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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Millennials ‘experimenting more in bed’

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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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5 questions for Tuesday’s elections in Virginia, New Jersey

Washington (CNN)Can Republicans win tough races by getting close — but not too close — to President Donald Trump, adopting his tactics without actually campaigning with him?

Can Democrats win swing states by criticizing Trump, but not too much — pledging to work with the President when possible?
In Virginia’s governor election Tuesday, Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam and Republican Ed Gillespie will test whether those strategies are enough to drive their bases to the polls and win over suburban moderates in the most important election of 2017.
    The Virginia and New Jersey governor’s races — a year after every presidential election — are always seen as a test of how voters perceive the sitting President. This year, Virginia, in particular, looks like a strong gauge of Trump’s performance — and a proving ground for the strategies both parties hope will work in the 2018 midterm elections.
    Here are five big questions for Tuesday’s elections:

    1. Can Trump’s tactics sell without Trump?

    Trump visited his golf course in Virginia 15 times between Gillespie winning the GOP gubernatorial primary and the general election. But he didn’t once hold an event with Republican candidate in the most important race of 2017.
    Gillespie might not have wanted to campaign with Trump — but he certainly borrowed heavily from Trump’s tactics and signature issues.
    Long known as an advocate for a bigger Republican tent and more inclusive immigration policies, Gillespie has taken an alarmist turn this year. His TV ads have included striking images of MS-13 gangs displaying the words “kill, rape, control,” as well as Gillespie pledging to keep Confederate monuments up, and hitting Democrats for automatically restoring the voting rights of former felons who have completed their sentences.
    Those culture warrior tactics were designed to make sure Trump’s base turned out for Gillespie, who nearly lost the Republican primary to Corey Stewart. But they alienated a lot of Gillespie’s old friends.
    Gillespie spokesman David Abrams refuted those critiques, saying, “Ed is surging in the polls because Republicans are united behind his campaign, and because he is running on substantive policies broadly popular with the people of Virginia.”
    The question is whether Trump voters will buy Gillespie’s authenticity and turn out to vote for him — or if they’ll see Gillespie’s refusal to be seen near Trump as a better reflection of his allegiances and stay home.

    2. Can Obama fix Democrats’ off-year problems?

    Former President Barack Obama oversaw the atrophy of the Democratic Party at the state and local level — a result of the party’s failure to turn out its voters in non-presidential elections that led to losing about 1,000 state legislative seats. Now that he’s out of office, Obama is trying to convince Democratic voters that these races really do matter.
    “Off-year elections, midterm elections — Democrats sometimes, y’all get a little sleepy. You get a little complacent,” Obama said during a rally with Northam in Richmond last month.
    “And so as a consequence, folks wake up and they’re surprised — ‘How come we can’t get things through Congress? How come we can’t get things through the state house?’ ” Obama said. “Because you slept through the election.”
    In particular, Northam’s campaign has been laser focused on turning out black voters. Those black voters make up about 20% of Virginia’s electorate and tend to vote strongly Democratic. It’s why his event with Obama was in Richmond, a city with a sizeable African-American population.
    And make no mistake, Obama himself could be the most important salesman here. If his involvement in Northam’s campaign can boost turnout, Democrats across the 2018 midterm map would see him as a potential game-changer.

    3. Will progressive groups’ ground troops lead to turnout?

    Outside groups are playing a big role in Northam’s campaign — supplying digital advertising reinforcements for a candidate who has only aired TV ads as well as ground troops who have made calls and knocked on doors for weeks.
    Perhaps the leader of those groups is Planned Parenthood, which has a lot on the line — not just in the governor’s race, but for lieutenant governor, where Democrat Justin Fairfax faces Republican Jill Holtzman Vogel. The Republican is known for having sponsored a 2012 bill that would have required women seeking abortions to undergo vaginal ultrasounds — which Planned Parenthood vehemently opposed.
    Other Democratic groups have bickered about Virginia since Northam defeated former Rep. Tom Perriello in the gubernatorial primary. That split was on vivid display last week when Democracy For America announced it wouldn’t back Northam’s “racist” campaign while making calls for other Democratic candidates.
    But a share of the credit for wins in statewide and even state assembly contests would go to Planned Parenthood, which announced in August it would spend $3 million to help Northam.

    4. Will there be a shocker?

    The reason so much focus is on Virginia is that Tuesday’s other big contests all feature heavy favorites. But close elections have a way of sneaking up on people.
    In New Jersey, Democrat Phil Murphy, a former Goldman Sachs executive and US ambassador to Germany, is expected to cruise past Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno. That’s in large part because of the Chris Christie factor: The outgoing Republican governor’s approval rating is in the teens, making him the least popular governor in America. And while Guadagno has tried to create some distance — hitting Christie after he was photographed on a closed beach during a state government shutdown — she’s still Christie’s No. 2.
    In New York City, mayor Bill de Blasio campaigned alongside Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and is looking to build his status with progressive voters even outside the city.
    If any of these contests tighten up, it’d set off alarms across both parties nationally.

    5. Can Democrats take full control in Washington state?

    One down-ballot race to watch: a state senate contest in Washington.
    If Democrat Manka Dhingra defeats Republican Jinyoung Lee Englund, control of the senate would tip into Democratic hands. Democrats already control the state house and governor’s office — which means a win in that race would give them the “trifecta”: unified control of Washington’s government.
    This is incredibly important. Right now, Republicans have that “trifecta” in 26 states, which gives them broad authority not just over laws and budgets, but the redistricting process every 10 years. Democrats, though, only have such control in six states — California, Oregon, Hawaii, Delaware, Connecticut and Rhode Island. It’s perhaps the most vivid example of the party’s collapse during Obama’s tenure, and an imbalance that reflects Democrats’ broad structural disadvantages.
    Full party control matters. In many states where Republicans are in charge, their lawmakers have passed right-to-work laws and voter ID laws, and handle the once-a-decade redistricting process alone. The more those structural advantages are locked in, the harder it is for Democrats to regain what they’ve lost.

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    The 2017 election was an important victory for reproductive rights


    Voters in support of women’s health care woke up much more optimistic after the 2017 election than last year. From gubernatorial races to mayoral races to state assembly races, reproductive rights advocates won big in the 2017 election. And considering access to abortion, birth control, and basic health care have all been under attack in recent months, a lot was at stake.

    “Attacks are coming from every angle, and what you’re seeing as a result is women getting involved,” says Erica Sackin, Planned Parenthood’s director of political communications. “Voters spoke really loud and clear that they want to see women’s rights protected.”

    Let’s start in Virginia, where politicians in support of women’s access to health care won on every level. Democrat Ralph Northam, a champion for abortion rights endorsed by NARAL Pro-Choice America, beat out Republican candidate Ed Gillespie, who has said he “would like to see abortion be banned.” Justin Fairfax, a Democratic reproductive rights advocate, also won the lieutenant governor’s seat running against a Republican who previously sponsored a bill that would have required women to get a vaginal ultrasound before obtaining an abortion.

    And in the Virginia House of Delegates, Democrats regained control by turning over 14 seats. Of those 14, a majority were flipped by female candidates.

    The other contentious gubernatorial election this year was in New Jersey, where Democrat Phil Murphy trounced Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno. Current New Jersey Governor Chris Christie struck family planning services from the state budget, while the new governor-elect promised to stand with Planned Parenthood and other providers. Guadagno, on the other hand, has said she wouldn’t restore family planning funds if elected.

    On the other side of the country in Washington state, a similar story unfolded. Manka Dhingra ran and won a campaign focused on reproductive health care, giving Democrats control of the state Senate. In an October debate, Dhingra was asked about a bill blocked by state Republicans that would have required insurance plans to cover birth control. “A woman’s business,” she said. “Women need to be able to make their own health care choices and part of that means ensuring access to affordable, reliable contraception, and equal access to all reproductive options.”

    The number of Democrats who won running, at least in part, on reproductive rights platforms comes a few months after Democratic Party leaders said the party wouldn’t have a “litmus test” on abortion in 2018. Pro-choice advocates heavily criticized the political move at the time, and now have Tuesday’s victories as proof that people will vote for candidates who champion abortion access.

    “It would be a mistake for candidates to hide away from this issue given the time that we’re living in and also the strong support that Americans have for reproductive freedom,” says Kaylie Hanson Long, NARAL Pro-Choice America’s national communications director.

    Democratic women also reigned victorious in multiple mayoral elections Tuesday. Vi Lyles won in Charlotte, North Carolina, becoming the city’s first Black woman to hold the position; Jenny Durkan won in Seattle, becoming the first female mayor in 91 years; and Flint, Michigan Mayor Karen Weaversurvived a recall vote.

    While none of these women explicitly ran on reproductive rights platforms (and most abortion legislation happens on the state level), more Democratic women in office typically mean more people publicly advocating for women’s rights. According to a 2014 NARAL Pro-Choice America poll, 84 percent of Democrats oppose anti-choice legislation, and the organization says that opposition is even stronger among female Democrats.

    “Representation is important,” says Maya Rupert, the Center for Reproductive Right’s senior director of policy. “And the fact that multiple cities have elected female leaders represents a huge opportunity to center the issue of reproductive rights at the local level.”

    The 2017 elections were inevitably seen as a precursor to the 2018 midterms, and reproductive rights advocates think Tuesday’s victories are a good sign for what’s to come.

    Long explains that President Trump and Republicans in Congress haven’t signaled that they’re slowing down attacks on women’s health care anytime soon. So voters fighting for access to abortion, birth control, and women’s health care aren’t going to slow down, either.

    “The more they continue to attack women’s health care the more they continue to attack birth control,” she says, “the more angry Americans will become.”

    This story originally appeared on Bustle and has been republished with permission.

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    Study shows variation in birth problems

    Image copyright Getty Images

    Women are twice as likely to suffer serious blood loss and severe tears during childbirth in some hospitals, according to an audit of maternity services in Great Britain.

    Third and fourth-degree tears occurred in one in 30 vaginal births but in some units in 2015-16 it was one in 15.

    The report showed that while most women had a safe birth, there were some variations in care.

    It covers 149 out of 155 NHS trusts and boards in England, Scotland and Wales.

    The National Maternity and Perinatal Audit’s report is based on the electronic records of nearly 700,000 births.

    It found that haemorrhage during childbirth, a major cause of illness in women who have given birth, occurred in about one in 40 women, but in some maternity units the rate was as high as one in 20.

    Call for investigation

    The number of women affected by third and fourth-degree tears, also known as obstetric anal sphincter injuries – a serious complication of vaginal birth which increases the risk of incontinence – also varied widely from hospital to hospital.

    At the Royal Sussex County Hospital, part of Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, 6.5% of women were affected, compared with 0.6% at Dr Gray’s Hospital, NHS Grampian.

    Image copyright Getty Images

    The report said this could be due to differences in the risk profile of women being seen in units, awareness of the problem among doctors and how well they reported it.

    Overall, the proportion of women who suffered serious tears in England, Scotland and Wales when having a vaginal birth was about 3.5%.

    Prof Lesley Regan, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said some variation was expected – but unexplained variation needed investigation.

    “We urge all maternity units to examine their own results and those of their neighbours both to identify role models and to drive quality improvement locally.”

    Early bonding

    The report also found that in women expecting a single, full-term baby:

    • vaginal births occurred in 65.7% in England, 65.8% in Scotland and 70.6% in Wales
    • Caesarean sections occurred in 20.7% in England, 19.7% in Scotland, and 15.7% in Wales
    • assisted vaginal deliveries occurred in 13.6% of birth – similar across the three nations

    The report noted that 14% of women in England were smoking at their first antenatal appointment, compared with 16% in Scotland and 18% in Wales.

    Fewer than half of pregnant women had a body mass index (BMI) within the normal range – between 18.5 and 25 – while one in five was obese with a BMI of 30 or over.

    And one in seven women giving birth for the first time was aged 35 and over.

    The report also recommended that doctors should make every effort for all babies to have skin-to-skin contact with their mothers within an hour of birth so that breastfeeding and bonding could be started quickly.

    Prof Anne Greenough, vice-president for research at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: “The health and behaviours of mothers during pregnancy can have a real impact on the health of their unborn child.

    “It’s critical that public health, maternity and paediatric services work together to ensure that all children get the best start in life.”

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    Your birth control options, ranked from most effective to least

    Earlier this month, the Trump administration rolled back the federal requirement that employers cover birth control, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) releasing a new rule stating that any company—including insurance companies—can decline that coverage on the grounds of “sincerely held religious beliefs” or “moral convictions.”

    According to the New York Times, 55 million women enjoyed access to copay-free birth control thanks to the Obama-era mandate that Trump has targeted for months. Indeed, with an HHS stacked with birth control skeptics—former anti-abortion lobbyist and current HHS Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs Charmaine Yoest and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Population Affairs Teresa Manning are united in their belief that contraception doesn’t really work—the reversal isn’t surprising. But casting doubt on the efficacy of birth control is, frankly, irresponsible.

    It’s worth noting that birth control and contraception aren’t the same thing. Birth control is precisely what it sounds like—managing the number and spacing of births—while contraception means preventing conception in the first place. Birth control pills, for example, are often referred to as oral contraceptives. They block ovulation, meaning there’s no egg available in the fallopian tubes to fertilize. When we ask “How effective is birth control?” we’re actually asking, “How effective is contraception?” The answer? Very, depending on which method you use. 

    Because the Trump administration seems bent on axing access to reproductive health care, now seems like a particularly good time to explore the full range of contraceptive options. That’s why we’ve ranked your birth control options from most effective to least.

    How effective is birth control?


    Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are little T-shaped devices that live in your uterus and boast a more than 99 percent efficacy rate, making them among the most effective contraceptives on the market. That’s largely because once they’re safely situated, there’s no opportunity for human error: You can simply go about your sex life without worrying too much about rogue sperm.

    Copper IUDs like Paragard also make great emergency contraceptive. Have one inserted within five days of unprotected sex, and it’ll be 99.9 percent effective at preventing pregnancy. They also last the longest of any IUD model (up to 12 years), making them the most cost-effective.

    Copper IUDs can usher in heavy, painful periods, however, and while those might even out within a few months of IUD insertion, some people prefer a hormonal option. Those don’t last as long: Mirena lasts up to six years, but often eliminates periods over time; Liletta lasts three years and also means lighter periods for many users; because it’s narrower than Mirena, Skyla is potentially more comfortable for those who haven’t given birth and lasts three years; Kyleena lasts five years and was specifically designed for people who’ve never given birth.

    Heads up: IUDs start working immediately upon insertion, but the reverse is also true. Once they’re out, there’s no lingering pregnancy prevention power. You’ll need to use another form of contraceptive if you don’t want to conceive.

    Photo via Sarahmirk/Wikimedia Commons

    Hormonal implant

    Another form of long-acting reversible contraceptives, hormonal implants—Nexaplanon and Implanon—are also 99 percent effective, for the same reason IUDs are. Nexplanon is simply a newer version of Implanon—both are matchstick-sized rods that a doctor inserts into your upper arm. The device releases the hormone progestin into the body, guarding against pregnancy for up to four years. Similarly to IUDs, once an implant is removed, you’ll need to immediately start using another contraceptive if you don’t want to get pregnant.


    Hormonal injection

    Injectable birth control, or the depo shot (from the drug Depo-Provera), is up to 94 percent effective but requires a trip to the doctor every three months. That can be difficult to manage, what with life’s pesky habit of coughing up unforeseen roadblocks at the worst possible time, but for those who excel at scheduling and feel fine about shots, this might be a solid option. If you begin the injection course in the week directly following the first day of your period, it starts protecting against pregnancy right away. If you miss your shot date by two weeks, you’ll need to use a different form of contraception, and if you’ve had breast cancer, the depo shot is not recommended.

    Photo via Steven Depolo/Flickr

    The pill

    There are many different brands of birth control pill available, and your doctor should be able to help determine which one is right for you. The go-to option for many people interested in contraception, the pill can be up to 99 percent effective—but only when used correctly. It’s easy to forget a dose, or to mess up the timing, bringing its real-life efficacy rate down to 91 percent.

    But because it can help control acne, ease cramps and heavy periods, and because of its ubiquity, the pill is a popular birth control choice. A pill with estrogen and progestin starts working within seven days, and a progestin-only pill (a mini pill) takes effect in 48 hours. Be warned, though: Certain antibiotics and medications can make the pill less effective.

    Photo via Wikimedia Commons

    The ring

    Just like the pill, the ring—NuvaRing, a hormonal rubber ring inserted monthly into the vagina—has a technical 99 percent efficacy rating that drops to 91 percent accounting for human error. (Anecdotally, I have heard tales of the device getting caught on the penis during intercourse, like a sort of sexy ring toss.) And like the pill, certain antibiotics and medications can render the ring ineffective. But! It’s easy to use: Just bend the plastic and pop it in there. Leave it in for 21 days, take it out to menstruate, then insert a new one when that’s over.

    However, because the ring can come out, using it requires vigilance. NuvaRing has a set of detailed instructions for what to do when in case of slippage, but during sex and when using tampons, keep an eye out for errant rings.

    The patch

    The birth control patch—OrthoEvra—is a translucent sticker you can position on your back, butt, stomach, or upper arm. Replaced on a three-week schedule similar to the ring’s, it’s packed with estrogen and progestin that absorb into the body through the skin and prevent pregnancy with a 91 percent efficacy rate (99 percent if you always change and reapply the patch directly on schedule, and if it never falls off). While it can become less effective with certain medications and antibiotics, and while all hormonal contraceptives elevate risk of blood clots, that’s especially true of the patch, so people who use it should absolutely refrain from smoking.

    Screengrab via Honey Lea/YouTube


    Diaphragms are flexible silicone disks that, once inserted into and positioned in the vagina, block off the cervix. Diaphragms become more effective when coated in spermicide—a lube, gel, or foam that kills sperm—but spermicide doesn’t last forever, so once it’s applied you should have sex within two hours of inserting the diaphragm. Like so many other products on this list, diaphragms are theoretically 94 percent effective, but because humans are imperfect, that number is really more like 88 percent.



    If you use a condom correctly each and every time, condoms as a contraceptive are up to 98 percent effective. Most people, however, don’t consistently manage either of those things, making condoms about 85 percent effective. But (and this is a big but) external and internal condoms are the only items on this list that also protect against sexually transmitted infections. I would heartily recommend using them on top of another form of contraception unless you are 100 percent sure both you and your partner have been tested and are clean.

    Photo via torbakhopper/Flickr (CC-BY-SA)

    Internal condom

    Similar to its more ubiquitous cousin, the efficacy of female condoms (an insertable sheath that’s worn during vaginal or anal intercourse) varies. Used correctly every time, internal condoms are 95 percent effective, but accounting for human error, that figure drops to 79 percent.  And because the external condom is the thing people think about when they think about protected sex, it seems reasonable to expect that the average consumer will have less of an idea about how to put in an internal condom the right way. If you do choose this option, just be sure not to use it with an external condom—the friction can result in condom tears or slippage.

    Birth control sponge

    The birth control sponge is a sponge soaked in spermicide worn only during sex—put it in before (up to 24 hours before, Planned Parenthood offers detailed instructions on exactly how to do this) and remove it at least six hours later, and throw it in the trash. Do not reuse a birth control sponge, and definitely do not take it out before those six hours are up. But, that said, be sure not to leave the sponge in for more than 30 hours. If keeping a clock is not your strong suit, this product may not be for you.

    In any case, the birth control sponge is between 76 and 88 percent effective. Today Sponge is the only brand you’ll find in the U.S.

    Screengrab via YouTube

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

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    How a feminist event on anal sex challenged me to give it a try

    As I walked through midtown Manhattan on my way to the Museum of Sex for B-Vibe’s “Anal Throughout the Ages” event, I felt apprehensive. As much as I love writing about sex, anal sex wasn’t really my thing. What was the big deal with anal, anyway?

    Not that I hadn’t tried it. But putting objects up my rear, I’m sorry, felt a little gross in a degrading kind of way. Shit and sex aren’t supposed to mix, and the subsequent anxiety turned anal from an enjoyable experience into something that felt obscene. So I resigned myself to purely topping, not bottoming.

    But as a feminist and questioner of cultural norms, I was down for women who enjoyed sticking all sorts of things in their butt. So I took a deep breath and walked into MoSex. I was immediately bombarded by overpriced dildos and bondage gear from the front-door gift shop. I tried to keep an open mind.

    Anal sex, evolution’s gift to the world

    Photo via B-Vibe Ana Valens

    B-Vibe’s exhibit was set up a bit like a pop-up museum, with about a half-dozen black tables placed across the Museum of Sex’s Disco Lounge bar. If you’ve never been, the name is not an exaggeration. Michael Jackson’s ’70s hits boomed from the speakers and an open bar served cocktails in a room with just enough light for visitors to read through the exhibits. By the time I arrived, the attendees were mostly crowding around the bar, grabbing drinks and hanging out on the retro sofas and barstools. Perhaps they were just as hesitant as I was to start peeking around.

    However, I soon realized there was a common thread: Almost everyone there was a woman. That not only piqued my interest but also made me start to relax. After all, I had regularly seen B-Vibe’s toys at the Lower East Side’s Babeland, a feminist sex toy boutique that I popped into when the mood struck me. It made sense that this event would mostly focus on women.

    I started wandering. White posterboards adorned with anal sex facts were laid on each table, with photosets and factsheets printed out below. Some exhibits had historical timelines, others featured headlines from modern media about anal. One table was dedicated entirely to non-normative sex in the animal kingdom, including gay sexuality among insects and mammals. As it turns out, all sorts of animals enjoy anal. Did you know thinhorn rams sometimes mount other males and penetrate their partners until ejaculating?

    Photo via B-Vibe Ana Valens

    To me, the most-fascinating exhibit was the table dedicated to anal’s early anthropological history. My B-Vibe host and PR contact, Brianna, enthusiastically told me that the Moche culture in northern Peru used to sculpt detailed pottery depicting anal sex between androgynous figures. Vaginal sex practically never appeared in their sculptures, and many showed women breastfeeding during anal sex. Not just that, but neither sex partner took a submissive or domineering role—it was just two people having intercourse.

    In other words, it seems the baggage anal carries varies from culture to culture.

    For example, when we walked over to the Greco-Roman section, Brianna told me that anal sex emerged as a symbol of power during Western civilization’s ancient, early days. Back then, artists depicted bottoms (aka women) as lesser, while tops (aka men) were seen as powerful, domineering presences. This, unsurprisingly, took on misogynistic roots, a symbol of how women were treated in the Western world and thus how we ended up with so many women, myself included, disinterested in anal because of its subtext: Bottoming women are to be controlled, subjugated, and subsequently discarded.

    Over 2,000 years later, those same values run rampant throughout our culture. Noted pro-rape men’s rights haven Return of Kings considers women who frequently have anal sex to be mentally ill, and is upset that anal is no longer a “sexual domination move used by men on women,” but rather something women are open to trying (if not outright encouraging their partners to do so). Even in the past five years, Vice published an article encouraging women not to have anal sex, warning women they’ll “shit cum” afterward.

    But B-Vibe’s pop-up event was proof that people (and animals) of all kinds historically enjoyed and embraced anal—even of the female variety. B-Vibe’s founder, Alicia Sinclair, will happily tell you anything you want to know about the anus, how it operates, and why anal feels so pleasurable for so many women. And I was all ears.

    We were all even given a gift for stopping by, and mine was none other than the company’s Novice Plug. It even came with a thorough guide to anal sex inside, discussing everything from washing and cleaning toys to beginner’s tips for lubricating and fingering the asshole for play. Fears of shit cum, be damned.

    Anal is great, actually?

    Photo via B-Vibe

    After I said goodbye to B-Vibe’s team and made my way over to the train, slightly buzzed from a free rum and coke during last call, I thought about something Sinclair said: Anal is an equalizer because people of all genders can have pleasurable anal sex, from cis men to trans women. Our literal sex having doesn’t need to be defined by our genitalia and all the fraught stigmas and myths that go along with it.

    That’s why it’s cool that B-Vibe is going out of its way to educate women, encouraging newcomers to start slow and get acquainted with a part of their body that they may never see or talk about. It kind of reminds me of the common wisdom spread across the queer community, where bottoming elders give newcomers tips on everything from knowing their limits to picking out a starter dildo.

    So, buzzed on an empty downtown 6 train, I started psyching myself up: What if I gave anal another try? I was probably just turned off by the power-play stigma and needed a group of sex-positive women to show me that, yes, anal can be pleasurable if women are given the tools, toys, and information needed to have a blast.

    As my subway train pulled into the station, that plug felt a little powerful in my gift bag. I knew it would be put to good use.

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    Whitney Port Gets Brutally Honest About Gaining Weight, Her Vagina, & ‘That Line On Your Belly’ In Baby Diary Vid!

    We LOVE how honest

    Though she says she feels “a little superficial” for caring about this stuff, she’s just trying to be as honest as possible about her feelings and her fears.

    Speaking to her husband, Tim Rosenman, who works the camera, she admits:

    “Gaining the weight was really hard for me. I did not feel good about myself. I didn’t want to get dressed; putting together outfits for work or events or whatever I had to do, honestly just everyday stuff, was a stressful thing for me because I just hated how I looked.”

    She adds:

    “I thought a lot about if you were attracted to me and that was hard because I was never insecure before… Sometimes I’d be so crazy I’d put myself in your position and be like, ‘I wonder if Timmy gained 40 pounds and had, like, a huge basketball sticking out of his stomach if I’d still be attracted.’ And I don’t know!”

    Whitney says she expected to be one of those moms who immediately bounced back and lost all the weight, but that she has not really been ready to try.

    Photos: The Hills Cast: Where Are They Now?

    Apart from being “softer” than she ever wanted to be, Whitney also takes time to talk about, well, her port. She explains:

    “Having a vaginal delivery changes everything down there, and that’s something that’s really not discussed, like what it’s actually going to do and that there’s a really long recovery afterwards. And it’s painful and uncomfortable. And along with having to take care of a newborn, you also have, like, a whole other situation to take care of.”

    That sounds so awful!

    “I had a lot of anxiety about what labor would do to my body. Obviously don’t need to go into gory details, but as women I think that’s something that we think about. You’re pushing (for me) an 8 pound baby out of a little teeny hole. And not to embarrass you, but I was obviously concerned about what that was going to do to our sex life… If it would feel the same, if you would feel the same way about me.”

    Whitney ends the video by asking some questions of moms who watch:

    “When does that line on your belly go away? Because that’s bothering me, that happy trail line… Do your nipples go back to normal? Because that would be nice to know.”

    See the entire vid for yourself (below)!

    [Image via Instagram/YouTube.]

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    Apple’s Tim Cook reportedly made ‘Carpool Karaoke’ delete dirty jokes

    The launch of Apple‘s James Corden spinoff, Carpool Karaoke, was reportedly delayed earlier this year after Apple CEO Tim Cook asked that certain “dirty jokes” be edited out of the episodes.

    According to Bloomberg, Apple had planned to celebrate the release of its first TV show last spring at a Hollywood hotel, when Cook canceled the party just “days before” for unknown reasons. Now it looks like we know why: The show had to be re-cut.

    Carpool Karaoke was scheduled to be the first original series to premiere as part of Apple’s $1 billion investment in streaming video, and the unscripted singing series was apparently supposed to be “the opposite of edgy.” References to nudity, profanity, and violence were all apparently no-no’s, which turned out to be bad news for Cook: The celebrity guests Carpool Karaoke relies on are almost guaranteed to be popular for being “edgy” in one way or another—especially on a full episode of television with no script.

    After shooting segments with Pharrell Williams, Britney Spears, Chelsea Handler, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Alba, Blake Shelton, and the late Chester Bennington of Linkin Park, Cook apparently ordered they get re-cut to edit out profanity and “references to vaginal hygiene.”

    The changes ended up delaying the release date, and the company ultimately launched Planet of the Apps, a “Shark Tank-like reality show for app developers,” instead in June. Carpool Karaoke premiered in August.

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    The ‘vampire breast lift’: just another grotesque beauty boob | Van Badham

    A procedure that draws blood from a womans arm and extracts the platelets to pump into her breasts has doubled in popularity

    Through conquest, Alexander the Great established one of the most vast land empires of the classical age. It stretched from the Mediterranean, through North Africa and on to Asia. He was undefeated in battle, awash with the trophies of victories, self-anointed as a god. Yet a popular quote describes the young conquerer-king viewing the magnificence of his achievements with despair: And when Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer. Most people know these words from when Alan Rickman says them in Die Hard.

    Its a shame that Alexanders lifespan pre-dated the modern beauty industry. Because if you desire territorial conquest opportunities that are limitless, you dont need to bother with the satrapies of Asia Minor, the kings of Persia or a shoeless Bruce Willis anymore. Just grab the nearest female body and slash, slice, stab, burn and pillage away. No phalanxes of Macedonian foot-soldiers are necessary merely gather an Instagram account, a willing celebrity endorsement and the kind of prevailing external culture of misogyny that wont let any human female rest her own self-hatred for a single minute. Actually, you dont even need the celebrity or the Instagram account. Just the last one although it never hurts to shove a freebie into the Oscars showbag.

    My assessment is based on how last years Oscar treat is todays latest abomination masquerading as self-improvement. Its a breast plumping procedure adapted from the equally grotesque vampire facial innovation of some years back. You may remember Kim Kardashians blood-smeared face promoting it in 2014 as if summoned to do so by human sacrifice and Satanic ritual.

    This week reports that the popularity of vampire breast lifts has doubled in the past year. Over the course of two 60-minute sessions, the plot of every body horror movie in existence is spun together for the procedure: blood is drawn from the patient/victims arm, then whorled through a centrifuge then platelet-rich plasma is sucked from the blood, which is pumped into human boobs, with needles.

    You dont go up a cup size, regain lost years of youth or achieve dominion over the ancient subcontinent, but apparently it gives the cleavage a fuller look.

    Full disclosure: I watch a lot of genre movies and whenever a woman shares a context with blood and centrifuges, nothing good happens next. Human females are actually being encouraged to pay about $2000 for an experience that rationally one would hire a therapist or many to forget.

    Dr Herbert Hooi, the man owning the dubious honour of being the one of the worlds pioneer cleavage-enhancing breast-embloodeners, advocates the procedure for those seeking shapelier breasts, which is a thoroughly objective, scientific criteria for wilful bodily trauma if ever there was one. It seems an appropriate punishment for women who have dared to saggen their breasts with the self-indulgence of nursing children or growing older to oblige them into redness, swelling and possible bruising after getting their tits re-pumped with fresh blood.

    Dr Hooi says his vampire boob-needles are not for everyone, so, please, be assured that makes everything OK. Tattooing a penis on your face is not for everyone but people do that, too. Ramming your face full of nails to more resemble the bubbly side of a pancake can also be niche activity, kind of like more of a hobby than anything else, pfft, whatever, live and let live, people can do what they want, there are no broader social implications, Yolo.

    Yes, of course some women choose to do these things to themselves. But how rarified and elusive has the standard for the optics of female humanity become that mere shapelierness of boobs is now in competitive play? Ive listed the non-invasive procedures advertised to women before. How is it now possible the radical arc of breast enhancements, liposuction, chemical peels, eyelifts, browlifts, backlifts, grin lifts, butt implants, jawline advancements, bellybutton inversions, eyelash transplants, areola reductions, vaginal canal tightening and hacking off ones labia is still not enough?

    An industry-wide business model understands that as long as female beauty has greater cultural value than female achievement, it doesnt matter how gruesome, barbaric, cruel or painful the new treatment to improve beauty may be. It doesnt matter to which part of the body its targeted or what it does. You just need to convince a viable market share of women that theyll be deficient without it, and as a sense of deficiency is admitted and shared among women, it will spread like aesthetic contagion. The size of your empire surely will double in a year.

    The quote about Alexander the Great that they use in Die Hardis actually bastardised from dramatist William Congreve. The context of it is relevant: Having only that one hope, the accomplishment of it must put an end to all my hopes; and what a wretch is he who must survive his hopes!

    It doesnt seem much blessing for women pursuing what society deems most to be beautiful that this particular wretchedness is one theyre unlikely, ever, to know.

    • Van Badham is a Guardian Australia columnist

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