Category Archives: relationships

Kelly Brook: Serial Abuser

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.





Sex at the XMas Party


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.


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.


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.


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 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.

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.

Beware of Horny Ladies


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.



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…


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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.

Cheating Marriages Are Best


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, 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.



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.




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.

Don’t Have Sex Ladies!

It sometimes seems that no-one wants women to be having sex. From Christian demagogues to dating experts, women who have sex before marriage or ‘too soon’ are told that they are sinners or sluts. Now an article in the August issue of the Journal Of Marriage & Family found that women who wait at least six months before having sex with a partner have higher levels of relationship satisfaction. Six months! Of course if you put yourself through six months of self-imposed celibacy, especially if you had a lovely potential partner all lined up, you are more likely to be a traditional, conservative sort of gal or perhaps just willing to overlook your partner’s faults rather than go through a second sexual drought. No such benefits were found for men, which means that’s going to be a hard sell.

Get your own bed

It used to be common years ago, but apparently one in ten couples who live together sleep in separate beds, with a fifth saying it leads to a better sex life. Unsurprisingly snoring was the most common reason why couples sleep apart, concluding that better sleep leads to a better sex life. Despite this, two thirds of those who sleep apart don’t want their friends to know.

Feminists are also better in bed!

Despite their image as ugly man-haters, feminists are better lovers. Fact!

A study published in the journal Sex Roles surveyed students and older adults. They found that students and older women who had male partners that considered themselves feminists had happier relationships and that men with female feminist partners were more sexually satisfied.

Just letting you know…

Read more here.

Vegetarians make better lovers!

A friend sent me the link to this article claiming that vegetarians make better lovers. Hmmm.. he’s a vegan, so obviously he’d think so! PETA has been promoting the idea for years and yes, veggies do taste better and are less likely to be obese, which means more energy and better sexual performance.

Luckily I don’t eat red meat. 🙂

Read the full article here.

Can Science Predict Love?

A couple of weeks ago I took part in the Leviathan Science Cabaret discussing the science behind sex and attraction. I am not a scientist of course, so I was there to give a “real world” point of view. It’s a pretty interesting discussion and here it is…

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