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Midnight munchies might just cost you your teeth

Or so says a study from the University of Copenhagen

If you’ve ever had the munchies, or gotten anything to eat at Drunkin’ Donuts after a particularly adventurous night out, the University of Copenhagen has some bad news for you: You’re damaging your teeth — perhaps beyond repair.

According to BBC News, researchers looked at more than 2,200 Danish residents’ medical records, and found that those who snacked after midnight were much more likely to develop tooth loss, no matter what kind of food they ate. So it would seem that no matter if you make yourself a humble sandwich, or if you just gotta get that Whopper, you’re putting your teeth in a world of hurt.

Apparently, the reason for this is because saliva flow tends to dry up at night. Saliva is important for getting out the food debris in your mouth after you eat. Those that the study dubbed “nocturnal eaters” were more likely lose their teeth, just because the saliva wasn’t there to get rid of the gunk that built up after the midnight snacks.

To read more about the study’s methodology, go here. To check out the rest of the BBC piece, go here.

Are college students today less empathetic?

A University of Michigan finds current collegians are not as empathetic as prior generations

Providing proof to your parents that kids these days are just no good, a recently released study from the University of Michigan shows that college students are reportedly less empathetic than those in prior generations.

Along with UM graduate Edward O’Brien, and current undergraduate Courtney Hsing, the UM Institute for Social Research’s Sara Konrath headed the analysis, which collected data from 14,000 college students from 72 different countries taken from the past thirty years.

Konrath explained the findings: “We found the biggest drop in empathy after the year 2000. College kids today are about 40 percent lower in empathy than their counterparts of 20 or 30 years ago, as measured by standard tests of this personality trait.”

Students analyzed after the year 2000 were less likely to agree with the statements “I sometimes try to understand my friends better by imagining how things look from their perspective” and “I often have tender, concerned feelings for people less fortunate than me.”

O’Brien and Konrath are hoping to next delve into the reasons why students are less empathetic, but did offer their ideas as to what’s responsible for the drop. Konrath believes the saturation of media content is a likely factor.

“Compared to 30 years ago, the average American now is exposed to three times as much nonwork-related information. In terms of media content, this generation of college students grew up with video games, and a growing body of research, including work done by my colleagues at Michigan, is establishing that exposure to violent media numbs people to the pain of others.”

Our Take:

I always knew you college kids were mean. Aside from my scarred psyche, this study is further proof of that!

Truthfully, while some of us may not want to admit it, this study does make sense to me. Think of all the “friends” we keep in touch with or follow now, especially those on social networks. I’m sure there are more than a few that you just simply don’t understand or agree with in the slightest.

Thirty years ago, college classes were much smaller and maintaining connections with merely twenty friends was probably difficult. Also, the rest of the world wasn’t constantly under surveillance thanks to the internet, so individuals may not have been as aware of the opinions or views that would stir their emotions negatively. Or maybe I’m just over-analyzing.

This study could just a microcosm of American — and perhaps global — society. Or perhaps college students are just jerkfaces. Yeah, I’m talking about you. Jerk.

TWIPC: Should political parties be abolished?

University of Missouri Professor David Webber’s column offers a government free of political parties

Are political parties getting in the way of politics?

University of Missouri political science Associate Professor David Webber certainly thinks so. In a column for the Missourian, Webber makes the claim that “political parties are not necessary and cause more havoc in politics than they are worth.” 

Supporting this notion is Webber’s plan for a reformed electoral process where candidates would no longer be required to file as aligned with a particular party. Webber’s idea would call for the top two vote-getters in the primary would then face off in the general election.

In his article, Webber goes on to explain the downfalls political parties present, such as officials that simply vote for the party’s position. He also suggests that by removing the party tags as outlined in his plan, voters would have to listen more to a candidate’s legislative thoughts and ideas during elections.

Webber notes that the idea would also bring about increased competition while reducing campaign and election costs.

Despite his allegations, Webber is not calling for the outright abolishment of political parties. He offers that they “continue to exist as political clubs and fraternal organizations but not as a key component of government.”

Our Take:

Have you seen movies set in the future with utopian and unified Earth-centric space societies that no longer concern themselves with political factions? (Akin to “Star Trek”’s singular and globally encompassing Federation Starfleet?)

I think abolishing political parties is the idea that leads to that outcome.

Obviously, the plan is not without some flaws. Webber may be underestimating the steep drop-off in voter turnout that would occur if political parties are no longer involved. I’m sure a sizeable percentage of those that vote merely check that ballot box that votes “All _____ party candidates.” I know I’ve done it before.

I’m not plugged in enough to know every candidate that is running for every office. Removing the party system would leave me with less information about those up for posts while adding more names to the potential primary pot.

I feel much better about blindly voting for a specific Democrat I’m unaware of than I would a Republican. If I wasn’t informed enough to make a decision about either candidate, I simply wouldn’t feel comfortable voting.

If voters are being essentially forced to be informed, there are many (like me) who would simply not vote. That goes against every idea behind the democratic process. Even uninformed votes count. Still, I like the radical thinking Webber displays. We need more of it.

And sorry for the “Star Trek” reference everyone. I outed myself as a nerd yet again. But seriously, if we get rid of political parties, get ready for a Starship Enterprise NCC-1701 in our future.

How to plan for a threesome

Follow College News’ step-by-step guide to ensure your Ménage à trios is not a Ménage à blah

Somewhere in the universe, the stars aligned and the cosmos granted you the ever sought threesome. Good for you! But now what? If you are feeling a little lost, a little nervous or a little confused, read our guide to organizing a near-cinematic night of fun.

1. Choose your type.

The first, and perhaps most important, step in planning a threesome is to decide the combination of people involved. Quinn, student, recommends to “make sure there are at least two girls and no dudes.” But, of course, you might be enticed by other options, such as two men, one woman; three men; and three women. By making this choice, you ultimately narrow the scope for whole will participate. Some men do not feel comfortable in a threesome with another man, and some women would like to experience a threesome only with other woman. Be sure to figure out what you’re comfortable with.

2. Plan the guest list.

Creating a good dynamic for your threesome will be the key to a pleasurable experience. “It can’t be someone that either of the two primary sexual partners have any romantic interest in whatsoever, and vice-versa” advised Cameron. “Threesomes are about fantasy and sex. Also, it’s helpful if the person is a mutual friend that you’re both comfortable with; their sexual history should not be in question.”

Yet many advise against engaging in freak-in-the-sheets activities with good friends, let alone your significant other.

Law student Kim explained that, “I personally think it’s best to keep it casual and avoid having group sex when intense romantic or commitment-type feelings are involved. It keeps the insecurities and jealousy to a minimum and everyone is free to just enjoy being hot and naked together.”

3. Consider the aftermath before the event.

Kim’s advice certainly leads a threesome organizer to think about the reality of group sex. Crazy, steamy sex comes with a price, often. If the threesome involves any participants who are not completely willing, insecure or maintain even the slightest feelings of jealousy, the whole pleasure party could quickly turn into a disaster.  Mull over the possible ramifications to a relationship with your partner before engaging in a threesome. For example, will you trust that your partner will be faithful afterward? Will you still be secure in your relationship, or will what happens in the threesome remain only in that very moment?

4. Pick a location, time, and state-of-mind.

While this may sound strange at first, planning where you have your threesome could make all the difference in the world. After all, your small dorm room or apartment might not be the best choice if you have a roommate. Furthermore, your adventure should not be burdened by time.

Next, consider the memories your trio-romp will leave behind. If you are a couple, are you both fine with inviting another person into your bed, which the two of you share?  If not, consider a hotel room, which can be a neutral location for all parties. If the threesome happens to go badly, at least you can leave it behind further than simply changing your sheets.

Also, be sure to discuss beforehand if alcohol or any other mind-altering substance will be allowed.  While both can help people lower their inhibitions, and make you feel more comfortable, they can also let the flood gates of regret tremble.  A clear mind steers all people in the direction they feel most confident…without a triple walk of shame the next day.

5. Check the facts and gather your equipment.

Knowing each person’s STI and HIV statuses in every sexual encounter should be a priority, especially if you are engaging in non-monogamous sexual activities.  The memories of your threesome should be much more fond that a herpes outbreak. Be sure to have plenty of male and female condoms, dental dams, lube and whatever else you need.  Digging around your nightstand for the box of condoms you swear you had for emergencies will probably kill the mood and leave you out of the hot, hot action!

6. Break the ice.

So, after all this planning, just how do you just start this magical night? Student Kiel suggests luring both partners slowly, and then moving forward from there.

“The best way to start would be to have the girl you know best cuddling up with you and you start kissing her. Then you could invite the friend over to sit with y’all, now knowing that you want to enjoy her as well. If she comes, you hope the first girl would progress to licking your neck or rubbing your body, while you start kissing the other girl to open the evening.”

It’s a great way to make all partners feel comfortable in a progression, rather than just stripping down and jumping into bed. 

7. Hide this guide!

Don’t out yourself as a threesome novice by leaving this guide as the last thing on your internet browser.  Leave your awkward moments for when you accidentally pull on the other guy’s boxers.

How to be safe while on a date

How to take care of yourself — and others — while you’re searching for your soulmate

We hear horror stories about date rape and murder every day, yet most of us never think about the fact that we could be the one they’re talking about in the next headline.  So how do you date safe?  College News has some pointers so that you have a great time on your date, but stay safe too.

Don’t get involved with someone you met on Facebook or Twitter

You seriously never know who you’re actually talking to, and more times than not, the people you meet on the internet aren’t who they seem.  If you really want to date online use a website that specializes in dating.  These sites screen their members before letting them join and are much more regulated than social networking sites.

If you don’t know the person well, never go on the first date alone

If you don’t know the person well, then always, always, always bring an escort. You could try to make it a group thing, or perhaps a double date. But seriously, don’t put yourself in a situation where you could be hurt or taken advantage of.

Stay in control

When you are on a first date, take it easy on the alcohol, as people tend to do things that we wouldn’t normally do when we’re drinking. Set a two drink limitation on yourself and call a cab home afterward.  If you do drink, make sure you’re ordering it for yourself.

Never let someone get a drink for you while you’re in the bathroom and keep a close eye on your glass at all times. People can get pretty crafty when they want to slip you a pill. If they do, you’re going to be at a severe disadvantage.

Always let a friend know exactly where you are at all times

Give your best girl/guy the address of where you plan to be, the phone number and first and last name of your date.  Tell them when you plan to be home, and that they should call you, and then the police if they don’t hear from you by then.

Trust your instincts.

If something seems out of the ordinary to you, chances are you’re in a dangerous situation.  Don’t ever go anywhere or do anything you feel uncomfortable with, and make it known to your date that you have every intention on protecting yourself. Be careful when you date!

So you hooked up with your best friend…

And now you want to save your relationship. What to do? Ask College News

I’d like to start this article by clearing up a well-disputed fact: girls and guys cannot just be friends. At least, not at first. Even if it’s never mutual, someone is going to be attracted to the other at some point in your friendship.

More often than not, you’re going to end up hooking up. So, having established that fact, let’s say you got drunk, hooked up, and now are stuck in a super awkward situation.  Here are a few guidelines on how to save your friendship with the opposite sex.

First of all, figure out how YOU feel about the other person. 

Was this a drunken excursion into romance-ville, or do you legitimately want to be more than just friends?  The days following a hook-up with a friend are a good time to explore your possibilities with the other person, considering they obviously just showed some kind of interest in you.

However, if you establish you don’t actually want a romantic relationship with this person, then don’t brag to everybody that you hit it.  If you want to try and remain friends with the other person, they probably won’t appreciate you telling the world what happened.

Going off of that notion: don’t make it awkward.  You were obviously comfortable enough with the other person to be intimate with them, so don’t be totally weird about what you did. 

Don’t ignore your friend for the next week, and don’t pretend it didn’t happen. Your best bet is to take on the situation head-on and actually talk to them about it. 

Figure out how they feel, and what course of action they would like to take from here on out.

Finally, learn from your mistakes. 

Let say your hook-up ruins your friendship. Try to remember that consequence in the future. Go out in a group, or take it easy on the alcohol.  Don’t jeopardize your friendships for a temporary thrill.

Are internet sex lives and personal sex lives one and the same?

The Web offers more sexual exploration than ever before

Picking up a guy in your local bar who likes to be handcuffed blindfolded to the bed for sex challenges even the savviest flirters. Not only do you have to lay out all your sexually-explicit desires, but the chances of getting the guy home and in this position boarders on slim to none. However, finding this type of guy online? A 10-second Google search and your fantasies erupt on your screen; whenever, wherever, and in the privacy of your own home.

College-aged twenty-somethings are the first generation of people to have accessed and used the Web for sex in the capacity that we do. We’re the first people to experience the boom of Internet porn, chat rooms, hook-ups, webcam shows, sexting, fetish Web sites and more. These places do not care about your gender, your sexual preference or your name—only about what gets you off. 

“One’s internet sex life and one’s personal sex life can, and often do, exist as completely separate entities. There’s something about the anonymity of the internet that allows one to approach their sexuality with little- to-no reserves,” said Shane D*, in an interview for <i>College News</i>.

The Internet, in a sense, becomes a sexual haven for those who feel inhibited by judgments of mainstream society, which has attempted to normalize sexual behavior. If a person likes to be tied up and dominated S&M style, he or she can be labeled as a sexual deviant. 

However, looking at these types of sexual practices online is deemed merely exploration. Advancements in technology provide everyone with a computer the chance to actively participating in an online sexual community of their choice, without being worried that the person they were involved with last night is going to end up in 9:00 a.m. biology.

Shane D. explains the appeal of the internet:

“The great thing about the internet is that it has every type of porn that you could imagine and, since literally everyone has access to a camera these days, everybody can be their own porn star. This is wonderful. It allows the voyeur in all of us to peer into what ‘real’ people’s sex lives are like. We can actually relate now. It’s not about this glossy, fake-boobed, super tan, multiple angle, melodramatic screaming, and cheesy funk music anymore. No! There’s single camera set-ups from somebody’s night stand while the TV plays in the background. People aren’t blowing through the Kama Sutra either. Things are real. Simple. It gives me an insight into what my own ‘real’ sex life looks like from an outside perspective, and ultimately it boosts my self confidence.”

While some fantasies and behaviors remain exclusive to the Web, what we see and do online can easily merge into our tangible romps. And this is not necessarily a bad change in the relationship.

“Get your significant other break out the XXX DVD and play your own version of Simon-Says with positions. That has to be more fun than your digital self could ever have,” said Jacob Miller, student.

Both of these perspectives raise essential questions: On the internet, what is real sex? Or what is the sex life of an average person like?  Is it watching porn and then getting down and dirty with their partner? Is it even one partner? Is the average relationship even exclusive?

Defining what is average arbitrarily assumes a sexual norm—one which no longer exists in this modern age. Thanks to things like female empowerment, progressive sexual acceptance, contraceptives, sex is open for all.

Everyone has experienced the type of sex when a girl thinks she needs to moan as loud as possible with every hip movement or the guy who is sure that he can give two girls simultaneous orgasms with the least amount of effort. Blame bad porn—or better yet, blame society for attempting to create a homogenized sexual experience.

If you venture online and experience the wide buffet of sexual desire, the idea that average person always commits to hetero-normative, monogamous, missionary sex on a Friday night dies violently. It doesn’t matter if your internet sex life matches up with your personal one. So search on, play on, and, most importantly, sex on.

*Name changed out of request for privacy.

How to let them down easy

Breaking up is hard to do. So why not let College News make it a little easier for you?

So you screwed up. You totally fell for the hottie in your Chem lab. Then things got hot and heavy pretty quick.  But now all of their cute little habits are starting to drive you insane and you’re thinking it’s time to jump ship. Fair enough. But before you pull the trigger on your romance, here are some dos and don’ts of breaking up.

Rule number one, no matter how convenient it might be for you. DO NOT end your relationship via text message, Facebook wall post, or instant message. Anything you put into writing is going to be forwarded, or copied and pasted, to every one of your ex’s friends.  Not only will you be taking the easiest, most cowardly way out, but everyone is going to know about it.

Which brings me to my next point.  Whether you were seeing this person for a day or a year, BREAK UP WITH THEM IN PERSON.  Don’t have your best friend relay the message and unless you live cross country from each other, don’t do it on the phone either. Breaking up with someone in person shows them that you care enough to go out of your way to talk to them face-to-face and that you’re not a huge coward.

That being said, be careful when choosing a time and place to give them the news. Don’t break up with them on their birthday, or in the middle of a bar. Keep in mind that, even if you two weren’t all that serious, rejection hurts. So try not to be insensitive to his/her feelings and talk to them in private. This way they won’t be embarrassed in front of their friends and you won’t look totally heartless.

Let’s say, though, that you’re a bit hesitant to drop the break-up ax, regardless of the venue. When you finally get down to it, be honest.  It’s okay to let someone know that you’re just not that into them.  At the same time, don’t bust out the ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ speech, because everyone knows that’s never the case. 

You don’t need to be mean, but don’t try to sugarcoat it either. They might not be happy, but they’ll appreciate you giving it to them straight rather than making them wonder what actually went wrong.

Additionally, don’t think your work is done just because you told them it’s over. You need to be careful what you do post-breakup as well.  For example, when your on the rebound. As exciting as it may be to be newly single, try not to make out with your ex’s best friend the next night.  You don’t want to burn any bridges or give your ex a reason to hate you.  You might not remain best friends, but you should at least try to be civil to each other.

Besides…someday soon, you may even want to give it another try.

Does age matter in dating?

Read College News’ report before your next date

Dating an older man or woman certainly has its advantages. Often, someone older is more experienced, looking for fun, further along in life, more mature, or more stable. You might be thinking, “Yes! Finally, someone who is ready for the relationship I want and/or at my level.” But, are you sweet enough for a Sugar Daddy or courageous enough for a Cougar?

Cougar Time
According to an article on WebMD.com, older women may be on the prowl for a young stallion around the college age because of the difference in sexual peaks of men and women. A woman’s sexual prime is in her 30s—while men in their 30s are already on the decline. A man in his early twenties is the perfect match.  

While the sexual chemistry is right, the Cougar may be leaving the den for more than just that one reason. Dating someone younger can make women feel younger. In an anecdotal recount  about being a Cougar, women talk about dating younger men. Dating younger men allows women to be fearless flirters like they were in their teens and twenties.

Dating younger men allows women to be appreciated once again for their sex appeal, rather than their mom-appeal. Recall Mrs. Robinson from The Graduate, or Kim from “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” for example.Younger men, around college age, have a different set of priorities than those contemporary to the 30-plus crowd. Sex and fun seem to be the main priorities for the older woman, as they are not ready to settle into (or want to break from) the stagnant lifestyle of a husband and kids. 

Establishing a real relationship with a Cougar could be difficult. If you are looking for long-term relationships and want a family to provide for later, you are in the wrong dating scene. If you are looking for a challenge, you are in the right game. Have fun and embrace the relationship as it is. You could learn a lot from the experienced and confident woman.

There is no age limit on fun, but always be aware of the rare chance the relationship could turn into more. Society casts women dating younger men negatively, so be ready for lots of scrutiny from your family and friends. 

Sweet Sugar Daddies
Dating older men differs completely from Cougars. The familiar scenario in Hollywood is: a very young girl dating a very old man for his money or for fame. Each time I happen to watch the recent season of “The Girls Next Door,” I can’t help but label the girls as fame-whores, who are definitely not in the relationship for love. 

But, I would say that the above scenario is the exception. Most college-age women who end up with older men are not looking for fortune or fame but for a real relationship with a man who is ready to commit. 

Older men are more confident than younger guys. After being in several relationships over the years, and some who have even been through a divorce, they are tired of the dating game. They are upfront about their feelings, more approachable about serious relationship topics and perhaps even more willing to work through problems. 

These attributes are refreshing to a woman who has suffered her dating peers and is ready for a relationship longer than a one night stand from the bar and maybe a couple of dates after. Older men offer security because of their experience.

When it comes to a relationship with an older man, age does prove a bit more important. Ten to 15 years is the maximum a relationship could really work when you are young. Consider if you are 20, he is 35. When you are 25, he is 40. Also, if you are seeking children in the relationship, the older the man, the less chance he may be willing to have children—or he might have some already! But, the older you get, the less age begins to matter, I believe, and it more what you share in common.

Lingerie: More than just lust and lace?

College News asks if skimpy outfits automatically translate to great sex

Victoria’s Secret “Angels” strutted the runway earlier this month in the company’s annual televised fashion show, which allows the models to show off the newest lingerie lines. The show drew in 8.3 million viewers—all of whom are no doubt interested in lingerie or, more likely, the women wearing it. 

Each Angel stormed the runway for just as long as the average person might keep the lingerie on in the bedroom: about two minutes. With lingerie having so little practical use in the average person’s life, does all that lace go to waste? Or are the results more than just about getting physical?

Lingerie is made to mold the female body into a desired form or to accent an hour-glass silhouette. With so many options, women can accentuate their breasts with a push-up bra while hiding their hips with a short skirt, or suck in their stomach with a laced-up corset and show off their toned legs in knee-highs and garters. And that’s only the tame stuff.

With woman strapped, pushed and sucked in, lingerie can be quite complicated. Just like the fashion show, lingerie seems to be made to gawk at and nothing else.

While the 30 eyelet corset looks really hot, the idea of ripping it off in a hurry and attempting to untangle it from the come-hither clothing could get kinkier than ever anticipated. 

So what does spending an hour or more tucking yourself into the outfit, fixing your hair and make-up, and practicing those seductive poses and phrases add up to in the end?

“I am not the biggest fan of how uncomfortable [lingerie] is, or how expensive it is for the minimal use you get out of it,” said student Sagan Myers, a sentiment seconded by another student Alyssa Newcomb who said, “It stays on for such little time, it’s really not worth it.”

Worth—an interesting word to apply to the lingerie dilemma. While on the body, lingerie is only appreciated for two minutes (give or take). Then, in a moment’s notice, the $65 you spent is lying on the floor in a crumble. And yet, the results of dressing up just to take it off linger much longer than just a mere moment of passion.

“[Lingerie] makes for good foreplay and gives you confidence. I believe every girl should have at least some lingerie!” said lingerie lover and student, Liv Burke.

In other words, the motto “Dress for Success” applies more places than just a job interview. Lingerie, like the work “power suit,” can be just as influential in a sex-situation.

Confidence, as Burke mentioned, may be the number one problem for many women in the bedroom and a hang-up for exploring more of her sexual desires and needs. Through envisioning her body positively, achieving these desires will be beneficial for both partners.

Empowerment through sexual attire, including lingerie, is a dilemma third-wave feminists have long attacked. However, as writer Kate Taylor explains in the article “Today’s Ultimate Feminists are the Chicks in Crop Tops” for The Guardian, women use lingerie and sexy clothes to feel better about their body.

These women should not be chastised anymore than women who spend time in a gym to get those Michelle Obama arms. Confidence is confidence, no matter how it is packaged.

Do skimpy lace and six-inch heels make the physical experience of sex better? Maybe, maybe not. But the image your partner has of you when they come home after a long day of classes or work might not slip their mind anytime soon…nor will you forget the look on their face when they walk through the door.