America has a rape problem. For every 1,000 sexual assaults, only 310 are reported — and from the investigation stage to trial, only six rapists out of 1,000 will be incarcerated.

But America also has a prison problem. We spend close to $200 billion a year on imprisoning almost 2.3 million people at any one time — more per capita than any other country in the world. And African Americans and Latinos are heavily overrepresented in prison populations for reasons that can’t be boiled down to differences in crime rates. Most critically, imprisonment simply doesn’t work. It doesn’t prioritize helping…


A friend of mine — a gorgeous, tall, witty and accomplished woman — once went on a date in which her suitor outright compared her to his ex, found her not up to his standards and eventually broke into tears over his former beloved.

“Inexcusable!” I hear you cry. “I’d never make such an ass of myself, nor openly derogate a lady in such a manner!” And I believe you! Truly, I do.

And yet, so many of us falter when it comes to any discussion of ours exes. We fall into the trap of subtle idealization — or demonize…


What is it with the number three?

All of the catchiest, most enduring slogans are three words: “Liberté, égalité, fraternité”; “Veni, vidi, vici”; “Stop, drop and roll.” In visual art, we have the rule of thirds — a guideline for creating appealing compositions. And in comedy, the third and final item in a list is usually the punchline.

The power of the triad is apparent even in the world of romantic and sexual relationships. As best I can tell, the “Rule of Three” was popularized by the prim and proper character Charlotte York in Sex and the City. See, Charlotte…


When it comes to etiquette, the discerning gentleman or lady has a number of resources at their disposal. There are, of course, the classics: Emily Post, Miss Manners and Amy Vanderbilt. Then there are the contemporary versions of those classics — e.g., Travis and Teresa McElroy of the Shmanners podcast.

Inevitably, though, all of these guides tend to leave out some, shall we say, less openly discussed scenarios. Such as: the sex party.

Admittedly, it’s a topic that’s even too big for me to cover — at least by myself. And so, I requested the assistance of two knowledgeable experts…


The reasons why are far more complicated than ‘death grip’

The trope of the man who shoots his shot then rolls over to sleep is so ingrained in our collective psyche that it may be hard to imagine that there are guys for whom having an orgasm with a partner is difficult — or even impossible. As 32-year-old L.A. writer James puts it, “There’s a million jokes out there shaming dudes who bust too quickly, so it’s almost weirder to have sex that’s going great to you — but since you’re not coming she thinks she’s doing something wrong.”

James is far from alone. Over the last few weeks, I’ve…


His job? To protect women from pro-life protesters

In a perfect world, we wouldn’t need abortion clinic escorts — women would be able to access reproductive care freely and safely. But in this current hellscape, they’re an integral part of ensuring that patients can get services at clinics like Planned Parenthood with a minimum amount of harassment.

If you aren’t familiar, a clinic escort is a volunteer who helps patients into and out of abortion clinics, wearing clearly-marked uniforms to distinguish them from anti-abortion protesters who often surround these buildings. The protests can involve shouting at patients, waving gruesome signs and harassing patient guests. …


Men may be from Mars and women from Venus, but when it comes to one issue in particular, it seems like we’ve reached an historic interplanetary accord.

That issue? For lack of a suitable euphemism, how pussy feels. In my latest Twitter poll, 84 percent of both men and women insist that all vaginas feel different — or at least that not all pussy feels the same.


Your guide to the ultimate hookup kit

It’s late at night. Maybe you’re working on a deadline. Maybe you’re playing a video game. Maybe you’re just rewatching Peep Show for the 12th time. Then you get a text. Its mere three letters gradually resolve into the scenario being laid out before you.

Yes, u r up.

In a matter of minutes you’re out the door, heading to your lady texter’s place, as you have a hundred times before. But this time, something’s different. Something calls you into the bodega, the 7-Eleven or whatever they have in England.

That siren song you heard, taking you on a detour…


Okay guys, bring it in — we need to talk.

When was the last time you were tested for sexually transmitted infections?

If you’re anything like the men I recently polled on Twitter, there’s a good chance the answer is “never.”

Let me put this bluntly: That’s wack as hell. I knew, anecdotally, that straight men tend not to get screened nearly as often as women and queer men, but I had no idea things were this dire.

Of course, a Twitter poll isn’t representative of any real population. But if you want something more sophisticated, a recent CDC…


So You Think You Can Wank? Maybe you believe you’re America’s Next Top Meat Beater. Or perhaps you’re The Biggest Loser (of Semen).

Well, I’ve got news for you: You’ve got competition.

Drake Hardy, a 40-year-old bisexual man with a master’s degree in physical sciences, is trying to break the world record for the longest period of time spent masturbating. And while you won’t find the mark in the Guinness Book of World Records, it is recognized by the Center for Sex & Culture in San Francisco. …

merritt k

Writer & podcaster

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