Category Archives: Bodies

All about Virginity


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.



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.



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.




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.

Pussy Pride!

I’ve said it before – vaginas are like snowflakes, no two of them are exactly the same.

Of course, the lady bits you see in most mainstream porn tend to have a standard look. Which is fine in itself, but it does give both women and men a false idea of what labia should look like.

So what do you do if you are worried that you’re too big, too lopsided, too untidy or just wrong? You could try submitting a photo to a Tumblr site called “Large Labia Project”. The idea is to help women get over body shame by getting positive feedback from others. And the site hopes to challenge preconceptions of what labia look like and promote the fact that there is plenty of genital diversity that is perfectly healthy, normal, beautiful and sexy.

Penis facts

The penis is a feat of biological engineering and most of us have had to deal with one at some point or other, either your own or someone else’s. Here are some interesting facts about man’s other best friend.
1. Penises need exercise. Having regular erections helps keep a penis in good working order.
2. There is no consistent relationship between the size of a flaccid penis and an erect one. Some are ‘growers’, others are ‘show-ers’, and some are both! A study found that erection increases can vary from as little as a quarter inch to 3.5 inches.
3. For the majority of men, the underside of the glans and the underside of the shaft are the most sensitive parts of the penis.
4. Sad but true – sensitivity declines with age. And worse news, sensitivity begins to decrease from the age of 25 although the sharpest decline is between 65 and 75. The good news is that because it happens gradually most men are not really aware of decreased sensitivity.
5. Penises are a little like icebergs in that a lot of them is hidden from view – half the length of the penis is inside the body.

This week’s sex tip: Exercise for better sex

You may have seen a story in the news recently claiming that some women orgasm while getting sweaty at the gym. I’m all for getting your pleasures where you can, but frankly I prefer my orgasms when I’m not wearing sweats.

Exercise in general is good for your sex life, because being fit is good for maintaining sexual drive and stamina. However, certain kinds of exercise are more beneficial than others when it comes to sex. Kegels make orgasm easier and stronger. Strengthening your middle, lower back, abdomen and pelvis contributes to one’s ability to thrust. Yoga can help stretch your hip and groin muscles. A stronger backside doesn’t just look good in jeans – it helps support your middle and hips, both important for sex.

Sex itself is a pretty decent workout, but only if you spend some time and energy on it. On average, thirty minutes of sex burns around 85 calories. Which, granted, isn’t a huge amount, but every bit helps! You can up the exercise benefits of sex by spending longer on foreplay and by using more physically demanding positions.


In the forthcoming issue of Hot Press I’m writing about men who stare at women’s boobs (and women who stare at men’s assets too!). So I was pleased to come across this little gem which claims that 1 in 7 British women use their breasts to get ahead.

It should be pointed out that the survey of 1000 British women was conducted by Wonderbra. So not exactly scientific evidence…

Now personally I don’t any problem with getting out the girls on a date. We all try and put our best…ehem… foot forward when we are after a little something something from the opposite sex. All’s fair in love and war as they say.

Nor do I have a problem with using your cleavage to attract a barman’s attention. But it’s useless if the server happens to be female or is a gay man. But I can’t see how having great cleavage is a boon in the workplace. If anything it’s a problem. At least that’s according to some of my better endowed friends who complain that (some) male superiors treat them like silly dolly birds because they happen to have cracking cleavage. Not something I’ve ever had to worry about, she sighs.

The Wonderbra survey also asked who had the best cleavage and the winner was TV personality Holly Willoughby. So because I’m nice, here’s a pic of Holly!


Muff March! Protest against “designer vaginas”

On Saturday, women are planning to descend on London’s Harley Street to protest against vaginal surgery. The argument is porn and popular culture teaches women to feel bad about their genitals if they don’t conform to certain aesthetic standards.

Labiaplasty is on the increase in the UK (and presumably here too). According to the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology there was an increase of 70% in operations compared with 2007 1,118 labiaplasty operations on the NHS in 2008; 669 in 2007 and 404 in 2006.

I’m all for genital grooming, but anything involving scalpels can result in loss of sensation or complications.

You can read all about it here.

Help me! I’ve got big boobs!

Well, not me…

In my last post Marty Klein was defending against dumb male stereotypes, but it appears at least one stereotype is true.

Men prefer big boobs. So much so, that they are more likely to stop for hitchhikers with impressive assets. That’s according to a study done in France anyway. Luckily bus drivers don’t have that luxury…

And because I’m really nice (despite the small boobs), here’s a pic to brighten your day…

Half of all ladies prefer to keep their clothes on…

If the results of the survey by can be believed, 48% of women prefer to keep at least one item of clothing on in bed. The reason for this, according to more than half of the respondents who felt this way, is that it improved body confidence. What’s more, their top choice is a bra, which I’ll admit is a very useful item of clothing during the day, but not particularly comfortable to sleep in.

It’s a fairly sad state of affairs if you dislike your body so much you don’t want your nearest and dearest to look at it too closely. The survey also found that 61% of women want the lights off when they are having sex.

Like most women (and men) there are areas on my body that strike me as less than perfect, but so what? You don’t need a perfectly toned, tanned and hair-free body to be sexy or attractive. What’s more, I often find a partner’s ‘imperfections’ the most attractive thing about them.

Are you comfortable being naked?

There probably isn’t a man or woman alive that doesn’t have at least one hang-up about some part of their body. It’s just how we deal with it that differs. In extreme cases, body hang ups can mean you’ll never have sex with the lights on or refuse to get completely naked with your partner.

Here’s a little test from Psychologies to see how comfy you are in your birthday suit.