Cyber-bullying — using technology such as computers and mobile phones to inflict some kind of hurt or embarrassment to a victim — is a fairly new phenomenon but one that’s set to increase.
“Sexting” is the process of sending sexually suggestive or explicit text messages and pictures via mobile phone. Some may argue it’s not bullying if it occurs between two (supposedly) consenting kids or teens such as a boyfriend and girlfriend, but it’s still illegal.
Even a minor caught sending pornographic images of either themselves or another child or teen could be hauled up on child pornography or sexual predation charges. Most of the time, that isn’t the intended desire of the offender. That’s why New York policymakers want to reform the law to create an “educational reform programme” for those who get into trouble for sexing, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.
“There are too many kids who are getting themselves into serious trouble for adolescent behavior,” said Alan Maisel, a Democratic assemblyman from Brooklyn and a co-sponsor of the bill. “I don’t know if they should be tainted with this evil brush for the rest of their lives.”
Such an education programme would let teens know the long-term repercussions of their actions. Despite being tech-savvy, many teens don’t understand that what they do online can stick around for a very long time. A five-minute moment of madness could hurt their future careers and relationships.
Of course, education also needs to begin at home and be reinforced in schools. Simply banning the technology in itself won’t help. Teaching kids how to use that tech responsibly is what’s really needed. More importantly, youngsters must be taught a holistic respect for other people and their privacy, and having the self-respect not to need to share lewd pictures with other people.
What do you think? Should ‘sexting’ involving only minors be considered a crime or are education programmes enough, particularly for initial offences?
Recently things had been going off colour with me and my partner. Usually we are very close and get on fabulously, however, a feeling of disconnection was beginning to dawn on us. Our work days are very different, these differences include working hours as well as job type, so by the time we got to catch up in the evening he would be exhausted and I would have more energy. This meant bed for him and boredom for me.
It got to point that we were arguing all the time and rarely having sex, we both still loved each other but there was a lingering feeling of dissatisfaction. After a few too many glasses of wine one evening, we decided to confront the elephant in the room, this ended up in a dramatic conversation which tipped over to the: “Do we need some space” side. Unsure of what to do, we went to bed feeling confused and sad. Wide awake and trying to find a solution I came up with a bizarre method that I thought might be just the thing we needed. Excited that I had found the answer, I waited until the morning to put it forward to him.
Annoyed at my suggestion, my partner said that he thought my weird counselling method was ridiculous and that he wasn’t even going to entertain the idea! A few hours later he called from work with a change of heart, we decided to give it a go.
Relationship Saver Idea: A two week sex ban
I worked out that if we removed the pressure of sex we might start to get on better. With him being tired all the time, he had the control over our sex life, his energy levels dictating when we could get intimate, leading to a complete lack of romance and spontaneity. By removing the sex, we would be exposed to the bare bones of our relationship. How would we get on? Would removing sex make us want it more?
One week into the sex ban:
A definite improvement on quality time, a couple of dates led to great chats and enjoying each others company. Bed time felt a lot less stressful as we both knew there was no action in store; this meant that neither of us had false expectations.
My sex drive: Low
His sex drive: High
Two weeks into the sex ban:
A return to kissing and foreplay; our previous sex life had been fitted into a timeslot of convenience with little room for these types of intimacies. Suddenly we couldn’t keep our hands off each other! Neither of us discussed breaking the ban. We both enjoyed having it there, after all there wasn’t much time to go.
My sex drive: High
His sex drive: High
Six months after completing the sex ban
We both feel that this ban was a great decision and things have been so much better since. Taking a step back and taking away what was being taken for granted allowed us to look at one another in a fresh light. It also worked as a great sexual enhancer; we reignited the lustful feelings that we started with. I would recommend this to any couples that would like a new outlook and perspective on their relationship.
Anne Davies guest blogs on a range of topics all over the web, discussing affordable bridal sets to relationship woes.
You could use some unnatural blue pill (other colours and brands are available, apparently) to ‘enhance’ your experience, but we all suspect that taking a concoction of synthetic drugs isn’t the best thing in the world for our health.
How about finding some natural things to perk up your sex life instead?
Two months ahead of Men’s Health Week (14-20 June) and Herbal Medicine Week (19-26 June), Dr Gaier is extolling the virtues of a totally natural extract.
And it comes from the humble pine nut.
Now, if finding a Siberian Cedar and extracting pinus sibirica yourself doesn’t sound like a bundle of laughs, you could always buy the extract ready bottled.
Dr Gaier says, “In Sibiria the tree, which grows to 80 metres and lives for 100 odd years, is referred to as the Queen of the Taiga, because its nuts provide the men there with tremendous health and sexual vitality.”
“Statistics show us that the use of pharmaceutical drugs to aid sexual performance is huge in the UK and I want to alert people to the dangers of using such drugs regularly. Now there’s an alternative, why would people suffer the headaches and stomach cramps, when they can get the same results without them. There is a natural remedy for most medical problems and my mission is to try and highlight some of the alternatives so people have a choice.”
If you’re not quite ready for that, there are three other very simple tips that could also improve your sexual health and performance:
1. Water: Being dehydrated can sap your energy, even slight dehydration of 1-2% of your body weight can make you feel tired. If you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated and this can lead to fatigue, muscle weakness, dizziness and other symptoms.
2. It’s good to nibble: It’s important to maintain a normal blood sugar level, in order to do this you should eat every few hours. This will help you maintain muscle tissue, which burns more calories than fat tissue, whilst putting the much-needed skip in your step and bounce into your bedroom. But don’t overdo it. Overeating can be just as bad as starvation.
3. Exercise: A good way to become energised is to keep yourself active. Exercise gets your heart pumping and increases your metabolism, but more importantly it releases endorphins which gives you that same happy sensation you get when you have sex or eat chocolate. For this reason your brain begins to crave it more, which can only do wonders for your sex drive!
The Evolution of Sex Education
I’m no expert on how sex and relationships education in schools has changed over the years, but stereotypically things have become more liberal of late, with a focus much more on the process and physical repercussions of sex than on moral and societal issues surrounding the subject.
I can’t say that this is absolutely true, because schools can teach things in different ways, with more or less emphasis placed on issues beyond “how sex works”.
However, thanks in part to the way society has changed, particularly over the last decade or so, in its attitudes to sex and its portrayal in the media, the UK government on both sides is now looking at promoting familial and stable relationships.
Yesterday, the standard curriculum for sex education in English schools was updated to place more value on the moral and relational aspects of sex.
In an age-appropriate way, children will now be taught that it’s OK to delay having sex, and that they shouldn’t feel pressured by friends or the media into becoming sexually active as the “normal” thing to do.
Marriage and other stable relationships will be heralded as the “bedrock of family life”, with education on “the challenges and responsibilities of parenthood”.
Bullying and Pressure
Sexually-motivated bullying is sadly becoming more common. Mobile phone technology can be used to send compromising photographs which, apart from being illegal in the eyes of the law, could cause great distress to those victims caught on camera.
Other advice will warn about overtly sexualised imagery now prevalent in most types of media, including television, magazines, advertising and the Internet.
Children’s Secretary Ed Balls said, “Young people today grow up in a very different world to the one their parents knew as children.
“New technologies and a 24-hour media mean that young people are increasingly exposed to images and content that can make them feel pressure to be sexually active before they are ready and can give them misleading information about relationships and growing up.
“We also want young people to understand the importance of marriage and other stable relationships – these are the bedrock of family life, the best way to bring up children and the kind of relationships we want young people to develop as they get older.”
What do you think of the changes?
Photo credit: Made Underground
I’m not particularly surprised that, when it comes to attitudes about sex and dating, there’s still quite a gap between the genders.
A new survey by the free online dating site Smooch of its 37,000-strong member base found that, while 65% of men think that a woman who has sex on a first date is liberated, the same proportion of women think it’s unacceptable.
Female respondents were cautious and judgemental with comments such as:
- If he wants to do that with you, he’s probably tried it with
- He won’t respect you if you do
- I don’t want to be another notch in the bedpost
Conversely male respondents were eager to see such actions in the best possible light:
- Most of my long term relationships have started with first date sex – the chemistry was irresistible!
- Women who think it’s Ã¢â‚¬Ëœeasy’ are living in the dark ages and
that’s what I’d find offputting
- If it feels right do it! I wouldn’t date a woman who let
calculations override her emotions
So, liberated or easy? What do you think?
By Andy Merrett
Feb 11, 2009
There’s nothing like a bit of tech sex to sell tabloid newspapers, so the recent report that a wife wants to divorce her husband because he took part in virtual gay sex in the online game Second Life isn’t much of a surprise.
It’s easy to blame the Internet for all sorts of relationship problems, but as far as I’m concerned the reality is that anything can come between a husband and wife if the communication channels become blocked.
The trouble is that, while a husband’s uncontrollable urges for football or fishing or snooker or cars – or whatever other pastimes may take his fancy – can still be limited to some extent, computers and the Internet are available 24/7 and offer access to a huge range of things that could help to undermine a less-than-happy marriage.
Take the case of Lisa Best, as reported in the News of the World (not the most reliable of sources, granted, but let’s use this as a case study).
Lisa woke up in the middle of the night to find her “computer-mad husband … having virtual sex with another man on his laptop while he was in bed with her.”
For the uninitiated, Second Life is a type of virtual world where you adopt a character (called an avatar) and embark on adventures and relationships with other people. It’s escapism. It’s a fantasy, and one that many people find themselves increasingly hooked on.
John, her husband, said that there was no issue because it wasn’t real life.
She said “As far as I am concerned, having virtual sex with a man is the same as having sex with him in real life.”
He said “Second Life is just an escape and my avatar was just exploring things that I’d never sample – or want to sample – in real life.”
So who’s right?
Well, though I have my own views on this, I’ll attempt to sit on the fence and say that there’s no absolute right or wrong answer.
If a wife (or husband) is unhappy with how their spouse is behaving, then there’s a problem.
It’s not for me to say whether John Best fantasises about being with other men, though it seems strange to me that you’d entertain such things – even in a virtual world – for so long without having some desire for them.
For me, that’s not the main point of the story, though I can sympathise with Lisa that it must be causing her a great deal of stress, confusion and inner turmoil.
The main point is why is one member of the marriage so attached to something that their marriage is suffering?
Granted, John may not have realised that his marriage was in trouble until that fateful night – he seemed keen enough to brush off the incident when confronted. However, anyone with such an obsession is in real trouble of messing up significant real-life relationships.
The article notes:
[Lisa] blames John’s computer obsession for destroying their sex life and any social interaction they had.
“Sex became less and less until in the end he just didn’t want it any more. In the past six months we only had it once-and that was after I pestered him for it,” she said.
Houston, we definitely have a problem.
“Over the course of 18 months I basically turned into a computer widow. He was more interested in his Facebook and MySpace friends than in me.”
Think this is extreme?
At one level, perhaps, but don’t believe that you could never fall into such a trap.
I know that, in my own marriage, we’ve put in boundaries and safeguards so that neither of us ends up neglecting the other.
For me, it’s ensuring that I don’t continue to work late into the evenings.
It’s also about maintaining communication. Spending time on Facebook, MySpace, Second Life, or indeed anything else in itself isn’t a problem. What is a problem is when it becomes obsessive or secretive.
What do you think?
It’s not the best reason to want to have sex with a partner, but a new survey suggests that many people (over a quarter) are initiating intimacy as a way to trim their bodies and lose a few pounds.
Nearly half of those questioned believe that an energetic sex session gives them a better workout than they would get at the gym.
The poll of 3,000 Brits also revealed that non gym goers are getting similar benefits to those who regularly exercise at a health club by hitting the sack with their loved one.
The research shows the average Brit has sex an average of three times a week, lasting 24 minutes a session, yet the typical gym member will only fare four minutes better, by exercising twice a week, spending 38 minutes working out each time and their hard earned cash on expensive membership fees.
16% of fitness freaks questioned said they count sex as being part of their exercise regime, which isn’t surprising as 11% of people claim to feel completely exhausted after a workout between the sheets, and another third always feel tired and out of breath.
More than three quarters end up sweating, with 40% saying they sweat more after sex, than they do after a gym session.
Britain may also see its population fitness levels rocket further as more than half of the Brits surveyed say they are planning to have more sex in 2009 and 27% claim to be having more sex thanks to the credit crunch.
However, the energetic sex doesn’t always go to plan as 37% have suffered an injury after getting too frisky.
Director of onjoy.com Monique Carty said, “The average lovemaking session can burn between 50 and 100 calories. This means that having sex three times a week burns 7500 calories per year, the equivalent of jogging 75 miles! With the gloomy weather and shorter days, Brits should embrace the health benefits of sex by staying longer in bed with their partner – and shape up at the same time.”
By Andy Merrett
Oct 28, 2008
While online dating websites may not correlate exactly with wider society, an interesting study from free dating site PlentyOfFish.com has concluded that women’s promiscuity – or at least their intentions of – has doubled in the last four years.
In 2004, around 9% stated that they were looking for sex via the “intimate encounter” option. That figure is now around 18%.
With some ten million members, the male-female ratio of those looking for long-term relationships or traditional dates has remained consistent at 55:45, but three years ago, men looking primarily for sex outnumbered women by ten to one. That’s now down to 5:1, with a prediction that in ten years’ time, there’ll be equality in promiscuity.
Suggesting that the female lifestyles portrayed in “Sex In the City” and the like may have something to do with a shifting societal attitude, Markus Frind, CEO of Plentyoffish.com, says, “Our average user, among males and females, is between 38 and 42 years old. Yet, the data shows that the behaviour exhibited is more of what you would expect from those in their early 20s. Plentyoffish.com statistics may be indicative of a fundamental shift in society and behavioural norms.”
Longer term, of course, this continued shift will have a marked effect on what society considers “family” to be.
British government ministers have admitted that the provision for sex and relationships education in the UK is “patchy”, and has proposed a revamp of the system which will see five-year-olds learning about relationships.
When the BBC polled one-thousand people, it found that two-thirds supported the concept of sex education lessons in schools from the age of 11.
The Department for Children, Schools and Families said that there was “a need to challenge the perception that sex and relationships education happened in a ‘moral vacuum’ in schools and … that parents and schools can and should work together to decide how best topics should be taught.”
Various issues need to be handled sensitively, such as the right for faith-based schools to modify the programme to include their own moral beliefs, while still providing consistent education.
“We are not suggesting that five and six-year-olds should be taught sex,” said minister for schools, Jim Knight. “What we are saying is we need to improve in particular the relationship education, improve the moral framework and moral understanding around which we then talk about sex later on in a child’s education.”
Though a number of organisations and charities have welcomed the news, the head of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), John Dunford, has raised concerns that a centrally-managed policy of personal, social and health education could take away the rights of an individual school to tailor its education programme in a way that best suits its individuals.
“It is part of the ethos of the school, helping to develop the young person in ways that schools deem most appropriate to their circumstances,” he said. “It should not be the subject to further central prescription and certainly not compulsion.”
The way sex education is taught (or not taught) in schools will always be a contentious issue to some, but hopefully the new proposals will ensure at least a minimum standard of education, not simply confined to biology, that can be tailored according to the needs of each individual school.
What do you think?
(Via BBC News)
By Andy Merrett
Oct 17, 2008
Four in five women are concerned about the current method of contraception used for birth control, yet two in five have stayed with their chosen method for five or more years.
That’s according to a new survey carried out in the US by Schering-Plough, which also found that well over half of women using a hormonal contraceptive had increased stress levels when having sex if they’ve not used their birth control product correctly.
Women using birth control say they worry more about their own or their partner’s satisfaction (29%) and body image (24%) than pregnancy (10%) or contracting a sexually-transmitted disease (8%).
Of women aged 18 to 34 who currently use birth control, four in five use contraception primarily to prevent pregnancy. However, 93 percent of women aged 18 to 34 (both on and off birth control) do not know that half of unintended pregnancies in the United States occur with couples that used some method of birth control.
Sixty-two percent of women indicated they discuss birth control with a potential partner. Women of all ages who currently use, or have previously used hormonal contraceptives, reported that a physician’s recommendation was among the top five attributes that are most important to them in choosing a birth control method.
Nearly a quarter of 18-34 year-old women said that a daily method of birth control would be most convenient for them, though 46 percent of women in the same age group who currently use a hormonal contraceptive have more difficulty remembering to use their current method correctly when their daily routine is interrupted.
“The findings from this survey signal that while we may be living at a time when women have many contraceptive options and are empowered to make their own informed decisions, many are either dissatisfied with or have concerns about their method,” says clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale University School of Medicine, Dr. Minkin. “Overall, this is a wake-up call for women to evaluate how happy they really are with their current method and recognise that they don’t have to settle for the status quo when it comes to birth control options.”
By Andy Merrett
Sep 15, 2008
Gary Neuman has written a book for women. The Truth About Cheating: Why Men Stray and What You Can Do to Prevent It is a “relationship advice manual” that’s “dedicated to helping wives”.
While I haven’t read the book, Marie Claire magazine suggests that the main thrust of the book is that “women should make certain changes in themselves, to avoid their partner’s eyes from wandering”.
Neuman, a psychotherapist, has based his book on the responses of 25,500 men, some who have remained faithful, and some who have not.
Ninety percent of husbands who had cheated on their wife said that they were significantly dissatisfied with their marriage.
Rather simplistically, Neuman suggests, “Men will eventually find their way into the arms of another if they are not getting enough sex at home.”
Unsurprisingly, the book’s content has riled many women. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s annoyed some men, too.
Who should take responsibility for marriage?
Or should both partners take an equal share of responsibility in maintaining and nurturing their relationship?
Neuman’s soundbite – that men will stray if they don’t get enough sex at home – may well be a gross oversimplification of what’s written in his book, but there’s no doubt that he’s said it.
This assumes that sex – or a lack of it – is the only thing that will make or break a marriage.
It also suggests that Neuman believes men should be entitled to as much sex as they want with their partner (and even this may still not be enough for some), while the woman should simply roll over and take it (if you’ll excuse the phraseology) – regardless of her feelings.
A healthy relationship is built on love, communication, trust, and compromise.
These elements not only maintain super-relationships, but help to rescue those that are in danger of going off course before they smash into the rocks and end in unfaithfulness and potential separation.
I wonder if Neuman – or, perhaps, a female equivalent (if there is such a person) – would blame the man if a woman strays?
Stereotypically, the reasoning would be far less to do with sex – the physical act, at least – and far more to do with a lack of attention, disinterest, lack of romance, feelings of being unappreciated, and so on.
Yet, to varying degrees, any number of “issues” can affect a relationship. If left unchecked, it can lead to unfaithfulness, even without any other person becoming involved.
Sex is important in a marriage relationship, and can maintain a strong bond, but it can’t do that in isolation, and isn’t a miracle cure for a decaying relationship.
I’m sure Neuman’s book has much more to say on the subject, but I’ve a horrible feeling all that’s picked up on is that men are portrayed as sex-starved animals who’ll simply go wherever they can be physically fulfilled, while women are their slaves who should be grateful they’ve been picked, and should do all they can to hold on to them.
In the real world, not all men are like that, and many couples take a holistic approach to their relationships.
In fairness, Neuman doesn’t write rubbish, and I believe he is for marriage (great marriages in fact). However, something in “Why Men Stray…” doesn’t sit quite right.
OK, over to you. What do you think? Have you read Neuman’s book? What did you think, honestly? Leave a comment below.
By Andy Merrett
Aug 6, 2008
Magazines aimed at young men, often featuring pictures of scantily-clad women and light articles about sex and sexual encounters, are contributing to irresponsible behaviour and the breakdown of family and society, according to the Shadow Education Secretary, Michael Gove.
Suggesting that they simply offer “instant-hit hedonism” during a speech on family, marriage, and education, he said, “Titles such as Nuts and Zoo paint a picture of women as permanently, lasciviously, uncomplicatedly available.
“We should ask those who make profits out of revelling in, or encouraging, selfish irresponsibility among young men what they think they’re doing.
“They celebrate thrill-seeking and instant gratification without ever allowing any thought of responsibility towards others, or commitment, to intrude.”
A spokesman for the Periodical Publishers Association said that the issues that Mr Gove raised were “deep and complex social issues which reach far wider than simply reading a magazine.”
Mr Gove continued his speech by saying that young men needed to face up to their responsibilities, which in turn could reduce social problems such as teenage pregnancies. He also reiterated the Conservative Party’s commitment to supporting marriage and family, including through financial help.
What do you think? Do “lads mags” contribute to problems in society, and if so how much?
(Via BBC News)