Become an Expert in the Bedroom

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April 30th, 2014

If you want to be the kind of guy that elicits smiles and second looks, no matter how good you are in the bedroom refining your repertoire and technique is always advised (askmen.com). Besides, what’s more fun than learning more about sex, and driving your lover wild with some new knowledge or a scintillating new technique? If you want singles approaching you, giving you the eye and wondering with piqued enthusiasm if perhaps you might want to give someone new a try, or you just want to give your special someone a night to whisper and brag to their friends about, here are some ways to become an expert in the bedroom, and leave them begging for more. First, slow down on the porn. There is a controversy stirring as to whether impressions men get from watching porn are hurting their sex life. Another issue is that over-masturbation due to porn may be ruining the mood when you get together with someone offline. So limit your intake. Decide what would be a good level of consumption and stick to it. Next, consider what may happen if you are lucky enough to find yourself in the middle of a threesome. Whether planned or not, most guys focus on the fantasy without any thought to the logistics. You need to please each one and make them feel special. Your goal should be to make sure everyone climaxes at least one time.

Some men suffer from a low sex drive, or trouble maintaining their sex drive when in a long-term relationship. They expect to feel desire often. But the truth is, especially in a long-term relationship, sometimes you need to get the engine running before you can take them out on the road. That requires some effort. Turn your lover on first, or if you aren’t feeling it for a while and you know you should be, find ways to interact with your partner in a sexy way. Relationships change, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a robust sex life. Instead of moping about it, get to work on switching things up, surprising them with something sexy, or just doing things to get you two in the mood. Study up on sex a little. Get some books at the bookstore. Read articles online. Check out the Kama Sutra. Read up on Tantric sex and see if it’s for you. Really important advice, get to work on doing a little manscaping. Hygiene and good grooming are the number one turn-ons. Dress well and look like someone who they’d be attracted to. Wear a little cologne, do not bathe in it. If you’ve got some close male or female friends, talk to them about what they like and don’t like and what technique blew them away. This last one a lot of guys are embarrassed to try, but it will sharpen your game like nothing else can. Read women’s magazines and websites for advice. They read and talk about this stuff all the time.

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How To Maintain Optimal Sexual Health

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April 29th, 2014

The best way to maintain optimal sexual health is to keep the rest of your body healthy. Health issues in other areas of the body affect your sexual health, especially the genital area (menshealth.com). Certainly your age may not have as much to do with it as you think it does. According to assistant professor at the New York University School of Medicine and author, Steven Lamm, M.D., “A 50-year-old man who is healthy is probably performing as well sexually as an out-of-shape 30-year-old who smokes and drinks.” Dr. Lamm has written a book called, The Hardness Factor: How to Achieve Your Best Health and Sexual Fitness at Any Age. If you want to have a healthy and consistent sex life, pay attention to blood flow. Being overweight or eating a poor diet not only is bad for heart health, it’s bad for sexual health as well. In fact it’s a little known rule in medicine that what’s good for the heart is good for the genitals and visa-versa. Remember, too, that not only physical but mental health plays a big role in your bedroom ability. Anxiety, stress and depression can have just as much to do with the ability to have an erection and to sustain it, as well as remaining lubricated, as physical obstacles do.  Drug and alcohol addiction are both libido killers. By enacting a lifestyle that is both physically and emotionally healthy, you should be able to enjoy sex even into your eighth decade of life, and perhaps even beyond.

Abdominal fat is the worst kind of fat for sexual health. It absorbs testosterone, the hormone responsible for sex drive. The penis, for instance, is the proverbial “canary in the coal mine” for cardiovascular health. This is due to the fact that the coronary artery is slightly bigger than the penile artery. If your arteries are hardening or plaque is becoming a problem, it will first affect your erection. Eating a high fruit and vegetable, whole grain and low fat diet with lean meats and healthy proteins is one way to ensure you stay healthy. Also get plenty of exercise.

Aerobic exercise of some type for twenty to thirty minutes three times per week will keep you and your sex life healthy. Exercise increases not only blood flow but nitric oxide, a key ingredient in the formation of erections. Of this Dr. Lamm says, “The healthier a man is, the more nitric oxide he produces, and the harder his erection is.” Don’t smoke, and if you do, quit. Nicotine makes erections softer by restricting blood flow. Not only that, but according to Dr. Lamm, “Smoking just clenches down on your blood vessels and prevents them from being reactive.” If you are a male between 18 and 40 years of age, check your testicles often for testicular cancer. The disease affects 8,000 men per year but can be easily detected as an unusual lump in the testicles. If caught early, treatment is 95% effective. Go easy on the alcohol. More than one glass can affect your erection. Finally, eat fatty fish once or twice per week. The omega-3 fatty acids not only help your heart, they support healthy sexual function as well.

Chlamydial Urethritis

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April 29th, 2014

Are you experiencing a painful burning sensation when you go to urinate? Are you have trouble urinating? If you’ve experienced tender or swollen testicles, a discharge from the penis, itching, and swelling or redness at the hole in the tip of the penis, you may be experiencing chlamydial urethritis (nih.gov). Chlamydia is a very common sexually transmitted infection (STI). Colloquially it is sometimes called “the clap.” The bacteria called Chlamydia trachomatis causes the disease. Chlamydia is passed on from person to person through sexual contact, generally from unprotected sex. This disease often goes hand-in-hand with gonorrhea. The difference is that symptoms will remain even after the treatment for gonorrhea has been administered. Those who have many sexual partners are at the highest risk of contracting these diseases. Chlamydia can often cause the urethra or the tube which exits the penis at the tip (a vessel for semen and urine) to swell. This is called chlamydial urethritis. There are different strains of this bacteria and each causes a different infection. One infects the eyes, another the lungs, another the genitals and still another the lymph nodes. A woman who gives birth to a child and has chlamydia of her cervix may give the child a lung or eye infection, for instance.

There are many tests that can be administered by your healthcare provider in order to determine whether you indeed have chlamydia. A simple urine test, genital fluid testing such as testing the urethral discharge, and something called a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) which is taking a sample from the patent’s penis and sending it to a lab. A culture will be done to determine which microbe is present. Luckily the treatment for chlamydia is merely oral antibiotics. The common types prescribed are Erythromycin, Azithromycin, Tetracyclines and Quinolones. Both or all partners must be treated, even those who do not show symptoms of the disease as each partner will continue to re-infect the other if left untreated. One possible complication that can occur is called strictures or a narrowing of the urethra. Surgery may be required to reverse this issue. If your sexual partner or partners remain untreated or you do not take the medication as prescribed, the infection can return. If you are diagnosed with chlamydia, it’s important to get a screening for HIV, syphilis and other sexual transmitted infections as well. Monogamy is often recommended. Using a condom properly each time and with each partner can prevent the contraction of chlamydia.

This is you on stress

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April 24th, 2014

Editor’s note: Dr. Gail Saltz is a psychiatrist, columnist, bestselling author and television commentator.

(Health.com) — I was late to work. What if I lose my job? How will I find time to grocery shop? My family is going to starve. Could this headache mean I have cancer?

Even if your head doesn’t spin with these exact worries when it hits the pillow at night, there’s probably something similar whirring through your brain, keeping you up just when you should be powering down.

As a psychiatrist, I see many women who battle with anxieties, and not just at night. They obsess about their children, their marriage, their finances, their job, their parents; about sickness, accidents, disappointments and assorted other upsets that come under the heading Bad Things That Could Happen.

This is the nature of anxiety — an unpleasant emotional experience caused by the unpredictability and uncontrollability of the future and the ways that it could hurt you.

We all experience anxiety. It’s the mental part of fear, which is a biological response to a threat or danger. From an evolutionary perspective, fear is what has helped us humans survive for so long: It impels us to run away or hide if we see, say, a bear approaching.

And if you are in a park known to have many bears, it’s totally normal and logical to feel anxious even if you don’t see one, because this makes you cautious and keeps you from leaving food out at your campsite.

But what if you are at work and you start thinking about a camping trip you might take with your family and grow very worried that you could encounter a bear that might maul you or your kids, resulting in utter tragedy? This is when anxiety no longer serves a useful function and becomes a real problem — when you can’t stop obsessing about the possibility of something terrible happening, no matter how small or remote it is.

Trying to have it all just adds to the anxiety many women feel. I hear frequently from my New York City-area patients that the burden of balancing a healthy relationship and turning out great kids while remaining financially afloat (and looking young and staying fit, of course) leaves them fried and fretting.

A patient I’ll call S.W. came in reporting that she was exhausted from waking up in the middle of the night concerned that she wouldn’t get the next big project at work, her son wouldn’t make the basketball team, her husband wouldn’t get that raise and they wouldn’t be able to afford a down payment on the house she wanted. Then, when she was awake, she felt little jolts of stress all over again. S.W. did not have an anxiety disorder per se but rather a normal, albeit hefty, dose of worry.

It is possible, though, to retrain an anxious brain. I helped S.W. learn how to lower both the frequency and the amplitude of her worry so she could sleep better and be much more productive during the day as a result — and you can learn how, too.

Why we worry

S.W.’s story isn’t unique, nor is the fact that her husband doesn’t tend to fret about this stuff: Believe it or not, it’s partly because of the way women’s brains are wired.

A woman’s limbic cortex — the area responsible for emotional processing — is larger on average than a man’s, leaving more potential space for worry to live. Guys’ brains also tend to produce more of the soothing neurotransmitter serotonin.

Then there’s the psychological impact of society’s expectations for women. While, over the years, husbands have certainly stepped up the domestic duties they perform, women often still feel that they’re responsible for the household. And while men may consider it a job well done if they’ve made an effort, we often stress out if we don’t do every little thing flawlessly — from getting a balanced meal on the table to making sure our kids’ hair is combed — even though perfection isn’t always under our control.

One group of worriers I see growing, in fact, is the smart and successful woman. She’s juggling a lot, and she understands not only how many balls she has in the air but how many can drop. She may also worry about worrying so much, which makes her feel worse.

Think yourself oh-so-calm

This kind of stressing is normal, but it’s not inevitable: There are things you can do to take the wind out of worry’s sails.

First, note that anxiety tends to be future-oriented (What if something happens?) and quickly escalates to the most dire of consequences (Then I’ll be broke, divorced, homeless, dead).

But is there really any evidence for these outcomes? Challenging your fears before they get very far prevents them from blowing out of proportion and keeps new ones from cropping up. Ask yourself, “Is this something that’s about to happen or something that might happen in a faraway, imaginary future? Do I have any control over the outcome?” Try to take steps to manage what you can — finally setting up your 401(k) so you don’t go broke, spending more one-on-one time with your spouse to remind yourself of your solid relationship.

When thoughts pop up about things that you can’t control, whether it’s being laid off or widowed, say to yourself, “That’s just my mind doing its worry shtick again.” Then move on.

You should also take advantage of the mind-body connection. When you perceive danger, adrenaline surges through your body, which causes you to breathe faster and sweat harder. This reaction in the body feeds back to your mind, making you nervous and often leading your brain to invent dire outcomes that are unlikely to occur.

Breaking that cycle can interrupt the worrisome thoughts. To do that, try slow, deep breathing for a few minutes each day or whenever you’re freaking out. Put your hand over your abdomen and breathe in for a count of five, then out for five.

Muscle relaxation also calms the body. Sitting in a quiet place, tighten each muscle group in your body — starting with your feet and working your way up to your head — for a count of five, then release. Or use visual imagery: Picture a beautiful and relaxing place you’ve been to or seen.

The truth is, life will never be worry-free. But if you learn how to wrangle your fears, you’ll feel happier in the here and now, instead of spending your energy trying to detect a bear far, far down the road.

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

Stop Obsessing Over Finding The Perfect Partner

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April 24th, 2014

Alexandra Sifferlin

When it comes to relationships, we disagree over who makes the ideal mate Evolution tells it straight: Some people make more desirable partners than others. Current theories on mate value go a little like this: People who have it all, including good looks and status, can land a partner who also has it all. The people who don’t, well, they’re going to have to settle.But new research published in theJournal of Personality and Social Psychology suggests what anyone who’s fallen for a pretty face knows: finding the ideal partner for you is much more complicated. In fact, the more we get to know someone, the more our opinion of their desirability changes.

To reach these findings, the researchers at the University of Texas at Austin conducted three studies in which they asked participants to rate a group of people for their perceived value. Some of the factors were basic, like how attractive they are, or how outgoing. Other factors went deeper, with participants ranking whether a person seemed likely to be a good, committed partner.

In the first study, participants rated people they’d never met; in the second study they rated people they’d known for a few months; and in the third study they rated people they had known for at least three years. When people ranked individuals they didn’t know, people tended to agree on who was a catch and who wasn’t—it came down to superficial markers like good looks and likability. But researchers also found that as people got to know each other, perceptions changed and people tended to disagree about who seemed like a good partner and who didn’t.

“[As we spend more time with someone] we stop agreeing on how desirable or undesirable they are,” says study author Dr. Paul W. Eastwick, an assistant professor in the department of human development and family sciences. “We start to have very idiosyncratic opinions of one another.” The findings show that who we ultimately determine to be an ideal mate is unique, and we can greatly differ in our opinions of who is attractive, intelligent, popular, and who would make a good relationship partner.

So when it comes down to it, sure: At “hello,” some people have a leg up on others. But once someone is a known quantity, their desirability isn’t so clear-cut: Attractiveness and social status give way to compatibility and how suitable someone is for an actual relationship. “These findings are a good thing if people don’t care about getting the [conventionally ideal] mate, but care about finding the mate that is good and compatible for them,” says Eastwick.