Category Archives: sex

Condoms on the election ballot in L.A.

You may have heard there’s an election going on today. But while all the attention is on Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, there’s another big vote going on in Los Angeles county at the same time. This particular referendum is likely to decide whether the city will continue to be one of the world’s hubs for pornography production.

Los Angelinos will be voting on something called Measure B, also known as the Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act, which - if passed - will force porn performers to use condoms. What seems like a fairly innocuous motion to laypeople has actually resulted in a fiercely fought war between the industry and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the act’s primary proponent.

The AIDS awareness organization believes the adult industry is rife with sexually transmitted diseases, which not only poses a threat to the larger public, but also adds to the taxpayer burden for health-care costs.

The adult industry, on the other hand, says the organization has been spreading misinformation and that its own self-regulating measures - which include vigourous, regular testing - means performers are already safe and disease-free. The New York Times has a story detailing the industry’s testing efforts that is well worth checking out. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on November 6, 2012 in health, sex


China leads the way with sperm-extraction robot

Have you ever seen a piece of technology that makes you wonder why it exists? If not, brace yourself because this one’s a doozy. Say hello to the automatic sperm extractor:

As the Daily Mail explains, the new device - which can be adjusted to the desired height, speed, frequency, amplitude and temperature - is being used in Chinese hospitals to… well… automatically extract sperm:

The director of the urology department at Zhengzhou Central Hospital said the machine was being used by infertility patients who are finding it difficult to retrieve sperm the old fashioned way. A website which is selling the machine for $2,800 promoting it stating ‘it can give patients very comfortable feeling.’

Vice Magazine, as is its wont, puts things a little more plainly in dubbing the device a 21st-century glory hole. Writer Kara Crabb wonders why China, of all places, even needs sperm donors.

To me, it’s just another piece of the sex robot puzzle. We’ve already got robotic lips, penises, vaginas and even butts. Can’t somebody just put them all together into a cost-effective package and give us our Cylon sex vixens already?

(Thanks to Michaela Pontellini for the tip.)

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Posted by on October 3, 2012 in robots, sex


Porn based on ice cream flavours? Really?

You could say Ben & Jerry’s was asking for it.

From the “so silly it’s amazing” department, there comes the news that porn production companies Rodax Distributors and Caballero Video must recall all films based on Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavours.

Yes, it’s true. The companies have produced such films as Boston Cream Thigh, New York Fat & Chunky and Peanut Butter D-Cup, based respectively on the ice cream maker’s Boston Cream Pie, New York Super Fudge Chunk and Peanut Butter Cup. A New York court issued a consent order requiring the companies to remove the films from the marketplace after Ben & Jerry’s sued.

I’ve written before about the amazing world of porn parodies and the dubiousness of their actual “parody” qualifications, but this case takes the cake (with a side of ice cream).

As Amanda Hess notes over on Slate, while porn parodies have been big business over the past few years, there really is no parodying being done in this case. While a parody generally has to skewer the work it’s based on, it’s unlikely that Caballero’s films “are crafted around tightly-wound narratives skewering the ice cream industry; they’re not so much parodies as they are porn-plus-puns.”

Indeed. If the porn industry is stooping to naming its films after ice cream flavours, it’s in real trouble indeed.


Posted by on September 24, 2012 in parody, sex


More pieces of the sex robot unveiled

It seems like with each passing day, we’re getting closer to fully functional sex robots. The individual pieces are certainly falling into place.

Hooman Samani, a robotics professor in Singapore, has created another segment of that inevitable whole with a set of “robot lips” that can simulate the act of kissing. The “Kissenger” - a combination of “kiss” and “messengers” - is a pair of silicone lips affixed to a plastic head-like shape that can be connected to a computer via USB plug.

The idea is that couples separated by distance can look at each other via video chat and smooch at the same time. “It can be used between humans to improve their communication,” Samani says.

He’s apparently had offers to commercialize the invention - doubtlessly from porn companies - but Samani is going slowly because of the “ethical issues” that need to be resolved.

Meanwhile, over in Japan, a new restaurant has opened up that offers customers a robot cabaret dance. The top half of the robot dancers look like women while the bottoms resemble, er, Robotech mecha. For about $38, visitors get a drink and a show, with the robots controlled by real, bikini-clad women.

It’s good to know that the inevitable march toward sex robots is turning out to be really, really weird.

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Posted by on August 2, 2012 in robots, sex


Could porn benefit from game-ification?

It’s not everyday that porn is used as a form of payment, which is what makes a new report from security firm Imperva so notable. According to the company, professional hacking organizations are paying individuals with real money and porn incentives to crack CAPTCHAs, which are those distorted word images used by many websites as part of their sign-in procedures.

Sites such as sell cracked CAPTCHAs for around $14 per 1,000, while others do it even significantly cheaper, the report says. The sites recruit individuals to crack the words - CAPTCHA stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart, by the way - and pay them $1 to $3 for thousands of results.

To keep the hackers motivated, the employers will sometimes flash them censored images that then reveal their naughty parts if the individual can crack an attached CAPTCHA:

A clever way to use human abilities to solve CAPTCHAs is demonstrated by different sites that offer free porn as an incentive. Instead of paying for a subscription, the user browsing the site gets every now and then a pop-up containing a CAPTCHA, which he is required to solve in order to keep enjoying the site or be allowed to see more content.

CAPTCHAs came up a number of times while I was working on my chatbot story for New Scientist. Researchers are finding that they don’t necessarily work, since all it takes for bot programs to crack one is a little human assistance (this is known as a “cyborg”). CAPTCHAs may slow the bad guys down a little - perhaps by forcing them to hire crackers - but they won’t stop the more determined ones.

The use of porn as an incentive is an interesting turn, given that anybody who really wants any of the stuff can find it freely available all over the internet. The CAPTCHA-hacking bodies seem to be game-ifying smut by making their employees work for it, just a little. If it’s actually working, perhaps the porn business - which is losing tons of money because of all the free stuff out there - can learn a thing or two. Could some sort of game-ified porn be the industry’s saviour?

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Posted by on July 10, 2012 in internet, sex


L.A. Coliseum: host to popes, Olympics and orgies

I’m on my way to Los Angeles for the Electronic Entertainment Expo next week. I’ll have more on E3 as it unfolds, but in the meantime, I came across a rather funny story about Los Angeles the other day.

It turns out that someone involved with the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, the historic stadium that has in the past hosted the Olympics and addresses from the Pope, also gave a porn company permission to film an orgy on the field. And to make matters worse, it happened just after Sept. 11, 2001, on a weekend when stadiums across the United States sat empty out of respect for the loss of lives in the terrorist attacks.

(Sony’s E3 press conference on Monday will be at the L.A. Memorial Sports Arena, which is right next to the Coliseum.)

Anabolic Video filmed a 40-minute scene for The Gangbang Girl #32 (strangely, it was never nominated for any Oscars) on the field at night, which not only required permission but also that the stadium lights be turned on, according to the Los Angeles Times. Not surprisingly, no one associated with the Coliseum is fessing up to granting that access.

What’s even funnier is the Times‘ interview with one of the stars of the movie, Mr. Marcus. As he told the paper, “I’ve made movies for about 20 years and I’ve done a lot of things, but that one really stands out.… I mean, who gets to have sex on the Coliseum floor?”

Mr. Marcus has also received congratulations from rapper and porn maven Snoop Dogg, according to the paper’s follow-up story, as well as a deluge of calls and emails. “I just told my Mom, and she was all excited. She said, ‘That’s my boy.'”

The actor clearly has a gift for understatement. In the accompanying video, he shrugs off the whole experience with the funniest thing I’ve ever heard a porn actor say: “My job was just to do what I’ve always done: have sex in a professional way.”

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Posted by on June 1, 2012 in sex


Piracy is the new porn

Another day, another attempt to stomp out piracy. This time, it’s the U.K. High Court ordering internet providers to block the Pirate Bay. Following an earlier ruling that said the notorious website goes “far beyond merely enabling or assisting” in the sharing of copyrighted materials, the court on Monday told five large ISPs to institute blocking measures. The ISPs, in turn, said they will comply within the next few weeks.

The Pirate Bay's Peter Sunde, a modern-day Hugh Hefner.

Watching such news on an almost daily basis, it’s hard not to get the sense that all of this has happened before. And, as they say on Battlestar Galactica, it’s likely to happen again.

For most of the second half of the 20th century, though, it wasn’t piracy that was the target of this large-scale judicial witch hunt, it was porn.

When the first issue of Playboy hit stands in 1953, Hugh Hefner was so afraid of obscenity charges that he didn’t even put his name on the magazine. It was a huge success regardless and the authorities soon came calling. The U.S. Post Office refused the magazine a mailing permit, the equivalent of a modern-day denial-of-service attack. It sure sounds similar to what the U.K. court has just ruled.

Hefner, however, claimed censorship and sued. He said the Post Office had “no business editing magazines” and that it should “stick to delivering the mail.” Presciently, he also added, “This isn’t a new fight. It never is.”

Hefner’s comments were in the context of obscenity, but they apply to piracy as well. The irony is, aside from a few crazies like Rick Santorum, hardly anybody is trying to stamp out porn anymore. It’s here, it’s pervasive and it’s not going away. It’s also one of the easiest things to get on the internet because of piracy, funnily enough.

It’s doubly ironic, then, that after a half century of fighting for their own rights, many porn producers are now on the side of The Establishment in cracking down on piracy. The Boogieman has become the Boogieman Hunter. Piracy, meanwhile, is the new obscenity. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on May 1, 2012 in copyright, piracy, playboy, sex


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