Sex in the News

            This blog pays homage to the syndicated column, News of the Weird, by creating a list of sexual issues, sexual health, and other taboo topics in the recent news.

            Holly Stewart, a grandmother from Kansas City, Missouri, asked for money on Kickstarter to help fund her penis art business. She wanted to raise $250 to pay for promotional posters to advertise her art exhibit HollyPolyester: Local Grandmother Quilts Giant Penises, which ran from September 4-19, 2014, at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Gallery of Art. The grandmother raised $300 on Kickstarter, and her art show took place as planned. Stewart’s art includes life-size and giant quilted penises made from colorful materials and penis sculptures made from pins and sequins. Sources: and the UMKC Gallery of Art website

            Auxilium Pharmaceuticals, a drug maker located in Chesterbrook, Pennsylvania, laid off 200 workers, or 30 percent of its workforce, on September 10, 2014. The pharmaceuticals company, which has not made a profit since 2012, sells 12 products dedicated to men’s health, including the testosterone gel Testim, the erectile dysfunction drug Stendra, and the Peyroine’s disease (penile curvature deformity) drug Xiaflex. Stendra is the first new erectile dysfunction drug to hit the American market in nearly a decade, and the company is awaiting a decision from the Food and Drug Administration to change the drug’s label to indicate a 15-minute onset of action over the current label’s 30-minute onset of action, which means it may take less time than previously thought for the drug to take effect. Auxilium expects to pay $20 million in severance and other layoff costs. Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Philadelphia Business Journal

            Thomas Cantley, a 31-year-old testicular cancer survivor, is rolling a giant inflated testicle across the United States to help raise awareness about testicular cancer and to encourage men to get tested for the disease. The six-foot in diameter ball, which Cantley named Lefty Junior, has inscriptions written in Sharpie marker from Cantley’s family members and people he meets along his walk. This is not the first giant ball rolled by Cantley. The first, aptly named Lefty, logged 3,000 miles across Canada, has over 3,500 stories written on its skin, and is now retired in the Testicular Cancer Foundation’s Austin, Texas office. For more information on testicular cancer, please visit Sources: The Monterey County Weekly

            Parents in New Zealand were offended when they discovered their children had been snacking on penis-shaped gummy candies that were packaged amongst normal gummy bears. Shops in the lower South Island had stocked 7,200 bags of Dragon Sweets, which are manufactured in China. Despite only one out of every 20 to 30 bags of candies containing the penis-shaped gummies, the shops selling the candies issued a recall. In China and other parts of Asia, penis-shaped candies are not considered offensive, but rather a sign of fertility and health. Sources: The New Zealand Herald and

            An American male was seen wearing a backpack that looked exactly like a man’s scrotum. Your Sexy Librarian used the internet to look up a photo of the bag, and, yes, it has all the features of a scrotum. The bag appears to have two compartments and is covered with a nubby texture. The maker of the scrotum backpack has not been identified as of publication. For the ladies, there is a leather purse that is made in the image of a scrotum with a placid penis dangle between the two ball-shapes of the purse itself. The maker of this fashion accessory has not been identified as well. Source: Google image search

            Scott Wiener, a public official in San Francisco, publically announced that he is taking the HIV drug Truvada as a pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP. The World Health Organization and San Francisco’s health department both believe that PrEP can reduce new HIV infections among gay men. Some researchers believe PrEP may reduce the risk of HIV infection by 99 percent if patients take their medication daily as prescribed. Truvada has a list price of over $1,000 a month, but many private health insurers and some state Medicaid plans cover PrEP, allowing many patients to have access to Truvada for a low monthly co-payment. Federally funded programs provide free medication to HIV-positive people without insurance, but do not currently cover PrEP. David Campos, another advocate of PrEP, notes that “every prevented HIV infection saves $355,000 in treatment costs, a significant offset to the cost of subsidizing PrEP.” Wider use of PrEP will require greater public awareness among patients and their medical care professionals and a reduction in the stigma that surrounds HIV medications. Source: The New York Times