Sex with time-travellers might kill you.

When time travel finally becomes possible, we might want to think twice about getting it on. According to a new study on tiny shrimp (Artemia franciscana), sex with partners from a different time could kill you.

Researchers at the Center for Functional and Evolutionary Ecology (CEFE) in Montpellier, France, collected preserved brine shrimp eggs from various generations, and then reanimated them with water. Nicolas Rode and colleagues mated pairs of brine shrimp that had been reanimated from eggs preserved since 1985, 1996 and 2007, a period representing roughly 160 generations. They found that females that mated with males from the past or future died off sooner than those that mated with their own generation. The longer the time-shift, the earlier they died: The 22-year time difference shortened female lifetimes by 12 percent; the effect was 3 percent for the 11-year time-shift.

Interestingly, this didn’t affect the females’ reproductive success. Those that lived shorter lives produced the same average number of offspring, they just did it at a faster pace. “Females’ life histories are complex and are constantly adjusted,” explains study co-author Thomas Lenormand. These adjustments reflect the trade-offs between survival and reproduction in nature.

Brine shrimp are part of an interesting class of animal whose eggs can survive decades of drought in a form of dormancy known as cryptobiosis. Once the eggs are reintroduced to water—either in nature or in the lab—they hatch. The species therefore makes an ideal subject for a time-traveling experiment like this one.

What makes time-shifting sex hazardous to health is something called antagonistic coevolution, a way that different species (parasites and hosts, for example) or members of the same species (males and females) adapt to each other to promote their own individual reproductive interests. In nature’s sex wars, males campaign for more offspring—the proverbial seed-spreading—while females play hard-to-get because they bear most of the burden of reproduction and parenthood.

Evolutionary biologists say these conflicts are common in nature, and could occur either as an arms race, with each side’s weapons getting bigger and better, or as a fluctuation, where the two sides take turns dominating each other over time with novel adaptations.

If males and females coevolve their sex organs in tandem, mating with a partner from a different time could leave you unprepared—sort of like heading into modern war with 17th-century armor. The brine shrimp experiment shows just this.

Unfortunately, the researchers couldn’t determine whether there were arms-race-style or fluctuation-style adaptations at work in this experiment. They’d need a longer time-shift to figure that out, which would test the limits of brine shrimp cryptobiosis. They also don’t know what traits made the time-shifting males more deadly. Lenormand and Rode say they’d like to investigate these traits in the future. It could have something to do with amplexus, in which male brine shrimp grasp their partners for hours or even days after sex to keep them from mating with others. A byproduct of this so-called mate guarding is that the females can’t feed, which could shorten their lifetimes. The researchers would also like to flip the experiment on its head, studying the effects of time-shifting sex on males instead of females.

So what does shrimp sex have to do with us? Sexual conflicts and antagonistic coevolution are “probably central to understanding male/female behavior,” Lenormand says. In fact, it turns out that antagonistic coevolution is hard at work in humans today. I’ve previously written about the possible antidepressant properties of seminal fluid. But there’s a dark side to semen, too. Gordon Gallup, an evolutionary biologist as SUNY Albany explained it thus:

“At the level of semen chemistry and vaginal chemistry, there’s competition. The vagina is a very hostile environment for sperm. When a female is inseminated, the presence of the semen triggers an immune reaction, so semen—and particularly the sperm—are treated as pathogens. Male seminal plasma contains all kinds of chemicals that are designed to take this into account. Seminal plasma is alkaline, and a couple seconds after ejaculation the pH of the vagina approaches neutrality, which makes it a friendly environment for sperm. Sperm also contains a lot of immunosuppressants that suppress the female’s immune system and counteract this immune reaction to semen.”

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Homosexuality can be cured, Salvation Army says.

The Salvation Army’s all-inclusive congregation policy does not extend to homosexuals, Swedish broadcasters TV4 claimed on Sunday evening.

During an undercover news report broadcast on one of Sweden’s biggest channels, Salvation Army leaders told a covert journalist working for news programme “Kalla Fakta” (Cold Facts) that he, being a gay man, could not join the army originally formed in London in 1865. Instead, an officer offered to “cure” him through prayer.

The programme also claimed that the Salvation Army was involved in an agreement with Africa’s Malawi Council of Churches, which comprised of voting for the imprisonment of gay men.

Despite Sweden being the first country in the world to remove homosexuality as an illness, local SA officers told the journalist that homosexuality is “fundamentally wrong”.

The Salvation Army’s basic position is that homosexual sex is a sin. The Bible says a man shouldn’t sleep with a man in the way he sleeps with a woman, one chapter leader told the TV4 reporter. Anatomically we are not shaped that way, so in that sense I do think it is wrong, another soldier said.

The Salvation Army now accuses the Swedish TV programme of infringement.

There is no revelation, there is no surprise, there is just a cheap but costly straining after sensationalism, a Salvation Army spokesperson in Sweden said. We interpret the Bible in a way that defines sex as something that should happen within marriage and as something between a man and a woman.

The top officer of The Swedish Salvation Army appeared live in the programme on Sunday, ignoring questions about whether homosexuals were included in their “all inclusive” policy. She claimed no knowledge of the MCC agreement.

The Salvation Army was founded by William and Catherine Booth in London in 1865 and are although describing themselves as “mainstream protestant” considered to be practising Biblical literalism.

I don´t know where the salvation army get their gay-sex facts, but to be fair gay men don´t have sex with men the way you have sex with women – thats kinda not possible, so if the reason gay-sex is wrong is that the bible says: a man shouldn’t sleep with a man in the way he sleeps with a woman, then I can´t see that gay-sex is forbidden.

Norwegian gay men – not safe enough.

In the norwegian gay scene, HIV is  spreading like before, despite a decrease in the the world wide spread. So far this year there been reported 200 new cases of HIV infection. And gay men dominate those statistics, around 85 of these cases are gay men.

Rubber up norwegians!

There are about 4000 living with HIV in Norway, and 50 million in the world.

I want it all, and I want it now.

Is monogamy the key to fulfillment? Or does it take one or more dishes on the side to quench our appetite? The eternal struggle between virtue and virility is not an issue within polyamourous relationships, which might feature anything between two to perhaps even ten steady partners.

After the long search for the ideal partner, you finally wind up in a relationship. A proper relationship with all the trimmings. Till death do us part and what not. It´s a noble cause, and one worth striving for. But who the hell came up with the idea that we are meant to spend our entire life with one partner?

It was Paul the Apostle who introduced monogamy as a new trend some 2,000 years ago, and it was a great success. Since then, we have all been happily going along with this concept and trying to make it stick. So from the time you are born, you´re primarily surrounded by just two people. Biology books also teach us about relationships being between two people. But does that mean that two is always better than three? Or, could it just be that not one person, but two people just might constitute the loves of your life?  And why should you then say goodbye to one if you happened to bump into the other? Or could you strike up a relationship with both people?

In answer to the question whether people are made to live monogamously, Marc MacLohan, a specialised relationship counsellor for men answers: “We are not made that way unfortunately, but do hunker for it somewhere deep down. So it´s a matter of seeing how far you get together. Personally, I´ve been doing that for the past 25 years.”

What is polyamory?

Since time immemorial there have been questions about relationships and their various guises, of which polyamory is one of many. A polyamourous relationship is a fully fledged loving relationship with several partners. Polyamory literally means “multiple love”. That love is expressed through relationships whereby friendship, intimacy, an emotional connection, spiritual connection and/or sexuality are the basic ingredients. The are founded in love, openness, honesty and respect, says Alice Conner, who runs a website dedicated to polyamory. Love is universal and works in exactly the same way through the same natural laws, whether you enter into a relationship with one or several people.

Today´s ideal male partner is muscular and well-toned, flaunts a disproportionately large package, preferably with an IQ around the 130-mark upstairs, and perhaps a shiny Audi TT Roadster all roaring to go as the icing on the cake. But that divine combination cannot usually be found within the one partner; relationships with multiple partners could prove a solution in that sense. Polyamory has many faces, such as living with multiple partners, whereby all people involved are in a relationship with one another, or for instance a relationship whereby one person has various partners, without these partners necessarily having a relationship with one another.

Gert Hekma, who is specialised in Gay and Lesbian Studies, had the following to say about polyamory among gays: “The word polyamory is not all that popular with gays, but many gay relationships seem to fit that bill. Gays frequently have open relationships, which often entails that both lovers enter into relationships with third parties, either on their own or together. This is not usually the case for younger gays who often solely belive in the combination og love and sex.”

Wide and open

Some gays do not seem to realise what type of relationship they´re in – it all falls under the ‘open relationship’ header. The difference between an open relationship and a polyamourous relationship is that an open relationship is primarily geared towards sexual contacts: screwing around without the emotional scenes. Gert Hekma says: “Gays will opt for an open relationship sooner than heterosexuals, because they´re more easy-going about sex.” An open relationship provides you with more freedom, and doesn´t give you that ‘trapped’ feeling you can get within a relationship. Marc MacLohan has an explanation for the many open relationships among gays: “It´s a male thing basically. Men simply have to ‘do it’ from time to time it seems, and in that sense they will understand the other person´s occasional flare-ups of lust. It appears to be something innately primeval within men that the gay scene ‘turns a blind eye to’. So lustful men tend to hook up with one another, and don´t mind the other person´s meanderings. The risk with open relationships is, however, that they are entered into too quickly, whereby things soon turn unstable. Wait for at least a few years before you open up your relationship to sexual adventures. And even then, beware that the open door doesn´t become a vent for all kinds of intimate desires that cannot be experienced within the steady relationship.”

Jealousy

A polyamouros relationship seems like paradise to many gays; after all, you can fall in love without feeling guilty because you´re honest about it in telling your partner. Your relationship is less likely to get into a rut, as you have another partner on the outside. But let´s adress the elephant in the room; what if one of you becomes jealous? And how do you divide your attention equally between both men? How do you ensure that both people get what they need sexually, and, are you able to talk to one partner about the day you spent with the other?

Emotions can get the upper hand and any sense of perspective might go out the window. And even once the three or four of you have accepted that things are a certain way, you still have to deal with your environment. How will your neighbours handle the situation for instance? And what about the people who are looking to chat about the latest gossip at birthdays? Other people often have their own way of looking at things, and often voice their opinions without being asked.

“People are especially baffled in the beginning”, says Ed, who is in a relationship with two other men to the WinQ Mag. “People give me disapproving looks, and are sometimes envious too when i tell them about my love for two men. But that blows over after a while, and you then wind up only seeing the people who have come to accept it. These days though, all three of us even get invited to birthday parties together.”

Having a house, a dog and perhaps an adopted child just doesn´t seem enough for some people these days. One of the most common form of polyamory in gays is where partners have grown apart but still continue to live together; meanwhile, an affair is struck up with a third-party. This is in fact a transitional situation, and therefore also temporary . It is the most prevalent situation whereby long-term relationships bite the dust.