our logo

Sara Briner Psychosexual Therapy Relationship Counselling in Exeter, Devon

Lastest news

Stress is the number one libido killer: Feeling frazzled puts people off intimacy more than anything else, survey finds
A survey of 2,066 adults found 45% report stress as the biggest passion killer
Expert claims stress creates anxiety, which puts couples off intimacy
PUBLISHED: 14:42, 20 November 2018 | UPDATED: 17:09, 20 November 2018

The survey, by BBC Radio 5 Live, found physical health has the second biggest impact on a person's sex life, with 32 per cent reporting it as a passion killer.

This was followed by mental-health issues, which affect 26 per cent of the public's libidos, having children (20 per cent) and work (18 per cent).

And watching porn has a negative impact on the sex lives of 12 per cent of those surveyed.

Ellen Brady, a therapist from the relationship charity Relate, was also surprised to discover only 10 per cent highlight social media as being an issue.

She added, however, the likes of Facebook and Instagram probably have a bigger impact than the survey's results suggest.

'There's not the basic connection happening in couples, they're not even making eye contact or talking to each other, so it's no wonder when they get to bed that sex is difficult,' Ms Brady said.

Other family members, aside from children, affect the libidos of 10 per cent of those surveyed, while reality TV and friends are an issue for seven and five per cent, respectively.

Overall, half of the men surveyed were happy with their sex lives, which rose slightly to 53 per cent among the female participants.

And 58 per cent are confident about their performance between the sheets.

However, 38 per cent of the men and a quarter of the women questioned were dissatisfied.

To improve your sex lie, Ms Brady recommends imposing a temporary ban on getting intimate and then starting from scratch.

'Ban sex, because whatever you've been doing sexually it's gone wrong, so you want to wipe it out and start again, and just reconnect emotionally and in terms of intimacy,' she said.

'There's a big gender divide on that one, because women very often want to buy into emotional intimacy and kisses and cuddles and quite often men don't see that as a priority, they see sex as the priority.'

Ms Brady added, however, most men come round to kissing, particularly when they learn it often leads to more.

The survey also found men and women have different views when it comes to cheating.

Three quarters of the women surveyed considered kissing someone else or having cyber sex to be unfaithful, compared to just half of men.

The types of people men and women would consider being intimate with also differs - 58 per cent of males would have sex with someone more than a decade older than them compared to just 28 per cent of females.

Statistics suggest 74 per cent of Britons have felt stressed or unable to cope within the past year, with women being the most likely to suffer.

Stress can then lead to anxiety, which is a known libido killer.

This comes after research released last year found having sex at least once a week slows ageing in women even if they do not enjoy being intimate.

Being active between the sheets increases the length of women's telomeres, according to a study by the University of California, San Francisco. These 'cap' the end of DNA strands, with longer lengths being associated with slower ageing, longer lifespans and improved overall health.

Why ANXIETY reaches an all-time high during menopause - and 6 tips to ease the pain
One in four of women experience anxiety during the menopause
Anxiety can have a significant impact on a women's life, affecting work, relationships and eating behavior
There are many non-drug techniques to manage anxiety during the menopause
Yoga, reflexology, supplements and talking therapy have been shown to reduce anxiety during the menopause
PUBLISHED: 22:18, 17 October 2018 | UPDATED: 22:18, 17 October 2018

An estimated 37 million women in the US and 13 million women in the UK are currently peri- or post-menopausal in the UK which equates to one-third of the entire female population.

One in four women will experience debilitating symptoms that can last up to 15 years.

Anxiety is often cited as one of the distressing symptoms of menopause, with a quarter of women saying that they felt anxious during this time.

Anxiety is a common symptom of menopause but it can often be overlooked. Dr Meg Arroll a psychologist on behalf of wellbeing brand Healthspan advises on ways to tackle anxiety during this time.

What are the symptoms and effects of anxiety?

Anxiety can come in many different guises – that underlying knowing sense of unease, to feeling like you're having a heart attack. For some people anxiety seems to occupy only the mind, but for others shortness of breath, chest pain, sweating, dizziness, and heart palpitations can be the physical manifestations of anxiety.

A general feeling of tension, nervousness, panic, and worry is the hallmark of anxiety. But headaches and stomach problems are also common and can lead to significant issues in daily life.

Anxiety in menopause

Studies that assess how many women suffer from anxiety in menopause vary widely with some estimated that one in 10 will experience anxiety while others see rates as high as three in four women.

But most studies show that around a quarter of menopausal and peri- and post-menopausal women report some anxiety.

Changes in hormones levels, sleep disruption, daily stresses of life, views on body image and perceptions of loss of fertility can all play a part in how anxious an individual feels, which is why rates vary so much.

HRT and anti-depressants can help to alleviate anxiety during the menopause but not everyone wants to go down these routes as a first port of call.

1. Pamper yourself

The impact of body image is particularly complex as women don't simply start to feel anxious when physical appearance changes.

Research by Australian psychologist and researcher Amanda Deeks noted the intricate relationship between emotional well-being and body image. Dr Deeks emphasized the importance of understanding the context of women when thinking about symptoms as there are many aspects of our culture and environment that worsen symptoms.

For instance, trying to pertain to a cultural norm of what a woman should look like and how she should behave can be exhausting and quite frankly, futile.

However, the positive alternative view is that feelings towards body image can be improved through boosting confidence and self-worth. This research showed that by doing this menopausal and psychological symptoms can be improved.

Therefore, taking some time out for self-care and a bit of pampering can lessen anxiety by boosting body image.

2. Meditation

Midlife women who practice mindfulness may experience fewer menopause-related symptoms and less stress vs. women who do not practice the technique, according to a study of more than 1,700 women presented at the North American Menopause Society annual meeting.

A recent study that took place at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota found that the study found a strong signal for the potential role of mindfulness in improving psychological symptoms, emotional response to menopause symptoms and stress in women during midlife.

3. Yoga

Yoga is known to be beneficial for overall health and well-being and for mental health in the general population.

It also appears to be a good way to relieve anxiety during the menopause.

One review by a group in Germany identified five high-quality studies that compared yoga to another type of exercise or no treatment, with a total of 582 women across all studies.

The researchers looked at comparisons of different types of symptoms such as depression, anxiety and sleep problems (psychological symptoms), pain and fatigue (somatic symptoms), hot flashes and night sweats (vasomotor symptoms) and sexual dysfunctions and bladder problems (urogenital symptoms).

Overall, there was evidence for improvements in the symptoms characterized as psychological, including anxiety. Therefore, regular yoga practice is worth considering if you experience anxiety during menopause.

4. Reflexology and massage

Reflexology is a non-invasive complementary therapy, based on the theory that 'reflex zones' on the feet, lower leg, hands, face or outer ears correspond with different areas of the body. Although not a form of massage per se, a reflexologist will apply pressure on the reflex zones during treatment.

One research group from the School of Complementary Health in Exeter, UK compared reflexology to non-specific foot massage. Seventy-six women had nine treatments in total over four to five months consisting of six-weekly treatments, followed by a further three-monthly sessions.

The researchers measured the women's rating of menopausal symptoms and psychological symptoms such as anxiety and depression.

Self-reported ratings of anxiety and depression improved after treatment in both the reflexology and massage groups, and the frequency and severity of hot flashes and night sweats also decreased.

Therefore, you may want to include either reflexology or massage in your self-care package to alleviate not just anxiety but also other key menopause symptoms.

5. Supplements

There are many supplements on the market for menopausal symptoms.

The main herbal remedies used to treat menopause are Black cohosh and Sage leaf which help to reduce hot flushes and night sweats. Rhodiola helps to reduce stress and improves energy levels to help overcome anxiety and fatigue.

Dr Dawn Harper, a family physician and TV doctor says: 'Anxiety is such an underestimated symptom of menopause, yet women often don't realize it is a sign.

'St John's Wort is another popular traditional herbal medicine and according to a German study published in the journal Advances in Therapy, eighty-two percent of those who tried it said they suffered less irritability, anxiety, low mood, hot flushes, sweating and disturbed sleep and It's been shown in decent trials to be as effective as Prozac for mild to moderate depression.'

St John's Wort can improve the psychological and physical symptoms of menopause including hot flushes, low mood, anxiety, low sex drive and exhaustion. Women taking it also report increased self-esteem, self-confidence and self-respect.

If you are taking prescribed medications, it is important to check with a pharmacist for possible drug interactions before starting to take St John's Wort. Also always look for the THR logo on pack when buying a herbal medicine. You can visit www.bhma.org to find licensed traditional herbal medicinal (THR) products for the menopause.

Recently, CBD oil has also attracted a great deal of attention and Dr Sarah Brewer, a medical nutritionist says: 'Many are turning to products like cannabidiol to treat anxiety but it's important not just to buy the product based on 'Whole Plant Extract' as this is misleading. You need to compare the actual levels of CBD in milligrams (mg) in the product'

'It's important to choose a supplier like Healthspan who provide certification of analysis showing the actual CBD and THC levels of purity for each batch produced, and making sure the company is a member of the Cannabis Trade Association.

'Also, check with your GP or a pharmacist if you are taking prescribed medication, as CBD oil can interact with certain drugs, including those used to treat anxiety and depression.'

6. Other ways to help

There may be specific triggers for anxiety such as daily stresses, tiredness or something you're eating/drinking. The best way to uncover these patterns is by using a simple symptom diary. There are many free versions online or see an example in my book The Menopause Maze (Singing Dragon, £12.99), co-authored with Liz Efiong.

Deep breathing exercises can also help reduce anxious feelings and are particularly good for tackling panic attacks.

Talking about your feelings, either with a qualified therapist, friend or support group, is also a good way to work through anxiety. Knowing that you're not the only one who feels anxious can lift the burden of this common symptom.

Is YOUR bedroom ruining your sex life? How old photos, neutral decor and messy drawers can put a dampener on your libido
Sexologist and relationship therapist Jessica

Dailymail.online accessed 22.09.17 Female climax research.

Four out of five women CAN'T reach climax through sexual intercourse alone, reveals academic study (as sex expert urges women to take matters into their own hands)
75% of females say clitoral stimulation was necessary to have an orgasm
Women have 'diverse' preferences with genital touch, location and pressure
Survey suggests there is no universal 'sex moves that work for everyone'
Men have 3 times as many orgasms with a partner than women, says Tracey Cox
The sex expert advises women to think of his penis as a 'masturbatory tool'
PUBLISHED: 12:42, 21 September 2017 | UPDATED: 15:46, 21 September 2017

Four out of five women fail to reach climax through sexual intercourse alone, a new study has revealed.

The findings break the myth that most women can orgasm through intercourse.

And 75 percent of females reported that clitoral stimulation was necessary for them to have an orgasm.

US researchers also reported that women have 'a diverse set' of preferences when it comes to genital touch, location and pressure.

They note from the findings of their poll of 1,000 women aged 18 to 94 that there are no universal 'sex moves that work for everyone'.

This highlights the importance of couples having conversations about their preferences and desires, the report in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy states.

Nearly 75 percent of women surveyed said that clitoral stimulation was either necessary for them to climax during intercourse, or helped their orgasms feel better.
Nearly 75 percent of women surveyed said that clitoral stimulation was either necessary for them to climax during intercourse, or helped their orgasms feel better (stock photo)


Doctors used to think that multiple orgasms were rare.

But new research proves the opposite. Seven in 10 women are able to climax numerous times with their partner.

In fact, hitting the big 'O' more than once during a steamy session is common in most relationships, a study shows.

And two per cent of British women even claim they are able to climax 20 times during their time beneath the sheets.

Celebrity sexual health couple Dr David Delvin and Dr Christine Webber quizzed 1,250 women in an online survey.

All participants were aged between 20 to 24 and were asked 13 questions about their sexual status.

Similar to the recent research, the poll found that four out of five women are unable to reach orgasm through penetration alone and require clitoral stimulation.

'The study results challenge the mistaken, but common, notion that there are universal sex moves that work for everyone,' said study author Brian Dodge, associate professor in the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington.

Aiming to 'fill the gap in scientific and public understanding of sexual pleasure', the team found 18 percent could experience the big 'O' from vaginal penetration alone and nearly 75 percent said that clitoral stimulation was either necessary for them to climax during intercourse, or helped their orgasms feel better.

A damaging myth

Mail Online Sex expert Tracey Cox says that the idea most women can orgasm through intercourse is 'the biggest and most damaging myth about sex'.

'Most women don't orgasm through intercourse and only 30 per cent can do it,' she said.

'Like all sex educators, I've been harping on about this for years.

'The result is men have at least three times as many orgasms with a partner than women do.

'The rates for casual sex are even more abysmal: only four percent of women have orgasms through casual sex.'

Her advise to women to make sure they are getting satisfaction in the bedroom is to take matters into their own hands – literally.

'The single, most important thing you can do to even up the tally is to give yourself the same clitoral stimulation you use when pleasuring yourself.

'This basically involves thinking of his penis and pelvis as more of a masturbatory tool – something to rub and stimulate your clitoris with and against – than an appendage that thrusts (ineffectively, if pleasantly) in and out of your vagina.

'Sounds selfish? Sorry to be blunt but who cares? He won't – he'll end up climaxing one way or another, believe me! And for once in your life, you might too.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4906240/One-five-women-climax-sexual-intercourse.html#ixzz4tNdOaZGl

Porn addiction article By ABIGAIL MILLER FOR DAILYMAIL.COM on 04.08.2017

Boys who start watching pornography at a young age are more likely to grow into misogynistic men who want power over women, a new study claims.
Researchers at at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln found a clear link between the age at which a boy is first exposed to porn and his likelihood to display sexist attitudes later in life.
However, they also found that men who are exposed later in life are more likely to be sexually promiscuous.
'The goal of our study was to examine how age of first exposure to pornography, and the nature of said first exposure, predicts conformity to two masculine norms,' explained Alyssa Bischmann, a doctoral student at the university who presented the research.
The two norms are sexually promiscuous behavior - or the likelihood of being a playboy - and the desire for power over women, she explained.

The younger a boy starts watching pornography the more likely it is that he will have a misogynistic view of women, a new study claims (stock image)
Bischmann and her colleagues surveyed 330 undergraduate men, age 17 to 54 years old, at a large Midwestern university. Participants were 85 percent white and primarily heterosexual (93 percent).
Each man was asked about his first exposure to pornography - specifically, what age they were when it happened and whether it was intentional, accidental or forced.
Participants were then asked to respond to a series of 46 questions designed to measure the two masculine norms.
Among the group, the average age of first exposure was 13.37 years old. with the youngest exposure as early as five and the latest older than 26.

Scientists studied 20,000 men, analyzing how strongly they conformed to 11 typical ideas of masculinity.

They found that men who wanted power over women and had a 'playboy attitude', were significantly more depressed than others.

Those men were also less likely to seek mental health treatment.

The American Psychological Association says the findings should act as a warning to dispel the 'snowflake' reputation afforded men's mental health treatment.

Each study focused on the relationship between mental health and 11 norms generally considered to reflect society's expectations of traditional masculinity.

These were:

desire to win
need for emotional control
playboy (sexual promiscuity)
primacy of work (importance placed on one's job)
power over women
disdain for homosexuality
pursuit of status
After recording each man's social attitudes, they looked at their mental health, and whether they have sought treatment.

The biggest drivers for poor mental health were: a playboy attitude, insistence on being self-reliant, and wanting power over women.

The one factor that did not detrimentally affect mental health was 'primacy of work' - prioritizing one's job.

Most of the men surveyed said their first time viewing porn was accidental at 43.5 percent.
Fewer men said their first exposure was intentional, at 33.4 percent, and 17.2 percent said it was forced upon them. Six percent did not indicate the nature of the exposure.
Researchers then found a significant association between age of first exposure and adherence to the two masculine norms, with different associations for each.
'We found that the younger a man was when he first viewed pornography, the more likely he was to want power over women,' Bischmann said.
'The older a man was when he first viewed pornography, the more likely he would want to engage in playboy behavior.'
This finding was surprising, according to co-author Chrissy Richardson, MA, also from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, because the researchers had expected both norms to be higher with a lower first age of exposure.
'The most interesting finding from this study was that older age at first exposure predicted greater adherence to the playboy masculine norms,' Richardson explained.
'That finding has sparked many more questions and potential research ideas because it was so unexpected based on what we know about gender role socialization and media exposure.'
Bischmann said more research needs to be done, and explained that she suspects that the findings may be related to unexamined variables.
For example, a participant's level of religion, sexual performance anxiety, negative sexual experiences or whether their first exposure experience was positive or negative could play a more significant role than age.
It also did not matter how the participants were exposed - the researchers found no significant association between the nature of the exposure and attitudes.
'We were surprised that the type of exposure did not affect whether someone wanted power over women or to engage in playboy behaviors. We had expected that intentional, accidental or forced experiences would have differing outcomes,' said Bischmann.
The findings, which were presented at the 125th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association provide confirmed existing evidence that pornography viewing has a real impact on heterosexual men, especially with regard to their views about sex roles, according to Richardson.
Knowing more about the relationship between men's pornography use and beliefs about women might assist sexual assault prevention efforts, especially among young boys who may have been exposed to pornography at an early age.
This information could also inform the treatment of various emotional and social issues experienced by young heterosexual men who view pornography, she said.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4757558/Young-boys-watch-porn-likely-sexist.html#ixzz4oo2ph7dD
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
From daily mail online 04.08.2016

Your Vagina Is Ageing: A Timeline Of Changes Down There, From Your 30s To Your 60s

Woman &home.com by Kelly Allen on Friday, 17 June 2017

It's not just your face that can give your age away, your vagina is getting older too. While you might pore over the lines and wrinkles on your forehead in the mirror every morning, it's less likely you are looking 'down there'. However, just like the rest of your body, it's going through the ageing process. How does a normal vagina age?

Every woman and every vagina is different, and it's completely understandable to wonder, 'is my vagina normal?'. But a healthy vagina will continue to change as we go through life - this is totally normal. Key life transitions such as pregnancy and menopause will have an effect on your genitals, just as they do on the rest of your body. Read on to discover how a normal vagina changes with age...

In your 30s

If you are on the pill, or have taken it previously, your vagina may become drier in your thirties - experts believe that because the pill stops ovulation, you might not produce as much natural lubrication at this time of the month.
Stephanie S Fabuion, author of Mayo Clinic- The Menopause Solution says, "We think some women may get more vulvar dryness with birth control pills because the pills are blocking male sex hormones called androgens, and the vulva has androgen receptors." However, she does add that this varies from woman to woman.

Pregnancy and childbirth can also have a massive impact on your vagina, as well as your vulva.

The uterus swells to watermelon proportions during pregnancy - some women even get varicose veins on their genitals thanks to this increase in weight.

Hormones produced when you are expecting can also change the colour of your vulva, making it darker.

Thankfully, the vagina is an extremely resilient part of your body and, thanks to its elasticity and blood supply, a healthy vagina tends to return to normal within six weeks of childbirth.

However, doctors recommend performing pelvic floor exercises to help things since the force applied to our pelvic muscles during labour can cause damage. Doing regular Kegels when expecting will help to prevent bladder leakage and can help make sex feel more like before.

In your 40s

Years of defuzzing may start to take their toll now - you might notice skin or pigment changes as a result of waxing or shaving down there. Just like the hair on your head, your pubic hair will also start to thin in your forties. This is thought to be down to declining oestrogen.
Aside from pregnancy-related changes, a healthy vagina will remain largely unchanged until you reach your forties. However, during this decade, your hormone levels begin to decline as perimenopause beckons. At this point, you may start to notice reductions in elasticity, thinning vaginal walls and the beginnings of vaginal dryness, which can result in itching, burning and redness.

In your 50s

Most women go through the menopause between the ages of 50 and 52 - this will have an enormous impact on a normal vagina.

Depleted oestrogen levels result in thinner, less elastic and drier vulvular tissue due to loss of fat and collagen. This can cause irritation during sex - compared by some people to using sandpaper or feeling like you need to go to the toilet.

As hormone levels drop, your body stops making certain bacteria - this will changes the pH level of a normal vagina, making it more acidic. In the absence of this good bacteria, you will be more prone to infections like urinary tract infections and bacterial vaginosis, as well as STIs.

In your 60s and beyond

Whilst other symptoms of the menopause will gradually tail off, changes to your vagina will continue on into your 60s. By the age of 60, nearly 60 per cent of women experience problems with vaginal dryness.

This can cause problems for your sex life. Faubion explains: "When sex hurts for women after menopause, there's this involuntary reaction. You anticipate having painful sex, and then your pelvic floor muscles spasm to protect you. Your brain is saying, 'This is going to hurt'."

What can you do to help your vagina as it ages?

If you have concerns about your vagina or feel physically uncomfortable, it's important to seek medical attention, whatever your age. However, remember that a healthy vagina will still undergo changes. Try these self-help tips to keep yours feeling fresh...
1. Doing Kegels can help to keep symptoms at bay. Contract your pelvic floor muscles (the ones you squeeze to stop the flow of urine when you go to the toilet) for ten seconds, relax, and repeat 20 times, three times a day.

2. Ditch your office chair - instead, sit on a Swiss ball for 15 minutes a day. This forces
the muscles of your pelvic floor to contract - and you won't need to do a single

3. If your problems revolve around dryness during sex then a lubricant can make things easier - just remember not to use oil-based lubricants with condoms.

Read more at http://www.womanandhome.com/diet-and-health/539881/your-vagina-is-ageing-a-timeline-of-changes-down-there

©2018 Sara Briner Counselling is powered by WebHealer
Website Cookies   Privacy Policy   Admin Login