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A Vibrator for the Music Junkie

April 13, 2011 Interview 12 Comments

OhMiBod: Feel the music

The relationship between pleasure and music is one that is particularly pronounced, which probably explains the undeniable coolness of OhMiBod, a vibrator that translates musical beats into vibration sequences. The vibe has been around for a few years, and we were curious about its evolution, so we sat down with OhMiBod co-founder Suki Dunham to give us an overview.

“Our designs evolve over time, because, frankly, we listen to our customers,” Dunham told us about the changes in the vibe’s design. “We love receiving feedback. When it is negative we take that criticism constructively and use it to build better products.”

What started with a single vibe is now a full-fledged line: from the wireless Freestyle and the ambient-music vibrating Club Vibe, to the phone call-activated Boditalk Escort and their bath-play Better Than Chocolate Massager, OhMiBod has covered all the bases — at least as far as the clit and g-spot are concerned. … Continue Reading

What A Porn Star Wants for Christmas: Kristina Rose

December 13, 2010 Interview, Wish Lists No Comments

Santa Baby Kristina Rose

Continuing the overview of what our favorite skin girls want for Christmas, we’re taking a peek at Kristina Rose’s Amazon wishlist today. Here’s what the AVN Performer of the Year nominee wants in her stocking … Continue Reading

What A Porn Star Wants for Christmas: Aaliyah Love

December 10, 2010 Interview, Wish Lists No Comments

Santa Baby Aaliyah Love

Our tour of the material cravings of porn stars continues today with the Amazon wishlist of web bombshell and two-year XBIZ Award nominee Aaliyah Love. … Continue Reading

What A Porn Star Wants for Christmas: April O’Neil

December 7, 2010 Interview, Wish Lists No Comments

Santa Baby April O'Neil

Yesterday we took a peek a Zoe Voss’ Christmas wishlist to give you an idea of what a gorgeous woman in the adult business wants to fill her stocking. But since you can’t really generalize about an industry by one of its members, we’ve decided to bring you more.

Today’s wishlist belongs to model and performer April O’Neil, soon to play Deanna Troi on the TNG Star Trek porn parody. That’s not just a part for O’Neil, who’s actually quite a Trekkie. Don’t believe us? … Continue Reading

What A Porn Star Wants for Christmas: Zoe Voss

December 4, 2010 Interview, Wish Lists No Comments

Santa Baby Zoe Voss

Porn stars. We watch them on the screen banging away in hundreds of fantastic positions, a parasocial situation more intimate than most. Based on how well books like How To Make Love Like a Porn Star by Jenna Jameson and Sinner Takes All by Tera Patrick have done, it’s patently obvious that we’re curious about this breed of business people-cum-icons (see what we did there? You love it).

With the holiday season upon us, we thought you’d be interested in knowing what porn stars want for Christmas. Lucky for us, porn new-comer Zoe Voss is really forthcoming in this regard. She posted her Amazon wishlist this afternoon. You ready for this? … Continue Reading

Happy Belated National Underwear Day

August 6, 2010 Interview No Comments

Happy underwear day!

It appears that Wednesday was National Underwear Day, as decreed by the underwear company Freshpair.

“Underwear should no longer be merely the first thing you put on and the last thing you take off, but the most important thing you wear all day.” says Freshpair president Michael Kleinmann. That’s what the holiday is all about. … Continue Reading

The Cause Gets Heated

July 30, 2010 Interview 2 Comments

Melissa Jun Rowley is a writer and cause activist living in Los Angeles. She writes for Mashable and WhatGives!?, a blog from Cause Media Group, which focuses on cause marketing for brands and celebrities. But this girl is no goody-goody two shoes. We sat down and interviewed her today about the irreverent approach she takes to social media. … Continue Reading

Minx of Dreams

While we were in Manhattan up to absolutely no good, we happened to meet Andrea Grant, creator and writer of the comic MINX. Immediately drawn to the complex plot line and sexy heroine (based on Grant herself), we knew we had to share her with you.

So we asked her to take a time out from her incredibly busy schedule as the editor of TheFashionSpot and fashionista-about-town to tell us a little bit more about the comic.

Sex and the 405: How did MINX come about?

Andrea Grant: Although it started out as a comic strip in the back of my literary arts magazine, Copious, I started seriously publishing MINX in 2006. I’ve always been obsessed with the lines between fantasy, reality, and dreams. The creation of MINX was cathartic; it happened right after I emerged from a very dark period in my life.

MINX began as an alter ego that I felt safe working with creatively as I sought to find my voice as an artist. Minx is an archetype of the empowered, modern woman that challenges tradition while embracing sexuality and femininity. MINX is a very personal project — both a conceptual self-portrait, and a response to the way that the celebrity-obsessed media often corrupts the truth and distorts the boundaries of fantasy and actuality. The world of Minx is real to me, albeit a hyper-reality.

Sex and the 405: You mix Native American folklore and fantasy in the comic seamlessly. How did it occur to you — are you Native American?

Andrea Grant: I am half-Native, through my Coast Salish father, who is also a Shaman. I would go with him to pow-wows, where I met some tribal elders, who told amazing traditional stories. And I thought that it would be interesting to combine some of these stories with other universal myths in the graphic novel format. What’s great about comics is that the audience accepts the epic and the supernatural.

Sex and the 405: What do you want readers to take away from the comic?

Andrea Grant: The goal is for others to seem themselves in these archetypes, and also to make an impact when it comes to retelling old myths and preserving traditional stories.

There’s an interesting new book by Mike Madrid called Supergirls: Fashion, feminism, fantasy, and the history of comic book heroines which examines how female characters have evolved through the years. They started out as film noir vixens, and then had to battle for equality in the 1950’s, until they finally became empowered again (i.e. She-Hulk and Catwoman, which I grew up reading).

But these characters always seemed 2-dimensional to me: superhero identity vs. true identity. I wanted to create a more emotionally complicated, 3-dimensional character in Minx, who is something of an anti-hero grimly accepting the fact that she has been called to this strange adventure in Dreamtime.

All of my characters are moody and as complicated as any of us, and it’s that streak of humanity that makes Minx unique. She plays with the boys, but she’s definitely a woman.

And here’s a little something-something for you, because we like you that much. A picture of Andrea Grant herself:

You’re welcome.

Special thanks to Colleen Nika for the intro. That girl knows everybody.

Cyan Banister Bares It All In Never-Before-Seen First Zivity Shoot

February 12, 2010 Culture, Interview, web 7 Comments

In 2007, a start-up rocked the web with its fearless vision to combine the social network with adult photography into a formula that enables models and photographers to profit via a user voting system. The start-up, Zivity, even managed to raise a $1 million round of seed capital from Silicon Valley investors, notorious for steering clear of adult sites.

“We think it’s our unapologetic approach that has nabbed our investors,” founder Cyan Banister commented then. “Women who want to be sexy is not pornography, and us stressing that has helped us a lot. It’s never been about creating a site that’s a dirty little secret, and investors really need to hear that.”

We had an opportunity to speak with Banister last week and asked her to tell us something she hadn’t told anyone before about Zivity’s story.

“The first time I posed nude was very nerve-wrecking,” Banister said. “I called all my photographer friends and I said ‘I’m thinking abut this company again’ — I tried to start this company ten years ago and I was very young and inexperienced and lacked a lot of maturity in person and business — and I told them, ‘I need to pose nude because if I can’t do this, I can’t start this company.’ ”

She set up the appointment and dove in.

“I knew nothing about looking at the camera, or how to pose,” she recalled. “I loved it. It was transformative. I didn’t think much about my body but afterward, I looked at it in the pictures and thought ‘wow, my body is nice.’ I regretted not doing it sooner and appreciating myself sooner. If I could go back, I would tell myself to pose sooner.”

That’s essentially the heart of Zivity right there — it’s about beauty in all its forms, it’s about the discovery of self and the sharing of this self through collaboration with photographers and through interaction with users.

Banister’s first shoot never made it into the site because the images didn’t meet the site’s quality guidelines.

“Has no one seen these?” we asked, our curiosity piqued. “Can we see them? Can we run them?”

Ask and you shall receive.

Presenting the photo shoot that started it all. Un-Photoshopped, and never before seen:

“A camera will show you something about yourself a mirror never can,” Banister told us. “When you see a picture of yourself, you see everything. Have some shots taken. Even if you don’t do it for the website, do it for yourself. Delete it if you have to, but do it.”

And just in case you want to check out this fabled website of epic win, you can get a 30-day trial by sending an e-mail to sexandthe405@zivity.com, no credit card required — until the end of those 30 days, that is. Then you’ll need to pay up. But don’t worry, you’ll find no damn good reason not to, and over 500 reasons worth doing so.

(Be patient, the 30-day trial messages are sorted manually, not by machines, so give it 24 hours before you leave us impatient comments. Not that we don’t love your eagerness, our sweet flytraps of oversharing and voyeuristic delight.)

Oh, yeah: you’re welcome.

Special thanks to Enrique Gutierrez for inadvertently catalyzing this.

Valentine’s Day: Gaping Void of Love

February 1, 2010 Art, Culture, Interview No Comments

Our editor has the same argument with her mother every year about Valentine’s Day. It looks like this:

AV: I want a man to give me presents for no reason, because he simply can’t resist being reminded of me whether he’s in the shower or strolling around town.

HER: good luck with that. Men are goal-oriented creatures. They need execution dates and a general template to follow or defy, hence the importance of holidays, anniversaries and birthdays — and nudges from us.

AV: that’s bleak, Mom.

Then, without fail, a few days before said holiday, AV will receive an e-mail from her father requesting approval of his latest gift. Everything from bizarre orchids (which her mother loves even though she invariably kills them) to a dinner in a tiny island only big enough for a table under a gazebo, with an ensemble of musicians in boats around them to serenade them.

AV got roses — once. From her ex-husband before he was her husband. Moral? UR DOIN IT RONG, AV.

So we here at Sex and the 405 have decided to do everyone a favor and put some options on the table for you, the first of which is a personal favorite of ours: art by Hugh MacLeod.

Somehow, our shameless editrix-in-command got the Wall Street Journal bestselling author to take a few seconds from his incredible creation schedule to give us some answers. We present these to you for your nomage:

AV Flox: Tell me about the Love Series — how did it come about?

Hugh MacLeod: The Love Series came about in 2007, when I was asked to design some Valentine’s Day promotion material for one of my clients. They went down a treat, and then when Valentine’s Day came around this year I decided to resurrect them.

AV: One of my favorite pieces by you “Commitment” isn’t on there — it should be. That’s love in a nutshell for me.

Your description you included with that piece goes like this:

Within 1 week of meeting this person you realize that not only have you found your soulmate, but you’ve found your soulmate who likes to have sex 4 times a day in the bed, on the dining table, on the kitchen floor, in the changing rooms at Bloomingdale’s etc.

Within 2 weeks you’re already talking about moving in together.

Within 3 weeks you’re talking about having babies together.

Within 4 weeks you realize this person is a complete psychopath.

Within 5 weeks this person also thinks you’re a complete psychopath.

Within 6 weeks you’re sitting at a restaurant with an old friend who is giving you the “How come you only call me when you’re single” speech.

Which is a really long way of asking: have you really had sex in a changing room at Bloomingdale’s? How was it?

HM: I never had sex in Bloomingdale’s. My parents gave me a double bed for my 17th birthday (“Hey, we’d rather have you doing it on that than in the back of a car…”), so from an early age I never had to scout out exotic locations, unlike some of my hapless single-bed school chums. That informed me as I got older.

AV: I have a queen-sized bed but I still love changing-room sex.

HM: The trouble with changing rooms, it’s impossible to spoon afterwards.

AV: But you can grab high tea at Neiman’s! [Laughs] Anyway, since we’re on the subject of the delectable: have you ever done a drawing on human flesh? If not, can I reserve the rights? Thanks.

HM: I once had a wonderful girlfriend who loved getting naked and getting me to draw on her. I was happy to oblige, but never really understood why it turned her on so much. I guess we all have our kinks, so whatever…

The lovely and charming Hermione Way asked me draw on her neck with a Sharpie last SXSW. But we were just having a laugh, nothing kinky happening there. She had already had a ton to drink that night (as did I), so when she woke up the next morning and looked in the mirror…

As for yourself, by all means! The next time you see me, bring a Sharpie!

AV: We all have our kinks, you say. What’s yours?

HM: It takes at least four cocktails to get the kinks outta me.

AV: Duly noted. So Valentine’s Day — because I have to ask — sweet or stupid holiday?

HM: I think Valentine’s day started off well, back in 17th Century Europe, where the idea was to send somebody a secret, anonymous letter that said, “I fancy you”. That’s pretty hot, to get one of those in the mail. But now we send Valentine’s cards to our grannies and vice versa. It kinda defeats the original purpose.

+++

There you have it, our sweet orchids of desire and destruction, the inimitable Hugh MacLeod. If you have an art junkie in your life, check out his gallery. If you’re a Twitter junkie, add him: @gapingvoid.

Closing words?

“Ladies, please always remember The Golden Rule: Men Are Stupid,” says Hugh MacLeod. “So if you want your man to get you one of these beauties for Valentine’s Day, do not assume he and his walnut-sized brain will be smart enough to figure it out on their own. Best to drop him a hint. Maybe kick him in the shins. Or something.”

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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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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

Read about the contributors we've had over time on our staff page.

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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...