Contraception

Jessica Biel and WomanCare Global team up for funny sex ed videos.

In response to the mostly piss-poor sex education in the states, Jessica Biel, Joy Bryant, and Whitney Cummings teamed up with WomanCare Global (a nonprofit women's sexual health service provider) and Funny or Die to produce a series of educational comedy clips that address some misconceptions related to sex. The clips have received a lot of attention, and for good reason.

From an article in Slate:

Today, Biel and WomanCare Global, an international nonprofit that works to improve access to products such as contraception and menstrual cups, released a series of videos on Funny or Die called “If You Don’t Tell Them, Then Who Will?” Named to encourage parents and other informed adults to speak honestly with the kids in their lives about reproductive health, the three clips feature Biel kibitzing with fellow actresses Joy Bryant and Whitney Cummings about hetero sex, birth control, dudes, and periods in someone’s kitchen.
The three women cite some messed-up ideas of how female bodies work—e.g., if a condom gets stuck in your vagina, it cannot travel up and out your mouth, contrary to the anatomical fantasies of one Idaho lawmaker—which work as straw men for on-screen text to bat down. “We thought the best way to encourage women to get educated and start the conversation around our bodies was to make it comically clear that people like me, and other non-experts, should not be the source for this information,” said Biel in a statement.

Read the rest here.

Check out WomanCare Global here.

And the videos:

End of legal ban on adultery in Korea; condom sales explode.

From NBC News:

Korean Court Scraps Adultery Ban, Condom Stock Soars
Here's one way to get a rise out of a stock price. South Korea's highest court on Thursday struck down as unconstitutional a decades-old law banning adultery, triggering a surge in shares of condom makers and morning-after pills.
The 1953 law aimed to protect women in a male-dominated society where divorce was rare, by making marital infidelity punishable with jail. "The law is unconstitutional as it infringes people's right to make their own decisions on sex and secrecy and freedom of their private life, violating the principle banning excessive enforcement," said Seo Ki-seok, a Constitutional Court judge, reading an opinion on behalf of five judges.
Seven members of the nine-judge panel deemed the law to be unconstitutional. After the ruling, shares in Unidus Corp, which makes latex products, including condoms, soared to the 15 percent daily limit gain. Hyundai Pharmaceutical Co Ltd, a maker of morning-after birth control pills and pregnancy tests, ended up 9.7 percent.

New male contraceptive.

I've posted about this technology previously, but things have progressed since then. From the Daily Beast:

Male Birth Control, Without Condoms, Will Be Here by 2017 By Samantha Allen

Vasalgel, a reversible, non-hormonal polymer that blocks the vas deferens, is about to enter human trials. How will rhetoric change when male bodies become responsible for birth control?

According to a press release from the Parsemus Foundation, a not-for profit organization focused on developing low-cost medical approaches, Vasalgel is proving effective in a baboon study. Three lucky male baboons were injected with Vasalgel and given unrestricted sexual access to 10 to 15 female baboons each. Despite the fact that they have been monkeying around for six months now, no female baboons have been impregnated. With the success of this animal study and new funding from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Parsemus Foundation is planning to start human trials for Vasalgel next year. According to their FAQ page, they hope to see it on the market by 2017 for, in their words, less than the cost of a flat-screen television.

So how does Vasalgel work? It is essentially a reimagining of a medical technology called RISUG (reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance) that was developed by a doctor named Sujoy Guha over 15 years ago in India, where it has been in clinical trials ever since. Unlike most forms of female birth control, Vasalgel is non-hormonal and only requires a single treatment in order to be effective for an extended period of time. Rather than cutting the vas deferens—as would be done in a vasectomy—a Vasalgel procedure involves the injection of a polymer contraceptive directly into the vas deferens. This polymer will then block any sperm that attempt to pass through the tube. At any point, however, the polymer can be flushed out with a second injection if a man wishes to bring his sperm back up to speed.

Read the rest of the article here.

Mini-doc: The Economics of Sex.

First, watch this mini-doc (and don't read the rest of the post):

What is your first reaction? Give it a quick think and then scroll down.

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What if you then found out the makers of the doc, the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture, is a far-right religious academic organization that is ostensibly advocating against families that aren't headed by a married heterosexual couple?

It isn't to say that some of the facts and ideas presented in this aren't correct (Roy Baumeister, one of the researchers they cite, is highly respected), but the conclusions drawn should lead to some red flags.

The Slate published a piece on this:

Are Men Getting Away With Too Much Sex? A New Austin Think Tank Says Yes. By Amanda Marcotte

The latest "viral" video—does it count if it has fewer than 100,000 views?—causing eyes to roll at computer screens coast to coast is the "Economics of Sex." This gem of right-wing concern-trolling explains to ladies how contraception has destroyed their lives: No longer can they use accidental pregnancies to trick men into marriage. The theory, which we've all heard a thousand times, is that contraception lowered the "price" women can charge for sex (getting hitched)—so women are all sad now. Clearly the height of a woman's happiness is being saddled for life with a man who barely puts up with her because he fears he can't get sex anywhere else. But it's in a cutesy format, so let's just pretend it's hip.

Brandon Watson of the Austin Chronicle did a little reporting on who's behind this video. It turns out to be the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture("family and culture," of course, being the uncomfortable conservative euphemism for sex). This new organization is run, in part, by Mark Regnerus, most famous for publishing a thoroughly debunked study arguing that gay parents are bad for kids. Watson has some fun describing how he imagines the staff: "On the veranda of a buttercream Victorian, the fellows sip lemonade while casting disappointed glances at University of Texas co-eds." Indeed, digging into their website reveals a bunch of half-baked studies that serve no real purpose but to cause jealous prigs to shake their heads ruefully at all the sexy people out there having too much fun.

Watson zeroes in on an article decrying the widespread practice of men taking "me time" in front of computer screens. The post—titled "Masturbation Nation?"—is an attempt to discredit the argument that masturbation is good for you. "Frequent masturbation is modestly associated with lower self-reported happiness as well as greater anxiety in relationships and difficulties navigating interpersonal relationships successfully, especially among men," it says. Of course, if you read the actual report, you'll find, buried deep inside, an admission that the masturbation is probably not causing the loneliness. Common sense would suggest that it's the other way around. But! We should nonetheless see masturbation as a challenge to "human flourishing," claims the report. The possibility that frequent masturbation could be a helpful coping mechanism for lonely people until they get a little less lonely is pointedly ignored.

Regnerus himself has been in the news again recently, after the blogger Jeremy Hooper highlighted a speech that Regnerus gave at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio. In it, he warns women that supporting gay marriage is going to backfire by persuading men that all kinds of dirty sex things are OK:

If gay marriage is perceived as legitimate by heterosexual women, it will eventually embolden boyfriends everywhere and not a few husbands to press for what men have always historically wanted but were rarely allowed – sexual novelty, in the form of permission to stray without jeopardizing their primary relationship. Discussion of openness in sexual partners in straight marriages will become more common, just as the practice of heterosexual anal sex got a big boost from the normalization of gay men’s sexual behavior in both contemporary porn and the American imagination. It may be spun as empowering women, but it sure won’t … sure doesn’t feel that way.

The theme here is that women were once an empowered class that used all their magnificent social power, which was so much greater than that of men's, to make sure men didn't have very much sex. And now, because of gays and porn and contraception—and for all I know, the 19th Amendment—women have lost their power and men are just having out-of-control sex and we ladies can't do anything to stop it. It's an interesting theory, though it does snag against the reality that women don't seem to be bothered by men orgasming without paying the supposedly heavy price of marrying us first. Indeed, we may even think that marriage is not a "price" at all, but something men do for love and companionship.

UBC engineering grad creates world thinnest condom.

From The Province:

worldsthinnestcondom
worldsthinnestcondom

World's thinnest condom: UBC grad comes up with a breakthrough you won't break through By Cheryl Chan

A University of B.C. engineering graduate has spearheaded the creation of the world’s thinnest latex condom.

Victor Chan, who grew up in Vancouver, returned to Hong Kong in 2009 to work in his family’s condom-making business and immediately saw a niche demand for slimmer sheaths.

“One of the opportunities I saw in the market was for thin condoms,” said Chan. “It’s more the Asian preference.”

The Aoni condom — measuring only 0.036 millimetres thick — was crowned by Guinness World Records last week as the world’s thinnest latex rubber, trumping previous record-holder Okamoto of Japan’s 0.038 mm.

The Aoni condom is manufactured by Guangzhou Daming United Rubber Products, which produces about 200 million condoms annually — mostly sold in China, where the condom market is predicted to grow by almost 60 per cent in the next five years, according to Bloomberg, citing research from Global Industry Analytics.

“It was quite tricky,” said Chan of the effort it took to manufacture the prophylactic that could best heighten sensation and mimic a barrier-free feeling.

“It took a lot of work to arrange the right mix and fine-tune the ingredients to give us the right performance.”

The product is available only in Asia, but Chan is hoping to bring it to North America. It has already been approved by Health Canada, he said, but needs a marketing plan that’ll resonate with Canadians and U.S. users.

Read the rest of the article, and see the accompanying news clip, here.

Gates Foundation funds development of a better condom.

From the Verge:

Gates Foundation announces grants to start building a better condom By Casey Newton

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will fund research into next-generation condomsthat people can use more effectively to reduce unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. The foundation said it will award a pair $100,000 grants to researchers working on improving condoms, two of 81 grants it announced this week improve global health and development.

One grant goes to Benjamin Strutt and a team from Cambridge Design Partnership in the United Kingdom, who are building a male condom out of a new composite material "that will provide a universal fit and is designed to gently tighten during intercourse, enhancing sensation and reliability," the foundation said. The other grant goes to South Africa's Willem van Rensburg, who is building an applicator called the Rapidom designed to make it easier to put on condoms. The applicator is "designed to be applied with one motion," according to the foundation, "thereby minimizing interruption."

The awards were given as part of the foundation's Global Challenges Explorations, which tackle health problems around the world. Grants were also given to projects focused on making research data easier to share, increasing the productivity of female farmers in sub-Saharan Africa, and the control of tropical diseases, among others. A full list of the award winners can be found here.

New PSA campaign: Unexpected?

From Al Jazeera:

What if boys got pregnant? Teen pregnancy campaign shocks and sparks dialogue.

A Chicago teen pregnancy campaign took an 'unexpected' turn when it featured Photoshopped posters of boys baring pregnant bellies. Displayed near local high schools, the campaign stresses the impact of unprotected sex and the importance of shared responsibility. A similar campaign in Milwaukee has been credited for its reduction of teen pregnancy rates.

See some of the feedback here.

And another one of the ads:

Bacon condoms.

From AmericaBlog:

Bacon condoms, yep.  An American company (God bless American innovation) has created the bacon condom.  It looks just like bacon, and if you use their bacon-flavored lubricant, it even tastes like bacon.

I’m not kidding.

The company, J&D’s, says that of the 5 billion condoms sold worldwide every year, none look or taste like bacon.  Until now.

The company announces that the condoms are “proudly Made in America,” because you wouldn’t want some cheap foreign knock-off bacon condom.

As for the bacon-flavored lubricant, it’s apparently a lubricant and a massage oil.  I love a good massage, and I love bacon.  I’m not however convinced that I’d want to have bacon-scent rubbed all over me.

Interestingly, the company says that the idea did in fact originally start as an April Fool’s joke.  But they had so many people write in interest, that they decided to create the product for real.  Unlike Scope’s bacon-flavored mouthwash that was indeed an April Fool’s joke that apparently a lot of people didn’t get.

I’ll give them credit for taking something that can kill you and melding it with something that can save you.

Oh, and you vegans can put your minds at ease, the company notes that the bacon lubricant, and I suppose the bacon condom as well, are “vegan-safe.”  Well, that’s a relief.

Read the rest here.

Condom-themed restaurant.

From Buzzfeed (and reported all over the place previously):

Condom-Themed Restaurant Features All-Condom Wedding Dress

The restaurant's tagline: “Our food is guaranteed not to cause pregnancy.”

Called "Cabbages & Condoms," the Bangkok restaurant was developed in part to raise awareness about safe sex, family planning and HIV/ AIDS in Thailand.

According to the restaurant's website, all proceeds go to support Thailand'sPopulation and Community Development Association. It's a non-governmental organization that promotes family planning and has been active since 1974.

The restaurant is decorated with condoms from around the world and incredibly intricate condom statues.

See a bunch more photos, and the original article, here.

Newly discovered gene may lead to male contraceptive.

From Medicine Net:

The discovery of a key gene involved in sperm development could eventually lead to the creation of a new type of non-hormonal birth control for men, a study involving mice suggests.

Researchers found that a gene called Katnal1 is critical to enable sperm to mature in the testes. Finding a way to regulate this gene could prevent sperm from maturing, making them incapable of fertilizing eggs.

This finding also could lead to new treatments for cases of male infertility in which the Katnal1 gene malfunctions and hampers sperm development, according to the study, from researchers at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

The researchers found that male mice modified to lack the Katnal1 gene were infertile. Further investigation revealed that the gene was essential for sperm development and maturation.

Successful trials in mice do not necessarily mean the success will translate to humans, however.

The study was published in the journal PLoS Genetics.

"If we can find a way to target this gene in the testes, we could potentially develop a non-hormonal contraceptive," study author Lee Smith, of the University of Edinburgh's Center for Reproductive Health, said in a journal news release.

"The important thing is that the effects of such a drug would be reversible because Katnal1 only affects sperm cells in the later stages of development, so it would not hinder the early stages of sperm production and the overall ability to produce sperm," Smith said.

"Although other research is being carried out into non-hormonal male contraceptives, identification of a gene that controls sperm production in the way Katnal1 does is a unique and significant step forward in our understanding of testis biology," Smith concluded.

Knit a uterus for a congressman.

From Jezebel, passed along by Laura (thanks!).

You can click the links in the text for more informartion:

Knit a Uterus to Donate to a Congressman in Need

Remember when we decided that Rick Santorum needed a uterus of his very own so he'd leave ours alone? Well, now there's a similar idea being proposed for the members of Congress across this great land who seem so insistent on getting all up in our lady parts since they're jealous they don't have any of their own. So how exactly are we going to make that happen, since we can't, you know, give them actual uteruses? Enter Government Free VJJ, a project which aims to have have ladies knit or crochet lovely versions of uteruses (plus cervixes and vulvas) and mail them to their representatives.

If you've got some spare time and know how to knit or crochet, pick one of these patterns (or devise your own), fill out this form so they can keep track of who's getting what, and then mail off the finished product to the statesman of your choice. It might not end the war on women, but at least it will give our beloved representatives something soft to cuddle when they have nightmares about slut-demons and whore-monsters taking over the world with our birth-control riddled godzila-sized vaginas.