The Ugly Duckling Syndrome!!

What is ugly duckling syndrome?

I think this is best described in Shallow Hal the film. I’ve pulled this quote from the film, to sum up, what this condition entails.

“Ugly Duckling Syndrome, she probably didn’t get pretty until high school, thus the personality had to develop out of necessity… sometimes they’re ugly so long, when they finally turn pretty, they don’t even realize it! The ugly self-image is so well engraved, that’s a real find!” – Maurico, Shallow Hal, 2001.

For the life of me, I can’t take a compliment. Why? Because I have ugly duckling syndrome and it affects my ability to find love. My mother has always told me how beautiful I am but of course, I think she is biased. Retrospectively speaking, even now writing this article, I can’t think of one of my male friends who hasn’t complimented me on my physical appearance. Some have hit on me and some of them I slept with in my youth clearly seeking the validation of being desirable. I have had strangers approach me at bars and tell me I am attractive, some of them are married men. I get random social media adds from men across the seven seas asking for nudes. Yet, I still struggle to accept compliments about my looks.

I once laid in bed with a woman, I told her that she was beautiful; she cuddled into me and said, “No, you’re beautiful but you know you’re beautiful.” This baffled me that this beautiful woman wanted to share her bed with me and thought my beauty outweighed hers. I couldn’t believe it. I left my shirt on during sex and even after when she cuddled into me, she placed her hands on my stomach, back or thighs, I’d push her away – literally. I was in complete awe of this beautiful creature who thought I was attractive enough to spend the night and I was so worried about her thinking about my body fat that I ended up making her the little spoon, so her hands wouldn’t be on my body. A study conducted in 2016 found that appearance anxiety (ANN) found that women experience this kind of thought process at a much higher rate than men. For women, AAN correlated negatively with global self-esteem and positively with shyness, social avoidance and distress, and public self-consciousness. Furthermore, the study found that individuals who had ANN had a long history of making ill remarks regarding their appearance often linking back to feeling like an ugly child. (Dion, K. L., Dion, K. K., & Keelan, J. P. (1990).

 

I recently did some modelling for my friend who is an aspiring photographer and he often tells me that I am beautiful. I will deflect this compliment every single time and tell him it’s the Photoshop, lighting or professional hair and make-up. I can hear myself deflecting the compliment, a defensive mechanism that so ingrained in me it’s become my default behaviour.  This isn’t just limited to my looks if I did well in my class – I know I could have achieved a higher mark. If I cooked an amazing dish I could have added something else to it to make it a better dish. This hypercritical behaviour is what I do to keep myself down, a negative cycle of low self-esteem. While I can appreciate when I look in the mirror that the reflection looking back at me isn’t ugly, I would never say she is beautiful and that is really sad for me to admit.

This self-hatred stems from being the fat child, the ugly child, the weird child. These things manifested into my teens and early adulthood, being the fat, weird and ugly one meant I had to learn to be funny to make friends. I had to learn to be kind to maintain relationships with these people. Learning not to depend on my looks or body meant I had to rely on my wit, humour and human compassion. As an adult woman, I can say that I am such a good friend, I’d drop anything I was doing for someone who needed my help. I selflessly put others before myself, sometimes to my own detriment. I am the most empathetic person I know, I know I am caring and compassionate. Sometimes I wish I had a clone of me so I could be friends with me. I know that clone would never let me talk about myself the way I do. It’s funny that I never let my friends talk about themselves negatively but I say the most horrific things about myself.

On a positive note, having ugly duckling syndrome has made me an avid reader, which landed me into university where I acquired my bachelor’s degree. Having ugly duckling syndrome has made me a great conversationalist, able to hold witty and funny conversations with just about anyone, a skill I treasure. Having ugly duckling syndrome has made compassionate beyond belief, kind almost to a fault. Having ugly duckling syndrome has made me humble, and while it is frustrating for you to give me a compliment and me to dismiss it. You have to remember I’ve had a lifetime of people say things to hurt me and I am not sure if you’re going to hurt me too. I’ve had people abuse my kindness and try to dampen the light inside. I push you away and reject your compliments because I think the world is a dark place, I think you don’t mean it, I think you’re making fun of me. I reject your compliments because, after more than half a lifetime of being the ugly person, I am just perplexed as to how you think I am beautiful.

Beauty

You might see a swan when you look at someone but for that someone with ugly duckling syndrome, they look in that mirror and still see that ugly duckling. They see that fat, ugly weird person and they don’t know why you think they are beautiful. So, be kind with your ugly ducklings, they are trying to see the swan that you see.

The Labiaplasty Epidemic

With so much comparison & judgement of female bodies, it is no wonder that the root of our femininity could not be saved. Women’s vulvas & vaginas have become another part of the body to scrutinize, to the point where young women are undergoing irreversible procedures to change the way they look.

 

For the last couple of years, I have heard mentioned the growing trend in young women of labiaplasty, a cosmetic procedure in which the labia minora (inner lips of the vulva) are surgically reduced. Beyond my initial reaction of sadness & rage, I had an immense curiosity to understand why young women would do such a thing to their bodies. After some research online, I am left with a heavy heart at the reality of women striving for a false idea of “perfection.”

 

My research led me to find the documentary “A Perfect Vagina,” an exploration on the growing trend of labiaplasty in Britain. Women from all walks of life are interviewed on how they feel about their genitals & the lengths they are willing to go to in order to change them. We see a young 21yo women having her labia cut as if it was a piece of meat, men saying they wouldn’t want to be with a woman if she had “an ugly fanny” and women who have lived a lifetime with chronic shame around what their genitals look like.  

 

One of the main sources of women’s shame around their labia’s is the media. Pornography gives a one-sided view of what a woman’s vulva looks like; pink, minimal and short labia minora, completely hairless & symmetrical. Even medical text books mislead women into thinking this is what every vulva looks like. Nowhere do women see images of anything other than a “neat & tidy” vulva meaning if they possess anything other than this, they take on the belief that they are abnormal.

 

Australian censorship laws around female genitalia also support the scrutiny women have on their bodies, with images showing more than single folded labia minora to under 18 year olds illegal. This means that young women grow up only ever been exposed to a certain kind of vulva even if they read anatomy or sex education text books-they are almost wired to believe that vulvas of different shapes, colours and sizes are wrong.

 

Through my research, I found myself on a website of a clinic that offers labiaplasty surgery & came to witness a heap of images of women who had undergone the procedure. Seeing the before & after photos reminded me of a bunch of beautifully unique flowers having their petals ripped off. Each vulva before the procedure had such an incredible uniqueness that was destroyed and made to look the same as the next. It was devastating!

 

I understand that labiaplasty is indicated and sometimes necessary in cases of labia hypertrophy (Enlarged labia). This is because the size of the labia is leading to chronic urinary tract infections & painful intercourse. A study however showed that 30% of procedures were completed for aesthetical purposes alone which is devastating if you consider the post-operative recovery and inability to reverse the procedure. As well as the after effects, young women as young as 16yo making a decision to change their genitalia for aesthetical purposes is not ok considering the changes that occur in one’s psyche as they age. I look at how much I loathed my body at that age and now I love it 10 years later! In my opinion, labiaplasty should be left for these extreme cases where health is affected not purely for aesthetic purposes. 

 

Vaginal surgery

What I found to be the most tragic thing about the labiaplasty trend is the fact that personally I have an “outie” vulva like the one’s many women were changing and would not change it for the world. I love how it looks and feels, so the thought of traumatising it to fit into the category of “perfect” is awful. Through explorations into embodiment, self-love & my sexuality over the last 5 years, I have complete acceptance for my bodies uniqueness. I understand my vulva doesn’t fit into the photo shopped “norm” of vulvas but love it because of its differences (and so does my partner!!).

 

If someone like me can come to love & appreciate her vulva, then there is hope for every woman. I believe there is absolutely no need for women to resort to a medical procedure to change their bodies when there are so many other ways of finding acceptance for their vulvas just as they are.

How To Use A Urethral Dilator!

Dillating the vagina

 USING A URETHRAL DILATOR

 

This week we have had a few customers asking about dilators, personally when I was first asked the question I was stunned and did not have a clue what she meant but luckily enough I was able to jump online and do a quick lookup and thought what a perfect chance to learn something new for my review this week 🙂

After a little bit of research I have came to a conclusion that there are many ways that a dilator can be used, here are just some of the main reasons I came across on why you might need to know this information for the future

 

 Curvical cancer – brachytherapy

One of the other reasons we use dilators for are after to maintain vaginal size in the long term after menopause or cancer treatments, dilators may help women remain size enough to be able to have pain free intercourse or examinations after menopause they are also helpful on that time of the month and when a patient needs to take anti-oestrogen hormone therapies for breast cancer they are also very commonly used to prevent scarring during graft versus host syndrome after a stem cell or bone marrow transplant.

 

 Some women are born without a vagina

Something I had no idea about was that some women are born without a vagina instead they have a small like dimple that is a dead end as they begin to become teenagers they have 2 options. One option is surgery another is to use a dilator, they begin to press the dilator into the vaginal opening for about half an hour twice a day, after a few weeks they\ can begin to deepen the vagina enough to be able to have sexual intercourse with a partner, however they need to keep regular dilation or sexual intercourse in able to maintain the vaginal canal. Sometimes they’re condition can involve abnormal low hormone levels in these cases they need to use oestrogen creams to improve the stretch of the vaginal area.

 Dilator vs vibrators 

There are some people that may claim that you would get a more positive result from using a vibrator of different sizes rather than using dilators, these people believe vibrators will cause sexual excitement creating more blood flow or even just to make the process more pleasurable, Some also tell women to find something shaped more like a penis for the realistic feeling with a few different sizes or even just something she desires. Excitement usually helps to bring more blood flow which allows more oxygen to the tiny blood vessels in the vaginal area witch may also help to keep the tissue healthy. Some educators worry that using vibrators without the other parts of the program will stop women from understanding their own anatomy, including full control of the pelvic floor muscles even most vibrators that have a ridiculous amount of adjustable tips of all different sizes to fit in the vagina do not have a wide commercial range of dilators witch may reduce the women’s freedom to customize her dilation

Inserting a dilators
Dilator Insertions

Vaginismus

commonly known as penetration anxiety but Also known as pelvic floor myalgia is when some women have an intense fear of something entering their vagina. Most therapists tend to think that its a phobia genuinely triggered when a partner tried to enter their finger or penis into the vaginal entrance. A great way to overcome this is to use dilation and it will give the women a greater control over what is going into her vagina

 

 Vaginal reconstruction

After a women has experienced surgery to rebuild her vagina due to a default at birth, healthier problem in later years or after cancer treatments she may be given as customised dilator to wear for some hours of the day and also while she sleeps. It helps the reconstructed vagina keep depth and to stay as wide as possible during healing time. They are more likely to be used if the vagina was created using skin grafts. They man not be needed for reconstructions built from intestines, skin or muscle flaps.

 

Easy Dilator Use

 

Starting with a comfortable size that you can slip into your vagina with little or no discomfort make sure you don’t forget to pack on the lubricant and repeat as needed 🙂

If you are lying on your back you need to remember that your vagina slants slightly downwards in this position and do not push the dilator in at a right angle motion

Make sure you know how to contract your muscles relax them as you are inserting the dilator and then tense once the dilator has been fully inserted

– If you are experiencing sexual pleasure from your dilator you can move it side to side to produce good feelings

– Try reading or watching television if you find it hard to keep the dilator in for a few minutes at a time

– It is possible to injure yourself with improper use of your dilator after you have experienced radio therapy, surgery or graft versus host disease, be sure to consult your medical team to correctly show you the use of your dilator, it has been known that pushing or moving the dilator too roughly against fragile or scarred areas may result in further damage

 

This material is intended for informational purposes only and is never to replace professional advice or diagnosis treatments that have been dealt with by professional educators

 

If you think this might be something that your missing in head down to your closest

OH!ZONE Adult Lifestyle Centre to pick up your new silicone dilator kit one of the friendly staff will be more than happy to point you towards your perfect product 🙂

Reconnecting With Your Lover – 7 Experts Share Advice!

Experts Advice

Claudia Six, PhD, Clinical Sexologist & Relationship Coach, www.drsix.net and author of Erotic Integrity.

Claudia Six Phd
Photo: Claudia Six

When sex fades in a relationship, happens less and less frequently to not at all, there’s a very good reason why. When things get gummed up in bed, there’s always a way that it makes perfect sense. You can try tricks and toys, but you also need to open your mouth, and talk – to each other, not your best friend.

Talk about what sex represents for you (connection, release, a way to get to sleep, a spiritual event…). It’s ok if you have different answers – you’re different people.

Ask each other what you haven’t been saying, the stuff you’ve been afraid to tell your partner because you didn’t want to hurt their feelings. This is the time to be candid. Having difficult conversations actually has the most potential to boost intimacy and eroticism in a relationship.

Cassie Wolfe, PhD, Licensed Clinical Social Worker & Sex Therapist

Photo: Cassie Wolfe

Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.  Your needs are important and valued.  It is common for life, work, stress, anxiety, having children, differing work schedules, etc. to get in the way.  Make having a connection with your partner/s/ a priority, even if that means actually scheduling a specific time on your calendar.  It’s also normal to have variation in one’s sex drive.  Just remember that some partners experience responsive arousal – meaning they get more excited in the midst of foreplay (which reminds me – FOREPLAY!! Stop rushing and don’t forget FOREPLAY), while some can be more spontaneous.  Focus on the quality over quantity.

Cassie’s Facebook Page

Michelle Roberton

Tantric Counselor
Michelle Roberton
Body Love
Love Activist

Sexual Trauma and Intimacy Expert

Often in our fast pace world we can loose connection with ourselves and our own bodies, let alone our Lovers. Stuck in our heads and goals, our body looses it’s mojo and so too do our relationships.  I feel there are three major keys that firstly support us to be more connected to our self and then those same three keys support us to reconnect with our lover.  We cannot give what we have not got, so it is essential I feel, to connect firstly to self so our connection with our lover has substance and authenticity behind it.

These three keys are:

The breath … immersing into the rhythm of your own breath, not changing it.  Just feeling the rise and fall of your own breath.  If we can intimately know our own breath, we can then intimately breathe with another.  This brings us into the our body, slows us down and brings the second key ; Presence ~ being here and now with our lover and full in our body.   And finally the third key, as we breath we open, we surrender and we become more aware of our senses… the smell of our lover, the touch of their skin, the sound of their breath … the taste of them on our lips.
Simple keys I know … breathe, presence and the senses.  But who ever said sex has to be a performing art or complicated?

Darren Michaels  Flipside

       
Erotic Literature
Erotic Author
2010 IPPY Award Winning Author
Featured guest/contributor on:
Cosmo.com                    AskMen.com
Playboy Radio                Foxnews.com
Match.com                     Galtime.com
Women’s Health   
As the old saying goes “Familiarity breeds contempt”; human beings needs variety and novelty, it is our nature.  When you fall into a routine with someone, these things go away.  One of the best thing about having an intimate partner it just that…intimate knowledge of one another.  You both are already past the awkward beginning stage of a relationship where you are trying to figure out each other’s boundaries.  This is likely well established by now.  Use it to your advantage.  
 
Plan a nice dinner and an adult conversation about this topic.  Men are too ego-fragile to try something for fear of getting shot down, and many women are far more sexually adventurous than their partner will ever know, but don’t outwardly express this.  If you are going to do adult things, you need to have adult conversations as well.
Find out what has been done before and enjoyed, find out what has never done but always wanted to.  Be adults and have the conversation in advance, this will set the stage for a rekindling,and hopefully infusing some new adventure into the mix as well!

Amory Jane

Comedian
Sex Educator
Comedian, variety host, podcaster, producer…

I think touch is extremely important and many people are touch-deprived and out in the world feeling lonely. I don’t think technology is the enemy though – I think it can be used for good to help connect people. However, I do believe that intimacy is something tons of people struggle with, and always being on our phones and computers can make it even harder to be present when we’re face to face. I would advise people to make time every week where they tuck away technology and turn in toward each other. Focus on open and vulnerable communication or interesting intellectual conversations. If you don’t know what to discuss, search online beforehand and print off or write down prompts, and then really listen to each other. I also highly encourage non-sexual touch while talking, like holding hands or cuddling. If you’re with someone where sex is an option and you’re feeling connected in that way, sensually exploring each other’s bodies (without a goal of orgasm) can be wonderful for building and maintaining intimacy.

Walker Thornton

Self Care Consultant
Author And Sex Educator

Public speaker, relationship consultant and author

It’s an experience I’ve had just enough to know it is our most desired way of experiencing sexual intimacy. My best sexual experiences are those where I connect with my partner and we’re both aware of our mutual desire for pleasure. A dance has to have 2 active partners—it’s a give and take. Sex is no different. We learn by listening or sensing another’s body, we adjust accordingly and we flow together. There are plenty of men out there, of all ages, who consider sex as “sticking it in” and getting off. They don’t understand the importance of mutuality, nor do they understand the power of two people equally engaged and actively participating.

Dr. Stacy Friedman

Certified Sex Coach
Clinical Sexologist

Sexpert, Sex Coach, Intimacy Consultant

Want to reconnect sexually with your lover? Get out of your routine and try something different! Many times finding ways to reconnect can be something as easy as bringing in some variety. Have a night filled with learning your partners body, something that I like to call “Exploration Nights”! Our bodies are filled with erogenous zones that are never touched, kissed, licked or loved.  Your body is not just lips, breasts, and genitals as it starts from the head and ends at the toes. Take advantage of slowly touching, massaging, and appreciating the little nooks and crannies that your partner has.  The crease of the elbow, the bend of the knee, the inner arm or the curves of the ankle…these can stimulate nerves and sensations that you never knew you had.  Focus on the idea of feeling pleasure verse the idea of performance where you can enjoy the actual act of connection and intimacy rather than having the experience be all about the ins and outs of intercourse. What exactly does that mean? Being intimate is about being vulnerable and being in the moment.  Take the time to see how your lover reacts to your touch, how they move, the softness of their skin and talk about what you enjoyed the best. When you take the opportunity to just spend time enjoying each other and building the connection, it makes all the difference in your relationship and your sexual connection.  You feel more in tune to your partner, how they feel and react to your touch as well as different things that they may enjoy, now that you took the time to explore. To read more about how to truly build your intimacy on your “Exploration Night”, download your free digital copy of my new Amazon best selling book, “Confessions & Lessons of a Sexpert”, found on www.DrStacyBook.com or for a paperback and Kindle version, you can find it on Amazon.

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Ask Dr. Stacy Friedman – What Is A Chastity Device?

dr. stacy friedman

Every month Dr. Stacy Friedman acclaimed clinical sexologist and certified sex coach answers questions posed by adultsmart readers.  With the ever-growing popularity of forced chastity in relationships this month she has chosen to answer two questions, with the one all encompassing answer.

Brett

Is it becoming more common for women requiring their male to wear chastity devices? Are there studies about males being kept locked in chastity or women requiring it?

 

Maria

Is it safe for a penis to be in the cage for 7 days? How do I start with his orgasm denial? Weekly denial or less?

Chastity Gear
Chastity Devices

I have been receiving quite a few questions regarding chastity devices and cages so I decided to but these two questions together.  Chastity devices or cages for the penis are gaining popularity more so in the kink or BDSM communities. They wear these devices as part of role playing, dom/sub relationships or to intensify their sexual experiences. I do have to say that there aren’t too many studies regarding this subject so it isn’t always easy to find or learn information about it.  It is something that both partners have to agree and that is right for the couple involved.

 

As far as safety of keeping the penis in a cage for 7 days, I highly suggest you start slow and at a minimum and build up to the length of time you are looking for.  Men may have 4-5 erections during the night and you need to be careful the cage isn’t restricted the blood flow or too tight so you don’t cause any nerve damage or discourage blood flow because the skin is getting pinched or the vessels are restricted.  From what I have heard from urologists, it isn’t often that people come to them complaining of problems due to these devices so either people keep quiet or there aren’t many problems that arise from using them.

 

According to Dr. King, a urologist, it is cautioned against any long-term or continuous use of such a device, anything more than four to six hours, if it places any significant compression on the tissue directly. Dr. King states, “Overnight use may still be problematic. Nocturnal/spontaneous erections are hypothesized to exist to encourage blood flow and stretching of the vascular and erectile tissue to keep it healthy and prevent atrophy. Like any other tendon, ligament, or muscle in the body—use it or lose it. I can’t see how preventing these spontaneous nocturnal erections can be healthy. But I can’t prove any long-term damage.”

 

I recommend taking things slow, then build it up to make sure you are safe, experiment and don’t fear this form of foreplay as many find it very intense and stimulating.

 Doctor Stacy’s Contacts –

Facebook: drstacyfriedman

Twitter: @drstacyfriedman

LinkedIn: drstacy

Skype: creatingintimacycoach

Pinterest: drstacyfriedman

As always we look forward to next months answers.  Keep your questions rolling in – unfortunately due to the Doctors hectic work schedule she is only answering a question each month at the moment, so if your is not answered immediately and have patience, it may be in the future…