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Happy International Women’s Day! Tried the new acidic tampons, yet?

Vagina is at its best when it’s on the acidic side. That’s where acidic tampons come in.
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People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals activist Jen Huls stands dressed as a tampon outside of Columbia University during a protest October 19, 2004 in New York. PETA staged a protest alleging that Columbia researchers are conducting cruel menstrual tests on primates and subjecting them to painful conditions. (Chris Hondros/AFP/Getty Images)

I was reading all about vaginal flora today.

Perhaps it’s not a coincidence, since it kind of sounds like a bouquet of flowers one gets for the International Women’s Day. And, incidentally, it is International Women’s Day today.

As you might already know, vaginas are at their best when they are on the acidic side. That way, vaginal flora is healthy, bacterial overgrowth is at a minimum, and any foreign bodies that want to pass through are firmly discouraged, writes Dr. Kate Clancy on her Scientific American blog.

The trouble is, things like menstruation, semen and douching can increase pH, and flush out normal, good bacteria.

So, what is a self-respecting vagina to do?

It must try to decrease pH anyway it can. Banning semen would be a good start, but not exactly a good sustainable solution, shall we say.

That’s where RepHresh comes in.

The company that makes pH-balancing gels and cleansers for women recently came out with a new product, RepHresh Brilliant, which is a pH-balancing tampon that makes your vaginal flora at least as acidic as the post-midnight emails you wrote to your ex-boyfriend. Which, apparently, is a good thing.

It makes one wonder what women used to do about the acidity of their vaginas in the pre-industrialized age.

How did they regulate their vaginal pH? Why have we lost that ability?

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Wanderlust Daily Trifle: Amputee fetishism

Learn something new. Like a fetish of the day.

Did you know acrotomophilia -- from the Greek akron [extremity], tomein [to cut] and philein [to love] – was a condition in which a person is sexually aroused by the sight of an amputation?

The amputation usually involves of a whole arm or leg.

This isn't to be confused with apotemnophilia, which is a neurological disorder in which otherwise sane and rational individuals express a strong and specific desire for the amputation of a healthy limb or limbs.

When experienced very strongly, some people with apotemnophilia can feel discontented with their bodies and want to actually remove an otherwise healthy limb, a condition called body integrity identity disorder.

Apotemnophilia should not be confused with acrotomophilia, which is the erotic interest in people who actually are amputees.

For further study, there's a feature film concerning amputee fetishism: Boxing Helena.

It's directed by Jennifer Chambers Lynch, daughter of David Lynch.

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Another Zimbabwean loses his penis

In a Botswana prison, a Zimbabwean man attempted suicide by cutting his private parts into pieces. That's not the first Zimbabwean penile loss this week.
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If only restoring real penises were this easy. This pair of Roman statues Mars and Venus, had been restored on the ex-the prime minister Berlussoni's orders at a cost of 70,000 euros. Thanks to Papa Silvio, Mars is now sporting a brand new penis and a new right hand. (Montage/GlobalPost)

There must be easier ways to kill oneself, even in prison.

Cleopus Nkomo, 27, a Zimbabwean man incarcerated in a Botswana high-security prison, has reportedly chosen the road less traveled.

He chopped his penis into pieces with a sharp razor blade, Kitwe Times reports.

He remains in critical condition.

Nkomo, a suspected rapist and serial killer facing four murder charges, was rushed to Nyangabwe Referral Hospital as prison wardens collected parts of his penis, Kitwe Times reports.

A surgeon tried to sew back the pieces, but sometime during the process, some parts – including the testicles – had gone missing.

Nyangabwe public relations officer Caiphus Gabana confirmed the accident:

“From what I can gather some of the parts were missing, but the surgeon who attended the patient tried to put together the pieces though the man was critically injured,” he said to the local correspondent.

“It’s just unbelievable he did all this to himself.”

Maybe so.

But the loss of one's penis is hardly an isolated incident in this part of Africa.

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Israel’s first SlutWalk: Proud to be a sharmuta

Next week, Israel will join Canadian women to protest the habit of blaming sexual harassment or even rape on a woman's appearance.
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SlutWalkers in action. New York City's Union Square, October 2011. (SlutWalk/Wikimedia commons)

Sluts of the world, unite.

Or, as they say in Israel: "Be proud to be a sharmuta,” which is a Hebrew slang term for a woman who is sexually open.

Tel Aviv will host its first SlutWalk on March 16 and join a series of marches around the world in which women protest against male-dominated society's habit of blaming sexual harassment, or even rape, on a woman's appearance, Haaretz reports.

Yaara Lieberman-Kalif, an organizer of the Tel Aviv march, says that the effort in Israel started in Jerusalem.

"We hope it will be like it was abroad," she says.

"We will not ask anyone to come wearing revealing clothes, because the goal of this march is the opposite of coercion, it is to highlight the option of every woman (and man) to dress as she wishes, without social criticism."

The goal of using the rather blunt word "sharmuta" is to remove its negative connotation and present in a positive light feminine sexual openness, which is no less natural and legitimate than masculine sexual openness, said Lieberman-Kalif in the Haaretz interview.

Canadian women organized the first SlutWalks a year ago in Toronto, after a policeman said at a crime prevention safety forum that "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized."

A march was organized to protest his wording, which reflected a commonly held view that a woman who dresses in what is considered sexy attire is basically asking for rape, harassment or any other degrading, abusive and criminal treatment.

Since last year, SlutWalks have been organized in Canada, the US and Singapore. This month will see SlutWalks, or Mitzad Sharmutot in Hebrew, in Tel Aviv, followed by one in Haifa a week later.

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Quote of the day, by Thomas Szasz:

Masturbation: the primary sexual activity of mankind. In the nineteenth century it was a disease. In the twentieth, it's a cure. 

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Hong Kong Sex Festival calls for "group marriages"

Organizers of the Fifth Hong Kong Sex Cultural Festival suggest more open-minded marital arrangements, like group marriages, as a solution to high divorce rates in modern society.
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You may now kiss the other bride. (MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Bored to death by mind-numbing marital monogamy?

That's no reason to ditch the idea of marriage, suggest the organizers of the Fifth Hong Kong Sex Cultural Festival.

Marriage as an institution apparently isn't completely dead. It just needs to be "altered" a bit to fit the modern times.

It their words, the "traditional relationship between one man and woman is getting outdated."

Simply put, marriage needs an upgrade.

Here is the premise of their proposal: With almost one in every two couples getting divorced these days, the traditional marriage scenario clearly no longer works. And because unsatisfactory sex is among the top reasons behind divorce, Hong Kong Sex Association president and festival organizer Stanislaus Lai Ding-kee is suggesting people should be open to "alternative systems for relationships out there like polyamory that may be possibly better than the traditional monogamous relationships," The Standard reports

Polyamory is a practice where individuals are consensually open to loving more than one person at a time.

Generally, this practice is frowned upon in countries influenced by conservative Christian and romantic values on sex, because they recognize monogamy as the only way to go about love. In other words, they force people to cheat. (See above: mind-numbing marital monogamy.)

That's where "group marriages" come in, apparently. The article doesn't explain the logistics of a group marriage, but I envision it like a form of a loving, genital-sharing agreement with a small and trustworthy group of people. 

And, if you think about it, you could probably do all the booking online.

It could work like "marital Zipcar."  

Say you are signed up for a marriage group in New York. You are bored of you proverbial old Buick and are looking for something "compact and cuddly" for Saturday night.

Unless Jimmy, the hipster from Harlem, has already booked the Mini convertible, it's all yours. And next weekend, you could go for the SUV, for variety's sake.

Then, I suppose, you come back to the Buick at some point? And everyone lives happily ever after.

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Wanderlust Daily Trifle, also known as the "did you know" series, will bring you daily facts, stats and pieces of wisdom to help you navigate the world of love and sex well informed.

Did you know "Restless Genital Syndrome," or "Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder" only occures in women? It is a medical disorder characterised by insatitable libido. These women report weird sensations – like tingling, itching-like and wave-like sensations, small shocks or cramps – at the clitoris, vagina, labia and the region around the vagina, (such as on the pubic bone and the groins) and sometimes the anal region.

Although patients usually experience a close-to-orgasm sensation as if they are on the verge on getting an orgasm, they do not long for or fantasize about sex.

So now you know.

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Morocco opens its first sex shop. Or does it?

Is the opening of a sex shop in Casablanca under the new Islamist government sign of liberalization? Or is it a fabricated anti-government ploy?
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The Casablanca Love Cradle Trusting Bed, named -- bizarrely enough -- after a city that just opened its first sex shop. Maybe. (ArentWeNaughty.com/Courtesy)

When I heard about a real sex shop opening in Morocco, I couldn’t wait to find out what they actually might sell.

Would products include, for example, the Casablanca Love Cradle Trusting Bed? It must!

How does one find out?

Not easy.

It turns out that nobody seems to know where this shop is or whether it even exists, Al Arabiya News reports:

News of the inauguration of a sex shop in the Moroccan city of Casablanca did not stir the ethical and religious controversy expected to take place in a conservative society, but also took a political dimension as suspicions arose over an anti-government ploy. The timing of the inauguration of the first sex shop in Morocco drove several activists to view the action as a political one aimed at embarrassing the new Islamist Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane appointed in November 2011.

The sex shop opening was claimed to be a clear anti-government ploy because all news organizations that reported the story started their articles with the same sentence: “Under an Islamist government, a sex shop has been inaugurated.”

This sentence, apparently, translates to some sort of major political hypocrisy.

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Forniphilia and other words I learned at my first fetish party

Before attending my first fetish party, I had no idea some people fantasized about turning a human being into a piece of furniture.
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It's never too cold for latex. Here, in Hamburg, Germany, Members of the Rubbersisters prepare for the Rubberdoll-Contest at the Latexpo 2010. Rubberdolls are mostly men wearing a female body shaped suit and dressed in rubber or other fetish related dresses. (Patrick Lux/AFP/Getty Images)

So I went to my first fetish party last night, dressed as a dominatrix.

In my defense, it wasn’t my idea.

I am in Prague this week and a friend told me I should come to “this party” where he’d be DJ-ing.

“Great,” I said. “See you there.”

But after I looked up the venue, I noticed what the party was called:

“Fetish Underground Party,” with a sub-headline “Dress the F*ck Up.”

Comments and inquiries about the party included questions such as: “Isn’t it going to be too cold for latex?”

I became worried.

So I emailed my friend.

You didn’t mention it was a fetish party. Do I seriously need to dress the f*ck up?

He replied something close to this:


Only the best for you. Do you think I would invite you to some petty-bourgeois party? Yes, dress code is mandatory, but you don’t have to go over the top. If you dress up like a moderate-intensity dominatrix, or bring somebody on a leash, you’ll be fine.

Oh, okay. Let me just pull out my dominatrix outfit out of my suitcase, then. It’s one of my travel essentials. You never know where and when you might get invited to a fetish party.

So, I spent most of Thursday afternoon – instead of working, I might add – putting together my S&M outfit.

Over the knee boots? Check. Fishnets? Check. Tight black short shorts? Check? Black corset? Check. Choker? Check. Leash? Check? A volunteer topless man on all fours tied to it? Check.

So how did it go?

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Erotic toys for Catholics

In Poland, an online sex shop comes out with a range of sex toys for married Roman Catholic couples "who love God."
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In the Polish online sex shop for married Catholics, the “romantic evening package” comes decked out with "sexy dice," raunchy underwear, massage oil and a book called “Theology of the body – blessed by John Paul II”. (Alkowa Malzenska /Courtesy)

Roll the dice.

It’s been endorsed by the Catholic Church in Poland. If you are married, that is.

So claims Izabela Kwiatkowska, who opened Alkowa Malzenska (Marital Alcove), an online sex shop for married Catholic couples. 

"We came to the conclusion that marriage is the best terrain for developing sexuality," she said to the TVP public television network.

According to TheNews.pl, the “sexy dice” sex toy is currently the hottest seller in the e-shop.

So how does it work?

The dice recommends where partners should caress or kiss each other, if they have run out of ideas in their long marriages. (Hands, as scandalous as that is, is one of the recommendations.)

Customers can buy the dice separately, or in a “romantic evening package” that comes with raunchy underwear, massage oil and a book called “Theology of the body – blessed by John Paul II."

The notion of “sex compatible with Catholicism” is getting some traction lately, especially in Poland.

Long before Catholic-friendly lubricants made their way to local households, happy Poles already had one renowned Catholic sexpert: Father Ksawery Knotz.

I interviewed him in 2010, when the Capuchin friar published his best-selling book “Sex is Divine.”

He has also been publishing a popular blog, where he addresses anything from God-approved birth control to the morality of oral sex.

Here's Father Knotz on that last point:

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