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John Edwards Confesses, Enquirer Nominates Itself for a Pulitzer–You Know, Typical Post-Sex Scandal Stuff

January 22, 2010 News, Politically Erect 1 Comment

John Edwards has finally confessed what we already knew: that he’s the father of Rielle Hunter’s two-year-old child.

Below is his statement, as reported by the Washington Post:

I am Quinn’s father. I will do everything in my power to provide her with the love and support she deserves. I have been able to spend time with her during the past year and trust that future efforts to show her the love and affection she deserves can be done privately and in peace.

It was wrong for me ever to deny she was my daughter and hopefully one day, when she understands, she will forgive me. I have been providing financial support for Quinn and have reached an agreement with her mother to continue providing support in the future.

To all those I have disappointed and hurt, these words will never be enough, but I am truly sorry.

John R. Edwards

Edward and his wife of over 30 years, Elizabeth, have separated.

His confession session comes two weeks before the publication of a tell-all book by his former aide Andrew Young, whom, if you remember, at one point said was the father of the baby. The Politician is due out Tuesday, February 2. Yum, yum.

In related news, The National Enquirer is nominating itself for a Pulitzer based on their scoop and coverage of the saga.

Lindsay Lohan Sex Tape (NSFW)

January 20, 2010 Hollywoody, News, Sex Tape No Comments

It’s been five days and we have still heard nothing on that story of a supposed Lindsay Lohan sex tape. Needless to say, we’re crushed. As some of you may know, our editor here at Sex and the 405 has a huge thing for redheads, and even though LiLo’s blonde at the moment, after her shoot for Muse mag, we were left quite desperate for this alleged 47-second sex tape which the starlet supposedly made with a money-grubbing waiter looking to score a quick $200,000.

London’s Daily Mirror reports Lohan enjoyed a brief affair with the waiter last year and cites a spy who says the vid is dynamite: “It’s pretty seedy and shows Lindsay engaging in a particular sex act which, obviously should remain behind closed doors.”

I get short and sweet, but 47 seconds? That’s a quickie record.

According to Fleshbot, the footage was offered to Hustler, but they declined.

The 23-year-old Lohan is allegedly “devastated,” though I honestly don’t see how 47 seconds is any more “damaging” to her reputation than the yummy video she shot for Muse.

Come on, Lindsay, you tease, GIVE IT TO US!

Information from PopCrunch, The Daily Mirror, Fleshbot and The Huffington Post.

Marriage: A Sweet Deal for Dudes?

January 20, 2010 Culture, News, Research 1 Comment

It looks like marriage is a sweet deal after all–for dudes.

A new Pew Research Center report has uncovered that a larger share of today’s men, compared with their 1970 counterparts, are married to women whose education and income exceed their own, and a larger share of women are married to men with less education and income.

“In the past, when relatively few wives worked, marriage enhanced the economic status of women more than that of men,” wrote the report’s authors, Richard Fry and D’Vera Cohn. “In recent decades, however, the economic gains associated with marriage have been greater for men.”

Median household income rose 60 percent between 1970 and 2007 for married men, married women and unmarried women. It went up only 16 percent for unmarried men.

In 1970, according to the report, 28 percent of wives between 30 and 44 had husbands who were better educated than they were, outnumbering the 20 percent whose husbands had less education. By 2007, only 19 percent of wives had husbands with more education, compared with 28 percent whose husbands had less education.

Only 4 percent of husbands had wives who earned more than they did in 1970, compared with 22 percent in 2007.

During that span, women’s earnings grew 44 percent, compared with 6 percent growth for men, although a gender gap remains. According to 2009 Census Bureau figures, women with full-time jobs earned salaries equal to 77.9 percent of what men earned, compared with 52 percent in 1970.

The Pew report found that unmarried women in 2007 had higher household incomes than their 1970 counterparts at each level of education, while unmarried men without post-secondary education lost ground because their real earnings decreased and they didn’t have a wife’s wages to offset that decline.

Unmarried men with college degrees made income gains of 15 percent, but were outpaced by the 28 percent gains of unmarried women with degrees.

Ladies? One word: pre-nup. Trust me.

Information from the AP.

Social Media Is Bigger Than Porn

January 20, 2010 Culture, News, teh inetrwebz, web No Comments

I can count the number of times I accessed porn online in 2009–it’s under 50. The number of tweets I sent out, on the other hand? I’m going to guesstimate around 4,000. And that’s just Twitter. Social media is my porn.

And I’m not the only one who thinks so. A few months ago Reuters reported on this phenomenon:

Bill Tancer, a self-described “data geek”, has analyzed information for over 10 million web users to conclude that we are, in fact, what we click, with Internet searches giving an up-to-date view of how society and people are changing.

Some of his findings are great trivia, such as the fact that elbows, belly button lint and ceiling fans are on the list of people’s top fears alongside social intimacy and rejection.

Others give an indication of people’s interests or emotions, with an annual spike in searches for anti-depression drugs around Thanksgiving time in the United States.

Tancer, in his new book, “Click: What Millions of People are Doing Online and Why It Matters”, said analyzing web searches did not just reflect what was happening online but gave a wider picture of society and people’s behavior.

“There are some patterns to our Internet use that we tend to repeat very specifically and predictably, from diet searches, to prom dresses, to what we do around the holidays,” Tancer told Reuters in a telephone interview.

Tancer, general manager of global research at Hitwise, an Internet tracking company, said one of the major shifts in Internet use in the past decade had been the fall off in interest in pornography or adult entertainment sites.

He said surfing for porn had dropped to about 10 percent of searches from 20 percent a decade ago, and the hottest Internet searches now are for social networking sites.

“As social networking traffic has increased, visits to porn sites have decreased,” said Tancer, indicated that the 18-24 year old age group particularly was searching less for porn.

Although maybe I should probably disclose that I use social media as a primary screening tool for lovers and that, while porn provides great visuals, social media actually gets me some ass.

Information from Reuters, via Callie Simms.

Blondes Have More Fun? They’d Better Or They’ll Kick Your Ass

January 20, 2010 News, Research 2 Comments

Good morning! How about a little pseudo-science to kick off the day?

A study by the University of California, Santa Barbara is suggesting that blondes are more “warlike” than brunettes and redheads. The researchers, led by Aaron Sell, speculate that this aggression comes from a lifetime of attracting more attention than women with darker hair color. They’re calling this “the princess effect.”

And it’s not just limited to natural blondes–box blondes and attractive women are equally vulnerable to the princess effect.

“We expected blondes to feel more entitled than other young women — this is southern California, the natural habitat of the privileged blonde,” said Sell, who led the study which has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. “What we did not expect to find was how much more warlike they are than their peers on campus.”

The research indicates that the more special people feel, the more likely they are to get angry to reach their goals.

“Blondes are more confident in their abilities, although the results do not necessarily support their confidence,” said Catherine Salmon, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Redlands, California. “Maybe responding to their own stereotypes, brunettes tend to work harder and expect less special treatment. Women who go blonde quickly get used to the privileges of blondeness — usually male attentiveness.”

The study, which examined the link between confidence and aggression, involved a small (and questionable) sample of 156 female undergrads. I put stock in Survival of the Prettiest, but this needs more development.

I was blonde once in my life (triple-process, which took some six hours) and I’m trying to remember if I got my way more than usual. I can’t really remember. I usually always do. The roots were a bitch, though. Every thirteen days. Like clockwork. Now that makes me warlike just to think about.

Image from Anne Bowerman. Information from the BBC, TimesOnline, via Guy Kawasaki.

Scott Brown Takes Massachusetts (But First, He Took Off His Clothes!)

You can always count the agenda here at Sex and the 405 to be pretty much “leave our sex lives alone,” which sounds pretty liberal, but surprise, surprise, we have quite a bit of everything from socialists to staunch conservatives. We seem to take our politics in this virtual newsroom like we take our sex: with as much variety as there are colors.

This post is for all of you who supported Scott Brown in one of the biggest political upsets to date. And for anyone else who digs a fine chunk o’ man.

Behold Scott Brown, 1982 Cosmopolitan “America’s Sexiest Man” centerfold!

From the Independent article that accompanies the photo:

Mr. Brown was at Boston College in the midst of his final law exams when it was shot. Though he surely cannot have known that one day he would compete to fill the shoes of Teddy Kennedy, he did give a hint as to his future ambitions in a brief interview when he admitted to being a “bit of a patriot.”

Yum, yum. God bless America.

Image via The Independent, via Harry Lang.

If You Come Any Closer, I’ll Blow Up

January 16, 2010 News, Research No Comments

A report published recently in the Royal Society’s Biology Letters journal suggests that female cane toads inflate to prevent the male from being able to take hold and have their way with them.

It was widely believed that frogs and toads evolved this ability to inflate their bodies with air to appear larger and thus deflect predators.

But these new findings from the University of Sydney are changing that theory, suggesting instead that inflating the body is a mechanism related to choosing mates.

Dr. Benjamin Phillips from the University of Sydney, one of the scientists who took part in this study of female toads, explained in the paper that scientists had noticed previously that females inflated their bodies during male-male wrestling matches and assumed it was a response to the physical stress.

“Our work now shows that females can actually manipulate the outcome of male-male competition by inflating at the right moment,” Phillips told the BBC.

This could help ensure that the female gets to mate the the biggest, strongest male, which is likely to produce the healthiest offspring.

Image by Sparks Leigh. Information from the BBC, via Andy Sternberg.

Chickensoup for the Soul, Tylenol for the Broken Heart

January 15, 2010 News, Research No Comments

“How long does it last?!” I screamed at Melissa, startling the barista at the westside Starbucks who’d taken my order.

“It’s like a fucking gash that feels like a fucking ton on my fucking chest,” I said, referring to the recent conclusion of a relationship. “HOW LONG DOES IT LAST?”

“I… I don’t know,” she replied. “It depends.”

If she’d told me to pop a Tylenol, I’d have probably slapped her. But research by Naomi Eisenberger suggests that the pain we feel emotionally and the pain we experience physically are closely related, both occurring in the anterior cingulate cortex.

With that in mind, psychologist C. Nathan DeWall and colleagues at the University of Kentucky had 25 subjects to take either acetaminophen (Tylenol) or a placebo for three weeks, and then to lie in a brain scanner and play a multi-player video game requiring teamwork, rigged to make them feel brutally ignored.

DeWall’s team discovered that the subjects who had taken Tylenol showed less activity in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex. These findings suggest that over-the-counter painkillers normally used for physical aches and pains do have an effect on alleviating the pain we feel emotionally from alienating social situations.

Because the sample was small, the results are less than conclusive, but if this is the case and analgesics can work to deal with some of our heartache… well, imagine that.

Jeff Wise, author of Extreme Fear: The Science of Your Mind in Danger, comments:

On the flip side of the equation, it’s long been known that hugs and kisses from a loved one help reduce the sensation of physical pain. (It’s amazing how quickly my one-year-old son stops crying after I kiss the spot where he’s bumped his head). In fact, Eisenberger published another study last year which found that even looking at the photograph of a loved one can reduce the sensation of pain. So why shouldn’t the analgesia work the other way, as well?

Worth a shot. Just promise you’ll self-medicate reasonably.

Image by bored-now. Information from Psychology Today.

Spirituality vs. Religion in the Bedroom

January 14, 2010 Culture, Faith, Research 2 Comments

Women seeking to connect with the transcendent have more sex, more sexual partners, and are less likely to use a condom.

That’s one way to read the results of a finding from a recent study from the University of Kentucky. Now, most of our empirical knowledge in psychology comes from experiments on white mice and undergrads, and this study is no exception: it was performed on 353 students “attending a large public university.”

Of those students, 88 percent were Caucasian, 82 percent were Protestant or Catholic, and the mean age was 20, with nobody over 29, so we’re talking about a young, predominantly white, predominantly Christian sample.

Given that kind of sample, it seems like a stretch to generalize this study into a catchy headline like “Spiritual Women Have More Sex” (like LiveScience did) or “Is Spirituality Harmful to Women’s Sexual Health?” (like Science and Religion Today did). Nonetheless, it is an interesting study.

Here are the findings, in all their academic glory:

Consistent with previous literature, religiousness was negatively associated with participants’ lifetime number of sexual partners and frequency of vaginal sex. […] Spirituality, on the other hand, demonstrated consistent and positive associations with female participants’ number of sexual partners, frequency of vaginal sex, and frequency of sex without a condom.

In non-academic speak: young women who are religious have less sex, but young women who are spiritual have more. After hearing about this study, my initial reaction was that spirituality was probably associated with other behaviors—drinking, drugs, etc.—which were really accounting for the difference. That’s certainly the impression my college experience has left me with. The researchers in this study were apparently thinking the same thing, though, because they checked for that. Even above and beyond these other factors, spirituality and sex seem to go hand in hand, whereas religiousness seems to repel sexual partners. So if religiousness and spirituality lead to opposite sex lives, what’s the difference between religious and spiritual takes on sex?

The measure of someone’s religiousness was based on test containing questions like this: “My religious beliefs lie behind my whole approach to life.” That question would be rated from 1 (not at all true) to 5 (totally true). The goal of this test is to figure out how much someone adheres day-to-day to their practices and beliefs.

The spirituality questions, on the other hand, measured a “personal search for connection with a larger sacredness.” Questions were things like: “In the quiet of my prayers and/or meditations, I find a sense of wholeness.”

So “religiousness” here is a measure of adherence to some set of standards, whereas “spirituality” here is searching for connectedness, a sense of universality, or an expectation of prayer fulfillment. According to this study’s data, it’s that first part of spirituality—connectedness—which the women seem to be searching for in both spirituality and in sex. That connectedness is unique to spirituality as opposed to religiousness: people who rated high in “connectedness” rated low in religiousness, but those who rated high in “universality” and “prayer fulfillment” also rated high on religiousness.

Like religiousness, universality and prayer fulfillment seemed to put a damper on the amount of sex: apparently women expecting “Dear God” to work in the church don’t work the “Oh God” in the bedroom.

By the way, the story for the men in this study is quite a bit different—spirituality has no association with the number of sexual partners or condom use, and is actually associated with less frequent sex. The paper’s authors find this unsurprising since “having sex to achieve emotional intimacy and union is relatively unique to women,” a fact that’s surprising to this emotional-intimacy-and-union-seeking man.

What do you think of the findings?

Image by Gisela Giardino.

China Running Out Of Women (You’re Surprised?)

January 13, 2010 News, Research 1 Comment

Well-known for its bias toward male children and gender-specific abortions, it comes as no surprise to us here at Sex and the 405 that by 2020 Chinese men will have no one to woo or wed.

A study by the government-backed Chinese Academy of Social Sciences found that gender imbalance among newborns is the most serious demographic problem facing the country’s population of 1.3 billion.

The latest figures show that for every 100 girls born in China, 119 boys are born. However, the study found that in some areas, the ratio was as high as 130 males for every 100 females.

Wang Guangzhou, a researcher active in the study, said that men living in less-prosperous areas of China could find themselves marrying later in life or remaining unmarried all their lives.

“The chance of getting married will be rare if a man is more than 40 years old in the countryside,” Wang said. “They will be more dependent on social security as they age and have fewer household resources to rely on.”

The government policy introduced in 1979 of encouraging married couples not to have more than one child has contributed to the problem, the study said, as well as China’s insufficient social security system. There’s also a reluctance among young urban Chinese to have a first or second child.

As a result of this imbalance, abductions, trafficking of women, and sexual slavery have become commonplace, in areas that are now beginning to feel the impact.

Information from The Sphere.

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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...