More people are catching gonorrhea in England and Wales than ever before, official figures have revealed.
There were 70,936 cases of the sexually transmitted infection last year, the highest number since records began in 1918. It marks a 26% increase
from 2018 and 71% jump from levels seen in 2015, according to Public Health England.
Health bosses said the spike is largely being driven by gay and bisexual men, but diagnoses have also risen among women and straight males.
blamed increasing infections on budget cuts to sexual health clinics across the country, as well as online dating apps. Apps such as Tinder, Grindr and Bumble make it relatively easy for people to meet new sexual partners, meet them quickly and move onto
someone else. This could increase the risk of catching STIs by allowing a quick turnover of partners and make people less likely to contact past partners if they're diagnosed.
Clinics dealing with restricted budgets are rather short sightedly
restricting their opening hours and, therefore, the number of patients they see. This leaves some unable to get tested or treated when they need it, leaving them at risk of infecting others while they wait for an appointment with a doctor.
Vibrators today go hand in hand with masturbation and female sexuality. Yet for American housewives in the 1930s, the vibrator looked like any other household appliance: a nonsexual new electric technology that could run on the same universal motor as
their kitchen mixers and vacuum cleaners. Before small motors became cheap to produce, manufacturers sold a single motor base with separate attachments for a range of household activities, from sanding wood to drying hair, or healing the body with
In my research on the medical history of electricity, vibrators appear alongside galvanic battery belts and quack electrotherapies as one of many quirky home cures of the early 20th century. The first
electro-mechanical vibrator was a device called a percuteur invented by British physician Joseph Mortimer Granville in the late 1870s or early 1880s. Granville thought that vibration powered the human nervous system, and he developed the percuteur as a
medical device for stimulating ailing nerves.
Current medical opinion held that hysteria was a nervous disease, yet Granville refused to treat female patients , simply because I do not want to be hoodwinked... by the vagaries of
the hysterical state. The vibrator began as a therapy for men only. It then quickly left the sphere of mainstream medical practice.
By the early 20th century, manufacturers were selling vibrators as ordinary electric household
appliances. The merits of electricity in the home were not as obvious then as they are today: Electricity was dangerous and expensive, but it promised excitement and modernity . Electric commodities, like sewing and washing machines, became the hallmarks
of the rising middle class.
Vibrators were another shiny new technology, used to sell consumers on the prospect of modern electric living. Just as banks handed out free toasters for opening checking accounts in the 1960s, in the
1940s the Rural Electrification Administration distributed free vibrators to encourage farmers to electrify their homes. These modern electric devices were not thought of as sex toys.
In what may sound surprising to 21st-century
readers, these appliances promised relief of a nonsexual variety. Users of all ages vibrated just about every body part, without sexual intent.
Vibrators made housework easier by soothing the pains of tired housewives, calming the
cries of sick children and invigorating the bodies of modern working men. They were applied to tired backs and sore feet, but also the throat, to cure laryngitis; the nose, to relieve sinus pressure; and everything in between. Vibration promised to calm
the stomachs of colicky babies, and to stimulate hair growth in balding men. It was even thought to help heal broken bones.
A 1910 advertisement in the New York Tribune declared that Vibration Banishes Disease As the Sun Banishes
Mist. In 1912, the Hamilton Beach New-Life vibrator came with a 300-page instructional guide titled Health and How to Get It, offering a cure for everything from obesity and appendicitis to tuberculosis and vertigo. As such advertisements suggest,
vibrators were not standard medical treatments, but medical quackery, alternative medicine that didn't deliver on their promises. Yet the electrical cure-alls sold by the millions
In 1915, the Journal of the American Medical
Association wrote that the vibrator business is a delusion and a snare . If it has any effect it is psychology. The business was dangerous not because it was obscene, but because it was bad medicine. The potential, acknowledged by doctors, for the
vibrator to be used in masturbation was just further evidence of its quackery.
Sex toy scholar Hallie Lieberman points out that nearly every vibrator company in the early 20th century offered phallic attachments that would have
been considered obscene if sold as dildos. Presented instead as rectal or vaginal dilators, these devices were supposed to cure hemorrhoids, constipation, vaginitis, cervicitis and other illnesses localized to the genitals and the anus. Hamilton Beach,
for example, offered a special rectal applicator for an additional cost of $1.50, and recommended its use in the treatment of Impotence, Piles--Hemorrhoids and Rectal Diseases.
The two most prominent scholars of vibrator history,
Rachel Maines and Hallie Lieberman, argue that vibrators were always secretly sexual, but I disagree. Vibrators were popular medical devices. One of many medical uses of the vibrator was to cure diseases of sexual dysfunction. And this use was a selling
point, not a secret, during an era of anti-masturbatory rhetoric.
Masturbation was thought to cause diseases like impotence in men and hysteria in women. Masturbatory illness was a pretty standard idea in the early 20th century.
One of its surviving formulations is the idea that masturbating will make you go blind.
There's no way to really know how people were using vibrators. But the evidence suggests that they signified medical treatment, not sinful
masturbation, regardless of the use. Even if users were doing physical actions that people today think of as masturbation, they didn't understand themselves to be masturbating, and therefore they weren't masturbating.
For most of
the 20th century, vibrators remained innocuous quackery. Good Housekeeping even bestowed its seal of approval on some models in the 1950s . When the sexual revolution hit America in the 1960s, vibrators were largely forgotten, outdated appliances.
In the 1970s radical feminists transformed the vibrator from a relic of bygone domesticity to a tool of female sexual liberation. At Betty Dodson's bodysex workshops , electric vibrations changed feelings of guilt about masturbation
to feelings of celebration so that masturbation became an act of self-love . She and her sisters embraced vibrators as a political technology that could convert frigid anorgasmic housewives into powerful sexual beings capable both of having multiple
orgasms and destroying the patriarchy. This masturbatory revolt erased the vibrator's fading reputation as a cure for masturbatory illness and replaced it with a specific, powerful, public and lasting linkage between the vibrator and female masturbatory
New Zealand's Classification Office has released new research into New Zealand youth and pornography as the nation's lockdown sees our young people spend more time online than usual.
David Shanks said the new qualitative research report Growing up with porn - Insights from young New Zealanders provided useful findings that were even more relevant during a lockdown.
report and the resources we are launching alongside it will support parents and whanau to help their children and teens during the lockdown," David Shanks said.
The report, based on in-depth
interviews with more than 50 diverse young people from across the country, is the culmination of three years' work for the Classification Office. It follows the nationally representative survey NZ Youth and Porn (2018) and an analysis of the
content of mainstream porn -- Breaking Down Porn (2019).
David Shanks said:
"It will be a surprise to no one that young people use porn for sexual arousal,
but it may be news for some that they also commonly use it to learn about sex, sexuality and gender - even when they know it presents an unrealistic and at times unhealthy view of all those things,"
young people told us that when it came to porn, issues around consent, body image, gender and sex education were what mattered most to them. They were less concerned about issues that are often raised like addiction or aggression."
Key findings were:
Porn is normalised for young people, whether they watch it or not.
Young people are curious about sex and porn is a default learning tool.
porn too, for similar reasons as boys, but see a double standard.
Porn can have a negative impact on body image/confidence.
They think it can negatively influence sex.
Young people and adults are not talking about porn.
Young people want comprehensive sexuality education which includes information about porn.
Young people had varying views about filters or age verification, but agreed that children shouldn't have access to porn.
David Shanks said:
"The clear takeaway from this research is that young people need the adult in their lives to be able to talk with them, rather than take a blanket
negative approach to the topic. Extreme negative attitudes makes it harder to have open conversations about their concerns, and contributes to feelings of guilt, shame and anxiety around porn use,"
online access has, to a certain extent, 'normalised' porn for our young people - regardless of whether or not they watch it, it's a part of their world. Despite their diverse backgrounds and beliefs, participants overwhelmingly supported more and better
education about porn within a context of comprehensive sexuality education.
"Young people are saying that good, clear and honest discussion and education will provide them with a counter-balance for the stories
around sex and consent that porn is telling them.
"They've shown us the way forward, when it comes to equipping them with the twenty first century life skills necessary for navigating their digital lives,
healthily and safely. It's up to us to listen, and to act on it."
A new British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) study has found that British teenagers regularly watch porn, and that parents are unaware or in denial about it. Surprising? No. But the results do reveal something interesting about how readily we
accept so many misconceptions about porn.
As media reports on the study indicates, young people are watching porn without their parents knowing. My own research found that young people chose to watch porn and found ways around
their parents' strategies to stop them. The problems they encountered related to their parents' punishments and not their porn consumption.
The theory of why porn is harmful is that consumers will start to adopt troubling aspects
of it in their attitudes and behaviours. But that's a limited and simplistic perspective of how people watch porn. It is a monkey see, monkey do theory of consumption where people are passive consumers of a script that they entirely accept and then act
out themselves. It is far easier to blame porn for young people's sexual interests than to recognize that young people are interested in sex.
We are now almost inundated with research that counters the harmful porn narrative.
Research is also now focusing on the potential benefits of watching porn. Just as the BBFC study reportedly finds young people watching porn as a form of sex education, research documents several educational benefits for young people: helping them
understand their sexual identities, explore sexual fantasies in a safe environment, and educate themselves about sexual health.