The differences between the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) market for male and female sexual dysfunction therapies are severe, and Maria Sophocles, MD, doesn’t foresee the inequality lessening anytime soon.
The medical director of Women’s Healthcare of Princeton told MD Magazine® that a proven and profitable field of male sexual therapies has resulted in its continued funding and research, while a severely limited field for female sexual therapies leaves patients at the hands of a network of clinicians.
Sophocles explained the makeup of that treatment team, and what different specialists may bring to the table in female sexual dysfunction care.
What is the current standard of therapy for sexual dysfunction?
Well, female sexual dysfunction has been woefully underserved in the biopharma community and in society as a whole. I was just discussing last night what I call an androgenic model of sexuality in human culture for 4 centuries—which is that male sexual pleasure is sort of the ultimate goal of sexual interaction between men and women, and that female sexual pleasure has not really been prioritized.
This is reflected in the biopharmaceutical industry, if you look at Viagra and its overwhelming success and the numerous other drugs for male erection that have been marketed successfully. There is only one FDA approved medication that relates to or whose purpose is to enhance the female sexual experience.
And it’s also about money. When you have tried-and-true money makers that work to enhance the male sexual response, it’s cheaper for a pharmaceutical company to build another one like that than it is to sort of start from scratch and address female sexual dysfunction. It’s also, frankly, just more poorly understood by clinicians as a whole, by the lay public. As we said before, it’s not talked about. So, those are some of the problems.
The standard of care is really a multi-modal approach, a team-approach, behavioral therapy. Many therapists will address this, but there is a subset of therapists, psychologists, social workers who are certified by AASECT (American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists). Clinicians and lay public can go on the AASECT website and find therapists who are certified in sex education and counseling, which is really beneficial, because the busy clinician just doesn’t always have time or expertise to sit and discuss sexual dysfunctions.
So, an AASECT-certified counselor is an excellent person to help a clinician address sexual dysfunction. Certainly if a clinician is comfortable taking a sexual history and addressing and treating sexual dysfunction, they should, but many are not. It’s a very poorly covered part of most medical training. So most clinicians, even if they have the time, lack the expertise or the comfort.
So, a sexual counselor or clinician to address for clinically treatable issues like vaginal dryness, and then sometimes a pelvic floor physical therapist. This is a physical therapist who has specialized training in treating the female pelvic floor, because some sexual dysfunction relates to problems with the pelvic floor muscles and nerves.
Chances are, you’ve fantasized about having kinky sex. Most people have, according to sex researchers and people who say words. It’s also likely that more people have enjoyed what might be considered “fringe” activities in the bedroom than we would likely assume. So, the window of what constitutes “normal” sexual behavior is expanding. But not everyone has jumped onboard. Although, maybe they should. Studies show that novelty is a major contributor to sexual satisfaction, especially in the context of a long-term relationship. And, honestly, kinks and fetishes are nothing to be ashamed of.
Of course, there are a lot of opportunities to fail in the quest to become a sexual adventurer. Deliveries can go awry. Desires can be miscommunicated. At the end of the day, there’s no shortage of ways trying to introduce something new can dissolve into an embarrassing misadventure. Yeah, talking to your partner about sex can be weird. Still, it’s important to try. Listed below, we bring you a few different ways to kick off the conversation.
So you want to try something new during sex. Maybe you’ve been thinking of bringing some BDSM, one of the most common fetishes, into the bedroom. Our advice is to start small. Remember, the acronym covers a lot of territory. It’s probably better to err on the lighter side of the spectrum before throwing on the gimp suit. In fact, it’s probably best to avoid accessories all together during the introductory phase. Instead, try talking to your partner about some light spanking, hair pulling, or maybe some edge play before diving into deeper waters.
Watch Some Erotic Films Together
We’ve said it before: if those who can’t do, teach, then those who can’t say, show. If you don’t have the words to communicate a certain sexual interest, then don’t worry. There is most certainly a video out there able to demonstrate your desires. As Rule 34 of the Internet states, “If it exists, there is porn of it.” The professionals have a way of making things look more appealing. Just keep in mind that it’s not realistic.
Read Some Erotic Literature
Ok, so porn might not be for everyone (although, research statistics would suggest that those who don’t care for the medium fall within a decreasing minority). Fortunately, there’s a slightly less explicit option out there to entertain, and it comes in the form of words. Erotic literature has become an increasingly popular genre over the past couple of years, with websites popping up all over the place designed to host this kind of content. Try combing through the selection. Find a passage that speaks to you, and your kink. Now go ahead and share it with your partner.
Go to a Sex Shop Together
Not everything has to have a specific aim and purpose. Entertaining more nonchalant activities can also help get the erotic wheels rolling. Try hitting up a sex shop with your partner. It’s a low-stakes way to become familiar with what’s out there. Sometimes, the best kind of inspiration comes when we aren’t looking for it.
Let Pop Culture Guide You
Maybe these explicitly sexual options aren’t for you. Don’t worry; there are, in fact, some PG approaches to talking about R-rated activities. All you have to do is put on some TV. Want to put pegging on the radar? Just tune into Broad City for a brief introduction. Interested in analingus? The cast of Girls has got your back. Into a good spanking? Check out Secretary. Seriously, there’s so much out there.
Amp Up Your Sext Game
Millennials have been accused of prioritizing digital communication over in-person encounters. And while that may come back to bite us in some ways, it does provide us with a skill set we can use to combat anxieties over speaking about sex, IRL. Chances are you text your partner throughout the day. Try introducing a little spice into the routine. You never know when a sexy message will spiral into a more substantial dialogue.
Sex is sex, right? There can’t be that much you can change about it.
But sex trends do indeed exist, whether in terms of the tech we’re using to get off, the type of relationships we have, or our views of sexual acts.
The good news is that as long as you’re having consensual fun, it really doesn’t matter if you stay ahead of the curve.
If you are keen on being at the cutting edge of sexual stuff, though, you’re in luck, as sex toy brand Lelo has just released their predictions for the top sex trends of 2019.
Just do everything on the list then pat yourself on the back for being the trendiest, sexiest person ever. Congrats.
Open relationships and polyamory
Of course, polyamory is not a new concept. But thanks to documentaries (oh hey, Louis Theroux), celebs and influencers sharing stories of how polyamory and open relationships can work, the idea of non-monogamy is becoming more widely accepted.
Think of how BDSM was pushed on to everyone’s radar by Fifty Shades Of Grey. The same sort of thing is happening with polyamory.
Not the ones you’re imagining, blow up ones with holes for mouths.
We’re talking fancy sex dolls made to feel and look incredibly lifelike, made with silicone and internal skeletons for a more human feel.
With the rise of household devices such as Alexa and Google Home, it’s no surprise we’ll start using artificial intelligence in the bedroom, too.
This can range from vibrators that collect your data and adjust to give you an orgasm every time to sex robots who respond to dirty talk and adjust their personalities to fit your desires.
Yes, the techphobes among us will be freaked out, but 2019 will be a cool year when it comes to seeing how far we can take sex tech.
Blame Ariana Grande.
Lelo reckons that in 2019 we’ll see more women remaining happily single later into their lives, with no desire to get into relationships.
Self-dating will be on the rise, as will treating yourself to all the toys you could ever want to provide satisfaction solo.
Will 2019 be the year we finally accept that men can enjoy sex toys too?
The sex toy market will launch a bunch of new male sex toys this year, including prostate massagers and masturbation sleeves, which will hopefully normalise something that’s, well, very normal: using tools to masturbate more effectively.
Vibration is great, but Lelo says 2019 will see the rise of newer, fresher ways to stimulate pleasure.
The brand’s Sona sex toy, released in 2018, uses sonic waves to stimulate the clitoris, to drive pleasure much deeper in the body.
You’ll also spot more toys that use pulsing or suction.
If you’ve been in a committed relationship for any length of time, chances are you’ve hit some kind of roadblock, rut, or lull — at least once — in your sex life with your partner. A German study on this topic found that sexual satisfaction often grows during the first year of a committed relationship, and declines starting near the beginning of the second year. It’s true that the ordinary things that make up a shared life (work, bills, chores) are not exactly aphrodisiacs. And if you’re a parent, lack of time and sheer exhaustion can undoubtedly dampen your passion.
If you and your partner find yourselves talking primarily about everyday tasks and responsibilities, your relationship may start feeling unsexy. “Practical conversations are important — however, allowing them to replace intimate and personal discussions can take a toll on your intimate relationship as you shift from lovers to co-parents or roommates,” Dr. Jess O’Reilly – Astroglide’s resident sexologist – told Civilized. Staying engaged with one another inside and outside the bedroom means taking time away from your routines, together, and making space for interesting conversations, she says.
While peaks and valleys are considered normal in a long-term relationship, couples who remain emotionally and mentally connected are better able to keep their sexual connection thriving. “Good relationships don’t happen by accident,” Tina B. Tessina, PhD – a.k.a. “Dr. Romance” and author of How to Be Happy Partners: Working it Out Together – told Civilized. Most couples have to work to keep their intimate connection strong. And a strong connection, she says, leads to better sex.
In her 30 years of experience as a psychotherapist in southern California, Tessina has developed a set of recommendations for couples on how to improve intimacy, which includes taking ample time to relax together, not holding grudges, reminiscing regularly about shared experiences, and going out of your way to express appreciation for your partner. She tells couples to touch frequently, since even just a light brush of a hand or a quick kiss, can help you feel closer. “Today’s popular culture is cynical and cool,” said Tessina. “But keeping love alive and flowing in your relationship is essential to being happy with each other.”
But what if it’s not intimacy, exactly, that’s missing? Over time, a lack of variety and spontaneity can make even a red-hot sexual connection cool. Commit to growing and exploring together, and your passion will grow, too.
Add to Your Sexual Menu
Wendi L. Dumbroff, a sex and relationship therapist in Madison, New Jersey, advises couples to create “sexual menus,” which can include “anything they might like to do with each other, from the most vanilla to the kinkiest things they might be interested in, and everything in-between. Examples might be taking a walk and holding hands, bathing together, wanting dirty talk during sex, or possibly venturing into the world of kink.” It doesn’t necessarily mean you will sample all the items on the menu, but it can expand your sexual repertoire and help you feel closer to your partner.
For those who enjoy cannabis, layering in one or another of the plant’s many consumable forms that are meant to enhance sex could be a natural choice. “The interesting thing about cannabis for sexuality in a long-term relationship is that, not only does it help get couples in the mood and have better sex, but it increases the release of hormones that further feelings of intimacy and bonding,” Dr. Jordan Tishler – cannabis specialist and Massachusetts-based internist – told Civilized. Research suggests that 65 to 72 percent of women who use cannabis believe that it enhances their sex lives.
Some women rave about mind-blowing orgasms with cannabis-infused lubes. For anal play, cannabis suppositories are starting to make a name, and THC-based erection-enhancers may prove to be a lively addition to the sexual menu. Numerous other products, from vape pens to edibles, claim they can help you get there, too. And of course, there’s always the old-fashioned way: smoking a joint with your love and diving into bed.
According to Dr. Diana Urman, a sex therapist in San Francisco, cannabis’ ability to heighten sensuality, calm anxiety and elevate mood can all have a positive effect on sex with a partner. “It reduces inhibition, making us more spontaneous and adventurous,” Urman told Civilized. And what better state of mind can help you share fantasies and grow your levels of trust?
Many people find that divulging their fantasies to their partner, and possibly exploring some of them, can open up greater intimacy inside and outside the bedroom. While you and your partner may or may not ever feel ready to jump into a cannabis sex party like Danksgiving, there are still many options for taking advantage of the bodily relaxation, freer mental state, and possible arousal, that comes along with cannabis use.
Aside from leaning into novel adventures, there are certain mental shifts that may help you feel closer to your partner sexually. Dumbroff suggests that couples “expand the definition of sex” because sex, she says, does not always have to end in orgasm. Snuggling while naked and flirting with your partner are both sexual activities that don’t take a huge investment.
Every relationship therapist worth their salt recommends that you and your partner keep talking and communicating about your needs. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable and ask for what you want may yield pleasant surprises. Remember, too, that intimacy is much more than sex, though great sex can help you feel closer for at least 48 hours. Be kind and compassionate with your partner. And if you’re inclined, add a little weed to your sexual menu.
As a counsellor I say to my clients: ‘You need to invest as much energy and time in your relationship as you would for work, studies, children or friends’
It’s not inevitable that the romance will die in a long-term relationship, but things do change. When you first meet someone, you focus on them entirely, want to spend all your time with them and have a lot of sex. That crazy, romantic love settles down within six months to two years. Other things get in the way, such as work and children. And unexpected challenges, such as bereavements or financial pressures, can test a relationship.
You need to focus on keeping your relationship alive. As a counsellor, I always say to my clients: “You need to invest as much energy and time in your relationship as you do for anything else, whether it’s your work, studies, children or friends.”
Schedule time together, for just the two of you. That might be date nights or weekends away, or it might be creating new interests together, such as rock climbing or going to gigs. A shared calendar is a good idea, so you are aware of the other person’s schedule. And be considerate. If you’re going out with friends after work, send your partner a message and let them know. It shows you’re thinking of them.
Think about how you’re communicating with your partner. Does your partner often misunderstand what you’re saying? Do you tend to leave issues unresolved? Unresolved issues have a tendency to mount up. Something that might not have started as a massive problem – your partner’s chronic lateness, say – can become one if you don’t discuss it.
If you still end up arguing, try to see things from the other person’s perspective. Most of us find that extremely hard.
Ask your partner what makes them feel loved. Is it you cleaning their car? Taking the kids to the park on a Sunday so they can have a lie-in? Do it for them. Often, people need to hear verbal expressions of love. Tell them that you love them, unprompted. Give them a hug or bring them a cup of coffee. Little things like that make a huge difference.
You should never try to change your partner’s personality, because it was that personality that you fell in love with. But that doesn’t mean you can’t identify behaviours you don’t like. For example, if they are very impatient and always interrupt you when you’re speaking, tell them: “When you interrupt me, it makes me feel as if what I’m saying isn’t important.” You can’t knock the impatience entirely out of their personality, but you can work on the interrupting.
Try to recognise the positive things your partner does. You can fall into the habit of expecting them to be good to you, and complaining when they’re not perfect. Take stock of the nice things they do.
The main things that kill relationships are criticism, defensiveness, stonewalling and contempt. Defensiveness is often a response to previous criticism, so when you’re communicating with your partner, be very careful that they don’t feel that you’re attacking their character. And vice versa: if your partner is annoyed at you for something you have done, try to hear what they are saying.
Although communication is key, sometimes you need to bite your tongue. Perhaps the way your partner makes the bed really annoys you. Is there something wrong with the bed or is it that you have a way of doing things that you prefer? Even if you don’t like how they have made the bed, they have made an effort to do it, so say thanks.
Most people hate to schedule sex, but spontaneity doesn’t always work. In the same way that you set aside time for the gym or hobbies, set aside time for sex – or, if that makes you uncomfortable, some form of physical intimacy. Say: “On Wednesday night we’re going to get into bed together and just be close, even if it’s only kissing, cuddling or massaging each other.” That can lessen the pressure to perform.
And if you’re having sexual difficulties, such as erectile dysfunction, get some professional help. Don’t think that going to a hotel for a dirty weekend will be a quick fix. If your sex life is basically good and you want to spice it up a little, then a hotel is great. But if you have got issues around sex, or more broadly in your relationship, a dirty weekend won’t help, because you need to work on those issues first.
If you’re thinking: “I’d like to have sex with other people,” think about how you can bring those desires into the relationship. It might be that there are certain things you would like to try, but don’t feel comfortable raising with your partner. Now is the time to say: “What about trying this?”
When your life is busy, and you have got burdens and commitments such as kids or elderly parents, it’s easy to put your relationship on the backburner. But that’s a mistake; it needs to be a priority. Because if your relationship is good, other things become more manageable. There is someone who has got your back, and will support you. It makes life that little bit easier.
Sometimes a long-distance relationship is unavoidable. Here are some expert tips and clever tech we suggest to keep an intimate relationship lively and hot from miles away.
Tristen Weedmark, Global Passion Ambassador for vibrator company We-Vibe, recommends that long-distance partners look into Avocado or Couple, apps that both offer multiple ways for couples to connect in daily life. They are multi-purpose apps with built-in capabilities for partners, such as sharing sexy photos, working simultaneously on doodles, sending virtual “kisses,” or coordinating calendars and to-do lists.
Lay the Ground Rules
There are so many different options for connecting remotely. Texting, photo chats, live video, and phone calls are just a few options, and each comes with its pros and cons. “Figure out what works best for you in an LDR,” says Weedmark. “For some it might be constant texting throughout the day, while others prefer long phone calls a few times a week.” Mix and match your options and see what sticks. Once you can settle on a style that suits you both, you might be amazed at how multi-faceted LDRs can be.
Just because you’re separated doesn’t mean you’re not part of each other’s lives. Take the time to celebrate special days, like birthdays, anniversaries, or life achievements in ways that are memorable. Send cards, flowers, or homemade gifts the old-fashioned way. To keep track of past efforts and future events, consider the two-person messenger app Twyxt, which auto-generates a relationship journal from your messages and allows users to make a “Keepsake” collection of their favorite messages and photos.
Rules of Sexting
A couple can be great at texting, calling, and sending presents while skimping on more intimate ways to relate. “Without the regular sexual contact that many couples take for granted, you may start to feel more like friends rather than intimate partners,” says Weedmark. The trick here, she says, is to develop intimacy in other ways, which comes down to being more straightforward about your desires and emotions. It’s also probably time to boost your virtual sex skills. Learn how to avoid saving sexy pics and video to the cloud and be careful not to sext anyone you don’t mean to. Then, try something new with your partner.
There are many sex toys that allow couples to pleasure each other from afar. Weedmark’s company has the We-Vibe Sync, which is an app-enabled, adjustable vibrator that allows a woman’s partner to control the toy while also sexting or chatting in the app. Toys like this can help make partners feel more in tune with their partner during long-distance sex.
Trying to visit each other is a no-brainer, but it’s worth some extra effort to make the experience as exciting (and easy) as possible. First of all, consider coordinating itineraries through using an app like TripIt, which can sync with email and calendars, skipping the need to forward and record travel details. It can be a blast for partners to play host to their other halves, while enjoying their own city from a fresh perspective. Or couples can choose to meet somewhere in the middle, which may land them in unusual but story-worthy spots.
So many people question if animals can be gay, and the answer is, of course.
Every LGBT+ person will cringe upon hearing that their lifestyle is a “choice.” Unfortunately, people around the world still firmly believe that.
For those who believe that homosexuality is a result of being “brainwashed” by society, they should turn their attention to homosexuality in nature.
Indeed, there are bisexual and homosexual members of the animal kingdom beyond mere humans. (And we’re pretty sure that the sheep weren’t ‘turned gay’ from watching ‘gay agenda’ on television.)
Homosexuality in nature
From birds to mammals and reptiles, homosexuality is present in all kinds of animals who are able to have sexual intercourse.
These bisexual and gay animals include penguins, lions, bats, birds, dolphins, elephants and much more.
Join us as we go through some animals that are out and proud.
Bisexual and gay animals
Penguins are known to mate for life, and they certainly are romantic specifies as they are often in monogamous pairings. Indeed, a penguin is probably more faithful than your ex.
And among these monogamous couples, there are many same-sex couples among penguins.
These gay animal couples will often even adopt their own baby chick, either by caring for an abandoned penguin or by kidnapping one from another couple.
Homosexuality among penguins has actually been known for some time. It was discovered and hidden from the public in 1911 as it was deemed ‘too shocking’. The information was then released over 100 years later in 2012.
George Murray Levick had the privilege of observing a wild colony of Adélies penguins at Cape Adare during 1911-1912. There, he described the “astonishing depravity” of “hooligan males” as they had homosexual intercourse, which was highly controversial during the time (apparently even among penguins), as well as conducting in necrophilia and forcefully entering female penguins.
From bonobo apes to snow monkeys and orangutans, there are countless reports of homosexual activities within the primate kingdom.
All bonobos are bisexual species, and other kinds of primates show various homosexual behaviour, found in both zoos and the wild.
3) Black swans
An estimated one-quarter of all black swans are in gay couples.
The same-sex pair of black swans often steals nests from the female so they can raise the chick. Equally, they often form threesomes (or thruples) with the female in order to do this.
The bird couple spent “18 happy gay years together” before Henry left Thomas for a female swan.
Then, after Thomas got over his heartbreak, he joined them to make the threesome a thruple.
Homosexuality is also present in lizards in a rather unique way.
Certain species of whiptail lizards are exclusively female, and the females are able to reproduce from the ovum without the fertilization of a male.
In order to stimulate ovulation, female lizards engage in homosexual behaviour.
Geckos are also known to shown homosexual behaviour in a non-reproductive manner.
You’ve probably heard that dolphins are among the few animals that have sex for pleasure.
It’s therefore not that surprising that the adorable sea creatures get involved in some saucy acts of love.
There have been reports of dolphins having same-sex group sex, with spottings of the Amazon river dolphin forming bands with up to five bisexual dolphins.
Without regard to gender, dolphins are observed having non-reproductive sex, rubbing each other’s genitals and using their blowhole, anus, penis, snouts, vagina and flippers.
At Jerusalem Biblical Zoo, two male griffon vultures named Dashik and Yehuda were somewhat of a couple.
The bisexual vultures hit headlines in 1998 when they were often seen having “open and energetic sex.”
Not only that, the couple even raised a chick together. Zookeepers had provided the couple with an artificial egg which the birds had looked after through incubation. Once it was time to hatch, zookeepers put in a baby vulture.
They each moved on to have female partners, leaving their wonderful, gay animal romance behind.
African and Asian elephants will engage in homosexual animal relationships, and males will engage in homosexual intercourse.
There are reports of affectionate same-sex interactions beyond mere sex. Elephants virtually hold hands by intertwining their trunks, groom and kiss.
The same-sex companionships may last for several years and are apparent in both sexes.
From oral sex to homosexual masturbation and intercourse, various bat species often engage in homosexual behaviour, even cross-species with different kinds of bats forming homosexual animal relationships.
Such behaviour has been observed in both wildlife and in captivity.
There are many reports of gay lion pairings within the wild. Males are observed engaging in homosexual intimate behaviour.
However, exclusively female relationships are rare with most reports of lesbian activity within captivity rather than the wild.
Gay sex is very common among various kinds of insects. Scientists found that 85 percent of male insects engage in homosexuality in nature.
This means that billions of bugs around the world are having gay sex each year.
You’ve probably heard of this highly publicised study by Oregon Health and Science University in 2003.
While most members of the animal kingdom swap between male and female partners, domestic rams are unique in that they can be completely gay, with 8-to-10 per cent of sheep exclusively homosexual.
A similar percentage of sheep also appear to be asexual, however, many believe that a large part of them could be lesbian sheep who do not have the physical capacity to show their lust given their structure as female sheep simply stand still regardless of whether they want intimacy or not.
However, instead of just letting these sheep be, heterosexual reproductive sex is considered so important in agriculture that experiments were conducted on the gay sheep to attempt to “cure” their homosexuality by altering their hormone levels in the brain.
The reality is that the discoveries from these sheep, along with other members of the animal kingdom, suggests that homosexuality in nature is indeed biological, despite what many homophobic people may argue.
Not to mention, of course, what we see and know from human beings. Surely, what we observe in society and throughout history should be enough? But that combined with the amazing facts about the animal kingdom tips the scales.
There is homosexuality in nature all around the world, whether people like it or not. These are just a few animals that we listed. No doubt, there are hundreds upon hundreds more.
These results are not surprising, says Pelin Batur, MD, associate professor of medicine in obstetrics and gynecology for the Women’s Health Institute at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, who was not involved in the research. “We know connection and intimacy are important for people throughout all stages of life,” says Dr. Batur. “It is important to remember that people who are healthier are more likely to engage in sexual activity. Therefore, it may be the better state of health which contributes the most to the increased life satisfaction, as opposed to just the sexual activity itself,” she says.
Searching for a Link Between Well-Being and Sexual Trouble
The study set out to investigate possible associations between sexual activity, problems, and concerns, and how those factors might influence well-being in older adults. Researchers looked at 3,045 men and 3,834 women living in England whose ages ranged from 50 to 89, with an average age of 64 for men and 65 for women. 74 percent of the men and 60 percent of the women were married or living with a partner, and 95 percent of the study participants were Caucasian.
Frequent Kissing, Contact, Key for Women’s Well-Being
After allowing for sociodemographic and health-related issues, researchers found that among sexually active men, frequent intercourse as well as frequent kissing, petting, or fondling were associated with greater enjoyment of life. For women, frequent kissing, petting, or fondling was linked to greater life enjoyment, but frequent intercourse was not. Frequent masturbation wasn’t associated with greater life enjoyment for either sex. “Frequent” was defined as two or more episodes a month.
Measuring People’s Enjoyment of Life
Enjoyment of life was assessed with the pleasure subscale of the CASP-19 (control, autonomy, self-realization, and peasure), which has been used in previous research to measure happiness and contentment for older adults. Subjects were asked how much they resonate with statements such as “I enjoy the things that I do,” “I enjoy being in the company of others,” and “I feel full of energy these days.”
Is Sexual Intercourse More Important for Men’s Well-Being Than for Women’s?
“The most interesting finding for us was that among sexually active men, frequent intercourse or kissing, petting, or fondling were associated with greater enjoyment of life,” says Lee Smith, PhD, an epidemiologist with expertise in physical activity and exercise medicine at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, England, and a coauthor of the study. “However, among sexually active women frequent kissing petting or fondling were associated with greater enjoyment of life, but not intercourse,” says Smith. “It therefore appears that sexual intercourse may be more important for men than for women in terms of promoting well-being, whereas women’s enjoyment is more closely linked to other sexual activities.”
Insights Into Future Treatment for Age-Related Sexual Problems
These results could help improve the way that women’s sexual health drugs are developed and measured, says Batur. “In the past, these medications were judged based on how much increased sexual activity resulted from the use of these medications. If there were only one to two additional sexual acts over the course of the month, these medications were considered a failure,” she says.
Considering Desire, Satisfaction, and Future Treatments for Sexual Dysfunction
Studies like this highlight that it is not simply having sex that contributes to fulfillment, says Batur. “Moving forward, medications should look at sexual desire, satisfaction, pain, and other domains of sexuality that are important to women when judging whether potential new medications are helpful. Subjective quality of life benefits for women are probably more important than how often sexual activity occurs after initiation of medication,” says Batur.
“Health professionals should acknowledge that older adults are not asexual and that a frequent and problem-free sex life in this population is related to better well-being,” said Dr. Smith in a statement. “However, encouragement to try new positions and explore different types of sexual activities is not regularly given to aging populations,” he added.
Making generalizations about either sex is hard to do from the survey results, says Batur. “What we do know is that sexuality is different for each individual and can vary throughout the lifetime for the better or worse, depending on circumstances,” she says. “Each person that we see in the office has their own story of what they are looking for in life and what makes them happy. One key point, on which we can all agree, is that the healthier a person is, the more they are likely to look for fulfilling relationships, including sexual ones,” says Batur.
Promoting overall wellness in later life is a public health priority, said Sarah Jackson, PhD, a senior research associate at the Institute of Epidemiology and Health at University College London in England, and coauthor of the study. “We know that psychological well-being is intricately linked with physical health, and as the population continues to age, the burden on health services increases,” she said in a statement. Encouraging and supporting people to continue to enjoy a healthy sex life in old age could have benefits both for the individual’s health and for the sustainability of health services, said Dr. Jackson.
When a couple finds themselves in a sexual rut, it can be hard to even pinpoint what got them there in the first place, let alone figure out a way to climb out. Oftentimes it’s a series of accumulated factors that have contributed to a slower or stagnant intimate life—a particularly time-consuming project at work, paired with the kids just entering a challenging new grade level, plus residual tension between the two partners after a recent argument, and then add in any health trouble that might be making physical touch difficult.
One other potentially major exacerbating factor? Mental health.
Depression can lower a person’s libido, both as a symptom of the chemical imbalances present in a depressed person’s brain and as a side effect of certain kinds of treatment. But additionally, a recent study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships suggests there might be another explanation for how depression can disrupt a couple’s sex life: a phenomenon that researchers call interference, which refers to the small but consistent ways being in a relationship can affect someone’s daily life.
“Interference focuses on the ways partners can disrupt day-to-day routines and individual goals. It happens because our relationships have interdependence—our lives overlap with our partners’ lives,” Amy Delaney, Ph.D., a Millikin University assistant communication professor and lead author of the study, tells mbg. “The example I always give my students is my husband putting his socks on the floor instead of in the laundry basket (which is right there). Because our lives are interdependent, when he doesn’t get his laundry in the basket, he’s interfering with my goal of not having dirty socks on the floor.”
Past research has posited that relationship turbulence is triggered by two qualities: relational uncertainty (that is, the degree to which each party feels confident or uncertain about the status of the relationship and each person’s investment in it) and interference from a partner.
All this in mind, Dr. Delaney surveyed 106 different-sex couples where one or both people in the relationship had been diagnosed with depression, asking them about their depressive symptoms, their sexual intimacy challenges, their levels of relational uncertainty, and the ways each partner interfered with the other’s daily life. Her findings? People with more depressive symptoms also tended to report more relational uncertainty and increased perceptions of interference. But it was the latter—perceiving interference from a partner—that predicted sexual intimacy challenges.
In other words, even just one partner’s depression was associated with both partners feeling like their lives were being disrupted by the other person, and feeling this interference was associated with more stress on the couple’s sex life.
“For couples with depression, interference could really damage partners’ connection,” Dr. Delaney explains. “First of all, interference means that couples are having trouble coordinating routines and goals. If two partners aren’t working well together to accomplish their day-to-day goals, they probably won’t feel very connected in a way that allows them to connect sexually. Second, the relational turbulence model says that interference prompts negative emotions, like frustration. If, for example, one partner is dealing with a lot of interference because their spouse won’t take their medication, doesn’t clean up their dishes, and keeps bailing on plans for date night, that is likely to cause some frustration! And if frustration is added to the already negative emotional climate of depression, partners probably have lots of barriers to creating a positive emotionally and physically intimate connection.”
Interestingly, this effect was particularly significant for men with depression: Men with more depressive symptoms perceived more interference, as did their partners. Dr. Delaney’s theory posited in the paper: “Perhaps men notice goal blockages when they are cognitively and emotionally taxed by depression, whereas women perceive interference when their partners are limited by depressive symptoms.”
So why is this all important? Dr. Delaney believes these results highlight the relational effects of depression and the relational causes of intimacy challenges.
“Lots of existing research really dismisses sex problems as either a symptom of the depression or a side effect of treatment,” she says. These two things can definitely be true, but her findings suggest the qualities of the relationship itself can also be important contributing factors. “Sex problems aren’t just a lack of interest or difficulties with physical function; they’re more nuanced than that.”
If you and your partner are currently in a sexual slump and one or both of you struggle with mental health difficulties, it might be worth it for each of you to consider how your behaviors, habits, and lifestyle might be affecting the other’s day-to-day life and energy. The effects of mental health difficulties, particularly depression, will not be solved over the course of one conversation, but just opening up that dialogue can be a good way to begin working toward improving your life together and minimizing the feelings of tension, disruption, and discordance between you.
“Approach rather than avoid,” writes sex therapist Jessa Zimmerman at mbg. “I recommend that you come from a positive place, making it clear that you’re interested in creating your best possible relationship. Express how you’ve been feeling about the cycle you’re in and specifically acknowledge your own contribution, in thought and in deed, to keeping the two of you stuck.”
Difficulties in the bedroom can indeed be one step in a frustrating cycle—life’s struggles lead to less sexual energy and less sex, less sex can create turbulence in your relationship, and relationship turbulence just adds to more overall struggles, and then the cycle just spirals on and on. Having a healthy and satisfying sex life, on the other hand, can actually improve your mental health and your overall relationship well-being. That’s an equal and opposite kind of cycle, one with so many ongoing positive benefits that it’s certainly worth trying to set it in motion.
I’ll admit it: I was known to doodle in the back of chem class, and I dipped out of physics whenever I could. Simply put, science has never been my thing — except, however, when it involves the dating realm. With each study that’s released, I eagerly read the findings, hoping that I may glean some wisdom from other couples’ lives that may impact mine. And what science discovered about sex & relationships in 2018 is nothing short of groundbreaking. The insightful research conducted this year can not only help us understand what behaviors, traits and qualities make for more successful relationships and healthier sex lives, but also which ones could be detrimental.
As they say, knowledge is power. Here are some of the most profound findings science offered up in the realm of dating, relationships, and sex over 2018.
The more you think your partner depends on your relationship, the less likely you are to break up with them.
There are many reasons why someone might put off a breakup, despite feeling unhappy in a relationship. According to a pair of studies published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 2018, people often avoid breakups when they feel like it may take a toll on their SO because the relationship is very important to them. In fact, the more dependent on the relationship people perceived their partner to be, the less likely they were to initiate a breakup.
It makes total sense when you think about it: No one wants to hurt someone who has played an important role in their lives, and obviously, breaking off a bond that matters to them will likely be hurtful.
Problematic Facebook use is linked to relationship anxiety.
It all comes down to your attachment style. People with high attachment anxiety agree with statements such as “I am afraid that I will lose my partner’s love.” And the study revealed that attachment anxiety was associated with comparing oneself to others, oversharing personal information about oneself, and creating a false impression of oneself while using Facebook. Moreover, these people were more likely to use the social network at the expense of other activities. Meanwhile, people with high attachment avoidance agree with statements such as “I get uncomfortable when my partner wants to be very close.” And those people were more likely to use Facebook to create a false impression of oneself as well. Not only that, but researchers discovered that the link between attachment insecurity and these Facebook behaviors was even stronger among people with low self-esteem.
Sharing the dishwashing duties can improve relationship satisfaction.
No one loves vacuuming or taking out the trash. But as it turns out, of every possible chore, washing the dishes causes the most conflict in relationships — only, of course, when the responsibility is mainly left to one partner. A report from the Council of Contemporary Families revealed that when women are often left to clean all the dishes, they tended to argue more with their partner and reported lower sexual satisfaction compared to those who had a partner who helped out.
Ultimately, the study showed that sharing all household chores can improve a relationship. Fortunately, the study also revealed that men have taken on more household chores over the past several decades: in fact, they perform twice as much housework on a weekly basis than they did in 1965.
Relationship gains is a real thing.
It’s long been speculated that there’s a link between one’s relationship status and their weight — and this was confirmed by a recent study conducted at the University of Queensland in Australia. Researchers found that couples in happy relationships weighed an average of 13 pounds more than single people, and that they experienced an average weight gain of four pounds per year. Could it possibly be because once you’re comfortable in a relationship, your self-confidence soars, so you’re less concerned with obsessing over the scale (hooray!)? It’s unclear why this happens, but it’s worth noting that there’s really nothing wrong with it, as long as you’re physically healthy — in fact, note that the study specified it’s happy couples who experience this weight gain.
And here’s another tidbit of good news: The study also found that people in relationships tend to have healthier habits overall than single people, including eating less fast food, and consuming more fruits and veggies.
Feeling obligated to work after office hours can hurt your relationship.
“Let me just make sure that client hasn’t responded,” you think to yourself while anxiously checking your email before you and bae have dinner. Apparently, while this kind of behavior may make you look good to your boss, it can be detrimental to your relationship. New research published in Academy of Management Best Paper Proceedings found that being expected to monitor work emails around the clock can take a toll on your mental health and overall well-being. People who felt obligated to check emails outside of traditional office hours reported higher levels of anxiety. Remarkably, that seemed to have a spillover effect, as those people’s partners reported not only decreased well-being but also lower relationship satisfaction.
“Phubbing” is associated with relationship dissatisfaction.
It’s no secret that nowadays, people may ignore their SO while they’re in their presence to use their smartphone instead. Just take a look around next time you’re out to eat, and notice how many people on dates are checking their email or scoping their Instagram feeds. According to a 2018 study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, this phone snubbing behavior — deemed “phubbing” — actually increases the likelihood of relationship dissatisfaction. How? Phubbing seems to create emotional distance between partners, which then obviously takes a toll on their bond.
The study’s authors concluded that phubbing “violates fundamental human needs” and ultimately results in “negative communication outcomes.”
Talking about sex with friends can boost your sexual well-being.
If watching Sex and the City feels downright autobiographical, you and your besties may be doing something right: A new study published in the International Journal of Sexual Health revealed that discussing sex with friends is associated with greater overall sexual well-being for women.
According to the study, when women had supportive female pals who offered up encouraging or positive advice or feedback, they were more likely to confront a partner to ask for a change in their sex life. They were also more likely to ask their SO if they’d been tested for STDs.
On-again, off-again relationships can negatively impact mental health.
From fictional couples like Rachel and Ross to real-life ones like Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick, we’re all familiar with the on-again, off-again relationship. And as you may have suspected, science has shown that these relationships aren’t exactly healthy. A study published in Family Relations in August 2018 found that the uncertainty that results from breaking up and reuniting over and over again is linked to a higher risk of mental health issues. Both straight and gay couples who engage in these kinds of relationships were more likely to experience depression and anxiety.
It’s not the first time science has shown that some surprising things take priority over getting some, either. One previous survey by Max Borges Agency showed that shopping on Amazon is more important to many millennials than sex.
The more you know, eh? Next time you’re looking to boost your dating or sex IQ, look to science for some seriously thought-provoking knowledge. We may not have all the answers yet, but at the very least, we’re getting a little wiser to what works — and what doesn’t.
Sex education and research use a medical model of sexual health focusing mainly on pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and sexual dysfunctions. However, sexuality is complex. Beyond genitals and Kama Sutra-like positions, it considers sexual and gender identity; sensuality; sexual response; intimacy; and positive and negative ways we use our sexuality.
As we age, the complex interplay among biological, psychological, cognitive, socioeconomic, religious and even societal factors, contribute to changes in our roles and responsibilities. For example, changes in physical or cognitive health over time can create differences in analytical thinking, mobility, and health care needs. We also experience changes in work, social and family roles and responsibilities over time. Examples include transitions from working to retirement, parenting to empty-nesting, child-rearing to caring for aging parents or partners.
Evolving social support and activities may change opportunities for sex and intimacy. Partners may disappear through death or moving away, or appear, such as when meeting new people after moving to an aging community. Over one-third of adults over age 65 use social media or internet technologies. These tools may expand sexual interest or activities by increasing access to sexual aids and partners.
Sex after 60
There are myths, misconceptions and stigma associated with aging and sexuality that hinder older adults’ ability to openly communicate with family, friends and health care professionals. This misinformation limits their access to sexual education, health care, and ultimately, their sexual rights.
The first myth is that older adults are not as sexually attractive or desirable as their younger counterparts. While an 80-year-old may not be as appealing to an 18-year-old, he or she may be very desirable to peers. More importantly, he or she may feel more sexually desirable and confident than their younger self.
A second myth is that older adults lack interest in and desire for sexual activity – and that they are somehow asexual. Research from ongoing national surveys support the ideas that sexual interest, desires and behaviors can decrease over the life course. For example, among women ages 57 years and older, over 80 percent of participants expressed interest in having sex, but less than two-thirds of women surveyed perceived sex as “important,” and fewer than half reported having sex in the previous year. However, the reality is that these trends are not universal among older adults. Results from another recent survey found that 39 percent of men and 17 percent of women ages 75 to 85 years are sexually active.
Another myth is that older adults are so medically fragile that sexual activity is dangerous. This is simply not true in many cases. Recent studies have shown that healthy older adults are more likely to have sex. Even when chronic illnesses are present, sexual abstinence is not a foregone conclusion. For example, a 2012 American Heart Association statement contains evidence-based recommendations about sexual activity among patients with specific cardiovascular conditions. The recommendations generally advise assessing risks with a doctor and disease management, rather than abstention.
There are well-documented relationships between common medical conditions such as heart disease or diabetes and treatment-related effects on sexual functioning. Yet, older adults and their health care providers are not discussing sexual concerns during routine care. Missed opportunities during visits deprive older adults of access to newer treatments and other best practices in sexual medicine, which can impact their mental and physical health.
A bigger problem may be ageist attitudes among providers and internalized ageism in their patients that may interfere with sex education and application of newer standards. The result is that many believe older adults are uninterested in, or lack desire for, sexual activity and cannot engage in these activities.
Love has a lot to do with it
There is more to sexuality than physical acts. While much of the existing research focuses on sexual activity and intercourse as predictors or outcomes, most older adults also desire companionship, intimacy and closeness. Non-intercourse-focused activities, such as hand-holding, cuddling and massage, have not been studied as much as intercourse. Yet, there is reason to believe that they can enhance intimacy. Research about physical and mental health outcomes resulting from older adult sexual activity reveals additional benefits, including reduced cognitive decline, loneliness and depression, and improved reported health status, physical functioning, and other aspects of quality of life.
Discussions should promote understanding about sexual risk behaviors for STIs and effects of physical and cognitive or psychological aging on sexual health and sexuality. To maintain or improve older adults’ sexual health and well-being, health care providers should provide safe and welcoming environments for patient-provider collaboration, resources and interdisciplinary referrals to clinical social workers, sex therapists, physical therapists and other allied health specialties.
When you’re not enjoying sex, you might be wondering why, but the truth is that our sex drives are impacted by so many things.
Both your physical and mental health can be the cause of a low libido.
Stress, certain medications, and a feeling of shame could all be reasons you may not be enjoying sex.
Your sex drive is determined by so many factors and it can constantly change depending on what’s going on in your life, as well as your physical and mental health. Whether you’re dealing with short-term or long-term sexual dissatisfaction, it’s normal to wonder why you’re not enjoying sex.
According to experts, here are some reasons you may not be enjoying sex.
Editor’s note: This post contains some information that may be triggering to those who have experienced sexual assault or trauma.
You’re engaging in sexual activities before you’re adequately aroused.
Preparing your mind and body for sex can be crucial to actually enjoying it and taking time to get aroused may help prepare your body for sex.
“Foreplay gets the ‘blood flowing’ to the genitals and helps with lubrication and the ability to climax during sexual activity,” Michael Ingber, MD, Board-certified in Urology and Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery at the Center for Specialized Women’s Health, division of Garden State Urology/Atlantic Medical Group told INSIDER.
“Many people get caught up in the idea that sex is equivalent to intercourse,” added Melissa Coats, psychotherapist and owner at Coats Counseling, LLC. “Foreplay is sex and by taking the pressure off of the thought that there must be one outcome in a sexual experience, you can free yourself up to enjoy foreplay and focus on your own pleasure rather than the worry.”
You’re not mentally or emotionally ready to have sex.
As important as it is for your body to be ready for sex, your mind also needs to be ready, too. “Context is everything,” said Coats. “For example, If you come home from a long day of work feeling anxious, upset, and overwhelmed and your partner tries to make sexual contact, you will most likely not be able to access your [feelings of] desire and pleasure easily.”
She said context includes a variety of things including your environment, level of stressors, or even the state of your relationship with a sexual partner.
You’re dealing with anxiety about your body or appearance.
Sex can be an extremely vulnerable situation, so if you’re not feeling comfortable in your own skin, you may find it more difficult to enjoy sex.
“Anxiety is the enemy of desire and pleasure,” Coats told INSIDER. “In order to experience sexual pleasure, we need to be present in the moment and with our bodies. If you are experiencing negative self-talk about your body, your mind is not on how much you are enjoying your body and what it is experiencing.”
You’re uncomfortable about past sexual experiences.
Whether you’re dealing with a past sexual trauma or worrying that your experience level is different from your partner’s, these feelings can understandably creep up before, during, or after sex, making it tough for you to find enjoyment in a sexual experience.
Coats said that communicating with your partner can help you to feel more comfortable during sex.
You’re not comfortable around your partner.
Since sex oftentimes involves so many layers of intimacy, if you’re not fully comfortable with your partner, you’ll likely have a difficult time fully enjoying your experience.
“By expressing these aspects of your sexuality with someone, you are trusting them with that vulnerability,” said Coats. ” If you are not comfortable with your partner, feeling vulnerable will not seem appealing and may even feel physically or emotionally unsafe.”
You feel shame or stigma about your sexual needs or wants.
Sexuality exists on such a wide spectrum and everyone has different wants, needs, and desires. Opening up about what you like and don’t like can feel intimidating, even if you’re with a long-term partner. And, feeling like you cannot express your wants or needs can be making sex less pleasurable for you.
“Shame and stigma are attacks on identity,” Coats told INSIDER. “Whether the shame is related to a sexual identity, fantasy, kink, (or something similar,) feeling attacked either by your own thoughts or someone else’s thoughts or actions, you may automatically feel unsafe and want to retreat.”
You’ve been given false or sex-negative messages about sex or sexuality.
Similarly, it can be easy to believe things you’ve heard about sex, from how much you should be having to stereotypes about the kinds of sex people have, and these can seep through to your own sexual experiences, likely without you even realizing it.
“There is an abundance of misguided, harmful, and plainly false messages about sex that people take at face value as fact. If something doesn’t feel right, allow yourself to question that message, whether it is from yourself or someone else,” said Coats. In these cases, she suggested exploring sex-positive resources to help you to feel more comfortable with sex.
You’re on a medication that impacts your libido or physical sensations during sex.
“Several medications can affect not only libido, but also the sexual experience in men and women,” said Dr. Ingber. “Antidepressants are notorious for this, causing a decrease in sexual desire and often interfering with the ability to orgasm.”
If you think a new or existing medication is causing a dip in your libido or ability to orgasm, check with your doctor.
You’re dealing with a medical condition that makes sex painful.
Even though it’s incredibly common, experiencing pain during sex can be the quickest way to put the brakes on your enjoyment in the moment. There are several medical conditions that can contribute to pain, dryness, or irritation during or after sex, as Jessa Zimmerman, a certified sex therapist and author of “Sex Without Stress,” previously explained to INSIDER.
“There are some medical causes of sexual pain, including skin conditions, autoimmune disorders, pain conditions due to overgrowth of nerves, endometriosis, and vaginismus, an involuntary clenching of the vagina that develops in anticipation of pain and is painful in itself,” said Zimmerman.
If you suspect a medical condition is causing you to feel pain during sex, check with your doctor, who can help you to find treatment options and ways to help ease your pain or discomfort.
You may be trying positions that make you feel uncomfortable or pained.
Pain or discomfort during sex isn’t always due to a chronic medical issue — some positions may not be enjoyable to you.
“If you have sought medical attention with no clear answers, try using different positions, lubricant, or talking to a pelvic floor physical therapist to help figure out what your body is trying to tell you,” said Coats
Dr. Ingber agreed, adding that everyone is different and what’s comfortable and enjoyable for one person isn’t necessarily pleasant for another.
You’re not prioritizing sleep, eating well, or exercising regularly.
As Coats told INSIDER, “Physical, mental, emotional, and sexual health are all connected. When one is being neglected, it is like trying to drive a car with the emergency brakes on. It will go, but it will slow you down a lot and it’s not great for your engine. Engaging with your sexuality when you feel physically un-aligned can be stressful and difficult.”
Taking care of your entire body by getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and getting regular exercise will help give you the energy your body needs to not just have sex, but thoroughly enjoy it, too.
You’re not sure what feels good for you and your body.
Sexual desire and preferences are different for every person. And, according to Coats, popular misconceptions about sex being a “task to be mastered instead of an activity to enjoy” could make it tough for someone to figure out what they like.
Taking time to explore your own body by way of masturbation or trying new things that you’re comfortable with, whether with new toys, positions, or other sexual stimuli, can help you learn what feels enjoyable for you.
But the same way that your cells need water to remain adequately hydrated, dehydration can cause dry, irritated skin, potentially leading to pain and irritation down below.
Similarly, Healthline notes that there’s a link between dehydration and erectile dysfunction, and your body needs sufficient oxygen to help maintain an erection. When you’re not getting enough water, you might not get adequate blood flow throughout your body, which includes your sex organs.
She said doctors typically recommend abstaining from sex for six weeks or longer post-delivery, but it depends on the patient’s body and their healing process. She also added that breastfeeding can decrease one’s estrogen levels, causing one’s vagina to be less lubricated and less elastic, thus making sex more painful.
You’re afraid of pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections.
Even if you’re taking precautions for safe sex, it’s natural to worry about pregnancy or STIs. “Any fear that exists while engaging in a sexual encounter is going to impact how you feel about your experience,” Coats told INSIDER. “If you are afraid of getting pregnant, remember, sex does not [have to] equal intercourse. There are plenty of ways to express and experience pleasure and eroticism other than intercourse.”
You’re stressed about other things.
Few things can kill the desire for sex quite like stress. From an emotional standpoint, Coats said mental energy plays an important role in enjoying sex.
“If that mental energy is being used to assess what is going on anywhere but within your own body, it is competing with your pleasure for your brain space. Creating a context where you can put other things aside and allow yourself to focus on you, also known as self-care, is crucial in sexual satisfaction.”
Your mental stress could even cause sex to be more painful. “All of these issues will impact your natural ability to relax, get aroused, lubricate and prepare the [body] for sex,” Dr. Bohn told INSIDER.
You’re just not interested in sex, either at the moment or in the long-run.
The truth is that not everyone is interested in having sex and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
“If sex is not that interesting to you, you are not abnormal. If you would like to become more interested in sex and your sexuality, there are plenty of ways to spark curiosity,” Coats told INSIDER. “But it must come from your own desire and not someone else’s expectation in order to be pleasurable.”
When you’re in a long-term relationship, it’s perfectly normal to develop a sexual routine with your partner. After all, the more often you have sex with someone, the better acquainted you become with their body, their turn-ons, their erogenous zones, their fantasies, and more. But while that level of sexual comfort with a partner can be advantageous in plenty of ways — like knowing exactly how to get each other to orgasm — having a “predictable” (or worse, “boring”) sex life can also be a source of frustration for many couples.
Although refreshing your sex life might sound like a daunting task, rest assured that it doesn’t have to be. In fact, finding new and exciting ways to enjoy sex in your relationship can actually be a fun way to connect with your partner, build intimacy, and experience pleasure. Besides, making an active effort to diversify your sexual routine doesn’t necessarily mean you’re dissatisfied with your current sex life; it simply means that you and your partner are open-minded and willing to grow even closer by sharing new sexual experiences.
If things are starting to feel a little blah in the bedroom, all it takes is a little creativity to heat things back up — and playing a few fun, easy sex games with your partner is the perfect low-pressure way to do so. Whether it’s naughty truth or dare or naked Twister, trying out some flirty and frisky sex games is a lighthearted way to switch things up in the bedroom without feeling like you’re doing a complete overhaul of your sex life.
Here are three easy sex games you can play with your partner that are pretty much guaranteed to make everyone feel like a winner.
If you and your partner are in the habit of breezing through foreplay in order to get to the “main event,” you might be surprised by how much slowing down and focusing on foreplay can transform your sex life. By elongating your foreplay sessions and savoring every touch, you can build all kinds of sexy tension before moving on to intercourse — or maybe you’ll get so caught up that you skip intercourse entirely (after all, penetration is not a prerequisite for great sex).”
“Start a timer and agree for there not to be penetration until the timer runs out,” says Danyell Fima, co-founder of adult pleasure company Velvet Co. “The anticipation makes it all worth it. This is best if you use a random timer, and set it between 10-20 minutes. To go even further, don’t touch each other, just tease each other with a feather.”
You might have the most comfortable bed on Earth, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only worthwhile place to get your freak on. Whether you live in a tiny studio apartment or a multi-suite mansion, there are plenty of opportunities to get creative with where you have sex: a bathtub, a kitchen counter, atop a washer… the list goes on. Sometimes a change of scenery is all it takes to make the whole experience feel brand new — even if you’re not technically changing the way you have sex all that much.
“Make every time you have sex [in] a different place and position,” says Fima. “Alternate which partner has to come up with the location between every time. Pretty soon, you’ll have touched every piece of furniture in your apartment in a new and exciting way.”
When you’re in the mood for a little extra stimulation in your sex life, using sex toys with your partner is an easy way to raise the stakes and experience even more feel-good sensations during sex. If you own a toy or two that can be controlled remotely, try making a sexy game out of allowing your partner to take total control of your pleasure.
“Have sex toys? Hand the controls to your partner,” says Fima. “It’s best when each person has a toy they can use. Last as long as you can! Have multiple sex toys? Pick which ones you’ll use blindfolded to keep things interesting
Most people have heard of the gender pay gap, but there’s another form of gender inequity that doesn’t get nearly as much attention.
Not only are women getting short-changed in the workforce, studies suggest they are also getting the short end of the stick in the bedroom.
Even today, in an age where many women have more sexual freedom than ever before, evidence shows men are nearly two times more likely to orgasm during sex than women.
This discrepancy in sexual pleasure is known as the orgasm gap, and a new study now suggests the gulf persists beyond one-night stands and lasts into marriage.
The research focussed on 1,683 newlywed heterosexual couples, and each partner was asked how often they had orgasms and how often they thought their significant other had orgasms.
The participants were also asked about how satisfied they were with their sex life and their relationship.
The findings reveal that the orgasm gap is still very much alive in modern society, even in committed and loving relationships. While 87 percent of husbands said they consistently experienced orgasm during sexual activity, only 49 percent of wives could say the same.
Some of this could be due to anatomical differences, which make it easier for men to climax. Regardless of the cause – whether cultural, or physical, or some mix of both – closing the orgasm gap is in the interests of both men and women.
Another part of the study found that a person’s sexual satisfaction, no matter their gender, was linked closely to how often they thought their partner was orgasming.
“It turns out that her report of how often she has orgasm is important for her satisfaction and his report of how often he thinks she has orgasm is important for his satisfaction,” Nathan Leonhardt, who researches human sexuality at the University of Toronto in Canada, explained to Psypost.
“In other words, her orgasm experience seems to be important for both husbands and wives.”
So if most husbands say they want their wives to have a good time in bed, why aren’t they picking up their game?
Well, it might not be entirely their fault. Part of the problem could be that men are largely oblivious that there is a problem. In the recent survey, 43 percent of husbands misperceived how often their wives were experiencing orgasm.
The authors suggest these incorrect perceptions are just a symptom of another problem, which is that many couples are uncomfortable with sexuality, causing a lack of communication in the bedroom.
But these are just speculations, and more research needs to be done on why men are misinterpreting the sexual satisfaction of their wives, as multiple different factors have been put forward.
For instance, it could be that women are faking orgasms so their husbands feel more satisfied with the experience. Or, maybe it’s that men don’t know what it looks like for women to orgasm, perhaps because they have seen too many inaccurate portrayals in porn.
Whatever the cause, it never hurts to have a chat. If couples are looking to boost their sex life, the study suggests that staying attentive to a partner’s needs and honestly talking through any problems is a must.
“When counselling couples, clinicians should give particular attention to the wife’s orgasm experiences, to potentially help both husbands and wives have higher sexual satisfaction,” the authors conclude.
Over the next few years, the researchers are going to continue following these newlyweds to see how relationship dynamics change over the course of a marriage.
A beginners kinky guide to getting started with BDSM
By Mistress Scarlett
Many people think of BDSM as whips and chains in dark, scary dungeons, but the truth of it is, anyone could be practicing aspects of BDSM in their own homes to spice up their sex lives, live out fantasies or enjoy minor taboos that in the past were not even mentioned in public. BDSM as a term stood for bondage and discipline, domination and submission and sadism and masochism in the past, which could make it sound quite intimidating to many people. BDSM is now used as a blanket term for fetishes and kinks that fall outside of mainstream behaviors. Many of these kinks and fetishes actually have nothing to do with sex at all while others are intricately entwined with what goes on in the bedroom. Some BDSM practices are only carried out in the bedroom while others such as TPE (total power exchange) may actually be ingrained in to every aspect of daily life. There are actually far too many aspects of BDSM today than what can be categorized in to neatly label little boxes, so we are just going to look at a small portion of what makes up BDSM and focus on the more erotic side of the topic.
Remember, the first rule in BDSM is consent and the persons giving the consent need to be fully informed of all the risks and be able to legally consent to whatever aspect is being introduced. Remember, BDSM as practiced by real people is not the same as what is shown in entertainment such as movies or porn. Most kinks, fetishes or role play do need special gear, clothing, equipment or even a dungeon. If you want to wear fun outfits for role play, that is up to you but the only thing that limits your BDSM play is your own imagination. If you do get wrapped up in all things BDSM you might then want to invest in equipment such as bondage gear, ropes, floggers, canes, electro-play equipment, sounds, leather, chains and more. There is a vast variety of equipment available online and in certain adult stores. Always purchase good quality, body safe equipment for any BDSM play to keep everyone involved as safe as possible. Do not try any of the more risky kinks such as suspension bondage, knife or needle play and so forth unless you have had some training and are 100% sure you can keep your partner safe from unintended harm. Even simple play such as spanking can go wrong if you don’t know the person you are playing with well and their potential health problems. Research everything thoroughly if you plan to go in-depth in to BDSM and get a mentor if possible. Go to events and moots to learn more so that you always play safely.
Let’s look at some basic BDSM play. Bondage can refer to ropes, cuffs and other restraints but can also include aspects such as mummification, vacuum packing, sensory deprivation, masks, gags and more. Bondage can be for a short time or extended periods and can be gentle to extreme. There is aesthetic bondage such as Shibari which is done for body decoration to suspension bondage where the person in bondage is actually hoisted off the floor / bed / flat surface. Both of these types of bondage require dedication, study and knowledge to keep everyone safe from injury. Discipline can be part of domination and submission play or just spankings for fun. Erotic discipline such as flogging can be extremely enjoyable to all involved while spanking for punishment can be attached to behavior modification and control. There are so many variables and aspects to this type of play as well and it is very important that research is done before embarking on any type of BDSM play.
In dominance and submission there is generally role play where one person is in control of another person or persons. For some people this role play happens in the bedroom only, while for others this can actually become part of their daily lives. Some people may also switch and be dominant on some occasions or with some people and be submissive at other times. These dynamics can change quite a bit as well. A male dominant is usually referred to as a Dom or Master and a female dominant as a Domme, Domina, Mistress, Goddess and other honorifics. The person is the submissive role is generally referred to as a sub or a slave depending on their roles. This type of play also encompasses “Littles” with Daddy/Mommy figures and other types of play such as Puppy, Pony and Kitten play. There is nothing wrong with experimenting in the different roles until you figure out what you enjoy and what you don’t. Just stick to the golden rule of consent and safety at all times.
Masochism and sadism usually features someone who enjoys inflicting pain with someone who enjoys receiving pain. This can be mild spanking to CBT and includes play such as knives, needles, hot wax and more. This type of play can be very erotic and can also be quite extreme depending on the people involved and what gets their motors running. There are many, many, many other kinks, fetishes and more that can be explored under the wide umbrella of the term BDSM. If you are interested in making things a bit more interesting in the bedroom or even your daily life, spend some time on sites dedicated to BDSM; go to events and meetings with like-minded people. You may very well be surprised at what turns you on.