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Pornography: your questions answered
We get lots of posts about pornography and masturbation. Many of you are worried about what it means if your partner uses pornography, or if masturbation might be reason you’re not getting as much sex as you might like. We’ve had a look at the science behind pornography and the effects it can have on your relationship, and we’ve answered some of your questions below. Is pornography bad for my relationship? This depends on your opinion of it. If you have a problem with pornography in general, then it’s unlikely you’re going to be OK with your partner watching it. This can have a negative impact on your relationship [1]. One way pornography can affect your relationship quality is by diminishing your self-esteem. If you aren’t happy about the idea of your partner using pornography, it can make you feel like you don’t matter in the relationship, or that you aren’t good enough. If you don’t mind pornography, or if your self-esteem is very robust, then it’s less likely to have a negative impact on your relationship [2]. Can pornography reduce sexual desire? Watching pornography doesn’t seem to reduce sexual desire. According to one study, pornography doesn’t take away your sexual urges, so it’s unlikely that this would be the reason a partner seems less interested in sex [3]. For more ideas on why sex might be off the table, check out our tips on being in a sexless relationship. Can we watch pornography together? Several studies have shown that couples who watch pornography together can experience improvements in their sex lives [3] [4]. As a shared activity, it can encourage you to talk about sex, creating a more open atmosphere for you to discuss your sexual desires and fantasies. While it’s important to remember that pornography doesn’t always present a realistic picture of sex, it can sometimes be a springboard for talking about what you like and don’t like [5]. How can we use pornography to talk about our relationship? Be open and honest about pornography. If you like using it, talk to your partner about why. If you don’t like it, let your partner know where you stand. These might not be the easiest conversations to start, but they can have a positive effect on your relationship by allowing you to learn more about each other. This can improve your sex life and may help make your general communication easier – couples who find a way to talk about their sexual desires in this way can even strengthen their relationship quality overall [6]. You may find that starting a dialogue around this helps you to be more open to experimentation, with a more varied and satisfying sex life. You can learn about each other’s likes and dislikes and talk about how happy you both are with the level of intimacy in your relationship [6]. Can’t I just use pornography alone? Yes, you can. However, it’s worth being aware that using pornography alone can lead to a decrease in sexual communication between you and your partner [6]. When sexual activity becomes secretive, sexual communication can too. Is there such a thing as ethical pornography? This is a tricky one, and a good question to ask yourself. While looking at pornography can be a healthy activity within your relationship, it’s important to think about where it comes from. You may not have considered whether the performers were paid for their work or even whether they have consented to do everything you’re seeing. It’s not always easy to find ethical material, or to know the background of the things you do find. One place to start might be the Toronto International Porn Festival, which has strict guidelines around its submission policy and encourages a diversity of sexual interests. It’s up to you and your partner to decide what you think is acceptable but, if you’re unsure about the ethics of a particular piece, the best advice is don’t watch it. References [1] Maas, M. K., et al. (2018). A Dyadic Approach to Pornography Use and Relationship Satisfaction Among Heterosexual Couples: The Role of Pornography Acceptance and Anxious Attachment. The Journal of Sex Research, 55(6). 772–782. [2] Stewart, D., & Szymanski, N. (2012). Young Adult Women’s Reports of Their Male Romantic Partner’s Pornography Use as a Correlate of Their Self-Esteem, Relationship Quality, and Sexual Satisfaction. Sex Roles, 67(5), 257-271. [3] Brown, C., Carroll, C., Yorgason, J., Busby, S., Willoughby, J., & Larson, B. (2017). A Common-Fate Analysis of Pornography Acceptance, Use, and Sexual Satisfaction Among Heterosexual Married Couples. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 46(2), 575-584. [4] Maddox, A., Rhoades, M., & Markman, G. (2011). Viewing Sexually-Explicit Materials Alone or Together: Associations with Relationship Quality. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40(2), 441-448. [5] Daneback, K., Træen, B., & Månsson, S. (2009). Use of Pornography in a Random Sample of Norwegian Heterosexual Couples. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 38(5), 746-753. [6] Kohut, T., Balzarini, R., Fisher, W., Campbell, L., Impett, E., & Muise, A. (2018). Pornography’s associations with open sexual communication and relationship closeness vary as a function of dyadic patterns of pornography use within heterosexual relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 35(4), 655-676.
Article | pornography, masturbation
Understanding casual relationships
When it comes to casual sex, different cultures have their own ways of defining things. Dictionary entries may not seem like the most stimulating way to learn about casual relationships but, in changing times with changing rules, you may find it useful to bone up on the terminology: Hook ups. This is an ambiguous term, but it usually refers to any sexual encounter between people who aren’t committed to a relationship. One-night stands. Another name for short-term sexual encounters, these usually involve strangers getting together, rather than friends or previous partners. Friends with benefits. This involves regular sex between two partners, but it usually lacks other features of committed relationships, like emotional support. Booty calls. These are different to hook ups and one-night stands, in that they are usually arranged in advance. Booty calls might happen more than once, but a relationship characterised in this way is unlikely to involve any social activities other than sex [1]. These definitions only touch on the true complexities – the nature of any relationship will depend on the individual people involved, so it’s important to clarify what you want to get out of any relationship you enter into [1]. Communication in casual relationships Communication in casual relationships is a bit of an art form. When you first meet a potential partner, either online or in real life, it can be hard to know how to handle the conversation, and you might find yourself walking a communication tightrope [2]. When you are trying to establish what a new relationship is going to be, it’s not uncommon to take precautions around what you say, and also how much you say – communicate too much and you might be thrust into a committed relationship; communicate too little and the other person might slip out of your grasp entirely. In an effort to maintain a casual relationship, many people avoid communication entirely. But, while this may feel safe, it’s a risky strategy – rather than pulling out of the conversation, you’re better off being honest about what you want. A bit of clarity can help clear up confusion and avoid hurt feelings on both ends [3]. Friends with benefits A ‘friends with benefits’ situation may seem ideal. You get to have sex without having to worry about the other bits of a relationship and – assuming you can keep it up – you’ll still have your friendship to fall back on. But there’s always a risk that things can get complicated when you add sex to an existing friendship [4]. If one of you starts to develop feelings for the other, it can cause friction on the original friendship. Things might work out if you’re both keen to start something up but if only one of you is along for the ride, it can be hard on both of you and it may prove difficult to resurrect the friendship [4]. It may not be the easiest conversation to pull off but being clear and honest about your intentions and expectations can mitigate against potential slipups in a short-term sexual or romantic relationship. If you’re starting something new, talk about what it means before you’re in too deep, so that the other person knows what they’re getting into. Once you’ve established this bedrock of communication, it’ll be easier to talk about any developments, like if one of you starts to fall for the other or if you want to end things [5]. It might help to think of it as a consent issue. In the same way you should always respect sexual boundaries, you shouldn’t enter into any kind of sexual relationship without being clear about the boundaries around it. When everything’s laid out on the table, there’s no reason a casual relationship shouldn’t work. References [1] Claxton, S., & Van Dulmen, M. (2013). Casual Sexual Relationships and Experiences in Emerging Adulthood. Emerging Adulthood, 1(2), 138-150. [2] Sumter, S. R., Vandenbosch, L., & Ligtenberg, L. (2017). Love me Tinder: Untangling emerging adults' motivations for using the dating application Tinder. Telematics and Informatics, 34(1), 67-78. [3] Collins, T., & Horn, T. (2018). “I’ll call you…” Communication frequency as a regulator of satisfaction and commitment across committed and casual sexual relationship types. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, https://doi.org/10.1177/0265407518755554. [4] Bisson, M., & Levine, A. (2009). Negotiating a Friends with Benefits Relationship. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 38(1), 66-73. [5] Eisenberg, M., Ackard, D., Resnick, M., & Neumark-Sztainer, D. (2009). Causal sex and psychological health among young adults: Is having ‘friends with Benefits’ emotionally damaging? Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, https://doi.org/10.1363/4123109.
Article | flirting, fwb, casual sex
In gratitude for kissing
Kissing is something we’ve often taken for granted as a standard part of romance, but scientists have been all over the world and they’ve come back to tell us we were wrong the whole time. Previously, it’s always been believed that romantic kissing happens in most cultures, but the first ever worldwide study has revealed that only 46% of the world’s cultures kiss romantically. In fact, some cultures find the idea of lip-to-lip contact strange, or even repulsive. Researchers from Indiana University studied 168 cultures around the world to see what part kissing played in romantic relationships, publishing their findings in the American Anthropologist journal. If these results seem surprising, it might show that we can tend to view the world through our own perspectives and experiences, sometimes taking things like kissing for granted. Knowing that we kissers are in the minority might be a fun excuse to enjoy it that little bit more. The Middle East seemed to like kissing most, with all of the cultures studied there engaging in kissing. 73% of Asian cultures, 70% of European cultures, and only 55% of North American cultures were fans of kissing. The researchers found no evidence at all of kissing in Central America, or among the foraging cultures of Sub-Saharan Africa, New Guinea, and the Amazon. Interestingly, the results suggest that the more complex a society is, the more likely its inhabitants are to engage in kissing. So the fact that we have varying degrees of social and economic statuses may be connected to why we have evolved into a culture of kissing those we are attracted to. Kissing can be a way of finding out how we feel about a potential partner, testing out whether or not there is chemistry, and whether a person ‘feels right’ to us. Further studies may be done into how a society evolves from being a non-kissing one into a kissing one. In the meantime, let’s be grateful that we live in a society where kissing is part of the adventure of sex and romance. Xx
Article | kissing, intimacy, romance
One simple change to improve your sex life
If you are among the many couples who put so much pressure on themselves to have amazing sex that you are avoiding it all together, one simple change could make all the difference. In a poll of 6,000 people, nearly half said they were happy with their sex lives. But, that leaves more than half of us wanting something more. Just over half said they had not had sex at all in the last month. Researchers involved in the study suggested that simply changing your attitude can make all the difference to how happy you feel about your sex life. Many couples say they want sex to be more spontaneous but, due to the nature of our busy modern lives, it’s sometimes necessary to plan for our intimate moments. This may not be such a bad thing, especially as it can reduce the pressure you’re putting on yourselves, and help you enjoy the sex you are having. Another easy way to change your attitude is to recognise the good things you already have. Rather than trying to live up to sex you see on TV, or what you imagine other people might be doing, just allow yourself to enjoy the reality of your own relationship. Remember also that sex doesn’t always have to mean intercourse – it all counts, and the important thing is that you both have a good time. If you’re very busy or exhausted after a long day, sometimes just an intimate cuddle can be enough to help you feel close and remind each other of the connection you share. Psychosexual therapist Cate Campbell says: “It’s sad that so few people are sexually satisfied and put pressure on themselves to perform. Noticing what is going well, rather than dwelling on problems, is quite difficult when we’re all bombarded with messages about how sex ‘ought’ to be. “Sex definitely doesn’t have to be disappointing – there's plenty that can turn your situation around so you can enjoy a sustained, fulfilling sex life. What constitutes a satisfying sex life can vary wildly from one person to the next, so working out what makes you tick is a great starting point”.
Article | sex, communication
If you don’t feel ready for sex
What am I up against? When ‘the norm’ is to have lots and lots of sex (or at least it just seems to be) by the time you’re ‘legal’, there can be huge pressures from friends and classmates. You might encounter pressure from elsewhere too. You may have a partner that’s pushing, or you may be putting pressure on yourself. The bottom line is, there’s pressure from all directions to have sex at a young age. How can I deal with it? It appears that everyone else is having sex all the time A survey of nearly 3,600 11- to 16-year-olds in the UK found that 86% of respondents had never had sexual intercourse. In the same survey, 78% of people overestimated the sexual activity of their peers, and many people believed their peers to be ‘more experienced’ than they actually were [1]. Remember that everyone wants to portray an image, so there’s a chance that even people close to you will be keen to exaggerate (or even invent) their sexual experiences. A person’s reputation doesn’t rest on what they do, but on what people believe they do. Choose what's right for you In one survey of teenage girls in 2010, one third of young women under the age of 15 said they regretted their decision to have sex as early as they did. As part of the study, they also asked those girls if they felt pressured to have sex early, and 20% of them said yes. But not everyone regrets their first time; some people have sex for the first time quite young and look back on it fondly. Many young women from the study said their regret stemmed from a lack of planning with their partner and a lack of control over the sexual experience. So, considering this, if you don’t want to go down the “it just sort of happened” route, keep your own intentions clear in your mind and, if appropriate, share them with your partner. Once you feel the time is right to have sex, try not to get too worked up about it. Rather, let it be something that you’ll enjoy and hopefully remember fondly.  Feel free to talk to your partner about the experience, plan ahead and don’t be afraid to say what you do and don’t want.  Consider talking with someone, maybe even a parent You might think that any teenager would rather set themselves on fire than talk to their parents about sex but, according to a survey of 1,000 13- to 18-year-olds in the UK, more than half of teens actually want to talk to their parents about sex and would trust their parental guidance if they gave it. So if you have a good relationship with one (or both) of your parents, that might be something to consider. References [1] ‘Young people not having as much sex, drugs or alcohol as they think they are’, 2014
Article | sex, YPc
If you think you’re not having enough sex
What am I up against? Sex can facilitate and intensify intimacy in a relationship, creating a tangible, emotional, psychological, and (for some) spiritual connection. It can also be a lot of fun and burns more calories than 20 minutes on a treadmill. So if you feel like you’re not getting enough sex, it can feel like your relationship isn’t thriving like it could. How can I deal with it? You may have a different sex drive to your partner If you have a higher sex drive than your partner, you may sometimes feel rejected. It might seem unfathomable to you that their partner would not want sex as often, and so you may feel unwanted or undesirable. However, it doesn’t necessarily reflect their levels of desire –people are just wired differently.  It’s possible to compromise, especially if you take the time to find out exactly what your partner likes and what makes them feel comfortable. This can be a tricky conversation to have but it’ll benefit you both in the long run and you may even feel closer for it. If their sex drive has changed Sometimes this can be purely circumstantial – feeling like anxiety, stress, and tiredness can affect someone’s sex drive. If your partner is tackling these conditions, say, during exam time or an emotional rough patch, it can be helpful to read between the lines and simply be supportive rather than applying pressure or guilt. People’s own perception of themselves also plays a part in their sex drive. So if someone doesn’t feel good about their body or their appearance this will often impact libido, as confidence is such a big part of feeling sexy. In The Student Sex Survey 2014, 49% of people said “what I look like” was their greatest worry during sex. 58% of those were women, and 24% were men. You can’t fix your partner’s self-perception, but you can certainly be a positive influence. If your own sex drive has changed Diet and lifestyle can really make a difference to your sex drive and desire for sex. Getting plenty of sleep, regular exercise, and a healthy diet can allow the body to regulate itself and reawaken the desire you once felt. Sharing an intimate moment with your partner can also help you feel sexy. A sensual massage, a relaxing bath, or even a just shared meal with no distractions can help bring you closer together. More sex doesn’t equal a better relationship It may seem like more sex equals a better, happier relationship. But it’s not necessarily true. The old quantity vs quantity rule applies here; shoot for quality every time. How often you have sex really depends on what suits you as a couple. Don’t get caught up on frequency – if once a month works for you both, then great.   Forget normal The good news is that there is no normal. There is only what works for both parties of a relationship. According to the Guardian’s British Sex Survey of 2014, the average Brit has sex four times a month, but trying to keep up with what’s normal can put an unnecessary strain on a relationship. Being open and honest about what you want and encouraging your partner to be honest about what they want can be liberating. Some couples worry that talking about sex will be awkward but talking about your expectations and desires can actually bring you closer and improve both your sex lives. 
Article | sexless, intimacy, YPc
Sex during pregnancy
During your pregnancy, sex can become a complicated issue. Your desire can decrease, your discomfort can increase, and you might just lose interest altogether. Or, you might still be in the mood but find that your partner is backing off! All of this is perfectly normal and very common. Sexual enjoyment tends to decline as pregnancy goes on. Around 22-50% of pregnant women find intercourse painful and many women find it difficult to orgasm. It’s normal for your libido to decline too, largely to the change in hormones, and feeling sick, tired and physically uncomfortable [1]. And, as your body changes, you might just feel less sexy. This is particularly likely during the later stages of pregnancy, when you’re all achy and bloated. About a quarter to a half of pregnant women feel less attractive than before, and only 12% feel more attractive [1]. Giving it a go If you do feel up to having sex, there’s no reason you shouldn’t give it a go. For the majority of healthy pregnant women and their partners, sex is perfectly safe, even in the last few weeks before you give birth [1]. If you’re not sure whether it’s OK, seek advice from your doctor or midwife but, if you do want to have a go, give yourself time to be in the mood, and accept that it might take longer than usual. It’s possible that your partner will be reluctant, which can be frustrating. However, don’t assume that it’s from a lack of desire, or a loss of sexual attraction. One possible reason for hesitancy is a fear of harming the baby, which inhibits at least a quarter of male partners, and a quarter to half of expectant mothers [1]. Talk to your partner. Have an open and honest conversation about how you both feel right now. If your partner admits that they’re feeling funny about sex, try not to get annoyed or take it personally – you won’t be pregnant forever! If you’re feeling a bit insecure, make it clear that you are learning to adjust to your changing body and that, even if sex is off the table, a little TLC would be appreciated. Finding other ways to feel close If you really don’t want to have sex, don’t force yourself. Be honest with your partner, offer reassurance that it’s not a personal rejection, and ask for the support you need. It might be helpful to discuss this article, and reassure yourselves that these are common adjustments that couples face during pregnancy. If you’re feeling icky and your partner tries to reassure you that you look beautiful, accept the compliment and choose to believe them. Lots of people find their partners especially attractive when they’re carrying their child. Finding other ways of being intimate that aren’t sexual – like hugging, kissing, and massage – can help you bond when sex isn’t available. Just spending quality time together can help you maintain a sense of closeness. And remember that you won’t feel like this forever. Though there will be new challenges for your sex life when your baby comes along, the physical changes you’re experiencing during pregnancy should return to normal about three months after the birth. Some women even experience more intense orgasms than they did before [1]. References [1] Von Sydow, K. (2000). Sexuality during pregnancy and after childbirth: A meta-analysis of 59 studies. Reproductive Health Matters, 8 (15), 183. doi:10.1016/s0968-8080(00)90068-5
Article | pregnancy, parenting together
1 4 min read
Sex after giving birth
If you weren’t having much sex during your pregnancy, you may be looking forward to getting things back on track. But, for many couples, it can take a while to get things back to normal after the birth. Your body might take some time to return to a state where sex feels OK. This is a common experience for many women after giving birth: Following birth only 10-15% of new parents don’t experience any problems at all. Mothers and fathers commonly feel worried about resuming having sex [1]. 13 months after the birth, 22% were still having problems sexually [2]. Try to accept that it’s normal to need time. Even when you’ve recovered physically, you might not feel in the mood, or you might be slow to be turned on. Give yourself a chance and don't pressure on yourself to bounce back, even if your partner is keen to be intimate. Remember that there are other ways to be sexual besides penetrative sex and, if those are still off the table, focus on improving the quality of your time together, giving each other lots of cuddles and affection, or just having meaningful conversations. Feeling guilty about not feeling sexy Despite the understanding that your body is still going through a lot, you may still feel guilty for not being in the mood or not feeling able to satisfy your partner. Even if your partner isn’t expressing any disappointment over the lack of sex or changes in your sex life, it’s common to be worried about how things might be perceived from the other end. One study of women who had recently had children showed that: 57%... were worried about the sexual satisfaction of their spouse following the birth of their child [2]. If you’re carrying guilt around with you, it might be a good idea to talk this over with your partner and remind yourselves that you’re not alone – only 14% of women and 12% of men report having no sexual problems after giving birth [2].   If you’re not up for having sex, let your partner know that you still desire him, but that you just need a bit more time. It may be difficult for your partner to understand the effects that such drastic body changes can have on your confidence. Taking the time and effort to explain, can help put your partner in a better position to show sensitivity and help build up your confidence. Be descriptive of your own feelings, and ask him to be mindful of them.  It will probably help to have the conversation with your partner beforehand. Explain why you don’t want sex at the moment, and what you can offer at this time. Sex may not be as high on your partner’s priority list as you think, but asking about it can be a great opener to discussing how you’re feeling and what you’re worried about. The conversation may even help put you at ease. If physical intimacy is your partner’s preferred way to express love, it doesn’t necessarily have to mean sex. People who express love physically while still appreciate a stroke of the hair as you walk past, or a surprise cuddle while they are doing the washing up. Hugs, snuggles on the bed, hand-holding, massages – these will all help a physical person feel loved at a time when you don’t feel up to having sex. References [1] Sagiv-Reiss, D.M., Birnbaum, G.E. & Safir, M.P (2012). Changes in Sexual Experiences and Relationship Quality During Pregnancy. Archives of Sexual Behavior. October 2012, Volume 41, Issue 5, pp 1241–1251 [2] Von Sydow, K. (2000). Sexuality during pregnancy and after childbirth: A meta-analysis of 59 studies. Reproductive Health Matters, 8(15), 183. doi:10.1016/s0968-8080(00)90068-5
Article | sex, parenting together
0 4 min read
Sex with a pregnant partner
Since finding out she was pregnant, your partner might have been reacting to you differently during sex, or avoiding intimacy altogether. It might seem like she’s aroused less often or less attracted to you. Aside from simply missing something that you enjoy, sex an important way to feel closer to your partner. Without it, you may worry that you will struggle to stay close. While it might feel like it, a lack of sex during pregnancy is not a personal rejection. A quarter of new dads say they’re worried that their partner may no longer be interested in having sex [1] but it’s important to recognise that a decrease in sex during pregnancy is normal, and not your fault. Less sex during pregnancy is normal Your partner may be experiencing a decline in libido. This is very common during a time of changing hormones and physical discomfort like backache and water retention. Bear in mind that 22-50% of pregnant women experience painful intercourse, and reaching orgasm becomes progressively more difficult as pregnancy goes on [b]. Sex may have become a stressful experience for your partner. On top of this, about a quarter to a half of pregnant women feel less attractive during pregnancy, and only 12% feel more attractive [2], so your partner may just not be feeling as physically confident as she’d like to. Be open and honest with your partner. Talk about your concerns and tell her that you want to be supportive. If she is worried about her changing body, you can reassure her that you still find her desirable, but the most important thing is to respect her needs and desires. If she is experiencing a loss of libido, remember that this has nothing to do with you as a sexual partner. It might be helpful to discuss this article with her – talk about how these are common changes that couples face all the time during pregnancy. Can sex during pregnancy harm your baby? Up to half of women and at least a quarter of men worry that having sex during pregnancy will harm the baby in some way [2]. From a medical point of view, there is no reason to ‘forbid’ sex for the majority of healthy pregnant women and their partners, even in the last weeks before the birth [2]. If you’re not sure whether you fit into this category, seek advice from your doctor or midwife. Remember also that anxiety around sex isn’t always rational, and your partner may find it difficult to shake the fear. If that’s the case, try other ways of being intimate. You may find that other kinds of sexual activity that don’t involve vaginal penetration are a bit easier but, if not, things like hugging, kissing or massage can all help you feel closer to each other. Looking to the future Don’t expect things to pick back up again too soon after the birth. Your partner will need time to recover, and you might soon sense another obstacle to your sex life – fatigue. Irregular sleeping patterns, feeding schedules, nappy changes, and constant attention to the baby will probably continue to get in the way of your sex life. You might want to consider asking a family member or close friend to take care of the child for a while so you and your partner can spend some time together as a couple. If you’re used to having spontaneous sex, this might seem a little too regulated, but it might be a start. Finally, try to remind yourself that it’s not forever. As your child settles into more regular patterns of sleep, you’ll begin to find that there are more chances to be intimate without being interrupted by a crying baby. References [1] Houlston, C., Coleman, L. Milford, L., Platts, N., Mansfield, P. (2013). Sleep, sex and sacrifice: The transition to parenthood, a testing time for relationships? OnePlusOne. Retrieved from: http://www.oneplusone.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Sleep-Sex-and-Sacrifice-OPO-report-FINAL-embargoed-until-29-May-2013.pdf [2] Von Sydow, K. (2000). Sexuality during pregnancy and after childbirth: A meta-analysis of 59 studies. Reproductive Health Matters, 8(15), 183. doi:10.1016/s0968-8080(00)90068-5
Article | pregnancy, parenting together
1 5 min read
Community posts
"Boyfriend watches porn"
So my partner and I have been together 2.5 years, everything moved very quickly, he got on great with my so from a previous relationship and we moved in together, bought our first house and had a baby. Baby is currently 6 months old. Up until I fell pregnant the sex was great. It was regular, passionate and adventurous. However when I got pregnant we barely had sex at all and I just assumed he was put off by my bump or felt weird with the baby in there! I assumed things would get better once baby arrived and everything settled down. Nope! He was showing me a news article on his phone one day and went away whilst I was still reading it. He had a message come through from one of his friends that mentioned my name in it. I know I shouldn’t have but I clicked it and saw a load of messages in a group chat about our sex lives. He had sent a message saying that whenever I left the house with the kids he was watching porn. It sent shivers through me. I don’t agree with porn I think it’s demeaning and know that a lot of the girls have been trafficked or forced to do porn to get by. I looked at his search history and saw that he was watching loads of porn whenever I was out of the house, including when I was at a funeral. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to confront him with what I had found because I knew I was in the wrong for checking his phone but it was killing me. Weeks went by and I felt awful every time I went out. It was all I could think about. Eventually I brought it up and he denied it, then he admitted it but said he only did it once just after I’d had the baby and then he finally admitted he did it regularly. He said it was no big deal and that every guy does it. We went back to having occasional sex, maybe once a week at most and I assumed he’s stopped watching it. He’d been really distant again lately, coming to bed really late and not interested in sex so I have a quick look at his search history and saw that he was watching sex at night rather than coming to bed with him! I just feel disgusting and like I’m the most unattractive woman in the world! He swears he’s still attracted to me but he can’t be if he’d rather watch porn than come to bed with me when I’ve literally offered it to him on a plate! Anyone else experienced this or got any advice?
User article | pornography, parenting together
"A threesome is his only answer"
My boyfriend and I have been together for nearly three years. I've noticed now for several months that something has been 'off' or 'bothering' him, but every time I asked or approached the situation to see how we could amend it he would tell me that everything is fine and that I'm over thinking it. The past week he's consistently brought up that other girls have been flirting with him ( which I thought was just a cry to have his ego stroked and boosted, so I obliged), and then two days ago he suggested getting a hot 25 year old female nanny; he was trying to joke about it but I saw straight through his tactic and asked him directly if he was bored in the bedroom. He fumbled a bit and said, "No, I'm not bored, just you know... maybe I come home one day and walk past and she's flicking your bean that's all." He has never been very forthcoming, and struggles to communicate so I am often the one to initiate and interrogate conversations about issues or problems that are rising. Long story short, he said that he's lost the thrill and excitement of sex with me though he still loves me and adores me and finds me physically attractive and how he and one of his previous girlfriends used to be swingers and how he enjoyed that for what it was worth; how he can differentiate the difference between sex and love and how some relationships are fulfilling in one way and not the other. (To which I agreed that does happen but rebutted that that's how affairs happened when needs are being met, or being addressed by the parties involved) He told me that he felt like he owed it to me to tell me, but that he knew how I felt about such things so he didn't want to bring it up ( I'm demi-sexual and for me there is no sexual attraction without a deeper connection; no one night stands, no three-somes. Things like that make me feel physically ill ) and that he would never do anything like that to me. (Sleep with someone else) I asked him if there was anything else that he would like to try or look into that we could do together to change things up and help bring back the 'thrill and excitement' he was looking for, I even gave suggestions just to have an idea as to where to start, but he said no. This was the only thing he knew that worked. I feel defeated at this cross road, heart broken and worthless. I don't know what to do, or what should be done, all I know is that crying for days on end will get me no where. In my mind our story can play out three ways: His needs don't get met, it grows into resentment and affects our relationship, and we part. I give into his needs, we bring a third party in, I feel disgusted and sick with myself and with him, it quickly turns into resentment, and we part. Or his needs don't get met, he goes out and sleeps with someone else, and we part. Either way to me, right now, it doesn't seem like there's a good ending for us but I'm also upset and hurt so I could be over dramatizing. What I want to know is what would you do? How would you look at this situation? How do you perceive it? Has anyone experienced something like this before? And if so how did it turn out? Any advice or story sharing would be appreciated.
User article | sex
"Exercising to treat erectile dysfunction"
Erectile dysfunction is a commonly encountered problem among men, regardless of their age. We can say – millions of men are suffering from ED & it's normal. You may be suffering from ED when you cannot attain or maintain the desired hardness of erections during sexual intimacy. If you dig deeper into this matter, you’ll get to know that it’s all about the muscles that cause erections. These are pelvic organ muscles that are supposed to lead & maintain erections. When they lose their tone & strength, ED happens. In other words, when there is a lot of stress around the smooth pelvic organ muscles, poor erectile conditions occur. What are the risk factors of ED? You may wonder about the possibilities that expose a man’s health to ED. Here are some common risk factors: • Poor heart health • Prostate Cancer • Less to no physical activity • Smoking & alcohol habits • Overweight/Obese • Stressful lifestyle Believe it or not, doctors who prescribe ED medicines also suggest that getting back to your ideal weight, making some lifestyle changes, and exercising regularly can improve ED conditions. How effective is exercising as compared to other ED treatments? Plucking the problems from roots will have impactful & long-lasting effects on health. Any ED medicine will only promise to minimize the effects, but it cannot cure impotence completely. By the time you’re using those medicine, you’ll surely feel that ED is gone until its active ingredient stays in your bloodstream. To be honest, some men don’t prefer to use ED pills but opt for some natural treatments that give permanent solutions. If you only know, physical as well as psychological factors are both responsible for causing ED. So, exercising could be an effective solution. Which exercises are ideal for ED conditions? According to research, only exercises that strengthen pelvic organ muscles will benefit for ED. As discussed earlier, it’s all about improved functioning of pelvic organs. The key role of pelvic organ muscles is to sustain the blood flow in the penis to let it hold on to stiffer & firm erections throughout the sexual intercourse. This happens when the muscles pressurize penile veins & this pressure prevents blood from leaving the male genitals. 3 Kegel Exercises for men to try for ED 1. Pelvic floor muscles activation It’s extremely easy for any man to perform pelvic floor exercising as it is extremely simple. As you do this, your pelvic floor muscles will be activated. Follow these steps: • Lie down on the floor in a position where your knees are bent & feet are flat on the floor. Your arms must be lying by the sides in a relaxed position. • Exhale in such a way that your pelvic organ muscles are squeezed for a count of three. • Next, inhale & release for a count of three. • Allow yourself to determine the right group of muscles underlying the pelvis. While you’re doing this, you may accidentally contract other muscles like the stomach, legs, buttock, etc but that’s fine. 2. Pelvic floor activation by Sitting You must have got an idea that we’re about to guide you for activating pelvic muscles in a sitting position. Do this: • Sit in such a way that your arms are on the sides, your feet are flat-lying on the floor & hips are wide apart. • As we did in step one, exhale & inhale for a count of three. • You have to gain better control that only pelvic organ muscles are contracting & not your stomach, leg, or buttock muscles. 3. Pelvic floor activation by Standing Lastly, we’ll be activating pelvic muscles in a standing position. Here is what you’ll do: • Stand straight, if possible, stand with your wall support. • Repeat the inhale-exhale technique, as done in steps one & two. • Make sure that your stomach, buttock & leg muscles aren’t contracting. Note: Kegel exercises are to be performed three times a day. 3 Pilates Exercises that’ll work for men with ED & Oral treatment also helps to treat erectile dysfunction Pilate exercises are performed for activating the right muscle-group & it challenges the individual for maintaining pelvic floor strength while moving. 1. Pelvic curl One of the most common Pilate exercises, pelvic curls is very effective. Let us show you how to perform this step by step: • Lie down in a position when your knees are bent, feet are lying flat on the floor, and arms are positioned by the side. • Your spine should be in a neutral position in such a way that a small space is maintained between your middle-back & floor. • Now, exhale & concentrate on your pelvic organ muscles. 2. Knee fallouts Ideal for beginners, knee fallouts are all about small movements. Here is what you should do: • Lie down in a position when your knees are bent, feet are lying flat on the floor, and arms are positioned by the side. • Your spine should be in a neutral position in such a way that a small space is maintained between your middle-back & floor. • Exhale, squeeze your pelvic organ muscles & lower your knee on the floor, one at a time. Make sure your pelvic organ muscles are activated while you lower your knee towards the floor. Your pelvis should be stable when you’re doing this. • Now inhale & release the muscles while your knees are still bending. • You should repeat this on each side until your repetition count reaches 10. 3. Supine foot raises Similar to knee fallouts, this exercise also involves small movements. • Lie down in a position when your knees are bent, feet are lying flat on the floor, and arms are positioned by the side. • Your spine should be in a neutral position in such a way that a small space is maintained between your middle-back & floor. • Now, inhale & lower your foot towards the ground. • Repeat alternate sides with 10 repetitions on each side. Which other exercises can help? • Aerobics • Skipping • Boxing • Running • Cycling These are a few other exercises that could be done for at least 40 minutes daily for 6 months to see positive changes to your ED problems. Besides this, consuming a healthy diet will also help you reach your goals easily. Final Thoughts You have now discovered some very good exercises that are recognized by experts for the treatment of ED. Before you start doing any of them, make sure you’ve consulted your doctor & then performing any that suits best according to your health conditions. We hope this helps.
User article | sex
"Where do we go from here?"
I’ve been with my partner for 7 years and we have a young child together. I knew there were sexual issues early on, within the first year he just stopped showing me “that” kind of interest. I struggled with it at first. I loved him so much but he just seem to have little interest in me in that department. I brought it up a few times and he said he was consumed with work etc., but would make the effort. Nothing ever really changed. He even rejected me a few times which is devastating so I gave up in the end, just to keep hold of what little self esteem I had left. I’m now 7 years down the line and I feel broken by it. It’s unbelievable what years of abandonment and neglect can do to you. We had a huge row recently where he admitted he has this issue in every relationship he has but followed it up quickly by kinda letting me know he has no plans to address it or do anything about it. I’ve seen other posts on here from women who are in similar relationships but seem to get affection and attention from their partners. I get nothing. He doesn’t notice if I get my hair done, he never tells me I look nice, never cuddles me or kisses me. It’s a very hard way to live. I just know he doesn’t look at me that. I can feel it, Even if I try to accept it and live with it, it creeps up on me. Normally if our friends talk about their sex lives or I see something on tv, I start to feel stressed. It’s not about the sex for me, it’s about feeling desired, wanted and loved. The reason I’m posting on here today is that I’m about to leave. A decision that I’m struggling with as it will, of course, impact our child. Not only does he give me nothing in the way of affection or sexually but he’s picking on me all the time. Accusing me of saying things I’ve not said, saying I’m being horrible about people when I’m not, manipulating me using guilt to get me to spend weekends how he wants to spend them. No one else makes me feel as bad about myself as he does. I’m feeling like DIRT at the moment. I can’t work out what is going on. Is it not enough to deprive me of any romance and the hope of a loving relationship...but to criticise me constantly and imply that my personality isn’t any good on top of that? Currently we are not speaking. He drank too much the other night, became very irritating and difficult to be around (a common issue recently), but instead of admitting it the following day he has done his usual...accuse me of not being nice about people, he even made some stuff up so I’ve asked him not to talk to me. He has been doing this to me for years. In fact, I cannot think of a single time he’s taken any responsibility for anything that isn’t working in our relationship. In fact, knowing he had these sexual issues in all of his other relationships before he has blamed them on me a few times. I think that’s vile. I’m 38 years old. Am I going to agree to live by his terms when he can’t even treat me properly? What isn’t he worried I’ll leave him for someone else? If a woman deprived a man of these things she’d be waiting for him to sleep with someone else. My self esteem is shot to bits. I feel so angry that he’s stomping around currently as if I’ve treated him badly. None of the issues he seems to have with his own perception of my personality are anywhere near as huge as us having no intimate or emotional connection. I tried so hard to stop that part of our relationship from dying but he just didn’t care. What now?
User article | control, emotional abuse
"I've always had the higher sex drive"
We have been together for 2 and half years. I've always had the higher sex drive but until recently this hasn't been an issue. He's even bought tablets online to help him "keep up" . But in the first year together we had made a joke about getting it done 40 something times in a month(something to do with it being the healthy amount of times for a guy to ejacualte) and during this month, although we didnt get it done that many times, he didnt struggle at all to be interested or active. We only see each other 3 times a week for about 4 -6 hours. Sometimes I'm lucky if he stays over (honestly , this doesnt really seem like much time for a committed relationship of 2 and half years ) but because im still sexually attracted to him , I would happily have sex each night he is over but all of a sudden he is now always saying no. I even tried to take his coat off when we were sat watching a movie so I could cuddle in to him properly and even that was met with "im not in the mood" I've explained to him why I want to have sex, that it's not just sex and I've explained how the rejection makes me feel , as its 99.8% been me initiating it from day one , it's me that plans all the "date night" ideas , it was always me having to arrange plans etc , feels like its always me giving to keep things working and now this is happening . I even tried waking him up seductively the other morning and that was met with "dont you'll wake him up, I've got work " - work wasnt for 2 hours and it only takes 40-60 mins to get to work
User article | sexless, intimacy
"He is happy this way"
When we first got together my bf could not keep his hands off me. We had sex five times a week. Fast forward a year later it went down to once a week. Yes porn was the issue. Fast forward another year it went to once every two weeks. Porn even more. Now to today yet another year gone by. We have sex once a month. I tried all the time to be the one to start sex between us. Every time I get pushed away and given some bullshit excuse why he won't have sex with me. Then he goes and watches his porn and gets himself off. We have talked we have argued and I have poured my heart out to him. Nothing has gotten better. It has gotten worse. He lies about it, he sneaks it and even watches it while at work. He says he does not have an addiction, but if you can't go without looking at it or listening to it in some form everyday for hours... sorry baby your addicted. When we do have sex once a month he never finishes with me. He always jerks himself off. Porn has made him unable to enjoy real sex with a real person at least not with me anymore. The only thing that would help us is for him to admit his addiction and put porn blockers on the computer and cell phone. I would help him but he keeps saying 'I don't t have a problem'. When you choose porn over the person you say you love over and over and over how can you not see its a problem? I love this man more than I have ever loved anyone. Our relationship would be perfect if he would stop the porn. I can't force him and I can't get him to see how it's ripping us apart. I feel alone, I feel unwanted. There are days where I can tell he wishes I would just hurry up and leave so he can do his thing. There are times I'm right there naked next to him all day and he won't touch me but as soon as I'm asleep or as soon as I leave he jerks off. I'm tired of being in a relationship where I am only getting half of the person I love. How do I make him see his porn and masturbation is killing us? He actions and how it effects me effects us well it seems he does not care at all. He only cares about the fact that he is feeling good in his sexual moments alone. So I ask myself all the time why am I even here if he doesn't want me? Am I fooling myself that it will ever get better?
User article | pornography, sexless