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What is consent?

“A drunk can consent.” This statement was said by Judge Gregory Lenhan following a sexual assault trial in Halifax in which he acquitted a man who was practically caught red-handed trying to have sex with an unconscious woman in the back of his taxi. Those four words have caused a public outcry, and a petition signed by 34,000 people is circulating asking for an inquiry into the judge himself.

Apparently, this whole idea of consent is rather confusing. So confusing that a judge, a man that has dedicated his life to justice and the law, thinks that sexual assault is something that can be decided be given without actually being conscious.

I know — I don’t get it either.

To help, let’s actually define the term consent.

Consent, according to the Oxford dictionary, means to give “permission for something to happen.” In the case of a sexual relationship, both parties must clearly agree to a sexual act and each person has the right to say no. Consent should never be assumed or implied. Seems simple enough, right?

What people tend to forget is that consent is continually. At any point during a sexual encounter, a woman or a man may tell his or her partner to stop — and that partner MUST stop. That is the nature of consent.

Therefore, considering that very basic definition, a person who is incapacitated through alcohol or drugs cannot give true consent.

In the Halifax case, the woman was found unconscious in the vehicle vehicle. She was naked and the taxi driver was found stuffing her pants and underwear into the front seat of his car. His pants were undone. The woman had an alcohol level of 241 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood. This would have severely impacted short-term and long-term memory. Staff at the bar where the woman was picked up said she was incredibly drunk and was turned away at the door. That is when she hailed a cab.

Did I mention that her DNA was found in the accused’s mouth?

All of those details together should have resulted in a guilty verdict. Instead, the judge said there was no way to know whether the woman gave consent prior to her losing consciousness, and therefore the man could not be found guilty.

In essence: “a drunk can consent.”

This verdict verges on the ridiculous and unbelievable — and yet, it does not shock me. It doesn’t shock me because, as a woman, I know the judiciary system is not on my side. I know that, in the event of an unwarranted and unsolicited sexual act, it will take even more persuasion to convince a police officer that it was not my fault. And that’s a real shame.

Using the above definition, it is clear, without a doubt, there was no continual consent in the Halifax case. Even if the woman in the taxi urged the driver to have sex with her, the fact that she was unconscious nullifies whatever consent was originally given. The consent, at that moment, cannot be continual as the woman is not awake to give it.

Let me run through a few other scenarios in which consent is implied, but not actually given:

  1. A woman dresses provocatively, and that implies she is “looking to get some.”
  2. A woman invites you into their house or hotel room following a date, she is implying she wants to have sex.
  3. A woman asks a man if he has a condom. He puts it on. That means that sex is inevitable and what happens afterward is a consequence of that act. No one is allowed to change his or her mind at that point.
  4. A woman is intoxicated and their judgement blurred. That means they are looking for a fun time.

In all of these scenarios, a woman – or a man for that matter – has the right to change their mind and say no. None of these acts should be able to prove consent in the court of law, as consent is continual.

However, in many of these situations, lines are blurred and the judiciary system falls on “implied consent” rather than actual consent. There is also a double standard when alcoholism is thrown into the mix. How many times have you heard the defence say the following: “He was drunk, he didn’t know what he was doing. Let’s not ruin the reputation of this person based on one stupid choice.” The accused is then acquitted. When a victim of sexual assault says they were drunk, it is used to imply guilt and irresponsibility. This should not be the norm in our judiciary system.

That simple four-word verdict “ a drunk can consent” shows an ignorant and naïve understanding of the term itself. I am absolutely distraught and offended that a judge, someone who is in a position of power to determine whether or not a victim of sexual assault was in fact a victim, thinks it’s okay to make such generalized and harmful statements like this one.

Canadian women deserve better. They deserve not to be discriminated against in the court of law. They deserve to feel safe — and this can’t happen unless everyone is taught the real meaning of consent.

Time to get naked and comfortable with your partner

Do you find yourself trying to cover up when naked in bed with your partner? Are you racing to put clothes on after the shower? Is being in the nude nearly un-‘bare’-able? You aren’t alone.

Many women dislike being unclothed in front of their partners, and this is ultimately damaging to confidence in a relationship. Women are surrounded by air-brushed lingerie ads of women who are perfect looking, and this leads to damaging self-criticism. This discomfort needs to be destroyed. It is time to throw off the clothes and learn to love that naked body for exactly how beautiful it is. Feeling comfortable being naked in front of your partner will not only strengthen your relationship, it will ultimately make you feel better about yourself.

Embracing the nude isn’t a process that will happen overnight. It takes consistent effort and, if you work at it, slowly but surely it will become completely natural to hang out in the nude with your partner. Start by confronting your fear head-on, the dreaded mirror. After a shower, instead of avoiding your reflection, take a look. Instead of glancing at yourself with critical eyes, try to see what your partner sees. What is beautiful about your sexy body? What makes your feminine self desirable? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and self-criticism is not helpful. High self-esteem starts with yourself, and meeting that beautiful woman in the mirror for a post-shower ego-boost will adjust you to being naked and increase confidence.

Taking care of your body will promote a healthier relationship with your body. This does not mean develop a punishing regiment for daily exercise, but instead should inspire you to learn how to love your body without being fixated on trying to change it. How about a massage or even treating yourself to a manicure and pedicure? Treating your body as a temple will promote a sense of much-needed self-love. Exercise is important and creates a healthy self-image, so challenge yourself to move your body in ways that feel sexy and fun. Do you like to dance? Put on some music and bust a move! Do you enjoy hula hooping or swimming? Grab a hoop or jump in the pool! Moving the body in a fun way makes exercise enjoyable and will make being naked even more fun.

After some serious self-love exercises, it is time to test the waters and try to get naked with your partner. If you are still feeling nervous, enact a ritual to feel more confident like putting a bit of mascara on or putting coconut lotion on your body. If the lighting feels too bright, use a lamp, candles or softer lighting. It creates sexy mood lighting and will make your partner very excited. Remember, your partner wants to be there with you and your beautiful naked self. Men aren’t critically assessing your stretch marks or blemishes, but are simply excited to be with a naked woman they love. Good men are not looking at the flaws, but instead are looking at the woman beneath them. Try and see yourself through the eyes of desire, you will look pretty dang good.
Being naked with a partner will ultimately forge a more intimate relationship, with the added bonus of shaking up your sex life. Be brave, and love your naked body. Women come in all shapes and sizes, and that is precisely what makes women so beautiful. Embrace the body you were given and make it your temple — if only for your own benefit.

‘Ride responsibly’: CondomTO campaign winners are announced

What would you want to see on your condom wrapper? How about ‘wrap your willie’  or ‘no glove, no love’? The possibilities are truly endless!

Cue Toronto — the city that likes to keep up with the trends. Toronto not only has it’s own condom designs, but also holds a contest so that residents can design their own. This year’s winners of the CondomTO contest were recently announced by Toronto Public Health. Over four hundred people submitted condom designs, and only 10 finalists were chosen. The top four condoms will be passed out at various health centres in the city, and the two top-choices will receive a cash award, and a year’s supply of their condoms. They will also get to choose a health organization to donate their condoms too.

The judging process was really serious, and focused on the quality of design, originality, and a focus on themes relevant to Toronto. Because that’s what everyone looks for in a condom, am I right?!

There were two separate “categories” with a winner and a runner up in each one. Here are the best designs:

Put It On Toronto by Diane Adams. Photo provided from condomTO, Toronto Public Health.
Put It On Toronto by Diane Adams. Photo provided from condomTO, Toronto Public Health.

The Open Grand Prize winner, Diane Adams, is a graduate of Seneca College’s graphic design program and won with a design that featured ‘put it on Toronto’. Adams has over 15 years’ experience in graphic design and has worked for Rogers Communications, Kia Motors, and the Toronto Blue Jays.

Ride responsibly by Serge Leshchuk. Provided from condomTO, Toronto Public Health.
Ride responsibly by Serge Leshchuk. Provided from condomTO, Toronto Public Health.

The Open Runner-up, Serge Leschuk, a social media strategist and content creator in Toronto, designed a condom that focused on Toronto transit saying ‘condomTo- ride responsibly’. Leschuk is self-taught in design, writing, and video production.

No transfers by Andrea Por. Provided from condomTO contest, Toronto Public Health.
No transfers by Andrea Por. Provided from condomTO contest, Toronto Public Health.

The Student Grand Prize was won by Andre Por, an advertising and graphic design student at Humber College. She designed another transit-inspired condom that focused on the design of Toronto’s subway transfers to demonstrate how condoms help stop the transfer of sexually transmitted diseases (STIs). Por is a previous Fine Arts graduate from Queen’s and began her Graphic Design diploma in 2015.

Condom LuberJack by Janine Thomas. Provided from condomTO, Toronto Public Health.
Condom LuberJack by Janine Thomas. Provided from condomTO, Toronto Public Health.

The student runner-up, Janine Thomas, is a fourth year student in the Bachelor of Design program at York-Sheridan and designed a Canadian-themed condom that said, ‘cover your lumber, Jack’. Thomas is a fourth year student and has a passion for typography and dogs.

A condom contest is a stellar idea for Toronto, a city known for it’s rising STI rates (isn’t that what every city wants on its resume?). But, why stop there. Wouldn’t it be great if Toronto also had a design contest for tampons or pad wrappings? It’s the same region, so why not go there! It would be a great way to dismiss the stereotypes and stigma associated with the act of menstruation. Plus, a little added humour does wonders for the PMS.

Women’s Post hopes CondomTO continues to host this contest on an annual basis. Sexual health is something that is not taught enough, and using fun designs on condoms is a great way to encourage its use. Plus, they are just hilarious. Who knows what people will come up with next year. Until then, have fun, but remember ‘cover your lumber, Jack’, okay?

Should I be jealous my husband watches porn?

Whether it’s behind your back, leaving a trail of computer history behind, or right next to you, he’s watching porn. Some women hate it; others don’t care. If your man’s porn fixations are getting under your skin, it’s time to face your feelings head on. Perhaps you’re burdened with questions buzzing in your brain, or worse, a closet full of insecurities bred from feeling upstaged by his favourite pornstar. Despite all this, you hide your jealousy because you don’t want to play porn police and rain on his boobie parade. Fortunately, you don’t have to feel this way.

Read through this question-answer guide to gain some clarity on your husband’s porn dependence.

Is it cheating?

The question of whether porn counts as cheating can be a confusing debate. The answer really depends on your personal definition of cheating. For some, cheating could be as simple as a small crush on a friend or co-worker, while for others, it’s being sexual or emotionally intimate with someone else. So, let’s say cheating can be understood as the latter, then no, watching porn is not cheating—unless he’s fallen in love with the porn star. Eek!

In simple terms, porn allows people to fantasize about spectacles that are not normally attainable in real life. Is this necessarily bad? Well, think about it this way: what’s the root cause of your jealousy? Is it the fact that his eyes and juices are shooting elsewhere or that it’s being directed at another woman? According to sex therapist Alina Palin, “most men do not necessarily watch porn for the women. Rather, the excitement comes from the super sexualized actions that the women are performing.”

Shane Panser, 31, agrees with this view. “When I watch porn, I don’t really care for what the girls look like. I just browse around for videos until I find one giving a crazy good BJ.”

Matt McMillen, a medical writer for Web MD, confirms this sentiment in his article, “Why Men Like Porn”, explaining that for most men, the reliance on porn is not grounded in a preference for another woman, but rather the rawness of the sex she’s performing. He says, “It’s not about what he’s not getting at home. It’s the novelty. It’s a turn-on.”

So, is porn cheating? All signs point to no.

What if it’s too hard core?

It’s common to worry about the type of porn your man watches and its level of intensity. Some types of porn can be pretty hard core, involving all the bells and whistles, from face-slapping degradation to frantic “juice” guzzling, topped with mascara running down the poor girl’s eyes. You get the picture. And all the while, the pornstar is loving it—so not realistic! Consider her size quadruple Z bust, big blonde hair and sky-high stilettos, a look that no regular grocery-running woman would ever wear. Clearly, it’s all just make-believe.

Many women think that their man’s favourite porn is a representation of his sexual desires for his relationship. It’s not. These videos are not real life—it’s pretend, separate from his intimacy with you. There’s also a good reason why he might keep these two realms apart. In the porn world, it can be thrilling to watch a woman get battered up by three schlongs, as distasteful as that may sound to some. However, with you, he can disconnect and compartmentalize his porn cravings, and appreciate your unique sexual dynamic on its own.

It’s not necessarily about being better or worse—it’s just something different, like enjoying a different spice. As explained in the men’s sex guide, featured by Intimate Village, men use porn to supplement and vary their sexual urges. So, while most women hope that their men’s porn appetites remain safely along the lines of low-rez lesbians and homemade videos by couples, realistically, many men enjoy much fiercer exploits.

Am I less desirable?

The true allure of porn for a man is rarely a negative reflection on his partner, says sex therapist Lonnie Barbach, PhD, in practice in San Francisco. “Some women feel threatened because they don’t think they’re as sexy as a porn star,” she says.

Yet, as previously mentioned, the seduction of porn is set in the sexual performance, not the actress’ looks. She could be gorgeous or plain—either way, he’s usually not imagining himself with her on a personal level, but rather enjoying the possibility of experiencing that pleasure.

According to sex and relationship specialist Luke Gilkerson, it’s really just part of a guy’s nature to just look at naked women in general. In turn, women should not personalize this behaviour, which is instinctive, as long as it’s kept respectively controlled within the confines of porn and not with another woman.

If you still feel that your man’s fantasies are alienating you from his sex life, you can always join in on the action. Together, you can role play or experiment, supplementing the experience with twosome toys, as R.Esco suggests in her article, “The Health Benefits of Sex.” Whichever way you fire it up, the main goal is to streamline his porn fetishes to align with your sexuality in a healthy and agreeable manner.

 

Like any habit that needs curbing, your jealousy can be easily diffused with the right attitude toward porn. Accept your husband’s porn as something natural and inevitable, but most importantly, never see it as your competition.

How to date more successfully

It’s no secret that most of today’s dating happens in virtual space. One swipe here, one click there, and presto! You’re matched! The problem, however, is that there is a reverse mentality associated with this world. Many women are using these dating apps with the hopes of impressing a man enough to win his approval. She may be wondering things like, “Is my pic good?”, “Did I write too much in my profile?”, “Should I say hi first?” Notice how all these anxieties are based on the idea that the man is the decider, while the woman seeks validation. How often do you try to earn his thumbs-up? This reverse mentality is important because it allows you to recognize your own power and start approaching dating with more confidence.    

Know your Worth

Knowing your worth is an important part of dating the smart way. If you truly believe in your value, he’ll be more likely to invest in your stock. He’ll be seeking your approval instead of the other way around.

How can I do this, you ask? Simple: you just need to know your worth. For example, a guy from an online dating app makes a teasing remark about how you should take him out for dinner. Many men think this is flirtatious and endearing— so instead of playing along, you should assertively say something like, “But we haven’t yet established if you’re even the right one to make me leave this dumb app.” With this approach, you’re creating the understanding that you’re also someone who deserved to be pursued.

Date Around

In the words of Billie Holiday, “A kiss that is never tasted is forever and ever wasted.” In spirit of this mantra, you should treat dating as a sampling buffet. This is not to say that you should gobble down every dessert at the table. Rather, you should select a few delights that interest you, and take the time to learn about the individual flavours you enjoy the most. When you discover a type that you genuinely like, you can then invest your time into nurturing that match.

The bottom line is that you need to see the dating process as your chance to discover your needs and wants, and focus less on becoming what your partner wants. The more you learn about your personal dating goals and desires, the more confident you’ll become later on when choosing the right guy.

Stop Dating Jerks                          

Most women who date jerks secretly hope that they’ll be the one who changes him. The problem with this mentality is that you’re wasting all your valuable time and effort trying to improve someone who’s not fit to date you in the first place. If he needs that much changing, why are you so attracted and invested in him? If he’s not making you feel like the most special woman in the world, why bother? Find someone else who doesn’t need changing because he’s already a great guy.

 Reconsider your Dating Apps

 Finally, you may also want to reconsider the dating apps you’re using. Apps like Tinder and POF are usually just a virtual sex platter. There’s other apps like Match and WhoWinkedMe, which are better suited for quality singles looking for the real deal.

 

Ultimately, if you want to enjoy better dating experiences, you need to start improving yourself first. Make good choices about who you date and, most importantly, how you treat yourself.

Chronic back pain may be ruining your sex life

Chronic back pain can do more than cause aches and pains. Studies show it can reduce your mojo, plummeting the sex drive and killing the mood between the sheets.

Fourty-seven per cent of Canadians suffering from chronic back pain report their condition affects their sex lives, according to the GSK Global Pain Index commissioned by GSK Consumer Healthcare. Of the study participants, 53 per cent said they felt less attractive as a result of their pain.

Chronic back pain is defined as pain that persists for more than three to six months. Treatments include physiotherapy, exercise, pain medications, and acupuncture, among others. In Canada, 18.9 per cent of people over the age of 18 suffer from chronic pain. A study by the National Institute Health says that chronic pain increases with age and women have a higher prevalence of pain than men.

Most people suffering from chronic back pain rely on medicines to help alleviate their symptoms. Fourty-five per cent of people suffering with the pain condition will use medications as a primary source of aid, whereas only 16 per cent use physical therapy and nine per cent use alternative medicines.

The problem is there are many pain medications that have unfortunate side effects on users. The company that sponsored the GSK Global Pain Index study, Voltaren, is a producer of oral and topical pain medications for people suffering with chronic pain. Possible side effects of their oral pills, as indicated by the FDA, include abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, dizziness, exhaustion, and nausea and vomiting. Interestingly, the company sponsored a study that provides information on the unsettling effects of pain on people’s lives, but doesn’t include the side effects for their own medications.

Pain medications could also be a contributor to a lacking sex life. Personally, I know that if my back hurt and I had constipation, nausea, vomiting or exhaustion, I wouldn’t feel like getting busy in the bedroom. Luckily, there are alternatives that take away the need for pain medications, while still allowing people to feel sexy.

“A lot of chronic pain involves not recognizing the difference between damaging pain and residual neurophysiological pain,” said registered physiotherapist, Hannah Williams. “The brain is rewired to think that certain movements are damaging when they are no longer actually damaging.”

Physiotherapy, stretches, yoga, strength training, acupuncture, and massage are great options to try as a primary source of care before turning to pain medicine.

Physical exercise is essential to re-train the brain so that unnecessary chronic pain no longer bothers you. “Any exercise at all is beneficial. Limiting yourself only to certain types of exercises will continue the pain,” said Williams. A very good type of exercise happens to be sexual intercourse, which can increase the heart rate and allow people to work past their chronic pain in a pleasurable way.

“Going to a chronic pain physiotherapist will help people to understand the difference between good and bad pain,” said Williams. “Chronic pain can hurt people’s sex lives, but it doesn’t mean people can’t work around it.”

Maybe all you need is a good old fashion rumble in the sack to help get rid of that chronic back pain. We suggest you work on that immediately.

How to be single: A Valentine’s Day Guide

So you’re single, huh? Another year, another day of love spent alone. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. There are plenty of things to do on Valentine’s Day, whether you’re with someone or not. We’ve created a list of super easy things you can do to feel the love, even if no one else will feel it with you.

Invest in a body pillow

Without the warmth of a significant other’s body cuddling yours, the night can get rather cold and lonely. You don’t need someone else’s hands to keep yours warm. Invest in a body pillow – they can be found at your local departmental store. The pillow is large enough to let you cuddle it in its entirety, leaving you no chance to miss real love. Your laptop can be used to stream a movie starring your favourite actor. We suggest someone in the likes of Ryan Gosling; a man that will surely never fail to make you warm inside.

Netflix and Chill

If you’re down with the lingo, you know by now that Netflix and Chill means to engage in the act of coitus. As in to have sex. However, with the lack of a person to do the deed with, you may find yourself in a little problem. So, take power and change the meaning of North America’s favourite phrase. You don’t necessarily have to have sex to Netflix and Chill. Grab a bunch of your other single friends and indulge in the beauty that is Magic Mike. Want a good laugh? 50 Shades of Grey is always a good choice! (Sorry, not sorry) Keep it light and avoid usual single go-to’s such as The Notebook. Don’t forget your calories – popcorn and chocolate are a must.

 

Wait till Monday

The day after Valentine’s might as well be the best day of the year. All those fancy boxed chocolates and love themed items go on sale for at least half the price.  The best part of purchasing these yummy goodness is that you don’t even have to share! Better yet? Fill your home with the wilting flowers from your local grocery store. There’s just something extra heartbreaking about dying flowers, right? Dry them out by leaving them in the dark or hanging them upside down. The DIY potpourri will have your house looking colourful and smelling great.

Date Yourself

Love yourself first! Make sure your comfortable getting lost in your old world and being left alone in your thoughts before you get lost in someone else’s. Take the time to get to know yourself. Do what you love to do most without having to worry about pleasing anyone else. Whether that’s indulging in your favourite movie, attempting to perfect your adult colouring book masterpiece, or throwing a dance party – the act of masturdating will never leave you disappointed.

Get cats

Cats may not be able to cook you dinner or get you that bracelet you’ve had your eye on, but they can give you the cuddles and love you’ve been looking for. Studies show that furry friends can alleviate stress and turn your ice cold heart into a warm glob.  Not a cat person? Choose from the plethora of other pets that you can domesticate! Dogs, birds, rabbits, a turtle are all excellent options. Pet it, feed it, and watch it sleep. These loved one will never leave the toilet seat up. And to that we say, thank you.

Don’t Be Sorry

Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Being single isn’t the end of the world. In fact, think of all that stress you don’t have to feel by not worrying why he/she hasn’t called you back yet, whether or not they’ll like your gifts, how you’ll pretend to like theirs. Even if you’re ready to be in a relationship or if you haven’t got the time for it in your life right now, what’s important to remember is that your Mr. and Ms. Right will show up at your door step when the time is right – whenever that may be. Till then, keep doing you. Because you are great, my friend.

Let us know if you try anything from our suggestions this weekend. Don’t forget to leave a comment below. Happy Valentine’s Day, ladies!

Love,

Women’s Post

Heart thawing Valentine’s Day ideas

It seems winter has finally arrived. With a cold weather advisory in effect for Toronto today and temperatures expected to stay well below the freezing mark all through the long weekend, maybe it’s best to spend the next few days with your loved ones – indoors. However, with Valentine’s Day to look forward to, the last thing you want is to lounge around the house looking for something to do. Fret not! We have got you covered with these fun ideas on how you can keep things hot and fun at the same time.

  1. Netflix and Chill

Nothing wrong with keeping things simple one year. Throw on a movie and relax. If you’re down with the lingo, you’ll know to wear your extra special pajamas with an added surprise underneath. Because Valentine’s Day is a day of love, be sure to pick a movie you’re not exactly too interested in seeing. That way you won’t be missing out on anything on the screen – just focus on what’s happening on your couch.

  1. Host Games Night

Valentine’s Day isn’t just about your significant other. Your family and friends should be celebrated as well. Get everyone involved and host a night of fun. Have couple themed games available (remember to keep your single friends and families in mind too!) Serve hot chocolate and munchies to keep yourselves warm. Sometimes, the most fun is had when in groups.

Image result for candle light romantic tumblr

  1. Ignite the flames

Home? Put on some romantic music, light some candles, and get dressed! You don’t need a fancy restaurant to celebrate Valentine’s Day in style. Your kitchen can have the same effect. Cook up a nice meal – or get your significant other to cook it (because feminism). There’s something rather comforting about not having to awkwardly reply to your waiter while there’s food in your mouth. Plus there is the added luxury of not having parents at the table next to you who decided today is the day to teach their toddler what table manners. It’s all about you and your pasta tonight. Oh, and the person sitting across from you.

  1. Have you ever?

Whether you’ve been together for a month or for 30 years, there’s always something about your significant other that slips through the cracks during your time together. Think about it: how well do you really know each other?  It can be simple things such as their favourite colour, or something a little deeper – like the real reason behind their fear of dogs. Spend your day playing fun couple games, ask each other questions, and really open up to one another. (Warning: New couples should avoid questions on commitment, children, and future goals as it may cause a rather awkward situation that your developing relationship is just not ready for.)

  1. Embrace The Cold!

Don’t let the cold weather stop you from doing your thing. Put on an extra layer and head out! Whether you want to embrace the busy restaurants or go out to see a movie in a theatre instead of your couch, just remember it’s never really that cold! Why not do something out of the box and try an activity that’ll be sure to keep you warm. Attend a dance class or engage in a winter sport; skating, perhaps? There’s nothing more romantic than attempting to walk on ice and – somewhat – gracefully fall in your significant other’s arms. Don’t fret over the temperatures – as long as your heart is warm.

Got any other ideas? Share them with us! Don’t forget to tell us how your weekend went in the comments below. Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

When I get that feeling, I want self-love healing

Try mentioning masturbation at a dinner party and watch as silence sweeps the room, facial expressions turn to shock and eyes will lower in shame. The word itself evokes a discomfort in most people that is not often seen in other sexualized topics of discussion.

It is time for the taboo surrounding female masturbation to be chucked into the trash, joining 1950’s Chatelaine ads advocating for traditional marriage and anti-abortion. Women have fought for sexual liberation since the 1960’s and 70’s — now let’s celebrate and talk about the importance of self-love.

Though squeezing the peach or stroking the sailor is mostly seen as a recreational activity, done under the covers late at night, research shows that masturbation has positive physical and psychological health effects for women. It is also a great way to get in touch with yourself … by touching yourself.

According to a study on vaginal massage released by the Research Clinic for Holistic Medicine in Copenhagen, Denmark, “Existential healing is not a local healing of any tissue, but a healing of the wholeness of the person, making him much more resourceful, loving, and aware of himself, his own needs, and wishes”.

Vaginal massage addresses not only physical problems, but it also allows the individual to understand how their sexual organs are affected by emotions and physical health. This, in turn, promotes further understanding of what a person needs in order to be satisfied with their health and their sex lives.

Vaginal massage and acupuncture also helps with incontinence and urinary tract problems. “These techniques often used for healing chronic pains in the pelvis or genitals, and treating the highly inconvenient pattern of frequent reinfection of the urinary system,” the Research Clinic for Holistic Medicine found.

In addition, masturbation can lead to some pretty earth shattering orgasms with practice. Orgasms resulting from masturbation aren’t just pleasurable, but they also secret higher levels of oxytocin. Oxytocin regulates prolactin, a stress hormone which has been shown to cause breast cancer and brain tumours. It is also a natural antibiotic and helps to fight nasty bacteria. So, next time someone asks what you are doing with your hands “down there”, why not tell them you are fighting cancer.

“Masturbation is a great way to explore your body for its own sake, have an enjoyable and pleasurable time, and learn what parts of your body are most responsive,” said Isabel Carlin from the University of Toronto Sexual Education Centre. “It’s also a great way to get to know your body and feel more comfortable with it for future sexual situations with other people.”

Having the ability to get yourself off whenever you please can be empowering and beautiful. Unfortunately there are many stigmas around masturbation that prevent women from exploring the exciting world down below.

“Stigma around masturbation can definitely make people feel stressed and anxious when they do masturbate (or even get the urge to do so), which can stop people from masturbating entirely,” said Carlin.

Reducing stigma and empowering people to embrace their own sexuality is a primary step towards sexual healing. For women with poor self-esteem or who have been sexualized in their past, masturbation is the last thing they want to do, despite it’s  positive effects.

“When a woman begins to view herself as an object, the mental resources that are required to constantly monitor her appearance can disrupt her thought processes, thus disconnecting her from her natural internal cues,” writes Mels Van Driel, urologist and sexologist, in his book With the Hand: A Cultural History of Masturbation. “Body satisfaction can also influence a woman’s ability to orgasm, her willingness to explore novel sexual activities, and allow her to feel more comfort in providing sexual pleasure for herself”.

Many people shy away from their genitalia, thinking that self-love is a bit gross, disturbing, and inappropriate. But, it’s not. There is nothing wrong with hunkering down, grabbing some candles and mood music, locking your door, and beginning the process of understanding the inner-workings of your magic spot. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

When in doubt, remember the great words of Woody Allen, “I won’t hear a bad word about masturbation. It’s sex with someone I love.” Self-love is an important asset to understanding and loving your body. This Valentine’s day, take advantage, and enjoy one of the most satisfying ways to stay healthy and happy.

LOVE & SEX: This guy made a documentary to find out if size really does matter

One thing is clear, Patrick Moote doesn’t have a lot of embarrassment left. After proposing to his girlfriend on a jumbotron at a sporting event and being turned down, being the subject of a documentary about small penises wouldn’t seem all that mortifying. The trailer for the film, Unhung Hero, follows protagonist Moote as he speaks to women, experts, and medical professionals about penis size.

His girlfriend turned him down apparently because he was lacking in the pants. While this is an awful reason to break up with someone, it has gotten under his skin to the point where he and film maker Brian Spitz traveled the world to find out the answer to the age old question: does size really matter?

 

 

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