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The Apple App Store: 1984′s Junior Anti-Sex League v2.0

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard that Apple banned Pulitzer-winning satirist Mark Fiore from its app store for ridiculing public figures (um, he’s a satirist, like, hello). Apple CEO Steve Jobs has since called the ban a mistake, but he’s not done ruining the fun for everyone.

Last week, TechCrunch published an e-mail from Jobs sent to a consumer asking when Apple became the moral police. Jobs’ response said: “we do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone. Folks who want porn can buy and [sic] Android phone.”

Assuming this email is legit, this isn’t the first time Jobs has suggested users try Android if they want porn. Earlier this month, during a Q&A session after the iPhone 4.0 OS event, Jobs said: “You know, there’s a porn store for Android. You can download nothing but porn. You can download porn, your kids can download porn. That’s a place we don’t want to go – so we’re not going to go there.”

We at Sex and the 405 find it incredibly ironic that Apple is pulling this nonsense. Remember the Apple 1984 commercial? Junior Anti-Sex League, anyone? Who’s Big Brother now?

Bastards.

Image from the Apple 1984 commercial, superimposed on an image of an iPhone screen. Information from TechCrunch.

Wisconsin Sex Ed: Between the Law and a Lawyer

April 20, 2010 Freedom, Health, News, Politics 1 Comment

When it comes to sex ed, some Wisconsin teachers are officially screwed. The state requires them to teach about contraception, but Juneau County District Attorney Scott Southworth has proclaimed that if any of them do, he’ll press charges.

Leslie Madsen-Brooks covers the issue at BlogHer: “Southworth believes classroom discussion of how to properly use contraceptives will lead not only to sexual activity between minors, but sexual assault on minors.”

She links a letter to school districts in Juneau County, where Southworth makes the following statement:

The teacher need not be deliberately encourage [sic] the illegal behavior: he or she only need be aware that his or her instruction is “practically certain” to cause the child to engage in the illegal act. Moreover, the teacher could be charged with this crime even if the child does not actually engage in the criminal behavior. Depending on the nature of the child’s behavior, the teacher could face either misdemeanor or felony charges with maximum punishments ranging from 9 months of jail up to six years of prison.

Can we get a WTF?

Madsen-Brooks offers some hard data:

It’s preposterous that teachers would reasonably believe that instruction on contraception could lead to sexual assault. According to data from the University of Wisconsin Health Institute, Juneau County’s teen birth rate is approximately 25 percent higher than the state average, and the county ranks 62 out of 72 Wisconsin counties in the Institute’s health behaviors index (which includes such data as chlamydia infection rates, smoking rates, smoking during pregnancy, binge drinking and the teen birth rate). Clearly, this is a county where young people need some instruction on health.

She raises a good point: a district attorney holds incredible power, and while generally elected, most voters tend to have no idea who their D.A. is. This is a big issue. Read her post to find resources and learn about your own D.A.

Information from BlogHer.

Georgetown Students Rebel Against Campus Anti-Choice Policies

April 1, 2010 Freedom, News No Comments

Last weekend, Georgetown students rose in revolt against the campus’ anti-choice policies during tours by prospective students. These anti-choice policies force students to go off campus for condoms and birth control.

The Washington Post reported on the incident:

As groups of prospective students and their parents toured Georgetown University Saturday afternoon, three current students put tape over their mouths and chained themselves to a statue of the Catholic college’s founder.

The president of the campus’s unofficial pro-choice group yelled into a megaphone: “We are unofficial because Georgetown refuses to take care of the sexual health of its students.”

Two other students held a huge banner with a message for university president John J. DeGioia: “Take the tape off our mouths and the chains off our bodies.”

The blog Feministing gave the students kudos, remarking on the cost of speaking up: “They face serious hostility, in addition to protesters at all their events and no campus recognition for their groups.”

Photo by Lexie Herman, for Vox Populi, look at more here. Information via Feministing.

Prom Canceled After Teen Requests To Bring Same-Sex Date

March 23, 2010 Freedom, News No Comments

Things are getting heated in Mississippi, where the American Civil Liberties Union is suing in the U.S. District Court to force the Itwamba County school district to sponsor a prom they canceled following the request of a lesbian teen who wants to take her girlfriend to prom.

The teen, Constance McMillen, had requested permission to bring another girl to prom and wear a tuxedo in December. McMillen was forced to ask because same-sex dates have been banned in the past.

Schools Superintendent Teresa McNeece and school board Chairman Eddie Hood testified before a judge that the discussion to keep from sponsoring the event had started before McMillen’s request came to their attention, due to liability issues such as alcohol- and drug-use at a school-sponsored event.

They did admit McMillen’s challenging the ban on same-sex dates had caused disruptions at the school and that this had had some bearing on the decision to call off Itawamba Agricultural High School’s prom on April 2.

District officials say their decision to cancel is suitable “after taking into consideration the education, safety and well being of our students.”

ACLU attorney Kristy Bennett disagrees and told the court that the district was violating McMillen’s First Amendment rights and that it was the decision to cancel the prom — not McMillen’s request to bring her girlfriend — that caused the disruption at school.

McMillen herself says the district’s decision has resulted in hostility toward her on campus.

U.S. District Judge Glen H. Davidson is hearing the case and while he has not specified when he will rule, he has noted how pressing an issue this is. We’ll keep you posted.

Information from WDSU News.

Loud Sex? Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200

March 22, 2010 Freedom, News No Comments

Last year we told you about a couple in the UK that got into trouble with the authorities for having loud sex. The wife, Caroline Cartwright, avoided jail in January after a judge handed her a suspended sentence. She’d already spent eight weeks locked up.

It’s only been two months, but the couple are all over the news again for the same infraction.

Cartwright, 49, has been arrested by police and thrown back into the bail hostel to keep her away from her husband Steve, 48, while the courts decide how to address the issue.

“This is just ridiculous,” she said. “It was just for 10 minutes at around 10:15AM on a Sunday morning. You couldn’t hear that much because the bed is downstairs in the dining room and not in the bedroom. The police came on Monday night to arrest me and lock me up. I spent the night in the cells and appeared at Houghton-le Spring Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday. They said they believed I had breached the Asbo [the four-year ban that prevented her from making excessive noise anywhere in England and Wales] again because two neighbors said they heard us. It was only 10 minutes, not like the two hour sessions we used to have. I’m now back in the hostel where I was before. I call it my holiday home. I’m not allowed back at my house until this is sorted out.”

According to the Telegraph, Cartwright is at the hostel and on bail until her committal hearing on May 13.

“This is causing stress on our marriage,” Cartwright said of the situation. “We aren’t doing it as much as we used to because it’s not exactly relaxing knowing that everyone is listening for you to make a noise. We aren’t even sleeping together every night because I have been in a hostel for so long that I’ve got used to sleeping alone.”

Image and information from the Telegraph. Via CrazySexStuff.

Warning! Student Endangers Others With His Fluids

March 20, 2010 Culture, Freedom, News, Nudity No Comments

A student over at the University of Hawaii-Manoa has made a splash in the national media over the week following a warning from the campus about the student’s “performance art.”

Per Queerty:

Since at least January, Tim, a gay 22-year-old senior at the University of Hawai’i-Manoa, has been recording himself masturbating, and uploading the videos to Xtube. He goes by the username “SpeedoStudent1,” which represents his fetish for all things Speedos, Lycra, and jocks; he got his first Speedo at age 19 and has been hooked ever since.

Tim has caused a ruckus on campus by filming some of his endeavors in school buildings, prompting the school to issue a warning in the student newspaper:

A UH student has been endangering students by leaving his body fluids on desks in many classrooms. His blog, Hawai’i Speedo Student, shows pictures and videos of himself masturbating in buildings such as Kuykendall, Moore, Webster, Physical Science, Watanabe and possibly more. He is currently being investigated for violating student conduct codes. Please take appropriate precautions like disinfecting desks and washing hands frequently. He is self-described as 5 foot 7 inches with frizzy blond hair, blue eyes and a slim build. Do not attempt to approach the student. If you notice him or anyone else exhibiting sexually deviant and psychotic behavior, call Campus Security at (808) 956-6911.

Tim, who blogs at Hawaii Speedo Student and who describes his videos and photos as art, commented on intolerance:

I continue to be absolutely amazed by the outpouring of intolerance and abusiveness provoked by my departure from normative behavior. It’s very strange, very alien to me. Rather than contenting themselves with finding my actions offensive or inappropriate, many of the commentors on this blog and other articles take things a step further. Somehow they see their own disgust as a legitimate reason to criticize or penalize me.

Instead of recognizing that a behavior they may not choose to participate in themselves can be a perfectly normal means of expression for another, they are unable to tolerate the existence of an alternative viewpoint. (Some go so far as to demand that I be suppressed by burning – witch trials, anyone?) But remember, tolerance is not just for big issues. Tolerance goes far beyond merely stopping the lynching of black males or the jailing of homosexuals.

Tolerance is the ability to accept all opinions, all behaviors as equally valid, regardless of your personal feelings about them; to understand that your ethical or moral framework and judgements apply to you and you alone; and to realize that even holding the same opinion as a majority of others does not give you the moral authority to force your views on the dissenters.

That is true tolerance, which can only be observed in actions and not expressed in words. So far I have met remarkably few people capable of practicing it.

Image from Hawaii Speedo Student. Information via the Huffington Post.

Dear Bank: Get Out of Our Blogs and Bedrooms

Last week, TechCrunch reported on something terrifying: Citibank had blocked the business account of the brand-spanking new startup fabulis due to what they were calling “objectionable content” on the fabulis company blog.

What’s objectionable? Fabulis is a soon-to-launch social network seeking to connect gay men with amazing experiences around the world. From TechCrunch:

Could that be what Citibank is objecting against rather than the content on the blog, which is perfectly innocent any way you look at it indeed?

Now, in case you don’t know Goldberg: he’s an accomplished Internet entrepreneur, who had stints at the White House, AOL and T-Mobile under his belt before founding Jobster (and raising more than $50 million for the startup) and after that socialmedian (which he sold to Xing in December 2008).

For his latest startup fabulis, Goldberg has raised $625k in seed funding from the likes of Washington Post and Venture Partner at Mayfield Fund Allen Morgan, and essentially aims to become the leading social network and lifestyle website for homosexual men.

“And wtf. When did Citibank start reviewing blogs to decide who can bank with them?” asked fabulis founder Jason Goldberg in a blog post on the matter.

After more discussions with Citibank representatives, Goldberg learned that the bank had terminated the fabulis business account because the “content was not in compliance with Citibank’s standard policies.” Kater, a bank rep called to apologize, saying: “all 3 of the citibank individuals who over the past 24 hours each individually claimed that fabulis’ account was to be terminated for compliance issues around the content of our site, were all wrong to have said what they said.”

Eventually, fabulis received an apology from Bill Brown, who says he’s responsible for the Citibank Branches in Manhattan which said:

Jason,

We have not been formally introduced and I imagine that this is a poor way to become acquainted. I am responsible for the Citibank Branches in Manhattan and have just learned today of the challenges you have experienced in opening an account with us.

I apologize for any confusion about the status of your account and the Fabulis website. Whatever statements that were made by any Citi representative related to the content of your website were inappropriate and made in error, and I will review in detail what happened. You have my firm commitment on this point.

I truly regret any unintended message that my employees may have conveyed about your new business venture. I place great value on your business and assure you that Citi is committed to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities. In fact, this week Citi has announced the financing for the True Colors Residence, a housing facility for homeless GLBT youth in New York City.

I recognize that, to this point, this dialogue has been carried out on the internet via postings. You may choose to post this apology, however, please do not doubt the sincerity of my message and the responsibility I have for ensuring our customers do not encounter a similar experience.

Safe travels,

Bill Brown

Embarrassed by the internet shitstorm that ensued, Citibank has gone a step further. According to a new report on TechCrunch, the bank is now reviewing and making changes to policies for their internet business account costumers.

Citibank Message About Internet Business Accounts

At Citibank, we have learned a great deal from recent customer issues related to Internet business accounts. Mistakes were made in some instances, in which we apologized and corrected the problem. These issues made it clear to us that the language in our branch procedures was not specific enough and left too much room for interpretation from one account to the next.

We recognized that we needed clearer and less subjective guidelines with regard to opening Internet business accounts. And there were clearly gaps in training and communications around these specific branch procedures. Based on all these learnings, we’ve taken action and this week we updated and clarified our procedures for opening all Internet business accounts.

Banks are required by law to conduct due diligence and understand the nature of business accounts. For Internet business accounts, we have made it clearer to our bankers what the due diligence process entails. For example, we will continue to reserve the right to decline or suspend an account if we find illegal or discriminatory content, or if the site involves gambling or pornography. Beyond that specific due diligence, however, we do not monitor or evaluate our customers’ web content.

We are providing additional training in this area to ensure the procedures are uniformly and correctly followed. Also, our bankers are now required to have additional consultation with senior level banking executives when questions arise about these accounts before making any final decisions. This will help to avoid misunderstanding and subjective decisions, and promote greater consistency throughout the process. And we remain committed to working with our customers to try to resolve any issues.

As a global organization, we also recognize the power and promise of diversity. In that spirit, we reiterate Citi’s commitment to serving customers, hiring talent and supporting a broad array of organizations that promote diversity. To learn more about our diversity efforts, please visit: http://www.citigroup.com/citi/citizen/diversity/index.htm.

These recent customer issues have been a useful learning experience for us. We again apologize for any misunderstandings that may have occurred. We are committed to improving every day and we’re working to better serve our customers.

One small victory for freedom in the age of accountability thanks to the internet. We consumers have a platform and a choice. Kudos to Citibank for taking note and addressing their epic #fail.

China Cracks Down On Porn

February 10, 2010 Freedom, News No Comments

We have nothing against China, but, boy ,is it the pits. In the latest crackdown against the porn industry, the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate are targeting wireless carriers, advertisers, advertising agents, third-party payment platforms and websites.

There will be no porn business for profit in China!

The predecessor to this crackdown occurred in September of 2004, but it only targeted websites. China has since realized that porn can happen on cell phones with access to teh intarwebz. OMG!

By cracking down on carriers, advertisers, advertising agents, and third-party payment platforms, China is hoping to kill off the great evil that is porn.

Bastards.

Information from OneIndia.

Those Kinksters Must Be Stopped!

February 8, 2010 Freedom, News 1 Comment

Bethesda, Maryland, is, according to Forbes, one of America’s most well-educated small towns. It’s also the location of the most recent battle for sexual freedom.

Paul Pickthorne, a Bethesda resident, hosts regular BDSM parties at his 3,600-square-foot home (dubbed “a castle-like McMansion” by the Washington Post, which obviously hasn’t set foot in California since the early-00s, otherwise they’d know anything under 6,000-square-feet is a Mini McMansion. But we digress).

So the guy has BDSM parties. Why is this a problem? “Zoning,” we’re told. Specifically, something called R-60 — a zoning classification for subdivisions of single-family houses where commercial activity, for the most part, isn’t permitted. Pickthorne’s guests pay $20 to attend and $50 for VIP, making his parties a violation of the zoning code.

But, as we’re sure you already guessed, this isn’t really the reason the city has moved in. The crackdown is the result of horrified neighbors sending e-mails to County Council member Roger Berliner, a Democrat whose district includes their Merrimack Park subdivision.

“I share your sense of outrage that a sex club is operating in your lovely neighborhood,” Berliner wrote back. “I want you to know that my office has been advised that our County has moved aggressively to put an end to this blight on your community.”

Pickthorne received a written warning from a zoning inspector last week. But what happens if he decides to stop charging? If his gatherings are non-commercial, then he’s not in violation of anything.

When the Post asked Berliner, the City Council member hesitated, then conceded: “Certainly one has to respect everyone’s constitutional rights.”

But he was quick to assure the neighborhood: “our county will be exploring every legal means available to ensure that the activity taking place at this particular residence does not have an adverse impact on the community.”

We here at Sex and the 405 are disappointed. It’s patently obvious that the problem here isn’t a zoning violation or disruption caused by a party but a bias against people’s sexualities. God save us from “the kinksters”! Eye roll.

Hey, at least we only hit people with their consent, suburbia.

Image by Alana Joy, featuring our editrix tied up and being flogged by the editor of another blog we love — but we’re not telling who she is! Information from the Washington Post.

Schools Pull Anne Frank’s Diary From Curricula Because of “Vagina” Passage

January 29, 2010 Books, Culture, Freedom, News 4 Comments

“There are little folds of skin all over the place, you can hardly find it,” wrote Anne Frank in her famous diary. “The little hole underneath is so terribly small that I simply can’t imagine how a man can get in there, let alone how a whole baby can get out!”

This, according to the Washington Post is the passage that caused Culpepper County, Virginia, school public officials to pull the book from the shelves.

This passage is present in the Definitive Edition of Anne Frank’s memoir, written between 1942 and 1944, during the German occupation of the Netherlands during World War II.

This book is usually assigned to eighth-graders.

“What we have asked is that this particular edition will not be taught,” said Jim Allen, director of instruction for the school system. “I don’t want to make a big deal out of this. So we listened to the parent and we pulled it.”

The book will still be taught; the original work published by the girl’s father, Otto Frank, was heavily edited before publication in 1947, eliminating young Frank’s criticism of other people living in the Annex and all her discussions about sexuality.

It wasn’t until the 50th anniversary of Anne Frank’s death, in 1995, that the Anne Frank Foundation published the unedited, definitive version, which contains the passage. From now on, the edited version free of these passages will be used.

“I’m happy when parents get involved with these things because it lets me know that they are really looking and have their kids’ best interest (in mind). And that’s where good parenting and good teaching comes in,” Allen said.

Sex is evil! Water it down! Cut it away! Sanitize everything there is to read about it! Come on, world! This will definitely help our children grow up informed and aware!

If our sarcasm isn’t clear in the above statement, we’ll make it clear: we here at Sex and the 405 do not approve of this move.

I would also like to take this moment to thank my parents for sending me to private schools all of my life, most of which were run by super-progressive heretics.

Image from Amazon.com. Information from The Star Exponent and The Washington Post, via Eric Ludzenski.

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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...