A little something I wrote for #MyBackYard
We live side by side, Jessica said of her boyfriend Will.
We’re on our computers, phones or tablets whether we are sipping yet another latte or streaming Netflix. We text, don’t talk and certainly don’t touch, she said.
Intimacy is not part of the equation. She wept, as she said she didn’t think it was normal.
This is the story of the modern couple and I am seeing it more and more in my clinical practice.
These tragic would-be lovers grew up with social media and it is ruining romance. We say good morning via text, get aroused by a sext and post the story of our perfect lives on the internet.
Facebook, Instagram, tumbler and twitter. Successful business people on Linked in by day we seek counseling from Pinterest Boards at night. Around town we’re at glitzy galas standing next to random luxury vehicles in rented frocks when we can’t afford to pay our rent.
Our self esteem is recalculated moment to moment by the number of likes, hearts or smiles on our posts. 200 likes? I am on top of the world. No shares? Spare me the details.
We need to find the one.
Is there an app for that? No luck on Tinder? Not to worry, there’s plenty of fish in that on-line sea. Swipe again, like what you see? One strikes our fancy, set the hook “up”, reel them in, ready to go for that first so-called date.
You call that a date? Coffee, tea not too long, after all what if you’re not what I see? The picture is old, you’re losing your hair, short on height, not sure of this bite.
Our lives are perfect for all to see. Don’t post the picture where you hurt me. Your anger, your drinking, your lies caught me off-guard.
The façade of perfection is oh so hard. When I found you on-line sexting another, I creeped her, messaged her. It surprised her to know you were taken by me. We can be anyone we want on line except for ourselves.
A notification, can’t wait to see, I will interrupt this so-called life, who could it be?
We’ve been sexting for months, I like what I see, it seems I have fallen for thee. But what about me? My thighs rub together, the tummy not so flat. I lost my job and think I am fat. Evo is my ride and that boat belonged to a friend. When will this fake life of mine end?
Before we know it, we are enslaved by it, can’t let it go, addicted to social media, our lives on the go. We crave it just like any addict needs their fix. Cocaine? Shopping? Social media is a drug full of tricks.
Social media addiction is real and changing our brains one text message at a time, subverting the way it registers pleasure and corrupting other normal drives such as motivation, romance and sex.
Like any addiction, social media addiction has no time for intimacy and love lives suffer. It ruins jobs, relationships and lives. Yet, despite it’s consequences, we are hard at it. Put down your phone, look at your lover, believe me the former is not better than the other.
A little something I wrote for #MyBackYard backyard press
Maureen McGrath hosts the Sunday Night Sex Show on News Talk 980 CKNW in Vancouver, British Columbia.
After 12 years riding the same bike seat, on average of 20 kms a day, George began to notice gradual erectile dysfunction issues in the past five years. “My first thought was that it was related to cycling.” He didn’t experience numbness, as a precursor, but instead, it just wasn’t working in the bedroom.
His story is common. In fact, hardly a day goes by that Duke’s Cycle in Toronto doesn’t have a customer come in asking for a new seat. “Numbness is a common problem, but they don’t often go into more detail than that,” says Lisa Stockus, a sales representative.
In 1997 a study from the Massachusetts Male Aging study, which looked at over 1,700 recreational riders between the ages of 40 and 70, blamed cycling for erectile dysfunction. One of the authors, Dr. Irwin Goldstein, proclaimed: “there are only two kinds of male cyclists – those who are impotent and those who will be impotent.”
Since that study, the following research is saying that instead of ditching the bike, find a new saddle instead. There is hope for riders who want to have healthy and active sex lives.
What is happening down there?
Your penis doesn’t have to be directly on the saddle to feel the effects of numbness. In fact, the soft tissue area between the anus and the penis, the perineum, is loaded with blood vessels and nerves. The erectile tissue extends from the tip of the penis back towards the anus. If riders are resting their body weight on this area, and not your sit bones located in your glutes, then the blood flow is not only restricted, the vessels can collapse, or worse, build up scar tissue that can block blood flow needed for an erection.
The sit bones, or ischial tuberosities, have no organs, and the nerves and arteries are surrounded by the fat and muscle of your bum, therefore we can sit for hours without pain.
But, the research is revealing that yes, cycling will cause numbness, and yes this can lead to erectile dysfunction. The MMAS study revealed that spending three hours or more a week on the saddle carries a risk ratio of 1.72 (anything over 1.5 is defined as a health risk) of long term arterial damage.
And while the research since the studies in the early 2000s haven’t produced any new findings, more research has been done on saddles and ways to mitigate the numbness and pressure on the perineum.
Not everyone who rides will experience numbness or ED. But as the creator of Spongy, a dual seat saddle that removes the pressure from the perineum, Jeff Dixon says, “It’s like a smoker—you might not get cancer, but it’s a risk. With cycling, it’s the same thing, unless you remove the risk: the traditional saddle.”
Saddles that are designed to spread the pressure to the buttocks without a hard, narrow nose have been shown to alleviate the problem. After complaints and the health concerns of bicycling police officers who spend most of the day on a bike saddle, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conducted a study that looked at 91 police riders before using an alternative nose-less saddle.
“There were reports of genital numbness, but the sensitivity was removed and they found the erectile dysfunction was diminished,” says Steven Schrader, a reproductive health expert, and one of the study’s leading authors.
“We determined that about 20 to 25% of their body weight was being put on the nose of the saddle. With the nose-less saddle you remove that weight on the soft tissue.” After the study, only three officers returned to the regular saddles.
This was the thinking behind one of the most unconventional, but popular bike seats available. The Spongy Wonder (made in New Brunswick) uses two platforms – one for each sit bone, without a nose.
Within the athletic cycling community, one brand of saddle stands out. The Power series of saddles from Specialized that shift body weight onto the sit bones avoiding putting pressure on the perineum.
As far as gel seats or cut outs, Schrader says to avoid both. Both alternatives only transfer the weight and put more pressure on the perineum.
The type of biking makes a difference
A 2004 study of 33 bikers revealed that a traditional sport race bike saddles, put twice the pressure on your perineum than other styles of bike saddles.
“Road cycling and cycle touring are big culprits, but it’s less about body position and more about the fact that it is a long time on the bike and in a position that is static and you don’t move around on the saddle,” says Andrew McGregor, the sports marketing sales rep for Specialized Bicycle Components.
“Triathletes are poster childs for this as they are in a fixed position while roadies (road cyclists) move around a bit; mountain bike (is the best scenario) because it is a dynamic sport where you’re up and down out of the saddle often.”
Measure your sit bones
Your weight has no bearing on the width of your sit bones, meaning, you can be heavier and have a smaller distance between your sit bones. Before finding a perfect fitting bike saddle, experts suggest getting a fitting and that begins with this all-important measurement.
A profile photo of a rider with a saddle too small for his sit bones reveals a curved spine and his body weight shifted forward. With a correctly fitting saddle, his back straightens and his weight shifts back onto his sit bones.
“If the saddle isn’t the right width, the body will always adapt to find a way – you might shift body by lifting one leg and shifting your bodyweight to adapt. It might cause back pain or travel up your arm. But this is all fixed with the right bike saddle,” says McGregor.
And when all else fails, McGregor says just lift your bum for some relief. “As soon as you get up problem resolved—even on a bad saddle.”
For some, it happens suddenly. For others, it’s a long-term challenge. It happens to couples who are completely open, and to couples who have some trouble communicating. In fact, it affects the relationships of about half of Canadian men over 50.
Yes, half. It’s that common for things to stop working or slow down in the bedroom.
The good news is that if a specialist can often identify and treat the underlying health problems that cause challenges with performance.
The bad news? For many couples, especially these intimate issues for the first time, it can be a struggle to talk about. This can cause a strain in the relationship.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.Many couples come through our doors at FullMast, and we’ve gained a lot of insight into the dos and don’ts of communication for couples dealing with ED. Here are some of our best tips for having healthy, productive conversations as you deal with these health issues.
Remember that you’re in this together. Before he can communicate with his partner, a man needs to come to terms with what is going on with his body. That can be tough. Many men will find excuses for not having sex (“I’m tired” or “I don’t feel like it”) before realizing that a health issue could be at play. It’s important to address any feelings of deception or confusion which result from this process, but try to stay empathetic. Remember, it’s hard to tell the truth about something when you’re just realizing it yourself!
Express your own experience, feelings, and concerns.The blame game never helps sensitive situations. Use “I” statements when talking about issues, and come to the conversation willing to be vulnerable with your partner.
Offer to let him start the discussion. If your partner clams up or gets defensive when you broach a conversation about these intimate issues, be willing to take it slow. Try first agreeing that a conversation should happen, then ask to start the discussion when he is ready (within a mutually agreed-upon time limit). This gives him important time to process his thoughts and feelings, and can help to lower his defenses by giving him a feeling of control over the conversation.
Be constructive. While erectile dysfunction is a very real challenge for many marriages and relationships, it doesn’t have to mean the end of your sex life or your emotional intimacy. Try encouraging more frequent compliments or more physical affection (kissing, touching, etc) to keep the relationship. Expressing your feelings and concerns is great, but putting together a game plan is even better.
Address ED as a medical issue–because it is one! This is a common, treatable, and health-related issue. Rather than focusing on problems, suggest seeing a doctor to work towards solutions.
It might be difficult at first, but a few good conversations and the help of a doctor is the key to moving forward together. Clear, open, and compassionate communication is a must for any couple experiencing intimate issues.