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Grand Rapids, Michigan: What India Today Sex Survey 2016 revealed to me

Stanford D. Wood 4362 Kimberly Way Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Women are taking the lead while men still playing catch-up as sexual and digital revolutions overlap.

ANGSHUKANTA CHAKRABORTY

That annual report card on sex, primed right before Shiv Sainiks tell you to steer clear of Valentine’s Day, is here again. India Today Sex Survey 2016, with expansive appraisals on “love, lust and longing”, has presented a fascinating portrait of national pleasure, which it dubs “the Great Indian Orgy”, and which Gayatri Jayaraman addresses to the “hypocritical Indian” (by which she means you, obviously).

Bedroom antics has been sociology since time immemorial, but the sex survey is a peculiar product of our time, which, to borrow Sanjay Srivastava’s brilliant phrase, is governed by “peasant norms and industrial desires”. As our laws and men play catch-up to longings and women, as sexuality gets talked about and not just brushed under the carpet, as we order in dates via apps like Tinder, we still see condom ads being taken down because of they are “against Indian culture”. To paraphrase Shakira, “underneath your clothes (and between the sheets) there’s an endless story”.

Poised in the vernal equinox of the second decade of the 21st century, India is seriously moving and shaking under the sheets (and in the car, in the restaurant loo, in the elevator – especially in the elevator, in the shabby motel rooms of Tier-II cities and luxurious suites of five star hotels in the metropolises, in the hostels, in the PGs, in the farmhouses, in the post-work factory settings, and just about anywhere where desires clash by the night and day).

Here are ten ready takeaways from the grand assessment of bodies, bawdiness and bedrooms.

Read and feel the tingle.

1. Pursuit of pleasure, not procreation

The Great Indian Family can take a step back. Sex has come unstuck from child-bearing and has firmly attached itself to individual thrill-seeking. As far as urban Indians are concerned, it’s sex for sex’s sake. Sexual competence and compatibility, physics and chemistry under the sheets get high marks from the city slickers. On the superhighway of desires, sex drives our men and women – gay, straight or trans. Libido decides much; libido is splashed on TV and print. Pleasure seeking is the national pastime, and Sunny Leone is the poster girl of a new sexually confident and assertive India, no matter what the priests and prophets tell you.

2. Less emotions, please; we’re Indians

Sex has also come unstuck from “love”, or the romantic ideal of a monogamous, commitment-centric relationship, which looks back at the past and looks forward to a future together. Sentimentality has been given a smack on its burdened back, with the new sexual explorers preferring it light. “No strings attached”, in the popular parlance, though it doesn’t have the camaraderie or political resonance of a 70’s hippie culture. Casual dates, one night stands, random flings, friends with benefits – the arrangements are various and floating along the gradient of less and less emotions. And as films like Masaan and Hunterrr show, small towns are leading the change from sentimentality to sensuality.

3. More is the new normal

Indians are not satisfied with satisfaction; experimentation is symptomatic of the new aspirational India. More is not just merrier; it is the new normal. Men and women in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata are candidly admitting to casual-dating two or more persons at any given time. It’s not about a permanent spot in each other’s rotating schedules: it’s about transitory intersections, a Brownian motion of sexually charged atoms, as it were. Urban Indians, thanks to their overstretched office hours and long commutes to and from work, are keeping it simple. Just sex, with you, you and also you.

4. No waiting till marriage

Matrimonial sites may be mushrooming, but they have serious competition from dating and hook-up apps, which lure in the young and slightly older with the promise of instant gratification. The sociology of sex is being peeled off a whole lot of mutual expectations, with boys and girls, men and women preferring to indulge in some self-pampering before taking the big plunge. In fact, most are postponing marriage, or show no hurry to tie the knot. Marriage has lost some of its sheen with civil partnerships and informal live-ins acquiring the aura of how modern love should look like. The nuclear unit of two has been further stripped to include only the meandering, reconnoitering sexual navigator.

5. Virginity isn’t CV enhancer

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“Who is afraid of the virginity wolf?”, asks Paromita Vohra in the India Today Sex Survey 2016 edition, and she’s bang on target. Virginity, though still paraded as a cherished jewel in that insular universe of Hindi soap opera, is nevertheless a stock with diminishing returns. In this crowded market of hypersexed consumers, you can’t sell virginity as well as you could some years back. Hymenoplasty may be a lucrative medical procedure only if you are planning to make your way to the Middle you know where, or fly into the hearts of religious darkness, of different shades. But other than that, virginity, if anything, is a cause of stress, and a sign of inexperience, in this busy marketplace of manufactured desires.

6. Let’s buy, let’s make out

Capitalism and sex never had it as good. Fused inextricably, they have been fuelling each other’s engine since the end of Second World War, but in the 21st century, the duo have discovered a bond even stronger. Sexual desire is proliferating in the shopping malls and multiplexes of our “globalising” cities, with goods such as smartphones, computers, kitchenware, lingerie, perfumes, aftershaves, soaps, bathing gels, etc., tapping in and in turn expanding the power of sex. Sex is used to sell everything, while everything ends up selling us to sex even more. Everything, from our clothes, to shoes, to houses and apartments, to vehicles and cellphones, is designed to enhance our sexual capital. Buying and making out are reversible processes, one leading to other.

7. WhatsApping sexual revolution

Digital India, is also, overwhelmingly, sexualising India. The discovery of sex, a Kama Sutra for the 21st century, will be WhatsApped, and SnapChat-ted, and DM-ed (direct message-ed). As online presence becomes a marker of individual worth, Facebook profiles replace introductions, Twitter handles give out name, place, locations – sexuality becomes a function of the digital wave. Offering both anonymity and plenitude, the chat apps on our smartphones are making communication – private and public – as easy as the morning cuppa.

8. Tinder is the night

Insta hook-up is a notch higher than the WhatsApp culture of sexting, and Tinder rules the roost here. Introduced last year in India, the US-based hook-up app is a no-nonsense platform of casual sex. You order in sex the way you order in a pizza, or rent a cab. Swiping left is the new passcode to a universe of infinite sexual possibilities, and it seems urban India, especially its crème de la crème, is reaping the benefits of app-ocalypse now.

9. Women go quid pro quo

It has been quantified. Men and women are f*****g more. But how does it register on the gender equality parameter? Who is pleasuring whom more, and better? Looks like women (as well as men) are extremely interested in the Big O. As Rosalyn D’Mello breaks it down in her A Handbook for My Lover, mutual pleasuring has overtaken the norm of just intercourse-centric penovaginal sex, which is built in for a heteronormative sexual culture. Not any more. Oral sex may be “against the order of nature”, as per Section 377, but men and women in India’s hyperactive cities can’t stop going down on each other. [Figures, since it’s not always bedroom sex between the lot.] On the other hand, women are demanding a universal sexual franchise of sort, with being pleasured right at the top of this new courtship game.

10. Prudery is alive and well

But it’s not all hunky-dory. Actually, it is hunky-dory, since what’s hunky-dory-ness without its residual share of hypocrisy and hyperventilation? It’s nothing new that more people watch pornography and carry out extramarital affairs than they admit to. Or that more people have casual sex than they admit to. But the prudery comes when exactly such people make overt gestures of sexual censure a matter of Indian culture/patriotism. In this, and in a few more instances of being two-faced arses, Delhi tops many a list (read the survey for the stats), which is unfortunate. Though, hardly unexpected.

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North Little Rock, Arkansas: I Got Fillers In My Penis – & My Sex Life Has Never Been Better

Joseph K. Rogers 4402 Masonic Hill Road North Little Rock, AR 72114

I've been insecure and self-conscious about my penis size for most of my adult life. It's not on my mind all the time, but it's always bothered me. There wasn't a specific instance when a partner was explicitly disrespectful or mean, but there have been times when I could tell it wasn’t satisfying or didn’t work as smoothly as it should.

I hadn't done a ton of research on enhancement options, though, so I didn't realize you could get enlargement fillers until I heard about it at Urban Skin Solutions med spa while I was getting hair restoration treatments. I found out more and talked through my concerns, like the pain level and potential for loss of feeling and negative affect on performance, and ultimately, I decided the procedure seemed safe. I was a little scared, but the fact that I was already comfortable at this place made it easier. I didn't discuss it with friends, just my fiancée. She certainly wasn't a driving force behind why I wanted to do it and she's never made me feel bad about the size, but she was supportive because she knew it affected me.

They set pretty reasonable expectations prior to the procedure and let me know upfront that length probably wouldn't be affected, but the girth could be enhanced anywhere from one to two-and-a-half inches. Two treatments were recommended and in total, I ended up paying $3,000.

The area was numbed first, so I really didn't feel the injection. They inject at the base and then down the length while the penis is flaccid, but I didn't look, which would have been the worst part. I would definitely recommend not watching! I was sore for a few days afterward, but I didn't even ice it — it was minor discomfort, then it was back to normal, only bigger. A few weeks later, I went back for the second treatment — in total, five syringes were used. Then we did the "after" photos while I was hard so you could really see the difference: I grew one-and-a-half inches in girth. I was pleasantly surprised because I didn't know if it would be a noticeable difference or not, but the results were very quick and impressive.

My fiancée was definitely excited, more so at first for me, but also because the sex was better after that honestly. I was obviously concerned about whether all the feeling in my penis would be there, but I can't tell any difference in that.

Supposedly, the fillers last six months. It’s a big expense, but it's worth it to me so as long as I'm able to afford it, I do plan to keep going. It certainly makes me think about if there is possibly more to do and if I found something that would add length as well, I'd be open to it. But I'm certainly much more confident now, in terms of performance and appearance, just with the increase in girth.

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Cleveland, Ohio: Lingerie model gets 'designer vagina' after REFUSING doctor's advice to grow her bikini line out

Carl D. Moffatt 4771 Vineyard Drive Cleveland, OH 44115

A lingerie model has gone under the knife to get a "designer vagina" to resolve a painful problem with her genitals.

Tracy Kiss, 29, endured pain every single day, whether she was walking along the street, working out or even sitting down.

The single mother-of-two was left fearing she had "deformed" genitals, but a doctor told her the problem was down to excess skin and recommended growing her pubic hair out.

Tracy, who opened up about the problem on 5STAR's Don't Tell The Doctor, chose to undergo surgery instead as she feared the look would not go down well in the modelling world.

Seeking the advice of Doctor Belinda Fenty on the new show, the Buckinghamshire native revealed how she feared her vagina was "deformed".

Speaking to the doctor, who works in gynaecology and antenatal medicine, at her home, Tracy explained how the intimate issue affected her - saying she often had to awkwardly adjust herself in public to try and alleviate the pain.

After attempting to self-diagnose using the web, the model admitted that she had been left scared after viewing a string of responses, choosing instead to seek a definitive answer.

"I’ve only seen [my vagina] when I took a photo to see where the pain was coming from, I was so surprised really in the difference in size and shape and it looks like it’s deformed," she told the programme.

"I think I have excess skin, but I don’t know what to compare it to see how much."

But Doctor Fenty put her fears to rest as she explained the cause of the pain following an examination.

The medical professional told Tracy: "It does not look deformed. The left side looks bigger than the right side, but that is absolutely within the normal range but that’s probably what’s giving you your problem.

"I can see that your inner lips are hanging lower than your outer lips, that is definitely what it going to be causing your problems."

Reassuring the model that she wasn't suffering from any abnormalities, the doctor suggested that Tracy grow out her bikini line to provide a bit of cushioning.

"'I do lingerie modelling and I don’t know how well that would go down," explained Tracy.

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"I already think I have quite a big bulge in the skin and think if I have a big bush of hair it would look quite obvious in lingerie."

Choosing instead to take a more drastic approach to solving her issue, she opted to undergo a labiaplasty.

The procedure, also known as vulval surgery, involves the removal of excess skin from the vagina lips.

Heading to eminent cosmetic and reconstructive surgeon Angelica Kavouni's Harley street clinic, Tracy went under the knife.

Staying awake for the procedure, Tracy had a local anaesthetic, while the surgeon seared off the small piece of flesh that had been negatively affecting her.

Despite the painful post-op recovery period, the hopeful model said: "I will get my life back and it's more than worth it."

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Deerfield, Illinois: 30-year-old Russian man volunteers for world's first human head transplant

Mark H. Taylor 2507 Bingamon Branch Road Deerfield, IL 60015

Dr. Sergio Canavero, of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group (TANG) in Italy, first spoke of his plans to carry out the first human head transplantation in July 2013 - a project named HEAVEN-GEMINI.

At the American Academy of Neurological and Orthopedic Surgeons' 39th Annual Conference in Annapolis, MD, in June, Dr. Canavero will present updated plans for the project, addressing some of the previously identified challenges that come with it.

Though researchers have seriously questioned the feasibility of Dr. Canavero's plans, it seems the first human head transplantation is a step closer to becoming a reality; Valery Spiridonov, a 30-year-old computer scientist from Vladimir, Russia, is the first person to volunteer for the procedure.

Spiridonov has Werdnig-Hoffman disease - a rare genetic muscle wasting condition, also referred to as type 1 spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). The condition is caused by the loss of motor neurons in the spinal cord and the brain region connected to the spinal cord. Individuals with the disease are unable to walk and are often unable to sit unaided.

Spiridonov was diagnosed with Werdnig-Hoffman disease at the age of 1 and told MailOnline that he volunteered for HEAVEN-GEMINI because he wants the chance of a new body before he dies.

'"I can hardly control my body now," he said. "I need help every day, every minute. I am now 30 years old, although people rarely live to more than 20 with this disease."

Dr. Canavero told CNN he has received an array of emails and letters from people asking to be considered for the procedure, many of which have been from transgender individuals seeking a new body. However, the surgeon says the first people to undergo the procedure will be those with muscle wasting conditions like Spiridonov.

The procedure - which is estimated to take 100 surgeons around 36 hours to complete - will involve spinal cord fusion (SCF). The head from a donor body will be removed using an "ultra-sharp blade" in order to limit the amount of damage the spinal cord sustains.

"The key to SCF is a sharp severance of the cords themselves," Dr. Canavero explains in a paper published earlier this year, "with its attendant minimal damage to both the axons in the white matter and the neurons in the gray laminae. This is a key point."

The recipient will be kept in a coma for around 3-4 weeks, says Dr. Canavero, during which time the spinal cord will be subject to electrical stimulation via implanted electrodes in order to boost the new nerve connections.

The surgeon estimates that - with the help of physical therapy - the patient would be able to walk within 1 year.

Spiridonov admits he is worried about undergoing the procedure. "Am I afraid? Yes, of course I am," he told MailOnline. "But it is not just very scary, but also very interesting."

"You have to understand that I don't really have many choices," he added. "If I don't try this chance my fate will be very sad. With every year my state is getting worse."

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Dr. Canavero has previously admitted there are two major challenges with HEAVEN-GEMINI: reconnecting the severed spinal cord, and stopping the immune system from rejecting the head. But he claims that recent animal studies have shown the procedure is "feasible."

Unsurprisingly, however, researchers worldwide are highly skeptical of the proposal. Talking to CNN, Arthur Caplan, PhD, director of medical ethics and NYU Langone Medical Center in New York, NY, even called Dr. Canavero "nuts."

Caplan said the procedure needs to be conducted many more times on animals before it is applied to humans, adding that if the technique is feasible then Dr. Canavero should be trying to help paralyzed patients before attempting whole body transplants.

And talking to New Scientist earlier this year, Harry Goldsmith, a clinical professor of neurosurgery at the University of California-Davis, said the project is so "overwhelming" that it is the chances of it going ahead are unlikely.

"I don't believe it will ever work," he added, "there are too many problems with the procedure. Trying to keep someone healthy in a coma for 4 weeks - it's not going to happen."

Spiridonov says he is well aware of the risks, though he is still willing to take a chance on Dr. Canavero.

"He's a very experienced neurosurgeon and has conducted many serious operations. Of course he has never done anything like this and we have to think carefully through all the possible risks," he told MailOnline, but adds that "if you want something to be done, you need to participate in it."

Though it not been confirmed when the procedure will be performed, Spiridonov says it could be as early as next year. Watch this space.

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Detroit, Michigan: Botox could be ‘game changer’ for erectile dysfunction, Canadian urologists say

Johnnie G. Gonzalez 3991 Tuna Street Detroit, MI 48226

In a surprising, and seemingly counterintuitive application of a wildly popular wrinkle relaxer, two Canadian urologists are testing Botox for impotence.

If it does for men what it has so far done in aged male rats, Botox may offer a persistent, long-acting (months at a time) way to restore erectile function in men, they believe.

Their preliminary data suggests Botox, or botulinum toxin injections, can increase blood flow to the penis by paralyzing the nerves that cause smooth muscles within the penis to contract.

Erections depend mainly on a good blood flow.

“The advantage of this would be that you inject it once, it lasts for six months potentially, and the pump would be primed every time you wanted to have sex,” said Dr. Sidney Radomski, a professor of surgery and urology at the University of Toronto.

Other forms of penile injection therapy have existed for years, but men have to self-inject every time they want to have sex. Meanwhile, Viagra and other pills that belong to a class known as PDE-5 inhibitors — drugs that act on the chemical signals that open up the blood vessels in the penis — have to be taken before sex, or daily. They can also cause side effects such as headache and heartburn. As well, Viagra doesn’t work for a third or more of men who try it, said Dr. Gerald Brock, professor of surgery at Western University in London.

“It’s probably 50 per cent of men who’ve had prostate cancer surgery; maybe 40 per cent of men with diabetes,” he said. “There are subgroups (of men) where the response rate is almost a 50-50 shot.”

The Associated PressViagra doesn’t work for a third or more of men who try it, says an Ontario researcher who says Botox could be a "game changer" for ED.

Botox, he said, may help “salvage” those non-responders. Writing in the current issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine, Brock and co-author, French urologist Francois Giuliano, go further, saying Botox could be a “potential game changer” for ED.

Others worry ED drugs are already perpetuating narrow social norms of masculinity and male sexuality — the idea, says University of Iowa medical anthropologist Emily Wentzell, that “in some way, to be a real man, you have to be this penetrative force.”

She worries categories of sexual dysfunction are proliferating and expanding, and that normal, age-related changes are being framed as “pathological.”

Writing in the Journal of Sex Research, Wentzell argues the medicalization of impotence “and the emphasis on casting phallocentric sex as the natural and healthy sexual ideal have been promoted worldwide through ED drug marketing.”

It’s very much a Euro-North American phenomenon, she said, noting Chinese men, for example, have had a “lukewarm” response to Viagra.

“Obviously medical solutions can help men who feel really bad they can’t live up to their own desires, and maybe their partner’s desires, and certainly cultural scripts about how a man should be,” Wentzell said in an interview.

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“But we don’t think about variation in bodily function as natural anymore,” she said. “Instead, we’re narrowing our idea of what counts as ‘normal.’ ”

Men often don’t talk to their partners before seeking out ED drugs she said, or keep their use secret. “Yet research shows that when men talk to their partners, their partners are fine with the change, or they would be fine if they explored other sexual activities.”

Radomski has been using Botox to treat overactive bladders by paralyzing the smooth muscles in the bladder. The injections last six to nine months. He wondered whether it might work in a similar way for penises by allowing the smooth muscles to relax, dilate and allow more blood flow to rapidly fill the penis.

In a rat study, “we saw exactly what he had predicted,” Brock said. “Improved erections were actually seen.”

The animal model isn’t the same as humans. For one thing, the researchers used an electrical current to stimulate the nerves to induce an erection.

While much more research is needed in animals, they hope to start clinical trials in men within six to 12 months. For now there’s little real data, except for one small published pilot study from Egypt. There, a dozen men who received a single injection of Botox showed increased arterial flow and improved scores on a “sexual health inventory” two weeks post-injection.

Still, Botox isn’t innocuous. Made from the bacteria that cause botulism, it can spread to other body areas beyond where it’s injected. In too high doses, “If it goes into the bloodstream, it can kill you, basically, because it can paralyze everything,” Radomski said.

The plan is to use an exceptionally small dose. However, there’s also the potential risk of causing a permanent change like priapism — prolonged erections without sexual stimulation.

“I think that would be a very small risk,” Brock said, “but certainly that would be one of the things that we would be looking for and trying to titrate the dose so it would not occur.”

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