Tag Archives: sex

Report shows parents’ failure in talking to children about sex

Report shows parents’ failure in talking to children about sex

2019-06-28

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s time to talk about sexual incompatibility

It’s time to talk about sexual incompatibility

2019-06-11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SEE AN OPPORTUNITY, NOT A TASK

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

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

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

ACKNOWLEDGE THE AWKWARD

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

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

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

THINK ABOUT WHY YOU HAVE SEX

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

SCHEDULE SENSUALITY

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

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

EXPAND YOUR IDEA OF WHAT COUNTS AS SEX

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

INTRODUCE THE PURPLE PASS

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

DON’T LET LABELS RESTRICT YOU

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

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

MAKE USE OF RESOURCES

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

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

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

MAKE PEACE WITH THE SITUATION

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

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

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

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

Lily says:

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

SERIES

Lily Allen Takes Over

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