When men don’t want sex…..

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March 31st, 2011

“Not tonight, honey. I have a headache.” How many times has a guy heard that before? Husbands around the world are all too familiar with being sexually rejected. But now, more than ever, those words, (or some variation), are being expressed by men, to their female partners. While the conventional wisdom has been that it’s usually the woman in the relationship who inevitably loses interest in sex, the opposite is often true. Low male desire is at all-time high, and is likely to occur for any number of reasons:

Biological. There are many possible physical causes of low male sexual desire, from heart disease, to antidepressants, to alcohol or drug use, to low levels of testosterone. If he’s ruled out other factors, it’s a good idea for him to pay a visit to his doctor.

Emotional. A guy’s sex drive is often closely tied to his self-esteem – when one suffers, so does the other. The economic downturn has sent lots of men into a funk: Job changes or loss, financial worries, and depression can all add up to a low libido. He may feel like less of a man, no matter how much his partner tells him that money doesn’t matter.

Relationship. Feelings like anger, resentment, and general dissatisfaction with his relationship can play havoc on a man’s sex life with his partner – but these issues don’t necessarily sink his libido. Sure, he may claim he’s not in the mood. But he may simply be putting his sexual energy elsewhere, whether into masturbation, porn, strip clubs, or an affair. What happens outside of the bedroom affects what happens inside the bedroom, and when men are bored in their relationship they tend to get bored in the bedroom.

Porn. The Internet has made porn much more accessible – and the frequent masturbation it triggers may be making men too worn out for sex with a real partner. As I’ve discussed before in this blog, men are masturbating 50 to 500 percent more than they would normally without Internet porn. So if a guy normally masturbated once a day, he might now be doing it two or three times a day. If he masturbated three times a week, he might now be getting graphic with his graphics 15 times a week. If you’re 17 and single, this might not be a problem. But if you’re 40 and toting a gut, it’s an issue – a real issue. Some guys may still feel mentally like they’re 17 years old, but they can’t have sex that way. Their bodies have changed and so have their refractory periods, the natural interval between erections. Guys with low desire may simply lack the mojo for real sex because they’re depleted from masturbation.

Your relationship itself could also be contributing to his low desire. While there are similarities between how men and women get sexually aroused, there are also some key differences. New research suggests that female sexual response depends on the quality of emotional intimacy and overall relationship satisfaction. That means that when a woman feels comfortable and secure in her relationship, she’s likely to feel more sexual desire – to the point where curling up on the couch in sweats and a T-shirt is more of a turn-on than donning some sexy lingerie.

But for men, this sense of complacency and comfort could work against sexual desire, especially if there’s less emphasis on novelty, newness, excitement, and visual stimulation, all of which play heavily into the stimulation of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that, like amphetamines, plays a big role in sexual arousal.

Sex ruts and mismatched libidos are common in any long-term relationship, but guys are generally more used to striking out and not taking it personally. We play the numbers and we know we’ll get another chance at bat, so it’s more a matter of continually stepping up to the plate.

But when a man is disinterested in sex, a woman is much more likely to take it as an insult or a reflection on her attractiveness, rather than looking at all the factors described above. Also, statistically, women are more likely to self-silence and bottle up their emotions than are men. So whereas a guy who wants more sex might lash out and say, “How come we never have sex anymore?” a woman is more likely to let her anger simmer and stew, which leads to resentment and might cause a woman to build an emotional wall between her and her partner, which will protect her from feelings of rejection.

But the truth is that sexual desire is not a light switch that just gets turned on and off. The media tells men over and over that women need more foreplay. But women also need to get with the same program and understand that male desire is like a dimmer switch: It unfolds across a spectrum and requires effort. Men are not just walking erections, ready to go whenever the wind blows.

Regardless of your gender, when a couple is dealing with mismatched libidos, the worst thing the partner with more desire can do is to give up on sex. Like Sherlock Holmes, the partner with more desire has to engage in some forensic analysis to uncover the clues and causes, and then take action to bring sex back into the relationship. From foreplay to fantasy, to enhancing communication and the overall quality of the relationship, there’s a lot you can do to foster a satisfying sex life. So start talking with each other, share a fantasy or two, and take a few aspirin for that “headache.” Your relationship will thank you.

How homosexuality is ‘inherited’

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March 28th, 2011

Scientists say they have shown how male homosexuality could be passed from generation to generation.
Nature encourages mothers to pass on a “gay trait” to their male offspring by boosting their fertility, the Italian University of Padova team believes.
This would keep the pattern of gay inheritance alive, they told the Royal Society’s Biological Sciences journal.
Critics of the theory argue a gay gene would eventually be wiped out because gay couples do not procreate.
Inheritance theory
There is controversy about whether sexual orientation is a matter of choice, the authors of the study admitted to the journal.
Campaigners say equality for homosexual people is the more important issue.
Back in 1993, US researchers suggested male homosexuality was passed from mother to son after they found strong patterns of inheritance in family trees.

It has also been noted that homosexual males are more often the younger siblings of a number of older brothers.
Scientists have said it might be that the mother develops some kind of resistance to the male Y chromosome in her offspring that makes subsequent baby boys more likely to be born gay.
Scientists doing DNA studies on homosexual brothers pinpointed ‘culprit’ genetic material to a region of the X chromosome that mothers pass on to their offspring.
But other researchers in the US have not been able to replicate these findings.
Highly fertile
Andrea Camperio-Ciani and colleagues argue genetic factors favouring homosexual male offspring could make women more fertile.
“Our data resolve this paradox by showing that there might be, hitherto unsuspected, reproductive advantages associated with male homosexuality,” they said.
They looked at 98 homosexual and 100 heterosexual men and their relatives, which included more than 4,600 people overall.

The female relatives on the mother’s side of the homosexual men tended to have more offspring than the female relatives on the father’s side.
This suggests that these women who, in theory, pass on the gay trait to their male offspring are also more fertile.
In comparison, the female relatives on both the mother’s and the father’s side of the heterosexual men did not appear to be as fertile, having fewer offspring.
The researchers believe the homosexuality-increased fertility trait must be passed down on the female X chromosome.
They pointed out that this would not explain the majority (80%) of cases, and that cultural factors might be important.
Bigger picture
“It is clear that our findings, if confirmed by further research, are only one piece in a much larger puzzle on the nature of human sexuality,” they said.
In 2002, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics produced a report into the possible link between genes and behaviour, which included sexual orientation.
It concluded: “There are numerous problems with genetic and other biological research into sexual orientation which mean that any reported findings must be viewed with caution.”
It said many of the genetic studies were too small to draw definite conclusions from.
Alan Wardle from the gay rights charity Stonewall said: “This is an interesting debate and there may well be a genetic element, but it’s not conclusive.
“It does not really matter whether it is nature or nurture.
“The important thing is getting equality for homosexual people.”

Many Obese Moms and Kids Underestimate Their Weight…

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March 28th, 2011

Overweight and obese people often think they weigh less than they do, and many mothers of chubby kids view their children’s bulk as normal, new research finds.

The study of women and children conducted at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City found that faulty body image was far more prevalent among the heaviest participants than people of normal weight.

“The implications of this is the overwhelming impact of obesity on children who are growing up in communities where obesity and overweight is the norm rather than the exception,” said lead author Dr. Nicole Dumas, a medical resident at Columbia.

“It sort of skews their image of what they see as being a normal or healthy weight,” Dumas added.

The 111 urban moms — whose average age was 39 — and 111 children were asked to choose a silhouette that best represented their own body size. About 66 percent of the mothers were overweight or obese, as were 39 percent of their children, who ranged from 7 to 13 years old.

Of the obese women, only 18 percent chose silhouettes that were obese, while 76 percent chose overweight forms. The remainder selected normal shapes to represent their body size. Of the merely overweight women, just under 58 percent selected an overweight shape, and nearly 43 percent selected a normal-size silhouette.

“There has been other data of overweight individuals that shows that your perception of body weight is different with individuals who are in a situation where the majority is overweight,” said Alice H. Lichtenstein, professor of nutrition science and policy at Tufts University in Boston.

Noting that our society as a whole is hefting more fat, she said living in a culture where obesity is common “is going to affect our perception of ourselves and our children.”

Excess weight is a risk factor for health problems including heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Widespread misperceptions about body size may represent another challenge in the war against obesity, the study authors say.

The study, to be presented Wednesday at the American Heart Association’s scientific sessions in Atlanta, found that:

* 82 percent of obese mothers and 43 percent of overweight mothers underestimated their weight.
* 86 percent of overweight or obese children underestimated their weight, while only 15 percent of normal-sized kids did.
* 48 percent of mothers of obese or overweight children thought their children’s weight was normal.
* 13 percent of normal-weight mothers underestimated their weight.

Nearly 80 percent of the participants were Hispanic; about 10 percent were black; 6 percent were white; and 2 percent were Asian, with the remainder identifying themselves as “other.”

About 66 percent of the moms were obese or overweight, which is reflective of the general U.S. population, Dumas said.

But the study children’s rate of overweight or obesity, at 39 percent, was higher than for American children in general, at 33 percent, she noted.

The study data show the need for health-care providers to educate patients about the dangers of excess body weight, said Lichtenstein, who also is the director and senior scientist of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts.

Schools should teach home economics “with a 21st century approach,” she said, so children learn how “to choose and provide foods that are going to result in a healthy body weight.”

The Columbia research echoed the findings of a September 2010 Harris Interactive/HealthDay survey that found that 30 percent of overweight people thought their weight was normal, while 70 percent of those who were obese thought they were merely overweight. Most thought that lack of exercise, rather than poor eating habits, was the cause, the survey found.

The obesity epidemic isn’t confined to the United States. “It’s a global issue around the world,” said Dr. Robert Eckel, professor of medicine at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and former American Heart Association president.

Its impact on children is serious, Eckel said.

“An obese child is going to become an obese adult,” said Eckel. “Individuals, schools, health-care providers, churches and the government all have a role” to play in addressing this public health issue, he said.

Experts note that information presented at scientific meetings has not been scrutinized as thoroughly as studies published in medical journals.

Acne May Blemish Teens’ Emotional Lives, Too!

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March 25th, 2011

A new review confirms something that teens have always known: pimples, low self-esteem and depression often go hand-in-hand.

While it doesn’t prove that blemishes actually cause emotional problems, the analysis of 16 studies suggests that teenage acne outbreaks do more than just boost Clearasil sales.

“Acne has a huge impact on people’s lives,” said review co-author Dr. Steven R. Feldman, a professor of dermatology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. “It’s something worth treating,” he added, and not just because it can lead to permanent scarring.

Feldman said he launched his research at a time when there’s a growing interest in how skin diseases might be linked to other conditions. People with psoriasis, for example, may have problems with heart disease, arthritis and mental issues.

Acne, of course, has long been known as a teenage scourge, although pimples can also affect older people. Feldman and his colleagues looked for research into the possible effects of acne on quality of life and mental health in adolescents. They determined that 16 studies were worthy of inclusion in their review; some of the studies included both teenagers and older people.

The review was published in the Dermatology Online Journal.

Overall, it says, the studies suggest that acne “can negatively affect quality of life, self-esteem and mood in adolescents.” Acne is also linked to higher rates of anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts.

In particular, one study found that 9 percent of teens with acne showed signs of depression, a rate that is three to four times higher than in the general population.

The cause-and-effect issue is a tricky one: the studies don’t prove that acne directly causes these problems; it could conceivably be the other way around.

However, “we’re not anticipating that depression causes acne,” Feldman said, although he thinks stress could exacerbate the skin condition.

The good news is that acne is largely treatable, especially in severe cases. The drug Accutane (isotretinoin) remains available, despite its reputation for having serious side effects, including depression, if not monitored properly. Because of links to birth defects, the drug is also particularly hazardous for women who or pregnant or may become pregnant. “For those patients who take it, it will change their lives,” said Dr. Robert S. Kirsner, chief of dermatology at University of Miami School of Medicine.

Those with less severe cases of acne, or those unwilling to take the drug, face a tougher battle, Kirsner said. In those cases, “you don’t cure it. You treat it.”

There are a variety of acne treatments other than pills, including injections that reduce inflammation and prescription and over-the-counter creams.

What to do? Review co-author Feldman advised acne sufferers to “go ahead and see your doctor to get it treated, a primary care doctor or a dermatologist, before there’s scarring or psychological issues.”

Fertility treatment can use semen from men with HIV..

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March 25th, 2011

Fertility treatments can be done safely and effectively in couples where the man is infected with the AIDS virus and the women isn’t, according to a new review of past studies.

Over the last 2 decades, researchers have improved methods of “washing” the semen of men infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Unwashed semen could pass HIV to the woman or their baby.

“I think the procedure is getting safer and safer,” said Dr. Deborah Anderson, a scientist at the Boston University School of Medicine who studies HIV. She was not involved in the current research, but she told Reuters Health that washing the man’s semen lowers the risk of transmission enough that “it’s an acceptable … procedure for couples that really want to have children.”

In the new review, published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, researchers from the Evandro Chagas Clinical Research Institute in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil looked at 17 earlier studies involving a total of about 1,800 couples in which only the male partner had HIV.

In each of the studies, researchers performed one of two common types of fertility treatments after washing the semen. Then they recorded how often women became pregnant after the procedures. They also monitored the women and any babies they had as a result of the procedures, to see whether HIV had been passed on from the semen.

About a third of the women had a procedure in which a single sperm is injected into a single egg; then the fertilized egg is placed into the woman’s womb. This kind of fertility treatment is assumed to be safer for couples in which the male partner has HIV because it is easier to ensure that the sperm being used does not have the HIV virus.

The rest of the women had sperm injected directly into the womb, when their eggs were most likely to be there.

Ultimately, roughly half the women became pregnant, and about 80 to 85 percent of the pregnancies resulted in the birth of a baby.

The success rates for pregnancy were comparable to what has been shown in other studies of fertility treatment in couples without HIV. If anything, couples in the current study may have been more likely to get pregnant using fertility treatments because many of them had no underlying fertility problems, the authors say.

None of the women in the study, or babies that were born after fertility treatments, tested positive for HIV. However, in a few of the studies in which researchers tested semen after it was washed, between two and eight of every 100 samples tested positive for HIV – indicating that it still may be possible, if unlikely, for the virus to be passed either to the woman or to the fetus.

However, the findings are “very reassuring,” according to Dr. Elizabeth Ginsburg of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Center for Reproductive Medicine in Boston.

Ginsburg, who was not involved in the study, said that even if some of the samples did test positive for HIV, the amount of the virus was probably so small that it wasn’t likely to be passed to the mother or baby. In addition, she said, HIV transmission requires some sort of trauma to the woman’s body because the virus is passed from semen to blood, and although there’s a chance of that in intercourse, it’s not likely in fertility treatment.

Despite mounting evidence of its safety, fertility procedures are not very common in couples in which the male partner has HIV. In part that’s because the procedures aren’t often covered by insurance, Ginsburg said. Although some fertility procedures may be as inexpensive as $1,000, others run many times higher.

“One of the things that is a shame is that when couples can’t afford fertility treatment, they’re stuck with the other option, which is having timed intercourse, and that puts the woman at risk,” Ginsburg said.

Anderson said a new option for these couples might become available in the future — medications that the woman can take to avoid getting the virus from her partner who has HIV. And, “if the mom doesn’t get it, the baby’s not going to get it,” she said. “I think that’s going to be the future of this field.”

So far, only a couple of early studies have been done on the drugs’ effectiveness at preventing transmission of the virus, and for now, Anderson said, fertility treatment is the safest possible option for these couples.