Balloons at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade! More than three million people gathered to watch as the 86th annual procession hit the streets of New York City on Nov. 22, 2012.
According to a French study, one in two women had watched porn on their own.
Who said porn was just a man's thing? A study released on Friday challenges the myth, showing that four fifths of French women have watched a porn movie before -- one in two of them without their partners.
Fully 82 percent of women questioned said they had watched an X-rated film at least once before, compared to 99 percent of men, according to the study of 579 women carried out by the IFOP polling institute in September.
Their number has jumped from 73 percent in 2006, and from as little as 23 percent in 1992 according to a major INSERM study on French sexuality carried out at the time, IFOP's Francois Kraus told AFP.
"In the space of a few years it has become an accepted thing for women to watch pornography, partly thanks to the Internet, and video-on-demand services that made porn more accessible and took away the shame factor," he said.
Sixty two percent of women said they watched porn to spice up their sex life with a partner, but fully one in two had also done so on their own.
"Women are now consuming porn by themselves," Kraus said. "That goes hand in hand with a widening of sexual behaviour, and changing attitudes towards sex toys or fellatio for instance."
"And of course it raises the issue of masturbation, one of the great taboos of female sexuality. There is a real generational break, with women in their forties and younger much more willing to admit the practice."
So what do women make of the films on offer? Women attached most importance to a natural-looking cast, a priority for 40 percent, while "realistic" sex scenes were essential for 35 percent, and for 48 percent of under 35-year-olds.
Most women felt strongly that the industry caters only to male fantasies, a view shared by 71 of women against 61 percent of men.
Likewise 72 percent felt the films on offer were "highly degrading" to women, against 50 percent of men, and 57 percent said they were too violent, compared to 41 percent of men.
Overall, women were still far less assiduous watchers than men, with only five percent of porn consumers watching frequently -- once a month or more -- against 34 percent of men.
Another 13 percent watched a few times a year, compared to 29 percent of men.
Frequent women viewers were younger, making up 17 percent of under-25s against less than five percent of the over-35s. And women with no sex experience were the most eager, making up a third of all regular viewers.
Based on a representative sample of 1,101 people aged 18 and over, the study was commissioned by Marc Dorcel, a provider of pornographic content, to mark the launch of a new porn site targeting the women's market, Dorcelle.com.
Florida officals say the survey will help them understand women's need for and approach to family-planning services.
The state of Florida is asking thousands of young women some intimate questions their sex lives and is giving them a $10 gift card in return — but some who received the survey are offended.
The South Florida Sun Sentinel reported Sunday that the Department of Health sent surveys to 4,100 women between 18 and 24, giving participants a CVS gift card.
Officials say the survey will help them understand women's need for and approach to family-planning services.
The state spent $45,000 on the 46-question survey, which was sent out in September and October, and 782 have been returned. Participants were asked how many men they had sex with over the last year, whether a man ever poked holes in a condom to get them pregnant and how they felt emotionally the last time they had unprotected sex.
A November batch weren't mailed after it was found that some of the surveys were sent to girls under 18.
"We obviously offered an apology sent back in writing and will work to ensure that moving forward, this never happens again," state Surgeon General Dr. John Armstrong told the paper.
He added that participation is voluntary.
"If somebody sees something they don't like, they can rip it up and throw it in the garbage can," he said.
The state says the names of those surveyed will be kept private, but some who received it questioned whether that would be true and how their answers would be used.
David Brown, a Broward County political consultant, said he was given the survey by a woman who was offended when she received it.
"Some of the questions are incredibly offensive and invasive," Brown told the Sun-Sentinel. "She thought that it was an unconscionable invasion of her privacy. There wasn't enough information to tell her who really did this and where the budget was for it, whether the information was going to be kept private, and really, what are they talking about in terms of how does this information in any way help?"
The paper reported several questions from the survey:
— How did you feel emotionally when you had unprotected sex — were you trying to get pregnant, were you in the "heat of the moment and just went with the flow," or did you find the man attractive and "thought it would be nice to have a baby with him?" Did you feel "powerless"? Or was it that you "felt emotionally connected with your partner during sex"?
— How old were you when you first had sex? The last time you had sex with a man did you do anything to keep from getting pregnant? If not, why not?
— Has a sexual partner ever "told you he would have a baby with someone else if you didn't get pregnant?" "Physically forced you to have sex?" "Hurt you physically because you did not agree to get pregnant?"
— Are you depressed? Have you ever been physically abused? What's your religion? Do you smoke? How much do you weigh?
Armstrong said the survey was created using questions that have appeared in other surveys used nationally and that it was vetted by review boards at the state health department and Florida A&M University.
The state says Florida has one of the lowest rates of contraceptive use among women of child-bearing age. The results will be used to design the state's service offerings, including pamphlets and counseling. Women can receive contraceptives at the health department for a fee that's based on income.
Armstrong said that without a survey it is difficult to understand gaps and disparities in women's use of services.
"It's really important to emphasize," Armstrong said, "that we want people to be informed so that they can manage their health."