When Surviving Cancer Gets In The Way Of Your Sex Life

The closer Robert “Tripp” Moore got to his new girlfriend, the more he knew he had to end things.

Moore, now 26, had started seeing an elementary school teacher he described as a “really good and nice person” casually last summer. But when things started to get physical, she started to have some questions. She asked him why he never seemed to respond physically when they were intimate ― why she could never feel anything “down there.” Moore, not willing to tell her the truth, dismissed his impotence as a consequence of too much coffee.

Eventually, and before they had sex, he told her he was too young for a relationship and needed to “explore.”

“I would’ve done anything to have stayed with her, but I was too anxious about what would happen if we tried to have sex and I couldn’t get it up,” he recalled.

Moore is a testicular cancer survivor who had chemotherapy and one testicle removed. Immediately after treatment, he struggled to get erections.   

“It’s bad enough to have cancer, but then to survive it and not be able to have a normal sex life makes it even tougher on a person,” he said.

For most cancer patients — Moore included — survival is the No. 1 goal during treatment. But as cancer treatments continue to improve, the population of survivors is growing larger. An estimated 5 percent of the U.S. population, or 15.5 million people, survived cancer in 2016, and that number is estimated to grow to more than 20 million people by 2026. 

As survivors are living longer, there’s a growing need to address the unique and often lifelong health issues they face as a result of treatment. That includes addressing sexual dysfunction.

It’s bad enough to have cancer, but then to survive it and not be able to have a normal sex life makes it even tougher on a person. Cancer survivor Robert Moore

Studies show that an estimated 30 to 100 percent of women experience sexual dysfunction of some kind immediately after receiving cancer treatment, while less than 25 percent of men who’ve had some kind of pelvic cancer can achieve the erections they had before cancer ― even among those who had excellent erections before treatment and were under 65 years old.

For teens and young adults who survive cancer, this is especially pressing. Older survivors may already be paired up with a partner or have a lifetime of sexual exploration to draw from, but young adults can struggle with telling potential new partners about their medical history ― especially if it’s tied to present-day sexual dysfunction.

Therapists who work with these young survivors have to walk a fine line between basic sex education and making space for the patient’s own sexual expression to unfurl naturally, said Aleece Fosnight, a physician assistant and sexual health counselor at Transylvania Regional Hospital in North Carolina.

“When it comes to adolescents or people in their 20s that haven’t been as sexually experienced, it’s still a little controversial,” she said. “Do you give them Viagra? Do you give them Cialis? Do you give them a vibrator? Especially under the age of 18, how much do you push?”

Research on how surviving cancer affects younger survivors’ sex and relationships paints a complex picture of what it’s like to be simultaneously grateful to be alive and anxious about defining sexuality with a changed body.

In the most recent study on the matter, which surveyed more than 800 young cancer survivors in Denmark, more than 400 respondents said that cancer changed their perception of their bodies for the worse, while 45 percent said they felt less attractive. Cancer reduced the desire for sex in 31 percent of respondents, while 24 percent said they had no desire to flirt, date or be in a relationship.

Treatment-related physical impediments to sex, like vaginal dryness, difficulty having an orgasm or maintaining an erection, put these young adults at particular risk for these psychological problems.

American researchers have found similar rates of sexual dissatisfaction and poor self-esteem, said Christian Graugaard, who led the Danish study. For instance, a 2017 study in the U.S. found that 49 percent of teen and young adult survivors said that cancer negatively affected their sexual function a year after diagnosis, and 70 percent of those respondents said the same thing two years after diagnosis.

Graugaard’s study hinted at one way to mitigate the sexual dysfunction and related fallout that cancer treatments cause: encouraging open conversation between patients and health professionals. People who spoke to health care providers about their sexual problems during follow-up consultations were significantly more likely to express a desire to flirt, date, have a partner or have sex after cancer. Seven sex therapists HuffPost spoke to also said that doctors could prepare patients for the sexual fallout before their cancer treatment starts.

This link between open dialogue and better sex ― something so simple and common-sense ― makes Graugaard’s final finding all the more dismaying: While 80 percent of respondents said they needed to discuss these issues with a health care provider, 62 percent said their doctors did not broach the topic or did so only in a limited fashion.

“Sadly, I am also quite sure that the failure of health-providers to address these important life dimensions is trans-national,” Graugaard told HuffPost in an email. “We know this from adult patients, and I have no reason to believe that doctors and nurses in adolescent oncology are any better at talking about sensitive stuff. Neither in Scandinavia nor in the US.” 

A 2017 study in the U.S. found that 49 percent of teen and young adult survivors said that cancer negatively affected their sexual function a year after diagnosis.

To address these issues, comprehensive cancer centers are beginning to incorporate clinics specifically dedicated to survivors’ sexual issues. Because the discipline is relatively new, these programs can take many different forms ― some are headed by gynecologists or urologists, some by psychiatrists or other experts. There is now some kind of aftercare program specifically addressing sexual function at places like the University of Chicago, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, the University of Wisconsin and Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York.

“There’s a wave across the country now to create these programs,” said Jeanne Carter, head of the female sexual medicine and women’s health program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “I think people feel it’s a very important survivorship concern, and I know that there are many programs across the institutions that are trying to help cancer patients as they are coping with the changes to their body.”

While more cancer centers are getting the message, Dr. Thomas Schwaab of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center said there was only so much a doctor could do to prepare patients for sexual side effects.

“I will cover side effects with the patient, but the patient really is focused on, ‘I want to get rid of my cancer and have my cancer treated,’” he said. “But then six months later, when the cancer has successfully been treated, the patient all of sudden realizes that there was a significant impact on quality of life.”

That’s where survivorship clinics play a role, said Schwaab. Once patients feel safe and can begin to mentally process what the future looks like, they can get care for things like sexual side effects or new health concerns that arise after treatment. As a cancer doctor, Schwaab calls such clinics or survivorship treatments a “must-have,” but says they are still relatively new and can be an afterthought in some clinics.

Indeed, Moore says his urologist did warn him that erectile dysfunction could be a side effect of cancer treatment, but he wasn’t in a place to process it at the time because his choice was either treatment or death. After treatment, Moore said it took him six months to work up the courage to approach his doctor about his erectile dysfunction. He was prescribed a pill to get erections as his nerves continued to heal, and Moore said the confidence boost that came from achieving erections again helped him begin a new relationship ― one in which he was completely honest about his potential sexual challenges.

“Everyone knows sex isn’t everything, but it’s still an important part of a relationship,” Moore said. “I’m so thankful that I was born in the time I was — first of all for the chemo, and second of all for the medicine ― [specifically] Viagra.”

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/when-surviving-cancer-gets-in-the-way-of-your-sex-life_us_5ace3b4ae4b0648767760e6d

Stop Thinking About Trump’s Dong, You Maniacs

If you believe the chatter coming from Stormy Daniels’ lawyer — and he provided a picture of a rewriteable CD-ROM, how could you not? — we’re only a short time away from seeing what President Donald Jayden Trump looks like when he’s doin’ the do. This news immediately gave the internet a bad case of the vapors, or at least that’s what we’re taking from the numerous tweets and posts hypothesizing about everything from how it looks to how it works to whether the carpet comes from the same fabric emporium as the drapes.

Claude Taylor/TwitterHere’s an attention-seeking asshole OR mainstream political commentator, we honestly cant tell.

We ask you, we beg you, please stop this madness. It’s weird. When you’re using a public restroom, do you mentally script out a melodrama or half-hour prime-time comedy special about what you think the person next you is packing? We thought not. It’d be weird, and taking it on the road to your friends, family, co-workers, and random spam bot followers doesn’t make it less weird.

There are, of course, other, serious reasons you should stop caring.

It’s A Teachable Moment For How Screwed Up This Presidency Is

Whilst we the people have always had a thing for presidential wang, the key difference between this scandal and, say, what JFK and Bill Clinton did is that there’s no real reason this should have gone unnoticed before now. It should have been flagged before Trump entered office, in a review of his past dealings or financials or suitability to have high-level security clearance, or even someone flat out asking him whether he’s bribed his way out of any scandals.

This should have been found, and the fact that Stormy Daniels now has his balls in a figurative vice (having allegedly already had them in a literal one) is a testament to how little we know about Donald Trump. He’s a serial liar who refuses to hand over his tax returns (despite his “crooked” opponent doing so), has an intricate spider’s web of dealings and debts across the world, and — if we’re to accept that he doesn’t know about foreign interference in the election — a potential hive of friends and hangers-on whispering who knows what in his ear between canapes and taco bowls.

Donald Trump/TwitterWhy have we never heard the taco bowl’s side of the story? Did someone pay it off too?

We don’t know what other bullshit is hiding in his closet alongside the ill-fitting Vincent-Adultman-style suits and power ties, and focusing on tawdry nonsense like what his dick looks like isn’t helping. How many other Stormy Daniels are there? How many other people has he paid for their silence? Where’s the money for these payoffs coming from, really? Is he being blackmailed, and if not, could he be? The answer is that we have no goddamn idea.

This celebrity gossip rag drama exemplifies everything bad about this administration, and you should be melting down your representatives’ phones and demanding that something happen, because double-you tee eff. We’re savvy enough to do it when he’s attempting to steal our healthcare, so let’s try it before his assholish obfuscation means he walks away scot-free until the next scandal from his past emerges.

It’s Kinda Shitty

We’ve got a game for you. Open your social media and count many jokes relating to this scandal focus on his weight or his dick being weird, tiny, and/or impotent. It probably won’t take you that long.

This shouldn’t need to be said, but body-shaming isn’t a solid punchline. If the essence of good comedy is punching up, jokes like these are area-denial weapons, in that they also make everyone else with weight problems and dick issues (dicksues?) feel like a piece of shit. In truth, there’s no “correct” dick length or girth or degree of curvature, and being obese/overweight and having sex isn’t a crime against nature (how we do it, however …), and the stats say that more than half of men will suffer from erectile dysfunction at some point in their lives.

The White HouseHe’s 71. Quite frankly, it’d be stranger if he didn’t.

By talking about how fucking jazzed we are to see whatever photos may emerge, we’re also getting perilously close to doing what we all said was a bad thing when it happened to Jennifer Lawrence, Leslie Jones, Hulk Hogan, and Melania Trump: viewing someone’s nudes without their consent. It doesn’t matter that Trump is an asshole, or that this happened while his wife was recovering from childbirth. It doesn’t matter because it can’t matter. We can’t have a system in which it’s OK for some nudes to be leaked. That’s getting into “Who watches the Watchmen” territory, and we’re having none of it.

This Is Exactly What He Wants

If we’re being honest with ourselves, Donald Jacob “Marley” Trump is all about the penis. He’s a rampaging sex maniac who thinks he’s the most bangable man alive, he couldn’t help but brag about the size of his unit during a primary debate, and his trademark is gigantic buildings adorned with his name that penetrate the heavens. That’s even leaving aside the issue of his kids, you know, existing, despite the fact that they’re so vacant and devoid of substance that pod people use them to demonstrate the uncanny valley.

Trump Campaign“He is father to us all, fellow hu-mans.”

He loves talking about his penis, and he probably loves that it forms the basis of modern-day political discourse. It doesn’t matter that it’s attached to a scandal about what a crooked piece of shit he is; he’s a narcissist who loves attention. His entire schtick during the election was saying unspeakable things because he knew that it’d result in media coverage and him being the subject of every water cooler conversation in the country.

This scandal is so on-brand for him that we’d be surprised if the inevitable pictures didn’t also include a snap of him using his dick to piss out a racial epithet in the middle of a construction site for another building he can’t afford, surrounded by workmen he isn’t going to pay. Donald Julio Trump doesn’t care about the why of the conversation, only that it’s about him. We don’t know how much more plainly we can put this without breaching obscenity laws, but he is mentally and physically cumming at the fact that his penis is at the center of everyone’s brains right now.

You need to stop, folks. Take a walk, take a cold shower, do something that isn’t this, before his libido grows so strong that he tries to avert war by dick-slapping Kim Jong-un into unconsciousness.

Adam Wears is on Twitter and Facebook, and has a newsletter about depressing history that you should definitely subscribe to.

Think about literally any other President altogether with How To Fight Presidents by Daniel O’Brien.

Support Cracked’s journalism with a visit to our Contribution Page. Please and thank you.

For more, check out 6 Famous Men Who Did Creepy Things To Women They Slept With and What It’s Like To (Literally) Be Screwed By Trump’s Cabinet.

Also, follow us on Facebook, you maniacs.

Read more: http://www.cracked.com/article_25508_stop-thinking-about-trumps-dong-you-maniacs.html

43 Dirty Facts Youre Dying to Know but Are Too Afraid to Ask

Who can say whether these facts are things you need to know, or even should know? And while these facts may not be safe for work viewing (especially if you’re about to plug your computer in for a presentation), they could make for some interesting happy hour icebreakers off the clock. Just don’t bring us into it if you get reported to HR for being “that guy.”


Read more: http://twentytwowords.com/43-dirty-facts-youre-dying-to-know-but-are-too-afraid-to-ask-ia/

Viagra Could Significantly Cut The Risk Of Colorectal Cancer

If Viagra and butts make you giggle, then find yourself a quiet place to read this article: We’re about to talk about both. Researchers at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University say a small, daily dose of the little blue pill may reduce one’s risk of colorectal cancer, which, believe it or not, is the third leading cause of cancer death in the US.

Don’t go running to the pharmacy just yet: This study was done on mice genetically predetermined to have colorectal cancer. Nonetheless, researchers say with clinical testing, it could have the potential to prevent colorectal cancer.  

Sold as the brand name Viagra, sildenafil works by inhibiting the enzyme phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) to relax the muscle cells around blood vessels, allowing them to more easily fill with blood. It’s true that heightened blood flow is mostly associated with the bedroom, but sildenafil is also known to help treat a number of ailments outside of the pants, including pulmonary hypertension, altitude sickness, Raynaud’s phenomenon, sexual issues associated with antidepressants, and even in treatments for premature infants with severe respiratory failure.

Colorectal cancer usually begins as an abnormal clump of cells, called a “polyp”, found on the intestinal lining. These little masses can become cancerous, and are often without symptoms. By placing Viagra in the drinking water of mice that had colitis (an inflammation of the colon and a risk factor for colorectal cancer), researchers found that the drug can cut the formation of polyps in half. PDE5 works by breaking down cyclic GMP, a chemical known to affect the intestinal lining, so there is more of it to go around.

“Giving a baby dose of Viagra can reduce the amount of tumors in these animals by half,” said Dr Darren Browning, cancer researcher, in a statement

But just how it works, the researchers aren’t sure. What they do know is that increased cyclic GMP appears to suppress some of the excessive cell proliferation in the gut and causes an increase in normal cell differentiation – the process whereby a cell changes from one type to another. It also naturally kills off harmful cells, a process called apoptosis. Treatment didn’t remove existing polyps and researchers say targeting cyclic GMP could be a good prevention strategy in high-risk patients.

The prescription drug linaclotide, which is used to treat constipation and irritable bowel syndrome, had similar effects to Viagra, but comes with diarrhea. Browning says it would probably make treatment intolerable for patients. 

The study was published in Cancer Prevention Research

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/viagra-could-significantly-cut-ones-risk-of-colorectal-cancer/

Buying Viagra: What you should know

Image copyright Getty Images

Men can now buy the impotence pill Viagra Connect without a prescription at some UK pharmacies.

Health experts hope it will mean more men get help for erectile dysfunction – a condition thought to affect up to one in five adult men, 4.3 million in the UK.

Like any medication though, the drug can cause side-effects and should not be misused or abused.

What should men consider before buying and trying the little blue pills?

Who can have it?

Viagra Connect is only for men who have impotence.

No-one under the age of 18 can buy it, although women might be able to buy it on behalf of their partner if the pharmacist is satisfied it is appropriate to dispense it.

And it will not be sold to men who are not medically fit enough to have sex. This includes men with severe heart or blood vessel problems.

As a rule of thumb, men who become very breathless or experience chest pain when doing light exercise, such as climbing two flights of stairs, should not take these pills.

Can it be bought off the shelf?

No. You will need to ask the pharmacist for it, who will then check it is safe for you to take.

A packet of four pills will cost £19.99.

Do men wanting to buy have to talk to someone and be examined?

You can ask at the pharmacy counter for a quiet word or to have a conversation in a private room if they prefer – most pharmacies now have private consultation facilities.

The pharmacist will ask about symptoms, general health, and any other medications you might be taking. They should not ask personal questions about your sex life or sexual preferences.

You should not need a physical examination.

Will it work?

In many cases yes, but it is not effective for everyone.

The drug relaxes the blood vessels in the penis to help blood flow and will help achieve an erection in response to sexual stimulation.

It can be taken with or without food, although it may take a little longer to start working if you have just had a big meal.

You should take it about an hour before you plan to have sex.

Do not take it with grapefruit or grapefruit juice, because this can affect how the medicine works.

And do not take more than one 50mg tablet per day.

If it has been some time since you were able to get or keep an erection, it may take a couple of attempts before you are able to achieve one.

Drinking lots of alcohol can also make it more difficult to get an erection.

What if it is too strong?

Talk to your pharmacist or doctor if you think it is too strong – the drug’s effects last too long or are too powerful.

Prolonged and sometimes painful erections lasting longer than four hours have been occasionally reported by men taking the drug.

Although unlikely, if this does happen, seek immediate medical assistance.

What other side-effects might there be?

Very common (may affect more than one in 10 people):

  • headache

Common (may affect up to one in 10):

  • dizziness
  • colour tinge to vision or blurred vision – some people start seeing a blue hue
  • hot flushes
  • blocked nose
  • nausea

Stop taking the pills and seek immediate medical attention if you have a serious side-effect such as:

  • chest pain
  • sudden decrease or loss of vision
  • an allergic reaction (eg difficulty breathing, wheeze and swelling of the lips, eyelids or face)
  • a seizure or fit

Drug clashes

People on nitrate pills for angina should not take Viagra Connect. That also goes for people taking recreational poppers (amyl nitrite).

There is also a clash with a medicine called riociguat and an HIV medication called ritonavir.

Make sure you tell the pharmacists about any treatments you are taking so they can check it will be safe for you to also have Viagra Connect.

Pharmacists should advise men to book a follow-up appointment with their doctor within six months of starting on Viagra Connect because erectile dysfunction can sometimes be a sign of other underlying conditions, including heart disease, high cholesterol and diabetes.

Can I get it anywhere else?

GPs can prescribe it. And some pharmacies will be selling it online, after a virtual consultation.

Always check that the seller is reputable. Drugs from unregulated sellers may be fake, ineffective and unsafe.

Related Topics

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-43539523

Donald Trump Sticks With Ban On Most Transgender Troops

President Donald Trump announced Fridaythat he’s sticking to his ban on transgender people in the military, even though the Pentagon showed little enthusiasm for the proposal.

In a memo released Friday night, the White House said that transgender individuals are “disqualified from military service except under limited circumstances.” The full ban was set to officially take effect Friday, though a pair of federal courts in December ordered the U.S. military to allow the recruitment of transgender citizens into the armed forces despite Trump’s declaration.

“Transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria ― individuals who the policies state may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery ― are disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances,” the memo says.

Trump’s decision to keep the ban comes one month after a Washington Post report suggested that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis would urge Trump to allow transgender citizens to continue serving in the military.

Mattis delivered his recommendations to Trump in late February, but their conversation remained private.

In a statement following the memo, the White House said Friday’s announcement allows Mattis to “implement a new policy developed through extensive study by senior uniformed and civilian leaders, including combat veterans.”

The White House added that Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen have concluded that the “accession or retention of individuals with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria … presents considerable risk to military effectiveness and lethality.”

The Trump administration’s controversial transgender military ban has faced opposition at every corner since Trump announced the policy change in a series of surprising tweets last summer.

In July, Trump said he was banning transgender citizens from the armed forces because of the supposed “burden” of their “tremendous medical costs.” (Transition-related care costs the military only a fraction of its overall budget. The Department of Defense spends tremendously more on Viagra for erectile dysfunction than it does on transgender medical costs.) 

His tweets, which reportedly took the Pentagon by surprise, were followed by an official White House memo sent to the departments of defense and homeland security that provided details and a timeline for his proposed ban. 

The memo required the armed forces to stop accepting transgender recruits by Jan. 1 and halt the use of federal funds for transition-related care for military personnel by March 22.

Despite the memo, the Pentagon began accepting transgender recruits again on Jan. 1, complying with federal court orders calling for a halt to the ban while it was being legally challenged.

In late February, the U.S. military accepted its first openly transgender recruit to sign up for service since Trump’s pronouncement. The Department of Defense confirmed that the recruit had signed a contract for service in the military and would be attending basic training in the coming months.

Even with this new announcement, the Defense Department said it will continue to allow transgender people in the military as ordered by federal courts in several cases challenging the ban.

Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White told HuffPost that the “DOD will continue to access and retain transgender individuals in compliance with the court orders.”

The American Civil Liberties Union criticized the policy on Friday night, insisting that federal courts handling four challenges to the ban, including an ACLU challenge, have blocked the military from carrying it out.

“What the White House released tonight is transphobia masquerading as policy, for the sole purpose of carrying out President Trump’s reckless and unconstitutional ban,” the civil rights organization tweeted.

“It undermines the ability of trans service members to serve openly and military readiness as a whole.”

The Justice Department said in a statement that it supports Trump’s decision to keep some transgender individuals out of the military and called on the federal courts to lift the orders that challenge the new policy.

“Consistent with this new policy, we are asking the courts to lift all related preliminary injunctions in order to ensure the safety and security of the American people and the best fighting force in the world,” the statement reads.

This article has been updated with a statement from the Justice Department and Department of Defense.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-administration-transgender-military-ban_us_5ab57702e4b054d118e2cb76

I have prostate cancer. But I am happy | George Monbiot

The three principles that define a good life will protect me from despair, says Guardian columnist George Monbiot

It came, as these things often do, like a gunshot on a quiet street: shocking and disorienting. In early December, my urine turned brown. The following day I felt feverish and found it hard to pee. I soon realised I had a urinary tract infection. It was unpleasant, but seemed to be no big deal. Now I know that it might havesavedmy life.

The doctor told me this infection was unusual in a man of my age, and hinted at an underlying condition. So I had a blood test, which revealed that my prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels were off the scale. An MRI scan and a mortifying biopsy confirmed my suspicions. Prostate cancer: all the smart young men have itthisseason.

On Monday, I go into surgery. The prostate gland is buried deep in the body, so removing it is a major operation: there are six entry points and it takes four hours. The procedure will hack at the roots of my manhood. Because of the damage that will be caused to the surrounding nerves, theres a high risk of permanent erectile dysfunction. Because the urethra needs to be cut and reattached to the bladder, I will almost certainly suffer urinary incontinence for a few months, and possibly permanently. Because the removal of part of the urethra retracts the penis, it appears to shrink, at least until it can be stretched back into shape.

I was offered a choice: radical surgery or brachytherapy. This means implanting radioactive seeds in the parts of the prostate affected by cancer. Brachytherapy has fewer side effects, and recovery is much faster. But theres a catch. If it fails to eliminate the cancer, theres nothing more that can be done. This treatment sticks the prostate gland to the bowel and bladder, making surgery extremely difficult. Once youve had one dose of radiation, they wont give you another. I was told that the chances of brachytherapy working in my case were between 70 and 80%. The odds were worse, in other words, than playing Russian roulette (which, with one bullet in a six-chambered revolver, gives you 83%). Though I have a tendency to embrace risk, this was not an attractive option.

It would be easy to curse my luck and start to ask, Why me? I have never smoked and hardly drink; I have a ridiculously healthy diet and follow a severe fitness regime. Im 20 or 30 years younger than most of the men I see in the waiting rooms. In other words, I would have had a lower risk of prostate cancer only if I had been female. And yet I am happy. In fact, Im happier than I was before my diagnosis. How can this be?

The reason is that Ive sought to apply the three principles which, I believe, sit at the heart of a good life. The first is the most important: imagine how much worse it could be, rather than how much better.

When you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, your condition is ranked on the Gleason Score, which measures its level of aggression. Mine is graded at seven out of 10. But this doesnt tell me where I stand in general. I needed another index to assess the severity of my condition, so I invented one: the Shitstorm Scale. How does my situation compare to those of people I know, who contend with other medical problems or family tragedies? How does it compare to what might have been, had the cancer not been caught while it was still apparently confined to the prostate gland? How does it compare to innumerable other disasters that could have befallen me?

When I completed the exercise, I realised that this bad luck, far from being a cause of woe, is a reminder of how lucky I am. I have the love of my family and friends. I have the support of those with whom I work. I have the NHS. My Shitstorm Score is a mere two out of 10.

The tragedy of our times is that, rather than apply the most useful of English proverbs cheer up, it could be worse we are constantly induced to imagine how much better things could be. The rich lists and power lists with which the newspapers are filled, our wall-to-wall celebrity culture, the invidious billions spent on marketing and advertising, create an infrastructure of comparison that ensures we see ourselves as deprived of what others possess. It is a formula for misery.

The second principle is this: change what you can change, accept what you cant. This is not a formula for passivity Ive spent my working life trying to alter outcomes that might have seemed immovable to other people. The theme of my latest book is that political failure is, at heart, a failure of imagination. But sometimes we simply have to accept an obstacle as insuperable. Fatalism in these circumstances is protective. I accept that my lap is in the lap of the gods.

So I will not rage against the morbidity this surgery might cause. I wont find myself following Groucho Marx who, at the age of 81, magnificently lamented: Im going to Iowa to collect an award. Then Im appearing at Carnegie Hall, its sold out. Then Im sailing to France to pick up an honour from the French government. Id give it all up for one erection. And today theres Viagra.

The third principle is this: do not let fear rule your life. Fear hems us in, stops us from thinking clearly, and prevents us from either challenging oppression or engaging calmly with the impersonal fates. When I was told that this operation had an 80% chance of success, my first thought was thats roughly the same as one of my kayaking trips. And about twice as good as the chance of emerging from those investigations in West Papua and the Amazon.

There are, I believe, three steps to overcoming fear: name it, normalise it, socialise it. For too long, cancer has been locked in the drawer labelled Things We Dont Talk About. When we call it the Big C, it becomes, as the term suggests, not smaller, but larger in our minds. He Who Must Not Be Named is diminished by being identified, and diminished further when he becomes a topic of daily conversation.

The super-volunteer Jeanne Chattoe, whom I interviewed recently for another column, reminded me that, just 25 years ago, breast cancer was a taboo subject. Thanks to the amazing advocacy of its victims, this is almost impossible to imagine today. Now we need to do the same for other cancers. Let there be no moreterriblesecrets.

So I have sought to discuss my prostate cancer as I would discuss any other issue. I make no apologies for subjecting you to the grisly details: the more familiar they become, the less horrifying. In doing so, I socialise my condition. Last month, I discussed the remarkable evidence suggesting that a caring community enhances recovery and reduces mortality. In talking about my cancer with family and friends, I feel the love that I know will get me through this. The old strategy of suffering in silence could not have been more misguided.

I had intended to use this column to urge men to get themselves tested. But since my diagnosis, weve discovered two things. The first is that prostate cancer has overtaken breast cancer to become the third biggest cancer killer in the UK. The second is that the standard assessment (the PSA blood test) is of limited use. As prostate cancer in its early stages is likely to produce no symptoms, its hard to see what men can do to protect themselves. That urinary tract infection was a remarkably lucky break.

Instead, I urge you to support the efforts led by Prostate Cancer UK to develop a better test. Breast cancer has attracted twice as much money and research as prostate cancer, not because (as the Daily Mail suggests) men are the victims of injustice, but because womens advocacy has been so effective. Campaigns such as Men United and the Movember Foundation have sought to bridge this gap, but theres a long way to go. Prostate cancer is discriminatory: for reasons unknown, black men are twice as likely to suffer it as white men. Finding better tests and treatments is a matter of both urgencyand equity.

I will ride this out. I will own this disease, but I wont be defined by it: I will not be prostrated by my prostate. I will be gone for a few weeks but when I return, I do solemnly swear I will still be the argumentative old git with whom you are familiar.

George Monbiot is a Guardian columnist

Prostate Cancer UK can be contacted on 0800 0748383

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/13/prostate-cancer-happy-diagnosis-operation

How To Have Better Sex, According To Science

The Conversation

One in 3 American adults do not get enough sleep. Sexual issues are also common, with as many as 45 percent of women and 31 percent of men having a concern about their sex life. While these might seem like distinct concerns, they are actually highly related.

How are sleep and sex related? I’ll state the obvious: We most commonly sleep and have sex in the same location – the bedroom. Less obvious but more important is that lack of sleep and lack of sex share some common underlying causes, including stress. Especially important, lack of sleep can lead to sexual problems and a lack of sex can lead to sleep problems. Conversely, a good night’s sleep can lead to a greater interest in sex, and orgasmic sex can result in a better night’s sleep.

I am a sex educator and researcher who has published several studies on the effectiveness of self-help books in enhancing sexual functioning. I have also written two sexual self-help books, both based in research findings. My latest book, “Becoming Cliterate: Why Orgasm Equality Matters – and How to Get It,” is aimed at empowering women to reach orgasm. More pertinent to the connection between sleep and sex, my first book, “A Tired Woman’s Guide to Passionate Sex,” was written to help the countless women who say they are too exhausted to be interested in sex.

The effect of sleep on sex among women

The reason I wrote a book for women who are too tired for sex is because women are disproportionately affected by both sleep problems and by low sexual desire, and the relationship between the two is indisputable. Women are more likely than men to have sleep problems, and the most common sexual complaint that women bring to sex therapists and physicians is low desire. Strikingly, being too tired for sex is the top reason that women give for their loss of desire.

Conversely, getting a good night’s sleep can increase desire. A recent study found that the longer women slept, the more interested in sex they were the next day. Just one extra hour of sleep led to a 14 percent increase in the chances of having a sexual encounter the following day. Also, in this same study, more sleep was related to better genital arousal.

While this study was conducted with college women, those in other life stages have even more interrelated sleep and sex problems. Menopause involves a complicated interaction of biological and psychological issues that are associated with both sleep and sex problems. Importantly, a recent study found that among menopausal women, sleep problems were directly linked to sexual problems. In fact, sleep issues were the only menopausal symptom for which such a direct link was found.

Motherhood is great, but the demands of a new baby can exhaust a new mother. Sleep can become more appealing than sex as a result. FamVeld/Shutterstock.com

Interrelated sleep and sexual issues are also prevalent among mothers. Mothers of new babies are the least likely to get a good night’s sleep, mostly because they are caring for their baby during the night. However, ongoing sleep and sexual issues for mothers are often caused by having too much to do and the associated stress. Women, who are married with school aged children and working full time, are the most likely to report insomnia. Still, part-time working moms and moms who don’t work outside the home report problems with sleep as well.

While fathers also struggle with stress, there is evidence that stress and the resulting sleepless nights dampen women’s sexual desire more than they do men’s. Some of this is be due to hormones. Both insufficient sleep and stress result in the release of cortisol, and cortisol decreases testosterone. Testosterone plays a major role in the sex drive of women and men. Men have significantly more testosterone than women. So, thinking of testosterone as a tank of gas, the cortisol released by stress and lack of sleep might take a woman’s tank to empty, yet only decrease a man’s tank to half full.

The effect of sleep on sex among men

Even young men can lose interest in sex if they are sleep-deprived. Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock.com

Although lack of sleep and stress seems to affect women’s sexual functioning more than men’s, men still suffer from interrelated problems in these areas. One study found that, among young healthy men, a lack of sleep resulted in decreased levels of testosterone, the hormone responsible for much of our sex drive. Another study found that among men, sleep apnea contributed to erectile dysfunction and an overall decrease in sexual functioning. Clearly, among men, lack of sleep results in diminished sexual functioning.

I could not locate a study to prove this, as it stands to reason that the reverse is also true. That is, it seems logical that, as was found in the previously mentioned study among women, for men a better night’s sleep would also result in better sexual functioning.

The effect of sex on sleep

While sleep (and stress) have an effect on sex, the reverse is also true. That is, sex affects sleep (and stress). According to sex expert Ian Kerner, too little sex can cause sleeplessness and irritability. Conversely, there is some evidence that the stress hormone cortisol decreases after orgasm. There’s also evidence that oxytocin, the “love hormone” that is released after orgasm, results not only in increased feelings of connection with a partner, but in better sleep.

Additionally, experts claim that sex might have gender-specific effects on sleep. Among women, orgasm increases estrogen, which leads to deeper sleep. Among men, the hormone prolactin that is secreted after orgasm results in sleepiness.

Translating science into more sleep and more sex

It is now clear that a hidden cause of sex problems is sleeplessness and that a hidden cause of sleeplessness is sex problems. This knowledge can lead to obvious, yet often overlooked, cures for both problems. Indeed, experts have suggested that sleep hygiene can help alleviate sexual problems and that sex can help those suffering from sleep problems.

Perhaps, then, it is no surprise that both sleep hygiene suggestions and suggestions for enhanced sexual functioning have some overlap. For example, experts suggest sticking to a schedule, both for sleep and for sexual encounters. They also recommend decreasing smartphone usage, both before bed and when spending time with a partner. The bottom line of these suggestions is to make one’s bedroom an exclusive haven for the joys of both sleep and sex.

Laurie Mintz, Professor of Psychology, University of Florida

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/how-to-have-better-sex-according-to-science/

New York state files lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein


New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein, his brother Bob Weinstein, and their film-production company on Sunday.

The 39-page suit uncovers more alleged troubling behavior of Weinstein than just the accusations of sexual misconduct that kickstarted the four-month-long investigation into the Weinstein Company. It alleges that Weinstein violated a number of human and civil rights, and even threatened to kill his employees and their families.  

Schneiderman alleges Weinstein is guilty of sexual misconduct in four separate jurisdictions, according to the court documents. Meanwhile, his brother and the film company are both liable because they were aware of his misconduct and did nothing to stop it.

“The Attorney General, on behalf of the People of the State of New York, brings this action to remedy a years-long gender-based hostile work environment, a pattern of quid pro quo sexual harassment, and routine misuse of corporate resources for unlawful ends that extended from in or about 2005 through at least in or about October 2017,” the introduction of the suit said.

The lawsuit lays out the two main ways Schneiderman believes Weinstein broke the law; as co-CEO, he both sexually harassed his employees and abused his position of power to seek sexual contact with women seeking employment.

“ personally created and perpetuated a work environment permeated with gender-based hostility and inequality,” the suit says in the “factual allegations” portion of the text. “ engaged in quid pro quo sexual harassment; subjected female TWC employees and women seeking business or job opportunities with TWC to unwelcome and inappropriate physical contact and touching; subjected employees to a persistent stream of threats and verbal abuse, much of which was sexual or gendered in nature; and menaced female employees with threats to their careers and of physical harm.”

Weinstein also required multiple groups of his employees—mainly executive assistants—to facilitate his sexual encounters and procure his erectile dysfunction shots, according to the court documents.

The suit says Weinstein “regularly berated women using gender-based obscenities”—calling female employees “cunt” or “pussy” instead of using their first names when he was angry. In addition to the sexual harassment, bullying, and allegations of sexual assault, Weinstein allegedly threatened the lives of his employees, saying “I will kill your family.” One former female employee said Weinstein threatened to “cut loins” in 2012, causing her “severe stress.” She was silenced through a non-disclosure agreement.

The disturbing allegations go on and on.

Up until the suit was filed, the Weinstein Company was nearing a $500 million sale. The suit could potentially spook the buyers and send the company on the path to bankruptcy, according tothe New York Times.

“Any sale of the Weinstein Company must ensure that victims will be compensated, employees will be protected going forward, and that neither perpetrators nor enablers will be unjustly enriched,” Schneiderman said in a news release.

The lawsuit seeks a civil penalty of hundreds of thousands of dollars, as well as restitution and damages in the amount of the harm to the victims.

Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/upstream/new-york-state-lawsuit-harvey-weinstein/

This Is The Best Age For Sex For Men And Women

Age ain’t nothing but a number, especially when it comes to having truly satisfying sex. 

According to Match.com’s annual Singles in America report, it’s not Tinder- and Grindr-using millennials who are having the best sex of their lives. It’s their parents: On average, single women reported having their best sex at age 66. For single men, the sweet spot was 64.

The findings, based on a survey of 5,000 singles of all ages, ethnicities, and income levels across the U.S, come as no surprise to sex therapists. Sex tends to improve once you’ve learned that your sex appeal isn’t based entirely on your physical appearance. Unfortunately, that’s a lesson that takes most people years to learn, said Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist and the creator of Finishing School, an online orgasm course for women.

“With my clients in their 20s and 30s, self-consciousness is a huge factor in why they aren’t able to enjoy sex: Younger people are too in their heads about what their bodies look like, how they’re performing and what their partner is thinking. Eventually, that wears off,” Marin told HuffPost. “Even between the 20s and the 30s, there’s already a significant decrease in self-consciousness.”

The survey finding is a welcome counterpoint to commonly held beliefs about sex in our 50s and beyond. Why do we worry it’s all downhill once we hit a certain age?

In part, it’s because our bodies do change as we age, and as a result, so does sex, said Celeste Hirschman, a sex therapist who co-authored the book Making Love Real: The Intelligent Couple’s Guide to Lasting Intimacy and Passion with her business partner Danielle Harel.

Come mid-life, our bodies may not be as taut as they once were. Sex itself may be full of new challenges: Women may grapple with pain or dryness brought on by menopause, and many older men have problems with premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction. 

Still, there are workarounds that, in many cases, make sex just as enjoyable, if not more than, it was before, Hirschman said. 

“Yes, some kinds of sex become more difficult, but the plus is that these changes generally make communication and creativity much more essential,” Hirschman said. “When we’re young, sex is often a swift race to penetrative sex without much foreplay or fantasy added in. When penetrative sex is less of a goal, people can become more creative and sex can actually get a lot better.”

Realizing that an orgasm and penetration isn’t the be-all-end-all-of sex can be a game changer, regardless of age. In fact, Hirschman said a client once boasted that the best sex she’d ever had was with a partner with erectile dysfunction.

“They were together for a year and she said she had the best orgasms of her life, and he had great ones, too, just not from penetration.”

Another reason post-50 sex may be so fulfilling? The older you get, the less compelled you feel to put up with rigid sexual expectations and roles, said Kimberly Resnick Anderson, a sex therapist in Los Angeles.

That’s especially true of older women, many of whom spent their 20s and 30s searching for a partner to start a family with some day.

“That search often shapes what women in their 20s and 30s are willing to do and tolerate with their partners,” Resnick Anderson said. “As women age, they become more selfish, in a good way: No more worries about getting pregnant, no more worries about their kids barging in on them. Plus, many have an increased comfort with their bodies and a healthy sense of entitlement to sexual satisfaction.”

“Sex at 65 or 70 can feel carefree and easy because it is more about pleasure and connection and less about performance and ‘selling yourself.’” Kimberly Resnick Anderson, a sex therapist in Los Angeles

As Resnick Anderson explained, post-50 women (and men) are finally “taking ownership of their sexuality” and reaping the benefits. More modern and progressive views about sex allow women to celebrate their sexuality in a way that they couldn’t 30 or 40 years ago, the therapist added, pointing to one of her clients as an example. 

“After 40 years of faking orgasms, a 63-year-old client of mine actually got to know her body and what genuinely felt good to her,” Resnick Anderson said. “Sex at 65 or 70 can feel carefree and easy because it’s more about pleasure and connection and less about performance and ‘selling yourself.’”

Younger people would be wise to adopt the same sexual confidence, Hirshman added. 

“As a sex therapist, I hope people start to get to know themselves sexually at a younger age and feel comfortable asking for what they want from their partners,” Hirshman said. “Lowering shame and judgement around sex will mean more people having great sex at every age!”

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/best-age-sex-men-women_us_5a81d044e4b08dfc9306aafb

Here’s the Drug Trump Uses to Treat Male Pattern Baldness

Two weeks ago, White House physician Ronny Jackson issued a highly anticipated statement on President Donald Trumps health following a complete physical exam. Trump, Jackson claimed, is in excellent health with no concern of physical or cognitive decline.

Jackson also revealed that, in addition to cholesterol medication and a multivitamin, the president pops the oral supplement finasteride (often sold as the brands Propecia, Propecia Pro-Pak, and Proscar) to treat male-pattern baldness. While the use of finasteride to help prevent male-pattern baldness is not newit was first approved for treating prostate enlargement in 1992 before being rebranded and sold in 1997 as a hair-loss drugit has come under fire in recent years for its supposed extreme side effects. In 2015, Merck, the drugs manufacturer, was hit with multiple class-action lawsuits alleging the drug caused severe sexual and emotional side effects.

According to Dr. Nikki Hill, a board-certified dermatologist and hair-loss specialist based in Tucker, Georgia, using finasteride in FDA-approved doses (1 milligram) is not harmful for the vast majority of her patients.

About 2 percent of men in their twenties have sexual side effects, Hill told The Daily Beast. Occasionally, Hills patients will report decreased sperm volume after taking the drug and sometimes even bouts of depressionbut that side effect is thankfully rare, Hill says. Ive had maybe three people in six years tell me that they feel a little more depressed, but they dont know if its circumstantial or due to taking the medicine. I end up taking them off it [if they report depression] just to make sure. The FDA lists depression as a possible side effect of finasteride on its website (PDF).

Finasteride works by blocking an enzyme that converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, or DHT. Paradoxically, DHT is the hormone responsible for sexual function and hair growth earlier in life. But as men age and their testosterone decreases, an imbalance of testosterone and DHT can actually cause hair follicles to shrink, inhibiting new hair growth.

In the past few years, however, a growing number of patients are reporting severe neurological side effects after taking finasteride so many that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recognizes Post-Finasteride Syndrome on their list of genetic and rare diseases. Patients suffering from so-called Post-Finasteride Syndrome have reported mental and neurological side effects, like depression, suicidal ideation, anxiety, and impaired memory, and have reported such symptoms even after several months of discontinuing the drug. But these claims make little sense to most dermatologists.

Finasteride has a very short half-life, said Dr. Nicole Rogers, a board-certified dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Tulane University. The drug is fully metabolized within a week, so for people with Post-Finasteride Syndrome to be reporting decreased libido and brain fog, and having it continue despite stopping the drugfrom a neurological perspective, we dont really understand why that would be.

According to Rogers, finasteride is one of the most potent drugs on the market, and only one of two FDA-approved methods for hair loss (minoxidil, or Rogaine, being the other). While Rogaine needs to be applied to the hairline topically, finasteride is generally taken as an oral medication, which patients prefer since Rogaine can leave them looking greasy. Whats more, finasteride is typically much more effective. It can be a miracle medicine for people who take it, said Rogers, though she cautions that if patients are already prone to anxiety, depression, or have a family history of erectile dysfunction, this may not be the treatment for them.

In addition to possible sexual and neurological side effects, increasing the risk of high-grade prostate cancer may also be a concern.

Nobody who has a strong family history of prostate cancer should go on this medicine, Hill said. And if they do, they need to be closely monitored. According to Hill, doctors are able to screen patients for prostate cancer by checking the level of a chemical called PSA, or prostate-specific antigen, in the bloodstream. Finasteride, however, has been shown to artificially lower the numbereven when prostate cancer is present.

If youre taking finasteride, let your doctor know, and have digital rectal exams to assess prostate cancer, rather than a blood test, Hill suggested. If theres a family history of prostate cancer in my patients, I find other alternatives [to finasteride] because theyll be tested at a younger age, and their PSA levels are very important.

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/trumps-male-pattern-baldness-drugdemystified

Lawsuit: Weinsteins Assistant Was Made to Clean Up the Semen on the Couch

Harvey Weinstein made his assistant clean semen off the couch after his sexual encounters, according to a new lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court. Sandeep Rehal, who worked at The Weinstein Company for two years between 2013 and 2015, claims she felt demeaned and terrified while working for the disgraced film mogul.

Weinstein even made the then-26-year-old type emails he dictated while naked, according to the suit.

As Ms. Rehal soon learned, Harvey Weinsteins assistants were expected to be available at all times; there was no boundary between Harvey Weinsteins work life and personal life, the lawsuit claims. Much of Ms. Rehals work as an employee of TWC involved catering to Harvey Weinsteins sexual appetites and activities, and catering to his demeaning and often abusive family members.

Rehals duties included preparing for and cleaning after Weinsteins extremely prolific sexual encounters. She claims that didnt spare her from experiencing unwanted sexual advances as well.

Weinstein touched her thigh when she wore skirts to work, according to Rehals lawsuit, and began rubbing her between her thighs when she switched to wearing pants. When Rehal began sitting cross-legged to prevent his advances, she said Weinstein touched the back of her legs and butt.

You used to dress so cute and now whats going on? he allegedly asked after Rehal began wearing pants to discourage his advances.

Rehal was also subject to verbal abuse, including being called a cunt or pussy, according to her suit.

Whats wrong Sandeep, is the tampon up too far today? Weinstein would ask her.

Rehals suit comes amid allegations that Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted over 80 women. The assistant reveals that her duties included setting up an apartment for Weinsteins sexual activities and managing his erectile dysfunction drugs.

Another task Ms. Rehal was forced to do to aid Harvey Weinsteins sexual encounters was to clean up the semen on the couch in Harvey Weinsteins office, sometimes as many as three times a week when the mogul was in New York, according to the suit. She also had to pick up his used condom, and clean up rooms before housekeeping personnel would do their work.

Rehal quit her job in February 2015. Shes now suing for damages over discrimination and harassment, and violations of New York Citys Human Rights Law.

Weinstein was forced out of The Weinstein Company, which he co-founded with his brother, after reports in October that he sexually harassed and assaulted multiple women going back decades. Police in Los Angeles, New York, and London say they are investigating potential criminal cases against him. The Manhattan district attorney was reportedly close to filing charges against Weinstein over his alleged rape of actress Paz de la Huerta last fall, but no charges have been filed to date.

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/lawsuit-weinsteins-assistant-made-to-clean-up-the-semen-on-the-couch

Harvey Weinstein Assistant Says She Regularly Had To Clean His Semen From The Couch!


OK, we’re back. Oof. And we thought

Yes, she had to set up his sexual liaisons. (As we’ve heard

She says she managed his erectile dysfunction shots and kept a list of available women for him — a rolodex we’re sure law enforcement would be very interesting in.

Rehal is suing Harvey, Bob Weinstein, and The Weinstein Company for an unspecified amount.

Whatever it is, it’s NOT ENOUGH! Ick!

[Image via BBC/WENN.]

Read more: http://perezhilton.com/2018-01-25-harvey-weinstein-sexual-harassment-personal-assistant-sandeep-rehal

‘Grace and Frankie’ raises an interesting question: Where are all the sex toys for seniors?

The struggle is real.
Image: vicky leta/mashable

It isn’t every day you see a sex toy on a billboard, and it’s even more rare you’ll see one in the hands of a person in their seventies.

But thanks to Grace and Frankie, the Netflix sitcom starring Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda, that’s exactly what people saw when the show’s third season premiered last year. The series, which centers around two friends who face many challenges while trying to create a vibrator for seniors, has brought to light an interesting real-life question: Where are all the sex toys for older people?

Last season followed the unlikely roommates as they conceptualized, prototyped, and focus-grouped the “Ménage à Moi.” It’s a vibrator made for and — perhaps more importantly — marketed to older women, particularly those who have a hard time using traditional models because of their arthritis. 

Their fictional creation has a soft grip gel sleeve, is lightweight, can be easily repositioned, and even features glow-in-the-dark control buttons. Sounds ideal — except no such thing exists in the real world. 

There’s no question about it, Grace and Frankie (which returns to Netflix for a fourth season on Jan. 19) is in uncharted sex-positive territory. While sex toys have made a fleeting appearance in other popular TV shows, basing a major series storyline around them is on another level. And having the sex toy be the brainchild of postmenopausal women who talk openly about their experiences developing and using it? Well, that’s pretty subversive. 

A missed opportunity

Senior sexuality is often used as an ageist punchline — even in some of the most “progressive” of shows. The most recent season of Broad City, for example, featured an older woman named Garol shopping for a comically large dildo. 

But beyond jokes, there’s a persistent lack of representation of older adults in sexual scenarios. It’s almost enough to make you think that older people have lost their interest in sex, which is a generalization that’s simply not true

​According to a 2017 survey conducted by the sex toy company TENGA, the​ average baby boomer reported masturbating an average of 3.3 times a week (compared to 6.3 for millennials and 4.6 times for Gen X-ers.) ​A​ 2010 study conducted by AARP found that 28 percent of older adults had sexual intercourse at least once a week, and 85 percent of these men and 61 percent of the women agreed sex is important to their overall quality of life.

“In our society and culture, we see sexuality displayed by a lot of very young people. But sexuality most certainly doesn’t turn off,”  said Lisa Lawless, a psychotherapist and owner of a boutique sex toy business and online resource center. “We have customers well into their eighties, and even their nineties.”

But often, she notes, they don’t know quite where to start.

This is why advocates of a less ageist, more sex-positive culture say they’re hopeful Grace and Frankie can serve as a pivotal moment for making senior sexuality a more mainstream topic. 

Grace and Frankie inspect their creation.

Image: Courtesy of netflix

Emily Ferry is the prop master on Grace and Frankie, and she scoured both the web and brick-and-mortar stores to find inspirations for the Ménage à Moi vibrator that would eventually appear on the show.

“There was nothing that I could find that was aimed at older women,” said Ferry, estimating that her team charged 40 vibrators to the production studio as part of their research. “There were some items that [would make] someone say, ‘This would be good for older women,’ but there was nothing that had been manufactured with the older woman in mind.”

A baby boomer herself, Ferry says that many women she’s spoken with in her peer group have expressed an interest in buying a real-life version of the product. “I want one of those, how do I get one of those?” they ask her.

It’s easy to understand why Ferry’s peers are having a hard time: There really aren’t many sex toys specifically marketed to older users. Until now, this is something that demographic has been forced to navigate for themselves.

Senior sex ed

Watching Joan Price give a webinar on sex toys for seniors, it’s easy to imagine that she was equally adept in two of her earlier careers: a high school English teacher and physical fitness instructor. She speaks breezily about the sex toys she recommends for seniors, talking for over an hour straight. It’s clear she’s perfectly comfortable holding a rabbit vibrator up to her face to demonstrate size. Her curly grey hair bobs as she earnestly impersonates different styles of buzzing vibration pattern. In one taped presentation, she wears a silver clitoris ring and t-shirt emblazoned with a Magic Wand design under the words “Knowledge is power” that she shows off proudly.

“Sex toys are a gift to seniors,” the 74-year-old award-winning author tells Mashable. 

“So many things change as we age, or our medical conditions can get in the way. There are so many things going on, but for every problem there is a solution.”

Joan Price teaching one of her webinars.

Image: Mashable 

Price has been blogging about sex from a senior’s perspective for the past 13 years. It’s a job she kind of fell into after meeting her “great love” Robert, an artist and teacher, at age 57. Their sexual relationship inspired her to publish her first book, “Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty.” Touring the country and checking her inbox, she found she was among the lucky ones. 

While she was having great partnered sex, many of her peers were not. She decided she was going to help. She has since written two more books about sexual pleasure for older adults and has reviewed over 100 sex toys from the senior perspective. She also travels to sex-positive feminist stores like the Pleasure Chest, Tool Shed, and Smitten Kitten to hold workshops and help educate retail staff on this topic.

The criteria Price uses to determine whether or not a sex toy might be especially appealing to those in her age group are wide-ranging. She asks herself: Does it give off vibrations strong enough for those who are finding they now need extra sensation? Is it ergonomic? Lightweight? Can it go for long periods of time without overheating or running out of charge, seeing as arousal now takes longer? Can the controls be easily identified without having to reach for reading glasses? If it’s insertable, will it be an appropriate size for those who are now more likely to experience vaginal soreness and decreased elasticity?

Lawless also acknowledges that the seniors who call her customer service line with trepidation about buying these products — often for the first time — have distinct preferences and inquiries. Take USB chargers, for instance, which can be confusing to those who are less tech-savvy. And if a USB charger seems intimidating, forget the whole new world of WiFi-enabled teledildonic toys.

Designing with older people in mind

Despite the specific needs of older adults, both Lawless and Price are hesitant to say a hypothetical sex toy specifically built for and marketed to older adults (like the Ménage à Moi) is wholly necessary. After all, they tell Mashable, there are already ergonomically-designed vibrators on the market that do meet many of the physical needs of, say, an arthritic older person. 

Are glow-in-the-dark control buttons really a make-or-break feature? What about instruction manuals printed in a larger font size? It’s hard to say for sure. But regardless, this Grace and Frankie plot point does reflect how older adults are notably underrepresented in the booming adult product market. Online, where most people shop for their pleasure products, it’s rare you’ll stumble across photos of older models or language in product descriptions that address their particular concerns.

The fictional Ménage à Moi vibrator.

Image: Courtesy of netflix

Among the companies that are consciously working to address and court this demographic is Tantus, which has been actively creating sex toys with disabled users in mind for years. There’s also the Fiera pre-intimacy vibrator for generating arousal, whose creators told Mic it’s made with seniors in mind. 

And then there’s Hot Octopuss’ “guybrator” products like the PULSE III, which does not require the penis to be erect for use. This can be of significant benefit to older people who may have issues with erectile function. In an email to Mashable, Hot Octopuss founder Adam Lewis said the technological basis for this product came from “a medical device that was used in hospitals to allow men with spinal cord injuries and severe erectile dysfunction to ejaculate.” 

“As a company we feel strongly that the industry needs to change its approach to aging and sex (and disability and sex, which is a different but associated debate),” he adds.

To reflect the fact that the products can address issues somewhat more common in older adults, the company consciously includes older stock models than you’d typically see on other sites and photos of people in wheelchairs.

But for the most part, this isn’t an area too many companies seem comfortable approaching just yet. For example, one sex toy designer did chuckle when I made the hypothetical suggestion of sex toys specifically made and marketed for older users. 

This mentality can be seen clearly when perusing online shops for products known to assist aging people and those with mobility issues, like sex furniture. You still only see young, able-bodied models. 

Lawless also thinks there are other products that may have been designed with older adults specifically in mind, but that don’t necessarily market to them specifically. These include electrostimulation vibrators, clitoral pumps and suctions (like the Womanizer), and hollow dildos — though she notes the latter product can be exceedingly large and not necessarily compatible with older vagina owners’ limitations. 

“Even though the marketing doesn’t show people with wrinkles — and yes I absolutely, earnestly, think it should — many retailers and manufacturers are very interested in the demographic,” Price tells Mashable. “Which, of course makes sense, business-wise. But it also makes sense because all of their young [customers], if they’re lucky, will get old.”

For all the “ick factor” she says she still sees when the topic of older adult sexuality comes up, Price notes that she’s begun to see a slow shift.

“We’re not done achieving what I want to achieve here, but at least I’m not seen as an oddity as an advocate for ageless sexuality,” she says. “I still get the ‘Come on, stop it,’ from some people. But I don’t stop.”

“We have the right to sexual pleasure lifelong,” she adds.

While it’ll certainly be interesting to see where the next season of Grace and Frankie takes the fictional sextech duo, many people are even more eager to see if the Ménage à Moi can become something more than “just seen on TV.”

Read more: http://mashable.com/2018/01/19/sex-toys-for-seniors-grace-and-frankie-sextech/

Colbert Releases Erectile Dysfunction Parody About Trump’s Nuclear Button

President Donald Trump on Tuesday sent out an alarming tweet comparing his nuclear button to Kim Jong Un’s, saying his button is “much bigger and more powerful” that the North Korean leader’s button, and that his button actually works. But what happens when it doesn’t?

Sometimes when the mood to annihilate the entire planet strikes, your missile simply doesn’t want to launch. But now, thanks to “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” and Viagrageddon, the opportunity to create nuclear winter is just a pill away!

Just because your penis is small doesn’t mean your mushroom cloud has to be.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/colbert-erectile-dysfunction-nuclear-button_us_5a33e9ede4b0ff955ad25b9d

Safes app answers the question Have you been tested for STDs?

The idea for Safe Group, a new Los Angeles company that’s developed a mobile app to track and verify a user’s sexual health, started on the Playa at Burning Man.

The company’s chief executive and co-founder Ken Mayer was dating someone at the time who demanded to see the results of a recent STD test before agreeing to have sex.

“I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if there was an app where I could pull in my test records and we could show them from the phone?’” Mayer tells me.

He discussed the idea with his paramour and their friend (and later co-founder) Lauren Weiniger,  the founder of a social impact and entrepreneurship organization in Atlanta called GrowthCity, during their days at Black Rock City.

The relationship didn’t last, but the idea that was seeded on that late summer night in 2015 took root and eventually became Safe.

Now the company is readying for a major public launch at the Sundance Film Festival next year and enrolling people in a beta test thanks to $1.2 million in seed funding from Rivet Capital and a group of powerful individual investors and the addition of chief technology officer (and co-founder), Raj Jhaveri.

Safe Group chief executive, Ken Mayer

In the two years since the official formation of the company, Weiniger and Mayer went through several rounds of feasibility studies, and began untangling the incredibly complicated knots of red tape that kept patient medical records, insurers, health care providers and diagnostics companies from being able to effectively communicate with each other.

“We essentially had to build out a national healthcare company with physicians who are licensed across 50 states,” he said.

What Weiniger and Mayer have built (with help from Jhaveri over the last three months) is an integrated health care service that includes a network of physicians who can order tests that are covered by insurance plans; a direct connection to diagnostics and testing companies to offer the lowest cost for testing at any location in the U.S.; and that’s all in an app that adheres to the security standards of electronic health records and medical communications required by the government.

  1. SAFE App Photo 1 No Background

    Safe App profile information
  2. SAFE App Photo 2 No Background (1)

    Safe app doctor profile
  3. SAFE App Photo 3 No Background

    Safe scheduling tool
  4. SAFE App Photo 4 No background

    Safe testing location locator
  5. SAFE App Photo 6 No Background

    Safe approval screen
  6. SAFE App Photo 7 No Background

    Safe scheduling reminder

“Our plan is to use the STD verification as kind of a hook to collect a large user base of tech-savvy, health conscious people who will be the early adopters of this healthcare 2.0,” Mayer tells me.

The feat required some clever structuring of the various moving parts of Safe’s business, Weiniger said. There’s a physician-owned healthcare company called Safe Health made up of a network of physicians that the Safe Group brought together. That company has pledged its equity to Safe Group, which acts as a holding company and runs the app and technology side of the business.

Safe Group has also partnered with Quest Diagnostics and Lab Corp. so that test results are automatically uploaded into the app and so that anyone can get tested whether they have insurance or not.

Safe Group co-founder and chief operating officer Lauren Weiniger

Weiniger sees the main selling points for Safe as the ability to get tested anywhere with or without a doctor’s consultation at the lowest price possible and import that information into the app. “The biggest selling point about the app is that users can import their STD test results from anywhere. So any doctor, clinic or lab — whether they were tested through Safe or not,” Weiniger wrote to me.

The app will import the results of anyone’s last STD test, all a user has to do is put in the state where they were last tested, and the name of their doctor, clinic, or lab. The app will show the date and number of days, weeks, or months since someone’s last STD test.

The reason why Safe Group built out its healthcare company was to ensure that people covered by insurance would only have to pay their co-pay after filling out a short questionnaire, which replaces a physician’s consultation. Insurance companies require that a charge prove medical necessity, and the tele-medical consult provides that. For folks without insurance, the charge to get tested is $99.

“We have their most private information and we can start adding in features that make sense,” Weiniger said. “We want to end the spread of STDs in our lifetime. it’s the idea of putting it in people’s positive self interest. You can have an active prescription and reminders to take the pill… testing becomes the future and that becomes managed in the app… it’s a massive need and a massive market.”

Beyond that, the app will become an integrated source for all sorts of diagnostic tests and patient health records going forward, the company claims.

“Initially we’re prescribing the STD testing. The physicians… once the results come into our EHR…they then issue a positive or negative diagnosis. The physician will call the patient and prescribe treatment… And we will also be doing the treatment side… but not at the beginning,” said Mayer.

Eventually, Safe would also like to manage an online pharmacy that could distribute medication for the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases (initially) but expand into other areas of health.

Raj Jhaveri, Safe Group co-founder and chief technology officer

“Initially we’re going out and really positioning the company as a sexual health company,” Mayer reiterated. “Coming out with public outreach campaigns to get people to get tested and know their status and then getting to know the sexual health status of their partners before engaging in any risky activity [but] we plan to branch that out into fertility and erectile dysfunction.”

That broad vision attracted Jhaveri, a serial entrepreneur himself, to join the team. “It was the aspect of the future of gamification in terms of having these different types of badges and the aspect of how it evolves and takes telemedicine to the next level of medicine itself,” Jhaveri said.

A healthcare advisor to General Catalyst Partners and IBM Watson’s clinical oncology group, as well as a technical founder of multiple startups, Jhaveri noted that there were a number of telemedicine companies on the market but the way in which Safe was using sexual health as its point of entry was novel and its integrations were impressive.

“The way Safe has done it is all synchronized,” Jhaveri said. “It’s more seamless and a lot more user friendly… It’s enabling users with more functionality that’s traditionally been kept for physicians.”

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/12/22/safes-app-answers-the-question-have-you-been-tested-for-stds/

Harvey Weinstein used agents and journalists to carry out his abuse


In the two months since the New York Times published its first investigation into Harvey Weinstein, we’ve read the accounts of dozens of women who said that he sexually harassed, sexually assaulted, and raped them.

We learned about how some of his own employees helped him target young women and how he used his wealth to silence and retaliate against women who tried to speak up or report him. And whenever journalists were close to reporting on his systematic abuse of women, we read about the extreme tactics he used to make his accusers stand down and kill those stories from becoming public. And in a new New York Times investigation we’re now learning the sheer extent of Weinstein’s network of complicity, which included several people at a major talent agency, tabloid journalists, and some of his own employees who were powerless to speak up. Two instances of alleged misconduct by Weinstein occurred at the Toronto International Film Festival this past September even while he knew that reporters were digging into his decades of actions.

In Hollywood, Harvey’s reported harassment, assaults, and rapes were well-known, even among multiple agents at Creative Arts Agency (C.A.A.), a top agency, that heard complaints from clients and continued to arrange meetings between Weinstein and young actresses. When these actresses told their agents about what Weinstein did in those private meetings, they were often told to forget about it. According to the New York Times, Weinstein’s methods included asking C.A.A.’s Bryan Lourd to arrange a meeting with Ronan Farrow, a C.A.A. client who had been working on a bombshell report on Weinstein for NBC and later The New Yorker.

His attempts to control the narrative around him included using journalists on his payroll to dig up dirt on his victims, using as many people as he could to discredit the women and attempt to convince journalists to abandon their stories with a mix of flattery and threats. Hours before the New York Times’ first story on Weinstein dropped, Weinstein personally called the reporters and told them that he had the means to find out who had talked to them.

Weinstein used several employees at Miramax and the Weinstein Company to help him carry out his reported behavior. Employees—who were usually among the least powerful at the company—were tasked with bringing women to him in his hotel room. They provided him with penile injections he used for erectile dysfunction, which Weinstein paid for with a company card, and had to “dispense them to him in brown paper bags and sometimes deliver the medication to hotels and elsewhere” prior to meeting with women. If those employees complained about what they were asked to do, he reportedly threatened members of their family or fired them.

Weinstein’s reach extended to journalism and politics, and he bragged that he had access to the U.S. president and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, among others; Lena Dunham said she told members of Hillary Clinton’s campaign not to allow Weinstein to be involved because of Hollywood’s “open secret.”

Even though Weinstein’s career in Hollywood is effectively over—he’s been fired, kicked out of the Academy, and has lost his place in other guilds—and many who were once loyal have since abandoned him, at least one person who publicly condemned Weinstein still sees a future for him, telling him that “this will go away sooner than you think and it will be forgotten.”

“Focus on the future as America loves a great comeback story,” Paul Tudor Jones, an investor, told Weinstein in an email.

Read the full report at the New York Times.

Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/upstream/harvey-weinstein-complicit-network-report/

Report: Hollywood Agents Set Up Private Meetings with Harvey Weinstein Despite Allegations

In an explosive new investigation, The New York Times revealed how disgraced film producer Harvey Weinsteins sexual misconduct was enabled by those around him. For example, at least eight talent agents from Hollywoods Creative Artists Agency were told about Weinsteins conduct but set up private meetings between young actresses and Weinstein anyway. According to the Times, the agents told the women to stay quiet when things went wrong. One of the agents who once confronted Weinstein even acknowledged that sometimes he was the only game in town. The Times also reports that low-level staffers were required to procure [Weinsteins] penile injections for erectile dysfunction.

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/report-hollywood-agents-set-up-private-meetings-with-harvey-weinstein-despite-allegations

Warning over ‘dangerous’ slimming pills

Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption In 2016, £3.7m worth of fake slimming pills were seized

Slimming pills bought online are “potentially dangerous” and can cause serious health problems, says the UK’s medicines watchdog.

Side-effects can include heart problems, blurred vision and diarrhoea, and some contain banned ingredients.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said people should go to their GP for advice first.

A survey of 1,800 slimmers found one in three had bought pills online, with two-thirds experiencing side-effects.

Most of those questioned by the MHRA and Slimming World had bought online because they had wanted to lose weight quickly. About 40% said they had not wanted to speak to a GP or pharmacist.


Sarah-Jayne Walker, 30, saw diet pills as “a quick fix”, but they gave her palpitations and made her feel faint.

Image copyright Sarah-Jayne Walker
Image caption Sarah-Jayne became obsessed with slimming pills before stopping her habit

She bought the pills online and took them for four months, before realising she had no idea what was in them.

“The pills came in a little white bottle with no leaflet and no instructions,” she says.

“Looking back, I think, ‘What was I doing?’

“I was in a desperate place – my weight had fluctuated for years – and I fell for the promises online.”

Sarah-Jayne suffered from light-headedness, sickness and irritable bowel syndrome.

“I knew the pills were affecting my body and I had become dependent on them,” she says.

The MHRA said people should take medicines only after a consultation with their GP.

The agency’s #FakeMeds campaign warns buying from websites also increases the risk of being ripped off or having your identity stolen.

Top tips to avoid fake medicines online

  • Before buying, check if the seller is licensed to sell medicines online, through this checking system
  • “Herbal” or “all-natural” products can still contain chemical ingredients that may have side-effects
  • Contact the MHRA if you have experienced side-effects from a suspected fake product
  • Don’t self-diagnose – a doctor can work out the right treatment for you

More tips are available here

MHRA senior policy manager Lynda Scammell said: “Quick fixes for losing weight may have serious health consequences in the short or long term, including organ failure and death.

“It’s essential you know what you’re buying online and what the risks are.

“If you don’t, your weight could end up being the least of your worries.”

Image copyright Science Photo Library

In 2016, more than 4.6 million fake medical products were seized by the MHRA. The agency also closed down more than 5,000 websites selling medicines illegally.

In the UK, there are no medicines licensed for slimming, although some are licensed for treating obesity.

The MHRA said many of the slimming pills seized contained ingredients that could put dieters in danger – such as sibutramine, which has been linked to an increased risk of heart attacks and stroke.

The agency also seizes other fake products regularly, such as dental equipment, sexually transmitted infection, HIV and pregnancy tests and erectile dysfunction medications.

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-42165878

New startup is tackling one of the most embarrassing challenges many men face

New look, same little blue pill.
Image: roman

Move over, cheesy Cialis bathtubs. There’s a sleek new startup targeting men with erectile dysfunction.

A first of its kind, Roman is an app that will screen you for ED, let you talk one-on-one with doctors, and even get prescriptions delivered to your door — all without ever leaving your house. The service, whose wares are packaged in dignified red and black branding, is aiming to take the shame out of the condition for a new generation. 

While an app that dispenses Viagra sounds like something out of an episode of Silicon Valley, in a refreshing turn of events, Roman is not being pitched as a cynical ploy to disrupt your dick. Instead, it’s a personal mission of the company’s CEO, Zachariah Reitano, an earnest software developer who has struggled with erectile dysfunction since he was a teenager. 

Zachariah Reitano (right), with his cofounders Rob Schutz (left) and Saman Rahmanian (center).

Image: roman

He explained his motivation recently to Mashable, “Our philosophy is basically if we reduce the barriers to men receiving treatment at the earliest possible sign of trouble, then we can start a dialogue with a physician. We can build a bond with them, and then in short order we can educate them and treat them for other conditions that end up being the root cause of ED.”

So how does this actually work? It’s a web app that starts by asking you questions about your general health and lifestyle and then offers tailored follow-up questions, depending on how you answer. (You also have to verify your identity by taking a photo providing ID.) 

Image: roman

You’ll be required to provide a recent blood pressure reading — and if you haven’t had one in the past six months it’ll direct you to get one before you proceed. A physician reviews your info, and if you’re a candidate for drugs, you’ll be issued a prescription and can order the medicine right in the app. 

It will be delivered right to your door in discreet packaging — in something that looks more like an iPhone box than something from Walgreens. You can also sign up for automatic refills, and if you have questions, you can message or video chat with one of the doctors at any time. 

If it’s determined that something more serious might be going on, you’re referred to a local clinic for an in-person check-up. For the time being, Roman is only available in New York, California, Pennsylvania, and Florida.

Prescriptions have never looked so sleek.

Image: Roman

While telemedicine isn’t right for addressing all health conditions, in this case, it’s actually a reasonably safe way of starting the discussion, says Dr. Michael Eisenberg, Director of Male Reproductive Medicine and Surgery and Stanford University. He told Mashable, “Any time you can reduce friction or decrease the barriers to care, I think that’s a good thing.”

And that’s Roman’s ultimate goal: to break down the barriers young men face when it comes to getting treatment for erectile dysfunction. While years of innuendo-laden Cialis and Viagra ads have reduced much of the stigma around the condition for older men, their younger counterparts haven’t necessarily had the same awakening. 

Dr. Eisenberg stressed that treatment is important on a number of levels, “Erectile dysfunction certainly is a quality of life issue, and it can do a lot for relationship satisfaction and overall life satisfaction, but it also can be a biomarker. I think making men more aware of their health and lifestyle factors that may play a role is good as well.”

It’s something more than half of all men struggle with — and it’s not just confined to retirees. In fact, 26 percent of adult men under the age of 40 have dealt with ED, but they’re not always willing to talk about it, even with a doctor. 

As Reitano explained, “It’s often one of the earliest symptoms of far more serious underlying conditions. It’s highly undertreated. Only about 18 to 30 percent of men who experience the issue get treated for it, because of the stigma.” 

Reitano’s first experience with ED occurred when he was a teenager, and it turned out to be one of the first signs that he was suffering from serious heart problems. He was lucky in that his dad was a physician specializing in sexual health. So he was able to talk openly with him about what was happening and his father recognized it as a signal that something more critical was up. 

The in-house pharmacy.

Image: Roman

But Reitano recognized that not all young men had that kind of access or the education to speak up when something wasn’t quite right in the bedroom. So, years later, when he and his partners — CPO Saman Rahmanian and CRO Rob Schutz — found themselves looking for a startup idea in the men’s health space, this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Reitano explained, “It’s something that men care about enough in the present enough to research, enough to Google. Whereas if we just started with something like hypertension or cholesterol, it’s often not something that someone wakes up with and affects their day to day life, even though it’s incredibly important.”

While this could look on the surface like simply a place to get a free-flowing supply of recreational Viagra, that’s not the intended reality. First of all, if you’re not having any issues with maintaining an erection, drugs like Cialis and Viagra aren’t really going to do much to enhance your sexual experience.

Image: roman

As Reitano explained, many of the people who claim to be doing these drug “for fun” are actually using them to treat some level of dysfunction. And those who are too embarrassed to seek out legitimate treatment for their condition are currently turning to the internet to buy meds.

That’s a real problem because about 80 percent of the Viagra bought online is actually counterfeit and is often contaminated by things you definitely shouldn’t be swallowing — like paint. 

So a service like Roman, where patients can be monitored by a physician and receive legal versions of these drugs, could do a lot to boost access to people who have otherwise been totally out of the health care system.

Still, it’s certainly not a perfect fit for everyone — and it does come at a cost. Roman is not integrated at all with insurance, meaning everything is out of pocket. The prices, however, are fairly reasonable. You pay just $15 for your online consultation. (Though if you’re not deemed a good candidate for telemedical treatment, that’s refunded). Prescriptions, depending on the drug and the dosage, will run you anywhere from $2 to $63 a pill. 

Of course, Roman is not aiming to replace a doctor entirely, and there may be plenty of cases in which it’s either more cost effective or medically more sound to go through an IRL physician. 

But it’s a service that could really gain traction as a complementary force to get men talking about their health and be a powerful point of access for men who might otherwise be too shy or ashamed to ask for help.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/10/31/erectile-dysfunction-viagra-cialis-startup/

Marijuana Might Increase Your Libido

Oh Mary J! According to new research, it might just be the reason why some people are having more sex.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that in 2015, marijuana was used by 11 million Americans aged 18-25. While some use the drug for recreational and medicinal purposes, a new study suggests it might also increase libido, contradicting some previous research.

Ever since the drug became legal in some states across the US, like Massachusetts and Washington DC, more research has been conducted to study its side effects.

According to a study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, involving 50,000 Americans aged 25-45, marijuana might not be the cause of negative sexual performance. 

Past research on cannabis and sex has varied. Some results suggest that the drug can cause erectile dysfunction – not exactly exciting for anyone who’s about to get into it.

Speaking about the study’s volunteers, author Dr Michael Eisenberg, from Stanford University Medical Center, said, “We reported how often they smoke – monthly, weekly or daily – and how many times they’ve had sex in the last month.”

“What we found was compared to never-users, those who reported daily use had about 20 percent more sex. So over the course of a year, they’re having sex maybe 20 more times.”

Women who used cannabis every day had sex on average 7.1 times a month, whilst for men this number was 6.9. Women who didn’t use marijuana at all had sex on average 6 times a month, whilst non-using men did so 5.6 times per month.

The clear difference between the two groups of men challenges past claims that the drug causes erectile dysfunction.

The researchers took into account factors like the participants’ use of other drugs, their religion, their age, and whether they had children, but found consistent results throughout. “It was pretty much every group we studied, this pattern persisted,” Eisenberg explained. “The more marijuana people smoked, the more they seemed to be having sex.” 

In terms of whether smoking marijuana can negatively impact sex, Eisenberg said; “We don’t want people to smoke to improve sexual function, but it probably doesn’t hurt things.”

Seems fair.

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/marijuana-might-increase-your-libido/

The Terrifying Truth About Why We Love Apocalypse Stories

From Mad Max to The Road to the illustrious career of Roland Emmerich, it’s clear that the modern pop-culture consumer loves apocalypses. Climate change and the threat of nuclear war or worldwide super-virus make imagining an apocalypse easy. And if you look back through history, it’s obvious that as long as there has been civilization, there has been the fear of complete and utter worldwide destruction.

One of the most prolific names today in speculative fiction is N.K. Jemisin. The first two books of her Broken Earth trilogy have won the Hugo Award for best novel the last two years consecutively. If you want to read the best sci-fi about the apocalypse, you need to be reading N.K. Jemisin’s books.

That’s what we did, and N.K. Jemisin was kind enough to join Cracked’s Alex Schmidt and Michael Swaim in New York for a conversation about world-building contemporary sci-fi, some of the most interesting real-life apocalypses in human history, and the difficulties of writing end-times fiction when the world so often is stranger and crueler than fiction.


The Stone Sky (N.K. Jemison)

6 Baffling Modern-Day Disasters of Biblical Proportions (Cracked)

5 Horrifying Apocalyptic Scenarios That Have Already Happened (Cracked)

The Epic Volcano Eruption That Led To The ‘Year Without a Summer’ (Washington Post)

4 Reasons ‘The Walking Dead’ Hates Humans More Than Zombies’ (Cracked)

Red Mars (Kim Stanley Robinson)

N.K. Jemisin’s ‘The Fifth Season’ To Be Developed As TV Series at TNT (Deadline)

The Latest in Science Fiction and Fantasy (New York Times)

How Human Beings Almost Vanished From The Earth In 70,000 B.C. (NPR)

New Study Documents Aftermath of a Supereruption and Expands Size of Toba Magma System (Oregon State University)

1491 (The Atlantic)

What Caused the Mystery of the Dark Day? (BBC)

How Many Slaves Landed in the U.S.? (PBS)

Descended from a Slave, This Family Helped to Open the African American Museum with Obama (Washington Post)

Visualizing Firebomb Damage Done to Japan During WWII (Slate)

The Relationship Between Hurricanes and Climate Change (New York Times

The Years of Rice and Salt (Kim Stanley Robinson)

Heroin-induced erectile dysfunction! Suitcases full of murdered sex dolls and discarded porn! A request for military-issued pee funnels! It’s never too late to catch up on the first few episodes of Cracked Gets Personal.

Click here to subscribe to Cracked Gets Personal on Apple Podcasts or search for it your podcast app of choice.

If you’re looking for some great back-to-school threads and want to show your support for The Cracked Podcast, check out the awesome Cracked Podcast merch we’ve got at PodSwag.com

Read more: http://www.cracked.com/podcast/the-terrifying-truth-about-why-we-love-apocalypse-stories

Murdered Sex Dolls & Porn Suitcases: What Garbagemen See

No one knows you the way your garbageman knows you. You can lie to your spouse, to your friends and to your neighbors. But your trash always tells the truth. On this week’s episode of Cracked Gets Personal, Robert Evans and Brandon Johnson talk to four garbagemen about the insane things they’ve seen, and the dark secrets they’ve learned about modern life. For stories of murdered sex dolls, attempted banditry and sooooo much discarded porn, listen now!

Light bulbs stuck in butts! Heroin-induced erectile dysfunction! War vets taking Molly to quell their PTSD! It’s never too late to catch up on the first few episodes of Cracked Gets Personal.

Click here to subscribe to Cracked Gets Personal on Apple Podcasts or search for it your podcast app of choice.

Read more: http://www.cracked.com/podcast/murdered-sex-dolls-porn-suitcases-what-garbagemen-see

Inside The Secret Epidemic Of Cops Shooting Dogs

In the U.S., police shoot at dogs more often than they shoot at anything else. On today’s episode of Cracked Gets Personal, hosts Robert Evans and Brandon Johnson try to find out why. You’ll hear from dog owners who lost their beloved pets, as well as a police officer who was mauled by a dog while we try to unravel just why so many cops are shooting dogs.

Light bulbs stuck in butts! Heroin-induced erectile dysfunction! War vets taking Molly to quell their PTSD! It’s never too late to catch up on the first few episodes of Cracked Gets Personal.

Click here to subscribe to Cracked Gets Personal on Apple Podcasts or search for it your podcast app of choice.

Read more: http://www.cracked.com/podcast/cops-are-shooting-crazy-amount-dogs-why

Trump Orders Military to Reject New Transgender Recruits

President Donald Trump ordered the U.S. military on Friday to reject openly transgender people as new recruits but authorized Defense Secretary James Mattis to decide how to handle transgender personnel already serving in the armed forces.

Trump also ordered the military to stop paying for gender-reassignment surgical procedures on March 23 except to protect the health of someone who has already begun the process of reassigning sex, according to a senior White House official who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity.

The Defense Department will have six months to consider how to handle openly transgender people currently serving in the military under a memorandum that Trump signed on Friday, the official said. The memorandum directs the department to consider unit cohesion, applicable law and resources in making the determination, the official said.

Trump announced July 26 he would ban transgender people from serving “in any capacity” in the U.S. military, reversing President Barack Obama’s policy to let them serve openly and drawing immediate criticism from gay-rights groups, many Democratic lawmakers and even some conservative Republicans..

That announcement, in a series of early morning tweets, caught Pentagon officials and key members of Congress off-guard, and the Pentagon said it wouldn’t change its policies until it received a formal order from the president.

Formal Notification

“There will be no modifications to the current policy until the President’s direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary has issued implementation guidance,” the office of Joint Chiefs Chairman Joseph Dunford said in a statement after Trump’s July tweets. “In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect.”

Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said the Defense Department “has received formal guidance” from the White House and “more information will be forthcoming.”

The White House waited until 6 p.m. on an August Friday, when the media audience is usually low, to announce the formal notification had come in the presidential memorandum. Trump, who often turns the signing of presidential directives into media events, in this case issued the memorandum out of sight.

Rather than say anything about the formal order in the immediate aftermath, he tweeted about the hurricane dominating media coverage on Friday. 

“Storm turned Hurricane is getting much bigger and more powerful than projected. Federal Government is on site and ready to respond. Be safe!” Trump said.

Black Hawk Down

Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, a wounded Iraq War veteran, blasted the ban in a statement issued ahead of the White House announcement.

“When I was bleeding to death in my Black Hawk helicopter after I was shot down, I didn’t care if the American troops risking their lives to help save me were gay, straight, transgender, black, white or brown,” Duckworth said. “If you are willing to risk your life for our country and you can do the job, you should be able to serve — no matter your gender identity or sexual orientation. Anything else is not just discriminatory, it is disruptive to our military and it is counterproductive to our national security.”

Trump said in July his concern hinged on the additional medical costs and “disruption” of such troops. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders cited “military readiness and unit cohesion.”

Care related to gender reassignment costs the Pentagon $2.4 million to $8.4 million annually, the larger number a little more than 0.1 percent of the military’s entire health-care bill, according to a 2016 Rand Corporation study. By contrast, the military spent $84 million on Viagra and other drugs for erectile dysfunction for active-duty troops, eligible family members and retirees in 2014 alone, the Military Times reported.

Treatment of transgender people has become a flashpoint in the U.S. culture wars as social conservatives lead fights in some states to require that students, and sometimes adults, use school and public restrooms corresponding to their gender at birth. 

Trump has attempted as a candidate to thread a needle between the two sides. In his campaign, he cultivated evangelical voters while at the same time promising to “fight for” the gay and transgender community.

    Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-25/trump-s-order-bans-military-from-accepting-transgender-recruits

    6 Enormous Dick Moves From Big Pharma (You Never Noticed)

    For being the industry that provides us with both life-saving drugs and boner pills, Big Pharma sure gets a lot of hate. But it turns out they’re even better at sucking than we thought, filling their day-to-day lives with lots of little acts of douchebaggery to keep us miserable through all of our waking moments. For example …


    Pfizer Sold Viagra To Millions Of Men Instead Of Treating Their Heart Disease

    Years of toxic masculinity and lazy sitcom jokes have thoroughly convinced men that if their penises don’t work, it’s the end of the world. Fortunately for the 30 million men with erectile dysfunction in the U.S., pharma giant Pfizer can cure what ails you. Just stock up on Viagra, and your little guy will keep going and going and going, right up to the moment you die of heart disease.

    Viagra, the blue pill that lets you drill, might be one of the grandest and most successful acts of bullshit marketing in history. Until about 25 years ago, pharmacy companies were saying that impotence only affected 10-20 million men, and most of them were too old to worry or care about it. But in 1994, researchers Edward Laumann and John Gagnon (who were conveniently on Pfizer’s payroll) put out a study claiming that 30-50 percent of adults were sexually dissatisfied, which seems a lot harder to scientifically quantify than real medical conditions. For all we know, that study only proves that 30-50 percent of men couldn’t resist making a crack about their wives when asked by two dudes how their sex lives were.

    Lying pfucks.

    Laumann and Gagnon later expanded on this study to claim that 43 percent of women and 31 percent of men were not just sexually dissatisfied, but in fact dysfunctional. Pfizer ran with this, using the studies to claim that 30 million American men suffered from a term that everyone is now familiar with: “erectile dysfunction.” That dubious study, combined with urologist Irwin Goldstein (who was also on Pfizer’s payroll) saying that impotence was a major health concern, mean it’s no surprise that Pfizer made a billion dollars off of Viagra in a few months, giving them yet another bulge in their pants to be proud about.

    But the real crime here is that all this focus on regaining strong, lasting erections has obscured the real issue: If you’re having problems with your penis, the problem is rarely about your penis. It probably can be traced to your heart or brain, which we’ve been told are more important organs. Men usually suffer from impotence because of issues related to strokes or heart disease — both of which can be triggered if you’re having marathon sex hopped up on boner pills. In 1998, Pfizer was forced to add warning labels to the famous pill, which solved the problem forever, because everyone reads those. But before they did that, over 130 men died because Pfizer had convinced them to not seek true medical help, and they did so while getting busy. We’re surprised the company didn’t simply commission another study claiming that 30-50 percent of those men’s dying words were “Totally worth it.”


    Painkiller Companies Are Trying To Keep Marijuana Illegal

    Marijuana, to put it in medical terms, is the shit. It’s basically magic if you’re going through chemotherapy, being the only known drug which both reduces nausea and increases appetite. It also reduces pain, helps you sleep, and improves your mood. It also helps you see colors — like, really see colors. Also, just … outer space, man.

    Not everyone is happy about the medical properties of marijuana, though. Pharmaceutical companies are used to selling painkillers and other drugs for large amounts of money, and they don’t want to share their profits with a bunch of stoners. They’re right to be worried, too. States that have legalized medical marijuana see a notable drop in pharmaceutical drug sales, especially painkillers. In those same states, opioid overdoses have dropped by 25 percent. But if you think fewer people dying of drug overdoses is a good thing, you’re never going to get anywhere in the pharmaceutical game.

    In 2016, when eight different states approved measures to legalize marijuana in one form or another, Arizona was one state that resisted.

    Business Insider
    “Arizona: Still slightly cooler than Utah!”

    That might have something to do with Insys Therapeutics, a company which manufactures a painkiller specifically for cancer patients, which poured $500,000 in campaign funds into an organization opposing the measure to legalize pot. Of course, when they were asked about it, they claimed that … oh, they admitted outright that it was because they would make less money. They seemed baffled by the idea that they couldn’t own the painkiller market, since they were owning Congress perfectly fine.

    However, realizing they’re probably next on the list of things Millennials are killing, these companies are taking a page out of Pfizer’s (and Big Tobacco’s) books and paying experts to tell everyone that marijuana is dangerous. Dr. Herbert Kleber of Columbia University has made plenty of appearances on NPR, CNBC, and CBS News, talking out of his ass about how addictive marijuana is and how it will lead to a public health crisis. What they never seem to mention, though, is that he’s been paid by numerous drug companies, including the makers of OxyContin. And if the makers of New Heroin are paying you to say weed is dangerous, you might as well roll that PhD into a big fat blunt and smoke it.


    Purdue Pharma Marketed OxyContin Specifically To Skeezy Doctors

    OxyContin is probably the most widely prescribed drug that will absolutely fuck you up sideways. It will get rid of your pain, along with all your other senses and any connection to the real world. It can also cause nausea, heart failure, death, and worst of all, the hiccups. And as you probably already know by now, it’s as addictive as heroin, with similar withdrawal symptoms, like fever, nausea, panic attacks, and writing terrible poetry. How in the hell did a drug this dangerous manage to get into the hands of so many people? Via doctors, of course.

    OxyContin was made available to the public in 1996, making $45 million in sales in its first year. By 2000, only four years later, it was making an astonishing $1.1 billion for its manufacturer, Purdue Pharma. Coincidentally, in that timespan, there was a massive increase in the number of doctors prescribing OxyContin for everything from back pain to arthritis to stubbed toes to “thought they saw a spider.” That’s because Purdue had an ingenious plan to recruit not just any doctors, but the right kind of doctors. Instead of chasing every Tom, Dick, and Jan wearing a stethoscope, the company started keeping records of thousands of quacks who were already pushing much more painkillers than the average doc. Once they’d found their pill monkeys, it was a simple matter of getting them to switch brands.

    Whether those doctors were sleazy or living somewhere with a high density of people with bad backs didn’t matter to Purdue. For the ones who cared enough to inquire after the addictive properties of the drug, Purdue’s sales reps came up with a pretty inventive solution: They lied. They claimed that the potential for OxyContin addiction was “less than 1 percent,” and even made this a major part of their marketing to physicians. As we now know, the addictive potential of the drug is in truth closer to a hundred million percent, but we’d hate to be splitting hairs.

    In 2007, Purdue Pharma pleaded guilty to lying about how safe OxyContin was, paying a $600 million fine for creating a “corporate culture that allowed this product to be misbranded with the intent to defraud and mislead.” This taught the company a valuable lesson for about ten seconds, which is roughly the time it now takes for them to earn that much profit. And if it breaks your heart to know that a company can get away with creating a nationwide health crisis for less than they probably spend on Christmas bonuses, Purdue has precisely the pill for that.


    India Is Flooding The U.S. Market With Counterfeit Medicine That Doesn’t Work

    We do at least have one recourse from the highly expensive drugs that line the mysterious back shelves of the pharmacy: sweet, sweet generic brands. If you can’t afford the big name, you can get something that works almost exactly the same for a fraction of the price, allowing you to stave off liver disease and still afford luxuries like bread. Finally, the free market delivers a solution that works! Also, your generic drugs are probably counterfeit.

    Right now, 40 percent of all generic drugs sold in the United States are made in India, which has its own version of Big Pharma. And the World Health Organization estimates that 20 percent of their drugs are fake. So does that mean that the drugs don’t work, or that they are cheap knockoffs of commercial drugs? Yes.

    Indian law states that while the process of making a drug is patented, the drug itself is not. This means that anyone who reverse-engineers a Viagra, or something less important like cancer drugs, can manufacture it on their own and sell it. Without any decent checks and balances, this means anyone with a chemistry kit can claim they’ve cracked OxyContin and ship it off to the rest of the world. After some of these drugs were finally tested, a number of them (ranging from 12-20 percent) were found to have no active ingredients whatsoever, making them as effective as Styrofoam. They weren’t all floppy boner pills, either. These scams includes fake cancer drugs and antibiotics for sick infants, which is a move so comically evil you’d expect to see it in an episode of Jonny Quest.

    “Actually, that ‘v’ is a typo. Our bad.”

    This lack of oversight is what makes selling fake drugs such a huge industry. Ten percent of the world’s drug trade is made up of counterfeits, and this economy’s growing at an estimated 25 percent per year. The FDA here in the USA is finally starting to crack down on this, springing surprise inspections on Indian plants and fining manufacturer Ranbaxy a whopping $500 million for their lies. Their response was to ask the FDA commissioner to keep letting them sell their fake drugs to the American public. After all, how else were they going to afford that fine?

    There’s an even worse side of this, however. The explosion of drugs has led to a large increase in pollution from pharmaceutical factories. As if regular pollution isn’t bad enough, pharmapollution can lead to increased antibiotic resistance among bacteria, leading to superbugs that can’t be treated easily. So not only are these fake drugs ineffective, but they’re also making real drugs less effective. Why raise the bar when you can just lower the other ones, right?


    An American Nonprofit Institute Harvested Ecuadorian Natives For Profit

    Biopiracy, contrary to what the name conjures, isn’t the act of performing naval raids on Whole Foods shipments. It’s stealing people’s genetic information without their permission. And when we say people, we mean a people, like the time in the early ’90s when the Coriell Medical Institute stole blood from a native Ecuadorian tribe.

    In 1990 and 1991, Coriell partnered with the Maxus Energy Corporation and Harvard University to draw thousands of blood samples from 600 members of the Huaorani tribe in Ecuador, which comes out to “several pints of blood” per person. Under 20 percent of the participants agreed to the procedure, so enjoy lying awake thinking of how a shadowy cabal of rich institutions would obtain the blood of 480 people without their permission. They also helped themselves to some tissue samples, because hey, they were already down in the creepy blood dungeon, so why not?

    Kate Fisher
    “They stole my genetic makeup and I didn’t even get a stupid T-shirt.”

    Regardless of how they got the blood, all of the “participants” were told that their samples would be analyzed for personal medical examinations, and then Coriell did not do that. The samples were instead sold to research labs around the world, including Harvard (which hopefully got a henchman discount). Over the next 22 years, 31 research papers were written about the discoveries made from the Huaorani blood and tissue samples, and not a penny of the deserved royalties ever made it back to the tribe.

    Why did Coriell go to so much trouble? Apparently, there are many scientists around the world who think the Huaorani tribe have very particular genetic mutations which make them immune to diseases like hepatitis. Being able to replicate this immunity would be revolutionary, but scientists still have yet to prove the link, even 25 years after the Great People Harvesting. As for what happened to the Huaorani, we’re not really sure, because almost every fact on their Wikipedia page has “[citation needed]” next to it. That might be a scarier sentence than the one with “blood dungeon” in it.


    Synthes Conducted Secret “Bone Cement” Experiments That Killed Five People

    When you’re creating something that’s intended to cure people, it’s best to make extra-sure that it doesn’t kill them instead. That’s why pharmaceutical drugs go through many rigorous rounds of testing, with control groups and consent forms and all that, to ensure that we’re curing AIDS and not turning it into Super AIDS. Or you could be like Synthes, and not give a fuck and straight-up inject cement into people’s spines.

    Synthes is a medical company that injected cement into people’s spines, because we really can’t say that enough. The product in question was Norian XR, a special kind of cement which apparently could turn into bone if it was injected into a human skeleton. Normally, a product that dangerous and invasive would have to go through expensive medical trials, finding patients desperate enough to try out an experimental new procedure that could potentially kill them. But Synthes decided that due diligence is for suckers, and went ahead with their own illegal trials. After all, how could shoving experimental putty directly into someone’s spine ever go wrong?

    Between 2002 and 2004, Synthes injected cement into an unknown number of patients without their permission, mainly by tricking hospitals into using Norian XR and lying about how safe and legal the concoction was. Some scientists quickly raised warnings about how the drug could potentially cause fatal blood clots, and the FDA requested that Synthes holy shit not do this, but the pharma company gave them both the middle finger and proceeded anyway. The results weren’t good: Five people ended up dying on the operating table as a result of the Norian XR injection, which even Synthes had to admit that was a mixed bag.

    In 2009, the Department of Justice formally accused Synthes of injecting cement into people’s spines Four executives ended up pleading guilty to obscure misdemeanor charges, and amazingly, all of them actually went to jail. Of course, what was waiting for them on the other side wasn’t humility, but fat stacks of cash, as Synthes was later sold to Johnson & Johnson for over $20 billion. Here’s hoping those executives spent every day in prison getting punched right in their spines.

    Also check out 5 Terrible Secrets Big Drug Companies Don’t Want You to Know and 5 Awful Things I Learned About Drugs Working At A Pharmacy.

    Subscribe to our YouTube channel, and check out If Viagra Commercials Were Honest, and other videos you won’t see on the site!

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    Read more: http://www.cracked.com/article_24999_6-evil-af-supervillain-schemes-pulled-by-big-pharma.html

    3 Penis Tropes In Hollywood That You Never Noticed

    Hollywood can be a real dick when it comes to wieners, and vice versa. It’s like, they’ll kick ’em, smash ’em, or stick ’em into pies, but actually showing a ding-a-ling on screen would apparently destroy the very fabric of America and plunge the country into a Mad Max-style dystopia. At the same time, though, whenever someone dares to show up to an action movie without a society-ruining baloney pony of their own, Hollywood basically punishes them for it by sticking them with a cliche rape backstory. So, yeah, despite being primarily written by men, movies and TV shows have some pretty cockamamie hang-ups about the human willy, which kind of explains why they also believe that …

    It’s OK To Treat People Like Garbage As Long As They Have Gigantic Schlongs

    I have three younger brothers so I know the difference between innocent teasing and straight-up abuse. Basically, you can jokingly hit people, insult them, give them fake suicide notes from Santa blaming them for his death etc., AS LONG AS the other person is capable and willing to strike back (usually at my face). That’s why I absolutely hate the stock “butt-monkey” TV character whose entire job is to take abuse after abuse without ever doing anything about it. It’s what almost ruined Parks And Recreation for me.

    On the show, Garry Gergich is a low-level government employee/emotional human toilet for his co-workers, one of whom once said that “[his] face is the symbol of failure.” His so-called friends routinely and viciously insult Jerry, delivering slow-mo (but thankfully dingus-free) pies into Terry’s face, and persistently calling poor Larry by the wrong name.

    But the thing is, even the writers of the show felt bad about treating the character this way, so in Season 5, it was revealed that Garry has an incredibly beautiful wife and three equally beautiful daughters, all of whom adore him in a way that you rarely see outside of cults. So it doesn’t matter that Garry’s coworkers once “pranked” him so hard that he suffered a heart attack (I … guess) because he has already won at life. But this wasn’t the writers’ first instinct. Way earlier, in Season 4, they tried to go a different way by revealing that Garry has a gigantic yogurt pistol, one of the biggest that his doctor has ever seen in fact. THIS (“this” being Garry’s beef thermometer) was supposed to make us feel less sorry for the man. It’s cool that people loathe his presence, because his dong could sink a ship.

    A very similar thing happened with Cyril Figgis, a timid, frail comptroller working for a spy agency on Archer. Cyril gets so little respect on the show that him merely offering to help out with a computer problem ends in him taking a shower of shit coming from his coworkers’ mouths. But it’s OK because back in the series’ second episode, we found out that Cyril has a 12-inch tube steak. How does he get an erection without passing out?

    The fact that Cyril is highly-educated and trilingual all came much later. When Archer wanted to make sure we don’t feel too bad for Cyril, they immediately pulled out his massive boink rod and patted it to assure us that whatever abuse we throw his way, he can deflect its impact with his mighty meatsicle.

    This is taken to absurd, creepy lengths in The Hard Times Of RJ Berger, a show about a nerdy 15-year-old boy with a gargantuan wee-wee (aaaaand that should be the fourth government watchlist I was just added to). At the end of the pilot, RJ literally pulls out his mauve member, rubs it, and then asserts his dominance over his bully by putting his pork-sword-stained hands on his face. Now he doesn’t just have dickhandface. He has MEGA dickhandface. That’s, like, the worst kind.

    Then you have Zach Young on Desperate Housewives: a troubled, loser-ish young man who, before disappearing for three seasons, was revealed to be packing a huge todger. The show literally made “having a big Mr. Happy” into the character’s redeeming swan song … his dwan dong. Other examples include Ned Flanders, the hugely junk-ed target of Homer’s abuse on The Simpsons, Chris Griffin from Family Guy, a pimply, unpopular dweeb whose father once confused his trouser snake with a third leg, and David Spade’s character on Just Shoot Me!, an effeminate sycophant largely disliked by his peers … with a dangle-donger you apparently could club a seal to death with.

    In all those shows, it really doesn’t matter what the Rumpleforeskin-blessed characters do or achieve. All that matters are their pink pickles, from which they are supposed to rub out their self-esteem like it’s a magic lamp with a weenie genie in it. And because love muscles are the source of a man’s power in movies and TV shows …

    Only Women And Cowards Kick Wangs, While Real Men Shoot Them

    On account of them being tall, masculine, and quick to respond to insults with the fury of a thousand Uzi-wielding suns, Hollywood doesn’t feel the need to give their tough guys over-sized pricks. But that doesn’t mean they don’t understand their power. That’s why, when a movie or TV hero attacks the shaft, he always goes for the killshot. So in Sin City, we have Bruce Willis shooting the Yellow Bastard TWICE in the boomstick, Marsellus Wallace shotgunning his rapist Zed in the tent pole in Pulp Fiction, Django from Django Unchained castrating a bad guy with his revolver, and Sergeant Stiglitz emptying his gun into a Nazi’s crotch in Inglourious Basterds. That last part sounded way dirtier than I intended it to be.

    The first time I noticed this trend was probably in True Romance when Christian Slater used a gun to circumcise Gary Oldman. But you might say: “Come on, Cezary. All those movies were either written or directed by Quentin Tarantino, and that dude is just insane. Like, he genuinely scares me. I’m not even sure he’s human. I once had this nightmare where flies escape from his mouth as he tells me that I’m going to die in seven days, AND THAT WAS SIX DAYS AGO!” But it’s not just Tarantino.

    You can also find protagonists blowing off villain thingies in John Woo’s The Killer, Chuck Norris flicks, and scores of other action films. And in almost every one of those, it will be a guy doing the blowing. Why? Because, apparently, women prefer to merely injure Private Richard with kicks and punches. Buffy The Vampire Slayer did it. Scully from The X-Files kicked so many guys in their wonder weasels that the only thing her adversaries want to believe is that their crotch pain will end one day. We also saw the same kind of Nutcracker rendition performed by Sandra Bullock’s future cop character in Demolition Man, and by Mary Jane in Spider-Man, and Detective Beckett on Castle. And do you know why? Because it fucking works.

    Go to any self-defense class run by a guy who does a pretty spot-on impression of an industrial-sized refrigerator, and even they will tell you that one-way tickets to Kiek in de Kok are incredibly effective in combat. But movies and TV shows still have trouble thinking of plonker kicks as anything other than feminine, and the stupid part is, it wasn’t always like this. Roger Moore took down the gigantic villain Jaws in TWO movies by kicking him in the drumstick, and no one has ever doubted Moore’s manliness. I will, however, doubt Jaws’ mental prowess, as he probably should’ve taken note after The Spy Who Loved Me to watch out for Moore’s patented “Ultimate Dick Maneuver.”

    Speaking of Bond flicks, let’s talk about Casino Royale and its villain Le Chiffre. Now, I realize that the world has bizarrely decided that Mads Mikkelsen is sexy now, and we all had to have that talk with our partners about wearing a latex Mikkelsen mask during sex, but Le Chiffre came before that. He was supposed to be the opposite of the tough, macho Bond: a small, unsexy, delicate intellectual. And I know this for certain because at the end of the movie, he hits Bond in the canoodle noodle during the famous rope torture scene.

    See, because Le Chiffre didn’t have the balls to do some real damage to Bond’s tallywhacker and instead just slapped the man’s skin flute with a rope, the whole scene became a very unflattering commentary on the man’s masculinity. It shows that Le Chiffre isn’t like Bond. It shows that he is not manly. Because a real man would give his adversary penile lead poisoning, apparently.

    Still, though, it’s actually almost always bad guys who get kicked or punched in the flesh joystick, and that might be why …

    Bad Guys Tend To Suffer From Erectile Dysfunction

    When I finished rewatching Justified for the 10th time last week, I got a sudden urge to go out and drink bourbon like the show’s antagonist Boyd Crowder, despite the fact that I hate bourbon. I mean come on, people, it’s just wood-flavored corn vodka. My point is that I and many people like me are easily influenced by movies and TV shows, and that is why Hollywood often tries to give their bad guys some irredeemable flaw that will make you less likely to identity with and emulate them. One of those flaws is making villain hotdogs not work all that well.

    So in Kick-Ass 2 you have Chris D’Amico, who finds his mother’s S & M gear and becomes a supervillain named The Motherfucker, all while Freud’s body spins at the speed of the light in his grave. All in all, Chris is a wimpy, pitiful bundle of emotional issues and lameness, and YET the studio was still afraid that we’d somehow identify with this character. So they gave him ED … when he was trying to rape someone. It’s played for laughs, but it’s about as hilarious as catching your dad fucking a couch.

    This type of “de-cooling” of villains through their malfunctioning mushroom heads happens disturbingly often. In The Departed, Matt Damon’s Colin Sullivan is a police officer secretly working for the mob, and to make sure gullible kids don’t start infiltrating law enforcement agencies for crime families, the movie makes Sullivan impotent. And although the character might possibly be double-secretly gay, the message is still the same: Crime ruins your sex life. Speaking of “double-secretly,” you all do remember that the president of the stuck-up Omega House from Animal House also had trouble getting it up? So does one of the criminal bodybuilders from Pain And Gain. It didn’t help that he was on a lot of steroids, but that’s not the point. The point is is that if you want vicious, rock-hard erections, be nice to others. Open doors for people, and the boners will follow.

    In all fairness, you can sort of kind of understand the reasoning behind disabling baddy pocket rockets, but some movies take it to ridiculous lengths. In Dr. Strangelove, it’s kind of implied that General Ripper went crazy and triggered a nuclear Holocaust because his one-man unit stopped standing to attention.

    Hollywood will even sometimes tack impotency onto real people if they don’t find them villainous enough, like they did to the bank-robbing outlaw Clyde Barrow in Bonnie And Clyde. The original plan was to make him bisexual in the movie, which he may or may not have been in real life. We don’t know. But the 1967 studio “knew” that that would make him too evil and unlikable for a movie protagonist, so instead the film just gave him erectile dysfunction. That way, we would never find him “cool” because anyone without a working underwear ferret is a pathetic excuse of a man, according to Hollywood.

    And you have to remember that different people have different definitions of “evil,” which is why in the remake of Alfie, Jude Law’s ol’ one-eye stops working as a punishment for him SLEEPING AROUND. But when you get down to it, this really all goes back to my original point: Movies feel that men should crank out all of their self-esteem from their veiny bananas. And, look, obviously it’s OK to be proud of your pecker-related achievements, but only as long as they are actual achievements, like, say, siring a Nobel Peace Prize winner … Or using 50 synonyms for the D-train in one Cracked article, which I just did. I won’t call myself a hero for that, but I also won’t stop you if you want to do it.

    Cezary Jan Strusiewicz is a Cracked columnist, interviewer, and editor. Contact him at c.j.strusiewicz@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter.

    Desperate for a boner? Someone turned horny goats into pills for your dong!

    Read more: http://www.cracked.com/blog/want-to-know-more-about-character-look-at-his-big-ol-hog/

    For a brief, beautiful moment, Bing’s homepage featured a penis

    Unsolicited dick pics are really getting out of hand.

    Microsoft’s search engine, Bing.com, features a fun, new homepage photo everyday. Today was extra fun, as the homepage had a hidden treasure many probably missed upon first glance.

    The photo was an aerial view of a beach in Croatia and if you look closely at the sand, some cheeky beachgoer drew a big ‘ole penis.

    Image: bing.com

    Having some trouble seeing it? Don’t worry, Twitter has your back.

    But Bing did find out, and unfortunately removed the penis.

    This is the current Photoshopped version:

    Image: Bing.com

    It seems that the first to publicly discover the phallic drawing was Twitter user Andrew Lyle. Good eye Andrew, good eye.

    Well, R.I.P. sand penis. We hardly knew ye.

    Perhaps the most important question we have about this is who’s still using Bing? AYYYYYYYY!

    Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/08/17/bing-homepage-penis/

    6 WTF Poems & Books That Probably Screwed You Up As A Kid

    The great misconception about classic literature is that it represents a quainter, less sexualized time. A time when men were men, women were the property of men, and everyone sort of daintily posed next to harpsichords before dying quiet deaths. But the truth is that literature has always been written by, well, writers, and writers back then were exactly the same kinds of people that they are today. That is, some of them were as violent, racist, and sex-obsessed as any blog-hosting YouTube commenter, and they absolutely put that shit into their work.

    #6. Andrew Marvell Writes About Worms Eating A Dead Lady’s Vagina

    Andrew Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress” came out between 1649 and 1660. It’s about a guy who’s trying to woo a nice young lady to fall in love with him as soon as possible, ideally before his transfer ticket expires and he gets double charged for his bus fare. The first few lines are:

    Had we but world enough, and time,
    This coyness, Lady, were no crime
    We would sit down and think which way
    To walk and pass our long love’s day.

    Sounds sweet, right? Who doesn’t love planning a mild hike? But wait, what does “while there’s still time” mean? Why did we introduce a ticking clock into this narrative? Maybe the lady in question has some romantically fatal disease, like in a Nicholas Sparks novel.

    The man responsible for 67 percent of your girlfriend’s tears.

    The Insanity:

    Well, the only apparent “disease” she has is the disease of mortality, and we have all vastly underestimated how much Andrew Marvell wants to bone this girl. Displaying a clear understanding of the kind of imagery that gets women in the mood, Marvell follows the traditional death-obsessed poet’s line of “we’ll both eventually die” to its logical conclusion:

    Thy beauty shall no more be found,
    Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
    My echoing song; then worms shall try
    That long preserved virginity,

    The virginity part is symbolic of fleeting life, and Marvell needing to jerk off more regularly.

    No, you’re not misunderstanding the text by applying some perverse 21st-century lens to an innocent 17th-century poem. Andrew Marvell 100 percent just said, “You should let me have sex with you, because hey, eventually worms are going to eat your vagina, and I’m better than worms.” Did they have restraining orders back then? Or is this poem the reason they were invented?

    “Excuse me, constable? Yeah, it’s the ‘marble vault’ guy again.”

    #5. John Donne Compares His Dick To A Flea To Get A Woman To Have Sex With Him

    You might not recognize John Donne by name, but he’s the guy responsible for some of classic literature’s most famous dreary phrases, such as “Death Be Not Proud,” “Ask Not For Whom The Bell Tolls, It Tolls For Thee,” and “No Man Is An Island.” But those works were in the later half of Donne’s life, when he was sick and/or on his deathbed, listening to a whole lot of The Cure. John Donne’s early works were all about weird sex metaphors. “How weird?” you may ask, expositorily. Well, imagine David Cronenberg drawing a hardcore pornography flip book on a stack of missing person fliers.

    The Insanity:

    In “The Comparison,” Donne contrasts the girl he loves with the girl his friend loves, and does so with arguably the grossest lines in the history of classical poetry:

    Rank sweaty froth thy mistress’ brow defiles,
    Like spermatic issue of ripe menstruous boils

    “Thine mudflaps doth sag below for miles.”

    He uses the pus from infected vagina boils to describe his friend’s lady, which, by pretty much any standard, is only slightly more artful than a tired “yo mamma” joke. Also, it doesn’t even rhyme. But perhaps the weirdest thing in Donne’s holster is a poem called “The Flea,” which is about him trying to woo a woman who isn’t feeling it:

    Mark but this flea, and mark in this,
    How little that which thou deniest me is;
    It suck’d me first, and now sucks thee,
    And in this flea our two bloods mingled be.
    Thou know’st that this cannot be said
    A sin, nor shame, nor loss of maidenhead;
    Yet this enjoys before it woo,
    And pamper’d swells with one blood made of two;
    And this, alas! is more than we would do.

    “Have you tried talking to women without the fucking hat?”

    Donne, tapping into a longstanding notion of romance, laments that they each let the flea suck on them, when (see if you can follow the complex literary use of metaphor here) they should be sucking on each other. When that ploy somehow doesn’t work, Donne follows it up by noting that the blood-engorged flea is not unlike his swollen boner. You know, a parasite.

    #4. Macbeth Pauses For A Soliloquy About Erectile Dysfunction

    Shakespeare’s Macbeth is considered one of the greatest tragedies ever written (“tragedy” is a term here meaning “a story in which everyone dies”). It’s full of hauntings and insanity and beheadings, which is to say it’s super dope but about as bleak as the fourth season of The Wire. Not a lot of jokes or japes to lighten the mood in Macbeth.

    Though we’d pay good money to see a dramatic reading by Senator Clay Davis.

    The Insanity:

    Except for one inexplicable scene in the middle of the play wherein a drunk doorman delivers a protracted lecture about the horrors of whiskey dick:

    Lechery, sir, it provokes, and unprovokes;
    it provokes the desire, but it takes
    away the performance: therefore, much drink
    may be said to be an equivocator with lechery:
    it makes him, and it mars him; it sets
    him on, and it takes him off; it persuades him,
    and disheartens him; makes him stand to, and
    not stand to

    This character does not appear before giving this speech, and after it is finished, he is never seen again. It has absolutely no bearing on the plot, and in fact it hinders the progress of the story by holding up two characters who are busy trying to discover the King’s dead body. Shakespeare shoehorned in a 13-line speech about how alcohol makes you want to bone and cruelly paralyzes your wiener at the last minute.

    “This aside is brought to you by Dr. Jonathan’s Swift Stiff Love Potion.”

    This is a case where we’d like to think if Shakespeare had an editor, they’d have politely suggested, “Hey, maybe we don’t need to bring this whole thing to a screeching halt so this guy can complain about how liquor makes his wiener all floppy?” But then Shakespeare would be all, “I AM WILLIAM FUCKING SHAKESPEARE! You think I need your advice? I’ve invented hundreds of new words, you fartling wiffleshit.”

    Read more: http://www.cracked.com/article_23762_classic-literature-poetry-so-inappropriate-its-nsfw.html

    5 Things You Learn About Sex As A Sex Therapist

    Sex is great, until it’s not, and then it’s really, really not. Problems in bed can have a huge impact on your whole life. Not that we’d know anything about that. We’re, uh … typing for a friend right now. A distant friend. You probably don’t know them. They’re Canadian. Anyway, for totally not-personal reasons, we found ourselves talking to Amber, a licensed sex therapist. Here’s what she told us about human sex in general …

    #5. Sexual Dysfunction Is Rarely Physical

    If your basement bar closes down early, you might think something physical is going on. It’s probably not. As Amber put it, “A lot of people, they’ll often go to a doctor first for a sexual problem, and they’ll get referred to me. [Sexual dysfunction] can have a whole range of causes, but it’s usually some kind of psychological issue. A big misconception is that people will think there’s something wrong with their body, but that’s rarely the case.”

    Spoiler: The magical sex pills that fix everything are still a fantasy of your spam folder.

    We’ve previously discussed — in what some might call excessive detail — a condition called vaginismus, in which your lube tube holds its breath and refuses to let go. Well, nervous pants parts aren’t just for the ladies. Concerning erectile dysfunction, for example, Amber explains: “It can be that they’re stressed from work, or they’re having an affair, so they feel guilty and have trouble performing.”

    She remembers one particular client who was confused about why all the men with whom she was cheating on her husband seemed to be having difficulty rising to the challenge: “She’d say, ‘I’m starting to get very self-conscious, because these men I bring home, sometimes they have a hard time getting erections, and I don’t know if I’m unattractive or what.’ We figured out that the root of the problem was that she was bringing them into her husband’s house … It’s very difficult to perform under those conditions.”

    “Uh, one more time: How many guns did you say husband has?”

    In other words, you may not need to get a prescription, so much as you need to stop doing literally everything else that you are doing. Good lord, lady.

    On the other end of the spectrum, Amber says, “such a high percentage of the time with premature ejaculation, it’s a psychological thing, usually an anxiety thing — men being really worried about their own performance and getting caught up in their own heads.”

    “Thinking about baseball” won’t result in anything but having to explain why you accidentally called her A-Rod.

    If you’re a generally healthy person, but your peep is on the fritz anyway, you’re probably looking at some time on the couch. Treatment for psychologically-driven sexual dysfunction involves “work[ing] out the root cause of where this anxiety might be coming from and separating that event from future events.”

    Ah, see, we knew it had something to with the future! And our prom date said that “time travelers stole my mojo” was the dumbest excuse they ever heard …

    #4. Sometimes, The Solutions Will Be Physical

    Having sex is like riding a bicycle: You can prepare as much as you want, but the only way to learn is to get out there and do it and fail miserably for a while until you get it right. That’s why treatment for sexual dysfunction will often include a combination of regular counseling sessions as well as practical exercises, some of which sound like medieval torture.

    For premature ejaculation specifically, “there’s the squeeze technique, where they get close to ejaculating and then squeeze the head of the penis really hard. It sounds unpleasant, but it reconditions the body to respond a different way.”

    Added bonus: For you, every bottle now becomes a twist off.

    The squeeze technique is pretty effective, as our absolutely real Canadian friend assures us. But a lot of men are averse to crushing the little soldier’s helmet. For the squeamish, there’s also the “stop-start technique,” which is a hands-free upgrade that involves taking strategically timed breaks from the action. For women with vaginismus, there’s dilation therapy, which involves inserting progressively larger dilators (basically, tiny dildos). You can do breathing exercises until you pass out, but in order to know if they work, you’re gonna have to shove something up there, and you probably don’t want it attached to a person who is definitely judging you. That’s why …

    #3. A Therapist Can Bring Someone In to Have Sex With You

    They’re called surrogate partners.

    “They’re normally used if somebody is having problems working up to touching another person or having trouble with angles or penetration,” Amber says. “They work out positional stuff, how to penetrate someone and where to touch, and they’re helpful for getting immediate feedback as well … Sometimes they’re former sex workers. Not always, but sometimes.”

    As therapy goes, it sure beats the shit out of the ink blot test.

    Amber hasn’t had the pleasure of working with surrogate partners herself. “It’s actually, from what I have seen, more common in the States than [here in] Australia,” she says. But do we look like people who don’t know how to track down some professional sex-havers?! You bet your ass we did it.

    Let’s just say we know a thing or two about it.

    According to Larry, a surrogate partner who worked primarily with “abuse survivors, grieving people, [and] people who never had an orgasm,” therapeutic sex is a whole lot different from a routine booty call. He’s had extensive training, because when it comes to these vulnerable populations, fucking someone wrong can fuck them up. In fact, it may be weeks before you even get naked.

    “The first appointment, I’ll take a sexual history, and then we start with a hand caress. Then she’ll go to her therapist and process that. The next session is what we call face caress, which is when we lean back against each other’s chest, maybe with a pillow in between … and we’ll take turns caressing each other’s faces and talk about what was pleasurable, what was anxiety-inducing. The exercises get more and more intimate … It can last anywhere from eight weeks to sometimes two years.”

    Yup, two years. Sorry, reader who “Just totally had the best idea ever!”

    Taking these microscopic baby steps is necessary for gaining trust and establishing intimacy, something those of us who go around mashing genitals without any supervision are bad at. “In real life,” Larry says, “we move too fast. We have dinner or something and then we want sex.”

    As a result of all this long-term care, a lot of clients become very attached to their surrogates, which is wholeheartedly encouraged. Larry says “it’s normal — there’s love, there’s physical intimacy, I may be their first partner.” He’s maintained relationships with a lot of former clients — but like everything else involved in sex therapy, only within strict parameters. Exchanging Christmas Cards is fine; exchanging bodily fluids is less so. So normal holiday mailing list rules, then.

    #2. Communication Is The Biggest Problem

    Sometimes, the problem doesn’t stem from any one person so much as a relationship itself. “There’s a lot of crossover with relationship therapy,” Amber says. “Sometimes, one will refer to the other. They don’t know how to talk to each other, and they suffer as a result. A lot of people are really afraid to ask for what they want, so they end up being really dissatisfied during sex.”

    It might seem simple enough in the heat of the moment to shout out “Fondle my kneecap, Mr. Belvedere!” And good for you if it does, but some people have problems with their “sexual scripts.” We all share a cultural script that we learn through talking to other people, and from Hollywood and porn. But then we develop another script through our own experiences, and those tend to be quite different.

    “What do you mean ‘What’s with the pumpkin?’ If you’re a virgin, you could’ve just told me.”

    It’s easy to start thinking that your script is the script, tricking you into thinking you know what you’re doing. And why not? Sex should be easy, right? It’s a natural bodily function. Do you need someone to explain to you how to eat and poop every time you do it? Of course not, you’re a very experienced eater and pooper, thank you. But then we get our brains all wrapped up in that function, and it’s a whole different story. Sometimes, you need to wipe the slate entirely clean.

    You already do it with your browser history after porn. Simply start doing it with your brain.

    Uh, do try to find somebody you already love and trust for that one, though. “Can I touch your skin for half an hour?” is possibly the worst pickup line we can imagine.

    #1. People Don’t Know A Lot About Sex

    According to Amber: “Some people orgasm just from having their skin stroked. There’s I think 12-14 different ways a women can orgasm.” Which is about 12-14 more ways than we knew about.

    To be fair, our calculations usually consist of one number.

    For women: “There’s the clitoris, vaginal opening, penetration … nipples, anal, mouth — there are some people who orgasm from either kissing, or if they’re performing oral sex and get really into it, they can orgasm that way as well. It’s amazing how many different ways there are.”

    You can usually spot the guys who’ve managed to inspire that last one.

    Ever wandered into the shampoo aisle of a grocery store and become frozen for choice? You just want something to clean your hair, and suddenly you’re presented with 1756 bizarre concoctions vying for your attention? Well, sex is a bit like that. Adding to the confusion: If we don’t have problems, we’ll still make some up.

    Amber explains: “People come in and say they have premature ejaculation problems, and I’ll ask them how long they last, and they say ‘Only 10 minutes.’ Well, the average is seven minutes. Premature ejaculation is usually anywhere from 30 seconds to a few minutes.”

    “So get the stopwatch out of the bedroom and stop making this weird for everybody.”

    Explaining how we all got into this sticky mess, Amber points to a culture that discourages sexual exploration. Like any good therapist, she specifically blames your mother. “Parents will do things like see their child masturbating and say ‘That’s dirty, stop doing that.’ A lot of men will have trouble orgasming while they’re masturbating because they feel guilty about it for that reason. A lot of women are shamed for masturbating, so they don’t know what they like sexually. They’ll say ‘Oh, I just do whatever my partner does.’ That can even manifest in things like inability to orgasm altogether.” The crux of her job, she says, is “teaching people to be positive about their sexuality.”

    So that’s the key to a healthy sex life, everyone: Stop feeling bad about that weird, weird shit you like. Even if it’s super weird. Like that one thing you’re into. You know the thing.

    Read more: http://www.cracked.com/personal-experiences-1938-you-can-prescribe-sex-workers-5-realities-sex-therapy.html

    Am I unreasonable to leave my boyfriend over his lack of basic hygiene?

    When we met, he didnt look after himself. Now, although I have helped him smarten up, he doesnt take care of his nails and hands or do anything about a wart, and this is a complete turn-off for me

    I have been with my boyfriend for 10 months. When we met, he did not look after himself in terms of health and personal grooming, although we get on well and he is a decent and kind person with a successful career. I was tough on him and he has resolved some medical issues including having an operation for a growth and smartened himself up (with a lot of persuading on my part). He has erectile dysfunction, which is OK with me. However, he does not take care of his nails and hands, including a wart, and it is difficult for me to be sexually intimate as I do not want to compromise my health and I find this a turn-off. There were physical and mental-health issues in my family, and I have undergone therapy to challenge codependency and look after my own needs, and this leaves me at times unsure as to whether situations are reasonable. I wish I had split from him at the beginning; perhaps he would have taken my needs more seriously. I am tired of persuading and compromising over such a basic hygiene issue and am thinking of ending it, as he is stuck in his ways.

    When leaving a message on this page, please be sensitive to the fact that you are responding to a real person in the grip of a real-life dilemma, who wrote to Private Lives asking for help, and may well view your comments here. Please consider especially how your words or the tone of your message could be perceived by someone in this situation, and be aware that comments that appear to be disruptive or disrespectful to the individual concerned will be removed.

    If you would like fellow readers to respond to a dilemma of yours, send us an outline of the situation of about 150 words. For advice from Pamela Stephenson Connolly on sexual matters, send us a brief description of your concerns.

    All correspondence should reach us by Wednesday morning. Email:private.lives@theguardian.com (please dont send attachments).

    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jun/16/unreasonable-leave-boyfriend-lack-basic-hygiene-hands-wart

    Prince Harry and Pippa Middleton: the myth behind the confected romance

    US OK! magazine reckons the two are enjoying candle-lit spaghetti carbonara to a Bruno Mars soundtrack. How did they come up with that story? Plus: how Bill Murray got mixed up with a hedge-funder, the Wu-Tang Clan and a future heist

    A big interplanetary wave to the American version of OK! magazine, which links up with reality around once every six years, before spinning back off into a galaxy of quarterwitted invention and fan fiction. Todays effort falls into the latter category, being the WORLD EXCLUSIVE revelation that Prince Harry and Pippa Middleton are a couple.

    A couple of what, you may be asking but you would only be misunderstanding for comic effect, because the allegation put to OK! readers is that they are dating. It is obviously Lost in Showbizs second favourite unsubstantiated rumour of the week, losing only to news that Will Smiths 17-year-old son Jaden is writing a book of philosophical essays.

    Anyway, back to the confected romance between Prince Williams brother and the Duchess of Cambridges sister. As someone whose mothers twin sister is married to my fathers brother, Lost in Showbiz can tell you two things:

    1. This stuff does occasionally happen.

    2. Its legal; you just cant marry your first cousins. In the case of mine, it never came up. In the case of a gene pool as small as the Windsors, it would be as good as ensuring your child is born with porphyria and/or a vestigial tail.

    But lets get on with the story, because OK! has lovingly constructed an origins myth for the romance. Apparently, Harry and Pippa were caught snogging in a bathroom at the royal wedding and by Kate, of all people. And Im sure you can imagine her scratching away at a locked bathroom door at her own nuptials. Weve all seen it.

    Anyway, Kate is said by OK!s unnamed insider to have taken a dim view. Timing being what it is, our star-crossed lovers were kept apart by various other romantic partners for a few years. But now both are available, things have finally come together. For their first date, Harry lit candles, made spaghetti carbonara, and stuck on music by Adele, Ellie Goulding and Bruno Mars. Unfortunately, Prince William has since let himself into Harrys apartment and found his brother and Pippa in a compromising position. He now joins his wife in disapproval of the blossoming romance.

    I am very much hoping that OK! continues this serial over the next few festive issues, ideally chucking in crowd pleasers like an alien abduction, discovery of an evil twin, and a cursed tiara.

    Bill Murray, the Wu-Tang Clan, the hedge-funder and the heist

    We begin with an explainer, next, as you may well not be familiar with Martin Shkreli. This is because Martin is a member of the absolute lowest caste of celebrities: The Sullied, or the slightly-well-known hedge funders.

    He drew himself to attention back in September when he purchased the rights to a life-saving drug used to treat a parasitic infection, and promptly raised the price of a single pill from $13.50 to $750. I assume he suffers with some kind of raging psychological complaint related to erectile dysfunction, but his office has declined my repeated requests to offer remote analysis. I merely reach out once more.

    In the meantime, do recall that Martin claimed this price hike was necessary for his firm to survive, so it is heartening to find that he is the man who splashed out a reported $2m to be the sole owner of the Wu-Tang Clans new album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin. His copyrights over the work will endure 88 years. This is like someone having the sceptre of an Egyptian king, promised the Wu-Tang Clans collegiate overlord RZA, though it may sound to you merely a Damien Hirst-level point about art and value and consumption and the shit you can pull on hedge funders.

    Presumably intending to pull some shit back, Shkreli now announces that he hasnt bothered listening to the album, having delegated this task to some underling.

    But perhaps the shit-pulling remains all on him, for it is now claimed the Wu-Tang Clan have inserted a most unconventional clause in the contract of purchase. To wit: The buying party also agrees that at any time during the stipulated 88-year period, the seller may legally plan and attempt to execute one (1) heist or caper to steal back Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, which, if successful, would return all ownership rights to the seller. Said heist or caper can only be undertaken by currently active members of the Wu-Tang Clan and/or actor Bill Murray, with no legal repercussions.

    Well. Your move, Bill. The world expects.

    Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/lostinshowbiz/2015/dec/11/prince-harry-pippa-middleton-myth-behind-confected-romance-uk-ok

    Kentucky bill requires spouse consent to husband’s Viagra use

    (CNN)Angered by a new law requiring women receive medical counseling at least 24 hours before an abortion, a Kentucky lawmaker decided she was going to “strike a nerve” with her political opponents — in particular, the men.

    State Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, a Louisville Democrat, has introduced a bill that would require any man seeking a prescription for drugs to treat erectile dysfunction — such as Viagra, Cialis and Levitra — to “have two office visits on two different calendar days” before receiving the desired medication.

      Marzian’s House Bill 396 would only allow married men access to the treatments and call on them to “produce a signed and dated letter” demonstrating the consent of their current spouse. They would also have to give a sworn statement — “hand on a Bible” — that the prescription would only be used for sex with their legal partners.

      “As a woman and a pro-choice woman and as an elected official, I am sick and tired of men — mostly white men — legislating personal, private medical decisions,” Marzian, a retired nurse and 22-year statehouse veteran, told CNN. “It’s none of their business.”

      Earlier this month, Republican Gov. Matt Bevin signed into law a bill beefing up the state’s “informed consent” requirement for women seeking an abortion. Previously, patients could listen to a phone recording that listed the potential health risks associated with the procedure. Now, women will have to speak to a medical professional in person or via video teleconference.

      Passage of the new restriction set off a social media campaign against Bevin and anti-abortion lawmakers, and while Marzian concedes her bill will have little practical effect on the new law, she said the measure was written to hit opponents where it hurts.

      “When I put this out here, I thought, you know, I will strike a nerve because what is more sacred to men than their ability to have sexual intercourse?” she said with a laugh. “Let’s regulate that.”

      “I think it illustrates how intrusive it is,” Marzian continued, “how wrong it is, for any type of government, whether it’s state legislature, whether it’s Donald Trump, inserting themselves into personal, private medical decisions.”

      Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/15/politics/kentucky-viagra-abortion-law/index.html

      5 times that drug commercials were so ridiculous it was almost funny.

      Can we talk about how bizarre drug commercials are?

      Like, what even is happening in them most of the time?

      Exhibit A: What does a man walking around in a park with a book (that he never reads during the commercial) have to do with stopping hypertension? Does hugging books lower blood pressure?

      And why does he look so smug? GIF via
      Christopher La Varco/YouTube.

      Or, how the ads are actually kind of creepy.

      Exhibit B: What’s that? Oh, just a random, glowing butterfly coming in through my bedroom window uninvited. No big deal.

      GIF from Lunesta commercial via

      Did I mention that this is an ad for a sleeping pill? The creepiest.

      Also creepy?

      Exhibit C: Apparently, if you’re depressed, you might find some comfort from a random chalkboard stalking you and appearing everywhere you go. What? No.

      GIF from Abilify commercial
      via Andy/YouTube.

      Then there are ads that are just plain ridiculous.

      Exhibit D: How is a blond woman walking in slo-mo on the beach going to convince you to try Viagra?

      Why is
      she telling me about erectile dysfunction? GIF from Viagra commercial via Webtop News/YouTube.

      And, finally, there are the ads that are just a little too … obvious.

      Exhibit E: Trying to get that ball in the hole? OK, WE GET IT, Levitra.

      GIF from Levitra commercial via greenalpha12/YouTube.

      Can we just agree that erectile dysfunction ads are the worst?

      Jokes aside, pharma ads are a huge business. In 2014 alone, pharmaceutical companies spent a whopping $4.5 billion on marketing directly to consumer. And multiple surveys show this marketing increases the likelihood of a brand-name drug being prescribed.

      These ads aren’t just awkward, they’re doing some serious damage.

      Which is why the American Medical Association (AMA) the largest medical organization in the country is calling for a ban on this kind of prescription drug marketing.

      Only two countries New Zealand and the U.S. allow direct-to-consumer advertising for prescription drugs. Why don’t any other countries? Because it leads to patients demanding specific drugs (that they may or may not need).

      As my colleague Parker Molloy wrote on the subject:

      “The reason we go into doctors’ offices is to have our symptoms diagnosed and treated. When we go in with a diagnosis already in mind (and with a brand name treatment to go with it), we’re effectively sidestepping the whole point of having doctors.”

      Want to read more about why the AMA is calling for a ban? Check out the rest of Parker’s story here.

      Here’s to an AMA ban! It’s good for your health, and even better you might not ever have to see one of these absurd ads ever again.

      Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/5-times-that-drug-commercials-were-so-ridiculous-it-was-almost-funny?c=tpstream

      This Deadpool Viagra Commercial Is Almost as Good as the Movie

      Let it be known that Ryan Reynolds still reigns supreme in terms of pretty much everything, and this hilariously unconventional commercial for Deadpool is all the proof that you need.

      Read more: http://twentytwowords.com/this-deadpool-viagra-commercial-is-almost-as-good-as-the-movie/

      Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Erections

      At IFLS, we like to hit you with hard science. So cross your legs and enjoy some bonerrific facts about dongs.

      You Dont Need To Be Born To Get A Boner

      Yup, that adorable silhouette on the ultrasound screen could be sporting an erection. Genitals begin to develop around the 6thweek of gestation, and it can be as soon as 10 weeks after that that the male fetus gets an erection.

      “And there’s the erection!” Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

      Boners Come In Three Flavors

      Not in the sense you are probably now thinking There are three different types of erections. Psychogenic erections are those that come about after fantasizing or watching something that gets the juices flowing. As the name suggests, nocturnal erections are those experienced at night. Finally, reflexogenic erections rear their head after some physical hanky panky.

      Speaking Of Bedtime Boners

      Men are typically frequented with three to five bouts of nocturnal penile tumescence as they slumber. Thats still nothing on the 11 towel racks the average man puts up throughout the day.

      There isnt really a consensus over why the penis likes to stand to attention at night, but its thought to help keep the tissue oxygenated and thus healthy.


      There Is Life After Death

      In your pants. Delightfully named Angel Lust, if a man dies in a vertical position, the body can end up with a post-mortem erection. In the absence of a beating heart, gravity will cause blood to accumulate in the legs, and as the vasculature in the legs gets filled up, some of the remaining blood in the body gets forced into the penis tissue and makes it expand.

      Fer Gregory/Shutterstock

      The Average Erect Penis Length Is

      About 14 centimeters (5.5 inches), with a circumference of 12 centimeters (4.8 inches), according to a study of 1,661 men. But there was not just person-to-person variation: How the participant attained an erection was found to affect the dimensions of his junk. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they tended to be longer after sex when compared with those that popped up after fantasizing.


      Pass The Donuts

      Smelling delicious things can make the senses go wild. And the penis. According to a study, the scent of black licorice and donut can ramp up the flow of blood to the penis by almost 32%. Mixing up the odors of donut and pumpkin pie caused an increase of 20%. Weirdly, it was actually the combination of lavender and pumpkin pie that had the greatest effect, causing a 40% rise in penile blood flow. The key to a mans heart may be his stomach, but clearly the way into his trousers is with fragrant baked goods.

      It Might Be Called A Boner

      But the penis does not actually contain a bone. Thats in contrast to the majority of mammals, which sport a baculum to helpwith getting jiggy and sperm deposition.

      A collection of penis bones from Pyrenean Mountain Dogs.CreditMusum de Toulouse

      The Never-Ending Boner

      There is an unfortunate condition called priapism in which men experience an erection that just wont go away, lasting for at least four hours. That might sound like fun and games, but they can actually be painful, and arent necessarily the result of sexual stimulation. Awkward.

      The Penis Is Boomerang Shaped

      It might look straight, but thanks to a scientist that got men and women to have sex in an MRI machine (how did we miss the sign up?!), we know that it is indeed boomerang shaped. The reason it doesnt appear that way is because part of it is hidden by the pelvis. Well I never.


      Looks Can Be Deceiving

      Im a grower not a shower actually has some truth behind it. Smaller flaccid penises, according to a study conducted back in 1988, actually experience greater increases in length during an erection than large ones. Its always the shy ones

      So there you have it. The hard truth about erections.

      Photo Gallery

      Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/everything-you-need-know-about-boners

      6 WTF Excuses Companies Actually Used While Getting Sued

      For plenty of businesses, lawsuits are almost like a rite of passage. You’re not successful until someone is trying to sue you for every last staple in the office. But in order to win, companies are often willing to exploit every legal loophole known to man — or whatever species corporate lawyers are. Sometimes that means admitting to far worse than what someone’s actually being accused of. For example …


      Coca-Cola Claims Only An Idiot Would Think Vitaminwater Was Healthy

      Back in the old days, being a snake oil salesman was a tough gig. Promising an expensive tonic that could cure all ailments could get a person tarred and feathered in a heartbeat. These days, however, all you have to worry about is getting slightly plucked in court for false advertising. And even then, like a bad craftsman, you can simply blame your tools — the “tools” in this case being the gullible consumers.

      “But wait! I have more products that suckers like you seem to love! At less-than-reasonable prices!”

      When Coca-Cola first introduced their “healthy” beverage Vitaminwater, its slogan was “vitamins + water = all you need.” That equation was missing eight teaspoons of sugar and 120 calories per bottle, it turns out. But Vitaminwater’s false advertising didn’t stop there. The drink had also claimed it would improve the drinker’s metabolism, boost their immune system, and reduce the risk of eye disease. Given a few more years, they could also have promised to grow your hair back, make your nails as sharp as talons, and let you see a whole new color.

      It didn’t take long for daughter company Glaceau (which is French for “garbage fountain”) to be sued for misleading the public with their advertising. But that wasn’t the case, according to Coca-Cola’s lawyers, because “no consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking Vitaminwater was a healthy beverage.” Essentially, their legal strategy was to call anyone who thinks drinking a Coca-Cola product wouldn’t give them diabetes a goddamn imbecile. And honestly, what kind of rube would think that this drink …

      … this drink …

      … THIS DRINK …

      … would be healthy for you? What, were we born yesterday? On a planet where words have meanings?

      After six years of tying the courts up with their nonsense, Coca-Cola finally agreed to stop its misleading advertising, and added “with sweeteners” in the smallest font possible to the label of the bottle. Their team of lawyers concluded: “Although we remain confident in our legal position, it simply made no sense to continue this costly legal battle” — the “You’re not worth it, bro” of legal statements.

      But Coca-Cola isn’t the only company that has had to go back on ridiculous health claims made by its sugar water. PepsiCo’s 7 Up Antioxidant dropped any reference to antioxidants (including its name) after being sued for containing so little artificial vitamin E that it wouldn’t even keep a single daisy alive. Meanwhile, Pom Wonderful was slapped by the FTC for claiming its drinks “could treat, prevent, or reduce the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction.” Then again, how else are you ever going to break into the middle-aged male demographic with a name like Pom Wonderful?


      Fox News And Alex Jones Admit They Aren’t News

      To the bleeding-heart liberals among us, right-wing news can sometimes feel unreal, like we’re suddenly in a world where up is down, right is wrong, and human rights are for pussies. Lots of conservative pundits often appear like caricatures of what a right-wing mindset ought to be. But acting like they’re the Muslim-hating offspring of Ayn Rand and before-the-ghosts Ebenezer Scrooge might be working in their favor.

      Around the time of Obama’s first presidential run, Fox News realized that straight-up picking fights with him netted them a lot more views, like a TMZ paparazzo secretly excited that Sean Penn is about to punch him in the face. As a response, the Obama administration refused to acknowledge Fox News as an actual news station, instead referring to them as an “ideological outlet,” with communications director Anita Dunn even stating “we don’t need to pretend that this is the way that legitimate news organizations behave.”

      So that’s what Fox did: It stopped pretending. The network responded to these accusations by proudly boasting that “its news hours — 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. on weekdays — are objective,” thereby admitting that the 24-hour news network has about nine hours of news in it. C’mon, even hot dogs have more meat in them than that. And those other 100+ hours of television each week? Those are for entertainment, obviously. According to Fox, it’s the viewer’s job to tell the difference between the parts that are real news and all the baseless rumors that are nothing but the opinions of some guy. Who is dressed exactly like the newsreaders. And sits behind the same desk. And uses the words “Fox” and “News” every 30 seconds.

      Other right-wing pundits have also picked on this possible get-out-of-libel-jail-free card. Alex Jones, a cartoon gorilla brought to life by his intense hatred of Jews, was recently in a fierce custody battle with his ex-wife. In order to demonstrate what an unfit parent and human being he is, her attorney showed the judge several tapes of Jones’ show in which, when he’s not shouting conspiracy theories like a syphilitic medieval town crier, he frequently strips off his clothes like he’s reliving his failed audition for Magic Mike.

      To counter this hard evidence of him behaving like an insane mountain man, Jones’s lawyer claimed that he’s just a performance artist. You know, like what he said those children murdered in Sandy Hook were. His shows, by extent, are “political satire,” a savage mockery of the kind of sad losers who would believe anything that would come out of Alex Jones…’s persona’s mouth.

      Not that it did Jones any favors. He wound up losing custody of his kids, partially because he claimed he couldn’t remember basic details of their lives because he “had a big bowl of chili for lunch.” Like with all great performance artists, it’s almost impossible to tell where Alex Jones the artist ends and Alex Jones the caricature of a sad MRA troll begins.

      The face of a man about to either turn into the Incredible Hulk or have a chili-related pants-shitting.


      Melania Trump Sues For Libel And Admits She’s Trying To Cash Off Being First Lady

      Being the first lady is all about reputation. You’re expected to be the perfect wife and mother, and to care a lot more about fat kids than you probably do. So when someone attacks your good name, it threatens everything you’re hoping to achieve. Which, in Melania Trump’s case, is to cash in on that good name by scamming people into buying her jewelry.

      During the election, British grief merchant The Daily Mail published a story claiming Trump once worked as an escort. After becoming the first long-distance first lady, she immediately took the tabloid and its corporate overlords to court. But not just for libel; Melania’s legal team also claimed that the false rumor could impact her financially, which is a very polite way of saying that while it may not be true, it’s believable enough that it’ll probably stick.

      But how could this rumor impact Melania financially? She’s the first lady of the United States — a position that makes you the world’s most high-profile charity worker. Well, doing good may have been reward good enough for the Nancy Reagans and Jackie Onassii, but according to her lawyers, Melania sees the sacred office more as …

      the unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, as an extremely famous and well-known person, as well as a former professional model, brand spokesperson and successful businesswoman, to launch a broad-based commercial brand in multiple product categories, each of which could have garnered multi-million dollar business relationships for a multi-year term during which plaintiff is one of the most photographed women in the world.

      Those relationships could be hurt if people might think she sleeps with men for money, and not that she involves herself with men like Donald Trump because they’re great listeners and ace cuddlers. Which is why Melania felt that The Daily Mail now owed her $150 million.

      Ethics hawks quickly jumped on the wording in the lawsuit, noting that this statement made it sound like Melania’s treating her role as the first lady like it’s a modeling contract with Versace. Her defense team countered this accusation by claiming that was a gross misinterpretation of the wording. Of course, it didn’t help their case that at the time, Melania was still running three different companies which make between $15,000 and $50,000 in royalties from her accessories line. And that same accessories line was advertised on her official White House bio page mere days before the lawsuit. That sure makes it look like Trump is using her position as FLOTUS to hawk her jewelry, like some bored housewife mentioning her Etsy store in every conversation.

      When the matter was finally resolved, Melania had to settle for a public apology and less than $3 million in compensation. Not the bonanza that she was hoping for, but now she at least got something out of the presidency. She’s certainly in no rush to take any trips to the White House in the next four years.


      Gawker Defends Showing The Hulk Hogan Sex Tape By Saying They’d Also Publish Child Porn

      Freedom of the press is one of the cornerstones of any fair democracy. But journalism is a business, and letting a business decide what is and isn’t news can lead to fearmongering, misreporting, and lots of closing segments about cute pets. Still, journalists can and should fight for their First Amendment rights. However, that battle should never involve you defending the right to publish child pornography.

      In 2012, Gawker, the internet’s curtain-twitching next-door neighbor, published a sex tape of Hulk Hogan, known not even to his children as Terry Bollea. In the 1-minute, 41-second video, the Hulkster is seen having sex with the wife of his former (obviously) best friend Bubba “The Love Sponge” Clem. As entertaining as that love triangle might sound, Hogan did not think it warranted a gossip site publishing footage of his thrusting buttocks. With the help of tech billionaire and children’s cartoon villain Peter Thiel, Hogan sued the website and its then-editor A.J. Daulerio for severe breach of privacy and being a total jabroni.

      Hogan’s attorneys were sent out to prove to the jury that “Mr. Bollea’s penis had no news value” — a good legal strategy and a sick burn. However, when being deposed, Gawker’s editor insisted that Hogan had had so many broadcast discussions about his dick that it ought to be part of the public domain. To counter this, his attorneys asked Daulerio what kind of celebrity sex tape would be unethical to show. He replied that he would never publish a sex tape of a child. “Under what age?” the lawyer asked. “Four.”

      Daulerio later stated that that answer was sarcastic. A legally binding deposition is a great place for you to try out some new comedy material. Of course, Hogan’s lawyers pounded Daulerio as hard as Hogan pounded Bubba The Love Sponge’s spouse. After only a few weeks of trial, Hogan was awarded $140 million in damages, collecting $31 million and bankrupting Gawker.


      Dr. Oz Claims Giving Bad Medical Advice Is An American Privilege

      Dr. Mehmet Oz is a cardiac surgeon and professor at Columbia University, but what he always wanted to be in life was a star. After appearing on The Oprah Winfrey Show as a medical expert, he was given his own “informative” talk show to teach people about the latest discoveries in medicine. Since then, he has become the Oprah of the medical community, in that they no longer think he’s fit to hand out medical advice either.

      Dr. Oz, the only person to have ever become a surgeon and still be a disappointment to his parents, has been widely criticized by both the medical and scientific communities for his incessant shilling of fad diet pills with little to no research backing up his claims. According to a recent study in the British Medical Journal, half of Dr. Oz’s claims are baseless or just plain wrong — i.e. he’s making them up as he goes. He’s especially disliked for continuously calling these diet fads he promotes “miraculous,” like he’s some overqualified faith healer.

      This came to a head when Dr. Oz was called to testify in front of Congress, where senators gave the doctor a real way to lose weight fast: by sweating bullets. With him as a sacrificial pinata on the altar of rationality, the presiding senators wasted no time in tearing Oz a new one, going as far as saying, “I don’t get why you need to say this stuff, because you know it’s not true.”

      To Oz’s credit, he didn’t back down and pretend that he was hosting a “satire” of a medical show making fun on the kind of people who listen to doctors. Instead, he invoked his God-given right to bullshit the American public. “My job is to be a cheerleader for the audience when they don’t think they have hope,” said the medical professional. “When I can’t use language that is flowery, that is exulting, I feel like I’ve been disenfranchised.” We don’t know what kind of pills you have to take to make your balls big enough to cry censorship when a room of senators call you out on being a bad doctor, but we’re looking forward to finding out on one of his future shows.


      Pepsi Argues That Their Soda Would Dissolve A Mouse In Months

      The hair in the soup routine is a classic con artist trick. You pretend the restaurant has dropped a disgusting human shaving in your meal and demand to be compensated for your distress. What you wouldn’t expect at that juncture would be a waiter telling you that the hair you fished out was in fact the least disgusting part of your meal.

      In 2009, an oil company worker in Illinois claimed he had found a dead mouse in his can of Mountain Dew. After spending the appropriate amount of time vomiting, he contacted Pepsi to inform them of their rodent problem. The company, instead of informing the customer he had taken part in a trial run of their new mouse-enhanced flavor (like New Coke, only less disgusting), immediately sent down a representative to secure the crime scene. However, by the time one of their poor interns had schlepped all the way to Madison County, the incriminating evidence had already been destroyed, hopefully with a tasteful burial and the notification of the next-of-kin.

      The Illinois man still sued the company for over $75,000 for rodent-based emotional trauma. But Pepsi was sure that this was an open-and-shut case — not because even a dead mouse could smell this scam from a mile away, though. During the very brief trial, Pepsi paraded a bunch of “experts” who could scientifically disprove that a mouse carcass could have been floating around in the Dew, pointing out that the soft drink’s contents are waaay too toxic for that. Instead, what the oil man should have found, according to one expert, was a “jelly-like substance,” with all the mousy parts having been dissolved by the refreshing battery acid that is Mountain Dew, like some rodent rendition of the barrel scenes in Breaking Bad.

      However, despite the insurmountable evidence in their favor, Pepsi settled out of court, its lawyer hastily stating that the matter “was settled for an undisclosed sum. It’s a done deal, and both parties are on their way” as he probably sprinted away from the courtroom. Sounds like the company had to pay a “we mentioned jellied mice” tax to get the story out of the morning shows circulation as quickly as possible.

      For more of his attempts at witticisms or his famous recipes for toilet wine, do follow Cedric on Twitter.

      Let’s keep the lawsuits rolling in 5 Baffling Dick Moves That Won Actual Lawsuits and 6 Famous ‘Frivolous Lawsuit’ Stories That Are Total B.S..

      Subscribe to our YouTube channel, and check out Why No Cop Show On TV Is Accurate (Yes, Even ‘The Wire’), and other videos you won’t see on the site!

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      Read more: http://www.cracked.com/article_24843_6-wtf-excuses-companies-actually-used-while-getting-sued.html

      How your body changes when you turn 30

      Aging is an inevitable process, but there are some bodily changes that you might not know about as you say goodbye to your 20s.

      Turning 30 opens the door to prolonged hangovers and a slump in metabolism and yes, youll even get gray hairs down there.

      Weight gain
      Shifting weight wont be as easy as it was in your 20s, and you might notice a loss in muscle tone as your metabolism begins to slow.

      This is more noticeable in women than in men and is often as a result of pregnancy when the body struggles to bounce back as easily.

      Stress at work can also cause weight gain, as a reactionary release of hormones can encourage you to store weight around your middle, nutrition and weight loss expert Jane Michell told MailOnline.


      But its not all bad studies have shown people today tend to gain less weight in your 30s than they had in previous decades.

      The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that the average person typically puts on 1 to 2 pounds a year from early adulthood through middle age, according to the Washington Post.

      Sex drive
      Women might think their libido declines as they get older, but experts say its actually the opposite.

      Researchers found that women ages 27 to 45 had more sexual thoughts, fantasies, and sex in general compared to those in their early 20s or women going through menopause.

      The study, published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, suggests women may have an increased sex drive due to a decline in fertility.


      For men, testosterone levels decrease after 30, which can in some cases lead to a declining libido.

      It happens at a rate of about 1 percent a year, and by age 70, the decrease can approach 50 percent, according to Livestrong.

      Changes in this hormone also have an impact on increased body fat, hair loss, mood swings and erectile dysfunction.

      Gray hair
      Were all well aware that we could see the odd gray hair here and there at some point in life but what about in the pubic region?

      Dr Jessica Shepherd, assistant professor of clinical obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, said its just like finding a grey hair on your head.


      I hear this complaint in the office,”she told the Huffington Post. This is one we can laugh off together and say, its fine.

      For some people, grayness isn’t the only worrisome change that comes in their 30s hair loss can also be a problem. 

      Fertility starts to drop off from the age of 30, and the chance of conceiving around this age is about 20 percent per month.

      From about age 32, a womans chances of conceiving decrease gradually but significantly, and by 35 the decline speeds up.

      After that, the proportion of women who experience infertility, miscarriage or a problem with their baby increases.


      Its not just an issue for women the quality of a mans sperm can decrease with age, leading older couples to have issues getting pregnant.

      Theres also an increased risk of not conceiving at all.

      The volume of a mans semen and sperm motility (the ability of sperm to move toward an egg) decrease continually between ages 20 and 80, according to YourFertility.org.au.

      Women can expect changes in their menstrual cycles from their mid 30s as oestrogen and progesterone levels dip.

      They might become shorter or longer, lighter or heavier, or start earlier or later than usual.

      Dr Shepherd told the HP some women can experience perimenopause the transitional phase before menopause, as early as their late 30s.

      Some menstruation changes are natural, but she advises seeing a doctor if you are concerned as it could signal something more serious.

      Bladder weakness
      Trouble with a little light bladder leakage could become a problem as you reach your 30s especially for women who have had children.

      Shepherd explained this is because vaginal labor can sometimes damage the muscles and nerves that control urination.

      Urinary incontinence affects around 25 percent to 45 percent of women, so if this happens to you, dont be embarrassed to see a doctor.

      To help fix incontinence, your doctor may prescribe medication or recommend doing pelvic floor muscle exercises to tighten your bladder and improve control.

      First published on The Sun

      Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/lifestyle/2017/05/26/how-your-body-changes-when-turn-30.html

      Here Are A Few Things That Cost More Than Health Care For Transgender Troops

      President Donald Trump on Wednesday cited tremendous medical costsas one of the reasons he will no longer allow transgender people to serve in the U.S. military.

      Since the 2016 Pentagon decision that allowed trans people to openly serve in the military, health care costs have risen by between$2.4 million and $8.4 million a year, according to one estimate. A separate study from 2015 predicted that additional health care costs for trans soldiers would come to just $5.6 million a year little more than a rounding error in the context of the militarys nearly $50 billion health care budget.

      For perspective, here are a few other things that cost way, way more than health care expenses for trans troops:

      Trumps trips to his properties

      Since becoming president, Trump has spent 25 days at Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Palm Beach, Florida. Estimates on the cost of a single trip range from $1 million to $3.6 million.

      Congress also allocated $41 million to reimburse places that Trump visits, like Palm Beach and Bedminster, New Jersey, where he owns another club. The funds cover security costs when Trump comes to town, which he has done frequently.

      Trump security

      The New York Police Department spent $24 million from Election Day until the inauguration to protect Manhattans Trump Tower. The citys fire department expects to spend another $4.5 million on security there in 2017. The Los Angeles Times estimates that travel and protection costs for the Trump family during Trumps first 100 days in office came to at least $30 million compared to an average $12 million a year for President Barack Obama and his family.

      A border wall with Mexico

      An internal report by the Department of Homeland Security estimated that building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border would cost $21.6 billion. Senate Democrats have estimated the wall, one of Trumps signature campaign promises, could cost $70 billion to build and $150 million a year to maintain.

      Erectile dysfunction medication

      In 2014, the Defense Departmentspent $41.6 million on Viagra and $84.24 million in total on erectile dysfunction medication. From 2011 until 2015, the Defense Department spent $294 million on erectile dysfunction drugs, according to the Military Times.

      Wasteful spending

      A Defense Department study last year found the Pentagon could save $125 billion over five years by making its operations more lean. Officials buried the report amid concerns that lawmakers would use it as an excuse to cut defense spending.

      A clean coal plant

      A Mississippi clean coal operation conceived under President George W. Bush closed last month, having cost $7.5 billion in all. The plant was supposed to provide a viable energy alternative, but it failed.

      Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/transgender-troops-health-care-cost_us_5978ce86e4b0a8a40e84c154

      This Reported Connection Between The Trans Ban And The Border Wall Is So Sketchy

      Chaos and confusion have followed President Donald Trump’s Twitter announcement early on July 26 that he will ban transgender individuals from the military. He cited the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender [sic] in the military would entail. The decision which Trumpclaims he discussed with military personnel has reportedly stunned people in the Pentagon.

      But now we might have an idea as to why the announcement was made: reports that Trump most likely made the announcement to save a spending bill which includes funding for several Trump campaign promises including a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

      The bill, which would partially fund Trump’s promise to build a wall, was in dispute overtransgender troops.

      House Republicans were reportedly split on whether or not to include an amendment in the spending bill which would have prohibited Pentagon funding for gender reassignment surgery.

      Those who did not want to foot the costfor the procedure threatened to derail the bill if it didn’t include the prohibition, putting the moneyfor Trump’s promises at risk. Legislatorsreportedly went to the president to discuss the dispute. And he got to tweeting, solving his problem by banning transgender individuals fromserving at all.

      Senior House Appropriations Committee member Robert Aderholt, a Republican from Alabama, told This isn’t about the transgender issue; it’s about the taxpayer dollars going to pay for the surgery out of the defense budget.

      Only afew weeks ago, House Rep. Vicky Hartzler, a Republican from Missouri, introduced an amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill, which would have banned transgender military members from receiving gender reassignment surgery. The amendment was defeated 214-209.

      But Trump’s announcement a total ban on trans individuals serving in the military is a far cry from the already-dubious attempts to prohibit funding for gender reassignment-related care.

      The reality is that spending on medical care for trans military personnel, including transition-related care, is not tremendous as the president has claimed.

      Rather, gender transition-related care is estimated to cost the military anywhere from $2.4 million to $8.4 millionper year, according toCompare that to military spending on erectile dysfunction medication,which costs the Pentagon approximately $84 million per year.

      Additionally, a wall between the U.S. and Mexico could cost anywhere from $21.6 billion to $70 billion to build and $150 million per year to maintain, per .BanningPentagon-funded gender reassignment surgery and any transgender-related care, for that matter would hardly make a dent in the funds required to build a wall.

      Trump asked Congress for $1.4 billion to build the wall back in April, but backed offshortly after his initial ask.

      But now, Trump’s announcement, according tos report, might just save the $1.6 billion allocated for his wall in the House spending bill.

      Just last year, the Pentagon lifted the ban on transgender individuals serving openly, and according to a 2016 study, there are anywhere from 1,320 to 6,630 transgender individuals serving in active duty, while anywhere from 830 to 4,160 members are in the reserves.

      The exact parameters of the ban when it will start, if it will affect active duty members or just those who are trying to join up are still up in the air, but protests are already being organized around the country, and civil rights organizations like the ACLU are already springing into action to contest the ban.

      Read more: http://elitedaily.com/news/politics/reported-connection-trans-ban-border-wall-sketchy/2028906/

      This Is How Many Transgender People Already Serve In The Military

      On Wednesday morning, Donald Trump tweeted (because how else would he do it?) that the U.S. military would no longer allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity. This ban is obviously a devastating blow to the LGBTQIA+ community.

      But just how many trans people serve in the military currently? Well, Trump’s ban is actually affecting a huge number of trans invidiuals.

      There are several conflicting statistics in terms of how many trans people are actually serving in the military currently. A 2016 study by RAND Corporation (commissioned by the Defense Department)estimated that the number may be between 1,320 and 6,630. However,according to the National Center for Transgender Equality, that estimate may stand closer to 15,000.

      Trump’s announcement came in the form of several tweets, blaming tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail as the main reason for the ban.

      The tweets read,

      After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow

      .Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming..

      .victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you

      Under the Obama administration,a previous ban on transgender people serving in the military was lifted in an announcement by the defense secretary at the time, Ashton Carter, in June 2016:

      Our mission is to defend this country, and we don’t want barriers unrelated to a person’s qualification to serve preventing us from recruiting or retaining the soldier, sailor, airman or Marine who can best accomplish the mission.

      So clearly, Trump’s ban is a devastating setback to progress the LGBTQIA+ community specifically trans individuals have already made.

      Alex Wong / Staff/Getty Images

      Though Trump cites tremendous medical costs as a reason the military cannot accommodate trans people, the aforementioned RAND study found that the medical costs needed to cover trans individuals may not be as tremendous as Trump makes it out to be.

      In fact, the study claims that coveringgender transition-related services in military health care would only increase the cost by $2.4 million to$8.4 million a tiny 0.04 to 0.13 percent increase to what the government was already spending.

      Since the dawn of Trump’s administration, LGBTQIA+ individuals and activists have been incredibly weary of the current administration reversing the progress the community has already made under previous administrations.

      Though few accuse Trump of being an honest man, this blatant disregard for the trans community certainly contradicts his previous statements that he would fight for the LGBT community.

      And if this latest blow from the Trump administration is any indication to go by, fears of even more setbacks to the LGBTQIA+ community are certainly warranted.

      Read more: http://elitedaily.com/news/politics/how-many-trans-people-serve-in-the-military/2027905/

      Here’s what actual trans military voices have to say about Trump’s ban.

      In June 2016, the U.S. secretary of defense made a long-overdue announcement: The military was ending its ban on transgender service members.

      With the 2011 end to the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy banning gay, lesbian, and bisexual people from serving, allowing trans people to serve openly seemed like the logical next step.

      As then-Secretary of Defense Ash Carter explained, Our mission is to defend this country, and we dont want barriers unrelated to a persons qualifications to serve preventing us from recruiting or retaining the soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine who can best accomplish the mission.

      Fast-forward a year, and President Trump has undone that progress, tweeting that “the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military.”

      He cited “tremendous medical costs” as the reason behind his decision despite the fact that a RAND Corporation study found that the total additional cost of allowing trans people to serve in the military is $2.4 million-8.4 million. (For comparison, in 2014, the military spent more than 10 times that on erectile dysfunction medication alone.)

      But maybe Trump’s decision wasn’t about cost at all. According to Axios reporter Jonathan Swan, a Trump administration official was quoted as saying the move “forces Democrats in Rust Belt states like Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin, to take complete ownership of this issue.”

      “How will the blue collar voters in these states respond when senators up for re-election in 2018 like Debbie Stabenow are forced to make their opposition to this a key plan of their campaigns?” Swan quoted the official as saying.

      In other words, Trump’s decision doesn’t seem to be about readiness, cost, or any of the other reasons frequently tossed around by opponents of trans inclusion in the military. Instead, it’s just a game of politics, with trans lives as pawns.

      There are currently an estimated 15,000 trans people serving in the military. What do they think of Trump reinstating the ban? We asked them.

      Amanda Clark was discharged back in 2007 after coming out as trans. While she says she’s ambivalent about military service, she sees this as a matter of basic civil rights.

      “I cant possibly fathom what openly out trans people in the military are feeling right now. Hell, I feel scared now just being a trans person in the civilian world. It feels like the f*cking fascists who run this country are coming for us, and openly serving trans people are next. Im sure a lot of officers/[non-commissioned officers] are going to be thrilled to get involved in paperwork hell discharging folks.”

      Kristen Carella, who served on active duty 2001-2005 as an intelligence analyst stationed in Germany, pointed out that many U.S. allies (18 in total, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom) allow trans people to serve without issue.

      “Here was an opportunity for this country to move forward, recognizing the sacrifices transgender people have ALWAYS made in the armed forces, by allowing us to serve openly. [According to Human Rights Campaign] stats 26% of the trans community serves in the military at some point during their lives, that is TWICE the rate of the general population.

      Trump’s decision is a stunning reversal that can be taken only as a slap in the face, personally to every transgender person who has ever served. It accomplishes nothing more than making sure transgender people remain a demonized and hated target that right-wing politicians can target to scare their base and push their agendas. Of course, all of this demonization ensures that the ignorant violence which leads bigots to murder transgender people in the streets (particularly trans women of color) will continue.”

      Penelope R., an intersex trans woman who served in the Air Force for six years before leaving to pursue transition, says “members are going to die” because of this new policy, and she urges those who might not generally support the military to care about this.

      “[The] American military, despite its many infelicities, has always been a reliable space for many kinds of marginalized people to hide out in. This is why trans people are disproportionately represented in the military.

      Enlisting was always a last resort for me I’ve known I was trans since I was a child, and knew going into the military meant carving away parts of my identity I cherished, but at the time the alternative was death. Just death. I chose to live, and as a result I met my wife, found a chosen family that makes the sun rise for me, made enough money to afford transition, and qualified me to receive transitional health care from the Illinois VA. … The military helped make my life worth living. And now it’s all gone to shit for everyone.

      Despite what he says, there’s nothing Trump can say or do to stop trans people from serving he can only get rid of those he knows about. It will only go back to how it was before, with trans service members confined to the closet at the risk of their careers.”

      Then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter lifts the ban on trans troops on June 30, 2016. Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images.

      Landon Wilson, who served in the Navy and was the topic of a widely read 2014 Washington Post profile about trans people in the military, points out that the ban means “honorably serving people” will be removed from service, “effectively weakening our country.”

      “It’s a heartbreaking shame that the President of the United States is choosing to ignore the sacrifices of transgender service members, particularly at a time where so many have proven their dedication to this country. A diverse military makes a strong military; by removing honorably serving people from service, the President is effectively weakening our country, both as a fighting force and as a leader in civil rights.”

      Vivian Wise, an information systems technician on active duty in the Navy, came out to her shipmates the day President Obama and Secretary Carter lifted the ban in 2016. She disagrees with President Trump’s assertion that trans people serving in the military is a “disruption.”

      “To say that my service has been a ‘disruption’ is an outright lie. My Commanding Officer, immediate superiors and co-workers have all been fully supportive of me. I am one of the senior technicians within my division, responsible for training our new sailors and managing our day-to-day and week-to-week work list. I was, until just now, being groomed to lead one of our division’s two watch teams for our upcoming deployment, beginning late next year. In that capacity, I serve a critical role in my work center.

      Summarily discharging me from military service, for nothing more than petty bigotry and electoral politics, is the disruption. The GOP as a whole, and the Trump administration in particular, are degrading my unit and hundreds if not thousands of other units across the armed services by taking away valuable people. We, and the American people, deserve better than this.”

      Cisgender allies, activists, and experts are voicing their concerns, as well.

      In an email, TransMilitary co-director and executive producer Fiona Dawson (who, in 2015, documented the story of two trans service members who fell in love) weighed in on the move, saying she hopes Trump will actually take the time to meet some of the trans personnel he deems unfit for service.

      “Donald Trump’s assertions against transgender service members are baseless. Science and ethics determine there is no rational reason why the thousands of transgender women and men who have been defending our country and fighting for our freedom for hundreds of years should not be permitted to continue doing so.”

      Former Secretary Carter offered his opinion on the reinstatement of the discriminatory policy as well, saying that it “has no place in our military.”

      Advocacy organizations and civil rights groups across the country are issuing press releases, denouncing the tweet on a number of grounds.

      The Palm Center called this “a worse version of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell'” and hit Trump over his claims of “tremendous costs.”

      “As we know from the sad history of that discredited policy, discrimination harms military readiness. This is a shocking and ignorant attack on our military and on transgender troops who have been serving honorably and effectively for the past year. As former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen stated yesterday, their service must be respected. The Rand Corporation has estimated that the cost of medical care for transgender troops is approximately one one-hundredth of one percent of the military annual health care budget, or at most, $8.4 million per year. To claim otherwise is to lie about the data.”

      Tyler Deaton of the American Unity Fund, a conservative LGBTQ organization, criticized Trump for going back on what he saw as LGBTQ-friendly campaign promises in a statement that is long but worth reading in its entirety:

      “President Trump promised to protect the transgender community. As President, he said he was ‘respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights’ and would ‘protect the community from violence and oppression.’ But President Trump has broken his promise and, coupled with his administration’s efforts to roll back protections for transgender students in our nation’s public schools, he is developing an undeniable pattern of anti-gay and anti-transgender policy while in office. … As conservatives and advocates for LGBTQ freedom, AUF calls on President Trump to reconsider his comments, and stand with all of our soldiers, including those who are transgender.”

      Former Justice Department official Vanita Gupta, currently president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, slammed Trump’s move as “yet another broken promise to the American people.”

      “President Trump doesn’t understand that our military is stronger when there are no discriminatory barriers to service. The civil and human rights community will continue to loudly and proudly stand up for the rights of all who are willing to protect the security of our country, including the thousands of transgender people currently serving in our military.”

      And of course, there was pushback from a number of Democratic and Republican politicians alike.

      House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) commented on the sad irony of Trump’s decision to increase discrimination on the 69th anniversary of President Truman’s order to desegregate the military.

      Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) announced plans to introduce legislation that would overrule Trump’s decision.

      Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-New York) highlighted the number of trans people serving in the military.

      Rep. Illeana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Florida), who has a transgender son, spoke out against it as well.

      Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Massachusetts) offered to stand in solidarity with trans soldiers.

      Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said “transgender people are people, and deserve the best we can do for them.”

      And Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) called trans service members “patriots.”

      Trans people exist in the world and have every right to engage in the same activities and occupations as anybody else.

      This is a big deal, and it’s not just a distraction. Nobody should be discriminated against for who they are not in the military, not in education, not in housing, not in employment, not in health care, not at all.

      Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/heres-what-actual-trans-military-voices-have-to-say-about-trumps-ban

      Coffee recalled for undeclared Viagra-like ingredient

      (CNN)A Texas-based coffee company voluntarily recalled coffee containing an ingredient similar to what’s in the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra, the US Food and Drug Administration announced. After an FDA laboratory confirmed the presence of desmethyl carbodenafil in the grounds, Bestherbs Coffee LLC recalled all New Kopi Jantan Tradisional Natural Herbs Coffee.

      Desmethyl carbodenafil is similar to sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra, an FDA-approved prescription drug for erectile dysfunction, according to the FDA. The undeclared ingredient may interact with nitrates found in some prescription drugs, such as nitroglycerin, and may lower blood pressure to dangerous levels. Men with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart disease often take medications that contain nitrates.
      The coffee also contains undeclared milk, the recall announcement said. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk run the risk of a serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume the product.

          What to do when food is recalled

        No illnesses related to consumption of the coffee have been reported. People who have experience problems that might be related to the product are advised to contact their physician or healthcare provider.
        The instant coffee was promoted as a male enhancement product and sold online nationwide from July 2014 though June 2016. The company is contacting customers by phone, the FDA said. Customers are being asked to return the product to Bestherbs Coffee LLC, 4250 Claremont Dr., Grand Prairie, Texas 75052 for a full refund.
        People with questions about the recall can contact Bestherbs at 817-903-2288 or Albertyee.abc@hotmail.com, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST Monday through Friday.

        See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.

        In 2016, the FDA advised the public not to purchase a similar product, Stiff Bull Herbal Coffee, with undeclared desmethyl carbodenafil. In May, Caverlo Natural Herbal Coffee, a coffee containing undeclared ingredients similar to those in erectile dysfunction drugs, was recalled.
        CNN has reached out to Bestherbs Coffee LLC for comment.

        Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/21/health/coffee-recall-viagra-like-ingredients-trnd/index.html

        Health Check: Why Men Wake Up With Erections

        The Conversation

        The morning penile erection, or as it is medically known, nocturnal penile tumescence, is not only an interesting physiological phenomenon, it can also tell us a lot about a patients sexual function.

        Morning penile erections affect all males, even males in the womb and male children. It also has a female counterpart in the less frequently discussed nocturnal clitoral erection.

        What causes erections?

        Penile erections occur in response to complex effects of the nervous system and endocrine system (the glands that secrete hormones into our system) on the blood vessels of the penis.

        When sexually aroused, a message starts in the brain, sending chemical messages to the nerves that supply the blood vessels of the penis, allowing blood to flow into the penis. The blood is trapped in the muscles of the penis, which makes the penis expand, resulting in an erection.

        Several hormones are involved in influencing the brains response, such as testosterone (the main male hormone).

        This same mechanism can occur without the involvement of the brain, in an uncontrolled reflex action that is in the spinal cord. This explains why people with spinal cord damage can still get erections and why you can get erections when not sexually aroused.

        What about erections while we sleep?

        Nocturnal penile erections occur during Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep (the phase during which we dream). They occur when certain areas of the brain are activated. This includes areas in the brain responsible for stimulating the parasympathetic nerves (rest and digest nerves), suppressing the sympathetic nerves (flight and fight nerves) and dampening areas producing serotonin (the mood hormone).

        Sleep is made up of several cycles of REM and non-REM (deep) sleep. During REM sleep, there is a shift in the dominant system thats activated. We move from sympathetic (fight and flight) stimulation to parasympathetic (rest and digest) stimulation. This is not found during other parts of the sleep cycle.

        This shift in balance drives the parasympathetic nerve response that results in the erection. This is spontaneous and does not require being awake. Some men may experience nocturnal penile tumescence during non-REM sleep as well, particularly older men. The reason for this is unclear.

        The reason men wake up with an erection may be related to the fact we often wake up coming out of REM sleep.

        Testosterone, which is at its highest level in the morning, has also been shown to enhance the frequency of nocturnal erections. Interestingly, testosterone has not been found to greatly impact visual erotic stimuli or fantasy-induced erections. These are predominantly driven by the reward system of the brain which secretes dopamine.


        Men dont wake up with erections because theyve been having sexy dreams. from www.shutterstock.com

        Since there are several sleep cycles per night, men can have as many as five erections per night and these can last up to 20 or 30 minutes. But this is very dependent on sleep quality and so they may not occur daily. The number and quality of erections declines gradually with age but they are often present well beyond retirement age – attesting to the sexual well-being of older men.

        Its also important to highlight the counterpart phenomenon in women, which is much less researched. Pulses of blood flow in the vagina during REM sleep. The clitoris engorges and vaginal sensitivity increases along with vaginal fluidity.

        Whats its purpose?

        It has been suggested pitching a tent may be a mechanism for alerting men of their full overnight bladder, as it often disappears after emptying the bladder in the morning.

        Its more likely the reason for the morning erection is that the unconscious sensation of the full bladder stimulates nerves that go to the spine and these respond directly by generating an erection (a spinal reflex). This may explain why the erection goes away after emptying ones bladder.

        Scientific studies are undecided as to whether morning erections contribute to penile health. Increased oxygen in the penis at night may be beneficial for the health of the muscle tissues that make up the penis.

        What does it mean if you dont get one?

        Loss of nocturnal erection can be a useful marker of common diseases affecting erectile function. One example is in diabetics where the lack of morning erections may be associated with erectile dysfunction due to poor nerve or blood supply to the penis. In this case, theres a poor response to the messages sent from the brain during sleep which generate nocturnal erections.

        It is thought nocturnal erections can be used as a marker of an anatomical ability to get an erection (a sign that the essential body bits are working), as it was thought to be independent of psychological factors that affect erections while awake. Studies have suggested, however, that mental health disorders such as severe depression can affect nocturnal erections. Thus its absence is not necessarily a marker of disease or low testosterone levels.

        The frequency of morning erections and erection quality has also been shown to increase slightly in men taking medications for erectile dysfunction such as Viagra.

        So is all this morning action good news?

        While some men will put their nocturnal erections to good use, many men are not aroused when they have them and tummy sleepers might find them a nuisance.

        Since good heart health is associated with an ability to have erections, the presence of nocturnal erections is generally accepted to be good news. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important in avoiding and even reversing erectile dysfunction, so its important to remember to eat healthily, maintain a healthy weight, exercise and avoid smoking and alcohol.

        The ConversationSergio Diez Alvarez, Director Of Medicine, The Maitland and Kurri Kurri Hospital, University of Newcastle

        This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

        Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/health-check-why-men-wake-up-with-erections/

        Hands-Free ‘Bionic’ Penis In Development

        Some men trying to solve their problems of erectile dysfunction can be offered penile implants that inflate their penis atjust the push of a button. But researchers have been developing a new type of implant made from a metal alloy that will work without touch. Being dubbed the bionic penis, the implant is still in trials, and probably wont be available for another few years.

        As it turns out, around a thirdof men dont actually respond to drugs such as Viagra, meaning that in order to treat their erectile dysfunction, researchers have had to come up with more technical solutions, such as penile implants. Doctors have been doing these procedures for a long time, but they usually involve some sort of hydraulic system, which pumps fluid into a couple of tubes inside the member.

        This latest hands-free version is, however, relatively new technology. It works using a nonhydraulic shape-memory alloy, known as nitinol, made from titanium and nickel. Commonly used in medical devices, the alloy can be molded into shape, but upon the application of heat will return to its undeformed structure. It is this property that researchers have been able to harness.

        The alloy is implanted into the penis along with a heating coil at its base. The coil is activated when the patient holds a remote control over their groin that generates a magnetic field that in turn triggers a small current in the coil. This subsequently heats the alloy to the magic temperature to 42C (75.6F) making it revert to its original shape, giving a man an erection in as little as two minutes. After the deed is done, and fun for everyone is hopefully had, a cool flannel draped over the extension is enough to reduce the swelling.

        This means that while it has advantages over the traditional hydraulic version, as it has fewer parts meaning less can go wrong, it might only really be suitable for those living in colder climes, where the temperature doesnt usually reach the stimulating figure.

        While thousands of men who suffer from erectile dysfunction are unable to use drugs, it is unlikely that many of them will be offered the heat-activated-boner. Still in development, the new implant is unlikely to be available for a few years yet, but could help those who have had to have penile reconstruction or other genital issues regain even a modicum of normality.

        Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/handsfree-bionic-penis-in-development-/

        South Korean leader makes rare public appearance as scandals threaten presidency

        • South Korean President Park Geun-hye, right, talks with Seomun Market Merchant Association President Kim Yong-oh.  (Kim Jun-bum/Yonhap via AP)

        • South Korean President Park Geun-hye, center left, escorted by Seomun Market Merchant Association President Kim Yong-oh, tours the Seomun Market which was burned by a recent fire.  (Kim Jun-bum/Yonhap via AP)

        • South Korean President Park Geun-hye, center right, is escorted by Seomun Market Merchant Association President Kim Yong-oh, center left, during her visit to the Seomun Market which was burned by a recent fire.  (Kim Jun-bum/Yonhap via AP)

        South Korea’s embattled president on Thursday made an emotional appearance among her citizens for the first time since an escalating scandal exposed her links to million-dollar extortion, a cult leader who served as a personal mentor, and her government’s mass purchases of Viagra and similar drugs.

        President Park Geun-hye visibly teared up during her visit to a rural market as parliament lawmakers squabbled over whether to impeach her. The string of controversies has led hundreds of thousands of people to protest in the streets of South Korea for more than a month.

        “Merchants (here) supported me whenever I had difficulties and I’m really sorry,” Park said during her visit, according to her office. “I agonized a lot over whether I should come here in the current situation.”


        Park has denied prosecutors’ accusations that she knowingly played a role in the criminal activities of her longtime friend, Choi Soon-sil. The friend, despite having no official role in government, allegedly had a say in policy decisions and exploited her presidential ties to bully companies into giving millions of dollars to businesses Choi controlled.

        Choi is a daughter of a cult leader who served as Park’s personal mentor after her mother’s assassination in 1974. Park’s father was gunned down by his spy chief in 1979 following an 18-year rule.


        Choi claimed she asked her father to help Park after being told to do so in dreams, Korean media reported.

        Officials detained and indicted Choi and two of Park’s former advisers on charges including extortion and leaking confidential information.

        In addition, Park’s office bought 60 Viagra pills and 304 generic pills last year, opposition lawmaker Kim Sang-hee revealed last week, citing medical insurance data. Presidential spokesman Jung Youn-kuk claimed that the government intended to use the medication not for erectile dysfunction, but to treat altitude sickness, The New York Times reported.

        Jung said earlier this year that Park, who is single, had visited Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda — nations with capital cities high above sea level — but did not use the pills.  

        Police said they arrested a 48-year-old man who told investigators he used paint thinner to set fire to the birthplace of Park’s late father on Thursday because he was angry over her refusal to step down immediately.

        A memorial hall for Park’s parents, ex-President Park Chung-hee and Yook Young-soo, nearly burned to the ground. The hall is a popular tourist attraction.

        The suspect was previously convicted of setting fire to the birthplace of another former president, Roh Tae-woo, in 2012, according to police.

        Park didn’t immediately comment publicly on the arson. Earlier Thursday, she visited a market in the nearby city of Daegu where hundreds of shops had been destroyed by a previous fire.

        Daegu is Park’s political home turf where she was elected as a national lawmaker four times before becoming president in 2013.

        Local TV showed dozens of people at the market shouting “Park Geun-hye! Park Geun-hye!” and using phones to photograph her as she walked through the fire-ravaged shops. One middle-aged woman wiped away tears. Near the market, though, dozens of anti-Park citizens staged rallies calling for her ouster, according to media reports.

        Park cried after returning to her car, her office said, citing presidential security staff who traveled with her.

        On Tuesday, Park said she would step down if parliament arranged a safe transfer of power, drawing fierce criticism from main opposition parties that described her overture as a tactic to buy time that would allow her to survive the scandal.

        Park’s offer appeared to have caused cracks among dissenters in her ruling party who earlier supported her impeachment. A group of anti-Park lawmakers is now saying they won’t join an impeachment drive if Park resigns in April and helps ensure a stable power transfer until a new president takes office following a presidential by-election.

        A meeting between leaders of the main opposition parties on Thursday ended without any breakthrough. They differed over whether they should push for Park’s impeachment this week or delay it.

        Much of the hesitation over Park’s impeachment was because the opposition did not have enough lawmakers to pass an impeachment in parliament, and they would need help from dissenters in Park’s ruling Saenuri Party.

        Passage of an impeachment motion requires at least 200 votes in the 300-member National Assembly, but the three opposition parties and anti-Park independent lawmakers have a total of 172 seats.

        If impeached, Park’s presidential powers would be suspended until the Constitutional Court rules on her fate. The court would have 180 days to deliberate.

        The Associated Press contributed to this report.

        Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2016/12/01/south-korean-leader-makes-rare-public-appearance-as-scandals-threaten-presidency.html

        Nordstrom is selling a leather-wrapped rock for $85

        You know that person on your holiday list who’s just impossible to shop for? Time to throw in the towel and get them a rock.

        Department store chain Nordstrom is currently selling a rock with leather on it, also known as a “Leather-Wrapped Stone.” It’s priced at $85, but if that particular rock is out of your price range, you can purchase a slightly smaller rock, also wrapped in leather, for $65.

        The company responsible is Made Solid, a Los Angeles-based business specializing in leather goods. Okay, Made Solid doesn’t actually make the rocks shoutout to the Earth for that one but they do create lovely leather pockets for them to rest in like artisanal, Goop-esque Humpty Dumpties.

        Image: Nordstrom

        Wondering what in the world you would do with this rock? According to the object’s description, it’s pretty versatile: “A paperweight? A conversation piece? A work of art? It’s up to you, but this smooth Los Angeles-area stone wrapped in rich, vegetable-tanned American leather secured by sturdy contrast whipstitching is sure to draw attention wherever it rests.”

        It does seem like a conversation starter, which is probably why a vibrant conversation about it is already blossoming in the listing’s reviews section. At the time of writing, keywords associated with the item included “ambrosia,” “eyebleach,” “god’s gift to us” and “incredible.”

        “It’s not a crystal, but I could tell it was full of positive power and energy,” one reviewer wrote, also alleging that the rock cured his erectile dysfunction.

        “Of all the medium leather wrapped stones I’ve bought, this is the best,” wrote another.

        Don’t want to speak too soon, but looks like your holiday shopping is done for the year.

        BONUS: Fool everyone by wrapping Christmas cookies like this awesome peppermint

        Read more: http://mashable.com/2016/12/06/leather-wrapped-rock-nordstrom/

        Was An Erection-Causing Venomous Spider Really Found In A German Shipping Container?

        Brazilian wandering spiders are unpleasant and fascinating critters. Arachnids within this genus can grow to have a leg span of 15 centimeters (5.9 inches), and theyre quite aggressive.

        If youre bitten by one, its venom stands a good chance of putting you in hospital and, on occasion, six feet under. Theres also a good chance that during this deadly procedure, if youre male, you will also get an unwelcome and extremely painful erection.

        It lasts for so long that it can cause lasting damage, erectile dysfunction, and impotence. Thats why, during a recent encounter with one, 10 firefighters covered themselves from head to toe in protective gear just in case they were bitten.

        A species of Brazilian wandering spider was found hiding inside a shipping container in Bremerhaven, Germany. The emergency services were called after it was spotted during a routine customs inspection, and, not willing to risk its escape, the firefighters flooded the container with carbon dioxide from a fire extinguisher in order to kill it.

        Or so it seems. This story cant be verified, and so far, its only appearing in some fairly unreliable tabloids. So watch this space for now.

        Still, the spiders themselves are certainly real, and theyre certainly not the sort of monster youd ever want to bump into.

        This creepy crawly has often been referred to as the worlds deadliest spider on account of its extremely potent venom, but due to the effectiveness of available anti-venoms, few people have actually been killed by one.

        They tend to be found in tropical South and Central America, where they prey on insects, frogs, and lizards. Their venom, when administered via a bite, causes fatal paralysis in their tasty victims. There are eight known species within the genus Phoneutria, whose name derives from the Greek word for murderess.

        [H/T: Metro]

        Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/was-an-erectioncausing-venomous-spider-really-found-in-a-german-shipping-container/

        8 ways low testosterone affects your body

         (Copyright 2006, Mike Watson Images Limited.)

        Testosterone is crucial for building muscle and fueling your sex drive.

        But receptors for the hormone actually exist throughout your body, from your brain to your bones to your blood vessels.

        So if youre low on T, the health consequences could extend far beyond the gym and the bedroom, says University of Washington endocrinologist Bradley Anawalt, M.D., a spokesperson for the Endocrine Society.

        Related: 5 Easy Ways to Increase Your Testosterone

        The eight symptoms that follow arent proof of low testosterone on their own. Youll need two blood tests showing low levelsusually around 300 nanograms per declileter (ng/dL) or lower, depending on the labbefore your doctor makes an official low testosterone diagnosis, Dr. Anawalt says.

        The good news is, if low T is truly to blame, many of the health side effects of low testosterone can be reversed, or at least improved, with testosterone therapy. 


        Perhaps the best-known, quickest, and most common effect of low T is low libido, says urologist Philip Werthman, M.D., director of the Center for Male Reproductive Medicine and Vasectomy Reversal in Los Angeles.

        In fact, nearly every patient who comes to his office with known or suspected low T complains of a lack of sexual appetite. Besides wanting less sex, men with low T may also masturbate less and report fewer fantasies and erotic dreams.

        Brain areas involved with sexual desire, including the amygdala, are packed with testosterone receptors, says S. Adam Ramin, M.D., urologic surgeon and medical director of Urology Cancer Specialists in Los Angeles. 

        The hormone fits inside them like a lock inside a key, lighting them up to arouse you. Without it, youre missing a critical step in the turn-on process.

        This lack of desire to have sex can cause problems with erections, though low T doesnt directly affect the plumbing involved in getting or staying hard, Dr. Ramin says.

        Related: The Mens Health Guide To Erectile Dysfunction: What Causes It, How to Fix It, and How to Avoid It


        Ample testosterone puts your body in an anabolic, or muscle-building, state by helping your body produce and assemble proteins that form the building blocks of lean mass.

        When your testosterone levels drop, your body turns catabolic instead, breaking down muscle tissue instead of building it up, Dr. Werthman says. 

        At first, you might notice that its tougher to push as much weight at the gym or build muscle, he notes. 

        Related: Whats the Most Muscle You Can Gain?

        And after a few weeks of low T, you can expect to lose muscle mass, Dr. Anawalt says.

        In fact, in one Japanese study, men with low free testosterone levelsa measure of the amount of hormone available to bind to receptorshad double to triple the risk of muscle loss with aging as those with normal levels.


        Without a steady flow of testosterone, the tissues in your penis, scrotum, and testicles can atrophy, or shrivel, says Dr. Ramin.

        As a result, your penis might lose length and girth. You may notice your balls shrink, toothey often shrivel to half the size and turn squishy instead of firm, he says. 

        Though testosterone replacement therapy wont bring back your testicular volume, when it comes to your penis, the treatment has a good chance of restoring its glory, Dr. Ramin says. (In fact, testosterone therapy in boys with a micropenis can increase their size by up to an inch and a half, according to a study in the Indian Journal of Urology.)


        Even as you lose size where it counts, you gain it where it hurts, Dr. Anawalt says. 

        In one Australian study, men with prostate cancer gained 14 percent more body fat and 22 percent more visceral fat after one year of androgen deprivation therapy, a treatment which turns off testosterones effects.

        Visceral fat is the deep abdominal fat that forms around your organs and increases your risk for diabetes and heart disease.

        Related: METASHRED EXTREMEthe Ultimate Fitness Program From Mens Health Designed to Shred Body Fat and Max Out Muscle Growth At the Same Time

        In men, low testosterone may increase the activity of an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase, the study authors suspect. This compound drives circulating building blocks called lipids into visceral fat cells, plumping them up.


        Trouble with thinking and memory often occurs in men with low T, Dr. Werthman says. 

        In 2015 study from Australia, men whose testosterone levels declined over 5 years also experienced a drop in scores on tests of their mental function and memory.

        Besides the amygdala, areas of the brain important for memory and attentionsuch as the cerebrumalso have testosterone receptors. 

        When theres not enough of the hormone pumping in to those receptors, your brain cells may not be able to function as well, the study authors note.


        Some of the side effects of low testosteronesuch as sexual dysfunction and weight gaincan bring on the blues. But theres also evidence of a more direct effect of low testosterone on mood. 

        According to research in the Endocrine Journal, 23 percent of young men with newly diagnosed low testosterone met the criteria for depression, compared to only 5 percent of young guys with normal levels of the hormone.

        Empty testosterone receptors in brain areas linked to mood are likely responsible for your depressed state, Dr. Ramin says. 

        Whats more, mood disorders like depression or anxiety can kick off a vicious cycle, he notesdepression can suppress your testicles ability to produce testosterone, worsening the problem.


        Bone is actually living tissue, constantly broken down and rebuilt, Dr. Ramin says.

        When testosterone levels fall, your bone breaks down faster than your body can build it back up. 

        As a result, youre at a higher risk of low bone density, osteoporosis, and fractures, Dr. Anawalt says. 


        The effect of testosterone levels on the risk of heart problems has stoked controversy among experts, Dr. Anawalt says. 

        On one side, low levels of testosterone may be linked to heart problems. In fact, one study from the U.K. found men with low T had a greater risk of dying from heart disease than men with normal levels. 

        This may be because testosterone can help open up blood vessels to the heart, allowing blood to flow more freely. 

        But on the flip side, some studies have suggested that testosterone therapyespecially in older men or those with existing heart conditionsmight increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. Experts think it may thicken the blood, making a clot more likely. 

        Related: 30 Easy Ways to Save Your Heart Today

        It seems that the extra testosterone might be raising levels too high, Dr. Anawalt says. 

        So if youre a candidate for testosterone therapy, make sure you talk to your doctor about the benefits and the risks, Dr. Werthman says. 

        Your doctor may test your testosterone levels after you first start therapy or change dosagesor sometimes between shots, if youre receiving treatment by injectionto make sure your levels arent surging too high, Dr. Anawalt says. 

        This article originally appeared on MensHealth.com.

        Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2016/12/21/8-ways-low-testosterone-affects-your-body.html

        Don’t Ignore These Signs — Your Body Could Be Trying To Tell You Something

        In the age of the internet, more and more people are turning to the web to diagnose their potential illnesses and injuries.

        While it is always best to see a medical professional to make the final call on your health, there’s likely no one who knows your body quite like you do. That’s why you should be aware of these common cues that your body can give off that most would pass off as nothing to worry about, as they could warn you about various silent killers. If you’ve noticed one of these 12 things about your body, you might want to schedule an appointment before your health takes a turn for the worse.

        1. Rapid and unintentional weight loss

        If you’re losing large amounts of weight without diet or exercise, go see your doctor for a checkup. Severe weight loss for no apparent reason often helps diagnose lung, stomach, pancreatic, and esophageal cancers.

        2. Blistering skin rashes

        While rashes on your arms, knees, elbows, and other parts of your body could be the result of eczema, they could potentially lead to a far more serious diagnosis. Nearly 25 percent of those with Celiac disease report having itchy, blistering rashes after consuming even the smallest trace of gluten.

        Traditionally, a doctor performs a biopsy of the rash in question to determine its cause.

        3. Inflamed gums

        In a University of Florida study, researchers discovered a link between the types of bacteria that cause gum disease and those that cause heart disease. Older adults with these bacteria in their mouth also typically have a larger carotid artery, which is linked to stroke and heart attacks.

        4. Unexplained bleeding

        Any unexplained bleeding could be a sign of cancer. Depending on the location of the bleeding, you could be at risk for lung, cervical, colon, rectal, bladder, kidney, or breast cancer.

        5. Bladder or bowel changes

        If you’re noticing an increase or decrease in your trips to the bathroom, it could be a sign that you have developed cancer. Frequent peeing could be the result of bladder or prostate cancer, while constipation or diarrhea could be caused by ovarian or colon cancer.

        Frequent peeing could also mean that you have Type 2 diabetes. As the disease develops, it becomes increasingly difficult for your body to break down food into sugar and energy. This can result in the buildup of sugar in your bloodstream, which your body will try to rid itself of by flushing it out in your urine.

        6. Impotency problems

        According to a 2013 study, men over the age of 45 who suffer from moderate to severe erectile dysfunction are 60 percent more likely to be hospitalized for heart problems. A family history of heart disease further increases their risk.

        7. Snoring

        While snoring is often a symptom of sleep apnea, it could also tell you that you may develop heart disease down the road, as a 2013 study revealed that snoring is linked to an enlarged carotid artery.

        8. Damage to your teeth

        Heartburn and acid reflux are commonly responsible for tooth damage. This is because acid in your stomach slowly wears down and dissolves the enamel of your teeth, making them more susceptible to damage and decay.

        9. Severe and prolonged coughing

        Coughing is often a sign of allergies, asthma, or even the common cold, but severe and prolonged coughing fits could mean lung cancer. If your cough is accompanied by hoarseness, you may be at risk for cancer of the larynx or throat as well.

        10. Changes in handwriting

        Handwriting that becomes smaller and more bunched together over time could be an early sign of Parkinson’s disease. In a 2013 handwriting analysis study, patients in the first stages of Parkinson’s were able to be identified more than 97 percent of the time. Other symptoms of the disease include loss of smell and an increase in intense dreams that cause kicking and thrashing about in your sleep.

        11. Trouble remembering names

        While forgetfulness is often linked to dementia and Alzheimer’s, it may also be because of a thyroid problem. If your brain feels fuzzy or you have trouble remembering small pieces of information such as names, you might be experiencing hypothyroidism, which is a decrease in your thyroid hormones. More than half of the 30 million Americans who suffer from a thyroid problem do not realize that they have anything wrong with them.

        12. Hemorrhoids

        If you suffer from what you believe to be severe hemorrhoids that don’t respond well to treatment, it might be best to make an appointment with a specialist. A rare form of Crohn’s disease can result in the inflammation of the anal cavity, as well as swelling, sores, and ulcers that many mistake as hemorrhoids. If left untreated, the disease can cause bowel obstructions and even colon cancer.

        Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/body-signs/