Archive for the ‘sex’ Category

237 reasons to do it now

November 4, 2008

Scholars in antiquity began counting the ways that humans have sex, but they weren’t so diligent in cataloging the reasons humans wanted to get into all those positions. Darwin and his successors offered a few explanations of mating strategies — to find better genes, to gain status and resources — but they neglected to produce a Kama Sutra of sexual motivations.

Perhaps you didn’t lament this omission. Perhaps you thought that the motivations for sex were pretty obvious. Or maybe you never really wanted to know what was going on inside other people’s minds, in which case you should stop reading immediately.

For now, thanks to psychologists at the University of Texas at Austin, we can at last count the whys. After asking nearly 2,000 people why they’d had sex, the researchers have assembled and categorized a total of 237 reasons — everything from “I wanted to feel closer to God” to “I was drunk.” They even found a few people who claimed to have been motivated by the desire to have a child.

Who knew, for instance, that a headache had any erotic significance except as an excuse for saying no? But some respondents of both sexes explained that they’d had sex “to get rid of a headache.” It’s No. 173 on the list.

Others said they did it to “help me fall asleep,” “make my partner feel powerful,” “burn calories,” “return a favor,” “keep warm,” “hurt an enemy” or “change the topic of conversation.” The lamest may have been, “It seemed like good exercise,” although there is also this: “Someone dared me.”

Researchers Cindy M. Meston and David M. Buss collected the data by first asking more than 400 people to list their reasons for having sex, and then asking more than 1,500 others to rate how important each reason was to them.

The  top 10 for each gender were also almost all the same, including “I wanted to express my love for the person,” “I was sexually aroused and wanted the release” and “It’s fun.”

The results contradicted a stereotype about women: their supposed tendency to use sex to gain status or resources. “Our findings suggest that men do these things more than women,” Dr. Buss said, alluding to the respondents who said they’d had sex to get things, like a promotion, a raise or a favor.

But then, men were also more likely than women to say they’d had sex because “I was slumming.” Or simply because “the opportunity presented itself,” or “the person demanded that I have sex.”

If nothing else, the results seem to be a robust confirmation of the hypothesis in the old joke: How can a woman get a man to take off his clothes? Ask him.

To make sense of the 237 reasons, Dr. Buss and Dr. Meston created a taxonomy with four general categories:
Physical: “The person had beautiful eyes” or “a desirable body,” or “was good kisser” or “too physically attractive to resist.” Or “I wanted to achieve an orgasm.”
Goal Attainment: “I wanted to even the score with a cheating partner” or “break up a rival’s relationship” or “make money” or “be popular.” Or “because of a bet.”
Emotional: “I wanted to communicate at a deeper level” or “lift my partner’s spirits” or “say ‘Thank you.’ ” Or just because “the person was intelligent.”
Insecurity: “I felt like it was my duty” or “I wanted to boost my self-esteem” or “It was the only way my partner would spend time with me.”

Both sexes seem to practice a strategy that he calls mate-guarding, as illustrated in one of the reasons given by survey respondents: “I was afraid my partner would have an affair if I didn’t.”

Nowhere among the 237 reasons will you find the one attributed to the actress Joan Crawford: “I need sex for a clear complexion.” (The closest is “I thought it would make me feel healthy.”)Nor will you find anything about gathering rosebuds while ye may (the 17th-century exhortation to young virgins from Robert Herrick). Nor the similar hurry-before-we-die rationale (“The grave’s a fine and private place/ But none I think do there embrace”) from Andrew Marvell in “To His Coy Mistress.”

From even a cursory survey of literature or the modern mass market in sex fantasies, it seems clear that this new taxonomy may not be any more complete than the original periodic table of the elements.

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Isabella Does Bug Porn

November 1, 2008

by Will Doig

In a series of green shorts for SundanceChannel.com, Isabella Rossellini enthusiastically performs sex acts as an earthworm, a spider, a bee, and other invertebrates.

Isabella Rossellini is the type of woman who can do virtually anything and remain beloved. For Lancome, she used her enviable lips and cheekbones to sell makeup for fourteen years. For auteur filmmaker David Lynch, she participated in sex scenes that shocked and traumatized American audiences. And this year, she created a series of two-minute indie films about sex in the insect world for Robert Redford’s Sundance Channel. In the films, she dresses as various bugs and graphically describes their mating habits and genitalia. Did she alienate viewers? The network just confirmed that they’ve ordered a second season of the series, this time involving sea creatures. So, apparently, no.

The series, titled Green Porno, is completely original and strangely hypnotic. Rossellini enthusiastically acts out various sex acts while costumed as an earthworm, a spider, a bee, and other invertebrates. Her goal is to both amuse and raise awareness of the animal kingdom’s beautiful diversity. She spoke to the Daily Beast about the project, and why the second installment might be even weirder.

Were you the type of child who collected insects and brought them back to your bedroom?

I’ve always been fascinated not only with insects but with animals in general ever since I was a little girl. I did have boxes of snails, aquariums with ants and flies and all that. That’s where I had all the information to write Green Porno.

From your childhood?

No just from throughout my life, I read a lot of books about animals, I take courses at university on biology or zoology, it’s always been an interest of mine.

Did you emerge from this project with a favorite insect sex act?

I don’t really have one. I’m not interested specifically in bug sex. I’m just interested in animals. What’s interesting to me is the infinite variety. One of the frustrations I have when I read these books is, sometimes they tell you about an animal that does something incredible, then they give you the name of the species and I am not clear what animal that is because it’s a latin name, or it’s a specific species of a subspecies, so I get lost. Or it’s a very exotic animal in Africa or Asia, a special bug I’ve never seen in my life. So I wanted to do very common animals [in Green Porno]. And I wanted it to be funny. My desired reaction to people watching Green Porno was to first laugh, and then to say, oh I didn’t know that about a fly, I didn’t know that about a snail.

Yeah, who knew that earthworms are hermaphrodites who have sex by 69’ing? Do you think it makes human sex seem a little boring?

I feel a little bit embarrassed. When I presented the film, a lot of people wanted to analyze my sex life or my sex pleasure, and to tell you the truth I think it’s a very genuine interest in biology, it’s not a twisted or unusual kinky way of me being interested in sex. I just thought that sex is an interesting subject because everybody’s interested in sex, that it would make a comical film, but to say to you, “Yes, my life sexually has been very strange,” I can’t say, first of all because I’m embarrassed to answer it, and also because I don’t think it is.

I didn’t mean your sex life personally, I just meant humans in general.

Listen, I took advantage of the fact that there’s a certain fixation in people about sex, and that’s why I called it Green Porno. I was very aware that the name was provocative, and there’s a lot of people coming to our site who think it’s porno, and then they get a nice little film. There’s a titillating interest in sex, and I took advantage of that in making a film about how the animals have sex instead of a film about how they take care of their babies. If we made a film called Different Ways To Be Mamas, we wouldn’t get the same hits.

Who made the costumes and which costume was the most difficult to wear?

I draw the costumes, and everything had to be more or less be made with paper, partially because of budget and partially because it is something that everybody can do in their kitchen. It looks like a little homemade theater. I didn’t want it to look like all those special effects and spectacular – I wanted to preserve the homemade feeling, so paper seemed to be a good way. I draw them and I do think of some of the executions, but the people who execute the costumes are two friends of mine. One is Andy Byers and the other is Rick Gilbert. They add a tremendous amount of detail. The most difficult one [to wear] was the worm. I was caught in the different rings and I couldn’t move and I was 35 feet long and I was trapped there all day – without drinking, without being able to scratch my face.

During your research, did you discover any insect mating habits that repulsed you?

Um…no, all of it is fascinating. I mean, some animals are a little more squirmishing than others, but not in terms of sex – sometimes they look funny. I’m now doing a whole new series on marine animals — you know, barnacles, shrimps, squids, starfish, anchovies — and they all have different ways. Some fish even change sex. Males become females and females become males and it becomes even more interesting.

Of the sea creatures, can you give me an example of one of the sex acts that you found the most fascinating?

Starfish. They have two ways of reproducing. One, they can have sex regularly – male exchanging sperm with the female. Or, they can clone themselves.

Really?

Yeah. That, I thought was pretty wonderful. Another one that I loved is that not all shrimps, but a species of shrimp, is born male, then becomes female when it becomes older. Sometimes we also wonder, “What would it be like to be a man?” And a man wonders, “What would it be like to be a woman?” Shrimps don’t have that question. They are both sexes in different moments of their lives.

These films were made specifically to be watchable on a mobile device. Do people want to watch stuff like this while in transit?

We don’t know yet. We do know that more and more people are abandoning magazines, abandoning televison, and they’re getting their information on the web, on the mobile. It seems like mobiles are going to become more and more like iPhones—better screens, much better viewing. The only problem is, to Robert Redford, it seems absurd that you see on mobile a lot of films that were conceived for the big screen—like to see Apocalypse Now on the mobile would not do it justice. Robert Redford was thinking, what if we create an art form that is conceived for the mobile. That’s why Green Porno is very vivid in color, and we decided to do them in a studio because we tried to do them outside but once you have a background it gets all muddy.

You’ve performed in unconventional sex scenes before, in your roles in Blue Velvet and Cousins. Do you seek out these types of roles or is it coincidence?

I think it is coincidence. December 9, I’m doing a reading at the Metropolitan and I cannot believe that the reading that the Metropolitan is asking me to do is about erotic poems of the Renaissance. I’m delighted to do it, but sometimes I think, what is this?

“Several weeks of non-painful scrotal swelling in about a third of the subjects –was not enough to stop the study.”

October 29, 2008

Male Contraceptive?

Tyler Dunlap, a 27-year-old newlywed in San Francisco, is just one of the many American men eagerly awaiting the results of a large clinical trial in India.

The trial is studying a new male contraceptive, RISUG (Reversible Inhibition of Sperm Under Guidance): a reversible, nonhormonal contraceptive that provides 10 or more years of protection after a 10-15 minute procedure. Researchers received approval this week to begin enrolling additional study volunteers, after a delay of nearly four years.

“RISUG would be exciting because it would mean that, finally, I could take control of my own future, instead of leaving it to someone else,” says Dunlap. “Being in a committed long-term relationship means that I don’t want to rely on condoms for birth control. I’m not ready for a vasectomy, though. This new procedure could be the answer that gives men the decisive control we lack with current contraceptives.”

In the RISUG study, doctors inject a gel into the tube that sperm travel through after they are produced (known as the vas deferens). The gel then disables the sperm as they swim by. In study animals, male fertility returns if the RISUG is flushed out with another injection that dissolves the gel.

Elaine Lissner, director of the nonprofit Male Contraception Information Project in San Francisco, says she is not surprised that American men are watching the RISUG trial with keen interest. She emphasizes that the method has the potential to be the first truly affordable, reversible, long-term male contraceptive.

In 2002, when enrollment in the Indian study was halted, more than 140 men were already using RISUG. Concern about side effects and insufficiency of safety data caused a temporary suspension of the project. However, expert panels subsequently concluded that the major side effect — several weeks of non-painful scrotal swelling in about a third of the subjects –was not enough to stop the study.

Additional Safety Tests

Since 2002, researchers have conducted several additional laboratory safety tests on RISUG.

“When we first began using RISUG in volunteers more than 15 years ago, we didn’t have access to the more sophisticated toxicity tests available today,” says Dr. H. C. Das, one of the lead investigators. “Last year we sent RISUG to an FDA-registered laboratory in the United States for more tests, and the results came back clean. We’ve also done more studies at the Industrial Toxicology Research Centre in Lucknow, India with the latest equipment. We’re glad to be able to provide men this additional reassurance.”

Dr. R. S. Sharma, deputy director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), concurs that the safety results were “very satisfactory.” The ICMR is working to arrange study sites throughout India, beginning with Jaipur, Ludhiana, Udhampur, and India’s capital New Delhi. Three data monitoring committees will watch for any safety concerns.

Next Steps

But Lissner cautions that progress will be slow without sufficient political will. “A reversibility study in men is key,” she stresses. “And we’re hoping that the Indian government is committed enough to this research to get the next batch of RISUG made to the FDA’s latest Good Manufacturing Practice standards. If it is, the results will carry more weight internationally. Then men in other countries — such as the US — can hope for faster government approval.”

Currently, RISUG’s developers are arranging a collaboration with US researchers. Lissner says that to gain FDA approval, US researchers will have to begin with animal tests, so studies in North American men would not start for several years. Still, she notes that “We shouldn’t be discouraged. We already know that RISUG works, which is half the battle in drug development. Men in studies in India have been using it for more than a decade. Now we just have to finish our homework.”

RISUG’s chief developer, Prof. Sujoy Guha of the Indian Institute of Technology, says myths about men not being interested in contraception are just that: myths. “I get letters from men all over the world who beg to come to India and participate in this study at their own expense.”

source

Of Biting: teachings of the Kamasutra

October 28, 2008

In my opinion, this is what separates men from boys.

Here’s some info from a translation of The Kamasutra of Vatsyayana that I brought back from India. Now this all sounds pretty technical, but imagine it as you read, as I do as I write. It’s genuine passion, taught at it’s best. There’s a reason why the teachings have been kept proudly for millenia.

The quality of good teeth are as follows: they should be equal, posessed of a pleasing brightness, capable of being coloured, of proper proportions, unbroken, and with sharp ends.

different kinds of biting:
– the hidden bite; is shown only by the excessive redness of the skin that is bitten
– the swollen bite; the skin is pressed down on both sides
– the point; a small portion of the skin is bitten with two teeth only
– the line of points; such small portions of the skin are bitten with all the teeth
– the ‘oral and jewel: ‘done by bringing together teeth (jewel) and lips (coral)
– the line of jewels; with all the teeth
– broken cloud ; unequal risings in a circle, and which comes from the space between the teeth. on the breasts
– biting of the boar; many broad rows of marks near to one another, and with red intervals. on the breasts and shoulders.

where?
Hidden bite, swollen point and the point are made on the lower lip. the swollen bite and the coral and the jewel bite are done on the cheek. line of points and line of jewels are to be impressed on the throat, the armpit and the joints of the thighs. the line of point alone is to be impressed on the forehead and the thighs.

Biting that has goal to increase passion should be done first, and that which is only for amusement or variety should be done afterwards.

Markings from biting or from nails illustrate an ornament of the forehead, an ear ornament, a bunch of flowers, a betel leaf or a tamala leaf, which are worn by the woman that is beloved, and are signs of the desire of enjoyment.

Now here’s my favorite verse, translated directly: ‘When a man bites a woman forcibly, she should angrily do the same to him with double force. Thus, a point should be returned with a line of points and a line of points should be returned with a broken cloud, and if she be excessively chafed, she should at once begin a love quarrel with him. at such a time she should take hold of her lover by the hair, and bend his head down, and kiss his lower lip, and then, being intoxicated with love, she should shut her eyes and bite him in various places. Even by day, and in place of public resort, when her lover shows her any mark that she may have inflicted on his body, she should smile at the sight of it, and turning her face as if she were going to chide him, she should show him with angry look the marks on her own body. Thus, if men and women act according to each other’s liking, their love for each other will not be lessened even in one hundred years.’

see, it’s more like a lifestyle

(In)sensitivity of the Circumcised Penis

October 25, 2008

So what are you circumcised men really missing out on, sexually speaking? Sure, apart from bypassing a few Craigslist ads stating a preference for intact dick, I’ve never been aware of any discrimination. Heard complaints, and have complained, that intact partners were too quick to orgasm. So nothing, you’ll tell yourself… while you remember running you hands through the hair of someone giving you what had every appearance of being a splendid blowjob and yet being detached from the experience, for the simple reason that you didn’t feel it very much.

 

Some strongly opinionated minds consider it an anachronistic blood ritual, while others will politically correctly rephrase that there is no medical reason for doing it.

 

On the other side, surely you’ve heard about the high-profile studies associating male circumcision  with significantly lower HIV-infection rates in Africa, and older studies claiming a link with lower rates of specific STDs including syphilis.

 

But for those of us who practice safe sex anyway, let science do what it’s good at: answering precise questions, and raising some more. The study is titled “Fine-Touch Pressure Thresholds in the Adult Penis” published last April in the British Journal of Urology. Its conclusion may seem obvious to those of us with only a lay interest in the penis, but it’s controversial, nonetheless: uncut dick feels more. A lot more.

 

According to their unprecedented comparative sensory mapping of the penis, proffering 19 zones, missing from the circumcised male are 8 out of them. The study concludes that those areas have most of the sensory action. And in the other 11 areas, the study showed sensitivity deficit between 2 and 33%. Even if the doctors were to present this information, I’d venture that most parents taking the decision for their newborn son wouldn’t weigh this factor as much as others. It seems to me like the logical alternative- having the male choose for himself- is as reasonable as impractical/impossible an option- for all sorts of reasons.

 

So the thought occurs to me that you silent and ambivalent circumcised majority are detached and apathetic and ambivalent because you don’t know what you are missing.

 

I’m not taking sides on the morality of the question. But scientifically, and sexually speaking, it’s not like you’re cutting off plain old skin. The analogy would be more like removing your lips, since the lips are also way more sensitive than the skin around them. But let’s not try to picture that.

How to Go Green: Sex

October 23, 2008

[by Jacob Gordon]

Whether you’re single and playing the field, settled down with that special someone, or someplace in between, most of us consider good, satisfying, sexy sex an important part of this complete breakfast. It might not be the first thing we think of while working towards a sustainable and graceful life on this fragile planet, but there’s a lot we can do to make our sex lives greener. In the process of greening the ecological footprint of our love making, we might also open up some new doors to deeper pleasure, satisfaction, and romantic connection.

1. Employ green sex toys
According to the Durex Global Sex Survey, 43% of Americans have used a vibrator. Dildos, vibrators, anal beads, cock rings, and the rest of the happy sex toy family can be thrilling and fulfilling, either alone or with a partner, but many store-bought sex toys contain, among other things, chemicals called phthalates, a substance used to soften hard plastics like PVC and provide that jelly feeling. There is quite a bit of concern about the toxicity and health risks of phthalates (in 2004, the EU banned a range of phthalates from children’s toys), especially in sex toys that are used in warm, moist places. One suspicious warning sign is the disclaimer you’ll find on most sex toy packages stating that the device within is for “novelty purposes only.” TreeHugger suggests playing it safe. Look for toys made from glass, metal, silicone, hard plastics, or elastomers. Putting a condom over a suspicious dildo is also a good move. If your sex toy of choice is a power tool, buy a rechargeable one or use your own rechargeable batteries. Rechargeable vibrating toys include the Aphrodite Wand, the Acuvibe, the Lily and Iris from Lelo, and toys from Fun Factory. Check out TreeHugger TV’s How to Buy a Green Sex Toy for more.

2. Lube up
Whether you feel you need lube or not, a little extra slipperyness can add something extra to any roll in the hay. As you would with any other personal care product, go as natural as possible and try to avoid petroleum products, artificial scents, flavors, and colors. There are even organic lubes to be found. For more info on what to look out for, see How to Green Women’s Personal Care—advice also suitable for men).

3. Use condoms
For safer, baby-free sex, nothing beats a latex condom. Vegans looking for a latex option (though derived from trees, most latex has a milk enzyme added) can check out Glyde condoms. The jury is still out as to whether latex condoms are biodegradable and what effects additives and lubricants have on biodegradability. According to most sources, lambskin condoms are biodegradable but are only effective against pregnancy, not STDs. Polyurethane condoms are essentially plastic and not biodegradable. Used condoms are best sent to the landfill. Flushing condoms down the toilet is definitely no good as this clogs pipes, treatment plants, and rivers. So let’s face it, reduce, reuse, recycle just doesn’t apply when it comes to the rubbers.

4. Give (and receive) sexy gifts
Getting a stylish and useful gift is always a turn on. Organic massage oils, fair trade chocolate, or a bottle of biodynamic red wine are hot options. For Valentine’s, you can even get an all fair trade goodie bag for your lovie. Of course, romance and good sex know no price, and a poem from the heart, a massage, some hot role playing, or a home-cooked dinner for two can be the hottest gifts of all.

5. Have green, sexy fun
Sexy play can be green and efficient as well. As seen on TreeHugger TV, showering together can save water (if things get steamier, we suggest taking it to the bedroom and not leaving the shower running). In the winter time, some nice warm loving before bed can get the bedroom toasty, meaning the thermostat can be lower (see How to Green Your Heating, for more). A nice bike ride for two is a fossil-fuel-free way to get the blood flowing and can also be quite stimulating, especially for the ladies. And of course the classic candle-lit dinner is a delicious way to set the mood and save on energy bills.

6. Put some bamboo in bed
If you’ve never experience bamboo bed sheets, you’re missing out. Bamboo fabric is silky and slippery (but not so slippery you’ll slide out of bed), wicks moisture, has natural antimicrobial properties, comes from a rapidly renewable resource, and is super sexy.

7. Mention the unmentionables: eco-undies
Slinky, slippery, sexy. These are all good things when it comes to some sassy skivvies for the bedroom. Organic cotton, hemp silk, bamboo, and other renewable fibers make ultra-sexy lingerie and underwear. When browsing around, go for quality, not novelty. Buying a bedroom outfit that will be used only a couple times isn’t a great buy. Face it, unless you’re famous, nobody on Ebay is gonna buy those crotchless panties, even if you just wore them once. We suggest shelling out the extra bucks for something classy, sexy, and sustainable that can be donned when the mood is right for years to come. For something on the exotic end, check out Enamore and g=9.8. For sensible and simple, look at Buenostyle and American Apparel. For something in between, try GreenKnickers.

8. Taste sweeter juice?
There are some very strong rumors going around that vegetarians have the best tasting love juices (though some items from the vegetable kingdom you may want to avoid, like asparagus and garlic). If you aren’t already a veggie-lover and there’s a romantic occasion/hot date in your future, give the veggie or vegan diet a try. Even if it does nothing for your flavor, you may score points for being a good steward of the planet. The meat industry is immensely resource intensive and accounts for 70% of the water pollution in the US. Reducing your meat consumption is one of the greenest things you can do. Plus, many triathletes and other super-people swear by a vegan diet for prolonged endurance (always a good thing). For a very funny but totally explicit investigation of the food/body fluid connection, read Hank Hyena’s essay at Salon.com.

9. Turn on natural aphrodisiacs
Since days of yore, lovers have turned to natural herbs and special foods to find stimulation, endurance, and sexual health. While we can’t vouch for any of these, and all supplements should be taken with caution and/or professional advise, it is rumored that herbs like ginseng, kava kava root, damiana leaves, kelp, tribulus, ginko biloba, rhodiola rosea, and of course horny goat weed can help stoke the flames of passion—even more so if certified organic. A host of foods are also used to stimulate the sexual senses, and of course organic wine and Champaign are trusted aphrodisiacs as well.

10. Meet that special green lover
Nothing’s quite worse than meeting some really promising guy or girl and then realizing that he or she is an Escalade-driving, non-recycling, Earth messer-upper. What are you going to do? Try to reform them? Sleep with them anyway and try to ignore their unconscious ways? Forget it. Go for the green lover. Farmers markets, Critical Mass, your local Green Drinks, the Whole Foods checkout isle can be great places to meet people. A host of match-making sites (see the Further Reading section for direct links) can also be great venues for finding that special tree hugger to hug.

When Markets Fall, So Do the Big Swinging Dicks

October 19, 2008

A blow-by-blow guide to the four stages of market-related sexual dysfunction.

Decades ago, during the era of takeover kings and junk bond traders—long before the tech boom, the hedge fund boom, and the private equity boom—Michael Lewis’s 1989 classic, Liar’s Poker, labeled Wall Street stars the “Big Swinging Dicks.” The common if optimistic assumption has always been that these guys perform aggressively in the bedroom, too. Remember Dennis Kozlowski’s babe-shaped birthday cake, with sparklers for breasts?

Whenever times are good, few people stop to wonder whether the converse might also be true: BSDs—or Masters of the Universe, or whatever they are calling themselves now—get less virile when the market crashes.

Most of the information on this topic is anecdotal, if consistent: bad economic times pretty much guarantee bad sex. But with every crash the debate on recession sex reemerges. Earlier this week, Bonnie Fuller sent out a well-circulated questionnaire asking her contacts about their post-crash sex lives. Gawker has laid out a theory on the 5 types of recession sex, as told through craigslist. And numerous bloggers are espousing their own theories.

Now, it’s our turn to weigh in. The Daily Beast’s news shrink, clinical psychologist Stephen Josephson, says sexual performance and the stock market are often closely related. He recently saw a man who ran a trading desk and complained of “inconsistent erectile difficulties.” He was, says Josephson, “a handsome big guy, sleeping with hotties.” Further investigation revealed that the client couldn’t separate his work from his play. “I had him chart how much money he made each day to his sexual performance,” Josephson says. “When the market went up, so did he.” In fact, the stages of market related sexual dysfunction (Let’s call it MRSD) can be tracked, just like the market itself.

Stage 1: Volatility.

You might think that people under a lot of pressure might have a lot of sex, and you would be right. Initially. Pressure is an aphrodisiac, as long as it doesn’t continue for too long. People had sex in bomb shelters during WW II for instance, and there was that baby boom after 9-11. But during the Great Depression birth rates fell.

As Dr. Pepper Schwartz, Seattle-based author of Prime: Advice and Adventures on Sex, Love and the Sensuous Years explains, in the face of imminent death, people go at it thinking, “This may be the last time we make love.” But, she notes, that’s different from the slow-motion worry of “not being able to make your minimum payment or being foreclosed upon.”

Stage 2: Decline.

Sexual desire and anxiety are inversely proportional. The wife of one Wall Street player, who wishes to remain anonymous, told me that her husband rose at 5 a.m. to check on trading in Japan, only to find that it was National Fitness Day, and the market was closed. That didn’t help.

And as the bank account shrinks, the second-guessing begins, accompanied by intensifying cycles of doubt, fear and self-loathing. Significant others get snippy, asking why the 401-K wasn’t diversified and all the private school tuition money went to a personal trainer. One investment banker joked darkly that this market crash “is worse than a divorce: I lost half my wealth but I’m still married to my wife.”

Infidelity can increase during this period—strip clubs, prostitutes, one-night stands, anyone who isn’t a critical or anxious spouse. Elaine Calaway, a Houston psychologist who works with the well-heeled explains: “When finances are pinched, wealthy men feel super vulnerable with a wife or partner. Having a side-treat props them up, feeds that need to feel powerful and virile.”

Alas, the mistresses who are attracted to moneyed men aren’t very interested in hanging around once the money disappears, and the ones who do are put on short rations, one wife of a Texas oilman says. In turn, they are cutting back, too: way fewer triple process blondes, no more hair extensions, and they’ve put their Hermes bags on eBay.

Stage 3: Depression.

This is the period when, as Houston psychologist Andrew Gol explains, “Sex goes out the window.” Too many negative thoughts are death for the libido. Viagra, which needs the trigger of desire to send blood flow to the sexual organs, isn’t much help, if any. Heavy drinking, which might have lead to more illicit sex in earlier stages of financial distress, doesn’t help either, when things get really tough. “It makes it worse,” the sex deprived wife of one trader told me.

Stage 4: Rally.

In this phase, people will come to understand that money won’t make them happier, and they learn to enjoy life’s simpler pleasures. “America’s Sex Therapist” Ian Kerner showed that flag recently on MSNBC: “As we struggle to save our dollars, we allow the currency of our communication to become devalued by stress, anxiety and fear. It’s not just the state of the union we need to be worrying about, but also the state of our unions. So why not go home tonight and have some good old-fashioned sex?”

No word yet on what kind of bailout will be required to put that plan into effect.
by Mimi Swartz

Where did you learn about sex?

June 29, 2008

When I was in grade 3 or 4 I remember a friend of mine coming over and we were playing with Barbie’s. Ken and Barbie got all dressed up for their date just about to step into their pink convertable, when my friend stopped and told me all about the birds and the bees. I blushed and went back to playing with Barbie’s without letting on I was impressed with her adult like knowledge.

When/how did you learn about sex?