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Family History and Addiction Risk: What You Need to Know to Beat the Odds

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You grew up in a family of substance users. You know that your risk for developing an addiction to drugs or alcohol is greater because of this hereditary factor. But what exactly are your risks? And is there anything you can do to reduce your risk?

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), the single most reliable indicator for risk of future alcohol or drug dependence is family history. In an article written for NCADD, Robert Morse, MD, former Director of Addictive Disorders Services at the Mayo Clinic and member of NCADD’s Medical/Scientific Committee, says, “Research has shown conclusively that family history of alcoholism or drug addiction is in part genetic and not just the result of the family environment…millions of Americans are living proof. Plain and simple, alcoholism and drug dependence run in families.”

How Family History Affects your Chances for Addiction

Family history affects your chances of addiction in many ways. Genes are one important factor. But alcoholism and drug addiction are “genetically complex.”

Recent research has identified numerous genes, and variations within these genes, that are 005associated with the addictive process. One way genes affect a person’s risk for addiction involves how genes metabolize alcohol. Another is how nerve cells signal one another and regulate their activity. Such changes in genes can be passed down from one generation to another.

Perhaps the strongest evidence for heredity’s role in addiction comes from twin studies and adoption studies. Studies of twins found a 60% rate of similarity regarding addiction in identical twins vs. a 39% rate of similarity in fraternal twins. Studies of children adopted in infancy and studied for addiction risk in adulthood found that biological sons of alcoholics were four times more likely to become alcoholics, even when the adoptive parent had no issues with addiction, so the l factor of family environment was minimal.

But genetic predispositions are not the only factor in predicting the role of family history in addiction risk. Environmental aspects also play a role, even though they may be less significant in some cases.

Researchers have identified several family-related risks for increased vulnerability:

  • Family dysfunction (conflicts or aggression)
  • A parent who is depressed or has other psychological issues
  • One or more parents who abuses or is addicted to drugs or alcohol

Additional social and personal issues that contribute to risk include:

  • Limited social skills
  • Fragile self-esteem
  • Minimal or no support system
  • Personal history of impulsivity, aggression or difficulty managing emotions
  • A history of trauma or abuse (high risk for post traumatic stress)
  • Other psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety or bi-polar disorder
  • Friends or acquaintances who are regular users and who provide easy access to drugs or alcohol

Addressing and Reducing Risks

An alternative viewpoint regarding a family history link for addiction comes from a National Institute of Health (NIH) meta-study of 65 published papers documenting 766 study participants who were college or university students. Controlling for alcohol consumption and use disorders, family history was reviewed as the variable. The meta-study found that students who had family histories of alcohol or drug problems did not drink more but they were likely to be more at risk for problems that are associated with drug or alcohol use (ex: causing shame or embarrassment to someone; passing out or fainting; or having problems with school).

The bottom line is that there are still a lot of uncertainties when it comes to assessing drug and alcohol risks as they relate to family history. The good news is that even if you come from a family with a troubled history, or a history of addictions, that does not mean you will automatically become an addict. The risk is higher, but there are ways to prevent that from happening. You can choose to be proactive and greatly reduce your addiction risk.

Here are a few suggestions to reduce your addiction risk:

  • Avoid under-age drinking or substance use; early-onset of use increases risk
  • Choose abstinence or carefully monitor your consumption
  • Avoid associating with heavy drinkers or substance users
  • Manage your psychological health; seek assistance from a mental health provider if you are highly stressed, anxious or depressed
  • Participate in workplace or school prevention programs

Intervention Strategies

Should you already find yourself dealing with an alcohol or drug issue, here are some intervention strategies provided by the National Institute of Health, in their publication, Alcohol Alert:

  • Motivational Interview: This strategy focuses on enhancing your motivation and commitment to changing your behavior, if you are currently abusing drugs or alcohol. Typically you would work with an addictions counselor or mental health professional and discuss your beliefs, choices and behaviors associated with substance use. The purpose of the interview is to help you develop a realistic view of your use, problems associated with it and your treatment goals and expectations.
  • Cognitive–Behavioral Interventions: These strategies are taught by a counselor or therapist, or they can sometimes can be accessed via an online self-help program. They help you change your behavior by helping you recognize when and why you drink excessively or use illegal substances. Cognitive-behavioral approaches challenge irrational expectations about substance use and raise your awareness of how drugs or alcohol affect your health and well-being. They provide tools for mentally and emotionally addressing denial, resistance, self-criticism and shame.
  • Drug-Free Workplace programs: Many workplaces now help their employees who are abusing alcohol or drugs. Lifestyle campaigns encourage workers to ease stress, improve nutrition and exercise, and reduce risky behaviors such as drinking, smoking, or drug use. Other programs promote social support and volunteerism. Many Employee Assistance Programs offer employees referrals to substance abuse or other treatment programs, and may help pay for treatment.

Remember, the risk for alcohol and drug addiction does run in families. But you can manage the risk and avoid an addiction problem in your own life. Be proactive in monitoring your substance use, manage your mental and emotional health and seek support if you need it. The final outcome will depend on you and the choices you make today, not on your history.
Complete Article HERE!

He Can’t Cum!

Name: Alice
Gender: Female
Age: 19
Location: Minnesota
My new boyfriend is really frustrated and doesn’t want to have sex anymore because he can’t come. He says he’s had this problem for a while and hasn’t come with any girl for over a year. I see how upset he is and I know he still wants to sleep with me, but says it hurts when he gets excited and nothing happens. Is there something I can do? I tell him to see a doctor but I don’t think he will. Thanks a lot!

Wow, that’s a bummer Alice. Unfortunately, you don’t supply me with enough information for me to make an educated guess about what might be up with him. Does he have erections? Does he masturbate? Is he on any medications? These are the first questions I’d ask him. Since he isn’t here and neither are you, I’m gonna make a stab in the dark.cover up

If I had to guess, I’d say your man is suffering from a real bad case of performance anxiety. He doesn’t need a medical doctor; he needs to learn to relax and be in the moment. If this is an arousal phase issue then that should help. If it’s and orgasmic phase issue, relaxing and enjoying the pleasure will also help.

Here’s how performance anxiety works. Say a fella has a less than satisfying sexual experience for one reason or another. Before he know it, he replaying the incident over and over in his head, till that’s all he can think about. The proverbial molehill becomes a mountain. He brings his anxiety to his next sexual encounter. His hyper-consciousness primes him for more disappointment. And he’s ready to interpret all disappointment as a failure. And this can interrupt either the arousal phase or orgasmic phase of our sexual response cycle.

Well, you can see where I’m going with this, huh? His fears become self-fulfilling. Before he knows it, he begins to avoid sex. His relationships suffer. He develops a full-blown sexual dysfunction. And his self-esteem takes a nosedive. His preoccupation with his problem makes it less likely that he’ll be fully present during sex with his partner, which pretty much fucks up his sexual responsiveness and any hope for spontaneity.

It sounds to me like performance anxiety is putting a damper on his sexual arousal and thus short-circuiting the rest of his sexual response cycle, including orgasm.

This is nothing to fool around with, especially for someone at his tender age. When I see this sort of thing in my private practice, I always begin the therapeutic intervention by calling a moratorium on fucking of any kind. This immediately takes a great deal of the pressure off the couple. From there we begin to rebuild the partnered psycho-sexual response one step at a time. We begin with sensate focus training, stress reduction, and relaxation exercises. I have the greatest confidence in this method. It succeeds over 90% of the time.

Good luck

DICK: THE DOCUMENTARY

Hey Seattle sex fans!

Join me and my friends, Jim Duvall and Jeff Hedgepeth on Monday evening, 10/14, for the world premiere of DICK: THE DOCUMENTARY

A lively panel discussion, featuring Jim, Jeff and I, along with the film’s producer, Chiemi Karasawa, will follow directly after the show.

If you have a dick or know someone who does, this is the documentary for you!

Tickets available HERE!

BE THERE OF BE SQUARE!

DICK_poster_full

Meat Substitutes

Hey sex fans!

And now for something completely different! It’s Product Review Friday and instead of reviewing a sex toy sent to us from a manufacturer or retailer we’re gonna make our own sex toy. That’s right; thanks to our friends at Empire Labs we’re gonna make some vibrating dildos.

Dr Dick Review Crew members Glenn & Hank and Ken & Denise will show you around the two kits we got.

Clone-A-Willy Kit Original —— $39.95

Glenn & Hank
Glenn: “What’s more fun than buying yourself a sex toy? Making your own, that’s what.”
Hank: “Glenn nearly wet himself when he caught sight of the Clone-A-Willy Kit. He can’t help it; he fancies himself a regular Martha Stewart. I swear this man can make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”
Glenn: “Awww, see how you are? Isn’t he sweet? It’s true though, I got an instant hardon thinking about cloning Hank’s willie.”
Hank: “At first I thought, damn, my hog ain’t gonna fit in that tube. But it did and the rest is history.”
Glenn: “Hold on there, big fella! We didn’t even tell them what happened.”
Hank: “Yeah, sorry, I got a little ahead of myself.”
Glenn: “If you don’t mind me quoting from the Empire Labs promotional materials. The Clone-A-Willy’s medically tested molding gel process captures incredible, life-like detail, making this the most personalized vibrating sex toy you will ever own. Each kit contains everything you need to create an exact replica of any penis in the comfort of your own home.”
Hank: “There are several things you ought to know from the get-go. First, you must follow the directions exactly as presented. Second, it’s essential that you have everything near-to-hand before you start to mix any of the ingredients. Third, if it’s your cock that’s getting molded, you will have to maintain an erection under some stressful conditions; like ‘hurry up and wait!’”
Glenn: “All very good points! I will add that the process can get a little messy. If you’re anal retentive like me you will want to use disposable plastic containers to do your mixing. And be sure to cover your countertop and floor with some plastic sheeting. I used some leftover plastic painting tarp that I draped over the counter and on to the floor.”
Hank: “While Glenn was busy in the kitchen I put on some porn and stretched out on the couch. I slipped on a snug cock ring and started to pull my pud using a little water-based lube. I wanted to make sure that I was at full-mast for my big close-up.”
Glenn: “Once I had everything set up I called for Hank to join me. He had this sheepish look on his face, but he also had a raging hardon. I think he was afraid that he would lose his wood before the mold was set. I assured him we’d work fast. Well actually, that’s precisely what you have to do…work fast. We trimmed the plastic tube to the right size. I mixed the molding powder in water and filled the tube. Hank plunged in his dick and we held it there till the mold set.”
Hank: “The anticipation was the worst part. But it’s over almost as fast as it began. I think it only took a minute for the mold to set. I pealed off the excess molding material, twisted the plastic tube a bit and out popped my cock; no worse for the wear.”
Full Review HERE

Clone-A-Willy Kit Glow in the Dark —— $44.95

Ken & Denise
Ken: “We didn’t exactly know what we were getting into with this Clone-A-Willy Kit. It promises a lifelike replica of my dick that would Glow in the Dark. I was game, at least initially.”
Denise: “Yeah, we thought it would be a fun little project full of laughs. Well that’s how it started out anyway.”
Ken: “Since I was the one being ‘molded’, the pressure was on me to maintain an erection under less than erotic circumstances. I tell you, it’s not as easy as it sounds. I have a renewed appreciation for all the male porn stars out there, who seem to have a perpetual bone.”
Denise: “I don’t suppose I helped the situation all that much, because I became increasingly anxious about following the directions for preparing the molding goop. You actually have to have the water you mix with the powder at the precise temperature. And I read a lot of comments online posted by couples who screwed up the process and I sort of lost my nerve.”
Ken: “I suggested that we put the kit away till we were in a better mindset and I wasn’t worried about my boner.”
Denise: “We checked in with Dr Dick about our apprehensions and he told us to approach it alike a game, not a project. That helped some, because Ken and I were beginning to freak out about messing things up.”
Ken: “Dr Dick also suggested that I wear a cockring to help with maintaining my stiffy. Don’t know why I didn’t think of that. I also decided I’d slip in a little butt plug, because that always gets me going.”
Denise: “I decided to have a glass of wine…ok, it was a big glass of wine. And that helped too; it really took the edge off.”
Ken: “Denise was too busy organizing everything and mixing stuff to help me with my wood. Generally all she has to do is go down on me and I’m as hard as a rock.”
Denise: “Actually he did fine on his own. He’s such a trooper. All I can say is that I’m happy it wasn’t me that had to get turned on under these conditions.”
Ken: “Once the molding goop is ready it all has to be done very quickly. Luckily, I was ready. I sunk my junk into the goop and prayed that I’d hold the erection for the minute or so it takes for the mold to set up. A minute never lasted so long. We like totally recommend that you have something on the floor and the countertop to prevent spill messes.”
Full Review HERE

ENJOY

Easy Cum, Easy Go

Hey sex fans,

Listen up!

I’m adding this new feature to my Q&A columns.  Whenever possible, I will include in my response a link to a movie in my HOW TO VIDEO LIBRARY (see the VOD tab at the top of the page?) that will further educate or enrich the person who is asking the question.

Think of it as at HOMEWORK or further study on the topic at hand.  I hope all of you will benefit from this terrific instructional and enriching resource.  (Click on the images below for viewing information.)

Name: Spencer
Gender:
Age: 37
Location: Ottawa
I am very interested in learning more about prostate massage and milking techniques.  Are you familiar with these things?  Thank you.

I am very familiar with both prostate massage and the fetish commonly known as milking.

But let’s begin with prostate massage, because it is something every guy can practice and enjoy.  I a53342_xlfrecommend all us men folk be prostate aware.  You know I’m a big advocate of frequent prostate self-exam, right?  And I figure while you’re down there rootin’ around in your butt-hole checking for abnormalities, hey spend a little more time and give yourself a nice massage why don’t ‘cha?  Fingers work just fine for this, but an insertable vibrator is…well…out of this world.  Prostate massage is a wonderful way to expand your self-pleasuring repertoire, especially for all you guys out there who only know how to yank on their dick for joy.  And ladies, prostate massage is a great way to play with your male partners.  Perhaps if you signal to your guy that a little butt play can be fun, more straight guys will be less ass-phobic and the world will be a much better place, don’t cha know.

You can feel your prostate gland by inserting a finger a couple of inches or so into your bum.  If you are the least bit aroused your prostate will feel like a smooth rounded flat lump about the size of a large almond. Just in back of and up from your prostate is a smaller triangular wedge shaped nodule that is the bottom portion of your somewhat larger seminal vesicles.  This, by the way, is where most of your jizz is produced and stored. Underneath the seminal vesicles are the ampullae, which are tiny reservoirs for your sperm that will mix with all the other fluids produced by the vesicles and your prostate when you cum.

a73296_xlfAs you become aroused, ejaculatory fluid and sperm accumulate in these glands backing up behind valves in the ejaculatory ducts. When the fluid pressure reaches a high enough threshold, the valves open and the urethral bulb fills, triggering the muscular contractions of your ejaculation.  This empties the glands and you’ve just shot your wad.

Naturally, if one abstains from ejaculating for a while and prolongs his arousal stage, say like through edging, more fluids will build up, making for a larger load and a more explosive orgasm.

So with that little anatomy lesson behind us, so to speak, we can get back to prostate massage.  Simply insert your well-lubricated middle finger or middle finger and index finger into your butt hole and apply a little pressure.  Slowly massage your prostate.  Doesn’t that feel yummy?  Some men can cum by prostate massage alone.  Hell, you may find that you don’t even need a stiff dick to enjoy an orgasm and/or an ejaculation.

a83370_xlfNow to kink things up a bit we introduce the fetish called milking.  This is mostly a partnered — dom/sub, bondage/discipline — sort of deal.  But a guy can certainly do it on his own if he’d like.  Basically, the object here is to drain and collect the spunk produced.  How it’s collected?  Well that’s is up for grabs.  Ya see there are a zillion variations on the milking theme.  Some practitioners deny the donor the pleasure of an orgasm while collecting his jizz.  Ice packs are placed on a guy’s cock and balls before milking begins.  The spooge will flow through prostate massage and masturbation, but there won’t be much feeling for the donor.

Another interesting twist on milking is to completely restrain and blindfold the donor.  This may include a little (or a lot) of cock and ball torture (CBT) during the milking sessions.  There are even milking machines available, not unlike the contraptions that milk a mother’s breast, for the medical fetishists among us.

There are sadists who revel in denying the donor any sexual release except for his milking sessions.  This is where a male chastity belt will come in mighty handy.  A guy will still need to a71598_xlfhave his balls drained, so to speak, every few weeks in order to avoid him losing his joy juice in a wet dream or when he takes a piss. But with regular prostate milkings, a dude can be deprived of orgasmic release for a long time with no harmful effects.

Those going for volume rather than frequency practice what is known as cum control, which takes edging to a whole new level.   Their objective is to go as long as possible without triggering an orgasm or a wet dream.  Since the pressure of fluid buildup increases with each arousal, the urgency to have an ejaculation also increases.  To deny himself the release is, for some, exquisitely painful.

If you’re still looking for more information on all of this, search them interweb tubes for key words like:  Semen Worship / Orgasm Control / Cum Control / Milking / Edging / Chastity and Cock and Ball Torture.

Name: Shelly
Gender:
Age: 21
Location: Atlanta
How come men are seen as ‘studs’ and women as ‘sluts’ for doing the same things.

Basically darling, that’s because our culture is pretty fucked up — sexually, and in so many other was too.

Despite the progress we’ve made over the last 50 years to liberate ourselves from suffocating 5Blit2oaSplgn264lJN97XCpo1_400sex-role stereotyping and culturally induced gender expectations, we are nowhere near being free and clear of all that crap.

Changing societal attitudes about sex begins with each one of us carving out our own healthy place to celebrate our sexuality.  Carving out that place means we don’t tolerate this or any other kind of double standard bullshit from those around us.  It’s tough standing against the tide of sexual bigotry, but it will make you strong and proud.  Banding together with other like-minded people for support and encouragement is also important.

The biggest danger, of course, is that young, sexually progressive women will, in time, cave to the pressure to conform.  They will begin to internalize the madonna/whore dichotomy that has plagued all of us for millennia and pass it on to yet another generation of vulnerable women.  The risk is always there; so vigilance is the only response.

And all you guys out there who think that this double standard is the way things oughta be.  Think again!  You are not a stud if you cheapen your sexual partners by degrading them; you’re just an asshole.

Name: Brianna
Gender:
Age: 30
Location: San Diego
I’ve been so disturbed about the increasing number of recalled Chinese made products lately — dog food, toothpaste, children’s toys and the like — that I was horrified to discover that most of my sex toys are made in China.  I suppose this is a dumb time to ask, but how safe are sex toys?

That is a real good question, Brianna.  Ya know there was a time when I thought that the greatest hazard to the ardent sex toy consumer was simply all the poorly designed and cheaply a2458_xlfmanufactured crap that floods the marketplace.  But in light of the alarming news of recent months about the safety risks of many products coming from China, I think there is room for concern about the safety of Chinese made sex toys.

I hasten to add that not all Chinese imports are dangerous.  Nor are all products grown or manufactured in the US safe.  But there is a long history of unscrupulous Western companies exploiting the Chinese labor force.  This greed and abuse leads to a dangerous mix that often has dire consequences.

Obviously there is no government regulatory agency out there with a mandate to protect us from unsafe or unhealthful sex toys.  Of course, one can make the case that even when there is a government regulatory agency with a mandate to protect us, and our pets, from unsafe, tainted or unhealthy food, drugs and other consumables they’re not doing a particularly good job.

The sex toy industry does an equally piss-poor job of regulating itself.  No surprise there, I suppose.  Profit motives seem to trump all other considerations.  And since there is virtually no scientific data on sex toy safety the responsibility for keeping ourselves safe falls to us, the consumer.  It’s up to us to positively impact the market.  We can begin by taking some responsibility for what we consume.  We can go GREEN with our sex toys, so to speak.  We could patronize only the retailers that provide fair and balanced product reviews.  We could refrain from buying on impulse or being swayed by slick smutty packaging.  We could avoid excess packaging that only winds up in a landfill.

We could avoid doing business with sex toy retailers who continue to peddle products with by unsubstantiated claims.  Herbal supplements that promise to grow a guy’s dick bigger or enhance his sexual performance.  Or those patches, pills and lubricating oils that are supposed to boost a chick’s desire.  It’s not like there aren’t good products out there, it’s just that we have to do our research before we buy.  Check out some of the great Product Review Sites too — Dr Dick’s Sex Toy Reviews, Jane’s Guide or Hey Epiphora.

a122441_xlfWe could protect ourselves by insisting our toys be manufactured by people who have access to sex information, education and contraception for themselves.  If our purchases support repressive governments who abuse their people we are complicit in the repression.  Imagine our dildos, vibrators and fetish gear being manufactured by people who will never be able to enjoy a happy, healthy integrated sex life because of gender inequity or poverty.  That sucks, huh?

We can also protect ourselves by patronizing responsible and ethical sex toy retailers.  These include my very own Dr Dick’s Stockroom, Good Vibrations, Babeland and Eden Fantasys.  These retailers have excellent customer service departments and well as educational components to outreach.  They’re also terrific resources for all your sex toy related questions.

There have been a lot of unsubstantiated claims made of late that there is a potential danger in all sex toys.  Some insist that most sex toys contain cancer-causing ingredients. While I won’t go that far, there are some things to be concerned about.  For example, many soft rubber toys are made using phthalates, which have been linked to environmental and human health issues. Phthalates (pronounced “thall-eights”) are a chemical compound used to soften hard plastics into soft rubbery and jelly-like toys. I also recommend that you avoid toys with artificial scent and dyes.  They’ve been known to trigger allergic reactions in some people.

I believe that if you buy quality you are more likely to get quality.  Consider hypoallergenic materials, such as silicone, wood, glass and aluminum.  They are more expensive, but worth it.   Then again, you could always use a condom on any insertable, or less expensive toy of questionable material.  The problem with this is, condoms are not biodegradable and they’re expensive.  By the time you factor in the cost of condoms for every toy use, you’ll actually be spending more per diddle than if you bought quality from the get-go.

Remember the more information you have, the wiser a consumer you will be.

Good luck ya’ll

fitzsimmons_AZdailystar