Facebook: Rising Cause of Divorce

January 5, 2010 Culture, Opinion, web 1 Comment

Social media brought with it the ability to connect with old and new friends. It was labeled the solution to the problem of loneliness experienced by a more and more mobile generation. But nothing is without its drawbacks, as some divorce lawyers with enough time to peruse divorce petitions discovered.

They found one in five cited Facebook as cause for divorce.

“I had heard from my staff that there were a lot of people saying they had found out things about their partners on Facebook and I decided to see how prevalent it was,” Mark Keenan, Managing Director of Divorce-Online, told the UK’s Telegraph. “I was really surprised to see 20 per cent of all the petitions containing references to Facebook. The most common reason seemed to be people having inappropriate sexual chats with people they were not supposed to.”

Sexy chats. E-mails. Wall posts. Private albums. It used to be that affairs had to be conducted secretly on our own time. Now, they can unfold as we sit beside our spouses in bed, typing on our laptops as they read.

But is it that more people are cheating because of how much more accessible people are, or is it that it’s just easier for people to get caught?

This month’s issue of Details gives us some hard numbers in their article “Everyone Else Is Cheating–Why Aren’t You?”:

Numbers from the book Lust In Translation, by Pamela Druckerman.

“A lot of people are coming to terms with the unnaturalness of monogamy,” says David P. Barash, co-author of Strange Bedfellows: The Surprising Connection Between Evolution, Sex and Monogamy. “But there’s a difference between the public persona–what we like to think of each other–and what we all know goes on.”

And this, perhaps, is why Facebook is so dangerous.

Read the rest of this piece, including what’s wrong with marriage, at Twirlit…

Good For You

January 4, 2010 News, Research No Comments

The Sydney Morning Herald has compiled an entire alphabet of things that are good for you.

Unsurprisingly, a few of them deal with sex and sexy things. Surprisingly, one of the pieces of good news was actually very bad news.

KISSING

University of Zurich researchers studied 51 German couples for a week and found those who reported more physical contact had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in their saliva. But you need to be in a close relationship to benefit because apparently, indiscriminate kissing just won’t do. And it increases your risk of meningitis, a deadly infection of the lining surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

ORGASM

Orgasms are natural stress-relievers. Serotonin levels in the brain become elevated during sexual activity, promoting a sense of well-being that has a calming effect on cravings, such as those for junk food or cigarettes. An orgasm can also help boost the immune system and flush toxins from the skin.

UNDERWEAR

This is actually bad news: researchers are suggesting the loose cotton variety of undies is optimal to prevent fungal infection, which tends to occur in moist, airless and warm places such as the vagina or the anus. Loose undergarments are also preferable for men, as tight underwear can affect sperm production by increasing the temperature of the testes.

Maybe I’d give up smoking if the man of my dreams promised to make me orgasm every day, at least three times a day. But giving up cute underwear or letting him defect to loose boxers so I can no longer enjoy looking at his package? Never gonna happen.

Information from The Sydney Morning Herald.

Forget the Gym! Hit the Sack!

January 4, 2010 Culture No Comments

I love Britain.

Get this, according to an old article I found browsing the BBC for juiciness to offer you, the British National Health Service (NHS) devised a plan in 2006 to help people become more serious about their exercise routines. They called it: sexercise.

The article, which no longer appears to be available, stated, in part: “Forget about jogging round the block or struggling with sit-ups. Sex uses every muscle group, gets the heart and lungs working hard, and burns about 300 calories an hour.”

The BBC reported that NHS stressed sex because it is known to lower the risk of heart attacks and helps people live longer. Endorphins released during orgasm stimulate immune system cells, which also helps target illnesses like cancer, as well as wrinkles!

Despite criticism in the press, the NHS site, NHS Direct, told the Guardian the content of the article “Get more than zeds in bed” was “backed by science and clinical evidence” and “isn’t just a bit of fun.”

More nuggets from the piece:

  • Sex with a little energy and imagination provides a workout worthy of an athlete.
  • If you’re worried about wrinkles–orgasms even help prevent frown lines from deepening.
  • Regular romps this winter could lead to a better body and a younger look.
  • Increased production of endorphins make your hair shine and your skin smooth.
  • Orgasms release painkillers into the bloodstream, which helping keep mild illnesses like colds and aches and pains at bay.
  • The production of extra oestrogen and testosterone hormones will keep your bones and muscles healthy, leaving you feeling fabulous inside and out.

Pity they took the article down. Then again, we don’t really need a ton of reasons for having it. Sex feels good–go and have it.

Safely, of course.

Information from the BBC.

What It Feels Like For A Girl(friend)

January 3, 2010 Books, Culture 2 Comments

The zeroes flew by, didn’t they? We’re here to give you a recap of books that caught our eyes, captured our hearts and made us think during the noughties.

Thirty-four years ago, a young, unknown graduate student tackled the myth that most women should be able to orgasm through vaginal intercourse in a book that revolutionized our understanding of women’s sexuality. The book was The Hite Report on Female Sexuality and it shot its author Shere Hite, to center stage.

Having surveyed over 3,000 women about their sex lives, Hite had enough data to back up a revolutionary claim: that conventional sex placed unrealistic expectations on women.

“I was making the point that clitoral stimulation wasn’t happening during coitus,” Hite told The Independent in an interview several decades later. “That’s why women ‘have difficulty having orgasms’–they don’t have difficulty when they stimulate themselves. Shouldn’t we just rethink the idea of what sex is and what equality is?”

Hite’s wasn’t an attack on men, it was an attack on a general lack of understanding about female sexuality. Being able to delight in sex as much as one’s partner is a matter of equality and human rights.

Since that revolutionary work, Hite has explored other areas, such as the societal pressure placed on men to perform, and her belief that religious extremism in the East and West is the manifestation of protest against the growing power of women.

Her 2007 book The Hite Report: On Women Loving Women, is an examination of friendship and partnerships between women and why they fail.

Jessica Brinton at the Times Online offers her take:

Hite says that there is an underlying tension in relationships between girls that makes us compete with each other rather than get along. She thinks that if we could only overcome it, we would be all set for a new kind of 21st-century female power, one that relies not on trying to be sexier than one another, but on helping each other out.

On the face of it, she’s spot-on. We do give other girls an unnecessarily hard time. These days, it isn’t considered chic to bitch, Dynasty-style – we leave the crude viperishness to the Jordans, the Cheryls and the Poshes. Competitiveness comes in a different guise: an awesomely sophisticated game of one-upmanship. Do you have the latest Mulberry bag? Are you wearing this season’s key shape in denim? Will you go back to work after having a baby – and if so, how long after? Is your baby sleeping through the night? No? Oh, you poor thing. Urgently trying to guess a woman’s age the moment you meet her is not very sisterly. Nor is our morbid fascination with the collapsing lives of Misses Winehouse and Spears.

And even when we are not getting one over on other women, we are probably still forgetting to give them the respect they deserve. Yes, we tell each other when a new haircut looks fab, but if we are honest, our girlfriends are mostly there to play a supporting role in our lives with men. Married women complain how hard it is to make and maintain new friendships. The only permanent fallout I have ever had with a close girlfriend happened because of a stupid misunderstanding over a man. The ITV series Mistresses was hit girls’ television but, like Sex and the City and Desperate Housewives before it, the implication was that the beautiful friendships at its centre wouldn’t have had anything like the intensity without the fuel of romantic crisis.

If Time Flies When You’re Having Fun, Will You Have Fun If You Make Time Fly?

January 3, 2010 News, Research No Comments

Einstein said it best when he explained relativity: “When you sit with a nice girl for two hours, it seems like two minutes. When you sit on a hot stove for two minutes, it seems like two hours.”

Yes, everyone knows that time slips away at light speed when you’re having fun. But is the reverse true? Is it possible to have fun if you somehow make time move faster? Aaron Sackett, a psychology researcher at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, decided to put the idea to the test.

Fun isn’t the only thing that makes time appear to fly by, after all, he reasoned. Drinking coffee or using any upper, or experiencing an adrenaline rush can easily have the same effect.

Since he couldn’t exactly change the speed of time, he and researchers worked on speeding up or slowing down the perceived passage of time by taking away subjects’ mobiles and watches (“so they could better concentrate,” they told them) and flat-out lying about what time it was.

Subjects were told to read a text and underline all words with double letter combinations, like apple or mammal. Half of the participants were told they would be doing this for five minutes and the other half for 20. In truth, both groups did the exercise for 10.

The fibs created surprise among the subjects when they were told their time was up. For those told they were doing the exercise for five minutes, it seemed endless. For those who thought they were doing the execise for 20 minutes, time seemed to speed by.

“People who thought that they spent 20 minutes on this 10-minute task, for whom those 20 minutes, in their mind, flew by, rated the task as much more enjoyable, as more fun, and just overall more positively than did participants who felt as though time dragged by,” Sackett says.

To see if fun things could be made even more fun, the researchers had people pick their favorite songs. As they listened to them, a rigged clock on the music player counted the seconds, either speeding them up or slowing them down slightly.

“When we instigated this sense that ‘time flew by’ while they were listening to the song, they rated it even more positively than they otherwise would have,” says Sackett.

The sense that time was speeding by also made the annoying slightly less annoying: in another study, the researchers tricked subjects about how long they’d be exposed to horrible noise. When participants were made to believe they’d been listening for shorter time than they actually were, they reported to hate the sounds. But those who believed they’d be exposed longer but were not “just sort of slightly disliked it,” says Sackett.

Why is this? Sackett thinks it’s because we have been conditioned to believe the fast passage of time indicates fun.

To test this, he did the underlining experiment again and gave the participants earplugs, casually suggesting that these may affect their perception of time. For these people, there was no “time flying effect.”

“It was like they no longer needed to make that attribution that ‘Time was flying, I must have had fun,’ ” explains Sackett. “Instead, they said to themselves, ‘Well, time was flying because I had earplugs in.’”

A report about this study is set to appear in the journal Psychological Science.

Information from NPR.

Samantha Is a Man-Eater, Kim Cattrall Takes Tea

January 3, 2010 Hollywoody, News No Comments

Kim Cattrall plays Samantha Jones on Sex and the City, the ultimate man-eater, and she has profited from that reputation with her books Sexual Intelligence, Being A Girl and Satisfaction: The Art of the Female Orgasm. But Kim Cattrall is no femme fatale.

“I could not go into a bar and pick up a man,” she told The Daily Mail in an interview on the set of Sex and the City 2 in Marrakesh. “That is so foreign to me it’s not even in my hemisphere. I am totally insecure. That is predatory behavior, and I don’t consider myself a predator. In fact, I feel sometimes that I am the pursued.”

Cattrall has been married three times and recently ended her five-year relationship with the chef Alan Wyse, 20 years her junior. Now she is single again.

“I’m starting to date,” she said. “It feels all right. It’s very hard to be private about that. Whenever you step out for a drink or dinner, whomever you’re with becomes your latest beau. Which is a bit of a laugh for my gay friends.”

Kim describes herself as being a family person, and her recent search for her long-lost maternal grandfather–who abandoned his wife and children in Liverpool when Kim’s mother (now 80) was eight years old–featured in the BBC series Who Do You Think You Are? The moving programme–in which her grandfather was discovered to have bigamously remarried, had another family and relocated to Australia–showed a very different side to the actress and revealed her closeness to her mother and her two Liverpool-based aunts.

“I come from a long line of strong Scouse women. It is not just an accent, it’s almost a constitution – held together by tea. Growing up, I remember there was always a pot on the back burner, and during the filming of Who Do You Think You Are? the bonding always seemed to happen over a cup of tea,” she says, adding, with a gentle laugh, that her mother regards her daughter’s role in a Tetley tea advert as her greatest acting achievement.

Who’da thunk it?

Image by Trevor O’Shana. Information from The Daily Mail.

Do You Have A Post-Coital Thing?

January 2, 2010 Culture 15 Comments

“Do you have a thing?” my friend Jessica asked me. We were newly spray-tanned, sprawled out on her huge Las Vegas bed, surrounded by bags from different lingerie shops, exhausted after a day of not a whole lot of anything.

“A thing?” I asked her. “What kind of thing?”

“A thing you do with guys,” she replied.

“Like a sexual trademark move?” I smiled. “Of course.”

“No, no–” she said. “After sex. Something you do.”

“Leave?” I asked, half-joking.

“Hmmm,” she said. “That’s so true. You do always leave.”

“I do not always leave!” I exclaimed.

“Eventually.”

I don’t know what bothered me more, that she thought I was the type to run perpetually, or that I wasn’t creative enough to have “a thing.”

“What’s your thing?” I asked.

She turned over and smiled, looking at me.

“Jewelry,” she said. “I always leave jewelry behind. Not on purpose, I just seem to.”

“What if you never see them again?”

She shrugged.

“Like an offering,” I mused. “That’s so… that’s really charming.”

After I left Las Vegas, I obsessed about this for weeks. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Surely I did something. We can’t help it–we’re creatures of habit. Every lover is an intensely different experience, every lover awakens in me a different sexual aspect, yes, but humans are creatures of habit. There is always something we do.

Just as I was beginning to let it go, I ran into an old piece on Hollyscoop about Lady Gaga’s morning-after ritual:

The morning after she has sex, she peels off her long fake eyelashes and leaves them on her lover’s bed as a keepsake.

She said: “Whenever I have a lover I leave them in their apartment on the pillow. Kind of like a keepsake.”

That was it. Even Gaga had “a thing.” Yes, it was a little unsettling, but it was a thing.

My phone rang, it was an ex-fiance from years ago (who left me, by the way. OK, fine, I left him first. Still).

“What did you leave behind?” he asked. “Hair. Everywhere. And cigarette ash. All over the bed.”

“That’s so unattractive.”

“No, really?” he said, laughing. “I can’t believe you’re asking. You write. You write your lovers the most beautiful things.”

Oh, how could I forget that?

Yes, if I sleep with you, I’ll write about you. If I like you, I’ll send you little missives. If I love you, I’ll build you a monument in words.

I call it the Jean Paulhan Club.

Do you have “a thing”? Is “a thing” charming or does it cheapen the experience, reducing a gesture into a meaningless act?

Never Too Old For A Sex Tape (And Scandal)

It’s official: everyone has a sex tape except for me.

Eighty-six-year-old Narain Dutt Tiwari was the proud governor of the Andhra Pradesh in India until last week when a television station aired a tape of him getting down with not one, but three young women.

Tiwari denounced the tape on Friday, saying it is a fake, but he resigned later that day citing “health reasons.”

According to the channel that exposed the video, ABN Andhra Jyoti, the foursome came about after Tiwari promised a woman a mining lease in exchange for serious playtime. The woman brought the three women in the video to him and exposed the governor after he failed to keep up his end of the bargain.

The channel was barred by the courts from re-broadcasting the sex tape on Friday when the office of the governor filed a petition arguing that the video was “likely to demean and denigrate his office.”

Image and information from NY Daily News.

Mythbusting: Sex and the Elderly

January 2, 2010 Lessons No Comments

Sex doesn’t stop as we get older. Let me refer you to a report by Patricia Bloom, MD of Mount Sinai-New York, expert on the matter of sexuality from the third age and beyond:

The level of sexual interest and activity among people over the age of 65 is as diverse as the individuals who make up that population. A survey of married men and women showed that 87% of married men and 89% of married women in the 60-64 age range are sexually active. Those numbers drop with advancing years, but 29% of men and 25% of women over the age of 80 are still sexually active. These figures would probably be higher if one or the other partner weren’t hindered by infirmities or if opportunity presented itself to widows or widowers

The older years are for many a time when children are no longer lurking in nearby bedrooms, and there is no longer a need to rise early in the morning for work. Older age can be a time of freedom to explore sexual expression in ways never before possible.

Recent studies showed that men who have more than two orgasms per week have lower mortality statistics. What is probably true is that people who are well, healthy and vigorous enough to engage in sexual activity are also healthier in general. Sexual activity, in its many forms, can be physically, intellectually, and spiritually fulfilling. It is often a good form of exercise, and it can stimulate the brain and promote good mental function. What is most important is to find the type of sexual expression that suits you best.

Some people, either by choice or by necessity, find much gratification in sexual self-stimulation. Many who have overcome resistance to this have been exhilarated by the experience especially with the availability of sex toys. Others explore sexual sharing in new ways with a longtime partner, or with new partners. Still others, especially elderly women, have discovered new intimacies with same-sex partners, even after spending most of their adult lives in heterosexual relationships. The key to satisfaction and sexual fulfillment in later life is individual choice.

There are many bodily changes as we age, and some can modify our sexual experience in later years. Both women and men experience slower arousal responses. This can lead to anxiety in people who do not understand that this change is normal. Women’s bodies change in some of the following ways: The lips of the vagina (the labia) and the tissue covering the pubic bone lose some of their firmness. The walls of the vagina become less elastic. The vagina itself becomes drier. The clitoris can become highly sensitive, even too sensitive.

The entire male sexual response tends to slow down in the following ways: there is a delay in erection. There is a need for more manual stimulation to achieve an erection. The “plateau” phase, or period between erection and ejaculation, is prolonged. Orgasm is shorter and less forceful. The penis loses its firmness rapidly after ejaculation. The refractory period can be quite long, even up to a week in very elderly men.

There are numerous ways in which men and women can adapt to aging changes and continue to be, or become, a sexually active:

  • Realize that sexual arousal takes longer and requires more manual stimulation. Take all the time that you often didn’t have in younger years to pleasure each other or yourself.
  • Share what makes you feel good with your partner.
  • Take time to explore all the tactile, visual, auditory, and even olfactory aspects of intimacy.
  • Make adequate lubrication part of your routine, to avoid irritation of the vagina or painful intercourse. A water-based lubricant is best; oil-based lubricants and petroleum products such as Vaseline may be difficult to flush out of the vagina, possibly causing irritation or infection. You should make applying the lubricant part of your lovemaking routine.

Some women with extreme vaginal dryness and irritation may benefit from vaginal estrogens, effects of estrogens, both positive and negative, should be discussed with your doctor. If you use estrogen cream, use as little as is effective for as short a time as possible to get the desired effect. If you are taking oral estrogens for other reasons, you will probably experience beneficial effects on the vagina.

For older men; be patient. Realize that more stimulation is required to achieve an erection. If you can’t achieve a satisfying or effective erection despite prolonged manual stimulation, you may be one of many men who experience erectile dysfunction. See your doctor, who may well be able to treat the problem. If you are taking medications that may be impairing your sexual performance, be sure to discuss it with your doctor. Let him or her know that sexual activity is important to you. Frequently, medications can be substituted that have less effect on sexual activity.

If the above suggestions are not sufficient to help you achieve the level of activity you desire, ask for help; your primary care doctor, urologist, or gynecologist may be able to help, or may refer you to a sex therapist.

“The human animal should be a sexual critter throughout life,” says Patricia Bloom. The key is understanding and rolling with the changes.

Information from Global Action on Aging, via Othniel Seiden, MD.

The Resolution

January 1, 2010 Causes, Vitals 4 Comments

The word sensual falls from lips like a silk slip slides down a body to the floor. I don’t think “sex” conjures as much pleasure as “sensual.” Sex doesn’t have to be sensual. But sensual can be anything it likes.

sen•su•al: adj.

  1. : relating to or consisting in the gratification of the senses or the indulgence of appetite : fleshly
  2. : sensory
  3. a: devoted to or preoccupied with the senses or appetites b: voluptuous c: deficient in moral, spiritual, or intellectual interests : worldly; especially : irreligious
    synonyms see carnal, sensuous

A word is like an ant, carrying the incredible weight of meaning on its back.

“Sensual” comes to us from the Latin sensus or sense. The senses are the body’s wonderful physiological methods of perception, the main five being, of course, hearing, sight, smell, taste and touch. And yet “sensual”, the word, wanders around lugging the excess baggage of a gruesome divorce—that of body, mind, and soul.

I would like to follow sensual through time and learn where it became synonymous with the deficiency in moral, spiritual, or intellectual matters. Isn’t empiricism a crucial aspect of the scientific method? On what does it run if not the senses? Does walking the difficult, righteous path not require equilibrioception? And what is nociception if not the ultimate trigger of mercy? The senses, after all, bring pain as fast as they deliver pleasure.

I hold St. Augustine nearly entirely accountable for the wall between body and soul. Even today, in an age where the West has largely been released from the obligation to religion, the vestige of the split exists, like an insurmountable wall.

Or perhaps it’s that we still have religion, only instead of an almighty father, now we answer to an almighty clock. Now, instead of being exhorted not to dare enjoy, we’re chained to a schedule so ruthless, it permits nothing.

HIGH ART

It started with Anthony Bourdain, the celebrated chef, renowned author, world traveler and fearless sensualist. Much like the word “sensual”, Bourdain conjures a colorful mixture of praise and blasphemy in the minds of those who know him or his work.

“Think of the last time food transported you,” he writes in his 2001 novel A Cook’s Tour.

Your first taste of champagne on a woman’s lips… steak frites when you were in Paris as a teenager with a Eurorail pass, you’d blown almost all your dough on hash in Amsterdam, and this slightly chewy slab of rumsteck (rump steak) was the first substantial meal in days… a single wild strawberry, so flavorful that it nearly took your head off… your grandmother’s lasagne… a first sip of stolen ice cold beer on a hot summer night, hands smelling of crushed fireflies… left over pork fried rice, because your girlfriend at the time always seemed to have some in the fridge… steamer clams, dripping with drawn butter from your first family vacation at the Jersey shore… rice pudding from the Fort Dee Diner… bad Cantonese when you were a kid and Chinese was still exotic and wonderful and you still thought fortune cookies were fun… dirty water hot dogs… a few beads of caviar licked off a nipple…

A few beads of caviar licked off a nipple. What a simple, gorgeous celebration of touch and taste. The idea stopped me cold. I haven’t been able to pick up the book since reading that. What higher glory could be found among the rest of its pages?

STOP

We stand at the edge of our senses, waiting for the sets of data to come in: hot or cold? Pleasure or pain? Nice or mean? Red or green? Too spicy? Too loud? Too big? Too slow! Hungry! Tired! When was the last time we stopped and touched something and focused on the brush against our fingertips? When was the last time we turned off the constant background noise of our iPods and pressed down on a piano key to hear the clarity of a single note? When was the last time we paused briefly before putting that snack in our mouths and committed ourselves to savoring the marriage of flavors in a bite?

OVERWHELMED

A few years ago, I went to a meditation session that involved the use of crystal bowls. These bowls are made of quartz and, according to those who indulge in the practice, each is tuned to a note that resonates with one of the chakras, the body’s energy centers. The idea is that as the superstrings of the universe vibrate, every atom, cell, tissue of the body absorbs the energy and you are filled and empty, bigger than big and smaller than small, dead and alive, Shroedinger’s kitteh, etc.

“In the beginning there was the Word and the Word is sound,” says Margaret Lembo, a spiritual workshop facilitator. “Sound, intention and thought create reality.”

I went with an open mind, but to a woman from the ADD generation, sitting in the darkness of that room listening to each bowl amplify every note without a seeming melody was, well, incredibly boring. I fell into a sort of lethargic trance, glad to be spiritual enough to do this, but eager for it to be over so I could say I had done it and move on with my life. As soon as I had that thought, though, what could only be described as a conscience berated me: “living through things isn’t the same as living those things.”

Feeling a little ashamed, I focused my attention on a single note and started going along with it. I don’t know what I mean by that because I was engaging in no physical action. I was merely mentally following this note as it rose and stretched across the ether.

Call it the power of quartz, call it the power of suggestion, call it what you like: I started vibrating. Again, it wasn’t physical, but I could feel every pore, open, alive, like a mouth, receiving the the flow of a powerful charge that washed over me like an ocean. No sooner had this started that I had a powerful mental image of my hands reaching up to my chest and ripping my clothes, then my flesh, then my muscles until all that was left was a brittle rib cage that I easily pulled apart before taking hold of my heart and ripping it out.

My eyes shot open, my heart pounded in my chest, my skin on fire. Unable to calm down, I failed to get back into any kind of meditative state. Later, when people talked to one another about the wonderful relaxation they’d experienced, I bit my tongue. I could only conclude that I was not used to that level of focus on sensory perception.

Even I, the self-proclaimed voluptuary, had neglected her own receptors.

LIVING SEX

Let’s go to the carnal aspect of the definition of “sensual.” What’s the first thing that comes to mind? Sex.

When was the last time you had sex for the sake of your senses? No, think about this. I am not talking about orgasm. I am not even talking about pleasure in and of itself. I am talking about using every given sense receptor, focusing your energy on it and really, truly experiencing what that sense tells you, not just whether it feels good or not, harder, baby, harder, deeper, deeper, faster, faster, oh, yeah, oh, yeah. No. I mean: when was the time you lived your sensory data?

When was the last time you took down the filters engendered by the need for efficiency? When was the last time you let yourself experience everything? Do you even remember? If you were able to remove the filters as one opens a window, do you think you would be able to handle it?

THE BIGGEST ORGAN

A man may have a massive organ, but his skin is still his biggest organ.

The talent with touch—like the talent with sight (art), the talent with sound (music), the talent with taste (food), the talent with equilibrium (dance)—is granted arbitrarily, at birth. Sometimes those who have it use it and sometimes, like me with art, they ignore it. Sometimes they don’t deserve it. But it’s there regardless.

I think most of us are born with the talent of touch, if only we let ourselves go there.

I knew a man once who could orchestrate wild symphonies on flesh. At 31, he was an architect of sensation. The way cooks move around their kitchens, knowing exactly what flavor is missing and how to integrate it—that was how he moved around a body. A fine instrument, the body, and he knew how to play it. Fur, feathers, silk, leather, sand, cold water, chains, liquid latex, hot wax, duct tape, pudding, mud, rope, splintered wood—the body as merzbau, everything was welcome.

There was nothing that couldn’t serve some purpose. But the magic wasn’t in the creativity, it wasn’t even in the way he handled his tools. The magic was in the understanding of reaction, learning to balance pain, temperature, pressure and pleasure in every body he encountered, like tuning the instrument. He pushed the senses to the limit, but never crossed the line.

He understood sex was more than just getting off–it’s about tuning in.

So tune in with me. Put your fingers on the back of your hand. Right now. Run them lightly over it, from the knuckles to the bone gently protruding from your wrist. Be the skin that feels the fingers and be the fingers that feel everything under the skin.

You don’t need to awaken your senses. They were never sleeping. You just have to pay attention. The next time you eat, let your taste buds overwhelm you, let your mouth feel the texture of what’s inside it. The next time you hear a song, let the notes carry you. The next time you kiss, let your mouth become your hands. The next time you have sex, let yourself become the skin throbbing inside you or wrapping around you.

Open up. Living through things isn’t the same as living those things.

Let that be your resolution this year.

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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

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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...