Tag Archives: sex

‘Love’ hormone oxytocin regulates female sexual behavior, study suggests


Previous research shows that the hormone oxytocin stimulates social behavior in humans, but a study published Thursday in the journal Cell suggests the hormone plays an especially strong role in regulating female sexual behavior.

Scientists at The Rockefeller University in New York City genetically modified female mice so that they no longer had an oxytocin response in the prefrontal cortex. As a result, the females no longer approached male mice for mating during the sexually receptive stage of their estrous cycle. In fact, with reduced oxytocin, the female mice showed about as much interest in males as they did in a LEGO block.

The researchers manipulated only a small amount of the neurons— less than 1 percent in the prefrontal cortex, an area known to trigger behavior in mammals, lead author Miho Nakajima, a graduate student at The Rockefeller University, told FoxNews.com.

Senior study author Nathaniel Heintz, a James and Marilyn Simons professor at The Rockefeller University, said the female mice were still interested in males and other females when oxytocin was reduced, but they didn’t show sexual interest.

“When [female] mice are sexually active, this small population [of neurons] is required for female mice to show interest in the male mice,” Heintz, an investigator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute, told FoxNews.com.

Researchers found that the change in interest among the male mice was less pronounced than the females’ response when researchers manipulated their oxytocin levels.

“There’s a functional difference in how male mice and female mice responded,” Heintz said.

Past research has shown that oxytocin plays a strong role in partner and mother-child bonding.

A study previously published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology showed that oxytocin levels skyrocket when people fall in love, and that a higher amount of oxytocin is correlated with longer relationships. Another study, in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, suggested that oxytocin improved communication and lowered cortisol, a stress hormone, in both men and women. Many scientists have consequently nicknamed oxytocin the “love” or “pro-social” hormone.

The study authors said further research should explore what oxytocin does at a molecular level, and which brain areas and what types of cells respond to the hormone. Their study explores how oxytocin behaves in just one context.

Other studies have examined whether oxytocin levels can be modified to enhance the social behaviors of people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The mental condition impacts 1 in 68 children, and its hallmark is impaired social interaction.

Heintz said his team’s findings could help advance treatment development for ASD.

A study published last year in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggested that a single dose of oxytocin can increase brain functions responsible for social interaction in children and adolescents with autism. In their research, Yale University scientists found that brain centers associated with reward and emotional cognition responded more during social tasks when the study participants were giving an oxytocin nasal spray rather than a placebo nasal spray.

“Each study gives us more insight into how this [oxytocin] might be acting in humans,” Heintz said.

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Switzerland to experiment with drive-in ‘sex boxes’

In general, while I disapprove of prostitution, gambling, drugs, etc., I am for the freedom for people to do what they want without restriction if they do not harm others.  My libertarianism is challenged though by two things in the following article:  1) the government paying for drive-up brothels is ridiculous; and 2)  the story just kind of revolts me to think about it, especially the age of 16 being ok for hookers.  What do you think?  Is the world just going to hell in a hand basket, or is this a good idea?

Switzerland to experiment with drive-in ‘sex boxes’

Published August 26, 2013

Associated Press
  • Switzerland Sex Boxes_Cham.jpg

    August 24, 2013: A poster hangs in an open, wooden, garage-style “sex box” in Zurich, Switzerland. Prostitutes will be concentrated in a small city park built for more than USD $2 million in the Altstetten area of Zurich. (AP Photo)

ZURICH –  No car, no sex.

That’s the rule for an experiment Zurich is launching Monday to make prostitution less of a public nuisance and safer for women.

Switzerland has long been famous for its mountaineering, chocolate and precision watches, but a lesser known aspect is its legal prostitution since 1942, for which its largest city is one of the main centers in Europe.

Fashionably teak-colored open wooden garages, popularly called “sex boxes” by the Swiss media, will be open for business for drive-in customers. The several dozen sex workers who are expected to make it their new hub will stand along a short road in a small, circular park for clients to choose from and negotiate with. The park was built in a former industrial area nestled between a rail yard and the fence along a major highway.

The publicly funded facilities — open all night and located away from the city center — include bathrooms, lockers, small cafe tables and a laundry and shower. Men won’t have to worry about video surveillance cameras, but the sex workers — who will need a permit and pay a small tax — will be provided with a panic button and on-site social workers trained to look after them.

As far as Daniel Hartmann, a Zurich lawyer, is concerned, it’s a win-win situation.

“Safety for the prostitutes. At least it’s a certain kind of a shelter for them. They can do their business, and I respect them,” he said. “They do a great job, and they have better working conditions here.  … They’re not exposed to the bosses, to the pimps, in here.”

On Saturday, Hartmann was one of several hundred residents, including many women and a small throng of journalists, who flocked to the only “open house” that Zurich will offer to give the public a better idea of how its taxpayer money has been used.

Most of the visitors said they came out of curiosity and haven’t really come to terms with the idea, but hope it will at least improve safety. Others were amazed and a bit amused that a whole group of strangers would spend a rainy afternoon openly discussing professional sex.

Brigitta Hanselmann, a retired special needs schoolteacher from Embrach, Switzerland, said:  “I have to think about it for a long time, because it’s so incredible that a city offers that to the men, and it’s interesting that there are many, many women here who are looking at it.” She called the sex boxes “an effort to control a thing that you can’t really control.”

Voters in Zurich approved spending up to $2.6 million on the project last year as a way of relocating the sex traffic away from a busy downtown area where it had become a public nuisance and safety concern due to lack of sanitation, aggressive men, and associated drugs and violence. The city, which only allows prostitution in certain areas, also plans to spend $760,000 a year to keep the sex boxes running.

Jean-Marc Hensch, a business executive who heads a neighborhood association in another part of Zurich, said he hopes the sex boxes succeed because otherwise the prostitutes might return to his area. He also cited the disgusting lack of sanitation in other city areas where prostitutes and their clients defecate and urinate in the streets and gardens, or have sex in the open because they have nowhere else to go.

“It’s an experiment,” he said. “It was absolutely urgent to find a solution.”

The drive-in garages, or sheds, have no doors to shut and come equipped with an emergency call button on the passenger side of the structure that sets off a flashing light and a loud alarm inside an adjacent office building where the city will post social workers specially trained to provide a measure of security. The Zurich police say they will beef up patrols around the perimeter to protect the sex workers when they leave and enter.

Modeled after the drive-in brothels used in several cities in Germany and the Netherlands, which have had mixed success improving safety, the sex boxes will be open daily from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. The city painted the outdoor bathrooms in soft pink and blue, strung colorful light bulbs among the trees and posted creative signs encouraging the use of condoms to spruce the place up a little and make it seem more pleasant.

“We built the place to be secure for the sex workers. It also had to be discreet for the sex workers and the clientele,” said Michael Herzig of Zurich’s social welfare department. “But we thought if we build the place, we can also make it look good.”

Along with improving safety for prostitutes, the sex boxes are seen as a way to curb illegal trafficking among crime syndicates. Prostitution, escorts and massage parlors are a thriving business in a nation with wealthy and international clientele and tourists.

Zurich requires that street sex workers register with city and health authorities, and it offers health checks and requires that sex workers be at least 18 years old, in keeping with a Council of Europe convention on protecting children from exploitation and abuse.

In Switzerland, anyone who works in the sex trade must be at least 16, the legal age of sexual maturity. The income is taxed and subject to social insurance like any other economic activity.

But some cities have their own rules and some of the 26 Swiss cantons (states) have adopted separate legislation on prostitution. A special unit of the cantonal police force, usually the vice squad, carries out inspections of prostitutes in red light areas.

No video surveillance was installed at the sex boxes, so as not to scare off business, but also because police and city officials concluded after studying the handful of other such facilities in Europe that the only thing that would improve safety is an on-site security presence. To use the place, sex workers also must obtain a special permit, at a cost of $43 a year, and pay $5.40 a night in taxes, which helps the city offset maintenance costs.

“We can’t solve the whole problem of exploitation and human trafficking,” said Herzig, “but at least we want to reduce the harm, especially the violence.”

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/08/26/switzerland-to-experiment-with-drive-in-sex-boxes/?intcmp=obnetwork#ixzz2dxBgfOEZ


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The Current Realities of Space Travel

Would you go boldly where no one had gone before knowing you would return weak, arthritic and blind?  The disadvantages of space travel have not been well publicized while the herocism, blast offs and cobalt ball views of Earth are shown over and over.  The unfortunate truth is that time in space and zero gravity is increasingly known to cause severe health issues.  This is not to say they won’t be able to come up with new ways to counteract these problems, but for now, think about them before plopping down the millions to take a trip to the moon.

Blindness – The most recent released report from The University of Texas Medical School in Houston is based on scanning the eyes and brains of 27 astronauts who had spent an average of 108 days in space, either on space shuttle missions or aboard the International Space Station.  They found that those who spent more than a month in space were more likely to suffer from intracranial hypertension — a potentially serious condition that occurs when pressure builds within the skull.

The symptoms included excess cerebral-spinal fluid around the optic nerve in 33 percent of the astronauts studied, while a fifth showed a flattening of the back of the eyeball, which affects the ability to focus, research published in the Journal of Radiology showed.

The scans also showed that 15 percent of the astronauts had a bulging optic nerve and 11 percent experienced changes to the pituitary gland, which is located between the optic nerves and secretes and stores hormones that regulate a variety of important body functions.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2012/03/13/space-travel-may-damage-eyesight-brain-study-shows/?intcmp=features#ixzz1qYgbPmT0

So, with extended time in space, you will go blind and likely suffer other brain and neurological issues.  This is in addition to the well known loss of bone density and muscles in weightless conditions and the much less known difficulty in performing sex with a partner in a weightless environment.

Bone loss – Spaceflight osteopenia refers to the characteristic bone loss that occurs during spaceflight. Astronauts lose an average of more than 1% bone mass per month spent in space. There is concern that during long duration flights, excessive bone loss and the associated increase in serum calcium ion levels will interfere with execution of mission tasks and result in irreversible skeletal damage.  This was found as early as the Gemini flight.

Muscle loss – Dr. Per Tesch, associate professor in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden said results from a study conducted on muscle atrophy in space over a 17-day period showed a constant drop in muscle mass at the rate of 2 percent loss per week.  Results indicated that women are generally more susceptible to muscle loss in space than men, though both genders are substantially affected.

Sex and Birth – ‘Giving birth in zero gravity is going to be hell because gravity helps you,’ said biologist Athena Andreadis of the University of Massachussetts, ‘You rely on the weight of the baby. Sex is very difficult in zero gravity, because you have no traction and you keep bumping against the walls.’

Other researchers speculated that living in zero gravity could harm children or prevent conception. What is known is that even months spent in environments such as the International Space Station can be incredibly damaging for the human body. Long periods away from Earth’s gravity result in damage not only to muscles, but to our skeletons.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2044749/Sex-space-The-survival-human-race-depend-it.html#ixzz1qYibMGwl

So, do you still want to be an early space pioneer knowing you will end up a blind monk on crutches?  Something to think about.


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