Sex Aware

 2005

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2nd December

    Europe Abstains from Abstinence

 
The Guardian Christmas appeal, in partnership with MSF, is funding Aids clinics in Africa. Well worthy of support

From The Guardian

Europe, led by the UK, last night signalled a major split with the United States over curbing the Aids pandemic in a statement that tacitly urged African governments not to heed the abstinence-focused agenda of the Bush administration.

The statement, released for World Aids Day today, emphasises the fundamental importance of condoms, sex education and access to reproductive health services. We are profoundly concerned about the resurgence of partial or incomplete messages on HIV prevention which are not grounded in evidence and have limited effectiveness, it says.

While the US is not named, there is widespread anxiety over the effect of its pro-abstinence agenda in countries such as Uganda, where statements by Janet Museveni, the president's wife, and alleged problems with supply have led to a serious shortage of condoms.

The US has pledged $15bn (8.6bn) over five years to fight the disease, most of which is channeled through the President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar). Pepfar grants come with conditions, however - two thirds of the money has to go to pro-abstinence programmes, and it is not available to any organisations with clinics that offer abortion services or even counselling. The US is also opposed to the provision of needles and syringes to drug users on the grounds that it could be construed as encouraging their habit.

But the statement from 22 EU member states, released at a meeting under the UK presidency in London yesterday, calls on developing world governments to use every prevention tool, from condoms to clean needles to sexual health clinics, in a bid to slow down the spread of HIV. UNAids' latest figures show 40 million people are now infected, and the rate is rising as fast as ever.

We, the European Union, firmly believe that, to be successful, HIV prevention must utilise all approaches known to be effective, not implementing one or a few selective actions in isolation, it says.

The international development secretary, Hilary Benn, told the Guardian that the evidence had shown what worked, from tackling stigma to supplying condoms and clean needles. It is very important that those messages are heard loud and clear by everybody, he said.

Asked whether the UK disagreed with the US emphasis on abstinence, he said: Abstinence works if people can abstain, but I don't think people should die because they have sex. We need to make sure people have all the means [of prevention] at their disposal - condoms and clean needles. It includes education and access to sexual and reproductive health services. We are very clear about that.

In August the UN secretary general's special envoy for HIV/Aids in Africa, Stephen Lewis, accused the US of "doing damage to Africa" by cutting funds for condoms in Uganda while promoting abstinence. There is no doubt the condom crisis in Uganda is being driven by [US policies]. To impose a dogma-driven policy that is fundamentally flawed is doing damage to Africa.

Only 35m condoms were distributed in Uganda between October 2004, when the government said there was a problem with the quality of the stock, and August this year, compared with 120m in previous years.

Uganda has historically been cited as one of the HIV/Aids success stories and experts generally agree it was partly the availability of condoms that brought the infection rate down. But Museveni has said condom distribution pushes young people into sex and recently equated condom use with theft and murder in an interview with the BBC World Service. The shift in government thinking is being linked within Uganda to Pepfar.

Aids activists in the UK were pleased by the EU stance. Activists have been warning for years that the US prevention policy is reckless and could cost lives, said Fiona Pettit of the UK Consortium on Aids and International Development. The relentless promotion of abstinence only is already having an impact in countries like Uganda. Abstinence only is an unrealistic policy in many communities and a one-size-fits-all approach simply won't work.

In reality, people have sex ... much as conservative evangelists in the US might prefer that they didn't, said Andrew George, the Liberal Democrat spokesman on international development.

 

1st December

    Twice the Pleasure

From the BBC

The number of men paying women for sex has nearly doubled in a decade, UK research shows. Surveys of 11,000 British adults in 1990 and 2000 found the rate increased from one in 20 to nearly one in 10 men.

Rising divorce rates, sex tourism and increasing availability of commercial sex are blamed by the Sexually Transmitted Infections journal. It warns men's lifestyles put them at risk of catching sex diseases, yet few are getting checked in clinics. Only a fifth had visited a sexual health clinic and even fewer had been tested for HIV.

The findings come as experts call for a radical rethink of sexual health services to tackle rising rates of sex diseases.

In the UK there has been a resurgence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea and HIV. More than 58,000 are now living with HIV in the UK and 104,155 new cases of chlamydia were reported in 2004, latest figures show.

The study authors, from Imperial and University College London, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the National Centre for Social Research, do not believe the rise in paying for sex is the prime cause for this, but warned it could be a contributing factor.

While women who sell sex in the UK have been targeted by campaigns to promote safer sex and uptake of sexual health checks, on the whole men who pay for sex have not, they said. And their work shows these men often have other risk factors for STIs including higher numbers of partners in general.

More than a third of the men in the study had 10 or more sexual partners during the previous five years. Meeting new sexual partners while abroad, including in countries with higher rates of STIs than the UK also increased risk. The men most likely to pay for sex were single, living in London and aged between 25 and 34. There was no link with ethnicity or social class, however.

Lead author Dr Helen Ward said there were many reasons why more men were paying for sex. There has been a more liberal attitude towards commercial sex and increasing commercialisation of sex. Lads magazines are bombarded with images. There are more men with money and more women looking for this type of work."

She said many men were meeting new partners abroad, on stag nights for example, and the internet and cheaper international travel meant people had more opportunities to buy and sell sex. It does not seem to be exceptional for groups of men to go away with each other for the weekend and have commercial sex. My concern is that if people are going abroad where there might be less safe sex, they really ought to be thinking about the possible risks.

She said such programmes could be targeted at young male travellers and groups of men going on holiday or stag party trips, but that it might be better to target men in general, starting with school based sex education and mass media campaigns.

Peter Baker, of the Men's Health Forum, agreed it was important to target all young men because those most at risk were the least likely to use health services. He added: " Many people will be surprised by the relatively large numbers of men who are willing to pay for sex. But it's not so surprising in the context of social trends - women are increasingly sexualised in the media, sex phone lines are routinely advertised in the back of magazines and phone boxes...and divorce and separations are on the rise."

A new report by the NHS Confederation and the Terrence Higgins Trust says the way NHS sexual health services are currently run must be comprehensively overhauled because existing services cannot cope with demand.  It says there should be a shift towards community-based services focusing on both contraception and STIs, including HIV.

 

25th November

    Active Sexual Agents

From 7.com

A new Australian study has cast doubt on the commonly held view that pornography shows women as nothing more than sex objects. The study, to be published in the prestigious international Journal of Sex Research, analysed 50 of the bestselling pornographic videos in Australia to find out whether people were represented as sex objects.

Queensland University Professor Alan McKee, who led the study, said researchers compared the way women and men were represented in each video. They noted such things as who initiated the sex, whose pleasure was paid attention to, whether people in the videos got to speak about what they wanted during sex and whose perspective the videos were presented from.

We were surprised at just how active and in control the women were in these videos, Prof McKee said. This study suggests that mainstream pornography in Australia doesn't represent women as sex objects, it shows them as active sexual agents.

The findings are part of a three-year government-funded study - the most comprehensive of its kind - on pornography in Australia. Interim results released in 2003 on the content of pornographic movies found super-size breasts scare some men, conservative voters love dirty magazines and adult videos have realistic plots.

Dr Alan McKee said those initial results had shattered the "dirty old man in a trenchcoat" stereotype of pornographic consumers. Of the 320 respondents who said they used mainstream porn, 20 per cent were younger women, 33 per cent were married, 93 per cent believed in gender equality and 63 per cent considered themselves to be religious.

The researchers pored over the same 50 top-selling porn videos to analyse their plots and found most were believable and empowering for the fairer sex. The majority of videos were imported from the US and bought through mail order companies in the ACT.

Dr McKee said the majority of respondents were Liberal/National voters, which was interesting given those political parties were anti-porn.

The final results about the content of the movies will be released next year, and written up into a popular culture book, with an executive summary to be given to the federal government.

 

17th November

    Jealous of the Polyamorous

From The Observer

Welcome to the world of the polyamorous, where the family is bigger than you might expect. Polyamorists do not limit themselves to one relationship but maintain numerous relationships, straight or gay. A key element is that they are all serious emotional commitments, not just casual sex.

And polyamorists are coming out of the closet across America. Several groups have sprung up. In New York, Polyamorous NYC holds monthly meetings, has an email list of about 800 and holds a Poly Pride day each year in Central Park. A documentary, Three of Hearts: A Postmodern Family, has opened at cinemas in the city, chronicling a 13-year relationship between three people living together in a relationship that produced two children.

Many polyamorous people, who call themselves 'polys', liken their emergence to the struggle by gays and lesbians for equal rights, 'coming out' as poly in a society prejudiced against their lifestyle.

Justen Bennett-MacCubbin, the founder of Polyamorous NYC, who is in two serious gay relationships, says he has had to come out of the closet twice: first as a homosexual at 16 and three years later as polyamorous too. 'I realised I enjoyed being with two people in two relationships. Monogamy has no interest for me at all,' he said.

Polys face deep prejudice, he says. The most common reaction from non-polys is that polys have chosen their lifestyle to have lots of sex with different people.

Nothing could be further from the truth, he says. It is extremely important that people realise it is not just about sexual encounters. What distinguishes the poly community from swingers is that we want to make multiple emotional bonds. Most people in the poly community won't have casual sex.

It does result in complicated sexual and emotional patterns. Some polys are in 'triangles', where each person in a threesome has a relationship with the other. Or they can be in a 'vee', where one is involved with two others who are not involved with each other. Or polys can be in 'primary relationships', such as with a spouse or partner, and have one or more 'secondary' relationships. Through it all the sexes can be mixed, as polys can be straight, gay or bisexual.

But being a poly can be tough. Brigitte Philippides, an artist in Greenwich Village, has a primary relationship with a boyfriend, a serious relationship with a secondary girlfriend and several secondary relationships with other men. To bored husbands or wives who might think being a poly means uncomplicated, carefree sex with multiple partners, Philippides has a stern warning. If you can't manage one relationship healthily, you are not going to be able to manage two. For polys, relationships are like a consuming hobby: they take up a tremendous amount of time, she said.

People divorce often not because of the cheating, but because of the issue of trust being broken. For polys, everything is open and it's all about honesty. All my relationships are working, Philippides said.

Jealousy is the key emotional issue to be overcome. We are taught that jealousy is hardwired into us and people can then justify their jealous rages at their partner's need for others. Polys move beyond that, said Wise.

Certainly some polys have changed the perceptions of those nearest and dearest to them. Wise tells of her in-laws' shocked reaction when she and her husband came out as polys 11 years ago.

There were concerns for their marriage and their children. Now those concerns are gone. They see that our kids have grown up great and that our marriage is great, and that's all they really cared about in the end, she said.

And the secret of success? Communicate, communicate, communicate, Wise enthused. 'It is just honesty and working on being a better person. When we first started we took very slow and deliberate steps towards being poly. And you know what? The world did not implode.'

 

8th October

    London Academy of Sex and Relationships

From The State

Developers have announced plans to open a multimillion dollar sexual "theme park" near London's Piccadilly Circus. Backers say the London Academy of Sex and Relationships, due to open next spring, will not be a sleazy sex museum, but an educational multimedia attraction that will teach visitors to become better lovers and provide valuable information about disease and sexual problems.

Located within the Trocadero entertainment center, just around the corner from Soho, the $8.3 million project will feature unspecified "high tech and interactive exhibits." Alex Rayner, a spokesman for the project, said it was committed to avoiding the sleazy image that the sex industry usually conjures. It's meant to be educational. It's meant to be informative.

The privately funded project has support from sexual health organizations including the Sexual Dysfunction Association and AIDS charity The Terrence Higgins Trust.

It is long overdue that the U.K. faces up to its responsibilities in the sexual arena - we cannot simply avoid mankind's leading preoccupation and the issues that go with it , said the academy's director of exhibits, Dr. Sarah Brewer. The academy is the perfect vehicle by which to address these important matters in an exciting, amusing and yet educational way.

Several cities around the world - including New York, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Paris - are home to erotic museums. Typically, they exhibit everything from pornography to high-minded paintings exploring local sexual attitudes and culture.

 

2nd October

    Enjoyable Life Enabled for the Disabled

From The Telegraph

Disabled Danes are being encouraged to make monthly visits to prostitutes and reclaim the cost from the taxpayer, under laws intended to guarantee them equal rights.

In a move that has provoked angry protests but has delighted the country's legalised sex industry, the Danish government has launched an information campaign advising the disabled how best to go about obtaining erotic services.

Stig Langvad, the chairman of the Danish Association for the Disabled, hailed the campaign as a triumph for equality. Sexual frustration can be a major problem for the disabled, and in some cases the last solution is to visit a prostitute. Politicians can debate whether prostitution in general should be allowed, but if it is, why should the disabled be the only ones prevented from having access to it?

Danish law guarantees financial help from the state to ensure the disabled lead as normal a life as possible. They are entitled to reclaim the cost of converting a car, or to claim a subsidy on an expensive hotel room if cheaper ones lack necessary facilities.

Now the regulations are being used to pay for visits to prostitutes after a disabled man - not named for legal reasons - won a legal action forcing officials to pay his expenses for the services of a call girl. Councils across Denmark have been left with no choice but to follow suit.

In Aarhus, the second-largest city, disabled residents have been told that they may visit a brothel or call a male or female prostitute to their home once a month and pass the bill - which can be up to 300 - on to the state.

An advisory booklet produced by the Ministry of Social Affairs aims to inform the disabled of their sexual rights, and encourages their carers to contact providers of erotic services. It could be of great importance that the carer speaks to the prostitute together with the person in their care, to help them express their wishes and make sure there is enough time, it states.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Social Affairs said: We produced the leaflet because many people who care for the disabled were not sure if they were allowed to suggest using prostitutes. But that is not just what the brochure is about.

 

7th September

    Pleasure in Condoms

From The Times
See also www.the-pleasure-project.org


Anne Philpott's mission is to make safe sex — all that latex, fumbling and negotiation — appeal to young people as sexy and desirable. If that were not difficult enough, Philpott wants to recruit Britain’s porn-film producers to popularise her message. But at least her brainchild, the Pleasure Project, has won some measure of recognition: it has been nominated for a prize by the orgasm industry’s own awards ceremony, the Erotic Awards.

Enough of us have heard the safe-sex message — and then ignored it — to show that there must be something fundamentally wrong with our education campaigns. Sexually transmitted infections have jumped by more than 57 per cent in the past decade. More than 700,000 cases were diagnosed in 1993. For chlamydia and syphilis, the rate of increase is steeper still. In the North West, chlamydia infections have leapt by 262 per cent in the past decade.

One response, by the high street chain Boots, is to offer free chlamydia screening for 16 to 24-year-olds in its London pharmacies. The Public Health Minister, Caroline Flint, last week welcomed this new “accessible” screening for youngsters who lead “such busy lives”. Boots says that it will be rolled out nationally if successful. But one thing that isn’t getting rolled out nationally is condoms, especially where youth, fun and frolics are involved. A poll of 10,000 Britons holidaying in Ibiza, Magaluf and Ayia Napa found that 79 per cent of people on holiday with their friends were unfaithful to a partner left at home. Yet 61 per cent of them still chose not to use a condom, according to research by Mates, a condom manufacturer.

Philpott believes that the best way to change that is to reinvent condoms as an erotic adjunct to sex. The Pleasure Project was born out of a sense of frustration that the world of sexual health does not look at desire or pleasure when promoting safe-sex messages. It just looks at warning people about death and disease. When people sell toothpaste, they don’t do it by showing pictures of the hideous decay and diseases you can get if you don’t brush. They concentrate on showing people enjoying their healthy, bright, sexy teeth.

Part of her work thus involves trying to convince people worldwide that condoms can be used as an enticing part of foreplay. But in Britain, Philpott has a special target: the blue-movie makers. Because the industry exists on the fringes of acceptability, it has ironically escaped the type of public protests that break out when films or soaps portray heroic characters chain-smoking or drink-driving. There’s no angry porn-viewers’ pressure group lobbying producers to stop glamorising high-risk sex by filming the stars riding bareback. So Philpott, who has a masters in public health and has worked in global HIV prevention since the early 1990s, is trying to reform the industry from the inside, along with a group of Project volunteers.

She has been working as a consultant on erotic films, trying to help the producers to incorporate condoms in matter-of-fact ways into their storylines. It is very rare for porn stars to use barrier methods, and the ones that I worked with were nervous about it. They don’t seem to worry about having sex in front of 30 people in a studio, but they were worried about putting the condom on wrongly or losing their erection. In the end, though, they were really keen to help to put the message across.”

The stars might be open to persuasion, but Philpott faces another obstacle. The film directors say it is very difficult to feature safe sex because the distributors believe it won’t sell. But I think it is a really effective way to sell the concept because young viewers would be getting turned on by the films while watching good practice, so it would be a great way of getting it into their heads. It would almost be subliminal advertising.

Philpott describes her nomination for the Erotic Awards’ Campaigner of the Year as a “real boost” for her plans, which include introducing to the industry a system of safe-sex audits: It would be a kind of pleasure kitemark so that we can declare people ‘pleasure-proficient’ in incorporating condoms into erotic films, books and other materials. Far-fetched? Perhaps not. She has already won the co-operation of a leading British blue-movie director, albeit a rather unconventional one.

Anna Span aims to make women-friendly movies with plots, dialogue and eye contact, along with the usual porno palette of postures’n’pumping. I agree with the need to put out the safe-sex message, and I always tell my actors that they are welcome to use condoms if they want, I try to get a different, female- friendly angle to sex. People in my films clearly enjoy the sex. It’s not misogynistic, there are always plots and a build-up to the action, so that the characters have three dimensions and women viewers can get an idea of what the man’s personality is like. I like people to come away from watching my stuff without feeling that they have added to the world’s demise.

Span agrees that safe-sex movies can be hard to sell and her answer is a good old British compromise: People in the industry say that you can’t sell a tape with lots of condoms in it, and I have never done a 100 per cent condom movie. I strike a balance. Condoms can have an erotic quality in themselves. They send a scene in a different direction. You can show it as a way of young couples being nice and respectful to each other while having fun. I may have a woman putting a condom on to a man with her mouth. That’s a very descriptively erotic thing, showing that she has a sexy skill. Or it may be part of a whole doctor-nurse thing, where there’s lots of medical stuff about .

Span says that she is beginning to prove that safe-sex sells. After a lot of lobbying, I got Ann Summers to start selling my videos in January. Since then they have shifted tens of thousands of them.

 

2nd August

    A Shared High Tech Buzz

From The Register

Right, let's get down to business - you've warmed yourself up with the vibrating knickers, plugged the iPod into the Muff Dock and slipped into the backless thong, but there's still something standing between you and an earth-shattering climax...

Ah yes, your boyfriend is at a data networking conference in Birmingham. But while this would previously have been an insurmountable barrier to sexual intimacy, distance can no longer keep the tech-savvy rumpy-pumpyists from enjoying a private moment together.

Indeed, while less connected couples would have to make do with a bit of solo flying, those with a broadband connection and 79.95 to spare can now avail themselves of the Highjoy Internet Enabled Rabbit, 10.5 inches of non-toxic vinyl rubber net joy which "invites couples to join the online sexual revolution".

Yup, praise be once again to the internet. Here are some of the bangs you get for your bucks:

With your purchase you receive a free membership to HighJoy, the website that enables you to watch and control a partners sex toys from any PC, anywhere in the world!

The revolutionary and vibratory Rabbit is available from sextoys.co.uk (motto: "One site fits all"). As the firm's Monique Carty told UK tabloid the Sun: It brings the most-acclaimed vibrator, the rabbit into the 21st century with a bang.

 

7th July

    Failing Contraception from ASDA

ASDA should at least organise an information board that indicates that a nutter is on duty and provide properly researched information about the nearest alternative source that is open for business and has the required stock. Preferably they should employ pharmacists that don't enforce their morality on others.

From the BBC

A couple whose contraception failed are expecting their first child after an ASDA pharmacist refused to sell them the morning-after pill. Sarah Sutton and her partner Andy, from Pontprennau in Cardiff, went to buy emergency contraception from their local Asda store in February.

But the on-duty pharmacist refused to sell it because of her "high morals".

The couple are said to be delighted to be expecting a baby but are angry about the way they were treated. Mrs Sutton told the BBC Wales' X-Ray programme how she was stunned to discover that individual pharmacists had the right not to dispense medicines because of personal convictions or moral beliefs.

The couple were forced to seek help after their contraception failed. However, when they went to the Asda pharmacy just before closing time to buy emergency contraception, they were told by an assistant that the on-duty pharmacist would not sell it to her.

Under the Royal Pharmaceutical Society's Code of Ethics and Standards which all pharmacists are expected to follow, a pharmacist is allowed to refuse to sell or dispense drugs because of their religious beliefs or personal convictions.

The pharmacists' Code of Ethics says that if a pharmacist does refuse to provide a service, they must not condemn or criticise a patient and they must advise a patient of alternative sources for the service. It also states that requests for emergency contraception must be handled sensitively with due regard to the patient's right to privacy.

But Mrs Sutton said that she was not offered any privacy.

She said that the pharmacist did sort of look in my direction and mumble across to me that she had high morals and that's why she wouldn't sell me the pill. I took that as an implication that I didn't have high morals. It was really rude."

She was told that she could try to obtain the pill at other pharmacies. She took emergency contraception the following morning but it failed and the couple are now planning the birth of their child in November.

Asda has apologised to Mrs Sutton and has acknowledged they could have handled her request better. The firm said the pharmacist did follow the Royal Pharmaceutical Society's Code of Ethics but added it was not done in a way the company entirely happy with.

A spokesman said private consultation areas are being established in all their stores, with work being completed by the end of the year.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has said they will investigate any complaint Mrs Sutton may make.

 

2nd May

    Sizing Up Your Sex Life

From the MSNBC

My clitoris seems too big/small. Is it?
In a study of 200 women, the average total length of the clitoris was about 16 millimeters, about half an inch. The transverse diameter was 3.4 mm. No wonder we men have a hard time finding it.

Do I make enough semen?
What is it with guys and semen? We want more, more, more. Aargh! (Imagine man flexing here). But ask a woman sometime. She’d be just as happy to minimize the mess. According to the World Health Organization, a man is just fine if he makes something over 2 ml of semen (slightly less than one-tenth of an ounce). A normal range is somewhere between 2 ml and 3 ml, a teaspoon or so.

Are my testicles too small?
Do bigger balls make you more of a man? Sort of. Size is related to sperm production and testosterone, but it’s not like most guys are walking around with a couple of Titleists down there. Ouch! One study comparing Japanese and American men showed that Japanese testicles had a normal range of volume greater than 14 milliliters (slightly less than half an ounce), while Americans had a slightly higher range, greater than 17 ml (slightly more than half an ounce). Other studies from around the world show about the same results. You may be interested to know that doctors measure this size with a device called an orchiometer. How about that?

How long should I last?
One interesting study showed that men think they ought to last forever, but women are just as happy to have them last just long enough. Other research suggests the typical “ejaculatory latency” time ranges from over 7 minutes to around 10 minutes. But remember, guys, this has a lot to do with style. You could make it last longer if you just weren’t in such a hurry.

The lesson from all this? There aren’t many spectacular physical specimens or sexual performers out there. The norms, at least as far as research has been able to figure them out, are, well, pretty normal. And even if you fall outside the norm, so what? As long as it works, you’re fine. When Lincoln was asked how long legs should be, he said, “long enough to reach the ground.”

 

28th April

    Disabled by a Uncaring Attitude from the State

From the BBC

Society is failing to address the sexual and emotional needs of disabled people, a survey of readers of a leading disability magazine suggests. More than 1,000 returned questionnaires asking them to be honest about their sex lives to Disability Now magazine. Only half of those who responded said they had had sex in the past year.

Disability Now is calling on politicians, charities, the media and health and social workers to take the issue more seriously. And it says the results demonstrate that society is refusing to address the sexual and emotional needs of disabled people. Three-quarters of those who completed questionnaires thought the law should be changed to legalise prostitution. The survey indicates disabled men are more than twice as likely to use the services of a sex worker than the general male population. And 63% said they would use legalised sexual services if they were available.

Levels of sexual self esteem were shown to be very low, and most people felt that the government should fund specialist counselling services. Disabled actress Julie Fernandez, who helped to launch the survey, says the media should be showing a more rounded picture of the daily lives of disabled people: Until we have more disabled news presenters, broadcasters and musicians telling the stories from our point of view, and until able bodied people experience us as colleagues, they will not know us as normal people.

The report's author, disabled psychologist Simon Parritt, thinks the problem is made far worse by a collective refusal to acknowledge its existence: Many disabled people's lives are less happy, and emotionally and sexually isolated, because we have ignored the issue. But just because there are so few activists fighting for change in this area, it does not excuse those in government or charities failing to take a lead.

Disability Now's acting editor, Sarah Hobson, says the publication will be putting a range of recommendations to government and the voluntary sector to address the matter.

Less than half of those surveyed said that they had received any form of sex education - and many say professionals are indifferent to their needs. Social workers, GPs, consultants and specialists seem to be completely uninterested in disabled people's sexual needs, writes another respondent. The situation in the UK contrasts with the Netherlands where disabled people can avail themselves of a nationwide service run by the Foundation for Alternative Relation Mediation. The foundation employs a small team of female and male sex workers. Although most people pay the full price for the service, some Dutch local authorities make a contribution towards the cost.

 

30th March

  Amateur Technology

From Kerala Next

As Paris Hilton can testify, it’s a brand new mega pixel world we’re living in now and erotic imagery has gone democratic once again. There were an estimated 53 million digital cameras sold in 2004 and I’d be willing to wager that at least 52.5 million of them have been used to take a nude photograph of somebody.

Now, there is no need to take that film of you in your man-thong to some guy sitting in a photo shop. Liberated by the instantaneous, self-contained production of photographs, people are feeling free to become their own porn producers and, increasingly, to share that output with others via the Internet.

An exhibitionist species Just how popular this trend is and what it means is hard to gauge, but it has been growing for “at least a decade,” says Pepper Schwartz, a sociologist and sexologist at the University of Washington in Seattle.

It really started with the birth of the portable video camera, when couples began making porn tapes at home. But most of them had to be their own audience because showing it to anybody else gave away their identities. Not so with digital imaging.

What’s more, people are rejecting the idea that porn and erotica can only come from the pros.

The girl-next-door factor This is certainly the case for "Trent," a contributor to and frequent visitor of Voyeurweb.com, a site for those who want to show off and those who like to look at them doing it. He has come to “enjoy viewing those erotic photos better than watching professional pornography” because of what he calls “the girl-next-door factor.”

Such amateur images prove that people of all makes and models think they can be just as sexy and arousing as Jenna Jameson. Our sex life has been enriched because of my contributing; taking photos is very much like foreplay for us , Michelle, a frequent contributor, told the Voyeurweb owner.

And for the viewer there is something erotically compelling in the thought that your neighbor is taking a break from vacuuming to make porn in her living room.

Blogs are also coming out with homemade porn. Bloggers all over the world are uploading pictures of themselves in various states of undress or engaged in sex acts. Still selling sex But it’s hard to come away from visiting the realm of everyman porn without getting the sense that the new free exhibitionism is following the same old trajectory after all, and that it could have the same fallout.  For example, a few bloggers are turning pro. “Hotwife Allie,” who displays pictures of herself engaged in sex as well as portraits sells her own line of “Hotwife” apparel.

Voyeurweb has developed the neat trick of exploiting the urge to display ourselves for profit. While the site gets its content for free, it charges a fee to see the more explicit images.

And Trent sees a potential pitfall in his own viewing habits. On one hand, it keeps me wanting to be active with my wife, he says, but on the other, influenced by the photo competitions Voyeurweb operates, it also makes me unfairly want to hold her to a higher standard.   And so we beget Jenna Jameson all over again.

 

11th March

    Why Pay?

Sebastian Horsley - a man who's slept with more than 1,000 prostitutes - gives a  candid account of his experience of paying for sex.

From The Observer

I remember the first time I had sex - I still have the receipt. The girl was alive, as far as I could tell, she was warm and she was better than nothing. She cost me 20. I was 16 then and I'm 41 now. I have spent 25 years throwing my money and heart at tarts. I have slept with every nationality in every position in every country. From high-class call girls at 1,000 a pop to the meat-rack girls of Soho at 15, I have probably slept with more than 1,000 prostitutes, at a cost of 100,000.

I am a connoisseur of prostitution: I can take its bouquet, taste it, roll it around my mouth, give you the vintage. I have used brothels, saunas, private homes from the internet and ordered girls to my flat prompt as pizza. While we are on the subject, I have also run a brothel. And I have been a male escort. I wish I was more ashamed. But I'm not. I love prostitutes and everything about them. And I care about them so much I don't want them to be made legal.

In English brothels you shuffle into a seedy room so dim you can only meet the girl by Braille. But in New York last year I sat on a four-poster bed while 10 girls paraded in front of me one by one, like bowls of sushi on a carousel. 'Hi,' they would say, 'I'm Tiffany', 'I'm Harmony', 'I'm Michelle', and I would rise and kiss them. It was so touching, so sweet, so kind. There should always, no matter what, be politeness. It is the way the outside world should work, selfishly but honestly.

The great thing about sex with whores is the excitement and variety. If you say you're enjoying sex with the same person after a couple of years you're either a liar or on something. Of all the sexual perversions, monogamy is the most unnatural. Most of our affairs run the usual course. Fever. Boredom. Trapped. This explains much of the friction in our lives - love being the delusion that one woman differs from another. But with brothels there is always the exhilaration of not knowing what you're going to get.

The problem with normal sex is that it leads to kissing and pretty soon you've got to talk to them. Once you know someone well the last thing you want to do is screw them. I like to give, never to receive; to have the power of the host, not the obligation of the guest. I can stop writing this and within two minutes I can be chained, in the arms of a whore. I know I am going to score and I know they don't really want me. And within 10 minutes I am back writing. What I hate are meaningless and heartless one-night stands where you tell all sorts of lies to get into bed with a woman you don't care for.

The worst things in life are free. Value seems to need a price tag. How can we respect a woman who doesn't value herself? When I was young I used to think it wasn't who you wanted to have sex with that was important, but who you were comfortable with socially and spiritually. Now I know that's rubbish. It's who you want to have sex with that's important. In the past I have deceived the women I have been with. You lie to two people in your life; your partner and the police. Everyone else gets the truth.

Part of me used to enjoy the deception. There was something about the poverty of desire with one's girlfriend. Sex without betrayal I found meaningless. Without cruelty there was no banquet. Having a secret life is exhilarating. I also have problems with unpaid-for sex. I am repulsed by the animality of the body, by its dirt and decay. The horror for me is the fact that the sublime, the beautiful and the divine are inextricable from basic animal functions. For some reason money mitigates this. Because it is anonymous.

What I hate with women generally is the intimacy, the invasion of my innermost space, the slow strangulation of my art. The writer chained for life to the routine of a wage slave and the ritual of copulation. When I love somebody, I feel sort of trapped. Three years ago I was saved. I found a girl whom I could fall in love with ... and sleep with prostitutes with. She sends me to brothels to sleep with women for her. I buy her girls for her birthday and we go to whorehouses together. I am free forever from the damp, dark prison of eternal love.

A prostitute exists outside the establishment. She is either rejected by it or in opposition to it, or both. It takes courage to cross this line. She deserves our respect, not our punishment. And certainly not our pity or prayers.

Of course, the general feeling in this country is that the man is somehow exploiting the woman, but I don't believe this. In fact, the prostitute and the client, like the addict and the dealer, is the most successfully exploitative relationship of all. And the most pure. It is free of ulterior motives. There is no squalid power game. The man is not taking and the woman is not giving. The whore fuck is the purest fuck of all.

Why does a sleazy bastard like me like whores so much? Why pay for it? The problem is that the modern woman is a prostitute who doesn't deliver the goods. Teasers are never pleasers; they greedily accept presents to seal a contract and then break it. At least the whore pays the flesh that's haggled for. The big difference between sex for money and sex for free is that sex for money usually costs a lot less.

But it is more than this. What I want is the sensation of sex without the boredom of its conveyance. Brothels make possible contacts of astounding physical intimacy without the intervention of personality. I love the artificial paradise; the anonymity; using money, the most impersonal instrument of intimacy to buy the most personal act of intimacy. Lust over love, sensation over security, and to fall into a woman's arms without falling into her hands.

Having an instinctive sympathy for those condemned by conventional society, I wanted to cross the line myself. To pay for sex is to strip away the veneer of artifice and civilisation and connect with the true animal nature of man. Some men proudly proclaim that they have never paid for it. Are they saying that money is more sacred than sex?

But one of the main reasons I enjoy prostitutes is because I enjoy breaking the law - another reason I don't want brothels made legal. There is a charm about the forbidden that makes it desirable. When I have dinner every evening in Soho I always think: isn't scampi delicious - what a pity it isn't illegal. I'm sure I am not alone in this. Even Adam himself did not want the apple for the apple's sake; he wanted it only because it was forbidden.

As for the girls, the argument is that making it legal will somehow make it safer, but Soho has one of the lowest crime rates in the country. Anyway, crime and risk are part of the texture of life. Indeed, Freud tells us: 'Life loses interest when the highest stake in the game of living, life itself, may not be risked.' Risk is what separates the good part of life from the tedium.

I decided to ask my Claudia, my favourite prostitute. I first spotted her in the street in Knightsbridge 10 years ago and was so taken by her haunted beauty that I decided to follow her. There was an air of great quality about Claudia. The faces of English girls look as if there is not enough materials to go round. They have thin lips and papery eyelids, box jawbones, prominent Adam's apples and withered hearts. Claudia looks Mediterranean - her lips are full and curly, her nostrils flared, her eyes black and as big as saucers.

She walked and I stalked all the way to Soho and down Brewer Street. No. No way. She couldn't be! She turned, and walked into a brothel. I couldn't believe it. I could fuck Raquel Welch for 25.

When I ask if she wants prostitution legalised, she reacts violently: 'No way! I tried to take a regular job a few months ago. After tax and national insurance I was left with practically nothing. So I came back here. On a good day here I can take 500. I don't have a pimp, so after paying the overheads and the maid I've got more than enough.' There you are. Income tax has made more liars out of the British people than prostitution.

I know a little bit about the business side. Some years ago I became a madam and a male escort. I turned one of the rooms in my flat in Shepherd Market into a knocking shop and joined an escort agency. I went into prostitution looking for love, not money. That said, I always took cash. The women wanted company, someone willing to please at the midnight hour, and straight sex. It was nerve-wracking wondering if I was going to be able to get it up or get on, but at least I had a valid reason for liking my lovers - they paid me. I didn't care if someone called me a whore and a pimp.

So you see, I have always been a prostitute by sympathy. As for the rest of society, prostitution is the mirror of man, and man has never been in danger of becoming bogged down in beauty. So why don't we leave it alone? Or learn to love it, like me? Sex is one of the most wholesome, spiritual and natural things money can buy. And like all games, it becomes more interesting when played for money. And even more so when it is illegal.

Hookers and drunks instinctively understand that common sense is the enemy of romance. Will the bureaucrats and politicians please leave us some unreality. I know what you are thinking. That it's all very well for people like me to idealise whores and thieves; to think that the street is somehow noble and picturesque; I have never had to live there. But so what? One day I will. Until such time, I have to pay for it. How else would someone young, rich and handsome get sex in this city? Yes, yes, I know. Prostitution is obscene, debasing and disgraceful. The point is, so am I.

 

10th March

    Diabetes Can Affect Sexual Health

From Red Nova

Q.: What in the disease of Diabetes make your sex life change and what is lacking in your system that makes you unable to perform sexually like you use to. Thanks. Just curious.

A.: You are asking a question which is very broad and, I think, will correspondingly be of interest to a broad range of people. It is not clear whether you are asking about yourself as opposed to another person or what gender they are.

It is also not clear whether you are asking about a person with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. I will try to provide some broad principles and you and others may write back to me with more specific questions.

There are many levels on which having diabetes can affect one's sex life.

The disease can affect the individual's perception of themselves or how they are perceived by other people. Acutely, blood sugar control can affect the individual's perception of their safety, their interest in sex and their ability to perform. Over the long term, complications of diabetes can affect tissues and organs involved in sexual performance and interactions.

The most obvious of these is that erectile function in men depends on the proper function of nerves and blood vessels in order to achieve an erection. However, sexual relations depend on a complicated sequence of events in the nervous system and the brain in both men and women and those are subject to damage by effects of diabetes to cause nerve damage.

The level of blood sugar control can affect the regulation of the menstrual cycle and, in that way, affect both a woman's interest in sex or libido and also fertility. In fact, in those women who may become pregnant, it is important to know that blood sugar control early after conception can make a huge difference in the likelihood of malformations in the baby. It is therefore important to plan for conception or birth control, in order to minimize the worry about having an affected child.

Type 1 diabetes rarely can be associated with disorders in the ovaries in women or testes in men. More commonly, there can be a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome in women who either have or are at risk for type 2 diabetes, which can affect both female hormone production, fertility, and interest in sex.

In summary, there are multiple ways in which diabetes can interact with interest in sex or sexual performance whether we are talking about women or men, of whatever age and type of diabetes.

I'm not sure I've answered your specific question, but please feel free to write back with more details.

Today's answer is from Robert M. Cohen, M.D., Associate Professor, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati.

NetWellness, a collaboration of the University of Cincinnati, Ohio State University and Case Western Reserve University, is a consumer health information Web site. You can ask your questions through the site, www.netwellness.org.

 

7th March

    The Dangers of Moralising & Abstinence

An interesting site that is set up primarily to argue that a proscriptive attitude to sex is likely to cause more harm than good. The example of course, is the disproportionate prevalence of child related crime amongst the clergy. Surely those setting out on the clerical path at least start out with better than average intentions yet many get screwed up by the religious restrictions on a normal sex life.

Perhaps this shows that for the good of the entire community, we should allow as much sexual entertainment as possible to ensure that maximum number of people can achieve the sexual release which is so fundamental to life.

From www.Deception.com.au

Established by the Eros Association in 2004. This site aims to help its members defend their business against constant attacks by Christian groups. The site details the hundreds of church clergy who have been perpetrators of sex crime

However, when you look at all the child sex cases reported in the media, it’s striking to note that not one single offender comes from the adult sex industry!

A lot has changed since Eros published ‘Moral Hypocrisy’ in 2000, a booklet detailing the child sex offences of more than 450 church clergy in Australian and overseas.

Churches are finally now starting to apologise to victims, providing compensation and removing child sex offenders from their religious posts when complaints are made, instead of just moving them to other parishes, as they did in the past. The Anglican Church has even decided to adopt a national register of church workers accused, but never charged, with sex offences.

It’s probably also worth mentioning that the Catholic Church in the US recently did their own internal audit into child sex crimes committed by their priests, finding more than 4,400 priests (that’s 4 per cent of all US priests) were involved in crimes against more than 11,000 victims! Perhaps Australian churches need to undertake similar audits so the real number of offences can finally be quantified and, hopefully, dealt with appropriately.

 

24th February

    Unbelievable

From Yahoo

A New Jersey man has filed a false advertising lawsuit against a maker of herbal penis enlargement pills, alleging the medicine does not fulfill its promises, the plaintiff's lawyer says.

Two similar cases, filed last year in Colorado and Ohio, accuse manufacturers of herbal dietary supplements, VigRx and Enzyte, of falsely claiming to be able to add substantial length and girth to a man's penis.

All three suits seek class action status and claim to represent more than 1 million total plaintiffs.

In the latest case, filed on January 21 in New Jersey state court, plaintiff Michael Coluzzi claimed he paid $59.95 (32 pounds) for a 30-day supply of Alzare pills but "experienced no increase in penis size," and then was unable to collect a promised refund from manufacturer Alzare LLC of Boca Raton, Florida.

Coluzzi's attorney, Stephen DeNittis, said many men had been taken in by dubious claims that the product would add up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) to their penises by "very, very convincing" advertising, such as infomercials featuring doctors and porn stars. Males, for whatever reason, may be susceptible because of what they feel they lack. It was so believable I confirmed with an expert (that the claims were false) before I filed the lawsuit. They said they had done medical studies proving that it works.

The ads for Alzare tablets, comprised of ginseng, yohimbe bark, L-arginine and other ingredients, guaranteed results within a week and claimed a 95 percent success rate in the more than 100,000 men who have used it, the suit said.

But last year, the Center for Science in the Public Interest filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission saying the maker of Enzyte had not backed up its claims with science.

Although thousands of complaints have been registered with local government agencies and the Better Business Bureau, few lawsuits have been filed because the companies appear to be "judgment proof," DeNittis said. They don't have enough assets for plaintiffs to recover, and some of the defendants are fly-by-night -- they close up shop after they get sued, he said.

All three lawsuits claim that plaintiffs were unable to contact the companies for guaranteed refunds after spending hundreds of dollars for the penis enhancers.

 

17th February

    Having a Buzz

From The Daily Aztec

With the debut of HBO's popular series Sex and The City , the topic of female masturbation has begun to lose the sting of its taboo. The episode detailing Charlotte's discovery of the elusive Rabbit vibrator helped millions of women around the country feel comfortable with the idea of self-gratification. Yet many women today still feel uncomfortable when admitting to their sexual desires. Over the years, technology has certainly helped in the matter - as shopping online now allows the anonymity of certain products and their users. However, most women would still rather be caught dead than found shopping in a porn store. For these women, Tempo has provided a list of helpful toys guaranteed to make for some unforgettable playtime

The Fluttering Monarch

As its name implies, this new toy is guaranteed to send your sex drive soaring. Marketed as a scintillating sex toy that provides "powerful reverberating stimulation," The Fluttering Monarch is a hands-free device designed specifically for a woman's clitoris. A spin on the classic vibrator, this little beauty comes complete with adjustable waist and thigh straps, which allow the user to keep her hands on more important things. The butterfly is made completely of silicone, which allows for an exciting, yet gentle sensation. Promising to send the user a flood of silicone waves, The Fluttering Monarch even comes with a powerful teaser tail which enhances the pleasure in a girl's hard-to-reach spots.

The Rabbit

Ever since its debut on "Sex & The City," The Rabbit has become the No. 1-selling sex toy in the country. This infamous bunny is covered in a soft rubber that proves to be both fun and delicate. In the center of the body are tiny pleasure pearls that enhance the experience. With The Rabbit, there are three different types of functions. Function one gives external stimulus while the body rotates and the pleasure pearls swirl. Function two creates slow, relaxed vibration while the body pivots right to left, front to back. Function three give pulses in short, quick motions as the body swings back and forth.

The Video Voyeur

In recent years, many celebrities have become incidental stars of their very own porn. And though many couples already enjoy videotaping their sexual encounters, they don't often get the opportunity to explore the inner workings of sex. That is where The Video Voyeur comes in. It is an ordinary plastic dildo and bullet vibrator; however, the memorable feature of this toy is the camera inside the dildo. The device attaches to any television set and displays whatever sight the camera at the tip of the dildo may see. Like all sex toys, the manufacturer doesn't explain how the device is used. The only indication of instruction found on the box explains that the "close-up lighted micro camera is insertable for internal viewing action."

Whether you are an aspiring filmmaker with camera experience or an amateur who simply wants to see things from a different perspective, this $100 purchase will surely launch into a new realm of cinema verity.

I Rub My Ducky

This vibrating duck can be kept in the bathtub and no one will know what its true purpose is, which, according to a salesperson at Hustler, is its greatest selling point. The toy is designed to make bath time more fun and can be used in any way you want. Whether you will be massaging your back or getting a little bit more creative, this is the "toy that plays with you." The novelty is available in a variety of styles, including bondage, black, devil style and even travel size.

 

16th February

    Sex in a Can for Women

From This Is London

Whether your feet smell or the cat has fleas, there's usually an aerosol to solve every health dilemma.

The arousal aerosol contains testosterone, which is absorbed in the skin over 24 hours. It was originally designed for post-menopausal women with low levels of the male sex hormone. But it can also work for young women with low libidos, scientists said yesterday. They tested 261 women over four months. Most noted more satisfying experiences at the end of the experiment.

Traditionally, a young woman's lack of interest in sex has been put down to relationship issues and depression. But in many cases it is now recognised that the level of male hormones is to blame. However, The British Society for Sexual Medicine warned that the spray 'should not be seen as a panacea' for low sex drives. If a woman takes it when her low libido is not due to low testosterone, it could cause even more problems for her relationship, a spokesman said. Raising testosterone levels too high could cause beard growth, hair loss, greasy skin and acne, he added.

Prof Susan Davis, who led the research at Monash University, Australia, said: The spray is not just about sex. It's about having a satisfying home and social life, and having happier relationships and communities all round.

The spray, developed by Australianbased Acrux, will not be available for several years while more tests are done.

 

9th January

    Female Enjoyment of Porn

From The Herald by Joanna McWhirter of  Me-licious boutique in Glasgow

I had no experience of the erotic trade until just over a year ago when I went to Erotica in London and, as documented in The Herald, decided to leave my former profession of teaching to set up a boutique in the centre of Glasgow in response to what I identified (rightly it now seems) as a huge shift in attitudes towards sex and sexuality across Britain.

This does not mean that society is becoming more promiscuous. We are all sexual beings with the right to enjoy sex as adults, as we do the pleasure of a good bottle of wine. The emphasis is on consenting adults and where possible within a loving relationship

First, may I point out that I do not sell pornography, either magazines or films, and have no connections to any larger fish within the sex industry. Therefore, I have no commercial interest in taking any stance. But I am against a ban. In fact, I find it disturbing that anyone would think of such a thing. It seems to me that a group of people who would work themselves up into any state of over-zealousness on any cause must have some kind of agenda of emotion. We either have a modern-day Mary Whitehouse here who watches over a lot of material to be indignant about it or someone who has had a genuinely bad experience or knows someone close who has.

The problem is you cannot hold the rest of the adult population to ransom and make them collectively responsible for the minority of bad eggs. Not all men are rapists or even potential rapists or wife beaters or child abusers. In fact, the vast majority are not. You never hear of the hordes of unsung heroes in Scotland – it just isn't newsworthy is it? They are all around us. Our sons, our dads, our brothers, our neighbours, colleagues and friends. And they also like to watch a bit of porn. Why? Because they are turned on visually and have little imagination to make things up. (Well you can't be too kind to them.)

Not just men enjoy porn. Women enjoy it too. Couples enjoy it as a way of getting into the mood. But women are conditioned to say they do not like it and would never admit to it, even to friends. You would be hard pushed to find a man admitting to it either. People lie about sex, especially in surveys. It is possibly the most complex area of society.

In Texas, the dildo is outlawed but you can buy guns. You are not allowed to show an image of an erect penis in this country except in R18s which have British film classification and you can choose to watch or not to watch those. However, we can see all sorts of mindless violence on television and in films, obscene amounts of murder and torture scenes. I choose to switch off those because I don't like the idea of people being hurt.

There must be a distinction drawn between studio-shot, high-budget porn in which the performers take pride and extreme hardcore. The ladies and men who choose to act in mainstream porn are not being exploited. Has anyone asked them what they think? I think if you asked them they would think you were insulting their intelligence. It is patronising to look on them as poor wee souls with no brains.

I wonder if Scottish Women Against Pornography would support the type of films made, for example, by ex-porn star Candida Royalle, which are aimed at women. Would they be interested in supporting erotic films if they had better storylines, better acting and showed more love and affection? If there were films made with virtual sex rather than real people having sex with each other? Or how about the magazines aimed at women, which have pictures of nude handsome models in them? What about educational dvds aimed at helping couples, endorsed by sex therapists but still R18 classified?

Ban things by all means. Ban fox-hunting, as farmers have airguns for pest controls. Ban drink-driving as it kills. But the minute you ban something that has secret public appeal, such as cannabis, you are asking for trouble.

Continue to regulate it and police it by all means, offer alternatives – but banning pornography is way over the top. To me, repression creates perverts. Proactive instead of reactive would be my approach.  



 



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