Sex is Fun podcast: How sexism affects your sex life

I've been doing periodic appearances on Sex is Fun, a sex-positive podcast aimed at providing fun, informative sex ed. for grown-ups. Last time I was on the show, we talked about some funny animal sex studies and what they can and can't teach you about human sexual behavior. This time around, we talked about a couple of recent studies focusing on sociology and sex.

In particular, we focused on a study from last fall that surveyed students at the University of Kansas to find out how men's and women's internalized sexism affect their relationships with each other. If you've ever watched one of those shows about so-called "pick up artists" and wondered, "Who the hell are the women falling for this crap!?", then this is the show to listen to.

Check out the podcast at the Sex is Fun site!

Image: IMG_9459, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from jon_knox's photostream.

Read the rest

"My Favorite Museum Exhibit": Controversial history

"My Favorite Museum Exhibit" is a series of posts aimed at giving BoingBoing readers a chance to show off their favorite exhibits and specimens, preferably from museums that might go overlooked in the tourism pantheon. I'll be featuring posts in this series all week. Want to see them all? Check out the archive post. I'll update the full list there every morning.

Daniel Schneider wrote in to tell me about a series of exhibits at the Ohio Historical Society that force people to confront the uncomfortable bits of history.

The Ohio Historical Society had an exhibit titled "Controversy" last year. They included items form Ohio's past that were objects of controversy of one time or another. The exhibit included KKK robes and Ohio's electric chair & control panel. 2 of the stranger items were an 1860's condom (found in an accountants notebook?!!?) and a adult crib bed\prison from an asylum in Cincinnati. The are having a new Controversy exhibit this year.

It feels weird/wrong to say that exhibits like this are fascinating, but there's definitely a lot of value in bringing modern museum goers face-to-face with things we might prefer to collectively forget.

The condom, obviously, is pictured above. It's worth noting that, at this point in history, condoms were meant to be reusable. Daniel also sent me a photo of the "crib-bed", which is really more of a cage, but it is disturbing in a way the condom shot is not and I'm choosing to put it under a cut here. Read the rest

Pony: a disturbing kinetic sculpture

pony H 54" L 49" W 27" is a kinetic sculpture that is reminiscent of one of Paolo Bacigalupi's more disturbing stories, somehow sexual and biomorphic at once. Do you know who made it and where it was exhibited? Please leave a comment.

pony H 54" L 49" W 27" (via JWZ) Read the rest

Louisiana commissioner proposes ban on public pajama-wearing

Caddo Parish, LA commissioner Michael Williams is sick and tired of being able to discern guys' penises through their pajamas at WalMart (apparently, the men of Caddo like to go to WalMart in their jammies, which is pretty boss if you ask me -- I live in my jimjams). He's proposed a local ordinance to prohibit the wearing of pajamas in public.

"Pajamas are designed to be worn in the bedroom at night," said Williams, likely after extensive research on the history and design of pajamas. "If you can't [wear them to the] courthouse, why are you going to do it in a restaurant or in public?" (Um, because those aren't courthouses?) Williams also invoked the "slippery-slope" argument, of course. "Today it's pajamas," he said, "tomorrow it's underwear. Where does it stop?" Seems to me there's only one further step once you get to underwear. This guy is really not that imaginative.

If Pajamas Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Wear Pajamas Read the rest

TOM THE DANCING BUG: Your Handy "Sex-Act Morality Flow Chart"


Muslim student claims sexual harrassment, school ignores, she's falsely reported as a terrorist, FBI shows up at her door

Balayla Ahmad, an observant African-American Muslim student at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut, has filed a federal lawsuit claiming she was sexually harassed by a male student in 2009 for months on end, but that university officials showed "deliberate indifference" to her repeated complaints—and that she was then reported to the FBI in revenge for having complained. From the Associated Press:

When she complained to a teacher, she was told that the university generally doesn't get rid of students right away over such incidents, the lawsuit said. Another teacher asked her if she were married and asked her not to report it to the dean because he would speak with the harasser, the suit said.

Ahmad then reported the harassment and fears for her safety to the university's president and dean, who promised to meet with her. But she said when she met with the dean, he said, "My hands are tied. What do you suggest I do?"

After reporting the sexual harassment in April 2009, Ahmad said she was approached by two university security directors who told her someone had made allegations against her and they threatened to call the FBI and have her arrested.

Later, two FBI agents knocked on Ahmad's apartment door, questioned her and left a business card, according to the lawsuit. She said she learned that her harasser or his associates had fabricated a story falsely accusing her of being a terrorist in apparent retaliation for having made a sexual harassment complaint against him.

Read the rest

Rick Santorum doesn't understand sex

Over at Psychology Today, psychologist Christopher Ryan states the obvious. My favorite part: Given the number of days a human female is actually fertile each month, it's a pretty safe bet that the Santorums have had their fair share of non-reproductive sex over the years. (Thanks to CB!) Read the rest

A scientific conference presentation no one will ever forget

"He stepped around the podium, and pulled his loose pants tight up around his genitalia in an attempt to demonstrate his erection." — You really, really, really must read the story of Professor G.S. Brindley, the 1983 Urodynamics Society meeting, and the first public demonstration of the first effective medical therapy for erectile dysfunction. NSFW. (Thank you, Miriam Goldstein. I think.) Read the rest

Rick Santorum opposes contraception

Lest you think that Rick Santorum is a mere garden-variety homophobe who offers no threat to the sexual freedom of hetero couples, consider this quote: "Many of the Christian faith have said, well, that's okay, contraception is okay. It's not okay. It's a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be." Oh, and this gem: "They have this idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do, government should keep our taxes down and regulations low, that we shouldn't get involved in the bedroom or in cultural issues. That is not how traditional conservatives view the world." (via Beth Pratt) Read the rest

Barry White's sperm quality: Why are deep-voiced men attractive?

Here's a fascinating study that shines a bright spotlight of nuance on some of those maybe-too-simplistic assumptions we make about evolution, physical characteristics, and reproductive fitness.

If you've paid any attention to reporting on the science of what humans find attractive and why, you won't be surprised to learn that studies consistently show that deeper voices are associated with stereotypically manly-man characteristics such as hairier bodies and taller height, that men with these voices and characteristics are judged as being more attractive, and that deep-voiced dudes seem to get more action from more ladies.

Based on all of that, you might be tempted to speculate that a deeper voice is an outward sign of how fertile and virile a dude is and that ladies have evolved to be attracted to that show of baby-making prowess. And that makes sense ...

Except that men with deep voices also seem to have lower-quality sperm. At the Anthropology in Practice blog, Krystal D'Costa explains:

These assessments aren’t entirely made up. There is evidence that secondary sexual traits can predict health and fertility of a partner. Brilliant colors and showy displays have long been natural indicators of potential sexual fitness. For example, deer with bigger, more complex antlers also have larger testes and more motile sperm. Lower frequency sounds have been linked to larger body size across all primate species

However, semen analysis reveals that men with deeper voices have lower scores on seven motility parameters (7)—even when the lifestyle and environmental factors are accounted for.

Read the rest

Maggie talking about animal sex on the Sex Is Fun podcast

I recorded a special guest appearance on Sex Is Fun, a podcast about sex education, sexual behavior, and dirty jokes. Naturally, I'm there to talk about science. Specifically, the science of animals having sex with other animals. Why is one species of Australian beetles having sex with beer bottles? How do a group of professional sex educators react to hearing about the duck penis story for the first time? Listen to the show! (Note: Show not safe for small children and/or coworkers.)  Read the rest

List of San Francisco long-term brothels, 1937

Hank sez, "The San Francisco Examiner reported in March 1937 that private investigator Edwin Atherton, hired by the city to investigate police graft, delivered a list of 135 long-term brothels, called 'resorts,' to the Grand Jury investigation police corruption, finding bordellos in neighborhoods from South of Market to North Beach."

San Francisco Examiner lists 135 long-established house of prostitution (Thanks, Hank!) Read the rest

Forget love, biological sex is a battlefield

Gender isn’t a simple thing. A person can be male, female, both, neither, and more—and that identity doesn’t have to have anything to do with the particular genital plumbing they were born with.

But the plumbing itself—the biological sex, rather than gender or socio-cultural sex—is also a lot more complicated (and interesting) than we often give it credit for. Don’t believe me? Then check out “DMRT1 prevents female reprogramming in the postnatal mammalian testis,” a research letter published in September in the journal Nature.

That title is full of typical peer-reviewed paper jargon, but let me break it down for you: There’s a genetic factor, present in male mammals, that is vital to making sure those mammals develop male sex characteristics. But it’s not only important during embryonic development. Oh, no. Turns out, this factor must be active in order for a male’s gonads to stay 100% male. Turn it off, even in an adult male, and the cells in his testes will start to take on more feminine characteristics. Read the rest

TSA goes through woman's luggage, finds sex toy, leaves pervy note

"Just unpacked my suitcase and found this note from TSA," tweets writer and attorney Jill Filipovic of Feministe. "Guess they discovered a 'personal item' in my bag. Wow."

It was a standard-issue we got all up in your baggagebusiness Transportation Security Administration Notice of Inspection (NOI), but with these handwritten words in pen, overlaid: "GET YOUR FREAK ON GIRL."

"Total violation of privacy, wildly inappropriate and clearly not ok," Filipovic writes in a post titled Your Tax Dollars at Work, "but I also just died laughing in my hotel room."

The "personal item" in question, Ms. Filipovic tells Boing Boing, was this $15 "Silver Bullet" vibrator from Babeland. I suppose a case could be made that an airport screener would have a legitimate reason to probe more deeply see what I did there you guys if this sort-of-ammo-shaped sex toy popped up on an imaging display. But the creepy note? Yeah, that definitely didn't have to happen. And TSA agents behaving badly with female travelers' intimate stuff? Not uncommon. Nor are women the only recipients of inappropriate notes from screeners.

So was it still there when she retrieved her luggage, I asked Filipovic?

"Yes, the vibe was still there. No theft, but I'm unsure if they handled it. Given that uncertainty, it's definitely being retired."

Read the rest

Nookie kit for campers

The "Backcountry Intimacy Kit" is a waterproof bag with everything you need to push-push whilst in the bush: "3 lubricated condoms, 2 packets of lubrication, 4 wet wipes, 4 compressed towels, and one disposal bag."

(Thanks, Fipi Lele!) Read the rest

Hostess life: "What I learned by being a migrant sex worker in Japan"

Bloomberg News has published a two-part, first-person investigative piece by Rhacel Salazar Parreñas, a professor of sociology at the University of Southern California, on the lives of Filipina sex workers in Tokyo, Japan. To study the living and working conditions of these "hostess bar" migrant laborers, Parrenas became one.

The Bloomberg pieces are excerpts from her new book “Illicit Flirtations: Labor, Migration, and Sex Trafficking in Tokyo,” released this week by Stanford University Press.

Here is part 1. And here is part 2.

The Bloomberg excerpts are fascinating, as is the book, for providing an unusual glimpse inside a world most of us will never witness first-hand.

Read the rest

Great Moments in Pedantry: Analyzing blackboards from school-themed porn

There is now an entire blog dedicated to looking at what is written on the blackboard in the background of naughty schoolgirl porn films, and evaluating it for accuracy and grade level of information. God, I love the Internet.

Here's what Blackboards in Porn had to say about the photo above.


- math

1 + 1 = 2


Mathematics - university/nursery school level.

This is clearly an extremely advanced level mathematical course, focusing on the Peano axioms for the natural numbers which formalised mathematics in the late 19th century. This course would culminate with Gödel's second incompleteness theorem which shows that the consitency of the Peano axioms cannot be formalised within Peano arithmetic itself.

Alternatively, it could be that the pupil, even at her advanced age, hasn't grasped that 1 + 1 = 2, and that all the after school one-to-one lessons in the world aren't going to work. Indeed, she probably won't even understand what 'one-to-one' means.

8/10 - loses two marks for 'math'.

Disclaimer: The blog is safe for work, in so much as there is no nudity. However, it is somewhat astounding how easy it is to look at a photo of a room full of fully clothed people and know, immediately, that said photo is a still from a porn. Make of that what you will.

Via Wired. Thanks to Joel!

Great Moments in Pedantry: Octopuses, octopi, octopodesGreat Moments in Pedantry: Pie charts aren't so bad, after allGreat Moments in Pedantry: Parsing the language of pornGreat Moments in Pedantry: How "Jurassic Park" got Velociraptors wrongReal scientists of the Planet of the ApesPedantry of the Day: A "parsec" is a unit of distance, not time Read the rest

More posts