Recently, a British National Health Service therapist suggested that access to porn is “damaging” to men’s health, particularly their sexual health, so naturally the internet freaked out, because porn is awesome and it’d be tragic if it really was unhealthy somehow.
The claim came from psychosexual therapist Angela Gregory, who stated that watching porn too much and too often is the reason more and more men in their teens and 20s are suffering from erectile dysfunction. She told BBC:
“Our experience is that historically men that were referred to our clinic with problems with erectile dysfunction were older men whose issues were related to diabetes, MS, cardio vascular disease. These younger men do not have organic disease, they’ve already been tested by their GP and everything is fine.
So one of the first assessment questions I’d always ask now is about pornography and masturbatory habit because that can be the cause of their issues about maintaining an erection with a partner.”
To supplement her argument that porn is no bueno, Gregory mentioned a youngster named Nick, who started jerking off to porn when he was 15, and loved it so much that it ruined his life and he needed medical help. Poor Nick.
“I found that when I was lying next to a girl a lot that I just wouldn’t be horny at all, despite being really attracted to the girl and wanting to have sex with her, [because] my sexuality was completely wired towards porn. At my peak I was probably watching up to two hours of porn every day.”
That’s a lot of porn. In fact that does soundexcessive and potentially harmful.
However, there’s a small problem with Gergory’s claim: there’s no factual evidence. Hers is a subjective interpretation, therefore only a theory. So calm down. Porn isn’t bad for you, and it’s not messing up your junk’s ability to do its job.
The article published by BBC announcing Gregory’s theory even started out saying, “There are no official figures, but…” so readers should have known right then to not take it to heart. After all, if you’ve been beating off to porn for years and your equipment still functions and you have not turned into a sex offender, it must mean porn isn’t bad for you.
If it helps, there are actually studies that prove porn is beneficial. One Danish study from 2007 found that pornography has positive, yet minor, effects on sexual health. Another large study also definitively determined porn is not bad for you, and has literally no negative impact on men’s sexual health.
“Contrary to raising public concerns, pornography does not seem to be a significant risk factor for younger men’s desire, erectile, or orgasmic difficulties,” the authors wrote in the report.
See? You love porn, and porn loves you back just the same, so keep watching.
My children’s first interactions around sex and sexuality are actually taking place in our home right now. I’ve worked hard to establish where we live as a safe place for them to grow, make mistakes and learn from them, and to inquire about life. It’s why I made the choice early on in their lives to make sure that they learned about sex from me and from their dad, and that in teaching them about sex, we taught our kids to be sex positive. As much as people warned me that the conversation around sex is awkward between a parent and child, I didn’t let the fear of being uncomfortable keep me from taking about sex with my 3- and 2-year-old children.
I’m sure that talking to a 3 year old and a 2 year old about sex sounds like it’s a bit young, but I feel like that’s because we’re so used to framing the sex conversation around the “birds and the bees” conversation. When I was growing up I never had that conversation with my parents and had to frame my own ideals about sex and sexuality through experience and age. I didn’t want that for my children, though. So I felt that a toddler age was actually a wonderful time to start talking to them about how to love their bodies and how to appreciate them. I felt like the intro into sex isn’t about diving head first into questions like “where does the penis go?” and “what is the purpose of the vagina?” I wanted to give my kids a foundation for understanding and respecting their bodies before I ever taught them how about the intimacy shared between two people.
More than anything, I wanted my kids to understand as soon as possible how to love themselves, to understand consent, and to respect others’ bodies. I believe that sex positivity isn’t just about the act of having sex, it’s also about learning that the experience starts with you and will eventually (if you choose) include others.
By the time I was 18, I had disassociated myself from my body because of how my parents talked about it. now I had the chance to do things differently.
My upbringing kept me from understanding what sex was. My parents sex hidden, far above my reach. I was told we’d open that box when I was old enough, but only when I was was getting close to marriage. I found this strange — even at 10 years old. I would look sex up in the dictionary and in the encyclopedia. I often wondered what sex was and what was so special about it — why was it something only adults could understand? I’d hear my friends talk about boobs, about liking boys, and wonder if I’d ever feel comfortable enough to be naked around another person I liked. At the time, the thought horrified me.
I was uncomfortable with my body. I didn’t understand what was happening to it, or why I was suddenly getting hair under my armpits and on my vagina. My parents were constantly telling me to “be modest,” and I felt so much pressure and responsibility to look and behave and act a certain way. By the time I was 18, I had disassociated myself from my body because of how my parents talked about it. now I had the chance to do things differently.
When I was 18, I was in love and I had sex for the first time. It was amazing, and I had no idea why I’d been so afraid and so ashamed. I was raised Christian and was taught to believe that sex before marriage was shameful. But after having sex for the first time, I didn’t want any forgiveness. I simply wanted to keep having sex, without feeling guilty because of it. After I’d gotten married to my then-husband and had two kids, I looked back on my own sexual experiences and realized that I didn’t want my children gaining their sex education from the world around them without some input from me. I didn’t want them feel ashamed of the fact that they liked having sex or pleasuring their bodies. I wanted my kids to know that they could always come and talk to me, that I would always support them.
I tell them dressing my body in things that make me feel confident makes me feel empowered, as if my body hold some kind of magic. They love that. So do I.
So I started to talk to them about celebrating their bodies when they were young. And because of that, I had deeper conversations with myself surrounding my own sex positivity. I had some sexual trauma in my past, which has always made it a bit difficult for me to grapple with wanting to be sexual and carving out safe spaces to practice having sex. I made changes in my personal life: I was more vocal with myself about my needs and wants, then with partners. It helped me shape the conversations I’d have with my children about how they can and should voice what they want, not with sex because that’s still a ways off, but when interacting with others. I wanted them to learn and understand the power of their own voices. I taught them to say, “No, that’s not something I would enjoy,” or “I would really like if we did this” in their everyday lives, knowing that these lessons will help them in their sexuality later on. We’ve focused on how important it is for them to speak up for themselves and to advocate for themselves.
Another thing we do in our house is walk around naked. I used to shy away from showing parts of my body, like my stomach or my thighs. I have stretch marks and cellulite — both things I’ve been told aren’t “sexy.” My kids, however, could care less about whether or not my body is sexy enough, because they just like how soft my body is. It’s soft for cuddling and for hugging, two things that are very important to them. My kids move so confidently with their bodies, both with clothes on and with clothes off. My daughter’s favorite thing is to stand in front of the mirror and compliment herself. She’s actually inspired me to do the same. I’ve taken up the practice. They’ve seen me in some of my lingerie, and tell me it’s beautiful. They don’t know that lingerie is “just for sex” or that it’s something I should feel wary of other people seeing. Instead, I tell them dressing my body in things that make me feel confident makes me feel empowered, as if my body hold some kind of magic. They love that. So do I.
I watch them be confident in their bodies. I watch them say “no” strongly to each other, and to others, and most importantly, I watch them hear and respect each other.
My kids are 6 and 7 years old now, and we’ve talked about what sex is. The conversation has changed as they’ve grown up. They understand that sex is a beautiful act, one that mostly happens when people are naked. They don’t really care to know more yet, but I watch them be confident in their bodies. I watch them say “no” strongly to each other, and to others, and most importantly, I watch them hear and respect each other. As a person who is non-monogamous, I’ve shown them that sex and love are not limited to one person. It can be, but it doesn’t have to be. In turn, my children have taught me to respect and be proud of my body. They think it is magic — and I agree.
Lately, the children have been exploring their bodies, which I’ve told them is fine, but it’s reserved for their alone time. I’m trying to make sure that when we talk about our bodies and about sex that we do so in an uplifting, positive way. I don’t want my children to ever question or feel any shame around their bodies or their wants. I want to equip them with the right knowledge so that they’ll be able to enjoy. Most of all, I want them to be happy.
Transgender identity would instead be categorized under the sexual health umbrella, which could significantly impact acceptance of transgender individuals in health care and social spaces.
The World Health Organization is currently considering reclassifying transgender identity in its International Classification of Diseases. Though the WHO previously labeled transgender identity as a mental disorder, a recent Lancet Psychiatry study has led the organization to reevaluate that decision. Now, the WHO is discussing re-categorizing the term under its sexual health umbrella—which could have major implications for how transgender people are viewed in both health care and society.
This new conversation is the result of a study that shed light on the complex relationship between transgender identity and mental illness. The study, which drew on a sample of 250 transgender individuals, found that while many transgender people experience mental distress, most of that distress is linked to experiences associated with being transgender—like family, social, or work or scholastic dysfunction. It’s not that being transgender is a mental illness in and of itself, it’s that identifying as transgender can lead to rejection, violence and other things that cause mental distress. These findings clearly challenge the WHO’s decision to label transgender identity as a mental disorder, which is why the organization is currently rethinking its original designation—and why it’s doing so right now.
If this story sounds familiar, that’s because it is. Until the late 1980s, homosexuality was classified as a mental illness in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). While that’s not the same thing as the WHO’s ICD, the two serve a similar purpose: being the go-to resource for defining health conditions and tracking global health trends. The DSM renamed homosexuality as “sexual orientation disturbance” in 1973, and changed its name to “ego-dystonic homosexuality” before removing it from the list of mental disorders altogether in 1987. “I’ve never heard a gay person lament the loss of the diagnosis of homosexuality,” Diane Ehrensaft, a developmental and clinical psychologist specializing in gender, tells SELF. “[And I don’t] think we will find many transgender people—if any—[who] lament the disappearance of a mental health diagnosis—as long as we continue to ensure the provision of all medical services.” Ehrensaft explains that classifying transgender identity as a mental disorder “declares a mental illness where there is none,” which can leave transgender individuals facing increased stigma in an already rejecting world.
Though there’s no official count of how many Americans identify as transgender, LGBT demographer Gary Gates has estimated that the number falls around 700,000. (It’s worth noting that this data is based on two studies—one from 2007 and one from 2009—so it’s not necessarily representative of the actual transgender population in the U.S.) Regardless of the exact figure, the WHO’s decision has the potential to impact a significant number of Americans—and Americans who are disproportionately at risk for things like poverty, suicide, and various forms of discrimination, at that. “It is extremely damaging to label someone’s identity as a mental disorder,” Jamison Green, transgender rights activist, tells SELF. Stigmas associated with transgender identity and mental health can impact someone’s ability to get hired, receive a promotion, and to feel confident enough with the surrounding world. “There’s a huge, huge problem,” he says.
While the WHO hasn’t made any official decisions yet, reclassification could potentially have beneficial outcomes for members of the LGBT community. “What we have to look at is social ramifications of the experience of transgender people,” Green says. And one of the things the WHO’s decision would do, he says, is clear up some of the cross-cultural confusion surrounding gender and sexual orientation. “It’s a very complex subject, and there’s very little known about it from a clear technical perspective,” Green says. Still, moving away from classifying transgender as a mental disorder is a positive step, he says, because transgender identity is linked to a person’s physical nature (gender confirmation surgery, potential roots in endocrinology, etc.) in many ways.
That said, the decision to potentially re-categorize transgender identity under the sexual health umbrella is a little complicated—and could potentially be a step in the wrong direction. “I think it kind of misses the mark,” Green says. He mentioned that sexual health issues include things like the inability to orgasm and, in some cases, pregnancy—not gender identity. “There is nothing sexual about gender when it comes to health,” Ehrensaft reiterates. “It’s all about who you know yourself to be—as male, female, or other—and how you want to present your gender to the world. Anything having to do with sex organs and sexual functioning is a different issue.” Still, it’s a step nonetheless. “That’s sort of the mentality that we’re having to deal with—that’s there’s something wrong with a person if their gender doesn’t match the sex of their body,” Green says. “So where do we [classify] that so people can be properly treated in a humane fashion, rather than in a damaging one? There’s a struggle.”
So far, the proposed reclassification has been approved by every committee that’s discussed it—leaving it under review for the latest edition of the WHO’s ICD. Geoffrey Reed, a professor who worked on the Lancet Psychiatry study, told the New York Times that the re-categorization wasn’t receiving opposition from the WHO and suggested we might see the change as soon as May 2018, when the newly revised version of the ICD is approved.
“Trans people, like anybody else, have identities that need to be respected,” Green says. “And all of the people who are affected by these sex and gender misunderstandings—and our lack of scientific knowledge—do not deserve to be vilified or stigmatized or punished in any way. That’s what we’re trying to move toward in the awkward world of policy making.”
1. Sexual play doesn’t have to end in orgasm to be satisfying. Yes, we like climaxing. And we expect to get there most of the time. But we don’t experience what guys refer to as “blue balls”—we don’t have nuts that can be brought to the brink of busting and then abruptly deprived of fulfilling their orgasmic destiny—so there’s no reason to feel bad or subhuman or inadequate if you get off before we do. Don’t expect us to beg you to finish us off like you might want to be in the same situation. We’re just fine curling up and falling asleep, or getting on with our day.
2. If you whine too much about your inability to make us orgasm once in a while even after we explain that sex can be pleasurable regardless, we are bound to start faking orgasms regularly. Faking an orgasm is called for on occasion, but we like to think of it as a last resort since it’s counterproductive to achieving future gratification by way of rewarding ineffective tactics. We don’t want to fake it more than we absolutely have to (for your good, and ours), so don’t make us.
3. We respect and appreciate your willingness to service us 99.9% of the time we want to get busy, but you can’t expect the same from us. We’re biologically programmed and societally conditioned to be more cautious about sex in general because we bear 100% of the physiological burden of getting pregnant and we’re the ones dealing with all the slut shaming. Please do not cite your “accommodating nature” as the reason why you should be able to select from a menu of on-demand sexual services at any time. If you avoid making this argument, we’re far more likely to have sex with you even when we don’t want to.
4. You might think we’re in the mood a lot less often than you are, but the fact is that we function differently. For a lot of women, desire doesn’t necessarily precede arousal. We need to be touched, caressed, and loved in order to crave sex. So instead of whining about how horny you are and how unlikely it seems that you’ll get laid that night because we’re a bit mopey or whatever, sneak up behind us and start rubbing our shoulders and work your way down to our waist, or go in for a boob grab. The key is physical contact, so touch us!
4. Foreplay doesn’t start twenty minutes before penetration. It is an all-day, every day phenomenon. If you want to increase the chances that we’ll mount you on any given night, tell us we’re sexy in the morning as we’re getting ready for work, or send us a text midday just to say you’re thinking about the way our ass looks when we shake it for you.
5. Tell us we’re beautiful without exaggerating. We know we don’t look like Gisele naked, so don’t make outrageous claims about how hot we are. Ridiculous compliments come across as insincere, so they’re ineffectual. We’d rather be appreciated for the way we look, flaws and all. Tell us what turns you on about us specifically, whether it’s something we’ve done or something we’re wearing, and avoid comparing us to other women at all costs. Start with “I love the way your…” or “I love it when you…”
6. We want to get weird with you. Don’t assume you’re special for having so many depraved thoughts. We can get there too, so clue us in to your innermost desires. The more comfortable you are with your sexual aspirations and the more you communicate them openly and honestly, the more likely we are to accompany you on your dirty journey.
7. We won’t necessarily think you’re a misogynistic prick if you want to objectify us in bed. Some of us actually want to be overpowered and/or objectified—as long as the bedroom objectification doesn’t seep into other aspects of our lives together. One of the staunchest feminists I know loves shouting, “I’m a cock hungry slut!” during sex. We’re totally capable of separating what happens during sex from the rest of our waking lives, so give us some credit and tell us what you want before dismissing the possibilities out there.
8. We want you to worship our vaginas just as much as you ache for us to build penis shrines. When you act like you’re eager to go down on us it means a lot, and your visible enthusiasm makes us a lot more psyched to reciprocate the favor. While you’re down there, tell us you love the way our vagina looks, smells, and tastes.
10. We’re aware that the reptilian part of your brain leads you to picture most of the hot young women you encounter naked. Keep this to yourself, no matter how much we claim to trust that you won’t act on those urges, or how often we assure you that we can handle hearing about them. We don’t need to be reminded that your natural instinct is to try to impregnate every hot breathing biped of the opposite sex. It does not make us feel great, plain and simple.
11. At a certain point, every woman realizes that there’s a serious downside to sleeping with hot guys, so stop feeling intimidated by them. The men who’ve gotten laid all their lives without putting much effort into luring a lady into bed pale in comparison to those who’ve had to work for it over the years. We would much rather have sex with a man who knows what he’s doing than an inexperienced Lothario who thinks a clitoris and a g-spot are synonymous.
12. Good-looking guys are nice to look at, but good looks won’t hold our interest for more than a few minutes, anyway. Your face and body are side dishes. The main course is how well you’re able to engage us—to make us feel like we’re the center of your universe, if only for a short stint—which requires self-awareness and self-confidence. We’ll swoon over how you hold yourself, walk, and talk—not how closely you resemble Brad Pitt.
Hi, my name is mike I’m 20 and I’m a bisexual. And I have an 8 and half inch uncircumcised cock. And I believe my stepmom has been spying on me. Now do I take the opportunity to have sex with her, or do I let it go. She’s extremely beautiful, very thick with a nice hairy pussy and big titties. I’ve seen her spying on me numerous times. What should I do? Should I drill her or should I not? Let me know.
AS IF, Mike! Nice try though.
I have a good deal of experience working with real issues of intra-family sex, so when your message arrived I knew it was sheer fantasy.
There is so much about your story that is completely unbelievable. First, you start out with way too much information about yourself — your bisexuality and your eight and a half inches of uncut cock. What does that have to do with anything? Unless, of course, you’re flashing your boy meat to your unsuspecting stepmother. But then if you’re flashing her, she can’t be spying on you. More likely, she is revolted by your impudence.
Second, you don’t give enough information about how the supposed spying occurs. Someone with a real story to tell would have reversed these things. He would have gone into detail about the incident or incidents involving his stepmother and he wouldn’t have volunteered the size and shape of his johnson.
The next mistake you make is the detailed description you volunteer of your super-hot MILF of a step mom — beautiful, thick, hairy pussy, big titties. How would you know she has a hairy pussy unless you’re spying on her? BUSTED!
And say, what’s a 20 year old doing still living at his father’s house anyway? Are you some kind of slacker?
Should you drill your stepmother? Indeed, what could possibly go wrong with a dead-beat son fucking his father’s wife? In your dreams, Mike. In your dreams!
Even though Mike is full of shit, there may be others in my audience who are really struggling with issues of intra-family sex. So I’d like to take this opportunity to discuss this very thorny issue a bit. Incest, particularly the heterosexual type or the adult-to-child type, is considered taboo and a serious crime in nearly every culture, both past and present. There’s plenty of good reason for this, not least of which is issue of inbreeding. But the genetic concerns aside, the most devastating thing about incest is the secrecy. No one violates this universal taboo in the open. The secrecy and the inevitable shame and guilt will, sure as shootin’, destroy a family dynamic.
Even when the intra-family sex is not technically incest — sex between blood relatives — like Mike’s fantasy with his fantasy step mom — the secrecy, the violation of the inherent family bond of trust and the inescapable guilt and shame will destroy the relationship between the perpetrators as well as destroy the family.
If you find yourself in a seductive situation with family member, don’t give in to the temptation. Even a seemingly harmless encounter between consenting adults will inevitably have dire consequences for all concerned.
Finally, because the incest taboo is so strong and so universal it also creates the perfect environment for equally powerful fantasy development. Take Mike as an example. This lad’s fertile imagination, coupled with an overactive libido and too much time on his hands, has created the quintessential jack-off material for horny adolescent. He imagines himself man enough to fish in the same waters as his old man. Titillating whimsy for sure and definitely lots of boy juice will be spilt into wadded up Kleenex. But that’s precisely where it needs to say — as a cherished albeit forbidden fantasy.