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If We Had A Magazine, You’d Read It

August 29, 2010 Culture, Papers/Rags No Comments

We consume a lot of media here at Sex and the 405, including a handful of magazines, ranging from Psychology Today to Playboy. Among these, Cosmo probably gets more love than it does anywhere else, both because our editrix is taken with Helen Gurley Brown and because we accept each magazine for what it is.

Having said that, brunching earlier today looking over the two stacks of magazines atop which were Cosmo and Maxim, we developed something of a complex and we have to confess that we’re pretty annoyed. … Continue Reading

The Future of Porn is 3-D

May 12, 2010 Culture, Papers/Rags 1 Comment

Ah, welcome to the future of porn! Presenting… 3-D glasses? Really? Yes. This Friday, Playboy magazine will include a set of 3-D glasses. (Scroll down for a NSFW pic!)

“What would people most like to see in 3-D?” asked Playboy‘s inimitable Hugh Hefner. “Probably a naked lady.”

Hef’s pretty real about this gimmick. The publication’s readership has been in steady decline, going from 3.15 million in 2006 to 1.5 million today. He knows people have been raving about flicks like Avatar and How to Train Your Dragon which employ this technology and this is a way for the rag to get in on the action. Jimmy Jellinek, the magazine’s editorial director agrees: “In today’s print environment you have to create newsstand events.”

That’s what they’re doing. By offering them in 3-D, Playboy is hoping to bring something to the table that the internet can’t.

“This particular picture is one example of how books and magazines are different (than computer images),” Hef told ABC.

Of course, as Mashable points out, “3-D images like this are easy to do on computer displays, too — though the readers would have to pick up some physical glasses on their own.”

The woman to appear as the 3-D centerfold is 51st Playmate of the Year, Hope Dworaczyk. Is she Playboy‘s last Hope?

Images via Nerve. Information from ABC and Mashable.

The Conflicted Experience of a Porn Writer

March 18, 2010 Culture, Papers/Rags, Porn No Comments

Lynsey G. writes for porn rags. She didn’t plan it, just kind of fell into it. Since last year, she’s been writing a column at McSweeny’s about her conflicted experience as a woman and feminist in the madness of one of the biggest industries in the world.

This, dear readers of Sex and the 405, is the kind of skill required of a porn reviewer:

I learned to watch the first few minutes of each sex scene, taking notes on “plot” or “witty” banter, then fast forward through the remainder at 10x speed, slowing down to note the frequency of position changes, athleticism of maneuvers, and standout dirty talk. The trick was to watch the 2- to 6-hour-long DVDs as fast as possible and then spend under an hour writing dirty, overly alliterative jokes about what I’d seen. Easy, if a bit monotonous.

For easy reference, I made up lists of alternative names for breasts, penises and vaginas, and supplementary lists later on for buttholes, as that trend gained popularity. I developed rating criteria for length, girth, cup size, amount of cellulite, and gag reflex (or the lack thereof). Things got ugly, fast.

She also gets into the occupational hazards: desensitization, boredom, higher tolerance to hardcore sexual acts, and the ever-pressing questions presented by being up to her eyeballs in an industry where everyone is a product:

After a few months of reviewing, the constant humping was wearing on my retinas and getting tedious. My personal sex drive, initially amped up by the bouncing boobs and facials, was declining in the face of overexposure. I was getting paranoid that I’d never be adequate in bed, or that I’d start thinking really kinky things were normal and scare off my boyfriend. I was finding it easier to come up with derogatory slurs about the performers’ bodies and actions. And, I realized, I was coming to understand the bitterness that edged the voices of my editors and co-writers, the disgust with humanity that drove their daily routines. I told myself I wouldn’t let it happen to me; I’d keep my life and my work separate.

[... ] the longer I keep my tenuous toehold in the jizz rag biz, the more the realities of the porn industry stare me in the face, and it’s not just the faces covered in jizz that bother me. There are a lot of really upsetting things going on both inside and outside the studio, both on the industry and consumer sides, which are disturbing and decidedly unfriendly to women. The language used to describe them in industry terminology and in social contexts, the attitudes about their worth as human beings, the aesthetics with which they are presented to the world, and the acts they perform raise a lot of questions. I mean, what’s with the fake boobs and nails and eyelashes and tans and hair? Why the no-body-hair rule? And who came up with the idea that ejaculate is the new trend in facial moisturizers? On that note, where is the line between pleasure and degradation drawn, and by whom? Why have the past few years seen such an abrupt switch from full-length feature films to half-hour-long frenzies of manic semen spewing? Is anybody overseeing this whole operation, and if so, can we arrange to have a private sit-down chat?

Follow her tangents over at McSweeney’s.

Thanks to Laura Roberts for the tip.

Sean Lennon Revisits Parents’ Iconic Cover

January 18, 2010 Culture, Papers/Rags 1 Comment

Sean Lennon, son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, did a playful revisit of his parents’ iconic Rolling Stone with his lover Charlotte Kemp.

The original image was shot by Annie Leibovitz in December of 1980 and appeared in Rolling Stone in January 1981. The Sean version was shot by Terry Richardson for Purple magazine in the fall of 2009.

Images and information via FilthyGorgeousThings.

The LA Times Gets Kinky (In Name Only)

January 13, 2010 Culture, Papers/Rags No Comments

As we all know, the LA Times has a new section for all the late-breaking news that were once in the paper. They decided to name it LATextra, short for Los Angeles Times Extra. Makes sense, right?

Unless you’re a member of the more literary BDSM community, of course. If you are, the name immediately conjures LateXtra, the fetish rag by Skin Two (ah! Skin Two, fond memories of my high school years when I was just discovering some of my cravings had a name).

From Island of Pain:

LateXtra (the fetish mag) can be downloaded here. LATextra (the newspaper supplement) will soon be available somewhere behind the A section in the LA Times, but it will cost you 75 cents.

Information via Island of Pain.

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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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Editrix-in-Command:
AV Flox

In-House Theologian:
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Eros and Desire Scholar:
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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...