I was guru scouted for a spiritual harem

It used to be that Australians initiated themselves into adulthood the old fashioned way: drinking their way around Europe on a Contiki tour. Now that Insta-wellness is all the rage, we’re just as likely to book into an ashram as enjoy a misadventure with an inebriated tour guide. But just as horror movie Hostel was every Euro traveller’s worst nightmare, ‘spiritual travel’ has its own predators. I met one.

Porn you can feel good about

*Feels like I’ve been writing 6,000 articles on sex and porn lately. My search history is starting to resemble a teenage boy.*

Ok, you’re not one of those sex addicts but you do occasionally glance at porn. On Fridays. And maybe Sundays. But it’s all good because the sites you access are free, no one needs to know, and it’s not like you’re supporting that dirty, nasty industry, is it?

A teen girl’s guide to getting off

Teenage girls, whether they’re spruiking bondage couture in Vogue or boffing men twenty years their senior in Woody Allen movies, are surely the most over-sexualised creatures on the planet.

So do we really need to be teaching them ‘sex positive’ messages about taking charge of their sexuality? Surely they’re not missing the memo to get out there and put out?  

Do we need mandatory workplace exercise?

Go to any Australian city park in the early hours and it’s not unusual to see a fit looking Asian octogenarian or two putting themselves through the graceful paces of a Tai Chi session. ‘Such discipline!’ we marvel.

But in many Asian cities, it’s not one or two people participating in early morning exercise — the parks are full. Movement is enshrined as a normal part of the workday culture to the point where employees exercise together before the day begins.

‘What making porn taught me about real sex’

Australians love their porn. We’re accessing it earlier on in life, and sex educators are tell us that porn is playing an increasing role in how young people form their ideas about sex.

But who knows more about the reality of porn than the performers themselves? I spoke to three Australian porn performers to get their views on how porn sex differs from real sex, the porn ‘look’, speaking up and … ‘plunging’.

How women can negotiate better

 If anyone needs to be negotiating better terms and conditions on life, it’s women. Women earn less than men, yet pay more for basic goods and services. We get a raw deal on housework and are more likely to retire in poverty.

But despite being told to ‘lean in’ research shows that women are less likely to negotiate than men.

Mad life skills from an FBI hostage negotiator

Empathy. It’s a soft, fuzzy word you’re more likely to associate with social workers than the high stakes world of international hostage negotiation. But for Chris Voss, the former head of the FBI’s international kidnap and hostage negotiation team, ‘tactical empathy’ was his number one tool.

The ‘secret’ habit leading women to the poorhouse?

Ever since The Secret spilled the magic beans on manifesting (if you can imagine it, it will happen!) vision boards have been popping up on personal altars like Pulp Fiction posters in a share house.

Manifesting, for the uninitiated, is the art of imagining what you want to being into your life and then acting as if it’s already there. It’s an energetic thing; instead of focusing on the lack of a Russell Brand lookalike in your life, you act as if he’s already there. This cosmically shifts your energy to the point where the Universe plants Rusty 2.0 in your local coffee shop, and when this happens you write a gratitude list and tell all your friends.

What happens in Men’s Behaviour Change Programs?

It’s a wintry Tuesday night in Melbourne and you’d like to be home watching TV. Instead, you’re sitting in a circle with a dozen guys, trying not to get called on during your first session at a men’s behaviour change program.

There’s one other new guy who, like you, has been ‘directed to attend’ by the courts. But unlike you, he has an attitude problem, interrupting and cracking bad jokes. The facilitator is blunt. He can’t guarantee the man’s partner will take him back, he says, but if he keeps attending he might get to see his kids again.   

The ‘mental load’ burning women out

It’s 6.30pm. The kids are in their high chairs and you’re trying to coax them to eat while keeping an eye on the stove. Your partner comes home, dumps his bag on the floor, pats the baby on the head, and tells you about his day. “That’s great,” you reply, “can you feed the cats?” Two minutes later, “that’s great, can you put this stuff back into the fridge?” “That’s great, can you give the baby something to eat?” “Awesome, can you set the table?”