TIME Crime

Men Who Buy Sex Are More Prone to Sexual Violence, Study Says

Sex buyers share characteristics with men who commit sexual violence

Men who buy sex are more prone to sexual coercion and are more likely to report a history of sexual violence, according to a new study.

The study of 101 men in the Boston area, published Monday in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, found that men who hire prostitutes tend to have less empathy for women and tend to share characteristics with sexually violent men. The researchers screened 1,200 men in order to isolate demographically comparable groups to interview. “Both groups tend to have a preference for impersonal sex, a fear of rejection by women, a history of having committed sexually aggressive acts and a hostile masculine self-identification,” said UCLA professor Neil Malamuth, who co-authored the study, in a statement. “Those who buy sex, on average, have less empathy for women in prostitution and view them as intrinsically different from other women.”

The researchers define “hostile masculinity” as a hostile and narcissistic desire to have power over women. One man told researchers he thought of prostitution like buying a cup of coffee: “When you’re done, you throw it out.”

The study also found that men who buy sex are more likely to rape and commit other sexual offenses. The study comes as more and more jurisdictions are focusing on targeting johns rather than prostitutes in their efforts to curb prostitution and sex trafficking, and on the heels of Amnesty International’s vote in August to recommend the complete decriminalization of prostitution for buyers and sellers. Read about the effort to target sex-buyers in the United States here.

The study was co-authored by Melissa Farley, who runs Prostitution Research & Education, a nonprofit that studies prostitution and sex trafficking. In its mission statement, PRE says it is dedicated to abolishing the prostitution altogether. The study was also funded by Hunt Alternatives.

SPECIAL REPORT: Catching Johns: Inside the National Push to Arrest Men Who Buy Sex

 

TIME Ashley Madison

‘John Doe’ Files a Potential Class Action Lawsuit Against Ashley Madison

Homepage of Ashley Madison website displayed on iPad, in photo illustration taken in Ottawa
Chris Wattie—Reuters The homepage of the Ashley Madison website.

The anonymous user is accusing the website of inflicting emotional distress

Another potential class action lawsuit has been filed against Ashley Madison’s parent company Avid Life Media.

This time the plaintiff is an anonymous California resident and Ashley Madison user who goes by the name “John Doe.”

Doe is filing on behalf of all U.S. residents who signed up for the website, alleging that Ashley Madison did not take “necessary and reasonable precautions” regarding security. Among the plaintiff’s accusations, the class action complaint lists negligence and inflicting emotional distress.

The document refers to “the recent rise of massive security breaches on the Internet,” arguing that Avid Life Media should have been aware of the risk and taken precautions to prevent a security breach, especially considering the “particularly sensitive” information users trusted the site to protect.

Ashley Madison supposedly offered a $19 “scrub” option that promised to delete users profiles so they would be untraceable. The suit alleges that Avid Life Media simply collected the money and neglected to scrub the profiles. Doe also accuses the company of not informing users of the breach in a timely manner and neglecting to inform them of its extent.

The lawsuit follows a recent hack of the Ashley Madison website by a group called the Impact Team, which downloaded “highly sensitive personal, financial, and identifying information of the website’s some 37 million users,” the lawsuit said.

The hacker group said it would make the information public if the website was not shut down in August.

TIME Viagra

Valeant Snaps Up ‘Female Viagra’ Maker Sprout for $1 Billion

A trademark piece of fast dealing from the acquisition-driven Canadian company

The ink is hardly dry on the approval letter from the Food and Drug Administration, but the makers of Addyi, the “Female Viagra,” have decided it’s time to cash out.

Canadian-based Valeant Pharmaceuticals said Thursday it’s agreed to buy Sprout Pharmaceuticals Inc. for an initial $1 billion in cash, generating an immediate and hefty pay-day for the pint-sized Raleigh, NC-based firm. The bill may rise as Addyi passes certain (unspecified) milestones in sales and profits

It’s only two days since the FDA gave Addyi its blessing, making it the first officially sanctioned treatment for boosting female sexual desire in the U.S.. Valeant is betting that the drug will be the same kind of runaway success as Viagra, Pfizer Inc’s pioneering treatment for male erectile dysfunction, 15 years ago.

Valeant is due to pay $500 million upon closing the transaction (expected by the end of September) and another $500 million in the first quarter of 2016. It expects Addyi to go on sale in the U.S. in the fourth quarter, and to add moderately to Valeant’s earnings in 2016, according to the company’s statement.

Sprout will remain headquartered in Raleigh as a division of Valeant, a group that habitually prefers to buy drugs developed by others rather than develop them itself.

A person familiar with the situation told Fortune that “Valeant and Sprout had been in talks for about three to four weeks and had structured the deal so that the terms could be finalized quickly after Addyi’s approval.”

“Delivering a first-ever treatment for a commonly reported form of female sexual dysfunction gives us the perfect opportunity to establish a new portfolio of important medications that uniquely impact women,” Valeant chairman and CEO Michael Pearson said in the statement.

Sprout CEO Cindy Whitehead commented that Valeant’s international reach “offers us a global footprint that could eventually bring Addyi to women across the globe.”

UPDATE: This article has been updated to include information about talks between the two companies prior to Thursday.

MONEY Health Care

What You’ll Have to Pay for ‘Female Viagra’

A tablet of flibanserin female viagra
Allen G. Breed—AP A tablet of flibanserin

The answer is, it depends

On Tuesday the Food and Drug Administration approved Addyi, the first sexual dysfunction drug for women. Questions remain about the drug’s side effects and risks. But if it works well, will it be affordable for most women?

Sprout CEO Cindy Whitehead said that while the cost of Addyi has not been finalized, it should be priced similarly to a month of Viagra pills. GoodRx, a drug cost comparison site, found that the average fair cash price for Viagra is around $400 a month. However, Whitehead expected that patients with insurance coverage would only need to pay about $30 to $75 a month in copays.

That’s the amount most Americans currently pay for non-generic prescription drugs. Virtually all job-based health plans have prescription drug benefits with a “formulary,” or a list of which drugs are covered and which are not. Most drug formularies have more than one tier, which means that some drugs require a higher co-pay or co-insurance rate than others, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. For formularies with just two tiers, the average co-pay for first-tier drugs like generics is just $11, while more specialized second-tier drugs go up to $30. On plans with four or more pricing levels, the most expensive average co-pay is $80.

That said, it’s not yet known whether all insurers will cover Addyi. For men seeking erectile-dysfunction medication, some insurers require evidence of a documented medical condition or refuse to cover certain drugs, according to the Cleveland Clinic. For instance, starting next year, CVS/Caremark will remove Viagra and Levitra from its formulary (though Cialis will still be available). Plus, those over 65 are often out of luck: By law, Medicare Part D is prohibited from paying for erectile dysfunction drugs.

TIME medicine

Why ‘Female Viagra’ Isn’t Really Like Viagra

There are key differences between the two drugs

The drug flibanserin, which is being sold by Sprout Pharmaceuticals under the brand name Addyi , is the first drug approved to treat a lack of female sexual desire. Some are calling it ‘female Viagra’—but while both pills are meant to improve sex lives, the similarities end there.

Viagra is an erectile dysfunction treatment and increases blood flow to man’s genital area to help him achieve and maintain an erection. But flibanserin doesn’t treat a physical ailment, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it hasn’t been shown to enhance sexual performance. Instead, it aims to improve lagging libido in premenopausal women who are distressed by their low desire for sex, a condition called hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD).

MORE: Female Viagra’ Drug Approved By FDA

Scientists understand how flibanserin works, but not necessarily why the mechanics of the drug lead to improved sexual desire and less stress. The drug targets neurotransmitters thought to be involved in sexual desire; it increases dopamine and norepinephrine levels while decreasing serotonin levels. In an email to TIME, a spokesperson for Sprout Pharmaceuticals said dopamine and norepinephrine are responsible for sexual excitement, and serotonin is responsible for sexual satiety and inhibition.

Also unlike Viagra, flibanserin is a medication taken every day (close to bedtime.) Viagra is only taken as needed. Data from the makers of Viagra suggest that the drug helped approximately four out of five men get and maintain erections. About 85% of men taking 100 mg of Viagra had hard erections compared to 50% on placebo. Data from flibanserin—which included three 24-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials in about 2,400 premenopausal women with HSDD—is less impressive. The women who took a 100 mg nighttime dose of the drug showed that on average, being treated with flibanserin increased the number of sexually satisfying events by 0.5 to one additional event per month over placebo and increased desire by 0.3 to 0.4 points over placebo.

MORE: See How ‘Female Viagra’ Works

One of the reasons critics opposed the approval of flibanserin is that they believe the benefits of the drug are not great enough to override possible side effects. When the FDA approved the drug Tuesday, it cited serious risks that could come from taking flibanserin and drinking alcohol, which include severely low blood pressure and loss of consciousness. For that reason, among others, the FDA said the drug will only be available through specially certified health care professionals and certified pharmacies and will include a boxed warning of its side effects.

“There is no black box warning [for Viagra]. They tell you not to take it on a full stomach, but that’s not a medical restriction,” says Leonore Tiefer, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine. “This drug, [flibanserin], has all of these limitations, and it affects the brain.”

The decision to take flibanserin lies with women and their physicians, but it may be in a consumer’s best interest to understand the distinctions between the little blue pill and the little pink one.

TIME Sex/Relationships

See How ‘Female Viagra’ Works

This graphic explains the newly-approved drug

The first drug to treat a lack of female sexual desire has been approved by federal authorities.

The drug flibanserin, which has been coined ‘female Viagra,’ is intended to treat women with a condition called hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) that’s characterized by lagging libido. On Tuesday, the drug was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “Today’s approval provides women distressed by their low sexual desire with an approved treatment option,” Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a statement.

Although the drug is being called a “Viagra” for women, it actually works quite differently. You can see how below.

Female Viagra
Heather Jones for TIME

Read next: What 8 Medical Experts Think About ‘Female Viagra’

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TIME Sex/Relationships

‘Female Viagra’ Drug Approved By FDA

Authorities have approved flibanserin to treat lack of sexual desire among women

The first drug to treat a lack of female sexual desire has been approved by federal authorities.

The drug flibanserin, which has been coined “female Viagra,” was approved Tuesday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The drug is intended to treat hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD)—a persistent lack of libido—in premenopausal women. The agency had rejected the drug twice in the past.

In June, an advisory panel to the FDA voted 18-6 in favor of approving flibanserin, which is developed by Sprout Pharmaceuticals. Though it’s compared to Viagra, the male drug for erectile dysfunction, flibanserin works in the brain by targeting neurotransmitters thought to play a role in sexual excitement.

MORE: Here’s What It’s Like To Take ‘Female Viagra’

The drug’s approval is not without controversy. Critics have expressed concern that the benefits of the drug do not override the side effects, which can include sleepiness and nausea. In clinical trials of the drug, 13% of women stopped taking flibanserin due to side effects. Some critics also take issue with the fact that the drug needs to be taken every day.

“I think it’s a disaster. It’s unsafe and it doesn’t work. That is all a drug is supposed to do,” Leonore Tiefer, clinical associate professor of psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine told TIME.

Other experts argue that though the drug may be imperfect, it gives physicians an option to offer female patients. “Currently, there is no drug available in the U.S. for the treatment of HSDD, and clinicians and patients are very interested in having access to an approved medication,” Dr. Bob Barbieri, chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital told TIME. “Once the drug is available to clinicians and patients, the role of the drug in the treatment of HSDD will be better clarified.”

The FDA has taken steps to cite possible risks. Due to risks associated with drinking alcohol while taking the drug, the FDA says flibanserin will only be available through specially certified health care professionals and certified pharmacies. The drug will also contain a “boxed warning” that highlights the risk of severe low blood pressure and loss of continuousness among patients who drink alcohol and take flibanserin and other at-risk patients.

MORE: What 8 Medical Experts Think About ‘Female Viagra’

Women’s groups that advocated for the drug’s approval under the campaign, Even the Score, framed the issue as sexist, arguing there are 26 approved drugs for sexual dysfunctions among men but none for women. The campaign was backed by Sprout.

Sprout Pharmaceuticals will be selling flibanserin under the brand name ADDYI. You can read more about the FDA decision here.

TIME global health

Amnesty International Votes to Recommend Decriminalizing Sex Work

FILE - In this Friday, May 16, 2014 file photo, a discarded bra lies on the ground outside an informal bar that allegedly employed sex workers after a government raid on the illegal mining camp in La Pampa in the Madre de Dios region of Peru. Amnesty International approved a controversial policy Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015 to endorse the de-criminalization of the sex trade, rejecting complaints by women’s rights groups who say it is tantamount to advocating the legalization of pimping and brothel owning. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd, File)
Rodrigo Abd—AP A discarded bra lies on the ground outside an informal bar that allegedly employed sex workers after a government raid in La Pampa, Peru, on May 16, 2014.

Argues that laws that stigmatize sex workers violate human rights

In a landmark decision Tuesday, Amnesty International voted to recommend the full decriminalization of sex work and prostitution in order to protect the human rights of sex workers.

The resolution recommends a policy that would decriminalize all aspects of adult, consensual sex work, while still classifying coercion into sex work or having sex with a minor as a major human rights violation. The resolution is intended to protect adult sex workers from stigma and abuse by decriminalizing aspects of sex work including buying sex, pimping and operating a brothel.

“Sex workers are one of the most marginalized groups in the world who in most instances face constant risk of discrimination, violence and abuse,” said Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty in a statement. “Our global movement paved the way for adopting a policy for the protection of the human rights of sex workers which will help shape Amnesty International’s future work on this important issue.”

Amnesty International doesn’t have the power to make or enforce laws, but as an international human rights organization Amnesty has been influential on some issues like lobbying against the death penalty and getting political prisoners released.

Amnesty says the new policy on sex work was based on research from the World Health Organization, UNAIDS and UN Women.

But some are not happy with the idea of decriminalizing all aspects of the sex trade, arguing that the move would expand the sex industry, and sex trafficking would grow with it. Critics agree with Amnesty that sex workers themselves shouldn’t face legal consequences, but argue that pimps and sex buyers should.

“By calling for the decriminalization of all facets of commercial sex, including sex- buying, pimping, and brothel-owning, Amnesty is saying they value the rights of exploiters over the exploited,” says Ian Kitterman, policy specialist for Demand Abolition, a group that aims to abolish sex trafficking by ending the demand for paid sex, in a statement. “I fully agree with their belief that more must be done to protect those sold in the sex trade, but it’s equally critical to hold accountable sex buyers, pimps, and traffickers who perpetuate this predatory industry.” He added that many people in sex trade are not there by choice, but by manipulation, coercion or lack of options.

Former President Jimmy Carter sent Amnesty delegates a personal letter urging them to reject the proposal on these grounds, and feminists including Lena Dunham, Meryl Streep and Gloria Steinem signed a letter to the same effect.

TIME movies

The Diary of a Teenage Girl Should Be Required Viewing

Bel Powley poses for a portrait during the Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2015 in Park City, Utah.
Larry Busacca--Getty Images Bel Powley poses for a portrait during the Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2015 in Park City, Utah.

And not just for teenage girls

The first time Minnie Goetz (Bel Powley) has sex, she marks her lover with an “X,” triumphantly drawn from her own blood. She commands him to take her picture, curious about what a 15-year-old teenager looks like moments after losing her virginity. Later that day, she walks with a skip in her step, noticing things she previously hadn’t—a jogger’s bouncing breasts, the way her own weight shifts as she saunters—as though she’s suddenly put on a pair of glasses that allows her to see the world in a whole new way.

But for all the excitement Minnie feels in this moment, there’s a darker way to read what’s just happened to the titular teenaged girl of The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Marielle Heller’s directorial debut, in theaters Aug. 7. Minnie’s first sexual experience was with her mother’s boyfriend, Monroe (Alexander Skarsgard), who is more than twice her age; until this encounter, he served as a kind of informal guardian. Her mother (Kristen Wiig) self-medicates with booze and drugs, regularly getting high in front of Minnie and her younger sister. The only responsible adult in the girls’ orbit is their ex-stepfather Pascal (Christopher Meloni), who lives across the country and, despite his good intentions, is unable to offer much meaningful support beyond the occasional check.

This tension between the newfound agency Minnie is discovering as a sexual being and some of the more disturbing features of that process of discovery courses through the movie at a steady hum. And what makes this movie stand out from the admittedly underdeveloped subgenre of films dealing with young female sexuality is its refreshing candor in relaying that tension. It is presented without judgment, with full agency in the hands of its protagonist and with a nuance rarely achieved among its predecessors.

When coverage of the Patty Hearst trial comes on the local news in the Goetz home, it is more than a subtle nod to the time (1976) and place (San Francisco). The family’s debate about whether Hearst was a victim or a willing participant in her own ordeal could just as easily have been about Minnie’s budding sexuality: Is she a victim of what she may someday perceive as trauma? Is she being controlled or is she in control?

The answer, as with many of the trials of adolescence, may rest somewhere in between. Since its warm reception at Sundance, The Diary of a Teenage Girl has been mostly described as an empowering tale of teenage female sexuality. It’s not hard to count the ways in which the film normalizes and even celebrates teenage female sexuality: Minnie makes declarations like “I like sex” and thinks about it incessantly, embodying traits which cinema has historically associated with the teenaged male. When she sleeps with a boy from her school, she takes control, showing him how to do it so that she will feel pleasure.

But Diary’s empowerment does not derive solely from Minnie’s agency. It pulls from the moments of shame, disappointment and anger as much as it does from those of pride, satisfaction and joy. Empowerment comes from offering up a realistic portrayal of one young woman’s experience, to which another young woman watching might possibly relate. If you are a young woman whose sexual development has not been a path paved with roses, it is not empowering to watch a fictional tale that consists only of roses. It’s alienating.

It’s tempting to say that Diary is fresh because we are so accustomed to seeing sexual coming of age stories about heterosexual teenaged boys—Porky’s, Losin’ It, Superbad, American Pie—in which boy is subject and girl, consequently, is object. Certainly, the number of male-centric virginity-loss tales far exceeds the number about young women. But the latter do exist.

And they tend to go in one of two directions. There are those that present a young woman’s sexual awakening as a time characterized by danger and darkness. The 2009 British drama Fish Tank, in which a 15-year-old girl has sex with her mother’s boyfriend, could share a log line with Diary. But its protagonist is angry and isolated, and the encounter and its aftermath read more like the world-is-dark-and-cold kind of growing up than the world-is-magical-and-full-of-possibility attitude Minnie feels.

On the opposite end of the tonal spectrum, there are movies that take a more comedic approach to female sexuality. The To-Do List (2013), for one, stars Aubrey Plaza as a clueless high school grad preparing for college by checking sexual exploits off a list she keeps in her Trapper Keeper. They generally go humorously awry, though she picks up a sex-positive attitude along the way. Many that fall in this lighter camp feature a high school peanut gallery passing judgment on the protagonist’s exploits—the so-called slut, the nerdy virgin, the Christian saint a la Mandy Moore in Saved and Amanda Bynes in Easy A.

These movies are valid and important—for some young women, their first sexual encounters are damaging and painful, and for others, they are full of humiliating kerfuffles good for a laugh in later years. But in The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Minnie embraces sexual discovery head-on—not for laughs, and not to check it off a list. For her, sex is not the butt of a joke or a summons for danger or a stale right of passage. There is no peanut gallery to contend with, only her own sense of self and the fruits of her exploration, some juicy, some rotten.

And it’s not just teenaged girls who stand to benefit from such a refreshingly honest take on a subject that pertains directly to them. The non-teenaged, non-girl population—those who hold opinions about how teenaged girls should be, who influence access to birth control and sex education curricula, who weigh in on what defines consent and whose stories are believable—might walk away enlightened, as well.

TIME Health Care

Many Teens Are Still Not Getting The HPV Vaccine

Even though the HPV vaccine prevents cancer, the number of teens who get vaccinated is still lower than desired

New federal data shows that despite public health efforts, the number of teen boys and girls receiving the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine only increased slightly in 2014.

The new numbers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released on Thursday show that four out of 10 adolescent girls and six out of 10 adolescent boys have not started the HPV vaccination series. Without vaccination, young people are at a greater risk of developing HPV-related cancers down the line.

Overall, 60% of girls in the age group and 42% of boys have received one or more doses of the vaccine which the CDC reports is 3% higher for girls and 8% higher for boys compared to data from 2013.

Currently it is recommended by the CDC that girls and boys ages 11 to 12 get the HPV vaccine. While the new numbers are an improvement from prior years, medical experts would like to see greater HPV vaccine use, especially since the vaccine prevents cancer.

HPV is not an uncommon infection. Other data from the CDC shows sexually active men and women will get at least one type of the virus at some point during their lives. Each year around 27,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with HPV-caused cancer.

We are missing crucial opportunities to protect the next generation from cancers caused by HPV,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, assistant surgeon general and director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases in a statement.

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