All posts by Ayesha Kazmi

A critical need for sex education

A critical need for sex education

2019-08-22

In a prevailing society of silence and taboo on adolescent’s natural desires or habits, the assumption-based project of sexual ignorance appears to have failed its grade in streamlining the youth’s sexual well-being and state of mind.  In the contemporary era of helicopter parenting where parents pay attention to every aspect of their children’s lives, they somehow neglect or struggle to discuss and educate their teenagers about the one aspect of life – natural and beautiful habits of reproduction, as they frequently feel ashamed, or too shy to speak about its progression. However,  this wrong approach of neglecting household education in sex-related growth has resulted in severe impairment in the mental and physical aspect of a young adult’s sexual health, as this deprivation of knowledge has often led to people’s high school and college life to be driven with unwanted or uncontrollable sexual desires, which could potentially harm both life’s conditional growth and career’s prospects.  

When human species are living within the realm of adolescence, i.e., from the age group of 15- 21, the human body experiences a hormonal outburst; which explodes into a range of emotions, affecting many aspects of life such as personality, emotions, feelings, sexuality, self-acceptance and personal belief.  It is within this region of growing existence, where teenagers (adolescents) find themselves stuck in the web of vulnerability, due to imbalances in sensation and life’s intentions.

During this phase of hormonal imbalances, teenagers require critical assistance, as similar to how cruise-ships navigate past rough seas with the crucial aid of anchors and other facilities during long journeys, the social-human vessels, i.e., adolescents require additional anchors called parental support and guidance, to prevent them from sinking beneath the ocean of strenuous difficulties within life. This representation of parental streamlining requires careful and delicate crafts of care to not just extrinsic standards of living such as academics, or sociability, but it also requires a matured approach towards explaining, some of the crucial and delicate functions of intrinsic life such as sexuality in a responsible manner.  

If the educational discussion of sexuality remains boycotted between both generation of adults and adolescents, then the entire stand of guidance based on academics, physicality or sociability could fall into hindsight, as though parental advice on academics and sociability play a key role in one’s holistic development, the negligence of sex education from parents could damage teenagers and young adults’ lifestyle and entire existence. Why? It is because this negligence has seen adolescents taking a leap of pleasure through self-sex education by indulging in several life-destroying activities by being sub-consciously manipulated by stress imbalances and curiosity caused by hormonal activity.

Today, thousands of parents have been blinded by the innumerable ways where their children often attempt to educate themselves sexually and participate in several pleasurable activities (stress relieving).  The most common scenario for pleasure is in person; where youth enjoy sexual indulgences with unwanted and unfamiliar people by making college life a sexual paradise, where people visit unwanted attractions such as HIV, hepatitis, other Sexually transmitted diseases, teenage pregnancy, and relationship issues.  Additionally, the internet is also another pleasurable hub where adolescents follow daily educational illustrations, carried out through webcam sex on Appear, Skype, Facetime, and many other portals. The reasoning for why these practices are carried out is due to sub-conscious possession and self-hypnotism based on curiosity whose original purpose of sexual relations, hasn’t been established by parental advice and intervention (the emergence of dangerous addictions).

Consequently, the aftermath of repercussion faced by victims of sex-related education-turned-addiction often results in the need for parents to dive deep down into treacherous waters, to find their incapacitated teenagers or young adults who drowned after being wrecked by their inability to fight off addictions.  This wreckage is a result of the burden formed by shame, depression, unbearable sensitivity, and self-inflicted guilt, which ultimately causes suicides, illnesses, and family damage. Eventually, this slow realization has been a norm due to a variety of factors, such as weak generative guidance from parents and growth of taboo related ignorance.  

Therefore, as parents in a sensitive and complicated world, it is essential to maintain a standard of personal respect and dignity in public, but it is also even more important to value personal space and expose private and intrinsic vulnerability (sex education) to teenagers (15-16 and above) and young adults.  Conclusively, as we continue to nurture the youth, we need to realize that though different people will have different opinions regarding sex education, I believe that with the constant rise in adolescent irresponsibility in sexuality, sex education should not be considered taboo in families, instead, it should be taught with the most responsibility. As not only, will its inculcation prevent the youth from going astray, but it will also help them genuinely recognize their maturity and responsibility in life. Ultimately, parents should realize that sexuality is not a self-learned subject for adolescents, but a sensitive subject which without intervention could destroy, but with care could flourish in the purest form.

“ I believe that, if parents genuinely value their children’s lives and future by doing whatever it takes for the child’s growth, then they should abandon the substantiation of taboo-related excuses of shame when discussing the crucial aspect of sex education, and instead consider it as the one significant lesson which forms a tight rope between the balance of success and a slip of failure into darkness.”DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.

Author: Rohan Keni I am a 19-year-old student hailing from Goa, India. Over the years, I was raised in Dubai and have recently relocated to Missouri, USA to pursue a degree in. . .

Report shows parents’ failure in talking to children about sex

Report shows parents’ failure in talking to children about sex

2019-06-28

A new report has laid bare parents’ failure to educate their children, especially girls, on sexual reproductive health, leaving the responsibility to the internet.The report by Geopoll has also shown that youths are more worried about contracting Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) than unplanned pregnancies or being sexually abused.

The report, released on June 11, states that while majority of the youth would be interested in sexual reproductive health education, parents play a minimal role in imparting this knowledge to them.For example, 62 per cent of the youths polled said they learnt about menstruation from school, with just 12 per cent saying they were informed of the same by their parents.When asked what had been their “most important” source of information on sexual reproductive health, parents also came a distant second at 17 per cent, the same level with social media, internet, books and magazines.

TV and radio was cited as the “most important” source of information on sexual reproductive health at 42 per cent for the non-educated youths.The picture was even worse when the same question was posed on “educated youth” as parents did not appear among the listed top nine preferred sources of sexual reproductive health.

In this category, social media was cited as the most preferred way of receiving this information at 31 per cent, followed by school extracurricular workshops (23 per cent) and class setting (17 per cent).

“It became apparent that parents are one of the least used sources of information on appropriate sexual reproductive health education at only five per cent in Nairobi and Homa Bay counties, 11 per cent in Kilifi, four per cent in Narok, eight per cent in Nyeri and nine per cent in Wajir County,” the report reads in part.The study involved interviewing 1,125 youths between the ages of 18 and 24 in Nairobi, Kilifi, Homa Bay, Narok, Nyeri and Wajir Counties.A disturbing finding, as revealed by Geopoll Director of Project Management Tavian MacKinnon, is the fact that youths are more frightened by the idea of contracting STDs than unwanted pregnancies or being sexually abused.

“As one of our top concerns, we identified that 38 per cent of respondents said they would want to know more about HIV/Aids, 22 per cent would want to learn more about contraceptives and only 6 per cent wanted to learn more about sex,” said MacKinnon.Further, only 10 per cent were interested in learning about sexual rights.

These findings mirror the situation in Kilifi County, which has been in the news over cases of teenage pregnancies linked to poor knowledge on uptake of contraceptives.As a result, at least 17,000 teenage pregnancies were reported in the county last year, where five per cent of the pregnant teens also contracted HIV.Jiactivate Chairperson Grayson Marwa said Kilifi was one of the counties in which the organisation had rolled out a programme on comprehensive sex education after the survey partnered with Geopoll.

“This survey was informed by the findings from media and a report done by the United Nations Population Fund that put three counties – Kilifi, Narok and Homa Bay – with the highest number of teen pregnancy rates and as such we are rolling out an intense three-year mitigation campaign in those counties,” said Marwa.He said the organisation would similarly extend the conversation online, which has been found to be a major source of sexual reproductive health education, through a campaign dubbed WIWIK (What I Wish I Knew).

https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2001331304/report-shows-parents-failure-in-talking-to-children-about-sex

It’s time to talk about sexual incompatibility

It’s time to talk about sexual incompatibility

2019-06-11

What happens if you meet someone kind, smart and funny, but erotically you just don’t click? Alix Fox explores the frustration of sexual incompatibility

On paper, Rohanna and Dan*, 26, were such a match they’d set the page alight. “I was totally disarmed by the chemistry,” she recalls. “He had a fascinating brain, a sweet soul, a fabulous job and he was as doe-eyed over me as I was over him.”

But when it came to having sex, the man who seemed destined to be Rohanna’s everything did nothing for her. “We both had so much enthusiasm, but it was like our bodies didn’t mesh. I kept waiting for something to kick in. It was a kick in the guts when it didn’t. We stayed together for six months then split up.”

When sex seems hexed in this way, it can be as mysterious as it is heart-wrenching. “Evidence is scant, but it’s been suggested there may be subconscious mechanisms at play in some cases of erotic incompatibility,” says Cynthia Graham, professor of sexual and reproductive health at the University of Southampton. “Evolutionary psychologists have posited that we might experience sexual clashes with people whose genetic complexes are discordant to our own, because it affects the ability of us and our potential offspring to fight disease.

But often, incompatibility comes down to a contrast in sexual tastes and appetites – most notably, a mismatch in libidos. Data from Natsal, the British National Surveys of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (one of the broadest and most detailed scientific studies of its kind worldwide) indicates one in four UK couples are imbalanced in their desire for sex.

“It’s common, but it can be devastatingly destructive,” observes psychosexual therapist Aoife Drury. “If the higher-libido individual pushes for sex, the partner with the lower drive can feel anxious or angry, thus losing desire further. The higher-libido individual may then stop initiating sex for fear of rejection or being seen to nag. Intimacy grinds to a halt, creating feelings of resentment or disconnect.”

A survey by dating site eHarmony found that 20% of Brits feel they’re somehow sexually incompatible with their partners. Problems cited include one person being more focused on the physical rather than emotional side of sex and differences in degrees of erotic adventurousness or allure towards a fetish. Yet there are two commonalities running through virtually all incidences.

“Firstly, people expect sex to be unrealistically harmonised in a way nothing else in relationships, or life, is,” says Kate Moyle, resident therapist on BBC Three’s new counselling series Sex On The Couch. “And secondly, perhaps because Brits find sex excruciating to talk about, they may write issues off as inherent, unfixable incompatibility and move on, rather than attempt to address them in any real, practical manner.”

Graham believes this second factor is key. “Natsal’s report showed the strongest predictor of sexual problems, short and long-term, to be a lack of effective communication,” she adds. Learning to communicate and collaborate is the best thing anyone can do for their love life.

But what does that actually look like? If you and your lover decide that trying to increase your sexual rapport is worth a shot, the following advice – while not comprehensive – is better than taking a clueless shot in the dark. Consider it a jumping-off point. It might give you hope that you don’t need to jump ship. Start by viewing sex as something most people work on, rather than something that should just work. “If we see incompatibility as inevitable, we can remove some of the shame and start to think creatively and constructively about it,” suggests Meg-John Barker, co-author of Enjoy Sex: How, When And If You Want To. 

SEE AN OPPORTUNITY, NOT A TASK

A lot of what makes sex fun is exploring and playing. “The idea of consistently wanting exactly the same type of sex as your partner might ostensibly seem perfect, but as well as being improbable, in the long term it could even get boring. Examining sexual divisions offers unique opportunities for personal development and revelatory discoveries,” says Moyle.

This might seem trite, especially if you’re in a relationship where sexual issues have run on so long and the damage has ploughed so deep that your soul feels sandpapered raw, but it is at least worth heading into the process with a positive head on.

Comedian Fran Bushe’s show Ad Libido centres on her struggle with vaginismus: a condition whereby the vaginal muscles involuntarily clamp shut. “I have to do extensive admin with partners to actively build up our sexual compatibility because of how my body functions,” Bushe says, “but it means we create something special together; they’re not just whipping out the same toolkit of moves that worked on their ex.”

ACKNOWLEDGE THE AWKWARD

Therapeutic exercises can feel excruciatingly contrived when you first attempt them. Many have a tree-huggy vibe that makes you cringe. “Recognising how silly and vulnerable you feel out loud helps break the tension, and laughing about it together is bonding,” says psychosexual therapist Sarah Berry. Studiously pretending that embarrassment doesn’t exist is a form of performance, when your real goal should be to share authentic, honest experiences.

Darrell, 31, was suffering from erectile dysfunction (along with 11.7 million other men in the UK, according to online medical service Zava), in his case caused by anxiety, so he and his partner Sheena, also 31, tried rebooting their strained sex life using the ‘sensate focus’ method.

“You start by touching each other while still fully clothed, avoiding erogenous zones, then gradually build up intensity over a series of weeks, to help you tune into sensations and emotions,” he explains. “We both felt like dicks, but by week four, my dick worked. Removing expectations I had to get it up helped, but so too did giggling at the ridiculousness. For months our bedroom had been the site of tearful rows.”

THINK ABOUT WHY YOU HAVE SEX

“A 2007 paper published by The University of Texas at Austin identified 237 different motivations subjects gave for having sex, from ‘to show thanks for something my partner has done’ to ‘it gets rid of a headache’ to ‘it makes me feel closer to God’,” says Jennifer Gunsaullus, the host of Dr Jenn’s Den, a sex education show on YouTube. “Examining the true reasons we’re seeking sex in each instance – like relief from boredom or stress, or for a self-esteem boost – can highlight where alternative actions may still satisfy our needs.”

SCHEDULE SENSUALITY

Setting out a schedule for sex has a bad rep; it seems clinical and unromantic for lovemaking not to spontaneously spring from burning desire. Yet setting aside predetermined windows for eroticism shows that it’s a priority, and is a damn sight better than leaving things to wither indefinitely on the backburner while life gets in the way.

Plus, knowing when to expect intimacy saves higher-libido partners from the fear their ad hoc come-ons might be crushingly rejected or interpreted as hectoring. It also allows lower libido partners to build the anticipation and get their head in the right place for jumping into bed

EXPAND YOUR IDEA OF WHAT COUNTS AS SEX

“Make sex menus: brainstormed lists of all the sensual and thrilling things you know you like or would be up for trying, and see where you and your partner overlap,” suggests Barker. Download DIY guides from megjohnandjustin.com.

INTRODUCE THE PURPLE PASS

Named after Prince, who in his hit Alphabet Street sings, “Tonight I’m just not in the mood, so if you don’t mind, I would like to watch,” the ‘purple pass’ involves giving your partner permission to masturbate while you witness them approvingly. You might encourage them by enthusing about how hot they look, so they get off and you take part without doing anything physical that you don’t feel up to.

DON’T LET LABELS RESTRICT YOU

“There’s so much power in proudly naming your fetishes and fascinations, but labels like ‘dominant’ can become restrictive cages if they’re interpreted too rigidly – and not the saucy kind of cage,” says Gunsaullus. Before writing someone off because they don’t share your particular kink, examine what you get from it emotionally. You might enjoy being submissive in S&M scenarios because you find relief in relinquishing responsibility, maybe you like to please by fulfilling orders or perhaps a powerful lover fixating upon you makes you feel craved.

There are softer ways to serve these longings if your partner doesn’t always want to take the reins or is still learning the ropes. Think of your kinks as you liking a type of energy rather than having a set identity. But what if you reach an impasse because you and your partner’s kinks are too much in sync and you both want to play the same role? “My girlfriend and I are both submissive,” says Janine*, 24. “When it’s my turn to play domme, I command her to spank me or use a dildo on me while I lay pliant, so I’m in charge but still get a similar physical experience to being the underling.”

MAKE USE OF RESOURCES

“I wish people viewed therapists for sex like they do dentists for their teeth, and visited them as a preventative measure to set their private lives on a healthy course rather than waiting until everything is rotten and they are falling out,” says Moyle.

However, if you’re not at the stage of seeking private counselling but want professional assistance in navigating incompatibilities, resources are out there. Sex coaching site Betty Martin features free videos and printable worksheets for couples. Mindfulness app Headspace offers guided meditations centred on relationships. Where Should We Begin?, a podcast that listeners have dubbed ‘the Rosetta Stone of feelings’, lets you listen in on real-life couples’ sessions with psychotherapist Esther Perel.

Educational site The School Of Life’s Pillow Talk cards help pilot constructive conversations about topics like sexual shame and power dynamics, while the London-based Havelock Clinic provides 45-minute online workshops on sexual desire and you can talk to their medical experts via instant message throughout the session.

MAKE PEACE WITH THE SITUATION

Certain couples do find that they never erotically align, so some decide to draw a line under their relationship. “I grafted at sex for eight years with a man I loved but whose natural drive was far lower and plainer than mine,” says Kathryn, 32. “We both tried so hard, but I hit a stage where whatever I was learning by trying to meet him in the middle was outweighed by what I lost by leaving my satisfaction on the sidelines.”

Yet even if sexual incompatibility remains, ‘sadly stay’ or ‘go, gutted’ are not the only options. “I challenge that binary,” says Barker. “You might consider opening things up. Consensual non-monogamy works for many people by allowing them to maintain wonderful, close relationships while having their sexual needs met elsewhere.

But there are also many folks who simply decide sex isn’t important to them after all, especially over time. I undertook a study into ‘enduring love’ with Jacqui Gabb, professor of sociology and intimacy at The Open University, which found that many, if not most, long-term couples had sincerely happy relationships that didn’t feature much sex together.”

For some ‘incompatible’ pairings, concluding that sex isn’t the be-all and end-all is the key to a happy ending. But for others, taking sex seriously enough to wholeheartedly commit to discovering and nurturing the parts where their individual Venn diagrams of sexuality overlap – that’s what prevents it being over.

Lily says:

“You can have great sex because somebody has a wonderful penis and knows how to use it, even though you’re not that into them. Or you can meet someone you connect with, but their penis is just not doing it. I’m pretty good at faking it, I’ve been doing it for 20 years. But this is a serious issue. There are girls who think there’s something wrong with them because they haven’t had an orgasm yet.”

SERIES

Lily Allen Takes Over

Men initiate sex 3 times more often than women in a long-term relationship: Study

Men initiate sex 3 times more often than women in a long-term relationship: Study

2019-05-17

According to a study published in the journal Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, men are three-times more likely to initiate sex as compared to women in a long-term heterosexual relationship.

Men initiate sex more than three times as often as women do in a long-term, heterosexual relationship, says a study.

Disclaimer: TheHealthSite.com does not guarantee any specific results as a result of the procedures mentioned here and the results may vary from person to person. The topics in these pages including text, graphics, videos and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only and not to be substituted for professional medical advice.
https://www.thehealthsite.com/news/men-initiate-sex-3-times-more-often-than-women-in-a-long-term-relationship-study-667011/

Many marriages in Pakistan are troubled by sexual incompatibility but no one talks about it

Many marriages in Pakistan are troubled by sexual incompatibility but no one talks about it

2019-04-26

Lack of sex education and sexual intimacy has adverse effects on couples’ married lives

BY KAUKAB TAHIR 

KARACHI: Rarely ever taken to experts, sexual incompatibility is dismissed as a non-issue. Sarah Aziz*, a 32-year-old divorcee – 28 at the time of marriage – says the root cause of the failure of her marriage was her partner’s sexual orientation. For the longest time, the couple struggled as her husband insisted that the lack of sexual intimacy between them was due to erectile dysfunction. But the truth was that he was gay.

“Even lying naked in his arms wasn’t enough to arouse him, and not once did he have an erection that lasted longer than five minutes … enough for him to be able to penetrate.”

Just so his orientation remained closeted, he even took Viagra but nothing made the situation better. She says, “I had to live in agony for over two years until one day I caught him doing a Skype session with a man.”

As a set norm in Pakistan, married couples are expected to deal with sexual incompatibility behind closed doors and drawn curtains. In this silent struggle, many red flags go unnoticed until it is too late. Kinza Raza*, who is 23 years old (21 at the time of marriage), spoke to Cutacut about her traumatic, four-month-long relationship with her impotent partner. Crushed under society’s many taboos on the subject, Raza suffered from sexual discontentment silently. She kept quiet out of fear of judgement and blame, thinking that talking about problems in her sex life and sharing what she was going through would worsen things for her.

“Even lying naked in his arms wasn’t enough to arouse him”

“Since my husband was impotent, we could never have sex,” says Raza. But instead of working with her on the problem, her husband would beat her up, threatening her to never speak about it. Raza continued to suffer alone, in silence, until one day she fought back and beat up her husband with a wiper.

These stories are far too common in  Pakistani society. A number of young people, especially women, have heartbreaking accounts surrounding sexual dissatisfaction in wedlock.

Misinformation about sex

But the issue doesn’t only extend to women; men, too, struggle to discern head from tail. Couples aren’t aware of the basic dos and don’ts of having sex. They are yet to inform themselves on what may result in a pregnancy.

“I had a love marriage and despite being extremely fond of my wife, I was scared to penetrate thinking she might get pregnant,” said Mubeen Ahmed*, a 30-year-old working professional. Ahmed said even until the end of their honeymoon, the couple hadn’t had intercourse. Only after coming back from the trip, when his partner sought medical help and was prescribed contraceptives, they felt comfortable enough to consummate the marriage.

Speaking of misconceptions, Dr Kishwar Lucas, a general practitioner and sonologist at Karachi’s Good Samaritan Hospital, shared a harrowing experience where she examined a patient who complained that she was unable to conceive.

After a thorough checkup, it turned out that her hymen was still intact and that she was having anal sex with her husband that whole time.

“Men misuse girls and misbehave with them,” said Dr Lucas. Plenty of similar cases are reported to hospitals on the daily.

Sexual health and emotional well-being

Sometimes, the cause of sexual discomfort between couples is also linked to a person’s previous sexual experience. If diagnosed in a timely manner, it can be treated through cognitive therapy.

Problems around not being able to perform sexually generally stem from psychological ups and downs. Many times, the psychological hangups manifest into adverse effects on a person’s physiological health. So it makes matters worse when treatments such as counseling therapy are shunned by our society when, in fact, they should be readily available.

Neither children nor adults are provided the adequate knowledge. The information should come through a reliable source within their reach instead of porn or gossip, said Dr Humair Yusuf, a psychotherapist and private practitioner based in Karachi.

Read: Does watching too much porn affect your sex life?

“It is about time that torrents are excluded from the list of sources that teenagers (and adults) learn about sex from.”

Learning about sex from unreliable sources 

Curiosity around sex and asking questions about it is discouraged. When compared, this censorship is especially strong among teenage girls as sexual empowerment for women remains a taboo subject in our society.

People can only be prepared on what to expect if they are taught about sex from a young age, preferably their teens. Radio silence about these matters leads teenagers, especially girls, into believing that sex is an unspeakable crime or sexual activity makes them untouchable.

Read: We answer sex questions guys are too afraid to ask

“The problem in our society is that sex has been extremely romanticised, and not educating 17 or 18-year-olds — who are dating and are suffering from peer pressure — often lands them into trouble because they are not aware,” says Amna Imran, a lecturer and a mother of an 11-year-old. “I am open and honest with my daughter. She already knows that babies aren’t sent into this world through angels but in fact come out of the mother’s womb.”

How do we fix this endemic?

It is a norm in Pakistan for people to be exposed to sexual activity only after they are married. Prior to that, most are sexually inactive. They discover their sexuality and learn about their sexual health once they enter wedlock, which makes things a lot more complicated.

Ideally, the government should take up the responsibility to educate masses about healthy sexual habits, added Dr Yusuf.

In the age of the Internet, where people, including teenagers, regularly indulge in pornography, it is crucial that they learn about healthy sexual relations from a young age.

“People aren’t able to flag issues because they don’t have the slightest idea. It is important we conduct timely counseling so couples know when to escalate the problem,” stressed Dr Lucas.

Men are still able to identify the signs but it takes women a long time to figure out what’s going on. By the time they learn, their relationship and sexual chemistry has already worsened irreparably, she adds.

*Names have been changed to protect identity

Here’s how Pakistani women get judged buying contraceptives

Here’s how Pakistani women get judged buying contraceptives

BY SHAHEERA ANWAR 

KARACHI: It’s no surprise that unwanted pregnancies occur all around the world. And to avoid these, people use different types of contraceptives – some of which, also prevent sexually-transmitted diseases from spreading. Birth control pills and condoms are some of the most common types of contraceptives used by both men and women worldwide. However, in a country like Pakistan – where even the use of the word ‘sex’ raises concerns – buying contraceptives can sometimes invite judgmental gazes. Likewise, a young girl based in Karachi, was also judged for buying emergency contraceptive pills (ECP) off the shelf. Sharing her experience, Kulsoom Masood, a 22-year-old university student, posted a status on Facebook.

She wrote, “I went to a medical store to buy ECP for my research and presentation on sexual health in Pakistan. I knew that there will be some reaction but little did I know that things will get so interesting. I went to the counter and asked ‘Sabz Sitara Ki ECP de dein’ (Please give me ECP by Sabz Sitara). The guy, who was smiling and staring at literally every lady in the line, changed his expressions suddenly. He looked at my university bag which also had a student ID card on it and started speaking to the guy next to him in Pashto.”

Kulsoom, being a Pashtun understood every word he said. She continued, ‘He said to the other guy, ‘This girl is asking for ECP, should I give it to her? She doesn’t look like a ‘bad girl’ from the way she is dressed.’ The other man replied, ‘Tell her that the tablets are very expensive.’ The same guy then came towards me and told me in Urdu that the tablets are very costly. I replied to him in Pashto, ‘Pa su dee?’ which meant, ‘How much do they cost?’ which is when both of their expressions changed.”

The 22-year-old then told them that her father was waiting in the car outside the pharmacy and she wouldn’t mind if they gave her the contraceptives in front of him. Kulsoom said that the men later apologised and gave her the pills right away. However, she did school them further in Pashto and added, “I told them, ‘You gave me the pills because I replied to you in Pashto, but normally, you would start taking advantage of such people who are in dire need of contraceptives. You’re going to tell them that they are expensive and if they can’t afford them despite that, you would only be creating problems for them.’ I also said that God has given them a responsibility of helping people out but by doing so, they’re only going against Him.”

Recalling the experience, Kulsoom explained that the stigmatization of sex and not being openly able to discuss topics related to it, has also sexualized medicines/drugs that has something to do with a sexual activity. She said, “The shopkeeper readily judged me for buying it and even though the Pakistani Government has made sure that people could get contraceptives without any prescription, women still go through judgmental eyes of shopkeepers and pharmacists.”

 

‘Iran 9th country with lowest maternity death worldwide’

‘Iran 9th country with lowest maternity death worldwide’

2018-11-12

It’s a big achievement because to end the death during childbirth is a goal that UNFPA has set for the whole world – or, as we say, zero maternal deaths. There are just a handful of countries who have achieved this milestone, Dr. Natalia Kanem said.

“We have to trust women to make choices in planning their families,” a key message from the Executive Director of UNFPA.

“The woman should be the one to decide, and of course it’s natural for the woman to confer. This is the whole point: We have to trust women to make these decisions because the woman is one half of a couple and is the one who bears a child; the woman also understands how many children she already has and she also understands her responsibilities for looking after the next generation,” Dr. Kanem explained.

Dr. Kanem travelled to Iran to attend the HelpAge Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on Population Ageing which was held in Tehran from October 23 to 25, with the main theme of “Family, Community and State in Ageing Societies.”

UNFPA is the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency. Its mission is to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.

Here is the full text of the interview:

1) Based on the latest census figures in 2016, older persons currently constitute almost 9 percent of the total population in Iran and demography experts predict that by 2050 some 20 to 30 percent of the population will be 60 years or older. How can this inevitable demographic transition be addressed with regard to the Sustainable Development Goals?

Everywhere in the world have demographic challenges that are different from each other, of course. UNFPA is quite convinced that the demographic challenges that the world is facing are really closely linked to the issue of choice. The choices that we are making today are going to influence older people as they age, but they are also linked to the cycle of life. So those same choices have to do with how we deal with young people today. Demographic transition typically refers to the phenomenon that we see in populations. In earlier times, a high birth rate was accompanied by a high death rate. Many countries had the high birth rates, women often had 8, 10, even 15 children. Even in Iran, less than 50 years ago, birth and death rates were much higher than today.

People were dying at the age of 50 or 55 and this was considered normal – something we certainly wouldn’t consider normal today. But with development we see that as choices expand typically people would choose to have smaller families so that you can invest more in each child. And as advances in medical care, nutrition and quality of life occur then the death rate also comes down. So this is the demographic transition: you have high birth rate and high death rate and then slowly over time fewer and fewer children, but also people are living much longer. So all of these change the structure of the population.

In less developed countries where UNFPA is working – for example, in parts of Asia and Africa — the “many children paradigm” is still there. The death rate is still relatively high and so the structure of the population in those countries presents a different challenge.

Iran is a very good example of a country where you’ve had these advances in development and medical care. People are now living much longer- on average 20 years longer than a few decades ago- and it’s a big achievement for Iran and for similar countries. And of course [people are having] fewer children but more children are surviving and you are not having a lot of early deaths. Then when you’ve got to the stage where Iran is now and as you look to the year 2050, for the first time you are going to have a high proportion of older people.

At the meeting I attended here we joined other partners, including the government, to develop ideas, regionally, as to how we will address some of these challenges. The Sustainable Development Goals have that word “sustainable.” It means that it should be something that is going to endure over time. Sometimes you can fix things quickly but it’s not going to last. It’s a short-term Band-Aid [solution]. What the Sustainable Development Goals are talking about is prosperity that is going to be long-lasting into the future. So in thinking about the Sustainable Development Goals, there are 17 of them. Of course there are many noble goals of the United Nations embedded in them. Every country wants peace, wants to have productive partnerships, things like health, the end to poverty, the end to hunger, etc. This everyone can agree on. It is not an issue.

But there are some other interesting SDGs which are less known like the SDG 10 which is about an end to inequality; or the SDG 5 which talks about men and women and making sure that the services of the country, of a community and of a family cover both men and women. And as we think about the ideals of climate and the environment there are sustainable goals for water and life in the sea, and there are sustainable goals for agriculture and life on Earth.

For UNFPA the relevance of all of these goals to an ageing population is that you have to strengthen not just the body and mind but the attitude of everybody to understand the cycle of life. If the baby is healthy in the mother’s womb this is a stronger child who is going to be a stronger adult and who is going to avoid some of the health problems when they become 60-70 or 80 years old. But if you have no good nutrition, lots of diseases may occur and if there’s not an understanding about the relationship of men, women, older people and younger people in the family then as you get older you are not going to be well integrated into the society. You will suffer great loneliness which is a problem, which can be even a health problem, and you are also not going to be able to be productive. The big point that we make about the demographic transition is that older people can and should continue to contribute to society.

They contribute to their family, of course, because of love. But they can also contribute to their community economically by their wisdom that they have acquired over so much life experience and also to be able to give guidance to the next generation that’s coming up.

So in a nutshell we also want to stress that these Sustainable Development Goals stand for having a world that is just, and in that just world women are half the population and therefore women are half the solution. The solution to the economic problems, because prosperity comes with more women contributing and more women in the workforce. More women being supported by childcare and other things that are going to allow them to make their contributions all the better. The relationship between healthy old age and providing and planning and protecting women all along a chain makes a difference because women tend to outlive men, so when you look at the population over 60 typically there are more women than men as opposed to half and half. But normally women do not have the chance to have pensions, for example, so poverty among older people tends to have more women represented. These are the type of questions that the Sustainable Development Goals ask us to address and these were some of the things that were discussed in the conference.

2) How does UNFPA evaluate Iran’s effort to address population ageing including increased inclusion of the older persons in the community, making cities more accessible for them, and financial support for health services?

UNFPA has worked very closely with some of the ministries that are in the lead on thinking about the family. We were much honored to have with us the Vice President who has taken leadership on some of the issues on family dialogues that you are having in this country. It’s a very enlightened way of looking at problems that every society has by trying to encourage dialogue among the generations and also to think about family life and family relationships. Iran is doing well when it comes to concentrating on better health for all, including the challenges that you face because of the migrant population and other factors.

UNFPA’s role is to assist governments as we think of what are some of the measures that we can put in place. For example, if something like an earthquake or another type of natural disaster happens, usually women are more affected than men in any country, so UNFPA works with women and girls so that together with government, we can position lifesaving supplies and how we can assure that we are ready to assist the population if, God forbid, something happens in terms of a humanitarian crisis.

We also help government to analyze some of the trends that are happening in the population, not just ageing and but also on the other side of what’s happening with the younger people in the country. Iran has a highly educated population, including women who go to school. This is something that is a model for other countries in the region and UNFPA is helping to share the experience that you have had with other countries in the region. We’ve been very gratified and happy to see that when it comes to women’s health issues Iran takes them very seriously. Your midwifery programs have been very successful, so you have fewer deaths during childbirth than other areas which had started from the same indicators where Iran did.

Iran achieved MDG 5 [United Nations Millennium Development Goals] by being the 9th country with lowest maternity death worldwide. It’s a big achievement because to end the death during childbirth is a goal that UNFPA has set for the whole world – or, as we say, zero maternal deaths. But you are already there. There are just a handful of countries who have achieved this milestone and now we are working feverishly to try to share that example, in particular, the benefits of midwives and safe delivery and antenatal care. All of these are factors that helped Iran to have women survive. No woman should die while giving birth.

Of course there is always more to do and among these is trying to strengthen key policies; we are working with government and together we are encouraging policies that seek to address and end violence against women, for example, and there are other areas that we have been working on very closely with Iran.

3) In the UNFPA State of World Population 2018 report you mention that “choice can change the world”, could you please elaborate on that?

The State of World Population report was published just a few days ago [October 17]. In this report UNFPA analyses choices – including why choices are in short supply everywhere. We looked at every country and we were looking at fertility levels and number of children per woman and we noticed that in the countries that are still very poor and are trying to raise their economic prospects they still have very high fertility. Like I was describing before, women in such countries are having more children that they actually desire. When you have a big family you have big challenges especially in a poor country, so UNFPA is working together with governments to provide contraception and also information. So that women would be aware of the things that they could do safely in order to plan their family.

Now this type of guidance is not ‘one-size-fits-all.’ It has to be done sensitively; you have to work with the culture and religion and social norms of the country and you have to understand what it is that women prefer because it should be their choice. A simple example is if a women wants to use contraception to plan her family size it should not be just one type of contraception. You should have 5 or 6 or 7 modern methods of contraception for family planning, and she will pick the one that works for her and her husband.

Now on the side of countries where fertility is on average two or three children we’ve done an analysis to see choices there and choice is relevant because very often a woman does not have a choice to work; she would like to but there is not enough social support. If there is no grandmother to look after the children, for example, what is she going to do? If there is no consideration for all of the different options, she may have the education and she may have the preparation to achieve her potential, but she may not be able to ultimately participate in the economy of her country. And this is going to make sustainable development much more difficult.

And then we also talk about developed countries where the options of not only future income but things like the policy for maternity and paternity leave are discussed. If you have a job and now you have a child will you lose your job because you now have taken leave while you were pregnant and while the child is young? And we are also very bold about saying that fathers should also have adequate paternity leave, so they can bond with the new baby and be a family together when the baby is very young. This is very helpful for the baby as they are growing to have a few weeks or a month, for example, with their father and not just the mother.

So these are some of the things the report is bringing out. And then lastly in some places – many of them in Asia-Pacific, the average fertility rate is very, very low. In Taiwan, for example, it’s an average of one child per woman – It’s the lowest in the world. In other parts of Asia like Korea and Japan where families are very small, or a country like Finland which also has low fertility, the concern is why women are not choosing to have more children. So we did an analysis to look at choices. Sometimes a woman would like to have two children but she is not able to afford. So this is a type of choice which is limited for her. There are other women whose choices are limited because of, I would say, ignorance about transmitted infections that can lead to problems of reproductive health. This is what UNFPA has to work with not just in Iran but in every country where UNFPA works. We attend to these issues of women’s health.

The current fertility rate in Iran is 2.01. From our perspective what’s normal is what the woman wants, so we don’t have targets labelled good or bad. We look at the spectrum and we provide advice based on what it is that any woman in Iran would want. I would observe that many countries see two as the ideal because you have a stable population. It’s not growing too fast and it’s not shrinking too fast. But again a lot depends on what women themselves want. If a woman wants a bigger family, we should help her to have the support to have the ability to be able to afford more children. If a woman wants a smaller family and that is her choice then we should support that choice. But for Iran your fertility rate of 2 is in balance because that’s considered “replacement rate” of the population.

4) Would you please explain why reproductive health and rights remain in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda?

There is no country on earth that can claim that they have made reproductive health and rights a reality for everyone. Even when a country is doing well we see that there are shortfalls, maybe a farmer who is trying to have her farm in a rural area, maybe it’s a migrant or refugee etc. We always know that choices can be limited and the goal of UNFPA is to make sure that these millions and millions of people have more choices, not fewer. This is what I said earlier. It’s not good to try to tell a woman you must have two-and-a-half children

so that the statistics look good. We have to analyze what is happening with your family. Can you afford four or five children if you want that many? Well, this may be a blessing for you. But maybe you cannot afford five children, so maybe you would like contraception because you are afraid everybody will stay in poverty and you won’t be able to invest in each child well, so you should receive the help to exercise your choice accordingly.

Ultimately the point about the Sustainable Development Goals is to make sure that women are able to speak and that women are able to understand what is the future for them and for their daughter or for their son for that matter. Because of course the girl is going to marry the boy and we want to make sure the boy knows about the respect for women, we want to make sure that the boy is in good health, and also in every country we face the challenge of domestic violence and this means that raising awareness among men and boys is very important. They are the ones that are also going to share that understanding.

So as we think about the SDGs and the goal of ending poverty, women have to be an integral part of that equation. As we think about the second SDG to end hunger, for example, you know that many times women are active as farmers, women are the ones who are purchasing the food and cooking the food, so understanding about health and nutrition is good for them personally but it’s also good for the family and it’s good for the community.

And as we go through all of the SDGs, on education for example, I think we want to celebrate examples like Iran where woman have achieved and they can finish their education. This is not true in a lot of the world. In a lot of the world girls are discriminated against, they don’t get to go to school or they finish half way and then they would never go to the university. It’s not just girls that are in school; for many reasons there are girls that are also out of school, and today I saw a wonderful example in Iran of a community center [called Ofogh for adolescents where they can go and to learn to communicate and acquire life skills] where young girls are being taught through workshops and taught through interacting with each other about good health and how to avoid social problems in the future.

And we were accompanied by Dr. [Mohammad Mehdi] Gouya, Director of the Health Ministry’s Communicable Diseases Control Department, who is a brilliant scientist but who is also helping the people in Iran to understand life skills which is so important for their future.

And the last observation I made about Sustainable Development Goals in reproductive health is that it was in Tehran 50 years ago that the first International Conference on Human Rights took place and during this very famous conference that was the first time when the United Nations and all the countries agreed that it is the right of couples to freely and responsibly plan their family. So for UNFPA this was kind of our beginning and we will be 50 years old next year because we were born from this conference so this is why we are very happy to be in Iran and we know it’s a historic location for choice, for women and for couples to be able to plan their families.

5) Why has UNFPA put greater emphasis on women’s role in planning their families regarding the number of children, spacing, etc.?

The woman should be the one to decide and of course it’s natural for the woman to confer. This is the whole point: we have to trust women to make these decisions because the woman is one half of the couple and is the one who bears a child; the woman also understands how many children she already has and she also understands her responsibilities for looking after the next generation, so it’s her body and the right of the woman over her body has been established. So the woman always has the good sense to confer with everyone who is involved. Now when you say the couple it becomes a little ambiguous – you cannot dictate to a woman to either have or not have a child. The world at times had got into troubles by trying to force women against their will either to have a child or not to have a child and this is why we say that reproductive health should be women-centered and when we are talking about fertility the woman that carries the child should be the one to decide.

This is getting very interesting in a time of technology, for example with the new technology we have to be very sure to respect the right of the woman, as you know there are possibilities to either carry the baby or to be a surrogate mother. There are many things that are coming on the horizon where we feel that for the community and for the woman, herself, she should be knowing that’s her choice if she likes to have contraception it should be available; if she would like to have a baby we should support her with all the good care and support and the aftercare in the aftermath as well.

It’s interesting that as we think about the configuration of the family and as we think about the demographic transition- as I have described- the danger when you get into a low fertility environment is that there is a temptation to insist that, “Well, you should have three children – the country needs you.”

Ultimately, if you have a healthy productive ageing population that’s contributing, a smaller population can be better than a bigger one. There are many countries that have a big population but they are very poor – they have too much of a population to be able to care for them, so these are the kinds of issues that UNFPA helps to discuss with governments – and in any case I think governments would want to take good decisions based on what’s good for women in their country.

https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/429414/Iran-9th-country-with-lowest-maternity-death-worldwide

4 Common Sex Addictions To Look Out For

4 Common Sex Addictions To Look Out For

2018-10-25

Did you know that approximately 2.4 million Australians have a sexual addiction? Sexual addiction is one of the most common addictions that both men and women experience.

What is sexual addiction? Well, it’s a condition that occurs when an individual is unable to properly control his/her sexual thoughts and behaviors. More specifically, it occurs when constant sexual thoughts affect one’s ability to develop and maintain healthy relationships, be productive at work, perform daily functions, and/or separate fantasy from reality.

It is also commonly referred to as hypersexuality, sexual dependency, and sexually-compulsive behaviors. In addition, pop culture often refers to sexual addictions as satyriasis (in males) and nymphomania (in females). A person with this type of addiction is obsessed with sex. He or she may also have an extremely high sex drive (libido).

And, although sexual addictions are similar to other addictions (i.e. substance addiction and alcoholism), they differ in one major area – people, who have sex addictions are addicted to the activity, namely sex, rather than a particular substance. So, in this sense, sexual addictions are most similar to a gambling addiction.

If you are unsure if you or your partner has a sexual addiction, you are in luck, because this article will highlight four common sexual addictions that you should look out for.

“Hookups” (Casual Sex Addiction)

One sexual addiction to look out for is a “fascination” or obsession with “hookups”; aka causal sex. The truth is, “hookups” have become extremely popular in recent years. A recent study, published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, found that causal sex is actually on the rise for white males in the US. Why? Well, mainly because societal views on sex have changed over the decades – with people become more lax when it comes to causal sex.

Plus, for some men, “hookups” offer a variety of benefits, such as “friends with benefits” and opportunities to “test the water” void of any commitments. More specifically, it allows these men to avoid long-term, monogamous relationships with one specific woman. However, when “hookups” or “stranger sex” become an everyday thing or the “ultimate goal,” the risk of a sexual addiction increases.

And, although having sex with a variety of people (without protection) can be detrimental to your physical health, if you are frequently having sex with random people (strangers), it can also negatively affect your emotional/psychological health and well-being. Constantly being in the “hookups” state of mind could also cause you to feel pressured to “perform,” leading to a host of sexual problems like premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, and/or performance anxiety.

Porn Addiction

Sometimes watching porn on the internet or television screen can be an exciting way to ignite your libido and heighten your sexual experience. But, for some people, watching porn (on a regular basis) can lead to a full-fledge sexual addiction. In other words, watching one or two porn videos can later lead to watching porn videos or looking at pornographic pictures every day – all day long, if possible.

What happens next? Your world begins to revolve around porn. Then, you start to base your view of a healthy sexual relationship on what you see on the screen, rather than on reality. And, after a while, the only way you can become sexually excited is by watching porn before you have sex. Not only that, but in recent years, there have been a growing number of reports of men, who claim to suffer from porn-induced erectile dysfunction. If you fear you might be suffering from this condition, read the article we published on this topic.

Prostitution Addiction

The truth is some people get a “rise” out of paying for sex or trading things (i.e. drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, jewelry, etc.) for “sexual favors.” These individuals view sex as a commodity – something that can be sold and bought. Some people enjoy being “in control” of the opposite sex, while others believe they are simply paying for a service – just like you pay for any other service – i.e. getting your car washed or hiring someone to remodel your home. However, you may have a sexual addiction, when non-payable sex no longer excites you. More specifically, if the only way you can become aroused is to pay for sex, there is a strong possibility you have an addiction to prostitution.

Masturbation Addiction

Although masturbation, for the most part, is a natural and healthy addition to sexual activity, there is a-such thing as too much of a good thing. The truth is one can become addicted to masturbation – without even realizing it. How? Well, it can occur after you get a boost in feel-good hormones from masturbating (i.e. oxytocin dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, and testosterone). This boost feels good – real good, so you keep masturbating to get that feeling again.

And, after a while, you do it so often and become so dependent on the “high” that before you know it… you’re addicted to masturbating. So, even though masturbation is normal, if you do it too much it can produce the same effects as a drug high. It’s important to understand that masturbation should never be used to “escape” or block out reality. A masturbation addiction can hurt your self-esteem/self-confidence, your relationship, career goals, and your sex life.

In Summary…

Nowadays, sex is no longer a forbidden topic. In fact, with the invention of technology, we now have the ability to voice our joys and pains, when it comes to sex – with people all around the world. And, although sex is a fun, exciting, and pleasurable activity that can draw two people together, it also has the ability to cause damage – real damage to one’s sex life, self-esteem/self-confidence, and romantic relationship.

However, by altering your view of sex and avoiding temptations that could lead you towards a sexual addiction, you can acquire a happy, healthy, and satisfying sex life. If you feel that you may have a sexual addiction, it is imperative that you seek help from a qualified sex therapist. With proper treatment, you can go on to have a happy addiction-free sex life.

https://www.menshealth.com.au/4-common-sex-addictions

Antimicrobial resistance to gonorrhoea treatments is rising, says PHE

Antimicrobial resistance to gonorrhoea treatments is rising, says PHE

First-line treatments for gonorrhoea are becoming less effective due to a rise in antimicrobial resistance, according to a report from Public Health England.

The latest figures show that resistance to most first-line treatments for gonorrhoea rose in 2016/17.

As a result, GPs are told to stay alert to any changes to the antimicrobials recommended for first-line use.

The report, published this month, said: ‘The effectiveness of first-line treatment for gonorrhoea continues to be threatened by antimicrobial resistance.’

It reported that resistance to azithromycin (4.7% to 9.2%), ciprofloxacin (33.7% to 36.4%) and cefixime (modal MIC from 0.015 mg/L to 0.03 mg/L) had increased in 2016/17, while resistance to penicillin had declined from 13.9% to 10.8%.

PHE said: ‘Practitioners should ensure that all patients with gonorrhoea are treated and managed according to national guidelines, and should be alert to changes to the antimicrobials recommended for first-line use.’

It also called for ‘regular testing for HIV and STIs’ for men who have sex with men and black ethnic minority women and men, if they are engaging in unprotected sex with new or casual partners.

Anyone under 25 who is sexually active should be screened for chlamydia annually and on change of sexual partner, it added.

Services that provide rapid treatment and partner notification should also be provided to reduce the risk of STI complications and infection spread.

This comes after PHE launched a campaign targeted at people aged between 16 and 24 years old, to raise awareness of STIs.

And a Pulse investigation revealed that nine out of ten councils cut spending on sexual health, alcohol misuse and weight management services, for 2018/19.

http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/clinical/clinical-specialties/sexual-health/antimicrobial-resistance-to-gonorrhoea-treatments-is-rising-says-phe/20037643.article

To meet gender-related SDG targets, improve the resource allocation

To meet gender-related SDG targets, improve the resource allocation

2018-10-18

The low allocations, huge fluctuations over the years in funds, and the underspending clearly indicate that political interest in efficiently targeting the SDGs is marginal. Political interest is driven either for electoral gains or as firefighting mechanisms

Adequate resource allocation accounts for the continued deficit in health, nutrition and welfare outcomes for women and girls in India.

The trajectory towards realising the SDG targets is not going to be easy with the current level of political commitment to these issues. If this deficit has to be reduced in order to move towards the SDG targets in the stipulated time, budgets for service delivery have to be increased substantially without further delay.

Over the last few years, new programmes and schemes targeted at women and girls have been launched, especially in areas such as health, nutrition, livelihood and protection from abuse. Some progress has been made in law-making on domestic violence, sexual assault, and sex selection.However, inadequate allocation of resources have made implementation of these programmes and schemes ineffective or limited in their reach.

The health, nutrition and welfare deficit in India is still high when compared with countries of similar level of development such as Thailand or Mexico,or even countries which are less economically developed such as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal. Within this, there are class, caste and gender inequities, as well as regional inequities. A large part of this deficit is due to inadequate budgetary allocations. Even resources committed in the budget are either underspent or used inefficiently.

The picture we get from the government’s own data sets such as NFHS, SRS and NSSO is that maternal and child mortality remains a major problem in many states in India. Access to basic healthcare services, including maternal, sexual and reproductive health is grossly inadequate. Violence against women and marriage before legal age continue to be high, despite stringent legal provisions and investment in supportive programmes and services.

On the positive side, we see an increased public debate and media attention to gender issues.This periodically leads to increase in budgetary allocations – for instance, when an epidemic strikes, or children die in large numbers due to malnourishment, or rape cases get highlighted in the media.

An assessment of budget allocations and expenditures of some of the key programmes and schemes targeted at reducing gender inequities leads to the conclusion that there is lack of serious intent in achieving the goals. These programmes and schemes are launched with much fanfare but end up being populist proclamations directed towards electoral outcomes or public relations exercises.