Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Trauma and sex

Emily Nagoski of the Sex Nerd blog has written a couple of very interesting articles about trauma to private parts after her rather painful experience of an IUD placement. She and the ladies who comment clarify how a trauma such as childbirth can impact sexual response and desire.

These posts are very important, not only for the quality of their content, but because commentary on the issue is rare.Every man considering a relationship with a lady or in a relationship with a lady should read them in order to understand why the lady may be totally put off sex after something traumatic like childbirth. ALSO, I’d hope to hear a little less of male demands the lady try an IUD.

One commenter wrote how her husband actively supported her through all the scary stuff. BLESS that lovely man! I want one like him!  Partners – read that comment please!

Some trauma, such as childbirth is unavoidable, but some such as cosmetic surgery and IUD insertion is chosen. Even Emily, an academic in the area of sex and relationships, did not know how painful and traumatic IUD insertion could be. The article is a good warning to both men and women to consider carefully whether they want to undergo a elective procedure on their private parts. Personally, I’d avoid anything that is non-essential. 

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Spare a thought for those that are alone …

I’ve noticed roughly two approaches to the Christmas break – those that are all chirpy and anticipatory and those that are dreading the festive season.

I remarked to Billy that I was likely to have homicidal thoughts if another person mentioned Christmas and he immediately started hiding potential weapons. He’s got a very dry sense of humour ….

People with a good life, their health, family, little children etc all look forward to the holiday and the good times they will have.  They wish everybody a merry Christmas with nary a thought for the distress the festive season causes others. In turn, we hide our distress and wish them back.

I’m quite happy for the solitude – menopause induced fatigue and natural introversion mean not having people around or things I have to do is great. However, others are totally unnerved by it – and yes grown men do shed tears. Still others have unhappy memories – lost relatives, children not in their care, being far from home … Personally, I still grieve the loss of a happy family life.

To those out there that join me in shedding a tear …. try not to think of your loss and find something else absorbing and worthwhile to do.  If you have the energy, volunteer to help others.  

To those that are living their little festive season paradise – try to be kinder to others and spread a little Christmas cheer to those less fortunate. Is there a relative or local person that is all alone? Get on the phone now and invite them over for Christmas dinner!

… and respect the situation of those that would rather forget Christmas exists. Don’t overdo the season’s greetings and PLEASE don’t make things worse through thoughtless selfishness. 

Flowering gum tree buds after some of our copious rain! Soon they will flower ... as I have said before, there are always flowers and always hope ... 

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Support and validation are important

At midlife and after we face many challenges across the areas of body image, carreer and health. A major role of a partner (or indeed friend) is to provide support and validation.

Candice (providing clear view for comparison purposes): Are my breasts an equal size? 
Awesome (tersely & slightly distracted): Of course they are! They're perfect!

Often people around us will not notice the changes and improvements we make and we wonder why we bother. Recently I coloured out the silver highlights in my hair. It was a big step because I've never coloured my very long hair and did not want to damage it. Remember I am the long-hair-up-in-a-bun girl in real life. No one noticed except Awesome:

Candice (tentative): Did you notice my hair?
Awesome (sincerely):  Yes I did - it looks nice! I'm sorry I did not mention it earlier - I was too busy dealing with ... (an urgent matter).
Candice: <smile>

It's important to educate your partner about the changes you are experiencing and their possible impacts, as well as their potential role.

Candice (using teacher voice): Now that I am post menopause ....
Awesome (tersely): You can forget being post anything ....

His Awesomeness can be so totally cute and at the same time so very wise. I am very thankful to have him in my life. :-)

There was a brief moment of sunshine during our current monsoonal weather ....

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Pray for Billy

Billy my soul-twin is ill with distressing and as yet undiagnosed symptoms. He faces uncomfortable and invasive tests. He finally told me last night after bearing the burden alone for a long time.

I’d noticed he was starting to fade and was unhappy and had thought it was the stock market chaos and other very challenging things in his life leading to stress. Now I think the stress of it all is causing things to go wrong inside him.

Makes my troubles seem small indeed and me so very shallow for worrying him about them!

Please pray for him to find a gentler and happier place in life and for this dreadful medical condition to disappear on its own.

Thank you ……    C :-(

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Enhancing the hand job!

The previous post covered the general categories of benefits that arise from intimacy – as a way of covering the possible benefits of enhanced hand jobs to both parties and ensuring shorter and more readable posts. Now I attempt to explain how a hand job may be enhanced for both parties.Readers - please feel free to provide your own tips!

I assume the vagina is not open for business and that there may be major issues such as infection, genital atrophy, other medical issues associated with menopause or recovery from birth induced damage.

I’d like to praise the hand job. In itself, it's ultimately safe sex! Of course papilloma virus (HPV) could be spread and while I’ve never heard of herpes (HSV) occurring on the hands, hands with virus on them touching other parts of the body could start an infection. Therefore, if disease is in anyway an issue, wear gloves, wash hands etc.      

The first way to enhance a hand job, besides a shower with soap for the man, is to adopt a positive attitude! Are there any negative beliefs either of you need to address?  I love playing with his private parts and channel his enjoyment, so I like giving hand jobs. Additionally, they are also a great finale to a sensual massage.

Of course, hand jobs occur within a context. Assuming we are not going for a very quick quickie, foreplay (and perhaps massage) can enhance a hand job and also provide a pay off for the hand job providing party.  

Foreplay – kissing, cuddling and caressing – is really enjoyable by itself. I’d suggest using it as a time for mutual appreciation and declarations of love and affection. Both parties benefit at least from sensuality, connection and affection and as a couple by reinforcing their bond.

A lady in menopause may have trouble coping with all her tasks, so to make time for foreplay a husband may need to see that the tasks are done for her or allocated to someone else. Did I tell you how one may have so little emotional energy that even the emotional labour of getting someone to do something may just be tooooo hard? To make time for foreplay when there is a new baby in the house, a husband might have to do housework and get the other kids to sleep. My father hired a nanny – but I think that was for other reasons!

Massage – I’d happily trade a hand job for a good massage followed by being cuddled to sleep. Also, the person massaging gets to touch, see and enjoy their partner’s body. Mutual massage or even one way massage can be very bonding and I could imagine a loving husband would enjoy providing it to his wife, especially if she is suffering from a heavy pregnancy or traumatic birth. Massage is also a VERY, VERY good way to provide relaxation to a lady stressed past her limits by menopause. She may then feel up to providing some comfort to her husband! 

Foreplay and/or massage could leave one or more parties with sexual tension that needs releasing. Therefore, the enhanced hand job … as one option! Here are my tips:
  •  Be present – and positive – treat a hand job as you would sex and create a climate of loving intimacy.
  • All men are different – with different sensitive spots and pressure requirements. Often the rim of the head is very sensitive, but one always needs a good up and down motion on the shaft. Watch how he does it for himself and then copy.  
  • Ask for lots of feedback and keep an eye on his body language to work out what he likes most. Perfecting your technique may take time – be patient and celebrate your achievements!
  • A hand job is often improved with the use of lubricant to mimic vaginal lubrication. Keep a bottle on hand and add extra as necessary. Coconut oil can be used and is long lasting. It also will not raise any suspicions should someone else find the bottle. 
  • Admiring his private parts and using the other hand to caress him, as well as various kisses to sensitive parts of his body, makes a hand job more intimate and loving. 
  •  I create fantasies and word pictures while we have sex – for a hand job I might relive an early shared romantic experience or describe some mutually connecting and arousing scenario. 
  •  If the lady is fatigued, has weak hands or the man requires a lot of pressure, he might complete the hand job himself while she provides kisses, caresses and encouragement. Often men like their nipples or chest stimulated, so she could do that while he helps himself out and then both can enjoy a post release cuddle.
 Enhanced hand jobs for the man may be enjoyable for both, but a lady rarely orgasms giving a hand job to a man and quid pro quo may be necessary. I’ll address that in another post!
Brisbane River from Botanic Gardens towards Kangaroo Point. People live on these boats - sadly many of the more rustic ones disappeared after the flood in early 2011. 

Saturday, 26 November 2011

How to enjoy not having intercourse!

I appear to be getting huge number of click throughs from Married Man Sex Life due to a comment I made about there being mutually satisfying ways to not have intercourse. This was in a reply to a lady that wanted to know how to satisfy herself and her husband pre and post partum without recourse to either intercourse (medically advised against) or oral sex (makes her feel sick).  

Note: Google “post partum sex” and “post partum orgasm” for more information on sex after birth.

 Note: Ask the doctor for details of what you can and cannot do post partum. Intercourse may be advised against due to the need for the vagina to heal/ get back to normal and to avoid the risk of infection. Orgasm can lead to uterine contractions and thus increased bleeding – check out with the doctor if this is a concern for you. 

Also, Eric noted interest from mid life couples. So, I’m going to write some articles on different forms of sex from the point of view of a post menopause woman – and hope that pre and post partum couples can draw some value.

Firstly, let’s get on the same page re the range of enjoyable benefits arising from intimacy:
  • Connection and affection – both men and women crave this and it’s not necessarily provided by pump and dump or indeed suck and dump. This need seems to grow with age - certainly I've noticed my male friends mentioning their critical need for affection and connection much more lately.
  • Relaxation and sleep - as you get older, relaxation gets to be a more important component of intimacy, but people with new babies at home could equally need a bit of relaxation.
  • Sensual enjoyment – sensuality is often underrated. If one has sensitive skin, loving touch can be very wonderful and even lead to orgasm. Women and men often have sensitive chests, necks etc.  I expect that even older couples with years of marriage behind them may not have discovered the full benefits of sensual touch.    
  •  Relief of sexual tension - this can be particularly important for men, but also women and even some women post partum require release. On the other hand, orgasm may become less (or more) important to women post menopause. However, if one party provides relief to the other continually without reward and even by feeling nauseas, pair bonding may suffer. Therefore, the challenge is to devise activities that are mutually beneficial.  
 The above points are self-evident once you have “made the journey”. However, it took me some time and experience to really understand the depth of the benefits. I can remember arguing with my mentor about the necessity of orgasm! I’ve come to appreciate the first three benefits so much more as I have matured and had the opportunity to explore intimacy. Therefore, my experience points to going ahead in faith and experimenting in order to leverage the most from intimacy. 

This is a view of the Brisbane River taken from the Botanic Gardens in the late afternoon. Often we walk here as we unwind from the day.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

When do men give up on sex?

I aim to report and reflect the personal experiences of people to gain depth to the wonderful work done by scientists and others who study society, medicine etc. After all, averages tell us nothing about individuals and the details of their experience. So when I find out something interesting I try to remember to report it here.

The other day I was talking to Sage (an older man who’s lived a full life) and he disputed the statistics I was repeating from John the Marriage Coach’s blog, namely 1/3 men stop having sex at 65 and 1/3 at 75.

Sage asserted that most men give up sex at 40 and just did not report correctly in surveys. He also said most men have big mouths and boast to their mates in the pub (bar), but may not be living what they say. After a while, they may try again and find they cannot, i.e. “not used it - lost it”.   

Sage suggests that pure boredom with doing the same thing for 20 years may contribute to (married) men giving up sex. He suggests consciously working at keeping sex interesting by trying new things.

I am still not sure what happened with the ex but – another pen pal – Thomas – who is also older and wiser – suggested that a man loses confidence if his equipment does not work and therefore does not want to try again.

One of the longer term aims of my blog is to address how to keep sex going and great through mid life and later years – so perhaps we can work out how to avoid losing one of the most enjoyable activities in our lives.  
Grape vine spring 2011 - I really love new leaves and those graceful tendrils!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Why oral sex?

I've been engaged in an interesting conversation with a conservative lady on Athol's blog. I do hope I am sufficiently respectful of her views and values in this post - if not sincere apologies!

"Candice, quite apart from the health issues regarding hygiene and bacteria, which I accept could be controlled, the idea that any woman would willing allow a man to do this is beyond my understanding. What is it suposed to do for her? What does hse achieve by placing herself in such a degraded, submissive position, allowing a man to use her as a vessel for lust? She receives no sexual gratification by doing so, so the act is totally one-sided, quite apart from the negative physical and mental hygiene issues that arise from it."

Lots of people don’t do it. I can understand that and respect their views. If Awesome did not want to let me do it, I’d respect his decision.  I also need to say upfront that how one feels about something is very closely connected to how one frames it. Both Awesome and I are very respectful of each other and no one feels degraded in our relationship. 

I must admit I was not into oral sex when I was younger and then really could not help myself with the great love of my life! He would never have asked because he thought it selfish of a man to request oral sex. So I guess the first reason for oral sex was that I really loved him and feel a very strong connection. I then had to convince him I liked doing it befiore he settled into enjoying himself.

Also, men really, really like oral sex! Ask him to suck your finger – I am guessing the sensation of oral sex for a man is something like that in combination with g-spot stimulation.  I’d do it just to make him feel good! I can feel his excitement and pleasure and that makes me feel good as well. Basically it’s a bonding experience like any other form of sex.

Another way that a woman benefits from oral sex is that it’s a great way to “fluff up” a man. Fluffing up becomes more important as they get older and need some stimulation to gain an erection – but even young men may need something to get their engine running. In addition, if the erection is not sufficiently strong for normal sex or the vagina not available for use, one can bring a man to orgasm through oral sex.

Note that as you get older and your body changes, you need to innovate to keep sex happening, so it’s not good to limit your array of tactics! On the other hand, if husband and wife both are a bit over it all, a good cuddle and a cup of tea may be sufficient to keep everyone happy!

I’m not saying everyone should do it and I’m certainly saying that everyone should be clean and not spread disease, but I am saying being open-minded might be a good idea. Every new idea I’ve had has been welcomed by my dear conservative man - even some I've tried to hide!

BTW – there are blogs that analyse the theology on the issue of sex between married partners. These people know their Bible better than me, so I don’t go there in this blog. Similarly, I don't worry too much about defining depravity.

BTW – I think some Americans may be more conservative than us here in Australia.
An interesting cityscape - George Street, Brisbane

Saturday, 12 November 2011

My Journey __: the light at the end of a long dark tunnel

I've tried hard to be positive and leverage the good, but menopause has been a mind, body and soul destroying (and career destroying) horror for me. I’ve heard and observed other similar or worse experiences and seen lives changed forever.

Some people tell me of years and even more than a decade of discomfort and suffering and of radical changes in personality leading to marriage breakdown. On the other hand, one lady told me her friend, an older woman, had woken up one morning and the cloud had lifted and she felt normal again – no longer tired and low energy. I lived for that day!

Around September I emerged from a long dark tunnel into the sunlight again. The process was gradual over a few weeks (I think).

Post the MENOPAUSE CRISIS I was able to access some minimal medical help to solve immediate and pressing issues and also rule out anything sinister. Awesome was supportive even though a little nonplussed. He’s good at crisis management – he’s seen heaps worse. I really clung onto his advice about having faith in there always being a solution.

Solving the genital atrophy issue (yes I will blog on that – results were spectacular) and the face and neck skin deterioration issue was a great relief. After liberally using the oestrogen cream for about a week I started to feel more clear-headed and calmer. Obviously I was not in a lather of worry anymore, but I think it was more than that - I could see the light at the end of the tunnel.

The lessons:
  • There is ALWAYS a solution!
  • There is an end to menopause!
  • The right sort of support is really important.
  • Relationships can start in, and survive menopause.
  • Menopause is so horrid that its end can seem like heaven on wheels! 
After the rain golden flowers sparkle in the sun (photo Brisbane Spring 2007)

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Please stay and provide your insights!

I notice some people are clicking over from MMSL - welcome!  We may share an interest in developing satisfying and happy relationships mid life and after - please keep revisiting and provide your insights.

As I indicated on MMSL - mid life is a deal changer and one can only understand the nuances of a situation one has experienced. I am just starting this journey by exploring the impacts and consequences of menopause and due to menopause induced issues, have been a bit slow in developing and posting my ideas for your comment.

I believe there is insufficient understanding of menopause and how to live through it and leverage it rather than being taken down by it. That is why I am sharing my story and the experiences of others. I'd appreciate comments and ideas for posts, because I am only one person and there are millions of experiences and perceptions out there...

A light beyond the darkness ... sunset Brisbane 2011

Friday, 4 November 2011

Menopause crisis

I’ve not been blogging seriously for a while due to difficulty in approaching this post. I am somewhat known for being positive, even about menopause – hubris perhaps?

Not so long ago I had a major menopause crisis. It was preceded by distressing <ahem> private symptoms - after a lot of angst - diagnosis of genital atrophy.  I will blog on that one day – there are many lessons to learn. Also, a fairly sudden deterioration in the skin of my face and neck – it looked thinner and much less elastic. I was suddenly looking OLD!       

All this led to a review of other creeping changes – the reduction in libido, fatigue, compromised memory and cognition, lack of motivation for things that once motivated and an intolerance for certain people. Once I could move mountains with my intellect, now I could only make slow progress on a molehill. I was no longer the person I used to be and that was very, very SCARY!

Not only that, I could see the problems I faced in getting my life back together and could even form some foggy goals, but lacked the motivation and emotional, mental and physical capability to do so. Obviously I had failed to liquidate my equities before the drop in value, but also I needed to do a heap of other mundane and more challenging things to achieve a reasonable life.      

I desperately needed support – usually I can support myself – but I rang Billy almost in tears. Unfortunately the vagaries of the stock market were at that very time losing him a very great deal of money. Anyway, he thought I was tired and emotional and suggested a good sleep. I went to bed in tears desperate for help and facing huge challenges, alone, with diminished resources. I realised men - even soul twins - often don’t understand the profoundly disturbing impact of menopause, but that is also another blog article!

After a couple of days Awesome returned from a business trip. We sat in his lovely, warm comfortable car in a dark cold street in West End and I told him of my fears – “It’s not fair … perverse outcomes .... my world is ending … I’m a different person physically, mentally and emotionally …I need to access medicine and I don’t know how to get it without distressing and invasive tests …”.   He thought for a bit and then said “you have a pleasant personality, hang on to that…and have faith that there is a solution…and faith in your subconscious.” Then he bought me a nice dinner with hot chocolate in a charming bohemian restaurant filled with students, warmth and hope.
Sunsets are nice – but are followed by darkness!

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Occupy Brisbane - world order changing

I was born into the Cold War. The US and USSR were bumping chests over world hegemony. I lived through the Vietnam War, too young to protest against the war itself or conscription, but aware enough to find the whole matter repugnant.

I stood and ate cherries as I watched the East German border guards patrol the border between East and West - effectively the border between USSR controlled Europe and US controlled Europe. I stared in mute horror at the bunkers holding nuclear weapons ready to be used and end life as we knew it. Finally the USSR crumbled under the weight of investment in non-productive assets, namely the machinery of war.  I have a shard of the Berlin wall in a biscuit tin, next to treasured geological specimens. I thought life had to be safer and better.   

Sept 11 2001 I was working late - past midnight - when a friend called and asked me to turn on the TV. It was early morning in New York and two huge buildings were burning. I watched them crumble. There ensued the "War on Terror" - by now I was too cynical to believe propaganda. I read an online article that said the US would "win", but the cost of the war would weaken it economically and cause it's reign to end.  I think I am seeing that now.

The investment in non-productive war assets notwithstanding, poor management of the financial industry and government budgets is hastening the decline of the West in favour of the new East -  the EU agreement with China appears to be a landmark in that regard. I am troubled by the implications of there being a new emergent world master.  

There are however, more immediate concerns - as governments in Europe and around the world cede power to mobile financial capital and cross-border supply chains, they are losing the capacity to meet citizens' demands. The result is a global crisis in politics. 

On Thursday I heard  a protest echoing between the buildings in central Brisbane. Finally I discovered what appeared to be "occupy Post Office Square".  

It is interesting and disturbing to live so long.

27 October 2011, Post Office Square

Sunday, 16 October 2011

A lovely weekend in Brisbane with some excitement!

Friday night I went to Dipawali, the Hindu festival of light, in King George Square in the shadow of our council building - it's undergoing extensive rescue renovations, hence the cranes. The sign "Rescue city hall" is just a rectangle of bright light.

I went with Billy, my soul-twin, and it was a wonderful experience and helped us both feel less lonely. Surprise, surprise, we both chose the same curried fried rice for dinner and teamed that up with a mango lassi.  Here's one of the better acts - a professional Punjabi dance group:
We went home early - leaving after the speeches and multi-faith prayers - because Billy had been up for most of the night helping people with houses damaged by a bad thunderstorm.

The next day Awesome and I went walking and we stopped at Kangaroo Point to enjoy a rather nice view of the Brisbane River, Botanic Gardens and CBD.
Spring is the season for jacaranda flowers - I turned around to see this lovely old Queensland-style worker's cottage with a jacaranda in front of it. This tree is probably only 30 years old - some are HUGE and protected by the Council. Note the carpet of lavender blooms on the footpath.

The day was bright then - but towards the end of the afternoon a storm started to build. I decided to make for home a tad early rather than spending a little more time with Awesome. Here's a shot I took which does not really show how dark and nasty the sky was becoming - after I realised how fast the storm cells were appraoching, I stopped taking photos and concentrated on getting home.
The storm cell overtook me as I walked the 10 minutes from the bus stop - I could see ragged whisps of tortured clouds twist and turn as they were pulled up into the centre of dark foreboding storm cells. I saw green light between the columns of dark cloud, so I knew hail was imminent.

Many years ago I just made it home at a quick run chased by golf ball size hail which was bouncing off each successive galvanised iron roof behind me. I heard it coming progressively closer and when I realised what it was I sprinted for the safety of home! Obviously I was scared yesterday as I felt the cold updraft from the storm cells and saw them looming overhead.

I was lucky, I got home just as large rain drops fell and about 5 minutes before the hail.  :-)

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Anti-aging treatments for skin – oestrogen!

One of the best ways to keep your skin nice is to avoid sun damage. Have you noticed how nice your skin is in places which are not exposed to the sun? Thus, a life time covered in hats and sun reflecting umbrellas ….

There is also the effect of gravity – one of my friends suggested sleeping hanging upside down in a closet, like a bat. I think this is untenable, so let’s rule out dealing with gravity.

Menopause has highlighted the affect of oestrogen removal on my skin – it has become noticeably thinner and its foundation less dense. This affect on skin has been one of the last acts in a swift decline and has happened only recently.

I was of course totally horrified when the skin of my face and neck became more like wrinkled tissue paper courtesy of new fine lines.  I had not expected this – I am part Asian, we DON’T get wrinkles!!!! Cue crying and gnashing of teeth!!

ANYWAY, this outcome has prompted me to seek anti-aging solutions. I found this article: Effect of a conjugated oestrogen (Premarin) cream on ageing facial skin. A comparative study with a placebo cream. Premarin was associated with increased skin thickness and decrease in fine lines while being well tolerated. Megacool!!  

Note: oestrogen creams seem to be exclusively meant for maintaining healthy human female genitals, not for use on the human female face. Also, some cancers grow faster with extra oestrogen. Therefore, you’d better check the risks and check with your doctor before you try this at home!

I procured an oestrogen containing cream – Ovestrin (oestriol 1 mg/g) – and applied a little twice daily mixed with coconut oil. At the start, my skin started to become red, and I pulled back a bit on the amount when some red spots appeared. However, overall the redness appears to have been associated with extra activity in the skin rather than a sensitivity or allergy. After a few days my skin looked younger and also some of the pigmentation disappeared. I have to keep applying it twice daily to maintain the effect. Awesome thought I looked “well”, but had perhaps missed the aging drama due to being overseas.

My doctor was somewhat gob smacked that I’…used the cream for an OFF-LABEL purpose. He’ll get used to my penchant for innovation. He’s suggested Vitamin E and Retin-A cream. I’ll try them and report back.  
Canberra September 2011 - spring had sprung!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Steve Jobs - a man of our time passes

Steve Jobs is a tad older than the cohort of my youth. I remember seeing the first Apple PC and wondering at it being PORTABLE! By portable, I mean you could pick it up! IT WAS A GAME CHANGER! Before that we had a micro computer - a huge box full of boards - that the engineers among us had built. There was no way we could pick that one up. We all shared the box and two disk drives....5 people could work at once. I was taught to fix it - by opening the front panel and fiddling the boards to achieve a better connection. Later one of our group got a job repairing Apples - I was allowed into the workshop as long as I did not touch anything.

ANYWAY - Steve's desktop PC was an inspiration to a lot of us. The younger ones bought one and weaned themselves off the mainframe and it meant we no longer needed a whole group of people to cooperate in providing group computing facilities. At least one of our number was inspired to design a PC and other hardware - these days he owns an international industrial computer company. I hope he will retire as wealthy as Steve. Thankfully he is as healthy and as strong as a mallee bull.

Rest in peace Steve - and thankyou .... Candice :-)

One of my favourite flowers - delicate and amazing...

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Impressing with food - with caution!

I just read this post by Athol Kaye who suggests men impress their wives / families / vast groups of guests with a dish consisting of waffle chips (potato bought pre-prepared soaked in oil and oven cook), cheese sauce (make self), bacon and sour cream (plus a few incidental garnishes). DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME without careful consideration!  

Adam and his wife are approximately 40 years old with young children and they are not restricted by their religion re eating pork. I can understand how the instinctual craving for easy calories and fat might motivate consumption and appreciation of such a dish. Also I believe such dishes are part of US culture. I might have tried it minus bacon 20 years ago – however these days I would NOT be impressed if a suitor prepared this with the expectation of making a good impression!  I felt sick just reading about it!

One thing that my ex never recognised was that my dietary preferences changed as I aged. He on the other hand seemed to retain his youthful preferences. He became very frustrated and angry when he tried to please by cooking dishes loaded with cream and other fats. He tried emotional blackmail to get me to eat what he made and sometimes I hid it before disposing of it thoughtfully! Many times I ate it and suffered indigestion and / or nausea.

I think the main point is dietary preferences and requirements change with age and one has to be sensitive to these matters.

As ladies age they may wish to eat healthier lower calorie foods, heavy fatty foods might make them feel sick and more easily digested, lighter foods might be preferred. Mature ladies may prefer smaller portions of high quality, nutrient dense food – forget cheap nutrient-poor refined carbohydrates dressed up with sugar, fat and flavours.  

Given that people differ, the best approach may be to discuss dietary preferences before preparing a surprise meal! 

Flowering pear is an excellent food choice for the European honey bee ...

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

A sign of aging you can reverse!

The age-related loss of muscle strength, mass and functional ability is called sarcopenia by medical professionals and is considered a significant health issue for middle-aged and older adults.

Amid all the angst and upset of menopause, I've noticed I can now lift 23 kg without big issues whereas 15 kg used to be my limit. I also completed a 10 km hike with some capability to go further whereas about 4 years ago (pre menopause) I only managed to drag myself 6 km.

The difference to my physical capability appears to be related to my more active lifestyle (I need to walk a reasonable distance to work) and also to some minor weighbearing exercise. Frankly I am suprised at this improvement in performance at a time when a cessation of hormones should be impacting negatively. However, as this article from the Peak Health Advocate shows, an older adult exercising frequently can equal or better the performance of a younger adult who does not exercise.      

YES! Decrease in strength and muscle mass is a sign of aging that can be reversed!
More bright flowers from the Queen Street mall - everlastings & fresias!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

It's not all about me ... and people can't read minds either!

A young blogger shares an epiphany in that she realises that she needs to understand others and be flexible enough to take their wishes into account. She says it heaps better than my summary here. When I read honest and useful posts like this by young people I feel there is truly hope for the world!

Associated with being able to walk in the shoes of others is also the realisation that people can't read our minds. Some people, often males, cannot interpret clues and hints as easily as others and require messages to be spelt out. The skill of course is in doing this politely without appearing brusque.

The matter of forthrightness comes to my mind just now because a friend has just broken up with a girlfriend - they seemed eminently unsuited and she seemed quite self-centred, so I am not unhappy at the break up. However, after the break up she wrote a long letter to him detailing all the things he SHOULD HAVE DONE sexually.  Nary a word was spoken previously and she did not deviate from her limited sexual style even though he made requests I would rate as very reasonable. Was she just being mean? Did he fail Mind Reading 101? Did she want a man that was more assertive sexually? Who knows?

ANYWAY ...I do find difficulties in communicating what I want sexually. One prominent reason, especially at the start, was that I did not know what I wanted! Heaps of reading and experience has helped fix that, but still at times I prefer to just try things out because I don't have enough information to form an opinion up front.

A second reason is shyness and not wanting to appear wanton. Of course, men tend to prefer their women to be wanton in private, even though they may prefer someone who is well-presented and well-behaved in public. I let Awesome wheedle "shy" preferences out of me. Sometimes its just more fun to share information that way!  

The learnings? It's not all about you. Don't expect anyone to be a mind reader. Try hard to speak up and do your best to facilitate your partner to voice their preferences.
Brisbane July 2009 - Victoria Bridge looking towards the CBD

Friday, 2 September 2011

Cleanliness, penises and oral sex

Sometimes a single small piece of information is enough to cause a “light bulb moment”. Yesterday I learned that a significant number of men with foreskins don’t wash their penises thoroughly and have build-ups of sticky stuff underneath them. It did not take long for me to start thinking of the implications.

Note: I expect an equal proportion of men without foreskins don't know how to wash them properly. This article does not discriminate against foreskin owners! 

First off the block was – OOOOO – now I know why many women don’t provide oral sex – one look / whiff of a dirty penis (with or without foreskin) and they would be put off for life! HUH – and innocent little Candice thought they were worried about imaginary germs!

Secondly I thought – crumbs – some men may not know what the benchmark is for a clean penis. They are probably sitting at home now complaining about fussy women.  

I don’t believe many people would choose dirty and infected over clean and comfortable if they knew! A benchmark clean, healthy penis is pink (or whatever you skin colour is) and does not have any sticky stuff on it. It is also not red and irritated. ALSO, a washed penis with foreskin is just as clean as one without..

Thirdly I thought – CRUMBS – men can’t smell their own penises – they are just too far away from their noses! OK guys, even if you wash in the morning, by the end of a hot day you will get a little sweaty down there – sweaty enough to put a girl off. On the other hand, a clean, healthy penis smells like clean man and tastes from bland to really nice! The lesson from this is of course to wash thoroughly and often.  

Fourthly, I realised that a woman can only tell a man how to wash his private parts from the point of view of her getting close and personal to them. Afterall, there must be some secret men's business about private part washing that is simply never shared with girls (or other men it also appears!)! So here is my “best practice” preference based on observations of men whose penises I verified to be clean and on the online “literature”.

Soap is not mentioned as necessary by various online experts and I can imagine how sensitive parts could be irritated, but I would prefer judicious use of mild, non-perfumed soap such as Neutrogena and of course a thorough rinsing. That way any residual soap does not irritate and you smell and taste like clean man, not soap.  

I suggest a good lathering and thorough washing of the groin area, anus and butt. The shaft and head of the penis could be thoroughly washed with warm water only. However, I’ve observed soap used to good effect and can't attest that a non-soaped penis would smell/taste the same as a soap-cleaned one.

Please remember to wash all the parts down there individually and carefully – all the nooks and crannies please - don’t just splash water at them. If you have a foreskin, gently pull it back and clean underneath it. Remember when washing that someone may put that part in their mouth!

Finally, it’s best practice to shower twice a day, especially in warm climates, if you work hard and if you want your lady to have sex with you every day. You may even shower before sex, just to be sure!

What do you think gentlemen? Is there anything to add or take away from my analysis?

Note: You can wash too much and irritate the penis, especially if you use soap and rub too hard. Just be sensible – m’okay?   
For some reason this reminded me of a clean penis ...

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Dealing with tantrums and uncontrollable anger!

I’m a little bit of an expert in this – since my ex had the habit of throwing tantrums to get what he wanted. I wrote a comment on John’s blog about “how to stop fighting with your spouse” and upon reflection realize that I could have done things a lot better. Hence, I try to share my wisdom and seek feedback from others on how to do even better.

Note: domestic abuse includes anything that creates fear such as throwing things and shouting/screaming. You don't have to actually cause physical harm to perpetrate domestic violence. If you have uncontrollable anger or wish to solve problems constructively there is help and you may well find treating an illness or other stressful problem helpful. You don't have to lose your family and be a criminal.   

Note: if someone is getting wound up don't stick around to argue a point and don't get angry and pursue someone to get your own back or "sort it out" on the spot - discretion is the best part of valour

Note: if someone is being abusive call the police if you cannot handle the situation safely and you are in imminent danger.  If someone is being beaten, call the police immeidately and tell them what is happening. Do not wait - people have died because others have not called the police. One punch can kill. The police are trained to handle difficult people.  

So to my learnings from half a life somewhat wasted:-

In the first place, I should not have accepted the bossy nature, temper and tantrums and found a new boyfriend/partner. HOWEVER, I had grown up with a very temperamental and abusive parent who thought that she was “doing the right thing” by repeating her own childhood experience. Do you detect the “cycle of abuse” thing here? Therefore, if you have issues in your life with other people,  I advise you to read, talk to other people and question your own experience. Remember, you will see things through the lens of your life – you will think your life is normal and simply not see the clues that other people have different and perhaps better lives.

Secondly, I should have detected the clues that my intended spouse thought domestic abuse was an acceptable way to solve problems, e.g. telling me that somebody else smashed crockery during an argument without saying it was a bad thing to do; a door broken in anger; and also a history of arguments in his own parental home.  I should have seen that a problem might exist and I should have spoken out – i.e. “I believe in solving problems peacefully and constructively. I will not marry someone that does not want this. Moreover, the first time you try temper with me you are toast!”

Thirdly, I should have maintained my power base and independence – own friends, own money, options other than staying with him. Once I had options he tried harder to behave in an acceptable way and sought medical help. I also attended a self defense class which was really useful in terms of learning how to avoid violence and how to handle attacks if they did happen (I have never needed to use violence to protect myself).

Fourthly, I should have set my boundaries firmly the first time he used anger/smashing things to control me. A social worker told me this. Also, Awesome says that domestic bullies are cowards and the thing to do is to tell them not to do it otherwise there will be consequences – such as being dragged off by the police or leaving the marriage. He says that a couple of experiences of negative consequences may be necessary.  Instead I ignored, what to me looked like a random act of violence, which he followed by boasting how he had showed me I could “not treat him like that” ….and the pattern was set.  

The first time he threw a tantrum I was so scared I could not think and simply did not know what to do. The learning from this is to read books, talk to people and practice assertion and conflict resolution skills BEFORE you face a test – assertion and conflict resolution will be useful in all aspects of your life. It is also helpful to swot up afterwards, but it takes longer to change ingrained behaviour.

Fifthly I should have looked into why he behaved as he did. I have several theories:
  • He thought throwing tantrums to control others was acceptable and worked well. It did seem to be part of his childhood and subgroup culture.  I countered this by quoting government literature on domestic violence and appealing to his desire to be a good and honourable person.
  • He tended to misinterpret facial expressions and meanings – anything remotely negative was seen as very critical and animated facial expressions were like red flags to a bull.   
  • I reinforced his use of anger to control me by doing what he wanted rather than speaking out or providing direct negative consequences.
  •  As he became chronically ill he could not cope with the frustrations of life and anyway was poorly equipped to solve problems. Hence, the tantrums became more frantic and less controlled. Gaining medical advice and solving a chronic health issue helped this cause.
Basically, he needed leadership to be the best person he could be and I was not able to lead until it was too late for a lot of things. Ironically he'd chosen me because of my quiet nature and natural inclination not to lead.... 

    ANYWAY, I wrote on John’s blog about my way of handling outbursts – I still think this is a good way to deal with anger that a person cannot control as it limits the damage and does not reward the behaviour. Remember this tactic should be combined with communicating boundaries, self empowerment and learning essential people skills.

    I always had my handbag ready to go with all I needed to start a new life – glasses, money, passport, camera, phone etc. I also kept it handy and tried to keep it in a place where it was both safe and where I had two exits and therefore could not be trapped. At the first sign of rage I would stop whatever I was doing, put the handbag on my shoulder and walk out. I found 30 minutes to 60 minutes was enough for him to calm down. I based my tactic on the practice of extinguishing bad behaviour in a child who is throwing a tantrum by simply ignoring the child.

    Walking away rather than engaging also ensures the person does not get wound up further and also does not do something rash that could be regretted later. He used to get to a stage where he was quite out of control and there was nothing that could be done except give him space. I am sure he would have destroyed more property and perhaps hurt me if I’d tried to argue with him when he was getting out of control.

    I always tried to have an escape route, but sometimes he cornered me. In that case I sought not to inflame the situation. I used to avert my eyes, keep my expression blank, adopt a non-aggressive stance and just agree or if it seemed prudent repeat quietly – “this is domestic abuse, you are bigger than me, I am frightened. Please stop. Please let me go.”

    I never had kids to protect, so I am not sure what you do if there are kids around. I expect one would bundle them up as well and go to a refuge until the rage issue was solved permanently. You would also have to teach them that domestic rage and abuse is not acceptable and teach them alternative and constructive ways to deal with problems.  

    Now I am sure most of my readers are going to think – “crumbs Candice, why were you so na├»ve and silly”. However, I’ve written this to inform other people who, just like the young Candice, really need to get their act together before half their life is wasted dealing with someone else’s anger issues.

    Note: I don't judge people with anger issues and recognise that with the wrong 'nature' and 'nuture' situation, we could all be the abusive one. Some folks are ill and just can't control their anger. However, hanging around to get abused helps no one. Also, if someone gets angry and then leaves to cool down, don't follow them up and attack/scold them. Let them come back when they are ready to talk quietly.      
    Queen Street Mall flowers August 2011 - there are always flowers and there is always hope! Just love the light in Queensland on these bright cold days. The Council have changed the flowers and they are still fresh and vibrant. 

    Wednesday, 17 August 2011

    Experiences of first sex

    I think it’s useful for people to reflect on how having sex the first time with another person will probably not be the perfect performance one hopes. Indeed, I’ve found sex to be surprisingly different with different men so I approach a first time with low expectations and an open mind.

    In contrast however, some of my male friends seem pretty wound up about making the experience perfect and feel very inadequate if they can’t maintain an erection. In my opinion, a lady that is looking for a long term relationship and who is not understanding and does not do her best to help the man relax and enjoy himself is really screening herself out of being long term relationship material.

    Another issue for me is that men (ha – sounds so ‘experienced’ but in reality I have had few partners) can get over excited (so much so they are shaking) and start rushing ahead and taking ‘liberties’ when I would hope they would take things a little slower. I understand they are probably feeling quite a lot of pent up ‘demand’ and am patient while trying to control the process to ensure my boundaries are not crossed.    

    A fellow blogger provides some very good insights into how a man might experience sex for the first time with a particular woman, especially if he has not had sex with another person for a long time:
    • Anxiety about performance affecting his erection and also difficulty orgasming. 
    • Using Viagra and still having issues with his erection due to attraction or anxiety issues
    • The difference between masturbation and real sex negatively impacting performance
    •  The challenges of using a condom when an erection is hard to maintain  
    • Lack of practice negatively impacting arousal and erection
    • Bad surprises when clothes come off including less than perfect body and unclean smells.   
     The writer claims women instinctively prefer men with sexual experience, as things are more likely to work well. This might be so, but I would maintain that a really nice man that is inexperienced may well be a really good prospect for a long term relationship and it would be worth taking the time to develop his sexual confidence.   

    How should I approach first time sex with an inexperienced man or someone who has not had sex for sometime? Well I guess I’d take things slowly – start with holding hands, graduate to kissing etc over several dates. I’d also discuss sexual history, expectations and what we should do together so we were on the same page. Of course I’d make sure he knew how very attractive I found him and do things to spoil him. I think it does not have to be said, but being freshly showered and well presented is essential.

    What do you guys think? Is there anything else that a woman should take into account when considering how she can get her new boyfriend to relax and enjoy sex, however it plays out?  

    Two very relaxed insects I saved from a quick end at the hands of Awesome!

    Sunday, 14 August 2011

    Happy and joyful with others...

    A lot of what he says resonates with me since we both had tough childhoods.  I was luckier though, since my father – a kind, gentle yet solitary man – made sure I had a few good years as a small child. After that many factors including lack of money to continue to employ nannies and the law which would have seen me removed from his care should he have complained, facilitated the abuse.

    Omega states that people advise attending social events to learn how to enjoy them.  While practice might help, I cannot see that a chain of painful experiences would help in any way to create positive feelings and motivation to attend further such gatherings.  I’ve noticed a lot of my introvert mates attend hobby clubs/groups and enjoy the company of their friends – this sounds much better as a way of building confidence than the torture of random social events.

    I often walk past venues full of happy, joyful people socializing with their friends after work. It’s easy to think that is the benchmark for all, but after deep reflection I’ve decided that it is not.

    Extroverts and people who can drink alcohol no doubt thrive in such environments. I’ve tried it and am unimpressed. I can’t hear what people are saying, I don’t drink alcohol and don’t understand the drinking culture and I don’t have the budget to match the consumption and generosity of other people. Overall, I find large gatherings stressful and unrewarding!    

    My strategies for surviving large gatherings include:
    • establishing the format and requirements of the gathering
    • dressing appropriately so as to blend in and not be noticed
    • finding  a purpose, such as organizing and caring for participants
    • going with or recruiting another more solitary person so as to not be embarrassed by being alone
    • putting on my ‘networking’ hat and going all out to widen my spread of contacts
     On the other hand, I really enjoy spending time with select other introverts. Almost always these are men that are similar to my father – very clever, accomplished, quiet and wise. Mostly we learn from each other and provide support as we can. As we get older and learn to enjoy quietness and just being in the company of one other, some of these social situations are just about being companionable and finding a quiet haven from a stressful life filled with demanding people.

    I’ve accepted that I am hardwired to only enjoy socializing with certain people in certain situations and often only one other person. Thus, I actively seek out compatible people and set up situations which we can both enjoy. Hence, it’s easy to be “happy and joyful”. 
    A lovely rose I photographed while enjoying one of my first outings with Awesome.