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8
Jun


The only time sex should hurt is when you want it to hurt. Spanking, nipple pinching, and other kinds of rough play have an honorable history among consenting adults. But sometimes sex hurts when you don’t want it to.

Sexual acts themselves can be painful. Causes can be mechanical: tiny fissures around the labia or penile shaft, too much friction due to inadequate lubrication, awkward angles of insertion or containment. Active lesions from STDs such as herpes can make even light pressure painful. More serious physical causes include endometriosis, fibroids and Peyronie’s disease.

Some causes are psychological: Anxiety or anger can narrow the vaginal opening. Even simple touch can hurt when you’re grappling with strong feelings. Our gag reflex can be triggered by smell, sound, making kissing or oral sex an ordeal.

People over 40 often start noticing something new: Sex begins to hurt because it involves stretching, twisting, weight bearing, and aerobic stress. As you age you may have less tolerance, for example, for tilting your neck when performing cunnilingus, hyper-extending your lower back during traditional intercourse, or squeezing and pulling.

What can we do about this? If something aches, move it or rest it. Develop a repertoire of sexual activities that hurt less. Tell your partners what’s uncomfortable so they’ll stop expecting those things. To warm up for sex, stretch, take a hot bath and perhaps some aspirin. At 40 or 50, it’s part of sex.

Coming to terms with our sexual limitations is part of coming to terms with middle age. It’s rarely discussed; people talk freely about having to give up running or tennis, but not about how, say, tendonitis limits their masturbation.

But ignoring these changes can undermine the sex, while exacerbating the pain. Ultimately, having good sex in the shadow of our physical limitations requires that we admit what’s going on, and adapt accordingly. That means finding ways to deal with the grief of losing cherished sexual activities because of joint pain or limited range of motion.

In middle age, grief is a sexual frontier.

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Category : Blog
25
May


There are lots of great reasons to say yes to sex. But there are also times when it’s best to say no.

For starters, it’s usually best to say no if you’re not in the mood. I don’t mean, “I’m not really in the mood, but we’re feeling friendly, so if you do most of the work I’ll get into it.” Rather, I’m talking about times when you’re not going to get in the mood. Perhaps you’re not feeling well, or you’re exhausted or cranky. Maybe you’re nervous about something happening at work or with the kids.

It’s important to say no when you’re angry, and to talk instead. Unfortunately, some people use sex to ignore a problem that they can’t resolve. In fact, some people use sex to avoid intimacy — the kind of intimacy that involves the difficult exploration and resolution of differences that exist in all relationships.

People in new relationships (or one-night stands) shouldn’t necessarily say no to sex —but they should clarify what the sex means before getting into it. If one person thinks the sex is about recreation, while the other one thinks it’s the beginning of a commitment, both will be disappointed. Sometimes one person wants to keep the sex confidential, while the other is so excited (or proud) that discretion is impossible. Again, without a conversation about it, both people will be frustrated.

While a lack of contraception doesn’t require you to say no to sex, it does require you to say no to intercourse. That’s the only grownup way to look at it. Don’t delude yourself about using the “rhythm method” — people who use rhythm are called parents. If you’re not going to use birth control, at least admit it to yourself, rather than pretending you’re using a technique that’s only slightly more effective than wishing upon a star.

People have sex for lots of psychological reasons — wanting to prove they’re normal, that they’re a “real man” or “real woman,” that they’re still attractive. In fact, some people have sex for revenge or as a form of hostility. But you wouldn’t do that, would you?

Popularity: unranked [?]

Category : Blog
18
May


How taboo is talk about masturbation? When Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders suggested that we consider teaching it as a way of reducing HIV transmission, they ran her out of Washington faster than the mayor who was caught on video smoking crack.

In fact, that mayor got re-elected after he got out of prison, whereas Dr. Elders has fewer conference invitations than Pee Wee Herman. But she had a point — there are many benefits to learning to masturbate better.

But not many Americans are open to it. We still cling to the mindset of Swiss doctor S.A.D. Tissot’s 1741 book Onanism, or a Treatise on the Disorders of Masturbation, which suggested that practitioners could go blind. In the 1800s, both the graham cracker and Kellogg’s Corn Flakes were invented to keep young men from taking themselves in hand.

Silly, huh? But little has changed.

In 1993, the Janus Report on Sexual Behavior revealed that just 13 percent of American Protestants think masturbation is a natural part of adult life. The Sex in America survey the following year showed that half of all Americans who masturbate feel guilty about it.

And Joani Blank, founder of sexual goods shop Good Vibrations, told of an electronics manufacturer that stopped selling its vibrators to a store in Austin, Tex. when it learned they were being sold as sexual aids. So much for centuries of enlightenment.

If you need to be convinced not to feel guilty, consider this — masturbation has bona fide health benefits. Orgasms have been reported to increase circulation, improve skin tone, strengthen the immune system, release tension and promote psychological well being in both men and women. For women, masturbating can help ease some of the symptoms of menopause, such as vaginal dryness and lost muscle.

“It improves self-esteem, because if you can give yourself pleasure, that comes along with feeling you deserve pleasure,” Blank said. “It also improves your sex with a partner because you know more about your own response. It’s a great way to relax at bedtime, and a great waker-upper.”

You may be saying, “I think I know how to do that just fine, thank you.” Maybe. But both men and women can use masturbation as a form of lifelong learning. For men, masturbation is a great way to teach yourself to have multiple orgasms.

For many women, masturbation is the most likely, if not the only, way to reach orgasm. Some women are lucky, but most have to learn to have orgasms just like you learn to ride a bicycle.

A vibrator is essential equipment for this particular course, but many women are timid about going into a shop to buy one. Fortunately, nowadays you can buy one online without any shopkeepers leering at you.

Blank said the most popular vibrator at her store is, ironically, one that isn’t made for masturbation: the Hitachi Magic Wand, designed for body massage.

“It’s good and big and strong and it’s good for massage as well as sex. It has a good wide head. It plugs into the wall instead of using batteries.”

But a vibrator choice is — dare we say it? — intensely personal. You might prefer a waterproof one for the tub, or a compact clitoral-only version. The point is to just order one and find out.

And whatever you do, don’t feel guilty. You work out and eat right to keep your body in shape; you follow your stock portfolio to keep your finances in shape. Masturbating regularly keeps your sexual response systems in shape. And I don’t know about you, but I find it a lot more satisfying lately than following my stock portfolio.

Popularity: unranked [?]

Category : Blog
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