Prevalence of Sexual Abuse in Those With Learning Difficulties

Prevalence

This can be difficult to determine; it is believed sexual abuse of people with LD is under-reported due (a) lack of awareness that abuse has taken place; (b) a lack of understanding by victims that they have been victimised; (c) the fear of retaliation, fear of loss of services, fear of further abuse by victims if they do report are just three. McCarthy & Thompson wrote the prevalence of abuse in adults with LD was 61% for women and 25% for men; almost all perpetrators were male with the majority being men with LD themselves. Furthermore, whilst the abuse was revealed by victims, they were often unaware of its social meaning. In a study by Thompson (1997) related to the sexual abuse by men with LD found that their victims also had LD – 54% the majority of whom were female. Those who are perpetrators with LD are more likely to be caught and reported “as they are less skilled than other perpetrators at covering their tracks”.

Research also found that “women and men are at risk… perpetrators are predominantly men and usually known rather than strangers” plus “a significant increase in the proportion of cases of abuse of men with learning disabilities reported” was noted. However, despite increased awareness/information on adult abuse, service agencies have not developed coordinated systems for reporting or recording sexual abuse.

As a result of poor recording, it is difficult to determine prevalence with any certainty. 2007 Research indicated those with intellectual disabilities will be “particularly vulnerable to abuse… [and] people with severe or profound ID are not able to describe what has happened to them” thus placing them at ongoing risk of abuse and also highlights abuse is “rarely prosecuted in the courts… reasons… frequent failures of police, carers, health and social services… in taking victims seriously… [and] difficulties of obtaining evidence, especially from the severely disabled victims”. McCarthy notes difficulties may exist in determining whether sexual intercourse when parties are known to each other is consensual or not particularly if both parties have LD. The BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire Programme attempted to identify the number of reports of sexual abuse among disabled people; request were sent to 152 councils asking for information covering 2013/14 and 2014/2015; 106 responded with a total of 4,748 reports of sexual abuse against adults with disabilities for the two year period. Of these, 63% were against those with learning disabilities.

Prevalence has limited statistical evidence in the UK; Barnardos note in their 2015 report on identified sexual exploitation of young people that 14% of the children in their study had diagnosed learning difficulties. Cambridge et al state actual data is “relatively incomplete and fragmented” and thus any data is likely to be an under-estimate (estimates vary between 10% and 80%. The Health & Social Care Information Centre publishes annual statistics on vulnerable adults; in their 2011 report, the statistics on sexual abuse of vulnerable adults was 11%; in 2012, the figure was 9% and similar in 2013 (at 9.2%). However, changes to the method and terminology (safeguarding adults), sexual abuse is now combined with discrimination and institutional abuse; nonetheless, the [albeit combined] figure is 9% for 2014/15. Additionally, the geographic region with the highest percentage of [combined] abuse is the southwest (12%).

(1) Risk/threat of harm and by whom

The risk of abuse, harassment or neglect of those with learning (and other) disabilities is higher than within the general population; according to Mencap in Behind Closed Doors, the reasons as to why disabled groups are at greater risk include:

• higher levels of low self-esteem and greater dependency on others, i.e. care staff and services over long periods;

• lack of social awareness or education to detect or anticipate abusive situations;

• higher levels of fear to which leads to being unable to challenge abuse and/or those who are acting inappropriately;

• lacking capacity to consent to sexual relations or being unable to recognise they have been victims of abuse or fear to report abuse despite recognition they have been the victims of abuse.

A number of victims will have communication difficulties whilst others fear disbelief; further, feelings of guilt and shame or a lack of approachable and trustworthy people to whom they can discuss abuse especially where abusers are within positions of trust/authority will be likely to impact upon disclosure. Mencap write that abusers tend to be male and work hard to gain positions of trust, seeking employment in areas where vulnerable people are likely to rely solely or mainly on carers; this provides ample and often unimpeded access to their victims. According to a report by the NSPCC, children with disabilities will be likely to be abused by a family member (when compared with non-disabled children); in addition, the report highlights other research which indicates that a significant number of children with harmful sexual behaviour have learning disabilities although cautions over interpretation of findings is advised.

Barnardos’ 2015 report highlighted several factors in relation to why children [and possibly adults] with LD are more likely to be at risk from sexual exploitation/abuse:

• impairment-related factors, including capacity to consent, difficulties associated with recognising exploitation or risk, impulsive behaviours and needs associated with a different understanding of social cues, interaction and communication;

• society’s treatment of people with LD, including overprotection, disempowerment, isolation and not considering individuals as sexual beings which in turn leads to little attention given provide information on healthy sexual relationships;

• a lack of knowledge, understanding and awareness of sexual exploitation of those with LD among professionals, parents and carers, and the wider community;

• a lack of identification of LD and focus on behavioural issues over the identification of exploitation or learning needs;

• a lack of understanding relating to consent and the capacity to provide this as well as a lack of understanding around professionals’ abilities to assess consent;

• the lack of professionals’ training on exploitation and LD; and

• low priority generally given to those with LD by service providers and policymakers.

The report provides a variety of examples where the above issues can cause exploitation and/or abuse (rather than protect from it):

“Ellie is now 23. She has a learning disability and describes herself as naïve and impulsive. Ellie is in a loving, happy relationship, but experienced sexual exploitation shortly after moving into supported living accommodation… her special school insisted that her mum had to pick her up and drop her off every day and that she must not step outside the gate even if she could see her mum coming down the street. Ellie had little opportunity for socialising and was not prepared for adult life… She thought the man she met at her new home was her boyfriend, but he was controlling and isolated her from her family.” (p.44)

In essence, the risk of harm can be great causing cause sexual, emotional and physical trauma (either in isolation or together) originating from those supposed to protect, care and help individuals develop but who are in fact causing harm. Abuse is likely to take place within victims’ home which should be a place of safety and if perpetrated by those in whom they have placed their care/trust, the risk of not being able to disclose may be greater.

(2) Impact on individual and signs to look for

The impact of sexual abuse can be difficult to assess and understand particularly for those who have difficulty in communicating. Sequeira & Hollins write that clinical effects include psychological disturbances, i.e. anger, crying, sexualised behaviour, verbal abuse, anxiety, fearfulness, self-harm, sleep disturbance and panic attacks; clinical symptoms are similar to those suffered by non-LD victims, i.e. poor self-esteem, aggressive/dominant behaviour, inappropriate anger, nightmares, etc. The study referred to by Sequeira & Hollins noted two groups – one with and one without LD and indicated “statistically significant differences between the groups… ” including poor sense of personal safety and little sexual knowledge although the researchers acknowledged such factors may be accurately described as risk factors and not necessarily effects of abuse. Additionally in the study of 119 victims (with information obtained from family members, service providers and in some cases victims) as to whether the victim experienced any social, emotional or behavioural injury plus what if any extent and the nature of trauma suffered. 9.8% with mild/moderate disabilities and 17.7% with severe and profound disabilities experienced withdrawal; 19.6% with mild and moderate disabilities and 31.1% with profound disabilities showed aggressive and/or other behavioural problems, i.e. inappropriate sexual behaviour and 3.9% with mild/moderate disabilities reporting no problems; all those with more severe learning disabilities showed difficulties. However, as there was no control group, researchers acknowledge that they could not be confident as to whether any of these identified difficulties would be present regardless of abuse.

Enable Scotland produced a guide on sexual abuse and learning disability which provides information as to what signs may be an indicator of abuse:

• physical injuries (i.e. cuts, bruises, bleeding in genital areas or inner thighs);

• physical changes (i.e. difference in walking, sitting, discomfort in certain positions);

• environment (i.e. torn, missing or damaged clothing, bedsheets or replacement sheets without explanation);

• behavioural changes (i.e. sleep disturbance, including sleepwalking, nightmares, insomnia, loss of modesty, fear of going out, using sexual terms not previously known/used, self-harm);

• emotional changes (i.e. depression, panic attacks, eating disorders, confidence being lost/lowered, obsessive behaviour).

These may be indicators of abuse but could also be linked to the person’s LD or issues unrelated to abuse; the important point is to look, listen and support. Furthermore, it is important to note that some signs may not be easily identifiable and/or immediately post-abuse. Research in 2006 by Callaghan, Murphy and Clare highlighted a lack of research on adults with severe LD stating focus tended to be on people with mild/moderate issues; the introduction notes: “Such individuals often have extremely limited communication skills so they may be unable to either understand or express what has happened to them”. In some cases, the consequences were pregnancy/abortion and STIs; there may, in addition to physical and emotional impact, be anxiety and trauma associated with giving evidence (or not) in any subsequent investigation and court proceedings. The study, however, did appear to emphasise the emotional trauma by parents/family of abuse victims and relied upon them (and their legal representatives) for disclosure of victims’ response and reaction to the abuse.

Noted in a paper on domestic abuse (which includes sexual abuse), the Tizard Centre in Kent produced a brief summary of research identifying (from surveys of practitioners and police) that individuals with LD may be in violent relationships as they may be considered as easy targets, social isolation and difficult family backgrounds. The research indicated carers and/or family members noted marked increases in the “frequency and severity of emotional, psychological and behavioural symptoms of psychological distress” and whilst some of these alleviated over time, overall psychological functioning all “remained severely compromised”. Callaghan et al also highlight the devastating impact of abuse particularly on those with higher (moderate/severe) levels of LD:

“… She had been able to use a few single words and some signs but all attempts at communication ceased. She appeared depressed and would spend long periods shaking, in a trance-like state, from which she was difficult to rouse. She tried to avoid all activities and places which, it was later learned, had been associated with her experiences, and if she was unable to do so, displayed extreme challenging behaviour, including soiling and aggression. For months, she appeared to re-enact what had happening, demonstrating explicit and specific sexual activity with dolls and attempting to masturbate in front of others.” (p.33, DoH, by Callaghan, Murphy and Clare)

To summarise, the impact of abuse is vast; for those with LD, it may be more difficult to provide support, understanding and therapy due to a lack of understanding as to what precisely occurred. The signs of abuse are not dissimilar to those found in non-LD victims but may be more pronounced or longer-term if disclosure cannot be made due to poor communication skills.

(3) Good practice on encouraging individuals to report sexual assaults

In 2004, the Home Office produced research on developing good practice and maximising potentials for sexual assault referral centres (SARCs); in relation to who reported sexual abuse/assaults to police, it noted “A significant minority (5%, n=193) of the case-tracking sample had a disability, most commonly with mental health or learning disabilities. This may indicate vulnerability to sexual assault among these groups” but provides no further information as to how to encourage reporting. Indeed, the case of Winterbourne View highlights that even where procedures are followed, where relatives and staff make reports of suspected abuse, there may be little if any action taken to address concerns and investigate allegations. Interestingly, whilst guides and toolkits exist for encouraging the reporting of assault and violence against some vulnerable groups (e.g. women, minority ethnic groups, mental health sufferers, male victims of sexual/domestic abuse) there is little guidance for organisations which have a direct or indirect role in dealing with, or on behalf of, those with LD.

The leaflet by Enable Scotland highlights listening and treating disclosure seriously as an important part of encouraging individuals to provide details of their victimisation. It goes on to say using the method of communication victims find most useful and helpful is essential and pressure should not be applied with open questions asked rather than closed; further, it is important to remain calm and not indicate distress as to the acts disclosed. There is no definitive good practice guide on encouraging sexual assault reports – even for victims with no LD issues, reporting can be difficult although highly publicised reports showing victims suffer no adverse impact may help. However, one important practice would be to ensure all and any reports are dealt with seriously; this is particularly so in environments which care for individuals with LD. Whilst guidelines and policies provide a method or actions which care workers and practitioners are to follow, if disclosures are not handled correctly, with no or poor follow-up, a lack of support to both the person disclosing and the person to whom disclosure was made plus inadequate management of allegations, any subsequent disclosures may be ignored.

Senior management/leaders should emphasise and reinforce the requirement to refer matters to relevant authorities to ensure anyone who has abuse disclosed to them knows the matter will be taken seriously and handled appropriately.

The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) provides some information on vulnerable victims of sexual assault (adults at risk); the “good practice resource” talks about issues to be considered when disclosure is made. Whilst it makes it clear that reporting the incident to police would be preferable it does highlight victims’ wishes should be a priority and that evidence can be obtained from victims without full reporting to police and advises on how to do so. However, the only reference to LD is the last sentence referring to the availability of Independent Sexual Violence Advisors “to assist people with learning disabilities and mental health needs”. Even the charity “Rights for Women” in their From Report to Court document only vaguely mention LD; for victims who “have a disability that affects… ability to communicate… ask for someone else to attend… to ensure that [they] understand what is being said and assist to communicate” (p.40).

Abuse in Care? is a research paper by Hull University developed as a means to help try and prevent abuse of those with learning difficulties who reside in care homes; this ‘guide’ is to assist those who may have concerns that something (not necessarily abuse) is not quite right and how to address those concerns. A project in Wales had the following aims: to develop ways for people with LD so they could find support following abuse and help to prevent abuse; researchers questioned individuals with LD and their findings “Looking Into Abuse” indicate when asked how to keep themselves safe, almost all participants stated they needed to learn to speak up about abuse (p.45) and ensure someone knows where they were at all times. However, the latter point was likely be more helpful to family/friends than those with LD who may view this as overly protective and not providing autonomy. In addition, almost all respondents stated that staying away from ‘nasty’ people was another way to avoid harm however those who may cause harm may not be seen as ‘nasty’ given studies indicate abusers are often well known by victims (i.e. family, friends, carers, etc.). Finally, these researchers note limitations in their research not least given participants in the study were referred from advocacy groups and thus already likely to have at least some awareness of reporting abuse/ seeking assistance. One of the key ways to prevent abuse is to ensure all those with LD understand appropriate behaviour and encouraged to talk about any experience. If taught they will be listened to and their views respected, any person with LD will likely have greater awareness and confidence.

The NSPCC have provided an easy-read guide for children with LD and a version for their parents; in the guide, and using the acronym PANTS, the organisation reminds children that their body belongs to them and is private. (Privates are private; Always remember your body belongs to you; No means no; Talk about secrets that upset you; Speak up, someone can help). The guides are simple and easy to understand and importantly, are designed to help children understand that not only is it alright to say no (even to loved ones or professionals) but that they can and should discuss when they are made to feel uncomfortable. Such guides should be available to all children (via schools, health and GP practices, etc.) and their parents to ensure that the message gets through and help those who have LD that there are boundaries; this may then result in more awareness and the confidence to report any abuse.

(4) Good practice in supporting individuals

The British Institute for Learning Disabilities (BILD) had a series of training events in 2012 and 2013 around safeguarding and protecting those with LD and autism designed to allow attendees to “develop an awareness of the types of abuse, the ability to identify signs of abuse, and have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities in responding to suspected or alleged abuse”. Such events – when available – should be attended by all relevant agencies who are involved in safeguarding adults and children such as those on safeguarding boards. The Scottish Government produced a guide for those involved with the criminal justice system (2011) who have LD; it acknowledges reporting and engaging with justice agencies may be difficult (an easy-read version is available although no link is given and was not easily located). The guide is aimed at families/carers, professionals within the care/social services sector, advocates as well as those in the criminal justice profession and of course those with learning disabilities.

Another resource available is the website http://www.stophateuk.org/ which has a detailed page on reporting hate crime relating to LD; they provide a list of contacts for reporting but interestingly are only available in a very limited number of areas being Birmingham, Cambridgeshire, Derbyshire, Devon & Cornwall (plus the Scilly Isles), Essex, Leeds, Lincolnshire, London (Greenwich, Hackney, Harrow, Richmond, Southwark, Sutton), Manchester, Merseyside, North Yorkshire, Oldham, Wakefield. There is also a Yorkshire and Humber regional page for the Roma community. Another resource is from the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities (FPLD) – their leaflet on the criminal justice system is for those working with people with LD in England/Wales as well as additional fact; however, there is nothing available (through a search on their website) specifically to aid victims of crime with LD.

The justice system (in England/Wales) provides legislative provision for people who may require additional support particularly in court proceedings; special measures is for any vulnerable or intimidated witness including “those with learning disabilities” which is designed to enable them to give best evidence. The CPS has guidance (July 2009) aimed at those with LD who are witnesses or victims of criminality and notes LD victims may well experience particular types of crime, higher than average rates of crime and face particular barriers to justice. Further, the guidance states “successful prosecutions can only happen if victims and witnesses feel confident and capable of giving their best evidence… [which] is more likely to happen if those involved… understand the particular requirements that people with a learning disability may have”.

Not specific to criminal justice, guidance by the Dept. of Health details the Good Practice Project for those involved with individuals with LD (November 2013); the document states those with LD are more likely to be vulnerable to abuse and gives examples which provide “successful, effective services and support”. It also allows for direct involvement of those with LD including where possible any family/friends who know them best to allow for the “designing and delivering [of] services”. These examples show good practice in Norfolk, Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire as well as cross-borough in London. These practices include unannounced visits to facilities to ensure quality assurance, sharing life stories of those with LD who visit other areas to share stores with others particularly in schools. Also noted were examples of personalised services were provided to individuals moving into adulthood and uses various funding streams. Whilst these are not specifically tailored to those who have suffered abuse, the support structures described can be adapted to the victims of abuse.

Nottingham University (for NIHR School for Social Care Research) published best practice for safeguarding adults with LD; this identifies the views of those with LD – and families – as to their perception of abuse. A number of different scenarios were given; respondents were asked whether they considered the example to be good or poor practice, abuse or if they were unsure; the results indicate two main findings: (1) participants found abuse and poor practice difficult to define and (2) participants did not have a shared understanding of acceptable practice, poor practice and/or abuse. Given this anecdotal evidence, there is clearly a lack of understanding as to what is acceptable which needs addressing. If there is no clarity as to what is or is not acceptable, how individuals know if their experiences are poor practice, good practice or even abuse. In the Looking Into Abuse study, 99% of participants stated it is very important that people are “there for them” with 90% stating having someone available to talk to was supportive. For a high number, support in the form of being believed was very important (96%). The study goes further to state that prevalence figures may be very much greater than those reported for individuals with LD as indications were it is common for abuse, when reported, to be ignored or considered false/inaccurate. The study clearly indicates that in order to provide support, listening to and not judging those who disclose abuse (or potential abuse) is essential.

Understanding firstly how those with LD communicate with others is important; terminology should be non-ambiguous; some with LD may appear abrupt and it is vital that those who support victims of abuse are understanding. Not placing one’s own interpretation onto a victim is essential; the independent living Council in Surrey produced a guide to be given to carers of those with LD. Page eight and onwards provides useful tips on communicating with individuals who have LD. However, many guides do not provide specific and detailed information in relation to identifying sexual (or other types of) abuse; furthermore, easy-read or pictorial guides aimed at those with LD are often difficult to find online requiring searches on websites through a multitude of links which can prove frustrating even for a person without LD and so may prove even more so individuals with difficulties.

Dr McCarthy, from the Tizzard Centre, wrote “it is clear that regarding the prevention of male violence to women with [LD] action needs to be taken at the individual and collective, practice and policy levels” and that “women with [LD] need to be enabled to develop higher levels of self-esteem and assertiveness in all areas of their lives. McCarthy also argues LD services should recognise their own role and responsibility to help women lead fuller and independent lives; sex education needs more emphasis on women’s sexual pleasure and autonomy as well as ensuring at policy level the following actions may reduce women’s risk of sexual abuse whilst in LD services:

• stopping the [then] current practice of placing men with very mild/borderline LD who have a history of sexual offending in services for those with LD;

• increase women-only residential services for those who are vulnerable or simply prefer to be in single-sex environments;

• when recruiting staff/volunteers, ensure attention is given to the values/attitudes which they hold relating to sexual abuse; and

• develop effective citizen and self-advocacy for those with LD.

(5) Recommendations for public authorities, i.e. local authorities, health and police

A research project in Wales had the following aims: develop ways for people with learning disabilities so they could find support following (and help to prevent) abuse as well as to disseminate findings. The paper “Looking Into Abuse” noted recommendations in order to ensure agencies have an awareness and understanding of, as well as respond to, those with learning disabilities/difficulties; these included inter alia:

• personal safety courses being more widely available for those with learning disabilities and which should include more than just sexual abuse including;

• courses should be part of a wider aim of helping people with LD to develop increased resilience;

• when people with LD disclose abuse they must be listened to, believed, appropriate action taken and support given;

• people with LD who have been abused should have greater access to counselling/other therapeutic interventions as soon as is appropriate after the abuse although it should also be available to those disclosing years after the event.

• further research be undertaken regarding the relationship between abuse and suicidal thoughts in people with LD concerning the effectiveness of various post-abuse therapeutic interventions.

• consideration be given as to how such understanding can be achieved and the role that people with LD should play in raising awareness.

Before the College of Policing come into effect, the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) provided much of the guidance, research, etc. including guidance in 2014 on how forces should deal with those who have mental health/learning disabilities which indicates that benefits of adopting the guidance include:

• an improved operational response to victims/witnesses (and criminals) who have LD;

• improved working relationships with agencies who will be (or are already) involved with individuals with LD and increase reporting of offences/victimisation;

• a change in police culture to view those with LD with regard to potential vulnerability and needs; and

• overall benefits include increased victim or witness satisfaction as well as being able to defend organisations from criticisms, legal action or complaints.

HMIC’s various reports into child protection, custody and thematic reviews all indicated the need for forces to ensure there is sufficient provision of appropriate adults for those who are vulnerable (including LD); such should be used when police engage with witnesses or victims with suspected or identified LD; the Criminal Justice Joint Inspectorate published recommendations in January 2014 on the treatment of offenders but could be applicable to victims and/or witnesses:

• criminal justices agencies should jointly adopt a definition of learning disability; and

• both the police and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) should ensure police decision-makers and CPS lawyers are provided with information about learning disability when making decisions about charging/prosecution [this again may be reflective of how witnesses/victims will be managed both before and after any court proceedings];

The National Autistic Society (UK) has produced a guide for criminal justice professionals (2011) which discusses how to recognise signs of autism and provides information on how those with autism and LD interact with the criminal justice system giving examples. Such guidance/information should be incorporated into police and other professionals’ training to generate more understanding of how learning difficulties and other disabilities can impact upon a person’s perception of and involvement in the criminal justice system.

Conclusion

Overall, websites which provide services/facilities for those with LD do not make links or information clear and what help is available is often linked with other disabilities or ‘added on’ to comply with legislation rather than to ensure services are easily accessible and importantly identifiable.

Bibliography

• A Prevalence Study of Sexual Abuse of Adults by McCarthy & Thompson (1997)

• Sexual Violence Against Women with LD by McCarthy, et al, (1998)

• The impact of alleged abuse on behaviour in adults with severe intellectual disabilities. Murphy et al (2007).

• Drawing a line between consented and abusive sexual experiences. McCarthy M (2003)

• Exploring the incidence, risk factors, nature and monitoring of adult protection alerts. Cambridge P et al (2006)

• Clinical effects of sexual abuse on people with learning disability Sequeira & Hollins. (2003)

• The psychological impact of abuse on men and women with severe intellectual disabilities. Rowsell, A., et al (2013)

Author: Maria L. Williams

It is important for all those within the social care sector to be aware of sexual abuse; this means that social and care workers (whether family or friends) should be able to identify and recognise the signs of sexual abuse for those they have responsibility for. Anyone working within this sector should read this article which highlights what to look for and how to recognise potential abuse and provides details as to research on this topic.

Men – Rewire Sexual Short Circuits

As a woman who is a practicing Life, Love, and Relationship Coach, and who has studied men extensively, I am always tremendously impressed by men, and by how well they manage in our culture, which only too often acts to interrupt the circuit of their full potential.

In the course of my career, I have often counseled men who have experienced social or sexual “short circuits” that can interfere with the full enjoyment and self-expression of their wonderful natural power.

My work has convinced me that it’s time to shine the light of awareness and understanding on our social and religious environment. We need to see clearly how the traditional “programming” we have learned may have affected us; we need to lighten some of the issues that have been set upon us; and we need to create some empowering remedies, not only for the grownup men out there, but also for our sons.

The Setup

I believe that on both sexual and societal levels, our men are often set up for failure, impotence, frustration, and prostate cancer. We certainly see a high incidence of these problems in the so-called developed countries. Could our information and training – or lack thereof – in human sexuality be a contributing factor?

Let’s step back and take an electrical engineer’s view of the sexual and social circuitry in American cultural wiring.

We begin as young children who intuitively understand that our connection to our genitals is a soothing influence. There is in utero evidence that children are innately sexual beings – no matter how much we may choose to deny it. There is photographic proof that fetuses in the womb actually stimulate their own genitals.

From my own childhood, I recall discovering that putting my hand on my genitals helped me to calm myself, to feel good, and to experience a grounding, soothing influence. I am rather sure that it’s the same for boys: as a babysitter and as a mother, I couldn’t help but notice that little boys love to play with their own penis’s. In her great wisdom, Nature has made the penis fascinating. I remember discovering that fascination myself at a very young age, and I certainly enjoy it to this day!

Biological Urges and Shame

In our culture, the atmosphere around self-pleasuring or masturbation can run the gamut from non-denominational messages such as “This is private!” to our national religious genesis that declares: “No! This is a violation of your body and against God.” Pretty strong message! Thus, our social and sexual training often begins by coupling the body’s pleasure with shame.

Many parents who have themselves been raised with this shame feel embarrassment at their children’s natural penchant for self-soothing. How do most parents deal with the embarrassment? Their reactions can run the gamut from general feelings of disapproval and not talking about such matters (I italicize this because the very pointed avoidance of talking about sexual things sends a strong message that sexual matters are “not okay”); to slapping hands away; to anger; and even to punishment. Now, we have added some degree of trauma to the mix.

Children are naturally curious about the sights and smells of their bodies and the differences between the sexes. If their parents haven’t managed to quash this tendency, most children will find one way or another to explore their differences. Anyone who says this is “not natural” was never a child! Exploring with peers, playing “doctor,” or any other game of discovery, is quite likely to happen with any child. How do parents usually react when they observe such play? The response is more often negative than positive. How many of you were punished, yelled at, “talked to,” or shamed in some way if caught? Here we have another source of trauma that breeds another strong message of shame, of rejection of the body and of sexual and pleasurable feelings.

By the time children are around age three and older, you may find yourself overhearing them refer to sexual matters as “dirty” or “nasty.” This learned belief can have a powerful negative effect on children’s self-esteem: although they cannot help experiencing their natural sexual feelings as thrilling, they have already learned that expressing these feelings may incur personal rejection and shame. Do you think this might, in some people, later express as “deviant” sexual behavior?

When boys hit puberty, the nice, soothing genital-area feelings that they are used to begin to morph into stronger sexual inflammation. They discover that stimulating their genitals brings increased pleasure-and then they discover orgasm and ejaculation. In the no-talk households, the first ejaculation can be terrifying for those who either do not know what it is, or who do know, but who have been lectured that it is shameful. Some boys are afraid that they may be seriously harming themselves in a physical or a spiritual manner-and that fear can be mild to extremely traumatic.

As they figure out that they aren’t going to die and that these pleasurable feelings are repeatable, nature takes over. No matter how hard a boy tries “not to,” hormones and the procreative instinctual urge kick into full swing, and he finds it virtually impossible to ignore the flow that wants to express through his penis!

The unavoidable general disapproval in our societal and religious atmosphere about sexploration for pure pleasure descends upon the boy, and, to varying degrees, activates more feelings of guilt and shame. But wait – still another negative complication is layered on!

For young men, we realize that this primal, instinctual urge to procreate that is in their God-given design is very powerful. We teach our young men that these urges must be controlled and managed, and that to avoid succumbing to them is a test of one’s integrity as a man: – so, here is another “No!”

War Between The Sexes Begins

At the same time, young men receive still another, even more damaging message that is actually responsible for setting up the war between the sexes! Because their primal sexual urge is so powerful, society acknowledges that some – probably most – men just aren’t up to the task of controlling it. Never mind that there is really no education, no training, no help offered in learning how to manage these overwhelmingly powerful natural procreative urges. So what if he fails the test? Well – most young men do!

Thus we, as a compassionate society, backhandedly forgive young men’s transgressions, presenting them with a set of ever more confusing mixed messages that look something like this:

o The primal urge of bodily pleasure is not to be trusted.
o Masturbation is a sin against your body, against your integrity, and against God.
o Sex is for procreation only, and only with your chosen partner, married for life.
o Women are the real source of sexual temptation.
o Women are responsible for controlling men’s access to sex.
o We know you can’t control yourself, so just don’t get caught!
o Because you can’t control your urges with women, go ahead and get what you can -but not with my daughter!

And men are teaching this to their own sons! This scenario is degrading, both to men and to women. Women who do not say “No!” are considered to be without integrity. Women who say “Yes!” are unworthy. Women are supposedly in control of whether a man may express his sexuality. Also, because our society tends to be homophobic, it is unlikely that a man can experience any form of essential, healing touch unless he is in a relationship or denigrates his religious integrity by paying to be touched. In these circumstances, how can a man see himself as other than totally out of control and unworthy and without integrity – period!

The Results

How could anyone possibly have a healthy sex life in this scenario? In my years of coaching clients, I have seen the varying degrees of devastation it can cause. Some men try to ignore all the mixed messages and manage to give themselves tacit permission to explore. No matter how much permission he has given himself, though, a man’s underlying “programming” can occasionally recur in various ugly forms – including impotence, prostate cancer, relationship issues, and other personal and interpersonal problems. Some men find themselves stopped at the very gate, unable to step into healthy sexuality at all! Judging by the proliferation of drug prescriptions, special-purpose clinics, and major surgeries, we can well assume that male sexual dysfunction is an epidemic upon which our medical community is currently realizing great profits in erection aids and prostate operations. Do you think that there could be a psychological basis to this?

In our culture, young women are just taught to say “No.” While this simpler imperative creates its own huge, sweeping challenges that dramatically affect women’s side of the equation, and that also negatively impact men, at least it is less confusing. (I will address these significant women’s issues in an upcoming article.)

I believe that our society’s mixed messages to men, beginning from their boyhood: “NO – NO – Yes – YES – NO! … NO, you shouldn’t! NO Control! Yes – you can’t help it! YES, you will – get whatever you can! NOT with my daughter!” create a painful environment of much greater complexity and greater repercussions for men than does our message to women. So much confusion would mess up the best circuitry! It’s enough to make your head spin!

A man’s sexual functioning is far more complex than that of a woman. There are a lot of elements to a man’s sustainable erection that can easily be made to malfunction at any point along the circuit by any of a myriad of variables. All those “Nos!” and “Yeses!” can most certainly create some degree of short-circuiting!

When one is young, the reproductive urge is a powerful biological element that may supersede societal or religious overlays. Maturity, however, brings greater discrimination and different perspectives that create more space for earlier “programming” to exert its influence. It is at this time that we have the opportunity, with our maturity, to reexamine what we have been taught and whether it is truly serving us. Many stay with the status quo, questioning nothing and perpetuating confusion and the madness. Others recognize something in themselves that needs to be addressed, and begin searching for more complete education and training.

So, guys, given this knowledge and awareness, what would you like to do about it?

The Missing Elements

In working with my clients, I have found that men who have had sexual training from a more experienced partner seem to have a much healthier and more open attitude about their sexuality and relationships. They are more receptive to communication from their partners and to exploration and new discovery. Because they were originally educated and trained by another, they are not invested in their sexual supremacy (the idea that the man is supposed to teach his woman about sex).

Victorian Hangover

Men who have not had the benefit of a more experienced teacher may find themselves suffering from certain leftovers of Victorian morality: “Sex is both a marital duty and a pleasure for men. Nice women should not expect to enjoy it, just procreate and raise the kids.” “Things are very different nowadays!” you might say – but the Victorian Hangover still encompasses virginity as a prized commodity. The illusion says that the “out-of-control guy” is supposed to be the more experienced partner, expected to teach his innocent female partner about sex.

What positive experience does he truly have to give her? Some have the benefit of the education from locker-room braggarts – and really, how much of that is fabricated? Most have the experience of a furtive jerkoff in the bathroom or in the privacy of their bedroom – mustn’t get caught! All they know is that if you rub, you get an orgasm and a squirt. They may do it very quickly for the release and to avoid detection – and this is all they know about sex. When they actually begin to engage with another, they repeat that quick jerkoff within their partner. And no one knows any different! If they read men’s magazines or watch porno, this limited perspective is reinforced.

Women, on the other hand, need a much longer warmup, as their erectile tissue is internal and not so visible. They have to receive the excited energy of their partner, and in the traditional, Victorian scenario, they are little more than catchers’ mitts for their partners’ intravaginal masturbation. Without the proper warmup, women may not find intercourse as fully pleasurable as it could be. As a result, there are many very sexually unsatisfied women. For some women, menopause becomes a welcome opportunity to “pause from men,” because under the old paradigm, a woman may have rarely (if ever) realized what the potential pleasure of her sexuality might bring.

The men in my examples have very effectively trained themselves in the practice of premature ejaculation, and the women don’t have much chance for more extended experience! How many times have you heard men bemoaning the “extra effort” required for foreplay? Our sexuality has become very goal-oriented: “I’m here to make you come; you’re here to make me come – let’s get to work!” It is a very work-like, businesslike endeavor, that is expected to look a certain way and to work in a certain way. Anything that doesn’t quite measure up to their picture of what a successful scenario should look/feel like may be seen as a potential “problem” – a problem that can actually become a self-fulfilling prophesy, when confidence in one or both partners’ performance is undermined in any way.

In the Victorian scenario, an inexperienced woman is unlikely to know what she wants, nor to have the ability to ask for it even if she does know. A more experienced woman may even pretend inexperience to please her partner’s desire for virginity, and thus will not, or feel she must not, communicate her needs. We are all also trained to avoid discussing sexual matters, which further impedes her ability to communicate – and we are taught not to ask much of anything sexual to men anyway, because they have such fragile egos!

Why do you suppose men may have fragile egos? Because sexually untrained men know little more than their untrained partners; and if their culture has convinced them that they must seem credible teachers, they do not want to be found out! Their confidence is shakily founded; and anything less than honoring of their leadership crumbles that foundation to bits. Thus we all suffer in silence, living with a mere shadow of the true electrical potential that our sexuality can provide. Our society’s reluctance to honor our sexuality by training our children toward natural, sensible appreciation of their bodies’ innate pleasure puts another short circuit in the flow of the healthy, happy sexuality that we all deserve to enjoy!

Solutions

The good news is that we are living in a magickal time. In the last 40 or so years, our traditional paradigm has undergone a radical opening and shift. Attitudes are changing, albeit slowly. With reproductive management, there is more permission to explore and to enjoy. People are no longer totally accepting of religious and governmental control of their sexual exploration and pleasure. Masturbation is more accepted. There is more tolerance of sexual and relationship alternatives. People are beginning to discover that there may even be a profound spiritual component in their sexuality! It is a good beginning – and we still have a long way to go.

Self-Love

Our sexual enjoyment and expression are symptoms of our self-love. There is a direct relationship between self-esteem and sexual energy. Have you noticed that when you don’t feel good about yourself, it is unlikely that you will feel particularly sexy?

Our society’s traditional training in sexual matters has the potential to dramatically undermine our self-esteem. Feelings of shame, guilt, isolation, and rejection loom large in our ability to feel attractive to ourselves or to others. If this negativity is so foundational, how can we transform it?

The answer is easy, yet requires the endeavor of constant attention. Moment by moment, whenever you have an opportunity for choice: choose love! Whether it is in order to take kind care of the self, or to be kind in your relationships with others – choose love!

Most of our choices are made from fear of what will happen if we choose something else. We crave safety, security, and love. We fear that some basic personal need will not be met. But who is in charge of that? Not anyone else but the self. How often, when we make our choices, do we first pay true and humane honor to ourselves?

For example, it is very wise of the airlines to suggest that when oxygen is needed, parents should secure their own supplies first, so that they can be strong and available to serve their children and others in turn.

I believe that we each have our own personal “energy circuit” that reflects how we are loving and caring for ourselves. This circuit channels the energy available both for ourselves and for our service to others. When our circuits are healthy, connected, and flowing freely with energy, we are at our best: clear, centered, empowered. We are in a more reliable, solid state. When our circuits are shorted, obstructed or blocked, the aliveness and the quality of what we bring to the moment is diminished. Thus, when our own basic needs are not met, we feel that lack as a “blown circuit!” We have less patience, are more easily knocked off-balance, and the quality of our output is lessened.

Therefore, to be more fully charged with life, and in charge of our lives, it is essential to bring our fullest, best selves to the experience – which requires that we love ourselves enough to ensure that we have our best selves to give.

I have been on this path of “self-love” for many years, and it still amazes me to discover the layers and layers of new ways to give myself the same loving attention that I endeavor to give generously to others, and that enriches the quality of my life experience more every day … through loving choices to nurture myself, to honor myself, to give myself pleasure, to maintain balance, to play more … and on and on. It is a delightful journey that I promise gets more fun every day!

Education & Training

IF YOU HAVE YOUNG ONES …

o Educate yourself about your own sexuality and locate trainers and coaches to show you what is available to you on your journey toward healing old wounds and opening new doors to expanded experiences so that you can pass it on to your children at the appropriate times.
o Study ways to better honor and support your children’s self-esteem on all levels.
o Honor their rhythms and needs to ensure positive educational experiences. Today’s children will not as easily conform to the ways in which we were raised and educated. We need new approaches. Inform yourself about what is available.
o Keep your attitudes sex-positive and educate yourself in the best ways to honor, direct, and communicate with your children as they discover their own sexuality.

FOR YOU…
o Improve your Relationship with Yourself! It all begins with the self. Treat yourself as you would your lover, pleasure yourself as you would make love to your lover. Give your whole loving heart and tender thrilling touch to you at least once a week!
o Make your Sexuality a Priority. The first blush of sexual discovery, whether with the self or with a partner, begins as a delightful journey that spurs us on to discover more. If, as life goes on, we shift our priorities to other things (work, family, household) over our sexuality, this will be reflected in our lives as a certain joylessness and drudgery may set in. Make time for you and for your sexual expression every week, even every day, if you can. You will reap great rewards!
o Education and training! It is time to give yourself permission to discover more and to have more. There are amazing possibilities out there that will enhance your life, your sexual experience and expression, and your relationships. Discover what attracts you; take time to explore.

A Few Tips to Ensure Safe Exploration
o Learn from the Best. Ensure your teachers or coaches have the maturity, education, training, and experience in the area you are exploring, in order to give you the best experience possible. Are they living their teachings with success in their own lives?
o Be gentle with yourself. There is no need to jump in all at once with both feet. Take baby steps. Be a witness to your feelings and honor them every step of the way. The better you care for yourself, the safer you will feel. If you are taking a class that does not allow you to opt out of any exercise you choose, you are in the wrong class.
o Activating and expanding your sexual vistas will bring up old “programming” for review. When it looms before you, the best question to ask yourself in each instance is “How is it working for you?” If it is not, it is time to explore it more deeply to see wherein there is value and what is counterproductive. Keep what works and drop the rest. Make sure you have proper support to deal with any emotional short circuits that may sizzle as a result of opening formerly shut-down areas: they were shut down for a reason, and need gentle nurturing in your healing and transformation processes.
o Communication – Learn about it. Use it. Learn how to be authentic and honest and truthful with yourself and others every step of the way. Create win-win scenarios.

Healthy, happy sexuality comes from self-love and well-considered priorities. Your wellbeing and health are profoundly tied to your sexual energy. Sexual energy = Life Force Energy = Chi = Ki = “The Force”: the essence of physical reality and your aliveness – the most powerful force there is! You are not “out of control!” While such a powerful force cannot be stemmed, it can be managed and is manageable. Learn for yourself so that you can teach your sons to love themselves and to love and honor their partners. Learn how to manage your life force, use it well, and consciously direct it in ways that will best serve you to honor and improve your relationship with yourself and with others, to create the life of your dreams!

Free Adult Dating Sites – Read About the Dangers

Most people will choose free dating sites over paid ones. This is only natural. Why pay for something when you can get it for free, right? Exactly. The truth is, however, free adult dating sites are bad news. In the short paragraphs that follow, you will learn the reasons why to avoid such sites and how, instead, you can get equally free dating accounts at many of the popular adult dating sites.

So why should you stay clear of entirely free dating sites?

These sites are free for a reason. By keeping memberships free they attract vast numbers of people. This costs them a lot in hosting. They have to make money somehow. What they do is spam your email inbox with hundreds of paid offers. Not only that but they even spam you on the site itself. How many times has a pretty girl messaged you on a free dating site only for you to discover that she wants you to buy a cam membership?

Lots of times, I bet!

Identity theft is another danger with free dating sites. These sites make you fill out vast forms making it easy for them to steal your identity.

The third and final reason to avoid free dating sites is because most of their profiles are, in fact, bogus. They create thousands of fake profiles in an attempt to compete with the big paid dating sites that have millions of members.

So, now you know the dangers. Is there a solution to still benefit from free dating and not face these dangers? Sure there is. Get a totally free membership to a paid dating site. You can get a membership without even having to pull out a credit card. It takes about 60 seconds to join and all you need is a working email address (that you can get free from yahoo or gmail, for example).

Your free membership gives you many privileges. You can search profiles, send messages, get message replies, add friends, chat to people. You only ever take out your credit card if you want to use advanced features. That is the only time.

So next time you think about joining a dating site, do yourself a favor – avoid the free dating sites like the proverbial plague. Instead, get yourself a free dating account at a popular site with millions of members. It is totally free and, more often than not, due to the size of the site you will find thousands of members in your actual town or city.

Sexual Harassment and Sex Discrimination Answers

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies and to labor organizations, as well as to the federal government.

Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions:

What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is defined as “unwelcome sexual advances or conduct.” Sexual harassment includes quid pro quo harassment or a hostile or offensive work environment. Sexual harassment is any kind of sexual conduct that is unwelcome and/or inappropriate for the work place. Sexual harassment can take many forms: verbal harassment, e.g. sexual or dirty jokes, visual harassment, e.g. drawings, emails, etc., physical harassment, and sexual favors, e.g. sexual advances, confrontation with sexual demands (quid pr quo sexual harassment). In the work place, sexual harassment can come from the owner, supervisors, managers, and co-workers. Sexual harassment does not only occur in the work place; it can occur off-site at office functions and parties.

Who can be held responsible if I am the victim of sexual harassment at work?

Both the employer and employees are liable for sexual harassment.

What is quid pro quo sexual harassment?

Quid pro quo sexual harassment takes place when a supervisor or someone with authority over your job demands sexual favors from you in exchange for a promotion, raise or some other benefit, including keeping your job. The demand for sexual favors can be explicit, e.g. “If you have sex with me, I will promote you,” or it can be implied from unwelcome physical contact such as touching or fondling.

What must I prove to prevail in a cause of action for quid pro quo sexual harassment?

You must show that a supervisor, or someone with authority over your job, explicitly or implicitly conditioned a job, retention of your job, a job benefit (raise, business trip, or some other benefit), on your acceptance of sexual conduct. You must demonstrate that the harasser is someone with authority who can affect conditions of your employment. You also have to prove that the sexual conduct was unwelcome.

How can I prove that the sexual conduct was unwelcome?

The sexual conduct must be unwelcome. You may show that the conduct was unwelcome by showing that you: explicitly rejected his/her sexual advances; you suffered emotional distress; your job performance deteriorated; you avoided the harasser; you told friends and/or family of the harassment; and you told a company representative of the harassment. Each case is different and your case may or may not include some of these examples.

What are my remedies in a quid pro quo sexual harassment case?

The law provides that you may recover damages from your employer once you have proven that you were deprived of a job benefit, or suffered an adverse employment action, e.g. failure to promote, termination of employment, because you refused to accept your supervisor’s sexual demands.

What To Do If I Think I am the Victim of Sexual Harassment?

Keep a record of the events surrounding the sexual harassment, include the date, time, place, and who was present. Your notes may become very important in litigating the case, but bear in mind that these notes may be required to be turned over to the employer during the discovery phase of litigation. Check the company’s employee handbook, if one exists, to determine if the company has a procedure for handling sexual harassment complaints. If the company has a procedure for filing a sexual harassment complaint you must comply with it.

If you do not complain to the employer, the employer can successfully defend itself from liability by arguing that it was not aware of the problem, and therefore was unable to remedy the problem. However, if the problem is not remedied, you may wish to speak to an attorney for advice on how to file a formal complaint with the appropriate federal or state or city agency. You may still want to speak with an attorney before you file the complaint with the company to ensure that it is communicated appropriately.

Once I inform my employer about the sexual harassment, what must my employer do?

Once the employer knows or should know about the harassment, it has a duty to take immediate and appropriate corrective action to end the harassment. The employer’s response must be reasonably calculated to end the harassment and if earlier discipline did not end the harassment, more severe discipline is required.

Is my employer still responsible if the harasser is a co-worker?

If the demand for sexual favors is made by a co-worker with no power to affect your employment opportunities, you cannot claim quid pro quo harassment. However, you may claim that the co-workers actions created a hostile work environment, and an employer may be held liable for the conduct of the employee if the employer knew or should have known of the employee’s conduct and failed to take prompt remedial action to stop the harassment.

What is “hostile work environment” sexual harassment?

As an employee, you have a right to work in an environment that is free of discrimination, intimidation, insult and ridicule. You have a potential claim for hostile work environment if the sexual harassment unreasonably interferes with your work performance or creates an offensive or intimidating work environment. In order to have a claim for hostile work environment, you must be able to prove that there was more than a single incident of harassment. You also have to show, as in quid pro quo sexual harassment, that the sexual conduct was unwelcome.

What are examples of a hostile or offensive work environment?

Sexually-charged jokes or pranks, being grabbed or whistled at, sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature can create a hostile work environment and can qualify as sexual harassment. Conduct that makes the workplace sexually charged does not need to be directly aimed at you. For example, being subject to offensive company-wide emails may create a hostile or offensive work environment.

What must I show in order to recover damages for a hostile work environment?

You must show that the unwelcome sexual conduct was so severe and pervasive that it “altered your conditions of employment by creating a psychologically abusive work environment.” The employer may be held liable if he/she knew or should have known of the harassment and failed to take prompt remedial steps to stop the harassment.

How can I prove that the harassing conduct was severe or pervasive enough to alter the working conditions and create an abusive environment?

You must be able to meet both an objective and a subjective standard. The objective standard is met if a Court determines that a “reasonable person in your position” would have considered the conduct severe or pervasive. Under the subjective standard, you must have actually found the conduct sufficiently severe or pervasive to interfere with your work environment. In other words, a Court looks at what your reaction to the conduct was, and whether your reaction was reasonable, according how a “reasonable person in your position” would have reacted.

What types of damages can I recover if I am successful in demonstrating sexual harassment?

A Court may order the company to: stop the harassment; pay lost wages and other job-related losses (e.g. promotions, or favorable work status you lost because of the sexual harassment); pay compensation for physical, mental and emotional injuries; pay punitive damages; pay your attorneys’ fees and expenses associated with litigating your case.

Not all employment disputes require a lawsuit, and sometimes negotiation is the best course of action. I have considerable experience negotiating with employers who have as few as 4 employees to employers who have as many as 100,000 employees.

If you work in the State of New York, call toll-free 866-424-2644 now for a no-cost consultation to allow me to begin evaluating your case.

Sex Talk: Cultivating a Profound Relationship With Your Sexuality

Let’s talk about sex!

But let’s talk about it in a different way. We’re not going to talk about the oh-that-feels-so-good, get-me-off kind of sex, but the kind of sex that is all-encompassing where you feel you are making love to life.

This is a journey of remembering the profound nature of your sexuality and the wild ride which may await you.

Your relationship with your sexuality is like a dance, and you can reap great benefits when you learn to trust this part of yourself. Are you ready to embrace letting go of everything in order to feel the infinite places this kind of relationship with your sexuality may take you?

Sex is magic. It is an unspoken language that deserves reverence, understanding, deep listening. It is voice, it is expression and your personal presence. When you truly open yourself that way, a force arises in you that has a presence like a black-belt black-belt or a Samurai warrior: one graceful step takes you out of harm’s way, your decisions are decisive and they align with your own body, mind, sex, and spirit.

With the right intention, you can truly unleash your spirit in your sex life.

This is where you bring your potent, rooted, turned-on self, to share with another who matches you in their own rooted, emotionally clear, turned-on self. And it does not depend on physical penetration. It is a shamanic journey in itself, so hold onto something or just be willing to lose everything.

Because each moment life will either penetrate you, will come towards you because you attract it – or it will be repulsed by you and remain at arm’s length; you will be untouchable, un-penetrable.

Now imagine cultivating such a relationship with your sexuality which was far beyond the mere act of sex with another person. How different it is from that boring old story: meeting someone in a bar, feeling physically turned on, taking them home, having wild, explosive, sex, and it being over and fizzling out. You know, the sex where it’s all about thrusting? It only touches the physical, superficial layers of your being.

And then there is sex that is abusive. where there is no awareness at all. All that shows up is disconnect. One is so consumed with their emotional burdens and pains that, rather than receiving what they need to transform and be loved, they lose touch with life. They may walk around not feeling their body and all they feel and know is anger, rage, sadness, discord.

Let’s not judge these situations as right or wrong. Let’s look closely and use them to finally bring some much needed awareness and compassion to the topic. Let us discover what it is that all beings need to receive to finally remember and enjoy the richness of this connection with their own sexuality.

Sex is far bigger than many of us realize. We aren’t taught as children about the potential and bigness of our sexuality and life force. Sex, we are taught, is this superficial thing we give away, share with another for great pleasure or feel obligated to give away to another. And yet it is so powerful that it can stir up so much emotional chaos.

As I sit here and write, after a one-hour vipassana meditation on my week-long solo retreat, I feel my body so open, so available to life. I close my eyes and feel the pumping of my blood through my veins, the temperature changes within my body, the softness and tensions of various parts of my musculature. I feel as if life is entering my heart and caressing my sex!

I am in tune with the subtle movements of the trees, the soft caress of the wind. My ears are so sensitive to the sweet sounds of the song birds, the buzzing of the bees, and the echoes of the crows in the distance. Vitality, connection, information and wisdom. I am in my eyes, being penetrated by nature. I have said yes to joining, in divine partnership, with what life offers.

But it was not always so.

The Exploration of my personal sexual evolution:

Exploring my personal sexual evolution takes me back to when I was ten years old, to when my menstrual cycle began, to the heavy blood flow and extreme physical and emotional pain that came with it.

This was the beginning of learning about who I was as a sensitive sexual being. So often this stage of life for a young woman or young man is overlooked. What was the environment like for you during this rite of passage called “puberty?”

My parents were newly separated at the time. I remember being with my father out for breakfast at a small town restaurant in Connecticut. It was morning, most likely on a Sunday because I spent the weekends with Dad.

I remember suddenly being hit with so much physical pain and cramping, the start of a very heavy cycle. This was the beginning of some big changes in my body, and no one ever sat me down to talk to me about the emotions, the physical discomfort and the feelings that would only grow from this day forward.

So often children are left to figure things out for themselves. These days there are many places where the way children are raised in holistic mindful ways is increasing, which is an extraordinary gift. When I was ten years old things were not so open yet.

Being as sensitive as I was, I can imagine how much easier puberty would have been if I’d had the support, the community, even a mentor as a younger child to help me understand my body, my emotions and my sexuality on a bigger scale.

I traveled many places on my sexual journey, and many of the places I traveled are considered not-so-conservative by some. Her (my sex) and I have explored many places together and today we have created an enriching relationship. I have always been an explorer of life and human nature. And in all my explorations of life I have always had a deep reverence for (her) my sexuality.

I explored fun places, riding that dangerous edge with my sexual energy and discovering the vast world of pleasure through my teens – even though I did not share the fullness of my virginity until I was eighteen. I waited for no other reason than I always felt that when someone was going to penetrate me in such a way and enter my body, they needed to have a certain amount of presence and care.

In my 20′s things took a turn for me. After three years in a relationship, I found myself curious about life again, open to adventure and the changes happening within me. My partner at the time was not as sexual as I was. We would joke that, at 20, he was like he was 60. He understood this and we laughed about it, and at times, even processed about it.

My sexual life force and connection pulsed through me and I yearned to be met in this way. I yearned to have a partner to share this wordless communication with. We loved each other but we had different needs at the time. Back then I did not yet have the tools to communicate my sexual needs. I was in an environment where I didn’t understand whole parts of my emotional body.

Then it happened: the kiss. A single kiss I shared with a man I was attracted to who was not my boyfriend – that triggered an avalanche of guilt, shame and self-punishment. I judged myself so harshly, and, without the support to help me understand my feelings, I instantly ended my relationship. It is not what my boyfriend wanted, but I ended it. I felt confused, very confused.

Today I am grateful to be aware of just how many ways there are to relate. That awareness took two decades of self-transformation and cultivating rich relationships to develop. Twenty five years ago, I was still stuck in a shell of old concepts, conditioned stories and other people’s truths.

This is when I entered the wild, free-spirit nymph phase of my sex life.What began as a free-spirited nymph who was open and light-hearted shifted into a place to run and hide my heart.

These were an intense few years where shame and self-punishment lead the way. I dishonored my body and spirit with sex, and I dismissed my voice because I thought I was undeserving. This is when I forgot that sex is magic.

For me, sex became less about feeling, and more and more about emptiness. I allowed men to touch me the way they wanted – in whatever way they wanted. It became all about getting the guy in bed, and it hurt, physically and emotionally.

The years started to numb me out. I grew more and more numb until finally I had no choice. Everything in my life came to a full stop. It was a wake-up call. After nearly six years of intense competitive bodybuilding, dysfunctional relationships, and disconnection from my sex and my emotions, I collapsed. It felt like my life was over, yet it was the start to actually living!

It was time to allow all that experience to be my teacher, to be the wisdom and the fuel for serving others. It was time to cultivate a new relationship – body, mind and spirit – with myself through nearly seven years of celibacy. I knew it was time, and that I had the power within me – that, indeed, I was the only one who had the power – to change my life and my relationship with my body and my sex.

Looking back is so interesting. Today I feel alive in my sexual journey, giving voice to my sex and giving my desires permission to be lived. I put my personal story here so that you know you are not alone. We are in this together!

Today, this article is here to supply you with information and support to do something different. Together, we will revolutionize your relationship to intimacy, to sex, to connection, to life itself! I want you to know that you don’t have to wait until something big knocks you on the head or drops you to your knees to start your revolution.

I have worked with clients who were stuck in a phase of repulsing life. I had one client say “I think my guardedness and armor is very much needed and beneficial in life.” I’m not trying to say that putting up armor is right or wrong. Rather, I want you to think about how deeply you desire to feel, to be touched, to feel alive, tuned in, creative, aroused; how deeply do you want to experience the fullness of life?

My sexuality is potent and in flow, even when physical penetration is non-existent. She (sex, sexual energy) is flowing, is creative. She is alive when I allow myself to listen to her, to embrace her, to touch her through my presence.

My sexuality is a language and the act of sex is a form of communication. It is a place where, when my partner matches my presence and connection, words no longer matter.

My sexuality is a kind of meditation; and meditation is a sexual act. In meditation, you becomes so still: you observe, you fill up, you open, and allow life and spirit to fully enter you. I want life to penetrate me. All of nature, the sounds of nature, the wind, the warmth of the sun, the water’s caress. I love feeling so alive, for, are we not meant to experience life to the fullest?

Through cultivating this partnership with nature and life itself, you are able to explore, get to know yourself in rich new ways. Why? Because you will be more open, more aware, sensitive and present.

To engage so deeply in sex, we must approach it from a holistic viewpoint. Sex is not a mere physical act where our genitals are touched to the point of orgasm. It is not even about reaching orgasm. I am so tired of hearing about the power of orgasm.

I believe it has become a distraction from cultivating a rich, deep relationship with sexuality and the penetrative reality of nature and life itself. Stop seeking the quick pleasure, the shallow bliss! Stop getting drunk on orgasms! They are a distraction. You can go deeper!

I am not saying to stop orgasming as orgasms are a part of our sexual nature. However, I am inviting you to uncover more, to broaden your perspective. Yes, orgasm is a part of our sexual experience, but it is such a small part of our potential experience. Think about the sensations that lead up to orgasm, that energy.

You know, where you lips start to quiver, your body heat rises, sweat dripping from your thighs, your heart and pussy become one. What if this aroused energy was there beyond the sexual encounter that may have stimulated it, yet you were not dependent on having an orgasm or outward response to maintain it?

When you show up with reverence and devotion to yourself, your sex is a part of that self, it mirrors how you relate to others. With reverence for yourself, you naturally begin to feel and see life differently. From this place of self-love, you can allow life to make love to you in every moment.

You move with a sense of grace, a sense of ease, of connection, of awareness, presence, compassion and even fierce vulnerability. There is power in this. Yet this power, which lives in your center, is not one of force or of manipulation, it is one of understanding.

Imagine your life, relationships and interactions are touched by such qualities. Your actions would become quite different. Like a martial arts or Qi Gong master, your movements change because life, breath, feeling is moving you. Your choices are different. People respond differently to you.

You melt a room like butter when you walk through it. You know where your own boundaries and the boundaries of others lie. Communication and conversation provide means for intimacy rather than argument. You become more productive and creative, which leads you to feel fulfilled on all levels.

Sex shifts from hard, physical, forceful penetration to ravishment, to whole-bodied, spiritual penetration that touches your soul.

A sexual union where even the slightest of touches puts you into greater connection with “pure existence”. Thought disappears, replaced by awareness of the most intricate of movements. You and your partner dance as if you are one. In each breath you can feel life pouring more life into you.

You feel liberated and safe within your own self, where you may give voice to all your desires and fantasies. In all of this you never lose yourself for an instant. Rather, you find yourself, you unleash your spirit as you allow yourself to disappear into formlessness.

What has your journey with sex been like? What mantles of shame, embarrassment, and unworthiness have you taken-on regarding your own potent beautiful sex?
I believe that when we open through sex we have the ability to feel the universe. Sex is as mysterious as the universe, and at times that may feel scary, intense, beautiful, and magically sweet all weaved together.

I invite you to give thanks for all ways your sexuality moves through you, and for all the ways your sexual experiences have taught you. There is wisdom in everything!

I invite you, as I have done, to apologize to your body, heart, spirit and sex for the times you may not have honored this part of yourself; to apologize for the times you have tuned out your own voice or thought yourself unworthy.

Remember the resilience of your spirit!

Take time today to reflect on your sexual journey, talk to your close friends about your sex and how your relationship with sex has evolved over the years. Write it in your journal and do an honoring ceremony for you and your sexual evolution. Mourn, laugh and feel.
There is wisdom in your sexual evolution.

Best Adult Dating Sites – What To Expect

It can be difficult and taxing to choose among dating sites claiming to be best adult dating sites. You can find numerous dating sites on the Web and determining which one is the best can be complicated. You can also refer to reputable individuals to obtain feedback and comments about the dating sites although you still have to weigh between positive and negative feedback. On the other hand, choosing the most appropriate sites for you can become easier by considering several factors that make a site the best. These include the number of members (subscribers and active users), membership fee, profile responses and exposure, and other significant features.

In determining the best adult dating sites on the Web, you should first consider the number of members these sites have. A site may have numerous subscribers but only a few of them are active users. Thus, you get lesser chances of meeting your potential match. An dating site should have numerous members who are active so that users get more chances of meeting people in their preferred locations.

Another factor to consider in choosing these sites is the membership fee. Some of these sites offer free services. However, these sites usually have fake profiles and can fill your inbox with junk mails from email brokers. Most free dating sties sell email addresses to brokers in exchange of the free service they offer their users. On the other hand, those that have membership or subscription fees are deemed more efficient and offer quality services compared to free sites. It is more preferable to join free sites that have reasonable membership fees in order to avoid fake profiles, spam emails, and too much advertising as found in most free adult sites.

An important factor to consider is the capability of these sites to expose your profile and obtain responses. Most often than not, you will receive email responses once your have completed making your profile. This is because you will be added to the area for new members where you obtain exposure. If you do not receive emails in the first hour after creating your profile, you have to find another sites that can expose your profile more efficiently in order to obtain best results

Other significant features that you should consider in best adult dating sites include the instant messaging, searchable and viewable profiles, add a friend option, live cams, chat rooms, photo galleries, and forums among others. Instant messaging allows you to send and receive messages to and from other people. Live cam features allow you to see the person you are chatting with, which provides you with better option whether or not to befriend the individual. Most free adult dating sites only offer basic features such as instant messaging and searchable and viewable profiles. On the other hand, paid adult dating sites offer all the features mentioned in order to optimize your membership fee. More so, you have greater chances of meeting people in paid adult dating sites since you have many options to communicate and interact with various individuals.

What You Can Get From Top Adult Dating Sites

there are two categories of top adult dating sites, free membership and paid membership adult sites. The difference between the two categories lies on the features they offer. Some features may be offered only in free membership adult dating sites and vice versa. Let us first discuss the features offered in free membership dating sites for adults.

Send messages – You can send and receive messages to and from millions of active members. Even if you have just signed up, you can expect emails from subscribers or active members especially those located in the same area as yours.
Full profile – You are entitled to provide information in terms of your gender; a description of yourself; what you seek; and who you are interested to meet. An activation code will be provided as soon as you have completed the sign up process. Your profile will be searchable by your fellow members.
Uploading photos – Free membership adult dating sites allow you to upload several photos, which can attract members to view your profile.
Millions of members – You are entitled to choose a date from millions of active members in the database. Since the number of active members is huge, it is most likely that you will be able to find your match. Searching for potential matches also depend on your preferences. You can search according to location, gender, username, photos, age, or interests.

On the other hand, apart from those provided in free membership dating sites, paid membership top adult dating sites also provide unique features that make subscription fees reasonable for your money’s worth.

Chat rooms – Paid members are entitled to join millions of chat rooms where they can have greater chances of meeting their match. Active chat communities are available from every part of the world.
Instant messenger – You can send and receive instant messages with numerous active members. This is an efficient way of establishing direct contact with potential matches.
Viewable member videos and galleries – Members can view the photos, galleries, or videos of other members. You can also upload your own so that you can attract people to contact you.
Live cams – Members are entitled to visit live adult cams where different cam girls await to chat with you 24/7. You can chat with these girls and ask them anything you want to see. This is one of the features, which is not offered in most free membership adult dating sites.

There are more reasons why you should join top adult dating sites apart from those already mentioned in this article. Many of these sites offer various exciting features that will surely provide you fun and enjoyment. If you want to experience a new kind of dating, you should sign up for adult dating sites that are suitable with your personal preferences. On the other hand, make sure that the adult dating site you choose has clear privacy and security policies to ensure your personal information cannot be obtained by third party vendors or other unauthorized entities.

Interiew with Aline Zoldbrod, Author of “Sex Smart: How Your Childhood Shaped Your Sexual Life”

We are pleased to have Aline with us today as she gives as insight on how non-sexual family of origin issues form a persons sexuality.

Irene: Aline, your book “Sex Smart” is a book like none other. Please tell our audience what your book is about.

Aline: “SexSmart: How Your Childhood Shaped Your Sexual Life and What to Do About It” explodes the myth that sexual development is simple and Straight forward. SexSmart’s central message is that healthy sexual development actually is quite varied and complicated. We each come to our adult sexuality having walked down our own special path. And many families in which there was no specific, sexual abuse actually do cause profound damage to childrens’ developing sexuality.

SexSmart explains how the way you were raised in your family– whether you were touched nicely or cruelly or not at all, whether you could depend on your parents to take care of you, whether you got empathy, whether you trusted your parents and your siblings, what the power relationships were, and even whether you were encouraged to have friends–all deeply affect whether you will be able to enjoy sexual pleasure, and also whether you will feel safe being sexual with someone to whom you are emotionally attached. In SexSmart I describe fourteen “Milestones of Sexual Development.”

Irene: How does whether or not you got empathy from your parents have any bearing on sexuality?

Aline: Good parents are empathetic. They let themselves feel what their child is feeling, and then they respond to what the child needs. The more that the child sees that parents will respond to her needs, the more the child trusts that the energy expended to communicate is worth the effort. And so trust, and communication skills, build.

People who did not receive empathy from their parents have many problems with sexual(and emotional) relationships as adults. For instance, if you didn’t get empathy, you might be deeply afraid of getting hurt, so you may avoid getting into relationships altogether. You may be lacking in practice in communicating, or believe that it is pointless to talk about what you want (since you believe no one cares about how you feel.) So if you then do get into a sexual relationship, it is difficult for you to talk about your sexual likes and dislikes, or even to talk about it when a particular sexual activity is causing you anxiety, discomfort or pain.

If an unempathic parent was neglectful or abusive, there is a good chance that you will be chronically tense. If you can’t let yourself relax and be soothed, by definition, you will not be able to enjoy sexual pleasure in the context of a tender, steady relationship.
(You may still be able to enjoy the excitement of a new, lust-filled one, though.)

Irene: What inspired you to write this book?

Aline: Being able to have a sexual bond with a beloved partner is one of the great joys of life. It’s a spiritual, deep, health-giving experience. Sex shouldn’t be a source of anxiety, doubt, shame, or pain. It saddens me that so many people haven’t experienced their sexuality as a force for good in their life. I believe that reading and working through SexSmart can be a path to sexual enlightenment and sexual freedom for many people. As a sex therapist, I have met and helped hundreds and hundreds of men and women who are unhappy with their sexual selves. But as an author, I can help people I never even met.

There are so many women and men in America and in the world who do not enjoy being sexual. They don’t enjoy feeling sexual as a solo activity, and they don’t feel safe and comfortable being sexual with a partner. Some of them feel guilty. Some of them experience sex as needing to be a perfect performance each time, which spoils it. Some of them have sexual dysfunctions caused by anxiety and lack of education. And some had childhoods that were flawed in such a way that they literally do not know what it feels like to experience sexual tinglings and urgings in their own body.

You would be surprised to know how many people think that in reality, sexuality isn’t that great, that sexual pleasure is nothing much, and that all the emphasis on sex is a big media hoax! I hope that readers will use SexSmart as a map, guiding them to un-do the damage suffered by growing up in a dysfunctional family.

Irene: Why would some people think that sex is a big media hoax?

Aline: Each of us only knows the experience we have in our own body. People who have never experienced sexual pleasure in their own bodies have no reason to believe other people who insist that sex feels great.

There are large numbers of people who never learned that any kind of touch feels good. Many people grew up in “good” families with parents who were responsible, but unaffectionate. So they don’t unconsciously or consciously link touch and love. Others grew up with parents who were unbelievably anxious, and they absorbed so much anxiety from their parents’ touch that they associate touch with anxiety.

Far too many people grew up in families where they witnessed or experienced violence, which is devastating to sexuality. Witnessing or experiencing violence alters one’s feelings about being safe in one’s own body. I believe it can be as negative an experience, sexually, as some kinds of sexual abuse. Witnessing or being the direct victim of violence in your family teaches you that it’s not safe to love or trust. It teaches you that it’s not a good idea to ever let down your guard emotionally. It literally changes people’s “BodyMaps” so that it becomes impossible to relax, let go of control, and allow another person to pleasure you. The body remembers! If you were slapped in the face, for instance, you might flinch when someone you love tries to caress your face. If you came from a physically violent family, you can learn to experience sexual pleasure. But to do so, you have to process what happened to you, not minimize it.

Think of your associations to touch and trust as the first step in a
cascade of good physical and emotional associations you must feel first in your body before you can feel the building up of sexual arousal:

love=> touch => trust=> love=> safety=> drift=> float

love=> touch => trust=> love=> safety=> drift=> float => AROUSAL

Consistent, good experience with loving touch helps you to make
crucial links which you need. You need to be able to link love with touch, and touch with safety. If you can’t make these associations, you need to re-learn touch. Otherwise, you may never experience sex as pleasurable.

Irene: You claim that “sexual abuse” can happen in families in where there was not, literally, sex abuse. Please explain what that means.

Aline: Most people have an inadequate, shallow sense of what the building blocks of healthy sexuality are. Healthy sexuality is not based just in what you were told about sex, or in your appropriate or inappropriate sexual experiences in your family. It’s about what you witnessed and learned in your family about trust, safety, touch, gender relationships, anxiety, power, self worth, your body, and friendship. One basic motivation to be sexual comes from what you learned about being in relationship to another person. Was it worth getting close to another human being emotionally, let alone sexually?

People completely underestimate the effects of neglect, emotional abuse, physical abuse, or having an alcoholic or drug addicted parent on their sexuality. I have begun to call these other kinds of abuse “non sexual abuse.”

Sexual abuse is a horrible thing. However, I am certain that in terms of numbers of people affected, more people in America have sexual issues caused by growing up in families in which there was NON-SEXUAL abuse–such as lack of loving touch, alcoholism or drug abuse, physical violence, emotional abuse, or neglect–than were hurt by actual sexual abuse.

Irene: What would be some sexual issues that are caused by, what you say, “non-sexual abuse”?

Aline: Well, as an example, let me just pick the Milestone of Touch, and show you two lists from SexSmart. Readers should ask themselves what are their associations to touch.
You can’t enjoy sex if you don’t like touch. I like to say that touch is the “Ground Zero” of sexuality. People who had a good experience with touch have wonderful associations to touch.

Here are some good associations from my patients. Touch equals: pleasure, relaxation, fun, softness, good memories, comfort, normal, help, connection, I’m worth touching, calming, indulgence, massage, deep breathing, good mother, good father, sensuality, a worthwhile activity, good sexual memories.
good sexual memories

Contrast this to the associations to touch that people have when there was lack of affection, neglect, or violence. Touch equals: fear, controlling, out of control, awkward, pain, numb, tense/anxiety, guilt, startle response, bad memories, discomfort, weird, danger, confusion, what does this mean?, jumpy, is this proper? Uptight, holding breath, no mother, bad mother, no father, bad father, boring, a waste of time, no sexual memories.

Irene: Your hope is that people who read “Sex Smart” will see themselves in the book, or that some of the information will speak to them. What particular areas do you feel are the most important for the readers to relate to.

Aline: It’s funny. I have to say that every person reading SexSmart responds to different pieces of it. SexSmart discusses sexual development sequentially, beginning with birth and going through my fourteen Milestones of Sexual Development. (For instance, touch, empathy, trust, body image, gender identity, and so on.) Different readers’ families created problems at each Milestone. Readers absorb the book and highlight the parts that speak to them, personally, along with the workbook questions that challenge them the most.

Irene: In your practice, do you see more of one particular issue, than others? If so, what is it, and please explain why this particular issue is more prevalent?

Aline: Well, Irene, coming from a dysfunctional family can lead to just about every sexual dysfunction in the world, but I’ll comment on a few which I see frequently. The first is probably longstanding low sexual desire. People who grow up in families where there is very little tenderness, touch, caring, empathy, or safety have a hard time trusting in an emotional sense, and they also have an almost impossible time relaxing in their body. So it is common to meet people from difficult families who have never experienced sexual desire in their entire lives, because they have never allowed themselves to relax, breathe deeply, and allow sexual feelings and impulses to emerge and percolate through their bodies. They literally don’t know, can’t identify, and can’t even tolerate sexual feelings. So they don’t believe they can have sexual feelings.

Another typical effect of growing up with “non-sexual sexual abuse” is sexual addiction, especially in men. It is common for boys who grow up in unaffectionate, neglectful, emotionally abusive, or violent homes to discover masturbation as a way to self-soothe. When they were sad or scared, they masturbated. Having an orgasm is like a drug; it changes body chemistry and temporarily dulls painful feelings. It creates a habit of using sex as a crutch, a pattern where men feel that sex is their most important need or that sex is THE cure to unhappy feelings.

Irene: Your book is of importance for parents who want their children to grow up and have positive views of their sexuality. In what ways do you believe parents can affirm to their children that their bodies and their sexuality be accepted in a positive manner?

Aline: I think parents’ biggest obligation to their children is to address their own sexuality. How can you create a child with healthy sexuality if you aren’t comfortable using touch to soothe, or if you don’t feel happy in your own body, or if you think sex is dirty or scary, or if you believe all people of the opposite gender are evil or cruel? If your sexuality was damaged in your own family of origin, fix that first.

Abuse of all kinds goes down the generations. When you take the steps to stop denying what went wrong in your own family, when you have the courage to say “ouch!,” to get into therapy to change things, the buck stops with you. The brave person who goes into therapy and admits the pain he or she suffered can stop the cycle of abuse (of whatever kind) for all the generations which come after him or her.

Irene: I understand you saying that parents need to address their own sexual issues first. However, I would imagine some people don’t feel they have issues because they actually believe their beliefs about sex are correct. Some may even be influenced by religious beliefs. How do you propose to address these parents and have them be aware of the damage they are causing their children?

Aline: I think that most parents want their children to be able to grow up and enjoy being sexual once they are married. Conservative parents do want to make sure that children are celibate BEFORE marriage. I hope that SexSmart can get the word out to all parents about how important affectionate touch, empathy, and trust, and good power relationships are to children. If children are allowed to explore their own bodies, which is important, and if they also have these basic Milestones of Sexual Development, they will grow into sexually healthy adults. If you want to raise your child conservatively, I think you’ll find a lot of useful information about how to insure that your child turns out to be both responsive and responsible sexually as an adult.

Irene: Taking self-responsibility is the most important aspect of creating a healthy view of one’s own sexuality and what one does with it. Why do you believe that others often influence unhealthy views? What are some of the most common unhealthy views that our society has imposed upon us?

Aline: It is normal to be influenced by the people around us. It’s a fact of life. I wish that there were more normal looking people on TV and in the magazines. With all these thin, perfect, surgically enhanced, never-aging bodies around us, it’s hard for many women and men to feel that their own natural looking body is sexy enough. Sadly, a lot of people, women especially, seem to feel that only beautiful, thin women “deserve” to enjoy sex. Actually, as they say, the biggest sex organ is between your ears. How you feel about sexuality and being sexual is the most important determinant of whether you will feel sexual. Normal people have imperfect bodies. And imperfect bodies are perfectly able to feel sexual pleasure!

Irene: Yes, TV and magazines do portray a specific stature that our society seems to think is “normal.” So do books. A lot of the romance novels portray “sexy” women and men and readers escape by becoming the character. Why do you believe that people create their own reality through what they see or read?

Aline: Well, as far as we know, fantasizing seems to be a uniquely human trait. As long as it’s in balance, as long as people aren’t avoiding dealing constructively with issues in their own lives, there is nothing wrong with fantasizing. Sometimes, our fantasies help us see what our goals and dreams for ourselves are, in a way that can be constructive.

Irene: You want to reach specific populations with “Sex Smart.” Who do you think would benefit most by reading this book?

Aline: I would recommend SexSmart to anyone who is baffled about why you are who you are sexually, or for anyone who feels confused, unhappy, or ashamed of your sexuality.

I do think that SexSmart might hold a special key to understanding for certain kinds of readers: First, if you are someone who is terribly frightened of getting both sexually and emotionally close to another person, you can use SexSmart to understand your own fears.

Secondly, I hope to reach people affected by physical violence. SexSmart talks in detail about the changes violence caused in your Body Map, in your sense of trust, in your beliefs about gender relationships, and in creating anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. Family violence may be common, unfortunately, but it is NOT normal, and it shuts down the ability to feel sexual pleasure in close relationships for many people.

Thirdly, if you feel you were destined NOT to have sexual feelings, SexSmart may help you understand why you feel that way. If your sense of being asexual is partly because of your family of origin, SexSmart can help you discover how to become more comfortable with feeling sexual stirrings in your body and toward others.Ironically, on the other hand, many people who have sexual compulsions, who feel insatiable sexual feelings, also find answers in SexSmart. Lastly, I want to reach people who grew up in homes where they suffered emotional abuse or neglect.

Irene: “Sex Smart” is not only a book to read, but also a workbook. Please give us a little insight about the workbook aspect of it.

Aline: As a therapist, I assign homework between sessions. Writing down feelings is an important part of processing them. I find that my patients make more progress in changing when they are active participants. They get more insights, and they move through pain faster. SexSmart is so full of information that unless readers highlight the text and choose and complete some of the exercises which fit them, they won’t get the full benefit. In the homework, I always make the reader write down what the positives are that they need to focus on–what they wished they had said or done, or what they need to do now to fix the problem. The homework can help the reader transform some sad memories and realizations into targeted plans for change.

I plead with you, readers, do the workbook! It’s kind of like when you have a vivid, detailed dream at night, and you want to get up and write it down, but you’re too lazy. And so you rationalize it and tell yourself, “Wow, that dream was so amazing, so unusual, so wild. I’ll be sure to remember it when I am up.’ And then, at 7:00AM, when the alarm goes off, you wake up and say, “Man, that was a wild dream I had last night. Something about a cake. Hmmm. Blue cake?? Hmm.”

And you’ve lost the entire message your unconscious was sending you because you were too lazy to get your rear end up and write it down. Same thing. Use the workbook in SexSmart!!!

How to Practice Sexual Fitness Everyday for Women Using Mind and Body

Like men, sexual health is an important aspect of your life. Although you may not think about sex or connect sexuality to your ego as men do, it remains a very important facet to quality of life. As a consultant to a dietary supplement company writing educational articles and practicing many years as a clinical psychologist, I have personally counseled and advised women on their sexual issues and endeavors for optimal sexual health. After years of experience in the field of psychology, I have come up with some practical recommendations for you to practice in order to optimize your sexual potential. Although written for a woman, men should read this article and support their female partner at all costs. Like many healthcare professionals, I believe in taking a holistic approach to sexual health and fitness.

The first step is to make your sexual fitness a daily goal. Just as frequent exercise is necessary for physical health, regular exercise and attention paid to your sexual being is vital. This is not to say you need to fixate on your sexual health and welfare as men do, but knowing yourself, your partner, and psychological well-being directly links to optimal sexual health. Just as you have a physical fitness regimen, so too should you devise a sexual fitness regimen. I do not mean you need to think and engage in sex as frequently as you exercise, but thinking daily about sexuality is not only healthy, I highly recommend it.

Physical well-being is paramount to your sexual health. This is why it is important to have an excellent open relationship with your doctor and/or gynecologist. There are many medical conditions that can impact a woman’s sexual well-being only she and her doctor can explore. From painful intercourse to a lack of sexual appetite, these problems can sometimes be rooted in a medical cause that can be treated with medication or doctor recommended steps. The key is feeling comfortable to discussing sexual issues with your doctor. There are millions of women who suffer from hormonal and medically based conditions. These same conditions though can be treated and sometimes cured with the help of a doctor.

Psychological well-being is crucial to your sexual health. Stress, anxiety, depression, and past traumatic experiences can all negatively influence sexual functioning. Just as a woman seeks medical advice from her doctor, a visit to a psychologist specializing in women’s issues may also be necessary to reduce mental health issues and past traumatic experiences from being problematic. A psychologist is a doctoral level clinician who is trained to diagnose and treat psychological issues which may impact a woman’s capacity to engage in sex in a comfortable manner. Although psychological conditions exist and require counsel, many women have emotional issues that can be addressed on their own or with a loved ones help. Unlike men, women seem impacted more by their environment than does their male counterparts. This is not to suggest men insulate themselves from their life stressors, but women tend to internalize these stressors more often and allow these life stressors to detract from their want, need, and desire for sexual engagement. Learning what life stressors are impeding their ability to practice regular sexual fitness can alleviate some of the obstacles causing sexual appetite and desire issues

As mentioned above, your sexual well-being is connected to the way you feel about yourself and the environment. Women are born, bred, and socialized to fixate on the way they appear to others. If you have a poor self-image or low self-esteem, it is almost impossible to engage in a healthy sexual lifestyle. It is truly unfortunate our society still places massive pressure on women to be thin, svelte, and seductive in appearance. Because of these societal expectations, women become far too involved in perceiving and feeling “less than” or unattractive to others. This is not to say you should not exercise or practice self-image improvement, but the negative self-image a woman often feels when she’s not to the level she thinks she should be will always directly impact her ability to feel sensual, sexual, and provocative.

Whereas men tend to fixate on their sexual prowess, women seem to fixate on their image as it appears to the outside world. The goal is to reduce this fixation of being your most attractive at all times and then working towards self- acceptance. When you feel reasonably secure about your image, you become vastly more comfortable feeling as a sexual creature that not only deserves attention, but also expects sensual interactions. Speaking to a psychologist, friend, or loved one can help you meet the goal of a healthy self-image.

Women are socialized to be incredible communicators and adept at expressing their feelings. You learn early in development the benefits of discussing your concerns to others as being both healthy and necessary to optimal psychological well-being. Unfortunately, men are not socialized this way and tend to lack the confidence or motivation to communicate to their loved ones about their sexuality. Although men suffer this proverbial disability to discuss their sexual issues to others, women can also be hesitant to discuss sexual matters with others. The key for you is to feel comfortable expressing your sexual thoughts and concerns with the ones you are engaging in sexual practices with. Your male counterpart may not appear to be listening or concerned with your sexual needs. The secret reality is your male counterpart will usually welcome whatever advice you give him since his ego is connected to your sexual perception of him. There are men who truly are clueless about women’s needs and expectations, but if you believe in practicing sexual fitness, you will quickly educate him.

Self-awareness is essentially, “Know Thy Self”. Despite religious and societal interpretations of masturbation and self-stimulation, it is highly recommended for you to know what arouses you sexually and helps puts you in a sensual mood. Self stimulation and masturbation is like exercise for the sexual senses. The more you know what arouses you, the better you will be at communicating to others what heightens your sexual prowess. The only way to communicate what your sexual trigger points are is to know what places on your body arouses you. Men have communicated to me in counseling on numerous times confusion about the female anatomy. They also confess they do not know how to touch and talk to their partner hoping to heighten her arousal. Women too often do not recognize what their sexual triggers are. Self-stimulation and masturbation helps you to recognize what arouses you and teaches how to identify the areas of your body that are sensitive to sensual touch. Masturbation not only educates a woman, but also has suggested in clinical studies to be a healthy behavior contributing to an increased sense of physical well-being. The more a woman is educated about her anatomy, and areas of sexual sensitivity can only positively contribute to her sexual life. The key is regularly practice self-stimulation as often as possible in order to achieve sexual fitness.

There are women who do not practice self stimulation or masturbation due to religious, philosophical, or for moral reasons. There are also women who do not practice masturbation because they simply don’t have the time due to work, children, or household responsibilities. When these reasons for not taking the time to practice self stimulation are apparent, then the next best thing is practicing sexual fantasy. There have been studies that have suggested men think about sex from every 10-15 seconds to every several minutes. There are no known studies that I have come across that have determined how often women think about sex. Although there may be these studies, I have not had the opportunity to review them. If there are such studies, I can almost guarantee women’s frequency of sexual thoughts are not nearly as frequent as men. Not to say that you should fantasize about sex as often as men, but I do recommend spending a little time each day engaged in sexual fantasy. To fantasize about sex is not only healthy for the mind and body, but it is great for stress management as well. Sexual thoughts and periods of sexual fantasy can also help you better understand your own thoughts and needs and teach you to be comfortable with sexuality in general. Fantasy is fantasy. There are no boundaries when it comes to an arousing sexual fantasy. The act of thinking about sex contributes to your positive feelings of well-being and potential increased urges of sexual desire.

In conclusion, volumes of books and videos have been produced to assist women in increasing their sexual prowess and appetite. I alone could spend hours writing about what I’ve heard from women seeking healthy sexual functioning. The goal for you is to understand how important it is to spend time thinking about your sexual self and how much better life becomes when you regularly engage in sexual exploration. A woman, like a man, is a sexual creature. The key for you is to endeavor upon using a holistic approach to obtain your optimal sexual functioning. The mind, body, and spirit all work synergistically to help you feel as a sexual creature with urges and needs. Sexuality may be a taboo subject for some, but it is clearly a mandatory part of our species survival. In its finite form, sexuality and the goal of sex is for the purpose of procreation. All animals procreate for survival of their species. Although procreation is the evolutionary goal of sex, that does not mean you have to relinquish your right to healthy sexual functioning and enjoyment. Men need to emphasize less the importance of sex, and women need to emphasize more their capacity for sexual enjoyment and deep yearning for sensual intimacy. Sexual fitness is an activity that requires you to think about and practice each day.

Dr. Michael Nuccitelli is a New York State licensed psychologist and a clinical and educational consultant for Herberex Inc. and Goliath Labs Inc. Dr. Nuccitelli areas of expertise include dietary supplement compliance guidelines, sports nutrition, human sexuality, forensic psychology, health/fitness, and psychiatric/psychological issues.

The Causes of Sexual Dysfunction and Women With Diabetes

Studies have shown that 90% of diabetics are type 2 and less than 10% are diagnosed with type 1. The patients diagnosed with either type are under an increased threat of vascular and neurological complication and psychological issues. The women who suffer from this may have many complications. In most cases the risk of diabetes diagnoses especially type 2. An increased amount of cases of sexual dysfunction correlated with the diagnosis. The research had to account for the use of contraception, hormone replacement therapy, and pregnancy. Sexual dysfunction is a common problem, albeit a problem that has not been studied in women with type 2 diabetes in depth.

Diabetes type 2 diagnoses is the leading cause of sexual dysfunction. There will be an increased amount of women diagnosed with this considered a larger proportion of the population in increasingly growing older and becoming more and more physically inactive. Thus, the rate of sexual dysfunction in women will also increase. It was not until this study that the direct correlation could be substantiated. The effect of sexual dysfunction was correlated to neurological, psychological and vascular affects and a combination of such. However, despite the common knowledge that there is an association in their measurements of such is hard to create. It is difficult to measure sexual function in women. In many cases the spouses sexual performance, quality of sexual intercourse, patients educational culture, and socioeconomic status was also a large part of the problem. They also have a decreased sexual desire, decreased stimulus, reduced lubrication and orgasm disorder. Thus, diabetes females are more at risk than others. In this study several surveyors were sued to evaluate sexual function disorders.

Sex is defined by the study as an ability to experience masculine or feminine emotions, physical stimulation and/or mental feelings. It is also a perception that is expressed by the sexual organs of another. The sexuality of a human being is determined by social norms, values and taboos. This is also determined by psychological and social norms and aspects. The nature of the disease was also defined in the study. It had to be, in order to evaluate the nature of sexual dysfunction with patients who are diabetic. Responses to sexual stimulation in the subjects was divided into four phases. These included the arousal, plateau, orgasm and resolution phase. These phases were identified as the most detrimental and prevalent issues that affected women during sexual satisfaction.

In the first phase, the libido is accessed. This is the appearance of erotic feelings and thoughts. Real female sexual desires begins with the first phase. Also at this point sexual thoughts or feelings or past experiences help to create either a natural or unnatural arousal stage in patients. There second phase identified by searchers here was the arousal phase. In this phase the parasympathetic nervous system is involved. With that, the phase is then characterized by erotic feelings and the formation of a natural vaginal lubrication. The first sexual response begins with vaginal lubrication which follows within 10-30 seconds and then follows from there. What follows is typically a rapid breathing session or rather tachycardia that causes women to have an increased blood pressure and a general feeling of warmth, breast tenderness, coupled with erected nipples and a coloration of the skin. Most women experience this arousal phase.The third phase is defined as the orgasm phase or rather the time with increased muscular and vascular tension by sexual stimulation occurs. This is the most imperious of the cycles and is albeit the most satisfying for women. During this period women experience orgasmic responses from the sympathetic nervous system. Changes also occur in the entire genital region these include a change in heart rate, and blood pressure. The final phase of normal sexual stimulation is the resolution phase. During this period women have genital changes. Basically the withdrawal of blood from the genital region and the discharge of sexual tension as occurs after the orgasm will bring the entire body to a period of rest.

The basis of sexual responses cycle depends on normally functioning of the endocrine, vascular, neurological and psychological factors. Considering the brain is the center for sexual stimulation, sexual behaviors are directly correlated to the sense of being aroused. The study has defined sexual stimulation and peripheral stimulation. Central stimulation is defined as the act of being aroused and sexual desire is phenomena mainly mediated by the mesolimbic dopaminergic pathway. Dopamine is the most important known neurotransmitter system responsible for the arousal. The process breaks down to the fact that testosterone is responsible for both female and male desire and it increases blood flow either directly and indirectly through estrogen.

Sexual dysfunction has been classified and defined by the inability to experience anticipated sexual intercourse. This is a psychosocial change that complicates interpersonal relationships and creates significant problems. Orgasm disorder usually occurs with a recurrent delay or difficulty in achieving an orgasm after sexual stimulation.

Several sexual disorders have been affected by diabetes, many others are blanketed under the sexual dysfunction term. Sexual Aversion Disorder is the avoidance of all genital contact with ones partners. The difference between the phobia and the feelings of disgust and hatred are part of the phobia. Sexual Arousal Disorder is the inability to establish adequate lubrication stimuli in a persistent manner. Orgasmic disorder is defined as a persistent or recurrent delay in or lack of normal phases. Orgasm is the sudden temporary peek feeling.

According to the data from the U.S National Healthy and Social life survey women who are at risk for SD. In the study it was found that women with healthy problems have an increased risk for pain during intercourse. Also women with urinary tract problems or symptoms are at risk for problems during intercourse. The socio-economic status of women is another risk factor as well as women who have been the victim of harassment. Menopause has a negative impact on sexual function in women.

Sexual dysfunction was not limited to affective disorders, in fact socio-cultural and social demographic causes effected demographic and sociological characters were investigated. In the studies conducted sociodemographic characteristics like age, education level and income levels. Also the use of an effective method of family planning was related to the BMI and marriage were also factors in this decisions. The use of alcohol and drugs was also linked to a woman’s sexual response and leads to SD. The most prevalent use came from antidepressants received for the treatment of depression were reported with the use of the prescription drugs. The affects included a lack of lubrication, vaginal anesthesia, and delay in or lack of orgasm. Other drugs that have were found to affect female SD included anthypertensives, lipid-lowering agents and chemotheraputic agents. The study also took into account that chronic diseases like systemic diabetes and hypertension causes psychiatric disorders, including depression, anxiety disorders, and psychoses are attributed to chronic disease states.

Diabetes is a common chronic disease with more than 90% of diabetics having been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Diabetic patients have been found to have an elevated risk of vascular and neurological complications and psychological problem.Thus, because of this it has been found that diabetics are prone to having female sexual dysfunction. Thus, the subject of female diabetic SD was largely unrecognized until 1971. Even at that time in an article the study was the first to evaluate limited cases of sexual dysfunction in women. Studies with females who have been diagnosed with SD. Diabetic females with sexual problem are explained with biological, social and psychological factors.

Hyperglycemia had been found in many diabetic women who have been diagnosed with SD. It reduces the hydration of the mucus membranes of the vagina. It in turn reduces the lubrication levels, leading to painful sexual intercourse. The risk of vaginal infections increases because of that and so too does vaginal discomfort and painful intercourse. It is clinically hard to measure sexual function in women. In many cases medical history, physical examination, pelvic examination and hormonal profile were reviewed. The subjects were questioned in detail regarding spouse’s sexual performance, quality of the sexual intercourse, the patients educational level and socioeconomic status. The several questionnaires which were used to evaluate sexual function disorders were a substantial methodology. Sexual inventories were then classified in two groups. The information obtained through a structured incentive allowing the discloser of terms. There was fact to face interview and also many sexual inventories which were based on the human sexual cycle.

There were 400 female patients that applied to the hospital or diabetes center. The test was conducted between June 2009 and June 2013. There were first non-voluntaries or those who met the exclusion criteria and type 1 diabetics were excluded from the study. This study also included 329 married women, there were 213 diabetic and 116 non-datebooks. All of the women in this study were sexually active and had a spouse. Also the survey questions were asked questions in a face to face attack. The subjects were given questionnaires and the volunteers who were inactive or had an illness were excluded from the study.

It was also important in the study to take into account demographics. These included the age of the participants, their weight, and their height. Their weight circumference, BMI and education level were also part of this study. With diabetic patients the plasma glucose level was also reviewed. In this study the reliability of the female sexual function index and the test-retest reliability was a.82 and a.79. The version of the validity and reliability of the scale was performed.

Another form of measurement was the Arizona Sexual Experiences Scale, again another form of questions used to measures the experiences that women have and how they were able to deal with them. Patients that were treated with psychotropic drugs were the main focus of this experiment. This is a set of five questions created to show a minimal disturbance with patients. The scale aimed to assess sexual functions by excluding sexual orientation and relationships with a partner. The format that was used for most women in this study included several questions regarding sexual drive and arousal.

Still other tests were utilized. These included the Golombuk-Rust Inventory of Sexual Satisfaction (GRISS). The utilization of this test was yet another set of questions that were given to males and females (28 males, 28 females) and were aimed at objectively evaluating the heterosexual relationship of the individuals and to identify the level of dysfunction of the subject. The results again found that women with diabetes are more prone to suffering from dysfunctional disorders.

Of course researchers looked into the subjects BMI and found that 23 of only 7% of the patients were in the normal range of the BMI which at the time was 18.5-24.9 kg. The mean BMI was also only 33.11 in patients with diabetes. The majority of patients that had higher BMI issues were smokers. So not only was it diabetes that attributed to SD but smoking and drug use caused additional complications. Also, 193 were premenopausal and 136 were postmenopausal. The average number of patients who were diagnosed were also on oral antibiotic medications in combination with insulin and in some cases antilipedemic medications. Many patients were not using medications at all which may result in the reference that they were suffering from the disease because they were unable to move through their diabetes diagnoses.

The study conducted found that there was no correlation between the age of a patient a their FSFI. Plus, there did not seem to be a correlation between the BMI and FSFI and the sub structures like desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, sexual success, and pain with diabetic women. Some of the volunteers had children, one to three children in fact. There again was no direct correlation with diabetic women with children or without. However there was a correlation with women who had a more children and their ability to reach an orgasm. Perhaps due to the multiple births and the destruction that it could have caused neurologically.

Specifically when addressing diabetes, researchers wanted to understand the extent of the SD disturbance. The attributes of a imbalanced hormonal system, vascular constrictions and increased sexual problems cause the physiological and psychological responses that were found. The differences in the mechanisms of the neurotransmitters during sexual responses in women with diabetes and without diabetes was the leading contributor to a decreased sexual appetite.

Women have many dimensions that lead to their diagnoses. Sexual function is affected therefore when a woman is diagnosed with diabetes. The research also found that female lubrication occurred only during the arousal phase. But the dysfunction was largely affective, meaning that women were unable to become lubricated during the arousal phase. Women who were insulin dependent had little or no evidence of dysfunction while non-insulin dependent patient status had a negative effect on sexual disorders. This included the ability to orgasm, lubrication during arousal, sexual satisfaction, and sexual activity. This suggests a more comprehensive explanation that SD might be related to the age at which the diabetes develops.

Also women who have a genital disease will also have be unable to achieve ideal sexual arousal. Other factors besides diabetic mediations include other medications. For instance, antibiotics used to treat urinary infections and oral contraceptives have been attributed to an adverse sexual function in women. These medication will also heighten a woman’s ability to reach normal sexual functioning. Again the psychological effects of diabetes will also cause women to be unable to reach an adequate amount of sexual ability. Typical feelings from diabetic patients that have been reported to researchers include a feeling of isolation, feeling of being unattractive, loneliness and isolation. These are mainly caused from the diagnoses and a lifestyle change. Women who have these symptoms or feelings are advised to seek treatment with their medical doctor and to seek a therapist. They should advise them of the feelings, to seek a holistic treatment plan.

Researchers advise that there are holistic treatments available for women who are suffering from these diseases and including the inability to organism which can be remedied with vibrating tools or psychosomatic techniques. Also a reduced libido may be a form of depression and therapists will address the patients self image during the scores of holistic treatment. This may in fact lead to a better self image and an increased libido. The loss of genital sensations can also be attributed to diabetes. Many patients have been advised to use entertaining vibrating tools in order to treat

Sexual dysfunction is mainly caused by a blanket of issues but according to recent studies by Paul Enzlzin, MA, Chantal Mathie, MD, PHD and others the direct correlation between medications in 90% of patients diagnosed with diabetes medication and disease state causes sexual definition. The effects are a common problem, 20% to 80% of women are reported as having a sexual dysfunction. The disease Diabetes Mellitis is the leading systemic disease of sexual dysfunction. Research has found that the cause largely forms because of psychological and physical issues. Thus leading to the inability to stimulate during sexual intercourse.

For many researchers configuring how to asses a woman’s sexual dysfunction was challenging. Talking about it presented a taboo and in many cases this would not lead to a very honest or comfortable conversation for the participant. That is why researchers utilized questionnaires and face to face interviews. This included the Female Sexual Function Index which was created in 2000. At that time Cronbach’s coefficient test-retest reliably was found to be about.82-.79. It is in essence a questionnaire that is composed of six sections that measure desire, arousal, lubrication, satisfaction, pleasure, and pain. The topic is also given a score system between 0-6. The 1st, 2nd and 15th questions are then also scored between 1 and 5. The other questions are scored between 1 and 5. This was only one of the measurements that researchers utilized to gain a better understanding on the role of sexual dysfunction and women with diabetes.

Patients or subjects are encouraged to speak with their health care provider regarding any issues they may begin to feel with a lack of sexual desire. There will be minor episodes of this feeling or it may progress into something less attractive. Episodes of depression will periodically affect the already progressing SD these too will be a point that many should discuss with their physicians.

Patients who are diagnosed with diabetes and then depression should seek therapy. In many cases the treatment may include antidepressants and holistic approaches. Lifestyle changes such as the implementation of a healthy and balanced lifestyle may help patients to improve significantly.However, that was found only in patients that made positive lifestyle changes accordingly. The medications that affect depression however will and may cause more complexities with SD. Moreover, only further testing will provide conclusive evidence.

SD is a chronic and persistent problem in women diagnosed with diabetes. Until this recent study the appearance of sexual dysfunction had not been studied enough. The impact if studied properly will largely affect most of the population diagnosed with diabetes. In recent years this the diagnoses has grown because the population has increased. Research with women and sexual dysfunction is scarce and also filled with flaws in the methodology of the research. The presence of the diabetes complications, the adjustment that patients have to the disease, and the psychological factors surrounding the disease affect it. The relations that they have with their partners are all part of the complications that arise with diabetic sexual dysfunction diagnoses in women. The study or research attempted to examine the prevalence of the dysfunction in women, the problems that occurred with an age matched group and the influence that diabetes had on female sexuality. The psychological factors that inhibited adequate sexual functioning were also measured in the most recent study.

Again in these studies women reported having less satisfaction during sex, avoided it as well. Researchers believe that these women who in particular were suffering from type 2 diabetes felt that they were less sexually attractive because of their body image. Researchers also examined psychological aspects of older type 2 diabetes in women who reported that they felt their bodies were less attractive then non-diabetic women. 60% or more of women in this study did not have a dysfunction, other than physiological symptoms or diabetes.

Much research has stated that if the patient is having difficulties it is important to have a talk with a physician about the probable side effects they will be suffering from. Women with diabetes who were suffering form the onset of menopausal symptoms could not be correlated to SD. In fact women who reported sexual problems were not significantly different in age though to the women who had an onset of menopause. The overwhelming evidence however suggested that psychological dysfunction and its accordance with diabetes was a crucial deciding factor to a rise in SD cases. The majority of research findings have concurred with it, stating that they in fact are able to correlate within the study.

A poor self image in women with diabetes leads to a loss of self esteem, feelings of unattractiveness, concern about weight gain and negative body images. The occur largely around the issue of weight gain, which follows with anxiety. There is evidence that these problems are common in older women who have been diagnosed according to several questionnaires that were used to evaluate women in the studies from 2009-2010. Research could suggest that it is because older women may be without a sexual partner and their diabetes could add to feelings of inadequacy. Younger women tend to worry about the effects that the disease and what it will have on their physical appearance especially with insulin therapy. If women begin healthy eating patterns then the main cause will have not issue on the physical appearance on women with proper nutrition. A woman has to be able to communicate with her partner and others around her in order to make sure that everyone understand the problems she is facing. However diabetes coupled with poor self images will lead a woman to become and introvert and therefore keep her feelings to herself. Thereby causing SD and a loss of social experiences by the woman in fact who has been battling these disease states.

A woman’s sexual desire has been found to be low, painful and absent. Thus, of this issue women will not be able to have healthy relationship. Unfortunately there has not been much research conducted with women because the variables have been to hard to control. But recently in this recent study conducted in 2009-2010 the questionnaire gave insight into the mind of women suffering form this disease. The limited study has prevented women from seeking out help and having a renewed interest in the problem. Limited studies have found that this problem affects largely about 50 % or more of women diagnosed with the disease. Most women who have type 2 and 1 diabetes are statistically going to stop having sex as much as their male counterparts because of their lack of a valued self image. In fact there are many sociological risks to not having adequate support systems to help minimize the impact the diabetes has on a lifestyle.

The changes that take place in a woman’s body who has been diagnosed with diabetes type 2 have largely been ignored. There are a plethora of issues at play here including detrimental issues affecting the central nervous system.Therefore, a woman’s sexual desire is largely affected by not only the CNS, but many other factors. In some cases these may include a hormonal imbalance caused by pre-menopause. Regardless there is a correlation between female diabetics and the changes in estrogen and sexual arousal stimulation. In the study the decreased sexual function and diabetes was also found to have a direct correlation in women who were overweight. This correlation was diminished in women who were average.

However of all of the contributors that will and do cause dysfunctions with women in sexual dysfunctions a poor self image was the leading cause. Depression was established in many women with a poor self image. Studies have shown that there is a direct link with diabetes and SD which is linked to a psychological disorder within women. Also diabetic women with this dysfunction were at least two times more likely to have sexual dysfunction than women without diabetes. In many cases depression caused a lack of sexual arousal or desire and a lack of physical performance when initiating the act. Therefore, a woman who is diagnosed with diabetes is at a higher risk of complications that harm her self confidence, her physiological health and her social interactions. Her daily routine will even be affected due or her lack of sexual arousal.

Specifically when addressing diabetes, researchers wanted to understand the extent of the SD disturbance. The attributes of a imbalanced hormonal system, vascular constrictions and increased sexual problems cause the physiological and psychological responses that were found. The differences in the mechanisms of the neurotransmitters during sexual responses in women with diabetes and without diabetes was the leading contributor to a decreased sexual appetite. Several risk factors were associated with sexual dysfunction including health problems which affected sexual intercourse, mainly in the form of pain associated with penetration. There are also several other causes that can be attributed to sexual dysfunction including urinary tract symptoms and arousal issues. However not necessarily in direct correlation to diabetes, but it becomes a symptom of the sexual dysfunction that may be attributed to diabetes as an after effects. Women who were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes had a direct correlation with sexual dysfunction. It was only with this research that many methodologies were proven useful in capturing the information.