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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.”

 

I Held The “Period Friendly Pakistan” Poster At Aurat March And Got Trolled, Here’s Why I Did It

I Held The “Period Friendly Pakistan” Poster At Aurat March And Got Trolled, Here’s Why I Did It

2019-03-18

BY SANA LOKHANDWALA

https://www.mangobaaz.com/i-held-the-period-friendly-pakistan-poster-at-aurat-march-and-got-trolled-heres-why-i-did-it

It’s been a week and Aurat March is already the most controversial event of 2019. A number of pictures from the march have taken the internet by storm and every Tom, DICK(Pic?) and Harry is presenting their two cents on the posters. Let’s not forget the character assassination, abuse, slurs and rape threats women who participated in the march have been exposed to.

When I heard of Aurat March and read its manifesto that demands for the right to autonomy and decision-making over our bodies and for equal access to quality reproductive and sexual health services for women, all gender and sexual minorities, I knew it was the best opportunity to raise awareness and normalize one of the most important occurrences in every girl and woman’s life… menstruation.

Yes, I said it – MENSTRUATION!

And PERIOD!

Menstruation has been one of the most tabooed and stigmatized subjects, not only in Pakistan but all over the world.

Being the co-founder of HER Pakistan, a social initiative that empowers and educates women about menstruation, I am well aware of the resistance that one has to face when they raise their voice about such a tabooed topic.

Source: champagnemanagement.com

Even in 2019, women are still ostracized to dark and secluded places when they are on their period. No, I am not talking about Chaupadis in Nepal. I am talking about our very own Pakistan. Women in Kalash Valley and many other unheard communities are still shunned when they are menstruating.

The shame and stigma attached to these words makes me sick. The disgust attached to the natural phenomenon and the treatment toward a menstruating woman is infuriating.

 

The shame associated with menstruation leads to silence around the topic.

Mothers are too shy to inform their adolescent daughters about the expected arrival of menstruation. According to a SMS poll conducted by UNICEF in 2017, 49% Pakistani girls did not know anything about menstruation before they started their period.

Despite the taboo attached to menstruation, many celebrities also came forward to show their support to our cause.

4 Things Men Don’t Know About Antidepressants

4 Things Men Don’t Know About Antidepressants

2019-02-20

Including how they don’t have to wreck your sex life.

Last Tuesday was bittersweet. One of my “guys,” a 29-year-old writer, came in for his final session. He was better. When we’d met he’d never seen a psychiatrist and never thought he’d take a medication. “I hear they are addictive, and the side effects…I don’t want to be a zombie.”

Misperceptions about psychiatric medications and mental health treatment kill a lot men. While we have half the risk of depression compared to women, we are four times as likely to die by suicide. I’ve helped hundreds of men with mental health concerns and for many, medications are a part of the path to recovery. A few of the facts I wish men knew about them:

1. Sexual side effects are variable and manageable.

True, between 30 and 50 percent of men have sexual side effects from SSRI antidepressant medications. But sexual side effects can be easy to fix—if they need fixing. The most common side effect is a delay in climax, so for some guys this is a plus. But if the problem is that you can’t get it up, don’t worry; you’re not stuck with it. You can change meds. Different meds affect different people differently (this could be my mantra). I’ve seen men have sexual side effects taking Prozac but not when taking Zoloft and vice versa.

A few antidepressants, namely Wellbutrin (bupropion), Remeron (mirtazapine), and St. John’s Wort, have no sexual side effects. You can also consider taking a medication holiday—the half-life of most antidepressants is 24 to 36 hours (talk to your prescriber before taking days off). Finally, there are medications like Viagra and Cialis if an antidepressant medication is necessary but causes sexual dysfunction.

2. Antidepressants aren’t just for making you happy

Depression is not just a disease of sadness. Instead of being tearful, some men get irritable, isolated, and sleepless. Most antidepressant medications influence serotonin, and can help with those symptoms. In addition, this molecule is involved in more than our moods, namely our sex drive, appetite, sleep, cognition, and creativity. Men are often poor judges of the effects of depression on our own lives. So don’t just consider the medications’ effects on your mood; they can have a much more global impact on your functioning.

3. They work

Look, I take no money from big pharma. I’ve treated folks with depression for almost two decades. Medications don’t work for everyone, but they work. I like to start with low doses and try to avoid complex combinations of medications i.e. “polypharmacy”. Many people have had side effects from medications like weight gain, increased anxiety, and sedation, but many have none. Still, in the right hands, there is little as powerful or rapidly helpful as medications for certain mental health concerns like severe depression, insomnia, and feelings of suicidality.

4. Meds aren’t the whole picture

Patients assume that meds are my first move as a psychiatrist – and sometimes they are. But treatment today is about preference, options, and empowerment. Many things have an antidepressant effect. Talk therapy, lifestyle changes (sleep, exercise, eating right, reducing alcohol consumption), mindfulness and a few supplements all have evidence they help. Medications can help these other options to work. Engaging in psychotherapy and healthy lifestyle changes is much easier without severe symptoms.

Married millennials still need some sex tips

Married millennials still need some sex tips

Sex sells … in advertising. In reality, however, many, especially married millennials, lack knowledge in this area and need guidance. They don’t know how to “satisfy” their spouse.

Humans, similar to numerous other terrestrial life forms, are subject to instinctive sexual desires, triggered by certain criteria.

Although the need for sex is mostly physical, the desire for sex typically begins in the mind and travels to the body. When the mind is stimulated by the object of its desire, it arouses the body.

Sex is a basic element of a happy marriage, but it is more than just a pleasurable calorie-burning activity.

“When it comes to sexuality, it involves five dimensions: physical or biological, cognitive or intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual.

“However, in our society, people tend to talk only about the physical dimension – the climax, G-spot, masturbation, etc,” said Dr Harlina Halizah Siraj, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology, and medical education (clinical teaching), at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Faculty of Medicine.

Sexuality is a lifelong learning process and there is no standard formula that can be applied.

“When we talk about the cognitive dimension, we refer to the brain as the most important sexual organ.

“It makes the decision and the sexual organs (genitalia) will just follow. The sexual organs won’t do anything without the brain commanding them.­

“Next, sexuality is intensely connected to emotions – that is why if you want to have a sexual relationship with someone, that person must be consenting, must have the same benefits of satisfaction, respect and love.

“If you force yourself on another person, it will give rise to disrespect, humiliation, hurt feelings, etc.

“In the social dimension – we don’t have to talk about sexuality if you want to live like a hermit in the middle of an island or deep forest without interacting with other human beings.

“Because humans are social animals, we have to interact with people, but those who feel they are ‘good’ and ‘morally correct’ shy away from the subject.

“Lastly, some people interpret sex as spiritual, but actually, it is your significance of existing in this world – how do you define yourself, do you have people who love and respect you?

“In a marital institution, these are all things that give you identity. We can only promote sexual and reproductive health when we give positive input to all these dimensions,” explained Dr Harlina.

Communication is key

Good sex is due to a combination of factors.

Dr Harlina offered, “It is not just one person feeling good; sex must end up with good outcomes.

“For example, if there is going to be pregnancy, it must be planned, intended and wanted.

“If there is a commitment, there should be trust and respect.

“If the woman is menstruating, the man must give her space. If not, it is not good sex.

“In the beginning, the physical component is important in a marriage and you tend to enjoy the act.

“With time, the physical pleasure goes up and down. Towards the end of your marriage, you won’t have sex as frequently as compared to the first few months.

“But you realise that you can connect with that person in other ways.”

Due to the stressors of a high-pressured life these days, many young couples return home late and fatigued.

There are traffic jams to battle, household chores to complete, children to attend to, meals to prepare, etc.

They fail to communicate effectively or have no time for intimacy.

However, Dr Harlina reckoned the mood can be “set up” during the day.

“Nowadays, foreplay can happen during the day via Whatsapp!” she pointed out.

“Sending your husband a message to say ‘Hey, I’m thinking of you’ is good enough. Then he remembers you.

“You don’t have to ‘talk dirty’. Imagine how exciting it would be to finally see each other after work.

“And once everyone is settled in the house, you can have the whole night for yourselves.

“That to me is the manifestation of how good the quality of communication has been throughout the day.

“This can only happen when you can be totally frank with each other. If one person is not feeling up to it that night, then the other party may feel frustrated.

“Remember that the ‘me’ becomes ‘we’ when you get married, so there are a lot of adjustments to make. Sharing is about giving and taking,” she counselled.

It is definitely no fun when one person is giving or taking all the time. Finding that equilibrium is tough.

We all have to live with each other’s idiosyncrasies and imperfections, so every couple has to find their own secret recipe.

Prioritise your sex life, and have it at least once a week.

Some couples don’t enjoy sex because one partner has expectations, a sort of blueprint.

When that blueprint is not followed, one party feels let down. This is where frankness comes in.

“Women are always at the receiving end; men will have successful ejaculation if they have an erection, but women don’t need to have an orgasm; we can fake it.

“I know of women who fake it all the time because they feel obliged to do so. They think if the husband knew they didn’t have an orgasm, he might be frustrated.

“But those are issues we need to be more open about and this can only happen when you are in a stable relationship.

“We all have sexual fantasies – there is nothing wrong with talking about them.

“Knowledge is important – you must know which part of your body is sensitive to sexual arousal.

“Tell your partner where you’d like to be touched – if you can’t even tell that to your sexual partner, then you’re in trouble!” said Dr Harlina.

Women, take control!

Women always assume men don’t care about their sexual needs, but the professor asserted that they do.

“It’s just that they don’t know! They think by doing a certain act, they can fulfil a woman.

“If you tell a man you’re not happy, he will try to please you. Don’t assume they know everything.

“Men are sensitive and reasonable, but you must know how to talk to them. Telling them will prevent a lot of ‘inconveniences’.”

With plenty of singles currently preferring the no-strings-attached concept, Dr Harlina believed it is a trend.

Men are satisfied with physical pleasure without intimacy, but what is more worrying is that women are also following suit.

She said, “Ironically, you need a little bit of attachment for your self-worth. You need an anchor while you’re flying high or else you’ll be like a loose flying kite.

“I feel the sexiest part of the woman’s body is her brain because men are actually very intrigued with a clever woman – one who can challenge him, but in a subtle way.

“He doesn’t want another aggressive person in the relationship, though there are some men who don’t like clever women.

“This is where a woman has to shine. If she is pretty, but has no opinion, then he would be bored.

“He may start looking around for mentally stimulating women and she may not be attractive.

“Also, you get bored with marriage when things are too routine, that’s why people who are meticulous and perfectionists tend to be more moody.

“At the same time, you cannot be too spontaneous and reckless either.”

The stereotypical woman of the past will never make the first move, but times are slowly changing.

“Culturally, it has been ingrained in us not to say no, but a woman has wants too, so take charge!

“Men can force themselves on us because they’re bigger and can push themselves in.

“If you want it the other way round and your husband is not having an erection, there is nothing much you can do. So, perhaps this circumstance is what makes men always have their way.

“If they cannot get an erection, they can have pathological jealousy and think the wife is sleeping with another man.”

On the recent spate of sex parties that take place in high-end condominiums, she said it was also a phase as young people find it thrilling to take part in unlawful activities.

“We want to belong, to see somebody who looks like us. Give these people time and they’ll get tired of their ‘no-strings-attached’ concept.”

To obtain relevant insights and data to educate, engage and empower young adults in sexual and reproductive health, the Federation of Reproductive Health Associations, Malaysia and Durex Malaysia recently launched the “Malaysian Married Millennials Sexual Wellbeing Survey”. All married Malaysians between the ages of 20 and 40 are invited to take part in the online survey and share their views, practices and concerns about intimacy, contraception, and other related areas. Upon completion, respondents will be given access to download a humorous yet informative e-comic booklet titled Drama Kahwin Malam Jumaat.

https://www.durex.com.my/youth-survey/

Read more at https://www.star2.com/health/2019/02/20/married-millennials-still-need-some-sex-tips/#BoeOcdXwVvuerWDk.99

Women can skip period while on birth control, health officials say

Women can skip period while on birth control, health officials say

2019-01-30

A new medical report from the United Kingdom said that women can avoid a week of placebo pills while on birth control.

The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare in the United Kingdom has released a report saying that some women can opt out of using the week of placebo pills while taking birth control, effectively skipping their period.

The report, which is used to help health care professionals when prescribing birth control, said that a woman could skip the placebo pill week and continue to take their contraceptive pills as normal.

In a BBC report, Dr. Jane Dixon with the FSRH explained that “there’s no build-up of menstrual blood if you miss your break.” She said that most women continue taking the placebo pills because the period indicates they aren’t pregnant.

But Dr. Kay Chandler with Cornerstone Clinic for Women suggests talking with your doctor before you start skipping the week of placebo pills.

Is it normal to be anxious about sex?

Is it normal to be anxious about sex?

It’s more normal than you’d think. But don’t panic – from erectile problems to low libido, here’s how to tackle the sex problems keeping you awake at night

 

I’ll let you into a secret: you’re not the only one whose sex life isn’t perfect all the time. “Sexual problems are way more common than people think and even the numbers we do have are likely to be much lower than in reality, because cases are under-reported due to embarrassment,” says Kate Moyle, a sexual and relationship psychotherapist.

However, it’s key we don’t let shame hold us back from seeking help, adds Ms Moyle. “The longer sexual problems go on for, the more prominent they can become because of a cycle of anxiety: the more anxious we get, the more prevalent the problem,” she points out.

The best thing to do is go and see a pharmacist or GP, and the good news is there will be zero embarrassment involved. “Medical professionals are just that – professionals,” says Ms Moyle. “To them, it’s just another health problem, just another body part.”

So here’s how to start addressing those common sex anxieties…

Anxiety 1: ‘I have erection problems’

Struggling to get – or keep – an erection? You’re not alone: 4.3 million men in the UK are affected[1]. There’s a whole raft of potential causes, from the physical (such as high blood pressure or the effects of medication) to psychological (such as stress, anxiety or depression). If it’s a recurrent problem, see your pharmacist or GP – the latter can rule out health conditions and discuss potential treatments, from medication to therapy.

“Men can feel under immense performance pressure,” explains Ms Moyle. “There’s a sense the responsibility for sex is on them, because once you have an erection you can have penetrative sex. So as a couple it can help to take the emphasis away from penetrative sex – literally ‘banning’ it for now – and instead focus on foreplay and intimacy. This allows you to enjoy the sensations and you might find you become naturally aroused.”

Anxiety 2: ‘I’m never in the mood’

According to Ms Moyle, there is no “normal” level of sexual desire or amount of sex to have. But if your normal has shifted, potential causes include anxiety, depression, relationship problems, hormonal changes (such as during menopause), and side effects of medication. Her advice to is have a chat with your GP if it’s worrying you.

“It can help to remember sexual desire is usually responsive,” she continues. “You might not be in the mood for sex but if you were to read or watch something that aroused you, or your partner started kissing you, you might respond.

“There’s a lot of miseducation that we should be spontaneously aroused and that’s not really how it works. So try making more opportunities for arousal to happen. And remove other distractions. Often people are struggling with an inability to switch off – so turn everything off around you to get turned on.”

Anxiety 3: ‘Sex is painful for me’

For men, common causes of painful sex include infection, inflammation and a tight foreskin. For women, infection, vaginal dryness, lack of arousal and vaginismus (a condition where muscles in or around the vagina shut tightly) are some typical causes. Again, the advice from Ms Moyle is to get it checked out by a GP.

“If you experience pain during sex, the positives like anticipation and excitement are replaced with fear, anxiety or tension,” she says. “So you might start to avoid sex or, for women, it can become a vicious circle where you tense up and that causes sex to be painful.

“While you’re working out what’s wrong, don’t force it or you’ll reinforce sex as something negative,” adds Ms Moyle. “You need a ‘partner pact’ where it’s OK for you to say when you’re uncomfortable having sex.”

Anxiety 4: ‘I come too soon’

There’s no “correct” amount of time for sex to last. So the speed at which you orgasm is only a problem if it’s a problem to you. However, premature ejaculation in men can be caused by a whole host of things, including prostate problems, thyroid problems and depression, so if you’ve noticed a change, see your GP.

“Men can feel under pressure because there’s this idea that when they climax the sex is over,” says Ms Moyle. “But sex doesn’t have to be linear where the end goal is intercourse. Non-penetrative sex isn’t just a route to penetrative sex, it’s sex in itself. So even if a man has ejaculated he can still engage in that with his partner.”

The same goes if the woman comes first in a hetrosexual couple – she might not feel comfortable carrying on with penetrative sex. But, as Ms Moyle notes, “The focus should be on mutual pleasure.”

Anxiety 5: ‘I’m not confident in the bedroom’

Worried about a lack of experience? Know this: it counts for nothing. “There’s no objective measure of being ‘good at sex’,” says Ms Moyle. “Because you had good sex with someone doesn’t mean the next time you have great sex with someone it will be the same kind of sex.”

But what if it’s body insecurities that are getting you down? “When it comes to body confidence, it doesn’t really matter what your partner thinks about you – it’s about what you think about yourself,” she says. “As much of a buzz-phrase as self-care is, looking after yourself is important so you learn to value yourself.”

For you as an individual, that might mean exercise, a warm bath, therapy or simply spending more alone time.

Anxiety 6: ‘I can’t orgasm’

“Exploring what you like with your partner or through masturbation can make a real difference,” suggests Ms Moyle. However, there can be other issues that play into an inability to orgasm for men (including stress, depression, diabetes and effects of certain medication, and for women (depression, relationship problems and previous traumatic sexual experience are among the potential causes), so seek advice from your GP if you’re concerned.

Removing reaching orgasm as a goal can really help, too. “Having a goal means pressure to succeed,” says Ms Moyle. “If we’re preoccupied with that we’re in our heads, and then we can’t really be in our bodies.

“But it’s the bodily sensations we experience that are going to lead to orgasm. So it’s about trying to be mindful – bringing your focus back to your senses and experiences every time your mind wanders.”

Finding a way forward

This series of Telegraph articles, brought to you by VIAGRA Connect, addresses the myths and misconceptions around erectile problems and helps men find the right treatment

VIAGRA Connect is the first medicine available in the UK without a prescription to help men with erectile dysfunction. It is available from pharmacies and registered online pharmacies.

To find out more about erectile dysfunction, how VIAGRA Connect can help and how it can be bought, go to viagraconnect.co.uk

VIAGRA Connect: 50mg film coated tablets. Contains sildenafil. For erectile dysfunction in adult men. Always read the leaflet. PP-VCO-GBR-0200

Footnotes:

[1] Prevalence based on men reporting occasional and frequent difficulty getting or maintaining an erection [ref. Kantar TNS Omnibus Survey Dec 2010 – in a survey of 1,033 men]

http://www.srhmatters.org/wp-admin/post-new.php?lang=en

 

Sex supplements: Do these things actually work?

Sex supplements: Do these things actually work?

Naveed Saleh, MD, MS, for MDLinx

https://www.mdlinx.com/dermatology/article/3351

Nearly 200,000 Chinese people immigrated to the United States in the mid-to-late nineteenth century, and some brought along snake oil—a folk medicine made from the oil of the Chinese water snake. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, Chinese people used it to treat inflammation for centuries. When Chinese workers shared the oil with their American counterparts, the Americans were reportedly amazed with its health effects. Soon snake oil knock-offs were being sold everywhere, and a cottage industry was born.

These inauthentic snake oils, at best, offered a placebo effect. But keep in mind that the placebo effect can be a powerful thing. The placebo effect of Viagra, for example, is more than 30%, which suggests that the brain has a lot to do with sexual stimulation and function. Although Viagra requires a prescription, there are countless non-prescription sexual supplements (ie, health supplements) available at your local store that also claim to help increase libido or sexual endurance.

However, nobody monitors sexual supplements, which is what makes them scary. The FDA warns that these supplements may contain prescription drug ingredients, controlled substances, as well as untested and unstudied pharmaceutically active ingredients. It issues extra caution concerning sexual supplements (they even use an exclamation point in their official warning):

“These deceptive products can harm you! Hidden ingredients are increasingly becoming a problem in products promoted for sexual enhancement.”

claim to help increase libido or sexual endurance.

However, nobody monitors sexual supplements, which is what makes them scary. The FDA warns that these supplements may contain prescription drug ingredients, controlled substances, as well as untested and unstudied pharmaceutically active ingredients. It issues extra caution concerning sexual supplements (they even use an exclamation point in their official warning):

“These deceptive products can harm you! Hidden ingredients are increasingly becoming a problem in products promoted for sexual enhancement.”

As can probably be expected, little research has been done on sexual supplements. Of the many pills and potions being touted as sex enhancers, only a handful have been studied in any capacity.

Ginseng

Ginseng is the most common ingredient included in the top-selling sexual supplements. In addition to being used as an aphrodisiac, ginseng is theorized to improve sexual function by inducing relaxation of the smooth muscles of the corpus cavernosum via the nitric oxide pathway. However, the side effects of ginseng include headache, upset stomach, constipation, lower blood sugar, and more. These adverse effects don’t bode well for the bedroom.

Fenugreek

Fenugreek is found in one-third of the top-selling sexual supplements created for men and is likely safe. Also known as “methi,” fenugreek is believed to improve hormonal regulation, with possible effects on male sexual health. In one study, researchers found that its use was associated with improved sexual arousal and orgasm, with no adverse effects.

L-arginine

L-arginine is the amino acid used to make nitric oxide, a molecule that facilitates the flow of blood to the penis during an erection, and is the most common amino acid found in sexual supplements. It’s unclear, however, whether a pill form of L-arginine helps with sexual stimulation. Moreover, people with heart disease shouldn’t take L-arginine

Yohimbe

Yohimbe is an evergreen tree found in Western Africa. Its bark is used to make extracts, tablets, and capsules, which are used to treat erectile dysfunction. Yohimbine hydrochloride is available as a prescription medication in the United States. Adverse events are rare, but its most common side effects include headache, sweating, agitation, hypertension, and insomnia. Yohimbine is contraindicated in patients taking tricyclic antidepressants, antihypertensives, and central nervous system stimulants.

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)

DHEA is a natural steroid prohormone in the body that declines with age. Some research suggests that DHEA increases libido in women and helps erectile dysfunction in men. Other research indicates that while DHEA supplementation appear to be safe, it fails to budge hormone levels.

Tribulus

Tribulus is an invasive plant species in North America and goes by the name bindii, goat’s head, or devil weed. Although it has boosted sexual activity in animal models, no effects have been demonstrated in humans. Moreover, there have been two reported cases of tribulus-induced severe liver and kidney toxicity following high doses in young men.

Horny goat weed

Although horny goat weed (ie, epimedium) has not been shown to boost sexual activity in humans, it is generally safe for use in its unadulterated form, with only mild adverse effects like increased heart rate and hypomania. In other words, horny goat weed is likely ineffective, despite its suspected action as a phosphodiesterase inhibitor and, of course, its promising name.

Zinc

Although safe, zinc, which is also commonly found in many sexual supplements, is unlikely to boost sexual function. Moreover, zinc deficiency is rare, so most people don’t need this nutrient supplemented

Maca

According to animal models, maca use was associated with a boost in sexual behavior (muskrat love?). But it has no demonstrable sexual effect in humans. For the most part, the vegetable maca is associated with only uncommon adverse effects, such as mildly elevated liver enzyme and blood pressure levels.

Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo biloba is advertised for all kinds of health benefits, including sexual. However, it has no proven beneficial effect on sexual function. Plus, it can cause headache and seizures, and interfere with the blood thinner warfarin, significantly increasing an individual’s risk of a bleeding adverse event.

Ultimately, other than their placebo effect, many of the supplements sold to boost sexual function are a waste of money. Moreover, these products can contain dubious or dangerous ingredients. Besides prescription medications, the only other proven ways to improve sexual dysfunction are lifestyle changes including diet, exercise, and smoking cessation. In addition, psychological causes of erectile dysfunction—due to anxiety, depression, guilt, stress, or relationship issues—may be improved with counseling.