Entries in Sex (86)


Can Sex Without Orgasm Bolster Marriages?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Matt Cook hasn't had an orgasm in seven months, and he hopes never to intentionally have one again. The 51-year-old publisher from Virginia isn't celibate. Happily married for 25 years, Cook said his sex life is more exciting than ever and giving up the goal-oriented climax has improved every aspect of his life.

Cook, the father of two adult sons, is a newcomer to karezza, a form of intercourse that emphasizes affection while staying far from the edge of orgasm. Climax is not the goal and ideally does not occur while making love.

"It creates a deep feeling in a relationship that is very difficult to describe -- much deeper than conventional sex," he said.

Cook is one of a growing number of men who have embraced karezza and have found it has helped heal their marriages, inject more spark into their sex lives and even shed porn addiction.

A recovering porn addict, Cook suffered from performance anxiety with girlfriends. Sex got better with his wife, but he didn't know how much until he discovered karezza.

Now, he has sex almost every day.

"It kind of never ends," said Cook. "Why would I want to give that up for a 15-second orgasm?"

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Deb Feintech, a counselor from Portland, Maine, uses karezza to help couples repair their broken relationships.

"The people most interested are men," she said. "It's very radical for them, but they are finding the emotional intimacy far outweighs any of the thrill of the chase and the mating mind."

And Feintech said the practice is not just helpful for middle-aged couples struggling with the ennui of a long marriage, but for young couples headed to the altar.

"I offer this to them as something to try for a month or so," she said. "They wake up every single morning and they are not even thinking about genital stimulation. They are snuggling, holding and breathing with eye contact and flow. It's very conscious -- from the genitals to the heart."

It puts the emphasis on attachment, not climax.

The word karezza was coined by Dr. Alice Bunker Stockham, a Chicago obstetrician and early feminist who promoted birth control, a ban on corsets and sexual fulfillment for both genders. In 1896, she wrote a book by that name -- from the Italian word carezza, which means caress.

For strengthening marriages, she encouraged what was then called "male continence," although in the interest of equality, she asked that women abstain from orgasm, as well.

Marnia L. Robinson has carried the contemporary torch in her 2009 book, Cupid's Poisoned Arrow, and on her website, Reuniting: Healing With Sexual Relationships.

"Even for those with the highest libidos, performance can become a grind and drive a craving for novelty," said Robinson. "Such feelings, although perfectly natural, can create projections and resentment that cause disharmony, especially after our temporary honeymoon neurochemistry wears off."

Technique is "virtually immaterial," she says. "It's a practice about not doing, about getting your goal-driven mammalian mating system out of the way long enough to fall into a state of relaxed union."

A former corporate lawyer and now a devotee, Robinson argues that karezza's power is rooted in neuroscience.

"Orgasm really isn't in our genitals, but actually between our ears," she said.

In the "passion cycle of orgasm," the hormone dopamine rises in anticipation of sex, and then crashes after orgasm, creating a biochemical "hangover," according to Robinson.

In men, that happens almost immediately after ejaculation; for women, it can be two weeks before the brain returns to homeostasis, according to Robinson.

"Karezza turned out to be an enjoyable way to tiptoe around biology's agenda," she said.

Overstimulation of the pleasure receptors can also desensitize the brain to pleasure or create a craving for more. When men are addicted to pornography or have frequent orgasms, "no amount of pleasure can satisfy," she said. "We are always looking for something novel."

But in karezza, lovemaking never finishes, so sexual energy continues to flow, helping to prevent boredom with a partner, say advocates. Karezza also elicits the relaxation response and encourages the brain to release the "love" hormone ocytocin, which helps in bonding behavior.

Robinson, unable to sustain intimacy, had been married twice before meeting her husband Gary Wilson, a former science teacher who helped her in her research. He had experienced depression and alcohol addiction, but after the couple explored karezza together, he was able to give up Prozac and drinking.

She found she was able to sustain a lasting and harmonious marriage.

"We sit tight, next to each other 24/7 and are never apart," said Wilson. "I don't feel the need to have my space, which is unusual."

Though many other men look at Wilson "like I am crazy," he said karezza can surprisingly help "rekindle things" in a long-term relationship.

For each couple, the experience is different.

"The natural 'karezzanauts' would be committed couples who want to sweeten the harmony of their relationships," said Robinson.

But young people, too, can try their hand at karezza, she said. In the very least, the practice is an effective form of birth control.

"I doubt any of us forget how to have conventional sex if pregnancy is desired," she said. "You can still ride a bike, even if you drive a car."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Nursing Home Sex Stifled by Safety Fears

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- With single beds behind unlocked doors, nursing homes do little to support sex among seniors, argues an editorial that says the elderly -- even those with dementia -- retain the right to a healthy sex life.

The editorial, published Monday in the journal Public Health Ethics, tackles the touchy topic of geriatric sex just as the early baby boomers begin to hit their 70s.

But one in eight Americans over age 65 has Alzheimer's disease, a sobering stat that stokes safety fears among nursing home staff.

"[Nursing home] staff should keep in mind that persons with dementia have lived with their sexuality for much longer than they have lived with dementia," wrote the editorial's authors, from the Australian Center for Evidence-Based Aged Care at La Trobe University in Bundoora.  "It should not be up to the individuals with dementia to prove that they have the capacity to decide whether or not to engage in sexual behavior, but, rather, the onus is on staff to prove incontrovertibly that they do not."

Alzheimer's disease affects memory, thinking and behavior, raising delicate questions about a person's ability to make important decisions.

"A resident with dementia may not be able to render informed consent to an operation that has a significant risk of death but may be able to decide on what flavor of ice cream he would like for dessert," the authors wrote.  And, they argue, "decisions about whether or not to engage in sexual behavior are closer to those about ice cream than surgery."

Sexuality is considered a fundamental human right, say the authors.  And intimate relationships can help lessen feelings of loss and loneliness that come with age, says Robin Dessel, director of memory care services and sexual rights educator at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale in New York.

"Older adults need to have pleasures, because that's what helps counterbalance the challenges they face when they become infirmed and move into a nursing home," said Dessel, who in 1995 helped draft the home's policies on sexual expression.  "Our general philosophy is that this is still a life to be lived.  Your rights carry with you throughout your lifetime.  It's not as though you arrive at a nursing home and you vacate those rights."

At the Hebrew Home, residents have access to private rooms, and staff members carefully read cues to ensure sexual relationships are consensual.

"I fully appreciate and never stand in judgment of nursing homes that are reluctant or concerned," said Dessel, explaining how the subject of sex can make some staff, not to mention residents' loved ones, uncomfortable.  "We have to safeguard older adults, but that doesn't mean medicalizing their lives."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Are You In Love or Lust?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MONTREAL) -- Is it love, or just lust? The answer, it turns out, might have to do with which part of our brain is being activated.

The study, published Wednesday in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, analyzed 20 studies related to the effects of sex and love on the body. The research included brain scans of people who viewed erotic photos, photos of their significant others, food and other pleasure triggers.

Two parts of the brain, the insula and the striatum, are responsible for tracking the way in which sexual desire develops into feelings of love, researchers said. Lust triggers parts of the brain that control pleasurable feelings, associated with sex and food, but love triggers parts of the brain associated with habits.

“We assign different language to love and sexual desire and addiction,” said Jim Pfaus, a professor of psychology at Concordia University in Montreal and lead author of the study. “But really, they’re all being processed in a similar place. When we see this, the idea of love at first sight probably isn’t true. People are feeling desire.”

The brain treats love like a habit that has been formed over time. So, after lust may come love, and those feelings of love move to different part of the brain that processes habits and reward patterns. The same brain pattern occurs when people become drug addicts.

“Habits usually get a bad reputation, but it’s an important thing that the brain imposes,” said Pfaus. “The change from desire to love is the bonding mechanism in relationships.”

These brain mechanisms involve monogamy and connection in a variety of different kinds of relationships, experts said. It activates the need to defend the interests of one’s children or lover, Pfaus said.

“So, really, drug addiction is an embellished expression of something perfectly normal,” said Pfaus.

Pfaus said the research acts as a cornerstone for other research on the subject.

“This research speaks to evolution,” said Pfaus. “And it could help understand addiction, love and other social neuroscience research.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Women Having Better Sex Through Breast Surgery?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Most women who undergo breast enhancement surgery do so to feel better about themselves.

One of the fringe benefits, according to a survey conducted by, is that many women with implants or breast lifts also enjoy better sex lives.

In fact, a third of the participants in the poll says their overall sex life satisfaction has increased since their surgeries.

Just over six in ten women reported having sex more often since their breast enhancements, while only seven percent admitted that they were having sex less frequently.

In rating their overall sex-life satisfaction on a scale of one to ten, with ten being the highest, the average rating before the procedure was 6.07.  That jumped to 8.13 after the implants or breast lifts.

Overall, 75 percent of women in the poll who had breast implants at an average cost of $6,600 said the procedure was “worth it,” while 80 percent of those who spent an average of $10,000 for lifts were similarly satisfied.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Woman Wins $1M Suit against Dentist Who Gave Her STD

Hemera/Thinkstock(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- Unsafe sex can be costly, nearly a million dollars in this case. After four days of testimony and two hours of deliberation, a jury has awarded an Oregon woman $900,000 in damages because she contracted genital herpes after a liaison with a retired dentist.

“The jury essentially said if a person knows he has an STD, he has a duty to inform a sex partner before, not after,” said Randall Vogt, the woman’s attorney.

Vogt’s client, who sued under a pseudonym, met the retired dentist, 69, on an Internet dating website in 2010 and went on three dates, he said. On the fourth, they had sex.

The woman, 49, handed her partner a condom, but his sexual advances took over too quickly, she says. After intercourse, as the two lay in bed discussing their connection, the man decided to open up and revealed he had herpes, according to the lawsuit. The woman kicked him out of her home.

Eleven days later, the woman had a painful outbreak, which she continues to have periodically. Antiviral medication caused her to lose her hair and she has since gained weight from the drugs she takes to treat the depression caused by the herpes, the lawsuit alleged.

Defense attorney Shawn Lillegren argued that the woman was careless and money-hungry.  “Grow up. Come on. You’re an adult. He’s an adult. They had sex,” Lillegren said, according to the Oregonian.

But the jury didn’t buy it, and Tuesday found the man 75 percent liable for negligence and completely liable for civil battery.

Vogt said this kind of lawsuit is “extremely rare” because it’s often hard to prove where the victim contracted the STD. He also said embarrassment plays a factor in deterring victims from confronting former partners in court.

He hopes his client set a new precedent.

“When people learn they can be sued for transmitting an STD to another person,” he said, “it is going to encourage people to be more careful and less reckless about their contact.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


What Makes 'That Loving Feeling?'

Thomas Northcut/Thinkstock(PASADENA, Calif.) – Ever wonder why brushing hands with your crush feels like a slow-motion caress, while that same brush of the hand by a bad date feels like a mistake?

Neuroscientists at California Institute of Technology say the reason the same touch can be both attractive and repulsive may lie in the way the brain registers it.

In their study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging to monitor the brain activity of 18 straight men as a female research participant gently stroked their legs.

The men could not see the woman. Although the same woman caressed their legs, the first time the men were told an attractive woman was caressing them and the second time they were told it was a man. Before each part of the experiment, they were shown a video of how to visualize the person caressing their leg, although, unknown to the participants, the image was not true to the actual person.

The researchers found that although the same person was giving the caresses, a part of the midsection of the brain called the primary somatosensory cortex became more active when the men believed an attractive woman was touching them as opposed to a man.

“Intuitively, we all believe that when we are touched by someone, we first objectively perceive the physical properties of the touch — its speed, its gentleness, the roughness of the skin,” said Valerie Gazzola, a co-author of the study. “Only thereafter, in a separate, second step based on who touched us, do we believe we value this touch more or less.”

But the findings suggest that the primary somatosensory cortex is less objective than previously believed, and that the two parts to processing touch — one of understanding the physical component, and the other of assigning emotion to it —  may not necessarily be true, Gazzola said.

The primary somatosensory cortex is thought to represent how touch feels on the skin, but the findings suggest that its activity is modified by what the participant thought of the caresser, according to Ralph Adolphs, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Caltech and director of the Caltech Brain Imaging Center, where the experiment was carried out.

“We see responses in a part of the brain thought to process only basic touch that were elicited entirely by the emotional significance of social touch prior to the touch itself, simply in anticipation of the caress that our participants would receive,” said Adolphs.

These initial findings with only a small number of participants may not apply in a larger group. The researchers plan to test whether women’s brains would respond the same way as men’s did, and whether the brain would respond the same way across different sexual orientations.

“Nothing in our brain is truly objective,” said Christian Keysers, a co-author of the study. “Our perception is deeply and pervasively shaped by how we feel about the things we perceive.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


CDC Report Finds Majority of Teen Girls Not Having Sex 

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Judging by the content of today's TV shows, you would think every teenager is having sex.

That's a fallacy, according to the latest study by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which looked at the habits of females ages 15 to 19 over a five-year span ending in 2010.

The CDC reports that 43 percent admitted to having sex—down from 51 percent in 1995.

This increase in abstinence and the fact that sexually active teenage girls are using more effective forms of birth control account for the pregnancy rate dropping to 34 births for every 1,000 females—a decrease of 44 percent from the 1990's.

Overall, 368,000 infants were born to teen mothers in 2010, the CDC reports.

Study author Crystal Pirtle Tyler says, "We know there have been declines in teen pregnancy, which is wonderful, and increases in abstinence among teens, which is really wonderful also. There have also been increases in contraceptive use." Those contraceptives include the pill and the patch.

Tyler adds that the number of teenage girls having sex would fall further if doctors spoke more openly with their patients about putting it off until they got older.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Study: Americans Crave Sleep More than Sex 

BananaStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new national survey reveals a good night’s sleep is more valued than sex.

A survey by the Better Sleep Council reveals 61 percent of Americans would rather get a good night of sleep than have sex. Seventy-nine percent of women say they prefer a good night’s sleep over sex.

The survey also finds nearly half of all Americans fall asleep somewhere other than their bed at least once a week, and 11 percent fall asleep somewhere other than their bed every day.

Seventy-seven percent of respondents admit they would give up something to get a better night’s sleep. Thirty-one percent say they would give watching TV, while 23 percent named computers and social media. Sixteen percent say they would give up exercise for a good night’s rest, while another 16 percent say they would give up church.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Intimate Moments End Too Soon, Many Americans Say

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new survey finds a majority of Americans believe a healthy sex life makes them a better, husband, wife or partner, but half of the respondents admit feeling dissatisfied with the duration of their bedroom escapades.

A survey commissioned by Durex, the condom maker, finds 37 percent of Americans admitting that their intimate moments end too quickly.  On the flip side, 14 percent of male and female respondents said their bedroom sessions last longer than they would like.

Additional findings from the Durex survey:

  • 33 percent of women fantasize about meeting for a sexual rendezvous on the Eiffel Tower, while 31 percent of men prefer the power setting of the White House.
  • 46 percent of respondents believe they are more likely to see Big Foot than “finish” at the same time as their partner.

The Durex survey of 1,000 U.S. adults was conducted by Wakefield Research.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Researcher Claims G-Spot Discovery

Creatas/Thinkstock(ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.) -- Has the mystery behind the G-spot been finally solved? 

In a new study to be published Wednesday in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, a researcher claims to have conclusively located the elusive erogenous zone.

But the new report is unlikely to put an end to any controversy.  Already, several experts warn this so-called discovery may not be the road map to female orgasm that many women -- and their partners -- have long hoped to find.

The G-spot got its name in the 1980s when the concept -- an erogenous zone that, when stimulated, can lead to powerful orgasm -- gained in popularity.  It was initially named after Ernst Gräfenberg, a German physician, who wrote about its existence in the 1950s.

Since then, most sex experts have scrutinized an area on the front wall of the vagina that, anecdotally, appears particularly sensitive.  Some experts say stimulating this area can lead to female arousal, orgasm and even ejaculation.  Yet, despite widespread popular belief in its existence, no one has ever decisively identified a particular body part corresponding to the G-spot.

But now Dr. Adam Ostrzenski, a gynecologic surgeon and director of The Institute of Gynecology, Inc., in St. Petersburg, Fla., says he has accomplished this feat by discovering a structure he believes represents the G-spot.

Ostrzenski says he was motivated to study the G-spot after hearing anecdotes of swelling in the lower section of the vagina during stimulation.

The unsexy twist to Ostrzenski's otherwise sexy research is the method he employed in his search; he dissected the cadaver of an 83-year-old woman and discovered a blue, grape-like structure buried deep in the front wall of the vagina.

According to the doctor, this structure resembled erectile tissue, similar to what can be found in the male penis.

Ostrzenski, a long-time believer in the existence of the G-spot, may have an additional incentive to validate its existence. He specializes in a procedure known as G-spot augmentation, in which a patient's own fat is injected into the vaginal wall right underneath the area where the G-spot is supposed to reside in order to enhance stimulation.

He says the location of this special spot has long been known by many women, and that it can be taught to others.

Still, other experts in sexual health are not convinced that Ostrzenski has the G-spot all figured out.

Debby Herbenick, research scientist at Indiana University and author of the book Sex Made Easy says it is not possible to know if what Ostrzenski found is in fact the G-spot, since there is no information about the patient's sexual experiences when she was alive. 

Specifically, she says that the G-spot, by definition, is a spot that brings pleasure when stimulated -- and that Ostrzenski was unable to prove that the structure he identified gave his patient any pleasure because she was already deceased.

Another major problem with the study was that it examined only one patient's body, says Dr. Abraham Morgentaler, associate clinical professor of urology at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass.  Whether this type of tissue is found in any other women -- let alone all women -- is simply not known.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio