February 23rd, 2012
07:09 AM ET
As a sexuality counselor, a big part of my work is to facilitate a dialogue between couples who have often waited far too long to discuss a sex issue.
These couples have often allowed sex to become the elephant in the room. Maybe it started off with her faking it every once in awhile, but now it’s been years since she’s had an orgasm with her partner. Or maybe a couple has mismatched libidos, and one partner is humiliated at always being rejected, while the other feels terribly put upon.
Even if we’ve been married for years, the topic of sex still can make us blush. As a result, many people find themselves living in silent desperation - they may be lying next to someone in the same bed, but they feel like they’re a million miles apart.
February 17th, 2012
11:40 AM ET
A provocative movie premiered recently at the Sundance Film Festival that caught the attention of audiences and critics as well as sexuality professionals such as myself.
“The Surrogate” chronicles the true story of a relationship between a surrogate partner (played by Helen Hunt) and her client (John Hawkes), a poet who is stricken with polio and seeks to lose his virginity before he dies.
When we hear the term “surrogate,” most of us probably think of a surrogate mother, who carries and delivers a baby for another couple or person who cannot. Yet surrogate partners (sometimes called sexual surrogates) have been around for years, providing a potentially valuable, though oft-debated, service to clients who wish to increase their sexual, physical and emotional experiences.
January 26th, 2012
07:21 AM ET
If online dating hasn’t led you to your perfect match, perhaps the issue isn’t that you’re too choosy, but rather that there’s too much choice.
There’s no doubt that dating in the 21st century offers a lot of opportunities. Think about your parents’ generation: They grew up with no Internet, they likely stayed in the same town for most of their lives, and they automatically had more in common with the people in that town as a result. Today, women and men are increasingly marrying someone outside of their religion, their ethnicity and their geographic area.
Never in history have we had so many potential partners to choose from - and never have we had so much difficulty choosing. In fact, several recent studies suggest that this explosion of options has made men and women feel more confused and uncertain about finding a partner than ever before.
January 19th, 2012
07:15 AM ET
“If I hadn’t gotten divorced, I never would have had the top five sexual experiences of my life,” gushed Tom, a friend of a friend at a recent holiday party.
What a turnaround! In 2010, at the same party, Tom* had been in the midst of splitting up with his wife of 12 years and I was offering him the names of marriage counselors. Now he was bankrupt and only saw his kids every other week, but he was exuberant about the change to his sex life.
“I’d given up on sex and fooled myself into thinking that I wasn’t even a particularly sexual person,” he explained. “I didn’t want to be the sort of guy who cheated, so I resigned myself to lackluster sex every other week... if I was lucky. We were so young and inexperienced when we got married. Now, for the first time in my life, I feel like I’m approaching sex as a confident adult.”
Does sex get better after divorce? Unfortunately, there haven’t been any formal studies that explore levels of post-divorce sexual satisfaction, but intrigued by Tom’s exuberance, I spoke with a handful of recently divorced friends, colleagues, and former patients. To my surprise, I found that many echo Tom’s enthusiasm.
January 11th, 2012
11:01 AM ET
Editor's note: CNN contributor Amanda Enayati ponders the theme of seeking serenity: the quest for well-being and life balance in stressful times.
Not that long ago I was crossing the street with my daughter when a speeding car almost plowed us down.
“Hey! This is a crosswalk!” I yelled through the passing car’s open window.
“I don’t care!” The driver shot back.
Mean people, like vermin, have been around forever. But for some reason - maybe it’s the economic trials of these past few years - there seem to be more of them than there used to be. And I’m not the only one who thinks so: A 2010 National Civility Survey found that two out of three Americans believe civility is a major issue, and three in four believe the negative tenor in our country has grown worse over the past few years.
October 20th, 2011
07:11 AM ET
Earlier this year, eminent marriage therapist John Gottman released a new book titled "The Science of Trust: Emotional Attunement for Couples." While you may not recognize Gottman by name, you may be aware of his work via Malcolm Gladwell’s book "Blink."
In that bestseller, readers were introduced to Gottman’s knack for “thin-slicing” a couple based upon a few minutes of observation, and determining, with incredible accuracy, whether they would succeed or fail in their marriage.
So what’s the secret of relationship success? Based upon his work with couples, as well as statistical analysis, Gottman has determined that, “It’s the balance between positive and negative emotional interactions in a marriage that determines its well-being - whether the good moments of mutual pleasure, passion, humor, support, kindness, and generosity outweigh the bad moments of complaining, criticism, anger, disgust, contempt, defensiveness, and coldness.”
October 17th, 2011
12:01 AM ET
“Cut him some slack. He’s just a teenager.”
How many times have you heard a parent utter that phrase to explain away a child’s moodiness? It’s no secret that teenagers are prone to mood swings and sometimes like to keep to themselves. But according to a study published Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics, some adolescents’ feelings extend beyond normal human shyness to a debilitating psychiatric disorder: Social phobia.
The authors of the study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Mental Health, analyzed a previously conducted face-to-face survey of more than 10,000 adolescents, aged 13 to 18 years. They found that roughly 1 in 10 of those who identified themselves as shy also met the criteria for social phobia.
October 13th, 2011
07:14 AM ET
What do female orgasms and male nipples have in common? It’s a question that is helping inform research into the purpose of female orgasm (other than simply as a form of pleasure).
Investigators want to know whether the female orgasm is an “adaptation” or “byproduct” of evolution. In other words, does the female orgasm, like the male orgasm, have its own evolutionary raison d’etre and contribute directly to reproductive success? Or is it just an awesome bonus? Make that totally awesome.
This question of whether the female orgasm is an adaptation or a byproduct came to the fore in 2005 with the publication of “The Case of the Female Orgasm: Bias in the Science of Evolution,” in which Indiana University professor Elisabeth Lloyd rigorously examined 21 theories that sought to promote the female orgasm as an adaptation and, ultimately, found all of them lacking.
Over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to have had some thought-provoking conversations with Lloyd on various topics – such as whether premature ejaculation makes good evolutionary sense – and recently, her work has been once again garnering much-deserved attention.
October 6th, 2011
07:26 AM ET
As a nation, we first observed Breast Cancer Awareness Month - dedicated to increasing awareness of the importance of early breast cancer detection - 25 years ago.
As the years have passed, the campaign’s visibility has grown, making it one of the most successful of its kind. Proceeds from pink apparel make October one of the rosiest months of the year. Charity walks abound. Education regarding self exams and breast cancer symptoms has become part of the public consciousness.
But as caught up as we are in the dual causes of prevention and additional medical research (both crucial), not as much attention has been paid to the sexual aftermath of a cancer diagnosis.
September 29th, 2011
07:34 AM ET
When my mother’s long-term boyfriend passed away, I was worried that she might be wary of taking another chance on romance. So when I learned that she’d rekindled an old flame and had fallen in love again, I felt relieved.
I was happy that she had found a partner and companion - someone to go on dinner and movie dates with, to take to family functions, and yes, even to enjoy physical intimacy with again.
Not everyone is so enthusiastic about one parent dating again after the other parent has died, however. In fact, many people feel confused, disappointed, and even angry when Mom or Dad steps back into the dating scene.
About this blog
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.