Entries in Sex (86)


Men Struggle with Wives' Breast Cancer

Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Seventy two hours after Elissa Bantug's mastectomy, she felt broken. She was only 25 years old, but she had lost both breasts and her strawberry blonde hair to cancer. Drainage tubes still hung from her chest to remove excess fluid from the operation.

In that moment, she just wanted to have sex with her boyfriend.

"I just needed something to make me not feel so broken," said Bantug, who is now 31. "Anything to make me feel beautiful."

But instead of responding to her advances, Bantug said, her boyfriend pushed her off of him and told her it was crazy for her to have sex when she was so sick -- and so obviously in pain.

"It was awful," said Bantug. "It ended in a screaming match with doors being slammed."

Bantug said it was just one of the instances in which she and her boyfriend -- to whom she is now married -- didn't communicate well during her cancer experience. He had a hard time figuring out when he was supposed to let Bantug make decisions and when he was supposed to help her decide what to do. He didn't tell her how afraid he was.

When they did have sex, Bantug's boyfriend didn't know where to put his hands or whether putting them certain places would draw attention to Bantug's scars and upset her. He thought he should sleep in the guest room because he thought she needed the space to heal, but that made her worry that he was pulling away.

Now, Bantug knows better than to stay silent about these things, and it's her job to make sure cancer patients at Johns Hopkins Medical Center do, too. She runs the hospital's Breast Cancer Survivorship Program, where it's her job to answer the questions cancer patients and their spouses feel silly asking their oncologists.

Couples want to know about what to eat and how to tell their children about the diagnosis, but they also want to know about nipple sensitivity, body image and whether cancer patients will be able to have an orgasm again, she said.

Even though breast cancer is primarily about the woman fighting it, psychologist Jennifer Wolkin said conversations about relationships inevitably come up in her sessions with patients.

In addition to finding themselves thrust into the unfamiliar role of emotional supporter, men feel they need to deny their own feelings to be stoic, said Wolkin.

"They give off an air of self-assuredness to protect women, but, ironically, it comes off as rejection," said Wolkin, who works at the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women's Health at NYU Langone.

She said men often lack support centers and have to journey through cancer alone. If they show their feelings, they worry it somehow makes them weak. Sometimes, a man's libido can even drop -- not so much because he's no longer attracted to his wife, but because of the uncertainty associated with the situation and her body.

But it doesn't have to be that way. Men and women just need to communicate and ask for help when they need it.

"Mastectomy is horrific, but I think it has potential to offer this place where a man and woman could really significantly grow in their relationship," Wolkin said.

It's important for both partners to be as informed as possible about what's going to happen during breast cancer treatment and recovery, said Lynn Erdman, the vice president of community health for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Erdman, a nurse who specializes in oncology, said men have their own set of concerns and emotional issues when it comes to having a spouse with breast cancer, but they often don't feel comfortable talking about them because they think it makes them selfish. She said many hospitals now offer support groups for men as a safe place for them to ask questions that would otherwise seem taboo.

"What we hear a lot of times is, 'What's the breast going to feel like after the implant is in and the tissue in it has been removed?'" Erdman said. "'If I hug her, is it going to hurt her?' 'Will it change our sex life?'"

"I've seen it often bring couples much closer together," she said."It's part of going through the cancer battle together."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Harvard Approves Campus Kinky Sex Club

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Fifty Shades of Grey has hit the Ivy League as Harvard University, home to some of the nation’s top scholars, sanctioned a student bondage and kinky sex club on campus Friday, according to The Crimson.

“Harvard College Munch” started as seven students meeting during their lunch hour to discuss quirky sex interests. Now, it’s grown to 30 members, and is one of 15 student organizations that will be approved by the Committee on Student Life.

“The impact on campus will be that students who feel outside of the sexual mainstream will now have a safe space to talk about their interests, to feel socially validated, and to build a community,” Harvard psychology lecturer and a sex columnist Dr. Justin Lehmiller, told ABC News.

Students interviewed within the group were granted anonymity by the school paper. The founder, referred to as Michael, says recognition by Harvard’s administration means members will be able to put up posters for events and recruit around campus.

“It’s a little hyperbolic for me to get teary-eyed and paternal about sophomores, but it’s really a joy to see the experience they will have now,” Michael told The Crimson.

Another member, known as Mae, told the student newspaper that finding a “kink” group meant finding a home on campus.

“I didn’t think that anyone was even remotely interested [in kink] on campus,” Mae said. “It’s a community where you can feel safe, and you can feel comfortable talking about [kink].”

“Kink” is most commonly used to refer to BSDM: bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism, and masochism.

“But keep in mind that BDSM interests are very broad and that the really extreme activities people typically associated with BDSM are actually quite rare,” Lehmiller said.

Harvard spokesman Jeff Neal says the university recognizes 400 independent student organizations, which must comply with a number of requirements, “ranging from submitting an organizational constitution to agreeing to the nondiscrimination and anti-hazing policies.”

“The college does not endorse the views or activities of any independent student organization,” Neal told ABC News. “Rather, it ensures that independent student organizations remain in compliance with all applicable provisions of the Handbook for Students.”

“Munch” applied for official recognition last semester, but had problems with their constitution and finding a stable adviser.

The organization also created a safety team of people who direct students who have faced abuse or trauma to appropriate resources on campus.

“Pretty much everyone who joins this club always thought they were alone,” Michael told The Crimson.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Florida Asks Women to Spill Their Sex Habits

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Florida Department of Health is getting a little too close for comfort for some women in the state.  

The department recently mailed a survey to randomly selected women between the ages of 18 and 24 requesting intimate details about their sex lives.

The 12-page questionnaire, which was sent to about 4,000 women, is intended to help the state get a better grasp of the need for family-planning services in Florida.  But critics say the survey crosses the line.

Among the questions are, “How many sexual partners have you had?” “Has a man ever poked holes in a condom to get you pregnant?” and “Have you ever been raped?”

Paige Waugh, a student at the University of Tampa, told an ABC News affiliate that the survey is “a bit invasive.”  And the women who agree to take the survey, she added, are probably not going to be truthful.

“That’s private information,” Waugh says.  “So they are probably going to get biased results.”

The state says that the survey is completely voluntary and participants will remain anonymous.

There is, however, a small perk for women who agree to take the survey.  A $10 gift card to CVS to use on various health-related items is given to all participants in exchange for the intimate details of their sex lives.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Facebook, Email More Irresistible Than Sex

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- You may want to ask your date to turn off his or her phone. A new study suggests Facebook and email trump sex in terms of sheer irresistibility.

The German study used smartphone-based surveys to probe the daily desires of 205 men and women, most of whom were college age. For one week the phones, provided by the researchers, buzzed seven times daily, alerting study subjects to take a quick survey on the type, strength and timing of their desires, as well as their ability to resist them.

While the desire for sex was stronger, the study subjects were more likely to cave into the desire to use media, including email and social networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter, according to the study.

“Media desires, such as social networking, checking emails, surfing the Web or watching television might be hard to resist in light of the constant availability, huge appeal, and apparent low costs of these activities,” said study author Wilhelm Hofmann, an assistant professor of behavioral science at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

The subjects were paid $28 at the start of the study and were eligible for extra incentives if they filled out more than 80 percent of the surveys. It’s no small wonder that more than 10,000 surveys were completed.

The urge to check social media was so strong that subjects gave in up to 42 percent of the time, according to the study published in the journal Psychological Science. One explanation is that it’s much more convenient to check email or Facebook than it is to have sex.

“The sex drive is much stronger but it’s also much more situational,” said Karen North, director of the Annenberg Program on Online Communities at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, who was not involved with the study. “We’re training ourselves to check our messages every couple minutes.”

“People are constantly looking down to check their phones,” North added. “They can’t stop.”

One drawback of this study is that it failed to address whether the subjects had sexual partners.  So while some subjects might have been single, all of them had smartphones, North said. It’s also unclear whether the findings can be generalized to the general population.

While social media can help people stay connected, Hofmann said overuse can be damaging.

“Media desires distract us from getting work done,” he said. “People underestimate how much time they consume and the distractions they produce and that can be harmful.”

The study surprised media expert Bob Larose, a professor in the department of telecommunications, information studies, and media at Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich.

“It’s surprising that self-regulation fails so much more often for media use than for sex, alcohol or food,” said Larose, who was not involved with the study.” That speaks to the power of the instantly available, 24/7 media environment to disrupt our lives… Our failure to control media use can deplete our ability to control other aspects of our lives.”

For those who fear social media is taking over their personal or professional lives, there is hope.  North offers some tips.

“If it is interfering with social/business relationships, work, or school performance, then people should try to scale back and control or limit the behavior,” she said, describing how self-imposed “rules,” like no social media at the dinner table, can help curb the constant urge to check Facebook.

“People can use a self monitoring technique, such as charting when they use social media as a means of reducing it,” North added. “Some people find it helpful to set rewards for staying within use standards that they set for themselves.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Porn Before Puberty? Film Explores Childhood, Parenting in Sex-Saturated Culture

Sexy Baby(NEW YORK) -- "Is this slutty?" Danielle, having just put on a skirt, asked her friend Winnifred. Lady Gaga's "Monster" played in the background. "Just dance but he took me home instead/Oh oh there was a monster in my bed," the girls sang along.

"That's a good length," Winnifred answered. "It's short, but in a cool way, not, like, a slutty way."

Winnifred and Danielle are modern-day 12-year-olds. But they're not playing dress-up -- they're getting ready for a Lady Gaga concert.

Winnifred carefully curates her online profile, pushing her budding sexuality to jack up her Facebook "likes."

The documentary Sexy Baby, which was featured at the Tribeca Film Festival, follows Winnifred's adolescence from age 12 to age 15, and delves into the world of porn before puberty. Winnifred's journey in the documentary reflects that of many pre-teens today, and through her eyes parents worldwide get a glimpse into the hyper-sexualized culture their children are facing today.

"I know I look like I'm down to f---," Winnifred says in the film.

The film explores how much social media adds fuel to the hormonal fire. Winnifred posted a revealing picture of herself with her bra showing. Why?

"It's awkward, and we're getting messages from everywhere that are saying, 'If you dress this way, you are going to be either treated well or you're gonna feel powerful,'" Winnifred told ABC News' Juju Chang.

Sex is power, and that's how a lot of girls and boys seem to feel these days.

Winnifred's mother, Jenny Bonjean, is a feminist who says she's trying to raise an uninhibited, empowered girl.

"My message to my daughter is, sexuality is a wonderful, beautiful thing. You should embrace it. ... It's not the only type of power you're gonna have. Unfortunately, it is in the culture the first power that they feel ... where 13-year-old girls can have influences on grown men," Bonjean-Alpart said.

"You don't think they realize that?" she continued. "It feels good to have power. ... You don't want to abuse it. Don't take it for granted. You need to find a balance."

Winnifred's father, Ken Alpart, described the two reactions he and his wife have to balance.

"We don't necessarily want her to dress certain ways," he said. "At the same time, we are raising our child to be an independent thinker."

Jenny Bonjean argued that early freedom could help prevent extreme acting out later on.

"We all know those women that went to college that had really, really strict parents who didn't let them experiment with anything, and they went wild in college. ... Girls gone wild, you know, is a phenomenon, and so many of those girls come from households, in my opinion, where they were tamped down on."

The risk is that allowing a child too much freedom to express her sexuality can lead her to act on it.

"I can put a very sexualized photo of me on Facebook and make it so my parents don't know, but every guy at my school does," Winnifred said. "So that does become a self-fulfilling prophecy, because when you make yourself look a certain way, people are going to expect you to be that way."

"I can make your bed rock," Winnifred, then 12, sings in the film. The song is rapper Li'l Wayne's "Bedrock."

Did she and her friends know what the song was about?

"We did realize how obscene it was [when we sang it in the film]," Winnifred told Chang. "I think because it was so mainstream, it wasn't shocking to us. ... If you hear that song f---ing three times a day for two weeks, they're easy to understand -- even when you are 12 or 13."

Music is just the beginning. Pornography itself has become mainstream and ubiquitous -- accessible even to kids.

"When I can reach into my back pocket [for my smartphone] and basically pull out some porn ... you can't really blame a bunch of children for not understanding how to deal with that," Winnifred said.

Winnifred said that when she was in eighth grade, boys watched porn on their phones at school.

According to the award-winning filmmakers of Sexy Baby, Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus, one in every five kids between ages 9 and 11 has watched porn. They hope their film will start a conversation between parents and their kids about how to maneuver the sexualized social media world.

The film includes a former porn star named Nicole who is an unlikely voice of reason about what porn sex is and isn't.

"It's definitely not making love," Nicole says. "Making love is the kind of sex that you wanna cry afterwards, just because it's so beautiful, and so emotional, and so powerful."

According to Sexy Baby, 30 years ago, 40 percent of adults said they watched porn, and now it's 80 percent.

Nicole, the former porn star and stripper, told the filmmakers she used to have to drive far and wide to find an adult store at the mall to buy her strip-club outfits. Now, she said, she can walk into any mall, look in the windows and stripper clothes and shoes are everywhere.

Perhaps ironically, given the "pornification" of America culture, the filmmakers are editing a tamer version of Sexy Baby for educational use -- to spark the healthy dialogue they see as vital.

Winnifred agrees. "I think if parents are able to talk to their children, and their children are able to feel comfortable talking about what real love and real sex later on is, I and most of the kids I know would trust our parents over two porn stars that we've never met."

Watch the full story on Nightline Thursday night at 11:35 p.m. ET

'Sexy Baby' is playing in theaters in New York and Los Angeles and will be available on iTunes and Movies on Demand Nov. 6. A 60- minute educational version for children 14 years old and up is available too. For more on the documentary, go to

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


'Sextember': TV Viewers See Diversity Between the Sheets

George Doyle/Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Human sexuality is as varied as the features on our faces.

Annie purportedly has the largest breasts in the world -- size 102ZZZ. Cristian was born with a condition called gynecomastia, which is an overgrowth of breast tissue, causing his chest to grow to a B-cup breast size.

This month, Discovery Fit & Health airs Sextember, highlighting its most intriguing stories about those with odd physical characteristics and erotic yearnings.

The series, which airs Sunday at 9 ET, takes a look at sex, love and intimacy.

"I think the greatest thing about Sextember is that it allows a dialogue," said Ty Tashiro, a psychologist and researcher in sexual health from the University of Maryland and a consultant for Discovery. "It lets us know there is diversity in the way we are built and the things we want and how we function."

Trent, in the episode, "The Inseminator," has been running a one-man sperm bank out of his living room for the past six years. In high school, he took a vow of celibacy in order to donate his body to scientific pursuits.

So today, he helps childless couples get pregnant, protecting his sperm so it is optimal for fertilization. Trent is still a virgin, but with 15 children.

Josh and Jasmine flip homes for a living. But what happens when they show their own house, which is filled with sex furniture?

Other episodes include: "Dominatrix in Training," when Megan decides to reveal her kinky side; and actress Maggie Gyllenhaal hosts "Why Is Sex Fun."

Sleep orgasms and sleep sex are also slated for Sextember.

"People have different ways of gratifying themselves and enriching their lives," Tashiro said. "Having tolerance for diversity is a good thing."

The recent popularity of the erotic book, Fifty Shades of Grey, illustrates a more open attitude toward what was once considered kinky sex.

Those who actually engage in sado-masochistic behavior are a "substantial minority," according to Tashiro, who has been a consultant on the Sextember series.

"In the U.S., we tend to culturally talk less openly about sexual activity, especially when it falls outside the normal range of sexual behavior," he said.

Those who are different, "tend to keep it to themselves," he said. But when researchers ask anonymously, "there really is a great range."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Sexual Arousal Dampens 'Ick' Factor

Eyecandy Images/Thinkstock(GRONINGEN, Netherlands) -- If you're turned on, you're less likely to be grossed out, at least according to a new study.

The small study published Wednesday in the journal PLoS Online asked a total of 90 European women to perform tasks that had an "icky" element to them, such as drinking from a cup containing an insect or wiping their hands with a used tissue. Some of the women were shown an erotic film. Others did not see the film.

Women who were sexually aroused felt less disgust when doing the tasks than the participants who were not sexually aroused, the researchers found. The findings suggested sexual arousal decreases women's so-called disgust response, they said.

Why might this be important? The experiment came about because the researchers realized that sex involves smells and fluids that can be repulsive.

"This results in the intriguing question of how people succeed in having pleasurable sex at all," wrote study lead author Charmaine Borg, a PhD. student with the faculty of behavioral and social sciences at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.

"These findings can indicate that lack of sexual arousal may interfere with functional sex, as it may prevent the reduction of disgust and disgust-related avoidance tendencies."

Believe it or not, the role of sexual arousal on our feelings of disgust is of great interest to sex experts.

"I think this study is interesting in that it helps support the idea that sexual arousal lowers inhibitions and often enables one to participate in activities that they might normally find disgusting or off-putting," said Dr. Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and author based in New York City who was not involved with the study.

While the study involved women, the same findings are probably true for men too, wrote Borg.

"In view of the previous research and our data, I am confident that male participants would have a very similar response as our women participants," Borg told ABC News.

The study may help people who suffer from sexual dysfunction disorders, and the findings may also help therapists someday understand how to deal with sexual incompatibility between partners.

"It's not uncommon for people to say that the idea of having sex with [a] spouse or long-term partner is gross," said Debby Herbenick, a research scientist at Indiana University and author of "Sex Made Easy."

"It's a very sad experience for many people," she said. "Many people say, 'I love this person but I feel turned off, I feel repulsed by it.' ... We don't understand that switch, especially when they clearly love and care for that person."

As for people who do not struggle with such issues, the findings may still explain how the prospect of sex still appeals.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


When Is the Best Day to Have Sex, Go Shopping?

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Everybody loves the weekend, but Britain’s The Sun newspaper has compiled a number of surveys that show the other days of the week are better for certain activities, such as shopping and sex:

Thursday is the best day for sex.  That’s according to researchers at the London School of Economics who conducted a study that found natural cortisol levels, which stimulate sex hormones, are at their highest on Thursday.

Wednesday is the best day to ask for a pay raise.  Seven out of ten managers surveyed by the recruitment company Office Angels said Wednesday was the best to ask for a raise.

Wednesday is the best day to go shopping.  Research shows it’s the least crowded day of the week for supermarkets.

Tuesday is the best day to eat out.  Most restaurants don’t get deliveries over the weekend, but by Tuesday, everything is fresh again.  Chef Anthony Bourdain tells the newspaper, “At anything less than a really good restaurant, Monday’s probably not your best day to eat fish.”

Friday is the best day to sell your home.  The real estate firm Redfin analyzed 1.2 million listings in 16 markets over 21 months and found sellers who list a home on a Friday have a greater chance of success.

Friday is the best day to get married.  Traditionally, weddings take place on Saturday, but holding the nuptials one day earlier can drastically knock down the price of a reception.

Friday is the best day to stop smoking.  Scientists say a person’s will power is at its strongest on weekends.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Have You Ever Faked It?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new survey by found 47 percent of women admitted they faked an orgasm on occasion.  According to the same survey, 77 percent of men denied ever faking it.

There were several reasons cited by women for faking it, including:

•    35 percent: "It just wasn’t going to happen."
•    23 percent: "I didn’t want to hurt my partner’s feelings."
•    13 percent:  "I wanted it to be over."
•    7 percent: "I was tired."
•    4 percent: "I was bored."
•    3 percent: "I was uncomfortable."

The survey involved 1,000 U.S. adults.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Baldness Drug's Sexual Side Effects May Be Long-lasting

Stephen Chernin/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Men who take Propecia for baldness may experience sexual side effects that last for months to years, even after they stop taking the drug, a new study published Thursday in the Journal of Sexual Medicine suggests.

Researchers from George Washington University interviewed 54 men under the age of 40 who reported side effects for three months or more after taking Propecia, also called finasteride, to treat their hair loss.  None of the men reported having any sexual, medical or psychiatric problems before they took the drug.

Some of the men took the drug for a few weeks, others took it for years, but all of them reported side effects such as erectile dysfunction, decreased sexual drive, problems with orgasms, shrinking and painful genitals, even some neurological problems, such as depression, anxiety and mental fogginess.

For 96 percent of the men, the sexual problems lasted for more than a year after they stopped taking the drug.

"Our findings make me suspicious that this drug may have done permanent damage to these men," said Dr. Michael Irwig, the author of the study.  "The chances that they will improve?  I think it's lower and lower the longer they have these side effects."

Irwig cautions that it's possible that only men who were the most affected by the drug participated in the study.  Because he recruited his study participants through an online forum called PropeciaHelp, a group for men who have experienced persistent sexual side effects from the drug, he said the study may not have included men who have fewer or less pervasive side effects.

Finasteride works by blocking the conversion of testosterone into a more potent form, called DHT, which contributes to hair loss.  It was originally developed in 1992 by drug giant Merck as a treatment for enlarged prostates and sold as the drug Proscar.

Propecia was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1997, and at that time Merck noted that a few men reported sexual side effects during clinical trials of the drug.  On its website, the agency said those side effects were resolved when patients stopped taking the drug.

But the agency received more than 400 reports over 13 years from consumers reporting sexual dysfunction, and nearly 60 men reported that those side effects lasted longer than three months after the men stopped the medication.  In 2011, the FDA mandated a label change for Propecia and Proscar, warning that some patients reported erectile dysfunction that lasted after patients stopped taking it; in April, the agency updated the label to include reports of libido, ejaculation and orgasm disorders.

In a statement, Merck said no evidence has proved a causal relationship between Propecia and long-lasting sexual dysfunction.

"Merck believes that Propecia (finasteride) has demonstrated safety and efficacy profiles and that the product labeling appropriately describes the benefits and risks of the drug to help inform prescribing," the company wrote in the statement.

But researchers say many physicians who prescribe finasteride are likely not aware that the side effects of the drug may haunt patients for years.

"These things just get handed out left and right for any urinary symptoms," said Dr. Ryan Terlecki, an assistant professor of urology at Wake Forest School of Medicine, who has prescribed Proscar for some of his patients with enlarged prostates.

Terlecki said the findings about long-term side effects from the drug are alarming, but more research will likely be needed before doctors can know for sure that the symptoms are completely attributed to the drug.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio