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Introducing Plan C

Most of us know Plan B, the emergency contraceptive that a woman can take up to 72 hours after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy. Later this year, we will have a plan C — ella, an emergency contraceptive that can be taken up to five days after unprotected sex.

Watson Pharmaceuticals, the drug manufacturer, announced the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of ella on Friday.

Women receiving this emergency contraceptive will need a prescription for the pill. Plan B, on the other hand, is available over the counter. … Continue Reading

Slinging Balls for Science

Our fearless editrix finds herself this evening pacing about the Sex and the 405 newsroom (naked, of course) bemoaning the lack of white bread to be found in California. But fear not, for while the rest of the staff attempts to distract her with Star Wars porn, I am here to educate and entertain.

Introducing: A ball sack for your ball sack. A sling for your thing. A sock for your cock. A thong for your dong.

According to Scicurious at Neurotopia:

For many years now, scientists have been trying to come up with a reliable form of male contraceptive that…isn’t a condom. There’s a lot of burden on women when it comes to contraception (in terms of the pill, the ring, the patch, etc), and so for a while scientists have been looking for a way to give men more of an equal say. But hormones don’t appear to work very well.

So what did the scientists do? Polyester underpants. … Continue Reading

The Pill, But For Dudes

sperm

A contraceptive for men is soon going to start trials at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, just in time for the celebration of 50th anniversary of the female contraceptive pill!

Dr. Swerdloff, the director of the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center’s Male Contraceptive Clinical Trials Center, said the development of a male contraceptive has the power to change men’s view of their health and empower their reproductive decisions.

“Just as women gained greater control over their reproductive choices and their health with the advent of the birth control pill, a male contraceptive would get men more involved in their personal health care and would give them greater reproductive choices,” he said in a statement.

To this end, the institute is seeking 60 men ages 18 to 50 to test out a combination of hormone gels that will be applied to their arms and abdomens to see how they affect sperm count. The idea is that this hormonal gel will cut sperm count to levels where conception is not possible. According to researchers, discontinued use will result in the men returning to their normal sperm production.

Named after Dr. Christina Wang, one of the leading researchers involved, the test period is being called the “Wang male contraceptive trial.” If you giggle about it, we’re going to think less of you. This is very serious stuff, people.

OK, fine. Giggle. Then, if you’re a man, consider signing up for the study.

Information via the LA Weekly.

Live-Tweeting An Abortion

Last week the web went up in flames when a woman, by the name of Angie Jackson, began live-tweeting her medical abortion.

Jackson discovered she was pregnant the week prior, following the failure of her method of birth control. A single mom with a little boy, Jackson claims that she was was told that her pregnancy could cause a threat to her life and decided to abort the using the abortifacient mifepristone.

The Frisky did an interview with Jackson about the abortion:

The Frisky: What compelled you to tweet about your abortion? Why even “demystify” it for people? A lot of people consider an abortion something that should be private.

Angie Jackson: I guess I was so terrified going into this that it was going to be horribly painful, that I was going to hemorrhage. And I don’t want to be flippant that those things don’t happen [but] what I was trying to say to people who find themselves in this position is that I was relieved to find out that I had this non-surgical option [the abortion pill] and that I was early enough [in my pregnancy] to get it. I was so relieved to see how simple it’s been. The actual process has been like a menstrual period. It’s not foreign or scary.

The Frisky: You were on birth control — an IUD, correct? What happened to it?

Angie Jackson: It can fall out during heavy flow periods, which going by the dates and everything, my last period was about two-and-a-half weeks before I got pregnant, so in that period of time, I was thinking I was using protection but probably not. By the time I got the ultrasound, the IUD was not in there anymore.

The Frisky: So, you’re very blunt in the YouTube video, saying that you’re not ashamed about having an abortion. You just flat-out say, “I’m not ashamed.” Where does that come from?

Angie Jackson: I think any time that we are silent about things or secret about things, it is unhealthy. I say this as a sexual abuse survivor. When I stopped keeping secrets [about the sexual abuse] and starting telling somebody, life got better. I have kept that throughout my life And I’m an autobiographical blogger. I am very open with the internet about how I am. I am very open about who I am with parenting and mental illness … For me, this wasn’t very different. This was about me talking about who I am openly. For me, talking about things is just how I approach all the taboos of life. I think that secrecy is unhealthy. We don’t get help when we don’t talk about things. For women who do need counseling or support or love or understanding after an abortion, if they have to stay quiet out of shame, then they won’t get that help. I think talking about things really can make a huge difference.

I feel that I was reasonably responsible. This is a possible responsible answer to this problem. In my case, I do feel like this is the best decision. I talked it over with my son and my boyfriend, who are the only people besides me who get a vote. It’s still my choice, but I’m going to talk it over with the people that I love — not that my son understands it much. But I don’t see why I should be ashamed that I’m saving my life. I don’t think that I’m being a killer; I don’t feel like I killed a person. And I’m sure if I did, I would feel guilt. And that’s why [anti-abortion activists] try so hard to convince you that it is.

Here is some of the feedback she has received:

Tracie at Jezebel offered the following comments:

And while I think that what she’s doing is radically progressive and service-y (she describes in her tweets what a medical abortion feels like), I sort of wish that she didn’t feel the need to have to qualify or rationalize her decision by explaining that the pregnancy could have been detrimental to her health—although I appreciate and understand her full disclosure and honesty—because the bottom line is that it doesn’t matter why she made this choice. It only matters that she’s allowed to make this choice.

What do you think? Is this a public service or over the top?

Research Reveals Possible Male Contraceptive

February 10, 2010 Fertility and Babbys, News 1 Comment

sperm

A recent study by scientists from University of California, San Francisco, have identified a mechanism that prompts sperm to start swimming toward an egg. Appropriately targeted, this mechanism could assist in developing new methods of male contraception.

So, basically, sperm are basically balloons of protons. Once they hit the female reproductive tract, these protons are released, which kicks off the sperms’ race to the egg.

“The concentration of protons inside the [sperm] cell is 1,000 times higher than outside,” said lead researcher, Yuriy Kirichok. “If you just open a pore, protons will go outside. We identify the molecule that lets them out.”

This molecule is Hv1 protein. By identifying it, we may be able to modify the activity of sperm in either direction, meaning: make it not go to the egg. Score!

“You can imagine now that we know the molecule responsible we could block it to prevent activation and fertilization as a kind of male contraception,” Kirichok said.

The study appears in the journal Cell, a Cell Press publication.

Information from the Times of India.

Giving Birth in California Is DANGEROUS

The mortality rate of California women who die from causes directly related to pregnancy has nearly tripled in the past decade and the state Department of Public Health has for the past seven months declined to release a report outlining the trend.

The investigative journalist group California Watch, spoke with investigators who wrote the report and they confirmed the spike in deaths related to pregnancy since the 1930s.

While the number of deaths is relatively small, it is now more dangerous to give birth in California than it is to do so in Kuwait or Bosnia.

Per the article on CaliforniaWatch:

“The issue is how rapidly this rate has worsened,” said Debra Bingham, executive director of the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative, the public-private task force investigating the problem for the state. “That’s what’s shocking.”

The problem may be occurring nationwide. The Joint Commission, the leading health care accreditation and standards group in the United States, issued a “Sentinel Event Alert” to hospitals on Jan. 26, stating: “Unfortunately, current trends and evidence suggest that maternal mortality rates may be increasing in the U.S.”

The alert asked doctors to consider morbid obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes, along with hemorrhaging from C-sections, as contributing factors.

In 2007, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the national maternal mortality rate had risen, but experts such as Dr. Jeffrey C. King, who leads a special inquiry into maternal mortality for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, chalked up the change to better counting of deaths. His opinion hasn’t changed.

“I would be surprised if there was a significant increase of maternal deaths,” said King, who has not seen the California report.

But Shabbir Ahmad, a scientist in California’s Department of Public Health, decided to look closer. He organized academics, state researchers and hospitals to conduct a systematic review of every maternal death in California. It’s the largest state review ever conducted. The group’s initial findings provide the first strong evidence that there is a true increase in deaths – not just the number of reported deaths.

Changes in the population – obese mothers, older mothers and fertility treatments – cannot completely account for the rise in deaths in California, said Dr. Elliott Main, the principal investigator for the task force.

Image by Beverly. Information from CaliforniaWatch, via Alternet.

Reversing Vasectomies–There’s A Bot For That

Urologists at the University of Florida are using robots to reverse vasectomies, effectively shaving off 20 minutes of surgery time from the procedure. Not only does this spare surgeons’ backs, as they have to be bent over a patient operating with high-power microscopes, but it appears that the decreased time spent in surgery enables sperm count in patients to return faster.

“For a couple that’s trying to get pregnant, this is a big deal,” said Dr. Sijo Parekattil, director of male infertility and microsurgery at the University of Florida, who led the study, soon to be published in the Journal of Endourology.

Many types of surgery are now being aided by robots, and surgeons continue to explore new areas in which they can be used.

“This is state-of-the-art stuff, it’s cutting-edge, and a stepping stone to understanding whether or not we can use this technology on a more widespread basis,” said Dr. Wayne Kuang, director of Male Reproductive Health at University of New Mexico, who was not involved in the study. “It’s a natural progression from back in the days when we just had magnified eyeglasses.”

But vasectomy reversal via bot is not without controversy: many specialists believe that developing an expensive robot to do something that’s already done with a microscope is a waste of resources and that the costs associated for patients (a bot-assisted reversal is $3,000 more than a conventional vasectomy reversal).

“The big question is did it improve outcomes — either pregnancy rates or the time spent in surgery?” said professor Dr. Jay Sandlow, vice chair of the department of urology at Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, who initially had reservations about the robotic procedure but after seeing the preliminary results now says he sees value in the method.

“It certainly looks as if he has done that,” said Sandlow, who was not involved in the study. “He has shown a meaningful decrease in the amount of time it takes to do these robotically compared to the open procedure.”

It’s also worth noting that since many hospital fees are based on time, cutting down on operating time could offset some of the cost of using the robot.

It is too soon to tell whether pregnancy rates have improved since the conclusion of the 2009 study that compares the results of 20 men who had the robotic procedure and the seven who had the microscopic one.

But two months after surgery, average sperm count in the robotic surgery group was 54 million, compared with 11 million in the microscopic surgery group. Early results show that the difference in sperm count between the two procedures decreases over time, however.

Information from the University of Florida.

Pregnancy And The Flu

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is holding a webinar and conference call on how the flu affects pregnancy this Wednesday, January 13, from 5:00 to 6:30PM PST.

Speakers include Dr. Sonja Rasmussen, a board-certified pediatrician and senior scientist in the CDC Division of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities and Dr. Betsy Mitchell, a health communication specialist.

Along side the doctors will be a… wait for it, wait for it… social media expert! This individual will turn you on to flu-related social media tools from CDC. Got flu? There may be an app for that. Stay tuned. Or just prepare to see your Twitter streams saturated with the #Preg&Flu hashtag.

Anyway, if you’re interested in attending, go ahead and e-mail NCHMInteractiveMedia@cdc.gov to RSVP and submit any questions you may have on the topic.

To call in during the conference, dial: 877-972-5886, the code to enter is: 7276457

To access the call via web, go to MyMeeting.

Information via Rita Arens.

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.

Diabetes’ Lesser Known Problem: Retrograde Ejaculation

December 24, 2009 Fertility and Babbys, News 1 Comment

Retrograde ejaculation happens when sperm, instead of being released from the body, go back down the urethra and into the bladder. The condition is a result of nerves in the area becoming damaged, and though it doesn’t affect a man’s ability to experience orgasm, retrograde ejaculation can leave a man permanently infertile.

“In terms of public health problems related to diabetes, it is way down the list–cardiovascular and eye disease are much more significant problems,” Dr. David Price, a diabetes expert at the Morriston Hospital in Swansea told the UK’s Daily Mail. “However, if you’re a young person with and want to have children, or are the consultant treating it, it’s a real problem and the fact that it’s not the most serious side-effect of diabetes is no comfort.”

According to Price, some five percent of men with erectile dysfunction problems, caused by diabetes of either type, have retrograde ejaculation.

“Diabetes is a common cause of sexual problems because the disease affects the blood supply and nerves,” he told the Mail. “Around 35 per cent of diabetic men–around 440,000–suffer from erectile dysfunction and this increases to more 50 percent in diabetic men of 60 or older. Retrograde ejaculation is less common, but still affects a few per cent of diabetic men with sexual dysfunction problems, probably a few tens of thousands of men.”

How does it happen?

“Initially a man can get an erection, but it doesn’t last because of blood supply problems and then, as nerve damage develops, it can lead to ejaculation problems,” Price explained.

Information from The Daily Mail.

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