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 Post subject: Re: Women and sex
PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:59 am 
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Why have vaginas - which were once worshipped - become taboo?
by Viv Groskop
Sunday, 2 September 2012

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Kiss me quick: A 'Lady Parts' lolly sold as a novelty by the seaside at Blackpool. Alamy

Vagina. There, we’ve said it. Yet so many won’t. This vital organ, once revered, has become taboo. But could women be about to reclaim it?



It has been a busy year for the vagina. First a group of Russian feminist punks became a global story, especially after Madonna got involved. And let's not forget where Pussy Riot got their name from. In Russian they're sometimes called "the uprising of the vagina".

Then Lisa Brown, a US Democratic state senator, was barred from speaking in the Michigan state courthouse just for using the word "vagina". She was told by the Speaker that she had "failed to maintain the decorum of the House of Representatives". Brown got Eve Ensler to stage a reading of her Vagina Monologues on the courtroom steps for 5,000 people. The word "vagina" was uttered more than 100 times.

Now, in a final rallying war cry, feminist icon Naomi Wolf is unveiling her much-anticipated cultural history of the world's sometimes worshipped, sometimes reviled and rarely mentioned female body part. Vagina: A New Biography comes out tomorrow.

Vaginas are always good for a laugh. As Kate Harding of feminist website Jezebel wrote, saluting the news that Wolf had been "beavering away" on a new book: "About time! For too long, historians have clammed up on this topic, snatching women's history from us and squirrelling it away in a box. I'll stop now."

But Wolf's book – "which goes to the very core of what it means to be a woman" – is likely to be more controversial than entertaining. In response to the Lisa Brown incident, Wolf asked playfully, "Are we seeing the beginning of a vagina lobby?" It's high time, says the author of The Beauty Myth: "The culture is just not letting women have a positive relationship to their sexuality, to their vaginas." An epic UK tour is planned, including an audience in front of 400 fans at Intelligence Squared at the Royal Institution in London on Thursday. k

Wolf's tome could not have been better timed. As the Russian government found themselves trapped in an international PR disaster while they quashed their home-grown Pussy Riot, male politicians across the world were busy tying themselves up in knots over definitions of rape. At a time when Western women's bodies have never been more highly politicised, the one person who might be able to shine a ray of light into feminism's dark crevices has to be Wolf. (Sorry.)

Perhaps this history will do for 21st-century activism what The Beauty Myth did for 1990s feminists. This is an angry call to re-establish what women's libbers might once have called pussy power. Wolf claims that there is "an increasing body of scientific evidence that suggests that the vagina has a fundamental connection to female consciousness". With the focus clearly on the explicit and the unspeakable, Wolf is exploring territory we haven't heard about since Germaine Greer in the 1970s.

It's interesting that the subject is still seen as controversial. But when it comes to the vagina, any mention of the word – from the Latin for "sheath" or "scabbard" – is still problematic. It is not even an oft-used word and when it is used, it is often used wrongly. When Jamie McCartney, the Brighton-based artist behind The Great Wall of Vagina, an 8m-long plaster-cast frieze of genital close-ups of 400 women, was criticised for naming his sculpture inaccurately, he acknowledged that his critics were right. "I can't fight every battle. And 'The Great Wall of Vulva' wouldn't really have worked." Poor even-more-rarely-referred-to vulva.

But perhaps it's not surprising that a woman's most intimate parts are held in awe and fascination when they are, to borrow from the French artist Gustave Courbet, "l'origine du monde". Is there something almost too powerful about the place we all came from? The last book that attempted to chart the history of female genitalia didn't even want to use the word in its title. The Story of V: Opening Pandora's Box by Catherine Blackledge tells us that the word "vagina" was first used in English in 1682. In her review, the novelist Joanna Briscoe saw the entire, meticulously researched book as proof that, "We're stunningly vaginally ill-informed."

Historically, the vagina used to have a better press. Before Western religion introduced the pesky concept of shame, female genitalia were venerated in ancient mythology. Egyptian and Japanese goddesses would lift their skirts and give a flash of their privates to increase crop yields and ward off evil. There is a 17th-century drinking mug, referenced in The Story of V, which shows Satan being poleaxed by the sight of a vagina. ("Take that, devil!") The Munduruku tribe of Brazil's Amazon basin call it "the crocodile's mouth". And the early Christian theologian Tertullian wrote, circa 200AD, "Woman is the gate to hell and her gaping genitals the yawning mouth of hell." ("You're welcome!")

In the most olden of olden days, in prehistoric times before men's role in procreation was understood, it was women's genitalia – not men's – that were celebrated as symbols of fertility. This continued into the medieval ages with Sheela Na Gigs, figurative carvings of naked women displaying an exaggerated vulva pulled open. (Hooray! A mention of the vulva!) These are thought to have originated in France and Spain in the 11th century and can be found in medieval churches across Britain and Ireland.

The midwifery guru Ina May Gaskin, author of several bestselling home-birth bibles and recognised as the world's leading authority on natural childbirth, is obsessed with the figure of the Sheela Na Gig, which for centuries would have been the only context you would have seen a vagina depicted. Gaskin has written about how contemporary society's horror at the vagina – and the taboo of depicting one anywhere except in pornography – has contributed to women's fear of labour and the increasing medicalisation of childbirth.

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A Sheela Na Gig carved in the 12th century at Kilpeck parish church near Hereford. Alamy

"My idea is that this figure [the naked Sheela Na Gig] was probably meant to reassure young women about the capabilities of their bodies in birth. As you can see," she writes in Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, "the vulva of the crouching figure is open enough to accommodate her own head. Such a sight is quite encouraging to a woman in labour. I'd like to see a large rendition of a Sheela Na Gig as part of the décor of birth rooms in maternity units."

In fact, many of the carvings were destroyed as "obscene" by church leaders in the 19th century and most people have no idea what these strangely informative little gargoyle figures look like. Dozens still exist, though. There's one at Haddon Hall in Bakewell, Derbyshire; in the Castle Museum in Colchester; and one which was discovered near St Ives Priory, but has recently disappeared. If you wanted to track down your nearest medieval vulva, there's a UK map of them at sheelanagig.org. Naomi Wolf is probably perusing it right now.

Even through the 20th century, the vagina did not have a very high profile. In fact, things got worse. The American feminist Gloria Steinem tried to point out that it didn't matter what you had, it mattered who you were as a person: "There are really not many jobs that actually require a penis or a vagina, and all other occupations should be open to everyone." But elsewhere it was too late and the vagina was on its way to becoming an insult (and not just the usual four-lettered version, which feminists, including Greer, have also tried to champion). This quote comes from South Park: "Stan and Kyle are uncaring vagina-faces."

But times change. As Miranda once said in Sex and the City, "What's the big mystery? It's my vagina. Not the sphinx." Next year marks the 40th anniversary of the "Vaginal Revolution" Germaine Greer wrote about in 1973: "A woman's pleasure is not dependent on the presence of a penis in the vagina. Neither is a man's." And apart from Wolf's book there are already other signs that the vagina is undergoing some of a rebranding. Hopefully not as painful as it sounds.

Among both artists and activists, the vagina has become a source of inspiration. There is a vogue among young furniture designers to make prototypes of "vagina chairs", which enfold you when you sit in them. Several of the designs are like beautiful flowers. Others are like Venus Flytraps. In the US there is a vogue for subversive crochet as part of the "Knit Your Congressman a Vagina" campaign. Yes, this really exists. "To protest the attacks on women's health by the Republican Congress."

In response to healthcare cuts in Texas, the "Snatchel Project" is "encouraging craftswomen to send their congressmen knitted and crocheted bags, pouches and decorations in the shape of their favourite lady parts". One supporter writes: "Nothing scares a gynophobic congressman like when they open a box and discover what they think is a constituent's lovely hand-knit hat or scarf, only to pick it up and realise they've touched their hands upon the filthy, evil uterus they've been fighting so hard to destroy." Participants are urged to include the message: "Hands off my v-jj. Here's your own."

Meanwhile, hip bakeries in London and New York have taken to making cupcakes and macaroons depicting the vulva and its adornments. Dawn French almost choked with laughter when she was presented with an anatomically correct sponge on the BBC's The One Show. The people behind The Pocket Book of Vagina Cakes ("2013 calendar available now!") were the caterers at the Kerrang! Awards. This all feels like the modern, more- graphic equivalent of the vulval cakes carried at the Ancient Greek fertility festival Blackledge mentions in The Story of V. Delicious!

There is a sense everywhere that young women are sick of not being allowed to talk about their vaginas or of the word somehow being taboo. There was a social-media outcry when it was revealed that the word "vagina" had been banned from a Kotex tampon advert in the US. (The ad was still rejected by two TV networks when the advert was re-shot using the expression "down there".) On the stand-up circuit you hear young women comics gleefully use terms such as "gash" and "love burger" like they're reclaiming them.

The events at the Michigan House of Representatives already represent some kind of turning point. Lisa Brown concluded her speech with the words, "Mr Speaker, I'm flattered that you're all so interested in my vagina, but 'no' means 'no'." She later said, "If I can't say the word vagina, why are we legislating [on] vaginas? What language should I use?" One of her Republican colleagues explained, "What she said was offensive. It was so offensive that I don't want to say it in front of women." Indeed. God forbid they find out they have a vagina!

The whole business is shaping up into a war of words in the US in which radio host Rush Limbaugh sent back the salvo that "women vote with their vaginas". And it was Limbaugh who recently agreed with a television sitcom writer who complained at a conference that: "We're approaching peak vagina on television."

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Members of the all-girl punk band Pussy Riot during their court hearing in Moscow last month. AFP/Getty Images

The issue is increasingly political in the US where the Democrats are pushing the idea that the Republicans are waging a "war on women" by blocking proposals protecting women from domestic violence, cutting funding to preventative health schemes involving issues which disproportionately affect women (such as osteoporosis and arthritis) and by promoting anti-abortion measures. Online activists have resorted to the tactics of the Tom Jones fan club by setting up a "panty raid on Congress": "Send a pair of panties to [Republican and Speaker of the House of Representatives John] Boehner and other members of Congress who are waging war on women." Hard to know which is worse. Or better, depending on your point of view: a G-string in the post? Or a crocheted clitoris?

In the UK, our stunts are no less cunning. Jamie McCartney's Great Wall of Vagina is a uniquely British project and the only artwork of its kind in the world, featuring women of all ages, shapes and sizes (and possessing various terrifying piercings). Last year Harley Street saw the arrival of the Muff March, a campaign against "designer vagina" surgery, aimed at celebrating la femme au naturel. Consultant gynaecologist Dr Sarah Creighton has since reported girls as young as 11 asking for surgery. Last month, the medical research charity the Wellcome Trust released a documentary on labiaplasty (surgical reduction of the labia) and how it had affected the lives of three women, one of whom reported having dreams that her labia had turned into a scarf and were strangling her. Last year more than 2,000 labiaplasties were carried out on the NHS and in the past five years there has been a fivefold increase.

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons is now calling for mandatory psychological screening ahead of cosmetic surgery. A recent report found that psychological checks were carried out in fewer than 35 per cent of clinics. Many doctors blame the rise in demand for labiaplasty on the trend for extreme pubic grooming in the shape of vajazzling and Brazilians. One beautician told me recently that she is regularly asked to vajazzle women's partner's initials on to the freshly waxed area. Maybe this makes people happy. It does not seem a particularly friendly thing to do your poor pudenda.

Good luck, then, to Naomi – and to vaginas everywhere, whether or not they bear a husband's initials in sparkling Swarovski crystals. For now Wolf is defending her decision to put her Vagina in the world's face: "In social settings when I say the title, there's always a bit of a double-take. Usually positive, but sometimes a bit alarmed. You could write this book with all kinds of other titles. But there is something important to me about just reclaiming that word." As the actress Loretta Swit, best known for her role as Major "Hot Lips" Houlihan in M*A*S*H, once put it: "It's time for us to grow up and discover our vaginas." For some, it's already too much. Which can only be a good sign. Shock DJ Limbaugh again: "It's vagina all the time. We get it! OK, women, let us alone." You wish it was vagina all the time, Rush. You wish.

'Vagina: A New Biography' by Naomi Wolf, published by Virago, priced £12.99, is out tomorrow

Source: The Independent UK.

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 Post subject: Re: Women and sex
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:01 pm 
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Hormonal contraception lessens condom use
October 20, 2012

STANFORD, Calif. (UPI) -- Young U.S. women using hormonal contraceptives such as the pill, patches, shots and rings often stop using condoms, researchers say.

Dr. Rachel L. Goldstein, Ushma D. Upadhyay and Dr. Tina R. Raine of the Stanford Medical School said the study involved women ages 15-24 who began using oral contraceptive pills, patch, ring, or depot medroxyprogesterone and attending public family planning clinics.

The study participants completed questionnaires at the beginning of the study and at three, six and 12 months. The researchers used multivariable logistic regression to assess baseline factors associated with dual method use at 12 months among 1,194 women who were sexually active in the past 30 days.

At baseline, 36 percent of the women used condoms and 5 percent were dual method users -- condom and a hormonal contraceptive. Oral contraceptives provide no protection against sexually transmitted diseases, Goldstein said.

The study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, found after the women began using the hormonal method, condom use decreased to 27 percent and remained relatively unchanged during the study. Women who were condom users at baseline had nearly twice the odds of being a dual method user at 12 months compared with non-users. The women said condom use depended on their partner's views. If he thought condoms were very important then the odds of dual contraception increased.

The study was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Source: UPI.

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 Post subject: Re: Women and sex
PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 5:35 pm 
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Ebooks 'enhancing erotic literature sales'
14 October 2012

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The booth of British erotic publisher Xcite at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

AFP - Flush with the success of "Fifty Shades of Grey", erotic literature is increasingly finding ardent fans among women seduced by the discretion afforded by ebooks, publishers say.

"The Perfect Submissive", "Body Temperature And Rising" and "Dark Desires", the titles issued by British specialist publisher Xcite leave little room for doubt over their content. The books were unashamedly on display in the bustling corridors of the Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's biggest publishing event due to close Sunday, and are enjoying a boost thanks to the advent of the electronic book.

The erotic book is "an ideal genre for ebooks", said Peter Ferris, non-executive director at Accent Press, whose imprint Xcite is the biggest British erotica publisher. "Print book sales were starting to decline. Getting into the major book stores was difficult. Some stores are not happy to take them and the buyers are very hard to reach," he said.

And then "Fifty Shades of Grey" came along. The 2011 erotic novel by British author E.L. James was the first part of a trilogy about a relationship between a college graduate and a young business magnate and has sold tens of millions of copies worldwide. Since "Fifty Shades of Grey" started to top the bestseller lists, ebook sales have undergone "a very large increase" and made erotic literature more publicly acceptable, Ferris said. "It raised the attention level or people's awareness of erotica. It made it more mainstream, more acceptable. It's no longer something you don't talk about, it's in the bestsellers' charts," he said.

Xcite now expects its ebook sales to be three times higher than the printed book sales this year. Germany's Jolanta Gatzanis, editor in charge of erotic literature at the publishing house that bears her name, said ebooks had been flying off the digital shelves, and without having to be promoted. "We sold a lot of electronic books this year without doing much publicity. That really surprised us," she said.

In Germany, no fewer than 4,000 erotic reference books for adults are currently available on the Internet, albeit of varying quality, said Roman Jansen-Winkeln, of Satzweiss, a services' provider for publishers and authors. "There are some of good quality but a huge number of books of very mediocre quality which would have never been printed. A bit like for thrillers. But if a bad thriller can still be quite amusing, there's nothing worse than bad erotic literature," he said.

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E. L. James, author of the "Shades of Grey" trilogy, gives a press conference at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

This genre of books is predominantly read by women, the publishers agreed. Jansen-Winkeln said he believed more than 80 percent of readers of erotic literature were female. "We don't actually see the gender of the customer but... the writing itself is aimed at women, and it's written mostly by female authors who are writing for women," said Ferris, of Accent Press which also publishes thrillers and cook books.

Discretion could be the key. With no cover on display, an ereading device such as a Kindle makes the literature anonymous to the outside world, Giada Armani, who heads up erotic literature publishing house Giadas. "I think that women have always wanted to read erotic literature. But what woman brandishes an erotic book in the underground or at work whose cover displays the silhouette of a naked man?" she said.

And, as Ferris pointed out, the reader can also retain their own anonymity by downloading ebooks without having to go into a shop. "You can even erase it once you're finished so nobody knows what you've been reading," he said.

Source: France24.

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 Post subject: Re: Women and sex
PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 3:54 pm 
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Female Viagra to help women reach orgasm could soon be available as a nasal spray
By Claire Bates
5 November 2012

Women who have difficulty reaching orgasm during sex could soon have help thanks to a medicated nasal spray.

Up to 30 per cent of women suffer from the condition known as anorgasmia, yet there are currently no approved treatments on the market. Now scientists are developing a treatment that's been nicknamed the 'female Viagra' after the erectile dysfunction drug first prescribed to men in 1998.

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Frustrated? Scientists are conducting a Phase II trial for a nasal spray they say could help women to reach orgasm

The treatment, called Tefina, needs to be administered in droplet sized doses via the nostrils two hours before sex and is expected to work for six hours. The testosterone-based treatment is thought to boost sexual desire by activating relevant parts of the brain and increasing blood flow to the sexual organs.

Researchers said they don't expect any side-effects such as acne, body hair growth or deepening of the voice. They added that there should be no ill-effects if a woman doesn't have sex after administering the spray. Tefina is being developed by the Canadian company Trimel Pharmaceuticals and is backed by scientists from Case Western Reserve University in the U.S and Monash University in Australia.

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Professor Davis from Monash University (left) is testing the effectiveness of the new nasal spray in a clinical trial

Professor Susan Davis from Monash University is leading a Phase II study to test the effectiveness of the nasal spray. 'We anticipate the treatment will work like Viagra for women. Rather than a long-term, therapy-based approach, this drug can be taken when a woman anticipates sexual activity,' Prof Davis said. 'We have previously shown that for women with low sexual interest, testosterone therapy not only improves sexual desire and arousal, but also enhances a woman’s ability to reach orgasm.'

However, critics such as fertility expert Dr Ric Gordon think female sexuality was being exploited for commercial reasons and that a new treatment risked overlooking the real factors behind a woman's low sex drive. 'Men use sex to de-stress and women need to be de-stressed to have sex, so that’s a very complex emotional issue,' he told ONE News.


The famous When Harry Met Sally scene when Meg Ryan fakes an orgasm: Could women reach orgasm far more easily thanks to a squirt of testosterone?

Prof Davis insisted sexual dysfunction had important health implications for women. 'Through previous research, we have shown that women under 50, who are not experiencing sexual pleasure will still participate in sexual activity on average five times per month, primarily to maintain relationship harmony,' Prof Davis added. 'Further, we have shown that women who report poor sexual functioning have lower wellbeing, despite not being depressed. Doctors have little to offer women who are experiencing anorgasmia, and this could be a breakthrough study for women who currently are frustrated by the lack of any treatment option.'

The Australian researchers are recruiting pre-menopausal women from four cities to take part in the trial. The trial is also taking place in the U.S and Canada.

Source: Daily Mail UK.

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 Post subject: Re: Women and sex
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 7:31 pm 
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Is sex getting too demanding for men?
By Max Davidson
13 November 2012

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The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, a feel-good movie about sixty and seventysomethings, saw the slow-burning flirtation/romance between Evelyn (Judi Dench, left) and Douglas (Bill Nighy, right) Photo: REX

Following on the heels of 'mummy porn’ in Fifty Shades of Grey is 'gran-lit’ in Thursdays in the Park – there’s no growing old gracefully

Somewhere in Britain – perhaps Sevenoaks, perhaps Hemel Hempstead – there is a very lucky man. The unnamed individual is, according to reports at the weekend, being divorced by his wife, a high-flying City banker, on the grounds, inter alia, that he is ''boring’’ in bed and refuses to take part in the kind of bedroom antics popularised by the raunchy blockbuster Fifty Shades of Grey.

Well done, that man! He is not only escaping what sounds like a miserable marriage (''Thank you for whipping me, darling, but you forgot the handcuffs’’), but in doing so – he’s admitting ''unreasonable behaviour’’ for a quick divorce – he is striking a blow for his sex. Like Bradley Wiggins, like Mo Farah, he can go into any pub in the country and know that every man jack there would be happy to buy him a drink if only they knew his story.

Up to now, Fifty Shades has been no more than a bad literary joke, a triumph of marketing over substance. Millions have bought E L James’s execrable novel about a sadomasochistic affair between a billionaire entrepreneur and a naive literature student, and millions have wished they had kept their money in their pocket. But now that the book is being deployed as a weapon in the marital bedroom, with wives using James’s saturnine billionaire as a benchmark against which to measure their husbands, the joking has to stop. This is war, with men in the firing line and common sense the first casualty.

On a recent transatlantic flight, I sat next to a middle-aged businessman who was wading through the novel, struggling to keep his eyes open. When I quizzed him, he told me that his soon-to-be second wife had given him it to read for research purposes before their honeymoon in Mauritius. He winked as he said ''research purposes’’, but I could see the nervousness in his eyes. Another poor sap heading for the divorce courts. How many more will have to bite the dust, worn out by their wives’ ever more loopy demands, before sanity returns?

Feminists are rightly quick to censure the kind of male-inspired pornography which pressurises women into behaving like Swedish nymphomaniacs with pneumatic breasts. But isn’t E L James guilty of much the same, peddling unattainable sexual fantasies, setting wife against husband, introducing the worm of dissatisfaction into solid, if unspectacular, relationships?

And it gets worse. You would assume that men of retirement age would not be feeling under the same pressure to perform in the bedroom as men who still have their own teeth and hair, but you would be wrong, judging by the latest women’s ''romantic’’ novel to shoot up the bestseller lists, confounding the pundits.

Thursdays in the Park by Hilary Boyd features a sexually frustrated pensioner (married to a man who has given up on sex) who meets the man of her dreams while looking after her grandchildren in the park. If Fifty Shades is ''mummy porn’’ in marketing jargon, this is ''gran-lit’’, a steamy tale of sex and sixtysomethings – The Kama Sutra meets The Antiques Roadshow. The imagination boggles. Does the heroine ravish her new man on the swings in the playground?

The novel sank without trace when it was published last year, but is now topping the charts in its e-book edition and outselling E L James. It is certainly an intriguing storyline and you can see why it has caught on with the public, even in our youth-obsessed times. With Charles Dance said to be in negotiations for a film version, Thursdays in the Park could spark the same kind of buying frenzy as Fifty Shades. You don’t even have to go into a bookshop to purchase it: you can get your jollies by downloading the book in the privacy of your own home – perfect for retiring spinsters with vivid imaginations.

“Old people falling in love and having passionate relationships is not a story that’s had much exposure before, but I’m in no doubt that the market’s out there,’’ says Boyd, a 62-year-old grandmother, adding: ''All I can say is that sex in the park beats sex in the basement.’’ Who would argue with that? And in finding the sex lives of mature people far more interesting than those of teenagers, she is following a tradition as old as Antony and Cleopatra. Shakespeare’s grizzled lovers, long past their salad days, have an emotional complexity that leaves Romeo and Juliet in the shade. Shakespeare knew better than anyone that, in the bedroom, humour and tenderness are more important than gymnastics.

It is good, other things being equal, that women writers are producing novels of sexual exploration which challenge and subvert the works of their male counterparts. And it is good that older people are being presented in a positive, outgoing light, not portrayed as sexually extinct. We saw that in the success of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, a feel-good movie about sixty and seventysomethings, with Celia Imrie in terrific form as Madge, out to bag a new husband on the subcontinent, and the slow-burning flirtation/romance between Evelyn (Judi Dench) and Douglas (Bill Nighy).

Jane Juska’s bestselling 2003 memoir, A Round-Heeled Woman: My Late Life Adventures in Sex and Romance, tapped into the same market. Its bitter-sweet account of a 66-year-old woman seeking no-strings sex via an ad in the New York Review of Books struck a chord with mothers and grandmothers who, after years of making sacrifices for their families, dreamed of putting the sex into sexagenarian

But it is one thing to celebrate grey sex, another to encourage delusional attitudes, as E L James’s book does. When the dividing line between daily life and escapist fiction becomes blurred, when women expect their partners to satisfy their most intimate needs as if it was as easy as unlocking handcuffs, we are all the losers. Shouldn’t a book with a title like Fifty Shades of Grey alert readers to the fact that life is nuanced, and not perfect?

But, one way and another, it is going to be an uncomfortable time to be a male of the species. We don’t mind trying our hands at this multi-tasking malarkey, but do we have to become proficient with handcuffs and find out how to give sexual satisfaction to women born when George VI was on the throne? Time to reach for the remote, I think.

Source: Telegraph UK.

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 Post subject: Re: Women and sex
PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:52 pm 
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French women tuning in to porn, study says
23 November 2012

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File picture shows people looking in the window shop of a sex shop in the Paris district of Pigalle in January 2011.

AFP - Who said porn was a man's thing? A study released on Friday challenges the myth, showing that four fifths of French women have watched a porn movie before -- one in two of them without their partners.

Fully 82 percent of women questioned said they had watched an X-rated film at least once before, compared to 99 percent of men, according to the study of 579 women carried out by the IFOP polling institute in September. Their number has jumped from 73 percent in 2006, and from as little as 23 percent in 1992 according to a major INSERM study on French sexuality carried out at the time, IFOP's Francois Kraus told AFP.

"In the space of a few years it has become an accepted thing for women to watch pornography, partly thanks to the Internet, and video-on-demand services that made porn more accessible and took away the shame factor," he said. Sixty two percent of women said they watched porn to spice up their sex life with a partner, but fully one in two had also done so on their own. "Women are now consuming porn by themselves," Kraus said. "That goes hand in hand with a widening of sexual behaviour, and changing attitudes towards sex toys or fellatio for instance. And of course it raises the issue of masturbation, one of the great taboos of female sexuality. There is a real generational break, with women in their forties and younger much more willing to admit the practice."

So what do women make of the films on offer? Women attached most importance to a natural-looking cast, a priority for 40 percent, while "realistic" sex scenes were essential for 35 percent, and for 48 percent of under 35-year-olds. Most women felt strongly that the industry caters only to male fantasies, a view shared by 71 of women against 61 percent of men.

Likewise 72 percent felt the films on offer were "highly degrading" to women, against 50 percent of men, and 57 percent said they were too violent, compared to 41 percent of men. Overall, women were still far less assiduous watchers than men, with only five percent of porn consumers watching frequently -- once a month or more -- against 34 percent of men. Another 13 percent watched a few times a year, compared to 29 percent of men. Frequent women viewers were younger, making up 17 percent of under-25s against less than five percent of the over-35s. And women with no sex experience were the most eager, making up a third of all regular viewers.

Based on a representative sample of 1,101 people aged 18 and over, the study was commissioned by Marc Dorcel, a provider of pornographic content, to mark the launch of a new porn site targeting the women's market, Dorcelle.com.

Source: France24.

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 Post subject: Re: Women and sex
PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 8:23 pm 
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Sex must always be great, otherwise don’t bother
By Wolfgang Weinberger
Thursday, 21 February 2013

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(Getty Creative)

Sexology comedian Wolfgang Weinberger talks about a new competitive sport known as ’sex’.

Before the pill sex was simply verboten. And not only in Ireland. No one talked about it, no one did it. We all came into the world like Jesus Christ – an immaculate conception in every home. Then came the sexual revolution and for a short while sex became something which in our society really has no place: fun.

But then, recently, something even worse happened. Fun became the order of the day. Fun was put into the hands of fun-pros. You can’t play tennis just for the heck of it anymore. You must set yourself goals – such as the humble goal of winning the Olympics.

It’s the same with sex. Who said you should simply enjoy sex? No, no, no – you have to raise your game up a few notches. Many notches, actually. Just because it’s been done for a few hundred thousand years, it doesn’t mean it’s been done right all that time.

It’s time to shape up. It’s time to have multiple orgasms – every single night of the week. And always simultaneously with your partner. It’s time to face the truth: whatever you do in bed is inadequate. From the way you look to the way your partner looks to the amount of time you do it for and most of all to the frequency with which you do it. If sex was already an Olympic discipline you wouldn’t even qualify for the qualifying rounds.

Do not despair – help is on the way. Simply follow the sex advisers, the pundits from the self-help section and the personal coaches and you’ll stand a chance of winning the sex Olympics – which is the minimum you should strive for.

Here’s what you need to do:

*Raise your expectations to completely unrealistic levels – whatever you see on the Internet, that’s what your love life should look like

*Get professional help from a plastic surgeon – less than perfect looks in bed are completely unacceptable. Remember, it’s a viewer’s sport – both partners must look at each other all the time and point out the slightest imperfection

*Don’t hesitate to use performance enhancing drugs – if every cyclist does it then why shouldn’t you use a little blue diamond every time you engage in your sport of choice

*Coming together is no longer a happy coincidence. It is mandatory. Never mind that it takes the average man three minutes to climax and the average woman 17 minutes to reach the same triumph – just do what is expected of you, simultaneously, of course.

*And finally, always keep in mind that you’re not in the game to have fun but to win. Most of all against yourself but also against your partner’s super high expectations.

Should you heed all of the above advice you may not be happy – who needs that, ever seen a happy athlete? Suffering is what counts – but you may stand a chance of living up to the new Olympic ideal: Winning is everything, whatever the cost. And if you can’t stand the heat get out of the game, like 25 per cent of us who simply have no desire for sex anymore.

Sure, there is one other alternative but this one is really only for the weak: Shut off your TV, don’t read the magazines that promise you the best sex ever or go to a comedy show in which a few hundred people have a jolly good laugh about all that rubbish from the sex advisers.

I think that’s why people come to my Show Sex Guru. To have a good laugh about the seriousness of sex and then they go home and get serious about having some fun. And if I have shamelessly advertised my own show just now, so be it. I have great fun doing it myself. And I’m not only talking about doing my show.

Wolfgang Weinberger stars in ‘Sex Guru: The Sexological Comedy Show’ at the Leicester Square Theatre throughout March and April

For more information visit www.sxguru.com
Source: The Independent UK.

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 Post subject: Re: Women and sex
PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 1:51 pm 
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Canadian pens erotic answer to "Fifty Shades" as a dare
By Elaine Lies
February 7, 2013

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Lisa Gabriele a.k.a. L. Marie Adeline

(Reuters) - Canadian novelist Lisa Gabriele never felt she was especially good at writing sex scenes, but when an editor dared her to write an erotic novel to rival the wildly popular global hit "Fifty Shades of Grey," she took up the challenge.

A week later she had some 40 pages written on "S.E.C.R.E.T.", the just-published story of an underground society that helps women realize their wildest sexual dreams.

"I'd always written about men and women and relationships, but I'd always thought of it as leaving the sex at the bedroom door and shoving them in and saying, 'Okay, I'll see you in the morning,'" said Gabriele, who wrote the novel and conducted her interview with Reuters under the pseudonym L. Marie Adeline. "I'd never really had the courage to tackle it."

Right away, she had the idea that women should have the chance to explore a wider variety of sexual fantasies than the S&M at the core of "Fifty Shades," the story of a naive student and a manipulative entrepreneur.

Enter S.E.C.R.E.T., a society that uses a 10-step programme to bring alive the most secret fantasies and desires of its members. The goal? Sexual fulfillment.

Since Gabriele's previous books, both of them Canadian bestsellers, dealt with quieter themes like coming-of-age and family dramas, she needed to do some research. Googling "Top Ten Female Sex Fantasies" helped, as did asking her friends. "I was surprised by how forthcoming they were," she said. "That was the wonderful thing about 'Fifty Shades' - it actually got people talking in explicit detail about things. I'm sure they'd always read (erotica), but I don't think they sat in book clubs and talked about being tied up."

A reader of Harlequin Romances and other bodice-rippers in her youth, Gabriele found that writing the book turned out to be much easier and more fun than she expected, though maintaining the right balance was sometimes tricky. "I didn't want to make it dark, I didn't want to use various words, the pornification of sex. I'm not a big porn consumer - I'm 45 years old, it's not a big part of my life," Gabriele said. "I wanted to keep the porny aspect away from this book. Every so often I would inadvertently head there, but my editor had a really firm leash on that, she would pull me back a bit."

Another unexpected challenge was realizing that character development was just as essential when writing erotica as with any other fiction - and following up on a quiet romance that began to emerge between two of her characters. "I was grateful for it," she said. "It was a nice break from all the sweating and panting to see these two people coming together slowly and figuring out that they actually might be in love with each other."

Though erotica has been around for decades, Gabriele said its current popularity may be an outgrowth of the "Twilight" vampire book and film franchise as well as Fifty Shades. The popularity of e-readers, which allow people to read anything they want in public without revealing their literary tastes, could also play a part.

Gabriele, whose identity was unmasked this week by state broadcaster the Canadian Broadcasting Corp (CBC) where she used to work, has a two-book deal for more erotica, and may write a third if the appetite is there. "But I don't know about a fourth," she said. "By then I might want to go back to my quiet little family dramas."

Source: Reuters.

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 Post subject: Re: Women and sex
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 5:18 am 
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Women and sex: the myth-buster
by Zoe Williams
Friday, 5 July 2013

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Men are the promiscuous, predatory, up-for-it sex, right? Wrong. Photograph: Daniel Seung Lee. Art director: Dawn Kim

I was on the Victoria line with my boyfriend, telling him about a new book by the American author Daniel Bergner, called What Do Women Want?

Its headline, traffic-stopping message is that women, routinely portrayed as the monogamous sex, are actually not very well-suited to monogamy. In fact, far from being more faithful than men, we may actually be more naturally promiscuous – more bored by habituation, more voracious, more predatory, more likely to objectify a mate. The expectation upon us not to feel, still less exhibit, any of these traits causes us to bury them, Bergner argues, giving rise to two phenomena.

First, women experience a loss of interest in sex within a marriage – commonly ascribed to low libido, but actually more a thwarted libido. Bergner interviewed a number of women in long-term relationships, many of whom elaborated on this waning desire. One woman said of her husband, "We did have sex maybe once a week, but it didn't reach me. My body would respond, but the pleasure was like the pleasure of returning library books. And the thing about being repulsed by him was, I felt my body was a room that I didn't want to mess up. Unlike that openness at the beginning, when my body was a room and I didn't mind if he came in with his shoes on."

The second, and perhaps more surprising phenomenon, is that all this thwarted sexual energy, like anything suppressed, has its power redoubled, to become something violent and alarming, if for any reason the brakes come off.

I thought I'd illustrate this to my boyfriend using two of Bergner's stories about monkeys. The first tells us that, in scientific tests, women become aroused when they watch a film of two copulating bonobos (men don't, by the way), and that they strongly deny this arousal when asked. The explanation, proffered tentatively by Bergner, is that female sexuality is as raw and bestial as male sexuality. But, unlike men, our animal urges are stoutly denied, by society and by ourselves, so that when they surface, it is not as a manageable stream, but as a rushing torrent that will sweep up everything it passes, even a pair of shagging primates. Bergner goes on to quote a 42-year-old woman named Rebecca, who had a threesome after her husband left her, and who makes an observation about the nature of female desire that is both poetic and precise. "The phrase that keeps coming into my head is that it's like a pregnancy of wanting. Pregnancy's not a good word – because it means pregnancy. It's that it's always there. Or always ready. And so much can set it off. Things you actually want and things you don't. Pregnant. Full. The pregnancy of women's desire. That's the best I can do."

You need only look at Fifty Shades Of Grey: at 5.3m copies, it is the biggest-selling book since UK records began. More than one in five British women owns a copy. On the basis that people lend things, let's say 10 million women have read it, or almost half Britain's adult female population.

People make arch remarks about how they wouldn't mind all the sex, if only it weren't so atrociously written. In fact, it's not badly written (the sequels are awful), but that's not the point. The story here is not the book, but the number of women who bought the book. For a period of time, when you got on a train, the carriage would be a third full of people reading erotica at 8.45 in the morning. Here were Bergner's raging waters of female sexuality that, once unstaunched, would tear everything up by the roots and sweep it along, from S&M to rape fantasies to love eggs. (Which, incidentally, nobody has got into because of the unsettling realisation – well documented on Mumsnet – that you can't tell they're there. "Is it me? Or the love egg? Should I have spent more than £7.99? Or is the problem my pelvic floor?" And so on.)

When people critique the book on literary grounds, or on the basis that it legitimises domestic abuse, they are wilfully stopping their ears to 10.6 million women's indomitable horniness. It makes them feel uncomfortable, squeamish. They could say, "Female sexuality makes me uncomfortable" but they don't. Instead, there is a snotty remark, a raised eyebrow. And this denial brings home the striking truth of Bergner's thesis: the shame that still attaches itself to female sexuality. These two hand grenades of his – that female sexuality is rigorously denied whenever it crops up; and that female sexual urges might be even more potent than men's – will not land lightly on this terrain.

To get back to Bergner's monkeys, he writes about the rhesus community at the Emory University primate observatory, studied by psychologist Kim Wallen. Bergner, a New York Times writer who has spent much of the past decade interviewing sex researchers and evaluating their work, discovered some surprising developments in the primate world. When I spoke to him, he explained how traditional theories of female passivity have been turned on their head: "With primatology, science has refused to see that females are the aggressors, the rulers, the initiators of sex. For so long, almost to a humorous extent, we have looked right past the truth; which is that the females are leaving their young, they're objectifying their mates, they're the agents of desire." He paused for a second, then added, almost exuberantly, "The psychologist had to keep getting rid of his male monkeys because the females got bored with them!"

By now we had pulled out of Stockwell station. My boyfriend was silent until we reached the next stop. "So, this piece about you wanting to have sex with a monkey – when's it running? Is it on our actual wedding day?"

"No. It is seven days before our wedding day."

A woman of 43, who has been married 10 years, told me, "Just before I married, I was reading an advice column in GQ. A guy had written in, saying, 'I'm about to get married. How do I face a lifetime of sex with the same person?' and the answer was, you'll get into panda/rabbit cycles. Sometimes you won't shag at all. Sometimes you'll shag all the time. I found the analogy depressing, as if getting married was like checking yourself into a zoo. Leaving the wilds, and choosing captivity."

I don't see marriage like that, but that's because I'm doing it in a different order. We've been together nine years and we have two children (five and three); they're the lock-in clause. I'm aware, nevertheless, of the asymmetry of expectation within a marriage, that husbands are meant to chafe at the bit, while wives are supposed not to notice it. It seems so obvious that this convention has built up to soothe male anxiety, I'm amazed by how surprised men are to find that it might not be true.

"Just a few days ago," Bergner tells me, "I had a male radio interviewer yelling at me on air. And when I finally had a finished manuscript, I gave it to a couple of married male friends, one of whom said, 'This is a cause for deep concern' and the other said, 'This scares the bejesus out of me.'" Well, yes; it is a little confronting, the idea that fidelity has no natural defender. "The level of self-delusion that we are capable of, here, especially men, is astonishing," the author laughs. I imagine it's like meeting your wife at 4am in the saloon bar of life. If you're here, who's minding the farm?

Bergner admits laconically, "There have been moments when I've looked over at my long-term girlfriend and thought, 'For how much longer am I going to be the recipient of your desire?'" Later, he paints a Woody Allenish picture of domestic neurosis. "Sure, we have conversations about it, as you can imagine. How can you not have this conversation, this exploration, constantly, with the person who's across from you at dinner and next to you in bed? But, no, I don't think she thinks of it as a threat. I think she laughs at me, because maybe she takes just a slight glimmer of pleasure in how threatened I feel."

We arrived at Pimlico and Yvette Cooper, the MP, got on and sat opposite us. We both looked at her intently, as she looked determinedly down. If you get any three women in conversation about the comprehensive spending review, they will, inevitably, arrive at the topic of whether or not they would do her husband, Ed Balls. So I was thinking the male equivalent of that line, "Behind every beautiful woman, there's a man who's bored with sleeping with her", wondering whether that's true of Cooper. Except, of course, that saying has no male equivalent. In the world in which such sayings are forged, women never get bored; only men get bored. Ergo, men have affairs and women simply lose that appetite. One of the questions Bergner poses is whether or not the search for female Viagra is really a quest for a medical solution to monogamy. Which is an amusing thought: we invent statins to counteract our fat-fuelled, sedentary lifestyles, and then aphrodisiacs to counteract our relationship choices, which, it turns out, we actually don't find very sexy.

There are obvious reasons for these choices, however: as Bergner points out, we are attached to monogamy as a way to hold families together, and women have become the main defenders of this social contract. "We are invested in women as mothers, and we value them as the backbone of our social structure. The maternal ideal is this indomitable force of stability that we can lean on. You know, it's the New York mayoral race at the moment. Anthony Weiner, who was busy a year or so ago texting naked pictures of himself to women, had his career destroyed and is now back as the true challenger. We're not threatened by his anarchic, out-of-control sexuality. We can still conceive of him as a leader. But it's hard to imagine a woman having gone through that being able to make a comeback so quickly. The comparable woman we can't be happy with, because of that idea of woman as backbone, woman as someone to lean on and, finally, woman as mother."

Women have collaborated with, even driven, this narrative. Speaking personally, femininity has never held any interest for me; I have never wanted to be restrained, or discerning, or sober, or conciliatory, or mysterious, or small. But if anyone assumed that I would put my sexual gratification before my children, that I would do any of those things that men do – leave my family and start a new one – I would be mortified. Furious.

It is not easy to take apart or let go of that central maternal idea, in which women subordinate themselves entirely to their children; you can't just fit into this picture a sexual appetite as potent and heedless and devil-may-care as a man's. You have to rip up the whole picture and start again.

The funny thing is, in every conversation I've had with friends about sex, every woman I know has said, not proudly but quizzically, "I think I'm more like a man" or some variation of this. I don't think any of them would buy for a second the idea that women need more emotional connection to have sex, or that women don't objectify people's bodies, or that women wouldn't want a one-night stand. But, on some level, we have been conditioned to believe that the "try anything once" gene – the urge to sleep with everyone, just to see what happens – doesn't exist for women. This idea of women as innately discriminating, not necessarily averse to sex with strangers, but surely too picky to choose a stranger purely for his or her unfamiliarity, this idea of the female as the gender that doesn't think about sex every seven minutes, has permeated the cultural groundwater completely. It's plainly rubbish, but it's tenacious, because women who don't conform to expectations of womanly choosiness, who are rapacious, assume they have some male trait they weren't supposed to have. It blows my mind a little bit that we never said, "Hang on, if you're like a man, and I'm like a man, is it possible that we're all just like men?"

We got off the train at King's Cross. He (my boyfriend) said, "You couldn't run it six weeks after the wedding?"

"Not really. But it's nice that you think only the wedding is jeopardised by me wanting to have sex with a monkey, and not the marriage itself."

He shrugged. "Where are you going to meet a monkey?"

Source: Guardian UK.

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 Post subject: Re: Women and sex
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 4:07 pm 
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The Scandalous Truth About Russian Men
27 August 2013
by Natalia Antonova

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Diana Bruk

Earlier this month, Russian-American journalist Diana Bruk shocked the delicate sensibilities of the American reading public by writing a no-holds-barred account of why she loves (and hates!) dating Russian men.

In her essay, published by Salon.com, Bruk talked about how her feminist sensibilities came up against her carnal desires when she dated Russians. She talked about how fun, scary, unpredictable and exciting it is to date a Russian man if you happen to also be a modern girl who graduated from Sarah Lawrence. She talked about the possessive and aggressive nature of many of the men she dated, and how it combined itself with the sort of passion and tenderness her American lovers frequently lacked.

She talked about how the Russian ideal of masculinity is both thrilling and damaging – a kind of conundrum that, to me, immediately brought back the words from that old U2 song: “With or without you / With or without you / I can’t live / With or without you.”

Many Russians were outraged, saying Bruk had stereotyped them. Many other Russians were delighted, saying that Bruk’s incredible honesty about her personal experiences proved once and for all that Russian dudes simply do it better – and not just when it comes to sex. Some Americans were also obviously offended. Other Americans used Bruk’s essay as “proof” that the feminist movement is a bunch of BS.

What was most interesting to me was seeing the number of commenters who essentially told Bruk that they hope she eventually marries a Russian – and that he will go on to knock her teeth out. That, they reasoned, is appropriate punishment for an uppity girl who dares to be open about the fact that she wants “a man who’s a gentleman at dinner and an animal in bed” and that every once in a while, she just wants to scream to an awkward and conscientious Western lover that sex “isn’t a dinner party. You’re not writing an essay. Just let go.”

Like Bruk, I have also encountered the notion that domestic violence should be a kind of punitive experience for a woman who has chosen to associate with the “wrong” kind of man. A reader who disagrees with me on something will dig around on the Internet, find out that I married a Russian, and start sending me hate mail with such charming sentiments as, “I hope he hits you regularly – since that’s the only thing these guys are good for.”

At the heart of this issue is the archaic notion of “our women” vs. “their women.” A woman can’t belong to several cultures, you see. She must be “claimed” by someone – and to suffer accordingly. This possessiveness is not exclusive to Russians by a long shot, and seeing the number of people wishing Bruk ill made me realize that they all protest too much. “Yeah, we think domestic violence in Russia is wrong – and that’s why we hope it happens to you!” Right.

According to the latest findings of Russia’s State Statistics Service, one in five Russian women is abused physically by her partner, while a total of 40 percent suffer from verbal abuse. These aren’t numbers to be taken lightly – and the idea that a “real man” must dominate his woman in every way, which is common in Russia, does feed into the problem of abuse, whether we like to admit this or not.

Yet I also think it is very silly to assume that a woman who wants a man to take charge every once in a while – particularly in bed – is simply asking for abuse. Furthermore, dismissing Bruk’s internal struggle on the subject of equality and desire as a form of adolescent posturing is a cop-out. It amounts to whitewashing the complexities of relationships in general. The strength of Bruk’s piece lies in the discomfort it generates for everyone. Bruk admitted something she was not supposed to admit – the idea that desire doesn’t deal in absolutes. It’s no wonder people want to see her get her teeth knocked out.

Source: Ria Novosti.

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 Post subject: Re: Women and sex
PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2013 5:34 pm 
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Orgasms uncommon in women during casual sex
November 12, 2013



BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (UPI) -- Women are much less likely to have a sexual climax during casual sex than in committed relationships, U.S. researchers say.

"We've been sold this bill of goods that we're in an era where people can be sexually free and participate equally in the hookup culture," Justin Garcia, an assistant research scientist at Indiana University's Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction, told The New York Times. "The fact is that not everyone's having a good time," he said.

A study Garcia led involving 600 college students found women were half as likely to reach orgasm from intercourse or oral sex in hookups as they were serious relationships.

The study, with researchers Sean Massey, Ann Merriwether and Susan Seibold-Simpson of the State University of New York at Binghamton, was presented to the International Academy of Sex Research and the Association for Psychological Science this year and reported in the Times Tuesday. "Women are not feeling very free in these casual contexts to say what they want and need," New York University sociologist Paula England told the Times.

England, who led a separate study of 24,000 students at 21 colleges over five years, found about 40 percent of women had an orgasm during their last recreational-sex encounter involving intercourse, while 80 percent of men did. By contrast, about 75 percent of the women in the survey said they had an orgasm the last time they had sex in a committed relationship.

Part of the problem is that women may still feel a stigma for desiring physical pleasure without emotional bonding, England said. Vanessa Martini, 23, from Marin County, Calif., told the Times she quickly learned most men she slept with casually didn't figure out what she wanted in bed. "I haven't hooked up with anybody who was so cavalier as to just, like, not even care," she said. "But I think most of them were somewhat baffled that it would require more than just them thrusting." Martini said most popular cultural depictions of sex that she'd seen didn't depict much reality. "The way we view sex in porn and in movies and in books, people aren't talking to each other like, 'Oh, my foot's falling asleep, we need to move,'" she said.

At the same time, filmmaker Kim Huynh, 29, of San Francisco, told the newspaper when she was in college she consciously sacrificed orgasms for other no-strings-attached sexual benefits. "As far as my ability to climax consistently, that's something I was able to have in my monogamous relationships," which she didn't have in less committed relationships, she told the newspaper. But Huynh was willing to accept second-rate sex "for the freedom to be able to enjoy it all," she said.

Source: UPI.

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 Post subject: Re: Women and sex
PostPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2013 2:50 pm 
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The truth about women and sex : They start younger and have more partners – and those are not necessarily men
by Steve Connor
Tuesday, 26 November 2013

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Women have caught up with men in the sexual revolution - and have even overtaken them in the case of same-sex relationships - but they are still the ones who pay the biggest price in terms of sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies, the national sex survey has found.

Four times as many women now report same-sex experiences with other women compared to 20 years ago. They are also starting to have sex earlier in the lives and are having more sexual partners over their lifetime than a generation ago, according to the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, published in The Lancet.

However, one in ten women say that they have been forced to have sex against their will, compared to one in 71 men, and women who have had just one or two sexual partners are up to three times more likely than men with less than two partners to be infected with chlamydia.

"We can see that the pace of change has been different for men and for women in the last decades. The gap previously seen between them has been closing," said Professor Kaye Wellings of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, one of the survey's lead authors. "For some aspects of sexual behaviour, for example numbers of partners, it has narrowed, for others, such as age at first sex, it has closed and yet in other respects, such as same-sex experience, women have overtaken men," Professor Wellings said. "Whilst same-sex experiences have remained relatively constant among men, it has increased markedly among women. Although a minority of women have reported sex with another woman, that proportion increased from 4 per cent in 1990 to 16 per cent in 2010 and 2012," she said.

Asked whether this four-fold increase was real or an artefact of the survey, she added: "I think it's too big to be simply an artefact of reporting. We can see signs in the media that there have been changes in the representation of women. There have been celebrities who have apparently embraced same-sex experiences. We do see women kissing together and so on."

The four-fold increase in sexual activity between women - which does not necessarily include genital contact - is one of the most dramatic shifts in behaviour identified by the survey, which was carried out between 2010 and 2012 and involved detailed interviews with more than 15,000 adults aged between 16 and 74 about their sexual behaviour and attitudes.

"We do see a progressive decrease in the onset of sexual activity and at the same time we see an increase in the age of first cohabitation and of becoming a parent. Because those intervals have increased, the length of time the individuals are more at risk of adverse sexual health outcomes has increased," Professor Wellings said. "Women are more likely to have had a sexually transmitted infection and are obviously more likely to have an unplanned pregnancy," she said.

It is the third such national sex survey. The first survey, published in 1990 by the Wellcome Trust medical charity after the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had banned it, laid new ground in the scientific study of what goes on between consenting adults in British bedrooms. Since that first study, there have been a number of emerging trends, notably a continuing decrease in the age at which both men and women start to have sex. There is also a slight decrease in the frequency of sex, which has fallen to less than five times a month on average for both men and women compared with just over six times a month a decade ago.

In the 16-to-24 age group, about 31 per cent of men and 29 per cent of women report having sex before the age of 16 years, which is not significantly different from previous surveys. However, the increase in the number of sexual partners seen during the 1990s has levelled off for both men and women, Professor Wellings said. "At the start of the 21st Century the picture is more complex. Generally it's characterised by diversity. The trend towards increasing numbers of sexual partners has not continued for men [and] it has slowed for women," she said.

Although more people are having sex earlier, the attitude of both men and women to sex outside marriage has hardened since 1990, with disapproval ratings increasing from 45 per cent to 63 per cent for men and from 53 per cent to 70 per cent for women.

Professor Dame Anne Johnson of University College London said: "We tend to think that these days we live in an increasingly sexually liberated society, but the truth is far more complex."

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Source: The Independent UK.

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 Post subject: Re: Women and sex
PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:37 am 
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Sexy adverts turn women off, research shows
by Felicity Morse
Thursday, 5 December 2013

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It may be time to review the adage ‘sex sells’, not only because this tired old maxim caps creativity but because it simply doesn’t work.

New research has show that using sexually explicit imagery in magazine and TV ads puts women off buying products, unless it is a superior and expensive item.

The findings, published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, suggest this disparity is down to the fact that women have evolved to see sex as a special and prized act. If the price is hiked to suggest exclusivity, women’s instinctively unfavourable reaction toward sexual imagery softens.

“Women generally show spontaneous negative attitudes toward sexual images,” writes psychological scientist Kathleen Vohs, a researcher at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, and colleagues. “Sexual economics theory offers a reason why: The use of sexual imagery is inimical to women’s vested interest in sex being portrayed as infrequent, special, and rare.”

To test their theory, Vohs and colleagues Jaideep Sengupta and Darren Dahl made men and women watch adverts for women’s watches. The watch was either associated with a sexually explicit image or a majestic mountain range, a more neutral seen. Some ads priced the watch at $10 and others at $1,250. The participants were made to memorize a 10 digit code before watching the advert to prevent them over-analysing their reaction.

Vohs writes: “As predicted, women found sexual imagery distasteful when it was used to promote a cheap product, but this reaction to sexual imagery was mitigated if the product promoted was expensive. This pattern was not observed among men. Furthermore, we predicted and found that sexual ads promoting cheap products heightened feelings of being upset and angry among women. These findings suggest that women’s reactions to sexual images can reveal deep-seated preferences about how sex should be used and understood.”

This isn’t the first study to show women dislike over-sexualised adverts. Despite ongoing research in this area, the percentage of adverts using sex to sell products rose from 15 percent to 27 percent from 1983 to 2003. According to a study in 2012, by Tom Reichert, a professor of advertising and public relations at the University of Georgia, 22 percent of ads included sexualised women while only 6 percent featured men in a prone position.

Yet research presented at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication convention in 2006,showed that the more seductive the model in an advert , the more it left the women bored and uninterested.

Source: The Independent UK.

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 Post subject: Re: Women and sex
PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 12:24 pm 
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Sex is not just for younger women, study shows
by Heather Saul
Tuesday, 11 February 2014

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Alec Baldwin and Meryl Streep in It's Complicated

Middle-aged women who are sexually active are likely to carry on having sex for decades after, according to a new study suggesting many women do not lose interest in sex as they get older.

In fact, most middle-aged women do not stop having sex as they age even if they are diagnosed with sexual dysfunction, especially if sex is important to them, research has found.

A team of researchers based at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center recruited 602 women between the ages of 40 and 65 and asked them to report if they were sexually active, and how important they felt sex was in their lives. Lead author Dr Holly Thomas said the results dispelled popular public perception that as women age, sex becomes unimportant, and that women stop having sex completely as they get older. "From our study, it looks like most women continue to have sex during midlife," she said.

Typically, doctors use the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) test to diagnose sexual problems and dysfunction experienced by women. The index includes 19 questions about arousal, orgasm, vaginal lubrication and pain during intercourse. But, "it may be detrimental to label a woman as sexually dysfunctional," Dr Thomas said, who used the FSFI test in her research.

At the start of the study, published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal, 354 (66.3 percent) of the women reported being sexually active when they first took the test. Four years later, 228 of those women who took the test again reported still being sexually active. Women who rated sex as important were three times as likely to remain sexually active as women who rated it as unimportant, Thomas said. "In contrast to prior research, we found that most sexually active midlife women remain sexually active," the study concluded.

The authors also found that sexual function, as measured by the FSFI index, failed to predict whether the women continued to have sex, leading them to suggest the instrument "may be labeling women as dysfunctional when women don't have a problem." The index's "focus on intercourse may not accurately reflect what constitutes satisfying sex in this population, yielding falsely low scores," Dr Thomas wrote.

Source: Independent UK.

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 Post subject: Re: Women and sex
PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 1:23 pm 
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Sexually active midlife women continue to have sex
By Ronnie Cohen
February 10, 2014

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Most women who are sexually active when they enter middle age continue to engage sexually as they grow older, even if they were diagnosed with sexual dysfunction, new research shows.

"There's this popular public perception that as women age, sex becomes unimportant, and that women just stop having sex as they get older," lead author Dr. Holly Thomas told Reuters Health. "From our study, it looks like most women continue to have sex during midlife," she said. "It may be detrimental to label a woman as sexually dysfunctional," said Thomas, from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Psychologists and doctors have been debating the value of diagnosing women with sexual dysfunction since soon after the 1998 release of the erectile-dysfunction pill Viagra set off a search for a female version of the blockbuster drug. Doctors use a test called the Female Sexual Function Index to diagnose women's sexual problems. The index includes 19 questions about arousal, orgasm, vaginal lubrication and pain during intercourse.

In the current study, 354 middle-aged and older Pittsburgh women who reported being sexually active when they first took the test took it again four years later. More than 85 percent of women reported that they remained sexually active when they took the test the second time between the ages of 48 and 73. Nevertheless, those women generally scored low on the sexual-function index, with an average score of 22.3 - below the cutoff of 26.55 considered sexually dysfunctional.

The authors were surprised to find that sexual function, as measured by the index, failed to predict whether the women continued to have sex. They theorized that the instrument "may be labeling women as dysfunctional when women don't have a problem," Thomas said. The index's "focus on intercourse may not accurately reflect what constitutes satisfying sex in this population, yielding falsely low scores," she and her colleagues write.

Race, weight, relationship status and how important women deemed sex - rather than their scores on the sexual-function index - were the most important predictors of sexual activity, according to findings published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Women who rated sex as important were three times as likely to remain sexually active as women who rated it as unimportant, Thomas said. White women were most likely to stay sexually engaged, the researchers found. So were thinner women. "Whether that has to do with health or body image, we don't know," Thomas said.

Prior research has shown that obese women's sexual function may return after bariatric surgery and significant weight loss. "We've seen from other research that a healthy sex life is a predictor of longevity," Thomas said. "So understanding sex might have broader implications for overall health," she added. "To narrowly focus on the physical symptoms and to try to look for a magic pill to me isn't going to work. I'm more interested in a holistic approach, not just physical factors, but also emotional and relationship factors," Thomas said.

Leonore Tiefer, a New York University School of Medicine psychiatry researcher, argued in a 2006 journal article in PLOS Medicine that the pharmaceutical industry concocted and promoted the notion of female sexual dysfunction "as a textbook case of disease mongering . . . to create a sense of widespread sexual inadequacy and interest in drug treatments." Tiefer was not involved in the current study but in an email to Reuters Health praised it for resisting "simple-minded thinking and marketing pressure. There is continuing drug industry pressure to get some sort of ‘female Viagra' approved, despite drug dangers and ineffectiveness," she wrote.

Dr. Camelia Davtyan told Reuters Health she would welcome a better instrument than the sexual-function index. But she does use it and finds it a valuable tool. Director of women's health at the UCLA Comprehensive Health Program, Davtyan was not involved in the current study. The results, however, resonated with her clinical experience, though the Pittsburgh patients were not as old as many of hers in Los Angeles, she said. "A lot of our patients continue to have sex even if they have low libido or vaginal dryness," she said. "It's just that they need help."

Last week, a 79-year-old woman complained to Davtyan that she was bleeding during intercourse. The doctor prescribed daily vaginal lubricants and vaginal estrogen. "How am I going to use these results for her?" she asked. "I can't because she's too old."

SOURCE: bit.ly/1bjKKa8 JAMA Internal Medicine, online February 10, 2014.
Article source: Reuters.

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