This Week in Kink, February 3, 2018

Cuckolding seems to be having a moment right now, and not just for the term being co-opted into political language as an insult. In an interview with CNN Dr David Ley, author of Insatiable Wives, says:

This fantasy has been around as long as marriage and sexuality, but we’re hearing more and more about it these days, and more people are rejecting the social stigma against this fantasy.

According to a recent study by Ley, Dr Justin Lehmiller and writer Dan Savage, cuckolding fantasies can be a largely positive experience and are surprisingly common. Dr Lehmiller surveyed thousands of Americans and found that 58% of men and about a third of women had fantasised about cuckolding. Ley, Lehmiller and Savage extended the study to 580 gay men and found cuckolding fantasies are common in that community too.

Overall, our research found that for the most part, cuckolding tends to be a positive fantasy and behaviour,” said Ley. “It doesn’t appear to be evidence of disturbance, of an unhealthy relationship, or of disregard for one’s partner.” But there’s an important caveat, added Lehmiller. “We found several personality factors that predict more positive experiences acting on cuckolding fantasies. For those who have a lot of relationship anxiety or abandonment issues, who lack intimacy and communication, and who aren’t careful, detail-oriented planners, acting on a consensual non-monogamy fantasy could very well be a negative experience,” he said. “In other words, not everyone who has a cuckolding fantasy should think about acting on it.

Dr David Ley also published an article in Psychology Today last week: Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder in ICD-11.

Diagnosis and treatment of sex addiction has become quite big business, and there has been ongoing tension between those who profit from it and would like to see it legitimised, and many medical professionals who see great risk of over-diagnosis and pathologizing.

The upcoming International Classification of Disease (ICD-11) may include a diagnosis called Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder (CSBD) which would seem, on first glance, to support proponents of the concept of sex addiction. However, Dr Ley points out that it is important to remember that the ICD is only a coding manual, and jumping on the bandwagon of rediagnosing all the alleged cases of sex addiction as CSBD would be grossly unethical:

Even after ICD-11 is accepted in the US, it STILL doesn’t necessarily change things in mental health diagnoses (and impulse control disorders are a mental health diagnosis). Many state regulations require that licensed clinicians use the DSM to diagnose mental health disorders, particularly in billing to funding streams such as Medicaid. Why? Because the ICD has typically been primarily a coding manual, not a diagnostic one as the DSM is. The ICD was intended to yield consistent sets of billing codes across regions, and has not historically included the level of detail, etiology and guidelines that were included in the DSM. Perhaps a DSM- update will include CSBD. Until then? The only people who can get treatment or diagnosis for CSBD in the United States will be people who can afford to pay cash for their services.

TinderDrift demonstration

Even though it’s always wise to assume that anything we do online may not be private, there are some things we hope are… like our activity on dating apps. Last Tuesday researchers at security firm Checkmarx demonstrated that Tinder users are vulnerable to targetted surveillance, or just random voyeurs if they’re sharing the same network.

Not only are pictures you access not encrypted, the data that Tinder does encrypt forms predictable patterns (278 bytes for a swipe left, 374 bytes for a swipe right, 581 bytes for a match) that are easily interpreted.

Checkmarx actually told Tinder about its vulnerabilities in November, but there have been no upgrades to the app, so the researchers built a piece of proof-of-concept software called TinderDrift that runs on a laptop. If it’s connected to a wifi network where other connected users are tindering, it automatically reconstructs their entire session. Fortunately, at this stage, it looks like private messages cannot be hacked.

Boing Boing probed a bit deeper, and warns that users should also be aware that Tinder users should also be aware of Tinder’s trackers and its “very permissive sharing arrangements with third-parties such as Facebook”.

Using tools from French non-profit Exodus Privacy, they found that Tinder collects nearly all data it can grasp, and they retain that info as long as they see fit. Give it permission to access your Facebook profile and you will also find that it hoovers up photos, lists of friends, education and employment info and data about your friends.

image: photography by Francesco Cascavilla for Pornceptual, Issue 1

Mainstream discussions on porn would have you believe that it is a form of oppression, but can it be a flashpoint for social change? The magazine Pornceptual, which has just released its third issue, thinks so. From photographers to pornographers and poets, minority communities like female porn-makers, PoC and LGBTQ, trans, disabled and elderly people get a platform to show you why porn is key to growing the visibility of their sexualities. Dazed interviewed Pornceptual‘s founders, who say:

Even though you could argue that the internet has made a wider range of representation readily available, minority groups are often fetishised, but not always represented in a positive way. Also by refusing to accept the idea of normality and the hierarchization of sexualities, the magazine focuses on sexualities and bodies that are not usually represented in mainstream porn. By presenting a more extensive range of sexual expressions and bodies, we hope to broaden the sexual appetite of our readers.

Mel Magazine continues its fascination with penises and has published some interesting facts discovered from analysing 2 million of them. To be more accurate, the data is self-reported and comes from users of Dick Code, a site that allows you to select from illustrations to create a personal code that represents the characteristics of your own member, which can be sent to others as an alternative to sending them a dick pic.

True to stereotypes, the biggest dicks come from Kenya and Nigeria, averaging 6.8 inches, and the smallest come from the Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia at an average of 5.5 inches. Asian guys also have the most pubic hair. Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt are the most circumcised and Norway is the least, and Israelis apparently shoot the most cum.

Valentine’s Day is on the way, and with it comes the final instalment in the Fifty Shades trilogy. With a kidnapping, a coma, and a lot of anger issues, will Mr and Mrs Grey live happily ever after? Of course they will, and you can see it unfold on the screen from February 9.

Feature image: photography by Chris Phillips for Pornceptual, Issue 1

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