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Weekend Review
Stroke of Genius

European Union gatekeepers may have been rattled to hear about Romania’s radical fix for its cash-strapped industry sector. Out of the
thirteen countries clamoring to join the Union, Romania is very much the runt of the litter,
earmarked for admission not before 2007. This week, workers at a Romanian car factory
decided to donate their sperm to bolster the cash-hemorrhaging ARO Campulung. Abacus in hand, trade union leader Ion
Cotescu told stunned reporters, “Our feasibility study shows that if 1,000 workers donate
their sperm for several months, we can get enough funds to pay part of the plant’s debts.” According to Cotescu, the decision came after a fertility clinic in the western city of Timisoara offered donors the equivalent of $50 a visit. (The monthly average wage in Romania is around $150.) The ARO Campulung plant, which makes Jeep-style four wheel drives, has debts of $20 million. Cotescu said the sperm drive was also a protest against the government’s privatization authority, which had failed to find a strategic investor for the plant. Shrugged Cotescu, “They told us to come up with a solution.” The directive was taken literally. “Now, we have found one that even the best economists have never thought of,” chuckled Cotescu, as he visualized vast vats of white gold.
Rumors that the trade union plans to aggregate any non-essential body parts from the workers are entirely false.

Mary Had A Little Lamé

Some would argue that the cloning of mammals started not with Dolly the sheep but with the archetypal Chelsea boy. They’d be more right than they know. Maybe. As it turns out, gay sheep have distinctly different brains from straight sheep, and those differences are similar to those measured in gay and straight men. Professor Charles Roselli, of Oregon Health & Science University, worked with the federal government’s Sheep Experiment Station to separate “strongly homosexual” rams from the herd. “They only court and mate with males,” said Professor Roselli. “They don’t pair-bond, but they are exclusive.” The sheep were then subjected to the full Temple of Doom treatment, which involved emptying their brains into little pans and picking at them like bad salad. Comparative physiology revealed that the preoptic areas of the hypothalamus were smaller in homosexual rams than in heterosexual ones, confirming research that had been done on human cadavers by way of the Revere Hypothesis, or “One if by man, two if by sheep” standard. While the preoptic area of the hypothalmus is associated with testosterone metabolization, Professor Roselli asserted that sheep of both orientations had equal amounts of testosterone. Lesser men? No. Better sweaters? Yes.

Keepers Go Ape!

In times when one is asked to tackle a problem head-on, he or she is often instructed to “grab the bull by the horns,” or, similarly, to “take the tiger by the tail.” We can sympathize, then, with the zookeepers at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo for thinking that the zoo’s management was speaking figuratively when they asked workers to “clutch the gorilla by the ding-a-ling.” The Australian veterinarians are refusing to lend a hand down under and help a sedated gorilla named Kibabu rub one out. Kibabu’s inability to produce offspring has become an embarrassing industrial issue. Zoo management’s proposal for an artificial insemination program — using manual stimulation of the sedated gorilla — was vetoed by zookeepers. Said one commonsensical Aussie, “It was too bloody dangerous. What if he woke up?” Would Australia’s own Crocodile Hunter balk at such a task? We think not. Instead, Kibabu, whose harem includes five females, will probably be stimulated by an electrical device — probably similar to your mom’s “neck massager” — in a process called electro-ejaculation. Kibabu’s predicament emerged as about 350 zoo staffers planned work stoppage to discuss wages, working hours, stress and job-related risks. Presumably, jerking off 300 pound simians wasn’t in the job description.

Dames, Shame and Automobiles

Not since Marianne Faithfull sped through the French countryside in search of sex and adventure in 1968’s Girl on a Motorcycle (AKA Naked Under Leather) have women been creating such a stir on the pavement. In Iran empowered female bus driver Masoumeh Bolaghi ordered all the young dudes to the back of the vehicle. Seating on Iranian buses has been segregated since the 1979 Islamic revolution, with women forced to sit at the back so that they do not distract the normally male driver. Official news agency IRNA (a clever anagram?) said university graduate Bolaghi had taken to the wheel in the city of Karaj, about thirty-eight miles west of Tehran, on Thursday. Bolaghi said she hoped her example would have “a positive effect on women’s morale.” Iran started its first women taxi driver service earlier this year in the holy city of Qom. (Female drivers are only allowed to pick up female passengers.) But Iranian women are pleased with the newfound opportunity to be bad-asses on the road, lining up in the thousands for free motorcycle classes. In 1979, fundamentalist clerics determined that it was inappropriate for women to ride bicycles or motorbikes. However, the current moderate government does not crack down on the thousands of women who challenge the cycling ban. This encouraged a motorcycle manufacturer to offer women free motorcycling classes as part of an advertising campaign. The poster for this campaign features a woman riding a scooter, wearing a helmet and covered from head to toe. Some are worried about conservative backlash, and some complain that riding motorcycles is a trivial concern in a country where women have limited divorce and child-custody rights. But the general attitude is one of optimism — and of agreement that chicks on motorcycles are hot.

Additional assistance, puns, wordplay, and double entendre provided by Jim Jazwiecki and Carrie Hill Wilner.

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