101: Let’s Talk About the Sexual Response Cycle

December 29, 2009 Lessons 1 Comment

Good morning, class. Today we’re going to talk about the human physiological response to sexual stimulation, otherwise known as the sexual response cycle, a term coined by William Masters and Virginia Johnson, two researchers who pioneered studies in sex.

Their 1966 work Human Sexual Response was fundamental in understanding human sexuality, specifically female response to arousal. According to their model, the sexual response cycle is divided into four phases: excitement, plateau, orgasm and resolution.

Excitement is phase one; it occurs as a result of exposure to any erotic physical or mental stimulation. During this stage, the body prepares itself for sex. Physiologically, this involves an increased heart rate, breathing rate, and a rise in blood pressure. Erection of the nipples is very common at this stage, along with flushing of the skin. Intense sweating has also been documented in this stage.

In men, this stage also involves an erection, the drawing of the testicles upward toward the perineum, and the tensing of the scrotum. In women, the labia majora (that is, outter lips) flatten and the labia minora (the inner lips) engorge and may protrude from the outter lips of the vagina. The clitoris also becomes engorged, much like a smaller penis. Stimulation at this stage leads to the general darkening in the color of the vagina and the production of lubrication.

Plateau follows excitement and precedes orgasm. During this phase, there is more blood circulation and the heart rate increases for both genders.

In men, this phase involves the contraction of the urethral sphincter, to prevent semen from mixing with urine and to guard against retrograde ejaculation. Testicles rise closer to the body and the secretion of pre-ejaculate is common.

In women, the nipples and labia increase in size further and more lubrication is secreted. The PC muscle, which runs from pubic bone to the coccyx on the floor of the pelvic cavity tightens, making the vaginal opening smaller and setting up the platform for orgasm. Involuntary vocalization is common for both men and women at this stage.

Orgasm comes next, characterized by fast cycles of muscle contraction in the lower pelvic muscles of both genders. During this phase, more involuntary vocalization is common, along with spasms of muscles and a sense of euphoria.

In men, ejaculation occurs at orgasm, though it’s possible to have “dry” orgasms or for men to ejaculate without experiencing orgasm. A dry orgasm shortens the refractory period (which we’ll get to soon), making it easier for men to achieve the sort of multiple orgasms that many women can achieve naturally. Multiple-orgasms have been reported for men who began masturbating or engaging in sexual activity before puberty, likely due to a lack of refractory period. In female children it is always possible to have multiple-orgasms, even after puberty. In men, this ability decreases following the first ejaculation.

Following orgasm, the muscles begin to relax and blood pressure drops. This is the refractory period, the last stage of the sexual response cycle. Men usually experience a refractory period that may range from minutes to a full 24 hours. Women tend to have a small refractory period, allowing them to return to the plateau stage with further almost immediately following an orgasm.

Information from Human Sexual Response.

Does Masturbating Give Me Zits?

December 29, 2009 Lessons No Comments

Sexperts get all kinds of weird questions, but every once in a while, questions are so duh in the style of How Is Babby Formed, we just feel we have to share. This one comes to you courtesy of the Bangalore Mirror:

I am a 22-year-old man and I have been masturbating since the past six years. Will masturbation adversely affect my future married life? Also I notice that within a few days of masturbating, I get pimples on my face as also new strands of grey hair on my head. Is this related to masturbation or the fact that I have a low sperm count?

How far we have yet to go as educators!

(And for the record, no, blemishes and gray hair are not related to masturbating.)

Carl’s Jr. Sells Sex–err, Salads with Kim Kardashian

December 28, 2009 Advertising, Culture No Comments

Some may say that Carl’s Jr. has pioneered the art of making real-life food porn with pop culture-relevant sexpots.

I say they have pioneered the commercials with so many different messages that you’re not entirely sure what is being sold until the end.

Remember the 2005 Carl’s Jr. commercial with Paris Hilton? You weren’t sure if she was selling a Bentley, car wash supplies, or a bathing suit until she took a bit of their spicy BBQ burger.

Now Kim Kardashian has an ad out for them that makes you wonder if you should be buying lingerie, fluffy towels, stain removers, or bubble bath.

(And why is Kardashian taking a bath before she finishes making a mess? And why does she eat with her hands if she’s so OCD about cleanliness?)

Which is totally not to say that I don’t think it’s hot. Though I really think the dressing should have dripped on her boobs. But that’s me. I like messy.

Image via What the Hell Are You Eating? Video via Manolith.

Avatar Sex

December 28, 2009 Culture, Film, SciFet 6 Comments

Avatar is a PG-13 flick, so I wasn’t expecting to see anyone hooking up. Nevertheless, there were the two main characters, getting down under a magical wish tree in what has to be the ultimate eye-candy flick of the decade.

There being a such a strong theme of connection, uploading and downloading self and history, the scene between the protagonist’s avatar and his native Na’vi counterpart, Neytiri, is intense and surreal. We’re shown nothing, but our imaginations need no further detail–we’re right there.

Although, just in case you’re one of those inquisitive types, director James Cameron isn’t about to leave you hanging.

“That will be something for the special edition DVD, if you want to see how they have sex,” Cameron told a group of journalists doing their due diligence (i.e., asking how the characters have sex).

Here’s the short version: they use their tails.

“It made such perfect sense,” said actress Zoe Saldaña, who portrayed Neytiri. “If you sync to your banshee and you’re syncing to a tree, why not sync into a person? I almost feel like you’ll have the most amazing orgasm.”

Talk about knowing how to sell DVDs.

“It was a very funny scene to shoot,” Saldaña said. “There were so many technical things that sometimes you have to keep in mind that paying attention to all those might disrupt the fluidity of how a scene is supposed to take place. And because Jim was shooting for a PG-13 rating, we couldn’t move in certain directions. The motion would look a little too past the PG-13 rating standards. So it was really funny for Sam [Worthington, who played Jake Sully] and me. We had a lot of giggles there.”

It’s hot, but you have to wonder if it leaves any room for creativity in bed.

Image from Avatar’s official site. Information from the Philadelphia Daily Inquirer.

On Hands And Knees In Disney’s Underbelly

December 28, 2009 Books, Culture 1 Comment

Last week, I received a curious e-mail from a man named Chris Mitchell who told me he had secrets about the Magic Kingdom–dark, stormy secrets, the kind we here at Sex and the 405 are all about.

Mitchell had worked at the Orlando theme park for a year as an official photog.

Now, he’s coming out with the stories he heard on the field, a sort of incredible expose that will change our notions of the Magic Kingdom forever.

On the day before Christmas, another e-mail arrived from Mitchell, this one containing a chapter of his book, Cast Member Confidential.

“The lawyers who work for my publisher made me edit this one pretty heavily, but I’m sending the unexpurgated version…” he wrote.

And like a good girl, I waited until Christmas to open the gift.

Three in the morning, there I sat at my desk, cigarette freshly lit, and opened “The Bear Necessities.” Enjoy, with the proper mixture of delight and horror, as I did:

For ten years, Brady was the pride of the character department: Chip, Dale, Quasimodo. He brought Roger Rabbit to life in a way that no other performer could match. But, by far, his favorite was Winnie the Pooh with his bashful smile and his honey colored fur and his pot belly that was just big enough to jack off inside.

“What flavor today, Brady?” one Pooh coming off stage would ask.

Brady would pull the ubiquitous sucker out of his mouth and smack his lips. “Butterscotch,” he would say, then the greeter would Velcro him in to the suit and he would shuffle on stage, his crooked leg giving Pooh a comical gait.

This was the late-nineties, when Pooh wore a honey pot on his head with bees flying around it. A performer could pull his arms inside the costume to wiggle the bear’s nose and then push them back into the paws to sign autographs. Or, at least that was the original plan.

Brady liked to pull his underwear down around his thighs and hold his balls. He’d walk around like that for a while, then lift his fingers to his face and sniff them. The scent of his musk and the sheer naughtiness of the escapade broke over him in waves of arousal and he would stroke himself off right there, in front of everybody, where nobody could see.

How could he? How could he masturbate and sign autographs and pose for photos without losing focus or breaking character? Surely, that kind of multitasking required supernatural concentration. Simple. He could do it because he was, above all, a professional. He knew the choreography by heart and was able to do the dance steps in his sleep. He could sign with one hand, sniff the other and wiggle Pooh’s nose with his elbow. Since Pooh is a right-handed character, Brady became adept at jerking with his left hand. After all, it wasn’t like there was a whole lot else for him to do inside that suit for thirty minutes straight.

The lollipops were perfect for covering up the smells around his fingers and face. Some days he used cinnamon, some days spearmint. And every night, when he turned in his costume, the wardrobe department dutifully washed away the seminal fluids.

One day, Brady went to pick up his Pooh costume, and received a shock.

“It’s a new design,” beamed the wardrobe lady. “Isn’t this an adorable face?”

One look at the new body confirmed the worst for Brady. “Arms,” he said. “It’s got actual arms.”

“Yes, he does! Oh yes he does! The cute widdle bear has arms!

Brady was crestfallen. The new design meant he would not be able to pull his hands inside the pot belly. It wasn’t like he was going to leave the character program or anything, but he felt gypped. Ball fondling had been his hard-earned perk. For three years, he coasted along in the character program, picking up new characters, learning animation for parades and autograph sessions. And then, one day, salvation came in the form of Monsters Inc.

One of the stars of Monsters Inc., Mike Wyszowski, fell right into Brady’s height range. Basically, a giant eyeball with stick legs, Mike Wyszowski was shaped in such a way that the performer had to keep his arms inside the costume at all times. He could eat a burrito in there if he wanted to, or check his voice mail, or, yes, even jack off.

Once again, going to work was a treat. A day of Mike Wyszowski was better than any day off – imagine doing the one thing you truly love and getting paid for it! Plus, consistent with tried and true marketing techniques, every day from the opening of the movie until the DVD release, the coordinators scheduled a park full of Monsters Inc. characters. Which meant that Brady, who had carefully made himself indispensable as the friendly eyeball, was more or less on constant call.

And the best part was, there was even a shelf inside the costume with little holes that accommodated extra lollipops.

Unexpurgated excerpt from Cast Member Confidential by Chris Mitchell, out January 1, 2010. Image via Chris Mitchell’s blog.

Love Hurts: Charlie Sheen’s Jailbird Christmas

December 27, 2009 Hollywoody, News No Comments

Thought you had a lousy Christmas? Here’s one to make you feel better (maybe? Misery loves company? No? Fine. Anyway): Charlie Sheen spent most of Christmas day in jail on a class-four felony charge of second-degree assault and a class-five felony charge of menacing and a misdemeanor count of criminal mischief.

The 44-year-old was taken into custody following an emergency call made to Aspen police by his wife, Brooke Mueller Sheen. According to TMZ, Mueller Sheen was given a breathalyzer when police arrived; the percentage of alcohol in her blood was .13, meaning she was legally drunk when she placed the call. Sheen himself registered .04.

TMZ has also reported that Muller Sheen has changed her story from what she said during the 911 call and is now refusing to be re-interviewed by police.

The couple were on a “trial separation” before they met in Aspen for the holiday, where Muller is renting a house.

Sheen was released at 7:00 PM on $8,500 bail; he is not to have any have contact with his wife.

Image and information from TMZ, via SFGate.

Great Sexpectations: New Year’s Eve

December 27, 2009 Lessons, Opinion No Comments

My ex-husband proposed to me on New Year’s Eve at my favorite restaurant in Lima, over to-die-for anticuchos de foie gras (later, when we found ourselves seated beside the chef, Gaston Acurio, on a flight out of the city, I’d joke that if my marriage fell apart, I’d blame it entirely on the menu. It’s funny now, you can laugh).

We’d talked about marriage before he proposed, what we expected, what we wanted, children (that we didn’t want any)–we’d even discussed the terms of our divorce, should it ever happen (because we’re cynical assholes like that, but let me tell you, when it came down to it, we had a relatively painless divorce because we were pretty clear on everything. Just saying).

Anyway, my point in bringing this up is that I wasn’t expecting it. So when the countdown started and everyone rose and he got down on one knee, it was all sorts of magical.

And if he hadn’t gotten down on one knee (he told me he’d been debating having the pilot of the plane propose during that flight I mentioned previously), I wouldn’t have been disappointed.

Expectations are silent killers. They corrode love and passion from the inside. Now, I’m not saying you should expect nothing. If you wish to be married and meet someone with whom you see that happening and you talk about it and the person is in agreement that they wish to one day marry, then you should be free to imagine one day that person will be you and free to express this desire.

But don’t put a date to it. And don’t imagine that somehow, telepathically, your significant other is going to know when you think it should happen.

Here’s an infographic for you, courtesy of Tracy Cox’s excellent column at News of the World:

Talk about what you want and what you expect honestly. Be clear, without pressuring the other person. Ask what your partner wants and expects, too. Listen.

Here’s the cynic again: if proposals that come from the heart have a low chance of survival as it is–do you really think proposals that are born in a pressure cooker are going to fare better?

Relax, sip some bubbly, and give each other a movie-screen kiss to usher in the new year. Magical memories can be made out of any moment–they don’t require a ring.

Infographic from News of the World.

Angie vs. Jen: The PORN

December 27, 2009 Hollywoody, News, Porn 1 Comment

Didn’t get everything you wanted this Christmas? Here’s a consolation prize for you like no other.

Hustler is releasing a skin flick based on our speculations about Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston’s feud in Hustler’s Untrue Hollywood Stories: Angelina Jolie vs. Jennifer Aniston!

“We were very pleased with the casting of the movie because the girls looked so much like the celebrities they were playing,” director Stuart Canterbury says in a release on Hustler World. “Of course, the highlight of the movie is the showdown when the girls get into a catfight on the red carpet. The performers were so into their characters, and we turned that energy into some smoking-hot sex.”

Of course, this being a porn flick, the wrestling match quickly becomes a lusty exchange between the two ladies. This, people, is what “make love, not war” looks like. Watch a clip below:

Image from Sponkit. Information from Hustler World, via Perez Hilton.

Tasmania Faces Sperm Bankruptcy

LOL. Sorry about the title. We know this isn’t funny. But come on–it was too easy.

OK, so here’s the deal: there’s a sperm drought in Tasmania. They’re down to four viable sperm donors and for the first time in its 35-year history, women looking for donors are having to be placed on a waiting list.

The state’s IVF director Bill Watkins said the cause is a combination of fewer men donating sperm, and more interstate women draining the state’s supply.

Health Minister Lara Giddings has called on the state’s men to help end the drought.

“I would encourage males who are prepared to look at donating sperm to do exactly that because there are many couples in the community struggling to have a child,” she said in a statement.

Will Tasmania’s men rise to the occasion? Cum all ye viable!

All right, all right. We’ll stop.

Information via The Courier Mail.

Dr. Evil: Pediatrician Sexually Abused Young Patients

December 26, 2009 Crime, News No Comments

He is more than the Grinch who stole Christmas. He’s stolen something far more sacred for a lot of the patients whose parents trusted him with their children’s well being.

Evidence seized from the Georgetown, Delaware, office of Dr. Earl Bradley suggests that he sexually abused many of his young patients.

Alexis Slutsky, a deputy attorney general assigned to the state’s Child Predator Task Force, told the Associated Press that the volume of evidence seized from Bradley’s practice and home, which include video tapes and digital files Bradley recorded himself of the attacks, makes it hard to accurately estimate the number of victims.

“I’m comfortable in saying probably well over 100 potential victims,” Slutsky said at a news conference with Attorney General Beau Biden and other law enforcement officials.

Bradley, 56, was arrested last week and is being held in prison on $2.9 million bond. So far, he’s been charged with 33 felony counts relating to seven victims. A preliminary hearing has been postponed until January 14.

Here’s the hard lesson: you can’t trust anyone. Even those who have taken the Hippocratic Oath to do no harm.

We here at Sex and the 405 sincerely hope he suffers disfigurement, dismemberment and the last gasp at a hangman’s noose.

Information from the Associated Press via The Sphere.


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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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