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Brain Sex in Men and Women – From Arousal to Orgasm

Sex is all in our heads, quite literally. Our brains are involved in all steps of sexual behavior and in all its variations, from feelings of sexual desire and partner choice, to arousal, orgasm and even post-coital cuddling.

Now, with hundreds of neuroimaging studies on human sexual behavior, results from these studies are finally being integrated for meta-analysis, allowing for improved precision in identifying activated brain areas. This article reveals the neural model of sexual arousal, culminating in orgasm research and the surprising similarities, and marked differences, between the sexually aroused brain of men and women.

The neural model of sexual arousal

The meta-analysis of 58 neuroimaging studies of mainly hetero- and homosexual men viewing erotic pictures and/or videos, and to a lesser extent heterosexual women, that resulted in the development of a four-component neurophenomenological model of sexual arousal. The four components are described below.

Cognitive component: perception and appraisal

The first stage of the model is the cognitive component, where one perceives the sexual visual stimulus and judges its sexual nature and then focuses attention accordingly, which may lead to the mental rehearsal of performing a sexual act. Parts of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), through connectivity to the limbic reward and emotion systems, as well as areas involved with our senses, are thought to be promote the recognition and grading of the sex appeal of a stimulus.

This subsequently alters a persons focus of attention to the sexual stimulus, creating the high strength of activity observed in visual processing areas of the temporal and occipital lobes. This includes the extrastriate body, which is a specialized area for perceiving the human body. As the vmPFC is well-connected to all five sensory modalities it is reasonable to assume it would similarly influence the focus and perception of the other senses; taste, smell, touch and hearing.

Emotional component

The amygdala is involved in evaluating the emotional content of a sexual situation, which, along with the vmPFC, helps to control sensory processing and attention. This emotional processing of the amygdala is well connected to motivational areas of the brain, therefore guiding sexual behavior.

On the other hand, in experiments involving manual physical arousal or during orgasm, deactivation of the amygdala was found. Interestingly, similar deactivations are thought to contribute to hypersexuality and indiscriminate sexual behavior in individuals with Kluver and Bucy syndrome.

The emotional component is not considered strictly emotional as such, as it also involves the more physical feelings of pleasure that one experiences the more turned on one becomes. This includes activations in the left somatosensory cortex that are neurally connected to the genitalia.

Motivational component

Intertwined with the emotional component is the motivational component of the sexual arousal model, and as such heavily involves the dopamine dependent limbic system. Of these areas the most consistently activated across the studies is the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), the thalamus, the parietal cortex and the hypothalamus.

Processing of these limbic areas is what directs behavior towards a sexual goal, which includes sexual urges, desires and feelings of reward. While stimulating monkey’s ACC causes an erection, it seems that in humans, the striatum is the only area currently found to be specific to the emotional-motivational component of sexual arousal alone, as opposed to general emotional arousal.

Physiological component

Heart racing, blood pressure soaring, genital responses and hormonal changes are all part of the parcel when it comes to the physiological state of being sexually aroused, preparing the body for sex. This physiological sexual readiness is also controlled by the brain.

According to the model, activation in the ACC, anterior insula, putamens and hypothalamus participates in generating autonomic and hormonal responses to sexual arousal. In men, the hypothalamus, through its control of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, is most associated with male sexual arousal and penile responses to sexual stimuli.

Inhibition

Finally, inhibitory processes are thought to keep us behaving appropriately and not succumbing to urges that may be unacceptable to a potential partner. Conversely, over-inhibition may prevent sufficiently gratifying sexual encounters. Inhibitory regions include areas of the temporal lobes, ACC and vmPFC. Lesions in these regions are known to cause socially disruptive and excessive pleasure-seeking behavior.

Men versus women: not that different

Although male heterosexual studies have dominated the literature, broadly speaking, active brain areas during sexual arousal are highly similar for both men and women of all sexual orientations. Studies comparing sexual arousal in the brains of men and women generally note that women have weaker responses to the visually erotic stimuli that are common of sexual neuroimaging studies.

However, relatively few studies have compared male and female participants and although discrete sex differences in sexual brain activation clearly exist, they have varied across studies. More thorough research will be necessary to determine which results are reliable and whether other sex differences exist.

Context is key

Some recent studies indicate that the context and format of the visual sexual stimuli commonly used in neuroimaging studies might not be enough to get the average woman as equally fired up as the average man is when presented with visually erotic stimuli – women are sexually more complex creatures. In fact, women in some studies, have been shown to have a stronger neural response than men, albeit when smelling pheromones in the sweat of sexual partners.

Recently, when comparing men and women’s responses to erotic videos that either set the mood (having an emotional component and story) or physically set the scene (where sexual intercourse and genitalia where directly displayed) women’s responses were stronger for the mood type videos, whereas the men preferred the physical type videos. Research also indicates that women have a more profound temporal component to sexual arousal than men. Although currently poorly understood, the least sexually aroused time is considered the follicular phase, a potentially fertile period, enabling females to be selective and cautious when committing to a sexual encounter in this period.

Sexual preference

Where men show a robust neural reaction in brain regions involved in visual attention, motivation, and genital arousal to erotic stimuli depicting one sex, and very little reaction in these regions to erotic stimuli depicting the other sex, women show more similar reactions to both types of erotic stimuli. In other words, both heterosexual and homosexual men have stronger activation for images of their preferred sex than their non-preferred sex. In contrast, women have more similar reactions to both sexes and do not differ between sexual orientations.

Orgasm and brain activation patterns

Similarly, and in spite of the general perception that male orgasms are from Mars and female orgasms are from Venus, men and women again have similar brain activity patterns during orgasm. It is worth nothing that although orgasm studies show similar brain activity patterns, discrete activations and deactivations vary depending on how orgasm was achieved.

In both sexes, four different nerve systems connect the genitals to the brain, which, with a stimulation surge, shoot excitatory signals to the brain upon reaching orgasm. Subsequently, regions all over the brain appear to light up, while the vmPFC and amygdala are shut down —reportedly like taking heroin. The deactivations are considered to constitute the temporary sexual disinhibition required for an orgasm to take place, ‘robbing’ us of the voice of reason that controls our behavior and critical thinking.

Neurochemical love buzz

And we can’t forget the neurochemical cocktail that results in a “cloud-nine” buzz both during and after orgasm. How men and women’s bodies react to this chemical mash, including oxytocin, prolactin and endorphins, is perhaps where the sexes differ most profoundly and is shrouded in confusion and controversy. Many functions are attributed to this neurochemical rush from bonding and cuddling behavior, to enhancing the chances of successful reproduction.

Future implications for neuroimaging and the brain on sex

Research has essentially revealed the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding sexual arousal in the brain. Developing and expanding on the neural model of sexual arousal should provide valuable insights into the cognitive, emotional, motivational and physiological aspects of sexual arousal. Seeing as these studies lie at the boundaries between the mental and physical, further developments will surely shed light on Freudian theories of sexual desires.

More importantly, gaining a deep understanding of the neural underpinnings of sexual arousal will ultimately contribute to solving public health problems such as sexual disorders and sexual offending. We have much to learn.

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Also known as the Sicilian Bull, it was designed in ancient Greece. A solid piece of brass was cast with a door on the side that could be opened and latched. The victim would be placed inside the bull and a fire set underneath it until the metal became literally yellow as it was heated. The victim would then be slowly roasted to death all while screaming in agonizing pain. The bull was purposely designed to amplify these screams and make them sound like the bellowing of a bull. (940 Virginia Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46203, USA)

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Indian woman cuts off penis of Hindu holy man who allegedly tried to rape her

An Indian woman cut off the penis of a Hindu holy man who tried to rape her and who she accused of sexually assaulting her for the past eight years, police said.

The 24-year-old law student was at home in the Kerala state capital of Thiruvananthapuram when she was allegedly attacked by Gangeshananda Theerthapada, who claims to be a spiritual healer.

The 54-year-old was reported to be in a stable condition after reconstructive surgery.

Police officer G Sparjan Kumar said the woman fled her home after the attack on Friday night and called police.

When he again visited her home on Friday night and tried to force himself on her, she got hold of a knife and attacked him, Mr Kumar said.

The New Delhi Television news channel said the woman's family knew Theerthapada, who used to visit their home to cure her bed-ridden father.

She told police he would rape her whenever he had an opportunity.

Pinarayi Vijayan, the state's chief minister, told reporters it was brave of the woman to take such action.

"It's a courageous and strong act by the woman," he said.

Violent crimes against women have been on the rise in India despite tough laws enacted by the government.

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It is the secret dream of every Swedish or German woman to marry a black men, or at least have sex with a black man. Every smart young African man should migrate to Europe. Free money, nice house, good sex!

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Cruel and Unusual Punishments: 15 Types of Torture

The human mind has long been capable of dreaming up new and terrible ways to punish alleged transgressors, villains, witches, and anyone else who was unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. We’re all familiar with the old standbys: hanging, burning, stoning. Yawn. What if someone really wrongs you? Like steals your sheep or somehow must have caused a crop failure or something because they gave you a shifty look that one time? Throughout the ages some extremely brutal methods of torture and execution have come and gone. And there are a few that have not yet gone, too. Read on about these 15 terrifying types of torture, but please don’t try this at home.

15 Upright jerker

The upright jerker was an interesting twist on a classic execution method. Hanging, while it is a true standby all around the world, leaves much to be desired in terms of effectiveness. Depending on the weight of the person, rope, trap door, and numerous other factors, it can be a very slow or awkward way to die. The natural solution? Do it backwards! The upright jerker was a modified hanging system that used heavy weights and pulleys to quickly jerk the condemned into the air. It was hoped this would be a more effective way to break the neck quickly...but it didn’t always work as planned.

14 Falling

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when someone wrongs you? Throw them off a cliff! This has been a simple solution to unwanted nuisances for centuries. While it’s largely fallen out of fashion, Iran still employs this method for state executions.

13 Crushed by elephant

This is a weirdly specific method of execution, but you can’t argue with its effectiveness. As you might guess, it was common in areas where elephants are naturally found, primarily in South and Southeast Asia. Elephants were often trained in order to ensure the trampling was as brutal as possible.

12 Ling chi

Ling chi, also known as "slow slicing" or "death by a thousand cuts" was a method of torturous execution practiced in China. The condemned was tied to a post and bits of skin and limbs were gradually removed one by one, usually culminating in a final cut to the heart or decapitation. It was used as early as the 10th century, and continued for nearly a thousand years. Luckily it was banned in 1905.

11 Blood eagle

The blood eagle comes from Nordic legends of Viking executions. The condemned’s back was slashed so as to give access to the ribs, which were then broken and twisted upward to look like wings. To add injury to injury, salt was poured into the wound. And as a final blow, the lungs were pulled out and draped over the rib-wings for effect. Thankfully, there is debate about whether or not this practice actually existed, or if it’s just the stuff of legend. Either way, it’s terrifying that someone took the time to think this up.

10 Keelhauling

Keelhauling was a type of punishment specifically for sailors, dreamt up by the Dutch navy in the late 16th century. Offenders were tied with rope and dragged underwater from one end of the ship to the other. While many died from the practice due to drowning or internal injuries, in theory it wasn’t always meant to be fatal. As a bonus, men who were punished by keelhauling were often cut mercilessly by barnacles on the ship’s bottom (keel) and carried the scars with them for life. If they lived, that is.

09 Boiling

Nowadays, boiling alive is a fate reserved for shellfish. But centuries ago it was a common method of execution from East Asia to England. The condemned was stripped and then placed in a vat or pot of boiling liquid, usually water, oil, or tar. Or, for a more gruesome experience, the offender could be placed in cool liquid and then heated to boiling. Records from the reign of Henry VIII show that some people were boiled for up to two hours before they finally died.

08 Rat torture

Rat torture apparently lives on in the minds of creative types, as it has been featured recently in the film 2 Fast 2 Furious and in the TV series Game of Thrones. In this terrifying (and, I’ll admit, creative) form of torture, a hungry and/or diseased rat is placed in a bucket on the victim’s bare stomach or chest. The bucket is then heated from the outside, and the agitated rat chews its way through the unfortunate person’s flesh...and any organs it happens to encounter on its way out.

07 Execution vans

China has made capital punishment shockingly efficient. It’s little surprise, really, considering that China conducts the most executions per year of any country in the world. A variety of crimes are punishable by death, including tax fraud, arson, and prostitution. Many executions in China are now performed in mobile execution units, vans that are equipped with restraints and drugs necessary for lethal injection. The vans, which look like typical police vans, have been on the road for about a decade. There are dozens of them all over the country, dipensing lethal justice closer to the scenes of crimes. Not only are they cheaper than more traditional facilities, Chinese officials say, but they are more humane than the other preferred method of execution—death by firing squad.

06 Gridiron

The gridiron was basically a grill. For roasting people. As one might expect, it looked like an iron grid, and was placed over a fire or burning coals. Some people were even basted in oil first, to ensure proper broiling. But take heart, they weren’t eaten afterward. Probably.

05 Drawing and quartering

Drawing and quartering is one of the most infamous methods of cruel and unusual punishment. It’s still difficult to believe it’s an actual thing that was conceived by actual humans and happened to actual unfortunate souls. The punishment was first doled out in England in the 13th century. The accused was drawn—tied to a horse and dragged to the gallows—and then usually hanged, maybe disemboweled, or beheaded. Afterward, the condemned was quartered, i.e. had his body split in quarters, sometimes by tying each limb to a different horse and having them run in opposite directions. This punishment was reserved for those guilty of treason, and was abolished in 1867.

04 Strappado

Strappado is an uncomfortable form of torture that, unlike many of the others on this list, doesn’t necessarily end in death. In strappado, the guilty party is strung up by the wrists, behind the head. The awkward angle is pretty much guaranteed to cause an agonizing dislocation of the shoulders, but if it doesn’t weights may be added. Thought to have originated in medieval times during the Inquisition, strappado has been used into the 21st century. 03 White torture

While the term "white torture" can mean any psychological torture in general, the meaning here is more literal. White torture is a type of sensory deprivation in which a prisoner’s cell, clothes, and even food are entirely white. Guards wear all white, lights are kept on 24 hours a day, and no words are spoken. No color is seen. It was documented in the case of Amir Fakhravar, who was arrested in his native Iran and subjected to white torture for some 8 months in 2004. While the physical pain of sensory deprivation is minimal compared to other tortures on this list, the psychological damage is beyond compare. Fakhravar was quoted as saying when he was released, he was not a normal person anymore, and could no longer remember even the faces of his parents.

02 Poena cullei

The punishment of the sack, or poena cullei, was another oddly specific form of excution. It was used in ancient Rome in cases of parricide (or killing one’s parents or other close family member). The condemned was sewn into a leather sack with a number of animals, including a dog, a monkey, a snake, and a rooster. Then the whole bag was tossed into a body of water. If the animals didn’t kill the alleged murderer, drowning surely would.

01 Scaphism

Scaphism was one of the worst and most painful, skin-crawling methods of torture. It was described by the Greeks as a punishment used by the Persians, and if they are to be believed, those Persians were insane. In this form of execution, the accused was trapped between two boats (or in a hollowed-out tree trunk) and force-fed milk and honey. Okay, that part doesn’t sound so bad. But the milk-and-honey diet eventually caused horrible diarrhea, which stayed within the wooden enclosure. The unfortunate condemned was smeared with more milk and honey and left out in the sun or near still water, where bugs would be attracted to the muck and rot and sweetness. The person would inevitably die--either of dehydration, exposure, or bite and sting wounds.

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Arthur Schopenhauer, the greatest German philosopher, on women: Only a male intellect clouded by the sexual drive could call the stunted, narrow-shouldered, broad-hipped and short-legged sex the fair sex … More fittingly than the fair sex, women could be called the unaesthetic sex. Neither for music, nor poetry, nor the plastic arts do they possess any real feeling of receptivity: if they affect to do so, it is merely mimicry in service of their effort to please.

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Does Bangladesh have an age of consent?

March 11, 2017 - Dhaka Tribune

Logically, it should be the same as the minimum age for marriage

It’s an obvious question to ask.

But the fact few bother to do so, gives a far fuller answer than a legal textbook ever could.

Amid the many debates about Bangladesh’s new Child Marriage Restraint Act, it is telling how rarely commentators have mentioned the legal age at which an individual in Bangladesh is considered mature enough to consent to sex.

Even more so when you note that said age of consent, according to Bangladesh’s Penal Code, is only 14.

Given that alarms about the new child marriage law were first raised by health and human rights groups over three years ago, when earlier drafts proposed reducing the minimum marriage age for females down from 18 to 16, it is remarkable how much of the penal code’s contents pass without comment.

There is an obvious, albeit inexcusable, explanation for this state of affairs, of course: In Bangladesh, no matter what the law de jure says, the de facto reality, in practice, is that, neither age nor consent have much bearing on the matter. What counts most is marital status and not being single.

Sex before or without marriage is simply not regarded as a feasible option. That’s just the way it is (and/or we’d rather not talk about it).

Of course, you may know exceptions, but the word says it all, “exceptions.” Hence, the argument goes, there’s no point fretting about the seemingly low legal age of consent for sex outside marriage.

It’s the low average age of marriage generally, and high rate of illegal underage marriages that are (rightly) considered to be the bigger cause for concern.

Around half of all Bangladeshi girls are married off before the legal minimum age of 18 — most of the rest, within a few years after. With strong correlations between poverty, underage marriage, poor nutrition, and limited years in education, there are plenty of reasons to encourage older average marriage ages.

Unfortunately, this challenge has been made harder by the government responding to criticisms of its bill, by dropping its initial reference to 16 as a new minimum age. Instead, it has increased ambiguity by simply allowing for exceptions to the pre-existing minimum marriage ages (18 for female, 21 for males) to be permitted in fuzzily defined special circumstances.

The bigger point is the concept of consenting adults being free and able to decide private matters for themselves, that is what should be adopted and encouraged

Conceivably, such ambiguities could be resolved soon if the government acts on ministerial promises to provide further clarifications. But in the meantime, the soundbite from Girls not Brides that the new law risks Bangladesh reducing “minimum marriage age to zero” is being widely reported around the world.

It is long overdue for more people to take a more serious look at updating the 1860 Penal Code which applies in Bangladesh.

This is both easy and difficult.

Simple, because the whole code is not that many pages long, plus it’s instantly searchable on the government’s own website. And tricky, because some people would rather suffer, or see others suffer, from lack of information, than endure the risk of controversy or an embarrassing conversation.

Such caution and social convention is, sadly, both inevitable and ridiculous.

Ridiculous because Bangladesh would not have made the progress it has made in reducing average family sizes if we as a nation were simply too mortified to talk about sex and contraception. Including, and especially, the very young women and girls who are pressured into early and underage marriage having access to family-planning advice.

And inevitable because, look around you, patriarchy prevails and most people in the country tend to expect, or assume, everybody else wants them to abide by traditional expectations of sexual mores.

Sadly, this makes it easy for the few to intimidate the many. Take for instance the ongoing case of a development studies lecturer at Dhaka University being investigated because of an anonymous accusation of using “objectionable content” during a seemingly routine course about gender and development.

If such a case can arise from a DU post-graduate course, imagine the reactions a school-teacher would get from parents if they told their 15-year-old students that “the age of consent in Bangladesh is 14.”

Disbelief perhaps. But the fifth part of section 375 of the 1860 Penal Code is clear. It defines statutory rape as “with or without her consent, when she is under 14 years of age.”

From this arises the implication that the age of consent in Bangladesh is 14.

This same section also contains the egregious provision providing for marriage as a defence for rape, which is clearly long overdue for being repealed.

Both sections largely reflected the law in Britain at the same time. As it turned out, British parliamentarians very quickly got round to raising the age of consent in the UK to 16 after late Victorian press exposés of child trafficking in London brothels. But it took until 1991 for English law to make rape within marriage a crime in itself. Patriarchy is not just for Victorians then.

Incidentally, section 376 of the Penal Code does appear to imply an offence where the “wife” is under 12 years old, but whether this is sloppy ICS drafting or an intent to deal with the most serious forms of paedophilia is debatable.

More positively, perhaps, sections 372 and 373 are relatively detailed and specific about outlawing the trafficking of girls under 18 for prostitution.

Another marriage law, section 497, outlaws adultery but is presumably not used much partly because it excludes a wide range of possibilities where there may be “consent or connivance,” and mainly, I suspect, because it explicitly rules out punishing women — “the wife shall not be punished as an abettor.”

From this potted history alone, it is clear there is much to reform, but for now let’s stick to what should Bangladesh’s age of consent be. The main choice seems to be “keep as it is” or “raise it to 16” for the same reasons as Britain’s.

According to the internet worldwide chart: 14 is lower than the majority of other nations like France (15), Ireland (17), and India and Turkey (18). But 14 is not unusual as it is the same age as Austria, Brazil, China, and Germany. And higher than some countries like Japan (13), Philippines (12), and Nigeria (11).

The most common age of consent specified by most countries appears to be 16 years of age, as in the UK, US, Indonesia, Russia, and Malaysia.

Particularly in those Western jurisdictions, where there is wider public debate about sex, generally; and high profile exposure of child abuse scandals in religious bodies and children’s homes has increased public demands to protect children, these ages are sometimes strengthened by additional measures focused on stopping predatory adults, such as extra limitations on those far apart in age and/or in positions of authority.

Such scrutiny and attempts to improve the law are in marked contrast to a number of Muslim countries which either do not specify or enforce any minimum age for marriage and simply state that sex is only legal within marriage, and punishable without, as in Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia.

Well that makes it simpler then: Don’t be like the latter. They have simply too many examples of arbitrary interpretations and misogynist abuses of religious scriptures to be taken seriously.

It’s no coincidence these nations have seen instances of rape victims being stoned to death and perpetrators excused with impunity.

It is the risk of going down the latter path that campaigners are warning against when they worry that “special circumstances” will see more young girls forced into marriage before 18.

This same section also contains the egregious provision providing for marriage as a defence for rape

True enough, but some of the rhetoric such as the law “will allow parents to force their daughters to marry their rapists” is still arguably alarmist. When Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina talked about allowing marriages to reduce social stigma, she was probably thinking more about consensual teenage pregnancies of the “shotgun wedding” variety, rather than victims of rape and predators.

No doubt her approach and interventions have included spin to appeal to social and religious conservatives, but it’s probable that she both believes this and trusts it to be electorally popular.

Provided the government is serious about it being an act to restrain underage marriage, with courts only permitting exceptions with good reasons, all is still not lost then.

Assuming ministers are able to recognise the main and easy to rectify flaw is not specifying an absolute minimum age.

Logically, such an absolute minimum age would have to be the same as the age of consent, which is why I asked this question in the first place. Going on numbers alone, if I had to pick one, I would say 16 is safer than 14.

But the bigger point is that the concept of consenting adults being free and able to decide private matters for themselves, is what should and needs to be adopted and encouraged. That won’t happen this month, but it has to be part of the way forward. Governments need to lead.

This isn’t about forcing people to change their personal moral attitudes and religious beliefs. It is about providing and protecting the freedom, health, and welfare of all the nation’s people.

Safeguarding children from predators, protecting the health of mothers, promoting safe sex, all these goals can be helped by improving the education, knowledge, and freedom of the entire population. And recognising that won’t happen without more widespread empowerment of women and girls.

All of which, including much of the progress Bangladesh has made in the past 40 years in improving life expectancy and child mortality rates, will be placed in jeopardy if the government does not do more to drastically reduce the scandalously high number of underage and early marriages.

With around half the population aged 19 or under, the economy growing and society changing fast, don’t expect the clamour aroused by these issues to damp down any time soon.

The least we can do for coming generations is to make sure they do not die from ignorance.

Niaz Alam is a member of the Editorial Board of Dhaka Tribune. A qualified lawyer, he has worked on corporate responsibility and ethical business issues since 1992. He sat on the Board of the London Pensions Fund Authority between 2001-2010 and is a former vice-chair of War on Want.

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The Serge Kreutz diet is the world's only diet supported by the international food industry because it tells you this: if you want to be slim, consume more food. Nestle, Pepsi, and Van Houten are happy. And all the farmers.

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Clinical trial of Butea superba, an alternative herbal treatment for erectile dysfunction

Abstract

Aim: To study the effect of Butea superba on erectile dysfunction (ED) in Thai males. Methods: A 3-month randomized double-blind clinical trial was carried out in volunteers with ED, aged 30 years ~ 70 years, to evaluate the therapeutic effect of the crude preparation of Butea superba tubers on ED. Results: There was a significant upgrading in 4 of the 5 descriptive evaluations of the IIEF-5 questionnaire. Estimation of the sexual record indicated that 82.4 % of the patients exhibited noticeable improvement. Haematology and blood chemistry analysis revealed no apparent change. Conclusion: The plant preparation appears to improve the erectile function in ED patients without apparent toxicity.

1 Introduction

White Kwao Krua (Pueraria mirifica) is a Thai phytoestrogen-rich plant that has been used for a long time as a herbal medicine and its chemical contents [1, 2], reproductive physiology [3, 4] and clinical application [5] have been well studied. The related plant, Red Kwao Krua (Butea superba), is abundantly distributed in the Thai deciduous forest and has been popular among Thai males for the purpose of rejuvenation and increasing sexual vigor [6]. The tuberous roots of Thai B. superba were found to contain flavonoid and flavonoid glycoside with cAMP phosphodiesterase inhibitor activity as well as sterol compounds, including b-sitosterol, campesterol and stigmasterol [7]. However, the Indian B. superba stem contains flavone glycoside [8] and flavonol glycoside [9] with no reports on its use for male sexual purposes. It was demonstrated that coumarins from Cnidium monnieri exhibited a vasodilation effect on animal corpus cavernosum [10], which opened the possibility to develop this plant into a product for the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED). B. superba might exhibit a similar effect as it contains a high cAMP phosphodiesterase inhibitor activity, which was directly related to corpus cavernosal vasodilation.

ED is physically and psychologically a key sexual problem in andropause. A Thai traditional medicine with B. superba as a major ingredient has long been accepted as an effective treatment of ED. We therefore carried out a randomized, double blind clinical trial in Thai males with the crude preparation of B. superba to evaluate its effect on ED treatment.

2 Materials and methods

2.1 Crude plant preparation

Fresh tubers of B. superba were collected from Lampang Province, cleaned, sliced into pieces, completely dried in a hot air oven, ground into fine powder, passed through 100 mesh sieves and finally filled into capsules with the net filling amount of 250 mg/capsule. Tapioca starch of the same weight was filled into the same type of capsule that served as the placebo.

2.2 Volunteers and treatment

Thirty-nine non-alcoholic Thai males, aged 30~70 years, having a fixed sexual partner and a history of ED for at least 6 months were recruited. They were divided into a treated (n=25) and a placebo group (n=14) at random and took no other ED treatment during the trial. The volunteers had a completed blood cell count and a blood chemistry analysis before and after the trial, including haemoglobin, haematocrit, white blood cells, blood urea nitrogen, creatinine phosphate, calcium, SGOT, SGPT, cholesterol, sugar and blood testosterone levels. They were verbally informed about the details of the drug and the study, including the consumption of 2 capsules per day of either the drug or the placebo at a double-blind manner during the first 4 days and 4 capsules per day afterwards for a total of 3 months. Written informed consent was obtained. The volunteers had interview appointments every 2 weeks to fill out the IIEF-5 questionnaire and received the next batch of capsules.

2.3 Statistical analysis

The results were expressed as meanSD. Pair t-test was used for analysis of the test results and P<0.05 was considered significant.

3 Results

3.1 Volunteers

Seventeen volunteers in the treated group completed the 3-month trial period. Eight volunteers dropped out between week 2 and 4. Nobody in the placebo group returned to fill out the IIEF-5 questionnaire and receive the second batch placebo capsules since the beginning of week 3.

The background data of the 17 volunteers completed the course were shown in Table 1. It can be seen that most of them were 40 years ~ 69 years of age and 7 were complicated with other systemic diseases.

There were 3 volunteers with diabetes mellitus, 2 with hypertension, 1 with heart disease and 1 with hyperthyroidism (Table 1). They were among the volunteers with ED improvements.

4 Discussion

Eight tested volunteers dropped out between 2~4 weeks of the trial. This was mainly due to travel inconvenience as their residence area was far from Bangkok where the trial was conducted. The complete loss (100 %) of the placebo volunteers should be the consequence of total uselessness of the tapioca starch and may imply that there is no psychological effect that could possibly created by the use of the placebo. This then further implies that the patient response to the B. superba capsule should be derived from its pharmacological rather than psychological influence. The trial results were far different from those with sildenafil, which could elicit a high percentage of positive psychological response [11].

Haematology and blood chemistry analyses showed no significant change. It meant that all relevant functions were not disturbed by 3 months consumption of 1000 mg/day B. superba.

The IIEF-5 questionnaire and sexual record indicated a significant improvement in ED patients taking the drug. The authors believe that B. superba may act primarily by increasing the relaxation capacity of the corpus cavernosum smooth muscles via cAMP phosphodiesterase inhibition [7] and may also affect the brain, triggering the improvement of the emotional sexual response. It is interesting to note that patients with additional health problems, such as diabetes mellitus, hyper-tension, heart disease and hyperthyroidism, responded satisfactorily to B. superba.

An interesting aspect is the study of B. superba as a phytoandrogen food supplement for reproductive health in normal males. The plant, with a similar action to Cnidium monnieri [10], could be prepared as capsules, tablets or beverages for the treatment of ED in the peri-andropausal males and in the males as a whole. The paper is another trial on the application of plant products to promote the reproductive health in the males.

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You probably have to look at imagery of death and dying regularly to stay focused on what really counts in life: great sex before you are gone anyway.

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LSD to be used to treat people with depression for first time ever in UK

Around 20 volunteers will be given four doses of acid on separate occasions and fill in surveys recording whether they feel happier or not.

They will also play Japanese board game Go to see if the drug improves their performance.

MRI scans of their brain will be taken when on LSD trips.

The results will be compared to how volunteers perform after taking placebos.

The £300,000 experiment is being led by the Beckley Foundation – an organisation led by the Countess of Wemyss and March, Amanda Feilding.

She is nicknamed Cannabis Countess because of her stance on legalising the plant.

The countess, 74, said: “There are studies that show LSD is a wonder drug for curing all sorts of things.

“We will not be giving people such large doses that they hallucinate but enough to give them a lift.

“I took it in the 1960s when it was legal and it improved my wellbeing.

“If this small trial is successful, then we will consider applying to the government for more funding to run a larger experiment.”

The government’s former drug advisor, Professor David Nutt, is supervising the trial.

He was sacked from the post in 2009 for claiming LSD and ecstasy were less dangerous than alcohol.

Critics have slammed him and the Beckley Foundation for their plan to kick off the research next year.

David Raynes, of the National Drug Prevention Alliance, said: “Both Prof Nutt and the countess are extreme pro-drug campaigners and we should be suspicious of their motives.

“Both have admitted to taking drugs and seek to normalise use.

“A lot of people have ad severe side effects from LSD and it is playing with people’s minds.”

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The world is full of multimillionaires who can't handle money. Because, if you have money, you want to go somewhere where it counts. Not stay in North America or Western Europe.

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Children and sexuality: "Normal" sexual behaviour and experiences in childhood

Abstract [en]

Child sexual behaviour has until recently remained largely unexplored in Sweden, despite theoretical interest in normal childhood sexuality. Issues about sexual abuse and its consequencies has, however, created a need for research on developmentally "normal" sexual behaviour and experiences among boys and girls, while growing up.

The overall purpose of the present thesis was to gain knowledge about sexual behaviour and experiences before adolescence, in normative groups of children in contemporary Sweden. The empirical work consists of five papers based on three separate quantitative studies. Two studies include preschool children (n=251 and n=185, and a sample from the USA, n=467) with questionnaires to parents and preschool staff. The thesis is also addressing adult views on child sexuality. One study focus on childhood sexual experiences up until the age of 13 (n=269), in which young adults (18-20 years old) answered questionnaires about solitary, mutual and nonconsensual childhood sexual activities.

A wide range of sexually related behaviour was observed, most of which was developmentally related. Parents reported more sexual behaviour in their children compared to preschool teachers' reports. Adult-like sexual behaviour, and behaviour of intrusive character, were extremely rare in the preschool children. Gender differences were explored and found on some aspects and there was a correlation between reported behaviour and family factors. A Swedish sample of preschool children's' behaviour according to parental reports, was compared to a similar sample from the USA, and similarities as well as cultural differences were found.

In self-reports from students, solitary experiences and mutual sexual activities together with a same-aged friend were common before adolescence. Non-consensual sexual activities, with same-aged children was relatively common. In other cases the non-consensual experiences happened together with an older teenager, or with an adult.

The results provide an incipient frame of reference for further studies on child sexual behaviour in Sweden. Observable behaviour is one very important factor to consider when clinicians and other child-care professionals are to make assessments of a child's developmental status and situation, and knowledge in this area therefore holds importantimplications. Child sexuality need to be addressed within paediatrics and child psychiatry, as well as in social work, not only in terms of risk andeffects after abuse, but also as an integral part of healthy child development.

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What it’s REALLY like to die: Swiss assisted suicide clinic Dignitas reveals harrowing VR death simulator

Mail Online

When the headset goes on, you find yourself sitting across from a blonde woman with a tear-streaked face; she tries to feign a smile.

‘Are there any last words?’ a second woman asks, as she sets a tray of prescription bottles down on the table beside you.

This is ‘The Last Moments,’ a virtual reality assisted suicide film that simulates what a person’s experience might be like at the Swiss clinic Dignitas, where hundreds of people have gone over the last two decades to end life on their own terms.

The Last Moments is the brain-child of London-based writer-director Avril Furness.

Not only does it immerse the viewer in the setting of an assisted suicide clinic, but it allows you to make a choice that will determine whether your virtual life will terminate right there, or if you’ll carry on living.

‘The choice the viewer makes directly impacts the outcome of the film and also allows for choices to be polled to help spark debate on this sensitive issue,’ the creator explains on the website.

A trailer for the film reveals an eerie glimpse into the virtual reality experience, asking, ‘What would your last moments look like?’

Shot from the perspective of the viewer, it allows a person wearing a VR headset to look around and see the room as if they’re really in it.

When the camera pans down a bit, you can even see your own virtual legs.

The trailer focuses on two characters apart from the viewer – a crying loved one, and the woman who presents you with the ultimate choice.

Entering the room with a cup and a tray full of pharmaceuticals, she asks, ‘Are you sure you wish to drink this, in which you will sleep, and you will die?’

In researching at Bristol Museum for a Black Mirror-inspired dystopian script, Furness discovered a full-scale replica of Dignitas Switzerland, where one Briton every two weeks has travelled to end their lives since 1998.

After being immersed in the ‘bleak and ordinary’ space, and listening to recordings of those who’d undergone assisted suicide at the clinic, Furness decided to use virtual reality to put other people in their shoes, Wired reports.

The film was shown to medical specialists, PhD researchers and right to die groups at Euthanasia conference in Amsterdam in May 2016, according to the website.

It’s since gone on to various film festivals, and the creator is even thinking about putting it online for the public to see. But, she is still a bit hesitant.

‘It is finishing on the festival circuit but I’m a little dubious about making the film available online without the necessary context and framework,’ Furness told Wired.

‘It’s important to introduce context upfront, allow the viewer to experience the film, and then provide an “after-care” environment for people to decompress and potentially hold debates around what they’ve just witnessed.?

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