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For That Geek In Your Life

November 25, 2009 Culture No Comments

F Me Cufflinks

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Social media is everywhere. Play into the hype with this hilarious double-entendre cufflink set, “F Me”–get it? Get it? What, you don’t think it’s funny? Fine. I’ll keep all the jokes about poking to myself. $50.00, from Cufflinks.com.

Twitter Stalkings

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Tweet me, Twitter me, add me, stalk me, DM, @me, tweet me, tweet me, tweet me, follow me. These stockings (or “stalkings”–get it?! OMGLOL) are perfect for the Twitter whore in your life. $23.00, from tattoo socks on Etsy.

Geek Necklace Extravaganza

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Everything you could imagine from “geekmom” to “trending topic,” CouchObjects has a necklace for it. Their Etsy shop is a thing of the past, but you can shoot them an e-mail at hello [!at] couchobjects.com and see if you can score one of their killer necklaces.

Unfriend: Word of the Year!

November 24, 2009 Culture No Comments

Nothing is more indicative of how prominent social networking sites have become than the fact that the New Oxford American Dictionary has selected the word “unfriend” as the word of 2009.

But that’s not the only sign of the times here–other runners up were:

hashtag: a # [pound] sign added to a word or phrase that enables Twitter users to search for tweets.

intexticated: distracted because texting on a cellphone while driving a vehicle.

netbook: a small, very portable laptop computer with limited memory.

paywall: a way of blocking access to a part of a website which is only available to paying subscribers.

sexting: the sending of sexually explicit texts and pictures by cellphone.

freemium: a business model in which some basic services are provided for free, with the aim of enticing users to pay for additional, premium features or content.

funemployed: taking advantage of one’s newly unemployed status to have fun or pursue other interests.

teabagger: a person, who protests President Obama’s tax policies and stimulus package, often through local demonstrations known as “Tea Party” protests (in allusion to the Boston Tea Party of 1773).

tramp stamp: a tattoo on the lower back, usually on a woman

“Unfriend” won out in the end because of its currency and longevity.

“In the online social networking context, its meaning is understood, so its adoption as a modern verb form makes this an interesting choice for Word of the Year,” says Christine Lindberg, Senior Lexicographer for Oxford’s US dictionary program “Most ‘un-’ prefixed words are adjectives (unacceptable, unpleasant), and there are certainly some familiar ‘un-’ verbs (uncap, unpack), but “unfriend” is different from the norm. It assumes a verb sense of “friend” that is really not used (at least not since maybe the 17th century!). Unfriend has real lex-appeal.”

Lex-appeal? Now that’s hot.

Information from OUP.

Brace Yourself For Some Bad Sex

November 20, 2009 Books, Culture 2 Comments

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This was not soft porn. This was no longer two unclothed women caressing and kissing on a bed. There was something primitive about it now, this woman-on-woman violence, as though in the room filled with shadows, Pegeen were a magical composite of shaman, acrobat, and animal. It was as if she were wearing a mask on her genitals, a weird totem mask, that made her into what she was not and was not supposed to be. There was something dangerous about it. His heart thumped with excitement – the god Pan looking on from a distance with his spying, lascivious gaze.

Phillip Roth, The Humbling

For the past 17 years, the Literary Review magazine awards authors for “rude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel.”

Unsurprisingly, Philip Roth’s totem threesome has landed him on the shortlist this year–but he’s in good company.

Nick Cave made the list with his The Death of Bunny Munro, about a nymphomaniacal door-to-door salesman (“He is naked and his clothes sit in sad, little heaps on the living room floor.”). Sanjida O’Connell, the only woman to make it, was chosen for The Naked Name of Love, about a young Jesuit priest who learns to love with a mystical shaman woman in the steppes of Mongolia (“Her skin was smooth and she felt sleekly muscled, like a dolphin might…”). Simon Van Booy’s collection of little love stories Love Begins in Winter, offered this gem: “After, we kept very still, like the only two roots of the forest.” Acclaimed Israeli novelist Amos Oz joined the list with Rhyming Life and Death: “He feels the ripples in her skin, as though he has been transformed into a delicate seismograph that intercepts and instantly deciphers her body’s reactions.”

Here’s the shortlist:

John Banville for The Infinities
Nick Cave for The Death of Bunny Munro
Jonathan Littell for The Kindly Ones
Richard Milward for Ten Storey Love Song
Sanjida O’Connell for The Naked Name of Love
Amos Oz for Rhyming Life and Death
Anthony Quinn for The Rescue Man
Philip Roth for The Humbling
Paul Theroux for A Dead Hand
Simon Van Booy for Love Begins in Winter

Image via The Stranger. Information via The Guardian UK.

Good Morning Class, Today We’ll Read About Savage Masturbation

November 20, 2009 Books, Culture 1 Comment
Top: illustration for Chuck Palahniuk's Guts. Bottom: teacher Greg Van Voorhis.

Top: illustration for Chuck Palahniuk's Guts. Bottom: teacher Greg Van Voorhis.

A young teacher in New York is in trouble for assigning an incredibly graphic short story by Chuck Palahniuk about masturbation and consequences.

True to form, the media is thrilled with the prospect of putting the word MASTURBATION and its variations in huge font across its pages, and hasn’t taken a lot of time to ask 30-year-old Greg Van Voorhis why he selected this story for his class.

We’ll have to tweet him about it.

I read “Guts” when it ran in Playboy a handful of years ago. I will be completely honest with you: it fucked me up. I will never forget that story–because of the use of language, the social comment it makes, and how well it functions as a sort of cautionary tale.

I read much weirder in high school, but I went to those progressive sorts of schools that let you make your own curricula and develop at your own weird little speed, so I don’t know that my experience is good comparison, but I do not think it is any heavier than 1984, A Clockwork Orange, The Catcher in the Rye or even Sons and Lovers.

Now, would I assign this to juniors if I was a high school teacher? Probably not without discussing with parents. Although at the same time, regardless of whether this is a desperate attempt to fameball on Voorhis’ part, the entire circus has brought attention to the literature syllabus and that’s important.

It does bear mentioning, after all, that Voorhis students’ reportedly perform better than others (96 percent of test-takers passed the English Regents with a 65 or above last year, compared to 68.6 percent at other schools in the city)–is it possible the renegade teacher is on to something?

OK, fine, enough about education, you pervs, here’s your snippet from this SHOCKING! STORY! ABOUT! MASTURBATION!:

This must be why girls want to sit on your face. The suction is like taking a dump that never ends. My dick hard and getting my butt eaten out, I do not need air. My heartbeat in my ears, I stay under until bright stars of light start worming around in my eyes. My legs straight out, the back of each knee rubbed raw against the concrete bottom. My toes are turning blue, my toes and fingers wrinkled from being so long in the water.

And then I let it happen. The big white gobs start spouting. The pearls.

It’s then I need some air. But when I go to kick off against the bottom, I can’t. I can’t get my feet under me. My ass is stuck.

Emergency paramedics will tell you that every year about 150 people get stuck this way, sucked by a circulation pump. Get your long hair caught, or your ass, and you’re going to drown. Every year, tons of people do. Most of them in Florida.

I know it’s a lot to ask, as you can hardly read a tweet completely, but given you’ve gotten this far, go read Guts by Chuck Palahniuk in its entirety.

Also, if you feel strongly about supporting Voorhis, you can join Save Mr. V on Facebook or follow him on Twitter, where he’s @Gvdubs.

Image from The New York Post and The Cult, information via Gothamist.

Famous London Call Girl Identity Revealed

November 19, 2009 Culture, News, teh inetrwebz No Comments

“The first thing you should know about me is that I am a whore.”

brookemagnantiSo begins the show Secret Diary of a Call Girl, which is based on the books The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl and The Further Adventures of a London Call Girl, which, in turn, are based on the blog Belle de Jour.

Belle was a call girl between 2003 and 2004, charging $500 an hour for her services, of which she got to keep a little under $350.

“The average appointment lasted two hours; she saw clients two or three times a week, ‘sometimes less, sometimes a great deal more,’” reports The Times.

Belle’s blog was so successful, so full of wit and humor, that many wondered whether she was real at all. Was she really a woman? Could a woman write this well and enjoy sex so much? Is she real at all?

Belle has come out of the closet, ladies and gentlemen. She is a London woman. She is Brooke Magnanti, a researcher specializing in developmental neurotoxicology and cancer epidemiology with a a PhD. in informatics, epidemiology and forensic science.

The story recounted by India Knight for The Times of how complex it is to prove a person is a blogger is to me far more interesting than the fact that Brooke Magnanti is–OMGOMG–a call girl:

I am — as you would be — completely fascinated by meeting Belle/Brooke. She has contacted me because she’s had enough of being anonymous. There is also an ex-boyfriend with a big mouth lurking in the background; outing herself while she still has a measure of control over how it happens seems the sensible option.

“The what-ifs are what make me upset,” she says. “What if this happened; what if that happened? And I thought, well, there’s only one way to find out.”

Of course, having been anonymous for so long, she needs to prove to me that she is who she says she is before I agree to meet her. This turns out to be incredibly difficult and throws up interesting questions about authorship. I can’t very well ask to see her passport or utility bills — they may say Brooke Magnanti but they’re hardly going to say Belle de Jour.

Is she the real Belle? You or I could claim to be Belle de Jour; all we’d have to do is talk persuasively to someone about being on the game, using information that we could lift verbatim from the real Belle’s blog and books. (It’s rather odd that nobody thought of this: if you wanted to flush out the real Belle, surely all you’d have to do is produce a fake one.) We’re in e-mail contact before we meet; she tells me she’s in Croatia, but her agent tells me she’s in the West Country. Which is it? He says she’s recently told her mother about her former career; she tells me she hasn’t yet. She offers to show me her laptop, with her Belle typescripts on it, but I don’t have the time to wade through thousands of words checking for verisimilitude.

And yet I believe her — call it instinct. Brooke/Belle tells me her real name and provides details of an authoritative source that handles Belle de Jour’s cunningly concealed money trail. The Sunday Times newsdesk speaks to him; he confirms that Brooke is Belle and that the payments end up in an account belonging to Brooke Magnanti. After our interview, I ask her to post something cryptic up on her blog; this she does.

Read the whole thing–you know you want to.

Oh, and you can add @belledejour_uk on Twitter.

SILF: Sandwich I’d Like to Fuck (Really? WTF)

November 19, 2009 Noms, OMGWTFBBQ 2 Comments

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Sex and sandwiches. If you’ve been following Sex and the 405 for any amount of time, you know these things go together famously. You know, as in sex and then a sandwich. Or sandwich and some sex.

Heavy.com had a different idea. They recently conducted a quickie informal survey about the best sandwich to have sex with a poll of over 1,000 people in a variety of locations and demographics across the country.

The results? Apparently the classic ham and cheese is the noms equivalent of the girl next door.

“Over a third of respondents chose this as the sandwich they would most like to ravish,” writes K. Thor Jensen. True to stereotype, respondents’ reasoning went along these lines:

“I would like to have sex with this sandwich because it is fully dressed, and I like to unwrap it piece by piece. It exites [sic] me much and gives me added pleasure.”

“BECAUSE IT IS VERY HELPFUL TO REGAIN MY ENERGY VERY FAST ALSO HELPFUL TO GO OTHER SEXUAL INTERCOURSE VERY QUICK.”

“It would be this one because it looks most similar to the relevant parts of my other sex partners.”

“It seems like it would like to cuddle afterwards.”

I’m still trying to figure out how I would have sex with a sandwich–this is totally not what I meant when I wrote Is Food The New Sex? last week, btw–but, hey, don’t knock it ’til you try it… or at least until someone blogs about it.

Takers? That baby could use some of your special sauce.

OK, I’ll stop now.

Information and image from Heavy.com.

Sex is good!

November 13, 2009 Quote No Comments

QF - daman

– Eric Daman, Gossip Girl costume designer.

Via The Daily Intel.

Liz Hurley is Hot for Beef

November 12, 2009 Hollywoody, Noms No Comments

hurleyWhen I hear the words “Elizabeth Hurley” and “Guilt-Free Snack,” beef jerky is the last thing on my mind.

But here it is, fresh from Hurley’s own 400 acre organic farm in Gloucestershire: Hurley Jerky.

Platforms are a thing of the past. In a world where singers can make fragrances as well as perfumers and socialites can cut a record without an ounce of talent, it figures a model/actress would be making our snacks.

We’ll just file this one under the “hot women can do no wrong” category.

Surprise! Teens Have Sex!

November 12, 2009 Books No Comments

doctorowCory Doctorow’s young adult novel Little Brother is the tale of a 17-year-old who leads a guerilla army of teens against an oppressive U.S. government. Doctorow was surprised to receive critique from parents not because of the rioting and torture described in the book, but because the main character loses his virginity during the course of the story and at another point, has a beer.

An excerpt of his essay Teen Sex follows:

First, because teenagers have sex and drink beer, and most of the time the worst thing that results from this is a few days of social awkwardness and a hangover, respectively. When I was a teenager, I drank sometimes. I had sex sometimes. I disobeyed authority figures sometimes.

Mostly, it was OK. Sometimes it was bad. Sometimes it was wonderful. Once or twice, it was terrible. And it was thus for everyone I knew. Teenagers take risks, even stupid risks, at times. But the chance on any given night that sneaking a beer will destroy your life is damned slim. Art isn’t exactly like life, and science fiction asks the reader to accept the impossible, but unless your book is about a universe in which disapproving parents have cooked the physics so that every act of disobedience leads swiftly to destruction, it won’t be very credible. The pathos that parents would like to see here become bathos: mawkish and trivial, heavy-handed, and preachy.

Second, because it is good art. Artists have included sex and sexual content in their general-audience material since cave-painting days. There’s a reason the Vatican and the Louvre are full of nudes. Sex is part of what it means to be human, so art has sex in it.

Sex in YA stories usually comes naturally, as the literal climax of a coming-of-age story in which the adolescent characters have undertaken a series of leaps of faiths, doing consequential things (lying, telling the truth, being noble, subverting authority, etc.) for the first time, never knowing, really knowing, what the outcome will be. These figurative losses of virginity are one of the major themes of YA novels — and one of the major themes of adolescence — so it’s artistically satisfying for the figurative to become literal in the course of the book. This is a common literary and artistic technique, and it’s very effective.

… Adolescents think about sex. All the time. Many of them have sex. Many of them experiment with sex. I don’t believe that a fictional depiction of two young people who are in love and have sex is likely to impart any new knowledge to most teens — that is, the vast majority of teenagers are apt to be familiar with the existence of sexual liaisons between 17-year-olds.

Should sex be a part of young adult literature?

Information via Locus Online.

The Infertility Diaries

The National Infertility Association and EMD Serono, a pharmaceutical company, joined to sponsor In The Know, a short-film competition about couples dealing with infertility.

The winning films are touching–there are Kristin and Wally Acuna, of Clifton, N.J., who dealt with infertility after the birth of their first son, then were able to conceive triplets in vitro fertilization (IVF). There are Jennifer Colletti and Michael Nielsen, of Minneapolis, each with their own infertility issues, who had a son with IVF, but failed to conceive the second child they wanted. And then there are Bridget and Dwayne Friday, who spent a year on the U.S. military waiting list for IVF, only to learn that Dwayne, was being deployed to Iraq on the treatment date. Dwayne left his frozen sperm, and his wife kept the appointment without him, and faced her pregnancy and the loss of one of her twins alone until his return.

Information via Motherlode, on the New York Times 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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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...