Calories burned are the equivalent of 25 minutes of walking uphill, research says.
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“Hypersexual Disorder” came very close to being added to the DSM-V, the controversial fifth edition of the standard psychiatric diagnostic manual, released earlier this year. That is the official term for what’s sometimes referred to as “sex addiction.”
Though it may not be officially recognized as a disorder, hypersexuality or sex addiction—call it what you will—is typically portrayed in the realm of men. The disparity is striking and important. Fictional sex addicts, like those seen on the show Desperate Housewives, and in the recent films Shame and Thanks for Sharing, are almost always men. So it is perhaps not surprising that research about sex addiction among women is scarce.
One of the only studies focusing specifically on female sex addicts was published just last year, and it has some surprising findings: For one, exposure to pornography as a child was a stronger predictor of hypersexual behavior than sexual abuse as a child. Prior to that, the one study that did include women (from 2003, which compared rates of sex addiction among males and females on a college campus) actually found that nearly twice as many women as men fell into the “needing further evaluation” and “at-risk” categories. But you won’t have any trouble finding research on female hypoactive sexual desire, also known as “low sex drive,” which is neatly consistent with societal norms about sex: that men want it all the time and women never do.
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A smart new Showtime series about sex researchers William H. Masters and Virginia Johnson examines inherently eye-popping subject matter without exploiting it.
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I have some rather, well, deflating news for you. If your plan for getting a raise at work is getting lucky at home, you need a new plan. More sex won’t mean more money — unless you’re getting paid for it — no matter what an economist (or your partner) tells you. Sorry.
Now, it’s a simple — and tantalizing — enough idea. Healthy people tend to earn more, and people who have more sex tend to be healthier. So could having more sex make you earn more? Well, as Lydia DePillis of Wonkblog points out, that’s the question Nick Drydakis, a senior lecturer in economics at Anglia Ruskin University, tried to answer by looking at Greek survey data from 2008.
But that answer isn’t much of an answer. Now, the study did find a positive, and statistically significant, relationship between how much sex people between the ages of 26 and 50 say they have, and how much they say they make. And it control for things like age, health, education, marital status, sexual orientation, ethnicity, industry, and personality type. But even controlling for these things, a correlation between sex and wages doesn’t tell us anything. It’s just a correlation. We don’t know which way — if at all — the causation runs. It might be that having more sex really does make people make more. Or it might be that making more makes people less stressed — and that makes them have more sex. Or it might be that something we aren’t observing is causing both.
In other words, we need to figure out if this is just a casual relationship or something more.
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For a long while, and I really don’t wish to say when it was or how many years it lasted, I chose to live in what was perhaps the worst insubordination of our times: I had no sex life. It is true that those years were in large part filled with sensuality, when dreams alone gratified my longings, but what dreams! And if I felt drawn to anything, it was only in my thoughts, but what thoughts…
I realize now what that life was made of: a life in no way insignificant; on the contrary, it was rich, a perfect match for my body and myself. Yet nothing was simple, and these words I write would once have seemed leaden to me, so ashamed was I at times of my singularity, a strangeness worse than difference. Everyone knows that even people who are different have a certain sexuality worthy of the name, things to show for it, defeats they can lay claim to. Whereas we, the loners, an army that does violence only to itself, a small tribe, unavowable and hence unknowable in number, we understand instinctively that speaking out will allow the world to send us deeper into exile—and foster the kind of stupid nonsense people say about whatever they cannot comprehend. They turn us into scapegoats who reassure all others on this point: however problematic their carnal pleasures might be, we offer proof, through our most definite exclusion, that their circumstances are still better than nothing.
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The To Do List may look and feel like an R-rated teen sex comedy in the modern tradition, a la American Pie or Superbad or The Girl Next Door — and, true to form, it offers gross-out gags and F-bombs aplenty.
But at the center of writer/director Maggie Carey’s brave, funny debut film, there’s an un-panicked, radically reassuring portrayal of teenage sex.
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[…]there is one word I never hear,” I continued. “And it’s always the first word that pops into my head when I think of Shakespeare.” I turned on my slideshow and flipped to the first slide. Projected onto the screen, in bold capital letters and surrounded with a sparkling star animation I found online, was a single word: “SEX!”
A momentary hush fell over the students, and then they started to laugh. From the back of the auditorium, I even heard a few amused cheers and claps. The students’ teacher, smiling, nodded in approval.
"I think Shakespeare is the sexiest writer in the world," I said. "So let’s talk about sex." In all of the schools I visited around the country, not a single teacher demanded that I omit the sexier parts of my Shakespeare lecture in favor of pure iambic pentameter. In fact, many of them invited me to come back the following year. Welcome to the new Singapore.
For decades, the tiny island nation nursed an international reputation of being serious, conservative, and—well, unsexy. In 2003, a survey found that Singaporeans had the least sex of people all the countries surveyed (granted, the study was sponsored by Durex, the condom company), and the more prudish aspects of Singapore’s criminal code, such as the legal bans on homosexuality, pornography, and oral sex (unless part of foreplay), haven’t helped dispel that stodgy reputation. It’s even technically illegal for Singaporeans to walk around naked in their own homes.
But times are changing.
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Good advice from someone who is terrible at dating
In her recent New York Times article, “Sex on Campus - She Can Play That Game, Too,” Kate Taylor concludes that college sweethearts are old news. Miss Class of 2014 requires something different from the men on her campus: instant gratification, zero commitment, and a habit of regularly checking text messages around midnight. Fifty-six years ago, Nora Johnson tackled the same subject in “Sex and the College Girl,” an article published in the November 1957 issue of The Atlantic. What’s interesting is that, while these two generations of women face very different realities (today’s college girl is hooking up and most women in 1957 were “going-steady”), they both want essentially the same thing: freedom to define sex and relationships in their own time, on their own terms.
It is what she calls a “micro-moment of positivity resonance.” She means that love is a connection, characterized by a flood of positive emotions, which you share with another person—any other person—whom you happen to connect with in the course of your day. You can experience these micro-moments with your romantic partner, child, or close friend. But you can also fall in love, however momentarily, with less likely candidates, like a stranger on the street, a colleague at work, or an attendant at a grocery store. Louis Armstrong put it best in “It’s a Wonderful World” when he sang, “I see friends shaking hands, sayin ‘how do you do?’ / They’re really sayin’, ‘I love you.’”
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