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When a Partner Cheats

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Marriages fall apart for many different reasons, but one of the most common and most challenging to overcome is the discovery that one partner has “cheated” on the other.

I put the word cheated in quotes because the definition of infidelity can vary widely among and within couples. Though most often it involves explicit sexual acts with someone other than one’s spouse or committed partner, there are also couples torn asunder by a partner’s surreptitious use of pornography, a purely emotional relationship with no sexual contact, virtual affairs, even just ogling or flirting with a nonpartner.

Infidelity is hardly a new phenomenon. It has existed for as long as people have united as couples, married or otherwise. Marriage counselors report that affairs sometimes occur in happy relationships as well as troubled ones.

According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, national surveys indicate that 15 percent of married women and 25 percent of married men have had extramarital affairs. The incidence is about 20 percent higher when emotional and sexual relationships without intercourse are included. As more women began working outside the home, their chances of having an affair have increased accordingly.

Volumes have been written about infidelity, most recently two excellent and illuminating books: “The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity” by Esther Perel, a New York psychotherapist, and “Healing from Infidelity” by Michele Weiner-Davis, a psychotherapist in Boulder, Colo. Both books are based on the authors’ extensive experience counseling couples whose relationships have been shattered by affairs.

The good news is, depending upon what caused one partner to wander and how determined a couple is to remain together, infidelity need not result in divorce. In fact, Ms. Perel and other marriage counselors have found, couples that choose to recover from and rebuild after infidelity often end up with a stronger, more loving and mutually understanding relationship than they had previously.

“People who’ve been betrayed need to know that there’s no shame in staying in the marriage — they’re not doormats, they’re warriors,” Ms. Weiner-Davis said in an interview. “The gift they provide to their families by working through the pain is enormous.”

Ms. Perel concedes that “some affairs will deliver a fatal blow to a relationship.” But she wrote, “Others may inspire change that was sorely needed. Betrayal cuts to the bone, but the wound can be healed. Plenty of people care deeply for the well-being of their partners even while lying to them, just as plenty of those who have been betrayed continue to love the ones who lied to them and want to find a way to stay together.”

The latter was exactly the position a friend of mine found herself in after discovering her husband’s affair. “At first I wanted to kick him out,” she told me. “But I realized that I didn’t want to get divorced. My mother did that and she ended up raising three children alone. I didn’t want a repeat of my childhood. I wanted my son, who was then 2 years old, to have a father in his life. But I also knew that if we were going to stay together, we had to go to couples counseling.”

About a dozen sessions later, my friend came away with critical insights: “I know I’m not perfect. I was very focused on taking care of my son, and my husband wasn’t getting from me whatever he needed. Everybody should be allowed to make mistakes and learn from them. We learned how to talk to each other and really listen. I love him and respect him, I’m so happy we didn’t split apart. He’s a wonderful father, a stimulating partner, and while our marriage isn’t perfect — whose is? — we are supportive and nurturing of each other. Working through the affair made us stronger.”

As happened with my friend, most affairs result from dissatisfaction with the marital relationship, fueled by temptation and opportunity. One partner may spend endless hours and days on work, household chores, outside activities or even social media, to the neglect of their spouse’s emotional and sexual needs. Often betrayed partners were unaware of what was lacking in the relationship and did not suspect that trouble was brewing.

Or the problem may result from a partner’s personal issues, like an inability to deal with conflict, a fear of intimacy, deep-seated insecurity or changes in life circumstances that rob the marital relationship of the attention and affection that once sustained it.

But short of irreversible incompatibility or physical or emotional abuse, with professional counseling and a mutual willingness to preserve the marriage, therapists maintain that couples stand a good chance of overcoming the trauma of infidelity and avoiding what is often the more painful trauma of divorce.

Ms. Weiner-Davis points out that “except in the most severe cases such as ongoing physical abuse or addiction,” divorce often creates more problems than it solves, an observation that prompted her to write her first book, “Divorce Busting.”

Ms. Weiner-Davis readily admits that recovering from infidelity is hard work and the process cannot be rushed. Yet, as she wrote in her new book, “many clients have shared that had it not been for their partner’s affair, they’d never have looked at, discussed, and healed some of the underlying issues that were broken at the foundation of their relationship.”

Rather than destroying the marriage, the affair acted as a catalyst for positive changes, Ms. Weiner-Davis maintains. In her new book, she outlines tasks for both the betrayed spouse and the unfaithful one that can help them better understand and meet the emotional and physical needs of their partners.

Both she and Ms. Perel have found that, with the benefit of good counseling, some couples “divorce” their old marriages and start anew with a relationship that is more honest and loving.

It is important to find a therapist who can help the couple weather the many ups and downs that are likely to occur in working through the issues that lead to infidelity, Ms. Weiner-Davis said. “If they expect setbacks and are willing to work through them, the odds are good that they’ll end up with a healed marriage.”

“Infidelity is a unique situation that requires unique therapeutic skills,” she said. She suggested that in selecting a therapist, couples ask if the therapist has any training and experience in treating infidelity and how successful the therapist has been in helping marriages heal.

Complete Article HERE!

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Breaking taboos

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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!

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12 Things All Men Should Know About Their Balls

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We don’t want to bust your balls, but how much do you really know about your testicles? Guys talk about them, brag about them, and let clichés about them flow from their lips without a second thought. So take a few moments to think about your down under friends with 12 ball busting facts about your testicles.

What’s in a name?

“Testicles” and “balls” are not exactly the same thing. When men refer to their balls, they are actually talking about three things: the testicles, the scrotum (the skin sac that protects the testicles), and tiny tubes called epididymides that are attached to the testis and which store and transport sperm. Your testicles are your big T (testosterone) producers, so you want to make sure they are healthy and happy at all times!

Location, location, location.

Real estate agents know the value of location, and your testicles aren’t much different. That is, your left ball and your right ball are not exactly next to each other; one hangs a little bit lower than the other (or one is higher than the other, your preference). Each ball is approximately 2 inches by 1 inch, although typically the right testicle is slightly bigger than the left one. However, even though you might think the bigger testicle should hang lower, that’s not the way nature works. Go figure.

Bigger is not necessarily better.

According to a study conducted at Emory University, men who have smaller testes are more likely to be nurturing dads than are their peers who have bigger balls. The authors evaluated 70 American men, including Caucasians, African-Americans, and Asians, who had a child aged one to two years old. Analysis of brain function while the men looked at children and questionnaire responses resulted in the conclusion that “the biology of human males reflects a trade-off between mating effort and parenting effort, as indexed by testicular size and nurturing-related brain function, respectively.”

Two’s company, three’s a crowd.

An extremely rare condition called polyorchidism is defined as the presence of three—or more—testicles. Only about 200 cases of polyorchidism, more or less, have been reported in the literature, so it’s not a condition that should keep you up at night with worry. However, if you have a unexplained mass in your scrotum, it’s something your doctor may want to rule out.

Pain in the balls.

If you experience painful, swollen, and/or inflamed testicles for no apparent reason (e.g., no one has kicked you down under), it may be time to see your doctor. Trauma to the testicles, such as from a sports injury, usually results in temporary pain. In other cases, however, such as testicular torsion (twisted testicle, which is a medical emergency), epididymitis (inflammation of the epididymis, often caused by a sexually transmitted disease such as gonorrhea), inguinal hernia, testicular tumor, or orchitis (inflammation of the testicle from bacteria or viruses), a doctor should be consulted. Sometimes it’s more than just a pain in the balls!

Bumpy balls.

One thing you can say about a man’s balls—they aren’t attractive. All those little bumps and lumps sure don’t make them pleasing to the eye, but are they dangerous as well? In most cases, no. However, an enlarged vein called a varicocele can have a negative impact on fertility and be painful. Tiny fluid-filled bumps called epididymal cysts are unsightly but harmless. Only 4 percent of the unusual lumps on the balls end up being cancer. If you have a lump or bump that doesn’t seem quite right or that has appeared suddenly or changed in size or shape, be sure to have your doctor check it out.

Cool balls, man.

Your body temperature may hover around 98.6 degrees, but your balls run about 1 to 3 degrees cooler. Why? It seems to be nature’s way to keep sperm “on ice” so to speak. A cooler temperature keeps sperm in a resting state until they are ready to move on and result in pregnancy or just a vacation away from home. On the other side of the cooler, when men experience a fever or sit in a sauna for a length of time, their sperm counts are temporarily reduced. Cool is where it’s at.

Balls rise to the occasion.

Just before a man ejaculates, his testicles rise up close to his body and make contact at the moment of truth. More specifically, in most men the right testicle begins the journey upwards before the left one. Since the right ball is usually already closer to the body (see “Location, location, location”), it has less of a journey to make.

Pampering balls.

If you want your balls to be all they can be, then pamper them. That means no smoking (lowers sperm count), limit alcohol use (lowers T and sperm count), dress them comfortably (no overly tight underwear, pants, or bathing suits—except on limited special occasions!), wash them daily and gently, and protect them from trauma, especially in sports. On this latter point, wear a protective cup during contact sports and get the right saddle for your bicycle.

Balls have muscles.

Well, not exactly, but there are several types of muscles in the area that are responsible for keeping your balls in motion. For example, the cremasteric muscle works like an elevator, causing your scrotum and testicles to rise and lower (see “Balls rise to the occasion”). Another muscle called cartos causes the testicles to move within the scrotum. This muscle tissue is also the one that can be blamed for the wrinkly appearance of your balls. The good news: you don’t need to work these muscles in the gym!

Ball check.

Once a month, all men should check their balls. Not just a perfunctory pat, but a thorough examination to be sure there are no hard lumps or any bumps that have changed in size or shape. Why? Testicular cancer is not near the top of the disease list, but it does affect about 1 in every 270 men. When caught early, it usually can be cured. The best time to perform this ritual is when showering. If something doesn’t feel right, see your doctor.

Ball busting.

During sexual arousal, a man’s balls can increase in size by 50 percent or more. Of course, most men are too busy thinking about something else while the blood is rushing to their testicles, but their partners may notice the change. This ball busting event is temporary, and the testicles return to normal size once the excitement is over. However, if a man’s balls don’t return to normal size or become enlarged at other times, it’s time for a visit to your doctor.

Complete Article HERE!

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What a leather convention can teach everyone about sex and consent

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I don’t think I’d ever realized just how “vanilla” I was, and how little I understood about all of the ways you can engage in fun, healthy, consensual, adventurous sex.

“Hotel is closed for private event” read the signs affixed to the front of the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill last weekend. A steady stream of people, mostly men, many in leather harnesses, some in collars and on leashes, and some simply in jeans and sweaters, walked in and out in an almost continuous stream.

Mid-Atlantic Leather (MAL), now in its 48th year, is a three-day long celebration of the leather community, a subculture that celebrates various sexual kinks, many centered around leather and toys. Bears, daddies, pups and others identifying with various subsets roam the Hyatt Regency, participating in conference-like demonstrations about suspension (BDSM where you’re bound and hung) and electro (BDSM involving electric shocks), buying handcrafted leather goods and sex toys, and, of course, partying. (Actual sex was not part of the convention but no doubt took place in private.) It’s a predominantly LGBTQ centric space, although look closely enough and you’re sure to find people on every part of the gender and sexuality spectrum.

My first MAL was in the winter of 2016. I’d just gone through a breakup and my friend had suggested that perhaps it would be good for me to explore life beyond my comfort zone. “Just get ready,” he’d said, “it may be more than your little vanilla heart can handle.” And he wasn’t entirely wrong. It wasn’t that I couldn’t handle it, but I don’t think I’d ever realized just how “vanilla” I was, and how little I understood about all of the ways you can engage in fun, healthy, consensual, adventurous sex.

That first year I met Adam, a dentist in town from Texas just for MAL. “You look like you could use a drink,” he said back in a hotel room he was sharing with a friend of mine.

“Do I look that out of place?” I asked. I’d put on a leather jacket to try to blend in.

“Not out of place,” he said, “just kind of shocked.”

And shocked I was. Not necessarily at anything that was going on at the hotel that night, but more so at the fact that for the better part of my life I’d allowed myself to believe that this kind of sexual openness was only available to a certain kind of person.

“Where I grew up, there wasn’t really anything like this,” said Anthony, a 30-year-old living in Arlington, Va., who grew up in Portsmouth. (The sources for this story preferred that only first names be used, for privacy reasons). “There was no kink culture, and I really wanted to explore it. Everyone here was super welcoming, and that’s why I keep coming back.”

This was a common sentiment. “It’s a different part of the gay family,” said Garret, 28, who lives in Washington. “We all have different interests … and if nobody else respects that, come to MAL because they do here.”

Respect, as it turns out, is a dominating theme throughout the course of the weekend. You might expect that when many attendees are walking around in only a jockstrap and a harness, but it is pleasantly surprising to see how strictly they adhere to that principle. In the era of #MeToo, when more and more queer folks are being vocal about the role consent plays in queer spaces, perhaps the leather and kink communities have something to teach the general public about active and enthusiastic consent.

Ask for permission before petting. Hold out your hand and let the pup come to you first. If the pup doesn’t, or turns or growls, let them be as they may not want to or have permission. This is rule No. 5 as listed on the board outside the 10th anniversary mosh at the MAL Puppy Park, a yearly tradition in which individuals who participate in pup play — a BDSM role-play wherein one participant acts as the “pup” and one as the handler — have an opportunity to interact with other pups. Other rules include: Nudity is not permitted in public spaces, genitals cannot be exposed and DO NOT pull on a pup’s tail or collar. It can cause injury and is disrespectful. Change some of the verbiage and perhaps these would be appropriate guidelines to post at the Academy Awards.

“It’s where I met my current roommate,” said Allyn, a 31-year-old originally from Wisconsin who now lives in Washington, of his first MAL experience. “It was exhilarating. I’d never seen anything like it. It make me feel brave and nervous at the same time.” He didn’t speak to his would-be roommate the first night they met, however. “I mean, I had a ball gag in at the time,” he recounted.

Zack, 23, from Baltimore, also used the world “exhilarating” when describing his first MAL experience. “I got chills coming down the escalator into the lobby of the hotel,” he said. “It’s the closest thing to Folsom I’ve ever been too,” a reference to the San Francisco street fair that’s the world’s largest leather celebration.

Everyone I spoke to talked about descending that escalator on the evening of the opening party. It is truly a complete sensory experience. The sight, sound and smell of wall-to-wall leather and latex on every kind of body, not just seen but celebrated and appreciated.

While I was talking to Garret about the weekend, someone he appeared to know approached him, whispered something in his ear and, after he nodded yes, lifted Garret’s arm and began to sniff his armpit. Garret continued to answer my questions without pause. “There may be something over here that’s not your thing, but then you’ll look over there and see something going on that you’re totally into,” he explained “Don’t be shy, don’t judge other people for something you don’t understand. And above all, come and have a good time. No one is here to be spectacled. It can be a learning and cultural experience.” The sniffer had moved on to his other armpit by the time he finished talking.

Although I have yet to be brave enough to buy and wear a harness to MAL myself, each year I attend I move closer toward that goal. At the very least, the event has highlighted for me the fact that there is an exciting world beyond the “vanilla” one I’d relegated myself to — and has given me a better understanding of the queer community as a whole. At one point, in the leather market, a man who had recently undergone top surgery was trying on a new harness next to a group of folks signing to one another, while feet away a $1,400 bejeweled pup hood was on sale. Only at MAL.

Complete Article HERE!

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A Beginner’s Pleasure Kit For Men

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Hey sex fans!

It’s Product Review Friday once again. Today we bring you a kit of pleasure products for men produced by NS Novelties. These products come to us from ManShop.

Back with us today is one of the newest members of the Dr Dick Review Crew, Trevor, who will show us around.

Renegade Men’s Pleasure Kit #1 —— $29.95

Trevor
Hello again! I’m here to talk about the Renegade Men’s Pleasure Kit #1. It’s just one of the pleasure kits NS Novelties makes.

Before I get to the contents of the box, a quick word about the packaging. It’s handsome in a manly sort of way. The front of the black cardboard box features embossed images of the three toys in the kit. They identify the toys as a Silicone Triad Ring, (read: glorified cockring) Silicone Plug Small, (read: butt plug) and finally, a TPR Stroker (read: wanker sleeve). The back of the box features a see-through cutout of the toys along with an illustration of how to use the Triad Ring. I’m glad they did that because I was completely stumped as to what to do with the thing when I first saw it.

Inside the box there is a clear plastic clamshell sort of deal that houses the three toys.

So now that we know what the box contains let’s look at each toy in turn. I’m going to start with the Triad Ring. Like I said I was totally miffed by what I held in my hand. It looks like a figure 8 with an extra loop. Each of the three rings are a slightly different diameter. Once I saw the illustration on the box I figured it out. You can stack them or spread them out. The largest of the loops is used like a traditional cockring. It is made of silicone, so that’s good. It’s also stretchy so that I can easily get it around my cock and balls. (BTW, if you don’t know what a cockring is or why you would want to wear one; check out Dr Dick’s tutorial: Cockring Crash Course.)

Once I had the largest of the rings in place I attempted to stuff my balls through the middle ring. This wasn’t at all easy. You see, the smaller the rings get the less give they have for stretching. I don’t want to brag but I have big balls and it was a struggle getting it on. I finally had to resort to using some water-based lube to assist me with this. Finally, I had to fit my cock through the smallest ring. This was a bit easier, but the lube helped too. Once I had the blasted thing in place I had to take a breather. Here’s a tip: if you plan to use the Triad Ring for sex with a partner, be sure you put it on way before you initiate sex with your partner. It would be a total buzz kill trying to wrangle this thing into place while your partner is patiently waiting. Also, if ya try to put this on when you already have a boner, you’ll lose the stiffy well before you get into place. Maybe that’s a good thing.

Personally I found the Triad Ring overkill. I love wearing a cockring and it is very helpful keeping an erection, but the Triad Ring wasn’t very comfortable and it didn’t do anything extra to enhance my erection.

Next we have the Silicone Plug Small. Again, it’s made of silicone, which is very good. If you don’t know this already, you can only use water-based lube with this silicone toy. And if you are a novice butt pirate, be sure to use a lot of lube, both on the toy and in you hole before you attempt insertion.

I’m kinda new to anal pleasuring so I appreciated that the Silicone Plug was of the small variety. It’s not too much larger than a stout finger. (BTW, if you are unsure of what a butt plug is or why you would want to use one; check out Dr Dick’s tutorial: Butt Plug Crash Course.)

I liked the Silicone Plug a lot. I mostly use it when I’m alone. I can wear this thing for hours without irritation. It gives me intense prostate stimulation and I can even bust a nut without much stroking and just from the prostate stimulation alone. Very cool!

 

Now that I got the hang of this but plug thing, I’m gonna try a slightly larger one. I may even start to wear it when I’m having a shag with my GF, Shelia. That should give her something to talk about.

Finally, we have the TPR Stroker. I had to look up TPR. TPR = Thermo Plasticized Rubber. I found that TPR is commonly used in adult toys due to cost effectiveness, and ease of manufacturing. These materials can range from soft and flexible to firm and stiff. The good news is these elastomers do NOT have phthalates in them. And they are safe for those with a latex allergies. The bad news is the products containing TPR, while compatible with water and silicone based lubricants, are not compatible with oils, like massage oil. They are also not non-porous, so they can’t be sterilized, like silicone can, so there’s no sharing this toy with anyone else. These products should not be stored touching other plastic items, as they may interact poorly and melt. ☹

The TPR Stroker, curiously enough, has a set of finger rings on the side so you can have a secure grip while you stroke it up and down your cock. I thought that was funny because it seems pretty superfluous to me. It only has an insertable length of just less than 5”. My cock is 7” and pretty thick, so this was not designed with me in mind. The hole you stick your dick into is pretty small too and I couldn’t insert my willie without a big glob of lube. I used water-based lube. The inside of the stroker is ribbed for my pleasure.

I’ve used a number of strokers in the past; this is my least favorite, mostly because it wasn’t the right size for me. You might like it better than I do.

After using it a couple of times and washing it thoroughly in warm water and mild soap I noticed that the TPR began to get tacky. That was a bummer because I didn’t want to touch it after that. BTW, air-drying it is the only thing you can do. Don’t try to dry it with a cloth.

The other two toys, the Silicone Plug and Triad Ring, are made of silicone and they are really easy to clean. Toss them into the skink with mild soap and warm water, scrub them down a bit, and let it air dry. Or you can just wipe it down with a lint-free towel moistened with peroxide, rubbing alcohol or a 10% bleach solution to sanitize for sharing.

In the end, I thought this kit was a mixed bag. I liked the butt plug, the Triad Ring was just OK, and the TPR Stroker was a bust. On the plus side, the price is right for the kit. You can get it for under $30.

Full Review HERE!

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