10 Simple Weight Loss Exercises at Home for Both Men & Women

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It’s quite common that we often get confused in choosing the best weight loss method that will work for us. Out different weight loss methods available, diet and exercise are the two weight loss methods that have become popular because they are safe, healthy and they don’t cause side effects. Interestingly, both diet and weight loss exercise should go hand in hand to see good result. 80% diet and 20% exercise is what our nutritionists recommend to be successful in losing weight. Diet and weight loss exercise for both male and female are the same.

We often think about losing fat from our tummy, tightening our thighs and shaping our hip which will in turn help in over weight loss. Here are 10 simple weight loss exercises that will even help to shape up your body

1.Yoga to Reduce Weight 

Yoga helps in building and maintaining a healthy body and soul. Out of 254 Asanas, the following are recommended for weight loss: Padmasana, Bhunjangasana, Balasana, and Tadasana. Doing these yoga asanas every day will help to keep your weight under control.

Bhujangasana - 10 Simple Weight Loss Exercises at Home for Both Men & Women
Bhujangasana – Yoga For Weight Loss


2. Crunches to Reduce Belly Fat

1000 crunches a day will get you strong abdominal muscles. Check out this video about Quick Exercise to Reduce Belly Fat.

3. Planks to Tighten up belly 

You hold yourself in a push-up position, resting your forearms on the ground. Try 3 or 4 sets holding for 30 seconds each.

4. Lunges:

Lunges such as forward lunges are good for weight loss as they work on muscles effectively.

5. Circuit Training:

Circuit Training is found to be much more effective than traditional cardio for burning weight from all over the body.

6. Cardio Activities:

Like swimming, jogging, spinning is always good options of weight loss exercises for both men and women.

Cardio Training - 10 Simple Weight Loss Exercises at Home for Both Men & Women
cardio training


7. Walking 

Getting up and moving throughout the day by going for walks will also help as easy workouts for weight loss. Remember the key point is to do full body workouts and short bursts of exercises which are best for weight loss. 

8. Bear Crawls:

This exercise improves and aids hip mobility, activate knees and aid in weight loss for boys and girls.

Bear Crawl - 10 Simple Weight Loss Exercises at Home for Both Men & Women
Bear Crawl Exercise


9. Jumping Exercises:

Jumping exercises like box squat jump, step-up jump are effective exercises for ladies and gents as well.

10. Running

Running is a good effective way of keeping your heart rate up, lose calories, and reduce belly fat and overall weight. You may note that running is an effective weight loss exercise for both male and female.

Yoga For Men, Yoga For Women, Yoga For All – A Supreme Exercise for Weight Loss.

‘YOGA’ integrates body, mind, and soul. Besides being popularly known as an ancient Indian practice for physical and emotional well-being, Yoga is also an absolute treat for weight loss. As we’ve mentioned earlier, the different poses of Yoga exercises are known as Asanas. The best thing about it is, that it encourages and motivates you to exercise, ultimately, landing you in a sensation of need for weight loss exercises.

A few effective Yoga Asanas for Weight Loss at home:

Asanas Asana Effective On (Body Part)
1 Padmasana Abdomen
2 Bhujangasana Belly & Back
3 Balasana Thighs, Back and Overall Body
4 Tadasana Hips, Buttock, Pelvis, Back & More
5 Sethu Bandhasana Tones abs, Thighs and strengthen shoulders
6 Halasana Thighs & Hips
7 Utkatasana Thighs and buttocks
8 Baddha Konasana Thighs

Each of the different Asanas (Poses) of Yoga concentrates more on a particular area but ultimately all the Asanas deliver a strong aid towards weight loss for gents, ladies, kids and for people with different age groups.

Exercise is more important for weight loss at times…

If you have hit a weight loss plateau, then increasing the duration and intensity of exercise becomes important. It also becomes important when you are near to your target weight. The last few kgs are always the most difficult and you need that extra push. At these times, 80% is not good enough; you need 100% efforts.
“I Work Out Daily” Says A Dieter –
We get many clients who say “I cannot do diet because I’m exercising”. And the moment they get out of the gym, they go to a junk food stall. What they don’t know is Exercise & Diet should complement each other for better and quick weight loss at home.

An Important Thing to Note In Case of Weight Loss Exercises.

During the last 50 years, Fitness clubs & Gyms have an increasing number of people opting in, because of their emphasis on quick Weight Loss through various workouts for both Men and Women. Well, Unfortunately, it has also been noted that all the junk food companies and hotels have seen the best period for all junk companies in the world as people kept on increasing consumption of junk food. And this explains why people are falling sick and not able to reduce weight despite exercising more.

Exercise Well And Diet Well

Now that we have seen how exercise can help in weight loss and as mentioned above exercise is going to help you in achieving 20% on your weight loss journey, the remaining 80% should be achieved through healthy food diet.  Read our WEIGHT LOSS DIET  blog to know about diet that will help you to be successful in achieving desired weight loss.

Are you looking for a dedicated dietitian who can customize the weight loss exercise and weight loss diet plan more specific for you? Sign-up here for a free consultation now

Men, Women, and Ways They Find Meaning in Their Lives

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Where and how do men and women find purpose in their lives? We asked more than 1,500 men and women these questions to learn how men and women are similar and different. Guest bloggers Alex Evans and Petra Richer describe what we found in the Life Paths Research Project.

Family and Meaning Making:

Women are more likely to find meaning and purpose through family roles than men, although men do this too—perhaps more and more in the modern age. Men reported that they cook less for their families (39 percent) than women (61 percent), while women stated that they took care of older and younger family members (61 percent) more than men (49 percent). A female participant stated: “I also want to feel like I am responsible and I can handle and take care of my family that need me to be there for them.”

Finding Meaning in Healthy Living:

Health has been a pressing issue in the United States and our Southern sample share this concern; both men (61 percent) and women (61 percent) equally agreed that they try to eat healthy. However, a greater number of men (42 percent) claimed to have run a race or participated in a team sport, while only 27 percent of women reported the same.

Traditional Meaning Making:

Maintaining traditions and rituals is essential to keep up family and cultural heritage. Although women were more active in following rituals or traditions to mark certain moments in life (80 percent), males still perceived it important to celebrate these occasions (69 percent).

The Values of Meaning Making:

Traditional values seem to be a source of meaning making for both genders; however, men (73 percent) claimed that they made choices based on traditional values less than women (80 percent).

The Meaning in Creativity and Learning:

When it comes to finding meaning in recording one’s feelings, 29 percent of women said they kept a journal, diary, or blog, while only 15 percent of men reported the same. On the other hand, men (54 percent) and women (60 percent) seem to be similar in creative activities like playing an instrument, writing, or making arts and crafts.

A Meaningful Community:

Communities have been a quintessential part of Southern small-town living. Southern living is reinforced by the fact that both men (63 percent) and women (68 percent) work hard to be active members of their communities. There was a greater difference in how much time men (70 percent) and women (79 percent) spend working on their relationships each day. This attitude of community engagement is demonstrated by a female teacher who felt she “was able to provide a safe environment for [students] and be a part of their future, and help them every day.”

Meaning Through Achievement:

Today’s men and women find that setting goals and achieving success are vital in a professional setting as well as the community. There was very little difference between females (86 percent) and males (85 percent) on this area of meaning making, since they both reported that they set goals for themselves and worked hard to achieve them. However, men (63 percent) reported slightly higher on being leaders at their jobs or organizations than women (60 percent).

Although there were differences in various areas of meaning making, men and women were similar in many categories. The largest differences were apparent in finding meaning through healthy living and family life.

You are welcome to email us at lifepaths@sewanee.edu if you would like to learn more about meaning making. If you would like to know more about the project visit our website at lifepathsresearch.org.

This project is conducted by Dr. Sherry Hamby, Dr. John Grych, and Dr. Victoria Banyard and is based at the Life Paths Research Program at the University of the South in Sewanee, TN. This project was made possible through the support of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. The opinions expressed in this work are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the John Templeton Foundation.

The Neurological Differences in Men and Women Smokers

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The Neurological Differences in Men and Women Smokers

Yale researchers have pinpointed a different brain response between male and female smokers by analyzing dynamic brain scans. This study marks the first time that PET (positron emission tomography) scans were used to create “movies” of how smoking affects dopamine, the neurotransmitter that triggers feelings of pleasure in the brain. This could lead to developments in gender-specific treatments to help smokers quit.

A new image analysis technique produced a novel multidimensional endpoint: voxel-level temporal patterns of neurotransmitter release in individual subjects. Scientists then combined this analysis technique with high-resolution brain scanning and high frequency motion correction to create the optimal experiment for capturing and characterizing the effects of smoking on the mesolimbic dopamine system in humans.

By examining these endpoints quantitatively, researchers demonstrated that the timing of dopaminergic responses to cigarette smoking differs between men and women. Men respond consistently and rapidly in the ventral striatum whereas women respond faster in a discrete sub region of the dorsal putamen.

The studies main finding is that male smokers activate dopamine in the right ventral striatum during smoking but female smokers do not. This finding, men activating more ventrally than women, is consistent with the established notion that men smoke for the reinforcing drug effect of cigarettes whereas women smoke for emotional reasons, such as mood regulation and cue reactivity.

According to Kelly Cosgrove, lead author of the study and an associate professor of psychiatry, diagnostic radiology and neurobiology at the Yale School of Medicine:

The study gives those developing smoking-cessation tools new insights into how to target men and women differently.”

Before this study, the neurological basis for the differences between the genders and smoking behavior had eluded researchers. These differences explain why men respond to nicotine replacement therapies such as the patch better than women do, and why women can have a harder time quitting smoking than men.

The effect could be far-reaching. Although strides have been made in helping people quit, smoking continues to be a major health issue. Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths nationwide each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Men who smoke are 25 times more likely than nonsmokers to get lung cancer, while female smokers are 26 times more likely.

Although the Yale study was small, the findings were significant. This will encourage more research into gender specific programs and more treatment options.

Talk to your physician for information on alternative smoking cessation programs. Individual plans can offer long-term success and a healthier lifestyle. It is never too late to benefit from quitting the habit of smoking and reduce the associated health risks.

http://www.jneurosci.org/content/34/50/16851.abstract

http://www.courant.com/health/hc-yale-smokers-brain-study-20141209-story.html

http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/tobacco_related_mortality/

Why Are Men More Likely Than Women To Take Their Own Lives?

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Depressed %284649749639%29 - Why Are Men More Likely Than Women To Take Their Own Lives?

Photo: Sander van der Wel

A staggering 38,000 people in the US took their lives in 2010. It’s a public health catastrophe, and one that must be urgently addressed. But a concerted effort to prevent people from taking their own lives will be more effective if we understand why suicide is a particularly male problem.

It’s known as the “gender paradox of suicidal behaviour”. Research suggests that women are especially prone to psychological problems such as depression, which almost always precede suicide. In western societies, overall rates of mental health disorders tend to be around 20-40% higher for women than for men.

Given the unequal burden of distress implied by these figures, it is hardly surprising that women are more likely to experience suicidal thoughts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 3.9% of women had considered taking their own life in the previous 12 months, compared to 3.5% of men. The Adult Psychiatric Morbidity in England 2007 survey found that 19% of women had considered taking their own life. For men the figure was 14%.

Women aren’t simply more likely to think about suicide. UK data shows that they are more likely actually to attempt suicide: 7% of women and 4% of men had attempted suicide at some point in their lives. In the US, the rates are about equal for men and women, though this in itself is a puzzle when we consider the gender imbalance in suicide rates.

Because of the many thousands of people in the US who took their own lives in 2010, 79% were men. In the UK more than three quarters of the 5,981 deaths by suicide in the UK in 2012 involved males. (These are startling figures in their own right, but it is also worth remembering just how devastating the effects of a death by suicide can be for loved ones left behind. Studies have shown, for example, an increased risk of subsequent suicide in partners, increased likelihood of admission to psychiatric care for parents, increased risk of suicide in mothers bereaved by an adult child’s suicide, and increased risk of depression in offspring bereaved by the suicide of a parent.)

So if women are more likely to suffer from psychological problems, to experience suicidal thoughts and—at least in some countries—attempt suicide, how do we explain why men are more likely to die by suicide?

It’s principally a question of method. Women who attempt suicide tend to use nonviolent means, such as overdosing. Men often use firearms or hanging, which are more likely to result in death.

In the US, 56% of male suicides involved firearms, with poisoning (which includes overdoses) the most common method for females (37.4%). A similar pattern has been identified in the UK, where 58% of male suicides involved hanging, strangulation or suffocation, compared to 36% for females. Poisoning was used by 43% of female suicides in the UK, compared with 20% of males.

Less is known about the choice of methods in attempted suicides that don’t lead to a fatality. A European study of over 15,000 people receiving treatment after an attempt did find that men were more likely than women to have used violent methods, but the difference was less pronounced.

Why do methods of suicide differ by gender? One theory is that men are more intent on dying. Whether this is true remains to be proven, but there is some evidence to back up the idea. For example, one study of 4,415 patients admitted to hospital in Oxford following an episode of self-harm found that men reported significantly higher levels of suicidal intent than women.

Another hypothesis focuses on impulsivity—the tendency to act without properly thinking through the consequences. Men are, on the whole, more likely to be impulsive than women. Perhaps this leaves them vulnerable to rash, spur-of-the-moment suicidal behaviour.

Not all suicides are impulsive, of course, and even for those that are, the evidence is mixed: some studies have reported that men are more susceptible to impulsive suicidal acts; others have found no such thing. What we do know is that alcohol increases impulsivity, and that there’s a clear link between alcohol use and suicide. Studies have found that men are more likely than women to have drunk alcohol in the hours before a suicide attempt, and that alcohol problems are more common in men who die by suicide than in women.

The third theory is that, even in their choice of suicide method, males and females act out culturally prescribed gender roles. Thus women will opt for methods that preserve their appearance, and avoid those that cause facial disfigurement. Again, the evidence is patchy. But a study of 621 completed suicides in Ohio found that, though firearms were the most common method used by both sexes, women were less likely to shoot themselves in the head.

Clearly much work needs to be done before we arrive at a reliable picture of what’s going on here. But it is striking that suicide, like mental health in general, is a gendered issue—it sometimes affects men and women in radically different ways. That’s a lesson we need to take on board in research, clinical care and prevention efforts alike.

Follow @ProfDFreeman and @JasonFreeman100 on Twitter.

If you are having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline on 1 800 273 8255. In the UK the Samaritans 24-hour helpline is 08457 90 90 90. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is on 13 11 14.

Men Seeking Health

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A sick man in Russia who thinks he is being helped to walk b Wellcome L0032006 - Men Seeking Health

Source: wikimedia

Why do men tend to lead shorter lives than women? An evolutionary perspective points to sex-specific life history allocations, by which men’s lives are cut short by prioritizing mating effort over maintenance. In other words, it paid more among male ancestors to bulk up and short change immune responses if these were rewarded with reproductive success.

But there’s more to the story than this.

Another reason is that men tend to less often utilize health care services than women. If men don’t practice preventive care, those health conditions have progressed further before they garner medical treatment. Men practice risky behaviors that may seem to offer short-term behavioral management or psychological reward but at expense to later illness or death.

A recent qualitative study conducted by Shedra Snipes and colleagues sheds interesting light on the perceived roles of men’s work and family on these men’s health-related behaviors. The study involved interviews and focus groups with a sample of 47 healthy, employed men 22-62 years of age (average of 42 years) in Washington state.

What did men’s views suggest about the links between masculinity, work, family and their health?

One theme was that men’s work and provisioning motivated their health-related behaviors.  Indeed, “the biggest family incentives to health for men were children and their wives/partners.” Men viewed providing for family as a major commitment and source of their manhood, and wanted to maintain the health that would allow them to continue to shoulder those weights. Family members also encouraged men to consider their diets and physical activity plus use of health care service. And when men reported seeking health information, that was typically from their wives/partners or other family members.

Yet in the course of seeking to provide for their families and work, men faced negative impacts on their health. They discussed the struggles of trying to find enough time for work and home life. Exercise could be a victim of not having enough hours in the day. The self-sacrifice also led men to de-prioritize health, even if facing work and overall time stressors, in part because of the inconvenience of accessing care (more time required for a doctor’s visit when time was already in short supply).

So where does this leave us? This small qualitative study contributes to a discussion about the ways that men’s work and family lives have both beneficial and deleterious effects on men’s health. Masculinity can be bad for your health, but the pursuit of masculine ideals can also have some upsides. Yes, you can castrate yourself to live longer (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-evolving-father/201209/castrate…), but you can also seek support from family to try living a healthier life. Maybe you won’t have enough hours in the day to play with your kids and maintain those 6-pack abs, but at least some others may appreciate the sacrifices that helped shape that “dad bod.”

Reference:

Snipes, S. A., Constant, T. K. H., Trumble, B. C., Goodreau, S. M., Morrison, D. M., Shell-Duncan, B. K., & O’Connor, K. A. (2015). Masculine Perspectives about Work and Family Concurrently Promote and Inhibit Men’s Healthy Behaviors. International Journal of Men’s Health, 14(1), 1.

Study Warns Sex Is Good for Older Women, Risky for Older Men

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D0I7PPUU01 - Study Warns Sex Is Good for Older Women, Risky for Older Men

Source: StockSnap.io, used with permission.

A study published in the September 2016 issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior looked at sexual behavior in more than 2,000 men and women between the ages of 57 and 85 over a five-year period. The researchers, from Michigan State University and University of Chicago, found that while “more and better” sex has a positive effect on older women’s health, it can have a lethal effect on older men. The researchers looked at how partnered sex affects cardiovascular health and the risk of developing heart disease in both sexes.

To determine cardiovascular risk, the researchers looked at the usual markers: high blood pressure, elevated C-reactive protein (a chemical found in the blood that is associated with inflammation and heart disease), rapid heart rate, and other measurable cardiovascular conditions. They found that those men who reported frequent sex (once a week or more), and especially frequent sex that was very enjoyable, were at higher risk of having a heart attack or developing other cardiovascular problems five years later than men who were not sexually active. For women, however, frequent, enjoyable sex reduced the risk of developing high blood pressure.

The researchers suggest that the pressure and difficulties of sexual activity that men experience as they age may cause them to exert and exhaust themselves in ways that put excess stress on their cardiovascular system. An active, pleasurable sex life may have the opposite effect on women, however, and may be due, in part, to hormones released during sex that protect them from heart disease. Although more studies will have to be done to confirm and elucidate these findings, for now it looks like sex is one area where “moderation in everything,” is indeed the best approach to life, at least for aging men, and that it may be prudent for older men to discuss the pros and cons of an active sex life with their doctors to help determine their individual risk.

Sources:

Liu H, Waite LJ, Shen S, Wang DH. Is sex good for your health? A national study on partnered sexuality and cardiovascular risk among older men and women. J of Health and Social Behavior. September 2016;57(3):276-296. http://hsb.sagepub.com/content/57/3/276

Science Daily: Sex in later life: better for women than for men?https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/09/160906084835.htm

Hypnosis And Sexual Health

Back in 1986 when I was still an undergraduate psychology student, an optional part of our degree allowed some of us to attend a training course on hypnosis. As a consequence of taking the course, I became very interested in the clinical applications of hypnosis and (along with one of my fellow students Cheryl Gillett, and our supervisor Dr. Peter Davies) carried out some research using hypnosis and aversive classical conditioning techniques. Our undergraduate work was eventually published in a number of scientific journals back in the late 1980s and although I stopped researching in the area I never lost my academic interest in all things hypnotic.

Given my professional research interest in both hypnosis and sexual paraphilias, this article briefly examines the relationship between hypnosis and sexual behaviour, and more specifically hypnophilia and hypnofetishism. According to a short article on hypnofetishism at the ‘Health Explores’ website, seduction through mind control (i.e., erotic hypnosis) has a long history in Western culture dating back to the sirens in Greek mythology who are portrayed in Homer’s Odyssey as having a  “bewitching” song that lured sailors to their deaths. The article also claimed that Middle Ages witches had a “hypnotic aspect” to their sexuality. Despite the long history, the hypnotic aspects of sex have not been widely researched.

In collating material for this article, I came across a number of references to hypnophilia although most references to it are more concerned with sleep rather than hypnosis. For instance, Dr. Anil Aggrawal (in his book ‘Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices’) defines hypnophilia as being sexually aroused by the thought of sleeping (which for me suggests the condition is more akin to somnophilia which I wrote about in a previous blog). More recent online sources such as the ‘Write World’ website define hypnophilia as an ”abnormal affection towards sleep or of being hypnotized”. Peter Masters, author of the book ‘Look Into My Eyes: How to Use Hypnosis to Bring Out the Best In Your Sex Life’ defines hypnofetishism as “the use of hypnosis or images of hypnosis, to cause or increase sexual arousal”. Lady Izabelle, arguably the most infamous ‘hypnodomme’ (a BDSM dominatrix specializing in hypnotic sex play) and a practitioner of sexual hypnofetishism has written a number of online articles about the practice of hypnofetishism. She claims that:

“On its own, the hypnofetish involves the use of hypnosis for an erotic thrill, that only a fetish can bring. This should not be confused with hypnotic submission, which is the BDSM or [dominance and submission] version of hypnofetish…A hypnofetishist can be intensely aroused by watching someone be hypnotized, acting as a hypnotist, or as a hypnotic subject. Some hypnofetishists are interested in erotic hypnosis, in which post hypnotic suggestions of a sexual nature are given to the subject, but no explicit sexual content is necessary in hypnofetishism”.

When it comes to sex and hypnosis, there are other areas of interest outside of paraphilias and fetishes. For instance, Dr. Brenda Love in her ‘Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices’ has a whole section on sex and hypnosis that does not mention either fetishes or paraphilias. Her entry concentrated on the use of hypnosis for improving sexual health and the treatment of sexual problems, and the use of hypnosis as a seduction technique (of which some is non-consensual and would be classed as a sexual assault). She noted that:

“There are historical records of cases where hypnotists were able to use hypnotic suggestions to facilitate intercourse. [Dr. Magnus] Hirschfield was consulted during a trial where an impotent husband filed sexual assault charges against a wife’s physician. The doctor confessed that he’d ordered her to ‘raise her skirt, lie down, spread her legs, take out his penis, introduce it into her vagina, then, during the act, perform parallel movements until mutual orgasm occurred’. Suspicion was aroused when she became pregnant and a detective was hired by the husband, who confirmed his fears”.

Dr. Love also makes reference to the fact that hypnosis has occasionally been used in the treatment of sexual problems and dysfunctions. One paper that Dr. Love makes heavy reference to is a 1989 paper by Dr. Douglas Ringrose in the ‘British Journal of Sexual Medicine’. In this paper, a young adult male sought treatment for his overwhelming sexual attraction to his mother-in-law. Dr. Ringrose used hypnosis and an aversive conditioning technique to pair thoughts of his mother in law with both an aversive smell (ammonia) and an aversive taste (castor oil). The treatment was said to be successful as following treatment as the man no longer had sexual feelings toward his mother-in-law. I tried to track this paper down (particularly because my own research career began with my work on aversive conditioning) but it doesn’t appear in any academic databases and the journal’s website only has papers dating back to 2002 (even though the journal was founded in 1973). Therefore, I can only go on Dr. Love’s reading of the paper and the fact that I have no methodological details of the therapy utilized.

There are countless claims that erotic hypnosis can include suggestions intended to improve overall sexual health. Various online sources claim that hypnosis can be utilized to help enhance sexual libido, increase confidence around sex, reduce sexual inhibitions, overcome apprehension about sex, enhance sensuality, enhance sexual role-play, and even increase breast size. Dr. Love – citing from a 1963 book called ‘Perverse Crimes in History’ (by Robert Masters) – also claimed that:

“People who experience sexual phobias (impotence or frigidity) have sometimes been successfully hypnotized to overcome this fear and thus experience orgasms. Others have used autohypnotic suggestions to induce orgasms for themselves. Cases are mentioned in the annals of hypnosis that describe hypnotist-induced hallucinations that are visual, auditory, and tactile. These hallucinations are said to said to be of seductive women who sing, dance, and provide tactile stimulation needed for orgasm”.

A Wikipedia article on recreational hypnosis (which it claims is just another name for ‘erotic hypnosis’) notes that hypnosis for sexually recreational activities are utilized mostly in sexual sadism and sexual masochism practices. More specifically (but without any supporting evidence), the article claims that:

“The placement of trigger words in the subject’s mind as post-hypnotic suggestion to produce actions and experiences on-demand is a common practice…Hypnosis can be used within a dominance and submission relationship to reinforce power exchange and as a form of play. This ranges from hypnotically-induced orgasms to long-term conditioning. The act of hypnosis itself is erotic and relationship-affirming for many power exchange couples as the subject surrenders control and opens themselves to mental vulnerability…People who identify with the submissive side of erotic hypnosis often fantasize about being freed from responsibilities or inhibitions and transformed into someone who can freely enjoy sexual pleasures. Such sexually submissive personae include the slave, female stereotypes like the bimbo, slut, stripper and fictional characters from popular media”.

Hypnofetishism certainly appears to have a small but significant following online as there are lots of bespoke online sites containing hypnofetish (and hypnotic dominance and submission) stories (both fictional and autobiographical that sometimes include elements of telepathy and subliminal messaging), and hypnofetish images, photographs, and videos, as well as various discussion groups and forums (for instance, check out the ‘Erotic Mind-Control Story Archive’).

Peter Masters (author of Look Into My Eyes, and self-proclaimed expert on hypnofetishism) notes on his website that:

“The preparation for a hypnosis-based sex escapade is usually arousing initially through the fetish aspect, and then once the hypnotist has guided his or her partner into a trance, both can gain the benefits from the enhanced and stronger sexual experience of the hypnotised subject…The use of a shiny pendant, a pocket watch on a chain, or a ticking wooden metronome as the object of focus for doing the hypnosis can add significantly to the excitement and anticipation”.

Masters also makes some interesting observations in relation to the “strict, dictionary definition of fetish” and erotic hypnosis. As I noted in a previous blog on sexual fetishism, fetishes are typically body parts (e.g., feet, hair, noses, etc.), inanimate objects (e.g., shoes, masks, etc.), or conditions (e.g., obesity, pregnancy, etc.) that in and of themselves have a non-sexual focus. Masters noted that “hypnosis appears to be completely non-sexual” but then cites work by Dr. Craig Hill and Dr. Leslie Preston published in a 1996 issue of the ‘Journal of Sexual Research’ showing that:

“Over 20% of young adults look at sex as being an opportunity to experience the power of their partner, and over 20% look at sex as an opportunity to exert power over their partner. Clearly hypnosis is one way they can experience this power because hypnosis is explicitly one person taking control of another and using that control”.

One thing I know about hypnosis from my own research nearly 30 years ago is that among humans there is a wide range of hypnotic susceptibility. Hypnofetishism is always likely to be a minority sexual interest because the degree to which people can be hypnotized depends on many factors including (i) the confidence and trust that someone has in letting someone else hypnotize them, (ii) the general fears people have about being hypnotized in any capacity, (iii) the level of previous experience someone has of being hypnotized, and (iv) the level of experience of the hypnotist. (I, for one, have never been able to be hypnotized by anyone).

There are also many ethical questions. For instance, Dr. Don Gibbons in a short article on hypnophilia (on his ‘Hypnothoughts’ blog) wondered to what extent hypnophilia occurred amongst professional hyphotherapists and how many in the profession are sexually obsessed with the use of hypnosis and use their skill as an instrument of serial seduction? As yet, we simply don’t know, but as highlighted in Dr. Magnus Hirschfield’s case study above, it certainly appears to have occurred. There are also ethical questions concerning informed sexual consent. Just because someone allows another to perform hypnosis on them, doesn’t necessarily mean that they are fully consenting to sexual acts engaged in while in a hypnotic trance.

References and further reading

Aggrawal A. (2009). Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Gibbons, D. (2011). Does hypnophilia exist? October 13. Located at: http://www.hypnothoughts.com/forum/topics/does-hypnophilia-exist

Gibbons, D. (2011). Hypnosis, seduction and hypnophilia. October 28. Located at: http://hyperempiria.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/hypnosis-seduction-and-hypnop…

Gillett, C.A., Griffiths, M.D. & Davies, P. (1989). The hypnotic suppression of conditioned electrodermal responses. In D. Waxman, D. Pederson, I. Wilkie & P. Mellett (Eds.). Hypnosis (pp.60-66). London: Whurr Publishers.

Griffiths, M.D., Gillett, C.A. & Davies, P. (1989). The hypnotic suppression of conditioned electrodermal responses. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 69, 186.

Griffiths, M.D., Gillett, C.A. & Davies, P. (1989). An experimental investigation of ideational and exteroceptive conditioning. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 69, 494.

Health Explores (2011). Hypnofetishism. Located at:  http://www.healthexplores.com/wiki/hypnofetishism

Hill, C.A. & Preston, L.K. (1996). Individual differences in the experience of sexual motivation: Theory and measurements of dispositional sexual motives. Journal of Sex Research, 33, 27-45.

Hirschfeld, M. (1948). Sexual Anomalies and Perversions. New York: Emerson.

Love, B. (2001). Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices. London: Greenwich Editions.

James, W.E. (1974). Stimulation of breast growth by hypnosis. Journal of Sex Research, 10, 316-326.

Lady Izabelle (undated). Hypnofetishism and erotic hypnosis. Located at: http://erotichypnosis.ladyizzabelle.com/

Love, B. (2001). Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices. London: Greenwich Editions.

Masters, P. (2001). Look Into My Eyes: How to Use Hypnosis to Bring Out the Best In Your Sex Life. Eugene, Oregon: Greenery Press.

Masters, P. (2011). Look Into My Eyes. May 6. Located at: http://www.peter-masters.com/hypno/index.php/Hypno_fetish

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Do Relationships Make Us Healthier and Happier?

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Satisfying relationships not only make us happy, they also influence our long-term health as much as getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and not smoking. Many research studies have shown that satisfying relationships are associated with better health, greater happiness, and even a longer life. This effect is not limited to romantic relationships; close friendships and social connections with family and members of your community can also help your health.

Does relationship quality make a difference?

While the number of social ties makes a difference, quality also counts. In one study, midlife women who were more satisfied with their marriages had a lower risk for cardiovascular disease. Conversely, toxic relationships with family and friends can stress us out and damage our health. In studies of marital conflict, hostile interactions with a spouse are associated with signs of impaired immunity and increases in stress hormones. Other studies show that midlife women in unsatisfying marriages have higher blood pressure, higher cholesterol, and higher body mass indexes than those in satisfying marriages. They also have higher levels of depression, anxiety, and anger. The researchers noted that these physical and emotional states raise the risk of heart disease—and each can be exacerbated by stress.

Do partners motivate us to live healthier?

Being in a supportive relationship can also motivate us to live healthier. Studies show social support is related to eating more vegetables, exercising, and quitting smoking. Being around healthier people can be an incentive to take better care of our own health. Or perhaps we may enjoy exercising with friends or partners. Spouses may buy and cook healthy foods for us or we may be motivated to get fitter so as to be more attractive to our partners. 

There is a difference between encouragement and being too controlling, however. One study compared partner support (aiding and reinforcing a partner’s own efforts) with partner control behaviors (inducing change in one’s partner). Results showed that supportive behaviors predicted better mental health, while control behaviors predicted worse mental health and less healthy behaviors. Trying to control others may make them angry and create resistance to change. Research shows that we are more likely to maintain healthy behaviors if we are motivated by intrinsic factors like wanting to be fitter, rather than extrinsic factors like placating a partner.

Does social support lessen your body’s stress response?

Social support has also been shown to reduce the biological stress response. In studies in which people are subjected to social stress in the form of public speaking with evaluation, those who had a close friend or family member present showed less cardiovascular arousal and/or faster cardiac recovery from stress. Patting a pet can also lower your blood pressure. Social support (whether from humans or animals) may make us more resilient to stress by lessening the body’s biological stress response. Findings from animal studies show that social support reduces the release of cortisol (the stress hormone) when faced with a stressor.

What about depression?

For people at risk for depression, supportive relationships can be a protective factor. In studies, better social support predicted less depression in people with cardiac disease and heart attack patients. Patients with more support are more likely to cope actively with their health issues—for example, by making lifestyle changes. Supportive relationships also help our mental health. This effect has been shown in populations including college students, unemployed spouses, and parents of medically ill children.

How do relationships impact your health?

How does social support impact our health? It seems there are biological, behavioral, and emotional pathways. Partners and friends or family can encourage us by listening, showing that they care, helping our self esteem, motivating us to be healthy, or distracting us from our stressors. On the other hand, criticism and ongoing unresolved conflict can make us feel more stressed and take energy away from managing our problems.

Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D., is a practicing psychologist in Mill Valley, California, and former Professor of Psychology at the California School of Professional Psychology. She is an expert on stress, the brain, and mindfulness. She provides workshops, speaking engagements, and psychotherapy for individuals and couples. She regularly appears on radio shows and as an expert in national media. She also does long-distance coaching via the internet. Her new book, The Stress-Proof Brain is now available.

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Gender and Mental Health: Do Men Matter Too?

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The European Parliament Committee for Women’s Rights and Gender Equality recently produced a report entitled “promoting gender equality in mental health and clinical research”. This report was adopted by the Parliament in plenary in February 2017.

Such a report should be welcome, even though it only contains recommendations rather than obligations. Mental health activists can use such reports as a tool to advocate for positive change on the ground, especially where there are deficits in understanding and service provision.

Unfortunately, the report falls short on numerous fronts.

Ignoring Men      

Firstly, the phrase “gender equality” is implicitly equated with women’s health throughout the report. Only two paragraphs out of 163 are devoted to men’s mental health. Likewise, a word count reveals that the words “women” and “girls” are mentioned 217 times, whereas “men” and “boys” are mentioned only 45 times.

Men have significantly higher rates of suicide, substance use disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Indeed, men make up over 75% of suicides in Europe, with over 43 000 European men killing themselves every year. Men are also significantly less likely to utilize mental health services compared to women, with only around 30% of service users being men.

These mental health inequalities are hardly discussed in the European Parliament report. As is often the case in these reports, the title is mendacious and does not reflect the report’s contents.

Entrenching Inequality

Secondly, the report purports to promote gender equality, but the recommendations seem to actually encourage policies that would entrench inequality. For example, the document demands that “all women and girls have access to screenings” (p.17). And member states are asked to ensure “free access to health services for unemployed women” (p.18).

No similar calls are made for unemployed men, nor for screening access for men. Likewise, the document calls for free “access to mental health services—including women’s shelters” (p.10) for women. Again, there is no concomitant mention of men’s shelters, even though men make up over 75% of the homeless, and experience similar rates of intimate partner violence as women.

In short, the report consistently calls for one gender (women) to receive special privileges which are not accorded to the other gender (men). This is not consistent with the concept of “equality”.

Where is the Evidence?

Thirdly, the report appears to be driven by ideology rather than evidence. High rates of suicide in men are blamed on unproven factors such as “masculinity which may encourage suppression of emotions or resort to anger” (p.6). More bizarrely, mental illness in women is blamed on husbands, with the report declaring that “men do not devote themselves sufficiently to household tasks and bringing up daughters and sons, causing many women to suffer from depression, anxiety and stress” (p.18).

In contrast, discussion of proven risk factors for suicide or depression such as adverse childhood experience, financial strain, social isolation, divorce or bereavement are absent. Likewise, there is no acknowledgement that these can be experienced differentially by men and women.

The document also ignores vulnerable male sub-populations, despite evidence suggesting serious marginalization. For example, it calls on member states to “take account of the specific needs of lesbians and bisexual and transgender persons”. But there is no mention of gay men, who have some of the highest suicide and self-harm rates in Europe.

Advancing the Discussion

All this is particularly concerning given that much sociological evidence indicates a current crisis in the well-being of men and boys. For example, males have significantly elevated rates of school drop-out, unemployment, incarceration, failure to launch and early mortality—all negatively affecting their mental health.

Many of these problems were discussed during a successful European Parliament event in March intended to enlighten the uninformed. This was hosted by Spanish Member of Parliament Teresa Gimenez Barbat entitled “Gifted Women, Fragile Men” where guest speakers (including myself) presented shocking statistics about inequalities experienced by men and boys.

Sadly, the European Parliament report on “gender equality” fails to acknowledge these problems, let alone suggest ways to address them. This is a wasted opportunity.

Hopefully, future reports on gender and mental health will recognize that the word “gender” does not automatically equate with “women”. Men also have gendered issues that can impact mental health, and these must be recognized and addressed too.

Are Married People Healthier?

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There is research that married people are more likely to survive cancer, less likely to suffer a stroke or heart attack, less likely to develop depression and other mental illnesses, and the list goes on.

The health advantage of marriage seems small but significant, roughly equivalent to that of a healthier diet or regular exercise. According to one study, compared to single people, married people are 14 per cent more likely to survive a heart attack, and ready to be discharged from hospital two days earlier.

Interestingly, men seem to benefit from marriage more than women, perhaps because married women tend to be in a subordinate position, or tend to be more affected by marital conflict. In at least one study, single women fared almost as well as their wedded counterparts. Also, older couples seem to benefit considerably more from marriage than younger ones.

The health advantage of marriage is generally ascribed to better social support. A spouse is likely to encourage healthier habits and provide emotional and practical support at times of need. She or he is likely to be in the vicinity in the event of an emergency, if only to call an ambulance. Married people are also more likely to have health insurance, and less likely to engage in risky behaviours such as substance misuse or dangerous driving. And, of course, they enjoy a great deal of social approval and recognition.

Rather than marriage promoting health, it may be that health promotes marriage, that is, that people with better health and more resources are more likely to get or remain married. But it appears that the health advantage of marriage persists even after controlling for such factors.

Of course, one need not be married to enjoy the benefits of companionship. Non-marital cohabitation appears to confer a similar health advantage. Single people may depend on relatives, friends, and colleagues, while at the same time having fun with their dates. They may also own a dog, cat, or other pet. Pet ownership has been associated with some of the same benefits as marriage, including better mental and cardiovascular health—and one might wonder which of marriage or pet ownership is of greater benefit.

Both marriage and pet ownership have been found to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can impair immune function. Cuddling, or even just interacting, with a spouse or pooch releases the ‘love hormone’ oxytocin, which promotes feelings of calm and closeness.

The feeling of loneliness, in contrast, is both unpleasant and damaging. At the same time, people in unhappy marriages may feel more stressed and unsupported than most single people, to say nothing of those married people going through the trauma of a divorce. Divorce is one of the most stressful of all life events. Beyond middle age, divorced people, even if they have remarried, are actually in worse health than people who have never married.

But all these are just averages and statistics, and there may be much more to them than meets the eye. Everyone is different, and all marriages are different. Matrimony may be a great boon if you are the marrying type, and if you can manage to remain happily married. But the Dalai Lama never married, and he’s is pretty rude health.

Neel Burton is author of For Better For Worse: Should I Get Married?, Heaven and Hell: The Psychology of the Emotions, and other books.

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Source: Neel Burton