We asked Noel Biderman, the man behind one of the biggest online-dating sites for people seeking affairs, about his theories on adultery.
Teenagers Are Having Sex in Extremely Odd Places
“Never pass up a chance to have sex or appear on television,” Gore Vidal once famouslyadvised. While some may argue that the democratizing force of the internet has diminished the power of television, it hasn’t diminished the power of screens: Thanks to webcams and smartphones, we can all appear on our own personal TVs, and we can even have sex through them.
No one has absorbed this lesson more than teens, who just can’t seem to stop sending nude photos to each other. This Wednesday, on her NPR show Fresh Air, national treasure Terry Gross spoke to Hanna Rosin about the phenomenon, which Rosin addresses in a new Atlanticarticle, “Why Kids Sext.” The interview touches on some important points, like the fact that minors sending naked pictures to other minors is something that is both completely commonplace and sometimes a felony (as teenagers in Detroit may soon learn). It’s a conversation between adults who don’t want to judge young people but at the same time don’t completely understand them.
After all, there’s no way for someone who hasn’t been a teen for 30 years to truly understand what today’s adolescents are doing. At one point, Rosin tells Terry that girls say sexts are like, “the guys are collecting baseball cards or Pokémon cards,” adding that, because so much porn is available to teens, sexts are more “like a prank.” Do teens really treat their sexuality so casually? I don’t want to question Rosin’s sources, but I have a slight feeling they may have been grunge-speaking her. And where did she even find a teenager who remembers people collecting Pokémon cards?
-Teens aren’t just not passing up chances to have sex. They’re making new opportunities, sometimes in radical and wildly inappropriate ways. It’s not every day that the tabloidists at theNew York Daily News start an article with “Whoa!,” so when they do, you’d better pay attention. In Florida, where so many crazy things happen that making jokes about it is now gauche, a 19-year-old boy was charged with indecent exposure and criminal mischief after having sex with a stuffed horse inside a Walmart. Security cameras caught the teen grabbing the animal from a clearance bin, taking his penis out of his pants, and “[proceeding] to hump the stuffed horse utilizing short fast movements.”
Why Do Some of Us Feel Sad After an Orgasm?
Ever feel inexplicably sad after an orgasm? I don’t mean the abject horror of realizing your roommate has silently walked in and out of your room while you were getting to know yourself—really gunning for it, laptop open, pants off, socks on. That’s called embarrassment, and can subsequently make it very hard to look that person in the eye.
The sensation I’m talking about is subtle. It’s the fleeting despair that occasionally accompanies even the least noteworthy climax. Not everyone experiences it, but if you have you’ll know exactly what I mean.
Called post-coital tristesse (PCT) by people who know about such things, the melancholy one can feel after an orgasm is actually a very well documented phenomenon, with references dating back to the Roman Empire. Sometime around 150 AD, in fact, the prominent Greek physician Galen wrote, “Every animal is sad after coitus except the human female and the rooster.”
Mind you, as prominent as he was, Galen didn’t have it all figured out; both sexes are affected by PCT and the experience can differ radically from person to person. It’s also not to be confused with post-orgasmic illness syndrome (POIS), a rare condition that could be due to anything from a lack of progesterone to a semen allergy. The syndrome can cause sufferers to experience a wide range of symptoms, including apathy, itchy eyes, and weeping, for up to several days after an orgasm.
Every Woman Should Have the Opportunity to Freeze Her Eggs
This week, tech giants Apple and Facebook announced that they’ll now pay for female employees who want to have their eggs frozen. It’s a big move, even for Silicon Valley, where companies already boast such perks as on-site medical care, barber shops and, in Facebook’s case, a dedicated “culinary team.”
The message is: Freeze your eggs, ladies, and don’t worry about working around the clock through your fertile years! It’s a win-win, right? Possibly. But it’s also problematic.
Overlooking the obvious (having babies and good careers should not be mutually exclusive), the move seems to confirm many fears clustered around class difference and fertility—i.e. if you don’t have thousands saved, or don’t work for a giant corporation and yet still want to be ambitious in your field, you might end up childless.
Can We Make Gay Bathhouses Cool Again?
Business has not been good lately for bathhouses, the urban meeting places for gay men who enjoy using steam rooms and saunas or getting blowjobs from complete strangers in them. The Hollywood Spa, a long-time haunt in LA, closed its doors this year after decades in business, and the Associated Press recently looked at the decline in the importance of these fabled sex dens.
Now the North American Bathhouse Association (NABA) is using a combination of awareness-building, steep discounts, and social media outreach to entice a new generation of young dudes to put down Grindr and Scruff (the apps that are basically a bathhouse in every gay’s pocket), pick up a towel, and channel the 70s spirit of cavorting with the hottest bods in town. It might be an uphill battle, but it’s one that Dennis Holding, NABA’s 75-year-old president, says that they’re winning.
I recently chatted with Holding, who has invested in bathhouses all over the country since he opened his first club in 1972, about the past, present, and future of the industry.
VICE: How did you end up in the bathhouse business?
Dennis Holding: I worked in the automotive industry at the time on the racing side, selling parts. I was in Indianapolis for the qualifying for the [Indy] 500, and it was raining, so I went out and met somebody. We went to a brunch the next day with his friends, and they got talking about how Indy needed a gay bathhouse. I looked at the demographics and realized there wasn’t one for 100 miles in any direction. And that’s how it came to be. A couple weeks later, I met the principals of the Club Baths chain [which had 42 bathhouses in its prime]. At that time, six or eight guys would throw in some money, and one guy agreed to go build it, and that’s how they were built. It was the 70s, so things were going great guns.
A Giant Hole Is Swallowing a Town in Peru
When we arrived in Cerro de Pasco, a medium-size city in the high Peruvian sierra, it was night. We inched through the crowded, twisting streets past a large statue of Daniel Carrión, a legendary medical student who stands there with a syringe in his hand, injecting himself with the disease that’s named in his honor. In the colonial quarter, we abruptly came to a wall, painted alternately with graffiti and the words private property. I could sense a great emptiness on the other side, like when you’re by the ocean but cannot quite see it.
I climbed a rock and peeked over. All around in the distance the city was aglow. Plunging out before me was the hole, void of light but for the tiny headlights of trucks crawling around its sides. This is El Tajo: the Pit.
In Andean cosmology, Earth is Pachamama—Mother Earth—and this massive polymetal mine is the locus of a literal penetration. It is 1.2 miles wide and as deep as the Empire State Building is tall. All day and all night, the rock-grinding machinery produces a low mechanical groan, which is amplified tremendously by the pit’s speaker-like shape. It is the sound of the city being eaten alive.
Cerro de Pasco is an environmental and urban catastrophe. The pit, which opened in 1956, is in the middle of the city—not beside it but in it. As it grows, thousands of families have had to move into unplanned urban developments, most of which lack basic sanitation. Now the city is running out of space. In 2008, Peru’s congress passed Law No. 29293, calling for the resettlement of the entire population of 67,000. But the law has gone unheeded.
We Asked Doctors How Different Illegal Drugs Affect Your Sperm
Life is full of hard truths. One of the hardest is that you can only party for so long before your body starts asking you nicely to please chill out, or you accumulate so many responsibilities that drinking five beers and popping a molly just isn’t wise anymore. And when you decide you’re ready for the ultimate responsibility, having a kid, you’ll have to hope your genetic material isn’t so damaged from shoving coke mixed with Ajax into random orifices that your offspring have to suffer serious medical problems.
But what if you knew how badly you’re screwing your body up before it’s too late? Not to get all Daren the Lion on you, but I asked two reproductive experts—Dr. Ricardo Yazigi of Shady Grove Fertility Center in Maryland and Dr. David Nudell, a Bay Area-based male reproductive urologist—plus Fernando Caudevilla (also known as Dr. X, the drug whisperer) to explain the way drug use can negatively impact sperm. The general consensus is that the use of just about every illicit drug causes damage to the testicles and prevents the creation of testosterone—the linchpin substance for the entire male reproductive system.
For the purposes of this piece, we leaned heavily on a 2012 study called “The Insults of Illicit Drug Use in Male Fertility” from the American Society of Andrology’s Journal of Andrology, which is available here.
According to the 2009 National Study on Drug Use and Health, marijuana has the highest usage rate of any illicit drug in the United States, which means you probably have all or some of these problems with your sperm.
The cannabinoid compounds in marijuana are actually synthesized by the human body, so our cells have natural receptors for them. If the cannabinoids latch onto cells in the testes or the sperm themselves, some unwanted side effects could occur and ruin your day. According to Dr. Yazigi:
"About 33 percent of chronic users will have low sperm counts. Binding of the active components and metabolites of marijuana to receptors on sperm themselves has also been shown to lead to decreasing motility rates. What is less clear are the effects of more occasional users—no good studies have been done but the prevailing thought is that while these men will have rapid recovery to their sperm function with briefer cessation in use, they should avoid use when trying to get pregnant as well."
Coke is, of course, the legendary “boner killer,” in that it causes vasoconstriction (the narrowing of blood cells), which leads to erectile dysfunction. It’s difficult to pinpoint what else it does, because any studies done on human beings are going to be complicated by the fact that cocaine just makes you want to party more. I asked Dr. Yazigi why we don’t have more information on coke’s effects, and he responded that human tests aren’t pure “because most of the time there’s coexistence of the use of cocaine along with alcohol and cigarettes and other drugs, so the single cocaine users are almost a rarity.” Also, he reminded me that you can’t force a group of people to do cocaine and then reproduce. You know, ethically.
Where Are All the Bisexual Men, and Why Are They Hiding?
Tuesday was something called Bisexual Visibility Day. Which got me thinking: Where exactly are all the bi guys? I know a fair few fellas who’ve confided in me about their same-sex experiences, but only a handful of guys who straight-up identify as bi.
That might be because, for years, bisexuality has been maligned as homosexuality’s no-good cousin—a sort of halfway house between straight respectability and full-blown gay-dom. Bisexuals spread diseases. Bisexuals can’t accept that they’re really gay. Bisexuals are greedy, confused, selfish. This is the sort of shit people say about bisexuals. No wonder bi dudes like to keep it on the lowdown.