Can masturbation impact your workout?

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Research has shown that masturbation does not affect testosterone levels.

Masturbation is a healthy and safe sexual activity that has links to numerous health benefits, such as pain relief and stress reduction. Opinions on how masturbation affects exercise vary, but there is not enough evidence to support one view over the other.

Some members of the health and fitness community are in a debate about the potential risks and benefits of masturbation before a workout.

Some people believe that masturbation can influence levels of testosterone, which plays a crucial role in promoting overall physical fitness. They also think that masturbation and other sexual activities can lead to improvements in mood and lower stress, which can indirectly improve physical performance.

However, other people think that masturbation adversely influences physical performance due to excess energy expenditure. Continue reading to learn about the possible benefits and side effects associated with masturbating before a workout.

How masturbation and abstinence affect testosterone

The debate about whether masturbation is beneficial before exercise seems to focus on how masturbation influences testosterone.

Testosterone is the primary male reproductive hormone, but females also produce it. It plays a crucial role in promoting physical fitness among both males and females. According to one animal study, it plays a vital role in muscle protein synthesis.

Another review that included studies on humans suggests that testosterone also plays a role in bone formation.

With that said, the question remains whether masturbation significantly affects testosterone levels.

What do the studies say?

Testosterone levels naturally increase during sexual arousal and decrease after orgasm, but it appears that masturbation does not significantly impact a person’s level of testosterone.

The findings of a 2001 study showed that orgasm due to masturbation did not affect plasma testosterone levels. However, the authors observed higher concentrations of testosterone in men who abstained from sexual activity for 3 weeks. This was a small study with only 10 participants.

In another early study from 2003, researchers observed that testosterone levels fluctuated minimally during the first 5 days of sexual abstinence, peaked at 7 days, and then remained constant. The findings of this study suggest that short periods of abstinence may result in temporary fluctuations in testosterone levels.

Benefits of masturbation

Although masturbation has little to no effect on testosterone levels, it may still benefit a person’s workout performance.

However, there is not enough scientific research to support a direct link between masturbation and better physical performance.

Current scientific research does suggest, however, that sexual activity may enhance people’s overall health.

A recent study on adults who had experienced a heart attack suggests that those who frequently engaged in sexual activity had better long term survival rates.

Hormones, such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and oxytocin, increase during and following sexual climax. These hormones positively affect mood and could influence the mental aspect of exercise by improving a person’s frame of mind and motivation during a workout.

Side effects of masturbation

Masturbation is a safe sexual activity that has few, if any, long term side effects.

One 2016 review looking at sexual activity and competitive sports concludes that there is not any evidence to suggest that masturbation has a direct adverse effect on overall physical fitness or sports performance in males or females. Anecdotal evidence also indicates that having sexual intercourse about 10 hours before taking part in a sports competition may have a positive effect on performance.

Masturbating too frequently can lead to temporary side effects, including:

  • overly sensitive or tender skin near the genitals
  • swelling or edema of the penis
  • decreased sensitivity
  • fatigue

Males and females

It appears that masturbation induces similar effects in both males and females. Engaging in sexual activity increases testosterone levels, reduces stress, and relieves pain.

Male and female bodies respond differently to testosterone. Males naturally have higher levels of testosterone than females, which leads to the development of some typical male characteristics, such as body and facial hair.

These characteristics do not usually occur in females producing normal levels of the hormone. Testosterone also plays an essential role in sperm production and egg development.

Currently, scientific research has not revealed a direct relationship between masturbation and exercise performance in males or females.

However, the findings of one recent study suggest that regular sexual activity may improve levels of life satisfaction and enjoyment among older adults.

Summary

Masturbation has little to no direct effect on people’s workout performance. Although testosterone levels fluctuate immediately after orgasm, the change is temporary and unlikely to affect a person’s physical fitness.

Masturbation may stimulate the release of endorphins and other feel-good hormones. These hormonal changes can help reduce stress and improve mood.

People should structure their routines accordingly. If masturbating makes someone extremely tired, they may want to avoid it before a workout. Masturbating has few, if any, side effects.

Complete Article HERE!

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These Badass Women Are Fighting To Close The Orgasm Gap For Good

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by Carrie Arnold

The big O can boost your mood, help you sleep better, strengthen your immune system, improve your relationship, and more. But it makes everyone—and we mean everyone (doctors, universities, government agencies)—flinch. WH investigates why women are getting the short end of the stick when it comes to getting off, and talks to the brave ladies who are cutting through the red tape, so you can.

Lora Haddock figured her company might be controversial in some circles. After all, she was starting a woman-oriented pleasure-tech company and designing a sex toy that mimicked all the motions of a human partner. Better still, the gadget stimulated the clitoris and vagina simultaneously, without needing a hand to hold it in place.

But Haddock thought the tech world was ready for a product that was part robot, part vibrator, and all about a woman’s sexual pleasure. The Osé (pronounced oh-SAY) that Haddock designed as the head of her company, Lora DiCarlo, had 52 complex engineering requirements, as well as a slew of patents pending before it hit the market. Haddock knew the Osé was something special—and groundbreaking—because it used the latest technology to give women what they want.

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) thought so too, notifying Haddock last fall that it would be awarding the Osé its 2019 Robotics & Drones Innovation Award. But before the ink had dried on the notice of their honor, the CES revoked its award. “Our jaws hit the floor,” Haddock says.

In a letter Haddock shared with WH, CES quoted terms buried deep in the small print: “Entries deemed by CTA [Consumer Technology Association, the organization behind the annual CES show] in their sole discretion to be immoral, obscene, indecent, profane, or not in keeping with CTA’s image will be disqualified.” Never mind, of course, that current and past exhibitors had demoed augmented reality porn and a robot sex doll that can give blow jobs.

The double standard struck a nerve, and Haddock fired back with an open letter to CES, writing, “You cannot pretend to be unbiased if you allow a sex robot for men but not a vagina-focused equivalent.” In other words, the organization was okay with helping a guy get his rocks off, but not a woman. The implied message was that women’s sexual health is not worthy of innovation.

Months passed after that slap in the face. Then, fortunately, CES reinstated Haddock’s award in May 2019, right before this story went to press, stating that “CTA recognizes the innovative technology that went into the development of Osé and reiterates its sincere apology to the Lora DiCarlo team.”

As this debacle shows, in our boner-centric culture, female orgasm still remains taboo. Climaxing is all well and good if it gives a man another notch on his belt, but when a female-identifying individual has an orgasm for the sake of an orgasm, people start to squirm (and not in a good way).

“There’s an overvaluing of male sexual pleasure and a devaluing of female sexual pleasure,” says Laurie Mintz, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of Florida and the author of Becoming Cliterate: Why Orgasm Equality Matters—And How to Get It. And this imbalance, more than anything else, is helping to drive what researchers call the orgasm gap. A large survey of American adults found that nearly 95 percent of men had an orgasm during their last sexual encounter, but only two-thirds of women did.

The big O can boost your mood, help you sleep better, strengthen your immune system, improve your relationship, and more. But it makes everyone—and we mean everyone (doctors, universities, government agencies)—flinch. WH investigates why women are getting the short end of the stick when it comes to getting off, and talks to the brave ladies who are cutting through the red tape, so you can.

Lora Haddock figured her company might be controversial in some circles. After all, she was starting a woman-oriented pleasure-tech company and designing a sex toy that mimicked all the motions of a human partner. Better still, the gadget stimulated the clitoris and vagina simultaneously, without needing a hand to hold it in place.

But Haddock thought the tech world was ready for a product that was part robot, part vibrator, and all about a woman’s sexual pleasure. The Osé (pronounced oh-SAY) that Haddock designed as the head of her company, Lora DiCarlo, had 52 complex engineering requirements, as well as a slew of patents pending before it hit the market. Haddock knew the Osé was something special—and groundbreaking—because it used the latest technology to give women what they want.

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) thought so too, notifying Haddock last fall that it would be awarding the Osé its 2019 Robotics & Drones Innovation Award. But before the ink had dried on the notice of their honor, the CES revoked its award. “Our jaws hit the floor,” Haddock says.

In a letter Haddock shared with WH, CES quoted terms buried deep in the small print: “Entries deemed by CTA [Consumer Technology Association, the organization behind the annual CES show] in their sole discretion to be immoral, obscene, indecent, profane, or not in keeping with CTA’s image will be disqualified.” Never mind, of course, that current and past exhibitors had demoed augmented reality porn and a robot sex doll that can give blow jobs.

The double standard struck a nerve, and Haddock fired back with an open letter to CES, writing, “You cannot pretend to be unbiased if you allow a sex robot for men but not a vagina-focused equivalent.” In other words, the organization was okay with helping a guy get his rocks off, but not a woman. The implied message was that women’s sexual health is not worthy of innovation.

Months passed after that slap in the face. Then, fortunately, CES reinstated Haddock’s award in May 2019, right before this story went to press, stating that “CTA recognizes the innovative technology that went into the development of Osé and reiterates its sincere apology to the Lora DiCarlo team.”

As this debacle shows, in our boner-centric culture, female orgasm still remains taboo. Climaxing is all well and good if it gives a man another notch on his belt, but when a female-identifying individual has an orgasm for the sake of an orgasm, people start to squirm (and not in a good way).

“There’s an overvaluing of male sexual pleasure and a devaluing of female sexual pleasure,” says Laurie Mintz, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of Florida and the author of Becoming Cliterate: Why Orgasm Equality Matters—And How to Get It. And this imbalance, more than anything else, is helping to drive what researchers call the orgasm gap. A large survey of American adults found that nearly 95 percent of men had an orgasm during their last sexual encounter, but only two-thirds of women did.

It’s likely that gap only gets wider when sex happens outside of a committed relationship, because in those circumstances men may not feel the need to reciprocate pleasure, and women may not know how to approach the topic. The impact is felt far outside the bedroom. Missing out on orgasm means not only that you’re unable to enjoy its health benefits, such as better mood, deeper sleep, relief from headaches, and glowing skin, but also that you’re missing out on a fundamental human experience that’s fun to boot.

Well, that blows (for lack of a better term). There’s a lot to unpack here, and it’s a twisted tale of gender-biased hookup culture, poor research funding, hypocritical subway advertising rules (we’ll get to those later), and oh-so-much more. But the promising news is that women are fighting back and taking charge of their bodies and their sex lives—for good.

Pleasure 101

It starts as early as our first class in sex ed. We learn the names and functions of the different genitals, and, if we’re lucky, we learn about more than just abstinence, including how to prevent pregnancy and STDs. There are periods and body hair, and that’s about it. One of the many things missing? Pleasure, especially for her.

It’s no surprise, then, that in a survey of college women, nearly 30 percent could not identify the proper location of the clitoris. Alison Ash, PhD, a sex and relationship expert in San Francisco, says it’s not just a lack of proper sex ed that’s causing this ignorance. “Scientists didn’t discover the full anatomy of the clitoris until 1998—decades after they put a man on the moon,” she says. So the results of being sidelined become apparent as soon as women start having sex.

As a doctoral student in sociology at Stanford, Ash studied heterosexual hookup culture and found that “a lot of women don’t know what they want or how to ask for it,” she says. “Women are prioritizing what they think is their partner’s well-being over their own pleasure.”

Her data revealed that hookups were focused on him. Only 11 percent of women experienced climax the first time with a new partner, although the percentage increased in long-term relationships. Researchers from Indiana University analyzed data from the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, with a pool of 1,931 adults in the U.S. ages 18 to 59, and found that this gap wasn’t just a youth phenomenon—it was happening at all ages. Men are 27 percent more likely to report having an orgasm than women during a sexual encounter, found research published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

What’s more, in many heterosexual relationships, a woman’s orgasm is seen as a reflection not of her desire and satisfaction but of her partner’s sexual prowess and masculinity, according to a study in the Journal of Sex Research. It’s partly why 67 percent of women have faked an orgasm with a partner, compared with just 28 percent of men: Heterosexual women know that what’s at stake is not so much our own pleasure, but his ego.

Although it’s easier for people with penises to be sure they’ve climaxed because they release semen, another factor is that women understand so much less about what they want and what brings them pleasure. And that’s a major problem. Not only do orgasms boost immunity and help combat stress (yes, please!), but the chemical release actually helps partners bond. Fibbing about the big O or avoiding it altogether? It might be easier in the short term to avoid asserting your needs in bed, but over time, couples lose a valuable opportunity to communicate.

“You have to figure out what you like, then you have to be brave enough to ask for it specifically, and ask and ask again until your partner gets it right,” says sex therapist Aline Zoldbrod, PhD.

Paging Dr. Orgasm…

Hello? Is anybody there? With so much cultural and medical ignorance around female orgasms, you might think funding agencies would be willing to support scientists who are studying the problem. You’d be wrong.

Despite 43 percent of women reporting some type of sexual dysfunction, research on women and orgasms is shockingly sparse—or nonexistent. The National Institutes of Health funded no research over the past decade specifically devoted to improving women’s orgasms, according to a WH analysis of NIH grants.

Female researchers are feeling this discrepancy firsthand. As a junior faculty member at UCLA, neurophysiologist Nicole Prause, PhD, says the university ethics board refused to let her conduct experiments measuring the physiological responses of couples having sex in the lab without providing her with specific objections about why the research was blocked.

After a decade of trying to make it in academia, this obstacle was the last straw. Prause finally gave up and founded Liberos, an independent sex research institute in Los Angeles, to continue her work around sexual pleasure. (When contacted, a UCLA rep responded that “out of respect for all employees and consistent with university policy, we do not discuss circumstances surrounding change of employment status.”)

Blunt without being rude, Prause urges her colleagues to take female pleasure seriously and bring more rigor to their work. At a recent conference, she attended a session where researchers asked study participants to eat chocolate in order to measure pleasure.

“I asked why they didn’t have the participants stimulate their own genitals. And they looked at me like I was an alien,” she says. Prause points out that the general public is eager for this type of research. She never has problems recruiting participants for her studies. When she recently placed an ad on Craigslist for one, she had more than 400 calls and emails within 30 minutes. “Orgasm is safe, free, and accessible; why wouldn’t we want to fund research about it?” Prause asks.

University of Michigan bioengineering PhD student Lauren Zimmerman, 25, knows this problem all too well. Her lab at the university is devoted to the stimulation of nerves in the lower leg and near the genitalia for treatment of overactive bladder. What piqued Zimmerman’s interest was when she learned that stimulating these same nerves might also help women who couldn’t achieve orgasm. She received funding for a small pilot trial to see if small amounts of painless electrical stimulation on the tibial nerve in the ankle and a nerve near the clitoris could improve women’s ability to climax, but she ran into difficulties securing funding for follow-up research. When she talked with officials about her project, they seemed interested. “When it came time for decisions, it never seemed to fall in my favor,” Zimmerman says.

Clinical psychologist Erin Cooper, PhD, says this is par for the course among sex researchers. “We’re trying to understand the female orgasm, more than ever. But there simply isn’t much money going toward this research.”

After rounds of applications, Zimmerman found funds that would provide financial support for her as a scientist rather than for her specific project. She easily recruited participants and discovered that 12 weekly stimulation sessions could improve a woman’s ability to reach orgasm. But when she presented those results at one scientific conference, she says she was laughed out of the room. “They thought it was a dirty joke and not a real clinical need,” Zimmerman says.

Saying yes to feeling good

Entrepreneur Polly Rodriguez, 32, learned the hard way how lightly female desire is taken. When radiation treatment for stage III colon cancer sent the then 21-year-old into menopause, doctors told her she would never be able to have children but failed to mention that her sex drive and ability to enjoy sex could be affected.

It was only thanks to some online searching that she finally figured it out. (The places Rodriguez could find that sold vibrators in her rural corner of the Midwest felt far too seedy for her to ask intimate questions about climax.) To fill the void, Rodriguez launched Unbound in December 2014, an online marketplace providing a sex-positive space for women to share experiences and find products that meet their sexual needs, ranging from lube and vibrators to handcuffs. “Men have had Playboy and Viagra, and I want those kinds of brands to exist for women,” Rodriguez says.

Though her company’s growth has surpassed her wildest dreams, with more than 200,000 unique hits per month, Rodriguez built her brand without advertising on social media or public transit. Facebook’s policies allow only the advertisement of condoms as family planning aids or to prevent STIs; for vibrators, forget it. When Rodriguez pushed back against this prudish policy, a representative wrote her that advertising for adult products and services wasn’t allowed.

The explanation? “This is driven by an understanding of people’s sentiment for these ads,” the email read. (When reached for comment, a Facebook spokesperson responded with the following: “We have long had a policy that restricts certain ads with adult content and adult products in part because Facebook is a global company and we take into account the wide array of people from varying cultures and countries who see them…As with all of our policies, our enforcement is never perfect but we are always improving.”)

And New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority refused to post an ad for Unbound, calling it “phallic,” despite Rodriguez’s efforts to show fully clothed women of various races with nary a penis in sight. According to Rodriguez, the same day she was rejected, the MTA green-lit ads for a company selling male sexual enhancement products that portrayed a limp cactus and a perky cactus—far more phallic than Unbound’s ads. (The MTA did not respond when asked for a statement.)

Where do we ‘O’ from here?

Despite these roadblocks, the breakneck pace of Unbound’s expansion and the buzz around—and ultimate recognition of—products like the Osé show that another sexual revolution is underway.

Women are tired of putting their desires on the back burner and have begun to realize it’s okay to ask for not only what they need, but also what they want, says Zoldbrod. Yet more research is critically important—in the lab, but also in your own bedroom.

“Only you can figure out what rings your bell,” she says. In the meantime, let’s hope the rest of the medical world gets on board so we can close the gap once and for all.

Complete Article HERE!

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Masturbation Is Self Care…

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And Women Are Better At It Than Men

By Kathleen Newman-Bremang

When you think of self-care, you probably think of sheet masks, Sunday-morning meditation or Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations podcast. You probably don’t think of masturbation. And yet, it can decrease anxiety, improve your sexual relationship with your partner, and help you sleep better. And, it turns out women may even enjoy it more than men.

In her experience, women, on the other hand, are more “planful and more thoughtful with masturbation,” says Milhausen. “It’s more of a special occasion since they are doing it less often. Women may be setting the stage more — maybe they are finding some erotica to read, maybe they are using a vibrator.” An assist from vibrators during the act is also why some women are getting the most out of masturbating: The study showed that 54% of women used a vibrator during their last self-love sesh and 46% of these vibrator users said it was very pleasurable.

In a new study by Trojan (yes, the condom brand) and the non-profit Sex Information and Education Council of Canada (SIECCAN), researchers surveyed 1,500 Canadians between 18 and 24 years old. They discovered that while men masturbate more often — twice as many men than women said they masturbate at least once a week (65% of men compared to 35% of women) — women were more likely to report their last self-love experience as very pleasurable (38% of women compared 29% of men). According to Robin Milhausen, a sexuality professor from the University of Guelph who worked on the survey, the male results could be a case of too much of a good thing (most men masturbate at least three times a week, she says). “I think that this generation considers it just another thing to do during the day without much thought,” says Milhausen. “It’s just an itch to scratch, just part of their routine.

Sex-educator, advice columnist, and founder of FindYourPleasure.com, Cynthia Loyst links the increase in women feeling comfortable to use toys and be open about masturbating to pop culture. “Over the past few decades, there’s been a huge surge in representation of female masturbation in mainstream media — from shows like Sex and the City, Girls, and You, to online magazines like Goop featuring sex toys and YouTubers giving full reviews [of vibrators]. Female self-pleasure has finally come out of the closet.”

There’s still work to do, she adds. The shame and stigma surrounding female masturbation is a reason both Loyst and Milhausen give for why women still masturbate less than men. For women who are still too embarrassed to engage in some solo fun, Loyst recommends reading erotica, watching ethical porn, sexting and investing in some lube as some easy ways to incorporate self-love into your self-care routine. Sheet mask optional

Complete Article HERE!

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The Modern Monogamous Marriage Is Built on Lies, Not Sex Research

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By Carrie Weisman

With some exceptions, gender constructs have served men well in the modern world. It’s landed them in more high-powered positions. It’s gotten them higher wages. And, yeah, it’s given them license to pursue sex in ways that would lead women to be ostracized or shamed. In her new book Untrue: Why Nearly Everything We Believe About Women Lust and Adultery Is Wrong and How the New Science Can Set Us Free, author Wednesday Martin digs into the damage incurred through this “boys will be boys” mentality. And she blows a whistle on the many biases that have boxed their female counterparts into such sexually constrained identities.

Fatherly spoke to Martin about what authentic sexuality looks like in women and how men can help them find their own special shade.

A lot of Untrue is about adultery. Why was it important for you to look into how women function in relationship to non-monogamy?

Infidelity is really a great test case for how we actually feel about gender parity. We have people who believe women should make the same amount men do. We have people who believe that women should hold political office. But how do they feel when women seize a privilege that has historically belonged to men, the privilege of not being monogamous? We don’t have any autonomy if we don’t have the autonomy to do what we want with our bodies.

This book really looks at how science and social science has conspired to put out a narrative that keeps women from attaining sexual autonomy. We think it’s physical violence, coercion, and slut-shaming that keep women in their place within this culture, but it’s also bad science and bad social science. So much of it has been abused to coerce women into monogamy and to discourage us from being sexually autonomous.

How does that message relate to the current cultural climate? How does it relate to the ways in which women are now asserting their sexual autonomy?

In terms of the #MeToo movement, well, I feel like bad science brought us to this moment. There’s been inaccurate science that posits that men are naturally sexually aggressive and that the male sexual coercion of females is natural. There’s a lot of more recent science that tells us that’s not true. I think a lot of that bad, biased science helped bring our culture to a point of crisis.

What are some other misconceptions surrounding female sexual identity and desire?

There is some research to suggest that the institutionalization of a relationship, whether it’s marriage or moving in together, dampens female sexual desire even more than male desire. There are studies that document women talking marriage and long-term partnership as anaphrodisiacs, as something that dampens sexual desire. They talk about familiarity and security killing their libidos. Men need to understand this about the women that they’re with. These women need sexual adventure just as much as men do.

Okay. That’s probably going to unnerve or surprise some guys out there. And maybe that’s indicative of the issue. Why do you think so many women have a hard time coming out about their genuine attitude towards polyamory and other nonconforming sexual behaviors?

You pay a high price for being honest about your sexual desires in this culture. Everything from slut-shaming to lethal violence to someone just thinking that you’re weird. Women who do step out face a lot of danger. In this country, so many mass shootings involve men trying to control women who have left them. And a lot of the triggers don’t even involve infidelity, but the suspicion of infidelity. It’s still really dangerous for women to exercise that really basic form of autonomy within the U.S.

How can men help women feel safe speaking about their desires?

I think men need to educate themselves. They need to understand the female erectile network, the extensiveness of the clitoris, the possibility of multiple orgasms, the fact that we have no refractory period. This all seems to suggest, to me, that women really evolved for sexual pleasure and serial sexual pleasure.

What about guys in monogamous relationships with wives who are not likely to be experiencing serial sexual pleasure any time soon? How can they help their partners enjoy a more diverse sex life?

I wrote the book to be a conversation starter between women and their partners. Men should know that some women really struggle with monogamy. Now, that doesn’t mean they’re going to go invite a “third” into the bedroom as a way to attain novelty. But it should encourage men to step up their game. Buy her a sex toy. Talk about sexual fantasies. Watch porn together. Go on adventures that have nothing to do with sex. Go on a zip line. Learn to tango. Take a trip. Remember, adrenaline can deliver a similar feeling to what sexual novelty gives us. These are all options if you don’t want to seek out adventure by way of consensual non-monogamy.

What about men with daughters? How can they impart healthier sexual attitudes?

It would be extremely helpful to start educating kids about female sexual pleasure at home. It’s important we teach them that women are more than an extension of male desire. Girls are more than precious little things who have to protect themselves from the boys. They are thinking, feeling people who have an amazingly evolved sexual anatomy with an extremely high capacity for pleasure. This is really basic information that kids aren’t getting in school.

Complete Article HERE!

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Why You Should Still Be Having Solo Sex While You’re In A Relationship

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By Gigi Engle

Masturbation is good for you.

Studies have shown masturbation (and the subsequent orgasms that follow) can help relieve symptoms of depression, improve sleep quality, and even make you more likely to engage in partnered sex (and find that sex more satisfying).

Contrary to the sex shame-y cultural beliefs we have around sexuality, masturbating when you’re in a relationship doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy sex with your partner. In fact, studies have shown that people think about their partner most often when engaging in masturbation.

That’s right. Engaging in solo play is healthy (and normal!) even when you’re in a partnered relationship. And new data confirms this theory: According to a new study from the Journal of Sexual Medicine, solo sex is very good for you, no matter your relationship status.

Pretty much everyone is masturbating.

Since there is little research into masturbation, especially when it comes to women, the study sought to provide a basis for more research into female solo-sexual behaviors to be done in the future. It provides a baseline other researchers can build upon. Researchers surveyed 425 women, 61% of whom were in committed relationships, about their masturbatory and sexual habits.

What the results show is that almost everyone masturbates: 95% of participants had masturbated at some point during their lives. Further still, the 26% of study participants reported masturbating on a regular basis, at least once per week, while 27% reported masturbating two to three times per week.

A whopping 91% of women said they masturbated while in relationships. About 9% of participants reported they actually prefer masturbation to partnered sex, and 21% even preferred it to receiving oral.

Masturbation: We’re all doing it.

The top reasons women masturbate are pretty illuminating.

“The reasons cited for engaging in masturbation were manifold, ranging from sexual desire to relaxation and stress reduction,” write the study’s authors. The main reasons women masturbate were pretty widespread. While the top reason to masturbate was fulfilling sexual desire (76% listed this as masturbation motivation), 23% cited stress relief, and a notable 44% used it for relaxation.

The jury is in: The reasons for masturbating are nearly limitless.

Of the 5.5% of women who reported never masturbating in relationships, they cited, “I hardly ever feel sexual desire” and “Sex is a partner-only thing” as their reasons.

In other words, it’s women who have low desire and those who don’t understand the benefits of masturbation (and the pleasure it brings) who don’t do it. Now, if you want to engage only in partner play because it’s your preferred way of receiving pleasure, that’s totally OK. It only becomes a problem when you’re refraining from masturbation because of underlying shame you have around enjoying your sexuality for yourself.

Masturbation is not replacing sexual partners.

According to the study’s authors, “For many women, masturbation does not represent ‘a partner substitute’ to seek sexual pleasure but rather is a stress coping and relaxation strategy.” Solo play is its own self-care activity, not a replacement for partnered experiences.

Masturbation and orgasm release a wave of feel-good chemicals such as dopamine and oxytocin. Oxytocin has been shown to help with sleep, calm the nervous system, and relieve pain. Sometimes you don’t want to go through the bells and whistles of partnered sex and would rather have some time to yourself with a nice, self-induced orgasm.

This is perfectly normal and healthy. Orgasms are nature’s Xanax.

Complete Article HERE!

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Why masturbating is good for your health

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(in case you were looking for an excuse)

They’re all *very* convincing…

By Pamela Supple

While masturbation has a multitude of health and wellbeing benefits – and is vital for women at any age – these are my top eight reasons why women should be embracing this opportunity to explore their bodies and become in tune with their sexual wellbeing:

1. Masturbation increases blood flow in your brain

Yep, you heard me – researchers have studied blood flow via MRI scans while participants masturbated, and it’s shown that during masturbation, a blood flow increase is experienced, allowing for a faster blood flow to your brain and genitals.

The MRI scans discovered the blood flows more readily through your body and subsequently to your brain, in turn increasing oxygen and nutrients that stimulate healthy brain function.

2. It helps maintain your vaginal strength

Masturbation can assist with keeping your vagina in tip top shape, helping to strengthen pelvic floor muscles.

Masturbating is essentially a workout for your vagina, with the added benefit of an orgasm at the end. The best part? The stronger your pelvic floor muscles become, the better sex and masturbation will feel, and the easier it becomes to orgasm in future… talk about a win, win!

3. Masturbation boosts your self-esteem

Masturbation is all about self-discovery and self-love, and getting in touch with your own body means loving it more.

Women who masturbate regularly develop improved body image, higher levels of self-esteem, positive genital image, and display improved emotional and erotic intelligence. How can you argue with that?!

When going solo, there are a variety of premium products on the market to enhance your masturbation experience, but I recommend the Womanizer DUO. It indulges in two ways, with Pleasure Air Technology® massaging the clitoris via gentle air vibrations alongside a powerful G-spot stimulation giving an unprecedented level of pleasure.

4. It keeps you looking younger

Thanks to the increased blood circulation in our brains during masturbation, giving yourself some self-loving can actually help you maintain a youthful glow. The extra blood flow prompts nutrients and oxygen to travel to the brain, assisting in tissue repair. This means there’s no better time to whip out your favourite sex toy in lieu of heading to that expensive age-defying facial you might have booked in.

5. It helps you get your much-needed zzz’s

After masturbating, the brain releases dopamine, which assists with falling asleep. Deep sleep rejuvenates the brain, and teamed with an orgasm, is a great health and wellbeing boost. With lack of sleep being related to an increased risk to a plethora of health issues including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s, there’s no better time to ensure you’re getting enough zzz’s in at night.

So, go on – satisfy yourself, and then roll over and drift off to sleep thanks to a masturbation related endorphin flood in your brain.

6. It’s a stress-buster

Everyone has different coping mechanisms for dealing with stress and anxiety. It’s proven that masturbating releases oxytocin into your brain, which is known for it’s calming effects.

So, after your next big day in the office, why not try reaching between your legs and feel the stress and tension release.

7. Masturbation can help ease UTI discomfort

Many women have been in the uncomfortable situation where you can feel a urinary tract infection (UTI) coming on. The next time you’re stuck with the dreaded sensation, take some time out and try to masturbate.

Masturbating can help relieve the pain, lubricate the vagina, and flush the bad bacteria from your cervix via a process called ‘tenting’. You’ll be on your way to kicking that pesky UTI to the curb as quickly as possible!

8. It can help you orgasm

While many women have no problem working up an orgasm during their self-love sessions, many struggle during sexual intercourse with a partner. Many sex therapists recommend masturbating in front of your partner or mutual masturbation to help improve couples sex lives or chance of orgasm.

If you are in a relationship, giving and receiving mutual masturbation helps with optimizing chances of orgasm, as well as increasing feelings of security and closeness in a couple.

Complete Article HERE!

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‘I wanted to explore my own pleasure’

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– How I rebooted my sex life

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At 35, I realised I had no idea what I really wanted in bed – or how to ask for it. So I went on a sex odyssey, one orgasm at a time

My story, like all the greats, starts with a disappointing wank. I was on one of the big free porn sites and I saw something that disturbed me.

Now, I was used to porn; I had been using/watching/waiting for it to buffer for years. It was just what you did, if you were feeling aroused and alone, wasn’t it? But on this night, I found myself thinking about a young woman in a thumbnail picture, hoping she was all right. I turned my computer off and thought about my niece, 13 at the time, perhaps soon to be exploring her sexuality and ending up visiting a site like this. It made me sad. This was the sex we were giving our young women and men, and there didn’t seem to be much alternative. What have we done to sex? I thought.

But then I considered myself. I was hardly raising sex to some divine art form, sat there alone with my laptop in bed. In my 35 years, I felt I’d never really got to grips with sex. I had probably only skimmed the top of how amazing it could be. It occurred to me that sex was something that was done to me. I was willing, keen even, but an actor in it, rather than a writer or director of the show. My friend has a saying: if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. I didn’t want to get what I’d always got when it came to sex. But then again, what did I want?

I’d never actually asked myself this before, so I wrote a list. The first thing that came to mind was slow sex. I felt that for a long time sex had been caught up in speedy routines, me often being moved around like an Ikea sofa. I wanted to break sex down to put it back together again, learn how and where I liked to be touched, and similarly how to touch a man. I was a bit terrified of the penis, not really sure what I was supposed to do with it. And I wanted to really explore my own pleasure. I read somewhere that women are capable of 14 different types of orgasm. If this was true, I’d been seriously underperforming. Also, I finally admitted to myself that I didn’t just want to have sex with men.

I set off on my sexual odyssey. It wasn’t as glamorous as it sounds: I was off on a mission, but I didn’t know how to go about it, or have anyone to practise on. One night, I asked a friend if he might like to do some tantric sex with me. It wasn’t my most articulate moment, and I was wearing a cagoule and a woolly hat. To my surprise, he said yes. I bought us both a copy of the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Tantric Sex. A few days later he came over and we had a go, but I needed a lot of alcohol for courage and found it hard to give a handjob while holding a book. I struggled with taking the lead and, after a few more attempts, he “dumped” me.

It was all a bit depressing. I was able to make some pretty exciting stuff happen in my working life, yet when it came to men I was insecure, drunk and frequently hysterical. I looked back on my sexual experiences to date and realised I was incapable of asking for what I wanted in bed (and not so great out of it, to be fair). I also finally admitted just how much I hated, truly hated, my body, the very vessel I wanted to give me pleasure.

It dawned on me that I had been raised to be pretty and passive. Female sexuality had always been presented to me by men. From Page 3 to the majority of porn, it was hard to find an image of female sexuality that didn’t have a man behind it making money, or hadn’t originated from that place. No wonder I was in a bit of a mess sexually.

I continued on my odyssey, learning from each calamity. There were more disastrous handjobs, one where I accidentally laughed as a man ejaculated, and another where the recipient was so blown away by my erotic touch that he started talking about the fuel consumption of his Transit van. Over time though, and with practice, I relaxed and grew in confidence, finally getting to grips (as it were) with the male member and other things on my list. I experienced incredibly slow sex with a lover – really, imagine everything in quivery, breathy slow motion, with me nearly orgasming when he touched my knee. The effect was profound: I cried afterwards and the words “I didn’t think I deserved to be touched like that” echoed in my head.

My masturbatory habits completely changed. Gone was the quickie to internet porn; instead I spent time tuning into how and where my body wanted to be touched. Sometimes a tender touch on my yoni (the tantric term for the vulva and vagina) could move me to tears, bringing back memories of times when, either with lovers or medical professionals, this area was not so cared for. The more this healing happened, the more my capacity for pleasure increased, something that frequently blew my mind. One particularly powerful orgasm felt as though I spent minutes spinning through space and time. Ripples of this orgasm were still ricocheting through my body two days later. I have given that one the name, “the orgasm that could create world peace”.

I went to my first sex festival and loved it. Well, I was pretty terrified at first and may have locked myself in my car on the first night, but once I made it out of there I met other like-minded people and had some beautiful experiences, including with other women who, like me, were feeling that they weren’t quite as straight as they had thought.

I got much better at the important stuff; stating my boundaries and mastering how to initiate and ask for what I desired. I finally trusted my ability to say “no”, and it was liberating. I think because I was stronger in this way, I was able to try things that might have terrified me before, such as sex parties.

Perhaps the richest gift my sexual adventure gave me was empowerment. I learned that my sexuality is just that: mine. I think before, in my passivity, I had been waiting for someone else to unlock it or give me what I thought I needed. Previously I’d just taken it for granted that I was the problem. My body was wrong, I was wrong. So caught up in my shame and failings, I hadn’t stepped back to see that society’s teachings around sex were pretty rotten. With my new sense of freedom and power I stood up to the Sun over Page 3, starting a petition that grew into a national campaign and was (after two-and-a-half years) ultimately successful. The insecure woman I was before my sexual capering would never have had the confidence to stand up publicly on an issue like that.

I would say it altered every aspect of my life for the better. After years of struggling in relationships, I met someone. He understood and supported my adventures. I then fell pregnant and had a baby. That, as you can imagine, shifted everything. I had to start anew, getting to know my body and sexuality all over again.

I thoroughly recommend taking yourself off on a little sexual odyssey. For women, I would say there is almost an imperative to do so if we can. Our sexuality has been suppressed and controlled for so long, it becomes radical to reclaim it on our own terms. Just shine a little light on this area of your life and ask yourself what it is you would like to experience. And do take time to touch yourself with tenderness. We are so hard on our bodies, we push and berate them, yet we rarely give them loving touch they deserve. And it only gets better; I heard recently that a woman has the greatest capacity for sexual pleasure at 70 years old. Bring it on.

Complete Article HERE!

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The Uncomplicated Truth About Women Sexuality

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Is women’s sexuality more complicated than men’s? Well, not really, no, says author Sarah Barmak.

In this frank, eye-opening talk, she shows how a flawed understanding of the female body has shaped this discussion for centuries. She debunks some age-old myths (you’re welcome) and offers a richer definition of pleasure that gets closer to the simple truth about women’s sexuality.

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Want to Sleep Better? Have More Sex

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If you’re having trouble sleeping soundly, studies show having sex with your partner (or yourself) can help improve the quality of your sleep.

by Brian Krans

The bedroom, according to the National Sleep Foundation, is designed for two things: sex and sleep.

But there’s one big problem: Not enough Americans are getting enough of either.

However, recent research suggests fixing one could fix the other.

A 2017 study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior suggests people, whether single or married, were having sex less often during the early 2010s than they were in the late 1990s — at a rate of nine fewer times per year.

Millennials are having the least amount of sex, but the researchers say it’s not due to longer working hours or increased pornography use.

Overall, fewer people are in steady relationships and those who are, including married people, are having sex less often.

And research has shown that a lack of quality sleep for the right number of hours a night can lead to a decline in mood, libido, and romantic motivation.

That alone may keep you up at night.

Does having sex help you sleep better?

Experts say while there isn’t enough solid clinical proof to suggest that sex makes you sleepy, the basic underlying mechanics of the chemicals released during sex may help one sleep better.

Among other things, it has a lot to do with the hormone oxytocin, nicknamed “the love hormone.”

Dr. Amer Khan, a Sutter Health neurologist, sleep specialist, and founder of Sehatu Sleep in Northern California, says the release of oxytocin has been stated to occur in conjunction with feelings of affection and affectionate or sensual touch, leading to a feeling of pleasant well-being and relief from stress.

“Other hormones, such as dopamine, prolactin, and progesterone, have been implicated in affecting the mind with a sense of relief, relaxation, and sleepiness following the act of satisfactory sex,” Kahn told Healthline.

But everyone is different, so these chemicals shuffling through your brain right at bedtime may be stimulating and wake-promoting or sleep-inducing, Khan said.

“After all the considerations, it seems reasonable to say that a mutually satisfying physical and mental interaction before sleep enhances mood, feelings of well-being, releases stress, and makes it easier to switch off the busy mind to go to sleep and stay asleep,” he said. “If a satisfying sexual orgasm after an exciting foreplay is a part of that interaction, it is also likely to lead to better sleep.”

A 2016 review of research done at the University of Ottawa suggests engaging in sexual intercourse before sleep can decrease stress and possibly help insomniacs initiate and maintain their sleep, making it a “possible alternative or addition to other intervention strategies for insomnia.”

Still, Khan warns, more large-scale studies are needed to explore the subject in more detail. Either way, he says, there’s more than one way to connect with your partner that can put your mind at ease before bedtime.

“As a sleep physician, I would advise people to enjoy their time together,” Khan said. “Physical, emotional, and mental togetherness is more important than focusing on the need to have an orgasm before sleep.”

Then again, some research suggests a good orgasm doesn’t hurt when trying to get better sleep.

A 2017 study out of CQUniversity in Adelaide, Australia found that more than 60 percent of 282 adults studied reported having slept better after having sex that led to climax.

Chris Brantner, a certified sleep science coach at SleepZoo, said women also experience increased estrogen levels after sex, which can enhance REM sleep — the truly regenerative kind — while men get a surge of prolactin, which causes a feeling of fatigue.

“However, like most things involving sleep, there’s a deeper relationship here,” Brantner told Healthline. “Because not only does having sleep help you get to sleep, but getting good sleep helps you have more sex.”

To help increase your libido, Brantner recommends the full seven to eight hours of sleep a night.

“Lack of sleep throws your hormones out of whack and decreases testosterone, which is crucial for both male and female sex drive,” he said. “Sleep deprivation also has a negative impact on your energy levels and mood, which both will make you less likely to want to have sex.”

But what about those without a partner to help release those love hormones?

The power of self love

As earlier noted, people are having sex less often, partially due to having a steady relationship with a partner.

So, what’s to prevent masturbation from being the way to calm oneself to sleep? Nothing, actually.

Nicole Prause, PhD, founder of the Liberos lab in Los Angeles, is researching just that.

Some of those experiments include whether masturbation leads to more quality sleep. Animal studies, she says, have shown males who ejaculated had better sleep latency and quality, but it hasn’t yet been shown in humans.

“In animals, the effect is thought to be due to vasopressin, which also increases with orgasm in humans, so it is likely to work the same in humans,” Prause told Healthline. “Our federal government, however, does not fund sex research, so it is unlikely we ever will receive funding at the level necessary to demonstrate this in a sleep laboratory with humans.”

Besides studying the effects that sexual gratification has on sleep, Prause is also a licensed psychologist who works in behavioral medicine, including sleep maintenance issues.

Masturbation is not currently mentioned in any standardized sleep assessments or treatments, but Prause thinks it should be.

“I think it is a terrible disservice to patients, especially those struggling on their medications, and can increase the stigma for those who successfully use masturbation to manage their sleep disturbances,” she said.

Beyond sex

Any sex expert worth their salt will tell you it’s not just the completion of the act, but the act itself.

As Khan mentioned, hormones that may help you sleep are released just by being close and intimate with someone, even if it doesn’t involve sex.

But since the bedroom is made for either sleep or sex, there are a few small things you can do to keep that space sacred. That includes removing distractions like TVs, tablets, phones, and anything else with a screen that isn’t a window.

Brantner says staring at your phone right before bed can mess up your circadian rhythm, or the body’s natural sync with the sun. Also, he says, research suggests it also contributes to partner dissatisfaction.

“If you’re staring at your phone, you aren’t cuddling, you aren’t conversing, and you’re definitely not having sex,” he said. “In other words, you’re ignoring your partner.”

So, if you’re reading this in bed, put your phone away and talk with your partner about sharing a hormone-filled experience in the bedroom.

Complete Article HERE!

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Rubbing Out Sexist Attitudes Towards Female Masturbation

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Lois Borny discusses attitudes towards female masturbation at university

By Lois Borny

Other than typing ‘porn’ into YouTube on my family computer at age 11, I always saw it as a dangerously seductive zone not meant for my eyes. A force field also encircled my pelvis, the nether realm where I ought never to go. Any moments of curiosity when I was sure my parents were asleep resulted in a deep embarrassment that made my cheeks flush and my palms sweat. This only solidified the idea that I was a sexual anomaly amidst all other girls my age. Once or twice someone at school would ask ‘do you…?’ but the question was always dismissed by the shaking of heads in unison, faces aghast.

In my experience, female masturbation became more heavily loaded with age. Around the time when exchanging numbers at the school disco had turned into nudes being sent and drinking straight Glens at the weekly rich kid’s house party, it was still very hush-hush. For boys, an interest in their penis seemed to be a kind of comical inevitability, and touching it was a necessity that need not be questioned.

Like a mutually loved hobby, it was a source of jokes, bonding and outwardly expressed desire that just didn’t appear relevant to me. It seemed my own sexuality was only legitimate if a boy was involved, or if it was as some kind of spectacle – and if I were ever to talk about it, it was seen either as an invitation or as a statement about how rebellious and free-spirited I was.

‘Before you realise how programmed are you to be woman hating, if any other girl says they finger themselves you automatically think they’re trying to get attention, whereas a boy is seen as just being honest’ Molly says, when asked the about pre-university attitudes to female masturbation.

Like a mutually loved hobby, it was a source of jokes, bonding and outwardly expressed desire that just didn’t appear relevant to me. It seemed my own sexuality was only legitimate if a boy was involved, or if it was as some kind of spectacle – and if I were ever to talk about it, it was seen either as an invitation or as a statement about how rebellious and free-spirited I was.

‘Before you realise how programmed are you to be woman hating, if any other girl says they finger themselves you automatically think they’re trying to get attention, whereas a boy is seen as just being honest’ Molly says, when asked the about pre-university attitudes to female masturbation.

For girls it was seen as self-indulgent rather than natural instinct, a view which lingers at the back of my mind even now, despite knowing it is completely unfounded. When asked about their early orgasms, the general consensus among my female friends at university was that they used to keep it to themselves, and that the whole thing was generally a source of guilt. This sense of shame all seems so distant from sleepover masturbation and the soggy biscuit challenges of puberty described to me by my male friends.

For me, coming to university was like having a long conversation with a reassuring experienced friend. But she brought with her a confusing message: a lot of girls own vibrators, and they use them often. This was such a sudden change from the messages I had been given through school and sixth form, and I was confused as to why. Even in first year, under the shroud of 2 am when the clinking from the kitchen and the sound of footsteps in the corridor had finally stopped, I would still feel odd about doing it. Like somehow my flatmates could sense it, and that for them to know would be a terrible humiliation.

‘There’s a stark change in attitude towards girls masturbating at university compared to school. Suddenly, it’s completely acceptable for girls to own sex toys, speak freely about using them and even give each other tips’ my friend Isabel says, who tells me she never spoke about masturbation with friends before coming to university.

Of course, for many girls this wasn’t the case, and if it was, these feelings likely faded.

‘When I got to year 10 I became close with a girl who was really open about that kind of thing and she would tell me funny stories that had happened to her. It made me more open’ says Anna. ‘It definitely became more obvious to me as I grew up that it’s nothing to be ashamed of and it’s perfectly normal’ she adds.

‘I know that a lot of girls feel uncomfortable talking about masturbation and usually deny that they even do it, but that hasn’t been my experience because I was close to my friends at school and they were open minded about it like myself. At university masturbation was just so normal that it wasn’t an exciting thing to talk about anymore’ says Maddie.

The abrupt break in the silence on female masturbation upon coming to university seems unnecessary, and although it isn’t an experience shared by the entire female student demographic, the internalisation of these ideas amongst a lot of us is undeniable.

Complete Article HERE!

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Is Your Partner Masturbating Too Much?

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By Cory Stieg

When you’re in a relationship, you might find yourself telling little white lies every now and then to make your partner happy, like: I really did love the way you made the salmon, or I absolutely love that you knit me this scarf for Christmas. But there are some things that you should not lie about for the sake of your partner’s ego, like how often you masturbate.

First of all, you’re not doomed if your partner masturbates more than you do, and you’re not a monster if you are the one masturbating more. People often assume that when their partner masturbates frequently, it’s a sign that they don’t want to have sex with them — but sex and masturbation are two different activities, says Shannon Chavez, PsyD, a certified clinical sexologist. “One is not a replacement for the other,” she says. That said, if someone isn’t interested in partnered sex and only wants to masturbate, then that could be a sign that there are bigger issues in the relationship, she says.

There are many reasons why people masturbate, one of which is to enhance partnered sex. “[Masturbation] gets you in touch with your body and your sexuality,” Dr. Chavez says. During partnered sex, you might be more self-aware or experience more of a physical response to stimulation if you also masturbate, she says. Masturbation is also an opportunity to bring new techniques into sex, or safely learn about your partner’s preferences and fantasies.

Some people just masturbate because it’s an act of self-care, Dr. Chavez says. “It is as important [and] as healthy eating and exercise,” she says. “It’s a genital workout that also helps with mood and is a sleep aid.” Others masturbate to alleviate stress, or do it out of habit or boredom, says Kristen Lilla, an AASECT certified sex therapist in Nebraska. And some turn to self-pleasure because they have a higher libido than their partner, and don’t want to put pressure on their lower-libido partner, she says. But that’s not a bad thing.

Even though masturbation is a part of overall sexual wellness, it can feel tricky bringing up your routine or frequency to your partner. Sometimes, people perceive their partner masturbating as a threat, personal rejection, or betrayal, Lilla says. “A person may feel entitled to this information, or may even assume their partner does masturbate,” she says. “But upon finding out how frequently, they may react negatively and try to find a way to control the other person’s behavior.”] If you feel comfortable, it’s a good idea to discuss your routine with your partner — including how often you masturbate. Take any judgement — of yourself or your partner — out of the equation and remember that “talking about masturbation can be helpful for your relationship,” Dr. Chavez says. It normalizes self-pleasure, and gets the conversation started about sexual needs and interests, she says. “If you can openly discuss it with a partner, it’s a good sign that you have moved past the stigma and embraced it as part of your overall wellness,” she says. And keep in mind that there’s no data around how much masturbation is too much, she says.

Complete Article HERE!

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6 things I wish I knew about sex as a teen

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It’s up to you to define what constitutes losing your virginity

By Olivia Cassano

Growing up we receive so many problematic messages about sex that it’s no wonder we still consider it such a taboo.

Although I consider myself a very sex-positive person now, it took years to unlearn most of what mainstream society taught me about doing the deed.

There’s a lot to be learned about the nuanced experience of sex and I full-heartedly believe that we can never stop learning.

But here are the things I think everyone, young women especially, should know in order to foster a healthy, fulfilling relationship with sex.

Virginity is a heteronormative myth

Almost everything we know about virginity is either wrong or misogynistic.

First of all, it completely excludes same-sex experiences and focuses only on hetero PIV (penis in vagina) sex, alienating gay sex and turning it into the ‘other’.

If we were to take virginity for how it’s taught, technically gay people are all virgins.

See? It makes no sense.

All sex is sex and, ultimately, it’s up to you to define what constitutes losing your virginity, because it’s nothing more than a concept.

Losing your virginity is also somehow simultaneously romanticised and made out to be this horrific, traumatising, painful milestone.

It’s an oxymoron, but your entry point to sex will most likely be unremarkable.

It doesn’t have to hurt and you might not bleed (I didn’t), because another fallacy is that losing your V-card is all about the hymen breaking.

We’re taught that the hymen is like a fleshy roadblock that needs to be crashed into to officially lose your virgin status, but none of that is true.

The hymen is a thin, perforated membrane most, not all, women have, and it can be torn from pretty much anything, like tampons, masturbation and even some types of sport. It’s not proof of your virginity or lack thereof because, newsflash, women don’t come with a freshness seal.

The first time can be uncomfortable and the pain often associated with it most likely comes from nerves and a lack of lubrication.

Relax, lube up and enjoy (once you’re ready of course).

Had I known this before my first time, I wouldn’t have looked forward to it with such dreaded anticipation.

All sex is sex

As mentioned above, society has a tendency to think of sex as intercourse.

Again, this alienates same-sex experiences and trivialises other sexual activities like oral, anal and masturbation.

This way of thinking is so embedded in how we understand and talk about sex that it took me a while to dismantle this way of thinking, but it’s crucial to abandon this hierarchy.

And – lazy, straight men – foreplay is sex. Stop acting like it’s a nuisance you have to quickly get rid of before sticking your dick in us.

Which brings me to my next point.

Sex is not a race

Orgasms feel incredible and provide a wide range of mental and physical benefits, but, that being said, they’re not the only reason we have sex. Sex should be a whole experience and should be enjoyed even though it doesn’t end in climax, especially since the sad reality is that most hetero women don’t come from intercourse alone. Slow down, savour the experience and stop trying to hit a home run straight away. Masturbating is awesome

Women do it too.

It doesn’t make you desperate.

You shouldn’t feel guilty about it.

It’s healthy. It’s amazing.

DIY sex is more than just satisfaction, it’s an act of self-love that reinforces your own pleasure and agency in sex.

Knowing how to please yourself means knowing what you want out of a sexual experience with a partner, if you wish to have one.

STIs don’t make you dirty

Although I was lucky enough to attend a school that offered a sex ed class, all it consisted of was our teacher showing us a slide show of disease-ridden genitalia.

The aim wasn’t so much to spread awareness but rather disgust us into not having unprotected sex.

It reinforced the stigma that people with STIs are dirty and stupid for catching them in the first place, most likely from having sex with a lot of different people.

Yes, we should teach kids to use a condom and get regularly tested – this advice applies to adults too – but we should also be taught how to talk about STIs without judgement or shame.

The easier it is to talk about them without wanting to recoil, the easier it is to approach the subject with a partner should you find out you caught something.

I didn’t get my first sexual health test until six years after being sexually active because I was terrified of knowing if I had anything.

Now I get a routine check every six months even though I am in a committed relationship, and it’s something I look forward to because it’s a way to make sure I’m being safe and keeping my partner safe too.

STIs aren’t something to be happy about, but they’re also not the end of your sex life.

Literally anything about consent

It’s 2018 and most people still don’t have a clear grasp on consent.

Growing up, I had never even heard of consent, because no one taught me.

Consent isn’t just the absence of a ‘no’, it’s a voluntary, explicit and enthusiastic verbal and non-verbal ‘yes’. It can be withdrawn at any point and consenting to one activity does not mean consenting to any future activities.

Sex without consent is abuse or rape, so it’s probably the first and most important thing we should be learning when it comes to sex.

Complete Article HERE!

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

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By Alexia LaFata

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Dominance

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

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

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

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

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

2. Submission

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Watch or Be Watched

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

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

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

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

4. Role-Playing

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Atypical One-On-One Session

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

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

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

Celebrity

Ryan Reynolds is hot. No further explanation needed here.

Girl-on-Girl

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

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

An Ex

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

Stranger

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

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

6. Group sex

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

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

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

Complete Article HERE!

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Mutual masturbation could help end orgasm inequality

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May is National Masturbation Month, so we’re celebrating by exploring the many facets of self-love.

[S]o, your sexual partner just came and you didn’t. It’s infuriating, it’s frustrating, and it’s — rather dismally — all too common during heterosexual sex.

I’m talking about the orgasm gap — the inequality in men and women’s sexual pleasure, which affects an alarming number of women. A whopping 95 percent of straight men always come during sex, but a mere 65 percent of heterosexual women can say the same, per a study by Chapman University.

But, save living in a state of perpetual sexual frustration and faking your orgasms for the rest of your days, what exactly can be done about it? Well, these two words could bring us closer to closing the orgasm gap: Mutual masturbation (a.k.a. masturbating with your sexual partner).

Dan Savage, sex advice columnist and host of the Savage Lovecast, told Mashable he’s long been “an advocate for mutual masturbation” in heterosexual relationships and for “straight people broadening their definition of what qualifies as sex.” And, given that a recent study by Indiana University found that heterosexual women experience the fewest orgasms, it appears something is definitely amiss in the realm of straight sex.

Savage believes that straight couples should take a leaf out of gay people’s books when it comes to bringing mutual masturbation into the bedroom: “A lot of the sex that gay people have is mutual masturbation, which a lot of straight people — guys in particular — don’t think counts as sex, or is some sort of tragic consolation prize.” Savage says we need to reframe the way we view the concept of mutual masturbation, and see it as “the main event” rather than “a pity-not-fuck.” “If straight people approach mutual masturbation as a rich and rewarding form of sexual expression it would improve their sex lives so much,” says Savage.

Researchers believe that sex education that fails to teach sexual pleasure, in addition to a lack of communication between sexual partners are reasons for the gap. While it’ll take a long time to remedy these causes at their root, mutual masturbation combines non-verbal communication with a learning experience about a partner’s individual needs.

Savage says if guys watch their girlfriends masturbate, they’ll see “what it looks like when she makes herself come,” and what is takes to get there. For 75 percent of women, it takes more than vaginal penetration alone to get there. “That’s not gonna get them there, you need additional, direct, focused stimulation that a vibrator, a finger, a tongue can provide,” Savage says.

“It really helps for men to learn a woman’s particular needs when it comes to stimulation, and what she needs on a plateau before orgasm, and what it looks like when she reaches the point of orgasmic inevitability, so that he can be a better partner to her,” says Savage. “The only way for him to see that is through masturbating together.”

Watch and learn

How exactly should sexual partners go about incorporating mutual masturbation into their sex lives? Heather Corinna founder of Scarleteen, an inclusive sex and relationships education site for young people—says women need to make sure mutual masturbation is “really about what feels good to them.” That might sound obvious, but this is to ensure that women masturbating in front of male partners isn’t “just another way to give a partner a sexual performance for *their* benefit.” Corinna says men should observe their partners masturbating, and “take notes.”

For many people, the very idea of masturbating in front of another human being is daunting. Corinna says that’s because “there’s still so much cultural shame with masturbation,” but it’s important to keep in mind that this shame comes largely from the “same places that don’t support sex as being about pleasure for anyone, especially women.”

But, in order for the orgasm gap to be completely fixed, Corinna says we also need “some changes in how women’s sexual desire is treated, including by partners.” Mutual masturbation isn’t a performance, it’s an opportunity for women to show men what they need in bed.

Blindfold your partner

How do we move past any shame and nervousness we might feel? Savage has some advice that he’s given to women before, which has worked. First, he recommends closing the door when masturbating while their partner is at home, so there’s someone in the same house who’s aware of them masturbating. Next time, “bring them in the room with you but blindfold them so they can’t look at you, and you can’t look in their eyes and read their expressions and how they’re perceiving you,” says Savage. After half a dozen times of doing this, take the blindfold off. By this point, Savage says you’ll have “acclimated” to having another person with you when you masturbate.

“The first couple times they don’t touch you, or maybe you lay on opposite sides of the bed and you’re just aware of their presence,” says Savage. He suggests sitting on your partner when you masturbate, and getting them to touch your breasts while you touch yourself. “You will get to a point where you will want them to see,” says Savage.

Try phone sex

Still feeling vulnerable? Corinna recommends letting a partner know if you need “some extra TLC or support” or even “a wild cheering section.” “If you feel extra nervous, trying a half-step like phone sex where you are masturbating but not sharing the visual experience might help you build some trust and comfort,” they say.

Watch gay porn

Savage says he tells callers to his show to watch gay porn. “I say this to straight guys all the time: you want your girlfriend to come during intercourse? Watch gay porn and look what the guy getting fucked is doing. He’s jacking himself off,” he says.

Not only that, gay porn can also provide a valuable lesson in the art of being unselfconscious when masturbating in front of a partner. “What you always see in gay porn is guys rolling around with each other, stroking each other, touching themselves, incorporating self-touch into the touch from the other person that they’re getting,” he says. The “completely unselfconscious” mutual masturbation in gay porn shows “it doesn’t mean your partner isn’t attractive or pleasing to you.”

“In fact, you’re kind of masturbating about them while they’re right there,” says Savage.

Whichever way you look at it, mutual masturbation gives you the power to take this pleasure disparity into your own hands. The tools are quite literally at your fingertips.

Complete Article HERE!

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Masturbation Tips for your Queerest, Sexiest Spring Ever

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Masturbation, more than any other sex act, is a time to be completely selfish and all about yourself.

By Cameron Glover

[M]ay is here, which means that it is finally National Masturbation Month! You may have seen the memes or innuendo-laced content swirling around social media, but this month is more important than you may know. Masturbation Month has evolved to become one of the most ambitious nationwide efforts to create more inclusive, welcoming sex education.

The month actually has political roots: it was started back in 1995 in San Francisco as a response to the forced resignation of the first Black U.S. Surgeon General, Joycelyn Elders. Elders gave a speech for the United Nations World AIDS Day in 1994, where a member of the audience asked her about “masturbation’s potential for discouraging early sexual activity.” Yeah, you read that right. Her response (which was: “I think it is something that is part of human sexuality and a part of something that perhaps should be taught”) caused such a backlash that it led to her forced resignation.

While this instance highlights the unaddressed and still unresolved issues of misogynoir within this country’s healthcare and politics, it also makes us even more aware of how access to sexuality education remains inadequate. Following the incident with Elders, a local sex toy and education shop, Good Vibrations, continued to push for a conversation around Elder’s forced resignation and the importance of masturbation.

Over twenty years later, there’s still heavy stigma and shame around masturbation. This is especially true for marginalized people, who have dealt with a disproportionate lack of access to sexuality resources that include them.

Here are a few tips to help make this Masturbation Month the best yet:

Set The Mood

Masturbation gets a bad rep — most people see it as a downgrade from sex with a partner, when that couldn’t be further from the truth. Masturbation/solo sex sessions/whatever you want to call it can be a sacred, special practice. If you’re having trouble getting into the mindset of masturbation as sex, trying incorporating the same things that you do when you prepare for sex with a partner. Wear that lingerie that makes you feel desirable and sexy; put on your favorite scents; even read your favorite sexy novel or erotic fanfiction.

No matter the method, take the time to have a ritual to make the experience as special as if you were preparing to have an experience with a partner. Masturbation can be an important part of showing yourself self-love, so why not honor that?

Choose The Right Lube

If there’s anything that you should incorporate immediately into your masturbation (or sex in general) routine, it should be bringing in the lube. Now despite what you may think, lube isn’t only for if you have a problem with lubrication, it can actually help intensify sensation and increase pleasure, which is exactly what we want during a solo session. Even if getting a new sex toy isn’t an option (and we’ll get to those in a minute), new lube can be more affordable and is a good way to spice things up without going too far out of your comfort zone.

I suggest that everyone have both a water-based lube and a silicone-based lube — I recommend this one for your silicone option and that one for the water-based lube. If you do have sex toys, not every toy can be used with each lube; as a rule of thumb, silicone toys should only be used with water-based lube as silicone breaks down silicone. Try different brands to see which feels right for you.

Switch Up the Method

If you’re someone who has sex or masturbates frequently, there can often be the issue of being less stimulated by the same old positions. An easy solution for this can be to just switch it up! Yes, it’s good to know which go-to positions or angles can get you off in a pinch, but masturbation is a special time where exploration is actually encouraged. Try using slower methods — use your hands and fingers to slowly build up pleasure in less-sensitive areas, followed by focus on areas with a higher concentration of nerve endings, like the clitoris, the head of the penis, or the anus.

Invest in a New Toy

If you’re financially able, investing in a good, quality sex toy can be a huge improvement for your solo sex sessions. For people with vulvas, I highly recommend a G-spot vibrator like the OVO E3, but brands like njoy and Fun Factory have quality, reasonably priced toys for a variety of interests.

My girl Sophie does the best monthly roundups on when good toys go on sale. Do your research, have fun, and make sure to

Have Fun!

Seriously. Sex and so much of our lives can be heavy and serious. Masturbation, more than any other sex act, is a time to be completely selfish and all about yourself. What gets you off? What makes you feel sexy? Lean into that and don’t forget to enjoy yourself.

Complete Article HERE!

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