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Matthew C. Arroyo 711 Woodland Avenue Metairie, LA 70001
By 2050, sex with robots will be commonplace, and that does not bode well for us.
The pace at which technology is advancing is stunning. If someone had told me during my college days that I would be able to own a phone that would enable me to watch movies, chat with friends in remote corners of the world, surf something called the ‘internet’, besides of course making calls, I’d have given him or her a strange look.
I remember marvelling at cordless phones because I could walk around my home, having private conversations. I wrote letters to people abroad and waited eagerly for their replies, often enquiring if there was any mail for me as soon I got home. In today’s times, click a button, and you are in touch with a person on mail/chat anywhere in the world.
The explosion of medical technology has also been amazing. Once there was only clinical examination and ECGs; today we have CT coronary angiogram, 2D and 3D Echocardiogram and Holter Monitor to study abnormalities in heart rhythms. From angiograms to angioplasties to bypass surgeries, these are the miracles of our times.
In my early days as a consultant, when none of this existed, the conversation at doctors’ cocktail parties would revolve around which drug is better and the comparative efficacy of long- and short-acting nitrates. I listened in amazement to the many anecdotal stories told by senior cardiologists about drugs.
I wonder what we will be like in years to come. I was recently informed about something called a ‘kisser’, which helps us ‘kiss’ our loved ones abroad. The human attention span is also shortening, and our memories are fading faster, as we rely on apps from our smartphones.
Thankfully, love and sex are still real, or so I thought until I read an article by Jessica Szczuka from Germany on Sex Robots. It reminded me of a Woody Allen movie called Sleeper, in which Allen plays a jazz musician and health store owner, who is brought back to life in a dystopian world after having been frozen for centuries. Allen, on the run from government forces, takes refuge in achamber, which turns out to be an orgasmatron, a electromechanical device that delivers instant sexual gratification. Szczuka says the sex robot industry is thriving, and humans will be having more sex with robots than each other by 2050.
In an online survey, about 40.5% of 263 sexually active heterosexual men, who were shown videos of different female robots, said that they would buy such robots in the next five years. A number of sex toys are available in sex shops and on the internet, and their use is now becoming commonplace.
What is happening to the human race? Can we replace the touch of woman, the tenderness in her voice, the look in her eyes? Is it only instant gratification that human beings desire? What about the tenderness of foreplay?
I don’t think sex with a robot will ever replace sex with a dedicated partner, and I hope not to be around if that happens.
Brian N. Canaday 54 Rebecca Street Hickory Hills, IL 60457
Nini Wacera and Karen Lucas are known as the “sex queens” of Nairobi. In a rather conservative country, they co-host a popular podcast called “The Spread.” The project is aimed at opening dialogue about sexuality, providing information on sexuality to people of all ages, focusing specifically on the youth.
The platform kicked off in 2015 after Lucas and co-presenter Wacera noted that no one was having conversations with the youth about sex. There was a platform on the continent, and in Kenya specifically, for a sexuality-based talk show.
“It’s the way we were raised and it has a lot to do with religion and sort of like the religious beliefs that are pushed upon us and being told by our elders that certain things are wrong but I think it’s changing, there is a new wave and new generation of people who are a lot more open. If we can sort of spearhead that in Kenya then we are very happy to do that. It’s about unlearning all of the things we have been told are bad and taboo,” said Lucas.
A wide range of topics are discussed on the show, from sexual health, body image, pornography and the dangers associated with sex and sexual abuse to HIV and sexually transmitted diseases.
“There are many things that can be avoided, teenage pregnancies and the rise of HIV amongst our children, sexual abuse. If we are having conversations with our children about sex and sexuality all of this things can be avoided or reduced in our country,” said Lucas.
Twenty-nine year old Cathy Sonia is an ardent listener. Growing up, she struggled with her sexual identity; she had no one to talk to about it.
“A lot of us are raised to believe that sex is more of a private issue. It never comes across to our parents to talk to us about sex, that never happens and so as kids we grow up believing that that’s just a taboo,” said Sonia.
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She said the show has helped her understand her sexuality.
“At the end of the day, the podcast is informative, it gives you informed information or informed knowledge so that at the end of the day, the teenager or the child is aware that sex is ok at the end of the day, that it is not a taboo. It is not something to be ashamed of, It is normal. It is just like eating.”
The Kenya Film and Classification Board is the government agency mandated to regulate the creation, broadcasting and distribution of films in the country. The Kenya Information and Communications Act empowers this agency to promote national values and morality. Its CEO, Ezekiel Mutual, says podcast produced in Kenya falls under the boards mandate.
He said he supports The Spread, but insists that ‘morality’ should be maintained. As long as the podcast does not promote homosexuality, he is fine with it.
“There are levels that could create an offense, but the discussions about sexuality in itself are very healthy, I think we need to provide this platforms for guys to talk about it,” said Mutual.
“We cannot continue to bury our heads in the sand and assume that the subject of Homosexuality is not happening in Kenya. It is happening, therefore I encourage the conversation. My problem would be, people who are in it should not use it to create misleading information that this is the norm or this is what should be in Kenya. If they are discussing the challenges, if they want to find help, if they want to find confidence in discussing and finding solutions among them, I have no problem.”
The Spread continues to channel sex-positive messages. The presenters said they will continue to support and promote young people’s healthy sexual development through their broadcasts.
Robert M. Wimmer 3468 George Street Gainesville, FL 32601
PESHAWAR: Farzana draws all eyes when she dances, with the twist of her hips and hair — but today she is above all the voice of a Pakistani community with an ambiguous status: the khawajasiras.
The 30-year-old is a guru, a matriarch at the head of a “family” of several hundred khawajasiras, an umbrella term in Pakistan denoting a third sex that includes transsexuals, transvestites and eunuchs. She is co-founder and president of TransAction, a rights organisation launched in 2015 in Peshawar, capital of deeply conservative Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province.
Faced with brutal aggression and daily humiliation, this solid Pashtun, whose hoarse voice betrays her birth sex, “filed complaints in almost every KP police station” — but in vain.
“More than 50 khawajasiras were killed in 2015 and 2016 in KP alone,” she says, recounting with fatalistic calm how she was repeatedly raped and blackmailed by police.
The status of khawajasiras — also known as hijras — is opaque in Pakistan to say the least. Modern-day Pakistani transgender people claim to be cultural heirs of the eunuchs who thrived at the courts of the Mughal emperors that ruled the Indian subcontinent for two centuries until the British arrived in the 19th century and banned them.
Later, Pakistan became one of the first countries in the world to legally recognise a third sex. They number at least half a million people in the country, according to several studies — up to two million, say TransAction.
Since 2009, they have been able to obtain an identity card as “khawajasiras”, and several have run in elections. A Lahore court has ruled they should be counted in the next census, set to be held this year. Like Farzana, many earn their living by being called upon for rituals such as blessing newborns or to bring life to weddings and parties as dancers — and, sometimes, in more clandestine ways.
Sex workers spread HIV over Vietnam border
LIKE millions of other rural folk in China, the farmer never dreamed he could marry a foreign woman. Neither did he know the risk.
“I have been living with HIV for several years,” said the 52-year-old in Pingxiang, a city in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region that borders Vietnam.
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The HIV sufferer is too afraid to use his real name, instead he uses the pseudonym Huang Haitong. He was born in Hunan. Huang went to Guangxi in 1998, and there he opened a small hotel. His wife, from Vietnam, was once a sex worker.
“She had a husband,” Huang said. After Nguyen Thi Hoa, also not her real name, gave birth to a boy, her husband died.
Cross-border marriage is common in Guangxi. Huang married Nguyen in 2004. Two years later, she suffered recurring herpes outbreaks on her face. The couple spent a lot of money but the outbreaks didn’t stop. Finally a doctor said take a HIV test.
When telling the story, Huang’s voice was low and calm. But he said on hearing the news, he felt his world had collapsed.
“I had never sold blood, nor was I addicted to drugs,” he said. Huang suspected that he got the virus from his wife, but added that it was not important now to find out which one of them had infected the other.
In many parts of China, HIV/AIDS still has a huge stigma. Knowing their condition, Huang’s landlord asked the couple to leave. Over a three year period, they moved four or five times and Huang had to close his hotel.
Nguyen gave birth to a girl in 2009. Now the family of four lives in a 30-square-meter rented apartment in downtown Pingxiang, sleeping in one bed. They have an electrical fan to cool them during the torridly hot summer days, but they have no television.
Huang is not a local so he can’t get a low-income subsidy from the government. Nguyen, working as a waitress in a hotel, supports the family with her salary of 900 yuan (US$141) a month.
Pingxiang has a population of 110,000 and is dubbed the “southern gate of China.” It is known as an important place of trade on the China-Vietnam border.
Pingxiang had 638 people who were HIV positive in September.
Guangxi, with 50 million people and more than 60,000 HIV infections by the end of last year, was ranked second among all autonomous regions, municipalities and provinces.
Sex has become the top transmission channel in recent years, said He Bo, director of local disease control and prevention center (CDC) in Pingxiang. He noted that among the newly infected people in 2011, three-fourths were heterosexuals.
According to a report on the official website of UNAIDS, Vietnam, with its population of 84 million, estimated it had 293,000 people living with HIV in 2007. “Of all reported HIV cases, 78.9 percent are 20-39 years old,” according to the report. Border areas had especially high infection rates.
Vietnamese sex workers are generally more likely to carry HIV than Chinese sex workers, He said.
“Among every 100 Vietnamese sex workers two or three are infected, whereas the infection rate of Chinese sex workers is around 1 percent.”
To curb the cross-border spread of HIV, the Pingxiang CDC launched a campaign to ensure the health of Vietnamese sex workers.
Richard D. West 3100 Walnut Drive West Fargo, ND 58078
TAIPEI, Taiwan — The Taiwan High Court yesterday revoked the district court’s decision to grant bail for a Turkish student at Tamkang University, who was detained on suspicion of attempted sexual assault on Wednesday night.
He was granted a NT$200,000 bail on Wednesday and placed on the immigration no-departure list. Prosecutors appealed against granting bail, and after upholding the appeal the higher court sent the case back to the district court for redetermination, according to the Central News Agency.
29 Videos Found of Student Having Sex with Women
When searching his home on Tuesday, police found 29 video recordings of Ersagun having sex with different women, leading to comparisons with infamous convicted rapist Justin Lee on voyeurism.
Ersagun, a 27-year-old, allegedly attempted to sexually assault a female university student after luring her home after a date in April, website NOWnews said. He claimed that he needed to go home and feed medicine to his sick pet rabbit, getting the alleged victim to accompany him, according to media reports.
At Ersagun’s place, the university student suddenly hugged her from behind and pushed her down on the bed, attempting to remove her clothes, according to media reports. She managed to escape after screaming, the report said.
All of the 29 women filmed were apparently unaware that they were being filmed, prosecutors said, according to reports. Most of the videos were taken by a hidden computer lens and one was filmed by cellphone, said media reports. Prosecutors angrily called him “another version of Justin Lee,” media said.
Justin Lee is infamous for raping unconscious women and secretly filming sex acts.
Ersagun has been featured on the show “Dating a Prince,” a TV social program where participants try to make new friends. He showed off a rabbit on the show, Taiwan TV’s recording shows.
According to media reports, Ersagun was defiant as he left the courthouse, saying that “the reports are bulls**t.” He claimed that all the women filmed in his videos engaged in sex before the camera consensually and that he “gave a copy to each of them.”
By coincidence, another woman was at Ersagun’s place when police conducted the search, also viewing the rabbit, website ETTODAY says. The woman, who also had sex with Ersagun, was appalled by the charges against him. She had been in one of the videos, but denied having given consent to be filmed, according to the High Court yesterday. Ersagun claims that he has had four to five hundred consensual sexual encounters with women in Taiwan, according to NOWnews.
Ersagun also goes by the name Chris, according to NOWnews, and has the Chinese name Wang Kai-chieh (王凱傑). He has been in the country for five years and spends his time in nightclubs or trying to hook up with women online, according to media reports.
He called himself “Thousand-man slasher” (千人斬), according to reports. The term originally described fearsome Japanese warriors and was later adopted in colloquial language in Chinese to describe a promiscuous person, reducing sex partners to trophies.
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