By Fai Shuster Kur
It's not easy for people to think that there may be elements about sex that they are not aware of, or that they can improve. In truth most of the additional elements exist in the relationship, communication, and intimacy outside the act of sex.
It is in this space where we can connect deeper and it's in this space where our relationships can start to unravel and fall apart if our sexual relationships are not able to satisfy our need for connect, love and intimacy...
Reposted by Fai Shuster Kur
The human vagina is a lively place, full of beneficial bacteria that discourage nasty microbes from invading. Now, new research finds this ecosystem is even more mysterious than previously realized.
Not only do women vary widely in what sorts of microbes call the vagina home, the study finds, but the ecosystem of the vagina can also change rapidly — to no ill effect. That's important, because while some vaginal infections are associated with changes in the vagina's native flora, it's now clear that not every change is a sign of disease.
"I think people are going to be surprised at the extent of variation that we see in these species, and that practitioners and women alike are going to see why they don't behave like their sisters or their daughters or the last patient that they saw," said study researcher Larry Forney of the University of Idaho.
The vaginal ecosystem
Researchers have increasingly come to realize that without the help of the microbes that live on our skin, in our guts and even in our reproductive systems, humans would be in trouble. Disruptions in gut bacteria have been linked to everything from obesity to depression, for example.
One of the most famous residents of the vagina is a group of bacteria called Lactobacillus, which produces lactic acid and helps keep the pH of the vagina around 4.5 — about the same acidity as the juice of a tomato. But studies have shown that at least five different types of bacterial communities that can colonize a woman's vagina. Types 1to 3 are dominated by Lactobacillus species, while the last two types are a diverse bunch without many Lactobacillus. White women are more likely to host a type 1 colony, dominated by Lactobacillus crispatus, than black women, who more often harbor diverse type 4 colonies.
Now, Forney, his colleague Jacques Ravel of the University of Maryland and their collaborators have shown that this vaginal microbial "fingerprint" changes over time in individual women, with one colony type displacing another, sometimes quite rapidly. The researchers analyzed vaginal microbe samples, taken by a swab twice a week for 16 weeks from 32 women. The women also kept daily diaries of their activities and hygiene.
"With 32 women, we can capture almost all the different types of communities that we have observed in previous samples," Ravel said.
The researchers analyzed the genes of the microbes discovered in order to identify them. They found that the vaginal ecosystem varies widely over time, sometimes changing during menstruation, sometimes swapping from one colony type for another as a result of sexual activity or unknown reasons. In some women, monthly bleeding didn't perturb the microbes at all; in others, the period heralded a short-lived era in which on microbe would reign supreme, only to be replaced when the bleeding ended by another species that dominated the rest of the month.
"We know that different women have different kinds of vaginal microbiota, and now we know that over time the dynamics of the change that we observed vary," Ravel told LiveScience.
The unstable world of the vagina is more than a scientific curiosity. Disruptions in the vaginal "microbiome" have been linked with bacterial vaginosis, a common condition sometimes marked by itching, unusual discharge and unpleasant odor.
The problem, said William Ledger, a gynecologist at Weill Cornell Medical College, is that about half of women who get a diagnosis of bacterial vaginosis have no symptoms at all — laboratory tests mark them as having an out-of-whack vaginal ecosystem, and most doctors respond with antibiotics to bring the vagina back to "normal." But the new study shows that it's actually fluctuations, not stability, that are normal for many women.
"What we're saying is there can be changes in the flora," said Ledger, who was not involved in the original study put penned an opinion piece published alongside it. "We think that women are probably in most cases able to modify these changes and get back to what their normal status is and that they shouldn't be treated [if they don't have symptoms]."
The research showed that even as microbes change, their essential functions might not, Ravel said. If you assume that the only healthy vagina is a Lactobacillus-colonized vagina, you might assume that if you don't see Lactobacillus present, the woman is ill. In fact, other species may take up the acid-generating slack in the absence of Lactobacillus, the researchers found.
"We hope that by using more personalized treatments based on what a woman looks like over time, you can actually start preventing disease instead of just curing [it]," Ravel said."It can have a lot of implications in medicine, for example, reducing the use of antibiotics."
Overuse of antibiotics can result in drug-resistant bacteria.
Mystery remains about what drives the changes in a woman's vaginal ecosystem. Unlike gut or skin bacteria, vaginal bacteria don't get outside sources of nutrients such as food or lotions (with the possible exception of vaginal lubricants), Forney said. Initial colonization probably happens at birth, but the bacterial colonies change during puberty and menopause, he said. Estrogen levels, sexual activity and menstruation likely all play a role in short-term fluctuations.
"It's a remarkable system in that it tends to stay within certain boundaries," Forney said. "You don't see the system just come apart. It comes back. It's a very resilient system."
That resilience and the specific bacteria that tend to show up suggest an evolutionary selection for bacteria that help women survive and pass on their genes in some way, Forney said. Besides the microbes' role in preventing vaginal infections, they may also play a role in fertility and childbirth, protecting the infant during labor, for example, Ravel said, though that is "all speculation."
The researchers are now studying a larger group of women and collecting daily vaginal samples to better understand how fast change happens. One hundred and sixty women are already enrolled and have sampled their vaginas on a daily basis for 10 weeks, Ravel said. The goal is both to understand any changes that come before a vaginal infection, and to unravel the mysteries of the microbiome more broadly, he said.
"One of our main drivers in some of the next-step questions that we are taking on is trying to understand the true function of the vaginal microbiota," Ravel said.
You can follow LiveScience senior writer Stephanie Pappas on Twitter @sipappas.
By Fai Shuster Kur
Can you believe that 178 million women from 15-49 suffer endometriosis worldwide, more ...than AIDS, breast cancer, both types of diabetes, worldwide.
Up to 10% of women have a degree of endometriosis, roughly 1 million women in Australia.
It takes an average of 8 years for diagnosis. (Link to Symptoms)
One of the highest causes of sick days/infertility in women.
Famous sufferers include Whoopi Goldberg, Susan Sarandon, Dolly Parton, Jillian Michaels.
Can you relate to Susan's thoughts and experiences.
It would be great if you could share them with us on this page.
Fai Kur, Sexual Focus.
By Celeste Perron Link to original article)
Shared by Fai Shuster Kur
If someone told you that you could send insecurity packing and radiate serious sex appeal in and out of your clothes just by reading this article, would you believe it? If you said no (or even thought it for a fleeting second), then you’re exactly the kind of person who could totally benefit from what we’re about to tell you. You see, attitude counts for a lot in life, and making little adjustments to yours can pay off. For example, “shutting out the negative chatterbox in your head that criticizes every little perceived flaw and learning to appreciate your unique beauty is essential to true happiness and real confidence,” says Susan Jeffers, PhD, author of Life Is Huge. The real shocker: It’s easier than you think. Your guide to basking in body bravado— even in the buff—and achieving a new level of allure starts here.
Ditch Your Self-Bashing Mind-Set
“Left to their own devices, many women will focus on negative things about themselves more than the positive,” says Darlene Mininni, PhD, author of The Emotional Tool Kit. If you want to revel in body confidence, turn off that self-critical tape that’s on a loop in your head.
● Quit cracking “jokes” about your bod. “Even casual, half-kidding self-assessments get lodged in your brain as truth,” says Jeffers. Get into the habit of censoring yourself every time you’re about to utter a derogatory comment like “I’ll probably need a minus-A cup for my pancake chest.”
● Put yourself in the hot seat. “When negative beliefs creep into your mind, fight back and challenge each one like a trial lawyer,” says Mininni. If you think, I’ve gained so much weight, ask yourself What evidence is there? Have I had to throw out my old clothes and buy larger sizes? If the answer is no, you’ll have to face the harsh truth— you haven’t packed on the pounds.
● Listen to what those voices are really saying. Insecure thoughts can be deceiving. “They usually occur because you’re feeling powerless or scared in some aspect of your life,” says Los Angeles hypnotherapist Nancy Irwin, PsyD. So when that inner bitch taunts you, ask What’s really bothering me? Maybe you had a spat with your guy or you’re anxious about work. Identify the true source of your angst so you can ditch self-hate and tackle the real issue.
●Look at “I’m a hottie” evidence. Beth, 29*, blasts her body blues by flipping through a photo album she’s filled with the most flattering pictures of herself. “Seeing proof that I am attractive, despite what my mind is saying, makes me feel great about myself again,” she says.
Enjoy Being Eye Candy
Do you ever burn with self-consciousness when a guy checks you out— even if it’s your boyfriend trying to cop a stare as you make a dash sans clothes to the bathroom? Learn to love being ogled and your sex appeal—and confidence—will go through the roof.
●Step into his headspace. We assume that guys are just as hard on our bodies as we are, but that’s so not true. “Men admire the whole package,” says psychologist Sheenah Hankin, PhD, author of Complete Confidence. “They don’t pick you apart, and they don’t look longingly if they’re not liking what they see.” So when a babe is feasting his peepers on you in bed, remind yourself that he’s appreciating the scenery, not cataloging your “flaws.”
● Hang out in your birthday suit. The more time you spend in the buff, the more comfortable you become with your bod. “And more important, it makes you feel less inhibited when you’re with a man too,” says Hankin. Your homework: Sleep naked, watch TV undressed, and when you step out of the shower, wrap that towel around your hair instead of your butt.
● Work it while you walk. “Master a confident stride. It oozes self-assuredness, and nothing’s sexier than that,” says Hankin. To strut your stuff, stand tall, keep your neck long and straight, roll your shoulders back and down, and let your hands swing at your sides as you put one foot slightly in front of the other (to make sure you get that catwalk hip sashay). And take your time. A slightly languorous pace screams “I’m too hot to be rushed!”
● Flirt your fanny off. When you’re stuck in a social situation where you feel awkward or you think you look like crap, you probably try to blend in with the woodwork—which only makes you feel more like a loser. So conjure up your feminine wiles and try to charm the pants off someone (figuratively, or literally if you want). “Flirting will take your attention away from your self-consciousness,” says Hankin. “And when the object of your attention flirts back, you’ll feel more attractive and confident.”
top Comparing Yourself to the Competition Bitching about the genetic cards you’ve been dealt, and bemoaning the fact that you don’t measure up to some superhuman bikini model, is a self-destructive waste of time. “Being threatened by other women—and their perceived perfections—makes it tougher for you to appreciate and play up your own assets,” says Irwin.
● Focus on what’s sexy. Ever wonder why a major babe would fall head over heels in love with some far-from-perfect chick? That’s because men (well, most of them) aren’t really interested in a supermodel-perfect partner, as Hillary, 27, discovered at her 10-year high-school reunion. “Steve was voted Cutest Guy in my class, and his fiancée was average-looking at best,” says Hillary. But as the night wore on, I realized she was super-outgoing, really funny, and actually sexy.” Pay attention to women you find sexy who aren’t classically beautiful—it will teach you to appreciate you own uniqueness.
●Fight your “If only…” cravings. “Too many women think that life would be better if they lost a few pounds or had longer legs,” says Irwin. Well, guess what? Even if you had those things, you’d find something else to complain about. “It never stops because it’s a mind-set, not a real problem. You have to be happy with who you are now.” To kick that wannabe habit, every time you find yourself envying another woman’s assets, stop and acknowledge something that you like about yourself. “You can admire other people’s strengths, as long as it’s not at the expense of seeing your own,” Irwin says.
● Don’t downgrade other chicks. Surprisingly, harshing on other women’s looks actually hurts your self-image as much as envying them does. “That yardstick you use to judge their so-called flaws is the same one you use to judge your own,” says Hankin. Getting rid of that rating system will help you cut yourself more slack and really feel good.
Stop Soliciting Negative Feedback
It goes something like this: “Do these new espadrilles make my ankles look thick?” “C’mon, my arms look flabby, right?” “Just be straight with me about my huge butt—I can take it.” Enough! Though it might seem like harmless chatter, these queries are insidiously destructive to your self-esteem. “You’re just reinforcing unhealthy thoughts,” says Mininni.
● Remember, it’s a big bore. Pay attention when you’re trolling for reassuring feedback and you’ll probably notice some eye-rolling from your audience before you get the same “No, you look great” response. That’s because your humble routine makes you seem self-involved, which is a total yawn. It’s ironic, but perpetually broadcasting your insecurities can make you appear vain.
● Start accepting your props. When you get a compliment— whether it’s your guy praising your body in bed or a colleague admiring how great your outfit looks on you—skip the bashful rebuttal and try something more radical, like a simple thanks. “If you stop shutting out flattery and start listening to it, what you’re hearing will gradually become your automatic belief,” says Irwin.
Fake It Until You Feel It
You know how some actors become so immersed in their roles that they practically become their characters? Well, taking on a confident, sexy persona can help you feel like a confident, sexy chick. “If you make a conscious effort to act self-assured, eventually you’ll begin to believe it,” says Irwin.
● Lose the loser mannerisms. Folding your arms, slouching, or gnawing on your cuticles is the equivalent of wearing a neon sign that screams “I feel totally out of place!”
● Strike a poised pose. On the other hand, projecting confidence through body language, will make people respond to you more positively, boosting your self-assurance. “Confident people ‘mark their territory,’ ” says Irwin. “So, hold your head high and keep your shoulders back.”
● Get out of your clothing comfort zone. You may think your fat jeans make you feel better when you’re feeling blah, but you’re actually perpetuating that“I’m a whale” mind-set every time you slip them on. “Dressing well reinforces for you that your body is special and deserves nice clothes,” says Hankin. That means trade the schlubby weekend wear for cute body-hugging threads that make you like what you see in the mirror.
● Lay a sexy foundation. The confidence- boosting clothing rule also applies to the duds people don’t see, i.e., your unmentionables. “The garments you wear closest to your skin affect how you feel,” says Hankin. So ditch the granny panties, and make your “special occasion” undies part of your everyday wardrobe. They’ll make you feel so sexy, you might even give your guy a spontaneous lingerie fashion show. ■
I loved this post, your can go to the original post here.
Read more: Feel Sexy in Your Skin - Cosmopolitan
holding them back from creating unease within them and connection in their relationship.
We can't always measure success based on what we believe we can see, what we believe needs to happen. The depth of the healing may be more profound and amazing than anyone of us will ever truly know and most of the time it has nothing to do with how often we have sex and who initiates it.
What does a sex therapist do?
I wish more people knew that sex therapists exist and the amazing work that we do. Yes we talk about sex but as we all know sex does not occur in a bubble, it exists within the context of your life. We incorporate the work of relationship and couples couselling and all of the individual factors that affect a persons sexual scenario.
Why do I raise this?
Once a week I have couples come in who are currently in therapy with another counsellor and they come to me to talk about sex! I am not complaining, this is brilliant as they are empowered enough to seek out the guidance and pathway that will nurture their needs.
I am definitely not thinking anything negative towards the counsellors themselves as they are doing amazing work. My peeve exists because government health promotion takes a disease-orientated approach to funding sexual health issues.
The needs of those members of our community are great, however my desire is for sexual health to be viewed as a real health issue where prevention and harm minimization of all sexual health related issues are funded, respected and promoted as being very real and an important health concern.
By not acknowledging this we are affecting the help seeking behaviours of so many.
In the past two years alone I have met at least 6 women who have vaginismus. They have been unable to consummate their relationships/marriages, as penetration remains impossible. They have been married e.g. 6 yrs/ 15 yrs/ 20 yrs.
What is common is that they did not know what was wrong with them; they thought they were insane and broken. Those who dared to seek help were often made to feel bad, ashamed and were misdiagnosed (based on my clients - not people in general).
As you can see, our silence surrounding the topic of sex affects the information that other health care practitioners provide. The taboo and silence re sex affects us more than you know.
I know that people are not running around saying -
OMG I have this awesome sex therapist!!
Well actually it would be very awesome if you would do that :)
So while we wait for the world to catch on to this and loose their fear related to the word sex, lets let people know that they do not need to be embarrassed or ashamed. They do not need to live with something for 15 yrs prior to seeking help.
We are here for them, we are here for you!
BeDaring is an Adultshop in QLD, their aim for this article was to encourage their clients to introduce toys into the bedroom. Enjoy the Article, Fai xxx
Many of us crave the intimacy, spark and sexual chemistry that once flooded our bodies. We reminisce about the days spent luxuriating in each other’s presence, we wonder where did that all go and how do we bring our desire and spark back?
Matt and Gemma were one of those couples who’d spend hours in bed together at the beginning of their relationship. However, four years on, that spark, that inner flame of desire seemed to be a distant memory. Intimacy seemed like a foreign concept and sex almost never happened. Every now and then Gemma wondered if Matt still loved her and if he desired her. She knew that she loved him, but that inner flame had left her body.
When we finally meet someone who makes us feel amazing we think that the feeling will last forever. As times passes, relationships evolve and life stressors seep into the relationship and into our bodies. We try to reconnect but many of us fall into our old routines very quickly.
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