dinsdag 28 februari 2012

Love and Sex

The (real) secret to hot sex

It has little to do with the body and everything to do with the mind. A sex therapist shares what he's learned

Looking for the hot new position that will transform your sex life? The bedroom technique that will bring ultimate satisfaction? Look no further.
Not that sex therapist Marty Klein is actually selling any of those things — but his new book, “Sexual Intelligence: What We Really Want From Sex and How to Get It,” offers something better: an alternative to chasing that erotic mirage. His message is antithetical to the sex advice found everywhere from self-help books to the supermarket checkout line: The secret to a fulfilling sex life is mental, not physical.
It isn’t the sexiest directive, but it might actually get you somewhere. Klein has drawn on more than 30 years of counseling experience for this smart handbook on how to develop what he calls “Sexual Intelligence,” which he describes as the thing that “gets you from hormone-driven sex to sex you choose,” “from ‘sex has to validate me’ to ‘I validate my sexuality.’” The challenge here is to let go of notions of what “successful” and “normal” sex looks and feels like. The reward is a sex life where “failure” is virtually impossible.

Sex and Food: The World's Strangest Aphrodisiacs Through Time

Hot chocolate? The potato? Piranhas? Throughout history, humankind has persisted in the belief that some foods are linked to sex.

From the Garden of Eden to the oyster cellar bordellos of old New York, food and sex are entwined. Although every food under the sun has been touted as an aphrodisiac at some point in time, humans tend to get turned on by three categories of food: extremely expensive food, food that is risky to acquire, and food that resembles genitalia.
Rare and exotic foods have favored positions in the canon of culinary aphrodisiacs. Consider the truffle, the piranha and the labor of harvesting a plate full of sparrow tongues. Foods from far-off lands have the spicy whisper of perilous adventure, and there’s nothing quite like a hint of mystery to stimulate the imagination. For example, Aztec concubines taught the conquistadors to drink hot chocolate; when the Spaniards carried the exotic substance across the sea to Europe, they brought with it the rumor that the drink was an aphrodisiac. And during the reign of Charles I, when rice was still a luxury in Europe, noble Casanovas swore by the improbable aphrodisiac of rice boiled in milk and flavored with cinnamon.
As an ingredient becomes common, and thus cheaper, it loses its magic. Case in point: the potato. Your modern Brit is unlikely to find a plate of mashed potatoes sexually stimulating, but potatoes and sweet potatoes were hailed as aphrodisiacs when they were first introduced to the European palate; in Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” Falstaff reels off a list of the era’s aphrodisiacs: kissing comfits, snow eryngoes (the candied roots of sea holly), and potatoes. Once rare ingredients such as cinnamon, cloves, marmalade, rice and pepper have likewise lost their sexy status.
The second largest umbrella group of chewable aphrodisiacs is based on the crude logic that if something looks like your nasty bits, it’ll undoubtedly put your prospective partner in the mood. Thus, scheming Lotharios and temptresses have long relied on the amorous offering of edible flowers and roots. In the British Isles, wake robin (Arum maculatumwas once valued as a thickener for puddings, a starch for Elizabethan neck ruffs, and for its phallic bloom, which earned the plant a reputation as an aphrodisiac and spawned over 20 suggestive folk names, including Adam and Eve, lords and ladies, devils and angels, stallions and mares, and dog’s dick. On a similar note, the word “orchid” is derived from the ancient Greek word for testicle. Pliny the Elderrecommended bulbous orchid tubers as an aphrodisiac, and the Romans called orchids “satyrion” because legend had it that the phallic roots grew from the spilled semen of a satyr.
The tribes of Mexico preferred not the root but the flower. The Totonoc Indians believed that the orchid Vanilla planifolia sprang from the blood of a goddess, and the Aztecs named it tlilxochitl, or black flower. Vanilla planifolia is an inherently romantic plant: its small blossoms open in the morning and are exclusively pollinated by hummingbirds and melipone bees. The dirty-minded Conquistadors noted the pod’s resemblance to female genitalia, and gave the plant the name vanilla, which derived from the Latin for sheath. Europeans soon prized vanilla as an aphrodisiac; wild stories circulated that vanilla could transform the ordinary man into an astonishing lover. Elizabeth I is said to have been especially fond of vanilla pudding.
Oysters and clams have had a lewd reputation since history’s dawn. The Roman author Juvenal (a nasty misogynist) uses oysters to complete his portrait of a slut partying away the night: “When she knows not one member from another, eats giant oysters at midnight, pours foaming unguents into her unmixed Falernian, and drinks out of perfume-bowls, while the roof spins dizzily round, the table dances, and every light shows double!” In keeping with the Roman talent for using food to call attention to those ultimate aphrodisiacs — wealth and power — emperors and aristocrats turned their noses up at local oysters and sent away to the British Isles for a superior variety. The association between oysters and strumpets would have staying power: As Rebecca Stott points out in her book “Oyster,” “Throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth century, the woman oyster seller was used in poetry as a figure of erotic play, something like the oyster, to be consumed, part of the sensuous fruit of the street for the male urban voyeur.” In 19th century America, underground oyster saloons catered to base instincts — guests could slurp back dozens of oysters while cavorting with good-time girls and prostitutes; some of the seedier joints offered private rooms. A few decades later and a few hundred miles south, scantily clad ladies would shimmy in a popular striptease act called the oyster dance. In the 1940s, Kitty West (a cousin of Elvis Presley) danced on Bourbon street as “Evangeline the Oyster Girl”; to open her act, she stepped with aplomb from a giant half shell.      

zaterdag 18 februari 2012

Why Do People Have Sex

Sexual motives greatly surpass the 'Big Three' -- love, pleasure, and making babies.

Your partner may come up with a dozen excuses to say "Not tonight, dear, I have a ____," but how many reasons can the two of you name for seeking sex?
One? Two? Twenty? How about 200? Some college students have cited as many as 237 different reasons for having sex.
From pleasure to procreation, insecurity to inquisitiveness -- today's reasons for taking a roll in the hay seem to vary as much as the terms for the deed itself. A 2010 Sexuality & Culture review of sex motivation studies states that people are offering "far more reasons for choosing to engage in sexual activity than in former times." And we're doing it more often, too. It is a stark contrast from historical assumptions, which tend to cite only three sexual motivators: To make babies, to feel good, or because you're in love.
Today, sexual behaviors seem to have taken on many different psychological, social, cultural, even religious meanings. Yet, some sexologists say, at the most basic level, there is only one true reason people seek sex.

Wired for Sex

"We are programmed to do so. Asking why people have sex is akin to asking why we eat. Our brains are designed to motivate us toward that behavior," says Richard A. Carroll, PhD, a sex therapist and associate professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
The idea that humans are hard-wired for sex reflects an evolutionary perspective, says Elaine Hatfield, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of Hawaii and author of that 2010 review examining sexual motives from cross-cultural, historical, and evolutionary viewpoints.
"Evolutionary theorists point out that a desire for sexual relations is 'wired in' in order to promote species survival," she tells WebMD in an email. "Cultural theorists tend to focus on the cultural and personal reasons people have (or avoid) sex. Cultures differ markedly in what are considered to be 'appropriate' reasons for having or avoiding sex."

What's Your Motive?

Why do you seek sex? Motivations generally fall into four main categories, according to psychologists at UT-Austin, who asked more than 1,500 undergraduate college students about their sexual attitudes and experiences.
  • Physical reasons: Pleasure, stress relief, exercise, sexual curiosity, or attraction to a person.
  • Goal-based reasons: To make a baby, improve social status (for example, to become popular), or seek revenge.
  • Emotional reasons: Love, commitment, and gratitude.
  • Insecurity reasons: To boost self-esteem, keep a partner from seeking sex elsewhere, or because of a feeling of duty or pressure (for example, a partner insists on having sex).

The Difference Between the Sexes

Generally speaking, men seek sex because they like how it feels. Women, although they very well may also derive pleasure from the act, are generally more interested in the relationship enhancement aspects of sex. Researchers describe these differences as body-centered versus person-centered sex.
  • Body-centered sex is when you have sex because you like the way it makes your body feel. You are not really caring about the emotions of your partner.
  • Person-centered sex is when you have sex to connect with the other person. You care about the emotions involved and the relationship.

maandag 13 februari 2012

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