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Study: Rise in some cancers linked to oral sex 

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There's a worrisome uptick in the incidence of certain head and neck cancers among middle-aged and even younger Americans, and some experts link the trend to a rise in the popularity of oral sex over the past few decades.

That's because the human papillomavirus (HPV) is a major trigger for these cancers, and HPV can be transmitted through this type of sexual activity.

"It seems like a pretty good link that more sexual activity, particularly oral sex, is associated with increased HPV infection," said Dr. Greg Hartig, professor of otolaryngology — head and neck surgery at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison.

According to Dr. William Lydiatt, professor and chief of head and neck surgical oncology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, the overall incidence of head and neck cancers is going down, largely because fewer people are smoking (tobacco and drinking are the major traditional risk factors).

But the incidence of cancers of the tonsil and base of the tongue have been going up over the past decades, he said. And those are the ones that are more likely to test positive for HPV.

"It's gotten to the point now where 60 to 70% of all tonsil cancers in the U.S. are HPV-related," Lydiatt said.

Although the link between HPV and these types of cancers is indisputable, the association with oral sex is strong but a little more speculative, experts say.

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Attention, Ladies: Semen is An Antidepressant

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Perhaps you're familiar with the McClintock effect, the observation that when groups of reproductive-age women live or work together (in college housing, the military, all-female workplaces, etc.), over time their menstrual periods tend to become synchronized. The accepted explanation is that the women detect each other's pheromones, subtle scents that each of us produce, and somehow these only-faintly aromatic but powerful compounds influence the women's hormones and make their menstrual periods arrive around the same time.

But at the State University of New York, two evolutionary psychologists were puzzled to discover that lesbians show no McClintock effect. Why not? Gordon Gallup and Rebecca Burch realized that the only real difference between lesbians and heterosexual women is that the latter are exposed to semen. They speculated that maybe semen chemistry has something to do with the McClintock effect. But if that were true, the vagina would have to absorb compounds in semen that affected the women's pheromones.

Semen is best known for what's not absorbed by the vagina, sperm, which swim through it on their way into the fallopian tubes where fertilization takes place. But sperm comprise only about 3 percent of semen. The rest is seminal fluid: mostly water, plus about 50 compounds: sugar (to nourish sperm), immunosuppressants (to keep women's immune systems from destroying sperm), and oddly, two female sex hormones, and many mood-elevating compounds: endorphins, estrone, prolactin, oxytocin, thyrotrpin-releasing hormone, and serotonin.

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By Michael Castleman |

Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome (PSAS), also known as Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder (PGAD), is the butt of jokes, but it’s no joke to the women who suffer this puzzling, maddening condition.

PSAS was first identified in 2001 by the late Sandra Leiblum, Ph.D., a noted sex researcher, who documented a few cases. Since then a few dozen more have been reported.

PSAS involves spontaneous, ongoing, uncontrollable genital arousal—unrelated to any feelings of sexual interest or desire. These feelings can be very intense, may persist for days or weeks, and may cause sudden, spontaneous orgasms. PSAS also causes embarrassment, shame, and feelings of desperation, even thoughts of suicide.

PSAS appears to be similar to priapism in men, which involves persistent, unwanted erections unrelated to sexual desire or arousal that may last for hours, and often require surgical deflation. Some sources call PSAS “clitoral priapism.”

PSAS is not related to hyper-sexuality, also known as nymphomania, because women who are hypersexual experience sexual desire and want sex. In PSAS, there is no desire, just persistent, uncontrollable arousal, like an itch that drives you crazy but can’t be scratched.

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Ask any credible sexologist, and you hear four words: Penis size doesn't matter. But size matters a great deal to many (most?) men. Why the disconnect? Many reasons. Are there any safe, effective ways to increase size? Yes, but they don't involve pills, potions, or surgery.

Here's why sexologists say size doesn't matter. Any size penis can provide great pleasure for the man it's attached to. An estimated 95 percent of penises are average size (3 to 5 inches flaccid, 5 to 7 inches erect). Very few are significantly larger or smaller. When women have been surveyed about what they want in a lover, they consistently mention attractiveness, kindness, caring, listening, sense of humor, and shared interests and values. Very few mention penis size. Finally, sex therapists report that women clients almost never complain about their partner's size. As a result, most sexologists say size doesn't matter.

But many (most?) men feel very differently. They've compared themselves to the huge penises they've seen in porn and have concluded: Mine's much smaller. They've received countless junk emails for enlargement products. They've seen casual sex personal ads looking for men with huge ones. Men are convinced that size is key to women's pleasure and orgasm because a big one stretches the vagina more and penetrates deeper. And if you add up all the authoritative information men receive about size, it amounts to a thimbleful of water in a vast ocean of porn whose message is that hot sex is all about having a huge penis.

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Heterosexual Anal Play: Increasingly Popular

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How prevalent is heterosexual anal sex? No one knows. Anal sex has long been considered taboo--and in some quarters, still is--so people may not be honest when surveyed about it. But since the early 1980s when receptive anal intercourse was identified as a key route of HIV transmission, research into anal sex, including heterosexual anal, has increased substantially, and all credible evidence suggests that hetero-anal has become increasingly popular.

Note: Anal play includes penis-anus intercourse, anal sphincter massage, fingering, oral-anal contact (analingus), and anal insertion of objects. Here, "anal intercourse" means penis insertion, while "anal sex" or "play" means any form of anal eroticism.

Ancient Greek pottery (c. 500 B.C.) shows men engaged in homosexual anal intercourse. But the oldest known depictions of heterosexual anal appear 800 years later on Peruvian pottery (c. 300 A.D.). In Peru 1,700 years ago, hetero-anal intercourse was by no means rare. On surviving pottery depicting erotic art, one-third of it shows hetero-anal intercourse. Chinese and Japanese woodblock prints (16th to19th centuries) depict heterosexual anal intercourse fairly frequently. And ever since the invention of photography (1840) and motion pictures (1890), pornography has shown hetero-anal play.

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Everything you ever wanted to know about wild sex...

The Natural History Museum is to harness public curiosity about the almost infinite variety of carnal knowledge with an exhibition that lays out toe-curling truths about wild sex. 

Mostly, testosterone rules, and at this point the squeamish may want to look away. Not only is a male snake's tongue forked, so is his penis – in case a reluctant female tries to evade him and he misses his aim first time, he can have another go.

There is, says Tate Greenhalgh, developer of the exhibition Sexual Nature, which opens at the museum on 11 February, "sperm competition" which involves some species being extremely well endowed – the tiny blue wren bird, for instance, has testes that account for a quarter of his body weight.

The chimpanzee, given the promiscuity of his species, has developed powerful gonads to make sure any offspring is his own. "It's not just mating, it's reproducing," she said. "They are able to produce enough sperm not only to fertilise the female's eggs, but to form a barrier that prevents any other sperm from getting through. Hedgehogs do it too."

The delightfully named banana slug will bite off its own penis and leave it in the female to prevent any other slug depositing its DNA.

In the hyena world it is the female that rules, choosing her mate, guarding territory, rearing cubs and allowing the male to stay or kicking him out as she sees fit. Her genitalia have even evolved to look like the male's.

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