Sex and Health Benefits!

Anytime I go to login to my email account, I always check out the yahoo articles to see what is new and interesting.  I happened on this article about 7 health benefits of sexual intercourse.    So besides being an intimate bonding time with your spouse, you are getting some wonderful health benefits, too!  Here are some of the health benefits:

1.  Sex = exercise: your burning calories!

2. Sex keeps you looking younger: I would want to see more proof on this one, but if it is true, ladies, could this be our fountain of youth?

3. It’s good for your heart: wanna lower your blood pressure?  want a better chance of not having a heart attack?  sex can help!

4. Sex boosts immunity: immunoglobin A is produced more often which helps your immune system. It would be interesting to see if I get less colds and sinus infections, since immunoglobin a (igA) works with your nose, eyes, ears, digestive tract and vagina to protect those areas from outside foreign substances.

5. It can cure the common headache….kind of: Intimacy and bonding helps you to relax, and oxytocin is released during sex which helps decrease pain.

6. Sex gets the blood pumping: sex increases blood flow which gets oxygen molecules moving through out your body and you feel better.

7. Sex helps you sleep better: oxytocin not only can help decrease pain and increase endorphins, but it relaxes you so you can sleep better.

Do you think any of these hold water?  I think these can offer some of these benefits, but I am not trying it out on my next sinus headache to see if it works!  :)  What other benefits do you think sex has on your physical health?

Exercise Arousal

Okay, so is it just me here, or do any of you ever become aroused during exercise?  It doesn’t happen every single time I work out, but it has happened often enough now that I mentioned it to my friends and decided to write about it here.  I have found two primary ways of exercise that tend to arouse me from time to time.

The first would be running.  Sounds crazy, huh?  I don’t generally experience arousal on the treadmill, although it has happened once.  But running outdoors tends to be when it happens most often for me.  It’s generally during the first mile or two and then subsides with each additional mile.  I mean, for me I’m lucky if I’m still able to breathe properly and form a complete sentence after a few miles, so feeling all tingly down in those parts really isn’t something that I experience when I run longer distances.  I wear compression shorts under my running shorts sometimes, but not always.  I’m not sure if that matters or not.  There is just something about the initial stages of running that tend to set off little sparks and I find myself laughing at how utterly absurd it sounds to be aroused while running!

The other type of exercise that has a tendency to arouse me is using the ab-crunch machine at the gym.  The first time it happened I was shocked.  I remember smiling and thinking “For real?”  :lol:   The next time it happened on the same machine I came home and told my husband about it and he found it interesting.  This kind of makes sense to me though, because on that machine you have to use your lower abdominal muscles to help lift a set amount of weight while you are doing a crunch…and in the process of trying to use those lower abs, you also end up tightening up your pelvic floor muscles (or at least *I* do!)  Those are the same muscles that I use when I’m actively trying to achieve orgasm.  So to me it makes sense that if I’m using those muscles, I experience a little arousal.  Only once have I come close to having an orgasm at the gym.   After that I started doing extra sets on the ab-crunch machine… you know, because I really need help in my mid-section and all  ;)

So there you go… the two types of exercise that sometimes leave me feeling funny.  Usually it passes though, the harder I work/run.  Has anyone else experienced anything like this?  If so, what types of exercise or exercise equipment have affected you?

Q&A: Yeast Infections and Vaginismus

I was married and moved to a foreign (3rd world) country a couple days later. My husband I were having great sex for about two weeks. I had no pain on the honeymoon (we were both virgins). Then I developed a yeast infection. Since the infection, intercourse (just the initial penetration) has been painful.

Will this go away? I’ve read a bit in your site on how vaginismus can be triggered by a yeast infection. If I’ve developed vaginismus, is it permanant? All the cures/remidies seem to involve going to a doctor and I don’t have the option of going to a doctor here, so I thought I’d write for advice. Thanks!

We received this letter from a woman and wanted to share the answer we provided her with in case it is of help to any other women suffering with this.

If you have access to sour cream or plain yogurt in the country you are in you should use it to treat the yeast infection. I advise that you eat it every day and also treat yourself topically with it. I would also be a good idea use it on your husband too so you don’t pass the infection back and forth. You can use it during sex, as well. Just make sure that if you opt to use yogurt that it is plain because the sugars in the flavored ones will not be helpful at all. They will actually increase the likelihood of having poor female health.

So for those who don’t have the limitations that this writer has of living in a third world country and not having access to common treatments available in developed nations, you might find this information helpful if you deal with frequent yeast infections or a particularly bad one. Just a helpful tip. :)

Libido enhancing supplements

I struggle with an extremely low sex drive.  My husband saw “Provestra” in an article or something.  Any of you familiar with this or have a better suggestion for a natural remedy?  I also think I have a hormonal imbalance so need that to improve to.

I want to preface this blog entry by saying that if there are spiritual or emotional issues that are causing your libido to be low, using supplements to “boost” your libido will not help or make things better.   Also, if you feel that you have hormonal imbalances, it is best to get your hormones checked by your PCP or your OBGYN before self diagnosing and self medicating.  If you are pregnant, you will want to do further research on which herbs are not recommended for you to take while pregnant and discuss any changes with your doctor.

We received this email from a reader who has a low sex drive.  I have had this problem in the past, and still do at times, so I thought it would be appropriate to do some research into the product that she spoke of, as well as doing some research at “The Vitamin Shoppe” and asking some questions to a friend who is very knowledgeable with herbs and what helps what when you take them.  This will be a culmination of the research I have done.  I HAVE NOT tried any of these products that I will discuss.  I WILL comment on things I am currently using.

First thing I did after reading the email was to Google Provestra and navigate around the website.  Provestra is a daily supplement designed to increase desire in women.   The site suggests that it will help enhance sensations, increase self lubrication, speed up arousal, and help a woman to have regular orgasms.   As I checked through the list of ingredients in the supplement, it looked like what you would find in a regular multivitamin (Vitamin A, C, E, B complex, Folic acid, calcium, iron and zinc) with supplemental herbs.  On their site, they have a money back guarantee if you feel that the product isn’t working for you, but you have to use it for 30 days and also consult their Customer Satisfaction Team before getting a full refund on your money when you return the unused product, but you do pay the return shipping cost.  ($15)

The list of ingredients was very long, so I emailed my friend about herbs that are aphrodisiacs.   I asked her to look at the Provestra list and tell me what she thought.  She told me that the ingredients in the product were pretty standard for women’s sexual health, but she was concerned about the use of red dye #3 and other additives that were listed on the bottom of the ingredient page.    She suggested the use of the following herbs …

Damiana is used to increase circulation to all parts of the body, especially the sexual organs.

Dong Quai helps with vaginal dryness and it relaxes the uterus.  It also helps cramping and symptoms of menopause.

Milk Thistle cleanses liver cells and controls endometritus.

She told me not to go cheap on these either, to make sure they were fresh, high quality herbs.

So after talking to my friend, I went on a fact finding mission to our local vitamin store, thus the trip to Vitamin Shoppe.   My husband had been there before and told me there was a whole section on Women’s Health.  Wow, that shop was overwhelming!  I did find the section on women’s health, and found a few other products there that also were also advertised as libido enhancers.  I found Natural Passion and Cleopatra there, and these both claim to help low sex drive, but ingredients were different in these as well.   The Dong Quai was the same in these as my friend recommended and the Cleopatra had both the Damiana and Dong Quai, along with other herbs as well.   Again, I haven’t tried ANY of these products, so I cannot say whether they work or not.

While doing the research on these drive boosting supplements, there were also pages on the internet that evaluated Provestra.   Women’s Health Weekly ranked Provestra #2 in its recommendations for women’s libido enhancers, 2nd place only to a product called HerSolution.   Provestra-reviews.com had this quote on the product “Relying completely on herbal extracts, it has been reviewed as not only one of the safest, but most effective supplements of its kind on the market today.”   But I went to my hubby’s trusty source for product satisfaction…amazon.com … and found some personal reviews from people who actually bought and used the products for at least 2 months.   “I  see now, 2 people, and now, add me as the 3rd, have rated this 1 star. It deserves ZERO stars.”; “If it worked, I couldn’t tell.”; “After taking this product for a month, I absolutely had no difference in drive or sensitivity. For the price this is not a good product at all. “; “Don’t waste your time or money on this product.”.  There was one positive comment on the Amazon page from a user. “I can’t say the effects have been as dramatic as the Provestra website claims, but my sex drive has definitely improved.”

What’s in my medicine cabinet?  I take a gummy multivitamin daily.  I take extra supplements of calcium, iron, B complex, B12, vitamin E, vitamin K (not in my multivitamin), zinc, Korean Ginseng, Gingko Biloba, and Horny Goat Weed.  I don’t know why, can’t explain it, but I always thought of Horny Goat Weed as a product for men, but it is working for me!   I take it in the morning to help me think about sex during the day, and I take it at night as well.  In about 20 minutes, it gets the circulation going in my clitoris and that gets me in the mood to make love.  Much to my hubby’s liking…   Hubby found me some articles online that say Horny Goat Weed is not just for men and erectile dysfunction, but also helps with circulation in the genitals for women as well.  It works for me!  Just a note that I did try the Dong Quai for a little over a month, and it didn’t really work well for me.  I am premenopausal, and I was really hopeful that it would help with my dryness.   It may work for you, but it didn’t really work for me.

I AM NOT PROPOSING THAT YOU BUY ANY OF THESE PRODUCTS.  I am trying to give some balanced information on the products.  Remember that any website that sells products wants them to sell, so they are going to put them in their best light.   Do the research before you purchase any products.   Some of these products DO have side effects even though the website says they don’t.  Every woman is different, so you want to be sure that you consult your doctor before you start adding things to your daily regime.  Remember, too, if you are suffering from low sex drive, it is not necessarily hormonal.  It may be hormonal, but it also may have emotional and spiritual ramifications as well, which any supplement will not help.  Take your issues to the Lord in prayer.  I did when I had these problems.   It took some time for me to get God’s answer…he was waiting on me to be ready for the truth.  God opened my eyes to the truth, and my awakening occurred.  My problems were not hormonal at that time.   Be sure you include God in all of your plans.  He knows your heart and when you open your heart to Him, he’ll open your eyes to the truth.

Sensitive Skin

Oh man have I had a rough week! I thought I had a yeast infection. I get maybe one every two years. The first day of discomfort was kind of strange. I kept wondering if I was getting an infection. The second day the itching was worse, but everything looked normal (no weird discharge or anything). After the third day of really bad itching, I broke down and took my oral RX that I had left over from last year. I remembered that it could take a couple of days to work, but after a couple of days I was no better. So I took another one and waited. Then when I got into the shower one night I had a startling realization…

Let me start by saying that I have extremely sensitive skin. I have eczema and have to use special soap that costs nearly $6 per bar. I also cannot use any type of bath oils, bath beads, bubble bath, etc., because if I do I will get a UTI, guaranteed. I’ve learned over the years what I can and can’t use, and I usually stick with the things that I know are okay for me.

Well, the grocery store was out of my regular Skintimates shave gel last weekend, so I picked up some Gillette Satin Care. I didn’t really think anything about it. It was a vanilla scented kind and I love vanilla. I used it twice to shave down there. It wasn’t until I was about to use it a third time, that my eyes were suddenly opened…I WAS ALLERGIC TO THE NEW SHAVE GEL! Why did I not realize that before? So I just washed myself with my nice expensive soap, and I rinsed off real good with hot water. I did this again a few times over the next two days, and then my symptoms went away.

So I wasted a perfectly good prescription all because I was allergic to the shave gel. :mad: I really should have known better. It’s very frustrating to be so ultra sensitive to so many different things. I even have to use special laundry detergent (dye free, fragrance free, etc.). My mother is the same way, and I’m already seeing the same issues in my children.

I guess this was mainly written as a vent. I assume there are other women out there who have skin issues like I do, but my girlfriends don’t seem to battle with these issues. I thought that maybe some of you out there may be able to relate to this though…

Q&A: Orgasm After Hysterectomy?

We received a rather long email recently, asking for information about orgasms after a hysterectomy.  This is the second woman who has asked about this topic, so I’ll attempt to answer these questions from my personal experience since I have had the surgery myself.

“I’ve read opposing responses about how hysterectomies affect orgasms on forums and blogs. Some say their orgasms were very decreased or non-existent after hysterectomy, while others claim their orgasms increased afterwards.

The ones claiming none-or-decreased seemed to go into more detail about how they used to have “full” orgasms (from penetration, not just clitoral stimulation). And many of the claims I’ve seen from the “having more orgasms after hysterectomy” don’t include details about what kind of orgasms they had, so maybe they’re just having the clitoral kinds.  Here are questions I’m hoping you might be able to find answers to:

Did pain prevent you from having orgasms before your hysterectomy?”

I was able to orgasm before my hysterectomy, however, my husband would “bottom out” almost every time and in every position.  The pain that I experienced was from him hitting my cervix every single time.  That pain did get worse towards the end because of my prolapsed uterus.  I could still orgasm, but we had to be more gentle/careful.

“What kinds of orgasms did you have before and after hysterectomy? Clitoral, vaginal/uterine, or the elusive cervix kind (I’ve only had those a few times, they hurt a little while building up, but once they start, the pain disappears, and those orgasms were even better than a perfectly timed clitoral/vaginal orgasm combo!)”

I have never experienced the cervical orgasm.  Before my surgery, when I had a cervix, it always hurt when my husband would bump into it.  It wasn’t pleasurable for me.  (Although I do know women who take pleasure in having their cervix “bumped.”)  I have had clitoral and vaginal orgasms both before and after my surgery.

“If you’re claiming more orgasms after hysterectomy, are those orgasms with the same partner?”

I don’t know if I claim to have more orgasms since my hysterectomy, but they certainly have not declined in frequency.  I am able to have sex without the fear of my husband bumping into my cervix now, so that is a positive.  And yes, I’ve been with the same partner (my husband).

“An expert question: Do you think the reason for changes in orgasmic patterns after hysterectomy are due to the uterus being a part of the whole orgasm thing, or maybe it corrects/changes hormone levels that enable orgasm?”

You know, I’m no expert, so I really don’t know how to answer that.  I did find an informational video that was somewhat interesting about the uterus.  It is by the HERS Foundation.  According to them, the uterus is directly related to orgasms.  Some of the things they say are not in line with what I’ve experienced though.  As an example, it says that almost 80% of women who have had a hysterectomy report a loss of sexual desire.  For me the opposite is true.  I had my sexual awakening AFTER my hysterectomy.  My sex drive is now through the roof.  However, I did not have my ovaries taken out.  I had my uterus, cervix, and tubes removed.  Here is the video if you are interested in watching it:

“It’s been hinted at that I can have a hysterectomy if I want one — I’m mostly past child-bearing age, and I do NOT want to get pregnant. But I don’t really “need” a hysterectomy for medical reasons; I guess I sort of qualify for one, enough so that an ob/gyn could justify it. And I thought about it for a while, because I really don’t want to get pregnant, and might be able to get a tummy-tuck thrown in on the cheap, since insurance would pay for the hyst, minus deductible and OOP for the plastic surgeon. But then I read about women that used to enjoy full orgasms not having them anymore, and on further research found conflicting comments.

Hmmm, as long as my life isn’t threatened with cancer or bleeding that won’t stop, I think I’ll pass, even if I do “sort of” qualify. But I haven’t found what I consider to be good answers to my question, only vague comments that conflict.”

I do not think I would pursue having a hysterectomy without a valid medical reason.  Do I regret having mine?  No, I don’t.  I absolutely love not having a monthly period anymore.  I no longer experience pain from my husband bumping into my cervix, and so far I have not had any adverse effects from it.  But just because my experience has been positive (so far) doesn’t mean that yours will be.  This is a major operation that can not be undone.

“My OB is a good dr, but he’s a man, so not only would I feel extremely uncomfortable discussing this with a man, but I also couldn’t fully trust his opinion since he doesn’t have a uterus. Ideally a female OB that had orgasms before having a hysterectomy could answer these questions, but how on earth do we shop around for an OB that fits those criteria, AND takes our insurance?”

I understand what you are saying.  Maybe some of our women readers out there have also undergone a hysterectomy.   If any of you feel led to answer this woman’s questions from your own personal experience, then please use the comment box below.  It sounds like she would appreciate hearing other women’s experiences, whether they be positive or negative.

Fresh Brewed Life With Nicole Johnson

From the first time I saw a sketch performed by Nicole Johnson I found myself in tears of laughter and tears of compassion, often changing from moment to moment. She has this ability to portray her characters in a way that connects women to one another, which is probably why she has ministered so extensively through Women of Faith conferences. She’s remarkable!

Taken from her website:

Like many women across America and around the world, she has faced spirit-crushing challenges in her life: the divorce of her parents, childhood loneliness, and a difficult marriage that ended in a painful divorce. In the midst of these trials, Nicole gathered together the pieces of her pain and formulated a life-changing philosophy: Life’s greatest value can be found in these broken pieces in that, like the grinding of coffee beans, only when the individual pieces are crushed can they come together to create something far more wonderful and potent than any of the pieces could alone.

It reminds me of Jesus’ words, “Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”

Please enjoy a small selection of some of my favorite Nicole Johnson sketches. More can be can be purchased through her website, Fresh Brewed Life.

“The Invisible Woman”

A portion of “Stepping Into the Ring” (Get your tissues! And try to see the full version if you have an opportunity.)

Taking Care of Yourself

How well do you take care of yourself from a social or emotional standpoint? I know that our husbands are our best friends but they do not need to be our only source for social interaction. I talked briefly about the positive effects friendship can provide in “Orgasm, Chocolate and Friends…Oh My!!!” I am now referring to having friends as a support system.

I was thinking about how important friendships are to children. Young children will even pal around with a pet, stuffed animal or have imaginary friends. In our teen years our friends have a big influence over the type of personality we develop. As we get married many women lose their identity. Sometimes we get ultra focused on pleasing our husband that we lose sight of the things we enjoyed before we were married. I am not saying that you should be hanging out in clubs with your girlfriends if that’s what you did with them prior to being married. You can easily connect with a friend on a short walk or over a cup of coffee. All you really need is one good friend. Quality is much more important than quantity. It is great to know that I have friends with whom I can laugh, cry, pray with, vent to or get advice from. My friends are some of my biggest fans as well as my toughest critics and I know it is because they love me unconditionally.

It is a known fact that friendships can lower blood pressure, heart rates, cholesterol and stress. Have you ever become so consumed in an activity with a friend that issues that had been hanging over your head suddenly took a back burner for a bit? It is a great feeling to be able to pray or laugh with a friend when times are tough.

In the past I have become so consumed with trying to be a good wife and a good mother that I lose my sense of self. While it’s true that I am a wife as well as a mother, I am also my own person. It is so important to have interests outside marriage. In the long run they enrich the quality of my marriage. Plus, my husband fell in love with that person so why would I ever want to get rid of her?

The Balancing Act of Beauty

There is something of a balancing act I have found myself sometimes struggling to figure out when it comes to beauty.

Many scriptures seem to indicate that the external things we so often focus on are not the things that determine beauty. In fact some seem to indicate that we should not be utilizing any of the world’s standards for beauty.

1 Peter 3:3Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.

So why do I spend time curling my hair and improving the physical features on my face with makeup when it’s what’s inside of me that matters?

The key is that if you have not first and foremost devoted yourself to becoming godly, none of that matters. If you have perfected your hairstyle and know which colors make you look amazing and how to select clothing that flatters you, but you are not living a life of love for God and the people around you, then your true beauty is not developed.

The beauty that matters to the Lord comes from inside of you and it is allowing exactly who He made you to be to be released completely. This is why beauty looks different on different people. I hold a special memory in my heart of the day my husband first expressed his delight in my inner beauty. We were not even engaged yet. It was the end of the day and we were relaxing at the beach. At one point he looked at me and I had no make up on and my hair was completely undone, but he saw something in me that enraptured him and with conviction he said, “You are so beautiful.” I think I originally looked at him with great confusion, but for him to have seen into my inner self and seen the truest part of me and to call it beautiful was inexpressibly meaningful to me.

My beauty is going to look different than yours, and yours different from your best friend’s. God made us all different and it is when we let out the essence of who He made us that real beauty is established. Are you compassionate to those in need? A good teacher, whether it is your profession or not? A lover of mercy and justice? An encourager? Talented in what you set your hand to? Your real beauty will come out when you know what your calling is and when you walk in it.

I love this quote from a Nelson Mandela speech as it pertains to beauty:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

So while there is something we call “natural beauty,” that is a very subjective concept and is certainly molded significantly by the society we live in. If you consider the women I have pictured in this article, which one is beautiful?

Mother Theresa most certainly let out the essence of who God made her to be. Her compassion is so much like that of Jesus. That is the rawest form of beauty I know of. I do not know Beyonce’s heart or what kind of compassion she has for the poor and those in need, but she certainly possesses a kind of beauty. And yet, if she has only concentrated on how to perfect her outer beauty, it is quite meaningless. Princess Diana had both outer and inner beauty. She had great compassion for those in need and used the platform God gave her to extend mercy to those who needed it, but she also was a beautiful woman externally.

Making way for the true beauty God put inside of you doesn’t mean that you need to go around dressing frumpy and drab. I believe it is a great gift to our husbands to present ourselves in the best way we can. Consider how educated clothing choices, well applied make up, and the healthiest body you can have would bless your husbands, but don’t focus on them at the expense of your character. If these things aren’t important to your husband then that is fine, but still present yourself the best way that you can. If he likes a certain color or piece of clothing on you, wear it intentionally to please him. If he likes your hair done a certain way, try to wear it like that within reason. You aren’t a servant to his wishes, but you can offer him some eye candy when appropriate. ;)

Above everything else remember:

Proverbs 31:30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

 

Instead Softcups

 

My friend, Cinnamonsticks has written about the Diva Cup. I am trying my own little experiment this cycle…something new and different for me.

While shopping at the local Walmart for my normal monthly necessities, I came upon the Instead Softcup. I believe it is similar to the Diva Cup in that when inserted, it catches menstrual fluids in a softcup that can be dumped out when removed. The main difference is that these are disposable and not reusable. I just bought a package of 14 at Walmart for $5.48 (online they are about $7.99) Granted, I tried my first soft cup on a heavy flow day, these were pretty comfortable and I hardly noticed it was there! I will be great for using on my long days at work because you may leave these in for up to 12 hours! This is a great relief for me considering pads and tampons need to be changed quite a bit more frequently and potty breaks aren’t always convenient at my place of employment.

Another interesting thing that the Mr. Nutmeg and I might need to try is period sex with these. According to the website, you can enjoy clean sex and he won’t even feel it in there! Hmmmmmm…… I may need to update this article in a day or so with the results! DISCLAIMER: please remember that this product IS NOT for birth control and DOES NOT protect against sexually transmitted diseases.

I was reading on another website something that I didn’t even consider using one of these for…getting pregnant! At the Fertility Shop, I was reading how if you insert one of these cups after intercourse, it helps keep the sperm closer to the cervix. I would never have thought of this, but if I were trying to get pregnant, I certainly would give it a try! There is no guarantee that you would get pregnant, though, even though there are very good testimonials on the site. I wouldn’t take it as the gospel truth considering there are only 7 testimonials.

Since I am rating this, though, on the basis of monthly visits and not pregnancy, I will tell you this. I do have a bit of leakage, but I think that is my fault for trying it on a heavy flow day. As I get used to inserting it and getting it in the right place, I would highly recommend this for anyone who is very active during their menstrual period and I would give it 4.5 out of five chili peppers!

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