How To Reclaim Your Sexual Voice Through Orgasmic Yoga

One of the more challenging things for many people when it comes to sex is to find out what really turns them on after having removed all of their shame and judgment. The next big step is to then state their desires aloud to themselves and to their intimate partners. It is easier said than done because it requires time, patience and dedication.

Recently, one of my sex coaching clients, Vicky, started our session by exclaiming “Holy shit. I think it’s actually revolutionary what I’m doing. I am practicing being sexual. I can now actually use the word ‘sex’ without feeling self-conscious or guilty. I am finding my sexual voice. And damn, it does take practice!”

Vicky has been practicing what is often referred to as “Orgasmic Yoga” which, in reality, is not about yoga or orgasms! It’s really just another name for developing a core erotic practice.

She has been on a 30-day practice schedule of working solo with her own body; exploring it on a physical and emotional level. Orgasmic Yoga is a pleasurable, intimate and transformative discipline that is practiced while sexually aroused. The goal is to develop or reclaim erotic capacities. Some individuals practice it to reawaken the awesome feelings in their body. Others practice it to discover those feelings for the first time.

Taking the time to participate in a mindful, planned solo erotic practice allows the individual to focus on what is substantial in their sexuality rather than what is superficial.

Vicky has also been working to identify her peak erotic experiences in order to understand what gives her authentic sexual pleasure. The desired result is to give herself the ability to better communicate her sexual needs to herself and to her partner. This takes guts, and it takes time. It can feel like a radical step to actually practice being sexual. But Vicky, like the countless women and men that I work with, have decided they really want to own their own sexuality; that it’s their time.

Better Sex as a Fit Woman

Are you fit enough for a better sex?

Over the past few years, researchers have made some important discoveries about the body and brain connections of sex and exercise. “Being physically active seems to be a potent aphrodisiac for women,” says Tina M. Penhollow, Ph.D., an associate professor of health promotion at Florida Atlantic University, who has published research on how exercise affects sexual self-esteem.

Passionate Couple In Bed…BOOSTS FOCUS

All too common: He’s kissing your neck, but you’re thinking about that major work deadline. Exercise can help sync your mind to your body, as well as quiet your racing brain so you can focus on the task at hand, says Lori Brotto, Ph.D., director of the Sexual Health Laboratory at the University of British Columbia in Canada.


Studies have shown that women who frequently exercise become aroused more quickly and are able to orgasm faster and more intensely. University of Texas at Austin researchers found that female study participants were 169 percent more aroused (as indicated by blood flow in genital tissue) while watching a short porn flick after 20 minutes of vigorous cycling than when they watched it without riding beforehand. When you get excited, blood surges into the clitoral bulbs, making the entire region around the vagina responsive to pleasure. Cardiovascular exercise can help blood pump faster to the right parts of your body; it can also reduce chronic inflammation, which can damage blood vessels and decrease circulation, putting a damper on your sexual bliss.


A healthy pair of lungs helps express your elation with more gusto, of course, but you’ll have a lot more to scream about if you learn to control your breath. Partners who breathe in tandem may create a bigger buildup, which can intensify pleasure. And women who take short, quick breaths as they reach climax—rather than holding their breath—may reduce carbon dioxide in the blood, possibly intensifying vaginal contractions. Yoga can help women focus on their breathing, while high-intensity interval training increases lung capacity—which ensures you’ll be vocalizing your gratification through the grand finale.


During a single strength workout, your body produces higher levels of growth hormone and testosterone, hormones that play a pivotal role in muscle growth–and sex drive. A 2013 study found that hitting the weight room regularly (three days a week) keeps levels of these hormones higher. That, along with the stress-busting benefits of pumping iron, can stoke greater sexual desire, says Kim Chronister, Psy.D., author of The Psychology Behind Fitness Motivation.


Some women can take 12 minutes—or longer—to orgasm. If your body fizzles out prior to that, you may be missing out, says sex therapist Denise Onofrey. Regular physical activity improves stamina and trains your muscles to hold out longer by using energy more efficiently. The result? You won’t have to pause prematurely to give your aching arms or tired legs a break during your next epic sex session.


Exercise transforms the way you view your body—and how you enjoy sex. Penhollow found that women who exercised frequently and reported higher levels of personal fitness were more likely to rate their desirability and sexual performance high above average. But it’s not necessarily because of a slim physique. Researchers found that women of all sizes who reported greater body appreciation (for their physical abilities, such as progress in the weight room) were more easily aroused, enjoyed sex more, and had more orgasms.


Even feeling just a little down in the dumps can weaken desire, says Chronister. Exercise leads to an immediate rush of mood-lifting, stress-dissolving endorphins; it’s such a potent anti-depressant that some research suggests regular workouts are as effective as psychiatric medications.


Some women get seriously distracted–even totally turned off–when their partner touches one of their less-than-favorite body parts mid-romp. A consistent workout routine can help: When Italian researchers put a small group of obese women with sexual complaints in a supervised weight-loss program (that included diet and about 10 hours of low-intensity exercise per week), they not only lost an average of 35 pounds but also reported higher levels of lubrication and sexual frequency after 16 weeks. Study authors note that weight loss does more than improve body image: It also helps improve insulin resistance. Overweight women whose bodies can’t use the hormone to process glucose also tend to have lower levels of testosterone, which dampens self-confidence and sexual response.


And we don’t mean crying during sex. The tissue that forms the clitoris contains 8,000 nerve fibers that extend into the entire pelvic region, including the vaginal walls. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin found that physical activity was able to prime a woman’s body for sexual activity by making her more sensitive to touch and increasing the efficacy of stimuli, likely by revving up a network of neurons known as your sympathetic nervous system, which controls your arousal, says Brotto.

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Keep Your Vagina Healthy and Happy

Keep your vagina healthy and happy with these tips.

After all, she IS your pride and joy!
When was the last time you thought about … how your vagina is feeling?

Does that seem like a crazy question? It’s not! And here’s why …

With your never ending daily to-do list, you don’t give your vagina the attention she needs.

Discomfort, pain, itching and burning are your vagina’s way of communicating that she needs some tender loving care. But numbness is another way she lets you know she’s feeling neglected.

And this matters because — when your vagina isn’t happy, neither are you.

Long before menopause you can experience changes in your vaginal health because of stress, side effects of medication, as well as hormonal changes. These changes occur in your early 20s and 30s, as well as into your 40s and beyond.

They also affect the vitality of the tissue, lining and walls of your vagina. The lining, which once protected your vaginal walls and tissue, thins as you lose estrogen, which causes discomfort in the forms of pain, tissue tearing, and dryness (which in addition to affecting general comfort, obviously impairs sexual pleasure, as well).

The good news is, there are simple things you can start doing now to keep your vagina healthy and happy. No matter what your age, it’s never too early (or too late) to start taking care of your vagina — here are six simple ways to do so:

1. Work Out!

Kegels are exercises you can do anytime/anywhere that strengthen your vagina muscles; keeping them strong supports you in enjoying sex more, having more intense orgasms and hopefully not developing incontinence later in life.

You can do Kegels while you’re watching television, driving (a great way to kill time at red lights), and even working on your computer — so there’s NO EXCUSE.

2. Go Commando Or Au Cotton — Your Choice!

Wear cotton paneled underwear or pop Go Commandos cotton patches into your pants. If you don’t like underwear or want to let your vagina breathe while feeling cleanly, the Go Commandos patch is the next best thing to wearing nothing at all. Your vagina will love the freedom!

Why does breathability matter? Synthetic fabrics that don’t allow your vagina to breathe lead to trapped moisture and irritation which leads to infection. It’s no surprise that yeast infections are so common today.

3. Self-Pleasure is Self Care.

If you don’t know how to please yourself, how do you expect someone else to succeed at it? If you don’t experience sexual pleasure regularly, you are depriving yourself of a basic human need.

Self-pleasuring is a way to get to know your body so that you can experience pleasure, release and be able to communicate those turn-ons to your partner.

A survey conducted by Cosmopolitan found that women are severely orgasm deficient. So ladies, make sure you know how to please yourself so you’re always taken care of — whether you’re in a relationship or not.

Either way, knowing your body and what makes you feel good is a win-win!

Are You Thankful for Your Sexual Health?

I am referring to more than simply being STD free.

Around this time of year we often think of things we are thankful for like family and friends.  Of course, I’m thankful for my family, especially my beautiful daughter, and friends. In addition to them I’m thankful for having good sexual health and access to reproductive health care to maintain it!

When I say I am thankful for good sexual health, I am referring to more than simply being STD free.  Though, being STD free is definitely included.  As recently as 4 years ago I was still taking my sexual health for granted. I assumed that as a female I’d be able to get pregnant and carry a child to term.  However, that was not the situation despite getting regular prenatal check-ups. My pregnancy and child birthing experience was anything but how I always thought and had planned for it to be. As a sexologist I am aware that some women have difficult pregnancies and others who are unable to conceive or carry children at all, yet I didn’t think for a second that I’d be one of those women. Don’t get too sad – I have since been told that I can have children in the future if I want to.

I certainly hope that you can also say that you are thankful for your sexual health. If you need more convincing, here are 3 reasons to be thankful for good sexual health:

  1. Ability to reproduce – should you want to. I am not assuming that everyone wants to have children, however, those who do want to have children in the future should consider adding sexual health to the list of things they are thankful for this year.  Women and men can be equally thankful for being able to contribute to the creation of life.  Without such an awesome ability the sexiest species would cease to exist. If we think of it that way – maybe people who don’t plan to reproduce should be thankful for those who do.
  2. Can serve yourself up as a great dessert.  The only thing better than a great meal with people you love and care about is having a great dessert to top it off!  You can be a sweet dessert for one or more others to enjoy. This sexy human buffet is most enjoyable when you are free of sexually transmitted infections and diseases.  Trust me this is only one of many reasons to be thankful for being STD free – though it may well be the tastiest.
  3. Can have pleasurable sex. When we are not feeling well sexually many of us tend to find sex less pleasurable, if we’re even willing to participate in having it. Who wants to have unpleasurable sex? I know I don’t. That’s the main reason to have sex is for the pleasurable experience and relaxation benefits. I’m thankful for being able to have pleasurable sex. I wish I could say I’m also thankful for a partner.

Let’s not forget that thanks to Affordable Care, Planned Parenthood, and in California – the State Office of Family Planning –we can all be thankful for low to no cost contraception and preventive reproductive care.  In many cases this includes access to various type of birth control such as pills, the patch, nuva ring, and more. It also includes access to testing for STIs, HIV, and pregnancy.  You can see from this short list that sexual health would make a great addition to things you are thankful for at this time of year and always.

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Better Sex After Childbirth

A study of 1,118 couples with children showed that 94 percent said they were satisfied with their sex lives and nearly 60 percent said that it actually got better after childbirth.

London: Resuming sex with your partner after childbirth may be a matter of two months on an average but when passion does return to the bedroom again, it comes with a new vigour, enabling couples to enjoy the act of lovemaking more, new research suggests.

A study of 1,118 couples with children showed that 94 percent said they were satisfied with their sex lives and nearly 60 percent said that it actually got better after childbirth.

But new parents on an average wait for about 58 days before they resume sex with their partner, according to the study.

Although most women fear that their partner would not find them attractive after childbirth, the findings of the survey conducted by Britain-based parenting site Channel Mum showed that men actually prefer their partner’s post-birth figure as it is more curvy and fuller.

Just 14 per cent of new mothers feel body confident after giving birth, Daily Mail reported citing the study.

“Having a baby is the biggest change you can bring into a relationship, so it is wonderful to see it can bring couples closer together rather than drive them apart,” Siobhan Freegard, founder of Channel Mum, was quoted as saying.

The research, however, showed that men are more keen to have sex after the wait than women.

While fathers want sex twice a week on average, mothers remain content with sex just once a week.

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How Healthy is Masturbation. Can it Make a Difference to Your Sex Life?

It’s a really healthy thing. It releases great endorphins and chemicals into our bodies that help us to feel happier, to feel more creative, to feel braver. It lifts depression and helps with headaches and period cramps.

Smith said masturbation is an important way for women to learn about their own bodies and what they enjoy. She encouraged women to “relax into self love”.

“Carve out a little bit of time and prioritise this because it affects your health, your mental wellbeing and your relationships, both with yourself and with others,” she said. “It’s a really important thing, yet it comes last on our list when we’re knackered and we’ve fallen into bed.”

Smith joined physiotherapist Maeve Whelan, who specialises in women’s health at Milltown Physiotherapy in Dublin, for a conversation about painful sex, the importance of pelvic floor muscles and what all women can do to improve their sex lives.

According to Whelan, there are a number of physiological and emotional reasons women might experience pain during sex.

Smith said: “I don’t know of many women who have an issue with pain that they can do nothing about.”

Also in the sex episode, a discussion about how Irish cultural, educational and social history has shaped women’s sex lives.

Joining that discussion were Dr Mel Duffy, head of the only master’s degree programme in sexuality studies in the country at Dublin City University; Shawna Scott, owner of Sex Siopa, Ireland’s health and design-focused online sex shop; and Hot Press sex columnist Anne Sexton.

According to Sexton, some of the “cultural and economic reasons for prudery and repression” include the country’s Victorian roots, the famine’s strain on the population and the Catholic Church.

The panel also talked about the lack of quality sex education for young people.

“On the one hand, there’s an incredibly massive, overwhelming porn culture which all young people have some experience of. And on the other hand, you have this culture of horrific stories of abuse. There are very few positive messages about sex, and that’s really worrying,” Sexton said.

Also in the podcast, sexual intimacy therapist and Irish Times advice columnist Trish Murphy discussed common sex problems she encounters in her practice and what people can do about them.

The Women’s Podcast question of the week is: Are you making New Years resolutions? If so, what are they? If not, why not?

Listeners are invited to tweet their answers to the question of the week @ITWomensPodcast, post to our Facebook page or email

Individual episodes of the podcast are available on Soundcloud, iTunes, Stitcher and on

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How Making Love in the Morning Makes You Healthy

Now, health experts and researchers claim that morning love making is in fact good for health.

At least once in a lifetime, any couple would generally try Sunday morning love making. Now, health experts and researchers claim that morning love making is in fact good for health.Most of us have been totally conditioned. We keep the most beautiful things for the night’s schedule. There is no rule that you need to wait till it is darkness to express your love. As you experience the endorphin effect early in the morning, you will start seeing a beautiful world throughout the day even if the world is ugly and bad.Here are some health benefits of morning love making.

Morning love making health benefits are:

1.You Can Forget About Your Gym:

The calories that are burnt after a 30 minute jog can be easily burnt if you spend an hour on bed making love.

2.A Great Way To Start The Day:

If you start the day with passionate love, your entire day will be a great day and you can take on your life’s challenges with ease.

3.You Can Handle Stress Well:

The stress you experience in the traffic and in the work place look like small things when your spirits are high.

4.You Can Enjoy Better Moods Throughout The Day:

When your day starts with that high, your moods tend to be elevated for hours together and this is the best way to keep depressive moods at bay.

5.You Can Look Better:

Researchers have claimed long back that orgasms can make your skin and hair look better.

6.You Can Enjoy Better Immunity:

When you are travelling to work, if you see other around you coughing, you can consider yourself lucky. Your immunity gets a boost due to the love-making in the morning. So infections stay at bay.

7.Morning Is The Best Time For Men:

The hormonal cycles of men are at peaks in the morning. So, your man will be high with testosterone in the morning. Make the best out of his hormones.

8.You Can Come Out Of Your Caffeine Addiction:

Though coffee is the best thing in the morning, it is addictive and unhealthy. But when you get used to morning love, you can beat that addiction.

These are the health benefits of morning love making.

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How to Stay Fit with Good Sex

It’s more enjoyable than hitting the treadmill – and there are many documented health benefits. But is making love really an alternative to aerobic exercise?

Research has revealed that sex, which is rated as moderately intense exercise, uses up 4.2 calories in men a minute and 3.1 in women. The study, published in the American journal PLOS ONE, took 21 young couples and used a SenseWear armband to measure the effects of moderate exercise on a treadmill, compared with sex. Sex took on average 24.7 minutes, with men using up 101 calories and women using 70. Almost everyone in the study found the sex more enjoyable than the treadmill. So shouldn’t you hang up your running shoes and try “sexercise” instead?

The solution

Sex is credited with having many other health benefits. They’re not all scientifically proven because it’s difficult for researchers to measure the effects of sex on different health outcomes in a standardised way. Most research is also of heterosexual sex. But claims include reductions in heart disease and diabetes and improvements in sleep, appearance and immunity.

Sex is also credited with reducing period cramps and chronic pain – although both would put many people off having it. Saying “not tonight, I’ve got a headache” may also not be a medically valid reason for refusing: more than one study shows that it might relieve headaches, although it’s less reliable than tablets.

Sex is associated with promoting wellbeing – and you don’t even need a partner –a paper in 1986 found that older men and women who masturbated had reduced rates of depression.

Sex may also reduce stress – a small study looking at the relationship between sex in the two-week period before stressful events found that people who had had intercourse showed the smallest rise in blood pressure when dealing with these events.

Sexual activity has also been associated with longevity – a study in the BMJ conducted in south Wales that followed 918 men aged between 49-59 for 10 years found that those who had been having two or more orgasms a week had 50% lower mortality rates. The authors of the study cite other research suggesting that quality of sex is important in realising the health benefits.

But this latest study really shows that sex uses only a few calories – the treadmill used about three times as many. The sex was also likely to be more energetic than usual because people knew they were being monitored.

Sex is an indicator of good health as well as contributing to it. But the research generally suggests more is not necessarily better and that quality is what matters.

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How to Remedy a Low Sex Drive

For many people, reigniting your feelings for your partner through talking and sharing more deeply is enough to get desire back on track.

I remember once going to see a film called The Tin Drum with my male partner, a film we both agreed was erotic and arousing. In a post-coital chat afterwards, it turned out that we had each found completely different scenes in the film to be a turn on.

Our sex drive is a highly personal and quixotic thing, which ebbs and flows with life’s events. The fact that sex is unpredictable, as we open up ourselves to our partner in the act of making love, the stakes are high. Sex has the power to repair a relationship, to bring people together, and to renew love.

Conversely, when desire falters, we often find it hard to accept. Couples can be devastated and worry that the relationship is coming to an end. One person may feel rejected, the other feels a failure. The stress levels can ratchet up, making things even worse.

Where is the lust?

A loss of desire can have physical or psychological origins or a mixture of both. There are many physical causes for loss of desire, associated with changes in the body as a result of health conditions and ageing. Hormone levels for both men and women are important influences as are alcohol, drugs, some medications and contraception which can often result in quite rapid changes.

The difference between desire and arousal

If you are concerned about “going off” sex, it is important to understand the difference between desire and arousal. Often the body will still respond to touch and caress so it’s still perfectly possible to have an active sexual relationship, but the desire to do so may be reliant on one partner to always initiate.

Even with some conditions like diabetes, where a man is no longer able to get a natural erection, the desire remains. The issue is that the body does not become aroused.

It’s also important to consider that in men, loss of libido isn’t the same as erectile dysfunction. A drug such as Viagra will help a man to have an erection, but not give him the desire to have sex.

Too stressed for sex

Psychological causes of the kind we see regularly at Relate can be linked to a number of relationship issues as well as life events and the effects of stress. The body does tend to cope well with everyday pressures and tiredness – there will be days when you don’t feel the desire to be sexual. However, prolonged loss of desire is often associated with more extreme difficulties such as a bereavement and other significant life events that are likely to have an impact on all aspects of your life, not just your sexual libido. Just plain weariness after the birth of a baby is a common and normal passion killer.

If Men Menstruated…

I can’t possibly start this article without referring to one of my favorite feminist essays by Gloria Steinem, “If Men Could Menstruate.”

Steinem, the face of progressive female movements for several decades, wrote this biting piece in 1978 for Ms. Magazine.

It explores a world where we treat women’s sexual health in the same way that we treat men’s sexual health. Most notably, it illustrates how we would be dedicating more time, energy and money to researching menstruation — understanding its risk and benefits, identifying symptoms, developing products to manage and medications to mitigate it.

Whether or not we truly see the implication of it in our everyday lives, funding, and therefore effort, invested in researching women’s sexual health is far lower than that dedicated to men.

Not only are women underrepresented in biomedical studies that explore prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease, but also topics that address female sexual health are poorly researched in general.

Despite an entire industry dedicated to exploring, enhancing and glorifying men’s sexual health, there has been very little work done on this front for women.

This means that we still don’t understand many of the unique, complex and variable processes involved in female sexual health.

Despite what the media implies, it is 100 percent NORMAL for women (and men, for that matter!) to experience fluctuations in our desire for intimacy, sex and pleasure.

While we know that women’s sexuality is not so simple that taking a single pill will result in arousal, we don’t yet appreciate all the multi-faceted factors that DO contribute to pleasure and libido for women.

Until recently, our research on sex and sexuality has assumed (the way that it did for all biomedical studies) that men and women’s bodies respond in the same way to external and internal stimuli.

We are finally beginning to accept that this is not the case and that female sexual health is a topic all its own … and a very valid one.

Fiera® is one of the companies in the United States currently performing research and developing products with women’s health and sexuality specifically in mind. They are beginning to utilize new understandings of the female sexual response cycle to create technology that helps women get “in the mood” when they want to be.

Fiera is scientifically proven to enhance arousal and lubrication for women. The product was built with couples in mind to help improve overall intimacy.

In the U.S., roughly 46% of all American women, aged 18-70 have a sexual concern. While sex can sometimes be difficult to talk about, it’s an important conversation to have. Fiera is encouraging women to talk about their concerns and help normalize the conversation around sex.

Having Great Sex, In Spite of a Rare Sexual Disorder

Perhaps the hardest part of having vaginismus is the stigma associated with it.

I’m 21, in a long-term relationship with my partner AMAB (assigned male at birth), and I’ve never had vaginal sex. This is because I have vaginismus, a condition that causes my vaginal muscles to painfully tense up whenever penetration is attempted. I first became aware of my vaginal limitations when I attempted to use a tampon in middle school, and began to take it more seriously when any attempt at sexual penetration was met with the feeling of a literal wall blocking off my vagina. I’m not entirely sure of the cause, but my lifelong anxiety disorder as well as the multiple sexual assaults I experienced in my late teens definitely point to a few possible causes, or at least contributing factors that have made the condition worsen over the years. Between skeptical friends and ignorant doctors, I haven’t been met with much understanding about my condition. But thanks to the support of my loving partner and Internet friends who also suffer with vaginismus, I’ve learned to navigate life with the condition and discover possible solutions — while also learning to reshape my own definition of sex.

Lately, I had been going through a tougher time in my treatment. I purchased a dilator kit a few months back to help gradually stretch my vagina, which was going smoothly at first. However, using the very hard and plastic dilators became painful, so I stopped. Feeling slightly guilty about ceasing treatment, and feeling discouraged by the prices of the more comfortable silicone dilator kits, I turned to the corners of the internet where vaginismus forums congregate to seek some comfort. However, I was unhappily surprised when I saw most of the forums and blogs were chock full of women (who reported having had oral and other kinds of sex in their lives) lamenting over how awful life is without sex, or how depressing it is to be a 30-year-old “virgin.” This turned my chronic worry into utter confusion. Never had sex? But they had just been discussing oral sex and clitoral orgasms. Immediately, the reality set in that society’s super strict and heteronormative idea of what sex looks like was plaguing these women, making them feel virginal, infantilized, and altogether without satisfaction. Their fallacious thought process was obvious, but it still felt familiar.

My vaginismus is annoying and has caused me embarrassment and frustration in the past, but I don’t let it prevent me from having an amazing sex life. Unfortunately, what I’ve seen in society and even in conversations with vaginismus sufferers, it’s commonly believed that you can’t have sex if you can’t be penetrated.

How Eating Tomatoes Can Support Fertility

Lycopene, the substance that makes tomatoes red, is known to slow the growth of prostate cancer, and researchers hope it could also help sperm production.

SHEFFIELD, England, April 12 (UPI) — Lycopene, the substance that makes tomatoes red, could be the key to boosting sperm counts in men with infertility, according to researchers launching a study of it.

While it’s known to slow the growth of prostate cancer and lower risk for stroke, researchers at the University of Sheffield will study the effects of lycopene on infertile men.

Previous studies have indicated lycopene supplements can increase sperm counts, including one in 2014 conducted at the Cleveland Clinic that showed lycopene raised counts by up to 70 percent. Roughly one in six couples has trouble conceiving, with half due to poor sperm quality, researchers say, suggesting a treatment to increase sperm count could solve the problem.

“Little work has been done in this area,” Dr. Elizabeth Williams, a professor in the department of oncology and human metabolism at the University of Sheffield, said in a press release. “If lycopene has a beneficial effect on the prostate, it is reasonable to think it might also improve sperm function.”

The researchers plan to recruit 60 people between ages 18 and 30, randomly giving half the participants two 7-milligram lycopene capsules per day, and the rest a placebo.

Sperm and blood samples will be taken at the beginning of the study, six weeks in and then when the 12-week study is complete to measure the effects of XY Pro, an over-the-counter lactolycopene supplement.

The researchers chose XY Pro, which was developed at Cambridge University, because research has shown the supplement is absorbed well by the body.

“Studies elsewhere in the world have shown that the antioxidant properties of lycopene seem to have a beneficial effect on sperm quality and we want to investigate this further,” said Allan Pacy, a professor of andrology at the University of Sheffield. “Production of sperm takes three months. This study will tell us if lycopene improves the quality of sperm already in development by reducing DNA damage, and whether it produces an overall increase in the number of mature sperm produced overall.”

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An Inner Dialogue on Sex Challenges in a New Relationship

New York’s Sex Diaries series asks anonymous city dwellers to record a week in their sex lives — with comic, tragic, often sexy, and always revealing results. This week, a 30-year-old painter with a job in online marketing who’s trying to sort everything out inside. Straight, in a relationship, Crown Heights.


3:15 a.m. I’ve been waking up between two and four every morning for months now, usually just to pee, but sometimes from nightmares. It’s kind of both this time. As I stumble out of bed, I try to remember anything from this dream other than merely the image of my pussy-less body: my mons pubis curved down into a Barbie crotch, but made of my skin and pubic hair. No folds, no holes.

9:00 a.m. My phone vibrates on top of a pile of printed spreadsheets. I cancel the alarm because I’ve already taken my pill, dutifully, with my sad desk breakfast.

Venlafaxine is an SNRI, which means it increases the activity of both serotonin and norepinephrine in my brain. It’s used to treat a variety of anxiety and depressive disorders as well as certain kinds of nerve pain. I take it for both issues and often wonder if it’s dulling my sensitivity at the same time. A decrease in libido, as with other antidepressants, is to be expected, but less so with venlafaxine than others, which is why my psychiatrist prescribed it.

I wouldn’t mind that much if I weren’t in the most committed relationship I’ve ever been in. One I’m always worried I’ll fuck up. It’s been one and a half years; we met on OkCupid. I like his parents, he likes mine, everything seems right. But the medication is nonnegotiable. It’s been two months, and although I don’t feel not-depressed, I feel boosted enough to prove I’ve needed it all along.


12:30 p.m. Tuesday I have therapy, which means I get to leave work midday and battle through downtown traffic on my rusty old bike. Today, as with most sessions, we’re discussing boundaries. How can I explain to my partner that I’m scared of him initiating sex? That kissing is fine, but when his hands travel over my ass I start to panic? That sometimes, even though I’ve gotten naked just fine, when he goes down on me, it somehow hurts all over?

He and I have been through this before, after a triggering event that stopped all sex for us for months. From a television show, of all things. I had fallen asleep watching Netflix and half-awoke to a character being acquaintance-raped — like I was.

4:30 p.m. Coming home from work can be a thrill. These days, I’m dripping sweat from the ride home and we’re really overdoing the A/C; the sensation is a blessed shock on my skin. The dog greets me with urgent excitement, and we head right back out the door. He’s not my dog, really; he belongs to my partner, but I’m happy to do the afternoon walk — for both of them.

At home again, I lie down on the couch and the dog follows, leaning its weight on me. We trust each other, and I’m glad of it. My partner comes home, and when the dog gets up to greet him, he takes its place atop me on the couch. He kisses me sweetly, all over my face, and asks how my day was.

10:15 p.m. I’m very tired, so I shut my book and settle onto my pillow, nudging my ass up against my partner as conciliation for turning away from him. He reads for a while longer, and when he puts his book down, he rolls over to spoon me, to prod me with his erection.

“Are you trying to sex me?” I laugh a little.

“I’m always trying to sex you.”

“It’s too late, I’m so tired.” I wonder why I don’t bring up what was carefully discussed in therapy, but I’m also tired of hearing myself talk about What Was Carefully Discussed in Therapy.


6:45 a.m. Nothing seems wrong with this relationship; in fact, we’ve been sleeping in later and later just to cuddle longer. We have so much physical chemistry. I never thought I’d be so comfortable with someone else’s body.

11:00 a.m. Again, it’s easy for me to think of him when he’s not here. My therapist says this is because I have the utmost control when it’s just thoughts. I wish I could go home to him right now, and I pre-regret how I won’t have this desire by the end of the day.

9:45 p.m. He has a class today, and it is usually the one day I can depend on a sexless evening. I try to paint, I try to apply to some jobs, but having this freedom from sex worries just leaves me stuck thinking about how to fix this. I smoke a little weed and masturbate in the shower.

I’m thinking about a kinky friend of mine who’s told me she’s thought of sleeping with me before. I always masturbate thinking about women, no matter who I’m sleeping with in reality. I wonder if that’s not also related to control.


8:30 p.m. Thursdays I get as stoned as I can and go to yin yoga. It’s a slow bedtime stretching class, heated, in the dark, and taught by a small woman who has one of those dreamy instructor voices that usually drives me insane, feeding us meditation thoughts when I’d prefer silence, but I don’t mind it from her. I am, in fact, attracted to her in every way. She is petite, which I also never thought would be my type, with a muscular ass and tiny tits. Her face is round and happy, a glowing moon in this darkened room.

I am happy when I’m in this class, high. I sit in the warmest corner of the room and stare at myself in the mirror. The truth is, I like everything about the way I look only right now. I look very tanned, my thighs look very muscular. I look athletic. I look like I could be six feet tall, like a giantess, a thought that usually terrifies me. Another thought floats into my mind: that maybe my partner and I are it for each other. I text him: “I want to kiss you when I get home,” before turning off my phone and lying back on my mat.

The class starts child’s pose. This instructor always comes to me first: My back is very stiff, and she runs her fingers firmly from my shoulders to my hips, coaxing my body to submit to the floor. I think about touching her in the same way, think of us alone in this hot, dark room, and what sounds she would make. At the end of class, sobering up, I always wonder whether I’ve made those sounds aloud.

9:30 p.m. I ride home determined to have sex with him; I prime myself with calming thoughts about his face, his voice, reminding myself that I love him and that he is not the enemy. I feel happy about my body, stimulated and calmed from the instructor’s touch.

He’s cleaning the kitchen when I get home. I kiss him as significantly as I can and tell him to come take a shower with me. He enters after I’ve already rinsed, and runs his hands over my back. I pull him toward me and he smiles. I’m happy, too. I kneel down and put my mouth on him for the first time in months; it’s a huge relief to both of us. I twitch when I hear him breathe in deeply, my nipples get hard when he gingerly places his hand on my head. He’s so gentle with me, and I like the way his dick feels in my mouth—it doesn’t make sense why I can’t just do this more often.

“We’re wasting water,” he says. I towel off my hair and we lie down on the bed, touching each other like children, our lips meeting haltingly, until he rolls me onto my back and enters me. God, it is a relief. I won’t come, but it’s a relief.


8:00 a.m.  We’re working from home today. I think of kissing him, and so I peek at the door to the office to ask if he’s on a call, wrap my arms around him where he’s sitting. He turns and kisses me and says, “What?”

“I just wanted to kiss you, is all.”

Maybe five minutes later, I call to him from my makeshift desk to ask him a question.

“What,” he snaps back.

I don’t remember the last time I’ve ever said “I’m sorry” with such sarcasm. It instantly slayed me, the tone he used. The part of me that is historically easily rejected hasn’t learned much, and I shut down for a little while.

2:00 p.m. We get neighborhood ramen for lunch; I’m in a happy place. He tells me he’s having a bad day, he’s too busy. I ask him why, but his answers are short. He’s not much for feelings.


8:00 a.m. Saturdays are wonderful in this house. The permission to sleep in means that the day half-starts in half-sleep; we’re pulling each other closer and kissing arms, backs, necks, whatever’s there to kiss. We ask each other about what we dreamt and we fall asleep again.

9:30 a.m. I make coffee and he walks the dog. We start improvising breakfast from the remainder of the week’s groceries. He puts on a record and sneaks up to hug me from behind and peck me on the neck. This is perfect, until he slides his hands up my shirt.

“I’m cooking!” I try to say as playfully as possible. I know he’s hurt: His response is similarly pained.

1:40 p.m. We’ve had a good day. He has some homework to do, and I go out to the patio to paint. This is another of my uses for marijuana. The dog comes and sits beside me, but my partner won’t. Our apartment is too small for me to have an art space, and maybe he’s internalized how badly I need time for me. I invite him to come out, but he says he doesn’t want to bother me. I smoke and smoke and hum along to Bill Evans, and I feel like this piece is really coming along.

3:15 p.m. I am in such a peaceful place. The air outside is still and hot, the sounds of the neighborhood are happy, the dog nudges my free hand every so often for a head pat. I think to myself how happy I am here, to have moved in with this man and his dog. I wish he were sitting beside me now, playing his guitar. I miss him, though he’s just on the other side of the door.

I go inside, where he’s lying on the couch, reading. I straddle him and kiss his face. He has two kinds of kisses: Firmness leads to nothing, but if I can make his lips soft, he’ll give in. He puts down his book and smiles at me.

“What’s up?”

“I missed you, and I thought I’d come tell you.”

We undress as much as we can without changing positions, and he’s inside me almost instantly. I ride him there, on the couch. He laughs when he comes, and so do I.

6:30 p.m. We have a lot of errands this evening, and he orders in some Thai to make up for it. I feel very close to him when we’re being domestic.

10:30 p.m. … And blissful to find I’ve fallen asleep in his arms while watching TV.


10:00 a.m. I go to church up the block, a very austere Episcopal service, in a building made of cold gray stone. I don’t think anymore about whether how I live my life is pleasing to God or not, but I do still cry whenever I take communion.

11:30 a.m. He’s made breakfast and been to the farmers’ market while I was away. We’re both in a pretty good mood, and he tries to capitalize on it, but I have work in our community garden that I promised I’d get done today. He tries to get me to do it later. Maybe he hasn’t caught on that making me procrastinate is not what I’m into.

3:00 p.m. He came to the garden with me, and we both worked up a heavy sweat. We got a lot of work done, as we always do together, and now we’re exhausted, showered, and back to our respective places of yesterday, he reading on the couch and I painting on the front porch.

6:00 p.m. I have dinner with a friend and speak kindly about my situation. I’ve been reading Come As You Are, which this friend had recommended, but I can’t get my partner to believe it’s not a joke book. My friend and I bond over this and drink and smoke and watch some anime because we’ve exhausted our emotional reserves.

10:30 p.m. I come home intoxicated, and he’s reading in bed. I feel good enough that I’m not worried about losing sleep time, and I cuddle into him aggressively.

Curated by Erbe
Original Article

Almost 50% of British Women Can’t Identify the Vagina

Well, this is alarming. A new study that surveyed 1K British women found that only 56% of women could identify the vagina from a medical diagram.

For those of you who can’t do math, that’s 44% of women who can’t identify the vagina. And that’s way too high.

By contrast, nearly 70% of women could identify the male reproductive organs from a diagram. (Full disclosure: this was me in fifth grade health class. But then I got some knowledge.)

The study turned up some other things to note: Less than 30% of women could correctly identify all six parts of the women’s reproductive system from the same diagram. Also, only one in seven women were able to name a cancer that affects the reproductive organs. (The study was done by The Eve Appeal, a UK-based gynecological charity in awareness of September being Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month.)

The study also turned up the interesting note that women ages 65 and older were most likely to have scant knowledge of their reproductive organs, with less than one of four women able to name even one part. This might speak to a divide in sexual and health education between generations.

Not to be dramatic, but knowing this information could save your life, or the life of another woman you know.

California Will Now Offer a Year’s Worth of Birth Control Pills

Once again, California blazes the way for the rest of the nation.

Last week, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law that states that women will be able to pick up a year’s supply of birth control pills at one time. Before this law passed, pharmacists were only able to dispense birth control in three-month supplies. (And I know I’ve had trouble with even that.)

birth control pills in California

Worried about if your insurance will cover it? No need: the new law also requires that the new year-at-once be covered in healthcare plans.

The new law goes into Jan. 1, 2017.