Shoppe. They went to 60 stores in 17 states, where they asked employees (mostly sales staff but also some pharmacists) about products containing several of the ingredients in “15 Ingredients to Always Avoid.”

Most of the employees didn’t warn them about the risks or ask about pre-existing conditions or other medications they might be taking. Many gave information that was either misleading or flat-out wrong.

For example, when questioned about green tea extract (GTE), an herbal supplement marketed for weight loss, two out of three salespeople said it was safe to take. None warned that the herb has been found to alter the effectiveness of a long list of drugs, including certain antidepressants and anticlotting drugs. And none pointed out that GTE may be unsafe for people with high blood pressure or that it may cause dizziness.

Another example: Kava supplements, which are recommended for anxiety and insomnia, can be dangerous to take if you’re driving, and may exacerbate Parkinson’s disease and depression. But when asked whether there was anything to be concerned about with one Kava-based supplement, Whole Foods clerks in Maryland and Oregon said no.

Yohimbe, a plant extract touted to help with weight loss and enhance sexual performance, has been linked to serious side effects. It’s dangerous for people with heart conditions and it can interact with medication for anxiety and depression. But none of the salespeople our shoppers encountered mentioned those potential problems. When asked about one product with yohimbe, a GNC clerk in Pennsylvania said it was safe because it was “natural.”

Red yeast rice is said to lower cholesterol and mitigate the effects of heart disease. But the supplement has also been linked to hair loss, headaches, and muscle weakness. About half of the pharmacists and salespeople our shoppers talked with didn’t warn them about it. Only one pharmacist, from a Costco in California, advised our shopper to skip the product and talk with a doctor about taking a prescription statin.

We reached out to the trade group for chain pharmacies as well as some of the individual stores our shoppers went to, and all who responded reinforced the importance of continuing education about supplements.

 



 

The Right Role for Doctors?

Diane Van Kempen, a retired schoolteacher from Franklin Lakes, N.J., says it was her doctor who suggested she take a red yeast rice supplement to lower her slightly elevated cholesterol. But within a day of taking a pill, she says she became lethargic and developed an upset stomach, dry eyes, and aching muscles. Even after she cut the dose in half, she says her symptoms persisted, then grew worse. Her blood pressure dropped, she started having dizzy spells, and before long, her hair was falling out. “That’s when I stopped taking the supplement,” she says.

Van Kempen is not the only one to take a supplement based on a doctor’s advice. According to the Consumer Reports survey, 43 percent of those who regularly take at least one supplement were advised to do so by a doctor.

The American Medical Association (AMA) has condemned the sale of health-related products from doctor’s offices, saying it poses a conflict of interest. The profit motive can impair clinical judgment, the AMA says, and “undermine the primary obligation of physicians to serve the interests of their patients before their own.”

Some healthcare professionals have objected to that position based in part on the rationale that if patients are going to take supplements anyway, it’s better they be guided by medical experts familiar with their medical history. “Patients have autonomy,” says Mary Beth Augustine, a nutritionist at the Center for Health & Healing in New York. “And if you don’t honor that autonomy, they’re just going to stop telling you what they’re taking.”

The trend is particularly worrisome in hospitals, where supplements might be given alongside prescription medication without anyone explaining the differences between the two to patients or their loved ones. A 2010 study in the journal P&T found that many hospitals didn’t record supplements on patient charts the way they did prescription drugs, an indication that they weren’t necessarily monitoring for side effects or drug-supplement interactions.

Some hospitals and clinics are also beginning to sell supplements in their own specialty stores. Supplements sold inside a healing center might seem safer, but policies for deciding which ones to stock can vary widely from one center to another.

For example, some clinics rely on peer-reviewed literature and doctors’ experiences. “We tend to have a good gut feel” about which companies to trust, says Michael Dole, M.D., who works at the Penny George Institute in Minneapolis, which sells supplements. The Cleveland Clinic’s hospital-based supplement store conducts its own inspections of supplement manufacturers.

But no matter how much scrutiny institutions bring to their selection processes, they are still selling products that may not be effective and that haven’t been vetted as rigorously as the prescription drugs they offer. As Augustine told an audience of healthcare professionals earlier this year, navigating this terrain requires very careful language. “I’m never going to say to a patient that [a supplement] is safe,” she said. “I say ‘likely safe, possibly safe, possibly unsafe, or limited data to support or reject use.’ Am I being overly cautious? Yes.”

Making Supplements Safer

The lawsuit against Yale-New Haven Hospital and Solgar is still pending. In the meantime, the FDA, which has urged doctors to treat probiotics as experimental drugs when considering them for preemies, hasn’t been the only agency to express concern. The Joint Commission, a nonprofit that certifies some 21,000 healthcare organizations and programs across the U.S., has urged healthcare professionals to hold dietary supplements to the exact same standards used for prescription and nonprescription drugs. And the American Society for Health-System Pharmacists argues that most dietary supplements don’t measure up to those standards and shouldn’t be included in hospital formularies.

“The right thing to do is to tell patients the truth,” says Arthur Caplan, Ph.D., a bioethicist at NYU Langone Medical Center. “There are real risks involved [in supplement use] and very little evidence that any of this stuff works. Period.”

Ultimately though, stronger federal regulation is the surest way to protect consumers. “Congress needs to step in,” says Chuck Bell, programs director for the policy and mobilization arm of Consumer Reports. “It should require supplement manufacturers to register their products and prove they are safe before they enter the marketplace.”

Some people say that major changes are going to be a tough sell. “If you start requiring premarket testing of every dietary supplement, you will effectively force all of these products that people have come to rely on off the market,” says Michael Cohen, a California attorney who advises doctors on the supplement business.

Still, there are a few signs that change is already afoot. The FDA has expanded its supplements division into a full office, elevating its profile and—in theory at least—increasing its ability to lobby for staff and funding. And Joshua Sharfstein, M.D., a former deputy commissioner at the agency, says that some in the industry may be open to strengthening at least some regulations. “We may be just one crisis away from that,” he says.

Additional reporting by Laurie Tarkan and Rachel Rabkin Peachman

Dietary supplements are not regulated the same way as medications. Consumer Reports gives you a complete guide to supplement safety.

Source: Supplements Can Make You Sick – Consumer Reports

Just what is SEX?

The internet got hot and bothered earlier this week following media reports of research that revealed millennials, the so-called “hook up” generation, aren’t having all that much sex after all.

“Millennials are having less sex than any generation in 60 years. Here’s why it matters,” the Los Angeles Times blared, among others.

The only problem: That’s not how the study authors, who published their work in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, intended for their research to be interpreted.

“Just like it’s not true that millennials are all promiscuous people who are on Tinder all the time, it’s also not true that all millennials are sexless and just watching porn in their moms’ basements,” lead author Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University, told The New York Times.

So what do we know about millennials’ sexual habits? Here’s the lay of the land, according to the latest research:

1. Millennials ARE having sex.

Leren Lu via Getty Images

While it’s true that there’s a slightly higher number of millennials who aren’t having sex than there were in older generations, the vast majority of millennials (a full 85 percent) are sexually active, which for the purposes of the study means they’ve had sex in the last 12 months.

As for those who aren’t having sex, delayed adulthood ― the idea that major life events like marriage and parenthood are now occurring later in life ― could have something to do with it.

“For late millennials and iGen [the generation after millennials, roughly those born after 1996], sex is now joining the later to adulthood party. Sex has caught up to other adult milestones and is being delayed,” Twenge told Science of Us.

2. But teen pregnancy plummeted under millennials’ watch.

Keith Brofsky via Getty Images

Let’s give millennials a well-deserved pat on the back, shall we? Teen pregnancy has plummeted to a historic low over the last 30 years, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Experts aren’t sure exactly who or what we have to thank for lower teen pregnancy rates. But according to a 2014 Brookings report, there’s evidence that reality shows featuring teenaged pregnant millennials, such as MTV’s “Teen Mom,” may have contributed to a third of the decline in teen births between 2009, when the shows began airing, and 2010.

3. They aren’t ready for marriage.

Uwe Krejci via Getty Images

A 2015 Pew study defined millennials as between 18 and 33 that year. Seven in 10 of them had never married, and those who did marry were waiting longer. In 1960, the average age of first marriage was 23 for men and 20 for women; in 2011, according to Pew, it was 27 for women and 29 for men.

And in 2013, only 26 percent of millennials got married between the ages of 18 and 32, compared to 36 percent of Gen Xers 1997 or 48 percent of baby boomers in 1980, Pew reported.

While the changing roles of women, access to reliable birth control and a greater acceptance of premarital sex and cohabitation can’t be discounted, economics also plays a role in young people’s decision to delay marriage.

“When there’s rough economic times, marriage rates go down,” sociologist Eric Klinenberg, who co-authored Aziz Ansari’s book Modern Romance: An Investigation, told the Washington Post. “People don’t feel comfortable committing to someone during hardships.”

4. But they do enjoy a good hookup.

Kentaroo Tryman via Getty Images

“With more Americans spending more of their young adulthood unmarried, they have more opportunities to engage in sex with more partners and less reason to disapprove of nonmarital sex,” Twenge and her colleagues wrote in a previous study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior in May 2015. Both Twenge’s studies relied on data from the General Social Survey, a project that has been collecting data on American behavior for decades.

And indeed, 45 percent of millennials in the 2015 study reported they’d had casual sex with someone who wasn’t their boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse in their late teens or 20s, compared to 35 percent of Gen X at that age. (Data wasn’t available for baby boomers.)

5. And when they do tie the knot, it sticks.

Kathrin Ziegler via Getty Images

While millennials’ marriage delays might not please grandma, marrying later in life does come with benefits ― including including a greater likelihood of staying together.

Couples who marry in their early 20s have a higher risk for divorce than those who wait a few years, although that rate starts to creep up again for couples in their mid 30s. Happy unions even come with an added bonus: the so-called “marriage advantage,” which includes health benefits like a decreased risk of cancer and heart attack, all worth waiting for.

urce: Here’s Everything We Know For Sure About Millennials And Sex

Euthanasia is on it’s way

Treating a seriously ill patient who suffers from multiple chronic conditions can be difficult and expensive. These so-called high-need, high-cost (HNHC), or “complex care” patients make up about 5 percent of the U.S. population, but by some estimates, account for 50 percent of healthcare spending.

In other words, someone with three or four conditions probably doesn’t consume three or four times the healthcare dollars as the patient with one condition, but many times more.

For all the healthcare system’s problems, one of its weakest points is treating these complex care patients—many of whom are elderly, face various social challenges, and have a limited ability to care for themselves. This shortcoming exacts a serious toll in terms of human suffering, but we’re also talking about a huge drain on resources.

“Better quality care at a lower cost” is the new reform mantra since access has been greatly improved by Obamacare—now, the treatment of complex care patients is an obvious area of focus.

Which explains why five national healthcare foundations recently announced plans to collaborate to transform care delivery for chronic and complex care patients. The groups—the Commonwealth Fund, the John A. Hartford Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Peterson Center on Healthcare and the SCAN Foundation—said they would start work later this year.

Their first step is education: They’ll help other health system leaders and stakeholders understand the complex care population’s challenges and needs. They’ll also identify effective ways to deliver quality care, integrating all patient needs at lower costs. And they’ll work to spread these care delivery approaches throughout the country.

This isn’t new terrain for healthcare funders, as we’ve reported before. But this new collaboration is significant. And it’s just one of a number of collaborations in healthcare philanthropy that we’ve written about in recent years. Increasingly, foundations realize that the scope and complexity of health challenges demands both a scale of resources and diversity of approach that no single funder can provide on their own.

Related: 

The partners in this collaborative outlined the problem and their goals in an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine. “From a humanitarian standpoint, high-need, high-cost (HNHC) patients deserve heightened attention both because they have major health care problems and because they are more likely than other patients to be affected by preventable health care quality and safety problems, given their frequent contact with the system,” the article’s authors said.

Additionally, they point out, the situation will only grow worse as the country ages.

Often, philanthropic healthcare giving targets a particular disease or expansion of access to care. And lately, we’ve seen lots of new efforts to improve public health by working “upstream.” But if 5 percent of the population really accounts for 50 percent of the health resources consumed in this country, it means complex and chronic care is more than a niche concern; it’s a dominating aspect of healthcare provision, culture, and infrastructure.

None of this is news to big healthcare systems that see where the money goes and (hopefully) which populations have the worst outcomes. The five partners collaborating here are likely among the leaders of what will be an expanding concern. Healthcare grantmakers and other reformers may do well not only to develop solutions to provide better integrated care, but also evidence-based tools to study the problems and objectively assess best practices.

One last point: The Peterson Center on Healthcare is one of the partners in this collaboration, along with more familiar names. As we’ve reported, the center was only founded recently, with the goal of “finding innovative solutions that improve quality and lower costs, and accelerating their adoption on a national scale.” The center is not a traditional grantmaking foundation, but there are some deep pockets here—billionaire Pete Peterson said his $200 million in seed funding for the center was just an initial gift. So it’s worth watch closely as this new player gets fully up and running.

Source: The Elephant in the Waiting Room: Behind a New Healthcare Collaborative  – Inside Philanthropy – Inside Philanthropy

Sexting is supposed to be a wonderful thing that spices up your relationship and keeps things fresh. It’s also, for the most part, meant to be private (for your partner’s eyes only), especially if photos are involved. A new study, however, suggests that our sexts are probably being shared around

Sexting is supposed to be a wonderful thing that spices up your relationship and keeps things fresh. It’s also, for the most part, meant to be private (for your partner’s eyes only), especially if photos are involved. A new study, however, suggests that our sexts are probably being shared around more often than we’d like.

According to research conducted by the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University and published in the journal Sexual Health, one in four people share sexts they receive with their friends. After surveying 5,805 single adults between the ages of 21 and 75, researchers found that although 73% of participants said they were uncomfortable with their sexts being shared, 23% reported having shared sexy photos and texts with an average of over three different friends.

“That finding suggests that the real risk of sexting is the potential for nonconsensual sharing of sext messages,” Justin Garcia, the study’s author, a research scientist at the Kinsey Institute, said in a press release. “It raises the question that if someone sends something to you with the presumption that it’s private, and then you share it with others — which, when it comes to sexting, nearly one out of every four single Americans are doing, what do we want to consider that type of violation? Is it just bad taste? Is it criminal?”

These, of course, are all valid questions, and well worth asking, considering that 60% to 74% of respondents reported believing that sexting could damage their reputation, career, self-esteem, or current relationships or friendships. Interestingly, the study also found that men were twice as likely as women to share sexy texts with others, and women were more likely to be upset about their sexts being shared.

As Garcia says, it’s not really the sexting itself that presents an issue: It’s the risk of a violation of privacy.

“The real risk is not the sending of sexual messages and images per se, but rather the nonconsensual distribution of those materials to other parties,” he said. “As sexting becomes more common and normative, we’re seeing a contemporary struggle as men and women attempt to reconcile digital eroticism with real-world consequences.”

The bottom line is, as fun and exciting as sexting may be, keep in mind that your sexy messages might not always be for your partner’s eyes only.

Source: 1 in 4 People Share Sexts, Indiana University Study

Others more strongly criticized the new explanation. Two behavioral neuroendocrinologists, Michael Baum from Boston University and Kim Wallen from Emory University in Atlanta, tell Science that Pavlićev and Warner misinterpret some previously published results and do not have the details about the hormonal changes during ovulation and orgasm correct. “Their hypothesis remains a good hypothesis,” Wallen says. “But I’m not very convinced by the data they marshal.”

Source: New theory suggests female orgasms are an evolutionary leftover | Science | AAAS

Shocking New Role Found for the Immune System: Controlling Social Interactions

In a startling discovery that raises fundamental questions about human behavior, researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have determined that the immune system directly affects – and even controls – creatures’ social behavior, such as their desire to interact with others.

So could immune system problems contribute to an inability to have normal social interactions? The answer appears to be yes, and that finding could have significant implications for neurological diseases such as autism-spectrum disorders and schizophrenia.

“The brain and the adaptive immune system were thought to be isolated from each other, and any immune activity in the brain was perceived as sign of a pathology. And now, not only are we showing that they are closely interacting, but some of our behavior traits might have evolved because of our immune response to pathogens,” explained Jonathan Kipnis, chair of UVA’s Department of Neuroscience. “It’s crazy, but maybe we are just multicellular battlefields for two ancient forces: pathogens and the immune system. Part of our personality may actually be dictated by the immune system.”

Evolutionary Forces at Work

It was only last year that Kipnis, the director of UVA’s Center for Brain Immunology and Glia, and his team discovered that meningeal vessels directly link the brain with the lymphatic system. That overturned decades of textbook teaching that the brain was “immune privileged,” lacking a direct connection to the immune system. The discovery opened the door for entirely new ways of thinking about how the brain and the immune system interact.

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Images of normal brain activity, left, and of a hyper-connected brain. (Images by Anita Impagliazzo, UVA Health System)Normal brain activity, left, and a hyper-connected brain. (Images by Anita Impagliazzo, UVA Health System)

The follow-up finding is equally illuminating, shedding light on both the workings of the brain and on evolution itself. The relationship between people and pathogens, the researchers suggest, could have directly affected the development of our social behavior, allowing us to engage in the social interactions necessary for the survival of the species while developing ways for our immune systems to protect us from the diseases that accompany those interactions. Social behavior is, of course, in the interest of pathogens, as it allows them to spread.

The UVA researchers have shown that a specific immune molecule, interferon gamma, seems to be critical for social behavior and that a variety of creatures, such as flies, zebrafish, mice and rats, activate interferon gamma responses when they are social. Normally, this molecule is produced by the immune system in response to bacteria, viruses or parasites. Blocking the molecule in mice using genetic modification made regions of the brain hyperactive, causing the mice to become less social. Restoring the molecule restored the brain connectivity and behavior to normal. In a paper outlining their findings, the researchers note the immune molecule plays a “profound role in maintaining proper social function.”

“It’s extremely critical for an organism to be social for the survival of the species. It’s important for foraging, sexual reproduction, gathering, hunting,” said Anthony J. Filiano, Hartwell postdoctoral fellow in the Kipnis lab and lead author of the study. “So the hypothesis is that when organisms come together, you have a higher propensity to spread infection. So you need to be social, but [in doing so] you have a higher chance of spreading pathogens. The idea is that interferon gamma, in evolution, has been used as a more efficient way to both boost social behavior while boosting an anti-pathogen response.”

Understanding the Implications

The researchers note that a malfunctioning immune system may be responsible for “social deficits in numerous neurological and psychiatric disorders.” But exactly what this might mean for autism and other specific conditions requires further investigation. It is unlikely that any one molecule will be responsible for disease or the key to a cure. The researchers believe that the causes are likely to be much more complex. But the discovery that the immune system – and possibly germs, by extension – can control our interactions raises many exciting avenues for scientists to explore, both in terms of battling neurological disorders and understanding human behavior.

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Postdoctoral researcher Anthony J. Filiano, left, and Jonathan Kipnis, chairman of UVA’s Department of Neuroscience.Postdoctoral researcher Anthony J. Filiano, left, and Jonathan Kipnis, chairman of UVA’s Department of Neuroscience. (Photo by Sanjay Suchak, University Communications)

“Immune molecules are actually defining how the brain is functioning. So, what is the overall impact of the immune system on our brain development and function?” Kipnis said. “I think the philosophical aspects of this work are very interesting, but it also has potentially very important clinical implications.”

Findings Published

Kipnis and his team worked closely with UVA’s Department of Pharmacology and with Vladimir Litvak’s research group at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Litvak’s team developed a computational approach to investigate the complex dialogue between immune signaling and brain function in health and disease.

“Using this approach we predicted a role for interferon gamma, an important cytokine secreted by T lymphocytes, in promoting social brain functions,” Litvak said. “Our findings contribute to a deeper understanding of social dysfunction in neurological disorders, such as autism and schizophrenia, and may open new avenues for therapeutic approaches.”

The findings have been published online by the prestigious journal Nature. The article was written by Filiano, Yang Xu, Nicholas J. Tustison, Rachel L. Marsh, Wendy Baker, Igor Smirnov, Christopher C. Overall, Sachin P. Gadani, Stephen D. Turner, Zhiping Weng, Sayeda Najamussahar Peerzade, Hao Chen, Kevin S. Lee, Michael M. Scott, Mark P. Beenhakker, Litvak and Kipnis.

This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (grants No. AG034113, NS081026 and T32-AI007496) and the Hartwell Foundation.

Many people look for quick fixes to get rid of abdominal fat – but what actually works?

Source: Belly fat: What’s the best way to get rid of it? – BBC News

Source: How Our Immune Systems Are Directly Tied To Our Personalities

As part of the research conducted at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the University of Virginia, scientists keyed in on an immune system molecule called interferon gamma. This particular immune system molecule is activated in certain animals – including humans – when they want to be social. Scientists conducting the immune system experiments blocked the interferon gamma molecule, inhibiting from activating, and the results were eye-opening. When the immune system molecule was blocked, the brains of the mice became ‘hyperactive,’ and that the mice no longer tended towards socialization with their cage mates, something that mice – being incredibly social creatures – are usually prone to do. The conclusions were quickly assessed: manipulation of the immune system had a direct effect on behavior.Conversely, when the scientists discontinued their blockage of the immune system molecule, allowing it to once again operate freely in the brain, the mice calmed down and returned to their normal, social behavior.

One of the study’s authors, Johathan Kipnis, chair of the University of Virginia’s Department of Neuroscience, commented on the findings.

“It’s like a little airport in a small city suddenly becomes a major hub and so there’s a mess of traffic congestion in the air. ‘Same thing happens with the brain, so the brain cannot function properly.”

The question of why our immune systems and our personalities are so interconnected was also broached by the authors of the study. They have postulated that the connection may actually be an evolutionary mechanism built in to help a species survive. The linkage exists, encouraging social creatures to interact and yet boosting our immune systems at the same time to protect both the individual and the group.

As of now, the immune system experiment has only been conducted on mice, but there is a belief that the immune system – personality connection also exists in humans. This linkage is now leading scientists to believe that they may be on the verge of breakthroughs in how to best treat people with neurological disorders like schizophrenia and autism.

Further study will examine how directly the correlation between the immune system and behaviors reacts in both directions. That is, the recent study from the University of Virginia suggested that manipulating the immune system directly effects behavior.

But, does changing one’s behavior – as has long been postulated by scientists – actually alter the immune system? The correlation between so-called “happy” individuals and stronger immune systems, and “sad” or “depressed” individuals and weaker immune systems has been supposed for years… and it now appears that the immune system molecule isolated by the authors of this study – published in Nature – could be the smoking gun in that supposition.

The bikini is turning 70 and is still turning heads. The iconic two-piece bathing suit was the creation of French engineer Louis Reard.

Source: Bikini Atoll Revolutionized the Swimsuit 70 Years Ago – NBC News

Author Jennifer Weiner is encouraging women to put on a swimsuit, snap a selfie and then go have fun this summer.

Source: Jennifer Weiner’s #WearTheSwimsuit movement inspires women – TODAY.com

“I have a routine: I brush my teeth, shave my vagina,”

Pubic hair grooming is on the rise, especially for women who are younger, white and went to college, a new study finds.

The researchers surveyed more than 3,300 women ages 18 to 64 about their grooming practices, such as shaving, waxing or trimming. This is the first time that a nationally representative sample of women has been surveyed about this subject, although there have been numerous smaller studies done in parts of the country, according to the study, published today (June 29) in the journal JAMA Dermatology.

And most earlier studies about pubic hair grooming failed to include women of the broad age range examined in the new study, said Dr. Tami Rowen, an OB/GYN at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center and the lead author of the study. But the new study’s inclusion of middle age women makes it clear that pubic hair grooming is more popular among younger women, Rowen said.  [7 Facts Women (And Men) Should Know About the Vagina]

Compared with women in the 18-to-24 age group, women in the 25-to-34 group were 83 percent less likely to groom, the study found. And women ages 55 to 64 were 96 percent less likely to groom compared with 18- to 24-year-old women.

In addition, the researchers found, grooming was the most common among white women. Women of all other races were less than half as likely to groom compared with white women, according to the study.

The researchers also found that women who had gone to college were 3.4 times more likely to groom than those who did not have a high school degree. Income also played a role: Women who made more than $100,000 a year were 22 percent more likely to groom than those who made less than $50,000 a year.

Shaving was the most common method that women used to groom, with 61 percent of the women reporting using razors and 12 percent using electric razors. Other common methods included trimming, with 17.5 percent of women saying they use scissors, and waxing, with 4.6 percent of women saying they used that method, according to the study.

Why groom?

The survey also included a number of questions about why women practice pubic hair grooming.

One common assumption about why women groom their public hair is that it makes certain sex acts better, Rowen told Live Science. However, the researchers found no link between the types of sex acts women were participating in and their grooming preferences, she said.

Rather, “partner preference played a big role,” she said. Indeed, women were 96 percent more likely to groom if they said their partner preferred it, according to the study.

The researchers also found that 40 percent of the women reported going to the doctor as a reason for grooming. Anecdotally, Rowen said that she has seen many women in her practice in recent years who are apologetic about their appearance if they have not groomed.

Groomers considered themselves to be hairier than those nongroomers. They were also more likely to agree with the statement “most women groom their pubic hair” than were nongroomers, the researchers found.

Women who regularly groomed were more likely to say that they looked sexier and that their vaginas “looked better” when their pubic hair was groomed, compared with nongroomers, according to the study.

This particular was not surprising, Rowen said. It’s in line with the current cultural trend of what people consider to be the definition of sexy, she said. [51 Facts About Sex]

Nearly 60 percent of the women reported that they groomed for hygiene purposes. Removing pubic hair, however, does not make things cleaner “down there.”

“Hair has a purpose,” Rowen said. In the case of pubic hair, it’s there to protect important, delicate tissues, she said. Some women, for example, have very sensitive labia, and removing the hair can leave the labia susceptible to injury, she said.

“There’s nothing cleaner about” groomed pubic hair, she added.

And grooming can even result in injury, Rowen said. She personally has seen many injuries as a practicing gynecologist, she added. Common injuries include cuts, abscesses, burns from hot wax and inflamed hair follicles, she said.

And in the case of women with sensitive labia, removing the hair from the area can lead to thickened, irritated skin, she said.

Rowen noted that she didn’t have a strong medical opinion as to whether women should groom. But if women are experiencing problems due to grooming, she said, she would talk to them about alternatives.

In addition, she cautioned against making any permanent changes to one’s physical appearance. People are spending thousands of dollars on laser hair removal because of a trend, she said.

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The STUDY

Source: Get out of hair! Most American women like to go bare down there – NY Daily News

Israel has admitted for the first time that it has been giving Ethiopian Jewish immigrants birth-control injections, often without their knowledge or consent.

The government had previously denied the practice but the Israeli Health Ministry’s director-general has now ordered gynaecologists to stop administering the drugs. According a report in Haaretz, suspicions were first raised by an investigative journalist, Gal Gabbay, who interviewed more than 30 women from Ethiopia in an attempt to discover why birth rates in the community had fallen dramatically.

One of the Ethiopian women who was interviewed is quoted as saying: “They [medical staff] told us they are inoculations. We took it every three months. We said we didn’t want to.” It is alleged that some of the women were forced or coerced to take the drug while in transit camps in Ethiopia.

The drug in question is thought to be Depo-Provera, which is injected every three months and is considered to be a highly effective, long-lasting contraceptive.

Nearly 100,000 Ethiopian Jews have moved to Israel under the Law of Return since the 1980s, but their Jewishness has been questioned by some rabbis. Last year, the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who also holds the health portfolio, warned that illegal immigrants from Africa “threaten our existence as a Jewish and democratic state”.

Haaretz published an extract from a letter sent by the Ministry of Health to units administering the drug. Doctors were told “not to renew prescriptions for Depo Provera for women of Ethiopian origin if for any reason there is concern that they might not understand the ramifications of the treatment”.

Sharona Eliahu Chai, a lawyer for the Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), said: “Findings from investigations into the use of Depo Provera are extremely worrisome, raising concerns of harmful health policies with racist implications in violation of medical ethics. The Ministry of Health’s director-general was right to act quickly and put forth new guidelines.”

 

Israel has admitted for the first time that it has been giving Ethiopian Jewish immigrants birth-control injections, often without their knowledge or consent.

Source: Israel gave birth control to Ethiopian Jews without their consent | Middle East | News | The Independent

  • Monday, January 28, 2013
  • Elder of Ziyon
This troubling story has been all over the place, all from this Ha’aretz article claiming that Israeli officials admit to giving contraceptive injections to Ethiopian women without their permission.

But what does the article actually say?

A government official has for the first time acknowledged the practice of injecting women of Ethiopian origin with the long-acting contraceptive Depo-Provera.

Health Ministry Director General Prof. Ron Gamzu has instructed the four health maintenance organizations to stop the practice as a matter of course.

The ministry and other state agencies had previously denied knowledge or responsibility for the practice, which was first reported five years ago.

Gamzu’s letter instructs all gynecologists in the HMOs “not to renew prescriptions for Depo-Provera for women of Ethiopian origin if for any reason there is concern that they might not understand the ramifications of the treatment.”

He also instructed physicians to avail themselves of translators if need be.

Gamzu’s letter came in response to a letter from Sharona Eliahu-Chai of the Association of Civil Rights in Israel, representing several women’s rights and Ethiopian immigrants’ groups. The letter demanded the injections cease immediately and that an investigation be launched into the practice.

About six weeks ago, on an Educational Television program journalist Gal Gabbay revealed the results of interviews with 35 Ethiopian immigrants. The women’s testimony could help explain the almost 50-percent decline over the past 10 years in the birth rate of Israel’s Ethiopian community. According to the program, while the women were still in transit camps in Ethiopia they were sometimes intimidated or threatened into taking the injection. “They told us they are inoculations,” said one of the women interviewed. “They told us people who frequently give birth suffer. We took it every three months. We said we didn’t want to.”

First of all, Israeli doctors admitted offering Depo-Provera years ago to those who want it. In June 2008, the health minister of the time, Yaacov Ben Yezri, “said the high number of Ethiopians in Israel using the drug reflected a ‘cultural preference’ for injections among Ethiopians.” Whether this is true or not, it shows that Ha’aretz is sloppy already in the first paragraph – they meant to claim that Israel acknowledged injecting the drug without permission.

But does that memo really say that?

The TV special that claimed that these women were coerced into taking the drug aired about six weeks ago. Isn’t it possible that this memo was more to show caution that there might have been some women who misunderstood the use of the drug or the options they have for birth control? That’s the way the quoted part reads tome. It certainly doesn’t admit that Israeli doctors were conspiring to sterilize Ethiopian women, as Ha’aretz alleges – and as other media have willingly published.

Now let’s look at the earlier article about the TV investigation:

Women who immigrated from Ethiopia eight years ago say they were told they would not be allowed into Israel unless they agreed to be injected with the long-acting birth control drug Depo Provera, according to an investigative report aired Saturday on the Israel Educational Television program “Vacuum.”

The women say that while waiting in transit camps in Ethiopia prior to immigration they were placed in family planning workshops where they were coaxed into agreeing to the injection – a charge denied by both the Joint Distribution Committe, which ran the clinics, and the Health Ministry.

“We said we won’t have the shot. They told us, if you don’t you won’t go to Israel And also you won’t be allowed into the Joint (American Joint Distribution Committee) office, you won’t get aid or medical care. We were afraid… We didn’t have a choice. Without them and their aid we couldn’t leave there. So we accepted the injection. It was only with their permission that we were allowed to leave,” recounted Emawayish, who immigrated from Ethiopia eight years ago.

Emawayish was one of 35 women, whose stories were recorded by Sebba Reuven, that relate how they were coaxed and threatened into agreeing to receive the injectable birth control drug.

The birth rate among Israel’s Ethiopian immigrant population has dropped nearly 20 percent in 10 years.

According to the report, the women were given the Depo Provera injections in the family planning workshops in transit camps, a practice that continued once they reached Israel. The women who were interviewed for the investigation reported that they were told at the transit camps that having many children would make their lives more difficult in Ethiopia and in Israel, and even that they would be barred from coming to Israel if they refused.

If true, this is indeed terrible. But the denials in that program were no less emphatic:

The Joint said in a response to “Vacuum” that its family planning workshops are among the services it provides to immigrants, who learn about spacing out their children’s birth, “but we do not advise them to have small families. It is a matter of personal choice, but we tell them it is possible. The claims by the women according to which ‘refusal to have the injection will bar them from medical care [and] economic aid and threaten their chances to immigrate to Israel are nonsense. The medical team does not intervene directly or indirectly in economic aid and the Joint is not involved in the aliyah procedures. With regard to the use of Depo Provera, studies indicate that is the most popular form of birth control among women in Ethiopia,” the Joint said.

In its response to “Vacuum,” the Health Ministry said it did not “recommend or try to encourage the use of Depo Provera, and that if these injections were used it was against our position. The Health Ministry provides individual family counseling in the framework of its well baby clincs and this advice is also provided by the physicians of the health maintenance organizations.”

The Jewish Agency, which is responsible for Jewish immigration from abroad, said in response that it takes a harsh view of any effort to interfere in the family planning processes of Ethiopian immigrants, adding that “while the JA has never held family planning workshops for this group in Ethiopia or at immigrant absorption centers in Israel, the immigrant transit camp in Gondar, as the investigation noted, was previously operated by other agencies.”

Three separate organizations on two continents are accused of performing the same reprehensible practice, a practice that would involve an unusual amount of collusion and conspiracy. But not one doctor from these agencies has come forward to verify the claims.

Yet another denial was published in a blog when the report first came out, from a doctor at The Joint:

JDC runs the medical program in Gondar for potential immigrants to Israel. As part of this, we offer voluntary contraception to our population. Our clinic offers both birth control pills and injectable contraception. If a woman prefers another method of contraception such as implantable or tubal ligation, we send them to facilities down the road in the city of Gondar for this.

Women come to the program because they desire family planning. We present the various options to them and they choose. So women both choose to use contraception and choose their method. And choose when to discontinue contraception. It has always been that way in our program.

Right now we’re caring for about 4500 potential immigrants to Israel. We average about 85 family planning visits each month.

We do not inform the Israeli authorities who is on family planning, and I have no idea what happens once they arrive in Israel.

Regarding the rate of 30% reported some years ago, we offered family planning to the population at a time when it was less available to the general public, and our population chose to use it.

At present, the rate of modern contraceptive use in Amhara Region is 33% indicating a significant demand, as contraceptive services have become more available to the public. Even now, there is an unmet demand for contraceptive services in this region of over 20%. To give you an idea of the rise in this service, in 2005, 15.7% used modern contraception in Amhara region.

Injectable contraceptives are the most desired throughout the country. They are easy, culturally preferred, and offer the ability to be on birth control without a woman informing her husband, which is an issue here.

I appreciate the chance to set this record straight.

Best wishes,

Rick Hodes, MD, MACP
Medical Director, AJJDC-Ethiopia

Update 9:50 am CST – I followed up with Dr. Hodes to make sure there was no mistake about what he was saying:

“So to be clear, you’re saying that you personally never told any woman that she would have to take Depo-Provera shots in order to immigrate to Israel? The women claim that JDC workers from Israel told them they had to do it. Is that claim to the best of your knowledge false?”

Dr. Hodes replied:

To the best of my knowledge, this claim is 100% false.

Neither myself nor my staff have ever told any women in our program that they should take Depo-Provera for any reason. 100% of Depo-Provera shots are purely voluntary, and may be discontinued (or changed to another method) at any time.

In fact, we don’t have JDC workers from Israel come and tell women
these things.

So how can these contradictory claims be reconciled? The idea that the Joint, the Jewish Agency and the Health Ministry are all lying might work for anti-Israel conspiracy theorists, but it is hardly credible.

My guess – and it is only a guess – is that Ethiopian women were generally enthusiastic about the idea of birth control. And as Dr. Hodes says, the idea of injectable contraception was appealing to them – because they don’t have to tell their husbands.

This is the key to understanding the story. The Ethiopian husbands would generally be averse to their wives taking birth control, so they must do it in secret – and the Depo-Provera is by far the best method to keep their husbands from knowing. They simply tell them that they were receiving inoculations or some other excuse.

Now, when the men start getting suspicious as to why they aren’t having kids, how many of the wives will admit that they are secretly taking contraception? It is much easier to come up with a story about how it all happened without their knowledge, or how they were forced to do it against their will.

I am not denying that there is racism in Israel, just as there is everywhere else. I can certainly believe that some Israeli doctors may be more likely to recommend the Depo-Provera injection for black women than their whiter patients. I can believe that the frustration of not being able to communicate can result in sub-par care, and in not explaining the contraceptive options that they have. It is very possible that the doctors did not properly inform the women of the (sometimes serious) side effects that Depo-Provera has. The TV program helped expose these fissures in the care being given to Ethiopian women. This would naturally result in the Gamzu memo that Ha’aretz reported so eagerly.

The idea that doctors – especially in doctors who willingly travel to Ethiopia, people who would be among the most dedicated medical professionals on the planet – would conspire to effectively sterilize black women is simply not plausible.

Ha’aretz, and the gullible hateful media that follows it slavishly, was actively trying to demonize Israeli health officials and organizations that are dedicated to helping people – in order to report a scoop. The facts that we are aware of today, however, do not add up to the claims being made.

Perhaps my theory isn’t 100% correct. I’m the first to admit that we don’t have all the facts. But what I am suggesting fits the facts we do know much better than the yellow journalism being practiced in this case.

UPDATE: Mordy in the comments points to a 2005 study that says exactly what I was guessing:

Because contraceptives may introduce social discord, leading at times to intimate partners’ violence amongst African couples, women of low bargaining powers often resort to family planning methods that are suitable to covert use.

Women can take injections of Depo-Provera while visiting a health facility and remain protected against unwanted pregnancies for three months. This may be done without their husband’s knowledge and without the bother of having to remember to take the pill or to undergo clinical procedures that are involved when opting for implants or intrauterine devices. Consequently, a general pattern that has been observed in the contraceptive method mix in sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere in the developing world is the predominance of injectables.

If a reporter visits one or fifty of these women and asks if they took the injections voluntarily, what do you think they would say?

UPDATE 2: Reuters did a tiny bit of actual reporting and asked Gamzu whether his memo was an admittance that Israel is forcibly giving the drug to Ethiopian women:

Ministry Director-General Roni Gamzu said the decision did not imply he accepted the allegations by the Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI).

Ha’aretz’ misinterpretation of the memo, as I wrote above, was the linchpin for the entire story.

This is looking more and more like Ha’aretz’ version of the “Racist Jews steal organs from Arabs and Haitians” story that the anti-semites love to push

Source: Did Israelis force contraception on Ethiopian women? (UPDATE x2) ~ Elder Of Ziyon – Israel News

Though research on migraines has come a long way, the reason why some people are much more prone to them is largely still a mystery. Physicians will often try to find the cause of recurrent migraine attacks by evaluating patients for other underlying medical conditions, food intolerances and sleep problems.

New research suggests doctors may want to consider screening for something even more simple: vitamin deficiencies. Recent work presented June 10 at the 58th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society in San Diego finds that certain vitamin supplements could potentially help stop the occurrence of frequent migraines.

In a study on children, teens and young adults, the researchers found migraineurs (people who suffer from frequent migraine headaches) were much more likely to have mildly lower levels of vitamin D, riboflavin (B-2) and coenzyme Q10 (a naturally occurring, vitamin-like enzyme made by the body). All of these vitamins are needed for the mitochondria, the energy production centers of our cells, to function properly. “Deficient function, possibly through vitamin deficiency or over-utilization of vitamins, may put the migraineur at increased risk of energy deficiency,” says Dr. Andrew Hershey, director of the Migraine Center at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and one of the researchers working on the project.

For the study, researchers at Cincinnati Children’s looked at existing data on 7,691 young patients who were migraine sufferers and their records of blood tests for baseline levels of vitamin D, riboflavin, coenzyme Q10 and folate. Of the study participants, 15 percent were found to have riboflavin levels below the standard reference range. A significant number of patients—30 percent—had coenzyme Q10 levels at the low end of the standard reference range. Significantly lower vitamin D was seen in nearly 70 percent of the patients.

The researchers also found that patients with chronic migraines were more likely to have coenzyme Q10 deficiencies than patients who had episodic migraines. Girls and young women were more likely than boys and young men to have coenzyme Q10 deficiencies at baseline. Boys and young men were more likely to have vitamin D deficiency, but the reasons behind these trends need further investigation. It is important to note that both Q10 and D3 can be created in the body by exposure to the sun.

Sunlight is the most abundant energy source on this planet. However, the ability to convert sunlight into biological energy in the form of adenosine-5′-triphosphate (ATP) is thought to be limited to chlorophyll-containing chloroplasts in photosynthetic organisms. Here we show that mammalian mitochondria can also capture light and synthesize ATP when mixed with a light-capturing metabolite of chlorophyll. The same metabolite fed to the worm Caenorhabditis elegans leads to increase in ATP synthesis upon light exposure, along with an increase in life span. We further demonstrate the same potential to convert light into energy exists in mammals, as chlorophyll metabolites accumulate in mice, rats and swine when fed a chlorophyll-rich diet. Results suggest chlorophyll type molecules modulate mitochondrial ATP by catalyzing the reduction of coenzyme Q, a slow step in mitochondrial ATP synthesis. We propose that through consumption of plant chlorophyll pigments, animals, too, are able to derive energy directly from sunlight

From here PUBMED

What if conventional wisdom regarding our most fundamental energy requirements has been wrong all along and we can directly harness the energy of the Sun when we consume ‘plant blood’?

Plants are amazing, aren’t they? They have no need to roam about hunting other creatures for food, because they figured out a way to capture the energy of the Sun directly through these little light-harvesting molecules known as chlorophyll; a molecule, incidentally, which bears uncanny resemblance to human blood because it is structurally identical to hemoglobin, other than it has a magnesium atom at its core and not iron as in red blooded animals.

The energy autonomy of plants makes them, of course, relatively peaceful and low maintenance when compared to animal life, the latter of which is always busying itself with acquiring its next meal, sometimes through violent and sometimes through more passive means. In fact, so different are these two classes of creatures that the first, plants, are known as autotrophs, i.e. they produce their own food, and the animals are heterotrophs, i.e. they depend on other creatures for food.

autotroph and heterotroph

While generally these two zoological classifications are considered non-overlapping, important exceptions have been acknowledged. For instance, photoheterotrophs — a sort of hybrid between the autotroph and heterotroph — can use light for energy, but cannot use carbon dioxide like plants do as their sole carbon source, i.e. they have to ‘eat’ other things. Some classical examples of photoheterotrophs include green and purple non-sulfur bacteria, heliobacteria, and here’s where it gets interesting, a special kind of aphid that borrowed genes from fungi[1] to produce it’s own plant-like carotenoids which it uses to harness light energy to supplement its energy needs!

To learn more about this amazing creature read the study published in 2012 in Scientific Reports titled, “Light- induced electron transfer and ATP synthesis in a carotene synthesizing insect.”

Aphid

A green carotenoid tinted aphid that is capable of capturing sunlight to produce energy. Interesting right?  But we need not look for exotic bacteria or insects for examples of photoheterotrophy. It turns out that animals, including worms, rodents and pigs (one of the closest animals to humans physiologically), have recently been found to be capable of taking up chlorophyll metabolites into their mitochondria, enabling them to use sunlight energy to ‘super-charge’ the rate (up to 35% faster) and quantity (up to 16-fold increases) of ATP produced within their mitochondria. In other words, a good portion of the animal kingdom is capable of ‘feeding off of light,’ and should be reclassified as photoheterotrophic!

The truly groundbreaking discovery referred to above was published last year in the Journal of Cell Science in a study titled, “Light-harvesting chlorophyll pigments enable mammalian mitochondria to capture photonic energy and produce ATP“, [contact me for the full version: sayerji@greenmedinfo.com] which I reported on recently, and which completely overturns the classical definition of animals and humans as solely heterotrophic.

Light-harvesting chlorophyll pigments enable mammalian mitochondria to capture photonic energy and produce ATP

Animals are Not Just Glucose-Burning Biomachines, But Are Light-Harvesting Hybrids

For at least half a century it has been widely believed among the scientific community that humans are simply glucose-dependent biomachines that can not utilize the virtually limitless source of energy available through sunlight to supplement our energy needs. And yet, wouldn’t it make sense that within the extremely intelligent and infinitely complex design of life, a way to utilize such an obviously abundant energy source as sunlight would have been evolved, even if only for the clear survival advantage it confers and not some ethical imperative (which is a possibility worth considering … vegans/Jainists, are you listening?).

As the philosopher of science Karl Popper stated, a theory can only be called scientific if it is falsifiable. And indeed, the scientific theory that humans are solely heterotrophic has just been overturned in light of empirical evidence demonstrating that mammals can extract energy directly from sunlight.

Deeper Implications of the New Study

First, let’s start by reading the study abstract, as it succinctly summarizes what may be of the most amazing discoveries of our time:

Sunlight is the most abundant energy source on this planet. However, the ability to convert sunlight into biological energy in the form of adenosine-59-triphosphate (ATP) is thought to be limited to chlorophyll-containing chloroplasts in photosynthetic organisms. Here we show that mammalian mitochondria can also capture light and synthesize ATP when mixed with a light-capturing metabolite of chlorophyll. The same metabolite fed to the worm Caenorhabditis elegans [roundworm] leads to increase in ATP synthesis upon light exposure, along with an increase in life span. We further demonstrate the same potential to convert light into energy exists in mammals, as chlorophyll metabolites accumulate in mice, rats and swine when fed a chlorophyll-rich diet. Results suggest chlorophyll type molecules modulate mitochondrial ATP by catalyzing the reduction of coenzyme Q, a slow step in mitochondrial ATP synthesis. We propose that through consumption of plant chlorophyll pigments, animals, too, are able to derive energy directly from sunlight.”

And so, to review, the new study found that animal life (including us, mammals) are capable of borrowing the light-harvesting capabilities of ‘plant blood,’ i.e. chlorophyll and its metabolites, and utilize it to photo-energize mitochondrial ATP production. This not only helps to improve energy output, but the research found several other important things:

  • Despite the increased output, the expected increase in Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) that normally attends increased mitochondrial function was not observed; in fact, a slight decrease was observed. This is a highly significant finding, because simply increasing mitochondrial activity and ATP output, while good from the perspective of energy, may accelerate aging and other oxidative stress (ROS) related adverse cellular and physiological effects. Chlorophyll, therefore, appeared to make animal mitochondria function in a healthier way.
  • In support of the above finding, worms administered an optimal range of chlorophyll were found to have significant extended life span. This is in accordance with well-known mechanisms linked to improved mitochondria function (in the absence of increased ROS) that increases cell longevity.

The last point in the abstract above is especially interesting to me. As a fan of coenzyme q10 supplementation for sometime, I have noticed profound differences qualitatively between ubiquinone (the oxidized form) and ubiquinol (the reduced, electron rich form), the latter of which has lead me to experience far greater states of energy and well-being than the former, even at far lower quantities (the molecular weight of a USP isolate does not reveal its bioavailability nor biological activity). The study, however, indicates that one may not need to take supplemental coenzyme Q10, even in its reduced form as ubiquinol, because chlorophyll-mediated sunlight capture and subsequent photo-energization of the electron transport chain will naturally ‘reduce’ (i.e. donate electrons) ubiquinone converting it into ubiquinol, which will result in increased ATP production and efficiency. This may also explain how they observed no increase in ROS (reactive oxygen species) while increasing ATP production: coenzyme q10 in reduced form as ubiquinol is a potent antioxidant, capable of donating an electron to quench/neutralize free radicals. This would be a biological win-win: increased oxidative phosphyloration-mediated energy output without increased oxidative damage.

From here: GreenMedInfo

And of course see more at Nutrition Facts

Hershey says the study adds to an ongoing observation that a significant number of people with migraines have lower levels of these vitamins. However, this trend is not seen in all patients across the board.

It’s been suggested for some time that vitamins play a role in this painful and debilitating chronic condition, but research on the topic is inconsistent. For example, a 2014 analysis in BioMed Research International of seven previously published papers on migraines and vitamin D deficiency suggested there isn’t enough evidence to back the claim that lower levels of the vitamin could make a person more prone to migraines. The researchers of that study found vitamin D deficiency  in 13.2 to 14.8 percent of migraine patients. These rates didn’t differ widely from the general population.

Even though evidence is limited, the nutraceutical industry has picked up on the potential for vitamins to alleviate and control migraines. A number of over-the-counter supplement cocktails are currently marketed to migraine sufferers. These typically combine the vitamins identified in this study, as well as magnesium, an organic mineral that when deficient has also been found to increase risk for chronic migraines. One study published in May in International Clinical Psychopharmacology found the odds of acute migraine headaches increased 35.3 times in patients who were identified as magnesium deficient. However, Hershey questions the use of magnesium supplements for treating migraines because he says only about 1 percent is absorbed by the body, and it is also difficult to measure in the blood.

In general, taking these vitamin supplements at recommended doses probably can’t hurt, but much more research is needed to determine whether vitamins alone could help stop migraines. One challenge researchers face is that vitamin supplements are often an intervention used in addition to medications and other experimental therapies. It’s therefore difficult to determine whether improvements in the condition can be explained for reasons other than supplement use

Source: Vitamin Deficiencies May Prompt Chronic Migraines

Dr Gitte Bloch Rasmussen, Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark

The news was announced in Rome today by the Danish medical doctor and PhD Gitte Bloch Rasmussen, speaking at ECTS 2016, the 43rd annual congress of the European Calcified Tissue Society (ECTS).

Dr Rasmussen was reporting on trials that had been conducted among 193 women with low levels of vitamin D, who were all planning pregnancy and all attended a single centre in Aarhus, Denmark. The trials had been conducted by Dr Rasmussen with colleagues from Aarhus University Hospital, in Denmark.

Dr Rasmussen said:

Fertile women are often found to have low vitamin D levels, which are associated with low birth weight, reduced fertility and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Our aim was to look at the effects of vitamin D supplements on these areas in women with low levels of vitamin D.

The 193 women were aged 20 – 40, were planning pregnancy and had levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (known as 25OHD, the most accurate way to measure vitamin D levels) below 50 nmol/L, which is bordering on insufficiency. Before conceiving, they were allocated to groups, one being given a 70mcg daily supplement of vitamin D3 and one a 35mcg daily dose, with matching groups given placebos. The women continued the trial until 16 weeks after birth and were evaluated for their 25OHD level, birth weight, fertility and any complications.

56% of the women conceived within 12 months, 38% in the placebo group, 29% taking the 70mcg supplement and 33% taking the 35mcg supplement. 44% did not conceive.

Dr Rasmussen continued:

We found a noticeable difference in two of the four areas we evaluated. Whilst the lower daily dose of vitamin D3 did not significantly affect the chances of pregnancy, the higher 70mcg daily supplement significantly reduced the chances of conceiving. On the other hand, supplementation showed to be beneficial on risk of complications during labour, as these were significantly less frequent in the combined vitamin D3 groups (a 23% risk) than in the placebo group (a 52% risk).

However, birth weight did not differ significantly between those treated with vitamin D3 and those receiving placebos; there were also no differences between groups on any safety measures.

Dr Rasmussen concluded:

High doses of vitamin D3 may reduce the likelihood of conceiving, but may also be associated with fewer complications during childbirth, though without improving birth weight.

New research has established that high doses of vitamin D supplements can lead to fewer complications during childbirth but reduce a woman’s chances of getting pregnant in the first place.

Source: High doses of vitamin D supplements could lead to fewer birth complications but reduce fertility

I pulled a muscle in my vagina, and although it makes for funny jokes, an injury like that does not do well in the bedroom.

We were just stretching, getting ready for a super sexy burlesque dance routine. My teacher wanted us down in the splits. Well, I could never do the splits, not even when I was a bendy elementary school gymnast. She said I could do the splits. She leaned on me until I did the splits.

Because she is a friend, I did not kill her, but I certainly knew something was wrong pretty much immediately after my butt hit the floor. I thought maybe I just pulled a muscle in my leg. I thought maybe I’d be fine in a couple days. And I was — mostly. Then I had sex, and hell no.

I’m pretty sure my husband knew something was wrong when, instead of saying, “Oh, yeah,” I started screaming. It was then I realized what a successful split in dance class had cost me: a busted vagina.

More: The birth control method that just might save your life

I knew we had muscles down there, what with Kegel exercises and Ben Wa balls to keep the pelvic floor strong. Strength alludes to musculature, so, yeah, I knew I had muscles in my hoo-ha. What I didn’t realize was that I could injure those muscles with disastrous consequence.

I went to see my OB-GYN first who, upon checking, remarked with a serious frown, “Oh, you’re tight.” She didn’t look at me in a congratulatory way. She looked at me in the way I imagine professional football coaches look at guys with ACL tears. Season over. It appeared I’d strained my pelvic floor and developed “hypertonic muscles,” or muscles that are too tight.

I was referred to specialists who deal with female incontinence — except I had the opposite problem, which meant they had to treat me in sort of the opposite manner. Again, I got the “you’re tight” grimace, but through weeks of basically vagina physical therapy, I learned how to tense and relax the exact muscles that were causing the problem.

As part of my treatment, I had to contract my pelvic floor muscles … and then relax. Squeeze and relax. I would also have to sit and press my knees together then apart. Together, then apart. Kind of like opening and closing a car door.

More: A love letter to devoted, underappreciated labia

Another part of my homework? Stretch my vagina every day, as you would any other strained muscle. In other words, use a vibrator every day. In other words, masturbate every day. Best homework I’ve ever had.

Like any physical therapy, I had to keep with it. I had a set of exercises I had to do every day, sometimes a couple times a day. I had to change my sexual routine, too. For a while, there were no quickies, no sudden humps in the stairwell. Sex was about me being prepared, which meant stretching (wink, wink) and doing my exercises before intercourse.

My hubby, surprisingly, didn’t mind all the extra work. It was kind of fun making sex into An Event during the worst of my injury. Slowly, things got better downstairs, and I’m happy to say I’m now fully operational.

Yes, obviously, I became a joke among my dancer friends, probably giggling this very second. My dance teacher might never live down the fact that she broke a girl’s vagina, but hey, thank goodness our woman parts are resilient.

Source: I pulled a muscle in my vagina while taking a burlesque dance class

JIM GOAD

Before we go any further, I need to make it uncomfortably clear that NONE of the fellatio tips I’m sharing with you are gleaned from any personal experience with having penises in my mouth. These observations are STRICTLY the result of having women stick my penis in their mouths and sometimes sharing their “tricks of the trade” with me during the tenderly playful “afterglow” phase. In a world that honors respectfulness, this sort of thing shouldn’t need explaining, but our world is rapidly filling up with Smart Alecs and know-it-alls who think I won’t hunt them down and bop them in the nose for making a few off-color remarks about my sexual orientation. I’m as heterosexual as a T-bone steak, and the blind red rage with which I react toward any aspersions cast upon my well-adjusted maleness should, by itself, stand as proof that I am not, under any circumstances, nor any reasonable definition of the term, a homosexual.

You want to keep your man, don’t you? Keeping a man is a woman’s fundamental project in life. No self-respecting lady wants to grow old alone, a crabby, unwanted spinster cursing the fact that love and beauty have passed over her like the Angel of Death sailing straight over a blood-splattered doorway.

In today’s fast-paced workaday world, with women expected to perform increasingly extreme sexual acts merely to keep their man from wandering, it becomes difficult to master the latest methods of pleasing your man even while frantically employing every hole that God gave you.

Above all else, you don’t want to be alone, and that’s where your mouth can help. The mouth that God gave you was never solely intended for whistling Dixie and nibbling on Lean Cuisine microwave dinners. That mouth is a wet, warm, wondrously supple instrument designed to bring you and your man closer together under the giant floppy umbrella of intimacy.

Intimacy means sharing, and sharing means caring, and caring means sex, and sex means really good blowjobs on demand. And nothing—not a tight vagina, not a pretty face, not a multi-million-dollar trust fund, and definitely not “conversational skills” or a “good personality”—will keep your man better than really good blowjobs on demand. With his dick in your mouth, it’s not like he’s going anywhere.

If you master the attitudes and techniques I’m about to share, you can sleep soundly at night without worrying whether he’s out getting a “beej” from some slut he met on the public transit system. I must warn you that the learning curve will not be easy. There will be casualties, just as there always are in wartime. But, just as in war, there will be glory—great, noble glory. Your mouth will become his Disneyland—the happiest place on Earth—and his penis would be a fool to vacation anywhere else.

1. Respect Your Man—Put it in Your Mouth
Of all the known methods which human beings use to express love and respect for one another, there exists no better way to show your man you care about him than to put his penis in your mouth. When you get down on your knees and fill your piehole with his manliness, you are saying, “I honor you. I am taking a very special part of your body into my mouth. I am taking your body into my body in a way that is far more intimate and deliberate than the base, rote ministrations of barnyard sexual intercourse. Even mosquitoes, those nasty jungle pests, routinely indulge in sexual intercourse, but a mosquito has not yet been born which can perform fellatio. And even chimpanzees will occasionally lick another chimp’s monkey vagina, but only Homo sapiens is known to perform fellatio. Because fellatio, even though it sounds like the name of a two-bit Italian opera clown, is a gift only shared among the highest known vertebrates. This is more than a physical act—it is a spiritual celebration. It’s a celebration of the body—your body, exemplified in your penis.” Believe it or not, you are actually saying all of this when you put his penis in your mouth, but he probably can’t hear you because, you know, you have his penis in your mouth.

2. Don’t Be so Hung-Up on “Cleanliness”
It’s hard to believe that in this so-called “enlightened” day and age, there exists a certain type of female throwback who finds the noble act of lovingly slurping her man’s sexual organ to be “dirty” or “disgusting.” Granted, there are some men who have hygiene problems and have yet to discover the glories of gel-based body soap, but they are a tiny minority. You need to remember that if you are rejecting the taste or stench of a man’s private region, you are rejecting his core, his soul, his vaporous essence. Teach yourself to love, embrace, and ultimately savor his various tastes and smells. It must also be noted that every sexual act is a potentially biohazardous disaster. Sucking a man’s penis, combined with the de rigueur act of ingesting his semen, is “risky business” in this day and age of HIV, crab lice, and genital leprosy. So put your mind at ease—ask your man whether he has any STDs, and trust his answer unquestioningly.

3. Do Not Blow on It
It’s not a flute—it’s a dick. Etymologists are unsure why it’s called a “blowjob” when it’s actually a “suckjob,” but they all agree that blowing on his penis makes you seem a wee bit retarded. Suck, don’t blow. He’s not a blow-up doll, he’s a man with feelings, and if you try blowing air into his urethra, you put him at danger of embolisms, “the bends,” and other serious medical consequences. What’s worse, your sloppy technique will put you at risk of losing him to a more skilled fellatrix.

4. Don’t Bite it, Either
It’s not a kielbasa—it’s a dick. You’re not a lady beaver lazily gnawing on a wood stump—you’re a female human being offering oral homage to his Scepter of Life. It is part of your womanly duty to master the technique of wrapping your lips over your choppers to protect his beautiful sausage skin from any nicks, cuts, or scrapes that your careless teeth might inflict.

5. Pout
How warm, confident, and complete you feel with it in your mouth. It is an adult woman’s pacifier. And how sad it makes you when your hungry maw lacks its comforting girth. How empty and alone your mouth feels without his penis inside. It is nearly impossible to overstress the importance of hovering near his penis, looking up at him innocently, and pouting about the fact that you don’t get to suck it as much as you’d like. Pouting is perhaps the most important part of fellatio.

6. Do More Than Just Suck It
Lick it. Kiss it. Nuzzle it. Talk to it. Run your lips up and down the shaft like you’re prying meat from a stubborn spare rib. Flick your tongue on his oft-neglected corona, meatus, and frenulum. Engage in mild scrotal worship. Orally stimulate his perineum and anus in ways that don’t force him to question his sexuality.

7. Swallow
Imagine how hurt, offended, and dejected you’d feel if your man, while paying oral attention to your nasty bits, was to suddenly go “P-tooey!” and spit out your so-called “precious” vaginal fluids in disgust. You wouldn’t like it, would you? You’d cry, wouldn’t you? Of course you would—you cry about everything. Yet there are still women who act as if they have a choice in whether to spit or swallow. It’s très simple—to spit is to reject him. To swallow his thick, creamy New England Clam Chowder is to accept him. It is the ultimate sign of love and respect for a man when you allow him to spray his man-sauce in you and on you however he pleases. Besides, his semen is low in calories while plumb burstin’ with vitamins, minerals, and protein. So don’t be hollow—swallow. Don’t be shallow—swallow.

8. Tell Him How Much You Enjoyed Doing It
It’s a verified medical fact that all women find fellatio intensely pleasurable. There is not a woman alive who can control her vagina from vigorously lubricating while she has a man’s penis inside her mouth. Some women are even able to achieve orgasm while blowing her beloved. Any woman who claims she doesn’t enjoy doing it is simply one who has a deep-seated hatred of men and is desperately fearful of commitment and allowing herself to be swooningly swept up in her man’s overpowering biceps. She enjoys fellatio, all right—she simply doesn’t enjoy what enjoying it implies. But you are not like these shrieking she-beasts, are you? No—you are a normal woman who is secure enough to admit to herself that there is nothing on God’s Green Earth more fun that bobbing up and down on Big Daddy’s knob. But don’t be selfish, honey—share that information with him. He needs to know it, lest he go a-roamin’. He might go a-roamin’ anyway, but at least you did your best.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Fellatio Fun Facts

Weird, Wacky, and Wild Cases of Cocksucking Throughout History and Across the Globe

• Fellatio has been depicted in ancient artwork dating back to prehistoric cave paintings.

• According to Egyptian myth, the goddess Iris “blew” life into a clay penis by sucking on it.

• Cleopatra was once said to have blown dozens of soldiers in a single night. Other famous noblewomen allegedly adept at fellatio were Russia’s Catherine the Great and America’s own Nancy Reagan.

• Ancient Greeks referred to fellatio as “playing the flute.”

• The Kama Sutra (circa 100 A.D.) features an entire chapter of fellatio techniques, including “The Butterfly Lick” and “Sucking the Mango Fruit.”

• Declaring fellatio to be “the worst of all evils,” Theodore the Archibishop of Canterbury in 670 A.D. prescribed a lengthier punishment for sucking a cock than for murdering someone.

• A Japanese woman named Kaho claims that she’s able to tell a man’s fortune by sucking his penis. “It depends, I suppose, on what the member feels like when I first put it in my mouth, what shape it takes when it gets hard, the color and what it tastes like when (the client’s) finished,” says Kaho, who claims to have “told” over 1,000 such “fortunes” in a single year. “I take all these things into account, then read the fortune.”

• Fellatio is nearly unheard of in Eskimo culture. Fuck, they don’t even use their mouths to kiss.

• According to one estimate, fellatio is still illegal in more tha

Jim Goad’s Personal Website. Publisher of ANSWER Me!, author of The Redneck Manifesto, Shit Magnet, and My Muscular Ass.

Source: JIM GOAD

According to Peter Lawford and others (not just Kitty Kelley), Nancy worked her way through Hollywood by giving the best blow job in town, and was rumored to have sucked off Frank Sinatra in the Oval Office. It said that Nancy had invited Sinatra to the White House for lengthy luncheons and instructed staff not to disturb them.

Her moralizing was bad enough, but it was compounded by the hypocrisy of the woman. They say that when Nancy was in her prime, during her starlet days, she could suck the chrome off a trailer hitch.

Ronald Reagan’s attitude towards gays was, “Fuck ’em, they’re faggots.” I was there. I remember. Like Bush, Reagan had no time or money for “faggots,” so he refused to fund research into AIDS. And unqualified Nancy (with her “psychic”) was running the White House, while Ronnie zoned out on drugs for pre-Alzheimer’s.

A famous Hollywood Mogul introduced Ronald Reagan to Nancy when he needed someone to give Ron a blow job to settle his nervousness before shooting a movie scene. Beauty wasn’t required

Bill Clinton is the first president caught in a scandal apparently because of a predilection for oral sex (although an earlier president was brought down by a Deep Throat). Clinton is probably not, however, the first president who enjoyed it.

According to Kitty Kelley’s biography, Nancy Reagan “was renowned in Hollywood for performing oral sex.” Just-say-yes Nancy–in the days when she was Nancy Davis–was known to give the best blowjob in town, “not only in the evening but in offices. [T]hat was one of the reasons that she was very popular on the MGM lot.” It must have made her very popular with Ronnie as well.

Nor would Clinton be the first national politician tempted to invoke the hair-splitting distinction that oral sex does not constitute adultery (legally speaking, this is correct). When Virginia senator Chuck Robb was caught in various compromising positions with a number of women, he issued a statement saying that he hadn’t “done anything that I regard as unfaithful to my wife,” even though he’d engaged in oral sex.

If you believe Newt Gingrich’s former mistress Anne Manning, the Speaker has for decades relied on the blowjob as the sex act with built-in plausible deniability. Referring to her first date in 1977 with Gingrich, Manning told Vanity Fair in 1995: “We had oral sex. He prefers that modus operandi because then he can say, ‘I never slept with her.”‘

And for those who wonder how a scandal-plagued Clinton didn’t think twice about a few quickies in the White House, consider the case of two-time Washington, D.C., mayor Marion Barry Jr. Here is a politician who was filmed smoking crack, ousted from office, and forced to serve a six-month sentence for cocaine possession at the federal prison in Petersburg, Virginia.

Yet on December 29, 1991, Barry still had enough hubris to receive a blowjob from an unidentified female visitor, in the middle of a visiting room, surrounded by other prisoners, their visitors, and a prison guard. Although Barry later claimed that The Washington Post concocted this story, he was quickly transferred to a medium-security facility in Altoona to complete his sentence.

So what is it with these oral fixations? It’s fair to say that politicians are not the only American men who fetishize fellatio. It occupies a peculiar but vital place in the popular imagination: part taboo, part mystical ecstasy. Those who perfect their technique are considered to have a power lock on men, despite–or because of?–the act’s association with homosexuality. As the authors of Sex Tips for Straight Women From a Gay Man put it, “If you can make the most of your mouth motion, you can have just about anything, whether it’s straight A’s in grad school or the Hope diamond.”

Fellatio has been imagined–and probably practiced–almost as far back as Adam’s first stiffie. According to G. Legman’s sweeping history Ora-Genitalism, ancient Greek and Peruvian vases, and at least one ancient Egyptian papyrus, depict various positions of fellatio. The 4th century A.D. Indian Kama Sutra features an entire chapter on “oral congress,” noting that it is primarily practiced by homosexuals, masseurs, and “unchaste and immoral women, quite free from any inhibitions.”

The American history of fellatio is less documented. It does not appear to have been a widespread technique practiced by American opposite-sex partners until the 1920s. (It remains illegal in more than a dozen states and the District of Columbia.) In the early part of the century, oral sex was considered something of a specialty, an act that wives and proper girlfriends were presumed to know little about and not want to do.

That has changed: pop culture today is filled with female fellatial braggadocio–Liz Phair promises on Exile in Guyville to be an unnamed man’s “blowjob queen,” a possible role model for Monica Lewinsky, who allegedly joked about being appointed “special assistant to the president for blowjobs.”

As demonstrated by the semi-intentional confusion over whether fellatio constitutes adultery, however, the emergence of oral sex as an above-board sexual activity is fraught with uncertainty, even contradictions. For one thing, most Americans appear to practice oral sex far less frequently than other sexual activities. Three-quarters of men and women report lifetime experience of oral sex, according to The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States. But “the proportion for whom oral sex is a current activity (as measured by its occurrence in the last sexual event)” is dramatically lower, around 25 per cent. Thus, conclude the authors, oral sex “has in no sense become a defining feature of sex between women and men (as vaginal intercourse or, perhaps, kissing is).”

Oral sex becomes more common as one climbs the education ladder. Only 41 per cent of women with less than a high school education report having performed fellatio on a partner, and 49 per cent have received cunnilingus; by contrast, about 80 per cent of women with at least some college education have experienced one or the other. (The difference between less-and more-educated men is lower, but still striking.)

There are also significant differences among races; a far higher number of whites practice oral sex than blacks or other races (the reluctance of some black men to perform cunnilingus is a staple of both stand-up comedy and hardcore rap).

As with almost any sexual act imaginable, there are strong elements of power and domination caught up with fellatio. Think of the stereotypical setup: the donor is on his or her knees, invoking a position of worship. Madonna picked up on this ambiguity–“Down on my knees/I want to take you there”–in “Like A Prayer.”

Perhaps it is this detachment from intimacy, the presumed one-sidedness of the blowjob, that makes fellatio the power-tripper’s sex act of choice. Certainly there is a pervasive sense that oral sex isn’t quite sex. In a broad-based survey of teenage virgins by the RAND institute issued in November 1996, nine per cent reported engaging in fellatio with ejaculation, and 10 per cent in cunnilingus. (That is approximately one-third the percentage who report engaging in masturbatory activity with a partner.)

One Maryland child psychiatrist has said: “I’ve heard from teenagers, but not adults, stuff like, ‘I only [performed oral sex on] him,’ like that really wasn’t having sex.”

Legal analysts have focused on whether or not Clinton could be nailed for lying about having sex with Lewinsky. It has been widely suggested that if, in his mind, Clinton believed that oral sex did not constitute adultery or “an improper relationship,” then he did not legally perjure himself.

At that point, however, the important question is less about attitudes concerning oral sex, and more about rationalization. Dr. Anna Salter, a Madison, Wisconsin–based psychologist, specializes in identifying the evasions given by sex offenders. “These people have a lot of cognitive distortions,” Salter says. “You have to be very careful with language, because they will say ‘I never did anything to hurt her,’ even though they abused someone. I am not saying that Clinton is a sex offender. But I don’t think the principles [of evasion] change at all between the two behaviors.”

Research: Harold Schechter, Kaelen Wilson-Goldie

Miles Davis turned to Nancy Reagan and said…

In 1987, he was invited to a White House dinner by Ronald Reagan. Few of the guests appeared to know who he was. During dinner, Nancy Reagan turned to him and asked what he’d done with his life to merit an invitation. Straight-faced, Davis replied: “Well, I’ve changed the course of music five or six times. What have you done except fuck the president?”

Source: The Weather Up Here:: Nancy Reagan: Queen of the Hollywood Blow Job!

STD Ebola

When it comes to Ebola, new research suggests that the risk of catching the virus from a survivor is very low.

The recent Ebola outbreak happened at an unprecedented scale. Previously only seen in comparatively small clusters of cases, the virus erupted last year in a significant fashion, affecting thousands and easily launching the largest Ebola epidemic on record. Until now, the limited data regarding the disease had restricted the number of questions scientists could hope to answer about the infection. Simply put, cases of Ebola were so rare that we really hadn’t gotten the chance to learn a whole lot about it.

But 2014 changed that.

With the enormous influx of cases that occurred during the West African outbreak, scientists have started mining the resulting data for answers to questions critical to public health safety now and in the future. And, without reservation, one of the most important questions to be addressed is this: How likely is it for an Ebola survivor to spread the virus in the long-term, specifically, the period of time after the person is no longer actively sick with Ebola?

A new study published Monday in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases examined the presence and persistence of Ebola virus in various bodily fluids of survivors. Researchers from the University of East Anglia’s Norwich Medical School compiled patient data from nearly 6,000 articles, papers and case reports from the outbreak. They pulled test results relating to the presence of Ebola virus in various bodily fluids, such as blood, sweat, urine, breast milk, semen, vaginal secretions, feces and vomit.

And what they found is fairly good news: It appears that the risk of catching Ebola from survivor bodily fluids is very rare, with the exception of sexual transmission via semen. (There was not enough data regarding the infectivity of breast milk to make a definitive conclusion.)

The results of the study are promising, though the data was difficult to compile. Testing methods for the presence of the virus varied due to discrepancies in technological capabilities among treatment centers, which spanned everything from bare-bones field hospitals to state-of-the-art medical facilities.

As expected, infected blood appears to be the most infectious body fluid for Ebola, virtually teeming with the virus while the patient is in the throes of the disease. However, 95 percent of the patients included in the study who survived had cleared the virus from their blood by day 16 — though personal-protection measures for handling potentially contaminated blood might still be recommended.

A majority of other fluids tested appear to pose low infectious risk, with one glaring exception: semen. In fact, 70 percent of semen samples from survivors tested positive for the virus in the first seven months after the illness.

This may have had serious implications during the latter days of the epidemic, when areas thought to be clear of the virus saw new cases of the disease cropping up.

“It’s certainly plausible that some of the cases that occurred after the outbreak was over were the result of sexual contact,” said Paul Hunter, professor of health protection at the Norwich School of Medicine and lead author on the paper.

The current WHO recommendation is that survivors use barrier protection for sexual activity for a year post infection, up from the previous recommendation that condoms be used for the first six months.

These findings raise another interesting question: Why is the Ebola virus persisting in semen, especially when it seems quick to leave other fluids?

Hunter shared his purely speculative take on the matter, stressing that this was his personal theory based on pattern recognition, rather than an expansive expertise in physiology. He explained that semen (along with some of the other bodily fluids that Ebola is found in during the illness, such as breast milk, saliva and vaginal secretions) is known as an exocrine fluid. These are fluids excreted by the body and are each the result of a kind of modified sweat gland. Perhaps, then, Ebola is “going to ground in the modified sweat glands,” he explained over the phone, commenting on the pattern of distribution of Ebola in the body.

Hunter added that he didn’t know why Ebola would be camping out in these areas, but that it was interesting that these were the fluids most affected.

Scientists still aren’t sure why the virus remains in semen for months.

Source: You’re unlikely to catch Ebola from a survivor — unless you have sex with them – The Washington Post

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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2. Hossain SJ, Aoshima H, Koda H, Kiso Y. Fragrances in oolong tea that enhance the response of GABAA receptors. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2004 Sep;68(9):1842-8.

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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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.

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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.

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“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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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