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Self-Censorship Isn’t More Honest Than Pseudonymity

Editrixial

Topsy is an indexing platform primarily developed to enable businesses to understand social trends. As such, their dealings are of primary interest to people in the social marketing space, so when Topsy released their Google+ comment searching tool in October of last year, the reception was limited to people in that niche.

In the past could of days, however, the function has been spreading among regular users of the network, creating something of a frenzy. Usage is simple: all you need is a Google+ user number, which appears in their profile URL. You take that and input it at the end of the Topsy Google+ search URL (http://plus.topsy.com/googleplus/), hit enter and voila! All public comments made across the social network appear before you awaiting your perusal. … Continue Reading

Days Like Today

November 30, 2011 Editrixial, L.A. Odes, Local, Vitals 1 Comment

There are days that you wonder why you’re still here. You sit in your car, idling in traffic on Sunset or Santa Monica and feel like bashing your head against the steering wheel. You imagine some other city you love and how easy it is to get around. You think about the rent and how much cheaper it is. You think about how much easier it is to meet people. You think about things you don’t get here in Los Angeles: seasons, a sky full of stars, a restaurant that doesn’t require a reservation for dinner.

The more you think about these things, the more impotent and out of control you feel. There is nothing for you here, no inspiration — nothing. Los Angeles is a farce. … Continue Reading

Walk of Shame? Baby, I Strut

March 31, 2011 Editrixial, Vitals 11 Comments

Editrixial, March 30, 2011

It hadn’t been fourteen hours since I received an e-mail from the Village Voice letting me know that a budget cut was forcing the publication to retire both of the NakedCity blogs that I had a message from the web editor of the New York Observer asking if it was true that the blogs were getting killed.

I hadn’t even told my parents when the Observer‘s story about it went live. Though certainly not without some vexation at the intrusion, I know the way of the web. Today’s commentators are destined always to become tomorrow’s fodder. The masses must be fed, after all, and nothing is more appetizing than the demise of something.

Except, perhaps, sex. … Continue Reading

WIDESPREAD SHOCK! Women Pay for Sex

May 2, 2010 Editrixial 2 Comments

The internets went crazy last week after an AlterNet article about women paying for sex started making the rounds.

Everyone freaked out. Why would women pay for sex?! They can get it for free!

Clearly anyone who is surprised to hear about this hasn’t had much experience within the sex or adult industries. Yes, it has to do with sex. But it’s more than sex, too.

It has to do with power.

With shows like Sex and the City, Desperate Housewives Lipstick Jungle, Gossip Girl and Cougartown, we’ve become very familiar with the older woman and younger man dynamic. Yes, younger men can match a older woman’s sexual intensity, longer, harder and faster. But there is an aspect that isn’t discussed and that is that the age difference often brings with it a power dynamic that is undeniable.

An older woman is established, she often has a career, connections and disposable income that her younger counterpart lacks. He can’t really be taken around. He’s her little guilty pleasure, confined to the outer boundaries of her life. He’s not her equal. She makes him her equal.

An older woman may decide to assist him in his career goals, or flat-out supplement his income. She may not hold this over his head, but she doesn’t have to. The dynamic is established. She holds the power. Whether she’s married or busy with her career or children, she chooses when she sees him. She chooses to make his career happen (Samantha Jones changed Smith Jared’s name, Nico Reilly destroyed Kirby Atwood’s career before she chose to salvage it). She chooses to financially help him out or not (Catherine Beaton bailed out Nate Archibald’s family).

Yes, there is sex in all of these situations. But the element of power and tacit control is absolutely undeniable. This is unpalatable, obviously, because it raises the question of exploitation. Is the cougar really so progressive or is she just exploitative?

It’s a good question. But I’m not here to point the finger at older women who are seeing younger men. I’m talking about power and power doesn’t discriminate based on age. So allow me another example within the sex and adult industries.

The suitcase pimp. If you have any familiarity with these industries, you’ve heard of this guy. If not, let me introduce you. In the ideal scenario, he’s a sort of full-time manager. In most scenarios, he’s the unemployed dude the girls come home to, and partially or totally support.

He’s ubiquitous. You ask yourself why — why would a porn star or a stripper or a hooker, who is paid so much to be watched or enjoyed, who is raking in mad cash, settle with a guy who did nothing for her?

One word: Power.

If you’ve never presented a human being to whom you were attracted a lavish gift, or assisted in their career success in some way, however covertly, and felt the rush, congratulations. You’re a saint.

You can say you did it just to see them smile, to spoil them a little because you can, but look inside yourself. Giving someone struggling in this economy something you know they cherish, and would have never splurged on either because they can’t afford it or because they’re responsible and know better, when to you picking up such a token costs nothing, is a statement of power.

So let’s cut the wide-eyed innocent bullshit and OMG media hype. This isn’t about women becoming empowered and beginning their takeover of an industry that previously only catered to men or about women getting the reigns and looking for interactions where they don’t have to worry about pleasing a man.

This is human beings doing what human beings do best: creating dynamics where they have power or at least the illusion of power.

I choose you. I pay you. I have you.

All women are doing by seeking sex workers instead of picking someone up at a bar is streamlining the process. Now get over it and move on.

The Death of Reputation

March 29, 2010 Editrixial, Vitals 2 Comments

“With enough courage, you can do without a reputation,” says Rhett Butler in the classic Gone With the Wind. Well, my orchids of decadence and delight, I hope you’ve got courage because come next week, the internet is going to be a new, much more transparent world.

According to Michael Arrington over at TechCrunch, our wish for a Yelp for people is about to be unleashed on the interwebs.

“If someone has something good or bad to say about you, they’ll be able to do it anonymously and with very little potential legal or social fallout,” Arrington says. He adds:

We’re still wired to think of gossip as something that spreads quietly behind the scenes, and relatively slowly. But we’re already in a world where it’s all completely public, there are few repercussions to the person spreading it, and it is easily searchable. No wonder people freak out. We’re fish out of water.

Sure, we’ve evolved a legal infrastructure to deal with libel, slander and defamation. Those laws worked well in an era of the printing press, and sort of stretched to cover radio and television. But they are as ineffective against the Internet as copyright laws are in battling music piracy.

His solution? “It’s time we all just give up on the small fights and become more accepting of the indiscretions of our fellow humans. Because the skeletons are coming out of the closet and onto the front porch.”

It makes me think of a piece in The Austin Chronicle from last year, which predicted a move toward a more transparent society:

In 10 years’ time, no one will remember that racy photo you uploaded to your MySpace profile following a drunken collegiate revel, even though it will still be there, for those who care to dig down through the Web 4.0, 3.0, 2.0, hacking back through the digital crust into the ever-present past. Ten years from now, your twentysomething predilection for obscurantist Japanese hentai B&D porn will seem more quaint than sordid or even titillating: archaic, digital daguerreotypes with tentacles. Does it matter? Do we care? We’re digital pioneers birthing digital natives who will have to evolve, socially, psychologically, possibly physically, as fast as the data stream. Their very concepts of “self,” “community,” “privacy,” and the way they view and mirror their world – as individual people and as part of a far greater, online whole earth – will be as different from our current definitions of the same, as the Paleolithic cave paintings of Lascaux are to the digital artisans of EA or Rockstar Games. Long live the new unflesh? Maybe. Probably. Yes.

… Why not? As a species, we’ve been building walls and erecting boundaries, metaphorical and otherwise, since the apes in 2001: A Space Odyssey upgraded bones and blood for bricks and mortar. Why not start cyber-kicking holes in the fences, the fortresses, the prisons with which we’ve surrounded ourselves? Personal and societal self-discovery on an epic, historical scale appears to be finally within striking distance for much of the online world. Humanity’s me generation is being force-evolved by onrushing technology into some new state of we.

A few months later, the acclaimed author Paulo Coelho blogged about revealing shameful acts. He asked his readers to respond in the comments. The post is no longer available, but at the time, he received 195 responses.

It’s time we make like Ricky Martin, come out — and stay out.

Who wants to go first?

We’ll Miss You, Black Heart

February 2, 2010 Editrixial, Opinion 2 Comments

Almost a decade ago, a woman named Laura Roberts reached out to me with some compliments on my blogging skillz (has it been that long? Jeez). She was also a blogger and also interested in sex. Soon, we had developed a correspondence — about writing, about sex, about writing about sex — and when Laura launched the web zine Black Heart Magazine in 2004, I was one of the first people she asked to submit a piece.

Eventually, I’d join the Black Heart team as a sporadic columnist and sex news reporter, or, what Laura called “in-house badass.” Without any hesitation about the combination of sex and cultural commentary, Black Heart ran four shorts from my series on consumerism and apathy in America, an ode to Hunter S. Thompson aptly titled Reverse Cowgirl: A Savage Thrust into the Cunt of the American Dream.

That was the thing about Black Heart — it was sex, yes, even shallow, just-in-it-to-get-off sex — but it wasn’t afraid to be smart, either. That’s what I liked best about the rag. Whether she was flashing her tits for cheap thrills or charity or getting into huge arguments with Vladimir Nabokov’s son about the legacy of Lolita, Laura Roberts made Black Heart a combination of the filthiest gutter and ivory tower.

In the years that Black Heart was running, whether I was writing or not, Laura and I kept in touch. We talked about how hard it was to monetize content like ours, to herd around writers who were doing it more for the love than for the money, to keep the content of a publication consistent with its original vision even though you, the person running it, are not static.

I learned more about running a blog from Laura and Black Heart than from just about anyone or anything else on the web. And that’s saying something considering the kind of web pioneers I count as my nearest and dearest.

So even if you have no idea what Black Heart Magazine was, know this: if you like this blog, if anything you have read here, has offered you absolutely anything, then you owe a thank you to that little zine.

The Black Heart chapter is closed now. Laura has moved on to other things. We’ll make a valiant effort to continue the tradition of mingling the filthiest gutter and ivory tower.

You’ll be missed, Black Heart. And thank you for everything. Especially this:

We’re humbled and honored.

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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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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...