Testing zodiac compatibility may impact durability of relationships

The internet is filled with horoscope predictions; on corporate Snapchat stories like Cosmopolitan or Buzzfeed, there is usually at least one every week. Astrological signs have the potential to affect relationships, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. 

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College students grapple with campus hookup culture

Hookup culture dominates the scene across college campuses. It is something that defines relationships everywhere and is often seen as a way this generation avoids the pain that can come with romance. 

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Olympic Village offers world-class athletes sex haven amid Games

he 2018 Winter Olympics opened with a wonderful display of athleticism, nationalism and cooperation between nations. 

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G-Spot: Balancing privacy with celebrity status

Arguably the hottest controversy in Hollywood for the past few months was whether Kylie Jenner was pregnant with Travis Scott’s baby or not. This topic causes us to the question why we feel so entitled to know about celebrities’ sex lives and lives in general? 

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Pornography poses public health concern

The porn industry has and will continue to be a public health issue not only for the individuals who work in the industry, but also for societies that actively consume this content, until certain aspects are drastically changed. 

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Recording orgasms in diary optimizes sexual experiences

Students seeking a break from end-of-semester stress might turn to their relationships for relief. In this busy time, however, some may need help enhancing their intimate encounters. 

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Cuffing season provides temporary winter romance

Do long, dark winter nights make you wish you had someone to Netflix and chill with? Well, you aren’t alone. 

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Sex resorts provide adults with extreme spring break experiences

Christmas might be just around the corner, but it’s never too early to plan for spring break. College students have to make every vacation count while they are still young and free. Adults, however, can still experience the fun of spring break—with possibly even more sex and exhilarating times. Enter sex resorts: the new vacation getaway for frisky adults. 

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Unbalanced gender ratios in higher education impact dating, relationships

Women have outnumbered men in undergraduate enrollment for years, accounting for 55 percent of undergraduates enrolled at four-year colleges in the United States, according to the Federal Education Department. For decades, this gap has increasingly widened, and is predicted to grow further in years to come. Fewer men working toward their undergraduate degree means there are more single women on college campuses.

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France moves to punish street harassment, faces legal obstacles

In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein abuse scandal, a new dialogue about sexual harassment and assault has opened in France. 

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Sexually transmitted diseases among teens indicate educational failures

It is estimated that young people ages 15 to 24 contract nearly 50 percent of the 20 million new sexually transmitted diseases each year. Additionally, 25 percent of sexually active adolescent females have a sexually transmitted infection, according to the Center for Disease Control. 

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Revenge porn prevalance indicates legislative failures

An article about the website Anon-IB recently garnered national attention when dozens of male Marines posted nude photographs of their female colleagues. Anon-IB—short for Anonymous Image Board—is one of many “revenge porn” websites that encourage users to post explicit photos of their exes, without the exes’ consent. 

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Latest Obamacare replacement bill threatens Planned Parenthood’s future

The newest Republican Party healthcare bill could potentially be harmful to services provided by Planned Parenthood. This bill is the GOP’s third—and arguably last—attempt at creating its own healthcare system to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

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Celebrity health advice poses health risks

Celebrity-endorsed pseudoscience poses a serious threat to women’s health. Pedaling questionable claims and cures, Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop embodies this dilemma. 

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Trump administration threatens ACA contraception coverage mandate

Teen pregnancy is at an all-time low. The teen birth rate fell 8 percent from 2014 to 2015, continuing a trend that started in 2007, according to the Center for Disease Control. With the attacks on the Affordable Care Act under President Donald Trump’s administration, however, this might be the last we see of a statistic like this. 

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Sex education across the world

Sex education has been widely controversial and extensively discussed in the United States over the past few decades. Currently, the topic manifests in either comprehensive sex education or in the abstinence-only method. Around the world, however, sex education varies greatly across different cultures.

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LGBTQ+ inclusive membership policies questioned in Greek life

For many students, Greek life is a focal point of daily life during their time at Geneseo. Members think nothing of wearing their organization’s letters proudly on their sweatshirts, of painting the Greek Tree or of working tirelessly to make their organization shine. After all, their efforts culminate into a unique Greek identity—something to leave behind for future generations.

But underneath the surface of this collective Greek identity lies an uncomfortable truth for some members. What do you do if your identity apart from Greek life clashes with the one you’ve been building with your brothers and sisters? For many members of the LGBTQ+ community who participate in Greek life, this is an ongoing question. 

On the surface, an LGBTQ+ person feeling uncomfortable among a stereotypical “frat-bro” Greek scene seems obvious—but LGBTQ+ members of Greek life at Geneseo feel as if the reality is more complicated. Many find themselves in organizations that are outwardly supportive of their gender identity or sexual orientation, but these organizations are not as socially progressive as they claim. Problems also arise from interacting with other organizations.

“I was lucky enough to find and join a gender and sexuality-inclusive organization on campus, and it has helped in making my Greek experiences a lot better,” communication major junior and Alpha Delta Epsilon member Candace Pedraza said. “However, I very often feel the need to dress more ‘femme’ when going out to avoid discrimination or harassment from fraternities, which leads to some dysphoria and feelings of forced invalidation from time to time.”

Anthropology major sophomore and fellow ADE member Emmett Zand Halstuch agreed with Pedraza. 

“ADE was the first group of people I came out to as trans. I try to dress masculine when going out to frats and I still get misgendered [by them] every single time,” he said. “Even in ADE, there have been moments when I felt like people don’t understand. One of [my] struggles from last semester was being told that I’m correcting people when they mess up my pronouns the ‘wrong way’… even in a sorority that is the most accepting Greek life organization on campus, there is still a lot to learn and change.”

For those whose identities do not conflict with Greek life, the presence of gender and sexuality-inclusive organizations appears to be enough, but this is clearly not the case. Most people want to quantify the discrimination of LGBTQ+ Greeks only when it’s outright. They imagine the “perfect victim” as analogous to a gay man at a party being harassed, or a lesbian couple being hassled as they walk home at night. 

But tiny vestiges of micro-aggression solidified by years of Greek tradition are still just as prevalent and problematic. What if your gender identity means that you’re neither a brother nor a sister? What if your Greek family feels uncomfortable about you talking about your encounter with someone of the same sex last night, even though they freely blab on about their experiences? 

Discrimination is still alive and well in Greek communities, inclusive or not. These problems could be assuaged with increased—or even mandatory—Safe Zone training of groups. So far, few groups are applying for these sessions and individual organizations have their own LGBTQ+ inclusive membership policies, but they are not overarching to all of Greek life. Understanding needs to be promoted within and outside of Greek life communities to see any real change for LGBTQ+ members.

Carbon-free dating

Couples seeking to break free from a cycle of boring dates can celebrate Earth Day on Saturday April 22—or any day, really—with an eco-friendly, alternative date. 

In addition to strengthening your relationship, these dates allow for quality time that benefits the environment and brings you closer to nature.

When planning your next date, take advantage of the warm spring weather by foregrounding outdoor activities. To incorporate some environmental activism, perhaps volunteer at a local park for the afternoon. Either with local organizations or on your own, couples can serve the community’s ecological needs by removing litter and tidying up nature trails.

If spending the weekend on an environmental cleanup mission does not sound like your ideal date, then seize the opportunity through dating and exercising. For an enjoyable afternoon without a carbon footprint, lead your date on a bike tour around campus, down Main Street or through one of the local parks. 

Those seeking refuge from increasingly warm temperatures can settle in for a relaxing outdoor picnic. To incorporate some more excitement, consider making a picnic to keep in a backpack as a break from such larger activities as a hike. Keeping with the theme of environmentalism, store and transport the food in non-disposable containers that you can later wash and reuse.

Although many of the eco-friendly date ideas highlight daytime activities, you can continue your environmentalist romance into the night by stargazing. To compound the grandeur of the night sky, consider—if feasible—leaving your cell phones turned off and experiencing the date unplugged. 

For couples seeking environmentally-friendly relationships, try reconfiguring standard dates—like shared meals—from an ecologically conscious perspective. When preparing your next home-cooked dinner, propose a trip to the local co-op or farmer’s market for your ingredients. To go the extra conservationist mile, walk or bike to the market and purchase as many in-season foods as you can. 

Focusing on a connection to nature, most eco-friendly dates find their settings outdoors. If, however, you and your date would prefer a climate-controlled activity sheltered from the elements, you can still limit your relationship’s carbon footprint. For environmentalists seeking indoor dates, consider trips to a local museum, gallery or public library. 

While some more exuberant couples might pursue wholly green dates from the get-go, couples who want to ease into environmentalism can begin by incorporating small, eco-friendly changes individually. 

To commemorate Earth Day, suggest environmentally-friendly dates that will strengthen the bond you have not only with your significant other, but also with nature. Especially as the seasons change, eco-conscious dates distinguish themselves as one of the most effective ways to enjoy the warm weather while it lasts. 

Beyond the personal enjoyment, these green date ideas offer larger environmental benefits that enable couples—on the smaller scale—to do their part.

Genital, nipple piercings raise questions of benefits vs risks

Plenty of people wake up after a night of drunken hijinks to find a new piercing in a weird place. Lately, however, young people around the world have decided to pierce the more bizarre locations completely sober: genitals and nipples. 

Both men and women can pierce their genitalia—women piercing their labia or clitoral hood, men piercing the tip of their penis—and both sexes can pierce their nipples. It appears that for many, there are sexual pleasure rewards post-procedure—but there are also serious risks. 

The piercing process for both men and women can be documented online. 

“A [penile piercing] is traditionally placed through the underside of the shaft toward the head of the penis,” according to Painful Pleasures, a website that sells genital jewelry.

For women, the site explains that there are eight separate forms of piercing for women, with the most popular being a vertical clitoral hood piercing. A VCH piercing passes through the clitoral hood, almost like an earring. 

A penile piercing is designed to stimulate the g-spot or the prostate during sex. For both men and women, it aids orgasm best when used during anal sex. For women, however, the piercing can be more difficult to adjust to before it becomes useful for pleasure. 

While this may sound enjoyable, there are several major risks to keep in mind. Genital piercings can be particularly problematic because, if infected, they can become life threatening, according to gynecologist Sarah Wagner.

Genital piercings can also pose issues for women during childbirth, so it is key that before getting a clitoral piercing, women talk to a doctor, find a sanitary piercing facility and make sure all future doctors are aware of the piercing before medical procedures. 

For men, the risks are more pronounced. In their section on piercings, American Family Physician explained several key issues. The jewelry will often interrupt urinary flow and in severe cases can cause priapism—a persistent erection that must be treated to preserve the ability to save erectile function. 

And for both sexes there is a critical problem: condoms are likely to tear. 

Nipple piercings—a common piercing among women—have a much simpler piercing process. A piercer inserts a needle horizontally through the nipple and bulbs are placed at either end. After six weeks of healing, the passageway will become permanent. 

The risk for infection is still high, however, so finding a sanitary location is key. Nipple piercings can start to hurt during regular points in the menstrual cycle. Due to changing hormones, nipples may swell, shrink back, harden or soften. All of this can change the sensation of the piercing, especially for larger breasted women. 

Before getting a piercing, women should take note of their cycle and should talk to their doctor if they are worried about this becoming an issue. 

Of course, for men there is just the risk of infection—but it should not be taken lightly. Couples who take the new nipple piercings for a spin in the bedroom too early will be risking infection, swelling and future scarring.  

If you are considering a genital or nipple piercing, make sure that you are aware of the risks, your area’s reproductive healthcare options, the piercer’s cleanliness and a form of birth control or durable condom to use afterward. 

If the benefits seem worth it, the piercings can be done. Just be sure to do research before making any hasty decisions.

Exploring different “spots”

The G-Spot—besides being the pun-intended name of this section—is a rather misunderstood spot. Some research even suggests that it isn’t real. Matters only get more complicated when taking other “spots” into consideration, such as the P spot, which far less people are knowledgeable on the existence of.

Besides its designation as the female “spot” of pleasure, many people are unaware of how to access and activate the G spot. Being the most well-known pleasure area does not make the G spot any more “basic.” In fact, finding and pleasing a part of the body that might not even exist makes the pursuit of the G spot even more mysterious. 

Named after German gynecologist Ernst Gräfenberg—whose research in 1940s led to its “discovery”—the G spot is supposedly a location about two inches within in the vagina. When activated, it will swell slightly and result in pleasurable stimulation that might lead to an orgasm. While location differs from person to person, it is usually found around the clitourethrovaginal complex—a fancy word describing the zone where the vagina, urethra and clitoris join.

If there is documentation of where this spot lies, however, why is there debate over its existence? Mainly, doubt arises from the fact that many G spot studies focus on anecdotal evidence. 

While studies have in fact “proven” its existence, these studies usually rely on small participant pools. A 2009 King’s College London study found that twins did not report having a G spot in the same location as their sibling, further casting reservations. 

If you’d like to add your voice to the debate—in the name of science, of course—it’s said that lying on your back and sticking two clean fingers—whether your own or your partner’s—about two inches into the vagina in a “come here” position will help determine its location. Then push against the vaginal wall with firm pressure. Due to its location near the bladder, you might feel like you have to urinate when it’s pushed against. 

Not everyone derives sexual pleasure from their G spot being touched, however, but that’s OK—there are other spots to explore. 

For people with penises, the P spot, or prostate, is the penile equivalent of the G spot. It is even situated in around the same area as the G spot—around the pelvis and near the bladder. 

The similar placements of the P spot and G spot have led to some theories that the G spot develops into the prostrate in utero. These theories are based off the interesting biological fact that all fetuses start off with vaginas, which develop into penises with the presence of XY chromosomes. 

Unlike the G spot, there tends to be less debate about the P spot’s existence, though; like the G spot, not everyone will find its stimulation pleasurable. 

It can be activated by inserting a finger one to two inches in the anus, or touching the perineum, which is the skin between the testicles and anus. Butt plugs are specially designed for this, but be sure to instruct yourself on how to properly use them before experimenting; this includes how your toy needs to be cleaned, handled and so on. 

Exploration of your body is empowering. Explore vastly, but explore safely.