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My partner tested positive for an STI, but Im negative. Why?

2023-03-19 06:17:55

My partner tested positive for an STI, but Im negative. Why?

Attending sexual health screenings can be a nail-biting experience. But, what happens when you test positive for a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and your partner doesn’t? 

My partner tested positive for an STI, but Im negative. Why?(图1)

You may automatically assume that this is because of cheating, that your partner may have slept with another person or had sexual contact outside of your knowledge, prior to testing. This might be true, but it's also not the only possibility. You should know that you can still test positive and negative as a couple when cheating didn’t take place.

Historically, this has been known as a discordant STI result, and it refers to a situation where a sexually active couple receives different negative and positive diagnoses after taking an STI test. The term is often used referencing long-term, harder-to-treat STIs, such as HIV, but can also be applied to other STIs like chlamydia, gonorrhoea, genital warts, and more.

Now, with efforts to try and destigmatise STIs, new language is arising. Katie Nambiar, medical director of HIV and sexual health charity the Terrence Higgins Trust(Opens in a new tab), tells Mashable that "discord" implies a conflict or clash. Instead, medical professionals are trying to move towards the term "sero-different." "The two are interchangeable, but we're just trying to move towards kinder language," she says. 

How can one person get an STI and the other not?

Everyone's body is different. The same goes for our immune system. Some people’s network of cells, tissues, and organs are better than others at fighting infection and disease. This can be one reason why you might obtain a sero-different or discordant result. Simply put, your body has already fought off the virus before it’s had a chance to settle in. 

Another reason can be that it is lying dormant. While most people experience symptoms from STIs almost instantly, others can remain symptomless for years. This is known as a latency period.

Dr. Melanie Bone, an OBGYN and member of menstrual wellness company Daye's(Opens in a new tab) medical board, tells Mashable that some STIs like syphilis and genital herpes can go unnoticed for several years. "Once you have caught it," she says, "you may never get a flare of herpes ever, may get one episode, or get recurrent episodes. You may even get your first flare ten years after catching it."

This is why regular testing is important, but also why cheating isn’t the only possibility when it comes to understanding why you may have sero-different results. 

What if you (or your partner) receive sero-different HIV results?

Bone explains that if you or your partner receive a sero-different STI result, the first and most important thing is to get tested again in four weeks, and then in eight weeks. This is partly because of the time it can take for symptoms to rear their head, but also because you can still catch an untreated STI from your partner. 

"Having received one discordant STI result doesn't mean that you are forever immune to catching your partner's STI," Bone explains. "If you are in possession of such results, it is more important than ever to practice safe sex. Do keep in mind that condom-protected sex cannot protect from every STI — monkeypox, syphilis, and genital warts can still be passed on during protected sex."

SEE ALSO: Can you take an STI test when you have your period?

Safe sex can mean multiple things, too. Like having no genital or fluid contact, using dental dams, mutual masturbation and much more. It can also mean taking medication to prevent infection. In instances where HIV is found in sero-different results, couples will be given a full rundown on how to move forward and live with the condition.

"In the case of HIV, if follow-on screens come back positive, both partners will be asked to take antiviral medication (such as PEP or post-exposure prophylaxis)," Bone says. "The couple will also be instructed on how to practice protected sex going forward, and they might receive counselling on their fertility options going forward if they are in a long-term, committed relationship."

Either way, couples can live, full, happy and long lives together (filled with all kinds of amazing sex), as long as they’re both taking antiviral drugs and using protection. 

"HIV is a treatable, manageable condition," Nambiar explains. She says that early detection and knowing your status is crucial if you’re to manage the virus successfully. "If you pick it up and treat it early, then the impact to your life is actually very, very minimal," she says.

Can sero-different couples have biological children?

For people in a sero-different relationship, fertility can feel like a minefield. While some couples (or throuples) might feel like having children isn’t the right thing for them, others may face fertility struggles from medical conditions such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) or a low sperm count. That doesn’t mean, however, that natural conception is impossible, even with a positive HIV diagnosis. 

"It is possible that couples conceive through the use of 'sperm washing' — a method whereby individual sperms are separated from the semen, allowing for conception to take place without infection," Bone tells Mashable. 

SEE ALSO: Everlywell now has an STI test subscription. Is it worth it?

Whether you are male or female with HIV, you can still conceive naturally, but it is important that antiretroviral therapy (ART) is used to lower the chances of passing on HIV to your child. This is because, without medical intervention like antivirals, passing on HIV can happen quite easily at any point throughout pregnancy or through breastfeeding.

However, sero-different parents may find that their child is born HIV-negative, but regular checks and consistently taking prescribed antivirals are enthusiastically recommended by doctors. "Be reassured if you're on treatment, then you can’t pass it on, there’s zero risk," Nambiar says.

What should I do if I'm HIV positive?

"First off, do not panic," says Bone. "Modern medicine has advanced to a point where you and your partner's relationship can largely continue undisturbed."

"Second, make sure you receive detailed guidance on re-testing, PEP, and antiviral drugs, as well as fertility," she advises. "If you feel that any of your questions are not being adequately answered, seek a second opinion."

"We are moving to eradicate HIV transmission, something we couldn't have dreamed of not that long ago. Times are changing for the better."

If you or your partner are affected by HIV, or are looking for support as a discordant or sero-different couple, there are some fantastic resources that can be found at the National Aids Trust(Opens in a new tab)

"People believe the myth that people that have HIV/AIDS are in a bad way. That it is a terrible condition that leads to a shortened lifespan, or to having to take oral medications with horrible side effects. But we've moved past that," Nambiar explains. "Now, we are moving to eradicate transmission, something we couldn't have dreamed of not that long ago. Times are changing for the better."

Nambiar reiterates that for people living with HIV, the only and easiest way to live with it is to know early on that you have contracted it. Don’t suffer in silence, because there is so much that can be done to help you live a happy, good life.

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  • A guide to getting off to your own sexual fantasies and imagination

    A guide to getting off to your own sexual fantasies and imagination

    They say the mind is the biggest, most powerful sex organ in the body. But, uh, don't try visualizing that mental image too vividly or literally, unless you're into that sorta thing?


    Instead, imagine your favorite fictional crush pressing you up against a wall, or think back to the hottest sex you ever had in your life. Now stop imagining, because this magical place where all your desires are possible and acceptable exists. And literally anyone can tap into it.

    While sexual fantasies are by definition not "real," their effects on your sex life (especially when explored during masturbation) are — shall we say — palpably physical.

    "Engaging your imagination rather than relying on visual porn for example helps to build, enhance and strengthen your erotic mind," said Dr. Britney Blair, co-founder and Chief Science Officer of the sexual wellness Lover(Opens in a new tab) app. "You can bring that imagination to life when you want to prime the pump on your desire or push yourself over the edge to climax while solo or with a partner."

    "It's incredibly liberating, recognizing our own power to design the scenes and situations that turn us on."

    To be clear, there's nothing wrong with porn or other forms of erotica. But there's something especially powerful in orgasming to smut that couldn't be more personally tailored to what you like.

    "In our minds we're not confined to our studio apartments or our current sexual partners. There are no rules or judgments. Not even the laws of physics apply," said Gina Gutierrez, co-founder of the popular audio erotica app Dipsea(Opens in a new tab). "It’s incredibly liberating, recognizing our own power to design the scenes and situations that turn us on and to scrap the ones that don’t work for us."

    Don't take our word for it, though. There's science to show exactly how real the effects of a healthy erotic imagination are.

    In a landmark 2016 study(Opens in a new tab), Dr. Nan Wise — neuroscientist, sex therapist, and author of Understanding the Neuroscience of Pleasure for a Smarter, Happier, and More Purpose-Filled Life(Opens in a new tab) — mapped the brain's response when subjects merely imagined pleasurable stimulation on their genitals. Just by thinking about it, the pleasure centers in their brains "lit up like a Christmas tree," Wise said.

    "The mind is really the recipient of all the body's sensations. So there's this empirical evidence of a huge connection between the mind and pleasure," she said.

    While everyone can benefit from using their imagination as a sexual aid, it's an especially potent practice for women and others who society has conditioned to feel ashamed about their sexuality.

    "We have to do more work to lay down the connections, the neural pathways, between the genitals and the brain's sensory reward regions," said Wise. "Using your imagination to masturbate not only gives us the information about what stimulation we need, but also actually strengthens the connections between our genitals and the brain."

    SEE ALSO: Why some people masturbate about people they hate

    Beyond that, getting off to our own sexual fantasies tackles another negative effect that patriarchy can have on women's sexuality.

    "We're socialized to think of ourselves as the objects of other people's desires, like we need to borrow someone else's idea of pleasure" said Wise. That's why learning how to be the subject of our own desires, to embody the pleasure we conjure up in our own mind, can be so empowering.

    Everyone with a brain, genitals, and desire is already equipped to masturbate to their own sexual fantasies. And while the practice does come more naturally to some, it only takes little guidance and patience to unlock the endless possibilities tucked inside your erotic mind.

    Set the right environment

    Set that phone to night mode, but make it sexy. Credit: bob al-greene / mashable

    A major key in setting your mind up for erotic success is to ensure your environment allows your brain to feel fully relaxed, safe, and free from distraction.

    Pick a time and place where you'll have full privacy without needing to worry about any interruption, whether from roommates or notifications. For most people, that place will naturally be the bedroom. But put some effort into also making it a true fortress of sensual solitude, like by locking the door, setting your phone to airplane mode, putting on an eye mask, or maybe even using some essential oils and putting on your favorite sexy playlist.

    Blair even recommends purposefully scheduling these more exploratory kind of session and making them habitual. So maybe it can be something you add to your nightly ritual before bed: Brush your teeth, do the skincare routine, put on some pajamas, then let your mind wander as you touch yourself.

    Create a safe space in your mind

    Of course, priming yourself with the right mindset is vital to unlocking your brain's full fantasy potential.

    One of the biggest hurdles to exploring our erotic imaginations is actually the engrained social shame many of us have picked up (even subconsciously) through sexism, homophobia, social stigmas, religion, etc.

    "It’s important to know if that is coming up for you, you’re not alone. But there is no such thing as a wrong or right fantasy." said Blair.

    SEE ALSO: Am I the only one who's horny for podcasts?

    Treat your imagination as a judgement-free zone. To be fair, clearing or redirecting your mind away from feelings of shame is easier said than done. But certain exercises can help (which we'll get into more in the mind-body connection section below).

    Blair suggests that, while exploring sexual fantasies in your mind, try to distinguish between when you're having a reaction versus a judgment to a certain scenario. Judgments often come from values imposed on you by something or someone else, while visceral reactions can be an indication that your mind wants to explore it further — especially if it's something your never thought you'd be into.

    It's easy to get scared off by an intense response to a fantasy, and write that off as being too weird or outside the norm for your taste. But if you give yourself a second to assess where that response is coming from, you might actually find that the intensity comes from a part of you that you've never tried tapping into before.

    "Everything is okay in the world of fantasy. No fantasy is a crime."

    Or maybe not, and that's fine too. The point is, if you feel safe doing it, just try leaning into parts of your erotic mind that feel challenging and see where it goes.

    "Everything is okay in the world of fantasy. No fantasy is a crime," said Blair. "Whatever turns you on in your mind is totally healthy. Your fantasy doesn’t say anything about you except that you are lucky to have a rich imagination that you can use to have an exciting and enduring erotic life."

    That's another major benefit of sexual fantasies versus traditional porn, too. You don't have to worry about any ethical concerns, because your imagination can't hurt you or anyone else. You're in total control.

    "You imagination is a completely safe space," said Dipsea's Gutierrez. "We can play out fantasies that are risky or illicit that we would never actually want to happen in real life. In our minds we’re free to experiment without consequences."

    Familiarize yourself with (but don't feel limited by) common sexual fantasies

    While the whole point is to tap into the unique potential of your own mind, a good jumping off point is to explore whether the most common sexual fantasies(Opens in a new tab) spark your interest. Researchers have labeled them into different categories, though there's a world of possibilities within those labels as well.

    Dr. Blair described these categories as multi-partner sex like group sex or threesomes; power, control, or rough sex; novelty, adventure, and variety; taboo and forbidden sex; partner sharing and non-monogamous relationships; passion and romance; and erotic flexibility like homoeroticism or gender-bending.

    Jess O'Reilly is a sex educator, author of The New Sex Bible(Opens in a new tab), and Astroglide's resident sexologist. She explained that through each of these fantasy categories you can help identify the specific core erotic feelings that get you into a heightened state of arousal.

    "Oftentimes, they relate to fantasy, escapism or subverting otherwise 'negative' emotions. You might find that sex is really hot when you feel powerful, submissive, challenged, mindful, or playful," she said. "You may also find yourself aroused by feelings that you don’t naturally associate with pleasure, like jealousy, inadequacy, fear, and even humiliation can be exciting."

    What our brains often gravitate to most is pure novelty. What gets you off in a fantasy can actually be the total opposite of your real-life sexual orientation or even completely removed from you, as an abstract scenario happening to someone else entirely.

    Let your spank bank be a place where your freak flag flies. Credit: vicky leta / mashable

    So don't be weirded out if you learn that you're as horny for that fish-god monster from The Shape of Water as the Academy Awards were in 2018. Or maybe you're one of the many women who enjoys a rape fantasy — which, as Dr. Wise points out, in a fantasy context is the opposite of a real-life rape since, "you're choosing to have the fantasy and who's overpowering you. You're in complete control."

    One other general rule of thumb Wise found is that while men tend toward more visually-oriented fantasies centered around preferred body parts, women tend to focus on overall scenarios. However, it's impossible to distill the endless possibilities of human sexuality into neat categories. Which is why you also shouldn't get discouraged or ashamed if none of these common fantasies do it for you.

    "Our capacity for imagination is limitless," said Wise. Don't feel pressure to confine yours to a specific label.

    Related Video: I built my own vibrator at CES

    Start building your erotic imagination through fiction, porn, memories... anything!

    The truth is that, while other obstacles might make it hard initially to give yourself permission to explore sexual fantasies, using your imagination is a very natural and innate part of being human. Who doesn't fantasizing about getting up from their desk in the middle of a hard work day and quitting, or spend time daydreaming about how they'd furnish their dream apartment?

    "We make Pinterest boards and save Instagram photos, collect and catalog all these things that we like. I recommend starting to do that for your sex life," said Gutierrez. "Become more mindful observing what attracts you to someone. The moments where you feel sexiest. What you want to say out loud during sex but hesitate to. Then the next time you want to use your fantasy for pleasure, you know exactly where to draw from."

    Everything in your life can become part of your horny mood board.

    Everything in your life can become part of your horny mood board.

    We all have that one fictional character or public figure — whether from books, tv, movies, video games, or even politics and the internet — that just does it for us. Begin there, expanding into a specific sexy scene that got you going or whatever comes to mind when you think of that person. Heck, maybe you're like me and realize that a silky, authoritative voice is actually your kink, leading a bunch of non-erotic popular podcasts to become your go-to spank bank material.

    Audio erotica can be a great place to start if you don't want to take the training wheels off yet to explore sexual fantasies of your own making. Unlike visual porn, audio erotica still exercises the muscles of your erotic imagination, asking you to fill in the details and paint the full picture. While we always recommend Dipsea, there's also plenty of free ways to try audio erotica like r/gonewildaudio(Opens in a new tab) and Girl on the Net(Opens in a new tab).

    Once you're ready to bring yourself more to the forefront of the fantasy, begin with a memory of the hottest, most visceral sex you've ever had. Really ground yourself back in that moment by recalling your senses: What position were you in? What did the person's lust feel like? Were you sweating? How exactly did they touch you?

    Touch yourself while pulling from all the erotic mental material you've curated, and don't be afraid to really get your whole body involved in mimicking the sensations you're creating through your mind. Maybe that means masturbating while you're on all fours, or matching the tempo of the fantasy, or even dry-humping a pillow. Don't put any pressure on yourself to orgasm throughout any of this, though, and instead just zero in on embodying the experience of your imagination.

    "It's about giving yourself full permission to explore all our internal pleasure places, and how we experience them in both our minds and bodies at the same time," said Wise.

    It's like writing fanfiction, but in real-time Credit: vicky leta / mashable

    Try these exercises to strengthen your mind-body connection

    Through her research and other studies in the field, Wise has ultimately found that, "This distinction we make between the mind and body is really a very arbitrary one."

    One of the best ways to embrace this in a way that engages your erotic fantasy life in is through something called mindful sex.

    This increasingly popular branch of sex therapy describes a bunch of different practices and exercises that add a layer of sexuality to mindfulness, to help you stay present in your body while experiencing pleasure, train your mind to focus on whatever arouses you, and engage in a non-judgmental curious sexual mindset. Try out basic exercises like pleasure mapping (which Dipsea has a guide for), mindful masturbation (which you can read about here), and sensate focus (which you can read about here).

    Wise also suggests a very simple exercise for getting your imagination more connected with your genitals on a neurological level: Just start by tapping or pleasurably touching your genitals, then stop, then think back on the sensations you felt while touching them. Try to recall and summon them back in your body: What did it feel like in your body when the stimulation was building, then dissipating?

    At first, it might not feel like much at all and the pleasure may be pretty mild compared to what you're used to while using more immediate erotic visual aids like porn.

    “But you’ll slowly start to develop a better connection to that pleasure sensation channel in your brain,” she said.

    Use your imagination during partnered sex

    While sexual fantasies are a great way to enhance self-love, learning how to engage with them during partnered sex can also do wonders to get people over the edge and into orgasm.

    At this point though, you might be wondering: Is it even OK to fantasize about other situations — or maybe even other people — while having sex with a partner?

    “It doesn't matter where you get your appetite, as long as you'd come home to eat.”

    “Yes, it’s an unequivocal yes! Because thinking about stuff is not the same as doing it,” said Wise. As the famous saying goes, “It doesn't matter where you get your appetite, as long as you'd come home to eat.”

    It’s totally normal for your mind to desire novelty, especially if you're not in a new relationship anymore. In fact, Wise found that one of the best ways to ensure a couples’ longevity is precisely this kind of openness and understanding that people need to fuel their erotic imagination with new stuff.

    “If we can get over these kind of hang ups, get past this fear of our partners having a fantasy about somebody else while they’re with us, and instead use it as an opportunity talk about: What would you like? What haven't we tried? What are you afraid to tell me? Because that's hot. That's really hot,” said Wise.

    Or maybe instead of thinking about someone else, you'd simply rather use your imagination during partnered sex to transport you both to a setting or scenario that heightens your arousal even more.

    In the end, what you do with your erotic imagination is up to you. You can share it if you'd like — or keep it all to yourself. That’s what’s so great about sexual fantasies you cut from your own cloth: They’re all yours, and no one else's.

  • Social media is the new bodycam

    Social media is the new bodycam

    Childish Gambino warned us in 2018. This is America, right?


    It's been a brutal week for anyone who doesn't live with their eyes closed. The proof is right there on Twitter and other social platforms. It used to be that we relied on police bodycams to hold officers accountable for their actions. But in this difficult moment, citizen journalism is carrying that bucket instead.

    Something snapped in the United States as former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee against George Floyd's neck until he died on May 25. Floyd was black and Chauvin is white. It was a sadly familiar scene of what looks to rational observers like a clear case of police brutality.

    But this time, we hit a breaking point. The gruesome reality of Chauvin's actions as captured on camera is certainly part of it. He held his position on Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes, until after the restrained man died. The camera captures it all in vivid, horrifying detail. Add to that the ongoing pandemic, and historic levels of unemployment. People's nerves are frayed and the callous inhumanity of Floyd's death was a last straw.

    So cities exploded over the weekend with widespread protests and grim scenes of violence. Even as much of the country outside of major cities continues to hunker down behind stay-at-home orders, social media has brought all of us to the front lines through citizen journalism and shared news reports.

    These ongoing protests are about stopping racial violence and police brutality, and they're hundreds of years in the making. I think the images and videos, and the actions of the people portrayed therein, tell the whole story. Thank you to all of the protesters and members of the press who are out there doing your part to make sure the realities of this moment won't soon be forgotten.

    It hasn't all been as completely terrible as the above visuals suggest. Protesters are out in force and many of them are skipping the violence in favor of working to send a message, lift up the people in their community, and generally just keep the peace. Many others are just doing the best they can to peacefully work through the days, weeks, months, decades of pent-up anger they've been carrying.

    They've even been joined in a few cases by police officers and departments that have managed to maintain a level of trust with their local communities.

    SEE ALSO: How to demand justice for George Floyd and support Minneapolis protesters

    I don't know what else to say. Take care of yourselves, folks. And please, keep on documenting this moment in any way that you can.

  • Police scanner app catapults to the top of the App Store

    Police scanner app catapults to the top of the App Store

    Protesters just made a police scanner the most popular paid iOS app in the country.


    On Monday, 5-0 Radio Police Scanner(Opens in a new tab), which costs $5, was the number one paid app in the App Store. A pared-down version with ads was the number two paid app, surpassing TikTok and second only to the suddenly popular Zynn app. Vice first reported(Opens in a new tab) on the app's rise.

    Protesters clashed with police in Minneapolis, Louisville, Los Angeles, Philadelphia(Opens in a new tab), and other U.S. cities over the weekend. They are demanding an end to police brutality after George Floyd was killed by a police officer.

    A look at the top paid apps. Credit: screenshot / mashable
    Also popular as a free app. Credit: Screenshot / mashable

    Scanner apps let protesters listen to live police radio feeds. App analytics firm Apptopia found the top five police scanner apps, such as 5-0 Police Scanner(Opens in a new tab) and Police Scanner(Opens in a new tab), were downloaded 213,000 times over the weekend. That's a 125 percent increase from the weekend before — a record for police scanner apps. 5-0 Police Scanner was downloaded 40,000 times between Friday and Sunday in the United States.

    Other related apps saw download surges as well, like the encrypted messaging app Signal. It was downloaded 37,000 times this weekend, a record for the app. Same for community alert app Citizen, which was downloaded 49,000 times during the same period, according to Apptopia(Opens in a new tab).

  • Elizabeth Warren and her very good dog Bailey joined the Washington D.C. protests

    Elizabeth Warren and her very good dog Bailey joined the Washington D.C. protests

    Less than half an hour before the official curfew started in Washington D.C., thousands of protesters were still walking peacefully in the streets of the capital. Among them were Sen. Elizabeth Warren, her husband Bruce Mann, and their dog Bailey.


    Dressed in sensible beige shorts, sneakers, and a basic blue face mask, the last female candidate to suspend her campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination was quickly spotted by her fellow protesters as she joined the throng in Lafayette Square. Many were clearly thrilled to see her, cheering as she told reporters President Donald Trump had been "wrong" to deploy the National Guard in the city.

    "He is imposing violence on our people," she told one reporter(Opens in a new tab). "People are here to protest peacefully.

    Warren also called for Attorney General Bill Barr to resign after reports that he had ordered the violent removal of protesters near the White House, and tweeted her support for her colleague Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's bill to criminalise the use of chokeholds by police. Gillibrand was also in the presidential race until last August.

    Widespread protests have emerged in cities across the U.S. in a furious response to the death of George Floyd — who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes — as well as other recent police killings, including Louisville woman Breonna Taylor and Florida man Tony McDade. These names are only the latest to be added to a shamefully long list of black Americans killed by police.f

    Trump's response to the protests, in particular the order to disperse peaceful demonstrators near the White House using tear gas and rubber bullets for a Trump photo op, has drawn criticism from members of both parties(Opens in a new tab).

    Other politicians who have appeared at protests include Reps. Ayanna Pressley(Opens in a new tab), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez(Opens in a new tab), and Joyce Beatty, who was pepper sprayed by police at the Columbus, Ohio event(Opens in a new tab), as well as Sen. Kamala Harris (Opens in a new tab)

  • Every police department should have to hear our rage via Zoom call

    Every police department should have to hear our rage via Zoom call

    Yesterday, the Los Angeles Police Commission held a Zoom call with citizens — of Los Angeles and the surrounding areas, as well as some former residents — and watched with blank faces as citizens berated them mercilessly for eight hours.


    The call came not only after several nights of protests in Los Angeles, but also after LAPD chief Michael Moore blamed the death of George Floyd(Opens in a new tab) on the city's protestors and looters. (Moore walked back on the comments(Opens in a new tab) after backlash.)

    But that's just the tip of the iceberg: LAPD has a long history of violence against black people — next year will be 30 years since LA officers beat Rodney King(Opens in a new tab).

    After many people were initially left out of the call(Opens in a new tab) because it capped at 500 people — and after the boomers on the commission figured out how to work Zoom — the commission said their statements.

    Then, the real show started. The public unleashed their fury on the LAPD for hours on end. They demanded Moore's resignation or firing, as well as to defund the LAPD and support the people's budget(Opens in a new tab). Some spewed incredible insults(Opens in a new tab), while others broke down in tears. Several impassioned callers, like this one, went viral:

    After watching this call, I'm convinced that every police department needs to have a Zoom call like this one.

    While the LAPD is notorious for its racism, so are many other departments across the country — including the Minneapolis police(Opens in a new tab), who are responsible for the killing of George Floyd. He died after three police officers pinned him down, one kneeling on his neck for nearly 9 minutes.

    Police departments across the nation should be subjected to people's rage. In many cities, they're beating up peaceful protestors who they are sworn to protect, all while we — the taxpayers — pay their salaries. Police commissions are supposed to be working for us, the civilians, and we should be able to scream and cry and drag our cops just like the residents of LA did yesterday. (And then I think we should defund the police(Opens in a new tab), but that's a different story.)

    Public meetings with police departments aren't new. As some activists mentioned on the call, they've been raising the same concerns about the police for years. But now thanks to technology not afforded previous generations, these meetings can be online (and the current pandemic pretty much mandates that, anyway). Virtual meetings can not only be more accessible to people who can't make them in-person, but allows these meetings to go viral and be seen by thousands, both in the department's jurisdiction and beyond.

    The total impact of the LAPD call has yet to be seen. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti didn't make any promises about changing the budget(Opens in a new tab), and as of publication the LAPD chief has not resigned.

    But that doesn't mean this call didn't have an impact. Hundreds of people were able to express anger that has possibly been pent up for years. People around the country — like me, in New York — stayed tuned for hours and are now inspired to tell our police departments our similar demands (and probably insults). Like protesting, donating money, and calling our reps, being able to rip into our respective police departments can be just another action to elicit change, and it's a cathartic one at that.

    Police commissions and departments have a duty to their citizens to let their voices be heard. We are all owed a more modern-day public forum. Americans everywhere should be able to call out their police chief's racist eyebrows.

    Mashable has reached out to LAPD for comment and will update if received.

  • Even Piers Morgan thinks Rudy Giuliani sounds completely barking mad

    Even Piers Morgan thinks Rudy Giuliani sounds completely barking mad

    Listen, let's not give Piers Morgan — a British TV presenter who's dabbled in racist tropes(Opens in a new tab) and transphobia(Opens in a new tab) — a gold star. But even he has realized Rudy Giuliani seems a little off.


    Giuliani, the former NYC mayor and current personal lawyer for President Donald Trump, appeared on Thursday on ITV's Good Morning Britain, which Morgan co-hosts. The appearance, which took place in the middle of the night in the U.S., turned into a shouting match between two old white guys about who was more discredited.

    The fight began when Morgan criticized Trump's tweet about "when the looting starts the shooting starts" in regards to the protests surrounding the police killing of George Floyd. But the argument soon devolved into a barrage of personal attacks.

    "You sound completely barking mad, do you know that?" Morgan said.

    Giuliani fired back, "No, I don't. You sound like a big liar."

    But Morgan kept going after the former mayor, firing off wonderfully British insults.

    "You've lost the plot. And it's sad to see," the host said.

    Taking a page from his boss's playbook, Giuliani stumbled through a few insults about Morgan's failed CNN show and its poor ratings. At some point, Giuliani either tells Morgan he "sucked up" or "fucked up" — it's tough to tell because Giuliani's words are a bit slurred — but either way Morgan apologizes for the language before twisting the knife further into his guest.

    "When I used to interview you, you were an intelligent, reasonable man and you've gone completely mad," he said. "And you sound deranged. You're abusive. And it's really sad to see what's happened to you."

    A viral clip from the interview goes on in a similar fashion for a few more minutes. It does represent a shift from Morgan — a former winner on Celebrity Apprentice who had a largely friendly (if bonkers)(Opens in a new tab) interview with Trump this time last year.

    But definitely watch the entire clip from Thursday, if only to see co-host Susanna Reid deliver an absolutely perfect, "OK," to end the wild segment.

  • Fox News host says John Lennon — who was killed in New York — wouldnt be safe in the city right now

    Fox News host says John Lennon — who was killed in New York — wouldnt be safe in the city right now

    Days after an NYPD car floored it into a group of protesters(Opens in a new tab) — just one of many instances of police violence in the city(Opens in a new tab) — New York City mayor Bill de Blasio responded with...John Lennon lyrics.


    "I don't mean to make light of this but I'm reminded of the song 'Imagine' by John Lennon," said de Blasio, according to journalist Jack Mirkinson. He went on to say that defunding the police, a rallying cry of the George Floyd protests, was "not the way forward."

    De Blasio was subsequently roasted by social media(Opens in a new tab) and traditional(Opens in a new tab) media(Opens in a new tab) outlets(Opens in a new tab), and then Fox News got ahold of the quote. On Fox & Friends Thursday morning, Brian Kilmeade thought he was delivering a brilliant zinger about the mayor:

    "John Lennon wouldn't be safe in this city right now," said Kilmeade. "He'd be hiding in his apartment."

    For those who are unaware (like Kilmeade, apparently), John Lennon was murdered in New York(Opens in a new tab) in 1980. His killer, Mark David Chapman, shot him four times outside his luxury Manhattan apartment. He's still in prison and his eleventh parole hearing is scheduled for this August(Opens in a new tab).

    Maybe Kilmeade should do some fact-checking. Imagine that?

  • Singer performs Bunker Boy, a catchy tune about Trumps time in the bunker

    Singer performs Bunker Boy, a catchy tune about Trumps time in the bunker

    There's a new song inspired by Donald Trump's recent and somewhat confusing trip to the White House bunker, and honestly? It's catchy as hell.


    On Monday, days after it was reported that Secret Service rushed the president to the White House bunker(Opens in a new tab) amidst D.C. protests, singer Courtney Jaye (@TropicalJaye(Opens in a new tab)) penned and performed the tune, titled, "Bunker Boy."

    Jaye shared a video of herself performing the song to social media, and on top of her gorgeous guitar playing and sweet-sounding vocals, the lyrics are truly something.

    "Bunker Boy, don't lie. You got scared and hid in the basement in the middle of the night," Jaye sings. "You're not so tough, no. It's a sorry sight. So take your bible, shove it up your ass, and turn on the fucking lights."

    Jaye ends the song with the lyrics, "Bunker Boy, Bunker Boy, November's coming and we hope you're terrified, Bunker boy," before taking a big exhale and letting out an exhausted eye roll. A real mood.

    SEE ALSO: Stephen Colbert slams Trump's hypocritical Bible photo op

    For those who haven't been closely following Trump's bunker saga, let's recap.

    On Friday night, hundreds of people gathered outside the White House gates to protest racism, police brutality, and the death of George Floyd, a black man who died on May 25, after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly 9 minutes.

    Reports stated that when protests escalated Friday night, Secret Service ushered Trump — along with Melania and their son Barron — to the underground presidential bunker, where they allegedly remained for nearly an hour(Opens in a new tab).

    After Trump received some backlash for retreating to the bunker amidst a national state of unrest, he said that he didn't go to the bunker to get away from the protests, rather he was merely inspecting the bunker.

    "I was there for a tiny, short little period of time," Trump told Brian Kilmeade on Fox News Radio. He then stated his bunker visit was "more for an inspection," and that he'd been been to the bunker previously. He said he's gone "two and a half times," whatever that means.

    Trump's bunker comments sounded a bit absurd to many people, including Jaye, which is why she decided to use the gift of song to hilariously call the president out on his suspicious story.

    Jaye tweeted her video and made sure to tag Trump's Twitter handle — and the song has been quite a hit since. At the time of writing this piece, Jaye's tweet had more than 60,000 likes, and celebrities like Sophia Bush have even praised the blunt and catchy tune.

    Jaye is no stranger to writing songs about President Trump. On June 1, she also shared another potential hit, called "fuck this fucking president," which has been viewed 174,000 times.

    In it, Jaye shares her true feelings about the president, and urges people to get out and vote for the November election.

    I only wish Jaye had been cranking out these political hits back in 2018, when former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was hiding in (or among) bushes. I bet "Bushes Boy" would have been a real banger.

  • Reddit co-founder, Alexis Ohanian, resigns to make room for a black board member

    Reddit co-founder, Alexis Ohanian, resigns to make room for a black board member

    The co-founder of Reddit just put the rest of the tech world on notice.


    Alexis Ohanian announced Friday(Opens in a new tab) that he was resigning his Reddit board seat, and "urged" the rest of the board to fill his spot with a new black board member. He will also be donating all future gains on his Reddit stock to "serve the black community," and is immediately giving $1 million to Colin Kaepernick's racial justice charity.

    Yes, take that in. Ohanian just set the bar for using power and privilege for racial equity by transferring not only resources, but also power to people of color.

    The tech world has been looking for ways to support racial equality amid Black Lives Matter protests across the world. The leaders in efforts to promote diversity in tech say that one of the best ways tech leaders in particular can help is by investing in black businesses and venture funds, hiring black employees, and putting black people in positions of power within the tech world.

    "Tech companies should be hiring [people of color] at all levels, from the board room to the boiler room," Rodney Sampson, a leader in tech diversity and founder of the accelerator OHUB(Opens in a new tab), said. "If you’re a venture-backed tech company, you should be looking to put someone black on your board of advisors."

    Ohanian called his move "long overdue." He explained that he had made his decision so that he could answer his black daughter (Ohanian's wife is Serena Williams) when she asked: "What did you do?"

    Williams expressed support for her husband in a tweet that may have made this reporter choke up.

    In the background of Ohanian's actions are the stark realities of Reddit, which Ohanian said he founded "to help people find community and a sense of belonging." Anyone who has spent even a passing moment on Reddit knows that it can be a quagmire of divisive vitriol. Amid the protests, some Reddit communities protested what they see as Reddit's failure to take stronger action against hate speech on the platform by making their communities private. Ellen Pao, a former VC, and one-time interim CEO of Reddit who now runs a tech diversity organization, called out Reddit's hypocrisy on Twitter:

    There is, of course, no guarantee that Reddit leadership will take Ohanian up on his request to fill his seat with a black board member. But this is an opportunity to set an example for the rest of the tech and business world. Currently, around 11 percent of Fortune 100 board members are African American, according to a recent study(Opens in a new tab) by the Alliance for Board Diversity.

    Mashable has reached out to Reddit to learn whether it intends to follow through with Ohanian's call to action, and Reddit said it would be responding "later today."

  • Trump lies about elderly protester injured by police, hits another new Twitter low

    Trump lies about elderly protester injured by police, hits another new Twitter low

    Every time you think Donald Trump has hit a new moral low, he manages to outdo himself.


    On Tuesday morning, Twitter users saw yet another exceptionally distressing and unpresidential display from Trump. The president tweeted outlandish lies about Martin Gugino, the injured protester who was shoved to the ground by Buffalo police officers last week. Even for someone prone to spreading false conspiracy theories, this was a shocking thing to say.

    After video of the Buffalo police officers pushing the 75-year-old man to the ground went viral, public outrage led to the suspension of two officers directly involved and the resignation of the 57 other officers(Opens in a new tab) from Buffalo New York's emergency response team. Those officers who resigned from the team remain on the force.

    As Gugino — whose head could be seen smacking the pavement in the video and then was bleeding from his ears — remains in serious but stable condition, Trump suggested to nearly 82 million Twitter followers that the 75-year-old man was "an ANTIFA provocateur" who was trying to tamper with police equipment and exaggerated the severity of his fall.

    "Buffalo protester shoved by Police could be an ANTIFA provocateur. 75 year old Martin Gugino was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out the equipment. @OANN I watched, he fell harder than was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?" Trump tweeted.

    SEE ALSO: Protesters turned Donald Trump's #BabyGate fence into something beautiful

    The tweet not only publicly targets a citizen, but also attempts to destroy his reputation as a peaceful activist(Opens in a new tab). And though Trump continually flings insults and spreads misinformation on Twitter, many people were genuinely taken aback by the harmful nature of this conspiracy theory.

    Trump seems to have gotten this conspiracy theory in his head from One America News, the conservative, far-right news network that previously claimed Dr. Fauci had ties to the Deep State, George Soros, Bill Gates, and the Clintons(Opens in a new tab).

    Trump has proven time and again that he's not above lying to rile up his base and change the conversation. So it's imperative now more than ever that you research whatever he says before you even consider believing it.

Random articles


  • How to make clinical trials more equitable

    How to make clinical trials more equitable

    When it comes to volunteers for clinical trials, a diverse group of participants is essential in making sure that a potential new medicine or vaccine will work and is safe for everyone who may take them. However, historically underrepresented communities simply didn’t participate in clinical trials at the same rates as white Americans. This issue is critical for medicine and vaccine development, and industry leaders are taking serious measures to address the situation. Here’s a hard look at why certain communities have been historically underrepresented in trials — and what the industry is doing to make the process more accessible and equitable for all.


    Drug safety and efficacy is anything but a one-size-fits-all scenario. Race and ethnicity, as well as age and gender, can play a big role in how someone will respond to a particular medicine or vaccine, but the people who participate in clinical trials tend to be white — in some cases accounting for 80 to 90 percent of total participants in trials.(Opens in a new tab) The obvious problem here is that people from underrepresented communities may end up taking drugs or vaccines that have mostly been tested on white people, with little to no information on the safety or efficacy of that drug or vaccine on people of different backgrounds who did not actually participate in the study.

    Why is this important? “It all comes down to good science and even better medicine,” says the Diversity in Clinical Trials Operations Director at Pfizer(Opens in a new tab), Sandra Amaro. “A diverse representation in our clinical trials allows us to have better data on whether our medicines will have the same results, regardless of the color of your skin.”

    Learning from past mistakes

    There are both historic and systemic reasons why it’s more difficult for people from historically underrepresented communities to learn about, access, and trust in the clinical trial process. When it comes to the latter, the 1932 Tuskegee Syphilis Study(Opens in a new tab) and the plight of Henrietta Lacks(Opens in a new tab) are two very valid reasons why Black Americans have a history of skepticism regarding the medical research industry. And although Amaro points out that safeguards have been put firmly in place since then, she acknowledges that trust is an ongoing issue.

    “This isn’t a quick fix,” she says, “and it’s critically important for us to acknowledge our history and inform the community that nothing like Tuskegee or Henrietta Lacks could ever happen right now.”

    To help earn that trust, Pfizer is supporting multi-cultural medical organizations and advocacy networks that reach out to underrepresented communities across the country. Día de la Mujer Latina(Opens in a new tab), for example, offers toll-free help desks where anyone can call in for assistance getting a doctor’s appointment or information on trials, or anything else. These initiatives, Pfizer hopes, will show real results in earning the trust of underrepresented communities so that vaccines and other medicines’ development can be more equitable.

    Addressing implicit bias

    Diversity awareness training for healthcare providers is another subject Pfizer is tackling to help make sure that clinical trials include more diverse participants. Before a trial even begins, Amaro says that Pfizer(Opens in a new tab) is working to make sure the site doctors are mindful to ensure that recruitment also reaches those who have been historically underrepresented.

    “We’re partnering with researchers from underrepresented communities to help us create content that we can share with doctors to educate them on things they might not even be aware of,” says Amaro. “Like how their word choices can influence if someone from an underrepresented community wants to participate or not.”

    Additional barriers that can keep racial and ethnic minority communities from participating in the trial process are economics and geography. Simply put, not everybody can afford to take time off work or pay for daycare so that they can participate in a trial. Not everybody lives close to where a trial is going to be held either. To help solve these problems, Amaro says Pfizer is reimbursing volunteers for travel and rethinking where they hold trials in the first place.

    “We want to place more of our clinical trial sites in underrepresented communities,” Amaro says. “If we do that, we’re one step closer to reaching patient populations that we haven’t been able to reach in the past.”

    Tech brings it all home

    Tech is also helping the industry connect with a broader and more diverse clinical trial volunteer pool and address issues related to location challenges noted earlier. Trials are utilizing virtual visits, wearables, and medical apps to make the process more remote and help close the distance between a volunteer’s home and a clinical trial site.

    All the outreach, education, and tech tools aside, Amaro always circles back to the issue of trust. She’s quick to point out that, especially with the COVID-19 vaccine trials, there’s a lot of misinformation out there — even in her own family.

    “My family is Dominican, and even with my role at Pfizer, they were asking me if they should participate in the vaccine clinical trials or not,” Amaro says. “They, like so many from underrepresented communities, have their own preconceived notions. Acknowledging this is important. We need the information to be crystal clear, but we also need to listen better.”

  • No, Joe Bidens climate plan isnt taking away your precious burgers

    No, Joe Bidens climate plan isnt taking away your precious burgers

    You may have heard about President Joe Biden's plan to tackle climate change and how he wants Americans to stop eating red meat. One problem: what you may have heard isn't true. In fact, Biden didn't say anything about meat consumption.


    At a virtual climate summit last week, President Biden discussed a goal: to get the U.S. to cut its greenhouse gas emissions in half by the year 2030(Opens in a new tab). He discussed moving to clean energy jobs in his speech as a way to achieve this. He also discussed building more electric vehicles and rolling out more charging stations across the country.

    Red meat consumption was not mentioned at all. And this falsehood has already been debunked(Opens in a new tab) numerous(Opens in a new tab) times(Opens in a new tab) already.

    Yet, Republican members of Congress and right wing media pundits pounced on the meat narrative.

    "Joe Biden’s climate plan includes cutting 90% of red meat from our diets by 2030," tweeted(Opens in a new tab) GOP freshman Congresswoman Lauren Boebert. "They want to limit us to about four pounds a year. Why doesn’t Joe stay out of my kitchen?"

    Donald Trump Jr., the oldest son of former President Trump, boasted(Opens in a new tab) about eating 4 pounds of meat yesterday. Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene retweeted(Opens in a new tab) a Photoshopped photo sent to her on Twitter portraying Biden as the Hamburglar.

    "Not gonna happen in Texas," said Texas Governor Greg Abbott in a Twitter post which included a graphic from a Fox News segment.

    The Fox News image provides bullet point information claiming "Biden's climate requirements" include cutting "90% of red meat from diet" and a limit of "one burger per month."

    However, if you take a look at the bottom of the Fox News graphic, which claims Biden is "up in your grill," you'll find a citation listed as the University of Michigan.

    That's the source of where all this disinformation is coming from: a report from the University of Michigan Center for Sustainable Systems(Opens in a new tab) which was published in January 2020.

    The report from more than a year ago simply looked at how dietary changes could affect greenhouse gas emissions and has nothing to do with Biden's climate plans which he announced last week.

    The UK tabloid the Daily Mail also seemed to use the University of Michigan report(Opens in a new tab) to spread the same falsehoods.

    A screenshot of the Daily Mail article that's helped spread falsehoods about Biden's climate plan. Credit: Screenshot: Mashable / matt binder

    "How Biden's climate plan could limit you to eat just one burger a MONTH," begins its headline on the story. However, the article later concedes that "while Biden hasn't released details, experts and recent studies have laid out what would need to change by 2030 to reach the goal."

    So, while you'll undoubtedly continue to see this lie spread on Twitter, Facebook, and every other social media platform, just know that it's not true. Biden didn't mention red meat consumption at all when discussing his climate plan recently. And the source is a scientific report published a year before Biden was even inaugurated as president.

    Related Video: How to recognize and avoid fake news

  • A cult-favorite vibrator has a new companion, and she packs a punch

    A cult-favorite vibrator has a new companion, and she packs a punch

    Maude's vibrators(Opens in a new tab) might look unassuming — but that's kind of the point.


    The simple, elegant minimalism of their sex toys is a huge part of why the original Vibe vibrator (Opens in a new tab)became such an instant classic. Beloved by beginners, it still regularly sells out(Opens in a new tab) and even won our top spot for the best overall affordable vibrator under $50.

    Now there's the Drop(Opens in a new tab), a brand new release from Maude available for pre-order and launching in April.(Opens in a new tab) We tested the egg-shaped palm vibrator, and are delighted to report that the newcumer is just as worthy of buzz (winkwink) as the cult-favorite original Vibe before it.

    The wellness brand, which also sells bath and body products, is doubling down on sexual health since recently partnering with (Opens in a new tab)Fifty Shades of Grey(Opens in a new tab) star Dakota Johnson(Opens in a new tab). While other sex toy companies trade in gaudy packaging and salacious over-sensationalization, Maude instead insists on treating pleasure devices as no different than any other type of physical or mental self-care. The affordability of its sex toys even calls bullshit on the classism you typically get with luxury wellness brands, which talk big game about self-care being "for everyone" while charging obscene prices only the few can pay for.

    But Maude's budget-friendliness never comes at the cost of bespoke, high-quality beauty.

    Keeping in line with the Vibe, the Drop looks like an object ripped straight out of the MoMA's gift shop — like modern art for your pussy. Here, though, the minimalist art style has practical utility, too.

    The Drop's User-Friendly Design

    The single-button design, which cycles through three intensity settings, streamlines the usually overwhelming bells and whistles of your standard sex toy design. Instead of an intimidating number of unnecessary vibration patterns or button layouts, Maude focuses only on the essentials, with the unbeatable user-friendliness that makes a toy great for novices. It's also waterproof, able to be put into travel lock mode, and made of body-safe and ultra-soft silicone. Plus, it comes in a cute canvas pouch for sanitary storage.

    The Drop looks like an object ripped straight out of the MoMA's gift shop — like modern art for your pussy.

    All that being said, in my subjective opinion, the Drop's egg-like shape does look a bit less artful than the abstractness of the Vibe. On the other hand, it makes up for it with about double the power, which matters more to me in a sex toy than appearances. On the other other hand, the trade-off for more power is twice as much noise — though the Drop is still quite low on the spectrum of noisiness among the dozens of toys I've tested.

    Essentially, The Drop is what you'd get if you squashed the Vibe down into a beauty blender shape.

    Meant to similarly fit in the palm of your hand, the bulbous shape not only allows for stronger motors but also covers a larger surface area than the Vibe's fluttery, pinpoint stimulation. Both have near-identical tip shapes, though. So you have the option to use the Drop's sides for that dispersed sensation, while the top of it offers a more powerful version of the Vibe's concentrated pinpoint pleasure.

    Which Vibrator Is Better? Drop vs. Vibe

    Determining which toy is better really comes down to personal preference — but the Drop has my vote. What the two vibrators do share in common is a nice medium between "buzzy" versus "rumbly" vibration types, which (again) makes them ideal for folks who aren't sure which they like.

    For comparison, the Drop versus the Vibe Credit: maude

    Foregoing the fluttery tip of the Vibe does make the Drop a bit better suited for some light, external ("external" being a keyword here) backdoor teasing (but, general health tip: never put anything up your vagina after it's been near your ass, unless you thoroughly clean it first). Both are versatile enough for nipple play, too.

    It's also hard to say with any objectivity which vibrator fits better in your hand. Some love the low-profile of palm vibrators like the Drop. Others (like me) have freakishly small and weak baby hands that can't grip anything comfortably for too long, not even a large egg-shaped item.

    The Drop's marketing sells it on resembling the "head of a wand vibrator." While it is significantly more powerful than Maude's other offering, any resemblance to the notorious rub-your-clit-off horsepower of a wand vibrator is in appearance only. If you're looking for the raw potency of a wand at the same price point, though, we suggest Sweet Vibes' Charmed(Opens in a new tab) instead.

    What makes Maude's vibrators such clear winners in the entry-level vibrator category is that your pussy deserves nothing less than a museum-gallery design with drugstore practicality.

    The inviting branding of a wellness brand isn't just for show when it comes to vibrators, either, because one of the biggest things that holds folks back from trying sex toys in the first place is stigma and shame. The typically misogynistic, male gaze-y marketing that dominates the sex toy industry perpetuates this notion that women's sexuality as some sort of super naughty kink. But it isn't. Vaginal pleasure isn't just a normal thing, it's also natural and beautiful.

    Add to Cart?

    The Drop, like the Vibe, is like an organic fragrance-free body lotion that stands out from a sea of Victoria Secret Pink Mango Blast body glow paints (or whatever). It won't overpower your senses — but it will nourish you with every touch instead.

    Related Video: 5 ways to safely clean your sex toys

  • Partying Americans just got a reality check from the coronavirus

    Partying Americans just got a reality check from the coronavirus

    On June 6, after over 100,000 Americans had already been killed by the new coronavirus, over a dozen friends went out to party at Lynch's Irish Pub in Jacksonville Beach, Fla., including (incredibly) a healthcare worker. Now, 16 of them have tested positive for COVID-19, reports the local news station News4Jax(Opens in a new tab). Seven employees at the bar tested positive, too(Opens in a new tab).


    Doctors, virologists, epidemiologists, immunologists, nurses, and public health experts have emphasized incessantly that spending time in crowds — particularly inside and without masks — is a recipe for allowing the coronavirus to easily spread and blossom in a human population that has no immunity to this new pathogenic parasite.

    Still, some Americans continue to ignore advice from experts who have spent decades researching infectious diseases. This is immensely problematic because the coronavirus isn’t magically going away, even if some politicians hope it might. There is no vaccine or treatment for this relatively new disease, and there likely won’t be, until at the very best, sometime in 2021. COVID-19 is substantially more deadly than the flu(Opens in a new tab), and can severely sicken young people(Opens in a new tab), too.

    “I think we were careless and we went out into a public place when we should not have,” Erika Crisp, a 40-year-old healthcare worker who tested positive for COVID-19, told News4Jax. “And we were not wearing masks. I think we had a whole 'Out of sight, out of mind' mentality. The state opens back up and said everybody was fine, so we took advantage of that,” Crisp said.

    (Since reopening, coronavirus cases in Florida are starkly rising(Opens in a new tab).)

    Yes, it's a bummer that we can’t live the same lives we lived five months ago. Most live, in-person concerts, for example, largely won’t happen for at least a year. But this is the worst pandemic to occur in a century. Spending time in crowded indoor settings, drunk, and not wearing masks will inevitably result in more disease, particularly in states where infections are still smoldering. Think about how many respiratory droplets fly around bars. Sometimes, most everyone in your group will get infected — and then bring that infection home. (Of course, bars aren't the only place where the coronavirus will spread: packed churches(Opens in a new tab) and private gatherings(Opens in a new tab) are repeated culprits, too).

    “This is a virus that we know is very happy to take advantage of people being careless,” Dr. Vince Silenzio, an M.D. and professor at the Rutgers School of Public Health, told Mashable in May.

    “If political leaders want to run experiments, that doesn't mean you have to be one of the guinea pigs,” Silenzio added.

    The Jacksonville healthcare worker, Crisp, partook in the state’s experiment and got some unsurprising results. But Crisp can now impart some knowledge to those on the fence about listening to pandemic experts: “We should be wearing masks. We should be social distancing,” Crisp told told News4Jax. “It was too soon to open everything back up.”

    Here are some vital things to remember about the coronavirus pandemic going forward, perhaps for at least the next year:

    • Wearing a mask isn’t about you. Masks reduce the amount of viral particles you exhale into the air, reducing the potential of infecting others.

    • It’s nearly impossible to keep people who are either asymptomatic or presymptomatic out of crowded gatherings. These people may have no idea they're infected.

    • This virus loves spreading in crowded indoor settings.

    • This pandemic was expected and will not be the last global outbreak.

    • Summer will not end the coronavirus pandemic.

    • It's likely researchers will develop a treatment or vaccine, eventually. But don't expect it too soon. “We need patience,” Michael Kinch, the director of the Center for Drug Discovery at Washington University in St. Louis, told Mashable. “We are all so impatient to get back to some degree of normalcy, and we have to recognize that’s not going to happen anytime soon.”  

    • This isn't just a disease for the old. COVID-19 can make young, healthy people severely sick, too(Opens in a new tab).

    The new coronavirus will be circulating in our communities for quite a while. To curb the spread, it’s up to us to make either informed decisions, or, unfortunately, decisions based on hope and ignorance (Crisp's group chose the latter). News4Jax reports that Lynch's Irish Pub, after temporarily closing following its prominent role in spreading disease, will be opening again next Tuesday.

  • Dyson just released a — wait for it — laser vacuum

    Dyson just released a — wait for it — laser vacuum

    If Yoda wielded a vacuum cleaner instead of a lightsaber, it would be this one.


    Launching Wednesday, Dyson's new vacuum is its most futuristic yet. The Dyson V15 Detect is a cordless vacuum that comes equipped with a green laser.

    Why a laser? Dyson says the light exposes dust particles you wouldn't ordinarily be able to see, so you get every spot.

    Oddly satisfying. Credit: dyson

    Beyond the freakin' laser beams, the V15 has some other cool tricks, too. It has an LCD screen that displays the supposed size and amount of dust particles you're sucking up. It claims the sensor that enables this tracking will also increase suction when more dust appears.

    Anyone with a pet and/or human hair will appreciate another design upgrade. The vacuum has an "anti-tangle conical brush bar" meant to prevent hair from getting stuck in the vacuum's bristles.

    And now we get to the Dyson of it all. Of course this product sounds great. Dust tracking! Anti-tangling technology! Lasers! Nothing sucks and blows like a Dyson. Unfortunately, it costs $699.99.

    While we all laugh/cry at that price, let's get back to the important part: The laser.

    It's green, a color the company said it chose "for its ability to provide the best contrast." It's positioned within the head itself "precisely at a 1.5 degree angle, 7.2mm off the ground." It's meant for hard floors and the effectiveness might be "influenced by ambient light conditions, debris type and surface."

    But overall, the value proposition is pretty sexy: "It means hidden dust on the floor surface that is otherwise invisible to the naked eye can be seen and removed."


    Dyson is launching two other vacuums Wednesday. One is called the Dyson Outsize, a cordless vacuum with big boy capacity that costs $799.99. The other is called the Dyson Omniglide, which is a neat vacuum that can swivel in all directions. That one will run you just $399.99.

    A good vacuum is actually something worth investing in, and Dyson certainly makes a Good Vacuum. Whether your vacuum needs to come with a laser? Well, that's a personal choice.

  • Nude art is getting censored on social media for a tourism board. So they went to OnlyFans.

    Nude art is getting censored on social media for a tourism board. So they went to OnlyFans.

    OnlyFans, purveyor of sexually explicit content, has found an unlikely candidate: the Vienna Tourist Board.


    Vienna, Austria's capital city, is known amongst other things for a rich history of art(Opens in a new tab), measured by its many museums and infamous artistic revolt(Opens in a new tab). But the tourist board found obstacles in its path to promote the city's art, particularly the works that feature nudity.

    Turning to OnlyFans as a solution(Opens in a new tab), Vienna has featured its "18+ content" on the site from artists known for "provocative" portraits, some nude, like Egon Schiele, Richard Gerstl, and Amedeo Modigliani, saying it is providing "these artworks the freedom they deserve".

    The campaign repeats the slogan, "Vienna laid bare". Quite literally.

    The board released a tongue-in-cheek teaser for their OnlyFans account: "Want to see Venus — and her Mound of Venus?" That's one way to draw people in.

    People can subscribe to the account for $3 for 31 days (a discounted rate is now in place). The regular price is $4.99 per month. Subscribers can also obtain a free Vienna City Card or a ticket to one of the city's museums.

    In a statement on their website(Opens in a new tab), the board explained the perils of censorship for the promotion of their art, saying that major social media sites have prohibited or curtailed the presence of nude works.

    "Vienna and its art institutions are among the casualties of this new wave of prudishness — with nude statues and famous artworks blacklisted under social media guidelines, and repeat offenders even finding their accounts temporarily suspended," the statement reads.

    OnlyFans itself nearly stooped to banning sexually explicit content earlier this year, but quickly reversed this decision after widespread protest.

    Now, the site is being considered a more open-minded alternative for both people and institutions, like Vienna's Tourist Board. This also raises the question of what is allowed on other platforms like TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram(Opens in a new tab). The policies for censorship and points of regulation aren't exactly consistent when it comes to the most widely-used apps.

    SEE ALSO: Posting memes will get you banned from Instagram

    According to Instagram's Community Guidelines(Opens in a new tab), "Nudity in photos of paintings(Opens in a new tab) and sculptures is OK", along with photos of "post-mastectomy scarring and women actively breastfeeding." Instagram gave way to photographs of holding breasts after campaigning by Nyome Nicholas-Williams(Opens in a new tab) last year, in order to fight discriminatory censorship practices.

    And yet, Instagram has periodically censored art and artists(Opens in a new tab). In 2019, a painting by Peter Paul Rubens, a Flemish artist who created numerous biblical and mythological nudes in the 16th and 17th centuries, was removed off the platform(Opens in a new tab). This year the Leopold Museum(Opens in a new tab), located in Vienna, was stopped from promoting a short video featuring a nude painting by Koloman Mosser(Opens in a new tab). Other instance of artistic censorship are rife: for instance, in 2018, the Natural History Museum's photograph of the Venus of Willendorf figurine was removed by Facebook(Opens in a new tab), who own Instagram. The 30,000-year-old statue was deemed "pornographic".

    SEE ALSO: Instagram changes breast holding policy after #IWantToSeeNyome campaign

    Over on TikTok, Vienna's Albertina Museum(Opens in a new tab) was banned for its posts of nude artwork(Opens in a new tab) by Nobuyoshi Araki, a Japanese artist.

    In other words, history is repeating itself. The artists featured on Vienna Tourist Board's OnlyFans account were subjected to censorship centuries ago(Opens in a new tab). And they're still facing it today.

    " hardly comes as any surprise to learn that some of their artworks fell foul of the censors over 100 years ago. And the battle against censorship still rages on: with the rise of social media, bans like these are back in headlines once again," the Vienna Tourist Board write on their website.

    With OnlyFans, Vienna's many museums have fostered a channel of communication and promotion, fighting seemingly arbitrary censorship in other spaces of the internet. Their "NSFW" content belongs in an unrestricted home.

  • Influencers are flocking to OnlyFans but not everyone is happy about it

    Influencers are flocking to OnlyFans but not everyone is happy about it

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


    So many influencers have joined OnlyFans in the last six months that it's inspired an entire YouTube subgenre of reviewing influencer OnlyFans accounts.

    "I bought Every TikToker's OnlyFans so you don't have to" by Kwite(Opens in a new tab) has nearly 1.3 million views. "I paid for Nikocado Avocado's OnlyFans so you don't have to" by hot tea(Opens in a new tab) has more than 1.4 million views. "I paid for Tana Mongeau's OnlyFans so you dont have to lol (scam?)" by blair walnuts(Opens in a new tab) clocks in at more than 1.5 million views.

    When it was founded in 2016, OnlyFans was originally intended to give fans exclusive access to their favorite creators based on paid subscriptions. It came to be associated with digital sex work because it allows explicit content like nudity. (Other platforms like Instagram and Tumblr have stricter content policies.) OnlyFans is credited with empowering its most popular creators by making sex work profitable for talent in an industry that was already destabilized(Opens in a new tab) by the internet.

    But now joining the site has become something of a rite of passage for popular influencers who are restless in quarantine. Caroline Calloway(Opens in a new tab), "scammer" turned author turned risqué cosplayer, made an account in March. Tana Mongeau(Opens in a new tab), another controversial figure in internet culture, joined the platform in May. Just after angering conservatives like Ben Shapiro with her raunchy song "WAP," Cardi B announced that she, too, planned to join the platform(Opens in a new tab).

    It's not just a select set of influencers who are flocking to the platform. As the pandemic stretches on, more and more people are turning to OnlyFans as an extra source of income. COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the global economy, and although the unemployment rate is improving(Opens in a new tab) since the pandemic began, the number of Americans filing(Opens in a new tab) for unemployment benefits each week is still staggering.

    As a result of this sudden change, OnlyFans is experiencing explosive growth. An OnlyFans representative told Mashable that in the last six months, the total amount of user and creator accounts "nearly doubled." In March, OnlyFans had 26 million registered users and just over 350,000 total content creators. CEO Tim Stokely told BuzzFeed News(Opens in a new tab) in May that the site averaged 200,000 new users and 8,000 new content creators every day. As of August, the site has more than 50 million total registered users and some 700,000 content creators.

    But, as with everything related to sex, the politics of OnlyFans is sticky — and it's only getting thornier with this new influx of big names. Sex work is often called(Opens in a new tab) the "oldest profession in history," but it is still deeply stigmatized and pushed to the fringes of culture. COVID-19 has undeniably changed the way content is both created and consumed, including porn. And the rising popularity of OnlyFans has helped to bring sex work to the mainstream; even Beyoncé name dropped it in the remix of Meg Thee Stallion's "Savage."

    While influencers are no stranger(Opens in a new tab) to the platform, Cardi B is by far the biggest celebrity to join(Opens in a new tab). "I feel like people are using it in a different way now, like the way I'm using it," she told i-D.(Opens in a new tab) "But whatever way people are using OnlyFans, I don't have a problem with it, you know what I'm saying?"

    Not everyone, however, is happy about the influx of mainstream celebrity attention to the site and how they're using it. Many people who already have large followings on other social platforms, like Cardi B, are using OnlyFans to share exclusive, but not sexually explicit, content for paying fans.

    Crowding an already competitive market

    Between stay-at-home mandates, limited travel, and a years' worth of in-person events halting to a standstill, influencers' sphere of actual influence has been severely limited. As Elle(Opens in a new tab) wrote in March, "during a global disaster, followers are craving authenticity over 'picture-perfect' life."

    OnlyFans gives fans varying levels of access to creators depending on the tier of their subscription; the cheapest tier usually allows them to view exclusive content, while the most costly tiers gives them direct messaging privileges, and the ability to make specific requests. With limited influencing opportunities, creators are using OnlyFans to monetize their access.

    But this is saturating an already competitive industry. OnlyFans ranks its creators by popularity based on a percentage, though it's unclear if the ranking is determined by income or by the number of subscribers. Mochi, an OnlyFans creator who preferred not to disclose their real name, said they've made $5,000 in one week and ranked in the top 1 percent of creators, and $6,000 another week and ranked in the top 2 percent.

    "Anyone can get your coochie, anyone can get boobs. You have to make sure that you are the person they want."

    "You are a salesman," Mochi said during a FaceTime call. "Anyone can get your coochie, anyone can get boobs. You have to make sure that you are the person they want."

    As with any kind of online content creation, digital sex work is a nonstop hustle. Creators must front equipment costs, promote themselves across multiple platforms, develop and maintain relationships with their audience, and churn out new content. It may be glamorous and can be lavish, but it's far from the laid-back lifestyle most assume it to be.

    "When we're getting pushed down [the ranking] because of all these celebrities making so much money, we're losing subscribers and followers who know that we dropped down to 5 percent. They equate that to us not doing our job anymore," Mochi continued.

    Mochi, who is Black and Asian-American, added that influencers who are already conventionally attractive have a leg up — especially if they're thin, white, and fit into society's narrow definition of beauty. If you're queer, trans, BIPOC, and/or fat, you're often looked over in favor of those influencers.

    Queer, trans, BIPOC sex workers do find success on OnlyFans, but they're also fetishized for appealing to specific niches. OnlyFans creator Lena Lolita, who is also Black, has turned down requests to fulfill certain fetishes.

    "I have been asked before, 'Do you do race play?" and things like that, and I've politely declined," Lena Lolita explained in a FaceTime call. "I'm not going to kink shame anyone like that because...being able to explore something like that in a safe and consensual way can be healthy for someone."

    When influencer Caroline Calloway, for example, joined the site, she marketed her OnlyFans as NSFW cosplay of characters from literature. Having spent a good portion of the last two years entangled in controversy(Opens in a new tab), Calloway's self-promotion sparked debate within the sex work community over whether doing so was whorephobic(Opens in a new tab) because it assumes that sex workers are uneducated. After bragging that she was on track to earn a six-figure income from her OnlyFans account, she challenged critics to show her other sex workers who made "emotionally poignant, softcore cerebral porn" like hers.

    Other sex workers thoroughly ratioed her tweet by using it as a platform to promote their own "softcore cerebral" content.

    Calloway acknowledges the poor wording of her tweets, including one in which she muses(Opens in a new tab) about being the first graduate of Cambridge University to have an OnlyFans account. In a FaceTime call with Mashable, she said she wished she had framed it as more of a welcome for suggestions to be "proved wrong."

    Confronting privilege

    Calloway is far from a traditional influencer; although she has just under 700,000 Instagram followers, she rarely uses her platform to shill brand deals and merchandise. Instead, she uses her platform to promote her (often criticized) art, writing, and OnlyFans account. Like hundreds of thousands of other creators, Calloway made her account because she was "bored and horny and broke" in quarantine. She had just raised $50,000 from releasing a three-part series(Opens in a new tab) in response to an essay on The Cut about her by her former friend Natalie Beach, and donated the proceeds(Opens in a new tab) to COVID relief for doctors short on personal protective equipment. She doesn't regret the donation, but was "counting on the paycheck from that asset," which she says left her in financial straits.

    "I don't think there's anything wrong with being desperate," Calloway said. "I think that's a weird, shitty part of modern culture, a capitalist structure of our society. It's OK to be desperate. I mean, I've been broke many times in my life."

    As a cis white woman with a large online reach, Calloway juggles with the duality of contributing to the normalization of sex work while also taking up space on a platform where marginalized creators are already at a disadvantage. Calloway, at the very least, is cognizant of her privilege in a way that many others are not, and donates a portion of her OnlyFans revenue to Black and trans sex workers.

    "I think in this complicated, messy world, both things are true."

    "It's hard for me sometimes to hold what seems like conflicting ideas side by side. Gentrification and privilege within sex work exists. There are double standards that affect people of minority far far more than they affect me," Calloway added. "At the same time, people like me, people like Tana Mongeau joining OnlyFans does make it a little easier for someone down the road to tell their parents that they do sex work...I think in this complicated, messy world, both things are true."

    Entitlement to female bodies

    The influx of celebrity OnlyFans accounts is also loaded with an uncomfortable entitlement to women's bodies. Predominantly male fans have taken to Reddit and Twitter to complain about their favorite influencers creating OnlyFans accounts, but declining to show any nudity.

    Savannah Rose, a psychology student and cannabis advocate, has more than 76,000 followers on Instagram. Her OnlyFans subscription costs a hefty $40 per month — four times as much as the average(Opens in a new tab) $9.99 a month most creators charge. In a review(Opens in a new tab) of her OnlyFans account, a jaded Reddit user complained that Rose's content was "good" but "not great." The Reddit user added that while some of Rose's OnlyFans content was "top shelf awesome" as it revealed more than her Instagram photos did, the "topless" photos she posted — which cost subscribers $200 to view — did not reveal her nipples.

    "No nudity, no sex?" another Reddit user replied to the post. "Trash."

    It's understandable that fans want their favorite creators to post more often, especially if they're paying for it, but expecting nudity from anyone, regardless of their profession, is unreasonable and a blatant violation of their privacy.

    "Male entitlement to popular figures, and the rage that follows, is nothing new."

    Male entitlement to popular figures, and the rage that follows, is nothing new. Belle Delphine, "gamer girl bathwater" merchant, was banned from Instagram for nearly a year after trolling her fans with her Pornhub series. In a more severe case, photos of Bianca Devins'(Opens in a new tab) body went viral after her murderer, a vengeful friend who was enraged that she kissed someone else, posted them on Discord.

    The expectation of nudity on OnlyFans is a symptom of a greater issue: Many men believe that women owe them something for their attention, whether it's a kiss or a revealing photo.

    How influencers can respectfully get into sex work

    No consenting adult should be shut out of sex work — anyone should have the right to do what they want with their bodies, as long as it doesn't affect non-consenting parties. Still, if influencers want to respect those who were in the industry before them, they can do more than monetize their nudes.

    For one, influencers who glamorize OnlyFans can also be more vocal about the reality of showing the world your body. Nudes posted on OnlyFans are often watermarked, and like with Premium Snapchats, expected to stay within the confines of a paid subscription. Screenshots are still taken and circulated online, and although there are measures OnlyFans creators can take to conceal their identity, ensuring total anonymity is impossible.

    "Imagine the worst person to find out that you were doing sex work and imagine that they are going to find out."

    Mary Mae, an OnlyFans creator in the top 2 percent of the site, wants influencers to be more transparent about the potential ramifications of sex work. If sex work isn't a lifelong career aspiration, it may not be for you. Mary Mae — who also preferred to not share her last name — worries for young girls who believe that sex work will temporarily fix their financial situation without lasting consequences.

    "Imagine the worst person to find out that you were doing sex work and imagine that they are going to find out," Mary Mae said in a FaceTime call. "How does that make you feel? Because, if you're going to start, it will happen...And then you're blasted all over the internet, all your friends know about it, but you've made no money from it."

    Mary Mae said that although she loves what she does, she had to come to terms with the fact that her parents, friends, and future employers were likely to see her body. Mochi, who describes themself as a "survival sex worker" because they have no other means to make an income, created an in-depth pamphlet for "baby sex workers" — those just starting out — that dives into the very real potential consequences of sex work.

    "A lot of sex workers don't want to talk about the downsides of it," Mary Mae continued, noting the already deep running stigma against sex work. "At the end of the day, it is dangerous. It's not for everyone."

    "They're like, 'I'm not a sex worker,' but it's anything of you soliciting any sexual acts, even if it's just you shaking your butt on somebody."

    Influencers who choose to make OnlyFans accounts can also acknowledge that they're actually doing sex work — and use that to fight for sex workers rights. Both Mary Mae and Mochi agreed that within the sex work community, there's a hierarchy of stigma against different types of sex work. Those who don't post full nudes on OnlyFans look down on those who do, and those who only post on OnlyFans look down on strippers and club dancers, who look down on full service sex workers who directly engage in sexual activity with clients.

    "They're like, 'I'm not a sex worker,' but it's anything of you soliciting any sexual acts, even if it's just you shaking your butt on somebody," Mochi said. "They don't understand that because their view of sex work is me having sex with someone."

    The only influencers Mochi has seen interacting with the sex work community "right" are Amber Rose, who hosts an annual "SlutWalk"(Opens in a new tab) to reclaim slut shaming and end rape culture, and Trisha Paytas, who's controversial(Opens in a new tab) for a laundry list of reasons but is at least transparent about being a sex worker.

    "By acknowledging the fact that they're sex workers, popular influencers on OnlyFans validate the notion that sex work is real work."

    By acknowledging the fact that they're sex workers, popular influencers on OnlyFans validate the notion that sex work is real work, and can use their large followings to advocate for sex worker rights. In 2018, the controversial FOSTA-SESTA bill became law. It was meant to police online prostitution rings, but it has also had a huge impact on consensual sex work(Opens in a new tab). After Trump signed the bill into law, sites like Reddit and Tumblr, which were havens for sex workers because of previously lax content policies, banned the parts of the platform that could be policed under FOSTA-SESTA.

    In an effort to overcorrect, Tumblr infamously banned nudity, Reddit banned a number of subreddits like r/SugarDaddy and r/escorts, and Craigslist removed its entire personals section. OnlyFans itself falls in a legal gray area(Opens in a new tab). Under such tight restrictions, countless sex workers lost their main income sources.

    SEE ALSO: Twitter and the porn apocalypse that could reshape the industry as we know it

    With a small army of followers who already pay attention to them, influencers can use their, well, influence to promote legislation to decriminalize sex work, campaign for representatives who are pro-sex work, and lobby for the repeal(Opens in a new tab) of FOSTA-SESTA.

    For her part, Calloway says she is less bothered by "who" considers themselves a sex worker and more with the legislation that affects them.

    "We should really be looking for the true enemies of whorephobia, the true enemies of sex work: the Republican legislation in places [where] sex workers are shadow-banned on CashApp or Venmo," Calloway said when asked what she thought of influencers with OnlyFans accounts who didn't want to identify as sex workers. "These sort of problems are so much more pressing than whether or not someone self-identifies as a sex worker and what that means about them as a person."

    Influencers jumping on the OnlyFans bandwagon can at the very least promote the content of other sex workers. As competitive as the field is, creators largely rely on building an audience on Instagram, Twitter, and Reddit to promote their OnlyFans accounts. As with any other form of content creation, monetizing digital sex work depends on building a dedicated fan base.

    Social etiquette dictates not only following other sex workers back on social media, but promoting them whenever possible. Mary Mae, for example, uses her Twitter account with more than 29,000 followers to not only share snippets of her own OnlyFans content, but retweets other creators' as well. Just as they collaborate with and promote "civilian" influencers — civilian is a term within in the sex worker community to refer to someone who doesn't do sex work — influencers with OnlyFans accounts can bring attention to the sex workers with whom they share a platform, especially ones from marginalized identities.

    "We built this network and this platform together. Without the coalition of women and men and non-binary people and everyone under the rainbow, it wouldn't exist the way it exists today."

    "I think they [civilian influencers] should definitely use their platform to elevate the voices of other content creators that do really good work, because we're always trying to promote one another," Lena Lolita said. "We built this network and this platform together. Without the coalition of women and men and non-binary people and everyone under the rainbow, it wouldn't exist the way it exists today."

    And if having an OnlyFans account is nothing more than a novelty, Lena Lolita added, you should reconsider whether you really need to make one.

    "There are people making a living doing this, and if this is something you just do on the side, and you're not committed to doing on the side, you should take a serious look and say, 'Am I saturating a market that is not built for me?" Lena Lolita said. "Or that could be better benefitting someone else?"

    At the end of the day, it's nobody's place to gate keep sex work. But if influencers are going to hop into the world of OnlyFans, they'd be far more welcome if they're willing to use their societal privilege, digital leverage, and economic advantage to advocate for a safer future for all sex workers.

  • The best 11 tweets of the week, including The Office, an egg, and a Super Bowl poem

    The best 11 tweets of the week, including The Office, an egg, and a Super Bowl poem

    I'm not sure what else to say but: Another week down. We made it through the malaise of the post-Thanksgiving work week. That's a small victory and we've got to take what we can get.


    Anyway, I collected 11 good tweet from this week for you too enjoy. Why? I mean, we do this every week and hopefully someone out there gets a few laughs.

    So, here they are, the 11 best tweets of the week.

    1. Don't fact check. Don't try to use logic. Live in the truth of this statement.

    2. Wrapped used to be a lot different

    3. I feel too seen, too perceived

    4. As a big Office fan, I love this scene so much

    5. Yes, Kellen is coworker but I feel this tweet deserves to be lauded

    6. You know, like the GIF debacle

    7. If my apartment had stairs I would do this. I did it all the time growing up.

    8. A very specific, but good, tweet about a Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh football game ravaged by COVID(Opens in a new tab)

    9. Obligatory dril tweet

    10. And another

    11. And finally, The Egg

  • A beginners guide to sensation play

    A beginners guide to sensation play

    When you think of kink and BDSM, what do you imagine? We’re guessing dark dungeons, paddles, crops, black leather, and pain-play. Scenes of spanking and paddling tend to come to mind.

    But this perception is rather limiting. It doesn’t take the whole breadth of kink activities into consideration, which can leave a lot of curious would-be kinksters high and dry.

    Well, guess what, sexy pals! For those who aren’t into pain-play, kink is still accessible. This is where the glorious art of sensory play — aka sensation play — comes in. "Pain never needs to be involved in sensual sensory play," explains Dr. Celina Criss(Opens in a new tab), a certified sex coach who specializes in BDSM and GSRD, or gender, sexual, and romantic diversity. "Think gentle touches, delicious flavors, delightful scents, different kinds of light, and beautiful soundtracks. The clothes we wear and the settings we create can be a big part of this sort of play."

    SEE ALSO: A beginner's guide to understanding Dom/sub dynamics

    Kink is all about playing with power dynamics. At its core, it is when a submissive partner enthusiastically gives power to the Dominant partner. The give and take is the crux, not the whips and spankings. If we’ve whetted your appetite, keep reading.

    With kink misinformation rife on the internet amid the online sexual misinformation crisis, Mashable spoke to reputable kink experts to break down the nuts and bolts of sensory play, what makes it so appealing, and how you can try it for yourself. 

    What is sensory play?

    Sensory play = play that engages the senses. 

    Meaning, play involving touch, smell, taste, sound, and vision. If this sounds expansive, well, that’s because it is. "Sensory play is deliberately engaging the senses to explore pleasure. This is where we get the word sensual, it can mean nearly anything in a play context," Criss says.

    Want more sex and dating stories in your inbox? Sign up for Mashable's new weekly After Dark newsletter.

    Sensory play focuses on either enhancing a sense (or senses), or depriving you of a sense in order to heighten the others, "such as using a blindfold so you can't see," says Zachary Zane(Opens in a new tab), author of Boyslut: A Memoir and Manifesto(Opens in a new tab) and sex expert for Momentum Intimacy(Opens in a new tab).

    The appeal of this kind of play is that when we take away a sense — or experience intense stimulation, our brain-body connection gets stronger. It brings heightened awareness. When we experience this kind of hyper-focus, we’re flooded with positive brain chemicals like oxytocin and endorphins. When this play is sexual, it can lead to deep erotic feelings.

    How sensory play can be enjoyed without pain

    OK, so let’s break down where sensory play and pain play intersect. Pain-play is sensory play — because you are experiencing the pain through tactile sensation. BUT, not all sensory play is pain play. You can think of sensory play as the big umbrella term, with pain play as a subset. People can enjoy both general sensory play and pain play, or they can prefer one or the other. Sensory play goes beyond the tactile and branches into all five senses.

    Don’t yuck anyone else’s yum. We’re all just trying to get nasty and enjoy ourselves.

    Kink instructor Julieta Chiaramonte(Opens in a new tab), tells us that, "You can enjoy pain-free sensory play with things like massaging, tickling, feeding each other fruit, blindfolding, erotic music, etc. They all play a part in[to] a larger, more sensory experience."

    It’s about curiosity and all of that delicious power play, experienced in a way that brings in sensuality. Kink and pain can work together, but it doesn’t mean they need to go together to be valid. Don’t yuck anyone else’s yum. We’re all just trying to get nasty and enjoy ourselves.

    How sensory play is enjoyed

    The way your sensory play scene is played out is going to depend entirely on the activities you and your partner want to try, what feels good for you, and your boundaries. Each scene is a highly negotiated, co-constructed experience. No two are perfectly alike because they are as unique as the people engaging in them.

    Some examples include: 

    • Using a blindfold to remove sight.

    • Covering bodies in whipped cream to be licked off. 

    • Bondage (with handcuffs, ropes, harnesses, cages, etc.)

    • Using a feather (or other tool) to caress the skin.

    • (图1)

      Using ice or heat to play with temperature on the skin.

    • Putting on a hood to completely block out light.

    • Massage.

    • Playing with edging.

    • Eating/feeding different fruits or foods.

    • Playing with sex toys.

    • Spanking and paddling in a soft, painless way.

    This list is certainly not exhaustive, but it does give you a good picture of what this can look like for those who love it. It’s important to note that play such as spanking and paddling can still be done in a pain-free way. "I can't emphasize enough that you don't need to go hard. Light paddling and spanking can go a long way," Zane tells us. "You really, really do not need to wallop your partner for an enhanced sexual experience."

    SEE ALSO: The best sex toys under $50 (that are actually worth using)

    If you’re brand new to this play, Chiaramonte suggests creating a "storyline" for the scene. It could look something like this, for example: "Putting on a good playlist and giving your partner a massage. When done and relaxed, blindfold your partner and trail a feather across their body, feed them fruit/chocolate, and maybe run a vibrator around their body (having them tell you which spots feel best). When done with your sensory tools, you can scoop up your partner and hold them to slowly bring them back to reality."

    Are you turned on yet? We are.

    Four expert-approved tips for getting started 

    Get started on your own. 

    When you’re new to any kind of play, trying it on your own can be a good way to figure out what you like (and what you don’t). Chiaramonte suggests getting a bunch of sensory tools together and experimenting. “A lot like masturbation, we can fine tune our intimate tools if we've already explored what we like/don't like,” she says. Try using each one for ~10 minutes and think about what you did/did not like.

    Kink needs to be fully negotiated so that each person has their desires and boundaries respected.

    Discuss your desires and boundaries openly.

    Once you have a clear idea of what you enjoy and don’t enjoy, you’ll be equipped to have an open and honest discussion with your partner. Kink needs to be fully negotiated so that each person has their desires and boundaries respected. Don’t forget to pick a non-sexual safe word (a word that lets your partner know you’re at a boundary). Check in with your partner occasionally to make sure everyone is enjoying themselves.

    SEE ALSO: The best sexting apps for NSFW exchanges

    Get some tools. 

    What to play with, when there are infinite choices?! Criss suggests playing with sound and sight to start. Try making a sexy playlist and using a simple blindfold. Staying simple when you’re starting out can make the play feel less overwhelming.

    You can also get a massage candle, which heats up to the perfect temperature and then creates a warm, delicious oil you can pour all over your partner for a massage.

    If you want to buy some bondage gear, Zane recommends the Bondage Boutique Bound to Please Black Under Mattress Restraint(Opens in a new tab). At less than $50, you can’t go wrong.

    Disclaimer: This play needs to be done with care and safety. Learn how to use restraints before going wild with them. The best place to go? Chiaramonte’s rope tying and kink classes. Check them out here(Opens in a new tab)

    Stay curious!

    And lastly, and possibly most important: Stay curious. This play should be fun and explorative. It can be silly, hot, funny, awkward, and amazing. Be willing to lean into all the emotions it brings and enjoy yourself. 

  • 13 best tweets of the week, including Skittles, a spooky aunt, and Werner Herzog

    13 best tweets of the week, including Skittles, a spooky aunt, and Werner Herzog

    We all deserve a good laugh right now, what with the ongoing pandemic and the constant the political shitshow.


    What better way to catch a few laughs than some good tweets? We've been collecting our favorite tweets for, well, countless weeks now because hey, a little humor never hurt in the end-times.

    So here they are, 13 of our favorite tweets.

    1. Not me though

    2. Even the best laid plans

    3. "...the fact that he is now in full beast mode suggests to me he's not doing cheap reps."

    4. "Sir, you can't be sus in here."

    5. Some people just want to watch the world burn

    6. SpOo0oky aunt

    7. This answer is's a ride

    8. What could go wrong?

    9. I accept, and agree with, the results of this vote

    10. Obligatory dril tweet

    11. Drone, innnit

    12. Aggressive computers

    13. And finally, I could use this