Category: sex and your body

Your sperm needs some TLC! How to get your boys in the best shape for the swim of their lives!

It’s amazing how many of my clients are struggling with fertility. Yes the recipe requires fresh eggs, and yes it’s important to spend some time naked and horizontal to conceive.  But male fertility after years of microwaving yogurt containers (full of bad estrogens that diminish sperm), and too many soccer balls to the gonads male infertility is on the rise. 

Thanks to the brilliant Orlando urologist for suggestions on keeping your sperm in tip top shape.  
1. The Magic Number – The magic number is 15 million – sperm per milliliter, that is. Infertility could be the result if the count is much lower than this benchmark.

2. Take a Lap – While a high sperm count is good, a high ‘swimming’ sperm count is also important. In general, about a quarter of the sperm will swim and drive your chances of achieving a pregnancy. For patients that have extremely low sperm count, doctors can often do surgical procedures to obtain sperm that can be used for in vitro fertilization (IVF).

3. Watch the Sauna – Causes of sperm production issues include higher temperatures such as when a man is frequently exposed to hot tubs or saunas, dilated blood vessels around the testicle (called varicocele), abnormal testosterone levels such as when a man takes testosterone injections, environmental factors and certain medications like hair loss medication.

4. New International Study – Sperm counts are dropping. Data presented at ASRM last month by IVI-Reproductive Medicine Associates Global (IVI-RMA Global) found that the proportion of men with normal total motile sperm counts is declining over time.

5. Boxers or Briefs? – Men should feel free to choose whatever underwear fits best without fertility concerns. While it was thought that perhaps briefs increased temperatures of the testicles and might affect sperm production, this is truly an old wives’ tale.

Oh note on boxers. Briefs hold your boys close to your body and keep the skin of your scrotum from stretching. You don’t want to have to throw your testicles over your shoulder as you age.

Boudoir shoot! Couples, Men (dude-oir) & women. With makeup, wine, and food.

Sunday, Nov 4th from 11 am to 6 pm. Choose a time that works! Food, wine, professional makeup (for those without testicles) , amazing photographs, lingerie, party atmosphere (but private photo time) and a chance to find your sexy selves! It’s part of the body image series.

Boudoir Photography and party with champagne, great food, friends, chocolate and sexy pictures!

We love doing boudoir. It’s becomes magical. Women feeling beautiful, empowered and the guys are happy to have something erotic and personal. Anyone who has done them raves about them. We get top, professional makeup application and the amazing Duckling photographer Brian Kiloran and (and his lovely wife G). By turning it into a party (with economies of scale) we can do the event for $150 per person or couple. So you can have together and alone for the same price. What a deal! We’ve had a number of photographers over the years but Brian’s pictures really stand out.Read the testimonials

Look back on yourself when you are 80 and see how hot you really were! Do it for yourself, to torment the guys who might possibly see them with your beauty or give it as a for-his-eyes-only gift. Sexy couple photos are also welcome if you would prefer to do them together.

Mimosa’s, (champagne and orange juice) chocolate, and the sexiest photos you can imagine! It’s safe, discreet, private, and super fun! Women or couples, it’s sensuous (but safe), erotic and fun. Participants can wear whatever they would like (bring it with you) and you have time for one change of outfits. You have a private area for photo’s and it’s all relaxed and discreet. Professional makeup artist will be there to transform you. You need to have your own hair done when you arrive. It all happens on Sunday, Nov 4th (and everyone is in town for the Halloween party) at 81 Pooler Ave.
So pictures, food, and community!

Bring something yummy to share and I’ll make up pitchers of our trademarked sangria and mimosa’s. We have limited room for photos so it is a first come first serve. Cost is $150 (either alone or together) which includes makeup, photo shoot, and two photographs. You may purchase the library of other shots (the ones where you aren’t blinking) directly from the photographer. They have different packages or just stick with the few amazing ones you are guaranteed. Given that there are upfront expenses, you need to pay in advance here, or commit to paying in cash and NOT BAILING! Given that we have to pay to the photographer and makeup, we need 10 days notice to cancel once you commit or you will be billed for missing the event.

Buy now!

It’s another reason to eat oysters…. Seafood-rich diet may help couples get pregnant faster

The sex mineral for men that helps improve erection and sexual functioning is zinc. Zinc for your dink. Oysters and other seafoods are loaded with it. Magnesium is the sex mineral for women. Seafood is a great source of that as well. Now a new study out of Washington says that “seafood consumption improved sexual activity frequency, reduced time to conception”.

So if you are trying to get knocked up the fishmonger may help.

“Couples who eat more seafood tend to have sexual intercourse more often and get pregnant faster than other couples trying to conceive, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Seafood is an important source of protein and other nutrients for women who are or may become pregnant, but concerns about mercury have led some women to avoid fish when trying to conceive. According to the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, 90 percent of the fish eaten in the United States is low in mercury and safe to eat. Although the agencies recommend two to three servings of lower-mercury fish per week, 50 percent of pregnant women still eat far less than the recommended amount.

“Our study suggests seafood can have many reproductive benefits, including shorter time to pregnancy and more frequent sexual activity,” said one of the study’s authors, Audrey Gaskins, Sc.D., of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, Mass. “Our study found that couples who consume more than two servings of seafood per week while trying to get pregnant, had a significantly higher frequency of sexual intercourse and shorter time to pregnancy.”

In the prospective cohort study, researchers from Harvard followed 500 Michigan and Texas couples from the Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment (LIFE) Study for one year to determine the relationship between seafood intake and time to pregnancy. Participants recorded their seafood intake and sexual activity in daily journals.

The researchers found that 92 percent of couples who ate seafood more than twice a week were pregnant at the end of one year, compared to 79 percent among couples consuming less seafood. The association between seafood and faster time to pregnancy was not completely explained by more frequent sexual activity, suggesting other biological factors were at play. These could include effects on semen quality, ovulation or embryo quality, Gaskins said.

“Our results stress the importance of not only female, but also male diet on time to pregnancy and suggests that both partners should be incorporating more seafood into their diets for the maximum fertility benefit,” she said.”

School of Sex events! It’s not your parents Sex Ed class. It’s All about the vagina Jan. 29, 2017

School of Sex. Gooey Girl Bits!! The Vagina, vulva, clitoris all explained.

Sunday, January 29, 2017
2:00 PM to 5:00 PM
The Rosemount Orange Hall
41 Rosemount Ave, Hintonburg, Ottawa, ON

Everything you wanted to know about the Vajayjay but didn’t know who to talk ask. The next in the series of School of Sex is the female genitalia. Or how to stimulate, tease, understand and amplify the pleasure of the female genitalia. Get information about the erotic, the medical, and the sex therapist point of views. Great instructors to find out what’s current in the part of women’s bodies that everyone wants to know more about. Really understand your anatomy or the anatomy of any women in your life. Discover new ways women can reach orgasm. Especially if orgasms are difficult. G spots, u spots, X spots and the like. Get the inside track of new organic products that lube you up, make you taste wonderful and keep your girl bits all dry and smelling nice.

Yoni massage (the tantra word for vulva) will be covered and you can learn how to stimulate all of the nerve endings both inside and out with one of the city’s best erotic masseuses. Learn about the different clit pumps, the scream cream, and acupressure points that can trigger female orgasm.

Finally test out the brand new $1000 infrared internal wand that tightens and helps diminish vaginal pain.

If you are a friend to the vagina, vulva or clit this is going to be an interesting workshop. We will have some vendors at this event (there are so many new, cool things to showcase), the usual snacks and a chance to really understand how amazing female genitalia really is. And like all Duckling events it is fun, social, warm, and inclusive.
Educational, fun and with the essential life experience that everyone who has a vagina, wishes they did, or regularly wants to play with one needs to know about.

$30 including refreshments. This is an open event so everyone is welcome. Bring a friend and find out all about the Ducklings and our School of Sex series. Discounts for the next six School of Sexes and therapy receipts are also available. Click here to find out more and sign up!

You can pay at the door but there are maximums that the room holds so purchasing in advance is strongly encouraged.

Low sex drive, the birth control pill, and why the diaphragm may make a revival.

I spend my days talking to women about low libido. Low sex drive is the number one women’s sex issue for therapists and doctors. Without exception all of the women have been on the birth control pill for a number of years and find their sexual desire disappearing. It isn’t a coincidence. Just like on the front of the cigarette packages that warn about lung cancer, I believe that a big red sign should be across the oral contraceptive pill that says LOWERS YOUR SEX DRIVE. The pill causes many women to lose their interest in sex.

The pill should be contraindicated for women who struggle with sexual desire issues. Couple the birth control pill with anti-depressants (and especially SSRI’s), a low BMI (think of those petite yoga/spinning girls, size 8 or smaller), and low iron/B complex and you get a perfect storm of missing sex drive. But there are some things you can do to get it back. I have a whole kit that I call “the start me up kit” to bring back that loving feeling. But it begins with getting off the birth control pill.

According to Ms. Magazine “last year’s combined sales of Yaz and Yasmin, the most popular oral contraceptives in the U.S., totaled $1.64 billion. Did you know the drugs are also the target of 1,100 lawsuits for potentially fatal blood clots? Did you know that an estimated 50 women have died from taking those contraceptives?
Despite such health risks, however, oral contraceptives remain an extremely popular method of birth control in the U.S., second only to sterilization. The Guttmacher Institute reports that whether a woman prefers the Pill or sterilization is largely a function of age, with women under 30 choosing the Pill and women over 30 choosing permanent methods. These trends have been fairly stable since 1982.”

So what’s a girl to do if she gets off the pill to keep from getting pregnant? The IUDs are a better choice than the pill for impact but most still have the hormones estrogen and progesterone in them. The hormones tend to be localized (beside the ovaries) and are less likely to kill your libido. But IUDs aren’t perfect. You have to get them inserted for up to five years, they can lead to a perforated uterus and can often increase bleeding. And they still have hormones that can impact libido.
Condoms are possible as a method for birth control. But condoms are greatly disliked by both partners as a long term play for preventing pregnancy. And then there is the high failure rate. 11 out of 100 women using condoms alone for a year will get pregnant.

diaphragmI am talking about the diaphragm to my patients as a viable solution to the pill or IUD. If the patient is a woman under 30, she generally has no idea what I am talking about. I think diaphragms are great. My diaphragm got me through high school, the university years and all through my 20’s without a mishap. Now that I have a tubal, I use my 25 year old diaphragm as a way to block my menstrual flow when I want to have sex during my period. The nice thing internal barrier methods offer (the sponge and cervical cap along with the diaphragm are all internal barriers) is that women control it. And the type of barrier can change depending on the kind of sex (one off, or weekend marathon) that you have.
It turns out my old tried and true Ortho diaphragm from the 1980’s has been discontinued. I feel old. However there is a new diaphragm called the Caya diaphragm out of Europe that you can now get without a prescription in Canada. The sizing is general for everyone and fairly forgiving if you change sizes (based on weight) unlike the previous diaphragms. It’s great that the new Caya diaphragms are kind of a one-size-fits-all. I don’t know if there are any doctors out there who would know how to size them if they weren’t. Head and Hands in Montreal’s west end (where I got my cervical cap in 1986!) are carrying the Caya diaphragms at cost! $60 Yay! I’ve seen them for $80 online otherwise.

Diaphragms are back, and better than ever!

The also sell the FemCap which is a modern, better fitting cervical cap (then the old rubber tire ones) and they have a 98% efficacy rate. Meaning if you use it correctly you won’t get pregnant on it, and those rates rival the pill. Here are the details:
“The FemCap is a reusable anatomically designed silicone cap you place over your cervix before you have sex.
The FemCap is *Non Hormonal *Latex free *Completely Natural *Reusable

The FemCap’s design simply prevents sperm from entering the cervix and womb. The FemCap was designed to conform to the anatomy of the cervix and the vagina to ensure maximum fit and comfort. The underside of the dome forms a bowl which covers the cervix completely.
The brim serves to form a seal against the vaginal wall and acts as a funnel to direct the ejaculate fluid into the groove. The FemCap is designed with a unique groove facing the vaginal opening. This groove stores the spermicide and traps the sperm.”

So don’t feel like you are out of options and only have to go on some kind of hormonal birth control method or condoms that are a real killer to sensuality to keep from getting pregnant. The only downside for some women was that they feared that the diaphragm and cap would be messy. Messy? Great sex is messy. In fact all sex is messy. With or without any kind of diaphragm or Femcap. That’s why I recommend disposable puppy pads for having sex. The mess gets on the pad and you throw them out. Given that both of these methods also let you have blood-free sex during your periods I think they should be in every modern women’s medicine cabinet.

Finally, I should give a shout out for the Cyclotest electronic fertility tester. The caution zone for getting pregnant is about 6 days a month. Those six days are roughly the day you ovulate and the five or so days before that. Sperm have been proven to live up to 5 days in the fallopian tubes. The challenge has been to figure out exactly when you ovulate. Over the last decade the ovulation predictors you can buy it the drug store (pee on a stick) have gotten better. But now we have an electronic predictor that keeps data month after month so you are far more likely to understand EXACTLY when that egg pops out. The Cyclotest tells you when you ovulate, you can plan your sex life around your fertile periods. Use a backup those days or skip the intercourse.

diaphragm1 You can always do things with other parts of your body besides your vagina. There is no reason for taking the pill if you are experiencing any side effects. Especially a decreased libido. It doesn’t magically get better. So take some steps to reclaim your lost sexual desire. You can find that bounce in your step again.





How to reinvent yourself and become sexier.

Most people live a life of acceptance. We go through our days of work, kids, groceries, extended family and laundry. We are so busy caught up in the day to day that we don’t spend a few minutes every day reaching towards the goals we want to attain. So how do you reinvent yourself to become the person you want to be? A large group of women polled by the University of Arizona were asked “what they would most like to change about themselves” and the answers were as expected. The women 25-55 wanted to be happier, thinner, richer, sexier, in better shape, and to find more time for themselves. Those are things most women I know relate to. I know that thinner and physically fitter top my list of goals year after year.

What all of these goals have in common is that they are large goals about self care.
The truth is that happiness occurs when we reach our goals. These are the big goals we have set out to achieve in our lifetime. And that is where the feeling of accomplishment factors in. It is when we like ourselves the most. Feeling sexier is one of those big goals that make us happier and contributes to our overall quality of life.
If you are like me, you’ve learned that you only need to work hard to get what you want. But as a sex therapist I know that sexuality is one of those things that you can’t power through. You can’t strong-arm desire. You can’t force yourself to feel sexual chemistry if it isn’t there. You also can’t seem to work harder to have the feeling you want. Tell any depressed person to “simply be happier” and I’ll guarantee that they won’t appreciate your pat answer. Its little things done regularly that add up to large shifts.

So how do we change those sexual feelings and become the sexy woman we all want to be?
It starts with loving the body we are in. I know, easier said than done. It is one of the universal things about women. We ALL have body image issues. Even the one Supermodel I met at a conference thought her thighs were too fat. One of the key things I see with women who don’t feel sexy is distaste for their own vaginas. Whether you were told that nice girls don’t touch themselves, or you think your girl parts are weird looking, it may be time to find a mirror and really check yourself out. Men seem to be very familiar with their genitals. For a lot of women, it’s often a mystery down there. It’s not the only thing that defines your sexuality (I still preach that the brain is the biggest sex organ) but it is one of the big areas of sexual sensation. I often tell clients that “if they can’t play with their own equipment, it’s hard to tell a partner what you actually like”. I think that if you want to feel sexy about yourself, you need to fall in love with your vajayjay and spend some alone time with it now and then.

There are typical things you can list off to “fake it until you make it” to feel sexier today. I have a friend whose one indulgence is spectacular lingerie under her kid-friendly clothes as a kindergarten teacher. Or I know of a client who puts on a pair of vibrating panties before she leaves work. She drives home buzzing and is feeling very sexy when she hits her driveway. Reading erotica, learning to salsa dance or taking flirting to a new level with the men at the bus stop can get your sexy motor running and is good for your mojo.

It feels good to feel sexy. I have my clients say that out loud in therapy. Try it right now. I FEEL SEXY! Have a listen to my sexual hypnosis audio on discovering your sexy self. Call it personal training for your sexuality. That sexy woman inside you will thank you for it.

The five new facts about your health, and sexuality you’ve got to hear about.

b&w5Spring is the time when all the graduating medical and Ph.D. students publish their dissertations on what’s new in the area of sex and relationships. They have a number of cutting edge insights plus the occasional weird study that you can’t believe someone would actual spend years doing their graduate thesis on.
I’ve looked through the good, bad, and the I-can’t-believe-they-give-research- grants-for-this-stuff articles and I’ve come up with the best 5 new insights that may actually impact your life.

I know everything from orange juice commercials to Cosmo is talking about the benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids. It turns out the science is very compelling on why you should pick up a bottle. Sexual functioning is only one of the areas that is impacted by bumping up those fish oils. Some of the research is finding out that cellular inflammation impacts everything from chronic pain to heart attacks. A study from UBC suggests that increasing your inflammation-fighting supplements like ginger, turmeric, green tea, Omega 3, garlic and rosemary and making sure your doctor checks your blood inflammation marker (High RC protein) is critical for longevity. I know that inflammation is the biggest factor in helping women with low libido syndrome. So pass those flax seeds.

The Happiness Factor
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin have found that 50 percent of our happiness is determined by a combination of our biological heredity and early upbringing, while 10 percent is determined by our circumstances. What about the other 40 percent of our happiness? Can we stretch the limits of our preprogrammed temperaments to be happier? The answer is yes. Counterintuitive to what most people think, the researchers remind couples that marriage is not designed to make you happy—you are designed to make your marriage happy. The biggest hurdles to happiness as a couple? The study came up with 5 things; Not feeling loved (being told verbally or being touched in a loving way), not feeling special (date nights, being cherished), lack of respect, too rigid gender roles, and having your partner nitpick or nag.
Check out my audio interview with Happiness Guru Gretchen Rubin (author of The Happiness Project).

Another reason to have more sex. You make more money.
People who have frequent sex make more money, new research from the Institute for the Study of Labor in Germany reveals.
Sex four times a week will increase your financial net worth by 5%. People who get busy often tend to be happier and healthier — factors that are also linked to positive performance in the office. Earlier economic studies have proven that self-esteem, cognitive functioning and reasoning ability all correlate with income. The healthier someone is, the more money they tend to make. I tell my clients that every study over the last twenty years talks about how sex is good for you physically. Dr. Amen of Amen Clinic states that, “if your partner is denying you sex they should be charged with attempted murder”. Now it even affects your bottom line. Yet another reason to get horizontal.

Happy Wife, Happy Life
HUSBANDS ARE HAPPIER WHEN THEIR WIVES ARE SEXUALLY SATISFIED: The cliché says a happy wife is a happy life, and new research confirms it’s pretty much true. Researchers have found that a wife’s sexual satisfaction can predict her husband’s happiness. To find this, researchers from Ohio State University interviewed married couples to find out how much of an impact intimacy had on their relationship. They discovered that men reported higher levels of relationship satisfaction when their wives were sexually satisfied. Experts say this is because many men feel their main job in a relationship is to satisfy their wives sexually. Researchers say her sexual satisfaction is not just based on whether or not she orgasms, but also on the quality of foreplay, duration and frequency of sex and her partner’s adventurousness in the bedroom. (Men’s Health)

Five ways to spark your relationship
Do Go to Bed Angry
Research conducted at the University of California, San Diego, found that people often solve ongoing problems during REM. “When people sleep, the brain reshuffles memories, combining old associations and new ideas to come up with solutions.

Take care of yourself and try to put your partner’s needs as equally important. When you fight with your guy, do you vent online? Couples who post TMI photos or feud on Facebook make everyone uneasy.

Unplug After Work
“When you’re always working, there’s no division between the office and home, which increases stress in the relationship,” says Dr. Scott Haltzman, author of The Secrets of Happily Married Women. Set a time limit for work, then unwind together before bed.

Outsource Housework
Mopping and scrubbing are necessary in any household, but get this: Husbands do fewer chores than live-in boyfriends. Sociologists surmise that social norms are more defined in marriage than in dating relationships. If dirty dishes cause tension, cut back spending each week so you can hire a cleaning service, then use the newfound time you have for something fun.

Call a Money Summit
Couples don’t usually split because they don’t have enough cash, but because they can’t agree on how to manage it. “Discussing your finances each month is crucial,” says financial adviser Manisha Thakor. Do you pool your money or separate it? Do you know how much each of you has at any given time? Airing your finances regularly will sync you two for the long haul.

When it hurts to have sex. Identifying and solving the problem.

When it hurts to have sex. Identifying and solving the problem.
Women suffering pain during sex is a very common topic discussed during my patient sessions. It’s also the source for many tears and tissues. Think about it, if you experience pain every time you have sex how long does it take before you don’t ever want to get horizontal again? The literature says you can develop an aversion after one to three experiences doing something that hurts. With those numbers it’s a wonder the species survived.
When it come to vaginal pain, Vaginismus, Dyspareunia, Vulvodynia and perineal lesions are big words used to describe serious discomfort. If you or your partner are experiencing pain during any kind of sexual activity I encourage you to start exploring the reasons why. Your sexuality is part of you. Don’t give it up because you associate it with pain. Many of the treatments are really effective if you can get the right diagnosis.

Vaginismus is defined as “a condition where there is involuntary tightness of the vagina during attempted intercourse”. I say it is a painful spasm of the vaginal muscle because of stress, pelvic inflammation, or overall sexual anxiety. The tightness is actually caused by involuntary contractions of the pelvic floor muscles surrounding the vagina. The woman does not directly control or ‘will’ the tightness to occur; it is an involuntary pelvic response. She may not even have any awareness that the muscle response is causing the tightness or penetration problem.
In some cases vaginismus tightness may cause burning, pain, or stinging during intercourse. In other cases, penetration may be difficult or completely impossible. Vaginismus is the main cause of unconsummated relationships. That means trouble losing your virginity or having sex effectively for the first time with someone new. The tightness can be so restrictive that the opening to the vagina is closed off altogether and the man is unable to insert his penis. (This is the base of all the stories of people getting “stuck together”). The vagina locks down during a muscle spasm and getting in or out is a problem. The pain of vaginismus ends when the sexual attempts stop, and intercourse is halted.
Vaginismus is treated well through pelvic physiotherapy. Physiotherapists who work with or specialize in urinary tract and bowel problems also deal with extra-tight or spasming vaginal muscles. The pelvis physiotherapists I know are great and get fabulous results. Google the location of one near you. One of the tricks I use is homemade dilators. Forget the expensive ones that look like narrow penises and try whittling down a tapered candle until you can get it inside. Start with a birthday candle and work your way up. Wax is inert and won’t break off and cause an infection.
Dyspareunia simply put is “pain at intercourse”. The pain can be in the genital area or deep inside the pelvis. The pain is often described as sharp, burning or similar to menstrual cramps. It can have many causes such as infections, dryness, hymen remnants, lack of elasticity, vaginismus (see above), pressure on the cervix, or thinning of the vaginal wall among other things. You have to rule out organic or physical reasons by a trip to your doctor before calling in the sex therapist. I have a bunch of suggestions that really work but explore the issue of inflammation first. There is no one solution that fits all.
Vulvodynia (vul-vo-DIN-ee-uh) is chronic pain in the area around the opening of your vagina (vulva) for which there is no identifiable cause. The pain, burning or irritation associated with vulvodynia may make you so uncomfortable that sitting for long periods or having sex becomes unthinkable. The condition can go on for months or years. I sometimes call it undiagnosed vulva pain because it is often the diagnosis when the doctors aren’t sure what’s wrong.
Treatments for all three of these conditions can include:
Biofeedback therapy,
Local anesthetics.
Nerve blocks.
Pelvic floor therapy.
Many of the women I see describe red, inflamed tissues and bulging ducts around the opening of the vagina. There are some great creams coupled with gentle saline water jet therapy (some of which can cause contractions) that offer at least temporary relief.
Finally, the last common type of vaginal pain (not that there aren’t some more obscure reasons you could be hurting) are perineal lesions. The perineum is the inch and a half of tissue between the bottom of the vagina and the anus. The bottom of the vagina is stretchy and thin. It is this piece of tissue that can be cut (called an episiotomy) during childbirth to allow more expansion for the baby to be delivered. For some women there can be chronic tearing and pulling on this skin. And it hurts. Creams (like polifax or arnica) help but with some women the build up of scar tissue encourages the tear to keep opening. Sometimes a small suture works to close the fistula (another word for the sore) if the problem is more mechanical (meaning it keeps happening during sexual activity). Many of the causes of lesions are related to other health problems so go see your doctor.
This was a long-winded blog that basically says that if sex hurts, don’t suffer in silence. No matter where you live you can find help. It’s your sexuality. Make it pleasant and pain free.

Why sex makes up happier. A new study.

Sex makes us happy. Duh. know a this isn’t a big news flash but there are a couple of interesting new studies that finally explain why doing the horizontal bop puts a smile on our faces. As a sex therapist I tell my clients that they need to keep their sex lives active or run the risk of losing their sexuality. The usual use it or lose it mantra. There is current research that explains that sex makes us feel closer, is physically one of the things we can do to stay healthy and generally just feels good.But how it makes us happier is the subject of much debate and countless research grants. For women who are sexually satisfied, it makes us happier. This fact my be obvious (and doesn’t need a sex expert to explain it), but the reasons why may surprise you.

The first, a study out of The University of Colorado Boulder suggests that we are happy when we know that we are having a better sex life than our neighbors. That na nannana kind of glee that knows you are hotter than your acquaintances. “There is an overall sense of well-being that comes with engaging in sex more frequently”. Having sex makes us happy, but thinking that we are having more sex than other people makes us even happier.” And you thought it was just your lawn mower your neighbor coveted.

A second study from the State University in New York says that it is the chemistry of semen (absorbed or ingested) that makes us happier. The fact that that women who are exposed to their partner’s semen during sex may find themselves feeling happier than those who use a condom,” say scientists.
So despite the need to practice safe sex (a infection-free partner is the key here), the mood-altering hormones in semen absorbed through the vagina can help to boost women’s mood.Semen contains a range of hormones, including testosterone and estrogen, both of which have been shown to make us happier. It goes with the study that shows that the chemicals in semen are actually good for our teeth (but I digress).

The new article from Men’s Health suggests that HUSBANDS ARE HAPPIER WHEN THEIR WIVES ARE SEXUALLY SATISFIED. The cliché says a happy wife is a happy life, and new research confirms it’s pretty much true. Researchers have found that a wife’s sexual satisfaction can predict her husband’s happiness. To find this, researchers from Ohio State University interviewed married couples to find out how much of an impact intimacy had on their relationship. They discovered that men reported higher levels of relationship satisfaction when their wives were sexually satisfied. Experts say this is because many men feel their main job in a relationship is to satisfy their wives sexually. Researchers say her sexual satisfaction is not just based on whether or not she orgasms, but also on the quality of foreplay, duration and frequency of sex and her partner’s adventurousness in the bedroom.

Finally there is an article from a new paper published by the Institute for the Study of Labor who reports that researchers have come to the groundbreaking conclusion that yes, sexual activity does indeed have a strong correlation with happiness. Not only that, but having more sex means better health and higher wages, so that whole evolutionary perpetuating-the-human-race thing is now sitting in solid fourth place on the list of top 10 reasons you should get it on regularly.

According to the study, “individuals who had sex more than four times a week had 5% higher wages than those who didn’t, which means your coworkers that are always skipping out early from work to have some good old fashioned intercourse with their partners are not only getting laid more often than you are, they’re making more money too. The higher wage effect remained true even when other factors came into play, like education or sexual orientation.”

So what doesn’t make us happy about sex?

The University of Texas study finds that women are more likely than men to regret having casual sex, moving too fast in a relationship, or sleeping with the wrong person. I think dialing drunk should be up there too.

Men, meanwhile, just regret not having sex with more people. Think about it. As a woman you regret the mercy hump, or jumping into bed too soon. Men tend to regret what they didn’t do – the red head, the threesome, or not having crazy monkey sex whenever possible.

But overall happiness can be elusive. Is it as simple as having more sex (and better) sex? I think sex is an important part of happiness. But it’s only one part. I loved Gretchen Rubin’s books The Happiness Project, and Happier at Home. She researched happiness, and while she didn’t spend her year on her back, she has some insights into how sex can add to your happiness. Gretchen had lots really great things to say. Listen to my interview with her that explores this issue of happiness in greater detail. gretchen rubin- the happiness project author talking about a year of happiness

So no matter what makes you happy (semen, comparing your sex life to the Jones’s, or that it makes you more money) you may want to explore your current reasons for grabbing a quickie.

Top 8 new ways to connect with your partner.

Happy October! The time of year when I obsess about this year’s Halloween costumes, eat too much turkey and sadly close the cottage for the season. It’s also the time when schedules settle in for the school year and Monday night Football starts up again. Given the time we spend simply living,  we may not be spending the necessary time on date nights  or intimacy that we may have during those long days of  summer holidays.

So as such, I’m offering up some new date night ideas, and ways to connect with your sweetie this fall. Check them out and make a commitment to do something on this list. The Research out of the University of New Mexico says that “working on having a connected relationships is one of the top 5 things you can do to have a happy life”.  Pick one, and make doing something nice for your partner top your priority list. I promise it will pay dividends.

1. Paintball and laser tag. I’m not kidding. Anything that bumps up your adrenaline as a couple bonds you, creates heat and pits the two of you against the world. Check out the Groupon for local paint ball (a la Big Bang.)  Fall is the time to try it.
2. Exaggerate your gender roles. Being hyper masculine, square jawed, broad shouldered, with a 5 O’clock shadow makes men look more virile. It also makes women want them more.It says to us that ” their boys can swim and they make good genetic choices for our ovaries”. Those qualities have women thinking about baby-making (or at least practicing) in our primitive or limbic “we-want-to-have-monkey-sex” brains. The opposite is also true. Feminized women who smell nice, are pink, cute, and sway their hips are also trigger heat from their partners. There is something about playing those exaggerated roles of masculine and feminine that has our primitive brains hard wired for sex.  So go buy some lingerie or put the razor away for the weekend and see what happens.
3. Mail him/her a card to work. Many people (especially men) are visual. They feel loved by what they see as well as by feel. For those verbal love signs (that’s Me!) a loving voicemail will have them listening to it over and over. And try making a commitment to say I love you every day.
4. Set the alarm 20 minutes early to have some uninterrupted “snuggle time”. It’s the men in my office who talk to me about the little things. Most of the time they mean time for sexual activity but it also means safe ways to feel close. Flirt, kiss them on their necks and tell them that you would pick them all over again.

5. Take a shower together. Any time you groom your partner, paint their toes, shave the back of his neck, or pour them into a bubble bath strengthens your bond.  And makes you cleaner. Smile.

6.  Happy endings. Massage with a bang. Grab the baby oil and give your sweetie an orgasm without expecting one in return. It’s very sexy and should cause them to think about how they can reciprocate.

7. Take inventory. I call it a mission statement. We update ours a couple of times a year. It’s the macro “big picture, what are our goals and what do we want to accomplish with our lives kind of discussion”. I think you can’t hit a target you can’t see. And if you don’t have a game plan, or something to look forward to life can drag. Pulling together in the same direction is critical.  Send me an email at if you want an example of a couples mission statement.

8. Develop a “togetherness ritual”. Spif rubs my feet every morning while we are drinking our smoothie on the couch.  It allows us to check in on our day and allows us to check in with each other. I teach couples to try daily non-genital touch, or make a point to always cook together. Whatever your ritual is, make it consistent and personal to you.

How being masculine and watching sports increases your testosterone levels. Hockey and sex hmmmm.

andersonIt’s hockey playoff time. I have for many years wrote about the sexiness of playoff beards. Everyone has something that makes then catch their breath and bite their tongue. For me it’s burly, sweaty men and facial hair. I like men that look like men. It turns out that there is some physiological reasons for this.

Being hyper masculine, square jawed, broad shouldered, with a 5 O’clock shadow makes men look more virile. Meaning their boys can swim and they make good genetic choices for our ovaries. Those qualities have women thinking about baby-making (or at least practicing) in our primitive or limbic “we want to have monkey sex” brains. The opposite is also true. Feminized women who smell nice, are pink, cute, and sway their hips are also trigger heat from their partners. There is something about playing those exaggerated roles of masculine and feminine that has our primitive brains hard wired for sex.

These behaviours bump up our sex hormones, testosterone and progesterone. This in turn makes us friskier.

It also turns out that watching sports also increases our testosterone. But only if our team wins. This was the abstract of a great study that tested the hormones in saliva during basketball and soccer games. And those guys don’t have playoff beards. Smile. So test my hormones on Friday night when the Ottawa Senators win game 2 of the second round. Maybe that’s why I’m inclined to have halftime or intermission sex.

Basking in reflected glory, in which individuals increase their self-esteem by identifying with successful others, is usually regarded as a cognitive process that can affect behavior. It may also involve physiological processes, including changes in the production of endocrine hormones. The present research involved two studies of changes in testosterone levels among fans watching their favorite sports teams win or lose. In the first study, participants were eight male fans attending a basketball game between traditional college rivals. In the second study, participants were 21 male fans watching a televised World Cup soccer match between traditional international rivals. Participants provided saliva samples for testosterone assay before and after the contest. In both studies, mean testosterone level increased in the fans of winning teams and decreased in the fans of losing teams. These findings suggest that watching one’s heroes win or lose has physiological consequences that extend beyond changes in mood and self-esteem.

I’ve just finished a book called Men Chase, Women choose. If you want to read more about this I highly recommend the book.

Baby Boomers sex and those sexual infections. Prudent or paranoid?

couples1We Baby Boomers are a randy bunch. It turns out that many a Boomers are doing the boom at least a few times a month. Although I am almost a Gen X born at the end of the free love of the 60’s, I have certainly been influenced by my Mother who burned her bra with Betty Freidan and my Dad who discoed up a storm.

It turns out that in the spirit of “love thy Neighbor” has continued to the Boomers who are now 50 plus. And they are doing it without as much latex as they should. They are grown ups, you think they would know better. The number of STI’s (sexually transmitted infections) are up among older adults. It’s something to be worried about yes, but is it an epidemic? There is a place in Central Florida call The Villages that hit the news because their STI percentage rates in people over 60 were up. But The stats are alarmist. The numbers are really cases that went from 5 reported in a year to 9 reported in a year. But with a 40% increase it hit USA today as a story.

The number of reportable STI’s in the entire City of Ottawa in 2010 was 2926. That’s a population of over 1 million people. The number of cases reported in people over the age of 44 was 51.

51 cases over 44 in over 1 million people. Should you be aware – yes. Should the risk of sexual infections keep you up night and prevent you from taking someone new for a test drive, I think if you’re careful -no. However, I’ll let you decide.

“For baby boomers the situation may be a bit more complicated. To begin with, there are physical changes that may increase the risk of infection. As women age, the Student BMJ researchers noted,the thinning of the lining of the vagina and a loss of lubrication make tiny abrasions more likely, creating entry points for viruses. Change in vaginal pH after menopause may also increase risk.”

More and more senior adults are trying online and multiple partner dating and may think that STI’s are something that doesn’t impact them. Add that to the use of Cialis, Viagra and the new Staxyn drugs and you’ve got sex going on longer, and more vigorously later in life (yeah!)

The good news is that there are ways to protect yourself. Here is the steps I advise to anyone having multiple partners.
1. Get the Twinrix Hepatitis A and B vaccine to protect you from 2 of the 3 Hepatitis infections. Hep C is transmitted through blood.

2. Get the Gardasil vaccine. It prevents the HPV virus transmission and the contracting of genital warts and cervical cancer. Even men can get the vaccine so they can prevent the transmission of the virus. Don’t let your physician tell you that men don’t need it. You can assure any potential partners that you are clean of the possibility of warts. And HPV is transmitted by touch so condoms alone won’t prevent the transmission.

3. Get a back up 10 day supply of antibiotics. Doctors are reluctant to just give you some, but many will give you a prescription if you are traveling. If the condom breaks, or you have an unprotected experience you can use a dose of antibiotics to prevent any bacteria based STI like Chlamydia or Gonorrhea.

4. Oral sex and manual sex (hand jobs) are fairly safe provided there is no cold sores or rash present or if there is a foul infectious odor. In any case of bacteria STI’s I have ever seen, there was a smell or rash. A sniff and a check under the hood in bright light means that oral can be done without much risk of transmission.

5. Sorry, but for intercourse, condoms are the only thing that prevents transmission.

Follow the steps, get tested, and be prudent (not paranoid that doesn’t have you leaving the house) and you can be one of those hot, sexy seniors. If you are a hip Boomer (or younger) and want to stay sexy (while not turning into your parents) consider joining the Duckling social group. Sexy but safe is our mission statement.