Our relationship to pain in life is an interesting one. The idea that a successful life could be measured by the amount of pleasure or pain we experience is as erroneous as the idea that as humans we seek to avoid pain. In truth, many of us seek out painful experiences, or at least knowingly and willingly submit to them. This has occurred to me recently in the back and forth driving I have been doing with my son’s daily doubles soccer practices.
Archive for the 'Diary' Category
As a culture, our diet often suffers from the overwhelming demands of schedule and time constraints; we pick up food on the run and call it a meal. Even when we take the time to prepare a meal at home, we often eat it in front of a screen, eating quickly and mindlessly. Taking the time to taste our food is a luxury many of us don’t know we are missing. We leap to the main course, over eating but never really filling up.
In many ways our sexual drive sadly gets the same treatment. We take the sensuous part of our humanity for granted, forgetting the power that scent has in waking up our memory, sexuality and emotions. It is well documented that people who become anosmic, suffer not only a significant drop in their ability to taste, but to emote. Thus, sexual drive plummets.
Learning to pay attention to scent and the associated tastes is a form of building a sensory vocabulary.Taking the time to savor our senses makes life rich. Nowhere is that more true than in our intimate lives. Thinking about your sex life like a gourmet meal both takes the pressure off of any preconceived ideas of the main event and opens a gateway to the wonders of what it means to be a sexual being.
“Lovely female shapes are terrible complicators of the difficulties and dangers of this earthly life, especially for their owners.” ~George du Maurier
I was caught by a news headline that showed, in a recent Nutrisystem poll of one thousand people, approximately 50% of female participants say they would rather go without sex for the summer than gain 10 pounds. One quarter of the male respondents agreed. The poll was supported by recent European research with 12,000 participants. This study found that obese women were 30% less likely to have a sexual partner than normal weight women. Interestingly, this did not hold up for obese men.
How we imagine other people see our bodies and how we perceive ourselves when we look in the mirror, or touch and smell ourselves, has a significant yet complex impact on how we think about ourselves sexually. Body image doesn’t just include our estimation or our shape and weight compared with the ideal cultural body type, it also often includes our feelings about specific body parts. Our feelings about our bodies are a learned response based on the messages and images of ideal beauty that our society and families value. Growing up comparing ourselves and being compared to a specific type of beauty is how our feelings about our bodies grow in us. Think about how different these beautiful body ideals have been across culture and time.
It is never too late to learn about your boundaries. I am coming to believe that it is perhaps one of the aspects of living that most defines our maturity and facility for accomplishing our goals. Boundary issues are common to most of us; in fact, our personal boundaries are the basic, yet often invisible rulebook that guides all of our relationships. Our boundaries define how and what we communicate, what we give and receive, and even, in the most basic sense, provide the parameters for what we expect from others and life itself.
Boundaries reflect how we love ourselves and what we value most deeply. They impact our capacity at work, with authority, with our money and our sexuality. Knowing when we want to say yes, when we want to say no, what feels like self-respect and where our own needs start and end are the foundations that build the sense of boundaries that control our lives. Mine have long been porous, which is a generous way of admitting that my lines between myself and others, in family and even more so at work, have been fuzzy.
An old friend once told me that our boundaries are the truest measure of how we love ourselves. I thought I understood the meaning at the time. Raising four children should have bestowed on me a mastery of setting limits and protecting my personal space over the last two decades. It hasn’t. I am not alone in my struggle for healthy boundaries. Learning to define our boundaries is challenging for many people because they are fluid and change with our sense of ourselves.
“Sex lies at the root of life, and we can never learn to reverence life until we know how to understand sex.” Henry Ellis
Who doesn’t want a healthy and satisfying sex life? And yet a substantial and growing percentage of people struggle with low libido and sexual dysfunction issues. Overcoming this challenge in order to benefit from the many emotional and physical benefits of lovemaking should be on the top of your list when you consider that hundreds of major medical studies correlate an active sex life with a longer life, better heart health, a healthier immune response, reduction in chronic pain symptoms, lower rates of depression and even protection against some cancers.
Identifying the top 5 libido killers is a good way to get on track to finding healthy ways to build healthy mental and physical habits to revitalize the passionate side of your life.
Like millions of other young girls in this country, my daughters were raised with the Disney girls. My eldest was a long-time fan of both Lindsay Lohan and Hillary Duff and witnessed with disbelief as their girl-next-door appearances slipped into sex symbol and their lives slipped out of control in a world designed to devour them whole. Where were their parents, I wondered, as they made bad choice after bad choice? Disney fame seemed to be a curse for the girls who grew up as role models for so many young girls.
My youngest daughter has been a fan of Hannah Montana for years. The values and lessons in the show, with her real Dad at her side, were comforting to us; we somehow believed that she would escape the fate of her predecessors. My daughter would say, ”She’s from the South, her dad won’t let her do sexy music videos…” Perhaps they left her for a long vacation, because it is hard to believe that her parents or the Disney executives who promote Hannah Montana would be ok with the soft porn music video, “Can’t be Tamed” that she just released.
The line between pornography and music videos has been blurry for a long time. A quick look at Christina Aguilera in her latest video Not Myself Tonight demonstrates that pornography has really crossed every line of society, including our children’s hip-hop culture. In this society, female equals sexualized if you hope to get any attention. Apparently, 17 is not too young to turn a Disney girl into the next piece of meat for society to devour.
Most things in life are developmental. Human lifespan has programmed continuous growth and maturation into our genetic code, which acts as an imperative that makes skill building one of the richest aspects of daily living. Nowhere is this truer than in our foundational relationship to our sexuality.
For years the word on brain development in aging adults was not pretty. The idea that your brain was slowly dying, in step with the deterioration we witness in our bodies was the prevailing view. Happily for most of us, enough smart baby boomer scientists started looking deeper and found that in fact, the middle-aged brain, which shapes our thinking from our 40s to our late 60s is in fact still developing and in fact hitting its peak in many areas of cognition and problem solving.
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“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.“-Albert Schweitzer
A long holiday weekend is a great time to consider staying in to create your own fireworks. For as much exhibitionist sexuality that floods our media sources, many couples are hard pressed to find the time and attention that a healthy and vital intimate life demands. The sad truth is that many people do not know how to have sex. We presume that it is an innate skill like love, but the truth is that both of these capacities that define our humanity and our lives are skill based, which means that they respond to education and practice. It is no wonder, really when you consider that on the one hand, we are inundated by an exhibitionist, “anything-goes” sexuality in our pornographic laden culture, and on the other hand there is nothing. This is an empty and lonely place where most of us live with our questions about sexuality and wonder what is normal. Even most “Better Sex” videos are so graphic that integrating the images into practice is a far reach for many. The fiction of pornography is for many the only educations available.
As a purveyor of love products and a loveologist, I spend my days educating about products and relationships, which can enhance the real connection between people. One thing that I have learned over and over is that even though I am completely confident in my product formulations as tools for a longer and more satisfying sex life, the more I recognize that even the best lube in the world is not going to work if you don’t know how to use it. So here’s a little guide to the steps of making a spark turn into flame in your bedroom…
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“Women’s desire for sexual emancipation is very worthy. I fear that it’s being hijacked by a profit-oriented industry that doesn’t really try to understand women and their sexuality.” –Leonore Tiefer
The race towards a pill to cure female sexual dysfunction continues as the major pharmaceutical players vie to create a pill that can cure the symptoms that keep women from the desire and arousal that characterize a vital intimate life. The market for such a remedy is estimated to be worth close to $2 billion; but of those who have already tried and failed, the prevailing sentiment was that female sexuality and its corollary dysfunction is the result of a subtle and complex combination of behaviors, attitudes and emotions. Not easily treatable with a single pill.
In fact, FSD, or female sexual dysfunction is a reality that visits the majority of women on the planet at some point in their lives. On any given day, most clinical studies cite the statistic of 43% of women being affected by a range of symptoms that include vaginal dryness, pain with intimacy and loss of libido. It is difficult to decipher which symptom begets the other and even harder to unravel the emotional, mental and spiritual impacts that this extremely common, yet rarely discussed condition that impacts millions of women and couples.
The most recent application to the FDA came from Boehringer Ingelheim, who actually discovered their recent entry into the field of sexual healing by way of a failed anti-depressant, Flibanserin. The manufacturers themselves are not entirely sure why changing the levels of seratonin, dopamine and norepinephrin work to affect a woman’s libido. Many of those on the review committee felt that the company had not made its case and that the benefits of the daily pill did not outweigh its side effects, which included dizziness, nausea and fatigue.