Unhappy as a boy, Kim became youngest ever transsexual at 12

Bojan Pancevski

Sunday Telegraph

A boy of 12 is believed to have become the world's youngest sex change patient after convincing doctors that he wanted to live the rest of his life as a female.

The boy - originally called Tim, but now known as Kim - has started to receive hormone treatment, in preparation for the operation that will eventually complete the sex change.

Tim was diagnosed as a transsexual two years ago, when doctors and psychiatrists concluded that his claims to be "in the wrong body" were so deeply felt that he required treatment. The therapy involves artificially arresting male puberty, with a series of potent hormone injections before the administration of female hormones to initiate the development of features such as breasts.

Now aged 14, and officially registered as a female, Kim looks like a typical girl of her age. She dresses in fashionable clothes, has long blonde hair and blue eyes and dreams of moving to Paris to become a fashion designer. Her parents, who initially assumed their son was going through a temporary phase, eventually grew accustomed to seeing him as a girl.

The family's full identity has not been made public. But Kim's father, known as Lutz P. – speaking to the German publications Der Spiegel and Stern – said that as a child, the boy liked to play with Barbie dolls, enjoyed wearing dresses and, from the age of two, insisted that he was a girl. "We saw Kim as a girl, but not as a problem. Our life was surprisingly normal."

Kim reacted badly to the first signs of puberty, he said. "At that stage we realised that she was terrified of growing facial hair and her voice breaking."

Kim's parents consulted psychiatrists across Germany. Some condemned their support of their child's desire to undergo a sex change, or suggested that Kim be kept under observation in a closed psychiatric ward. But others agreed that the child should receive therapy, because growing up to be a man would have damaged her personality.

Dr Bern Meyenburg, the head of a clinic for children and adolescents with identity disturbances at Frankfurt University, concluded that the child was serious. He wrote in his diagnosis: "Kim is a mentally well-developed child who appears happy and balanced. There is no doubt of the determined wish, that was already detectable since early childhood. It would have been very wrong to let Kim grow up to be a man. It is rare to have such a clear-cut case."

Kim is reportedly fully accepted by her fellow school pupils and teachers. The costs of the procedure are being covered by health insurance, as the condition qualifies as an illness.

Dr Achim Wuesthof, an endocrinologist specialising in children and adolescents, who is treating the teenager at a clinic in Hamburg, said the procedure had been a success so far. Speaking to The Sunday Telegraph, he said that even though under-16s were not permitted to undergo a sex change in other countries, he and his colleagues felt that in this case it had been best to start earlier. He said: "To the best of my knowledge, Kim is the youngest sex change patient in the world. According to German law, two independent psychiatrists must confirm that the child is indeed transsexual and approve the sex change. Once that has been done, it is best to start as early as possible.

"Transsexuals experience the onset of puberty, and the physical changes it brings, as a serious trauma. But there is a general lack of empathy with cases like Kim's, mostly because people know little about the condition. Imagine a man that suddenly starts growing breasts or a woman that starts growing a beard against their will – that is how Kim and people like her experience puberty.

"They are not freaks, nor do they suffer mental illness. They are simply trapped in the wrong bodies. That is why it is best to help them as early as possible and reduce the trauma for them and their families."

The problem that Dr Meyenburg and other psychiatrists faced was distinguishing a true transsexual personality from a temporary gender identity crisis. Dr Meyenburg quoted an example of a 15-year-old girl who wanted to change her sex, but who revealed during counselling that she had suffered brutal sexual abuse by her father – a case for psychological, rather than hormonal therapy.

Should Kim change her mind before the surgery, the procedure could be reversed. Doctors admit that the treatment involves a risk, however, and that its effects on children as young as Kim are not fully understood.

For legal reasons, the final stage – cosmetic surgery to remove the male genitalia – cannot take place until Kim is 18. Britain's youngest transsexual is Angel Paris-Jordan, who was granted an operation on the NHS at the age of 17.

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After being gang raped by her village elders, Mukhtar fought back...

Isambard Wilkinson,

Sunday Telegraph

Mukhtar Mai's story is as horrific as it is simple, and it is quickly told. On June 22, 2002, the council of her tiny village, on the southern fringes of the Punjab in Pakistan, ordered that she be gang raped as a punishment for an offence supposedly committed by her 12-year-old brother.

At gunpoint she was taken into a stable. Her clothes were ripped off and she was violated by four village elders. The ordeal lasted about half an hour and, when it was over, she was dragged out, semi-naked, in front of all the village men. Her father covered her with a shawl and carried her home.

Mukhtar, who is also known as Mukhtaran Bibi, should then have killed herself. That was the custom. But such was her sense of outrage and injustice that she refused to commit suicide; and that act of defiance started a sequence of events that turned her into an international cause célèbre, who was first praised and then condemned by Pakistan's president, Gen Pervez Musharraf.

Mukhtar, an illiterate peasant, is an unlikely heroine. The crime committed against her is not uncommon in an area benighted by poverty, acts of brutality against women and the rule of thuggish overlords.

But she has refused to be cowed by the pressure put upon her, by local officials right up to the president, to end her campaign against the men who raped her. She wants them to be hanged. "I will never forgive them," she said yesterday. "They must be punished according to the law."

This week, she publishes the autobiography she dictated, In the Name of Honour, which will again stir up the controversy over all that has happened to her. It took some persuading to get her to tell her story, and for the slight, shy 35-year-old with a lazy eye and a rare but wheezy laugh, recounting the events of that night, five years ago, is still painful.

The first time Mukhtar realised that something was wrong was when her father asked her to go with him to the village mosque. Her 12-year-old brother, Shakur, had been accused of committing a "crime" - she didn't know what - against a 20-year-old woman belonging to the local dominant caste, the Mastoi.

Mukhtar and her family are from the lowly Gujar caste and are expected to be subservient to the Mastoi. She thought that she was being asked, as a respectable woman, to speak to the village elders on behalf of her brother.

As Mukhtar, accompanied by her father, Ghulam Farid Jat, an uncle and a family friend, approached the mosque, she could see a large gathering of men outside. This was the panchayat, the village council.

What she didn't know was that it had been taken over by the Mastoi men, who had resolved that to appease the honour of their caste, she must be raped in revenge for what they claimed was the rape of one of their women by Shakur.

"I never thought that anything could happen," says Mukhtar. "I went there to apologise and come back home."

She spread a shawl at their feet as a sign of subservience. Five men armed with rifles and a pistol threatened the Gujars.

The Mastoi leader, Abdul Khaliq, grabbed her arm, others pulled her hair and clothes and she was dragged into an empty stable.

On the beaten earth of the stable floor, Mukhtar was raped by four men: Abdul Khaliq, Gulam Farid, Allah Dita and Mohammed Faiz.

Mukhtar finds describing her fight-back difficult, too.

"It is not an incident that gives you any relief," she said. "I still have pain."

After the rape, she ignored death threats and pressed charges. A local imam denounced the attack at Friday prayers and the crime became national news, after the local newspaper reported his sermon.

In September 2002, the case was tried in a special anti-terrorism court. "I begged and pleaded with the rapists, but they were like animals," Mukhtar told the court.

"One of them put a gun on my head while the others tore up my clothes."

The four men were sentenced to death, along with two members of the panchayat. It transpired that the allegation against Shakur, was made up in an attempt to hide the fact that it was her brother who had been raped by men from the Mastoi caste.

Three men were later sentenced to three years in prison for that crime.

Initially, the Pakistani government lauded Mukhtar as a heroine; President Musharraf even handed her a £4,500 gift. But when the case received publicity abroad and Mukhtar was asked to visit America to talk about her ordeal, the government put her name on Pakistan's "exit control list", which blocked her from leaving the country.

They were afraid that the case would give the wrong impression of Pakistan.

According to Amna Buttar, one of Mukhtar's close circle, a friend of Gen Musharraf threatened her, saying that Pakistan's intelligence services can "do anything.

We can just pay a little money to some black guys in New York and get people killed there".

Asked about the ban, President Musharraf said she was being exploited by "Westernised fringe elements" who wanted her to "bad-mouth" Pakistan. He later said that the rape had become a money-making concern."

"He is a great sardar [chief] and I am a peasant," said Mukhtar. "But when they talk of me shaming the country, he should be careful, as he is also the son of a woman."

In 2005, thousands of her supporters took to the streets to protest, after the death sentences against the rapists were overturned. However, that decision was quickly revoked by the Supreme Court, although it has still to issue a final judgment.

"Fate is in the hands of Allah," says Mukhtar simply. Her own global fame is at odds with her modesty, and her ambition and affection remains focused on her village, despite all that has happened there.

"I have a routine of dealing with people continually. I don't have a life of my own, as groups always come to the village."

She has used her compensation money, along with international donations, to start two schools in her village and to run a charity to promote women's development.

Mukhtar, who had been married at 16, divorced her husband after three years of unsatisfactory marriage. Now, since she attained fame (and a reasonable amount of money), she has received a dozen marriage proposals.

"I haven't found a good person yet," she laughed. "But I trust men. I am not against them."

She may have achieved fame and more money than she could have dreamed of a few years ago, but her life is still in danger.

Just a few hundred yards from her family's home is the large compound of the Mastoi. They have neither forgotten nor forgiven, and have threatened to kill her and her brother.

Chris Cork, an English development agency consultant who helps Mukhtar with her village projects, is convinced that the Mastoi will get their revenge. "They have said they will kill her one day. And they will. She has great courage and dignity. She never asked for fame."

"What if you are killed?" I ask Mukhtar.

"I am just the first drop of water in the village," she says quietly. "I believe it will rain after me."
# In the Name of Honour, by Mukhtar Mai, will be published this week by Virago

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Tips On Choosing The Right Person From The Dating Scene

Alina Ruigrok

Okay, so you date people hoping that one of these days you will come across the right person, the one you will make the greatest romantic connection with. But does it feel like you are going nowhere and believe that you just have no luck with meeting the right people? Feel like you are lost and doomed in this whole dating business? Stop feeling sorry for yourself!

The reality of this situation is that luck has nothing to do with it. If you are like many people, you are probably dating blindfolded, without even realizing that you are doing so. If you feel unsuccessful and dissatisfied with your dating patterns, then it is time for you to take a few steps back to see where things went wrong for you. Think you have been doing everything right? Think again! If you look back, you will be surprised to learn that you got so caught up in just the whole dating experience, that you forgot what to look out for and neglected your true needs and desires. What are you really looking for in a lover? What are your needs and desires? What qualities are important for a person to have and what other qualities are you willing to compromise with and accept?

Getting back in touch with what you are really looking for will help prevent you from staying in the dating scene forever. It is essential that you observe your actions and decisions, making sure that you do not continue to date certain people in the name of dating. If you find that you are not sharing the connection you crave with a person, then you must discontinue with dating that person. Sure, you will feel bad for hurting that persons feelings, but what you must remember is that there is nothing too personal or emotional between the two of you anyway, so just throw that excuse out- and just break it off, in a polite manner of course! This is where so many get stuck, mistaking casual trial dates, with a personal and emotional relationship. This may sound too business-like for your taste, but this is the way it goes in the real world of dating. If you spend your time trying to spare people hurt or disappointment, then you have been doing it all wrong. This does not mean that you have to be harsh and rude, but it does mean that you have to make finding the right person a first and high priority for, not worrying about what other people with think of you.

Which moves us to the next essential point in dating. While it is normal that you fix yourself up to make a great impression on your date, it is not the most important thing that you should focus on. In fact, so many dating singles out there worry so much about what their date will think, that they totally forgot the purpose of the date- to find out whether or not they will find the connection they are seeking. No matter how you fix yourself and what manners or personality you put on, you will never be in control of what your date will think or feel about the date, so set that unnecessary stress aside. Instead, shift your focus about what you will think about him or her. Observe everything about them. Do YOU like their appearance? Does their personality appeal to YOU? Do YOU feel that you are making a good connection? As you can see, it is what you think that is important here, because you are the one looking for the right person, as well as certain qualities. Leave what they think, up to them!

The fear of being single forever can cloud your good judgment, causing you to continue seeing a person who you know you are not entirely satisfied with. You will do this because you will try to convince yourself that maybe you have been too picky and being with anybody, even if you are not crazy about him or her, is better than nobody. Stop lying to yourself! You do not have to get stuck with someone you are not entirely happy with, nor do you have to be single forever. Being honest and up front from the beginning is what will get you where you want to be and whom you want to be with. Do not worry that you may scare off someone by telling him or her exactly what expectations you have and how serious of a relationship you are looking for. Look at this way, if they get scared that quickly, then it is a sign that they were not looking for the same thing as you are, so it saves you time and you can then move on to dating someone else.

As long as you get real with yourself, stop making excuses, know what your really want, stick to it and make it clear to the people that you date, then you will be safe from too many mixed messages, misunderstandings and frustrations. When you treat your goal of meeting the right person seriously and important, then you will stay motivated to find him or her, and when you do- you will finally be able to begin the kind of relationship that you have always longed for, needed and deserve.

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What do I do if she says she has a boyfriend

First of all, in your initial meeting with a woman, don't go out of your way to ask if she has a boyfriend unless it is part of the conversation. Asking about it will give her the impression that you're trying to get with her and your approach will lose some strength.

A woman will introduce the boyfriend (real or not) into the conversation mostly in 2 ways:

1.) "I have a boyfriend."
This is usually given as a response to you asking her for something - "Can I have your number?", "Let's go out.", "Let's get to know each other better.", etc.

If that is her first response, you have not done enough work to attract her or you have supplicated to her (asked her for something - her number, a date, whatever) and did not structure an opportunity for her to get with you rather that you trying too hook up with her. At this point, don't give up (especially if you seem to be setting up some good rapport). Rather, regroup, refocus, and reframe the situation in your mind. Don't make her boyfriend mention a big deal and simply keep building up your personality. Don't tell her you're a super/great/awesome guy. Show her by your actions, your mannerisms, your confidence. Give her the subtle impression that whoever ger boyfriend is, he doesn't have what you have. He can't offer what you offer. Then, instead of supplicating to her again (asking for number, blah blah), structure an opportunity. If she doesn't take the bait, move on.

2.) "Yeah, blah blah, my boyfriend did that the other day. Blah blah." A lot of the time when a woman mentions her boyfriend (real or not) in this way (as part of her conversation rather than as an excuse for not getting with you), she is doing 2 things. She is asserting her desireability and quality, and she is testing to see your reaction. Treat it as simply part of the conversation. Remember, just because a chick says she has a boyfriend does not mean he makes her happy, satisfies her, or is meaningful to her at all. Women choose to be with someone and they can choose to not be with that someone and be with you.

Your job is to attract her, get her excited about you, then structure an opportunity for her to get with you.

Lastly, don't worry too much if she has a boyfriend or not. Just use your sincerity to touch her. Remember, don't force her to make decision, it might screw up everything.

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Vegas priest sought in assault of woman

Police were searching for a Catholic priest they believe may have sexually assaulted and struck a woman at a church.

Authorities said they were called to Our Lady of Las Vegas Catholic Church on Friday evening by someone who heard a woman in the church cry for help.

Officers found a church employee who said she had been assaulted and hit in the head with an object by a priest. Investigators consider the Rev. George Chaanine a person of interest, police spokesman Bill Cassell said.

Police closed the grounds of the church, which is about four miles west of the Las Vegas Strip, for about an hour while they searched for Chaanine.

They believe the priest is driving a cream-colored Buick LeSabre.

The victim was treated at University Medical Center and released.

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Miss America Pageant distances itself from 'other' pageants


While Miss USA winners were frantically trying to cling to their crowns last month in the wake of scandals, a collective groan could be heard rising from Miss America fans who felt the guilt by association.

"Nobody knows the difference," said Miss Michigan Angela Corsi, who worries that such out of bounds behavior feeds into stereotypes about pageants. "I think people already have the wrong idea."

But the pageant world, some of which is gathered in Las Vegas for the 2007 Miss America Pageant on Monday, knows the difference.

Miss America is the older, more mature, more substantial of the two, its fans say. There is a talent contest that counts for more than the swimsuit competition. Scholarships are on the line.

Miss USA is judged on an interview and her poise in a swimsuit and evening gown. She is hip, sexy and co-owned by Donald Trump.

In the words of a pageant adage: Miss America is the girl who lives next door, Miss USA is the girl you wish lived next door.

Recently, Miss USA has been the girl who lives on the gossip pages.

Miss USA Tara Conner checked into rehab earlier this month after nearly losing her crown for hard-partying in New York nightclubs. Miss Teen USA Katie Blair was found in the entourage, leading Mothers Against Drunk Driving to drop its affiliation with the 18-year-old.

Miss Nevada USA Katie Rees was dethroned after racy pictures emerged on the Web. Miss New Jersey USA Ashley Harder resigned when she got pregnant.

That was just within the past month.

The scandals have only heightened the rivalry rhetoric with officials in Las Vegas who refer only to that "other" pageant.

"Obviously, Miss America is a scholarship organization, the other organization is really a true beauty pageant. That's not us," said Miss America Organization CEO Art McMaster. "We're really trying to find that complete young lady that's going to represent America."

Miss USA officials did not return a call for comment, though the New York-based organization also claims to be concerned with more than good looks. Its Web site describes its winners as "savvy, goal-oriented and aware" and interested in advancing their careers and the lives of others.

Contestants in the Miss USA Pageant, which began as a swimwear promotion in Long Beach, California, in 1952, pay an entry fee. State pageants are part of the franchise. The Miss USA pageant is to be held March 23 in Los Angeles, and the winner goes on to compete in the Miss Universe pageant, also owned by Trump and NBC.

Miss America started as a bathing revue in 1921 to draw tourists to the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and grew into an icon as it added host Bert Parks and crowned such past winners as Bess Myerson, Mary Ann Mobley, Lee Meriwether and Phyllis George who have a firm place in American culture. This year's winner will take home a $50,000 (€38,750) scholarship along with the crown. A network of local pageants in the "system" award thousands more.

The distinction is well-known among the contestants.

"They pay money for looking pretty and walking in a bikini. We get money for being talented and well-rounded," Miss Alaska Stephanie Wonchala said.

There are a handful of aspiring Miss Americas who have competed in both systems, and Miss America is not immune to scandal herself.

Miss America Vanessa Williams' "year of service" was cut short in 1984 when the organization learned she had had previously posed nude. Revealing photos also led to the dethroning of Miss North Carolina 2002 Rebekah Revels.

But the 86-year-old organization is not taking many chances this year, its second in Las Vegas, a city where girls go wild nightly.

In the week leading up the pageant, the 52 contestants were kept to a packed schedule of photo opportunities, rehearsals and preliminary competitions. Though they traveled to Sin City unescorted, while they are competing, they are not allowed to walk alone in public and are monitored and catered to by a busy pack of 26 chaperones.

"We're basically on lockdown," Miss Arkansas Amber Bennett said.

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India's real-X-action

Sidhi Chadha

From bedroom to public eye, things are turning smutty in the land of Kamasutra. Smutty magazines with vulgar pictures stashed surreptitiously by the neighbourhood vendors are passé. Today, easy access is the name of the game. Its multiple manifestations aided by technology have hotted up the scene.

For thrill seekers the menu is becoming rarer and more exotic, courtesy digital technology and Bollywood stepping in, there's an implosion of things smutty and sexciting. So, it is not just limited to MMS clips of Bollywood stars - Koena-Fardeen, Ashmit-Riya, Kareena-Shahid kiss that tell tales - there's more sleaze fest with home videos of the ordinary and the extraordinary gaining popularity.

Author Shobhaa De feels, "It is a sick, distorted and perverted attitude to sex. It is the fastest growing segment in the porn mart today, mainly because modern technology has facilitated its proliferation. It is also the most lethal social menace, merely a gross misuse of technology."

Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, who made Kalyug on the booming porn industry, has a different take on the subject. "There's nothing degrading in displaying of any part of the human body. And those who are embarrassed or offended by it, are damaged by ideology."

In the wake of the porn boom, some sexologists claim that 'desi porn' should be made legal and classified as an educational and therapeutic tool.

Sexologist Prakash Kothari reasons, "We need to realise that there is not much awareness about sex in our country and so Indians resort to erotica - be it for pleasure be it to improvise skills. Indians are ignorant and so the misuse is happening as we can see."

According to an Asian Network Report, Asia is a multi-million pound goldmine for X-rated business. In the Capital alone, the porn industry is growing by the day - Palika Bazaar being the hotspot for such sleazy stuff.

A Palika shopkeeper says, "India is the hub of erotica lovers. But of late, preference for homemade videos over the ones that stars porn actors has become quite popular. As far as profit margin is concerned, our earning is almost equivalent to regular movies."

Bootylicious babe Koena Mitra, blasts prudish Indians. "We sell what the audience wants to buy. And there's no denying that people love watching such stuff. Ours is a hypocritical society, people indulge in such things and then deny it at the same time. If you like it then admit it. Why fear?" she says.

The verdict, whether you like it or not, India's XXX-factor is certainly on rise.

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Winfrey chooses Sidney Poitier memoir


Associated Press Writer

Oprah Winfrey turned to an old acquaintance and personal idol for her first new book club choice since the James Frey scandal a year ago, announcing Friday that she had selected Sidney Poitier's "The Measure of a Man."

Poitier's "spiritual autobiography," published in 2000, combines memories of such plays and films as "A Raisin in the Sun" and "The Defiant Ones" with observations about the Academy Award-winning actor's childhood, his religious faith, his thoughts on racism and the influence of such world leaders as Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi.

"He writes really candidly and passionately about his childhood, his family, relationships and his extraordinary career," Winfrey said on her show. "It's a beautifully crafted book, written like poetry. Because, just as he speaks so eloquently, he also writes that way, too."

Poitier did not appear on the telecast. But Winfrey said she will host "a once in a lifetime dinner party" with Poitier that will include members of her book club.

She called him "one of my personal heroes since I was a little girl."

"The Measure of a Man" spent several weeks on The New York Times' list of best sellers, and the audio edition, narrated by Poitier, won a Grammy Award for best spoken word album. Poitier wrote a previous memoir, "This Life," released in 1980.

Right before Winfrey announced her selection, her 56th book club pick, "The Measure of a Man" ranked 288,958 on Amazon.com, a number that will likely change, and fast. Winfrey's picks almost inevitably top best seller lists.

Mark Tauber, vice president and deputy publisher of HarperSanFrancisco, an imprint of HarperCollins, declined Friday to say how many books would be printed, but did say he expects to sell hundreds of thousands of copies.

Tauber also said that unlike many celebrity memoirists, Poitier did not use a ghostwriter, although the actor did have editorial "help."

"I'm sure there'll be speculation about Winfrey picking yet another memoir," Tauber said. "But Poitier's life is filled with so much integrity."

During an interview that appeared in her own "O" magazine in 2000, Winfrey and Poitier discussed his life and career, a meeting that the talk show host acknowledged left her feeling like a star-struck fan.

"Poitier and I are sitting across from each other at the Bel-Air hotel in Los Angeles _ and I'm admiring that, at 73, this man still personifies grace, ease, strength and courage," Winfrey wrote at the time. "He is a gentleman in every sense of the word. In my more than 25 years as an interviewer, I've talked to hundreds of people _ yet today, I'm giddy."

In 2005, Poitier made a surprise appearance on Winfrey's TV program, when she was marking her 20th anniversary on the air. Just before he came on stage, Winfrey had been telling her audience that after she had interviewed the actor, "I sobbed and cried because I felt I was not good enough for Sidney." Poitier, apparently, was also disappointed _ with himself _ and phoned Winfrey to say so.

"It was life-changing," Winfrey was recalling, moments before Poitier arrived. "I was like, 'Oh my God.'"

Poitier, who turns 80 on Feb. 20, became the first black performer to win the Oscar for best actor, cited in 1964 for "Lilies of the Field." His other films include "In the Heat of the Night," "To Sir, With Love" and "The Blackboard Jungle." In 2002, Poitier received an honorary Oscar for lifetime achievement.

He should be a welcome break from the travesty of Frey, whose "A Million Little Pieces" was picked by Winfrey in the fall of 2005, only to have The Smoking Gun Web site reveal in January 2006 that the memoir was largely fabricated. Winfrey initially defended Frey, then changed her mind, brought him back to the show and chewed him out.

Winfrey's next pick, Elie Wiesel's "Night," was announced on Jan. 16, 2006, soon after the Frey scandal broke, but had already been decided upon weeks earlier. More than 1.5 million copies of Wiesel's Holocaust memoir were sold because of Winfrey's selection, according to publisher Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

Winfrey acknowledged on Friday's show that it had been a year since she had chosen a selection for her book club. She said she was busy during that time researching curriculum for her school for disadvantaged girls in South Africa, which opened earlier this month.

"So I really did not have time to devote to reading other books," she said. "But now I do."

Winfrey indicated the idea to feature "The Measure of a Man" came to her over the holidays while she was dining with a group of people in Africa that included Poitier.

"We were all sitting around the table, and I was asking Sidney Poitier to tell some of the life stories from his book. And let me tell you, everybody at the table was weeping," Winfrey said. "I was sitting there, I was thinking, 'I wish everybody could hear this.' And then I realized, everybody can! Everybody can. I love this book."

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How to Make Sex Even Yummier


Cosmo compiled a kinky-lite collection of sexy accessories, skin-tingling items and tasty edibles that will make nights with your man a little naughtier.
Even the most carnal couples can benefit from some fresh, playful accessories, games and techniques that take sex to a more scorching level, explains Joan Elizabeth Lloyd, author of Totally Private: Answers to Questions Lovers Long to Ask. "If you aren't on the lookout for creative ways to keep your lust going, predictability can set in," says Lloyd. "And that stifles even the hottest relationships."

But you know this already. According to our latest sex poll, a whopping 70 percent of Cosmo readers say they love using new props to make things spicier in the sack. You don't have to shell out megabucks for mechanical gadgets or experiment with kinky toys. Instead, incorporate these around-the-house sex-cessories into your routine. We guarantee they'll make doing the deed even more delicious.

Household Goodies

Want the hottest seat in the house? Give the old missionary position a little oomph by stacking four fluffy pillows under your backside. "This helps you spread your legs comfortably and lets your guy enter you at a deeper angle," says Lloyd. Translation: Better orgasms for you. Or place the pillows beneath your lower abdomen and lie over them during doggie style. It's more comfortable than being on your hands and knees. Plus, he'll have better access to your moan zones and a hotter view.

Shower Rod
Have your guy hold on to (but not hang from) the shower rod while standing inside the tub as you touch and tantalize him with your hands and tongue.

When it's his turn to please you, strip down to a cotton bra and undies, aim a gentle spray of hot water at your body, grip the shower rod and let him have his way with you. "This drove my fiance crazy. I looked like I'd been in a wet T-shirt contest," recalls Elizabeth, 29. "Men go nuts for that see-through look. And the extra sensation of him touching me through the wet cotton made me hot too."

Desk Fan
Position a small desk fan at your guy's backside during sex. The cool stream of low-speed air against a patch of his hot skin will produce a surprising shivery feeling. "Sex is all about sensation, and the more sensations you feel at one time, the more exciting it will be," says Lloyd. Plus, the extra tickling around his bottom makes it even more stimulating for him.

Hot and Cool Rushes

Fruit-flavored pops aren't just for kids -- they can cool you off when you're heated up under the covers. "After getting me hot with kissing and foreplay, my guy likes to get a pop from the fridge and trace it around my inner arms, the backs of my knees, my buns and along my inner thighs," says Beth, 29. "The sensation of this block of ice against my sweaty skin is amazing -- I practically melt the pop with my body heat alone."

Seltzer Water
You know that bubbly feeling on your tongue after you sip carbonated water? A few drops on your breasts will provide just the right foreplay fizz. "After a party we threw, my boyfriend and I were left with several bottles of seltzer," remembers Shana, 25. "He poured a few drops inside my lace bra, then blew on the droplets as they dried. It gave me this extra goose-bumpy tickle."

Ice and Hot Tea
This hot-and-cold combo is so erotic, your man will never think of a tea party in the same way again. "Sip the hot tea so your mouth and tongue get as steamy as you can stand," explains Lou Paget, author of The Big O: Orgasms. "Then go down on him so he feels the warmth of your mouth against his own hot skin. Next, suck on the ice cube to cool your mouth off." When you go down again, the difference in temperature will drive him wild.

Hot 'n' Handy Tools

Panty Hose
"Wrap a pair of nylons around your hands like gloves," advises Paget. "Then give him a slow, sensual hand job through the fabric." Why he'll be in ecstasy: It's easier to massage his penis through the sheer, silky nylons than with a dry hand. "And he'll also be turned on by feeling this ultrafeminine fabric on his skin," adds Paget.

Hair Scrunchie
"Tying a fabric ponytail holder not too tightly around the base of your guy's penis can provide pressure that's less about pain and more about pleasure," explains Lloyd. "The longer he wears it, the longer he'll be in a state of suspended lust with this reminder of sex wrapped around him." The cotton fabric of the scrunchie will also provide a sensation he isn't used to.

Tasty Treats

Minty Toothpaste
"I had been dying to surprise my guy with mint ever since I heard about Monica Lewinsky's Altoids trick," says Sydney, 26. "So I brushed my teeth with mentholated toothpaste, started kissing him and then went down on him. Not only did it give the cool, refreshing feeling the toothpaste promised, but it also numbed him a little bit, which helped him last longer than he usually does." Besides toothpaste, menthol can be found in some cough drops and mouthwashes.

Soaked Cotton Balls
Drench a cotton ball in a sweet liqueur like amaretto or creme de menthe, then run it down his treasure trail and around and behind his testicles, licking up the liqueur as you go and planting tiny kisses on his most responsive body parts. "The alcohol will evaporate quickly, leaving behind a tingly, cool sensation," says Lloyd.

Pop Rocks
Sprinkle a few of these candies on your tongue just before puckering up. They'll "explode" as you're making out, and your tongue will feel a bubbly, popping sensation. Says Erin, 28: "Pop Rocks are tingly and fun, but the main bonus is that they bring my guy and I back to when kissing was sexy in itself, not just a five-second detour on the road to sex."

Cake-Icing Tubes
"Write a word or phrase on your man's back with icing, then ask him to guess what it says," suggests Lloyd. "Spell out I love you or script dirty things you want to do to him." Or draw an arrow on your body to the spot you want him to touch. It's a hint he'll love to take -- and lick off you later.

Sex-Prop Precautions!
Erotic extras spice up the bedroom, but they can also backfire. Beware of these five passion toys you should never play around with.

Too-hot treats
Nuking marshmallows, fudge or honey and pouring the mixture onto your man sounds like a yummy idea, but be cognizant of the potential for injury. Scorching gooey substances can cause superficial burns to the sensitive skin around a guy's equipment (the same goes for candle wax). Stay in lukewarm territory.

Too-tight mouth gags, scarves and handcuffs
Anything used to restrain a person and prevent movement or breathing can have serious consequences -- even if both partners are willing participants. Binding scarves and handcuffs can cause numbness; blocking the nose or mouth can make you hyperventilate or induce a panic attack.

Foreign bodies
Using a vibrator is one thing. But don't put any object inside you that's not specifically designed for vaginal penetration -- like fruit, vegetables, utensils or writing tools. It could cause irritation or injury to the vagina. Food products in particular can introduce bad bacteria into your body and cause an infection.

If air is blown directly into your vagina during oral sex, there's a small but real risk that he'll accidentally create an air embolus -- an air bubble that blocks the passage of blood in an artery or vein, which could have lethal consequences.

Funky, flavored lubes
Motion lotions that come in cool colors and tempting tastes and scents often contain additives that irritate the vagina or cause allergic reactions. These lubes can also trap bacteria, potentially setting you up for an infection like bacterial vaginosis, yeast and even an STD. Ditch the frills, and go for a basic water-based lubricant.

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Sexy people play the symmetry card

Balance, not body type, is key in fashion and attraction

To call sexiness an exact science is a stretch, but there is certainly a formula, says fashion designer Bradley Bayou.

Measurements have nothing to do with it. It’s about symmetry.

“What we are attracted to, what we find sexy, are things that are symmetrical. Research backs that up,” says Bayou, who has written a new book called “The Science of Sexy” (Gotham Books).

“Women try to force their figures into fads and trends, even if they’re not flattering to them, because they think they’re ‘sexy.’ ... But it’s really all about balancing the body.”

Short hourglass shapes might consider jackets that fit snugly at the waist, perhaps adorned with a peplum, and skirts with either semicircles or A-lines. Tall boyish shapes would be better served by open necklines, such as a V or a scoop, and a pleated skirt or straight-leg pants with angled pockets, Bayou suggests.

“Everywhere you look in nature, it’s always balanced. A tree is balanced, even looking, even though it’s not exactly the same on both sides. Yes, you’ll have imperfections, but if you pull it all together, they’ll be balanced.”

That makes sense to Randy Thornhill, a biology professor at the University of New Mexico who has studied the link between symmetry and physical attraction.

Health equals beauty
“The bottom line is developmental health. The general finding for animals — not just humans — is that as the individual begins development, optimal development is bilateral symmetry. Most don’t achieve it,” he says.

Symmetry, whether most of us realize it, may signal that an individual can be a strong, healthy mate capable of producing healthy offspring, Thornhill says. It indicates an ability to deal with any environmental problems encountered in the person’s life.

Thornhill’s original research focused on facial symmetry, but, he says, further research has found the same thing with breasts, buttocks and thighs.

“With women, bodily symmetry is conveyed in the face but also how she mobilizes — how she walks, a more attractive gait. When dancing, symmetrical people are more attractive when they dance. It comes out in the grace and movement,” he says.

That means the structure of your genes are more important than the size of your jeans.

‘Women try to force their figures into fads and trends, even if they’re not flattering to them, because they think they’re “sexy,” says Bayou.

Bayou, formerly the creative director at Halston, is known as a source of red-carpet gowns for Oprah Winfrey, Queen Latifah, Salma Hayek and Eva Longoria — women of varying body types. “All these women are sexy, and they’re all different. The one thing in common, though, is that they’re not emaciated. If that’s what magazines say is sexy, they’re wrong.”

He adds: “Every body is unique, and there are different pieces that will work on them.”

Bayou’s book aims to help women find the styles that work for them. He offers suggestions based on 12 basic body types, accounting for shape, height and weight. He tells you what to wear and what not to wear: Overt plunging necklines and micro minis usually fall into that second category.

The one thing that does look good on just about everyone is a wrap dress. “Thank God for Diane von Furstenberg,” says Bayou. (Von Furstenberg first introduced that silhouette to the fashion world in early 1970s, got it on the cover of Time magazine in 1976, and has included it in every variation imaginable in her collections ever since.)

Accessorize with confidence
How to accessorize it? With confidence.

“I find that most women — 99 percent, I’d say — are insecure about their bodies, and I’m talking about drop-dead gorgeous women. What I find sexy is self-confidence. I’m trying to give those women confidence about their body. You can’t change your body overnight, but you can change the way you dress.”

Other things to wear with pride are kindness and a sense of humor.

“I think everybody agrees that sexy comes from within,” Bayou adds. “A runway model might not be sexy, but a size 10 or 12 shapely woman can be so sexy. She’ll get more attention in the end if she’s confident and funny.”

Women spend too much time stressing about the little stuff, he says, not realizing that men can usually find something sexy about almost anyone. “Women think you need it all, but you really only need one part and make the most of it. ... People aren’t born perfect.”

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Recovering From A Romance Or Dating Scam (part 1)

Alan Prince

Although they never bargained for the romance scam when they began to look for a date online, yet when the romance scam happened, they didn't imagine that the experience would be so horrible as it later turned out to be.

Some victims told me that they couldn't sleep at night for days afterwards.

Rather, they would cry their eyes out on their bed.They let me know that they would wish that the whole incidence was a dream and that it would just go away.

But it never did.

The experience stayed with them for a while before they got over it. And many others who use the internet all over the Western world are still going through the same experience till date.

From my interactions, counseling sessions and experiences with many victims of the scams, here are some tips to use in getting over this scam:

1. Do not keep what happened to you secret: Find someone to talk to about what happened. Don't keep your experience a secret just because you want to avoid being embarrassed or being ashamed.

It always helps to find someone whom you trust totally to confide in about what happened to you.
It is best to look for someone who will not condemn you for what happened. At the time it hits you that you have been scammed, you do not need a judge or a critic.

You need someone on whose shoulders you can cry on, someone who o can just listen to you, without making you feel guilty.

Look for such a person and talk to the person about what happened to you. It helps a lot to do this.
2.Avoid blaming yourself: blaming yourself won't help matters at all. By engaging in the blame game, you would only be complicating matters for yourself.

It won't help you to heal fast, but will only hurt you the more emotionally.You need to break free from blaming yourself, or from being held down by the victim mentality.

You can't get over the experience if you keep blaming yourself. No matter what you did wrong, you need to avoid blaming yourself .

The time after the romance scam is not the time to look for whom to blame. What you need to do is to get over it first.

3.Look for professional help where necessary: if you can't handle the experience alone, or with the person you shared with, then you need to see a professional counselor or minister to help you out.

In some cases of the romance scams, especially those in which the love affair had been going on for long before the scam took place, it might be better to seek professional help in addition to other sources of help.

This is due to the fact that such victims are often unwilling to let go of what to them seemed real and are too taken in by the illusion that they were in love with.

Their reluctance to let go of the experience could actually be a problem to them, and as such, they will need professional help to get over the experience.

Also, people who have experienced cases of depression due to the romance scam are advised to seek medical help.

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Is This Really The World's Happiest Man?

Anthony Barnes

To scientists, he is the world's happiest man. His level of mind control is astonishing and the upbeat impulses in his brain are off the scale.

Now Matthieu Ricard, 60, a French academic-turned-Buddhist monk, is to share his secrets to make the world a happier place. The trick, he reckons, is to put some effort into it. In essence, happiness is a "skill" to be learned.

His advice could not be more timely as tomorrow Britain will reach what, according to a scientific formula, is the most miserable day of the year. Tattered new year resolutions, the faded buzz of Christmas, debt, a lack of motivation and the winter weather conspire to create a peak of misery and gloom.

But studies have shown that the mind can rise above it all to increase almost everyone's happiness. Mr Ricard, who is the French interpreter for Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, took part in trials to show that brain training in the form of meditation can cause an overwhelming change in levels of happiness.

MRI scans showed that he and other long-term meditators - who had completed more than 10,000 hours each - experienced a huge level of "positive emotions" in the left pre-frontal cortex of the brain, which is associated with happiness. The right-hand side, which handles negative thoughts, is suppressed.

Further studies have shown that even novices who have done only a little meditation have increased levels of happiness. But Mr Ricard's abilities were head and shoulders above the others involved in the trials.

"The mind is malleable," Mr Ricard told The Independent on Sunday yesterday. "Our life can be greatly transformed by even a minimal change in how we manage our thoughts and perceive and interpret the world. Happiness is a skill. It requires effort and time."

Mr Ricard was brought up among Paris's intellectual elite in the 1960s, but after working for a PhD in biochemsitry he abandoned his distinguished academic career to study Tibetan Buddhism in the Himalayas.

A book of philosophical conversations he conducted with his father Jean-François Revel, The Monk and the Philosopher, became an unlikely publishing phenomenon when it came out in France in the late 1990s.

Mr Ricard is to publish his book Happiness for the first time in the UK next month.

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The Sexiest Things to Do After Sex


Turn your afterglow into a fiery inferno.

Prolong the pleasure of a steamy romp with these postcoital pleasers.
It's a head-scratcher. Having sex puts men to sleep but wakes women up. So while you're craving a little postcoital closeness with your man, he's zoned out in front of Saturday Night Live reruns or catching some zzz's. Why? Unfortunately, the cocktail of sex hormones released after both women and men climax can have the opposite effect on our postsex wish list. "Studies show that following intercourse, the male brain often goes into a rest state -- he feels drained and tired -- while the woman's brain is stimulated and intensely desires bonding," explains Michael Gurian, therapist and author of What Could He Be Thinking: How a Man's Mind Really Works.

Fear not, though. We've overcome those biological obstacles and identified afterplay pleasers that will satisfy you both. Some are designed to short-circuit his snooze reflex and electrify his bod; others indulge his just-shagged daze while feeding your need for intimacy. Read on to discover the randy moves that will create the most pleasurable and satisfying after-sex moments you've had with your man yet.

Pay Him a Carnal Compliment
Guys are suckers for hearing about their sizzling sex skills. When you mention the mattress moves that drove you wild, it strokes his ego and makes him feel virile. "Men can feel anxious about their performance, so they really want to hear it from you that you had a good time in bed," says Judy Kuriansky, Ph.D., author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to a Healthy Relationship. Your flattering feedback will keep him from dozing -- he's definitely gonna stay awake for this performance assessment -- and kick-start light conversation, which you may be in the mood for right about now.

So recall the evening's erotic events in detail, but don't go too over the top with your carnal confessions. "Whenever a girl raves about the sex but doesn't give specifics, I feel like she's blowing smoke up my ass," admits Ewan,* 27. To start, you can describe your favorite body lock: "That position where I got on top and we both straightened our legs -- wow!" Or opt for a little technique approval: "I really liked the way you kept so still while I was climaxing."

Your dirty talk will stay with him long after your thong has been retrieved from the ceiling fan. "It leaves a sexy impression," assures Josh, 25. Plus, there's a long-term benefit to this booty wrap-up: It imprints your "Yes, please!" moments in his memory for next time.

Give Him a Massage
Just because the sex is over doesn't mean it's hands-off. Massage is a great way to maintain that physical connection for you, while prolonging his bliss buzz. Obviously, foreplay hot spots -- such as his privates -- will be a tender no-go zone. "There's nothing worse than a girl who keeps handling your goods after sex," complains Matt, 27. "It's never a good idea." So, you need to unlock the erogenous zones that will keep your guy in a state of ongoing pleasure, not pain.

For a more relaxing and sensual session, position yourself so that you're lying on your side, facing him. "Trace light circles on his torso. Starting at the chest, move around the navel, skim the pelvic bone and continue back up," says Steve Capellini, massage therapist and author of Massage For Dummies. "Or stroke your fingertips from his collarbone down over his chest to his hip bones and back again." These moves allow you to tickle his fancy while still maintaining an intimate postpassion gaze.

If you want him to reciprocate, tempt him into action with a more invigorating touch. Capellini suggests a technique called percussion. Have your guy lie on his stomach and straddle him. "Bounce the sides of your hands or push and tap your fingertips along his back and buttocks," says Capellini. While you enjoy the tactile thrill of having your legs wrapped around him, your touch encourages increased blood flow, which makes him feel energized rather than drained -- and may even inspire him to return the favor.

Take a Shower
When Cosmo asked guys about the most sexalicious thing women could do after getting busy, this was their number-one plea: Suggest a shower for two. It's a no-brainer. Any situation that has you hot, wet, nude and invading his personal space is bound to overpower his postcoital crash response. "I love being pulled into the shower by my girlfriend after sex. Her wet body rubbing against me -- it's all good," says Andy, 28.

Start by taking turns slowly scrubbing each other's back, shoulders and neck. Then press up against your lover for some sexy snuggling under the shower stream, running your slippery, sudsy hands over his back and butt. The heat-soaked environment not only keeps your bods superclose, but it also actually prolongs the postorgasmic flush of your just-finished booty session. Here's how: "As the hot water hits your skin, it stimulates blood flow and circulation, which keeps your body feeling aroused," says Sandor Gardos, Ph.D., a sexologist in San Francisco.

If all this postcoital closeness inspires something frisky to unfold between you and him, go there. But ultimately, being so together after being so intimate is often enough of a rush.

Touch Yourself
If the first romp has left you yearning for a repeat performance -- but he's totally wiped out -- turn your attention downstairs for some self-stimulation and leave the invitation open for him to take over. "Guys need time to recover before they can go again, and this is only made more difficult if they feel pressured," says Kuriansky. "So let him know you had an amazing time and you just want him to be there while you make the most of how aroused you feel."

Whether he joins in or not, guys love to watch, so it's a win-win situation. "A woman touching herself next to me in bed? That's about as good as life gets," says Christian, 25. Even if your ménage-à-moi doesn't tempt him out of retirement, you finish on a high note, and he gets a private peep show.

Snuggle Up
The ultimate compromise between his and her postcoital cravings is the snuggle up. Being held after sex feels so good for you, while he gets to kick back and indulge his snooze reflex. And the good news is, it's somewhat of a mattress myth that men are turned off by a little after-sex cuddling. "There is an assumption that men are more emotionally detached from intercourse than women are. But a lot of them do want to feel that closeness too," explains Carolynn Hillman, a sex therapist in New York City. Craig, 23, agrees. "I wouldn't announce it to my guy friends, but lying in bed together and holding my girlfriend after sex is a big part of the buzz."

Of course, if your man isn't a throw-his-arms-around-you kind of guy, saying "hold me" sounds kind of lame. Instead, let him settle into a comfortable snoozing position and then wrap his arm around you or spoon him and enjoy that just-shagged feeling.

Fun Fact: Crash or Dash? A guy is less likely to sleep over after a one-night stand because the hormone oxytocin, which makes him all lovey-dovey and contributes to his sedation, dissipates more quickly than when he's with a bona fide girlfriend.

Source: Michael Gurian, therapist and author of What Could He Be Thinking: How a Man's Mind Really Works.

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Hot (and Cold) New Sex Tricks


Make his satisfaction skyrocket by turning him on to deliciously unexpected strokes, pressure and temperature changes.

In your pursuit of becoming a great lover, there's an important lesson to be learned: It really helps to mix things up and vary your technique. "By experimenting with different degrees of touch and temperature, you will expose your man's body to a variety of thrilling physical reactions he hasn't felt before," says biopsychologist Mark S. Blumberg, Ph.D., author of Body Heat. "These diverse sensations dramatically increase arousal, heighten skin sensitivity and release pleasure-fueling endorphins." To find out how to treat your guy to some of the most electrifying sensations he's never experienced, read on.

Heat Him Up!

Why it works: Adding heat to the right spots on your guy's bod will actually boost his sensitivity to touch. "Applying warmth raises his thermal temperature, causing his blood flow to increase, which, in turn, makes his skin more receptive to stimulation," explains Blumberg. And a little heat goes a long way.

Mind-blowing moves: Fire up your sack sessions by breathing new life into foreplay...literally. "When you blow on his skin, your warm breath creates a change in temperature, which heightens arousal," says Stella Resnick, Ph.D., author of The Pleasure Zone. Simply let your parted lips linger over his more sensitive spots, like his stomach or neck, and gently exhale. Juliana,* 23, swears this technique is not all hot air. "My guy actually quivers whenever I blow on his earlobes and nipples while we're fooling around," she says. "He always tells me he gets such a rush when I do that."

If you want to bring your man to the boiling point, try this hot-water trick. Put a warm ‑- not scalding ‑- cup of H2O by the bed. Before you go down on him, take a sip to get your mouth nice and toasty, and swallow. Then take another small sip, but this time hold on to the liquid as you take him in your mouth, swish the water around his member for a few seconds and then swallow. If any of it spills on him, just lick it off; we promise, he won't mind one little bit.

Another trick that's sure to raise his temperature: Use heat-activated lube. Squeeze a nickel-size dollop onto your palm and rub your hands together. Then gently massage it all over his shaft and testicles. But take your time. The longer you rub, the warmer it gets, and what you really want is for him to enjoy the slow burn.

Play Rough

Why it works: "Men love when women are more aggressive and wild in bed," says Resnick. "It communicates desire and unbridled lust. It shows that you're hot for him." Periodically let your inner animal out and turn your guy on to some seriously primal passion.

Mind-blowing moves: Putting a little muscle into your sexual MO is as much about attitude as it is technique. So from the very start, you need to make sure your man knows who's boss. Set off the action with a must-have-you-now lip-lock: Push your lips into his and grab a bunch of his hair and pull as you're playing tonsil hockey. "The scalp is loaded with nerve endings, so tugging on his hair releases feel-good endorphins," explains Resnick. "Instead of causing him pain, it will actually feel pleasurable to him." Then proceed to treat your guy to a rough massage as you knead, rub and trail your nails over every inch of his bod...and don't be afraid to use a little force. "Men's skin tends to be thicker than women's, so they can often handle ‑- and want ‑- more pressure," says sex expert Laura Corn, author of The Great American Sex Diet.

That tough-love technique applies to his manhood as well (only his shaft though; his testicles demand more delicate attention). "Most women assume that men's genitals are as sensitive as their own," says Resnick. "But many men actually prefer a firm grip when they're being manually stimulated." With that in mind, ask him to let you know just how rough he wants you to get the next time you're heading south for some lusty manhandling.

Once you've worked him into a frenzy, grab his wrists and bind them together with a scarf, hop on top and have your way with him. Another rough, raunchy move: Tell your guy that you want him to take you from behind. But don't make him do all the work. Move your pelvis back and forth in sync with his thrusts, so your bodies are slapping against each other when they make contact.

You can even be a little brutish with him in the usually tame missionary position, as Jordan, 32, discovered with his randy girlfriend. "I used to think the missionary position was kind of boring. You know, the same old, same old," he says. "Then I met Sasha, and she changed my mind. We were having sex with me on top, and all of a sudden she grabbed my butt cheeks, squeezed them tight and pulled me so close to her. It was like she wanted my whole body to be inside of her. Then she started swatting my behind...hard! It actually hurt a little, but at the same time it was pretty exciting!"

Cool Him Down

Why it works: It might sound like an oxymoron, but cooling off your guy's steamy body actually gets him hotter. "Nerve cells respond to even the slightest change in temperature," explains Maria Bykhovskaia, Ph.D., assistant professor of neuroscience at Lehigh University. "By stimulating one location on his body with something cold, you set off a chain reaction that electrifies and energizes your man all over."

Mind-blowing moves: The easiest way to initiate thrills with chills: Ice him. That's what Rebecca, 27, discovered, after being inspired by a sexy flick she watched with her boyfriend. "In one scene, there was a close-up of the woman running an ice cube all over a man's sweaty body. It was unbelievably erotic, and my guy and I couldn't wait to get home to reenact it."

If you want to try the ice trick with your guy, here's how: Have him lie on his back, hold a cube in your hand and slowly draw an icy line from his neck all the way down one side of his body, up the inside of his leg (but staying away from his member), down the other side and back up again. You'll make him really shiver with excitement if you spend some extra time on his often-ignored but highly sensitive erogenous areas, like his earlobes, the crease in his thigh and his nipples. "Women tend to forget about men's nipples, but they can be just as receptive to pleasure as yours," says Resnick. Use the cube to trace circles around his headlights. Or suck on the cube for a minute and then use your frosty tongue to lick each nipple.

Another reason ice can heat up your lovemaking: It keeps your guy energized and helps him last longer. "Cold sensations in a quick burst will wake him up and make him more sexually alert," explains Bykhovskaia. "So if your man is getting close to climax when you're having sex and you need a little more time, placing something cold against his skin, like on the small of his back, will distract him enough to regain control." Even though you're keeping him from climaxing, you'll extend the ecstasy by making it better for both of you.

Electrify His Skin

Why it works: Sure, guys may like it fast and furious. But there's a bigger pleasure payoff when you take your time and treat his body to tantalizingly light, teasing touches. "The anticipation of barely-there strokes builds a slow hunger in him, which culminates in a more intense orgasm," says Corn.

Mind-blowing moves: Okay, he knows you'll ultimately end up down south, but not knowing when or how you'll get there is what makes the preplay touch-athon so sensual. "When your partner is not sure where your featherlight strokes will strike next, it keeps him in a heightened state of sexual arousal," says Corn.

Begin to trace a titillating trail along his body, but don't take the obvious route. Rather than beginning with a kiss and working your way down, try a less obvious starting spot, like his tootsies, suggests Corn. "Surprisingly, his toes are a big erogenous zone," she says. "They're packed full of nerves, and since they're often neglected, stimulating them can produce an unexpectedly pleasurable shock."

To give him a frisky foot job, gently rub each toe between your thumb and forefinger, moving up and down the V between them. After you've worked your way though all 10 of them, retrace your steps, only this time, use the tip of your tongue and lick each toe as if it were a penis. This will send a bolt of erotic electricity through his system, giving him a preview of the pleasure to come.

Since surprise is key, rather than working your way up his legs (yawn!), let your nipples skim lightly along his body as you head up to tongue his neck and ears. Or use your hair to trace a ticklish trail up and down his torso. And if you really want to electrify his bod, give him a double whammy by targeting two hot spots at once. "Stimulating two areas simultaneously is incredibly exciting for your man because he's experiencing two sources of pleasure rather than one," says Keith Eric Grant, Ph.D., director of the sports and deep-tissue massage program at the McKinnon Institute in Oakland. Plus, it kind of feels like he's being worked on by two women, which is many guys' favorite fantasy.

To keep the shudder factor high, make sure you don't stay on one spot for too long, or he'll lose the rush. "When he's responding fully, his muscles will quiver slightly under your touch," says Grant. "If he's completely still, that means he's becoming desensitized in that area, and it's time for you to move on to another target." Now all you need to decide on is which lusty locale you'll pleasure next.

Sensations to Skip
Five tactile moves that are sure to send him running

1. Treating him to a walking back massage in four-inch stilettos

2. Dripping hot wax on him. Anywhere. Scalding skin is so not sexy.

3. Rubbing him down with vanilla, rose, jasmine or any other girlie-scented oil

4. Tickling him with the duster you use for housecleaning

5. Spanking his butt until he cries out for Mommy

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Humor's Sexual Side

Willow Lawson

A woman who deploys a male sense of humor—one that's aggressive or competitive—is a turnoff to men.

Ask men and women which qualities are most attractive in a mate and both sexes are likely to rank a good sense of humor near the top of their lists. The trait is so sought after that it has its own acronym—GSOH—in dating ads.

Humor has been viewed as the one behavioral characteristic that men and women seek in roughly equal proportion. After all, everyone wants a partner who is entertaining and fun.

At least, that's the popular conception. However, humor researchers have long noted gender differences in the use and appreciation of humor. While women want to settle down with a guy who can crack a good joke, men, to a large degree, want a partner who laughs at their antics.

According to Eric Bressler, a psychologist at McMaster University in Canada, men and women don't mean the same thing when they say they value humor in a long-term partner. His research, forthcoming in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior, manipulated how funny both men and women appeared on paper. Subjects were asked to choose a potential date of the opposite sex. Bressler found that women want a man who is a humor "generator," while men seek a humor "appreciator."

Geoffrey Miller, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and author of The Mating Mind: How Sexual Choice Shaped the Evolution of Human Nature, argues that the humor divide is best understood as a result of sexual selection: Women are the choosier sex, and because they prefer funny men—a signal of cognitive fitness—men learned to deploy humor and wit to attract a mate and perhaps to outsmart other men.

"Men taunt other men with clever nicknames and insults," says John Morreal, a professor of religion at William and Mary College in Williamsburg, Virginia, who has studied humor for 25 years. "That isn't something that women do. They don't tend to play practical jokes, or engage in humor that humiliates or puts somebody down."

The basic difference is that males tend to use humor to compete with other men, while women tend to use humor to bond with others. Studies show that men more often use humor to jockey for position with other males when they are in the company of women.

The allure of male humor is so strong that female laughter may have evolved as a signal of sexual interest—picture a woman's girlish giggles as she flirts with a man at a bar. Indeed, a German study found that when male and female strangers engaged in natural conversation, the degree to which a woman laughed while talking to a man was indicative of her interest in dating him. How much the woman laughed also predicted the man's desire to date her. On the flip side, how often a man laughed was unrelated to his interest in a woman.

Bressler says that his study indicates humor likely developed through sexual selection because it is most desirable in romantic relationships. Women don't care about a friend's sense of humor, whether male or female.

A woman who deploys a typically male sense of humor—one that's aggressive or competitive—is a turnoff to men, says Don Nilsen, a linguistics professor at Arizona State University in Tempe and an expert on humor. Many men feel threatened, perceiving a funny woman as a rival or worrying that they'll become a target of her sharp tongue. "I think every man in the world loves the humor, even the sexual put-down humor, of Judy Tenuta or Joan Rivers," he says. "But very few men want to marry them."

Funny guys may be attractive, Nilsen says, because they tend to be creative, "outside the box" thinkers. They also have "double vision," the ability to understand another's point of view, he says, both traits that are especially alluring to women.

Nilsen agrees with the evolutionary rationale of humor, up to a point. It doesn't explain, for example, how humor operates in long-term relationships, he argues. To say that men don't seek a funny mate is "painting with a broad brush." Men who do appreciate their female partner's humor are usually more secure, mature and educated than the average guy, he says. They hold their mates in high esteem and aren't intimidated.

A woman would do well to find a man who enjoys her humor, says Nilsen, because that's an indication of his own self-esteem and willingness to be supportive.

Marriage researchers concur. Relationship expert John Gottman, co-founder of the Gottman Institute in Seattle, has found that when humor plays a role in diffusing tension and conflict, marriages tend to last longer. Additional studies show that people who joke with their spouses in everyday situations tend to be happier in their marriage than couples who don't.

A playful and humorous frame of mind is protective, even when spouses don't agree about what they find to be funny.

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Friendship: The Laws of Attraction

Karen Karbo

The conventional wisdom is that we choose friends because of who they are. But it turns out that we actually love them because of the way they support who we are.

My best friend, Olivia, and I met in a fiction-writing class almost 20 years ago. We bonded in an instant during the discussion of one poor soul's incomprehensible story involving a woman who'd undergone surgery and was described delicately as having lost "that which made her a woman." Suddenly, out of my mouth sprang my impersonation of Monty Python's Eric Idle, "Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, know what I mean?" Every other student in the room looked at me as if I'd lost my mind, but Olivia snorted with laughter. Thus, a friendship was born.

When people are asked, "What gives meaning to your life?" friendship figures at the top of the list. Yet the dynamics of friendship have remained mysterious and unquantifiable. Like romantic love, friendships were thought to "just happen." New research shows that the dance of friendship is nuanced—far more complex than commonly thought. With intriguing accuracy, sociologists and psychologists have delineated the forces that attract and bind friends to each other, beginning with the transition from acquaintanceship to friendship. They've traced the patterns of intimacy that emerge between friends and deduced the once ineffable "something" that elevates a friend to the vaunted status of "best." These interactions are minute but profound; they are the dark matter of friendship.

Entering The Friendship Zone

Years ago researchers conducted a study in which they followed the friendships in a single two-story apartment building. People tended to be friends with the neighbors on their respective floors, although those on the ground floor near the mailboxes and the stairway had friends on both floors. Friendship was least likely between someone on the first floor and someone on the second. As the study suggests, friends are often those who cross paths with regularity; our friends tend to be coworkers, classmates, and people we run into at the gym.

It's no surprise that bonds form between those who interact. Yet the process is more complex: Why do we wind up chatting with one person in our yoga class and not another? The answer might seem self-evident—our friend-in-the-making likes to garden, as do we, or shares our passion for NASCAR or Tex-Mex cooking. She laughs at our jokes, and we laugh at hers. In short, we have things in common.

But there's more: Self-disclosure characterizes the moment when a pair leaves the realm of buddyhood for the rarefied zone of true friendship. "Can I talk to you for a minute?" may well be the very words you say to someone who is about to become a friend.

"The transition from acquaintanceship to friendship is typically characterized by an increase in both the breadth and depth of self-disclosure," asserts University of Winnipeg sociologist Beverley Fehr, author of Friendship Processes. "In the early stages of friendship, this tends to be a gradual, reciprocal process. One person takes the risk of disclosing personal information and then 'tests' whether the other reciprocates."

Reciprocity is key. Years ago, fresh out of film school, I landed my first job, at a literary agency. I became what I thought was friends with another assistant, who worked, as I did, for an infamously bad-tempered agent. We ate lunch together almost every day. Our camaraderie was fierce, like that of soldiers during wartime. Then she found a new job working for a publicist down the street. We still met for lunch once a week. In lieu of complaining about our bosses, I told her about my concerns that I wasn't ready to move in with my boyfriend. She listened politely, but she never divulged anything personal about her own life. Eventually our lunches petered out to once a month, before she drifted out of my life for good. I was eager to tell her my problems, but she wasn't eager to tell me hers. The necessary reciprocity was missing, so our acquaintanceship never tipped over into friendship.

Why Some (And Only Some) Friends Stick

Once a friendship is established through self-disclosure and reciprocity, the glue that binds is intimacy. According to Fehr's research, people in successful same-sex friendships seem to possess a well-developed, intuitive understanding of the give and take of intimacy. "Those who know what to say in response to another person's self-disclosure are more likely to develop satisfying friendships," she says. Hefty helpings of emotional expressiveness and unconditional support are ingredients here, followed by acceptance, loyalty, and trust. Our friends are there for us through thick and thin, but rarely cross the line: A friend with too many opinions about our wardrobe, our partner, or our taste in movies and art may not be a friend for long.

When someone embodies the rules—instinctually—their friendships are abundant indeed. Kathy is one of my oldest friends; we were roommates in graduate school and have been through cross-country moves, divorces, deaths, and births together. Her ability to be a friend shines during a lousy breakup. She knows when to listen and make sympathetic sounds, when to act good and outraged at your ex's bad behavior, when to give you a hug, and when to tell you to stop obsessing and enjoy a glass of wine. She knows when to offer you her couch. It's this responsiveness that accounts for her having more friends than anyone I know—certainly more than the five our mothers told us we were lucky to be able to count on one hand over the course of a lifetime.

Compared to these emotional gifts, a friend's utility paled, Fehr found in her study. Study participants judged as peripheral the ability of a friend to offer practical help in the form of, say, lending 20 bucks or allowing use of a car. This fact often turns up as a truism in movies, where the obnoxious, lonely rich kid can't understand why always picking up the tab never makes him popular. Money really can't buy love.

If anything, it's giving and not receiving that makes us value a friend more. It was the American statesman and inventor Ben Franklin who first observed the paradox, now called the Ben Franklin Effect: "He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than he whom you yourself have obliged." In a nutshell, while material favors don't even come close to the emotional talents of our friends, we still want to validate our personal judgment by investing special qualities in those we select to help.

In one classic study, participants won "contest money" from a researcher. Later the researcher approached some of them and explained he'd actually used his own money and had little left; could he have the money back? Most agreed. Later, the researchers found, those asked to do the favor rated the researcher more favorably than those not approached. Psychologists concur that the phenomenon stems from a desire to reconcile feeling and action, and to view our instincts and investments as correct: "Why am I going out of my way to help this guy? Well, he must be pretty nice." The fondness we feel toward our yoga class buddy will continue to grow if one day she asks for a ride home and we go out of our way to give it to her.

Mirror, Mirror: The Truth About Best Friends

If closeness forms the basis of friendship, it stands to reason that your best friend would be someone with whom you enjoy supersized intimacy. If I confide that money is tight or my boyfriend's in the doghouse I might detail the money worries or give a blow-by-blow of the dramathon that led to the boyfriend's banishment. We have with our best friends a "beyond-the-call-of-duty" expectation. If we suffer an emergency—real or imagined—and need to talk, we expect our best friend to drop everything and race to our side.

But according to social psychologists Carolyn Weisz and Lisa F. Wood at the University of Puget Sound, in Tacoma, Washington, there's another component to best friendship that may trump even intimacy: social-identity support, the way in which a friend understands, and then supports, our sense of self in society or the group. If we view ourselves as a mother first and a belly dancer only on Saturday mornings at the local dance studio, our best friend is likely to be another mom because she supports our primary social-identity (as opposed to our personal identity as, say, someone who loves film noir or comes from the Bronx). Our social-identity might relate to our religion, our ethnic group, our social role, or even membership in a special club.

Weisz and Wood showed the importance of social identity support by following a group of college students from freshman through senior year. Over that period, the students were asked to describe levels of closeness, contact, general supportiveness, and social identity support with same-sex friends.

The results were revealing. Overall closeness, contact, and supportiveness predicted whether a good friendship was maintained. But when the researchers controlled for these qualities, only a single factor—social-identity support—predicted whether a friend would ultimately be elevated to the position of "best." Best friends often were part of the same crowd—the same fraternity, say, or tennis team. But Weisz and Wood found that friends offering such support could also be outside the group. Sometimes all a friend needed to do to keep the best friendship going was to affirm the other person's identity as a member of the given group ("You're a real Christian") or even the status of the group itself ("It's so cool that you play sax for the Stanford band!"). Reasons for the finding, say the researchers, may range from greater levels of intimacy and understanding to assistance with pragmatic needs to enhanced self-esteem.

We become best friends with people who boost our self-esteem by affirming our identities as members of certain groups, and it's the same for both genders. Men who derive their most cherished identity through their role as high school quarterback, for instance, are most likely to call a former fellow teammate "best friend."

Our desire for identity support is so strong, Weisz found, that it may even make a difference for the addicted. In another study, she found people with substance abuse problems were likelier to kick their habits after three months when they had felt more conflict between drug use and their social roles and sense of self. Those who felt socially in sync with the drug use were less likely to become substance-free. Indeed, our social identities are so important to us that we're willing to court disaster to preserve them. We stick with people who support our social identity and withdraw from those who don't. We may even switch friends when the original ones don't support our current view of ourselves.

Most of us would prefer to think that we love our friends because of who they are, not because of the ways in which they support who we are. It sounds vaguely narcissistic, and yet the studies bear it out.

A corollary for many people is the impetus to change best friends when life throws us a curveball or alters us in basic ways. There's no better example than former members of breast cancer support groups whose diseases have been cured. Though the women no longer have breast cancer and have continued with family and careers, their social identity as survivors often remains so powerful that their primary bonds of friendship are with other survivors, the only people who can understand what they've been through and grasp their perspective on life. After such major life events as marriage, parenthood, and divorce, we may easily switch up our best friend as well.

Built To Last: How To Stay Friends

From young adulthood onward, our notion of what makes a good friendship changes very little, but our capacity to maintain one does. It's a poignant reality; we know what it means to be and have friends, but after we graduate from college and go our separate ways—launching our careers, getting married, having children, getting divorced, caring for aging parents—we're often unable to muster the time and energy to maintain friendships we profess to value. Like anything else in life, if we want to remain friends with someone, it requires a little work. Simply put, we must show up.

According to Marquette University psychologist Debra Oswald, who has studied the nature and complexity of high school "best" friendships, there are four basic behaviors necessary to maintain the bond. And they hold true whether we're 17 or 70.

Communication facilitates the first two essential behaviors: self-disclosure and supportiveness, both necessary for intimacy. We must be willing to extend ourselves, to share our lives with our friends, to keep them abreast of what's going on with us. Likewise, we need to listen to them and offer support.

Fortunately, studies show that physical proximity has little effect on the ability to keep a friendship in working order. Moving to another state is not the friendship death knell it once was, thanks to the Web. Between e-mail and cell phones with free long distance, we're able to stay close. Maintaining a lively e-mail correspondence may often be as good as being there.

Interaction is the third essential in tending to a friendship. You've got to write, you've got to call, you've got to visit. Find the nearest Starbucks and take time to catch up. "The specific activity doesn't matter," says Oswald. "The important thing is to interact."

The last and most elusive behavior necessary for keeping friends is being positive. Social psychologists tout the necessity of self-disclosure, but that doesn't mean an unrestricted license to vent. At the end of the day, the intimacy that makes a friendship thrive must be an enjoyable one, for the more rewarding a friendship, the more we feel good about it, the more we're willing to expend the energy it takes to keep it alive.

Recently, my best friend, Olivia, went back to school to earn her master's in social work. She now has a full caseload of patients that consumes her time. Even though she lives within bicycling distance, we've resorted to e-mailing and talking on our cell phones whenever we take our daily walks, she in her neighborhood, me in mine, at whatever hour we can fit it in. And we do, always, make time to fit it in, which is how we stay good friends.

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What Kind of Genius Are You?

Daniel H. Pink

A new theory suggests that creativity comes in two distinct types – quick and dramatic, or careful and quiet.

In the fall of 1972, when David Galenson was a senior economics major at Harvard, he took what he describes as a “gut” course in 17th-century Dutch art. On the first day of class, the professor displayed a stunning image of a Renaissance Madonna and child. “Pablo Picasso did this copy of a Raphael drawing when he was 17 years old,” the professor told the students. “What have you people done lately?” It’s a question we all ask ourselves. What have we done lately? It rattles us each birthday. It surfaces whenever an upstart twentysomething pens a game-changing novel or a 30-year-old tech entrepreneur becomes a billionaire. The question nagged at Galenson for years. In graduate school, he watched brash colleagues write dissertations that earned them quick acclaim and instant tenure, while he sat in the library meticulously tabulating 17th- and 18th-century indentured-servitude records. He eventually found a spot on the University of Chicago’s Nobelist-studded economics faculty, but not as a big-name theorist. He was a colonial economic historian – a utility infielder on a team of Hall of Famers.

Now, however, Galenson might have done something at last, something that could provide hope for legions of late bloomers everywhere. Beavering away in his sunny second-floor office on campus, he has scoured the records of art auctions, counted entries in poetry anthologies, tallied images in art history textbooks – and then sliced and diced the numbers with his econometric ginsu knife. Applying the fiercely analytic, quantitative tools of modern economics, he has reverse engineered ingenuity to reveal the source code of the creative mind.

What he has found is that genius – whether in art or architecture or even business – is not the sole province of 17-year-old Picassos and 22-year-old Andreessens. Instead, it comes in two very different forms, embodied by two very different types of people. “Conceptual innovators,” as Galenson calls them, make bold, dramatic leaps in their disciplines. They do their breakthrough work when they are young. Think Edvard Munch, Herman Melville, and Orson Welles. They make the rest of us feel like also-rans. Then there’s a second character type, someone who’s just as significant but trudging by comparison. Galenson calls this group “experimental innovators.” Geniuses like Auguste Rodin, Mark Twain, and Alfred Hitchcock proceed by a lifetime of trial and error and thus do their important work much later in their careers. Galenson maintains that this duality – conceptualists are from Mars, experimentalists are from Venus – is the core of the creative process. And it applies to virtually every field of intellectual endeavor, from painters and poets to economists.

After a decade of number crunching, Galenson, at the not-so-tender age of 55, has fashioned something audacious and controversial: a unified field theory of creativity. Not bad for a middle-aged guy. What have you done lately?

Galenson’s quest to unlock the secret of innovation began almost by accident. In the spring of 1997, he decided to buy a painting, a small gouache by the American artist Sol LeWitt. But before he put down his money, he called a friend in the art world, who told him that the price was too high. We’re selling that size for less, she said.

“I thought, this is like carpet,” Galenson tells me one afternoon in his office. Size determines price? His friend hadn’t even seen the painting. What about when the piece was created, what stage it represented in the artist’s career? His friend said that didn’t matter. “I thought, it has to matter.”

Galenson was right, of course. Art isn’t carpet. And age does matter. The relationship between age and other economic variables was at the foundation of Galenson’s academic work. His first book examined the relationship of age to productivity among indentured servants in colonial America. His second book looked at the relationship of age to the price of slaves. “It was the same regression,” Galenson says, still amazed years after the discovery. “A hedonic wage regression!”

So he bought the painting and set out to answer questions about art the way any LeWitt-loving economist would.

Galenson collected data, ran the numbers, and drew conclusions. He selected 42 contemporary American artists and researched the auction prices for their works. Then, controlling for size, materials, and other variables, he plotted the relationship between each artist’s age and the value of his or her paintings. On the vertical axis, he put the price each painting fetched at auction; on the horizontal axis, he noted the age at which the artist created the work. When he tacked all 42 charts to his office wall, he saw two distinct shapes.

For some artists, the curve hit an early peak followed by a gradual decline. People in this group created their most valuable works in their youth – Andy Warhol at 33, Frank Stella at 24, Jasper Johns at 27. Nothing they made later ever reached those prices. For others, the curve was more of a steady rise with a peak near the end. Artists in this group produced their most valuable pieces later in their careers – Willem de Kooning at 43, Mark Rothko at 54, Robert Motherwell at 72. But their early work wasn’t worth much.

Galenson decided to test the robustness of his conclusions about artists’ life cycles by looking at variables other than price. Art history textbooks presumably reflect the consensus among scholars about which works are important. So he and his research assistants gathered up textbooks and began tabulating the illustrations as a way of inferring importance. (The methodology is analogous to Google’s PageRank system: The more books that “linked” to a particular piece of art, the more important it was assumed to be.)

When Galenson’s team correlated the frequency of an image with the age at which the artist created it, the same two contrasting graphs reappeared. Some artists were represented by dozens of pieces created in their twenties and thirties but relatively few thereafter. For other artists, the reverse was true.

Galenson, a classic library rat, began reading biographies of the artists and accounts by art critics to add some qualitative meat to these quantitative bones. And then the theory came alive. These two patterns represented two types of artists – indeed, two types of humans.

The insight was so powerful that Galenson soon turned his full attention to the subject. He elaborated his theory in 24 additional papers and set down his findings in a pair of books, Painting Outside the Lines: Patterns of Creativity in Modern Art, published in 2001, and Old Masters and Young Geniuses: The Two Life Cycles of Artistic Creativity, published earlier this year.

Pablo Picasso and Paul Cézanne are the archetypes of the Galensonian universe. Picasso was a conceptual innovator. He broke with the past to invent a revolutionary style, Cubism, that jolted art in a new direction. His Demoiselles d’Avignon, regarded by critics as the most important painting of the past 100 years, appears in more art history textbooks than any other 20th-century piece. Picasso completed Demoiselles when he was 26. He lived into his nineties and produced many other well-known works, of course, but Galenson’s analysis shows that of all the Picassos that appear in textbooks, nearly 40 percent are those he completed before he turned 30.

Cézanne was an experimental innovator. He progressed in fits and starts. Working endlessly to perfect his technique, he moved slowly toward a goal that he never fully understood. As a result, he bloomed late. The highest-priced Cézannes are paintings he made in the year he died, at age 67. Cézanne is well represented in art history textbooks; he’s the third-most-illustrated French artist of the 20th century. But of all his reproduced images, just 2 percent are from his twenties. Sixty percent were completed after he turned 50, and he painted more than one-third during his sixties.

Picasso and Cézanne represent radically different approaches to creation. Picasso thought through his works carefully before he put brush to paper. Like most conceptualists, he figured out in advance what he was trying to create. The underlying idea was what mattered; the rest was mere execution. The hallmark of conceptualists is certainty. They know what they want. And they know when they’ve created it. Cézanne was different. He rarely preconceived a work. He figured out what he was painting by actually painting it. “Picasso signed virtually everything he ever did immediately,” Galenson says. “Cézanne signed less than 10 percent.”

Experimentalists never know when their work is finished. As one critic wrote of Cézanne, the realization of his goal “was an asymptote toward which he was forever approaching without ever quite reaching.”

Galenson later applied his methodology to poetry. He counted the poems that appear in major anthologies and recorded the age at which the poet wrote each entry. Once again, conceptual poets like T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and Sylvia Plath, each of whom made sudden breaks from convention and emphasized abstract ideas over visual observations, were early achievers. Eliot wrote “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” at 23 and “The Wasteland” at 34. Pound published five volumes of poetry before he turned 30. On the other hand, experimental poets like Wallace Stevens, Robert Frost, and William Carlos Williams, whose work is grounded in concrete images and everyday language, took years to mature. For example, both Pound and Frost lived into their eighties. But by the time Pound turned 40, he had essentially exhausted his creative output. Of his anthologized poems, 85 percent are from his twenties and thirties. By comparison, Frost got a late start. He has more poems in anthologies than any other American poet, but he wrote 92 percent of them after his 40th birthday.

On and on it goes. Conceptualist F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby – light on character development, heavy on symbolism – when he was 29. Experimentalist Mark Twain frobbed around with different writing styles and formats and wrote The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn at 50. Conceptualist Maya Lin redefined our notion of national monuments while still a college student; experimentalist Frank Lloyd Wright created Fallingwater when he was 70.

The theory even applies to economists. Over lunch at the University of Chicago’s faculty club, Galenson tells me the story of Paul Samuelson, one of the most renowned economists of the last century. No shrinking violet, Samuelson titled his dissertation “Foundations of Economic Analysis.” As a 25-year- old, he sought to reinvent the entire field – and later won a Nobel Prize for ideas he came up with as a grad student. Swift, deductive, certain. That’s a conceptual economist.

An experimental economist is someone like … Galenson. He progresses more quietly, more inductively, step- by-careful-step. And he often sails into the winds of indifference – from the art world, which believes that creativity is too elusive for econometric analysis, and from colleagues who can’t comprehend why he’s wasting his time with picture books. At one point, he leans over his chicken sandwich and tells me quietly and in mild horror, “I don’t have a colleague who knows a Manet from a Monet.”

Yet Galenson, whose parents were both economists, pushes on, ever approaching the asymptote. “Most people in economics do their best work before the age of 35. And I was constantly irritated that these guys were getting ahead of me,” Galenson says. “But from very early in my career, I knew I could do really good work. I didn’t know exactly how, and I didn’t know when. I just had this vague feeling that my work was going to improve.”

The most-reproduced 19th-century work in US and European art history texts is Georges Seurat’s Sunday on La Grande Jatte. The painting, completed in Paris in 1886, now hangs on the second floor of the Art Institute of Chicago. One morning in April, I visit the museum with Galenson to look at this and other masterpieces.

Walking the floors of a museum with David Galenson is a treat. He is astonishingly well informed about art. For nearly every painting I point to, he accurately pinpoints the year it was made, tells me its backstory, and describes something my pedestrian eyes haven’t noticed. He is an erudite, insightful guide who keeps things entertaining with salty asides. “Monet had a lot of balls,” he explains in one gallery. “Renoir was a very peculiar guy,” he says later. Several times during our four-hour journey through the museum, tourists and schoolteachers sidle up to eavesdrop on his commentary.

Galenson threads his small frame through the swarm of visitors gathered in front of La Grande Jatte, considers it for a moment, and then launches into an explanation of why this artist was the quintessential conceptual innovator. “Seurat starts off at the official academy,” Galenson says. “He goes and finds the Impressionists, and he works with them. But he’s a very nerdy guy. He’s sort of a proto-scientist, and he wants to be systematic.” Seurat knew about recent discoveries on optical perception – including that people perceive a hue more vividly when it’s paired with its opposite on the color wheel. So he broke from the Impressionists to study the science. He made dozens of preparatory studies for the painting, then executed it with scientific precision.

As Galenson explains, “This guy comes along and says, ‘Look, Impressionism has been all the rage. But these guys are unsystematic, they’re casual. I’m going to make a scientific, progressive art. And this is going to be the prototype of the new art. In the future, everyone will paint scientifically.’” Seurat was 25. “This is his dissertation, basically. This is like ‘Foundations of Economic Analysis,’” Galenson tells me. “It’s like Samuelson saying, ‘I’m going to unite all of economics.’ Seurat is saying, ‘We’re discovering the underlying principles of representation.’ One of them is the systematic use of color. And this is the masterpiece.” La Grande Jatte changed the practice of nearly every painter of its time.

Alas, this is the only painting for which Seurat is remembered – in part, because he died five years after completing it. But that would be the case even had he lived far longer, Galenson maintains. “He did the most important work of his generation; he couldn’t have done it again. There’s no law you can’t do it again. But once you’ve written Gatsby, it’s very unlikely you’re going to outdo it.” (Indeed, Fitzgerald went on to write two more novels, one published posthumously, but neither approached the importance of The Great Gatsby.)

We meander through the museum and stop awhile in Gallery 238, which includes two paintings by Jackson Pollock. Galenson gestures toward the first, The Key, done in 1946, when Pollock was 34 years old. It looks like a child’s drawing – thick lines, crayony colors, underwhelming. “Pollock was a really bad artist at this point,” Galenson says.

Nearby is another Pollock, Greyed Rainbow, a large and explosive work done in 1953. It’s spectacular. Pollock was an experimental innovator who spent two decades tinkering, and this painting is a triumph of that process. To paint it, he laid the canvas on the floor, splattered it with paint, walked around it, tacked it to the wall, looked at it, put it back on the ground, splattered it with more paint, and so on. “This painting is full of innovations,” Galenson says, “but Pollock arrived here by trial and error. He was a slow developer.”

“Take a few steps back,” Galenson directs me. “If you were to describe this to somebody and see the jagged edges, you might say this is a really agitated painting. If you had this in your house, would it make you nervous?”

No, I answer.

“No. It’s perfectly resolved. This is a great visual artist making a great work,” Galenson says. “He didn’t start this way.”

We walk back to The Key. “Look at this thing,” Galenson says. “It’s a piece of crap. If that weren’t by a famous artist, it wouldn’t be here.”

“Seurat died at 31,” Galenson reminds me. “If Pollock had died at 31, you never would have heard of him.”

Galenson’s theory of artistic life cycles is hardly bulletproof. Picasso, the marquee youthful innovator, painted his incomparable condemnation of the Spanish Civil War, Guernica, at the creaky age of 56. Is that somehow an exception? Sylvia Plath, a prolific conceptualist poet, did extraordinary work in her twenties but committed suicide in her early thirties. Couldn’t she have continued innovating if she’d lived? Philip Roth won a National Book Award for Goodbye, Columbus in his twenties and a Pulitzer Prize for American Pastoral in his sixties. Where does he belong?

Galenson recognizes the limits of dogmatic duality. In his later papers, as well as in the book he published this year, he has refined his theory to make it less binary. He now talks of a continuum – with extreme conceptual innovators at one end, extreme experimental innovators at the other, and moderates in the middle. He allows that people can change camps over the course of a career, but he thinks it’s difficult. And he acknowledges that he’s charting tendencies, not fixed laws.

Just because a theory isn’t perfect, though, doesn’t mean it’s not valuable. What Galenson has done – and what might deliver the recognition that bypassed him in his youth – is to identify two significant gaps in our understanding of the world and of ourselves.

The first gap exists within his own field. Galenson mentions that his professional colleagues scratch their heads over his research. “It doesn’t fit immediately into what economists do,” he tells me. “The word creativity won’t appear in the index of an economics textbook.” Then, ever the empiricist, he rises from his chair, grabs a textbook off a shelf, and shows me the lacuna in the end pages.

That’s a serious omission. Although Galenson has limited his analysis mostly to artists, he believes the pattern he’s uncovered also applies to science, technology, and business. Economic activity is all about creation – even more so today, as advanced economies shed routine work and gain advantage through innovation and ingenuity.

If the link between age and creative capacity applies outside the bounds of the arts, then every economic institution – universities, companies, governments – should take note. Galenson’s ideas may yield clues about how to foster fresh thinking in a wide range of organizations, industries, and disciplines. If nurturing innovators is an economic imperative, the real peculiarity isn’t that Galenson is studying creativity; it’s that other economists aren’t.

Which leads to the second gap. Consider the word genius. “Since the Renaissance, genius has been associated with virtuosos who are young.

The idea is that you’re born that way – it’s innate and it manifests itself very young,” Galenson says. But that leaves the vocabulary of human possibility incomplete. “Who’s to say that Virginia Woolf or Cézanne didn’t have an innate quality that simply had to be nourished for 40 or 50 years before it bloomed?” The world exalts the young turks – the Larrys and the Sergeys, the Picassos and the Samuelsons. And it should. We need those brash, certain, paradigm-busting youthful conceptualists. We should give them free rein to do bold work and avoid saddling them with rules and bureaucracy.

But we should also leave room for those of us who have, er, avoided peaking too early, whose most innovative days may lie ahead. Nobody would have heard of Jackson Pollock had he died at 31. But the same would be true had Pollock given up at 31. He didn’t. He kept at it. We need to look at that more halting, less certain fellow and perhaps not write him off too early, give him a chance to ride the upward curve of middle age.

Of course, not every unaccomplished 65-year-old is some undiscovered experimental innovator. This is a universal theory of creativity, not a Viagra for sagging baby boomer self-esteem. It’s no justification for laziness or procrastination or indifference. But it might bolster the resolve of the relentlessly curious, the constantly tinkering, the dedicated tortoises undaunted by the blur of the hares. Just ask David Galenson.

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