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 By Annie Tomlin,

1. Think Kink

One of the last sexual taboos is having a major moment – bondage tape, handcuffs, and all. BDSM (that’s bondage, discipline, submission, and masochism, for folks keeping score at home) may not be mainstream, exactly, but it’s inching out of the underground. Harvard has its own officially-recognized group for students interested in kink, while social networking site FetLife nearly doubled its membership in the last year. And, tourists can visit the San Francisco offices of Kink.com, the subject of a James Franco-produced documentary that premiered at Sundance.

2. Adult Social Media

This may come as surprising news, but pornography is popular on the Internet. (Shocking, we know.) The newest developments are less silicone, more Silicon Valley. Whereas adult entertainment used to revolve around high-gloss pay-for-play sites, some startups are creating XXX versions of popular sites that don’t allow T&A in their TOS.

3. The Personal Gets (Really) Political

If you’re not outraged about what’s happening with reproductive rights, you must not be paying attention. Need evidence? The North Dakota House of Representatives just passed a bill that defines life as starting at conception. A Kansas Senate committee approved legislation barring public schools from using sex-ed materials provided by health care providers that offer abortion. And, in our nation’s capital, Republican senators tacked on five anti-abortion amendments to the budget resolution. All of those developments happened just this week.

4. No Sex? No Problem

Our culture may seem sex-obsessed, but that doesn’t mean everyone is interested in sex. Around one percent of the population is believed to be asexual, meaning that these people don’t experience sexual attraction. Unlike celibacy, which is a choice, asexuality is a sexual orientation. And, as a number of asexuals will tell you, they’re perfectly okay with that.

5. Future Sex

The term “virtual reality” sounds so 1996, but it may finally live up to its promise in the next year or two. Video game fans are geeking out over the forthcoming Oculus Rift headset, which will place gamers in a navigable 3D world. For those interested in playing with, uh, themselves, an Irvine, CA startup called Sinful Robot is developing a virtual reality experience that promises “fully-immersive erotic encounters.” While there’s still a long way to go before computer-generated sex can live up to the real thing, this project will be more realistic than any of its predecessors. Leisure Suit Larry, we hardly knew ye.

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