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95 Women's Sexuality News Articles
from 2016
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12-31-16 The women who invented the Brazilian wax
The women who invented the Brazilian wax
Waxing pubic hair has become increasingly common, but how did the trend for the "Brazilian" wax begin? In an office toilet in London, young women discuss their grooming regimes. Jennifer, 19, waxes off all her pubic hair every month. "The pain is the worst thing I've ever been through, but I'm kind of used to it now," she says. "I prefer the underneath being gone," says Lisa, 27. "Some people wax for the beach and other people wax for boys, and people who wax for boys wax the underneath." Ever since Sex and the City tackled the subject, what women do with their pubic hair - trim, shave, pluck, wax or let it all hang out - has become a topic for discussion. And scientific research. Studies show that pubic hair grooming is becoming increasingly common. Earlier this year researchers reported in JAMA Dermatology that 84% of the American women who took part in their survey had done some grooming, with 62% removing all of their pubic hair. Younger women were much more likely to groom than the over-40s. An earlier study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine linked the phenomenon to the availability of pornography. This same study suggested that the trend originated in South America - "hence the term Brazilian as slang for complete pubic hair removal". But that is not the whole story.

12-15-16 Woman gives birth thanks to ovary removed when she was 8
Woman gives birth thanks to ovary removed when she was 8
For the first time, a woman has had a child using tissue removed and frozen while she was still a child – a technique that could help young people with cancer. A woman who had her fertility restored using frozen ovarian tissue which was removed when she was a child has given birth in the UK. Moaza Al Matrooshi, 24, is thought to be the first person in the world to conceive and give birth to a baby after having an ovary removed and cryopreserved before she entered puberty. Matrooshi was eight when she had the organ removed before having chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant for the inherited blood disorder beta thalassaemia. Her remaining ovary was only partially functioning following the chemotherapy and she went into early menopause. But at the age of 21, Matrooshi received a transplant of her frozen ovarian tissue that allowed her to undergo IVF at a CARE Fertility clinic. Now, aged 24, she has given birth to a baby boy. “Moaza has become the first woman in the world to give birth following the transplant of her own ovarian tissue removed before puberty,” says Rob Smith, at CARE London. (Webmaster's comment: Another technique blocked by American religious prejudice. And what's worse for American religion, it was a Muslim who did it.)

12-15-16 Babies made from three people approved in UK
Babies made from three people approved in UK
Babies made from two women and one man have been approved by the UK's fertility regulator. The historic and controversial move is to prevent children being born with deadly genetic diseases. Doctors in Newcastle - who developed the advanced form of IVF - are expected to be the first to offer the procedure and have already appealed for donor eggs. The first such child could be born, at the earliest, by the end of 2017. Some families have lost multiple children to incurable mitochondrial diseases, which can leave people with insufficient energy to keep their heart beating. The diseases are passed down from only the mother so a technique using a donor egg as well as the mother's egg and father's sperm has been developed. The resulting child has a tiny amount of their DNA from the donor, but the procedure is legal and reviews say it is ethical and scientifically ready.

12-15-16 UK becomes first country to give go ahead to three-parent babies
UK becomes first country to give go ahead to three-parent babies
The country’s regulator has decided the procedure is safe enough to approve and will now consider applications to use the technique on a case-by-case basis. The UK today became the first country to formally allow children to be genetically altered to ensure they do not inherit disorders caused by mutations in mitochondria – a momentous decision that could eventually lead to other kinds of reproductive genetic engineering. The country’s Human Fertilisation and Embryo Authority has given a cautious go-ahead to the use of mitochondrial replacement therapy to prevent mitochondrial disorders, which can be fatal. Clinics that wish to carry out the procedure now have to convince the HFEA that they are competent. After that, the HFEA will approve applications on a case by case basis. Earlier this year, a healthy boy was born after the first-ever use of mitochondrial replacement therapy to prevent inherited diseases. The head of the clinic in Mexico, where the procedure was carried out in 2015, told New Scientist last week that he aims to establish another 20 pregnancies in the first half of 2017. (Webmaster's comment: Again America left behind in the dustbin of it's barbaric religious beliefs.)

12-14-16 Birth defects occur in 1 in 10 pregnancies with first trimester Zika infection
Birth defects occur in 1 in 10 pregnancies with first trimester Zika infection
Analysis of pregnant women helps firm up numbers, timing of virus’s effect on fetuses. Zika infection in the first trimester is especially risky, according to new results from an analysis of Zika-affected pregnancies in the United States. For pregnant women infected with Zika virus in the first trimester, the future is foreboding. Nearly 11 percent of U.S. women likely exposed to Zika in the early weeks of or just before pregnancy had babies or fetuses with birth defects, researchers report online December 13 in JAMA. The new study offers the first results from the U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local health departments use to track Zika-affected pregnancies. As of November 30, the registry had reported more than 3,800 pregnant women in the United States and its territories with evidence of Zika infection. Out of 442 pregnancies tracked so far, 26 — or 6 percent — resulted in infants or fetuses with birth defects, including microcephaly and other brain abnormalities. Of the 85 pregnancies where women were exposed only in the first trimester, 9 — 11 percent — resulted in birth defects. Researchers reported no birth defects in infants or fetuses of women exposed to Zika exclusively in the second or third trimester.

12-14-16 First babies from menopausal mothers’ own eggs may be born soon
First babies from menopausal mothers’ own eggs may be born soon
Fertility clinics are racing to turn back the biological clock, with one claiming that it has already managed to fertilise eggs from post-menopausal women. It’s time to turn back the biological clock. Next year could see the first post-menopausal woman give birth to a baby made using her own eggs. Earlier this year, a fertility clinic in Athens, Greece, claimed it had reversed the menopause in a group of their patients. The team injected the women’s ovaries with platelet-rich plasma from their own blood. This approach is widely used for bone and joint injuries – the idea is to kickstart resident stem cells into action, although whether it works is unclear. The team says they have managed to fertilise eggs from their patients. They plan to implant some of these embryos soon, and if they develop normally, some babies may be born next year. The treatment is also being offered by two clinics in New York and Egypt.

12-14-16 India newspaper offers 'tips' for conceiving a baby boy
India newspaper offers 'tips' for conceiving a baby boy
The newspaper article shared six tips on how to improve chances of conceiving a baby boy. A newspaper in India has offered its readers scientifically unfounded tips for ensuring they conceive boys instead of girls, telling would-be mothers to eat lots and face west while sleeping. The sex of a child is determined by the chromosomes in the father's sperm. But the daily newspaper Mangalam, in Kerala state in southern India, printed six suggestions for those who want to have baby boys. There is a cultural preference for male children in India. "The chance of a girl or a boy at conception is totally random," said Dr Shazia Malik, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at The Portland Hospital in London, debunking the article. "There is no scientific evidence on any method that will change this statistical chance when a baby is conceived naturally." Mangalam, which filed the story in the health news section of its site, also advises potential mothers-to-be not to skip breakfast and to have sex only on certain days of the week, when the male sperm is "stronger". It said men can play a role and help strengthen their sperm by avoiding acidic foods. But the strength of a sperm does not affect the baby's sex. The only way a baby can be male is if the fertilising sperm carries a Y chromosome.

12-10-16 Nigeria's bedroom revolution - satisfying women's demands
Nigeria's bedroom revolution - satisfying women's demands
It was a cultural taboo for a woman to ask for sexual gratification in Nigeria, until now. Despite being bombarded by sexually suggestive photos, explicit lyrics and raunchy dance moves in the media, many women are brought up with the socially conservative attitude that "good girls" just do not talk about sex. But Iheoma Obibi is leading a mini-revolution in bedrooms in the West African nation. She became the country's first retailer of sexual health products and erotica after getting requests from friends to buy sex toys on her annual trips to London. "They were asking me to buy vibrators, nipple suckers, lubricants, water-based lubricants which were non-flavoured, specifically with a pH balance for the female genitalia." Realising there was a niche market, the former development worker set up her online shop five years ago. It was not easy at first - and she had to build up a clientele while fending off the critics. One became so threatening she needed police protection. But luckily that is a thing of the past and she now caters primarily for women, and some men, whose ages range from 20 to 70.

12-9-16 Fooling around
Fooling around
Fooling around, after Canadian scientists found that sex helps women build stronger memories. The reward signals generated by sex, the researchers said, can improve “neurogenesis”—the growth of neurons—in the hippocampus, where memories are stored.

12-7-16 Should fertility clinics offer experimental unproven treatments?
Should fertility clinics offer experimental unproven treatments?
Are clinicians that offer experimental menopause reversal and three-parent babies providing desperate patients with a last stab at parenthood, or offering false hope? WHEN it comes to making babies, help is at hand. As the age of first-time parents continues to rise, so does the range of fertility treatments on offer – and we aren’t just talking IVF. There’s a clinic in New York that aims to rejuvenate women’s ovaries by injecting their own blood plasma directly into them. One in Greece claims its similar treatment has reversed the menopause in some women. Others go even further. Earlier this year, New Scientist revealed that a couple had given birth to a healthy boy after undergoing a controversial “three-parent baby” technique by a US clinic in Mexico designed to prevent people passing genetic disorders to their children. In Ukraine, the method is already being used to treat infertility rather than prevent hereditary disease. As private clinics push back the frontiers of reproduction, academics and regulators seem to be struggling to keep up. Given that one in eight couples have fertility problems, and that IVF only works around a third of the time, this rapid progress is welcome. But is it OK to expect people to pay for experimental (though likely safe) treatments? Are clinicians that offer them providing desperate patients with a last stab at parenthood, or offering false hope? And can we hold the industry to a higher standard?

12-7-16 ‘I feel young again’: Why a woman injects her ovaries with blood
‘I feel young again’: Why a woman injects her ovaries with blood
Private clinics are offering to reverse early menopause by injecting a woman’s ovaries with her own blood products, but the treatment hasn’t been through clinical trials. The use of fertility treatments – many of which are experimental, and have not been through clinical trials – is on the rise. To find out why people are opting for them, we spoke to a woman who hopes one could help her conceive. Sarah* started experiencing symptoms of the menopause five years ago, when she was 38, more than a decade earlier than the average woman. “I felt so young,” she says. Her mother also went through the menopause early, at 40, so Sarah went straight to a fertility clinic. “The doctor told me to freeze my eggs,” she says. “He said I was running out.” In the time since, Sarah has experienced a disrupted menstrual cycle, hot flushes and a low libido. But she isn’t ready to go through the menopause yet, she says. An online search directed her to a potential solution: Hugh Melnick’s fertility clinic in New York, which offers “ovarian rejuvenation” treatment (see “Should fertility clinics offer experimental unproven treatments?“). “I was hopeful,” says Sarah. “I’m pretty optimistic about new technologies.” Sarah had her first treatment at 41. “I go in, they take my blood and spin it,” she says. “After about 15 or 20 minutes, they put me under anaesthesia and inject the blood into my ovaries. The whole procedure takes about 10 to 15 minutes – it’s not long at all.”

12-7-16 100 Women 2016: Stories of period pain and 'manning up' at work
100 Women 2016: Stories of period pain and 'manning up' at work
Churan Zheng, an events organiser, works for a company in China that allows her and her female colleagues to take a day or two a month off if they suffer from period pain. Her praise of menstrual leave - and suggestion that all women should be offered it - prompted a fiery debate among readers. Here is a selection of your experiences and opinions about the idea.

  • 'Man up!' Those who thought women should work through the pain
  • 'Good idea'! Those who thought menstrual leave should be offered

12-5-16 Yes, PMS IS Real — and So Is Our Tendency to Ignore Women’s Pain
Yes, PMS IS Real — and So Is Our Tendency to Ignore Women’s Pain
Last year, writer Joe Fassler published a harrowing essay in The Atlantic detailing his wife Rachel’s trip to the emergency room for for excruciating pain. The cause: A massive cyst was weighing down Rachel’s ovary, bending the fallopian tube “like you’d wring out a sponge,” Fassler wrote. Before they knew this, though, they waited: through a long stretch in the ER waiting room, through a misdiagnosis (kidney stones), through face time with a doctor who didn’t think to perform a gynecological exam. By the time another physician hit on the correct diagnosis, Rachel’s ovary was too damaged to save. Traumatic as it was, Fassler wrote, Rachel’s story was just one instance in a pattern that plays out across our health-care system each day: Women often have to fight to get their pain taken seriously.

12-3-16 Viewpoint: 'Why every woman should be offered menstrual leave'
Viewpoint: 'Why every woman should be offered menstrual leave'
Several provinces in China now have laws in place to ensure women can take a day or two a month off work if they suffer from period pain. Events organiser Churan Zheng regularly takes menstrual leave, and says it is an essential option for every woman. I suffer from severe period pain and every month post a picture on my social media accounts showing a woman tied to an invisible cross with arrows stuck into her stomach. It always get a lot of "likes" because it vividly visualises what many women suffer during their period. I always get a heavy feeling and stomach cramps the night before my period starts. And when I wake up, the pain that accompanies the menstruation is so unbearable that I always imagine myself grabbing my intestines and tearing them out of my body, or cutting them out with a pair of scissors. I feel like vomiting. Ever since I left university and started work I have taken painkillers almost every month but the drugs make me feel tired and sleepy. I need hot water bottles as well in order to battle the pain. It's often difficult during these times for me to concentrate on my work, which makes me curse my gender.

12-2-16 100 Women 2016: Meet the orgasm doctors
100 Women 2016: Meet the orgasm doctors
You may be used to hearing about the female orgasm from women's magazines rather than scientists, but researchers are slowly beginning to study it - and often contradicting the advice columns. Part of the problem, they say, is that the female body has been studied far less than the male body and is far less well understood. "I call it the ring of fire. It felt like fire in a circle in between my legs and that was a constant feeling - it was burn-y itchy, and then with intercourse or even a tampon it was like a serrated knife, very painful. Callista Wilson, a San Francisco fashion stylist, first experienced this when trying to use a tampon at the age of 12. She was in her 20s before she finally saw a doctor. "She seemed extremely puzzled that anything would be wrong," Callista says. "She said: 'You look perfectly normal so I would suggest you go to a therapist to talk about whatever's causing you this pain, it must be in your head.'"

11-15-16 CDC sounds alarm on STDs
CDC sounds alarm on STDs
Chlamydia continues surge; gonorrhea and syphilis change course. New estimates of the rates of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia infections are just a snapshot of a larger epidemic. In the U.S., there are more than 110 million people with a sexually transmitted disease at any point in time and about 20 million new infections every year. Three common sexually transmitted diseases reached a combined 20-year high in 2015, according to a report released October 19 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. U.S. teenagers and young adults account for nearly two-thirds of the more than 1.5 million reported cases of chlamydia and half of the roughly 400,000 gonorrhea diagnoses. Syphilis, the least prevalent of the three, rose almost 18 percent from 2014 to 2015.

11-10-16 First menstrual cup to be legally available in Taiwan
First menstrual cup to be legally available in Taiwan
Many women swear by menstrual cups, but in Taiwan, strict laws mean they cannot be sold. As the BBC's Grace Tsoi explains, that might be about to change thanks to a crowdfunding campaign. "It is a challenge to the common perceptions of feminine hygiene products," says Vanessa Tseng, a 34-year-old entrepreneur. Six years ago, Ms Tseng introduced the first tampons with applicators to the Taiwanese market, and she has now started the "Formoonsa Cup" project, to develop Taiwan's first domestically-made menstrual cup. Worn internally, menstrual cups are reusable, and hailed as an economical and more green alternative to sanitary pads and tampons. They are also considered to bring a much lower risk of toxic shock syndrome, a rare but life-threatening condition linked to tampon use.

11-7-16 Strict breastfeeding rules don’t work and can hurt young babies
Strict breastfeeding rules don’t work and can hurt young babies
Guidelines saying that mums should breastfeed exclusively for the first six months mean hospitals aren’t storing formula – which could be making babies ill. Newborn babies are being made ill by strict rules in hospitals that are aimed at getting more women to breastfeed – and they don’t even work. Global guidelines, set by UNICEF, say that women trying to breastfeed shouldn’t use occasional bottles of formula, even in the first few days after birth when they might not be making much milk. But refraining from using formula during this time can in some cases lead to babies getting dehydrated and developing jaundice. Parents are also told not to give their baby a dummy, or pacifier, in case they prefer sucking on that to the breast. But dummies seem to reduce the risk of cot death, also known as sudden infant death syndrome.

11-4-16 STD rates soaring
STD rates soaring
The number of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis infections in the U.S. hit a record high last year, reports HuffingtonPost?.com. A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that of the three, syphilis had risen most, surging 19 percent year-on-year to 24,000 cases. Gonorrhea infections were second, up 13 percent to 400,000; chlamydia cases were up 6 percent, to 1.5 million. All three of these sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are curable and can be prevented with condoms. But health officials suggest that the reason rates are rising isn’t a notable increase in risky sexual behavior—instead, it’s a drop in funding for health clinics that screen and treat people for these infections. “STD rates are rising, and many of the country’s systems for preventing STDs have eroded,” says the CDC’s Jonathan Mermin. “That means young people most vulnerable to new infection have fewer places to go for help, advice, testing, and treatment.”

10-17-16 Older women have babies with fewer birth defects after IVF
Older women have babies with fewer birth defects after IVF
An analysis of 300,000 births in Australia has found that older women who conceive via IVF or ICSI are less likely to have children with abnormalities. An analysis of 300,000 births has suggested that older women who fall pregnant with help from assisted reproduction techniques are less likely to have children with birth defects than those who conceive on their own. Higher maternal age and assisted reproduction are both linked to congenital anomalies, including Down’s syndrome, heart defects and cleft palates, meaning that IVF babies conceived by older mothers are thought to be especially at risk. But a study led by Michael Davies at the University of Adelaide, Australia, challenges this assumption. Analysing births registered in the state of South Australia between 1986 and 2002, his team found that older women who conceived via IVF or intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) were less likely to have children with abnormalities. In addition, older women who had assisted pregnancies were less likely to have babies with birth defects than younger women who conceived using the same technologies. Women aged 29 or under who conceived naturally had children with major birth defects at a rate of 6 per cent, compared to 8 per cent in women aged 40 or over. But in women who had IVF, birth defects dropped from 9 per cent in the younger group to 4 per cent in the older group, while for those who had ICSI, the rate fell from 11 per cent to 6 per cent.

10-14-16 The PR executive who transformed cheerleading
The PR executive who transformed cheerleading
In the NFL’s early days, most teams’ cheerleaders were wholesome high schoolers who led the crowd in collegiate-style chants. Suzanne Mitchell changed all that. She was working as an assistant to the Dallas Cowboys’ general manager, Tex Schramm, when the team was inundated with calls after one of its cheerleaders winked suggestively into a TV camera at the 1976 Super Bowl. Sensing an opportunity, Schramm tasked Mitchell with sexing up the squad. She gave them skimpy costumes and hip-shaking dance routines, creating a pop culture phenomenon. The Cowboys cheerleaders appeared on TV’s The Love Boat and in shampoo ads, and inspired the 1978 porn movie Debbie Does Dallas, which led to a lawsuit from the team. “Sports has always had a very clean, almost puritanical aspect,” Mitchell said in 1978. “But by the same token, sex is a very important part of our lives. What we’ve done is combine the two.”

10-4-16 Does the contraceptive pill cause depression?
Does the contraceptive pill cause depression?
The study found a higher incidence of antidepressant use among women on the pill. "At last!" "Elated." "Really? This is only now becoming common knowledge?" Sighs of relief and growls of frustration were among the online reactions from around the world to the Danish study, published last week, which found that women on the contraceptive pill were more likely to be diagnosed with depression. Researchers at the University of Copenhagen studied the health records of more than a million Danish women aged between 15 and 34, in one of the largest studies to date. They found that those on the combined pill - which contains the hormones oestrogen and progesterone - were 23% more likely to be prescribed an antidepressant than those not on hormonal contraception. For those on the progestin-only pill, the figure rose to 34%. It increased even further, to 80% more likely, for girls aged between 15 and 19 on the combined pill.

10-3-16 Nigerian actress Rahma Sadau banned after on-screen hug
Nigerian actress Rahma Sadau banned after on-screen hug
A leading Nigerian actress has been banned from the Hausa-language film industry because of her "immoral" behaviour, the main industry body says. Rahma Sadau caused offence by "hugging and cuddling" pop star Classiq in a video, it added. The industry, commonly known as Kannywood, has been under fire from conservative Muslim clerics who accuse it of corrupting people's values. They regard it as taboo for men and women to hold hands or kiss in public.

9-28-16 The truth about porn: why masturbation won't kill your sex life
The truth about porn: why masturbation won't kill your sex life
Has online pornography created a generation of impotent young men with a dangerous addiction to extreme images? IT HAS been blamed for brain shrinkage, impotence, divorce and paedophilia – and in April this year, Utah declared it a public health hazard. Warnings about pornography come not just from religious or conservative groups – former Playboy model and actor Pamela Anderson also recently cautioned against its “corrosive effects”. Yet survey after survey shows porn use is common among men and not exactly rare in women, so can it really be so dangerous? Or could it even have benefits? While there is research into the effects of porn, a great deal of it is contradictory. Even the same studies are interpreted differently by those on opposite sides of the debate. Some feel it is a menace to society, while others think that attitude belongs with 1980s hysteria over video nasties. Anti-porn campaigners chiefly argue that it is addictive and hijacks the brain’s normal reward pathways. Like heroin addicts who crave more of their drug to get the same high, users find they are no longer aroused by real sex and resort to increasingly harder-core material, or so the theory goes. Of course, there are other concerns over pornography, such as its depictions of violence, exploitation and sexual consent. But male addiction is an increasing focus of anti-porn campaigns. Campaigners say that an excess of porn prompts users to spurn their partners and seek out images of bestiality, rape scenes, and child abuse. Some schools in Scotland now warn that viewing adult images leads to impotence, coercion and abuse. “This kind of escalation is described over and over again,” says Gary Wilson, a retired biology lecturer and author of website and book Your Brain on Porn. About 46% of US men and 16% of women watch porn in a given week.

9-27-16 Exclusive: World’s first baby born with new “3 parent” technique
Exclusive: World’s first baby born with new “3 parent” technique
Five-month-old Abrahim Hassan is the first baby to be born using a new version of a controversial technique that uses DNA from three people. Five-month-old Abrahim Hassan is the first baby to be born using a new technique that incorporates DNA from three parents, New Scientist can reveal. “This is great news and a huge deal,” says Dusko Ilic at King’s College London, who wasn’t involved in the work. “It’s revolutionary.” The controversial technique, which allows parents with rare genetic mutations to have healthy babies, has only been legally approved in the UK. But the birth of Abrahim, whose Jordanian parents were treated by a US-based team in Mexico, should fast-forward progress around the world, say embryologists. Abrahim’s mother, Ibtisam Shaban, carries genes for Leigh syndrome, a fatal disorder that affects the developing nervous system. Genes for the disease reside in DNA in the mitochondria, which provide energy for our cells and carry just 37 genes that are passed down to us from our mothers. This is separate from the majority of our DNA, which is housed in each cell’s nucleus. Around a quarter of Shaban’s mitochondria have the disease-causing mutation. While she is healthy, Leigh syndrome was responsible for the deaths of her first two children. Shaban and her husband, Mahmoud Hassan, sought out the help of John Zhang and his team at the New Hope Fertility Center in New York City.

9-27-16 First ‘three-parent baby’ born from nuclear transfer
First ‘three-parent baby’ born from nuclear transfer
One technique to replace faulty mitochondria in egg cells has resulted in the birth of a healthy baby boy. The five-month-old is the first “three-parent baby” born using the spindle nuclear transfer procedure. A baby boy born on April 6 is the first person to be born from a technique used to cure mitochondrial diseases, New Scientist reports. The child’s mother carries Leigh syndrome, a fatal disease caused by faulty mitochondria. Mitochondria generate most of a cell’s energy and perform other functions that keep cells healthy. Each mitochondria has a circle of DNA containing 37 genes needed for mitochondrial function. A mutation in one of those genes causes Leigh syndrome. The woman herself is healthy, but previously had two children who both died of Leigh syndrome. John Zhang, a fertility doctor at New Hope Fertility Center in New York City, and colleagues transferred a structure called the spindle with chromosomes attached to it from one of the woman’s eggs into a healthy, empty donor egg. The resulting egg was then fertilized with sperm from the woman’s husband. The procedure was done in Mexico. (Webmaster's comment: So much for all the anti-science hatred from fundamentalist Christians!)

9-23-16 School spirit
School spirit
School spirit, after high school cheerleaders in Provo, Utah, were told not to wear their uniforms to class on practice day because a male student complained that the short skirts were causing him to have “impure” thoughts.

9-13-16 Mum's water birth video stuns the internet
Mum's water birth video stuns the internet
Giving birth is never easy - but for mum Audra Lynn it was a textbook delivery. The footage of her water birth in Orange County, California has stunned social media users because the baby seemingly pops out after only a few contractions. The clip, uploaded to Instagram and Facebook, has had more than 16 million views since it was posted on September 3. Midwife Lisa Marie Sanchez Oxenham filmed the birth and said it was "an incredible moment".

9-7-16 Artificial ovary may boost fertility and postpone the menopause
Artificial ovary may boost fertility and postpone the menopause
Making a synthetic home for a woman's egg-producing follicles could improve fertility after chemotherapy and help women with endometriosis conceive. SYNTHETIC ovary that could help both older women and those with endometriosis conceive is a step closer. Initially intended for women who have undergone cancer treatment, the prototype is the first artificial organ capable of keeping human egg-producing follicles alive outside a woman’s body. It may also be used to delay the onset of the menopause. Women can become infertile after cancer treatment as the ovaries and the egg-making follicles they contain are vulnerable to chemotherapy, especially for leukaemias, brain cancers and lymphomas. Removing and freezing ovarian tissue beforehand to reimplant after treatment can help women conceive, but there is a risk that this tissue will reintroduce hidden cancer cells. Making a new ovary could solve this. Christiani Amorim at the Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) in Belgium and her team have managed to encapsulate donated human follicles inside bundles of fibrin, the tough protein that normally forms the scaffolding of blood clots. When the team implanted two of these synthetic ovaries into each of the abdominal cavities of eight mice, more than a fifth of the follicles were still alive a week later (Reproductive BioMedicine Online, doi.org/bqbr).

8-29-16 Do women sync up? No, but we can’t resist menstruation myths
Do women sync up? No, but we can’t resist menstruation myths
There seems to be no end to the studies asking how menstruation and ovulation changes a woman's behaviour, but most of the evidence for this is poor. It can seem like barely a week goes by without a new study linking the stage in a woman’s monthly cycle to her preferences in a sexual partner. Reportedly, when women are ovulating they are attracted to men who are healthier, more dominant, more masculine, have higher testosterone levels– the list goes on. But do women really exhibit such behavioural changes – and why are we so fascinated by the idea that they do? A popular theory in evolutionary psychology is that women seek out men with better genes while they are ovulating to have short term affairs with, so as to produce healthier babies. These men may not necessarily stick around for the long haul, but appear particularly attractive when a woman is in the fertile stage of her cycle. During the non-fertile phase, the theory goes that women seek out men who are more likely to make reliable long-term partners and good fathers. But something smells a bit fishy here. Are women really evolutionarily hard-wired to cuckold their partners? Or might the attraction of a salacious hypothesis – with slightly sexist overtones – be shaping some of this research?

8-26-16 Failure of fake babies: Why it doesn’t pay to go with your gut
Failure of fake babies: Why it doesn’t pay to go with your gut
“There is always a well-known solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong.” Many schools give dolls that cry and need changing to teen girls to reduce pregnancy rates. It’s no surprise they seem to have the opposite effect, says Sally Adee. “This is easy. Maybe I should try the real thing…” Yesterday the Australian government rediscovered H. L. Mencken’s century-old wisdom, when Sally Brinkman and her colleagues at the University of Western Australia in Adelaide published the first randomised controlled trial of baby simulators. These mechanised dolls are meant to reduce teenage pregnancy by providing a cautionary experience: the dolls cry, wee and need to be “fed”, interrupting sleep schedules and annoying the whole family when teens take them home for a school assignment. That they must work was so self-evident that no one checked, and over the past decades they have been rolled out in school districts in 89 countries. This was set to happen in Western Australia too when someone asked the question that tends to lead to all major scientific shake-ups: “Hang on – is there any evidence that this actually works?” The answer, incredibly, was no. About 20 studies had been done but they were all non-randomised and didn’t follow through to see whether the dolls actually reduced pregnancy rates, says Julie Quinlivan of the University of Notre Dame Australia, who reviewed Brinkman’s work.

8-26-16 'C-sections are not an easy way out'
'C-sections are not an easy way out'
Giving birth by Caesarean section, as opposed to 'natural' or vaginal delivery, has been a subject of popular debate for years. Remember the term 'too Posh to Push'? It came to popularity in 1999 after Victoria Beckham (then known as Posh Spice) faced criticism, from some quarters, after revealing that she chose to give birth to her first child through surgical assistance (or a C-section). Beckham's other three children were also delivered via the same method. Then last year Frankie Bridge of the British-Irish group The Saturdays spoke up about the reaction she had received after revealing she had a C-section. "It really annoys me how everyone has an opinion," the singer said. "There's enough pressure on mums and it's scary enough as it is - just leave everyone to it." The issue flared up again on social media this week when a US woman from Missouri published a Facebook post challenging people who believed that her emergency C-section, for medical reasons, didn't count as "actually giving birth". Raye Lee, who works as a professional fire juggler, included photos of her surgical scars to help make her point. Her strongly worded accompanying message seems to have resonated with many people and has been shared tens of thousands of times.

8-25-16 India unveils plans to ban surrogacy
India unveils plans to ban surrogacy
The Indian government has unveiled a draft law which would ban commercial surrogacy. If approved by parliament, the law will also ban people who do not hold an Indian passport, as well as Indian single parents and gay people, from having children through surrogacy. Infertile couples would be able to seek a surrogate, which must be a relative. Infertility groups have criticised the proposed law, saying it could lead to an illegal industry. (Webmaster's comment: When it comes of reproductve rights there is always someone willing to ban them.)

8-23-16 US pregnancy-related deaths are rising and have doubled in Texas
US pregnancy-related deaths are rising and have doubled in Texas
Deaths from pregnancy-related causes have increased by 26.6 per cent across most of the US in 15 years. The problem is particularly bad in Texas, where the maternal mortality rate nearly doubled in the space of a year, from 2011 to 2012. These numbers come from a study of health data led by Marian MacDorman at the University of Maryland. The average maternal mortality rate in the US was 23.8 per 100,000 live births in 2014, although the researchers excluded Texas and California from this calculation. In comparison, it was only 9 and 6 deaths per 100,000 live births in the UK and Australia, respectively, in 2015. In fact, according to a previous analysis, the US is one of only eight countries in the world where the rate of pregnancy-related deaths has gone up in the last few decades, instead of down. The other countries where this has happened are Afghanistan, Belize, El Salvador, Guinea-Bissau, Greece and the Seychelles. But it’s Texas’s shocking rise that has caught the most attention. MacDorman’s team hasn’t pinned the state’s doubling in maternal mortality to a specific cause, but the team did note that the it has seen “some changes in the provision of women’s health services” since 2011. These changes include cuts to funding for women’s health and family planning. A new law restricting abortions in Texas – which has now been struck down by the US Supreme Court – also prompted a number of abortion clinics across the state to close. This may have made it harder for women whose health was at risk from pregnancy to get a termination.

8-19-16 "Intersex" athlete Caster Semenya rightly free to run at Rio
"Intersex" athlete Caster Semenya rightly free to run at Rio
It's unfair to question the right of runner Caster Semenya to compete in a sports world full of biological inequities, says Jaime Schultz. Here we go again. Women athletes with the intersex condition hyperandrogenism – who naturally produce more testosterone than is typical for women – are at the centre of extreme and unfair scrutiny at the Rio Olympics. The spotlight is on them once more after India’s sprinter Dutee Chand successfully challenged a rule that required anyone with this condition to reduce their testosterone levels below a threshold set by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) which equates to the lower end of the typical range for men. As a result, Chand and other athletes with hyperandrogenism can now compete regardless of testosterone levels. Chand did not go on to win a medal in Rio. Now, though, scrutiny has shifted to South African runner Caster Semenya, whose times have been improving in past months and is odds-on favourite to take gold in the 800 metres final on Sunday. Semenya is no stranger to unwelcome attention. In 2009 she faced questions about her right to compete when she won at the World Athletics Championship in Berlin. The IAAF rule followed in 2011. With debate raging, many people are focused on the question of whether testosterone actually confers a competitive advantage. But the real question should be: if it does, so what?

8-17-16 Menopause supplements may raise dementia risk after stroke
Menopause supplements may raise dementia risk after stroke
Calcium pills are associated with large increases in the risk of developing dementia in women who have conditions that affect the flow of blood to the brain. Calcium supplements have been linked to a dramatic increase in the risk of developing dementia in women who have had a stroke or other conditions that affect the flow of blood to the brain. The pills are taken by thousands of women in the UK to stave off osteoporosis after going through menopause. A study of 700 women between the ages of 70 and 92 has now revealed that women who take these pills have a seven-fold increase in their chances of developing dementia, if they have already experienced a stroke. Only a small proportion – 98 women – were taking calcium supplements when the study began. Although none of the participants had dementia at the start of the study, 59 went on to develop it. Silke Kern, at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, and her team found that calcium supplements were only associated with dementia in women who had a history of cerebrovascular disease – disorders involving the brain’s blood supply.

8-15-16 Rio 2016: Support as China's Fu Yuanhui breaks period taboo
Rio 2016: Support as China's Fu Yuanhui breaks period taboo
Competing in the Olympics is stressful at the best of times - but imagine doing so while having your period. Fu Yuanhui, one of China's swimming stars, became an overnight social media sensation thanks to her frank post-race interviews and exaggerated expressions. Now, she's become a talking point online again - for breaking a sporting taboo by talking about her period.

8-11-16 Women warned about booming market in period tracker apps
Women warned about booming market in period tracker apps
The market is booming in apps which offer women the chance to monitor the cycles of their monthly periods. There are thought to have been as many as 200m downloads of period tracking apps worldwide. But a leading UK medical royal college has warned that women should not rely on them as a form of contraception. And privacy campaigners say users should be wary of what data they might unwittingly be sharing when they download some apps. A search for period tracking apps will quickly bring up dozens of offerings - some with charts, others illustrated with pink tulips or lilac flowers. In the health and fitness category, period trackers come second only to apps which monitor running. Amy Worsfold, from Greenwich, south-east London, has used different trackers for three years. She is a soprano opera singer. Amy told me: "When you are starting your period or you're pre-menstrual, the hormones that rush around your body affect your larynx in ways that are detrimental to your singing voice. "I use the app to avoid auditions, premieres or really important performances on those days if I can."

8-11-16 What can killer whales teach us about the menopause?
What can killer whales teach us about the menopause?
The menopause is a puzzle for biologists. Why would the female of a species cease to reproduce half way through her life, when natural selection favours characteristics that help an individual's genes survive? A study of killer whales - one of only two mammals apart from humans to undergo the menopause - is providing clues. Granny is very spritely for a centenarian. When I finally catch sight of San Juan Island's local celebrity, she leaps clear out of the ocean to delighted gasps from everyone on my boat. Granny is a killer whale, or orca. She lives in a coastal area of the North Pacific, close to Vancouver and Seattle, known as the Salish Sea. And while she is affectionately known as "Granny", her formal name is J2 - an alpha-numeric title that identifies her as a member of a population known as the Southern Resident orcas. It is a clan of 83 killer whales in three distinct pods - J, K and L-pod - all of which return to this area of coastal Pacific waterways every summer. The network of inlets and calm inshore sea is peppered with forested and mountainous islands. Its beauty makes it popular with tourists - especially whale-watchers.

8-5-16 Menopause speeds aging
Menopause speeds aging
Insomnia can take a major toll. Hormone loss and sleeplessness during menopause makes women age more rapidly, new research shows. A UCLA study analyzed DNA changes in blood, saliva, and cheek tissue samples from more than 3,100 women to investigate the link between each participant’s chronological age and her body’s biological age. “We discovered that menopause speeds up cellular aging by an average of 6 percent,” study author Steve Horvath tells ScienceDaily?.com. “That doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up over a woman’s life span.” The earlier women enter this “change of life,” the faster their blood ages—a woman who goes through menopause at 42, instead of the typical age of 50, will gain about a year. Insomnia makes matters worse. A similar UCLA study found postmenopausal women who were restless throughout the night were nearly two years older biologically than their soundly sleeping peers. “We need to develop a new kind of hormone therapy that still has the benefits of keeping the cells and tissues young,” Horvath says, “but at the same time doesn’t have the risk factors for certain diseases.”

7-29-16 Sweden to investigate sex lives
Sweden to investigate sex lives
Sweden is launching a three-year official study of its citizens' sex lives - the first for 20 years. Health Minister Gabriel Wikstrom said sexual health policy should be guided not just by the problems, but also by the pleasurable aspects of sex. Surveys done by tabloid newspapers suggest Swedes are having less sex, he wrote in the daily Dagens Nyheter. The new study should find out if that is true, and if so why, he said. Stress could be a problem, he said.

7-23-16 How do you make a man wear a condom?
How do you make a man wear a condom?
Recent studies have suggested that condom use is on the decline in South Africa, which has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world. Some 2,700 young South Africans are infected with HIV every week - 74 % of them girls. The BBC's Pumza Fihlani speaks to some women in Johannesburg about their attitudes towards sex, men and getting them to use condoms.

7-14-16 This revolutionary Bolivian hospital is changing how women give birth
This revolutionary Bolivian hospital is changing how women give birth
Under the dim hospital light, a midwife, a doctor, a pregnant woman, and her mother silently ponder what they should do with a baby that fiercely resists coming out of the womb. he longer the labor, the more dangerous it gets, and it has been almost a full day since the woman arrived here at the hospital. In Bolivia, which has the second-highest maternal mortality rate in South America, such a delay is a mortal threat. But here, in the high Andean plateau, hours from any major hospital, the mother is in very good hands. Mother, partera, doctor, and nurse place a green mat on the floor of the hospital and gently move the woman over it. She is on her knees, her head on her mother's hands; Doña Leonarda rolls up the woman's skirt. It's going to be a vertical delivery, virtually unheard of in Bolivian hospitals but the traditional method in the Andean region. It's the way this pregnant woman was born herself, thirty years ago, just like her mother before her, and her grandmother, and so on. Dr. Flores learned the delivery method from the indigenous healers of El Altiplano — Bolivia's Andean plateau — and he is one of the few doctors in the country who is confident enough to try it.

7-6-16 The unknown effect of the pill on teenage bones and brains
The unknown effect of the pill on teenage bones and brains
Thousands of teenage girls worldwide take hormonal contraception. But despite changes in legislation, we still don't know what this does to their bodies. TEENAGE pregnancies have hit record lows in the Western world, largely thanks to increased use of contraceptives of all kinds. But strangely, we don’t really know what hormonal contraceptives – pills, patches and injections that contain synthetic sex hormones – are doing to the developing bodies and brains of teenage girls. You’d be forgiven for assuming that we do. After all, the pill has been around for more than 50 years. It has been through many large trials assessing its effectiveness and safety, as have the more recent patches and rings, and the longer-lasting implants and injections. But those studies were done in adult women – very few have been in teenage girls. And biologically, there is a big difference. At puberty, our bodies undergo an upheaval as our hormones go haywire. It isn’t until our 20s that things settle down and our brains and bones reach maturity.

7-6-16 UK doctors may officially warn women of vaginal birth risks
UK doctors may officially warn women of vaginal birth risks
Following a UK Supreme Court ruling in 2015, doctors are considering offering pregnant women official advice on the risks of vaginal birth as well as caesarean sections. FOR the first time, pregnant women in the UK may be given official advice about the relative risks of vaginal births and caesarean sections. The move comes in the wake of a landmark 2015 UK Supreme Court case that awarded damages for a baby who sustained brain damage during vaginal birth. In this case, the plaintiff had a higher than usual risk of having a difficult birth, due to having a small pelvis and diabetes. But doctors didn’t inform her of these increased risks – an act of “medical paternalism”, said the presiding judge, who decided in the mother’s favour. This ruling is seen as applying to all births. Although advice is available for those who seek it out, women are not officially warned about common risks such as tearing and incontinence, because vaginal birth is seen as the default outcome of pregnancy.

7-6-16 Women’s heavy periods could be explained by missing protein
Women’s heavy periods could be explained by missing protein
A protein that helps repair the uterus lining is lacking in women with heavy periods, a finding that could lead to new treatments. At last, a clue. One third of women experience heavy menstrual bleeding – losing more than 80 millilitres of blood during a period – at least once in their lives. Individual anatomical differences are often blamed, but low levels of a protein may be the culprit. The discovery could lead to new, more targeted treatments. “Heavy menstrual bleeding is one of the most common reasons for referral to a gynaecologist,” says Jackie Maybin of the MRC Centre for Reproductive Health at the University of Edinburgh, UK. “It can have a big impact on a person’s quality of life.” Sometimes, a physical cause can be identified – fibroids and endometriosis can both trigger excess menstrual bleeding, for example. But in around half of cases, the cause remains a mystery. Now there’s evidence a protein called HIF1 is involved. This protein activates other genes when oxygen levels drop – something that is known to happen in the uterus during a period – and plays a role in repairing the gut.

7-5-16 Trying to get pregnant? There’s no need to lie still afterwards
Trying to get pregnant? There’s no need to lie still afterwards
The idea that women are more likely to conceive if they lie down after a semen injection is a myth – semen doesn’t fall out when you stand up. If you’ve ever tried to get pregnant, you’ll almost certainly have heard that it helps if a woman lies still after her partner ejaculates. But this is unlikely to make a difference, a study suggests. The idea is that lying down for a while gives the sperm time to reach their destination egg. The same theory has been applied to intra-uterine insemination (IUI), a fertility treatment that involves injecting sperm directly into a woman’s uterus. “There’s a lot of anxiety that after IUI if you stand up, everything will fall out,” says Nick Macklon of the University of Southampton, UK.

6-28-16 Breastfeeding brides respond to Canada wedding photo
Breastfeeding brides respond to Canada wedding photo
At weddings, sometimes the most unexpected moments turn out to be the most memorable. For a Canadian mum, that moment was taking time out of her own wedding to breastfeed her nine-month-old daughter. Christina Torino-Benton, 30, said her daughter Gemma began crying during the ceremony after a hot, stressful morning without a nap. The Montreal native said she quickly took her daughter and began breastfeeding her as the priest continued to talk - a moment the bride's photographer Lana Nimmons was able to capture on camera. "It didn't cross my mind not to nurse her while it was happening," Mrs Torino-Benton told the BBC. "It was the only thing to do, really."

6-23-16 Three cheers for New York City's new tampon laws!
Three cheers for New York City's new tampon laws!
Menstruation. No one wants to talk about it; half of humanity spends four and a half years of our lives experiencing it. Really: Four and a half years. Give or take. Figure an average four days a month for about 35 years, and hey presto: You could get a college degree and have time left for a job search. Many other topics broadly considered "women's issues" — pregnancy, pay disparity, sexual assault — are now discussed, if not by everyone and not always in helpful tones, at least regularly and openly. Fellas who might once have been repulsed by childbirth now speak knowledgeably about cervical dilation; many 21st century men actively advocate for pay equity and ending sexual violence. Menstruation on the other hand…? Full disclosure: I get it. Spontaneous, uncontrolled bleeding from a body part most people associate with pleasure (or try not to think about at all) is daunting. It's also (in the spirt of continued honesty) unpleasant. I've known people who find menstruation beautiful, and I've heard of some who throw parties at the onset of their daughters' menses. I do not understand these people. As far as this believing Jew is concerned, menstruation is one of the most powerful indications we have that God is not, contrary to reports, perfect. Removing the tampon tax is a good first step — but for the truly poor, it won't make much of a difference. On Tuesday, New York City went a step farther and did what every city and state really needs to do, passing a series of laws to provide free period supplies in correctional facilities, shelters, and schools.

6-23-16 Cameroon debates criminalising adultery
Cameroon debates criminalising adultery
Men who commit adultery could be sent to jail under a new law being debated by parliament in Cameroon. The law has the backing of President's Paul Biya's party and so might be approved. Women already face being jailed for between two to six months for having sexual relations outside marriage and men would face the same punishment. Bar Association head Ngnie Kamga said the law would "take Cameroon backwards and would send more people to prisons". (Webmaster's comment: This is a bad idea but the punishment should be the same for men and women.)

6-3-16 Sex education in Kentucky
Sex education in Kentucky
Sex education in Kentucky, after blogger Ryan Nickum examined the most common Google searches to find out which state asked certain questions more than other states. Folks in the Bluegrass State were most likely to ask, “How to make a baby?”

6-2-16 Will the left turn on sexual freedom?
Will the left turn on sexual freedom?
Moral libertarianism presumes that no authority — political, legal, or religious — is competent to pronounce judgment on an individual’s decisions, provided that they don’t negatively effect other people. Thanks to this assumption, a grand edifice of inherited moral and legal strictures on sexuality have crumbled over the past half century, leaving individuals free to live and love as they wish, as long as everyone involved gives their consent. That may be starting to change. While in recent years there have been some moves toward mainstreaming and decriminalizing prostitution and other forms of "sex work," growing numbers of young women have been working to publicize the prevalence of rape on college campuses and the tendency of university administrators to go easy on the perpetrators. In terms of moral libertarianism, that sounds like a draw, with the former its latest advance and the latter a call to police its boundaries under Title IX.

5-31-16 The invention that stops girls missing school every month
The invention that stops girls missing school every month
In Malawi a packet of sanitary towels can cost a whole day's pay, and girls often miss school because the cotton strips they use instead are inadequate. Charlotte Ashton met a woman in Blantyre who's come up with a solution.

5-19-16 The sneakily progressive feminism of Cosmopolitan
The sneakily progressive feminism of Cosmopolitan
Where would we be without Helen Gurley Brown's sex-loving brand of feminism? The conventional wisdom around Brown, the author of Sex and the Single Girl, and the long-time editor of Cosmopolitan magazine, was neatly summed up recently by Rebecca Traister in her new book All the Single Ladies. Brown was in the business of talking to "unmarried, sexually adventurous women," Traister wrote, who Brown thought were "motivated largely by their hunt for husbands" but ought to "be having fun and feeling good about themselves along the way." This reputation as a rather jaunty woman not to be taken seriously by Serious People dogged Brown throughout her career. While at Cosmopolitan, her critics and colleagues dismissed her as a hack, an imposter, and "just a woman who wrote a sex book." Brown herself often helped peddle this shallow narrative during her rise from office secretary to editor-in-chief of America's bestselling magazine for young women. But that's not all Helen Gurley Brown was. She was ambitious, generous, wildly insecure, and a hard-working champion of women. She was one of the most influential feminists of her time, pioneering a mini-skirted brand of girl power that showed women they can and should have sex, desires, and a full and productive life, just like men.

5-11-16 The Irish women who fought to legalise contraception
The Irish women who fought to legalise contraception
In May 1971, a group of Irish women challenged the ban on contraception in Ireland.

5-8-16 Japan vagina artist cleared over kayak model but fined for data distribution
Japan vagina artist cleared over kayak model but fined for data distribution
A Japanese court has found an artist not guilty for displaying a kayak based on the shape of her vagina. The judge ruled that Megumi Igarashi's brightly-coloured kayak sculpture did not immediately suggest female anatomy. However, she was fined 400,000 yen ($3,700) after a judge ruled that she broke the law by sharing data from 3D scans of her genitalia, which could be used to recreate the shape of a vagina. Japan's strict obscenity laws prohibit public displays of genitalia.

5-6-16 Innovation of the week
Innovation of the week
Most nursing mothers would rather do anything else than pump breast milk, said Michal Lev-Ram in Fortune.com. “If the experience isn’t painful for them, it’s certainly time-consuming and frustrating and loud.” Janica Alvarez, a former pharmaceutical researcher and a mom of three who struggled with traditional breast pumps, aims to change all that. Her Silicon Valley startup, Naya Health, has created the $599 Smart Pump, which uses a water-based hydraulic system instead of the air-based suction used in most breast pumps. The design is quieter, and “allows for a machine that more closely mimics the motions of a nursing baby.” It contains fewer parts to clean than current pumps on the market, and—as with many modern smart devices—there’s also an app, to track pumping sessions. The Smart Pump will start shipping in August.

5-6-16 Teen birth rates
Teen birth rates
Teen birth rates have fallen to an all-time low, plunging 61 percent since 1991—partly because of access to reliable birth control, and partly because teenagers are having less sex. The percentage of teenage females who are sexually active declined from 51 percent in 1988 to 43 percent in the period 2006–2010.

5-6-16 It’s still a crime in 21 states
It’s still a crime in 21 states
“Why is adultery still a crime?” asked Deborah Rhode. Believe it or not, cheating on your spouse remains illegal in 21 states; in Wisconsin and Oklahoma, it’s a felony. These laws are rarely enforced—if they were, Donald Trump might not have boasted about his serial philandering. But the fact that adultery is still a crime enables employers and the government to punish people for it. “Courts have permitted dismissals or discipline of police officers, librarians, fire department employees, and FBI trainees based on marital infidelity that had no demonstrable connection to their job performance.” In states that have repealed adultery laws, there has been no resulting epidemic of cheating; indeed, research today shows that about 20 percent of married men and 15 percent of married women admit to having been unfaithful—substantially lower rates than in the 1950s. Legal scholar Thurmond Arnold once made this cogent observation about unenforced laws: “They are unenforced because we want to continue our conduct, and unrepealed because we want to preserve our morals.” Let’s stop playing that hypocritical game, and get these “anachronistic [and] intrusive” laws off the books.

5-6-16 China bans 'erotic' banana-eating live streams
China bans 'erotic' banana-eating live streams
Chinese live-streaming services have banned people filming themselves eating bananas in a "seductive" fashion. New regulations mean that live-streaming sites must monitor all their output round-the-clock to ensure nothing untoward is going on, keeping an eye out for any "erotic" banana-eating, according to New Express Daily. It's not just fruit that's on their radar though - the paper adds that wearing stockings and suspenders while hosting a live stream is now also forbidden. The move is the authorities' latest attempt to clamp down on "inappropriate and erotic" online content, state-controlled CCTV reports. In April, the Ministry of Culture announced it was investigating a number of popular live-streaming platforms for allegedly hosting pornographic or violent content that "harms social morality".

5-5-16 Designers shape sex toys of the future
Designers shape sex toys of the future
A university in Melbourne has established what is believed to be the world's first industrial design course focused on sex toys. Course co-ordinator Dr Judith Glover wants to create beautiful and functional alternatives to the products created by the porn industry. In doing so, she hopes to reach an untapped market of women who don't feel comfortable with the types of products already available. In this video, she provides a history of sex-toy design and explains the design philosophy of the Future Sex Studio.

5-5-16 Science has identified the behaviors that make you seem super creepy
Science has identified the behaviors that make you seem super creepy
Science has identified the behaviors that make you seem super creepy. To be fair, this isn't the first study of what sort of stuff creeps out us. One relatively recent paper from the University College London studied how 400 volunteers responded to prolonged eye contact, and determined that 3.2 seconds is about how long you can stare at someone before you begin to freak them out a little. Broadly, the authors concluded that creepy eye came down to the perception of a threat — under three seconds feels safe, and more than that feels purposeful. As expected, one of the main drivers of creepiness came down to sex — especially for women. Both men and women in the study agreed that men were more likely to be creepy than women, and women stressed that men who constantly steer conversations toward sex are invariably creeps. Women were far more likely than men to identify creepiness with sexual overtones, and far more likely than their male counterparts to say that unwanted sexual advances, requests for photos, and violations of personal space were surefire indications of creepiness. Broadly, the findings suggest that unwanted sexual advances, unpredictability and, perhaps, a deep-seated fear of people with medical conditions or those living in poverty all contribute to how we define creepiness. The authors suggest that the common thread between these factors is that creepy people appear to earn the title by making us feel uncomfortable, namely because we can't always predict how they'll act or whether they'll pose a threat to us.

4-20-16 Your genes can dictate when you lose your virginity
Your genes can dictate when you lose your virginity
New research suggests there's more to your first time than we originally thought. Now, scientists have honed in on regions of the genome that appear to play a role in influencing when people first have intercourse, as well as when they go through puberty and have their first child. Societal and family factors still outweigh genetic factors, researchers say, so teenagers who are genetically predisposed to have sex earlier won't if their parents don't let them out of the house or if they are committed to abstinence. In contrast, adolescents who are biologically inclined to wait could have sex earlier in the face of peer pressure. But John Perry, a University of Cambridge geneticist and a senior author on a paper published Monday in Nature Genetics, said DNA plays more of a role than people assume. If some people have sex at 15 years old and others wait until 20, genetics account for 25 percent of that difference, Perry said. "It's one of those things that people think is completely choice," Perry said. "Sure, choice has a massive role in this, but there are biological and genetic factors, too."

4-19-16 Utah declares porn a public health hazard
Utah declares porn a public health hazard
The US state of Utah has become the first to declare pornography a public health risk in a move its governor says is to "protect our families and our young people". The bill does not ban pornography in the mainly Mormon state. However, it calls for greater "efforts to prevent pornography exposure and addiction". One group representing the adult entertainment industry attacked what it called "an old-fashioned morals bill".

4-18-16 38 genes influence when you lose your virginity. But so what?
38 genes influence when you lose your virginity. But so what?
A genetic study has found areas of the genome linked with the age at which people have sex for the first time. What should we make of it. In many Western countries the average age is about 16. In the mid-19th-century (1850), the average age girls in the US first had periods was 18. By 1980, it had fallen to 12 where it seems to have levelled off. Wait, what? We’ve found the virginity gene? So if parents had their child’s genome sequenced it could predict when they might first have sex? What would those other factors be? But isn’t it surprising that genes have any influence at all? When do most people first have sex? Hasn’t the average age of puberty been falling too? Is it the end of the world if children are having sex earlier, as long as it’s consenting?

4-15-16 A feminist among the centerfolds
A feminist among the centerfolds
In 1969, I naïvely accepted an assignment from ‘Playboy’ to write about the women’s lib movement, says author Susan Braudy. I should have known better. Almost as soon as I arrived in Manhattan to seek my fortune, I backed into a knuckle-bruising battle with Playboy’s Hugh Hefner.

4-15-16 Women who are truly ‘empowered’
Women who are truly ‘empowered’
Are celebrities who post naked photos of themselves empowering themselves? asked Chelsea Samelson. That’s the contention of Kim Kardashian and her many defenders, who’ve insisted it’s “slut shaming” to criticize her habit of tweeting photos of her naked breasts and butt—a stunt many other celebrities are now competitively imitating. Please. Kardashian is perhaps the most famous woman in the Western world, yet all she has done is flaunt the fact that she has “a physically attractive body.” Her appearance is everything, “and she lives for validation of her sexiness and desirability.” That’s not empowerment. It’s not feminism. “It’s the mindset of body and breasts over brains.” When celebrities promote their careers this way, “women everywhere lose.” If you want to see truly empowered women, you won’t find them taking naked selfies. You’ll find them graduating college at higher rates than men, “running companies, running for office, and running the homes that are raising America’s next generation.” Today, a woman “can do anything in the world she wants to do.” Why would she define herself by her breasts?

4-15-16 Porn: The impact on young men’s sex lives
Porn: The impact on young men’s sex lives
Is porn destroying the virility of young men? asked Belinda Luscombe in Time. Thanks to the internet, a generation of males has grown up with brains that have been “virtually marinated in porn”—explicit videos of sex acts of every imaginable kind, which they start viewing at the average age of 12. A growing number of young men now say that their porn diet has impaired their sexuality and led to performance issues in the bedroom, or “porn-induced erectile dysfunction.” Used to the instant gratification and ever-changing novelty of porn videos, up to a third of men under 40 have suffered erectile dysfunction when faced with a real-life woman, according to several studies. “These young men feel like unwitting guinea pigs in a largely unmonitored decade-long experiment”—and the consequences for many “are literally a downer.”

4-14-16 Germany trafficking: Mass police raid on Berlin mega-brothel
Germany trafficking: Mass police raid on Berlin mega-brothel
Nine hundred police officers have taken part in a raid on one of Germany's biggest brothels in Berlin, making six arrests over alleged human trafficking and tax fraud. Brothel managers are accused of evading some €17.5m (£14m; $19.7m) in social security payments since 2006. Prosecutors allege that staff at Artemis were forced to pretend to be self-employed to avoid the payments. Germany legalised prostitution in 2002, creating an industry now thought to be worth approximately €16bn per year. So-called "mega-brothels" are common, attracting tourists from neighbouring countries with stricter laws, and sex workers from Eastern Europe. The number of prostitutes in Germany is thought to have doubled to 400,000 over the last 20 years.

4-13-16 US schoolgirls face punishment after hiring male stripper
US schoolgirls face punishment after hiring male stripper
A US synchronised swimming team comprising ninth grade girls aged between 14 and 15 hired a male stripper to perform at their annual banquet, officials in the state of Iowa say. The father of one of the team members told local media the girls had employed the stripper as a joke, and he had not totally disrobed. Officials in Des Moines are deciding how the girls will be punished.

4-12-16 Why we don't sleep around all that much any more
Why we don't sleep around all that much any more
In the distant past humans were much more free with our affections, but once our ancestors had settled down to farming, playing the field fell out of fashion. Sperm is plentiful and does not take long to make, so it would not benefit a male to invest in only one female, who will take a long time to reproduce. A female can also benefit from having a variety of partners. If her children have different fathers, some might be better protected if a disease comes along. So if monogamy is not that useful, why did it become a favoured way of life in so many cultures?

4-13-16 Coca-Cola advert banned in Kenya over kissing scene
Coca-Cola advert banned in Kenya over kissing scene
Kenya's Film Classification Board (KFCB) has forced Coca-Cola to scrap a kissing scene in a television advert because it "violated family values". In the three-second scene two strangers have a passionate embrace in a library. The head of the film board Ezekiel Mutua said Coca-Cola has agreed to release a new version of the commercial without the scene on Wednesday night.

4-7-16 France prostitution: MPs outlaw paying for sex
France prostitution: MPs outlaw paying for sex
French MPs have passed a law that makes it illegal to pay for sex and imposes fines of up to €3,750 (£3,027, $4,274) for those buying sexual acts. Those convicted would also have to attend classes to learn about the conditions faced by prostitutes. It has taken more than two years to pass the controversial legislation because of differences between the two houses of parliament over the issue. Some sex workers protested against the law during the final debate. The demonstrators outside parliament in Paris, numbering about 60, carried banners and placards one of which read: "Don't liberate me, I'll take care of myself". Members of the Strass sex workers' union say the law will affect the livelihoods of France's sex workers, estimated to number between 30,000 and 40,000. Sweden was the first country to criminalise those who pay for sex rather than the prostitutes, introducing the law in 1999. Other countries have since adopted the so-called "Nordic model": Norway in 2008, Iceland in 2009, and Northern Ireland in 2014. Earlier this year, the European parliament approved a resolution calling for the law to be adopted throughout the continent. But many advocacy groups warn the model makes sex work more dangerous.

4-7-16 French MPs pass law banning payment for sex
French MPs pass law banning payment for sex
The French parliament has voted to make it illegal to pay for sex. People caught buying the services of a sex worker could be fined up to €3,750 (£3,027, $4,274).

3-30-16 Sex worker caught by 'drone vigilante' pleads guilty
Sex worker caught by 'drone vigilante' pleads guilty
A woman in Oklahoma has pleaded guilty to a lewdness charge after being caught on camera by a local "drone vigilante". Brian Bates used a drone to film Amanda Zolicoffer during a liaison with a man last August. Mr Bates says this was the only occasion on which he has used a drone to film such an encounter. A civil liberties campaigner pointed out that filming with drones could raise privacy concerns. According to court documents seen by the BBC, Zolicoffer was sentenced to a year in state prison for the misdemeanour.

3-16-16 The godmother of manga sex in Japan
The godmother of manga sex in Japan
A recent UN report weighed into a debate that provokes intense controversy in Japan, by including manga in a list of content with violent pornography. The BBC's Yuko Kato went to meet one of Japan's leading female manga artists, Keiko Takemiya, seen as the woman who opened the floodgates to sexually explicit manga.

3-10-16 Football dreams: The league inspiring Indian sex workers' children
Football dreams: The league inspiring Indian sex workers' children
She's Satabdi Saha and she's part of the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (DMSC), the 65,000-strong sex worker collective who have been organising this tournament, the only one of its kind in India, for five years now. We run a home for the children of sex workers," Bharati Dey, the secretary of DMSC tells the BBC. "But children would drop out of school because of stigma. We needed something they could focus on. And everyone likes football."

3-9-16 Female orgasm debates reveal the sexism in sex medicine
Female orgasm debates reveal the sexism in sex medicine
There’s a lot of misinformation out there about female sexuality. Does some of the blame lie with the scientific research that is supposed to be above that kind of thing, asks Jessica Hamzelou. Take the dispute on the evolutionary purpose of the female orgasm. There is a genuine mystery here. While it seems obvious that men’s orgasms are important for reproduction, a woman doesn’t need to orgasm to get pregnant. Only about 25 per cent of women say they regularly orgasm via vaginal intercourse alone. If orgasm were vital for reproduction, or for generating a lasting bond between lovers, you might expect them to be more common. So what is the female orgasm for? I came hoping to hear some ground-breaking science. But many of the ideas were tired old theories with no convincing evidence to support them. For example, that women orgasm purely for the enjoyment and arousal of their male partner, or in order to be immobilised to let the man finish.

3-4-16 Too drunk, can't add: Why some Indian women are turning away grooms
Too drunk, can't add: Why some Indian women are turning away grooms
Years ago, during a visit to my village in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, I heard a female relative boast that as a high-caste Brahmin, she would have no trouble getting a bride for her dog, let alone for her unemployed son. Her confidence stemmed from the fact that women have traditionally enjoyed a very low status in India's most populous state, which has a population of more than 200 million people. The state has consistently performed badly on UN human development indexes, and women here - especially in rural areas - still have little say in important life decisions, including when and whom to marry. Millions of girls are married off even before they turn 18 - the legal age of marriage. But the winds of change seem to be finally blowing in the state - in recent months, young women have turned away grooms they've found to be unfit for a variety of reasons. Too drunk! Couldn't do maths! 'Sick' groom! Undone by a kiss! Lights out! No spitting!

2-27-16 China's high-speed sexual revolution
China's high-speed sexual revolution
Over the last 20 years, Chinese attitudes to sex have undergone a revolution - a process carefully observed, and sometimes encouraged, by the country's first female sexologist, Li Yinhe. "In the survey I made in 1989, 15.5% of people had sex before marriage," says Li Yinhe. "But in the survey I did two years ago, the figure went up to 71%." It's one of many rapid changes she has recorded in her career. She uses the word "revolution" herself and it's easy to see why. Until 1997, sex before marriage was actually illegal and could be prosecuted as "hooliganism". It's a similar story with pornography, prostitution and swingers' parties. (Webmaster's comment: Since women are generally the ones who decide whether or not to have sex, and who to have it with, it's changes in women's thinking that have led this revolution.)

2-22-16 Vaccine halves cancer-causing HPV infections in US teen girls
Vaccine halves cancer-causing HPV infections in US teen girls
The number of people infected with the virus, which causes most cases of cervical cancer, has fallen dramatically since the vaccine's introduction. Vaccination against human papilloma virus has more than halved the number of HPV infections in the US – the leading cause of cervical cancer – despite its relatively low uptake in the country. The growing body of evidence that HPV vaccination works may convince more countries to give the vaccine to teenage boys, as HPV also causes cancers of the mouth, throat and anus, as well as genital warts. “It supports the case to strive for as much coverage as possible,” says Johannes Bogaards of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment at Bilthoven in the Netherlands, who wasn’t involved in the latest study. The vaccine, called Gardasil, was designed to prevent cervical cancer. It works against four strains of HPV, which cause almost all cases of this type of cancer.

2-12-16 Who expects sex on first date?
Who expects sex on first date?
Voters who support Donald Trump are 11 times more likely to expect sex on the first date than are supporters of Hillary Clinton, according to a study of 5,504 singles by the dating site Match.com. Trump supporters are also 99 percent more likely to film themselves having sex than Clinton supporters.

2-10-16 Why South African mayor offers virgin scholarships
Why South African mayor offers virgin scholarships
The South African mayor who wants schoolgirls to stay 'pure'. A scheme which offers female students scholarships to girls in rural South Africa if they can prove they are virgins has been condemned by human rights groups. The BBC's Nomsa Maseko visited the town to find out more. Thubelihle Dlodlo is nervous about leaving home in Emcitsheni village in rural KwaZulu-Natal. The 18-year-old has won a prized scholarship, but there is a catch: she only qualifies for the funding if she keeps her virginity. "Remaining a virgin is my only chance to get an education because my parents can't afford to take me to school," she says. To continue receiving her funding, Ms Dlodlo has to undergo regular virginity tests but she says she does not mind. "Virginity testing is part of my culture, it is not an invasion of my privacy and I feel proud after I'm confirmed to be pure."

2-4-16 US health agency's advice that millions of women should not drink is mocked
US health agency's advice that millions of women should not drink is mocked
Public health communication can be a tricky art. The science needs to be sound, of course, but so does the tone. The US-based Centres for Disease and Control (CDC)'s latest advice, on drinking during pregnancy, has been ridiculed online for broadening the warning out to millions of American women who are not pregnant. Scientists differ on how much alcohol is safe to drink in pregnancy, so health authorities tend to recommend not having any at all. The CDC took the same approach, which could be called "better safe than sorry". But their guidance went a step further, to say that sexually-active women of childbearing age should stop drinking if they were not using contraception. This was in case they got pregnant accidentally.

2-1-16 Boost C-section babies by giving them vaginal bacteria
Boost C-section babies by giving them vaginal bacteria
C-section babies swabbed with vaginal fluid have the gut bugs of babies born conventionally, which may reduce asthma and obesity and affect their future health. Giving babies a swab of vaginal fluid after they’ve been born by caesarean section gives them a different, and possibly beneficial, set of gut bacteria. The dramatic transition from womb to world is the time when a baby ingests some of the first bacteria that will colonise its guts. But babies born by C-section miss out on this process, and end up with a different set of bugs – including some from the hospital environment. A number of studies have found evidence that this C-section microbiome could make the child more vulnerable to problems later in life, such as asthma, food allergies, hay fever and obesity. “Maybe we can reduce this risk by restoring the microbiome of C-section babies,” says Jose Clemente at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.

1-29-16 Personal security and The human race
Personal security and The human race
Personal security, after an Italian woman called the local fire department because she had lost the key to her chastity belt. The firefighters were able to break the iron clasp, which the woman said she donned to prevent herself from succumbing to temptation. The human race, after a new survey by the Barna Group concluded that many teens, young women, and older adults now rely on online pornography for gratification because it’s “less risky than actual sex.”

1-22-16 Are You A Virgin?
Are You A Virgin?
A Republican lawmaker in Olympia, Wash., shocked a group of teenage girls lobbying for Planned Parenthood by asking them whether they were virgins. State Rep. Mary Dye, who is opposed to giving teens access to birth control, admitted that her “well--intended” comments about sex may have been too “motherly.” One student called Dye’s questions about the students’ virginity “kind of insane.”

1-22-16 Having Babies Later
Having Babies Later
The average age of first-time mothers in the U.S. is 26.3, an all-time high. The change is mostly due to a drop in teen moms, but more first births to older women are also tugging the number up. When the government began tracking the ages of new mothers in 1970, the average was 21.

1-15-16 Home births riskier
Home births riskier
As a growing number of American women opt to give birth at home or in a birthing center, new research shows that delivering outside a hospital is riskier for babies. A study of nearly 80,000 pregnancies in Oregon found the likelihood that an infant will die during birth or shortly thereafter is 2.4 times greater for planned non-hospital births than for in-hospital deliveries. Giving birth outside the hospital also increases the risk that the mother will need a blood transfusion and that her baby will experience complications, such as seizures. On the other hand, women who avoided the hospital underwent five times fewer caesarean sections than those who had planned hospital deliveries. Researchers point out that the overall risk for babies remains low, regardless of a woman’s birth plan. “The question is what is most important to you and what risks are you willing to accept,” obstetrician Michael Greene tells The New York Times. “We’re not going to pat women on the head and tell them what to do.”

1-15-16 The sale of breast pumps has soared
The sale of breast pumps has soared
The sale of breast pumps has soared 50 percent since 2013, partly because so many new mothers have jobs outside the home and partly because the devices are covered under the Affordable Care Act. Some women with leftover frozen breast milk are selling it for $1 to $3 an ounce on websites like onlythebreast.com to new mothers and athletes, who see it as a new superfood.

1-14-16 The age of first-time mothers is rising faster in the US
The age of first-time mothers is rising faster in the US
A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that the average age of first-time mothers in the US is on the rise. More US women are waiting longer to become mothers for the first time, according to figures released on Thursday. Although that's a continuation of a trend that's been seen since as far back as the 1970s, lead study author TJ Mathews says that they saw something interesting happening in the data starting in 2009. "There's more of an increase just in the last five years," he says. "To see something increasing steadily, it doesn't ever drop, and then to see it increasing even more is fascinating." In the new report, researchers found that as of 2000, the mean age of new moms in the US was 24.9 years. That figure rose to 26.3 years by 2014, and the majority of that spike occurred after 2009.

1-12-16 The bizarre rise of a massively popular porn star in ever-prudish India
The bizarre rise of a massively popular porn star in ever-prudish India
For four years in a row, the most Googled person in India has been Sunny Leone. Who? The daughter of Indian immigrants to Canada, Leone was a successful pornography star in America before returning to India to launch a movie career in Bollywood, where even kissing on screen is taboo. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi might win elections, he loses to Leone in Google searches. In 2014, the year Modi was elected in a landslide that effectively decimated the secular-socialist Congress Party that had dominated the country until then, he was second to Leone. And in 2015 he was a pathetic 10th. India is a conservative society and Modi comes from a brand of Hindutva or Hindu nationalism that wants to stop India's drift toward the West and restore traditional standards of sexual modesty. Hindutva hotheads have been known to forcibly marry couples just for hanging out on Valentine's Day because romance before marriage, as far as they are concerned, is Western debauchery. Modi's health minister considers sex education in schools as an invitation to licentiousness and wants to replace it with mandatory yoga classes. So what is Leone doing in Modi's India?

1-11-16 Playboy mansion for sale - and it comes with Hugh Hefner
Playboy mansion for sale - and it comes with Hugh Hefner
The Playboy Mansion, site of hundreds of wild parties, is for sale, but with a catch - it comes with its current owner, Playboy founder Hugh Hefner. However, buyers would get history. The backyard includes a swimming pool with the famous cave-like grotto where Playboy bunnies mixed with celebrities. The magazine announced last year that it would no longer publish photos of completely naked women in its US edition. (Webmaster's comment: By all means keep the sexist in his cage.)

1-8-16 Outraged over Omaha’s schools updated sex-education curriculum
Omaha’s schools updated sex-education curriculum
Outraged over Omaha’s schools have proposed an updated sex-education curriculum that has sparked outrage from parents, who claim the new standard “rapes children of their innocence.” The new curriculum would include lessons on contraceptives, abstinence, STDs, and gender identity. Opponents say the curriculum “gives children too much information.”

1-5-16 Women in Oregon can now get the pill over the counter
Women in Oregon can now get the pill over the counter
Women in Oregon can now pick up the pill at their local pharmacy, bypassing their doctor. The state has become the first in the US to provide over-the-counter birth control. California is set to implement a similar law in March. As of 1 January, pharmacists who receive extra training can inform women of their options, assess their suitability for hormonal contraception and supply the pills or patches. The move should make it easier to access contraception, says Jordan Conger, who represents Knute Buehler, the Oregon representative who proposed the law. He points to a study by the University of California, San Francisco, which estimated that around a quarter of women who don’t take the pill would start if it were available via pharmacies.

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