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Makings of a Dominant

May 12, 2010 BDSM, Lessons 2 Comments

I know this will make me sound like a mom who makes you feel guilty for missing dinner by going on and on about how long she slaved over that hot stove, but I’ll say it anyway: being a Dom is a lot of work. For starters, there’s a ton of shit to buy, and you’ll need a lot of practice before you’ll be any good at using it. When you finally find a girl who’ll let you tie her up and do all kinds of dirty things to her, you’ll have to ask all the right questions to really get inside her head, then identify your training goals and prep for your first session.

The session itself takes a lot more energy and focus than, say, the typical Friday-night romp with that hottie you picked up at the Roosevelt. And in the morning, you’ll have a giant mess of chains, rope, leather, dildos, whips, and butt plugs on the floor that’ll look like WeHo after a category-five tornado. To be honest, I still haven’t cleaned up from last weekend. So why do we put ourselves through all this? What’s in it for us? I can’t speak for everyone, but I’ll bet retracing the evolution of my kinkiness will reveal what that answer is for me. Let’s find out…

Chapter I: Giant Gorillas and Corpulent Aliens

You might say my first sexual influences were a tad unconventional. One of the earliest memories of my life is watching this old version of King Kong on TV with my parents, and I can still remember how strangely fascinated I was by that image of Jane with her wrists tied to those stakes. I was only three or four at the time, but I knew instinctively that this horny oversized ape and I were on the same page.

A few years later, George Lucas released a film that would inspire new generations of future pervs for decades to come: Return of the Jedi. Princess Leia didn’t really do much for me at age six, but the image of her collared and chained to Jabba the Hut in that skimpy little bikini is burned into my brain to this day. Jabba may be a bit on the heavy side, even for a Dom, but you have to admire his style.

By the time my hormones joined the party, I knew there was something very different going on in my head. I certainly wasn’t the only kid who had to plan sitting and standing around my ill-timed erections, and I was just as comfortable joking about the indignities of puberty as my friends were, but I learned quickly that the details of my fantasies were best kept to myself. I still thought about normal sex, mostly to reassure myself that I was at least somewhat normal, but at that age I could have jerked off to Kathy Bates.

Chapter II: Drunken Fumblings with Naked Girls and Ethernet Cable

In college, when I finally moved from the chalkboard to the field, I set out to make the most of the four key resources at hand: a deliciously pervy girlfriend who was happy try anything twice, a beer fridge well stocked with Sierra Nevada, one university-issue, four-post modular bed, and lots of Ethernet cable. Sorry about that Ethernet cable, Abby, but you know how it is: we just didn’t have the Internet resources back then even to learn about the proper equipment, much less buy it online.

Once the beers were uncapped and Abby was unclothed, my first step was to create my own living bondage porn. After that, my plan was to rustle up a makeshift blindfold, then maybe do something fun with the ice cubes in my fridge and the ping-pong paddle I had liberated from downstairs. It only took a few minutes to tie each wrist and ankle to each corner of the bed. As I looked down at this athletically-shaped pre-med, so exposed and vulnerable as she tugged helplessly at the high-speed data cables that held her in place, I decided to skip right to Phase II: fuck her and cum on her face.

About five minutes later (hey, I was 19!), as I wiped the sweat from my brow and stumbled across the room for another Sierra Nevada, I found myself asking what would become a pretty familiar question for the next few years: “Now what?”

With practice, I eventually developed the Zen-like discipline to resist fucking Abby the instant I finished tying her up, and I started exploring a whole range of exciting ways to amplify and intensify her helplessness and vulnerability. I realized that total physical control meant total sensory control, and by blindfolding, gagging, pinching, biting, spanking, and choking her, I could play those senses like keys on a vastly complex piano. At first, all I could manage was Chopsticks and maybe Jingle Bells, but you know how they say you get to Carnegie Hall: practice, practice, practice.

Chapter III: Graduate Study

Around the time I moved to L.A. and started exploring the local fetish community, that question popped up again: Now what? That was when I met Courtney, a sweet, wholesomely beautiful brunette with a razor-sharp sense of humor and an insatiable appetite for total power exchange. Suddenly, I had this tidal wave of fresh ideas and a diehard play partner at least as perverted as I was to try them on. It was the perfect storm, and soon I had the next major epiphany in my evolution as a Dom: I could use all these tools and techniques for the bigger-picture, longer-term goal of shaping a sub’s behavior and attitude to my exact specifications.

I took 24/7 control of Courtney’s orgasms, requiring that she e-mail, text, or call me whenever she wanted permission to cum. I taught her the verbal protocol and eye-contact rules I wanted her to follow, the slave positions I wanted her to hold, and the techniques of sucking and cleaning my cock I wanted her to use. When she was a good girl, I’d give her multiple forced orgasms until she begged me to stop. When she broke a rule, I’d discipline her with a wooden paddle or something else I knew she hated until she begged me for another chance to do it right.

With time, she learned to place my pleasure above her own comfort, to obey even the most unexpected and unusual instructions without hesitation, and to revel in her status as my property. When Courtney and I were enjoying these intense moments of intimacy, I felt a stronger sense of sexual fulfillment than I could ever have imagined, and purity of this fulfillment helped me uncover the real foundation of my sexuality.

And Finally…

For the vast majority of straight males, the female form is an object of obsession from puberty until death. For me, BDSM is the ultimate way to fully possess, savor, and connect with that object on a more intimate and intense level than most will ever experience. It is a lot of work, but then again, nothing truly worthwhile is easy. Now to put those damn toys away.

Drew Thomas (@DrewT323) is a dom living in Los Angeles.

If You Absolutely Must Sprain Your Back, Do It Doing Something Sexy

May 11, 2010 Q&A 1 Comment

Our editrix here at Sex and the 405 has a account where people ask her questions about sex — well, it’s supposed to be about sex, but you guys should see what people ask her. She really is the Oracle at Delphi reupholstered in KY-Jelly. Behold:

You’ve mentioned that you frequently work naked. I tend to work naked as well — or in lingerie, and in bed. However, I’ve been struggling with posture issues when working on the computer in bed. Have any tips?

This is a great question. While our editrix is obsessed with her posture (she has never had the best posture and has tried everything from corsets to rods to improve it), she is no expert on these matters. But lucky for you, her chiropractor Michael Dorausch at ADIO L.A. was kind enough to take some time out of his day to help us answer this pressing question.

Bad laptop posture!“Hunching forward for long periods of time is one of top things that lands laptop users in my office regularly,” Dorausch told Sex and the 405 over e-mail. “If you take that same posture in bed, then there are the same issues. Add to that the reality that most beds are too soft to support sitting for long periods of time — not only is the upper back hunched, but the lower back gets strained as well.”

But what if you’re lying down?

“Make use of pillows to support your back, neck, and at times, to rest your laptop on,” Dorausch suggests. “With the right combos, you can get the task accomplished with little to no back strain. One more reason to have multiple sizes, shapes and thicknesses of pillows available.”

If pillow fighting in lingerie isn’t a good enough reason, think of your back!

So what’s the best position for working on a laptop?

“Sitting upright with the laptop on a table or some other support, is usually one’s best bet,” Dorausch says. “I catch patients sitting cross legged all the time, using their crossed legs as a laptop holder. It’s not something I recommend doing often.”

And what are some ways of reducing stress on your neck and back while working long hours at a laptop?

“Stretches are great,” Dorausch tells us, adding: “of course you want to be doing them properly. I’m obviously biased, being a chiropractor, but I think getting checked for postural and related computer activities is a good investment. Additionally, I’ve gotten good feedback from patients using yoga stretches and pilates exercises to build strength and flexibility in their spines.”

You heard the man. Make an appointment to check up on the damage and start putting that Wii Fit to good use on back-strengthening exercises. Make no mistake: an upright person is a sexy person.

Photo used features Joanna Lord, courtesy of Michael Dorausch.

Ouch is Not a Safe Word

May 11, 2010 Daisy, Diary 2 Comments

“Oouuuch! Noooo! I can’t take it! My butt’s too sore already! I hate that!”

That’s what I typically yell out in my BDSM sessions with Sir M, as he increases the intensity of his play and pulls out nastier toys like the dreaded cane.

“TOO BAD!” is what he will yell back, as he continues to whack me.

I’m not a masochist but I like some BDSM contact play and that often involves varying sensations and levels of pain. Part of submitting to a master is enduring that pain because the master (who’s usually a sadist) enjoys giving pain. But my low pain tolerance means that bearing the sting of his floggers is a huge challenge for me.

I often feel conflicted between taking care of my own needs and serving Sir M and satisfying his needs. I know that he’s a heavy player and likes to hit hard, much harder than I can endure. Out of submission to him, I tried my best to take his beatings every week. I’d marvel at the bruises later, but during play I’d be miserable and angry. I repressed those feelings until I reached a boiling point and exploded. That nearly drove me to stop playing with him. Since then he has been working with me to build my pain tolerance and help me process pain.

He said part of that would happen naturally — the body builds up tolerance to pain with repeated exposure. However, I had to explore other avenues for handling pain or I’d never get to the point where I could really enjoy playing with Sir M.


Sir M assigned some reading as my homework. He lent me a water-stained and heavily notated book from his library, titled Slavecraft by Guy Baldwin and A Grateful Slave. As part of my assignment I read and re-read an essay called “Using or Processing Pain.”

The writer describes pain as a vehicle to transcend the physical and tap into a psychological shift:

…like a fiber-optic cable through which I can find myself transported into altered states of consciousness.

Subspace is what Baldwin is referring to. It is a pleasurable altered state of consciousness that is triggered by the endorphins released — possibly from fear and arousal. It can be momentary, last 30 minutes, or even into the next day. Sir M told me that subspace is the ideal result of BDSM play for the sub.

I had experienced subspace from some knife play and sex play, but not from corporal play like spanking and paddling. Subspace is a wonderful floaty feeling, sometimes propelling me to another reality entirely. Some subs drift off into subspace almost immediately after being struck, and then don’t notice the subsequent pain from play. I envy them and wish I wasn’t such a wimp with pain!

I set a goal for myself — to learn not just how to endure pain, but to enjoy receiving pain by going into subspace.

The fine balance between pain and pleasure

Baldwin explains that the ways people feel and process pain is very personal and differs widely — so what is intolerable to one might be a nice reminder to another of a hard game of tennis, for example. It’s also situational: if a masochist gets hit by a car, he or she doesn’t enjoy it!

One of my friends in the scene, slave s, is a masochist who likes heavy play. I asked her what it’s like for her.

“The pain helps me relax and access my deep emotions. Even though I have a high tolerance, it’s still pain and it makes me tense up. My way of dealing with it is biting and sucking on myself to let go when I’m getting beaten, especially if it’s stingy and intense. Or I might hold my nose, like a form of breath play.”

I still didn’t exactly understand what she was getting out of it until she explained:

“Pushing myself like that so I can serve a master is what it’s all about. That’s what makes me dripping wet.”

I admired her resolve but wondered if I could ever get to that point.


When I play with Sir M he often reminds me to keep breathing deeply. I tend to hold my breath and scream; if I consciously force myself to breathe when I’m in pain it can turn rapid and shallow quickly. But if I can push through to the deeper breathing it is possible to direct the pain out of the body. I visualize it going out through the top of my head.

Not surprisingly, A Grateful Slave in Slavecraft lists breath as the top tool for managing pain: “Breathe out the pain, breathe in relaxed receptivity.”

That makes sense, but putting it into practice isn’t always easy. I tap into the breathing from my yoga practice to push through the pain and that has helped. Sometimes when being hit I do yogic breathing and imagine myself in an intense yoga pose. I’ll make up a fake Sanskrit name for it like ouchakanasana. That amuses me enough to distract me from the pain briefly.

Slavecraft also suggests some more ephemeral methods for managing pain. Some subs create a whole fantasy and place themselves in a role, such as a Roman slave who gets flogged every day. Others might visualize heat, light or color as a manifestation of pain, so that it can be dispersed and dissipated.

Sir M also suggests I use energy movement for pain management. His method is to send the energy from each swat or sting to a different place in the body or disperse it all over the body to dilute the pain. I try to remember to do that between breaths but it takes some concentration.

Sex as a diversion

I’ve found that sexual stimulation is the greatest diversion from pain. The other night Sir M had a sub lick my pussy while he was flogging me and I hardly noticed the pain at all! It switched to an intense sensation that propelled the sexual pleasure. When at last he allowed me to cum it felt like a volcano erupting from the intensity.

I also find that physical contact with him helps me disperse pain more effectively. I might lean back against him or lean my head against his forearm depending on how I’m restrained and what he’s doing, and I’m able to relax and redirect the pain out of me

Sir M has noticed big improvements in my pain processing over the last few months. These days, if you were to stumble across us doing a scene at the local dungeon you might be surprised to see my expression quickly shift from a wince to a beatific smile as Sir M tweaks my nipple and whacks my ass with a paddle. I have a long journey ahead but now I know I can bear it.

Daisy TraLaLA (@daisytralala) is a saucy Angelino kinkster who glides with ease between the worlds of tech, artDaisy TraLaLA, cuisine, electronica and dungeon parties. Check back every Tuesday for posts from her journey to the most divine surrender.

Handjobs for Science

May 10, 2010 News, Research 1 Comment

You’ve had a pretty hum-drum at the office, so we here at Sex and the 405 thought we would spice things up a bit with a double shot of WTF science.

dolphin handjobThe following excerpt is from Graham Burnett’s A Mind In The Water, an article about the study of dolphins over time, which will run in the May/June 2010 issue of Orion magazine. The piece touches on the controversial work of neurophysiologist John Cunningham Lilly, who infamously tried to understand the bottlenose through LSD — and even sex.

Oh! That got your attention. Good. You need to wake up.

Over the course of his decade of intensive dolphin research, Lilly can be understood to have more or less sequenced through the whole battery of Cold War techniques for dealing with a tight-lipped foreign asset held in captivity.

Initially committed, in the late 1950s, to that spookish tool kit of techno-maniacal assaults on the cranium (picture a Frankenstein-like cap with electrodes penetrating the skull), Lilly gradually moved, at CRI, to less invasive approaches with his animals. But he nevertheless continued to draw on the playbook of those psy-ops intelligence services that shaped his early training in neurophysiology.

For instance, by the early 1960s he was testing code-breaking techniques, having been granted access to one of the very earliest programmable electronic computers, which he used to try to sieve recordings of dolphin vocalizations for patterns, deploying the same statistical methods as Cold War cryptographers. A little later he began experimenting with “chronic contact” scenarios, which involved “isolating” a dolphin in constricted quarters with a human agent, on the assumption that a conversion of loyalties would result.

To this end, Lilly even redesigned the St. Thomas laboratory with floodable living quarters, and initiated a set of long-term cohabitation experiments in which a male dolphin and a human female in a leotard and lipstick (to help the dolphin see her mouth move, of course) spent weeks interacting in a confined space. Lilly had her read Planet of the Apes to prepare for the work.

This sort of deracinating, intensive environment — colored with erotic potential — belonged, of course, to the world of counterespionage debriefings. Lilly did not explicitly advertise these dimensions of his project, preferring to talk of the need to treat the dolphin like a child, positioned to learn human language from the continuous attentions and baby talk of a new “mother.”

But he was by no means unhappy when an Oedipal scene unfolded underwater: with all the inevitability of a classical drama, this newest effort at interspecies communication eventually climaxed in what is probably the very oldest form of human-animal intimacy — sexual contact.

Pressed by an increasingly desperate Lilly to recognize that she needed to open herself to the dolphin’s solicitations (and warned by him against succumbing to the blinders of her own cultural preoccupations and psychological blockages), the young experimenter eventually decided that the randy and terrifying buckings of her imprisoned subject animal were themselves nothing less than his effort to communicate. In the protocols of her experimental notebooks she recorded coming to feel that her sharp-toothed roommate was doing the best he could to solicit her in a more and more gentle manner; it fell to her to meet him halfway, stroking him to a shuddering calm.

Lilly chalked it up as a victory for interspecies contact. But Swiss Family Robinson it was not. Neither was Lilly’s final effort to hear what the dolphins were saying, which involved the use of lysergic acid diethylamide, otherwise known as LSD.

Image and information from Orion magazine.

Thinking of You: My Neighborhood

May 10, 2010 lolz 1 Comment

We here at Sex and the 405 think it’s vital to let people know how much you adore them, so we’ve created a special new section showcasing the best of the web when it comes to showing your love.

This week’s jewel comes to you via someecards, the epitome of cool when it comes to e-cards.

Click to send one to someone you dig!

Sexy is the New DJ

May 10, 2010 Culture, Music 1 Comment

Spring is here and with the warm weather come the sexy music videos.

First up, is Christina Aguilera with her new single Not Myself Tonight a carnival of sex toys and BDSM themes to enjoy at our leisure!

If that’s a little hardcore for you (don’t tell our editrix), just skip over to Miley Cyrus’ wild child anthem Can’t Be Tamed.

“I go through guys like money flying out the hands. They try to change me but they realize they can’t and every tomorrow is a day I never plan. If u gonna be my man understand: I can’t be tamed, I can’t be saved, I can’t be blamed, I can’t can’t…”

Sing it!

(Hey, doesn’t Miley kind of look like our editrix? JUST KIDDING, AV, OMG, PLEASE DON’T HURT US.)

Slutty Fortunes For You

May 5, 2010 Culture, geek, Noms, web No Comments

You don’t have to add “in bed” to the end of the fortune in the cookie any longer.

Introducing Spam Fortune Cookies — and no, they’re not made out of SPAM. Allow them to explain themselves for your benefit:

A wise man once said: ‘The best advice you can get is the advice you don’t want to hear.’ If that’s true, then the more unwanted it is, the better it must be — right? So, logically, unsolicited bulk email messages must contain the greatest advice of all time. Combine this flawless reasoning with a delicious after-dinner cookie and you have a source advice unmatched by anything else in the world.

Every $9.00 package contains 20 cookies, each with some insane spammy message the likes of which you haven’t seen since you upgraded your spam filters.

You will be amused.

Image from the xkcd Store. Via Breadpig.

Zero Tolerance

May 5, 2010 Diary 2 Comments

If you’ve been a reader of Sex and the 405 for any period of time, you know that on Tuesdays, we run the diaries of Daisy, a woman on a search to discover herself as a submissive in Los Angeles vast BDSM playground. This week, we bring you the view from a different angle — that of a dom in the same space.

It’s a Friday, just after midnight, several years ago. I’m looking down at a head-turning blonde who’s kneeling on my Persian rug, wearing nothing but a black leather collar that’s locked around her neck, connected to a gleaming jeweled chain leash that has fallen to the floor between her perfectly-formed B-cup breasts. As I take in the view, a single thought echoes through my mind: “How did I fuck this up so badly?”

At age 25, having just moved to L.A. and started to explore the local BDSM community, I already had a few years of experience as a dominant in serious relationships, but this was my first time playing with a submissive in a more casual context. Kat and I had already spoken at length about her need for total control and strict discipline, but she was a few years younger, brand new to BDSM, and we had only just met.

The evening began fairly casually with our favorite HBO show, a nice bottle of Malbec, and the best pizza in Hollywood. When it was playtime and I told her to kneel and strip, Kat kept the first date tone going with some jokes and nervous laughter. I decided to let that slide until she felt more comfortable. Ditto for when she kept forgetting to call me “Sir,” which is a fairly standard rule in BDSM play.

I was just as accommodating when she told me to wait while she kept self-consciously fixing her hair, and by the time I had her chained to the front of the couch for some blowjob training, she was rolling her eyes and making ‘whatever’ faces at the instructions.

At this point, the wheels had come off, and I knew it was my fault. But how had I gone so far off track?

Comedy of errors

My plan for the evening was focused more on making sure this sweet and inexperienced 20-year-old didn’t have a bad first experience than on providing her with an amazing one. I wanted to earn her trust by demonstrating I’d always respect her limits and keep her safe, never pushing her further than I knew she could go. Problem was, by letting so many little things slide, I allowed her to dictate the pace and tone of the entire session — exactly the opposite of the power dynamic we both wanted.

While dissecting the smelly corpse of this sorry effort, I remembered an article I had read about something called the Broken Windows Theory. First introduced in the 80s, it asserts that serious felonies like murder, muggings, and illegal drug sales are much more likely to occur in areas with a high prevalence of petty crimes like vandalism and prostitution.

This correlation suggested to many politicians and criminologists, including the then-mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani, that the perceived tolerance of petty infractions emboldens people to commit more and more serious crimes. This gave Rudy an idea: what if we were to crack down on petty crimes all over the city — arresting hookers and public pissers, painting over graffiti, and fixing those windows as soon as they’re smashed? He directed his chief of police to do just that, and by the mid-90s, this policy of “zero tolerance” contributed to the steepest drop in crime rates ever recorded in a major urban area.

New York City, once widely considered “ungovernable,” soon became the safest metropolis in the world. Like Rudy, I immediately recognized the applications of zero tolerance to another high-crime area: my living room floor.

Round two

When Kat accepted my invitation for a Round 2, I was determined to lay down the law. We started with dinner and drinks at a nearby restaurant. When we got back to my place, I told her to kneel and strip before I even closed the door. I tied her arms snugly in my favorite position, folded behind her back with no way of protecting her girl parts, then I read her the riot act.

I told her she’d speak only when spoken to, always addressing me as “Sir.” She’d keep her eyes forward, her legs spread, her pussy fully exposed and accessible for my use. She’d adjust any aspect of her appearance only when instructed. If she had hair in her mouth or trapped in her collar or gag strap, I explained, she’d just have to fucking deal with it.

Then I asked her if she understood. She nodded. Woops — mistake number one.

I immediately grabbed her hair, pushed her face to the floor, held it there with my boot, and started spanking her. Hard. First, she moaned. Then she whimpered. When she started squirming, I told her to hold her ass perfectly still or I’d switch to the paddle. Her ass turned pink, then red. Before long, her whimpers turned to sniffles, and I knew I had her right where I wanted her.

Grabbing the back of her collar, I tugged her trembling body back up to the kneeling position and asked her again if she understood my rules.

“Yes, Sir.”

I nodded my approval, then reached down between her legs for a humidity check. Wow, I thought. Mission accomplished. Kat’s performance improved dramatically over the next few hours. She did need a firm reminder from time to time with one implement or another, and as unpleasant as that was for her, I could tell she was as turned on as I was.

Body of work

Michelangelo once wrote, “In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me… I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to other eyes as mine see it.”

As I’ve known ever since my first kinky experiences in college, the greatest challenge and thrill of BDSM lies in chipping away at the conditioned habits and attitudes of a girl whose body and sensations I fully control, ultimately revealing her inner slut in all its obedient and insatiable splendor. Every girlfriend, submissive, and casual play partner since then has taught me something valuable.

From Kat, I learned that the full realization of a Dom/sub dynamic is the result of a thousand decisions, each involving seemingly frivolous yet critical details, meticulously integrated into a work of art far greater than the sum of its parts. Still, it would be egotistical and incorrect for me to take much credit for the outcome. I didn’t create Kat’s inner slut, it was there all along. All I did was chip away the excess, and both of us enjoyed the process as much as the finished product.

Drew Thomas (@DrewT323) is a dom living in Los Angeles.

Technosexual Bodies: Arse Elektronika Exhibition Hong Kong

May 4, 2010 Art, Culture No Comments

Sex and technology have always been bed buddies in one way or another. From vibrators to texting to teledildonics to SecondLife liaisons to porn as a pioneering industry in web, the connection between the two is undeniable.

Arse Elektronika, a conference now in its third year, hit Hong Kong in April with an art exhibit that finally drew to a close last week.

“By inviting artists who’re dealing with various issues of technosexual bodies, we aim not only to examine the unexplored technicalities, functionalities and interfaces of the new technologies and sexualities, but also to formulate a broader understanding of the meanings of the ‘technosexual,’” says the Arse Elektronika site.

We here at Sex and the 405 don’t know if we understand anything any better, but we do know win when we see it:

Images by Johannes Grenzfurthner.

Happy 50th Birthday, Pill!

The Pill turned fifty years old this year and Time magazine has an incredible piece detailing our tumultuous, misunderstood relationship with it. If you read anything today, let this be it:

It was the first medicine ever designed to be taken regularly by people who were not sick. Its main inventor was a conservative Catholic who was looking for a treatment for infertility and instead found a guarantee of it. It was blamed for unleashing the sexual revolution among suddenly swinging singles, despite the fact that throughout the 1960s, women usually had to be married to get it. Its supporters hoped it would strengthen marriage by easing the strain of unwanted children; its critics still charge that the Pill gave rise to promiscuity, adultery and the breakdown of the family. In 1999 the Economist named it the most important scientific advance of the 20th century, but Gloria Steinem, one of the era’s most influential feminists, calls its impact “overrated.” One of the world’s largest studies of the Pill — 46,000 women followed for nearly 40 years — was released this March. It found that women who take the Pill are less likely to die prematurely from any cause, including cancer and heart disease, yet many women still question whether the health risks outweigh the benefits.

We take it for granted nowadays and its refreshing to take the time to stop and consider those who struggled for it and what the Pill itself helped catalyze. It almost makes us feel guilty for bitching about taking it every morning.

Then we read that Susan B. Anthony quote, here reiterated by Gloria Steimen: “Our job is not to make young women grateful. It’s to make them ungrateful so they keep going. Gratitude never radicalized anybody.”

Well, we’ll feel a little grateful just the same. Just today. Before we get back to bringing sex out of the closet and boobquaking.

Photo of the Pill used in the montage by Jenny Lee Silver. Information from Time magazine.


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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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