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Birth control may affect long-term relationships
April 5th, 2012
07:34 AM ET

Birth control may affect long-term 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.

A recent study shows that women with lower testosterone levels - typically caused by the use of hormone-based oral contraceptives like the pill - are more attracted to men who also have low testosterone levels.

Previous studies have shown that the less testosterone a man has, the less likely he is to cheat, the more supportive he is, and the better he is at providing for his family. Sounds good, right?

Not quite. Previous studies have also shown that most women are historically more sexually attracted to higher testosterone levels. And the mothers in the study who eventually went off birth control post-wedding reported less sexual contentment than other women; they found their husbands less attractive and less sexually exciting once they went off the pill.
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New book questions 'The Myth of Sex Addiction'
Tiger Woods is just one of the celebrities -- from Russell Brand to Anthony Weiner -- who has allegedly entered sex rehab.
March 29th, 2012
01:53 PM ET

New book questions 'The Myth of Sex Addiction'

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.

Is sex addiction for real? Or is it “nothing more than a pop-psychology phenomenon, serving only to demonize sex, enforce moral views of sex and relationships and excuse irresponsible behaviors?”

Those are the fighting words of psychologist David Ley, who, in his rousing new book, “The Myth of Sex Addiction," expresses concern over the slippery ease with which America’s mainstream media and burgeoning “addictionology industry” have seemingly conspired to transform a debatable diagnosis into a foregone conclusion.
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Filed under: Addiction • Sex

Five ways to fight depression in the bedroom
March 22nd, 2012
08:54 AM ET

Five ways to fight depression in the bedroom

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.

We live in a culture in which use of SSRIs (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors), talk therapy, and mental health days have become nearly as common as gym memberships and multi-purpose vitamins.

In fact, the National Institute of Mental Health reports that more than 20 million people in the U.S. experience depression. Unfortunately, mood swings aren’t the only symptom of depression - it can also have a negative effect on your romantic relationships, especially when it comes to sex.

"One symptom of depression is anhedonia, a lack of pleasure in things that were once enjoyable,” sex therapist Dr. Stephanie Buehler writes in her timely new book, “Sex, Love, and Mental Illness.”

“Sex is often one of those activities in which a person loses interest. Add to that fatigue, lethargy, and a tendency to want to be alone and there are plenty of reasons for depressed persons and their partners to experience a decline in their sex life."
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Filed under: Depression • Relationships • Sex

Erotic novel 'Fifty Shades of Grey' goes viral... for good reason
March 15th, 2012
07:22 AM ET

Erotic novel 'Fifty Shades of Grey' goes viral... for good reason

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.

I have read “The Book.”

Ok, I didn’t read the entire book, but I did do a hopscotch through the sex scenes and, on the basis of the naughty parts alone, I can understand why folks are getting hot and bothered.

The book I’m referring to, of course, is “Fifty Shades of Grey,” the first in an erotic trilogy by E.L. James that melds kinky sex with romance. The novel has been selling like hot cakes and is causing quite a stir due to the explicit scenes of bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism (BDSM).
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Why women moan during sex
March 8th, 2012
11:40 AM ET

Why women moan during sex

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.

All you have to do is watch nearly any depiction of female orgasm on screen to get an idea of how a woman is “supposed” to react during sex.

From "When Harry Met Sally" to "Sex and the City" to your basic porn film, women in the throes of passion aren’t just shouting their ecstasy from the rooftops - they’re moaning with pleasure. Loudly.

But is this just cinematic license, or is there really something to noisy sex?

Experts wondered the same thing. Last year, Gayle Brewer of the University of Central Lancashire and Colin Hendrie of the University of Leeds published their research on the topic - technically known as “copulatory vocalization” - in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. In the study, they asked 71 sexually active heterosexual women between ages 18 and 48 for more details about vocalization during sex.

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Are you sexually intelligent?
March 1st, 2012
10:46 AM ET

Are you sexually intelligent?

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 are the qualities that make a truly great lover?

Is it about being able to swing from chandeliers or knowing every page of the “Kama Sutra” by heart? Or are there deeper qualities to being “good in bed” that speak more to the spirit of our actions than their substance?

In his new book, “Sexual Intelligence," Marty Klein, Ph.D – a renowned sex therapist with more than 30 years of experience – challenges readers to think about their sex lives as though they suddenly woke up in Russia tomorrow, without any knowledge of the language and only a handful of rubles in their pockets.
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Filed under: Relationships • Sex

Let's talk about sex... even if it's not easy
February 23rd, 2012
07:09 AM ET

Let's talk about sex... even if it's not easy

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.

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.
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Filed under: Relationships • Sex

Surrogates can be sexual healers
Helen Hunt and John Hawkes star as a surrogate partner and her client in "The Surrogate."
February 17th, 2012
11:40 AM ET

Surrogates can be sexual healers

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.

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.
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Understanding females' sexual fluidity
February 9th, 2012
09:02 AM ET

Understanding females' sexual fluidity

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

Actress Cynthia Nixon made headlines recently when she said during an interview that she “chooses” to be a lesbian.

“I’ve been straight and I’ve been gay, and gay is better,” she said. “For me, it is a choice.”

As you might expect, her comments – published in a New York Times Magazine profile - set off a firestorm of controversy, with gay activists and others worrying that Nixon’s words would give credence to those who claim that being gay is a conscious decision, not a genetic certainty.
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Struggling with sex when you're overweight
February 2nd, 2012
07:16 AM ET

Struggling with sex when you're overweight

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

On the CBS sitcom “Mike & Molly,” the title characters meet at an Overeaters Anonymous support group and embark on a romantic relationship.

It’s an uncommon look at intimacy between plus-sized partners, played mainly for laughs. But with obesity rates skyrocketing in this country, sex when one or both partners is heavy is becoming a very real issue.

Nearly 34% of American adults are obese, according to the CDC, and many more are overweight. It’s not surprising that people who are carrying extra pounds may find themselves grappling with the effects on their sex lives.
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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.

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