Every Body Is Beautiful: My Journey To Self-Love

This article feels quite edgy to write. I’ve toyed with it for some time but have felt fear around coming across as superficial as it’s speaking into the change in my physical appearance. I’ve avoided it for some time because if there’s one thing that triggers me it’s those before and after photos showing body transformations after committing to some “amazing diet”- as if one photo could possibly summarise the person you have become! With that in mind, I know deep inside me that I have a lot of gold to share from my experience hence why I am putting this out in the open.

My weight loss comes up in conversation from time to time, especially from people who met me when I was at my heaviest. “What did you do?” is the most common question I get asked and I think with this people expect me to rattle off a list of diets/cleanses/detoxes that led to my 15kg weight loss. Though there were numerous factors and influences that led to my weight change, my simple answer is that I just stopped caring about what the scales read and began caring about the things in life that truly mattered.

The truth is, food was never the issue. I could have committed to the best diet in the world (is there such a thing?) and I still wouldn’t have shifted the heaviness I carried on my body – believe me I tried!! That’s because weight was my protection, weight kept me safe from the world. My body highlighted my inability to feel my feelings. It was a reflection of the hatred that I showered myself with every day, the unworthiness I believed I deserved to live with.

The excess weight I held on my body was also my saviour in a way. I had hurt myself for so long in so many ways and my drastic weight gain was the final shift that got my attention to this fact. Our bodies are wise beyond measure and sure know how to get our attention to the things we’re not acknowledging. My body was speaking very loudly telling me that some big things needed to change in my life, in particular the things in my life related to my relationships, love, sexuality and spirituality. It took me some time but I eventually listened.

What happened prior to losing weight took a great deal of courage on my behalf.

  • I spent time learning about boundaries, learning how to communicate my yes and my no. For a young woman that was a passive people pleaser, the fact that I had found agency over my own body was a revelation. Having clear, healthy boundaries creates a foundation of safety and stability in your body. With this, that protective weight is no longer needed.
  • I explored the hidden and neglected areas of myself that were hiding behind my weight. My weight disguised some scary parts of myself that I didn’t want to see. Like a courageous warrior, I decided to finally face those parts of myself that I didn’t like. It was scary and painful but I am so grateful I looked.
  • I found my sexiness and my sensuality. As it turns out, they had nothing to do with how I looked and everything to do with how I felt. There is so much truth in “sexy at any size.” Sexiness is not how you look, it’s how you feel about yourself. The sexiest women I know are embodied, self-loving and incredibly sensual with no agenda to be something for anybody else. They are all of this for themselves and that exudes out of them in such a beautiful way.
  • I learnt how to be in my body, how to feel again, how to express my emotions. My weight came about from all those times I had numbed out and disassociated from my body so there was a great deal to feel. I learnt how to healthily express my feelings without needing to binge eat to avoid them.
  • I found a deep and profound love for myself that wasn’t built on conditions or a need to look a certain way. The need to love yourself is thrown around way too often but I think it’s for a very good reason. The true self-love I found for myself was appreciating every single part of who I was – the good, the bad and the ugly – because it makes me who I am and that is divine. Bursting with this love for myself, I was then finally able to let other people love me for who I was.

After this life changing inner transformation (which is constantly ongoing), the weight dropped off effortlessly in no time. No restrictions or diet, no stepping on scales and torturing myself with exercise I hated. Just a whole heap of self-love, self-respect and coming to believe my worthiness to live a beautiful, pleasurable life full of joy and connection.

I see so many people who struggle with their weight, believing it to be the one thing in their life that causes all their suffering. I wish I could wake these people up to the fact that their body is speaking to them and they need to learn its language before any shifts will occur. Sure, you can deprive and starve yourself to the point of weight loss but believe me when I say that final result is not what you’re really seeking. Having a slim body does not “fix” your life. It doesn’t help you to avoid uncomfortable feelings or pain – that shit is universal and cannot be avoided! Your weight does not determine how loveable you are or how worthy you are as a human being. There are many reasons why people lose weight like a bad break-up but keep some of the reasons that I listed above in mind next time you are planning on going on a diet for weight-loss.

Quote on body size acceptance
Image: Body size acceptance

Author: Stephanie Curtis, Sexologist

Inner Personal Thoughts Of A Sexologist

Studying sexology

What the hell made you want to become a sexologist?! I get asked this regularly and it’s a very difficult question to answer simply. As a young women with hopes and dreams for my future, I could never have imagined that I would choose this path. It has been an interesting and fulfilling journey so far, with numerous factors leading to my choice to become somewhat of a “sexpert”.

A sexologist and sexpert
Image: Sexpert

In my former life before becoming a sexologist, I worked as a mental health nurse. Despite sounding vastly different, there are skills I learnt in this job that I will carry with me in my career as a sexologist, in fact skills that are transferable in every area of my life! I entered the mental health field as a new graduate with big desires to help others. People fascinate me and to offer my compassion and kindness to others in times of need felt like the right thing to do. Being a mental health nurse exposed me to an often isolated and somewhat condemned part of humanity, working with so many people who were in the midst of deep crisis. People who were so distressed they felt killing themselves was the only acceptable option. People who were so detached from their bodies and “reality” that they could not function in our world. People from all walks of life, at the extreme ends of a spectrum that we all fall on in one way or another.

Sexologist who talks about sexual problems
Image: Sexologist’s client

Initially, I felt privileged to be in a position where I could be a healing part of these people’s lives. I knew that so many others could not “handle” being around people in acute states of mental crisis so a part of me (ego probably) was proud of myself for stepping into this work. I would hear it all the time that it takes a certain kind of person to work in the mental health field and after experiencing it I know this to be absolutely true. Working in an environment with people in acute stages of mental illness causes you to be in hypervigilant state as a safety precaution. You are constantly watching over your back, on high alert in order to keep clients, staff and yourself safe from harm. This is not something that can be switched off just by walking out the door at the end of the day. We have this idea to “leave it at work” and forget about it when we go home however work is our life is it not? I found an attempt to separate the two led to more harm than good and realised that I wasn’t living authentically or in integrity working in this job.

My dreams for something different kept getting louder and louder. I realised that caring for others should not come at the expense of our own wellbeing or be driven by desires to help others for a sense of external validation. I believe to truly be in service in this world is to do the things that make us feel alive, following our desires towards what lights us up and gets us excited. For me, that had always been sex. Human sexuality has always fascinated me in so many ways. I have always been curious to understand why sex is such a massive part of our lives and not just used purely for procreation. Why are people sexually attracted to one person over another? Why is there an increase in people buying BDSM, kinks and fetish products? How can we be having more fulfilling sex in our lives? And why is there such shame and stigma around something so pleasurable and beautiful? These questions and a host more constantly had me intrigued so working in a field where I could explore sexuality was completely aligned with my passion and values.

Sexologist fixing sexual relationships
Image: Sexologist couples therapy

As well as my passion for learning about sex, I had found myself to be someone who people felt comfortable talking about their intimate lives with. I recall a moment years ago where a woman I knew shared with me a deeply personal story about her sex life with her husband, something she had never shared with anyone else before. Feeling the trust she felt in me to open up this way, I knew that I had something special to offer others. It warms my heart and makes me feel so grateful to be alive when I can create a space for people to feel confident and comfortable with their sexuality. I feel excited and full of joy knowing that the connection I have with my sexuality invites others to feel beautifully connected to their own. It truly is a gift knowing that I can play a part in creating a much needed sex-positive shift in our society, no matter how big or small that part may be. Sexual health has been a far too neglected area of our lives so to do this work is so important. I am new on my career path but hope that the topics I post about and the people who welcome my support in sessions benefit from what I have to offer. It feels like the beginning of an extremely fulfilling and enlivening career path, stay tuned for what’s to come…

Author: Stephanie Curtis, Sexologist

Ask Dr. Stacy – How Can I Last Longer In Bed?

Dr Stacy Sexologist

Dr. Stacy is a clinical Sexologist and Certified Sex Coach who monthly answers questions posted by our adultsmart community blog readers.  If you have a question relating to sex that you want answered or further information on please do not hesitate to post your question here!  Please be aware that Dr. Stacy is extremely busy and will choose which questions to answer.  As we now receive more than 1.4 million unique views from readers each year some questions may not be answered.

Stephan

I don’t last  more than 2 minutes in bed.  How can I last longer?

 Premature or early ejaculation is when you are either letting it all out 1-2 minutes or less after the start of intercourse or that you ejaculate faster than you would like. What is normal?  How long are you supposed to last? These are commons questions and concerns that many men have.  Studies have shown that most men ejaculate 3-5 minutes after penetration. There are a couple of ways you can work at improving the ability to last longer.  One is the squeeze technique by Masters & Johnson.

When you are erect, squeeze the tip of the penis where the skin joins with the tip of the penis (frenulum). Use your thumb to squeeze the frenulum against your index finger. The squeeze should last about 10-15 seconds but make sure not to squeeze too hard where it becomes painful. For this technique to work, you need to be able to feel that you are approaching the point of no return, the point beyond which you can’t control ejaculation. When you are about to reach that point, you or your partner can squeeze and then start again.

The next technique is the stop-start method.  You can do this one alone if you want to practice without your partner but it is something that is also helpful to do with your partner once you can perfect it on your own.  Once you become stimulated, before you hit the point of no return, stop what you are doing, rest for 30-60 seconds and then start stimulating again but don’t allow yourself to get to that point of inevitability. Repeat this cycle 5-6 times before allowing yourself to ejaculate.  If you are by yourself, you can finish by masturbating or if with a partner you can have penetrative intercourse and allow yourself to finish.  There are a few ways you can masturbate to practice on your own by going from using a dry hand (being gentle), then a wet hand with some sort of lotion or lube and then work your way to intercourse.

These are a couple ideas to help with early ejaculation but you can also look up Kegel exercises online which help strengthen the muscles in the pelvis to be able to control the urge to ejaculate easier. There may be more to your situation if you have a partner that is not helpful, rushing you to finish or is not open sexually so if these ideas don’t work and you need some coaching to look deeper into your situation as to what is going on, please contact me at www.DrStacy.org

Premature ejaculation device competition 2
Image: Prolong Climax Control Training Program Pinterest Competition 2 – Click on image for details

 

Len

Are urethral sounds safe to use?

First thing to know…what exactly is a urethral sound? It is a device made to enter the urethra for medical purposes or for sexual play. They can be hard or soft and usually inserted halfway into the opening of the penis so they can be easily retrieved. Some items, such as catheters, can be put in deeper to penetrate the bladder so depending on what the person is looking for, there is something for both. There are two reasons someone may want to use a urethral sound. One is for physical benefits and one is for the physiological turn on.  The urethra has sensitive nerve endings inside which can be stimulated when the sound is used and if you go deep enough with the sound in the penis you may have the ability to do a prostate massage.

Urethral sounding does come with risks.  If using toys specifically for that purpose and used correctly it can be safe since they are designed specifically for the purpose of sexual play and to not hurt but if using something not made for sounding you risk infection, bleeding and pain.  Get something high quality, use a sterile lube and go slow.  If you don’t have patience you can cause damage so it is important that if you want to try urethral sounding that you take your time and get the right products.

Readers please comment on this segment or contact Dr. Stacy Direct and let her know that her professional advice segment is on that is valued by our adult community.

Facebook: drstacyfriedman

Twitter: @drstacyfriedman

LinkedIn: drstacy

Skype: creatingintimacycoach

Pinterest: drstacyfriedman

 

5 Self Loving Ways To Warm Up This Winter

Cuddling with a winter lover

Winter is somewhat of a difficult time of year for me. I feel almost selfish discussing this topic knowing that friends in parts of the world such as Sweden and Germany would scoff hearing me complain about 12 degree Celsius days. Nonetheless, once the mercury drops below 20 degrees, I cannot help but turn into a winey, whingey, depressed shadow of a human. So, before I go into a deep dark hole of despair brought on by the cold weather, I feel it is a healthy step to take to focus on the positives of this time of year. Here’s my list of winter pros that I searched high and low to come up with:

Sleep and more specifically sleep next to someone

Sleeping and sleeping next to someone is much more enjoyable in these cold dreary months. Gone are the days of my single life and never have I been more grateful to go to bed with a beautiful man every night as I do now. As you could imagine, sharing your bed with a man in those hot summer months is only good for one thing. Attempting to snuggle and sleep close to one another is a sticky, sweaty nightmare! With the arrival of these cold days, I can’t wait to get close to him if only so my frozen feet defrost. Provided he doesn’t steal the blankets in the middle of the night, winter nights are blissful these days.

Couples sex during winter
Image: Couples sex

More opportunities for sex and intimacy

Times otherwise spent going to the beach and having a beer at the pub are now occupied by snuggling up next to the fire with a glass of red. Romantic right? When the cold draws you away from outdoor activities, see it as an opportunity to get cuddled up in bed, warm up with your favourite sex toys that you haven’t used in a while or whip out the rope with your partner for some bondage next to the fire. Try out some bondage roleplay ideas for the bedroom to. It is sure to heat things up inside and is a sexy way to keep yourself entertained for an afternoon.

Talking about sex and winter
Image: Sex and intimacy

Self-love and inquiry

Winter is a great time to be getting to know yourself by retreating inward. Withdrawing from the world is necessary every once and a while, with quiet time on our own a way of coming back to ourselves. Our busy lifestyles mean that we rarely take an opportunity to check in with ourselves and what matters to us. Winter time is a great time to go inward and give ourselves some much needed tender loving care. Having a bath, getting a massage, journaling, reflecting on our dreams and desires or even just being still are perfect experiences to give ourselves this time of the year.

Better sex with winter food
Image: Winter food

Eating delicious foods

My appetite seems to sky rocket in winter so nourishing myself with warm and scrumptious meals in winter is the ultimate in self-care. My justification of eating a whole heap more in the cold months of the year is that the amount of shivering I do has to burn some extra calories. Am I right?! Some people may see having a larger appetite as a bad thing but I see it as an excuse to stay in and cook myself something incredible to eat. Treat yo’self I say!

Using yoga for better sex
Image: Slowing down with yoga

Slowing the f**k down

Slowing down for me in winter means saying no to social engagements I’m not a hell yes to. It means doing some light stretching or yoga instead of climbing a mountain. Finding a healthy balance for yin and yang energy in my life is important, with winter a very yin time for me. Yin energy is all about the feminine and diving into this can be very healing for the feminine parts of me that I may have neglected in my faster paced, doing masculine energy. We need healthy balance in our lives otherwise our overall health and wellbeing can be affected.

As you may or may not notice, I’m really beginning to dig the bottom of the barrel now for some pros of winter-especially because I’m shivering from the draft and my chocolate has run out. For this reason, the best thing I can come up with for these cold months is to escape!! Winter is a perfect time of year for a tropical getaway to a location where swimming at the beach isn’t a near-death sentence. For years, I did what I could to get myself to Asia or Europe for a holiday just to avoid waking up in a place where my breath can’t be seen fogging out of my mouth and it was fantastic.

Sex in the cold winter seasons
Image: Worldwide winter sex

I’ve almost forgotten what it is like to be in such weather hence my attempts at consoling myself by writing this article. With nothing to do but stick it out, I think I’ll just spend the remainder of winter time snuggled up inside next to the fire, drinking wine, getting tied up and journaling. Doesn’t sound like the worst way to spend two months if you think about it? See you on the other side… who knows you might even buy naughty bondage restraints and ropes this winter!

Author: Stephanie Curtis, Sexologist

Lighting Up My Lagging Libido With Keto

Eggplants having sex

The past few years I have gone through a few emotional and confidence rollercoasters, and this year has also come with its own challenges. I have never been a big girl, more along to the lines of curvy/chubby, and confidence tends to be a struggle of mine, as I see myself and am worried that I am bigger than I actually am. As well as this I also recently withheld from sex for almost a year which was cleansing at first but nearing the end it actually reduced my sex drive considerably.

I am unsure of when I crossed the line that sex became scary again, like it was something I had never done before, but I feel as though I am in fact doing things and experiencing things for the very first time again. This could be due to my confidence and a new partner or the fact it’s been such a long time. I decided to look at both aspects and how they work with each other and if diet does affect libido, I have never eaten badly although working shift work has had me consuming more carbs than I normally would. I have always struggled with my sleep, it takes me hours to actually fall asleep and when I do I constantly wake up, sleeping tablets for me are not an option I don’t want to fall back into the cycle of prescription medication if I can help it. Another hurdle is my depression and anxiety constantly rearing its ugly and consuming head, I thought there has to be a better option than just medication that makes you numb.

So, after some research I have come up with a plan of attack to knock out all my worries with one solution I plan to lose weight, sleep better, have a happier mind, and increase my sex drive! I have decided to look at my health, lifestyle, body and mind, and so I am discovering the world of ketosis!

Eating healthy for better sex
Image: Food for better sex

Transitioning your diet from carbs to fat is a game changer if all the reviews are true to their word, but will a ketogenic diet cause my sex drive to plummet or is it the ultimate secret to a better sex life? I want to focus on how life choices with diet, exercise, sleep and confidence impact libido. For me this will be the start of a 30-day journey

First things first I want to explain how dietary fat and sex hormones are connected, it’s surprising to learn that there is even a connection between the two, now here’s something to rock your world, high fat diets lead to an increase in estrogen! A small study found a significant difference in the estrogen levels in women who ate a low-fat diet compared to women who had higher fat diets.  Low levels of estrogen can lead to a lower sex drive and some symptoms such as vaginal dryness and interferences in both your sleep and your mood.

Already I am excited for the next 30 days and I haven’t even started yet!

A little background into the world of hormones and just how they work particularly estradiol and testosterone. The main job of estradiol is to develop the female sex hormone but it’s also has a key role in fat distribution and sexual desire. Who would have guessed that the hormone in charge of our sexual desires was also the one that helps us move fat around our body? As for testosterone although typically seen as a male hormone it is just as important in females, as it helps to produce estrogen, it also impacts the libido. As we females age our hormones have a natural decrease so the last thing we want to do is add to that decrease with the diets we put our bodies through by going low fat instead of low carb!

Did you know that high fat diets can improve testosterone in men! Drops in testosterone can lead to low sex drive and erectile dysfunction as well as a drop-in energy, muscles and hair loss! Some men can also gain weight specifically in the chest area which leads to gynecomastia commonly known as “man boobs”.

All this proves that the fat you eat actually makes a difference in your sex hormones and libido. However, I’m not saying to pick up your closest donut or deep-fried treats those are trans fats and they too can reduce sex drive in both men and women. Trans fats can cause abnormal sperm production in men and women may have trouble with gestation.

Its monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that you want to focus on that can improve your sex drive, help you to lose weight and also make your mind happier.

My aim in this journey is to concentrate on my confidence and sex drive. The extra weight I will lose will be a bonus! When you look good you feel good!

When you’re a close fit and a little snugger, this not only causes insecurities on the inside but also affects your sexual confidence in the bedroom and you’re less likely to be in the mood especially when you have to bare it all.

Keto is a high healthy fat, moderate protein and low carb diet that tackles all the issues in one go. Losing weight is only the start of the journey. Keto will help improve your hormone’s natural balance and increase your sex drive which your partner will be thanking their lucky stars for because your confidence in the bedroom will sky rocket!

Food for a better sex drive

Food is your best friend with the keto diet and these 11 health foods will help boost your sex drive for men and women!

Keto diet for sexual arousal
Image: Keto diet
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Dark chocolate (as close to 100% cacao to be low carb)
  • Eggs
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Spinach
  • Steak
  • Tuna

Food that negatively impacts the sex drive

If you’re wondering about the foods that cause your sex drive to decline, then these are the foods to avoid or limit.

  • Dairy
  • Processed foods
  • Sugary drinks
  • High carb food especially food that has been fried

Do you want to improve your sex drive?

Well, what are you waiting for! Come on this journey with me! If you’re new to the keto way of life you will need to give your sex drive some time. But by reducing your alcohol consumption, increasing your healthy fat intake by adding those 11 libido-boosting foods that I mentioned before into your meals and also lowing your carb intake you will be on the path for orgasmic results! The initial stages are always the hardest but keep in your mind the advantages of the end goal to push you through, so don’t kiss your sex drive and confidence goodbye put a little kick in your step and start your keto journey! I’ll be back soon with my results! There is also a wide range of adult products for better sex to help in the mean time!

Morgan x

Author: Morgan is a consultant from Oh Zone Adult Lifestyle Centres