Monthly Archives: May 2018

It’s 2018, but young men still don’t want to talk about contraception – here’s why

It’s 2018, but young men still don’t want to talk about contraception – here’s why

2018-05-23

It’s a Friday night in a midsize university town in the Western US, and for many students, this means one thing: it’s time to party. University students head out for a night of drinking, dancing and often, sex. For many students attending large US universities, it’s more or less expected that they will have casual sex on a night out. But while attitudes toward casual sex have become more liberal, there’s been significantly less change when it comes to attitudes toward contraception.

Since the 1960s, when the birth control pill became widely available in the United States, research and development has focused on generating contraceptive methods for women to use. The feminist movement celebrated female contraceptives for giving women the power to control if and when they become pregnant. But somewhere along the way, a woman’s right to use birth control translated into a woman’s responsibility to use birth control.

Our research, recently published in Culture, Health & Sexuality, found that young men have a difficult time reconciling the idea that women should have control over their own bodies with the ideal that men should play an equal role in making decisions about contraception – especially since most forms of contraception alter women’s bodies to prevent pregnancy, rather than men’s.

A conflict of ideas

For our study, we held in-depth interviews with 44 young men at a large public university in the western United States to understand how they make decisions about contraception during their sexual relationships with women. The men we interviewed clearly articulated two sets of expectations: they thought that men should participate equally in decisions about contraceptive use, but that women should have the final say, since women bear much of the physical and social responsibility if they get pregnant.

Some men were worried that they might disrespect women’s bodily autonomy by bringing up the issue of contraceptives. Women were expected to request that men use a condom or otherwise communicate to men that they were not using a hormonal contraceptive. By deferring to women, men were attempting to be mindful of power dynamics that still privilege them.

We found that being confused about these competing ideas can prevent men from communicating clearly about contraceptives with their partners. As a result, men ultimately tasked women with initiating all communication about contraception, leaving their sexual partners with greater responsibility, work and financial costs related to getting contraception, and preventing pregnancy.

Bringing up birth control

In a culture where almost all forms of contraception are designed for women, most men couldn’t come to a satisfactory resolution between sharing equal responsibility for contraception and respecting a woman’s right to control her own body. What’s more, they said that this conflict contributed to their general reluctance to engage with the issue of contraception at all.

Our findings suggest that sexual health education aimed at young men must go beyond simply telling them to use condoms. Recent efforts to normalise “affirmative consent” and encourage men and women to communicate clearly about sex might also help raise the issue of contraception.

How researchers and sexual health practitioners can help to reconcile these opposing ideas is up for debate. New efforts to develop a birth control pill for men are promising, and would help to reduce the gender disparities in available methods. But the male pill is still in development and won’t be widely available for some time.

In the meantime, when in doubt, men should simply wear a condom. Men shouldn’t just assume that if women don’t say anything about contraception, it means they’re protected. It’s necessary to have the conversation – even if it’s uncomfortable. Men also can also learn more about female forms of contraception, so that they can understand the impact they have on women’s bodies and be more sensitive to women’s needs during these conversations.

Men should never assume that any woman is using a contraceptive method. If you don’t want to discuss contraception, then simply use a condom – and relieve women of the responsibility for requesting one.

In this, and other ways, we must cultivate an understanding of sexual relationships that goes beyond a battle of the sexes approach, in which men’s and women’s needs and desires are seemingly at odds. In this study, men lacked the tools they needed to engage in sex responsibly, which ended up placing greater responsibility on women.

http://theconversation.com/its-2018-but-young-men-still-dont-want-to-talk-about-contraception-heres-why-96951

Why STDs Like Gonorrhea and Syphilis Are on the Rise

Why STDs Like Gonorrhea and Syphilis Are on the Rise

2018-05-18

People have blamed dating apps for the rise of gonorrhea and syphilis. But there are a few sneakier factors at play here.

As if dating weren’t hard enough, singles in California have one more thing to worry about: the rise of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

According to the California Department of Health, more than 300,000 cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, or syphilis were reported in the state in 2017 alone. Overall, the transmission rate of these three STIs has spiked by a staggering 45 percent over the past five years.

But the rise of STIs isn’t just a concern in the Golden State. Figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that STIs are rising everywhere. From 2015 to 2016 alone, gonorrhea rates in men increased by 22 percent nationwide, while syphilis rates increased by 14.7 percent.

The biggest problem? Many men might not even know they’re infected with these STIs. About half of men don’t exhibit any symptoms of chlamydia, while many men with gonorrhea are similarly asymptomatic. The early signs of syphilis — small, painless sores around the mouth, genitals, or rectum — also tend to be subtle, and can easily be explained away as an ingrown hair.

The massive spike in STI rates is particularly concerning, given that just a decade ago, STI rates were on the declineBut “progress has since unraveled,” the CDC wrote in a 2016 report.

So what’s to blame for this unraveling? The answer is more complicated than you might think.

Over the past few years, many media outlets have published alarmist stories linking Tinder and Grindr to the rise in STIs. As recently as May 15, the Los Angeles Timesreported that some health experts partially attribute the spike to people having “more sexual partners linked to dating apps.”

But Matthew Prior of the National Coalition of STD Directors says we shouldn’t be so quick to point the finger at Tinder and Grindr. Most experts “don’t think it’s a primary reason that STDs are spreading,” he told MensHealth.com.

Instead, Prior and other public health experts attribute the nationwide spike in STIs to a confluence of different factors.

While STI rates have risen across the board, cases of syphilis in particular are on the rise among men who have sex with other men (MSMs, according to CDC lingo), who accounted for 80.6% of the new syphilis diagnoses between 2000 and 2016. That’s in part because MSMs are more likely to have receptive anal sex, which ups their risk of contracting STIs: the anus is narrow, doesn’t offer natural lubrication, and the skin tears easily, which means that STIs can easily enter the bloodstream.

Dr. Hunter Handsfield, Professor Emeritus of Medicine at the University of Washington Center for AIDS and STD, believes an additional reason why men who have sex with men may have gotten more lax about using condoms is because of PrEP, a daily medication taken to prevent HIV infection.

“Because HIV is now less of a worry, there’s less condom use,” Handsfield tells MensHealth.com. “That’s the biggest single change.”

According to the California data, half of chlamydia cases and a third of gonorrhea cases were among people under 25, indicating that young people in particular are at heightened risk. That’s in part because they simply don’t know that many of the most common STIs are asymptomatic, Heidi Bauer, the chief of the California Department of Public Health, told BuzzFeed News.

“I hear it all the time — they think, Well, if I have something, I will know it and I will just go in and get it treated. But the reality is the vast majority of these infections don’t cause any symptoms at all,” she said. “So people just pass them around without realizing it.”

Over the past decade, federal budget cuts have led to the closure of STI clinics across the country, making it harder for people to get tested and treated. In a 2016 report, for example, the CDC reported that more than 20 health department STI clinics had been shuttered in 2012 alone.

Prior also says there are now fewer Disease Intervention Specialists throughout the United States, who typically reach out to people infected with gonorrhea and syphilis to ensure they’re getting proper treatment and help them contact their sexual partners for testing.

“Those are really important access points for people to get STI care,” Prior explains.

Doctors may be tasked with knowing everything about our bodies, but some would rather avoid awkward sex talk, according to Prior.

“There’s a certain amount of stigma around STIs,” he explains. “Talking about sexual health and sexuality is not comfortable, even among healthcare providers. It’s easier to not talk about that.”

It’s not just that doctors are avoid talking to their patients about sex — they’re avoiding testing their patients for STIs altogether. Even worse, some don’t know how to properly treat patients with STIs in the first place: Prior says that that about one in five gonorrhea cases aren’t being handled adequately, with doctors prescribing one antibiotic instead of the two recommended by the CDC.

Given how much training doctors receive, it might be surprising to hear that they’re ill-equipped to treat STIs. But most physicians only receive about three to 10 hours of sexual health training during four years of medical school, says Prior.

“There’s a real need to educate providers nationally about what’s going on, and unfortunately the primary care provider network is ill-prepared to handle the STI epidemic,” Prior asserts.

How to protect yourself

Thankfully, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis are all easily treatable with a course of antibiotics. The problem is that most guys aren’t getting tested regularly, thereby putting their own health and that of their partners at risk.

If you are sexually active, you should be getting tested at least once a year, regardless of whether you are monogamous. And of course, if you or your partner haven’t been tested in a while, you should be wearing a condom every time you have sex.

More women experience partner violence in B’desh, India than Nepal: report

More women experience partner violence in B’desh, India than Nepal: report

2018-05-17

More women experience partner violence, both physical and sexual, in and than Nepal, according to a new report.

has been ranked second among thirteen Asian and Middle Eastern countries in terms of number of women experiencing partner violence, according to the Guttmacher-Lancet Commission’s report on sexual and reproductive health and rights.

According to the report, has the highest number of women who have faced partner violence, while has recorded the least number of such incidents.

fares better than in terms of women experiencing partner violence, the report said. also fares better than India, but data for that country has been given only for the last 12 months.

The can take different forms, physical, sexual, or psychological, and it encompasses harmful practices, such as child marriage, sex trafficking, honour killings, sex-selective abortion, female genital mutilation, and sexual harassment and 

Goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) includes targets calling for the elimination of against women and all harmful practices, such as child, early, and forced marriage, and female genital mutilation by 2030, the report said.

The report states that in India, where in 1971 permitted abortion under a broad criteria, most abortions did not meet legal requirements by 2015.

Abortions have become safer in some developing countries where grounds for legal abortion have been expanded.

The report stressed that improving health depends not only on implementing effective programmes, but also on advancing rights, including those frequently neglected in global discussions, such as the right to freely choose sexual partners and the right to safe and legal abortion care.

It also called on countries to tackle restrictive social norms, laws and policies, and to hold governments accountable to their commitments.

The commission also underscored the importance of gathering more evidence on the sexual and reproductive health needs of distinct populations that are often marginalised and vulnerable, including adolescents, people with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities, displaced people and refugees, and people living with disabilities.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/more-women-experience-partner-violence-in-b-desh-india-than-nepal-report-118051601338_1.html

Why doesn’t your husband want to have sex?

Why doesn’t your husband want to have sex?

2018-05-14

Contrary to conventional wisdom, sometimes it’s men who first lose sexual desire in a long-term relationship, a new study finds.

Men’s desire for sex can be as tricky as women’s, according to ­researchers at the University of Kentucky. Men often lose interest when they feel insecure, when they worry they are losing autonomy in a relationship, or when physical changes cause embarrassment. Pressure to be the ­initiator compounds the stress.

“We expect male desire to ­always be high and to be simple, like an on and off switch, while we expect women’s desire to be a complicated switchboard, but they are both complex,” says Kristen P. Mark, associate professor of health promotion and director of the Sexual Health Promotion Lab at the University of Kentucky and the lead researcher on the project, a broad look at men and women that analysed 64 studies on sexual ­desire conducted since the 1950s.

Psychologists say desire in both sexes ebbs and flows. And it’s ­natural for it to decline after the heady honeymoon period, which typi­cally lasts about 18 months to two years. Still, almost 80 per cent of married couples have sex a few times a month or more: 32 per cent reported having sex two to three times a week; 47 per cent ­reported having sex a few times a month, according to The Social ­Organisation of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States, a 1994 University of Chicago study considered the most comprehensive in the field.

Women do lose desire more often than men: research shows that about one in three women — regardless of age — reports a lack of interest in sex for at least several months in the past year, compared with one in five men, ­according to Edward Laumann, a professor of sociology at the University of Chicago, who has studied sexual desire and dysfunction for 25 years. But experts say that men are often reluctant to talk about sexual troubles, so the problem may be more prevalent.

Mark’s research, published in March in the Journal of Sex ­Research, found that the reasons for a drop in desire generally fitted into three main categories — individual, interpersonal and societal. Some issues, such as stress, a drop in self-esteem or changes in their attraction to their partner, affect both men and women.

But men’s desire also wanes for different reasons. Men have ­trouble when they expect their ­desire to always remain high and it does not, or when they fail to make their relationship a priority. Sometimes men’s desire drops when a couple has sex for negative reasons — to avoid a fight, for example — rather than positive ones, such as to increase intimacy. Men also feel pressure to always be ready for sex and to initiate it.

There are often physical issues, as well. A man’s less-efficient bloodflow as he ages, diseases such as depression or medicines for issues such as high blood pressure or mood disorders can all hurt a man’s sex drive.

And these physical changes can cause emotional distress. Embarrassment is a big issue for men who have trouble getting or maintaining an erection, and so they may stop initiating sex. “For the guys who don’t like to do what they don’t do well, there will be avoidance, because they feel ashamed,” says Michael A. Perelman, co-­director of Weill Cornell Medicine’s Human Sexuality Program.

Unlike women, men often lose interest in sex when they are ­unhappy or insecure, Laumann says. Stress about a promotion, worry about a child, the transition to retirement “all undercut a man’s sense of his abilities and prowess”, he says.

And sometimes the problem does stem from the relationship. Sex can become routine in a long-term marriage, or partners grow apart. A man may harbour resentments, often about money. Or he may de-eroticise his wife. “He sees her as a good person, mother, supporter, but not as an exciting lover,” says Barry McCarthy, a psychology professor at American University.

Is the relationship doomed when a man — or a woman, for that matter — loses interest in sex? Not necessarily. But it’s definitely a signal that you need to evaluate what is going on. And there is the possibility that a decrease in desire for your partner may indicate that the person is no longer right for you, says Gurit Birnbaum, a social psychologist and associate professor of psychology at the Interdisciplinary Centre, a private university in Herzliya, Israel. You may have grown too far apart, or your goals, values or interests may have changed. “Your body may be telling you something,” she says.

But often the problems can be solved. This will require talking, the experts say, and it’s important to do that before it is too late. “A ­relationship becomes more fragile when it loses its sex aspect,” says Birnbaum.

Start by having a conversation outside of a sexual situation — go for a walk or have a glass of wine. Tell your spouse you miss having sex rather than criticising. Both partners should ease pressure by accepting that men, not just women, don’t want sex all the time. “Approaching hard conversations by being vulnerable ­upfront automatically creates a safer environment for a tough talk,” says Mark.

The Wall Street Journal

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/life/why-doesnt-your-husband-want-to-have-sex/news-story/4252b40db44be354e483bd7cab3dff85

Harassment At Workplace: Cause And Prevention

Harassment At Workplace: Cause And Prevention

2018-05-11

Harassment is considered one of the most important issues that might negatively affect an organizational environment and the individuals as well. Harassment is the act of unwanted and annoying actions of one group or individual that may induce threats and  demands.

It includes racial prejudice, personal malice, or to grant sexual favors, forcing someone to quit a job or applying illegal pressure to collect a bill. The harasser can be a male or female. Most of the times, the harassment is targetted at the opposite gender but sometimes the victim belongs to the same gender of the harasser.

Workplace harassment is the type of sexual harassment that may be unlawful when employees are subjected to unwanted actions or comments of sexual nature, sexual stories or innuendos, discussion about employees sex lives, unwanted touching or requesting for sex or sexual material in the workplace.

Workplace harassment has now become very common because the women in the contemporary world have started working in every field of life along with men.

Though sexual harassment at the workplace has assumed serious proportions, women do not report the matter to the concerned authorities in most cases due to fear of reprisal from the harasser, losing one’s livelihood, being stigmatized, or losing professional standing and personal reputation.

Across the globe, today, sexual harassment at workplace is increasingly understood as a violation of women’s rights and a form of violence against women. Indeed, the social construct of male privileges in society continues to be used to justify violence against women in the private and public sphere. In essence, sexual harassment is a mirror reflecting the power of male over women that sustain patriarchal relations.

In a society where violence against women, both indirect and direct, is borne out of the patriarchal values, women are forced to conform to traditional gender roles. These patriarchal values and attitudes of both women and men pose the greatest challenge in resolution and prevention from sexual harassment. Workplace sexual harassment, like other forms of violence, is not harmless. It involves serious health, human, economic and social costs, which manifests themselves in the overall development indexes of a nation.

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2010 in Pakistan was enacted to ensure safe working spaces for women and to construct safer work environments for them.  The sense of security at the workplace will improve women’s participation in work resulting in their economic empowerment and inclusive growth. The Punjab government recently established a “women’s harassment protection cell” to protect the women of Punjab from all types of harassment.

These are the important steps to be taken to eradicate workplace harassment:

1. Develop and communicate a harassment policy endorsed by top management to all the staff members.

2. Use a fair complaint procedure to investigate charges of sexual harassment.

3. Take corrective actions against the harasser as soon as possible.

4. Provide sexual harassment education and training to organizational members, including the managers.

5. The organization must take some strong steps against the harasser and provide the security to the victim.

I hope working on these steps will help to reduce harassment at workplace.

Harassment At Workplace: Cause and Prevention

Seven sexual health myths you should ignore

Seven sexual health myths you should ignore

2018-05-10

  1. You can’t get pregnant during menstruation

Menstruation is the process of the womb’s wall lining shedding off after unsuccessful fertilisation of an egg. While it is not common that pregnancy occurs during menstruation, it is still scientifically possible that intercourse during the period a woman sheds blood can lead to conception.

Sperm once shed into the birth canal can remain alive and viable between three to five days. During this time ovulation may take place followed by successful fertilisation.

  1. You can get an STI from a toilet seat

Venereal diseases are primarily passed from one infected person to the next through sexual contact. Some STIs, such as pubic lice, can also be spread through skin-to-skin contact or sharing clothes, towels or bedding.

In many cases direct contact of skin or genitals or other bodily fluids with infected people is required for successful infection to occur. Urine usually cannot carry STI, so toilet seats are safe on that count. Besides, most STI agents cannot survive outside the human body for a long time.

  1. You need a big penis to orgasm

A recent study shows that the average human penis is 13.12 cm long and 11.66 cm in circumference. The idea that a big penis automatically means satisfactory sexual experience for a woman is a fallacy.

Most women orgasm by stimulation to clitoris rather than inside the vagina. A woman can either experience clitoral orgasm or G-spot orgasm. A deep-penetrating penis is irrelevant to clitoral orgasms.

  1. You can’t get an STI from oral sex

You are more likely to get infected with an STI through sexual intercourse than through oral sex. However, some infections are spread much easily through oral sex. The most commonly passed on are herpes simplex, gonorrhoea and syphilis.

The best way to help protect yourself during oral sex is to use a male or female condom or a dam to cover your genital area or anus.

  1. Menopause kills a woman’s sex drive

Menopause, the age when a woman loses reproductive vigour, is often accompanied by symptoms such as hot flushes. However, losing the ability to procreate does not affect one’s sex drive. A woman well past menopause can experience good libido and also have a fulfilling sexual life.

  1. Birth control pills make you gain (or lose) weight

Tens of studies covering this subject have been conducted all over the world but none of them is yet to prove a correlation between oral contraceptives and weight gain, this is still a common belief among women of all ages.

Specifically, a review article published in 2006 analysed 44 previous trials and found that while some participants did gain weight during their studies, there was no evidence that their birth control was to blame.

  1. You have to use a cleaning agent to clean the vagina effectively

It is common behaviour that a proper bath is often accompanied by use of soap or shower gels. This has led to the belief that the vagina (especially internal walls) need to be cleaned with a cleaning agent like soap. It is from this belief that practices such as douching started being practiced.