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Dec 03 2013

Interview with Gasm.org

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by thepleasurechest

brian and the moms at ues

Gasm.org interviewed our own Kristen Tribby (right) about our Sex is Back project!

An excerpt:

What does it mean sex is back? Where did it go?

Sex didn’t go anywhere, but it is coming out of the closet. We are seeing an openness in our society with sexuality: from marriage equality to 50 Shades of Grey, there’s a lot more being discussed in public forums than there used to be. We think that’s great, but still, a lot of what’s said about sex and sexuality is sensationalized, politicized, or generalized. With this project, we wanted to bring unembellished stories of people’s actual sex lives into the conversation.

Read the full interview here.

Dec 02 2013

Polycules, Breeders & Bonobos

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by thepleasurechest

kimchee cuddles compersion

We’ve been loving a recent series of articles from Slate, called “A Lexicon of Alternative Sexualities.” Each defines a few terms that are fairly-to-very common in alternative sexuality communities and relatively unknown in mainstream culture. Although the author admits that these are subjective definitions, we think that the series could be a pretty good primer for your straight, monogamous, vanilla friends.

It certainly covers a lot of ground: consensual non-monogamy, styles of non-monogamy, poly terms, kink, gender and sexual identity, and insults used to describe more normative folks.

We have just one question: has anyone ever actually identified themselves as a member of Team Chimpanzee or Team Bonobo to indicate whether or not they were monogamous? We had never heard of this before, and we are intrigued. Please let us know if you have, or if there are any terms that you wish that the series had included.

Nov 25 2013

The Future of Condoms

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by thepleasurechest

condom with tabs

It’s an exciting time to be a condom user.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded eleven $100,000 grants to scientists who designed condoms that people might be more likely to want to wear. The grants will fund research into the condoms’ safety, efficacy, and manufacturability. After eighteen months, the winners can apply for a million dollar grant to go toward production and clinical trials.

The winners sound amazing and/or bewildering. One team made a more skin-like condom out of collagen from beef tendons and fish scraps. Another designed a condom out of a material that clings to the skin, so that the condom doesn’t have to fit so tightly in order to stay on. Others are creating new, more effective applicators. You can read the full list here.

h/t NPR

Nov 22 2013

Detecting Toxic Toys

5

by thepleasurechest

Dildo sex toys are pictured during the 14th "Venus" erotic fair in Berlin

Yesterday, Bitch Media ran a piece about the lack of government regulation in the sex toy industry and how this leads to the sale of sex toys made with potentially toxic chemicals. Unfortunately, this is a real problem – one that’s old news for us. Sex toys are not regulated by the FDA, and many of them are made with phthalates: plastic-softening chemicals that have been linked to all kinds of icky health problems.

Luckily, there are ways to avoid toys with phthalates. The article mentions using a flame test – lighting a match and holding it against your toy – to determine whether a toy is 100% silicone or not. Silicone toys are non-porous, hypoallergenic, and phthalate free, which makes them totally awesome, and most silicones won’t melt when you hold a match up to them. Still, this isn’t the best solution, since a) not all phthalate free toys are silicone and b) you’d probably rather find out whether your toy is safe *before* you buy it, take it home, and set it on fire.

Instead, here are a few of our tips for buying a body-safe toy.

1) Read up on materials before you buy. This is a good place to start, but it isn’t foolproof, since manufacturers aren’t required to list exactly what’s in each toy. (So, you could buy a toy that’s labeled “silicone” and which is, in fact, only 10% silicone and 90% pure evil.)

2) Do a smell test. The best way to tell if a toy has harmful chemicals is to sniff it. Toys with phthalates will smell kind of cough syrupy, like your plastic toys used to when you were a kid. (Phthalates are now illegal to use in children’s toys, which tells you something.) Even a faint, baby powdery smell tells you that there’s something to be wary of. The most body-friendly toys won’t smell like anything.

3) Ask one of us! The Pleasure Chest staff are a bunch of toy safety nerds, and we can point you toward several brands who make durable, totally safe, high quality products.

Nov 18 2013

Tristan Taormino on Feminist Porn

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by thepleasurechest

tristan taormino porn

We were honestly surprised to see that Cosmopolitan recently featured an interview with wildly prolific educator, author and pornographer Tristan Taormino, in which she answered questions about feminist porn. Normally, Cosmo’s sex writing is more “Ten Tricks to Please Your Man” and less “What role do you think mainstream porn plays in the sexualization of men?” but this interview really impressed us.

Says Taormino,

Feminist pornographers are committed to gender equality and social justice. Feminist porn is ethically produced porn, which means that performers are paid a fair wage and they are treated with care and respect; their consent, safety, and well-being are critical, and what they bring to the production is valued.

We recommend that you check it out, both as a primer on feminist porn and for Taormino’s recommendations for the feminist porn novice, including The Crash Pad series and her own Rough Sex films.

Then, if you want to hear more from Tristan Taormino, watch her interviews on Sex is Back, our new storytelling campaign.

Nov 12 2013

Why Is Your Penis So Sensitive?

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by thepleasurechest

meissner corpuscule

Have you ever wondered why the foreskin and frenulum are so sensitive compared to the rest of the penis? As it turns out, you can thank your Meissner’s corpuscles: nerve endings that are especially sensitive to light touch and vibration. Meissner’s corpuscles are also present in your palms and fingertips. Try running your fingers along the back of your hand and then along your palm, if you want to feel the difference.

Thanks for the good sex, Meissner’s corpuscles!

h/t The Whole Network

Nov 05 2013

No One is Straight! (Or Maybe Fewer People Than We Thought.)

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by thepleasurechest

pride parade

In a new study, a startling 19% of participants identified themselves as not-heterosexual when researchers used a method that provided more than usual anonymity. In a corresponding survey using  a standard, less anonymous method of questioning, only 11% of participants said that they were not heterosexual.

Before you get too excited, the researchers did point out that the people surveyed did not represent a random sample of the U.S. population, so the results could easily vary in a wider study. Rather than trying to gauge the size of the queer population, the study was designed to investigate whether existing studies were adequately accounting for “anti-gay sentiment.” Apparently, they were not.

h/t AlterNet