Best Of

By Date of Publication

Inside The World of Backstreet Castrators, Cutters, and Eunuch Makers
The Daily Beast | February 2021

A look behind the tabloid sensationalism of underground genital surgeries, and at the ignorance and neglect that fuel it. A difficult but hopefully worthwhile endeavor. 

The Colonization of the Ayahuasca Experience
JSTOR Daily | November 2020

My attempt to unpack some of my pet peeves about the packaging and coverage of ayahuasca retreats and rituals in the West–an effort that apparently resonated with many in the academic and plant medicine worlds.  

Prof Said Jade Amulets May Block COVID–And Became A Science Supervillain
The Daily Beast | November 2020

A character-driven exploration of one of the strangest bits of pandemic misinformation–and how it ended up in a respected peer-reviewed academic journal. 

Twitter and the Porn Apocalypse That Could Reshape The Industry As We Know It
Mashable | August 2020

An in-depth exploration of the fragile yet vital relationship between the adult industry and the social media giant. After I raised industry concerns with Twitter during my reporting for this project, the company claimed it would amend the wording of some of its Terms of Service–but had yet to do so as of publication. 

How Losing Your Sense of Smell Changes Your Relationship With Food
Serious Eats | July 2020

One of the more personal projects I worked on in 2020, which was also oddly timely, given the wave of smell loss that accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Meet The Man Trying to Send a Warning About History’s Worst Tragedies Back to 1935
Mic | July 2020

Honestly, I think everyone should read this piece just to learn about a truly fascinating character and his half-jovial, half-genuine attempts to translate science fiction dreams into reality. 

Inside Mollybabes, The Shady Porn Site That Exploited Women on Ecstasy
The Daily Beast | May 2020

An intensively-reported exploration of the challenges of identifying and tackling non-consensually produced and distributed porn online. This project resulted in the dissolution of a disturbing website. 

The Plan to Shoot A Steamy Romance in Space
Ozy | April 2020

The culmination of my yearlong obsession with (and unofficial article series on) sex in space, full of fascinating details–like how we may owe the Trump presidency to the timing of the decommissioning of the Mir Space Station. 

Looking for Blood
Eater | February 202

An exploration of the history of a deep-seated American culinary taboo–and the classist and racist roots that undergird it. 

The Vampires of New York
Ozy | October 2019

A pop history piece exploring the largely unknown yet shockingly vibrant and recent history of chugging fresh, hot blood on slaughterhouse floors to cure what ails ya. 

The Long, Complicated History of Auto-Fellatio
Men’s Health | July 2019

A long-form, deeply serious, and impossibly exhaustive exploration of one of humanity’s most mythic and maligned sex acts.

Fantasies of Forced Sex Are Common; Do They Enable Rape Culture?
Aeon | June 2019

An exploration of how we ought to think about sexual fantasies involving rape and assault in the MeToo era. 

How Russia Fell in Love with Candy Bars Made of Blood
Munchies | March 2019

A look at Russia and the former Soviet bloc’s shockingly longstanding love for … well, the title says it all. This piece landed me in hot water with Russian news outlets! 

Furry Suit Makers Go Mainstream Making Mascot Suits | November 2018

A fun yet deep report on the mainstream appeal and success of fursuits – in spite of popular misconceptions about and suspicion of their makers.

Public Bathrooms Are Terrible—What Will It Take to Fix Them?
The Outline | October 2018

A thorough and deeply historically grounded exploration of the decline and fall of the American toilet – and a theory for how we can make our shitters great again. 

Why Big Condom Makers Aren’t Interested in Big Condom Innovations | October 2018

An attempt to dig past fluff pieces and overly hopeful coverage on the future of condoms, exploring why American manufacturers haven’t rolled out major innovations in decades. 

The New Ghosting: The Meaning of Having Sex with Spirits
Playboy | July 2018

A sympathetic yet skeptical portrait of people who claim that they have mind-blowing sex with ghosts – of whom there are surprisingly many! 

Inside HuCow, The Fetish That Imagines Women as Cows
VICE | April 2018

One in a series of pieces exploring lesser known fetish communities I produced for VICE, filled with colorful imagery and fascinating, self-aware interviews with HuCows.  

Why Eating Insects Is An American Tradition
Atlas Obscura | April 2018

An antidote to reports over the previous five years on the amazing new sustainable trend(!) of insect eating looking at America’s lost history of entomophagy – and how and why it was buried. 

You Can’t Patent Toast
Extra Crispy | February 2018

An attempt to use toast as a lens to talk about American patent law, common misconceptions about patent trolls, and … yeah, breakfast as well. 

One Mystery Man Is Responsible for the Entire Sea Monster Porn Genre
VICE | January 2018

Honestly some of the best reporting I have ever done and one of my favorite pieces of all time, featuring the greatest responses I have ever received from a source.

Doing Good All Night Long
The Awl | September 2017

A critical analysis of the ways in which PornHub and its parent company are trying to rewrite porn companies’ places in society – and why we should be skeptical of these efforts. 

Can Hardcore Porn Be High Art?
VICE | May 2017

More a triumph of slow negotiation than anything else, a piece for which I convinced five legitimate film critics and scholars to watch almost ten hours of hardcore porn and evaluate it as art.

The Oral History of the Money Shot
How Porn Consumers Gorged Themselves on Cream Pies
Meet The Porn Pioneer Who Sold Bukkake to America
VICE | December, October, and September 2016

Three tightly connected oral histories exploring the origins of common sex acts and pornographic tropes. 

Aeon | July 2016

A long-form report on mainstream pornography’s surprisingly slow journey towards embracing data-driven content production – and the ways in which that shift will likely warp human sexuality. 

The Secret Life of Cheese
Roads and Kingdoms | July 2015

Perhaps the best-performing piece I’ve ever written: part travelogue on rural Sardinia, part historical analysis of the origins of cheese.

A Whale Blasted an Ungodly Amount of Ass Ham All Over Some Divers
VICE | January 2015

A truly silly article, but still one of my favorites as working with my editor on this one was a master class in coming up with wild synonyms for shit. 

Who Owns Chicken Tikka Masala?
Roads and Kingdoms | May 2014

A look at the contested culinary history of a ubiquitous dish, featuring one of the most fortuitous aha moments of my reporting career.

Hyenas in Ethiopia Will Eat Out Of Your Mouth
VICE | October 2013

A straightforward travelogue about a peculiar tradition in Harar, Ethiopia – but one that gave me free reign to develop and deploy my voice. 

Your Name Here
The Blue and White | March 2011

A more narrative and shoe-leather-fueled exploration of the world underneath Columbia University, complete with remnants of secret societies and glimpses of the Manhattan Project.

Paper Chasers
The Blue and White | Spetember 2010

An early attempt at investigative reporting – the results of my research are by now very dated, yet the core, depressing sentiment about how easy it is to essentially buy an Ivy League degree still rings true today.