College dudes worried that movement to take rape seriously is ruining their sex lives

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shutterstock_85129009-620x412Trend pieces about so-called college hookup culture tend to overestimate how much sex students are actually having. Last year, a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association found that less than 30 percent of college students had more than one partner in the previous year. Which about equals data from surveys taken over the last twenty years. This means, as Time’s Maia Szalavitz noted at time time, college students “aren’t hooking up more than they ever were, or even more than their parents did.”

So with this in mind, I didn’t put much stock in a Bloomberg News headline declaring that hookup culture was waning “amid assault alarm.” According to the piece, heightened awareness about sexual assault on college campuses and a greater move toward justice for survivors has made some college men’s boners shrink in terror. We are, it seems, meant to feel alarmed at these shrinking boners.

Sex and relationships are always tricky terrain for college students. Those arriving this year are finding schools awash in complaints and headlines about sexual assault and responding with programs aimed at changing campus culture that has been blamed for glorifying dorm-bed conquests, excusing rape and providing a safe haven for assailants. For many young men, it’s an added dimension in a campus scene that already appears daunting, said William Pollack, a Harvard Medical School psychologist.

Pollack said a patient recently told him about making out with a girl at a party. Things were going fine, the student said, when suddenly a vision of his school’s disciplinary board flew into his head.

“‘I want to go to law school or medical school after this,’” Pollack said, recounting the student’s comments. “‘I said to her, it’s been nice seeing you.’”

Malik Gill, the former social chair of the Sigma Chi fraternity at Harvard University, told Bloomberg he has witnessed something similar happening among his friends. He recounted an anecdote in which he gave one of his guy friends a woman’s number after she had expressed interest. Gill’s friend never called her. “Even though she was interested, he didn’t want to pressure her,” he explained. “He was worried about making her feel uncomfortable.”

Earlier in the piece, Gill said he no longer offered female classmates beer at parties because he doesn’t want to “look like a predator … it’s a little bit of a blurred line.”

And here again is the trouble with how we talk about sex, consent and sexual violence in the United States. There are so many ways to flirt and have really enjoyable casual sex without being predatory, but we never talk about them. The importance of listening to the person you’re interested in having sex with and being alert to non-verbal cues certainly isn’t being taught in schools, and this kind of thing generally isn’t modeled in pop culture. So we have a vacuum about relationships and healthy sexuality. And that vacuum gets filled by banana brains like George Will, Caitlin Flanagan and the people on Fox News who can shout the loudest, people who believe that much of what’s called sexual assault is actually just “regretted sex,” a product of the “ambiguities of hookup culture.”

Which is why we now have young men telling Bloomberg News that they basically view their female peers as rape bombs just waiting to explode and ruin their lives. “Some men feel that too much responsibility for preventing sexual assault has been put on their shoulders,” according to one of the men interviewed for the piece.

This is what happens when we when we publish stupid piece after stupid piece blaming women’s behavior for sexual assault, when we don’t encourage young people to communicate openly and regularly during romantic and sexual encounters, when we don’t teach affirmative consent or really any kind of sex education.

The Bloomberg piece is mostly framed to support the idea that women cry rape and that asking men to assume any responsibility to prevent sexual assault is asking too much. I don’t doubt that young men with little sexual experience feel anxiety about negotiating new relationships and sexual encounters, but claiming that the push for more education, a focus on consent and stronger systems of accountability to hold perpetrators accountable somehow means that men can’t call women on the phone to ask them on a date is absurd.

But not all college guys see themselves as the victims of a newly galvanized movement to prevent sexual assault. An incoming freshman from North Carolina named Clark Coey told Bloomberg that he is aware of the schools that are under investigation for Title IX violations, and is “concerned how [consent] will be defined when other students, including women, may be using drugs and alcohol that affect their decision-making.” Coey is the only person interviewed in the piece who makes clear that more education is needed to address consent and healthy relationships in the brave new world of university life. “I haven’t learned anything about consent since I was a freshman in a health class,” he said. “They have to give you a better understanding of what’s right and what’s wrong.”

More people should listen to Clark Coey. He is correct.

The best sex tips you’ll ever hear — from a man with no penis

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Leave it to a man with no penis to school the Internet on sexual intimacy. That’s what happened when a man who allegedly lost part of his genitals in a childhood accident took to Reddit toanswer questions about life without a phallus.

gZdrmUuUnder the evocative screen name “penisindoor,” he claimed that at age 12 he put his erect member through a door crack to tease his buddies and one of them — a friend who was, in “penisindoor’s” words, unfamiliar with the basic laws of physics — slammed it shut. After a trip to the hospital, he says he was left with just the stump of his penis, fully intact testicles and a rerouted urethral opening. (He provided photographic evidence, if you’re interested.) The 30-something-year-old is fully capable of orgasm and ejaculation, he says. And, no, the absence of a penis does not prevent him from having sex with his girlfriend.

This last bit came as a shocking revelation to some redditors. How, they wanted to know. Sex equals penis in vagina, right? How can you have sex without a penis?! “I still have part of my shaft under there which still has nerve endings,” he wrote in response. “Use your imagination for the rest.” He added, importantly, “Any loving couple can be intimate.” Those just might be two of the best sex tips around: 1) Use your imagination, and 2) Any loving couple can be intimate. Seriously, sit with that for a minute. So much energy is spent trying to gather wisdom on being “good at” sex. From puberty on, we develop encyclopedic knowledge of all the many positions and moves two or more people can do. We agonize about our anatomy: Is my penis too small? Is my vagina tight enough? Are my boobs big enough?

Great sex is so much simpler than all that — and “penisindoor” has that figured out. Don’t get me wrong: Penises are great. They’re super awesome. Indeed, “penisindoor” misses his enough that he’s hoping to get an experimental and risky penile transplant — and best of luck to him. But his story shows that sexual pleasure and intimacy are way bigger than any dick could ever be. Relatedly, a study just came out finding that lesbians and men of all sexual orientations experience more orgasms than heterosexual women. (We needed science to tell us this?) It just goes to show that penis-in-vagina sex is just one kind of sex, and that it certainly isn’t inherently the most mutually pleasurable kind.

Sex therapist Ian Kerner told me, “As a culture, we are very much caught up in the ‘intercourse-discourse’ which privileges penis-vagina sex over other forms of sex-play, but there are many pleasure-paths worth exploring,” he said. “Between a creative, caring sexual mind and a fully functional penis, the former will more consistently generate orgasms than the latter.” And, for the record, sexual pleasure is not all that uncommon in extreme cases of injury like this one. “Orgasm and ejaculation are separate processes and even men with severe spinal injuries are known to experience the former, so it’s not at all unlikely that this man would be able to experience the pleasurable sensations of gratifying sex in his own particular way,” says Kerner.

I showed the AMA to Debby Herbenick, a sex research at the Kinsey Institute, and she loved “penisindoor’s” perspective. “We all have things we cannot change in life whether it’s our body shape or our age, or that we’re all aging, or our breast asymmetry or an STI or a special interest,” says Herbenick, author of “Sex Made Easy: Your Awkward Questions Answered — For Better, Smarter, Amazing Sex.” “Whether we approach this feeling ‘stuck’ or from a perspective of possibility is a huge part of it.” She added, “Knowing that openness and imagination are important is valuable, as is understanding that intimacy is about more than parts. Arousal is about more than parts.”

Speaking of intimacy, “penisindoor” honored his girlfriend’s request that he keep the details of their sex life private. He gamely answered redditors questions unless they veered into territory his girlfriend was uncomfortable with. What a man, eh?

Now, all this comes with a great big caveat: His story has yet to be verified, his original post has been taken down and he didn’t respond to my requests for an interview — so who knows just how legit it is. But whoever “penisindoor” is, he exhibited a startlingly enlightened view of sex, the kind you rarely ever see in online forums filled with identity-obscuring screen names. It’s a welcome reminder in our dick-obsessed culture that sex can happen without a penis. Oh, also?Not all men have penises.

Los Angeles Condom Ordinance Spurs Rise In Underground Porn

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It has been known as the nation’s porn capital for years, but if recent film-permit records are to be believed, fewer than three adult movies a month are being made in Los Angeles County this year.

So where are those hundreds of films available for instant download on the Internet coming from?

n-PORN-largeMany are still coming from right here, say industry officials, acknowledging that when Los Angeles County voters cracked down on filmmakers in November 2012 with an ordinance requiring that actors use condoms, quite a few filmmakers went underground.

“A lot are simply shooting in out-of-the-way places where they won’t be caught,” says Mark Kernes, senior editor at Adult Video News, which tracks industry trends. “Normally it’s in people’s homes who are willing to rent them out for a day. Sometimes it’s out in the woods. There are vacation cabins far away from anything that you can shoot a movie at.”

Others have traveled outside of Los Angeles County, either to neighboring counties or sometimes even out of state. Diane Duke, executive director of the Free Speech Coalition, an industry advocacy group, said she knows of a handful that have moved to Las Vegas, although none want to be mentioned by name for fear of bringing condom activists after them.

Although a few porn producers do require that actors use condoms, the majority do not, saying fans have made it clear they don’t want to see them.

Wherever the filmmakers are working now, only 20 have applied for permits so far this year, according to Film LA, which issues them.

Last year 40 adult filmmakers took out permits, compared with 485 in 2012, the last year before the ordinance took effect.

One filmmaker that is staying put for now is the Vivid Entertainment Group, one of the industry’s largest. Chief executive and co-founder Steven Hirsch says that could change quickly, however, if the industry loses an appeal to overturn the county ordinance. Or if the state Legislature passes a similar condom requirement it is considering.

The latter measure, introduced by Assemblyman Isadore Hall, D-Compton, passed the chamber earlier this year and could come before the Senate for a vote later this summer.

“There are several places we’re looking into,” Hirsch said Wednesday. “Some people are already shooting in Nevada, and that’s something that’s certainly on our radar.”

In the meantime, Vivid has closed its Los Angeles film set and is making movies outside LA County, Hirsch said, declining to reveal exactly where.

He said his company would prefer to stay in the city it was founded in 30 years ago, adding Los Angeles’ sun-dappled skies and iconic landscape give even a porn film a classic look that is hard to duplicate.

Hall and other condom advocates have said they don’t want to run adult filmmakers and their $7 billion-a-year industry out of town. Instead, they say, they simply want to protect the industry’s workers from sexually transmitted diseases.

Industry officials, citing their requirement that working actors be tested for transmitted diseases every two weeks, say there is no need for such a measure.

“There hasn’t been an HIV transmission on set since 2004,” Duke said.

Naked, intoxicated, masturbating man falls into river, has to be rescued by police

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A naked, intoxicated man masturbating in public view along the Willamette River required an emergency rescue on Saturday when he fell into the water.

15548266-smallOregon City Police said officers spotted the man on a cliff bank near the Oregon City/West Linn Arch bridge around 2:17 p.m. Officers tried to talk with the man, who was about 75 feet below them, but he was apparently under the influence of drugs, police said.

Officers soon requested help from the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit. When sheriff’s deputies and police in a boat made contact with the man, he was drifting in and out of consciousness and soon fell into the river.

Officers pulled the man onto the boat and took him to a hospital for medical evaluation, police said. The man was identified as 31-year-old Ernest Michael Kirk, who police said is a transient.

On Monday, Oregon City Police spotted Kirk near Clackamette Park and arrested him. Kirk was booked into Clackamas County Jail on charges of felony public indecency, harassment and a parole violation.

This game controller will give you better orgasms

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Skea is a new kind of game controller which utilises your pelvic floor muscles to control an endless runner game – essentially, every time you do a kegel, your character jumps.

In case you’re a bit sheltered I’ll make it a bit more clear: this is a Bluetooth mobile controller that you place inside your vagina, like a tampon, and squeeze.

Why would you want to do this? Because squeezing those muscles – an endeavour commonly known as a kegel exercise – is the best way to condition them.

In this sedentary age, a ridiculous percentage of humans have underdeveloped pelvic floor muscles, and getting them into shape has two major effects. First, it staves off incontinence, helping you retain bladder control as you age.

Second, it gives you longer. Better. More mind-blowing orgasms. There is no downside to this.

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Both men and women can perform kegel exercises to reap the benefits, but even though there’s a lot of motivation to do so and the exercises take very little effort, it’s super boring and hardly anybody actually does.

Enter the Skea, which is aimed at making the experience a bit more entertaining. Have I mentioned it vibrates every time you nail (nail! *high fives self*) a jump? This is a perfect idea and I can’t believe nobody’s had it before. It’s just a shame there’s no equivalent for gamers without a vagina.

The Skea is currently seeking $38,000 on Kickstarter and I suggest we all throw our money at it. Buy one for everyone you know with a vagina.

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Aside: I’d like to share with you this deleted line from the first draft of this article, which relates to how long I’ve had this lead on my to-do list: As it happens, I’ve been sitting on this for almost 24 hours.

A good edit there, don’t you think?

Things Not To Say (Or Admit) To A Law Enforcement Agent (#9)

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In an apparent attempt to explain why a woman twice spotted him pleasuring himself in his apartment window, an Iowa man told cops that the indecent exposure was an accident, adding that he was “on an adult website at the time of the second incident.”

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dustinhillsDespite that explanation, Dustin Hills, 35, was arrested last night and booked into the Johnson County jail, where he remains locked up on a serious misdemeanor charge.

A female victim told cops that, on two separate occasions last month, she was “outside in a parking lot” when she “noticed a man displaying his penis and pleasuring himself while standing in a nearby apartment window.” The man hid when she yelled at him, the woman reported.

When questioned by investigators, Hills, seen in the adjacent mug shot, “admitted to accidentally displaying his erect penis to others outside” his Iowa City home, according to a criminal complaint. Hills added that he was “on an adult website” when the woman spotted him the second time.