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The Cozy Spot



21 posts categorized "health"

July 03, 2008

The Aftermath of the Sexual Revolution?

Sixties free love and swinging Seventies fun has probably led to a penalty decades after the popularity of oral sex. The latest research on the link between HPV and oral sex is a shocker. Throat cancer is usually associated with other behaviors, smoking being the most common, but I'm betting that a high proportion of adults don't consider the oral sex factor.

Taken from the Chicago Tribune, and syndicated around the world (currently on the SMH)

Recent increases in HPV-positive throat cancers may be an aftershock of changes in sexual behaviour that began decades ago. A landmark 1994 study of sexual behaviour showed that oral sex had become common only in the generations born in the 1950s or later. Fewer than 60 per cent of people born in the 1930s were found to have had oral sex, compared with more than 80 per cent of people born since 1950.

Other factors may have helped spread HPV cancers, including the increased movement of people in the past 50 years, experts said. Scientists aren't sure whether the virus is spread by kissing, though data suggest oral sex is a leading route of transmission.

It's enough to make anyone paranoid. It's certainly enough to make me paranoid because if I tally the instances where oral sex was a part of my life - sans condom - it's an alarming thing. The chances of contracting HIV via fellatio is low, or so was the idea many years ago. It's only after HIV became a high priority disease that I altered my own behavior, but that doesn't rule out what came before.

The other social trend that has become more apparent in Australia is the rise of STD's among Generation Y. There are STD's that aren't detected by the individual. It is the sort of story that makes one wonder what type of sexual education teenagers are receiving in schools and raises the question about sex education at home. The Sydney Morning Herald discusses the surprise a young woman received when she was diagnosed with HSV (Herpes Simplex Virus). Her boyfriend was tested for other viruses, but not HSV. She wasn't aware she had it, and HSV can be a silent virus for some. A person may not break out in cold sore like symptoms, they may experience tingling or itchiness that may be active for a short phase, and they may ignore it rather than have it checked out by a GP. The increase of STD's among Generation Y indicates that sex education is missing in popular reading materials - popular print magazines and the like and even though there is so much information online, a proportion of people don't consult online sexual resources - that are updated more frequently than magazines like Cosmopolitan or Cleo (in Australia), or other magazines that supposedly provide 'educational' articles.

"The people most affected by the dramatic rise are Generation Y, those in their late teens and 20s. Doctors estimate that one in ten people in this age group have a a sexual infection.

The alarming rise is largely because young people are having sex earlier, and with more partners than any previous generation. Condom use, while widespread, is inconsistent."

The rise of STD's will no doubt affect places that are currently focusing on abstinence, and abstinence is interesting because it can focus on intercourse, leaving the door open for experimentation with unprotected oral sex, which - according to current sex research - can expose a person to HPV. Inconsistent condom usage is a concern. Why is condom usage inconsistent in our society and is it related to second guessing? Do we have a tendency to be more relaxed about condom usage based on the frequency of sex with the same partner, even though we know the relationship isn't exclusive? Does the lack of condom usage in porn films influence society on some level? When adult film stars offer the usual excuses, 'we are always tested' or 'we are tested monthly,' does it make it okay? I'll say it sure doesn't, not when there have been documented accounts of adult actors contracting STI's such as HIV in the last three years. There is no singular reason behind inconsistent condom usage, but it's happening.

The sexual revolution of the late Sixties and Seventies is a significant event, but when one factors in present day sexual inconsistencies, one cannot help questioning our own evolution. Haven't we learned anything? If we really view the sexual revolution of then, and assess it honestly, we'd see its ignorance. The very people who lobbied for a sexual revolution didn't stop to consider social health or health practices. Many who promoted it weren't well versed in sexual health and saying 'but HIV didn't exist back then,' is no excuse when basic human hygiene and health was a given in the 20th Century. Although the era of the sexual revolution is viewed as revolutionary or innovative, it was also an ignorant era. Ideals outweighed realities and most ideals were ego vehicles. If one can catch glandular fever from kissing, or catch a common cold from intimate contact, then logic follows that there is a chance of catching some form of sexually transmitted disease (virus or infection). But that era was very lax. People were stupidly dependent on the other medical revolution - anti-biotics. Pregnancy was the only significant disaster. After all, syphilis and gonorrhea could be treated with anti-biotics, but even when Herpes entered the seen and became more prevalent, people didn't really freak out about it.

Revolutions, any kind, are interesting social phenomena. All revolutions are led by high profile individuals, and they tend to be ego driven: led by a small group or an individual who proclaims to know the missing link to happiness, prosperity, fairness, egalitarianism, and other similar things. History has shown that most figureheads behind popular social revolutions, or successful social revolutions (like the sexual revolution, and industrial revolution) are ignorant. Those who are qualified, based on experience and worldly experience never make it through (e.g. Che Guevara: well traveled, first hand experience with poverty and social disparity, qualified physician who spoke up and was killed because of his stance), but the frou-frou feminists** , with their arts degrees prospered, but the sexual diseases remain, and many new links (HPV and throat cancer) are being discovered decades after their sexual revolution.

**white middle class feminists: how many African American, Hispanic, Asian or other feminists wrote books in the Sixties and Seventies? First and Second wave feminism is dominated by 'white' middle class women.

May 07, 2008

The Big Butt is Back!

I never thought I'd live to see the day when big butts were celebrated for health benefits. Harvard researchers have arrived at a conclusion that many of us big butt folk already know - that big butts don't kill and aren't the end of civilized society.

Now the only thing left is for pedantic fashion designers to get it through their airy-fairy heads.

April 12, 2008

Bigger isn't Better for Men

Men are confident about their bodies and women aren’t. All these studies, where is the time? I’m amazed I keep up, even though I lose track of when, where and which topic.

Yet another new study has come to light and it is one that states Australian men have difficulty recognizing extra kilograms, but I think that the results could be replicated all over the world because guys aren’t pressured to fit into teeny tiny jeans, have boob jobs or go on relentless diets. The majority of Jenny Craig spokespeople are females. The average weight loss counselor at Weight Watchers is almost always female, and it is easy for women to freak out about the extra kilogram and notice it. Dare I say there are also women who imagine extra kilograms?

I’ve lost count of the times I’ve seen male friends rub their extra tire like it is Mt Everest, a gold nugget or the most mystical phenomenon to mankind.
“Yeah, look at this!” For the comment to be followed by an audible pat and jiggle. I’ve never seen women do the same. Women don’t do the full hand grab of their ass and say ‘phwoarrrrrr will you look at my chunky ass!”

Women are much better at recognizing weight gain because of media imagery, erratic dress sizes and a bunch of other things, like celebrity ‘yummy mummies’ dropping ten dress sizes in the first fortnight after childbirth.

Men don’t have to look fantastic. Jeez, take one look at Donald Trump. The concept of youth, or youthful limbs, tight butts and flat/hard abs are targeted toward women. The most recent fashion controversy toJagaciak_lead_narrowweb__300x3890 hit Australian Fashion Week involves, 14 year old model, Monica Jagaciak. Australian Vogue eventually dropped her from its cover after finding out her age, but fashion editors were still open to 16 year old models. Yes, 16 year old models modeling clothes for women. 16 year old girls aren’t women and their bodies are contrary to a grown woman’s body. Does one often see 16 year old boys modeling clothes for men over the age of 30? Is it realistic to even have a 16 year old model in a women’s magazine? Few have womanly breasts. Few have hips, many are beanpoles and yet to develop, and they model clothes that the average 16 year old cannot afford, and don’t resemble the average woman, so many women try to emulate the ‘look’ that rarely comes to pass.

Don't get me wrong, Monica Jagaciak (even though the Harpers Bazaar cover is awkward) is attractive, but she isn't a woman and yet the makeup artists age her to make her look like a woman but it still doesn't cut the mustard.

April 01, 2008

The Other Pill

Some people call it sexual dysfunction, whereas I call it sexual minimalism. I’ve said it before, or I think I have, that I need to add ‘orgasm’ to my daily organizer, because when I put my head on the pillow at night I simply nod off, or if I do decide on solo action, I feel like the track that governs arousal has been  shut off or redirected. As for where it is directed, I do not know.

Pill_2 I recently completed my first month on Zoloft and I’d be really interested to find out how other people have felt on it, and how they dealt with the libido fluctuation while on it. I don’t find it disastrous at this point, but if I were in a relationship I am not sure how it would all pan out. At the present time I’ve had to make a list of pros and cons, and so far the pros have outweighed the cons; the stress and work related anxiety I was experiencing up until January have been minimized while on this drug. I’d like to go along with the current view that sex or orgasm cures all ills, psychological or otherwise, but I have found this not to be true for myself.

Prior, I would be quite an active masturbator. It’s what people do when they’re not in relationships. It isn’t a sin, it isn’t abnormal, it’s just something that is, and even though I was quite active in that sense, it still wasn’t adequate in balancing out any stress and I don’t think a full blown sexual relationship would have made a difference with the anxiety that I was carrying around.  And one only needs to enter that dark place, where anger is inverted, and regurgitated as anxiety, to know how it is and how it can affect almost everything else, including relationships and sexual intimacy. So sex (or orgasm, despite the endorphin release) isn’t a panacea most of the time.

It is not as though I’m incapable of any sexual activity, but Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors work by preventing Serotonin re-uptake. This neurotransmitter is related to the feel-good factor, and drugs like Zoloft act to enable it to hang around longer. It isn’t like being in a state of arousal or low key arousal all day, and more like being content with the current state of things. I can have a mental pleasure ride, it’s just that it doesn’t frequently translate to a complete orgasm down south. Ironically enough, this doesn’t cause any anguish.

Anyway, I’d like to hear about others’ experiences, because I feel that it is a significant sexual issue. I read that more than 20 million scripts for Zoloft have been issued in the United States alone, and so I think that many people have had to make that choice.

March 30, 2008

Ask Your Dentist

How many would kiss a person with halitosis? How many  know if they have halitosis? How important is the mouth to your sex life? I think it's very important. The time I had to have a root canal, I almost had an ulcer because I had to wait a week before I started treatment, and in the meantime I was popping codeine like a crazed junkie to stop the irritation. Having a sex life would have been out of the question.

Dentists don't discuss sexual health, or the importance of oral health to sex. This article, titled "What Every Dentist (and dental patient)  Should Know About Sex" talks about a free e-book written by a dentist. It is a fantastic gesture, considering most dentists charge an arm and leg.

Dental appointments aren't my favorite thing and I don't know if that is strictly related to the personality of some of the dentist's I've visited or the sometime hilarious amounts they charge, or how I always get a guilt trip each time ("You shouldn't drink that much coffee, and you shouldn't smoke!").

The biggest oral challenge in my life though, has to be giving oral while wearing braces. I couldn't believe that the guy didn't mind. I think I was more scared. I kept on thinking about possible scraps and cuts. He just lay back and enjoyed the ride, completely nonchalant about my metal mouth!

March 29, 2008

Skin & Other Habits

Some of the world’s most beautiful women, and by that I mean those who are branded as such by media, magazines and whoever else, have unhealthy habits.

Prize quote here, from Elle Macpherson, relates to solar tanning (not fake tan): “I tan safely.”

I am not sure what the weather is like in Europe, but saying something like “I tan safely” in Australia, a place with the highest incidence of skin cancer, is like telling a PETA rep that you like eating filet mignon rare. One of the people who made tans fashionable was French fashion designer Coco Chanel. In Chanel’s era, all women were lily white, and she wanted to start a new trend; innovative for her women’s suits and pants, she went further and started sporting a tan. Also, in Chanel’s time (and before), tans weren’t considered a ‘classy’ feature.

For me, when I was much younger, tanning was the be all and end all; I’d compare with friends after a day at the beach, and at night we’d all be taking turns to rub aloe vera into our skin for some sleep and peace of mind. After five years of topless sunbathing, I found a mole under my breast, and had I not been breastfeeding at the time I would not have noticed it. It was off to the doctor for me, for him to cut out the small mole for the pathologist, and a week of being on tenterhooks, the result came back and I was told to stay out of the sun and that I was lucky, “ had it enlarged, it could have been worse.” I grew out of tanning at that time; I had a new baby, I had no time to go to the beach and didn’t live near the beach. Making an hour long trip, with a small baby, to the beach on a hot summer’s day was silly, and the mole scared the crap out of me.

All these trends do prompt the health and sex appeal question: are bad habits sexy, because many bad habits that are associated with the ‘beautiful’ aren’t really great habits, and over the years they have been scientifically proven to have mortal complications. I remember watching one of those Hollywood expose shows once, and cameras spotted Goldie Hawn sneaking a cigarette. It wasn’t something she was doing out on the street, but the cameras spotted her, and it was go-go-go. Hawn had her people with her and they shielded her from the cameras.

Also when a habit commences during a time where the habit is socially approved, and the habit becomes a part of a person’s life, cessation becomes difficult. How many stars enter rehab? How many everyday people enter gambler’s anonymous.

Sex, Cigarettes & Futility

*Disclaimer: This video here does contain smoking, but I don't have them here to promote it (so readers have the option to not watch), only to emphasize how sex or sensual imagery is used flaunt/advertise smoking, and the person who created the video has put it together in a good way - to emphasize the negatives.

~~

Anything can be considered a fetish. I once dated a man who loved to watch me…
Smoking.

"I like watching you draw on the cigarette, the way your cheeks hollow out a little when you drag it in, and your lips pressed against the filter."

This surprised me because smoking is one of the least sexual things for me, and I can't classify it as a sexy thing but I could see his view - it was the oral view, or the association he made between smoking and 'oral' anything. I can see how the habit falls into the Freudian oral fixation, because it does involve placing something in the mouth on a regular basis, but I didn't start smoking to be sexual, erotic, alluring or a femme fatale.

I was 9 when I tried it, living in the dilapidated and piss stained public housing tenements in Waterloo (near Redfern), and all the kids did something to either rebel or pass the time. In 1979 and 1980 there were never any detailed warnings on the packets; my mother smoked, and I'd often be sent on errands to buy her cigarettes. There were no laws preventing me, as a minor, back then. When my friend knocked at my door and said, "I've got something but you can't tell anyone," all my curiosity blossomed.
"What is it, what?" I asked, eager to see the new secret. I told my mother I was going to the downstairs park to play, and my friend and I headed off to the vacant block across from our building. She stole a couple of cigarettes from her mother –her mother smoked. In fact, many women did.

Continue reading "Sex, Cigarettes & Futility" »

March 29, 2007

Springs, Sex & Scenes

I retrieved my x-ray today, and stood at the bus stop waiting, for what seemed like forever. Bugger it, I thought, and ripped open the envelope. I wanted to jump up for joy, everything was clear, which meant no nasties in my chest, but it didn’t explain the soreness in my left side. The doctor, on my return, asked me if I’d injured myself lately. Hardly likely, I thought, and she told me to take painkillers until it subsided. Housemate expressed his own conclusions:

‘Your bloody bed is old, and the springs dig into your chest as you sleep. Get rid of it!’

As for my blood pressure, I almost keeled over. I asked my GP for tips on elevating it back to what it used to be, what felt like eons ago, and she advised me to do ‘what people with high blood pressure aren’t allowed to do.’

- add salt to my food and ncorporate more physical exercise into my life (something that I haven’t been doing because gyms are just over the top, and I’m a crap jogger)

Now sex would be good exercise, but not in my bed. I’d have to take out public liability insurance if I wanted to invite anyone in my bed. It, according to housemate, is ‘dangerous, and it’s amazing you haven’t been stabbed in the chest by those fucking springs!’ He exaggerates. It’s not like they’ll spring forth, and kill me.

~~~

Speaking of sex, and futures, the concept of futuristic sex is an interesting one considering the current attitudes that are circulating about, the various extremes. From one end there’s abstinence, which is like stepping into another era, possibly reverting to the Fifties, and then there are the libertine elements that appear on various websites and blogs, all of which express flagrant sexuality, the polar opposite of the current Abstinence Movement. The question though: How will sexual attitudes be shaped? What kind of sexual approaches will humans make twenty years from now? Will sex be more relaxed or more controlled?

Alex from AlexSuze story The Assessor on Scenes explores the future and also introduces an interesting term in his fictional story: chemical normalisation. Check it out.

If you want to explore the erotic, and post stories in Scenes, email me.

March 28, 2007

On Stupidity...

Waiting for test results of a serious nature is stressful. There are fourteen hours remaining until I pick up the results of my chest x-ray, and the feeling is similar to the one I experienced following a HIV test I had a few years ago, after an unsafe sexual encounter.

I’m not sure if sex, or any pastime, is worth dying for. I actually don’t think that’s the case. When Annabel Chong said that sex is worth dying for, in The Annabel Chong Story, I immediately thought, ‘you’ve got to be kidding me,’ and didn’t really see her as any kind of sexual ‘force’; more a slave to the sexual common market. She’d decided to break a world record and sleep with as many men as possible in the same day, more than two hundred men in fact, to the point where she was so sore. I found the documentary quite repulsive to watch. It wasn’t the sex that I found repulsive, but watching every desperate male wanking, prepping himself, to go forth and screw – often without a condom – like a beast.

In retrospect – as can be the case -my sexual encounter wasn’t worth writing home about. It was standard, but at that time, following another sexual hiatus, I needed to have it. It’s a standard social notion, perhaps the post Sex in the City notion, that fucking ought to be done regularly. I don't remember if they ever discussed condoms on that show, and I can't recall any scenes where any of the girls stopped to unroll a condom on their lover's knobs.

Continue reading "On Stupidity..." »

March 21, 2007

Orgies as HIV 'Conversion'?

One of the most damning stories to hit the media here, relating to private sex functions/parties/orgies relates the case of 48-year-old Michael Neal of Coburg, Victoria. I know what I'd like to do to someone like Neal away from the court room, and it has nothing to do with being racy or erotic.

He’s currently being prosecuted on 122 charges of having sex with sixteen men while infected with HIV; his story becomes more nauseating as his story continues.

"Prosecutor Mark Rochford told the court Mr Neal's reason for infecting other men with HIV was to increase the number of men he could then continue to have unprotected sex with.

"In conversations and other material Mr Neal has demonstrated an intention to infect people with HIV,'' Mr Rochford said.

"He indicated his reasons for doing that is for more people (to be) introduced to a particular group of HIV-infected persons actively participating in unprotected ... sex.'' - the Age

Continue reading "Orgies as HIV 'Conversion'?" »

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