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Mellow With Age

Name: Bob
Gender: Male
Age: 54
Location: Laguna Beach
As an older man, I’ve started having performance problems. Unfortunately there’s no decrease in my libido. I think some of my problem is psychological. I’m also HIV+. And I find myself worrying about transmission even with condoms. But some of the problem is physical. I do wear a cockring and that helps I guess. Is there anything else I can do to increase my performance to match my libido?

Thanks for your comment and question. Your concern is a familiar one. Men regularly present this problem in my private practice and I also have a personal familiarity with the issue in my own life.

Diminished performance, at least in terms of a perpetually stiff dick, is a natural occurrence as we age. There was a time when I thought this was a major problem. I don’t think like that now. These days I’m helping my older clients (and myself) appreciate the full range of sensuality that is the unique purview of us more seasoned lovers. I’ve always felt that as gay men we are too genitally focused, especially when it comes at the expense of all the other pleasure zones our bodies have been gifted with.Kedori - Eileen Gray Bibendum Armchair

The rushed, hormonally driven sex of my youth has matured into a slower, more relaxed and sensual sexuality that I am thoroughly enjoying. This has been one of the very best gifts of the aging process. It’s even having an effect on my younger partners and they are appreciative.

So I no longer equate performance with a stiff dick. For those times when I absolutely need a rock-hard hardon a cock ring does just fine. I’m aware that I may need more time to achieve this kind of erection, but I’m not just twiddling my thumbs while I’m waiting, if ya know what I mean. I am no longer frustrated by this natural phenomenon, because I no longer have unrealistic expectations.

I realize that many men are using with an erection-enhancing medication such as Viagra, but I suggest that this be reserved for those who are truly experiencing erection dysfunction.

I’m also concerned with the alarming rise of younger men, men in their 20’s and 30’s who are using Viagra or another similar drugs recreationally. This is very troubling. If your young body is having difficulty producing an erection, then you need medical attention ASAP, or maybe you just need some sleep. However, if you’re abusing Viagra just so you can have an erection that lasts for hours that’s a real bad idea for several reasons. Not least of which is your body will habituate itself to that stuff and you will find that, in time, you won’t be able to get it up at all without ever increasing doses of Viagra.

viagra cartoonThis is gonna fuck up your cardiovascular system big time. In fact, you may very well be inducing the very sexual dysfunction the drug is supposed to help. Consider the person who overuses eye drops or lip balm or any number of otherwise innocuous health and beauty products. Their body will stop making the natural substances that these over the counter products are intended to assist. It’s counterproductive and it’s ill advised. If this is a problem with relatively harmless over the counter products, you know you are playing with fire when you’re abusing powerful prescription meds.

Whoops, sorry Bob, I went off topic there for a minute. It’s just that every opportunity I get to put out a message that will dissuade someone from hurting one’s self, I just launch into it.

So back to you. It is clear from what you tell me, your performance problems do, as you suggest, also have a psychological component to it. You have a fear that, despite being responsible in your sex play and even though you play safe, you could accidentally pass on HIV.

It’s true; one’s brain can indeed override almost every function of our body. For example, we draw each and every breath we take without even thinking about it. However, if a situation dictates our brain can and does override that essential pulmonary function and we can hold our breath. The same is true with our sexual response cycle. Sometimes we can become sexually aroused without really thinking about it. However, if for one reason or another our brain assisted by our conscience interferes with or even shuts down the sexual arousal, that’s pretty much, all she wrote.

Your scruples about the possibility that you could accidentally pass along HIV are interfering with your sexual response cycle. No cockring or an erection-enhancing medication is going to change that darlin’!

In other words, the problem is not in your cock, the problem is in your head. This is something you’re gonna have to wrestle with and finally resolve. This tension between your head and your dick is actually a good thing. Your body is providing you an opportunity to align your moral values with your sexual performance. How will this resolve itself? I couldn’t say. But I know for sure resolution is possible.

I do suggest, however, that you not try to do this in a vacuum. Reach out to a HIV support group or a sex-positive therapist for the help you need in making peace between your head and your cock.

Good luck

You want me to do WHAT?

First Name: Beth
Age: 52
Gender: Female
Location: New Jersey
Your question or comment: My husband and I have swung in the past and have had an open marriage for a short time about 5 or 6 years ago. We have, for the most part, been monogamous for the past few years. He now tells me that the only thing that will make him interested in having sex with me is if I find men to have sex with and send him pics of myself in the act with other men. I have no desire to do this but am considering doing it if it will help my sex life with him. I have read about Candaulism (a sexual practice or fantasy in which a man exposes his female partner, or images of her, to other people for their voyeuristic pleasure) and am beginning to think he may be a latent homosexual or bisexual and trying to fulfill his desire to be with a man by living vicariously threw me. He says that the torment of knowing that I am with another man is exciting to him and I don’t understand how that can be a healthy thing for him. I am desperate for guidance in this area. Your thoughts??

Well then, Beth, things are gonna get very interesting in your life real soon, huh?

2477075029_d8e7e288c4Before I get to answering your query, let me ask you some questions. You say you and the hubby used to be swingers and even had an open marriage for a while some years ago. Why, after all that nontraditional relationship stuff, did ya’ll go back to sexual exclusivity? Did you both agree to go back to the straight and narrow, or did one of you decide for the both of you? This is an important point. If one of you decided for the both of you, the one tagging along with the decision may not have been totally on board from the get go. And when that happens, what looks like domestic tranquility is actually nothing of the sort.

It appears to me that your marriage has somewhat of a cyclical pattern to it. You guys have vanilla periods and kinky periods. Would that be an accurate representation of the dynamics? If so, let me ask a few more questions. Who or what determines the swing, you’ll pardon the pun, from vanilla to kink? Is it a boredom thing? And who determines the swing back to vanilla? And does that have anything to do with fear and jealousy? Do you guys discuss the transition before hand? Or is the migration from vanilla to kink and back again more of a follow-the-leader sort of thing? And who leads whom into kink? And does the same person lead out of kink back to vanilla? These questions are all very important and I would want to know the answers before I suggest a path forward.Candaulism

Now I know you are not here to answer my outstanding questions, so that means I need to punt. From what you tell me, I discern that the hubby is in need of a little spice. And maybe he is the one who traditionally leads the marriage out of vanilla into kink. You appear to be resisting this migration for whatever reason. Maybe that’s your traditional role in the marriage. I’m also guessing that you guys don’t talk things through before a momentous change is in the offing, but ya should. A lot of the heartache and misdirection could be avoided if you did.

I also think your husband is not veering into particularly dangerous or uncharted waters with his Candaulism. Seems to me you’ve been there already, at least in spirit, with your periods of swinging and open relationship. It also occurs to me that your hubby has a big fat cuckold fetish that he is trying to itch. And in terms of fetishes, this is a relatively harmless one, especially if everyone involved is on board for the fun and games. Check out my How To Video Library for some swell movies on that theme.

mr-honmaIs his cuckold fetish latent homosexuality? What a funny question to ask considering your relationship history. Isn’t it more likely that he might have a bisexual streak? And the fact that you are puzzled by all of this suggests, at least to me, that you guys don’t know each other very well. And that’s astonishing considering what you’ve been through together.

What I’m getting at though all of this is, if you want to restore some balance and harmony to your marriage, the answer is not simply hanging out at the vanilla end of relationship spectrum because it’s comfortable and safe. At least not until there is consensus on the part of both you and your husband. The big mistake many couples make is to assume that if one person is along for the ride, just to make peace, there is consensus. That’s not consensus; that’s conciliation.

Again, because you guys aren’t here to discuss this stuff with me, but I’d still like to help, let me turn you on to an exercises that will facilitate the open and honest discussion you need to have with your man and he with you. What follows comes from a workshop I developed called; The Gospel of Kink. I’ve also conveniently packaged this workshop into a workbook with the same title. You can find the book HERE!

GOK small cover

Both the workshop and book are designed to help people, like you and your husband, develop the skills they need to effectively communicate with one another and improve their problem solving skills. The workshop and book, as the title suggests, are specifically geared toward folks in kinky, BDSM, and alt-culture relationships, but even vanilla couples will find what I present very helpful.

Even the strongest relationships go through periods of distress and turmoil. Disagreements, misunderstandings, and personal foibles can cause contention and conflict. So let’s see if we can come up with some practical tools and techniques to 1) handle common alt relationship related issues, and 2) successfully navigate our relationship conflicts.

EXERCISE 2 — Tools and Techniques for Navigating Alt Relationship Conflicts

Begin by jotting down a half dozen or so key words or phrases that identify the issues and problems you’ve encountered in your alt relationships. And then see if you can come up with a list of a half dozen or so key words or phrases that suggest possible solutions to those issues and problems.

Once both of you have completed your lists you’ll need to set up a time for a formal discussion of those lists. With a little luck, this exercise will help you identify the stumbling blocks that both of you see and help you develop a strategy to overcome them.

Of course all of this will depend on how well you listen to and absorb the message coming from your partner. Need help with that too? Never fear, The Gospel of Kink has exercises for that as well.

Good luck

Awakenings

And now for something completely different. I’d like to welcome my friend and colleague, Vivian Slaughter, who has some interesting things to say about becoming the brilliant young sexologist she is today.

Becoming a feminist was a big deal for me; in high school I was very anti-feminist, I was the Cool Girl, I didn’t like doing my hair and felt giddy when people told me I “wasn’t like other girls” (the today me would have snapped back: “What’s wrong with other girls? Who are these mythic other girls you speak of?”) I would smile cruelly at people when they used the term, laugh a wide-open mouthed, high-pitched laugh. “No,” I’d correct them. “I don’t hate men!” Then, I’d usually follow with something like, “I’m not a feminist, but I believe (in something that literally fits the definition of being a feminist).”

Vivian SlaughterWhen I packed up and moved further South for college I found myself drawn to a sexual health education group that presented interactive workshops on sexual assault, dating violence and enthusiastic consent. This was a sex positivity group. This was a feminist group. It was a hard transition, and my first term with my new colleagues left a bitter taste in my mouth. What was happening to me? I’d come home from our meetings and rant to my roommate. “Ugh, it’s like…I agree with everything they say but do we have to call ourselves feminists? No one is going to take us seriously!”

I hate to say that I had an epiphany – because besides sounding cliché, it also mitigates the months of mental anguish and cultural upheaval I went through – but one night while I was walking home from a workshop late at night someone who had sat in the audience approached me.

“Uh, hey,” he said, running up behind and motioning with his arm that he wanted me to stop. “Can I tell you something?” I nodded, looking around to see if any of my group mates were around, I was used to being approached after workshops and asked disgusting, personal questions. Back up from my mates would have helped me feel safe. “I’m not a bad person,” the guy continued, “but I’ve done a lot of bad things. But I never knew they were bad. I didn’t know there was anything wrong with everything that I was doing, the way I acted. Thank you for coming tonight. Thank you for making me realize that I was wrong, and that I was behaving like a turd, and that feminist isn’t a dirty word.”

Me! He thought I was a feminist? I wanted to correct him – “I’m not a feminist, but I could see how you think that! I just believe that men and women should be treated equally, and that we have in place long standing and deeply rooted infrastructure that puts women at a systematic disadvantage – but! Whoa? Feminist?”

I realized then that I was a feminist, that I had been duped into believing falsehoods about the word, the movement, the people who identified as such. I realized in the dark, smiling up at this stranger whose name I never knew but who had credited me with changing his mind, that I was a feminist and it felt good and I was going to help people realize they were too. We changed each other’s mind.sex-positive-feminism

Almost immediately after that night I started working at an adult store. I was a sex positive feminist! I annoyed all my co-workers by asking all our guests their preferred personal pronouns; I put cards up on our counter with the information for a local crisis line; a local doctor who specialized in working with survivors of sexual assault. Couples would shyly slink into my shop and I would joyously greet them, stretch my arms to embrace them, help them pick out a pair of pink handcuffs, a soft whip made of braided silk, crotchless panties. “I love helping people love sex!” I would think to myself, naively thinking that all the world’s problems would be solved if only we used the word sex more openly.

Then one day a woman came into my shop, her face red from tears and her bangs matted to her temple from sweat. “What can I help you with?” I inquired.

“I don’t like having sex,” she began, her words coming out in short gasps. “I don’t like having sex,” she repeated, looking at everything around her, taking it all in. “My boyfriend says there’s something wrong with me because I hate it and can’t orgasm, and that you need to fix me.” She fixated on me, her eyes angry but her bottom lip trembling. “Can you fix me, please?”

I didn’t know what to do, didn’t even know how to begin. Telling her that sex was natural and fun wasn’t what she needed to hear, because I knew that’s what she had always been told. “What do you mean you don’t like sex?” so many people had gasped at her. “You must be prude. You must not have been fucked properly. You must be weird. You must not know what you’re talking about.” I found myself getting angry imaging all the horrible things this woman had been told, I found myself angry because I thought I was open minded and didn’t know what to do.

sex+positive“There is nothing wrong with you,” I spat out, sounding angrier than I wished. “Please, I’m so sorry… there is nothing wrong with you, but there is something wrong with your boyfriend. You don’t deserve what he dished out, you don’t have to like anything you don’t want to like. I’m so sorry.”

A few days later a pimply faced young man approached me in the shop, pointed to a book on the shelf. “Will that tell me where the clit is? I don’t know where it is, I’m afraid my girlfriend will laugh at me if I ask her where it is, but how should I know? Like, what, I’m supposed to know everything about fucking?”

“I hate giving blow jobs,” an older man confided in me, a stack of DVDs in his hand and an empty shopping basket sitting at his feet. “I hate having to swallow, but if I spit they all think I’m being a baby. Can you give me something that makes it bearable? I don’t know, that would numb my throat or make it taste okay? Just something to make it less awful.”

Learning what it meant to be sex positive was even harder than learning to embrace the word feminist.

I had been lead to believe it meant just liking sex, liking sex a lot, and not being shamed of it. Sex positivity was a young, pretty face flashing small, white teeth and nodding enthusiastically at whatever you suggested: “Sure!”

I learned while crying with a stranger telling me she hated sex, sitting on the floor explaining to a red faced 18 year old what a vagina looked like, and holding a man’s hand in front of a movie that featured Jesse Jane in her first girl on girl scene that sex positivity meant more than liking sex; it meant not liking sex, it meant having boundaries, being able to say “no,” not being coerced into trying things (“You have to try it just once, come on!”), being respected. Sex positivity meant having a kink. Trying a new kink. Saying no to a kink. Saying yes! Saying no – don’t stop, our safe word is barnacle! Saying no.

I realized that as an educator I had failed.sex positivity

I began asking around at workshops; asking my co-workers, classmates, hallmates, wondering earnestly what “sex positivity” meant to them. Some were confused: “Uhh, being positive… about sex?” Others were excited to share with me what sex positivity meant for them, how it fit into their lives. I found everyone’s answers – so varied and all across the board – interesting, but in the end what stuck with me the most were the people who were “sex positivity” critical. “What does it mean?” one person sneered to me. “It means people feel better about sexualizing my body; it means people call me a slut when I’m at the bars and they look at me like I should be empowered by it.”

When I left school, I knew I wanted to stay in the field of sexual health education, but I didn’t know what that meant for me. Continue working on crisis lines? Go back to school? Explore a degree more centralized to education? Throughout my last term I pensively reflected on my four years and wondered what I should do next.

I remembered vividly all the people I helped in my shop, all the questions asked during workshops. I realized I wanted to continue reaching out to people on a personal basis and learn more from them. Feminism, sex positivity, kink positivity and LGBTQIA+ rights have been trending topics in the last few years, and I’m interested in exploring the aftermath of what some are calling our new sex positive culture.

And so it is: I come home from work and in the few hours before I leave the house again to pick up my partner (we both go to work at noon, he gets home close to 13 hours later, so it’s safe to say that we have both become the human equivalent of an owl) I sit at my desk and I write. I write about the experiences I’ve had over the last few years, the stories shared with me and how they’ve helped me grow. I conduct interviews, via phone or e-mail, with a wide array of personalities, all with the intention of sharing the unique perspectives passed on to me.

We all have our mark left on us from the culture we grew up in. What I want to know is: what impact has this life had on you? I reach out to you all and ask that you share your story with me, the story of what feminism and sex positivity (or: sex negativity) means to you, the impact it has had on your life and the mark it has left.

I would appreciate hearing from you. We all have stories to share, and my favorite thing to do is listen. Below is a link to my website, which explains more about my background in education, my goals in reaching out to community members, as well as outside links to my personal blog.

vivslaughter14.wix.com/sexpositivity

Take care,
Vivian

Can’t Give It Away

Name: Dave
Gender: male
Age: 40
Location: Wisconsin
I have a boyfriend that I love very much. We have been together for over 6 years and we care for one another very much. The problem is that we never have sex. The last time was probably two years ago and that time he just took care of me and that was it. I haven’t seen him climax in years. I asked him if there’s a problem with me and he says no. I know he still has a sex drive because I’ve caught him masturbating once. When I bring up the subject he says he knows we need to work on it but that’s as far as it goes. I know he’s not cheating, but I can’t say the same about myself. Should I feel guilty for seeking sex outside our relationship without his permission? In the past I’ve felt horrible about this, but my frustration is overriding my guilt. But it still bothers me because I am not being the moral person I was raised to be. I’ve asked him about opening our relationship, but he doesn’t like that idea either. What am I supposed to do?

Sad to say there’s not much a couple can do to either beef up a sex drive or cool one down, when one or the other partner has no will to do so. And I would say that if you guys have been living successfully like this for four years, there’s little chance of turning this around. I understand your frustration about the sex thing, but I also hear you say that everything else is pretty OK.

So let me ask, is the sex thing with your partner so important that you want to risk upsetting the whole apple cart?oh-oh

If, as you say, you are feeling guilty about going outside your relationship to find the sexual satisfaction you need and want, then it is high time for you to have a chat with your partner and pound out some new relationship perimeters. The tension you are experiencing between your sexual desires and your moral compass is a real good thing. It ought not be denied. But like I always say, these can be very difficult negotiations to hammer out. However, not to try to come to some kind of accommodation to insure the sexual health and wellbeing of both is, I believe, a form of sexual abuse.

You might consider the upfront approach:  “Honey, I can’t live without sex.  You and I haven’t been sexual together for ages.  I can no longer abide the status quo.  Here’s what I propose. You are my partner; I love you very much.  I will always bring you the gift of my sexuality first.  And I give you the right of first refusal.  If you’re not interested, I will honor that and not pester you for what I need and desire.  However, if that’s the case, I intend to look for what I need elsewhere. Living without partnered sex is no longer an option for me.”

The important thing here is, regardless how you approach the subject, there’s no need to sink to the lowest common denominator.

But, for the sake of argument, let’s just say that your hubby is still interested in sex, maybe even sex with you.  Perhaps you could be asking yourself; is the sex you have with your partner is just boring? And you’re misinterpreting his boredom as disinterest? You say he masturbates. What’s in his mind (or on the computer) when he does? Would you even know? Ever thought of asking? Maybe he’s just too self-conscious to come right out with it and ask for what he wants from you. Is there any way you could entice him back to bed with a little spice? Would he respond to some porn, or toys, or even a three-way?

Maybe it’s just as well there’s no sex in your relationship, you seem to be getting along very well otherwise. But only a frank and open discussion with your man is gonna shed the necessary light on this situation.

See Dave, you have lots of options. It’s time to be creative, like the fabulous homo you are.

Good Luck!

Tricks Of The Trade – Part 2

Today I continue the series I started on Monday.  You will remember from Monday that a friend of mine, who is writing a book about male sexuality for women, asked me if I could be her go-to-guy for a bunch of questions she had about pleasuring a man which she wants to include in her book. I think it is only fair that you, my loyal audience, should get this information before anyone else does.

PORN SECRETS

What are some porn industry secrets to keeping men harder longer while shooting a film? I assume they use editing tricks (like repeating the same shots over and over), Viagra (or other ED drugs). Do they still use fluffers? What else?

Yes, editing, lots and lots of editing!

But nowadays, it’s “better living though chemistry!” No, fluffers are no longer necessary. Pity!

Loads of guys use CAVERJECT.  This will give a guy 8 hours of wood, regardless what he is doing. He could watch his mother get hit by a train and he would still have a boner. As you can imagine, this has nothing to do with being aroused, it’s simply a matter of circulatory mechanics. It’s just one more thing that’s faked in the industry.

For the rest of us mere mortals, I always suggest the use of a cockring. Be sure to check out my tutorial: Cockring Crash Course HERE!

SEX GUILT

I will be discussing sex guilt and its repercussions. As a former Catholic priest, we’re sure you’ve dealt with your fair share of sex guilt either in yourself, your penitents, or your current sex therapy clients.

Yep, in all three!guilt-and-shame

What are some reasons behind sex guilt?

The truth is, there is very little sex related guilt without the accompanying shame. In my opinion, the shame comes first. Someone or some institution instills the sense of shame for the behavior; the individual experiences guilt when he/she engages in the shamed behavior. And, mind you, this stigmatized behavior could be anything from masturbation or eating pork.

How does sex guilt manifest itself?

In many different ways. It’s such a personal experience. For most people guilt reinforces and internalizes the shame that was engendered by someone or some institution outside of the person. (See my comment above.) A common response to sex guilt is hiding, suppressing thoughts and feelings, denying thoughts and feelings, avoiding triggers, or just shutting down. Others punish themselves, which can engender a vicious cycle self-hatred.

However, the most pernicious form of guilt actually reinforces the behavior. Here’s how that works. I do something I’m ashamed of; I feel a deep sense of guilt; then I punish myself for my transgression. This in turn makes the behavior all that more seductively attractive to me, which makes me do the behavior again, all so that I can punish myself again. And, as you can see, the punishment, not the pleasure, becomes the reward. It’s all really very insidious.

How can one overcome their guilt about sex acts?

One starts by unraveling the system that instilled the shame in the first place. One goes back to the source of the shame — church, parents, etc. He/she tries to understand the reason why the shaming was done — protect the sanctity of the body, a means of controlling human urges, etc. Then one demythologizes the shaming. Without shame there’s little to no guilt.

Have you heard these statements and how would you respond to someone who is dealing with these specific issues:
1. A women who go down on a guy is a whore.

I would help the individual see that statements like this are made by people who don’t believe that women should enjoy sex; they shouldn’t be active participants. Sex is for procreation, not pleasure. There’s only one way to have sex—particularly for women—they should be unengaged and passive receptacles, nothing more.cordially invited

2. Men who go down on women are unmanly.

I would help the individual see that this kind of statement is made by people who are trapped in a perverse sex-role stereotype. I mean, who gets to determine what is manly and what isn’t? The one who makes this determination wins the debate, right? Each individual ought to get to decide what is manly, womanly. There is no artificial norm.

3. Anal sex (between straight people) is wrong/dirty/gay.

I would help the individual try to take apart that statement. Wrong? Does that mean there’s a right way? Who gets to determine that? Dirty? Are some parts of the body more wholesome than others? Whose prejudices are at work here? Gay? Why must we demonize this particular class of people? Where do the phobic reactions to same sex behaviors come from? Are they legitimate things to be feared, or are they culturally induced? If they are culturally induced, what was the original motivation? See my response to your question: How can one overcome their guilt about sex acts?

4. The lady/whore complex that straight men may entertain.

Someone set up this dichotomy long before any particular modern straight man bought into it. Who set it up? And why did they set it up? At who’s expense? Who’s sexuality do they fear? Does preserving the male privilege have anything to do with it?

5. Pornography is evil/degrading/terrifying/wrong.

Again, why evil? That’s a throwback to an outmoded cosmology, right? And even if someone decided there is dirty magazinessuch a thing as evil, who gets to decide what evil is? What was evil 100 years ago, or in a different culture, may not be considered evil today, or in another culture. This suggests to me that “evil” is not a universal, but culturally determined. Again, who gets to determine that? And whose prejudices are at work when the determinations are being made? Degrading? Sure, porn can be degrading, but so can working at Walmart! If it is consensual and free of coercion, can it be degrading? And if porn is degrading why is it that we are not as concerned about all the other things that degrade human kind? Terrifying? I think comb-overs are terrifying. Wrong? (See evil above.)

ANAL SEX

Some people argue that the anus can suffer damage and begin to leak with too much anal penetration. Is there any biological basis behind this? Or is it just another “myth”?

Sure, one can injure him/herself with irresponsible penetrations of any orifice. But what is “too much” penetration, anyhow?

Any butt pirate, from the rank amateur to the power bottom, knows the importance of keeping their pelvic musculature in tiptop, no pun intended, shape. This is where Kegel exercises come in handy. Strong and toned PC muscles (pubococcygeus muscle) will allow you to enjoy ass fucking for a lifetime without the heartbreak of springing a leak.

PART 1 of this series HERE!   PART 3 of this series HERE!

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