Category Archives: blog

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.

Reproductive coercion is abuse. But many women don’t even know it

Reproductive coercion is abuse. But many women don’t even know it

2019-01-10

Studies are revealing the shocking extent of abuse in which a woman’s reproductive choices are controlled by another.

Just when we thought we’d heard it all, along comes evidence of yet another way that men are controlling women, denying them bodily autonomy and sexually abusing them. It’s one you might not have heard of; certainly it’s been little discussed and does not appear to have been highlighted by the #MeToo movement. Arguably though, it has a far more serious and potentially life-changing impact on women’s lives than many of the abuses that movement has documented. It’s called reproductive coercion and, as a shocking new report in the journal BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Heath has found, as many as one in four women presenting at sexual health clinics is a victim of it.

Reproductive coercion is not a new phenomenon. But it was very recently recognised as a distinct type of domestic abuse, and only defined as a concept in 2010, in a study in the journal Contraception. It describes a type of abuse in which someone else controls your reproductive choices, such as deciding whether you can use contraception, choose to become pregnant, or continue with a pregnancy. This can manifest as either psychological abuse or physical violence, or both, and ranges from emotional blackmail to sabotaging contraception to, at the extreme end, deliberately bringing on an abortion by spiking a woman’s food or drink.

The new BMJ report reviews all the currently available evidence and brings it up to date, collating information from worldwide medical and social sciences research databases. It reveals that the problem is more common than previously acknowledged, and that younger women are particularly vulnerable to it, as (in the US at least) are black and ethnic minority women. And it shows that while male partners are predominantly responsible for acts of reproductive coercion, they’re not the only perpetrators. In some cultures, other family members, particularly older female relatives, frequently interfere with another woman’s reproductive autonomy.

Reproductive control covers such a wide spectrum of behaviour that many women might not realise they’ve been a victim of it, not least because some of its myriad forms present passively, or very subtly. Take your friend who confides to you that her boyfriend hates wearing condoms and sweet-talks her until she’ll let him have sex with her without, because it feels so much nicer, and she gives in because he really loves her, and she knows she can trust him … Or the woman unlucky enough to have sex with a man who covertly removes his condom midway during sex, without her consent or knowledge – an act known as “stealthing” – and which he (and perhaps she) probably doesn’t know is a form of rape, for which men have been convicted.

And then there’s the guy who lied to you about having had a vasectomy, or the one who swore on his life that he’d withdraw during unprotected sex but “got carried away in the moment”. And the bloke who said he’d break up with his girlfriend if she didn’t have an abortion, so she did, even though she wanted the baby. Conversely, there’s the man who wanted a(nother) child, when his partner did not, who pierced holes in the condoms and feigned surprise when she became pregnant.

There are still, it seems, an awful lot of men who like to keep their women “barefoot and pregnant”. Perhaps that casual, jokey attitude to reproductive control is part of the problem. Recently, Saturday Night Live cast member Pete Davidson quipped about messing around with his (now ex) fiancee, Ariana Grande’s birth control. “Last night I switched her birth control with Tic Tacs,” he said. “I believe in us and all, but I just want to make sure that she can’t go anywhere.” Hilarious.

And last year, actor Ian Somerhalder brazenly admitted he’d decided to start a family with wife Nikki Reed by taking the birth control pack from her purseand throwing the pills in the toilet. Yes, women have been known to do this type of thing too, most famously in the case of notorious columnist, Liz Jones, who confessed to being so desperate for a baby that she had stolen her (then) husband’s sperm from his used condoms in the dead of night, and inseminated herself. But she represents a tiny minority. The reason is blindingly obvious: it’s mainly women who suffer the consequences of reproductive abuse. They’re the ones who need a prescription for the morning-after pill, who need to go through abortions, get pregnant, endure childbirth. They’re the ones who are kept in poverty by having unwanted children, who can’t get a job or improve their education.

Like all forms of sexual abuse, this isn’t about sex, it’s about power. The BMJ report calls for more international research on the non-physical elements of abusive relationships and into how coercive control can be resisted. GPs and other health workers need to be more aware of it, and women need to be able to spot the signs so they can get out, or get help. The pill might be almost 60 years old, but we still have a long way to go before we’re in total control over our own reproductive lives.

 Hilary Freeman is a journalist and author

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jan/09/reproductive-coercion-abuse-women-control-choices