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High Heels Are the Devil

January 30, 2012

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photo via Flickr

High heels are an essential part of our fashion-glam culture. Finding a pair of flats at last night’s¬†Sag Awards¬†was like trying to find a vegan quinoa recipe in a Paula Deen cookbook. More common was the doughnut burger of the shoe world:¬†the 29-inch stiletto like Emma Stone wore. What women will suffer for fashion! Personally, the two of us fall into the more utilitarian camp: while Em has been known to rock a sparkly pump at a party, you’ll find her more often than not in the day-to-day dressing up a flow-y, flowery dress with a pair of Converse. And Lo? Nothing comes between her and her Danskos. It may not be pretty, but nothing’s more ugly than her mood after 20 minutes in a pair of uncomfortable pumps (are they even called that anymore?). Which is why we always feel high and mighty in our low flats when a new study about the horrors of high heels comes out: ¬†For a study published in the Jan. 12 issue of the¬†Journal of Applied Physiology,¬†researchers at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia¬†compared the strides of 9 women who wore two inch heels for at least 40 hours a week for a minimum of two years with strides of 10 young women who wore heels less than 10 hours per week, by outfitting them with electrodes and motion-capture reflective markers¬†to study their leg muscles. Here’s what they found happened to high heel wearers:

 

  • They walk with shorter, more forceful strides
  • They constantly have their feet flexed and their toes pointed
  • The above causes their calf muscles to shorten
  • And shorter muscles means much greater mechanical strain on their calf muscles
  • The strain means walking less efficiently which can lead to muscle fatigue
  • The greater muscle strain as well as the introduction of the occasional flat may mean greater risk of injury

Which is why it’s so nice that there are a few¬†fashion-glam events like the Sundance Film Festival, where comfortable, cozy flats reign supreme. Here’s to more of them!

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Toward a 2012 Treaty in the Battle of the Sexes

December 26, 2011

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As you may have noticed (we’re not exactly subtle on this point), we don’t buy the idea that men are from Mars, women are from Venus, and shuttles between the two are infrequent at best. We tend to think that women and men are a lot more alike than rumor (or headline) has it — especially when it comes to sex and love. But this is not to say that men and women are alike in all matters of love and lust. We’ll even go so far as to admit that some of the cliches about the gulf between men and women turn out to be true.

For example, we have long preached that women need to be incredibly blunt when it comes to asking men for what they want — or telling them what they don’t want. When rebuffing a guy’s advances, a vague and round-about rejection might seem kind, but ultimate it probably just ends up giving him hope. In our opinion, dudes are just programmed to find the tiniest bit of hope in anything a woman says or does.

And now here’s a survey to prove our long-time, amateur-psych theory: Psychologists at the University of Texas and Williams College recently studied undergrad speed-daters and discovered a number of interesting things:

  • Men who considered themselves attractive overestimated a woman‚Äôs desire for them.
  • The more attracted the man was to the woman, the more likely he was to overestimate her interest in him.
  • Women¬†consistently underestimated men’s sexual interest in them.

Looking for a new year’s resolution? Here are four, inspired by this study:

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Naked News: Rogue Sperm Donation, Teen Group Sex, and the End of Marriage

December 20, 2011

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Naked News: Teen Sexting “Epidemic”? Turns Out We Should All Chillax

December 6, 2011

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photo by Joe M500

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How Different Are Girls’ and Boys’ Brains?

November 21, 2011

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It’s a favorite question of ours…okay, of mine (i.e. Lo’s). And my personal answer is that yes, there are differences, but not as many or as great as our culture likes to assume or presume. And that bias we have as a society actually influences the development of boys’ and girls’ brains (which are elastic) so significantly as they grow, that by the time they are adults there is much more difference than there needs to be, than there would be if we lived in a much more egalitarian, less Men-Are-From-Mars world. In other words, it’s a self-fullfilling prophecy. So while there are differences, we would do better to celebrate our similarities, or at least our potential for overlapping skills and desires and tendencies, so that both sexes don’t feel so limited by any strict and narrow gender roles…

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Study Links Sex with Animals to Penile Cancer

November 14, 2011

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photo via flickr

No, seriously. We know this sounds like something straight out of The Onion, but a team of urologists in Brazil actually studied this. One theory on the connection is that sex with animals could cause micro-injuries to the penis, which are a well-recognized risk factor in the development of penile cancer. You’d think you’d have to survey, like, millions of men to find this kind of connection, right? Turns out, in rural Brazil, not so much. The researchers studied just under 500 men, 118 of whom were penile cancer patients — the rest had healthy schlongs. ¬†And here’s where it gets crazy: 45% of the penile cancer patients reports having sex with animals, and 32% of the healthy men admitted to bestiality. Yes, you read those numbers right: 45% and 32%.¬†For the discriminating zoophilia fan, it turns out that the kind of animal you schtup makes no difference to your penile cancer risk — mares, cows, pigs and chickens, whatever, they all popped up in this survey.

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Benevolent Sexism? Not So Much

October 11, 2011

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In case you’ve been hiding under a rock lately — or watching the soon-to-canceled TV show Playboy Club – so-called benevolent sexism is doing or saying nice things for sexist reasons. Killing them with kindness, as it were. For example, holding open a door for a woman (when you don’t do it for men), or offering to install a female co-worker’s computer (again, when you wouldn’t offer the same help to a man). It’s “subjective affection as a form of prejudice,” according to researchers Peter Glick and Susan T. Fiske, who first came up with the term benevolent sexism.¬†So sexism is not always hostile — does that mean that the kinder, gentler version is a good thing? Or, at least, not a bad thing?

The funny part is — or, perhaps, the utterly depressing part — that this debate has been going on for, um, twenty years. Yes, twenty years ago Glick and Fiske¬†developed the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory (ASI), which measures both Hostile Sexism and Benevolent Sexism. Since then, thousands of people in dozens of countries have taken the survey. And the results are still in: benevolent sexism sucks. It sucks like sexism. It is sexism. Because in every country where this survey was administered,¬†hostile and benevolent sexism are in a co-dependent relationship. You can’t have one without the other. The only difference is, with hostile (or obvious) sexism you are punished for not behaving appropriately and with benevolent (or old-school or stealth) sexism you are rewarded for behaving appropriately.

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The Coolest Presentation of Sex Survey Results Ever

September 16, 2011

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Lists of survey percentages can feel so blah on the page — even when they’re about sex. Not so anymore! Introducing The Sexualizer 1000 — an interactive visualization of the 20-question sex survey results of 1000 Brits. (And the fact that it’s about UK citizens only makes it slightly less interesting). The Sexualizer, an offshoot of the Sexperience website from the Channel 4 Sex Education Show, allows you to ask questions and follow each individual’s response…

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Study Shows Active Parenting Reduces Testosterone in Men

September 15, 2011

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Guy A: How are things going with your new baby?

Guy B: Oh, you know, that’s pretty much Amy’s deal.

We swear to god, this is an exact transcript of a conversation that took place between a friend of ours and one of his college buddies. Sure, it’s an extreme example, but it’s not an isolated incident. Another guy told Em’s husband that his social life had altered “about 10%” since having a kid. And even many evolved, sensitive, awesome guys that we know can hover around the perimeter during the early stages of fatherhood — more like a friendly uncle than a parent. It’s understandable, in many ways, given how mom-focused (okay, boob-focused) most babies are.

But it turns out that, despite all this, men’s bodies biologically adapt to parenthood, too. And we don’t just mean the shooting sperm part.¬†As we reported earlier this week, a new study found that men’s¬†testosterone drops when they become dads. What’s even more interesting is that the more the man gets involved with that whole parenting gig, the more his testosterone stops.

Don’t worry, dudes, it’s not the kind of plummet that would cause you to lose your chest hair or grow moobs. More like the kind of gentle dip that might make you slightly less susceptible to a flirtatious waitress… and slightly more open to singing “The Wheels on the Bus” for the hundredth time that week.

In other words, it looks like men’s bodies have evolved to help them commit to their families once kids show up. Which means that, evolutionarily speaking, nature wants men to change diapers.

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New Research Shows We Still Have No F-ing Clue About the Female Orgasm

September 9, 2011

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photo via flickr

The female orgasm is a mystery, and not just in that how-the-hell-can-I-make-my-girlfriend-climax kind of way. Scientists just can’t seem to figure out what it’s there for. The most recent theory — popularized in the 2005 book The Case of the Female Orgasm — was that it was just an accidental evolutionary by-product of the male orgasm. Meaning, the orgasm is important for men (no shit) and women share biology with them, in the same way that men have non-functioning (unless you count orgasm via nipple clamps)¬†nipples. But anyway, a recent study of thousands of twins, and how they do or don’t orgasm, failed to prove this theory.

Two scientists –¬†Brendan Zietsch, a geneticist at the University of Queensland¬†and Pekka Santtila of Finland‚Äôs Abo Akedemi University — surveyed 1,803 pairs of opposite-sex twins and 2,287 pairs of same-sex twins. If the female orgasm was just a by-product, the thought went, then¬†opposite-sex twins should have similar orgasmic function. But… they didn’t. (Though same-sex twins did seem to have similar orgasmic tendencies.) The theory hasn’t been shot down completely, the researchers note, because self-reported orgasm data is notoriously unreliable. But still, “hasn’t been shot down completely” isn’t exactly the research breakthrough we were hoping for.¬†Which means it’s back to the drawing board for the men in women in lab coats who are trying to get to the bottom of the female orgasm. Hey, if it’s any consolation, most women we know can more than empathize.

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