Monthly Archives: September 2017

When you and your partner have mismatched libidos

When you and your partner have mismatched libidos


About 15% of men and 34% of women say they’re not really interested in sex, according to a newstudy, statistics that few experts find surprising. In fact, low desire in one partner is probably the top reason couples seek out sex therapy.

When one of you has more interest in sex than the other, it’s easy for the person with the higher sex drive to feel rejected, bruised and undesirable and for the partner who avoids sex to feel pressure, anxious and guilty.
Any number of factors can affect sexual desire, and most of them have little to do with your partner’s attractiveness. In the study I mentioned, researchers found that for both men and women, physical and mental health had an impact on libido. But they may have different motivations for avoiding sex.
“For men, it’s often the appearance of disinterest rather than actual loss of interest,” sex therapist Deborah Fox said. “Men avoid sex frequently due to prior performance issues, such as erectile issues or rapid ejaculation. They may avoid it to escape the anxiety of these issues reoccurring.” In women, hormonal factors and fatigue can contribute to low libido.
And sometimes, life just gets in the way. “In my practice, I see a lot of desire diminish due to interest in porn, boredom of the same sexual routine, the comfort of monogamy and relationship security, and the loss of couple time due to a focus on parenting time,” sex therapist Amanda Pasciucco said.
Here are some other things to consider when you and your partner have mismatched sex drives.
Nagging and anger aren’t helpful. If you’re wondering why your partner isn’t interested in sex, ask from a place of curiosity, sex therapist Holly Richmond said. “Instead of saying, ‘I’m so frustrated that we never have sex anymore. What’s going on with you?’ try, ‘I’m curious about why we have less sex than we used to. Is there something you need from me?’ Open a window of opportunity for communication rather than shoving closed a door of criticism.”
You may need to take sex off the table. Sometimes, the topic of not having sex has become so fraught that you need to start fresh with some simple forms of touch that feel nice but don’t have to lead to sex. “I start by asking a couple be in the same room at the same time for about an hour at least twice a week,” gynecologist and sex counselor Terri Vanderlinde said. “During that time, I have them do something fun and intimate, like playing a game or reading a book together.”
Couples can connect during this window of time, but there should be a rule not to have sex. Some couples will focus on making out above the waist, taking a sensual shower together or giving each other massages. You should also think about ways to stimulate your erotic brain, particularly if you’ve just been going through the motions. Watch ethical porn together, read erotica, share a fantasy or even reminisce about the hot sex you used to have.
Intercourse isn’t always the destination. For most of us, intercourse is often the main entree on the sex menu. Oral sex, manual stimulation and other forms of touch and direct clitoral stimulation are relegated to being optional appetizers. Yet recent studies show that most women prefer a high degree of clitoral stimulation to climax, and prioritizing “outercourse” allows you to discover new paths to pleasure.
Just do it. It’s important remember that sexual desire changes across long-term relationships. In the beginning, sex is usually more spontaneous, and cues such as a look or touch from your partner make you feel aroused more quickly. But over time, spontaneous desire often evolves into responsive desire, which emerges in response to pleasure. In other words, you might not begin with sexual desire but with a willingness to generate it.
“Sometimes, we have to make a conscious effort to be intimate with our partner. If we sit around and wait to be suddenly in the mood, it may never happen,” sex therapist Rachel Needle explained. “Take a chance, even if you aren’t in the mood. Chances are you’ll enjoy yourself once you get started.”
Sex therapist Michael A. Vigorito agrees. “It can help to schedule weekly sex,” he said. “Knowing that sex will occur may help the low-desire partner to turn themselves on in preparation, like they probably did when they were dating. It may also help reduce the high-desire partner’s anxiety about the next time they will have sex.”
Remember, if you’re interested in sex and your partner is not, think of your interest as a precious resource. Without it, without your motivation to have sex, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut. So don’t give up — just refocus your efforts.

Why we must talk to children about sex

Why we must talk to children about sex

In recent days, incidents involving the assault and rape of young adolescents—girls and also boys—have come to attention. On the one hand, two girls, aged 10 and 13, were raped by supposedly “trusted” adults in Chandigarh and Mumbai. They silently bore the abuse until they fell pregnant and could no longer hide their condition.

In Mumbai, two boys swallowed insecticide and committed suicide after being abused and raped by older boys. They couldn’t stand the shame and prospect of further abuse. One boy died before he could tell his parents; the other sought his parents’ help only after he had consumed the fatal potion, but disclosed the names of his abusers before he lost his life.

These incidents should force adults to confront some hard realities. Today, growing up is fraught with physical insecurity, and yet adolescents know little about their bodies— how does one become pregnant, or protect oneself from unwanted pregnancies and infections? How does one confront a sexual predator or distinguish between good and bad touch? Too few girls and boys know these things and fewer still have access to a trusted mentor with whom they can share their experiences and who can take protective action. Most are never told that, if abused, it’s not their fault.

A study conducted by the Population Council on unmarried girls in Bihar and Jharkhand who underwent abortions showed that pregnancy took place after a forced sexual encounter for several of them. The study also sheds light on the reasons why the girls waited till they were well into the fourth or fifth month of pregnancy to seek termination. Several did not know the links between menstruation and pregnancy. Komal and Najma, both of whom were 18 and had experienced a forced sexual encounter, explained: “When I did not have my periods, I did not even think that I could have conceived. I did not feel anything. But one day my employer asked me why my stomach was looking so big… I started having a vomiting sensation. I had no idea that your periods stop when you conceive a child. Then my mother asked me when I had my last period.”

Many girls also described feelings of fear and anxiety about disappointing their family; they were worried about breaking the trust of their parents and losing their reputation. Others feared that their parents would beat them, abuse them or impose restrictions on their freedom of movement. Binita, a 20-year old, said, “My parents’ view towards me would have been shattered. They have full faith in me but had they come to know about this, they would have lost trust in me.”

While research on boys is sparse, it is likely that all four of the adolescents in the news recently, and thousands like them, react similarly to incidents of forced sex.

To prevent such incidents, we must shed the misconception that talking to adolescents about sex will encourage them to experiment with sex. Nothing could be further from the truth, as study after study in every part of the world has shown. Yet in India, teachers and parents shy away from sex education. They refuse to engage adolescents even on topics like pregnancy and menstruation, body changes, and good and bad touch. They believe that there is no need to provide this information, or that talking about these matters will encourage sexual activity. These perceptions are short-sighted, irrelevant in today’s times, and damaging for the adolescents. Informing adolescents about these matters does not lead them “astray”; rather, it empowers them and helps them make healthy choices.

School-based comprehensive sex education and open parent-child communication are urgently needed. Comprehensive sex education informs adolescents in an age-appropriate way about sexual and reproductive health, and unwanted sexual advances. At the same time, it also encourages them to develop notions of gender equality, and an ability to communicate and negotiate.

Parents, likewise, must be persuaded to discard their misconceptions and communicate openly with their children. They must teach their children that, if violated in any way, they must confide in their parents, and promise them unconditional support.

Elsewhere, parenting programmes have succeeded in breaking communication and trust barriers between parents and children, and there is scope for such programmes in India as well.

There are success stories in India too. A police outreach programme in Mumbai schools teaches children about good and bad touch. This month, a six-year-old girl in Mumbai, who had attended this programme, recognized that what a man was doing to her constituted bad touch, and was empowered enough to shout and raise an alarm as she had been taught, and succeeded not only in preventing him from perpetrating rape but also in ensuring his arrest. The little girl acted courageously, and the Mumbai police must be commended for delivering such an effective programme.

Parents and teachers must learn from this example. A three-pronged approach that includes comprehensive sex education, close parent-child interaction, and age-appropriate public awareness campaigns such as the police outreach programme will go a long way in fighting sex abuse.

Shireen Jejeebhoy is a social scientist and demographer.

Abstinence-only programs do not delay sexual initiation, prevent STIs

Abstinence-only programs do not delay sexual initiation, prevent STIs


Santelli JS, et al. J Adolesc Health. 2017. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2017.06.001

Sexual education that promotes “abstinence-only-until-marriage” is not effective at limiting sexual initiation or sexual risk behaviors, according to a review published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Additionally, the authors claim that these programs violate adolescent rights, stigmatize or exclude groups of teenagers and strengthen damaging gender stereotypes.

“The weight of scientific evidence shows these programs do not help young people delay initiation of sexual intercourse,” John Santelli, MD, MPH, professor of population and family health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, said in a press release. “While abstinence is theoretically effective, in actual practice, intentions to abstain from sexual activity often fail. These programs simply do not prepare young people to avoid unwanted pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases.”

The authors gathered reports from those involved in sexuality education and adolescent health. Additionally, information regarding abstinence-only-until-marriage (AOUM) program policies and viewpoints from government reports or advocacy organizations were included.

Through analysis, Santelli and colleagues observed that AOUM programs were disconnected from health professionals because they were mostly concerned with character and morality as opposed to health behaviors and outcomes.

According to the review, the median age for marriage for American men and women rose over the past 60 years. The gap between age of first intercourse and first marriage in women was observed at 8.7 years, whereas the gap between these two factors was observed at 11.7 years in men.

A noticeable change in educational practices has also been observed. Between 2000 and 2014, instruction on human sexuality decreased from 67% to 48%. Of the schools that taught about sexuality, 50% of middle schools and 76% of high schools taught that abstinence was the most effective way to prevent pregnancy, STIs and HIV. Birth control was discussed in only 23% of middle schools and 61% of high schools, and only 10% of middle schools and 35% of high schools included information about the correct use of condoms.

“Young people have a right to sex education that gives them the information and skills they need to stay safe and healthy,” Leslie Kantor, PhD, MPH, assistant professor of population and family health at the Mailman School of Public Health and vice president of education at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in the release. “Withholding critical health information from young people is a violation of their rights. Abstinence-only-until-marriage programs leave all young people unprepared and are particularly harmful to young people who are sexually active, who are LGBTQ or have experienced sexual abuse.”

“Adolescent sexual and reproductive health promotion should be based on scientific evidence and understanding, public health principles and human rights,” Santelli said in the release. “Abstinence-only-until-marriage as a basis for health policy and programs should be abandoned.” – by Katherine Bortz

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.

This fruit boosts your libido

This fruit boosts your libido

When you think of dates—the fruit, not going for dinner—you probably think of digestive issues and constipation. That’s because they are known to help you in such cases. But dates can also be enjoyed to improve another area of health—sexual function in men.

Experts suggest that men should include dates in their diet as a means of improving their sexual function and boosting libidoDr. Aminu Kazeem, a sexual health therapist who works at Energy for Sex Clinic in Lagos, Nigeria, explained, “Eating dates will promote sperm quality and quantity as it is one of the best natural fruits used for male fertility. It also increases the size of testes in men and the size of breast in women. Consuming the fruit can help to treat sexual disorders because it is a natural aphrodisiac.”

What makes dates such a potentially potent natural Viagra? It’s because they are packed with flavonoids and estradiol, which could work to improve sperm mobility and counts.

Dates are also known to boost sexual hormone levels and provide essential nutrients to improve sexual function in both men and women.

Generally speaking, anyone can consume dates regularly, but if you are diabetic, you may want to consult your doctor prior due to dates sugar content.

Nutritionist Toyin Adeola explained how you could consume dates as a means of boosting sexual performance. She said, “It is advisable to remove the seed and grind seven or eight pieces of dates and soak in water for about two to three hours. Add one glass of milk and one teaspoon of honey and drink at least once a day to boost sexual power.”

Other foods that boost libido naturally

Aside from dates, there are other foods that you can incorporate into your daily diet that could put your sex drive into overdrive.


While the root is synonymous with smelly breath—not exactly sexy—it also contains a compound that increases blood flow and circulation to the genitals. So be sure to enjoy some with your dinner. Just make sure you brush your teeth before taking it to the bedroom.


These high-protein snacks can do more than just keep you satiated between meals. Men who snack on almonds regularly could also benefit from increased production of male hormones that help regulate the sex drive.


Figs have been referred to as the “food of the Gods” and the “food of love,” and for good reason! These sweet fruits are loaded with natural aphrodisiacs that could ignite your sex drive and increase your stamina.


Some experts have asserted that eating three stalks of asparagus daily could boost your sex drive, thanks to its high levels of certain libido-enhancing vitamins.


These yellow fruits are full of enzymes, vitamins, and minerals that have all been associated with increasing the production of sex hormones.


One of the latest health food trends, avocados have more benefits than you may have realized. While they’re a fantastic source of healthy fats, they also contain vitamins and minerals that increase energy, regulate sex hormones, and boost libido for men and women.


Hot chili peppers contain a chemical that triggers the production and release of endorphins. In addition to making you feel good, endorphins could also stimulate nerve endings and raise your heart rate.

So, the next time you feel your libido is lagging, try reaching for one of these foods to help kick-start your sex drive and better your bedroom performance.

Marry Your Rapist Law and Marital Rape: Two names of the same crime

Marry Your Rapist Law and Marital Rape: Two names of the same crime

Rape and sexual abuse are the most raging crimes against women throughout the world. Most of the time these crimes are not reported because of the shame and social stigma attached to them. In fact, societal pressure is so heinous that it increases the trauma of the women often leading them to commit suicide. Violent rape has serious impact on women’s sexual and reproductive health on the long run. This pain intensifies more when the victim is compelled to marry her “rapist.”

The inhuman “Marry your rapist laws exists in some Middle Eastern countries like Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Palestine, and Syria etc.  By marrying the victim, rapist can escape punishment. The justification given for this “law” is that it protects women’s honor by bringing this illicit sexual contact within the institution of marriage.

Purna Sen, policy director for UN Women, says that “The penal codes in these countries do not approach rape as violence or abuse, but focus more on the idea that sexual contact occurred outside of marriage. It’s not been really distinct as rape as force and abuse and violence… So the way to make that respectable is to put it within the institution of marriage.”

Often women are forced by their family members to save family’s honour by marrying the abuser as integrity and honor is tied to women’s behaviour, conduct and maintenance of virginity before marriage. This law is often considered as a saviour for the family after the assault as victims are blamed for inviting the attack on themselves. This law leads to victimisation of the victim all over again but nobody pays attention.

However, as a result of the effort of the various non-governmental organisations, UN, human right groups, implementation of CEDAW, this law has been scrapped in some countries. Tunisia, Jordan and Lebanon have repealed the provisions in their penal code which allowed the rapist to escape punishment by marrying his victim.

On 26th July, Tunisia passed a law titled, “Law on Eliminating Violence against Women”, which abolished this clause and recognised domestic violence as a punishable crime.

Following Tunisia, the Jordanian Parliament passed a landmark law in this regard. The house voted to abolish a provision in the penal code (Article 308) that allowed rapists to escape punishment (i.e.,dropping of the rape charges) if they marry their victims and stay with them for at least three years. This decision now needs the approval of the upper house, Senate, and then ratification by King Abdullah II.

Weeks after Tunisia and Jordan, Lebanaon also repealed Article 522. This dealt with rape, assault, kidnapping and forced marriage. This law states that rape is punishable by up to seven years in prison and more if the victim is mentally or physically disabled. Article 522 added that if the rapist marries the victim, he can escape the punishment. Since 1940s, this law has been a major hindrance to women’s equality. Though Article 522 has been repealed, the effects of this law can be seen in Article 505 and 518. Both these articles allow a person accused of “consensual” sexual relations with a minor to avoid prosecution by marrying the victim.
However, if you think that the law is Middle Eastern in origin, then that’s not the case. This law is inspired by French Napoleonic Code of 1810 which allowed a man who kidnapped a girl to escape prosecution if he married her. In fact, France abolished this law only in 1994.

Though its a significant step for women’s equality in the region which is known for its misogynist laws against women as laws help to change the mindset. However, the mere passing of this law is of little use until and unless authorities put a check on the private rape marriage arrangements and provide victims easy access to justice.

This rape-marriage arrangement raises an important question on the legality of “rape within marriage” in India. Its same like Marry your Rapist. Marital rape is a common practise which is often used by the husband to establish himself as a master on his wife. However, its not a criminal offence as the government feels that criminalising marital rape will destabilize the institution of marriage. However, the government is forgetting that by having forced sex with your wife, husband has automatically weakened the sacred institution of marriage.

The author is an assistant professor at Amity University, Noida. She may be contacted at