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Archive for the ‘Sex’ Category

Jesse James is the latest celebrity to check into “sex rehab” after
apparently having affairs during his marriage to actress Sandra Bullock. (File)

Mar 31, 2010 7:11 pm US/Eastern


Sex rehab seems to be the latest craze among celebrities who have been caught cheating. Now, Sandra Bullock’s husband, Jesse James, is said to be in a “treatment facility.”

His reported stint in rehab has people wondering: is sex addiction real or just an excuse invented by people to rationalize their bad behavior?

James checked himself into sex rehab after being linked to raunchy sex-capades with at least four women during his marriage to Bullock.

“It’s the perfect thing they can do for their public image. It shows that they really want to improve what the public perception is of them,” said US Weekly Senior Editor Lindsay Powers.

But the medical community is sharply divided on whether sex addiction – as it’s called – even exists.

Dr. Anne-Renee Testa, a psychologist specializing in relationship issues, said no one is born with a destructive addiction to sex, but that it can develop over time.

“These guys though have a kind of underlying anxiety that makes them do it, that just makes them continue doing it and if they could do it again 24/7 they would,” she said.

Recovering sex addict and psychologist Tim Lee can sympathize firsthand with his patients. He doesn’t doubt the validity of a sex addiction, but he does worry that celebrities scandalized by multiple affairs use the illness as a crutch and trivialize real problems.

“I’m sure some men are just going through the motions to please their spouses, but I think any professional can kind of smell that out,” he said.

The public seemed divided on the issue as well.

“I think its just an excuse,” said midtown Manhattan resident Mary Beth Miles. “I don’t buy it at all.”

“I don’t think it’s a fake disease, I just think he needs to own up to what he’s done,” said Sunnyside resident Denise Patrick.

Sex addiction is not currently listed in the manual of mental disorders, but it is being considered for inclusion in the next edition set to be released in 2012.

The proposed definition stops short of calling it an addiction and would refer to it as “hypersexual disorder” instead.

A recent CBS News/Vanity Fair poll found 33 percent of people surveyed said they do not believe in sex addiction, and 30 percent of those responding said celebrities are simply lying about suffering from the addiction.

For more information on sexual addiction, use the following resources:

Click for Medicine
Click for Women Today Magazine
Click for Psych Central.com___

Every married couple faces concerns that can cool the hottest love life. Here’s how to keep sex fun and fulfilling.

By Sarì Harrar and Rita DeMaria, Ph.D.

The Reality of Married Lovemaking

When writer Miriam Arond and her husband, psychiatrist Samuel L. Pauker, M.D., surveyed hundreds of newlywed couples across the nation, they discovered that 85 percent had made love before tying the knot, yet the frequency and quality of unmarried sex had little to do with the reality of married lovemaking. Nearly half said that after marriage, they didn’t have sex as often as they’d like; 20 percent of new wives reported low sexual desire. For a fourth of the wives, sex meant painful intercourse or elusive orgasms, while 1 in 10 husbands experienced premature ejaculation, and 1 in 20 had erection problems.

What ever happened to athletic, swinging-from-the-chandeliers, “did-the-earth-move-for-you-too?” prenuptial lovemaking? The deep, mystical, Tantric communing of two spirits? Hours of Hollywood sex complete with mood music, flickering candlelight, and satin sheets?

Sex Guide for Newlyweds
Balancing a sense of intimacy and safety and security with a sense of unpredictability.

“The excitement of getting married gives couples a hit of dopamine — a feel-good brain chemical that increases sex drive. For a few months after marriage, things may stay hot,” says marriage and sex therapist Pat Love, Ed.D. “And while you still love each other and feel passionate about each other, the dopamine does settle down. You’re back to real life. Your normal sex-drive set point kicks back in. Your expectations about married sex take over. It’s the perfect time to do the delicious work of deepening your sexual bond.”

“The challenge for couples is balancing a sense of intimacy and safety and security with a sense of unpredictability and creativity and eroticism,” says Barry McCarthy, Ph.D., a psychology professor at American University in Washington, D.C. “When sexual intimacy is strong, making love plays a healthy 15 to 20 percent role in energizing your marriage. The paradox is that when sex is problematic, it plays an inordinately powerful, negative role in new marriages.”

Understanding the real sexual issues that newlyweds face can help you keep sex fun and fulfilling — now and for the rest of your lives. Experts say these hidden concerns can cool the hottest love life in the early days of marriage:

Mismatched sex drives. “When your sex drive returns to its normal level in the months after you get married, couples start to notice a frustrating desire discrepancy,” Dr. Love says. “It’s perfectly normal. You’ve just got to work it out.”

Testosterone, the hormone of desire, fuels sex drive in men and women. But, Dr. Love says, relatively low levels of natural testosterone mean that two-thirds of all women don’t walk around thinking about sex all the time. “For these women — and I’m one of them — you don’t feel like having sex until you’re already having it,” she says. “That’s perfectly normal. It just means you have to approach sex a little differently. You have to make time for touching, time for sex. You can’t rely on being aroused to get things started. You have to start with relaxed touching and kissing to raise your arousal level.”

Clashing sex-pectations. On the last night of a romantic two-week honeymoon, Priscilla and Greg Hunt bumped up against a radical difference in expectations and desire. “We had been making love three times a day on our honeymoon,” Priscilla recalls. “It was wonderful, but we were about to go back to real life. To work and school and doing the dishes and responsibilities. I had to say, it’s time to talk about moderation.” Says Greg, “Sexuality was a real issue. We were both learning about it in our college courses, but experiencing it firsthand was strikingly different. My testosterone levels were extremely high. We were not evenly matched for libido. We had to work hard to communicate. Sexuality is a very sensitive issue — you have all sorts of feelings and insecurities wrapped up in it.”

Say Hello to Pleasure!

Their solution? A fluid, flexible compromise: “There were times he wanted sex when we didn’t have it and times I didn’t want sex but we did. Thankfully, there were more times when we both wanted to make love. There’s been a natural ebb and flow. It’s something we still have to talk about,” Priscilla says. “This is the reality for every couple: You’re wired differently. If you have enough sexual experiences together that are positive for both of you, you’ll be able to work out the differences.”

This is an issue for many couples who’ve enjoyed a lusty sexual intimacy before marriage and/or during the honeymoon but who settle into different rhythms during day-to-day married life. The solution? Talk it out so that you don’t feel rejected, frustrated, or bored.

First Base, Revisited Don’t wait for all that sexy dopamine to wear off. Using the heat, passion, and “let’s jump back into bed now” sexual urgency of your first months together to explore and expand your repertoire of touch. “The first two years of marriage are critical for building a sexual style that includes shared pleasure and deeper intimacy. Aim for that. Otherwise, sex problems can become the focus of your relationship,” Dr. McCarthy notes.

The sexual prescription? First, go back to first, second, and third base — touching for physical pleasure, not necessarily orgasm or intercourse. And get past old-fashioned man/woman sex roles that stand in the way of an emotionally close and erotic sex life. “Men are often socialized to value performance more than intimacy or pleasuring,” says Dr. McCarthy. “Women are taught to value relating and to see eroticism as the realm of wild, crazy women — not wives.

“Not all pleasurable touching can or should lead to intercourse,” he notes. “When a couple becomes comfortable touching inside and outside the bedroom, they’re building a closer, more solid sensual and sexual bond that will make them feel happier, closer, and even sexier now — and help protect against sexual problems in the future.”

Emphasize pleasure, not just the big O. “Exploration and touch without the expectation of intercourse or orgasm helps couples get to know each other’s bodies and needs — you learn what kinds of touch are pleasurable as a giver and as a recipient,” Dr. McCarthy says. Pleasure and affection keep you close even when you don’t want sex.

Nurture emotional intimacy too. Feeling understood, supported, and valued will make you both feel closer and therefore more receptive to physical closeness.

Plan ahead. Sex-drive discrepancy? Busy schedule? Put s-e-x on the calendar. It’s a fact of life: Most of us married someone who wants sex more often or less often than we do. If you wait to feel turned on before you have sex, you’ll miss out on lots of great moments together. Let touching turn you on rather than expecting to feel aroused first. This may seem totally unnecessary during the hot-and-heavy exchanges of the Passion stage, but experts say it’s the best way to ensure you’ll still be enjoying great sex when your life is complicated by kids, a house, stress, reduced sex drive, and times of conflict.

Low sex drive? Consider saying yes anyway. “People freak out when I say this,” Dr. Love confides. “But if you make time for love and romance and try to say yes when your partner wants to make love — provided you’re not dealing with a compulsive or sex-addicted spouse — you will have a better sex life. Let your partner’s drive get you both into bed, or wherever you’ll make love, so that you can be touched and turned on. Why get into the habit of not doing it?”

Think of life as foreplay. “I found out early on that relational issues that seem to have nothing to do with the act of sex itself make a huge difference to my wife and to her interest in intimacy,” Greg Hunt says. “I learned to pay attention to things I wasn’t naturally good at. If I’m ignoring her and also not paying attention to things like chores around the house, she’s not going to feel cozy and intimate at bedtime.”

Don’t use sex as a bargaining chip. Angry? Say something — don’t grunt or “hmph” and roll over. Withholding lovemaking when you’re upset turns this deep, vulnerable connection into a nuclear weapon for power struggles. Adding layers of resentment to your feelings about physical intimacy is a surefire way to make sure neither of you will be in the mood.

Have realistic expectations. And in particular, dial back on multi-orgasmic, transcendental expectations. Even for the most happily married couples, more than 10 percent of sexual encounters aren’t even pleasurable for one or both spouses, Dr. McCarthy says. An off night — maybe the sex is hurried, you’re tired or distracted, or simply uncomfortable — doesn’t mean you’ve got a big problem. It’s life. Don’t expect perfect sex every time — or wait for the perfect moment to pounce on your mate. Just connect!

Make it eye-to-eye, soul-to-soul. You’ll feel more vulnerable — but couples report they also feel sexier, more attractive, more in-the-moment, and closer when they look into each other’s eyes during sex.

Never underestimate the power of a quickie. You won’t always have all the time in the world for making love — and maybe you don’t already. Don’t overlook fast sex. It keeps the two of you in the intimacy loop, so you don’t jeopardize the compassion, happiness, romance, and understanding that sexual closeness can bring.


The health benefits of sex extend well beyond the bedroom. Turns out sex is good for you in ways you may never have imagined.
By Kathleen Doheny
WebMD Feature

When you’re in the mood, it’s a sure bet that the last thing on your mind is boosting your immune system or maintaining a healthy weight. Yet good sex offers those health benefits and more.

That’s a surprise to many people, says Joy Davidson, PhD, a New York psychologist and sex therapist. “Of course, sex is everywhere in the media,” she says. “But the idea that we are vital, sexual creatures is still looked at in some cases with disgust or in other cases a bit of embarrassment. So to really take a look at how our sexuality adds to our life and enhances our life and our health, both physical and psychological, is eye-opening for many people.”

Sex does a body good in a number of ways, according to Davidson and other experts. The benefits aren’t just anecdotal or hearsay — each of these 10 health benefits of sex is backed by scientific scrutiny.

Among the benefits of healthy loving in a relationship:

1. Sex Relieves Stress

A big health benefit of sex is lower blood pressure and overall stress reduction, according to researchers from Scotland who reported their findings in the journal Biological Psychology. They studied 24 women and 22 men who kept records of their sexual activity. Then the researchers subjected them to stressful situations — such as speaking in public and doing verbal arithmetic — and noted their blood pressure response to stress.

Those who had intercourse had better responses to stress than those who engaged in other sexual behaviors or abstained.

Another study published in the same journal found that frequent intercourse was associated with lower diastolic blood pressure in cohabiting participants. Yet other research found a link between partner hugs and lower blood pressure in women.

2. Sex Boosts Immunity

Good sexual health may mean better physical health. Having sex once or twice a week has been linked with higher levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin A or IgA, which can protect you from getting colds and other infections. Scientists at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., took samples of saliva, which contain IgA, from 112 college students who reported the frequency of sex they had.

Those in the “frequent” group — once or twice a week — had higher levels of IgA than those in the other three groups — who reported being abstinent, having sex less than once a week, or having it very often, three or more times weekly.

3. Sex Burns Calories

Thirty minutes of sex burns 85 calories or more. It may not sound like much, but it adds up: 42 half-hour sessions will burn 3,570 calories, more than enough to lose a pound. Doubling up, you could drop that pound in 21 hour-long sessions.

“Sex is a great mode of exercise,” says Patti Britton, PhD, a Los Angeles sexologist and president of the American Association of Sexuality Educators and Therapists. It takes work, from both a physical and psychological perspective, to do it well, she says.

4. Sex Improves Cardiovascular Health

While some older folks may worry that the efforts expended during sex could cause a stroke, that’s not so, according to researchers from England. In a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, scientists found frequency of sex was not associated with stroke in the 914 men they followed for 20 years.

And the heart health benefits of sex don’t end there. The researchers also found that having sex twice or more a week reduced the risk of fatal heart attack by half for the men, compared with those who had sex less than once a month.

5. Sex Boosts Self-Esteem

Boosting self-esteem was one of 237 reasons people have sex, collected by University of Texas researchers and published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior.

That finding makes sense to Gina Ogden, PhD, a sex therapist and marriage and family therapist in Cambridge, Mass., although she finds that those who already have self-esteem say they sometimes have sex to feel even better. “One of the reasons people say they have sex is to feel good about themselves,” she tells WebMD. “Great sex begins with self-esteem, and it raises it. If the sex is loving, connected, and what you want, it raises it.”

6. Sex Improves Intimacy

Having sex and orgasms increases levels of the hormone oxytocin, the so-called love hormone, which helps us bond and build trust. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and the University of North Carolina evaluated 59 premenopausal women before and after warm contact with their husbands and partners ending with hugs. They found that the more contact, the higher the oxytocin levels.

“Oxytocin allows us to feel the urge to nurture and to bond,” Britton says.

Higher oxytocin has also been linked with a feeling of generosity. So if you’re feeling suddenly more generous toward your partner than usual, credit the love hormone.

7. Sex Reduces Pain

As the hormone oxytocin surges, endorphins increase, and pain declines. So if your headache, arthritis pain, or PMS symptoms seem to improve after sex, you can thank those higher oxytocin levels.

In a study published in the Bulletin of Experimental Biology and Medicine, 48 volunteers who inhaled oxytocin vapor and then had their fingers pricked lowered their pain threshold by more than half.

8. Sex Reduces Prostate Cancer Risk

Frequent ejaculations, especially in 20-something men, may reduce the risk of prostate cancer later in life, Australian researchers reported in the British Journal of Urology International. When they followed men diagnosed with prostate cancer and those without, they found no association of prostate cancer with the number of sexual partners as the men reached their 30s, 40s, and 50s.

But they found men who had five or more ejaculations weekly while in their 20s reduced their risk of getting prostate cancer later by a third.

Another study, reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that frequent ejaculations, 21 or more a month, were linked to lower prostate cancer risk in older men, as well, compared with less frequent ejaculations of four to seven monthly.

9. Sex Strengthens Pelvic Floor Muscles

For women, doing a few pelvic floor muscle exercises known as Kegels during sex offers a couple of benefits. You will enjoy more pleasure, and you’ll also strengthen the area and help to minimize the risk of incontinence later in life.

To do a basic Kegel exercise, tighten the muscles of your pelvic floor, as if you’re trying to stop the flow of urine. Count to three, then release.

10. Sex Helps You Sleep Better

The oxytocin released during orgasm also promotes sleep, according to research.

And getting enough sleep has been linked with a host of other good things, such as maintaining a healthy weight and blood pressure. Something to think about, especially if you’ve been wondering why your guy can be active one minute and snoring the next.

WebMD offers experts’ sex tips for men who have sex with women.

By Martin F. Downs
WebMD Feature

Hey guys, think you know everything there is to know about having sex with women? That erotic encyclopedia you carry around in your head may contain a lot of basic errors and omissions about women’s sexuality — errors that can lead to sex mistakes.

That’s because — after learning the facts of life — most of us are left to figure out sex for ourselves. Guys tend to take a lot of cues from adult movies, and we all know how true-to-life those are. Experience may help, but many women can be shy when talking about what they like.

To help us with some sex tips, WebMD asked two acclaimed sex educators, Tristan Taormino and Lou Paget, to tell us what they think are the most common sex mistakes men make with women.

Taormino is a prolific author, lecturer, and video producer. Her latest project is the Expert Guide educational video series from Vivid Ed.

Paget is author of The Great Lover Playbook and other sex manuals, and she gives seminars nationwide.

Sex Mistake No.1: You Know What She Wants

Men often make assumptions about what a woman wants based upon what they’ve done with other women. But women aren’t all the same.

“You develop a repertoire as you mature sexually, but you should never assume that what worked for the last person is going to work for this person,” Taormino says.

That applies not only to sexual predilections, but also to relationships, she says. “There are women who can have no-strings-attached sex, and women who can get attached very easily, and then everyone in between.”

Sex Mistake No. 2: You Have All She Needs

Some women can’t have an orgasm with less than 3,000 rpm. No human tongue or fingers can generate that kind of vibration. But men typically think something is wrong if a woman needs a vibrator.

“If the only way that a woman can achieve orgasm is with a vibrator, she’s not broken,” Taormino says.

Think of a vibrator as your assistant, not your substitute. Many couples use vibrators together. “While you’re doing one thing, or two things, the vibrator can be doing something else,” Taormino says.

Sex Mistake No. 3: Sex Feels the Same for Men and Women

Paget says there tends to be a “huge disconnect” between men and women in the ways that sex feels good.

“When a man has intercourse with a woman, and his penis goes into her body, that sensation is so off the charts for most men, they cannot imagine that it isn’t feeling the same way for her,” Paget says. “It couldn’t be further from the truth.”

The inside of the vagina is probably less sensitive than the outer parts for most women. Also, deep thrusting may not feel so nice on the receiving end. If the penis is too long, “it feels like you’re getting punched in the stomach,” Paget says. “It makes you feel nauseous.”

Sex Mistake No. 4: You Know Your Way Around a Woman’s Anatomy

Most guys know generally what a clitoris is and where to find it. That’s not to say that they really understand it.

More than 30 years ago, at the start of the “sexual revolution,” a best-selling book called the Joy of Sex got Americans hip to the orgasmic importance of the clitoris. But the belief that women must be able to orgasm from vaginal penetration stubbornly persists.

“I still get letters from people who say things like, my wife can’t [orgasm] from intercourse unless she has clitoral stimulation — please help,” Taormino says. “I want to write back and say, ‘OK, what’s the problem?'”

“For the majority of women, it’s not going to happen that way,” Paget says.

Men also lack information about how to touch it and how sensitive it is, Taormino says.

A touch that’s bliss for one woman may feel like nothing special, or may even be painful for someone else. Some prefer indirect stimulation.

How can you find out how she likes to be touched? Try asking her.

Sex Mistake No. 5: Wet = Turned On

Guys sometimes get hung up if a woman doesn’t get slippery enough for easy penetration. Don’t worry about it.

“I think there’s a myth that if you’re turned on, you’re wet,” Taormino says. Not necessarily.

Some women tend to get wetter than others, and how much natural lubrication a woman has can change from day to day. It varies by the phase of her menstrual cycle, and it’s subject to influences like stress and medications.

Sex Mistake No. 6: Silence Is Golden

A lot of guys think they should be silent during sex, but unless you speak up, your partner has to guess what’s doing it for you and what isn’t.

If you’re respectful about it, a woman who wants to please you will probably appreciate some directions.

“I’m not saying push her head in your lap,” Taormino says. “I think that, ‘this is how I like it,’ is a very useful conversation to have.”

July 2020


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