The truth about having sex while you’re pregnant

Nine months would, for many people, be a long time to go without sex. Understandably, the prospect of such an extended dry spell may make the newly pregnant feel some anxiety.

So can you have sex while pregnant? Of course, according to the Mayo Clinic, so long as your doctor hasn’t advised against it due to a complication. Know that the fetus is cushioned by amniotic fluid in the amniotic sac, as well as your uterine muscles. It won’t get poked or crushed or jostled by a penis or toy or anything of that ilk—don’t worry. 

And with that, here are some answers to other commonly asked sex-during-pregnancy questions.

What you should know about sex while pregnant

When should I abstain from sex while pregnant?

Before you undertake sex during pregnancy, definitely consult a doctor rather than the internet alone. For most people, provided they aren’t experiencing complications, pregnancy sex isn’t likely to end in miscarriage or (despite what you may have learned on Friends) speed along labor.

Some things that might indicate it’s time to abstain are, according to vaginal bleeding or unusual discharge, a dilated or shortened cervix, premature labor, a low-lying placenta encroaching on your cervix (a condition called placenta previa), the presence of untreated sexually transmitted infections, and a genital herpes outbreak, either yours or your partner’s. In any of those scenarios, speak with a healthcare provider before getting down to business.

Photo via Pixabay

What about oral or anal sex while pregnant?

Of course, vaginal sex isn’t the only option: According to the Mayo Clinic, oral sex is a safe bet during pregnancy so long as your partner is very careful not to blow air into the vagina, which sounds like a good thing to avoid regardless. Apparently, it can trigger pregnancy complications serious enough to threaten the fetus’ and your existence.

Anal sex, on the other hand, is perfectly fine so long as it’s comfortable. Be cautious and don’t switch from anus to vagina without washing the penis or toy first. That can introduce infection-causing bacteria into the vagina, which is not fun when a person isn’t pregnant and becomes potentially dangerous when they are.

Hormonal and bodily changes might also mean you simply aren’t interested in sex during portions of pregnancy, which is totally fine. Breast tenderness, back pain, a general feeling of unwieldiness—these are all things that could understandably make a person feel less sexy than usual. You should have sex, while pregnant or otherwise, only when you want to.

Photo via Pexels (CC-BY)

Can you have unprotected sex while pregnant?

Unprotected sex during pregnancy isn’t necessarily a bad idea, but the only time we can responsibly recommend abandoning a condom is when you and your partner have both been recently tested for and cleared of sexually transmitted infections, and when you’re in a mutually monogamous relationship. If there is any chance at all that your partner might have an STI, and/or if you are having sex with a new partner while pregnant, use protection. Contracting an infection while pregnant can have a number of health-threatening effects on both the mother and the fetus, and can mean that the baby is born with that infection.

Photo via Pixabay (CC-BY)

How long can you have sex while pregnant?

Personally, I am not sure if this means “for how long can a pregnant person have sex during a single sex session” (to which I would say, to completion if it feels good) or “for how long into a pregnancy is it safe to have sex.” Assuming it’s the latter, you can have sex until you go into labor, again, provided your pregnancy is free of complications. And as warns, if you do not have herpes (oral or genital) but your partner is positive, it’s advisable to abstain from sex (oral, vaginal, and anal) for the duration of the third trimester. For reference, that starts at week 28.  

What happens if you have bleeding or cramping during sex while you’re pregnant?

The American Pregnancy Association is adamant that nothing—neither tampon nor penis nor sex toy—be inserted into a bleeding vagina if its owner is pregnant. While bleeding is far from atypical during the first trimester, during the second or third, it’s cause for concern: bleeding and cramping can be signs of miscarriage or an infection.

The APA advises that, if you bleed after intercourse during the first half of pregnancy, it’s probably because of cervical tenderness, but sex should still be avoided until you’re cleared by a doctor. If you’re bleeding in the second half, consult your physician right away.

Photo via Pixabay (CC-BY)

What are the best sex positions while pregnant?

The best sex position is the most comfortable sex position, and what’s comfortable will change as the pregnancy progresses. Early on, when you haven’t yet begun or are just beginning to show, a pregnant uterus won’t be much of a barrier to any position. advocates the intense-sounding “sit and stare”—straddle your seated partner and stare at one another’s eyeballs—for heterosexual couples, along with doggy style and side sex. Missionary and other such supine positions apparently put pressure on the aorta as the uterus expands, which could potentially restrict blood flow to the placenta and thus, oxygen to the baby. The farther along you get, the more advisable it is to have vaginal sex from the side (spooning) or behind, with the pregnant party on top or perched on the edge of a bed or a counter or a sturdy table.

Again, when it comes to matters of medical concern, doctors are always a better source of information than the internet.

Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance. 

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Sex Education May Need To Change As Teenagers Explore Their Sexuality More

With pornography only being a swipe or a tap away, it’s becoming increasingly accessible, especially amongst curious teenagers. Now, researchers claim it may be part of the reason why those aged 16-24 are steering away from “traditional” sex. To reflect this change, they argue that sex educators need to update the information they provide in sexual health classes in order to support young people’s health and sexual wellbeing. 

The study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, noted that although vaginal penetration and oral sex were still amongst the most common practices, anal sex was climbing up there too. In 1990 to 1991, it was around one in 10 women and men who said they had performed vaginal, oral, and anal sex during the last year, but as times have changed, it is now around one in five women and one in four men.

The team from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and University of College London also noted that the age of when teens were first having sex has not changed much over the last few decades. Nearly 25 years ago (between 1990 and 1996), the average age of first intercourse was 14. For this group, the average age for first dabbling into oral, vaginal, or anal play was 16.

Lead author Dr Ruth Lewis, from the University of Glasgow at the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Science Unit, shared that education on sexuality and relationships needs to keep up with trends amongst young adults. It’s important that what they’re being educated, it reflects what they are experiencing.

“By shedding light on when some young people are having sex and what kinds of sex they are having, our study highlights the need for accurate sex and relationships education that provides opportunities to discuss consent and safety in relation to a range of sexual practices,” Lewis added in a statement. “This will equip young people with the information and skills they need to maximise their wellbeing from the outset of their sexual lives.”

Back in March of this year, the BBC announced that the government had made sex education compulsory for all school across England. Although parents are allowed to opt out their children, by 2019 sex education will be a topic all schools touch on when of age.

Primary school students were part of the new regulations too, adding that kids as young as four would be taught about safe and healthy relationships.

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What sets apart the ‘Biggest Losers’ who keep off the weight

(CNN)After competing in “The Biggest Loser,” many of the reality-show contestants have reluctantly regained the weight they sought to lose through extreme dieting and exercise.

“The truth is, I kind of spiraled,” Ali Vincent, the first woman to win the competition, told Oprah last year. “I got home and I was like, ‘What do I do?’
“I’m supposed to be strong. I’m supposed to know how to do this.”
    But some contestants discovered for themselves the key to keeping their weight down long after the cameras turned off, according to a study published Monday.
    Six years after appearing on the show, a group of 14 contestants had kept off a median 13% of their original body weight. The researchers split the group in two — the “maintainers,” who had kept a substantial amount of the weight off,and the “regainers,” who did not — and looked at what set them apart.
    “Did they cut more calories from their diet … or did they become more physically active?” asked study author Kevin Hall, a senior investigator with the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
    Hall had been “puzzled by how quickly the contestants were losing weight.” So he contacted the show’s physician and began studying the season eight contestants.
    Early on, Hall observed that weight loss was better predicted by food intake, not physical activity alone. But in the long term, the opposite was true.
    “You have to be very physically active in order to keep the weight off,” Hall said.
    The “maintainers,” who kept off about 25% of their preshow weight on average, increased their physical activity by roughly 160% from before the competition. Those who regained the weight increased their activity only 34%. They were 1.1% heavier on average than their original weight.
    The researchers couldn’t find any major differences between the food intake of both groups; both cut their calories by about the same amount.
    “While we know that the most important aspect of helping one lose weight is the dietary intake, that is pretty much reversed when it comes to weight loss maintenance,” said Dr. Jennifer Kraschnewski, associate professor of medicine and public health sciences at the Penn State College of Medicine. She was not involved in the study.
    Hall’s findings echo previous studies that promote more exercise for long-term weight loss maintenance. However, experts caution that doesn’t mean people can neglect their diets in the long run, either.
    To maintain the weight loss, Hall’s team estimated that contestants would need to engage in 80 minutes of moderate activity or 35 minutes of vigorous activity each day beyond what they were doing at baseline.
    This is far beyond the leading guidelines for physical activity from groups like the American Heart Association and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which “are far too low for maintaining weight loss,” Hall said.
    The researchers didn’t observe the contestants working out directly. They used tools like traceable water molecules to figure out how much energy was expended — the “gold standard” measurements in this type of research, Kraschnewski said. Many larger studies have instead asked people to self-report how much they exercised, which can be riddled with errors.
    This method, however, was not able to tell how much of the physical activity was due to normal daily activities — like cleaning the house or walking the dog — versus following a workout plan, Hall said.
    Part of the reason the contestants’ weight rebounded was because of “metabolic slowing,” Hall said. As contestants lost weight during the competition, their bodies burned fewer calories than expected.
    “This can make it more difficult to lose weight and is another hurdle to overcome,” Kraschnewski said. After going on a very low-calorie diet, “the body’s mechanisms kick in to preserve body mass at all costs.”
    Six years later, however, the contestants’ resting metabolisms still hadn’t sped back up, Hall showed in a study last year.
    This is a stark difference from people who have had gastric bypass surgery for weight loss, whose metabolisms may speed back up in a year’s time, Kraschnewski said. Researchers are trying to figure out why this is — and it may have something to do with the intricate connections between the gut, brain and hormones that regulate hunger, Kraschnewski added.
    For Hall, metabolic changes are just one part of the puzzle. Genetics may also play a role, as well as social factors that can make it hard for some people to incorporate so much exercise in their daily lives.
    “To do that requires a huge investment of time and energy,” he said. “The bar is set very high for those folks to be able to maintain the weight loss without surgery or drugs.”

    See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.

    Hall added that it’s not necessarily those who were most physically active during the competition who kept it up six years later.
    “You can’t really reproduce the expectation that those individuals must have had on the show to lose weight — the pressure,” Kraschnewski said.
    “The take-home point here is that obesity really is a disease,” she said. “It’s not something that you can treat once and will cure it. It’s something that has to be continually addressed in one’s life.”

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    Man convicted of killing and cooking dog

    Image copyright PAcemaker
    Image caption Dominic O’Connor told police he cut up the collie’s carcass with an axe and bread knife

    A 27-year-old man from County Down has been convicted of killing and cooking a dog, before feeding it to another pet.

    Dominic O’Connor strangled four-year-old collie, Jess, with a lead before cooking it using “a few onions and an Oxo cube” last December.

    O’Connor, who suffers from a personality disorder, was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a dog, which he had bought on Facebook.

    He is due to be sentenced next month.

    At the two-day-trial, Downpatrick Crown court was told that O’Connor, formerly known as William Moscari, bought the dog on Facebook.

    During police questioning, he explained how he had tried to strangle the animal with one lead, but because it had “too much give” he used a smaller one.

    He said he then cut the animal up, cooking some of it and feeding it to another dog.

    “I cooked it and fed it to the other dog with a few onions and an Oxo cube and salt and pepper,” he said.

    O’Connor then cut up the dog’s carcass with an axe and bread knife, burned it on a fire and dumped the ashes in Portavogie harbour.

    The incident was uncovered when O’Connor, of Roden Street in Kircubbin, told hospital health professionals what he had done.

    Police then visited his house, where they found burned dog hair and a liquid on the grate of the fire.

    A friend of O’Connor’s told the jury she had seen the collie one day, but noticed it was missing the following day.

    She added that she noticed the shower screen had been pulled across in O’Connor’s bathroom and that the house “seemed strange… there was a weird smell to it”.

    She said he had later confessed that he had strangled the dog, put it in the shower and then into the bin once she had left.

    O’Connor conceded that people would be disgusted by his actions, and recognised “part of it was wrong”.

    He will appear in court for sentencing on 21 November.

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    This Is Why Copay-Free Birth Control Is So Important To Me

    Why Copay-Free Birth Control Is So Important For My Health, Profession, & Wealth

    Today, as I do every three months, I went to my local pharmacy to pick up my birth control. As I walked up to the counter, I let out a sigh relief that I didn’t have to open my wallet to receive my chosen form of contraception. This is all thanks to the birth control benefit included in the Affordable Care Act, which designated birth control as preventive health care and made all FDA-approved contraceptives copay-free with insurance.

    I am one of the more than 62.4 million women across the country who have access to copay-free birth control because of this benefit. But in October, President Trump rolled back this copay-free birth control coverage, immediately allowing any company or university to deny birth control coverage if it conflicts with “religious” or “moral” beliefs. While I don’t believe my employer will take away my birth control coverage, thousands of other women will not be so lucky. And President Trump’s actions could cost these women hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars each year — the cost of trying to have control over their own futures.

    I started taking birth control nine years ago when I was a college student. College was a turning point in my life — I was investing in my future and excited for what it might hold. I wanted to put preventative measures in place that would allow me to concentrate on my education. Nine years later, my birth control has given me peace of mind to know that I have control over one part of my life. I’ve been in a committed relationship for almost 13 years and we’ve always known that we both have goals we want to achieve before taking the next step to have a family.

    Keep Birth Control Copay Free on YouTube

    Trust me when I say that finding the best birth control for me wasn’t easy. Staying away from the pill (I knew I could not for the life of me remember to take a pill every day), I ultimately landed on the NuvaRing, which I’ve been using ever since.

    Right now at 26, I’m able to focus on developing my career and saving for retirement. I’m building an “emergency” savings account to ensure I have funds available in case I lose my job or get sick. I want the peace of mind in knowing I won’t have to struggle to support myself.

    Not only has having copay-free birth control allowed me to control my life, it’s helped my bank account. Over the last five years since the birth control benefit was put in place, I’ve saved almost $125 each month and nearly $1,000 in 2017 alone. I use what I’ve saved from birth control to increase my “emergency” fund, invest in my future, and expand my horizons through my favorite hobby: travel.

    Without copay-free protection, the cost for my annual birth control is nearly equal to one month’s rent. My Nuvaring is the same cost as a monthly MetroCard that gets me to and from work. And for low income families, paying for birth control could mean skipping a meal here and there.

    Why are we putting women and their families in the position to choose between two things they need to succeed?

    Copay-free birth control should be a standard benefit for women across the country. It’s mind boggling that the Trump administration would create loopholes for any company to deny birth control coverage to their employees when contraception has been such an important benefit to our economy, our society, and our families.

    Women should be making our own healthcare decisions. Not our bosses and not our government. That’s why I’m joining women across the country to stand against President Trump’s efforts to roll back women’s health. We will fight back.

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    Clothing Optional: What Its Like To Be A Nudist

    QC Photography

    It is 1:33 a.m. on a Saturday night and I am at church. Or more precisely, I am standing on the roof of a Ukrainian cathedral in North Melbourne. “I can feel the wind through my pubes,” Jordan giggles from the other side of the domed structure. I glance over and see the hazy outline of his lanky body, backlit against the glittering panorama of the CBD.

    Oh, did I forget to mention? We are butt naked.

    This is how Jordan, a 21-year-old Bachelor of Science student, regularly spends his free evenings. He is vegan, an avid reader of Chuck Palahniuk and a nudist.

    Some nights, he sneaks into rail yards and dances naked on top of train cars. Others, he goes for jogs around deserted parks at 2:00 a.m. in the nude. “Whenever I do stuff at night, I like to just get naked and meditate and relax,” he says, eyes half closed, legs dangling precariously over the scaffolding that snakes around the church tower.

    If the rickety wooden planks underneath us decide to give, there is a 20-metre drop to the pavement below. Not exactly my idea of a meditative environment.

    I had agreed to risk my life and conduct our interview sans clothing, partially for the experience, partially to say I got naked in the name of journalism. Which is how I found myself perched on the highest structure around for kilometres, with breeze caressing parts of my body that had never felt breeze before.

    Jordan assures me we will not be caught. “I primarily do it at night because I don’t really want the scrutiny of society,” he says, one hand on the rug of a ladder leaning against the scaffolding, “Shall we keep climbing?”

    Nudists, not to be confused with exhibitionists, do not find thrill in exposing themselves to the unsuspecting public, but rather enjoy the freedom of being nude in a non-sexual setting. According to the International Naturist Foundation, nudism (also known as naturism) focuses on “self-respect, the respect for others and the environment.”

    That Jordan and I are breaking the law is merely circumstantial. In fact, nudists generally convene in designated clothing-optional areas or on private property, and take part in regular activities such as yoga, pool parties, or even hiking.

    Jordan discovered the lifestyle in Year 8, after developing insecurities about his body due to constant bullying. “Everyone was so narcissistically-driven and people would always comment on my nose and how skinny I was and I was always like, oh shit, maybe someday I’ll just get surgery and I’ll bulk up.”

    Having hit puberty before his friends, Jordan’s body became the subject of much discussion in the change rooms. He recalls the unwarranted comments about his developing pubic hair: “I’d be like, stop talking about my penis.” He pauses. “I’d be just as insecure if people were talking about my knees or my face.”

    Jordan began spending more and more time unclothed in the privacy of his own bedroom, as a way of conquering his insecurities. “At the end of the day, some people will find me attractive, other people won’t,” he says pragmatically, “There’s no point in me investing my energy and trying to look like something when I could just not give a fuck.”

    Jordan is hardly alone when it comes to his experience of body-consciousness. A national survey conducted in 2016 by Mission Australia revealed that young Australians, both male and female, identified body image as their third major issue of concern. Of the 21,846 participants, 30.6% indicated that they are extremely or very concerned.

    When the standard for what our bodies should look like are contrived, hyper-sexualized images of unattainable ideals, force-fed to us through magazines, billboards, and digital screens, it is no wonder our perception of beauty is so skewed. We spend billions of dollars each year on the newest clothing trends, cosmetics, fad diets, detox teas, protein powders, and the list goes on, all in hopes of buying acceptance and self-worth.

    Could the answer to this modern epidemic be as simple as donning on our birthday suits?

    For Mark, an IT technician in his mid-30s, discovering nudism certainly helped him immensely with his self-esteem and confidence. Having a shaved head adorned with a flaming red beard of impressive proportions–courtesy of his Irish descent–and an intricate tableau of tattoos etched into his arms, Mark does not blend into the background. He was an active member of Vic Bears for many years, a community for gay men who pride themselves in their ruggedly masculine physicality. “Think your truckers or lumberjacks. Big, fuzzy, usually a bit of facial hair. The sort of bloke where you look down the street and go, ‘Is he a biker? Why is he holding the other guy’s hand?’” he chuckles softly.

    Feeling “burnt out” by the judgmental nature of the bears community, Mark joined several nudists websites in an effort to find a less image-focused group of people. He had already been practicing nudity at home as a way of unwinding from the stress of everyday life and so hanging out with a bunch of naked strangers was naturally the next logical step.

    Mark had a million doubts cross his mind before he stripped down at his first nudist beach. Are they going to judge me? Where will they look? And most importantly, he emphasizes, the question that runs through every man’s head: “What happens if you get too excited?”

    “Eventually, shorts [come] off. And I’m thinkin’, oh shit, I’ve done it, I’ve done it, I’ve done it. Nobody even bothered a second glance,” he says. He was pleasantly surprised that his new friends were more interested in the stories behind his tattoos than his conspicuous hair color or body shape.

    Mark has since attended numerous nudist events including pool parties, bushwalking, and camping, where he met his current partner. “You talk about anything and everything and you don’t even bat an eyelid at the fact that nobody around you is wearing a stitch of clothing,” he says with a shrug. “We interact, cool, you’ve met someone new. You looked at my bits? Okay, that’s nice. Do you want a gold star?”

    So what happens if you do get “excited?” I ask.

    “Generally, out of politeness sake, just roll over or hop in the water or think of the Queen,” he replies without batting an eyelid.

    Unfortunately, for women interested in the lifestyle, there are more serious concerns that cannot be solved by a simple stop, drop and roll. Audrey, a recent graduate, is held back from co-ed nudist environments for fear of being objectified by men.

    Being comfortable in her own skin is one thing, says the 21-year-old, but navigating the complex process of reclaiming her body and sexuality from the dominating male gaze is another. “I can speak from a woman’s perspective that it’s the sexual objectification of the woman’s body since forever that makes it so hard to want to be naked in front of people.”

    Although we have acclimated to seeing more skin in contemporary culture, there is still a deep-rooted Puritanical belief that nudity is indecent, amoral and obscene. Much of this ingrained mentality can be attributed to the lack of non-sexualised nudity in practice and represented in the media.

    It is great that Kim Kardashian feels #empowered by posting nude selfies to Instagram, but in doing so, she sends the message that a woman’s self-worth relies on her sex appeal. Her meticulously filtered and posed production does nothing to challenge the dominant paradigm.

    Currently teaching English in Europe, Audrey recalls visiting a clothing-optional park in Munich where 90% of people who were nude were men. “It reinforces that women feel less comfortable in their bodies than men,” she says.

    Even though she is not ready to attend a mixed-sex nudist event, Audrey’s experience at a segregated Japanese bath house was nothing short of positive. “I was able to observe other female bodies like mine, of various shapes, and felt comforted that women who have flaws like me were comfortable being nude.”

    At this moment, Audrey is content with being naked in the privacy of her own bedroom, drinking tea with a few trusted friends. “It’s about coming to terms with my body and accepting it for what it is without clothes on…in a world where we’re conditioned to hate our bodies.”

    QC Photography

    For those of us who do not have the privilege of lounging around our apartments sans-underwear without seriously pissing off a housemate, get out into nature and get into your birthday suit. Forget socially constructed ideals and reconnect with your body. You only get one and it can do some pretty cool things (like climb a Ukrainian church).

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    Millennials ‘experimenting more in bed’

    Image copyright Getty Images

    Young people are taking part in a wider range of sexual practices, including anal sex, with opposite sex partners, research reveals.

    Experts looked at responses to a national sex survey that has been carried out every 10 years since 1990 in the UK.

    More than one in 10 millennial teenagers said they had tried anal sex by the age of 18.

    By the age of 22 to 24, three in every 10 said they had tried it.

    Vaginal and oral sex are still the most common types of sexual activity between young men and women, however.

    The age that young people start having sex – vaginal, anal or oral – has not changed much in recent decades.

    In the most recent survey, it was 16.

    While the study in the Journal of Adolescent Health shows what types of sex people are having, it doesn’t shed light on why preferences are changing.

    Experts can only speculate, but say society has become more accepting and less judgemental about sexual experimentation.

    Breaking down taboos

    Kaye Wellings, senior author and professor of sexual and reproductive health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: “The changes in practices we see here are consistent with the widening of other aspects of young people’s sexual experience, and are perhaps not surprising given the rapidly changing social context and the ever-increasing number of influences on sexual behaviour.”

    Prof Cynthia Graham is a professor in sexual and reproductive health at the University of Southampton.

    She said the internet and media might have played a role in breaking down sexual taboos.

    “The internet means people can easily find and see things that they would not have been able to in the past.

    “Anal sex is still pretty stigmatised, but attitudes appear to be changing. We know society has become more accepting of things like same sex behaviour overall. But there’s very little research out there about anal sex and motivation.”

    She said more studies were needed to inform sex education and equip young people with the information they need for their sexual health.

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    Kim Kardashian And North West Attend Katy Perry Concert On The Night Taylor Swift’s Album Drops

    Don’t come for

    Friday was, of course, the same day that Swift released a new album, and because it also happened to be the day Perry was performing at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles… And because this is apparently forever going to be a thing, Kim knew exactly what to do.

    Legend!!! LOLz!!!

    Here’s Kim, Katy, North, and the crew — which includes friend Larsa Pippen and her daughter along with some other kids — out backstage at Katy’s concert from last night (below):

    Cute!!! And fun!!!

    …But also always sending a message.

    Kim’s been around the block with this stuff before, she knows how it’s done!


    [Image via Snapchat.]

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    Old 10 note to disappear next year

    Image copyright Nick Ansell/PA
    Image caption The old £10 mote is soon to go the way of the old pound coin

    If you still have any old £10 notes, make sure you spend them before 1 March next year.

    The Bank of England has announced that the old paper notes, featuring naturalist Charles Darwin, will no longer be legal tender after that date.

    Its days have been numbered since the new polymer tenner, depicting author Jane Austen, entered circulation in September.

    But the old note can still be exchanged by the Bank after the cut-off date.

    Threadneedle Street says polymer, also now used for the £5 note featuring Winston Churchill, is more durable and cleaner than paper notes.

    Security features of Jane Austen £10 note:

    1. A see-through window featuring the Queen’s portrait
    2. Winchester Cathedral shown in gold foil on the front of the note and silver on the back
    3. A quill at the side of the window which changes from purple to orange
    4. A hologram which contains the word “Ten” and changes to “Pounds” when the note is tilted
    5. A hologram of the coronation crown which appears 3D and multi-coloured when the note is tilted
    6. Micro-lettering beneath the Queen’s portrait with tiny letters and numbers that are visible under a microscope
    7. A book-shaped copper foil patch which contains the letters JA
    8. The words “Bank of England” printed in intaglio (raised ink) along the top of the note

    It has persevered with the material despite complaints from religious and vegan groups that the animal fat tallow is used in the production process.

    Following consultation, the Bank said in August that it would continue with the use of tallow in future banknotes – saying it “has not taken this decision lightly”.

    The Bank assessed whether palm oil or coconut oil should be used instead, but concluded that this might not be able to be sourced sustainably. Changing production would also involve considerable extra costs to taxpayers.

    The old £10 notes have been in circulation since November 2000, but lost out to the new ones on grounds of security as well as durability.

    The Jane Austen notes have a number of features built in that make them particularly hard to forge.

    They also have an inscription in raised dots that helps blind and partially-sighted users to identify them.

    The end of the old paper tenner follows the official withdrawal last month of the old round £1 coin, which has now been wholly replaced by the new 12-sided version.

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