Who doesn’t know the difference between flirting and sexual harassment? Very few people I’d guess. But on the off chance you don’t, Laura Bates of the Everyday Sexism Project has written a piece distinguish between the two. Of course, as with all newspaper articles discussing sexual harassment there has been a predictable flurry of angry commentators claiming that women think it’s flirting if they find a man attractive and harassment if they don’t. Ho hum. Nope that’s not how it works. It’s harassment when you are aggressive or won’t take no for an answer, no matter how attractive you are.
If you’re too lazy (or busy) to read the article, there’s only one real rule: Flirting should make the other person feel comfortable
If your intended seems uncomfortable something is wrong. Either the context is off (dark bus stop/job interview); perhaps they misunderstood or misheard you; or maybe they’ve just had a bad day and want to be left alone. Back off. Try someone else who’ll be more appreciative of your efforts. Don’t shout at strangers from your car (exceptions apply if you are screaming ‘Up the Dubs’ or similar); don’t make overtly sexual remarks to a stranger, male or female; don’t touch a man or woman you don’t know. And if you ever feel the need to call someone a slut, pansy, asshole or whore because they are not keen on making sweet sweet love with you, get yourself into therapy. That is all.
Jenna Jameson quit the adult entertainment industry in a blaze of glory in 2008. She was the world’s most famous porn star with a number of top-grossing adult films, a best-selling novel, and a website that racked in millions. Five years after pledging that she would never return to porn and that she’d “rather live under a bridge”, Jameson has returned to work as a cam girl. Now a mother of two, with a string of financial and legal troubles, including complaints of domestic violence and drunk driving, it seems Jameson’s life after porn was not the happily-ever-after she’d hoped.
SEX AT THE XMAS PARTY
A third of Irish people have had sex with a co-worker during their annual Christmas bash. That’s according to a survey by the website, GiftsDirect – so not very scientific. But if you are hankering after the hot marketing dude or lovely lady in the IT department, it’s good to know that your Christmas dreams may come true… attentions is fond of completing online surveys.
COERCED SEX IN THE UK
This is truly troubling. The UK’s National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal) has found that one in ten women living in Britain has been coerced into sex against her will. Forty percent of those were with a current or former partner, and 83 percent of incidents involved a perpetrator who was known to the victim. The average age of the victim was just 18 years old. Wendy Macdowall, the lead Natsal author, has argued that the issue needs to be addressed at an early age and that coercion had become “normalised… with rape at the extreme end of the spectrum.” The Natsal study also found that one in 71 men have experienced coerced sex as well.
SEXTON’S MISCELLANY: YOUR FANTASIES COME TO LIFE
If you’ve ever wished you could find a porn fi lm that fulfilled your particular fantasy, help is at hand. Erika Lust is an author and filmmaker as well as a four time winner of the Feminist Porn Awards and her new project, XConfessions, turns real life fantasies into beautifully shot short erotic films. To take part, log onto xconfessions.com and submit your fantasy. Make it an interesting one though – Lust has received several hundred and has promised that each month she’ll choose her two favourites to get the filmic treatment.
France’s ruling Socialist Party has tabled new legislation aimed at criminalising paying for sex. If the legislation goes through, anyone found guilty could face a fine of €1,500 and be required to attend an “awareness” course on prostitution. The magazine Causeur has started a protest campaign called “Touche pas a ma Pute!” (Hands off my Tart/Bitch!), led by writer Frederic Beigbeder. Beigbeder condemned the government for trying to “decree norms for desire and pleasure” and the campaign has claimed that the proposed law seeks to control women, not liberate them. The Socialist Party has hit back, claiming the campaign’s real aim is the preservation of “male domination and female submission”.
Many who work with prostitutes also oppose the bill; they fear that the law will drive the sex trade further underground making workers more vulnerable to exploitation. It is estimated that up to 90 percent of France’s 20,000 prostitutes are foreign nationals and one of the aims of the new legislation is to ‘tackle sex trafficking’ – for which many will read ‘oppose immigration’ – and forced prostitution.
SURVEY SAYS BISEXUALITY NOT REAL
This one will anger many and rightly so. A study by the University Of Pittsburgh found that heterosexual men and women have serious doubts about the legitimacy of bisexuality as a sexual orientation. Researchers administered a 33-question survey to an online sample of 1,500 adults and found that heterosexual men were the most likely to cast doubt on the existence of bisexuality as a legitimate sexual orientation – but straight women, gay men and lesbians had similar negative feelings. According to the authors, the study confirms the “prejudice, stigma and discrimination” faced by the bisexual community.
ASHLEY MADISON SUED
Ashley Madison, the website specialising in promoting extramarital affairs, is being sued by a former employee for work related injuries. Doriana Silva has claimed that typing up hundreds of fake female profiles for the site has left her with permanent damage to her wrists. She is seeking a whopping $20 million claiming that the company unjustly enriched themselves at her expense and another $1 million in punitive and general damages. Ashley Madison charges men to access the site but women join for free (can this be legal??) The fact that the company uses fake profiles to separate men from their money is not at all surprising.
SEXTON’S MISCELLANY BAD SEX AWARDS
The shortlist for the Literary Review’s 22nd Annual Bad Sex In Fiction has been announced and there are indeed some (cringe)-worthy entrants this year. Past winners have included famed writers including Sebastian Faulk, Norman Mailer and AA Gill. The purpose of the prize is “to draw attention to the crude, badly written, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel, and to discourage it” – but it doesn’t seem to be working.
There is some terrible literary sex going on. This extract from Jonathan Grimwood’s The Last Banquet is the cheesiest (ho ho) sex scene you’re ever likely to read: “In my mouth her nipple turned from strawberry to deep raspberry but the taste I wanted was missing. I had sweat and what had to be soap from washing her dress or herself. Reaching behind me, I found the Brie and broke off a fragment, sucking her nipple through it.”
How is this even possible? A study has found that one in six women don’t let their husbands see them naked. Of these, forty-five percent explained that lack of body confidence was the issue; around a third said lack of sexual desire was the problem – since they didn’t want sex there was no need for their partners to seem them without clothes. The study was limited, so I do hope the numbers have been skewed because of it. Lack of body confidence is a growing issue amongst men and women, and it is very difficult to have a satisfactory sex life if you are overly concerned about spare tyres or cellulite.
SEX BOX SUCCESS
Channel 4’s Sex Box may not have been a resounding success, but Zurich’s sex boxes may well be. The drive-in sex boxes opened two months ago as a way of combating public prostitution. The boxes are fitted with alarms, security guards and reminders of the importance of safe sex. Michael Herzig, director of social services for Zurich’s sex workers, has said that there have been no problems with violence or pimps. On average, fourteen sex workers use the boxes each day. They pay a small yearly fee to use the facility, as well as a daily fee. Prostitution is legal in Switzerland, but sex workers must be registered with authorities and have health insurance. Despite this, there have been claims that authorities will be closing parlours where many legal sex workers are based, which could see them forced into illegal prostitution.
BUT IS IT ART?
A student at Central Saint Martins in London has decided to lose his virginity as an art project. Clayton Pettet’s performance piece is entitled, ‘Art School Took My Virginity’, and he claims that the idea is to desensitize the concept of virginity as a hetero-normative term used to value a person’s worth. Pettet has not revealed any details of his prospective partner, only that he is a fellow art student and someone is he “physically and emotionally attracted to.” Pettet and his partner will cover their bodies in paint and have sex on a blank piece of canvas, thus leaving a physical artefact of the act and performance.
ALL ABOUT VIRGINITY
Talking about virginity, did you know that it is actually pretty difficult to define? There is no medical or biological definition for it and instead we have to make do with a cultural definition – the state of never having had sexual intercourse.
The problem with this is that the state of virginity almost refers exclusively to penetrative sex. That’s fine if you are straight, but if you are not heterosexual, penetration may not be something you do anyway. Using this definition, if you’ve had several lovers but only had oral sex, or used fingers, or even a dildo, you’d technically still be a virgin. Which, of course, is nonsense.
There are a number of cultural myths about the hymen, but it is not a reliable marker of whether or not a woman is a virgin. Women who’ve had sex may still have one, while other women can have lost it early on, without any sex having taken place. This means there is no way of knowing for sure whether or not a woman has had sex.
Virginity doesn’t mean a woman will have a tighter vagina. Nerves around first time sex may cause a woman to clench, but having sex does not magically make your vaginal canal bigger. This is a pathway of muscles, and like other muscles, the vagina can stretch and retract.
There is a similar myth that having sex will give you a bigger penis. Sorry, it won’t.
Teenagers who are part of the abstinence movement often think the magical blessed state of virginity is preserved if they have anal sex, or if the man doesn’t ejaculate, or if neither partner has an orgasm. Nope, all of these activities count as sex.
The abstinence movement also claims that virgins are somehow “better” than sexually experienced people – this is the biggest myth of all. Sex does not change who you are as a person, or devalue your worth. Instead a happy sex life is psychologically, emotionally and even physiologically good for you.
A ‘female Viagra’ is due to be released in 2015. The drug, called Lybrido (ho ho), has passed stage-II clinical trials and should be approved by America’s FDA within a year. The problem with Lybrido appears to be that it actually works, which has lead to questions about the advisability of it – horny ladies being a huge problem apparently. Andrew Goldstein, a scientist with Emotional Brain, the manufacturer of Lybrido, has claimed that “a fear of creating the sexually aggressive woman” stalled the process. A New York Times report claimed that Emotional Brain was concerned that the FDA would reject the drug out of concern that it would lead to “female excesses, crazed binges of infidelity, societal splintering.” Hmm… Sexually active women – ruining a society near you soon. Hopefully.
BEWARE OF HORNY IRISH PEOPLE
In a second news story that got my blood boiling, and not in a good way, an article on a popular New Zealand website has essentially accused Irish folks of being riddled with sexually transmitted diseases. The article claims that rates of chlamydia have increased, as has the number of Irish people attending a sexual health clinic in Christchurch. The article quoted a doctor who claimed that Kiwi women had higher STI rates than in other countries and that many of them “found the Irish accent alluring.” Unsurprisingly the article has angered Irish people living in New Zealand. You could draw a completely different conclusion from these facts if you wished – namely that Irish men have been infected by locals, and are at least smart enough to deal with the problem (even if they weren’t smart enough to wear condoms initially). The author defended the article claiming that statistics for other nationalities were not yet available. Dear oh dear…
SEXTON’S MISCELLANY : WEB BONDAGE JUNKIES
Bondage Junkies offers original amateur bondage photos and films, but despite the amateur status the quality is really good. The site is new and currently has over seven hundred downloadable photos, and a total of 155 minutes of downloadable movie files. The site has a transparent preview so you can see exactly what you are getting before you download. The site costs $19.95 for a single month’s access or $15.95 for a monthly subscription. See bondagejunkies.com for details.
WEDDING NIGHT BLUES
More than half of newly weds don’t have sex on their wedding night. That is according to a survey of 2,000 British people, which found that 52 percent of just hitched couples skip wedding night sex. The majority of the couples surveyed (72 percent) said that sex on the wedding night was not the big deal it once was. As most couples have consummated the relationship long before wedding bells peal, that’s hardly surprising. The biggest factor for lack of sex was a squiffy groom who either couldn’t or couldn’t be bothered. For shame!
Here are the top ten reasons newly weds didn’t bed:
1. The groom was too drunk (24%)
2. The bride was too tired and fell asleep (16%)
3. The bride was too drunk (13%)
4. Had to look after our children (11%)
5. We had an argument before wedding reception ended (9%)
6. Needed to leave for our honeymoon (9%)
7. Stayed up all night partying/celebrating with guests (7%)
8. The groom was too tired and fell asleep (4%)
9. Neither of us felt like having sex (4%)
10. Other (3%) – I hate to think what this could cover.
VOICE ACTIVATED SEX TOYS
Sex toy company Nalone has released a range of nine sex toys that respond to the user’s moans – the louder and faster you are, the faster the toy vibrates keeping time with your responses. Whisper and the toy responds slightly, while loud noises or music will produce strong vibrations. The toys use touch technology and electro magnetic pulses to allow users to customise their vibrating patterns. Clever!
SMALL BALLS, BETTER DAD
I’m not sure how anyone is going to feel about this, but Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia has released a study that found that men with small testicles make better fathers and are more involved in their children’s upbringing. The research team used MRI scans to measure the volume of the testicles of fifty-five fathers and the men – and the mothers of their children answered questions to determine how hands-on they are as dads. The blokes with smaller testicles got the best parenting scores and were seen as the most nurturing. Fifty-five men is not exactly a huge sample group, and other academics have described the result as “very surprising.” The Emory University researchers did note that being involved with your children is largely a matter of choice, however.
SEX LESSONS FOR CHINESE WOMEN
Be glad you have access to hundreds of sex advice books if you need them: women in China are apparently so starved for sexual information that they are willing to pay hundreds of dollars to learn how to have sex. A number of sex coaches are said to be tapping the Chinese market and reports say that the demand for information is high. Many young people leave school without even cursory sexual education, and conservative social mores means people are reluctant to talk about sex publicly. Studies seem to confirm this: in 2010, a report from Peking University claimed that half of sexually active unmarried people in China have unprotected sex; another study found that only 9 percent of Chinese know how to put a condom on properly. Yikes!
SEXTON’S MISCELLANY - PORN FOR WOMEN
Dusk TV, an adult cable station, held its first “Porna Awards” this Saturday – porna being their word for porn aimed at female viewers. A panel of than more 1,700 women watched and rated porn films and these seven were nominated:
Your Orgasm Inside Me – Dane Jones
Cabaret Desire – Erika Lust
The Kiss – Kendo
Aphrodite Superstar – Candida Royalle
A Taste Of Joy – Petra Joy
Don Juan’s Therapist – Nica Noelle
Skin. Like. Sun. – Jennifer Lyon Bell
Petra Joy’s A Taste Of Joy won the overall award. Joy uses non-professionals, often couples, in her work and makes women’s pleasure central to the storyline.
This October ‘Project Bush’ is hoping to photograph British lady gardens. Project Bush is described as “a call to action for women to stand up to the pressures of modern society and present their bushes in all their glory” – and thereby claim it is an expression of “modern feminism.” Alisa Connan, the celebrity photographer, will be taking the snaps and volunteers’ privacy will be strictly maintained. Hmmm… I don’t care what you do with your bush. Wax it or don’t, let it grow wild if you will, or give it a close crop – just keep your camera away from mine.
PENTHOUSE GOES BUST
FriendFinder Networks, publisher of Penthouse magazine and numerous adult-entertainment websites, has filed for bankruptcy. FriendFinder’s business model seemed a no-brainer – combining sex and social networking through its websites. The company’s services included live video, chat rooms, and photo and video sharing. Ezra Shashoua, the company’s chief financial officer, blamed a drop in membership and increased advertising costs and claimed that credit card companies had refused to process the company’s online transactions.
BANNING THE BRONZE BREASTS!
Citizens in Kansas have been up in arms about a bronze statue in the Overland Park Arboretum depicting a woman with her shirt undone. The statue called “Accept or Reject” shows a woman taking a self-portrait of her exposed breasts. The statue was donated to the park by the sculptor Yu Chang. Last year concerned citizens, with the help of the conservative American Family Association (AFA), convened a grand jury for the purpose of deciding whether the statue was “obscene.” The grand jury decided that the statue did not meet the legal definition. Kansas officials have already spent over $35,000 to defend the statue. The AFA is now attempting to bring the sculpture to criminal court. If the AFA wins, the statue would be seen as evidence of a crime, leading to a bit of a legal nightmare. Who would be indicted for the crime – the sculptor, the park, or the city itself? Who knew that bronze breasts were so controversial? Perhaps Michelangelo’s David needs a fig leaf?
SEX ED APP
This is quite clever. Fabrizio Dolfi, an app developer based in London, has designed the MySexDoctor app to educate young people about sexual health and sexuality. The app also answers questions on topics that young people may be too embarrassed to ask about. Dolfi wanted to offer young people a reliable source of sexual information amid all the dodgy advice and porn found online.
The app is comprehensive and each subject also contains a FAQ section. MySexDoctor is available in “full” and “lite” versions. The lite version is free and available to anyone over twelve; the full version costs $1.99 and is for young people aged seventeen and older.
Taking place between Friday 25th to Sunday 27th October 2013 at the beautiful and atmospheric pop up style village location of Tobacco Dock, London E1, Erotica brings the very best in the world of adult lifestyle and sexual wellbeing in the shape of shopping, delicious eats and drinks, access to the latest sexual health information courtesy of the John Hunter Sexual Health Clinic, informative and educational workshops and seminars, throughout the venue as well as photo opportunities and lots of chances to win competition prizes…all under one roof.
The specifically Erotica curated Torture Garden, Circus Circle and Burlesque stages starring the likes of Beatrix Von Bourbon (below), Aurora Galore, Marnie Scarlet & dozens more mean there’ll be no shortage of WOW factor all weekend. There’s also lots of evening events and parties too!
And For the first time ever in conjunction with Fierce Angels (from the creator of Hed Kandi), Erotica will also play host to an in-house club night.
There will also be a team of Erotica experts offering advice and tips on all things sex; as well access to the performers and the exhibitors taking part including an interior design company that specialises in erotic environments, the creators of unique brand of wooden sex toys, gold plated sex toys and the introduction of the Decimator – “the world’s largest commercially produced bipolar e-stim electrode!” unveiled exclusively at Erotica.
The Californian state assembly is considering making it illegal to post “revenge porn”. If passed, the law will make it a crime to post a video or photo of someone who is partially or fully undressed without their permission. A law already exists to protect those who were secretly filmed and the new law would apply to images where the subject had originally given consent to being photographed or filmed. Revenge porn has become increasingly prevalent in the last few years, as more and more people share naked images with partners – and it is possible to save or recover images that are supposed to self-destruct using apps like Snapchat.
SWISS SEX CHALETS
This may not be the most architecturally exciting update of the classic Swiss chalet, but authorities in Zurich have unveiled drive-in sex chalets to improve security for sex workers and their clients. The chalets are located on a former industrial estate (sexy!) and are equipped with panic alarms and reminders to practise safe sex. The scheme has the support of residents and similar initiatives have been launched in Germany. Next stop, Limerick!
JOE FRANCIS JAILED
Girls Gone Wild creator Joe Francis has been sentenced to 270 days in jail and three years’ probation for assaulting a woman in his Los Angeles home in 2011. Francis was found guilty of choking his victim and repeatedly slamming her head to the ground. Francis has also been ordered to complete an anger management course and attend therapy. Francis is maintaining his innocence and will remain free until the outcome of his appeal. After receiving his sentence Francis complained to the press that the members of the jury were “retarded” and said that, “they should all be lined up and shot.” He later apologized for these remarks.
SEXTON’S MISCELLANY CHRISTIAN SWINGERS
You love the Lord and your partner – but, hell, the sexual boredom has set in. No bother – log on to ChristianSwingers.com and get your freak on with other God-fearing horny people or as the site puts it “devout Christian couples who still want to have an active love life and share it with another, in good faith!” I thought this site was an elaborate hoax, but it seems to be genuine – my mind is officially blown.
WOMEN’S TOP FIVE SEXUAL FANTASIES
What are women’s favourite sexual fantasies? Emily Dubberley investigated our contemporary fantasies and her book Garden of Desires explores them. Here is the top five:
1. Submissive fantasies: these cover a wide range of fantasies, from BDSM sex play to giving up control or being emotionally or sexually obedient.
2. Dominant fantasies: as the name suggests here, the fantasy is one of being in control and being sexually assertive.
3. Exhibitionist and voyeuristic fantasies: fantasies involving watching or being watched in the act of having sex.
4. Group sex fantasies: these may have dominant, submissive or exhibitionist streaks to them but the main feature of these fantasies is the idea of multiple partners.
5. Partner fantasies: sex with a particular person, which could be a lover, a friend, a famous person or the local petrol-pump attendant.
A study has found that most British men rate their sexual skills as slightly better than average. The survey carried out by the not-very-scientific chat room site Cam4 found that, on average, men say they are a six out of ten in bed. The women surveyed were more enthusiastic, and rated their partners as a seven on average. However they were less sure of their own skills and most of the women felt that they too were a six on the scale. Two thirds of the respondents, male and female, believed their partner was a better lover than them. On the face of it, this lack of sexual confidence seems quite sad, but who would you rather be with – a partner so blithely confident they never listen to feedback, or someone who thinks you are great and is willing to do anything they can to make sure you enjoy yourself?
VIRGINIA JOHNSON, RIP.
Virginia Johnson, one half of the groundbreaking sex research team, Masters and Johnson, passed away this July at the age of 88. Johnson began her sex research career in the late 1950s at Washington University in St. Louis as William H. Masters’ assistant, and later his collaborator. The two became lovers and married in 1971. Masters and Johnson overturned the widely accepted Freudian principle that vaginal orgasm, instead of clitoral, was the correct response of a sexually mature woman; and their books Human Sexual Response and Human Sexual Inadequacy were both bestsellers.
CHEATING MARRIAGES ARE BEST
A sociologist has argued that non-monogamous marriages are the healthiest. Eric Anderson, author of The Monogamy Gap: Men, Love, and the Reality of Cheating interviewed 120 men about relationships, sex and monogamy and concluded that cheating was a rational response to the irrational expectations of monogamy. The sociologist asserts that a wandering eye can be viewed as a sign of a healthy long-term relationship because in established relationships sex generally decreases in frequency. Cheating allows for both sexual novelty and the intimacy of a long-term relationship. While there are certainly some interesting ideas here, Anderson’s 120 interviewees were all sportsmen aged 18-22 years old, and the sociologist seems to have ignored the possibility that monogamy may be just as monotonous for women.
10 ORGASM COMMANDMENTS?
Did you know that the first week of August is National Orgasm Week? To celebrate, the Explorgasm Women’s Health Initiative held a discussion in Chicago and their speakers came up with ten rather weird rules for better sex. Here they are:
10. When dating, stop pretending to be someone you are not.
9. Jesus, the Bible, and the church are not all you need. Felicia Houston, founder of the Anointed Wives Ministry reckoned that sex was important too. Er, yes.
8. Touch yourself in a sensual manner; learn to appreciate your body.
7. The oral sex scenes in the porn videos are bogus.
6. What a man eats affects the sperm. True!
5. If your husband would rather watch sports or play video games, kneel down in front of him. “The distraction works,” said Marie Green of Naughty Rooms. “No man would say no to that foreplay.” Huh? I’m confused. Is that a subtle way of offering a blowjob or just waggling your boobs in front of the telly?
3. Use a dental dam when receiving oral sex, as it will force him to work harder.
2. But… Don’t work so hard for him! Don’t deep-throat, use your hand and mouth together.
1. Men must take it slow so that women will achieve moisture and adequate lubrication said Dr Jessica Shepherd. Conversely, “men take little time to climax; a man could orgasm just by looking at you.” Well now I feel bad – I’ve never made someone come by just standing there.
For some more practical advice on improving your orgasm, see this week’s sex tip.