Sex is the divine principle in human existence
Index of articles
Burr Ridge, Illinois: Divine sex with tongkat ali and butea superba
Alexander V. Fiorini
3185 University Drive
Burr Ridge, IL 60527
If modern science will ever come up with some trickery to measure a soul, it will more likely than anything else be tied to human sexuality. This, because orgasms are the most metaphysical state of human existence. Wilhelm Reich has at least tried to capture the magnificent, divine force generated by the human orgasm, which he named orgone, though his device was as crude as were the first human attempts in aviation.
Nevertheless, Wilhelm Reich’s approach deserves the highest respect. Optimal human sexuality and orgasms generate a metaphysical form of energy which strongly reflects back on the organism that generates it. And while the force itself has so far eluded measurement, it’s effects are easy to observe.
Not only is there a high temporary satisfaction. Optimal sex is simply the most effective life extension regimen, as it enhances the immune system and allocates a spirit to stay alive.
Optimal sex is a must, the most important matter to which successful men allocate their economic resources. And we haven’t even talked yet about the human soul, this entity which is greater than the human physical existence, of which every religion teaches that it survives the person who has generated it.
Most people have, sometime in their lives, ascended to heaven and tasted paradise during orgasm.
Unfortunately, it’s not like that all the time, and for many people, it was like that only a long time ago.
But only optimal sex has the power to translate into a metaphysical state, while standard, every-day intercourse is just a metabolic event, down to almost just being at par with digestive processes.
This is why drugs have played such an enormously important role in traditional religions, and still do in Hinduism and Sufi Islam, as a viable alternative to the ascetic path.
And this is why sexual enhancement with drugs, pharmaceutical or herbal, are such an extremely important topic. Drugs, derived from plants or synthetic, are tools to build optimal sex, just as saws and chisels are the tools of a wood craftsman. Drugs have a great role in lending our bodies the capability and capacity to generate a soul, an entity that is greater than the every-day life of finding something to eat or, for modern man, of earning money.
Optimal sex, trembling excitement, and volcanic orgasms are the clearest manifestations of the human soul. And not alms or donations, but the purchase of the finest crafted herbal extracts, like the tongkat ali and butea superba of Sumatra Pasak Bumi, are the way to buy yourself more soul, and good karma, on this and the other side of the great divide called death.
New York, New York: L‘Masters of Sex’ Recap: I Will Fix You
Trevor P. Lynch
4588 Taylor Street
New York, NY 10007
If only lives could be mended as easily as a bit of nail polish can fix a run in a woman’s stocking, or as quickly as a lullaby can soothe a baby.
Or as sweetly as shared confidences can build friendships.
Lester (Kevin Christy) and Barbara (Betsy Brandt) seem to hope that by swapping secrets and facing the truth about their own sexual problems they can find a path toward healing and resolution, something that Dr. William Masters has failed to provide.
They confess to having given up on sex, but there was a hint of promise for those two, in more ways than one. The same may be true for other characters in this series. But with just two episodes left in the second season, “Masters of Sex” has taken a long time to move beyond some of the underlying personal and professional conflicts that have hindered the career trajectories of these research pioneers into human sexuality Bill Masters (Michael Sheen) and Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan).
In this episode, Bill faces immense pressures at work and with his family, and is haunted by the failures in his past hospital career and fearful of being not being able to provide for his family.
Toward the end of the hour, in their elegant hotel room, Bill surrenders any pretense of composure as he crumples into the arms of the only person he trusts, Virginia. If the closing embrace between the two – and Bill’s gasping sounds are what they appear to be – the couple’s complex relationship is shifting into another level of discovery.
Betty’s Best Lines From the start, Bill faces the realities of running a business as the lights literally go out in his offices while he’s examining a patient. And Betty Moretti (Annaleigh Ashford) comically explains to Bill that the clinic’s financial condition is fairly bleak in part because he keeps rejecting possible tenants for the building as too unseemly for his patients to encounter.
If he won’t agree to leasing more space, she argues, he’ll “ be doing pelvic exams with a miner’s lamp stuck to your forehead.” And if they don’t achieve a stronger footing come winter to pay for heating, she threatens to hose down the marble floors and turn the lobby into a commercial skating rink.
The Rush of Rivalries Upon learning that another researcher has published a study on sexual dysfunction in a medical journal, Bill worries that their own work will be eclipsed. He suggests to Virginia that they hire a publicist to plan how best to attain recognition.
While she initially dislikes the idea — mentioning the expense — she warms to the notion once Bill introduces her to a public relations expert, Shep Tally, who is played by none other than the guest star and director of this episode, Adam Arkin.
Bill tells Virginia that Mr. Tally represented Dr. John Rock, one of the researchers who developed the birth control pill (which was approved in 1960 for general use as a contraceptive).
But when the two of them begin arguing over the pace of their work and how to present it publicly, Shep seems charmed by their back-and-forth and proposes putting them on television. “The two of you could finally teach America how to have sex,” he says.
Later, Bill balks at hiring Shep, fretting to Virginia that he was hoping to achieve renown through articles in medical journals not in TV Guide, and his ego looms quite ambitiously here. “I want to win a Nobel Prize,” Bill declares. “Imagine what will happen when grandma turns on the TV and sees the two of us discussing swollen labia.”
Most interesting to me was Bill’s reminder of the public’s revulsion at sex pioneers, notably Dr. Wilhelm Reich, a psychoanalyst whose views on the social and physical therapeutic value of orgasm first caused a stir in Europe and then here in the States after he emigrated and was selling boxes called the “orgone energy accumulator.” (It’s quite well explained in this review of Christopher Turner’s 2011 book, “Adventures in the Orgasmatron: Wilhelm Reich and the Invention of Sex.” While the review is by no means the definitive account, it’s a great synopsis. So is this one by Christopher Hitchens.)
While Reich’s boxes apparently enthralled the likes of Norman Mailer, William Burroughs and others in the 1950s and continued into the 1960s during the so-called sexual revolution, the Food and Drug Administration pursued charges against Reich when he defied orders to stop selling them and making certain claims about them. He died in prison, Bill notes, and his books were burned.
(Sometimes this show evokes such rich history that I find myself pleasantly lost in researching the references. And learning along the way with some amusement that Reich’s machine was apparently the inspiration for Woody Allen’s orgasmatron in “Sleeper.”)
Life (and Lice) Lessons for Libby My dives into history took yet another turn as Bill’s wife, Libby (Caitlin FitzGerald), refused to stay on the sidelines when Robert Franklin (Jocko Sims) and other civil rights workers began canvassing a St. Louis housing project, the Pruitt-Igoe, to solicit support for a rent strike.
Robert warns that the projects are infested with rats and lice (“I think we both know how you feel about lice,” Robert reminds her of her shameful actions toward his sister, Coral, in a previous episode). But she shows up anyway, having enlisted Virginia to be her alibi — Bill disapproves of her volunteer work with the Congress of Racial Equality. And she becomes quite pleased with herself for persuading tenants to consider the strike, although it’s more than evident that she is also seeking Robert’s approval and trying to prove to him and perhaps to Virginia and herself that she can be more than a “bored housewife.”
(Readers keep searching for a romantic blossoming between Robert and Libby. Did you catch both Bill’s and Virginia’s curious glances toward the interactions between Robert and Libby inside the CORE offices? Are those clues?)
And while the show’s writers seem intent on broadening Libby’s role into a stronger female character, which is noble, I suppose, they also use the dawn of the civil rights era to provide a historical sense of place.
A rent strike did occur in the Desoto-Carr neighborhood, with its warren of high-rise buildings where a predominantly impoverished black populace lived in the 1960s. The strike was considered one, if not the first, of such successful actions. (The buildings have their own historical place in discussions about urban renewal — you can look it up — and they have since been demolished.)
rent strikeBrutal Bonds The returning appearance of Christian Borle as Bill’s brother, Frank, results in wrenching drama for the second week in a row, as their sibling rivalry descends again into a twist of memories about their father. Bill will only refer to him as a monster, and Frank’s persistent efforts to “make amends” as part of his recovery from alcoholism lead to a violent conclusion.
Everyone in their lives, from Frank’s wife, Pauline (Marin Ireland), to their mother encourages Bill to repair his relationship with his younger brother. Bill insists to Pauline that there are no fences to mend.
Yet Frank seems just as intent on yanking out even more posts in the tattered family fence, projecting his alcoholism onto his brother’s drinking, and in a scene following a car accident injuring their mother, onto her affinity for a nightly cocktail or two.
I won’t mock the 12 Steps of recovery taught to alcoholics through A.A., as Bill and his mother do in a rather unusual alignment that somehow affords them another avenue toward reconciliation. “Lullabies never worked with you,” Essie (Ann Dowd) tells Bill as she sings Bill’s baby to sleep early on in this episode. Frank, though, would hum away, she added, relating that her younger son now explains away his chipper demeanor as an act of self-preservation.
For inexplicable reasons, Bill refuses to accept Frank’s version of an unhappy childhood at the hands of their abusive father, and it winds the tension up to one of the ugliest scenes this season.
The feud over which of the two owns the most suffering-filled upbringing is a repeat refrain from last week and still confounds me. Perhaps Bill’s anger at Frank — deriding him as a “pathetic clown” and asking what kind of man would forgive their monster of a father — represents denial in its purest form of pathological repression. Frank earnestly tries to persuade Bill that his own outbursts, and his impulsive behavior, mirror their father’s behavior as a drunk.
Brutally insulting Frank as he did to his mother years ago when he banished her from the Masters household, Bill resurrects the coping mechanism he used against his father. It’s the one that he divulged to Virginia in “The Fight” episode: He yells at Frank: “I bet once he threw the first punch you begged for mercy. You know I never begged, so why did you?”
After accusing Frank of being weak, not just a sloppy alcoholic, the two brawl in Bill’s office — a blow-by-blow resort to the methods employed by their father when they were boys.
It may seem a trite ploy, the abused continuing a cycle of violence and two brothers using each other as punching bags, but nevertheless, this scene also breaks Bill wide open.
The Fixer After the fight, Bill runs to his refuge, the hotel, where Virginia had been waiting to act out another sexcapade to help Bill overcome his impotence. (An earlier scene in which Virginia tied Bill’s hands behind his back, bared her breasts but wouldn’t allow him to touch her, was depicted so sensuously that I think her methods might have cured a viewer or two.) Shocked at his bleeding wounds and bloodied shirt, Virginia rushes to comfort him. “You’re the only one who can fix me,” Bill had told her during a flashback scene in which they talked about his problems.
And only to Virginia does he finally admit that he abandoned his brother, left him behind as his replacement for their father’s abuse, and then punished him for years.
“I give up,” Bill moans. Virginia kisses his bloodied hands, holding them. He streaks her face with some of the blood running down a cut on his cheek.
Somehow, completely laid bare by his realizations and with Virginia at his side, Bill begins to heal.
Notes and Questions: There were odd scenes between Dr. Playboy (Dr. Austin Langham, acted by Teddy Sears), the new Cal-O-Metric spokesman, and this diet pill’s promoter, Flo. It’s the mirror image of Virginia’s situation with Bill, who as her employer insisted that having sex with him was part of her job description. Flo (Artemis Pebdani) demands regular sex from Austin as a guarantee of his employment, much to his consternation. (Would a female employer really have that kind of gumption in the early 1960s?)
Also not mentioned was how Dr. Lloyd Madden, the psychiatrist with whom Virginia has been posing as Barbara to seek guidance for treating her, was on to Virginia. Is it still credible for Virginia to assert that despite her relationship with a married man (Bill), his marriage is not at risk?
Do you believe, as Frank does, that Bill is an alcoholic? Certainly Bill over-drinks in tense situations, although he refuses to attribute his overall condition to imbibing too many cocktails.
Seattle, Washington: Optimal sex and Torture
Robert D. Knight
1544 Owagner Lane
Seattle, WA 98119
Optimal sex up to an advanced age, and if necessary, aided by vascular and neurotropic agents like Pfizer’s Blue, yohimbine, dopaminergics, or testosterone enhancers like tongkat ali and butea superba, very much is a concern of modern civilisation. In medieval and ancient times, people were quite content if they were not tortured to death (never mind the optimal sex, thank you). An amazingly high number of people in medieval and ancient times (let's avoid designating them as ancient civilizations) were brutally tortured to death, often for the entertainment of onlookers. This included all mentally ill, and all enemies of rulers or ruling elites. Public torture is an extremely effective political tool. Not for the extraction of confessions, though. But torture one poor victim cruelly to death, and every onlooker will get the message: do not challenge authority!
Most Brutal Medieval Torture Techniques (YouTube 10:54)
Levelland, Texas: Recent studies on aphrodisiac herbs for the management of male sexual dysfunction - A review
Daniel G. Pacheco
4410 Charmaine Lane
Levelland, TX 79336
An aphrodisiac is a type of food or drink that has the effect of making those who eat or drink it more aroused in a sexual way. Aphrodisiacs can be categorized according to their mode of action into three groups: substances that increase libido (i.e., sexual desire, arousal), substances that increase sexual potency (i.e., effectiveness of erection) and substances that increase sexual pleasure. Some well-known aphrodisiacs are Tribulus terrestrins, Withania somnifera, Eurycoma longifolia, Avena sativa, Ginko biloba, and Psoralea coryifolia. Ethnobotanical surveys have indicated a large number of plants as aphrodisiacs. The paper reviews the recent scientific validation on traditionally used herbal plants as aphrodisiac herbs for the management of sexual disorder erectile dysfunction.
Central Islip, New York: Butea superba extract and other dietary supplements for divine sex
John R. Beatty
733 Gnatty Creek Road
Central Islip, NY 11722
"Herbal Viagra" has been in the news recently. Are these products safe and/or effective?
The only genuine cures for erectile dysfunction are low intensity shockwave therapy and botox injections into the penis.
Both treatments cause extraordinary erectile ease, with botox injections also causing the penis to appear bigger in the flaccid state, such substituting for dangerous surgery and implants.
Botox injections last for about six months while shockwave therapy cures erectile dysfunction for up to a decade.
Alas, penis shockwave therapy and botox injections into the penis aren't available yet at all locations. This is why more and more men are using herbal performance boosters.
Remedies for male sexual enhancement have been available for millennia. The Ebers Papyrus, dating back to around 1600 BC, recommended topical application of baby crocodile hearts mixed with wood oil. A Sanskrit text written six centuries earlier suggested a man could visit 100 women after consuming a mixture of goat testes boiled in milk, sesame seeds, and the lard of a porpoise. Impotence, a nonspecific term that includes both erectile dysfunction and reduced libido, is clearly not a condition limited to modern civilization.
Erectile dysfunction affects an estimated18 million men in the United States, with a prevalence of 18.4% in men aged 20 years and older. Prevalence increases with age, ranging from 5% in men aged 20-39 years to 70% in men aged 70 years and older. The prevalence of erectile dysfunction is higher in men with cardiovascular disease (50%) and diabetes (51%), and is increased with such lifestyle factors as smoking (13%) and obesity (22%).
Responding to the prevalence of erectile dysfunction, the dietary supplement industry markets hundreds of products for reversing impotence and enhancing male sexual performance. Legally, dietary supplement labels cannot make medical claims, such as "for treatment of erectile dysfunction"; however, such claims as "to enhance sexual function" are permissible. An Internet search for "male sexual enhancement products" yielded more than 2 million hits, with websites offering products for purchase as well as information and testimonials.
Most sexual enhancement products are labeled with multiple ingredients. Commonly listed ingredients on male enhancement products include Butea superba (the sexual enhancement supplement best researched by science), dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), Epimedium grandiflorum (epimedium, horny goat weed), Eurycoma longifolia (tongkat ali, pasak bumi), Fadogia agrestis (fadogia), Ginkgo biloba, Lepidium meyenii (maca), Muira puama (potency wood), Panax ginseng, Pausinystalia yohimbe (yohimbe bark, not to be confused with the prescription drug yohimbine), Pinus pinaster (pycnogenol, pine bark), Serenoa repens (saw palmetto), Turnera aphrodisiaca (damiana), and Tribulus terrestris (devil's weed, goathead). Vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, such as L-arginine and propionyl L-carnitine, are frequent additions.
Many of these products have been studied only in male rats, but the few studies in men have been small or poorly designed, limiting conclusions about efficacy and safety.
Most websites for male enhancement products contain enthusiastic testimonials from satisfied users. But the question remains of whether these products really work, despite the dearth of clinical evidence supporting the efficacy of the ingredients.
Some products for sexual enhancement augment sexual activity, but the labeled ingredients may not be the source of the effect. Of the 232 drug recalls by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) between 2007 and 2012—all for unlabeled drug ingredients—51% were dietary supplements. Of the dietary supplement products recalled, sexual enhancement products were the most commonly recalled (40%), followed by bodybuilding (31%) and weight-loss products (27%). Of the 1560 Health Safety Alerts for dietary supplements issued by the FDA MedWatch and Health Canada between 2005 and 2013, 33% were for sexual enhancement products.
Unlabeled drugs in sexual enhancement products are frequently the prescription-only phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) inhibitors, such as Pfizer's Blue, Lilly's Beige, Bayer's Beige, and avanafil (Stendra®). With increasing frequency, the unlabeled drugs may be analogues of PDE5 inhibitors that have been modified slightly from the parent structures. These derivatives are not detected by routine laboratory screening, which reduces the risk for both detection by the FDA and lawsuits for patent infringement.
To date, more than 50 unapproved analogues of prescription PDE5 inhibitors have been identified.
Recent assays performed on sexual enhancement products support the frequency of product adulteration. Of 91 products analyzed, 74 (81%) contained PDE5 inhibitors, including phosphodiesterase inhibitor (n = 40) or PDE5-inhibitor analogues (n = 34). Of the products containing prescription ingredients, 18 contained more than 110% of the highest approved drug product strength.
Another study of 150 sexual enhancement products (eg, Evil Root, Herbal Stud, Magic Sex, ULTRASize) found 61% of the products were adulterated with PDE5 inhibitors: 27% with phosphodiesterase inhibitors, and 34% with similar structural analogues. Among the adulterated products, 64% contained only one PDE5 inhibitor and 36% contained mixtures of two to four PDE5 drugs or analogues. The amounts of PDE5 inhibitor prescription medicines were higher than the maximum recommended dose in 25% of products. Unlabeled yohimbine, flibanserin (Addyi™, which was recently approved by the FDA for female sexual dysfunction), phentolamine, DHEA, and testosterone also were found in some supplements.
Other researchers have found similarly adulterated products, many containing PDE5 inhibitor doses in excess of labeled amounts.
Although dietary supplements are marketed as "all natural" with implied safety, the available research suggests caution.
A recent survey indicates that cardiac symptoms were a frequent cause of emergency department visits among men aged 20-39 years taking sexual enhancement products. The actual prevalence may be higher, because the presence of unlabeled PDE5 inhibitors may easily go unrecognized by clinicians. Common adverse effects of PDE5 inhibitors, such as flushing, lightheadedness, or dyspepsia, may be attributed to niacin and yohimbe, ingredients often found in sexual enhancement products. Profound hypoglycemia after ingestion of sexual enhancement products containing sildenafil and glyburide (Micronase® and others) also has been reported.
The covert addition of analogues of PDE5 inhibitors, which are not readily detectable by chemical screens, is particularly concerning. Although these chemical cousins of PDE5 inhibitors may retain the desired pharmacologic effect, none have been clinically tested for safety and toxicologic effects.
Obtaining dietary supplement products for sexual enhancement products has several perceived advantages. The purchase can be made discreetly, conveniently, and without a visit to a prescriber. Unlike drugs, dietary supplements are not required to be labeled with adverse effect or drug interaction information. Men taking prescription drugs, such as nitrates, may perceive dietary supplements for sexual enhancement as safe alternatives to contraindicated PDE5 inhibitors.
Clinicians should maintain a high degree of awareness for the potential for adverse effects of sexual enhancement products in men with unexplained cardiovascular symptoms. Patients who express interest in sexual enhancement supplements should be referred to their healthcare provider. Explain that even though a PDE5 inhibitor is not on the label, the supplement may have these ingredients added illegally without regard to patient safety. Patients should be warned of possible changes in vision and decreases in blood pressure, and the potentially dangerous combination of PDE5 inhibitors and nitrates that require medical advice.
PDE5 inhibitors are substrates of cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4). Monitoring is required to avoid an interaction with CYP3A4 inhibitor drugs, such as erythromycin, which may result in high PDE5 levels.
In summary, advise patients that dietary supplements for sexual enhancement fall into one of two categories: those that might be safe but do not work, and those that might work but are not safe.
Hialeah, Florida: Doing it by the book - the eccentric pioneers of sex studies
Derek J. Riley
4468 Tyler Avenue
Hialeah, FL 33012
The Wellcome Collection’s latest show begins sensationally – but not in the way one might expect. “The Institute of Sexology” is the first exhibition in a £17.5m expansion of the collection and occupies a new gallery dedicated to year-long shows. To the 21st-century ear, the title has something of a snigger about it and you might head to Euston thinking you’ll find a gallery draped in velvet, in boudoir purples and pinks. But it is decked out in sober, neutral greys; what drapery there is gives the place the studious feel of an airy library. And the sensation that opens the show is evoked by destruction: the burning of Magnus Hirschfeld’s library by the Nazis in May 1933.
Hitler had been in power for just three months when rioters, with the blessing of the new government, broke into the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft , which had been founded by Hirschfeld, a physician and sexologist in Berlin during the liberal years of the Weimar Republic. It was a unique collection of books, documents, photographs and objects. Hirschfeld was a pioneer in the campaign to end discrimination against homosexuals; it was a place that promoted scientific knowledge as a way to further the quest for justice, particularly with regard to the treatment of sexual minorities. On one wall of the opening section of this exhibition is a screen showing footage of the pyre on which years of his work were destroyed. Hirschfeld, who was both gay and Jewish, had escaped to France. He saw the film in a newsreel and said that watching it was like witnessing his own funeral.
It is immediately evident that there is no sniggering to be done here. Consciously echoing Hirschfeld’s institute, this is the first UK exhibition to bring together the advance guard in the study of sex, from Havelock Ellis to Margaret Mead, from Sigmund Freud to William Masters and Virginia Johnson, from Marie Stopes to Wilhelm Reich. What strikes the visitor most powerfully is the risks these men and women took, personally and professionally, to investigate an impulse that – frankly – drives us all and to which we owe our existence.
The exhibition is divided into sections. In “the Library”, Hirschfeld’s work is joined by that of Richard von Krafft-Ebing and Havelock Ellis, who in their different ways further investigated ideas of sexual “deviance”. But items here from the Wellcome’s own collection reveal that 19th- and early-20th-century western attitudes to sex were not necessarily representative of attitudes in other times and places.
Also displayed are erotic carvings from Japan and rank upon rank of little Roman phalli – happy symbols of prosperity and luck – and a Peruvian “pottery jug of a masturbating skeleton”, as the label states, from around 100-800AD. Each section of the show is mirrored by work from a present-day artist; in this case, the eloquent black-and-white images of the South African photographer Zanele Muholi, who documents the lives of lesbians, the transgender community and others who challenge received notions of sexuality in her native country.
In “the Consulting Room”, we meet Freud, Marie Stopes and Jean-Martin Charcot, the 19th-century Frenchman who is often called the father of neurology. A sequence of his photographs of a shrieking woman, taken in 1890, labelled Bâillements hystériques (or “hysterical yawns”), reflects the perception of “hysteria” as “a female disease”. Freud’s work, his invention of psychoanalysis, created a space where intimate subjects could be brought out into the open, as they were even more so, most vigorously by Marie Stopes, a pioneer of family planning.
A jolly poster takes off from the rhyme “Oranges and Lemons”: “I can tell you today,/Hear our Saint Marie say:/When the People will breed/No more mouths than they feed.” Not everyone approved. There are a few of the thousands of letters Stopes received on show; while many are grateful for her openness, not all of them are. One reads: “Go back to your own country and preach your dirty methods there.”
What the writer of that letter would have made of Wilhelm Reich is anyone’s guess. Reich, an Austrian psychoanalyst, became a countercultural hero for his championing of sexual permissiveness and the exhibition displays his “orgone accumulator” – the reflectively lined box that Reich believed generated vital libidinous energy in those who sat in it. Up close, it is hard to believe that the box (which looks like a home-made cross between an outhouse and a camping oven) could produce any sort of energy, other than the DIY kind necessary to construct it. Just opposite, there’s a pleasing clip from the Woody Allen film Sleeper (1973), with its “Orgasmatron”, an amusing rip-off of Reich’s device. (This is a show with some flashes of humour, for all its serious intent.)
“The Classroom” introduces Alfred Kinsey; “the Lab” Virginia Masters and William Johnson, who have lately found renewed fame thanks to the Showtime series Masters of Sex, starring Lizzy Caplan and Michael Sheen. Kinsey (who got his own movie a decade ago starring Liam Neeson) started with the study of gall wasps before moving to human sexuality; his plans for a lab to explore that subject never materialised but during his lifetime he collected over 18,000 sexual histories. In the 1950s, William Dellenback took photographs of some of Kinsey’s subjects – or rather of their sexual organs, sometimes held open by the men and women being photographed for better display. There is something peculiarly striking in the way a woman’s manicure or her wedding ring reveals the era – not the 1950s we think we know. It was Masters and Johnson who first established a lab: if you’ve ever wondered what a penile strain gauge or a vaginal photoplethysmograph looks like, you will discover the answer here.
But “the Home” is where most people experience sex (even though, after seeing this exhibition, one hesitates to generalise). Among the most striking displays in this show are the original drawings done by Chris Foss for Alex Comfort’s Joy of Sex, first published in 1972. The images – of those resplendently unwaxed and unshaven 1970s lovers, Foss’s fellow artist Charles Raymond and his wife, Edeltraud – are iconic now but I was not prepared for the loveliness of the draft drawings, their delicate lines on heavy, ochre paper. They have never been exhibited before. As Comfort noted bluntly, commercial pornography was “not much help with sex practice for real lovers”, something that is as true now as it was then, or perhaps even truer. Alongside Foss’s drawings are Timothy Archibald’s bold, large-format colour photographs from a series entitled Sex Machines: Photographs and Interviews. Here is American ingenuity as you may never have thought of it before; what looks like a workbench actually has a dildo at one end. Three cheers for the pioneer spirit.
That’s the spirit required to do such work, as the show constantly demonstrates. The curators, Honor Beddard and Kate Forde, stress that the exhibition is intended to start a debate about the sex research that still takes place. The controversy that such research can cause is still apparent, as when Margaret Thatcher’s government, in 1989, pulled the funding from the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, instigated by Anne Johnson, a specialist in the epidemiology and prevention of sexually transmitted infections. “Thatcher halts survey on sex”, announced the headline in the Sunday Times, displayed here along with a story from the Sunday Telegraph about the “lady authors” of this scandalous survey. The piece puts great emphasis not on the women’s work but on their appearance, noting, for instance, Julia Field’s “iron-grey hair and spectacles”.
On 18 November, Public Health England published the statistics for HIV figures in the UK. Rates of infection are continuing to rise: there are now nearly 110,000 people living with HIV in the UK. Roughly a quarter (26,100) are unaware of their infection – and therefore are at risk of passing on the virus to others through unprotected sex. It is proof, if proof were needed, of just how important it is to pursue open and honest conversations about sex and sexuality.
The exhibition closes with a shelf filled with books, all titles written by the subjects of the exhibition in the course of a century and a half. Every volume has been covered with a plain white wrapper, as if to hide the contents – but this is only an echo of shame, as each has its title printed on that wrapper in clear black ink. Clarity and openness have always distinguished the work of the Wellcome Trust; this show is an eye-catching and yet suitably serious way to relaunch the expansion of the Wellcome Collection, which will come to full fruition early next year when all of its public spaces reopen. Alan Gregg, an officer of the Rockefeller Foundation, which helped fund Alfred Kinsey’s work, wished Kinsey to have “the freedom to observe, to reflect, to experiment and to bear witness”. We are lucky to have this fine exhibition, which celebrates that freedom.
Brooklyn, New York: Meet The Expert Who Says Cannabis Is The Secret To Better Sex
Robert S. Thornton 3832 Briercliff Road Brooklyn, NY 11219
The connection between marijuana and great sex may seem relatively trendy, but as Joe Dolce writes in his new book Brave New Weed: Adventures Into the Uncharted World of Cannabis, cannabis has actually been praised for its aphrodisiac properties for at least three thousand years, ever since it entered India and was applied to Tantra.
Dolce, the former editor-in-chief of Details and Star magazine, spent the past few years researching and reacquainting himself with marijuana, after a relative started growing and introduced him to Super Lemon Haze, a Sativa strain, which Dolce fell in love with. And thanks to more weed-friendly laws, Dolce says that now's the time to reevaluate the way we look at the plant's potential effects on our lives, particularly our sex lives. (Cannabis is currently legal in eight states for both medical and recreational use, and available for forms of medical use in 23 states. In Washington D.C., it’s legal for personal use but not commercial sale.)
"As we approach the world of post-prohibition, it’s time to open that conversation up to different thoughts, different people, and different ways of using the plant," Dolce says.
One way the game is already changing? Cannabis-based intimacy oils and lubes for people with vaginas, like Foria Pleasure and Apothecanna Sexy Time, which are being created to heighten arousal and increase orgasm. Products like these are showing people a new way to experience the ancient aphrodisiac. Of course, enjoying more classic methods, like a joint or a cannabis edible, with a lover can be just as intimate.
Ahead, I spoke with Dolce about two of the most fun things on Earth (in my opinion, at least): weed and sex. If you're an avid cannabist (the preferred term to "stoner") or curious consumer, I recommend that you read Brave New Weed in its entirety — it covers much more ground than the sex aspect, including what's in store for the weed industry in general. In the meantime, read on to learn what Dolce has to say about how cannabis can transform sex for the better.
"I have to be honest: For the first 30 years of me using cannabis, I never found it to be very effective [erotically]. It used to make me tired and not sexually aroused. What I use [now] is this concept of micro-dosing [ingesting very low doses], using less to do more. That works super effectively. Then, I learned other things, like mixing delivery systems. You can play with a low-dose edible, and a couple of vape hits or puffs. However, you want to inhale it; that yields a nice effect."
"If you're in a legal state, it’s really easy to buy edibles that are dosed, so you can find out [what works for you]. Am I good at 10 milligrams, or am I good at 50 milligrams? I know I like between 5 and 10 milligrams. Fifty to 100 milligrams is just not going to make me a fun partner in bed. I’m going to be zoned out, and I’m not going to be connected. Like all things with cannabis, you really have to explore on your own body, and then with your partner’s body, too. There are new interesting [cannabis intimacy oil] products, like Apothecanna Sexy Time or Foria. Have you tried them?"
"It’s quite interesting; everybody has a different response. I know some women who said it’s amazing and that it recharged their entire sex lives, but then I know other women who are real [cannabis] enthusiasts who said, 'I used it five, six, seven times, and nothing. Zip.' What is interesting is that older women I know have said it is so useful to them. I know some women after menopause who have said it has absolutely reawakened their sexuality. It’s an incredible thing. If it gives someone another 10 years of a sex life, with no side effects, how great is that? That’s a miracle product, basically.
"Also, you don’t have to use it vaginally or anally, if it’s made with a good base [like cannabis and coconut oil]. You can put it under your tongue and in the oral tissue of your mouth. You get the same effect, the same uptake, and it’s quick. For a woman to use this on a man, he’s not going to get this from applying it to his cock."
"Anal suppositories sound like no fun [to most straight men]. So for a guy, you have to be willing to use it on their mouth or explore areas that are not typically or initially explored [during heterosexual sex]. That’s how it works. It’s not going to work by putting it on their cock. If you're a woman [dating someone with a penis], you need to know that. Talk about opening up to your partner, like, 'Hey, we’re going to try this out together — are you willing, buddy?' That’s important! Certain men are really afraid of that stuff. They’ve got to get over themselves; it’s well worth the exploration."
"If your partner is inexperienced, it’s nice to say, 'I want to enjoy this with you. Are you willing? Will you go there with me? I’ll be your guide. It will be safe; it will be fun. I’ll make sure that we’re here together. It’s quite nice. It’s better than nice; it’s sexy." I like the fact that Apothecanna calls Sexy Time an intimacy oil. I think that’s accurate. To call it a Viagra or a female version of Viagra would be inaccurate, and it would be setting you up for disappointment. This is not about the organs. It’s about your feelings. I have found that cannabis, in general, does remove a barrier or layer of resistance."
"It’s not aggressive-inducing; cannabis is known for its benevolence. When it comes to being with a partner, not only can it help you communicate, but it can slow you down a little bit. I tend to be a type A person, so I think and I speak quickly. Sometimes, it's really useful just to shut up a little. I’ve learned the hard way; it’s better to take it down a notch and relax sometimes. In a sexual situation, the same idea can be applied; it seems to align me or point me in tune with my partner more. Also, it enhances your sexual being. You feel your partner and you feel their response. If you’re pleasantly high, you can get lost in a kiss, or god knows where we go — we go to Mars sometimes and come back in the span of two seconds. But it’s a beautiful journey to Mars."
"These soft areas that are hard to scientifically prove, but these are things that I’ve known and [other] people have known. I don’t think it’s so much a matter of law. I think it’s more: How do you study intimacy? It’s such a personal, human, thing. It’s something that comes from experience. I don’t know how science is going to be able to define that. And by the way, not everybody has that experience. Some people just don’t enjoy it. So I think it is a matter of sampling and testing, and I don’t think science is really going to get us there. This is outside the realm of science."
"Legalization gives you education, and that’s the main goal. The more you know, the smarter you are about how to use it, and the less fearful you are. We need the basic facts: 'Here is the amount I am comfortable with, here’s when it’s going to cross the threshold, here’s what I can expect.' You need to teach yourself these things. In a legal state, you can go into a dispensary, have a conversation, with a budtender, who is often quite knowledgeable about the basics, and really have a foundation for exploration. When you're in the black market, you’re still reliant on the guy who brings you stuff or your friends who have their own. But look, the good news is that, with cannabis, it’s never permanent, and it’s never fatal. There are some uncomfortable moments you’re going to have if you’re not educated, but you’re always going to come down, and you’re always going to be okay. That’s the great news."
"Learn about what you’re using. Dose matters, delivery matters, and intention matters, too. Let’s talk about how having a partner that you trust matters. It may not be the best to try this with somebody you just met or at a first date or a hook up. You want to be where, if you do get paranoid, they can hold you and make you feel good. We want to be loved. We’re talking about intimacy and love. Give it a little experimentation, and find your comfortable place."
Red Oak, Iowa: Your guide to having a G-spot or vaginal orgasm during sex
Robby D. Colson 3516 Ashwood Drive Red Oak, IA 51566
About one in three women can orgasm through regular vaginal intercourse. This is usually achieved through regular sex or penetration. It’s believed that this is done through stimulating the G-spot which is thought to be an erogenous zone in a woman’s vagina which when stimulated can lead to extreme sexual arousal and powerful orgasms. Fewer women can achieve an orgasm vaginally, but studies have found that around 30% of women have reported that they have experienced vaginal orgasms . Here’s how you can help yourself have a vaginal orgasm.
Begin with self-exploration: Get a lube and figure out where your pleasure points are and what you love. Instead of focussing on the end game, just stimulate your G-spot. Touching all the erogenous points on your vagina while you venture out on exploring yourself is going to give you immense pleasure.
O for extreme stimulation: If you want an excellent blood flow, you need a lot of stimulation. A study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that women who had a higher heart-rate variability had higher chances of experiencing an orgasm. An extended foreplay will help you set the scene. Here are 7 ways to make your woman orgasm without the penis.
Find the right sex position: A vaginal orgasm is more about the angle, so you need to make sure that you are in the right sex position. The woman on top can be an excellent position as it will allow you to control the rate and depth of thrusts. You may either feel the most intensity when the penis reaches the cervix or in the first-third of your vagina where your G-spot lands. So find your sweet spot and try some deep thrusts. Try these 5 sex positions to hit the G-spot and achieve deeper penetration.
Use a sex toy: Using a sex toy will give you an added feeling of pleasure as it will increase the friction along the side of the G-spot. Not to forget the clitoral stimulation with a sex toy that can send you over the edge.
Why is sex so important? Because life is so full of shit, that without sex, it's just not worth living.
Prescott, Arizona: Scandalous Books That You Should Read, If Only For The Sex
Jamel J. Romero 2630 Martha Street Prescott, AZ 86301
So many novels are published each year that most of them ago completely unnoticed. Once in a while, a book makes a stir: perhaps it sold for an exceptionally large amount of money or is already being turned into a movie. Very rarely is a book truly scandalous — we reserve what little is left of our pearl-clutching tendencies for television.
In the era before TV and movies completely overtook literature as the popular entertainment du jour, however, novels caused their fair share of scandals. Racy content in books, whether full-on orgies or just teenagers having sex, was seen as damaging to society and encouraging of poor moral fiber. In the U.S., books with explicit sexual content were often banned for obscenity, forcing authors to release their novels in France or Italy, where authorities were unconcerned with prosecuting English-language books, instead.
Thanks to the legal challenges from publishers in the 1960s, we no longer have to worry about censors banning books for obscenity (or banning them at all, really). We can happily revisit the novels that set our grandparents’ hair on end (or in a few cases, our great-great-great-great-great-great grandparents) and ushered in out current era of terrible moral degeneracy. As tame as they may seem now, each of the following 14 books caused a scandal when they first came out. Sure, you can read them for their literary and historical value, but if you just want to check out the sexy bits, well, I won’t judge.
Although you're probably used to thinking of Joyce's modernist masterpiece as an avant-garde tome taken on by only the most ambitious of readers, when the novel first came out, it was mostly notorious for its sexual content. Censors in both the U.S. and U.K. agreed with Virginia Woolf's notoriously unfavorable assessment of the novel and banned it as obscene.
Flowers In The Attic
This book and its sequels gleefully embrace one of our society's last great taboos — incest — and then pile dramatic twist after dramatic twist on top. Though it was published as adult fiction and banned in many schools, the novel's most devoted fans were teenage girls. Reading it in secret only heightened the appeal.
With Lolita, Nabokov was so successful at putting the reader in the shoes of sociopathic pedophile that even he found the effect somewhat unsettling. Though it's now considered a 20th century classic, Nabokov struggled to find a publisher for the novel, and upon its release in 1955 newspaper editor John Gordon declared it "the filthiest book I have ever read."
The Country Girls
This debut novel was both popular and critically acclaimed in the United States and England. But O'Brien's frank discussion of young women's sexuality didn't go over so well in her home country of Ireland: not only did the censor ban The Country Girls, her family's parish priest publicly burned three of the few copies that did make it into the country.
The Satanic Verses
Most of the authors on this list have gotten some angry letters from offended readers, but Salman Rushdie is the only one to have a price put on his head. The Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran was so offended by what he heard about the book, especially a scene in which prostitutes dress up as the wives of a fictionalized version of Mohammed, that he issued a fatwa, declaring it Muslims' duty to kill the author, which forced Rushdie to go into hiding. Perhaps even more unsettling is how many of the British literary establishment (including John Le Carre, John Berger, and Roald Dahl) thought that Rushdie was more less getting what he deserved and agitated for the book to be pulled from shelves.
Lady Chatterly's Lover
Supposedly this novel contains an anal sex scene, though it went right over my head when I read the book in high school. Regardless, Lady Chatterly's Lover, with its enthusiastic portrayal of extramarital sex, is the most scandalous of Lawrence's many racy novels: although it was first published in 1928, the unexpurgated version of the book was banned in both the U.S. and the U.K. until the 1960s.
And Tango Makes Three
Considerably more adorable than most of the other books on this list, And Tango Makes Three still caused quite the stir when it was published. Social conservatives objected to the book's fictionalized narrative of two male penguins at the Central Park Zoo raising a baby penguin because they worried it sexualized penguins and gave children an inaccurate perspective on reproduction. (How their objections were not immediately overridden by squees I will never understand.)
Fifty Shades Of Grey
As much well-deserved mockery as Fifty Shades of Grey has come in for over the past four years, it's worth remembering that when it first came out, the book opened a new conversation about sexuality — one that may have involved your mom inquiring about fuzzy handcuffs.
This classic YA novel shocked readers in 1975 because it treated the sex lives of teenagers seriously and compassionately. Now, of course, we've moved on to Gossip Girl.
The alternate title of this 1748 novel, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, makes it pretty clear why people objected to the book — especially since it definitely lives up to its name. This book is wall-to wall sex, and, perhaps even more shocking (if not terribly realistic), the titular heroine actually enjoys her dissolute lifestyle and ends up wealthy and married.
Tropic Of Cancer
Like Ulysses and Lady Chatterly's Lover, Tropic of Cancer enraged 20th century moralists and brought down the wrath of censor boards. To be fair, the novel does include quotes like "I will bite your clitoris and spit out two francs," which is, y'know, pretty weird.
This novel's infamous masturbation scene, in which the titular narrator attempts to have sex with a piece of raw liver, ensured that I, at least, will never look at offal the same way again. Although the explicit descriptions of self-pleasure were quite scandalous in 1969, most of the controversy about the novel actually revolved around Roth's irreverent and often unflattering portrayal of Portnoy's Jewish identity and community, which earned him the label of a self-hating Jew.
Though plenty of the books on this list were banned, Justine(along with its companion piece Juliette) is the only one that got its author thrown in an insane asylum. Though De Sade's sexual exploits landed him in plenty of scrapes, it wasn't until Napoleon Bonaparte demanded the author of the scandalous pair of novels be imprisoned that De Sade was put away permanently.
Fear Of Flying
Notorious for introducing the concept of the "zipless fuck," Erica Jong's semi-autoibiographical novel was one of the first to seriously explore women's sexuality and caused a considerable stir when it was published in 1973. Republican Senator Jesse Helms was incensed that public funds had been used to support something "filthy and obscene" (Jong received an NEA grant of $5,000 shortly before publishing the novel), which just goes to show that old dudes yelling at a woman about government funding is a time honored tradition in Washington.
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