Your Gear, To Go

January 23, 2010 Interview No Comments

Pam Mandel, a freelance tech and travel journo, has a fantastic post at BlogHer about what she lugs around with her all day.

This reminds me of a seminar way back in the day by John Gray, the guy who wrote Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus (and I just totally dated myself didn’t I? I was, like, five when I attended this thing, mmmkay). Gray made the attendees look into their bags. Apparently: the more stuff you have, the more issues you have.

This is amusing because nowadays, we carry a ton of stuff with us. I don’t think we’re necessarily getting more neurotic, though the contents of a bag do say something about the person holding it. Like what they do or what they like.

Jessica Janson, who blogged for us this week has a huge bag. When I met with her for drinks in Las Vegas, I couldn’t help but wonder what she carried around in there. Her stripper shoes? A laptop? A condo?

How many of you have wondered what the editrix-in-command of Sex and the 405 carried in her bag?

I’m sure the first thing you notice is the lack of condoms. Do not take this to mean I don’t advocate safe sex. In general, I prefer unprotected sex with a partner who has been tested for sexually transmitted diseases.

Now–Details and Playboy, for fodder, though it’s usually Details and Wired, with Psychology Today, Cosmopolitan and Playboy making occasional appearances, but I already polished January’s Wired and haven’t gotten February’s yet, so there we go.

A Flip cam for video interviews; a Canon Powershot for stills; an iPhone for everything from Twitter to GoogleMaps because I am always lost; conspicuously missing is my digital recorder on loan to another journo, an iPhone charger (which is vital, given how much I use mine), and an extra phone for the more expose-ish stuff we naughty sex bloggers sometimes have to do; that wire thing is for recording phone interviews; extra AAA batteries, which reminds me I’m out of AAs; lipgloss; lipstick in pink; sunglasses, because you never know how late you’ll be out; a wallet with cash; a Poken because business cards are lame; and a pen and pad for love notes and lists.

Yes, I have a huge thing for zebra print.

(And no, none of these things were given to me by sponsors. Though Marlboro is totes welcome to send me cartons and cartons of Reds ANY DAY in payment for the mad promotion I inadvertently give them every time I leave my apartment–and even when I don’t. Ahem.)

What about you? What do you carry around with you all day?

Epic Taschen Book Sale This Weekend!

January 23, 2010 Events, Vitals 1 Comment

Heads up, book sluts! Thousands of slightly damaged and display copies from the delightfully raunchy Taschen are on sale this weekend at super low prices–some as low as 75 percent. OMG! Instant orgasm!

Taschen Beverly Hills: 354 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Saturday, January 23rd, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sunday, January 24th, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Taschen Hollywood: Farmers Market, 6333 W. 3rd Street, CT-10, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Saturday, January 23rd, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sunday, January 24th, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

This event is worldwide! Looking for other cities? Check out Taschen.com!

Ashley Madison: Life Is Short, Have An Affair

January 23, 2010 web 3 Comments

I hadn’t been on the site minutes that my screen blinked indicating I had an IM.

Stranger: Are you behaving yourself today?

Me: No.

Stranger: oh really? watcha doing?

Me: Well, let’s see, I’m on a website where married people can meet to arrange an infidelity. I’m married. Does it sound like I’m behaving myself?

It was autumn, 2008. After continued insistence from my (now ex-) husband that blogging is pointless, I decided to give monetization a shot. Show a capitalist a profit, after all — even if it’s only a dollar — and he will see the light. So I got on AdSense and slapped some ads on my blog.

After writing a post dealing with infidelity, the ads lit up with all kinds of products: devices to spy on your spouse online, books about how to tell if your spouse is cheating, ways to tell if your crush is harmless or constitutes an emotional affair, lonely housewife classifieds and, finally, a married dating service by the name of Ashley Madison.

Google tells you that you are not allowed to click on your own ads, but I couldn’t help myself. I was genuinely interested in the product. The notion of a married dating service immediately conjured two different trains of thought: 1.) GENIUS, and 2.) What the hell?

Not that I’m a connoisseur of infidelity by any means, but doesn’t this sound particularly risky? You may be on a site for like-minded people, yes, but you can’t see them! A person can be like-minded until the moment she realizes she’s talking to her brother-in-law. Then it’s all over, isn’t it?

So there I was. Logged in under a pseudonym in the name of research. And curiosity, of course. And loneliness, maybe.

ME: So tell me—why are you here?

HE: I need a playmate.

ME: And what kind of play would you expect from her?

HE: real life.

ME: Your profile says “conventional sex is fine.”

HE: meaning it’s better than what I’m getting now.

ME: Have you ever had an affair or are you just beginning to look?

HE: never actually done it, but I think I need to.

ME: When was the last time you had sex?

HE: and enjoyed it? over a year.

ME: How long have you been married?

HE: 6yrs.

ME: How do you like it?

HE: everything is fine… except the sex. that’s why I’m here.

He didn’t seem to mind the cross-examination. A little more probing indicated that while he and his wife did enjoy a sex life, she often orgasmed too fast, became tired and left him unsatisfied.

“Aren’t you afraid I could be someone you know?” I asked him. “I’m paranoid about everything.”

He sent me a key to his gallery of photos.

“Do you know me?” he asked.

I didn’t.

“Would you ever meet me?” he asked.

“I’m scared,” I replied. I wasn’t lying.

“Me too.”

I talked to twelve men over the course of an hour, with handles like CuriousGuy, Looking4More2, DoTh1s, badkarma, statistic. Most of them were like the one above — they had never had an affair, they were sexually dissatisfied at home, and a lot of them were unsure of how to proceed.

And then there was the chronic cheater.

“I haven’t been on here for a while,” he told me without introducing himself. “I don’t have time. But I’m taking a long lunch. Let’s meet for a nooner.”

“Do you just approach women like this when you come on here?” I asked, a little shocked.

“I don’t have time to chit chat. You’re here because you wanna fuck, I’m here because I wanna fuck, so let’s go fuck, you in?”

“Do you get a lot of ass?”

“As much as I can. You cumming or you wasting my time?”

“I’m wasting your time.”

“Think about it. I’ll hit you up again next time I come on here.”

What at first had appeared difficult and laden with all kinds of emotions was suddenly exposed as simple, as easy to schedule as a mani-pedi.

“Life is short,” the banner across the top of my screen read. “Have an affair.”

As I logged off, I couldn’t help but wonder how many people would meet that day with someone they hardly knew, someone they thought could help them escape their reality, just for that moment.

And out of those, how many would feel satisfied afterward?

I never went back on the site. I hated it. I hated it not because I thought what was going on was immoral — I hated it because I was jealous. What I didn’t realize until long after my divorce was that I would have been happy to simply be lacking for sex. But for me sex is a complete experience. It’s not just something I can schedule and feel filled with. I didn’t want to just hook-up. I wanted a soul-quaking communion.

And that’s much harder to compartmentalize than a lunch-time romp.

Images in this post, top: AV Flox, back when she had killer abs in 2008… and a Gateway, whoa. Bottom: from the Ashley Madison Agency.

Cindy McCain Supports Gay Marriage

January 23, 2010 News, Politics No Comments

Cindy McCain, wife of Republican senator and former Republican candidate for president in the 2008 election John McCain, has taken a public stance in support of same-sex marriage.

Below she appears in a poster for NOH8, a group fighting the ban on gay marriage here in California.

She and her daughter Meghan oppose Senator McCain’s belief that “the sanctity of marriage is only defined as between one man and one woman.”

According to the NOH8 campaign:

Aligning yourself with the platform of gay marriage as a Republican still tends to be very stigmatic, but Cindy McCain wanted to participate in the campaign to show people that party doesn’t matter — marriage equality isn’t a Republican issue any more than it is a Democratic issue. It’s about human rights, and everybody being treated equally in the eyes of the law that runs and protects this country.

We at Sex and the 405 approve of people standing up for what they believe even if it runs counter to one’s family or organization. That takes courage. Of course, our editor thinks that if we really cared about human rights, we’d eradicate the entire institution.

But then, she’s divorced. Of course she does.

Information from NBC.

Sex and the 405: First Runner Up for Sexiest L.A. Blog!

January 23, 2010 Our Happenings, Vitals 5 Comments

On Thursday night, your humble editrix attended the LA Weekly‘s L.A. Web Awards, a ceremony awarding the best Los Angeles-based sites in 36 categories.

There was no sex blog category, so we didn’t expect to be party to more than the usual shenanigans–as shown in the photo on this post.

(Yes, that is your humble editrix noming on a certain Mashable contributor and former CNN reporter who shall remain unnamed. Nom nom! That’s how we roll!)

We were delighted to find, however, that Sex and the 405 had been first runner up for LA’s sexiest site.

We came thisclose to pwning SuicideGirls, which, in our opinion, far exceeds us in sexiness, but still!

How hot is that?

So we want to take a second to thank all of you, because this blog wouldn’t be possible without your comments, tips, ideas, stories, etc. You make this blog, people. We’re just your creatures, sitting here to string the words together. It’s all you. So thank you. You make this half-magnum opus-half-sweatshop gig worth it.

We adore you.

We’d also like to congratulate our friends at Lalawag, who won best tech blog; Caroline on Crack, who took best drinking blog; The Streets Are Calling, who won for best low brow art blog; Alana Joy, who took most shameless self promoter; LAist, who won best news blog; Sorting with Style, who took best retail site; and Sarah J. Gim, who won for best commenter.

The photo in this post is by The Streets Are Calling–those guys are dangerous, they’re so good at capturing shenanigans. If LaLaWhat got hold of their outtakes, I’m fairly confident we’d all be screwed!

A Polite Society Soiree

January 22, 2010 Events 1 Comment

This is a blog about sex, but we like to focus on everything that leads to and follows after sex, too. To not do so would be an abrogation of our responsibilities to you, dear readers, and that just won’t do.

One of the things we set out to do when we first launched Sex and the 405–other than inform you about sex and relationships and inspire you to give and get some often and well–is to bring a little charm back to living. So it should come as no surprise that we’re now pimping I See Rude People: One woman’s battle to beat some manners into impolite society by Amy Alkon.


The Los Angeles Press Club is throwing her a soiree at World Café in Santa Monica next Wednesday, January 27.

WHEN: Wednesday, January 27, from 6:30 to 9:30PM
6:30 – 7:30PM: complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres
7:30: reading, followed by open bar and more hors d’oeuvres

WHERE: World Café, Santa Monica
2820 Main Street (at Ashland Way)
Santa Monica, CA 90405
310.392.1661

To RSVP, go here.

I don’t know about you, but it could be a charming little date on top of being, you know, a book by a brilliant, absolutely hilarious woman.

John Edwards Confesses, Enquirer Nominates Itself for a Pulitzer–You Know, Typical Post-Sex Scandal Stuff

January 22, 2010 News, Politically Erect 1 Comment

John Edwards has finally confessed what we already knew: that he’s the father of Rielle Hunter’s two-year-old child.

Below is his statement, as reported by the Washington Post:

I am Quinn’s father. I will do everything in my power to provide her with the love and support she deserves. I have been able to spend time with her during the past year and trust that future efforts to show her the love and affection she deserves can be done privately and in peace.

It was wrong for me ever to deny she was my daughter and hopefully one day, when she understands, she will forgive me. I have been providing financial support for Quinn and have reached an agreement with her mother to continue providing support in the future.

To all those I have disappointed and hurt, these words will never be enough, but I am truly sorry.

John R. Edwards

Edward and his wife of over 30 years, Elizabeth, have separated.

His confession session comes two weeks before the publication of a tell-all book by his former aide Andrew Young, whom, if you remember, at one point said was the father of the baby. The Politician is due out Tuesday, February 2. Yum, yum.

In related news, The National Enquirer is nominating itself for a Pulitzer based on their scoop and coverage of the saga.

Nerd Says: “No Glove, No Love”

January 22, 2010 Culture, Games, SciFet, web 2 Comments

And because you can always trust Craigslist to bring you the best of the best when it comes to our innermost desires, I present to you The Power Glove Handjob:

I can’t think of anything nerdier–but no nerds may apply!

From GamerCrave:

The Nintendo Power Glove, released in 1989, was an early Nintendo attempt at motion control. Players who donned the glove were granted no sexual favors, but instead the ability to control video games by moving a hand around. We all freaked out after seeing it in The Wizard, but it was too gimmicky and expensive, and it flopped. Good thing someone’s trying to put it to use, though I’m not sure what’s worse: Someone asking for a Power Glove hand job, or a sex toy that’s been collecting dust in a basement for 20 years.

I wonder what the GirlGamer community would have to say about this?

Oh, and PS? Here’s a Nintendo Power Glove on eBay, for those of you who think this is a brilliant idea. You’re welcome.

Screencap and information via GamerCrave.

Crowdsourced Sex: Coming & Crying

January 21, 2010 Books, Culture, web No Comments

“It’s not the business of all sex writers everywhere to solve the world’s sex problems.”

Written by tech and sex writer and sex educator Melissa Gira Grant, this statement would become the premise of the book Coming & Crying: real stories about sex from the other side of the bed. Using crowdsourcing to fill the book with real stories, Grant and Meaghan O’Connell recently completed the first round of pledges to have it published.

(In fact, demand is so huge, they doubled the amount of money they initially set as a goal in the first three days.)

Unsurprising, especially once you read Grant’s development on the original premise:

Sex writing within the limited scope of “erotica” has been unfairly burdened with rehabilitating sex in public. We as writers have to turn in work that exalts sex, always treats sex like the hottest, the most revelatory thing two (or however many more the CFS required) bodies can do together.

Sex within “real” “literature” doesn’t fare much better, where even if only a very tiny group of writers insist we write in a “post-sex” world, the rest are left making sense of how to not just fade-to-black on fucking.

Or worse than all of that and certainly within that, sex is never treated as a site of inquiry in its own right. Sex stands in for “freedom” or “cultural disintegration” or “womanhood” or whatever. Sex is asked to be too much, and “sex writers” are expected to answer to all of it. Oh, and make it really hot, too.

For some reason, the internet gives sex writing the room to breathe and be more than someone else’s platform to sell a thing or be a thing, anything but what it is: storytelling from a raw and flushed and necessary place. Sex, as commercialized and stupid as it gets online, is also still ours. The continuous partial disclosure of blogging (as in, you would never maybe say this much if you had to do it all at once) makes writing sex even more human, gives us nigh infinite space to say what needs to be said and not have to worry about how well it will do on a rack at the airport.

If we’re successful, we’ll have a beautiful, crazy, lovely book and before it even hits our shelves, a whole lot of people will have let us know how much they want that, too.

Watch the book trailer:

Now go get a copy.

Image from Coming & Crying. Information via Melissa Gira Grant.

The World’s Ultimate Libertine Gets Jealous?

January 21, 2010 Books No Comments

millet

Yes.

I was in college when The Sexual Life of Catherine M. came out. That, for me, was the perfect time to indulge in the auto-biographical account of the French critic’s orgies and anonymous sex days. That book and I enjoy a somewhat adversarial relationship now due to its detached, blatantly unerotic nature, but even so, I love that an intelligent, established woman came out about her sexual exploits.

“I reveled in it,” Millet says when she looks back on it. “It’s what I was truly good at–what I was the best at. I loved particularly the anonymity, the abandonment of orgies. The sensation that one was glorying in this unbelievable freedom, this transcendence… My sex life was always very important for me, for the construction of my personality, the definition of myself.”

Millet is back, this time with a book to shock us because of its emotional and psychological honesty. Her new book Jealousy covers three years during her marriage to Jacques Henric, when she discovered he was having infidelities. She had her own lovers, but the discovery still destroyed her. The Guardian elaborates:

“I had no need,” she has written, “to go and build love stories out of sexual relationships.” And: “I had love at home. I sought only pleasure outside.” So this sudden and vicious attack of “the timeless and universal malady”, she explains, was “a real crisis. Physical. I felt like there was no way out; I was living a contradiction. I knew I could never make him understand the pain he was causing me; I could only agree when he said: But how can you possibly reproach me, with the life you’ve led? Morally very difficult to deal with.”

The Sexual Life of Catherine M took a long time to write,” Millet explains. “But that was mainly just my own technical difficulty in writing. For Jealousy, I had to make a real effort, not so much to describe the crisis itself, but to relate the way I had behaved. Going through his papers, opening up his drawers, reading his letters–it doesn’t exactly cover one in glory, does it? That took me ages. Forever. These are very deep impulses, and they’re much more difficult to write about than mere sex.”

The jealousy is sprung not just at the idea of Henric with others, but also at the notion that sex was no longer what it had been for her.

“It was in the period when I was taking less and less pleasure in orgies,” Millet recounts. “And the discovery that Jacques was having relationships with other women perhaps exacerbated a feeling that I was returning to the state of self-doubt I’d known when I was younger. It’s as if I no longer possessed the sexual excellence that was mine when I was young; Jacques had it now. This was his moment, not mine. I imagined him enjoying a pleasure, a privilege, that I had once enjoyed. I suffered more from that than from any fear that he might leave me.”

Jealousy details the spectrum of her emotions and thoughts as carefully as her previous books does orgies and sexual positions.

When The Guardian‘s Jon Henley asks her whether the experience had changed her perspective in regard to having relationships, Millet doesn’t hesitate:

“I continue to believe that love and sexual desire are feelings you can experience divergently,” she says. “You can be attracted to and love many people at the same time. Of course, there are relationships that are more important, deeper, than others. But there are an infinity of ways in which a person can experience love. We’re fighting against the heritage of romanticism, mon ami. I hate giving advice, but we need to rid ourselves of the notion of l’amour unique. It’s not like that in real life. Romantic love affairs generally end in tears, you know. The point is that even having a relationship like that doesn’t stop you having others. Even from loving others.”

Jealousy is now available in the U.S.

Image from Groove Press. Information from The Guardian.

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Gamers Won’t Be Seduced, Will Stare At Random Cleav Instead

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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Editrix-in-Command:
AV Flox

In-House Theologian:
Robert Fischer

Eros and Desire Scholar:
Dawn Kaczmar

Scientific Consultant:
Jason Goldman

East Coast Liaison:
Jackie Summers

Arch-Nemesis:
Barbie Davenporte

Read about the contributors we've had over time on our staff page.

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About

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...