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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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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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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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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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Dating and the challenge of too many choices
January 26th, 2012
07:21 AM ET

Dating and the challenge of too many choices

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.

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.
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Sex after divorce: Does it get better?
January 19th, 2012
07:15 AM ET

Sex after divorce: Does it get better?

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.

“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.
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How to deal with mean people
January 11th, 2012
11:01 AM ET

How to deal with mean people

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.
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If you want more sex, be nice!
October 20th, 2011
07:11 AM ET

If you want more sex, be nice!

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.

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.”
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When shyness is the sign of something more
October 17th, 2011
12:01 AM ET

When shyness is the sign of something more

“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.
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Are female orgasms a 'bonus'?
October 13th, 2011
07:14 AM ET

Are female orgasms a 'bonus'?

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.

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.
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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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