This Week in Sex

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This Week in Sex   
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March 31, 2000


Raise your hand if your job sucks. Okay, now all of you who aren’t Swedish chambermaids, put your hands down. This week, at least, their job is worse than yours. And they owe it all to porn.


So say members of the Swedish Hotel Workers Federation, who are calling for protection from male hotel guests who become “over-excited” from watching hardcore pornography in their rooms. The maids want to work in pairs, and they want the hotel to provide them with personal alarms to be used in case of an attack, according to an article in Sweden’s Aftonbladet daily. If fully aroused hotel guests aren’t enough to make you reconsider a Swedish vacation, the mess they leave in their wake has its own wretch-inducing charms. “We have to dry off sticky television screens and clean stained sheets as well as picking up used tissues thrown under beds,” the maids said. Swedish Equality Minister Margareta Winberg has called for government officials to boycott all hotels that show porn, but she may face an uphill battle: though Winberg’s boss, Prime Minister Goran Persson, promised to “look into the issue” of hotel porn, the newspaper Expressen noted that Persson was smiling when he said it.

No Joy in Sexville

There will be no Joy of Sex 2K, for Alex Comfort is dead. Comfort, a poet, professor and anti-war activist best known for his 1972 book, The Joy of Sex, died last week in a British nursing home at the age of eighty. Filled with descriptions and illustrations of sex, the book was billed as “the gourmet guide to lovemaking,” and along with its two sequels, More Joy of Sex (1974) and The New Joy of Sex (1991), it opened up the world of sex to millions of couples worldwide — to say nothing of the millions of adolescents who “borrowed” the book from their parents.

Creamy Filling, Yum

Business ain’t great for Japanese chocolate manufacturer Okamoto. The
company, which uses rubber molds to create chocolates shaped as bears,
squirrels and sumo wrestlers, has encountered disappointing public demand
for the novelty sweets. Maybe it’s the relatively high price, a company
spokesman theorized in a Reuters report. Perhaps. Or maybe it’s the fact
that Okamoto is better known for the other product they make using
rubber molds: rubbers. Okamoto sold $655 million worth of condoms in thirty-seven
countries last year. “Perhaps because of the unfortunate associations, people can’t enjoy the chocolates,” the spokesman conceded. No word yet on how the association is affecting condom sales.

Gaydar 2.0

A University of California team has found a correspondence between homosexuality and the length of the fingers — specifically, the index and ring fingers. Research published in the science journal Nature by Berkeley psychologist S. Marc Breedlove and two of his undergraduates shows that gay women tend to have more “masculine” hands than straight women, with the index finger significantly shorter than the ring finger; early evidence suggests that the index and ring are closer for gay men than for straight men (though the study’s authors said the research on men was not broad enough to be conclusive on this point). The results are seen as further evidence that sexual orientation is at least partially determined in the womb. But experts are quick to point out that finger length alone isn’t a reliable guide of very much of anything when it comes to determining sexuality. “The differences are subtle,” Raymond Blanchard, a pioneer in gender and sexuality studies at the University of Toronto, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “There’s no
way anybody could use this to screen a date.”


Simon LeVay will explain further in Tuesday’s “The Science of Sex.”

Quote of the Week

“We’re delighted. We didn’t ban any expression. What’s being regulated is the means of expression.”

Valerie Sprenkle, assistant city solicitor in Erie, Pennsylvania, on this week’s Supreme Court ruling that local governments can require “nude” dancers to wear G-strings and pasties.

“My first sexual encounter was with a relative from down South. Not really
a relative, but a relative’s wife. I was twelve.”

— Rapper DMX, backtracking quickly in Rolling Stone.

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©2000 Dan Reines and Nerve Publishing