Love Pollution: How Loud Is Too Loud?

November 30, 2009 Freedom, News 4 Comments

howl

Time for a horrifying, overshar-y confession. When I was in college, my ex and I moved into a house together. Because we had the extra space, we didn’t hesitate to let some mutual friends move in with us.

It was a happy house, with most all of us being geeks and spending hours silently in front of our computers in the Hush room (where, literally, we had a “do not speak; if you need something, send an IM,” rule). Well, one of us wasn’t a geek, but snorting copious amounts of cocaine off the kitchen counter doesn’t make that much of a racket. Not that I knew anything about this at the time or condone this behavior.

Anyway. One day, I was walking to the kitchen when I overheard a conversation between my ex and a male roommate go down as follows:

ROOMMIE: what the hell do you do to AV, man? You sound like you’re killing her every night. It’s horrible.
EX: yeah? At least you’re in the next room. Imagine having that in your ear.

I can’t tell you the complex I got over it. Even long after we were over, I thought about this.

I do think about the aesthetics of sex–I’m a visual person and I like mirrors, so coordination has become a involuntary thing. But to think about what noises I’m making on top of it? Is there any room left over for actually, oh, I don’t know, enjoying the moment?

It’s a crowded world, and while I’ve moved away from having roommates and keeping lovers who don’t appreciate my, um, emphatic verbal appreciation, many still deal with the issue of noise pollution.

A most recent example is a UK couple were actually handed a noise abatement notice for boinking so loudly they disturbed their neighbors and people on the street. The Telegraph reports: “Caroline and Steve Cartwright’s love making was described as ‘murder’ and ‘unnatural’ and drowned out their neighbours’ televisions.”

The city went as far as to install a decibel-meter in their home to get an idea of the sort of noise they were making. According to the device, the couple reached 47 decibels at the highest (which, Anna North at Jezebel is quick to point out is below the level of normal conversation).

For this disturbance, the Cartwrights received an order to refrain from “shouting, screaming or vocalisation at such a level as to be a statutory nuisance.” When they failed to cease and desist, the couple were convicted of violating the ban. Now, Caroline Cartwright is taking the judgment head on, calling it a breach of human rights.

Now, I believe in common courtesy and feel for their neighbors, but the idea of a city telling me how loud I can scream during sex makes my libertarian leanings growl and hiss.

Exploring Cartwright’s appeal to the conviction that she cannot help making these noises, Jezebel’s Anna North, does some research:

Well, folks, I Googled “women’s sex vocalization” so you don’t have to (though if you’d like to know what a) rats, b) mice and c) brunettes sound like while engaged in intercourse, by all means go ahead), and I came up with a book called The Male Sexual Machine, by Kenneth Purvis. The book’s overview makes the specious claim that “the practice of gynecology has brought millions of women to a greater understanding of their own sexual health, its male counterpart, andrology, remains largely an unexplored field” (sounds a little like a certain Onion article), but it does offer some semi-intriguing evolutionary explanations for women’s sex sounds. Apparently a woman’s moans speed a man’s ejaculation, possibly improving the odds of simultaneous orgasm and thus of conception. And somewhat more upsettingly, female moaning may have evolved to attract more male partners to the area, back in monkey-times when most sex was group sex. All of Purvis’s arguments seem like they deserve a pretty big grain of salt, but it is possible that women’s sex noises have a biological basis. And while most of us can keep them in check when we’re, say, staying at our parents’ houses, there’s an element of the involuntary in the sex moan, and it’s not hard to believe that some people might have trouble stifling it.

I’m with North–moaning is not only not “unnatural,” it’s also better than other things–like people fighting.

In fact, I’ve been known to turn down my music to take in the sounds of a couple truly enjoying themselves.

But what do I know, I’m a sex blogger and confessed howler.

Either way, the News section of this site just got a Freedom subsection.

Image by Tambako the Jaguar. Information from The Telegraph, via Jezebel.

J.Lo. Doesn’t Have A Sex Tape

November 29, 2009 News, Sex Tape No Comments

jlosex

False alarm. Rumors that her flash-in-the-pan ex-hubby Ojani Noa is shopping a sex tape around are false.

“They think I have a sex tape with her and that I’m trying to sell it,” Noa told E! News in an exclusive interview. “My tape is from our honeymoon, the wedding, us hanging out. There’s no nudity—maybe one spanking. There’s moments of her fighting with her mom…couples having fun and kissing. If someone has a sex tape, it’s not me.”

Whatever it is, J.Lo. is fighting him at every turn. She won an injunction to stop him from selling a tell-all about their relationship (rife with allegations that she was sleeping around on him!) and a temporary court order to shut down its development.

She sued him again last month for $10 million over this alleged sex tape business. Dude’s messing with the wrong Jenny from the block.

“I’m not going to harm anybody,” Noa, 35, says. “I’m a great guy. If I was going to hurt anybody I have had many, many chances to do it. I always wish her the best.”

His newest thing is a mockumentary loosely based on how he escaped Cuba, got a job at a restaurant and seduced the star into a 10-month marriage.

Yeah, you’re right, you’re not hurting anyone, dude. You’re just annoying as hell, like a rash that won’t go away.

Information from E! Online. Image from People.

Research Suggests Absence Does Indeed Make The Heart Grow Fonder

November 28, 2009 News, Research 1 Comment

panda

The giant panda is well known for having a low sex drive, especially in captivity–add to that a brief mating season, and atrophied leg muscles due to an obstacle free existence in a zoo, and you’ve got yourself slim to nil chances of successful mating.

But it seems researchers have found a way to get the creature into a more loving mood–by separating partners. Zhang Hemin, a doctor inspecting the two pandas at the Taipei Zoo, is credited with the exercise in longing.

Guess what? It works. Best reason ever to convince hubby you need a getaway weekend with the girlfriends.

Information from 2point6billion. Image by Jeff Kubina.

Cell Phones Might Break Your Sperm!

bluetooth

Not only are Bluetooth headsets the ultimate sign of douchebaggery, keeping your phone in talk mode in your pocket while you use your hands’ free device may screw up your sperm, too.

Awesome, now you’re doubly less of a man.

“We found increased oxidative stress and a decrease in sperm motility,” said Dr. Ashok Agarwal, the director of Reproductive Research at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

What that means, basically, is that there’s an overall decrease in quality. How does this happen? A phone in use emits high-power radiofrequency electromagnetic waves, which negatively impact semen production. (Not good enough for you? Go read all the specifics right here).

“At this time I would say excessive use should be avoided,” Agarwal said.

But it’s not like you’re one of those douchebags who wear Bluetooth sets 24/7, are you? Yeah, we didn’t think so.

Information from Renal and Urology News. Image of Brad Pitt from Wired.

Newsflash! Women Like Porn

November 27, 2009 Lessons, Porn 2 Comments

We know that porn is no longer simply the realm of men, but just how many women are down? Dr. Yvonne Fulbright, founder of Sexuality Source and a sex columnist for Fox News, explores the inconsistencies in data:

During the first third of 2007, the Nielsen/Net Ratings reported that about one in three visitors to adult entertainment Web sites were female, with almost 13 million American women checking out porn online at least monthly.

This sounds like a lot, until you compare it to other findings. A Marie Claire/Esquire sex survey reported that only 17 percent of women go online for porn. The Australian government, too, reported that 17 percent of Australian women are porn consumers. (This is up 10 percent from more than one decade earlier).

Then there’s the matter of a testament on porn’s popularity often coming down to who stands to profit — or promote a personal agenda — in hyping up headlines. Hustler claims 56 percent of business at its video stores comes from women. At a recent sexuality conference, I questioned one female-oriented porn site presenter’s claim that the vast majority of women these days are into porn.

Where is the good study to support that? While the presenter’s site claimed 10,000 porn downloads per month, she had no way of knowing who was making the purchase, male or female. Regardless of the presenter’s irresponsibility in claiming to know more than she did, that sales number isn’t a lot when you consider that this is a multibillion-dollar industry.

Finally, there’s the issue of how porn is being defined in survey efforts. People tend to have distinct definitions for what constitutes porn versus erotica, which can influence data. I’ve also seen porn consumption defined beyond downloads or rentals, including activities like purchasing sex toys and phone sex.

Thus, exact numbers on who dabbles in explicit visual imagery become blurred.

Are you a woman who consumes pornography?

12 Reasons To Have Sex Right Now

November 27, 2009 Research 9 Comments

dome

Sex feels good, but that’s not the only reason we should be having it. Aside from giving you a killer work out, having sex regularly also has implications in other aspects of your life. Below are twelve reasons you should call it a day early and jump into the arms of your current object of desire:

  • A study at Queens University in Belfast found that having sex three times a week could halve your risk of heart attack or stroke.
  • Having sex once or twice a week has been found to raise your body’s levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin A or IgA, which can protect you from viral and bacterial infections. According to one study, people who have sex more than once a week had 30% higher levels of IgA than those who abstained.
  • During sex, the natural steroid DHEA is secreted throughout the body and after an orgasm the level in the bloodstream soars to five times its normal amount. Known as the anti-ageing hormone, high levels of DHEA are thought to keep your body fitter and disease-free, helping you to live longer.
  • An Australian study found that people who had an orgasm at least three times a week had a 50% lower chance of dying from any medical reason than those who only climaxed once a month.
  • Couples who have sex at least three times a week look more than a decade younger than people who make love less often, according to consultant neuro-psychologist, Dr David Weeks, who did a 10-year study on the subject.
  • Thirty minutes of sex burns up to 150 calories per half-hour, which is equivalent to a small glass of wine. If you have moderately active sex twice a week, you’ll burn an extra 15,600 calories a year!
  • The hormone oestrogen is pumped out during sex, which can have a plumping effect on skin, helping to smooth out fine lines. After menopause, skin can become drier and more wrinkled, as oestrogen levels drop – something research shows regular sex might combat.
  • Because sex is an aerobic form of exercise it promotes skin renewal, according to research at Royal Edinburgh Hospital. It found that vigorous sex pumps higher levels of oxygen around the body, pushing newer, fresher skin cells up to the surface.
  • Like any exercise that raises your heart rate, sex causes your brain to release feel-good chemicals that boost your levels of serotonin – the happy hormone – to lift your mood. Being intimate has also been found to ease mild depression.
  • Sex causes a surge in the “love” hormone oxytocin and other feel-good endorphins, which can reduce pain. Women have reported noticing that headaches, arthritis pain, or PMS symptoms seem to improve after sex.
  • The oxytocin released during orgasm has another benefit – it promotes sleep, according to research. And getting enough sleep has been linked with a host of other good things, such as feeling happier, maintaining a healthy weight and controlling high blood pressure.
  • In a study published in Psychology Journal, researchers found that people who’d had sex in the past 24 hours coped better with stressful scenarios than those who had not.

Information via The Mirror. Image by Nicola Ranaldi, via AcessoRestrito.

Confessions of the Hipster Grifter

November 26, 2009 Culture, Interview No Comments

hipsterTwenty-two year-old Kari Ferrell, better known as the Hipster Grifter, seduced horny skinny jean-wearing hipsters in Brooklyn to steal their money. Later, she forged checks and tried to pull a fast one on Vice. Now serving time in Utah, she talked with the Daily Beast about what cell life is all about.

Some juicy tidbits for your fast and furious consumption:

The Daily Beast: What has been the most surprising part of prison?

Kari Ferrell: The most surprising part of jail (contrary to popular belief, I am in jail, not prison. Big difference) has to be the wide variety of people that come in. As with most of society, I assumed that the only people incarcerated were individuals who R Kelly’d little boys, and those who like freebasing crack cocaine out of human skulls. There have been girls in here for such things as unpaid parking tickets, driving without insurance, jay walking (seriously! And it was her only charge—spent four days in here) and giving a blowjob to her partner (by marriage) at a park. (Hello, who hasn’t done that?) Obviously there are those in here for more serious crimes, and that is unsurprising, but jay walking? Come on. Maybe it’s a Utah thing?

The Daily Beast: What is just like you imagined it to be? The food? The beds?

Ferrell: On the opposite side of the spectrum; the most unsurprising thing is that it’s exactly how I thought it would be: It’s the Orwellian nature of jail itself. We are housed in cells that resemble fish bowls, [with] large plexiglass windows, so that the guards are able to look in at any time; no privacy whatsoever. I also expected boredom to be exactly how it is: mind-numbingly unproductive. You can only work out, read, attempt to educate a cellmate on metaphysics, masturbate, and draw so much y’know?

The Daily Beast: Do you have a cellmate? Tell us about them.

Ferrell: My former cellmate, Jerzy Mitchell, was phenomenal. We had the same interests (I highly doubt any other female in this jail listens to Felt and Chris Garneau), similar tastes and an affinity for men with facial hair. She was with me for three months, and when she left I felt like I lost a significant body part. Jerzy Mitchell is my runaway spleen. Shut up. That’s significant enough. My new cellmate is, uh, different. It’s hard to relate to a heroin-addicted prostitute who is offended when you ask, “So how much did you charge to gum their meat?” (In case you’re curious, the answer is $40.) When you’re locked down for 24 hours a day with someone (the pod I am in is a minimum/medium custody pod. Even though I am minimum, we are only out for three hours a day—alternating mornings and evenings) you have to get along.

Good luck with that, girlfriend.

Image from Driven By Boredom. Information from The Daily Beast.

Impress That Coffee Fiend

November 26, 2009 Culture No Comments

gocoffeegoShe loves coffee, you’re more of a tea kind of dude. A date at her neighborhood Starbucks is out of the question, but don’t worry, we’re here for you. Introducing GoCoffeeGo, a San Francisco-based company with an expansive online catalog of coffees for more refined tastes.

Its founders Scott Pritikin and Elise Papazian are self-proclaimed coffee junkies themselves:

There is no bean we shall not grind, no coffee we shall not try. We must gulp and slurp them all! We are coffee adventurers. We sought to expand our “cup” and fill our Espresso machines, French Presses, Pour-Overs, Vacuum Pots, Moccamasters and yes… even a vintage Mr. Coffee machine with the ultimate beans from Super-Star Specialty Roasters throughout the country, who are known in their local communities as the “gods and goddesses” of coffee. Whether you live in a luxury Penthouse in a metropolitan city or a shack in the backwoods, you deserve access to great coffee.

You don’t know jack about coffee, but that’s not a problem. The site offers award winners and members’ picks. You can now see further, standing on the shoulders of giants.

All you really need to ask her is “light, medium or dark roast?” Then, upon receiving your order the next business day, just saunter up to her, pull out the coffee and ask, “your place, 6:00PM?” No self-avowed coffee fiend will be able to resist you. And you’ll have already have made it back to her place without even trying–sweet!

If you’re really studious, you can read the section dedicated to the history of coffee and their tips for making a killer cup.

You’re welcome.

Second-Hand Porn

November 26, 2009 Culture No Comments

So, you’re waiting for your soy milk latte one morning, minding your own business (that is, the latest posts on TMZ), when suddenly–

“Oh, baby, yeah, oh, God, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, ooooooooooooooh.”

The guy behind you is starting his day with a bang–live, right on his iPhone! It’s a case of second-hand porn.

The advances in technology have enabled us to have access to more things, faster and in better quality than ever before. Now, we don’t have to stop by the porn shop to pick up an adult video–we can choose from huge selections and download movies for immediate consumption.

Of course, the accessibility has brought on its own share of issues: how do you deal with people watching porn in public places?

Happy Thanksgiving

November 26, 2009 Vitals No Comments

On this fine American holiday devoted to being grateful for what you’ve got, we at Sex and the 405 wanted to thank you, dear readers, for your enthusiasm and attention.

What better way to express our gratitude than with a nice beer mug made out of bacon?

bacon mug

Yeah, we thought you’d dig it.

Many happy romps to you and yours.

Image from ThisIsFreakingRidiculous, via @hustvedt.

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

FetLife Is Not Safe for Users

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

Why You Should Vote No On Prop 35

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

Pretty and Calls Herself a Geek? Attention Whore!

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

Cuddle Chemical? Moral Molecule? Not So Fast

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

How to Avoid Pissing off a Stripper

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

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

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