Monthly Archives: May 2016

Kandasana the Best Yoga Position for Improved Sexual Functioning

Kandasana the Best Yoga Position for Improved Sexual Functioning


Some men today prefer to take part in natural, alternative therapies for their healthcare needs. This is also true when it comes to erectile dysfunction.Many men are embarrassed or afraid to address the condition with their doctor. Others do not want to take medication if there is a natural alternative, though ED drugs are safe, with very few side effects. Then there are those who are very interested in yoga, acupuncture, reiki, and other alternative practices, and believe in their therapeutic benefits. Yoga expert Abhishek Sharma suggests kandasana for ED. This is a particular yoga position or asana, recommended for millennia to conquer what was traditionally called impotence. According to Sharma it is also effective against premature ejaculation. The idea comes from traditional Ayurvedic medicine. Here the chakras—a line of nexus points starting at the crown and ending at the groin, control the flow of an unseen energy force. This yoga position is said to open up the chakra of the navel, and release sexual energy. In a medical sense, it may open up and stimulate the blood vessels of the groin and pelvic region, leading to better circulation. A lack of blood flow is one of the biggest causes of ED.


Understand that this position is not recommended for those with a bad back or knee injury. To perform it you first sit with your legs out in front of you. Stretch your legs sideways and then fold them at the knee. Pull in your legs toward you. Inhale slowly and place your feet against your navel using your hands. You need to practice balance at this time. Keep your back straight. Hold this position for a few breaths. Slowly lower your legs to the floor during exhalation. You can rest for thirty seconds and then repeat the pose. Make sure to learn it from an instructor in order to perform it correctly. It is important to realize that no scientific studies back the use of yoga to undo ED. Many physicians do say that sexual functioning can improve greatly through exercise and an overall healthy lifestyle. Still, any man experiencing ED should talk with his doctor or an urologist as a more pressing, potentially life-threatening condition may be the cause.

Your First Gynecologist Exam

Your First Gynecologist Exam


If you’ve never been to a gynecologist, you may be nervous about what happens during an ob-gyn exam. Put yourself at ease and use it as an opportunity to learn more about your body and your health.

By Madeline Vann, MPH | Medically reviewed by Lindsey Marcellin, MD, MPH

A gynecologist is a doctor who specializes in women’s reproductive health issues. When you first try to find a gynecologist, you may see that some are called obstetrician-gynecologists or ob-gyns. This refers to the training they have undergone to treat women from adolescence through pregnancy and delivery.

If you haven’t been to an ob-gyn before, you may wonder why you should find a gynecologist and what to expect when you get there.

Reasons why you should have a gynecologist exam include:

  • To learn about birth control options
  • To learn about screening for and preventing sexually transmitted diseases
  • For an annual pelvic exam
  • Screening for reproductive cancers, such as a Pap smear, starting at age 21 and then every two years (some women may need to have it more frequently, based on their doctor’s recommendations, while others may only need it every three years)
  • To find out about human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination
  • For care for yourself and your baby during pregnancy

When to See a Gynecologist

Guidelines about when to have a gynecologist exam include:

  • When you are 21 or earlier if you become sexually active
  • If you have unusual bleeding or irregular periods
  • If you stop having periods for three months or more
  • If you suspect or know you are pregnant
  • If you have been trying to get pregnant without success
  • If you have pelvic pain
  • When you are between 40 and 50 to get your first mammogram referral
  • After menopause for bone density screening referrals

How to Prepare for a Gynecological Visit

Take these steps to make sure you get the most out of your gynecologist exam:

  • Do not douche, have vaginal intercourse, or use a vaginal cream or suppository for 24 to 48 hours before your visit.
  • Write down anything that has been worrying you, such as irregular periods or unusual discharge or discomfort — and bring pen and paper to write down the answers.
  • Bring a list of all medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements that you are taking.
  • Be able to share your family health history, especially reproductive health problems in family members.

What to Expect at Your First Gynecologist Exam

Here is what you can expect at your ob-gyn appointment:

  • Health history. A nurse will ask you questions about your personal health history and your family health history. She may also ask about health behaviors such as drinking alcohol, smoking, using illegal drugs, and sexual history. Some of the questions may feel very personal to you, but remember that everything that you share is private between you and your doctor unless you give written permission for it to be discussed with someone else.
  • Vital signs. The nurse will weigh you and check your blood pressure.
  • Pre-exam. You will be given a gown that opens in the front to wear and a sheet to cover your legs. You will need to remove all clothes including undergarments.
  • Discussion. Your ob-gyn will talk to you briefly about your concerns and will explain the gynecologist exam to you. This is a good time to bring up any questions you have.
  • Breast exam. Your ob-gyn will use her fingers to feel each breast and nipple in a pattern. This is to find unusual lumps or changes in tissue and skin.
  • Pelvic exam. You will lie on the exam table with your knees bent and your feet resting in stirrups to keep your legs apart. Your ob-gyn will sit at the end of the table for the exam. “A pelvic exam includes inspection of the vulva, insertion of a speculum to allow inspection of the vagina and cervix, the bimanual exam with two fingers in the vagina and another hand on top of the abdomen to examine the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries,” explains ob-gyn Concepcion Diaz-Arrastia, MD, director of gynecological oncology and associate professor at Baylor College of Medicine. The speculum is an instrument that slides smoothly into your vagina to stretch it slightly so your doctor can take samples from your cervix. The pelvic exam should not be painful, but there may be some discomfort or pressure, and the speculum may feel cold at first.
  • Pap smear. During the pelvic exam, your doctor may take cells from your cervix for a Pap smear, which tests for precancerous changes of cervical cells. This is not painful.
  • STD testing. If you request it or your doctor recommends it, she can also take samples from your vagina to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Some STDs have to be found using a blood test.
  • Discussion. Your doctor will let you know if she sees anything unusual and may recommend additional testing based on this exam, such as a mammogram, bone density test, or blood work. This is another opportunity for you to ask more questions, including any about her findings or suggestions. The results of the Pap smear and STD tests will not be available for a week or more, but at this point your doctor can give you a prescription for birth control or any medication that you need.

You may be nervous about having your first gynecologist exam, but think of your ob-gyn is your partner in sexual health. She should become the practitioner you feel most comfortable talking with about some of your most private health issues.

Learn more in the Everyday Health Sexual Health Center.

Trichomoniasis: Symptoms, Treatment and Causes

Trichomoniasis: Symptoms, Treatment and Causes


Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by a protozoan parasite and affects more than 8 million people in the US every year.

The infection is passed from partner to partner during sex. However, the incubation period for the infection is not entirely clear; incubation times are thought to range anywhere from 3-28 days after exposure to the parasite.


While trichomoniasis is highly curable, it can cause complications, especially in pregnant women. Woman infected during pregnancy are at risk for premature labor, low birthweight babies and infection transmission during birth.

In addition to pregnant women, the general population of women seems to be at a higher risk of contracting HIV when they have a trichomoniasis infection.

Fast facts on trichomoniasis

Here are some key points about trichomoniasis. More detail and supporting information is in the main article.

  • Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection often referred to as “trich”
  • Reinfection is common – around 1 in 5 people will be reinfected 3 months following completion of treatment
  • To prevent reinfection, patients and their sexual partners need to complete treatment
  • Vaginitis (inflammation of the vagina) is commonly caused by trichomoniasis
  • Only 30% of those infected with trichomoniasis develop symptoms
  • Trichomoniasis typically affects the vagina, vulva and urethra
  • Women affected with trichomoniasis during pregnancy are at a higher risk for premature labor.

Trichomoniasis, also referred to as “trich,” is a sexually transmitted infection caused by a microscopic, single-cell protozoan parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis. The parasite is spread from person to person via sexual intercourse.

In women, the area of the body that is affected by trichomoniasis most frequently is lower genital tract. In men, it is the urethra. The parasite does not typically infect other parts of the body such as the anus, hands or mouth.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), trichomoniasis is the most common curable sexually transmitted disease (STD).

Risk factors for trichomoniasis

Those at an increased risk of being infected with trichomoniasis include:

  • Women, with older women more likely than younger women to become infected
  • People who have more than one sexual partner
  • People with a history of trichomoniasis or other sexually transmitted infections
  • People who have unprotected sex.

Symptoms of trichomoniasis

Up to 70% of people do not display any symptoms with a trichomoniasis infection. In particular, men with trichomoniasis are often asymptomatic.

When symptoms are present, trichomoniasis can affect men and women differently. These symptoms range in severity from minor cases of irritation to more extreme cases of inflammation involving discharge.

Symptoms of trichomoniasis for women include:

  • Frothy, foul-smelling vaginal discharge (clear, white, gray, yellow or green)
  • Blood in vaginal discharge
  • Genital irritation
  • Burning sensations in the genital region or during urination
  • Groin swelling
  • Painful intercourse (dyspareunia)
  • Urinary frequency
  • Painful urination (dysuria).

Symptoms of trichomoniasis for men include:

  • Urethral or penile discharge
  • Penile itching
  • Burning sensations after ejaculation or urination
  • Urinary frequency
  • Painful urination (dysuria).

trichomoniasis infection can increase the risk of an individual becoming infected with HIV, along with other sexually transmitted infections. This increased risk is attributed to the inflammation caused by trichomoniasis.

Trichomoniasis is linked to a number of complications for pregnant women:

  • Preterm birth
  • Premature membrane rupture
  • Low birth weight for babies (less than 5.5 pounds)
  • Potential transmission of infection to baby during birth.

Fortunately, trichomoniasis can be treated safely with antibioticsduring pregnancy.

Diagnosis of trichomoniasis

In order to diagnose a trichomoniasis infection, your health care provider will need to take a sample of vaginal or penile discharge or urine. They can either examine the sample under a microscope or send it to a laboratory for additional testing.

There are a number of steps that women can take to make the process of diagnosis easier for health care practitioners:

  • Do not douche for at least 24 hours before an appointment as this washes away discharge
  • Avoid using deodorant on the vulva – this masks smells and can cause irritation
  • Do not have vaginal intercourse or insert any object (including tampons) into the vagina for 24-48 hours prior to an appointment
  • If possible, schedule an appointment for when you are not on your period.

Previously, trichomoniasis would be diagnosed by growing a culture from a sample. Nowadays, diagnosis is much quicker, with health care providers able to utilize quicker tests such as rapid antigen tests and nucleic acid amplification.

Treatment for trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis is easily treated in men and women, including those who are pregnant. Most commonly, treatment consists of a single dose of either metronidazole (Flagyl) or tinidazole (Tindamax), forms of antibiotic medication that kill parasites. This medication comes in pill form and is taken orally.

It is important that you and your sexual partners are treated following a diagnosis of trichomoniasis. You should also avoid having sex for a week following treatment. These measures help prevent reinfection.1-3

You can prevent infection with trichomoniasis by using condoms or practicing abstinence.

If you think you have been exposed to trichomoniasis or think that you have the symptoms of an infection, speak with your health care provider for evaluation and treatment.

Sex After Pregnancy: When Can I Resume Intercourse?

Sex After Pregnancy: When Can I Resume Intercourse?

Most mothers will agree that the last thing on their mind after having a baby is sex. However, this is not often the case with their partner! On the other hand, some women may be ready to resume sexual intercourse shortly after having a baby. But when is the right time to resume sexual intercourse?

In general, it is recommended that sexual intercourse is avoided for the first 4-6 weeks following a vaginal or cesarean (C-section) delivery; however, it is important to speak with your health care provider before resuming sex.

Most often, especially in cases of a C-section, perineal tear or episiotomy, it is recommended to wait until after you are seen for your 6-week postpartum visit for the green light from a health care provider to resume sexual activity.

Following childbirth, your body is in a healing phase in which bleeding stops, tears heal and the cervix closes. Having intercourse too early, especially within the first two weeks, is not recommended due to a risk of postpartum hemorrhage or uterine infection.

When a woman is ready to resume sexual intercourse following the birth of a baby depends on several factors, including:

Pain levels
Sex drive
Fear of sex or pregnancy
Vaginal dryness
Postpartum depression.
What will sex after giving birth feel like?
Due to the hormonal changes experienced during the postpartum period, many women experience vaginal dryness, which may continue past the typical 4-6 week timeframe if breastfeeding; this is due to low levels of circulating estrogen.

Breastfeeding can also lower your sex drive. In addition to lower levels of circulating hormones, painful sex may accompany a perineal tear or episiotomy, which can last for several months following the birth of a baby.

Steps that can reduce pain associated with sex after pregnancy include:

Controlling the depth of penetration with varied sexual positions
Increasing vaginal lubrication
Taking pain medication
Emptying the bladder
Taking a warm bath.
Vaginal lubrication such as over-the-counter creams or gels may be useful in relieving the symptoms of vaginal dryness. If you are using barrier method birth control, using a water-based lubricant is recommended to avoid weakening the latex.

Alternatively, oral or manual stimulation may be an option during the healing process. For some people, an appointment with a pelvic floor rehabilitation specialist may be recommended to evaluate and treat painful postpartum sex.

Sex following childbirth may feel different due to decreased vaginal muscle tone and stretching. Typically, this laxity in vaginal tone is temporary, however, and is affected by factors such as genetics, the size of the baby, the number of previous births and the use of Kegel exercises.

Instructions on how to do Kegel exercises can be accessed here.

Hormones can cause a variety of interesting – and, at times, inconvenient – symptoms. For example, during sexual intercourse, your breasts may leak milk due to the hormonal response to orgasm. Try pumping before having sex to reduce this symptom.

One Technique to Avoid When Trying to Appear Larger

One Technique to Avoid When Trying to Appear Larger


Lots of guys worry about their size. Even though study after study has shown that the vast majority are in the average range, this preoccupation has not dissipated. If anything, the advent of the internet, specifically internet pornography, but dating sites and social media too, has made this obsession worse. Enhancement ads litter the internet, from bizarre and mostly likely dangerous devices, to pills with ineffective and even toxic ingredients. Yet, legions of males purchase these every day, whether risky or not. Then there are subtle techniques men use to give themselves a boost, visually. They display it to their lover from the side, instead of a top-down or frontal view. In this way, it will appear bigger. Some men work extra hard to get rid of belly fat in order to make themselves look well endowed. Then there are certain positions that give one greater depth and so the feeling of filling her up. But one technique often touted, that you should avoid doing, is shaving off all your pubic hair.


Lots of men’s magazines and other resources recommend this. The lack of thick tuffs of hair will of course make it appear larger. But there is a downside. First, there is a nickname for this phenomenon, a “freshly plucked turkey.” Few men want their genitalia to be referred to in this manner. Guys are very penis centered its true. Yet, they aren’t trying to impress themselves or even rivals, but women. It is how women evaluate such things that men should be concerned about. A recent study found that women generally remembered a penis being larger after intercourse than it actually was. Generally speaking women are less than thrilled with the visual a penis gives anyway. The male anatomy is not considered aesthetically pleasing.

Instead, it is the emotional bond she has with her partner that a woman focuses on. Now the downside, surprising her with a shaved pubic area could give her a shock. She might wonder what made you do it, and why this obsession with size. Being taken aback may even kill the mood. Really, just be confident and she will respond to the tone you set and your performance, not your equipment. Now for those concerned about performance, especially those suffering from PE or ED, talk to your doctor or an urologist. There are many therapies available today to overcome these common problems. What’s more, a concerning health issue may be at its root.

Prevalence of homosexuality in men is stable throughout time since many carry the genes

Prevalence of homosexuality in men is stable throughout time since many carry the genes


Around half of all heterosexual men and women potentially carry so-called homosexuality genes that are passed on from one generation to the next. This has helped homosexuality to be present among humans throughout history and in all cultures, even though homosexual men normally do not have many descendants who can directly inherit their genes. This idea is reported by Giorgi Chaladze of the Ilia State University in Georgia, and published in Springer’s journalArchives of Sexual Behavior. Chaladze used a computational model that, among others, includes aspects of heredity and the tendency of homosexual men to come from larger families.

According to previous research, sexual orientation is influenced to a degree by genetic factors and is therefore heritable. Chaladze says this poses a problem from an evolutionary perspective, because homosexual men tend not to have many offspring to whom they can provide their genetic material. In fact, they have on average five times fewer children than their heterosexual counterparts.

Chaladze used an individual-based genetic model to explain the stable, yet persistent, occurrence of homosexuality within larger populations. He took into account findings from recent studies that show that homosexual men tend to come from larger families. These suggest that the genes responsible for homosexuality in men increase fecundity (the actual number of children someone has) among their female family members, who also carry the genes. Other reports also suggest that many heterosexual men are carriers of the genes that could predispose someone to homosexuality.

Based on Chaladze’s calculations, male homosexuality is maintained in a population at low and stable frequencies if half of the men and roughly more than half of the women carry genes that predispose men to homosexuality.

“The trend of female family members of homosexual men to have more offspring can help explain the persistence of homosexuality, if we also consider that those males who have such genes are not always homosexuals,” says Chaladze.

The possibility that many heterosexual men are carriers can also explain why estimates of the number of men who have reported any same-sex sexual behavior and same-sex sexual attraction are much higher than estimates of those who self-identify as homosexual or bisexual. According to Chaladze, non-homosexual male carriers might sometimes manifest interest in homosexual behavior without having a homosexual identity.

The possibility that a large percentage of heterosexual people are carriers of genetic material predisposing to homosexuality has implications for genomic studies. Researchers should therefore consider including participants who do not have homosexual relatives in such studies.

Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Springer. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Chaladze, G. Heterosexual Male Carriers Could Explain Persistence of Homosexuality in Men: Individual-Based Simulations of an X-Linked Inheritance Model. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 2016 DOI:10.1007/s10508-016-0742-2

What scientists know — and don’t know — about sexual orientation

What scientists know — and don’t know — about sexual orientation

Over the last 50 years, political rights for lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals have significantly broadened in some countries, while they have narrowed in others. In many parts of the world, political and popular support for LGB rights hinges on questions about the prevalence, causes, and consequences of non-heterosexual orientations.

In a new report, a team of researchers bring the latest science to bear on these issues, providing a comprehensive review of the scientific research on sexual orientation.

“We wanted to write a comprehensive review that was ‘state of the art’–in doing so, we also wanted to correct important misconceptions about the link between scientific findings and political agendas,” explains psychology researcher and lead author J. Michael Bailey of Northwestern University.

The report is published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, and is accompanied by a commentary by psychological scientist Ritch Savin-Williams of Cornell University.

Based on their review of the latest science, Bailey and colleagues draw several conclusions about the nature of sexual orientation:

— Across cultures, a “small but nontrivial” percentage of people have non-heterosexual feelings. The specific expression of sexual orientation varies widely according to cultural norms and traditions, but research suggests that individuals’ sexual feelings are likely to develop in similar ways around the world. — Men’s and women’s sexual orientations manifest in different ways: Men’s sexual orientation is more closely linked to their patterns of sexual arousal than women’s sexual orientation is. — Various biological factors–including prenatal hormones and specific genetic profiles–are likely to contribute to sexual orientation, though they are not the sole cause. Scientific evidence suggests that biological and non-social environmental factors jointly influence sexual orientation. — Scientific findings do not support the notion that sexual orientation can be taught or learned through social means. And there is little evidence to suggest that non-heterosexual orientations become more common with increased social tolerance.

Despite these points of consensus, some aspects of sexual orientation are not as clear-cut. While Bailey and colleagues describe sexual orientation as primarily falling into categories–lesbian, gay, or bisexual–Savin-Williams argues that considerable evidence supports a sexual continuum. He notes that the label ‘bisexual’ serves as a catchall for diverse sexual orientations that fall in between heterosexual and homosexual. As a result, his estimate of the prevalence of the nonheterosexual population is double that of Bailey and colleagues.

From their review, the authors also conclude that gender nonconformity in childhood–behaving in ways that do not align with gender stereotypes–predicts non-heterosexuality in adulthood. According to Savin-Williams, the degree to which this is true could be a consequence of how study participants are typically recruited and may not be accurate among more representative samples of nonheterosexual individuals.

The report authors and Savin-Williams agree on most issues, including that a major limitation of existing research relates to how sexual orientation is measured. Most researchers view sexual orientation as having several components–including sexual behavior, sexual identity, sexual attraction, and physiological sexual arousal–and yet, the majority of scientific studies focus solely on self-reported sexual attraction. The decision to use these self-report measures is typically made for pragmatic reasons, but it necessarily limits the conclusions that can be drawn about how different aspects of sexual orientation vary by individual, by culture, or by time.

Additionally, individual and cultural stigma likely results in underreporting of non-heterosexual behaviors and orientations across the board.

Perhaps the most prominent question in political and public debates is whether people can “choose” to have non-heterosexual orientations. Because sexual orientation is based on desire and we do not “choose” our desires, the authors argue, this question is illogical.

Ultimately, these kinds of debates come down to moral issues, not scientific ones: “People have often thought unclearly about sexual orientation and the political consequences of research,” Bailey adds. “The question of whether sexual orientation is ‘chosen’ has divided pro- and anti-gay forces for decades, but the question of causation is mostly irrelevant to the culture wars.”

The fact that issues related to sexual orientation continue to be hotly debated in the public arena underscores the need for more and better research.

“Sexual orientation is an important human trait, and we should study it without fear, and without political constraint,” Bailey argues. “The more controversial a topic, the more we should invest in acquiring unbiased knowledge and science is the best way to acquire unbiased knowledge.”

Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Association for Psychological Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. J. M. Bailey, P. L. Vasey, L. M. Diamond, S. M. Breedlove, E. Vilain, M. Epprecht. Sexual Orientation, Controversy, and Science.Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 2016; 17 (2): 45 DOI:10.1177/1529100616637616