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Yoga Benefits: Mind, Body… and Sexual Health?

The internet abounds with health articles and wellness blogs that expose the seemingly endless benefits of practicing yoga. From its advantages for the mind, such as reducing the symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress, to its physical benefits, including (but certainly not limited to) better balance and flexibility, weight loss, improved lung capacity and lower blood pressure, there is little to advise against the ancient practice of yoga. But, just in case you weren’t sold on its healing properties for the mind, body and soul— What about for a better sex life?

No, this isn’t just some unsubstantiated claim from a local yogi enthusiast. Accredited studies have found that practicing yoga really does improve your sex life. Harvard Health Publishing cited one study from The Journal of Sexual Medicine which indicated that regular yoga practice improves several aspects of sexual function in women, including desire, arousal, orgasm, lubrication, pain and overall satisfaction.

Women aren’t the only ones who can benefit from hitting the mat. An analogous study by neurologist Dr. Vikas Dhikav examined the effects of a similar program on the sexual satisfaction of men. His researchers found yoga to be equally advantageous across all aspects of male satisfaction; “desire, intercourse satisfaction, performance confidence, partner synchronization, erection, ejaculatory control, and orgasm.”

Now that you know why practicing yoga can lead to better sex, you may be asking yourself, “but, how?”.Remember all of the amazing benefits we mentioned that yoga can have on your mental and physical health at the beginning of this blog? The combination of reduced stress and anxiety, and increased flexibility, lung capacity, etc. are not only advantages to your overall wellbeing, but they are also effects associated with improvements in sexual response. Not only that, but “female practitioners of yoga have been found to be less likely to objectify their bodies and to be more aware of their physical selves” says Dr. Brotto, a professor in the department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at UBC. “This tendency, in turn, may be associated with increased sexual responsibility and assertiveness, and perhaps sexual desires.”

Yoga’s health benefits—both in and out of the bedroom—are undeniably remarkable. If you’re ready to roll out a mat and give yoga a try, join the Patty Brisben Foundation for our upcoming NamaSlay event at Nippert Stadium! Your body (and partner) will surely thank you. Register here!

Sex at Any Age

Do you ever think that society believes only young people have sex? From advertising to TV and movies, we usually see couples under 40 in intimate relationships. Anyone older than that usually plays the wise patriarch or matriarch of the family, doling out sage advice and seemingly living life without sex.

Well, we know better than that—in fact, couples often say that sex gets better as they get older. A recent interview on NPR with author Darcey Steinke talks about menopause and sex, and some of the misperceptions surrounding both. Her book, Flash Count Diary: Menopause and the Vindication of Natural Life looks at the author’s own experience navigating the attitudes of others about an older woman’s role regarding sex. In her opinion, if couples are willing to think beyond traditional intercourse, they will find their relationships are more intimate than ever. And, she adds, “don’t be afraid to use lots of lubrication.”

Steinke said she had to get used to the changes in herself during menopause. “I felt my very femininity was in question,” she noted. “I didn’t have a lot of the female signifiers that I once had. My hair wasn’t as smooth. I can remember a waiter once saying ‘Sir’ to me and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh. Wow. This is a whole new territory.”

As for sex, Steinke said it did change for her after menopause. “It was a gradual process,” she said. “I do remember feeling less interested in intercourse. I actually felt like it was sort of uncomfortable. Your body changes and you don’t have as much lubrication. But that is so easily fixed by lube.”

Not only did Steinke interview women about menopause and sex, she talked with more than two dozen men about how they handled their partner’s body changes. While some men said their partners didn’t want to have sex anymore, others said there was less sex but more hugging and cuddling, which the men liked.

“One man that was the most verbal about this told me that he felt like sex was now connected more to play,” she said. “There was a lightness there. The pressure is gone.”

Her advice for women whose bodies are changing? “You have to have these discussions. Things are changing. You can deny all this and just decide not to be physical anymore. But if you go into it, the level of intimacy is kind of mind-blowing. That’s really beautiful. I would hate to miss it.”

Want to read more? Check out the link to the NPR story here.

Make Time For Sex: Doctor’s Orders!

Dr. Ruth made sex talk sexy in the 1980s—her blunt talk about sex and relationships shocked some, and educated many others. She broke down a lot of barriers with her frank discussions, she became a Hollywood celebrity, a talk show favorite and a relationship author.  She’s still at it today, giving sex advice as she closes in on her 91st birthday.

Dr. Ruth Westheimer is now the subject of a new documentary, “Ask Dr. Ruth,” looking at her life from a Jewish Holocaust refugee to celebrity sex therapist. And she’s still giving advice. In a recent New York Times interview, Dr. Ruth said that the questions she gets about sex are different now. “I get less questions about women’s sexual satisfaction,” she said. “Women have learned they are responsible for their own orgasms.” (editorial note: YES!!)

She also said she hears a lot from millennials about not having time for sex. “That doesn’t hold true for me,” Dr. Ruth said. “In the olden days, immigrants, for example, who worked in the needle trade, who worked in the garment industry, they worked much harder. They still had sex. Otherwise we wouldn’t be around.”

Her advice to the millennial asking the question? “Make time.”

She also said she’s worried about the lost art of conversation. “We walk into a restaurant, and you see even families sitting on their phones,” she said. “You can’t have a couple not talking to each other for 24 hours then expect to have good sex. It doesn’t work. Part of a good relationship is a good conversation.”

Dr. Ruth also offers her take on “ghosting” in relationships, her thoughts on online dating and her Twitter account. She paved the way for us to not be shy about sex talk, to bring relationship issues out in the open and to offer advice about making our relationships work. Dr. Ruth is still going strong, and still has great advice to give. Thank you, Dr. Ruth!

Want to read more about sex pioneer Dr. Ruth? Read the article here.

The Rites of Spring

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for spring weather to be here—and STAY here! In our area it’s often 70 one day and 50 the next, while in the meantime, spring flowers bravely bloom, daring the cold to stifle their beauty.

Spring, it is said, is the time for romance. And while it may be a popular theme in poetry and song, there is some scientific fact behind our “spring fever.” Relationship expert April Masini, in an article for Brit and Co., says spring does the same thing for humans as it does for animals—it’s the time to look for potential partners.

She offers three reasons why spring is the time for new (or renewed) relationships. First, we’re coming out of our own winter hibernation. As soon as temperatures warm up, we head outside after a long, cold winter. “With all these folks outside,” April says, “especially after being cooped up for the winter, your options for dating are suddenly rich.”

Secondly, she says, spring weather puts us in a good mood. The sun is shining, and that Vitamin D naturally boosts our mood AND our libido. “People want to reach out,” she says. “They want to connect. And they want romance.”

And third, we’re shedding the sweaters and coats and showing a little skin. After three months or more of chilly temperatures, we can’t wait to break out the sundresses and t-shirts!

So there is science behind springtime romance! (And you thought you’d never use those biology classes you took in school) Enjoy spring and enjoy the science of renewing your relationship or finding a new one! If you want to read more about the science of spring romance, here’s the article.

Vasectomy Season?

I hope you have been enjoying the college basketball games these past weekends. Even if your favorite team isn’t in the playoffs, it’s still exciting to watch! But did you know that this time of the year is the most popular time for men to get vasectomies?

The Mayo Clinic reports that just about every year, their clinic reaches max capacity for vasectomies. And here’s why: Men schedule their vasectomies just before tournament weekend, so they can have medical time off during the games. Stay on the couch, take a couple of sick days, and enjoy basketball!

Dr. T.J. Tipton, a urologist with Roper St. Francis in Charleston, South Carolina, tells the Post and Courier that it’s a real thing. “The sport and the event itself kind of transcend basketball,” Tipton said. “They’ll come in with their Kentucky or UNC basketball shirts on.”

The New York Times quotes a study last year that found a peak in the number of vasectomies during March — and also at the end of the year during the holidays. Still, most men in this country don’t opt for sterilization: They rely on their female partners to prevent pregnancy.

In the United States, female sterilization is twice as prevalent as vasectomy, according to 2015 estimates from the United Nations — despite the fact that vasectomy is equally effective, less invasive and carries a lower risk of complications.

Dr. Anuj Khattar, a fellow with Physicians for Reproductive Health who practices in the Seattle area, tells the Times that after the initial consultation, 20 to 30 percent of his patients end up either changing their minds or simply not showing up for the procedure.

“I think part of the fears around vasectomy is that it’s so permanent,” Dr. Khattar said, adding that some men worry about “losing some of their virility and their ability to enjoy sex” even though, the doctor said, it doesn’t affect any of those functions.

The article also looks at the risks involved between vasectomies and tubal ligation for women: “Unlike vasectomy, which is a quick outpatient procedure to cut and seal the tubes that carry sperm and block the transfer of sperm to the ejaculate, tubal ligation is far more invasive and often conducted under general anesthesia.”

The article continues, “The surgery, which involves cutting or blocking the fallopian tubes, carries higher rates of complications, including damage to surrounding organs, said Dr. Holly Bullock, an assistant professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Arizona Colleg of Medicine in Tucson.”

Want to learn more about the March Madness phenomenon? Read the full article here.