Why Female Sexual Dysfunction Therapy is Lacking

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By Kevin Kunzmann

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.

Complete Article HERE!

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Kinky Sex and Fetishes:

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How to Talk to Your Partner About Them

It’s normal to want to try new things in bed, but communicating those desires can feel wholly unnatural. These tips can help.

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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.

Start Small

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.

Complete Article HERE!

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The sex trends experts predict will be huge in 2019

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By Ellen Scott

You might not think that sex has trends.

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.

Sex dolls

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.

Artificial Intelligence

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.

Being single

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.

Male pleasure

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.

New sensations

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.

Complete Article HERE!

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How to Sustain Good Sex in a Long-Term Relationship

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By Danielle Simone Brand

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.

Complete Article HERE!

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‘Set aside time for sex’

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– how to get better at long-term relationships

By Miranda Christophers with

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.

Complete Article HERE!

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How To Talk To Your Partner If You Want Them To Initiate Sex More Often

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In the beginning stages of a relationship, whether you or your partner initiated sex may not have mattered much because you were both so into each other, it was probably pretty mutual. But as the relationship begins to transition to a new normal where you and bae probably aren’t having sex as often as you were before, you may find yourself initiating sex more often. So, if you’re trying to figure out how you can talk to your partner if you want them to initiate sex as often as you do, worry not. I spoke to sex and relationship experts about the topic, and here’s what they had to say.

“About these conversations, it’s really important to have them outside of the bedroom, not to have them when you want sex initiated or when you’re in the middle of it,” sex and intimacy coach Irene Fehr tells Elite Daily. “It’s always important to have it in a calm, relaxed place, where you’re not already turned on, where you’re not already kind of into it. The one thing that I really emphasize around all topics around sex is to come from a place of curiosity, as opposed to, ‘I don’t like this,’ ‘This is not working.’ And so, curiosity in terms of asking your partner what works for them.”

You can talk specifically about wanting bae to initiate sex more often or you can broaden the topic a bit and talk about what you like versus what your partner likes. Fehr recommends asking your partner, “How do you like to initiate?” or “How do you like to be initiated towards?” By making it a somewhat objective conversation, it can seem less like pointing fingers and more like just wanting to talk to your boo. “Get a sense of what works for them, and then, on the flip side, also share what works for [you],” she says. “We all know what works for us to some level. We know what feels good. We know what things we want more of, and we welcome it.”

If you and your partner tend to be more hands-on, you can also make a game out of who initiates sex more. “Create coupons for your partner,” Nikki Leigh, a love and relationships coach and host of Ready for Love Radio, tells Elite Daily. “One can let you redeem it for them to initiate sex, one could let them redeem it for a massage, and so on to subtly let them get the message.” If you and bae gravitate toward even more subtle ways of communication, Leigh also recommends sharing an article or podcast with your partner about initiating sex. “Let them know that you would love for them to initiate sex more and why,” she says. “We all love for our partner to show their desire for us, and initiating sex and intimacy is a great way to do that.”

When approaching the topic, Leigh suggests bringing it up in a positive way. “Let them know you appreciate that they do [initiate sex], and you would love for them to do it more,” she says. If you’re satisfied with you and your partner’s sex life, but you just wish they would initiate more, chances are you don’t want them to feel like you’re unhappy with sex in general. So, “don’t discourage what they are currently doing, keep it positive, praise their current efforts and encourage more,” Leigh advises.

Make sure that you and bae still feel connected to each other beyond your sex life. “It’s very hard to initiate sex if you don’t feel connected to your partner or if they’re not connected to you,” Fehr says. “Connecting to your partner, whether it’s by asking them about their day or meeting them where they are, if they’re tired or cranky, or initiating something playful. Sex and intimacy work really well when partners are playful with each other.” If you and your boo are as connected as you’ve ever been, then the sex build-up will happen on its own, she says. “When you initiate the touch or initiate a conversation, then you create the kind of context where sex can happen as a natural outcome of what you’re doing, and it’s going to be a lot more fulfilling.”

Complete Article HERE!

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The 7 Rules of a Healthy Long-Distance Sex Life

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by

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.

Couple Apps

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.

Making Memories

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.

Toys

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.

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The Biggest Wellness Trend This Year?

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Female Pleasure!

By OLIVIA CASSANO

You wouldn’t typically consider vibrators or lube as part of your beauty regime, but soon you might. Sexual pleasure products have been infiltrating the wellness and beauty scenes recently and are slowly becoming daily care necessities, much like a good under-eye cream or body oil.

Although demand for sex products is universal, historically very few brands have spoken honestly and respectfully to women about their sex lives. Nowadays, as society challenges taboos around sex and female-led sextech companies strive to provide retail experiences that aren’t shameful or seedy, sexual pleasure is going mainstream – so much so that products like sex toys, condoms and lube are no longer exclusive to sex shops or the pharmacy’s “family planning” aisle.

According to a recent study by the market research firm Technavio, the sexual wellness industry is growing exponentially and will be worth $32 billion in 2019 – it’s true what they say, sex sells – and the 2018 Global Wellness Summit Report states that “sexual pleasure brands are strongly aligning themselves with wellness, and sex is fast shedding its taboo status.” Products that were once sold in basement sex shops and spoken about in hushed tones have become this generation’s go-to form of self-care, and sexual pleasure is 2019’s wellness cause célèbre.

Lucie Greene, worldwide director of trend forecasting agency JWT Innovation, believes sexual pleasure will be this year’s biggest wellness trend. “We’re seeing a move away from sexual fulfilment and health as an overly eroticised tone [and] sex is being positioned as part of a 360 make-up of being a healthy person,” she tells Refinery29. “We’ve seen a marked rise in this and raised awareness that sexual fulfilment is something to focus on and optimise. What’s interesting is that the idea of sexual pleasure, rather than be dependent on your partner, is being internalised as part of self-care. It’s also being linked to skin health, appearance, and general glow and vitality – as a beauty proposition.”

That sex (solo or partnered) is good for your wellbeing isn’t exactly a revelation, and brands are finally tapping into that by marketing sexual health products like toys, lube and condoms as everyday body care, bridging the gap between sex and wellness. Cult Beauty, the beauty junkie’s online mecca, sells aphrodisiac supplements, Boots has started stocking So Divine vibrators, and body care brand Nécessaire, launched less than two months ago by Into The Gloss cofounder Nick Axelrod and former Estee Lauder executive Randi Christiansen, offers lube as one of the three products in its range.

By bringing sexual wellness into the mainstream, brands are destigmatising sex goods by marketing them as any other wellness product. “The other interesting thing is the design of many of these brands. The new language around sex is sophisticated, straight-up and pithy. There’s a tasteful level of humour and empathy,” adds Greene. Brands like Nécessaire are catering to the millennial zeitgeist and overcoming the taboos and misconceptions with Insta-friendly aesthetics, offering products you’d proudly display on your nightstand next to a Le Labo fragrance or a Drunk Elephant serum. Take Lelo, the Swedish sex toy company created by three designers whose popular products are crafted with the same Scandinavian sophistication that we’ve come to expect from our homeware.

“More and more women are aware how their sexual health is linked to their overall mental and physical wellbeing,” says Jacqueline Husin from Smile Makers, whose vibrators are sold only in mainstream health and beauty retailers. “Noticing this, retailers, from drugstore chains to department stores, have launched new sexual wellness categories to cater to the woman who cares about all aspects of her health, from inner to outer beauty.”

By positioning sexual pleasure in the beauty and wellness sphere, brands are promoting the idea that body care goes beyond scrubs and lotions, and aligning themselves with a more modern and sex-positive understanding of sexual pleasure. Sceptics might argue that making sex goods “trendy” is nothing more than a marketing ploy, but the bottom line is that sexual pleasure is being normalised.

“It’s great to see more mainstream retailers promoting sexual products, moving away from the narrative of sex-related items being seedy and only available in sex shops or online,” says Ruby Stevenson, sex educator at Brook, the young people’s sexual health charity. “It’s hard to tell how attitudes could change, but it’ll improve accessibility to products that should be normalised.”

“We’re taught to be aware of our physical and mental wellbeing far more than the sexual side of our identity, so it’s nice to see this being celebrated in varying ways,” adds Stevenson, who believes that making sexual pleasure more mainstream would also open up the conversation around sexual violence and consent. “In the aftermath of the #MeToo movement I think it’s important to shine a light on pleasure-focused consent. Culturally, there’s so much fear around the word ‘consent’ when in reality it’s an essential part of all sexual pleasure.”

Stevenson rightly points out that while making sex toys more available isn’t enough to eradicate sexual violence (we need to reform laws to ensure just legal systems, more support for survivors, and informative education from an early age), it’s a good place to start. “I make sure to shout about positive pleasure-related messages as well as addressing sexual violence. It’s so important to make people aware that consent is not a constraint on your pleasure, but an integral part of it. I’m excited for how these conversations will evolve in 2019!”

Female sexual pleasure has been neglected for way too long, so the more sex products enter the wellness scene, the closer we’ll get to erasing the stigma and taboos around sexual pleasure.

Complete Article HERE!

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Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Anal Beads

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First things first—don’t be afraid!

By Gigi Engle

You’ll find no shortage of explanatory pieces on the Internet when it comes to butt stuff. There are so many ways to explore the butt. Some people use fingers, while others prefer dildos or butt plugs. And, of course, people enjoy a mix of things. Yet in all of this ongoing hoopla, we’ve forgotten a key player: anal beads.

Anal beads are the unsung hero of butt play. They are freakin’ amazing, and yet when asked about butt play from readers, I never get questions about anal beads.

Butt plugs and anal beads are two different toys, although they both go in the anus. “Anal beads provide stimulation through movement, while a butt plug offers internal ‘fullness’ or pressure,” explains Alicia Sinclair, a certified sex educator and CEO of the butt-centric company b-Vibe. “Unlike a butt plug, which is often used in preparation for penetrative anal sex, and is only meant to go in and stay [in place], anal beads were designed to stimulate inside the body and specifically to move in an out of the bum.”

There is no reason to feel embarrassed about wanting to explore butt stuff. Will there be some poop? Possibly, but if you clean up thoroughly, you’ll be just fine. You might come in contact with some fecal matter, but this simply goes with the territory. The sooner we move on from that, the sooner we can delight in the butt fully. I love butt play of any kind because it is an equalizing sex act that everyone can enjoy, regardless of gender. Everyone, after all, has an anus.

“Playing with products like anal beads allows you to really create equality in the bedroom and experience pleasure for the sake of pleasure, rather than tying it to identity in any way,” Sinclair adds.

The anus is a huge area of pleasurable possibility. You don’t need to put anything all the way inside of the butt to enjoy it. The anal opening is clustered with nerves, making any play with toys very enjoyable.

“As the beads are removed, they arouse the sensitive nerve endings of the sphincter muscle,” Sinclair says. “This stimulation creates a series of pleasurable sensations, like having a muscle massaged. The beads can be removed at varying speeds, depending on the desired effect, and can amplify the intensity of orgasm or even initiate for some. A great element is that using anal beads can be a hands-free path to stimulation, which means you can use your hands for other important erotic matters.”

Sign me up, please. Here is what you need to know about anal beads and all their multidimensional wonders.

Anal beads can be for newbies.

If you’re unsure if you’re ready for le beads de anal, Sinclair assures me that anal beads are totally fine for butt play beginners. While your forays ought to begin with a well-lubed finger or two, she assures SELF that there are “anal beads available in sizes for folks at all entry levels.”

Where to begin as a newbie when you’re looking for that perfect fit? Sinclair says that if you’re a beginner, it’s best to choose beads with “graduated sizes.” Meaning, ones that start small on the string and grow in size as you move up. “This allows the user to start with the smallest beads and then works towards the larger beads as they become comfortable with the sensation,” she says.

You should start with anal beads that come with three to four beads. You don’t need some long, snaking set of 15 balls when you’re starting out—that could be a little intimidating. “Make sure there is a good-sized flared base or circular handle at the end of the beads, otherwise there the beads may get lost inside the body,” Sinclair adds. Yikes. No one needs a trip to the ER, amiright? The rectum is not a closed area like the vagina; once something goes up the butt and disappears, it probably won’t be coming back on its own.

Stick to medical grade or body-safe silicone.

Materials for anal beads, like all sex toys, vary widely depending on where you buy them. Simply put: Do not buy cheap, crappy sex toys. If you buy beads made of jelly or non-ABS plastic (the only non-porous grade of plastic) then you risk leaving bacteria behind. These materials can never be fully disinfected. Yes, this is exactly what it sounds like: Your anal beads will have lingering poop on them.

“Silicone is my go-to material of choice,” Sinclair tells SELF. “It’s body-safe, non-porous, and all you need is mild soap and warm water to clean.”

Vibrating anal beads can be a super-fun way to ease yourself into playing with this new toy. “It promotes relaxation and can amplify the pleasurable sensations,” she says. “At b-Vibe, we specialize in vibrating anal beads and playing with different points and patterns of vibration.” (If vibration isn’t your thing, there are plenty of body-safe silicone anal beads that don’t vibrate. It’s all about preference.)

If you’re truly not sure what sensation you want to feel, start with a basic set of three to four non-vibrating beads and see how you feel about them. If you’d like to experiment with bigger beads, vibration, or a larger number of beads, go from there. There are so many different kinds to choose from.

Grab some lube.

You can use anal beads alone or with a partner. It can be easier to give toys a try alone for the first time to avoid awkwardness or nerves, but this is completely up to you.

Be sure you have a ton of lube on hand. Avoid silicone-based lubes with silicone toys; in other words, stick to water-based lube. I recommend Sustain Natural for all play, including anal. If you are more of an oil-based lover, I’m obsessed with CocoLube. Oil-based lubes are great for anal play because they are super slippery and don’t need to be applied as often as water-based options.

If you are sharing butt toys, be sure you are thoroughly cleansing them before using them with a different partner. Otherwise, you risk transferring bacteria or STIs.

Relax and breathe before insertion. You can lie either on your back or side, whichever is most comfortable for you. I suggest starting on your side if this is your first time. You don’t want your butt hole to be tensed up. Put the beads in one at a time, checking in with yourself and your partner along the way.

“Once they are inside, you’ll feel ‘fullness’ and receive pleasure as they move inside you,” Sinclair says. “You can stop wherever—there’s no pressure at all to go the full length of the beads. You can then leave them in during partner play or pull them out at varying speeds, depending on the desired effect.”

Sinclair suggests leaving the beads in during intercourse, slowly removing them one by one when you’re nearing climax for “toe-curling orgasms.”

Clean your anal beads immediately.

After you’re finished getting busy, wash your anal beads right away. You don’t want to leave lingering bacteria on your toys. Use a mild antibacterial soap and leave them on a towel to air dry. Be sure to pay special attention to any nooks and crannies. Be thorough.

If you’re really into sanitizing, I absolutely love the UVee Box. It uses UV light to remove 99.9 percent of surface bacteria on your toys. I use it for everything in my house from my cell phone to my jewelry. It’s a worthy investment.

Do away with shame! Go boldly into butt play and have the most fun!

Complete Article HERE!

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How Alcohol Impacts Your Sex Life

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By GiGi Engle

The situation looks something like this: You’re out with on a date, the drinks are flowing and you’re feeling decidedly frisky. Somewhere between your third drink and that Cardi B song you love, you decide your date is definitely coming home with you.

Once you get there, you are both ready and willing to get in the groove. Unfortunately, your body is not as enthusiastic as your brain. You still want to have sex, but no matter how much you rub your clitoris, it is not down for the count. You’re on an endless plateau and no orgasms can be found.

Alcohol has loosened your inhibitions, but it has also taken the wind out of your sails. The situation is … not great.

So, why do we drink when we’re out partying, on dates, or with hanging with friends? What impact does alcohol have on sex, orgasm, and libido? Here is what we know.

Alcohol can act as social lubricant
While alcohol and sex don’t always mix well, it can act as a social lubricant, easing tension in social situations. When you’re trying to get some action, a couple of drinks can make the initial awkwardness less overwhelming, “The only possibilities for positive effects is for alcohol to create a feeling of less self-consciousness and to reduce inhibitions,” says Felice Gersh, M.D., OB/GYN, and founder/director of the Integrative Medical Group of Irvine, CA.

This is why we often feel sexy and in the mood after we’ve had a couple glasses of wine, our nerves are settled and we feel freer. “For women, moderate alcohol intake may increase libido and reduce anxiety or inhibitions toward sex,” addes Dr. Anika Ackerman, MD, a New Jersey based urologist.

Boozy vaginas are dry vaginas
Have you ever heard of Whiskey Vagina? This charming term (popularized by yours truly) refers to when you’ve had too much to drink. You start fooling around, and suddenly realize your vagina is not in on this game. Your drunk brain might be saying, “YES! I WANT TO GET IT!” but your vagina is not having it.

“Alcoholic beverages do have a negative impact on the development of sexual health,” Gersh says. “[It] can impact vital female sexual functions, such as the creation of vaginal moisture, by impacting the autonomic nervous system.”

In short, alcohol might calm you down by affecting the nervous system, but it will also dry you out for the same reasons.

Alcohol can inhibit orgasm
Drinking is all fun and games until you can’t have an orgasm. Not only has alcohol been shown to decrease natural vaginal lubrication, it increase issues with erection in men and destroys orgasm. “Alcohol can increase impotence and reduce the ability to orgasm and their intensity,” Gersh tells us.

Again, this is due to the negative impact alcohol has on the nervous system, a vital component in orgasm. Gersh says that without a normally functioning nervous system, orgasm might be off the table entirely.

Not to mention, the drunker you get, the sloppier and less coordinated you become. “The more inebriated a person becomes the more impaired they become,” Gersh says. This is both not particularly cute and overall super dangerous, especially if you’re going home with someone for the first time.

Alcohol complicates consent

Another critically important factor in this situation is consent. When you’re drunk, you don’t have ability to consent to sexual activity, according to the law. What’s more, you may be too impaired to even remember what happened the night before at all. Perhaps you didn’t even want to have sex, but were too drunk to say no. These are dark implications, but ones that need to be addressed. Sex an alcohol are a dangerous combination. And consent is an ongoing conversation.

It’s about moderation
If you want to have a glass or two of wine, that’s perfectly OK. Having a drink won’t harm you. It’s when you start pounding shots or take a bottle of wine to the face that your sex life (and life in general) will suffer consequences. So keep tabs on your intake and don’t overdo it. If you have issues with controlling your alcohol intake or have had struggles with abuse, it’s best stay away from alcohol altogether

In the end, alcohol is a big part of our social system, but when it comes to sex, the negative effects seem to outweigh any positive aspects. If you’re trying to have a screaming orgasm tonight, it might be an idea to not go overboard on the booze.

Complete Article HERE!

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How Dry January can improve your sex life

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By Ellen Scott

There are a load of health benefits related to not drinking – even if you just ditch the booze for one month.

But for many of us, health and a lack of hangovers just isn’t enough to make us reject a G&T.

So here’s another reason to do Dry January, no matter how ‘boring’ your terrible mates may call you: not drinking can seriously improve your sex life.

And no, that’s not just in the whole ‘being really present in the moment’ way. Sobriety can significantly improve the physical side of sex.

If you’ve ever experienced drooping after drinking, you’ll know that the curse of whiskey dick is a very real thing. Drinking booze can cause struggles to get and maintain an erection, both immediately after downing beer and in the longterm, after regular drinking.

Ditch the booze, and it’s easier to get an erection and last longer in bed. Simple.

What’s less discussed than whiskey dick is whiskey clit.

Studies have shown that women are more likely to orgasm when they’re completely sober, and their likelihood of orgasm decreases the more drunk they get.

That’s because booze reduces your physical sensitivity. Think about the last time you were hammered and fell over, only to pop right up again without any pain – then remember the extent of the bruises the next day. Just as you don’t feel as much pain when you’re drunk, it’s also harder to feel pleasure… and you need that for sexy stuff.

‘Drinking alcohol to excess can make having good sex difficult,’ Annabelle Knight, sex and relationships expert at Lovehoney, tells Metro.co.uk. ‘This is because alcohol reduces both men’s and women’s sexual sensitivity.

‘In both sexes, sexual response is reduced by regular and prolonged drinking.

‘In men, alcohol can cause difficulties getting and maintaining an erection – while women may experience reduced lubrication, find it harder to have an orgasm, or have orgasms that are less intense.’

Ah, yes, the curse of cotton vagina. As well as a lower likelihood of orgasm, you might also struggle to get aroused in the first place when you’re boozing it up. Release your vagina from the influence of booze, and you get ready of the hazy numbness that’s holding you back from getting properly lubricated and ready to party.

Then there’s the impact of Dry January on the morning after.

‘Drinking alcohol can lead to riskier sexual conduct,’ notes Annabelle. ‘Studies show that people who have drunk alcohol are less likely to use protection, particularly condoms, because alcohol lowers your inhibitions.

It’s hard to look back on a night of passion fondly when you’ve followed it up with a panic about pregnancy and STIs. Go alcohol-free and you’ll be fully conscious and able to have sex responsibly, leaving you free of worries and able to enjoy that bone session to its full potential.

Drunken you may also choose sexual partners you might not actually be that keen on.

A 2016 study found that alcohol is likely ‘to lead to atypical partner choice or post-sex regret’ – more so than smoking weed – as well as ‘less post-sex satisfaction’. Blame the beer goggles, as drinking booze tends to make you choose partners who aren’t really your type, and engage in sex that you might not actually enjoy. Not great.

It stands to reason, then, that doing Dry January will ensure you’re choosing the right sexual partners, – people you actually properly fancy (yep, even when sober) – making sexual decisions you’re comfortable with, and having sex that you genuinely enjoy and don’t regret the next day.

Then there are the indirect effects of abandoning alcohol for a month.

‘It’s likely that giving booze a break for a month will improve your sex life,’ Adam Lewis, CEO and co-founder of Hot Octopuss, tells us. ‘Cutting out alcohol may improve your quality of sleep and overall physical health, leaving you feeling well rested and more energetic – which is likely to increase your libido.’

You’ll be astounded to know that downing pints of beer or rum and Cokes isn’t particularly healthy. Cut it out and you’ll see health benefits, which will in turn improve your sex life.

Your energy will increase, your mood will improve (remember how alcohol is a depressant?), and even your digestion could get better. Being more energetic, happier, and free of stomach upsets – all of those sound like things that’d make you more keen for sex and more likely to enjoy it.

Plus, Dry January means no hangovers, which opens up the glorious world of morning sex. Imagine starting your Sunday with multiple orgasms rather than hugging the toilet and vowing to never be tempted by tequila shots again.

Think of Dry January as a fun experiment: Go a month without booze and just see how you feel.

To fill the evenings newly free of pub trips and club nights, have sex – which handily makes you question why you ever thought stumbling around a sticky nightclub floor would be more fun than cosying up and trying out a new vibrator.

At the end of the month, you can always go back to boozing. But you might find you don’t want to. It’s entirely your choice (isn’t that great?), and you can do your own research on the benefits by having as much sex as possible sober. Fun.

Complete Article HERE!

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More Sex Can Improve Later Years

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Study shows life enjoyment is linked to intercourse for men, kissing and connection for women.

Physical contact and sexual activity may be key to contentment.

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According to research published online on December 13, 2018, in the journal Sexual Medicine, frequent sexual activity can mean a more enjoyable life for older adults. Both men and women who reported any type of sexual activity in the previous year indicated greater happiness than people who did not. Feeling emotionally close to one’s partner during sex was also correlated with a more positive perspective for both genders.

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.

The study found that sexual issues, such as difficulty having and maintaining an erection or achieving orgasm, were associated with less life satisfaction. Concerns about lack of desire and frequency of sex also had a negative connection with life enjoyment.

“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.

Complete Article HERE!

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Yes, Depression Can Disrupt Your Sex Life

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— But The Reason Is Not What You Think

By Kelly Gonsalves

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.

Complete Article HERE!

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9 New Year’s Resolutions For Exploring Your Sexuality In 2019

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They Will Make You Feel Empowered AF

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After the shimmery dresses come off and the Champagne hangover comes on, you may find yourself looking at your “resolutions” as a means to doubt how amazing you are. So, I’m going to cut to the chase: You’re beautiful and amazing and your weight, your clothes, and your skincare routine don’t need to change. But if you’re feeling stuck in a sexy rut, manifesting some New Year’s resolutions for exploring your sexuality in 2019, can be a fun and empowering way to feel more in tune with your body.

At it’s best New Year’s can be an empowering time to set intentions for the future and cultivate gratitude for the past. Taking a moment to focus on all you’ve made it through in the past year can propel you take the next 12 months head on. Whether you’re single, dating, or on a self-inflicted six month vow of celibacy, exploring your own sexuality can be a cool way to learn about your body, it can also be really fun. Of course, when trying new things, you may find out the stuff you’re not into. And if something’s not floating your sexual boat, you never need to push your boundaries, no matter the month.

Here are nine resolutions aimed at feeling in tune with your sexy side in 2019.

1 I will take time to day dream about what I want.

Sometimes we don’t even know what we’re into because we’ve never thought enough about it. Take some time to fanaticize and daydream about your desires. Think about what makes you feel sexy, and ways you can bring those feelings into the bedroom.

2 I will get it on with myself.

Knowing what physically feels good for your body may mean some self-discovery. Taking time to touch different parts of yourself, in sexual and non-sexual ways can be a great way to sense how and where you like to be touched.

3 I will not be ashamed to read or watch sexual media.

There’s no shame in reading about sexuality, erotica, or even wanting to watch sexual material. If you have questions, urges, or know some things that pique your interest, reading articles or watching videos can be informative and sexy.

4 I will journal.

Journaling about the best sex you’ve had or things you want to try can help you remember what has worked in the past. Having yourself literally sit and write can be a structured way to really dig into your sexy side while strengthening your ability to articulate your desires.

5 I will talk about sex.

Opening up a dialogue with the people you’re sleeping with or even with friends you feel comfy sharing with can be a great way to understand other people’s perspectives and feel validated in your desires. Hearing that others have shared your experiences or desires, even swapping tips and advice can make you feel less alone, and give you some sexy inspiration.

6 I want to take some (healthy) risks.

If you’ve always wanted to go to a bar by yourself, or try having sex wearing a blindfold, the New Year can be a time to roll the dice (within reason.) Of course, your well-being is the most important thing and if something is way out of your comfort-zone or kinda dangerous, there’s no need to feel pressure to perform. But if there’s something fun you’ve always wanted to try, like a new move or a new naughty night club, Jan. 1 may give you the boost you need.

7 I will do more of what feels good.

There is nothing wrong with having a plan or knowing what works. If you’ve found what works for you, it’s also awesome to continue to do that. Routine doesn’t need to be boring. Knowing what makes your sex good and enjoyable sex and doing more of that, is a great way to go into the new year.

8 I will pump myself up.

Your biggest cheerleader should be yourself. Whether it’s looking at your body in the mirror and saying positive affirmations to singing Cardi B songs or spending a little more money on a haircut, doing more of what makes you feel sexy, and puts you in the mood is a great way to explore your body and sexuality.

9 I will cut myself some serious slack.

If you’ve farted during sex, if you’ve tried to sexy talk and ended up laughing, if you’ve set up a sex swing and landed butt first on the floor — you don’t need to feel ashamed. It’s OK for sex to be funny, for it to be awkward, silly, or gooey and romantic. You don’t need to be a ballerina sex-kitten with grace, perfect hair, and no bodily functions. Remembering you cut yourself some slack in the streets and in the sheets can keep you feeling strong and good about trying new things and feeling what works.

As we look to the New Year, may we relinquish all the bad dates, idiot people, and terrible sex we dealt with in the past 12 months. Having empowering resolutions about exploring your body and your sexuality can help when manifesting our future plans. Feeling yourself and knowing what you’re into can really help the New Year come in with a bang.

Complete Article ↪HERE↩!

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Here’s Everything Science Discovered About Sex & Relationships In 2018

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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.

Indeed, science has revealed so much about relationships and sex over the decades. It has taught us, for example, that single people spend more on dating than those in relationships do. It has also uncovered which occupations are most popular on dating apps (spoiler alert: nurse, dentist, and photographer get the most right swipes for women, while interior designer, pilot, and physician’s assistant are the most attractive when it comes to men). We’ve also learned that porn viewing can have a negative effect on relationship satisfaction for men.

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.

Ever noticed how some people have a tendency to share a lot of intimate details of their lives, or to make themselves look better? Well, using Facebook in problematic ways is associated with insecurities about one’s close relationships, according to recent research published in BMC Psychology.

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.

Most women would take “amazing food” over sex.

If you’d take a mind-blowing brownie over some below-the-waist action any day, you’re not alone. Everyday Health’s recent Women’s Wellness Survey of revealed that 73 percent of the over 3,000 women surveyed would take an amazing meal over sex when given the option between the two.

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.

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