Have a Sexy Halloween

When I was young, Halloween was a holiday for the young. The adult role in Halloween seemed limited to staying at home and giving out candy.  And limited candy intake later in the evening.

Well, times have changed.  These days Halloween is every bit as much for adults as it is for kids…. perhaps more so.  And it’s a sexy holiday.  It seems everyone is going to an adult halloween party and, as often as not, the costumes are of the sexy variety.  At a couple local swing clubs, Halloween is (by far) the biggest night of the year. And at least 3 local hotels have takeover party for [very] adult-themed Halloween parties.

So what’s to be thought of the ‘adultification’ of Halloween.  Personally, I couldn’t be happier.  It is wonderful to see so many otherwise buttoned-down, uptight parents and other adults letting it all hang loose of the evening.  A neighbour of ours – a pretty darn conservative parent 364 days a year – was looking fantastic last night in her naughty nurse outfit.  She didn’t do anything crazy… but for one night she let her sexy side show. And it was great to see.  It made me like her more.

So… what are everyone’s sexy Halloween plans?

News Flash – Happily Married Women Have More Sex

I read an interesting article recently on Huffington Post comparing the number of times women in happy marriage have sex with the number of times that women in unhappy marriages have sex.  Not surprisingly, those in happy marriages have sex much more frequently than those in unhappy marriages — 11 times a month versus 4 times a month.

I suppose this is not surprising. Of course happy marriages breed more sex than unhappy marriages. The numbers did surprise me a little. I am surprised that those who consider their marriages unhappy still have sex four times a month.  I would have thought the number would be lower.  Once a week seems pretty high if you are unhappy with your husband.

The numbers for happily married couples – 11 times a month – seem more in line with my expectations. This works out to 2-3 times per week; or 3-4 times a week for those who do not have sex during the week of their period.  For a happy couple with a busy life, this feels about right.

No big point or relegation here… just an interesting stat to share.

Boys Will Be Boys

What do guys do when they get together? I ask this sincerely. This weekend I am getting together with some old college friends for an annual ‘boys weekend’.

And I’m at a bit of a loss. What do 5 rapidly approaching middle-aged guys do when they get together for a weekend?

Last time we got together, it was uninspired to say the least — too much drinking too early in the day; too many strip clubs; too much poker. While all of those things are fine – great even – in moderation, too much felt forced and overly long.

I’ve been thinking about what we should plan for our weekend. Here are my thoughts (advice welcomed):

  • Do something active during the day. The days can get a little long when you’re hanging out with people you only see once a year. Building in something active can help. We’re thinking of biking, rock climbing, a brewery tour or paintball.
  • Plan something to get going in the morning. I’m not a big fan of hanging out doing nothing in the morning. And its tougher when there are six guys on their own schedules. My plan is to get up at a reasonable time, hit a coffee shop and do a little writing.   I can’t handle a whole weekend of guy time.
  • For the drinking, eating and such
    • Know the group limits. Within my group of friends, there are large discrepancies in income and morals. A couple of my friends can afford really nice stuff and like to indulge (if you know what I mean). A couple others have considerably less money and considerably stricter moral standards. It will take some careful planning and compromise to keep everyone happy.
    • Conscious of the above, plan good restaurants and a couple of good bar. There is nothing more painful than wandering around in an unfamiliar city, trying to negotiate restaurants and bars that are acceptable to everyone. We have planned one very nice steakhouse and I think we’ll do the other meal at a more modest place… but still interesting. For bars, we’ll stay mid-range but comfortable. For both meals and drinks, those of us with a little more money can kick in extra.
    • I guess we need some good strip clubs. I’m not sure how to navigate this one. Two guys will really want to go to strip clubs, three will be indifferent (me included) and one will be very opposed.
    • Find a nice hotel. We’re staying at a really nice place with a great lounge
  • Plan some interesting conversation. As geeky as it sounds, I have planned a series of discussion questions in case things seem a little flat.

Is a Porn Renaissance Possible?

What can porn producers learn from a small Canadian boutique airline have in common? A lot… but they better learn it quickly.

Have you ever flown on Porter Airlines? Probably not – it’s a small Canadian airline catering to business travellers. Bucking a trend of cutting costs and services in the airline industry, Porter launched a few years ago as a refined flying experience.

At a time when most airlines we cutting their extras, Porter believed there was a niche for an airline that would recreate the airline experience you used to get in the old days of flying. Fly Porter and you get comfy leather seats, meals, and free alcohol and friendly, professional stewards and stewardesses. As you wait for your flight, everyone gets access to their lounge, with free snacks, soft drinks and an espresso bar.

And it worked. Porter has grown rapidly since its launch and is highly profitable for its owners.

So.. the lesson for porn? In an age of ubiquitous free porn, porn producers have two possible models:

  • Keep cutting costs and production value and try to compete with cheap, amateur porn. Spoiler alert – you can’t compete, because the competition is free.
  • Provide a product that is worth paying for

Porter Airlines shows us that people will pay for a superior product… if it is truly superior. Porn producers need to get back to some of the ethics that guided the golden age of porn

  • movies with plots
  • high production value
  • varied and interesting sex scenes

There are those of us who are willing to pay for a refined experience… even refined porn.

Why Was Porn Better in the 70s?

There are some things you simply cannot rush. A good meal, a finely aged bottle of wine…. and a good prono.

I’ve been experimenting a bit lately with 1970s versus 21st century porn and I’m finding our current vintage a bit wanting. Despite the bad production quality and awful acting, there is something about 70s porn that really appeals to me.

A few thoughts:

  1. It felt like the producers of 70s porn were really trying. Even the worst acted pornos in the 70s seemed to try to incorporate a plot line. As cheesy as the stories were, at least they tried to have a story.
  2. The sex was varied. In modern porn (even the good stuff) there is a formula – strip, oral, 2-3 positions, money shot…. Every time. In 70s porn, you never know quite what you’re going to get. There may be ejaculation there may not be. There may be oral… there may only be oral. The scene may last 10 minutes… or 2. I like that.
  3. The actors seemed like they were trying too. They may have been awful actors in 70s porn, but they gave it all they had. They memorized dialogue, they kissed passionately (even when it was Ron Jeremy they were kissing. And they acted surprised when the pizza delivery guy had his penis sticking through the pizza box.

Ubiquitous free internet porn is making it tough for porn producers these days. They can continue their slide to oblivion or they can lead a renaissance. Lets hope they bring the 70s back.

Globalized Free Trade and Threats to Sovereignty

Alert – Policy Wonk Post

Canada and the US have recently signed onto the Trans Pacific Partnership – a massive agreement to liberalize trade between North America and Asia. For the political right and economists, it represents the next big step in globalized free trade and all the economic efficiency that comes with it. For the lefties, it is a further infringement on national sovereignty and another barrier to strong domestic environmental and workers rights.

So… who’s correct? Well, the truth is that they both are… and they’re both wrong. We’re now 30 years into the great trade liberalization experiment. We have GATT, WTO, NAFTA. And we have some facts upon which to judge free trade:

  • Free Trade has generated wealth – there can be no doubt that, globally, freer trade has increased global wealth. Developing countries got access to markets that were previously inaccessible to them, and their low wages and low production costs allowed for business opportunities and jobs to open up. Yes… the rich got a disproportionate share and the jobs were often crappy… but there were jobs and wealth created. And by any objective measure, the average global citizen is financially better off.
  • Free Trade has infringed on sovereignty – It is impossible to credibly argue that individual countries not have forfeited bits of their sovereignty by entering free trade agreements. The very act of agreeing not to impose domestic trade barriers is a weakening of sovereignty. Further, by opening your economy to foreign imports you are certainly creating major barrier to domestic environmental standards, higher domestic wages and workers rights. Sure you can do these things (protect the environment and worker, but it will cost you… ergo your sovereign decision is subject to consequences by others).

But this polemic is missing the point. Giving up sovereignty can be a good and necessary thing. Lefties are all over it when it comes to global agreements on climate change or banning land mines. Similarly, creating global wealth is not always a good thing; not when it exacerbates inequality and diminishes welfare at the expense of wealth.

So lets step back, put aside our left and right tendencies, and discuss what we can all agree on:

  1. We need global approaches to address global issues. Some of our most prickly problems – climate change and combatting terrorism chief among them – require global solution. And they require nations to let go of bits of their sovereignty in order to manage within this global commons. So lets cut the knee jerk opposition to globalization. We’ve, quite literally, outgrown it.
  2. We need a more equal economic growth model. The rich are benefitting disproportionately to their contribution to the creation of new wealth. Adam Smith, the trickle down and free market economists and Ronald Regan got it right that we need private incentives for the creation of wealth, jobs and stuff. And capitalism has done an admirable job at creating the incentives for the owners of production (the rich) to make stuff, jobs and money. But come on. Do they really need to keep so much of it. Won’t a hedge fund manager feel equally incentivized if he makes $400 million instead of a billion. And that extra $600 million could be spread around to do a lot of good… and the hedge fund guy would hardly miss it.

These two simple ideas could change the world. Pull back on opposition to globalization of trade in return for more equal wealth distribution. How do you do it:

  • Expand power of the United Nations (and everyone pay their dues) and redistribute power to acknowledge role of larger countries;
  • Support a legally binding climate change agreement in Paris this December with internationally enforceable penalties for non compliance;
  • Impose a small tax on international financial transactions and use proceeds to economic development in less developed countries
  • Cease and desist on opposition to global free trade agreements.
  • Negotiate scalable international minimum wage and social services standards.

This is an audacious idea whose time has come.

The New Monogamy

Sexting, unlimited online porn, Ashley Madison, snap chat… The opportunities for sexual exploration seem limitless these days.

What’s a couple in a committed, ‘monogamous’ relationship to do?

Firstly lets accept the legitimacy of monogamy.  As a society, we are increasingly realizing that monogamy is not for everyone and that non-monogamy is a perfectly legitimate relationship mode.  I certainly feel that way, but I also firmly believe that there are many people for whom an exclusive, monogamous commitment is the right relationship model.

So for them – the monogamists – the rules of this brave new sexual world must seem pretty grey.  So enter the ‘new monogamy’. Even the monogamists are recognizing that hard and fast rules around sexual exclusivity are a little tough to nail down.   Fidelity expert Alexandra Katehakis, in a recent interview with Psychology Today, makes an excellent point that monogamy is really about having integrity in your relationship and about being honest with your partner.  And in our sexualized world, it probably means having some discussions and an understanding of what is permissible in your monogamy.  Some issues to explore:

  • porn – can I, can I? For many this is a no brainer. Personally, I could never consider my partner’s porn predilections to be an infidelity or outside the rules of my relationship. But some do. Before you settle down with a bottle of lube and your laptop, it is good to know where your partner stands on porn. Many people have perfectly legitimate reasons to feel threatened, or insecure, about the relationship you may have with porn. Work it through.
  • sexting – this one is tricky. Sharing sexual thoughts and images with another person can get pretty intimate, even if you never would or could have a physical relationship with that person in real life.  To me, the reasons you sext are pretty important to discuss with your partner.  If it is just an extended form or flirting and a way to bring porn to ‘real time’… probably no big deal.  If it is filling an emotional or sexual gap you are not getting with your real life partner, maybe that’s an issue.
  • hook up websites like Ashley Madison or Tinder. The fact is that the vast, vast majority of people on these sites never hook up with anyone physically. This still does not, necessarily, make it ok if your partner is surfing tinder every night.  Like sexting, even if they are not hooking up with others, their motivation for being on these sites is important to understand (and agree to).

Monogamous relationships can be hot and healthy, but you need to navigate them well. Happy sailing.