Tag Archives: sex


James Unsworth’s warped reptiles.

Those suffering from hipster fatigue should visit Five Hundred Dollars for a reminder of why Hackney became so hip in the first place. James Unsworth‘s show is a return to form for East London art, a scene otherwise awash with indulgence and ketamine. Go see.

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GI Jonny battles HIV

Action Men in new AIDS awareness campaign

The BBC and the Terrence Higgins Trust have collaborated on this ad to ‘raise awareness of HIV amongst 16-34 year olds’, although the language used (with references to ‘barebacking’ and ‘fisting’) makes it clear who the target audience is. The series of films also direct viewers to an interactive website, where they can find out more about HIV and AIDS and customise their own GI Jonny virtual action figure. Their own creation can then be forwarded to friends and downloaded to Facebook (this bit didn’t seem to be working when we checked it out).

According to the Terrence Higgins Trust, the number of people in the UK with the virus has risen from 30,000 in 2001 to 70,000 this year. Research by the charity also suggests there is still widespread ignorance about HIV, particularly amongst young people. A recent poll of 1,000 people found more than 20% of people aged 18 to 24 mistakenly thought there was a cure for HIV. Among the same age group almost a quarter believed condoms had holes in them which let HIV through. So the more information, the better then. Weird though that it took the agency — in this case Kontraband — to get the thing up on YouTube.

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Porn No?

The Internet loses its sex drive.

The Economist (yes we’re catching up with our feeds) reports that porn may no longer be the world’s favourite online pastime. In Britain search sites overtook sex sites in popularity last October — the first time any other category has come out on top since tracking began, says Hitwise. In America, the proportion of site visits that are pornographic is falling and people are flocking to sites categorised “net communities and chat” — chiefly social-networking sites such as MySpace, Bebo and Facebook. Traffic to those sites is poised to overtake traffic to sex sites in America any day now (see lovely chart):


The Economist muses:

Does this mean the internet has matured as a medium? After all, pornographic content is often the first to take advantage of new media, from photography to videocassettes to satellite television. “Sex is a virus that infects new technology first,” as Wired put it back in 1993. Once a new medium becomes popular, its usage is no longer dominated by porn . Although this may soon be true for the web, however, it is not true for the internet as a whole. Much pornographic content may simply have shifted from the web to peer-to-peer file-sharing networks, for example.

We think — with absolutely no scientific back up — that this is really a non-story, fun though it is to info-graphic. The Economist is measuring interest in sex in old media terms — passive watching and searching for images. They’re right to flag that people are consuming content in different ways — after all, why look at a grainy webcam image when you can file-share HD?

But what about all the people out there using the Net as way to get a shag? After all, the first ‘social networking’ success story wasn’t Facebook or MySpace — even though they have a dating service aspect. No it was Gaydar. And what has really driven the fascination in Craigslist? You guessed it. People using it for (ahem) ‘dating’. It’s not what people are looking at but the connections that are being made. And believe us, everyone’s at it.

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Happy Valentine’s Day

“Birds do it, bees do it/Even educated fleas do it”…

Whatever you’re doing on the 14th, we offer an alternative take on romance for your enjoyment: Scanner‘s 2002 Valentine’s Day radio piece The Sounds of Love, featuring (in no particular order):

Bats; Albatrosses; Tungler frogs; Asian Lions; Billygoats; Mute Swans; Elephants; Puerto Rican Tree Frogs; Peacocks; Swallows; Beluga Whales; Capuchin Birds; Blue Tits; Cats; Bees; Grey Lions; Toads; Satin Bowerbirds; Grey Seals; Hammer Headed Fruit Bats; Swallow Gulls and Elephant Seals

Scanner played an awesome spatialised version of this at the recent Future of Sound launch. Find more of his works on the compendious, tremendous UbuWeb.


Originally transmitted by the BBC on 13th February 2002.

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Fucking Beyond the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Pondering future sex.

machine-05.jpgABC reports from a recent conference of America’s top sex researchers (including one of our all time icons Annie Sprinkle) that it’s all looking well, a bit mechanical. In a field called ‘teledildonics’ people can already via two remote computers manipulate electronic devices such as a vibrator. According to Steve Rhodes, president of Sinulate Entertainment, “Cybersex is here! The Sinulator lets anyone control your sex toy over the Internet!”:

People who use it are just blown away. This is not something that just the lunatic fringe does. The Iraq war… was kind of a boom for our company.

And it’s not real life relationships that are benefitting. Kyle Machulis (or qDot as he’s known online) talks in this month’s Bon Magazine about all the shagging that goes on in MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games). In particular, he’s interested in the sex life of one of the most popular, Second Life. Originally conceived as an economic experiment along the lines of The SIMS, the game emulates the pioneer experience with the slogan, “Your world. Your imagination.” As befits any kind of ecoculture, the game is teeming with sexual experimentation. According to Machulis, who edits a news site MMOrgy.com:

Users can build their own objects and program them themselves. And people make .. well… everything imaginable. It’s hard to be more specific. Literally everything can be found in there. Second Life has been around for three years, and I promise you that every sexual fetish you can imagine is represented.

And it’s now getting truly interactive. The programmers are alert to this: the game has developed a porn mag starring nude female avatars called Slustler, which is both shot and distributed within the world of the game. More recently Second Life was equipped with new hardware, enabling objects that exist only in the virtual world to control physical sex play in real life — in other words, it’s back to teledildonics again.

Entrepreneurs are unsurprisingly looking to cash in by melding traditional video porn with real-life sensation. Brad Abram, president of ZStream3D Multimedia, says that his firm’s “Virtually Jenna”, an online game in which the player has sex with a realistic cartoon of porn star Jenna Jameson, can even link hardware devices following the action to genitalia. Which sounds painful. We’ve already written about realdoll.com whose products recently co-starred with Tom Ford in a racy shoot for W Magazine. Real Dolls have reached such critical mass now that there’s even a Real Dolls Surgery site (as featured on this week’s Popbitch — good lord).

At the other end of spectrum is a recently published book of DIY auto-erotica — Sex Machines: Photographs and Interviews — which explores the readers’ wives/Forum territory. Fucking in the future — shiny or sordid — take your pick. sex machine.JPG

With thanks to Tom who reads ABC News so that we don’t have to and apologies to Walter Benjamin. Pictured is the sex machine from Barbarella (top) and Paul Gaertner, inventor of the Thumpstir and Gangbang (above).

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Legalise It?

Disparate images of a legalised sex trade.

villavilla.jpgIcon Magazine reports on how a new legal brothel in Antwerp has called in the interior designers. Antwerp introduced a ‘tolerance zone’ in 2001, and developer Franky De Coninck commissioned leading Belgian designers Quinze & Milan “creators of atmosphere” to fit out the first purpose-built brothel in the new zone.

The result is the Villa Tinto, a 51 room state-of-the-art brothel. A safe working environment was the first priority for Quinze & Milan after consulting with the sex workers who would be using the building. The brothel boasts a state of the art alarm system, safes to store cash, and en suite bathrooms. It even has an on-site police station. The workers asked Quinze to also install red and black neon lights that would illuminate their bodies in the display windows but also hide blemishes. They also requested discreet tilted mirrors on the floors of their windows so they could vet clients as they approach and decide whether to open their windows for business.

De Coninck approached Qunize after the designer wrote an article in a Belgian magazine bemoaning the lack of design aesthetic in modern day sex work, “It’s the biggest business in the world, it’s always seen as not so beautiful. But if you show the business part of it, I think you can build an erotic style.” De Coninck has since asked Quinze to collaborate on another brothel in Barcelona.

This sanitised vision of a legalised sex trade is in stark contrast to the brothels documented in Timothy Hursley’s book,Brothels of Nevada: Candid Views of America’s Legal Sex Industry (pictures below). Nevada has had a legalised sex industry since the 1970s and Hursley’s photos of sad rooms and nylon nighties seem a million miles away from Quinze’s slick vision.

What a difference a few decades and a design aesthetic make.


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