What’s the sexual taboo that will define the next generation?

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By Almara Abgarian

Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, Generation Z.

As human beings, we like to attribute societal trends and cultural shifts to a specific generation.

Sexual trends are no exception.

Generation X, people born in the early to mid-60s to early 80s, were influenced by the sexual revolution and ruled by the blowjob, while Millennials embraced anal sex.

Back in 1992, 16% of 18 to 24-year-old women reported they’d tried anal sex. Now, it’s 40% of people by age 24.

Data suggests 94% of women who had anal sex in their last encounter achieved orgasm. That compares 81% for oral sex and 64% for vaginal orgasm.

It’s not as simple as anal sex equals orgasm but having anal sex as part of people’s sexual experience seems to show more sexual satisfaction.

Generation Z has seen conventional sexual roles removed and have taken anal play one step further with pegging – a woman wearing a strap-on and inserting this into the man’s anus.

LoveHoney reported a 200% increase in sales of strap-ons in 2017 and it has continued to grow since then.

So what’s the next taboo to be broken?

‘Society is moving away from the idea that vaginal penetrative sex is the only accepted form of sexual intercourse,’ said Sienna Halliburton, sex expert at Je Joue.

‘Blowjobs, anal sex and pegging have moved, or are still moving, away from being seen as taboo subjects into the realm of “normal” conversation.

‘Greater interest in sex education and liberalising attitudes towards gender and sexuality are largely responsible for these shifts.

‘So what is still a taboo subject that can be broken? Mutual masturbation.’

Masturbation ‘will overtake penetration’

People now developing their sexual identity have been born into an era concentrated on social media and technology, where interaction can be confined to a computer or smartphone.

Research shows that they’re given less opportunities to interact with others at school, with young people half as likely to meet up with peers in person, compared to 2006.

Some experts conclude that this will lead to a lack of social skills, which in turn will cause the next generation to become less interested in penetrative sex with a partner and more focused on masturbation.

‘Sexual content is at their fingertips 24/7 as they navigate the world via smartphones, tablets, and laptops,’ Chelsea Reynolds, assistant professor at the Department of Communications at California State University, tells Metro.co.uk.

‘Because they are exposed to porn, sexting, and online dating at a young age, they feel online-mediated sexuality is natural.

‘What they aren’t comfortable with is face-to-face communication.

‘If Gen X’s thing was the blowjob, millennials’ thing was anal, and Gen Z is into pegging, the next generation will likely be the masturbation generation.

‘For 20 years now there has been a downward trend in teen sexual activity.

‘Teenagers have been consistently losing their virginities at an older age and having fewer sexual partners overall. Although teen sexuality may [be] less taboo than it used to be, teens have a million sexual outlets today that don’t involve genital contact.’

Virtual Reality sex

Another sexual trend influenced by technology is the rise of virtual reality (VR).

Through VR tools, people will be able to act out their wildest fantasies without judgement, as well as find (or create) sexual partners without having to step outside their door.

The opportunity already exists to some degree; the US-based company, Naughty America, allows its users to ‘star’ in porn films, while on adult sites, there are entire sections dedicated to virtual reality-inspired porn.

‘Naturally, the next step from here to take sex to the next level is virtual reality sex,’ Paul Jacques, technical manager at Lovehoney, tells Metro.co.uk.

The best of The Future Of Everything

‘Virtual reality as an industry is booming, and the adult industry is right there taking part in it, with haptic feedback devices (the application of forces, vibrations and motions to help recreate the sense of touch for the user) and full-rendered environments fulfilling consumer fantasies.

‘Companies like Kiiroo and Fleshlight have created toys like the Launch, that combine a really great sex toy with an automatic device that can be linked to online content. CyberSkin’s twerking realistic butt comes with a VR headset that provides a link between the motions you see onscreen and the movements of the toy itself.

‘Particularly of interest is the rise of app-controlled toys, which are shaking up the industry in every way, and ultra-realistic, highly sophisticated sex-cessories, which are starting to make even the most unusual sci-fi fantasies seem like reality.’

Sex will be less important in relationships and introduced later in life

If masturbation becomes the sexual trend that defines the next generation, could people stop having sex altogether?

Sally Baker, a senior therapist, explains that not only will young people have sex later in life – starting in their 30s – but sex will also lose its importance in society as a whole.

This may have already come into motion, with research revealing British people are having less sex than before.

Additional statistics from dating website OKCupid show similar trends, with both millennials and Generation Z prioritising love over sex, or opting out completely because they are ‘risk-averse’.

‘Abstinence or non-penetrative sex could be the next thing,’ Baker tells Metro.co.uk.

‘Friends of any gender mix and sexual orientation will commit to having a primary sexless relationship with each other. Couples or small cores of people will no longer be defined by a shared sexual orientation but by shared values, drives and their mutual emotional need to be together.

‘Young people will commonly delay sexual experience with anyone well into their 30s even if they are already living in a committed relationship.

‘Sex if and when it does take place might well happen externally of the central relationship. A couple may choose to have sex with other people while maintaining their core sexless relationship as their primary commitment.

‘Sex with other people will not be a cause of jealousy or a disruptor of their primary relationship.

‘Sex with others will not overshadow the primacy of their key relationship because they consider the supremacy of their key relationship transcends all base instincts.’

Couples will focus on ‘non-hierarchical’ sexual experiences

That all sounds like a really progressive way to experience relationships but, for those in the older generations, it could look from the outside to be very confusing.

‘If sex happens within a young couple, it will often be solitary and perfunctory,’ Sally Baker says.

‘If they do have sex together, the emphasis would be on mutual extended foreplay and de-emphasising or excluding penetrative sex. This ensures the sex they experience is non-hierarchical and non-binary.

‘Couples will not value sexual imperatives and sexuality takes second place to their desire to experience deep commitment and loyalty for and with each other.

‘Gen A will be highly motivated to form long-term committed relationships as a survival strategy to cope with the disconnect they experience in their lives and careers.

‘Feeling overwhelmed and anxious while living in increasingly inhospitable economic conditions will make it impossible to be single and to thrive.’

If that’s the case, then the sexual taboo of the next generation could be no sex at all.

Complete Article HERE!

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How the Nazis destroyed the first gay rights movement

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In 2017, Germany’s Cabinet approved a bill that will expunge the convictions of tens of thousands of German men for “homosexual acts” under that country’s anti-gay law known as “Paragraph 175.” That law dates back to 1871, when modern Germany’s first legal code was created.

It was repealed in 1994. But there was a serious movement to repeal the law in 1929 as part of a wider LGBTQ rights movement. That was just before the Nazis came to power, magnified the anti-gay law, then sought to annihilate gay and transgender Europeans.

The story of how close Germany – and much of Europe – came to liberating its LGBTQ people before violently reversing that trend under new authoritarian regimes is an object lesson showing that the history of LGBTQ rights is not a record of constant progress.

The first LGBTQ liberation movement

In the 1920s, Berlin had nearly 100 gay and lesbian bars or cafes. Vienna had about a dozen gay cafes, clubs and bookstores. In Paris, certain quarters were renowned for open displays of gay and trans nightlife. Even Florence, Italy, had its own gay district, as did many smaller European cities.

Films began depicting sympathetic gay characters. Protests were organized against offensive depictions of LGBTQ people in print or on stage. And media entrepreneurs realized there was a middle-class gay and trans readership to whom they could cater.

Partly driving this new era of tolerance were the doctors and scientists who started looking at homosexuality and “transvestism” (a word of that era that encompassed transgender people) as a natural characteristic with which some were born, and not a “derangement.” The story of Lili Elbe and the first modern sex change, made famous in the recent film “The Danish Girl,” reflected these trends.

For example, Berlin opened its Institute for Sexual Research in 1919, the place where the word “transsexual” was coined, and where people could receive counseling and other services. Its lead doctor, Magnus Hirschfeld, also consulted on the Lili Elbe sex change.

Connected to this institute was an organization called the “Scientific-Humanitarian Committee.” With the motto “justice through science,” this group of scientists and LGBTQ people promoted equal rights, arguing that LGBTQ people were not aberrations of nature.

Most European capitals hosted a branch of the group, which sponsored talks and sought the repeal of Germany’s “Paragraph 175.” Combining with other liberal groups and politicians, it succeeded in influencing a German parliamentary committee to recommend the repeal to the wider government in 1929.

The backlash

While these developments didn’t mean the end of centuries of intolerance, the 1920s and early ‘30s certainly looked like the beginning of the end. On the other hand, the greater “out-ness” of gay and trans people provoked their opponents.

A French reporter, bemoaning the sight of uncloseted LGBTQ people in public, complained, “the contagion … is corrupting every milieu.” The Berlin police grumbled that magazines aimed at gay men – which they called “obscene press materials” – were proliferating. In Vienna, lectures of the “Scientific Humanitarian Committee” might be packed with supporters, but one was attacked by young men hurling stink bombs. A Parisian town councilor in 1933 called it “a moral crisis” that gay people, known as “inverts” at that time, could be seen in public.

“Far be it from me to want to turn to fascism,” the councilor said, “but all the same, we have to agree that in some things those regimes have sometimes done good… One day Hitler and Mussolini woke up and said, ‘Honestly, the scandal has gone on long enough’ … And … the inverts … were chased out of Germany and Italy the very next day.”

The ascent of Fascism

It’s this willingness to make a blood sacrifice of minorities in exchange for “normalcy” or prosperity that has observers drawing uncomfortable comparisons between then and now.

In the 1930s, the Depression spread economic anxiety, while political fights in European parliaments tended to spill outside into actual street fights between Left and Right. Fascist parties offered Europeans a choice of stability at the price of democracy. Tolerance of minorities was destabilizing, they said. Expanding liberties gave “undesirable” people the liberty to undermine security and threaten traditional “moral” culture. Gay and trans people were an obvious target.

What happened next shows the whiplash speed with which the progress of a generation can be thrown into reverse.

The nightmare

One day in May 1933, pristine white-shirted students marched in front of Berlin’s Institute for Sexual Research – that safe haven for LGBTQ people – calling it “Un-German.” Later, a mob hauled out its library to be burned. Later still, its acting head was arrested.

When Nazi leader Adolph Hitler needed to justify arresting and murdering former political allies in 1934, he said they were gay. This fanned anti-gay zealotry by the Gestapo, which opened a special anti-gay branch. During the following year alone, the Gestapo arrested more than 8,500 gay men, quite possibly using a list of names and addresses seized at the Institute for Sexual Research. Not only was Paragraph 175 not erased, as a parliamentary committee had recommended just a few years before, it was amended to be more expansive and punitive.

As the Gestapo spread throughout Europe, it expanded the hunt. In Vienna, it hauled in every gay man on police lists and questioned them, trying to get them to name others. The fortunate ones went to jail. The less fortunate went to Buchenwald and Dachau. In conquered France, Alsace police worked with the Gestapo to arrest at least 200 men and send them to concentration camps. Italy, with a fascist regime obsessed with virility, sent at least 300 gay men to brutal camps during the war period, declaring them “dangerous for the integrity of the race.”

The total number of Europeans arrested for being LGBTQ under fascism is impossible to know because of the lack of reliable records. But a conservative estimate is that there were many tens of thousands to one hundred thousand arrests during the war period alone.

Under these nightmare conditions, far more LGBTQ people in Europe painstakingly hid their genuine sexuality to avoid suspicion, marrying members of the opposite sex, for example. Still, if they had been prominent members of the gay and trans community before the fascists came to power, as Berlin lesbian club owner Lotte Hahm was, it was too late to hide. She was sent to a concentration camp.

In those camps, gay men were marked with a pink triangle. In these places of horror, men with pink triangles were singled out for particular abuse. They were mechanically raped, castrated, favored for medical experiments and murdered for guards’ sadistic pleasure even when they were not sentenced for “liquidation.” One gay man attributed his survival to swapping his pink triangle for a red one – indicating he was merely a Communist. They were ostracized and tormented by their fellow inmates, too.

The looming danger of a backslide

This isn’t 1930s Europe. And making superficial comparisons between then and now can only yield superficial conclusions.

But with new forms of authoritarianism entrenched and seeking to expand in Europe and beyond, it’s worth thinking about the fate of Europe’s LGBTQ community in the 1930s and ‘40s – a timely note from history as Germany approves same-sex marriage and on this first anniversary of Obergefell v. Hodges.

In 1929, Germany came close to erasing its anti-gay law, only to see it strengthened soon thereafter. Only now, after a gap of 88 years, are convictions under that law being annulled.

Complete Article HERE!

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Everything You Need to Know About Sex After Divorce

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Getting back out there may seem tricky, but we’ve got ways to keep your mind and body healthy and happy.

Are you recently (or not so recently) divorced and out there in the dating world for the first time in, well, what feels like forever? Getting to the part of a new relationship where you take off your clothes can be challenging, or even downright intimidating. That’s where we come in. From our viewpoints as medical pros—Lauren Streicher is an ob/gyn and her daughter Rachel Zar is a relationship and sex therapist—we can help you navigate the tricky mind and body issues that arise.

Get over your anxiety around dating

Many people assume that relationship and sex therapists only focus on people in committed relationships, but many of my single (or newly single!) clients are actually sorting through the complexities of dating—from choosing the right app to choosing the right partner. And as women get older, anxiety around dating goes up. Maybe it’s been years since your last first date (and now you have to learn how to swipe?!), or your internal clock is ticking, or it simply seems more complicated now to find someone to have fun and socialize with.

Still, there are many reasons why dating gets better with age. First of all, those rumors you’ve heard about the dating pool shrinking are a myth; in fact, right now there’s the largest population of single adults in history (chalk it up to the increased acceptability of divorce as well as more people staying unmarried by choice).

But let’s say you’re over 40—libido and sexual pleasure go down with the years, right? Wrong! Research shows that 53% to 79% of older adults who have a partner are sexually active, and it turns out age and menopausal status are not significantly related to overall sexual satisfaction. Even most sexually active adults over 60 are satisfied. Age often comes with an added dose of self-understanding, which does wonders to counter issues caused by the anxiety of our younger years.

Dating gracefully at any age can be difficult. The biggest issues I see single women struggle with—whether they are new at the dating game or have been doing it for years—are confidence and communication.

Limit your online stalking to a quick search

By the time you’re well into adulthood, bringing someone new into your life doesn’t just mean getting a plus-one for parties and regular sex; it also means fitting another human’s habits, friendships, schedules, and past on top of your own. Dating and relationships are all about that give-and-take—and compromise is trickier and a little uncomfortable when we’re set in our ways.

Knowing this may send you straight to Google before each date to try and prejudge whether he (or she) will be compatible with you—but that’s a surefire way to kill the thrill of getting to know someone new. If you’re meeting a person from a dating app or as a blind setup, there’s no harm in doing a quick search to make sure he actually exists and isn’t on any terrifying registries. But I caution my clients away from getting sucked into the online wormhole. Think of how you would feel if, before a first date, this new person had already been judging your past partners on Facebook, scrutinizing your job history on LinkedIn, and even scrolling through your high school yearbook (yes, many of these are online now). Some of the fun of dating is letting information roll out slowly over time and staying curious about each other. Jumping to the finish line takes away the mystery (an important component of eroticism and attraction). It also doesn’t allow you or your date to pick and choose how and when you share certain information.

Decide how and when to disclose your “baggage”

 

Deciding when to reveal not-as-much-fun details to a new partner—from past heartbreaks to current hardships—is complicated. And the older we are, the more baggage we accumulate. But how soon is too soon to share your most private truths?

Let’s start with the basics: When it comes to sharing information about sexually transmitted infections, a good rule is to do so before things go below the belt. Yes, you know the odds of passing on that well-managed, yet still very real herpes infection you caught in college are low, but it’s still important to let your partner know before there’s any chance he could be infected. Potential sexual partners will take cues from you on how they’re expected to react, so if you do your homework, have your facts ready, and calmly mention it and assure him you’re on top of it, he’ll be more likely to respond calmly too.

What about other life issues you aren’t sure about sharing? The etiquette around that kind of information gets trickier, so your best bet is to trust your gut. I’ve worked with clients who feel that all their “stuff” (say, a diagnosis of depression, an aging parent they care for, or a history of abuse) must be put out there on a first date so potential mates know what they’re getting into. But remember, emotional safety is just as important as physical safety; sharing sensitive pieces of yourself should only be done with those who have earned that right. If a new suitor you don’t yet trust reacts strongly to an early share or an over-share, it may leave you feeling raw. My advice is to start lighter and gauge how safe you feel with a person before you reveal your most vulnerable aspects—and then when you do, you can assess whether he’s a good match for you. If he judges you for seeing a therapist, he’s not going to be a supportive partner long-term. If he freaks over the idea of visiting your dad’s retirement home, he may be fine for a casual relationship but not a good fit if you want something serious.

Rediscover what feels good in bed

Revealing your private parts is a big step in any dating relationship, one that should be handled with confidence and care. The great thing about having a little more experience is that you may have developed a better understanding of your body—of what feels good, of what feels great, and of what feels oh-my-God fantastic. If this doesn’t apply to you, there’s no time like the present! Give yourself a massage in the bathtub and focus on how your body feels instead of how it looks. (Scrutinizing every stretch mark and wrinkle isn’t sexy.) Notice that stroking your inner thigh gives you goosebumps or that your nipples are extra sensitive. Knowledge breeds acceptance, and acceptance breeds excitement. The more you know about your unique body, the more you’ll be able to communicate to your partner.

That communication is what separates mediocre lovers from great ones: Studies have shown that couples who talk about their sexual wants and needs report higher satisfaction. Once you know what works for you in bed, let partners know with a direct conversation (most people really want this information!). Tell them where you like to be touched, what kind of touch you love, and any specific acts you know lead to bliss. A simple “harder,” “slower,” or “more to the right” can do wonders in the heat of a moment. And if it’s difficult to find your voice, your hand can be a great guide.

Whether it’s online, on a first date, or in the bedroom, the more you’re able to really show up—being honestly and authentically you—the more success you’ll find and the more fun you’ll have with the new people in your life.
Protect yourself (and your partner) from STIs

When you become sexually active with a new partner after a divorce, the reality is that unless he (or she) is a virgin, you need to think about avoiding a sexually transmitted infection (STI). And midlife women are at much greater risk for STIs than most people appreciate—many of my patients seem to think chlamydia, gonorrhea, and herpes are limited to 20- and 30-year-olds who are having random hookups. Trust me, it’s not as if these bugs ask to see proof of age before infecting someone.

Another thing to know: Women are at higher risk than men, since STIs are more easily passed from male to female than vice versa. In fact, if exposed, a woman is more likely than a man to contract hepatitis B, gonorrhea, or HIV. The risk is even higher for postmenopausal women, since thin vaginal walls are more likely to get microscopic tears during intercourse, creating an easy portal for infection. Women who have common STIs are less likely to have symptoms than men, which means diagnosis is often delayed or missed.

That’s why the age group in which STI rates are rising most rapidly is that of adults at midlife and beyond. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the rate of gonorrhea cases among U.S. women ages 40 to 64 increased over 60% between 2013 and 2016. Chlamydia and syphilis are also on the rise.

A lot of women are reassured by the fantasy that the typical midlife guy is “low-risk,” especially if he’s just ended a long marriage. That’s true if he and his wife were monogamous—but a lot of marriages end because someone wasn’t monogamous. And if you’ve had the thought, I’m not worried…he’s a nice guy, I’ve got news for you. Sometimes the nice guys are the ones most likely to have an infection. Face it: Creepy guys probably have a harder time getting someone to sleep with them.

The solution? Know your enemy (the bugs, not the guys) and protect yourself.

Don’t be a “just this once” person

 

Here’s what you may have told yourself: I’ll always insist on a condom, so I have nothing to worry about, right? Not really. Condoms are not foolproof. First of all, HPV, herpes, and a number of other STIs live not in semen but on skin, so intercourse isn’t necessary to transmit them. Since a condom covers only the penis, short of strapping on a garbage bag to cover a man’s scrotum, anus, and surrounding skin, there is no such thing as total protection.

Still, using a condom consistently remains the best way to lower your risk of getting an STI. But studies show that single women in midlife with new partners rarely report consistent condom use. (I even hear this from my very responsible, hyperaware patients.) For those who are over 40, here’s one possible reason: Women over 40 are generally dating (surprise!) men over 40. Sometimes way over 40. In general, the older a guy gets, the more difficulty he has in getting and maintaining an erection, even in the best of scenarios. Add a few glasses of wine and a condom, and it’s game over.

So while my patients all intend to use condoms, they often don’t. I see and treat a lot of infections in women who decided to skip the condom “just this once.”

Don’t be one of those women—and don’t depend on a man to be prepared. You should have an assortment of male condoms on hand. (Be sure they are all marked “extra-large”!)

The female condom hasn’t caught on yet, but it’s a very viable option. A soft, thin nonlatex sheath, it’s designed to not only cover the cervix and vaginal walls but also shield the outside of the vagina. No special fitting is needed: One size fits everybody.

As my daughter said, talking to a partner about your respective STI histories and current status is key. To do this, you need to be screened—especially important since the majority of these infections have no symptoms in their earliest stages. Despite what you may think, screening for STIs is not done automatically when you go to your doctor, nor is it part of a Pap test. So if your doctor doesn’t bring it up, you need to ask. There’s no need to go into lengthy explanations; simply say, “I’d like a screen for sexually transmitted infections today.” Your doctor will not be shocked. Really.

Okay, now you’ve got both the mind and the body prep from us—go out there and have some fun!

Complete Article HERE!

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Can Your Vagina Be Too Tight For Sex?

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Not exactly, but there are reasons it might *feel* that way.

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It’s a logical conclusion: If it hurts when a partner tries to put their penis or a toy inside of you, or if they can’t get all the way inside, then it must be a problem of tightness, right? Ehhh, not exactly.

There are several reasons for why you might feel like you’re too tight for vaginal penetration, and it’s actually a pretty common problem that gynecologists hear about. But it’s a misconception that feeling a sensation of tightness means you actually have less elasticity down there—and thinking this may prevent you from finding a real (and, in many cases, easy!) solution.

The truth is, vaginas are ridiculously stretchy, says ob-gyn Susan Khalil, MD, director of sexual health for the Mount Sinai Health System. Think about it: Lots of people push babies out of that tiny hole, so it’s gotta give.

So if it’s not a problem of stretch, what’s the issue? Well, there are a variety of factors that might be at play. For instance, “Certain medical conditions can mimic the feeling of tightness,” Dr. Khalil says.

Here are a few common reasons why it may feel as if your vagina is too tight for sex, plus how to find relief.

You went through a hormonal shift.

During menopause, your body experiences a drop in estrogen, which can lead to dryness and the thinning of vaginal tissues, the Mayo Clinic explains. As a result, you may feel a sensation of tightness or irritation during sex. This is something you should bring up with your doctor, who can recommend an over-the-counter vaginal lubricant, or possibly a prescription estrogen cream or hormone replacement therapy.

For some people, menopause messes with more than just lubrication. Sometimes a postmenopausal vagina also atrophies a little bit, Dr. Khalil says, meaning it literally gets more narrow. “And if they don’t have intercourse at all, it can become very uncomfortable,” she says.

Her recommendation? Masturbation. This way, you’re in total control and can gradually help stretch your vagina and make penetration feel more comfortable for you. If a larger toy is uncomfortable at first, you can practice with a series of vaginal dilators that will help your vagina stretch slowly over time.

Birth control, too, can sometimes cause a bit of hormonal upheaval for some people and cause dryness (and, in turn, painful sex). If you just switched your BC and noticed feeling dry or “tight,” or if you have this issue at a particular time during the month, talk to your doctor about it so they can help you determine whether your birth control might be to blame.

You recently had a baby.

Pregnancy and childbirth also involve hormonal changes that can lead to vaginal dryness and issues with painful sex. This is especially the case if you are breastfeeding, according to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG).

Or, if you’re seriously convinced your vagina is tighter after childbirth, it may not be in your head. Though this isn’t super common, Dr. Khalil says that some women who tear during childbirth get stitched up too tightly—meaning that in this one case, their vagina truly is too tight for sex. “Sometimes sutures are done too tightly [and] they’ll need a surgical procedure to fix it,” Dr. Khalil notes.

The same thing can happen if you’ve had a surgery in your genital area (with or without a baby involved), Dr. Khalil notes. But once your doctor goes back in and loosens the stitch, you should be good to go.

Your vagina is too dry.

There’s a laundry list of of reasons for why your vagina may be producing less natural lubrication than it usually does: Maybe you’re going through menopause, you’re breastfeeding, your vagina is naturally dry, or you’re on medication (yup, like birth control) that messes with your lubrication.

Regardless of the reason, though, not having enough lubrication can make sex feel more painful and might make you think your vagina seems tighter, Dr. Khalil says. “I’ll have patients come in and they’ll say it really hurts to have sex,” she says.

Luckily, the immediate solution is pretty easy most of the time: Use a lubricant. Tbh, lubricant makes sex feel better for most people, but it’s especially helpful for people who are dealing with vaginal dryness. Keep in mind, using lube doesn’t actually fix the underlying issue at hand (say, finding a birth control that vibes better with your body), so you should still *always* bring it up with your doc if dryness is a problem for you.

You have vaginismus.

Some people have a condition called vaginismus, which is when the muscles inside their vagina contract involuntarily. The muscle contraction makes it painful anytime something is inserted into the vagina; sometimes even tampon insertion is too much, according to the Merck Manuals.

Most of the time, someone who has vaginismus has it from the very first time they attempt to have penetrative sex. But in other cases it can develop later in life. For some, the cause behind vaginismus may be psychological or a result of an emotional trauma, the Merck Manual says.

While it may take some time to treat vaginismus, working with a pelvic floor physical therapist or gradually using larger and larger vaginal dilators can help, Dr. Khalil says. Working with a mental health professional may also help some individuals.

No matter what, Dr. Khalil encourages talking openly about *any* vaginal discomfort that you’re unsure about.

Whether you feel “tight” or something else, know that you deserve to feel pain-free down below during sex and everything else in life. So be your own health advocate and speak up—to both your partner(s) and your gynecologist.

“Your annual exam is more than a Pap smear,” Dr. Khalil says. “It’s also an opportunity to get to the bottom of any sexual health concerns.”

Complete Article HERE!

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How Many Genders Are There

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— And Why Does Talking About The Spectrum Of Identity Matter So Much?

By Amber Leventry

Lack of representation in the media doesn’t mean you’re not normal.

A person’s identity is so much more than a name scribbled on a ‘Hello My Name Is …’ sticker tag.

We are each complex beings made up of our histories, emotions, desires and values, and defined by our gender identity, sexual orientation and gender expression.

Conversations around the spectrum of gender and human sexuality are evolving, as discussions and celebrations during Pride Month 2019 attest.

It’s becoming more common to see the option of “other” or “preferred” as choices when selecting gender and pronouns on registration forms.

To many of us in the LGBTQIA+ community, asking about our preferences — really, asking who we are — feels refreshing, even hopeful. It makes us feel respected and seen.

But for others, it raises some big questions. How can you prefer something other than male or female?

How many genders are there?

There’s only one good answer to the question of how many genders there are: Gender is a spectrum, and there are as many gender definitions as there needs to for every person to have a label that feels true to themselves.

Maybe that’s confusing. Let me explain.

These three distinct and independent pieces of who we are — gender identity, sexual orientation and gender expression — depend on each other; they weave in and out, touching and layering on themselves to form a complete identity.

Photo credit: The Trevor Project

How do we proudly display all of our components in safe and meaningful ways to strangers if there isn’t room to include more than a name?

We do it by making room in our society for identities that do not follow the heteronormative assumptions of what is “normal”.

This may mean that we need to get a little uncomfortable while we learn about people and terms that are new or confusing.

Think of the sense of self as a spectrum with unlimited possibilities.

The first thing we either attach to or reject is our gender identity — that sense of being male, female, neither, or both.

When humans are born, they are given a gender assignment based on sexual anatomy. That assignment is usually limited to only two genders: male or female.

Even babies who are born intersex, “a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male”, are given a gender assignment with the assumption that one needs a binary label.

But the label is just a suggestion, because sexual anatomy (traditionally used to define “sex” in terms of identification) does not equal gender, and gender is not limited to meaning only one or the other.

Gender is not the binary constraint of being a man or woman, boy or girl.

So while I can’t tell you how many genders there are, there definitely are more than two.

It might help if you understand a little about my personal history.

Based on my anatomy, I was assigned female as my sex at birth. But since I was a kid, I knew I wasn’t just a girl. And as I got older, I knew I wasn’t a boy, either. I am both.

Once I discovered the language for this, I knew the word to describe me is nonbinary.

I can’t be placed into a box of being either male or female, though trust me, it would be easier to do this at times.

The world is not a kind place for those of us who know one of the key components of our identity is a gender many people and organizations do not recognize.

So, how do I know what my gender is?

Well, how do you know you are male? Or female? You just know — I do, too.

On most days I feel like a perfect mix of being both male and female; it’s a grounded feeling of knowing I am a hybrid of two genders.

On other days, I don’t feel overly connected to any gender. I am just me, but male pronouns are not right and female pronouns hurt.

Because of this, I use they/them pronouns.

There are other options for gender neutral and inclusive pronouns, and it’s anyone’s right to use what feels most comfortable.

Photo credit: UWM Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center

While it may seem confusing at first, you don’t have to “get it” to respect it.

In some countries and cultures, the people who know they are neither completely male or female are celebrated. In the United States, it’s hard for people to even get my pronouns correct, so I am not expecting mass celebrations.

Here is a list of some other important gender terms and definitions:

1. Genderfluid or Genderqueer

Some folks who don’t identify as either male or female may call themselves genderfluid or genderqueer.

A genderfluid person is someone who feels male one day, maybe one hour, and female the next. Their gender fluctuates, but what’s consistent is that they are not always one or the other.

Genderqueer folks may identify as neither or both male and female, much like a nonbinary person, and their gender expression may fluctuate, breaking stereotypical gender expressions of what it means to be masculine or feminine.

2. Transgender

If your gender assignment at birth does not match your gender identity, you are transgender, sometimes abbreviated to “trans”.

My gender assignment at birth does not match my gender identity, so this makes me transgender, and my gender identity is nonbinary.

3. Cisgender

If your gender assignment at birth does align with your gender identity, then you are cisgender, sometimes abbreviated to “cis”.

Being referred to by this label is not an insult; it’s simply a way to describe the fact that your assigned gender matches your true identity.

Note that the words transgender and cisgender are adjectives, not good or bad, just descriptors of gender.

Many transgender people still fall into the binary of being male or female. For example, a woman who was assigned male at birth based on anatomy knows she is a woman because of that inner sense of self. Therefore, she is a transgender woman.

4. Gender expression

Our gender expression is how we want to show the world who we are.

As long as it doesn’t hurt anyone, we all have the right to do what makes us most comfortable and happy. This includes what we wear, how we style our hair, if we wear makeup or jewelry, the names and pronouns we wanted to be called and how we accessorize any other external aspects of ourselves.

While I am not male, I express myself in a masculine way. I consider myself trans masculine, even androgynous at times. Others express themselves in more feminine or femme ways; all genders can consider themselves masculine, feminine, neither or both.

5. Gender nonconforming

Some expressions, like a man wearing dresses, is considered gender nonconforming.

For example, a person might identify as being a female, but describe her gender expression as masculine.

The important thing to remember is that there isn’t one way or a right way to be a man, woman, or nonbinary person.

It’s a bummer to feel like we are constantly compared to what many think is the “normal” way men and women and male and female-bodied people should present themselves.

Just because I am not represented in the media, movies, or books, that doesn’t mean I am not normal.

I am unique, perhaps. I am part of a minority. But I am normal and want pretty normal things in life and from others.

I want respect, kindness, and happiness. I want to feel safe and loved (because I fall in love, too).

My sexuality is an important part of who I am because it attracts people who see me for who I am. And for me, I want to find intimacy in vulnerable places with people who don’t question my identity.

The world can be pretty lonely for folks like me who are considered outliers.

What makes me feel most at home and sure of myself can make others feel uncomfortable.

My sense of self includes a gender outside of the binary, but my need for acceptance and compassion falls well within the range of deserved human decency.

What I really want is to feel more comfortable, and that can start with you.

Let go of assumptions and trust that the person you are talking to knows themself better than what you think you know about them based on stereotypes and heteronormative thinking.

And when you add your name to that ‘Hello My Name Is …’ sticker, add your pronouns, too.

It shows that you don’t want anyone making assumptions about you and that you are happy to acknowledge any and all pronouns of the people who may be in your presence.

Hi, my name is Amber. I use they/them pronouns. I am a person who deserves kindness and respect.

There’s a lot to who I am.

For instance, I like tacos and books and I want good coffee and great friends.

And when we meet, I want to know what pronouns you use because I want you to feel good, too, while we search for the nearest library or taco truck together.

Complete Article HERE!

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Sexual Chemistry Isn’t Built In Bed

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— Here’s What Couples Should Do Instead

By Jennifer Guttman, Psy.D.

When couples start experiencing dissatisfaction and dysfunction with the quality of their intimacy and sexual interaction, they tend to focus almost entirely on what happens in the bed. The problem is, by the time you’re in bed, it’s already too late. You’re doomed, just like when you face a big life challenge, test, or exam, and you haven’t put in the hard work and time to study and prepare adequately.

A loving, intimate, and happy sex life takes time to manifest, and most of the real work and “emotional foreplay” needs to happen before the sex occurs. When that doesn’t happen, one or both partners can become resentful about the lack of intimacy, potentially interpreting the behavior correctly or incorrectly as a function of attraction. This can lead to a negative spiral of self-confidence in the relationship and an even deeper negative feedback loop in the bedroom. But the truth is, many dips in a couple’s sex life have little to do with being attracted to each other or not.

If you’re finding there’s not a lot of heat in your relationship these days, it’s important to think about what you’re doing outside of the bedroom to facilitate more intimacy. Here are a few ideas:

1. Foreplay doesn’t start in the bedroom.

Be creative and start setting the tone and warming up to each other throughout the day. Foreplay is about the connection—really feeling “seen” by each other. This can start over a quiet dinner at home or in a restaurant where communicating helps with connecting, or you can use an activity that loosens you both up and brings you both together—a concert, watching a thriller in theaters, hiking, or whatever else you both enjoy. It can also start with playful texting throughout the day, communicating about a suggestion for a planned night out together.

When intimacy becomes more about the “connection” than just the physical act, it shows your partner that you want to have sex with them, not just anyone. Sex begets sex, so having intimate sexual encounters will also make room for opportunities for quicker physical sexual connections with your partner to flourish as well.

2. Find ways to connect about the private—in public.

Reminding each other throughout the following day or week about an intimate encounter that you experienced together is a great way to keep it alive. You can do this by taking a few seconds to send suggestive texts or quick phone calls. The message is “I haven’t forgotten about what we shared together,” and it also subliminally sets the stage for “more to come.” Even a wink at a dinner party can set the stage for a private moment shared between a couple. It may serve as a reminder of something shared the night before or something they’re anticipating.

3. Shower appreciation on each other in your normal lives.

We don’t often connect gratitude and domestic chores to sexuality, but in truth, they can be deeply linked. Most people appreciate follow-through because it indicates that they’re on their partner’s mind. People like to feel appreciated for the acts of kindness they do and all they provide in a relationship. That helps them feel “seen,” which in turn allows people to feel more vulnerable, open, and confident—feelings that are necessary for a healthy, energetic sexual connection. Remembering to follow-up with a question about your partner’s day or a comment of gratitude, for example, can go a long way toward making people feel seen, appreciated, and connected to the relationship.

4. Schedule dates, not sex.

Scheduling dates is much more important than scheduling sex. Scheduling sex can feel robotic, and when sex becomes robotic as opposed to organic, it becomes harder to ensure that on a given day and time, each of you is in a head space to “connect” on an intimate level. If the sexual encounter becomes purely physical on prescribed days, it may feel forced and drive a wedge between the partners. When one partner has an expectation on a certain night that another may not be able to provide, it will inevitably cause a disconnect. Performance anxiety or insecurity may follow, leading to sexual avoidance.

Schedule the date, and try to connect with each other as human beings that love and care about each other. If that leads to a sexual encounter, great! If it doesn’t, the more meaningful the connectedness continues to be, the more likely the sexual encounters will follow.

5. Have a real talk.

Pick a night on which you both agree you’re not having sex but want to come together to talk about it—and I mean really talk about it. Get into the details about what you want and what you’re feeling: Are you bored? Do you feel overwhelmed by your partner’s overtures? Does sex just not feel good or exciting to you right now? Is it hard to have sex when you have other ongoing problems in your relationship or in your life?

These aren’t easy things to talk about, and even if they’re about sex, they’re by no means “sexy.” (Which is why I recommend setting a night aside to talk about this that is separate from date night.) But if you ignore and don’t address uncomfortable issues, you are at risk of not being equipped to confront more challenging topics later. If one partner or the other is feeling resentful about too much or too little sexual contact, a conversation, albeit difficult, is necessary to understand what is in the way of a synergistic sexual relationship. Once the partners have a better understanding of each other’s needs, it’ll be easier to discuss solutions to find the right balance that accommodates both people’s personal preferences.

Consistent and reciprocal communication is imperative. You might want to set aside a specific night for this initially; then over time, hopefully you can develop a rhythm where it’s easy and comfortable bringing these topics up organically as necessary. In order to maintain a healthy sexual relationship, it is critical to reach a reasonable comfort level of communication with each other. Having these mindful albeit challenging discussions about how to break through barriers of boredom to meet each other’s needs is essential.

6. Nurture, nurture, nurture!

Healthy sexual relationships need to be nurtured on an ongoing basis like you would care for all other important aspects of your life. Getting it back on track is one thing; keeping it on track is another. Even as you do begin to build new energy in your intimate life, make sure to keep putting in the work and effort to prevent you from detailing again.

Complete Article HERE!

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How Gay Culture Blossomed During the Roaring Twenties

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During Prohibition, gay nightlife and culture reached new heights—at least temporarily.

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On a Friday night in February 1926, a crowd of some 1,500 packed the Renaissance Casino in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood for the 58th masquerade and civil ball of Hamilton Lodge.

Nearly half of those attending the event, reported the New York Age, appeared to be “men of the class generally known as ‘fairies,’ and many Bohemians from the Greenwich Village section who…in their gorgeous evening gowns, wigs and powdered faces were hard to distinguish from many of the women.”

The tradition of masquerade and civil balls, more commonly known as drag balls, had begun back in 1869 within Hamilton Lodge, a black fraternal organization in Harlem. By the mid-1920s, at the height of the Prohibition era, they were attracting as many as 7,000 people of various races and social classes—gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and straight alike.

Stonewall (1969) is often considered the beginning of forward progress in the gay rights movement. But more than 50 years earlier, Harlem’s famous drag balls were part of a flourishing, highly visible LGBTQ nightlife and culture that would be integrated into mainstream American life in a way that became unthinkable in later decades.

A portrait of a couple, circa 1920s.

The Beginnings of a New Gay World

“In the late 19th century, there was an increasingly visible presence of gender-non-conforming men who were engaged in sexual relationships with other men in major American cities,” says Chad Heap, a professor of American Studies at George Washington University and the author of Slumming: Sexual and Racial Encounters in American Nightlife, 1885-1940.

 

In addition to these groups, whom social reformers in the early 1900s would call “male sex perverts,” a number of nightclubs and theaters were featuring stage performances by female impersonators; these spots were mainly located in the Levee District on Chicago’s South Side, the Bowery in New York City and other largely working-class neighborhoods in American cities.

By the 1920s, gay men had established a presence in Harlem and the bohemian mecca of Greenwich Village (as well as the seedier environs of Times Square), and the city’s first lesbian enclaves had appeared in Harlem and the Village. Each gay enclave, wrote George Chauncey in his book Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940, had a different class and ethnic character, cultural style and public reputation.

A 1927 illustration of three transgender women and a man dancing at a nightclub.

Gay Life in the Jazz Age

As the United States entered an era of unprecedented economic growth and prosperity in the years after World War I, cultural mores loosened and a new spirit of sexual freedom reigned. The flapper, with her short hair, figure-skimming dresses and ever-present cigarette and cocktail, would become the most recognizable symbol of the Roaring Twenties, her fame spreading via the new mass media born during that decade. But the ‘20s also saw the flourishing of LGBTQ nightlife and culture that reached beyond the cities, across the country, and into ordinary American homes.

Though New York City may have been the epicenter of the so-called “Pansy Craze,” gay, lesbian and transgender performers graced the stages of nightspots in cities all over the country. Their audiences included many straight men and women eager to experience the culture themselves (and enjoy a good party) as well as ordinary LGBTQ Americans seeking to expand their social networks or find romantic or sexual partners.

“It gave them many more possible places they could go to meet other people like themselves,” Heap says of the Pansy Craze and accompanying lesbian or Sapphic craze, of the ‘20s and early to mid-‘30s. “At its height, when many ordinary heterosexual men and women were going to venues that featured queer entertainment, it probably also provided useful cover for queer men and women to go to the same venues.”

At the same time, lesbian and gay characters were being featured in a slew of popular “pulp” novels, in songs and on Broadway stages (including the controversial 1926 play The Captive) and in Hollywood—at least prior to 1934, when the motion picture industry began enforcing censorship guidelines, known as the Hays Code. Heap cites Clara Bow’s 1932 film Call Her Savage, in which a short scene features a pair of “campy male entertainers” in a Greenwich Village-like nightspot. On the radio, songs including “Masculine Women, Feminine Men” and “Let’s All Be Fairies” were popular.

The fame of LGBTQ nightlife and culture during this period was certainly not limited to urban populations. Stories about drag balls or other performances were sometimes picked up by wire services, or even broadcast over local radio. “You can find them in certain newspaper coverage in unexpected places,” Heap says.

A cross-dresser being taken away in a police van for dressing like a woman, circa 1939.

“Pansy Craze” Comes to an End

With the end of Prohibition, the onset of the Depression and the coming of World War II, LGBTQ culture and community began to fall out of favor. As Chauncey writes, a backlash began in the 1930s, as “part of a wider Depression-era condemnation of the cultural experimentation of the 20’s, which many blamed for the economic collapse.”

The sale of liquor was legal again, but newly enforced laws and regulations prohibited restaurants and bars from hiring gay employees or even serving gay patrons. In the mid- to late ‘30s, Heap points out, a wave of sensationalized sex crimes “provoked hysteria about sex criminals, who were often—in the mind of the public and in the mind of authorities—equated with gay men.” 

This not only discouraged gay men from participating in public life, but also “made homosexuality seem more dangerous to the average American.”

By the post-World War II era, a larger cultural shift toward earlier marriage and suburban living, the advent of TV and the anti-homosexuality crusades championed by Joseph McCarthy would help push the flowering of gay culture represented by the Pansy Craze firmly into the nation’s rear-view mirror. 

Drag balls, and the spirit of freedom and exuberance they represented, never went away entirely—but it would be decades before LGBTQ life would flourish so publicly again.

Complete Article HERE!

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Gay men reveal the fetishes they don’t want others to know about

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Kinky gay men who are open and honest with partners are more likely to have better mental health

By Joe Morgan

Gay men have revealed the fetishes they don’t want others to know about.

XTube surveyed their users to determine and rank which fetishes they get turned most on by.

The winner was ‘partialism’, also known as a fetish for a particular part of the body. This could be anything from feet to a hairy chest.

Role play was second on the list, while narratophilia (or dirty talk) was third on the list.

The answers was collected from over 3,000 gay or bisexual men over the age of 18.

Fetishes

The full list:

1. Partialism (9.54%)

2. Role play (8.24%)

3. Narratophilia [or dirty talk] (7.55%)

4. Uniforms [firefighters, soldiers etc] (7.41%)

5. Bondage (7.31%)

6. Submission (7. 3%)

7. Exhibitionism [sex in a place you can get caught] (6.28%)

8. Voyeurism [watching others have sex] (4.7%)

9. Maschalagnia [armpits] (3.4%)

10. Macrophilia [someone being bigger than you] (2.79%)

11. Olfactophilia [smells and odors] (2.52%)

12. Clothing fetishism [leather, rubber] (2.14%)

13. Underwear fetishism [jockstraps, etc] (2.01%)

14. Ablutophilia [baths, showers] (1.78%)

15. Technosexuality [robots, toys etc] (1.4%)

16. Medical fetishism [doctors etc] (1.36%)

17. Podophilia [feet] (1.24%)

18. Coulrophilia [clowns] (1.11%)

19. Sitophilia [food] (1%)

20. Pygophilia [bums] (0.79%)

21. Transvestophilia [wearing clothing typically worn by the opposite gender] (0.65%)

22. Toonophilia [cartoons] (0.3%)

Kink and mental health

If you are kinky, psychotherapists advise to share it with your partners if you already have good communication.

Also, some studies say people who do engage in kink are more likely to have positive mental health.

Deborah Fields, a kink-specialist and psychotherapist, told Gay Star News: ‘[There are studies that say] people who are kinky are more likely to be ok with themselves. People who are kinky tend to have better mental health than people who are not.

‘It’s a hard one to judge. I see a lot of mental health issues. However, do I see any more mental health issues than those outside of the kink community. No.

‘I think what kinky people do is talk more. We have to talk about our shit more than someone that doesn’t. You’re negotiating consent. That community, we, are more likely to discuss things and be open about mental health upfront. The idea of being risk-aware is also including mental health.

‘Research says we’re quite ok. However, there’s no widespread research that has yet to look at the kink community.

Complete Article HERE!

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How the homophobic media covered the 1969 Stonewall uprising

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The New York Daily News and the Village Voice used slurs in their reporting about the police raid that galvanized the gay rights movement

A sign at New York City’s Stonewall Inn, a gay bar and national historic landmark where a police raid and riots in 1969 galvanized the gay rights movement.

By Gillian Brockell

The most striking thing about the media coverage of the Stonewall riots — the 1969 uprising that was a turning point in the gay rights movement — is how offensive much of it was.

“Homo Nest Raided, Queen Bees Are Stinging Mad” blared the headline on the front page of the New York Daily News. “Lilies of the valley” “pranced out to the street” when the cops showed up, the paper said.

“The police had difficulty keeping a dyke in a patrol car,” reported the Village Voice. And from inside the bar, where police and the Village Voice reporter were briefly trapped, “the sound filtering in doesn’t suggest dancing faggots any more.”

And if you’re wondering if those words were as derogatory then as they are now — “Yeah, these were not friendly words,” said historian Hugh Ryan after reading both articles. Ryan is the author of the book “When Brooklyn Was Queer.”

Both the Daily News and Village Voice stories were long and detailed, but the focus is on prurient descriptions of gay and transgender people meant to highlight their difference.

Consider the decidedly non-news lead in the Daily News:

“She sat there with her legs crossed, the lashes of her mascara-coated eyes beating like the wings of a hummingbird. She was angry. She was so upset she hadn’t bothered to shave. A day old stubble was beginning to push through the pancake makeup. She was a he. A queen of Christopher Street.”

We know now that most of the participants in the Stonewall Riots were gay men, though transgender women and lesbians also played vital roles. But more often than not in the Daily News story, the rioters are referred to as “lad[ies]-in-waiting,” “spokesman, or spokeswoman” and “girls.” Stonewall is described as a bar where “they could congregate, drink, dance and do whatever little girls do.”

Ryan says this may be shocking to read now, but he can’t say definitively whether the reporter is being intentionally offensive. Nowadays there is growing understanding of the difference between transgender women, like Laverne Cox; gay men who sometimes dress in drag, like RuPaul; and other people who just like to mess with ideas about gender by, say, wearing a dress and growing a beard.

For example, one of the rioters was a gay man named Martin Boyce who told Ryan that at the time of the riots, he was a “scare queen” — someone who “wore just enough drag to freak out the straights.”

“What does that mean in terms of how he would have been covered?” Ryan asked. Reporters may not have seen or known the difference between Boyce and transgender activists like Marsha P. Johnson. (Many newsrooms and journalism groups now have guides on how to cover LGBT subjects.)

Jerry Lisker, who wrote the Daily News article, died in 1993. Howard Smith, who wrote the Village Voice article and was a noted chronicler of the hippie movement, died in 2014. His New York Times obituary says many people first heard words like “Stonewall” from his reporting, without mentioning that Smith used gay slurs in the same report.

Coverage of Stonewall in the Times was certainly less salacious — and just less, in word count. A few hundred words describe the first night of the unrest under the headline “4 policemen hurt in ‘Village’ raid.” And the next day, when protests continued, a few hundred more words were printed under the headline “Police again rout ‘Village’ youths.”

The Washington Post was even more spare; toward the back of the July 1, 1969, edition, just 60 words follow the headline “N.Y. Homosexuals Protest Raids.” The Post didn’t mention Stonewall again for 10 years.

But according to Ryan, the fact it was covered at all is significant.

“Part of what is important about Stonewall is that it gets a certain amount of straight recognition,” he said.

That recognition was not accidental. Stonewall participants such as Jim Fouratt were actively seeking media attention.

Ryan said that when he spoke with Fouratt, the activist recalled, “The first thing I did when I got home from Stonewall is I picked up my Rolodex and I called everyone.” Fouratt, who was well-connected in the antiwar movement and music industry, called reporters and activists to amplify the impact of the riots.

Some of that coverage wasn’t exactly accurate. One of the long-standing myths of Stonewall — that it was sparked by the death of gay icon Judy Garland — springs from that coverage. While a few of the participants have told historians that, yes, they did stand outside Garland’s funeral earlier that day, Garland’s death had nothing to do with why they were rioting. Plus, most of the rioters were young street kids, not the older gay men more associated with Garland fandom.

In fact, the only mention of a Garland connection appears nearly two weeks after the police raid, in an insulting Village Voice column that began: “The combination of a full moon and Judy Garland’s funeral was too much for them.” The columnist then calls Stonewall “the Great Faggot Rebellion.”

“I think [the Judy Garland myth] persists because it’s a good story, because it’s easy to pass on … and that makes it survive,” Ryan said, “But I do think it trivializes” Stonewall to repeat the myth.

The most important thing about Stonewall, though, wasn’t that it happened or that it made the newspapers. Three days into the unrest, Fouratt and his friends founded the Gay Liberation Front, a gay rights group that took a much more assertive approach than its forebears.

The next year, with other groups including the Gay Activists Alliance, the GLF organized the first pride march on the anniversary of the riots.

But the GLF held its first protest the previous year on Sept. 12, 1969 — against the Village Voice for using gay slurs in its coverage of Stonewall.

Complete Article HERE!

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American Theater After Stonewall | STONEWALL @ 50

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KNOW YOUR HISTORY!

In celebration of Pride month

Patrick Pacheco, the one and only.

Join us at Chez Josephine Restaurant where Patrick Pacheco and Donna Hanover explore “American Theater After Stonewall,” from 1969 to the present. Donna asks Patrick about the four seminal plays he has chosen that helped shape American Theater – Mart Crowley’s “The Boys in the Band,” Harvey Fierstein’s “Torch Song,” Larry Kramer’s “The Normal Heart,” and Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America.”

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How to Know If You Should Talk to Someone About a Low Sex Drive

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Plus where to get help

By Carolyn L. Todd

Feeling concerned about a low libido can be such an isolating experience. When your psychological drive to have sex isn’t where you would hope it is, you might feel like you can’t even discuss it with a partner—the very person you may normally turn to for basically everything else. But a persistently low libido that bothers you is not something to ignore. Here’s what could be behind a low libido, as well as guidance on who to talk to and how to find them.

Factors that can affect your libido

“There are so many physiological, psychosocial, and environmental factors in a [person’s] life that can have a very strong negative impact on their sex drive,” Leah Millheiser, M.D., clinical assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology and ob/gyn at the Female Sexual Medicine Program at Stanford Medicine, tells SELF.

Some of the most common libido-killers include stress and fatigue, says Dr. Millheiser. Relationship issues like mismatched expectations about sex or a lack of emotional intimacy can also contribute. Additionally, hormonal fluctuations can sway a person’s libido, including the changes that occur during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause, as SELF previously reported. Several common prescription drugs, like some hormonal contraceptives and antidepressants can also affect your libido, according to the Mayo Clinic.

While tons of situational factors can affect your libido, this isn’t always necessarily a bad thing. Maybe you’re currently single, crushing it in like three different areas of your life, and honestly, sex and intimacy just aren’t top of mind for you right now. If you don’t really feel any type of way about that, carry on!

Conditions that can cause chronic low libido

So, we know there are situational factors that can impact libido, but health conditions can play a role too. Virtually every aspect of health can impact the physiological and psychological aspects of desire, which in turn can influence each other, Madeleine M. Castellanos, M.D., a board-certified psychiatrist specializing in sex therapy and author of Wanting to Want, tells SELF.

That includes numerous conditions that dampen desire by causing pain during sex, including endometriosis, ovarian cysts, vulvodynia (terrible chronic pain surrounding the vaginal opening), and vaginismus (muscle spasms that make penetration uncomfortable). Circulatory issues caused by conditions such as hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes can result in a lack of sufficient blood flow to the genitals that hinders physical sexual arousal (which can impact the mental portion), according to the Cleveland Clinic. Then there are mental health conditions like depression and anxiety, which can make sex feel like the last thing you want to do.

So what happens if you’re experiencing chronic low libido without any of the aforementioned risk factors? If your libido has been absent for more than six months and you really can’t pinpoint why, you may have a condition called hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), which some experts think is linked to a chemical imbalance in the brain.

In sum, there are plenty of reasons why you might be dealing with a low sex drive. Figuring it out on your own can be confusing. That’s where experts may be able to help.

When to see someone about a low libido

The expert wisdom here is pretty simple: If you’re distressed about your libido or it’s causing issues in your relationship, it’s time to talk to a pro, Dr. Millheiser says.

Not only could low libido be a sign of an underlying health concern, but enjoying sex regularly can be good for you. “It’s a wonderful connection with another human being, but it’s also an important piece of your health,” Dr. Castellanos explains. In some people, sexual activity can help do things like make you feel great and less stressed, take your mind off menstrual cramps, and maybe even help you get to sleep, as SELF previously reported. Being satisfied with your libido and having a fulfilling sex life can have a positive impact on your psychological well-being as well.

“Don’t put [low libido] on the back burner if it persists,” Dr. Castellanos explains. “The earlier you address it, the easier it is to correct the problem.”

But keep in mind: You should only consider seeing someone about your libido if you view it as a problem. If someone like your partner is trying to make it seem as though your libido isn’t “high enough,” that doesn’t necessarily mean anything’s wrong with you or your sex drive. Your partner might be making assumptions based on their own libido, or maybe your libido really has changed over time but it’s a change that you’re mentally aligned with. While it couldn’t hurt to talk to someone about a change in your libido, you should never feel pressured to do so.

Who you can talk to about libido issues

The person best equipped to help you depends on what’s causing your low libido and your access to care, Dr. Castellanos explains.

If you have no idea where to start: See your primary care provider (PCP) or a general internist. “Any physical condition can affect your desire, so it’s always worthwhile to get that checked first,” Dr. Castellanos says.

This type of doctor can discuss your symptoms, order tests to help you uncover potential underlying medical issues, and refer you to a specialist if necessary.

If you’re having vaginal health issues: See an ob/gyn. Symptoms like pain with intercourse merit an exam and discussion with a specialist, Dr. Castellanos says.

If you’re having mental health issues: See a licensed therapist or psychiatrist. They can help you figure out which mental health condition may be contributing to your low libido and potentially provide a treatment plan.

If you suspect the problem is a medication you’re taking: See your prescribing doctor. They can talk to you about how likely it is that your low libido is a side effect of the drug and possibly recommend potential alternatives.

If no underlying medical condition is at play: Consider seeing a sex therapist. Sex therapists have the interpersonal training and depth of expertise to “get into the nuance and the nitty gritty of the psychology of sexual desire with you the way other clinicians don’t,” Dr. Castellanos explains.

The Mayo Clinic recommends looking for a certified sex therapist with a certification from the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT). Here’s more help for finding a sex therapist in your area.

If you’re having problems with your partner: You may not be sure whether relationship wrinkles are to blame for your low libido. Ask yourself if you still feel desire when you think about somebody else (like your celebrity crush) but not your partner, Dr. Castellanos says. If you do, that could point specifically to your relationship as your issue

In that case, you might want to see a sex therapist or couples’ counselor. They can help you dig into dynamics that could be affecting your libido, such as poor communication in or outside the bedroom. (Not all couples’ counselors cover sex issues, though, Dr. Castellanos notes, so check about that before you make your first appointment.)

If you think you have HSDD: See any kind of clinician specializing in women’s or sexual health, Dr. Millheiser says. That includes a PCP, nurse practitioner, licensed counselor, or psychiatrist. Diagnosis involves taking a medical history, ruling out any other factors, and, ideally, using a five-question screener based on diagnostic criteria developed by the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health (ISSWSH), Dr. Millheiser says.

How to talk to someone about your libido

Discussing sex in a medical setting isn’t always easy, and doctors know this. “I tell all my patients that I know talking about your sex life is very personal, especially if it’s not going well,” Dr. Castellanos says. “You might be anxious, but remember that only by saying what the issue is [can you] get help.” Here’s how to start the conversation.

1. Bring it up right off the bat.

“It’s very important to actually say why you’re there. If you don’t start off by telling them what the problem is, they don’t know what questions to ask,” Dr. Castellanos says.

Don’t wait until the last minute to see if your doctor brings it up. Unless this is their specialty, they may not. “That doesn’t mean it’s not appropriate to talk about with them. It just means that they’re busy thinking about other aspects of your health,” Dr. Millheiser says.

2. Be straightforward and specific.

It benefits both of you to be as open and honest as possible here, Dr. Castellanos says. Try something like, “Over the last three months, my sex drive has really dropped off and I’m not sure why. My partner and I used to have sex about twice a week, but now it’s more like once a month. We’re pretty happy otherwise.” And, of course, if you are having other symptoms, like fatigue or pain with intercourse, bring those up too.

3. Get a referral if necessary.

Some caregivers are more informed about libido or feel more comfortable talking about it than others, Dr. Castellanos says. If you’re not sure whether yours is the right person to help you or you’re not getting the care you want, Dr. Millheiser recommends asking your provider to connect you to someone else. Try something like, “If you don’t treat these things, can you refer me to somebody who does?”

“They probably know someone or can at least point you in the right direction,” Dr. Millheiser says.

And remember, your doctor has heard it all before. As Dr. Millheiser explains, “There is very little that could shock a clinician, and sexual function concerns are so common.”

Complete Article HERE!

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How right-wing purity culture leaves women with lasting psychological damage and self-hate

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The so-called “purity” culture in the Christian evangelical community has made millions for churches and Christian swag manufacturers. However, it’s been harming millions of teens across the country who made a vow of chastity before marriage.

Statistics reveal that 85 percent of men and 81 percent of women have sex prior to marriage, so the numbers aren’t looking good for the church. For those who made the pledge but fell short of the goal, damaging implications have followed, The Christian Post reported.

“Amid the rise of the #MeToo movement paired with reports of sex abuse within the Church, individuals whose lives were shaped by purity culture began to push back,” the report said. “They shared stories of how some of the more problematic aspects of the movement, though well-intentioned, caused them to have an unhealthy relationship with religion, relationships, and sex.”

Cait West revealed her upbringing in Christian patriarchy where women were to be submissive to male house-heads. Female children were not allowed to date unless it was a courtship seeking marriage. She recalled being “shamed for normal adolescent curiosity.” Any sexual thoughts meant she was basically fornicating.

“Dating was never an option,” she told The Christian Post in an interview. “I was never taught about sex or sexuality at all. I remember asking my parents, testing the waters, ‘What’s this about?’ And they brushed it aside. I was never allowed to explore or ask questions, so I never thought of myself as a sexual being because of that.”

She learned that women being sexual beings were bad. They weren’t allowed to be sexual. Everything was tied to shame. Even clothing had to be approved by her father, who would gauge the “modesty” of the outfit.

 

“My father would come to the store with me and judge everything I had on,” she said. “That overt male gaze judging my clothing throughout my adolescence and into my 20’s really shaped how I thought of myself because I never thought who I was from my perspective.”

That shame then turned to anxiety. It wasn’t until she left the faith at 25 that she began to explore the emotional damage that had been done. She called it “emotional, physical and spiritual trauma.”

“I felt very disconnected from my own body because I was never taught about the sexual part of me,” she said. “I didn’t want to think about my own body or explore my own sexuality because it was a dirty part of me I wasn’t allowed to explore. It made me feel weird about living in my own body, and I didn’t realize just how much I hated my own body until I left the movement.”

As a spouse, she now struggles to think of sex as something intimate for partners and not purely for procreation.

“I’ve had a lot of trouble with disassociation in sexually intimate moments because it’s too much for me to be present in my own body because it feels bad,” she explained. “For years, you’re told something is bad — and then suddenly you get married and you’re supposed to be OK with it. It was like I was trained not to have that part of me turned on or be aware of things.”

“I’ve been working through that process of figuring out what those toxic messages were and re-train myself to have agency,” she added.

Pure: Inside the Evangelical Movement That Shamed a Generation of Women and How I Broke Free by Linda Kay Klein walks through the struggle with gender-based shame, fear and the emotional distress that can leave lasting damage to women. She began compiling stories from dozens of friends in the purity movement. All of the women experienced psychological problems related to sex and sexuality.

“My interviewees made different life choices, yet among their stories, I heard many of the same themes,” she shared. “I heard about sexual and gender-based shame, fear, anxiety, and experiences stemming from their shame that mimicked Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder, such as nightmares, panic attacks, and paranoia. Several of my interviewees told me their shame was also creating deep problems in their marriages, particularly in their marriage beds.”

She explained that as girls grow into women they’re still taught never to “inspire” sexual thoughts from men. It makes an easy transition to rape culture, which maintains that women are responsible for the actions of men raping or abusing them. In no other crime is the victim the responsible party. However, conservatives blame clothing or behavior of a victim for the actions of someone else.

“In other words, girls grew up with the message that not only did we need to be pure, but it was our responsibility to ensure that the whole community was pure. That’s a lot of pressure for a young girl!” exclaimed Klein.

But it’s the shame that leaves lasting damage to women who self-impose guilt. She noted the shame is a huge part of the purity movement.

“Shame isn’t bashfulness,” she said. “It is a feeling of our being unworthy, or being seen as unworthy in other people’s eyes, that causes us to disconnect from ourselves, from others, and—from what I’ve seen in my interviews—from God at times. It can lead to emotional isolation which can develop into dangerous levels of hopelessness, desperation, subsequent self-harm, and much more.”

Complete Article HERE!

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Four Ways to Destigmatize Abortion in Everyday Conversations

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At a time when we are being inundated with anti-choice bans, we all have a responsibility to challenge the myths, misinformation, and stigma surrounding abortion that contribute to a culture where such laws are seen as valid.

By Ellen Friedrichs

If you feel like anti-abortion bills are being passed by Republican lawmakers at every turn, you wouldn’t be wrong. Recently, lawmakers in at least 15 states have proposed near-total abortion bans, and four governors have signed such bans into law. Though not yet enacted, the laws would outlaw abortion once a “fetal heartbeat” can be detected, as early as two weeks after a missed period in some cases.

Abortion is already deeply stigmatized, but increasingly restrictive measures cement the idea in the public consciousness that there is something inherently wrong with it. Numerous organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood, have vowed to fight these new laws.

That’s important. But so too is the responsibility we all have: challenging the myths, misinformation, and stigma surrounding abortion that contribute to a culture where such laws are seen as valid.

Here are four ways we can all fight abortion stigma in our everyday lives.

1. Avoid Creating an Abortion Hierarchy

My mother was 26 years old in 1973 when the Supreme Court affirmed that abortion was a constitutional right. She knew well what it was like to grow up when the act of performing or obtaining an abortion was a crime, and as a result she was vocal in her support of its legalization. However, she also qualified her views on abortion, identifying some abortions, like those in cases of rape, incest, young age, poverty, or health risks, as more defensible than others.

This is a really common view, but Alison Norris and her colleagues explained in a 2011 research paper how it can be a problematic one. As they write, “The pro-choice community, researchers, and advocates need to avoid language that endorses ‘good’ versus ‘bad’ reasons for abortions. Pro-choice people should not distance themselves from abortion, invoking ‘safe, legal, and rare’ language, which perpetuates the stigma.” When people do this, they explain, it reinforces the view that certain abortions are legitimate and others are not.

Ultimately, no one but the pregnant person is qualified to decide whether it’s the “right” decision.

Another problem with this dichotomy is that it disproportionately hurts people who are already marginalized or whose presentation challenges mainstream views on acceptable abortion motivations. One study, published in 2016, found that some doctors privileged abortions “when women perform normative gendered sexuality, including distress about the abortion, guilt about failure to contracept, and desire for motherhood.”

Being forced to meet criteria for abortion worthiness means that, in a world where the goal posts are ever shifting and where the playing field is far from level, a lot of people will be disqualified.

2. Don’t Assume Abortion Is a Devastating Choice With Dangerous Mental Health Implications

Many people assume that people who have an abortion will be, or should be, deeply conflicted about the experience. Expressing uncomplicated feelings can leave someone branded as heartless or cavalier. The persistence of this belief can mean that people who have abortions may feel pressure to express more conflict about the experience than they actually feel. This serves to deepen the perception that abortion is always a gut-wrenching choice.

There is also the assumption that abortion will inevitably damage a person’s mental health. But the research doesn’t bear this out. For example, a study looking at the mental health impact of receiving versus being denied a wanted abortion found that the greatest predictor of negative mental health outcomes was not whether or not the person got the abortion, but rather it was having a history of mental health conditions, violence, or child abuse and neglect. Another study, this one done by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, found that approximately 95 percent of women who had an abortion did not regret their choice. Researchers have also determined that stigma and secrecy, and not the fact of having an abortion, causes people the most distress about the procedure.

There are a lot of normal responses to abortion, but painting the experience with a single brush invalidates the range of experiences people actually have.

3. Talk About Abortion as a Part of Reproductive Health Care—Which It Is

Abortion is so common that approximately 1 in 4 women will have one by the time they are 45. Yet we often treat abortion as if it is completely separate from other aspects of reproductive health care. That can make people who terminate their pregnancies feel very alone.

One way to combat this is for health-care providers and sexual health educators to include abortion in discussions about reproductive and sexual health care. Of course, this is easier said than done. Thirty-seven states require sex education programs include abstinence. As is often the case in those states, conversations about abortion are typically inaccurate or absent. Plus, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently announced changes to Title X, the federal family planning program, preventing doctors who work in clinics that receive Title X funding from referring patients for abortion care even if their patients ask about it. Earlier this month, a federal judge temporarily blocked the “gag rule,” but there is still a chance it could be enforced.

Even so, whenever possible it is helpful for all of us to weave in conversations about abortion alongside topics like contraception, safer sex, and infertility treatment. Doing this will go a long way toward normalizing the health-care service.

4. Share Abortion Stories

A number of years ago, an acquaintance who lived abroad was coming through town and I offered to put her up for the night. She ended up delaying her trip by a few days. When she arrived, she mentioned that she’d needed to have an abortion shortly before her travels. I remember being surprised both by her candor and by the absence of any other explanation as to why she’d had an abortion. That is because in the United States, abortion stigma means that people typically keep their abortions a secret from everyone but their innermost circle. This woman clearly had a different perspective and encountering that was eye-opening.

Certainly, more and more people are trying to change this culture of secrecy. For example, We Testify, an abortion storytelling leadership program at the National Network of Abortion Funds, centers the experiences of people of color. People can also find abortion stories at the website Shout Your Abortion. In recent days, the celebrity driven #YouKnowMe has been trending as more people open up about their abortions. Reading through these is a good reminder of the power that comes from sharing personal experiences. That’s not to say that everyone needs to broadcast the intimate details of their health care to the entire world; we are all entitled to medical privacy (in fact, that is one of the fundamental principles of Roe!). Nevertheless, even a single one-on-one conversation can help destigmatize abortion and make an impact.

Complete Article HERE!

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I Swear By Scheduling Sex in Relationships

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Sex can be as important as any meeting.

By Gigi Engle

If you’ve ever been in a long-term relationship, this might sound familiar: You and your partner tumble into bed at the end of each day completely exhausted, promising yourselves you’ll have sex tomorrow. Then that tomorrow-sex rarely comes, pun fully intended.

As a certified sex coach and sexologist, I often hear about how difficult it is to make time for intimacy while leading hectic lives. It’s why I swear by scheduling sex in relationships. This is exactly what it sounds like: sitting down with your partner and marking sex dates into your calendar.

Many of my colleagues in the sexual health space and I call this “maintenance sex,” which…doesn’t sound sexy, I know. But for some people, scheduling sex is critical for maintaining a healthy relationship, hence the moniker.

“It definitely feels like we’re closer now than when we’d wait for ‘the mood’ to just hit us. Without it being scheduled, we were like two ships passing in the dead of night,” Melissa B., 28, who’s been with her husband for eight years and scheduling sex for just over a year, tells SELF. “Either I wasn’t feeling it, he was working late, or we honestly [were] just too exhausted.”

Why I’m a fan of scheduling sex

Even though sex is typically so, so vital for relationship happiness, people often let it fall by the wayside in long-term couplehood. Scheduling sex is an amazing way for partners to keep intimacy and satisfaction alive.

If sex feeds your bond, it isn’t just some extra fluff you should try to work into your day if you have time. When it’s part of the glue holding you together, it deserves some respect and dedication. But there’s this very pervasive and annoying myth that sex should just happen. For a lot of people, sex in long-term relationships generally doesn’t work that way. And that’s fine!

“[Scheduling sex] has helped our sex life. Having to plan it into our lives gave us both a bit of a reality check that we need to make the time,” Brook W., 24, who’s been with her partner for eight years and scheduling sex for the last nine months, tells SELF.

How to actually schedule sex

1. Figure out a day and time that works for both of you.

It sounds obvious, but you can’t schedule sex without this bit. I recommend that couples sit down together and carve out a time that works, whether it’s a standing sex date or something you need to decide anew each week. It feels like a more intentional step towards intimacy than scheduling via text and the like. Technology is great, but there’s really nothing like IRL face time.

Don’t just think about when it logistically makes sense, also think about when you might feel most emotionally and mentally engaged or turned on.

“I suggested scheduling sex because my partner preferred late night sex and I’m such an early bird, and both our lives were pretty packed. We started scheduling late-afternoon and early-evening sex when we both had good energy,” August M., 40, who’s in a four-year relationship and has been scheduling sex for three years, tells SELF.

2. Actually put it in your calendar.

When you write your scheduled sex down, you’re granting it the same weight you’d give any other important appointment. So be sure it’s on both of your calendars. Even give it a designated color. I suggest hot pink or red. (You can guess why.)

“We noticed that the only day of the week that seemed to allow us to both have free time was Tuesday afternoons. We both [take] late and long lunches that day, allowing us to slip back to our apartment for one-on-one time,” Melissa says. “It’s something in my schedule that I protect at all costs. I mean, even my admin at the office knows not to schedule any meetings on Tuesday afternoons. I just always have a block on my schedule for that chunk of time.”

3. Be flexible about what kinds of intimacy are involved.

Having a sex schedule does not mean you need to have intercourse every time (or ever). This isn’t really about sex. It’s about intimacy. Many—but not all—couples often do experience this through sex, while others don’t.

The point is scheduling time to engage in whatever activities make you feel more closely connected. Perhaps it’s a make-out session. Maybe one week it’s oral sex and the next you spend time playing with your partner’s hair and talking about your fantasies.

This level of flexibility respects the fact that life happens. For example, I don’t expect you to toss aside a fight simply because sex is on the schedule. This flexibility also acknowledges that some people experience a more responsive form of desire and really only become aroused after seduction and sexual touching have begun. Scheduled sex is not about mandating a specific command performance, but creating a space where sex can happen if it’s right for you both at that time.

So, talk about what scheduling sex really encompasses. Be willing to compromise so both of you are satisfied. What’s most important is setting aside time for you two to be together and focus on your relationship.

4. Do your best to stick with the schedule.

One of the biggest issues couples have with this process is not following through. It’s really up to the two of you to decide how committed you are to this schedule based on everything else going on in your lives.

I often have clients who note there is a sense of pressure when they first start a sex schedule, which can scare them away. For some people, that drops off once they get used to it. But it may also take some playing around to land on a version of scheduling sex that works for you.

“We tried putting sex on the calendar for Saturday mornings, and it was so exhausting,” Britt K., 28, who’s been with her partner for four years, tells SELF. “I would feel so needy and terrible because Saturday would come and she wasn’t into it. That isn’t fun.” Instead, Britt and her partner decided to designate Saturday as their standing weekly date, which is a more natural way for them to have opportunities to connect physically. “It’s just us, but no one feels pressure,” she says. “So far, it’s been good.”

5. Lean into the anticipation.

Look, I get that “scheduled” can sound synonymous with “so dull I want to cry.” It’s not. While this tactic won’t work in every relationship, scheduled sex creates anticipatory excitement for some people. It sets the sex date into your routine along with the opportunity to explore new sexual terrain.

“[Scheduling sex] might seem boring, but scheduling a date, party, or vacation doesn’t make it less fun,” August says. “Doing so can add to the enjoyment because you can put more thought into it and benefit from that spicy anticipation. On top of all of that, occasional spontaneous sex rather than your typical scheduled sex becomes even more exciting because it’s so novel.”

Long-lasting sexual excitement is built on the unknown, the new, and the exploration of fantasy. Capitalize on that here. You might think of a different, intriguing sex position or pick up some cute new underwear for the occasion. You can even text your partner something like, “I can’t wait for our Monday night date. I bought something for us to try.” Then, when your partner gets home, they get to meet your new vibrator, set of anal beads, or whatever else has piqued your interest.

With all of the above said, if scheduling sex doesn’t work for you, don’t get down on yourself. It doesn’t automatically mean your relationship is over or in trouble. It might not be your jam. This advice can still serve as a blueprint for becoming closer: Sit down. Communicate. And draw up a plan for quality time that might work better for you both.

Complete Article HERE!

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