Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday's FYI: Sexplanations, the Science Behind Sex

By Lindsey Palmer & Nicole Yorio

You know that sex makes you feel closer to your guy, that stilettos are totally hot, and that hitting the sheets together feels completely different from satisfying yourself solo — but have you ever wondered why?

Lucky for you, author Jena Pincott sifted through hundreds of scientific studies in order to explain what's behind these and other sexy truths in her new book, Do Gentlemen Really Prefer Blondes? Read on for the answers to three burning questions.

Why do I like and trust him more after sex? You can thank your hormones for this one. "When you cuddle, kiss, or have sex, your body's oxytocin production kicks in," says Pincott. "This so-called hug drug helps you feel closer and more connected by suppressing activity in the part of your brain that processes fear and dampening the production of stress hormones." Orgasm leads to a particularly strong surge of oxytocin. "And because estrogen enhances the effects of oxytocin and we women have much higher estrogen levels than men, we're more likely to experience this touching-leads-to-trusting phenomenon," says Pincott.

Why are high heels sexy?
The stuff you strut is more sensual when you're up on your toes, says Pincott: "Heels force your pelvis to tilt so that both your rear end and chest stick out." One study showed that leg lengths 5 percent longer than average are the most attractive, so for most women, a 1.5- to 3-inch heel would create the ideal leg length. "This attraction might be evolutionary, because long legs are associated with better long-term health, which would appeal to a mate," says Pincott. "Plus, much like a peacock flaunts his feathers, which are really quite heavy and a nuisance, a woman teetering in heels can show off her fitness and coordination."

Why is intercourse more satisfying than masturbation?Good sex engages your body and senses (not to mention your emotions) more deeply than masturbation, so it stimulates the production of higher levels of dopamine, the horniness hormone. Now, stay with us here: After orgasm, dopamine levels plummet and another hormone, prolactin, skyrockets to take dopamine's place. "Prolactin is what gives you that feeling of satiety — and the more dopamine you had in your bloodstream during sex, the more prolactin rushes in to replace it afterward," says Pincott. "In fact, prolactin levels are a full 400 percent higher in people when they've just had sex than when they've masturbated." Another one of prolactin's effects you might have noticed: Post-coitus, it puts your partner right to sleep!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Appointments to Make and Keep

As we adjust to the realities of our 'new normal' some of us are as busy as ever, while others are finding more time on their hands. As we strive to restructure our lives, I'd like to propose a list of must-keep appointments to make and keep.

1. Date night. If you're single, this applies to you too. Each week (or if that's not feasible, bi-monthly or even monthly), set aside time for you to romance yourself or your loved one. During these trying times, maintaining intimacy and treating yourself to special moments is paramount to keeping your spirits high.

2. Weekly check-in. Pencil in time each week for an 'I'm okay, you're okay" check-in with your family--be it spouse and kids, parents or siblings. Take the time to make sure you're up-to-speed on the happenings in the lives of the people you love.

3. A visit with Mother Nature. Now that spring is upon us, set aside time each day to commune with nature. Allowing some daily preoccupation with all you hear, see, taste, smell and touch is one way to stay in touch with gratitude and joy.

4. Girl Time. Factor in a little girl time at least once a month. As I have said so often, other women make us better at who we are, so block off a little time to get together with your best friend or friends to lend or receive a little love, laughter and support.

5. Doctor's Office. Good health is sexy. Schedule those appointments you've been putting off. Dental, GYN, annual physical, mammography. Ain't nothing hot about being broke down.

The lesson here? You really are in control of your time, so as the slogan of my mother's group, Mothers Off Duty, proclaims: "Put yourself on the list of people you take care of."

What do you think?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Pull on Your Big Girl Panties

Last night I was celebrating a friend's birthday with a few of my girls. Can I tell you, instead of cocktails it should have been a whine and cheese party. Boy did our conversation cover the gamut. Between strawberry/watermelon martinis, we discussed the bad economy and its impact on everything from our livelihoods, our kid's educations, our relationships and most importantly our attitudes about the future.

You know, alcohol really can be a depressant and sometimes the whole misery loves company thing is way more destructive than productive. For more than an hour our celebration became a pity party and frankly it wasn't fun. The suggestion that we stopped talking about all the negativity and adopt a more positive attitude was shot own by someone who said she could no longer pretend to act positive when everything seemed to be going to hell in a hand basket and she felt anything but. Her argument was that feigning positivity and ignoring reality was just as destructive, if not more, as wallowing in self-pity.

She's right. There is a balance to be struck in order to find a middle ground that is realistically optimistic. And part of striking that balance is the realization that this is one of those times when we need to pull on our big girl panties and realistically deal with the hand we've been dealt while at the same time recognizing that this too shall pass and we will recover.

There is a Japanese proverb that says: Find opportunity in crisis. Maybe the key here is not to feign positivity but instead to find the real thing by embracing the idea that there are times in our lives when we have no other choice but to step back and reevaluate our situations and how we are living our lives. Yes, it's different and adjustment is necessary but there are positives coming out of the new reality. Most of us can no longer afford to buy our way into satisfaction and pleasure. Instead we are eating more dinners at home than out at fancy restaurants. Taking more staycations than vacations. Spending more nights on the couch than on the town. We are being forced to 'find joy where we stand' and more times than not we are standing at home with friends and family. Yes, our lives may indeed be changing but a new norm is presenting itself and it's not all bad. In fact, in many ways it's looking pretty damn good.

So ladies, this is one of those times when being a grown up sucks, but you'll get through this (and by the way, embracing your sensuality is one joyful way to do so...more on this later), and after some reconfiguring and rebuilding, you'll be back stronger and more fabulous than ever.

What do you think?

PS. Of course, even in these trying times your big girl panties should match your bra!

Monday, March 2, 2009

February Poll Results

Here are the poll results for last month's question: Who is it easier to talk about sex with?

50% said their girlfriends

42% said their husbands or lover

7% said they don't talk about sex at all

0% said their children

Kudos to those of you who are owning your sexual selves and sharing with your partners your thoughts, fantasies, doubts and delights.

For those of you who can talk to your girls but not your man, I'd suggest to you that while it's helpful to have the support from sisterfriends, you'll never fully own your sexual selves and until you do, your desire will always remain unfulfilled.

And for those who find it difficult to speak with their children, remember that their sexual values, opinions and hang ups will be shaped by someone--friends, the media, future partners. Shouldn't you have a hand in the process?

Come on! Go talk about sex, baby!