Meet the men who get off on their wives having sex with other people

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Cuckolding is form of consensual non-monogamy, and these guys find it hot AF.

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Having sex with other people while in a committed relationship isn’t necessarily cheating—especially for those who are into consensual non-monogamy (CNM). In fact, the prospect of watching or hearing about their partner’s sexual escapades is such a turn on for some people, they actively encourage their lover to share as many unfamiliar beds as they want.

CNM is practised in all sorts of forms, such as polyamory (having multiple romantic partners) and swinging (swapping sexual partners with other couples). Cuckolding is a form of CNM where one partner (the cuckold) agrees their lover can have sex with other people—often known as ‘bulls’. There are variations in how cuckolding plays out for different couples—some cuckolds enjoy being verbally and sexually humiliated—but cuckolds are generally involved with watching their partner have sex. Or getting message/photo updates throughout, and being told in detail about it afterwards.

“It makes me pursue and compete for my own wife”

All varieties of cuckolding can be practised by anyone, regardless of their gender identity or sexuality. Nonetheless, there seems to be a high proportion of straight men who are interested in it—and yes, if you sleep with men, you might be familiar with a version of dirty talk that involves you recounting past hookups.

Here, three straight men discuss how they got into cuckolding, what they like about it and how it’s actually benefited their relationships.

“It allows me to watch the best possible porn ever”, says Ben*, a computer systems administrator

“For most of our marriage, my wife has been free to sleep with other men. When she does, she’s always told me about the experiences. We got into polyamory because my wife was having problems staying monogamous. She didn’t understand why it was wrong to love more than one person. We have been doing what is usually called cuckolding for 15 years.

How did you bring up cuckolding with your wife?

“We sort of grew into this place in our lives. We learned to be completely honest with one another, and trust each other. It was incredibly scary to tell my wife some of the things I would be interested in, involving cuckolding. I was terrified she would see me as less than a man, or that I didn’t want her the way I used to, but she’s been very supportive of me.”

What do you like about cuckolding?

“I love the way my wife comes alive. Her body is almost constantly primed, partly from the excitement of the relationship, and partly from the feeling of being wanted by someone new. When she feels sexy and wanted, she becomes a more sexual being, leading to a much more fulfilling sex life for the two of us

“I also believe that wanting something is more powerful than having it. So, feeling like I’m being denied things that my wife is freely sharing with others is a powerful aphrodisiac—it makes me pursue and compete for my own wife in ways I haven’t in a long time.

I’ve always considered myself a feminist. As such, I want my wife to be true to her own desires so that we can meet as equals—she’s not putting aside what she wants for me; we’re moving forward together, accepting one another as we truly are. Autonomy is important to me, and I don’t want my wife to ever feel trapped with me. With cuckolding, I know she could choose anyone she wants, but she always chooses to continue to spend her life with me.”

What are the downsides and benefits?

“There have been plenty of times where I had to fight hard against jealousy, especially in the beginning. I think most of the times that jealousy has taken over, it boiled down to me feeling unimportant, or left out of the loop. Now, when something bothers me, we talk about it quickly and agree on a path forward that works for everyone involved.

“One benefit to me is that my wife is the sexiest person I know. When we make love, I’m entirely responsible for her pleasure, so I tend to focus so much on whether she’s enjoying what I’m doing that I can’t really appreciate her reactions. Being able to watch someone else have sex with my wife allows me to watch the best possible porn ever—I get to fully enjoy the sights and sounds of her pleasure, while also learning entirely new techniques or discovering activities that I never knew she enjoyed.

“For both of us, one of the biggest advantages is how much our bond to one another has strengthened. We talk openly, honestly, and often. We regularly share our feelings, hopes, desires and fears. We have grown so remarkably close, and have gotten to know each other more deeply than we ever could have otherwise.”

“It’s fun to have a secret about our sex lives”, says Oscar*, a marketing manager

“I started dating my fiancée seven years ago. We had spurts of long distance in our early years, so we starting exploring cuckolding. We found that typical sexting was repetitive and a little boring, and one day she offered to tell me about a past sexual encounter in detail. It was a rush to hear, and over time she would tell me more stories. Then I’d occasionally encourage her to flirt with guys when she would go out, and that flirting eventually translated to hookups. I’d say we’ve been active for the last five years.

How did you bring up cuckolding with your fiancée?

“It was a natural progression for us. It arose from boredom in a long distance relationship and a realization that she enjoys being sexually active, while my kink is releasing my partner from the confines of monogamy.”

What do you like about cuckolding?

“For me, it’s a chance for her to explore her sexuality and bring that fun back to the bedroom. She was significantly more sexually experienced than I was when we started dating, and I’ve always found her love of sex and attention to be a major turn on. It’s a little bit like being an introvert who gets to see life through an extrovert’s eyes.”

What are the downsides and benefits?

“Downsides could be bad communication and jealousy. I suppose emotion could get in the way, and she could start falling for someone. But that hasn’t happened to us

“Cuckolding is great because there is no fear of cheating—she gets to do whatever she wants, as long as I get to be part of it too (even if that just means hearing about it). It has brought us closer together sexually. It’s fun to have a secret about our sex lives, and it’s fun to be my fiancée’s cheerleader when she is attracted to a guy.”

“Sexual jealousy, for me, is like a roller coaster ride,” says Liam*, an energy consultant manager

“My wife and I have been together for a little over five years, and it’s always been a small or big part of our relationship. She’s quite a bit younger than myself, and has a very high sex drive. Back when I first became interested in seeing my partner with another man I was in my 20s, though I guess I had been a voyeur all my life. My girlfriend (at the time) and I had an upstairs neighbour, and the idea [of a threesome] just kind of caught hold. It was me who brought it up, but [my girlfriend] was all for it. Since that time, and with every serious relationship since, there have been elements of cuckolding or swinging.”

How have you brought up cuckolding with your partner(s)?

“I talk about it early if I’m feeling really attracted to someone. More about open relationships and swinging, and if they are biting, then great; if not, I know I should move on.”

What do you like about cuckolding?

“I’m easily bored. Some people like fishing, some like motor sports and some like stamp collecting. I like crazy sexual excitement, and I’ve always been drawn to women that are up for the same. I found along the road that I enjoy a bit of jealousy. Sexual jealousy, for me, is like a roller coaster ride—fun, brief, perhaps a little scary, but in the end an experience I’m happy to have.”

We both love sex, so it adds to our sex life

What are the downsides and benefits?

“I guess a downside would be not everyone understanding. [My wife and I] stay discreet. We have separate groups of friends—those that might know and those we would never tell.

“We both love sex, so it adds to our sex life. We are very open with each other and can talk about anything. She loves the attention and the men (or women) she gets to have, and I love having [a wife who is like] a very hot porn star in my home. I’m her biggest fan.”

Complete Article HERE!

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Here’s the lowdown on a lesser-known sexual orientation: asexuality

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Debunking some myths regarding people who identify on the asexualility spectrum

by: Simran Randhawa

Sex usually is directly associated with romance and intimate relationships, but what if you love someone and you still don’t feel sexual attraction towards them? Experiencing this without understanding it can often lead a person to feel inadequate, rejected, and isolated. To make it worse, there are many myths about asexuality and not enough information to go around.

Well, today is your lucky day. Here’s some of the most essential information regarding asexuality.

Asexuality, just like other sexualities — and almost everything — is on a spectrum. One end is a complete lack of sexual attraction and the other end is total sexual attraction. There are multiple sexual and romantic identities that are in-between, such as:

Demisexual: sexual attraction contingent on romantic attraction and a connection to the other person.

Grey-A: the grey area between sexuality and asexuality.

Aromantic: people who experience little to no romantic attraction to others, and can be content with non-romantic partners or friends.

Being a person who identifies as asexual doesn’t mean that you hate sexual intimacy; it only means that this particular form of intimacy is not necessary for you to have a fulfilling relationship. Just like how people who identify as heterosexual don’t feel sexual attraction towards people of same gender. Your romantic attraction is different than sexual attraction, and is treated as such. You could be asexual and still only feel romantic attraction towards people of the same gender, or of different genders.

Although many who identify as asexual do not experience sexual attraction, you can be asexual and still experience other forms of attraction. Some commonly mentioned categories include romantic attraction, aesthetic attraction, and sensual attraction. Aesthetic attraction is when you are attracted only to a person’s looks and how they present themselves. You appreciate their beauty. That doesn’t mean you either want to fall in love with them or have sex with them. Sensual attraction is when you have a desire to engage physically with another person while remaining nonsexual. You might want to platonically sniff, hug, kiss, or cuddle them.

Asexuality is not made up. It is not an excuse to not have sex with you. This cannot be said enough.

Asexuality is not the same thing as celibacy. Being celibate is a choice, regardless of whether it’s for religious or personal reasons. Asexuality isn’t a choice; it’s just who you are. If a person on the asexual spectrum feels sexual arousal, it is very specific to that person and where they are on the spectrum.

Asexuality is also not the same as impotence. Impotency implies that one is unable to perform sexually, and has nothing to do with willingness to do so. Asexual people can perform sexual acts, but would not necessarily want to do so. It does not mean there is something wrong with them or with their significant other, but just that sexual attraction isn’t the defining trait for them. Just because asexual people may not want to have sex with others, doesn’t mean that they don’t masturbate or have sexual fantasies. They can think about others in sexual connotations, but would not want those fantasies to become reality.

Asexuality is not a medical or mental health condition. It’s a sexual orientation, just like heterosexuality and homosexuality — it is just not widely known. The “A” in LGBTQIA doesn’t stand for ally; A is for the people who identify as asexual. But asexuality needs to be just as visible as the other parts of the acronym LGBTQIA, as the lack of information and visibility means that people of this orientation are left to feel like there is something wrong with them.

In summary, sexuality is different from person to person, and everyone falls on the spectrum between a lack of sexual attraction and complete sexual attraction. Some still feel romantic attraction, and they are capable of sexual intimacy. They just don’t feel the need for it, and their relations aren’t contingent on them. The best way to interact with asexuals is exactly the same as with members of other sexual orientations: just be respectful and kind.

Just remember, if you are asexual, there is nothing wrong with you — regardless of what others might say.

Complete Article HERE!

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How to Stop Being Jealous

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Occasional jealousy is natural and can even be motivating. But if you find yourself getting upset when seeing Instagram photos of clothes, jobs, or cars that you envy, you might need to work through this issue. Or maybe your jealousy is making you paranoid and causing problems with you and your significant other. Curbing these emotions can be difficult, but it’s often necessary to move forward and feel secure and confident. Work through your jealousy by addressing it, finding a new focus, and improving yourself. You got this!

Method 1 Handling Jealousy in the Short Term

1 Take a few deep breaths when you start feeling jealous. Perhaps you see your boyfriend talking to another girl or find out your friend got the exact truck you want. Instead of freaking out, calm yourself instead. Take a deep breath in through your nose for five seconds, and then exhale slowly through your mouth. Do this until you feel calm.[1]

  • If you want to address the issue, do so only when you’ve calmed down. For instance, if you see your boyfriend talking to a girl, calm down first, then approach him and say ‘hello’ to both of them. She may just be a friend or classmate.

2 Stay off social media. Social media floods you with images of people sharing fragments of their lives that might spark your jealousy. But, what you may not know is the girl who constantly posts pics of the flowers her boyfriend gets her may be unhappy in her relationship. People tend to only post things that show them in a positive light, so stay off social media while you’re overcoming your jealousy.[2]

  • If you can’t stay off of social media, unfollow or unfriend the people you’re jealous of.

3 Avoid criticizing or using sarcasm. When you’re feeling jealous, you might resort to name-calling or trying to diminish the accomplishments of others. However, this only shows your insecurity and makes others feel bad. Instead of being negative, keep your comments to yourself or compliment them.[3]

  • For instance, if your girlfriend comes home telling you about her new coworker, don’t say something like, “Oh, so since he’s so smart, you wanna go out with him now?” Allow your significant other to tell you things without fear of rudeness.

4 Confess your feelings if the person is close to you. If you’re very jealous of a sibling, best friend, or significant other, and have been for years, tell them. Getting it off your chest can help you move on from this negative feeling and clear the air.[4]

  • For instance, you might say, “Sis, I know that I’ve been a bit rude to you for a while. But when you got into Stanford and I didn’t, it hurt me. I’ve been so jealous of you because I feel like you’re living my dream. I know it’s not your fault, and I wish I didn’t feel this way.”

5 Focus on what you have in common with the person you’re jealous of. Unravel your jealousy by looking at the similarities you and the person you envy share. The more you two are alike, the less you have to feel jealous over![5]

  • For example, maybe you’re jealous of your neighbor because they have a nice car. But remember that the two of you live in the same neighborhood and probably have similar houses. Maybe you went to the same school, too, and have friends in common.

Method 2  Refocusing Your Attention

1 Identify the source of your jealousy. Understanding why you are jealous can help you overcome it. Is it because of low self-esteem and insecurity? Do you have a past history with infidelity? Or are you placing unreasonable standards on your relationship? Once you have identified the source, reflect on ways that you can improve upon or fix the issue.

  • Writing in a journal every day can help you discover where your jealousy might be coming from.
  • Professional therapy can help with this process. A therapist may be able to help you find the source of your jealousy while working through the issue.

2 Praise those who are doing well. Hating on someone’s accomplishments won’t put you closer to your own goals. When you see others doing the things you want to do, give them kudos. This shows respect and humility.[6]

  • For instance, if your friend has an awesome career, say, “Molly, your job seems so cool. It seems like you’re always getting awards and promotions, too. You’re really killing it! Got any tips?”
  • Perhaps your boyfriend has been doing a great job lately of being more affectionate; tell him you appreciate his effort.

3 Reflect on your own strengths. Instead of harping on what others are doing, focus on yourself! Take a moment to either list or think about at least three things that you are good at. These can range from organizing or cooking to being a good listener or hard worker.[7]

  • Do one thing related to your strengths list today to build your confidence, like cook an awesome meal.

4 Compile a list of what you’re grateful for. Every day that you wake up is truly a blessing. Remember that and think about one thing that you’re thankful for each day. This will help reduce your feelings of jealousy because you’ll become more appreciative of what you do have.[8]

  • Maybe you have an awesome mom who supports and loves you. Or perhaps you got into a really good school and you’re starting soon. Be thankful for these blessings!

5 Meditate daily. Meditation can clear your mind and help you focus on what’s important. Your thoughts of jealousy might cloud your headspace daily, but get some relief by sitting quietly in an uninterrupted space in the mornings for at least ten minutes. During this time, focus only on your breathing and how your body feels.

  • If you’re unfamiliar with meditation, you can also download an app like Simple Habit or Calm.

6 Call the shots. You might have a rich friend who’s always asking you to go to expensive restaurants or on extravagant trips. This might make you feel jealous of their money. Instead of letting that control you, take the reins! Pick the restaurants you go to and choose not to go on vacations if you can’t afford it. Plan something locally, instead.[9]

  • You can say, “Hey Josh, I enjoy eating at five-star restaurants with you, but to be honest, it’s a little out of my price range. If you still wanna get dinner once a week, that’s cool, but you’ll have to let me pick the place most of the time. I hope you understand.”

7 Have fun daily to distract you from your jealousy. You won’t be able to think about your jealousy as much if you’re out having fun! Schedule something to look forward to every day, like watching your favorite show, getting ice cream, or going shopping. Life is short, so make the most of it every day!

Method 3 Improving Your Own Life

1 Set short- and long-term goals. Use your jealousy to motivate you to become the best version of yourself. Based on the things you want in life, create action steps to help you achieve it. Set goals that you can achieve within the next five days and things to focus on for the next five years.[10]

  • For instance, maybe you want to get a high paying job. As a short-term goal, try to get A’s in all your classes for the semester. A long-term goal could be finding a mentor or getting an internship in your field.

2 Plan a fun getaway. Maybe you’re jealous because it seems like everyone else is having all the fun. Create some fun for you! Plan a fun weekend away for you and your bae, go to a theme park, or go hang out on the beach. Do whatever makes you happy![11]

3 Take care of your health. You’ll be a lot less worried about others if you’re focused on your own health. Build your confidence up by exercising at least three times a week. Eat a healthy meal by having veggies, fruits and lean meat. Be sure to get at least eight hours of sleep per night.[12]

  • Drink a lot of water, too!

4 Surround yourself with positive people. Maybe your jealousy comes from hanging around friends who try to make you jealous on purpose. That’s definitely not cool. Instead of being around that negativity, spend more time with your kind-hearted, honest, and down-to-earth friends!

  • A positive person will be supportive, honest, kind and helpful. A negative person will insult, criticize, and drain you.

5 Consider seeing a counselor to work through your jealousy. If your jealousy is making it hard for you to enjoy life anymore, it might be time to seek outside help. There are many therapists who are trained to help their clients work through feelings of envy or inadequacy. Remember, there’s nothing wrong with getting help! It’s much worse to suffer in silence.[13]

  • Search online for therapists or counselors in your area. You can also get a referral from your doctor’s office or insurance provider.

Complete Article HERE!

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DublinBus Proud Dads

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This year at Pride, we had the proudest bus in the parade, not because it had the most glitter or flags, because it had the proudest people, Proud Dads. Gwan ahead and warm the cockles of your heart.

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7 kinks and fetishes that are more popular than you think

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By Lea Rose Emery

No matter how comfortable you are with a new partner, talking about kinks/fetishes can feel like a big step. But the truth is, they’re way more common than you might think — and if you feel sure that you have a totally weird kink or quirk, you’re almost certainly not alone. Most fetishes are way more common than you would imagine, so there’s really nothing to be embarrassed about.

There are so many popular fetishes out there. That’s because not only are fetishes totally normal, but many of us actually have more than one.  According to one survey by Ann Summers, the sex toy retailer, it’s not uncommon to have more than one kink or fetish. In fact, while more than a quarter of people said they had more than one, 17 percent of people said that they had three or four. So just because somebody’s into BDSM or has a hair fetish, doesn’t mean that’s their only one. That means if you’re feeling self-conscious about your own proclivities, it’s time to relax — we’ve all been there. The more you start talking about and exploring your kinks and fetishes, whether with a partner or a community or even at a sex shop, the more normal you’ll realize they are.

And if you don’t think of yourself as a fetish person, it may be that you just have found yours yet. If you’re interested in playing around, knowing the most common fetishes is a good place to start. Though there’s no international fetish database, you can glean a pretty good idea of the most popular options by seeing what comes up in surveys the most frequently. Once you get a sense of those, you can decide what appeals the most and start experimenting.

Here are the kinks/fetishes that tend to come up the most — because you never know until you try.

1. BDSM

Call it that 50 Shades of Grey effect, call it human nature, but again and again, BDSM tops the list of fetishes. In fact, in that same survey from Ann Summers a whopping 74 percent of people said they were into it. Try subbing, try domming — who knows? You may love both.

2. Foot fetishes

Foot fetishes are another quirk that repeatedly comes at the top of fetish lists. Seriously — having a thing for feet is way more common than you think. This isn’t to be confused with a shoe fetish, which is also very popular, though they two can certainly overlap. Apparently, foot fetishes are so popular because of the way our brains are sometimes wired, although Freud thought it was all to do with the fact that feet look like penises. Which makes me wonder — what the hell did Freud’s penis look like?

3. Costumes and role play

A classic and popular fetish is dressing up and role-playing. In fact, one survey found that this was a fetish that ranked high on the desirability scale and low on the taboo scale, which means it’s an ideal way to ease yourself into trying fetishes. A lot of people are open to it and it’s nothing to feel weird about bringing up. From the classic maid’s uniform to something more daring, there are plenty of costumes to try.

4. Voyeurism and exhibitionism

There’s a reason that “dogging” is so popular in Britain. Some people like to watch others have sex — and some people like to be watched. And of course, some people like both. This fetish can manifest in more vanilla or kinkier ways. It might be that you just watch your partner masturbate or vice versa, maybe you experiment with sex in public places, or maybe group sex helps scratch that itch. You can start with more vanilla versions and work your way up to find where your boundary is.

5. Rubber, latex, and leather

For some people, it’s all about the texture. According to the sex toy retailer Lovehoney, “rubberists” and other texture fetishisms are very popular. It has a BDSM twist, with some people finding that the material itself has a bondage-like quality, although apparently for some it’s the smell that turns them on.

6. Crossdressing

Gender play is another exciting option — and one that you can experiment with to find different limits. Cross-dressing continues to be a popular fetish and can be a great way to experiment with slightly kinkier sex because it can be as simple as switching clothes.

7. Spanking

Though some might put spanking in the BDSM realm, it actually seems to be so popular in its own right that it deserves its own category.  That may be because, for a lot of people, spanking provides a slightly more vanilla option — or an intro to BDSM. It can also be combined with many other fetishes, while for some just a good spanking is enough.

There is no limit to what can be fetishized, but some fetishes are definitely more popular than others. Start experimenting with the more common ones and see what excites you — you never know where it might lead.

Complete Article HERE!

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10 things you need to know about vaginas

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From the science of the orgasm to cannabis tampons, there’s a lot to learn. Warning: explicit content

By and

Mae and I thought we were well informed when it comes to vaginas (between us, we have 58 years’ experience of them), but the more we researched the subject for our new video series, Vagina Dispatches, the more we discovered that, like most people, we don’t know our asses from our elbows – let alone our vulvas from our vaginas.

Does it matter that we don’t know what a perineum is, never mind where to find one? It turns out it does. Even though there are lots of parts of our bodies we don’t know well (neither of us can explain the full process from sandwich to stool), there is something particularly damaging about vagina ignorance.

Despite the fact that we spend more time peeing or menstruating out of them than anything else, sex remains the primary association when people think of female genitalia. And that emphasis distracts from the stuff that really matters: health. Women (or, to be more specific, anyone with a vagina) can struggle to understand how much menstrual blood is too much, what healthy labia look like, or what to expect during childbirth. Those blind spots make it hard to understand when or whether we need treatment. So, in a spirit of generosity, we wanted to share some of the things we learned.

1 That thing you’re calling a vagina? It probably isn’t a vagina

You’re likely thinking of a woman’s external genitalia. But that’s actually the vulva; the vagina is on the inside.

A survey released earlier this month by the Eve Appeal, a gynaecological cancer charity, found that two-thirds of women were unable to identify the vulva. More shocking is that women know men’s bodies better than they do their own: 60% of women could correctly label a diagram of male anatomy, but only 35% could do the same for female anatomy.

According to a recent survey by Eve Appeal, half of women aged 26- 35 were able to label the vagina in a diagram like this one.

These days, there are endless articles claiming every woman should have body confidence. Body knowledge, on the other hand, seems like a nice bonus. That emphasis is misplaced: if women don’t know what their vulva is, how can they check it for changes in colour – a potential symptom of gynaecological cancer?
2 No one really knows what a female orgasm is

The male orgasm isn’t exactly ambiguous. But there’s no standard way to measure a female orgasm, which means that research has begun to question whether some women are experiencing them at all.

Dr Nicole Prause is a neuroscientist who founded Liberos, a research firm that studies sexual desire and function. In men, as well as ejaculation, there are regular, measurable muscle contractions. In a 1980 study in the journal Archives Of Sexual Behaviour, 11 male participants all behaved in a similar way during orgasm: the muscles in their anus contracted in spasms that were 0.6 seconds apart and continued for 10-15 contractions. But in the women Prause has studied, while some had these same contractions, others reported an orgasm without any being measured. (How do they measure these? Using a butt plug that monitors sound waves.) We said we were interested in measuring our own orgasms, so Prause is sending us some. Stay tuned.

3 Orgasms can make you need a wee

From a biological perspective, there has long been curiosity about what function the female orgasm serves (from our own personal perspectives, the case is closed). According to Prause, one reason might be that women who orgasm are more likely to urinate after sex. And urinating after sex is a great idea because it helps prevent bacteria from getting into the urethra, reducing the chances of a urinary tract infection. Win, win.

4 You can build a vagina from a penis and scrotum

At first glance, vulvas and penises look pretty different, but they are actually quite similar. That’s because we all started out as foetuses with the same genitalia; our sex organs don’t start to differentiate until the end of the first trimester (around about nine to 12 weeks). That skin fold line between the testicles? It’s because the male scrotum is the homologue of the female labia majora. Learning that was a real “aha” moment.

We met Callie, an American trans woman who was waiting for bottom surgery, a procedure where a vulva and vagina are created from the penis and scrotum. Aside from price (the surgery costs around $20,000 and isn’t always covered by health insurance), we were interested in knowing what concerned Callie when she booked her procedure. We’d mostly been discussing aesthetics, so Callie’s response caught us off guard: functionality. She is considering whether she wants a vagina that would self-lubricate (this can be possible using tissue from the anus) and whether it would be painful to pee (the surgery is complex and recovery can take weeks). In other words, really important health issues that most women take for granted. Prettiness? Not so much.

5 You can buy weed tampons

Menstrual cramps affect up to 91% of women, and can have a huge impact on quality of life. Given that so many women experience this pain, and that painkillers don’t always work, some women have tried alternative treatments including cannabis.

There’s very little scientific research into the effectiveness of cannabis in treating menstrual cramps, partly because that research would be illegal in many countries. But some entrepreneurial companies that are part of a growing US cannabis market are investigating. Once you’ve confirmed that you’re over 21 and a resident of either Colorado or California, the website foriapleasure.com offers a four-pack of “weed tampons”, priced at $44 (£33). It’s not actually a tampon; it’s a pessary containing cannabis oil.

Actor Whoopi Goldberg has teamed up with businesswoman Maya Elisabeth (who used to sell award-winning edible cannabis) to market products they claim are designed to provide relief from period pain. Their company, Whoopi & Maya, produces a bath soak, an edible spread (which “may be enjoyed plain with a spoon, on fruit or toast”), a rub and a tincture.

6 The clitoris looks like a spaceship

If you’ve been looking at medical diagrams lately (just us?), the clitoris is often depicted as a little button. A more realistic image would be something similar to the Starship Enterprise. Underneath the labia, there are two long structures that fall on either side of the clitoris (the protruding bit). If you’re interested in female sexual arousal, you should know about those – they’re called the clitoral crura. They can become engorged with blood when a woman is aroused, which causes the vulva to expand outwards, creating a tighter vaginal opening (bonus fact: women have nearly as much erectile tissue as men).

On the subject of sex tips: stop searching for the G-spot. Not only because it’s weird to use terms for women’s bodies that are named after men (the Gräfenberg spot, after the German gynaecologist Ernst Gräfenberg, who also developed the IUD). It probably doesn’t exist, at least not in the push-button way it’s often imagined.

An article published in Nature Reviews Urology in 2014, titled Beyond The G-spot, found that women can experience sensitivity in lots of different places, including but not always the area where the G-spot was thought to be (the upper side of the vaginal wall). In other words, it’s complicated.

7 Your vagina might benefit from a personal trainer

Sex doesn’t always feel good – especially if you have vaginismus (a painful condition that results in involuntary vaginal muscle spasm) or vulvodynia (chronic pain around the opening of the vagina).

One possible treatment is pelvic physical therapy, which can involve external and internal massages of the pelvic floor area, and the use of dilators (they look like oversized plastic crayons) and lubricants. The treatment is frequently misunderstood, says Jessica Powley, a pelvic physical therapist. For one thing, it’s not just women, or postpartum women, who get this therapy; men can get it, too, to treat pelvic floor pain. You can also buy vaginal weights and create your own home gym to tighten your pelvic floor muscles.

8 Things change with age, but it’s not all bad

Ageing, and menopause in particular, causes a woman’s oestrogen levels to decline. According to the North American Menopause Society, the vagina can become shorter and narrower in menopausal women who aren’t sexually stimulated. Then, when those women do have sex, it can be painful. Their advice? Menopausal women should have vaginal sex on a regular basis. So if you’re an older woman who enjoys sex, you should continue to have it regularly (hooray), and if you don’t enjoy sex, don’t bother (hooray, too).

What’s more, in 1998, the US National Council on the Aging found that 70% of sexually active women over the age of 60 said they were as satisfied, or even more satisfied, with their sex lives as they were in their 40s (74% of men in the same age group said the same). So, if you’re under 60, the best sex of your life may well be to come.

9 Breastfeeding can make you horny

We spoke to Christen, a performance artist and writer, who wrote about maternal sexuality in a one-woman show called BabyLove. She told us that she got aroused when breastfeeding; one time, she tried to use a vibrator while feeding, but got interrupted by a delivery man. She claimed lots of other women felt the same way. Of course we wanted to investigate.

Many forums for mothers confirm Christen is not alone. In a 1999 study in The Journal Of Perinatal Education, the author, Dr Viola Polomeno, explained that sexual arousal during breastfeeding “is a normal phenomenon”, although women often feel guilty when it happens to them. Arousal can happen because there are some parallels between breastfeeding and having an orgasm: both situations involve contractions of the uterus, nipple erection and skin-to-skin contact, and both can involve strong, uninhibited emotions. Neither of us has ever breastfed, but if and when the time comes, boy is this information handy.

10 You can make art with menstrual blood

From Judy Chicago’s 1972 installation Menstruation Bathroom to Ingrid Berthon-Moine’s 2009 work Red Is The Colour (photographs of 12 women wearing their menstrual blood as lipstick), lots of artists have explored the use of menstrual blood.

We met Jennifer Lewis, who was one day removing her menstrual cup and wondered why the blood on her fingertips disgusted her. With the help of her partner Rob, she began taking photographs of her menstrual blood in water. We watched Jennifer and Rob using refrigerated bottles of the stuff to make Beauty In Blood. The images look beautiful, but if we’re honest, the smell wasn’t so pretty. We went there to challenge our attitudes because, like so many, we think of periods as a gross inconvenience. We both use a hormonal IUD that stops us menstruating, which has always just seemed like a bonus.

Jennifer challenged these attitudes, not just because her art is beautiful, but also because she made us reconsider the health consequences of stopping our periods. Like us, Jennifer also used a contraceptive that stopped her period – until she found out it had caused her early-onset osteoporosis.

When Jennifer told us this, we looked at each other wide-eyed. Even though we had been researching this subject for months, there was still so much we didn’t know. The point is, we, like so many others, had put convenience ahead of being informed about our health. And that’s our final tip: get smart, get a mirror out and find out what’s up down there.

Complete Article HERE!

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We women need to stop allowing men to have bad sex with us

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Unsatisfactory sex is a type of subjugation. By allowing yourself to lie back and think of England, you’re adding sex to the litany of things women do as emotional labour, not because they want to but because they have to

If you can’t get no satisfaction, you may be among the 42 per cent of British women who suffer from a ‘lack of sexual enjoyment’

By Rebecca Reid

Sometimes if I get really stuck on an issue of romance or dating, I look to Greek mythology. This is just one of the many reasons my little sister tells me weekly that I’m “so lucky” I found someone to marry me.  

Anyway, research from Public Health England, which revealed that 42 per cent of British women suffer from a “lack of sexual enjoyment”, sent me running to the myths. Specifically, the story of Lysistrata. Lysistrata is the story of a load of women who decide they’re so sick of their husbands going off to pointless wars and coming back missing bits, or worse, not coming back at all, that they’re not going to provide them with sex until they agree to stop fighting. All the women stick to this (I’m abbreviating a bit here) and the war stops. Moral of the story? Have sex on your own terms, and understand the power of the word no.

As a woman you absolutely must not – cannot – accept mediocre sex.

The reason that 42 per cent of women in the UK are having shit sex is because 42 per cent of women in the UK are allowing men to have shit sex with them. To quote Samantha Jones from Sex and the City, “screw me badly once, shame on you, screw me badly twice, shame on me”.

Unsatisfactory sex is a type of subjugation. By allowing yourself to lie back and think of England, you’re adding sex to the litany of things women do as emotional labour; not because they want to but because they have to. Women are estimated to do 26 hours of unpaid work in the home every week (compared to 16 for men). If you’re having sex because you think you owe it to someone, or because it’s “just part of being in a relationship” then you’re tacking on yet more hours to your running total. You’re doing yourself an enormous disservice and I’m afraid to say you’re also short changing the person you’re sleeping with.

Straight women have the least orgasms of any demographic in the world. And in my experience that’s not because men are bad or selfish or don’t want to give their sexual partners pleasure – it’s because they don’t know how to.

The female anatomy is quite complicated. Bringing a woman to orgasm takes a lot more work than getting a man there. Broadly speaking, most men need a variation on the same theme to enjoy sexual gratification. But with women? We’ve got clitoral stimulation, the G-spot, women who like lots of pressure, women who like very little. Some women can orgasm from penetrative sex (though only around 25 per cent), others need a specific sex toy or oral sex. Some women need an hour of gentle coaxing and others can come from having their nipples stimulated.

So, awkward or difficult as it might sound, if we want to close the orgasm gap, to prevent women from benevolently allowing mediocre sex to happen to them, we have got to empower them to say “actually, that really wasn’t much good for me” or “no, I didn’t come”.

We all know that faking an orgasm does more harm than good (you might as well put a gold star on a D grade piece of homework) but I’m afraid we need to go further than just not faking orgasms. We need to tell our sexual partners in no uncertain terms that we did not orgasm, and then we need to give them the specifics of why.

t’s not easy to tell someone you’re sleeping with, especially if you’re fond of them, that they’re not getting it right. Especially if you’ve been sleeping together for a long time. But if you don’t? You’re sentencing yourself to lifetime of chronic dissatisfaction.

As women we’re encouraged to seek out promotions and pay rises, to speak up rather than being spoken over. And those things are huge, vital, essential steps forward for society. But can we really make any progress at all if a woman who refuses to be talked over in a meeting or patronised by a male friend then goes home to her partner and accepts mediocre sex without complaining? Of course we can’t.

Complete Article HERE!

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These Videos Help Parents Teach Sex Ed to Preschoolers

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By Michelle Woo

Is it okay to put a boy and a girl in the bathtub together? What should you do if a classmate from your kid’s preschool comes over for a play date and you find the two of them “playing doctor” from the waist down? And what if your child asks to examine your private parts and that makes you feel weird?

There are lots of books and resources for talking to kids about their bodies and sexuality and reproduction. But they’re usually geared towards parents whose children are about to hit puberty—and that’s way too late. Sexual health educator Deborah Roffman tells me that kids have “a normal, natural curiosity” about these topics starting at age four, and if adults aren’t there to guide them, they’ll eventually turn to peers, older kids and the media to get their information. (You can’t just wait for school to clear things up either—in one Reddit thread, people shared the very inaccurate information they were taught in sex ed class, like how condoms increase the risk of pregnancy, a girl can’t get pregnant while on top, and that the clitoris is a myth.)

The Talk shouldn’t just be one sweaty sit-down conversation—instead, it needs to be an ongoing discussion that starts earlier than you probably think. That’s why Roffman, the author of Talk to Me First: Everything You Need to Know to Become Your Kids’ Go-To Person about Sex, has helped develop a series of animated videos for parents of kids ages 4-9. They’re produced the sex ed project AMAZE, which has brought us videos for tweens and teens on topics such as consent, gender identity and sexual assault.

Called the AMAZE Parent Playlist, the series helps parents navigate real, sometimes confusing scenarios with their little ones. Say, you’re in the car listening to NPR and your young kid suddenly asks, “Mommy, what’s rape?” (You can say something like “Rape is something that’s against the law,” the video suggests, which is a totally truthful answer.) Or maybe you’re walking through the toy store and there are aisles “for girls” and “for boys.” (Take the opportunity to help kids notice and think about gender labels.) This video—“Is Playing Doctor OK?”—explains what’s normal and healthy when it comes to kids’ curiosity about bodies and private areas.

Roffman says a lot of parents have an irrational fearful that “too much information too soon” might somehow be harmful for young kids, but the opposite is actually true. Better educated kids are more likely to make better decisions about everything, she says—including sexuality.

Complete Article HERE!

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Nearly half of British women dissatisfied with sex lives, survey finds

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Those aged 25 to 34 were the least satisfied

 

By Olivia Petter

More than one in four British women report being unhappy with their sex lives, new research has found.

The survey by Public Health England (PHE) of more than 7,300 women investigated problems relating to reproductive health and included an unsatisfactory sex life within this umbrella.

The report revealed that those aged 25 to 34 were the least satisfied in bed, with 49 per cent complaining of a lack of sexual enjoyment.

Dissatisfaction was slightly lower for women aged 55 to 64, less than a third of whom reported experiencing unfulfilled sex lives – however, it was not clear whether this was because they were enjoying sex more or simply having less sex.

Health officials found that women who experienced unhappiness in their relationships, had been diagnosed with STIs and had difficulty communicating with their romantic partners were more likely to have low sexual function.

Meanwhile, positive sexuality (defined by PHE as experiencing high levels of sexual satisfaction, sexual self-esteem and sexual pleasure) were associated with use of contraception, improved relationship quality and an absence of STIs.

For young women specifically, a healthy sex life was also linked to less alcohol use, improved mental health and a positive attitude towards education.

The report also found that nearly a third of women surveyed had suffered from severe issues relating to sex, such as heavy periods and menopausal symptoms.

Dr Jane Dickson, vice president of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare, commented: “The importance of having a healthy, enjoyable sexual life cannot be overstated as this strongly contributes to general wellbeing.

“However, there is still much stigma and embarrassment when it comes to sexual function – especially when we are talking about women’s sexual pleasure. Society still relegates women’s sexual pleasure to the background.”

Public health consultant at PHE Sue Mann added that a fulfilling sex life is fundamental to women’s mental and emotional wellbeing.

“Our data show that sexual enjoyment is a key part of good reproductive health and that while many women are reporting sexual dysfunction, many are not seeking help.”

The research also found that there is a strong stigma associated with reporting sexual and reproductive health issues.

“This is particularly true in the workplace where many women do not feel comfortable speaking to their managers about the real reasons for needing to take time off work,” Mann continued.

“We want to empower women to educate themselves about good reproductive health and to feel confident speaking about it.”

Complete Article HERE!

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The 6 Most Common Female Sexual Fantasies and Why Women Have Them

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By Alexia LaFata

In 1973, it was believed that only men had sexual fantasies.

In fact, Cosmo even opened up a feature article that same year with, “Women do not have sexual fantasies, period. Men do.”

Much has changed since then, of course. While we still live in an age where female sexuality is more taboo than it should be, let the records show that women enjoy sex just as much as men.

Women even have sex drives so high that men may not be able to handle them, considering men have been so socialized to value their own pleasure above a woman’s.

Did you know that a man can show his orgasm face in a movie, and the movie can still be rated PG-13, but if a woman shows her orgasm face, the film is automatically bumped to R or NC-17? What does this say about how society perceives women experiencing pleasure?

It’s time we contribute to the discussion and ponder our deepest sexual fantasies.

If you’ve ever had a sexy thought pop into your head that flushed your cheeks and made you shift in your seat, know that it probably wasn’t that crazy at all. Always kinky and sometimes uncontrollable, sexual fantasies are far more common than you think.

Since these fantasies live within the unconscious mind, they sometimes go a little further than your actual body might want to — but, hey, that’s why they’re called fantasies.

1. Dominance

Matthew Hudson of Psychology Today says, “It’s been said that those who are easy-going in real life tend be dominant in the bedroom, and those with type-A personalities like to be submissive.”

In an age where men systematically rule, women fantasize about being dominant in the bedroom. Women want to have their bodies worshipped, call the shots in bed and be begged for more.

Laci Green, YouTuber and public sex educator, says it’s about a combination of being in a position of power and being desired.

In her book “Garden of Desires,” Emily Dubberley, British author and journalist who specializes in sex and relationships, notes that dominant sexual fantasies can include cheating on your boyfriend, controlling a personal erotic slave, decking out in leather and embodying a true dominatrix, or sticking to an assertive version of yourself. This fantasy focuses on the woman mainly receiving the pleasure and the man giving it to her without question.

Female sexuality is often overshadowed by a man’s desire for sex, so it’s only natural that women fantasize about being the most important person in the bedroom.

2. Submission

Submission fantasies are a surprisingly common category, and they include everything from simply giving in to the desires of a dominant man, to BDSM, to sexual assault, to rape.

These fantasies tap into the question, “To what extent is the personal political?” That is if you’re a feminist and a strong, powerful woman, why would the idea of completely submitting yourself to someone else be such a turn-on?

Green hypothesizes three main theories: Submission fantasies, specifically the most intense ones like rape, could be 1) an internalization of extreme expressions of “normal” power dynamics, 2) an extension of how our culture eroticizes aggression and violence, or 3) a guilt mechanism.

Submission means force, so women would be able to engage in wild and crazy sexual escapades without feeling weird, or a sense of guilt, about it. The idea would be that the woman tried to stop the kinky sex from happening, but the pleasure came anyway, so you can’t blame her! She’s still innocent.

This is not to suggest that women want to be raped, sexually assaulted, or give up control in life. Sex and life run on separate tracks, says Linda Alperstein, a sex therapist from San Francisco. Being spanked doesn’t mean you wish for your husband to hurt you. Real-life power struggles, Alperstein says, are not reflected in sex.

In some ways, according to Dr. Leon F. Seltzer, a woman putting herself in a sexually submissive role is the ultimate level of control because it’s such a stark variant from what she would do in real life.

The element of control here is having the choice to make such an extreme decision. Forced submission, as is the case with real rape or sexual assault, is obviously not a choice. In a submission fantasy, however, a woman wants to be submissive. In other words, it is her choice to do so.

3. Watch or Be Watched

Ah, voyeurism and exhibitionism. Whether you’re doing it in a crowded nightclub, in front of a large window so your neighbors can get a show or watching other couples get it on, women fantasize about sex that includes a witness. This can even include filming yourself and creating a mini-porno to watch later.

Dr. Laura Berman says it’s all about the adrenaline that comes with the fear of being caught in the act. I’d say it’s like an extreme version of that because, well, in some cases you’ve been caught.

Exhibition-style sex can also provide a huge ego boost. Dr. Drew Ramsey, a psychiatrist at Columbia University Medical Center, told Maxim that “there’s a sense of power that can be derived from seducing someone at a distance.”

Embodying a porn star and having someone watch you and get super turned on is enough to make the even shyest girls get freaky. It’s all about being in control of someone else’s pleasure.

4. Role-Playing

This can include simple or complicated role-playing. Simple role-playing can mean just a change in your personality or embodiment of someone else without getting dressed up.

Complex role-playing, such as dressing up as a teacher/student, nurse/patient, or even stripper/CEO, involves acting and shamelessness.

Feeling comfortable in real life, after telling your partner he’s overdue for a check up and you have to examine his prostate, is the key to role-playing fantasies.

This includes another element of submission and dominance. It’s about taking a relationship between two people where one has more power than the other (nurse and patient, for example, where the patient is at the mercy of the person taking care of him), making the power dynamic in said relationship extreme, and eroticizing it.

It’s also about the anticipation. You and your partner are coming together creatively to set a mood, set up an atmosphere and anticipate the pleasure; all of this preparation heightens the excitement for the main event.

As we know, anticipation increases levels of excitement, so taking the time to construct and arrange the scene creates a big script to lead to the finale.

5. Atypical One-On-One Session

How does sex with a woman or a celebrity sound? What about with an ex or a stranger? Single women and women in relationships alike often fantasize about these things.

These fantasies don’t mean women in relationships love their partner any less or that they’ll necessarily act upon those fantasies; in fact, many healthily married couples fantasize about having sex with other people.

Dr. Joyce Brothers says this kind of fantasy is a “perfectly legitimate way to add variety to sex,” since it spices things up without messing up the monogamy. As long as it remains a fantasy and doesn’t lead to infidelity, it’s okay.

Celebrity

Ryan Reynolds is hot. No further explanation needed here.

Girl-on-Girl

Many women fantasize about having sex with another woman. This doesn’t necessarily mean they’re lesbians. Green points out that these kinds of fantasies mean you can appreciate a woman’s body and curves just as much as society does.

It also means women know that another woman would understand her body perfectly and would know exactly how to get her to climax.

An Ex

As far as an ex goes, Dr. Berman says it’s normal to fantasize about an ex who may have rocked you sexually, loved you and then left you behind. In this case, it’s the familiarity that turns you on. You know your ex knows exactly how to push your buttons.

Stranger

Women are turned on by the idea of having sex with a stranger. It’s about the spontaneity and the fact that you’ll never see this person again.

Green says that women often feel inhibited in their sex lives and unable to have casual sex without social repercussions, so in this fantasy, a woman can let her freak flag fly without shame or guilt. This person doesn’t know her, and she doesn’t know him. No judgment here.

6. Group sex

Ménage a trois, anyone? Group sex, says Dubberley, is appealing because it would literally be very stimulating. Multiple hands would be touching you all over, in all of your erotic zones, whether the hands are those of strangers or of other women to whom you’re not normally attracted.

About 15 percent of women fantasize about group sex, which means it seems to offer the greatest division between emotions and pleasure.

It’s a widely accepted idea that women need to feel emotions towards someone to have sex with them. However, since a woman is probably not going to be in love with everyone she’s orgy-ing with, this fantasy breaks that accepted stereotype.

Complete Article HERE!

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We’re Queer And We’ve Been Here

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Rediscovering Buddhism’s LGBT history of gay monks, homoerotic samurai, and gender-nonconforming practitioners and gods

By Dr. Jay Michaelson

It’s no secret that many LGBTQ people have found refuge in the dharma, and it’s easy to see why.  It helps us work with the wounds of homophobia, recognizing internalized self-hatred for the delusion and dukkha [suffering] that it is. Yet when queer people interact with the dharma, there is often something missing: visibility. It’s nice that Buddhism doesn’t say many bad things about us, but does it say anything good? Where are we among the Dogens and Milarepas and Buddhaghosas?

This is not, of course, a question limited to Buddhism. Everywhere, queers have been erased from history. Often we find ourselves only when we are being persecuted; we have to read in between the lines of our interlocutors, trying to reconstruct a lost past.  

But there is much to be gained from the effort. Finding ourselves in history, for better or for worse, reminds us that we have one. We can see the different ways in which gender and sexuality were understood across time and cultures, and we are reminded that sexual and gender diversity has always been a part of human nature.

The history of queer Buddhism does not always paint a rosy picture. We find a mixed tapestry that includes stories of acceptance and persecution as well as examples that are problematic or offensive to modern Western sensibilities. While books can be (and have been) written about this subject, here I will limit myself to four examples that demonstrate the breadth of queer experience throughout Buddhism.

1. Mild offenses

First, and I think least interestingly, there are various levels of injunctions against male-male sexual behavior. What’s interesting here, apart from the mere visibility—yes, the monks were doing it with each other—is the minor nature of the offense. In the Theravadan monastic code, for example, sexual (mis)conduct between monks or novices was no more egregious than any other sexual misconduct, and did not warrant additional sanctions. The offense is similarly minor in Vajrayana monastic communities, leading both to consensual “thigh sex” (frottage) among monks, and, tragically, to many documented instances of sexual abuse.

Conflicting statements by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama have reflected this ambivalence. In 1994, he said that as long as there were no religious vows at issue, consensual same-sex intimacy “is OK.”  But in an interview published two years later, he said that only when “couples use organs intended for sexual intercourse” could sex be considered “proper.” After meeting with gay and lesbian activists in 1997, he noted that the same rules applied to straight and gay people alike, and that they were not part of the direct teachings of the Buddha and thus might evolve over time. In 2014, he reiterated the view that for Buddhists, homosexual acts are a subset of sexual misconduct, but that this was a matter of religious teaching and did not apply to people of another or no religion. Other rinpoches have disagreed and fully affirmed gay and lesbian lives.  There is no clear position. 

2. Gender-nonconforming ancestors

Second, there are several instances of what today might be called gender-nonconforming people in Buddhist texts, now newly accessible thanks to historian Jose Cabezon’s recently published 600-plus page tome, Sexuality in Classical South Asian Buddhism. Many Theravada and Mahayana texts, for example, refer to the pandaka, a term which, Cabezon shows, has a wide variety of meanings, encompassing “effeminate” male homosexuals, intersex persons, and others who exhibited non-normative anatomical, gender, or sexuality traits. (The term pandaka is often translated “eunuch,” but insofar as a eunuch is someone who chooses to be castrated, this is an inaccurate translation. Because of the breadth of the term, Cabezon himself renders it “queer person.”)

By and large, the pandaka is not depicted positively. As Cabezon describes in great detail, the Theravadan monastic code prohibits the ordaining of a pandaka—“the doctrine and discipline does not grow in them,” it says. And a Mahayana sutra called A Teaching on the Three Vows says bodhisattvas should not befriend them. But to me, just the visibility of the pandaka is encouraging. Here we are! And if we have been stigmatized, well, as Cabezon notes, that is hardly comparable to how queer people have been treated in other religious traditions.

3. Sexual samurai

Third, there is a fair amount of male-male homoeroticism in Buddhist textual history. The Jataka tales [parables from the Buddha’s past lives] include numerous homoerotic stories featuring the future Buddha and the future Ananda; in addition to the tales themselves apparently being told without a sense of scandalousness, these stories suggest an interesting appreciation of the homoerotics or at least homosociality of the teacher-disciple relationship. Like Batman and Robin, Achilles and Patroclus, and Frodo and Sam, the Buddha and Ananda are, emotionally speaking, more than just friends.

Japanese Buddhism probably had the most fully developed form of same-sex eroticism—nanshoku—that endured for hundreds of years, beginning in the 1100s and fading out only in the 19th century, under the influence of Christianity.  These relationships—sometimes called bi-do (the beautiful way) or wakashudo (the way of the youth)—were pederastic in nature, often between an adolescent boy (probably aged 12–14) and a young man (aged around 15–20), and thus not role models for contemporary LGBT people, but a queer love nonetheless.

As with Greek pederasty, these relationships combined a sexual relationship with a mentoring relationship. And as in the Greek model, there were clear rules and roles that needed to be followed; nanshoku was not hedonism but a homosexuality that was socially constructed.

The legendary founder of the institution of nanshoku was the 12th-century monk Kukai, also called Kobo Daishi (“the great teacher who spread the dharma”), who was also credited with founding of the Shingon school of Japanese esoteric Buddhism, which incorporates tantric practice. Although there is not much historical evidence for this, it’s interesting that the institution of nanshoku became linked with tantra, which has its own polymorphous eroticism in the service of awakening.

This culture has left us the greatest collection of homoerotic Buddhist texts of which I am aware. Nanshoku Okagami (the Great Mirror of Male Love), published in 1687 and available in a fine translation by Paul Gordon Schalow, is a collection of love stories, some requited and others not, between samurai warriors and Buddhist monks, actors, and townspeople. Now available in multiple translations, the book is an almost unbelievable artifact of Edo-period hedonism, warrior love conventions that closely resemble the Mediterranean ones, and Romeo-and-Juliet-like stories of forbidden love, impossible love, and star-crossed lovers. If you can get past our cultures’ very different ethics regarding intergenerational sex, it’s an amazing queering of history.

4. Gender fluidity

Finally, the fluidity and play of gender within some Buddhist texts is often inspiring but also frequently problematic. Numerous Buddhist enlightenment stories feature women suddenly transforming into men, for example. On the one hand, that’s kind of awesome from a queer and trans point of view. On the other hand, it’s often a way of explaining how deserving women can become fully enlightened—by becoming men.  

That highlighting the role of a prominent female bodhisattva like Kuan Yin or a female deity like Tara has enabled many Western dharma centers to manifest their commitments to gender egalitarianism—awesome. That Kuan Yin is but one manifestation of the male bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara—less awesome. And yet, that a male bodhisattva occasionally manifests as a female figure—maybe more awesome.

So too the feminization of the principle of wisdom, prajnaparamita, and the Vajrayogini, who is female, erotic, and enlightened. These figures may be gender-essentialistic, gender-binaried, and heteronormative, but especially for Westerners, they productively queer the assumptions of what is masculine and feminine.

These examples of queerness in Buddhist text and history are just a sampling; there are many more. When queers look at these echoes in the past, we’re doing several things: We are finding ourselves in history and theology. We are claiming and acknowledging our existence, albeit in different forms from those we know today. And we are, hopefully, keeping our senses of irony and historicity intact. This isn’t gay-hunting or a naïve apologetics that siphons off the bad and leaves in only the good. We are, instead, searching for a usable past, not with a faux nostalgia or appropriative orientalism, but with a sophisticated relationship to what has gone before and what is present now.

Complete Article HERE!

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From stone dildos to sexbots: how technology is changing sex

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A worker paints make-up on the faces of sex dolls in a factory in China.

By

As the TV series Westworld wraps up its second season, the show continues to spark discussion about a potential future that involves lifelike sex robots.

Meanwhile, Australia’s largest adult sexuality and lifestyle expo, SEXPO, is making its way around the country with the theme “Feel the Future” – a nod to all things sex and tech.

But while more lifelike sex dolls are beginning to hit the market, they aren’t the only innovations on the horizon.

What’s next for sex?

The use of technology to enhance sexual pleasure is ancient.

A stone dildo discovered by researchers in a German cave dates back 28,000 years. And sculptures with strong erotic imagery from more than 35,000BC are thought by some scientists to be an early form of pornography.

The main technologies that are likely to be important for developments in sex over the next few years are:

  • Increasing miniaturisation of motors and batteries for stimulation and to simulate human movement,
  • improved touch-based (haptic) interfaces,
  • virtual reality and brain computer interaction,
  • materials development, such as skin that stretches, and
  • artificial intelligence for control and response.

Sex aids

Sex aids for solo or coupled sex remain extremely popular. More natural skin-like covers, ranges of movement, battery life and wireless control are major areas of innovation.

Devices such as the We-Vibe have gone mainstream, and are now sold by Amazon.

But, as with many technologies, hi-tech sex aids have their downsides. The manufacturer of We-Vibe recently settled a class-action law suit following allegations the company breached users privacy by remotely tracking use of the device.

Teledildonics

New technologies can facilitate sex with a partner who is present, a partner who is distant, as well as solo activity. These aspects merge in the field of teledildonics, which involves partners getting together without being together.

Teledildonics is an extension of web-cam or phone sex. Remotely controlled sex toys can be used to facilitate pleasuring a partner when they are not there.

We may see apps like Tinder and Grindr move in this direction, limiting perceived risks associated with physical contact. Sexy Vibes – an alternative to Tinder – already works by turning a phone into a vibrator.

Virtual reality

Since a lot of sexual pleasure is experienced in the brain, advances in virtual reality that make a simulated sexual encounter more realistic and engaging may be more important than anatomically accurate physical devices.

You might be familiar with online games where people change gender, appearance, and even species as they wish. Sex is already relatively common in games such as World of Warcraft, and there are a huge range of sex-games available.

Virtual reality could remove the need to have any link to the real world whatsoever.

Sexbots

Sexual robots that behave like humans are a staple of science fiction. Without going into the ethical questions surrounding their development – which have become the subject of activist campaigns – sexbots to the fictional standard are difficult to make and suffer from the “uncanny valley” effect effect. They are close to human, but noticeably different.

And once you have built a sexbot, you need some way of controlling its behaviour. A distant partner may be one approach, a pre-programmed “digital prostitute” may be another. It is possible to imagine a future where one could personalise a robot using 3D printing and a set of prebuilt responses to appear and act like a particular human being.

Alternatively, advances in machine learning could enable a sexbot to change its behaviour in response to the desires and actions of the user, constructing a completely artificial personality.

Voice interfaces, such as Amazon’s Alexa, are already reliable. Haptic interfaces could be used to stimulate behaviour, along with gesture recognition or even brain-computer interfaces.

It’s possible we may see a future where robots are considered more understanding than humans, encouraging people to share intimate details about themselves more readily.

A sexual response Turing test

The fully fledged sexbot that can be mistaken for a human is still beyond current technology.

Major barriers to this include duplicating the kind of human movement that depends on hundreds of muscles, the development of skin that can feel, and the creation of a nervous system that can respond to stimuli.

Even in ten years time, it is unlikely that the movement and appearance of people could be duplicated unless there is a breakthrough in artificial muscle design and biomimetic materials.

A sexbot that could pass a “sexual response Turing test” – much like Google’s Duplex is able to pass as a human caller – would be much easier to develop in a virtual world.

Beyond pleasure

Some new technologies may have benefits that go beyond just pleasure. These tools might be used to help people with concerned about genital function, appearance or type.

There are already a wide array of prosthetic penises and vaginas, often marketed for transgender people. Adding feeling to function – by using biomimetics and sensory feedback – may make them more acceptable than surgery for some people.

Sex and technology link in many different ways – whether its helps overcome a disability or separation from a loved one, or is simply be a way to increase pleasure and excitement. In the future, physical technologies may be complementary to virtual ones, and fantasy might trump realism in their design and use.

Complete Article HERE!

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Study: Even more Americans identify as something other than heterosexual

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A new survey finds the number of people who identify as bisexual, pansexual or homosexual continues to rise

A United States study has found that more people than ever before identify as something other than heterosexual.

The study by YouGov, a U.K.-based data analytics firm, found that one-third of 18 to 34-year olds identify as something other than completely heterosexual — a figure that has increased by 5% since 2015.

Carrie Baker, director of Smith College’s Program for the Study of Women and Gender, told Newsweek that society’s increasing acceptance of LGBTQ relationships has led to an increasing rise in people being more open about their sexuality.

“Really it was not that long ago that same-sex behavior was illegal in this country,” said Baker. “As our culture opens up same-sex sexuality as a possibility, more people are likely to experiment or to acknowledge those feelings or act on them.”

She also explained that an increase in same-sex couples being depicted in movies and television, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court ruling for same-sex marriage and the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” have helped spur conversations that allow people to feel more comfortable with their sexuality.

The study was conducted by having participants rank themselves from a 0 to 6 on the Kinsey scale, 0 being completely straight and 6 being completely gay. The data collected was then compared to a similar study conducted in 2015.

Of the 1,096 people surveyed, 25% labeled themselves as something other than completely heterosexual, an increase from 20 percent in 2015. Twenty percent also picked a 1-5 on the Kinsey scale, meaning they’re bisexual, pansexual or fluid, compared to 16% three years ago. Those who listed themselves as exclusively homosexual — or a 6 on the Kinsey scale — increased 1% over 2015.

Baker said that these results show that sexual attraction is on a spectrum, which she attributes to young people’s openness.

“Circumstance can influence sexuality,” she said. “I also think the young people are thinking less of sexuality as sort of rigid and binary and more as on a continuum and as fluid.”

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Gay, Straight, Or Bisexual – Which Group Of Men Are More At Risk Of Heart Failure?

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Can your sexuality increase or decrease your risk of heart failure?  A new study released by the NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing states that Bisexual men have a higher risk for heart disease compared with heterosexual men.

Now, of course it is not because you’re sleeping with men, but it’s because of everything else that may come with it.

In a new study published online in the journal LGBT Health, Billy Caceres, the study’s lead author, states:

Our findings highlight the impact of sexual orientation, specifically sexual identity, on the cardiovascular health of men and suggest clinicians and public health practitioners should develop tailored screening and prevention to reduce heart disease risk in bisexual men.

More than 30 percent of men in the US have some form of heart disease making it a leading cause of death for American men. Not many studies have been done to understand the impact of sexual orientation on heart disease risk for men.

In this study, NYU researchers examined differences in modifiable risk factors for heart disease and heart disease diagnoses in men of different sexual orientations. Risk factors measured included:

mental distress
health behaviors such as

  •       tobacco use
  •       binge drinking
  •       diet
  •       exercise

biological risk factors such as

  •       obesity
  •       hypertension
  •       diabetes
  •       cholesterol.

Responses from 7,731 men ages 20 to 59 were part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2001-2012). Differences were analyzed across four groups based on their sexual identities: gay men, bisexual men, heterosexual men who have sex with men, and heterosexual men.

The researchers found no differences in heart disease diagnoses based on sexual orientation, but risk for heart disease was more complicated.

  • Gay men, heterosexual men, and heterosexual men who have sex with men had similar heart disease risk.
  • Gay men reported lower binge drinking compared with heterosexual men, but otherwise few differences in health behaviors were noted.
  • Bisexual men, however, had higher rates of several risk factors for heart disease relative to heterosexual men: mental distress, obesity, elevated blood pressure, and three different measures of diabetes (medication use, medical history, and average glycosylated hemoglobin level).

“Poor mental health is a recognized risk factor for the development of heart disease,” said Caceres. “Clinicians should be educated about sexual minority health and should routinely screen bisexual men for mental distress as a risk factor for heart disease. This is particularly important as healthcare organizations increasingly include sexual orientation as part of demographic questionnaires in electronic health records.”

Complete Article HERE!

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Do You Have Sexual Side Effects From Antidepressants You Stopped Taking?

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From low libido to erectile dysfunction, some people report suffering from enduring sexual problems.

From low libido to erectile dysfunction, some people report suffering from enduring sexual problems.

By Michael O. Schroeder

Antidepressants are widely prescribed, commonly used for depression and recommended to treat a range of other issues, from anxiety disorders to pain. But the medications aren’t without risk – and some potentially serious side effects start, or continue, after a person has stopped taking them.

These effects vary by the individual and the drug, but for the most commonly prescribed antidepressants – selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, or SSNIs – side effects, or adverse events reported by patients, range from headache, nausea and fatigue to paresthesia, or an abnormal sensation that can feel, to some, like electrical shocks, to insomnia to seizures. And though less widely recognized, some patients also report another enduring effect of SSRIs and SSNIs: sexual dysfunction.

To be sure, sexual side effects ranging from lower libido to erectile dysfunction are known and detailed in drug labeling information. But though online support groups have cropped up for people who experience persistent sexual dysfunction after going off antidepressants – post-SSRI sexual dysfunction, or PSSD – it’s not clear how common the concern is.

However, one recent paper co-authored by researchers linked with an independent drug safety website RxISK.org that collects reports of side effects – including after people stop medications – recently reported on 300 cases of enduring sexual dysfunction. These were reported by people from around the world who were taking SSRIs, SSNIs and tricyclic antidepressants, as well as drugs called 5α-reductase inhibitors and isotretinoin. which are used to treat male hair loss (baldness) and benign (non-cancerous) prostate enlargement, and acne respectively. Reports by patients who’d taken 5α-reductase inhibitors and isotretinoin to RxISK of enduring problems with sexual function after stopping these medications appeared to have similar characteristics to those related to antidepressants, notes co-author Dr. Dee Mangin, the David Braley and Nancy Gordon Chair in Family Medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and chief medical officer for RxISK.org.

“We were really looking at sexual dysfunction both on and after taking medication, because some of the reports we were getting were suggesting that sexual dysfunction, which is a known side effect of a number of drugs, seemed to be persisting once the drugs were stopped,” Mangin says.

As noted in the paper published in the International Journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine, there have been limited references to the potential for such issues to occur after patients stopped antidepressants. In the U.S., the product information for Prozac (fluoxetine) – the oldest of the SSRIs – was updated in 2011 to warn, “Symptoms of sexual dysfunction occasionally persist after discontinuation of fluoxetine treatment.” What’s more, the authors noted, “The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published in 2013, states that ‘In some cases, serotonin reuptake inhibitor-induced sexual dysfunction may persist after the agent is discontinued.'”

But the authors go further in detailing reports of enduring sexual dysfunction such as the onset of premature ejaculation and persistent genital arousal disorder (whereby a person becomes aroused without any stimulation) as well as losing genital sensation, or genital anaesthesia, pleasureless or weak orgasm, loss of libido and impotence. “Secondary consequences included relationship breakdown and impaired quality of life,” the authors note.

The individuals weren’t independently evaluated before, during or after taking the medication, and more study is needed. Still, Mangin asserts, “The study provides the strong signal that there is a group of people who seem to experience enduring side effects that affect their sexual function after they’ve stopped taking the drug.”

Experts say just as patients should never stop antidepressants abruptly, or without consulting with their provider – since doing so is known to increase side effect risk and worsen those effects – patient and provider should discuss any adverse effects that start or continue after stopping a medication.

Dr. Eliza Menninger, who directs a behavioral health program at McLean Hospital in Boston, says she hasn’t heard from patients voicing serious concerns about sexual side effects after stopping their medication. For the most part, sexual side effects seem to go away after patients stop taking the medication, Menninger says. “Some will indicate it’s still an issue, but they don’t seem as bothered by it – and I don’t know if it’s as bad an issue as when they were on the SSRI,” she says.

However, clinicians say, it would be helpful to have more clarity on the issue – including how likely it may be that patients could experience enduring sexual side effects. In part due to the sensitive nature of sexual complaints, experts point out, these effects often go unacknowledged in patient-provider conversations.

One problem is that sexual side effects aren’t tracked in a systematic way like other drug side effects – even though they can be severely damaging to intimate relationships and undermine a person’s overall quality of life and well-being. “There’s no requirement, for example, for drug companies to track sexual side effects. They’re not considered serious adverse events, although the potential for them to continue post-medication I would consider extremely serious – even a disability,” says Audrey Bahrick, staff psychologist at the University of Iowa’s counseling service.

Bahrick recently signed onto a petition, along with Mangin and others who’ve researched enduring sexual side effects, asking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory bodies to require makers of SSRIs and SSNIs to update drug labeling to warn that such legacy effects can occur and continue for years or even indefinitely.

Sandy Walsh, a spokesperson for the FDA, said it would review the petition and respond to the petitioner, but declined to comment further regarding the petition. Drugmakers who responded to a request for comment say they work closely with regulatory agencies to keep information updated.

Mads Kronborg, a spokesman for pharmaceutical firm Lundbeck, notes that summary production information for its SSRIs, citalopram (Celexa) and escitalopram (Lexapro), “already states that side effects can occur upon discontinuation, and that such side effects may be severe and prolonged.” Specifically, it’s stated that “generally these events are mild to moderate and are self-limiting, however, in some patients they may be severe and/or prolonged.” The side effects listed for citalopram and escitalopram “include sexual side effects,” he says, though he adds that sexual side effects are not among the most commonly reported reactions to discontinuation. “So information about potential enduring side effects is actually already included.”

But the petition asserts drug companies aren’t going far enough to acknowledge these concerns.

Bahrick says though the prevalence of enduring sexual side effects remains unknown, “My own impression clinically is that it’s not at all uncommon, and that it can range from subtle – not returning to sexual baseline – to really a complete sexual anesthesia, where a person who has been without any significant sexual problems prior to taking the medication might be rendered unable to experience sexual pleasure, unable to have sensation in the genitals, having orgasms that are not associated with pleasure,” she says. “These are clearly, I think, drug effects. [Issues] like genital anaesthesia and pleasureless orgasm – these are not symptoms that are associated with any sexual problems, say, that are commonly associated with depression. We can see these as legacy effects of the SSRIs.”

In the absence of prevalence data, clinicians continue to debate the potential extent of enduring sexual side effects for those who have stopped antidepressants. Some worry about unnecessarily scaring patients away from antidepressants who may benefit from taking the drugs.

“These medications are used to treat symptoms of illnesses that are potentially quite debilitating and can be lethal, so while I want to encourage a discussion of side effects, the intent is to use medications to help improve significant symptoms,” Menninger says. She points out, as the petition notes, that to date no prospective studies have been done assessing sexual dysfunction prior to SSRI and then during and after SSRI use. Though certainly side effects are real and concerning, she says, “there is clinical evidence the medications make a significant difference in helping [and/or] saving a life.” That’s something some clinicians emphasize shouldn’t get lost in the discussion.

But Bahrick says for patients, not having information that these effects may occur undermines their ability to make a fully informed decision when deciding to go on antidepressants, and deciding whether to try alternative treatment options first. “It’s so important to get this information out there on the front end. Because these injuries are very real and can be lifelong and seriously limit intimacy and create a lot of shame and isolation and despair,” she says. While for some the side effects go away on their own, for others they persist – and Bahrick says there’s no known cure for PSSD. “So this is in service of informed consent that is quite lacking at this time.”

Complete Article HERE!

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