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Epic Taschen Book Sale This Weekend!

January 23, 2010 Events, Vitals 1 Comment

Heads up, book sluts! Thousands of slightly damaged and display copies from the delightfully raunchy Taschen are on sale this weekend at super low prices–some as low as 75 percent. OMG! Instant orgasm!

Taschen Beverly Hills: 354 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Saturday, January 23rd, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sunday, January 24th, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Taschen Hollywood: Farmers Market, 6333 W. 3rd Street, CT-10, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Saturday, January 23rd, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sunday, January 24th, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

This event is worldwide! Looking for other cities? Check out Taschen.com!

Sex and the 405: First Runner Up for Sexiest L.A. Blog!

January 23, 2010 Our Happenings, Vitals 5 Comments

On Thursday night, your humble editrix attended the LA Weekly‘s L.A. Web Awards, a ceremony awarding the best Los Angeles-based sites in 36 categories.

There was no sex blog category, so we didn’t expect to be party to more than the usual shenanigans–as shown in the photo on this post.

(Yes, that is your humble editrix noming on a certain Mashable contributor and former CNN reporter who shall remain unnamed. Nom nom! That’s how we roll!)

We were delighted to find, however, that Sex and the 405 had been first runner up for LA’s sexiest site.

We came thisclose to pwning SuicideGirls, which, in our opinion, far exceeds us in sexiness, but still!

How hot is that?

So we want to take a second to thank all of you, because this blog wouldn’t be possible without your comments, tips, ideas, stories, etc. You make this blog, people. We’re just your creatures, sitting here to string the words together. It’s all you. So thank you. You make this half-magnum opus-half-sweatshop gig worth it.

We adore you.

We’d also like to congratulate our friends at Lalawag, who won best tech blog; Caroline on Crack, who took best drinking blog; The Streets Are Calling, who won for best low brow art blog; Alana Joy, who took most shameless self promoter; LAist, who won best news blog; Sorting with Style, who took best retail site; and Sarah J. Gim, who won for best commenter.

The photo in this post is by The Streets Are Calling–those guys are dangerous, they’re so good at capturing shenanigans. If LaLaWhat got hold of their outtakes, I’m fairly confident we’d all be screwed!

Happy MLK Day!

January 18, 2010 Vitals No Comments

We have so much to tell you about but unfortunately, we’re too busy having epic sex. You should be, too. But you didn’t need us to tell you that, did you?

Yeah, didn’t think so.

It’s Labia Appreciation Day

January 8, 2010 Culture, Vitals 4 Comments

My New Pink Button is a product made to bring that pretty prink color back to your lips–and when I say lips, I mean your labia.

“My New Pink Button is a Cosmetic Dye especially for the woman’s genital area, to help restore that healthy vibrant Rosy color,” the site promises. “Until now there has never been a solution for restoring natural pigment. This is a concern with many women and more than you can even imagine, and a frequent question that Physicians are asked. Check out the blogs on the Internet. You are not alone! This is a common problem and we now have a simple and safe solution, restoring sexual confidence to Women everywhere!”

Deb on the Rocks, a contributing editor at the popular women’s site BlogHer has taken issue with this concept:

Now, actually, if you want to get a youthful feeling coursing through your labia, you would be better advised to, yes, go dancing, but instead of bringing My New Pink Button “Bettie” with you, find a Betty to come home with you. A Betty (or okay, if you must, a Bobby) who appreciates the glorious, diverse rainbow of natural labia colors fresh out of the box.

That will put you in the pink. Or rouge, or purple, or honey, or caramel, or the sienna shade of the edges of a closing Iris …

Better yet, just as you don’t need the dye, you don’t need anyone else to tell you your labia look mahvelous. What if it they just are mahvelous?

Because truthfully, I’m not in the market for labia dye. I’m not bragging when I say that my personal parts are a gorgeous labia shade as is — because I’m certain so are yours.
Many people are blowing off My New Pink Button as an unnecessary, comical product that’s white elephant-gift worthy.

In all, My New Pink Button makes me want to go all ninja labia avenger and throw mirror parties and finally rename The Vagina Monologues The Labia Monologues and stage actions where women jump on stages and proclaim “Bing cherry in da house!” or “Little Barbie Dream Corvette, baby!” or “This latte was made with a dash of cinnamon!” or “If you want me to change colors, put some lipstick where your mouth is, mister, and let’s get going!”

Deb’s not the only one, so we here at Sex and the 405 have decided to declare today Labia Appreciation Day. Come all ye women and love yourselves, or if you love women, go pay the proper tribute to your beloved’s labia!

Information via BlogHer. Image from My New Pink Button.

Pregnancy And The Flu

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is holding a webinar and conference call on how the flu affects pregnancy this Wednesday, January 13, from 5:00 to 6:30PM PST.

Speakers include Dr. Sonja Rasmussen, a board-certified pediatrician and senior scientist in the CDC Division of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities and Dr. Betsy Mitchell, a health communication specialist.

Along side the doctors will be a… wait for it, wait for it… social media expert! This individual will turn you on to flu-related social media tools from CDC. Got flu? There may be an app for that. Stay tuned. Or just prepare to see your Twitter streams saturated with the #Preg&Flu hashtag.

Anyway, if you’re interested in attending, go ahead and e-mail NCHMInteractiveMedia@cdc.gov to RSVP and submit any questions you may have on the topic.

To call in during the conference, dial: 877-972-5886, the code to enter is: 7276457

To access the call via web, go to MyMeeting.

Information via Rita Arens.

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.

The Resolution

January 1, 2010 Causes, Vitals 4 Comments

The word sensual falls from lips like a silk slip slides down a body to the floor. I don’t think “sex” conjures as much pleasure as “sensual.” Sex doesn’t have to be sensual. But sensual can be anything it likes.

sen•su•al: adj.

  1. : relating to or consisting in the gratification of the senses or the indulgence of appetite : fleshly
  2. : sensory
  3. a: devoted to or preoccupied with the senses or appetites b: voluptuous c: deficient in moral, spiritual, or intellectual interests : worldly; especially : irreligious
    synonyms see carnal, sensuous

A word is like an ant, carrying the incredible weight of meaning on its back.

“Sensual” comes to us from the Latin sensus or sense. The senses are the body’s wonderful physiological methods of perception, the main five being, of course, hearing, sight, smell, taste and touch. And yet “sensual”, the word, wanders around lugging the excess baggage of a gruesome divorce—that of body, mind, and soul.

I would like to follow sensual through time and learn where it became synonymous with the deficiency in moral, spiritual, or intellectual matters. Isn’t empiricism a crucial aspect of the scientific method? On what does it run if not the senses? Does walking the difficult, righteous path not require equilibrioception? And what is nociception if not the ultimate trigger of mercy? The senses, after all, bring pain as fast as they deliver pleasure.

I hold St. Augustine nearly entirely accountable for the wall between body and soul. Even today, in an age where the West has largely been released from the obligation to religion, the vestige of the split exists, like an insurmountable wall.

Or perhaps it’s that we still have religion, only instead of an almighty father, now we answer to an almighty clock. Now, instead of being exhorted not to dare enjoy, we’re chained to a schedule so ruthless, it permits nothing.

HIGH ART

It started with Anthony Bourdain, the celebrated chef, renowned author, world traveler and fearless sensualist. Much like the word “sensual”, Bourdain conjures a colorful mixture of praise and blasphemy in the minds of those who know him or his work.

“Think of the last time food transported you,” he writes in his 2001 novel A Cook’s Tour.

Your first taste of champagne on a woman’s lips… steak frites when you were in Paris as a teenager with a Eurorail pass, you’d blown almost all your dough on hash in Amsterdam, and this slightly chewy slab of rumsteck (rump steak) was the first substantial meal in days… a single wild strawberry, so flavorful that it nearly took your head off… your grandmother’s lasagne… a first sip of stolen ice cold beer on a hot summer night, hands smelling of crushed fireflies… left over pork fried rice, because your girlfriend at the time always seemed to have some in the fridge… steamer clams, dripping with drawn butter from your first family vacation at the Jersey shore… rice pudding from the Fort Dee Diner… bad Cantonese when you were a kid and Chinese was still exotic and wonderful and you still thought fortune cookies were fun… dirty water hot dogs… a few beads of caviar licked off a nipple…

A few beads of caviar licked off a nipple. What a simple, gorgeous celebration of touch and taste. The idea stopped me cold. I haven’t been able to pick up the book since reading that. What higher glory could be found among the rest of its pages?

STOP

We stand at the edge of our senses, waiting for the sets of data to come in: hot or cold? Pleasure or pain? Nice or mean? Red or green? Too spicy? Too loud? Too big? Too slow! Hungry! Tired! When was the last time we stopped and touched something and focused on the brush against our fingertips? When was the last time we turned off the constant background noise of our iPods and pressed down on a piano key to hear the clarity of a single note? When was the last time we paused briefly before putting that snack in our mouths and committed ourselves to savoring the marriage of flavors in a bite?

OVERWHELMED

A few years ago, I went to a meditation session that involved the use of crystal bowls. These bowls are made of quartz and, according to those who indulge in the practice, each is tuned to a note that resonates with one of the chakras, the body’s energy centers. The idea is that as the superstrings of the universe vibrate, every atom, cell, tissue of the body absorbs the energy and you are filled and empty, bigger than big and smaller than small, dead and alive, Shroedinger’s kitteh, etc.

“In the beginning there was the Word and the Word is sound,” says Margaret Lembo, a spiritual workshop facilitator. “Sound, intention and thought create reality.”

I went with an open mind, but to a woman from the ADD generation, sitting in the darkness of that room listening to each bowl amplify every note without a seeming melody was, well, incredibly boring. I fell into a sort of lethargic trance, glad to be spiritual enough to do this, but eager for it to be over so I could say I had done it and move on with my life. As soon as I had that thought, though, what could only be described as a conscience berated me: “living through things isn’t the same as living those things.”

Feeling a little ashamed, I focused my attention on a single note and started going along with it. I don’t know what I mean by that because I was engaging in no physical action. I was merely mentally following this note as it rose and stretched across the ether.

Call it the power of quartz, call it the power of suggestion, call it what you like: I started vibrating. Again, it wasn’t physical, but I could feel every pore, open, alive, like a mouth, receiving the the flow of a powerful charge that washed over me like an ocean. No sooner had this started that I had a powerful mental image of my hands reaching up to my chest and ripping my clothes, then my flesh, then my muscles until all that was left was a brittle rib cage that I easily pulled apart before taking hold of my heart and ripping it out.

My eyes shot open, my heart pounded in my chest, my skin on fire. Unable to calm down, I failed to get back into any kind of meditative state. Later, when people talked to one another about the wonderful relaxation they’d experienced, I bit my tongue. I could only conclude that I was not used to that level of focus on sensory perception.

Even I, the self-proclaimed voluptuary, had neglected her own receptors.

LIVING SEX

Let’s go to the carnal aspect of the definition of “sensual.” What’s the first thing that comes to mind? Sex.

When was the last time you had sex for the sake of your senses? No, think about this. I am not talking about orgasm. I am not even talking about pleasure in and of itself. I am talking about using every given sense receptor, focusing your energy on it and really, truly experiencing what that sense tells you, not just whether it feels good or not, harder, baby, harder, deeper, deeper, faster, faster, oh, yeah, oh, yeah. No. I mean: when was the time you lived your sensory data?

When was the last time you took down the filters engendered by the need for efficiency? When was the last time you let yourself experience everything? Do you even remember? If you were able to remove the filters as one opens a window, do you think you would be able to handle it?

THE BIGGEST ORGAN

A man may have a massive organ, but his skin is still his biggest organ.

The talent with touch—like the talent with sight (art), the talent with sound (music), the talent with taste (food), the talent with equilibrium (dance)—is granted arbitrarily, at birth. Sometimes those who have it use it and sometimes, like me with art, they ignore it. Sometimes they don’t deserve it. But it’s there regardless.

I think most of us are born with the talent of touch, if only we let ourselves go there.

I knew a man once who could orchestrate wild symphonies on flesh. At 31, he was an architect of sensation. The way cooks move around their kitchens, knowing exactly what flavor is missing and how to integrate it—that was how he moved around a body. A fine instrument, the body, and he knew how to play it. Fur, feathers, silk, leather, sand, cold water, chains, liquid latex, hot wax, duct tape, pudding, mud, rope, splintered wood—the body as merzbau, everything was welcome.

There was nothing that couldn’t serve some purpose. But the magic wasn’t in the creativity, it wasn’t even in the way he handled his tools. The magic was in the understanding of reaction, learning to balance pain, temperature, pressure and pleasure in every body he encountered, like tuning the instrument. He pushed the senses to the limit, but never crossed the line.

He understood sex was more than just getting off–it’s about tuning in.

So tune in with me. Put your fingers on the back of your hand. Right now. Run them lightly over it, from the knuckles to the bone gently protruding from your wrist. Be the skin that feels the fingers and be the fingers that feel everything under the skin.

You don’t need to awaken your senses. They were never sleeping. You just have to pay attention. The next time you eat, let your taste buds overwhelm you, let your mouth feel the texture of what’s inside it. The next time you hear a song, let the notes carry you. The next time you kiss, let your mouth become your hands. The next time you have sex, let yourself become the skin throbbing inside you or wrapping around you.

Open up. Living through things isn’t the same as living those things.

Let that be your resolution this year.

Happy New Year! Let’s Boink!

December 31, 2009 Vitals 2 Comments

As usual, the folks over at someecards have us covered. Send your own slutty little greeting right here.

Too forward for you? Baby, it’s a blue moon! Not only is a blue moon a somewhat rare phenomenon (occurring every two and a half years or so), but this is a blue moon on New Year’s Eve! According to NASA, we haven’t seen a blue moon on the cusp of the new year since 1990! And we won’t see another until 2028!

So get over yourself and send the e-card. Or text that person and tell them to get their asses over to you and kiss you like they mean it. Yes, I’m talking to you, Colleen.

Information about the blue moon from Mashable. Thanks Sean Percival for the tip.

Happy Holidays! Make a Move!

December 25, 2009 Vitals 1 Comment

It’s the holiday season! There isn’t a more perfect time to grab the person who’s caught your eye and give them a proper kiss than tonight under the mistletoe! And hey, if not, there’s always a new year right around the corner and with it, a chance to get a new outlook on sex and love, and maybe a new lover while you’re at it.

Here’s a timely reminder from our friends at the SF Weekly about how to carry out your next relationship in this super-connected, technology-driven world:

Click to see the infographic in its original size.

Have a great holiday. Whatever you do, don’t mix eggnog and Xanax.

Not that we know anything about that.

We’re in Urban Daddy

December 24, 2009 Our Happenings, Vitals No Comments

We’re in UrbanDaddy’s Los Angeles anti-resolutions roundup! In case you don’t know, this is the equivalent of being immortalized with the about-town crowd.

The best part? We were labeled as a weapon of mass decreased productivity!

That’s right, our sweet orchids of decadence and depravity, we will waste away your afternoons “like some cheap magazine, when you coulda been learnin’ something, oh, well you know what I mean…”

(That’s a song, we’re not that clever.)

Not sure how they got the idea that we were like Sex and the City. The column, the show or the movie? That matters. Whatever the case, we’ll blame it on Adora. She’s been the favorite too long anyway.

Screengrab from UrbanDaddy.

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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:
AV Flox

In-House Theologian:
Robert Fischer

Eros and Desire Scholar:
Dawn Kaczmar

Scientific Consultant:
Jason Goldman

East Coast Liaison:
Jackie Summers

Arch-Nemesis:
Barbie Davenporte

Read about the contributors we've had over time on our staff page.

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About

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...