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What is post-SSRI Sexual Dysfunction (PSSD) and what do I need to know about it?

2023-03-19 01:23:08

What is post-SSRI Sexual Dysfunction (PSSD) and what do I need to know about it?

As I try for the hundredth time to knock one out and inevitably fail miserably, I’m forced to remember that when taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), coming can feel like an Olympic sport. Feeling sticky and ashamed (and somewhat frustrated), I’m left with no other option than to pack away my toys and lubes, roll over and try to get some kip.

According to NHS(Opens in a new tab) data, there are now nearly half a million more adults taking antidepressants than in 2021. So, know you're not alone. For many people prescribed antidepressants, they are a necessary and vital lifeline. They can be life-altering in the best way, but they can also produce side effects that are disheartening. 

Sexual dysfunction and SSRIs can go hand in hand for folks like me. In fact, it's reported that nearly 100(Opens in a new tab) percent of people who take them experience some form of sexual side effects. When I stopped taking them, my enthusiasm and wanking vigour returned quickly, but for others, it can be a vastly different story. One shrouded in unshakeable shame.

What is post-SSRI Sexual Dysfunction (PSSD) and what do I need to know about it?(图1)

SEE ALSO: How do antidepressants affect your orgasms?

What is post-SSRI sexual dysfunction, or PSSD?

Post-SSRI sexual dysfunction, or PSSD, is something felt by people when they come off of antidepressants, (the exact number of those impacted is not known because so little research is done about it, partially due to "inconsistencies" from the medical community about how to diagnose it(Opens in a new tab), but the research that does exist tells us it's prevalent).

While some people experience sexual side effects during taking SSRIs, PSSD is a condition which refers to a long-term condition impacting people who have stopped taking the medication.

Experts like professor of psychology David Healy of Bangor University, and author of the journal Antidepressants and Sexual Dysfunction: A History,(Opens in a new tab) discuss the prevalence of the condition(Opens in a new tab), stating that: "10 percent of people of sexually active years in developed countries are on antidepressants chronically. Nearly 20 percent of the population, therefore, may not be able to make love the way they want." He goes on to explain that in some deprived areas, the figure may be much higher. He also identifies that those who seek to comfort themselves with the thought of post-treatment normality, those prescribed SSRIs might be sorely disappointed, saying that; "...they may be even less able to function."

Per(Opens in a new tab) Healy's paper: "The core features of the condition are genital numbing, loss or muting of orgasm and loss of libido. But many are just as concerned by additional features like emotional numbing or derealisation." PSSD was first reported in medical literature in 2006, despite people with the syndrome reporting(Opens in a new tab) symptoms to regulators since 1999.

In almost all cases, people who suffer from PSSD have experienced some form of sexual dysfunction while taking antidepressant medication in addition to after they stop. "It's very important that people understand what it is, recognise it as soon as possible and understand the complexity of it," Alessio Rizzo, certified psychotherapist, tells Mashable. "SSRI sexual dysfunction is one of the leading reasons people stop taking antidepressant medication which can lead to worsening symptoms alongside withdrawal."

Who is most affected by PSSD?

The truth is, anyone can be affected by PSSD because anyone can be affected by sexual dysfunction.

"We know that it seems to affect every sex, and every age, every ethnicity, so it doesn't seem to be linked to any of the usual parameters that we consider," Rizzo says.

Rizzo explains that people who are more at risk of depression and anxiety, like those in the LGBTQ community, are not destined for mental illness, but may find themselves more likely to develop illnesses like depression and anxiety(Opens in a new tab). "We must be careful not to pathologise dysfunction as an LGBTQ and sexual abuse survivor only problem," he adds, "because it can stop people who do not identify with these two experiences from seeking help."

SEE ALSO: Being bisexual can impact your mental health. Here's what you can do about it.

Around 30-50 percent of people experience mild forms of sexual dysfunction(Opens in a new tab) before taking antidepressants, which means that they could find pre-existing symptoms exacerbated by medication. It could also mean that something else is causing the dysregulation of the sexual response cycle (the connection between desire and arousal, excitement, orgasm and resolution), like pain, sensitivity and past trauma. Collectively, these are known as predispositions. 

Sexual dysfunction of any kind can be a tremendously isolating experience.

This is why approaching a healing process in a holistic nature is important. While medications can help with mood stabilisation, talk therapies like CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) can help to support healing by modifying thought pathways(Opens in a new tab) (this is called neuroplasticity, and it describes altering chemically embedded behaviours in our brain). Therefore, people with pre-existing symptoms, or who are predisposed to sexual dysfunction, can get to the bottom of what’s disrupting their pleasure response cycle and confront it in a safe environment.

For many people, talking about sex is closely followed by feelings of shame. We also need to remember that there is a cultural stigma surrounding mental health and sex, making it even harder for some to talk about or admit to having a problem. A study conducted by the National Library of Medicine found that young people are especially likely to experience shame(Opens in a new tab) when discussing any form of sexual experience — let alone one that involves problems. 

As such, sexual dysfunction of any kind can be a tremendously isolating experience, leaving people grasping at straws and feeling a lot of internal turmoil. All this is made worse by the cycle of depression and anxiety slowly eating away at any form of self-esteem. 

SEE ALSO: Men need to talk about sex differently. Here's how.

SSRIs increase serotonin levels in the brain, which has a knock-on effect on the anatomical structures of our reproductive system(Opens in a new tab). Effects of this include being unable to maintain or produce an erection to vaginal dryness, ejaculation, and anorgasmia (absence of orgasm). This is, impart, because SSRIs inhibit nitric oxide production(Opens in a new tab), which greatly affects the way the body relaxes, and actively prevents blood from reaching the genitals.

PSSD is a serious condition and it causes distress. There is currently no treatment for PSSD. The syndrome is not widely understood or agreed upon by researchers as to how it comes about. It is suggested that only future research(Opens in a new tab) holds the answer and that it could lie in those who do not develop PSSD, but only time will tell if this is the case.

UPDATE: Dec. 2, 2022, 9:48 a.m. CET This post has been updated.

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    Additionally, interns need a level of tech savvy and adaptability to adjust to unfamiliar situations. Even students acclimated to a semester of remote schoolwork might not be totally comfortable in a more formal work environment.

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    Location, location, location

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    Virtual mixers

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    Keys ended with a call for students to take the moment to celebrate their accomplishments, and to take whatever hat they have and throw it in the air, to honor themselves "in the most powerful time to be coming of age."

    It's just under four minutes, but it speaks loud and clear. Mandatory viewing for students who no longer have to answer to anyone telling them something is mandatory viewing.

    While you're at it, why not spend a moment with the Schitt's Creek cast thanking your teachers. (There's a performance in it for you, don't roll your eyes.)

  • Cops and Live P.D. have now both been canceled

    Cops and Live P.D. have now both been canceled

    Looks like someone did some reevaluating.


    On Tuesday, Paramount Network announced it would no longer produce Cops, a half-hour reality series that takes camera crews on police ride-alongs and investigations. On Wednesday, A&E announced(Opens in a new tab) that Live P.D. would not be returning either.

    The news comes after the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police on May 25. Former officer Derek Chauvin, who has since been charged with second-degree murder, kneeled on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes as Floyd repeatedly said he could not breathe. Floyd was 46.

    Cops, which first premiered on Fox in 1989, ran for a total of 31 years before its cancelation, making it one of the longest standing reality programs in history. Amid national protests against police brutality and systemic racism, Paramount Network pulled the program(Opens in a new tab) from its schedule last week as A&E took similar steps with Live P.D.

    "Cops is not on the Paramount Network and we don’t have any current or future plans for it to return," a spokesperson said, per The Hollywood Reporter(Opens in a new tab). Cops had been part of the Paramount Network since 2013.

    “This is a critical time in our nation’s history and we have made the decision to cease production on Live PD,” A&E told Deadline(Opens in a new tab). “Going forward, we will determine if there is a clear pathway to tell the stories of both the community and the police officers whose role it is to serve them. And with that, we will be meeting with community and civil rights leaders as well as police departments.”

    Sources familiar with the matter told The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline that Paramount had pre-existing plans to move away from unscripted programming. However, Cops had been scheduled to debut the first episode of Season 33 on Monday. Reality shows Ink Master, Bar Rescue, Battle of the Fittest Couples, and more remain with Paramount.

    Cops has been repeatedly criticized for wrongfully glorifying police work(Opens in a new tab), as well as been accused of targeting poor people of color(Opens in a new tab), abusing the individuals being arrested(Opens in a new tab), staging crime scenes(Opens in a new tab), and supplying camera crew members(Opens in a new tab) with weapons to use in case of a violent arrest. Footage from Cops has been admitted in multiple defense cases to argue around matters of police misconduct. In 2014, Cops audio technician Bryce Dion and suspect Cortez Washington were shot and killed(Opens in a new tab) by officers during the filming of a robbery at an Omaha Wendy's.

    Live P.D. also reportedly captured, but later destroyed,(Opens in a new tab) footage of the death of a black man, Javier Ambler, in custody of Texas law enforcement in March 2019.

    UPDATE: June 11, 2020, 12:03 p.m. AEST This story has been updated to include the announcement that 'Live P.D.' will not be returning from hiatus.

  • New meme has some great ideas for what to put up instead of Christopher Columbus statues

    New meme has some great ideas for what to put up instead of Christopher Columbus statues

    It's way overdue, but America is reckoning with some of the darker parts of its history.


    As the fight to remove Confederate monuments continues, lots of folks were also wondering why the nation still displays statues of Christopher Columbus across the country. The famous explorer, after all, carried out horrific atrocities, including mass genocide of the indigenous people in the Americas.

    Still, some Italian Americans hold onto the idea that he represents something bigger, including New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who defended having a statue of the explorer in NYC on Thursday.

    "The Christopher Columbus statue in some way represents the Italian American legacy in this country and the Italian American contribution in this country," he said at a press conference(Opens in a new tab).

    Setting aside the fact that Columbus sailed for Spain and never set foot(Opens in a new tab) in the United States, some helpful folks online came up with a great meme about who might prove a suitable replacement for the explorer. Things took a turn toward the absurd and, honestly, it was wonderful.

    1. Not a bad idea

    2. I need to see this statue in person

    3. Keeping with the Sopranos theme

    4. Could get behind this

    5. I support any and all efforts to have more statues of corn

    6. Please find me a better Italian American icon. You cannot.

    Danny DeVito a true Italian America icon. Credit: Shutterstock

    7. In case you didn't know, this is Bigtime Tommie(Opens in a new tab)

    8. You don't even need to change that many letters!

    9. More Willie in the world is definitely a good idea

    10. A litany of options

    11. I don't know who Mr. Pickle is but I really, really support this

    12. Kind of thought we were past the Baby Yoda moment, but sure why not?

  • Paint-by-numbers should be your next relaxing self-care hobby

    Paint-by-numbers should be your next relaxing self-care hobby

    When it comes to self-care these days, your efforts to wind down don't always have to be ambitious.


    You should mediate, tackle a reading list, or set out to complete a challenging home improvement project if those things soothe you. But perfect self-care activities can also be as simple as playing with sidewalk chalk, coloring with crayons, or doing a puzzle.

    In the spirit of reclaiming beloved childhood activities as a means of de-stressing in adulthood, we have a suggestion for your new self-care hobby: Paint-by-numbers. Next time you need to relax, give it a try.

    The allure of losing yourself in methodical tasks

    Some of you may remember making paint-by-numbers artwork when you were younger, but for those who've never tried it, or who have simply forgotten what it's like to immerse yourself in the mundane task of filling in little numbered areas with colorful paint, let's review.

    A paint-by-numbers kit comes with a piece of paper or canvas that features a numbered, outlined design. You'll also receive small containers of different colored paints, and a variety of different size brushes.

    Paint-by-numbers in action. Credit: Getty Images / iStockphoto

    The directions that come with each DIY kit will break the paint-by-numbers process down for you, but essentially, your job is extremely simple: You fill in the areas of white space on the page with paint. You'll be able to determine exactly which color goes where by matching the numbers on the top of each paint container with the corresponding numbers on the paper. Depending on the difficulty of your project you might be asked to mix some paints together to form new colors, or occasionally wash some brushes, but otherwise the activity is mostly straightforward and mindless.

    SEE ALSO: 10 ways to make your work from home desk less depressing

    For several minutes or hours you can give your brain a rest from worrying about the world and take solace in thinking solely about which paint color goes where. You can train your eyes to scan the canvas in front of you for numbers like "5" or "29," and let yourself feel a small sense of accomplishment as the once bleak page before you transforms into an eye-catching masterpiece.

    Doesn't that sound nice? And one of the best things about paint-by-numbers is that they help even the least artistic people to create professional-looking depictions.

    A perfect quarantine craft

    Completing paint-by numbers, especially more complex ones, often requires some time. Which is why the guided painting projects are a perfect quarantine craft.

    If you're looking for a way to keep your hands and mind busy while staying at home, something to fill your empty social schedule, or a delightful distraction from social media, consider investing in a paint by numbers kit. And if you have old paint-by-numbers that you haven't yet used, now's the perfect time to dig them out.

    People of all ages are falling in love with paint-by-numbers in quarantine, and since you end up with a nice picture to show for your time, it's truly becoming a self-care hobby worth sharing with the internet.

    Where to find paint-by-numbers kits

    If you're looking to get into this very low stakes hobby, there are a bunch of places to shop for kits online. Try Etsy(Opens in a new tab), JOANN Fabric and Craft Stores(Opens in a new tab), Michael's(Opens in a new tab), Herrschners(Opens in a new tab), and Artsool(Opens in a new tab), among others. You can also transform your own photographs into a paint-by-number activities, too.

    Here are a few of the many paint-by-numbers templates that are just waiting to be filled in.

    Mountain Spring River(Opens in a new tab)

    A gorgeous mountain and  river scene. Credit: OurPaintAddictions / etsy

    Price: $27 on Etsy(Opens in a new tab).

    Pink Vespa Roses(Opens in a new tab)

    If you wish you were traveling. Credit: paintathomestore / etsy

    Price: $30 on Etsy(Opens in a new tab).

    Houseplant Set(Opens in a new tab)

    Wall plants! Credit: NotablyPaperCompany / etsy

    Price: from $10.00 on Etsy(Opens in a new tab).

    If there's a specific subject you'd like to paint, such as animals, plants, scenery, or food, be sure to include it in your search terms. And when you're seeking out your perfect paint-by-numbers template, keep in mind the level of difficulty you want to take on. Consider starting with a more basic version and then see if you want to move on to more intricate ones.

    If paper and paint isn't your style, have no fear. You can always download a paint-by-numbers app — like Paint By Number(Opens in a new tab), Happy Color(Opens in a new tab), or Colors by Number – No.Draw(Opens in a new tab)— on your phone or tablet for a soothing virtual experience.

    Whichever method you use, we're sure paint-by-numbers will add some serious variety and color to your daily unwinding routine.

Random articles


  • Heardle today: Correct answer and song hints for August 11

    Heardle today: Correct answer and song hints for August 11

    We're almost through this week. It's Thursday. Everything is going fine, but the answer to today's Heardle is a song you can't quite pin down. There's no way you can finish out the workweek in this kind of suspense. Thankfully, we're here to help.


    The answer will be spoiled below, and you can even play the song. But first, here's some strategy, a few hints, and a little information about the game itself to help jog the answer loose from your brain before we just blurt out the solution.

    What is Heardle?

    Heardle is a song-guessing game along the lines of Worldle, mixed with the TV gameshow Name That Tune. The game presents a song introduction in the form of six short clips, and the player must guess the song. Clips start at one second, and get progressively longer, eventually totaling a maximum of 16 seconds.

    The fewer clips it takes a player to guess the song, the more bragging rights they have when they share their success on social media or in a group chat. So far, the vast majority of the songs have been popular on U.S. and U.K. radio, and all are from the 1960s or later.

    Does Heardle have the same creator as Wordle?

    No. Heardle was created by a London-based designer named Glenn Angelo(Opens in a new tab), during the February 2022 boom in Wordle derivatives. After its initial viral success, it was acquired by Spotify in July of 2022 for an undisclosed amount(Opens in a new tab). Game functionality was not noticeably different after the change in ownership.

    How is Heardle pronounced?

    It's pronounced "hurdle," which would seem to explain why our research indicates many people find it online by searching something like "hurdle game," or "hurdle wordle."

    Are there any strategies for becoming good at Heardle?

    The only way to up your Heardle game is to listen to a lot of pop music. Unlike Wordle, which can reward players for strategy, Heardle is almost a pure trivia game — meaning one either knows the answer or they don't. It may seem like some Heardle puzzles are harder to solve — perhaps because the answer is on the tip of your tongue and you still lose, or because after learning the answer, you feel you could not have been expected to know it. Nonetheless, every Heardle puzzle is equally "hard," because knowing or not knowing something is a binary.

    What kinds of songs does Heardle feature?

    If you have a look at the complete list of Heardle(Opens in a new tab)(Opens in a new tab) answers at Pro Game Guides(Opens in a new tab), you'll see some patterns emerge. Answers can be from any decade from the 60s to the present, but recent songs are a little better represented. In the past, perhaps due to being the creation of a U.K.-based music fan, there were occasionally artists most Americans probably have not heard, like Kevin Lyttle. After the Spotify acquisition, artists like Carrie Underwood, who probably aren't well-known to the British, started to appear. But these are by no means clear trends. The only universal criteria seem to be that the songs are all hits, and that they're sung in English.

    And now, here come the hints.

    What decade is today's Heardle answer from?

    The 1970s.

    Is today's Heardle answer by a band or a solo artist?

    A solo artist.

    What genre is today's Heardle answer?


    Is today's Heardle answer a song from any particular subgenre?

    This one qualifies as soft rock, and might even be considered "yacht rock."

    For today's Heardle answer, who is the artist?

    Eric Clapton

    What is today's Heardle answer?

    "Wonderful Tonight" by Eric Clapton.

  • Dont fall for the productivity aesthetic. Its a scam.

    Dont fall for the productivity aesthetic. Its a scam.

    To morph into That Girl, there are a few things you must do. You should drink no less than three beverages in the morning, including but not limited to a matcha tea latte, hot lemon water, and a healthy smoothie. You need to work out before 9 a.m., preferably in a matching set. It would be best if you had a multi-step skincare routine that costs anywhere between $100 and $1,000. Then, the housekeeping: journaling, reading, meditating, and making your bed before you start the workday. In the evenings, That Girl goes through it all again: beverages, skincare, reading, and making a beautifully plated meal. And don't forget to document this routine online for accountability.


    It might seem like this is a trend that lifts users toward self-betterment. But in reality, it's a tired, recycled aesthetic devised to turn us into the Best Workers we can be.

    What are online aesthetics?

    Aesthetics have existed for millennia(Opens in a new tab). Ancient Greek philosophers like Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, Socrates, and Xenophon all debated the ways art and beauty interact. Thousands of years later, their efforts were the basis for discussions led by philosophers like Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten, who defined aesthetics as a younger sister of logic, and Arthur Schopenhauer, who argued that aesthetics should never be intertwined with politics or it would ruin the point of beauty. One of the most relevant descriptions of aesthetics was penned by Oscar Wilde, who wrote,(Opens in a new tab) "Aestheticism is a search after the signs of the beautiful," and said that(Opens in a new tab) "by beautifying the outward aspects of life, one would beautify the inner ones."

    Wilde's description of aesthetics might help us understand the drive behind collecting knickknacks and displaying them around our home, thoughtfully crafting flower arrangements in our kitchens, or curating a private art collection. But as the internet and social media took hold of society, this definition of aesthetics has morphed yet again, referring to how a subculture looks, posts, and feels online. In 2021, Vogue's Sarah Spellings wrote that aesthetic(Opens in a new tab) "has evolved from an academic word and something utilized by artists and auteurs to something to categorize our own identities by. It can mean both personal style and a vague stand-in for beauty." That same year, The Atlantic's Kaitlin Tiffany(Opens in a new tab) wrote that the word had been entirely "divorced from its academic origins" after being thrust into the mainstream by Tumblr users in the early days of the platform. People use it as an adjective now, saying "that's so aesthetic," which actually means "that is aesthetically pleasing to me," Tiffany points out. "In broader internet parlance, it now means a collection of signifiers or, more precisely, a 'vibe.'"

    Because of the cyclical nature of the internet, anything can be a "new" aesthetic. For instance, consider the clean girl aesthetic(Opens in a new tab), which originally appeared on Black and brown women in the 1990s and included slicked-back buns, gold hoops, and glowing, hydrated skin. Recently, it's been co-opted by white women like Hailey Bieber, and stands as an example of the biggest problems with so many of the most popular aesthetics online today: Instead of deepening the public's understanding of an artistic movement, as aesthetics are meant to do, social media has pushed them to mostly become tired, racist, and classist capitalist ploys(Opens in a new tab)

    One of the most popular — and insidious — of these online aesthetics is a subculture of a variety of "productivity aesthetics." And they happen to be total scams. 

    What are productivity aesthetics?

    Online aesthetics dedicated to self-improvement run the gamut of controlling the diet, exercise, sleep, hygiene, and attitude of the people who post within them. People take gym selfies and write about #CleanEating(Opens in a new tab) and being #BuiltDifferent(Opens in a new tab); they spend hours in the office after work because they're a #Feminist(Opens in a new tab) #GirlBoss(Opens in a new tab); or they devote their entire online selves to strive for perfection in the name of becoming #ThatGirl(Opens in a new tab)

    Each of these different variations of productivity aesthetics push people to improve themselves for their own well-being in spite of a society that burns us out. By doing so, they're actually pushing people to better maintain the capitalist status quo of society. That’s the scam part: The aesthetic trend actually serves the very society that has burned us out.

    Some of the habits these productivity aesthetics push users to emulate actually are good for you. Eating well and exercising and journaling and meditation have all been proven to be effective forms of self-care. But doing so with the intention of increasing your productivity will only lead you deeper into the hole you're trying to dig yourself out of. And attempting to replicate the performative aesthetics of creators who promote aspirational lifestyles that are often not attainable can take a toll on the mental health of users and consumers, with detrimental effects on our psyches.

    The aesthetic trend actually serves the very society that has burned us out.

    In Wellness TikTok: Morning Routines, Eating Well, and Getting Ready to Be "That Girl,"(Opens in a new tab) author Katlin Marisol Sweeney-Romero argues that this form of aspirational content "ascribes to white supremacist views of beauty and productivity by idealizing the 'look' of wellness as that of a woman who is laboring at all times — for her job and for her body — and who is young, white or white-passing, thin, able-bodied, cisgender, and whose gender performance abides by heteronormative expectations of femininity." 

    TikTok user @c.a.i.t.l.y.n did a Marxist reading of That Girl and 5 to 9(Opens in a new tab) — a trend in which influencers detail the work they do in the hours before and after their jobs — at their online height. She references David Harvey's book, A Companion to Marx's Capital, which says that time is a social construct molded in relation to the work week, and points out that these trends are built around productivity and "maximizing your potential as both a worker and a consumer under capitalism." 

    "[Think] about the ways that we use our time, even outside of the workplace, to serve the purposes of the workplace [and to prepare] ourselves to be better performers when we are at work,” she adds, pointing to how we try to optimize our commutes and work preparation by listening to podcasts about our jobs or reviewing work on our way home. "We have developed aesthetics and trends around producing productivity."

    Stephanie Alice Baker, a senior lecturer in sociology at the City University of London, told Mashable that this isn't a new approach to self-betterment.

    "The technologies change, the technologies evolve, but there is still this underlying impulse towards self-improvement, and it is always self-improvement in relation to the system in which it operates as opposed to an isolated individual trying to be their best self," Baker said.

    Because of its intrinsic connection to our society, productivity aesthetics seem to be primarily heralded by the people who have the time, money, and ability to set their life up in an aesthetically pleasing productive way: upper-class white people. But they don't always appear to discriminate against gender.

    Gendered elements of productivity aesthetics

    The results you get from searching #discipline on Instagram and searching #5to9 are virtually the exact same with one exception — men flood the discipline hashtag with videos of their workouts, while women flood the 5to9 hashtag with their own. Same thing, different label.

    Baker has done some research(Opens in a new tab) on gender display on Instagram, focusing on the fit fam aesthetic (in which users post muscled gym photos and inspirational quotes) and the clean eating culture online. She found that since it's not as culturally acceptable to admit to wanting to lose weight, these accounts are instead framed in terms of health and wellness. And, through her work, she’s discovered that the performances on Instagram around diet culture were "predominantly male."

    "I think on the surface, most people would presume this is a very female aesthetic," Baker told Mashable. "But actually what we found in that research is that predominantly the people who were using these clean eating hashtags and having the most popular posts were actually males. And it was just a different aesthetic. It was much more framed in this muscular male health orientation."

    Who is "That Girl?"

    But when we look at productivity aesthetics, there is one that’s inherently gendered: the That Girl aesthetic. That Girl is a person who works out, journals, reads, cleans, and eats a healthy meal before their day job even begins. There are more than 7.1 billion views on the #ThatGirl(Opens in a new tab) hashtag on TikTok and over 838,000 posts under the #ThatGirl(Opens in a new tab) hashtag on Instagram. The That Girl aesthetic been universally criticized for promoting hustle culture, fatphobia, classism, and general toxicity. But even as That Girl dissolves, it won't entirely disappear: It will reappear as the same ethos wrapped up in an entirely new package. 

    Society is always looking for ways to encourage people to perfect themselves. Before we had That Girl, we had the Girl Boss era(Opens in a new tab). Long before we had the Girl Boss era, we had the 1861 classic Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management by Isabella Beeton(Opens in a new tab). We are in a perpetual cycle of girl boss-ification, now reshaped as productivity aesthetics online. Energy is neither created nor destroyed.

    "As long as what we find valuable — like expendable labor — is the constant that's underlying what we find beautiful, then things aren't going to look too different from each other, even though the tiny applications are different," Hannah Kim, a professor of philosophy at Macalester College and member of the American Society for Aesthetics, told Mashable. We'll do anything to be better at our jobs, including changing the way we look(Opens in a new tab), talk(Opens in a new tab), and lead our lives.

    Baker adds that these goals may "seem like very much individual pursuits" but tend to actually rely on "the broader system in which they're operating," be that capitalism or the patriarchy. The That Girl aesthetic hinges itself upon self-betterment. Multiple videos describing how to be That Girl revolve around doing things that work specifically for you and your life — as long as the end goal is congruent with the life That Girl has. It lacks all individuality. And that may be by design.

    "Aesthetics isn't just an individual thing, it's a societally embedded signaling, even for It Girls. An It Girl would be nothing if it weren't for all the people who want to be her. It needs that embedding, and it's reliant on that," Kim said.

    Why now?

    There is something specific about our time and place in the world that makes these productivity aesthetics such incredibly insidious scams. The wealth gap is deepening(Opens in a new tab), a recession is looming(Opens in a new tab), and we're lonelier than ever(Opens in a new tab), which forces us to seek community wherever we can find it.

    There has been a massive shift in how Americans commune together over the past few decades. Membership has been steadily falling in everything from church groups and school associations to labor unions and Greek organizations, according to a 2019 congressional report(Opens in a new tab). The Joint Economic Committee report found that membership rates in some organizations fell from 75 percent in 1974 to 62 percent in 2004.

    "When you don't have these religious structures, which are guiding you and defining who you ought to be, what ends up happening is people still seek meaning," Baker said. "You still need somebody to give them this sense of purpose. And so this is where you often find a lot of celebrities or influencers filling this void."

    Moreover, aesthetic trends online tend to morph at a quicker pace than they do in real life, in part because aesthetics reach people faster than ever before. Girl Boss was replaced by That Girl. That Girl is being replaced by the 9-to-5 girlies. We are in a perpetual cycle of productivity aesthetics.

    "As more and more people get access to the same idea, they're going to have quicker pushbacks or quicker developments or quicker add-ons," Kim said. "So I'm not surprised at all that, especially for a platform with such heavy users like TikTok, these aesthetics would be constantly changing."

    Arlie Hochschild, a writer who coined the phrase "second shift" to refer to the household and childcare duties that people (primarily women) shoulder before and after the workday, also spoke about how our relationship to our own representation of self affects our actual sense of self. She says(Opens in a new tab) the more we work on ourselves to become comfortable with representing an emotion we think we ought to feel, the more inauthentic the emotions we are trying to embody become. Ultimately, we find ourselves getting further away from our real selves.

    The answer here isn't to stop doing things that make you feel good, but perhaps to be more aware of why you're doing them. Are you journaling in order to emulate an online trend and post it on Instagram Stories, or are you journaling because it makes you feel better and more connected to yourself? Awareness over our actions is needed when we're constantly being pulled into a world not of our own creation, but one fueled by the will of tech companies and capitalism, pushing a productivity aesthetic that’s not actually productive. 

  • Constantly stressed at work? It might actually be changing your personality.

    Constantly stressed at work? It might actually be changing your personality.

    If you're worried your bad workplace is making you a worse person, you may be right. Researchers from the University of Illinois recently introduced a new model examining how chronic workplace stress can fundamentally change people's personalities(Opens in a new tab) — and predictably, it isn't for the better.


    According to the researchers, previous studies on workplace behaviour largely operated on the premise that personalities are fixed. Hire someone kind, they'll make the workplace kinder. Hire a jerk, they'll bring jerk energy to the role. It's all fairly logical.

    However, in a new paper published in Journal of Management(Opens in a new tab)(Opens in a new tab), organisational researchers Jarvis Smallfield and Donald H. Kluemper consider that workplace stress can actually alter people's personalities in both the short and long term. This impact is examined through the Big Five model of personality traits(Opens in a new tab): conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, openness, and extroversion.

    "Among these, the most notable that is prone to change is neuroticism, though the other traits may change as well," Smallfield told Mashable via email. "Neuroticism is related to issues such as employee burnout and clinical depression and may downwardly spiral."

    Basically, if you're stressed you may become more neurotic, which makes you more sensitive to stress, which makes you even more neurotic. It's a giant ouroboros of agony and anxiety that ends with you hating your job.

    "Without intervention..., this spiral could reach a level of dysfunction akin to clinical depression," write Smallfield and Kluemper.

    It doesn't take long for this horrible chicken and egg problem to manifest, either.

    "Based on our review of the existing literature, we propose that trait-based personality change can occur in as little as four weeks," said Smallfield. That's shorter than the average probationary period(Opens in a new tab).

    Good stress vs. bad stress

    Fortunately, not all workplace stressors have such a damaging impact. Smallfield notes there is an important distinction between challenge and threat stress appraisals, the latter being the one to watch out for.

    "Challenge stress appraisal is when you believe that you can overcome a stressor and overcoming that stressor will get you something you want," Smallfield explained to Mashable, giving the example of a difficult deadline that will help you earn a promotion if you hit it.

    SEE ALSO: COVID post-traumatic stress is real. It can also come with silver linings.

    It's these threat stress appraisals that cause people to spiral into the sinkhole of neurosis. Which, fair. If you're consistently, hopelessly stressed with no relief or reward, it's bound to take a toll.

    "When that situation persists over time, it can impact your neurological systems, eventually changing how they function and causing you to be naturally less emotionally stable," said Smallfield.

    "The potential for stress to change one’s personality is particularly relevant during the pandemic"

    "[W]e believe that the potential for stress to change one’s personality is particularly relevant during the pandemic and the negative effects are particularly salient for marginalized groups due to those groups experiencing more workplace stress."

    Chronic workplace stress may also have an even wider and longer lasting impact than you might think. According to epigenetic research — the study of how gene expression can be influenced by your environment — stress can change how our DNA is expressed(Opens in a new tab). As such, resultant behavioural changes may potentially be passed down to later generations, creating a terrible domino effect.

    "So, even though this is somewhat speculative, we think it’s worth considering how far reaching the potential consequences of our work environments can be," said Smallfield.

    Protecting your personality

    Of course, much of the responsibility for combating the detrimental impact of workplace stress falls to workplaces. Smallfield noted that companies should "provide us with the tools we need to be successful and then make sure to recognize those successes," as well as make sure our bosses aren't straight-up abusive.

    However, if you don't want to trust the entirety of your psychological wellbeing to The Man, you can also protect yourself by viewing problems as surmountable obstacles that are rewarding to overcome — challenging stressors rather than threatening ones. This may not always be possible, or a realistic appraisal of the situation, but changing our perception where we can will help.

    "In addition, we can usually make small changes to our jobs to better fit our strengths or match our goals," Smallfield told Mashable. "Sometimes those changes are so small, we can make them ourselves. Sometimes we can sit down with our supervisors to make more formal changes…. Start making changes in your job now so that you can see it a little bit more like a rewarding challenge and a little bit less like a hopeless barrier or toxic environment."

    "Work is naturally full of stressors, and there’s really no way to avoid that, nor would we want to," said Smallfield. "We need those challenges to thrive. The problem comes in when the stresses stop being healthy challenges and become overwhelming, out of our control, or without purpose."

  • Emma Chamberlain talks coffee, YouTube drama, and quarantine loneliness

    Emma Chamberlain talks coffee, YouTube drama, and quarantine loneliness

    Emma Chamberlain rarely took a break.


    Until this spring, the now 19-year-old was constantly on the move. On top of booking appearances and collaborating with other YouTubers, Chamberlain also filmed and edited videos for her own channel, which has amassed over 9.5 million subscribers and more than 1.2 billion views since she began posting them as a high schooler in 2017.

    Her signature editing style of using rapid jump cuts and quirky asides to the camera inspired a wave of imitation vloggers who emulate Chamberlain's use of on-screen text and raw honesty. Chamberlain's wildly popular videos are often fun, light watches, but the process of creating them is laborious. Last year, she told the New York Times(Opens in a new tab) that a weekly upload could take anywhere from 20 to 30 hours to put together. She often edits in marathon stretches, sitting down for 12 to 15 hours at a time to bang out a vlog that clocks in at under 20 minutes.

    Whether for business or pleasure, Chamberlain traveled constantly and had adapted to editing on the go. In the last year, she was awarded Choice Female Web Star at the Teen Choice Awards, hosted the Teen Vogue "Generation Next" show at New York Fashion Week, and graced the cover of Cosmopolitan, in which she was described as "The most popular girl in the world." On top of all that, she also launched a weekly podcast: "Anything Goes With Emma Chamberlain."

    Chamberlain manages her intense lifestyle with a seemingly never-ending supply of caffeine. A mason jar of iced coffee and a splash of almond milk is present in nearly every video Chamberlain uploads. In Dec. 2019, she launched her own brand of coffee. On Sept. 27, she's relaunching Chamberlain Coffee(Opens in a new tab) with a collection of five sustainably sourced and packaged blends. In addition to bags of ground coffee, Chamberlain Coffee will sell single-serve grounds packaged in mesh sachets like tea bags. (Mashable reviewed one of her original steeped coffee bags in 2019.) They're meant to be an alternative to instant coffee that Chamberlain's viewership, who are primarily teenagers and young adults, can consume without needing access to equipment like a French press or a Chemex.

    Chamberlain Coffee is meant for Emma's YouTube viewer demographic. Credit: chamberlain coffee

    Chamberlain's industrious wayfaring came to a halt when the COVID-10 pandemic swept across the world. Like the rest of us, she was isolated to the confines of her home in an effort maintain social distancing. In the roughly six months since Los Angeles enacted a stay-at-home order, Chamberlain has finally had the quiet to reevaluate her lifestyle and the people she spends time with. Other than seeing the friends in her quarantine bubble, Chamberlain told Mashable, and attending(Opens in a new tab) a widely criticized birthday party with dozens of other influencers at the Hype House, her social life has been scaled back significantly.

    I sat down with Emma Chamberlain for a cup of coffee (over Zoom, of course) to chat about rekindling friendships(Opens in a new tab), staying out of YouTube drama, and the loneliness that we've all been feeling in quarantine.

    This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

    Mashable: To kick this off, I know you've featured coffee in like every one of your vlogs, but can you personally describe your relationship to coffee?

    Chamberlain: Coffee is very nostalgic for me. I just grew up drinking it, throughout every stage of my life from the time I was very, very young to now. I [was] probably too young to be drinking coffee, although my first favorite coffee drink was my mom getting a soy latte and then me asking for extra, extra, extra foam — it's literally just foam — and then a tiny bit of coffee at the bottom. But yeah, then you know, using it for studying when I was in high school and getting coffee with my dad throughout the years and stuff like that. So it's just a very social thing for me, and a very nostalgic thing, and a very comforting thing. And I'm passionate about it, I love it. I love a good cup. That's all it takes for me to make my day.

    So a lot of influencers will start brands that are more geared toward lifestyle, like you've done clothing collabs, or some release hair care lines or makeup brands. Why coffee?

    I think it just made the most sense for me because it's something that people know me for, for sure. A lot of people associate coffee with me. I wanted to do something a little bit different and I wanted to go a different path and I wanted to do something that no one else had done. I'm not somebody who's super into makeup and I'm very into clothes, know.

    Coffee was something that I feel like hadn't been done yet by an influencer. I wanted to really make it something different and special, that not only the influencer world hasn't seen yet but also the coffee industry as well. I think we didn't get to that point where those goals were met until the relaunch.

    There's a mason jar of iced coffee and almond milk in nearly every one of Emma Chamberlain's videos. Credit: chamberlain coffee

    Yeah. So a lot of coffee snobs will look down on coffee that's easier to make, like K-cups or instant coffee. Why did you choose this sort of, tea bag method of making coffee?

    We wanted to start with a product that my demographic especially would gravitate towards, something that's easy, that's cheaper than going to a cafe out and about, that's eco-friendly because you know, my generation specifically is very into that. Something that anyone could use that you don't need equipment [for]. You can just buy it and it's like, you can do whatever you want with it, right?

    The coffee quality, even though it's in a sense, instant...It's very high quality coffee in there. It's not an instant coffee, those real ground up beans, like very, very high quality beans, and they're sealed in a way so it doesn't go bad. It stays fresh for quite some time. And I think that's something that's really cool 'cause I'm not a huge fan of instant coffee myself.

    That was just a great stepping stone towards introducing things that the coffee snob could use in their Bialetti, in their, you know, really expensive espresso machine. For us we wanted to start with something that we knew everybody could use.

    Right, it almost seems like you've made coffee less intimidating for your target audience.

    1,000 percent, that is totally, exactly the way that we look at it.

    Moving past coffee, how has quarantine been for you? I know you recently posted a vlog about like, a staycation, and I was wondering how quarantine has changed the way you make content.

    Content wise, I mean, it's been a little tough because I'm somebody that loves to film me doing things that I do on a day-to-day. And the problem is that my day-to-day got very boring, very fast. I really stopped doing interesting things almost immediately so that's made things a little bit tough because I want to be vlogging my day, but I'm doing the same thing every day. Half the time, I'm laying in bed, or I'm hanging out with my friends, and I don't really want to film that because it's my private, sacred time, you know what I mean? It's hanging out with my friends, the ones I'm quarantining with, not being reckless.

    "Normally my life that I lived created content for me, and it was so much easier."

    But I've had to get creative at home and do more videos that have concepts behind them, instead of just being able to film me going on a trip. Normally my life that I lived created content for me, and it was so much easier because it was like, OK, once or twice a month I could just film a vlog of me sitting in the new setting and it would be an adventure.

    I've been doing more stuff with fashion, like flipping clothes and stuff like that. Or outfit related videos, I've been having a lot of fun with that.

    Emma Chamberlain describes her personal relationship with coffee. Credit: chamberlain coffee
    Emma Chamberlain describes her personal relationship with coffee. Credit: chamberlain coffee

    Can you give me an example of a time when you felt just really creatively pushed by the confines of quarantine?

    Let's say I'm doing a cooking video, I need to go get groceries for that. Well I remember in the very beginning, there was a solid month where every store was like, there was nothing in them. There was no toilet paper, if you wanted to get eggs, good luck. Every grocery store was crazy. Getting supplies for different concepts wasn't an option.

    Getting equipment, it was like I kind of have to work with what I have. And that was fun and all, but was definitely challenging because it's weird when you're not able to just go grab something from the store. Luckily that evened out pretty quickly and then it's fine.

    Definitely, and you know, the pre-pandemic version of you seemed to always be on the move, always super busy. I think everyone in the whole world has been forced to slow down. What was that experience like for you?

    I think it's been one of the most transformative times of my life thus far. I have found a lot of my core values and really become in touch with them through this time because I think that all the running around that I was doing was kind of like, allowing me to avoid things that I need to address about myself. Not even bad things, but I don't know one person who doesn't need to do a little bit of self reflection. It's forced me to reflect on myself and like, 'OK. Who do I want to surround myself with?'

    Because now I have all the time to think about that. I have the time to think about what I want my career to look like. I've had to look at what has failed in my life, what has worked, and really analyze all of that. And I realized the importance of having a really good support system because I think that when you're running around all the time, you're always around different people.

    "Wait, who do I have? Who am I talking to on a day-to-day? Who are those people?"

    You're being social constantly, there's no shortage of human interaction. But when something like a pandemic goes around, you're like 'Holy crap!' You're kind of looking around, you're like, 'Wait, who do I have? Who am I talking to on a day-to-day? Who are those people?' And it really forced me to look at that.

    It's been so incredibly good for me, but also very anxiety provoking, and I've had depressive episodes throughout it and it's been tough, but I was glad to take a break.

    Speaking of people you want to surround yourself with, I noticed you recently rekindled your friendship with James Charles. Can you tell me about that?

    It was super cool. We haven't talked in so long, and I don't think we forgot about one another, but it was just like, we grew apart. It was not at all hostile or anything, it was just the way that it was, we just didn't talk and we both had six different groups of friends. We always had very different groups of friends when it came to our core friend groups. We hung out a decent amount, but we weren't [doing the] hanging out every day type of thing.

    We sort of drifted apart, and then rekindling our friendship was super cool. It's just fun to catch up about what we make, what's going on, and update each other on everything that has happened.

    You know, there's some friendships that drift away and when you get to rekindle it, it's even more fun because you get to catch each other up on everything that happened when you weren't really speaking, and I enjoyed that.

    "I actually really like having a lot of alone time and having a very small circle. I don't know if I'm ready to be social again."

    Yeah! That's great to hear. Do you think you would have rekindled your friendship with him, or anyone else you may have rekindled your friendships with, if you weren't sort of forced into that break and self reflection?

    I think it would have happened eventually, but I think that most people are so ready to be social again. For me it's kind of the opposite. I'm kind of like, wait a minute. I actually really like having a lot of alone time and having a very small circle. I don't know if I'm ready to be social again.

    But I think that because a lot of other people are ready to be social again, that may be how this all started. James was a total exception but I'm having a hard time right now because I don't know how to go out in the world anymore.

    I think that's a really common experience and just like, forgetting how to socialize or act like you did before the pandemic.

    Totally, yeah!

    So YouTubers are sort of notorious for always being involved in drama, and always getting involved in feuds whether it's genuine or for views. But you tend to stay out of that. Can you tell me why?

    There's nothing on this planet that I hate more. I hate it. I absolutely hate it. There is nothing fun about it for me! And as somebody who — I mean, I wouldn't sound any different from the next guy, I mean a majority of people on this planet deal with mental health issues — but I have really bad anxiety. And for me, one of the biggest triggers of anxiety since I was younger was arguments.

    I will just avoid it at all costs. If it makes my quality of life less great, what's the point of that? So I refuse. You know, when people try to start drama about me in any way I really just try to stay out of it. It's just's all dumb. It's so pointless to me. We live on this planet to have fun, have fun with it. Why are we starting shit?

    I let everybody else do it if they want to and I don't judge at all, but I'm just like, I'm gonna keep this off this internet and out of my life as much as possible.

    Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And one of my last questions, kind of going back to the pandemic and influencers, a lot of people with large followings have been criticized for continuing to party and not social distance, and live life the way they were before the pandemic struck. What is your take on all of that?

    I think at the very beginning — when these things started to happen and people were starting to return to normal life prematurely — a lot of people didn't realize the severity of it. Still, I think that it got to a point where a lot of people thought that it was over. And you know, being in that place and knowing a lot of these people...I think a lot of people didn't realize that it was still as big of a problem as it was, but [they were] just completely ignorant.

    I think the issue is when it becomes a recurring problem. And when people don't learn from their mistakes. I'm not somebody that ever wants to judge someone for one mistakes. I make mistakes all the time. And I wouldn't want somebody to judge me for one mistakes. But if I make the same mistake repeatedly, that's when it's a problem.

    People do dumb things sometimes, but it's like, how do you learn from them? How do you move forward? That's where I think the true colors come out, is in that. It's just very frustrating to see it continue, but at the same time it's like, as an individual all you can do is your best and be as selfless as you possibly can.

    Going back to talking about criticism in general, you're really open about your mental health and body image issues and insecurities. But as a public figure you're obviously the target of a lot of criticism. How do you approach it, how do you deal with that?

    I mean I still struggle with it to this day. It never is easy, it's never like I have felt I figured it out, right. But I think the key is to just not read...I'm active on social media. I'm posting on YouTube weekly, I'm on Instagram daily, I'm always on Instagram. [I'm] constantly posting to Twitter. I try to post as much as I can. And so I'm on it, right, and that is part of my job. It is my job to be present on the platform. It's hard to find a balance, but I think the key is to not read the comments, to not scroll more than one or two times, to keep it very minimal.

    "I can go down a rabbit hole. I could find my name on Reddit and read about myself all day if I wanted, and it would ruin my life. I would. I've done it, but the thing is, it doesn't matter."

    I can go down a rabbit hole. I could find my name on Reddit and read about myself all day if I wanted, and it would ruin my life. It would. I've done it, but the thing is, it doesn't matter. There are people that love me and support me, and those people know who I am and they know what kind of person I am. And they know I'm a human. Those are the people that I want to give my energy towards.

    So I try to honestly ignore it as much as possible and just not read it. And just remember that there's so much more to life than what is on the screen. I have such amazing people in my life, and it's a great support system. I need to be remembering when I'm reading these shitty comments, I have so many people that have my back. [They] would be here even if this went away tomorrow, so who cares.

    You know what I mean, right?

    No, definitely. For my last question, it's super bleak to think about, but say the pandemic does last another six months and social distancing is in effect for that. How do you see your content changing or evolving?

    I hope to do a little bit of traveling soon, in a safe way. That's definitely a goal of mine. I don't know if that's even allowed, or what the full rules of that are, but it'd be nice to figure out ways to be safe and responsible but still do the things I missed. I would love to try and do that.

    Emma Chamberlain is relaunching her coffee brand, Chamberlain Coffee, this month. Credit: chamberlain coffee

    But when it comes to the day-to-day, I think a lot of it's going to stay pretty much the same for a while. Just continuing to try to make the most of my at-home life and get more creative when it comes to concepts, whether it's about fashion or whatever. Just come up with more interesting things that I can do at home that are safe and responsible.

    Those things come to me at random hours. I'll be in the shower and it'll just come to me, or it'll be 4 a.m. and I'll wake up from a nightmare. I'll be like, wait a minute. I have a video idea because of my nightmare! That's the most common, it's spontaneous.

    But I would love to get out of LA for a little bit, or out of California. Soon, if possible. I'm craving it.

    That was it for me, but was there anything else you wanted to say?

    I feel amazing, and thank you so much.

    Yeah, thanks so much for answering all of these!

    Have an amazing Tuesday! Oh my god, I don't know how to hang up.

  • The best porn alternatives that are entirely SFW

    The best porn alternatives that are entirely SFW

    Welcome to Porn Week, Mashable's annual close up on the business and pleasure of porn.


    Most people understandably associate the word "porn" with sexually explicit, super NSFW material. But nowadays, the word "porn" can be used to describe a magnitude of visually appealing content online.

    From delicious-looking food porn to semi-gross pimple popping porn, the internet is full of exciting (and extremely safe for work) porn to marvel over.

    In honor of Mashable's "Porn Week" we decided to round up some of the best safe for work porn the internet has to offer. So next time you're looking for some gorgeous, wholesome content to gaze at, let this list help point you in the right direction.

    Remember: You can always check Reddit's r/sfwpornnetwork landing page(Opens in a new tab) to scope out the site's SFW porn suggestions. But if you're looking for more specific SFW porn genres and accounts to follow, here are some of our favorites.

    1. The loveliest-looking SFW porn

    If you're searching for some exceptional, aesthetically pleasing SFW porn, then this collection of Instagram-worthy photos and videos is for you. You're probably familiar with kinetic sand slicing and soap shaving already, but what about these stunning visual sensations?

    • Art restoration porn: Who knew that watching old, dirty works of art get delicately cleaned up and restored to their former beauty could be so relaxing? If you're a fan of art give painting restoration videos a chance. The Baumgartner Restoration YouTube channel(Opens in a new tab) is a perfect place to start.

    • Mineral porn: If you, like Hank Schrader, have a thing for glistening minerals, check out Reddit's r/MineralPorn(Opens in a new tab) and prepare to be amazed. If you like what you see you can also search platforms like Pinterest(Opens in a new tab) and Instagram(Opens in a new tab) for even more sexy solid chemical compounds.

    • Nail stamping: If you're a sucker for some stylish nail art, nail stamping videos are here to soothe your soul. Instagram users like @polishpixie92(Opens in a new tab) dedicate their accounts to dazzling nail polish videos, and you can also browse related hashtags like #nailstamping(Opens in a new tab) and #nailart(Opens in a new tab) to turn up a wider assortment of photos and videos.

    • Post-salon hair porn: If hairstyles interest you more than nail art, try checking out some salon social media accounts to see fresh cuts and curls. You can also scroll through hashtags like #hairgoals(Opens in a new tab) to see some of the best hairdos on Instagram.

    • Soap bubble porn: If you didn't know you needed slow-motion videos of giant bubbles to cleanse your eyeballs, now you know. Behold.

    • Mixology videos: If you delight in seeing bartenders aggressively shake and pour alcohol into perfectly chilled glasses, then mixology and cocktail videos are your SFW vice. There are a bunch of great mixology accounts on Instagram(Opens in a new tab) and YouTube(Opens in a new tab), and you can search related hashtags like #cocktails(Opens in a new tab) to see more mesmerizing drinks.

    • Space porn: If you ever tire of earth-focused SWF porn, feel free to check out outer space porn. It's literally out of this world. NASA's Instagram page(Opens in a new tab), photo libraries of stunning Hubble Space Telescope images(Opens in a new tab), and r/spaceporn(Opens in a new tab) are great resources.

    • Wax seal porn: Sometimes you just need to watch hot wax being poured on the back of an envelope and stamped to make an old fashioned seal. These wax seal YouTube videos will do the trick.

    2. Book porn

    If you love to read or you enjoy taking leisurely strolls through bookstores for fun, then book porn is where it's at. The internet is full of stunning bookshelf porn(Opens in a new tab), impressive library and bookstore Instagrams, and even thirsty social media accounts (like @hotdudesreading(Opens in a new tab)) that spotlight readers.

    Old books on the desk in a library. Credit: imaginima / Getty Images

    The #bookstagram(Opens in a new tab) community also has a super strong online presence, which you can read more about here. But if you're looking for specific places to find book porn, here are some starter accounts and hashtags to check out.

    • @mybookfeatures(Opens in a new tab) (founded by @james_trevino(Opens in a new tab) and @elizabeth_sagan(Opens in a new tab))

    • @scsreads(Opens in a new tab)

    • @katieelizabeth_reads(Opens in a new tab)

    • Publishers like Penguin Random House(Opens in a new tab), HarperCollins(Opens in a new tab), and Simon & Schuster(Opens in a new tab)

    • @foldedpagesdistillery(Opens in a new tab)

    • @bookslifehome(Opens in a new tab)

    • @myfriendsarefiction(Opens in a new tab)

    • @darkfaerietales_(Opens in a new tab)

    • r/bookporn(Opens in a new tab) and r/comicbookporn(Opens in a new tab)

    3. Home and architecture porn

    If you're an architect or interior design buff, love scouring sites like Zillow and StreetEasy in your spare time, or binge-watch Selling Sunset for the expensive homes instead of the drama, then house porn was made for you.

    In addition to real estate sites that let you browse spaces that are up for sale, you can check out subreddits dedicated to room porn(Opens in a new tab), city porn(Opens in a new tab), architecture porn(Opens in a new tab), rural porn(Opens in a new tab), house porn(Opens in a new tab), and cabin porn(Opens in a new tab). You can also search for hashtags(Opens in a new tab) and accounts(Opens in a new tab) related to any of these categories, such as cabin porn, on social media for more content. And YouTube is a great place to find more specific home porn, such as minimalist room tours or abandoned mansion videos.

    4. Earth and nature porn

    If you ever find yourself trapped inside, staring at your laptop, and longing to travel, consider taking a virtual staycation with some virtual earth and nature porn.

    There are a bunch of subreddits that highlight earth(Opens in a new tab), botanical(Opens in a new tab), water(Opens in a new tab), sky(Opens in a new tab), and weather(Opens in a new tab) porn. You can also search for seasonal porn, like snow falling videos and foliage timelapses(Opens in a new tab). And don't sleep on wildlife streams and marine life cams.

    5. Food porn

    One of the most common and popular alternative porns is delicious-looking, drool-worthy food porn. It's hard to scroll through Instagram or Facebook timelines without seeing a cooking timelapse or photo of a beautiful dish with restaurant tags or recipe links in the bio. If you like what you see, you can seek out a whole bunch of other food-related internet marvels, too.

    There's cookie and cake decorating videos(Opens in a new tab), pancake art, spice rack organization tours(Opens in a new tab), ice cream rolling, and a whole world of cheese melting(Opens in a new tab), pulling(Opens in a new tab), and sculpting videos just waiting to be discovered. The possibilities are endless. Just choose your favorite foods and get searching.

    6. ASMR

    If you're looking for some SFW audio porn, there's an expansive ASMR library at your fingertips. Though ASMR erotica exists(Opens in a new tab) and some feel that all autonomous sensory meridian response videos are inherently sexual, many who partake in the popular trend use it as a way to relax. There are millions of ASMR videos on YouTube, which you can search based on sound preferences, but here are a few suggestions to browse through.

    • Slime ASMR(Opens in a new tab)

    • Hot knife melting videos

    • Domino ASMR

    • The "grandpa" of ASMR

    • Feeding frenzy videos(Opens in a new tab) and other animal ASMR(Opens in a new tab) (watching and hearing turtles eat is especially satisfying(Opens in a new tab))

    • Ikea ASMR(Opens in a new tab)

    • Apple's official ASMR videos

    7. Gross but satisfying SFW porn

    Another safe for work porn genre (that's understandably not for everyone) is super gross yet super satisfying videos, such as pimple popping(Opens in a new tab), powerwashing(Opens in a new tab), and pumpkin carving. If you want to start small before transitioning to pus, dirt, and toenail clipping, watch some messy pottery videos and see how you feel.

    8. SFW tech and video game-related porn

    Tech and video game enthusiasts, rejoice! There's a ton of online SFW porn that's sure to delight you, too. Whether you're looking to see the best mechanical GIFs or want to watch someone review devices based solely on the feel of knobs, here are eight tech and gaming-related subreddits and YouTube channels/searches worth checking out.

    • /r/TechnologyPorn(Opens in a new tab)

    • r/mechanical_gifs(Opens in a new tab)

    • r/unixporn(Opens in a new tab)

    • r/avporn(Opens in a new tab)

    • r/GamerPorn(Opens in a new tab)

    • Knob Feel YouTube channel(Opens in a new tab)

    • Full-speed trackmania videos(Opens in a new tab)

    • Speedrunning videos(Opens in a new tab)

    And if you derived a scary amount of pleasure from watching the AirPods in slime video above, you'll likely find these videos of tech being destroyed to be extremely cathartic.

    9. The wholesome corner of Pornhub

    Though Pornhub is full of nudity and sexually explicit porn, the website also offers monthly highlights of the top rated SFW videos(Opens in a new tab). Our favorite? Pornhub's most wholesome star, Ryan Creamer, who posts extremely pure videos of him tucking his viewers in and bringing them some Tums.

    You can read our full "Porn Week" interview with Ryan here, and then check out some of his stuff for yourself. (It's worth noting that if you venture onto Pornhub — no matter what your intentions are — you're almost surely going to see some actual NSFW videos pop up on your feed.)

    So there you have it, folks. We hope you've enjoyed this intro into the wonderful world of online, SFW porn. Keep browsing for more wholesome, G-rated content, and don't stop until you're satisfied.

  • I changed my Slack notification sound to say hummus, and I am profoundly less stressed

    I changed my Slack notification sound to say hummus, and I am profoundly less stressed

    On a dreary day in the slog between Christmas and New Year's last December, I was procrastinating at work. (If you try to tell me that you get any work done after Dec. 15, you're a dirty liar.)  


    Deep into my procrastination efforts, I found myself in the Slack app's settings, where a little poking around bestowed me with the greatest gift of my holiday season: the Hummus Slack sound. 

    For those unfamiliar with the glory that is the Hummus Slack sound, it's exactly what it…sounds like. Among the rather normal notification sound options in Slack — which include Ding, Boing, and of course, the iconic and increasingly grating Knock Brush — is Hummus, which features a breathy female voice simply uttering the word "hummus." It makes absolutely zero sense but also, all of the sense in the world. 

    I switched my Slack notification sound from the default Knock Brush to Hummus on Dec. 30, 2021. It's been three months now, and strangely, I actually feel pretty dang cheerful when I get a Slack message these days. I know: No sane person should feel joy when receiving a Slack message, but the funny little voice that whispers "hummus" when my boss is asking me to complete a task usually makes me giggle on my best days, and lets me exasperatedly sigh (or scream, depends on the task) at a silly sound on my worst days. Overall, I feel less stressed at the prospect of opening up the Slack app, and my brain feels a bit lighter than the days of the Knock Brush. I don't think I'm ever going back. 

    Let's rewind. Why is there a Hummus Slack sound?

    A fantastic question, my friend. I had the same thought. Amongst the Dings and Boings and even the more whimsical Whoas (which are all sound effects), why drop in just one spoken English word? And why make that word HUMMUS? I mean, if we were choosing amongst questionable dips and spreads, might I suggest ranch, Nutella, or even ketchup?!

    The answer, though, is actually pretty adorable. As reported by The National,(Opens in a new tab) a Slack user back in 2016 was just as curious as us, and tweeted the company to find out Hummus's origins. Slack replied, and explained that it was an homage to one of their beloved coworkers. 

    Whoever Anna is, I want her to know that her dulcet tones have somehow lulled my stress-addled cerebrum down to more of an occasionally-frazzled-but-usually-OK brain, at least at work. And I guess thanks to the folks at Slack for making the Hummus sound available to all us plebeians, since it seems it was originally meant for just the Slack HQ inner circle. 

    While Hummus comes from coworker appreciation, the rest of Slack's sound options actually come from a video game. "Slack’s notification sounds are largely derived from its predecessor, Glitch, a video game from Stewart Butterfield and others that morphed into today’s Slack. It was the sound that players heard when they received a message," said a Slack spokesperson to Mashable in an email.

    Knock Brush, specifically, was very important to Butterfield, who apparently wanted to include the sound that your tongue makes when you separate it from the roof of your mouth, while his musician friend Danny Simmons added in the sound of "pulling your thumb through a toothbrush." These two effects together combined to make the sound that has haunted so many of our workplace fever dreams.

    I'm thrilled with my little Hummus sound these days. But I also wonder why Knock Brush made me so stressed in the first place.

    There are more than 10 million daily active Slack users(Opens in a new tab) as of 2019. I obviously can't be the only one that was feeling like Knock Brush was creating undue anxiety in my work life.  

    A quick Google search for "Slack knock brush stress" revealed plenty of people who really understood me. A Reddit user posted the very same problem to r/cscareerquestions, asking for advice on how to reduce the anxiety that Slack's default notification sound induced.

    Reddit(Opens in a new tab)
    SEE ALSO: What does a memory sound like? TikTok remembers.

    A lot of the tips were genuinely helpful, with only a few classic (read: annoying) Reddit users harping on OP for daring to check their Slack so often in the first place. And as you can see in the OP's edits, they seem to have actually found the same solution that I did by changing their Slack notification sound — albeit we don't know if they, too, chose the illustrious Hummus. But why have we all let Slack's sounds affect us so deeply?

    If you've ever taken an Intro to Psychology course, you might suspect that this is a classic case of Pavlov's dogs(Opens in a new tab). For those unaware, Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov famously conducted an experiment where he classically conditioned dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell. He did so by continuously exposing them to food immediately after hearing the sound. And in our mysterious case of the stressful Slack sound, the analogy seems to align perfectly: Knock Brush is to stress as bell is to hunger. 

    But brains are curious little things, and I wanted to know why sound has the ability to affect us so much, and specifically, induce or reduce a stress response. I've got plenty of stress in my life, and if I can find the reason as to why Slack's sound can be so stressful, maybe I can curate my entire life's soundscape to never stress me out again. (A girl can dream!)  

    In a 2020 study(Opens in a new tab) published in the journal Brain Sciences(Opens in a new tab), electrical engineering and psychology researchers investigated how certain types of music could affect stress levels. After exposing their test subjects to stressful situations, they examined how rap music, forest ambiance, and ASMR sounds affected stress, ultimately finding that ASMR and ambiance sounds actually helped reduce stress levels. 

    Hearing my new favorite person Anna whisper 'hummus' with every Slack notification is kind of like listening to ASMR.

    While this doesn't explain why Knock Brush stressed me out so much, it does point to why Hummus was so relaxing in comparison; hearing my new favorite person Anna whisper "hummus" with every Slack notification is kind of like listening to ASMR. I would know – I get ASMR TikTok lives fed to me every night, and they always feature someone whispering into their mics. And the airy aspiration on the "huh" part of hummus? The slight British accent and almost intimate volume? Yeah, this is basically ASMR for dummies. It's me, I'm the dummy. 

    And as to why Knock Brush elicits a stress response in my brain, I found the answer most easily explained by the actual definition of the word "noise." As per the Hearing Health Foundation's favorite definition(Opens in a new tab), noise is really just any undesired sound, and noise itself typically triggers a stress response in the amygdala. After more than a year with Knock Brush, I truly did not desire its company. Coupled with my unwitting classical conditioning, it's no surprise that Knock Brush on its own became my personal manifestation of hell. Honestly, thank goodness I found Hummus when I did.

    If you, too, are experiencing stress via Knock Brush, might I suggest these quick fixes:

    In case I haven't made it clear: I am a Hummus Slack sound stan. Obviously, I would like to inspire the world to convert their Slack notifications en masse to all softly say "hummus." Please consider making this move. 

    But if Hummus really just isn't for you, try any of the other Slack sound options. If you're stressed by Knock Brush, you've probably Pavlov'd yourself, and switching up your Slack soundscape should help at least a little bit. I highly recommend the bouncy "Yoink," the happy little "Hi," and the truly delightful "Ta-da."

    And if you want to know what other people are into, I actually have the official ranked list of most popular sounds straight from Slack itself (where Hummus is obviously being underused!):

    1. Ding (mobile default)

    2. Knock Brush (desktop default)

    3. Ta-da

    4. Whoa!

    5. Boing

    6. Plink

    7. Wow

    8. Here you go

    9. Drop

    10. Hi

    11. Yoink

    12. Hummus

    If all else fails, maybe just turn off Slack sounds entirely. The thought of not having a sound and potentially missing an important message is personally eons more stressful to me, but to each their own. And remember: Try to set some healthy work-life boundaries, and stop checking Slack after hours. Better yet, turn those notifications off outside your work hours completely. It's life-changing! 

    Once your stress levels have been managed, feel free to redirect all that new energy toward joining me in petitioning Slack to add more random word sounds. I have a coworker who would drastically enjoy work more if we could get "Timotitties" in there.

  • The Cincinnati Bengals Gen Z swagger is making this a must-watch Super Bowl

    The Cincinnati Bengals Gen Z swagger is making this a must-watch Super Bowl

    On Sunday, Feb. 13, hundreds of millions of people will look at their TVs during Super Bowl LVI and learn something shocking: The Cincinnati Bengals are really cool.


    Heck, you might not have even realized the Bengals exist and there's a good reason for that. This season marks the first time they’ve won a playoff game in 31 years. Sure, their uniforms are totally sick with tiger-striped helmets in lieu of a team logo, but they rarely make waves nationally because even good Bengals teams usually end their seasons in heartbreak. Nobody expects greatness from them, which is a reputation they’ve more than earned.

    The 2021 Bengals team doesn’t care at all about that bad reputation because they're young —the average age on the roster is 25.6 years old(Opens in a new tab), making the Bengals the 10th youngest in the league. Plus, they're overflowing with confidence and comedic value. This is the most Gen Z Super Bowl team of all time, with multiple players, like Joe Burrow and Evan McPherson, who happily embrace being walking memes. Most importantly, they might have the most collective BDE of any NFL team I’ve ever seen.

    Even if you don't care about football and you just watch the Super Bowl for the commercials, I promise you'll benefit greatly from learning about the Bengals. This year's big game is more than just a halftime show and some glossy ads; it's a showcase for some of the coolest, funniest guys making plays on the field in years.

    It all begins with Burrow

    Given what I've told you about the Bengals' lack of success in the last three decades, you might be wondering: “How the hell did the Bengals get here?”

    From both a football and attitude standpoint, it all starts with Joe Burrow, a cigar-smoking legend(Opens in a new tab) with a great Twitter account(Opens in a new tab).

    Burrow, the 25-year-old quarterback for the Bengals, is a testament to the power of both perseverance and simply being ridiculously cool. He flew under the radar for most of his college career before exploding for literally the greatest statistical season ever(Opens in a new tab) in 2019. Then the Bengals drafted him (the worst team in the NFL always gets the first choice), and two years later they’re now a win away from ultimate glory. 

    But enough about that. Let’s talk about Joe Burrow’s tweets.

    Anyone who falls within a few years of that blurry line between Gen Z and millennial will see a little bit of themselves in his old tweets. The guy has a lot of thoughts about TV shows like Friends and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, among others.

    The fun doesn’t stop there. Here’s Burrow engaging in the quintessential Gen Z activity of criticizing capitalism as it regards to amateur athletes:

    Burrow even has perennial Nintendo fave "#smashbros" in his Twitter bio, and a cursory search of his tweet history(Opens in a new tab) confirms that he is, indeed, a big Super Smash Bros. guy. In fact, a 2019 profile in the Baltimore Sun(Opens in a new tab) revealed that he's apparently good enough at the video game that his friends have banned him from playing with them. Been there!

    The next and final Burrow tweet I’ll show you requires a bit of context.

    People go way overboard in analyzing college quarterbacks before they jump to the NFL to the point of actually measuring the sizes of their hands(Opens in a new tab) and pretending like that has any bearing on how much success they’ll have in the pros. Burrow, who was just weeks removed from winning a championship in college, got disappointing results in the hand measurement department and threw up an "undersized" middle finger at his critics in response, joking that he'd retire due to his "tiny hands":

    Keep in mind that he tweeted that during the post-college season / pre-NFL draft period when prospects are so heavily scrutinized that any little slip-up can cost them millions of dollars. Burrow simply didn’t care.

    Joe Burrow is, in the parlance of our times, “that dude.” He’s an incredible football player with potentially 10 to 15 years of excellence in front of him, sure, but that’s only half of his appeal. In a sport where quarterbacks have historically been conditioned to be as robotic and uninteresting as possible (see: Brady, Tom(Opens in a new tab)), Burrow has so far never been anything other than his authentic self. One of the best things about the younger generation right now is how many of them share that attitude. They don’t need to be respectable in the eyes of Gen X, Boomers, and beyond as long as they back up their words with greatness.

    But enough about Burrow. An NFL team has 53 dudes on it, so let’s talk about some of the other 52 instead of giving all the credit to the captain.

    But it doesn’t end with him

    Sam Hubbard

    Another Bengals player to know about for a reason entirely unrelated to football is Sam Hubbard.

    Don’t get me wrong — he’s a good player who’s been key to the Bengals’ success this year on defense, but that’s not why we’re here. No, we’re here because Sam Hubbard did the most 26-year-old-who-lives-in-Cincinnati thing possible and dedicated this Super Bowl to…Harambe(Opens in a new tab)

    I want to make something extremely clear: I personally find Harambe jokes to be among the most stale forms of comedy imaginable. A gorilla dying in a zoo six years ago is ancient history by internet standards, and one could argue it was never really funny in the first place. But I’m not going to tell that to a six-foot-five, 265-pound dude whose job is to hit people for a living.

    I’m not an idiot.

    Eli Apple

    Bengals defensive back Eli Apple, however, is not afraid to share controversial takes that might greatly anger entire cities' worth of people.

    Apple came into the NFL with high expectations in 2016, but bounced around between three different teams as something of a disappointment before finding his way to Cincy this year. Whether or not he’s been good for the Bengals is irrelevant because he’s in the Super Bowl and his former teammates are not

    One of those former teams is the New Orleans Saints. Apple recently made the highly questionable (but so audacious that I have to respect it) decision to criticize not only Saints fans on Twitter, but the food of New Orleans. You know, maybe the most famous and widely beloved thing about that city.

    Making fun of New Orleans cuisine is tantamount to making fun of people for... needing to breathe air and drink water. But Eli Apple doesn’t care. The world needs people like him — not because he’s right, but because it’s really funny.

    Evan McPherson

    There are so many more Bengals players I could cover, but I’d like to shine a spotlight on kicker Evan McPherson who is, perhaps, the most "Gen Z Bengal" of them all.

    Teammates call him “Money Mac” and “the king of chicken fingers,” per this ESPN profile(Opens in a new tab). He’s reportedly promised to do the popular “Griddy”(Opens in a new tab) touchdown celebration dance that’s recently taken the NFL by storm(Opens in a new tab), if the Bengals win Super Bowl LVI.

    My man plays an inglorious position where simple competence is never appreciated. We love kickers when they nail the big ones and then run them out of town when they don’t. McPherson, at age 22, just made game-winning kicks in two straight games to get the Bengals to the Super Bowl.

    McPherson carries himself like a guy who thinks he’s the best player on his team. Considering he’s been literally flawless (he hasn’t missed a kick) this postseason, and he called his shot(Opens in a new tab) before making a 52-yard game winner in the playoffs, who am I to say he’s wrong?

    This is what football is really all about

    If I haven’t made it clear enough that I love this Bengals team, let me add one more spicy ingredient to the stew.

    I am a diehard Kansas City Chiefs fan. In the AFC Championship Game (a.k.a. the one you gotta win to make it to the Super Bowl), the Chiefs gave up a 21-3 lead to the Bengals and lost. I was despondent…for about 45 minutes. Then I remembered this Bengals team is rad and I’d happily root for them, even after breaking my heart like that.

    If you’ve ever met a sports fan, you know how hard it is to make us respect our destroyers. The Bengals did it to me effortlessly.

    Do the Bengals stand a chance in hell of beating a Rams team that’s generally more talented across the board? I don’t know and I don’t really care. You shouldn’t either. The scores, the stats, and the trophies are all just constructs to give fascinating, super-talented people like Burrow and McPherson an excuse to show us who they are. 

    SEE ALSO: The easiest ways to watch Super Bowl LVI without a cable subscription

    Football should be funny and weird. I can’t think of many teams that exemplify that standard quite like the 2021 Cincinnati Bengals. Burrow himself is in on the joke. After punching a ticket to the Super Bowl, he showed up to his postgame interview in a black turtleneck with a diamond chain, which prompted a reporter to ask if the ice was real. His reply?

    "I make too much money to have fake [diamonds]."

  • How to Block and Unblock someone on Instagram

    How to Block and Unblock someone on Instagram

    The internet is a crazy place, if you didn't already know.


    From the creeps, to the weirdos, to the reply guys, to the people who are just generally unpleasant, we're very grateful to have the block feature on Instagram (and other social media sites).

    Of course, in order for it to be effective, you have to know how to use it. It might also be helpful to know how to unblock someone on the occasion you need to do that, too.

    You can now also remove a follower. This practice used to be called a "soft block," or a "block-unblock." We'll also show you how to remove a follower below. But we'll start with the blocking.

    How to Block

    1. Go to the profile you want to block

    2. Tap the three dots in the top right corner

    Tap the three dots to find the "Block" option Credit: Screengrab / instagram

    3. Tap "Block" in the menu that pops up

    In the options that follow, tap "Block" Credit: SCREENGRAB / INSTAGRAM

    4. Read your options on the following pop-up

    Read the prompt that follows and select a block option Credit: SCREENGRAB / INSTAGRAM

    We recommend choosing the top option to be on the safe side.

    5. Tap "Block"

    That person is now blocked. They won't be able to see your posts, see your Story, or find your profile. They won't be able to follow you or message you on Instagram, and they won't be notified that you blocked them.

    How to Unblock

    Should you decide that this person has served their time on the blocked list, and you feel safe allowing them to see your profile again (or if you made an oops and accidentally blocked someone you didn't mean to), you can Unblock them just as easily.

    1. Navigate back to their profile

    2. Either tap the three dots in the top right corner and then tap "Unblock" or tap the blue "Unblock" button under their display name and bio

    Unblock via the three dots or the blue "Unblock" button Credit: SCREENGRAB / INSTAGRAM

    3. You'll be prompted to read a pop-up explaining what Unblocking this person will allow.

    Read the pop-up and if you still want to Unblock, tap "Unblock" Credit: SCREENGRAB / INSTAGRAM

    4. Then, if you still want to Unblock them, simply tap "Unblock"

    Easy enough, right? Blocking is one of the primary tools you can use to keep yourself safe on Instagram and other social media. Somebody making you feel unsafe? Block. Somebody replying to your posts with rude comments? Block. Somebody just generally annoying you lately? Block.

    Blocking keeps us safer online, gives us more power to curate our own digital space, and allows us to try and keep social media from hurting our mental health. Social media will always have pros and cons, but that doesn't mean we can't use the tools available to us to maximize the pros and limit the cons as much as possible.

    How to remove a follower

    1. Go to your Instagram profile

    2. Find your followers list by tapping "Followers" at the top

    3. Find the follower you want to remove by scrolling or typing their account handle in the search bar

    4. Once you find their account, tap "Remove" on the right

    How to remove a follower on Instagram Credit: andy moser / instagram

    5. When prompted, tap "Remove" once more. The follower will be removed from your followers list.

    You can also remove a follower by going straight to their profile page, tapping the three dots in the top right corner, and tapping "Remove Follower" in the pop-up menu.

  • Navigating the shady world of influencer cryptocurrency giveaway scams

    Navigating the shady world of influencer cryptocurrency giveaway scams

    Influencers are still hawking cryptocurrency and scammy altcoins to take advantage of their gullible fans.


    By now, you may have seen a typical crypto giveaway on social media platforms like Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram from some of your favorite internet celebrities. It's a fairly common marketing tactic among altcoins — give away some free coins to a lucky winner and bring some attention to the crypto they're promoting.

    But are even the giveaways shady?

    Most cryptocurrency transactions are public record thanks to the blockchain. The blockchain logs transactions between crypto wallets, which is where people generally store their cryptocurrency holdings, sort of like an online bank account.

    But, this is where things gets murky. One person can have multiple wallet addresses. Also, an individual's identity is not tied to a wallet address either, that is unless the person has shared their wallet address publicly.

    A recent follow-up investigation spearheaded by two popular YouTubers looked into a former FaZe Clan member who was kicked out of the group due to his involvement with cryptocurrency.

    And what they found seems to point to, well, yes, even the crypto giveaways promoting these coins may be scams.

    YouTubers investigate

    His name is just "Kay" now.

    On July 1, the popular esports organization FaZe Clan (Opens in a new tab)kicked(Opens in a new tab) Frazier Kay(Opens in a new tab), formerly known as FaZe Kay out of the group. In addition, it also suspended three other members – Jarvis, Nikan, and Teeqo – as well.

    And, as Mashable can now confirm, Jordan Galen, a senior talent manager at FaZe Clan has recently separated from the organization as well.

    Why? The influencers were all working as "ambassadors" for an alternative cryptocurrency called "Save the Kids" token which turned out to be a pump and dump scam. Mashable reported on the altcoin and the influencers' involvement in promoting the scam last month.

    After FaZe Clan members promoted the Save the Kids token to their fans, there was a massive selloff among initial investors. Shortly after, it was announced that the founders of the altcoin had disappeared with the funding, thus rendering Save the Kids and all of the investments from fans as worthless. The entirety of Save the Kids, billed as cryptocurrency meant to raise money for children, was a scam.

    The whole situation with Save the Kids caught the eye of YouTubers Coffeezilla and Mutahar Anas of the channel SomeOrdinaryGamers.

    "The name of the charity token drew me in," Anas told Mashable in a statement. "I couldn't shake a token that was called 'SaveTheKids' and had a bad feeling. Usually these currencies are mostly memes and aren't picked up on my radar. When I saw this announced, I was immediately keeping tabs to see how this story would play out."

    Pushing crypto schemes was bound to result in some real consequences for online influencers. However, it's undeniable that the work these two YouTubers did, diving deeper into the involvement of each member of FaZe Clan, resulted in the gaming organization's decisions on who to suspend and who to let go.

    In a video(Opens in a new tab) released on Coffeezilla's channel, the YouTubers alleged that Kay specifically had involvement in the Save the Kids token well before the altcoin was even in development. In a subsequent YouTube upload, Coffeezilla revealed that Kay's legal team threatened legal action over his video.

    Kay's fake giveaways?

    In a video(Opens in a new tab) posted last week on his SomeOrdinaryGamers channel, Mutahar Anas dove into the blockchain to view transactions in order to track the movement of the altcoin from wallet to wallet.

    Anas was able to find a since-deleted tweet from Kay which included his wallet address. The wallet had transactions involving Save the Kids token as well as other altcoins Kay had hosted giveaways for, such as Eclipse token, SafeGalaxy, and Titscoin.

    Due to how the blockchain works, every single transaction, including the wallet addresses, involving these cryptocurrencies are publicly logged.

    Using the dates on the giveaway tweets and matching blockchain transactions for each altcoin, Anas alleges that the same wallets won multiple giveaways. In fact, some wallets appear to have won every single one of Kay's giveaway that Anas investigated.

    Simply put, it would be nearly impossible for the same few individuals to legitimately win every giveaway run by the same person.

    A screencap of some of Kay's since-deleted crypto giveaway tweets. Credit: Someordinarygamers / youtube

    Furthermore, some of the wallet addresses that won giveaways appear to have been involved in transactions with other giveaway winners. Separate addresses appear on a whitelist of approved Save the Kids pre-sale buyers that was provided to Anas by an anonymous source. Again, this would be an outlandish set of coincidences if these few wallets legitimately won these giveaways.

    "The correlations of all these transactions is just too coincidental since some participated in the Save the Kids scheme and also received tokens on the dates of all three mentioned giveaways," Anas said in an email to Mashable.

    Anas was hoping to hear from Kay, even calling for an explanation in his video. According to Anas, "Frazier has not answered the allegations of giveaway fraud."

    Kay has, however, released a video statement(Opens in a new tab) of his own.

    "Please, please, please, do not believe what you're hearing online," says a teary-eyed Kay in his statement.

    Kay claims his legal team has uncovered "significant evidence which confirms that a dishonest person abused his trust with me to scam everybody."

    Mashable has reached out to Kay multiple times for more information and a comment but has not yet heard back.

    However, Kay isn't the only person from FaZe that seems to be wrapped up in this mess. Jordan Galen, a former senior talent manager for FaZe Clan also comes up in Anas' investigation. In the video, Anas discovers that Galen appears to have played a role in landing these influencer deals with cryptocurrency founders. Anas claims that he spoke to an altcoin creator who had dealt with Galen when he had attempted to cut a deal to have FaZe Clan members promote his crypto. This particular deal ended up falling through and did not move forward.

    Anas tells Mashable that Galen "strongly denied" any allegations of "giveaway fraud." These transactions that Anas discovered were, according to Galen, "commissions" for putting the various deals together.

    "I have my own reservations believing that without hard proof," Anas tells me. "Honestly, the holders could be anyone. What is important is 'some' of these accounts receiving tokens on numerous giveaway timings like I've shown also participating in 'Save The Kids.'"

    Mashable can confirm that Jordan Galen is no longer working at FaZe Clan.

    In addition, Galen's own LinkedIn(Opens in a new tab) account was recently updated to show his time with FaZe Clan ended in July 2021 after nearly three years with the organization.

    Mashable reached out to Galen for comment but has not yet heard back.

    Debunking the claims would be easy

    A few weeks ago, Mashable first reported on a failed influencer deal between FaZe Banks, the founder of the popular esports organization FaZe Clan, and an alternative cryptocurrency called BankSocial.

    As part of the deal, Banks was to promote the altcoin via a Twitter giveaway. The contest was simple: retweet, like and follow the BankSocial Twitter account, and you can win $10,000.

    Not long after Banks' promotion of the token, BankSocial prices tanked. The influencer deleted his tweets shortly after, which caused many to speculate if there was even a winner.

    According to BankSocial, there was a real winner. The giveaway winner even publicly backed Banks' claim on Twitter and said he received his winnings from the giveaway. It would be very easy for Kay to do what Banks did and prove the giveaways were legitimate. He has not yet done this.

    This isn't the end of Anas' crypto investigations either. The YouTuber tells me he is currently looking into other crypto influencer schemes. But, as for the situation he uncovered with Kay's giveaways and Save the Kids, he tells me "it's just odd and requires an incredible explanation."

    And if Kay happens to come through with an explanation as to how the same wallets won all his cryptocurrency giveaways, then one has to ask:

    Why are they wasting time with shitcoins when they should be playing the lottery?

  • NY governor Andrew Cuomos bizarre COVID-19 poster is not a parody

    NY governor Andrew Cuomos bizarre COVID-19 poster is not a parody

    No, this poster is very much real.


    New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo released this poster(Opens in a new tab) as a pat on the back for New York's pandemic response. Drawn in the style of 19th-century political art, the poster tracks the "111 Days of Hell" — a phrase coined by Cuomo during one of his infamous press conferences — in a bizarre fever dream.

    We've all gotten a bit strange in quarantine, but few can match Cuomo's energy. From unveiling a foam mountain(Opens in a new tab) meant to represent New York's efforts to "flatten the curve" to accidentally praising the state in an unfortunate sex-positive acronym(Opens in a new tab), Cuomo's led the way through this pandemic with constant viral fodder. Much like the depicted curve peaking at a rainbow, this poster may be the peak of Cuomo's tenure in office.


    Other highlights include the "Winds of Fear" and "Subway Disinfectant."

    Twitter users were especially confused by the "Boyfriend Cliff," which depicts a young man dangling from the side of the mountain by one hand. Some speculated that it represented Cuomo's daughter's boyfriend.

    But after celebrity chef and internet personality Chrissy Teigen questioned the "Boyfriend Cliff," Cuomo assured Twitter users that "We do like the boyfriend."

    "All boyfriends face a steep climb," he added.

    The poster also depicts a dig at Trump, who appears to be perching on a crescent moon next to the words "It's Just A Flu." The president was criticized for inappropriately comparing(Opens in a new tab) the coronavirus to influenza, despite predictions(Opens in a new tab) that the coronavirus is far more deadly(Opens in a new tab).

    But for the most part, people were incredulous that this piece of art exists.

    It isn't the first time Cuomo has been inspired by antique political art. His office commissioned(Opens in a new tab) an inexplicably nautical-themed poster in January to celebrate...himself. Highlights included the octopus of intolerance and "The Squalls of Hate."

    Rusty Zimmerman, who painted the early poster, clarified that he was not commissioned to paint the Boyfriend Cliff.

    But why does Cuomo keep commissioning mythological posters of himself? What's with this thing for 19th century art? What, exactly, is a Boyfriend Cliff?

    The world may never know, but at least we do know that we are supposed to like the Boyfriend.