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A new study quantifies straight women’s “orgasm gap”—and explains how to overcome it

By Leah Fessler

Ever faked an orgasm? Or just had orgasm-less sex? If you’re a woman—especially if you’re straight—your answer is probably “Ugh.” Followed by “Yes.”

Not reaching orgasm during sex is, obviously, a real bummer. Not only does it make the sex itself unfulfilling, but can lead to envy, annoyance, and regret. Thoughts like “Stop grinning you idiot, your moves were not like Jagger!” and “I didn’t ask him to go down on me…does that mean I’m not actually a feminist?” come to mind. It’s exhausting.

Traditional western culture hasn’t focused on female pleasure—society tells women not to embrace their sexuality, or ask for what they want. As a result many men (and women) don’t know what women like. Meanwhile, orgasming from penetrative sex alone is, for many women, really hard.

Many studies have shown that men, in general, have more orgasms than women—a concept known as the orgasm gap. But a new study published Feb. 17 in Archives of Sexual Behavior went beyond gender, exploring the orgasm gap between people of different sexualities in the US. The results don’t dismantle the orgasm gap, but they do alter it.

Among the approximately 52,600 people surveyed, 26,000 identified as heterosexual men; 450 as gay men; 550 as bisexual men; 24,00 as heterosexual women; 350 as lesbian women; and 1,100 as bisexual women. Notably, the vast majority of participants were white—meaning the sample size does not exactly represent the US population.

The researchers asked participants how often they reached orgasm during sex in the past month. They also asked how often participants gave and received oral sex, how they communicated about sex (including asking for what they want, praising their partner, giving and receiving feedback), and what sexual activities they tried (including new sexual positions, anal stimulation, using a vibrator, wearing lingerie, etc).

Men orgasmed more than women, and straight men orgasmed more than anyone else: 95% of the time. Gay men orgasmed 89% of the time, and bisexual men orgasmed 89% of the time. But hold the eye-roll: While straight and bisexual women orgasmed only 65% and 66% of the time, respectively, lesbian women orgasmed a solid 86% of the time.

These data suggest, contrary to unfounded biological and evolutionary explanations for women’s lower orgasmic potential, women actually can orgasm just as much as men. So, how do we crush the orgasm gap once and for all?

According to the study, the women who orgasmed most frequently in this study had a lot in common. They:

  • more frequently received oral sex
  • had sex for a longer duration of time
  • asked their partners for what they wanted
  • praised their partners
  • called and/or emailed to tease their partners about doing something sexual
  • wore sexy lingerie
  • tried new sexual positions
  • incorporated anal stimulation
  • acted out fantasies
  • incorporated sexy talk
  • expressed love during sex

And regardless of sexuality, the women most likely to have orgasmed in their last sexual encounter reported that particular encounter went beyond vaginal sex, incorporating deep kissing, manual genital stimulation, and/or oral sex.

The study’s authors noted that “lesbian women are in a better position to understand how different behaviors feel for their partner (e.g., stimulating the clitoris) and how these sensations build toward orgasm,” and that these women may be more likely to hold social norms of “equity in orgasm occurrence, including a ‘turn-taking’ culture.”

That might be true. But the study is pretty clear on the fact that anyone in a relationship of any kind can increase their partner’s orgasm frequency—and that it depends on caring about your partner’s pleasure enough to ask about what they want, enact those desires, and be receptive to feedback. Such communicative techniques—whether implemented by straight, gay, bisexual, or lesbian people—are what stimulate orgasm.

 Complete Article HERE!

Why are some women never able to orgasm? A gynaecologist explains

Dr Sherry Ross says there has long been a gender bias in the way women’s sexual dysfunction has been treated compared to men’s

 

By Olivia Blair

Despite modern society being able to openly discuss female sexuality, there remains a number of existing taboos.

One of the most glaring is female orgasms. Women are rarely taught about the intricate details of their anatomy and often work these things out through their own experimenting.

What is the best way to get an orgasm? How often should I have one? Should I be able to have one during penetrative intercourse? Why have I never had one? – questions not uncommon to hear among small friendship groups of women over a bottle of wine.

Dr Sherry A Ross, an LA-based gynaecologist with 25 years experience aims to educate with a complete guide to the vagina in her new book She-ology: The Definitive Guide to Women’s Intimate Health. Period.

In the foreword of her book, Dr Sherry notes that “talking about the mighty V outside of doctor’s offices and bedrooms has remained a major taboo” and devoted an entire chapter to the female orgasm. The Independent asked the gynaecologist and obstetrician all the questions about female orgasms that are rarely spoken about.

Why might some women never orgasm?

Attitudes regarding sex, sexuality and gender vary greatly between different cultures and religions. Certain sexual practices, traditions and taboos are passed down through generations, leaving little to the cause of female pleasure or imagination.

For some women, finding and/or enjoying sexual intimacy and sex is difficult, if not impossible. Research suggests that 43% of women report some degree of difficulty and 12% attribute their sexual difficulties to personal distress. Unfortunately, sexual problems worsen with age, peaking in women 45 to 64.  For many of these women the problems of sexual dysfunction are treatable, which is why it is so important for women to share their feelings and concerns with a health care provider.

Unfortunately, there has been a history of “gender injustice” in the bedroom. Women have long been ignored when it comes to finding solutions to sexual dysfunction. In short, there are twenty-six approved medications for male erectile dysfunction and zero for women. Clearly, little attention has been paid to the sexual concerns of women, other than those concerns that involve procreation.

How many women might never orgasm?

During my 25 years in private practice, I’ve met a number of women in their 30s, 40s and 50s who have never even had an orgasm. In fact, 10 to 20% of all women have never experienced one.

Issues related to sex are not talked about enough even with a health care provider. Let’s just start by saying, 65 per cent of women are embarrassed to say the word vagina and 45 per cent of women never talk about their vagina with anyone, not even with their doctor.

Some patients say they have pain with sex, have problems with lubrication, don’t have a sex drive or don’t enjoy sex.  My first question is “Are you having problems in your relationship?”, “Do you like you partner?” , “Are you able to have an orgasm?”, “ Do you masturbate?” These open-ended questions tend to bring out sexual dysfunction including the inability to have an orgasm.

There is a great deal of embarrassment and shame when a woman admits she has never experienced an orgasm.

Is the inability to not orgasm normal?

The inability not to have had an orgasm can reflect women’s inability to know they own anatomy and may not be a disorder at all. In a survey of women aged 16-25, half could not find the vagina on a medical diagram. A test group of university- aged women didn’t fare much better with one third being unable to find the clitoris on a diagram. Clearly, if you can’t find it, how are you going to seek enjoyment from it?

Women must first understand what brings them pleasure and in their pursuit of happiness they have to understand where their clitoris is and how to stimulate it. Masturbation is a skill.  It has to be learned, just as walking, running, singing and brushing your teeth.

What is an orgasm disorder and how would you categorise one? 

The inability to have an orgasm falls under the category of Female Sexual Dysfunction of which there are five main problems: low libido or hypoactive sexual desire disorder, painful sex, sexual arousal disorder, an aversion to sex and the inability to orgasm.

Hypoactive sexual disorder, the most common female sexual dysfunction, is characterised by a complete absence of sexual desire. For the 16 million women who suffer from this, the factors involved may vary since sexual desire in women is much more complicated than it is for men. Unlike men, women’s sexual desire, excitement and energy tend to begin in that great organ above the shoulders, rather than the one below the waist. The daily stresses of work, money, children, relationships and diminished energy are common issues contributing to low libido in women. Other causes may be depression, anxiety, lack of privacy, medication side effects, medical conditions such as endometriosis or arthritis, menopausal symptoms or a history of physical or sexual abuse.

You are the person in charge of your vagina and clitoris. First and foremost, get to know your female parts intimately. Understanding your sexual response is a necessary health and wellness skill. Make mastery of that skill a priority.

Complete Article HERE!

Everything about female orgasm and how to touch a woman

By Zoey Miller

How to Touch a Woman: Everything You Need to Know About the Female Orgasm

Are you wanting to become a better lover? Do you want to make a woman go wild? Is your ultimate goal to please a woman and drive her to the best orgasm she’s ever had?

If you want to learn to please a woman — and please her well over and over again — then you have to practice. With every encounter or relationship you have, you’ll build your skills and get better at knowing what to do. Every woman is different, and so you really won’t know what truly turns her on until you have the opportunity to interact.

The bottom line is that figuring out what makes her go wild is a journey and it will take time — but it can be a fun journey that is informed by research and practice. And if we’re talking about sexual encounters, then there’s nothing more fun than that.

If you’re ready to take your sexual encounters and your ability to please a woman to a new level, then read on to get our full guide that will lead you through everything you need to know — and everything you need to do to get better with every interaction. There are few things that are more of a turn on to a woman than to know her lover want to make her scream.

Let your woman know this, and she’ll feel a comfort level with you that will allow her to reach the place where she can let go and experience a real orgasm.

Are you ready to get started? Here’s everything you need to know about how to touch a woman right now:

Everything About the Female Orgasm

What is an orgasm?

The female orgasm — much like the male orgasm — at its very base is a physical, pleasurable reflex when the woman’s genitals relax during sex. During intercourse, the muscles in the body are tightened, and when the female orgasm occurs, they release and return to what is known as the pre-arousal stage.

Depending on a woman’s anatomy and unique being, she may be able to have multiple orgasms in a row. Following an orgasm, a woman is going to be sensitive because of the overpowering sensation of her muscle’s reflexes. That’s because the blood rushes to the vessels in her muscles to create that sensation.

What does the female orgasm feel like?

Every woman’s experience in feeling an orgasm will be different but some very common occurrences are a feeling of intense warmth or sweating, heavy or increased breathing, vibrations of various body parts and the urge to scream out in pleasure.

An orgasm will feel differently and will be unique to each woman, so that’s why it’s so important that a woman really know her body and be able to articulate what turns her on. If a woman says she has never experienced an orgasm, then that’s an opportunity for you to show her that she can.

This is addressed in more detail in the next section.

What if my female partner can’t have an orgasm?

If you’ve ever had a woman tell you she cannot have an orgasm, then it’s time to stop in your tracks and do a little pressing. What you may find is that some women may feel embarrassed or ashamed to let go and be turned on — or they may think they are taking too long to achieve an orgasm and believe that they are being a burden to you.

Still others may find it challenging to have an orgasm because anatomically, their clitoris is too far away from their vagina. Researchers have discovered that typically, if your clitoris is more than 2.5 centimeters away from your vagina, or roughly the tip of your thumb to your knuckle, that you may not be able to achieve an orgasm by penile penetration alone. That doesn’t mean they can’t achieve orgasm through intercourse. It just means you need to work a little harder and be little more creative to find what really turns on your partner.

A very low percentage of women — less than 10 percent — claim that they can achieve an orgasm by penile penetration alone. It’s more likely that your partner prefers and needs more than one method of stimulation. So from oral sex to masturbation to using a vibrator — there are many different ways you can get your female partner to reach climax. It’s just a matter of knowing her anatomy and what she prefers in bed.

Overall, however, it’s really important that you create a safe and welcoming environment for your woman to relax and really let go. In that trusted space, she will be able to open up to you and tell you what she wants — what she wants you to say, how she wants you to touch her and what her fantasies are. Those are critical clues that will help you achieve her orgasm together.

At first it takes a little work, but it’s all in love and fun — and once you get there, the two of you will have a renewed and special trust that will take you into the next bedroom encounter.

How to Touch a Woman

Create an Environment for Intimacy

You’ll want to start out the night by creating a safe, trusted and intimate environment that will make your woman feel comfortable and loved. Women like many different environments for sex, and again, no one woman is alike.

So you need to know your woman well. Does she respond to flowers, candles and romance? Does she want sex quick and dirty? Does she need a chance to unwind with a glass of wine or a hot bath? Whatever her triggers are for relaxation and comfort, you’ll want to deploy those for her.

What this does is let her know you are watching, listening and responding to what will make her feel most wanted and loved. So pay attention — or ask her — and that will go a long way in creating a better environment for being vulnerable when it comes time to making that climb toward the female orgasm.

Kissing is Key

If you want to give a woman an orgasm, kissing is going to be key. Lower yourself to her vagina and use your tongue to massage her clitoris with slow licks. Pay attention to her breathing as you are doing this, as you may want to speed up or slow down depending on how she is responding.

Some patterns think that if they do everything quickly, then that is a turn on. But that’s likely going to make her feel like she needs to perform and fake an orgasm because she knows it’s not going to come quickly.

Instead, ask her what is feeling good as you are doing it. Ask her if she wants more kissing, more tongue licking or flicking, or the speed to be faster or slower. If she feels comfortable with you, she will tell you what is feeling especially good.

Ask her to guide your head as you are giving her oral sex so that you know the exact position that feels the best.

A bonus move that works really well: Ask her to masturbate if she feels comfortable while you are kissing or licking her, as you can watch her do this and pay attention to where her fingers are going. She is going to know her body the best, and you can know the exact location of where your tongue or fingers should be next.

Start Out Slowly When Penetrating

Another urban myth about penetrating a woman with your fingers, also called “fingering.” You can’t do it quickly at first. If you’ll remember from the first section, a woman’s muscles are usually tight during sex. When she orgasm’s they contract.

Leading up to the Big O, her muscles will begin to relax and it will be easier to penetrate her and arouse her as you lead her to an orgasm. But at the beginning, start out slowly.

Use your mouth to apply a good amount of saliva to her vagina so that your fingers can slip in fairly easily. Start with one finger and move it very slowly back and forth. If you find that there is more room and that she is getting more aroused with one finger, try to insert two fingers.

Move those two fingers back and forth very slowly, while asking your partner if she is enjoying it along the way. If she is showing signs of discomfort or pain, stop. Communication is really key as you are participating in fingering because your woman will give you clues that she is ready for penetration with your penis.

If she prefers fingering over your penis, then continue in the method of moving your fingers in and out slowly. When she is just out of breath and close to having an orgasm pull out your fingers and begin using your tongue to rapidly flick her clitoris. Continue massaging the area around the clitoris as you are flicking it until she reaches orgasm and screams or sighs in delight.

You may not get verbal affirmation as not every woman is not a screamer. But, ask her if she is reaching orgasm and pay attention to her body. Usually a woman will become very sensitive and she won’t be able to handle you touching her in her vaginal region any longer. She’ll need some time to reset. Some women can have an other orgasm a few minutes later. Keep that communication open so you know what to expect and exactly what you need to do to get her to that place of absolute pleasure.

Should I Be Ashamed of Using a Vibrator?

We get this question a lot — and the answer is you absolutely should be willing to use a vibrator. It says nothing about you that your female partner is not achieving orgasm with your penis alone. It’s actually quite common that this happens because sex takes a lot of practice to get both partners to achieve that pleasurable moment.

So if this is the challenge that you are experiencing — or even if you’re not — try a vibrator! They are fun and safe to use. They come in a wide variety of sizes and textures so that you can experience different sensations. This is especially a great way for a woman who hasn’t been extremely communicative about what she likes sexually to experiment with and decide what she truly loves — and wants you to try to replicate!

Remember to Engage Your Brain

The ability to reach an orgasm is more than half of your brain. You have to exert mental energy to reach that level of being able to let go. If you’ve been able to do it, then it’s good to encourage your partner that it can happen for her as well.

Before you engage in any kind of sexual activity, sit down with your partner and talk to her about expectations and what she should expect out of you. Let her know that you are there for her — to pleasure her and to make her feel good. That’s going to put her at immediate ease and let her know that you are there for her. You’re not there to get the first orgasm. You want her to be happy first.

That’s a great first step along the way to working together to achieve the female orgasm — and your partner will thank you again and again for all of your effort along the way in your bedroom journey.

In conclusion, with this guide, you can get to the skill level you want and learn to please a woman in a way that will make her happy and confident in you. Remember that it does take practice — but don’t let that discourage you.

Learning to give a woman an orgasm is an enjoyable experience and you’ll feel more confident knowing that you have pleased her and that she is impressed with you and your abilities. That should empower you and make you feel good in the process of learning to be a better lover.

If you’re ready to experience that confidence, happiness, health and true skill — then continue implementing our guide in your practice sessions. Every moment you are with the woman you care about is an opportunity to learn what she likes, to better understand her body and to build trust with her so that she truly can let go and experience a real orgasm.

So many women end of faking orgasms because they don’t feel they can be honest with their partners. But if you take the initiative to truly understand what turns them on and to study their body’s response — in time, you’ll know exactly how to touch the woman you love to get her to that moment of pure ecstasy.

Complete Article HERE!

How To Get Your Partner Into Sex Toys

By Jess McIntyre

Whether you’re in a new relationship or a well-established one, there’s every reason to introduce toys for your mutual sexual happiness. Put simply, the couple that plays together are more likely to stay together – and there’s some science behind that.

First of all, the excitement of trying out sex toys stimulates the production of dopamine – the chemical that plays a big role in both sexual arousal and pleasure in general. Meanwhile, for the large majority of women the simple in-and-out of vaginal penetration alone isn’t usually the route to orgasm, but add some clitoral stimulation and you’re far more likely to score a “Yes!”. Having an orgasm produces oxytocin – also known as the ‘bonding’ hormone – which has the long term effect of making people feel closer to and more supportive of their partner.

So, the science is great – but if you’re not yet using sex toys together, how do you get past any potential embarrassment, and avoid either partner being made to feel defensive about their bedroom technique? Here are some possible dilemmas and corresponding suggestions that could help you set off on a new adventure together.

I’ve just started a new relationship. How do I admit to my partner that I already use sex toys?

It’s always best to be honest, but be sensitive and approach the subject in a casual manner outside of the bedroom. Maybe mention that you recently saw lubricant for sale in your local supermarket and how it made you smile! Judging by your partner’s reaction, you’ll know right away if you could immediately let on about your sex toy collection, or whether to stick to a more subtle hint such as, “Do you think we should pick up some lube next time we’re out?” By keeping the conversation light-hearted and jovial, you can easily disperse any tension and it will be easier to gauge what they think of the idea. It’s always a good idea to be honest from the beginning.

My partner says that if I was satisfied with them, I wouldn’t need a sex toy. How do I convince them this isn’t the case?

The trouble is that people who aren’t familiar with sex toys are often thinking of huge dildo vibrators that are, quite frankly, intimidating! But these are really just a fraction of what’s available. The most popular toys are actually things like small bullet vibrators for clitoral stimulation, or stretchy cock rings for happy erections, and they’re far from scary.

Reassure your partner that you find your sex life fulfilling but that you don’t want them to feel under pressure to be responsible alone for bringing you to orgasm. Using a mini vibrator or a cock ring can provide pleasure for you both.

A great way to turn a man’s prejudices on their head might be to buy a male toy for you both to enjoy using on him first. A textured stroker sleeve adds a whole new dimension to a hand job, and could prove to be the path to his sex toy enlightenment…

It should be noted that toys are not supposed to replace nor detract from what your partner brings to your play time in the bedroom. If anything, toys should be seen as a treat designed to enhance the experience and discover more about each other.

We do both want to use sex toys together, but we don’t know where to start

It’s a great idea to choose something together. Cuddle up with a glass of wine on a weekend evening and browse the Lovehoney website – you’re sure to find something you both like. There’s lots of advice in the ‘Help’ section to assist you, too.

If you’re in a male/female couple you could start with a toy that stimulates you both at the same time. The Tracey Cox Supersex Twin Vibrating Love Ring is great for getting you both off, for example. The stretchy cock ring part can give him a bigger, harder erection and more powerful orgasm, while the vibrating bullet in the top provides vibrations to both her clitoris and his testicles.

Same sex relationships benefit from toys just the same as hetero relationships. And strap ons aren’t just for the girls! Guys are also both using and allowing their partners to please them with these helpful and amazing tools to enhance their experience between the sheets..and anywhere else!

Or why not go for a vibrating wand massager? Originally created for soothing tired muscles, wands are also great for stimulating erogenous zones such as inner thighs or the nape of the neck, plus intimate parts such as the labia, testicles and more.

The most important part of using sex toys together is to communicate. Go ahead and experiment, and if at any point you start to feel numb or uncomfortable, speak up – your partner won’t know unless you tell them. By the same token, if you especially enjoy something, let your partner know – the joy of discovering a new favourite sensation together is what sex toys are all about!

Complete Article HERE!

How do women really know if they are having an orgasm?

Dr Nicole Prause is challenging bias against sexual research to unravel apparent discrepancies between physical signs and what women said they experienced

By

It’s not always clear if a woman is really having an orgasm, as Meg Ryan demonstrated in When Harry Met Sally.

It’s not always clear if a woman is really having an orgasm, as Meg Ryan demonstrated in When Harry Met Sally.

In the nascent field of orgasm research, much of the data relies on subjects self-reporting, and in men, there’s some pretty clear physiological feedback in the form of ejaculation.

But how do women know for sure if they are climaxing? What if the sensation they have associated with climax is actually one of the the early foothills of arousal? And how does a woman know when if she has had an orgasm?

Neuroscientist Dr Nicole Prause set out to answer these questions by studying orgasms in her private laboratory. Through better understanding of what happens in the body and the brain during arousal and orgasm, she hopes to develop devices that can increase sex drive without the need for drugs.

Understanding orgasm begins with a butt plug. Prause uses the pressure-sensitive anal gauge to detect the contractions typically associated with orgasm in both men and women. Combined with EEG, which measures brain activity, this allows for a more accurate picture of a woman’s arousal and orgasm.

Dr Nicole Prause has founded Liberos to study brain stimulation and desire.

Dr Nicole Prause has founded Liberos to study brain stimulation and desire.

When Prause began studying women in this way she noticed something surprising. “Many of the women who reported having an orgasm were not having any of the physical signs – the contractions – of an orgasm.”

It’s not clear why that is, but it is clear that we don’t know an awful lot about orgasms and sexuality. “We don’t think they are faking,” she said. “My sense is that some women don’t know what an orgasm is. There are lots of pleasure peaks that happen during intercourse. If you haven’t had contractions you may not know there’s something different.”

Prause, an ultramarathon runner and keen motorcyclist in her free time, started her career at the Kinsey Institute in Indiana, where she was awarded a doctorate in 2007. Studying the sexual effects of a menopause drug, she first became aware of the prejudice against the scientific study of sexuality in the US.

When her high-profile research examining porn “addiction” found the condition didn’t fit the same neurological patterns as nicotine, cocaine or gambling, it was an unpopular conclusion among people who believe they do have a porn addiction.

The evolution of design of the anal pressure gauge used in Nicole Prause’s lab to detect orgasmic contractions.

The evolution of design of the anal pressure gauge used in Nicole Prause’s lab to detect orgasmic contractions.

“People started posting stories online that I had falsified my data and I received all kinds of sexist attacks,” she said. Soon anonymous emails of complaint were turning up at the office of the president of UCLA, where she worked from 2012 to 2014, demanding that Prause be fired.

Does orgasm benefit mental health?

Prause pushed on with her research, but repeatedly came up against challenges when seeking approval for studies involving orgasms. “I tried to do a study of orgasms while at UCLA to pilot a depression intervention. UCLA rejected it after a seven-month review,” she said. The ethics board told her that to proceed, she would need to remove the orgasm component – rendering the study pointless.

Undeterred, Prause left to set up her sexual biotech company Liberos, in Hollywood, Los Angeles, in 2015. The company has been working on a number of studies, including one exploring the benefits and effectiveness of “orgasmic meditation”, working with specialist company OneTaste.

Part of the “slow sex” movement, the practice involves a woman having her clitoris stimulated by a partner – often a stranger – for 15 minutes. “This orgasm state is different,” claims OneTaste’s website. “It is goalless, intuitive, and dynamic. It flows all over the place with no set direction. It may include climax, or it may not. In Orgasm 2.0, we learn to listen to what our body wants instead of what we think we ‘should’ want.”

Prause wants to determine whether arousal has any wider benefits for mental health. “The folks that practice this claim it helps with stress and improves your ability to deal with emotional situations even though as a scientist it seems pretty explicitly sexual to me,” she said.

Prause is examining orgasmic meditators in the laboratory, measuring finger movements of the partner, as well as brainwave activity, galvanic skin response and vaginal contractions of the recipient. Before and after measuring bodily changes, researchers run through questions to determine physical and mental states. Prause wants to determine whether achieving a level of arousal requires effort or a release in control. She then wants to observe how Orgasmic Meditation affects performance in cognitive tasks, how it changes reactivity to emotional images and how it compares with regular meditation.

Brain stimulation is ‘theoretically possible’

Another research project is focused on brain stimulation, which Prause believes could provide an alternative to drugs such as Addyi, the “female Viagra”. The drug had to be taken every day, couldn’t be mixed with alcohol and its side-effects can include sudden drops in blood pressure, fainting and sleepiness. “Many women would rather have a glass of wine than take a drug that’s not very effective every day,” said Prause.

The field of brain stimulation is in its infancy, though preliminary studies have shown that transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), which uses direct electrical currents to stimulate specific parts of the brain, can help with depression, anxiety and chronic pain but can also cause burns on the skin. Transcranial magnetic stimulation, which uses a magnet to activate the brain, has been used to treat depression, psychosis and anxiety, but can also cause seizures, mania and hearing loss.

Prause is studying whether these technologies can treat sexual desire problems. In one study, men and women receive two types of magnetic stimulation to the reward center of their brains. After each session, participants are asked to complete tasks to see how their responsiveness to monetary and sexual rewards (porn) has changed.

With DCS, Prause wants to stimulate people’s brains using direct currents and then fire up tiny cellphone vibrators that have been glued to the participants’ genitals. This provides sexual stimulation in a way that eliminates the subjectivity of preferences people have for pornography.

“We already have a basic functioning model,” said Prause. “The barrier is getting a device that a human can reliably apply themselves without harming their own skin.”


 
There is plenty of skepticism around the science of brain stimulation, a technology which has already spawned several devices including the headset Thync, which promises users an energy boost, and Foc.us, which claims to help with endurance.

Neurologist Steven Novella from the Yale School of Medicine uses brain stimulation devices in clinical trials to treat migraines, but he says there’s not enough clinical evidence to support these emerging consumer devices. “There’s potential for physical harm if you don’t know what you’re doing,” he said. “From a theoretical point of view these things are possible, but in terms of clinical claims they are way ahead of the curve here. It’s simultaneously really exciting science but also premature pseudoscience.”

Biomedical engineer Marom Bikson, who uses tDCS to treat depression at the City College of New York, agrees. “There’s a lot of snake oil.”

Sexual problems can be emotional and societal

Prause, also a licensed psychologist, is keen to avoid overselling brain stimulation. “The risk is that it will seem like an easy, quick fix,” she said. For some, it will be, but for others it will be a way to test whether brain stimulation can work – which Prause sees as a more balanced approach than using medication. “To me, it is much better to help provide it for people likely to benefit from it than to try to create fake problems to sell it to everyone.”

Sexual problems can be triggered by societal pressures that no device can fix. “There’s discomfort and anxiety and awkwardness and shame and lack of knowledge,” said psychologist Leonore Tiefer, who specializes in sexuality. Brain stimulation is just one of many physical interventions companies are trying to develop to make money, she says. “There’s a million drugs under development. Not just oral drugs but patches and creams and nasal sprays, but it’s not a medical problem,” she said.

Thinking about low sex drive as a medical condition requires defining what’s normal and what’s unhealthy. “Sex does not lend itself to that kind of line drawing. There is just too much variability both culturally and in terms of age, personality and individual differences. What’s normal for me is not normal for you, your mother or your grandmother.”

And Prause says that no device is going to solve a “Bob problem” – when a woman in a heterosexual couple isn’t getting aroused because her partner’s technique isn’t any good. “No pills or brain stimulation are going to fix that,” she said.

Complete Article HERE!