Is there a link between depression and masturbation?

Does masturbation cause depression?

Masturbation doesn’t cause depression despite many times throughout history where that was believed. It was once believed that ‘nocturnal pollutions’ could make you mad, blind or insane.

Nowadays we know that’s been disproved and we understand that masturbation or self pleasuring or solo sex can help someone understand their body and sexual response, boost theirs self esteem and help them feel good.

If someone feels shame or guilt around self pleasuring it’s more likely it’s their culture or religion that has negative views about masturbation that’s making them feel terrible rather than the act itself.

The benefits of solo sex

Masturbation can help you have a much better nights sleep because after orgasm your body is flooded with delicious feel good hormones such as endorphins, dopamine and oxytocin.

Studies have found that women who have never or just don’t self pleasure themselves are less sexually satisfied in their marriages. Learning to give yourself pleasure and orgasms on your own can very often mean you will find it easier to orgasm with your partner and have more enjoyable sex.

There might also be a connection between self pleasuring yourself and having a bigger sex drive. Researchers found that women who regularly engaged in solo sex have a much bigger sex drive than women who don’t masturbate.

Orgasms get you out of your head and into your body and can almost be used in a meditative way.

Combining solo sex with tantra breathing meditation can fill you full of sexual and creative energy and help you to feel aligned with your life’s purpose. I show you how to do this at my retreats.

How does depression impact your libido?

Depression can make one lose interest in usual things that they perhaps once loved or found interesting. It can make one lose interest in sex or solo sex and as it reduces their overall energy can reduce their sexual energy and libido.

If you’re in a relationship and you’re feeling very depressed and noticed your sex drive has become very reduced it’s important to keep that connection and intimacy going with your partner or partners. Choose ways to do that like cuddling and spending one on one time together that make you feel close.

Certain anti-depressants can reduce your sex drive too and you should definitely talk to your Doctor or a sex therapist if you notice this is happening.

Do men think about sex every seven seconds?

easton-oliver-586251-unsplash.jpg

This urban myth has been around a long time! When I was a teenager, I remember being told that men thought about sex every seven seconds as if it was as an accepted fact like the sky is blue.

If men really do think about sex every seven seconds, then that’s seven or eight thousand thoughts about sex a day! The myth doesn’t hold up when you look into all the many research studies done on this topic.

This every seven seconds idea really supports the culturally constructed idea that all men are obsessed with sex all the time. It lumps all men into a sexually homogeneous group with this uniform sexual energy.

This myth ties into all the many stereotypes about male sexuality. Male sexuality isn’t as simple or uniform as people like to believe.

Male sexuality changes with age, relationship status and emotional and physical health.

This cultural idea that men think about sex every few seconds simply isn’t true and it’s very much over estimated. The research can’t agree on how many times a day anyone thinks about sex because there’s just such a huge variation.

One research study found that young men on average thought about sex 19 times a day. This was a fraction more than young women on average thought about sex in a day (ten times) but they also discovered men thought about sleep and food more than women too. Researchers concluded that men are more needs based than women.

Other researchers found that men and women’s sexual thoughts were of about equal amounts during the day.

Another study found that 16 year old young men thought about sex every five minutes not every seven seconds.  Men in their 40’s thought about sex every half an hour. These sexual thoughts kept decreasing as their age increased.

The Kinsey Report discovered that 4% of men under the age of 60 think about sex only once a month, 43%  of men think about sex a few times a month or a week and 54% have at least one sexual thought a day or more.

As men age they have less sex than when they were younger. Sexual thoughts and desires fluctuate depending on your overall energy and wellbeing.

How many times you think about sex a day has more to do with you as an individual than what sex you are. It also has to do more with how you feel in your body and your sexuality than your genitals.

Researchers found that some men and women thought about sex a hundred times or more a day. They also found some men and women only thought about sex a few times a day.

If someone is dealing with sexual addictive or compulsive behaviours then it’s also more down to a whole host of complex reasons that aren’t necessarily related to their genitals.  Sexual compulsive behaviours are due to an inability to cope with stress, biochemical reasons or growing up in a dysfunctional family or surviving childhood sexual assault. People with sexually addictive traits use sex in the same way a drug addict uses drugs- to avoid unpleasant feelings or stress from work etc.

So there you have it. Men do not think about sex every seven seconds! Myth busted!

Photography- Oliver Easton

Why asking questions about sex is important.

pexels-photo-1278620

I’m still very concerned by how GP’s in Australia receive minimal or no training in sexual health.

GP’s in Australia don’t receive any training about how to discuss sex and sexual health with their patients.

Sexual health is intergral to our well being and it needs to be seen as an essential part of our mental and physical health.

GP’s often assume their patients are sexually active because they don’t want to ask them that question. A lot of the time that assumption is wrong.

There’s a lot of couples counsellors out there who have no sexual health training at all. A lot of them also don’t have any training in working with couples where domestic violence and abuse might be present.

You can’t operate in a sexless vacuum. It’s there and medical and mental health professionals need to have adequate training in sexual health.

It’s not true that if you repair the relationship that sex will automatically start flowing again.

It’s also not true that you can wait for a couple to bring up sexual issues with a therapist. Often they might want to but won’t, hence the need for therapists with sexual health training who will ask the right questions and not shy away from topics about sex and intimacy.

Asking patients questions about their sexual health is crucial for understanding their medical history.

The more uncomfortable the question is, often the more important it is to ask.

Why you shouldn’t steam your vagina

averie-woodard-114293-unsplash

Wowee! Look what fell off the latest snake oil sales truck. STEAMING YOUR EXTERNAL GENITALIA!

Gwyneth Paltrow has come out with the idea that steaming one’s vagina can give women energy, “detox” your uterus (PURLEASE!) and balance their hormones!

It’s also been called, “v-steaming, vaginal steam baths and yoni steaming” and some women pay over a hundred bucks to go to a special salon and sit without their pants  on above a pot of boiling water for up to an hour.

Look, I love my vegetables steamed but not my vulva! And I love mugwort tea and understand how good these herbs are for you-I’ve used moxa sticks before and really enjoyed them but steaming your vagina has no evidence it works!

Steaming your lady garden seems like another wonderful way to supposedly treat non-existent female sexual issues. The history of humankind is full of these!

I’m quite annoyed by the long list of supposed “problems” this vag smoking can “solve.” I wanted to rip out my hair reading some of them because they’re not problems! Apparently it cures the “nasty vag odour!”

Steaming the outside of your external genitalia can also apparently  cure stomach problems, infertility, hemorrhoids, uterine fibroids, prolapse and ovarian cysts

There is no benefit to steam cleaning your vagina or vulva!

Vaginas don’t need to be warmed up or be exposed to steam.

Your vagina isn’t like your throat leading to your lungs! Your vagina won’t respond in the same way your chest might clear up when you have a cold and you put your head over a bowl of hot, steaming water.

Vaginas are pretty dam clever at keeping themselves healthy.

Vaginas are self cleaning organs with specific pH levels that vary throughout the monthly cycle of a pre menopausal woman.

The vagina isn’t a gaping hole that leads straight to the uterus for steam to get into! At the top of the vagina at the neck of the cervix is a particularly clever plug of mucus that changes throughout the monthly cycle. This plug keeps out bacteria and keeps sperm alive at fertile times in the cycle.

The idea that steaming your vulva can balance hormones is pretty funny and illogical! Women make hormones in their ovaries and the pituitary gland and hypothalamus in the brain. It’s a complex balancing cycle.

Sure, use the herbs they’re suggesting but not in a vaginal steam,  use them in a healthy herbal tea instead!

There’s no scientific evidence that vaginal steaming works. The only evidence is anecdotal and it may relieve stress in exactly the same way as having a nice warm bath does.

Try drinking mugwort in a tea, doing a meditation or using a hot water bottle instead.

I’m so concerned women might burn their vulva or give themselves thrush or other vaginal infections by exposing themselves to this steaming process.

And for the women paying huge amounts of money to sit on a throne in a spa treatment centre and have their vulvas steamed, are they actually opening up their vulva so the steam goes up into their vagina? Or does the steam just go towards the closed lips of the vulva? Does the vulva need to have its hair removed for the process to work?

This reminds me about how douching your vagina is bad news and you should not do it! Douching removes the good bacteria that maintains the healthy balance in your vagina.

Yeast loves the nice warm environment that steam will provide.

“We don’t know the effect of steam on the lower reproductive tract, but the lactobacilli strains that keep vaginas healthy are very finicky about their environment and raising the temperature with steam and whatever infrared nonsense Paltrow means is likely not beneficial and is potentially harmful. Some strains of lactobacilli are so hard to cultivate outside of this the very specific vaginal environment that growing them in a lab is next to impossible. There is also the possibility that the “steam” from these plants could contain volatile substances that are harmful to lactobacilli or other aspects of the vaginal ecosystem.”

Dr. Jen Gunter

Yes vaginal steam baths may have a long history in certain countries but as you can see how it’s used in Africa and  that’s not necessarily a good thing.

In many African cultures, vaginal steaming is used to dry out the vagina because the belief is that with less vaginal secretions the sex is more enjoyable for the man. This also leads to higher rates of STI’s and HIV.

“In many African cultures, plants and other intravaginal desiccants are used to minimise vaginal secretions. This practice, known as ‘dry sex’, creates a vagina that is dry, tight, and heated, which is supposed to generate an increased sensation for the man during intercourse. Although this is uncomfortable and painful, African women express the need to please their husbands with dry sex in order to keep them from leaving and to minimise the number of girlfriends (Baleta, 1998; Kun, 1998). Previous research has shown that dry sex damages the epithelium of the vagina and can lead to lacerations, inflammations, and the suppression of the vagina’s natural bacteria, all of which increase the likelihood of infection with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV (Brown et al., 1993; Runganga and Kasule, 1995; Kun, 1998; McClelland et al., 2006).
As both men and women highly appreciate dry sex, education and awareness programmes should discuss the risks of genital steam baths and encourage safe methods, such as avoiding contact bleeding during intercourse by means of a ‘good warming up’ and promoting the use of condoms (Terborg, 2001).

So please don’t steam your vagina. Yes, pamper and self care! Yes, take time out and worship and love your body! Yes drink mugwort tea!  But please don’t steam your sensitive vulva!

And PLEASE for heavens sake! Don’t do something with your sensitive nether regions just because a celebrity does it!