Category Archives: Article

Are Robots The Future Of Sex?

So these days with all this new fangled gadgetry and computers you wear like glasses it’s hard not to feel like we’re getting closer and closer to THE FUTURE! It looks more and more like robots are going to be a part of our lives in the coming decades and like all new technologies the first thing that they’re going to be widely utilized for is…well probably war… but the second thing will be sex. I’m serious, I genuinely think that having sex with robots will become a very mainstream practice before I die. And why not? It will be a safe and satisfying way to masturbate that will open up avenues of fantasy and role-play that require a very open, comunicative and willing “meat partner” to accomplish these days. And Besides, as the video says, tons of us already do have sex with robots, we just don’t think about it that way. That vibrator in your drawer and that flesh light that you “don’t have,” are little, rudimentary robots.

If we’re cool with having sex with disembodied robot penises and vaginas whats wrong with adding on the rest of the body? I think we can all agree that sex is much more than penis and vagina. Plus robots will make certain impossible fantasies possible. Did you know that there are some people who’s biggest fantasy is to have sex with a mythical creature like a goblin or a centaur. With robotic sexual partners they can have a “realistic” experience with the creature of their dreams, instead of having to imagine it during sex with their mundane, human partner.

I’m being quite tongue in cheek here but I seriously believe that robots could change the game for human sexuality and that robotic sexuality will have far reaching effects. Obviously some people will become obsessed with robot sex, believing that they have fallen in love with their inanimate partners and forgoing all human sexual contact, that is just going to happen no matter what. And some people (cough, religious fundamentalists) are going to condemn it as heresy and blasphemy, but some good will come from it too, I believe.

People with disabilities need sexual fulfilment too, and the sad reality is that in this day and age it is not easy for everyone with disabilities to find sexual partners. With prostitution illegal in most parts of the world and stigma around disability so great, this is, in my opinion, one of the tragedies of sexuality of our time. It’s not hard to see how robots could help in this regard. Sex workers may not be pleased, though. Robots could put a large proportion of sex workers out of business. I’m not suggesting that people will prefer robots to the real thing 100% of the time, but eventually they will become cheaper and safer than their organic counterparts.

My final point is controversial, or at least it would be if this were a conversation being had in our society today. I believe that it is possible that robots may be useful for helping people with pedophilia, who do not want to abuse children, live out their fantasies much like the centaur fetishists mentioned above. I’m sure this issue will come up if there is ever a day in which we have functional sex robots, and I’m sure the issue will be a hot one. I am not a child assault and torture apologist but there is some research to claim that pedophilia should be viewed as a sexual orientation like heterosexuality or homosexuality. If this is the case then I believe that robots may be a compassionate way of acknowledging that, without condoning real harm. I hope that in the future, if I become a more prominent writer someone doesn’t dig this up and crucify me for it. I know that this is and will continue to be a controversial idea but at this point in time, in 2013, it looks like it could be a fruitful option. Anyway, thats my rant about robots. I apologize for it’s tangential nature, it was very much an unfiltered stream of consciousness, but it’s a concept that I see endless possibility in. Until next time True Believer.

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The Science Of Porn Addiction

This video explains how watching pornography can stimulate the release of dopamine, the chemical most closely associated with addictions and habit forming behaviour. There is some controversy over weather addiction is the proper term when not referring to a substance addiction but the video makes a pretty strong argument that the physiological effects of porn addiction are similar to that of any other addiction.

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6 Ways In Which The Clitoris And The Penis Are Pretty Much The Same Thing

The penis and the clitoris are two sides to the same coin. When in the womb, biology flips that coin and we usually grow male physical characteristics or female physical characteristics. Before puberty the only one of these physical differences that makes itself known is the genitals. But the genitals aren’t as different as they may appear. The penis and the clitoris are formed out of the same material in the womb and perform much of the same functions outside of the womb. The major differences between the two are the fact that the penis is bigger and lives mostly outside the body, where as the much smaller clitoris extends most of it’s shaft within the body. The penis also contains the opening of the urethra from which urine is expelled.

The evidence of the similarities between the two goes much further than that however:

1. The clitoris and the penis are the primary erogenous zones for women and men respectively, that is, they are the sources of the most erotic focus and sensation. The clitoris is the only organ in the human body with the sole function of pleasure.

2. Women and men are both born with foreskin. The clitoral hood, or the skin that rests over the clitoris is made from the same stuff as the oft removed male foreskin.

3. Women get erections. The corpora cavernosa, or the part that fills with blood and causes the penis to enlarge, does the same in the clitoris causing it to swell, usually during sexual arousal, but like men, it can sometimes just happen.

4. Just like men, women get nocturnal erections and sometimes even morning wood. Throughout the night women’s clitorises become erect and are often erect upon first waking (morning hood?).

5. Clitorises also lose their erection after orgasm although it may take a fair bit more time than it would for men.

6.  Some women suffer from a kind priapism, or persistant erection, called clitorism in which the clitoris becomes repeatedly erect causing extreme discomfort and pain, as can happen to men.

Like penises, clitorises (clitori?) come in all shapes and sizes and like penises they are exceptionally sensitive. They don’t really look the same from the outside but as with most things to do with sex/gender, the similarities outweigh the differences.

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Iceland May Ban Porn

The Icelandic government is trying to pass a law that will ban online pornography in the country. They are trying to specifically target porn that is “violent” and “hateful.” This isn’t a particularly surprising move from the country that has already outlawed strip clubs and is ranked number 1 in the Global Gender Gap report, meaning that they have the highest rate of gender equality of any nation in the world. They also have the first openly lesbian head of state in the world, Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir. But banning internet pornography is creating a heated debate about censorship and the slippery slope that banning porn could lead to, not to mention the fact that, logistically, it may be an impossible achievement.

“Web filters, blocked addresses and making it a crime to use Icelandic credit cards to access pay-per-view pornography, are among the plans being devised by internet and legal experts,” writes The Guardian. The only reason why this is even a conversation being had is that Iceland has a population of only 322,000 people. In a country with a bigger population it would be logistically impossible and Iceland may be the same. The debate about censorship that this has sparked has made the likelihood of this actually happening quite low but it also raises an interesting debate about pornography.

In Iceland, the average boy is 11 when he is first exposed to internet porn and the kind of porn he’s seeing isn’t your airbrushed Playboy centerfold either. The kinds of porn available to people of all ages these days is more graphic, sometimes more violent and as men become desensitized to hard core porn they may ‘graduate’ to more and more extreme types of porn to fulfill their erotic tastes. There have been studies on both sides of the debate about wether porn is negatively affecting society but those studies are getting harder and harder to conduct as it becomes nearly impossible to find large enough groups of men who haven’t watched porn.

I don’t believe in censorship but I’m glad that Iceland has opened up the debate around pornography, violence, and what we should deem to be acceptable. I hope that, if nothing else, this news from Iceland will get us to think more critically about what we’re watching, how it portrays violence against women, and wether or not it is helping, hurting, or remaining neutral in terms of gender equality.

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Straight Men Who Watch Porn Are More Likely To Support Gay Marriage

It’s official, porn is the Devil! How else could you explain the results of this latest study? The study states that heterosexual men who watch pornography are more likely to support same-sex marriage. And it’s not just rich, educated, elite porn watchers either. It appears that the most marked shift in attitudes can be found in less educated straight men. So what is it about watching porn that these researchers think is affecting the attitudes of straight guys?

The study believes that exposure to “nontraditional sex situations,” as seen in porn is opening the minds of straight men across America. Basically, watching all the weird and kinky shit that is available on the internet has desensitized straight guys icky-meter. It’s hard to be grossed out by the thought of two men kissing and getting married in a post two-girls-one-cup world (mom, go ahead and don’t google that).

“Pornography adopts an individualistic, nonjudgmental stance on all kinds of nontraditional sexual behaviors and same-sex marriage attitudes are strongly linked to attitudes about same-sex sex,” says Paul Wright, Assistant Professor at Indiana University, “If people think individuals should be able to decide for themselves whether to have same-sex sex, they will also think that individuals should be able to decide for themselves whether to get married to a partner of the same-sex.” I feel like this really highlights why people are opposed to same-sex marriage. People don’t like it because they think it’s gross, which is, in and of itself, gross. It has very little to do with Jesus. When people refer to gay sex as an abomination, what they’re really saying is, “You guys put what, where?! Gross!”

In conclusion, watching porn is a good way to get over your prudish attitudes about what people should and shouldn’t do in the privacy of their own bedroom/Volkswagen. Porn can teach you that people do a lot of weird shit that is none of your business and that, well, it’s none of  your business. So all you anti-same-sex marriage bigots can go home and watch some porn and we’ll talk once you’ve come out of the closet, everyone else, enjoy your weekend.

 

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Are Open Relationships And Ployamorous Relationships The Same Thing?

I was reading this week’s Savage Love (which, if you like The “Oh!” Face, you should definitely be reading every week!) in which Dan tried to untangle a reader’s misconceptions about non-monogamy. In this case it was in the context of cheating and cuckolding but I’m not going to go into that side of it. What I want to talk about is the many faces of non-monogamy and the ways in which they overlap. Non-monogamy in North America has been around since at least the Second World War when the first swingers clubs comprised of fighter pilot who at the time had the highest rates of mortality. They would have swinging parties with all their wives in the hopes that the pilots who survived the war would be more likely to take care of the wives of the deceased, having been intimate with them and hopefully having formed a deeper connection. Non-monogamy went in and out of vogue throughout the 20th century and is experiencing a resurgence of popularity today.

Non-monogamy takes many, many different forms and, one could argue, is unique for each partnership. I won’t go into detail about all of the different faces of non-monogamy because it would be about 300 pages long, but I will talk about the differences between a few of the more well known types of non-monogamy.

Open relationship is a term that is often used to describe non-monogamy, although it can be a bit of a misnomer sometimes. An open relationship is one in which the partners have some degree of freedom to pursue other sexual partners. Some open relationships allow for multiple boyfriends/girlfriends and others only allow for no-strings-attached casual sex or fuck buddies. But in general, both partners of the primary relationship have licence to seek out other sexual, and sometimes emotional, partners.

Then there are polyamorous relationships in which multiple partners, both sexual and emotional, are allowed. It essentially means having more than one boyfriend/girlfriend (or one or more of each!) or having a polyamorous triad (quad, etc.) of three or more people engaged in a single relationship. So why doesn’t all this fall into the category of an open relationship? Well not all poly relationships are open. Some triads are closed with no going out and seeking a fourth or fifth or sixth or… Some poly relationships are open but just because someone is in a polyamorous relationship doesn’t mean they are in an open one and, as I said earlier, just because someone is in an open relationship doesn’t mean that they’re in a poly one. Polyamory means multiple sexual and  emotional partners, multiple boyfriends/girlfriends not just friend’s with benefits.

Then there are what Dan Savage calls Monogamish relationships. These are mostly-monogamous relationships with a little outside action from time to time. These aren’t open relationships…except for when they are. This can include things like being monogamous except sometimes you have threesomes, or being able to have sex outside of the relationship when the other partner is out of town for long periods of time, or if the relationship goes long distance for a period.

As with any kind of relationship, non-monogamous ones require a good amount of work and a better amount of honest communication. Non-monogamy isn’t harder than monogamy if it’s what you truly want but it can be hard if only one person in the relationship really wants non-monogamy and the other one doesn’t. That’s where the whole communication thing comes in. If you’re interested in non-monogamy I would highly recommend reading the book The Ethical Slut, and Sex At Dawn is pretty wonderful too if you want to learn more about the history of non-monogamy, it’s much more common than you might expect.

Below is a ridiculously confusing ven diagram thingy that pretty much lays out all the different types of non-monogamy. It’s a little hard to wrap your head around but if you click on it, it will enlarge to a more readable size:

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Emergency Contraceptive Vending Machines Are Now Legal

Hey, check out my latest post at The Feronia Project about Plan B vending machines on American college campuses:

Emergency Contraceptive Vending Machines Are Now Legal

I blog once a month at the sex education blog of the Southwest and Central Florida branch of  Planned Parenthood. The blog is called The Feronia Project and it is an awesome resource for information about sex, pregnancy, birth control, gender and myriad other topics in that vein.  Some more info about them:

Who They Are:

The authors of The Feronia Project vary in our upbringing, education, and experience, but the common thread between us is our unwavering belief that reproductive rights are human rights.

What They Do:

This site provides a safe place to learn about sexual health, engage in discussion about social and reproductive justice, and find trusted resources for comprehensive, medically-accurate sex education.

For more information on Planned Parenthood click here.

Emergency Contraceptive Vending Machines Are Now Legal

 

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Bisexual And Lesbian Women Are More Likely To Be Abused Than Straight Women

The American Center For Disease Control (CDC) conducted it’s first nationwide study attempting to determine domestic abuse rates in the United States. The study found that a staggering 35% of straight women had experienced sexual assault, physical assault or stalking by a partner at some point in their lives. These numbers were even higher, however, for lesbian and bisexual identified women. 43.8% of lesbian women and 61.1% of bisexual women had experienced one of the three in their lifetime. That’s well over half of all the bisexual identified women surveyed reporting rape, violence or stalking by their partner at some point in their life and almost half of all lesbian women. The study surveyed 9,709 women, 96.5% of whom identified as straight, 2.2% as bisexual and 1.3% as lesbian.

Bisexual women were also the most likely to have been raped by anyone, not only their partner, with 46.1% of them having experienced rape at some point. This is an enormous number compared to the 13.1% of lesbian and 14.7% of straight women who reported having been raped. Most of the domestic violence committed against bisexual women was done so by their male partners and bisexual women reported much higher rates of after effects such as missing work or post traumatic stress symptoms than their lesbian and straight peers.

Buzzfeed reports that, “Mikel Walters, a behavioral scientist for the CDC, says the study didn’t examine the reasons why lesbian and bisexual women might experience especially high rates of violence. “Hopefully this research will spur more research” into causes, she said.”

A 2011 study found that bisexual women were at greater risk of depression and anxiety than women who were straight or gay, a result the study author attributed to stigma against bisexuality. “There tends to be this expectation or standard that a person picks one sexual identity and sticks with it. I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding about bisexuals,” the author told Huffington Post UK.

Read our previous The “Oh!” Face article about bisexual stigma here. I genuinely think that bisexual stigma is a very major problem that keeps, perhaps, large numbers of people from fully accepting their sexuality because of fear of this stigmatization. Bisexuality is not even considered a true sexual orientation by some and this belief disables certain people from feeling safe in expressing the full spectrum of their sexuality. These statistics make me upset not only because of how many bisexual women have been assaulted but because of just how many women in our society have been assaulted. If these numbers were true of, say, school aged children, I can’t imagine what the response would be. But our society pretty much accepts that more than one third of all women are going to experience some form of assault in their lives. That to me is completely unacceptable.

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Penicillin, Not The Pill, May Have Sparked The Sexual Revolution

Most of you probably know the standard narrative of how the sexual revolution of the 60’s and 70’s came about. The birth control pill became available, everyone got on board and started having sex without fear of unwanted pregnancy. Hooray for sexual freedom! But a new theory could turn all that on it’s head.

According to the statistics, it was actually around the 1950’s that people started engaging in more and riskier sexual behaviour, more teens started to get pregnant and rates of illegitimate children rose. People were having more sex with more people in the 1950’s than in previous decades. These rates only continued to grow in the 1960’s and 70’s and were again increased by the advent of The Pill but the initial spike came years earlier than the birth control pill.

In the early 20th century, syphilis was an epidemic, comparable to the AIDS epidemic of the 1980’s and 90’s. It had the ability to cause blindness, dementia and even paralysis, and by the mid 1940’s had been contracted by approximately 600,000 Americans alone. The rate of syphilis deaths in the late 1930’s was almost as high as the rate of AIDS deaths in the mid 90’s and there was a 1 in 100 chance of a random sexual partner having the infection.

Enter: mouldy bread. Penicillin, a drug derived from bread mould proved to be a highly effective treatment for syphilis. By the end of WWII it was being widely used and by the late 1950’s syphilis was at an all time low. Around the same time, gonorrhea and unwanted pregnancies were starting to spike and continued to increase through the advent of The Pill and the sexual revolution. The increase in sexual promiscuity and freedom seemed to have begun much earlier than previously believed. There is no doubt that The Pill was an important factor in the free love movement but it is likely that penicillin was the real game changer.

In 2000, antiretroviral treatments for HIV/AIDS made it possible for carriers of the infection to have undetectable viral loads, meaning that it was far less likely for them to transmit the infection to their partners or suffer from the ill effects of AIDS. This seems to have changed the game once again, making HIV/AIDS a much less deadly STI. Much like in the case of penicillin, after the introduction of this kind of treatment, the rate of risky sex increased and there has actually been a marked spike in HIV transmission rates over the past decade or so.

I love it when a long held belief is questioned. It’s interesting to me that the 1950’s, a time most consider highly puritanical, was in fact an age of increased sexual promiscuity. But honestly, the theory makes sense to me. I never really got that the advent of The Pill could bring about a free love revolution, always in the back of my mind was the question, “What about all the STIs they must have contracted? Why doesn’t anyone talk about them?” (Of course, social and political factors were at play and helped create the sexual revolution as well). The Pill would have ushered in a new age of unprotected sex, sure there would be fewer pregnancies and HIV hadn’t come about yet, but still, it never seemed to add up for me, until now.

 

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You Can Break Your Penis

Now, if you’ve had any kind of anatomy lesson you know that the penis doesn’t actually have a bone in it, but that doesn’t stop nature from being terribly cruel. Despite it’s being boneless the penis can still be broken, and although it is a fairly rare occurrence it is really not something that you want happening to you.

So how does it happen? According to Dr. Lehmiller at The Psychology of Human Sexuality, it depends where you’re from (seriously). There seem to be significant cultural differences in how men break their penises. North American men tend to break them due to bashing their penises into their partners pelvic bone, having missed their prime target. Japanese men on the other hand more often break their penises solo, accidentally rolling over onto them while masturbating. Europeans break theirs most often whilst ‘kneading’ their erections in an attempt to make them go away.

What exactly happens when a penis breaks? Well, when the areas in the penis that fill up with blood to make it erect rupture due to blunt force trauma, the penis makes a popping or cracking sound. Lehmiller describes what happens next, “The erection quickly disappears and is often followed by intense pain, swelling, discoloration, and potential deformity. In severe cases, the fracture may result in urethral injury, which can produce urinary difficulties.” If left untreated it can lead to further complications and deformity. The key to breaking your penis is to go get it treated as soon as possible. The sooner you get it treated the more likely that you’ll be fully functional again. Still, as many as one quarter of people who fracture their penises complain of penile curvature and other issues with penile function.

So I guess the moral of the story is, slow and steady wins the race, if you rush in like a charging bull you might miss your mark and break your penis and that would suck.

 

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