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More of Shai Rotem – Podcast #181 – 01/20/10

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Hey sex fans,

We’re back with my guest Shai Rotem, and Part 2 of our conversation about surrogate partner therapy; or as it is otherwise known as, sex surrogacy.  And this, my pretties, is the brand-spankin’ new SEX WISDOM podcast series, where we chat with renowned researchers, educators, clinicians, pundits and philosophers; who are making news and reshaping how we look at our sexual selves.

Did you happen to miss the inaugural program in this series? Not to worry!  Part 1 of my conversation with Shai is archived right here on my site.  Use the search function to your right, type in podcast #179 and PRESTO!  Be sure to use the #sign when you search.

Shai and I discuss:

  • How one becomes a certified surrogate partner.
  • IPSA training and supervision.
  • His work history; beginning in Israel.
  • How his clients find him.
  • Common myths of surrogate partner therapy.
  • His role as mentor and advisor to and trainer of other surrogates.
  • What the future holds for him and his work.

Shai invites you to learn more about surrogate partner therapy by visiting the International Professional Surrogates Association’s website HERE!

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Check out The Lick-A-Dee-Split Connection. That’s Dr Dick’s toll free podcast voicemail HOTLINE. Don’t worry people; no one will personally answer the phone. Your message goes directly to voicemail.

Got a question or a comment? Wanna rant or rave? Or maybe you’d just like to talk dirty for a minute or two. Why not get it off your chest! Give Dr Dick a call at (866) 422-5680.

DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY!

Look for all my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll find me in the podcast section, obviously. Just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.

Today’s Podcast is bought to you by: Eden Fantasys.

Sex toys - EdenFantasys adult toys store

There’s No Such Thing as Everlasting Love (According to Science)

Just in time for Valentine’s day!

A new book argues that the emotion happens in “micro-moments of positivity resonance.”

love story

By Emily Esfahani Smith

In her new book Love 2.0: How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do, and Become, the psychologist Barbara Fredrickson offers a radically new conception of love.

Fredrickson, a leading researcher of positive emotions at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, presents scientific evidence to argue that love is not what we think it is. It is not a long-lasting, continually present emotion that sustains a marriage; it is not the yearning and passion that characterizes young love; and it is not the blood-tie of kinship.

Rather, it is what she calls a “micro-moment of positivity resonance.” She means that love is a connection, characterized by a flood of positive emotions, which you share with another person—any other person—whom you happen to connect with in the course of your day. You can experience these micro-moments with your romantic partner, child, or close friend. But you can also fall in love, however momentarily, with less likely candidates, like a stranger on the street, a colleague at work, or an attendant at a grocery store. Louis Armstrong put it best in “It’s a Wonderful World” when he sang, “I see friends shaking hands, sayin ‘how do you do?’ / They’re really sayin’, ‘I love you.'”

sad on valentine's day

Fredrickson’s unconventional ideas are important to think about at this time of year. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, many Americans are facing a grim reality: They are love-starved. Rates of loneliness are on the rise as social supports are disintegrating. In 1985, when the General Social Survey polled Americans on the number of confidants they have in their lives, the most common response was three. In 2004, when the survey was given again, the most common response was zero.

According to the University of Chicago’s John Cacioppo, an expert on loneliness, and his co-author William Patrick, “at any given time, roughly 20 percent of individuals—that would be 60 million people in the U.S. alone—feel sufficiently isolated for it to be a major source of unhappiness in their lives.” For older Americans, that number is closer to 35 percent. At the same time, rates of depression have been on the rise. In his 2011 book Flourish, the psychologist Martin Seligman notes that according to some estimates, depression is 10 times more prevalent now than it was five decades ago. Depression affects about 10 percent of the American population, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

A global poll taken last Valentine’s Day showed that most married people—or those with a significant other—list their romantic partner as the greatest source of happiness in their lives. According to the same poll, nearly half of all single people are looking for a romantic partner, saying that finding a special person to love would contribute greatly to their happiness.

But to Fredrickson, these numbers reveal a “worldwide collapse of imagination,” as she writes in her book. “Thinking of love purely as romance or commitment that you share with one special person—as it appears most on earth do—surely limits the health and happiness you derive” from love.

“My conception of love,” she tells me, “gives hope to people who are single or divorced or widowed this Valentine’s Day to find smaller ways to experience love.”

Vincent Valentine RIDEHARD

You have to physically be with the person to experience the micro-moment. For example, if you and your significant other are not physically together—if you are reading this at work alone in your office—then you two are not in love. You may feel connected or bonded to your partner—you may long to be in his company—but your body is completely loveless.

To understand why, it’s important to see how love works biologically. Like all emotions, love has a biochemical and physiological component. But unlike some of the other positive emotions, like joy or happiness, love cannot be kindled individually—it only exists in the physical connection between two people. Specifically, there are three players in the biological love system—mirror neurons, oxytocin, and vagal tone. Each involves connection and each contributes to those micro-moment of positivity resonance that Fredrickson calls love.

When you experience love, your brain mirrors the person’s you are connecting with in a special way. Pioneering research by Princeton University’s Uri Hasson shows what happens inside the brains of two people who connect in conversation. Because brains are scanned inside of noisy fMRI machines, where carrying on a conversation is nearly impossible, Hasson’s team had his subjects mimic a natural conversation in an ingenious way. They recorded a young woman telling a lively, long, and circuitous story about her high school prom. Then, they played the recording for the participants in the study, who were listening to it as their brains were being scanned. Next, the researchers asked each participant to recreate the story so they, the researchers, could determine who was listening well and who was not. Good listeners, the logic goes, would probably be the ones who clicked in a natural conversation with the story-teller.

001

What they found was remarkable. In some cases, the brain patterns of the listener mirrored those of the storyteller after a short time gap. The listener needed time to process the story after all. In other cases, the brain activity was almost perfectly synchronized; there was no time lag at all between the speaker and the listener. But in some rare cases, if the listener was particularly tuned in to the story—if he was hanging on to every word of the story and really got it—his brain activity actually anticipated the story-teller’s in some cortical areas.

The mutual understanding and shared emotions, especially in that third category of listener, generated a micro-moment of love, which “is a single act, performed by two brains,” as Fredrickson writes in her book.

valentine

Oxytocin, the so-called love and cuddle hormone, facilitates these moments of shared intimacy and is part of the mammalian “calm-and-connect” system (as opposed to the more stressful “fight-or-flight” system that closes us off to others). The hormone, which is released in huge quantities during sex, and in lesser amounts during other moments of intimate connection, works by making people feel more trusting and open to connection. This is the hormone of attachment and bonding that spikes during micro-moments of love. Researchers have found, for instance, that when a parent acts affectionately with his or her infant—through micro-moments of love like making eye contact, smiling, hugging, and playing—oxytocin levels in both the parent and the child rise in sync.

The final player is the vagus nerve, which connects your brain to your heart and subtly but sophisticatedly allows you to meaningfully experience love. As Fredrickson explains in her book, “Your vagus nerve stimulates tiny facial muscles that better enable you to make eye contact and synchronize your facial expressions with another person. It even adjusts the miniscule muscles of your middle ear so you can better track her voice against any background noise.”

The vagus nerve’s potential for love can actually be measured by examining a person’s heart rate in association with his breathing rate, what’s called “vagal tone.” Having a high vagal tone is good: People who have a high “vagal tone” can regulate their biological processes like their glucose levels better; they have more control over their emotions, behavior, and attention; they are socially adept and can kindle more positive connections with others; and, most importantly, they are more loving. In research from her lab, Fredrickson found that people with high vagal tone report more experiences of love in their days than those with a lower vagal tone.

Historically, vagal tone was considered stable from person to person. You either had a high one or you didn’t; you either had a high potential for love or you didn’t. Fredrickson’s recent research has debunked that notion.valentine's_pose

In a 2010 study from her lab, Fredrickson randomly assigned half of her participants to a “love” condition and half to a control condition. In the love condition, participants devoted about one hour of their weeks for several months to the ancient Buddhist practice of loving-kindness meditation. In loving-kindness meditation, you sit in silence for a period of time and cultivate feelings of tenderness, warmth, and compassion for another person by repeating a series of phrases to yourself wishing them love, peace, strength, and general well-being. Ultimately, the practice helps people step outside of themselves and become more aware of other people and their needs, desires, and struggles—something that can be difficult to do in our hyper individualistic culture.

Fredrickson measured the participants’ vagal tone before and after the intervention. The results were so powerful that she was invited to present them before the Dalai Lama himself in 2010. Fredrickson and her team found that, contrary to the conventional wisdom, people could significantly increase their vagal tone by self-generating love through loving-kindness meditation. Since vagal tone mediates social connections and bonds, people whose vagal tones increased were suddenly capable of experiencing more micro-moments of love in their days. Beyond that, their growing capacity to love more will translate into health benefits given that high vagal tone is associated with lowered risk of inflammation, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and stroke.

Fredrickson likes to call love a nutrient. If you are getting enough of the nutrient, then the health benefits of love can dramatically alter your biochemistry in ways that perpetuate more micro-moments of love in your life, and which ultimately contribute to your health, well-being, and longevity.

Fredrickson’s ideas about love are not exactly the stuff of romantic comedies. Describing love as a “micro-moment of positivity resonance” seems like a buzz-kill. But if love now seems less glamorous and mysterious then you thought it was, then good. Part of Fredrickson’s project is to lower cultural expectations about love—expectations that are so misguidedly high today that they have inflated love into something that it isn’t, and into something that no sane person could actually experience.

Jonathan Haidt, another psychologist, calls these unrealistic expectations “the love myth” in his 2006 book The Happiness Hypothesis:

True love is passionate love that never fades; if you are in true love, you should marry that person; if love ends, you should leave that person because it was not true love; and if you can find the right person, you will have true love forever. You might not believe this myth yourself, particularly if you are older than thirty; but many young people in Western nations are raised on it, and it acts as an ideal that they unconsciously carry with them even if they scoff at it… But if true love is defined as eternal passion, it is biologically impossible.

Love 2.0 is, by contrast, far humbler. Fredrickson tells me, “I love the idea that it lowers the bar of love. If you don’t have a Valentine, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have love. It puts love much more in our reach everyday regardless of our relationship status.”

Lonely people who are looking for love are making a mistake if they are sitting around and waiting for love in the form of the “love myth” to take hold of them. If they instead sought out love in little moments of connection that we all experience many times a day, perhaps their loneliness would begin to subside.

Complete Article HERE!

2.5 Years Later, Zero Cases Of HIV In Large San Francisco PrEP Group

By

A new study reveals that after 2.5 years, a group of more than 600 San Francisco men who have sex with men (MSM) taking Truvada as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) have had zero cases of HIV contraction.

The study also finds that many of these individuals are using condoms less and more than half of those in the group study had contracted at least one sexually transmitted infection (STI) within a year.

From POZ.com:

Researchers at Kaiser Permanente published their findings in Clinical Infectious Diseases. The paper represents a powerful endorsement of PrEP’s ability, in a real-world setting, to prevent HIV infection among those at very high risk of contracting the virus. The lack of new HIV infections among these men challenges the stance of AIDS Healthcare Foundation president Michael Weinstein, who has vigorously campaigned that PrEPshould not be used as a widescale public health intervention.

On the flip side, the Kaiser findings challenge the received wisdom from PrEP clinical trials that those taking Truvada as HIV prevention do not increase sexual risk-taking while on the medication.

“Our study is the first to extend the understanding of the use of PrEP in a real-world setting and suggests that the treatment may prevent new HIV infections even in a high-risk setting,” reports lead author Jonathan Volk, MD, MPH, a physician and epidemiologist at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Medical Center. “Until now, evidence supporting the efficacy of PrEP to prevent HIV infection had come from clinical trials and a demonstration project.”

It’s important to reiterate that according to Kaiser, though no one using PrEP contracted HIV, there was a very high rate of other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

POZ.com breaks it down:

After six months, the clinicians at Kaiser surveyed 143 of the cohort about their sexual risk-taking. At that time, 74 percent reported that their number of recent sexual partners had not changed since starting PrEP, while 15 percent said they had fewer sexual partners and 11 percent said they had more. Regarding condom use, 56 percent said they used them at the same rate after starting Truvada, 41 percent used them less and 3 percent used them more.

Because these individuals were not engaged in a clinical trial, there is no control group to measure the change in these men’s sexual risk-taking against. So there is no way to tell if the group would have changed their risk-taking in a similar pattern if they had not been taking PrEP.

One thing is clear, however: These men would have been at very high risk of contracting HIV had they not been taking PrEP while engaging in the same level of sexual risk-taking. The evidence is in their very high rate of STIs. Six months into taking PrEP, 30 percent of the PrEP users had been diagnosed with at least one STI. After a year, half of them had contracted one or more STIs, with 33 percent diagnosed with a rectal STI, 33 percent with chlamydia, 28 percent with gonorrhea, and 5.5 percent with syphilis. As noted, two of them contracted hep C.

“Without a control group, we don’t know if these STI rates were higher than what we would have seen without PrEP,” stressed the paper’s co-author Julia Marcus, PhD, MPH, postdoctoral fellow at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research. “Ongoing screening and treatments for STIs, including hepatitis C, are an essential component of a PrEP treatment program.”

No one in the group has been diagnosed with HIV.

Our takeaway, PrEP is clearly doing its job in HIV prevention, however we need to remain vigilant in testing and treatment for STIs. The choice to use or not use condoms is up to the individual, but be aware of the risks and ensure that you’re regularly being tested to protect your health and potentially that of your sexual partners.
Complete Article HERE!

My Oh My

Q&A with an international flare!

Name: Devin
Gender: Male
Age: 25
Location: India
My foreskin cannot be drawn back the dick head, is it normal? Does it in anyway hinder the growth in length of the penis?

Nope, your tight foreskin will not hamper the growth, in the length, of your cock. In fact, darlin’, by age 25 you have all the dick you’re gonna have. You’re well past puberty, Devin, so there’s no more dick-growin’ in your future. I can assure you of that.foreskin

As to the tight foreskin issue, I am of the mind that uncut men need to pay particular attention to cleaning their cock. If you’re not careful to completely retract your foreskin over your dickhead when you shower or bathe; you will have a problem with smegma buildup (that’s that cheesy lookin’ stuff under your hood) and its accompanying odor.

Poor hygiene can also contribute to other, more serious concerns, like phimosis. The popular wisdom about cleaning under your foreskin is that soap is unnecessary. A full rinsing with warm water should be sufficient. If soap is desired, one ought use a very mild, hypoallergenic soap for this delicate area. Ether way, fully retracting your foreskin is essential. I’d also encourage you to retract your foreskin fully when you take a leak. That way you won’t have that unpleasant pissy smell about you.

If you need information on how to stretch your foreskin, use the search function at the top of the sidebar to your right. Type in the key words: “stretching my foreskin,” and Presto! You’ll be presented with all my posting and podcasts in which I address this important issue.

Good luck

Name: Louise
Gender: Female
Age: 18
Location: Bristol, UK
Why do guys get such a thrill by “cumming” on their partner? Several times I’ve ended up with sperm on my stomach, boobs, or face because a guy decided that would be fun to do and pulled out at the last second. Is that meant to degrade me?

Louise, let’s talk turkey. Or gravy, as it were. Boys are like any other haired beast instinctively programmed to smear their bodily fluids all up and down their territory.

moneyshotYa see, us boys think all the world is as enamored with our spunk as we are. And so we think we’re doing everyone a big favor by spreading our baby batter all around. We’re particularly fond of getting as much of our joy-juice on our partners as humanly possible; and the messier we are doin’ it the better. We’ll tell you that we do this because we love you and we just whipped up this tasty little batch of seed just for you. But of course, that’s simply bullshit.

What we’re really doing is marking you as part of our territory, just like I said above. Did you ever notice how pleased with himself a male dog is when he’s blissfully lifting his leg to pee on everything in sight? I’d be willing to bet you’ll see a similar shit-eatin’ grin on your BF face as he merrily pops a nut on your tits.

The upside of this is that our little nut concoction is heavily laden with protein, so you’ll not find a better skin emolument. Just make sure he doesn’t get any of his spooge in your eyes, cuz that shit burns!

Good luck

A Twofer Today

A couple of young lads with foreskin problems thousands of miles apart.

Name: Tom
Gender: Male
Age: 18
Location: California
Whenever I see the penises of other guys their skin always goes back exposing their head when they have an erection. When I’m hard my skin never goes all the way back. My head is always covered even when I have an erection and when I try to pull the skin back it wont. Is this normal?

and

Name: Matt
Gender: Male
Age: 16
Location: England
Hi, i’ve got a problem with my foreskin. when my penis is erect the foreskin doesn’t pull back over the head of my penis. I was wondering if this is easily corrected or will I need to be circumcised.

Let’s start at beginning, shall we? When us boys are born we all have a foreskin. A good portion of us will have our unit 4-Foreskin-stretchingseriously altered within days of showing up on the scene. Someone, possibly with good intentions, will lops off 50% of our cock skin and call it a day. I know, cuckoo, huh? Well, be that as it may, those of us who escape this dastardly deed have a foreskin, but it’s only open enough to pee through. And it only opens more if it’s stretched, and it only gets stretched if the owner of that foreskin pulls it back over his dickhead. No foreskin ever opens by itself; it gets gradually stretched open over time either intentionally or just through normal use.

Most little boys soon discover that pulling back their foreskin feels really good. After all, this unique piece of skin is chock full of nerve endings that register loads of delicious pleasure. A lad’s foreskin needs to be pushed back regularly, in order to stretch it open, and to keep it from shrinking shut again. It is important that the boy do this himself, so that it is pushed only as far back as feels comfortable to him.

Of course, there in lies the rub, so to speak. The sex-negative pressures of the prevailing culture, both here in the good old U.S. of A. as well as abroad, frown upon self-induced pleasure of any sort; even if it is associated with personal hygiene and necessary bodily upkeep. So most boys get the message that fiddlin’ around down there, even for the purpose of essential maintenance is a no-no. Simply put, without manual stretching a kid’s skin can actually shrink, closing up again.

foreskin stretch01As a young fella approaches puberty there is, as we all know, a growth spurt. What most of us fail to take into account is that along with his legs, arms, torso, head and feet, his cock is also growing. His dickhead is increasing in size, and if the kid hasn’t established a healthy routine of foreskin stretching there is gonna be trouble, like what’s happening for you guys.

Since parents are not likely to encourage self-discovery of this sort, nor are they inclined to show their young uncut sons how to properly care for this exceptional body part, the kid remains clueless till a problem arises. Wouldn’t it be so much simpler, as well as the responsible thing to do, for all parents with intact boys to pass on this priceless nugget of wisdom. It would be so easy to do while the kids are enjoying their bath. Parents could show their boys how to retract this fold of skin so that it stays supple, as well as getting things rinsed out underneath. They could encourage their boys to always pull back their lace curtains when they pee. Merely the number of times a fella will handle himself to piss will automatically keep things more lubricated and elastic.Foreskin-Stretching-2

Ok, I’m gonna guess that neither of you weren’t instructed on the proper care of your natural cock. Am I right? So now ya’ll have some remedial work to do. Let’s start with a few foreskin stretching exercises.

Exercise 1 — While you’re dick is soft; retract your foreskin as far back as you can. Work two fingers in under your hood till you can touch the head of your dick. Now attempt to roll your hood forward and over your fingers. It’s like docking another dick, only you’re using your fingers. This exercise depends on you having your fingers inside your foreskin for it to be effective. In time you’ll be able to add three fingers, instead of just two. This will stretch your skin to the point you’ll be able to easily retract it over your erect dickhead.

foreskin stretchExercise 2 — Grab each side of the foreskin opening and gently pull each side apart. Stretch the opening till it’s stretched with a tension you can tolerate, but that is not actually painful. Hold for a count of 10 and release. Repeat for 5 sets of 10 pulls per day, more if you can handle it. Here’s a tip, these stretches are best done after soaking in a warm bath or a long hot shower.

Exercise 3 — This is a variation on exercise 1. Insert a smooth cylindrical object into your foreskin opening, like the cork from a wine bottle. This object needs to be just large enough to stretch the skin without pain. Once inserted, leave it there for as long as you can during the day, or for over night. As your foreskin stretches you want to swap the one object for another with a larger diameter. If a wine cork is too big to start with, consider a smaller smooth plastic rubber plugsdowel or a rubber bung plug. You can find these sorts of things at the hardware store. You might need to use a bit of surgical tape to keep these stretchers in place.

These exercises may sound a bit invasive or uncomfortable, and perhaps they will be at first. But don’t worry; you’ll live. In a short period of time you will have a much more pliable foreskin, one that you can retract at will and with ease. And when you’re sexually active with a partner, it will work flawlessly and exponentially increase your pleasure.

Good luck

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