The Conflicted Experience of a Porn Writer

March 18, 2010 Culture, Papers/Rags, Porn No Comments

Lynsey G. writes for porn rags. She didn’t plan it, just kind of fell into it. Since last year, she’s been writing a column at McSweeny’s about her conflicted experience as a woman and feminist in the madness of one of the biggest industries in the world.

This, dear readers of Sex and the 405, is the kind of skill required of a porn reviewer:

I learned to watch the first few minutes of each sex scene, taking notes on “plot” or “witty” banter, then fast forward through the remainder at 10x speed, slowing down to note the frequency of position changes, athleticism of maneuvers, and standout dirty talk. The trick was to watch the 2- to 6-hour-long DVDs as fast as possible and then spend under an hour writing dirty, overly alliterative jokes about what I’d seen. Easy, if a bit monotonous.

For easy reference, I made up lists of alternative names for breasts, penises and vaginas, and supplementary lists later on for buttholes, as that trend gained popularity. I developed rating criteria for length, girth, cup size, amount of cellulite, and gag reflex (or the lack thereof). Things got ugly, fast.

She also gets into the occupational hazards: desensitization, boredom, higher tolerance to hardcore sexual acts, and the ever-pressing questions presented by being up to her eyeballs in an industry where everyone is a product:

After a few months of reviewing, the constant humping was wearing on my retinas and getting tedious. My personal sex drive, initially amped up by the bouncing boobs and facials, was declining in the face of overexposure. I was getting paranoid that I’d never be adequate in bed, or that I’d start thinking really kinky things were normal and scare off my boyfriend. I was finding it easier to come up with derogatory slurs about the performers’ bodies and actions. And, I realized, I was coming to understand the bitterness that edged the voices of my editors and co-writers, the disgust with humanity that drove their daily routines. I told myself I wouldn’t let it happen to me; I’d keep my life and my work separate.

[... ] the longer I keep my tenuous toehold in the jizz rag biz, the more the realities of the porn industry stare me in the face, and it’s not just the faces covered in jizz that bother me. There are a lot of really upsetting things going on both inside and outside the studio, both on the industry and consumer sides, which are disturbing and decidedly unfriendly to women. The language used to describe them in industry terminology and in social contexts, the attitudes about their worth as human beings, the aesthetics with which they are presented to the world, and the acts they perform raise a lot of questions. I mean, what’s with the fake boobs and nails and eyelashes and tans and hair? Why the no-body-hair rule? And who came up with the idea that ejaculate is the new trend in facial moisturizers? On that note, where is the line between pleasure and degradation drawn, and by whom? Why have the past few years seen such an abrupt switch from full-length feature films to half-hour-long frenzies of manic semen spewing? Is anybody overseeing this whole operation, and if so, can we arrange to have a private sit-down chat?

Follow her tangents over at McSweeney’s.

Thanks to Laura Roberts for the tip.

In A Tough Economy, Five Bucks Go A Long Way

March 18, 2010 Culture, web 3 Comments

It’s a rough economy and many are desperate for extra cash. To help out (and profit), some visionaries launched a site called Fiverr, which enables people to list things they would do for five dollars. There’s a variety of categories from which to choose, from social marketing to programming.

But you can also:

Have someone rescue you from a bad blind date

Leave you flirty messages on your Facebook wall

Send you a love message

Talk with you on Skype for 30 minutes

Chat with you for as long as you like for a week

Make an mp3 file of all the things you want to hear

Call your ex and tell them they’re bad in bed

Send someone you know a creepy letter

Give you a private wakeup call

Argue with you about anything

Break up with your significant other for you

Amazing what five bucks will get you!

Erectile Dysfunction: Indicative of Heart Disease?

March 18, 2010 Health, News No Comments

A study out of Germany this week indicates that erectile dysfunction may be a powerful indicator of cardiovascular disease in men.

The study, which sampled 1,519 men from 13 countries with cardiovascular disease over a five-year period involved a questionnaire about erectile dysfunction that asked men to specify their degree of impotence.

During the five years that subjects participated, some of the men were given specific drugs for heart disease (which relax blood vessels and thus decrease the heart’s workload) while others were given placebos.

The study found that patients with erectile dysfunction had a higher prevalence of hypertension, stroke, diabetes and lower urinary tract surgery than those without erectile dysfunction. And deaths from all causes occurred in 11.3 percent of the patients who reported erectile dysfunction but in only 5.6 percent of those with no or mild erectile dysfunction at the start of the study.

“Erectile dysfunction is something that regularly should be addressed in the medical history of patients; it might be a symptom of early atherosclerosis,” said Dr. Michael Böhm, lead author of the study and chairman of Internal Medicine in the Department of Cardiology and Intensive Care at the University of Saarland, Germany. He stressed erectile dysfunction is “an early predictor of cardiovascular disease.”

Dr. Robert Stein — professor of cardiology at the New York University School Medicine, and spokesman for the American Heart Association — called the study a wake-up call.

The study appears in this month’s issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Information from CNN, via e*starLA.

Gaga Gives Cosmo Readers Love Advice

March 17, 2010 Hollywoody, News No Comments

I had a boyfriend who told me I would never succeed, never be nominated for a Grammy, never have a hit song, and that he hoped I’d fail,” the 24-year-old award-winning pop icon tells readers in Cosmo‘s April issue (we read Cosmo so you don’t have to — see how much we love you guys?).

Gaga did not dump the imbecile on the spot. But she did threaten him: “Someday when we’re not together, you won’t be able to order a cup of coffee at the fucking deli without hearing or seeing me.”

As Christine Spines notes in the article, most women say dumb things like that to assholes we’re dating.

But Gaga made it happen.

There’s something in that. That something is called dedication. Gaga is entirely devoted to her career.

“Some women choose to follow men, and some women choose to follow their dreams,” Gaga says. “If you’re wondering which way to go, remember that your career will never wake up and tell you that it doesn’t love you anymore.”

Photo by Kenneth Willardt for Cosmopolitan. Information from Cosmopolitan, April 2010.

Estranged Sex (NSFW)

March 17, 2010 Culture, Photography 1 Comment

“Human beings are presented here in all their pathetic splendour, tragic vulnerability and endearing humanity, as a familiar being silenced on his doubts and rarities, alienated and absent-minded,” says Spanish photographer Sandra Torralba of the subjects of her Estranged Sex series. “We observe it doubting in its quotidian spaces whereby he reflects back to us a shameful reality where the rarification of what’s natural coexists with the normalization of what’s weird.”

“‘Estranged’ refers to someone or something who was formerly close and no longer is,” writes Torralba. “Sexuality is understood as a psychosocial and biological entity present on each and every aspect of individuals existence, it is a vast and comprehensive understanding of the term that gives meaning to this series.”

Torralba goes on:

Estranged Sex is not a distorted reflection of reality given by a subjective mirror but more the reaction to such reality.

Equally, it is not a modern and sexually liberated statement, but rather a fight for a freer understanding.

What I propose is a reflection upon sexual taboos, the deconstruction of pornography, the naturalization of what’s humane and the normalization of the alienated, the legitimation of female sexuality’ s goodness and its understanding as something vast and complete. I am thus challenging the established boundaries upon sexuality and defying society’s compulsive obsession to control, condemn and restrict human nature.

“The dislocated and confused being, censored in his daily experiences, tries to find ways to reconcile its animality, corporeality and desires with social intrusions, with no luck, mindlessly getting on extraordinary circumstances, facing equally, what’s most beautiful and most ugly of experience,” she says.

We have written Torralba in hopes of getting an interview about this fascinating series, no doubt informed by the photographer’s background in psychology and sexual therapy, as well as some of her other work. We’ll keep you posted. In the meantime: enjoy Estranged Sex.

Via Crazy Sex Stuff.

Cock Longing

March 17, 2010 Diary 4 Comments

It’s there pressed up against my leg. I feel the hard lump hidden in the layers of clothing. My hand travels to the button of his jeans, pulls the button through the loop hole and pushes the zipper down enough for me to shove my hand in. I first feel the hardness through the thin material and I know he wants my flesh on his — it’s all a part of the tease. My hand goes to the waistband, prods it away and wraps around his hard appendage. I let out a sigh and, as I stroke his hardness, a sigh escapes from his lips.

There is something addicting about our interactions and his cock. His size is pleasant and it seems to hit so perfectly against my g-spot when he is fucking me as I chant, “hurt me, hurt me, hurt me.” His cock has caused me to squirt and come in ways I have never truly experienced. It’s beautiful to look at and smooth to suck on. His sensitivity to touch and tongue arouses me and makes me want to do what I can to see, hear and feel those responses. I get off on getting him off and vice versa. I love laying there, casually fondling him while having a conversation just to hear the long pauses as he reacts to my fingertips on that spot. I get off on disturbing the normal mind flow.

Seeing him is not as frequent as I would like. There is distance and schedules that do not always collide as they should. When we do finally come together there is that first moment that I treasure every time… that first second of penetration. I always tighten up during our time apart and that mix of pain and pleasure of him forcing his way back inside of me gets me off to no end. I want to savor and relish moment but then I get enthralled with the fucking at hand.

His cock is magic and this why not just any cock will do for this nymphomatic fiend.

Dark Gracie (@darkgracie) is a widely-read, published sex blogger. Approaching her sexuality with her trademark honesty and humor, her work has appeared in Fleshbot and Sexoteric. This is her first collaboration with Sex and the 405. But don’t worry about being gentle, she enjoys a good spanking.

Image courtesy of the Sex and the 405 archives.

We’re in the DateDaily

Oh, cool! We made it into the DateDaily, another site about sex and relationship news. This is what they had to say:

“Sex and the 405 is your online newspaper with the latest headlines on sex and all the good (and atrocious) stuff that comes with. This is one sexy site, complete with all the news you’ll ever need to know about sex. Best part: The 101 section.”

Liquid Bacon

March 16, 2010 bacon!, Culture, Noms No Comments

Have you ever slept with more than one person at once and thought, “oh, God, if I could just put A’s epic blowjobs and her long legs and B’s love of anal and massive Rolodex on C’s sense of humor, pop culture prowess and tits, I’d have the ideal woman…”

We’re like that about breakfast here at Sex and the 405. We like our coffee and we love our bacon. And guess what? Now we can have both — at once. And you can too!

Allow us to introduce you to Boca Java Maple Bacon Morning ($7.49), a coffee that brings you the fine flavor of bacon and maple syrup all in one caffeinated gulp.

Information via UrbandDaddy.

Star Warz Burlesque

March 16, 2010 Events, SciFet No Comments

The line circled around the block to get into the Music Box Friday night in anticipation of Devil’s Playground’s sold out Star Warz, an evening of burlesque and cabaret. The popularity of the first performance prompted Producer Courtney Cruz to find a larger venue for the encore. Using the Fonda allowed Creative Director Carlos Flores to develop a more robust production with a new set, revamped costumes for the original acts, from new characters (Death Star striptease?) down to Jawa stagehands to immerse the audience into George Lucas’ beloved space opera.

Han Solo’s inner monologue (Mathew McCullum) while suspended in carbonite acted as the night’s MC, introducing each act. I’ve always wondered what Han was thinking frozen in his captive state, and I was more than eager to see the girls bare all for a very eager audience.

First up was the Sith Lord Darth Vader (Charlotte La Belle). She spun her cape and stripped down to disco with light saber in hand, followed by doing the Charleston to the Mos Eisley Cantina theme. There was no doubt the Dark Lord knows how to handle her light saber and was not shy to show what she can do with it.

A shadowy figure then emerged from the audience and it was none other than Han Solo’s captor, Boba Fett (Audrey DeLuxe) who surveyed the scene before shimmying her jet pack off — much to the audience’s delight. As more was revealed of the bounty hunter, I couldn’t help but wish I had a bounty on my head.

Back on stage, the silhouette of a familiar figure behind a scrim appeared and C3PO (Lucy Fur) emerged. I’m sure I’d lift any droid ban in my bar after seeing 3PO’s clever cable corset that was quickly thrown off and while never breaking the droid’s robotic movements as she gyrated fringe and tassels all over the stage to Kraftwerk. I was never too fond of the protocol droid, but her extended tassel twisting certainly got my panties in a twist.

Immediately after 3PO’s exit, the motionless R2D2 (Sin Fisted) sprang to life when the front panel of Star Wars’ beloved droid broke free from her confining shell. She went wild, stripping herself from her cable confines and contorting herself, confusing limb from lines. It didn’t take her long to make it to the pole to and spin to the music, alternately contorting and climbing to take more spins around the pole.

After a brief intermission, we were taken to Jabba the Hutt’s lair as a cloaked figure lurked amongst audience members. Scarlet O’Gasm put any doubts of a sexy Hutt to rest as she seductively writhed and wriggled within a cocoon of balloons before emerging with several balloons attached all over her body. She then proceeded to teasingly pop them one by one, with help a Gorg to reveal a barely there chain bikini.

The cloaked figure soon emerged to grab hold of the chain around Jabba’s neck, and proceeded to drag the stripped down gangster away. As this was happening, I became giddier by the minute at the thought witnessing the ultimate role reversal of master and slave as the cloaked figure revealed herself as Slave Leia (Olivia Bellafontaine). No longer the only Star Wars fantasy figure, the bikini-clad rebel had her work cut out for her and proved to us there was even more to be lusted over in this Alderaan princess as she rocked her hairography and showed off her flexibility to Sweet Tooth by Marilyn Manson.

New to the Star Warz show, Daisy Meadows developed her Chewy routine after seeing the original performance at Bordello, and incorporated bathing in a claw foot tub, reminiscent of burlesque routines of old. It was difficult to imagine a Chewbacca routine that wouldn’t involve Wookiee shaving, and we got just that — our favorite Wookiee sharing an intimate moment as she bathed and shaved all that fur away… while never taking off the mask.

It was useless for me to even attempt at keeping with the storyline at this point of the show as it came time to what everyone was waiting for: the emergence of the show’s mascot Courtney Cruz as an Imperial Stormtrooper. The crowd went wild, as this clone was unlike any other as she slowly and removed one piece of armor at a time before ending her routine with a bang of her glitter cannon into the audience.

Not to be upstaged by her predecessor, the Death Star appeared from the back of the stage. The battle station then sprouted long, sexy legs as it floated and spun through space until it exploded to reveal an Imperial Guard (Miss Mia Vixen). The use of an umbrella to represent the Death Star blew my mind – using the underside of the umbrella to reveal the explosion of the Death Star as well as the burlesque dancer.

It was more than apparent the Fonda was filled with devout fans of the Star Wars franchise, as evidenced by audience members dressing in character for the show. It was also clear the women on the stage had a love and appreciation for the series as well, as it showed in the attention they put to their costumes and mannerisms (C3PO still moving in her awkward, jerky motion well after curtain call), something that made the evening that much more enjoyable.

If the ladies of Devil’s Playground are as big comic book nerds as they are Star Wars nerds (and it seemed like they do with their teaser glimpse of Catwoman on the alcove), we’ll all be in for a treat when they present Comic Book Vixens on June 20.

Corazon Rios (@lessthan3isme) has lived in the L.A. area for most of her life. She’s a self-described overexcitable fangirl of life trying to follow her bliss. A connoisseur of the fabulous in town and geek in her own right, we recruited her on Twitter to cover the Star Warz burlesque show on our behalf.

Image from Courtney Cruz.

You Fuck The Way You Date

March 15, 2010 Opinion No Comments

Our editrix has a sex and relationships column on BlogHer, not that you should know, because usually it’s more relationships than it is sex, but we thought this week’s offering would amuse you. Her theory is that a woman can tell everything she needs to know about how a man fucks by how he dates. An excerpt:

In her autobiography Sinner Takes All, porn star Tera Patrick talks about her horrible relationship with Erik Schrody, the lead singer of Everlast. Their first date would spell out the modus operandi of their entire two-year relationship:

Our first date was a movie date at his house. Ladies, don’t ever let a guy take you to a date at his house: (a) It’s cheap, (b) It shows disrespect (What? He didn’t want to be seen with me in public?), (c) It usually means all he wants from you is sex, and (d) It’s just plain lame. We deserve dinners and romance, don’t we?

I should have known how lame Erik would end up being by that very first date … and unbeknownst to me at that time, we started a pattern that would be the basis of our relationship: I come to his house. We sit on his couch. We watch TV. We have sex. I go home, utterly unsatisfied.

For two years, I would follow that pattern. The sex was never mindblowing. You can tell if sex is going to be good by how much effort a guy puts into you when you’re not under the sheets. Erik put zero effort into dating me, taking me out, or making me feel special or beautiful, and that selfishness extended into the bedroom.

While I don’t agree with Patrick that a house date is entirely out of the question (imagine how sexy it can be with some degree of effort: a home-cooked meal, a tour of the art and antiques he has collected over the years, a soundtrack and lighting he can control for mood and an open bar that never closes), I do agree that the way you date says everything about you.

You can read the whole thing here and comment there. Or you can just tell us what you think here.

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That Steam allows the objectification and sexualization of female characters in a variety of its games but refuses to accept a game about actually engaging with women in a more interactive fashion is astonishingly backward.

FetLife Is Not Safe for Users

That the site doesn’t take measures to protect user content and has shown incompetence or negligence in regard to user privacy, all the while prohibiting victims from warning others about predatory behavior creates an environment where it is nearly impossible for members of the community to take care of themselves and one another. By enabling FetLife to continue espousing a code of silence, allowing the spinning self-created security issues as “attacks,” and not pointing out how disingenuous FetLife statements about safety are, we are allowing our community to become a breeding ground for exploitation.

Why You Should Vote No On Prop 35

Should people who benefit (parents, siblings, children, roommates!) from the earnings of “commercial sex acts” (any sexual conduct connected to the giving or receiving of something of value) be charged with human trafficking? Should someone who creates obscene material that is deemed “deviant” be charged as with human trafficking? Should someone who profits from obscene materials be charged with human trafficking? Should people transporting obscene materials be charged with human trafficking? Should a person who engages in sex with someone claiming to be above the age of consent or furnishing a fake ID to this effect be charged with human trafficking? What if I told you the sentences for that kind of conviction were eight, 14 or 20 years in prison, a fine not to exceed $500,000, and life as a registered sex offender?

Pretty and Calls Herself a Geek? Attention Whore!

If you are a woman, you might be given a chance to prove yourself in this community. Since there is no standard definition of what a “geek” is and it will vary from one judge to the next anyway, chances of failing are high (cake and grief counseling will be available after the conclusion of the test!). If you somehow manage to succeed, you’ll be tested again and again by anyone who encounters you until you manage to establish yourself like, say, Felicia Day. But even then, you’ll be questioned. As a woman, your whole existence within the geek community will be nothing but a series of tests — if you’re lucky. If you aren’t lucky, you’ll be harassed and threatened and those within the culture will tacitly agree that you deserve it.

Cuddle Chemical? Moral Molecule? Not So Fast

Zak’s original field, it turns out, is economics, a far cry from the hearts and teddy bears we imagine when we consider his nickname. But after performing experiments on generosity, Zak stumbled on the importance of trust in interactions, which led him, rather inevitably, to research about oxytocin. Oxytocin, you might remember, is a hormone that has been linked previously to bonding — between mothers and children primarily, but also between partners. What Zak has done is take the research a step further, arguing in his recent book, The Moral Molecule, that oxytocin plays a role in determining whether we are good or evil.

How to Avoid Pissing off a Stripper

Let’s talk about the strippers. Whether they like to be half-naked or not, whether they enjoy turning you on or not, there’s one thing they all have in common: they’re working. Whether you think that taking one’s clothes off for money is a great choice of career is really beside the point (is it a possibility for you to make $500 per hour at your job without a law degree? Just asking). These women are providing fantasy, yes, but that is their job. And as a patron of the establishment where they work, you need to treat them like you would anyone else who provides a service to you.

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Sex and the 405 is what your newspaper would look like if it had a sex section.

Here you’ll find news about the latest research being conducted to figure out what drives desire, passion, and other sex habits; reviews of sex toys, porn and other sexy things; coverage of the latest sex-related news that have our mainstream media's panties up in a bunch; human interest pieces about sex and desire; interviews with people who love sex, or hate sex, or work in sex, or work to enable you to have better sex; opinion pieces that relate to sex and society; and the sex-related side of celebrity gossip. More...