Attitudes

25 years of Savage Love.

Savage Love | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy Vancouver

It's hard to believe that it's been 25 years. I remember first encountering Savage Love in the Georgia Straight (or was it the Ubyssey?) back in the early 90s.

Dan Savage has been the sex advice columnist who would go where others would dare not tread. He's beyond sex-positive. His column has always been irreverent and compassionate, yet he still calls people out if need be. There's a good reason that he's as successful as he is.

The Stranger just published the first Savage Love column in celebration of the 25th anniversary. Go check it out: link.

Brian Anderson on being the first out pro skaterboarder

Photography: http://kristinapattersonphoto.tumblr.com/

Photography: http://kristinapattersonphoto.tumblr.com/

Brian Anderson is a badass.

He's won Thrasher magazine's Skater of the Year award and won the World Cup of Skateboarding back in 1999. His video parts are legendary, and not surprisingly, he's a hero to many kids who skate.

And now there's even more reason to like and respect him - he publicly came out as gay.

Many of the people close to him have known for a while, but it wasn't until recently that BA felt like it was safe to share with the public.

In this clip from Vice, he describes how one of his main motivations for coming out was to make it easier for other kids who are in the closet.

What's most shocking are the comments in the YouTube comments section. Usually the comment section is a cesspool of the worst of humanity, but in this case, the comments are consistently supportive and positive. How rad.

If you've got the time to watch the clip (and you skate), it's worth it.

Penis-stealing witches.

monty python witches penises holy grail | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy Vancouver | Squarespace Blogging

The Middle Ages (5th-15th centuries, AD) were characterized by anti-intellectualism, cultural stagnation, and the predominance of magical thinking regarding the sciences and medicine. Not surprisingly, books were burned, education was discouraged, and the arts were basically banned.

It's during these times that belief in witchcraft became a dominant theme in understanding illness, disease, and mental health. Pretty much any problem you can think of was blamed on witches. And if a woman was accused of being a witch, there was no recourse - she would be typically be killed.

*As an aside, if you've never seen Monty Pythons and the Holy Grail, you should. The witch scene is at 16:30.*

It likely won't come as a shock, but people believed that witches would steal men’s penises. This belief is described in the 15th-century book Malleus Maleficarum, which is ostensibly about witch hunting.

A recent article in Broadly described this belief in more detail:

Witches Allegedly Stole Penises and Kept Them as Pets in the Middle Ages
by Callie Beusman
According to a 15th century guide to detecting and eradicating witchcraft, witches were capable of making penises vanish—and some even kept them in nests and fed them oats.
Since time immemorial, men have worried irrationally about perceived threats to their penises. Long before there was castration anxiety, there was something far more sinister: the myth of phallus-stealing witches who kept wriggling, dismembered members as pets.
The best-known description of this practice occurs in the Malleus Maleficarum, a 15th century witch hunting manual written by Heinrich Kramer. Historians typically regard it as a ludicrous and misogynistic text that nonetheless resulted in countless vicious murders of women accused of witchcraft; in The Salem Witch Trials Reader, Frances Hill describes it as "one of the most terrifying and obnoxious books ever written." The Malleus is rife with obvious anxieties about female sexual desire—as folklorist Moira Smith notes in her paper, Penis Theft in the Malleus Maleficarum, "Many of the crimes (maleficia) attributed to witches concerned sexuality: copulation with incubus devils, procuring abortions, causing sterility and stillbirth, and impeding sexual relations between husbands and wives."

Read the rest here: link.

Humans aren't the only species that engage in oral sex.

In a 2009 study, researchers described fellatio in a species of fruit bat. Oral sex appears to be rare in the animal kingdom, so it was a surprising finding. As part of the study, they used nighttime cameras to film the bats' sexual escapades. Here's an example:

A recent study found that another species of bats (Indian flying foxes) engages in oral sex, only this time they observed cunnilingus. The bats' sexual experiences were characterized by longer periods of oral sex punctuated by shorter periods of intercourse. Here's a clip from their study:

National Geographic provided a nice review of the research. You can check it out here: link.

And a snippet of the review to help explain the observed behaviour:

In the summers of 2010 and 2011, Jayabalan Maruthupandian and Ganapathy Marimuthu clocked 1,170 hours watching a colony of flying foxes near a south Indian village. They saw the bats mate 57 times, most of which involved a brief amount of penetration bracketed by longer bouts of cunnilingus. The male would fluff up his penis and sidle over to a nearby female. He craned his neck over and licked her vagina for up to a minute, mounted her for around 15 seconds, and returned to 2.5 minutes of cunnilingus.
The actual sex isn’t exactly lengthy, but as in the short-nosed fruit bat, the flying foxes prolong their liaisons with oral sex. The males bought themselves an extra 2 seconds of penetration if they spent an extra 15 seconds of cunnilingus beforehand.
So: why? There’s the obvious explanation: it makes both partners more aroused, and the extra saliva keeps everything nice and lubricated.
In the case of the Indian flying fox, Maruthupandian and Marimuthu suggest that a male could remove the sperm of past partners by licking a female’s vagina. That doesn’t explain why he would continue after having mated himself, but Maruthupandian and Marimuthu did find that he spends less time on oral sex after penetration if he spent more time on it before. This might give him the best odds of removing a competitor’s sperm but not his own. Although, as they write, “Observation at close-range is needed to find out whether the male’s tongue enters the vagina or not.”

Bisexual Awareness Week: September 19-26.

bisexual sexual orientation | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy Vancouver | Squarespace Blogging

It's bisexual awareness week!

This is particularly important given the discrimination that people who are bisexual face.

Research has shown that both heterosexual and homosexual people tend to judge those who identify as bisexual quite negatively. This is based on some myths and faulty assumptions about what it is to be bisexual. They're described in this clip from GLAAD:

For more information, check out the GLAAD bisexual awareness week here: link.

The truth about marriage.

marriage | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy Vancouver | Squarespace Blogging

Alain De Botton wants you to get real about your relationships.

Many people grow up believing that marriage is in some way magical - the bringing together of two people who are perfect for each other. A marriage characterized by ever-present happiness and love, little conflict, and shared desires, likes, goals, and values.

Research in the states has shown that almost 75% of people believe in the idea of a soul mate, or one true love. Unfortunately for them, research has also shown that the more a person believes in the idea of one true love, the less likely that person is to be successful and happy in their relationships. They tend to bail when things get difficult.

It comes down to expectations, and commitment to relationships when they don't meet unrealistically high expectations.

People with realistic expectations, and a willingness to struggle through difficult times while still committed to the relationship, tend to do best. A key component of this is self-awareness, more specifically recognizing our own idiosyncrasies and why we might be difficult to be with.

This piece in the New York Times lays it all out, raw:

Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person
By Alain de Botton
IT’S one of the things we are most afraid might happen to us. We go to great lengths to avoid it. And yet we do it all the same: We marry the wrong person.
Partly, it’s because we have a bewildering array of problems that emerge when we try to get close to others. We seem normal only to those who don’t know us very well. In a wiser, more self-aware society than our own, a standard question on any early dinner date would be: “And how are you crazy?”
Perhaps we have a latent tendency to get furious when someone disagrees with us or can relax only when we are working; perhaps we’re tricky about intimacy after sex or clam up in response to humiliation. Nobody’s perfect. The problem is that before marriage, we rarely delve into our complexities. Whenever casual relationships threaten to reveal our flaws, we blame our partners and call it a day. As for our friends, they don’t care enough to do the hard work of enlightening us. One of the privileges of being on our own is therefore the sincere impression that we are really quite easy to live with.

Read the rest here: link.

Is there such thing as 'normal' or 'typical' labia/vulva?

In short, no.

Genital shame/anxiety is a growing problem. This, in part, is due to the fact that most people don't get the opportunity to see a wide variety of genitals, and therefore presume that there is one specific way in which they should look.

Inner and outer labia, like most other body parts, vary widely. They range in size, symmetry, shape, colour, etc. There is no such thing as a universally ideal or typical labia.

Several user-content blogs have popped up, intended to showcase the massive diversity in appearance of the vulva. Presumably, the hope is that by publishing these sorts of images, that people who see them will feel less dissatisfaction/shame about their genitals. The following are two examples of these types of blogs. Click on the images below to visit the sites (NSFW). The questions, comments, and replies are all interesting to read, too.

Learn more about the second blog here..

 

The unique experience of living trans.

trans man dowling | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy | Blogging on Squarespace

It’s literally impossible for most of us to understand what it’s like to be the other sex.

It's easier to try on being the other gender, but most of us don't take the opportunity (nor would we even know how).

* Crash course in sex versus gender: sex is our physiological make-up, or our maleness/femaleness; gender is how much we identify with and/or take on the roles of man or woman. The two typically overlap, but not always.*

There are two interacting forces at play that are crucial when considering differences between living as a male/man, and living as female/woman.

Our sex hormones (testosterone for males and estrogens/progesterone for females) have a significant impact on our development, including our brains. They also affect the way we think and our emotions (among other mental processes). Sex hormones impact us on a physiological level.

Our gender roles, which are related to both our biological make-up and how we are socialized, affect the way in which we see ourselves and interact with the world, including our interactions with other people. They also dictate how people interact with us, based on social rules and norms.

People who have transitioned from one gender to the other, and who have been through sex hormone therapy, have unique insight into what it’s like to be both a male/man, and a female/woman, and the good and bad that can go along with each. This includes sexism.

A colleague of mine who transitioned described very similar experiences to those described in this piece. Give it a read – it’ll probably blow your socks off.

From Time

What Trans Men See That Women Don’t
By Charlotte Alter
“Cultural sexism in the world is very real when you’ve lived on both sides of the coin”
Three guys are sitting at a Harlem bartop eating fries, drinking whiskey and talking about love. One of them, Bryce Richardson, is about to propose to his girlfriend.
“I’m putting it together in my head, I’m like: ‘He’s gonna be one of my groomsmen, he’s gonna be one of my groomsmen,’” he points to his two friends and grins. The other men light up when they hear the news and start talking about rings, how much they cost, will it be princess cut or pear shaped? Pictures are Googled, phones are passed around. “That was one of my dreams, to get married, to be somebody’s husband, to be somebody’s father,” says one of the friends, Redd Barrett. “From when I was like 12, I used to think about that all the time.”
I ask the groom-to-be how he knew his girlfriend was the one. They met at work, he says, and by the time he came out to her, they were already in love. “I said ‘I’m trans, and you’re not gonna want me anyway,” he recalls, unable to keep the smile off his face. “And she said ‘I’m in love with you, I don’t care about that.’” His friend Tiq nods and says, “That’s your wife, right there.”
All three men are trans. But if they hadn’t said so, you wouldn’t have known.

Read the rest here: link.

Is religiosity related to porn use? It turns out, yes.

xxx porn reilgion | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy | Blogging on Squarespace

Is religiosity related to porn use? It turns out, yes.

Religiosity and social conservatism are typically associated with more traditional values, especially when it comes to sex. Rules about who, when, where, and how can be quite rigid. There's a long history of law being influenced by these rules (e.g., laws against homosexuality).

But, this fixation on rules and being "good" can backfire. The more one thinks about the things that they're not supposed to be doing, the more one tends to think about those things (if you've never heard of the white bear experiment, Google it). Fixation becomes preoccupation. And sex is already something people think about a lot.

In the linked study, the researchers looked at the relationships between proportion of people who identified as "very religious" and people who defined themselves as conservative, and frequency of Google searches for porn. They did this on a state-by-state basis.

What they found was that more religious and conservative states searched much more frequently for porn than states that are less religious and conservative.

Not at all coincidentally, a previous study showed that the most religious and conservative states have the highest subscription rates to porn sites.

The abstract:

religion and porn

 

To see the study, click here: link.

Obama cuts funding to abstinence-only sex ed programs.

Great news for the US.

If one hopes that their child will be abstinent until marriage, the research unequivocally shows that comprehensive sex education is more effective than abstinence-only in delaying first intercourse.

And for those kids who do decide to have sex, comprehensive sex ed, if done right, provides them the knowledge and skills that they need to make the best possible choices.

As the cliche goes, knowledge is power.

From Deadstate:

obama sex ed | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy | Blogging on Squarespace
Obama cuts all funding for Christian-based ‘Abstinence Only’ sex-ed programs
By Andrew Wertz
President Obama’s 2017 budget proposal has removed a $10 million annual grant that goes towards funding “abstinence-only” sexual education classes in public schools. By eliminating the grant, Obama would end the financial incentive for states to continue teaching the debunked sex-ed program.

Read the rest here: link.

How long does the average guy last in bed?

premature ejaculation orgasm time too fast | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy | Blogging on Squarespace

Many, many men worry that they aren't able to last long enough when having sex. Their concern is two-fold:

First, and foremost, men are often afraid that they aren't sufficiently satisfying their partners. The assumption is that lasting longer is always better. The fear is that partners will leave or be critical.

Second, sexual skills are central to many men's sense of masculinity. If a guy sees himself as bad in bed, he may feel like less of a man. And because stamina is considered to be important, the inability to go and go and go can be experienced as a failure at being a man.

Now, if a guy is struggling with premature ejaculation (which has been clinically defined several different ways, the most common being ejaculation in less than a minute), that's a much different experience than a guy who is worried because he typically lasts around 5 minutes.

So, how long do guys last, on average? Turns out to be somewhere in the neighbourhood of 5-6 minutes.

Dr. Justin Lehmiller reviewed the research for his piece in Playboy:

This is How Long the Average Guy Lasts in Bed
By Justin Lehmiller
When it comes to sex, some guys worry that they don’t last long enough–and I’m not even talking about guys with premature ejaculation here. Guys who already have a lot of sexual stamina to begin with often worry that they aren’t measuring up.
It’s easy to see how men might come to this conclusion. After all, the most popular men’s magazines are constantly publishing articles with tips on how to last longer in bed, and many advertise “sexual enhancement” products designed to improve sex by delaying the male orgasm.
Then there’s porn, which gives the impression that guys should be able to keep going and going and going—and then coming and coming and coming. But that’s a topic for another article.
So what’s typical when it comes to sexual stamina, anyway? How long does it take for the average guy to ejaculate?
Let’s take a look at the research.

Read the rest here: link.

Man protests same-sex marriage by suing to marry his computer.

chris sevier same sex marriage bigot | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy | Blogging on Squarespace

From news of the strange.

Mark “Chris” Sevier, lawyer and EDM musician, is really opposed to same-sex marriage. So much so that he's insisting that he be allowed to marry his porn-filled laptop in protest. Sevier claims that if two people of the same sex are able to get married, then a person should be able to marry whoever or whatever they want.

Of course, his claim is intended to be absurd to support his view that marriage between a man and woman is constitutionally protected and same-sex marriage is not. He's filed a two lawsuits, one in Utah and the other in Florida, after being denied marriage licences to wed his laptop. Both cases have been dismissed. These are the not the first times that he's protested same-sex marriage with frivolous lawsuits.

More about him and his absurdity from the DailyBeast:

Meet the Anti-LGBT Bigot “Marrying” His Computer
Meet Mark Sevier, a Christian music producer with a lengthy arrest record and a history of bogus lawsuits.
by Samantha Allen
It’s a love story as old as time itself. Man meets laptop. Man fills laptop with pornography. Man sues state for the right to marry his masturbatory aid.
In 2014, former Tennessee lawyer and Christian electronic dance music producer Mark “Chris” Sevier filed a motion in Florida arguing that if same-sex couples “have the right to marry their object of sexual desire… then I should have the right to marry my preferred sexual object,” in this case his “porn-filled Apple computer.”
The motion was dismissed, of course, but Sevier is back again with a new Texas lawsuit demanding that he be granted a 14th Amendment right to wed his laptop.
As the Houston Chronicle reports, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has already asked for the lawsuit to be dismissed, arguing that “the right to marry one’s computer is not an interest, objectively, deeply rooted in the nation’s history and tradition.”
At the very least, Sevier appears to be monogamous. The laptop named in this new suit is the same 2011 MacBook that he asked to marry in 2014.
But Sevier, who has said that “the Constitution is being hijacked” by same-sex marriage, does not seem to actually be in love with his computer. The EDM artist has a long history of bogus legal actions designed to undermine marriage equality.

Read the rest here: link.

Sex education, Norwegian style.

Looking to brush up on your sex education?

In most of North America and elsewhere, sex education is notoriously inadequate (and arguably, straight up ineffective - I'm looking at you, abstinence-only).

In the last few decades, Canada has made a concerted effort to improve access to good, comprehensive sex ed. But, sex education is at the purview of the provinces, who set curriculum. There is some flexibility in how that curriculum is applied, and even in places where sex ed is the best, it's still largely an afterthought.

The nordic countries tend to be the most sex-positive and socially liberal, so it's no surprise that their sex education is much better.

While these clips aren't part of the school curriculum in Norway, they do demonstrate a much different approach to thinking about sex ed than we see here in North America. And they're awesome.

Below is the first in the series. If you click through to YouTube, you can find the rest of the series. There are English subtitles. The clips are NSFW!

You can learn more about the series here: link.

Interviews with three female porn producers.

joanna angel female porn producers stars | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy | Blogging on Squarespace

The porn industry is still largely run by men. But over the last ten years, many women have taken on the roles of producers and directors. And it's been a good thing; porn has arguably changed for the better because of it. Additionally, there's now much more content that appeals to women.

In this piece, three female producers share some of their insights about the industry. From the Guardian:

'I have to remind people I can still be dirty': the female porn directors calling the shots
Bree Mills, Tasha Reign and Joanna Angel represent a growing number of women directing the action and with five women out of 15 nominees for best director at the recent adult video awards, could the Oscars take notes?
by Gabriella Paiella
The 33rd annual Adult Video News awards, colloquially known as “the Oscars of porn”, were held in Las Vegas last weekend. It was a decidedly less stuffy affair than its mainstream counterpart: the red carpet was smaller, the ceremony blessedly shorter, and there was no Mani Cam in sight.
The AVN Awards celebrate talent in the adult entertainment industry – an industry which, despite growing more popular and accepted each year, still faces substantial criticism for its perceived mistreatment of women.
And yet, out of this year’s nominees for best director of a feature, five out of 15 were women. Compare that to the entirely male roster of nominees for best director at this year’s Oscars – and every year since since 2010, when Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win that award in the Academy’s 87-year history.
So what is it like to work – and succeed – in the industry? I spoke to three female directors at different stages of their careers to find out.
Read the interviews here: link.

 

 

 

Documentary on disabilities and sex.

While we, as a society, are becoming increasingly more comfortable with sex, the sexual lives of disabled people is rarely ever acknowledged or discussed. And it seems that many within the able-bodied community are uncomfortable even thinking about it (e.g., link and link).

There has been a concerted effort to fight against stereotypes people may have about disability and sexuality. I previously posted a documentary on sex and disabilities. You can check it out here: link.

This latest project has been receiving a lot of positive attention. It's another documentary about disabilities and sex.

From Dazed

The film making us face the idea disabled people have sex
‘Yes We Fuck’ is an uncompromising look at the reality that disabled people have sex lives too. We caught up with director and disability activist Antonio Centeno to find out more
by Sirin Kale
As a society we’re becoming more accepting of sexuality in all its guises and forms – and rightly so. 2015 could be seen as the year when trans issues finally broke through into the mainstream after decades spent on the margins of society, while more and more women in particular are joining the sexually fluid revolution. And yet for all of our talk, there’s one conversation that we’re not having – about how disabled people have sex.
Spanish director and disability activist Antonio Centeno wants to tackle this prudishness head-on. His film Yes We Fuck (which is co-directed with Raúl de la Morena) is a no-holds barred look at the world of disabled sexuality, with uncompromising visuals (of people having sex) and a strong sense of moral purpose. Centeno shows human intimacy in all its forms, and what strikes you from watching the film is that the issues faced by disabled people when it comes to their sex lives aren’t so dissimilar to those faced by the rest of the population.
Watching the film, which recently showed at the British Film Institute’s Flare festival, at times makes for uncomfortable viewing. You’re discomfited by the fact that the sexuality depicted on our TVs and in popular culture almost uniformly represents one experience: that of heterosexual intimacy between two able-bodied, cis-gendered people.
Yes We Fuck is an uplifting, refreshing corrective to the narrative that disabled people are in some way sexless, made noble by the struggles they undergo to assimilate into a society that is in many ways ableist. The film isn’t perfect – sections are too long, and while Centeno wants to depict the reality of disabled people having sex, at times the camera lingers too long or in a way that feels intrusive. It’s clear that this is very much a passion project from the fledging director, and one which could perhaps have profited from tauter editing. Nonetheless, it’s rare to see a film which so profoundly makes you confront your own prejudices to recognize that we all of us share a common humanity and a common desire to express that humanity through the most natural act of all – the act of fucking, of course. 
To find why we need to get on board with the fact that disabled people fuck like the rest of us, Dazed caught up with Centeno at the BFI. Below is the transcript of our conversation, which has been edited for flow and clarity.

Read the interview here: link.

And the trailer:

Online dating impacting the way people choose partners.

couple online dating | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy | Blogging on Squarespace

The assortative mating theory suggests that people choose partners who are similar to themselves in many ways, such as education, background, social class, personality, and attractiveness. There's now a substantial amount of research to support the theory.

When it comes to physical attractiveness, this means that people of similar attractiveness typically pair up. But, and this is a big but, the longer that people know each other, the less important physical attractiveness seems to be.

In other words, physical attractiveness plays a larger role in who people choose when they don't know each other well. With more time to get to know one another, many other variables start to play an important role in partner choice.

Additionally, relationship and partner satisfaction in the longer term seem to have less to do with partner attractiveness than other partner attributes.

The article below discusses this in the context of online dating, where there are limitless partner options and people have little chance to get to know each other before they date.

From Priceonomics:

Online Dating and the Death of the 'Mixed-Attractiveness' Couple
by Alex Mayyasi
When was the last time you met a couple where one person was attractive and the other was not? 
There’s no reason couples like that should stand out—except for the fact that they are so rare. Seeing it can set off an uncharitable search for an explanation. Is the plain one rich or funny? Is the attractive one boring or unintelligent? 
While love-seeking singles speak of this dynamic through euphemisms like “she’s out of my league”, economists and psychologists have dismally documented it.  
"We think we have highly idiosyncratic preferences,” psychologist Paul Eastwick has said of dating, “but there's just no compelling evidence that those preferences [matter] once people actually meet face-to-face.” Experiments run by OKCupid, a dating site that matches singles by asking them which qualities they care about in a partner, support this idea
Instead it’s well established among academics interested in dating that “opposites attract” is a myth. Study after study supports the idea of “assortative mating”: the hypothesis that people generally date and marry partners who are like them in terms of social class, educational background, race, personality, and, of course, attractiveness. 
To use fratboy vernacular: 7s date other 7s, and a 3 has no chance with a 10.
There is an exception, however, to this seeming rule that people always date equally attractive people: The longer two people know each other before they start dating, the more likely it is that a 3 will date a 6, or a 7 will marry a 10. 

Read the rest here: link.

Women and minorities face the brunt of online harassment.

online bullying sexual harassment | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy | Blogging on Squarespace

The findings of this research are entirely unsurprising, but somehow seeing the data is still shocking.

Online harassment has become one of most pressing issues within the digitally connected world. Many large online publications have stopped providing the platform to comment on their articles. Others have opted to link accounts to social media so that commenting is not anonymous.

Even on social media itself where people are easily identifiable, comments can be cruel, persecutory, and harassing. It's largely attributed to the distance created by digital interactions (as opposed to face-to-face). People act likes dicks.

The findings of the research by the Guardian are even more saddening; they show that women and minorities, who are already disenfranchised in relation to white straight guys, take the brunt of online harassment.

From the Guardian:

The dark side of Guardian comments
As part of a series on the rising global phenomenon of online harassment, the Guardian commissioned research into the 70m comments left on its site since 2006 and discovered that of the 10 most abused writers eight are women, and the two men are black. Hear from three of those writers, explore the data and help us host better conversations online
by Becky GardinerMahana MansfieldIan AndersonJosh HolderDaan Louterand Monica Ulmanu
Comments allow readers to respond to an article instantly, asking questions, pointing out errors, giving new leads. At their best, comment threads are thoughtful, enlightening, funny: online communities where readers interact with journalists and others in ways that enrich the Guardian’s journalism.
But at their worst, they are something else entirely.
The Guardian was not the only news site to turn comments on, nor has it been the only one to find that some of what is written “below the line” is crude, bigoted or just vile. On all news sites where comments appear, too often things are said to journalists and other readers that would be unimaginable face to face – the Guardian is no exception.
New research into our own comment threads provides the first quantitative evidence for what female journalists have long suspected: that articles written by women attract more abuse and dismissive trolling than those written by men, regardless of what the article is about.

Read the rest here: link.

 

Is porn as bad as many claim?

xxx porn exploitation negative effects addiction | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy | Blogging on Squarespace

As described in the post on ethical pornography, there are three main concerns when it comes to porn:

  1. exploitation of performers
  2. impact on viewers (and indirectly on their relationships)
  3. significance for society in general

It's rare to find mainstream articles, pieces, or documentaries that provide a balanced and objective perspective on pornography. Mostly what you'll encounter are bold claims and black and white type arguments, all of which are critical. But the reality is much more nuanced. Yes, there are legitimate concerns. But no, pornography is also not the boogeyman that many people make it out to be.

This piece from Aeon provides an excellent overview. If you're curious about the concerns regarding pornography and what the research tells us, then it's definitely a very worthwhile read.

From Aeon:

Pornucopia
Critics say that porn degrades women, dulls sexual pleasure, and ruins authentic relationships – are they right?
by Maria Konnikova
I don’t remember how old I was when I had my first encounter with pornography, but I must have been around 10 – the experience is entwined with the sound of the AOL dial-up tone. It was something relatively benign – a close-up photo of some genitalia – and I wasn’t much shocked. I grew up in a family not given to sugarcoating the realities of the human condition and I’d known what to expect.
But what if I’d grown up a decade or so later, when the internet had graduated beyond the old-school chatrooms and into the ubiquitous juggernaut of today? My memory might have been decidedly different.

Read the rest here: link.