‘Spain and the US have similar attitudes to sex’

He has spent the last 18 months interviewing swingers, sadomasochists and sexologists to research his latest book. Oh, and he knows the secret of male multiple orgasms too. Meet The Local's latest Spanish Face of the Week Pere Estupinyà.

'Spain and the US have similar attitudes to sex'
Pere Estupinyà during a recent interview about his new book on sex. Photo: YouTube

Catalan chemist Pere Estupinyà describes himself as 'scientist' at heart and a 'journalist by trade'.

Currently based in the United States, the high achieving Estupinyà was the first Spaniard in 27 years to receive the grant from the Knight Science Journalism program, and he spent one academic year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University as a Knight Science Journalism Fellow.

He is currently freelancing for MIT and is writing a blog for the Spanish national daily newspaper El País.

Recently The Local spoke to Pere about his new book on sex research. 

Tell us about your new book S=EX2

The book is as a scientific vision of all the factors that influence our sex including biology, sociology, physiology and sexual behaviour.

To write the book I went to major sexology conferences and interviewed anthropologists, sex therapists and neuroscientists.

But I also spoke to porn actors and sadomasochists and I even went to a swingers club one night.  

Is this field of research developing quickly?

This is not an area which has been very well explored in the past, but, yes, we are now beginning to study sex. And part of that has to do, for example, with the fact that older people now want a healthy sex life. 

Then there is the huge influence of the internet on sex. So yes, this is a growing area of  interest for scientists.

You are based in the US? Are there many differences between attitudes to sex between the States and Spain?

Spain and the United States aren't very different. The major differences are between these countries and places in Africa and South America.

What’s more important, say, in Spain, is someone’s socioeconomic level.

Women who are more educated, for example, are more likely to masturbate. And they’re more likely to have a greater number of sexual partners.

Have attitudes in Spain changed much?

Yes. Spain has changed quite a lot since the 1970s. Women have more sexual freedom, and homosexuality is far more widely accepted.

Also, people now are much more likely to perform oral sex and sex between older people is no longer taboo.

There are also far fewer unwanted pregnancies.

On top of that, people are marrying later, and because they are spending more time as singles, they are having more sexual partners. This is particularly true for women.

How would you rate sexual education in Spain?

From my conversations with sexologists, we definitely need to improve this education, particularly during childhood and adolescence.

These experts have told me that parents don’t know how to bring up sex with children.

Parents and teachers need to do this, though, because there is a certain point at which children get interested in sex and if they don’t get told about it, they’ll just go online. And they’ll discover all sorts of things there.

In the past, this wasn't such a problem, but experts are now saying we need to teach children about sex at a younger age.

You spoke to a huge variety of people while writing your book. Are there any forms of sex which are not healthy?

Of course. Obsession, a lack of respect and a lack of control are all huge problems.

Studies show that ‘normal’, or ‘healthy’ individuals can be exposed to all sorts of sexual practices — on the internet, for example — without that causing a problem.

But people who have psychological issues, or who may have been abused, for example, can be negatively affected by that exposure.

Sex is like shopping or drugs. If you can’t control your behaviour, then it's a problem.

Can you have too much sex?

People don’t talk about quantity any more: it´s more about satisfaction.

If you have a lot of sex with your partner, but you can control this well and you both enjoy it, it’s not a problem.

Sex is a problem when you can’t control it — if it means you can’t do your job properly for example, or if you compulsively visit prostitutes.    

During the writing of your book, you found out you can have multiple orgasms.

That’s right. It’s something that you hear about from people that practice tantric yoga, but I’m not really talking about anything esoteric.

The trick is to realize that while ejaculation and orgasm usually go together for men, they are not the same thing.

Ejaculation happens when muscles release semen, but the orgasm actually happens when nerve fibres transmit a signal to the brain.

Basically, if men slow down their breathing enough, and control the muscles that lead to ejaculation, men can have orgasms without ejaculating. That means they can keep their erection.

Editor's Note:The Local's Spanish Face of the Week is someone in the news who – for good or ill – has revealed something interesting about the country. Being selected as Spanish Face of the Week is not necessarily an endorsement.

It´s not the same as a normal orgasm though!

Estupinyà’s new book S=EX2: La Ciencia de Sexo is now available in both Catalan and Castellano (Spanish). He is currently negotiating with possible English publishers.

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Madrid goes bonkers for waffle willies

There is a new food craze in Madrid’s Chueca. It’s sweet, it’s sticky and it’s shaped like a giant penis.

Madrid goes bonkers for waffle willies
The waffles come with differed toppings but white chocolate is the most popular. Photo: La Polleria /Instagram

La Polleria opened just a week ago in Calle Barbieri and already it has people queuing out the door for a taste of its unique product.

Pedro Bauerbaum, the man behind the waffle shop said he is simply astounded at its success.

“It’s totally taken me by surprise,” said the enterprising 24-year-old. “When I got to the shop yesterday there was already a line of 30 people waiting outside.

“We just can’t cope with demand and have already ordered more machines and are hiring more staff.”

But where did he get the idea of creating a waffle shaped like the male organ?

“I don’t know really, it just seemed like something that would work in Chueca” he laughed.

Bauerbaum, who runs Ice Cream & Dreams, a successful ice cream parlour in nearby Malasaña, explained that he was looking for a second business idea when “pollofres” a mix of the word 'polla' (a Spanish slang word for penis) and gofres (Spanish for waffles) popped into his head.

“Ice-cream doesn’t do so well in winter so I thought about waffles, and then found out that the moulds could be made in shape we wanted, and I  just thought, yeah, let’s try it.”

All sorts of people are drawn to his product.

“It isn’t just gays who want them. We have lots of women, hetrosexual couples, even older people have been in,” Bauerbaum said.

“Everyone takes selfies, pictures or videos with them.”

The waffles cost €3.80 plus 50 cents for a sauce topping which comes in Nutella, white chocolate and strawberry flavour.

“The most popular by far is the white chocolate. People like the realism I suppose,” he laughed.

The sweet treats are proving a big hit on Instagram with La Polleria – a pun on the word ‘polla’ which is slang for penis in Spanish and the traditional name for a roast chicken eaterie – attracting a thousand followers within the first 24 hours.

“I always think of business ideas with a strong potential for Instagram and social media. It’s free advertising and in this case it’s working brilliantly,” Bauerbaum admitted.