Gang-bang buffet tables, deeply earnest 'Letters to the Editor,' ghost-writing Kierkegaard references into model bios in Barely Legal, and how a half-decade of reviewing porn eroded the thin line between the author's alter egos and self.
Sex, potential violence, and human awkardness convene on an isolated shore.
"A slight breeze brings slight relief from the heat and a taste of the saltwater lapping against the hard sand. He’s been here many times. Though he has no desire to kill a bird, he loves this place, this lonely beach at the edge of this lonely lake too shallow for boats and too lifeless to attract fishermen. He loves the sand bugs and the sharp edges of the sand grass. Especially he loves the deep shade beneath the willow trees, and the sound of the cicadas’ music in the sun."
Sex and communication in experimental fragments.
"We are in your white bed full of light drinking white wine and it is dark. I balance the base of the glass on the side of my naked hip and look at the marble spa tub in the bathroom. There is a flushed gleam bouncing off the mirror, fainting exhaling ebbing back into the room and I ghost the smoke a reprise a remorse of sighing and feeling nothing but beam."
Sex in the Olympic Village.
Previously: The Longform Guide to the Olympics.
An adventure on the Beringia, a dog sled race stretching 685 miles over Russia’s frozen tundra.
On Silvio Berlusconi’s hedonism.
Berlusconi is Italy’s waning Hugh Hefner, alternately reviled and admired for his loyalty to his own appetites—except that he’s supposed to be running the country.
Inside the political battle over reproductive rights in Texas.
The pharmaceutical quest to give women a better sex life.
Gretchen Molannen was perpetually aroused. She couldn’t work or sleep.
On December 1, the day after this story was published, she killed herself.
A community says its children are being targeted by a group of pedophiles. But did widespread sexual abuse actually take place?
He was a nobody who became a porn star, a porn star who became a destitute freebaser, an addict who set up his dealer to be robbed, and finally witness to a retaliatory massacre at the house they called Wonderland.
The rise of One Direction fanfiction that imagines the band members in relationships – with each other.
An essay on Jimmy Savile, British television and child sexual abuse.
Life inside Long Island’s largest cluster of sex offenders.
On Queens’ stubbornly unchanging Roosevelt Avenue, where immigrants pay $2 a song to grind against hired dancers and shuttered houses of prostitution have given way to rolling brothel-vans.
How Tony Galeota went from mobbed-up teen on Long Island to legendary strip club manager in Miami to distraught prisoner in a Panamanian jail.
A torrid phone sex affair begins with a random call in a motel and ends a year later with a face-to-face meeting.
“If you think cam girls—those flirty naked characters that plague porn site pop-up ads—are raking in easy money, you’re right. If you think cam girls are bleakly stripping online out of desperation, you’re also right.”
On the 1,600-year-old text that suggests that Jesus, long believed to be celibate, was a married man.
Sex and status disclosure in the age of Grindr and undetectable HIV-levels.
How Cosmo, with 64 international editions and a readership that would make it the world’s 16th largest country, conquered the globe.
A survey of sex on a Saturday night in New York City.
The author interviews her mother about life as a secretary at Playboy in 1960s New York City.
On the Boston mobster’s exes.
I am gay. I am Mormon. I am married to a woman. I am happy every single day. My life is filled with joy. I have a wonderful sex life. And I’ve been married for ten years, and plan to be married for decades more to come to the woman of my dreams.
A former sex worker interviews a longtime John on how it feels to pay for it.
The anatomy of a sex abuse scandal at a Christian school in Oklahoma.
Ostensibly straight black men who have sex with other men.
How one company is rethinking the business of sex toys.
On having sex with your high school girlfriend – and paying the price for years to come.
Iran’s sex-obsessed old guard reacts to a state where “the majority of the population is young.… Young people by nature are horny. Because they are horny, they like to watch satellite channels where there are films or programs they can jerk off to.… We have to do something about satellite television to keep society free from this horny jerk-off situation.”
How a scandal involving sex, money and a Wiccan coven brought down yogi John Friend.
A profile Hunter Moore, the founder of the controversial revenge-porn site Is Anyone Up.
A profile of Candy Barr–porn star pioneer, burlesque legend, and Texas folk hero.
How the former U.N. weapon’s inspector and “loudest and most credible skeptic of the Bush administration’s contention that Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction” ended up embroiled in an Internet sex scandal involving underage girls.
The 34-year-old virgin father-of-15 at the forefront of the controversial DIY sperm donation movement.
The explosion of publishing created a much more democratic and permanent network of public communication than had ever existed before. The mass proliferation of newspapers and magazines, and a new-found fascination with the boundaries of the private and the public, combined to produce the first age of sexual celebrity.
In a dark echo of Rear Window, a wheelchair-bound hacker seizes control of hundreds of webcams, most of them aimed at young women’s beds.
The dissolution of Brooklyn softcore skin-mag Jacques and the marriage of the couple that created it.
What makes soap interesting? Why choose one brand over another? Dichter’s first contract was with the Compton Advertising Agency, to help them sell Ivory soap. Market research typically involved asking shoppers questions like “Why do you use this brand of soap?” Or, more provocatively, “Why don’t you use this brand of soap?” Regarding such lines of inquiry as useless, Dichter instead conducted a hundred so-called “depth interviews”, or open-ended conversations, about his subjects’ most recent scrubbing experiences. The approach was not unlike therapy, with Dichter mining the responses for encoded, unconscious motives and desires. In the case of soap, he found that bathing was a ritual that afforded rare moments of personal indulgence, particularly before a romantic date (“You never can tell,” explained one woman). He discerned an erotic element to bathing, observing that “one of the few occasions when the puritanical American [is] allowed to caress himself or herself [is] while applying soap.” As for why customers picked a particular brand, Dichter concluded that it wasn’t exactly the smell or price or look or feel of the soap, but all that and something else besides—that is, the gestalt or “personality” of the soap.
I first learned about cloud lovers in a police report concerning a man who received a blowjob from a young woman and went mad. The man — let's call him Carl (police reports have the names of suspects and victims redacted) — was in his 40s, and the woman, let's call her Lisa, was almost 18. The two first met in the fall of 2003 at a local TV station that was holding a contest to find the best video footage of Northwest clouds. According to the report, which was lost when I cleaned my messy desk in 2005 (I'm recalling all of this from an imperfect memory), Carl, who was married and well-to-do, fell in love with Lisa, whose family was not so well-off, upon seeing her for the first time. He had a videocassette in his hand; she had a videocassette in her hand. He showed his tape to the station's weatherman (sun, sky, clouds). She showed hers (clouds, sky, sun). During the contest, his eyes could not escape her beauty. After the contest, the impression she made on his mind intensified. That bewitching coin in the short story by Jorge Luis Borges, "The Zahir," comes to mind. If a person sees this coin only once, the memory of its image begins to more and more dominate his/her thoughts and dreams. Soon the coin becomes the mind's sole reality. Lisa's face was Carl's Zahir.
On Al Vernacchio, the best sex ed teacher in America.
Years of guilt and shame over an obsession with hardcore porn drives the Orthodox Jewish-raised author to meet the the personalities behind the darkest and most distrurbing X-rated subgenres and ask, “Do you ever feel guilty?”
The low-key swingers of sleepy Amarillo, Texas find themselves relentlessly harassed by a militant Christian group.
Neither Jon nor Ian is legally married to Jaiya. Both are allowed to see other women. But the three of them live a lifestyle that—much of the time—isn't that different from a conventional marriage.
On the rise of polyandry, in which one woman settles down with two or more men.
Love advice from a beloved aunt.
I try to call my Great Aunt Doris every day. She's ninety-years old and lives alone. I love her desperately and as she gets older, especially of late as she becomes more feeble, my love seems to be picking up velocity, overwhelming me almost, tinged as it is with panic -- I'm so afraid of losing her.
When an exclusive private school discovered a teacher was sleeping with his 17-year old student, administrators did their best to make the problem vanish.
On the marriage of Ponzi schemer Ken Starr and his fourth wife, Diane Passage, whom he met while she was dancing at a strip club.
Is the desire in teens to switch their sex a mental disorder that needs treatment?
How is Canada’s “post-AIDS” generation coping? Not that well.
[I]n some ways we are still hopelessly lost. A generation of men who could have been our mentors was decimated. The only thing we learned from observing them was to ruthlessly identify “AIDS face,” that skeletal appearance the early HIV drugs wrought on patients by wasting away their bodily tissues. But those faces grow more rare each day.
An investigation into clergy sexual abuse in Philadelphia.
On why the Anthony Weiner story makes people more uncomfortable than simple cheating, the shifting meaning of faithfulness in marriage, and the relationship ideals espoused by Dan Savage:
In Savage Love, his weekly column, he inveighs against the American obsession with strict fidelity. In its place he proposes a sensibility that we might call American Gay Male, after that community’s tolerance for pornography, fetishes and a variety of partnered arrangements, from strict monogamy to wide openness.
Inside the world of online dating:
If the dating sites had a mixer, you might find OK Cupid by the bar, muttering factoids and jokes, and Match.com in the middle of the room, conspicuously dropping everyone’s first names into his sentences. The clean-shaven gentleman on the couch, with the excellent posture, the pastel golf shirt, and that strangely chaste yet fiery look in his eye? That would be eHarmony.
On therapists who help people stay in the closet.
A profile of Arnold Schwarzenegger written during his first year in office as Governor of California:
"You know, the thing I love about Mexican women is how furry their pussies are."
The social rituals of the pansexual, bi-queer, metroflexible New York teen.
A travelogue through the contradiction-rich and predominantly Muslim Southern Thailand.
On the “world’s largest social network that you probably haven’t yet heard of” and its enigmatic founder.
An investigation into the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests in Alaska Native villages.
On being the lone male student at a women’s college.
Inside the thriving subculture of Japanese men who eschew sex and romance with real live people in favor of real relationships with 2-D characters printed on body pillows.
One part rapist, one part con-man; the story of the seemingly unconvictable Hy Doan.
The decades-long saga of Miami’s Take Once Cocktail Lounge, where you might get shot, your money will definitely be laundered, and everybody will know your name.
The man who brought together heat, yoga, monthly fees to use his methods, and raw sexuality, on allegations that he has slept with scores of his followers: “Only when they give me no choice! If they say to me, ‘Boss, you must fuck me or I will kill myself,’ then I do it! Think if I don’t! The karma!”
On existing as a girl in the boy’s club that is the world.
At the very bottom of the porn totem pole is the “mope”, a barely paid assistant who hangs around and occasionally performs. Stephen Hill was mope-ing for Ultima Studios in exchange for pocket money and a place to crash. Learning he was going to be evicted, he sharpened a prop machete.
The pecking order of All-Star Weekend sex-with-basketball-player-or-rapper hopefuls.
Brooklyn, Illinois has one of the most dense clusters of strip clubs and rubdown parlors in the entire country, drawing patrons from nearby St. Louis and its suburbs. Inside the clubs with the dancers, a strip club scholar, the mayor, and the regulars whose dollars keep the depressed local economy afloat.
Supply and demand paid-sex economics, ‘hobbyist’ internet message boards, and the power of reviews.
What has Ted Haggard, who left the New Life megachurch after admitting he purchased crystal meth and sexual favors from a male escort, been doing in the four years since? Selling insurance door to door and then… founding a new church and returning to the pulpit.
A famed attorney begins a transformation away from being a man; and dies after a companion shoves her under an oncoming train.
On a Duke student’s now infamous Powerpoint presentation of her sexual history; binge-drinking, post-feminism, and Mario Kart.
How Internet porn has altered the ways we think about, and engage in, sex.
The cop says she nabbed an online sexual predator. He says he was just willing to chat whatever it took to get laid in real life. Their story, from both perspectives.
New technology has historically been a friend to the porn industry, first VHS, then online DVD sales. But free streaming sites like YouPorn have sent the establishment into a tailspin, and due to anonymous domain registration, they don’t even know who their competition is. Will the internet kill porn?
Booker winner Howard Jacobson on the bumper crop of hooker memoirs and what they say about our understanding of paid sex.
The immersive mise en scène of a Hollister flagship store, redolent of California beach towns that don’t exist, “lazy, hygienic sexuality,” and weed.
The Great Recession’s impact on the legalized prostitution industry in Nevada: more hookers, fewer johns.
A 13 year old gets a webcam and starts doing dirty shows online, ending up running a smut business in Mexico with his deadbeat father.
Tony Judt on sex, the academy, and dating a graduate student while chairing NYU’s History Department.
Evidence of a decades-old hotel trist with a teenage intern costs a beloved Chicago columnist his job - and his identity.
What the great romantic novels of history can tell us about “seduction theory” and the cult of the pickup artist.
A Hollywood screenwriter finds out his identity’s been stolen when a hooker calls–from his private office–demanding to be paid for the sex they didn’t just have.
Inside the bleak world of Joe Francis, the man behind the “Girls Gone Wild” franchise.
The rise and fall of NAMBLA (North American Man Boy Love Association), from its 1970s founding as a splinter group within the gay rights movement to its current incarnation as the most reviled organization in America.
In 1920, Harvard University officials suspected that some students were gay. So they kicked them all out.
The author wanted to give up her day job but keep her lifestyle. So she turned to Seeking Arrangement, a site that pairs rich, older men interested in “companionship” with 20-somethings interested in “gifts.”
A 1992 Q&A with Woody Allen, conducted in the midst of the media swarm around his newly public relationship with Soon-Yi.
Step 1: awkward high school senior passes himself off as a flirtatious female student online. Step 2: he cons his male classmates into e-mailing him sexually explicit images of themselves. Step 3: extortion.
Over a scotch a few months after his underdog Jets won Super Bowl III, a 26-year-old Joe Namath told Jimmy Breslin what he’d done the night before the game: “I went out and got a bottle and grabbed this girl.”
An excerpt from Zak Smith’s We Did Porn detailing an appearance by porn star Sasha Grey on The Tyra Banks Show.
A weekend at a Christian gay-to-straight sexual reorientation retreat.
Helg Sgarbi had perfected the art of seducing, swindling, and blackmailing ultra-rich women across Europe. Fleecing a billionaire BMW heiress should have been the crowning achievement of his career.
Jillian Lauren, wife of Weezer bassist Scott Shriner, grew up middle class and now lives in a three-bedroom house in L.A. In between, she was a part of a royal harem in Brunei.
Rudy Giuliani’s crackdown on the New York City sex industry was supposed to be a cornerstone of his legacy. Then smut shops and strip clubs read the ordinance’s fine print.
Celebrity, bottle service, and Tiger Woods’ unintentional introduction of “halfway hooker” into the American lexicon.