Seniors: Safe Sex, Please

Senior Citizens are spreading STDs like wildfire according to statistics recently released from the CDC. Some might find the numbers shocking, especially those who might be surprised at the level of sexual activity among single seniors. According to the CDC, diseases like Syphilis and Chlamydia increased by 52 and 31 percent respectively from 2007 to 20011. This puts seniors in competition with young people between the ages of 20 and 24 in terms of the biggest increase in STDS. Young people in this age group had similar numbers in terms of increases in these types of illnesses.

The rate of STDs among seniors has been growing steadily for the last several years. In 2010, the CDC reported that rates of STDs in seniors had doubled from 2000 to 2010. They continued to increase after that report with rates being the highest  in the state of Florida.

Reasons for the increase may be connected to drug use, specifically use of erectile dysfunction drugs such as Viagra and Cialis. In 2010, a study showed that older men taking these types of medications had an STD rate that was double that of their counterparts who did not take medicines for erectile dysfunction.  Besides drug use, the fact that seniors are living longer with better health also contributes to their increased sexual activity.

Senior citizens are also far less likely to use condoms than are their younger counterparts. A study out of Massachusetts General Hospital found that men aged 50 and over were six times less likely to use condoms than men in their twenties. Despite the fact that STDs are becoming a major problem among the senior set, the CDC reports that a mere 5 percent of seniors are utilizing the free STD testing that is provided to them through Medicare.

Besides the statistics that prove senior citizens are spreading STDs like wildfire, there are also many anecdotal reports in the media of senior citizens living in retirement communities who enjoy a “college dorm” type of atmosphere. This issue has also been reflected in movies and television shows, often with comedic effect. However, STDs are no laughing matter. Besides the curable diseases like Syphilis and Chlamydia, life-threatening HIV is also on the rise in the senior demographic.

Seniors who live in assisted living centers or retirement communities aren’t getting the education they obviously need with regard to STDs and how to take preventative measures against contracting such diseases. The combination of access to drugs like Viagra and a lack of education on susceptibility to STDS is a perfect storm of danger for seniors who are still enjoying an active sex life.

Senior citizens are spreading STDs like wildfire and this issue shows no signs of abating anytime soon. STDs have been rising drastically in this community for at least the last 14 years and seem be continuing their upward trend despite a public service announcement about the problem, which was produced last year. It seems clear that more resources and educational opportunities are needed to stem the rising tide of STDs among senior citizens.

By: Rebecca Savastio

via Senior Citizens Spreading STDs Like Wildfire.

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Go to bed early. Have more sex.

More than 30 percent of adult Americans, about 60 million people, complain of difficulty sleeping. For about a quarter of these individuals, treatment begins with medication. This tells us two things. Sleep is a big problem and a big business.

So how does one of the most basic biological functions become so disordered? After all, what could be more natural than sleep?

The first thing you notice when digging into what we know about sleep is how little we understand. The function of sleep, a state that occupies one-third of our lives, remains unclear. Why is sleep necessary for our survival? Why do we dream?

Sure, we have made some connections by observing what happens to people who are sleep-deprived or perform shift work. Clearly, physical and cognitive function take a hit. Medical interns working on the night shift are twice as likely as others to misinterpret hospital test records that could endanger their patients.[1] The Exxon Valdez oil spill and the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl nuclear power plant accidents were attributed in part to the consequences of compromised night shift workers. We know memory and learning are impaired. Protein synthesis that produces the building blocks needed for cell growth and repair is markedly diminished.[2] But theses are crude observations, not understanding.

The second thing you realize, and this boggles the mind, is that almost everything we do know about human sleep has been learned in the last 50 years. Unfortunately, like the first beliefs in any discipline, many of the early theories about our sleep were wrong.

Until recently, humans were thought to be different from all other animals in having sleep that is consolidated into one continuous nocturnal episode. This notion of uniquely human sleep held sway until the early 1990s when Thomas Wehr, a sleep researcher at NIMH inadvertently stumbled on something that changed everything, or should have.[3]

Wehr selected healthy untroubled sleepers who were accustomed to 16-17 hour days and seven to eight hours of sleep, a routine that many of us live by or envy because we get less sleep. He exposed them to 10 hours of light and 14 hours of dark per day and watched what happened to their sleep. This ratio of light to dark (10:14) mimics the natural light of a typical winter day in a temperate climate. Initially, they slept for 11 hours per night, suggesting a chronic sleep deficit, and then settled into an average of 8.9 hours each night. By the fourth week Wehr saw something that wasn’t supposed to happen in humans. They all developed a sleep pattern characterized by two sleep sessions. Subjects tended to lie awake for one to two hours and then fall quickly asleep. After about four hours of solid sleep, they would awaken and spend one to two hours in a state of quiet wakefulness before a second four-hour sleep period.

This bimodal sleep has been observed in many other animals. One such creature turns out to be pre-industrial man. Only recently have anthropologists and historians scrutinized the sleep of other cultures, earlier centuries and prehistoric humans. In the remarkably informative At Day’s Close, Night in Times Past, Roger Ekirch unveils nocturnal life in the pre-industrial west.[4]

Drawing from a broad range of sources he found a trove of evidence documenting our history of bimodal sleep. Until the late 1700s, and the widespread use of artificial light, people retired to bed soon after sun down and entered what was called “first sleep.” They would awaken three or four hours later and enjoy a couple hours of quiet. During this time they often prayed, chatted about dreams and had sex. A French physician described this time between sleeps as a particularly good opportunity for sexual intimacy when couples “do it better” and have “more enjoyment.” The middle night interactions seem to have been essential for social cohesion.

This was followed by “second sleep” that again lasted three to four hours and ended with sunrise. In fact, a study of contemporary cultures across the globe reveals a wide spectrum of sleep habits.[5] Some anthropologists now speak of three sleep cultures: monophasic cultures (the West, where one consolidated sleep period dominates), siesta cultures (where one afternoon nap is added in the afternoon, the word siesta meaning the sixth hour) and polyphasic cultures (China, Japan, India where multiple naps throughout the day of varying lengths are the norm).

Researchers have replicated and expanded on Wehr’s work. Several studies have taken subjects to deep underground bunkers free of any artificial light in order to observe our internal clock’s rhythm. Again, they observe this biphasic pattern. Subjects sleep in two four-hour solid blocks separated by a couple hours of meditative quiet during which there is a remarkable surge of prolactin, unseen in modern humans. The participants report feeling so awake during the day that it is as if they experience true wakefulness for the first time.

So we find ourselves in a somewhat perverse situation. We have not evolved to naturally drift rapidly into one continuous nocturnal snooze. But according to the medical community and the pharmaceutical industry, if we don’t do this, we suffer from a sleep disorder that merits medicating. However, if you ask any sleep expert how some people seem to fall asleep quickly and sleep continuously for seven or eight hours they’ll say that such a sleep pattern is characteristic of chronic sleep deprivation.

We evolved in an environment of alternating light and darkness and developed internal clocks to manage in such conditions. Every known organism with two or more cells has an internal clock.[11] In this regard, we are not unique. It is our use of artificial light to extend our day and defy our natural rhythms that distinguishes humans. We have just begun to understand the consequences of this Promethean sin.

Sleep deprivation has been linked to obesity, hypertension, insulin resistance, cardiac disease, and compromised immune function.[6][7][8][9] In the same way that food products/supplements are replacing normal eating with dire health effects, sleep continues to be condensed by the 24/7 culture. The recent rapid growth of a new category of medications that promote wakefulness makes one wonder if sleep will soon be optional or ultimately obsolete.[1]

So what can you do?

The constraints of work schedules and family responsibilities make radical changes in sleep-wake timing difficult. Here are some guidelines:

1.Abandon the idea of going to bed for six to eight hours of sleep at night (unless this works for you).

2.Get a feel for what your sleep cycle looks like. If you wake up before you need to, get up. This is probably a natural cycle end. You will make up for lost nighttime sleep with a nap(s).

3.Napping Guidelines:

Timing: Afternoon (3-5 p.m.) — proven to provide more sleep efficiency, more slow-wave sleep, and less time to fall asleep.[12]

Duration: Optimally 10-20 minutes. People experience greater cognitive impairment due to sluggishness after a nap of 30 or more minutes than that due to sleep deprivation.

The full benefits of naps comes with habitual napping. Stick with it!

4. If possible, when you feel like reaching for that afternoon caffeine fix, take a nap.

via Paul Spector, M.D.: Why You Can\’t Sleep Through the Night.

10 Relationship Rules You Should Break

Although these are phrased in terms of marriage, the same would apply to any long term relationship:

The two of you should do everything together; work out every disagreement (without actually fighting); spend every night in the same bed; and never, ever be bored.

Say what?! These and other so-called “rules” for [relationships] need some serious debunking. And it’s not just because rules your mother may have passed on are outdated; some may be downright damaging. In fact, “breaking some [relationship] ‘rules’ may be the best thing you can do for your relationship,” says Barbara Bartlein, RN, MSW, psychotherapist and author of Why Did I Marry You Anyway? Here are 10 rules you can break with confidence.

[read them at Marriage Rules – Best Marriage Rules and Advice to Break – Woman’s Day.]

Love Addicts Anonymous

If you can answer yes to more than a few of the following questions, you are probably a love addict. Remember that love addiction comes in many forms, so even if you don’t answer yes to all of the questions you may still be a love addict.

You are very needy when it comes to relationships.

You fall in love very easily and too quickly.

When you fall in love, you can’t stop fantasizing—even to do important things. You can’t help yourself.

Sometimes, when you are lonely and looking for companionship, you lower your standards and settle for less than you want or deserve.

When you are in a relationship, you tend to smother your partner.

More than once, you have gotten involved with someone who is unable to commit—hoping he or she will change.

Once you have bonded with someone, you can’t let go.

When you are attracted to someone, you will ignore all the warning signs that this person is not good for you.

Initial attraction is more important to you than anything else when it comes to falling in love and choosing a partner. Falling in love over time does not appeal to you and is not an option.

When you are in love, you trust people who are not trustworthy. The rest of the time you have a hard time trusting people.

When a relationship ends, you feel your life is over and more than once you have thought about suicide because of a failed relationship.

You take on more than your share of responsibility for the survival of a relationship.

Love and relationships are the only things that interest you.

In some of your relationships you were the only one in love.

You are overwhelmed with loneliness when you are not in love or in a relationship.

You cannot stand being alone. You do not enjoy your own company.

More than once, you have gotten involved with the wrong person to avoid being lonely.

You are terrified of never finding someone to love.

You feel inadequate if you are not in a relationship.

You cannot say no when you are in love or if your partner threatens to leave you.

You try very hard to be who your partner wants you to be. You will do anything to please him or her—even abandon yourself (sacrifice what you want, need and value).

When you are in love, you only see what you want to see. You distort reality to quell anxiety and feed your fantasies.

You have a high tolerance for suffering in relationships. You are willing to suffer neglect, depression, loneliness, dishonesty—even abuse—to avoid the pain of separation anxiety (what you feel when you are not with someone you have bonded with).

More than once, you have carried a torch for someone and it was agonizing.

You love romance. You have had more than one romantic interest at a time even when it involved dishonesty.

You have stayed with an abusive person.

Fantasies about someone you love, even if he or she is unavailable, are more important to you than meeting someone who is available.

You are terrified of being abandoned. Even the slightest rejection feels like abandonment and it makes you feel horrible.

You chase after people who have rejected you and try desperately to change their minds.

When you are in love, you are overly possessive and jealous.

More than once, you have neglected family or friends because of your relationship.

You have no impulse control when you are in love.

You feel an overwhelming need to check up on someone you are in love with.

More than once, you have spied on someone you are in love with.

You pursue someone you are in love with even if he or she is with another person.

If you are part of a love triangle (three people), you believe all is fair in love and war. You do not walk away.

Love is the most important thing in the world to you.

Even if you are not in a relationship, you still fantasize about love all the time— either someone you once loved or the perfect person who is going to come into your life someday.

As far back as you can remember, you have been preoccupied with love and romantic fantasies.

You feel powerless when you fall in love—as if you are in some kind of trance or under a spell. You lose your ability to make wise choices.

via Love Addicts Anonymous.

Grandma Goes To Court

Grandma: There I was, sitting there in my swing on my front porch on a warm spring evening, when a young man comes creeping up on the porch and sat down beside me.

Defense Attorney: Did you know him?

Grandma: No, but he sure was friendly.

Defense Attorney: What happened after he sat down beside you?

Grandma: He started to rub my thigh.

Defense Attorney: Did you stop him?

Grandma: No, I didn’t stop him.

Defense Attorney: Why not?

Grandma: It felt good. Nobody had done that since my Abner passed away 30 years ago.

Defense Attorney: What happened next?

Grandma: He began to rub my breasts.

Defense Attorney: Did you stop him then?

Grandma: No, I did not stop him.

Defense Attorney: Why not?

Grandma: Why, Your Honor, his rubbing made me feel all alive and excited. I haven’t felt that good in years.

Defense Attorney: What happened next?

Grandma: Well, I was feeling so spicy that I just spread my old legs and said to him, “Take me, young man, Take me!”

Defense Attorney: Did he take you?

Grandma: Hell, no. That’s when he yelled, “April Fool!”…And that’s when I shot the son of a bitch!

via Grandma Goes to Court.

How do you want your steak cooked?

It’s no wonder so many couples are sexually frustrated. If you can’t talk about what turns you on, then you can’t expect your lover to read your mind. After all, you wouldn’t dream of not telling a waiter how you like your steak cooked because you don’t want to ruin a good piece of meat, then why would you risk the demise of a good relationship by not talking about what you want in bed?

The best solution that I’ve found for overcoming any inhibition is to simply face it. It is my belief that you will always have regrets if you don’t overcome obstacles. A life with regrets is a life that has not fully been realized, experienced and enjoyed. If you can shed your inhibitions with the one you love, you will find a much stronger connection in your relationship. On the same note, if you can shed your inhibitions with yourself, you will have the opportunity to discover and explore parts of you that you may never have known existed.

Breaking Down the Walls

Becoming totally open and aware of your likes and dislikes is the first step to breaking down inhibition walls that may be standing in your way of experiencing complete intimate gratification. It can also help you to trust yourself and others on a level that maybe you have never imagined. When you know yourself and feel confident in what you expect of yourself and others, doors you may have never even known were there can open. Once new doors open, you then have more choices and the opportunity to expand your personal horizons.

Every day we wake up and most of us have a daily routine that we are used to and essentially play out as if it were the script to our life. Although this script has become our comfort zone, is one that we have memorized and followed, when we are engrossed in that routine it can pigeonhole us and in some cases rob us of a life filled with adventure, intrigue, and experience. Part of discovering and releasing inhibitions can offer an opportunity for to veer off that beaten path and just for a while escape from an everyday redundant routine. This is your chance to write your own script through direct knowledge of what makes you feel happy and excited. Break down the walls of predictability, make some positive changes and empower yourself because you are in control.

Boundaries

Boundaries empower us to determine how we’ll be treated by others so define your sexual and emotional boundaries by limiting what is safe and appropriate for you sexually and emotionally. For example, a sexual boundary could be that you don’t have intercourse on a first date and you never have intercourse without a condom. An emotional boundary could be that you never say, “I love you” to someone unless you really mean it. Boundaries also include who we interact with sexually and the consequences of that interaction both of which are your choices. Having boundaries can bring order to our lives and as we have a clear vision of our boundaries we can overcome our inhibitions too.

Just like inhibitions, boundaries are formed early on and we learn about them by the way that we are treated. We can teach our boundaries to others by refusing to hug someone, refusing to go all the way sexually or refusing to be emotionally abused by someone who is calling us names and being disrespectful. Once you allow someone to step over your personal boundaries, this is called boundary violation and it can become an endless cycle of emotional and physical pain. Consequently, I encourage everyone to set their own boundaries through self-awareness and knowledge. Here are some tips on how to accomplish that:

  • Be aware of what arouses you
  • Be knowledgeable about your body and its biological changes
  • Give yourself permission to surrender to pleasure because you are worthy of it
  • Take responsibility for your own orgasm; don’t expect someone to give it to you
  • Share your sexual turn ons with your lover
  • Communicate your wants, needs, desires and fears with your lover
  • Share your fantasies with your lover

via How To Overcome Inhibitions and Revel in Sexual Intimacy | Intent BlogIntent Blog.