Monday, 31 March 2014

Men's Sexual Response

Men's Sexual Response

Even today, many females don't understand male sexuality. So this article is for women – especially women who can sometimes find it hard to understand what makes men 'tick' sexually.
 
But men might also find it useful to read what follows.

Male sex drive

The average male is are interested in sex than the average female.
It can be enormously difficult for women to understand just how powerful the average man's sex drive is.
 
Although males vary a lot on how keen on sex they are, the average man does tend to be much more 'driven' sexually than the average women is. (This applies to gay men as well as to straight guys – but in fact this article just deals with heterosexual males.)
 
In 2005, one of Britain's top sex experts told the media that in general, men are on a 'five day cycle' where sex is concerned (ie wanting to make love every five days) – whereas women are more likely to be on a '10 day cycle'. There may be some truth in this.
 
But it's also true to say that plenty of males – particularly young and virile ones – would really like to have sex every day – and maybe more often than that.
 
Indeed, in the era of anti-impotence drugs we have actually seen middle-aged men who have been using these medicines to have sexual encounters with three different women in a single afternoon. This is pretty crazy behaviour, but it does offer an insight into male sexuality…

Nature's programming

Getty - men's sexual response One of the reasons why the human race has survived for hundreds of thousands of years is the fact that nature has 'programmed' men to be mad keen on penetrating women – and getting sperm into them.
 
That may not sound very nice, but it's the truth. The primary sexual objective of a human male is to get his penis inside a woman – and to discharge his sperm into her.
 
And even though many guys succeed in being faithful to their partners, the scientific truth is that males are really 'programmed' to inseminate as many attractive females as possible.
 
So the fact of the matter is that the human race has survived in the main because primitive men went round fertilising a lot of women – thus ensuring the continuance of the species.

Your man today

But let's bring it up to date. What about your man today?
 
Well, it should be the case that recent centuries of civilisation have had an effect on him – so that he does not try to impregnate every nice-looking woman he meets.
 
Nonetheless, the following are fairly safe assumptions:
  • your man is very keen on sex
  • he thinks about it a lot – much more often than you do
  • however romantic and gentle he may be, deep down one of his major objectives in life is to get his penis inside you
  • and once it's in there, he has a deep, driving 'biological imperative' to reach a climax – and ejaculate into you.

Oral and rectal sex

So ingrained is this instinct to impregnate a woman that many men appear keen to accept any available female orifice – even if it's not the vagina.
 
That's why a very high proportion of men desire oral sex and a substantial minority (and it does still appear to be a minority) are keen on anal sex.  

Conclusion

So, the average male is more interested in sex than the average female and is much more likely to:
  • feel very strong urges to have intercourse
  • take sexual risks, regardless of the consequences
  • be unfaithful
  • try 'commercial' (ie paid for) sex
  • feel extremely unhappy and disaffected with life if he is not having regular sex with a partner
  • feel desolate if a woman he loves rejects his sexual advances.
And the average man tends to be more swiftly aroused than the average woman.
Indeed, the slightest thing can set a man off – for instance:
  • the sight of a woman's cleavage
  • noticing a woman's bottom which has a shape that appeals to him
  • seeing a good pair of legs
  • getting even a whiff of perfume.
Of course, we are not suggesting that the average man acts on these arousal triggers whenever they happen.
 
But it can help women to understand their men if they are aware of just how driven males can be where sex is concerned.


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Friday, 28 March 2014

7 Essential Relationship Skills

7 Essential Relationship Skills

© Hearst Magazines UK - essential relationship - Communication

Communication

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This category involves critically important skills: knowing how to listen, sharing your thoughts and feelings honestly, refraining from criticising and encouraging your partner to share his or her feelings.

© Hearst Magazines UK - essential relationship - Knowledge of Partner

Knowledge of Partner

What's his shirt size? What's his favourite food? After communication, simply knowing a lot about your partner is a powerful way of showing that you care, and makes you better equipped to tend to his or her ongoing needs.

 
© Hearst Magazines UK - essential relationship - Conflict Resolution

Conflict Resolution

Conflict-resolution skills include techniques such as staying focused on the topic, staying focused on the present, being ready to forgive or apologise, knowing when to take a break.

© Hearst Magazines UK - essential relationship - Life Skills

Life Skills

Do you plan for emergencies? Do you exercise and stay fit? Studies show that people usually want their partners to contribute a degree of security to a long-term relationship. People also want their partners to take good care of themselves.

© Hearst Magazines UK - essential relationship - Self-Management

Self-Management

This is not the same as life skills, Epstein insists. People who are skilled at self-management take inventories of their strengths and weaknesses and always strive for improvement. They know how to interpret disturbing events in positive ways and they work hard to reach their goals.

© Hearst Magazines UK - essential relationship - Sex and Romance

Sex and Romance

People with strong skills in these areas enquire and care about how to please their partner sexually, set aside time for intimacy, refrain from blaming their partner when sex doesn't go smoothly, and try to stay physically attractive for their partner.

© Hearst Magazines UK - essential relationship - Stress management

Stress management

Do you know how to use breathing, meditation, or imagery techniques to help you fight stress? If you know how to avoid or fight stress, you'll be better able to love and support your partner.

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Porn and Relationships


Porn and Relationships

In the last few years a remarkable change has taken place in Britain and many other western countries.
In 2014, huge numbers of men and women are looking at explicit sexual material on the internet. Statistics indicate that sex is by far the most popular search term on the web.
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And recent American studies show that 68 per cent of young adult males and 18 per cent of young adult females look at porn at least once a week.
Perhaps it’s not surprising then that there are increasing worries about the availability of porn and the degree to which it demeans women.
Quite a number of sex and relationship therapists are now concerned about how porn can skew what people expect in their own bedrooms.
And many women are anxious and upset about being asked to do things within a sexual relationship that they feel are extreme and unnatural – but which they know are activities that their partners perceive as normal because of seeing them on the internet.
These activities are likely to include the man ejaculating onto the woman's face and anal sex – both of which are now seen as 'routine' by some men who view porn.
In early 2014, a group of distinguished female academics wrote to 'The Times' to complain that violent pornography online is becoming the default sex educator for some young people.
And there are a growing number of women's groups on the internet who are strongly opposed to all porn. They feel that it's insulting and degrading to all females. One correspondent told me: 'Porn turns women into anonymous meat.'
On the other hand, many women in sexual relationships will – on occasion – quite happily watch some forms of porn with their male, or female, partners. And a growing number of women who are single, or away from home on business, will access porn themselves in order to masturbate to gain sexual relief and have a good night's sleep.
So, there are wide differences in how people feel about pornography, and it seems likely that there is going to be more and more debate about what porn is doing to our society.

Can porn be part of a normal relationship?

Our answer to that question would be a qualified 'yes'.
There is no doubt that many couples experiment with the use of porn as an aid to perking up their sex lives, for example by sometimes watching an explicit DVD together. And sex education videos are often arousing as well as informative.
Also, a lot of women like erotic stories. Some females prefer to read alone to get themselves turned on. Others like their man to read to them in bed.
So for some couples, using pornography and erotica works well.

How women see porn

There has always been a difference between men and women where porn is concerned.
Men tend to be turned on by things they can see, such as naked females, while women seem to prefer the images and fantasies they have in their heads.
For this reason, women often don't enjoy the sort of porn that men usually like. If the people on the screen don't appeal to them, they don't get turned on.
Women can also feel uneasy and inferior about the bodily 'perfection' of the women in porn. This can put them off sex, rather than turn them on to it.
A woman can feel threatened by her man's enjoyment of these images and quickly feel that if a man is enthusiastic about porn, he must be losing interest in her. This is often not the case at all.
Whether women like it or not, because porn is so available, a lot of men are going to view it.

How men see porn

Statistics indicate that many men like porn of some sort or another. Their arousal is linked to images, and from their teens they are likely to masturbate while looking at pictures of female bodies.
Lots of men use porn for quick masturbation – and this can happen even if they are in a sexually satisfying relationship. Some women have a problem with a man seeking solo relief, but in fact huge numbers of normally-sexed men do this routinely.
Men will often say that porn-assisted masturbation is intense, uncomplicated – and relaxing.
They also put it in a separate compartment: porn is just an 'extra' that has no impact on their feelings for their partner or relationship.
Men in general do not view porn or solo sex as a sign of infidelity.

What problems can porn cause?

There are unfortunate consequences from the new, widespread availability of porn.

1. The accessibility of porn to children

There is an enormous amount of sexual material on the internet that should not be seen by children.
If you have kids in your home, make sure any computer they use is fitted with a filter that prevents access to adult material.

2. Availability of eccentric sexual material

A quick web search will return sites that most people would find upsetting. They cover topics like incest, coprophilia (sex involving faeces) and zoophilia (sex with animals).
Unless you are compiling a textbook of sexual psychopathology, these sites are best avoided.

3. Availability of violent or cruel material

There is a lot of porn on the net that glorifies violence, particularly against women. There have been suggestions that some of this could provoke men to harm their partners or commit rape.
The British government is still looking at ways to curb this sort of pornography.

4. Availability of material involving children

Sadly, it has become clear that a large number of men (and a few women) are fascinated by the idea of sex with minors.
Much research is going on to find out if the availability of 'kiddy-porn' is increasing the incidence of paedophiliac behaviour. We advise staying well away from anything that mentions the words 'teen' or 'young'.

5. Raising false expectations about sex and body image

Erotic material tends to give men and women impossibly high 'targets' to aim for in the sexual field.
  • Young men get the idea that they should have huge penises and be able to climax again and again, carrying on all night.
  • Young women get misleading notions about what their bodies should look like. They don't realise that the pictures of the models are heavily air-brushed so their bodies – and especially their vaginal openings – look impossibly neat and tidy.
  • Some younger men are surprised by what most of us would regard as normal pubic hair. They have seen so much porn imagery where the women have little or no hair that they think this is the norm.
  • Young men assume it is acceptable to ejaculate on their partner's face or breasts. This sort of material is commonplace in porn, leading many men to think it's routine behaviour in the bedroom.

6. Exploitation of models and actors

Visual pornography involves the use of real people. While some young men and women are more than happy to take part in erotic photo sessions or films, for others there may well be an element of exploitation.

7. The tendency of the internet to encourage solitary sex

There's nothing wrong with a bit of solitary sex. When you are living on your own or are between relationships, masturbation is good.
Sex therapists have also found it can help women with arousal difficulties or anorgasmia (inability to climax).
But when porn becomes preferable to real, live sex with a loving partner, it indicates a problem.

Disregard of 'safe sex'

The great majority of 'performers' on the internet do not use condoms, Obviously, this is an appalling example to set to young people.

Are relationship problems because of porn common?

We would say that a problem with porn is almost exclusively a male thing.
In our practice we have never seen a woman who was addicted to porn or who preferred it to having sex with a partner.
But we have received a lot of complaints from women who are distressed that their male partners no longer want to make love to them, preferring to spend hours masturbating in front of porn.
This is a worrying trend, and we are not alone in our concerns. Various experts from Relate and the College of Sexual and Relationship Therapy (COSRT), have reported that solitary use of porn is a huge factor in relationship breakdown and that it is 'spiralling out of control'.

What to do if porn is a problem

It is a good idea if couples discuss their attitude to porn early on in their relationship and agree some house rules about how much porn is viewed or read and of what type. People often find this difficult, but communication is generally the key to keeping the habit within normal bounds.
If it is discussed before it becomes a huge problem, then the conversation can be calm and a woman can explain what works for her and what she might object to.
Such a conversation could also include the sexual relationship in general and could include the question of whether either party would like more variety – and if so, what.
Sometimes, women may know their man uses porn to masturbate, but they will decide not to broach the subject. This is understandable, but if you avoid discussing it until it becomes a problem, talking may no longer be effective.
A man who is addicted to porn may promise to change and to stop viewing internet images, but he probably won't.
He may assure his partner that he loves her, but it's quite possible that he won't stop accessing porn. He may even break down and cry and swear that he longs to give up all the porn, but it's unlikely he will manage this without professional help.

How to get help

Unfortunately, there's very little free help.
There is no medication that can stop a person from wanting to use porn. And though a GP may agree to refer a man to one of the NHS psychosexual clinics that exist in some areas of the country, waiting lists are usually very long indeed.
Some men, who come to accept they have a real problem, get help through Sex Addicts Anonymous. But they have to do this for themselves – much as someone with an alcohol addiction has to decide to go to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).
Relate is a good source of help if the problem has not gone too far. It is particularly useful if the basic relationship between a man and woman is still healthy and both parties want to work together to help the man stop using porn.
There are some skilled therapists in the private sector who are expert in dealing with porn problems. They can be found through the following associations:

An acceptable vice?

There is no doubt that pornography has become more acceptable to people than in previous generations. It has also become much more readily available – mostly through the mushrooming of material on the internet.
Occasional use of pornography would now be deemed as normal by most experts. When it is used by couples or for solo sexual relief on an intermittent basis, it can be quite useful.
And there is no doubt that material such as The Lovers' Guide DVDs, which can be arousing but is essentially educational, has helped many couples to understand their bodies better and to improve their sex lives.
But the dark side of pornography and erotica is that it can quickly become addictive and isolating. In these circumstances, it is just a quick fix without emotional involvement.
Unfortunately, some individuals find it easier to retreat into their porno-world rather than deal with normal relationships, which are always going to have their ups, downs and complexities.


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Thursday, 27 March 2014

And Then I Never Heard From Him Again: The Awful Rise of Ghosting

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And Then I Never Heard From Him Again: The Awful Rise of Ghosting

Missing: Man of Finance who goes by the name of Jeremy.  Late twenties, auburn hair, last seen in Chelsea in August 2009. The first man who ever “ghosted” me.
“Ghosting,” the act of disappearing in a phantom-like fashion from someone you are seeing, is prevalent in today’s dating culture and it is objectively terrible behavior. Ghosting can happen after a one-date rendezvous or months of seeing each other – no one is safe from this juvenile phenomenon. Take a horde of singles living in a big city, give them tech devices and dating apps, add a dash of childishness and you’ve got a recipe for relationship disaster stories. For Millennials, “and then I never heard from him again,” is one of the most common endings to great date stories. And we all deserve a happier, non-Sopranos-style ending.

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“I think people have been ending relationships badly since the beginning of time,” says Dr. Nicole L. Cromer, a licensed clinical psychologist in New York City. But now that we can hide behind our phones and swipe right onTinder to find our next date, it’s that much easier to be anonymous and to not take responsibility, explains Cromer, who specializes in relationship issues. But just because it’s easy doesn’t mean it isn’t gutless.
When I met Jeremy at a bar in Midtown on a random Wednesday night, I was incredibly na├»ve to the New York dating scene.  He was genuinely interested in me ­­– I thought. The idea of feigning attraction in an attempt to get someone in bed was nonsensical to me. He texted me nonstop and we met up twice within days of meeting.  Soon after, the momentum of our communication came to a startling halt.
When I reached out, he made excuses about how work was keeping him from going out.  He was a few years older and worked in banking, so this was plausible. A week later, I thoughtfully asked if he had time for lunch one day soon – a date with a built-in timetable for a busy trader. I blankly stared at my phone, awaiting his response, until eventually I blinked and realized what had happened: I had been ghosted.
Sure, he promised me nothing. I was the one who had the Pollyanna-ish expectation that a few fun nights out together meant he should, at the very least, digitally acknowledge my existence.
More than the difficulty of dealing with the loss of him, I struggle with stomaching the lack of human decency of ghosting. I understand that there’s no future for us, but a simple acknowledgment of an appreciation for the time we did spend together, “Hey, I had a fun few dates with you but I don’t think we’re right for each other beyond that,” would provide so much more closure. It’s always a blow, but you can get over it in a few days. When the ghost disappears, you spend the first few days wondering when you’re going to get a text back and then weeks trying to figure out what went wrong.
Jeremy might have been the first to pull a stunt like this on me – but his actions are certainly not unique.
“Whether you just go radio silent on them, or cancel on them, I definitely know a lot of guys who end things that way and are guilty of it,” explains one New Yorker, named Jimmy. “You had fun, they’re not Ms. Right but it was a good run and you just kind of fade it out.”
Jimmy, 25, says that men, too, are frequently on the receiving end of this. Because the likelihood of running into someone again is slim – and the probability of finding another date within the hour is high, thanks to an inundation of digital dating services – some find this to be a viable solution to ceasing contact with someone.  More than simply being a symptom of living in a transient city, Jimmy believes that immaturity also plays a role, and agrees that ghosting hurts.
Confrontation in this instance is defined not by conflict, but by being upfront and letting the person know, “I’m just not that into you.”
“This scenario [happens] even after four, five, six dates,” said Jimmy.  “They can still be disrespectful enough just to play dead on you. It definitely stings a little.” He notes that this practice can make the ghostee feel like they weren’t even “worthy” of an explanation.
Kristy (some names in this piece have been changed), 25, met John on Tinder. They had gone on a few dates and then one Saturday night last summer, John drove from Brooklyn to the Meatpacking District to meet Kristy and her friend at a club as it neared last call. He stayed for one drink and then took the girls home to Midtown East. John kissed her goodbye and rode off into the dusk.  When Kristy texted him: “How was Philly?” (he told her he was going there the next day), he didn’t reply – ever.
Kristy said she initially questioned herself: “What did I say that clearly made him think that I’m nuts? What was said to turn him off?”
Her confusion then turned to anger as she realized she hadn’t even liked him that much to begin with: “Why does he think he’s too cool to not call me back?”
This internal reflection is common.
“When someone is deciding to not communicate with you, it’s harder to see that it’s really about them and not about you,” explains Cromer. “All kinds of insecurities are likely to come up in that space.”
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The choice to end a relationship in this manner reflects more on the ghost than the now-confused former love interest. When ending a relationship, depending on one’s personality, they’ll likely take one of two approaches: avoidance (ghosting) or confrontation. Confrontation in this instance is defined not by conflict, but by being upfront and letting the person know, “I’m just not that into you.”
According to a study on preferred relationship termination strategies conducted in the 1970s by Leslie A. Baxter and Jeffrey Philpott, when one party chooses to end a relationship through avoidance, it is likely to trigger more anger and hurt – and lead to confrontation.
Ghosts: you’re not as smooth as you think you are – and more importantly, you’re not doing yourselves any favors when you pull a vanishing act. You, too, would benefit from being upfront and honest about whether or not the relationship has run into a cul-de-sac on the road to love.
The study found that avoidance oftentimes causes so much frustration that it leads to an encounter initiated by the recipient. In the case of ghosting, a face-off is the last outcome one hopes non-action will have – and ends up being more detrimental overall.
“Delayed confrontation is more likely to be destructive for the parties than is initial confrontation; [it] compounds the reasons for termination with the additional frustration and anger over how the other party has reacted thus far in the termination effort,” explains the study. “Even if the other party passively accepts the avoidance action, the terminator faces the lingering cost of knowing that he or she took the coward’s way out of the relationship.”
So rip off the Band-Aid. Own up to your feelings, or lack thereof.  We will all receive the necessary closure and resolve as a result.
Denise Abatemarco, a psychotherapist in New York City, says many of her single clients – who happen to be smart women, with successful careers – have had men “end” relationships with them through avoidance. Because these men sidestep addressing their feelings head-on, she sees women falling into a trap of blaming themselves to derive some sort of understanding.
Until we can all live in a world of honest dating, Abatemarco suggests paying attention to red flags that are typically overlooked or dismissed as normal – like when someone does not respond to texts and calls consistently, or is particularly guarded. Try to find out about someone’s relationship history and what they are looking for; if they’re not willing to divulge that information, it can be telling, she says.
There are always signs, but we’re usually willing to make excuses, wishful that this time, this person, will be the exception. Recently, I had been going out with a man for a couple of months before he had a bit of an emotional breakdown one night – let’s just say tears were involved. Before, his texts came frequently, but a week passed and I was genuinely concerned about his well-being.
Swallowing my fear, I sent the first text. Minutes, then hours, then days went by and there was no response. Of course, my mind went to extremes – was he okay? Was he institutionalized? (That seemed rational at the time).
As Abatemarco points out, there were several glaring warning signs that suggested I should stay away. But I felt the need for an explanation.
“It’s really shitty to just disappear and think someone…me…won’t notice or care. Just concerned that you’re ok,” I typed. In a way, I wanted him to know that, if he was ghosting me, I was onto his exit strategy.
Texting him prompted a quick response, apologies, excuses and one more hangout where everything seemed fine, only to lead to the same outcome: another relationship that evaporated into the thin New York City air.
The truth of the matter is, had he let me know that he just wasn’t feeling it, whatever his reasons were, I would have been okay with it. Misconnecting is common, and oftentimes, I already know he’s not the one for me and I’m just not seeing the red flags, as Abatemarco suggests.
Like the experts say, it’s not you, it’s them – time is better spent moving on to the next.
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Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Rosie O'Donell a love guru? Find out how.



Rosie O'Donell Dishes Out Love Advice!
A few years ago, the tabloids were all over it when Rosie O'Donell'smarriage to Kelli failed. Although this may be old news, there are important messages we can learn from Rosie's divorce. The overriding message is loud and clear: Don't forge a relationship with someone whose background and interests are too different from your own. Their marriage was successful when Rosie was busy with her talk show. But, when she retired from the show to spend more time with her family, the differences between her and Kelli became insurmountable. I'll outline how you can identify key incompatibilities before you fall for the wrong partner.
Here’s how Rosie tells it in the October 2011 Oprah Magazine: “Kelli came from a very debutante ball kind of family. It was like a life out of Dallas. All the photos in her house were of her family in the same outfits at the beach - which, to me, looked fake. But when I’d send pictures of the kids to Kelli’s mother, she’d say to Kelli, “Why does she take the pictures when they have chocolate on their faces?
More from Online Date Fish2Fish: Doing This One Thing Can Push Him Away For Good
There was a time when I wanted the porcelain veneer. But as I grew up, I realized, wow, the beauty is in the cracks.”
love that. Don't you agree that there is so much beauty in imperfection? Rosie was attracted to the perfection she thought was missing in her life, only to later become repelled by that very same thing. Keep that in mind when you find yourself attracted to a man or woman who has something you think you need to "complete" you.
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I was always attracted to men who set clear limits, something that was missing from my home life growing up. I ended up with judgmental, rigid men, which didn’t work for me at all. I learned that limits are important, but only when balanced with love, kindness, and respect.
Here’s more from Rosie: “It wasn’t clicking for either one of us. We didn’t like the same stuff. I’d go out on my boat - I could spend ten hours a day on my boat (with my kids), looking for dolphins, but Kelli didn’t like the boat or the pool. She liked tennis.
When the separate interests became day after day, I found myself lonely — as she did, too.”
When you’re dating, it’s easy to overlook these separate interests as insignificant. How important is it to marry someone with similar interests and a similar background?
It’s one of the key areas of compatibility. Throughout the day, you make tons of decisions with your partner.
  • Do you like the house cold or hot?
  • Do you like meat or vegetarian cuisine?
  • Do you go to church or synagogue or don't believe in God?
  • Couch potato or physically active?
  • Modern or antique furniture?
The more you have in common, the easier your lives will flow. The more dissonance, the more fights you’re likely to have. Or even worse, like Rosie, the more lonely you’ll feel in your relationship.
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Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Sex Questions: Embarrassing Things People Want To Know

Sex Questions

Sex Questions: Embarrassing Things People Want To Know

We put these sex questions out there so you wouldn't have to.

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1. Could I have accidentally peed the bed during sex?
If the condom is intact and you've ruled out the possibility that the wet spot came from him, take a discreet sniff. Does the wet spot smell like urine? If so, there's your answer. There's often a tiny bit of fluid left in the bladder even after women use the bathroom, says Lauren Streicher, MD, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. Certain sexual positions -- such as the missionary -- can put enough pressure on that area to cause it to leak. If this happens only once in a while, then there's no need to worry. If the fluid has no odor or a musky scent and you're about to have your period, then, Streicher says, you may have ejaculated. (Hey, it happened on "Sex and the City," so it could happen to you, too!) "But if you're regularly leaking urine, it could be a sign of incontinence," she says. She advises strengthening your pelvic-floor muscles through Kegels (seriously, they work!) and consider bringing this up with your gynecologist or a women's health physical therapist.
2. Why do I sometimes laugh or cry uncontrollably during sex? 
"Sex is a neurological and emotional event," says Debby Herbenick, a research scientist at the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and the author of Sex Made Easy. In other words, it's intense, and getting naked (physically and otherwise) with someone can trigger unexpected feelings. An emotional reaction could also be due to hormones, where you're at in your menstrual cycle or fears you have about the relationship. You know yourself best: If you feel something's not right, consider bringing it up with your partner or with a therapist.
3. I'm nowhere near menopause, but I'm as dry as the Sahara down there -- even when I'm in the mood. How can this be?
There are lots of factors involved in keeping the vagina naturally lubricated, but anything that sabotages your hormone levels or your blood flow throughout the body can dry you out, says Streicher, who is working on a book about sexual health. She also says that about 5 percent of women taking oral contraception experience vaginal dryness -- yet even some gynecologists neglect to make that connection. Other culprits that have nothing to do with age include antihistamines, breastfeeding, chemotherapy, in vitro fertilization and diabetes. (An easy solution: Streicher recommends applying a good silicone-based lubricant, like Wet Platinum, before sex.)
4. Should I be worried if I bleed after sex?
If the blood is a light color, and this happens only once (especially after a strenuous romp), then it's probably just the result of irritation or friction, Streicher says. But if it happens again or if there's a fair amount of blood, then you should make an appointment with your gynecologist. It could be coming from the cervix, the uterus or be caused by an infection like chlamydia or gonorrhea.
5. About that, um, aquatic odor...
A science lesson, courtesy of Dr. Streicher: The normal pH in the vagina is between 3.5 and 4.5, and that creates the best conditions for good bacteria to proliferate. If the pH goes up too high, those good bacteria can't survive, which allows the not-good bacteria to take over, leading to that unfortunate fishy odor as well as infections like bacterial vaginosis. Normal semen happens to have a high pH, around 7.4. "So if your pH levels are already teetering on the brink or if you're having a lot of sex, the introduction of high pH semen can put you over the edge," Streicher says. Your period can also increase your pH level. Streicher sometimes prescribes an OTC gel called RepHresh to help keep levels balanced and also recommends vaginal probiotics (different than the probiotic capsules intended for your intestine). And if the post-coital bouquet you're referring to smells like bleach or chlorine, Streicher says, "Well, that's just semen." 


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