How To Support A Partner Who’s Dealing With A Low Sex Drive

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By Vanessa Marin, M.S.

Most couples at some point find themselves in a situation where there’s a desire discrepancy: One partner wants more sex than the other person does. This situation is so common that I regularly have people coming to my sex therapy practice looking for solutions. The good news is that there are many!

Research has found many reasons some people might be or become less interested in sex, from the psychological to the physical to the relational and situational. Most conversations around mismatched libidos focus on helping the partner with less sexual desire find ways to get turned on again, and while that can certainly be part of a couple’s path toward a satisfying sexual life together, that strategy on its own can sometimes add more stress and pressure for that less libidinous partner.

If you’re someone whose significant other or spouse has a lower libido, your focus should go beyond just trying to find ways to turn your partner on. As a sex therapist who supports couples with mismatched libidos, I recommend a more holistic approach. Here are a few key ways to support a partner dealing with a low libido that’s causing them distress:

Be very attentive and considerate of your partner’s insecurities.

It’s really important to know that the person dealing with desire difficulties is probably judging themselves. They may think that something is wrong with them or that they’re “broken” in some way. So the partner who has the relatively higher desire needs to be kind and sensitive. All couples should approach their sex lives as a project that they work on together. They should talk about what they each need out of their sex lives to feel connected.

Use the framework of curiosity.

Oftentimes, the partner with seemingly lower desire is misunderstood. It’s not that they have low or no desire; it’s that the right circumstances haven’t been in place for their desire to be able to show itself. Approach your partner with curiosity. What kinds of contexts do they need to feel desire? What blockages get in the way of them feeling desire? If you don’t know, what dynamics could you experiment with?

It’s OK to keep initiating.

You’re always allowed to ask for what you want from your partner. And your partner is always allowed to say what they want in response. I do encourage partners with the relatively higher sex drive to keep initiating.

The pattern I typically see is that the partner with the higher sex drive will stop initiating. They’re either hurt from being turned down, wanting to feel desired by their partner, or wanting to not pressure their partner. But not initiating feels even more stifling, so the partner with the relatively higher desire starts to feel resentful. The partner with the lower desire can sense that resentment, and it makes them pull away even more.

Remember that your partner doesn’t owe you anything.

I hear various forms of this question being asked: Is the person with the lower libido responsible for agreeing to sex every now and then to satisfy their partner?

We have to be really careful about the word “responsible.” You never have to do anything with your own body that you don’t want to do. You never “owe” your partner anything. That being said, in relationships, we often do things for our partners that we don’t necessarily want to do or love doing. If you feel fully allowed within your relationship to say “no” to sex, you may find that you sometimes have the space to be open to being intimate with your partner, even if you weren’t originally in the mood.

Celebrate and honor your partner’s no.

As I mentioned above, if you give full permission to say no to sex, you’ll find that more space actually opens up for intimacy. One of the best ways to support a partner with a lower sex drive is to truly and fully give them permission to say no. Keep reminding them over and over again that you don’t want them to feel guilty, and you don’t want them to feel any pressure. If you take the teamwork approach to your sex life that I mentioned above, that also really helps. You take the energy you would normally waste feeling guilty and instead turn it toward creative problem-solving, together.

Prioritize your intimate relationship with yourself.

You can handle some of your own sexual needs! We should each have a relationship with our own sexuality, separate from our relationship with our partner. When your partner is the only outlet for your sexual needs, that puts a lot of pressure on them. You having a joyful relationship with your own body and being able to take care of yourself makes a big difference to your partner. They may even be open to keeping you company while you take care of yourself!

Creating an environment of safety, support, and curiosity—rather than pressure, stress, or resentment—will go a long way toward helping you and your partner develop a mutually satisfying sex life.

Complete Article HERE!

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ANDRO/GYNE

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By Cayla Rubin

ANDRO/GYNE is an intimate photo essay that without words and through an alluring, artistic lens, gives voice to a large group of strong individuals that deserve a platform in mainstream discourse. The mysterious black and white, nude photo series juxtaposes a man and a woman who has undergone a mastectomy without reconstruction. This passion project is shining a light onto the taboos surrounding reconstructive surgery through illustrating the power that resides in vulnerability.

Recently, certain silicone breast implants were recalled due to the fact they are known to cause lymphoma. This prismatic photo story explores the fluidity that resides in femininity. The power the results from choosing health, and being confident in that decision, versus feeling the need to transform oneself because of underlying mainstream beauty pressures is effortlessly portrayed.

You are very quick (and correct) to point out that gender and sexuality do not originate in the breasts. Why do you think that society places such a huge importance on breasts?

Breasts instantly communicate to the male gaze the fundamental desirability of the female: her ability to produce children and provide sexual gratification. The degree to which the semiotics of breasts is defined in our culture by the male gaze became glaringly apparent to me when I lost mine due to cancer.

The sexual and nurturing power of the breast is not part of that definition, especially in the US.  Rather, that power, which is the feminine power in the equation, is controversial. Bra-burning, rappers flashing or grabbing their breasts, the rows over public breast-feeding and the bizarre practice of strippers covering their nipples with tassels all attest to this.

Culturally we like breasts to be large and prominent but devoid of active female sexuality, i.e. nipples. It is total objectification. Showing cleavage is sexy. Showing nipples is slutty.

Oftentimes, doctors who prefer breast reconstruction following mastectomies push the narrative of “restoring femininity.” What are better hallmarks of femininity that we should place more value on?

Ultimately femininity is part of sexual identity and drive, regardless of your assigned gender or physical appearance. When women are objectified it serves to negate their sexual agency. So the cultural ideal of a woman, as defined by a male objectifying gaze, is a woman who is a recipient and mirror of male desire but has none of her own.

The hallmark of a feminine woman, to me, is her sexuality, and until we come to terms with that, culturally, nothing will likely change.

What offended me in the discussions with doctors around reconstructive surgery was that it was solely focused on how others experience me sexually and completely left out how I conceive of and experience my sexuality. Having lumps of numb silicone installed in my chest will not do anything for my sexuality. If anything it will detract, because it would destroy the recovered sensitivity of my chest.

The subtext in much of this discussion was that I would not be able to have sex, if I did not have breasts. No doubt many men would pass on a woman with no breasts, but they might also pass for any number of other reasons. In the end, those who pass me up are not relevant to the vitality of my sexuality.

Why is it important to picture both a man and a woman in this photo series, rather than placing the sole focus on the woman?

For a couple of reasons. We wanted to contrast femininity and masculinity to offset my femininity in a way that is readily understandable, posed next to a classically beautiful male. The nude couple is a classic genre, and we wanted to have the series work within that genre and at the same time push the boundaries of the genre. We wanted the scars to be fully visible and yet not be the main focus. We wanted the focus to be on me interacting fully as a woman, in spite of the scars, and age for that matter.

But it also had to do, more generally, with the narratives around cancer survivorship. Especially with breast cancer, it tends to be all about the lone “cancer warrior” overcoming tragedy. I don’t see it that way. I am not a survivor. I am alive in every sense of the word and, to me, being alive is all about my relationships and connections with others. Foivos happens to be a talented actor and performer, so he had the chops to do this, but he is also a good friend. I wanted that human connection and dialogue in the photographs, because that is how I know that I am alive.

What do you believe should be considered the root of female sexuality?

As with any person’s sexuality, the root has to be how you yourself experience and live your sexuality, not how others try to define it. LGBTQ people know this very well, but living a lifetime as a cis woman, I had never fully realized how much social norms interfered with my sexuality. Losing the breasts was enlightening in many ways, because it forced me to engage with my femininity and sexuality in a whole new way, liberated, in a sense, from the objectification that had been part of my life from the time I grew breasts. Rather than detract from my sexuality, the surgery led me to reclaim it as my own.

What is one thing you wish more people knew about breast amputation?

Just one thing? I would have to say that reconstructive surgery is more complicated than most people think. The amputation itself is a relatively simple and easy surgery for most people. The pain and complications start with reconstructive surgery, which, by the way, is typically a minimum of two surgeries and often more than that. Many women are very pleased with their results, but many women are not. The reconstruction will allow you to remain within the normative boundaries for a cis woman, but finding your center as a woman will take work with or without reconstructed breasts.

Complete Article HERE!

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Sexist attitudes towards sex are cheating women of orgasms – and worse

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The myth that women just ‘go along’ with sex denies their right to pleasure and makes it harder to convict men who rape

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We may like to think we’re quite sexually free and equal these days, but an End Violence Against Women Coalition/YouGov survey of nearly 4,000 adults finds that two-fifths of people think men want sex more than women do. And between a third of and half of us think it is more likely that in heterosexual couples men will initiate and orgasm during sex, and decide when sex is finished, than women. In contrast, women are believed to be much more likely to refuse sex and to “go along with sex to keep their partner happy”.

This shows the persistence of the idea that sex is more “for” men than it is for women. The female climax is talked about in terms of being elusive, and yet the fact that this “orgasm gap” exists solely in heterosexual sex speaks to a lack of understanding, effort and mutuality, because lesbians are not having this problem. It’s a product of setting up the male orgasm, usually achieved through penile penetration, as the centrepiece of sex.

It is a sad state of affairs that there is a lower expectation that women will experience pleasure or climax during sex, and that this is accepted as to be expected, or “normal”. It’s self-perpetuating, because if women believe that “going along” with sex is a common female experience, they may be less likely to articulate and explore their needs and wants in early sexual relationships or when older. They may also feel pressure not to express discomfort or pain. And when sex is only one part of a long-term relationship, alongside persistent inequality around work, chores, caring and other people’s gendered expectations, plain talking and yet another plea for fairness might be just one battle too many.

Sexual inequality matters enormously, in and of itself, because women should be able to expect and enjoy sexual relationships that are based on mutual pleasure and equality. This shouldn’t need contesting or sound radical any more but apparently it does.

But there’s even more than this at stake. The sexist ideas about sex that we identified can also be a basis for some men developing a sense of greater entitlement to sex, as well as the excusing or minimising of men pestering or pushing women for sex. If you combine these ideas that men want and need sex more, and that women are just less motivated and more likely to refuse, you end up with a toxic status for women as the “gatekeepers” of sex, where it is a woman’s role to manage sexual interactions and access to her body.

If women are “gatekeepers” of whether sex takes place, then it is women who carry all the responsibility for every single sexual interaction they have. And this means that women are also seen as responsible if their boundaries are broken and they experience sexual violence. And it will be principally her who is investigated to ascertain whether a rape took place if she alleges it. The man’s behaviour apparently does not need close examination. It is assumed he will have been up for and will have pushed for sex – only 1% of people think men ever refuse sex, and 2% think men “go along with” sex. This can then lead to the rhetoric of sexual violence being set up as an unfortunate failure to properly gatekeep, a regret, just a big misunderstanding. These are powerful myths that have malign consequences. However, if we thought about sex differently, based on equality, these would be less likely.

This entrenched sexism about sex matters when we consider what is going wrong in a society that is utterly failing to deter, reduce and prevent rape. These ideas are part of why reported rape prosecutions fail, as police and prosecutors decide they can’t build a case if they think a jury will see a woman who “failed to gatekeep” before they see a man who knew he was crossing the line.

This is why we are calling for more, accelerated and frank conversations about actual sexual practice. We need men to recognise their responsibility and accept accountability both for sexism and for good sex. We need to put an end to the notion that sex is something done “to” women, and to reach a place where enthusiastic, mutual consent, equality and pleasure in sexual relationships is the norm.

Sex will be so much better when it’s more equal.

Complete Article HERE!

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Sex Drug for Women Stirs Up Controversy in Medical Community

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Just don’t call the new medication for women’s low desire for sex ‘female Viagra.’

Vyleesi acts on neurochemicals in a woman’s brain to help her feel desire.

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There is some good news out about how women’s sexuality, long overlooked in the medical community, is treated now. Amid much hype and interest, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Vyleesi (bremelanotide), an injection designed to improve female sexual interest arousal disorder (FSIAD) — also known as hypoactive sexual desire disorder — in premenopausal women, in June 2019.

Is Sexual Interest Arousal Disorder the Same as Sexual Desire Disorder?

Formerly called hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), the term for a lack of desire for sexual activity was recently updated in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5). The disorder is when women are distressed by the fact that they have little to no desire for sexual acts and the lack isn’t due to medication, disease, relationship problems, or psychological issues. The low desire is chronic (six months or longer), present at all times (not just during certain situations), and is associated with personal distress. (The distress must be the woman’s, and not the partner’s. There is nothing wrong with a woman with low desire who isn’t upset with the status. There is a difference between dysfunction and disinterest.)

New Drug Helps Validate Women’s Sexual Experiences

“The whole concept of minimizing women’s sexual health issues is important. In the past, if women had sexual problems, they were just told they were hysterical. Now their issues are coming to the forefront, and at least the release of Vyleesi may indicate that women’s sexual health is becoming more of a priority. It’s empowerment for women that they now have choices and options,” says Michael Krychman, MD, executive director of the Southern California Center for Sexual Health in Newport Beach.

Leah Millheiser, MD, director of the female sexual medicine program at Stanford Health Care in California, adds, “It is a coup for women that the FDA is recognizing chronically low libido as an important health issue.”

New Libido Drug Is Not a Cure for All Sexual Problems

There has been some controversy, however, over the release of Vyleesi, in that it may promise more than it can deliver. First, to be clear, the injections are not a silver bullet. Women’s sexuality is a complex interplay of medical, psychological, situational, and relationship status.

“Female sexual health and wellness are multifactorial. Vyleesi provides one facet to help but it’s important to appropriately assess the woman first. If the woman has complaints, she needs to be offered an intervention: Not just medical, but sometimes also psychological input and counseling are also very appropriate. In my clinical experience, women can benefit from medical intervention and some sort of counseling as well,” says Dr. Krychman.

You May Still Need Sex Counseling to Get Back on Track

Reality check: You will still have to work on your relationship. Women and their partners have to remember that if they have had long-term concerns with desire, they may need help via sex therapy on getting back to intimacy. “It’s challenging to go from 0 to 10. You have to relearn sexual trust and intimacy. Simply giving yourself a shot is not necessarily going to be a panacea. Vyleesi improves desire, but don’t expect to feel like you’re in your sexual prime again. It’s a subtle improvement, but that might be enough to improve intimacy and sexual self-esteem,” says Dr. Millheiser.

Vyleesi Is Not Appropriate for Women With Low Libido Who Do Not Have Arousal Disorder

Vyleesi is only for premenopausal women with female sexual interest arousal disorder. For women who have low sexual desire — and would like to have more — their first stop should be to a clinician who can assess where the issue is. If sexual dysfunction is ruled out, making behavioral changes is more effective than medication. “As you age, spontaneous sex is harder to come by. Making time, relationship and sex counseling, finding private time, getting into a new environment, sex toys, and working on body image can all help. Women may not start out with spontaneous desire, but can develop responsive desire in the act,” says Millheiser, who also recommends “pregaming.” Self-stimulate, or read or watch something arousing, so you can develop responsive desire prior to engaging with your partner.

Not Female Viagra: Vyleesi Does Not Work the Way Viagra Does

There is also a prevalent misconception that Vyleesi, the second medication of its kind to come to market following the release of Addyi (flibanserin), is a female Viagra (sildenafil), referring to the male medication for erectile dysfunction. Vyleesi works on desire, while Viagra works on arousal. “Clinicians really want to move away from comparing women’s drugs with men’s. Viagra increases blood flow to the penis but men have to have desire in order for it to work. Vyleesi alters neurochemicals in the brain so women can feel desire,” says Millheiser.

Has the Public Been Provided Enough Information About the Drug?

The National Women’s Health Network, a consumer activist group, says that the FDA rushed Vyleesi to market too soon. In a statement about the approval, Cynthia Pearson, executive director, said, “The National Women’s Health Network is disappointed in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) decision to approve the drug bremelanotide (brand name: Vyleesi) and urges women to avoid using the drug until more is known about its safety and effectiveness. Women simply do not have enough information to make an informed decision about whether the drug is safe and effective. The FDA did not call on their advisers to review the drug publicly, and the sponsor has not yet published full clinical trial results. The limited data that has been published leaves many important questions unanswered. For example, it appears that hundreds of women enrolled in the pivotal trials were not included in the company’s presentation of the results. What happened to those women?”

The organization also points out the potential side effects: severe nausea, and skin and gum darkening, which did not go away after stopping treatment in about one-half of cases.

There Are Concerns About Side Effects, Safety, and Effectiveness

“We respect the ability of women to make good decisions if they have good information. We are not saying side effects are a reason why women shouldn’t use it; the issue is how much do we know? Can you get enough information to make an informed decision? A very determined person could get more info by reading the detailed label on the FDA website, but it still feels like the FDA didn’t do women good service here by the rush,” says Pearson, adding, “I’ll be surprised if it takes a very big place in the arsenal. It is not very effective and makes a lot of women very uncomfortable. My prediction is it is going to be something of a flop.”

Krychman disagrees with this assessment: “The product has been extensively studied. I think it’s appropriate for the FDA to make its own judgment. They evaluated and assessed the clinical program, which was very robust, and they have a competent group of advisors.”

Millheiser concurs, “The drug company behind Vyleesi has provided sufficient data on safety and efficacy. If there hadn’t been, the FDA would not have approved it.”

Complete Article HERE!

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Prostate Play

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How To Massage One To Orgasm

By Erika W. Smith

People born with a penis are also born with a prostate — a walnut-shaped gland wrapped around the urethral canal. It’s often compared to the G-spot, because the prostate’s location is in a similar location inside the body and both can feel amazing when stimulated. People of all sexual orientations love prostate play, which makes sense, because it can lead to intense pleasure and orgasms.

Massaging the prostate to orgasm is sometimes called “prostate milking.” People with prostates can do this alone or with a partner, using either fingers or a sex toy. Prostate milking “provides a full-body orgasm, versus a penile orgasm, which is strictly genital-based,” We-Vibe’s sex expert, Dr. Chris Donaghue, tells Refinery29.

There are many reasons why someone might try prostate milking. “Exploring prostate stimulation has psychological, biological, and sexual health benefits,” Dr. Donaghue says. “When the anal area is shunned, it becomes constricted and tense, and avoidance of this area leads to shutting down other connected areas in the pelvis, which creates sexual issues with erections and ejaculation.”

That’s right: prostate milking can lead to stronger erections and orgasms. There are also many other sexual health benefits. “Prostate milking helps flush out the prostate, increases blood flow to the pelvic area, and strengthens pelvic floor muscles,” Dr. Donaghue says.

But most people who love prostate milking do so simply because of how it feels. “The biggest reason for exploring the prostate is to unlock higher arousal and levels of pleasure,” Dr. Donaghue says. “The prostate is a man’s most direct access point to explosive orgasms — orgasms that are longer, hotter, and can lead to the ability to have multiple orgasms.”

Megwyn White, Somatic Sensuality Guide and Director of Education at Satisfyer, adds that prostate milking has additional health benefits. Along with enhancing sexual pleasure and orgasms, it can “release blockages and improve flow of urine” and “be an effective treatment for prostatitis,” a condition in which the prostate gland is inflamed, causing difficult or painful urination, groin pain, and sometimes flu-like symptoms. Prostate milking “helps free the prostate of what’s called ‘expressed prostatic secretion,’” she explains. “This action leads to a prostatic secretion getting released from the prostate, and also has the potential to stimulate profoundly intense orgasms, and ultimately act as an overall reset to the sexual arousal cycle.”

If prostate milking sounds intriguing and you’d like to try it, start slowly and use lube. White says it’s important to relax before beginning: “Think about the practice of prostate milking as an incredible way to take you into a deeply surrendered state so remember to try not to over control your experience.”

You can try different positions to see what works best, such as squatting or lying on the back with knees bent. Dr. Donaghue says, “I always recommend getting used to having the anal area touched first by massaging externally in the shower or during masturbation, and then later practicing putting your finger internally. The prostate best responds to gentle pressure.” If there’s any pain or discomfort, stop and check in with your healthcare practitioner, because this could be a sign of an underlying health issue.

Both Dr. Donaghue and White mentioned it may be easier to use a sex toy than a finger, especially if you’re going solo. Dr. Donaghue recommends the Vector by We-Vibe, while White suggests the Satisfyer Beads. And while prostate milking can make masturbation feel even better, it can also be a lot of fun to try with a partner — who might combine prostate stimulation with oral sex or a hand job. The possibilities are endless.

Complete Article ↪HERE↩!

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Apps are definitely changing our sexual behavior

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We’re just not sure how

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Plenty of analysis has whiffed on diagnosing the impact of dating apps on our behavior — but that doesn’t mean we’re immune.

Recently, three researchers at Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Observation and Research in Sexuality and Gender Matters (ORGASM) Lab, Alex Lopes, Cory Pedersen, and Kaylee Skoda, asked a group of gay and bisexual men to consider this scenario: You’ve been messaging a hot guy you matched with on a dating app. You’ve both been getting pretty flirty and sexual. You’ve both made it pretty clear that you’re getting turned on by this exchange. Then, the team showed the men a phone screen of the most recent hypothetical messages in this chain, one of which used an eggplant-and-rain emoji combo and the last of which clearly propositioned: “I’m pretty close to you. Think you’d want to come over and have some fun?” How, the researchers wanted to know, would their assembled subjects respond to this steamy John Doe?

But what they really wanted to know was not, say, how different demographics respond to phone-based hookup offers. Without drawing attention to it, they’d made a subtle tweak to the phone screens, with some displaying a 100 percent phone battery life, some 20 percent, and some five percent. They wanted to see if this seemingly irrelevant detail would affect the men’s decision making — and lo and behold, the lower the screen’s displayed battery life, the more likely men were to agree to the hookup. As they wrote in a paper for the academic journal Sexuality & Culture in June, “when individuals are faced with a low phone battery, a sense of urgency may be experienced, which can increase risk-taking behaviors to accommodate an impending phone ‘death.’”

The idea that something as innocuous and, practically, inconsequential as phone battery life could actually change something as big as our sexual behaviors may seem like utter bullshit to many. After all, as social psychologist and sex researcher Justin Lehmiller told me, “we might like to think that our decision-making is immune from outside influences” like this. Our phones are just tools that we use to explore and enable our personal, entirely internal proclivities.

But no matter how absurd this study or the general idea that our phones and the apps on them can alter our sexual behaviors may seem, it is not bullshit. “The reality is that our behavior is subtly shaped by numerous outside factors that we don’t always consciously recognize at the time,” said Lehmiller. “There is actually quite a bit of research looking at how the use of smartphone dating and hookup apps is related to sexual behavior.” The sooner we embrace the reality that our phones can play a notable role in shaping our intimate lives, the sooner we can push back on that influence.

We’d only notice, or acknowledge, these effects if suddenly we lost access to our phones, and experienced a difference in our sexual behaviors or decision-making.

People often underestimate the effect that any tool or technology can have on the ways we think and act, said Pamela Rutledge, a psychologist who researchers precisely these effects. Part of our chronic denial may stem from the fact that, as the psychologist Bernard Luskin has noted, media and technology are the air we breathe now, so ubiquitous that any effects they may have appear invisible, as if they are already a part of us. We’d only notice, or acknowledge, these effects if suddenly we lost access to our phones, and experienced a difference in our sexual behaviors or decision-making.

Part of this denial may be more of an intuitive act of self-preservation, as the psychologist Brad Bushman has argued when exploring why so many people balk at the idea that violent media could have an effect on us despite ample studies suggesting that it does. When faced with a study that claims something you like to engage with could be having an unexpected or unwanted effect on you, he noted, you’re likely to try to discredit that study so you can keep blithely engaging with that tool. Even folks who acknowledge that there could be some logic to the idea that a phone could influence behavior tend to believe that these tools or devices “have a much stronger effect on others than [on] themselves — called the third-person effect.”

“Thinking this way increases our sense of personal control,” Lehmiller explained. Maintaining that sense of autonomy is vital to many people’s comfort and confidence in day-to-day life. Admitting that “a dying phone battery can influence the way one chooses a sexual partner,” added Skoda, “is a fairly sobering realization on how dependent we have become on technology,” and a blow to that sense of control, of self-definition and internal consistency that few are keen to embrace.

The effects of media and tech on our behaviors, media psychologistsargue, are also just one variable among many, gradual, and varied from person to person or app to app. It is easy for many skeptics to write a force so subtle and imprecise off as negligible or nonexistent. But there is a rich body of evidence out there on how technology writ large can affect our thought processes. Most people probably harbor some lurking sense that tech in general can influence human life and behaviors, that the internet or television or computers have somehow changed our world. But it may be especially easy to doubt claims about the links between our phones and intimate lives because cultural commentators have been so apocalyptic, and gotten so much wrong, on this topic over the last few years.

Case-in-point: The overarchingnarrative on app-based dating in a number of major think pieces in the early- to mid-teens, like Vanity Fair’s infamous 2015 takedown of Tinder culture, was that they would obviously lead to an explosion in hookups and casual sex and a reticence to ever settle down in favor of swiping endlessly for something better — likely on the basis of looks alone. Yet recent studies seem to suggest that young millennials, a smartphone- and app-saturated demographic, are actually having less sex with fewer partners than previous generations. The things people look for in relationships, even on apps, haven’t really changed over the last decade, nor do apps seem to affect relationship stability. Some analyses actually suggest that, absolutely contrary to pop jeremiads, people meeting through Tinder may be getting married faster than those meeting offline.

With so many predictive misfires, it’s easy to call baloney on new assertions.

Smartphones and dating apps are also extremely new pieces of technology. We’ve only had the former for about 12 years and the latter for 10; Tinder has only been widely available for a little more than five. That’s not enough time for researchers to conduct a thorough array of studies, sort out the findings that seem to hold water across them, and hash them out conclusively in the public sphere. So it’s particularly easy to find holes in the methodologies of studies on the phone-sex intersection.

A number of early studies have, for instance, drawn correlations between phone-based app usage and things like a higher number of sexual partners and likelihood of being diagnosed with an STD — stand-ins for overall riskier sexual behavior. Some research also suggests that people who use smartphones to facilitate their dating or sex lives have lower self-esteem than their peers. Yet as Lehmiller pointed out, with the data we have thus far, it is hard to tell whether phones or apps cause these disparities, or whether the folks who use their phones to mediate their dating and sex lives are just more prone to sexual risk taking behaviors and low self esteem in the first place. “My research suggests that app users are more sexually active to begin with,” he noted, “and that they’d have more partners and more STDs as a group regardless of whether [dating apps] existed” or not.

Skoda stressed that the ORGASM Lab’s phone battery life study is itself very preliminary. It does make logical sense, noted Rutledge, as we know that the perception of scarcity, which a low phone battery may signal or exacerbate, does increase people’s sense of the urgency to act. (That’s the logic behind items are going fast or only so many days left advertising campaigns, which are demonstrably effective.) The phone battery study itself, Skoda pointed out, was inspired by a fellow researcher reading “a newspaper article that discussed how Uber users were more likely to pay for surge pricing when their phones had low batteries.”

This study was conducted as a hypothetical in a lab, which does not often reflect how people act or think in real life. And, Skoda noted, researchers need to see if the finding holds up across different demographics, types of dating apps, and contexts in general. The effect _could _be narrow or prove nonexistent.

“This isn’t to say that apps [and phones] have no effect on our behavior,” Lehmiller stressed. “It is very likely that they do.” Academics have started to make a strong case that the volume of options on dating apps and their swipe mechanics, taking into account the way human brains work, may be encouraging the objectification of others and rushed, ill-advised romantic-sexual decision-making. And that constant engagement with social media via phones seems to create informational distortion chambers that can at times amplify negative messaging about sex, sexual health, and sexual violence, influencing the thoughts and behaviors of those most hooked in. Troves of anecdotal evidence, consistent over multiple sources and years, also strongly suggest that, by simply giving us more and easier-to-access dating options, apps and similar tools change our relationship calculus, including making it easier for people to feel like they don’t need to stay in and settle for subpar or even toxic dynamics for lack of a wealth of other opportunities.

The sooner we can accept that things like a phone’s battery life, or other aspects of phone-mediated relationships and sex, can have an effect on our intimate behaviors, though, the better.

It will just take time for those effects to become apparent and agreed upon. It took decades for researchers and public health experts to reach some nuanced conclusions about how depictions of sex on television can influence people’s sexual behaviors. To wit, a show can shift what viewers think is normal, and thus will seek, in a sexual encounter, depending on how realistic they believe the program to be, and a host of other potential mitigating factors. And even that field of study still has its doubters and naysayers, likely because of the challenges involved in doing research in this field. If one believes that certain types of TV viewing could possibly have a deleterious effect on people’s sexual health, then it’s not exactly ethical to run a randomized experiment regulating their media diets to see what happens. Nor is it ever easy, Rutledge pointed out, to control for every possible confounding variable that could affect one’s behaviors.

So there’s always room for some amount of doubt and negation. But generally, time and consistent findings, communicated repeatedly to the public with rising certainty, can get us to acknowledge uncomfortable realities about how things like phones can affect our intimate selves, no matter how much we like to believe we control that part of ourselves fully.

The sooner we can accept that things like a phone’s battery life, or other aspects of phone-mediated relationships and sex, can have an effect on our intimate behaviors, though, the better. We have finally reached a point in time when more people meet online, many via dating apps, than meet in person or through friends and family, and in which phone based dating apps are now a vital part of some subcultures’ dating and sex lives. If phones become our primary tool for dating and sex, then we really need to know and discuss how they do affect our intimate selves.

Awareness of the type of effects phones can have on our intimate lives can help us subvert these mediums for good. We know, for instance, that putting certain messaging into certain TV shows can have a huge effect on things like people’s level of knowledge about condoms and their usage or the extent to which they stigmatize people living with HIV, and how to use that power to insert effective pro-sexual health and wellness messaging into the media. It would help to know how we can best use phones to make our sex lives definitively _better _and safer more often than not.

But on a much more basic level, becoming aware of the effects our phones and the apps on them can have on us is key to modulating those effects that may concern us. As Rudledge put it, it would “help people recognize when they are reacting to a ‘trigger’ rather than thinking through and coming to a rational decision” about their sex or dating life on their own. Then they can take that power back for themselves.

Complete Article HERE!

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What College Students Should Know About Consent

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By Erika W. Smith

In 2015, artist Emma Sulkowicz wore a pale blue graduation robe and cap as they carried a 50-pound mattress across the stage, helped by four of their friends. Sulkowicz had been carrying the mattress — identical to those used in dorm rooms — around the Columbia University campus for an entire school year, as a performance art piece that doubled as their senior thesis. When they began the piece, Sulkowicz said they would carry the mattress until the student they said raped them in their dorm room was either expelled or voluntarily left school. But Sulkowicz graduated before either of those things happened.

Sulkowicz’s performance brought a new spotlight to the ongoing national conversation about sexual assault on college campuses. Now, the #MeToo movement has brought a new lens through which to continue the conversation. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in five women and one in 16 men will be sexually assaulted while in college, and according to the advocacy organization End Rape On Campus, nearly one in four transgender and gender non-conforming undergraduate students will be sexually assaulted while in college.

And many of the people (mostly cis men) committing sexual assault don’t understand that what they’re doing is sexual assault. One study found that male undergraduates were more likely to admit to raping a partner when the assault was described in other language (for example, “Have you ever coerced somebody to intercourse by holding them down?”) rather than when the word “rape” was used.

Ted Bunch, co-founder of A Call To Men, previously told Refinery29 that in his workshops for high school boys, only 19% can accurately define consent. “Boys actually think ‘no’ means try harder. They think ‘no’ means get her drunk or that they’re not approaching it right and they have to change their approach,” he said.

Campus sexual assault is so prevalent that it has often been called an “epidemic,” and yet only eight states in the U.S. require public school sex education to even mention consent. It’s vital that students understand consent before entering college — the first six weeks of college are sometimes called “the Red Zone” because this is the time of year when the majority of on campus sexual assaults occur.

As Yes Means Yes! Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape editor Jaclyn Friedman previously wrote for Refinery29, “When I talk to students about sex and consent, I’m often asked — mostly by young men — how often they have to check in with a partner to make sure they’re doing consent right… But rape is not a technicality, and consent is not a one-and-done box to be ticked; it’s an ongoing process between two people, which requires treating your partner like an equal. Trying to reduce ‘consent’ to something you need to get out of the way so you can go ahead and get some means you’re more concerned with gaming the rules than with treating your partner like a human person.”

We’ll break down some of the intricacies and common misconceptions about consent here, but Friedman gets right to the main point of it: treat your partner like a human person.

What Is Consent?

At its most basic definition, consent means agreeing to do something. When talking about sexual activity, activists are pushing for laws that establish affirmative consent, or “Yes Means Yes.” This approach establishes consent as something you actively say “yes” to, rather than simply the absence of a “no.”

According to End Rape On Campus, affirmative consent laws “establish that consent is a voluntary, affirmative, conscious, agreement to engage in sexual activity, that it can be revoked at any time, that a previous relationship does not constitute consent, and that coercion or threat of force can also not be used to establish consent. Affirmative consent can be given either verbally or nonverbally.” Additionally, these laws make it clear that someone is “incapacitated by drugs or alcohol, or is either not awake or fully awake, is also incapable of giving consent.” California and New York have such laws in place, as do a number of individual schools in other states, including the University of Minnesota, Texas A&M, and Yale University. Even if your state or school currently has a laxer legal view of consent, morally, this is the way to go.

How Do I Know If My Partner Is Giving Consent?

Sexuality educator Jamie J. LeClaire highlights five different factors to examine when talking about consent. They tell Refinery29 that consent must be:

 1. Voluntary: “Consent must be freely given without any threat, force, intimidation, or coercion.”

2. Informed and coherent: “Someone who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs and not entirely coherent, or asleep or not completely awake, is unable to give consent.”

3. Enthusiastic and unambiguous: “You shouldn’t be unsure of whether or not someone is into what’s happening. There should be no confusion as to whether your partner is a willing and eager participant.”

4. Reversible:Consent can be withdrawn at any time. That first green light can become a ‘Time to slow down’ or ‘Actually, I want to stop,’ at any moment for any reason, and that’s totally 100% valid, and their bodily autonomy must be respected.”

5. Ongoing and specific: “Sex is an active, continuous interaction — consenting to some heavy petting isn’t necessarily agreeing to be flogged.”

Remember that, as LeClaire says, “Consent must be given no matter what your relationship status is with your sexual partner.” Whether this is a long-term partner or someone you just met, if they’re not into it, stop.

Consent & Alcohol Or Drugs

Some consent guidelines say that a person cannot give consent if they are “incapacitated by drugs or alcohol.” However, other activists push for stronger standards.

“When it comes to mixing alcohol and other drugs with sex, my advice is: don’t,” Sam Wall, Assistant to the Director at sex education site Scarleteen.com, previously told Refinery29. “Any alcohol consumption makes consent anything from automatically questionable to outright impossible.” However, she added, “Realistically speaking, we know people can and do have mutually consensual, non-sober sex.” So if you and your partner do decide to have sex after drinking or doing drugs, “clear verbal consent is a MUST, not a maybe, and ANY indication someone is simply wasted, or isn’t aware or alert or all-there should be a stop sign, no argument.

Research shows that around half of all sexual assaults are committed by men who have been drinking alcohol, and that men who drink heavily are more likely than other men to report having committed sexual assault. If you think there’s any chance drinking may impact your ability to tell whether your partner is consenting, do not drink and have sex.

Consent & Condoms

In the past few years, there’s been a lot of media coverage of the rise of “stealthing” — the practice of removing a condom during sex without a partner’s consent. In one 2018 study, 32% of women who have sex with men and 19% of men who have sex with men reported having experienced this. Unfortunately, there are no laws in the United States that explicitly name stealthing as a form of sexual assault, however, activists and lawmakers are pushing to change that.

“If someone consented to sex using condoms or other prevention methods, that’s the conditions of sex in which they consented. Removing the barrier method without your partner’s knowledge is an absolute violation of consent and sexual assault,” LeClaire says.>

Consent & Nude Photos

Keep consent in mind when sending nude photos, too. Earlier this year, Texas introduced a bill that would make sending unsolicited nude photos a misdemeanor, punishable by a $500 fine. Many couples enjoy sending sexy photos to each other — but make sure that the person you’re sending the photo to actually wants to receive it.

Unsolicited nude pics via text, SnapChat, dating apps, or whatever it may be, are a breach of consent. It’s really not that hard to ask for consent for sending naughty pics,” LeClaire says. “[Text something like], ‘I took some XXX photos of myself earlier, would love to send,’ and wait for permission. If they aren’t into it, respect that!”

If your partner sends you nude photos that you asked for, keep those photos private and do not share them with your friends or post them online. This is a violation of consent commonly called “revenge porn.”

How Do I Ask For Consent?

Some people think that asking for consent is “un-sexy,” but that’s not the case at all. As LeClaire points out, there are many different ways to ask for consent, up to and including dirty talk. Saying something like, “Do you like this?” or “I really want to [describe what you want to do]” are both ways of asking for consent. Your partner’s response “should sound nothing short of excitement, and it should NOT sound like hesitance, silence, or unease,” LeClaire says.

What Is Title IX?

In 1972, Title IX of the Education Amendments banned discrimination on the basis of sex in “any educational program or activity receiving federal funding,” which includes both public and private colleges. Along with protecting students from discrimination in areas such as sports, Title IX applies to sexual assault and harassment. Title IX “provides protections for students who are survivors of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape,” LeClaire explains.

In 2011, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights introduced new guidelines for how colleges should handle sexual harassment and assault. However, President Trump’s Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos, has worked to roll back these Obama-era guidelines. Still, Title IX currently applies to sexual assault on campus.

“Every college will have a Title IX coordinator. If you know someone has sexually assaulted someone, inform your school’s Title IX coordinator. If you or someone you know what sexually assaulted, tell your school’s Title IX coordinator (with consent),” LeClaire says.

Complete Article HERE!

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‘A human need’

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Disability groups say people on NDIS should have access to sex workers

By Judith Ireland

Disabled Australians should be able to access sex toys, dating support and sex workers under the National Disability Insurance Scheme if they require them to live a normal life, a coalition of disability advocates says.

Four of Australia’s major disability groups argue the NDIS needs a “sexuality policy” to cover a broad range of needs such as adaptive sex toys, services from sex workers and sex therapists – as well as education about sexuality and relationships.

But the National Disability Insurance Agency, which administers the NDIS, says the scheme does not cover sexual services or therapies as part of its assistance to disabled Australians.

The agency recently launched an appeal against a tribunal decision that granted a severely disabled women access to a sex therapist under her NDIS plan.

People with Disability Australia spokesperson Matthew Bowden said it was a “human need” for people to be able to express their sexuality and have fulfilling sexual experiences, urging the government to show a “compassionate approach to a private and sensitive issue”.

In a new position statement, Disabled People’s Organisations Australia says disabled people date, have casual partners, marry and enjoy loving relationships like others in the community.

“Historically, people with disability have been subjected to societal beliefs that we are either asexual or hypersexual, while constantly being denied full autonomy over our own bodies,” says the alliance, which include organisations that represent women, Indigenous and multicultural Australians.

“While accessing services of a sex worker may not be for everyone, this option should not be denied or dismissed on the basis of disability, or the moral beliefs of third parties.”

Disability advocates stress that access to sexuality supports – particularly sex workers – would be considered on a case-by-case basis, and involve significant disability. For example, this might include someone with severe cerebral palsy who could not reach their own genitals.

Saul Ibister, president of Touching Base, an organisation that has been helping disabled people access sex workers for 20 years, said sexual expression was part of an ordinary life.

“The community does not expect people with disability to live the life of a nun,” he said.

In July, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal found the provision of a sex therapist was a “reasonable and necessary” support under the NDIS for a woman with multiple sclerosis.

The woman is in her 40s and was diagnosed with MS about 16 years ago. She finds it difficult to walk but has no loss of intellectual capacity.

The NDIA originally refused the woman’s request for “sexual release” but the AAT found in her favour. The government almost immediately announced it would challenge that decision, and an appeal has been lodged with the Federal Court.

Sex therapists do not touch clients but focus on issues such as how to adapt sexual activity to a disability.

An NDIA spokesperson said: “The NDIS does not cover sexual services, sexual therapy or sex workers in a participant’s NDIS plan.

“The NDIS can fund supports to enable [people] to participate in the activities they choose; however, the NDIS does not fund the private activity itself and does not generally fund the cost of private activities.”

Complete Article HERE!

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What to Know About Sexsomnia

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A Rare Sleep Disorder Where You Have Sex in Your Sleep

By Morgan Mandriota

The facts about this weird sleep condition, from a 26-year-old woman who has it.

It happens at least three times a week: I wake up to find myself masturbating, breathing heavily, and on the brink of an orgasm. I always finish myself off (sorry, TMI) and then fall right back asleep afterward.

Sounds great, right? Not really. These frequent episodes are the main symptom of sexsomnia—a rare sleep disorder that causes people to have sex or masturbate in their sleep. Though I haven’t been clinically diagnosed with sexsomnia, I’ve been experiencing episodes like this for as long as I can remember. In the last few years, though, they’ve happened more regularly.

Along with the physical irritation caused by rubbing my clitoris beneath my sweatpants so often, sexsomnia has brought me emotional frustration, too. That’s because I have no control over this behavior, or even awareness of what I’m doing until it’s just about over. Though I’ve never tried to have sleep sex with a partner, I’m still cringing at the memory of sleeping over a friend’s house five years ago and finding out that I woke the entire family with my loud moaning.

Sexsomnia falls under the umbrella category of parasomnias, which are any disruptive, abnormal, and habitual activities that occur between and during stages of deep sleep. Other parasomnias include sleepwalking, night terrors, and sleep eating—except you’re getting way freakier than just spooning ice cream into your mouth in your slippers at two in the morning.

What causes sexsomnia, and who gets it? Can my fellow sexsomniacs and I be cured? I spoke with psychiatrists and sleep specialists to get to the bottom of this rare yet real disorder.

Sexsomnia symptoms and triggers

Sexsomnia is a lot more than the occasional sexy dream or hazy morning bumping and grinding. People who have the disorder will experience regular instances of moaning, pelvic thrusting, and masturbating or initiating sexual intercourse with the person lying beside them, all while they’re snoozing away.

Men are more likely to have sexsomnia than women, according to a 2017 study published in the journal Sleep. Another study, published in Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine in 2016, found that male sexsomniacs are more likely to try to have sexual intercourse with a partner, while women with sexsomnia tend to masturbate, as I do.

The 2016 study confirms that these behaviors are amnesic, meaning they happen in a confused, partially awake state and likely won’t be remembered once the person has fully woken up. (Unlike my experience, where I wake up aware of what’s going on.) It also suggests that sexsomnia may occur along with other parasomnias.

What triggers sexsomnia? Basically anything that disrupts a normal, healthy sleep pattern—such as drinking alcohol or consuming caffeine too close to bedtime. Maintaining an irregular sleep schedule or not getting enough sleep can led to sexsomnia as well, Alex Dimitriu, MD, who is double board-certified in psychiatry and sleep medicine and the founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry and Sleep Medicine in New Jersey, tells Health. Less commonly, sleep apnea, seizures, or a condition called REM behavior disorder can also contribute, he explains.

Depression, anxiety, and a lack of sexual activity may also affect how frequent sexsomnia episodes occur. In my case, I’m an anxious person in general, but I’ve certainly noticed that I wake up touching myself more often when I’m in the middle of a sexual dry spell.

Gail Saltz, MD, associate professor of psychiatry at the New York Presbyterian Hospital, Weill-Cornell Medical College, tells me that sleep disorders like sexsomnia are made worse by certain medications, including many psychiatric medications. Being highly stressed can be a factor as well, says Dr. Saltz, who adds that it tends to run in families.

How sexsomnia has affected me

As troubling as sexsomnia can be, I’m lucky because my symptoms seem to bother me more than they bother anyone else.

None of my partners have ever brought it up to me, which is a good sign—unless they were too uncomfortable to mention that something happened. To see if that was the case, I recently asked an ex if he noticed that I did anything “weird” in my sleep, adding, “like… sexually” to help jog his memory. “No, but I do remember you waking up really horny,” he replied. That’s not sexsomnia, though, since I was awake and in the mood.

Last summer, I went on a 16-day road trip with my best friend. We shared a bed that whole time, and I caught myself having an episode one night but immediately stopped as soon as I could snap out of it, thankfully. This November, I’m taking a vacation to Aruba with my family, and needless to say, I’m definitely fearful of what might happen, since we’ll be sharing close quarters.

As you could imagine, sexsomnia is more problematic when you’re in a long-term relationship and share a bed with that person every night. In my case, I haven’t been in enough serious relationships where the disorder might affect someone other than myself, which is when I’d finally seek treatment. Dr. Saltz recommends seeking help “if sexsomnia becomes a real problem, such as your partner is disturbed by it, you are doing things that you or your partner do not want, or there is any danger.”

Are sexsomniacs cursed for life?

Speaking of treatment, there’s no magic cure for sexsomnia, unfortunately. But there are steps you can take to make it happen less frequently or even halt it completely.

People who sleep alongside sexsomniacs can often stop the episodes by either pushing their partner away or not responding to them. As for sexsomniacs themselves, they can aim to get better quality sleep, reduce their stress levels, decrease nighttime drug and alcohol consumption, and have more (conscious) sex.

Prescription meds are also an option. “Paroxetine is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor that can increase deep sleep, reduce nighttime erections, and reduce the frequency of nighttime awakenings, so it may be helpful for sexsomnia,” Martin Reed, a certified clinical sleep health educator and founder of the online sleep help site Insomnia Coach, tells me. “Clonazepam is another drug typically used to treat parasomnias.”

Dr. Dimitriu says that treatment should begin with optimizing and eliminating the triggers. If the behavior continues, then a discussion with your doctor and a consultation with a sleep specialist would be the next step.

Dr. Saltz warns, however, that people shouldn’t read into sexsomnia and give it too much meaning. “These behaviors are more about primitive human behavior due to random brain stimulation than something personally about you,” she says. After all, sex is one of our strongest biological drives as mammals. Deciding whether to treat sexsomnia seems to boil down to if these instincts are problematic for those who have it and the people they sleep next to at night.

Since I’m not sharing a bed with anyone right now, I’m keeping these tips in mind for the future. For now, I’m going to start masturbating before I fall asleep—so I’m getting the sexual release that will hopefully put my sexsomnia to bed once and for all.

Complete Article HERE!

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Am I Queer?

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Here’s How To Tell

By Caroline Colvin

So, you’re not sure if you’re “bisexual,” “pansexual,” or “lesbian” to be exact, but you have an inkling you’re not strictly straight. If you’ve been wondering, “Am I queer?”, there is no simple answer to that question. On one hand, you might be able to pinpoint exactly which childhood female celebrity crush sparked a sexual awakening. Or maybe you distinctly remember a K-12 Valentine made with extra special care for a girl in your class. On the other hand, maybe you’ve shared a curious, impulsive kiss with a girl. Or maybe you’ve hooked up with another woman, either one-on-one or in a threesome, and have elected to ignore those implications. Whatever your case may be, there are def some aspects of your sexual and romantic attractions you can reflect on to answer that question.

Data from the Pew Research Center shows that more and more Americans are identifying as members of the LGBTQ+ community. As of 2017, a little more than 10 million people in the U.S. or 4.1% of Americans identified as LGBTQ+. That’s up from 8.3 million people or 3.5% of Americans in 2012, according to the same researchers. Interestingly enough, millennials lead the pack when it comes to identifying as queer. In 2017, LGBTQ media organization GLAAD found that 20% of 18- to 34-year-olds identify as LGBTQ+ in the U.S.

If you’re curious about whether you’re queer, here are some aspects of your desires to consider.

“Queer” can be how you identify

It’s important to know that “queer” can be an umbrella term. For example, you’ve possibly heard people use “the queer community” and “the LGBTQ+ community” interchangeably. It’s also important to know that “queer” can be the specific label you identify with — that’s the “Q” in “LGBTQ+!” The queer community includes people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and pansexual — so, anyone who isn’t straight. (This also includes folks who are transgender, non-binary, or two-spirit, so anyone who isn’t cisgender or the gender they were assigned at birth. But for the purposes of this article, we’re just going to focus on sexuality, which is separate from gender.)

When it comes to using “queer” as your label, sex and relationships therapist Courtney Watson, whose practice works specifically with LGBTQ+ people of color, says, “‘Queer is a term that offers the most fluidity in definition. [It also] allows for a sexuality identity that transcends discreet gender and sexual orientation categories.”

What you’ll notice romantically is…

One thing sexuality educator Jamie J. LeClaire emphasizes is that there isn’t just one way to be queer, especially when it comes to romantic orientation. You might be:

  • aromantic, which means you lack of romantic attraction completely,
  • biromantic or panromantic, meaning you feel romantically attracted to more than one gender,
  • or homorantic, meaning you feel romantically attracted to people of the same binary gender that you identify as.

Do you have warm and fuzzy feelings for a woman at work? Has romance just never been your jam? Do you dwell on how nice it would be to cuddle, hold hands with, and raise a dog with one your hot, charming non-binary friends? Queerness looks different for everyone, but LeClaire says, “If you find yourself developing romantically-fueled, crush-type feelings outside of the scope of heteroromanticism, you might be queer!”

What you might notice sexually is…

As LeClaire puts it, one of the main signs you might be queer is you catch yourself “fantasizing or desiring sexual intimacy, in any way outside of strict heterosexuality.” You might be:

  • asexual, meaning you lack sexual attraction completely,
  • bisexual or pansexual, meaning you’re sexually attracted to two or more genders,
  • or lesbian or gay, meaning you’re sexually attracted to people of the same or similar gender as you.

This might look like an interest in lesbian porn, or sexual fantasies with people of the same gender or similar genders. It could be as tame as daydreams of kissing a cute someone of the same gender (or a similar gender presentation) from one of your classes. This might be having zero or only a passing interest in sex at all. Queerness differs from person-to-person, but these are some things to consider about your sexual desires.

And don’t feel pressure to come out

“Generally speaking, ‘coming out’ is a never-ending process in today’s world, where people are harmfully assumed to be cisgender and heterosexual/allosexual,” LeClaire says.(Allosexual is term for folks who experience sexual attraction, unlike asexual folks.) “Do what is right and feels comfortable for you and your situation.”

Especially if you feel like your parents, guardians, or community will react badly (or even violently) to your newly acknowledged queerness, wait until you feel safe to do so.

“If you have the financial privilege to go to therapy, it can be an incredible tool for navigating the coming-out process,” LeClaire suggests. Cultivate a support system of friends or “chosen family” to have your back as you figure your queerness out. “Support can very well come from online queer communities if that’s all you can access, which are incredible resources as well.”

Whatever the case may be, don’t stress about labels

No matter what label you end up sticking with, Watson explains, “It’s also important to know that your attractions and identities can be fluid and change.” It’s why Alfred Kinsey, a famous sexologist, invented the Kinsey scale — a numbered spectrum between completely homosexual and completely heterosexual — to help queer people express how they felt. Because even in 1948, people were realizing that no two bisexuals loved and desired people in the same exact way, and that sexuality evolves.

“As for how to find a label that works for you, think about what you feel most deeply resonates for you right now,” Watson says. You can identify as bisexual today, but pansexual a year from now. You might feel comfortable with the lesbian label at first, but then realize you’re also asexual — so then you feel good about “gay and asexual” or “homoromantic asexual,” or no labels at all.

The word you pick for you identity is not a “life-long stamp.” Keeping that in mind can help take the pressure off.

What’s more, Watson says, “You can have an identity regardless of your current partner’s gender/sexual orientation.” You might be dating a man and still have sexual desires for women. You might be dating a lesbian woman and feel genderqueer. Who you’re dating at any given time doesn’t take away from who you are and how you feel comfortable identifying.

At the end of the day, LeClaire says, “Gender and sexuality are more than a spectrum. They are a universe of opportunities to live, love, and be loved.” Keeping this in mind can help you embrace and celebrate your queerness in a positive, reaffirming way.

Complete Article HERE!

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What Do Your Sex Dreams Really Mean

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And Should You Pay Attention To Them?

By Vicky Spratt

In certain schools of psychoanalysis, namely that of Sigmund Freud, dreams are considered to be a snapshot of our unconscious desires. As he saw it, while we sleep, we play a tape of things we cannot or, perhaps, would not do while we are awake. Freud saw dreams as the fulfilment of a repressed wish.

This, for anyone who has ever had a sex dream, can make for troubling reading. If you’ve ever woken up from one, particularly if you share a bed with your real life partner, still able to remember everything in vivid detail, you’ll know what a complex set of feelings it can provoke.

Not too long ago this came up while I having a weekend away with a friend. As we sat in a country pub, drinking lager shandies with cards on the table (that we had no intention of playing) and both confessed that recently we’d been having more sex dreams than we felt entirely comfortable with.

If a new study, published in the journal Psychology and Sexuality, is to be believed, there’s a reason why this is coming up so much in conversation. Young women today are reporting having more erotic dreams than they have ever done in previous studies (though still less than men).

The researchers defined an erotic dream as including “sexually motivated actions such as flirting, kissing, intercourse or masturbation as well as watching sexual actions.” They asked 2,907 16-92 year-olds about their dreams and found the highest frequency of erotic dreams among those aged 16-30.

There’s a pretty straightforward explanation for all of this, as the study itself points out. Young women, who have grown up in the wake of the feminist movements of the 1960s and 70s which brought about a sexual revolution, are more open about sex. As a result, they’re more likely to report erotic dreams than older generations would have been at their age.

Young women today are reporting having more erotic dreams than they have ever done in previous studies (though still less than men).

Back in that small, quiet country pub my friend (who for obvious reasons will remain anonymous) and I both expressed serious concern about what our dreams might mean and how they were influencing our relationships.

“In mine,” she had half-whispered, leaning in across the wobbling table and spilling beer in the process, “I’m always a younger version of myself and I’m getting off with men that age too.”

I confessed that my dreams always involved the same ex-boyfriend to the point where I now felt incredibly uncomfortable and, at several points, had even considered reaching out to him. The whole thing was causing me to reconsider my current, long-term relationship.

Since then, another friend (who also wished to stay anonymous), has told me that she had “started to look forward to turning the light out in bed” because she knew she could drift off into an erotic dream, despite being very much in love with her current partner.

Perhaps that’s because at some point in our lives we’ve all read – or at least heard of Freud – and absorbed the idea that our dreams are our subconscious trying to tell us something.

Sexual desire and guilt are often convergent parts of being human but when it comes to dreaming, about someone else, while lying next to your real life partner they become one and the same.

Dr Dylan Selterman is a senior lecturer at the University of Maryland’s psychology department. His work focuses on patterns of dreaming and how dreams influence our subsequent behaviour. I asked him what he makes of this latest research?

“To be clear, the study doesn’t actually show that young women (or men) are having more erotic dreams today,” he said, offering a word of caution. “The study simply shows that participants estimated a higher percentage of erotic dreams than in previous studies. This could be explained by a number of factors. The current study was recall-based, whereas previous studies used diaries. In general, diary studies are more accurate in terms of frequencies, but the recall-based studies can still be quite useful”.

In his own research, Selterman has found that the content of erotic dreams does affect how we interact with our romantic partners afterwards.

“Specifically,” he says, “socially negative dream content including jealousy and infidelity predicted more conflict and less intimacy the following day, especially for people who either scored high in insecurity or whose relationship was not going well.”

Meanwhile, for people whose relationship was going well he found “if they had a sex dream they felt more intimacy with their partners the next day.”

This reflects the experience of one of my friends. She found that having sex dreams actually made her feel more affectionate towards her partner. She said it made her “appreciate” him more and actually inspired her to have more sex with him in real life. (A colleague also told me she has had a sporadic but recurring sex dream about the same man for over a decade. That man is Eminem and she’s harboured fond feelings for him ever since.)

However, for the other, the opposite was true. She and her partner had become disconnected, she was unsure about whether she wanted to stay in the relationship. Every morning, after one of the erotic dreams she so looked forward to she would feel “empty and guilt ridden.”

Selterman cautions that while there is growing research in this area there isn’t enough to draw concrete conclusions from. When is comes to psychology, he points out, have moved on a lot since Freud.

“I’m not sure that erotic dreams ‘mean’ anything in terms of symbolism or latent content because we don’t have evidence for that,” he adds. “Instead, we likely dream about sex because we think about sex while we’re awake. The continuity hypothesis (which is mentioned in the new research), suggests that dreams mirror our thoughts and behaviours while awake.”

So, I ask Selterman, should we pay attention to sex dreams when we have them or not? “Sure!” he says, “why not! Dreams can give a great insight into our minds and relationships.”

However, insight is not the same as a dream delivering us a veiled message from our subconscious. A sex dream is more likely to be a reflection of something you were already thinking about that day. If it comes as a surprise to you in the night, it might be worth being very honest with yourself about what you want and whether you’re getting what you need when you’re awake.

Complete Article HERE!

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From sex to money…

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The eight deep discussions that can save a dying relationship

John and Julie Gottman have devised dates for ailing couples – but how many are ready for this level of openness and sincerity?

By Emine Saner

How often do we really talk to our partners? About the big stuff, not about childcare arrangements, or what the funny noise coming from the fridge means? According to a study at the University of California, Los Angeles, couples with small children, and who both have careers, talk for just 35 minutes a week, and mainly about errands. That study, says John Gottman, “alarmed” him and his wife, Julie. “It seemed like couples who had been together a long time were not taking care of the relationship – their curiosity in one another had died,” he says.

Gottman, the renowned relationships researcher known for his work on divorce predictors, and Julie Schwartz Gottman, a psychologist, have been married for 32 years. They founded the Gottman Institute, which conducts research and trains therapists. Their Gottman method is an approach designed to repair and deepen relationships, concentrating on three main areas – “friendship, conflict management and creation of shared meaning”. They have also written many books, together and separately. Their latest book, which they wrote as a couple, is Eight Dates. It guides couples through eight conversations – to have on dedicated dates – on the big issues such as sex, parenting and how to handle conflict. It was partly sparked by the rise of online dating and to provide new couples with a roadmap to navigate tricky subjects, but mainly to give long-term couples a project to steer their relationship to a better place. “Couples who have been together for quite a long time create a relationship that grows stale with time, and they lose track of one another,” says Julie. “People evolve over time. They change.”

The categories – trust, conflict, sex, money, family, fun, spirituality and dreams – came out of the Gottmans’ years of observing the flashpoints in relationships, and they sent 300 heterosexual and same-sex couples out to test the dates. The dates have suggestions of places to go that fit the category – for instance, for the trust and commitment date, choose somewhere that is meaningful to your relationship – though they also have suggestions for meaningful dates at home, and open-ended questions to ask each other. Amazingly, they report that only one couple had an argument on one of their dates. But might disagreement be a danger for readers of the book? “It’s possible, but what we like to do is give people preparation in case conflict arises, so each chapter includes a bit of that,” says Julie. “But also we very carefully tailored the questions so that people were encouraged to self-disclose as opposed to comment on each other’s thoughts. And when you self-disclose, that’s really the antidote to creating conflict as opposed to judging the other person for their point of view.”

Each category has exercises and prompts to think about before the date – for instance, in the money and work section, you are encouraged to think about your family history with money, and complete a questionnaire on what money means to you, then bring these to the date to share, along with suggestions for discussion including: “What do you appreciate about your partner’s contribution to the wealth of the relationship?” and: “What is your biggest fear around money?”

Many of the questions will encourage you to confront your own prejudices and ideas of what a relationship should look like, probably influenced (for good or bad) by your parents’ relationship. “People tend to role-model after their caretakers,” says Julie. “Those are hard to step out of. It takes knowing what the alternative is and then practising it, making repairs when you do make a mistake and trying again.”

I can see the point of all of the dates, but some fill me with horror (talking about sex, mainly – I am British, after all). And my boyfriend would probably rather abandon his family, change his name and leave the country than have a date during which we try to have a serious conversation about growth and spirituality (sample question: “What do you consider sacred?”). How can you get your partner on board if they’re resisting? “Start with the chapter on sex,” says Julie. “I think it depends on what the objections are. If somebody is afraid of having a deeper conversation, you could say this is not about being judged. This is not meant as a sadistic torture for your partner, it’s about having a fun conversation and being able to have a jumping-off point. People are so caught up in the day-to-day tasks, they rarely have time to sit and reflect on: ‘What do I not know about my partner that I want to know?’” So many people in our culture are “broadcasters”, says John. “They think the important thing in a relationship is to be interesting, rather than to be interested.”

Which are the most important dates? Julie chooses trust and commitment, and dreams and ambitions. “When people talk about that, they have a chance to plumb their own depths, to see what really matters to them and what they really value, and how they want to give their lives meaning. Those are things that change and evolve over time.” She turns to John: “How about you, honey?” He smiles and says: “Fun and adventure, and sex.” They laugh and Julie says something about him being a typical man and kisses him on the cheek. “It was really sad that more than 70% of couples said that their lives had deteriorated in the bedroom,” says John, of his research. “They weren’t having much fun with one another. The things that really draw people together, that enhance living, wind up being put on the garbage heap. It’s certainly easy for relationships to become drudgery.”

John and Julie met in a coffee house in Seattle in 1986. John had recently moved to the city and was getting to know his new home: mainly, he says, by answering personals ads in the newspaper. “I dated 60 women. In three months.” Julie laughs and says: “He made a job of it.” Julie walked into the cafe and he invited her to join him: “Julie was number 61.” They were married within a year. How did they know each other was the right person? “We’d had other relationships so we had a lot of negative comparisons,” says Julie. “We’d made so many mistakes, and you really learn from your mistakes. Lo and behold, here’s this beautiful person who thinks you’re funny and cute, and whose eyes light up, and with whom you know you’ll never be bored.” They have worked together for much of that time. Even when they were newly married, they would go out “and we would ask each other these big open-ended questions, just like the ones in the book”, says Julie. John would bring a notebook on their nights out and make notes.

Both agree on the most productive category for them – dreams. Each year they take a holiday together (they call it a honeymoon) and discuss three things: what was bad about the previous year, what was good, and what they hope for the year ahead. “We really take some time to take a look at our lives and figure out how to make it better,” says John. Julie adds: “That’s where the dreaming comes in.”

They seem happy and connected. What do they wish all couples knew? “If your partner is having one of the negative emotions – fear, anger, sadness – you approach it with interest and curiosity and really communicate: ‘I want to know what you’re feeling, I want to know what’s going on with you,’” says John. Julie laughs and says it says a lot about their relationship that John focuses on listening when she chooses the opposite. “My thought is related to the speaker – there’s a lot of responsibility for the health of the relationship from how you bring up issues,” she says. “What I wish all couples knew is, when they have a concern or complaint, they need to describe themselves, not their partner.” It’s the difference between “I’m feeling hurt” and “you’ve hurt me”.

They both still get it wrong, says John. “We’re all facing the same kinds of problems and we need these blueprints,” he says. “We’re not experts on relationships, we’ve taken these ideas from real couples that we’ve done research on. It’s the data that’s informing us, not our own expertise: we don’t really have that, we’re like any other couple, we struggle with the same things.”

Complete Article HERE!

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In a sex slump?

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There’s an app for that…

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As a nation, we’re getting less action in the bedroom than ever – and technology could be to blame. But it may also be the answer, says Rosie Mullender, who road tests the latest sex gadgets

There are three people in my relationship: me, my boyfriend Don, and Betty. She’s the female avatar he plays with on his PS4, and I often head to bed alone, while he stays up for hours killing aliens with gamers in a different time zone. Meanwhile, I’m happily having a passionate fling with Facebook, and both of us are seeing Netflix on the side.

We’re not the only ones whose sex lives have been interrupted by technology. Nearly all of us use some form before bed. Our always-on work culture is sending stress levels soaring, while online porn has been found to cause real-world relationship problems. Data analysed from the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles recently revealed that sex across the board in the UK is declining, with fewer than half of British men and women having sex at least once a week. This decline is most pronounced among the over-25s, and couples who are cohabiting or married (yep, that’s us). I sometimes get nostalgic about the days when we barely made it to the bedroom because the hallway was closer – rather than because we were watching ‘just one more episode’ on iPlayer.

But if technology is helping send the nation into a libido slump, could it also pull us out of it? Sex tech is a growing industry that is set to be worth £22m in revenue by 2020, and a new generation of toys and apps promises to help us get it on more often. So, which apps are most effective in encouraging us to reconnect with our partners instead of our screens? I asked four sex and relationship experts for their recommendations.

I thought Don would be excited by the prospect of trying them out, but when I asked him if he was up for it, he simply shrugged without looking up from his iPad. Oh dear, technology definitely owes us, big time, so let’s get started…

The sex-play app

‘Some apps, such as Kindu, offer a way to discover more about what you’d like to try as a couple,’ says Dr Pam Spurr, relationship counsellor and presenter of the Wham, Bam It’s Dr Pam! podcast. ‘An app can decrease anxiety when breaking free from your sexual routine and, for some couples, lead to more honesty and confidence to experiment.’

We download Kindu (free on Android and iOS), which lists a variety of sex moves we can tag as a yes, no or maybe. Afterwards, it reveals those we’re both interested in – and among the more vanilla ideas that match, such as getting a massage together, there are a few surprises. We’re both keen to indulge in a spot of bondage – something we haven’t tried since the early days of our relationship. It’s also a relief to find that Don is equally turned off by the thought of ‘hiring a professional dominatrix’.

‘I was a bit worried you’d want to try things I’m totally not into,’ he says, echoing my thoughts exactly, ‘so it’s good to see we’re on the same page.’ My main worry was that we’d use the app to hide behind our phones, instead of talking. But the real point of Kindu seems to be to spark conversation, which, as with so many things, is the key to great sex.

Sex factor: 7/10

The pulsing air stimulator

Womanizer was the first company to patent Pleasure Air Technology, and because its stimulators use air, rather than direct vibration on your clitoris, they’re gentler,’ says sex educator Alix Fox. ‘They also switch off when not in contact with your skin, making them great for couples who have children and might be interrupted.’

I order a Womanizer Premium (£169) and banish Don from the bedroom – realising that flipping through an instruction manual isn’t a huge turn-on, I decide to get to grips with it alone. The stimulation provided by the unit’s gentle suction and vibrations is like no other; it feels like an incredibly intense butterfly kiss. Don soon joins me and we play together. As the Womanizer is so gentle, I’m not shy to use it with him, and it leads us to be more tender than usual. Don’s verdict? ‘You seemed more confident and totally turned on, which got me excited, too,’ he says. It feels like a very grown up piece of kit, and one we’re definitely going to try again – once I find the charger, which I’ve lost somewhere under the bed.

Sex factor: 8/10

The mindful sex app

Ferly is an app that helps partners find new ways of being together, which aren’t necessarily sexual,’ says psychosexual and relationship therapist Kate Moyle. ‘Modern couples often struggle to make space to prioritise each other, and Ferly encourages them to do so.’ Costing £40 for a premium annual subscription on iOS (an Android version is coming soon), the app offers podcasts on topics such as the relationship between boundaries and pleasure, a series of ‘Sexy Stories,’ and practical audio sessions designed to help you connect with your partner.

We try Touch-4-Touch, which involves facing each other, focusing on our breathing, then touching ‘for touching’s sake’ – holding hands, tracing each other’s faces and gently scratching each other’s necks. The soothing voice on the app acknowledges this might feel a bit strange, and it does, at first. But it also encourages us to really ‘see’ each other in a way long-term couples don’t often make time for.

Although we keep our clothes on, those ten minutes feel surprisingly intimate and really relaxing. We don’t have sex afterwards, but fall asleep hugging. ‘I think you’re beautiful, and focusing on your face reminded me of those little details I’ve stopped noticing,’ says Don. Which is definitely what I wanted to hear.

Sex factor: 9/10

The hands-free vibrator

‘A relatively recent addition to the sex-tech field is a range of toys you can control remotely via an app,’ says family therapist Stefan Walters. ‘As well as being a great tool for long-distance couples, they can feel like a safe introduction if you’re new to the idea of using toys together. Although I’m not a sex-toy virgin, it occurs to me that I’ve never used a vibe with Don (the idea makes me feel a bit vulnerable), so a remote-controlled device sounds ideal.

I order the We-Vibe Moxie (£119.99, Lovehoney), a ‘cheeky remote-control clitoral vibrator’, and we both download the We-Vibe app. Connecting the vibe to my phone via Bluetooth, I attach it to my knickers, leave Don in the lounge and head to the bedroom. Inviting him to join in and control the device, we warm up with a bit of chat via the app. ‘New vibe, who dis?’ he asks, which makes me laugh and relax. Then, he switches the Moxie on, scrolling through different vibration modes and intensities. I send instructions – ‘stronger, lighter, next!’ – but he has ultimate control. Eventually, my chat dries up as things get more intense, so I’m disappointed when the vibrations stop. I wonder if our connection has dropped, but then Don comes into the bedroom to take over.

Sex factor: 7/10

Although big fans of using hands and lips in the bedroom, and frank conversation out of it, trying out new-gen sex tech was an eye-opener for Don and I. It helped us open up about what we want, as well as providing some new sensations. Don’s keen to try the Moxie again next time I’m away for work, and I’m keeping the Womanizer in my bedside-table drawer. The Kindu is a fun conversation starter, while Ferly is a reassuring space in which to explore mindful sex, and one we’ll definitely be returning to. The internet might be keeping us out of the bedroom, but sex tech could also offer the tools to encourage us back in.

Complete Article HERE!

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The 10 best books about bisexuality

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One of the smaller niches in any LGBTQ bookstore or library is the bisexual shelf, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Finding a good book on bisexuality can, at times, be as difficult as finding bisexual voices within the larger LGBTQ movement. Much the same, once you find them, you are liable to find some rare and wonderful things that you might have overlooked in the crowd.

Here’s a pick of the best books to fatten up your bookshelf with information, autobiographies, a little snark, and some deep dives into what it means to be bisexual.

The Bisexual’s Guide to the Universe: Quips, Tips, And Lists for Those Who Go Both Ways by Nicole Kristal and Mike Szymanski

This one probably should be on your shelf and shares a lot of use information in a humorous fashion, but at the same time, this text could also disappoint with a focus on stereotypes and their ilk. It not recommend for a newcomer, but someone who has been out and about for a while. It’s worth a look, especially for fans of snark.

Fire Shut Up In My Bones by Charles M. Blow

New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow’s memoir will take you on a beautiful and often challenging story of coming of age as a black bisexual man in the deep south. This is a powerful, potent story that feels all the more important in the Trump years.

Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution by Shiri Eisner

More distinctly political than most of the books on this list, Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution feels like a manifesto for bisexual people who have been often marginalized, exploited, and discriminated against. It may be a bit muddy in places, but it’s still a solid read for the political minded among us.

Bad Dyke: Salacious Stories from a Queer Life by Allison Moon

This is not the book you share with your grandmother to explain bisexuality. This selection of essays by Allison Moon is full of bawdy, sometimes graphic tales of her coming of age as queer in the 1990s. The sexual content, however, will ring true to any reader. The stories twist and turn, in rhythm with Moon’s own better understand of herself and her interests.

The B Word: Bisexuality in Contemporary Film and Television by Maria San Filippo

This is truly the “missing manual” of queer studies and media critique, digging into the way bisexuality is treated — and often mistreated — in film and television. The topic may sound dry, but San Filippo beings a sharpness to her writing that keeps this dive into everything from art cinema to vampire movies engaging.

Getting Bi: Voices of Bisexuals Around the World by Robin Ochs and Sarah Rowley

No bookshelf on bi issues should be without this on it. Getting Bi collects 220 separate essays on the subject that cover the gamut of bi experience, including a substantial number of non-western writers and experiences. Worth noting: it was updated in 2009, but it is surely due for yet another edition in the future, particularly to look into the rise of pansexuality and the many changes that have impacted the LGBTQ community in the last decade.

Advice from a Wild Deuce: The Best of Ask Tiggy by Tiggy Upland

Debuting initially as an advice column on the Bisexual Resource Center’s website, this book collects a pick of the best of Upland’s columns in one place. Both humorous and thoughtful, this is a great book for those seeking to better understand their own bisexuality or that of others. What’s more, behind Tiggy Upland’s quirks and wit, you’ll find a large dose of kindness.

Black Dove: Mama, Mi’jo, and Me by Ana Castillo

A beautiful autobiographical picture of growing up in Chicago as a Hispanic woman. Castillo, a feminist bisexual woman, tells a heartfelt and personal story of both her and her son’s coming of age in America though a Hispanic lens. While the chapters touching on her bisexuality and polyamory may be of the most relevance on this list, it may be Castillo’s openness about her son’s arrest and incarceration that will stick with you the longest.

Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo and Me by Ellen Forney

The biggest “bi” in this graphic memoir is “bipolar,” as author Ellen Forney explores her creative life since her diagnosis with bipolar disorder. Fear not that this book is on the wrong list, however: Marbles also digs deep into the other “bi’ in Forney’s life, talking frankly about her bisexual identity.

Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out by Loraine Hutchins and Lani Kaahumanu

In this groundbreaking anthology first published in 1991, more than seventy women and men from all walks of life describe their lives as bisexuals in prose, poetry, art, and essays. Despite some dated content, it’s a seminal collection that still deserves to be read!

Complete Article HERE!

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Does cannabis affect men’s sexual health?

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There’s a lot of information floating around the interwebs on how weed affects your erection. What’s the truth?

Cannabis may not impact sexual health as previously thought.

By Alana Armstrong

Have you ever wondered, somewhere in the back of your mind (minimized to a tiny voice so as to not freak yourself out) whether the weed you smoke affects your erection?

Yeah, we all have. At least those who are equipped to get erections.

And it’s no wonder. The internet is full of anecdotal descriptions of marijuana-triggered erections, something Urban Dictionary contributors call “stoner boner.” To quote the entry, this is “an erection obtained for no reason other than the fact that the obtainee was too damn high.” (Let’s face it. That’s way better than whisky dick.)

And there is maybe even more content out there about how marijuana impedes the boner. So, what’s real?

As far as we can tell, you can rest easy, brother. The facts about weed use and erections are uncertain at best, with one investigation suggesting that frequent cannabis use caused the men in their study to reach orgasm too quickly, too slowly, or not at all.

And then there’s this other study, which suggests that cannabis could be used to treat erectile difficulties in men with high cholesterol.

In short? The jury is still out. If you’re concerned about how marijuana affects your bedroom presence, try out some different strains and consumption methods. It’s certainly more fun that way,  and you can see how each one affects your desire and ability to perform. Bring on the boner!

Complete Article HERE!

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