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Sitdown Sunday: Why are people having less sex?

Grab a comfy chair and sit back with some of the week’s best longreads.
May 21st 2017, 9:00 AM 42,702 35

IT’S A DAY of rest, and you may be in the mood for a quiet corner and a comfy chair.

We’ve hand-picked the week’s best reads for you to savour.

1. Last night

NME Carling awards The Strokes American rock band The Strokes arriving for the NME Carling awards at Planit 2000 in Shoreditch, east London. Source: PA Archive/PA Images

If you grew up in the era of the Strokes’ album Is This It, then you will be fascinated by this longread about the band’s demise. Word of warning – if you’re a fan of Ryan Adams, he doesn’t come out well at all.

(Vulture, approx 21 mins reading time)

Albert Hammond Jr. (guitarist, the Strokes): When [Ryan Adams] shows you a song, he doesn’t stop for hours. You’re like, “Oh, that reminds me of a song I wrote.” And you play a G chord and he’s like, “I know what you’re talking about,” and he grabs the guitar back. There’s no way to play music with him. It’s the Ryan show, always.

2. Her name was Lola

For years, Lola lived in Alex Tizon’s family home. She was a maid, a carer, and a slave. Here’s her incredibly sad story.

(The Atlantic, approx 51 mins reading time)

 Her days began before everyone else woke and ended after we went to bed. She prepared three meals a day, cleaned the house, waited on my parents, and took care of my four siblings and me. My parents never paid her, and they scolded her constantly. She wasn’t kept in leg irons, but she might as well have been. So many nights, on my way to the bathroom, I’d spot her sleeping in a corner, slumped against a mound of laundry, her fingers clutching a garment she was in the middle of folding.

3. Why are we having less sex?

shutterstock_614861588 Source: Shutterstock/fizkes

The facts are stark – the average sex life is dwindling. But why, and should we be worried?

(BBC, approx 11 mins reading time)

In March, American researchers Jean Twenge, Ryne Sherman and Brooke Wells published an article in the Archives of Sexual Behavior showing that Americans were having sex on average nine fewer times per year in the early 2010s compared to the late 1990s – a 15% drop from 62 times a year to just 53. The declines were similar across gender, race, region, educational level and work status, with married people reporting the most significant drops.

4. An honest chat about black women and rap

Writers Juliana Pache and Lakin Starling sit down for an honest and revealing talk about how black women are treated online and in real life, and how it affects them.

(The Fader, approx 10 mins reading time)

The world treats black women as a resource. A lot of us know that the world will only value us if we are producing something, which probably contributes to why we work so hard. We go above and beyond in everything that we do. I personally do not know a single black woman that doesn’t work hard. We just know that we have to work harder than anyone else.

5. Jimmy Fallon vs Trump

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Entertainment: Jimmy Fallon Attraction Grand Opening Jimmy Fallon in April in Orlando. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

Jimmy Fallon is a big, big name on late-night TV – but his ratings have started to decline lately. Does an interview he did with Trump last year have something to do with it? And how can he bring ratings back up?

(New York Times, approx 20 mins reading time)

Mr Fallon acknowledges now that the Trump interview was a setback, if not quite a mistake, and he has absorbed at least a portion of the anger that was directed at him by critics and online detractors. “They have a right to be mad,” a chastened Mr. Fallon said in an interview this month. “If I let anyone down, it hurt my feelings that they didn’t like it. I got it.” But if these events prompted Mr Fallon to search his own soul, he said they did not compel him to make widespread changes at “The Tonight Show.”

6. The woman behind Kim

Behind every famous person, there’s an assistant. And in Kim Kardashian’s case, there’s Stephanie Shepherd, whose life is fascinating.

(Refinery 29, approx 20 mins reading time)

I expect her to be standoffish, a glamazon constantly glued to her iPhone. Instead, she’s instantly warm, embracing me in a hug and inviting me to check out the gorgeous view she still can’t believe she wakes up to every day. Talking on the patio, she’s quiet and thoughtful, at times fidgeting nervously with her hands as if she’s not used to being the center of attention. She says “truly” a lot, any time she wants to emphasize a feeling. When she talks about moving to Los Angeles by herself at 19 after growing up the only child of a single mom in Ontario, Ohio, her eyes get wide; the small-town girl still seems surprised to find herself here.


The Bosnian war left thousands of people dead or missing, and the search to identify remains is ongoing. In 2016, Ed Vulliamy wrote about the families looking for their loved ones.

(The Guardian, approx 25 mins reading time)

“We were at home,” he recalls, “when we heard the soldiers’ voices. ‘Come on out! Come on out!’ My mother gestured to us: we must. As soon as they went out, and the other families around us, machine guns began firing. I recognised one of the men, the others wore balaclavas. They were about five years older than me. I watched my mother hit first and fall down, then my brother and sister – and I ran behind a bush to hide. I stayed there until they had finished shooting and shouting – I recognised another of the balaclava men from his voice; they came from just down in the valley, they were neighbours.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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Aoife Barry


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