Couples Who Do THIS Have Better Sex

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By Georgina Berbari

It’s no secret that there’s enjoyment in feeling desired. In fact, a new study just revealed that how much you think your partner loves your body can have a significant effect on your sexual satisfaction—even more than your own appreciation for your body.

The study, published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, studied 244 women between ages 18 and 30, all of whom were in a committed relationship for three months or longer and sexually active within the last month. (Most of the women were white and straight.) The scientists assessed the participants’ own body appreciation by asking them to rate how much they related to statements like “I respect my body” and “I feel good about my body.” The women were also asked to complete the survey from their partner’s perspective, to assess their perceived view of their partner’s appreciation of their body (i.e., “My partner feels good about my own body”).

The researchers also asked questions about the women’s sexual functioning in the past four weeks, which includes how often they felt sexual desire, their level of arousal, lubrication, number of orgasms, sexual satisfaction, and pain during sex. Finally, women also reported their overall relationship satisfaction, including how pleasant, positive, satisfied, and valued they felt.

The findings showed the more you think your partner appreciates your body, the better your sex life tends to be—that is, more desire, arousal, lubrication, and orgasms—and the more satisfied with your relationship you are.

There was also a significant relationship between how much women appreciated their own body and how much they thought their partner appreciated it. In other words, having a more positive body image was associated with your partner loving your body more too. Interestingly, however, a woman’s own body image was much less of a predictor of her sexual functioning than how she perceived her partner’s view of her body. That suggests that there’s an element of being seen as attractive that’s uniquely important when it comes to having a satisfying sex life.

In the paper, the researchers theorize that this need to be seen as desirable and worthy might have to do with trust: When we’re having sex, we’re incredibly vulnerable—literally, we’re baring it all. So when we know our partner recognizes and even takes pleasure in our bare bodies, we feel more secure, confident, and able to let loose and enjoy ourselves.

Of course, the point here isn’t that we should all care a ton about what other people think about our bodies. When you’re confident in your own body, you’ll inevitably enjoy sex more because you feel less self-conscious and more inhibited.

“Our internal experience is mirrored back to us in our relationships,” marriage and family therapist Shelly Bullard tells mbg. “Therefore, the best thing you can always do is find love within. When in doubt, love yourself.” The same goes for body image—as you cultivate more and more love for your own body, there’s no doubt that you’ll see that body love radiating from your partner.

“As I began to feel full, beautiful, and magnificent internally, I experienced others feeling these things for me in a greater way than ever before,” Bullard writes.

In short, having the sense that your partner is obsessed with your body undoubtedly leads to great sex, and treating yourself with that unconditional adoration and acceptance is a great place to start. Of course, being comfortable and accepting of all aspects of your body is a journey—that you and your partner are both likely on. So, don’t be shy when it comes to being vocal about how much you’re sexually attracted to each other. Neither of you are mind-readers, and creating a healthy, open dialogue will have wonderful effects on both your sex life and your overall confidence.

Complete Article HERE!

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Here’s What Sex Therapists Really Think About Netflix’s ‘Sex Education’

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The show gets a lot right.

By Kasandra Brabaw

When Netflix’s new show Sex Education dropped earlier this month, it became an instant hit among basically anyone who has sex or thinks about sex. The show follows an awkward teen, Otis Milburn (Asa Butterfield), who knows a lot about sex thanks to his sex therapist mom, Jean Milburn (Gillian Anderson). Otis teams up with school outcast, Maeve Wiley (Emma Mackey), once they realize that Otis’s sexual knowledge means they can both make some major cash from their peers via “therapy sessions.” In each episode, Otis addresses a new classmate’s sex and relationship issues, all while dealing with his own sexual inhibitions and his mom’s serious prying.

Those who love the show love how relatable it is in showing the awkward situations and weird sexual questions that teens are inevitably going through but aren’t usually talking about. And with Otis as acting as a sex therapist for his classmates, we get to see what it would be like if teenagers actually had a thoughtful, insightful outlet for talking about sex and relationships.

It also broke barriers in a lot of ways, like showing teens finally having honest, progressive conversations about sex and sexuality. And also showing a full vulva on TV. Of course, that doesn’t mean every bit of Sex Education is 100 percent accurate. This is still TV, after all, and TV shows tend to rely on clichéd tropes and unrealistic drama to make the show entertaining.

So we talked to six real-life sex therapists about their thoughts on the show. Here’s what they had to say.

Spoilers ahead if you haven’t watched the whole season!

1. The show’s portrayal of an actual licensed sex therapist—Jean (Otis’s mom)—is a little clichéd.

“Sex therapy is a bit unconventional as a job, but it’s still a job to us,” Kate Stewart, a licensed mental health counselor based in Seattle, tells SELF.

Although some sex therapists may constantly talk about sex and have lots of sex with lots of people, the majority don’t. “I rolled my eyes at the trope of the mom banging all these people because she’s a sex therapist,” sexologist Megan Stubbs, Ed.D. tells SELF. “Banging people all over the place is not a job requirement.”

Then there’s the issue of the job itself—Jean makes it look like being a sex therapist is a cakewalk. It’s not. “For the most part, sex therapists don’t just sit around in big houses barely doing anything and looking gorgeous all day,” Rosara Torrisi, Ph.D., a sex therapist based in Long Island, tells SELF. “We see clients, we write articles, we give talks, we lecture, we teach, and so on. Looks nice, though.”

2. But her dildo-filled office is pretty realistic.

“I want to say that I don’t have nearly as much crazy sex art, but I do have two nude paintings and a bunch of crystal and stainless steel dildos decorating my office,” Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist and creator of Finishing School, tells SELF.

3. Most sex therapists are generally better with personal and professional boundaries.

Not only does Dr. Milburn openly hold therapy sessions in her home—breaching her patient’s privacy, as well as her and Otis’s potential safety—she also pries into her son’s sexuality and disrespects his wishes on a few occasions. Sure, lots of moms do this and it gives us the kind of drama that makes TV interesting, but it’s not exactly how you’d expect a sex therapist to act.

“Many of the sex therapists I know have children, and they are all very respectful of their children’s space and ability to explore sexuality in their own way and on their own time,” Stewart says. “I think we would all talk to our children about our work if they were interested, but we wouldn’t get into such graphic detail about our clients being interested in pegging.”

On top of that, we discover that Jean and her ex-husband (also seemingly a sex therapist) had a toxic relationship complete with a lack of boundaries that probably led to Otis’s own sexual inhibitions (specifically, his inability to masturbate). Remember that scene when young Otis sees his dad having sex with a patient? “Completely against our ethics and care for a client,” Megan Fleming, Ph.D., a sex therapist in New York, tells SELF. Later, we see a scene in which Jean explains to young Otis that sex can be wonderful but can also destroy lives. “So it’s not that Otis is just inhibited,” says Fleming. “He was taught and conditioned by his own mother that sex is destructive

But then again, nobody is perfect, even therapists. And Jean’s behavior shines a light on that fact.

“Otis’s mother was one of my favorite characters,” sex therapist Megan Davis, M.Ed, tells SELF. “She shows the reality that even though we are therapists, we’re sometimes at fault for crossing boundaries with those closest to us (by writing a book about Otis’s sexual difficulties), being unclear in our communication, and reacting in stressful situations.” She adds, “I can admit, I am sometimes guilty of not taking my own advice or keeping my cool.”

4. But Sex Education does a great job depicting real sex and relationship problems—and solutions.

“My favorite scene was when Otis counseled the two lesbians in the pool,” Dr. Torrisi says. “At some point one of them remarks that the issue can’t be the relationship, that it’s just the sex. I hear this a lot. Yes, having a good relationship can help sex. And having good sex can help the relationship. But often as a sex therapist, I see people scapegoat the sex in order to hide their fears about the relationship.”

In fact, pretty much every therapy session Otis has with fellow students rings true. “Otis addressed issues such as low or no desire, pain during sex, lack of orgasm, erectile dysfunction, and sexual orientation issues,” Davis says. “We have a tendency to shame and silence discussions of sexuality and sexual issues, but Otis was able to help his peers to remove the shame and begin openly talking about their bodies, their sexuality, and their issues.”

The way people react to his advice is realistic as well. “There is an immense power in just being able to talk about sex out loud. In the scene in the bathroom with Adam, you can practically see the weight coming off of his shoulders when he acknowledges that he’s having issues with his erection and orgasm,” Marin says. “I see that same kind of relief with my clients, too.”

5. Ultimately the program shows that sex therapy—or at the very least better sex education—can be helpful for pretty much anyone.

“Otis debunked many myths about sex during his sessions with his peers. For example, the myth and expectation that men should last 30-45 minutes before orgasm, when in fact most men only last three to five minutes. And the myth that vaginas [or, more accurately, vulvas] are supposed to look a certain way, particularly the labia,” Davis says.

Despite the TV tendency to solve complex problems in 30 minutes or less, Otis uses very real sex therapy tactics to help his fellow students. “He provided education to his peers, homework (i.e. when he sent Aimee home and encouraged her to masturbate on her own in order to tell her partner what she likes or doesn’t like in bed), brought in both partners to work on communication strategies, worked with couples on conflict resolution skills, and encouraged experimentation individually or as a couple,” Davis explains.

Although the show portrayed sex therapy in both realistic and unrealistic ways, it’s strides ahead of similar teen shows about sex. In Sex Education, sexual issues like erectile dysfunction and sex injuries aren’t laughed off—they’re given serious thought and discussion.

If after watching the show you think you might benefit from sex therapy of your own, here’s how to find out more about it.

Complete Article HERE!

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Is THIS Why You’re Struggling With Arousal?

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By Tiffany Lashai Curtis

Somewhere in all of the many messages that we’ve received about sex, many of us came to accept the idea that when a penis is erect or when a vagina is wet, it means a person is primed and ready for sex. This isn’t always the case, and yet our cultural discourse around sex and arousal has led us to incorrectly assume that a person’s physical response to sexual stimulation is always aligned with their level of desire.

In reality, there are many times when desire and physical arousal don’t match. In fact, physical arousal (genital response) is distinct from subjective arousal (active mental engagement in sex), and the lingering confusion about this distinction can contribute to many people’s insecurity or concern within their own sex lives and—at worst—can blur the meaning of true consent.

There’s a name for when physical and subjective arousal are mismatched: arousal non-concordance.

What is arousal non-concordance?

It’s a serious-sounding name for a pretty common phenomenon that most of us have experienced or will experience at some point in our lives. If you’ve ever had a sexual experience in which you felt really turned on but had difficulty getting wet or erect or if you’ve had the opposite happen, where your body responded to a sexual stimulus but your mind was saying no, then you’ve experienced arousal non-concordance.

“Arousal concordance and non-concordance describe the simultaneous physical manifestation (or lack thereof) of a mental and emotional state of arousal,” physician and sexuality counselor Dr. Kanisha Hall tells mindbodygreen.

Simply put, arousal non-concordance can occur when the brain and the body are out of sync. While there is no official test to measure one’s levels of arousal concordance or non-concordance, researchers have asked participants to watch porn clips or view nude photographs while their vaginal pulse rate or the size of their erections were monitored (physical arousal) and then rate their level of desire (subjective arousal). The existing overlap between participants’ physical and subjective arousal is what is used as a marker of concordance.

Some people are more likely to experience arousal non-concordance than others. Dr. Hall says women may be more likely than men to experience it, which may have to do with the way female pleasure has been socially stigmatized, devalued, and construed as “mysterious,” creating more barriers to sexual satisfaction both physically and mentally.

Dr. Hall also noted that “stress, hormone imbalance, physical or mental disability, or a history of trauma may present a roadblock.”

Dealing with arousal non-concordance.

It’s easy to see why experiencing mismatched arousal can be extremely frustrating. “An individual may feel like their body is betraying them,” Dr. Hall says. “Others report feelings of inadequacy and dysfunction. These feelings bring stress to a person’s daily life and relationships. Also, you must realize the partner is usually bothered as well because they feel lacking in their ability to arouse and stimulate.”

Understanding arousal non-concordance and how we experience it can remind us that we are not damaged or weird if we don’t want to get busy all the time, if we become physically aroused in nonsexual situations, or if we don’t always respond positively to sexual touch even from a partner who we love or a person we find super attractive. By taking the time to note those moments when we aren’t experiencing arousal fully or when we experience unwanted arousal, we can become more attuned to how our bodies and minds react to certain kinds of stimulation and be more assertive about asking for what we want when we want it—and drawing boundaries when we don’t. Importantly, understanding that physical arousal alone does not and cannot take the place of clear and enthusiastic verbal consent is absolutely necessary to address our society’s ongoing culture of sexual assault.

We can also begin to figure out what really turns us on or off and open up the conversation with our partners. If you find that your mental desire for sex is present but that your body doesn’t get the memo when it’s time to get naked, getting reacquainted with things like lubricant (lots of it), clitoral stimulation, and taking the time to think about what kinds of touch or sensations you like and don’t like can make a huge difference. “Self-care and masturbation are great tools for assessing physical responses to stimuli,” Dr. Hall says.

If you experience physical arousal more than mental arousal, implementing something like a meditation practice or assessing what triggers your responsive desire can help your subjective arousal catch up to your physical response to sexual stimuli—if that’s what you want. Otherwise, you can at least begin to accept that your body’s biological responses are simply natural—nothing to feel shame or frustration about, as long as those responses aren’t interfering with your daily life.

If your experiences of non-concordance are due to trauma or if everyday sexual experiences do bring up emotional or physical pain, often it’s a good time to seek out professional help from a sexual health expert, whether that’s your gynecologist, another kind of sexologist or sexual health practitioner, or even a body worker who can help you process what you’re experiencing.

Whichever route you choose, know that arousal non-concordance is a normal experience and can be managed once you become aware of what’s happening.

Complete Article HERE!

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How Much Sex Is “Normal” In A Relationship?

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BY Cory Stieg

So sorry to disappoint anyone who’s thirsty for this information, but there really isn’t a “normal” amount of sex to have when you’re in a relationship, because there’s no such thing as “normal” — especially when it comes to relationships.

A handful of studies have examined how often people have sex based on their age, and determined that younger people (technically around 18-29 years old) tend to have sex four or more times per week, which is more than older age groups. But that doesn’t mean that more is better. A large 2015 study showed that couples who have sex once a week are the happiest, and other studies confirmed that even if couples have sex more frequently, it doesn’t increase their happiness. So, what we can glean is that there’s really no such thing as a “normal” amount, because everyone is different. And yet, so many people stress out about how much sex they’re supposed to be having.

This tension can be attributed to the fact that most of us have grown up with messages about “what makes a relationship good,” says Myisha Battle, a certified sex coach in San Francisco. “The problem is that sometimes ‘healthy’ is interpreted as having lots of sex,” she says. Humans are curious creatures by nature, so if you hear that someone else is having more sex than you are, you assume that means they’re “better” than you, she says.

So many people get caught up in making sure that they’re having sex “right,” says Rachel Wright, MA, LMFT, a psychotherapist in New York City. “And really, there is no ‘right.'” The only important factor that you need to be concerned about is how often you want to have sex with your partner, she says. For some people, that might be tricky to articulate, too, because we have so many preconceived notions about what we’re supposed to be doing. It’s worthwhile to work on telling your partner what you need, because communication is key.

Once you and your partner are on the same page about how often you want to have sex, then remember that the number will change along with your relationship, Battle says. “We can become a bit nostalgic for the beginnings of relationships where sex might have been more frequent,” she says. “Developing acceptance of the ebb and flow of sex within your relationship can be more satisfying in the long run.” Nothing is set in stone, in other words.

Finally, if there is a big “desire discrepancy” between you and your partner’s ideal sexual frequency, or even between you and a friend, it’s not the end of the world. “It helps to focus on finding a partner who prioritizes sex in a similar way to you and communicating with them when things may have gone off course,” Battle says. And that, like all things in relationships, can take time.

Complete Article HERE!

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What Is Polyamory and How Does It Work?

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Polyamory has steadily moved from the margins to mainstream society over the past couple of decades. The rise of the internet has helped this scattered, taboo community connect, grow, and educate others. Personally, nearly six years in this community has provided a wealth of knowledge, but for now, let’s stick to the basics: What is (and isn’t) polyamory and how does it work?

Ethical Non-Monogamy

This umbrella term encompasses everything from polyamory to that conversation you have with your new Tinder beau-ty call about not being exclusive. Generally, however, people throw this term around when their relationships are on the casual end of the spectrum. Ethical non-monogamy is the practice of having multiple romantic/sexual partners who know about each other.

Polygamy and polyandry — usually ostracized from the main community due to consent and agency issues — are cultural forms of these relationships where one person acts as a vertex to many other partners who are bound to them by marriage. Vertices aren’t always bad; they occur as vees (only two partners) and are accepted in other relationship structures. The difference lies in how the wives and husbands of these relationships are not allowed the same freedom to explore beyond the vertex partner.

Open Relationships

Many people get their feet wet with ethical non-monogamy by opening up their relationships so one or both partners date or have sex with other people. Swinging technically falls into this category but is strictly sexual and its own vibrant community altogether. An open relationship tends to have the most rules in order to preserve the core relationship. Rules can range from not sleeping with friends to restricting queer/pansexual/bisexual people to only dating people of their gender.

Too many rules can put pressure on the core relationship and often ignore the sexual and emotional agency of any third parties. Some of these open couples go “unicorn hunting” for those open to threesomes and completely close off the possibility of romantic attachment. Some people don’t mind, but the couples often position unicorns as disposable beings.

However, sometimes these “pairings” can blossom into polyfidelitous relationships. Polyfidelity occurs when multiple people decide to be in an exclusive relationship with each other, most commonly in the form of triads (three partners) or quads (four people). But the more the merrier!

Polyamory

Finally, you have “many loves” (the Latin translation of polyamory). Polyamory tends to focus more on romantic relationships, but it can include casual partners. The main schools of polyamory are hierarchical, anarchic, egalitarian, and solo-polyamory.

Hierarchical polyamory assigns ranks to different partners: primary, secondary, and tertiary. There’s typically only one primary and this relationship tends to include many financial and social entanglements. Secondary relationships are essentially evolved situationships where the partners are beyond casual. Sometimes they can be as romantic as a primary … without the same access. Tertiary relationships are casual and usually physically-based. Another partner type is a comet, which can fit any of these descriptions, where the couple spends long periods of time apart.

Criticism of hierarchical poly structures rests mostly on the power the primary partner holds over time, resources, and particularly, vetoes. A primary can veto aspects of or even entire relationships their partner holds. This power can lead to secondaries and tertiaries feeling neglected. Sounds like a glorified open relationship, no?

In response, anarchic and egalitarian systems aim to challenge these emotional limitations. Relationship anarchy dismantles all hierarchies in platonic, sexual, and romantic relationships. It’s the least possessive relationship structure since all parties are completely autonomous and do not restrict each other. Anecdotally, however, straight men often use the term to avoid commitment.

Egalitarian and/or non-hierarchical polyamory is similar to relationship anarchy. These structures don’t fold platonic relationships into the anarchic ethos, aren’t usually as anti-heteronormativity, and can be conventionally couple-centric.

Finally, solo-polyamory occurs when someone views themselves as their primary. External relationships can have hierarchies or not (usually the latter), but commonly, there is no desire to cohabitate, merge finances, etc. with any partners.

Partner’s partners, known as metamours, help form a network known as a polycule. Metamours can have little to no contact or develop friendships and even romantic/sexual relationships with each other. No matter how involved the members are in each other’s lives, everyone should have a sense of at least who their metamours. It’s a marker of good communication throughout the polycule and a deterrent to jealousy.

What About Jealousy?

Jealousy still happens, especially at first. Jealousy in the early stages of polyamory can be a remnant of the possessiveness of monogamy.

Unlearning societal norms, learning about yourself, and fostering open communication can help uncover boundaries while also pushing them. Sometimes, genuine neglect occurs as partners figure out how to navigate polyamory, but you can only correct this by talking to each other.

Once you’re a poly veteran, jealousy doesn’t completely release you, but it’s more likely to be defined by an insecurity. Paraphrasing musician, activist, and general badass Kiran Gandhi, jealousy is a sign to your brain that you’re missing something in your life and a call to action to obtain it.

Usually, polyamorous relationships are full of compersion — the joy of knowing that someone else makes a partner happy. Because happiness isn’t meant to be exclusive; it’s always better when shared.

For an even deeper primer on ethical non-monogamy, snag a copy of The Ethical Slut by Janet W. Hardy and Dossie Easton.

Complete Article HERE!

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If You’re Sexually Woke, Then Let Straight Men Experiment Freely

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“Through [gay] experiences, I found out that I am completely straight. I won’t go back.”

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When a woman mentions she’s had an “experimental phase,” it’s often shrugged off as a shared experience. But when men share this same information, the results are often more extreme: They’re teased, labeled gay, or their masculinity is questioned; a Glamour survey even found that 63% of women wouldn’t date a man who had sex with another man. This is an extension of the idea that female homosexuality and sexual fluidity are more socially accepted.

All of this information is nothing new. What’s less known, however, is exactly how interested men are in sex with other men: Are straight men just as curious as women, but shame is suppressing their desire, or are women indeed the more sexually fluid gender?

 

“I know of no evidence that shows that men are less likely than women to have an ‘experimental phase,’” Ritch C. Savin-Williams, Ph.D., and author of Mostly Straight: Sexual Fluidity Among Men tells NewNowNext. “I do believe men are less likely to report it to researchers, on surveys, or to their friends and families due, in part, to the ‘homohysteria’ that pervades our culture.”

As result of his research, Savin-Williams believes men are just as curious in same-sex dalliances as women, and argues if men were “allowed” to engage in such behavior, more would. “I do believe there is a subset of straight men who are fascinated by penises and they might well have sex with a man for that reason.”

 

When a woman mentions she’s had an “experimental phase,” it’s often shrugged off as a shared experience. But when men share this same information, the results are often more extreme: They’re teased, labeled gay, or their masculinity is questioned; a Glamour survey even found that 63% of women wouldn’t date a man who had sex with another man. This is an extension of the idea that female homosexuality and sexual fluidity are more socially accepted.

All of this information is nothing new. What’s less known, however, is exactly how interested men are in sex with other men: Are straight men just as curious as women, but shame is suppressing their desire, or are women indeed the more sexually fluid gender?

 

“I know of no evidence that shows that men are less likely than women to have an ‘experimental phase,’” Ritch C. Savin-Williams, Ph.D., and author of Mostly Straight: Sexual Fluidity Among Men tells NewNowNext. “I do believe men are less likely to report it to researchers, on surveys, or to their friends and families due, in part, to the ‘homohysteria’ that pervades our culture.”

As result of his research, Savin-Williams believes men are just as curious in same-sex dalliances as women, and argues if men were “allowed” to engage in such behavior, more would. “I do believe there is a subset of straight men who are fascinated by penises and they might well have sex with a man for that reason.”

Getty

This last point is one of many uncovered in a 2017 study. Researchers from Northwestern University conducted 100 interviews with men who identified as straight, but sought casual sex with men online. After analyzing the results, the study concluded that these men are indeed primarily attracted to women, with no sexual attraction to men—despite the desire to have sex with men.

Confused? The result relies on semantics. To researchers, “sexual attraction” must include both “physical” and “emotional” attraction. So while these men have a sexual attraction (a combination of both emotional and physical attraction) toward women, it is often only a physical attraction when it comes to men. Some said they aren’t drawn toward male bodies as much as they are female, and others observe they’re only interested in penises. Some will even limit what they’re willing to do with men to convince themselves that their sexual interest in women is stronger than their attraction toward men.

“I know what I like. I like pussy,” Reggie, 28, shares in the survey. “I like women. The more the merrier. I would kiss a woman. I can barely hug a man. I do have a healthy sexual imagination and wonder about other things in the sexual realm I’ve never done. Sometimes I get naughty and explore. That’s how I see it.”

John, 43, is less lewd in his perspective. He tells NewNowNext that masturbating didn’t come naturally to him, so he had a friend show him how. After that inaugural moment, the rest was history. “I have had anal sex and oral sex with a few other guys as a young man, mostly out of sexual frustration but also experimenting. Ultimately, through these experiences, I found out that I am completely straight. I won’t go back.”

Based on the men he’s spoken with in his career, Eric Marlowe Garrison, certified sexuality expert and bestselling author, laments most straight men experiment as a top, mimicking cisgender, heterosexual intercourse. Some do bottom, of course. But that’s considered feminine and submissive.

Author Dan Savage wrote in The Stranger, “If a straight guy sucks one cock and gets caught—just that one cock, just that one time—no one will take him seriously when he says he’s straight.”

But what if it’s more than one cock? What if these straight-identifying men are having regular sex with men? Are they still considered straight or would their sexual preference veer into bisexual territory? What’s the barometer here? Better yet, does one even exist?

“I believe one can be male, straight, and have gay sex without changing either of the first two,” Savin-Williams says. “Of course, they might well be ‘mostly straight,’ a spot on the sexual continuum next to totally straight. Thus, gay sex might not be experimental but an expression of their slight degree of same-sex sexuality.”

Garrison agrees, suggesting that straight men who experiment shouldn’t be scrutinized any more than “a vegan whom you catch eating chicken.”

Same-sex experimentation, though often discouraged, is well documented throughout male history. Think fraternity and military hazing rituals, online personal ads, and straight men frequenting public restrooms for gay sexual encounters pre-Grindr. With such a complicated and discreet history, can straight guys ever experiment without reprimand? Sexuality isn’t black and white‚ it exists on a spectrum. Sexologist Alfred Kinsey published this discovery back in 1948. A lesbian can mess around with a guy every now and then and still identify as gay, just like a heterosexual man can hook up with a man and still identify as straight.

Fortunately, it appears that with each passing generation people’s understanding of sexuality is expanding inch by inch. Savin-Williams and Garrison believe today’s youth are more likely to report that they have engaged in same-sex dalliances, given the more positive attitudes toward same-sex behavior.

In addition to these expert perspectives, a study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior previously analyzed same-sex experiences between 1990 and 2014 and found not one but two encouraging results. First, it revealed that people’s acceptance of same-sex relationships had quadrupled in the timespan; and second, that same-sex activity had nearly doubled for men and women. The final survey in the study documented that 7.5% of men aged between 18 to 29 reported a gay sexual experience and 12.2% of women in the same age bracket reported a lesbian experience.

Sexual experimentation is exploration at its core. And as progressive attitudes toward sexual fluidity emerge, men may become more comfortable openly exploring rather than remaining curious and, perhaps, adopting homophobic attitudes as a result of suppression. Whether they learn they like men or find out they’re more definitively attracted to women, with less social-cultural stigma, that information will be theirs to discover—not for others to judge.

Complete Article HERE!

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Sexual desire can spark a real connection

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Sex helps initiate romantic relationships between potential partners, a new study finds.

“Sex may set the stage for deepening the emotional connection between strangers,” says lead author Gurit Birnbaum, a social psychologist and associate professor of psychology at Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya in Israel. “This holds true for both men and women. Sex motivates human beings to connect, regardless of gender.”

The study, which appears in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, was limited to heterosexual relationships. According to Birnbaum, some believe that men are more likely than women to initiate relationships when sexually aroused, but when one focuses on more subtle relationship-initiating strategies, such as providing help, this pattern does not hold true: in fact, both men and women try to connect with potential partners when sexually aroused.

In four interrelated studies, participants met a new acquaintance of the opposite sex in a face-to-face encounter. The researchers demonstrate that sexual desire triggers behaviors that can promote emotional bonding during these encounters.

“Although sexual urges and emotional attachments are distinct feelings, evolutionary and social processes likely have rendered humans particularly prone to becoming romantically attached to partners to whom they are sexually attracted,” says coauthor Harry Reis, a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester.

An attractive stranger

In the first study, the researchers looked at whether sexual desire for a new acquaintance would be associated with non-verbal cues signaling relationship interest. These so-called immediacy behaviors are displayed in the synchronization of movements, close physical proximity, and frequent eye contact with a study insider who worked with the scientists. The study participants, all of whom identified as single in addition to heterosexual, were recruited at a university in central Israel.

Study 1 included 36 women and 22 men who lip-synched to pre-recorded music with an attractive, opposite-sex study insider. Afterwards, participants rated their desire for the insider, whom they believed to be another participant. The scientists found that the greater the participant’s desire for the insider, the greater their immediacy behaviors towards, and synchronization with, the insider.

Study 2 replicated the finding with 38 women and 42 men who were asked to slow dance with an attractive, opposite-sex insider, whom they believed to be a study participant. Again, the researchers found a direct association between synchronization of body movement and desire for the insider.

Study 3 included 42 women and 42 men and established a causal connection between activating the sexual behavior system and behaviors that help initiate relationships. In order to activate the sexual system, the researchers used a subliminal priming technique in which they flashed an erotic, non-pornographic image for 30 milliseconds on a screen, which participants were not aware of seeing.

Next, participants interacted with a second study participant—essentially a potential partner—discussing interpersonal dilemmas while on camera. Afterwards judges rated the participants’ behaviors that conveyed responsiveness and caring. The scientists found the activation of the sexual system also resulted in behaviors that suggested caring about a potential partner’s well-being—an established signal for interest in a relationship.

Study 4 included 50 women and 50 men. Half the group watched an erotic, non-pornographic video scene from the movie The Boy Next Door. The other half watched a neutral video of rainforests in South America.

Next, study participants were assigned an attractive opposite-sex insider and told to complete a verbal reasoning task. The insider pretended to get stuck on the third question and asked the participant for help. The researchers found that those participants who had watched the erotic movie scene were quicker to help, invested more time, and were perceived as more helpful, than the neutral video control group.

Bonding for baby’s sake?

What then could explain the role of sex in fostering partnerships? Human sexual behavior evolved to ensure reproduction. As such, sex and producing offspring don’t depend on forming an attachment between partners. However, the prolonged helplessness of human children promoted the development of mechanisms that keep sexual partners bonded to each other so that they can jointly care for their offspring, says Birnbaum. “Throughout human history, parents’ bonding greatly increased the children’s survival chances,” she says.

Prior neuroimaging research has shown that similar brain regions (the caudate, insula, and putamen) are activated when a person experiences either sexual desire or romantic love. The researchers surmise that this pattern hints at a neurological pathway that causes sexual activation—the neural processes that underlie a sexual response—to affect emotional bonding.

They conclude that experiencing sexual desire between previously unacquainted strangers may help facilitate behaviors that cultivate personal closeness and bonding.

“Sexual desire may play a causally important role in the development of relationships,” says Birnbaum. “It’s the magnetism that holds partners together long enough for an attachment bond to form.”

Support for the research came from the Binational Science Foundation (BSF).

Complete Article HERE!

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Orgasmic dysfunction:

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Everything you need to know

By Jenna Fletcher

Orgasmic dysfunction is when a person has trouble reaching an orgasm despite sexual arousal and stimulation.

In this article, learn about the causes and symptoms of orgasmic dysfunction and how to treat it.

What is orgasmic dysfunction?

Orgasmic dysfunction is the medical term for difficulty reaching an orgasm despite sexual arousal and stimulation.

Orgasms are the intensely pleasurable feelings of release and involuntary pelvic floor contractions that occur at the height of sexual arousal. Orgasmic dysfunction is also known as anorgasmia.

There are several different types of orgasmic dysfunction, including:

  • Primary orgasmic dysfunction, when a person has never had an orgasm.
  • Secondary orgasmic dysfunction, when a person has had an orgasm but then has difficulty experiencing one.
  • General orgasmic dysfunction, when a person cannot reach orgasm in any situation despite adequate arousal and stimulation.
  • Situational orgasmic dysfunction, when a person cannot orgasm in certain situations or with certain kinds of stimulation. This type of orgasmic dysfunction is the most common.

Orgasmic dysfunction can affect both males and females but is more common in females. Researchers estimate that female orgasmic disorder, which is recurrent orgasmic dysfunction, may affect between 11 to 41 percent of women.

The North American Menopause Society report that 5 percent of all women have difficulty achieving orgasm.

Research from 2018 found that 18.4 percent of women could reach an orgasm through intercourse alone. However, the same study indicated another 36.6 percent of women needed clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm during intercourse.

Orgasmic dysfunction can affect the quality of people’s relationships, as well as a person’s self-esteem and mental health.

Symptoms

Orgasmic dysfunction is when someone has difficulty or the inability to reach an orgasm. For some people, reaching a climax can take longer than normal or be unsatisfying.

The way an orgasm feels or how long it takes to have an orgasm can vary widely. When someone has orgasmic dysfunction, climax can take a long time to reach, be unsatisfying, or be unattainable.

Causes

Scientists are not sure what causes orgasmic dysfunction, but believe the following factors may contribute to the problem:

 
  • relationship issues
  • certain medical conditions, such as diabetes
  • a history of gynecological surgeries
  • some medications, including antidepressants
  • a history of sexual abuse
  • religious and cultural beliefs about sex and sexuality
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • stress
  • low self-esteem

Also, women over 45 years of age are more likely to have trouble orgasming than women under this age. This may be due to menopause-related hormonal shifts and vaginal changes.

Once someone experiences difficulty reaching an orgasm, they may experience increased stress in sexual situations. Stress and anxiety during sex can make it even more difficult to reach an orgasm.

Diagnosis

Before diagnosing orgasmic dysfunction, a doctor will likely ask about a person’s symptoms and how long they have existed.

The doctor will also note any factors that could contribute to orgasmic dysfunction, such as underlying health conditions or the medications a person is taking.

A doctor may do a physical examination as well. In some cases, they may refer a person to a sexual medicine specialist or a gynecologist.

Treatment

Treatment for orgasmic dysfunction varies, depending on the underlying cause. A doctor may recommend treating any other conditions or adjusting any medications that may contribute to sexual health problems.

In many cases, a doctor may recommend a person who has orgasmic dysfunction try sex therapy or couples counseling.

A certified sex therapist can offer psychotherapy that focuses on concerns related to sexual function, feelings, or dysfunctions. Sex therapy can be done on an individual basis or with a partner.

Couples counseling focuses on relationship issues that may be affecting an individual’s sexual function and their ability to orgasm.

In some cases, a doctor or therapist may suggest a person try other forms of sexual stimulation to reach orgasm, such as masturbation or increased clitoral stimulation during intercourse. For others, they may recommend over-the-counter oils and warming lotions.

Hormone therapy may be effective for some females, particularly if the inability to orgasm coincided with the start of menopause.

In these cases, a doctor may suggest the woman tries an estrogen cream, patch, or pill. The estrogen may alleviate some menopause symptoms and improve sexual response.

Summary

Orgasmic dysfunction is the medical name for the inability to reach orgasm. Some people may experience orgasmic dysfunction when it takes too long to reach orgasm or when their orgasm does not feel satisfying.

Many factors can contribute to orgasmic dysfunction. To remedy orgasmic dysfunction, a person can speak to a doctor, a certified sex therapist, and other medical professionals to find the cause.

People can take steps to treat orgasmic dysfunction and improve their sexual health once they know the cause.

Complete Article HERE!

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The new war on gender studies

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Although there is a global war on gender studies, women’s movements around the world continue to resist. Here people shout slogans during a protest at the Sol square during the International Women’s Day in Madrid, March 8, 2018.

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Recently, a bag thought to contain a bomb was left outside the National Secretariat for Gender Research in Gothenburg, Sweden. The dynamite-shaped device inside turned out to be a fake, but the intent to threaten and scare was clear.

Eva Wiberg, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Gothenburg, expressed her grave concerns, saying some scholars are more exposed to hatred and violence than others.

Lately, we have witnessed global story after story of government rollbacks on abortion provision, LGBTQ rights and now the closure of entire programs devoted to women’s and gender studies. It is part of the populist playbook in places like Poland and Hungary.

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsinaro put it bluntly in his inaugural address on Jan. 2. He will fight the “ideology of gender” teaching in schools, “respect our Judeo-Christian tradition” and “prepare children for the job market, not political militancy.”

The war on gender studies is a pillar in the authoritarian critique of liberalism. But for many scholars, it is a sign of the times for liberal democracies as well.

Proponents use “gender ideology” and “gender theory” as a catch-all to oppose marriage equality, reproductive rights, sexual liberalism and anti-discrimination policy generally. In their book, Anti-Gender Campaigns in Europe researchers Roman Kuhar and David Paternotte note that several parts of Europe are facing new waves of resistance to “gender theory.”

This trend is a global concern, part of a neo-traditionalist turn in how we meet the challenge of sexual rights and gender identity in the 21st century.

Spike in hate crimes

The extreme reaction against gender and sexual equality is indicated by the spike in hate crimes against sexual minorities, in brutal acid attacks and in the countless #metoo testimonies. It has seeped into the policies of traditional conservative parties all over the world who cozy up to right-wing populists to salvage popular support.

In Ontario, the sex education curriculum has come under attack. Such straightforward things as teaching teens sexual consent and LGBTQ family structure have become political.

Social media companies have also engaged in moral panic. Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram have disproportionally limited online spaces of sex positivity and consensual erotic expression in the name of Community Standards.

A continuous battle

Anti-gender studies campaigns have a long history in all parts of the world, and they have long moved outside the borders of increasingly authoritarian regimes.

In this 1979 photo, Bella Abzug, left, and Patsy Mink of Women USA sit next to Gloria Steinem as she speaks in Washington where they warned presidential candidates that promises for women’s rights will not be enough to get their support in the next election.

These new campaigns transcend borders. They unite Catholics with Evangelicals, secularists and the devout. They challenge academic integrity while shoring up government policy limiting reproductive rights, propping up a particular image of the family as natural and universal. Although they take on the appearance of a popular movement, they are often stage-managed and supported by popular politicians. The Vatican’s role has been vital, with Pope Francis going on record at World Youth Day in 2016 saying gender theory is a form of “ideological colonization.”

A product of the social movements of the New Left, women’s and gender studies departments (many are now gender and sexuality studies programs) never shied from the difficult task of exposing structural violence and inequality through systemic studies of sexual violence, harassment, labour and racial inequity, citizenship, war and militarization.

Although not without its own blind spots — feminist researcher Chandra Mohanty famously pointed out the U.S. imperialism and colonialism within western feminist movements — feminist studies have weathered various storms to hold universities, government and corporations accountable for failing to uphold minority rights around access to power, representation and equality.

But the appeal of this illiberal backlash is great. Although chiefly the preserve of right-leaning parties, even Ecuador’s former leftist president Rafael Corrêa trumpeted the claim in 2013 that feminists, LGBTQ activists, and gender warriors were actively mobilizing against traditional values.

The austerity measures in Europe and the U.S. of the mid-2000s put added pressure on gender studies departments in the U.K. but also globally to prove their mettle.

A new wave of violence

The anti-gender studies movement has not been without violence. Professors, like Paula-Irena Villa, chair of Sociology and Gender Studies at the Ludwigs-Maximilian-University of Munich, receive hate mail after speaking about gender equality with the media. Feminists are regularly trolled online. Calls to report teachers have surfaced in the U.S. and Germany.

Last November, prominent queer theorist Judith Butler was attacked by a mob in Brazil to protest her visit as “a threat to the natural order of gender, sexuality and the family.” Anti-Butler demonstrators, mobilized via social media, took to the streets of Sao Paulo. They burned her likeness in effigy, a practice that conjured the inquisitorial history of targeting witches, Jews, heretics and sodomites. Far right groups followed her and her political scientist partner Wendy Brown to the airport where they were targeted with more slurs and well-worn charges that leftists, Jews and sodomites were behind the threat to traditional values.

Newlyweds Thais Lococo Hansen, 32, left, and Catarina Brainer, 28, share a kiss, as their son Pietro, 3, looks on during a group marriage of forty same sex couples in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Dec. 15, 2018. With the election of ultra-rightist Jair Bolsonaro as president, hundreds of same sex couples began to marry.

This new war on gender studies is not solely targeted at the “threat of cultural Marxism.” It is not the preserve of fledgling democracies. Its reach is comprehensive and broad. It is part of a new kind of culture war that targets research in gender and sexuality.

It is a backlash against sexual liberalism in all its forms. It might seem most obvious in arguments against sex education and universal bathrooms. But it is no less active in the hypocrisy of social media conglomerates in regulating sex positivity in the name of child protection.

At precisely the moment of increased visibility for feminist, sex positive, and LGBTQ-desiring people, even the staunchly egalitarian jargon of the social mediascape has fallen prey to fear mongering and moral panic.

The pessimist in me sees dark times ahead. The historian in me knows that backlash and opposition breeds resilience. Here’s hoping the historian wins out.

Complete Article HERE!

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Why Female Sexual Dysfunction Therapy is Lacking

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By Kevin Kunzmann

The differences between the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) market for male and female sexual dysfunction therapies are severe, and Maria Sophocles, MD, doesn’t foresee the inequality lessening anytime soon.

The medical director of Women’s Healthcare of Princeton told MD Magazine® that a proven and profitable field of male sexual therapies has resulted in its continued funding and research, while a severely limited field for female sexual therapies leaves patients at the hands of a network of clinicians.

Sophocles explained the makeup of that treatment team, and what different specialists may bring to the table in female sexual dysfunction care.

 

What is the current standard of therapy for sexual dysfunction?

Well, female sexual dysfunction has been woefully underserved in the biopharma community and in society as a whole. I was just discussing last night what I call an androgenic model of sexuality in human culture for 4 centuries—which is that male sexual pleasure is sort of the ultimate goal of sexual interaction between men and women, and that female sexual pleasure has not really been prioritized.

This is reflected in the biopharmaceutical industry, if you look at Viagra and its overwhelming success and the numerous other drugs for male erection that have been marketed successfully. There is only one FDA approved medication that relates to or whose purpose is to enhance the female sexual experience.

And it’s also about money. When you have tried-and-true money makers that work to enhance the male sexual response, it’s cheaper for a pharmaceutical company to build another one like that than it is to sort of start from scratch and address female sexual dysfunction. It’s also, frankly, just more poorly understood by clinicians as a whole, by the lay public. As we said before, it’s not talked about. So, those are some of the problems.

The standard of care is really a multi-modal approach, a team-approach, behavioral therapy. Many therapists will address this, but there is a subset of therapists, psychologists, social workers who are certified by AASECT (American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists). Clinicians and lay public can go on the AASECT website and find therapists who are certified in sex education and counseling, which is really beneficial, because the busy clinician just doesn’t always have time or expertise to sit and discuss sexual dysfunctions.

So, an AASECT-certified counselor is an excellent person to help a clinician address sexual dysfunction. Certainly if a clinician is comfortable taking a sexual history and addressing and treating sexual dysfunction, they should, but many are not. It’s a very poorly covered part of most medical training. So most clinicians, even if they have the time, lack the expertise or the comfort.

So, a sexual counselor or clinician to address for clinically treatable issues like vaginal dryness, and then sometimes a pelvic floor physical therapist. This is a physical therapist who has specialized training in treating the female pelvic floor, because some sexual dysfunction relates to problems with the pelvic floor muscles and nerves.

Complete Article HERE!

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What’s So ‘Indecent’ About Female Pleasure?

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A consumer technology innovation award was revoked from a company that makes a hands-free sex toy. The reason, some believe, is that the product is made for women.

Lora DiCarlo, the company behind the Osé sex toy shown above, was stripped of an award at CES. Its products were deemed “immoral, obscene, indecent, profane or not in keeping with CTA’s image.”

By Valeriya Safronova

A personal massager, a sperm counter, virtual-reality pornography, something described as “the world’s first ebook-driven sex toy”: All of these products have been exhibited at CES, the country’s largest consumer electronics convention. Two of them won awards there.

So Lora Haddock was surprised when Osé, a hands-free sex toy she designed with a team of engineers from Oregon State University, had its CES Innovation Award revoked after three weeks. In an email explaining the convention’s change of heart, which Ms. Haddock shared with The New York Times, a representative cited a clause in the awards’ terms and conditions that disqualified products deemed “immoral, obscene, indecent, profane or not in keeping with CTA’s image.” (CTA refers to the Consumer Technology Association, which runs CES.)

“I was shocked,” Ms. Haddock, 33, said, “and then I was angry.” The award “signified a shift in inclusion,” she said. “And then it was actually, no you’re obscene and you’re indecent and immoral, and you’re not innovative at all.”

Last year, CES had more than 180,000 attendees from around the world and racked up more than 100,000 mentions in media outlets, by its own count. For start-up companies like Ms. Haddock’s, exhibiting at CES is crucial for attracting investment. It’s all the more important for sexual wellness companies, which by their nature have a difficult time placing ads on platforms like Facebook, in magazines and in public spaces.

Evie Smith, who handles public relations for Lora DiCarlo, promoting the Osé at an event near CES.

ohn Parmigiani, the director of the Prototype Development Lab at Oregon State University, first met Ms. Haddock in 2017, shortly after she had officially started her company, now called Lora DiCarlo. Over the years, Mr. Parmigiani — who has worked with companies like Boeing and Daimler Trucks — had become a go-to person for entrepreneurs seeking expertise in mechanical engineering.

“I went into the meeting with Lora having no idea what her product was,” Mr. Parmigiani said in a recent interview. “The third sentence she said was along the lines of, ‘I didn’t have my first blended orgasm until I was 20-something years old.’” Mr. Parmigiani said he was briefly taken aback but he kept listening.

“I thought, it’s a little out of my comfort zone,” he said, “but there’s nothing wrong with it.”

Ms. Haddock had used a term that describes a sexual climax reached from simultaneous external and internal stimulation. Her first blended orgasm, which Ms. Haddock said occurred at age 28, “knocked me off the bed onto the floor. I laid there wondering, how do I do that again?”

That wasn’t what sold Mr. Parmigiani on the project.

“I gave him a list of 52 functional engineering requirements that would be needed to produce this product,” Ms. Haddock said. “And that’s when he lit up.”

Ms. Haddock, who previously worked in health care and served in the Navy, is a self-described anatomy nerd. She knew she wanted her product to be customizable, so she started gathering data for where the G-spot and the clitoris are located on different bodies. “I tried to have that conversation with every single person with a vagina that I knew,” Ms. Haddock said. “I literally asked them to measure it with their hands and a tape measure.”

Osé, which will be available this fall for $250, expands, according to user preference, once placed on the pelvic girdle. It doesn’t vibrate but uses gentle, autonomous motions and air flow to enhance stimulation. Eight patents associated with Osé are pending. The team that built it includes Dr. Ada-Rhodes Short, who specializes in robotics and artificial intelligence, and Lola Vars, a current doctoral candidate in design-focused mechanical engineering at Oregon State University.

In follow-up emails, officials from CES and the Consumer Technology Association appeared to step back from the earlier assertion about the product’s violations of the morality clause, writing instead that Osé did not fit into the robotics and drones category, nor into any of the other product categories.

“It certainly is a robotic device if you look at a definition of a robotic device,” Mr. Parmigiani said. “There is no justification. Lora DiCarlo should have won the award.”

In a statement provided to The Times, Gary Shapiro, the president and chief executive of the Consumer Technology Association, said: “We have apologized to CEO Lora Haddock for our mistake, as the Lori DiCarlo product does not fit into any of our existing product categories and should not have been accepted for the Innovation Awards Program. CES is a professional business show, and porn, adult toys and sex tech products are not part of the event. CES is a large show with over 4,500 exhibitors. We acknowledge there are inconsistencies in exhibiting companies, and these will be addressed.”

But Ms. Haddock believes that what happened was more than an accidental oversight or a clerical error. So she published an open letter accusing CES of gender bias last Tuesday, Jan. 8, the first day of the convention. It is not the first time the trade show has been accused of gender bias: In 2018, numerous people in the tech industry criticized CES for having no female keynote speakers for the second year in a row, a failing CES attributed to “a limited pool when it comes to women in these positions.”

This year, of the 89 judges for innovation awards, 20 were women. CES said that it is committed to diversity, and pointed to its announcement this year that it will invest $10 million in venture firms and funds focused on women, people of color and other underrepresented start-ups and entrepreneurs.

On display at CES was a wide array of female-oriented products, including breast pumps, fertility trackers and skin-care tools, but critics point out that many of them exist to enable women to support something or someone else. “They’re in service of fertility, of society as a whole, of the household,” said Ms. Vars, the technical director at Lora DiCarlo. She noted that a sexual health company that has exhibited at CES for years, OhMiBod, won a prize in 2016 for its Kegel exerciser. “It’s something construed as good for men’s pleasure or fertility,” Ms. Vars said. “I hear that as a joke from men: ‘I like to sleep with women who do their Kegels.’”

“Sexual health wellness is something that can only happen behind closed doors, especially for women,” said Polly Rodriguez, the chief executive of Unbound, a company that makes lubes, vibrators and other sexual wellness products. Ms. Rodriguez has never applied to CES because of its reputation for gender-based discrimination. (Earlier this year, Unbound was in the news after the Metropolitan Transportation Authority rejected the company’s ads on the grounds that they violated rules against obscenity.)

But other female-driven sexual wellness products have gone the way of Ms. Haddock’s.

Karen Long, who has been in health care technologies for more than 20 years, was told that her company’s libido enhancing device, Fiera, did not qualify for the health and technology category in 2015. A later email from convention organizers added: “As a practice, we don’t allow sexual wellness products at CES.”

“We’re a consumer product that’s very clinically driven, with studies to support our product, validated surveys, OB-GYNs on board and everything,” Ms. Long said.

“We’re all sick and tired of this,” Ms. Haddock said. “It’s not just about our product. It’s about something bigger. It’s about really embracing an understanding of human sexuality, of recognizing innovation. When you call something obscene just because it has to do with a vagina, technology as an industry starts to lose out.”

Liz Klinger, the chief executive of Lioness, which makes a smart vibrator for women that collects data about sexual arousal, was similarly appalled. (She applied to CES in 2017 and was rejected.) “They said they weren’t going to include any new adult products in this space,” Ms. Klinger said. “That they had bad experiences in the past and didn’t want any new products on the floor.”

Later she found out that another applicant was approved to rent an entire room to show VR porn.

Complete Article HERE!

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11 Sex Tips for Guys Just Coming Out of the Closet

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By Zachary Zane

A few pointers for people who are just starting to explore their sexuality!

Right after coming out as gay/bi, the idea of having sex with another man can be nerve-wracking. The mechanics, while simple, aren’t necessarily intuitive. It also can be tough to really connect to another guy sexually right after sashaying out of the closet. Well, as we begin 2019, let’s make a New Year’s resolution to explore having better and more meaningful sex. With that in mind, here are 11 sex tips for guys who’ve just come out as queer.

1. There will always be cute guys

Cute guys are a dime a dozen. There will always be cute guys, so don’t be upset if one rejects you. Seriously, it’s not the end of the world! Don’t do anything stupid just to have sex with one. Relax. You have the rest of your life to sleep with cute guys.

2. Use condoms (even if you’re on PrEP)

If you just came out and are just starting to get comfortable with your sexuality, the last thing you’ll want to be doing is getting an STD or STI. Honestly, it’s just going to bum you out and make you never want to have sex again. So wear condoms. (Even if you’re on PrEP!)

3. Tell him what you’re into beforehand

Sex shouldn’t be a guessing game. If you’re into something, let him know beforehand that you like X, Y, Z, and it would really turn you on if he did that to you. That’s one of the (few) things that’s great about apps like Grindr. You can explicitly state what you’re into before meeting up without any judgement.

4. Be vocal during sex

In addition to saying what you’re into before things start heating up, you should also be vocal about what you like during sex. If that position isn’t doing anything for you, tell him you want to change positions. He isn’t a mind reader. Let him know what’s up!

5. Have sex with guys who are outside your normal “preference”

We all have men who we are attracted to and not attracted to. I’m not saying that you should sleep with men you’re not attracted to, but I am saying that you should broaden your horizons. Often, societal norms dictate to us what’s attractive. If we’re able to break away from societal standards of beauty, it opens us up (metaphorically and physically) to a wider range of sexual and romantic partners. 

6. Be vers

It’s 2019. Being a top or bottom only is so passé. Do it all. Be a millennial, renaissance man! Besides, being vers makes you a better lover because you’re aware of the mechanics of both types of sex.

7. You can say “no” anytime before or during sex

You can always say no anytime before or during sex without an ounce of shame. If you don’t feel comfortable, you have a right to stop having sex at anytime. Is it awkward to kick guys out of your house? Yes, it is, but it is worth the awkwardness. If you’re not into it, and he’s being aggressive, tell him to GTFO.

8. Figure out your own method of cleaning your butt

There are plenty of ways to get a deep clean. Figure out if a douche (or some other way) is the right way for you! While I douche, I’ve heard of some folks using ear syringes to clean out because it’s less forceful.

9. Never feel embarrassed, ashamed, or awkward about asking a guy’s status

You should never get uncomfortable or feel bad for asking a guy what his status is, as well as asking him to use a condom. In the era of PrEP, there is definitely a little bit of condom-shaming, but while you shouldn’t judge them for not wearing a condom, they shouldn’t judge you for wanting to wear one.

10. Use lube

Lube is your best friend. The more lube the better. You want to be turning that bed of yours into a Slip ‘N Slide! Additionally, it’s important to see what type of lube feels best for you. Some guys prefer water-based, whereas others prefer silicone or a hybrid mix of both. 

11. Explore your kinks

We all have some form of kink. Something a little more exciting that we’re into. Explore them now. There’s literally no reason to wait. And no matter how “weird” you think your kink is, there are literally thousands (if not millions) of guys who have the same one. You’re definitely not alone.

Complete Article HERE!

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Kinky Sex and Fetishes:

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How to Talk to Your Partner About Them

It’s normal to want to try new things in bed, but communicating those desires can feel wholly unnatural. These tips can help.

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Chances are, you’ve fantasized about having kinky sex. Most people have, according to sex researchers and people who say words. It’s also likely that more people have enjoyed what might be considered “fringe” activities in the bedroom than we would likely assume. So, the window of what constitutes “normal” sexual behavior is expanding. But not everyone has jumped onboard. Although, maybe they should. Studies show that novelty is a major contributor to sexual satisfaction, especially in the context of a long-term relationship. And, honestly, kinks and fetishes are nothing to be ashamed of.

Of course, there are a lot of opportunities to fail in the quest to become a sexual adventurer. Deliveries can go awry. Desires can be miscommunicated. At the end of the day, there’s no shortage of ways trying to introduce something new can dissolve into an embarrassing misadventure. Yeah, talking to your partner about sex can be weird. Still, it’s important to try. Listed below, we bring you a few different ways to kick off the conversation.

Start Small

So you want to try something new during sex. Maybe you’ve been thinking of bringing some BDSM, one of the most common fetishes, into the bedroom. Our advice is to start small. Remember, the acronym covers a lot of territory. It’s probably better to err on the lighter side of the spectrum before throwing on the gimp suit. In fact, it’s probably best to avoid accessories all together during the introductory phase. Instead, try talking to your partner about some light spanking, hair pulling, or maybe some edge play before diving into deeper waters.

Watch Some Erotic Films Together

We’ve said it before: if those who can’t do, teach, then those who can’t say, show. If you don’t have the words to communicate a certain sexual interest, then don’t worry. There is most certainly a video out there able to demonstrate your desires. As Rule 34 of the Internet states, “If it exists, there is porn of it.” The professionals have a way of making things look more appealing. Just keep in mind that it’s not realistic.

Read Some Erotic Literature

Ok, so porn might not be for everyone (although, research statistics would suggest that those who don’t care for the medium fall within a decreasing minority). Fortunately, there’s a slightly less explicit option out there to entertain, and it comes in the form of words. Erotic literature has become an increasingly popular genre over the past couple of years, with websites popping up all over the place designed to host this kind of content. Try combing through the selection. Find a passage that speaks to you, and your kink. Now go ahead and share it with your partner.

Go to a Sex Shop Together

Not everything has to have a specific aim and purpose. Entertaining more nonchalant activities can also help get the erotic wheels rolling. Try hitting up a sex shop with your partner. It’s a low-stakes way to become familiar with what’s out there. Sometimes, the best kind of inspiration comes when we aren’t looking for it.

Let Pop Culture Guide You

Maybe these explicitly sexual options aren’t for you. Don’t worry; there are, in fact, some PG approaches to talking about R-rated activities. All you have to do is put on some TV. Want to put pegging on the radar? Just tune into Broad City for a brief introduction. Interested in analingus? The cast of Girls has got your back. Into a good spanking? Check out Secretary. Seriously, there’s so much out there.

Amp Up Your Sext Game

Millennials have been accused of prioritizing digital communication over in-person encounters. And while that may come back to bite us in some ways, it does provide us with a skill set we can use to combat anxieties over speaking about sex, IRL. Chances are you text your partner throughout the day. Try introducing a little spice into the routine. You never know when a sexy message will spiral into a more substantial dialogue.

Complete Article HERE!

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The sex trends experts predict will be huge in 2019

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By Ellen Scott

You might not think that sex has trends.

Sex is sex, right? There can’t be that much you can change about it.

But sex trends do indeed exist, whether in terms of the tech we’re using to get off, the type of relationships we have, or our views of sexual acts.

The good news is that as long as you’re having consensual fun, it really doesn’t matter if you stay ahead of the curve.

If you are keen on being at the cutting edge of sexual stuff, though, you’re in luck, as sex toy brand Lelo has just released their predictions for the top sex trends of 2019.

Just do everything on the list then pat yourself on the back for being the trendiest, sexiest person ever. Congrats.

Open relationships and polyamory

Of course, polyamory is not a new concept. But thanks to documentaries (oh hey, Louis Theroux), celebs and influencers sharing stories of how polyamory and open relationships can work, the idea of non-monogamy is becoming more widely accepted.

Think of how BDSM was pushed on to everyone’s radar by Fifty Shades Of Grey. The same sort of thing is happening with polyamory.

Sex dolls

Not the ones you’re imagining, blow up ones with holes for mouths.

We’re talking fancy sex dolls made to feel and look incredibly lifelike, made with silicone and internal skeletons for a more human feel.

Artificial Intelligence

With the rise of household devices such as Alexa and Google Home, it’s no surprise we’ll start using artificial intelligence in the bedroom, too.

This can range from vibrators that collect your data and adjust to give you an orgasm every time to sex robots who respond to dirty talk and adjust their personalities to fit your desires.

Yes, the techphobes among us will be freaked out, but 2019 will be a cool year when it comes to seeing how far we can take sex tech.

Being single

Blame Ariana Grande.

Lelo reckons that in 2019 we’ll see more women remaining happily single later into their lives, with no desire to get into relationships.

Self-dating will be on the rise, as will treating yourself to all the toys you could ever want to provide satisfaction solo.

Male pleasure

Will 2019 be the year we finally accept that men can enjoy sex toys too?

The sex toy market will launch a bunch of new male sex toys this year, including prostate massagers and masturbation sleeves, which will hopefully normalise something that’s, well, very normal: using tools to masturbate more effectively.

New sensations

Vibration is great, but Lelo says 2019 will see the rise of newer, fresher ways to stimulate pleasure.

The brand’s Sona sex toy, released in 2018, uses sonic waves to stimulate the clitoris, to drive pleasure much deeper in the body.

You’ll also spot more toys that use pulsing or suction.

Complete Article HERE!

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How to Sustain Good Sex in a Long-Term Relationship

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By Danielle Simone Brand

If you’ve been in a committed relationship for any length of time, chances are you’ve hit some kind of roadblock, rut, or lull — at least once — in your sex life with your partner. A German study on this topic found that sexual satisfaction often grows during the first year of a committed relationship, and declines starting near the beginning of the second year. It’s true that the ordinary things that make up a shared life (work, bills, chores) are not exactly aphrodisiacs. And if you’re a parent, lack of time and sheer exhaustion can undoubtedly dampen your passion.

If you and your partner find yourselves talking primarily about everyday tasks and responsibilities, your relationship may start feeling unsexy. “Practical conversations are important — however, allowing them to replace intimate and personal discussions can take a toll on your intimate relationship as you shift from lovers to co-parents or roommates,” Dr. Jess O’Reilly – Astroglide’s resident sexologist – told Civilized. Staying engaged with one another inside and outside the bedroom means taking time away from your routines, together, and making space for interesting conversations, she says.

While peaks and valleys are considered normal in a long-term relationship, couples who remain emotionally and mentally connected are better able to keep their sexual connection thriving. “Good relationships don’t happen by accident,” Tina B. Tessina, PhD – a.k.a. “Dr. Romance” and author of How to Be Happy Partners: Working it Out Together – told Civilized. Most couples have to work to keep their intimate connection strong. And a strong connection, she says, leads to better sex.

In her 30 years of experience as a psychotherapist in southern California, Tessina has developed a set of recommendations for couples on how to improve intimacy, which includes taking ample time to relax together, not holding grudges, reminiscing regularly about shared experiences, and going out of your way to express appreciation for your partner. She tells couples to touch frequently, since even just a light brush of a hand or a quick kiss, can help you feel closer. “Today’s popular culture is cynical and cool,” said Tessina. “But keeping love alive and flowing in your relationship is essential to being happy with each other.”

But what if it’s not intimacy, exactly, that’s missing? Over time, a lack of variety and spontaneity can make even a red-hot sexual connection cool. Commit to growing and exploring together, and your passion will grow, too.

Add to Your Sexual Menu

Wendi L. Dumbroff, a sex and relationship therapist in Madison, New Jersey, advises couples to create “sexual menus,” which can include “anything they might like to do with each other, from the most vanilla to the kinkiest things they might be interested in, and everything in-between. Examples might be taking a walk and holding hands, bathing together, wanting dirty talk during sex, or possibly venturing into the world of kink.” It doesn’t necessarily mean you will sample all the items on the menu, but it can expand your sexual repertoire and help you feel closer to your partner.

For those who enjoy cannabis, layering in one or another of the plant’s many consumable forms that are meant to enhance sex could be a natural choice. “The interesting thing about cannabis for sexuality in a long-term relationship is that, not only does it help get couples in the mood and have better sex, but it increases the release of hormones that further feelings of intimacy and bonding,” Dr. Jordan Tishler – cannabis specialist and Massachusetts-based internist – told Civilized. Research suggests that 65 to 72 percent of women who use cannabis believe that it enhances their sex lives.

Some women rave about mind-blowing orgasms with cannabis-infused lubes. For anal play, cannabis suppositories are starting to make a name, and THC-based erection-enhancers may prove to be a lively addition to the sexual menu. Numerous other products, from vape pens to edibles, claim they can help you get there, too. And of course, there’s always the old-fashioned way: smoking a joint with your love and diving into bed.

According to Dr. Diana Urman, a sex therapist in San Francisco, cannabis’ ability to heighten sensuality, calm anxiety and elevate mood can all have a positive effect on sex with a partner. “It reduces inhibition, making us more spontaneous and adventurous,” Urman told Civilized. And what better state of mind can help you share fantasies and grow your levels of trust?

Many people find that divulging their fantasies to their partner, and possibly exploring some of them, can open up greater intimacy inside and outside the bedroom. While you and your partner may or may not ever feel ready to jump into a cannabis sex party like Danksgiving, there are still many options for taking advantage of the bodily relaxation, freer mental state, and possible arousal, that comes along with cannabis use.

Aside from leaning into novel adventures, there are certain mental shifts that may help you feel closer to your partner sexually. Dumbroff suggests that couples “expand the definition of sex” because sex, she says, does not always have to end in orgasm. Snuggling while naked and flirting with your partner are both sexual activities that don’t take a huge investment.

Every relationship therapist worth their salt recommends that you and your partner keep talking and communicating about your needs. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable and ask for what you want may yield pleasant surprises. Remember, too, that intimacy is much more than sex, though great sex can help you feel closer for at least 48 hours. Be kind and compassionate with your partner. And if you’re inclined, add a little weed to your sexual menu.

Complete Article HERE!

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