emanix: (emanix)
I have seen a couple of articles recently with a very similar theme: Porn is bad because well... it's bad, mm'kay. And also kids might see it.

I'm not going to address the question of whether porn is 'good' or 'bad' for adults (I think the answer, as with so many things, is somewhere in the region of 'it depends'), but I made a couple of comments on facebook in discussion about these articles specifically regarding children's access to pornography that I wanted to retain for later use, so I'm going to publish them here to refer back to.

[Comment one]
Critiquing the existence of porn by objecting that children might see it is like criticising the existence of cutlery because toddlers might hurt themselves on it*, or of horror films because underage children might see those too. Yes, it happens, and sensible folks should take precautions against it happening, but kids are not the target market for porn in the same way that toddlers are not the intended market for knives, or for horror movies.

On the whole the folks who make porn are also in agreement that it's not intended for children, and take steps to avoid it. The people who make porn easily accessible for children are the people who steal it/share it/pirate it, and not the people who make it. Nobody is making porn with the *intention* of kids seeing it, so I think that 'what about the kids who see this?' is not a terribly useful criticism of its content, or of the industry itself, only how it's distributed - and again, that's usually more down to folks other than the makers and publishers of said porn. I think most folks would quite rightly be annoyed at someone leaving knives around where kids can get at them, without blaming the person who made the knife, or trying to ban the manufacture of knives outright. We can accept that there is an appropriate place for knives, and for horror films. Why is the same standard not applied to porn?

On the other hand, I'd far rather kids were watching people having a nice time with each other than, for example, people being beheaded - which is apparently perfectly acceptable in mainstream TV, even before the watershed, while images of naked people enjoying themselves are not."

*By comparing porn with knives, I am not saying that I think porn is 'dangerous', just that neither is a tool intended for children (and it was the first analogy that sprang to mind)

[Comment two]
Coming back to this after pondering for a few more hours, it follows that tightening up on copyright infringement would probably have a far more pronounced effect on reducing children's access to pornography than any newly created obscenity laws, but to do so in a way overtly linked to porn would probably be political suicide as the government would be accused of protecting the pornographers' interests. Bah. Politics is rubbish.


So is that the answer to kids accessing material not intended for them? Tightening up on copyright infringement? It's already 'wrong', but currently it's a civil lawsuit and not a criminal one. What would be the impact of making copyright infringement a criminal offence, and would it be effective without international cooperation? Would a public organisation chasing down incidents of copyright infringement help or hinder artists? Would it cost more or less than hunting down 'obscene' materials? Who would get caught up in the collateral damage?

What other ways exist or could exist that might be more effective in preventing children from accessing material not intended for them?

I don't have the answers, only lots more questions, but I think these are more important and relevant questions to be asking than simply 'Why don't we ban EVERYONE from watching porn in case children also see it'. Or you know... while we're at it, we could ban kitchen knives, alcohol, all prescription drugs ever, heavy metal music, horror films and the manufacture of cars, too. After all, everyone knows that children shouldn't have access to those...
emanix: (emanix)
Inspired by far too many posts on social media in which guys worry about the size of their genitalia. This is a slightly edited version of something I posted as a comment on facebook last week, but felt it deserved to be preserved for posterity, or future referencing:

"Aaaaaaargh!! I think I just hit my final limit for guys imagining that having a massive cock is what makes for a good lay. It just plain isn't true. It's not length, it's not girth, it's not even what you do with it that matters. What makes you decent in bed, guys, is NOT BEING ALL ABOUT YOUR COCK.

Guys, I have got to tell you, your best tools for pleasing a woman are (1) Your hands*, (2) Your mouth*, (3) your brain, (4) whatever sex toys you happen to have lying around, and maybe if she's really worked up and horny for you then your dick might be a welcome addition, and when it is... guess what? The size of it isn't going to matter, because (unless you're painfully bashing her cervix, which is so not fun) she'll only be able to feel the first three inches and your pubic bone grinding against hers anyway.

Don't get me wrong. I love fucking. I've used strap-ons with my girlfriends too, on occasion (NB. Funnily enough, it's never the first thing we go for). When it's good, it's good. But when it's good, it's because someone's paying attention to the girl-bits it's going into, not just to the size of the damn tool.

This rant brought to you by the Horny Bisexual Women's Commission For Better Sex."


*Okay, female opinion may differ on the order of these. But hey, this is my rant. And for my money, hands are WAY more versatile, flexible, sensitive and effective than mouths. I've never yet had a tongue hit my g-spot.
emanix: (emanix)
Find out why we call them 'unicorns'.

Edit, 1st October 2014 (Because I realised I hadn't properly defined my terms!):

In the poly community, a 'unicorn' is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek term for a single, bisexual poly woman willing to date both members of a couple, usually in an exclusive triad.

If that's what you're looking for, you may have already heard people tell you that what you're looking for is incredibly rare, and that it's going to be a long hard journey. Most folks just shrug their shoulders at this and say 'that's okay, I'll just keep on looking til I find it.'

So I took a look at just *how* rare finding a unicorn actually is, how many you're likely to find in your own social circle, and how long it might realistically take to find someone, as a couple, to fit you both.

Full disclosure: I am technically a 'unicorn' myself. As a poly bi woman with no formal primary partnership, I am hypothetically open to dating a couple (though the 'exclusive' part isn't for me). But how many times in my 20 years of dating have I actually met and fallen for two people who were also into each other at exactly the same time? Well, I'll let you know at the end of the essay!

As many folks who read my blog know, it is mostly used as a repository for essays on topics that I encounter repeatedly. I've been writing this essay over about three years, adding a tiny little bit every time I see some new person ask the same question, and if you scroll down you'll see it's a pretty long essay. Stick with me. It's worth it.

Everywhere poly and interested folk gather, I hear the refrain “Why is it so hard for us to find the perfect woman to date us both?” often followed up with some sort of comment to the effect of “There's two of us, so that should make it easier, right?”

Sorry, folks! The computer says no!

Finding one single woman (or man*) to date as a couple is many many many times harder than finding a different partner for each of you. And if we look at the finding-a-date process step by step, the numbers will tell you why.

Let's begin our step by step starting with the straight male member of a male/female couple (just for example), and throw some numbers in for illustrative purposes.

So, wannabe poly triad-building guy, let's say that most of your dating experience has been as a single person. That's great! You know how that works. You go out, go online, mingle with folks, you check women out and you see who you find attractive. Let's assume that's about one in ten, or ten percent of the women out there. Hey, you've got some taste, right? But you've already knocked out 90% of the dating population as possibilities. But let's carry on. Ten percent of the available dating population just happens to be your personal version of 'hot'.

Now, you already know how if you are single only a certain percent of the hot women in your dating pool are going to be interested in you. So let's say that maybe ten percent of those women that you find attractive are willing to consider dating you (obviously your mileage may vary, but 10% is a nice easy number to use to demonstrate). Seems like you're off to a great start, right? Right. One in 100 isn't bad odds. You've still got a pretty good chance of finding a date for yourself here. But you're already down to 1% of the total dating pool (that's ten percent of ten percent), and you haven't asked any of the difficult questions yet.

Chance of finding a partner if you're single: 10% of 10% = 1% or 1 in 100

Now, if you are *not* single, you are limiting yourself to only the people within your dating pool who are open to nonmonogamy. Since the vast majority of the population are still not open to poly, we'll take a guess at that again being about ten percent, so now you're looking at ten percent of ten percent of ten percent, that's only 0.1% of everyone who's available for dating. You have already cut your chances of finding compatible people down to one in 1000, simply by being poly. So if you're dating as an individual, your chances of finding someone who's interested in just you are roughly one in every thousand women you check out. If you're surfing dating sites as an individual, or going out and meeting people in public, that's not too bad. Your female partner will probably have about the same odds if she wants to date other guys.

Chance of finding a poly-friendly partner for just one of you: 10% of 10% of 10% = 0.1% or 1 in 1000

But then you want a partner who will also date your female partner. So it gets more complicated.

Assuming you are an m/f couple both looking for a partner in common, you are also looking for a woman who is bisexual. But don't forget, you're still limiting yourself to being inside that group of 'people who are open to nonmonogamy AND attracted to you'.
Across the board of sexuality studies, the highest estimated percentage of the population who are interested in same sex relationships is approximately ten percent (usually it's less, but we're rounding it up to make things look more hopeful here!). If your female partner is looking independently for another female partner who doesn't need to be attracted to you, her odds will be about here: ten percent of ten percent of ten percent of ten percent, or in other words, about one in 10,000. Out of the general population, only one woman in 10,000 is likely to be hot, poly and as attracted to your female parter as she is to them.

Chance of finding a poly-friendly same sex partner for just one of you: 10% of 10% of 10% of 10% = 0.01% or 1 in 10,000

BUT you're still looking for a partner who will date BOTH of you, not just one of you, so it gets more complicated again.

Specifically bisexual people account for probably about half of that 'interested in same sex relationships' population (maybe a bit less). So again, you're cutting your odds down, this time to about 5% of your already limited group of 'hot women who are open to nonmonogamy AND already attracted to you'.
So that's five percent of ten percent of ten percent of ten percent. You're down to 0.005% of the dating population... That's one in 20,000, and we haven't even accounted for whether or not those women are attracted to your female partner yet – after all, we were so far just looking at women who were attracted to *you*.
So assuming your female partner is about as attractive as you are, and sexily compatible with about ten percent of the people she meets, that adds another zero in front of your chances.

(I'm also assuming here that you and your partner have *exactly* the same tastes, and exactly the same definition of what is 'hot' in a potential partner. If your tastes differ, that's going to reduce your options still further, but lets not, because that's just going to get depressing!).

Still following the maths? Right now, the percentage of hot bisexual women in the dating pool who are open to nonmonogamy AND likely to be interested in dating you AND interested in dating your partner as well is ten percent of five percent of ten percent of ten percent of ten percent. Out of all the potential women in the dating pool, you're now down to 0.0005%, or roughly one in 200,000 women. At this point you have probably run out of women in your dating pool. Hell, you've probably run out of women in your entire state, but hey, if you cast your net wide enough...

Chance of finding a poly-friendly partner interested in both of you: 10% of 5% of 10% of 10% of 10% = 0.005% or 1 in 200,000

And that isn't even taking into account whether or not those women are open to being in a *closed* triad with you, just whether they might be interested in dating you in the first place. The number of poly women who will be open to creating a closed triad with you will be even smaller. Oh what? About ten percent, we figure? That's one in two million women, folks.

Chance of finding a poly-friendly partner interested in both of you AND in exclusivity: 10% of 10% of 5% of 10% of 10% of 10% = 0.0005% or 1 in 2,000,000

You probably call your existing partner 'one in a million', but to actually find ONE woman interested in setting up a FIRST date with both of you, are you really prepared to make contact with two million women?

And folks wonder why they're still looking years later...

*These numbers work equally well if you're an m/f couple looking for a male 'unicorn', just flip the gender of the 'partner' bits of the workings out, I just went with the most common scenario I see for illustration purposes. It's a little different, numerically speaking, if you're already a same sex couple, but not very.

So how long would it take you to sift through two million women, anyway?

How about I throw in some more numbers in for you?

Let's say you're trying to do most of your dating organically, in person or through forums, poly groups and other social mingling. Let's also wildly exaggerate and say that you can meet one woman every minute of your day. If you could do that non-stop without eating, sleeping, going to work or anything else, that alone adds up to nearly four years.

More realistically, you'll probably only be able to devote an hour a day to meeting brand new people. After all, you have lives to lead. At one hour a day, that initial sift alone will take you something like ninety years (actually, I make it 91.32 years ).

Now let's say you spend ten minutes chatting to all the women you find attractive (another 91.32 years), and another ten minutes chatting with the women who seem to be attracted to you. That's only an extra nine years at this point.

Oh hey, you've found out some these women are poly! And bi! You've got to chat with them a little longer, maybe research their background a bit. You're going to have to introduce them to your female partner, see if they get on. You've made great progress though! That's such a short list of women it's not even going to take you a month to sift through and figure out who's into who. You're so nearly there, after a mere 192.74 years of searching, why it's enough to make you drop your walking stick and click your heels together. It's time to actually go on some dates!

So let's say you and your partner finally have a shortlist of women who are hot, bisexual, poly, and even better, attracted to the both of you. Let's say out of your initial two million women, you've managed to narrow it down to ten. You take each one of those women out on a couple of dates to see how you get along, and then you pop the question: “Would you like to be in a closed triad with the two of us?” It's only going to take you twenty days or so. Barely even three weeks worth of dating. Of course, most of the hot bi babes say no. Perhaps they can't see themselves cutting off their options that way. Perhaps they already have existing partners they don't want to dump just for the privilege of being with you. Perhaps it's just not their style (It's not you, it's them). It doesn't matter though. Out of those ten women you spent nearly three weeks dating, miracle of miracles, one of them has said YES!

And it only took you 192.79 years to find someone who wants to start to date both of you. Assuming you're still alive, you'll all be over two hundred years old by now, so I figure you'll all have the maturity to build a successful relationship from this point, plus be too tired to look for anyone else if it doesn't work out. Congratulations! You've found your unicorn! Well done!

...in other words, unicorn hunting is the relationship equivalent of spending every day sitting at home imagining what you will do 'when you win the lottery', rather than going out to work and building yourself a viable business.

That doesn't mean you need to stop buying lottery tickets, but in the meantime why not go out, build solid relationships, build friendships, build family even, with people who fit *you*, and maybe in doing so you'll happen across people who also fit your other partner or partners.

Yes, it sounds like more work and less 'romantic', but on the other hand it's a whole lot more reliable.

Check my maths!

You can see my workings as a spreadsheet here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1sm5YD8WASdDDs3RcIKUzaLaqF2yMuJe9TBE8tW8tl9U/edit?usp=sharing

Some further reading for couples who are seeking to date a 'unicorn', or for bisexual folks considering dating both or part of a couple:

About bisexuality:
Bisexuality & Statistics: Twice as many dates? (2010-07-16)


More about unicorn hunting, and some advice from experienced poly folk:




About dating a couple:

So, as a 'unicorn', how many times have I actually met and fallen for two people who were also into each other at exactly the same time? --- 0.

That would be big fat zero. I have, however, been dating a wonderful couple for the last several years.
Because they were confident and independent enough to date separately, I was dating him for at least a year when a surprise 'spark' developed with her too. If I'd had to choose between both or neither right at the start though? I'd have had to choose neither, and that would have been a sad loss for all of us.
emanix: (Default)
I have lots of other things to catch up with, but it seems I'm most productive when I'm angry - and this idiotic article (and a swathe of similar ones) makes me EXTREMELY angry.

So what's wrong with it?

Here's the headline: "Failure of contraceptive implants sets back battle against teen pregnancies"
and the subtitle: "Bad press surrounding 584 cases in which women trusting in Implanon implants fell pregnant is a blow to family-planning advisers"

Terrifying - 584 failures - that's got to be bad, right? Well, no.

Why not?

Because statistically, that number of 584 failures makes Implanon an AMAZINGLY EFFECTIVE contraceptive.

Let's take a look at a table of statistics about contraception - I've taken my stats from here

Type of contraception
Implanon Hormone Implant: 0.05% failure rate.
Condom: 2-15% failure rate.
Crossed Fingers (no contraception): 85% failure rate.
Number of women expected to become pregnant during one year
(out of 100)
2 to 15
Around 85
Number of women expected to become pregnant during one year
(out of 82,000)
1640 to 12,300
Around 69,700
Number of women likely to become pregnant over 11 years (out of estimated 1,000,000)
20,000 to 150,000**
Around 850,000**
*actual statistic
**this is a low estimate - stats are based on only one year of use.

Contraception failure rates are measured by the number of women out of 100 who would get pregnant over a year using that contraceptive. So as you can see above, using no contraception at all, 85% of women WOULD get pregnant. Condoms have between a 2 and 15% failure rate. That means between two and 15 women will pregnant over a year whilst relying on condoms for contraception. So if 82,000 women were using condoms for contraceptive protection for a year, between 1640 and 12300 of those women would get pregnant.

So let's just compare those condom statistics back to the headline: We are told in the article that 82,000 women per year are fitted with an Implanon implant. Compared to condoms, 584 failures out of 82,000 women is very low - far less than 1%.

But that's not the end of the story.

It's not the end of the story because the 584 pregnancies they're talking about in this article weren't over one year. They were over ELEVEN YEARS. We're talking about barely one twentieth of a percent, 0.06%.
If all of these women had used condoms instead, we'd be looking at an extra 11,716 women who would likely be pregnant due to contraceptive failure - not just once either, that's every year.
That's ELEVEN THOUSAND WOMEN! Eleven thousand lives that *haven't* been disrupted by unwanted pregnancy, because they were relying on a more effective form of contraception. If they hadn't used any contraception at all? 69700 unwanted foetuses PER YEAR. This is what happens when you put people off using safe contraceptives with idiotic scare tactics.

Yes, these women "thought they were 99% safe" - based on the number of women who have actually had Implanon fitted, they were actually 99.94% safe (equivalent to one in about 2000, vs. one in 100). I'm sure it's not much of a comfort to the women who have experienced a failure (after all, on an individual level it's no longer a statistic - you're either pregnant or you're not), and of course it would have been wonderful if they could have been 100% 'safe', but compared to around 70,000 of those same women each year who would have been pregnant if they had no contraception, that's a vanishingly small number.

It's not perfect. No method of contraception is perfect, and not everyone gets on with hormone based contraception, but it's by far the best out there. And it makes me sick with anger that scare tactics like these stupid headlines are being used to trash what is clearly the most reliable means we have of preventing unwanted pregnancy.

What's the real agenda here? I have no idea. Maybe some crazy idea that that declaring contraception 'unsafe' will put teenage girls off from having sex? Maybe a complete lack of understanding of statistics. Perhaps a misunderstanding of how contraception really works - and a belief that there's a better method out there? Currently, there isn't a better option - unless you combine several at once, eg. condoms *and* an implant, or a coil, or or whatever (and of course, implants and coils don't protect from STIs, so that's an excellent idea anyway). Sadly real science doesn't give us perfect answers, it just gives us better ones. And they're getting better all the time - or they would be, if only journalists would actually understand the information they're presented with.

- - - - -
Additional information:

If you have an implant and you're worried if it might be incorrectly fitted:

What to do if you are worried?
If you are already using the Contraceptive Implant and are not experiencing any problems you probably don’t need to worry. However if this coverage has concerned you then you can speak to your GP, Reproductive Health Clinic or call the Family Planning Association (in the UK) on 0845 122 8690.

Remember this form of contraception is more than 99% effective and for the majority of women who opt to use it they experience no problems and are happy with it as their contraceptive choice.
--from Dr. Petra Boynton's blog entry, Contraceptive Implants and Media Panics – what you need to know (click for more details)

- - - - -

Update two:

There's some more decent information at these sites (though many of them still fail to compare with failure rates for other contraceptives):

emanix: (emanix)
I was planning on making my first post in 2010 a bit of a retrospective, inspired by the 'new decade' posts on my friends list, and maybe add in a couple of new year's resolutions. Perhaps I'll still do that, but this piece of idiocy has got me annoyed enough to make my first post this year a rant instead.

The above link is about a supposedly scientific study about a part of the female body that has been politicised and argued over for several decades - The G-Spot (1). Academics and doctors are still arguing about whether or not this particular body-part even exists, while the more experimental of us are busily testing it out for ourselves in the bedroom (My own report from a small, but not insubstantial sample: Yes, it exists, as does female ejaculation).
So how do the researchers test the reality of this myth? Do they conduct a physiological study, and *look* at the female anatomy to determine whether, perhaps, there might be genuine physiological backing, as some studies (2) have done? Do they try stimulating the area, as one classic study (3) did?

No, they designed a questionnaire.

In a society where the average heterosexual male still has trouble finding the clitoris - a perfectly visible, external organ that nobody is debating the existence of, and when public knowledge of human biology is pathetically inadequate, apparently these researchers are claiming that asking women where their G-spot is located and getting inconsistent responses is evidence enough that it doesn't exist.
Whether the women are twins are not makes no real different to the idiocy in the design of the study. I mean, Hello? Is anyone even being taught the existence of the G-spot in schools? I think not. And certainly not when the participants of the study were at school. So all the average woman has to go on is hear-say, and if she's lucky enough to have had a GGG partner or two, maybe some small amount of exploration (I've been lucky enough to have some extremely open-minded and giving male partners, and it's been tough to get more than a brief exploration out of them - I hate to imagine what it's like for other girls.).

I wonder what would have happened if the same study had been done on males, asking them the location and function of their prostate gland? I imagine the results would have been much the same.

This study proves nothing at all except just how poorly educated women (and men) in the UK still are about their own bodies.

Me, I've come from a scientific background. I do understand about the issues with designing studies. The problems of medical ethics are many, and funding towards examining something like this is rare, especially since our attitude to sexual pleasure is still tinted by the victorian attitudes of our past, perhaps even more now than in the 50's when the original work began. Sexology is a field where most of the researchers hands are tied, and they risk being discredited at the slightest whiff of personal experience being included in their conclusions. But jeez... a randomly selected questionnaire to decide on whether a much beloved part of my sexual anatomy exists or not? I'm not amused.

I am, however amused by the turnabout from Freud up to now - Where in Freud's time the clitoris was deemed the 'incorrect' way for a woman to orgasm, and the vaginal orgasm was the only 'proper' way for a mature adult woman to climax, thus leading to decades of strife for women who could only orgasm through stimulation of the clitoris. Now we are being told that the vaginal orgasm does not, in fact, exist, and that the clitoris is the only 'real' way for a woman to receive pleasure.
Wait, actually, I'm not amused. I'm incensed.

Are we still in an age where researchers really think there is a 'right' and a 'wrong' way to stimulate the female body? Or anyone's body?

Considering Andrea Burri's claim that she is "anxious to remove feelings of “inadequacy or underachievement” that might affect women who feared they lacked a G-spot." What about the women out there who have already found theirs and are now being told it doesn't exist? So I've been having imaginary orgasms all this time? What?

I really wish that some of these self-appointed protectors of truth would simply shut up and stop telling me how to enjoy my own body.

Maybe some women don't have G-spots, and some do. Maybe some women don't have sensitive G-spots (and hell, I've met guys who don't have sensitive dicks), I'm sure some women have just never looked, and maybe some more of them have been cursed to a lifetime of miserable sex because their partners read the wrong news article.

Meanwhile I've had partners (male and female) who can come from having their ears sucked, their lower back stroked, their necks nibbled, their nipples clamped, only from being fondled through thick denim fabric, or from merely a word in the right tone of voice. Other partners have struggled to orgasm even with powerful vibrators and hours of work (we got there in the end, though!). Let's face it, we're a diverse species, with a myriad of differences, and that includes sexual function just as much as everything else.

People, if it works for you, use it. If you're with a partner, don't play the odds or go with what worked for previous partners. *Find out* what works for them, and use it. Treat sex manuals (and scientific studies) as suggestions for things you might like to try, not as the damned Holy Bible of Sex.

Can we please get the researchers out of the bedroom, now?


*Last minute update: a voice of sanity, Doctor Petra Boynton says much that I have, and has more detail on the original study. Apparently lesbian and bisexual women were excluded because manual stimulation might 'skew the results' (i.e. women who actually knew what they were doing might incorrectly demonstrate the existence of this 'mythical' spot). Read More

Also a good (if depressingly close to the bone) piss-take article: MEN WHO CARE ABOUT THE G-SPOT ARE A MYTH, SAY EXPERTS

References: (I don't usually bother with references, but this one pissed me off enough to actually put some work in)

(1) Link to Grafenberg's original article on 'The Role of Urethra in Female Orgasm'.
(2) BBC article about an Italian study.
(3) Time Magazine archive - classic study involving Beverley Whipple.
(4) Deborah Sundahl's book on how to stimulate the G-spot, and the phenomenon of female ejaculation.

July 2015



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