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Sex in the News

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Nov 25 2013

The Future of Condoms

0

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

Oct 18 2013

No, That Toy Won’t Replace You

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by thepleasurechest

gq vibe picture

Here at The Pleasure Chest, we hear one fairly common concern from straight men:

“If my wife/girlfriend buys a sex toy, will it replace me?”

The answer is, of course, a resounding heck no! As much as we love toys, they can’t make out with us, and they aren’t very creative lovers. We’ve been here a long time, and no woman has ever told us that a sex toy made her lose interest in sex with her partner.

What we do see a lot of is couples of all genders and orientations looking for toys to use together. After all, why not have as much fun as possible? A recent article in GQ makes a great case for this. Its author admits to being spooked by his girlfriend’s vibrator at first, but he quickly converts when they try incorporating one – the Jimmyjane Form 3 in particular – into their sex life.

“That first time with the vibrator wasn’t just some of the best sex we’d ever had,” he enthuses, “It was some of the best I’d ever had.”

Case closed.

Oct 08 2013

Teen Sex Talk, Minus the BS

2

by thepleasurechest

200193518-001

The Huffington Post has been running a series of articles by teens, about sex. So far, all of the stories in the series, called “Teen Sex: It’s Complicated,” cover the two topics that you’d expect them to – virginity and loss of virginity – but each perspective is markedly different, nuanced, and far more thoughtful than the media usually gives teenagers credit for.

Rather than making a sweeping statement about Teenagers And Sex Today, we’re going to let the authors speak for themselves:

“I don’t even feel comfortable talking to my doctor about it because she’s known my family for so long and thinks I’m sweet and perfect. I wouldn’t want her opinion of me to change.” – Paige, 17

” No matter how much he reassured me, I had a subtle fear my boyfriend would stop loving me. I also expected a monumental change in myself after sex. But afterward, I felt the same. I still loved him, he still loved me (to the teenage extent of love), and I felt okay with myself.” – Elise, 16

“Don’t have sex in the back of a car. Just. Don’t. Trust me.” – Michaela, 18

” I do wear a purity ring, but I never really know if I’m going to keep that promise. The consequences of premarital sex do worry me. I do, however, enjoy the thought of sharing a special moment of intimacy with someone that you do love.” – Jazmine, 17

“I realized I wasn’t ready to have sex and it was not the ideal situation (being on a futon didn’t help). But, in my perpetually practical and mature manner, I’ve dealt with it.” – Anna, 19

“I’m not some Puritan who wants to clap people in irons for the crime of premarital fornication and furrow my brow at “sinners.” I think everyone has the right to make their own choices concerning sex and I’m glad they respect my decision, even if they don’t agree with it.” – Grayson, 19

We encourage you to give each of these articles a read. We’re looking forward to the rest of the series.

If you want to hear more honest, unembellished stories about sex, check out SexIsBack.com, our new video campaign that features people telling us about their sex lives on camera.

For a truly hilarious-in-retrospect loss of virginity story, we present Maria Falzone on her first time.