Park name: Stormont Park, Upper Newtownards Road (A20), Belfast
Amenities: An all-inclusive play park for children of all abilities and outdoor gym equipment for older ages, signposted short and long woodland walks
Special features: Barbecue facilities and picnic tables.
Access: Public car parking and bus numbers 4a and 4b from Belfast City. Google Map “Stormont Park, Belfast”.
Dogs: Dogs must be kept on a lead except in the dog park known as “the bullfield” where dogs can run free.
Tip: If it’s lashing rain you can take a free tour of Stormont Parliament Buildings between 9am-4pm.
Park name: Gosford Forest Park, Markethill
Amenities: Beautifully crafted wooden playground among the trees, walking, mountain bike and horse riding trails.
Special features: There’s a special “pump track” where beginner or experienced cyclists can improve their riding skills. Game of Thrones fans will recognise Gosford Castle used as a location for the hit TV series
Access: On-site car parking. Google Map “Gosford Forest Park”.
Dogs: Yes on leads and the Green Dog Walkers Pledge encourages all dog walkers to always clean up after their dog and encourage others to do so.
Tip: Bring a picnic and use barbecue facilities and picnic tables next to playground.
Park name: Oak Park Forest Park, Carlow Town
Amenities: This 120 acre park has colour coded circular walkways of varying lengths with wheelchair-accessible surfaces. Accessible playground with a slide, swings and a wheelchair swing.
Special features: A great selection of trees including beech, oak, Scots pine, larch and sycamore.
Access: Free car parking on site. Google Map “Oak Park Forest Park”.
Tip: Check out the ducks and swans on the lakes and go bird-watching for wild birds.
Park name: Cavan Burren Park
Amenities: With over 10km of trails through one of Ireland’s most intact prehistoric landscapes, this is a perfect destination for geology and archaeology enthusiasts.
Special features: Signs along the walking trails explain the megalithic tombs and geological layers under your feet.
Access: On site car parking. Google Map “Cavan Burren Park”.
Dogs: Yes, dogs on leads allowed.
Tip: Discover the history of this ancient landscape in the interpretative centre or consider booking a tour with a local tour guide.
Park name: Dromore Wood Nature Reserve, Ruan
Amenities: Part of the Burren National Park, this 1,000 acre wood was designated a nature reserve in 1985. The natural features include rivers, lakes, turloughs, callows, limestone pavement, reed and rush beds, peatlands and woodland.
Special features: Plenty of historical and archeological interest including the 17th Century O’Brien castle, two ring forts, a limekiln and a children’s burial ground.
Access: car parking and free drop off and pick up on the Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk shuttle bus. Google Map “Dromore Wood trailhead”.
Dogs: Yes, it’s great place for dog walking.
Tip: Download maps on burrennationalpark.ie to plan looped walks in advance. Consider asking for a free guided walk of the flora, fauna and geology of the Burren.
Park name: Fota Wildlife Park, Fota Island near Carrigtwohill
Amenities: A 40 hectare wildlife park with monkeys, giraffes, bisons, lemurs, pandas freely roaming in recreated spaces similar to their natural habitats.
Special features: Through its breeding programme, Fota Wildlife Park cares for several animal species in danger of extinction (including Cheetahs), helping to restore populations in the wild.
Access: €3 car parking fee gives entry to grounds of Fota House. Trains from Cork city stop at Fota Wildlife Park. Google Map “Fota Wildlife Park”.
Dogs: No dogs allowed. Seek advice on assistance dogs.
Tip: You can book a behind-the-scenes tour to interact with wardens and animal feeding staff.
Park name: Downhill Demesne, Sea Road, Castlerock
Amenities: This National Trust property is set in a stunning landscape which offers magnificent clifftop walks along the North Coast of Ireland.
Special features: The spectacular location of and views from the Mussenden Temple folly is a must see.
Access: Parking is advanced booking via paybyphone.co.uk. National Trust members park for free. The Ulsterbus 234 from Coleraine to Derry stops very close by. Google Map “Downhill Demesne”.
Dogs: Dogs on leads.
Tip: Bring snacks and drinks and be prepared for energetic walks.
Park name: Glenveagh National Park.
Amenities: A vast track of land (16,000 hectares) with moorland, mountains, woodlands and lakes, this park is suitable for families who enjoy hiking.
Special features: Glenveagh Castle, a 19th Century castellated mansion surrounding by gardens with exotic plants.
Access: 24 km north-west of Letterkenny, the park is most easily accessed by car. Cars park near visitor centre. Google Map “Glenveagh National Park”.
Dogs: Dogs on leads only.
Tip: Check weather conditions before planning an outing and bring rainproof clothing and footwear.
Park name: Castle Espie Wetland Centre, Ballydrain Road, Comber
Amenities: Home to Ireland’s largest collection of exotic and local birds, there’s also natural play parks, a zip wire, a duckery, bird-watching hides and great views across Strangford Lough.
Special features: The Sustainability Trail teaches children about protecting nature.
Access: On site parking and bus no 11 from the Laganside Bus Centre in Belfast. Google Map “Castle Espie Wetland Centre”.
Dogs: assistance and guide dogs only.
Tip: Wear clothes and footwear that you don’t mind getting dirty.
Park name: St Anne’s Park, Raheny/Clontarf, Dublin
Amenities: At almost 100 hectares, this is the second largest park in Dublin: Perfect for long walks through a beautiful variety of trees, wildflower meadows and a rose garden.
Special features: A well equipped playground for children, football pitches, tennis courts and café and food market with outdoor seating areas. Check out the chestnut walk from the rock garden to the duck pond and spot the many follies dotted throughout the park.
Access: Dublin City Bus nos 29a, 32 and 130 stop nearby; Car parking along the edges of the park. Google Map “St Anne’s Park”.
Dogs: Dogs are welcome on leads.
Tip: Take a walk on nearby Bull Island if you’re on a day out.
Park name: Cabinteely Park, old Bray Road, Cabinteely (off N11 or take junction 15 from M50), Dublin 18
Amenities: This 45 hectare park has a spacious variety of adventure playgrounds, grassy meadows, a small forest and pond.
Special features: Look out for sculptures along some of the paths and enjoy the Japanese style cafe.
Access: Bus numbers nos 84, 84a and 145 and car parking. Google Map “Cabinteely Park”.
Dogs: Yes but must be kept on leads except in the dog park.
Tip: Keep your eyes peeled for rare birds including the great spotted woodpecker.
Park name: Florence Court, Enniskillen.
Amenities: Short and long walks through parkland, woodland and pleasure gardens and some special climbing trees.
Special features: Among the many champion trees (ie the tallest and thickest of their species) is Ireland’s original Irish yew tree. It is believed that almost all the Irish Yew trees in churchyards throughout the world come from this one tree.
Access: Car parking via Grand Gates on Mill Road next to visitor centre. Ulsterbus 192 from Enniskillen to Swanlinbar, getting off at Creamery Cross (two mile walk from there). Google Map “Florence Court”.
Dogs: Dogs on leads only.
Tip: Advance booking advised.
Park name: Rinville Park, Oranmore
Amenities: Woodland trails, a small lake and big meadows in a lovely location overlooking southern Galway Bay. Also there is a children’s playground and adult gym equipment.
Special features: A great place to spot wildlife such as otters or herons if you are lucky.
Access: Car park. Google Map “Rinville Park”.
Dogs: Yes but must be kept on leads.
Tip: Check weather forecast in advance and bring raingear.
Park name: Muckross House, Gardens and Traditional Farms
Amenities: Three working farms with animals, poultry and historical machinery give visitors a first-hand experience of traditional farming life. The beautiful formal gardens include a sunken garden, a rock garden, a Victorian walled garden and glasshouses.
Special features: Craftworkers who can be observed at work in their studios also sell their work in the craft shop.
Access: On site car park and bus or jaunting car rides from Killarney. Google Map “Muckross House”.
Dogs: Dogs on leads in informal gardens but not on the traditional farm.
Tip: Plan your trip well to fit in guided tours of Muckross House and visits to the traditional farm.
Park name: Japanese Gardens, Kildare town
Amenities: One of the best examples of Japanese gardens in Europe, these exquisite gardens are laid out with trees, plants, flowers, lawns, rocks and water to symbolize the journey through human life and beyond.
Special features: A self-guided leaflet for the Japanese Gardens is available in 15 languages.
Access: Free car parking on site. A shuttle bus operates from Kildare train station. And Bus Éireann route 126 from Dublin stops in Kildare town, a 10 minute walk away. Google Map “Japanese Gardens, Kildare”.
Dogs: Dogs must be kept on their leads at all times.
Tip: Consider including the nearby National Stud in your trip
Park name: Castlecomer Discovery Park, Castlecomer
Amenities: Mapped out walking, mountain biking and orienteering trails scattered throughout this 30 hectare woodland demesne.
Special features: A tree-top walk, high ropes course and zipline over water.
Access: Paid car parking on site. Google Map “Castlecomer Discovery Park”.
Dogs: Dogs on leads only
Tip: Book ahead and plan your trip, preparing for all weathers.
Park name: Emo Court Parklands
Amenities: Lovely walks through the formal gardens, around the artificial lake and outlying forests.
Special features: Beautiful range of specimen trees including giant sequoia, atlas cedar, tulip and handkerchief trees.
Access: Car parking on site. Google Map “Emo Court”.
Dogs: Dogs on leads allowed.
Tip: Consider advance booking for a tour of Emo Court, the 18th Century neo-classical villa built by James Gandon.
Park name: Glencar Park
Amenities: Varying lengths of walks in this wild and beautiful landscape include walks along the bog road or along the lake shore or the short walk to view the magnificent Glencar Waterfall via a paved path suitable for all users.
Special features: Picnic tables and a children’s playground close to the lakeshore.
Access: Car park. Google Map “Glencar Park”.
Dogs: Dogs are not allowed.
Tip: Wear hiking boots as it can be wet underfoot.
Park name: Curraghchase Forest Park between Adare and Askeaton
Amenities: Exquisite woodland walks and plenty of archaeological treasures including a cairn, three ringforts and a standing stone in this Coillte-managed forest. Also walks along an artificial lake onto Lady’s Island.
Special features: A great place for bird watching and keen birders will be pleased if they spot the rarely sighted hawfinch and more common brambling on a visit to this former demesne.
Access: Car parking on site. Google Map “Curraghchase Forest Park”.
Dogs: dogs on leads
Tip: The on site caravan park means that it’s a possible stop over on a tour of the area.
Park name: Leebeen Park, Aughnacliffe
Amenities: Nature trails, a green gym, walking loops and a boardwalk along the lake.
Special features: The timber frame playground overlooks the lake and has an excellent zip wire. Also, a fairy garden for little ones.
Access: car park on site. Google Map “Leebeen Park”.
Tip: Consider visiting the Pulliness Waterfall, a short walk from the park.
Park name: Ravensdale Forest Park
Amenities: Magnificent mixed woodland with walking trails including a walk to the summit of Black Mountain (506m) and the popular Ravensdale looped walk/run. Plenty of archaeological features.
Special features: Two longer walking routes – The Táin Trail and The Ring of Gullion Way pass through Ravensdale Forest.
Access: Car park on site. Google Map “Ravensdale Forest Park”.
Dogs: Dogs on leads.
Tip: Check the weather forecast before setting out on longer walks.
Park name: Westport House and Gardens, Westport
Amenities: A pirates’ adventure park with slides, swinging ships, swan pedalos and a miniature train. Extensive parklands and woodland walks and cycles.
Special features: a 3.5 km looped walk
Access: Ample car parking on site and ten minutes walk from Westport town. Google Map “Westport House”.
Dogs: Dogs on leads only.
Tip: Consider staying over at the camping and caravan site in the farmyard.
Park name: Balrath Woods, Burtonstown
Amenities: Nature walks and play equipment including a giant climbing web and accessible swings.
Special features: Signposted long and short walks. The nature walk, which is designed as an outdoor classroom, has information panels along the way.
Access: Car park on site. Google Map “Balrath Woods”.
Tip: Check out balrathwoods.com for descriptions of animals, insects, birds, flowers and trees that you might see when you get there.
Park name: Rossmore Forest Park, Monaghan town
Amenities: Woodland and lakeside walks and family cycling trails. This former demesne of Rossmore Castle also has a great variety of mature trees including Scots pine, cedars and giant redwoods and yew trees.
Special features: a wonderful play park for children with a spectacular sculpture trail.
Access: Car parking. Google Map “Rossmore Forest Park”.
Dogs: dogs must be kept on leads.
Tip: Download the map from coillte.ie and plan your walks in advance.
Park name: Lough Boora Discovery Park
Amenities: This former industrial bogland between Tullamore, Birr and Clonmacnoise has restored wetlands, woodlands and lakes interspersed with walkways and cycle paths.
Special features: A fantastic range of sculptures dotted throughout the park evoke the former industrial activity and natural environment on the bog. You can hire bicycles to take longer trips through the park.
Access: Car park costs €4. Google Map “Lough Boora Discovery Park”.
Dogs: Dogs on leads only.
Tip: Bring insect repellant to protect yourself from midge bites.
Park name: Lough Key Forest and Activity Park, Boyle
Amenities: 800 hectares on the southern shore of Lough Key with woodland biking and walking trails, ziplines and boat hire.
Special features: The adventure playground has towers, slides, climbing frames, roundabouts, swings and puzzles.
Access: Car parking on site. Google Map “Lough Key Forest”.
Tip: Plan your activities in advance as there are so many things to do here. Loughkey.ie.
Park name: Doorly Park, Sligo town
Amenities: Part of the Cleveragh Demesne, this park has woodlands and wetlands for walks and boating.
Special features: The playground has a good range of play equipment.
Access: Free car parking. Google Map “Doorly Park”.
Tip: Consider walking to the park from Sligo town along the Garavogue River.
Park name: Castlelough Lakeside Park, Portroe
Amenities: The designated recreation areas of the Arra forest on the shores of Lough Derg. Walking trails along Lough Derg, water skiing, paddleboarding, canoeing, fishing and cruises along the River Shannon.
Special features: Those keen for longer walks can consider doing stages of the Lough Derg Way which passes through Castlelough.
Access: Car park on site. Google Map “Castlelough Park”.
Dogs: Dogs on leads are welcome.
Tip: Plan water activities in advance and don’t forget your wetsuits.
Park name: Drum Manor Forest Park, Cookstown
Amenities: Forest walks and cycles. Plenty of space for running, dog walking and picnics by the lake. A play park for younger children.
Special features: A detailed downloadable map of forest park trails
Access: Paid car parking. Google Map “Drum Manor Forest Park”.
Dogs: Dogs on leads welcome.
Tip: Consider camping here as seasoned campers rate the campsite highly.
Park name: Waterford Nature Park, Tramore Road, Waterford City
Amenities: This former city dump has been converted into 150 acres of parkland. Plenty of linear and looped walking/running trails along tarmac paths and on paths mown through meadows to allow children interact with nature.
Special features: Plenty of seats dotted along the routes for little ones to rest on.
Access: Free car parking. Google Map “Waterford Nature Park”.
Dogs: Dogs on leads.
Tip: Bring a picnic and enjoy this traffic-free urban oasis.
Park name: Belvedere House, Gardens and Park, Mullingar
Amenities: Plenty of lovely walks through woodlands, along the shores of Lough Ennell and Belvedere Lake. Four children’s play areas, one of which includes a 30 metre zip line.
Special features: The Victorian walled garden has a special dedicated fairy garden.
Access: Free car and bicycle parking. Google Map “Belvedere House, Westmeath”.
Dogs: Dogs on leads welcome.
Tip: Check to see if Belvedere House is open for tours on the day of your visit.
Park name: Irish National Heritage Park, Wexford Town
Amenities: A chance to explore 9000 years of Irish history through replicas of a castle, crannóg, Viking house, monastery and ringfort. Also walks through woodlands and two playgrounds.
Special features: Activity-based experiences such as archery, medieval cooking and interactions with birds of prey at the falconry centre.
Access: car parking on site and buses from Wexford town. Google Map “Irish National Heritage Park”.
Dogs: Only guide and assistance dogs allowed.
Tip: Give yourself plenty of time to see everything on a self-guided tour or join a tour with a costumed guide.
Park name: Russborough House and Gardens, Blessington
Amenities: Lovely easy looped woodland and nature walks suitable for all ages, a good sized playground, a fairy trail, walled garden (under restoration) and occasional food and craft market in the courtyards of Russborough House.
Special features: Japanese gardens with cute bridges that you can walk onto Lady’s Island. Information boards identify flora and fauna on nature walks and the special tree trail. The Blessington Greenway walk and cycling route is a short walk from the gates.
Access: paid car parking. Google Map “Russborough House”.
Dogs: Dogs on leads only.
Tip: Check to see if the maze and National Bird of Prey Centre are open on the day of your visit.
The Rise and Fall of Victoria’s Secret: A dictatorship of perfection and misogyny: a look into Victoria’s Secret’s angels and demons | Society
For the lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret, once the head of an empire, the past decade has been turbulent. Gone are the golden days when the world stood still to watch the brand’s annual show. Its carefully chosen models, the so-called angels, represented a beauty standard unattainable to most women, and they paraded the runway in glittering wings and minuscule diamond-cut lingerie.
The shows, which lasted for 23 years, were considered the Super Bowl of fashion. They featured performances by pop singers including Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, The Weeknd, Taylor Swift and Beyoncé. Until its last edition, held in Paris in 2018, the event represented the fantasy that Victoria’s Secret marketed. It launched the careers of models Gisele Bündchen, Adriana Lima, Heidi Klum and Alessandra Ambrossio, among others.
The women showed off almost superhuman physiques, sculpted through rigorous training and starved in the days leading up to the parade. But the brand’s image no longer has a place in a #MeToo-era society, now more willing to champion body positive, diversity and inclusivity and to denounce sexual harassment and the hypersexualization of women’s bodies.
The new three-part documentary series The Rise and Fall of Victoria’s Secret explores the brand’s shadows. The production, which premiered on June 18 at the Tribeca Film Festival, combines first-hand accounts with deep investigation to reveal the brand’s inner workings. “Truth is not what it seems, as the underworld of fashion, the billionaire class, and Jeffrey Epstein are revealed to all be inextricably intertwined with the fall of this legendary brand,” reads the summary of the miniseries, directed by Peter Berg and Matt Tyrnauer. It will be available to stream on Hulu starting July 14.
A culture of misogyny and the descent to hell
The film promises to uncover the lingerie empire’s links with sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein. A 2019 New York Times investigation revealed that in the 1990s, a financial adviser close to Leslie H. Wexner, executive director of the company L Brands—Victoria’s Secret parent company—worked as a model recruiter for the brand in exchange for sexual favors. This adviser would later be found to be Epstein, a millionaire accused of sex trafficking who later commited suicide in jail while awaiting trial. Subsequently, Wexner has repeatedly claimed to feel “ashamed” by his friendly relationship with the pedophile.
But Victoria’s Secret’s fall in popularity came before this scandal. In 2018, the company lost almost 50% of its value. That same year, which marked the last parade, the show reached the lowest audience in its history since its start in 1995: 3.3 million viewers compared to the usual 10 million.
That year, the company’s marketing director, Ed Razek, made clear his opposition to gender diversity in an interview with Vogue. “Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special. That’s what it is. It is the only one of its kind in the world,” said the 71-year-old manager, who resigned from his position in 2019.
The rampant misogyny and harassment from company higher-ups was the final straw for the brand. In 2021, the New York Times published an extensive investigation entitled “‘Angels’ in Hell: The Culture of Misogyny Inside Victoria’s Secret,” in which more than 30 executives, employees, contractors and models denounced the company’s practices.
Rebel Angels and a change of direction
The Victoria’s Secret bubble ended up bursting with the resignation of several of its most iconic figures: Adriana Lima hung up her wings in 2018, claiming to be fed up with the dictatorship of perfection and the pressures on her physique. “I will not take of [sic] my clothes again for an empty cause,” she wrote in an Instagram post.
Gisele Bündchen, who signed her contract with the brand at the age of 19, confessed in her autobiography that after years parading in her underwear, she began to feel uncomfortable. She wrote that she felt “less and less relaxed” when photographed on the catwalk in just a bikini or a thong. In the same book, she wrote of suffering from panic attacks and suicidal thoughts during one of the most successful periods of her career.
Victoria’s Secret changed directions in 2020, when L Brands sold the company to the Sycamore Partners fund for just over $1 billion (€953 million), in a last-ditch effort to save the brand.
After Raezk resigned, in a last attempt to save its reputation, the company hired the transgender model Valentina Sampaio. It also included Winnie Harlow, a Canadian model with vitiligo, as an angel, and Lorena Durán became the brand’s first plus-size model.
Seeking to adapt to changing social norms, in 2021, the company announced partnerships with influential figures in culture and sports: American soccer player Megan Rapinoe, Indian actress Priyanka Chopra, Chinese skier Eileen Gu and plus-size model Paloma Elsesser. It also announced that it would no longer refer to its models as “angels.” With that once-unthinkable gesture, Victoria’s Secret finally returned to earth.
Sex education: The creator of CLIMAX: ‘Good sex is like cooking, but there aren’t recipes for female pleasure on the internet’ | Society
Our ways of watching television have changed. No longer do we sit down to see what’s on TV, instead subscribing to platforms where we can watch our favorite content. But can that formula translate to content beside series, documentaries and movies? Can it be used to change the way we experience sex education? CLIMAX, a platform of sex education videos, is trying it out.
The platform started as an explicit educational series dedicated to female pleasure. Far from pornography, it was particularly directed towards women and sought to give advice and ideas for greater self-knowledge and sexual enjoyment. But that was just the beginning. As Camille Mariau, CLIMAX’s director of projects, explains, they are currently working on “a monthly membership platform dedicated to sexual wellbeing. The users will ahve access to periodic new content, ordered by topic (pleasrue for people with vulvas, for those with penises, tantric sex, oral sex, post-partum sex, etc.). We really want to create the perfect guide to help our users deconstruct their ideas about sexuality.” Currently, the platform has partnerships with educational and healthcare institutions, in order to bring education about female sexuality to all parts of society.
Laurène Dorléac is an expert in the technology market and co-creator of CLIMAX. “Not only is female pleasure little understood, but I also realized that taboos around the subject are still very present.” That’s why, despite her lack of experience in the area, she decided to venture into the topic. “Good sex is like cooking: it’s a creative process that requires practice, experimentation and care to have a good flavor. There are plenty of recipes and cooking classes, but we can’t find anything satisfactory about female pleasure on the Internet! That’s what led me to create the platform, so that we can all have access to better sexual education.”
The project brought together international studies, advice from psychologists and sexologists and over 100,000 testimonies. “Pleasure is a very serious thing, and it deserves a very rigorous approach,” she says.
CLIMAX comes to Spain
While the project was founded in France, currently, 40 percent of its subscribers are outside of the country, largely in the United States and United Kingdom. The team is optimistic about the Spanish market. “The market seems to be ready for a project like this. More than talking about pleasure, we really want people to have easy access to safe information about sexual education,” says Camille Mariau. Since the project launched in Spain just a few months ago, most of its users are between 28 and 45 years old, and, surprisingly, they are divided 50/50 between men and women.
To spread the news about the project, they have the help of Teresa Riott, known for her role as Nerea in the Netflix series Valeria, who narrates the videos. “It seems to me like a new idea in education, and it’s very necessary in order to better understand all the possibilities of our pleasure. CLIMAX has also had success in other countries. I’ve learned a lot about female sexuality in the process,” the actress explains.
She emphasizes that “they are videos that you can watch alone, in private, and you can experiment,” which “gives people confidence to explore their bodies without concerns.”
The platform’s content is explicit, but tasteful; obvious, but well-presented. It repeats explanations we have read in plenty of books, but which acquire a new dimension when we can see them on a screen: without drawings, diagrams or taboos, simply showing how to stimulate a vulva. The videos are meant to educate, not to excite, and they have no resemblance to porn. The images are accompanied by Riott’s voice, which explains each step in a clear and simple way, adding touches of scientific information. It explains not only how to stimulate the vulva, but also how and why the stimulation works.
We’ve learned that it’s much easier to exercise at home, or even to do home improvement projects, with the help of a Youtube tutorial video that shows us each step. So it makes all the sense in the world that we can use tutorials to learn how to excite our bodies, moving step-by-step over each part of our anatomy.
The platform is also notable for its diversity, not only in the appearances of the vulvas on screen, but also in the techniques proposed. It includes videos of 19 different masturbation techniques. In Spain, female masturbation has experienced a revolution in recent years. The brand Lelo, specialized in clitoral suction toys, increased its sales by 440% in 2019. The Satisfyer toy was even more popular: it registered an increase in sales of 1,300% in 2020, to the point that it had to resort to European countries to restock the toys during one of the busiest months of the year. Those toys finally normalized female masturbation. Vibrators themselves have also experienced their own revolution. Their technology and shapes have become more sophisticated, and they have become more effective and discreet. And Gwyneth Paltrow’s website Goop now features Viva la Vulva, an “extra-silent” vibrator model that can be used at any time without making any noise. Such devices are proof that manufacturers have taken pains to innovate their products for female pleasure, until recently a forgotten sector. Gone are the old dildos and penis replicas.
Beyond masturbation, with or without the help of toys, the content of CLIMAX “is like an encyclopedia of ideas that you can choose and use to enrich your sexual life. It can help you be more creative, learn moves that women with vulvas might like, etc. It can also be used as a basis to start a conversation with your partner about what you like, what you want to try or not. We want to give people the opportunity to get to know their own body or the body of their partner better,” explains Mariau.
To that end, the first two seasons are entirely scientifically based. To develop the content, 74 international scientific studies, widely referenced and accepted by the scientific community, were consulted. “There is one study that I find special: Shere Hite’s ‘The New Hite Report,’ a bestseller that has sold tens of millions of copies, which describes how women feel during different sexual activities and when they orgasm with greater frequency,” Mariau says.
In addition to a surge in vibrator sales, women have been consuming more porn than ever in recent years. According to a study by Pornhub on porn consumption in the pandemic, women increased the amount of porn they consumed by 17.5%. Audio porn, one of the latest developments in the industry, is particularly popular among women. And websites for pornographic content aimed at women, taking into account the tastes and aesthetics that female arousal requires, have proliferated in recent years.
Mission: equality in pleasure
The work of Shere Hite is one of the great sources of inspiration for CLIMAX. The late writer and sexologist was especially interested in the female orgasm. She interviewed some 3,500 American women, from prostitutes to former nuns, to create ‘The Hite Report: A Nationwide Study of Female Sexuality’ in 1976. Among her conclusions stood out two ideas: first, that few women reached orgasm through intercourse (only 30%), although they did through masturbation. Secondly, the clitoris was the key to climax.
CLIMAX is organized into several themes, which are available in different subscription packs: external pleasure (10 episodes), internal pleasure (11 episodes) and tantra exercises (7 episodes).
“Our mission is to equalize pleasure in a world where women report being less satisfied than men in their sexual activities, feeling less pleasure and having fewer orgasms. Education will make it possible,” the expert concludes.
Sonny Barger, founder of Hells Angels, dies at 83 | USA
Sonny Barger, the founding member of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, died on Thursday in California at the age of 83. Barger was the face of the biker gang that became one of the main counterculture movements in the United States in the 1960s. Barger’s family confirmed his death in a message on Facebook. “Please know that I passed peacefully after a brief battle with cancer,” the message stated.
Sonny Barger – whose real name was Ralph Hubert Barger – was born in northern California, and taught himself to ride a motorcycle when he was 11 years old. It was an American-made Cushman scooter. From that moment on, he tried to only assemble motorbikes with parts made in the US, a task that became increasingly difficult as the world became more open to international trade.
In 1957, he founded the Hells Angels chapter in Oakland, California. This chapter was founded nine years after the first one opened in Fontana, in the same state. Barger was the national president of the Hells Angels, a group that became notorious for its links to violent and organized crime. Barger was arrested more than 20 times and spent 13 years of his life in prison for different crimes. In November 1992, for example, he was released from federal prison after spending four years behind bars for organizing to kill members of the rival Outlaws Motorcycle Club. When his parole came to an end in 1994, 700 bikers came out to celebrate the news.
But the darkest chapter of the Hells Angels took place on December 6, 1969. That night, the biker members were hired as security guards at the Altamont Free Concert in California, where the Rolling Stones performed. Representatives of the band reportedly offered the Hells Angels $500 worth of beer in exchange for providing security. Members of the biker gang had worked without incident as security at concerts for bands such as The Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane. But at the Altamont Free Concert, which brought together 300,000 people, the situation became violent. During the Rolling Stones’ performance, fights broke out in the audience. Meredith Hunter, an 18-year-old concertgoer, was stabbed to death by a member of the Hells Angels after approaching the stage. The incident was caught on camera and became a central scene in the Maysles Brothers documentary Gimme Shelter, in which Barger admitted the bikers did not have the training to do security work. A few days after the concert, in a call to a local radio station, he said: “I ain’t no cop. I ain’t never gonna police nothin.’”
The incident stained the image of the Hells Angels and Barger – who had the name Hell’s Angels Oakland tattooed on his right shoulder – struggled for several years to change the gang’s violent reputation. “Catholics probably commit more crimes than we ever thought of,” he told the Los Angeles Times in 1994 after being released from prison on parole. “Probably politicians commit more crimes.”
Writer Hunter S. Thompson compared the biker gang to the student protesters of the 1960s, who paved the way for civil rights in America. “The difference between the student radicals and the Hells Angels is that the students are rebelling against the past, while the Angels are fighting the future. Their only common ground is their disdain for the present, or the status quo,” he wrote in his book Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs.
The Hells Angels were one of America’s most striking subcultures, and their influence can be seen in many areas of society. In one of his books, Barger claims that Harley-Davidson – the motorcycle brand favored by the group – adopted the gang’s ideas into its models. Barger played himself in the 1967 film Hells Angels on Wheels, where he appeared alongside Jack Nicholson. He also had a small role in the TV show Sons of Anarchy.
Barger was a difficult character to define. He got up at 4.30am to feed his dogs and horses, then worked out for three hours, doing weights and going jogging. By 8am, he was on his motorcycle and driving down an off-beaten track. Unlike the stereotypical biker, he wore a helmet that covered his entire face. This was due to the fact that he had his vocal cords removed in 1982 after suffering from throat cancer.
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