People Can Tell Whether You're Rich or Poor By Looking At Your Face

What can you tell just by looking at someone's face? Can you tell where they're from? Where they've been? How smart they are? How old they are? Their life's history?

Well, a new study says that we all make snap judgments about people's wealth, and apparently, those judgments are generally correct. 

A study published in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that people can tell whether you're rich or poor just from looking at your face. Basically, having money means people have more comforts in life, and not worrying about financial security frees people from anxiety and allows them to live happier lives. In contrast, people who are poor are constantly struggling to make ends meet, and this leads to high stress and often labor-intensive work that shows up on their faces.

For the study, R. Thora Bjornsdottir and Nicholas O. Rule of the University of Toronto showed students gray-scale pictures of 80 white men and 80 white females. The people in the photos had neutral expressions. Half of the people made six-figure salaries and were deemed wealthy while the other half made less than $35,000 a year and were determined to be working class.

The students surveyed were of various races, and they correctly guessed the subjects' wealth 68% of the time, which was a better odd than random chance. 

"People are not really aware of what cues they are using when they make these judgments," Bjornsdottir said to the University of Toronto. "If you ask them why, they don't know. They are not aware of how they are doing this."

When researchers showed participants photos of the people visibly happy, they were unable to gauge wealth, signaling that folks equate happiness with having money. 

"Over time, your face comes to permanently reflect and reveal your experiences," Rule told the University of Toronto. "Even when we think we're not expressing something, relics of those emotions are still there."

Teenagers Would Rather Hang out with their Families Than Party, Have Sex

The age that one loses their virginity depends on their maturity level and opportunity, and although I'd like it if everyone waited until after they graduate from high school at least, it is a personal decision that at the end of the day is none of my damn business.

But as I get older and embrace my maternal instincts, I am happy to know that our youth are waiting to engage in sexual relationships on their own. Teen pregnancies are declining and the majority of teens in high school are choosing to PG socialize instead of drink alcohol and have sex.

A new study published by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service said that teenagers are focusing more on their education and future careers instead of partying. In their free time, these motivated kids are studying, spending time online, or hanging out with their families.

Although the research was conducted on teens in the UK, the results mirror statistics in the US, which also has a declining pregnancy rate. Studies have shown that the level of school-provided sex education in the US has declined, but apparently, that doesn't matter. Teens today have the internet to learn about the birds and the bees, and they are shunning stereotypes that they are lazy and sex-crazed. 

BPAS said that many teens today enjoy spending time with their parents, who are mostly from the laid-back Generation X. This close familial bond decreases their desires to go out and romp, and two-thirds of high school respondents said that they never had sex.

The survey also found that teens spent more time interacting with their peers online than in person, and that 70% of teens talked to their friends four or five times a week online. The researchers suggested that young people who socialized in person were more likely to be sexually active, showing that younger humans are just like their parents or grandparents if only they had similar environments.

"The low levels of teenage pregnancy rates may in part be attributed to lower levels of face-to-face interaction between young people and their peers, as opportunities for sexual interaction that could result in a pregnancy are reduced," the report said, according to The Independent. 

Teenagers who hung out with their friends in person were more likely to have multiple sex partners. While this may scare parents, teens who socialize in person tend to be more emotionally mature, hence the sex, and they are better prepared for the independence of college. In contrast, teens, who are close with their parents and spend hours online, may not be as emotionally mature.

“If you look at the big picture, it’s not that they’re doing more good things or more bad things overall,” San Diego State University psychology professor Jean Twenge told Time. “It’s just that they’re less likely to do all kinds of things adults do, and there definitely is a trade-off there.”

HIV-Positive Gay Men Can Now Have Sex Without Condoms

A new study has found that gay men with HIV can now have sex without condoms. Thanks to daily pills, they no longer have to live in fear that they will transmit the uncurable virus to their lovers, according to the Daily Mail. 

British and Danish researchers studied men who were given antiretroviral therapy (ART) for eight years, and they found that they became sexually non-infectious thanks to the medication. The participants of the trial showed no evidence of transmission of HIV, which can become AIDS if left untreated. 

ART treatments include daily pills that stop the virus from replicating. It does not cure people of HIV but it does reduce the risk of transmitting the virus. 

Researchers from the University College London and the University of Copenhagen studied 1,000 gay couples from different countries between 2010 and 2018. The couples reported having sex thousands of time without condoms and never once transmitting HIV to non-HIV positive lovers. 

"What’s most important now is ensuring that we continue to share this message and educate people as far and wide as possible, to help improve the lives of people living with HIV across the world," medical director of the Terrence Higgins Trust, Michael Brady, said.

An estimated 36.7 million adults and children have HIV worldwide. 

What is Aftercare in BDSM?

Most people are aware of some of the acts of play in BDSM--the whips, the ropes, the handcuffs, etc... But another key element to the practice is aftercare, which is checking in with the submissive after the scene is over to make sure they're okay. Aftercare is important because you can't just inflict violence or mental anguish on someone and then just leave them alone afterward. Even though BDSM is consensual, the submissive may end up hating the lifestyle if they're not given any sweet with the sour, if you know what I mean. 

Aftercare involves physical and emotional attendance, and like scenes of play, aftercare is different for different couples. But some common forms of aftercare include cuddling, talking, taking a bath together, or giving a massage. 

During BDSM scenes, a slew of endorphins are released, filling the sub with an incredible high. But when the play is over, they experience something of a crash, which sometimes is as intense as a drug withdrawal, and that's why the Dominant needs to perform aftercare to ease the submissive's fragile mental and physical state. 

Getting sad after sex happens to people even outside of intense BDSM sessions. A study from 2015 found that nearly 46% of women surveyed experienced anxiety or sadness at least once in their lives after sex. The reason for this is the hormonal change caused by orgasm combined with neglect after the act. 

So for those who want to venture into the world of BDSM or who'd rather just stick with vanilla, don't forget kindness after sex. There's actually scientific proof of why a bit of love can go a long way after the deed. 

Harvey Weinstein's Criminal Lawyer Shares Thoughts on #MeToo

Last year, Harvey Weinstein hired criminal attorney Blair Berk to help him fight charges of sexual impropriety, and last month, Berk spoke to Haaretz and talked about how the #MeToo movement has gone too far.

In October, the New York Times ran a piece documenting Weinstein's alleged years of sexual harassment and assault, and after the story broke, the movie producer was accused by dozens of women of sexual misconduct. Eventually, he was charged with rape in New York state, and he has criminal investigations against him pending in London and Los Angeles. 

Weinstein’s hiring of Berk was a smart decision because she is known as an attorney that celebrities can rely on. She has represented Mel Gibson, Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, and numerous other A-listers, and she is currently the lawyer for Sylvester Stallone, who is also facing sexual misconduct claims.

Berk said that she is a feminist but that she thinks it's important that women take accountability for their own actions, such as exchanging sex for jobs with high-powered men. 

“As a feminist, this is a conversation that is important to me to have,” Berk said. “We deal with terms like sexual harassment and we talk inappropriate behavior, but we don’t discuss [the terms], not least because it’s complicated. True, we shouldn’t have someone with too much power in a workplace, for instance, abusing his power to be vulgar or to put his hand on someone who’s not interested, but it’s important we don’t conflate this with rape. These actions are not rape. They’re also not criminal. They’re certainly actions that need to be discussed, but not necessarily something that needs to be incriminating.”

Berk said that women who engaged in sexual acts in order to get something sometimes regret that decision but that should not be viewed as criminal because it is currently not a law.

“One of those very uncomfortable truths is that there are women who engaged in sexual contact with a man in situations when they’re not necessarily attracted to that man but that more powerful man was offering them something they want, advancement, the Golden Globe, something they want, and they decided to have that sexual encounter in order to get that. Intentionally, consensually and later regret that they did that. We can decide that that is a fundamentally coercive act and should criminalize it, but right now it’s not a crime and I believe it shouldn’t be a crime,” Berk said.

Berk said that the current climate is treating women like children, not responsible for their own actions.

“I believe one of the dangerous things about what’s happening here is we’re treating women as children. We are infantilizing women. It’s a thing that as feminists we don’t want to do, which is to claim that a woman doesn’t have the ability to choose,” Berk said. “And while it’s uncomfortable and while it’s a difficult truth people getting something from someone more powerful whether if the currency of sex, or whether if of doing something outside of their work in order to curry favor that’s not okay that there’s expectation from a more powerful person, but it’s not a crime. Unfortunately, in this moment we’re doing things that blur those lines.”

Berk's comments are interesting to me because I think she is presenting valid arguments that consensual acts should not be criminalized just because a person feels regret afterward, but I also think that men in power should not hunt for dates in the workplace. The reason for that is that women who say yes are usually rewarded with promotions or better treatment, and women who decline are punished by being dismissed or ignored. This unfair system would not exist if dating was banned in corporate environments or strict rules were in place and enforced. 

While the idea of banning dating in the workplace sounds extreme, technology giant Intel has been practicing this policy for years, and it has been overwhelmingly successful. The reason that it works is that people in all positions are required to adhere to it, and knowing that it exists and is enforced consistently stops any potential impropriety. 

In late June, Intel's CEO Brian Krzanich admitted that he had a consensual relationship with an underling, and he resigned from his post because the company policy was to not allow any non-lateral dating. The company's rules were outlined and no one, not even the CEO, was exempt, and this strict but fair rule curbed sexual harassment and enabled the employees at the company to work productively without the added stress of sexual politics. 

As people familiar with my blog have probably noticed, I am very much in favor of people embracing their sexuality, but one's sexual self and one's professional self generally can be and should be two separate entities. 

Netflix Really Is Killing Your Sex Life

We are in a weird age where people are having less sex. This leads to physical and emotional frustration and a lack of intimacy, and experts have been trying to guess why this generation is loving less than the generations before.

And one new study thinks Netflix is to blame. 

Or more specifically, the internet and streaming.

Researchers at Lancaster University said that between 10pm-11pm is the peak time for intimacy, but people nowadays are using that hour to surf the internet or bingewatch Netflix, Fox News reported.

"Overall, the paper argues that a better understanding of how everyday practices are shifting, in concert with the provision and design of online services, could provide a basis for the policies and initiatives needed to mitigate the most problematic projections of Internet energy use," the study's abstract stated.

The study found that most people are viewing the content on their phones, which allows them to be anywhere viewing, including the bed. Can you imagine how annoying it is to be in bed with your lover and he or she's just watching YouTube, showing no interest in you? No wonder no one is getting busy.

Using Tinder Won't Lead to Casual Sex

I talked earlier about how casual sex doesn't truly exist, not because random hookups don't happen but because our bodies naturally attach to our lovers during sex. But despite biology wanting us to bond, people still try to sex up strangers with the intention of loving and leaving. 

But for those who want one night stands, where do you get them? Some people think Tinder is the way, but a new study says the app gives you no better a chance of having casual sex than hitting on a rando at a bar. 

Researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology published a paper in Personality and Individual Differences. The group surveyed 641 students and asked them about their Tinder usage. They found out that Tinder swipers who wanted casual sex weren't successful, proving that just because you want something doesn't mean you'll get it.

Tinder has a reputation for being a hookup app, but the study found that most people liked to swipe because they were bored. Women reported that they liked using the app to affirm that they were attractive, based on how many matches and messages they got, but they weren't actually down to fuck as the men of Jersey Shore like to say. 

The study found that straight men on the app were trying to get short-term relationships or hookups, but alas, like in real life, most women just weren't interested. 

Does Life Have Meaning Without Sex?

Growing up I was influenced by Chinese culture, which is unabashedly money-obsessed, and I was repeatedly told by my parents that earning cash was one of the most important things in life. As a kid, I loved writing, the arts, and TV and movies; but my family steered me away from my passions because they didn't believe they would be lucrative endeavors for me.

This value contrasted with those typically* found in the Midwest where I grew up, which seemed to place an emphasis on simple joys.

As I matured and ventured out on my own as an adult, I became obsessed with the concept of happiness. Was money the key to happiness? Was fame? Was relationships? I've realized that all aspects combine to create a full picture, but one component that is often not talked about is sexual pleasure.

One doesn't just have to be a hedonist to value sex. Psychologist Todd Kashdan at George Mason University said that sex is actually an important aspect of a person's well-being. In North America, sexuality is suppressed and shunned due to our Puritanical origins, but Kashdan and his team found that sex increases our meaning in life, Psychology Today reports. 

Kashdan studied sex and its meaning by recruiting 152 college students who disclosed personal details such as their relationship status, intimacy levels, and how long they stay in relationships. Each night before sleeping, the students answered a series of questions about the meaning of life and sexual activity, and from their answers, Kashdan saw a correlation between positive moods and sexual activity.

Kashdan saw correlation but not causation, and although it is unclear the exact relationship between happiness and sex, the study shows that having sex and being happy usually occur at the same time.

"In other words, the time-lagged analysis suggests that having sex leads to a positive mood and a sense of fulfillment that continues into the next day. This finding is consistent with other studies which have found that the “afterglow” of sex extends for a day or two after the act. The researchers don’t deny the likelihood that happy, fulfilled people have more sex. Rather, they simply contend that it’s sexual activity that makes people happy and fulfilled, not that their happiness and fulfillment leads them to have more sex," Psychology Today wrote.

80% of Teenage Girls Suffer Mental Illness After Sexual Assault

Safety for men and women is one of the most important things that I value, which is why I write so much about consent. People need to ask permission before engaging in any type of sexual activity, but predators choose to violate this basic tenant of human decency and they take what isn't theirs. 

Sexual assault leaves victims with lasting emotional scars, and a new study found that 80% of teenage girls who were sexually assaulted suffer from crippling mental health problems at least months after the attack, The Guardian reported. 

Teen victims suffer from PTSD, anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders after an attack, and these problems last at least four to five months after the horrific incident occurs. Victims who were abused in childhood carry emotional problems throughout their adulthood, the research also showed. 

The study was conducted by the University College London, and it surveyed girls between the age of 13 and 17.

“Although poverty and social vulnerability are well-recognized risk factors for sexual assault, few studies have examined this among adolescents, or looked at the impact of vulnerability on mental health outcomes following sexual assault,” the lead author, Dr Sophie Khadr said to The Guardian. “The study emphasized the double disadvantage of young women who experience sexual assault. Their social vulnerability places them at higher risk of assault, with one in 12 reporting a further assault within four to five months."

If there are any sexual assault victims who are reading this blog, please know that you are not alone. Report the abuser to authorities, and talk to someone you can trust. For more information, contact the non-profit RAINN

Everything Newbies Want To Know About BDSM

For anyone interested in trying kink, they may decide to venture away from vanilla and enter the world of BDSM. In the BDSM community, people actually meet up and host parties where folks can participate and watch each other perform, but you can also just have fun in your own home.

There aren't really a ton of rules that govern how people must behave except for one fundamental one--participants must always consent to what is happening to them. An example of consent and not consent is this--When someone meets Gordon Ramsay knowing he likes to yell and they ask him to call them an Idiot Sandwich and he does, that's consent. Those people know what they're going to get, they ask for it, and they wanted it. In contrast, when women dated former New York AG Eric Schneiderman and he randomly punched them in the face, that's not consent. They went into the situation expecting one thing, and he delivered something completely different (and violent) without asking or receiving permission. 

With the main concept of consent in mind, let's talk about other BDSM basics. 

What does BDSM Stand for?
Sexual beings are either vanilla or into BDSM. Vanilla is a term used in the community to describe regular sex, which most people are into. Intercourse, oral sex, and anal sex can be a lot of fun and done in different positions and locations, but that doesn't make it kinky necessarily. 

What makes sex kinky is when people take it to another level. People who engage in BDSM tend to find vanilla sex boring. BDSM players enjoy exploiting power dynamics, with the principle that in a relationship no person is actually equal. One is in charge and the other follows, and in BDSM, these roles are explicitly defined.

BDSM stands for bondage and discipline, Dominance and submission, and sadism and masochism. These roles often intertwine but also may not. For instance, sometimes bondage and discipline can mingle with sadism and masochism, but Dominance and submission does not always require restraints or bondage. 
  • Bondage and discipline: If you think of the Red Room in 50 Shades of Grey, that's an example of what goes on in bondage and discipline. People who like this type of play may wear leather or latex; own whips, ropes, or masks; and may have their own sex dungeons. Bondage and discipline acts can inflict pain, but pain is not the primary purpose. Bondage and discipline acts such as tying someone up or flogging them are done for restraining and training, and the turn-on is the idea of controlling someone or submitting to them. 
  • Dominance and submission: Dominance and submission is where one person leads the relationship while his or her bottom follows. D/s does not always include pain. It's main focus is the power dynamic. For instance, in a female-led relationship, a man willingly agrees to do whatever his Domme asks for him. For this type of submissive man, he enjoys serving a strong woman and letting her take the lead, and that's how he receives pleasure. 
  • Sadism and masochism: A sadist enjoys inflicting pain and the masochist enjoys receiving it. Pain can either be physical and can be as light as a slap or as intense as drawing blood. Pain can also be emotional in the form of humiliation or even blackmail. An example of sadism/masochism include splaying with knives, needles, or consensual emotional abuse. It's often tied into bondage and discipline. 
How can one start a BDSM relationship? 
50 Shades of Grey gets some slack from people in the community because Christian Grey stalked Anastasia Steele until she gave into his lifestyle, and this concept gives the false idea that it's ok to coerce someone into a BDSM relationship. And since consent is the number one tenet in the BDSM world, it is not ok to manipulate or force someone into doing anything sexual, especially if those acts involve any type of emotional or physical harm. After all, there are some things such as name-calling or violence that are sexy when requested but terrifying or offensive when sprung out of the blue. And BDSM should be fun, not something that makes you or your partner feel bad or gross. 

So if you are interested in exploring kink, you can go onto specific kink websites such as FetLife to make friends, or you can search for BDSM dates on the app Kinkd. On mainstream dating apps, BDSM people have good luck on Okcupid when they explicitly state on their profiles what they are looking for and what roles they like. 

If you want to learn more about the lifestyle in person, some professional dungeons offer classes or you can book sessions with pro-Dominants or Dominatrixes. For instance, if you are in Los Angeles, I recommend checking out the Den of Inequity which is owned by Mistress Tara Indiana. 

Remember, it's important to be upfront with what you like and want. Don't wait until after you go on a few vanilla dates and end up back at someone's apartment to reveal that you like acting like a dog or want to kick someone in the balls. That'll more likely just end up in awkwardness for you and your date, and you're not going to get what you want. So stop wasting time! 

Lastly, I strongly advise people looking for BDSM play partners to never approach people at work or school. I'll go into sexual harassment more in other posts, but basically, power dynamics already exist in those environments and adding a sexual element complicates things and blurs the line of consent.