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How to enjoy sex even when your mental ill-health is working against you


Anxiety and low self-esteem can seriously impact your sex life


Ever had one of those days when your brain seems to be dead set on working against you?

You’re planning a nice bit of sexy time – whether with a partner or simply some solo fun – but your head’s just not in it.

However much you might want to get jiggy with it, your brain is skipping around elsewhere and you just can’t concentrate, let alone roll around in orgasmic delight.

So what causes your head to seemingly separate from your body at just the moment you want to be able to focus on fun times?

All too often it boils down to lack of confidence in yourself and what you’re doing.

If you have problems with self esteem, it can trickle into all areas of your life – and that includes the bedroom.

The saying ‘first you have to love yourself’ is bit of a cliche – but like most cliches, it’s actually true. Many things can sap your confidence, both mental and physical.

For my friend Amy, the problem is a lack of confidence caused by physical issues.

The problem has grown over the years, to the stage where it’s such a big issue that she’s unsure how to even start working through it.

‘I was born with cerebral palsy and I also have ME and fibromyalgia,’ Amy says.

‘I’ve gone from being moderately active and social to spending most of my time at home and sleeping a lot.

‘I was never particularly confident with guys because I have always been overweight.

‘I’ve had four sexual partners so far, three men and a woman. All were basically one night stands that were pretty unsatisfactory for me (and probably them too).

‘I’ve not had sex in years now and have never really dated anyone.

‘I’m pretty fed up of that to be honest but I feel quite isolated socially and wary of anyone who might take an interest because I feel so unattractive.’

You need to learn to love yourself

My personal suggestion in any situation like this always boils down to that same cliche – you have to learn to love yourself first.

Mirrors, masturbation and practice is the key.

Look at yourself so that you’re used to what your own body looks like and learn what really turns you on.

If you practice this alone then you’ll have all the more confidence when it comes to getting down to it with someone else in the room.

Amy’s story is just one of many I hear all the time from people whose sex lives have become unsatisfactory through no fault of their own.

I spoke to relationship and sexuality counsellor Jennifer Deacon and asked for her general advice on separating sex from anxiety.

‘When you’re anxious it’s often hard to feel turned on – or even have any desire at all.

‘That in turn can feed the anxiety more, particularly if you’re in a relationship where you might feel you’re letting your partner down, bringing up a whole heap more anxiety.

‘As with any anxiety the first thing is to try and find that tricky balance between reflecting on what’s going on with your thoughts and over-analysing.

‘What’s stopping you – is it the thought of being naked with someone else? The physical acrobatics that you might feel you ought to be performing?

‘Or is your sexual desire being suppressed because of meds that you’re taking?

‘Try to reflect on what’s going on, and then work through the ‘what ifs’ and ‘shoulds’ that often make up a huge part of anxious thoughts.

‘If you have a partner, try to communicate with them what you need – for example if you’re missing intimacy but are scared of initiating hugs or cuddles because you’re not sure you want full sex, then try to find a way to talk about this with them.

‘If your anxiety has roots in a trauma that you’ve experienced then communication becomes even more important – both communicating with yourself as to what you need and want, and communicating with your partner so that they can support you.

‘Lack of libido can be a common side effect from medication so if you notice that your sexual desire has waned since you started a new medication or changed your dose, consider discussing this with your GP or specialist.’

Many prescription drugs do indeed have side effects that affect the libido – and doctors aren’t always up front about explaining the risks.

Okay, so ‘losing interest in sex’ might be a long way down the list of worrying potential side effects, but given that antidepressants often cause this issue, I’m always amazed that it isn’t discussed more.

Sex is a healthy part of life and if you still want it but struggle to get any joy out of it, that’s going to affect your happiness levels.

After literally decades of living with chronic anxiety, I’ve been through endless different drugs in the hope of finding one that will help without ruining the rest of my life.

The problem is that drugs affect everyone differently – what works brilliantly for one person can potentially have drastically negative effects on another.

The first antidepressant I was given was Prozac.

Back then it was the big name in drug therapy and widely considered to be suitable for everyone.

And yes, it helped my depression – but it also completely removed my ability to orgasm.

I still wanted to – my sex drive itself wasn’t affected in any way – but I simply couldn’t ‘get there’.

I still regale people about ‘that time I gave myself RSI through too much w*nking’ – it’s a funny story now, but at the time it was utterly true and completely miserable.

I went back to the doctor and had my meds changed.

At the last count, I think I’ve tried about thirteen different anxiety meds and I still haven’t found one that I can cope with.

Ironically, if I was happy to lose my libido then several of them would have been perfect – but why should we be expected to go without one of the most enjoyable life experiences?

Personally, that makes me just as miserable as being anxious or depressed, so it invalidates the positives anyway.

Currently I’m med-free – and not very happy about it – but at least I still have my sex life.

For some people, finding the right medication without it affecting their libido will be easy.

But everyone has to find their own balance – some might prefer to take the meds and sacrifice their physical enjoyment.

But it’s okay to want both.

Complete Article HERE!


Breaking taboos


Talking about sexual health with international students


Many people find some discomfort in detailing anything to do with their sex lives. Our bodies, sexual health and sex lives are generally seen as private matters.

In many Western countries, including Belgium, the Netherlands and Australia, students are brought up to be a little more relaxed about these matters, however in Asia generally the topic is considered much more taboo.

It is of great importance that all students, international or otherwise, sexually active or not, have a rounded understanding of sexual health and how to stay safe.

Lecturing might not be the way to teach students about sexual health but it is important they have an awareness.

“In Australia, we take it for granted that most young people receive [sexual health] information,” Alison Coelho, co-manager of Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health said at the inaugural sexuality symposium on Australia’s Gold Coast.

“When young people arrive to do their study, they often haven’t had sexual health education… and depending on where they arrive from, the idea of discussing sexual health is often taboo.”

Coelho told The PIE News all over the world there is a real reluctance to talk about sexual health. Countless international students, therefore, arrive at university unaware.

Probably not the most sound advice to be giving students.

Coelho detailed how young female students had their first period while abroad for their studies. Many, not understanding what a menstrual cycle was, panicked and rushed themselves to the emergency room.

Cultural differences in attitudes to sexual health have caused dangerous consequences for thousands of international students.

“For a number of years, the rates of new diagnoses of HIV in this population group have represented 50% percent of Australia’s new diagnoses between particular ages,” Coelho told The PIE News.

Safe sex is incredibly important for sexual health.

“That is shocking. These young people are coming to Australia for an education, but they are so vulnerable, do not understand about safe sex, [and] are often told there is no HIV here [so] we don’t use condoms.”

Coelho claimed universities must have “difficult conversations” about sexual health in order to ensure the safety of students.

She explained to The PIE News how international students are nearly twice as likely than the general population to identify as LGBTQ+. She attributes the likelihood of this to numerous students using their experience abroad to explore their sexuality. For many, their university country has a more open and free society which allows for this exploration.

While universities can provide guidance and encourage dialogue into sex education, the problem stems from a lack of proper education in schools.

Coelho also acknowledged students listen to their peers more than educators when it comes to sexual health. Universities, therefore, could do more to ensure the information distributed is accurate. Coelho suggested peer mentor groups, which work with a larger cohort of international students.

“Individuals identify with their peers, hence they’re more successful than professionals in passing on the information. Peers act as a positive role model and can reinforce learning through ongoing support,” she said

Complete Article HERE!


Looking for a Pro(vider)


Name: Gabe
Gender: Male
Age: 32
Location: Salt Lake City
I travel a lot for work and often get really lonely on long trips. I’m not much for going to bars, because I don’t drink. And the idea of looking for sex in a bathhouse or sex club, or worse in the bushes, really puts me off. Lately I’ve been thinking I should just hire an escort, but I wouldn’t even know how to begin. This must be a pretty common phenomenon though because I see tons of ads for escorts on line in every city I go to. Any suggestions on how someone new at this might proceed?

Sure darlin’, I have lots of suggestions. I presume you’ve ordered out for food on occasion while you were traveling for business, right? Finding a satisfying “order out” sexual adventure is not fundamentally different than that. In the case of an escort, the commodities are charming company, erotic massage, and a little sex play, instead of Potstickers, Moo shu pork, or Kung Pao Chicken.

As you know, not all order out is created equal. There is bad food and unsavory escorts. So you’re gonna need to do some homework. You already know there are loads of escort or rent-boy sites on the net. There are also several review sites, where customers of the provider leave their comments regarding their levels of satisfaction and the like. Most escorts out there, particularly the really good ones, immediately call your attention to the review they receive. This is a good policy for both provider and consumer alike. It’s like having the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval stamped on your ass.

I have a sense that some of my readers are turning up their nose at this discussion. I often hear from folks that they don’t have to PAY for sex. Oh yeah? Here’s the thing, sex fans; no sex is free. You may not be directly commerce-ing in hard cold cash, but there’s a commercial aspect to all sex…even, or maybe I should say, especially in marriage. So if we could skip the moral high-horse thing, right about now, I’d appreciate it.

Ok, so now that we have that out of the way, we can get back to your question, Gabe. Once you’ve decided to proceed, start by interviewing a few working boys. This can initially be done vie email. Ask for further information about his services and rates. Many escorts have plenty more photos of themselves available to be sent to prospective clients, so you might respectfully request those. If at all possible, include a photo of yourself, or at the very least an accurate description of yourself.

In all communication with the service provider, NEVER suggest that you are offering money for sex, in most jurisdictions that’s against the law. While we all know that the client hopes to get some sex action in the encounter, the money exchanged is not for the sex, but for the provider’s time, company and expertise. This may sound like splitting hairs. But in this arrangement, if sex actually happens, consenting adults are mutually agreeing to it during the time they’ve arranged to be together. Curiously enough, many of the sex professionals I know, and I know a lot of ‘em, tell me that a sizable portion of their clientele only want their company and companionship. Outright sex never enters the equation.

Finding the right escort for you, on any given occasion, is your task. Know what you want and know how to ask for it. Don’t waste your time or that of the provider by beating around the bush. If you are new at this, say so. The rentboy, if he’s any good at all, will be familiar with this territory and help you though the initial conversation. There are different levels of pros out there; each will have his own fee structure for services provided. If you’re looking for something kinky, be ready to pay lots more. Never try to bargain with the provider. If he’s out of your price range, move along. Or you could simply come right out with it and say, Listen, I have X amount of money to spend and I’m looking for some delightful company. Are you available? This way you let the provider decide if he has the time to spare at the discounted rate. You’d be a fool not to insist on safe-sex, but there’s a shit-load of fools out there.

Not all prostitutes are prostitutes because they want to. Some are supporting a drug habit, some are working their way though college. For some it’s survival sex. For others it’s acting out behavior. But most guys turn pro because they’re good at what they do. And most enjoy the accompanying lifestyle. The truly successful provider will have a string of regulars, men they have a somewhat more intimate connection with. Kinda like finding a great Chinese restaurant and becoming a regular there. The proprietor might just offer you something not on the menu as a way of acknowledging your preferred customer status. Get it?

Some Johns, use the service of an agency. Sometimes that can be a more reliable way to go at first. However, I am of the mind that the hard-working independent entrepreneur is best.

When arranging an outcall to your hotel, there may be an additional surcharge for traveling time and cost — think gas prices. This should be agreed upon before the deal is struck.

Most independent escorts offer both in calls and outcalls. They usually work out of their home or apartment and many of these escorts have day jobs. Some independent escorts also work in the porn industry. If this suits your tastes, you will definitely pay a premium for a date with a star.

You’ll also find among the independent providers that unique phenomenon — Gay For Pay. These guys are ostensibly “straight”…and I put that word in quotes and use it very lightly. GFP guys will have gay sex with gay men for money. In the old days, we used to refer to them as trade. And like we in the business say, “today’s trade is tomorrow’s competition;” if you catch my drift.

At any rate, like I said at the beginning, a wise and informed consumer is happy and satisfied consumer.

Good Luck


Does Smoking Pot Lead To More Sex?


In every group the researchers studied, the more marijuana people smoked the more sex they reported having.

By Angus Chen

Tobacco companies put a lot of effort into giving cigarettes sex appeal, but the more sensual smoke might actually belong to marijuana.

Some users have said pot is a natural aphrodisiac, despite scientific literature turning up mixed results on the subject.

At the very least, a study published Friday in the Journal of Sexual Medicine suggests that people who smoke more weed are having more sex than those who smoke less or abstain. But whether it’s cause or effect isn’t clear.

The researchers pulled together data from roughly 50,000 people who participated in an annual Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey during various years between 2002 and 2015. “We reported how often they smoke — monthly, weekly or daily — and how many times they’ve had sex in the last month,” says Dr. Michael Eisenberg, a urologist at Stanford University Medical Center and the senior author on the study. “What we found was compared to never-users, those who reported daily use had about 20 percent more sex. So over the course of a year, they’re having sex maybe 20 more times.”

Women who consumed marijuana daily had sex 7.1 times a month, on average; for men, it was 6.9 times. Women who didn’t use marijuana at all had sex 6 times a month, on average, while men who didn’t use marijuana had sex an average of 5.6 times a month.

When the researchers considered other potentially confounding factors, such as alcohol or cocaine use, age, religion or having children, the association between more marijuana and more sex held, Eisenberg says. “It was pretty much every group we studied, this pattern persisted,” he says. The more marijuana people smoked, the more they seemed to be having sex.

Now, that association doesn’t necessarily mean the weed is responsible for the heightened sex drive, says Mitch Earleywine, a psychologist at the University at Albany who has studied cannabis and sex but wasn’t involved in this work. “In some surveys, we saw that people [who used cannabis] did have sex more, but it seemed to be mediated by this personality type that’s willing to try new things or look for thrills,” he says. In other words, it seems that people who like to smoke weed may have other character traits that lead them to be lustier.

Or maybe it really is the weed. “It’s possible it makes men or women more interested in sex,” Eisenberg says. In one study, researchers found they were able to induce sexual behavior by injecting a cannabinoid, the class of psychoactive compounds in marijuana, into rats. But people aren’t rats, of course.

Another study published in 2012 found that women became more aroused when watching erotic films when they had cannabinoids in their system. But that might just be because weed seems to heighten sensory experiences overall. “It gets people to appreciate the moment more anyway,” psychologist Earleywine says. “They like food more, find humor in things more easily, so it wouldn’t be stunning to think they would enjoy sex more.”

Whatever the connection, Eisenberg says his results leads him to think that pot, unlike tobacco which can depress libido and performance, isn’t going to take the steam out of one’s sex drive. “One question my patients always have is will smoking marijuana frequently negatively impact my sexual function?” Eisenberg says. “We don’t want people to smoke to improve sexual function, but it probably doesn’t hurt things.”

Not everyone agrees with that conclusion. “It’s a lot of stretch here,” says Dr. Rany Shamloul, a researcher at Ottawa Hospital in Canada who focuses on sexual health and function. He didn’t work on the latest study. In an odd Catch-22, Shamloul says that recent research suggests cannabis might actually make it harder for a man’s penis to become erect, even if weed might turn people on. “Recent studies have shown cannabinoid receptors in the penis itself, and experiments in the lab show an inhibitory response,” he says. “There was basically a mixed result. Cannabis might increase [sexual arousal] frequency in the brain, but also decrease erectile function in the penis.”

There is another issue that may throw cold water on cannabis’ potential as a love enabler. A frequent side effect of marijuana is a dry mouth, and University at Albany’s Earleywine points out that one’s mouth might not be the only thing turning arid. “Drying of the mucus membranes is a pretty consistent effect of the plant. Women should keep that in mind when considering cannabis as a sexual aid. I know that some products have THC or cannabinoids in a lubricant, but I haven’t seen any actual data on that,” he says.

Stanford’s Eisenberg says his study doesn’t prove the idea that marijuana is getting people into the sack, though he says that is a possibility. There’s really only one conclusion he can safely draw from the work: Cannabis users are doing it more.

Complete Article HERE!


Debunking Common College Sex Myths


by and

Sex is among the most talked-about subjects on college campuses. Yet myths and misconceptions pervade almost every discussion of sexual activity and sexuality, subtly infiltrating the beliefs of even the best-informed people. Sexually inexperienced young people are likely to become confused by the dizzying array of information and opinions that assails them in conversations about sex.

Only by evaluating common sexual myths and the harmful effects they can have are we able to move past ignorance into a healthier understanding of our bodies and ourselves.

Myth 1: The withdrawal method is safe.

The withdrawal method, which is when the penis is pulled out of the vagina before ejaculation, is among the most dangerous and least effective birth control techniques. According to Planned Parenthood, this method is 78 percent effective. Pre-ejaculatory fluid can sometimes contain sperm, which can put a partner at risk of pregnancy. In addition, physical contact and the exchange of fluids can put both partners at risk for sexually transmitted infections. Just because the man has not ejaculated does not mean that the sex is safe.

Moreover, this technique requires very good timing and self-control to be successful.

“It’s just not very reliable to rely on that in the heat of the moment,” said Talia Parker (COL ’20), director of tabling for H*yas for Choice. If the man accidentally ejaculates before pulling out, the woman will be at an even greater risk of pregnancy, have to deal with a sticky cleanup and sex will end without satisfaction. Plan B, emergency birth control, costs more than $50, too. Getting a condom might seem inconvenient or less fun, but it’s worth it to prevent the consequences possible with the pull-out method.

Myth 2: Men just want sex all the time.

One of the most pernicious sex myths is the notion that men only think about sex all the time. This myth would have us believe that the primary motive behind male behavior is lust. But men have many motivations and drives apart from their sexuality. Relationships between men and women do not always have to be about sex, nor should we callously assume that a man’s actions are motivated by the desire to have sex.

The next time we attribute a man’s actions to his desire for sex, we should take a step back and evaluate why we believe that. More often than not, we will find that we have been making gendered assumptions. Moreover, if a person who identifies as a man does want consensual sex, we should accept this and not try to shame him.

Furthermore, we must remember that not all students in college are having sex. Some students may be choosing to abstain for personal or religious reasons, and others, including asexual students, may not be interested.

“Just having a positive attitude about sex is important and not judging other people for their choices as well,” Parker said.

Myth 3: The only way to experience pleasure is through penetration.

In most of our imaginations, sex means one thing: intercourse between a man and a woman with vaginal penetration. But this image is deeply flawed. It neither incorporates the experiences of gay, queer or intersex people nor accurately conveys the whole array of sexual possibilities available to people regardless of preference or gender.

“The arousal period for a woman is almost twice than [that of] a man,” Lovely Olivier (COL ’18), executive co-chair for United Feminists, a student group dedicated to combating influences of sexism and heteronormativity, said. “Oral sex, erotic massage, hand jobs, mutual masturbation, petting and tribbing, to name a few, are all non-penetrative options for you and your partner to consider. Furthermore, non-penetrative foreplay can increase satisfaction in intimacy altogether. Talk with your partner, share what you want and be open to new experiences.”

Myth 4: Protection doesn’t exist on a Jesuit campus.

Throughout the week, H*yas For Choice tables in the middle of Red Square from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., giving out lube, latex condoms, internal condoms and dental dams for free. For some, long-term birth control, like the pill, may be a better solution. Although intrauterine devices do not prevent STI transmission, the Student Health Center hopes to start giving the devices out next month.

Myth 5: Women do not masturbate.

The National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior published by the Indiana University School of Public Health found that 24.5 percent of women aged 18 to 24 said they masturbated a few times per month to weekly, compared to 25 percent of men in this range who masturbate a few times per month to weekly. Masturbation can help people achieve pleasure and help individuals in relationships by “finding what is best for you,” Parker said.

Trying sex toys can also allow women to embrace their sexuality and experience their first orgasms.

Complete Article HERE!