Data mining and learning new tricks

Mastercard have been mining the data and come to a disturbing conclusion: people are buying memorable experiences, rather than goods in the post GFC world.

By Leandro Neumann Ciuffo from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - Mina da passagemUploaded by Markos90, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19967318

By Leandro Neumann Ciuffo from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Mina da passagemUploaded by Markos90, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19967318

Aside: whenever someone talks about corporations data mining, it makes me think of this – thank you Scott Adams!

Anyway, that’s great if you are in the “memorable experience” business like me, but I guess that it sucks if you sell things for a living, or are part of the supply chain for making and selling things. As a one time industrial designer, I am feeling just a little bit smug about my career change!

It does however make me just a little bit hopeful for humanity to hear this news from Mastercard. Checking off “See the Eiffel Tower” on one’s bucket list may not lead to enlightenment exactly, but it’s definitely better than just buying more “things” to fill up the cupboards with.

At the end of the day, it is experiences that make our lives rich and open our eyes to possibilities that we would not otherwise have considered. This is especially true of our sexuality. Even my society spend a lot of time and effort trying to prevent people from having and enjoying sex. But, I know absolutely that it’s never too late to learn. Be it mathematics, cooking, music, or sex. We all have the ability to make ourselves better. It just takes the right moment and the right teacher. And as adults, we have a lifetime of experience and maturity behind us to make good use of the things we learn.

If you have never had an orgasm. Or you have difficulty reaching orgasm reliably. If you want to broaden your understanding of sex and what it can be. Or perhaps explore your kinky side. Then drop me an email, or a text and tell me what you would like to learn. It would be my pleasure to be your teacher.

John.

Orgasm obligation

Women having orgasms is a matter that is close to my heart. If you have spent any time reading over this site, then you will have noticed that it’s something that I talk about a lot. Even guarantee. So I was a little taken aback when I saw this article:

http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/citykat/why-men-need-to-relieve-themselves-of-orgasm-obligation-20150806-git2ng.html

Katherine Feeney (the author) talks about how she finds that men, these days, are obsessed with giving their partner’s an orgasm every time they have sex. Ok, male outrage and confusion is very likely in response to words like this. For years men have been criticized for not caring (and plenty of us still don’t) about our partner’s needs, for not knowing where the clitoris is etc, etc… But I do take the author’s point. It’s not a competition, it’s not a race, it doesn’t need to be a goal for every time you have sex.

She is right to say that orgasm should be something that just happens (or doesn’t) as part of sex between partners. And no-one should be feeling obliged. What that implies though is a level of emotional maturity and confidence – and sophistication! – that is somewhat lacking in many of us. It’s a complex topic that intersects with too many other social and relationship issues to be able to untangle here, or in a newspaper article.

On reading though it reminded me of something that I have observed over the years that I have been lucky enough to have partners and to work as I do. That is: some women can reach orgasm as easily as men, even through penetration (without manual clitoral stimulation). I don’t think that this is something that is inherent though – I think that it is learned.

This being the case, it puts a very different light on the conversation above. It becomes much less about social pressure and stigma and more about education and giving girls and young women the opportunity to learn about their bodies when they are ready.

Just as men can learn bad habits as teenagers (like premature ejaculation), I believe – given the stories I have heard over the years – that women can learn to reach orgasm easily and reliably if they (as teenagers and young adults) have an environment that is emotionally and physically conducive to them learning to do so. That means they have the opportunity to masturbate without fear of interruption or censure, to experience relationships and sex with other people, and preferably enough education to understand their bodies and their minds.

The next question then is: can older women learn to reach orgasm reliably and easily? My answer is that I don’t know conclusively, but I think that the answer is yes. The human brain is an amazing thing and capable of great plasticity. My experience with orgasmic meditation has shown that anyone woman can learn to have much greater sensitivity and receptiveness to genital stimulation. I believe that given enough time and effort, with the right person that it is quite possible for older women to learn to be just as orgasmic.

So, if a woman is able to climax freely (basically at her own will), then the whole question of “orgasm obligation” basically just goes away. Now that sounds like a worth goal to me.

John.

All about sex – a writing project

In my recent post about sex education I suggested that it was time for me to write something on the topic.

In the last few weeks I have started on this project and am delighted to say that it is progressing well.  My intention is to publish parts of the book here as they are completed, or at least knocked into a reasonable shape.  I expect that it will be an ongoing project that evolves over time as I get feedback and more experience with the process and subject.

So.  Stay tuned.

John.

Sleep and sex

I doubt that anyone would disagree that being well rested can improve your libido, but my observation personally is that lack of sleep affects women’s libidos more strongly than men.

A study was done recently in the US into the effect of sleep on female libido and while the results are predictable (falling into the “common sense” category), it’s always good to have actual empirical evidence to back up our assumptions.  From the study:

Good sleep is important for maintaining healthy sexual functioning. Decreases in desire and genital response, as well as reduced likelihood of partnered sexual activity, are predicted by both nightly and habitual sleep duration. Notably, these effects were independent of age, sexual distress, daytime affect and fatigue, or presence of menstruation. These findings suggest that acute sleep disturbance may contribute to sexual complaints and reduced sexual activity.

So, while this isn’t new information to us, it does give us a good reason to look at our lives and ask the question: what is it that we want for ourselves?

“Work/life balance” has almost become a cliche these day – mostly because of it’s absence from most people’s lives.  We work longer hours and even second jobs because we have to, but as this study shows, we pay a price that is often higher than we should.

Having a healthy and enjoyable sex life is too often seen as a luxury, one that is incompatible with modern life.  And it can certainly be hard to make it happen.  But personally I think that it’s worthwhile making the time (and getting the sleep) that is needed for a great sex life.

Life is too short for always being tired and not having great sex!

John.

Orgasmic Meditation, orgasm from penetration, and your vibrator

It’s time to write the post that needs to be written.

My first post about Orgasmic Meditation was on the whole positive. Since then I have attended one of their training courses (fun) and come to realise that the concepts behind OM are powerful, beneficial, and something that every woman and man should know about and understand. And preferably practice! I have used orgasmic meditation (or variations of it) with a number of my clients with success. My partner has declared that it is “ridiculously enjoyable” and that it has been transformative for our sex life (you are never too old to learn new ways to enjoy sex!).

So, orgasmic meditation gets a big tick. I highly recommend that you learn about it, perhaps attend one of their courses, join their online community if you need to find someone to do it with. And start enjoying being stroked!

There is however, in my opinion, one thing that you need to do first: THROW AWAY YOUR VIBRATOR!

Why? It’s this simple: vibrators are too powerful. They train your brain to be LESS sensitive to clitoral stimulation. They take away your ability to engage with and enjoy your body and the most specific pleasure that you can enjoy, that is stimulation of your clit.

When you try orgasmic meditation you will understand why. The whole technique is based around the lightest, most gentle touch possible of the woman’s clitoris. By contrast using a vibrator is like putting too much salt on your food. In the end you can only taste salt and you lose the ability to enjoy the subtle flavours and variations of unsalted food. Like wise, your vibrator is destroying your connection with your clit. Let me explain how. I read a recent study summarised here:

http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822(14)01487-0

It showed that regular fine detail work with fingers – including playing musical instruments, or using a smart phone – resulted in greater brain activity in the areas of the brain related to sensing touch. I.e. when you use your finger tips to do something that requires a delicate touch, your brain responds by ramping up it’s sensitivity to the signals coming from that part of your body.

Your clitoris has upward of 8000 nerve endings, all packed into a tiny space. It is exquisitely receptive – more so than even your fingertips. But what you “feel” is dependent up whether or not your brain is “listening” to the signals properly. Extrapolating from the finding of the study mentioned above, it is reasonable to expect that using a vibrator, especially a powerful one for clitoral stimulation will allow your brain to become less attuned to the signals from you clit. After all, if you were extremely sensitive, then it could actually be painful to have that level of stimulation, so your body dials down the sensitivity progressively.

So. Orgasmic meditation – through the use of very, very gentle stimulation of the clitoris with the finger tip – should, I believe, result in an increase in brain activity and hence sensation and pleasure that a woman feels, in the same way that smart phone, or instrument use increases the sensitivity of people’s finger tips.

Practice orgasmic meditation enough, without undoing the good work by using a vibrator in between and I believe that it may actually allow almost any women to reach orgasm via penetration. I haven’t been able to test this theory yet, but I am seriously intent on finding out!

John.

The fallacy of “female viagra”

Today I saw this article in the Sydney Morning Herald that discusses the race to create a “female viagra”:

http://www.smh.com.au/good-weekend/multimillion-dollar-race-to-find-a-pink-viagra-20141121-11e1b6.html

There’s a saying that goes … “to a hammer, everything looks like a nail”.

Therefore it is no-surprise-at-all to me that pharmaceutical companies (who as a matter of course make drugs and sell them to people) would like to have a convenient pill to sell to women to alleviate their “sexual dysfunction”. Hammer/nail.

There are so many things wrong with this conversation about why women don’t want, or don’t enjoy sex that it’s hard to know where to begin. Perhaps the most pertinent place is with “male viagra” and to define what it really is, as opposed to what this article (and popular culture) think it is.

Viagra is the brand name that Pfizer gave the drug sildenafil. Sildenafil is a vasodilator (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasodilation). In short, this means that it increases blood flow, particularly arterial blood flow (that conveniently carries blood to the penis). This is VERY, VERY useful if you are male, older, less fit, have poor circulation etc. It can make getting and sustaining an erection much easier. But it doesn’t create arousal.

So, viagra gets your blood flowing. But it does not create arousal. Let me say that again: viagra does not create arousal in a man. This is a common misconception, and one embodied in the title of this article. No arousal, no erection, no-matter how much viagra you have popped.

As implied by this article, men rarely suffer from a lack of desire and arousal for sex. What some men lack (due to age, and perhaps less than ideal health) is the blood flow to get and keep their penis hard. Women on the other hand often lack the arousal. Therefore it is pointless – in my opinion – to talk about a “female viagra”. Viagra works perfectly well on women as a vasodilator. The obvious problem is that this doesn’t do one damn thing to increase a woman’s level of arousal. It probably won’t hurt, but it’s not going to change a woman’s perception of someone who she don’t feel like having sex with.

What people who talk about female viagra are really talking about is developing a drug that makes women aroused (or some facsimile of). There is at least one very obvious problem here, so lets address it first: this is sounding seriously shady to me. We usually call these sorts of things “date rape” drugs. You know, things like rohipnol (who’s effects include: disinhibition and impaired judgment). If a woman can pop a pill to become aroused, then what is to stop someone else slipping them a pill to do the same?

I am sure that the pharmaceutical companies would be horrified to hear me characterise their work in this way, but at the end of the day making a pill that alters women’s state of mind to increase sexual arousal is a dangerous and very slippery slope. There is of course a common drug that already does this sort of thing. It’s called alcohol. Used in moderation it can be socially beneficial. Used inappropriately it can be disastrous – and people think that a more powerful version would be better?

A second problem is that, if you are trying to develop a drug that creates the physical responses of female arousal (like vaginal lubrication etc) then you are again missing the point. Having the physical indications of being ready for sex in no way guarantee that a woman will actually want to have sex with the man in front of her. Being wet, or having an erection doesn’t always mean that you want to have sex. Just that your body is ready to do so. Granted, for women who have issues with a lack of lubrication (as many women do post menopause for instance), then this could be a good thing. However that’s not really what the article, or the pharmaceutical companies are focusing on.

So, lets stop talking about “female viagra”. Lets instead have an adult discussion about why so many women don’t want sex. Or lose interest sexually in their partners as relationships age. Lets talk about how the concept of the “nuclear family” (and the social and physical isolation that causes) effects women’s libidos. Or about long work hours (for men and women), stress, debt, consumer culture, social dislocation, negative body image messages, hormonal contraceptives, lack of skill and interest from male partners, social pressure for “conventional” relationships, monogamy, and plenty more.  All of these things play a part in women having sex lives that are unfulfilled.

And that’s where the answers to the question of how to arouse women lie. Not in pills. Not in miracle cures. The problem of how to make a man’s erection last longer and be harder is trivial by comparison. Answering this question requires a revolution in both our thought and behaviour. It’s little wonder that people and business just want a pill! This stuff is hard, bordering on impossible to address. However, if we look hard at our lives, work out what really matters to us as people, then we can start to work on changing our lives to support those things. It’s not an easy thing to do for most of us, but that’s the reality of life. It is incumbent upon us all to find our own path.

John.

Orgasmic Meditation and the 15 minute orgasm

Ok, I admit it, the title of this post is click bait, but the title is important, as is the subject. I was recently shown an article in Sneaky Magazine, here that talked about a growing movement (?) from a US organisation called One Taste that teaches people (men and women working together) what they call orgasmic meditation.

From the One Taste website:

“Orgasmic Meditation (OM) is a practice embracing and utilizing the sexual energy we all possess.

Courses at OneTaste teach you how to acknowledge the energy flowing through you, and then channel it into all areas of your life. The result? Your sex life improves, food tastes better, your connection to yourself and others deepen. Being TurnedOn means feeling the electricity of being alive.

Practitioners experience benefits similar to other mindfulness practices such as sitting meditation, as well as the well-known health benefits associated with orgasm. It’s deliberate and structured with repeatable results.

OM is profound, yet simple and you can have it whether you are single or coupled.”

So far so good. Mindfulness is a good thing. Being aware of one’s self, your emotions, and the sensations that you are experiencing here and now is an excellent foil to the noise, stress, and discord that modern life assails us with virtually all the time these days. Adding orgasm to mindfulness sounds extra good!

So, reading through the article, this is what I discover …

Orgasmic massage is basically clitoral masturbation of the woman (of course) by a partner (usually a man, perhaps its an American thing, but they don’t really talk about women performing the “stroking”, but I can’t see any reason why they couldn’t). For just 15 minutes. And according to the One Taste explanation, the 15 minutes is central to the whole concept.

Now this is where the click bait comes in to play. A session lasts for 15 minutes, from laying down and the woman spreading her legs so that her stroker can begin stroking to the hands off moment when you have to stop. No ifs, no buts. Now I know a few women who could probably reach orgasm in that time from just clitoral stimulation, but that’s a vanishingly small minority. And fair enough, with practice, perhaps you could learn to experience a version of orgasm that is long and slow and deep and last the whole 15 minutes. But this definitely doesn’t qualify as an orgasm as most of us know it. There simply isn’t time for most women to build to the required level of arousal and then peak in what we call orgasm.

In fact, I know plenty of women, who, if they could achieve orgasm within 15 minutes, would be pushing the stroking hand away straight afterward as orgasm leaves their clitoris overly sensitive and further touch is almost painful (much like most men don’t enjoy strong stimulation of their penis straight after orgasm and ejaculation).

So, the name Orgasmic Meditation is misleading. This isn’t about orgasm. It is about sexual pleasure. It is about mindfulness. It is about empowerment for women and taking control of their sexuality. All of these are very good things. But it’s not about orgasm.

So, slightly dodgy name aside, I think Orgasmic Meditation is a REALLY GOOD THING. If you are well in touch with your body, comfortable in your sexuality, and happy with your sex life, then it could be fun and may be useful. However, if things aren’t so great, then orgasmic meditation may be of real help to you. Here’s why:

The structure of the process (15 minutes, very specific touch, no sex, no expectations, total focus on the woman) means that the woman can let go of all of the stresses and expectations that she has learned or had imposed on her around sex. This is her time. It’s all about her. It’s about pleasure (from a sexual source), but it’s not about sex. She doesn’t have to worry about pleasing her partner, or really doing anything at all besides enjoying herself. Perhaps it’s like getting a manicure? Time when you are just indulging yourself and no-one else – and it feels really good too!

And the fact that there (probably) isn’t a recognisable form of orgasm involved for most women has another benefit: having had someone play with your pussy for 15 minutes will leave you “turned on” and wanting sex. That’s completely natural, and it’s no surprise to me that the energising effect of unresolved sexual arousal would flow through to other areas of your life.

At the end of the day I think that orgasmic meditation is a great idea. I can’t see how it can hurt anyone (unlike medication, alcohol, and extreme life changes), so why not try it out? I am planning on attending a course in the near future to get the training (although the instructional video on the One Taste website makes it look pretty simple really). I will make another post to describe the experience.

John.

G-Spot non-sense

In line with the commercial worlds love of turning every little thing into a “problem” to be commercialised and exploited we now have g-spot collagen injections:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2221321/Hitting-G-Spot–800-injection-improve-orgasms-LAs-latest-lunchtime-craze.html

There were two things that caught my eye about this article (that basically sounded like bull-shit – pardon my language!).

‘I attended a consultation, where Professor Dartey explained that injecting collagen into my normal, pea-sized G-spot would enlarge it for up to four months. The results would mean longer, more intense orgasms.’

In my experience a woman’s g-spot is actually quite large.  The area on the front wall of the vagina that we call the g-spot is most definitely not the size of a pea.  It is actually more like the size of the end of you thumb.  It’s an area that when stimulated enlarges and feels pleasurable.  But it does take sustained effort of stimulation and genuine arousal for it to really start feeling good.  It also take practice to learn to really enjoy the sensation and for it to become part of your arousal to orgasm.  So instantly getting long intense orgasms from a collagen injection seems unlikely to me.  Continue reading

The history of the vibrator

While looking around the SBS “on demand” website today I came across a documentary called “Turn Me On – The History Of The Vibrator”.  You can find it here:

http://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/video/2266589445/Turn-Me-On:-The-History-Of-The-Vibrator

Sadly, it is only available for another 12 days, but I dare say that some googling will find it online somewhere else.  It is an amusing look at how and why the vibrator was invented, mixed with a tour of recent offerings from the sex toy industry.

It’s worth a watch on a Sunday afternoon.

John.