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Helsinki: Where casual sex and geo-tagging meet

Finnish AIDS awareness campaign uses geo-location symbols to illustrate that lust often leads to the same spot.
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"You and 24 others have been here lately." The social networking geolocation symbols in the Finnish AIDS awareness campaign are used to indicate how many people have "visited" a particular genital. The campaign promotes the use of condoms. (McCann Helsinki/Courtesy)

Bill Johnson and 19 others were here. (Yes, "there.")

Such is the caption below a photo of a woman in underwear, with the geo-location symbols pointed at her private parts.

The point the Finish AIDS awareness campaign is trying to make is an obvious one – your Johnson might not have been the only one visiting Susan lately. And hinting that it most probably isn’t.

Borrowing from geo-location sites such as FourSquare, the campaign – created by the Helsinki agency McCann – comes in two other variations.

One portrays a man with the symbol pointing at his penis and an another man with the symbol pointing at his anus. The caption is always a variation of the same: “Adrian Bruce and 26 others were here.”

The posters are aimed at encouraging people indulging in casual sex to always use condoms.

What a fun and creative – if slightly disturbing – way to illustrate the realities of today’s dating! I am just hoping that the general idea of “genital geo-locating” doesn’t take off in real life.

Imagine where this could go, with the coming advances in predictive “friending“:

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Sex lives of sloths. Not as boring as we think

Sex is the only thing a sloth does quickly, a new documentary reveals.
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According to a new documentary airing on Animal Planet on March 4, sloths are not as lazy as we think. (WALTRAUD GRUBITZSCH/AFP/Getty Images)

By all intents and purposes, sloths might just take the honors for being every female species’ worst nightmare.

They're not only the world’s laziest animal.

Apparently the only thing they do quickly is sex.

And by quickly, I mean quickly.

The whole mating ritual is done, including foreplay, in about 5 seconds.

Then they proceed to get back to what they normally do – spending much of their lives upside down, hanging from the branches of a tree. And you thought excessive TV-watching was bad.

According to a new documentary "Meet the Sloths" airing Mar. 4 on Animal Planet, sloths are – surprisingly enough – an extremely sexually active animal. 

The documentary takes viewers to a sloth sanctuary in Costa Rica, run by a “sloth whisperer” Judy Arroyo.

The sanctuary is home to some 160 sloths, many of them orphaned or injured.

Arroyo has only one rule: no sloth sex. She doesn’t need more sloth babies.

But here is the problem.

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Justin Bieber turns 18 next week. Bring on the sex dolls?

You know what becoming an adult means. He may finally get his own celebrity sex doll.
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These are not sex dolls. Not yet. (justinbiebertoys.com/Courtesy)

Don’t ask me how this happened, but I found out today that the favorite celebrity doll of 2012 is the Justin Bieber doll.

That means thousands of little girls around the world are falling asleep every night cuddling a 12-inch Bieb.

He comes in many varieties, but all of them have the same bad hairstyle.

But that’s just the beginning of it.

Soon enough, cougars worldwide may be able to get a piece of him, as well.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Justin Bieber turns 18 on Mar. 1.

And you know what that means.

He’ll probably get his first official celebrity sex doll. (Not that there haven’t been plenty of imaginary ones.)

Why am I so confident in this prediction?

It seems that teenage pop stars have a special “forbidden fruit” appeal in the sex doll manufacturing world.

When Miley Cyrus turned 18, for example, a sex doll called “Finally Miley” with the added feature of “3 achy love holes” hit the shelves and sold out in 48 hours.

Miley Cyrus – although she is the youngest – isn’t the only celebrity with a silicone sex doll modeled after her.

According to Amog.com, there are at least 11 other popular celebrity dolls on the market today.

Here's a sample:

- Christina Aguilera‘s “Dirty Christina” doll

- She ain’t no BeyONCE, aka “You don’t have to put a ring on this”

- Jho, Famous Fanny Doll

- Jessica Simpson’s: “She used to be a tight end and now she is a wide receiver” doll

- Kinky Kim Filthy love doll

- Lindsay Fully Loaded Love Doll

- Pamela, busty blonde bombshell on duty

However, it looks like there is a real shortage of male celebrity sex dolls, which is a real shame. 

And this brings me to the soon-to-be grown-up Justin Bieber.

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Dear Pakistani men: Quit staring already

In Pakistan, women launch a campaign to prevent men from shamelessly staring at them.
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Who you looking at? (Adek Berry/AFP/Getty Images)

Pakistani women decided to fight the thing that has been making their their daily commutes miserable. No, it’s not pollution. In Karachi, the real problem is what they call the “staring syndrome.”

In The Express Tribune, a Pakistani newspaper, a young woman described her five-minute commute from work as the most stressful part of her day:

Whether I am wearing jeans with a shirt or am covered in a burqa, there are three points in that five-minute walk where I feel people eyeing me with extreme interest. The first is an under construction building, where poor and deprived labourers clearly get bored with their work all day long. The second is a showroom and its prolific guards who like to watch girls instead of thieves and intruders; the third is our area’s cobbler who I am sure has some serious vision problems because once his eyes get fixed at a point, they simply cannot deviate from it. And this is not it. Occasionally, an old toothless man or young, pre-pubescent boy walks by passing lewd comments.

She also writes that Pakistani women are used to atrocious staring, but that doesn’t mean they like it.

In fact, they dislike it so much an organization called Gawaahi, Media for Awareness and Advocacy organization, put together a video campaign titled “Stop Street Harassment,” to draw attention to the problem and to encourage women to stand to up “starers.”

In the video, one of the thing women say is that “staring makes them feel they only exist for a man’s pleasure."

What’s perhaps most interesting here is how some people in Pakistan have reacted to the anti-staring campaign.

Here is a sample of some of the comments in the above article:

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Speedos or Speedon’ts? That is the question

Perhaps no other item of clothing has generated as much public debate as the infamous Speedo. But what’s the big deal?
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Thailand, February 2012. Two teams, two swim suit views. (I.Roze/GlobalPost)

If you put any two Americans on any random beach in the world which Europeans frequent, the first thing they will unquestionably comment on will be the awful fashion statement called the Speedo.

Meanwhile, if you put any two Europeans on any beach Americans frequent, the first thing they will comment on will be the size of an average American — whether they wear ankle-length Hawaiian-patterned trunks or not.

Island-hopping in Thailand this week once again made it clear to me that the entire global male population divides into two distinct teams:

1) Swim trunks wearers (primarily Americans, Brits, Australians and New Zealanders)

2) “Banana hammock” wearers (the rest of the world)

While swim trunks wearers are 100 percent certain they are the more fashionable team, team Speedo has its own set of anti-trunk arguments, namely:
- in the 21st century, why would men voluntarily wear a male burqini?
- trunks are for homophobes and men not comfortable with their manhood (often the same people)
- trunks are not as “hygienic” (harder to dry and more fabric to absorb bacteria)
- if women — even the obese ones — have to “bare all” on the beach, it’s only fair men should, too
- annoying trunk wearers generally carry about two pounds of sand inside their trunks into any public shower
- you get a stupid tanline
- don’t even try to wear trunks while showering in an Icelandic pool (read this, Americans)

But all of the above is nothing comparing to all the slang terms out there for speedos.

A two-minute internet search generates enough synonyms to keep any men’s magazine subscriber entertained for decades.

Without further ado, Speedo is also known as:

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Faking orgasms common among Czechs

And we are not talking just about women here.
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Two Czech male extras perform a 'Chippendale' erotic dance during a four-day erotic culture fair Erotica Sex 2004 at the Prague Exhibition Grounds. (Staff/AFP/Getty Images)

That most women have faked an orgasm at one point or another — either out of laziness or because of (how does one put this?) an overly considerate partner’s persistence — is old news.

Remember Meg Ryan in her famous orgasm-faking scene from the movie When Harry Met Sally. But that was back in 1989, before online pornography went mainstream.

Nowadays it’s much easier for ladies to learn proper orgasm-faking techniques from those who do it for a living: female porn stars.

Surprisingly enough, men must have learned a few tricks in this arena over the years, too.

According to a study conducted in the Czech Republic— which is, consequently, one of the world’s most prominent porn production hubs — women aren’t the only ones who resort to the practice.

Based on the nationwide study of sexual behavior conducted by the research agency STEM/MARK, 64 percent of Czech women say they have faked an orgasm at least once, with 15 percent admitting they do it regularly.

What’s perhaps more interesting is that 20 percent of Czech men also claim they have faked an orgasm.

I have so many questions about that, I don’t even know where to start.

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The vagina monologue: About those Bangkok ping-pong shows

There's nothing sexy about Bangkok's most popular "sex show." Here's why.
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Timo Boll of Germany during the men's final at the 2010 World Team Table Tennis Championships in Moscow on May 30, 2010. (Yuri Kadobnov/AFP/Getty Images)

BANGKOK, Thailand — Before I came to Bangkok, I couldn’t decide whether I could stomach witnessing a real ping-pong show, the so-called “staple of the local sex industry.”

I thought I would either feel disgusted by the humiliating displays of female genitalia, or would just plain feel sorry for the women whose best chance to make a living is to use their pelvic muscles for entertaining the masses.

Enough has been written about the sexual exploitation of women in Thailand that I had to think twice (or more like hundred and twice) about whether I should contribute to Thailand’s sex trafficking by venturing to one of these venues.

But like many people visiting Bangkok, I couldn’t resist seeing it with my own eyes.

Most of all, I was dying to see the super-women who were able to use their privates in ways unimaginable to most women west of Bangkok.

Here is where my thinking on this subject was completely off.

A ping-pong show may be many things — comedic performance, a type of synchronized swimming routine using genitals, if you will — but it is certainly NOT a sex show.

Yes, women do insert and pop out various (and often quite impressive) objects out of there — namely ping pong balls, bananas, razor blades and ribbons, among other things — but that makes it about as much of a sex show as birthing of a baby.

Not unlike childbirth, the ping pong show is a graphic — and equally visually disturbing — testament that the vagina is capable of incredible feats.

In between the various performances — or as they put it: ping pong shoots, banana shoots, candle blowing, cigarette lighting, vulva writing, etc. — I chatted to the women who perform these kinds of “vagina monologues” for a living.

“How long did it take you to be able to blow out a candle this way?” I asked one of them.

“Oh, many, many years,” said a woman who came to Bangkok from northern Thailand. She looked proud.

“Who did you learn it from?” I wanted to know.

“My friends,” she said. “I can teach you if you want.”

“Oh, okay. Maybe next time,” I said.

As appealing as it sounded to one day be able to insert a marker in my nether regions and write “Welcome to Thailand," I couldn’t see taking actual lessons while I am here.

By the end of the night, I not only developed a new found respect for the vagina, I also came to the conclusion that the most disturbing thing about the whole experience was the inflated price of the drinks. And the girls always demanding you buy them some too, so they make some extra money.

Why don’t they charge a hefty entrance fee instead and make the performance sort of like a genital Cirque du Soleil?

Let’s be honest here, until the Canadians made a high-brow entertainment out of it, working in a circus had always been frowned upon. My point is that a Thai ping-pong show is nothing more than a cheesy circus show.

Take the guys who perform in “Puppetry of the Penis.”

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Welcome to Thailand: Happy Valentine's Day from Bangkok

What's Valentine's Day like in the sex capital of the world? Brutal.
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A Thai couple kisses during a competition for the 'World's Longest Continous Kiss" to mark Valentine’'s Day in the Thai resort area of Pattaya on February 13, 2011. (Pornchai Kittiwongsakul/AFP/Getty Images)

BANGKOK, Thailand — Just when you thought the droves of Western men who moved to Bangkok have it easy when it comes to women, you read the Bangkok Post and stumble on a story about local Valentine’s Day cards.

These things make the dating scene here look like a serious adrenaline sport.

In other words, the Bangkok Post wonders, what would Valentine Day's cards look like if they actually told the truth about love, life and gender relations in the sex capital of the world?

But be warned, gentlemen.

This collection covers the greatest fears a man can encounter while dating in Bangkok, such as:

1) Your girl is only in it for the money
2) Your girl doesn’t look anything like her online profile
3) Your girl likes Thai romantic comedy
4) Your girl likes to dress you up in metrosexual outfits
5) Your girl is also dating somebody else
6) Your girl is threatening you with castration

And best of all:

7) Your girl turns out to be a man

Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody.

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Welcome to Bangkok: The fast-food makeover of Thailand's sex industry

Economic crisis, and changing consumer tastes, have altered a key part of Bangkok's booming sex industry.
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Thai bar girls dance at a go-go bar in Bangkok's red-light district of Patpong on December 3, 2008. (Christophe Archambault/AFP/Getty Images)

BANGKOK — Let me start by stressing it’s not a good idea to describe your profession as a “freelancer” in Thailand.

It doesn't matter if you're a writer, photographer or a graphic designer.

In Bangkok, freelancer is a term generally reserved for a prostitute who isn’t affiliated with a bar.

Using that same logic, “looking for freelancers” might get you more than you bargained for.

Unless, naturally, you are in Thailand for that kind of thing. That would be you and about a million other men.

After all, Bangkok hasn’t become the sex capital of the world because they make fantastic green curry. (And it truly is fantastic!)

It’s become the hot spot for sex tourism because of its liberal attitude toward “compensated dating.”

Yes, it is dating in a very broad sense of the word, but it isn’t just about the sex.

Being in Bangkok for the first time — and still full of preconceived stereotypes — I am consistently surprised how much of what happens in the sex scene here is hardly about sex.

It used to be that lonely men from the West traveled to Thailand for a few weeks at a time and hired a “freelancer” here, think companion, for their entire holiday.

This girl would become their “girlfriend” for a limited time and would get added benefits of being taken along on holidays and shopping trips, sometimes year after year.

While these sort of arrangements still happen, Bangkok’s sex scene has become largely the fast-food version of itself.

The competition is huge and the girls who work in bars must accrue a set number of customers each month or they get penalized.

Meanwhile, the economic crisis of the last few years has sent many of them to the street, trying their luck as “ street freelancers.”

But with the “Hangover Part II” crowd that tends to frequent Bangkok these days, it has become increasingly harder to find customers willing to pay for a whole night, let alone a week or month.

So freelancers have come up with new rules to cope with today’s fast-paced environment that their mothers‘ generation of companions hardly had to deal with.

Take, for example, the gruesome and competitive practice of “per session” pricing.

A British man I’ll call Jack learned this rule the hard way and he was quite surprised how the Thai sex operation works.

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Welcome to Thailand: Thai Mr. & Mrs. Smith get married underwater

Thirty-four couples take part in Thailand’s 16th annual mass underwater wedding. Happy Valentine's Day.

TRANG, Thailand — As they descended 30 feet deep in the water off the coast of Ko Kradan, one of the most picturesque islands in southern Thailand, Manit and Jane sealed their marriage vows silently, through a series of diving hand signals.

Instead of “I do,” Manit held up his hand in a diving “OK” sign, by pressing a thumb and index finger together.

Jane, wearing a plastic white veil for the occasion, did the same.

Kissing the bride required Manit to remove his regulator, but since he was an experienced dive instructor, even a bit of underwater French kissing — bubbles and all — was hardly a hurdle for him.

“It was fantastic,” the couple said of their wedding experience, as they rose to the surface and were immediately surrounded by a dozen of local reporters.
Manit, 39, and Jane,35, both from Bangkok, were one of 34 couples who took part in the 16th mass underwater wedding ceremony Saturday.

The event takes place every year on the weekend closest to Valentine’s Day in the Trang province of Thailand.

This year, only six couples ended up going through with the ceremony in full diving gear, some 30 feet under water.

The rest snorkeled and enjoyed southern Thailand’s stunning beaches and later joined up with the divers for a traditional Thai wedding celebration on the beach.

Another couple, Max and Pu, were equally excited about their choice of an unusual wedding venue.

The two, who are both competitive shooters, met in a Bangkok shooting range.

“We are Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” said Pu, who — according to the groom — is the better shooter.

“But I am better at quick draw,” added Max.

Thai Mr. and Mrs. Smith ascended from the water holding their hands up in a Thai hand signal meaning “I love you,” which looks exactly like the Western heavy metal hand sign for “rock on.”

The two have been waiting two years for their chance to get married in the underwater wedding ceremony.

“More than 60 couples applied this year, but we could only accept 34,” said Salil Tohtubtiang, Chairman of The Trang Chamber of Commerce, who organizes the annual event, which runs on a "first come, first serve" basis. 

The tradition started on Valentine’s Day in 1996, when a Thai man and woman fell in love in Trang during their participation in the first eco-tourism event aimed at saving coral reef.

Every year since, the local chamber of commerce has organized an underwater wedding for other reef-lovers.

Eventually, they got so many takers they had to introduce a quota for the number of couples they can manage to pronounce husband and wife underwater.

While getting married with an oxygen tank, in a decidedly unromantic wetsuit, isn’t everyone’s idea of the perfect wedding, a wedding underwater has its advantages.

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