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Pump Up the Vole-ume: Talking Oxytocin | Scarleteen

Posted: August 10th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Heather Corinna tackles pseudo-science head-on with a very thorough literature review of oxytocin, the supposed love-and-bonding chemical that conservatives love to tout as "evidence" of the importance of abstinence-only sex education, anti-choice programs, and any number of other politically-driven agendas. Morally-minded policy-makers do this despite the fact that researchers whose studies they cite strongly object to their interpretations, and get increasingly frustrated as the media lazily parrots the policy-makers' soundbytes.

As Heather writes, "A lot of the popular claims about oxytocin, like so many made about sex or love, are exclusively or primarily about heterosexuality and binary sex or gender, both of which we know—thanks, science!—aren't binary at all. […H]ow much or how little oxytocin impacts those things, how it impacts them, for whom and in what situations, clearly varies widely." The truth is simply not as black-and-white as conservatives would have you believe.

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For Women, Biological Clock is an Aphrodisiac | Miller-McCune Online

Posted: July 7th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

"27- to 45-year-old females 'think more about sex, have more frequent and intense sexual fantasies, are more willing to engage in sexual intercourse, and report actually engaging in sexual intercourse more frequently than women of other age groups,'" Tom Jacobs reports of yet-another-study. Psychologist Judith Easton asked 827 women to complete "a detailed online survey that included questions about their sexual desires and behaviors." The horniest respondents were dubbed RE or "reproduction expediting," an academic euphemism.

And why are they horny? Yet-another-evolutionary psychology theory: "women evolved a psychological mechanism…that motivated them to capitalize on their remaining fertility before likelihood of conception [became] less probable." But as Easton concedes, older womens' "increasing comfort with sexuality" may also account for some of their findings. Either way, a notion of men being driven by "spreading their seed" while women aren't similarly motivated is bogus.

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The Anti-Lesbian Drug – Newsweek

Posted: July 3rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Bioethicist Alice Dreger, who raised concerns of a pediatricians' female genital mutilation practice, partnered with American University philosophy professor and gay rights activist Anne Tamar-Mattis against what they call the "FIRST EXPERIMENT TO ATTEMPT PREVENTION OF HOMOSEXUALITY IN WOMB" (sic) by pediatric endocrinologist Maria New.

As Sharon Begley reports, Dreger "blew the whistle on the controversial practice of giving pregnant women dexamethasone [dex] to keep the female fetuses they are carrying from developing ambiguous genitalia." While Dreger may have made a leap, dex isn't FDA-approved, so "medical societies have signed on to a statement recommending that prenatal dexamethasone therapy…'continue to be regarded as experimental, and be pursued only' in research settings." Maria New's "aim seems to be to…make life easier for" patients. I think that could be achieved better with social acceptance of intersexuality than with drugs.

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A birth control pill for men | health

Posted: June 28th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

An Israeli biochemist developed a pill that could sterilize men for up to 3 months, and with no side effects to boot. "Prof. Haim Breitbart of Israel's Bar-Ilan University," Karin Kloosterman reports, "developed a number of novel compounds that have no affect on male sex drive, but succeed in impairing the reproductive ability of the sperm. If all goes according to his plan, a new male birth control pill could be on the market within the next five years." Dubbed the Bright Pill, it's now being tested on mice with promising results. Human trials are expected next year. "And, unlike the female pill, the male pill wouldn't have to be taken every day."

In the Telegraph, Brietbart is quoted saying, "Men don't cope well with side effects and having side effects would probably put many off wanting to take a pill." Uh, do male scientists think side effects don't bother women?

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STI Rates Among Swingers

Posted: June 27th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

New data from health clinics in The Netherlands shows 12% of people practice swinging, indicating far more couples swing (consensually engage in sex with different partners) than believed. In America, estimates put swingers at 2% of the population, but if the Dutch numbers are any indication, American swingers are way more prevalent. Also, Cory Silverberg writes, "swingers, particularly swingers over 45, had a higher prevalence of STIs when tested at the community clinics."

In fact, swingers "had the second highest rate of combined STIs" among the groups considered, which "included men who have sex with men, sex workers, [and] straight people who weren't swingers." Evidently, STIs don't only target sex workers, despite contrary claims from anti-porn activists. "The researchers rightly point out that swingers may be a population public health folks should start paying some attention to," Cory says, offering common-sense advice about STI risk.

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Update: Cory Silverberg wrote an interesting followup to his piece about this study, which includes more figures and notes that “sex workers as a group are no more homogeneous than any other group, and no more broken than actors in LA or psychiatrists in ERs.”


Just How Bad Is Porn, Anyway? : The Thoughtful Animal

Posted: June 5th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Citing numerous studies, developmental psychology post-grad Jason G. Goldman writes, "in general both males and females report overall positive effects of pornography UNLESS they are not sexually fulfilled […] in which case they report negative effects." His research was sparked by claims to the contrary made by religiously-backed Stop Porn Culture, whose upcoming conference features Women's Studies Professor and character assassin Donna M. Hughes.

Goldman notes it's "impossible to infer causality" from current literature but "this data suggests very strongly that pornography is not a direct cause of aggression against women; rather, pornography moderates the relationship between sexual promiscuity/hostile masculinity and sexual aggression." According to him, "people who are meeting…to denounce pornography might redirect their efforts at improving the quality of sex education in our schools."

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Update: A key figure in the pro-porn argument, Violet Blue, says Goldman’s research “is a huge change for the entire discussion.”


Tiger Beatdown › On Heavy Girls and Sexy Time

Posted: May 29th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Responding to MSNBC reports of an unpublished study saying "overweight girls are more likely to start having sex early, to have multiple partners during their teen years, and to eschew condoms compared to thinner teens," Silvana at TigerBeatdown.com explains why the report is badly biased. She says, "There is so much wrong with the analysis of this study’s results," which predictably cites male lust and girls' low self-esteem as causes for the study's findings.

"Do we understand so little about sex that we think the question of who’s having sex and who’s not is just about who is the most attractive to men? […] According to this analysis, the correlation goes like this: fat→low self-esteem→can’t say no→sexy time." Silvana says a combination of "fatness-shame" and "anti-sex messages" work hand-in-hand to make younger girls "undergo deep, deep dissociation with their bodies" at the onset of puberty.

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BBC News – Heart attack survivors ‘fear sex’

Posted: May 28th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Heart attack survivors "fear sex" and thus have less of it, unless they're given information about how sexual activity may or may not affect them. According to a BBC report of a US study, "The team told an American Heart Association meeting that those whose doctors failed to talk to them about sex were most likely to avoid it. […M]en were 30% and women 40% more likely to report having less sex a year on, compared with before their heart attack, if they had not been given information on resuming sexual activity."

Dr Stacy Tessler Lindau, who led the study of 1,700 people, said, "Most heart attack patients are sexually active. But for the most part, physicians just aren't discussing this topic with their patients after a heart attack." The study found that "less than 40% of men and 20% of women talked to their doctors about sex in the 12 months after their heart attack." In fact, the chance of sex killing you "is really small," but dramatic TV shows & movies may mislead one otherwise.

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New Research Finds Using Lube During Anal Sex Can Increase HIV, STD Transmission – Queer Sighted

Posted: May 27th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

A new study finds reason to believe that four popular over the counter personal lubricants increase the risk of HIV transmission when used anally. Five brands were tested, including Astroglide, Elbow Grease, ID Glide, KY Jelly and Wet Platinum, along with a sixth product (PRÉ), used as a control. The researchers presented their findings at the International Microbicides Conference last week and revealed Wet Platinum and PRÉ as the safest lubes of the set.

"Research found that water-based lubes draw water out of cells, weakening and even killing the cells. Some of the tested products also weakened or destroyed the surface of epithelial cells, which act as a sort of protective cover in the mouth, nose, and rectum," Zachary Wilson writes for Queer Sighted. The Safety and Anti-HIV Activity of Over-the-Counter Lubricant Gels study is the first of its kind to evaluate effects of sex lubes on STI transmission rates.

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Folks 45 and older are loving sexual liberation, AARP survey finds

Posted: May 11th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

An AARP study conducted in August 2009 "is more empirical evidence that the older folks are fully invested in doing the wild thing whenever possible," the Washington Post reports. The study surveys Americans who are at least 45 years old regarding sexual behaviors, attitudes and fantasies and found that "The favorite fantasy of [the] men [surveyed] is sex with a stranger. Same with women."

The national study of American elders found "The percentage who think you must be married to have sex has dropped by almost half in 10 years, from 41 percent to 22 percent," and "that 48 percent of those who are dating have sex at least once a week, while 36 percent of the married ones do." In other words, researchers found "an assertion of sexual freedom among widows, widowers, divorced people or folks who never married."

Curiously, despite increased freedom to have it, less partnered sex is being had. "[F]requency of self-stimulation, sexual thoughts, and fantasies have not changed," however.

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