Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Two pathways to women's pleasure

It’s a mystery to many men and a source of frustration to many women. Now a study of the brain is helping scientists to unlock the secrets of the female orgasm.

By using scanners to observe which parts of a woman’s brain become active when they are aroused, researchers have discovered there are at least two ‘pathways to pleasure’.

One of them activates when a woman is alone and fantasising with the help of imagination. The other kicks into action when she is being physically stimulated by a lover.

The findings, revealed in the New Scientist, have come from two research studies. A U.S. study of solo female volunteers, led by Dr Barry Komisaruk at Rutgers University in New Jersey, analysed MRI scans of women reaching climax to investigate the role of imagination and ‘top-down control’ in triggering a physiological response.

It found heightened activity in more than 30 parts of the brain, including the prefrontal cortex, an area which controls functions such as decision-making, controlling urges and imagination.

In contrast, when Janniko Georgiadis and colleagues at the University of Groningen in Holland performed similar experiments observing women being stimulated by a partner, they found that the same brain region ‘switched off’ during orgasm.

This suggests that an orgasm is achieved with a partner when the woman ‘lets go’ and reaches an ‘altered state of consciousness’. An inability to do this may prevent women from reaching climax. Mr Georgiadis said: ‘I don’t think orgasm turns off consciousness but it changes it. When you ask people how they perceive their orgasm, they describe a feeling of a loss of control.’

The studies together indicate women’s brains have alternative pathways for experiencing sexual pleasure according to whether they are alone or with a lover. Mr Georgiadis added: ‘It is possible there is a difference between someone trying to mentalise sexual stimulation as opposed to receiving it from a partner.’

Scientists believe that further study of the orgasm – and the role of the prefrontal cortex – could help women who have difficulty reaching climax.

And Dr Komisaruk hopes more research will offer a valuable insight into how we might use thought to control other physical sensations, such as pain.

Attempts have been made to carry out similar studies on men, but have been hampered by technical problems. Male orgasms are much shorter and few women will be surprised to discover that men use their brain less during sex.

Top 5 embarrassing sex moments

Sex in the movies is always so perfect. They slip out of their clothes with enviable grace and speed. No one ever bumps heads going in for that long-awaited kiss. Sex looks more like a choreographed dance than anything most of us have ever been involved in.
Whether you’re having hot sex or romantic sex or “distance has made the heart grow fonder” sex, even if it’s great sex, it can sometimes be marked with less than sexy or, let’s face it, downright red-face inducing moments.
The good news is – most of the time anyway – no one’s watching. So, no one has to be the wiser. And, obviously, you’re already intimate with your partner in crime. So, it should be easy enough to simply laugh about it and move on.
Still, in the heat of the moment, there are a few things that can be pretty embarrassing no matter how easygoing you are. Here are the top seven embarrassing things that have a habit of happening at the worst possible time and some tips on how to save the moment.
1. Fumbling a position – If you’ve ever checked out the Kama Sutra (or, better yet, if you’ve ever tried it out) you can see how this could easily happen. It can sometimes get like a good old-fashioned game of Twister. Left foot red. Right hand yellow. Right foot blue. You get the idea. So if you happen to muck things up and fall to the ground or crush your partner, or other embarrassing options, just chalk it up to experience. And, whatever you do, don’t allow it to stop you from trying it again another time. You know what they say about practice.
2. Getting caught – It happens. Could be your kids had a bad dream or, worse – your mother-in-law is in town and cannot seem to remember that the guest room is the second door on the left. The thing is, once you get caught in the act, there isn’t much you can do except to laugh about it. Your mother-in-law should know what you’re up to and depending on your kid’s ages they may very well know, too. If not, this could turn out to be an excellent teachable moment once you get your pajamas back on and the little ones back in bed.
3. Falling asleep – It happens. Not all sex is rough and rowdy. Sometimes it’s sexy and soft and sweet. So, drifting off in a pleasure-induced haze is not an uncommon occurrence. But that doesn’t make it any less embarrassing. Should your sweetie happen to wake you up from such a slumber looking less than happy about your signing out, there’s not much you can do but apologize and assure him or her that it was bliss that did it, and it has nothing to do with performance.
4. ‘The wet spot’ – It’s almost inevitable. But that doesn’t mean that anyone has to have the unpleasant experience of unexpectedly rolling into it. If you do, try not to make too big a deal of it, lest you embarrass your partner. Instead, use it as an excuse to snuggle up together in dry safety. And it wouldn’t hurt to keep a dry soft towel handy to cover up just such a spot just in case.
5. Vaginal flatulence – Commonly referred to as a queef, is exactly what it sounds like and should be handled just like its evil twin, passing gas. A queef is generally odorless. (If not, see a doc as this can denote a serious medical condition). Chances are though, that the issue is simply a matter of too much air being rapidly forced into the woman’s body necessitating its expulsion.
Sex doesn’t usually end up working the way it does in the movies and sometimes things go astray. But who cares? The important thing is how you recover. As long as no one’s feelings are hurt, you have to figure no harm, no foul. A bruised ego isn’t always such a bad thing to have to recover from.
So whether it’s leaving a mark on your partner that you don’t discover until that dinner party with the new neighbors, or looking up to see your two Golden Retrievers taking in all the fun, it’s a small price to pay. Besides, enjoying a good laugh with your partner is often the second best part of getting frisky together.

First time sex tips for novices

“Well begun is half done”, if you stick to this note when it comes to having sex then it will definitely help you in the long run. So, it is better to seek some bedroom tips from you agony aunt and be the conqueror in the bed.
Here are few kinky tips for the freshers who are willing to pop their cherry.
Safe sex is not optional - it's essential. And the only way to be sure that it is safe is to plan your protection in advance. Never assume that your partner has condoms and contraceptive pills , always carry your own things and play safe.
Don't think that being on the pill counts as protection. Sure, it will prevent you from getting pregnant but it won't provide protection against STIs. If there's even an inkling that you're going to be having sex in the near future, buy your condoms now.
You only pop your cherry once so it's important you do it for you and not anybody else. Otherwise, it's less likely to be a pleasant experience and more likely one you'll regret in the future.
Will it hurt?
Experiencing a bit of discomfort the first time you have sex is quite common. This is often down to lack of arousal, which can be a knock-on effect of nerves.
When you're turned on, the vaginal canal lengthens and expands to accommodate your man's penis. You also produce natural lubrication, which prevents uncomfortable friction from his thrusting. Being nervous, on the other hand, can cause your vaginal muscles to tighten, making penetration more difficult.
1. Advanced planning
We're not suggesting you draw up a timeline and an itinerary here - there is certainly a lot to be said for spontaneity. But likewise, setting the scene can really help to put you in the mood. Choose a time when you know you're not going to be disturbed by your housemates, switch your phone off, tidy your room, put on some clean sheets and don't be caught out wearing those off-white holey knickers.
2. Foreplay
Don't rush in with the attitude of "getting it over with". Instead, take your time and indulge in lots of foreplay first. Focus on how great your man is making you feel and try to take it one moment at a time without worrying about what's ahead. Let the arousal build to a frenzy before you let him enter you. And if you still feel as though nerves might be inhibiting your natural lubrication, keep a tube of lube to hand to help him slide in easily. Make it part of your foreplay by having him lube you, then return the favour and apply it to his condom-covered erection right before he enters you.
3. Slow and sensual
Once he's inside you, take it nice and slowly and continue to engage in lots of kissing and caressing. You don't want him thrusting at full pelt. There's plenty of time for that further down the line. Don't be afraid to speak up and tell him what feels good, and importantly, what doesn't. Remember he has insecurities too, so gently tell him, "A little slower" or "Not so hard," but remember to encourage him too with a few "Ahhh, yes, right there", "That feels amazing" etc.

Why sex is good for you

When it comes to sex, there’s no other month like August.

Lingerie retailer Ann Summers reported a 40 per cent rise in sales last August as shoppers took advantage of the holiday period to boost their sex lives.

Meanwhile, researchers from Boston State Hospital in the U.S. have found that summer sun at least doubles levels of the sex hormone testosterone, boosting a flagging libido.

This is thought to be because the sun’s rays trigger vitamin D production, which in turn boosts production of the hormone.

And if another excuse is needed, it’s well known that sex burns calories — just this week a survey found that 87 per cent of women named sex as their favourite way to exercise (shopping came second).
But there are many other benefits, too. Here some of the country’s leading experts reveal some little-known facts about why sex is good for your health.


Sex relaxes the muscles and alleviates neck and shoulder tension, says Dr Arun Ghosh, a GP specialising in sexual health at the Spire Liverpool Hospital. And surprisingly, it might also tell you whether you need glasses.

‘I’ve had patients complain of poor vision after sex. What’s happened is that, like all the other muscles in the body, their eye muscles have relaxed and are performing at their true ability, rather than straining and squinting as they would normally.’

So if your sight goes blurry after sex, it’s worth going for an eye tes

Sex can have a protective effect on the heart. A study at Queen’s University in Belfast found that having sex three times a week could halve the risk of heart attack or stroke.
Another study in Israel found that women who had two orgasms a week were up to 30 per cent less likely to have heart disease than those who didn’t enjoy sex or didn’t orgasm.

Dr Lisa Turner, a sex and relationship therapist, says: ‘One theory is that  these women may have felt depressed, which has been linked with an increased risk of a heart attack.

'The endorphins released during sex also neutralise the stress hormones in the body, which are linked to heart disease.’

And the old cliche of sex causing heart attacks?

‘It’s a very low risk — it accounts for less than 1 per cent of all deaths,’ says Dr Graham Jackson, consultant cardiologist at the London Bridge Hospital and chairman of the Sexual Advice Association.
However, if you’re over 50, overweight and unfit, there is a risk to your heart — just as there would be if you suddenly and vigorously took up any form of exercise.

‘What also increases the risk is extra-marital affairs, and this has been proven by three large studies,’ says Dr Jackson.

‘In fact, this accounts for 75 per cent of heart-related deaths from sex, 90 per cent of which are older men. It’s thought the combination of high-fat foods and alcohol — wining and dining — combined with vigorous exercise, often with a younger partner, is what tends to trigger the heart event.’

U.S. research found menopausal women who had sex every week had oestrogen levels twice as high as their abstaining counterparts.

The hormone has a protective effect in bone health and a lack of it after the menopause has been linked with osteoporosis.

‘Regular sex increases the production of oestrogen,’ says Dr Peter Bowen-Simpkins of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.


‘I’m often asked whether penis length affects fertility and the good news is no,’ says Dr Ghosh.
But the amount of sex you have  is important. The more often you make love, the better quality your sperm will be.

‘If you’re trying to conceive, you need the sperm to be as fresh as possible — not stuff that’s been sitting in the prostate for three or four days,’ he adds.

Researchers at Nottingham University have found that men who enjoy a regular sex life in their 50s are at lower risk of developing prostate cancer. ‘Clearing the prostate out regularly is the reason behind this,’ says Dr Ghosh.

‘The link was suggested after research showed that monks appear to have a higher chance of developing prostate cancer.’


Here's a simple way to get your man to kick his smoking habit — remind him that it causes the penis to shrink and can cause impotence.

Erections are all about good blood flow, and lighting up worsens blood flow to the spongy tissues in the penis, says Raj Persad, consultant urological surgeon at Bristol Royal Infirmary.

‘As a result, they become starved of oxygen and the delicate cells die away. They then become fibrotic — forming scar tissue — which is less elastic and less able to expand during an erection than regular healthy tissue.’

Smoking is also a known cause of erectile dysfunction as it causes hardening of the arteries and hampers good blood flow.

A study of more 7,000 Chinese men, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, found that the more cigarettes smoked a day, the higher the risk of impotence.


For a man, a powerful orgasm is the equivalent of having a 2-3mg shot of diazepam (or Valium), says Dr Ghosh.

‘And diazepam works as a muscle relaxant which is why so many men nod off after finishing — there really is a biological reason.’

Brook beats Lopez in bikini body

Bikini season usually sees women everywhere dust off their exercise DVDs and dive headfirst into the latest crash diet. But when it comes to the ideal figure, it seems curves and an ample posterior win the day.
In a poll, both men and women said Kelly Brook had the best bikini body of a range of celebrities. The 31-year-old actress and model is famed for her hour-glass figure Jennifer Lopez, almost as well known for her rear as her singing abilities, was in second place, seeing off more willowy rivals.

And if the importance of the posterior was in any doubt, Pippa Middleton, whose derriere gained global attention at the royal wedding, was third in the survey of 2,000 people by Gillette Venus.

This was largely down to the male vote, who placed her as their second favourite.
Women excluded ‘Her Royal Hotness’ from their top three in favour of her more slender sister Kate.
Behavioural psychologist Donna Dawson said: ‘Kelly Brook’s perfectly symmetrical statistics of 34-24-34 give her a waist-to-hip ratio of 0.7, which falls within the deemed optimum range for female attractiveness in Western society.

‘She wins with women because her curvy shape represents a figure women can attain, and for men her hour-glass shape communicates good health to the primordial male brain.’

Miss Brook has said that diets ‘bore’ her, adding: ‘I’m not a gym bunny, I hardly ever go. I’m not a skinny girl but, luckily, it goes to all the right places.’

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Ten ways to relieve stress

Here’s a list of some of the most effective natural stress reducers.

1. Passionflower

While passionflower has long been considered a “folk remedy” for anxiety and insomnia, a few studies have shown that the herb may actually be comparable in effectiveness to benzodiazepine drugs, which are used to treat stress. Though not proven, it is believed that passionflower works by increasing levels of a chemical called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. This lowers the activity of some brain cells, making you feel more relaxed.

Passionflower is available in a variety of forms, including infusions, teas, liquid extracts and tinctures. It is not recommended for children or for women who are pregnant or nursing. Consult your doctor before adding it to your diet, especially if you are taking other medications.

2. Massage

This is kind of a no-brainer, right? Everybody loves a massage. But did you know that it’s been used as a stress reliever for thousands of years? Historically, the Chinese used massage to open blocked energy channels in order to improve health and Hippocrates, the “father of western medicine,” used friction for physical healing treatments. Today, we use massage to relax tense muscles, reduce pain and improve circulation, which can all do wonders for the mind.

3. Meditation

Meditation, or mindfulness, only takes 15 to 30 minutes a day, which is possible even in a packed schedule. It’s also incredibly affordable, considering the only tool you need is your own mind. Just give yourself some silent time to let your thoughts run free or just focus on your breathing. That small amount of peace in your day can help you deal with or even release stress.

4. Exercise

Whether it’s yoga, Tai Chi or running, exercise works much in the same way as meditation because it gives you the time to be alone with your thoughts (or an opportunity to let them go). However, exercise also has the added benefit of releasing endorphins into the brain, which improves your mood. It also prevents obesity and other health problems, giving you less to be stressed about.

5. Organize your life

Organization offers a sense of control and peace of mind, and there’s a number of ways you can improve in this regard. If you’re the kind of person who’s always running around, it can help to make lists so that you remember everything. If you’re the kind of person who feels edgy in their own house, tidy up. Studies have shown the mere sight of clutter can put us on edge.

6. Eat healthy

It’s actually been proven that junk food can make us depressed (not to mention fat) so clean up your diet. Healthy foods like whole grains and protein can improve your mood and give you long-lasting energy to tackle everything that comes your way during the day. Foods that are especially effective for stress-busting include blueberries, salmon and almonds, according to scientists.

Also, put down that extra cup of coffee. While studies have shown that some coffee during the day can offer health benefits, too much caffeine will make you jittery and anxious, and eventually lead to a crash.

7. Limit Internet and cellphone use

Disconnect, disconnect, disconnect. Part of the problem with reducing stress in today’s world is that we are never truly able to shield ourselves from it. By turning away from the Internet and shutting off our cellphones, we can at least block some of the channels from which stress can reach us. Doing this also allows us to live in the moment and appreciate it.

It is particularly important to cut off electronic use before sleep, which can cut down on insomnia-related problems.

8. B Vitamins

B vitamins are known to promote proper functioning of the brain and nervous system, as well as help induce relaxation and fight fatigue. In fact, indicators of B deficiency include irritability, depression and apathy, so to stave off those symptoms, increase your intake of foods rich in B vitamins. B vitamins are typically found in the germ and bran of cereal grains, as well as beans, peas, nuts, liver, eggs and dairy products.

9. Aromatherapy

In some cases, inhaling certain scents has been shown to have immediate stress relief effects by raising mood, reducing anxiety and aiding focus and concentration. Experts say it’s because the smells can stimulate the limbic system, which in turn releases chemicals that affect the brain, promoting feelings of relaxation, calmness, love and excitement. Popular oils for stress relief and mental fatigue include lavender, cypress and rosemary.

10. Sleep

Sleep is the most important natural stress reducer of them all. Too little sleep leaves us cranky, irritable and on edge. Too much sleep can leave us sluggish and depressed. Try to find the right balance that allows you to feel well-rested and ready for the day. Promote better sleep by establishing bedtime rituals that signal to your brain that it’s time to fall asleep, avoid exercise in the three hours before sleep or take a warm bath. Certain foods can also promote sleep, such as carbohydrates, bananas, peanuts, figs and dairy. These contain tryptophans, a precursor for creating melatonin. However, avoid having a large meal close to bedtime, because it may result in indigestion, reflux or heartburn.

Friday, 22 July 2011

ताकि जंजाल न बने जीवनसाथी का रूठना...

भला कौन ऐसा शख्‍स होगा, जो अपने लाइफ पार्टनर को हमेशा खुश न देखना चाहता हो? खुशियों के आदान-प्रदान के क्रम में कई बार कुछ गिले-शिकवे भी आ जाना स्‍वाभाविक है.
ऐसे में बहुत जरूरी है कि अपने जीवनसाथी की नाराजगी को दूर करने की पूरी कोशिश की जाए. हां, इतना जरूरी ध्‍यान रखना चाहिए कि कोई भी निर्णय विवेक के साथ किया जाए.
रूठने-मनाने का सिलसिला दांपत्‍य जीवन में कड़वाहट न बनकर मिठास साबित हो, इसके लिए कुछ टिप्‍स यहां दिए जा रहे हैं:
-सबसे पहले यह पता करने का प्रयास करें कि आपके जीवनसाथी की नाराजगी की वजह क्‍या है. यह मालूम करने के बाद उस वजह को दूर करने की ईमानदार कोशिश करें.
-अगर आपके किसी व्‍यवहार से ठेस पहुंची हो, तो अहं छोड़कर मनाने में ज्‍यादा देर न करें. याद रखें कि मनाने की पहल करना आपके पार्टनर के दिल को भरपूर सुकून पहुंचाएगा और आपसी प्रेम में और इजाफा ही होगा.
-रूठे हुए लाइफ पार्टनर को मनाने की पहल में देरी आपके रूखे व हठी व्‍यवहार को जाहिर करेगी, जो आगे चलकर रिश्‍ते में कड़वाहट घोलने का काम करेगा.
-अगर रूठने का सिलसिला हर दूसरे-तीसरे दिन शुरू हो जाए, तो इस बारे में अपने साथी को खुले दिमाग से समझाएं. हर मांगें मान लेने की आदत से भी कोई बड़ी समस्‍या खड़ी हो सकती है. 
-बेहतर तरीका तो यह है कि परिवार में कोई अहम निर्णय लेने से पहले न केवल अपने जीवनसाथ को पहले से जानकारी दे दें, बल्कि निर्णय लेने की प्रक्रिया में उन्‍हें भी भागीदार बनाएं. इससे जवाबदेही का बोध पैदा होता है, निर्णय लेने की क्षमता में भी पैनापन आता है. इसका एक फायदा यह भी है कि परिणाम चाहे जैसा भी हो, आत्‍मसंतुष्टि जरूर मिलती है.
तो अब देर किस बात की. हो जाइए तैयार रिश्‍ते में और भी ज्‍यादा मिठास घोलने के लिए...