Your libido fluctuates with your physical and emotional state, and the condition of your relationship. When this happens we often fret about our sexual prowess, but it is perfectly normal, and fixable. This week, we examine the issues surrounding female sexual dysfunction, which are not discussed enough and may be poorly understood, meaning many women feel unprepared and on their own when they experience it. Sexual inhibition or lack of sexual interest in women has many causes – anxiety, depression, stress, physical illness, medication, lack of sleep, relationship issues, age, hormone-based contraceptives, hormonal imbalances, a history of unfulfilling sex, past incidents of shaming about sex. Sexual functioning requires a balance between neurotransmitters and hormones. If there is even the slightest imbalance, a woman’s appetite for sex will drop. Relationship issues such as lingering anger or resentment, lack of communication, or an absence of trust can also lower sexual desire.
“Women in long-term relationships can often experience a loss of desire, as they may crave more eroticism, variety, or spark in their sex lives ... Feeling desired by one’s partner is an important turn-on for many women,” says Dr Kristin Zeising, a clinical psychologist and certified sex therapist at MindnLife, a Hong Kong-based private psychology practice. “A history of feeling shamed for sexual expression can impact desire and cause a woman to be more inhibited. Historically and culturally speaking, female sexuality is often stigmatised ... Other factors include past sexual traumas, religious upbringing, or even unsatisfactory sex, and women feel uncomfortable discussing these issues with their partner for whatever reason,” Zeising adds. Loss of interest in sex is widespread, and affects between 25 per cent and 50 per cent of women, depending on which part of the world they live in, she says. Asian and Middle Eastern women are more likely to experience a lack of sexual desire, and sexual problems such as an inability to reach orgasm, Zeising says.
“Women of all ages and cultures can experience a lack of desire at some point in their lives, so it’s quite normal and common. Women aren’t meant to always want sex, in whatever context or situation. In some cases, a woman may not desire sex on a regular basis – or at all – and they are perfectly fine with that. “However, it’s when a woman is feeling like her body has changed, or when their partner desires sex more than they do, that a depleted sexual appetite becomes problematic.” Many middle-aged women are vulnerable to low sexual functioning. They find that, as they age, their hormone levels drop and their bodies may need more stimulation than they previously did. “As oestrogen levels drop, the vaginal tissue thins and dries out, and this can make sex painful enough to put women off the act altogether,” Zeising says. “For many women, the reduction of oestrogen alone explains a nosedive in libido. But other aspects of menopause may also leave them feeling unsexy and not desiring sex, like mood swings, hot flushes, weight gain, and anxiety about ageing.” When that happens, she says, women should talk to a gynaecologist about medication and other solutions to make sex more comfortable. Zeising says feeling positive about ageing and about a partner tends to outweigh the physiological effects of declining hormone levels.
Seven steps to stimulate your sex life:
● Schedule sex; create a space to allow sex regularly and build up the anticipation:
● Re-frame how you think about sex to reduce anxiety;
● View sex as a team sport by emphasizing mutual pleasure over performance;
● Tell your partner what you like and what you need from them;
● Give yourself permission to reap pleasure from the act of sex;
● Focus on the emotional pleasure and satisfaction gained from sex with your partner;
● Use your imagination; map out a sexual fantasy to share with your partner.
AMSTERDAM, April 15 -- A petition to make paying for sex illegal has accumulated more than 42,000 signatures and will appear before Dutch parliament for debate.
The campaign “I am priceless” (Ik ben onbetaalbaar) is led by largely Christian organisation Exxpose that hopes to make paying for sex illegal in the Netherlands. The campaign attempts to tug at emotional heartstrings by using phrases such as “what if it was your sister?” and “prostitution is both a cause and consequence of inequality”. The campaign states that the Dutch sex industry exploits women and is obsolete, further suggesting that women need other options instead of sex work.
Sex workers have responded negatively to the campaign, saying the campaign will have an inherently negative affect and make their job “much, much more dangerous”. Foxxy argues that making it illegal to access sex work would only make it more difficult for the women. It would make them more vulnerable to violence as they would be working illegally, and therefore they would not have the support of the authorities. The petition comes at the same time as tour groups are being banned from the Red Light District.
SINGAPORE, April 14 -- From celebrities to ministers, condemnation from the West has been heaped on Brunei for enacting harsh anti-gay laws that prescribe death by stoning for various offences – but the tiny oil-rich nation has showed little concern it may be making foes of its traditional friends.
Neither is it likely to fully alienate the West, observers say, despite remaining resolute on the implementation of sharia law in the face of backlash from world leaders. Ruler Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, one of the world’s richest men, has a track record of balancing dialogue with the West – the United Kingdom and the United States are major export partners – while courting increased engagement with China, the country’s main import trading partner. “Brunei has been practising hedge diplomacy in its foreign policy,” says Mustafa Izzuddin, a fellow at Singapore’s ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute. “However, the greater the criticism from Western countries – including resorting to boycotts – the more likely Brunei will turn to Asia and in particular, China, which has cleverly stayed clear of Brunei’s domestic affairs.”
Beijing has developed a keen interest in Brunei, partly due to the possibility of joint development deals in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), which could provide a key toehold into contested South China Sea waters. Brunei is among the claimants to the disputed sea, but its unassertive approach has made it appealing to China, says Mustafa. While Beijing has yet to propose any concrete plans, similar attempts to forge deals with other South China Sea claimants suggest it would “not be surprising to see China offer joint development prospects to Brunei”, says Joseph Liow of the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies.
But if joint agreements are signed, it could prove problematic for other Southeast Asian claimants and the wider international community as it would undercut the 2016 international ruling that says China has no claims to the waters delineated by its controversial nine-dash line, says Gregory Poling, director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative. If China manages to strike a development deal with Brunei, it would indicate Brunei’s EEZ waters were legally “disputed”, strengthening Beijing’s claim and weakening near-universal consensus of the ruling, says Poling. However, there is still “no evidence Brunei is willing to take that gamble”, he says.
Nevertheless, ties between both countries are growing, as Brunei looks to diversify its income streams in a country traditionally reliant on oil reserves – estimated to run out within two to three decades. Brain drain is a growing issue, as is unemployment, which stood at 9.3 per cent according to latest figures. The nation, an enthusiastic supporter of the Belt and Road Initiative , has unveiled a development plan to build a dynamic and sustainable economy by 2035.
BANGKOK, April 6 -- ‘It’s complicated,’ says the artist who got Prayut and Thaksin to ‘shake hands’, now tackling other issues.
Patpong, Bangkok’s most notorious red-light area, seems a likely enough place to provoke a discussion about sexual attitudes in this country. Even better, have the discussion at Candle Light Studio, a new gallery for naughty art above the Barbar Fetish Club on Patpong Soi 2. The provocateur is the masked graffiti artist who calls himself Headache Stencil, fresh from skewering the junta government and chaotic election in his previous show, “Thailand Casino”. The exhibition, “Sex Drugs & Headache Stencil”, officially opens Candle Light Studio, which apparently used to be a go-go bar. Families with small children can easily reach it from BTS Sala Daeng but probably shouldn’t.
The ascent to the third floor entails passing young ladies dressed in sexy cosplay outfits, who beckon passers-by inside to watch decent folks paying indecent folks to spank them. Once you reach the gallery, though, everything gets very dark very fast. Headache Stencil has spread his edgy art around two rooms. In the first, it’s all about issues related to sex. He’s painted the walls with women in bikinis and university uniforms with dollar signs and there’s a mural of penises – in pastel blue for some reason. Keep looking. There’s a stencil of a sexy woman with a formidable brain in a jail cell, and another of two male naval officers kissing.
“It’s an open secret that prostitution and drugs, despite being illegal, are widespread in Thailand,” Headache told us. “But the issues that affect the lives of sex workers and drug addicts are quite complicated.” The Prevention and Suppression of Prostitution Act 1996 and Article 286 of the Criminal Code seek to handcuff the sale of sex, pimping and running “prostitution establishments”.
The laws don’t seem to be working, though. It’s been variously estimated that anywhere from 800,000 to more than two million Thais earn money as prostitutes, and many of them are under 18.
“It used to be that sex workers were all poor and uneducated, but now in our capitalist-consumerist era, many college students are getting into the sex trade because they want money to buy mobile phones, brand-name clothes and even cars and condos,” Headache said.
The victims of society
In a stunning installation that forms the show’s center piece, he’s stacked up a pile of naked dolls smeared with blood, the word “victims” sprayed on the platform. “Women are regularly raped or sexually harassed in Thailand,” he said. “Some die as a result, but they all suffer in some way. They’re the victims.” On to the next room, where the subject is drug abuse. Headache’s done a black-and-white stencil of da Vinci’s “Last Supper” on one wall, but with a 3D table that’s set with a feast of street dope. On the menu are ecstasy, yaba, cocaine, amphetamine, Xanax and LSD – none of it real, officer. You have glass pipes as well, plus a bottle of whisky for good measure. Also, stencilled skulls! The litany of drugs appears on another wall alongside a portrait of a boy holding a marijuana bong.
“It’s like the last chapter in an addict’s life,” explains the artist, who admits he’s done some sampling. “Overdosing on drugs really is the ‘last supper’ before you die.” As well as harming themselves, however, drug addicts and drunks also plague society with crimes committed to fuel their habits, he said. For teens, the issues are far more complicated, and the government needs to handle the matter carefully. “The government should separate the addicts who commit crimes from those who are just sick and get the latter proper treatment.
“Both the sex trade and the drug trade are complicated. We need sustainable and realistic alternatives. We need to bring these people back into society.”
OTTAWA, March 21 -- The bodies are piled up like cordwood, yet the Trudeau Liberals insist they have done no wrong and, please, turn the page – look at our budget, gaze at your navel, anything, but stop looking at LavScam.
If the Liberals have done no wrong, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau insists beyond credence, then how is the body count explained? It’s a veritable massacre. Justice Minister and Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould, fired and then resigned. Treasury Board President Jane Philpott, resigned. Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick, resigned. Gerald Butts, Trudeau’s principal secretary and fast friend, resigned. How many is that? Four bodies for doing nothing wrong? And they are not just any bodies. These are front-line casualties, two top-ranking cabinet ministers. And Wernick is the chief bureaucrat in all the land, the boss of all bosses in the federal civil service. And, Butts, of course, was Trudeau’s puppet master, the brains in the PMO, his best friend since their days at McGill University, and the man everyone outside the hearing range of Trudeau referred to as PM Butts. They all had gold seats at the power table. Anyone who had the misfortune to tune in to their favourite news channel saw the House of Commons become a circus Tuesday as the screams and insults from Opposition MPs drowned out Finance Minister Bill Morneau as he attempted, in vain, to read his last budget before October’s election.
So, he literally “tabled” it, set the physical copy on his desk, lifted the embargo, and left the Commons to conduct post-budget interviews out of range. The outraged Opposition had every right to be ranting and raving, of course, not so much because the budget stunk but because the Liberal puppets who had majority control on the emergency justice committee used that power to permanently shut down the probe into the LavScam scandal. There was nothing more to see, they claimed. It was time to move on, they said in unison, as journalists covering the fiasco looked behind the curtains to see if Gerald Butts was still directing the show from his hidey-hole.
On Wednesday, the Conservatives under Andrew Scheer moved it up a notch, writing a letter to the chair of the Commons’ ethics committee – yes, another committee – to hold a televised hearing Thursday to “examine developments in the accusations against the Prime Minister and his closest political allies that they conspired to stop the criminal trial of a company accused of bribery.” That company, of course, is Quebec-based SNC-Lavalin – hence LavScam – which had the Trudeau inner circle twisting itself in knots trying to get Wilson-Raybould to convince federal prosecutors to pass on a criminal trial, and give SNC-Lavalin a sweetheart plea agreement that could see it heavily fined but escaping the hardball of criminal court. Wilson-Raybould refused, she got turfed and demoted, and then quit cabinet. The result was LavScam. Butts rolled his own head out the door as the required sacrificial lamb. Philpott quit cabinet in principle, and in solidarity with Wilson-Raybould, and Wernick submitted his pink slip as the boss of bosses. And then there was the sudden slap to Trudeau’s face Wednesday when Whitby, Ont. MP Celina Caesar-Chavanne, who has accused the PM of hostile treatment, and who had verbally backed Wilson-Raybould and Philpott, packed her bags in the Liberal caucus and left to sit as an Independent. So, there’s the fifth body. Yet nothing wrong allegedly happened, despite political blood flying every which-way and the first probe shut down by the Liberal bobbleheads who controlled the so-called “emergency justice committee.” The Liberals must think Canadians are suckers. They’re playing us as fools.
"Trudeau’s fake feminism exposed yet again"
OTTAWA, March 21 -- Caesar-Chavannes had challenged Justin Trudeau on Twitter, calling him out after he tried to claim he was about “listening.”
‘“I believe real leadership is about listening, learning & compassion…central to my leadership is fostering an environment where my Ministers, caucus & staff feel comfortable coming to me when they have concerns” I did come to you recently. Twice. Remember your reactions?” She letter said that Justin Trudeau yelled at her and said she didn’t “appreciate him.”
After the PMO denied the account, Caesar-Chavannes’ husband backed her up, saying that the yelling was so loud that he could hear it through the phone while his Celina and Justin were talking. The MP for Whitby will now sit as an independent MP. She has previously confirmed that she won’t be seeking re-election. As we see yet again, Justin Trudeau does everything he can to help out his corrupt buddies, while screaming and yelling at women who disagree with him.
SEOUL, March 21 -- South Korean police have arrested two men for using illegal spy cameras at motels to film and livestream videos of about 1,600 guests, raking in roughly 7 million won ($6,200) over the past three months, police said on Wednesday.
Illicit filming has surged with growing use of mobile devices and South Korea’s pop music industry is reeling from a scandal over singer and television celebrity Jung Joon-young, accused of having shared videos he took secretly during sex. Police said the men, and two others, posed as customers to secretly install the cameras, obtained online from overseas, in 42 rooms at 30 places around the country since last August.
The footage from the cameras, hidden in television boxes, sockets and hair dryer holders, was broadcast live on a website, police added. “It was the first case we caught where videos were broadcast live online,” they said in a statement. More than 6,600 cases of illicit filming were reported to police last year, or about a fifth of all sexual abuse cases investigated, up from 3.6 percent in 2008, prosecutors have said. Last year, tens of thousands of women took to the streets of Seoul, the capital, to protest against the practice and other sexual violence, and demanded stricter punishment.
The law was amended last November to toughen penalties not only for illegal filming but also distributing images without consent, which could bring jail terms of up to five years or fines of up to 30 million won. The K-pop scandal also involved Lee Seung-hyun, a member of boy band BIGBANG who is better known by his stage name, Seungri. The 28-year-old is suspected of paying for prostitutes for foreign businessmen to drum up investment in his business.
OTTAWA, March 19 -- There's inglorious pleasure to be had in witnessing the shine being knocked off Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
When the six-foot-two, eyes of blue, baby-balancing PM came to power in 2015, promising a transparent, liberal and feminist agenda, I disliked him immediately. He was a busy family man who somehow found the time to maintain dramatic core strength; something couldn't possibly be right. His perfectness irked me. But in the first stages of our love affair with Trudeau, we gazed at him and his perfectly gender-balanced cabinet and his commitment to the rights of indigenous people and saw nothing but loveliness - right down to his socks. No thanks, I thought. Give me a dour Gordon Brown or a what-you-see-isn't-what-you-get Bertie Ahern any day. So now, having tap-danced his way to the top, Trudeau is fronting allegations of having interfered inappropriately in a corruption and fraud prosecution made by a company which employs thousands of Canadians.
Earlier this month, the Canadian justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from his cabinet in protest against Trudeau, and a second female cabinet member has followed suit.
Do Canadians care if their PM isn't afraid to get personal (he has spoken candidly about both his wife's eating disorders and his mother's bipolar diagnosis) when, years after taking office, he is no closer to realising his promised national child-care programme or funding a solution to his country's urban housing crisis? Do they care about his promises to raise his sons as feminists, when electoral reform pushed for by women's organisations has halted, as has a promised inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women? As the old adage goes, when something looks too good to be true, it usually is. Or as one sage put it - this is what you get when you elect a drama teacher as prime minister. Sometimes all the hard work doesn't add up"What's your talent?" The 10-year-old wants to know - as if finding one is the secret to success. "Hard work," I retort, passing her a broom and the boring old advice that no one is born with a talent, they only acquire the illusion of it through pure graft. Which is why the idea of "maths anxiety" fuelling a national crisis in children in Britain irritates me no end. Cambridge University researchers have said that one in 10 children suffers from "despair and rage" when they approach the subject. Part of the problem is we tell ourselves you're either born with an aptitude for maths or you're not. And if not, well, you'll struggle. Children think maths is hard because they're no good at it, when actually, maths is hard because maths is hard - which also makes it exciting. At home I adopt a policy of "Oh, fractions! How thrilling!" when the homework comes out. I enthuse that everything is informed by maths - from music to nature. Do they believe me?
Perversely, more than three-quarters of the children in the study who had high levels of maths anxiety were normal to high achievers. This resonates with me, having suffered acute maths anxiety, especially after being streamed into the top set for maths at secondary school. The class gave me plenty of scope to discover my "talent", because the fear of being outed as the class dummy meant I worked harder at maths than any other subject. I left my maths Leaving Cert exam certain I had an A. Then I opened my brain and let all the maths run out. Today, I couldn't balance a simple equation and thank goodness I don't need to. Because maths is really hard, you know.
OTTAWA, March 9 -- Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes says she was met with hostility and anger from Justin Trudeau when she told him she was leaving politics, prompting her to speak out about the Prime Minister’s behaviour.
Ms. Caesar-Chavannes sent out a tweet earlier this week after Mr. Trudeau spoke about his leadership style during a news conference to address allegations of political interference between his office and former attorney-general Jody Wilson-Raybould on SNC-Lavalin. “I did come to you recently. Twice. Remember your reactions?” wrote Ms. Caesar-Chavannes, who worked closely with Mr. Trudeau as his parliamentary secretary from December, 2015, to January, 2017.
Speaking for the first time in an interview with The Globe and Mail about what she meant by her post, Ms. Caesar-Chavannes outlined a series of interactions with Mr. Trudeau in recent weeks, including one witnessed by members of the House, that she says left her feeling unsupported. She turned to social media after Mr. Trudeau stated that real leadership is about listening, showing compassion and fostering an environment in which caucus is comfortable coming to him with concerns. Ms. Caesar-Chavannes, who has repeatedly offered public support for Ms. Wilson-Raybould, said she felt he did not show those qualities in their personal discussions in recent weeks.
In response to detailed questions from The Globe, Matt Pascuzzo, a spokesman for the Prime Minister’s Office, said, “The Prime Minister has deep respect for Celina Caesar-Chavannes. There’s no question the conversations in February were emotional, but there was absolutely no hostility. As the Prime Minister said yesterday, he is committed to fostering an environment where ministers, caucus, and staff feel comfortable approaching him when they have concerns or disagreements – that happened here.”
Ms. Caesar-Chavannes, a first-term MP from the Toronto area, said she had told Mr. Trudeau in a phone call on Feb. 12 that she would be announcing her decision not to run again in the October election. She said Mr. Trudeau told her to wait, because Ms. Wilson-Raybould had quit cabinet that day. She felt that he was worried about “the optics of having two women of colour leaving,” Ms. Caesar-Chavannes said. A source with the PMO who was not authorized to discuss details on the record said Mr. Trudeau was concerned that her decision would be associated with the SNC-Lavalin affair, but did not raise any concerns about race. Ms. Caesar-Chavannes said she had told him that she hoped he could one day understand the impact that political life has had on her family. She said threats to her safety have been made against her in the past. “He was yelling. He was yelling that I didn’t appreciate him, that he’d given me so much,” Ms. Caesar-Chavannes said. She said she yelled back at him, and Mr. Trudeau eventually apologized. She said she agreed to his request the next day to hold off on making her announcement until early March. A week later after a caucus meeting, Ms. Caesar-Chavannes said she had approached Mr. Trudeau to talk about their previous interaction.
“I went to him, I said, ‘Look I know our last conversation wasn’t the greatest but …,’ and at that point I stopped talking because I realized he was angry,” she said. “Again, I was met with hostility. This stare-down … then him stomping out of the room without a word.”
The PMO said the two posed for a photo together and their interaction was brief. She said Mr. Trudeau had apologized again later that day, prior to a vote on a Conservative motion in the House of Commons. Opposition MPs have told The Globe she appeared visibly upset. “He came back in and said ‘I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have done that,'" she said. “I was upset and I left. I was angry. I was angry, because this guy holds a lot of power and in the first conversation I asked him to consider the impact on my family, and he didn’t do that.” She said she had decided to share her experience with Mr. Trudeau because her responsibility is to represent the 130,000 constituents in her Toronto-area riding of Whitby, who she says expect her to act with integrity and civility. She said she still considers herself a Liberal and will continue to support the party. She was first elected in 2015 and became Mr. Trudeau’s parliamentary secretary, representing him in the Commons when he was absent. She later moved to the same role in international development before stepping down at the end of August.
“I didn’t drink the Kool-Aid and then sign my name in blood to this party-politics thing. Maybe politics is not for me because I clearly don’t follow what the handbook says I’m supposed to do,” she said.
“I hope that when we talk about changing politics, we do it from a foundation of not everybody who is outside of your red, blue, or orange structure is the enemy, and not everything within the red, blue or orange has to be exactly the way you want it to be.”
The girl had fallen pregnant after being raped by her grandmother’s boyfriend. A practitioner who assisted in the procedure told the Guardian there were thousands of such cases in Argentina. Last week, the Guardian reported the story of Lucía – not her real name – who was raped by her grandmother’s 65-year-old partner. She was denied an abortion, despite the law allowing terminations in cases of rape or when the woman’s life is at risk. Despite Lucía qualifying on both accounts, local authorities in the northern province of Tucumán, where she lives, delayed a decision until 23 weeks into her pregnancy. By that time Lucía was not physically able to undergo a normal, vaginal abortion. Instead she had to undergo what is called a hysterotomy abortion, in which the foetus is removed via a small incision in the abdomen, similar to a caesarean section. Rescued by hospital staff, the foetus survived the procedure but is not expected to live.
Cecilia Ousset, who assisted her husband, Jorge Gijena, in carrying out the procedure, said she was “horrified” by the outcome of the case. “At no moment was it our intention to force the girl to give [a] live birth,” said Ousset in a phone interview punctuated with tears. Ousset and her husband are pro-choice private practitioners, called in by the government when the public hospital staff refused to carry out the court-ordered procedure. Ousset feels they were tricked by a deliberate and ultimately successful ploy by provincial officials to delay the procedure long enough to force the delivery of a live newborn.