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                          Loving or loosing him      Back to News and Gossip Pages;     
by: Annie Culver
Loving Him Without Losing You describes famous women who have disappeared into relationships. Tell us about a few.
Many women ignore or minimize the importance of certain aspects of a man’s personality or a man’s life in order to justify their willingness to get involved or to stay involved with him. This was the case with Gloria Steinem in her relationship with Mortimer Zuckerman, a multimillionaire real-estate developer strongly disliked by many for his business dealings. He advocated trade with governments she had publicly protested against and gave dinner parties at which her closest friends would have felt ill at ease. Yet somehow she was able to ignore these glaring problems to be with him.

It’s important to tell yourself the truth about your relationships. The problem is, you may not want to face the truth about who he is because you don’t want it to end. One of my favorite stories is about actress Claire Bloom, when she was first involved with author Philip Roth. They fell in love right away. One day early in their relationship, she overheard him on the phone talking about upcoming trip plans with a male friend. She became enraged and wanted him to cancel his plans so he could be with her. Instead of recognizing that he was sensibly maintaining his separate life — since they were, after all, a new couple — she experienced this as rigidity. She considered it an example of how insensitive he was.

Why are women more prone to losing themselves in a relationship than men?
Men don’t change their plans when they fall in love, yet many women would alter their plans in a minute under the same circumstances. Here we are, strong, independent and liberated women, but in relationships we behave like our mothers and grandmothers.

Physiologically and culturally, we really are programmed differently than men. Women have thinner boundaries than most men do. A man knows his identity is important. We can learn a lot from them about how to hold on to ourselves when we’re in love.

How do you know if you’re a disappearing woman?
You might feel that your desires will never be fulfilled or you may have come to believe that being yourself and being in a relationship are mutually exclusive. Maybe you have unfinished business with your past and are simply focusing outward to avoid issues. If you get that really intense, zingy feeling in a relationship, then there’s probably something up with you. There’s a 20-question test in the book that’ll help you decide if you’re uncertain.

Is this more likely to happen at a particular age?
It encompasses all ages of women who haven’t really liked themselves. Older women might appear to be more comfortable with themselves, yet they can become insecure when their looks start to fade. Then they lose confidence because they think there won’t be another man who’ll come along.

How might this manifest itself in younger women?
It’s the rage today for girls in their teens and 20s to carry a pager that their boyfriends give them. When they’re not available to answer the beeper, the boyfriend might become enraged and accuse them of being unfaithful. Yet the girls say it makes them feel needed, important and as if somebody’s watching out for them.

Isn’t this just co-dependency?
There are many ways women lose themselves in relationships besides being co-dependent. Understanding co-dependency doesn’t necessarily take away a woman’s tendency to give her power to men.

Unlike many self-help books, Loving Him Without Losing You is peppered with inspirational quotes from literary heroes. What led you to include them?
I’ve always had an interest in female artists and writers, those who are able to be independent and those who aren’t. Women of substance aren’t afraid to voice their opinion or say what’s on their mind.

                          Love-addict clinic        Back to News and Gossip Pages;     

If you’re giving more than your getting, if you’re fixated on somebody who’s out the door, then check out my two-part series on obsessive love. Anybody see a pattern in these letters?
Letter one: My husband dumped and divorced me after cheating on me many times. We still live in the same house, but he sees someone else. He says he still needs me, but won’t commit. I can’t imagine not having him in my life. I am depressed but afraid to make changes, knowing everything would end.

Letter two: After six years, my girlfriend left me and I don’t know why. I told her I would do anything to make the relationship work. Now I send her e-mails and she ignores them. I make phone calls and she doesn’t return them. I can’t accept that she is out of my life. I’m obsessed with getting her back.

I receive dozens of letters like these every month from men and women so consumed with relationships that they’ve suspended their judgment, their perspective and, inevitably, their sense of self. That's why, in this column and the one that follows in two weeks, I’ll explore the idea of obsessive love: how obsessions develop, how to gauge whether you or your partner have crossed the invisible line between desire and obsession, and what to do when a love affair turns dark.

The term "obsessive love" is actually an oxymoron. Obsession is based on fear, not on love. Obsession is desperation buoyed by a willingness to do almost anything to preserve the emotionally enmeshed no-boundary quality of a faltering relationship.

If you’re not familiar with the concept of emotional boundaries, that last sentence might throw you. Imagine drawing a picture of yourself with red chalk on a blackboard. The red lines that define your figure and separate it from the surrounding space are, literally, your boundaries. Now, imagine erasing the red chalk on just the right side of your image. Do you see how you suddenly "bleed" into the blackboard or how the blackness seeps into you? On the right side of your figure you can’t see where you end and the slate begins. You and everything around you are one.

When your emotional "red lines" are sketchy and easily erased, it’s hard to know where you end and others begin. You can’t stand up, strong and separate, secure in who you are and what you feel. Without distinct boundaries, two lovers risk oozing into one another. They become as dependent on each other for sustenance and as fearful of separation as twins joined at birth.

The role your parents play
Obsessive relationships are primitive, childlike fragments of our pasts, revisited in the present. The root of every obsession is buried in childhood, where our first soul-wrenching losses and our lessons about boundaries begin.

In an ideal world, children learn to create solid boundaries with the help of parents who respect their kids' unique identities and avoid suffocating them with emotional demands. Alas, we live in a world where children are often the looking glasses through which parents see themselves. When a child does well according to Dad’s standards, Dad feels good about himself. When a child disobeys or fails to live up to Mom’s expectations, she feels inept. A parent might say, "Look how you made me feel," or "Look what you made me do," or "If you had been better, I wouldn’t be so angry."

Mom and Dad might fling similar accusations at each other, demonstrating that they, too, are thoroughly fused, moving in lockstep, each one’s actions or feelings determining the actions and feelings of the other. In such a household, absent altogether is the parents’ unwavering message to their children: "You are OK the way you are. I am OK the way I am. You needn’t fear being dismissed or rejected. You won’t lose me if you don’t take good care of me. I am whole no matter what you do."

This lack of positive mirroring and clear boundary definition by Mom and Dad is, in itself, a form of emotional abandonment, seeding fears that live permanently inside a child. When coupled with even more overt abandonment — such as threats, abuse, divorce or death — the boundaries between a child and intimates blur. Much later, when he or she falls in love, or more accurately, becomes entwined and merged in love, the real trouble begins.

Crazy in love
When you are merged in love, you may feel as though your most private, mythic fantasy has sprung to life. Finally, someone mirrors you perfectly, desires you wholly as you are. You believe you have found your twin soul. Your idealized lover has rescued you from self-doubt, anger, isolation — at first, that is.

Yet, because you need your lover to remain a perfect mirror for you, an almost immediate, counterbalancing primal fear slips silently into place. What if he goes away? Your fear remains a reptile slithering beneath your skin, while the constancy of your lover’s touch, taste, scent, produces a neurochemical trance that binds you like a drug. A woman might say, "He is part of me now." A man might think, "She belongs to me."

Now, let’s look at another letter:

I met a man on vacation two months ago. The first time we made love, it was like melting; I felt like I was breathing his breath, moving through his skin and into his being. Then I discovered how moody he is. One day he adores me; the next day he treats me like I’m beneath contempt. My friends say I should walk away from him but I’m helpless to do so.

Maybe you have lived out this fantasy yourself. Having no clear boundaries, you may have felt that a lover gave you form and substance. Once you "move through his skin and into his being" (or vice versa), no matter how difficult or even abusive the relationship later becomes, your psyche and body thrive on the memory of those ebullient, totally connected moments. If your lover steps away from you or you contemplate leaving, you feel as if you’re dying, evaporating. As your survival instinct kicks in, so begins the wild descent into obsession, where your craving to hang on means you will do almost anything, suffer almost any indignity, to keep him or her close. The one and only thing you can’t make yourself do is simply to let go.

In my next column, I’ll explore the forms obsession takes, how it makes people act, and how to tell if you’ve succumbed. I’ll help you reclaim yourself and draw or stabilize your boundaries, even if you’ve never done that before. Please stay tuned.

This column is intended for an adult audience, ages 18 and above.

                      8 ways to live longer        Back to News and Gossip Pages;    By Sheila King

Let's look into the not-so-distant future, to 2020. The "graying" of America has become a reality. An astonishing 20 percent of the population is 65 or older with an average life expectancy of 80 years. Women make up most of the senior population. They're outliving male counterparts by more than seven years but paying a high price — enduring twice as many years of disability prior to death.

No wonder the focus of today's medicine is already shifting from extending life to improving the quality of life at the later stages. With a burgeoning older population and escalating healthcare costs, prevention of disability and loss of independence later in life is more essential now than ever.

In general, the following key points will help both women and men achieve and maintain optimal health throughout their lives:

eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
take adequate amounts of vitamin D and calcium
avoid "dieting" for weight loss
avoid excessive intake of alcohol
engage your primary care physician in a shared decision-making process about the use of hormone replacement therapy for long-term prevention of heart disease and fractures
ask your physician about your individual need for regular screening for breast and colon cancer
engage in enjoyable physical activities such as walking for 30 minutes each day
stop smoking
Let's take a look at how exercise and a healthy lifestyle can help delay the onset and improve the course of many chronic conditions that commonly afflict older women:
Coronary Heart Disease (CHD). The leading cause of death in women and men, costing $50-$100 billion per year in lost wages and medical expenses. Lack of physical activity has been consistently identified as a risk factor for coronary heart disease. Here's how exercise can help:

High Blood Pressure. Regular aerobic activity performed at moderate intensity 5 to 7 days a week decreases the resting blood pressure of people. This is important because high blood pressure is a major risk factor for CHD and stroke. Two shorter workout sessions of 20-30 minutes in the morning and evening may optimize the blood-pressure-lowering effects. Supplement these workouts with resistance training twice each week using lighter weights and higher repetitions to strengthen the major muscles of the body.

Blood Cholesterol and Triglyceride Levels. More than 50 percent of American adults have total blood cholesterol levels of 200mg/dl or more, putting them at risk for CHD. Exercise has a beneficial effect in many ways. Current research indicates that total calorie expenditure is the most important exercise factor in lowering your blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. This can be accomplished by exercising 5-7 times each week at low to moderate intensity for 30-60 minutes. Your goal should be to burn between 1,000-3,500 calories per week. For example, walking a brisk pace for 45 minutes will utilize about 300 calories for a 150-pound person. If you can maintain this pace five days a week, your weekly total of calories used will reach 1,500 — enough to improve blood lipids if continued over several months.

Non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM). This is a major risk factor for heart disease and the fourth leading cause of death. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, amputation and kidney failure in adults. NIDDM increases the death rate from coronary heart disease by 4 to 6 times in women and 2 to 3 times in men when compared to those who have normal blood glucose (sugar) levels. The good news: Those who are physically active are less likely to develop NIDDM than persons who are sedentary. Exercise helps improve the body's sensitivity to insulin and will help normalize blood glucose levels. In addition, exercise can help reduce levels of abdominal fat which contribute greatly to the body's resistance to insulin.
Cancer: The leading cause of death for women age 35 to 50. Research from the College Study indicates that those who use up more than 2,000 calories or more in physical activity each week have a third less risk of all cancers than sedentary people. And exercise may help prevent colon and breast cancers. One study found that women who exercise an average of four hours per week reduced their risk of breast cancer by 50 percent compared to that of age-matched inactive women. Exercise may also help boost the immune system and even help promote such healthy habits as getting a good night's sleep.
Osteoporosis. A condition caused by bones losing their mineral mass and progressively becoming porous and prone to fracture. This affliction currently affects approximately 25 million Americans, 90 percent of them women. Osteoporosis is responsible for 70 percent of fractures in adults over age 45 and is a prime cause of disability in the elderly.

The best prevention strategy against bone loss is adequate intake of calcium throughout life. In addition, women should discuss with their doctor the benefits of estrogen replacement therapy to help slow the loss of calcium from the bone after menopause. Regular exercise can help slow the rate of bone loss in post-menopausal women. Research indicates that the mechanical stress of weight-bearing activities like walking, running, jumping, dancing, stair climbing and strength training may stimulate the bone to conserve calcium.

Strength training may be of particular benefit for those at risk of osteoporosis. Women participating in strength-training activities may not only build and maintain bone density but may also help prevent falls by improving balance and increasing strength of muscles that support and protect joints. Improving muscle strength will also enable older women to remain active throughout their lives, thus avoiding loss of bone from inactivity.

Free-weight exercises are helpful in developing coordination and balance. Performing multi-joint exercises such as ¼ squats, lunges, rowing and trunk strengthening at least twice each week is optimal.

Osteoarthritis Arthritis. A degenerative condition of the joints associated with injury and aging. It is the most common type of arthritis characterized by symptoms of joint stiffness, soreness and pain. While wear and tear on the joints contribute to osteoarthritis, moderate exercise can actually help.

Repetitive movements such as cycling, walking or swimming actually increases the amount of nourishing synovial fluid that is produced by the connective tissues of the joints. Synovial fluid helps improve joint lubrication and eases movement. Exercise will also help prevent excess weight gain, which can increase the risk of osteoarthritis in the joints of the ankles, knees, back and hips.

Stretching will help increase and maintain range of motion while strengthening exercise prevents injury and protects the joint from further damage. For those who suffer from osteoarthritis, it's a good idea to avoid activity that may cause further wear on the weight-bearing joints: high impact aerobics, competitive sports that involve sudden changes in direction or body contact, overtraining, and exercising through pain or exercising while injured.

Even if you don't add years to your life, you will add vigor and independence to your years if you make exercise part of your life.

                          Staying in Love        Back to News and Gossip Pages;     

Many of you have written to me about the dilemma of watching your relationship go from the "pants on fire" stage to the "PBS documentary" phase. The truth is that it takes patience, understanding, and a really solid foundation to make a rela-tionship survive the long haul.

Perhaps I'm reaching for the obvious, but I can't stress en- ough how important a solid friendship is when it comes to ma- king a long-term relationship succeed. Try to remember what your first few months together were like. If you are like most couples, you gave your partner undivided attention. You probably both really listened to each other in an effort to find out what they were all about. This practice should con-tinue long after the courtship. Toni Morrison made the com-ment that a child looks to see if your face lights up when they enter the room because these physical signals validate the child. Why should it be any different with your lover? It shouldn't. When you stop doing everything you're involved with to let your partner know that they are the BEST part of your day, it can change the entire mood or tone of an evening together.

Many of you have written me about how he/she just "stopped trying" after the initial pursuit. Shame on anyone who takes their partner for granted! If you find yourself in this sit-uation you have to change the behavior by letting them know that indifference is not acceptable. Real friends continue to work at their relationships which means sharing your heart, exercising patience, and allowing themselves to just feel. Part of what keeps couples in love is the trust they develop knowing that their partner will be there unconditionally. Big word -- unconditional, but its crucial for any real relationship to last.

If you're in that mode of moving through your relationship on "automatic pilot" STOP immediately and make those changes. Start by turning the TV off! Television has sucked the life blood out of many an evening. Instead, go for a walk and just enjoy your time together. Play cards, go for a drive, play Twister - I don't care what you do as long as it involves one on one attention. There's no excuse for living passively; ever. Yes, I know the kids have to eat, and homework needs to be completed, but anything important is worth making time for capiche? It's usually the simple things that matter most in the end. Personally I'm a huge fan of blackouts. What can you do without electricity? Pretend your Amish and go to town!.


It's a testosterone thing.  Much similar to your PMS thing, we men suffer from testosterone poisoning.  Why do you think the average life span of a  male is typically 10 years shorter (and it's not just from all the bitching and nagging we have to endure)?  Hormone modifies behavior.  We're just misunderstood.


Again, this is a testosterone thing. Do you honestly think that all the testosterone just fell out of our bodies the moment we met you?  Besides, women do it as well. Women are just much better at not getting caught. I'm fairly certain  it's some sort of photographic memory deal. Women take one quick look and memorize it for later reference. Since men lack this ability, we try to burn it into our memory by staring as much as we can.


We occasionally need to adjust our little friend and make him happy. It's much like adjusting your bra. Being in public is just an added bonus.


We like to. It's actually a whole lot of fun to see our partner frustrated by a few simple (and well chosen) words.


You'd learn to keep your big mouth shut too if every time you open it you get into trouble with your partner.


Well, we don't actually have to; we do it because we enjoy it. It's the old fashioned pride in a job well done that's missing in so much of the world nowadays.


Do we look like women to you? Why is it so hard to under- stand that men and women are different?  How are we suppos- ed to share how we feel when we have no idea how we feel?   Unless we're experiencing some extreme emotion like rage,  hatred, disgust, or a brick on our foot, we have no idea  how we feel. Personally, I get a headache whenever I try  to figure out how I feel.


Please...  How many hours do you think there are in a day? We oblige you as much as we can, but who the hell (besides women) can stand lying around for hours on end? We men... Men hunters... Need go roam... Starve in cave... Must go find wildebeest... Now sitting on our asses for hours on end on the other hand is a whole other story.


Men have very powerful sets of sitting muscles developed by evolution that enable us to sit for extended periods of time without getting tired. In prehistoric times, it was often necessary to sit in one spot for extended periods of time while hunting for prey. The more successful hunters were able to sit very still for very extended periods of time thereby passing on this ability to their progeny. The fidgety types were all gobbled up by saber toothed tigers etc. The end result is that almost all modern men are born with this innate ability.


Men are taught from a tender young age to be self-sufficient. To say that we love you is equivalent to saying  that we need you. Most men consider that a character fault.   It's not easy to admit to one's own character faults.


Ho, Ho, Ho...  Aren't you special? Well, some men think it's a sure fire way to get into your pants. Surprisingly, it actually still works quite well.


We just simply don't have the energy to answer every single one of your questions. If we think we do not have the answer, or that you will not like the answer, we simply remain quiet and save the energy for other things.


Why should we? It doesn't really bother us that much. Besides, we know darn well you'll pick it up.


This usually only occurs after months of courting. It's our way to let you know that we're comfortable with you. Believe it or not, it's actually a sign of affection. Besides, holding it for extended periods of time gives us stomach cramps.


It's an evolutionary thing. Men hunt. Women gather. We just want to go out, kill it, and bring it back. Who wants to spend hours and hours to look at things we have no intention of killing? Err...  buying?

                                                      Does Size Really Matter.?.        Back to News and Gossip Pages;     

penis size: top ten questions

1. what is the average size penis?

Despite what some people think, the average size of an erect penis is actually quite modest: about six inches (approximately 15 centimeters). Of course, there are variations as with any body part, but almost all penises fall between four and eight inches (approximately 10-20 centimeters) when erect -- that is, measuring on the upper side, from the pubic bone to the tip (including the testicles is cheating!).

You should also know that erection might be considered the great equalizer. Those men whose penises are smaller when soft usually have a greater size increase than those with larger flaccid penises. The size differences between penises are less dramatic if you compare them erect.

The size differences between penises are less dramatic if you compare them erect.  

2. is there any way to enlarge the penis?

Nothing you ingest and nothing you rub on will make your penis any larger. There is one thing, and one thing only, that will permanently increase penis size, and that is enhancement surgery (see question 5). Most therapists and doctors do not recommend this approach, however, because the surgery is dangerous and often doesn't work. But if you are determined, it is the only way.

3. do special exercises work?

It may seem that body building should work as well on the penis as on other parts of the body, but it doesn't. Muscles get larger after small amounts of trauma from physical exertion. But the penis is not a muscle, rather it consists of three soft, spongy tubes and blood vessels. If you try lifting weights with your penis, the only things traumatized are the spongy tubes and/or blood vessels, causing bruising and veinous leakage. This would eventually lead to difficulty with erections and curvature (due to accumulation of scar tissue).  The penis is not a muscle, it consists of three soft, spongy tubes.  

4. how do penis pumps work?

These pumps, officially known as vacuum erection devices, are actually designed to cause erections in men with erectile dysfunction. By creating a pressure difference, they force blood into the penis. A constriction band is then attached to the base of the penis to reduce the outflow of blood. These devices, however, are usually available by prescription only. The pumps you see advertised are often cheap knockoffs that can be quite dangerous since they are often poorly designed and don't have the proper safety valves. Also, they usually don't come with constriction devices.

The reason some people think that these pumps cause enlargement is because when you make a vacuum seal and increase the air pressure, you can force more blood into the penis then would normally occur during erection. The penis can indeed seem quite engorged, but this effect goes away within 24 hours (at most). Also, overinflating your penis with blood is not a good idea. This can cause blood vessels to burst, or even cut off peripheral circulation.

The claims you see in magazines of increases of several inches are absurd. That said, some very early research suggests that regular use (every day for several months) might cause a very slight increase in penis size. However, what might be going on is that men who had blood-flow problems used these devices and found that, after time, the pump simply stretched their blood vessels back to a more normal size.

If you have been prescribed such a pump for erection problems, or you are one of the men who enjoy the sensation of such vacuum pressure, you can use these devices safely and effectively, but you probably will not see any increase in size. A far better use of your time would be accepting what you have and learning to use it well!

5. what is enhancement surgery?

The first thing you need to understand is that the penis actually extends about 1.5 to two inches (approximately 4-5 centimeters) inside the body. In order to "enlarge" the visible portion of the penis, the surgeon severs the ligaments holding the penis in place, allowing this inner part to descend. But in order for this to happen, the man needs to wear weights or stretching devices attached to the penis for several months after the operation. In total, a man might gain one inch, although some men actually lose length due to scar tissue. Even assuming that everything goes well, with no infections or other complications, two other consequences will occur: the base of the penis will now have hair on it, and the man's erection will now point downwards.

Girth is added by removing fat cells from another part of the body and injecting them below the skin of the penis. There are a couple of problems with this procedure: First, there is nothing to anchor the injected fat cells, so they often clump or get reabsorbed. Most men require repeated injections to smooth out the bumps and caverns. Also, nothing can be done to increase the size of the head of the penis, so most men wind up with a thick shaft and a small head.

All in all, the procedure is expensive, risky, and painful, and the results often do not look natural. The procedure is unregulated, still considered "experimental," and is not taught at any medical school. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery has stated that it has "not been shown to be safe or efficacious" and advised its members not to perform the procedure. An article in the Journal of Urology stated that the surgery should not even be considered unless a man's erection was less than three inches in length! So instead of taking the chance, the best approach is to learn to be happy with what you have.   The procedure is expensive, risky, and painful, and the results often do not look natural.  

6. how do porn stars get such large penises?

In some movies, you will see a man with an enormously long penis. There is no such thing as an 18-inch long penis. Yes, sometimes they look quite authentic, but they are not. Have you ever seen a science fiction movie where someone grows horns, or it looks like they are being stretched, or better yet, where an alien is walking around? Well, it is done the same way, only slightly more low-tech. There are quite a few special-effect prop makers who are only too happy to moonlight on the set of a porn film. Those giant penises you see are prosthetic. Yep, they are fake. Even the semen that comes out is synthetic. Did you ever notice how the stars with REALLY large penises often wear a sort of harness? That is because the artificial penis is so heavy, it can't simply be glued on. Other times, it is glued on with synthetic skin matched to the actor's skin tone, blended in to make it look seamless. Anything over 10 inches is almost guaranteed to be a fake.  Anything over 10 inches is almost guaranteed to be a fake.  

7. what about testicle size?

There is no way to increase testicle size. Testicles, like the penis, increase in size when a man goes through puberty. Once a man is an adult, they remain a stable size that cannot be changed. The size of the testicles, however, has absolutely no bearing on fertility, orgasm, ejaculation, or anything else other than appearance. In most men, one testicle is slightly larger or hangs lower than the other.

8. Do women prefer large penises?

There are women who do prefer a large penis, but it is usually more for aesthetic reasons. It is somewhat equivalent to some men preferring women with large breasts. There are also women who prefer smaller penises. Yes, some women like the feeling of fullness, but the inner two-thirds of the vagina do not have touch-sensitive nerve endings. Anything beyond two inches is difficult for a woman to feel. In addition, the vagina is a potential space that expands and contracts to accommodate what is inside of it. So, even among women who say they can feel a difference, it is usually due to girth and not length. For most women, the size of the penis is not nearly as important as how it is used.

9. can a penis be too big?

There are two cases in which men and women complain about a penis being too big. The first involves condoms. Luckily, there are oversized condoms, but even a regular condom will fit on any size man. Condoms are tested to hold several liters of water!

The other issue is one of pain during intercourse. Although the vagina is highly elastic (a baby can come out of there!), it does end at the cervix. In certain positions, especially if the man has a long penis, the cervix can indeed be bumped. Some women like this sensation, others find it extremely uncomfortable. If this is the issue, there are several things a woman can do:

Make sure you are fully aroused before you move onto intercourse. The back of the vagina goes through a process known as tenting whereby it expands as a woman becomes increasingly aroused. So, lots of foreplay, and maybe even an orgasm or two, are in order before intercourse.

Use extra lubrication. Although the lubrication won't actually prevent your cervix from being bumped, it will help the penis to slide around it and not hit it as hard.

Experiment with different positions. Positions such as the woman-on-top, where you control the depth of penetration, can be especially good.

Keep your legs closer together. This will create extra tightness for your partner without him having to go as deep. It will also keep penetration more shallow.

Place your hand around the base of your partner's penis while you are having intercourse. This will simulate the feeling of him going all the way inside you, while keeping him from going too deep.

If none of this works, you should mention it to your gynecologist. It is possible that there may be something else going on that is causing you pain, such as a tipped uterus or endometriosis.

10. is penis size proportional to other body parts?

Actually, penis size is almost entirely unrelated to height; hand, feet or nose size; or any of the other things you might have heard. Penis size is sort of like nose size -- there are many very tall men with small noses and very short men with enormous ones. In reality, penis size is even less related to height than noses are. Size is determined purely by individual hereditary factors. Almost all men have a penis that is between 2.5 and 4.5 inches (approximately 6-11 centimeters) in length while flaccid (soft) and 99 percent of penises are between four and eight inches (approximately 10-20 centimeters) in length while fully erect.

                      The "anti-impotence" pill     Back to News and Gossip Pages;     


1. what is it?

The FDA has approved the first oral drug for erectile problems. Known as Viagra (sildenafil), it is a true breakthrough since it does not involve surgery, injections, or mechanical devices. Painless and discreet, it is also the first form of treatment that simulates natural functioning since it doesn't actually cause an erection unless the man is sexually stimulated. In clinical trials, up to 80 percent of men found that it improved their erections.

2. how does it work?

Viagra enhances the natural response to sexual stimulation by blocking the effect of an enzyme that breaks down cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP). By blocking the enzyme, Viagra helps to relax smooth muscle cells, thus increasing blood flow to the penis and making it much easier for a man to get and maintain an erection.

3. who is it for?

Almost all men experience difficulties with getting an erection at least some of the time. However, Viagra is designed for the approximately 20 million men affected by long-term erectile dysfunction. In studies, the drug was effective in patients with erection problems attributed to diabetes, prostatectomy, spinal cord injury, psychological, and other causes. It is not meant to be used casually, and men should be carefully evaluated for underlying medical/psychological causes. Men who are currently using medicines that contain nitrates, such as nitroglycerin, should not use Viagra, because taken together, these medications can lower the blood pressure too much.

4. how do you use it?

Viagra is taken approximately one hour before sex. Sexual stimulation is still required to get an erection, but often less than would be normally required. It is effective for about four hours and should not be used more than once a day.

5. are there side effects?

The most common side effects noticed were mild headache, facial flushing, and/or upset stomach. With larger doses, some men developed a very unusual side effect: a color shift towards blue, making green and blue indistinguishable.
Because Viagra does not cause an erection but simply makes it easier to get one, the most dangerous side effect of injectables (that do cause an erection) is avoided. Injections can cause a condition, known as priapism, where a man cannot lose his erection. This is a dangerous condition that must be treated immediately and can lead to permanent damage. Given that no chemical is being injected, Viagra also does not lead to scarring.

6. what about vision problems?

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) has recently expressed concerns about vision problems, including blurring and light sensitivity, experienced by some men taking Viagra. The AAO has called for further studies and is urging men (especially those with preexisting eye disorders) to use the lowest dose possible.
However, the temporary vision problems some men experience is not the "shocking new discovery" that the media is claiming, but a known side effect. Pfizer, the makers of Viagra, have stated all along that a small percentage of men (about 3 percent) do experience an unusual color-shift in their visual perception.
Such side effects are entirely understandable: Viagra acts upon a chemical that occurs not only in the genitals, but also in small quantities in the eye (as well as other parts of the body). In early studies, those men who experienced visual disturbances sometimes noticed a slight bluish tinge, as well as blurring of vision and increased light sensitivity. Such effects increased with higher doses, but always went away within a few hours. In the thousands of men who participated in Pfizer's studies, only one stopped taking the drug due to these problems.
Although caution is always warranted when taking a new medication, and the long-term side effects are not yet known, men taking Viagra probably have little to worry about even if they do notice some temporary vision difficulties.

7. are there other benefits?

No one is exactly pushing this point (for fear that the drug will be abused), but in many men, the drug allows them to maintain an erection even following multiple orgasms. So, in a sense, Viagra may eventually be useful for treatment of premature ejaculation. For men who have partial erections, or easily lose their erections, this drug may also make it easier for them to use condoms and have safer sex.

8. how do i get it?

Viagra is available by prescription only, so you need to consult your doctor. It should cost approximately $10 a pill. Expensive, but still much cheaper than most of the other forms of treatment such as MUSE, injections, or vacuum pumps.

9. how was it discovered?

Viagra (before it was called that) was originally being studied for use with high blood pressure and angina. It wasn't terribly successful, but when men refused to give their samples back, the researchers suspected they were onto something! Indeed, demand for the drug has been so high that some research subjects have camped out on researchers' doorsteps, or even broken into labs, to get more!

10. what about women?

Although Viagra has not been extensively tested or approved for use with women, there is some reason to believe that it might have some beneficial effects for females as well as males. A number of doctors admit to cautiously prescribing it "off-label" for a small number of women, and large-scale studies are already underway.

While Pfizer (the manufacturer of Viagra) has begun studying effects on women, it is still too early to know about effectiveness or side-effects. One thing that is clear: Viagra will almost certainly not increase libido or orgasms in women. However, since Viagra might increase blood flow to the genitals the same way it does for men, it could possibly help some women with lubrication and arousal.
"Viagra's greatest potential may be for women with sexual difficulties related to medical conditions such as diabetes. It might also be helpful for women who have problems with arousal and/or lubrication due to menopause, but who cannot use other forms of treatment such as estrogen replacement therapy. Viagra should not be considered an 'orgasm pill' but, with further research, we may find that it has some benefit in augmenting sexual functioning in women," states Professor Gerdes, a neuropsychologist whose research has focused on female sexuality including the G-Spot.
In the meantime, it is important to remember that Viagra is a prescription-only medication with potential side-effects and should only be used under medical supervision.

                          Acting Your Age            Back to News and Gossip Page
By Carol Potera
WebMD Medical News

Medically reviewed by Dr. Craig H. Kliger

July 17, 2000 -- When Nona Bingham of Portland, Ore., retired from her job as a supermarket clerk at age 65, she enrolled in oil painting and ceramic classes to keep busy. "But that didn't do it for me," says Bingham, a self-described workaholic.

So she joined an acting group for senior citizens at a local community center and threw herself into rehearsals and tap dancing lessons. The group's first production, a variety show, drew an audience of four people. Now, 20 years later, her Northwest Senior Theatre troupe travels nationwide and draws audiences of 5,000 people.

"I got another life out of this," says Bingham, who now tap dances and performs comedy. At age 85, she's not quite the oldest in her troupe -- performers' ages range from 59 to 89.

The Trend

Senior theater groups are booming, with more than 200 in operation across the United States, and others starting up, says Bonnie Vorenberg, an expert in gerontology and theater in Portland, who has written a book, Senior Theatre Connections: The First Directory of Senior Theatre Performing Groups, Professionals, and Resources. The names of some of the groups hint at their underlying liveliness and sense of humor: Geritol Frolics, The Seasoned Performers, Extended Run Players.

As people live longer, they're often looking for ways to add quality to their lives, says Vorenberg, who started the Northwest Senior Theatre group. "Creativity and the arts are where quality of life comes from," she says.

The Productions

Vorenberg has worked with a variety of elders, ranging from frail, confused nursing home patients to active seniors like Bingham. Although she says no studies have formally evaluated the benefits of senior theater, her informal surveys find that participants gain mentally, physically, and socially. Theater involvement "is better than a trip to the doctor," says Vorenberg. "You may not feel well before a performance, but you'll be high afterwards."

Production formats run the gamut, from oral history to variety shows, from issue-oriented plays to intergenerational productions. Participants are as likely to exercise their brains as their legs, making new friends at the same time. Warming up, singing, dancing, and acting all work different muscles while they improve lung capacity. "I exercise more [on stage] than if I go to the gym," says Bingham. For the camera-shy, there are ample behind-the-scenes opportunities: lighting, prop, costume, or promotional work that demand the same interplay of physical activity, mental quickness, and social interaction.

The Health Perks

Numerous studies reinforce the health benefits of this interplay. For instance, a poor or limited social network increases the risk of dementia by 60%, according to a study published April 13, 2000, in The Lancet. In addition, seniors who exercise suffer fewer falls, less depression, and reduced pain, according to a report in the March 2000 issue of the Journal of the American Geriatric Society. And the January 5, 1995 issue of the journal Physiology and Behavior reports that exercise decreases tension and boosts self-esteem. Such findings "can be extrapolated to what I see in theater," says Vorenberg.

There is also the benefit of "perspective." Many seniors have some kind of health condition that requires medications or doctor visits. "Being in a show forces them to look beyond their own problems," says Vorenberg. Suddenly, learning lines becomes more important -- and a more frequent focus of the conversation -- than arthritis complaints.

Even very frail people in nursing homes feel better after singing and moving. Seniors often report that their theater involvement helped them get off antidepressants or blood pressure medications, according to Ann McDonough, PhD, director of gerontology at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, who wrote the anthology The Golden Stage: Dramatic Activities for Older Adults. Before considering such a move, however, your doctor must be consulted, says McDonough.

The Human Touch

Seniors say that the greatest benefits of theater-based activities are the improved interpersonal connections, especially since many live alone. "I've made lots of friends," says Bingham. "We all feel the same way -- this adds quality to our lives."

Social bonds develop among people working together as a group. Being in a theater troupe makes you feel needed. "It's like the fourth person in bridge -- people depend on you," says Vorenberg. And hearing an audience applaud, of course, is a great thrill and morale booster.

Breaking Down Barriers

Sometimes senior theater can even break down stereotypes and lead to intergenerational understanding and friendship. At the University of Nevada, seniors perform with college students. The older actors say it invigorates them to work with the younger folks, says McDonough, who has seen the senior theater program grow from just 18 people 10 years ago to 87 now. The younger participants say it puts an end to their biases about aging; for instance, they learn that many older adults can, in fact, memorize very well.

And when young college students see someone like Nona Bingham tap dance and laugh her way through a production, they might just discard a few more notions of what it's like to grow old in America.

Carol Potera is a journalist from Great Falls, Mont., who writes for WebMD, Shape magazine, and other publications.

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