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Fun sex is healthy sex

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Why isn’t that on the curriculum?

by Lucia O’sullivan

Damn—we forgot to teach our kids how to have fun sex.

Most news covers the sex lives of young people in terms of hookups, raunch culture, booty calls and friends with benefits. You might think that young people have it all figured out, equating sex with full-on, self-indulgent party time.

Despite my decades as a researcher studying their intimate lives, I too assumed that the first years of consensual partnered sex were pleasurable for most, but got progressively worse over time. How else to explain the high rates of reported by adults? I was wrong.

Our research at the University of New Brunswick shows that young people (16 to 21 years) have rates of sexual problems comparable to those of adults. This is not just a matter of learning to control ejaculation timing or how best to have an orgasm. Their sex lives often start out poorly and show no improvement over time. Practice, experience and experimentation only help so much.

This project came to be after a former colleague at my university’s health centre told me that many complained of pain from vulvar fissures (essentially tearing) from intercourse. The standard of care is to offer lubricant, but she began to ask: Were you aroused? Was this sex you wanted? They would look at her blankly. They had been having sex without interest, arousal or desire. This type of tearing increases a young woman’s risk of STIs, but also alerted my colleague to a more deep-seated issue: Was sex wanted, fun and pleasurable?

What emerged from our first study was verified in our larger study: Low desire and satisfaction were the most common problems among followed by erectile problems. Trouble reaching orgasm, low satisfaction and pain were most common among young women.

Was this a select group? No. Overall, 79 per cent of young men and 84 per cent of young women (16-21 years old) reported one or more persistent and distressing problems in sexual functioning over a two-year period.

Parents focus on disaster

Despite what you might think from their over-exposed social media bodies, today’s youth start sex later and have fewer partners than their parents’ (and often their grandparents’) generation did. A recent U.S. national survey found that young people have sex less often than previous generations.

Did years of calamity programming in the form of “good touch/bad touch,” “no means no,” and “your condom or mine” take a toll? Perhaps that was intended as so much of our programming is designed to convince young people of the blame, pain and shame that awaits them in their sexual lives. If we really believe that young people are not supposed to be having sex (that it should just be reserved for adults in their reproductive years and no others, thank you), it might as well be unpleasant, dissatisfying or painful when young people have sex, right?

Young people are over-stressed, over-pampered and over-diagnosed. They are also under-resourced for dealing with challenges in their sexual lives. This is how a bad sex life evolves.

Parents make efforts to talk to their children about sex and believe they get their messages across. Yet, their children typically report that parents fail to communicate about topics important to them, such as jealousy, heartbreak, horniness and lack of horniness. Parents’ messages are usually unidirectional lectures that emphasize avoiding, delaying and preventing. Young people dismiss these talks, especially in light of media portrayals of sex as transformative and rapturous.

Sex in Canada’s schools

Canada’s schools deliver fairly progressive sex education across the provinces. But they do not resemble the comprehensive approaches offered in countries such as The Netherlands and Switzerland. Those countries have teen pregnancy rates as low as 0.29 per cent of girls aged 15 to 19. Canada’s rate is 1.41 per cent, far higher than many European countries (such as Italy, Greece, France and Germany) but consistently lower than the United States. Thankfully.

These rates are a general metric of youth sexual health and key differences in the socialization and education of young people. They reflect the extent to which we are willing to provide a range of sexual information and skills to young people. More progressive countries reinforce messages that sex can be a positive part of our intimate lives, our sense of self, our adventures and connection. Young people in those countries have healthier and happier sexual lives. They know how to enjoy sex while preventing infections and unwanted pregnancy.

Many countries, including Canada, are swayed by a vocal minority who strongly believe that teaching young people about the positive components of sexuality will prompt unhealthy outcomes, despite all evidence to the contrary. When parents and educators fail you, and peers lack credibility, where else are you to turn?

Porn – lessons in freak

Enter porn. Young people turn to porn to find out how things work, but what they learn is not especially helpful. Porn provides lessons in exaggerated performance, dominance and self-indulgence. The relationships are superficial and detached. Producers rely heavily on shock value and “freak” to maximize viewer arousal, distorting our understanding of what is typical or common among our peers.

Of course young people turn to porn to find out how sex happens. It’s free, easily accessible and, for the most part, private. One young man in our interviews said, “I learned a lot about what goes where, all the varieties from porn, but it’s pretty intimidating. And, I mean, they don’t look like they’re loving it, really loving it.”

Our research makes painfully clear how few messages young people have learned about how to have fun, pleasurable, satisfying sex. They may seem self-indulgent to you, but then nobody took on the task of saying, “Sex should be fun, enjoyable and a way to connect. Let’s talk about how it all works.”

Fun sex as safe sex

Did anyone teach you these lessons? A friend and esteemed fellow researcher told me that he learned how sex worked by viewing his dad’s porn magazines. The only problem was that in his first sexual encounter he did not realize that there was movement involved.

Without a platform of positive communication with our youth about sexuality, and specifically about how sex unfolds and can brighten life and improve health and well-being, there is no room for them to address new challenges in the sexual realm. The World Health Organization’s alarming report of the rise of antibiotic resistant gonorrhea, for instance, will sound like another dire warning from an endless stream. Nobody is consistently motivated by threats.

We must talk to young people about how to have fun sex. This will help to offset the chances that struggling with problems in their sexual lives now will develop sexual dysfunctions and relationship strain that distress so many adults. These lessons will arm them with the information and skills required to keep them safe and to seek effective solutions when problems emerge. Best of all, they will be healthier and happier now and as adults as a result.

Complete Article HERE!

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Vaginismus: solutions to a painful sexual taboo

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Many women use terms such as ‘failure’ or ‘freak’ to describe themselves

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Vaginismus is often a problem from the start of a woman’s sexual life but for some it is a secondary problem, developing even though there may have been previous positive sexual experiences

Vaginismus is often a problem from the start of a woman’s sexual life but for some it is a secondary problem, developing even though there may have been previous positive sexual experiences

Vaginismus is a very common but rarely discussed problem. Most women I see with this difficulty will not have discussed it with anyone else, not even female members of their own family or girlfriends. The silence that surrounds the issue and the sense of shame experienced sometimes serves to compound the difficulty itself. Many women with whom I have worked will use terms such as “failure” or “freak” to describe themselves, wishing they were “normal” just like every other woman.

Before seeking therapy, they will often have suffered this distress over a long period of time, not feeling able to embark on or enjoy sexual relationships. The thought that they may not be able to conceive through intercourse is frequently a huge anxiety for these women.

What is vaginismus?
Vaginismus occurs when the muscles around the entrance to the vagina involuntarily contract. It is an automatic, reflexive action; the woman is not intending or trying to tighten these muscles, in fact it is the very opposite of what she is hoping for. Often it is a problem right from the start of a woman’s sexual life but for some it is a secondary problem, developing even though there may have been previous positive sexual experiences. In most cases, the woman is unable to use tampons or have a smear test.

What are the symptoms?
The main symptom of vaginismus is difficulty achieving penetration during intercourse and the woman will experience varying degrees of pain or discomfort with attempts. Partners often describe it like “hitting a wall”. This is as a result of spasm within the very strong pelvic floor or pubococcygeus muscle group. Spasm or tightening may also occur in the lower back and thighs.

What are the causes?
Vaginismus is the result of the body and mind developing a conditioned response to the anticipation of pain. This is an unconscious action, akin to the reflexive action of blinking when something is about to hit our eye. This aspect of vaginismus is one of the most distressing for women as they really want their bodies to respond to arousal and yet find it impossible to manage penetrative sex. The more anxious they become, the less aroused they will feel and the entire problem becomes a vicious cycle.

Vaginismus can occur as a result of psychological or physical issues. Often it is a combination of both. Psychological issues centre around fear and anxiety; worries about sex, performance, negativity about sex from overly rigid family or school messages.

Inadequate sex education is often a feature in vaginismus, resulting in fears about the penis being able to fit or the risk of being hurt or torn. There can also be anxiety about the relationship, trust and commitment fears or a difficulty with being vulnerable or losing control.

Occasionally a woman may have experienced sexual assault, rape or sexual abuse and the trauma associated with these experiences may lead to huge fears around penetration. There are physical causes too – the discomfort caused by thrush, fissures, urinary tract infections, lichens sclerosis or eczema and the aftermath of a difficult vaginal delivery can all trigger the spasm in the PC muscles. Menopausal women can sometimes experience vaginismus as a result of hormonal-related vaginal dryness.

Treatment
Vaginismus is highly treatable. Because every woman is different, the duration of therapy will vary but, with commitment to the therapy process, improvement can be seen quite rapidly. Therapy is a combination of psychosexual education, slow and measured practice with finger insertion and/or vaginal trainers at home and pelvic floor exercises. Women with partners are encouraged to bring them along to sessions so that the therapist can work with them as a couple towards a successful attempt at intercourse.

Vaginismus can place huge stresses on a couple’s relationship as well as their sexual life; therapy can help the couple talk about and navigate these stresses. This is particularly important for a couple wishing to start a family.

What do I do if I think I have vaginismus?
Make an appointment with the GP. It will be helpful to have an examination to out rule any physical problem and have it treated if necessary. The GP is likely to refer you to a sex therapist, a psychotherapist who has specialised in sex and relationships through further training. They have specific expertise in working with this problem on a regular basis. You can also refer yourself to a sex therapist but, because of the very complex and sensitive nature of sex and sexuality, it is important to ensure that they are qualified and accredited. Sex therapists in Ireland may be found on www.cosrt.org.uk

GEMMA’S STORY
Robert was my first boyfriend. We waited six months to try sex, mostly because I was a virgin and very nervous. My mother had always warned me about not getting pregnant and I think I was too scared to try. When we did try, it didn’t work, it was disastrous. We tried again and again but he could not get in.

Every time we tried, I ended up in tears and over time I started to avoid sex. Robert was really patient but I know that it was very tough for him and I felt guilty. We thought it was a phase and it would improve with time. It didn’t stop us getting engaged because we knew we were right for each other.

Eventually I got the courage up to go to the doctor who diagnosed vaginismus – the relief of having a name to put on it was huge. She referred me to a sex therapist. I was embarrassed even talking about it, but quite honestly it was a relief to finally discuss it all. She explained everything about my problem and started me practising with vaginal trainers. I even got to start using tampons, something I never thought I would be able to do.

Robert also came to the sessions and that was a big help. We were given exercises to do at home together that helped me relax a lot. I made a lot of progress over a couple of months and, finally, last Christmas we got to try intercourse again. Success! Our sexual relationship is completely different now, no more worries and lots more fun.

I feel as if a huge worry has been lifted off my shoulders.

Complete Article HERE!

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What a pain in the ass!

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Name: Garth
Gender: Male
Age: 44
Location: South Africa
Hi, I fissured my butt sometime ago and I think it has healed. I have undergone a Lateral Sphincterotomy twice – inner and outer. Unfortunately the area is now VERY sensitive and when I defecate the area ‘screams’ in pain. The softer my stool the worse the pain. When my stool is firm, the pain is less. Will this go away? Is there any medication that I can use?

Everyone in my audience please listen up! I am not a medical doctor, nor do I play one on the internet. The Dr Dick moniker I use refers to my Ph.D. I am a clinical sexologist or a sex therapist if you prefer, not a physician. Get it? Got it? Good!

That being said, anal fissures are a common proctological problem, especially for the heavy ass play crowd. An anal fissure is a tear at the anal tissue. The most common complaint is pain in the anal region during and after taking a dump, itching and possibly some bleeding. Pain and irritation result in spasm of the internal anal sphincter muscle, which then fails to relax during defecation further aggravating the condition.ass-pain

The lateral sphincterotomy you mention is a surgical procedure that removes the fissure. This operation remains the primary form of treatment for chronic anal fissure.

From all that I could learn from my medical consultants, if your surgeries healed properly you shouldn’t be experiencing pain, let alone “screaming pain” when you shit. We all understand that the area will continue to be sensitive, but the pain you describe is not a good sign. You may very well have an infection. You need to have that looked at ASAP. This is nothing to roll around with.

Here’s a tip for all everyone in my audience: pain, of any sort, is one way our body talks to us. Its message is: things are not as they should be; get it fixed NOW. Sometimes the pain will subside when we stop doing something…like holding our hand too close to a flame, or being flogged senseless by Christian Grey. Some pain will only subside when a condition is fixed…like getting a cavity in one’s tooth filled. Other pain, like the emotional pain that come with depression is harder to soothe, but it is important to try. Finally, pain like Garth is experiencing means something is very wrong. And if not attended to immediately, things will only get worse.

Good luck

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Whataya Think?

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Name: Alyssa
Gender: Female
Age: 26
Location: Vancouver
I’ve recently begun dating a very nice, attractive guy who has a unique fetish. He’s very sweet and complimentary in real life but when we play he likes to say dirty and very insulting and frankly pretty outrageous things about my mouth. I have enjoyed it when we’ve played this way but I kind of wonder deep down if he actually likes my mouth or not. He says it’s just a fetish and he thinks it’s beautiful. Can you give me some insight into this?

Seems to me, Alyssa, if the BF only does this trash talk during sex, then it is, as he insists a fetish. I recommend that you not try to read anything more into it than that. Don’t over think it and don’t second-guess this harmless fetish. In fact, you ought to revel in the fact that you have a man that enjoys something a little out of the ordinary. And hey, why not give dirty talk a try yourself. You can, you know. All ya gotta do is get into the same mind set as the BF, and give him as good as you get. I can pretty much assure you that this will turn his crank, big time.i just can't

Name: Baux
Gender: Male
Age: 18
Location: Colorado
I’m a young gay guy; I have been having anal sex on the bottom since I was 14 years old. There have been no more than 15 guys, though I’ve probably had sex around 50 or so times. Recently within the last few months, sex has stopped feeling good. The initial burn caused by penetration won’t go away. I truly do want to keep having sex; do you have any idea why my ass is suddenly so sensitive?

Wow you sure are precocious, my friend!

And yes, I do have some idea why your ass is suddenly so sensitive. I’d be willing to guess that you may have developed an anal fissure.

An anal fissure is a tear in the lining of the anus or anal canal. The fissure can be painful and may bleed. For more information on this; search my site using the term, “Anal Fissure.”

This is nothing to fool around with, pup. Have yourself checked out by a physician ASAP. Remember, our bodies often offer us warning signals when something isn’t right. A painful burning sensation is one such warning signal. Please, attend to this right away. Take yourself to a community free clinic for screening if you don’t have a general practitioner you can rely on.

Good luck

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Down, but not out

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Name: Roger
Gender: Male
Age: 70s
Location: Saugatuck Michigan
Hi– linked to your very interesting site via Allkink. My question: last year I underwent radiation on my prostate; it was enlarged and had cancer cells. Apparently it did the job, since my PSA is way down and the Dr. says I’ve shrunk, and am healthy otherwise. But since then I am almost totally impotent (don’t get erect when I want to, though sometimes get semi-erect at random times). I can still orgasm, but don’t ejaculate; sometimes a little clear fluid dribbles out afterwards. Curiously, I could still ejaculate during and right after the radiation treatments, but not now. Also in general a noticeable decrease in libido. Needless to say, very annoying.

I’m gay, solo, in my 70s, celibate since mid-1980s when I tested HIV-, and a dedicated bottom. I knew I was at risk, and “safe-sex” just didn’t turn me on. I’ve been using dildos of all sizes for years. Now, insertion has become a little painful (kinda stings, like the first times way back when), but after several tries they go in OK. Those of larger girth or not-very-smooth texture are really difficult, and I’ve pretty much given up on them (though “John Holmes” still works!). There is occasionally a little blood on the dildo afterwards, but bleeding doesn’t persist, and Dr. says I have no hemorrhoid. The radiologist did warn me that the treatment might produce scar tissue in the colon. Is that a possibility?

I hate to think that I ought to give up altogether on my little pleasures, but would welcome you advice/opinion. I haven’t discussed this with my urologist, whom I don’t know very well, but did bring it up with my (female) GP, who didn’t seem overly concerned and merely suggested lots of lube, which was not news to me.PMB110

Wow, Roger, that was a mouthful. I am so delighted that you wrote in. I love hearing from folks in their 60’s 70’s and 80’s who are still enjoying a rich and fulfilling sex life, even if it is by themselves. I am of the mind that self-pleasuring can be some of the most rewarding sex available to a person at any age. And nowadays, with all the amazing sex toys on the market, one can enjoy solitary sexual pleasure like never before.

I’ve written and spoken a lot about prostate issues including the aftermath of cancer treatments. May I suggest that you take a look at the CATEGORY section on the sidebar of my site? There you will find a category labeled “Health Concerns.” There are subcategories for “Anal Fissures,”  and one for “Prostatectomy.”  I realize that you haven’t had a radical prostatectomy, but your situation is very similar to those men who have. If you click on either of those two subcategories you will find loads of useful information in both written and podcasts form.

In the meantime, let me see if I can address some of your questions in a nutshell. You ask about possible scar tissue from radiation therapy. The short answer is; yes, scar tissue is possible, even probable. And as we all know scar tissue is not nearly as pliable as regular tissue. Scar tissue also MR01034has fewer nerve ending than normal tissue. You could be injuring yourself without even knowing it since the sensations in your ass are considerably less then they once were. I’d be willing to guess that this might be the source of the bleeding you report. Maybe you need to retire the really big toys, like the John Holmes, and enjoy something more modest for the time being. Another suggestion is to try an inflatable dildo.  or a smaller insertable that vibrates.  There are several on the market. You can find several in My Stockroom. The advantage to something like the inflatable dildo is that you could insert something relatively narrow  and inflate to a larger size once inside. This would avoid ramming a big dildo in bum from the get go. And a vibrating insertable would add stimulation without the length or girth.E477

As to your erection issues; yeah, I hear ya. Aging alone will take its toll on the hydraulics that give us wood. When you couple that with the trauma of invasive surgery and/or radiation therapy, well it’s no wonder stiffies elude us. I tell the men that I see in my private practice, who are similarly challenged as you, to use a cock ring  to assist in getting the best boner possible under the circumstances. A penis pump works pretty well too, if you want to go the distance.  I have lots more to say about these devices if you care to hear about it.

C923Also, several men I know with erection concerns are taking a cue from the women folk and employing a vibrator in their sex play. There are the insertable kind, as I’ve already mentioned, and there are external ones too. Have you given this option a thought? The extra stimulation a vibrator can produce will increase blood flow and thus a more substantial boner. I have a whole lot more to say about this too if you care to write to me for that information.

In the end, it will be desire that will continue to propel you to further enjoy yourself and the pleasures your body has to offer. I wish you continued lust and many more years of healthy and life-affirming sexuality.

Good luck

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