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The Ashley Madison Data Breach

Data breaches of major networks and corporate computer networks has become such a common phenomenon nowadays, that some incidents don’t even make it on the news. But the theft of over 31 million account profiles from the adultery website Ashley Madison, is not one of these easily ignored or forgotten cases. The data that was stolen was sensitive, including names, addresses, credit cards, sexual preferences. Not to mention, membership to the website itself implies a desire to want to cheat on a partner or spouse, which, in itself could potentially ruin many relationships.

If anything positive can be taken from the hack, it’s the fact that the collection of data serves as a great source of information about human sexuality online and offline, and what we look for in relationships, illicit or otherwise. This incredibly large data set provides interested parties an opportunity to analyze and draw insights from the data that would otherwise be incredibly difficult to collect.

The group taking credit for the act is an anonymous collective of hackers going by the moniker “Impact Team.” As Robert Hackett of Fortune reports, Avid Life Media, the parent company of the website, has placed a bounty on the hackers’ heads, offering up $500,000 (CAD) for any information that would lead to the arrest of the guilty party. The company first began receiving threats from back in July of last year, immediately appointing a team to investigate who the culprit might be, initially suspecting that the culprit was someone who may have worked for them on a contractual basis.

Toronto Police Services Superintendent Bryce Evans made the initial announcement:

“Today I can confirm that Avid Life Media is offering a $500,000 reward to anyone providing information that leads to the identification, arrest, and prosecution of the person or persons responsible for the leak of the Ashley Madison database.”

So what have some analysts found while analyzing the data?

Alex Krasodomski-Jones, a researcher for the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media (CASM), wrote a piece for Wired that outlined some of his findings. Krasodomski-Jones chose to focus on cultural differences among the user base:

  • Italian users were most likely to be looking for a short term relationship
  • German and Austrian users preferred a long term arrangement.
  • Brtis are three times more likely to be looking for a short term arrangement. Just one in twenty users were looking for a long-term relationship, compared with one in four in Germany.
  • Chinese users most frequently opted to keep things online, expressing a preference for a “cyber-affair”, something of no interest to Japanese and South Korean users.
  • Sixteen million people used the site in the US. Utah, Mississippi and South Carolina — which feature in the top five churchgoing American states – are Ashley Madison’s three best represented states per capita.

Robert Hansen, VP of WhiteHat Labs for WhiteHat Security, spoke to Tony Bradley of Forbes (http://www.forbes.com/sites/tonybradley/2015/08/19/ashley-madison-hack-data-reveals-interesting-statistics/) regarding some of the insights his company was able to uncover while combing through the Ashley Madison data. Hansen’s focus was on the type of email people used when signing up for an account, which sheds light on where people work, and how far some people will go to remain anonymous.

  • The vast majority of Ashley Madison clients use a webmail address presumably to hide their true identity and/or prevent their spouse from intercepting any Ashley Madison communications.
  • Well over 13,000 email addresses were from .MIL and .GOV domains and a handful of congressmen among the hacked data.
  • A substantial number of addresses from various Fortune 500 companies like Microsoft MSFT +0.00%, Cisco, Apple, and Bank of America.
  • Three accounts using Vatican.com email addresses.
The James Deen Saga – Part 2

Coming to His Own Defense

Hilary Hanson of The Huffington Post recently referred to Deen as the “Bill Cosby of Porn,” making reference to the fact that a seemingly endless string of women with allegations began to emerge not long after Stoya made her initial claims. His only public statement since Stoya’s initial allegation was a series of tweets and an Instagram post in which he called the accusations “egregious” and said, “I want to assure my friends, fans and colleagues that these allegations are both false and defamatory.”

Deen finally broke his silence regarding the rape allegations, coming to his own defense in an interview conducted by fellow porn actress Aurora Snow, published in The Daily Beast. Here are some of the highlights of the interview. Snow did not shy away from asking Deen some tough, hard-hitting, and in my opinion, extremely well thought out questions. Snow asks him directly about some of the allegations coming from the nine women who stepped forward., as well as Deen’s opinions on consent, rape humor and rape culture in the porn industry.

Snow began her interview by asking Deen why Stoya would make her initial allegations on Twitter. His is quick to blame the bitterness left behind after what he describes as a “messy” breakup with Stoya as a key motivator behind her actions.

I do not know at all. I am completely baffled. I also can’t speak to her motivations…What I do know is that Stoya and I did not have a clean break up. It was pretty messy, full of a lot of emotions and both Stoya and I are to blame for that…The reason Stoya made this claim could be as simple as her finding out that my current girlfriend and I are moving in together.”

Snow goes on to question Deen about the Tori Lux allegations, asking him to clarify what really happened on set that day. Deen immediately denies the description of events in question provided by Lux, arguing that the rough nature of the scene filmed was all part of the context of the film, which criticizers are seemingly missing.

“I can safely say that did not happen. All of the accusations are from either ex-girlfriends or events that happened on set. I always try to take responsibility for my actions and apologize when needed. As far as these other claims, at a certain point I feel like people have to step back and analyze this stuff in context. Most of these are descriptions of things on BDSM or rough sex sets. When I am on set I am under instruction of the company who is paying me. I will just say this: my job as a performer for rough sex companies is to engage in certain acts. If at any point I pushed boundaries past the point of comfort, I am sorry. I have always tried to respect peoples’ limits and safe words and operated within that space.”

Stoya asked Deen a very interesting question part way through the interview, asking for his perspective on the differences in consent between the real world and porn industry.

“On every set I have been on the thing that stops everything is: “I don’t feel comfortable.” There are third parties and supervision. There is a disconnect because the person who is having the sex is oftentimes doing it under instruction from a director.”

Styoa followed up by asking: Where do you draw the line between an aggressive violent sex performance and reality? Does that line ever become difficult to define? Does your environment change how you behave towards women? For example, what’s it like to work at the Armory for Kink.com, which is treated like one big porn set?

“Kink.com is a very unique and specific example. They are the only company that I have worked for who puts all the models in one building on one floor unsupervised with access to alcohol and various sex toys, as well as a communal bathroom. It creates a very non-stop sexual environment which is very conducive to producing great content. On most sets there is a natural safety net because you know that there is a walk-on location that changes depending on the day, and there is no blurry line as to when the day starts and ends. I don’t think you can blame an environment for someone’s actions. I can say that the type of content desired by the person who is paying me changes the types of performances I create, and the type of performance desired would be enhanced by the environment, so a smart producer/director would ensure to create the right environment to dictate the type of performance they want.”

The James Deen Saga – Part 1

Some Horrifying Accounts of Assault and Rape

James Deen is in a lot of trouble. In fact, he’s probably fucked, and not in the good way he’s used to.

James Deen, widely considered one of the best, if not the best male performer in the adult film industry, has gotten himself in a ton of hot water lately. Deen, whose real name is Bryan Sevilla, has been a porn performer since 2004, and though he’s appeared in a variety of porn, he’s best known for “rough,” bondage and S&M (sadomasochism) scenes. The “Ryan Gosling” of porn, who some people have called a feminist, is suddenly being bombarded with allegations from several colleagues in the porn industry of assault and rape. And it all began with a tweet.

On 28 November, world-renowned porn actress Stoya (@stoya), who was also Deen’s steady girlfriend for some time, tweeted:

“That thing where you log in to the internet for a second and see people idolizing the guy who raped you as a feminist. That thing sucks.”

“James Deen held me down and fucked me while I said no, stop, used my safeword. I just can’t nod and smile when people bring him up anymore.”

In the days following Stoya’s statements, eight other women in the porn industry have also gone public, including Tori Lux, Ashley Fires, Amber Rayne, Kora Peters, Nicki Blue, Lily LaBeau, and a woman writing as T.M., all of whom claim Deen had assaulted them by refusing to abide by the limits set out by them prior to working with him. Those who have come out publicly to tell their stories have some pretty horrific accounts to share.

1. Nicki Blue

Actress Nicki Blue, 27, told the Daily Mail that Deen assaulted her in 2011 by raping her with a beer bottle and urinating in her mouth during an off-camera attack at a wrap party, following a scene the two had done together at the Kink Castle, the headquarters of the massively popular porn company Kink.com.

“​It got more extreme and there was music playing so it was hard to hear. I started giving him [oral sex]. It was nice at first, then it got really rough. I kept trying to pull my head up to say something, it was too rough. But he would just push my head back in so I was choking and I couldn’t say anything. As he was doing it – this is the embarrassing part and why I didn’t say anything – he said, ‘Oh my God, I have to go to the bathroom’ and he pissed in my mouth. That was it, I spit it up, I was upset. Then after that, he had the idea of putting the beer bottle up my ass. So that was done.”

2. Lily Lebeau

Lily LeBeau offers up two accounts of incidents that occurred on set with Deen in Vocativ, corroborated by the only male performer to speak to the Deen allegations, actor/director Derrick Pierce.

The first incident occurred when trying to film a “couples-friendly” scene—a genre that typically features more romantic or “vanilla” scenarios meant for couples to watch together—and only mildly kinky. As is standard practice in the porn industry, LeBeau and the director of the film (Pierce), clearly outlined the limitations and expectations for the shoot, to which Deen had to be repeatedly reminded.

“The first thing he does is he walks over, I’m tied up, and he spits in my eye. It just went from zero to sixty, just degrading,…To just start a scene by spitting in someone’s eye, especially for a more vanilla company, he knows they can’t use that.”

In the second incident involving Deen, LeBeau claims that he hit her in the face so hard her jaw locked, calling it “the most traumatic thing that’s happened to me in my career.” LaBeau was performing in a scene for Kink.com’s Upper Floor, a live-streaming BDSM group sex series. LaBeau was the star of the scene, being “initiated” as a sex slave, along with several other female and male performers who were involved in the shoot. According to LaBeau and Pierce (who was also performing), Deen was not scheduled to perform in the scene, but began to participate anyway. At one point in the scene, Deen grabbed a cattle prod, a shocking device that is sometimes used in kink, and held it near her head, which was in direct violation of LaBeau’s “no” list (a list of limitations and boundaries outlined prior to filming) and that Deen was well aware of it.

“The cattle prod makes me go into complete panic,” she said. “When you pull it out, I’m done, I’m scared, I’m crying, I can’t think.”

Despite pleading with Deen that she does not like electricity, she ultimately relented, allowing Deen to use a smaller electrical device on her tongue and breasts. Later, according to LaBeau, Deen, who is known for being somewhat of a “smart ass,” grabbed the list detailing what she was and was not willing to do and began systematically performing these acts. One activity on the list was “foot worship,” which prompted Deen to forcefully put his foot in her mouth. While his foot was in her mouth, LeBeau recalls:

“I just remember him taking his hand really far back and then just hitting me hard. Hard. Like, too hard. I heard and felt an almost crack in my ear, from my ear down to my chin. I couldn’t close my mouth.”  It wasn’t the fact of face-slapping that was at issue—in fact she was slapped on her face again later in the scene—but rather the intensity of it.

3. Tori Lux

Adult actress Tori Lux wrote an essay for The Daily Beast  saying Deen sexually assaulted her on a “major porn set” in 2011. Lux said Deen approached her and asked her to “sniff his testicles.” When she said no, he allegedly pinned her down and hit her in the face multiple times before forcing her face into his groin. Lux noted that other people were around but did nothing to stop Deen.

He proceeded to straddle my chest, pinning down my arms with his knees. Then, he raised his hand high above his head, swinging it down and hitting me in the face and head with an open palm. He did this five or six times—hard—before finally getting off of me. Disoriented and nursing a sore jaw, I stood up—but before I could collect myself, he grabbed me by my hair and shoved me to my knees, forcing my face into his crotch several times before shoving me to the floor. I was completely stunned, having no idea how to react.

In the aftermath of these, and the other allegations that have come out in the past two weeks, Deen’s career is crumbling. Porn companies like Kink.com have severed ties, and the website The Frisky killed his column for ever. A sex toy in his likeness was also pulled from production.

What is Flibanserin, and Why are they Calling it the “Female Viagra?”

A key advisory committee voted 18-6 back in August to recommend that the American Food and Drug Administration approve Flibanserin, a drug designed to boost the low sexual drive of otherwise healthy women. The drug is being dubbed the “female Viagra,” and its become a hot topic online. The FDA officially approved the drug just weeks later, and will be sold under the brand name Addyi. Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research said in a statement announcing the approval, “The FDA strives to protect and advance the health of women, and we are committed to supporting the development of safe and effective treatments for female sexual dysfunction.”

Although the FDA approved Viagra for men in 1998, and a host of products since then, this is the first time they’ve approved a drug specifically for women’s sexual function, something they previously described as an “unmet medical need.” Brigid Schulte of The Washington Post (republished in The National Post, the FDA already rejected the drug twice, stating that the potential side effects of fainting, nausea, dizziness, sleepiness and low-blood pressure outweighed the drug’s benefits. Even the advisory committee described the drug as having only “moderate” or “marginal” benefit.

Sprout Pharmaceuticals, developers of the drug, took an opportunity at the initial committee meeting to present the results of a series of double-blind clinical trials. The results illustrated that the drug worked better than placebo to boost women’s sexual desire, increased the number of sexually satisfying events and lowered women’s distress at the loss of their libido. After 24 weeks, 46 to 60% of the women in the trials had benefited from the flibanserin treatment.

Flibanserin, first developed as an anti-depressant, works on neurotransmitters in the brain that affect a woman’s libido. Healthy women who possess significantly low sexual desire clinically suffer from a condition called Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (thought to affect between 5.5 million and 8.6 million US women), which until now has been essentially untreatable medically. Several women provided emotional testimony at the committee meeting prior to the vote, describing the condition “as if a switch had gone off,” not understanding why they no longer want to have sex, and finding this particularly distressing.

According to Schulte, FDA officials are concerned about Flibanserin’s interaction with other drugs — particularly with hormonal birth control pills and alcohol — and the potential for Flibanserin to increase accidents, from car accidents to falls and other mishaps.

The BBC calls the treatment of low sexual desire in women “something of a holy grail for so-called Big Pharma.” Sprout, by gaining approval, succeeded where other major pharmaceutical giants have failed. Pfizer and Procter & Gamble have each attempted to develop products treating low sexual desire in women. And a rival, Palatin Technologies, is rumored to have an alternative treatment for HSDD that is in late-stage trials.

Despite the marginal benefit and host of side affects, the drug has many analysts predicting that Sprout is sitting on a potential goldmine, now that medical practitioners have a treatment available for something being more commonly diagnosed. The FDA’s approval of Addyi, however, does come with stringent safety measures, meaning that its usage is unlikely to be as widespread as with male Viagra.

Check out this CNN report on Viagra and the female alternatives that have been tested in the past 15 years:

Will the TwerkingButt be the Future of Sex Toys for Men?

The creative minds that power the world’s most popular porn website, are looking to revolutionize the sex toy industry for men, with the release of a prosthetic posterior coupled with a VR headset the company is calling the TwerkingButt. You can check out the quirky and hilarious commercial Pornhub made to promote the device:

“Imagine a sensual device so advanced in technology, it allows you to experience the ultimate in cyber passion with motion and movement so real, you’ll never see it coming.”

TwerkingButt, according to the official press release, will “provide the ultimate experience in interactive cyber passion” by allowing you customize its twerking patterns, rhythm and vibrations.

Here’s some of the device’s cooler features:

  • The device is controlled using a bundled remote or your iOS or Android device.
  • It supposedly will have temperature controls so you can simulate body heat.
  • The device ships with a custom VR headset, with 3D content being provided by the TwerkingButt app.
  • The app itself is fairly impressive, giving the user the ability to control twerking patterns, customize rhythms, massage speeds, sensual vibration, and even a music playlist.

So how exactly does the TwerkingButt go the extra mile to truly replicate the feel of human flesh? As Mic Wright of The Next Web explains, the answer is what Pornhub and its partner in this endeavor, TopCo Sales, call Cyberskin. The material is designed to simulate the feeling of skin-to-skin contact, composed of “spring-like, high resiliency bonds” that make it malleable and able to return to its original shape. The companies claim it can be used to render “virtually lifelike replicas of your favorite adult stars.”

The TwerkingButt was officially released back in August, with the ‘classic’ version costing $699 USD, and the ‘deluxe’ model costing around $999 (the difference between the two is not immediately clear).

And as exciting as a robot ass with integrated virtual reality technology might sound, it’s not Pornhub’s first foray into the technological arena. Back in February of this year, the website announced it was developing a wearable wristband called the “Wankband,” which essentially stores kinetic energy from the stroking motion performed by masturbating. This is accomplished with a small inner valve in the band that sends a weight up and down with each stroke This stored energy can then be used to charge other devices, like your smartphone. It’s pretty ingenious when you think about it.

The device itself is still in development stages, so who knows if it will ever get an actual, physical release. Perhaps this is just some elaborate hoax concocted by Pornhub to generate buzz and get attention. You can visit Pornhub and sign up to become a possible, lucky, beta tester of the product when its ready.

The Wankband also got its own commercial, which Pornhub published on YouTube: