Do you judge someone’s class by their Tinder picture? According to a study done by journalist Anne Helen Petersen markers of class, race, religion and education all affect whether we decide to swipe left or right. Here’s the full piece. There are a few issues with how the study was conducted (Petersen doesn’t focus on weight, for example) but it is a pretty fascinating read.
If you’ve been reading the US media for the past few weeks, you’re sure to have seen the shitstorm around the American football player Ray Rice, who was caught on an elevator camera punching his then-fiancee, now wife, Janay Palmer. In case you missed it Rice hit Palmer so hard she passed out and Rice’s team, the Baltimore Ravens, suspended him for two games.
The Baltimore Ravens’ response to the incident is not surprising given that Rice is a star player and brings in a lot of money – but after a media and public outcry, Rice was fired by the team and indefinitely suspended by the NFL. Some commentators argued that Palmer married Rice after the incident, which they took as evidence that she didn’t mind been punched in the face by her partner, while others took the view that one’s personal and professional lives are separate, and it is not up to your employer to police your behaviour outside of work. However, by and large, most people were disgusted by the incident and the slap on the wrist Rice initially received. That’s as it should be – so why aren’t more people up in arms about Kelly Brooks’ admission that she has punched two of her previous partners, Jason Statham and Danny Cipriani?
You could argue that when talking about domestic abuse, size counts. Certainly Brook is no match physically for Statham or Cipriani, just as Rice significantly outmatches Palmer in terms of size and strength. In one sense this is a perfectly valid argument: a punch or kick that causes permanent damage or breaks bones or leaves marks behind is a worse thing to experience than a slap that doesn’t.
The 2005 National Crime Council and ESRI research into the domestic abuse in Ireland found that 1 in 7 women in Ireland compared to 1 in 17 men experience severe domestic violence. Chances are you know an abuser, and a victim, if not more than one of each. According to this survey, women are twice likely to be injured as a result of domestic abuse; more likely to experience serious injuries; more likely to require medical attention as a result of abuse.
But domestic violence isn’t only about the physical abuse, but the emotional toll too.
Western culture (at least the English speaking part) prefers to pretend domestic violence only happens infrequently or that the perpetrators are almost always uneducated men from low income backgrounds. This is not the case. Abuse happens across the socio-economic spectrum, and abusers can be male or female, gay or straight. We particularly have a blind spot when it comes to female on male violence, treating it – or the victim – as a joke.
The fact that Brook felt free to publicly admit to her violent behaviour speaks volumes about how we treat male victims of female domestic abuse. Brook did not expect to be castigated for her behaviour. Instead she’s been making a meal ticket out of it. In interviews over the past few days, Brook has engaged in victim-blaming: “I started to think all these men are absolutely spineless” and “I’ve wasted so much time with stupid boys and doing stupid things.” When TV host Phillip Schofield called her on her violent behaviour, Brook suggested that the men were to blame: “I’m not going to do that in the future, I’m just going to pick more wisely in the men I be with.”
Sure, Statham and Cipriani are both bigger and stronger than Kelly Brook, but that’s not really the point. The point is that nobody, no matter what your size, deserves to be their partner’s punching bag. Cipriani has admitted to cheating on Brook, but that doesn’t excuse her behaviour either. Why has Brook been largely given a pass? Is it because she is a woman, and an incredibly attractive one at that? I suspect it is – and that’s not nearly good enough.
I’m writing about the celebrity nudes hacker scandal in the next issue of HP, and hot on the heels of that, TMZ has reported that Iggy Azalea’s ex-boyfriend is shopping around a sex tape featuring her. Azalea originally denied making a sex tape, but now her legal team have hinted that it might exist, but if so, the home movie was taken “without her knowledge or consent.” If this is true, then her ex is a piece of human excrement…
Adding to the skeeviness of the entire thing, it seems it may have been taken when she was under 18. In that case, it qualifies as child porn and her ex could find himself facing charges instead of a big, fat payday.
Are you a straight woman who prefers the old P in V to oral sex? If so, maybe you are suffering from internalised misogyny and body issues. That’s according to an not-very-scientific study done by vlogger Arielle Scarcella.
Scarcella hosts the popular “Lesbians Explain” YouTube series, and she wanted to know what kind of sex her viewers preferred, so she asked 500 of her straight female viewers and 500 lesbian viewers whether they prefer oral sex or penetration. She found that a majority, 55 percent, of her straight female viewers preferred penetration, but only 25 percent of lesbian viewers agreed. Scarcella wanted to know why there was such a large difference, and analysed the responses.
Many of the straight women felt that oral sex requires a greater level of vulnerability, and felt uneasy about receiving pleasure without giving any in return is uncomfortable. That’s entirely believable given that simultaneous orgasm is the Holy Grail of straight sex – despite the fact that this is can be very difficult for many couples to achieve. Gay and lesbian sex tends to be more turn-based, for obvious reasons, so it is not surprising that Scarcella’s lesbian viewers felt more comfortable being on the receiving end.
However Scarcella loses me when she concludes that a preference for penetrative sex “all relates back to misogyny and how women feel about their bodies.” Er no. I can think of several reasons why straight women might prefer P to O more so than their lesbian sisters that have nothing to do with sexism or self-esteem. Here’s a few:
1. Penises are better than strap-ons or dildos. No matter how fancy your strap-on is, it is never going to be as flexible or as fleshy as a dick. If you are in an exclusive sexual relationship you have skin-to-skin contact, which allows a man and woman a lot of sensory feedback about their partner’s enjoyment, which is not possible with a toy.
2. Furthermore, penetrative sex is *supposed* to be about mutual pleasure, if not necessarily mutual orgasm. If you are both having a great time simultaneously, that can feel more emotionally satisfying than taking turns.
3. Practice. Straight couples probably have more penetrative sex than oral. Orgasm is partly a learnt response, so if you have more P in V than oral, and learn to achieve orgasm this way, you’re likely to prefer it.
4. Many men are not that good at oral. If you have a full set of lady parts, you’re probably going to be better at dealing with them than if you don’t. No disrespect intended. I’d bet good money that the average gay man is better at blowjobs than the average straight woman too.
5. Having to return the favour. Many women just don’t like giving blowjobs, and if you nix oral in favour of penetration, you won’t feel obliged to.
That’s off the top of my head. Anybody have any other ideas? I’d love to hear them.
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.