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Condoms In Porn? Nope

February 11, 2010 News, Politics 1 Comment

In November, we told you about Darren James, a former porn star who contracted HIV in 2004 and unknowingly spread it to other porn stars. James has been trying to make it illegal for porn stars to have unprotected sex since, but it’s not going well.

Los Angeles County officials said it would be difficult to try to regulate the porn industry through the county’s Public Health Department. Jonathan Fielding, the county’s public health chief, estimates that there are some 200 production companies with about 1,200 actors working in the industry centered in San Fernando Valley (AKA Porn Valley), located northwest of Los Angeles.

“We have no ability to police this,” he told the Los Angeles Times.

Information from the AP, via the Chicago Sun-Times.

Cindy McCain Supports Gay Marriage

January 23, 2010 News, Politics No Comments

Cindy McCain, wife of Republican senator and former Republican candidate for president in the 2008 election John McCain, has taken a public stance in support of same-sex marriage.

Below she appears in a poster for NOH8, a group fighting the ban on gay marriage here in California.

She and her daughter Meghan oppose Senator McCain’s belief that “the sanctity of marriage is only defined as between one man and one woman.”

According to the NOH8 campaign:

Aligning yourself with the platform of gay marriage as a Republican still tends to be very stigmatic, but Cindy McCain wanted to participate in the campaign to show people that party doesn’t matter — marriage equality isn’t a Republican issue any more than it is a Democratic issue. It’s about human rights, and everybody being treated equally in the eyes of the law that runs and protects this country.

We at Sex and the 405 approve of people standing up for what they believe even if it runs counter to one’s family or organization. That takes courage. Of course, our editor thinks that if we really cared about human rights, we’d eradicate the entire institution.

But then, she’s divorced. Of course she does.

Information from NBC.

Slippery Slope: Government Regulation of Sex Toys

Last month in Canada, Dr. Carolyn Bennett, a Liberal Minister of Parliament, sent a letter to the Conservative Federal Minister of Health, Leona Aglukkaq, expressing concern about the sex toy industry and asking the government to take action in regulating sex toys.

The letter, which you can read in its entirety here, read, in part:

I am writing to express my concern for the urgent need for responsible regulation in the adult toy industry. In Canada, we are not yet doing enough to protect women against the very high concentratuons of materials linked to reproductive and other health issues.

… Our current legislation is insufficient. There are safe alternatives to pththalates and [bisphenol A] that are readily available.

It sounds like a good idea, right? Like they say on Facebook: It’s Complicated.

I’m gonna turn it over now to Cory Silverberg, blogger at About.com’s Sexuality Guide, who’s written about this topic at length:

In order to regulate sex toys first one needs to define the product category for proposed regulation. What qualifies as a sex toy? Currently in the U.S. sex toys are defined legally in some states (often as devices intended for genital stimulation). But they don’t exist as a defined category by health regulators. The same is true for many other countries where the term “sex toys” won’t be found in legal or regulatory documentation.

Even among sex toy retailers and manufacturers terms like dildo, vibrator, penis ring, butt plug can mean very different things. Is a sex toy defined by how it’s intended use? How it’s commonly used? Is a sex toy defined by who uses it or what kinds of bodies it gets used on? There is no generally agreed upon taxonomy of sex toys. There isn’t even an organization or body (public or private) that would be in a position to develop such a taxonomy.

But until we’re there, I’m certainly not comfortable with a government deciding what is and isn’t a sex toy, and regulating the products they think are while ignoring the products they decide aren’t.

And that’s just the beginning. Read his impassioned piece Why Government Regulation of Sex Toys Is a Bad Idea.

I’m with Silverberg on this one. I believe in educating consumers and leaving the government out of as much as humanly possible. But then, I’m a conservative. That’s just how we roll. Or used to. Yeah, yeah.

Mexico City Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage

December 24, 2009 News, Politics No Comments

Mexico City legalized same-sex marriage and adoption by same-sex couples on Monday by a vote of 39 to 20 in the legislative assembly. Five abstained from voting. In another motion, the assembly voted 31 to 24 in favor of legalizing adoption by same-sex couples, with nine abstentions.

The revision will change the definition of marriage to “a union between two people,” as opposed to what it says now: “a union between a man and a woman.”

This comes two years after legislators approved same-sex civil unions.

Mexico City is the second major Latin American city to legalize same-sex marriage after Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Information from CNN.

Bye to Abstinence-Only Funding?

December 22, 2009 News, Politics No Comments

The omnibus government spending bill that was signed into law two weeks ago did away with funding for abstinence-only sex ed programs.

These programs have long been criticized for effectively denying young people important information regarding sex, available forms of contraception, pregnancy, and sexually transmitted illness.

Several studies have suggested abstinence only programs are not simply infective but dangerous.

This summer, researches from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released their analysis of national data spanning five years between 2002 and 2007, which found elementary and middle school students who received abstinence instruction were just as likely to have sex in the following year as students who did not get such instruction.

What’s more, following an increase in abstinence-only programs, birth rates among teens were on the rise, with an estimated 16,000 pregnancies happening among girls between 10 and 14 in 2004. One third of the teens surveyed had never learned about the different available methods of birth control before the age of 18.

Between 2003 and 2004, about one-quarter of girls between 15 and 19, and 45 percent of women between 20 and 24 had a human papillomavirus infection. In 2006, one million young people were reported to have chlamydia, gonorrhea, or syphilis. That same year, most new diagnoses of HIV were among men and women between 20 and 24.

The nation’s progress in reducing abortions, on the other hand, has been noted in states that are committed to providing young people with sex ed.

This new $114 million initiative will be administered by a spanking new entity at the Department of Health and Human Services: the Office of Adolescent Health.

Ignorance is not strength. Glad you’re getting with the program, DC.

Image from Rolling Stone, featuring our go-to promiscuous teens, the cast of Gossip Girl. Information from The New York Times.

Coming Soon to Nevada: Male Prostitutes

December 17, 2009 News, Politics, Sex Work No Comments

Prostitution has been legal in the less densely populated areas of Nevada (i.e., outside Clark County) for almost 40 years. But the law, which stipulated that all sex workers have their cervices tested regularly for sexually transmitted illnesses (STIs), naturally excluded men, who don’t have a cervix.

So it was that prostitution was only legal in the Silver State for women.

Until recently, when the state Health Board approved a regulation to allow urethral testing for STIs in men.

Bobbi Davis, owner of the Shady Lady Ranch some 150 miles out of Las Vegas, is pushing to make Shady Lady the first brothel to offer men to customers. But it won’t be easy: Davis is going to need county approval first.

George Flint, the owner of a wedding chapel in Reno and a lobbyist for the Nevada Brothel Owners Association, knows there’s a big double standard hurdle here.

“I think the Legislature is really going to give me some heartburn over this,” he told the Associated Press after talking to the Nevada Health Board in Carson City to endorse the Davis’ proposal. “But I think [offering male prostitutes] it’s an inevitability.”

Information from the Associated Press and Your Tango, via @MelissaRowley.

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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...