sex

Some Thoughts On Tantric Sex...

Tantric Sex. Intrigued anyone? Well I was.

What could it possibly mean to signup to a group-style tantric sex class? Would we be clothed? Did we BYO partner or attractive friend? Was it a situation where you put your keys in a bowl? This was something I wanted to try…well, had thought about trying and didn’t know if I’d actually turn up to a class. 

So I mustered up the courage to learn more and went to visit my good friend Isiah McKimmie, a sex and relationship therapist and specialist tantric teacher. Isiah holds a Masters Degree in Psychotherapy and is a Certified Somatic Sex Therapist having studied at the prestigious Institute for the Advanced Studies of Human Sexuality in the US. And she's a big-time legend. 

Isiah sees extreme importance in the need to practice sex.  She says that “one of the great things about tantra is that it offers fun, practical exercises and open discussion around sexuality, enjoyment, intimacy, pleasure and genuine connections that enable you to become a better lover, partner and friend”. 

The foundation belief of tantric sex is that intimacy and relationships are deeply connected to our overall happiness, intimacy being the key word. Sounds intriguing? Contact Isiah if you're keen to learn more.

So next time you see a notice-board advertising your local tantra class or different ways to increase communication in your relationship, take the slip and make the call. It could easily become a most welcome addition to your love life.

Not-So-Sexy Syphilis

In Australia and many other developed countries, Syphilis is back on the increase.

This is due, in part, to both heterosexual and same-sex couples not using condoms. In same-sex couples, HIV prophylaxis PrEP and post exposure PEP is another contributing factor.

Read on to learn some off-the-beaten stats and details about the disease.

HISTORY

Syphilis has been around for a long time. From mummified ancient Egyptian royalty, through to the Greeks and Romans, the New World, the Americas and movie stars of today, syphilis is unfortunately an omni-present disease throughout history.  In fact, syphilis - and a few other STI’s - were the second most common reason for disability and absence from duty during World War I, II and the Vietnam War.  So devastating was syphilis in the pre-penicillin years that it effectively halted several large conflicts in Europe, including the first of the Italian Wars where Charles VIII of France invaded Naples, but was essentially thwarted by his own troops of painful and repulsive sores.

CLASSES OF SYPHILIS

Primary syphilis classically presents itself on the genitals between 3 weeks and 3 months post-exposure and most often looks like a single firm, painless, non-itchy skin lump called a gumma (this is different to that of herpes and other STI’s that are painful and or itchy). 

At this stage of the disease, it is relatively easy to treat primary syphilis with a course of antibiotics, undetected, it can often evolve quickly from a lump to something resembling a pustule, and from there to a painless ulcer.

Latent and Tertiary syphilis carry the greatest health risks. 

Latent syphilis is defined as having syphilis in your blood, but without showing any symptoms. Latent syphilis can change at anytime to tertiary, with some cases reported of people getting tertiary symptoms 40+ years later.

Tertiary syphilis infection is divided into three classes:

Gummatous - characterized by chronic soft tumour-like gummas affecting the skin, bone and liver;

Neurosyphilis - referring to when the infection involves the brain and central nervous system.  It can cause problems from loss of sensation, poor balance, to lightening pains in the lower extremities, dementia, seizures and death.  Not the kind of syphilis that you want nor is it easy to treat or reverse.

Cardiovascular - causes the formation of aneurysms, and sometimes death, if a large one were to burst. Yikes.

MIS-DIAGNOSIS

HIV, herpes and other STIs not only make it easier to catch syphilis, but also to mis-diagnose and under treat the disease.  Many people with secondary syphilis report never having been aware of any primary symptoms at all: though once it has reached this stage, up to 30% of people will have a re-occurrence, even after what is considered effective treatment.  Secondary syphilis is widespread, often affecting the palms and soles with bacteria filled wart-like lesions that are contagious and only appear weeks or months after that initial lump or ulcer.

INFANTS & SYPHILIS

Infants born with congenital syphilis have a much higher chance of organomegaly (enlarged organs such as the liver and spleen). If untreated late, congenital syphilis results in facial and body deformations.  Syphilis is transmitted to children during pregnancy or birth, and whilst many children are born without recognizable symptoms, they are often latent carriers with issues developing later in life.  Mothers are screened for syphilis in both the first and third trimester to try and prevent the problems with congenital transmission though this is still an ongoing issue in developing nations.

NON-SEXUAL TRANSMISSION

Whilst syphilis is preventable through the use of safe sex, there have been several cases of transmission through heavy petting and other body contact where one of the two partners has an open sore.

HOW TO TEST FOR SYPHILIS

You need regular sexual health testing so that doctors can halt the disease in its primary stage, rather than have it carry on undetected through stages 2-4 where there can be fatal consequences. Visit your doctor to schedule regular health checkups, regardless of whether you are single or in a relationship.

THE VERDICT

So whatever your sexual orientation, slip on a condom, as there is no vaccine for syphilis, and barrier protection is the best way to prevent the vast majority of its spread and other STIs.  This does not completely eliminate the risk - even if you never have unprotected sex, you still need to get STI tested every 6-12 months to ensure you’re not a carrier, as the downstream effects can be devastating. 

How To Increase Your Libido

As a doctor, I am amazed at how many people I talk to during the consultation process who don’t have sex, don’t think they have enough sex and/or have never spoken about sex in an objective manner.

Although sex is a frequently discussed topic, it's mostly chatted about over a glass of wine with friends. Different people have different interpretations of how it's done, but one thing's for sure: sex is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. 

Losing one's libido can happen easily, regardless of whether you are in a relationship or single, heteroexual or homosexual, young or older or man or woman. We’re all obsessed with doing the latest fad diets to get fit for summer, but one of the most fun ways to help get fit and healthy is something we can all agree on is fun - and that’s great sex! 

Read on for some libido-raising tips to inspire you to get on the good foot and do the bad thing!

  • Did you know having sex burns upwards of 144 calories per 30 minutes? And if that's not more fun than a trip to the gym, I don't know what is!
  • Sex improves your sleep, after orgasm, the hormone prolactin is released which is responsible for the feelings of relaxation and sleepiness.
  • Having sex will inevitably lead to having more sex. Researchers found that having sex increases your want for more sex. Having regular sex also increases natural lubrication, blood flow and elasticity – all of which makes for even more enjoyable sex.
  • Regular ejaculation can also reduce the risk of prostate cancer developing in males let's get that sex drive going!
  • Some peptides and other pharmaceuticals can get things racin,  such as Bremelanotide PT-141, which was originally developed from the peptide hormone melanotan used as a tanning agent.  When people used melanotan it was found that they experienced increased sexual arousal and 9 out of 10 test subjects had spontaneous erections.  There are several other substances on the market that can help to kick-start sex, which in turn leads to wanting more of it - ask your doctor for information.
  • Some natural libido boosters  include oysters, figs, bananas and avocados which can all increase blood flow to the genitals. These libido boosters are also just generally healthy, full of good fats and proteins.

5 Health Reasons Why Marriage Is For Everyone

From Beyonce to the Queen, there is so much debate around marriage and the ability for some groups to be able to marry, whilst others are restricted. I thought it was important to take a look at this from a health perspective, not just a social one. 

For the past several decades, researchers have been looking into the health benefits of marriage, specifically regarding how marriage stands up to other wellness factors such as exercise, eating well and getting sleep.  After studying men and women for the past forty years, the evidence according to Linda Waite - a sociologist from the University of Chicago - is so conclusive in the corner of marriage. Waite maintains throughout her research that married life leads to a longer and healthier life than unmarried life. The difference in data is so conclusive that one sociologist has said marriage is as great for your health as giving up smoking. 

With this in mind  - and with so many organisations, governing bodies and other countries agreeing - why don’t we have marriage equality in Australia? Especially when Australians as a culture are, for the most part,  extremely health focused!

Here are 5 health reasons in support of marriage for all.

TIP #1: CHOOSE LIFE

Whilst the reasons for married people living longer are not yet fully understood, the correlation between being married and decreased mortality has been established across a wide range of studies and cultures.  This association goes beyond simply cohabitation. Professor Robert Coombs from UCLA found that unmarried people of both sexes have higher death rates across all categories, including accident, disease or self-inflicted.  Other studies have found a direct correlation between longevity and the closeness of two people, ranked on a scale from 1 (marriage), 2 (cohabitation), 3 (close friends) and 4 (single). If you’re not the relationship type, find a fun friend to move in with - you'll both live longer. 

TIP #2: GETTING HITCHED TO STAY FIT

How many times have you heard “since he/she got married she really let herself go”? Research would be against us showing that married people actually enjoy better physical health, are less likely to have minor illnesses such as colds and flus and recover faster from health issues such as cancer, heart disease and strokes.  Some studies have even suggested that getting married can boost your immune system. Not bad for the ol' ball and chain.

TIP #3: THE CRAZY CAT LADY

Was she crazy before the cats, or did the cats make her that way? Several studies of mental illness have shown that married people have lower rates of depression, anxiety and other psychiatric disorders compared to divorced people, co-habiting people and single people.  In fact, when testing neural pathways, some researchers suggested that the overall happiness experienced by marriage was equivalent to receiving a $100,000 pay rise annually.  With that amount of happiness, it’s no wonder that couples were found to have less cats.

TIP #4: KICK THE BIG C

Studies have shown that marriage will not only help to prevent cancer, but married patients have also been found across multiple studies to be diagnosed earlier, live longer after diagnosis and found treatment easier.  Chronic conditions fare similarly, with patients scoring themselves as being happier and experiencing less severe symptoms if they weren't married. 

TIP #5: GET MORE OF THE GOOD STUFF

Contrary to popular 17th century opinion, copulating is not simply for baby making. The health benefits of regular sex - regardless of gender or sexual orientation - are immense.  A study from 2010 showed that married couples actually have sex more than their single counterparts, with 82% of married couples having had sex in the past year compared with 49% of single people.  Perhaps many of the health benefits of marriage is simply due to the wonders of regular sex with someone you love having a huge impact on your longevity, wellness and happiness.

THE VERDICT

Lifting the restriction on marriage equality in Australia - and allowing same-sex attracted people to form relationships in many other countries where it is illegal - is not only integral to social justice and protecting the rights of minorities, but as we have read, super important to life itself. Loving relationships of all kinds are far more beneficial than staying in unhealthy and abusive relationships. It doesn't take Einstein to figure out that abusive marriages with perpetrators and victims have the worse health outcomes of all.  Friendships if you’re not in a relationship and the communication that comes from it was also found to have significant health benefits. 

So whether you’re married, de-facto, thrupling or single ready-to mingle keep those conversations and relationships flowing.

 

5 (More) Reasons To Have More Sex

Just in case you needed more convincing...

TIP #6: GORGEOUS GLOWING SKIN

Sex is an amazing way to improve your skin and it does this through increasing your circulation along with the release of wonderful cytokines that make your skin glow. As we’ve also mentioned, sex can help to relax your body and also your face, which means you’ll need less injectables less often.  

TIP #7: IT'S A KNOCK OUT!

Woo! Snore.....Ever wondered why you pass out post orgasm? Well sex increases levels of the hormone prolactin and then is released into the body when you climax. Prolactin is responsible for a range of feelings including relaxation and sleepiness. So go ahead - knock yourself out.

TIP #8: REDUCE THE RISK OF PROSTATE CANCER

Whilst there haven’t been any conclusive studies to show that there is a direct correlation between orgasm and reduced prostate size, there have been some studies showing that men who ejaculate at least 21 times a month were less likely to get prostate enlargement. 

TIP #9: MIGHTY MORPHINE POWER

Just like many analgesics, sex and orgasms can block pain pathways helping those suffering from a range of conditions to have decreased pain. Along with this it has been found that many forms of genital stimulation can suppress chronic back and neck pain, arthritic pain, headaches and much more. 

TIP #10: THE WAY TO YOUR HEART

To finish of our top 10 for benefits of regular sex we can say that sex reduces pain, makes us happier, healthier and sexier it can also keep us alive longer. The exercise, reduction in blood pressure, relaxation and release of amazing hormones like oestrogen and testosterone have all been shown to keep us ticking on even longer in a healthy manner. For men who have sex twice a week (the minimum for all of us now having read this) it has been shown are half as likely to die of heart disease than those who had sex rarely.

However you do it, however you like it, and with whomever you do it, remember #justdoit.