Why Does He Need To Masturbate To Porn When He Has Me?

January 12, 2010 Help!, Lessons 6 Comments

As someone who writes about sex and relationships (despite the fact that most people who read my column can generally come to the correct conclusion that I know very little about the latter) I am asked about how to deal with the private use of pornography by men quite frequently.

I’m going to be honest about this–once upon a time, it bothered me, too. I was in a relationship that I considered more than sexually adequate and one day, I walked in on my boyfriend getting off watching porn. I couldn’t understand it–was I doing something wrong? Was he lacking something? Also, WTF. I was in the next room and he couldn’t even invite me in to participate? What kind of bull is that?

I chewed him out.

And since I have had a blog since I was, like, five (total exaggeration, by the way, but close enough), I ran over to the computer and asked my humble couple hundred readers what the deal was. And that’s when I found out from several married, older women what was then the shocking truth and what I will tell you now: “honey, don’t panic. It has nothing to do with you.”

Mark Goulston, a couple’s counselor over at Psychology Today offers his take on it:

You might not like what I am going to say, but please hear me out. For women, verbally venting their frustrations is a great stress reliever. No one knows why; it just is. Well, for men, an orgasm is a great stress reliever (not to say that that isn’t also the case for women). No one knows why; it just is (Actually in an upcoming Usable Insight, you will discover that there is a reason why these work, based on recent findings in neuroscience).

There are two kinds of sex — sex with love and sex just for sex’s sake. Many husbands feel guilty about having sex just for sex’s sake with their wives, because they feel like they are using her as a thing (as opposed to making love to the person they care about).

So instead of using their wives as things, many men use pornography and masturbation (and often feel ashamed or even pathetic for doing so – one man in a couple’s session when confronted yelled in embarrassment, “Meet Hilda!” and pointed to his right hand).

I’m not advocating it or saying it’s a wonderful practice, I’m just saying it’s fairly common and not always unhealthy. Pornography and masturbation (in moderation) have probably saved more marriages than they have hurt. I think it’s pretty sad, but it’s just a fact of modern life. The trick of course is to do it in moderation rather than letting it become a full time substitution for real sex.

To give you an idea of the stress men feel, one man asked me a few months ago if I knew what the definition of a shower was. I told him I didn’t. He told me: “A shower is the place where grown men go to cry when they’re afraid they can’t keep the promise they made to their wives and children to always take care of them and don’t want their family to see how afraid they are.”

If you can show your husband that you understand the pressure and responsibilities on him, he may feel less alone and less stressed out. And if he feels less stressed out, he may not need to resort to pornography as much. Take him aside and say to him: “Nobody, including me, knows how awful the pressure from all your responsibilities makes you feel. And nobody, including me, knows that sometimes — even though you love me and our children — you wish you could be single and have nobody to worry about but you. Isn’t that true, honey? I’m sorry it’s so tough.”

From there, you may be able to start a dialog about what is worrying him and help him find positive ways of dealing with the pressures in his life.

Information from Psychology Today.

Avatar Sex Fail

January 11, 2010 Culture, Film 1 Comment

Late last month we reported on the sex scene in Avatar that was removed (but will appear in the special edition DVD). Gawker is reporting that Movieline has found the scene in the script posted online by Fox.

Presenting the ultimate exercise in dick-softening purple prose:

I really wish I had waited for the DVD. Ugh.

Information from Gawker, which officially ruins everything. And yet I can’t stop reading.

Out Late: Coming Out Past 40

January 11, 2010 Culture No Comments

Census-data analysis from UCLA’s Williams Institute found that 36 percent of women in their 40s with same-sex partners had previously been married to men. That percentage only seems to grow with age. What’s going on? More magazine has an interesting piece regarding the apparent fluidity of women’s sexuality:

Some women do feel as if they’ve been struck by lightning, says Joanne Fleisher, 64, a clinical social worker in Philadelphia. A late-blooming lesbian, she now moderates an Internet message board, Ask Joanne (at lavendervisions.com), for married women grappling with their sexuality.

Others say they had some lesbian feelings earlier in life but repressed them, only to find them suddenly coming back much stronger at midlife. But it’s impossible to state exactly how many women are having any version of this epiphany.

With no comprehensive research to go by, experts can go only so far in explaining how or why an apparently straight woman might feel lesbian urges at midlife.

“There’s a general recognition in the psychology and public health literature that women are much more likely to refer to themselves as bisexual than men are,” Gates says. Eli Coleman, director of the human sexuality program at the University of Minnesota Medical School, has studied both men and women who acknowledged a same-sex attraction during marriage.

“Almost 100 percent of the men were aware of their feelings before they got married,” Coleman says. “Many women, though, are unaware of same-sex attraction until they’re much older.”

He attributes this to several factors: “Women marry at an earlier age, before awareness might take place, and they may be more scripted by societal roles.”

Female desire, Coleman adds, is determined more “by emotional and relationship factors.” Men, he says bluntly, are “much more visually motivated.”

Could hormonal changes play a role? No studies have indicated that so far, Coleman says, but age does seem to be a factor: “The average time for this kind of crisis is somewhere in the late 30s to 40s. At midlife, you’re more likely to be reevaluating what you want.”

Image by Sara Le Dapperfish. Information from More magazine.

Avoid Going To Bed Angry

January 11, 2010 Help! No Comments

Relationships are hard work, they say. They’re totally lying. Hard work is being chairman of the Federal Reserve when the economy is collapsing. Relationships are more like being an over-worked, unpaid slave, building the pyramids at Giza.

Yeah, I know. I’m just a little ray of sunshine. But don’t worry! Psychology Today‘s Dr. Mark Goulston has a piece up about how to avoid going to bed angry. Let me tell you–there is nothing more corrosive to a relationship than unspoken anger and unresolved issues. I know all about it, but I will leave it to the experts:

Often before you get to feeling angry, you start out feeling frustrated. Frustration is a rather unstable emotion and often slides into one direction or another. Either you begin to feel like a victim or feel self-righteous, both of which can lead to your becoming angry. Once that happens you’re in a reactive mindset and it’s unlikely that a conversation at that point will go anywhere but downhill. So next time that happens to you, while you are in the frustration phase, do the following to counteract your slipping and sliding into those other places:

To counteract feeling like a victim, pause and think of three things you are deeply grateful to your partner about, You’ll find that you can’t be grateful and feel like a victim at the same time. For me, that would be my wife attending to the thankless details of our home that would drive me nuts, being there for my kids and me and grounding me when my mildly ADHD/bipolar traits start me rushing down the runway.

To counteract feeling self-righteous and as if the other person is utterly clueless, pause and think of three things that make you a piece of work to live with. You’ll find that you can’t feel earnest humility and be self-righteous at the same time. For me, that would mean my wife tolerating my mildly ADHD/bipolar traits, my disorganization and the Don Quixote in me.

Information from Dr. Mark Goulston.

The Hottest Bod in The World

Mid-December, we told you about a contest featuring some serious man meat, Hottest Bod in the World contest.

The results, ladies and gentlemen, are in: the winner, with over 20,000 votes is 26-year-old Jordon Nemitz and he’s coming to Hollywood later this month–in the form of a billboard, to be displayed for our oggling delight (as we battle gridlock traffic-induced nosebleeds) above the W at Hollywood and Vine.

Until then, we have secured some exclusive shots from last week’s NYC photo shoot with the Hottest Bod winner! Yes, you can click for bigger images. And yes, we know you love us. If you’re really nice, maybe we’ll bring you along when this hunk of man comes to town to party in a few weeks.

Until then…

Porn Star for the Neutering and Spaying of Animals

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, otherwise known as PETA, is well-known for its controversial, largely WTF? campaigns. Just last month, they got hell (literally) for some ads featuring Playboy model Joanna Kruga naked save for a crucifix.

Now, once again exercising their cleverness (not really?), they’re making a point about fixing your pets with porn star Sasha Grey:

Um… OK, PETA. But, look, we forgive you. I mean, it’s Sasha-effin-Grey.

Image via Fleshbot.

What America Said About Adam Lambert

January 9, 2010 Hollywoody No Comments

As you may recall, at the close of the American Music Awards of 2009, former Idol runner up Adam Lambert performed his first single For Your Entertainment, a raunchy tribute to rough sex that contains delicious little jewels such as “It’s alright, you’ll be fine, baby, I’m in control. Take the pain, take the pleasure, I’m the master of both.”

We like that. And we thought his performance was nothing particularly out of the ordinary given that nowadays everyone and his shoe retailer tries to do something really shocking during award shows. From Angelina Jolie sucking face with her brother James Haven at the 2000 Oscars all the way to Madonna kissing Britney Spears, then Christina Aguilera, at the MTV Video Music Awards, shock has become so commonplace at these things as to no longer be all that shocking. (Scroll to the end of the post for the clip.)

But, you know, we’re a little more progressive (and dare we say, rational?) than most people.

The watchdogs at the Parents Television Council were not quite so calm in regard to the performance, which briefly simulated oral sex and involved a kiss between Lambert and a male performer. The group urged viewers to complain to the FCC if they were living in an area where the performance was shown before 10PM local time.

The FCC has received 5,000 complaints just for his performance alone. And now, we can all get a look at what America’s saying thanks to The Smoking Gun:

Speaking in his own defense, Lambert was quickly to point out to Rolling Stone magazine: “Female performers have been doing this for years–pushing the envelope about sexuality–and the minute a man does it, everybody freaks out. We’re in 2009–it’s time to take risks, be a little more brave, time to open people’s eyes and if it offends them, then maybe I’m not for them. My goal was not to piss people off, it was to promote freedom of expression and artistic freedom.”

Adam Lambert AMA 2009Click here for funny video clips

Image of Lambert from the official Adam Lambert website, complaints via The Smoking Gun.

Reversing Vasectomies–There’s A Bot For That

Urologists at the University of Florida are using robots to reverse vasectomies, effectively shaving off 20 minutes of surgery time from the procedure. Not only does this spare surgeons’ backs, as they have to be bent over a patient operating with high-power microscopes, but it appears that the decreased time spent in surgery enables sperm count in patients to return faster.

“For a couple that’s trying to get pregnant, this is a big deal,” said Dr. Sijo Parekattil, director of male infertility and microsurgery at the University of Florida, who led the study, soon to be published in the Journal of Endourology.

Many types of surgery are now being aided by robots, and surgeons continue to explore new areas in which they can be used.

“This is state-of-the-art stuff, it’s cutting-edge, and a stepping stone to understanding whether or not we can use this technology on a more widespread basis,” said Dr. Wayne Kuang, director of Male Reproductive Health at University of New Mexico, who was not involved in the study. “It’s a natural progression from back in the days when we just had magnified eyeglasses.”

But vasectomy reversal via bot is not without controversy: many specialists believe that developing an expensive robot to do something that’s already done with a microscope is a waste of resources and that the costs associated for patients (a bot-assisted reversal is $3,000 more than a conventional vasectomy reversal).

“The big question is did it improve outcomes — either pregnancy rates or the time spent in surgery?” said professor Dr. Jay Sandlow, vice chair of the department of urology at Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, who initially had reservations about the robotic procedure but after seeing the preliminary results now says he sees value in the method.

“It certainly looks as if he has done that,” said Sandlow, who was not involved in the study. “He has shown a meaningful decrease in the amount of time it takes to do these robotically compared to the open procedure.”

It’s also worth noting that since many hospital fees are based on time, cutting down on operating time could offset some of the cost of using the robot.

It is too soon to tell whether pregnancy rates have improved since the conclusion of the 2009 study that compares the results of 20 men who had the robotic procedure and the seven who had the microscopic one.

But two months after surgery, average sperm count in the robotic surgery group was 54 million, compared with 11 million in the microscopic surgery group. Early results show that the difference in sperm count between the two procedures decreases over time, however.

Information from the University of Florida.

Fruit Fly Hook-Ups

January 9, 2010 News, Research No Comments

OMG, ever wonder why male fruit flies have spikes in their genital areas?

Yeah, me neither, but scientists are starting to figure it out, so I’m going to share with you: male fruit flies use these spikes to hook onto the female and prevent sliding during sex. They “hook up”–literally! Get it?

Not very long ago, researchers had suggested these spikes were used to deliver sperm into the wounds they inflicted on females, but evolutionary biologists at the University of Cincinnati zapped off the spikes of a few male fruit flies (Drosophila bipectinata) and found that males were still able to inseminate the females–though with much more difficulty, as they continuously slid off during copulation.

“In Drosophila, unwilling females resist male sexual advances by vigorous kicking with their hind legs, bucking, extruding their genitalia in telescoping fashion, and if all else fails, by simply running or flying away from eager males,” said researcher Michal Polak, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Cincinnati. “The spines may be an evolutionary solution in males to overcome these forms of female resistance.”

Essentially, the spikes act like grappling hooks or genital Velcro, preventing the female from pushing off a male, or as LiveScience says, “like seatbelts on a bucking bronco.”

(Yeah, science reporting for the masses is really fun.)

But because researchers have not studied the female of the same species, it is hard to say whether these spines behave as Velcro or hooks. Polak suggests it’s the former, as the spines seem to embed at the same place on female genitals, meaning there could exist a place for the spine to anchor itself on the female.

He and his colleagues are planning to conduct more laser studies on genitals to get to the bottom of creatures’ adaptive functions in sexual selection.

Can’t wait!

Image from LiveScience and BOLD Systems. Information via LiveScience.

Ron Jeremy: Video Games Are Worse Than Porn

January 9, 2010 Culture, Games No Comments

There was a little AVN at CES this year when Ron Jeremy joined anti-pornography activist Craig Gross to discuss pornography in the age of the web.

Jeremy described porn as entertainment. Gross countered it was “a cheap substitute for sex,” warning it had become a sex ed tool that taught children to have false expectations about sexuality.

Jeremy insisted that the industry caters to viewers who are over the age of 18.

“We don’t want kids to watch porn,” he said. But even if they do, there are far worse influences out there, he noted, saying: “[Studies have] found that violent video games are much bigger a negative influence on kids.”

Information via PC magazine.


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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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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...