13
Jul


Our popular culture offers a constant, apocalyptic vision of sexual danger: AIDS, teen pregnancy, date rape, sexual violence and now cyber sexploitation. Add the anxieties of religion, medicine, psychiatry and the law, and it’s easy to understand why many Americans can’t discuss sexual issues rationally.

With our sexuality poisoned by our history, culture and unrealistic expectations, most of us don’t want fantastic orgasms or unending sensual pleasure — we just want to feel less threatened, less inadequate. As a strategy for reducing sexuality deemed abnormal, censorship appears to provide a solution.

Censorship is more than closing a show or jailing a publisher. Its targets include sex education, contraceptive advertising, sex surveys, the Internet, adult bookstores, public nudity and high school libraries.

Censorship has two primary goals: defining what is sexually normal, and announcing which private decisions relating to sex are of public concern. Historically, censorship has been used to control the sexuality of the less powerful: women, youth, and those whose behavior challenges the status quo. No smart feminist would support censorship, not even of pornography.

Those who censor invariably say they can be trusted to judge wisely. This is false as well as illogical. Societies censor because they fear and thus wish to control. There is no limit to what people fear; therefore there is no limit to what they might wish to control.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that as long as your favorite toy, position, book, Web site or store is tolerated, censorship doesn’t affect you. When others have less freedom of responsible self-expression, our own freedom is more fragile. When public policy is based on judgments that demonize others, each of us is vulnerable to being demonized ourselves.

Living in a world that insists certain forms of sexual expression are dangerous, affects us unconsciously. We sense that we are one erotic choice away from being “abnormal,” one song or video away from being a pervert. What’s truly dangerous is when our culture has us mistrusting ourselves.

Popularity: unranked [?]

Category : Blog
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.

Popularity: unranked [?]

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
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