How Couples Can Deal With Mismatched Sex Drives

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By Kelly Gonsalves

One of the most common problems faced by long-term couples is desire discrepancy—one partner wants more sex than the other. It’s a frustrating place to be for both parties: One person doesn’t feel sexually satisfied or desirable in their relationship, the other feels pressured to have sex they don’t really want, and both usually feel guilty for putting their partner in this position.

One excellent way couples can deal with the issue is to see a sex therapist, who can work with them in building a new, mutually satisfying intimate life together. How does sex therapy work? A new paper published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy gives us a pretty good picture, describing one treatment approach for desire discrepancy developed by certified sex therapist and clinical psychologist Barry McCarthy, Ph.D.

Here are the most important steps for dealing with mismatched sex drives, according to McCarthy. Don’t worry—you can get through this.

1. Team up.

One of the most important steps of dealing with desire discrepancy is to stop viewing each other as representatives of opposing sides.

“In the first session, the task of the therapist is to confront the self-defeating power struggle over intercourse frequency and replace it with a new dialogue about the roles and meanings of couple sexuality,” write McCarthy and Tamara Oppliger, M.A., co-author of the study and clinical psychology Ph.D. student at American University, in a draft of the paper shared with mbg. “No one wins a power struggle; the fight is over who is the ‘bad spouse’ or ‘bad sex partner.'”

Stop trying to make one person out to be the enemy. You’re a couple—you’re on the same side of the table, looking over a shared problem that’s hurting your relationship. Come together to make an agreement that this is a journey you’re going to undertake together.

And by the way, your goals for this journey should be clear—and it should not be about making sure you have sex a certain number of times a month. Sexuality is about much more than how often you do it. “The goal of couple sex therapy for desire discrepancy is to reestablish sexuality as a positive 15 to 20% role in their relationship,” the authors write. “It is not to compensate for the past, to declare a ‘winner,’ or to reach a goal for intercourse frequency.”

In other words, your goal is simply to make intimacy a positive force in your relationship, something that feels good to both people.

2. No pressuring another person to have sex, ever.

“Sexual coercion or intimidation is unacceptable,” McCarthy and Oppliger write. That kind of behavior can be terrifying for the person getting intimidating and can lead to someone saying yes to sex they don’t want. Any sex that’s only agreed to because of pressure is going to feel more like a violation than anything else. There’s no faster way to kill desire and make sex feel toxic.

3. Prioritize desire, not intercourse or orgasms.

When a relationship involves a man and a woman, couples often fall into the trap of using intercourse (i.e., putting a penis in a vagina) as the definition of sex. They believe sex is only sex when intercourse happens, and how often you have intercourse becomes a pass-fail measure of your sex life. One of McCarthy’s key points: “When it is intercourse or nothing, nothing almost always wins.”

No matter what genders you and your partner are, stop trying to use any one act like intercourse or penetration as the only marker of whether you’ve had sex—and while you’re at it, forget about having orgasms too. All these things can be great parts of a healthy and satisfying sex life, but they’re by no means the most important or crucial parts. All kinds of touch can be pleasurable and connective.

If not intercourse or orgasms, what exactly should you be striving for in your intimate life? “Desire is the most important dimension,” McCarthy and Oppliger write. Desire is the key to sexual energy and excitement, and it’s often what we’re truly seeking when we pursue sexual gratification. “Satisfaction means feeling good about yourself as a sexual person and energized as a sexual couple.”

4. Not all sex needs to be earth-shattering for both parties.

“The best sex is mutual and synchronous,” the authors write. “Yet, the majority of sexual encounters are asynchronous (better for one partner than the other). Asynchronous sexuality is normal and healthy as long as it’s not at the expense of the partner or relationship.”

For example, sometimes one partner might just go down on the other so she can have a good orgasm, and then the two cuddle as they fall asleep. Both people don’t need to get off every time, as long as the pleasure balances out and is satisfying for both parties over time.

5. Start with touch.

Not sure where to start? After assessment, one of McCarthy’s first suggestions is for couples to begin with getting reacquainted with touching each other again. Those touches don’t need to be a whole sexual act—they can be as simple as holding each other in bed or rubbing each other’s backs. “The focus is using touch as a way to confront avoidance and build a bridge to sexual desire,” he and Oppliger write.

In other words, the more you get comfortable with touching each other and sharing skin-on-skin contact, the more your desire will eventually build up. (Past research shows desire is indeed buildable, with having a spark of erotic energy one day leading to more of it the following day, even if you didn’t have actual sex.)

Complete Article HERE!

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This Might Be Why You Struggle To Get Turned On

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By Kelly Gonsalves

For those who struggle with sexual desire and arousal—i.e., they just don’t get turned on that easily, that often, or when they want to be—sex can be a pretty frustrating affair. Even if you’re in a loving relationship and like the idea of physical intimacy, for some reason you just can’t get yourself in the mood for it.

A new study published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy offers some clues as to what’s going on with your libido: Apparently women who have difficulties with sexual desire tend to have stronger sexual concordance, meaning their mental and genital arousal levels generally tend to align.

Researchers had 64 women individually come into a lab and watch a series of erotic videos while their vagina and clitoris were hooked up to a device that monitored physical markers of arousal: pulsing in the vaginal canal and increases in blood flow to the clit. The women also continuously indicated their subjective level of arousal (i.e., how aroused they felt in their heads) throughout the video by pushing a button to indicate when they were feeling more or less turned on. Later, each woman’s sexual concordance was measured based on how much their physical arousal levels matched up with their subjective, self-reported arousal levels.

All of the women also completed a questionnaire to determine their sexual functioning, which refers to a person’s ability to experience sexual desire, get aroused, lubricate, have an orgasm, and engage in pleasurable, pain-free sex. As far as sexual functioning, the researchers specifically homed in on women who struggled with desire versus those who didn’t.

The mind-body connection may be stronger with some women.

Here’s what the researchers found: Women with lower sexual functioning tended to have more alignment between their genital arousal and their mental arousal (i.e., sexual concordance). In other words, for women who had more trouble with sexual desire, their bodies and minds were actually more synced up than for other women.

What exactly does that mean? It means your body doesn’t get turned on without your mind also in the game, and vice versa. The two work in tandem.

Of course, this is true for most people. (“Your brain is your most important sex organ,” self-love guru and mbg Collective member Melissa Ambrosini tells mbg. “If it’s not in the game, you’re going to struggle to experience anything close to bedroom bliss.”)

But these findings suggest this mind-body connection might be especially important for women who have trouble accessing sexual desire. One theory the researchers posited in the paper is that women with higher concordance might be more likely to be very aware of all the physical sensations in their body and thus be less able to specifically focus on sexual sensations around the clitoris and vagina. Likewise, the body might be hyper-sensitive to unrelated thoughts buzzing in the mind and thus not respond to sexual stimuli because of all the other mental information it might be engaging with.

Importantly, the study also found sexual functioning and concordance were particularly linked when mental arousal predicted changes in genital arousal. In other words, when the body got aroused as the mind got aroused.

“These results coincide with previous research suggesting that the subjective experience of arousal may be particularly important in influencing genital responses in women with sexual desire and arousal difficulties,” the researchers write in the paper. “Therapeutic approaches that enhance women’s emotional or subjective experiences of sexual arousal may therefore be beneficial for improving sexual functioning.”

How to kick the desire system into gear.

If you struggle with desire, these results suggest it’s likely your body and mind’s sexual responses are more closely connected than in other people. And your mind may be particularly important for getting your body on board.

That suggests your road to tapping into your sexual desire isn’t going to be about initiating physical acts and waiting for your body to feel a spark before you’re able to feel mentally turned on. It’s going to be about first getting mentally stimulated and then letting your body follow your mind’s lead.

How do you get mentally stimulated? Consuming good erotica alone or with a partner can be a great way to whet the mind’s appetite, as can sending each other racy messages by text or email. Relationships expert and mbg Collective member Esther Perel advocates for the power of fantasy and even suggests exploring a little role-play in her mbg course on erotic intelligence.

If you’re looking for something simpler that you can tap into in the moment, master confidence coach and host of the UnF*ck Your Brain podcast Kara Loewentheil recommends reflecting on some of your most heated moments of the past and looking within for inspiration: “Think about a time you felt really sexy—what was going on? What were you thinking about yourself? There’s always a thought even if you weren’t aware of it at the time. Wearing something that makes you feel sexy or putting on a slow jams playlist can help, but fundamentally it’s thinking about yourself as a sexy and sexual person that will really light the fire within.”

Complete Article HERE!

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Not That Kind of Girl

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In her influential 1959 Atlantic article, “Sex and the College Girl,” Nora Johnson predicted that young, educated women pursuing expansive new opportunities would likely end up disappointed. She spent the rest of her life finding out what could happen instead.

High-school students graduate in 1960. Nora Johnson’s articles, novels, and memoirs followed women as they matured from infatuated teenagers to aging lovers.

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Every few years, new concerns bloom about the changing ways young people are approaching relationships, from the stigmatized early years of online dating in the 1990s and 2000s to the panic over campus hookup culture in the early 2010s to the dawning concern that rather than having too much sex, Millennials aren’t having enough. Many young people are now experiencing a sex recession, my colleague Kate Julian wrote for the cover of this magazine in December.

But long before Tinder or Match.com were founded, and even before most universities went coed, the seeds of these ideas were planted in another Atlantic article: Nora Johnson’s influential “Sex and the College Girl.” Written in 1959, the article captured a snapshot of college romance on the lip of the sexual revolution and the second-wave feminist movement: Young women were pulling back from romantic commitment and domestic life to explore their options; young men were left bewildered and resentful as their relationships shifted in turn.

Johnson framed the moment not as one of ecstatic liberation, but rather as an uncertain and sometimes overwhelming introduction of possibility for female students. She observed educated women navigating a convoluted path of desire, respect, security, and shame in pursuit of the dream of a full life: “a husband, a career, community work, children, and the rest.” Only an exceptional few could achieve that life without sacrificing personal or professional goals along the way, she predicted. For many of the rest of them, this pursuit would end in “an ulcer, a divorce, a psychiatrist, or deep disappointment”; and for some of them, those who were put off by the apparent futility of trying to balance all the expansive possibilities, “the most confining kind of domestic life.” Without the “moral generalizations” of her grandmother’s era, Johnson’s college girl was left to forge ahead toward those difficult choices with more subjective, and personal, judgment—carrying “her belief in herself,” or what she calls the “modern version” of herself, forward into the unknown.
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Johnson wrote “Sex and the College Girl” when she was 26, just five years after graduating from Smith. Though young, she was already beginning to establish herself as an author. She’d grown up as the daughter of a Hollywood filmmaker, surrounded by “an encampment of storytellers,” as she later recalled, and had published her first and ultimately most successful novel, The World of Henry Orient, a year earlier. Like “Sex and the College Girl,” the book drew on her own experiences as a student, fictionalizing the crush she and a friend had nursed for an actor-musician while they were in high school.

As Johnson grew older, the subjects of her writing generally did too, maturing as the decades wore on from students navigating the college dating scene to married couples to divorcées to aging lovers. But though the characters changed, the sense of uncertain possibility she described in “Sex and the College Girl” remained—sometimes joyful, sometimes dutiful, sometimes onerous, but never entirely gone. Johnson’s love stories, told in an era of expanding female choices, were weighted with the consciousness of them.

In “Sex and the College Girl,” the choices were myriad, novel, and full of potentially far-reaching consequences. Female students faced decisions about who to date, what to offer physically and emotionally, and how much to hold in reserve for how long. Beyond that immediate horizon stretched a broader array of opportunities and potential pitfalls: children, careers, and all of the self-betterment and intellectual rigor their educations were preparing them for. Commitment and marriage, in a sense, presented an out—a sense of certainty, a solid support system. “Joe has a future,” Johnson wrote. “He knows exactly what he is going to do after graduation … The decision about [the college girl’s] life keeps her awake at night, but when she is with Joe things make more sense.”

Two years later, in “The Captivity of Marriage,” Johnson described the constrained choices of the women who stuck with their Joes. Now juggling the responsibilities of raising children, keeping a house, and engaging in “community or P.T.A. work of some kind,” married women “feel … like a pie with not enough pieces to go around,” Johnson wrote. But the new responsibilities and family and community ties did not put the “undefined dreams” of their younger years to rest; instead, the wife and mother “vaguely feels that she is frittering away her days and that a half-defined but important part of her ability is lying about unused.” That feeling of dissatisfaction, Johnson observed, was coupled with the lingering “quality of excitement that comes from strangeness and the idealization of still-unknown experience” that made the concept of sex with an unfamiliar partner attractive. But those choices, which would take women away from their husbands and children, were now taboo. In their place were new choices, more limited but still unfamiliar and consequential. “Choosing a house and everything that goes into it, and a school, and a competent doctor are decisions that the young mother makes without adequate knowledge,” Johnson wrote, “and she can ill afford mistakes.”

She described the fallout from one error in judgment a year later in “A Marriage on the Rocks,” an article published in the July 1962 issue of The Atlantic. “The moment when it first becomes apparent that one’s marriage was a mistake,” she opened the piece, “is the beginning of probably the longest, darkest period in the human lifetime.” She chronicled the slow fracturing of a union that, to the college girl, had carried a promise of lifelong certainty in an otherwise unknown future. Unhappiness settled in and grew unbearable as the relationship devolved into “the endless opening of wounds … capitulating one’s beliefs … [and] adjusting oneself to the dismal and baneful workable compromise.” But choosing to break free of  that unhappiness meant exchanging it for a new, unknown one, defined by a sudden and “terrible feeling of having no one around on whom to blame everything.”

Johnson expressed the frustration of seeing a marriage fail while knowing that, with the newly available options for women to marry for love and to define more aspects of their life and work, “all of us … have the potential to become the greatest lovers on earth.” She wondered: “All this freedom and opportunity are breathtaking. Do we deserve them, and can we possibly live up to their obligations?”

Divorce loomed large in Johnson’s life. Her parents’ marriage ended when she was 6 years old, and they moved to separate coasts, leaving Johnson to shuttle back and forth between her mother’s New York home and her father’s star-studded Hollywood life for much of her childhood and adolescence. “My heart begins to tear, a long ragged rent which I have spent my life trying to mend,” she reflected in her 1982 memoir You Can Go Home Again, looking back on the dissolution of her family. She recalled how her mother’s attempts to become “an elegant divorced lady in a lovely house in the most exciting city in the world” transitioned into a second marriage to a possessive man who resented Nora when she returned home for a time as an adult after her own first marriage failed.

By the time she turned 32 in 1965, Johnson had already been married, divorced, and married a second time herself. In The Atlantic’s June 1961 issue, in which “The Captivity of Marriage” was published, she was introduced to readers as “happily married and the mother of two daughters.” When “A Marriage on the Rocks” was printed in the July 1962 issue,those details were omitted from her introduction. By the time she published You Can Go Home Again at the age of 59, her second marriage had also ended in divorce. In that sense, she fulfilled the melancholy predictions of “Sex and the College Girl” twice over.

But she had also built a successful career as a writer of novels, memoirs, articles, and, once, in collaboration her father, a movie based on The World of Henry Orient. Decades later, in an essay for The New York Times, she wrote about something she hadn’t predicted: finding love again. Johnson “was a long-divorced 71”; George was 83 and “recently widowed.” He became her third husband. “What astonished us,” she wrote, “was that the electricity we generated was as strong and compelling as love had been 50 years before, that it scrambled the brain every bit as much. Yet more surprising was that we had a rousing and delightful sex life.”

They still faced daunting choices and disappointments. At first they lived together in Florida, but they grew bored and moved to New York, only to grow bored there too, and be cold, and miss Florida. They dealt with natural disasters and health problems. They had difficult conversations. And then, seven years after they met, George died.

All Johnson’s stories resist the neat closure of the happily ever after. The security that Joe seems to present in “Sex and the College Girl” proves illusory; love degrades, fractures apart, or abruptly ends. “Marriage, entered upon maturely, is the only life for most women,” Johnson wrote in 1961. “But it is a way of life, not a magic bag of goodies at the end of the road.” Even old age, retirement, and George, who she said “brought joy and magic to my life,” don’t put the uncertain possibility of other paths to rest or stave off the sting of disappointment.

But her stories also resist the closure of a final failure. The college girl grows up, gets married, gets divorced, gets married again. She makes the wrong choices and then gets to make new ones. “This, then, is what the result is for a girl who has been brought up in a world where the only real value is self-betterment,” Johnson concluded in 1959. “She has had to create her own right and wrong, by trial and error and endless discussion.”

This is the story that Johnson wrote again and again, for several decades, until she died in 2017: There’s no happily ever after, or any ever after at all, but there’s happiness. Heartbreak. Regret. Magic. Surprise. Her extraordinary work was also a life lived, and recorded in pieces, over decades of love stories.

Complete Article HERE!

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Rev up your libido to the *most* satisfying heights

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By Jessica Estrada

Since everyone is different, there’s obviously no norm for sex-drive intensity. What is normal, however, is for your libido to fluctuate, says Emily Morse, sex expert and host of the Sex With Emily podcast. So, if you’re currently going through a dry spell of your own making, there’s no need to be alarmed—it happens!

Still, the sich can be über-frustrating, especially if your partner is ready to go at all times despite knocking boots being the last thing on your mind. To help you get your mojo back, here, Morse shares seven ways to seriously rev up your libido.

1. Seek a professional opinion (seriously)

As a first point of entry, Morse suggests checking in with your doctor because a low libido can be a symptom or a side effect of a number of different medical conditions: unbalanced hormone levels, medications you’re taking, depression, anxiety, thyroid imbalances, or arthritis. So, to be safe, go see your MD for a chat and potentially some tests.

2. Reconnect with your body

If your health checks out, the issue is may skew more psychological. “Women get aroused through thoughts,” Morse says. “If your brain is not onboard for sex, then your body is not going to follow.”

One solution? Get down with yourself (yes, that means masturbating). Doing so will help you reconnect with your body again, and it will help keep sex at top of mind. Think of it like exercise—or any other healthy habit for that matter: the more you get your sweat on, the more and more your body starts to crave it.

3. Give your relationship with sex a tough audit

A stagnant sex drive might not actually have to do with your libido at all: It could be about your relationship with your significant other. If you’re constantly fighting, or you’re growing apart for one reason or another, of course it’ll affect what’s happening (or not happening, in this case) between the sheets.

“Whatever challenges you’re having with your partner outside the bedroom are going to absolutely impact your relationship when you’re inside of the bedroom,” Morse says. She recommends taking an honest look at your relationship and focusing on fixing the non-sex-related  issues. It’s totally possible these resolutions could reignite that bedroom fire.

4. Stop being samey in the bedroom

Your libido might have taken a nosedive simply because you’re bored of the type of sex you’ve been having. Hey, you might even get sick of avocado toast (which has itself been tied to a revved up sex drive, BTW) if you have it every. single. day. So, consider changing things up a bit. “Variety is the spice of your sex life,” Morse says. “It’s the novelty and the newness that enhances intimacy and will make you want to connect.”

So try out new positions. Buy some toys. Do the deed in a surprising location. Do whatever you have to do to make things fun and interesting again. 

5. Implement a healthy lifestyle

If you’re not feeling so hot, of course you’re not going to be in the mood for love making, Morse says. That’s exactly why implementing healthy habits that make you feel sexy inside and out are an important part of maintaining a fired-up sexual appetite. Consider incorporating some libido-boosting foods into your diet, like avocado and honey and penciling in workouts that will help supercharge your love life.

6. Do your kegels

Not only do kegel exercises strengthen your pelvic floor muscles (which can translate to better orgasms—score!), they also force you to connect with yourself and your lady parts. And again, the more you think sexy thoughts, the more and more you’ll want to get it on.

And since kegels are so easy to do inconspicuously (doing mine now at my work desk!), it’s hard to find a reason not to abide by Morse’s prescribed two-a-day regimen. Just squeeze the muscles in your nether region, as if you’re trying to hold your pee, for five seconds. Then release and repeat for an effect of having things tightened up down there. Wondering how you’re possibly going to remember to do your kegels twice a day? Don’t worry. There’s an app for that.

7. Engage your senses

Another way to help you get your groove back is to entice your five senses, because when you do this, “you’re no longer in your head and automatically you feel very in touch with your body,” Morse says. So the next time you plan on getting lucky, create a full-on sensory experience.

Set the scene. Put some jasmine essential oil in your aromatherapy diffuser. Play some Marvin Gaye. Bust out the coconut whipped cream. Yes, it sounds totally cliché, but what do you have to lose other than another sexless night? 

Complete Article HERE!

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Better Sex Starts in your Gut

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By Dr. Edison de Mello

“There’s a Connection Between Your Gut Health and Your Sex Life”

What are the most common causes of low libido?

Libido and sexual arousal is, for the most part, grounded on intimacy involving the interaction of several components, including physical trust, belief system emotional well-being, previous experiences, self-esteem, physical attraction, lifestyle and current relationship.

In addition, a wide range of illnesses, such as thyroid disease, arthritis, diabetes, neurological disorders, hormonal changes and physical changes, such as High blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, menopause in women, andropause in men and pain during intercourse can cause low sex drive and/or inability to reach an orgasm. Medications, prescribed or over the counter, can also kill one’s libido.

What’s one cause that’s really surprising?  Great Sex too starts in Your gut!

“All disease begins in the gut.”  Hippocrates

Although most us do not necessarily think of our intestines or bad gut bacteria when we think of possible causes of low libido, an imbalance of Gut bacteria (microbiome) is more often than not, a significant cause of decreased sexual arousal. This is in addition to the more commonly known GI related causes, such as bloating, gas, acid reflux, bad breath, diarrhea, etc. In fact, because the gut contains billions of bacteria, the gastrointestinal tract, also known as the gut system, plays a major physical factor that has many unexpected effects on our ability to respond and perform sexually. The truth is that “gut bacteria is to our digestion and metabolism what a beehive is to honey”: Good working hive = great honey; well balanced gut bacteria = optimized gastrointestinal function and better sex! Gut bacteria are also responsible for producing hormones, enzymes, and neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which are essential for sexual health.

And then there is lifestyle…. although a glass of wine can get both men and women in the “mood” for sex, too much alcohol can actually have the opposite effect and not only kill your libido, but make you sleep, which can be devastating to intimacy.

10 Reasons Why you may not have a healthy gut?

  1. Bad diet (sugar and processed food based diet)
  2. Digestive Health: Unbalanced gut bacteria and lack of good probiotics
  3. Overuse antibiotics and other medications
  4. Sedentary life style
  5. Disease, including autoimmune.
  6. Mental Health and Mood.
  7. Low/ unbalanced Hormone.
  8. Vaginal Health/prostate issues
  9. Weight proportionate to height issues
  10. Decreased physical, mental and emotional energy

5 initial Steps to Take to Have Better Sex

  1. Balance your gut health,
  2. Eat a healthy diet and moderate your alcohol intake
  3. Exercise more often
  4. Do you inventory of your relationship: Are you really happy or just pretending that you are?
  5. Work on your self-esteem and body image, if applicable.

5 Ways how your partner can help you get there:

  1. Love you unconditionally
  2. Help you feel that intimacy is more than just having sex
  3. Encourage you to make the changes outlined here –  free of judgment, and instead assuring you that yes, you can.
  4. Be the change that he/she expects of you
  5. Not make sex so serious… have fun with it.

Other 10 possible causes of low libido:

  1. Mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression
  2. Stress, such as financial stress or work stress
  3. Poor body image
  4. Low self-esteem
  5. History of physical or sexual abuse
  6. Previous negative sexual experiences
  7. Lack of connection with the partner
  8. Unresolved conflicts or fights
  9. Poor communication of sexual needs and preferences
  10. Infidelity or breach of trust

Complete Article HERE!

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The Bored Sex

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Women, more than men, tend to feel stultified by long-term exclusivity—despite having been taught that they were designed for it.

The “distracted boyfriend” meme gets reversed.

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Andrew Gotzis, a Manhattan psychiatrist with an extensive psychotherapy practice, has been treating a straight couple, whom we’ll call Jane and John, for several years. They have sex about three times a week, which might strike many as enviable, considering that John and Jane—who are in their 40s—have been together for nearly two decades. Based on numbers alone, one might wonder why they need couples counseling at all.

But only one of them is happy with the state of play. And it isn’t Jane.

“The problem is not that they are functionally unable to have sex, or to have orgasms. Or frequency. It’s that the sex they’re having isn’t what she wants,” Gotzis told me in a recent phone conversation. And like other straight women he sees, “she’s confused and demoralized by it. She thinks there’s something wrong with her.” John, meanwhile, feels criticized and inadequate. Mostly he can’t understand why, if his wife is having sex with him and having orgasms, she wants more. Or different.

Despite “fears of seeming sex addicted, unfaithful, or whorish” (Gotzis doesn’t like these terms, but they speak to his patient’s anxieties, he explained), Jane has tried to tell John, in therapy and outside of it, what she’s after. She wants to want John and be wanted by him in that can’t-get-enough-of-each-other-way experts call “limerence”—the initial period of a relationship when it’s all new and hot. Jane has bought lingerie and booked hotel stays. She has suggested more radical-seeming potential fixes, too, like opening up the marriage.

Jane’s perseverance might make her a lot of things: an idealist, a dreamer, a canny sexual strategist, even—again channeling typical anxieties—unrealistic, selfish, or entitled. But her sexual struggles in a long-term relationship, orgasms and frequency of sex notwithstanding, make her something else again: normal. Although most people in sexual partnerships end up facing the conundrum biologists call “habituation to a stimulus” over time, a growing body of research suggests that heterosexual women, in the aggregate, are likely to face this problem earlier in the relationship than men. And that disparity tends not to even out over time. In general, men can manage wanting what they already have, while women struggle with it.

Marta Meana of the University of Nevada at Las Vegas spelled it out simply in an interview with me at the annual Society for Sex Therapy and Research conference in 2017. “Long-term relationships are tough on desire, and particularly on female desire,” she said. I was startled by her assertion, which contradicted just about everything I’d internalized over the years about who and how women are sexually. Somehow I, along with nearly everyone else I knew, was stuck on the idea that women are in it for the cuddles as much as the orgasms, and—besides—actually require emotional connection and familiarity to thrive sexually, whereas men chafe against the strictures of monogamy.

But Meana discovered that “institutionalization of the relationship, overfamiliarity, and desexualization of roles” in a long-term heterosexual partnership mess with female passion especially—a conclusion that’s consistent with other recent studies.

“Moving In With Your Boyfriend Can Kill Your Sex Drive” was how Newsweek distilled a 2017 study of more than 11,500 British adults aged 16 to 74. It found that for “women only, lack of interest in sex was higher among those in a relationship of over one year in duration,” and that “women living with a partner were more likely to lack interest in sex than those in other relationship categories.” A 2012 study of 170 men and women aged 18 to 25 who were in relationships of up to nine years similarly found that women’s sexual desire, but not men’s, “was significantly and negatively predicted by relationship duration after controlling for age, relationship satisfaction, and sexual satisfaction.” Two oft-cited German longitudinal studies, published in 2002 and 2006, show female desire dropping dramatically over 90 months, while men’s holds relatively steady. (Tellingly, women who didn’t live with their partners were spared this amusement-park-ride-like drop—perhaps because they were making an end run around overfamiliarity.) And a Finnish seven-year study of more than 2,100 women, published in 2016, revealed that women’s sexual desire varied depending on relationship status: Those in the same relationship over the study period reported less desire, arousal, and satisfaction. Annika Gunst, one of the study’s co-authors, told me that she and her colleagues initially suspected this might be related to having kids. But when the researchers controlled for that variable, it turned out to have no impact.

Many women want monogamy. It’s a cozy arrangement, and one our culture endorses, to put it mildly. But wanting monogamy isn’t the same as feeling desire in a long-term monogamous partnership. The psychiatrist and sexual-health practitioner Elisabeth Gordon told me that in her clinical experience, as in the data, women disproportionately present with lower sexual desire than their male partners of a year or more, and in the longer term as well. “The complaint has historically been attributed to a lower baseline libido for women, but that explanation conveniently ignores that women regularly start relationships equally as excited for sex.” Women in long-term, committed heterosexual partnerships might think they’ve “gone off” sex—but it’s more that they’ve gone off the same sex with the same person over and over.

What does it all mean for Jane and the other straight women who feel stultified by long-term exclusivity, in spite of having been taught that they were designed for it and are naturally inclined toward it? What are we to make of the possibility that women, far from anxious guardians of monogamy, might on the whole be more like its victims?

“When couples want to remain in a monogamous relationship, a key component of treatment … is to help couples add novelty,” Gordon advised. Tammy Nelson, a sex therapist and the author of The New Monogamy and When You’re the One Who Cheats, concurs: “Women are the primary consumers of sex-related technology and lubricants, massage oil, and lingerie, not men.”

Of course, as Jane’s example shows, lingerie might not do the trick. Nelson explains that if “their initial tries don’t work, [women] will many times shut down totally or turn outward to an affair or an online ‘friend,’ creating … a flirty texting or social-media relationship.” When I asked Gotzis where he thinks John and Jane are headed, he told me he is not sure that they will stay together. In an upending of the basic narrative about the roles that men and women play in a relationship, it would be Jane’s thirst for adventure and Jane’s struggles with exclusivity that tear them apart. Sure, women cheating is nothing new—it’s the stuff of Shakespeare and the blues. But refracted through data and anecdotal evidence, Jane seems less exceptional and more an Everywoman, and female sexual boredom could almost pass for the new beige.

It’s not uncommon for women to let their straight partners play in a “monogamy gray zone,” to give guys access to tensional outlets that allow them to cheat without really cheating. “Happy ending” massages, oral sex at bachelor parties, lap dances, escorts at conferences … influenced by ubiquitous pop-cultural cues, many people believe that men need these opportunities for recreational “sorta sex” because “it’s how men are.” It’s how women are, too, it seems.

Women cannot be pigeonholed; the glory of human sexuality is its variation and flexibility. So when we speak of desire in the future, we should acknowledge that the fairer sex thirsts for the frisson of an encounter with someone or something new as much as, if not more, than men do—and that they could benefit from a gray-zone hall pass, too.

Complete Article HERE!

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Ten things you should know about your waning sex life

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In a 2014 survey by the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture, it was found that 12 percent of married people hadn’t had sex for at least three months. Six and a half percent of married women and almost five percent of married men reported that they hadn’t had sex with their spouse in over a year.

A lack of sex in marriage or otherwise committed long-term relationships is something that’s joked about all of the time. In general, though, married couples do have more sex than people who are single or dating.

However, for the not insignificant minority of committed couples who have lost the sexual side of their relationship, it is anything but funny.

It is important to note that regular sex is not an imperative part of life or of some relationships. If you’re both happy with anniversary sex, or never sex, then we’re happy for you.

For those of you that aren’t happy, for those of you who feel stuck, confused, resentful, guilty or scared, we talked to two experts—Amy Bucciere, a certified sex and relationship therapist practicing in Pittsburgh, and Dr. Erika Evans-Weaver, the director of the Center for Human Sexuality Studies’ Sex Therapy Clinic at Widener University—to find out what you should know.

1. Rule out physiological causes.

Both experts agree that it’s important to first rule out medical conditions that could be causing changes in your libido or bodily function.

“Diseases or conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure or cancer—any of those conditions can impact your sex drive,” said Evans-Weaver.

2. Don’t assume that you know how your partner feels.

Simply put, the only way to find the cause of the problem is to look for the cause of the problem. We all have a tendency to assume that the way our partners are acting is directly related to how they feel about us. In many cases, this isn’t the truth.

Bucciere says that’s why it’s important to stay curious about what’s causing the sexual problems in your relationship, instead of coming to a conclusion on your own.

“[Ask yourself] is this actually true or is this something that I’m assuming? What is genuinely going on here? And it can be a lot of work to get an accurate answer to that question,” Bucciere said.

3. Remember that things are always in flux.

As your life circumstances change, so will the circumstances of your relationship. One of the hardest times is what Evans-Weaver refers to as the “sandwich generation,” which is when a couple is caring for both their young children and their aging parents.

“You’re exhausted, so you might want to be sexual, but at the same time you might say ‘I’d like to just cuddle up and take a nap,’” she explained. “And that’s real and fair.”

You may think that the root of your problem is that your partner has a different sex drive than you, and you could be right. But, that’s a reality in most relationships and it, too, can change over time.

“What are the chances that two people are going to be 95 percent in the same place when it comes to desire and arousal and availability to be intimate?” Bucciere said. “So it’s kind of a given that somebody is going to be higher and somebody is going to be lower, and you may go through different seasons…It’s not a stable position.”  

4. Be mindful of the story you tell yourself.

“The most important thing is that if my goal is to assign blame and to alleviate myself of doing the hard things then what happens is nothing changes,” Bucciere said.

Believing that you are right and your partner is wrong is easy and convenient, and it doesn’t get you any closer to a solution.

“It’s in our ability to make a conscious, painful decision to say, ‘I wonder what’s really happening here because if the story I’m telling myself is somehow a reductionist story about my goodness and your badness’ or something like that, then that’s the story I’m going to end up with,” Bucciere continued.

5. Talk to your partner, not everybody else.

To get more familiar with this issue, I dove into some online forums for people in sexless relationships. What I found was a lot of people commissorating about their problems, while encouraging a lot of vitriolic behavior.

“Everybody wants to let off some steam, but you’ve got to let it off with the person that’s driving you batty, not everybody else,” said Evans-Weaver.

“The folks that you are commiserating with validate you, so you feel right, and by the time you get ready to actually have the interaction with your partner, it’s still [the same] issue but not necessarily one that you have the same motivations to confront because you already felt this validation,” she continued.

So whether they’re your friends, or strangers on the internet, it’s often best to avoid airing out your grievances with people who aren’t your partner. Consider going to your partner first.

6. Don’t lose sight of the ‘us’ in your relationship.

A lot of people end up sitting with and dissecting this problem for a while, and in that time the frustration, desperation and resentment have been piling up. It’s easy to lose sight of the point of it all.

“What happens is you end up neglecting what I have come to refer to as the ‘physics of the relationship’ and you’ve become solely focused on ‘me’ and ‘you,’ and I’m neglecting the ‘us’ that exists between us and it’s in that misfocus that we end up trekking down a long and painful road,” Bucciere cautioned.

7. It’s not all about intercourse.

Evans-Weaver said that sometimes the problem can be due to boredom because the societally-driven focus on penetrative sex isn’t satisfying to one or both partners.

“[People] get stuck in these really basic sexual scripts that are no longer pleasurable for them, but they don’t know how to communicate about creating something different that is fun and invigorating to them,” she said.  

“We have to expand our perspective on what it means to be sexual with our partners because it can be anything from a sensual massage to mutual masturbation. Or it can be oral sex. It could be just touching. And it could be penetrative intercourse, but doesn’t have to be.”

And it isn’t all about orgasm, either. Making sex too goal-orientated can kill sex drive. According to Evans-Weaver, the focus should be pleasure and fun.

8. Affection and connection.

Sometimes you need to create the space for sex in your relationship though affection and re-establishing a connection.

“I remember working with folks and saying, ‘alright, what’s going on here is that one of you just wants more expression of affection and one of you actually wants to be more sexual with one another. Two different things, but the more that you express affection it’s going to also titillate your partner which might increase their desire to be sexual,’Evans-Weaver said.  

Bucciere emphasizes that feeling truly connected to your partner can change your whole approach to the issue for the better.

“It’s this idea that if we’re really feeling connected and the space between us feels safe and warm and open and loving, from there we’ll be able to figure it out,” she said.

9. Relationships take work. And they can work, if you do.

Start from a place of understanding that lasting relationships don’t happen because there’s no conflict or messiness, they last because both partners have decided that they’re going to work through the bumps.

“If people are genuinely looking to one another to say ‘I want this to get better,’ the implications of that are life-giving and tremendously healing and just a shit ton of work,” Bucciere said.

If you can develop a healthy method that you use to handle problems in your relationship, that’s a tool you’ll be able to come back to again and again.

“I genuinely, 100 percent believe that when two people are truly committed to making a process work, that it will,” Bucciere said. “If we can have our process down about how we work on this stuff, then we’re ultimately going to be able to handle whatever comes down the pike.”

10. Get help if you need it.  

This is a complicated problem. There are professionals out there, like Bucciere and Evans-Weaver, who can help. Whether you need a mediator, an idea-generator or a fresh set of eyes to look at your situation, therapists are trained to assist you.

“My approach is: listen, nobody has all the answers, right? I don’t have all the answers to fixing the problems in my own life. So my role is not to tell you, ‘well, you’ve been doing this wrong all your life,’” Evans-Weaver said.

“It’s really just to ask insightful questions that provide you with an unbiased opportunity to examine what it is that you want to do and how do you want to get there.”

Complete Article HERE!

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9 things to try if you and your partner are sexually incompatible

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  • If you feel as though you and your partner are sexually incompatible, there are some things you can do.
  • Consider seeing a therapist or, specifically, a sex therapist, to determine the underlying reasons you and your partner aren’t enjoying sex together.
  • The most important thing you can do is communicate your expectations and desires with your partner.

Having a satisfactory sex life is often assumed to be had by everyone in relationships. Unfortunately, though, this is not always the case

In fact, a New York Times article revealed that 15% of married couples are in a sexless relationship. And, if you’re not familiar, the term “sexless relationship” consists of couples who have not had sex more than 10 times in one year, no sex in the last six months, or no sex in the last year. Unrecognized or disregarded sexual incompatibility is often a cause for this

If you’re in a sexually incompatible relationship, there are things you can try to fix the issue.

See a mental health professional.

Not all issues with sex are caused by physical limits. For some, mental or emotional blocks can be the cause, too. Psychotherapist Dr. Kathryn Smerling told INSIDER that you should consider seeing a mental health professional if this happens to be an issue in your relationship.

“There are all kinds of reasons that people are sexually incompatible,” she said. “If that is consistent for you, I’d suggest finding a mental health professional because it’s most likely not a physical problem, but an emotional issue that needs to be addressed. Very often, sexual incompatibility is due to one person withholding from another person; so explore that dynamic as well.”

Try visiting a sex shop.

Sex toys aren’t just meant for nights when you’re alone. Though pretty taboo in the past, many couples are taking more trips to sex shops to help spice up their time in the bedroom.

“Visiting a sex shop can help you find new ways to make sex exciting,” Smerling confirmed. “This helps with opening up the possibilities and opening up a dialogue.”

Don’t think about sex.

Not thinking about sex can be difficult when that’s the issue between you and your loved one, but according to Smerling, this could be a way to truly help the problem.

“Do something counterintuitive,” she said. “Cuddle, hold hands, touch each other — but refrain from actual intercourse. See if that takes the pressure off.”

Doing this can also build up the anticipation of wanting to be with one another intimately.

See a sex therapist.

Although Smerling suggested seeing a mental health professional to discover the underlying emotional or psychological issues dealing with your sexual performance, Heather Ebert — dating and relationship expert at WhatsYourPrice.com— told INSIDER that you shouldn’t count out seeing a sex therapist, too.

“The idea that we should work out our problems without help is slowly being deconstructed in society,” said Ebert. “Seeing a marriage counselor is becoming more and more acceptable and so should seeing a sex therapist. They can help you talk about sex and get to the root of the problem

Complete Article HERE!

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17 reasons you might not be enjoying sex

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  • When you’re not enjoying sex, you might be wondering why, but the truth is that our sex drives are impacted by so many things.
  • Both your physical and mental health can be the cause of a low libido.
  • Stress, certain medications, and a feeling of shame could all be reasons you may not be enjoying sex.

Your sex drive is determined by so many factors and it can constantly change depending on what’s going on in your life, as well as your physical and mental health. Whether you’re dealing with short-term or long-term sexual dissatisfaction, it’s normal to wonder why you’re not enjoying sex.

According to experts, here are some reasons you may not be enjoying sex.

Editor’s note: This post contains some information that may be triggering to those who have experienced sexual assault or trauma.

You’re engaging in sexual activities before you’re adequately aroused.

Taking extra time for foreplay can help.

Preparing your mind and body for sex can be crucial to actually enjoying it and taking time to get aroused may help prepare your body for sex.

“Foreplay gets the ‘blood flowing’ to the genitals and helps with lubrication and the ability to climax during sexual activity,” Michael Ingber, MD, Board-certified in Urology and Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery at the Center for Specialized Women’s Health, division of Garden State Urology/Atlantic Medical Group told INSIDER.

“Many people get caught up in the idea that sex is equivalent to intercourse,” added Melissa Coats, psychotherapist and owner at Coats Counseling, LLC. “Foreplay is sex and by taking the pressure off of the thought that there must be one outcome in a sexual experience, you can free yourself up to enjoy foreplay and focus on your own pleasure rather than the worry.”

You’re not mentally or emotionally ready to have sex.

Your body and mind should both feel ready.

As important as it is for your body to be ready for sex, your mind also needs to be ready, too. “Context is everything,” said Coats. “For example, If you come home from a long day of work feeling anxious, upset, and overwhelmed and your partner tries to make sexual contact, you will most likely not be able to access your [feelings of] desire and pleasure easily.”

She said context includes a variety of things including your environment, level of stressors, or even the state of your relationship with a sexual partner.

You’re dealing with anxiety about your body or appearance.

Focusing on negative thoughts about your body and self could make sex less pleasurable.

Sex can be an extremely vulnerable situation, so if you’re not feeling comfortable in your own skin, you may find it more difficult to enjoy sex.

“Anxiety is the enemy of desire and pleasure,” Coats told INSIDER. “In order to experience sexual pleasure, we need to be present in the moment and with our bodies. If you are experiencing negative self-talk about your body, your mind is not on how much you are enjoying your body and what it is experiencing.”

You’re uncomfortable about past sexual experiences.

If you don’t feel safe, it can be tough for your body to relax.

Whether you’re dealing with a past sexual trauma or worrying that your experience level is different from your partner’s, these feelings can understandably creep up before, during, or after sex, making it tough for you to find enjoyment in a sexual experience.

Coats said that communicating with your partner can help you to feel more comfortable during sex.

You’re not comfortable around your partner.

Sex could make you feel vulnerable.

Since sex oftentimes involves so many layers of intimacy, if you’re not fully comfortable with your partner, you’ll likely have a difficult time fully enjoying your experience.

“By expressing these aspects of your sexuality with someone, you are trusting them with that vulnerability,” said Coats. ” If you are not comfortable with your partner, feeling vulnerable will not seem appealing and may even feel physically or emotionally unsafe.”

You feel shame or stigma about your sexual needs or wants.

Having a conversation with your partner about what you want and what you’d like to try might help.

Sexuality exists on such a wide spectrum and everyone has different wants, needs, and desires. Opening up about what you like and don’t like can feel intimidating, even if you’re with a long-term partner. And, feeling like you cannot express your wants or needs can be making sex less pleasurable for you.

“Shame and stigma are attacks on identity,” Coats told INSIDER. “Whether the shame is related to a sexual identity, fantasy, kink, (or something similar,) feeling attacked either by your own thoughts or someone else’s thoughts or actions, you may automatically feel unsafe and want to retreat.”

You’ve been given false or sex-negative messages about sex or sexuality.

Not everything you were taught in sex education is necessarily accurate.

Similarly, it can be easy to believe things you’ve heard about sex, from how much you should be having to stereotypes about the kinds of sex people have, and these can seep through to your own sexual experiences, likely without you even realizing it.

“There is an abundance of misguided, harmful, and plainly false messages about sex that people take at face value as fact. If something doesn’t feel right, allow yourself to question that message, whether it is from yourself or someone else,” said Coats. In these cases, she suggested exploring sex-positive resources to help you to feel more comfortable with sex.

You’re on a medication that impacts your libido or physical sensations during sex.

Antidepressants commonly cause a decrease in sexual desire.

You might not link your medications to your sex drive, but plenty of over-the-counter and prescription medications can impact your sex drive, including birth control, antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, blood pressure medications, and even allergy meds and antihistamines.

“Several medications can affect not only libido, but also the sexual experience in men and women,” said Dr. Ingber. “Antidepressants are notorious for this, causing a decrease in sexual desire and often interfering with the ability to orgasm.”

If you think a new or existing medication is causing a dip in your libido or ability to orgasm, check with your doctor.

You’re dealing with a medical condition that makes sex painful.

Endometriosis can cause intense cramps and make sex painful.

Even though it’s incredibly common, experiencing pain during sex can be the quickest way to put the brakes on your enjoyment in the moment. There are several medical conditions that can contribute to pain, dryness, or irritation during or after sex, as Jessa Zimmerman, a certified sex therapist and author of “Sex Without Stress,” previously explained to INSIDER.

“There are some medical causes of sexual pain, including skin conditions, autoimmune disorders, pain conditions due to overgrowth of nerves, endometriosis, and vaginismus, an involuntary clenching of the vagina that develops in anticipation of pain and is painful in itself,” said Zimmerman.

Other medical conditions that might cause painful sex include prostatitis, dyspareunia, and even skin allergies.

If you suspect a medical condition is causing you to feel pain during sex, check with your doctor, who can help you to find treatment options and ways to help ease your pain or discomfort.

You may be trying positions that make you feel uncomfortable or pained.

If certain positions cause you pain, your body could be trying to tell you something.

Pain or discomfort during sex isn’t always due to a chronic medical issue — some positions may not be enjoyable to you.

“If you have sought medical attention with no clear answers, try using different positions, lubricant, or talking to a pelvic floor physical therapist to help figure out what your body is trying to tell you,” said Coats

Dr. Ingber agreed, adding that everyone is different and what’s comfortable and enjoyable for one person isn’t necessarily pleasant for another.

You’re not prioritizing sleep, eating well, or exercising regularly.

If you’re feeling constantly hungry or moody, your body might be trying to tell you that you need more sleep.

As Coats told INSIDER, “Physical, mental, emotional, and sexual health are all connected. When one is being neglected, it is like trying to drive a car with the emergency brakes on. It will go, but it will slow you down a lot and it’s not great for your engine. Engaging with your sexuality when you feel physically un-aligned can be stressful and difficult.”

Taking care of your entire body by getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and getting regular exercise will help give you the energy your body needs to not just have sex, but thoroughly enjoy it, too.

You’re not sure what feels good for you and your body.

Figuring out what you like and don’t like can make sex more enjoyable.

Sexual desire and preferences are different for every person. And, according to Coats, popular misconceptions about sex being a “task to be mastered instead of an activity to enjoy” could make it tough for someone to figure out what they like.

Taking time to explore your own body by way of masturbation or trying new things that you’re comfortable with, whether with new toys, positions, or other sexual stimuli, can help you learn what feels enjoyable for you.

You’re skimping on water intake.

Being dehydrated can also cause you to feel dizzy or pass out.

Believe it or not, being dehydrated can lower your libido and even make sex painful. If you’re not drinking enough water, you might experience headaches, fatigue, and irritability, which can definitely hinder your ability to get in the mood.

But the same way that your cells need water to remain adequately hydrated, dehydration can cause dry, irritated skin, potentially leading to pain and irritation down below.

Similarly, Healthline notes that there’s a link between dehydration and erectile dysfunction, and your body needs sufficient oxygen to help maintain an erection. When you’re not getting enough water, you might not get adequate blood flow throughout your body, which includes your sex organs.

You’ve recently given birth.

Postpartum is a different experience for everyone.

For those who have recently given birth, Dr. Yvonne Bohn, OB/GYN at Los Angeles Obstetricians & Gynecologists told INSIDER that postpartum tearing and healing can cause intercourse to be painful.

She said doctors typically recommend abstaining from sex for six weeks or longer post-delivery, but it depends on the patient’s body and their healing process. She also added that breastfeeding can decrease one’s estrogen levels, causing one’s vagina to be less lubricated and less elastic, thus making sex more painful.

You’re afraid of pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections.

You’re afraid of pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections.

Even if you’re taking precautions for safe sex, it’s natural to worry about pregnancy or STIs. “Any fear that exists while engaging in a sexual encounter is going to impact how you feel about your experience,” Coats told INSIDER. “If you are afraid of getting pregnant, remember, sex does not [have to] equal intercourse. There are plenty of ways to express and experience pleasure and eroticism other than intercourse.”

You’re stressed about other things.

If you’re stressed about work, you may find it hard to focus on enjoying sex.

Few things can kill the desire for sex quite like stress. From an emotional standpoint, Coats said mental energy plays an important role in enjoying sex.

“If that mental energy is being used to assess what is going on anywhere but within your own body, it is competing with your pleasure for your brain space. Creating a context where you can put other things aside and allow yourself to focus on you, also known as self-care, is crucial in sexual satisfaction.”

Your mental stress could even cause sex to be more painful. “All of these issues will impact your natural ability to relax, get aroused, lubricate and prepare the [body] for sex,” Dr. Bohn told INSIDER.

You’re just not interested in sex, either at the moment or in the long-run.

If you find yourself never really feeling sexual attraction or desire, you may identify as asexual.

The truth is that not everyone is interested in having sex and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

“If sex is not that interesting to you, you are not abnormal. If you would like to become more interested in sex and your sexuality, there are plenty of ways to spark curiosity,” Coats told INSIDER. “But it must come from your own desire and not someone else’s expectation in order to be pleasurable.”

Complete Article HERE!

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12 surprisings things that can boost your sex drive

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Low libido? Try reading something erotic

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Believe it or not, there are so many things that can impact your sex drive .

Of course, sex drives vary not only from person to person but based on so many factors, from the medications you take to how you feel about your body and your mental health.

But if you’re looking for a little libido boost, there are plenty of surprising things you can do that will help you want to have more sex, from the foods you eat to your choice of exercise .

Here are 12 totally shocking things you had no idea can help boost your sex drive.

Horror movies — or anything else that scares you just enough.

Watching a scary flick is pretty divisive — most people either love to be scared or totally hate the feeling. But watching horror movies, with their jump scares and that telltale terrifying music, is a surefire way to get your adrenaline pumping, which can quickly boost libido , according to Inverse.

But if you’re not a horror fan, any sort of adrenaline-pumping activity can have the same effect, from hearing the sound of a sports car rev its engine to exciting date ideas like zip-lining, surfing, or going on thrill rides at your local amusement park will all work, because those feelings of fear and excitement mimic sexual arousal in the brain, according to The Telegraph .

Plus, watching a frightening flick or sitting next to your partner on a rollercoaster will no doubt invite you to cuddle up close, getting your heart racing in more ways than one.

Exercise regularly to increase your libido.

There are so many benefits of regular exercise on both your body and brain , but it turns out that one surprising benefit can come in the form of a boost to your sex drive, too.

“Exercise stimulates testosterone production, which is key to a strong libido ,” Holly Richmond, PhD, a somatic psychologist and AASECT certified sex therapist, told YourTango.

And it seems getting your fitness on with your partner will encourage you to do other things with your partner, too. Richmond told YourTango that “exercising with your partner is a great way to do something together that makes you feel strong, confident and, as a byproduct, sexy.”

As for what exercises are best, Richmond said, “Yoga has been shown to help combat fatigue and stress while decreasing symptoms of depression and anxiety, all of which can contribute to a low libido.” Plus, yoga is great for balance, strength, and flexibility — all things that can make you more confident in the bedroom.

But if you’re not a yogi, no sweat. Recent research claims that spin and cycle classes boost sex drive in women in particular, but just about any type of exercise helps produce those feel-good chemicals, like serotonin and dopamine, which will naturally cause you to desire more sex.

Equally strange, a 2007 study published by The Journal of Neuroscience showed that people who identify as women are aroused by the scent of a person who identifies as male’s sweat due to the spike in cortisol, the stress hormone when they catch a whiff. Sure, it might sound gross, but it’s all the more reason to grab those sneakers … and perhaps join each other for a post-workout shower.

Drink plenty of water and you’ll want to do it no time.

Shahnoz Rustamova, MD, a gynecologist at Central Park Medical Practice in New York City told Prevention that dehydration can wreak havoc on your libido by causing headaches and vaginal dryness.

To know whether or not you’re consuming enough water, it’s important to take notice of the color of your pee.

“Your urine tells you a lot. If you are going to the restroom and your urine is very dark, or an apple juice color, that’s a sign that you need more water,” dietitian Andy Bellatti, MS, RD , previously told INSIDER .

If you need more water, that could be the culprit for your low sex drive.

Limiting alcohol intake can boost your sex drive.

Unfortunately, staying well-hydrated doesn’t include your cocktail of choice. In fact, though a 2009 study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine showed that moderate amounts of red wine were linked to better sexual health, it seems you’ll want to cap it at a glass or two — tops.

Getting too tipsy can make sexual performance suffer, and drinking too much on the regular can cause your libido to decline.

A study in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry found that 72% of people who identify as men with alcohol dependence experienced sexual dysfunction and the amount of alcohol consumed appeared to be the most significant predictor of developing sexual dysfunction.

Further, according to Everyday Health , because alcohol is a depressant, using it heavily can actually decrease sexual desire.

Your daily cup of coffee or tea has aphrodisiac effects.

Though too much bubbly can cause your sex drive to dip, it seems that your favorite caffeinated beverages might have the opposite effect.

A 2015 study from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston found that males who drank two or three cups of coffee per day had reduced levels of erectile dysfunction because the slight caffeine boost helps maintain an erection.

If you prefer a cup of tea, opt for the green kind: According to Reader’s Digest, not only is it loaded in chemicals that increase energy and endurance, its calming properties will no doubt help you relax, which can get you in the mood to get busy. We’ll drink to that.

Eating more fish can boost your sex drive.

There are plenty of foods that boost sex drive , but you might be surprised to know that fish is one of them.

Researchers at Harvard University interviewed 501 couples trying to conceive and asked them to track their seafood consumption, dietary habits, and sexual activity. They followed the couples for a year, or until they got pregnant.

The study found that couples who ate fish twice a week or more had sex 22% more frequently than those who didn’t. It also found that eating more fish helped the couples (who were all trying to conceive) get pregnant easier: 92% of couples who ate fish twice a week or more became pregnant, compared with 79% of the couples who ate fish less often.

Fish might be the best dinner option when you’re looking to increase your libido.

What you wear can affect your sex drive.

You might not think that what you wear has anything to do with your sex drive, but the truth is that when you wear clothes that make you feel confident you’ll feel more inclined to have sex since confidence is half the battle for a lot of people.

After all, few of us feel super sexy in our ratty sweats, so picking out clothes that make you feel good in your body can only help matters.

If you really want to take things up a notch, wear red — the vibrant hue was found to make men and women appear more attractive to their partners, according to a 2008 study done by researchers at the University of Rochester.

“Red is a signal of status and power, and that turns women on,” said psychology professor Andrew J. Elliot, Ph.D., lead author of the study, who explained the phenomenon to Health magazine.

Who knew that wearing red unlocked the secret to a boost in sex appeal?

Try supplements and spices including maca, yohimbine, ginseng, and zinc to increase your sex drive.

If you’re looking for natural remedies to give your sex drive a major boost , you might be surprised by just how many are out there.

From your spice rack (like saffron and nutmeg) to powders for your smoothie (including maca root and collagen) and supplements found in your drugstore (like yohimbine, zinc, and ginseng), there is no shortage of herbal options that might help in more ways than one.

Check with your doctor before adding anything into your regimen, even if it’s labeled as a natural supplement, to ensure its efficacy and safety.

Getting a raise at work can affect you in the bedroom.

Turns out that making more money can make you want to get it on more often, which makes perfect sense. After all, getting a raise would put anyone in a good mood, and a 2015 study conducted by the International Journal of Manpower claimed that the higher your wage, the more sexual activity you’re interested in.

Nothing kills libido faster than being stressed out, and financial worries are one of the most serious kinds of stress, so it makes sense why feeling more financially secure might lead to more action in the bedroom. Time to check in with your boss, perhaps?

A relaxing nightly bath will put you in the mood.

Your bedtime routine could be sabotaging your sex life without your even realizing it.

The good news is, taking just a little bit of time each night to unwind — in a totally non-sexual way — can bring major benefits to your, ahem , bedroom routine. By taking a relaxing nightly bath or reading a book, you’re giving yourself some serious self-care, away from the pull of devices and the glare of a screen.

When you do something that relaxes you before bed, you’ll surely feel better once you do hit the sheets, which can only lead to an increased desire for sex. It’s a win all the way around.

Watching something erotic on television can set the mood.

We know we just told you that devices were a major mood killer, but there is one exception. A 2014 study showed that British couples who have a TV in their bedroom have twice as much sex than those who don’t, because the opportunity to watch something erotic together became easier, setting the mood for romance.

However, this can easily backfire, as the relationship counselor and author of the site Double Trust Dating Jonathan Bennett previously told INSIDER. He explained, “If you’re watching a romantic comedy or a show that inspires romance and passion, it could actually help.”

“But, if you’re simply watching a regular movie or show and paying close attention to the fictional characters, it can get in the way of intimately connecting with the person right beside you in bed.”

As with everything else, your mileage may vary, even when it comes to your nighttime TV preferences, so find the routine that works for you and your partner.

Get a good night’s sleep — on clean sheets.

Another major part of having a high libido is all about how much sleep you get, and it turns out that poor sleep affects your sex drive in more ways than one, according to Men’s Journal.

Sleep apnea in men is directly related to an increase in erectile dysfunction and studies show that women’s sex drives increase greatly after getting a consistently solid night’s sleep.

Regularly getting enough sleep is so critical for our overall health and well-being, and sex drive is a huge part of that, so you’ll want to be sure your boudoir — including the bed itself — are as inviting as possible.

HuffPost reported that both men and women said clean sheets were a major turn on in a 2013 study because few things feel as good as getting into a freshly made bed.

As relationship expert April Masini previously told INSIDER, “Imagine you and your partner walking into a beautiful, fresh and inviting bedroom — as opposed to one in which there is laundry on the floor, clutter on the surfaces and an unmade bed with old, unattractive sheets,” she added. “And which would make you feel more like cuddling and kissing in bed? Right.”

Grab that detergent on the regular and your libido will thank you.

Complete Article HERE!

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What is hyposexuality and how does it affect you?

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If you have a low sex drive – or no sex drive – you might feel like you’re alone.

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[S]ex is everywhere, from raunchy song lyrics to sexy advertising campaigns, everyone’s doing it, right?

Well, not quite.

You’re not on your own if your desire for sex is pretty much non-existent.

In fact, most men and women will experience a low sex drive at some point in their lives.

Hyposexuality, explains sex and relationship therapist Lianne Young, is a recognised condition where a person has no interest in engaging in sexual intercourse and sexual play.

‘It is best explained as a lack of sexual libido in both men and women.

‘Sometimes people just stop having sex or stop doing their favourite sexual things.

‘Some times they even stop masturbating all together because of a lack of desire.

‘Low sex drive comes under the name hyposexuality as it is linked to emotional and physical connections.

‘However, If you have desire but not arousal this could be down to a medical condition or something you are taking, and if you have no desire this could be down to stress, depression or another set of medical conditions.

‘Therefore it is very important to understand the difference between arousal and desire.’

However, hyposexuality is not to be confused with Hypersexuality, commonly referred to as sex addiction, a disorder where the constant need for sex can have a detrimental effect on home and work life.

Lianne explained: ‘The most obvious sign that you suffer from hyposexuality is the lack of desire to want sex and a lack of sexual arousal.

‘Desire for sex is an emotional and psychological and mental process and it’s important to understand that the two are different, especially with couples as people need to understand that they don’t always go together.

‘It’s possible to feel desire and your body cannot act on the desire.’

At different stages, it is normal to lose a desire for sex – after having a baby, during menopause and at times of stress are just some times when sexual desire drops.

Medication can sometimes have an effect as well as other mental health issues.

‘Talking to your doctor at the first sign can help explain what the cause for your low libido,’ explains Lianne.

‘When it comes to sexuality there are a lot of ways in which health impacts people’s sexual functioning, sexual feelings, sexual behaviours and sexual decision-making and they should not be ignored.

‘There are going to be questions and issues that naturally arise during our lives concerning sex and they should be spoken about for both one’s mental and physical health.’

‘Hyposexuality can be treated with medicine and counselling.

‘Medications can be the cause of some sexual issues, for some people they can prevent arousal or interfere with the orgasm or it has a significant impact on sexual functioning by lowering the libido.

‘It can be treated as easy as removing something from your diet.’

But the first step is making sure you speak to your GP.

‘Most people will suffer from a decreased libido at some time in their lives.

‘People should not be embarrassed about having hyposexuality as it could be down to something as simple as your medication.

‘Sex is a normal activity in life so if something feels different then you should seek help to find out the root cause of the problem, sex is as normal as eating and should be openly spoken about.

‘Unfortunately sex is sometimes not openly discussed and this stops people wanting to talk about its effect with their partner.

‘Sometimes people just stop having sex, or stop doing their favorite sexual things when there is no need.

‘By recognising it as something everyone goes through in life this will help others talk to their doctors when it happens to them.’

Complete Article HERE!

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When the Cause of a Sexless Relationship Is — Surprise! — the Man

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[T]here are varying definitions of a sexless marriage or sexless relationship: no sex in the past year, no sex in the past six months or sex 10 or fewer times a year. According to one study, approximately 15 percent of married couples are sexless: Spouses haven’t had sex with each other in the past six months to one year.

I was once in a sexless relationship.

I have debated admitting this publicly, but my story feels different than the narrative advanced by our patriarchal society. Why? Because I was the one begging for sex from an uninterested male partner. Sex 10 times a year would have been 10 times more than what I was having.

This topic comes up a lot in my work. As a gynecologist, I’m frequently asked about the “right number” of times to have sex a month. The answer is that there isn’t one. If both people are truly happy, then it’s a healthy sex life.

I understand the confusion about frequency. Messaging around sex is everywhere: It’s used to sell almost everything, and news articles remind us that various hormones and neurotransmitters may spike in response to having sex.

Yet a single hormone surge does not a rewarding relationship make, and virtually no one has studied the hormonal impact, on a relationship, of grocery shopping, making dinner or doing the dishes. If a couple doesn’t have sex but they both feel satisfied, then there is no problem. The issue is when there’s a mismatch in desire.

Of course, libido ebbs and flows, and there will be times when one partner is temporarily uninterested. Back in 2003, I was home with two premature infants, both on oxygen and attached to monitors that constantly chirped with alarms. Had even Ryan Reynolds — circa “The Proposal,” not “Deadpool” — shown up, he would have needed to display expertise in changing diapers and managing the regulator on an oxygen tank to interest me.

Looking back on my relationship, the frequency of sex dropped off quickly. I told myself it would get better because there were other positives. I falsely assumed that men have higher libidos, so clearly this was temporary.

Pro tip: Nothing in a relationship ever gets better on its own. You might as well ask the ingredients in your pantry to bake themselves into a cake.

I was embarrassed when my attempts at rekindling the magic — things like sleeping naked or trying to schedule date night sex — fell flat.

I started to circuitously ask friends if they ever felt similarly rejected. The answer was “Not really.” One who was going through an especially acrimonious divorce told me that she and her future ex still occasionally had wild sex. People have needs, after all.

The fact that people who hated each other were having more sex than me did not make me feel better. Not at all.

Eventually I decided that sympathy sex once or twice a year was far worse than no sex. I worried that no intervention would be sustainable, and the time not addressing the issue had simply taken its toll. We were terribly mismatched sexually, and it wasn’t something that he was interested in addressing.

My experience led me to listen differently to women speaking about their sex lives with men, whether in my office or in my personal life. There are spaces between words that tell entire stories. When I ask someone about her sex life and there is a pause or a generic “O.K.,” I say, “You know, the libido issue is often with the man.”

I say this to friends, acquaintances and even people I barely know on airplanes (after they learn what my job is). The responses from women are so similar that I could script it. A pause, then relief that it’s not just them, followed quickly by the desire to hear more. Many tell me intimate details, so glad to have someone in whom they can confide.

Libido can be affected by a number of things, including depression, medication, stress, health, affairs, previous sexual trauma, pornography, pain with sex and relationship dissatisfaction (having sex while going through an ugly divorce is probably an outlier).

Erectile dysfunction is a factor for some men, especially over the age of 40. Other men may have low testosterone (although there is a lot of dispute in this area). There is also the possibility that one partner in a heterosexual relationship is gay.

New love is intoxicating, and I’m not being metaphorical. A functional MRI study suggests that new love activates the reward centers of the brain and, like opioids, increases pain tolerance. I wonder how much the drug that is new love affects libido? If some men and women are simply on a lower libido spectrum in everyday life, might they revert to that once this “love drug” subsides, leaving those with a higher libido frustrated?

I want women to know that if they are on the wanting end for sex, they are not alone. If you love the person you’re with, then the sooner you speak up, the better. You can try what I did — sleeping naked and scheduling sex — because the more you have sex, the more you may want to have it, if you’re doing it right and it feels good. However, if things are not changing in the way you want, you may need help from a couples counselor, a sex therapist, a clinical psychologist or a medical doctor, depending on the situation.

Waiting until months or even years have passed can weaponize the bedroom. It will add so much more complexity because resentment compounds like a high-interest credit card.

Sexuality and relationships are complex, and there are no easy answers. It’s not good or bad to have a high, a medium or a low libido. You like what you like, but if you don’t speak up about what you want, you can’t expect the other person to know.

Our society seems almost built on the erroneous idea that all men want sex all the time, so I imagine it would be hard for men to admit to a lower libido, even anonymously. I have lied about my weight on many forms. That doesn’t make me a broken person; it just proves that a cloak of invisibility doesn’t hide you from yourself. The most damaging lies are the ones we tell ourselves.

Complete Article HERE!

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Seven ways … to boost your libido

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Exhaustion, stress, drugs and poor technique can all cause your sex drive to stall. How can you get it back on track?

Low libido? Try reading something erotic

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Is it a problem?

[A] lack or loss of sex drive is only a problem if the person experiencing it believes it is. Medical conditions such as diabetes or heart disease can undermine desire, as can prescription drugs or difficult life events. The National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal) reported in September that 34% of sexually active women and 15% of sexually active men in Britain had lost interest in sex for three months or more during the previous year.

It’s good to talk

Relationship problems are a leading cause of waning libido: Natsal concluded that finding it hard to talk about sex with a partner doubled the chances of a diminished sex drive among women and increased them by 50% in men. “A lot of couples don’t communicate and end up avoiding sex,” says Cynthia Graham, professor of sexual and reproductive health at the University of Southampton, and the study’s lead author. “Open communication increases the chances of your libido bouncing back.” For women, having a partner with a different level of sexual interest increased the chances of loss of sexual interest more than fourfold, and having one with sexual likes and dislikes they did not share did so by almost threefold.These issues increased the chances of loss of desire by just 17% and 16% respectively among men.

Sleep on it

Burning the candle at both ends is a passion killer. Testosterone’s role in male libido is overstated, but it is true that men with the lowest levels of the hormone report low sexual desire and one US study found that sleeping fewer than five hours a night reduced testosterone levels in young men by 10-15%. A lack of sleep also kills female libido: a 2015 study concluded women who had an extra hour’s sleep were 14% more likely to have sex the next day.

Fly solo

Research shows far fewer women masturbate than men. Some research suggests doing so can help boost self-awareness, social competence, body esteem and improve intimacy in long-term relationships. “One reason women lack interest in sex is that sex isn’t always very good with a partner,” says Prof Graham. “Masturbation can help women learn things they can then teach their partners about how to pleasure them.”

Fantasise

Recently, researchers have emphasised that, especially for women, desire can occur largely in response to arousal. If that’s news to you, you could do worse than read Come As You Are by the sex educator Emily Nagoski. Therapists often tell women they can increase flagging interest in sex by fantasising, reading erotica or watching pornography, and research suggests they are right.

Relax

The “fight or flight” system boosts levels of hormones that help us perform better in dangerous situations. It can also undermine nonessential function,s such as digestion, immunity and reproductive drive. Little wonder, then, that if you’re frequently stressed out, you’re rarely in the mood. Yoga, working out or meditation might help.

The drugs don’t (always) work

Research suggests that taking the contraceptive pill can reduce the frequency of sexual thoughts and sex in some women. Alternative methods might be worth considering. Flibanserin became the first drug to be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for low sexual desire in women in 2015. Trials suggest it has minimal effects: an extra 0.5-1 satisfying sex sessions a month compared with placebo. Side effects include low blood pressure, fainting and nausea. Viagra, Cialis and Levitra do not increase libido, but help men get erections. This may increase desire by boosting confidence.

Complete Article HERE!

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Why Your Sex Drive is Crashing and How to Fix It

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Expert tips on how to get your mojo back

By Linda Bradley, MD and Margaret McKenzie, MD

[A] low sex drive, also known as low libido, is one of the most common issues among our female patients. Most are very relieved to find out they are not alone in this struggle. This generally happens to new moms and menopausal women, or just simply when work and family life takes its stressful toll on a woman.

Sometimes we just aren’t in the mood for sex and that is OK. Being present in your relationship and having a responsive partner are important for continued sexual interest in your relationship. Knowing that fatigue and stress as well as problems in our relationship can cause us to have a low drive, you need to let your doctor know what’s going on in your life because social stressors affect sexuality.

There are a lot of external factors that could hinder your sex drive as well. Are you taking hormones or anti-depressants? How much do you drink? Any new illnesses? Sign of abuse in your relationship? Financial problems? Children or family problems? Lack of privacy in your bedroom? Your health care provider needs to probe deeply to determine if any of these factors may influence your libido. We want to help you get your mojo back and exploring these sensitive topics is warranted. In other words, we’re not being nosy or intrusive.

Women suffering from low sex drive report their sexual desire and receptiveness to sexual activity to be approximately none at all to once a month or even once every couple of months. While there’s no fast and sure cure, the first step to overcoming this would be to recognize it without blame or shame, then brainstorm ways to make sex a priority once again. There are various strategies women can adopt alone or together with their partner.

For instance:

  • Make if a point to enjoy some “you” time in order to de-stress.
  • Relax in a long (hot or cool) bubble bath.
  • Refuel emotionally through meditation or journaling.
  • Exercise regularly to increase your stamina.
  • Schedule a date night with your partner — and stick to it!

If sex is painful, or if hormonal problems are the issue, then medical attention is necessary. Generally, though, women have to come to grips with the fact that a strong, healthy sex drive doesn’t just automatically happen after spending years in a relationship. You must put effort toward it and make it a priority. In addition, as relationships age, and was we and our partner age, other factors like body image, chronic disease, blood pressure medications, anti-depressants, and certain hormonal therapies may impact sexual desire.

Having a lack of desire is one of the most commonly reported sexual issues that our patients bring into the arena of sex. Don’t be afraid to bring this up as many times as you need to. Doctors have many helpful solutions. So be bold and write it on your list of things to discuss at your visit with your doctor so you don’t forget.

Complete Article HERE!

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Gettin’ and Stayin’ Clean

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Name: Augustt
Gender: Male
Age: 52
Location: San Francisco
Hey Doc,
I have been clean from meth for just over 6 years but was a hard-core user (injecting) from 1995 until March of 2002. Since then I have no sex drive and low self-confidence since my usage brought me to having Tardive Dyskinesia. What can I do to bring back my sex drive?

[Y]ep, seven years of slammin’ crystal will seriously fuck ya up, no doubt about it. I heartily commend you on gettin’ and stayin’ clean. CONGRATULATIONS! I know for certain that ain’t easy.

You are right to say that the residual effects of years of meth use can devastate a person’s sexual response cycle. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons people take as long as they do to rid themselves of this poison. While they are using, they are oblivious to the effects meth is having on their sexual expression.

Before we go any further, we’d better define Tardive dyskinesia for our audience. It is a condition characterized by repetitive, involuntary, movements. It’s like having a tic, but much worse. It can include grimacing, rapid eye blinking, rapid arm and leg movements. In other words, people with this condition have difficulty staying still. These symptoms may also induce a pronounced psychological anxiety that can be worse than the uncontrollable jerky movements.

That being said, there is hope for you, Augustt. Regaining a sense of sexual-self post addiction is an arduous, but rewarding task. With your self-confidence in the toilet and zero libido, I suggest that you connect with others in recovery. They will probably be a whole lot more sympathetic to your travail than others.

Try connecting with people on a sensual level as opposed to a sexual level. I am a firm believer in massage and bodywork for this. If needs be, take a class or workshop in massage. Look for the Body Electric School Of Massage. They have load of options. He has created over 100 sex education films, most of which are available at his online schools: www.eroticmassage.com and www.orgasmicyoga.com.

You will be impressed with the good you’ll be able to do for others in recovery as well as yourself. Therapeutic touch — and in my book that also includes sensual touch — soothes so much more than the jangled nerves ravaged by drug and alcohol abuse. It gives the one doing the touch a renewed sense of him/herself a pleasure giver. The person receiving the touch will begin to reawaken sensory perceptions once thought lost.

I encourage you to push beyond the isolation I know you are feeling. Purposeful touching, like massage and bodywork will also, in time help take the edge off your Tardive dyskinesia. I know this can happen. I’ve seen it happen. Augustt, make it happen!

Good luck.

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