Monthly Archives: August 2017

Conversations about sex

Conversations about sex


In a survey carried out on youngsters on sexual and reproductive health, 35% of the respondents did not believe pregnancy could occur in the first sexual encounter, while 19% believed using two condoms at the same time offered better protection.


The Malaysian Youth Sexual And Reproductive Health Survey 2016 certainly shed some light on the poor levels of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) knowledge among our youngsters.

Why are we so embarrassed to talk about this topic? Parents tend to avoid talking about the birds and the bees, schoolteachers whiz through the boy-girl anatomy sections, and youngsters discuss the subject in hushed whispers.

Because it is widely considered a taboo topic in Asia, our youngsters are ill-equipped with SRH knowledge, which leads them to make rash or bad decisions.

But this culture can be changed.

It begins at home and starts with a conversation about intimacy. Instead of skirting the issue, leaving it to schools or turning a blind eye, parents should talk about sex with their children.

“When we start talking about it, we will be able to address the deep-rooted perception that SRH education encourages sexual activity and promiscuous behaviour.

“Additionally, talking equips one with an in-depth understanding and respect of the physical, mental and social aspects on all matters relating to SRH.

“When parents speak to their children about their private parts, it is best to avoid using nicknames to ensure children treat their genitals the same as with other body parts. By addressing the private parts with their biological terms, it will help children not to feel ashamed of those parts, but appreciate and respect them.

“If parents continue addressing the private parts with nicknames, their children will build a perception that it is not right to talk about such things, and they carry this culture into adulthood,” says obstetrics and gynaecology consultant Prof Dr Harlina Halizah Siraj.

She was commenting on the ongoing #TalkNowProtectAlways campaign by Durex Malaysia, which seeks to encourage Malaysian youth and parents to talk about the subject in an effort to correct misconceptions.

According to certified parenting coach Zaid Mohamad, parents should treat it like a normal conversation at home, like how they would talk about school, games, and even programmes they watch together.

“Though it may be tough at first, I strongly urge parents to take note of the benefits their children will have by having such knowledge.

“Parents should also remember that it is okay to not have all the answers to the questions their child may have. Be honest with your child. If you do not know how to respond to them, let them know you will go find out and you will get back to them,” says Zaid, who is also the author of Smart Parents, Brighter Kids and Smart Parents, Richer Kids.

Every day, we read stories of rape and teenage pregnancy, with both victims and perpetrators getting younger. Just last month, a seven-year-old boy was alleged to have raped a six-year-old kindergarten pupil in Melaka.

Teaching children about SRH and sex crimes should be the priority for every parent as primary caregivers, as soon as the child is able to understand things.

Prof Dr Harlina says, “First, parents need to educate themselves on what SRH knowledge is truly about. They need to be made aware that it covers a wide range of areas that are fundamental to one’s growth and in keeping children safe and protected.

“These include a basic understanding of the bodily parts and their correct terminologies, puberty and respect of others, healthy relationships to staying protected and using contraception.”

While there is no ideal age for parents to start educating their children on SRH, Zaid feels these conversations should begin as early as possible.

“Opportunities may arise when parents are spending time with their children at home or when they are out doing activities together.

“For instance, when watching TV together and a pregnant teenager appears on screen, parents can educate their younger children on what pregnancy is all about. Or, if they have teenage children, ask them about the kind of feelings and emotions that the pregnant teenager might be going through,” he advises.

The conversation should not be treated as a one-off and has to progress in tandem with the child as he or she grows older and develops physically, mentally and emotionally.

Zaid adds, “A parent who has a two-year-old can start talking about body parts, private behaviours, as well as the difference between boys and girls.

“As the child grows older, say, when they are five years old, the conversation can evolve to include topics about understanding and respecting their bodies, appropriate touch, as well as when to say no.

“As the child reaches the pre-teen or teenage years, then it progresses into topics on dealing with puberty, body changes, relationships and much more.”

Prof Dr Harlina says, “When you talk, connect it back to your family values so that those are communicated as well. Though it may seem like a tall order at first, rest assured, that over time the conversations will get better, smoother and easier for both the parent and the child.

“In fact, a key message that I would like to tell parents is to be an ‘ask-able’ parent, rather than a lecturer. Listening is key to understanding what your child is going through, so do not be quick to judge nor brush aside their thoughts as it may deter them from coming to you again.”

Asians are accustomed to the practice of saying “no” to their children and expecting them to follow suit.

However, in today’s world where information is easily accessible, parents need to realise that they no longer stand as the sole source of information to which their children can go to for guidance.

In the digital age, false information is also widely available – and it is this type of inaccurate information that tends to go viral.

“As parents, we all know that constantly saying ‘no’ may even fan the fire of curiosity, and in turn, make them more rebellious. Knowledge is power. Help them understand the potential repercussions of their actions rather than just telling them ‘no’.

“This is particularly important when it revolves around your child’s SRH whereby one mistake is all it takes to have a permanent effect on your child’s life. Keep a lookout for signals that your child may be contemplating doing something behind your back,” says Zaid.

By instilling in the child an understanding of unprotected sex and its repercussions, it will help the child appreciate their body and the process of reproduction, which in turn will help them make informed decisions.

And contrary to what critics fear, such awareness does not encourage youth to start “experimenting”. Young people need age-appropriate and culturally-sensitive sex education to empower them.

“It is important to educate boys to learn to respect girls and their decisions. It is not enough to only teach girls about pregnancy and how to stay protected; boys need to learn to take responsibility, too. We need to educate them on the female’s reproductive system, how it works, as well as how to be respectful and responsible.

“This will in turn cultivate a culture whereby boys are responsible, considerate and protective. These are all part of a healthy understanding of SRH that we hope to grow and develop among Malaysians,” stresses Zaid.



Porn Stars Explain Why You Shouldn’t Expect to Have Sex Like a Porn Star

Porn Stars Explain Why You Shouldn’t Expect to Have Sex Like a Porn Star

One of the primary concerns about porn consumption is how it affects our expectations of a real-life sexual experience. So, in an interview with the Daily Mercury, a small Australian tabloid, adult film stars Lucie Bee, Ryan James, and Luc Dean revealed what it’s like to work in the porn industry, and how that experience has carried over to their personal sex lives. These three lent their insight on the topic, unsurprisingly confirming that, yes, there should be some differences between what’s happening between the actors on-set, and what’s happening between you and your significant other.

(Find out what will drive her wild. The Men’s Healthguide to pleasuring a woman will teach you the best sex positions for her orgasm.)

“My ‘fun buddies’ who don’t work in the industry will say, ‘Can we do x, y, z?’ that they’ve seen in porn and I’ll say, ‘Sure, but you won’t enjoy it!'” Dean told the paper. “It looks good on camera, but it’s fantasy.”

That illusion even sells short just how good real sex can be, they say, as the intimate nuances of unedited sex get lost on the cutting room floor.

“Real sex is not perfect and it’s not meant to be,” Bee said. “There are those hilarious moments when you’re sitting on a chair and someone slips, and intensity, eye contact and passion. I don’t think porn has really captured that on screen.”

Still, there have been some benefits to their work, as they explained how it has helped them assert their sexual needs and boundaries with more confidence. Bee says that her job has helped her develop one of the most essential traits of any successful sexual relationship: communication.

“Porn has given me the ability to have a frank discussion with my partners, both in real life and on screen, and what works for me and what doesn’t,” she said.

It’s also helped them be more attentive to their partners, and to listen to their needs without judgment.

“I would say you shouldn’t try to replicate what you see in porn just because you think it looks good,” Ryan said. “If one partner doesn’t want to do something, they should never feel the need to explain themselves. The focus should be on what both partners enjoy doing.”

Need more proof that communication is the secret to better sex? Learn why 62 percent of women care more about a strong connection than your penis size.

Intercourse isn’t everything for most women, says study — try ‘outercourse’

Intercourse isn’t everything for most women, says study — try ‘outercourse’

By Ian Kerner, CNN

Many of us equate “sex” with “intercourse” and use those words interchangeably. Yet highly satisfying sex doesn’t have to be limited to penetration — and doesn’t even have to include it at all.

ccording to a recent study, many women report that they require clitoral stimulation to have an orgasm.
For the study, Debby Herbenick, director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and a research fellow and sexual health educator at the Kinsey Institute, and her colleagues assessed data from 1,055 women ages 18 to 94 who answered a detailed online survey about their sex lives. “Our purpose was to understand more about women’s experiences with … the kinds of touch they find pleasurable and how clitoral and vaginal stimulation contribute to their orgasms,” she explained.
In reading her results, I’m struck by the idea that the majority of women report that they often don’t reach orgasm through intercourse alone. This flies in the face of the stereotype of intercourse as the be-all and end-all of sexual activity — and suggests that couples should explore the whole range of pleasurable options for achieving climax. The study contained a few compelling findings worth enumerating.

Intercourse isn’t everything

This study found that only about 18% of women reported being able to climax during intercourse from vaginal penetration alone. About 36% said they needed clitoral stimulation in order to orgasm during intercourse, and another 36% said it enhanced the experience. Yet, many women still fake orgasm during intercourse, according to therapist Laurie Mintz, author of the new book “Becoming Cliterate.”
“The main reasons they give for faking is that they want to appear ‘normal’ and want to make their male partners feel good,” she said.
“This is one of the saddest and most common problems I deal with in my clinical practice,” added Anita Hoffer, a sexuality counselor and educator. “Women who either are uninformed or insecure and therefore easily intimidated by ignorant partners bear a great deal of shame and guilt at being unable to climax from intercourse alone. Many are greatly relieved when they learn that they are among the majority of women who engage in sexual intercourse.”

Orgasms vary

Do some orgasms feel better than others? According to 78% of the survey respondents, the answer is yes. These so-called better orgasms aren’t necessarily dependent on the length of an encounter. In fact, fewer than one in five women surveyed believed that longer sex contributed to better orgasms.
Instead, the most common contributors to orgasmic bliss included spending time to build arousal, having a partner who knows that they like, emotional intimacy and clitoral stimulation during intercourse, said Herbenick. “A woman’s general mood and stress level — including the degree to which she is able to mindfully immerse in the sexual encounter — can have an impact on orgasm quality too,” Mintz explained.

‘Outercourse’ matters

This term “outercourse” refers to sex that isn’t intercourse and doesn’t involve penetration. It can include kissing, touching, erotic massage and using sex toys, just to name a few options.
“When we equate intercourse and sex and call everything that comes before intercourse ‘foreplay,’ we are buying into the cultural script that sex should proceed as follows: foreplay (just enough to get her ready for intercourse), intercourse (during which both women and men orgasm), and game over,” Mintz said. But sex doesn’t have to involve intercourse at all. Even when it does, other forms of stimulation can add to the experience and may improve the odds of reaching orgasm.
Herbenick suggested that couples take a lesson from the early days of their relationship. “Sometimes, when people are first getting together, they spend time making out and touching each other’s genitals long before they start having oral sex or intercourse with each other,” she explained. “All too often, once oral sex and intercourse become part of their routine, the rest fades away — which is too bad, considering how powerful genital touching can be.”

Communication is key

The study found that 41% of women prefer just one style of touch. “This underscores how important it is to have conversations about sex and pleasure or even to show your partner what you like, since otherwise, the chances of just stumbling upon that one preference are pretty low,” Herbenick said. “Couples should be having conversations about what they like, what they don’t like, what feels good and leads to orgasm, as well as what feels good but doesn’t necessarily lead to orgasm.”
One good source of information about women’s sexual pleasure that can help you get the conversation started is the website for OMGYES, which sponsored the study. The site, which states it’s for 18-year-olds and older, contains a series of videos that demonstrate different types of touch that real women find pleasurable, including techniques labeled “edging,” “layering” and “orbiting.” There is a free preview but a cost to access all of them.
I’ve found this site very helpful to my female patients and their partners who want to learn more about female pleasure. “It tastefully and unselfconsciously names, describes and normalizes behaviors that are universal and, by example, invites the viewer to experiment and learn,” Hoffer said. “As Leonore Tiefer (sex researcher, therapist and activist) has said, ‘Sex is not a natural act,’ and good lovemaking is an art that must be learned and practiced.”

There’s a Good Reason to Stop Freaking Out About Your Penis Size

There’s a Good Reason to Stop Freaking Out About Your Penis Size

Over 4,000 men revealed how they really feel about their junk

Not exactly happy with the whole package once your boxers come off? You’re not alone: A sizable number of guys aren’t satisfied with some physical aspect of their junk—and that can influence how often they get busy under the sheets, a new study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior suggests.

In the study, researchers asked more than 4,100 men to report how they felt about certain physical aspects of their genitals. Then, they asked them questions about their sexual behavior to see if how they felt about their appearance influenced their sex lives.

Guys were most satisfied with the shape of the head of their penis and with their circumcision status. They felt pretty neutral about the scent of their genitals and their genital veins.

As for the issues plaguing the most guys? Twenty-seven percent said they were dissatisfied with the length of their flaccid penis, 19 percent were unhappy with the length of their erect penis, and 15 percent were displeased with the girth of their erect penis. (Find out how your penis size compares to average.)

The researchers discovered that while most men were reasonably satisfied with their genitals overall, 14 percent indicated they weren’t pleased with their junk, meaning they averaged a 3 or below on the 7-point scale that gauged satisfaction.

And it seems like that unhappiness carried over into the bedroom. Men who were dissatisfied with their genitals were less likely to report being sexually active than those who were fine with their junk.

They had less sex, too. For instance, 50 percent of men who were satisfied with their genitals reported experiencing weekly sexual activity, compared to 39 percent of men unhappy with what was below the belt. What’s more, the dissatisfied guys were also significantly less likely to be on the receiving end of oral sex.

It’s possible that lower satisfaction with your junk can cause anxiety in the bedroom, which may translate to poorer sexual function—making you more likely to shy away from sex, the researchers say.

When looking specifically at the drop in oral sex, the researchers believe that guys who are unhappy with their genitals may feel uncomfortable engaging in the act, which has been rated as more intimate than regular intercourse. (This intimate massage oil can help draw you closer together, too.)

Bottom line: Stop picking apart your package. Plus, chances are, whatever you’re packing below the belt, chances are, you’re much more critical of it than she is. In fact, a UCLA study found that 84 percent of women were satisfied with their partner’s penis size. To make the most of what you’ve got, try the best sex positions for every penis size.

Youth Are Helping To Change The Birth Story Around The World

Youth Are Helping To Change The Birth Story Around The World


We are inundated with birth stories in our day-to-day lives. Glance at the magazine rack while in line at the grocery store and you’ll see at least one headline announcing a new celebrity baby. Or scroll your social media feed — just last month the story of Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s twins “broke the internet.”

In Bangladesh, the early and forced marriage of girls is very common especially in poverty-prone rural areas. The marriage rate of young girls in Bangladesh is eleven times higher than boys. Many young girls are made to give up their education in order to marry and raise families, when they reach puberty. But early and forced marriage puts a girl’s health and wellbeing at serious risk. It can lead to girls experiencing violence, sexual abuse, premature pregnancies, and death in childbirth.
Tohura married a 21 year old man when she was 11. They both say they were in love though and Tohura has always been treated well by her husband.

Then there are the birth stories we hear far less about.One woman dies every two minutes from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.About 16 million girls aged 15 to 19 give birth every year — most in low- and middle-income countries.Complications from pregnancy and childbirth are the second leading cause of death for girls aged 15 to 19 across the world.

And 2.7 million newborn babies die every year.

The birth stories above are grim but they are not predestined — they can change when communities become catalysts for transformative change.In a small school in Honduras, a group of boys are gathered in a circle. A facilitator is leading the group in a trust-building exercise, creating a safe and open space where the boys can reflect on gender stereotypes and ideas of masculinity. One young man explains how he feels pressure to act aggressively. Another reflects on his younger sister being afraid to walk to school alone.

When we think about changing these stories the first thing that comes to mind is probably not a group of young men participating in trust-building exercises and discussing masculinity. Unfortunately, unequal gender relations and values are often at the root of poor health outcomes for women and girls.

In areas where Plan International and its partners work on maternal, newborn, child, and sexual and reproductive health projects, men make most of the decisions.

In Nigeria, when asked about family planning, one woman said, “the woman first has to ask for permission from the husband [to seek family planning services], if he allows her, she will go ahead and if he doesn’t allow her she cannot.”

Because of their age, adolescent girls bear the brunt of these injustices. They are financially dependent on their partners and families and have less decision-making power. They also face a higher risk of complications with pregnancy and childbirth.

regnant adolescents are often the most isolated. They are distanced from their peers and often barred from school. If they are pregnant and unmarried they can face enormous stigma, ostracized by their families and communities and unable to access health services. An adolescent girl in Senegal told us, “as soon as the doctor knows you’re not married he can have prejudices against you and change his behaviour and not receive you in the same fashion as married women.”

It is not simply a matter of distributing contraceptives, improving health services, or changing laws — though these are critical steps. Real change requires sustained work to tackle the root causes of gender discrimination and inequality in every sphere — from private relationships to public systems. Shifting entrenched and structural norms is not easy, but it is the only way to uproot the inequalities that prevent girls and women from realizing their rights.

Plan International Canada works to ignite and support these conversations in communities in GhanaHaiti, Bangladesh, Senegal, Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi and Nigeria, helping to change the birth story for adolescent girls and women in these communities.

Youth-led conversations, like the one in the classroom in Honduras are critical to ensuring sexual and reproductive health rights for girls. In a similar session in Tanzania, a young man shared: “I think for us who have changed, we should just continue to educate other men through our actions in such a way that our friends who have not yet changed will learn from our actions.”

his can take many forms, from simple conversations like the ones in the classrooms in Honduras and Tanzania to community theatre where youth address gender stereotypes through drama, to empowerment clubs where girls increase their ability to assert their rights and challenge norms.

You can be part of this real change. Join the movement of Canadians who pledge to stand with Canada to change the birth story — because they believe that every adolescent girl, woman and child has the right to be healthy and to live a life free of discriminationand help change the birth story today.

Saadya Hamdani is a Senior Gender Equality Advisor for Plan International Canada.

It’s not your age, it’s the age of the person you feel that matters when it comes to sex

It’s not your age, it’s the age of the person you feel that matters when it comes to sex

f you want to maintain an active sex life as you get older, try feeling young – if you can.That’s the advice from the leading institute of research into sexual behaviour The Kinsey Institute.

It’s research shows that frequency of sexual relations drops off quite dramatically as people age.While there are, of course always exceptions, it seems the pattern is fairly constant.The findings, published in the The Journal of Sex Research, show that people under the age of 30 typically have sex twice a week – about 112 times a year.Those in the 30 to 39 category are likely to get intimate less frequently – about 1.6 times per week, or 86 times a year.

Then those who are aged between 40 and 49 have sex only 69 times per year, about half the amount of those in the 18 to 29 category.Scientists carrying out the research carried out two interviews – ten years apart – with 1,170 individuals in America.They found the reasons people tend to have less sex as they get older weren’t just down to physical factors – but often emotional ones.

In his Kinsey Institute blog, Dr Justin Lehmiller said: “Those who feel older and have more negative attitudes toward aging are likely to perceive the sharpest declines in the quality of their sex lives.“At the same time, the younger people feel, the more likely they are to maintain high sexual satisfaction as they get older – or at least they’ll experience a much less noticeable change.“More generally, this study provides further support for the idea that your brain really is your biggest sex organ.“No matter where you are in the lifespan — from your teenage to your twilight years — the way you feel about yourself can fundamentally shape your experience of sex.

“The basic storyline that has emerged from these studies is that, as we get older, our odds of developing chronic health conditions increases and this, in turn, negatively impacts the frequency and quality of sexual activity.”Physical issues such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes were all cited as causes of impotence among men as they got older.However the experts say that discussing health-related sexual difficulties in the context of a relationship or seeking medical help could make the biggest difference in improving sexual health.


Is the ‘family planning’ aisle in drug stores homophobic?

Is the ‘family planning’ aisle in drug stores homophobic?


A gay anthropologist in Britain has started a one man mission to get the “family planning” aisle renamed in drug stores. In a world gone mad, Jamie Lawson is standing up for those who can’t procreate and he’s taking his case to corporate headquarters.

Lawson, a gay man, stopped by a local Sainsbury supermarket last June and wanted to pick up some condoms and lube along with his groceries. But when he found the items under a “family planning” banner, he took his complaint to Twitter.

“I am a gay man; the sex I have is non-reproductive by definition,” Lawson told Mic, saying the phrasing made him “self-conscious in a way that heterosexual people [aren’t].”

Months later, Lawson has contacted and compared several chains’ choice of words for the sexual health section. Our friends over at Queerty have a good rundown of the back and forth between the activist and various outlets, but what about American drugstores?

Mic took a look at three popular American chains and found the results were similar if not worse. CVS has a “family planning” section that includes condoms, lube, toys and spermicides. Pregnancy tests were in a separate “feminine care” section with tampons. Duane Reed fared the best with “family planning” and “sexual wellness” sections sitting side by side. Rite Aid also had both “family planning” and “feminine care” sections, but they were closer together.

A brand manager explained to Mic that in the public’s mind the terms “sexual health” and “family planning” are often one and the same, but “sexual health” makes some people uncomfortable. They want to “get in and get out” quickly. They put the sections in the back of the store to make people more comfortable since it’s more private.

But does that make a drugstore shelf designated for “family planning” homophobic?

“There are quite a few of us for whom sex has nothing to do with reproduction at all,” Lawson wrote in a blog post. “I’m a man who has sex with men, for example. No man that I’ve ever had sex with has been capable of becoming pregnant (which is not to say none are), so ‘family planning’ has been pretty low on my list of priorities when I’m thinking about orgasms. LGBTQI+ people of various types and combinations tend, on the whole, to have sex for pleasure, rather than reproduction and, furthermore, when queer people do decide to reproduce, we probably don’t go shopping for condoms.

“In fact, if you really start to look at it, if you follow that idea all the way down this particular rabbit hole, then it starts to look as if the fact that LGBTQI+ people have sex for pleasure is what it is about us that society (people en masse) really objects to.”


More Men Are Taking Antidepressants Than Ever Before

More Men Are Taking Antidepressants Than Ever Before

Nearly 1 in 10 men report taking the pills in the last month, a new report finds


Do you pop a pill to beat the blues? If so, you’re not alone: More men are taking antidepressants than ever before, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

After combing through the numbers from 2011 to 2014—the most recent data available—the CDC found nearly 1 in 10 men reported taking antidepressant medication in the past month. That’s a 69 percent increase from 1999 to 2002, when only 5 percent of men reported taking antidepressants.

What’s more, 21 percent of men reported taking antidepressants for 10 years or more. While women were twice as likely to report taking antidepressants as men, there was no significant difference in how long both genders used the medication.

It’s worthy to note that nearly half of all antidepressant prescriptions are given out to treat conditions other than depression each year, according to one 2016 JAMA study. Physicians reported prescribing the pills for anxiety, pain, insomnia, and panic disorders, too.

But the scary part is, when looking at antidepressants as a depression treatment in men, it’s possible these numbers might not paint the whole picture. That’s because men deal with depression differently than women, and may not even be coming forward about their symptoms.

“Male depression sometimes manifests through the ‘male code’ that says you cannot show weakness, sadness, or vulnerability,” Fred Rabinowitz, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at California’s University of Redlands, told Men’s Health in December.

And depression in guys tends not to be as easily identifiable, either—so it’s possible that men might not identify what they’re feeling as depression. Symptoms of depression in men can show up as things like anger, impulsivity, and substance use, rather than just simply sadness or the blues. In fact, when researchers from the University of Michigan surveyed more than 5,600 men and women using symptoms of depression more common in men as the basis for diagnosis, 6 percent of men met the criteria compared to 22 percent of women. But when they used the traditional symptoms of depression, more women fit the criteria than men.

Another reason guys may put off depression treatment? Some guys don’t like dealing with the side effects of antidepressants, says Rabinowitz. They includes weight gain, insomnia, and yes, even sexual problems like erectile dysfunction and delayed ejaculation.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors—a common class of antidepressants that includes Prozac, Zoloft, and Lexapro—may manipulate the neurotransmitters in your brain, which can delay your orgasm, according to urologist Tobias Köhler, M.D. But don’t use fear of those sexual side effects as a reason to put off seeking care: Other types of antidepressants don’t seem to cause the same problems. (Here are four more common medications that can kill your sex life.)

Suicide is the seventh leading cause of death in men—and untreated depression can act as a possible trigger. So if you think your sadness or other mood symptoms may be something more serious, see your doctor. He or she will be able to determine if something else might be causing your symptoms, like a medication with unpleasant side effects.

Plus, he or she may be able to refer you to psychiatrist if they think your symptoms point to depression. Research suggests that a combination of therapy and medication is the best treatment. However, every guy is different—a lot of men need to be encouraged to seek therapy by a family member or friend before they even consider it.

Additional reporting by Melissa Romero

Does Sex Get Better When You’re Pregnant? You May Be Surprised

Does Sex Get Better When You’re Pregnant? You May Be Surprised

I remember my first pregnancy well. Thanks to being gifted with a morning sickness that just wouldn’t quit, and a really fun type of neuropathy that made patches of my skin painful to touch, I was miserable. My second pregnancy, though? I was a changed woman, and my arousal was off the charts. I took advantage of it, especially with all that increased sensitivity, but does sex get better when you’re pregnant? Turns out, the answer is not universal.

According to Our Bodies, Ourselves, sexual desire during pregnancy runs the gamut between non-existent and a rabbit during mating season. The reasons are fairly complex for this spectrum of sexual need. First, not everyone is going to respond to the effects of hormones in the same way. For some women, myself included, pregnancy isn’t always this miraculous thing that happens, rather it’s something to endure.

Some women, however, enjoy the rush of blood flow, and the increased lubrication, and extra sensitive nipples, according to the University of California, San Francisco. These are just symptoms of pregnancy, but they can attribute to some of the best sex of your life when you’re pregnant. Does sex get better when you’re expecting? It definitely can.

The changes that happen in your body with pregnancy are such that they can swing the pendulum in either direction. Not only that, many men find pregnant women very attractive. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health suggested that this is an evolutionary imperative that assures the continuation of the species. It is a biological mechanism put in place so that men continue to play fast and loose with their reproduction.

However, if your pregnancy makes you feel crummy, and your sex drive isn’t as great as it was before you got pregnant, that’s OK, too.

My pregnancies were night and day. While the first trimester is never something I do well, when I got into my second trimester with my second pregnancy, I felt renewed. I felt strong and sexy, and most of all, ready for sex. My husband was into it, too. I mean, who wouldn’t be into their wife diving into their pants just as soon as their toddler fell asleep?

It was honestly some of the most intimate and pleasurable sex of my life — something I couldn’t have dreamed of during my first pregnancy. If you’re concerned about your level of arousal, or lack thereof, there is no shame in talking to your provider and your partner about what is going on. Pregnancy is a strange time in your life, and you’ll need all the support you can get — even if that support is holding up your hips so your belly doesn’t pull you down into the mattress.

10 contraceptive myths you should stop listening to;

10 contraceptive myths you should stop listening to;


Falsehoods can get in the way of sound contraception advice

Contraception: we all use it. It’s an important part of our sexual and reproductive health – and yet it’s still one of the most misunderstood areas of our common healthcare. I’ve met several sensible adults who believe myths about how to avoid unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. It’s time to set the record straight and separate the truth from the speculation…

1. The withdrawal method means you can’t get pregnant

This has to be one of the most common and widespread contraception myths. It’s easy to see why – in school we’re taught that the moment of ejaculation is the moment the sperm is released. That’s followed by a convenient story about the sperm meeting the egg and the magic of new life occurring. It’s a good story, but real life is a lot more messy and complicated than that. In reality, men often release small amounts of ejaculate (the fluid which contains sperm) before they climax. Withdrawing before climax will certainly reduce your chances of pregnancy, but it won’t eliminate them.

. The birth control pill makes you gain weight

There is lots of speculation out there about the way the pill impacts your metabolism and hunger levels. Like many myths, there is an element of truth here, but it’s still very misleading. Weight gain only happens if you eat too much for your needs. Hormones occasionally alter your appetite, which may mean you choose to eat more, but the pill doesn’t directly cause weight gain.

3. Being on the pill for a long time makes it harder to get pregnant

This idea has persisted for years. It is utterly false. It is in fact very likely to get pregnant as soon as you stop the pill. If it wasn’t true there wouldn’t be so many unexpected pregnancies from forgetting to start again after your seven-day break.

4. You have to take the pill at the same time every day

This is true for the older forms of the progesterone only mini-pill, but not the most common birth control pills that will be prescribed by your GP today. Although this is a myth, it’s actually quite a useful one – taking the pill at a regular time will help you remember and reduce the chances of missing a day, but the good news is, if you take the pill first thing in the morning, a couple of hours lie-in won’t stop it from working.

5. It’s a good idea to take a break in your birth control

Some people worry that taking the pill for too long could impact their reproductive health, so they take breaks whenever they can. The reality is that a pause in your use of the pill won’t really make much difference.

These days the hormones within birth control pills are at very low levels, so you can continue to take them for many years without problems. Taking a break in your birth control pills is only advisable if you are trying to get pregnant. A very common unexpected pregnancy story we hear is the one where you go off the pill because you’ve broken up; forgetting all of our propensity for making up unexpectedly with an ex.

6. You can’t get pregnant if you have sex during your period

It’s unlikely, but it’s far from impossible. Sperm can live inside the body for up to seven days and most women have fairly irregular cycles, so it’s hard to know exactly when the egg will be released. If you ovulate soon after your period, you could become pregnant. It’s very hard to predict the ‘safe’ times during your cycle.

8. Two condoms make sex safer

Condoms are 98% effective, but doubling up doesn’t double your odds. In actual fact, the two condoms will rub together and are actually more likely to split than a single condom.

9. The pill or IUD is all the protection I need

These are both fantastic methods of contraception, but they do nothing to protect you from sexually transmitted infection. If you’re on the pill and you’re seeing a range of partners, you should still use a condom. If you have one, regular partner, consider going for STI tests to make sure you are both negative. After that, it’s up to you.

10. I’m breastfeeding so I can’t get pregnant

New mothers often believe this common myth. It is true that breastfeeding tends to delay ovulation, making it less likely that you will conceive – but, unless you really want to risk adding to the family much sooner than you expect, don’t rely on it.

Deciding when to start a family is one of the most important decisions we will ever make, but frustratingly, when it comes to contraception, there seem to be a lot of myths in circulation. If you have concerns or need some concrete advice, don’t be afraid to consult your doctor. They can help you to separate the truths from the falsehoods.

Dr. Seth Rankin is founder of London Doctors Clinic