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Sexonomics: Putting your 'erotic capital' to work
Madonna performs during a concert as part of her MDNA world tour on July 4, 2012.
July 12th, 2012
07:30 AM ET

Sexonomics: Putting your 'erotic capital' to work

Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs about sex weekly on The Chart. Read more from him on his website, GoodInBed.

Madonna’s got it. So do George Clooney, Tina Turner and Robert Redford.

These celebrities are certainly good-looking, but they also possess what sociologist Catherine Hakim has dubbed “erotic capital” - a term that describes a certain je ne sais quoi that includes, but isn’t limited to, sexual attractiveness.

Harness your erotic capital, Hakim boldly suggests in her recent book by the same name and you’ve got the potential to not only land a mate, but to get ahead at work and in society as a whole.
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Are men 'sexually fluid'?
June 29th, 2012
01:37 PM ET

Are men 'sexually fluid'?

Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs about sex weekly on The Chart. Read more from him on his website, GoodInBed.

In a new critically-acclaimed off-Broadway play, with a title too controversial for print, a gay man finds himself falling for a woman, which makes him - and his male partner - wonder whether he’s “really” gay after all.

Can a gay man who is sexually attracted to women still be gay? And what about straight men who get turned on by other men? Are men “sexually fluid”?

Female sexual fluidity - the capacity to move from romantic relationships with men to those with women, and vice versa - is well established, as I’ve previously discussed. Male sexual fluidity is less clear, yet it seems to be on the minds of many men and women. In fact, I’m often approached by women who are worried because they’ve caught their husbands or boyfriends looking at gay porn.
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Every woman needs a 'gaggle' of men
June 14th, 2012
08:46 AM ET

Every woman needs a 'gaggle' of men

Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs about sex weekly on The Chart. Read more from him on his website, GoodInBed.

If you’re a single woman and you’re looking for love, forget about “The Rules” and stop worrying that “He’s just not that into you.”

That was then, this is now - it’s a post-dating world you’re living in, and that means you have to shed your one-to-one mind-set and start thinking in terms of one to many.

In other words? Stop searching for Mr. Right and look around at all the Mr Right(s).
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Social media for two
Digital services are cropping up for couples to have their own private social networks.
May 31st, 2012
08:00 AM ET

Social media for two

Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs about sex weekly on The Chart. Read more from him on his website, GoodInBed.

Facebook recently made headlines twice - first, when the company went public and again, when founder Mark Zuckerberg tied the knot. Although Facebook’s IPO was disappointing to those who had high expectations, we can hope at least that Zuckerberg’s marriage will soar, even if his stock did not.

One way the Zuckerbergs - and all couples - can help maintain a healthy connection with each other is to be cautious about the way they use Facebook and all social media, for that matter. As I’ve written before in this column, social networking tools can bring people together, but they can also pull couples apart. Think about it: You and your partner might be sitting next to each other on the couch or in bed, tapping away on your individual laptops, smart phones, or iPads, lost in a virtual world where flirting with a stranger, friend, or old flame is just a click away. In other words, you’re turning on social media—and maybe turning on to someone else, too—even as you tune each other out. From laptops, to smart phones, to tablets, today’s gadgets allow us to remain connected 24/7—yet that doesn’t necessarily mean that we are connected to our partner

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Can straight couples learn from same-sex relationships?
May 17th, 2012
12:01 PM ET

Can straight couples learn from same-sex relationships?

Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs about sex weekly on The Chart. Read more from him on his website, GoodInBed.

With the recent vote against gay marriage in North Carolina and President Obama’s support of marriage equality, same-sex relationships are making headlines.

But my colleagues and I have less political concerns: We’re focused on helping our gay, lesbian, and bisexual clients navigate their way through many of same relationship hurdles that heterosexual clients face.

Couples of all orientations find themselves struggling with the same issues, from mismatched libidos to sex ruts to infidelity. “The underlying dynamics are identical,” says Emily Nagoski, sex educator and author of "A Scientific Guide to Successful Relationships."

“They may play out differently because of the differences in gender or because of external social pressures, but the rules are the same – and there's some clear indications that gay couples are actually better at following those rules than straight couples!”
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These parties go way beyond Tupperware
May 10th, 2012
10:22 AM ET

These parties go way beyond Tupperware

Picture this: A group of female friends lounge around a living room, noshing on snacks and sipping wine. At the center of the circle, a woman gives a presentation on her wares, sharing bits of knowledge with the hope that some of the women will choose to purchase her products.

I’ve just described a typical “party plan," a marketing technique that melds a social event with direct product sales. Party plans are nothing new - Tupperware, Pampered Chef and Mary Kay have been around for decades.

What makes this scenario different is that the consultant isn’t hawking egg slicers or lipstick. Instead, she’s sharing the buzz on the latest vibrators, lubricants and other bedroom accessories.
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PE: The 'other' male sexual problem
May 3rd, 2012
11:00 AM ET

PE: The 'other' male sexual problem

Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs about sex weekly on The Chart. Read more from him on his website, GoodInBed.

Given the ease with which the average person can rattle off brand names like “Viagra” and “Cialis,” or joke about “four hour erections,” it would seem that erectile-dysfunction drugs are just about as common as ibuprofen.

We take it for granted, but the little blue pill has drastically changed the way we think about erectile disorder (ED).

Once known as “impotence,” ED was originally thought to be caused by anxiety, nerves, or low self-esteem; now it’s commonly known to be a health issue that hinges on the flow of blood to the penis and taking a pill to deal with the issue is often no big deal.

Don’t get me wrong: this is not to say that Viagra and its brethren – Levitra, Cialis and the new FDA-approved Stendra – are the be-all end-all, or even that they’re unequivocally effective. It’s just that these medications have helped to spur a national dialogue (and often a debate) that has changed the way we think about sexual problems.

But now that ED has come out of the shadows, what about the other major male sexual issue — premature ejaculation (PE)?
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G-spot found! Now, maybe we should lose it
April 25th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

G-spot found! Now, maybe we should lose it

Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs about sex weekly on The Chart. Read more from him on his website, GoodInBed.

The search for the G-spot is a bit like the sexual equivalent of searching for UFOs: rarely does a year goes by without a new study either confirming or disproving the existence of this small area just inside the vagina, which - to varying degrees - is a source of sexual pleasure for women.

It’s not so much the pleasure-potential of the area that is in doubt, but rather whether the G-spot is an independent anatomic entity, or conversely, a part of the surrounding structure.

“The G-spot has been so difficult to identify because it is more of a physiological change - akin to swallowing or urinating - than an anatomic structure such as a nipple,” said Dr. Irwin Goldstein, editor-in-chief of The Journal of Sexual Medicine, after a study was published in his journal in 2010.
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Good vibrations: Sex toys go mainstream
April 19th, 2012
01:09 PM ET

Good vibrations: Sex toys go mainstream

Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs about sex weekly on The Chart. Read more from him on his website, GoodInBed.

From Victorian times - when vibrators were invented to treat “female hysteria" - to "Sex and the City" times - when Charlotte discovered The Rabbit - generations of women have used vibrators to go from no-go to the Big O.

But today’s sex toys are more innovative than ever and not just for women.

Brands like Trojan now sell their line of vibrators alongside condoms at your local drugstore. And sex shops report being inundated by shoppers who have read the erotic novel “50 Shades of Grey” and now want to spice things up in their own bedrooms.

In the past decade, vibrator use has become a lot less taboo among women, and there has been an explosion of new toy designs for the discerning lady looking to engage in self-pleasuring. Yet for the most part, that same variety of product has not existed for men.

Yet slowly but surely toy designers are acknowledging the fact that vibrators and the like don’t have to be relegated to solo use; for adventurous and open-minded couples, they can be invaluable tools for reigniting intimacy, and for achieving even more pleasurable sex.
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'Vacation sex': Just what your love life needs
April 12th, 2012
06:50 AM ET

'Vacation sex': Just what your love life needs

Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs about sex weekly on The Chart. Read more from him on his website, GoodInBed.

What is it about getting away that makes a vacation so conducive to getting it on? With millions of Americans on spring break this month, a quick look at the vicissitudes of vacation sex seems in order.

Of course you don’t need a study (although there has been one) to tell you that college students are inclined to seek out opportunities for casual sex during spring break.

But data also suggests that even non-student holiday travelers are likely to feel more sexual during a vacation, and for similar reasons: a sense of freedom from at-home restrictions, a relaxation of inhibitions, a focus on having a good time and, no surprise, high alcohol consumption.
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