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My Drive to Save African Sex Workers

BS Top - Gbowee Congo A sex worker waits in a corridor in a center run by Doctors Without Borders in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. (Lionel Healing, AFP / Getty Images) On a trip to Congo, peace activist and Daily Beast Africa columnist Leymah Gbowee witnesses the violent arrest of a refugee girl forced into a bleak life as a sex worker. Inside her rage and helplessness.

In the past two weeks I have cried angry tears on more than occasion. Each time, it has been because of the tragic fate facing a young African girl.

On April 24, I attended the funeral of a young Liberian refugee who had died of AIDS-related causes. I met this very promising young woman in September 2002 at the West African Peacebuilding Institute, when I was leading a women’s movement for peace in my home country, Liberia. A friendship blossomed and she joined our Mass Action Campaign. In 2003, she was the youngest member of the sit-ins for peace held in Accra, Ghana. At the time she told me she wanted to be a journalist.

The men pulled the girl out of the hotel room clothed only in panties, kicking and punching her for resisting. I ran to follow and she reached out to me, pleading for help.

A month ago, I got a message from a friend that this young girl had suffered a stroke, was diagnosed HIV-positive, and had a brain infection. She died on Easter Sunday.

At her funeral, I cried for a life that had been wasted and wondered how many more young Africans with fine prospects are losing theirs lives based on limited choices—a direct result of their economic status.

Take Action: To help build the African sexual rights movement, support Akina Mama wa Afrika, whose goal is to empower sex workers to stay healthy and improve their lives. Learn more through AMwA’s partners, HIVOS and the Open Society Institute. I was once a young refugee myself, and I endured the constant harassment of men who imagined that every refugee girl was ready to have sex for some form of cash. At the funeral of this young woman, there were many other refugee girls who came skimpily dressed. I kept asking myself, ‘How can we help them, how can we reach them, how can we as African women ensure that they don’t all die because some man neglected to protect them?’ ”

These questions continued to haunt me as I traveled to Congo to do some work with Congolese women, who live in a nation plagued by war and mass rape. On the fourth day of the trip, I was sitting in my hotel room chatting online when I heard a scream: “Somebody help me!”

Article - Gbowee Sex Workers Nicolette Bopunza, age 14, stands outside her house in Mbandaka, Congo. She works as a sex worker, charging about 50 cents for sex and $2 for a whole night. (Per-Anders Pettersson, File Photo / Getty images) The activist, mother, and feminist in me ran outside in only a piece of wrap and a shirt, to see a young Congolese girl on the balcony of a hotel room crying. She was shouting in not so perfect English, “This is all you wanted, sex me and throw me out! You are a bad person! I don’t ever want to see you again!” I continued to stand and watch. She said to me, “Mama help me, after being bad to me, now he is calling the police.” In less than five minutes, about four police officers and several men in plain clothes came running to the scene. The girl was pulled off the balcony and back into the room, as she screamed for help and asked, “What is my crime?”

The men then pulled her out of the hotel room clothed only in panties, kicking and punching her for resisting. I ran to follow and she reached out to me, pleading for help. I asked the guy who was apparently the commander of the whole operation to release her to me, but he said no, that she was a constant problem for the hotel. More men continued to pound and kick this girl.

As three police officers and two plainclothes men dragged her away, she tilted her head in my direction and said, “Mama, help me!” They had handcuffed her, and she was obviously headed for a police cell. What became of her in the cell that night, only God can tell.

All I could do was join her in screaming. My scream was for my own helpless state at the moment, for her pain, and for the many young African girls living in situations of conflict, who are constantly being exploited. My scream and angry tears were for the psychopaths we call leaders in Africa, who give us nothing but pain and misery. My scream was for the misery of so many African women who live at the mercy of men and boys.

My scream blended with the screams of my Congolese sisters. The rage subsided after 15 minutes and all that was left was a feeling of helplessness for every African refugee girl. I believe even as they walk the streets offering sex, they are looking at us African women, the seemingly strong ones, and screaming silently like the Congolese girl I saw: “Mama, help me!”

Take Action: To help build the African sexual rights movement, support Akina Mama wa Afrika, whose goal is to empower sex workers to stay healthy and improve their lives. Learn more through AMwA’s partners, HIVOS and the Open Society Institute.

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May 29, 2010 Posted by | Sexuality | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Laws of Attraction Are Mysterious and Uncontrollable

Some crushes are inappropriate but excusable. For example, you may find yourself doing a double take when someone from the sales department walks past. He may be cute but it’s not a good idea to admit you have a thing for him, because you work with him. And because he’s a salesman.

Still, at least he’s hot. What happens when you find yourself going weak in the head for somebody who really is not in the slightest bit nice to look at?

Funny Guys

It’s vaguely understandable when the object of your crush is attractive in other ways – for example, he could be funny. Take American talk-show host Conan O’Brien. (I would.) He looks a bit like Tilda Swinton, only more unsettling. He has ginger hair. He has no discernible eyebrows. He’s about nine feet tall and can’t weigh more than 65kg. But every time he gives the double thumbs up, grins into the camera and says ‘Buddy boy,’ I want to jump his bones. Funny is so sexy that it can make up for there being no actual sexy present at all.

That’s why I’d happily do Michael Cera or Seth Rogen. Or Steve Carell or Vince Vaughn, spare tyre and all – though – if you needed glasses but didn’t have them on, you could justifiably think those two fairly good-looking.

Right, so we can like men because they make us laugh, but that doesn’t explain it all the way. It’s not as though the world is short of sexy men who are also funny. Remember Brad Pitt in Snatch? Hysterical. Jimmy Fallen is adorable and one of the funniest men on screen. But, given the choice, I think I’d rather sleep with Jack Black. I think it’s the chubby cheeks.

Nerds

One step away from the funny-looking funny guy is the funny-looking clever guy. Cathy, is into Barack Obama. Who isn’t? But if you take away the power and the stage lights, what you’re left with is a sexy voice stuck in a stick figure with big feet and crazy ears.

Still, Obama is an extremely glamorous nerd, and he does have that smile, the one that could probably charm even Julius Malema into submission. Obama is also cool. Cool goes a long way. That’s how men such as Billy Bob Thornton and Slash – get my sexiness vote.

My own nerd crush is not cool. If I ever saw Jarvis Cocker walking in the street, I would immediately delete all the Blur songs off my iPod and run over to accost him. I might break a bone, but I’d do it anyway. I don’t know why. I can’t explain it.

Crusty Old Men

Which takes us another step further, into the category of just plain inexplicable. These are the really inappropriate crushes, because they seem not to have any redeeming features at all. Or, if they do, they are not enough to cancel out all the scary features. And yet these men are sexy. I’m not the only one who thinks so – just look online.

Did you sense that I was procrastinating a bit in the last paragraph? I was, because I keep cringing at the thought of typing what I need to type next. Okay, I’ll be brave. Here goes: Gordon Brown. I would totally do Gordon Brown. I expect it would take years of therapy to discover why.

Some people believe power can make a man sexier. In some ways they’re right. It might be because charismatic people are often the ones who end up holding power, and charisma is sexy. Someone I know once met red-faced, puffy-nosed Bill Clinton – just after the Monica Lewinsky thing – and described him as ‘sex on wheels’.

But the thing is, Gordon Brown doesn’t even really have power on his side. He’s one of the least popular prime ministers in British history. He’s not funny; he looks like he doesn’t brush his teeth; he has a freakier smile than Dracula.

At least Jeremy Clarkson, my number-one ‘older’ crush, is less embarrassing than Mr. Brown. He’s crusty and flabby, and his habit of wearing jeans that sag around the bum has been blamed by some for the decline in denim sales during the ’90s.

But he’s also opinionated and clever and funny. And politically incorrect and often inappropriate. Like my crush on him.

May 17, 2010 Posted by | Off Topig, Sexuality | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Having Sex When You Have a Yeast Infection

When most of us think of a yeast infection, we think of it in connection with women. However, the Candida albicans fungus (yeast) can cause infections in anyone of either gender, because it is present in all of our bodies. This will come as an unwelcome surprise to men, but hang on, because it gets worse. Guys, when you have sex with a woman who has yeast infection, she can easily pass it on to you.

Due to the specific hormones women have, they are more susceptible to yeast infections. Usually when a woman has an infection she will experience all of the uncomfortable symptoms that tell her what’s going on. She’ll know when it’s necessary to take more precautions in having sex. However, there are times when she may experience such mild symptoms that she’s unaware she even has a problem, so she can pass the infection on to a man without knowing it.

Most men don’t even think about being concerned over getting a yeast infection, but it can happen. In fact, yeast infections of the penis are very common and seldom cause any symptoms in otherwise healthy men. During an active yeast infection in either partner, it is safer to avoid sex altogether. This practice will not only ensure that the infection won’t be passed on, but it will also avoid more irritation which will make the condition last longer.

In order to know if you have a yeast infection, it will help if you know the symptoms. In women the most common symptoms are irritation, itching, redness, swelling, burning, and a whitish-grey discharge that has the consistency of cheese as well as a smell much like yeast or beer.

Men who are infected will show redness, irritation, and possibly white spots on the end of the penis. There may also be a white to yellow discharge present. It could be that after he has intercourse his penis will be sore. The better your overall health is, though, the milder the symptoms you’ll experience.

Both men and women should see a physician if they are concerned that they might have yeast infection. Your doctor will be able to confirm the diagnosis and make suggestions for effective treatments. There are numerous prescription, over-the-counter and natural remedies for treating yeast infection available.

If one partner in a sexual relationship has yeast infection, both partners should get diagnosed and treated. Otherwise, the person who was treated and is now symptom-free will run the risk of getting it back from their untreated partner every time they have sex.

Yeast infections can be a nuisance and wreak havoc with your sex life, but with proper treatment and precautions, soon you’ll both be healed up and back in action.

It is very important that you let your partner know of the risks involved. Sharing a tender moment is great, sharing an infection is not. Learn the facts and learn more about what options are available to you.

May 17, 2010 Posted by | News and Society, Sexuality | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Coping With Low Libido Using Male Sexual Enhancement

One thing that comes with men growing older is that they mostly experience decreased sex drive. So to cope, they look for sexual enhancement. But does low libido really come with age?

Not all the time. More and more studies pertaining to aging men are stating that low libido are results of physical and emotional wear and stress, particularly feelings of depression, guilt and insecurity. Stress is pointed the leading culprit by men opting for natural male enhancement products, while depression follows too close. Both stress and depression mostly lowers men’s interest in sex, or their partners, as they age; for them, the sexual enhancement intervention would most likely solve the problem.

For others, it is the physical factor that leads them to search for male enhancement products, exercises and techniques to cope with the decrease of sex drive. It could be too much work that is taking its toll physically, particularly for men in heavy physical labor for years, and for those who are swamped with supervisory and managerial responsibilities. So they opt for sexual enhancement opportunities to cope with physical tiredness.

It is a fact that as a man sees another ten years of their lives, over 10% of their testosterone is diminished. This group of men suffering from the male form of menopause would opt for sexual enhancement medications without digging further into the cause or realizing that they are actually going through a period of losing testosterone.

Further, other symptoms of male menopause are much more noticeable like increased body fat and growing belly, lowered agility due to bone density decrease and receding hairlines. Like opting for a sexual enhancement product, aging men are also cramming to get products for these signs of being older to improve their general appearance.

Low libido becomes an even greater issue for men who know of someone else over a decade older than them and are still sexually active. So they rush to the nearest pharmacy and purchase a male sexual enhancement product, or they ask around or search online for libido enhancers. This alarm is understandable because many men realize too late that their sexual health has been taken for granted.

True, as men grow older, they should not give in to its downsides, particularly in getting enough sessions and satisfying sex lives. Life goes one even after you are forty or even over sixty years old. Sexual enhancement techniques and products should do the trick for you, as well as gaining power over the physical realities you have to live by.

When you know what you lack, you would have a clearly defined plan of action to get back that thirty-something benefits in the sack. Apart from being aided by sexual enhancement options, empower yourself physically with proper diet, regular exercise and shift to a healthier lifestyle.

May 16, 2010 Posted by | News and Society, Sexuality | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Live webcam shows

Experiencing lots of sexual fun is nowadays a lot facile and more convenient than what it used to be a few years ago. Online sexual relaxation has been around for a very, very long time. Sexy movies were the hottest thing some time ago, and a lot of people all over the world still own amazing collections of such media. However, recently, a different form of accomplishing fantasies has pulled ahead. We are talking about live webcams that adults can access online whenever they want. Offering hot experiences, adult webcams beats any other form of sexual amusement at home. If you own a computer and an Internet connection, you can access such live cams at any time and view pretty naked women whenever you feel like it. This is the reason why having lots of erotic fun has become more possible and more convenient. You can live a truly amazing experience in the company of a lovely babe that will perform live for you and make all your nasty wishes come true. You can access such live cams whenever you wish to and as often as you want to, and stay online for as long as you wish.
Speaking of duration, a lot of hot webcams offer incredible experiences. The only problem is that the price is too high. Not everyone is willing or able to pay, say, 3 or four dollars for just a single minute of live sex. Off course that you can always join the free adult webcams, but it’s possible to waste your time in this way. Even So, since they are free, you can always check and see if you are in for what you expected. But any sensible guy is aware that each good thing comes with a price. You can’t ask to have quality sex online and pay nothing for it. Still, the catch is to check out the best combination between service and cost. You can try cheap live sex (cheap meaning only 99 cents a minute) on some adult sites. Finding such sites may turn out to be quite tricky, considering the large number of web sites for adults. Therefore, it wouldn’t hurt to ask around or consult some feedbacks. Online webcams are really popular nowadays, and some of your friends or acquaintances might be capable to refer you to a good web site where you can enjoy cheap live sex with sexy women.
Live sex webcams is the here and now of erotic entertainment. What can be more exciting than a virtual cam2cam experience with a lovely woman of your choice whenever you feel the need? No more fantasizing and daydreaming. Sensual women are waiting for you online in order to provide you a wild show. You can enjoy your own private show almost immediately and for as long as you wish. With just 99 cents per minute, you can actually take your time.

May 16, 2010 Posted by | News and Society, Sexuality | , , , , | Leave a comment

Be proud that you like hairy girls

Would you condemn a gay man because he seeks comfort in the arms of another person of the same gender instead of the usual companion? Is it his fault the fact that he enjoys this more than what we traditionally know? Everyone is attracted to someone else and if you cannot find it in your heart to accept this, then you have a much bigger problem than you know.

If you enjoy a meal and the person next to you hates it, is he wrong or right? Or you are both entitled to your own opinions? The same principle applies to men with fetishes other the regular ones. For instance, would you look at someone judgmental because he seeks the comfort of women that are not the usual stereotypes, with the same body figure of fashion models?

Sexual preferences are the things that define us as who we are and we should not be ashamed about this aspect of our lives. If you enjoy the company of hairy girls in your bedroom, then you should not be afraid to state that loud and clear. And if there is someone that has a problem with that, then you should let them know that it is their problem and not yours.

Judging someone for their sexual preferences is the same as being a racist. Why should anyone else care if you enjoy sleeping with hairy girls? This would only happen if the person who judges you has an unfulfilling life and is determined to live through others.

Should you let this bother you? Should you allow someone else’s unimportant opinion disturb your way of life? Or should you be very proud of the fact that you enjoy the company of hairy girls and keep on doing what you love most?

The problem with hairy girls is that they are also ashamed of themselves. Therefore it is very hard to find a companion that will suit your tastes, because they are also afraid of coming out in the open. Is there any solution that you can undertake?

May 16, 2010 Posted by | News and Society, Sexuality | , , , , , | Leave a comment