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sexuality

Tens of thousands of Irish people are facing their romantic and sex lives being damaged by chronic pain, a study revealed yesterday.

1.65 million sufferers nationwide live with acute and persistent discomfort in Ireland, which takes a toll on work, sleep, leisure and relationships.

35 percent of study participants claimed that the persistent pain had deeply affected their sex lives, with 17 percent saying their pain had a huge impact on their physical relationships.

Chronic pain is defined by health experts and doctors as over 12 weeks of consistent pain, with the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists saying three-out-of-four sufferers can't live regular lives

Among those with chronic pain, almost half reported that their ability to sleep had been damaged. 

Dr Brona Fullen of the UCD School of Public Health said:

“Living with persistent pain is not easy. Not only does it impact on on physical well-being but also your mental health. Emotions such as worry, stress, anxiety, low mood, fear and anger can develop.”

The survey interviewed 1,000 people, with 434 reporting that they had suffered chronic pain at one part in their lives.

75 percent said that it had a negative impact on their social activities and exercise. 70 percent of sufferers admitted that it damaged their ability to take part in family life and playing with their children.

Chronic pain is costing the taxpayer billions each year, according to the ISCP. This Sunday marks World Physiotherapy Day, with the 2019 theme being chronic pain.

The normal tissue healing frame is three-to-six months, and most chronic pain conditions have no apparent biological value. The causes and cures of female pain disorders are especially under-researched.

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Gender non-binary singer Sam Smith has asked to be referred to as 'they' instead of 'he' from now on, and has asked his family and friends to do so as well.

A friend of the 27-year-old said: "This is a decision Sam has thought long and hard about, including doing a lot of reading up on it.

"They know that it will take some people longer than others to fully get it. First the request is going out to mates and then it will be passed on to the music industry too," the pal added.

"It's an exciting and groundbreaking time for him."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Sam recently reached out to thank Hits Radio presenter James Barr for his use of pronouns.

James tweeted after chatting to the How Do You Sleep singer; "Just interviewed Sam Smith and they sounded so happy and free and more themselves than ever."

Sam replied: "You're one of the first people to use these pronouns with me. Thank you. That feels really beautiful."

The star co-penned and sang the theme for Bond film Spectre, winning them an Oscar for best song. Their career is only going up from here.

Sam commented on his gender identity back in May, saying; "Right now my focus is the non-binary conversation.

"I have a few friends and people in my team who are non-binary and they're really teaching me stuff I didn't know before. It's wonderful," they explained.

"Ever since I was a little boy, ever since I was a little human, I didn't feel comfortable being a man really. Some days I've got my manly side and some days I've got my womanly side."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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They recently talked to Jameela Jamil on her iWeigh Instagram series to discuss how weight doesn't bear any meaning when it comes to your worth.

They say;

"You do not identify in a gender. You are just you. You are your own special creation. That is how I take it. I am not male or female. I think I float somewhere in between – somewhat on the spectrum."

Sam also discussed his thought process and how he "thinks like a woman at times";  "I've always had a bit of a war in my body and my mind…I do think like a woman in my head at times.

"I've sometimes sat there and questioned, do I want a sex change? It's something I still think about, but I don't think it is," they revealed, candidly.

"I've tried to change that into my thoughts on gender…when I move, when I have sex with men, it's very feminine. I'm feminine in many ways – and I've resented that."

Feature image: Instagram/@samsmith

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Consent classes will be rolled out in secondary schools and sports clubs nationwide after the success of the college campus workshops.

The Irish Examiner has reported that the number of students attending the Smart Consent workshops in colleges skyrocketed by more than 600 percent, partly because of high-profile rape cases.

Pádraig MacNeela and Siobhán O’Higgins, from NUIG’s School of Psychology (who developed the workshops) said the programme has been altered to suit the age range of secondary school students.

Pádraig MacNeela spoke about the creation of the classes;

“We’ve started to redevelop workshops and test them out in schools, working with parents being on board and being the allies you want them to be.

“It’ll be the same type of conversation approach that has been happening in colleges, except there is a full redesign of materials to speak to school age, so far it seems to be a good fit," he added.

The proramme is set to launch in schools in early 2020, but several schools have already gone through the workshop. 

“We’ve worked with five or six schools so far, piloting the programme, where we have gone in to talk about consent," said Siobhán O’Higgins.

“It’s allowed us to see if this format, the workshop type programme, will work. We’ve been to schools in Limerick, Dublin, and Galway. We worked with parents first, it was actually the parents who wanted this in the schools and then the schools said they wanted it too.”

Sexual education in Irish secondary schools is taught under the relationships and sexuality education (RSE) programme, but varies hugely depending on the school.

The Department of Education and Skills have stated that every school can choose their own way of teaching the programme, which means that many students have received next to zero sex education.

What little sex education was offered in other schools solely touched on science, rather than contraception, consent and emotional relationships.

Siobhán O’Higgins has said that they must act strategically when choosing what schools receive the new workshop in 2020.

"There is no point going in and talking about consent in a school who haven’t had good RSE, with students who don’t understand their own bodies. Talking about consent like that is just adding on top of the confusion.

“Parents are afraid to talk to their children,” she said. “It’s very difficult now to be a parent. I do a bit of a workshop on consent with parents and we ask: ‘Was it consent?’ ‘Yes?’ ‘No?’ Sometimes it’s not always clear.”

More than 4,000 college students have taken the voluntary workshop since it first launched in 2015, which includes all sexual orientations and gender identities.

Consent is about respect and how we treat others, and many health professionals have said that the workshops need to reach younger people, before they hit college.

The programme makes sure to include the role of alcohol and drugs in consent. Organisers say they now plan to work with various networks and groups to reach young people aged 16 to 24-years-old.

A review of relationships and sexuality education is currently being carried out, with the draft report complete and open for public consultation until October 2019.

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The long-held absurd belief that men have massive libidos and women are pretty indifferent when it comes to sex is still a prominent myth in our society, and new research proves this point.

A new study commissioned by the End Violence Against Women Coalition has shown that almost half of people still reckon that men have stronger sex drives than women.

3,922 British adults were quizzed on heterosexual relationships, and one-third of people (32 percent) think men need sex more than women (WOW) compared to only one percent who said the opposite.

45 percent of the study's participants said that they think a man is more likely to initiate sex, compared with three percent who believe the opposite. 

43 percent said that both sexes were equally responsible for starting sex. One-in-10 of respondents claimed that a woman decides when the intimate act has finished, compared with 36 percent for men and 38 percent who said both.

"Although it's good to find that three-quarters of adults believe men and women are both likely to enjoy sex, what we clearly also have are persistent, widely held views about who sex is primarily 'for', who 'needs' it and whose pleasure matters,” said Sarah Green, director of the organisation.

"This is a cornerstone of equality as much as equal pay and shared parenting, but 'the orgasm gap' is perhaps not as widely discussed as some other key equality issues."

Interestingly, pensioners are more likely than 18-24-year-olds to believe both partners enjoy sex. People aged 65 and older felt both a man and woman would equally enjoy sex.

Among 18-24-year-olds, just 25 percent believe having sex is a mutual decision, while 50 percent think it is up to the man to decide. Just 10 percent believe it’s up to women to choose whether they have sex.

7 percent think women are more likely to "go along with sex to keep their partner happy", compared with only 2 percent who thought the same of men.

Dr Fiona Vera Gray, research fellow at Durham Law School and expert on sexual harassment and pornography, said: "This report shows how far we've got to go in changing outdated ideas about women as sexual gatekeepers."

Research has recently proven that men and women are equally aroused by sexual images, showing that sex makes no difference to the response to sexual visual stimuli.

The Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen, Germany published the news in the scientific journal PNAS last month, saying; "Erotic pictures and videos are widely assumed to induce differential response due to sexual duality," the researchers stated.

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The phrase; "Boys have cooties" was always circulated when I was a child, mainly from other kids who watched way too much American television. In my four months of living in a Berkeley fraternity house among college-aged American boys (they 100 percent couldn't be called men, they needed full-time agony aunts), I learned numerous life lessons whether I wanted to or not. Mainly that personal hygiene and a basic understanding of women are deeply lacking, and there's nothing I can do to change either of those things. Bear in mind that this frat house is just one of dozens in Berkeley alone, and that sarcasm will be heavily used in this article. I won't be naming any names (though I'd love to) and many frat boys I met were positively lovely. It was just the few that needed basic lectures about toxic masculinity and domestic chores that will be targeted by my literary wrath.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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1. If they make eye contact with you, they're most likely drunk or high and have obtained a mysterious confidence.

Waking up in the morning and emerging through the jungle of empty beer bottles and fast food takeaway boxes, if you make it to the disgusting kitchen and run into a boy, he'll scutter away into the darkness or refuse to look you in the eye. Whether we'd be standing only centimetres apart while frying off eggs or toasting bread, chances are high that you won't be addressed. They're probably terrified of you, or don't know how to communicate with a woman without downing a keg of beer first.

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Many of these boys are spectacularly wealthy (well, their families are.) You need to have some connection to cash to get into college in the USA, usually but not always of course. Many of these boys also went to prep schools, with other boys surrounding them. Their only opportunity to talk to women often is on nights out in clubs or bars, and the heteronormativity is honestly unavoidable. I made some great friends while living in Berkeley, but never felt entirely safe unless there was a female friend or just a regular ol' female around. Boys have no idea the lengths that women have to go to in order to feel safe, just walking down the street. Especially in a strange city without your family.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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2. The issue of consent is a major epidemic across US college campuses

Men in America often objectify women, and one of the first things I noticed about our frat house when we moved in was the consistent posters regarding consent. The alarming feeling that only an incident would spur on the sudden mass influx of posters plagued me for a lot of my trip, and Irish women who also lived in the house were all very safe. The rumours about US college campuses lacking safety didn't help, as well as the security guards who insisted on escorting us around the campus at night. According to AAU Campus Climate Surveys (2015), 23.1 percent of female undergraduates, 5.4 percent of male undergraduates, and 24.1 percent of TGQN (trans, gender-non conforming, queer) undergraduates reported being sexually assaulted since starting college. Among graduate students and professionals, the estimates were 8.8 percent female, 2.2 percent male, and 15.5 percent TGQN. Sexual violence is far more prevalent in colleges, compared to other crimes. RAINN claim that only 20 percent of female student victims, aged between 18-and 24, report sexual violence to law enforcement. Frat houses are yet more spaces where women aren't always protected.

3. Their mums have cleaned up after them and spoiled them silly since they emerged from the womb

The boys of our frat house made a 'chore list' for the Irish students alone, and overcharged us absurdly for rent. They essentially exploited us; we paid them handsomely for gross accommodation while they lived there for free, and they spent the money on drugs and then drove to In 'N' Out. They were incapable of cleaning up after themselves, so old food and cooking tools were stacked up, while dirty dishes were consistently in a Mount Everest pile up in the sink. I learned of new smells I never thought existed, thanks to mould and bacteria. I'm convinced that I'm immune to many diseases because of living there. Boys have an astounding ability to leave a mess rotting the place for days, if not months, and play chicken with you until you can't take it anymore and give in. I have the distinct memory of cleaning out green mould from our fridge for three hours and inhaling Stranger Things 'Upside Down' like materials. A gas mask would have come in handy. They also don't know that sheets are meant to be changed.

4. Become Bear Grylls overnight if you have a rodent problem

We had numerous Snow White-esque pets in our abode, such as a Skunk (we named him Larry), ferrets under the floorboards and even bed bugs. We even had to trap a bed bug (insanely difficult task) in order to show our landlord, in order to get a $50 reduction in rent. Yes, just $50. He never actually gave us that reduction in the end…

The point is; Get a thick skin for bugs and unwanted pets. You will suddenly turn into a complete Lara Croft badass and will learn to live amongst nature.

bear grylls bad decision GIF by NETFLIX

5. Certain toxic, alien practices surrounding fraternity houses and sororities continue to exist

During the weeks before college actually begins, 'Rush' occurs. This is basically where you semi-audition to be in a frat house or sorority, with some houses being significantly more difficult to infiltrate than others. It becomes a common occurrence to see boys with their shirts off and abs painstakingly arranged in a six-pack wandering around screaming; "ALPHA KAPPA LAMBA 'TIL I DIE, BRO!'. They may not be entirely made up of brain cells, but just ignore them. Sorority girls will walk around in matching outfits and sky-high heels, screeching chants that sound like sirens to you. Music will be blasting from 16 different speakers, signs and balloons will line the street. Every house puts the maximum amount of effort in when it comes to attracting the most attention, and future members. The 'hazing' rituals still exist too. One rule which infuriated our entire group was that frat houses could throw parties in Berkeley, but sororities couldn't. The rule had never been changed, and it was part of the college campus law now. 

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6. They will clog every toilet in existence

In Berkeley, at least, weed was absolutely everywhere. You couldn't make coffee in the morning before scraping your hungover self into work without a frat boy shoving a bong in your face.

From edibles to hemp products to the grass plant itself; marijuana is unavoidable in the area. What are the results of a house full of boys smoking weed until they KO? The digestive system going into meltdown. Who suffers from this surprising turn of events? Normally women, who actually need to use the toilet more often than most boys due to sanitary needs etc. They also need to sit on the toilet seat constantly.

There were four bathrooms in the sizeable fraternity house. You would assume that at least one toilet was always available to use, then. How wrong you are. All four toilets were consistently blocked thanks to the bowel movements of 15 boys, all permanently high. Basic human hygiene went out of the window in days from when I arrived, and I began using public bathrooms in the area to just experience what a regular toilet is meant to be like. Never take your pristine white bathroom for granted, ladies. Some day, it could be compromised by Snoop Dogg & Co. 

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7. You will never take privacy for granted again

Sharing a house with 25 people at the same time can make it extremely difficult to get any time alone. You're probably sharing a room with at least one person, and even small errands like trying to do laundry can take hours with everyone queueing up.

Many of us don't enjoy the feeling of being alone, but if you're accustomed to having your own room as I was (my identical twin and I fought viciously over bunk-beds so our parents separated us) then sharing that space can be a huge shock. Arguments over whose side of the room is messier occurred daily, and clothes went missing all the time. Random strangers would walk into our house, seeing as only the house manager had a lock on his door, so every room was fair game. The house itself was never locked, and it became difficult to know who was one of your frat boys and who was a randomer.

This made privacy a long-lost friend who you ached to see once again, for however short a time. Going to the bathroom or showering was blissful even for those few moments alone. Despite the grubbiness of the bathrooms themselves…(Hello, Cif? Cillit Bang? Lost but not forgotten.)

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8. Someone will eat your food, and you will be fuming over it

You could do a full grocery shop in Trader Joe's down the road and within minutes, hungover boys or high boys who have the munchies will have annihilated your entire snack stash. Most people tried to spend as little money on food as physically possible, either by stealing food from wherever they worked or by stealing food from the house. Now, I took the odd slice of bread or splash of milk for my (Barry's) tea, but that was all. I advise you to create your own bunker of sorts, where you hide all your treats and actually decent-tasting food from everyone else in the house.

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Never tell anyone, not even your closest friend, where it is. Or else have a password so you can know who to trust. Surviving in a frat house takes buckets of crisps and dip, microwave popcorn, Cadbury's chocolate and pot noodles. Trust me.

9. American's can't drink legally until the age of 21, and they can't handle it

One of the reasons why frat houses are so obsessed with drugs in California is that it's easier to get them, rather than getting their fake IDs rejected while trying to score alcohol. When they DO manage to get booze, boy are they bad at handling it. Mainly due to the insane levels of peer pressure from the Bro Mob. If you told one of them during a game of Beer Pong that he had to poison himself with weed killer then do a backflip in front of a sorority house naked, they'd probably do it. It was toxic as f*ck. We went on a bar crawl with our house manager for his 21st birthday (we thought he was 30-years-old, so that was a shock…) and he drank a bottle of hot sauce and tequila and vomited bright orange puke down the stairs of the bar, and all of us were then banned. There were only two bars in town, so it was a low blow. While they can handle their weed, when it comes to binge drinking there's nobody like an Irish person to put them in their place. 

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10. You'll miss Ireland more than you expected

From basic teabags and bread that isn't made entirely of sugar to Irish carveries and homemade meals, there's a lot that you'll miss about the Emerald Isle. Finally having food that isn't processed, being able to afford a meal again, being around people who understand sarcasm and whose country isn't politically dangerous and immoral will be blissful. Seeing proper forestland and greenery is often hard in America, due to the difference in climate. Flying back and seeing the patchwork field of bright green fields, you'll forget all about the dried up desert backyard of the frat house. Also having your own room again will bring tears of gratitude to your eyes, if you can grab one. 

sad rugby world cup GIF by World Rugby

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How many times have we heard the absurd phrase; "Women are from Venus, men are from Mars"? Too many times, that's for certain.

It's long been believed that men and women are simply wired differently when it comes to sexuality and arousal, due to the way our brains and hormones work.

Popular psychology posits that men are more visually oriented, responding to body in front of them or images. Women are presumed to be more emotionally driven and desiring intimate relationships.

The stereotype that women prefer their imaginations and reading erotica versus men being addicted to porn is neither true nor a healthy way to see arousal.

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The image of men gorging on PornHub and Playboy while women masturbate once every five years has gone out the window for good, thank Goddess for that.

According to a new study, gender plays absolutely zero role when it comes to sexual arousal. This would make total sense, and will hopefully help us include those who are gender non-binary and LGBTQ+.

The latest reseearch from the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics (and published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal) proves that men and women aren't different when it comes to our responses to sexy stimuli. 

roxane gay women GIF by Women's History Month

A meta analysis of 61 previous studies conducted by researchers delivered somewhat surprising results regarding sex and cis-gender. 

Members of the research group wrote: “These results offer strong quantitative evidence that the neuronal response to visual sexual stimuli, contrary to the widely accepted view, is independent of biological sex.”

AKA: We get off on the exact same things. Women are just as likely to get turned on by viewing pornographic images as men. I wonder how many (male) scientists it took to crack this code? ASK WOMEN.

Dr. Hamid Noori of the Max Planck Institute argues that while men and women may see similar brain responses to arousing video or images, they still respond in very different ways.

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“There are differences in behaviour — the number of men going to porn sites is roughly 80 percent of the consumers,” Noori said. This is obviously because most porn is AIMED at men.

“But men and women respond the same way at the brain level to visual sexual stimuli. What we do with it afterwards is what brings the difference.”

One thing to note is that this study relies on meta analysis (previous research combined) rather than conducting new physical or medical tests to examine specific behaviour.

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The scans are also unable to see brain activity at the most microscopic levels, so men and women can possibly show different reactions to provocative stimuli.

However, the concept of men being more turned on by images and hardcore porn while women just want 50 Shades of Grey and a secret vibrator is fairly outdated.

If they would just make porn ethical, female-friendly and LGBTQ+ inclusive then plenty of women, gay people and gender non-binary folk, would head to the sites. It's simple maths.

Studies always rely too heavily on heterosexual people, predominantly straight men, for data results. Not anymore, suckers.

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Condoms have been around for decades, and now you can even buy all types of styles- ribbed, flavoured, heated, extra-thin etc.

It can slip everyone's mind that they help prevent unwanted STIs and pregnancy, particularly when you're about to get frisky with someone and they decline the condom offer.

We've heard the excuses before; "I'm too big to wear a condom", "It doesn't feel good", "It just falls off", "I can't orgasm while wearing one".

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Blah, blah blah; the contraceptives available for women can cause long-term health issues, changes their entire hormonal system, often induces anxiety, migraine, dizziness or causes spotted bleeding.

The list of side effects goes on, but men often say no to a simple condom. The excuses often aren't valid, so tell your boy to wrap it up stat. Luckily for him, we've got a hack to help ease any discomfort.

Cosmopolitan's sex researcher Maureen Miller, PhD, offered some advice;

“Add a few drops of water-based lube to the inside of your condom before you put it on. Men report being amazed at how much better it feels.” SO SIMPLE.

emma stone snl GIF by Saturday Night Live

Many condoms come with lubrication on the outside, adding just one or two drops into the tip of the condom before putting it on and rolling it down can make the world of difference for a guy's comfort.

If lube feels unreal for you, we're fairly sure it'll feel great for him too. You only need to add a little bit of lube, however. Too much will make the condom more susceptible to falling off.

Anti-baby note to remember: Oil-based lube can break the condom or thin the walls, so if you're not on any other contraceptive, make sure it's water-based lubricant. We recommend the YES brand.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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“Condoms are mighty hard to break, although not impossible. The number one reason for condom breakage is that the condom was not put on properly," Miller says. 

"The tip must be squeezed as the condom is being rolled down the penis so that there is room for ejaculate. Otherwise, the condom can burst," she adds. Remember: Safe sex is hot as f*ck.

There are plenty of ways to make putting on condoms super sexy; “Using your mouth, tongue, and hands, make the project of putting on a condom really erotic." Damn, we need to try this.

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Pornhub claims that there are countless insane search terms on their website, but the latest popularity data of certain fetishes have taken us by surprise.

If we open up an incognito window and log on to your favourite (ethical, we hope) porn site, you'd expect to see videos of threesomes, BDSM, girl-on-girl etc but what you may not expect to see is a footjob.

According to the site, foot fetish porn is hugely popular, with 'footjob' being the 140th most popular search term on Pornhub. It's no small…feat, they say.

Some other popular foot-themed searches feature foot worship, foot fetish, lesbian feet, milk feet, foot slave, tickling feet, giantess feet, foot domination and feet licking. Jesus H. Christ.

Pornhub mentions that those searching for foot fetish porn were likely to search for femdom, ballbusting, facesitting, cuckold, bondage and gangbang porn in the same viewing session.

It comes as no surprise to anyone that young men are 55 percent more likely to watch footjob porn than women. Visitors aged 18 to 24 are the biggest fans, and then 25 to 34-year-olds.

Interestingly, footjob popularity decreases with age. Visitors over 65-years-old were the least likely to watch the genre. High heels and stockings are the most popular foot job porn.

However, a 2018 Pornhub report noted that sneaker porn was becoming more watched by the year. Men were also 55 percent more likely to search for sneaker porn.

Pornhub Gay page users were 1124 percent more likely to search for sneaker porn, which is most popular with 35 to 44-year-olds.

Some consistent search terms were; sneaker worship, sneaker sex and sneaker fetish, as well as known trainer brands (Converse is the most searched). 

Nike was most popular with those on Pornhub's gay pages.

Foot fetishes generally seem pretty common, with a 2007 study from online fetish discussion groups finding that “feet and objects associated with feet were the most common target of preferences.”

In fact, almost half (47 percent) of fetishists in the study were into feet. Famous faces like Tyga, Ricky Martin, and Quentin Tarantino are known to be open about their penchant for feet,

"A lot of people wonder if they are weird or perverted for having a foot fetish, but I can tell you it's actually quite common," Goddess Aviva, a lifestyle and professional dominatrix, told Refinery29. "It's also a lot of fun."

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Former Love Island contestant and model Megan Barton Hanson has come out as bisexual (hey, Pride month is June after all…) and opened up about falling in love with women.

Speaking candidly to The Sun, the reality star said she feels 'deeper connections' with women, and claims that she auditioned unsuccessfully for the show in 2017, but believes that being open about her bisexuality 'put them off' casting her.

"I just felt like I needed to get with a guy because society said so but after the shit I've been through, I just want to see how it goes with a woman." Fair play, gal. You do you.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The star was coupled up with former beau Wes Anderson, but the pair have since split up. Though she never spoke about women on the show, she has had love in her life with those of the opposite sex:

"I first fell in love with a girl when I was 16, but it wasn't even in a sexual way. I never saw her just in that way, but we'd like hang out, and one thing led to another.

"We would do everything together. I found her more and more attractive, and not even the way she looked, just like the way she was in general," she continued.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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She added: "I've slept with girls, but I've never had long term romances with girls. It's not just a sexual thing for me, I feel like I have a deeper connection with women…

"I think long-term I would get with a woman, but it's hard. I really want kids, so that's something I'd need to look into when the time comes," she expanded.

Megan was also asked about her audition for the infamous ITV2 show, and she claims:  "I was super open and said I feel like I'm more into girls, but I think that's what put them off in 2017."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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She went on to reference her 2018 audition, which led to her casting;

"In Love Island I already felt I had a stigma attached to me because of being a stripper. I didn't want to like add to it by revealing I like girls as well!

"But now I feel like everyone has accepted that and to be honest, I don't care what people think. I'm 25, I want to find someone, maybe not the one, but the one for now," she said.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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In terms of looking for a partner for life, Megan said: "I want to find someone to travel with and enjoy life with, so I feel like I just need to be a bit brave now and say it how it is.

"It's so easy to let fear of people's opinions stop you from being true to yourself."

The model felt under pressure "by society" to reveal her sexuality and claims that she's decided to come out now because the public can still be negative and narrow-minded about sexual identity.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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"If it's right, you've got one life, live it, enjoy life," she said. "Just live. Although we're much more open-minded and less judgmental now, there is still a lot of judging around people's sexuality.

"If you have any type of platform I think it's important to use it for people who don't have a voice.

"There's a lot of people who fear they can't come out – but the more it's spoken about the more it becomes less of a thing." 

Feature image: Instagram/@meganbartonhanson

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Science has upped it's game.

Most researchers seem to be pretty busy with conducting medical studies and making valuable scientific discoveries for society's gain, but this latest survey really takes it to the next level.

Bloom & Wild have worked with London Metropolitan University to undergo an experiment to figure out when the 'love hormone', AKA oxytocin, is released.

The anti-anxiety and stress reducing hormone is pretty special, the chemicals are made when you're in love, and having some KICK-ASS sex. We heart it. 

The study measured how the brain reacts to receiving certain gifts, and it's led to some pretty interesting, and useful, results. We're not hugely surprised at what topped the list, they're all unreal.

Research also suggests that people in the first three stages of love reported higher oxytocin levels that last for roughly six months to a year. At a chemical level, can presents recreate this high of lovestruck heartbeats?

Scientists reported that the subjects of the study showed an average increase of 73pg/ml in the hormone oxytocin after getting chocolates, and 62pg/ml after receiving flowers. Feeling loved comes in all shapes and sizes, it would seem.

The official top five items or experiences included on the list which trumped having sex were; chocolate winning the number one spot, then flowers, food, shopping and booking a holiday.

Receiving chocolate apparently creates a high increase in oxytocin the same rise in oxytocin comes from sex, so a quick nip down to Butlers could solve your stress issues. 

Flowers can spark the same feeling as love, relationships and sexy times, and a study by Havas Worldwide revealed that 57 percent of millennials think that food is better than sex. Damn.

hungry jennifer lawrence GIF

Retail therapy also made the list, according to the experiment. The neurologist David Linden, in his book The Compass Of Pleasure, explains that the experience of shopping triggers dopamine circuitry in the brain's mesolimbic pathway.

In plain-old-English, the mesolimbic pathway is a key part of how we experience entertainment and happiness, so having a sneaky online shop at ASOS is good for you. Thank God we have a valid excuse to do this now…

Booking a holiday is better than having some intimate. alone time with a partner, according to research. 16% of Brits claim to support this, so those Aer Lingus January sales must have had people feelin' pretty damn euphoric.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by (@baligasm) on

To carry out their research, Bloom & Wild and London Metropolitan University split 30 volunteers into three groups.

Each were to receive a gift of flowers, chocolate, or water, and took saliva samples before the gift arrived, and then again 10 minutes after delivery, and finally 40 minutes after receiving the gift. 

It just goes to show, chocolate should always be cherished. We're in a loving relationship with Cadbury's Dairy Milk, and there are zero signs of a break-up coming our way.

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Otis Milburn has an announcement, and you DEFINITELY want to hear it.

The critically-acclaimed and fan favourite Netflix series Sex Education has won the heart of every single viewer, for it's hilarious script, lovable (complex) characters and important themes.

The iconic show touches on everything from sex, consent, homosexuality, prejudice, mental health, gender identity, abortion rights and racism. Somehow, they also made it funny, with beautiful acting. HOW?

That's right lads, Sex Education is coming BACK for a second season, after leaving us on a major cliffhanger at the end of season one.

The students at Moordale High School garnered a massive social media following (those quotable memes?), and it's estimated that over 40 million households watched the title within one month.

The fan demand for season two was predictably high, and Netflix has confirmed that the series has been renewed for another eight episodes of the heartfelt, funny and honest show. We STAN.

awkward gillian anderson GIF by NETFLIX

Season two is slated to start production this spring in England, with Gillian Anderson, Asa Butterfield, Emma Mackey, Ncuti Gatwa, Aimee-Lou Wood, Connor Swindells, Kedar Williams-Stirling, Tanya Reynolds, Patricia Allison and Alistair Petrie all reprising their unreal roles.

Fans are pretty darn excited, as we guessed. Twitter has had a slight meltdown as the thought of more open conversations about sex, which is SO needed in today's society.

Creator of the show Laurie Nunn will return alongside executive producer Jamie Campbell. The first season achieved popular acclaim for it's poignant treatment of relationships and identity, we're OBSESSED with Otis' sex therapist mum.

Gillian Anderson is a certified boss.

We love the intersectional appeal of the show. I mean, a jock reading Virginia Woolf, and liking it? That's some revolutionary sh*t right there.

Multidimensional characters in a teen show can be hard to come by, but this cast has delivered it with heart.

Series creator Laurie Nunn said,

“The reception to series one has been so exciting. Seeing how people across the world have connected to characters that began as ideas in my head is incredible. I’m hugely grateful to every person that has taken the time to watch the series, and I can’t wait to continue this amazing journey.”

Thank you, Laurie, for giving us Emma Mackey's character: the badass Maeve Wiley. We need her so badly in our lives.

fuck you high school GIF by NETFLIX

We can't wait to see what's in store for season two.

SPOILER ALERT:

At the end of season one, Otis was smooching his new gal Ola, much to Maeve's heartbreak. Will Maeve return to school? And what about Adam and Eric's burgeoning romance? We can't deal.

Bring on 2019, God exists and she has delivered us this gift.

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We all remember the trends rotating around primary schools; whether it was Tamagotchis, friendship bracelets, Scoobies, Loom bands or marbles, we were ADDICTED.

Apparently, Katy Perry was a little alternative when she was a kid, unsurprisingly. Her brain went pretty much straight to the gutter, the Tom Cruise lust-inspired gutter.

The I Kissed A Girl singer was spending some quality time with her parents last weekend and was exploring some former momentoes, when a letter from 1996 resurfaced and shook us deeply.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by KATY PERRY (@katyperry) on

Katy naturally thought it was so amusing that Instagram had to witness the hilarity, especially since the reason for her sixth grade suspension was DRY HUMPING.

You might be wondering why on earth Katy was dry humping a tree, understandably. Tom Cruise was to blame;

"At the 2:00 p.m. recess, Katy and four other students were in an 'off-limits' area (behind the backboards) practising a skit. Katy pretended that a tree was Tom Cruise and began making sexual motions (pelvic thrusts) to the tree."

Image: @katyperry Instagram

Of all the 1990s teen heartthrobs to dry hump bark for, Tom Cruise? We're more on the Leonardo DiCaprio circa 1996 when Romeo and Juliet was released kinda vibe.

The letter also stated, "When Katy met with Mrs. Calkins, Mr. White, and myself, she was asked to describe or demonstrate what she had been seen doing on the playground in front of some other students."

"Katy chose to describe it. Her words were 'it was inappropriate' and 'like making out.'"

The star was previously in trouble at her Santa Barbara Christian School for calling younger students "brats". (Fair)

She also admitted to playing Spin the Bottle and Truth or Dare, which the school said "resulted in students kissing on the cheek."

Humping a tree was the last straw for her no-nonsense Christian School, baby Katy sounds like GAS company to be honest.

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