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The New Eroticism: When Slow Food Meets Slow Sex

Spring, also known as the season of love, has arrived in South America. Experts point to "slow sex" and natural toys to help heat things up in the bedroom.

Making it taste even better
Making it taste even better
Gisele Sousa Dias

BUENOS AIRES — Is having quick, breathless sex as good as sexual intercourse at a slower pace? The first focuses on release and relieving all tensions, the second being a way of awakening the senses. It's a question sex experts have long been asking themselves, and perhaps their ultimate conclusion is implied in the fact that they are beginning to recommend a new range of eco-friendly sex toys such as fruits, vegetables, cooking oils, and dildos made out of wood or glass.

In these early days of spring in South America, sex experts say embracing "slow sex" and trying new things in the bedroom — using food and cooking elements — are key to a more active sex life.

We've all heard of "Slow Food," which began as a reaction to the culture of fast food. But lately, the philosophy of slowing down has spread to other areas, which now also includes sexuality.

"When we ask our patients how much time goes by between the beginning of foreplay and the actual sex act, people tend to answer "Not more than 5 minutes,"" says Walter Ghedin, a psychiatrist, sexologist and author of the book Sex and Sexuality. "With fast sex, we don't know if we're simply horny or excited. Men hurry because they want to penetrate their partner, thus sticking to the widely spread idea of male performance. And women want their lover to have their penis erect when penetrated, a leftover from the notion of reproductive intercourse. All this tension prevents people from reaching a state of real pleasure, some place in which it's possible to experience your own sensations as well as those of your partner. Sexual pleasure, on the other hand, is momentary. It is merely an orgasm that relieves the tensions of the day."

Slow sex has nothing to do with what's known as tantric sex, he says. "It is all about dedicating more time to foreplay and sex games and let the actual sex act come naturally," Ghedin says. "We have yet to disrupt preconceived ideas and show couples that intercourse ending with mutual masturbation instead of penetration also counts as a sex act."

Avoiding a dull routine

Marianela, 35, lives in Buenos Aires and acknowledges she likes slow sex. "It used to always be the same thing," she says, "Whenever my partner was on the verge of finishing off, I was just starting to enjoy myself, so that I was always left frustrated," she says.

Nahuel Franco, 32, has been in a relationship for two years now and says that slow sex has its advantages. "There are so many things in everyday life that end up having an impact on what you do in bed with your significant other," he says. "Now I know that timing and pace really matter. Slow sex is a way of avoiding dull routine."

Psychologist and sexologist Patricio Gomez di Leva explains that rushed sex is, in many cases, driven by premature ejaculation or a decrease in sexual attraction. For women, lack of foreplay can result in less desire or difficulty achieving orgasm. "I advice my patients not to have sex at all if they don't have the time to do it," di Leva says. "When fast sex ends up being regular sex, then it causes sexual malfunction."

Ghedin says slow sex can actually last all day long. "It can start early in the morning with some kind of fantasy, a suggestive comment, message or picture sent via Whatsapp," he says. "That way, bodies are aroused. And when, many hours later, you get into bed, there is no orgasm to be stifled. It's just about entering into some stimulation by playing, talking and initiating intimate intercourse at the same time."

Among the new ways of exploring sexuality is the use of eco-friendly sex toys, ranging from organic lubricants (olive, almond or sesame oil) to vegetables. Wooden toys like those used during the colonial period have also resurfaced. There are even glass dildos that can be heated up under warm water. Some are even certifiably "green," meaning that they contain no toxics and are plastic-free. There are handcuffs made from recyclable materials, biodegradable organic-latex condoms, and even vibrators that can be charged with solar energy.

"The idea of using whatever you have in the fridge means that you have no excuse, be it economic or time, not to attend to your sexual life," says says Sandra Magirena, a gynecologist and sexologist. "You can use cucumbers, bananas and carrots as vibrators, cooking oils as lubricants. This way, women can stimulate their erotic fantasies and have better orgasms. They stop being passive and become protagonists who dare to set up some kind of stage in their own house, by using whatever they have to imagine, to play without feeling embarrassed, just like children do."

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"Collateral Benefit": Could Putin's Launching A Failed War Make The World Better?

Consider the inverse of "collateral damage." Envision Russia's defeat and the triumph of a democratic coalition offers reflection on the most weighty sense of costs and benefits.

Photo of a doll representing Russian President Vladimir Putin

Demonstrators holding a doll with a picture of Russian President Putin

Dominique Moïsi


PARIS — The concept of collateral damage has developed in the course of so-called "asymmetrical” wars, fought between opponents considered unequal.

The U.S. drone which targeted rebel fighters in Afghanistan, and annihilated an entire family gathered for a wedding, appears to be the perfect example of collateral damage: a doubtful military gain, and a certain political cost. One might also consider the American bombing of Normandy towns around June 6, 1944 as collateral damage.

But is it possible to reverse the expression, and speak of "collateral benefits"? When applied to an armed conflict, the expression may seem shocking.

No one benefits from a war, which leaves in its trace a trail of dead, wounded and displaced people, destroyed cities or children brutally torn from their parents.

And yet the notion of "collateral benefits" is particularly applicable to the war that has been raging in Ukraine for almost a year.

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