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If Time Flies When You’re Having Fun, Will You Have Fun If You Make Time Fly?

January 3, 2010 News, Research No Comments

Einstein said it best when he explained relativity: “When you sit with a nice girl for two hours, it seems like two minutes. When you sit on a hot stove for two minutes, it seems like two hours.”

Yes, everyone knows that time slips away at light speed when you’re having fun. But is the reverse true? Is it possible to have fun if you somehow make time move faster? Aaron Sackett, a psychology researcher at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, decided to put the idea to the test.

Fun isn’t the only thing that makes time appear to fly by, after all, he reasoned. Drinking coffee or using any upper, or experiencing an adrenaline rush can easily have the same effect.

Since he couldn’t exactly change the speed of time, he and researchers worked on speeding up or slowing down the perceived passage of time by taking away subjects’ mobiles and watches (“so they could better concentrate,” they told them) and flat-out lying about what time it was.

Subjects were told to read a text and underline all words with double letter combinations, like apple or mammal. Half of the participants were told they would be doing this for five minutes and the other half for 20. In truth, both groups did the exercise for 10.

The fibs created surprise among the subjects when they were told their time was up. For those told they were doing the exercise for five minutes, it seemed endless. For those who thought they were doing the execise for 20 minutes, time seemed to speed by.

“People who thought that they spent 20 minutes on this 10-minute task, for whom those 20 minutes, in their mind, flew by, rated the task as much more enjoyable, as more fun, and just overall more positively than did participants who felt as though time dragged by,” Sackett says.

To see if fun things could be made even more fun, the researchers had people pick their favorite songs. As they listened to them, a rigged clock on the music player counted the seconds, either speeding them up or slowing them down slightly.

“When we instigated this sense that ‘time flew by’ while they were listening to the song, they rated it even more positively than they otherwise would have,” says Sackett.

The sense that time was speeding by also made the annoying slightly less annoying: in another study, the researchers tricked subjects about how long they’d be exposed to horrible noise. When participants were made to believe they’d been listening for shorter time than they actually were, they reported to hate the sounds. But those who believed they’d be exposed longer but were not “just sort of slightly disliked it,” says Sackett.

Why is this? Sackett thinks it’s because we have been conditioned to believe the fast passage of time indicates fun.

To test this, he did the underlining experiment again and gave the participants earplugs, casually suggesting that these may affect their perception of time. For these people, there was no “time flying effect.”

“It was like they no longer needed to make that attribution that ‘Time was flying, I must have had fun,’ ” explains Sackett. “Instead, they said to themselves, ‘Well, time was flying because I had earplugs in.’”

A report about this study is set to appear in the journal Psychological Science.

Information from NPR.

Samantha Is a Man-Eater, Kim Cattrall Takes Tea

January 3, 2010 Hollywoody, News No Comments

Kim Cattrall plays Samantha Jones on Sex and the City, the ultimate man-eater, and she has profited from that reputation with her books Sexual Intelligence, Being A Girl and Satisfaction: The Art of the Female Orgasm. But Kim Cattrall is no femme fatale.

“I could not go into a bar and pick up a man,” she told The Daily Mail in an interview on the set of Sex and the City 2 in Marrakesh. “That is so foreign to me it’s not even in my hemisphere. I am totally insecure. That is predatory behavior, and I don’t consider myself a predator. In fact, I feel sometimes that I am the pursued.”

Cattrall has been married three times and recently ended her five-year relationship with the chef Alan Wyse, 20 years her junior. Now she is single again.

“I’m starting to date,” she said. “It feels all right. It’s very hard to be private about that. Whenever you step out for a drink or dinner, whomever you’re with becomes your latest beau. Which is a bit of a laugh for my gay friends.”

Kim describes herself as being a family person, and her recent search for her long-lost maternal grandfather–who abandoned his wife and children in Liverpool when Kim’s mother (now 80) was eight years old–featured in the BBC series Who Do You Think You Are? The moving programme–in which her grandfather was discovered to have bigamously remarried, had another family and relocated to Australia–showed a very different side to the actress and revealed her closeness to her mother and her two Liverpool-based aunts.

“I come from a long line of strong Scouse women. It is not just an accent, it’s almost a constitution – held together by tea. Growing up, I remember there was always a pot on the back burner, and during the filming of Who Do You Think You Are? the bonding always seemed to happen over a cup of tea,” she says, adding, with a gentle laugh, that her mother regards her daughter’s role in a Tetley tea advert as her greatest acting achievement.

Who’da thunk it?

Image by Trevor O’Shana. Information from The Daily Mail.

Never Too Old For A Sex Tape (And Scandal)

It’s official: everyone has a sex tape except for me.

Eighty-six-year-old Narain Dutt Tiwari was the proud governor of the Andhra Pradesh in India until last week when a television station aired a tape of him getting down with not one, but three young women.

Tiwari denounced the tape on Friday, saying it is a fake, but he resigned later that day citing “health reasons.”

According to the channel that exposed the video, ABN Andhra Jyoti, the foursome came about after Tiwari promised a woman a mining lease in exchange for serious playtime. The woman brought the three women in the video to him and exposed the governor after he failed to keep up his end of the bargain.

The channel was barred by the courts from re-broadcasting the sex tape on Friday when the office of the governor filed a petition arguing that the video was “likely to demean and denigrate his office.”

Image and information from NY Daily News.

Rachael Ray on FHM’s Top 100 Sexiest Women of 2009

December 31, 2009 Culture, News, Noms, Of The Year 1 Comment

In 2003, Rachael Ray did a photo shoot for FHM at the behest of the Food Network.

She was not paid for it, but remarked that she thought it was cool that college guys brought copies of the issue to book signings.

“I thought, I’m a cook, I’m over 35 and these young guys love it,” Ray told the New York Times two years later. “When I’m 80 I’m going to look back and be like, “I represented!’”

Now, Ray is 100 on FHM‘s Top 100 Sexiest Women of 2009–proof positive that the fastest way into a man’s pants is through noms.

Image via The Glamorous Life. Information from Zennie62.

Apple’s Anti-Porn Stance Blows, Encourages Scamming

December 31, 2009 Culture, geek, Opinion, Technology No Comments

Here’s an excellent argument on the suffering we’re enduring at the hands of anti-porn Apple, by Gizmodo‘s John Herrman:

Apple has a ratings system in the App Store. It has a 17+ rating, for apps with violent, crude or sexual content—or app that have a browser function, which could be used to access objectionable content. Most of the apps above are 17+, which means that if parents so choose, they can block their iPhone-having children from even being able to download them. It follows that they could do the same for 18+ apps, so why haven’t they?

I can understand Apple not wanting to get into the porn business, which, by taking 30% of developers’ revenue, I guess they would sort of be doing. But the current setup just doesn’t make any sense. You can buy an app with a built-in browser, which can access the most horrible smut on the web, and get a 17+ rating. But if you link said app to one of those sites, and disable general browsing, suddenly it’s verboten. Again, I can understand how we ended up here, but the results, as you’ve seen, are depressing.

It’s fair to say that most people just assume there are porn apps, when there really aren’t. But there are hundreds of apps that look like porn apps, cost money, and that are, effectively, bait-and-switch scams. Apple can fix this in two ways: they can open the floodgates and just let people have their real porn apps, which would effectively kill these in-between semi-porn apps, or they can revise how the App Store works: by instituting a 24-hour open return policy for paid apps, like the Android Market has, people would simply return these worthless apps, and developers, now unable to trick people into giving them boner money, would stop making them. They would tumble down the rankings and into oblivion.

Anyway, no matter what Apple does, people will continue to look at photos of naked humans on their iPhones. It may make the company squirm, but there’s no reason to pretend it’s not happening, and to let scammers screw up the App Store more than they already have.

The system is broken, Apple. Please fix it.

Image from MapData. Information from Gizmodo.

Failed Bomber Was Plagued by Desire

December 30, 2009 Crime, News No Comments

On Christmas Day, 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to blow up Northwest Airlines flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit. He had tailored his briefs to hold a pouch containing 80 grams of pentaerythritol tetranitrate, a powerful, if difficult to detonate, explosive.

The New York Post, always eager to get to the root of things went through postings on gawaher.com, an Islamic forum frequented by Abdulmutallab.

“The bomb wasn’t the only thing burning in his pants,” they report, offering the following selection of posts from the knicker-bomber:

“As i get lonely, the natural sexual drive awakens and i struggle to control it, sometimes leading to minor sinful activities like not lowering the gaze [in the presence of unveiled women].”

“And this problem makes me want to get married to avoid getting aroused . . . But i am only 18 . . . It would be difficult for me to get married due to social norms of getting to the late 20′s when one has a degree, a job, a house, etc before getting married.”

“The hair of a woman can easily arouse a man.”

“The Prophet advised young men to fast if they can’t get married but it has not been helping me much and I seriously don’t want to wait for years before I get married.”

“So usually my fa[n]tasies are about islamic stuff. The bad part of it is sometimes the fantasies are a bit worldly rather than concentrating in the hereafter.”

Information from The New York Post.

Let’s Sanitize Our Movies in The Name of Sales!

December 30, 2009 Culture, Film, News, Research 5 Comments

Sex doesn’t sell–we’re too jaded.

That’s what a recent study titled “Sex Doesn’t Sell — nor Impress! Content, Box Office, Critics, and Awards in Mainstream Cinema” is saying, after analyzing the box office success of movies containing explicit sex scenes between 2001 and 2005.

“Sex did not sell, whether in the domestic or international box office, and even after controlling for MPAA rating,” said co-author Dean Keith Simonton, who is also a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis. “In other words, even among R movies, less graphic sex is better.”

The study was prompted by an experience almost a decade ago of its co-author, Anemone Cerridwen, who, when taking acting classes, increasingly became uncomfortable with the sexual content in films.

“I assumed sex sold, and wanted to know by how much,” Cerridwen said. “I braced myself for the worst, and got quite the surprise.”

Why?

“Nothing is as shocking anymore,” says Craig Detweiler, director of the Center for Entertainment, Media and Culture at Pepperdine University. “You can see it in Britney Spears’ kiss with Madonna and Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl performance. Things that were a big controversy among some, the next generation kind of yawned at it.”

Detweiler told CNN he bears witness to a revolution by the new generation against those of time past, whose goals are “not doing drugs, not sleeping around and not getting divorced.” He thinks this is why Jane Austen films and the Twilight series are so popular today.

“Those stories are really about sexual separation,” he said. “They are all about wooing, not winning.”

The authors of the study hope that Hollywood keeps the research in mind.

“I do believe that there are a fair number of people in the film industry who want to make better films, and this study may give them some ammunition,” Cerridwen said. “I know that Hollywood has been trying to make more family-friendly films for a while (since the ’90s) and it seems to be helping ticket sales, so my guess is that this research would complement that.”

When did the presence of sex in a film make that film “bad”? Sex is human. It merits representation in our art, and that includes film.

Information from CNN, via Rita Arens.

If TMZ Had Existed In The 1950s…

JFK may have never been president. They might have known better. Look at this photo:

This is what TMZ said about it:

We believe the photo was taken in the mid-1950s. It shows two naked women jumping off the boat and two more naked women sunning on the top deck. Just below the top deck — a man appearing to be John F. Kennedy is lying on a deck, sunning himself.

TMZ had multiple experts examine the photo — all say there is no evidence the picture was Photoshopped. The original print — which is creased — was scanned and examined for evidence of inconsistent lighting, photo composition and other forms of manipulation. The experts all concluded the photo appears authentic.

There are numerous articles and books on President John F. Kennedy which mention a 2-week, Mediterranean boating trip that JFK — then a Senator — took in August, 1956, with his brother Ted Kennedy and Senator George Smathers. The trio reportedly entertained a number of women on the yacht. Jackie Kennedy was pregnant at the time and was rushed to the hospital while JFK was on the boat. Doctors performed an emergency C-section, but the infant was stillborn.

TMZ is, however, wrong.

They have posted a correction, reporting that the man is not JFK:

We’ve now confirmed the photo was part of a Playboy spread in 1967. A rep from Playboy tells TMZ the photo ran as part of story titled, “Playboy’s Charter Yacht Party: How to Have a Ball on the Briny with an Able-Bodies Complement of Ship’s Belles.” She says the photo was taken on one of the islands that make up the Grenadines (Petit Rameau).

Image and information from TMZ, via OpenSalon. Thanks to Rita Arens for the tip and Sara for the update.

Weirdest Sex News of 2009

December 30, 2009 News, Of The Year, OMGWTFBBQ 6 Comments

In February, Sheyla Hershey of Houston, Texas, proud owner of 38KKK-sized breast implants, announced she will continue to have breast augmentation surgery until she takes the Guinness World Record for biggest implants, which is currently held by 36MMM-sized Maxi Mounds.

And who could forget that April afternoon when news broke that Vince Shlomi–better known as the ShamWow Guy–got his tongue bitten by a sex worker, leading to an altercation that resulted in both parties being arrested?

When the British retailer Marks & Spencer started charging extra for bras sized DD and up, Beckie Williams–who’s a size G–started a series of protests called “Busts 4 Justice.” Her Facebook group, with some 17,000 members, forced Marks & Spencer into a frantic backpedal. In May, the policy was dropped.

In June, a woman having a torrid love affair with her boss accidentally bit off his penis while fellating him when a car rear-ended their vehicle in Shanghai. The 30-year-old managed to cough up the tip of the penis and it was successfully reattached in a hospital.

And in September, Julia Grovenburg and her husband, who’d been trying to conceive for what felt like forever, found that Julia had become pregnant… while pregnant. Superfetation, as the condition is known, is so rare, doctors know of only 10 other cases in recorded history.

And speaking of pregnancy, just this month Chilean weightlifter Elizabeth Poblete gave birth while training–without having a clue that she’d been pregnant.

Then there is Adam Manning who fondled his girlfriend’s nurse while his girlfriend was giving birth to his first-born in October. By the time his baby was born, the nuclear douche was sitting in a Utah county jail.

How about some liberty? In October 29-year-old Erick Williamson was convicted of indecent exposure for being seen by neighbors cutting through his yard while he was sipping his morning coffee in the buff. The judge did not fine or sentence him.

In November, Allison Henry, a 39-year-old school psychologist from Kenmore, Washington, came forth with her story about living through a vaginal prolapse, a condition in which the vagina, uterus, rectum, bladder, urethra and small intestine shift and may “fall out of the body.”

Also in November, a man by the name of Rodell Vereen, who’d to register as a sex offender after being convicted for getting down with a horse in 2007 was caught again–with the same horse! The 50-year-old was sentenced to three years in prison, and the judge has banned him from going near a stable for life.

Information from The Sphere.

Sexual Conflict: A Twisted Screw

December 29, 2009 News, Research 1 Comment

Patricia Brennan has been interested in the weirdness of duck genitals for years. Why are drake penises corkscrew shaped? Why are they so long? Discovery’s Carl Zimmer reports:

As Brennan dissected duck penises, she began to wonder what the female sexual anatomy looked like. If you have a car like this, she said, what kind of garage do you park it in?

Brennan discovered that female ducks have equally weird reproductive tracts (called oviducts). In many species, they are ornamented with lots of outpockets. And like duck penises, duck oviducts are corkscrew-shaped. But while male duck penises twist clockwise, the female oviduct twists counterclockwise.

Brennan speculated that all this bizarre anatomy is the result of a peculiar form of evolution known as sexual conflict. A strategy that allows females to reproduce the most offspring may not be so good for males, and vice versa. For example, male fruit flies inject their mates with lots of chemicals during sex, and those chemicals make her less receptive to other males, thereby boosting his chances of fathering her eggs. But those chemicals are harsh and will make female flies sick. Females, in turn, have evolved defenses against those chemicals, blunting their effects.

With many examples of sexual conflict in nature, Brennan wondered if sexual conflict between male and female ducks was giving rise to their weird genitals. Female ducks pair off with male partners for the breeding season, but they also get harrassed by other males, sometimes being forced to have sex (and sometimes dying from the attacks). A third of all duck matings are forced.

And yet only 3 percent of the ducklings that female ducks produce come from such forced matings. Brennan speculated that the female ducks can block forced copulations with their mismatched spirals. And they might also be controlling which drake got to fertilize their eggs by socking away the sperm of different mates in different pockets. And the extravagant penises of males might be the result of an evolution around those defenses.

Now we have video showing how it all works, too. (And it’s not really safe for work!)

Eversions in barriers / from blogs.discovermagazine.com/loom from Carl Zimmer on Vimeo.

Image by AV Flox. Information from Discovery, via Gizmodo.

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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...