Advantages of Adult Web Hosting

If you’re running a website that contains adult content, or you’re about to, you’ve probably heard about adult hosting. And you’ve probably also heard that you don’t necessarily need to go with an “adult” specific host, but that just about any web host will be able to host your website for you, adult content and all. And while that may be true, as adult websites become more popular, there are still advantages to choosing a web host that’s experienced in adult hosting, and that will be able to help you whenever your website needs it.

That experience alone is one of the biggest advantages you’ll find when you choose to go with an adult host. Hosts that have been dealing with adult content for years know the special needs that adult websites have. Bandwidth and storage space are two of the resources those needs that adult websites will have; and they’ll most likely need a lot of each. Many adult website owners aren’t aware of just how many of these resources they’ll need when they first start their website, and can be caught unprepared without them. This will be able to advise website owners of these things ahead of time, so they can be dealt with and the site can be launched smoothly.

The legalities of running adult websites are something else adult site hosts will be experienced in, and that knowledge is another benefit of working with adult hosts. From gambling sites to erotic sites, there are a lot of legal issues when it comes to running adult websites. An adult site host will be able to tell you about the legal issues involved, saving you the time of researching all the different aspects yourself.

Aside from legal issues and the technical resources that you’ll need, customer service in adult site hosting also cannot be matched by any other type of site hosting. Many customers who own an adult website are hesitant to even call their should something go wrong because they’re worried about having to explain the problem with certain files; or they’re worried about what the customer service rep will think of their website.

This usually isn’t an issue when you’re working with any web host, but especially not when you’re working with an adult site host. After choosing to work with an adult-specific web host, many customers feel much better about speaking to their web host, and don’t wait to ask for help when it’s needed. This may seem like a very small thing; but it’s one of the biggest benefits to those who already have it in place.

You don’t need to hire an adult web host just because you’re running an adult website. But if you want to make the most out of your website and hosting experience, you’ll find there are so many more benefits when you do!

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Most Absorbent Adult Diapers Handle Incontinence Issues Easily

The health care industry has realized that the number of adult incontinence sufferers is on the rise. There are multiple brands that provide a variety of the most absorbent adult diapers. These disposable adult diapers have helped a large number of people overcome their reticence of appearing in social groups and workplaces due to the stigma attached to incontinence.

Incontinence is often perceived as a weakness and there are people who equate it to a decrease in the mental health and intellect of the sufferer. This is very unfair as incontinence is a part of the natural aging process or even a side effect of medication, injury or surgery. Technical advances in design and health care have made absorbent adult diapers available to everyone. Thanks to public awareness and the increase in the number of people who use absorbent adult diapers, it is no longer embarrassing to ask for them at the chemist shop.

Best disposable diapers for seniors

More often than not, senior citizens suffering from the telltale signs of fecal or urinary incontinence are advised to use such products. In addition, these are also helpful for patients both men and women, who suffer from physical disabilities or cognitive impairments and lifestyle issues like dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Commonly referred to as adult briefs or diapers, these absorbent and reliable aids are available in different forms such as women’s incontinence pads, pull ups, adult belted undergarments, and incontinence pads for men, etc. These products are easily available in the neighborhood and online stores as well. Irrespective of their shape or size, these products are used to handle leakages of all kinds effectively. In most cases, these diapers for adults provide the wearer with superior levels of confidence and comfort.

Disposable adult diapers and severely impaired mobility

The active population suffering from adult incontinence is largely comfortable using discreet and less bulky disposable diapers. However, the small percentage of severe mobility restricted patients may require sturdier products. These patients are often plagued with a host of other issues that may involve a neurological deficit, major injuries or trauma. They require the help of a caregiver at all times. Absorbent adult diapers are very handy in such cases. Available in a variety of designs and sizes, these are a lifesaver for the caregiver. In most cases, an overnight diaper for adult pack serves to be the godsend for caregivers looking for helpful aids for those under their supervision.

Many of these patients are often diagnosed with mental health issues like dementia or morbid depression and often are unable to indicate or even comprehend their bowel and bladder needs. They are likely to void at any time if not carefully monitored. It is much easier to use and keep them dry and comfortable, as these diapers tend to be larger and more absorbent than normal adult diapers.

Most absorbent diapers brands manufacture special sizes in the overnight adult diapers category. These products are produced in different sizes to suit people with heavier or lighter frames alike. Many companies also produce absorbent adult diapers in special sizes for larger bellied patient as there is a general tendency of a bed-ridden patient to put on weight. The adjustable side straps and ties are of special significance as they allow for their removal without requiring the caregiver to shift the patient. It is easier to check these diapers (for change purposes) as the caregiver can open the refasten-able straps multiple times without rendering the absorbent adult diapers unusable.

Most absorbent adult diapers can help with odor control

Caregivers have to be vigilant about the way they dispose of them. The Disposal of an adult diaper needs special care as they can foul up the house with a nasty odor if not disposed of correctly. Although these products can contain leaks and odors well while in use, but if not disposed of properly, the smell of stale urine and fecal matter can permeate the entire house and furnishings too! Special disposal bins are available in the market for just this purpose. Odor can be mitigated with special sprays and chemicals that are designed to absorb and mask them. However, it is better to prevent the spread of foul odor at the primary place by disposing of a used adult diaper properly.

How can an absorbent adult diaper do away with odor?

This may sound contrary to popular belief, but the best way to reduce odor is to drink enough fluids unless otherwise prescribed. Incontinent people tend to drink less fluids, leading to their urine emitting a foul smells.
Check for urinary tract infections as they may cause foul smelling urine.
Taking medication to reduce urinary odor is a good idea. Studies show that Vitamin C supplements and cranberry juice can reduce odor, as they are acidic in nature.
These diapers are manufactured with the capacity to absorb odor to a certain extent. Safe disposal of absorbent adult diapers can make it easier to avoid the spread of odor completely.
Keeping the patient clean and dry also goes a long way in mitigating odor. Changing the diapers frequently can be a good way to ensure that there are no leaks and stains.
Odor reducing absorbent adult diapers has active ingredients that stop the formation of odor instead of fighting a losing battle with odor that is already present.
The emotional and psychological impact of incontinence

Incontinence can have a lasting impact on the quality of life of any active person. The sense of losing control is debilitating to the mental health of such people. Using this diapers can alleviate the sense of insecurity and help the wearer to enjoy an active life once again. Physical activity is not a taboo for such individuals, as they can use overnight adult diapers for prolonged periods during the day as well. Look for designs that are discreet and allow you to wear them with clothes you have always worn. You may also find that you can pair most this with an incontinence pad to make them more effective.

Choose the style and size of the absorbent adult diaper you plan to use carefully, and do check the amount you need to spend on them as well as most absorbent adult diapers are not cheap and are used in good quantities. Incontinence is a containable issue and should be discussed candidly with your family and caregiver. The right mix of the most absorbent adult diapers can make life easy and normal.

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The Causes of Sexual Dysfunction and Women With Diabetes

Studies have shown that 90% of diabetics are type 2 and less than 10% are diagnosed with type 1. The patients diagnosed with either type are under an increased threat of vascular and neurological complication and psychological issues. The women who suffer from this may have many complications. In most cases the risk of diabetes diagnoses especially type 2. An increased amount of cases of sexual dysfunction correlated with the diagnosis. The research had to account for the use of contraception, hormone replacement therapy, and pregnancy. Sexual dysfunction is a common problem, albeit a problem that has not been studied in women with type 2 diabetes in depth.

Diabetes type 2 diagnoses is the leading cause of sexual dysfunction. There will be an increased amount of women diagnosed with this considered a larger proportion of the population in increasingly growing older and becoming more and more physically inactive. Thus, the rate of sexual dysfunction in women will also increase. It was not until this study that the direct correlation could be substantiated. The effect of sexual dysfunction was correlated to neurological, psychological and vascular affects and a combination of such. However, despite the common knowledge that there is an association in their measurements of such is hard to create. It is difficult to measure sexual function in women. In many cases the spouses sexual performance, quality of sexual intercourse, patients educational culture, and socioeconomic status was also a large part of the problem. They also have a decreased sexual desire, decreased stimulus, reduced lubrication and orgasm disorder. Thus, diabetes females are more at risk than others. In this study several surveyors were sued to evaluate sexual function disorders.

Sex is defined by the study as an ability to experience masculine or feminine emotions, physical stimulation and/or mental feelings. It is also a perception that is expressed by the sexual organs of another. The sexuality of a human being is determined by social norms, values and taboos. This is also determined by psychological and social norms and aspects. The nature of the disease was also defined in the study. It had to be, in order to evaluate the nature of sexual dysfunction with patients who are diabetic. Responses to sexual stimulation in the subjects was divided into four phases. These included the arousal, plateau, orgasm and resolution phase. These phases were identified as the most detrimental and prevalent issues that affected women during sexual satisfaction.

In the first phase, the libido is accessed. This is the appearance of erotic feelings and thoughts. Real female sexual desires begins with the first phase. Also at this point sexual thoughts or feelings or past experiences help to create either a natural or unnatural arousal stage in patients. There second phase identified by searchers here was the arousal phase. In this phase the parasympathetic nervous system is involved. With that, the phase is then characterized by erotic feelings and the formation of a natural vaginal lubrication. The first sexual response begins with vaginal lubrication which follows within 10-30 seconds and then follows from there. What follows is typically a rapid breathing session or rather tachycardia that causes women to have an increased blood pressure and a general feeling of warmth, breast tenderness, coupled with erected nipples and a coloration of the skin. Most women experience this arousal phase.The third phase is defined as the orgasm phase or rather the time with increased muscular and vascular tension by sexual stimulation occurs. This is the most imperious of the cycles and is albeit the most satisfying for women. During this period women experience orgasmic responses from the sympathetic nervous system. Changes also occur in the entire genital region these include a change in heart rate, and blood pressure. The final phase of normal sexual stimulation is the resolution phase. During this period women have genital changes. Basically the withdrawal of blood from the genital region and the discharge of sexual tension as occurs after the orgasm will bring the entire body to a period of rest.

The basis of sexual responses cycle depends on normally functioning of the endocrine, vascular, neurological and psychological factors. Considering the brain is the center for sexual stimulation, sexual behaviors are directly correlated to the sense of being aroused. The study has defined sexual stimulation and peripheral stimulation. Central stimulation is defined as the act of being aroused and sexual desire is phenomena mainly mediated by the mesolimbic dopaminergic pathway. Dopamine is the most important known neurotransmitter system responsible for the arousal. The process breaks down to the fact that testosterone is responsible for both female and male desire and it increases blood flow either directly and indirectly through estrogen.

Sexual dysfunction has been classified and defined by the inability to experience anticipated sexual intercourse. This is a psychosocial change that complicates interpersonal relationships and creates significant problems. Orgasm disorder usually occurs with a recurrent delay or difficulty in achieving an orgasm after sexual stimulation.

Several sexual disorders have been affected by diabetes, many others are blanketed under the sexual dysfunction term. Sexual Aversion Disorder is the avoidance of all genital contact with ones partners. The difference between the phobia and the feelings of disgust and hatred are part of the phobia. Sexual Arousal Disorder is the inability to establish adequate lubrication stimuli in a persistent manner. Orgasmic disorder is defined as a persistent or recurrent delay in or lack of normal phases. Orgasm is the sudden temporary peek feeling.

According to the data from the U.S National Healthy and Social life survey women who are at risk for SD. In the study it was found that women with healthy problems have an increased risk for pain during intercourse. Also women with urinary tract problems or symptoms are at risk for problems during intercourse. The socio-economic status of women is another risk factor as well as women who have been the victim of harassment. Menopause has a negative impact on sexual function in women.

Sexual dysfunction was not limited to affective disorders, in fact socio-cultural and social demographic causes effected demographic and sociological characters were investigated. In the studies conducted sociodemographic characteristics like age, education level and income levels. Also the use of an effective method of family planning was related to the BMI and marriage were also factors in this decisions. The use of alcohol and drugs was also linked to a woman’s sexual response and leads to SD. The most prevalent use came from antidepressants received for the treatment of depression were reported with the use of the prescription drugs. The affects included a lack of lubrication, vaginal anesthesia, and delay in or lack of orgasm. Other drugs that have were found to affect female SD included anthypertensives, lipid-lowering agents and chemotheraputic agents. The study also took into account that chronic diseases like systemic diabetes and hypertension causes psychiatric disorders, including depression, anxiety disorders, and psychoses are attributed to chronic disease states.

Diabetes is a common chronic disease with more than 90% of diabetics having been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Diabetic patients have been found to have an elevated risk of vascular and neurological complications and psychological problem.Thus, because of this it has been found that diabetics are prone to having female sexual dysfunction. Thus, the subject of female diabetic SD was largely unrecognized until 1971. Even at that time in an article the study was the first to evaluate limited cases of sexual dysfunction in women. Studies with females who have been diagnosed with SD. Diabetic females with sexual problem are explained with biological, social and psychological factors.

Hyperglycemia had been found in many diabetic women who have been diagnosed with SD. It reduces the hydration of the mucus membranes of the vagina. It in turn reduces the lubrication levels, leading to painful sexual intercourse. The risk of vaginal infections increases because of that and so too does vaginal discomfort and painful intercourse. It is clinically hard to measure sexual function in women. In many cases medical history, physical examination, pelvic examination and hormonal profile were reviewed. The subjects were questioned in detail regarding spouse’s sexual performance, quality of the sexual intercourse, the patients educational level and socioeconomic status. The several questionnaires which were used to evaluate sexual function disorders were a substantial methodology. Sexual inventories were then classified in two groups. The information obtained through a structured incentive allowing the discloser of terms. There was fact to face interview and also many sexual inventories which were based on the human sexual cycle.

There were 400 female patients that applied to the hospital or diabetes center. The test was conducted between June 2009 and June 2013. There were first non-voluntaries or those who met the exclusion criteria and type 1 diabetics were excluded from the study. This study also included 329 married women, there were 213 diabetic and 116 non-datebooks. All of the women in this study were sexually active and had a spouse. Also the survey questions were asked questions in a face to face attack. The subjects were given questionnaires and the volunteers who were inactive or had an illness were excluded from the study.

It was also important in the study to take into account demographics. These included the age of the participants, their weight, and their height. Their weight circumference, BMI and education level were also part of this study. With diabetic patients the plasma glucose level was also reviewed. In this study the reliability of the female sexual function index and the test-retest reliability was a.82 and a.79. The version of the validity and reliability of the scale was performed.

Another form of measurement was the Arizona Sexual Experiences Scale, again another form of questions used to measures the experiences that women have and how they were able to deal with them. Patients that were treated with psychotropic drugs were the main focus of this experiment. This is a set of five questions created to show a minimal disturbance with patients. The scale aimed to assess sexual functions by excluding sexual orientation and relationships with a partner. The format that was used for most women in this study included several questions regarding sexual drive and arousal.

Still other tests were utilized. These included the Golombuk-Rust Inventory of Sexual Satisfaction (GRISS). The utilization of this test was yet another set of questions that were given to males and females (28 males, 28 females) and were aimed at objectively evaluating the heterosexual relationship of the individuals and to identify the level of dysfunction of the subject. The results again found that women with diabetes are more prone to suffering from dysfunctional disorders.

Of course researchers looked into the subjects BMI and found that 23 of only 7% of the patients were in the normal range of the BMI which at the time was 18.5-24.9 kg. The mean BMI was also only 33.11 in patients with diabetes. The majority of patients that had higher BMI issues were smokers. So not only was it diabetes that attributed to SD but smoking and drug use caused additional complications. Also, 193 were premenopausal and 136 were postmenopausal. The average number of patients who were diagnosed were also on oral antibiotic medications in combination with insulin and in some cases antilipedemic medications. Many patients were not using medications at all which may result in the reference that they were suffering from the disease because they were unable to move through their diabetes diagnoses.

The study conducted found that there was no correlation between the age of a patient a their FSFI. Plus, there did not seem to be a correlation between the BMI and FSFI and the sub structures like desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, sexual success, and pain with diabetic women. Some of the volunteers had children, one to three children in fact. There again was no direct correlation with diabetic women with children or without. However there was a correlation with women who had a more children and their ability to reach an orgasm. Perhaps due to the multiple births and the destruction that it could have caused neurologically.

Specifically when addressing diabetes, researchers wanted to understand the extent of the SD disturbance. The attributes of a imbalanced hormonal system, vascular constrictions and increased sexual problems cause the physiological and psychological responses that were found. The differences in the mechanisms of the neurotransmitters during sexual responses in women with diabetes and without diabetes was the leading contributor to a decreased sexual appetite.

Women have many dimensions that lead to their diagnoses. Sexual function is affected therefore when a woman is diagnosed with diabetes. The research also found that female lubrication occurred only during the arousal phase. But the dysfunction was largely affective, meaning that women were unable to become lubricated during the arousal phase. Women who were insulin dependent had little or no evidence of dysfunction while non-insulin dependent patient status had a negative effect on sexual disorders. This included the ability to orgasm, lubrication during arousal, sexual satisfaction, and sexual activity. This suggests a more comprehensive explanation that SD might be related to the age at which the diabetes develops.

Also women who have a genital disease will also have be unable to achieve ideal sexual arousal. Other factors besides diabetic mediations include other medications. For instance, antibiotics used to treat urinary infections and oral contraceptives have been attributed to an adverse sexual function in women. These medication will also heighten a woman’s ability to reach normal sexual functioning. Again the psychological effects of diabetes will also cause women to be unable to reach an adequate amount of sexual ability. Typical feelings from diabetic patients that have been reported to researchers include a feeling of isolation, feeling of being unattractive, loneliness and isolation. These are mainly caused from the diagnoses and a lifestyle change. Women who have these symptoms or feelings are advised to seek treatment with their medical doctor and to seek a therapist. They should advise them of the feelings, to seek a holistic treatment plan.

Researchers advise that there are holistic treatments available for women who are suffering from these diseases and including the inability to organism which can be remedied with vibrating tools or psychosomatic techniques. Also a reduced libido may be a form of depression and therapists will address the patients self image during the scores of holistic treatment. This may in fact lead to a better self image and an increased libido. The loss of genital sensations can also be attributed to diabetes. Many patients have been advised to use entertaining vibrating tools in order to treat

Sexual dysfunction is mainly caused by a blanket of issues but according to recent studies by Paul Enzlzin, MA, Chantal Mathie, MD, PHD and others the direct correlation between medications in 90% of patients diagnosed with diabetes medication and disease state causes sexual definition. The effects are a common problem, 20% to 80% of women are reported as having a sexual dysfunction. The disease Diabetes Mellitis is the leading systemic disease of sexual dysfunction. Research has found that the cause largely forms because of psychological and physical issues. Thus leading to the inability to stimulate during sexual intercourse.

For many researchers configuring how to asses a woman’s sexual dysfunction was challenging. Talking about it presented a taboo and in many cases this would not lead to a very honest or comfortable conversation for the participant. That is why researchers utilized questionnaires and face to face interviews. This included the Female Sexual Function Index which was created in 2000. At that time Cronbach’s coefficient test-retest reliably was found to be about.82-.79. It is in essence a questionnaire that is composed of six sections that measure desire, arousal, lubrication, satisfaction, pleasure, and pain. The topic is also given a score system between 0-6. The 1st, 2nd and 15th questions are then also scored between 1 and 5. The other questions are scored between 1 and 5. This was only one of the measurements that researchers utilized to gain a better understanding on the role of sexual dysfunction and women with diabetes.

Patients or subjects are encouraged to speak with their health care provider regarding any issues they may begin to feel with a lack of sexual desire. There will be minor episodes of this feeling or it may progress into something less attractive. Episodes of depression will periodically affect the already progressing SD these too will be a point that many should discuss with their physicians.

Patients who are diagnosed with diabetes and then depression should seek therapy. In many cases the treatment may include antidepressants and holistic approaches. Lifestyle changes such as the implementation of a healthy and balanced lifestyle may help patients to improve significantly.However, that was found only in patients that made positive lifestyle changes accordingly. The medications that affect depression however will and may cause more complexities with SD. Moreover, only further testing will provide conclusive evidence.

SD is a chronic and persistent problem in women diagnosed with diabetes. Until this recent study the appearance of sexual dysfunction had not been studied enough. The impact if studied properly will largely affect most of the population diagnosed with diabetes. In recent years this the diagnoses has grown because the population has increased. Research with women and sexual dysfunction is scarce and also filled with flaws in the methodology of the research. The presence of the diabetes complications, the adjustment that patients have to the disease, and the psychological factors surrounding the disease affect it. The relations that they have with their partners are all part of the complications that arise with diabetic sexual dysfunction diagnoses in women. The study or research attempted to examine the prevalence of the dysfunction in women, the problems that occurred with an age matched group and the influence that diabetes had on female sexuality. The psychological factors that inhibited adequate sexual functioning were also measured in the most recent study.

Again in these studies women reported having less satisfaction during sex, avoided it as well. Researchers believe that these women who in particular were suffering from type 2 diabetes felt that they were less sexually attractive because of their body image. Researchers also examined psychological aspects of older type 2 diabetes in women who reported that they felt their bodies were less attractive then non-diabetic women. 60% or more of women in this study did not have a dysfunction, other than physiological symptoms or diabetes.

Much research has stated that if the patient is having difficulties it is important to have a talk with a physician about the probable side effects they will be suffering from. Women with diabetes who were suffering form the onset of menopausal symptoms could not be correlated to SD. In fact women who reported sexual problems were not significantly different in age though to the women who had an onset of menopause. The overwhelming evidence however suggested that psychological dysfunction and its accordance with diabetes was a crucial deciding factor to a rise in SD cases. The majority of research findings have concurred with it, stating that they in fact are able to correlate within the study.

A poor self image in women with diabetes leads to a loss of self esteem, feelings of unattractiveness, concern about weight gain and negative body images. The occur largely around the issue of weight gain, which follows with anxiety. There is evidence that these problems are common in older women who have been diagnosed according to several questionnaires that were used to evaluate women in the studies from 2009-2010. Research could suggest that it is because older women may be without a sexual partner and their diabetes could add to feelings of inadequacy. Younger women tend to worry about the effects that the disease and what it will have on their physical appearance especially with insulin therapy. If women begin healthy eating patterns then the main cause will have not issue on the physical appearance on women with proper nutrition. A woman has to be able to communicate with her partner and others around her in order to make sure that everyone understand the problems she is facing. However diabetes coupled with poor self images will lead a woman to become and introvert and therefore keep her feelings to herself. Thereby causing SD and a loss of social experiences by the woman in fact who has been battling these disease states.

A woman’s sexual desire has been found to be low, painful and absent. Thus, of this issue women will not be able to have healthy relationship. Unfortunately there has not been much research conducted with women because the variables have been to hard to control. But recently in this recent study conducted in 2009-2010 the questionnaire gave insight into the mind of women suffering form this disease. The limited study has prevented women from seeking out help and having a renewed interest in the problem. Limited studies have found that this problem affects largely about 50 % or more of women diagnosed with the disease. Most women who have type 2 and 1 diabetes are statistically going to stop having sex as much as their male counterparts because of their lack of a valued self image. In fact there are many sociological risks to not having adequate support systems to help minimize the impact the diabetes has on a lifestyle.

The changes that take place in a woman’s body who has been diagnosed with diabetes type 2 have largely been ignored. There are a plethora of issues at play here including detrimental issues affecting the central nervous system.Therefore, a woman’s sexual desire is largely affected by not only the CNS, but many other factors. In some cases these may include a hormonal imbalance caused by pre-menopause. Regardless there is a correlation between female diabetics and the changes in estrogen and sexual arousal stimulation. In the study the decreased sexual function and diabetes was also found to have a direct correlation in women who were overweight. This correlation was diminished in women who were average.

However of all of the contributors that will and do cause dysfunctions with women in sexual dysfunctions a poor self image was the leading cause. Depression was established in many women with a poor self image. Studies have shown that there is a direct link with diabetes and SD which is linked to a psychological disorder within women. Also diabetic women with this dysfunction were at least two times more likely to have sexual dysfunction than women without diabetes. In many cases depression caused a lack of sexual arousal or desire and a lack of physical performance when initiating the act. Therefore, a woman who is diagnosed with diabetes is at a higher risk of complications that harm her self confidence, her physiological health and her social interactions. Her daily routine will even be affected due or her lack of sexual arousal.

Specifically when addressing diabetes, researchers wanted to understand the extent of the SD disturbance. The attributes of a imbalanced hormonal system, vascular constrictions and increased sexual problems cause the physiological and psychological responses that were found. The differences in the mechanisms of the neurotransmitters during sexual responses in women with diabetes and without diabetes was the leading contributor to a decreased sexual appetite. Several risk factors were associated with sexual dysfunction including health problems which affected sexual intercourse, mainly in the form of pain associated with penetration. There are also several other causes that can be attributed to sexual dysfunction including urinary tract symptoms and arousal issues. However not necessarily in direct correlation to diabetes, but it becomes a symptom of the sexual dysfunction that may be attributed to diabetes as an after effects. Women who were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes had a direct correlation with sexual dysfunction. It was only with this research that many methodologies were proven useful in capturing the information.

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Fueled by Fear: An Adult Child’s Life

Fear, an internal indicator that danger is present, attempts to drive the person away from it. But for an adult child, whose development was arrested by constant exposure to alcoholism- or para-alcoholism-caused detriment, it may be persistent later in life and not rationally based. It is, however, what defines him. what causes him to avoid what may seem mundane and safe experiences others regularly enjoy, and erodes the quality of his life. Indeed, these manifestations reflect one of the adult children of alcoholics (ACA) survival traits, which states that “We became addicted to excitement (fear) in all our affairs.”

“Adult children often live a secret life of fear,” according to the “Adult Children of Alcoholics” textbook (World Service Organization, 2006, p. 10). “Fear, or sometimes terror, is one of the connecting threads that link the 14 (laundry list survival) traits. Two of the first three traits describe our fear of people. While many adult children appear cheerful, helpful, or self-sufficient, most live in fear of their parents and spouses in addition to fearing an employer… They have a sense of impending doom or that nothing seems to work out. Even the seemingly bold adult child who shows bravado can be covering up a deep sense of feeling unsafe or unlovable. At the core of these thoughts is usually the fear of being shamed or abandoned.”

“I suspect that if I reclaimed all the minutes, hours, and days I’ve sacrificed to worry and fear, I’d add years to my life,” echoes Al-Anon’s “Courage to Change” text (Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., 1992, p. 10). “When I succumb to worry, I open a Pandora’s box of terrifying pictures, paranoid voices, and relentless self-criticism. The more I pay attention to this mental static, the more I lose my foothold in reality. Then nothing useful can be accomplished.”

So frequently is fear generated, that adult children are forced to negotiate the world with it, plowing through “dangerous” situations which defy logic and wrestling with it as if it were an internal enemy. Ultimately fueled by it, they harness it, as it courses through their veins just as often as does blood.

Constantly exposed to unstable, unpredictable, and even harmful home environments during their upbringings because of alcoholic, para-alcoholic, and dysfunctional parents or primary caregivers, they believe that the detrimental, developmentally-arresting experience sets the stage for what will continue in the world-at-large. This was, after all, all they knew and no one even identified the behavior as abnormal or abusive. Failing to acknowledge it, their caregivers denied it into nonexistence, and any attempt to expose it was hushed or shamed so that all the members who comprised the family system ensured its perpetuation, as if it had gathered a life of its own. That this betraying, negligent, and detrimental behavior bred mistrust is an understatement.

Subconsciously retriggered into acting out the abuse from their own chaotic upbringings, these parents animatedly demonstrated what was done to them, functioning from stored, unprocessed harm. Reduced to the sporadic, unpredictable repetitions they themselves once received during Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality shifts, they most likely doled out shame, blame, and abuse.

“We came to see our parents as authority figures who could not be trusted,” the “Adult Children of Alcoholics” textbook continues (op. cit., p. 11). “We transfer that fear to our adult lives, and we fear our employers, certain relations, and group situations. We fear authority figures or become an authority figure.”

Although this occurs on the subconscious level, children learn to internalize their parent’s behavior and it places them on the road to becoming adult children as a result of the unresolved fears, emotions, and reactions that took root within this breeding ground.

Frequently gripped by them, they can be overtaken by these volatile, physiological sensations, forced to filter others and the world through them and creating a dynamic in which they fear people, places, and things.

“Worry and fear can alter our perceptions and we lose all sense of reality, twisting neutral situations into nightmares,” according to “Courage to Change” (op. cit., p. 150). “Because most worry focuses on the future, if we can learn to stay in the present, living one day or one moment at a time, we take positive steps toward warding off fear… When we anticipate doom, we lose touch with what is happening now and see the world as a threatening place against which we must be on constant alert.”

Hypervigilance is the term that expresses this state. The amygdala, the two almond-shaped nuclei that are located at the end of the hippocampus and are part of the limbic system, are responsible for emotional responses, especially and particularly fear, commanding the body’s physical functions so that the person can optimally avoid or combat the perceived danger. Continually scanning the environment, they initiate this response via two routings. The first, the shorter of them, commences in the thalamus, which receives sensory stimuli long before the person is even aware of them and can figure out what form the potential harm assumes. The second, the longer of them, routes from the medial prefrontal cortex, the bran’s area that is concerned with the first phase of fear, enabling it to react and choose what it considers the most effective safety- and survival-promoting course of action.

After the amygdala processes the sensory signals, it generates fear, which itself produces an autonomic response. Physiologically, the body is flooded with adrenalin and stress hormones that result in increased heart and blood pressure rates and involuntary muscle control.

Preparing the body to fight or flight, it produces an overload which does not subside until the danger has been eliminated. In its extreme, it produces post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), since the system, repeatedly exposed to safety- or survival-threatening circumstances, has been unable to clear itself from or reregulate itself of the original overload and believes that the danger is chronically present. It also leads the person to believe that his trauma will imminently recur.

Adult children endure these internal, very unsettling sensations, to a greater or lesser degree, on an almost-daily basis, usually without even understanding why.

There can be no greater danger than being exposed to unstable, harmful parents who, for no reason within the powerless child’s understanding, have suddenly been transformed into his predators or enemies.

Present-time fear, the emotion that primed him to survive such circumstances, indicates the recreation of the multitude of uneven parental power plays he was subjected to as a child in adulthood and becomes so prevalent that it almost reaches addiction levels. It was, after all, how he survived.

“Without help, we cannot recognize serenity or true safety,” advises the “Adult Children of Alcoholics” textbook (op. cit., pp. 16-17). “Because our homes were never constantly safe or settled, we have no reference points for these states of being.”

While twelve-step recovery programs advocate turning a person’s will over to a power greater than himself, fear, sadly, becomes the power greater than himself until he begins the process.

Because the fear response, especially on a chronic basis, is so taxing to endure, adult children have little pre-recovery recourse but to avoid whatever sparks it. For them, however, it is a seemingly unending array of activities. This, needless to say, restricts them from what others enjoy in life and underscores another axiom of the adult child syndrome-namely, that they are always on the outside, looking in or always in the audience, but never on the stage. While the mind seeks to protect, it also creates a defensive wall they cannot penetrate and can thus imprison.

With repeated retriggerings, fear and reactivity can gain momentum until they overtake them, causing them to fear the fear more than what it tries to convince them is threatening.

Although it may seem logical that children from such homes could find protection and refuge with the nonalcoholic, non-offending, or more rational parent, this hoped-for savior in their detrimental dilemma often failed to materialize.

Because he or she was equally caught up in the web of the disease and was hence just as much in denial about it as the alcoholic, he or she did nothing to protect or remove them from the environment before the damaging imprint became too indelible to reverse. He or she was often viewed with greater anger and disdain than the “sick” parent and adult children did just as much internalizing from them.

“From the nonalcoholic parent we learn helplessness, worry, black-and-white thinking, being a victim, and self-hate,” according to the “Adult Children of Alcoholics” textbook (ibid, p. 24). “We learn rage, pettiness, and passive-aggressive thinking. From this parent we learn to doubt our reality as children. Many times we have gone to our nonalcoholic parent and expressed feelings of fear and shame, (but he or she) dismissed (them). We have been called sensitive or too selfish when objecting to our drinking parent’s behavior. In some cases, this parent defended or excused the alcoholic’s behavior. The damage that some nonalcoholic parents can do through inaction or by failing to remove the children from the dysfunctional home boggles the mind.”

That inaction subtly teaches them that abuse, both in the home and outside of it, is “normal” and to be expected and tolerated, leaving them with mounting defenses, mistrust, anger, and an increasing tolerance for belittling and damage. In short, they were cultivated as victims.

Even during those occasions when they were temporarily removed, such as over a weekend, the permanence of the action is never considered. Sheer re-entry into the home environment retriggers them and causes them to re-erect their defenses.

“From this behavior, we got the message that it was normal to put aside our fears and return to our abusive or shaming parent,” the “Adult Children of Alcoholics” textbook advises (ibid, p. 25).

Another source of adult children’s fears was the negative emotions transferred to them from their parents.

“As children, we were outmatched,” the “Adult Children of Alcoholics” textbook continues (ibid, p. 101). “Our parents projected their fears, suspicions, and senses of inferiority onto us. We were defenseless against the projections. We absorbed our parent’s fear and low self-worth by thinking these feelings originated with us.”

Saturated with fear and having built up high degrees of tolerance for both emotional and physical pain created by others, they often attract partners later in life who exhibit their parent’s characteristics, since they are most familiar with them and sometimes subconsciously attempt to finish out or resolve with them what they believe they failed to do with their caregivers, once again trying to fix or cure them and “get it right this time.” But what is “wrong” is the belief that they can succeed with a sick person who refuses to acknowledge his plight or take action to address it.

Because another source of fear was the powerlessness they experienced during their upbringings, any present-time loss of control provides immeasurable degrees of terror. The remedy, they subconsciously assume, is gaining control by assuming their parent’s dominating persona, becoming the proverbial bully, and acting out the abuse on their offspring if correcting intervention in the form of therapy and/or twelve-step programs has not been introduced. Transformed from helpless victims to triumphing perpetrators, they become the next generation’s authority figures. Fueled by fear, they perpetuate the cycle.

Fear, especially that created by retriggers, is particularly powerful for several reasons. First and foremost, it stretches as far back as the child’s or even infant’s initial parental betrayal and the trauma it assuredly caused. Secondly, it regresses him to a helpless, undeveloped, immobilizing state, which he most likely fails to understand and which, because of it, generates even more fear than the incident itself. Thirdly, the original wound is connected to all the subsequent ones he endured throughout his upbringing, each of which contains repressed, unexpressed fear, and this lights a chain that can reach volcanic proportions. Fourthly, the brain’s neuropathways, forged during frequent or chronic retriggerings, have amassed thick, unseverable widths. And finally, their resultant reactions, fed by alcoholic toxins, are ignited by them, leaving the person hopelessly out of control when they do.

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Fulfilling Your Sexual Potential in the Second Half of Life

Sexual desire and pleasure is our birthright. After all, we were created naked and with different genitals. There must have been a plan in mind. We are sexual beings from the day we’re born until the day we die. Sex is fundamental to our lives and seems to be the area of life that most deeply touches our most personal issues. Our sexuality is a core expression of who we are. We can hide with sex, we can hide from sex, but we cannot be fully ourselves sexually and hide.

Why have sex? Well, it is well known that sex enhances our lives in multiple ways, both psychologically and physically.

Health benefits include lower blood pressure, overall stress reduction, higher levels of antibodies so fewer colds and flews, burns calories, good exercise, improves cardiovascular health, boosts self-esteem, releases endorphins which makes physical pain decline and helps lift depression; reduces risk of prostate cancer; promotes sleep.

Interpersonally, good sex may be only 20% of a good relationship (80% when it’s bad), but it’s a crucial 20%. Orgasm increases the level of oxytocin, a hormone that allows us to nurture and to bond. Hence, sex increases love and connection even on a purely biological basis. Sex is an arena that is particular and special to a couple. We let ourselves be known to our sexual partner in a way that we don’t share with anyone else.

A couple who has a satisfying sex life is more able to create and sustain a long-term loving relationship. It is well known that people in stable relationships are thought to be more productive in their jobs, have better health and live longer.

The most rewarding sexual experiences are much more rich, diverse, and creative than the “get it up, get it in” approach. And sexual responsiveness has absolutely nothing to do with being able to meet the culture’s prototype of sexual attractiveness. Rather, it grows from connections of hearts, minds, and bodies. Truly good sex begins with a willingness to be open and vulnerable and to give and receive pleasure and nurturing freely. The psychological ability to share intimacy, both physical and emotional, is essential for good sex, but being intimate (as we’ll discuss later) is an art that confuses and even terrifies many individuals.

Good sex, then, is a complex concoction of openness and secrecy, risk and control, personal satisfaction and mutual fulfillment. Good sex requires an ability to be totally immersed in the moment (which is difficult for most people), ever-present to the sensuality of ourselves, our partner and our lives.

Sustaining a healthy, balanced sex life requires mindful attention to our senses, to the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual dimensions of ourselves, as well as our relationship with our partners. We must KNOW OURSELVES (“KNOW THYSELF”) to know what we want and need sexually. Then we need to have the courage and self-assurance to communicate these desires to our partner, even in the face of possible rejection. Also, we need to have relinquished some of the layers of narcissistic self-consciousness that, when young, may have prevented us from being truly attuned to another person’s reality and needs.

What I’m saying is: good sex requires PSYCHOLOGICAL MATURITY (which we all have because we’ve lived for a while now and have learned some things along the way.)

Mature lovers are more likely to experience not just satisfying sex, but are more likely to experience sexual ecstasy. Certain states may occur in sex where the boundaries of self are suspended in merger with the “other”. This kind of, well, self-transcendence, can open the channels to experiencing a sense of a broader, more universal connection.

Let’s see what the dictionary says about “ecstasy”: rapturous delight; intense joy; mental transport or rapture from the contemplation of divine things; displacement; trance; a shared sense of being taken or moved out of one’s self or one’s normal state, and entering a state of intensified feelings so powerful as to produce a trance-like dissociation from all but the single powerful emotion; this trance or rapture is associated with mystical exaltation.

Eastern societies routinely equate sexual ecstasy with spiritual enlightenment. Only in Western civilizations is there a chasm between sex and God.

So, it’s all good, right? Everything from lowering your blood pressure to experiencing mystical exaltation points to the fact that sex is a good thing.

But if it’s such a good thing, why are so many people not having sex?..or are subject to various sexual dysfunctions, compulsions or perversions?

The fact is that few of us will ever seize the opportunity to explore the full range of our sexual possibilities. One writer I read referred to those who achieve the heights of sexual fulfillment as “the blessed few”.

Why so few? According to a recent survey, one in five Americans is not interested in sex. According to recent estimates, more than one-third of the women in the United States have problems with low sexual desire. Even this statistic may be low, as people may be embarrassed to respond to the interviewer honestly. “Diminished sexual desire” in women, considered by some to be an epidemic, is the diagnosis “du jour” for many sex researchers and therapists.

The loss of sexual desire can undermine a person’s perception of herself, her relationship to her body and may cause an irreparable strain in her relationship. Chances are if her excitement for sex is diminished, her excitement for life in general is somehow compromised.

So why are there only the “blessed few”? One in five is “not interested”???? A third to a half of American women has no desire for sex???? What’s wrong with this picture? Why are so few people actually interested in having sex, exploring it, heightening it?

There are many, many reasons that people eschew sexual pleasure.

First, there are societal/cultural/religious influences. We live in a sex-negative culture. For instance, most Western societies do not support sexual education and development. Parents are still battling to eliminate whatever beleaguered sex education courses are offered in the schools (which, by the way, focus on procreation exclusively), stating that educating children about sex is the purview of the home. Yet, in the homes, silence is the order of the day and kids are still left to figure it out for themselves.

When children are left to their own devices, they are subjected to misinformation from peers and their own fantasies about what sex is. If they become fixated at these levels, there’s more of a chance that they’ll grow up with certain sexual problems. (perversions, dysfunctions and compulsions)

Western culture has historically done much to harm sexuality. Vestiges of the Victorian and Puritan eras, with their emphasis on exclusively procreative sex and discomfort with the idea of sexual pleasure, still resonate with many people, at least on an unconscious level. Sex is evil; sex is sin and eternal damnation.

(which has been a big problem in the Christian community throughout history, and still can resonate down from our own parents’ generation).

Today, we have the “free love” of the 70′s behind us, a growing understanding of sexuality in the mental health field, the significance of the women’s movement and the impact of the communications industry which have combined to break down some barriers to sexual understanding. But we STILL live in a sex-negative culture. The sexual terrain of our times, especially after AIDS, is filled with fear, uncertainty and reactivity – for “normal” people, never mind neurotics, homosexuals, alternative sexualities (BDSM), cross-dressers, people who embrace polyamory rather than monogamy,– AND for the baby-boomers who are trying to forge a new paradigm for sexy aging.

We still get mixed messages from the culture about sex. We’re still confused. “Sex is dirty, save it for someone you love.” Does sex have to be illicit for it to be good? Sex belongs as part of a committed relationship, which connotes high values but low passion. Honor and virtue do not seem to combine well with hot, trembling, lusty sex. Men in this culture still suffer from the “Madonna/Whore Complex”. Some men choose both but will have to be dishonest about it, thus making a tear in the fabric of the integrity of their primary relationship.

Then there’s the societal influence of new technology. The permeating influence of cybersex/pornography on men’s ability to attach and bond to a real, vital woman is a significant barrier to sexual intimacy. Divorce attorneys from the American Bar Association report that a whopping 50% of all divorces are the result of the husband’s addiction to cybersex – that is — pornography, chat rooms, webcam sex, ads for prostitutes, dominatrixes, female bondage and humiliation, the fetish of your choice.

Women, for their part, are encouraged to adorn themselves to be sexually desirable, but not to be sexual. In their historical roles as the guardians of morality, they fail as women if they “succumb” to their (base) sexual natures and allow for the experience of sexual pleasure. Religious traditions have, in fact, been part of this split way of understanding sexuality. The idea of sex as sin outside of marriage and sex as duty inside of marriage is still alive in the collective unconscious and has gone far to undermine the acceptance of sexual pleasure as normal and healthy. These antiquated ideas that there is something morally perverse about a woman who enjoys sex are cultural imprints that unconsciously paralyze many women when they try to experience their sexual selves.

It seems to me that the media, as the messenger of cultural values, promotes the image of an anorexic teenager as representing the height of sexual desirability. Can’t be too thin or too young (within legal limits) to have sex appeal. People are then obsessed with living up to this unrealistic standard for physical beauty being piped through the media. Women compare themselves to the unattainable, develop poor body images, and lose interest in sex.

(Ironically, physical beauty and sexual responsiveness are not interrelated. The fact is that superficial variables such as weight, age, height, facial structure OR the size of a penis make very little difference when it comes to a person’s ability to be sexually responsive and experience sexual passion.)

Our society also buys into the notion that good sex always involves intercourse and orgasm by both partners, preferably at the same time. This approach to sexuality is restrictive and unrealistic, especially as we get older. As I’ve mentioned, sexuality is a much broader arena than getting it up, keeping it up and getting it in. An emphasis on intercourse and orgasm strengthens the misconception men have that women need to be desirable and men need to perform. Performance anxiety and sexual dysfunction are the usual results of an exclusively intercourse/orgasm approach to sex. Furthermore, the focus on genital sex exclusively limits the full range of sexual/sensual dimensions that can be experienced in addition to, or instead of, intercourse.

Some people have “intrapsychic” conflicts about sexuality from having grown up with dysfunctional family dynamics. I don’t even want to think about the rampant sexual abuse of young females where the perpetrator is the father or other close family member. It doesn’t get reported, the rest of the family denies it, and the girl suffers in agonizing isolation, thinking it was her fault, until adulthood when she may get some treatment. Certain young boys are covertly incested by their mothers: there may not have been actual sex, but the mother may have been needy, narcissistic, enmeshed, over-involved, controlling and unable to let her son “differentiate” to become the individual that he should become. These boys may grow to be men with sexual problems.

However, the vast majority of sexual “shut-downs” comes from interpersonal conflicts between the partners. Anger, resentment guilt, hurt feelings, being shut-down and non-communicative are not the stuff upon which sexual fulfillment is built.

I think relationships go bad (and sex shuts down) (cite divorce rates) because the vast majority of people have misconceptions about love and intimacy. Yet, understanding intimacy is crucial to our understanding of hot and sweaty, yet warm and tender lovemaking. Sex is, by definition, an intimate act that is enhanced by the lovers knowing themselves and the other. If lovers are not able to know and disclose their deepest needs and wants to each other, sex becomes mechanical. This kind of knowing and communicating about wants, needs and fantasies requires a foundation of trust and safety that can be found in a loving relationship.

(A caveat – I have no problem with casual sex, booty calls, friends with benefits, or even “kinky” sex that’s not part of a primary relationship. This kind of sex can be fun and satisfying (depending on whether you respect each other), but it’s something altogether different than sex in a loving, monogamous relationship.)

Many people think of intimacy in terms of sentimentality or romanticism. To do so is to falsify it. “Being in love” is also a falsification of intimacy.

“Being in love” is a really a temporary state of insanity. Each person projects his/her own personal relationship agenda (established in childhood) on the other without having any real, knowledge of the other. Inevitably, the honeymoon is over, or people fall “out of love”, and disillusionment sets in. We do not want to give up our fantasy and grow into the reality of actually loving the person “as is”. At this point, either the relationship breaks off or the couple starts to work on building a relationship based in knowing the reality of each other.

People have all sorts of misconceptions about what “love” means. Love can mean sundry, ambiguous, neurotic and even evil things to some: Caring for, rescuing, infatuation with, dependence on, feeling close to, sacrificing for, being a martyr to, being sexually excited by, having a “trophy partner”, having control over another, being controlled by another, marrying someone who’s somewhat like you’re abusive mother in order to finally get her to change, the need for validation and admiration from the other, or the vilely self-destructive idea that love means pain – either from physical or emotional abuse.

These kinds of ill-conceived notions about love create plastic, destructive relationships in which intimacy cannot exist. These relationships can be used to manipulate others, to get our own narcissistic needs met at the expense of the other, and are in the service of other nefarious, unconscious, neurotic conflicts. Celebratory sex can’t exist in a plastic, alienated relationship because sex at it’s fullest requires us to authentic and connected with our lover.

So what is love? “I love you” means something very concrete. It means that I surround you with a feeling that allows you, even requires you, to be everything you really are as a human being at that moment. When my love is full, you are your fullest self. I experience you not as what I expect, not what I want, not as a mannequin upon which I cloche my unconscious, infantile, needs to have a parent and remain a child. You don’t need to reflect well on me. You are not my status symbol. You are, to me…your authentic self.

We love when we not only allow, but enable, enhance and enjoy the “otherness” of our partner.

Being loved, being moved by another’s acceptance into knowing ourselves as we really are may bring trouble, actually. The result of knowing what issues you have that impair productivity and intimacy may be painful, but it can be worked through. We grow with it. It is in human-to-human relationships that we learn, make mistakes and relearn. And the primary intimate/sexual relationship is where we can relearn most profoundly.

Love shatters roles and facades and is illuminative. The confirmation that you are loved lies in your increasing experience of being who you are. Love is unilateral…self as the one who loves actively, not so much the self who is in need of love passively. Real love requires no particular response from the other, so there is freedom of self expression without fear of disapproval or rejection. It is the fear of being alone (or being abandoned) that makes us dependent on the response of others, keeping us from experiencing authentic, real loving.

Let’s look at the word “intimacy”. Again, from the dictionary: the word is derived from the Latin intima, meaning “inner” or “inner-most.” Here again, it suggests that to be intimate, you need to know your real self. (KNOW THYSELF!!!) This ability to be in touch with our inner core is a requisite to being intimate.

Our intima holds the innermost part of ourselves, our most profound feelings, our enduring motivations, our values, our sense of right and wrong and our most embedded convictions about life. Importantly, our intima also includes that which enables us to express these innermost aspects of our person to “the other”.

So, to be in relationship, and to know yourself/your partner sexually, you need to know and respect your intima. The intima is also the way in which we value and esteem ourselves and determines how we are with being with others. To put it simply, if don’t value yourself, you can’t value another. If you’re not aware of needs and wants, or are shamed by them, then sex becomes no more than a fuck.

I think every person I’ve ever seen in my consulting room for sexual compulsions suffers from estrangement from his intimus. We can survive the disapproval of others. The feeling can be painful, but it’s nothing compared to the disapproval of ourselves. Your personal well being and your ability to love another cannot survive your dislike or disrespect of yourself. If you dislike yourself, you’ll never be comfortable with your sexuality.

It bears repeating… the outstanding quality of intimacy is the sense of being in touch with our real selves. When “the other” also knows and is able to express his real self, intimacy happens. Sexuality is both an expression of that intimacy and a bond that enhances intimacy. With this kind of personal/sexual intimacy, our growth experience as humans is energized, enhanced, and fueled. Intimacy is the most meaningful and courageous of human experiences. It’s why people long for it so.

However, despite this universal longing, the fear and avoidance of intimacy is a reality for many people. People fear and even dread that which they most long for. No wonder there’s such a demand for psychotherapists!

So why would people fear, avoid or sabotage this wonderful thing called intimacy and, in the process, avoid sex.

Our capacity for intimacy is formed in the crucible of the first two years of life. Mothers that are needy, narcissistic, depressed, enmeshed (over-involved), distant, too protective, controlling, chronically angry, addicted to substances, frustrated with their husbands and displace their needs onto their children… raise children who have the psychic imprint of closeness as being dangerous. They also raise children who will carry self-hatred into their adult lives unless they get good treatment.

As children, they developed a rigid defense system (boundaries, walls, turning inward to not need others) in order to psychologically survive. But what worked for them as children doesn’t work for them as adults. For these people, the vulnerability of intimacy harkens back to a time when they were vulnerable as children and they fear re-traumatization in their current relationship.

When a person like this is loved – seen in an affirmative light and encouraged to grow and change – this rigid defensive structure is threatened, so their psychological equilibrium is disrupted. Being loved is not congruent with the negative tapes they run about themselves. They can’t allow the reality of being loved to affect their basic defensive structure. Being vulnerable and open to change feels so threatening that they eschew close relationships and mature sexuality.

Entering into a relationship without having some resolution of childhood wounds results in various kinds of fear of intimacy: fear of being found inadequate, fear of engulfment, fear of the loss of control, fear of losing autonomy, fear of attack, fear of disappointment and betrayal, fear of guilt and fear of rejection and abandonment.

This panoply of fears and anxieties about being close and vulnerable definitely is not sexy. We are most open and vulnerable when we express ourselves sexually and we need to have a secure base in ourselves and our relationship to expose ourselves in this way.

Alright. Now let’s get to the nitty-gritty. Sex and aging.

Some of those “not interested” in sex may very well be the middle-aged and the elderly. They’ve bought into the myth that we’re supposed to stop being sexual after a certain age. The fact is, as we mature emotionally and psychologically throughout the lifespan, we mature sexually as well. We can look forward to the best years of our sexual lives because of that maturity. People under the age of 35 may look hot, but they rarely have the psychological maturity to achieve the kind of self-knowledge, intimacy skills, communication skills and willingness to be vulnerability that underlies intense sexuality.

In order to achieve sexual fulfillment as we grow older, we have to nullify – negate – disown and disbelieve — the sex-negative cultural myths about sexuality and aging. Let’s look at some of those myths now.

· The quality of sex declines for both men and women as they age.

· If a woman does not lubricate sufficiently or a man does not become erect immediately, it’s over for them.

· Erection problems are inevitable and incurable without medical intervention

· Female desire declines dramatically after menopause

· Men peek in their teens…then it’s all downhill.

· Women peak in their 30′s and lose interest in sex by 45-50.

· Men and women with heart disease or other medical problems should avoid sexual activity

· Sex has to end in orgasm

· Intercourse is the only kind of sex that counts; everything else isn’t sex

Those are the myths. But here’s what I think: older loves are more sophisticated about their own/their partners needs, have an increased ability to communicate sexual and emotional needs; there is improved sexual responsiveness in women and a corresponding improved ability to control ejaculation in men; a greater willingness to experiment with sexual variations; far greater technical proficiency as lovers with fewer inhibitions and an increased ability to have fun during lovemaking.

Sex need never disappear and orgasm in both men and women has been observed in the 9th decade.

Sex is different as we age and those who are able to retain a sense of sexual vitality are those who are able to integrate their altered and somewhat diminished, but by no means vanished, sexuality comfortably into their lives. Men, especially, tend to leave the sexual arena because these differences create frustration and anxiety. They compare themselves to their adolescent selves and feel defeated. The vast majority of sexual complaints of the elderly are a product of the person’s aversive psychological reaction to the normal age-related biological changes in sexual response.

Men change with age in that the frequency and intensity of orgasm diminishes. It takes a much longer time to up for “round two”. Older men no longer experience simultaneous erection, unlike much younger men who seem to be able to get it up just by…exposure to the air. By contrast, the older man needs to receive effective stimulation by his partner and then is perfectly able to attain erections.

Women, after menopause, may be less able to lubricate as freely as they once did. That doesn’t mean they’re no longer sexually responsive. All that is required is a sexual lubricate (I recommend Astrogel), and they remain capable of multiple orgasmic response throughout life.

Here’s a list of Hot Sex Tips, according to Dorothy.

* Don’t wait to be moved by desire or interest – allow yourself to be aroused and the desire will follow.

* Do consider some systematic way to relax and calm yourself before a sexual encounter. Anxiety is a killer of “in the moment” eroticism.

* Speaking of “in the moment”, do consider taking up some form of meditation that trains the mind to be focused on the present moment. The mind that is continually wandering to mundane life issues during sex will not be able to experience full sexual potential. (cite books) Being fully in the moment also reduces “spectering”, which is watching and evaluating your performance, which reducing the intensity of sexual experience.

* Do continue to cultivate your sexual skills and techniques. (Cite certain readings from the list).

* People, as they age, do experience fewer sexual fantasies, thoughts and interest. So it’s important to experiment with alternative (external) ways to become aroused. Different postures, sexual techniques, erotic films and videos, the use of sex toys, all result in a more imaginative and creative sex life..

* Do eat nutritionally and exercise – feeling vigorous helps your sex life immeasurably.

* Do not smoke or drink alcohol excessively. A minimum amount of booze (no more than two drinks a day) can be an aphrodisiac: too much makes you loose (or placid and soft) and can ruin your erectile functioning. Smoking also effects erectile functioning in later years.

In conclusion, I invite you to meet the challenge of mature sexual intimacy, and to be and remain…the erotic, celebratory, courageous and connected person that you’re meant to be.

Dorothy C. Hayden, LCSW, MBA, CAC is a Manhattan-based analytic therapist who specializes in sex therapy and sex addiction. Having received her MSW from New York University, she studied psychoanalysis at the Post Graduate Center For Mental Health and The Object Relations Institute. After studying hypnotherapy at the Milton Erickson Society for Psychotherapy and Hypnosis, she became a certified NLP practitioner. She is currently studying couples counseling at The Training Institute for Mental Health.

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The Invisible Wounds Of Psycho-Emotional Child Abuse

Adults who experienced psychological/emotional abuse in childhood are often unaware of the fact that they were abuse victims. They may experience intermittent or chronic anxiety, depression, addiction, and other mental health issues, and often struggle to form healthy attachments / relationships. Once recognized, the adult survivor’s reports of emotional abuse sustained in childhood may be greeted by skepticism, blatant disbelief, ‘blaming the victim’, and even silence and/or indifference, which may further deter the adult survivor from seeking treatment. Many adult survivors continue to be psycho-emotionally abused as a consequence of wanting to stay connected to the perpetrator, who is often a part of, or closely connected to, the survivor’s original nuclear family. This article explores behaviors associated with the psycho-emotional abuse of a child; the signs and symptoms a child and adult survivor may exhibit as a result of this particular form of abuse; and recommendations regarding possible pathways of healing.

The Hidden Wounds of Psychological / Emotional Abuse

Psychological/Emotional abuse experienced in childhood can be insidious: It is insidious because the adult survivor is often unaware that they were in fact victims of abuse, and therefore may not ever seek help or treatment for the invisible psychological and emotional wounds sustained. When healthy mental and emotional functioning is impaired, such an adult is at high risk of developing a variety of mood disorders, addictive behaviors, and other maladaptive ways of being in the world in his or her subconscious attempts to navigate around the pain of an injured psyche.

This type of abuse, when repetitive and/or chronic, results in the child unconsciously believing that he or she is faulty, damaged, and unworthy of love, empathy, attention, and respect. The abused child develops distorted perceptions of self and others, often believing at an unconscious level that there is something wrong with them and that they must deserve the abuse. Such children typically strive life-long to be accepted and approved of by others as a means of proving to themselves that they are ‘okay’ and worthy of love. Having little self-worth, adult survivors of child abuse often find themselves in neglectful, even abusive relationships despite their best intentions to find happiness and love. They may go on to abuse their own children without being conscious of the fact that they are engaging in the very same hurtful behaviors that were inflicted upon them as children.

In the event that an adult survivor does for some reason seek the help of a Mental Heath professional, such as a licensed psychotherapist, they still may not receive the psycho-education and targeted support that they so desperately need to recover from abuse experienced while they were young. This is especially likely if the childhood wounds remain entirely unrecognized and go unreported by the client and/or the therapist unconsciously colludes with their client to prevent the painful material from arising in session (this is especially likely if the therapist has repressed childhood wounding of their own). Successful treatment and recovery from this particular form of child abuse is especially challenging in that the adult survivor in therapy may still be experiencing mental / emotional abuse as a consequence of wanting to remain connected to those who continue to abuse them (most commonly the parents).

According to Andrew Vachss, an attorney and author who has devoted his life to protecting children, the mental/emotional abuse of a child is “both the most pervasive and the least understood form of child maltreatment. Its victims are often dismissed simply because their wounds are not visible… The pain and torment of those who experienced “only” emotional abuse is often trivialized. We understand and accept that victims of physical or sexual abuse need both time and specialized treatment to heal, but when it comes to emotional abuse, we are more likely to believe the victims will “just get over it” when they become adults. This assumption is dangerously wrong. Emotional abuse scars the heart and damages the soul. Like cancer, it does its most deadly work internally. And, like cancer, it can metastasize if untreated” (You Carry The Cure In Your Own Heart, A. Vachss).

An Abuse Of Power

While experts still do not agree on what behaviors constitute psychological/emotional abuse of a child, it is generally recognized by researchers that this form of abuse impairs the psychological and emotional growth and development of the child. Anyone that holds power, authority and/or privilege in the child’s life is potentially capable of mistreating the child, including parents, siblings, relatives, peers, teachers, ministers, scout leaders, coaches, judicial figures, social service employees, etc. The words ‘repetitive’, ‘chronic’, ‘persistent’, and ‘systematic’ are critical when it comes to defining the psycho-emotional abuse of a child. The behavior is abusive when it acts as a continuously destructive force in the child’s life, as the repetitive maltreatment shapes the child’s unconscious narrative describing ‘the truth’ of who they are at the most basic, fundamental level, resulting in the child believing they are ‘bad’, unworthy, faulty, damaged, unwanted, and unlovable.

Examples of this type of abuse by a parent toward a child include the child being blamed, shamed, dismissed, and/or belittled in public and at home; describing the child negatively to others, including in the child’s presence; always making the child at fault; holding the child to unrealistic expectations; verbalizing to the child and/or others an overt dislike and/or hatred of the child; being emotionally closed and unsupportive; and threatening the child. Below is a list that highlights additional acts exhibited toward a child that can result in impaired psycho-emotional functioning, which can include words, actions, complete indifference, and/or neglect:

Abandonment of the child (physical and/or emotional)
Verbal abuse (including calling the child “stupid”, “dumb”, “idiot”, “worthless”)
Intentionally terrorizing / frightening the child
Sarcasm, criticism, ‘teasing’; Ridiculing or insulting the child, then telling the child “it’s a joke”, or “you’re too sensitive / “you have no sense of humor”
‘Gaslighting’, lying, distorting reality
Excessive performance demands (e.g., “You need to make straight A’s, all the time, or else”)
Shaming / Punishing a child for exhibiting natural behaviors (e.g., spontaneous and emotionally honest expressions, playing, laughing, age-appropriate body exploration, including masturbation)
Discouraging attachment / Withholding basic physical nurturing and touch
Overtly or covertly punishing the child for displaying positive self-esteem (e.g., “Don’t be so full of yourself, nobody likes a braggart”; “The world will knock you down a peg or two soon enough”)
Overtly or covertly punishing the child for developing healthy attachments (e.g., “You love your friends more than me”)
Dressing the child in a manner that provokes ridicule from peers and/or in a manner that the child experiences as shaming and humiliating
Exposing the child to traumatic / violent family scenes
Exposing the child to a chronically stressful, traumatizing environment (e.g., alcoholism; drug addiction; domestic abuse)
Unwillingness or inability to provide genuine nurturing and affection on a daily basis
Meeting basic physical needs only; unwilling to nurture and comfort the child (e.g., ignoring emotional needs; shaming the child for having emotional needs)
Failing to provide a growth-evoking environment for the child, including neglecting to nurture and support the child’s growing sense of self
Making the child an emotional ‘spouse’/partner (common after a divorce)
‘Parentifying’ the child: Forcing the child to take on inappropriate parenting tasks versus allowing him or her to be a child
Expecting / Demanding the child meet the primary caregiver’s emotional needs (when it is supposed to be the other way around)
Social isolation: Isolating the child, including from peers
Bullying (psychological domination of the child)

Why Does It Happen?

Psycho-Emotional abuse is caused by many of the same dynamics that cause any form of child abuse to occur. In the case of abuse committed by the parents / primary caregiver, they may simply be unconsciously repeating multi-generational patterns of abuse, i.e., they are acting out the same dysfunctional behaviors toward their child that their own parents displayed toward them. In addition, daily life stressors that build up over time may cause parents to take their frustrations out on their own child, who represents the one ‘thing’ they may feel they have control over, particularly if the child is adding to their sense that life is chaotic, out-of-control, and unmanageable. Social and economic pressures; lack of parental education; addictive processes occurring within the family (alcohol, drug use, denial, enabling, codependency); undiagnosed / diagnosed mental and/or emotional illness; a society that does little to recognize, acknowledge, and stop the abuse of children -All of these factors, and more, can contribute to the maltreatment of a child. In addition, erroneous beliefs about effective and healthy child-rearing techniques may also result in the maltreatment of one’s own child. In some rare and tragic cases, a parent may actually enjoy behaving sadistically toward their child, receiving pleasure by inflicting pain onto their dependent child’s vulnerable psyche. Abusers in general often enjoy feeling a sense of being ‘in control’, making children an easy and rewarding target.

Recognizing The Signs

Curiously, despite the prevalence of psycho-emotional child abuse throughout the world, there are very few well-validated methodologies designed to measure non-physical childhood abuse and its effects on the survivor. Clinicians will often use revised versions of the Child Abuse and Trauma Scale (CATS), which does have some ability to measure mental-emotional abuse. A child’s behavior and personality will often provide clues to a sensitive and/or trained and qualified observer that these types of abuse symptoms are evident. Such behaviors and personality displays may include:

Behavior that is noticeably immature or more mature when compared to the child’s age
Dramatic, at times abrupt changes in behavior
Constant seeking of attention and affection; Clinging to attachment figures
Aggressive, uncooperative, combative behavior
Bed-wetting / Loss of bowel control (after the child is potty-trained)
Depression and/or Anxiety, which in children is often expressed as physical illness such as digestive disorders, migraines, eating disorders, addictive/compulsive behaviors, etc. Also, as expressed through social withdrawal, anger, aggressiveness, remoteness, and sadness
Impaired relationships with peers
Lack of self-confidence/self-esteem
Atypical fears, given the child’s age (e.g., fear of the dark, fear being alone, fear of certain objects, fear of dying)
Emotionally ‘flat’: Unable to express emotions, ‘flat’ affect (i.e., lack of appropriate facial expressions); may include inability to respond to common social cues appropriately; may prevent the development of emotional bonds

The Impact On Adult Survivors

Abuse experienced during childhood can negatively impact the adult survivor throughout the duration of their lives, if the silent damage to heart, soul, and mind remains unrecognized, untreated, and unhealed. If the adult survivor of an abusive parent does at some point attempt to address the abuse, it is typical for the parent to deny that maltreatment of the child ever happened. It is common for the parent to blame the child for any negative behaviors displayed by the child toward the parent in an attempt to discredit the child’s or adult survivor’s truthful accounts of the abuse that actually occurred. The parent will often go to great lengths to tell anyone who will listen (other family members, especially) that their adult child has always been “a problem”, is “angry” and “unforgiving”, and other negative descriptions designed to discredit the adult survivor and protect the public image of the parent. Such intentionally aggressive tactics on the part of the parent is simply another unrecognized form of psycho-emotional abuse and further adds to the untold suffering and distress of the adult survivor, who may already be struggling with mental and emotional symptoms, such as the ones listed below:

Depression
Anxiety
Active or passive suicidal ideation
Misuse of alcohol and drugs, often resulting in addiction
Eating disorders
Panic disorders
Compulsive disorders
Agoraphobia
Difficulty forming meaningful, rewarding, trusting intimate relationships
Self-sabotaging, self-destructive behaviors (may include Borderline Personality Disorder-type symptoms)
Abusive acts toward self and/or others, including one’s own children

Healing: Awareness Is The First Step

Adults who believe they may be suffering from the effects of childhood abuse are encouraged to seek the help of a therapist that has specialized training in helping clients recover from the intrapsychic damage specific to the mental and emotional abuse of a child. Adult survivors engaged in psychotherapy will typically experience feelings such as denial, anger, bargaining, depression, rage, acceptance, and grief as the veil of protective illusion lifts, exposing the adult survivor to dark and ugly truths formerly repressed. As childhood abuse often results in the child disconnecting from the most true and authentic parts of him or herself, therapy is also a means of inviting the adult survivor to risk connecting with self and others in meaningful, emotionally honest ways. The therapist will also help guide the adult survivor on matters relating to discussing the abuse with others; whether or not to remain connected to abusive family members; and how to manage interactions with abusive people that they choose not to sever connections with.

In addition to skillful therapy, online groups like Adult Survivors of Child Abuse can be particularly helpful in regard to providing additional support, education, and resources while undergoing a process of intensive ‘core’ healing. Books such as Adult Children of Abusive Parents: A Healing Program For Those Who Have Been Physically, Sexually, or Emotionally Abused and The Body Keeps The Score: Brain, Mind, And Body In The Healing Of Trauma can also provide invaluable information regarding healing from all forms of childhood abuse, as can skillful body/mind therapeutic modalities, such as Hakomi Therapy.

What Can Be Done To Help Affected Children?

If abuse of a child of any kind is suspected, it is the observer’s responsibility to report their concerns to their local Child Protection agency. It is the agency’s job to investigate any reports of abuse, including abuse that may be non-physical in nature. Psycho-Emotional abuse is typically defined by such agencies as abuse that allows a child to be in a situation whereby they sustain mental / emotional injury that results in their being impaired in the areas of growth and psychological development and function. To learn more about child abuse and how and where to report any suspicions you may have, refer to The Child Welfare Information Gateway website.

Conclusion

As illustrated here, the consequences experienced by the victims of psychological/emotional child abuse are potentially incalculable; however, research in this specific area has until recently been relatively sparse. The research that has been done to date suggests that children may experience lifelong patterns of disconnection, depression, anxiety, dysfunctional/’toxic’ relationships, low self-esteem, and an inability to experience empathy. Development processes may be impaired or even disrupted due to poor mental and emotional adjustment. By the time the child enters adolescence, they often find it difficult to trust and may find themselves unable to experience fulfillment and happiness in their interpersonal relationships, while not having any idea that the roots of their unhappiness, dissatisfaction, and distress as an adult may be found in their painful, wounding childhood. Sadly, if they become parents, adult survivors may have great difficulty identifying and responding empathetically and appropriately to the needs of their own children, thereby perpetuating the cycle of multi-generational abuse existing within their family system.

Alice Miller, renowned psychologist and author of the groundbreaking book, The Drama Of The Gifted Child: The Search For The True Self, had this to say about healing from childhood abuse: “Pain is the way to the truth. By denying that you were unloved as a child, you spare yourself some pain, but you are not with your own truth. And throughout your whole life you’ll try to earn love” (A. Miller, The Roots Of Violence ). Ultimately, healing the invisible wounds of any form of child abuse requires the adult survivor to bravely acknowledge even the most painful and incomprehensible truths; hence, the decision to take responsibility for one’s own well-being and healing is a most courageous act indeed. Perhaps it is also time that we ask ourselves as a society how we may be contributing to the continued abuse of children through our indifference, and what we are willing to do collectively to change this so that no child need ever believe that they are unworthy and undeserving of being loved.

Rebecca C. Mandeville, MA, MACP, MFT, is a Licensed Psychotherapist, Transformational Guide, Consultant, Educator, Award-Winning Author, Guest Expert, and the founder of ‘ChainFree Living Transformational Life Coaching & Guidance Services’. Her unique and very effective Transformational Guidance Services and the free online peer-support Community Forum she offers through ‘ChainFree Living’ are designed to assist individuals in consciously reconnecting with their true self nature in support of emotionally honest, authentic, embodied living.

Rebecca’s transformational life coaching and guidance services are ideal for people who are committed to doing whatever it takes to learn, expand, change, develop, and grow in order to achieve their goals, realize their dreams, and live in an emotionally honest, energized, and awakened manner. Her methods are particularly effective for adult survivors of psycho-emotional abuse who are still in contact with abusive family members.

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How to Transform Child Abuse and Create a Boldly Beautiful Life

Whatever your circumstance it is my hope that my story provides a sense of comfort and relief in knowing that there is nothing in this life that we cannot transform. All we need is the desire and the commitment to do so. It is our birthright to live a beautiful life and even if our childhood did not reflect that back to us in any way, let alone a healthy way, it is not too late to claim it for ourselves, right here, right now.

About twenty five years ago I moved from B.C. to Alberta. B.C. held memories of very traumatic and painful child abuse in every area – physical, emotional, mental and financial. I thought that by simply moving to Calgary I be would leaving the past behind me. This was my first major illusion.

Lesson: You can only effectively let go of your past by forgiving all of the parties involved, including yourself. In order to do that you must be able to see and identify exactly what needs to be forgiven. The sooner we can do this the sooner we make room for miracles and healing. Ultimately for me this required psychotherapy, trauma healing and spiritual transformation and this did not happen until 17 years after the fact.

I recently did a journey at a business seminar that helped to see that from the beginning of my time in Alberta my support system included only the men I dated, the relationships I got involved in and the men I married.

Family support as a child was not an option and I was never allowed the privilege of forming close friendships as I grew up. I had friends from school but I never had the opportunity or the wherewithal to form healthy and lasting friendships.

I loved school – I got good grades and it got me out of the house.

My step-mother physically beat in to me that I was stupid, ugly, fat, worthless – and more. I believed her. And even with good grades, I believed that I was indeed stupid. I also believed that I was really bad and somehow was to blame for all of the abuse. This is a very natural response for any child.

Lesson: It is never the child’s fault. It is never anyone’s fault, even adults, when it comes to abuse. It is simply unacceptable behaviour, period. I learned this the hard way, one marriage at a time.

By marrying men that reflected back to me who and what I was not, I was able to figure out who I was. This was my journey and while I don’t wish for anyone to have to travel this same path I do know that it is a more common path than we realize.

Lesson: It takes a tremendous amount of strength and personal power to leave an abusive marriage, even if it means that you will be divorced, AGAIN! By completely accepting this, you free yourself to learn finally that any form of abusive is no longer tolerable in any way shape or form in your life. Herein lays the secret to magically creating your beautiful life. You finally get it that you’re worth having, being, and experiencing your best life, and it’s never too late to start.

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How Trauma Shapes Sexuality

Why would a woman who was sexually abused as a child have rape and submission fantasies that sexually excite her as an adult? Why would another woman who suffered physical abuse as a child now enjoy role-playing dominant/submissive sex games? Why would a man raped or taunted by classmates as an adolescent now be unable to perform sexually or another man who was repeatedly berated by an emotionally abusive parent now not be able to approach women socially or sexually? These scenarios are not unusual; in fact, they are among the most common examples of how childhood trauma can shape adult sexual behavior.

Various studies (i.e. Wolfe, Gentile & Wolfe, 1989) have confirmed higher rates of Post Traumatic Stress (PTSD) in sexually abused children. These survivors display re-experiencing symptoms, including intrusive thoughts and flashbacks and becoming involved in relationships that repeat the sexually abusive behavior they originally suffered. Additionally, it is estimated that “about four out of five abuse survivors experience disturbing sexual fantasies” (Wendy Maltz M.S.W.) which color their sexual predilections. Maltz says that it is not surprising that the repercussions of abuse manifest themselves as issues of sexuality, since it was sexuality that was abused in the first place.

When we experience trauma in life, we associate those emotions with certain sensations and thoughts that were present during the traumatic episodes. So if our young, innocent bodies instinctively responded to coercive sexual acts – acts that we really didn’t understand or acts that confused us because of how and with whom it was happening – then we might later, as adults, unconsciously connect the event with the feeling (the body remembers). Consequently, coercive sex could actually become a signal to the body to respond sexually, even to the point of orgasm. In fact, “some survivors find that their only path to sexual release is fantasizing victimization.” (H. Smith, 2009).

There are a host of factors that contribute to the eventual sexual behavior of adult survivors, including degree of abuse, duration of abuse, abuser’s relationship to the victim, age when abused, rituals involved and whether or not the abuse became public knowledge and then how it was then dealt with by other parental figures. Some adult survivors avoid sex; others engage in it promiscuously, while others simply numb themselves (or disassociate) during sex. Those are among the most common general reactions that survivors have to sex. But there has been very little research about how the abuse specifically shapes the sexual desires and fantasies of victims. One such study conducted by Meston, Herman & Trapnell (1999), showed a relationship between early abuse and adult sexual behavior in the following areas – frequency of masturbation, range of sexual fantasies, masochism, promiscuity and voyeurism.

Another study by Finklehor & Browne (1985) – the most comprehensive study to date – identifies a “theory of sexual traumatization”. Briefly, the theory posits that through a variety of means, childhood sexual abuse shapes sexuality creating unusual emotional associations to sexual activities and a repertoire of sexualized behaviors that seem inappropriate or disturbing. These behaviors may have been learned during the period of abuse or in some manner are associated with the abuse and are now used as a strategy for manipulating others. What the theory didn’t state is that they may now also be used as a way to self stimulate.

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The Real ADHD Symptoms in Adults

When discussing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in adults, it is important to remember that symptoms exhibit themselves differently in children and adults. The disorder typically manifests itself more subtly in adults, making diagnosis and treatment relatively rare. One marker of ADHD in adults, however, is the widely accepted understanding that it cannot develop in adults.

Researchers now know that approximately 60% of children with ADHD will carry their symptoms into adulthood. In the United States, fully 4% of the adult population, some 8 million people, suffer to some extent from the symptoms of ADHD. Of those who do continue to have symptoms into adulthood, approximately half will be significantly troubled by them. Unfortunately, many children with ADHD are not diagnosed. When symptoms appear in previously undiagnosed adults, they can be bewildered and perplexed by their own actions and moods, often blaming themselves for their perceived inadequacies and limitations.

The causes of ADHD are not well understood. Current research suggests that both genes and environmental issues, such as alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy, each have their role to play. Mention ADHD in children and the image that most frequently comes to mind is that of the hyperactive kid bouncing off the walls. As the child reaches adulthood, that type of behavior subsides a bit. It is replaced, however, by other, more difficult to discern symptoms. The young adult is faced with new obligations and responsibilities. Life makes new demands, requiring a juggling act to keep all the balls in the air. This is difficult for everyone. We all feel overwhelmed from time to time, but someone with adult ADHD finds it challenging most of the time, and frequently impossible.

ADHD symptoms in adults are generally divided into three categories – distractibility, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Distractibility is defined as the inability to focus on a project or task for a significant amount of time. Impulsivity is defined as the inability to control immediate reactions. Hyperactivity is defined as fidgeting and restlessness, and an inability to sit still.

Distractibility is generally thought to be the least bothersome of the three broad categories of symptoms, at least outwardly. Adults who suffer from them, however, can find them quite disruptive. Those who exhibit symptoms in this category may:

• find it challenging to focus on everyday tasks
• find completely irrelevant sights and sounds distracting
• careen from one task to another and are bored easily
• lack focus, leading to lack of attention to detail
• are chronically late
• lack organizational skills
• find it difficult or troublesome to begin or finish tasks
• forget deadlines, appointments and commitments frequently
• procrastinate
• misplace or lose things, such as keys, constantly
• struggle to complete even simple projects
• fail to reasonably estimate the time necessary to complete a project

Impulsivity issues can be quite troubling for an adult with ADHD. They frequently have difficulty maintaining control over their comments, reactions, and behavior. They’ll typically act or speak without thinking. They’ll react without considering the consequences of their actions. Such behavior can lead them into risky situations. At work, they’ll rush into a project without reading the directions, often leading to errors and only partial completion of the task.

Emotional issues can also arise from impulsivity. Adults with impulsivity issues may find it difficult to control emotions. Feelings of anger and frustration are often a particular challenge for the adult with ADHD.

Those adults who manifest symptoms in this category may:

• behave inappropriately in social situations
• be addicted or have addictive tendencies
• rush into situations without giving any thought to the consequences
• often have poor self-control
• make comments, even when rude or questionable
• interrupt or talk over someone else
• be moody and irritable
• be unable to handle criticism
• have explosive bouts of anger which are quickly forgotten
• have low self-esteem
• lack motivation
• be unable to deal with frustration
• have a sense of underachievement

Hyperactivity in adults may express itself in ways similar to its appearance in children. The adult may be in perpetual motion, overly energetic and constantly on the move. However, as mentioned above, the symptoms are usually more subtle in adults. People who exhibit symptoms of hyperactivity may:

• feel inwardly restless and agitated
• be risk takers
• bore easily
• fidget constantly
• have a need for excitement
• talk far too much

Symptoms of hyperactivity occur far less in adults than they do in children. It is important to note, however, that adults who have one or more symptoms of impulsivity or distractibility may still have ADHD, even if they are not hyperactive. Unlike its role in childhood ADHD, where it appears to be a frequent indicator, it is not necessary to be hyperactive to suffer from adult ADHD.

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How Abuse Shapes an Adult Child’s Life

Although there are several types of abuse, they all lead to the adult child syndrome. Indeed, child abuse can be considered a person’s original earthquake, while its effects can be equated with its adult aftershocks.

“A child’s integrity means that the child is safe, that his body and mind and soul’s life are nurtured, that he grows neither too fast nor too slow, that he understands trust and laughter and knows that there are a few people in the world who truly care,” according to Kathleen W. Fitzgerald in her book, “Alcoholism: The Genetic Inheritance” (Whales’ Tail Press, 2002, p. 133). “It means that he is whole and that gaping wounds are not inflicted on his body, his mind, his soul.”

This may be the reality of most children, but those who grow up with alcoholism and dysfunction would consider it little more than a theory.

“Adult children are dependent personalities who view abuse and inappropriate behavior as normal,” according to the “Adult Children of Alcoholics” textbook (World Service Organization, 2006, p. 18). “Or if they complain about the abuse, they feel powerless to do anything about it. Without help, adult children confuse love and pity and pick partners they can pity and rescue.”

Because the brain always attempts to finish out what was done to it, it transforms the abuse survivor into the rescuer he himself once most needed and the pity he feels for others becomes the transposed emotion from himself to them.

“The essence of child abuse,” according to Fitzgerald in “Alcoholism: The Genetic Inheritance” (p. 133), “is that the integrity and innocence of a child are assaulted by the very person or persons charged with his care.”

“A child’s innocence means,” she continues (p. 133), “that he is introduced to the world when he is ready and that the world, with its guilt and violence and shame, is not allowed to assault him too early, for he is protected. He is treasured, not beaten and burned and raped.”

“Domineering and neglectful adults create unsafe circumstances in different ways, but the end result is always danger for the (child),” according to the “Adult Children of Alcoholics” textbook (p. 478). “The danger may be emotional, spiritual, physical, and sexual. It manifests itself in many different ways, and even when not apparent, the threat of hurt is always there. Being alert in this constantly dangerous world is exhausting.”

Abuse wears many faces.

“There are different definitions of abuse and neglect and other unhealthy behaviors,” according to the “Adult Children of Alcoholics” textbook (p. 27). “Our definition is based on adult children facing their abuse and neglect from childhood. For our purposes, (it) can be verbal, nonverbal, emotional, physical, religious, and sexual.”

But it is all damaging.

“We believe that hitting, threats, projections, belittlement, and indifference are the delivery mechanisms that deeply insert the disease of family dysfunction within us,” the textbook continues (p. 27). “We are infected in body, mind, and spirit. Parental abuse and neglect plant the seeds of dysfunction that grow out of control until we get help.”

Abuse is subtly and subconsciously cumulative.

“Child abuse means the sure, steady numbing of young and tender emotions,” wrote Fitzgerald in “Alcoholism: The Genetic Inheritance” (p. 133). “It means that a child has no time for dreams, only nightmares, and that the future is only going to get worse.

“Child abuse means that a young boy or girl believes that the world is basically ugly and violent and that there is really no one to trust. Only yourself. Keep your distance and they can’t hurt you.”

Yet, there is no choice. When you know no other way and the habitual harm you are subjected to falls within what you quickly conclude is normative, it becomes impossible to even understand your precarious situation, especially since no one labels your treatment as boundary-transcending and inappropriate, leaving little escape except the spiritual one, in which you seek protective refuge with creation of the inner child and replace it with the false, synthetic, or pseudo self.

“An alcoholic home is a violent place,” according to the “Adult Children of Alcoholics” textbook (p. 86). “Alcoholism is a violent solution to the problem of pain, and anyone trapped in its lethal embrace is filled with rage and self-hate for choosing that form of denial. Children exposed to such violence come to believe that they are to accept punishment and abuse as a normal part of existence. They identify themselves as objects of hate, not worthy of love, and survive by denying their underlying feelings of hopeless despair.”

Fitzgerald goes so far to state that “there may be child abuse without alcoholism, but there is no alcoholism without child abuse,” (p. 132).

Forced to field, accept, and absorb their parent’s projected and transferred negativity, they can virtually adopt their persona. Chronically subjected to this transposition, they feel dehumanized and demoralized and anything but worthy and valuable. So overwhelming can these negative emotions become, in fact, that they dissociate from them and often feel null and void.

“(Abuse victims) learn embarrassment, then shame, and finally guilt,” wrote Fitzgerald in “Alcoholism: The Genetic Inheritance” (p. 133). “They learn to split the world into good and bad with no maybes; black and white with no grays. To be abused as a child means to live in a state of chronic shock and to learn a set way of behaving that keeps the shock level bearable.”

So buried can traumatic memories of child abuse become, that recovering adult children may initially be unable to access them.

“… We may be unable to fully recall our abuse, but we have a sense that something happened,” according to the “Adult Children of Alcoholics” textbook (p. 461). “We have acting out behaviors that seem consistent with abuse, but we are not sure if it occurred. There may be somatic behaviors or a vague uneasiness in certain situations. In other words, there are flashes of images or bits of a story that make one wonder about what might have happened.”

Aside from manifesting itself as addictions, compulsions, catastrophization, hypervigilance, and post-traumatic stress disorder, mounting, retriggering charge can become uncontainable. Left without choice, remedy, or recourse during their upbringings-other than to swallow and suppress the detriment they were subjected to-abused children can progressively reach the point where the dam on the once believed “gone-and-forgotten” past weakens and finally breaks, releasing a flood of hitherto unexpressed and unprocessed emotions. Reduced to puppets, they may realize that they now function with hairpin triggers, acting out and in effect repeating the abusive behavior virtually downloaded in their subconscious minds. Completing the intergenerational link, they may ultimately re-offend their own children, perpetuating the dysfunctional disease.

“Given our dysfunctional upbringings,” according to the “Adult Children of Alcoholics” textbook (p. 176), “we must realize we could not have turned out differently. Our behavior as adults was scripted from childhood. We repeated what was done to us by our parents… ”

Integral, like cellular building blocks, to abuse is the brain’s mechanism of denial-or its uncanny, but very accurate ability to nullify realty.

“Insanity begins when children are compelled to deny the reality of pain and abuse,” states the “Adult Children of Alcoholics” textbook (p. 355). “They have no basis for deciding what is real or for knowing how to respond to those around them. They no longer trust authority to guide or protect them from harm.”

Yet they paradoxically take responsibility for their own plights.

“They are paralyzed by indecision and grow to hate themselves for being confused and vulnerable and for needing to be safe and secure,” according to the textbook (p. 355). “They learn to survive by punishing themselves for being vulnerable and by denying their need for love.”

Family system denial serves as the final nail driven into the container of abuse.

“The (family) system allows abuse or other unhealthy behaviors to be tolerated at harmful levels,” the “Adult Children of Alcoholics” textbook states (p. 22). “Through repetition, abuse is considered normal by those in the family. Because the dysfunction seemed normal or tolerable, the adult child can deny that anything unpleasant (even) happened.”

Added to the dilemma is the necessary loyalty to the abusers who serve as the child’s only channel to food and shelter.

Denial, in no small way, was facilitated by the fundamental, but unspoken “don’t talk, don’t trust, don’t feel” rules.

“Growing up in a dysfunctional family meant not trusting what you were seeing or what your parents said,” according to the “Adult Children of Alcoholics” textbook (p. 192). “Abuse was often minimized or blamed on another cause, which resulted in the child not trusting his or perceptions.”

Damaged, diminished, and demoralized, a child abuse survivor represents a very young version of a soldier, particularly since he is subjected to his earliest detriment when he is psychologically, emotionally, physically, and neurologically undeveloped.

“It is said that… children (who grew up with abuse) show the same anxieties, depression, and confusion as men who fought in a war,” wrote Fitzgerald (p. 134). “And 95 out of every 100 of those children are thrown out into the world with no help, no hope, no healing.”

In what may be the ultimate act of illogical, but subconscious irony, adult children frequently and effortlessly attract those who share similar upbringings, because their behavioral characteristics are familiar to them. Employing what can be considered a sixth sense, they identify the same energy waves in others, detecting a kindred spirit, and enact the philosophy of the late John Bradshaw, who often stated, “When you don’t know your history, you’re doomed to repeat it.”

“Adult children intuitively link up with other adult children in relationships and social settings,” according to the “Adult Children of Alcoholics” textbook (p. 13). “As bizarre as it sounds, many adult children are attracted to an abusive, addicted person (who) resembles an addicted or abusive parent… Because we confuse love and pity and have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility, our abusive relationships ‘fit’ with a subconscious set of traits we are looking for in a mate or significant other.”

Aside from these aspects, abuse shapes an adult child’s life in numerous, multifaceted ways.

He becomes an object of hate. Bombarded by toxic and negative emotions, which transcend his parent’s boundaries and infringe upon him, he fields and feels them.
His sense of safety is shattered. Safety is like an invisible shield of glass that separates him from the harm of others, but which he never knew he had until it was cracked.

His trust becomes tested, if not altogether lost. Like safety, it is another protective, but invisible layer he never thought about until he no longer had it. Before, he just took it for granted. After his initial parental betrayal, however, he is forced to tolerate his brain’s attempt to convince him to flee or seek refuge from what it believes will result in a replay of that betrayal experienced during his initial trauma. If he disregards its message, his emotions may range from mild anxieties to full-fledged explosions. At times it may win the battle and overtake him, leaving him little later-in-life solution but to isolate.

He has unknowingly been transferred to the wrong side of the fence. Instead of believing that he is on the same side of it as his abusive parent, he suddenly finds that he is on the opposite side of it, yet he does not understand how or why. It is from this position that he secondarily realizes that he will now be reduced to this “enemy” role, forced to live as the target of the parent who should theoretically protect him from such dangerous exposure.

During parental retriggerings or out-and-out insanity flare-ups, family member roles are decidedly amended. Instead of being the son or daughter, he or she becomes the victim. Instead of being the parents, they become the predators, and they will unknowingly serve as the original authority figures in the child’s inside, or home-or-origin, world and represent the subconsciously retriggering ones in the adult’s later-negotiated outside world.

In order to survive, he creates the inner child to escape, but this only arrests his development. Although he may physically grow, he remains emotionally and psychologically stunted, with a severed connection to his Higher Power and others, and is often subjected to reactive thoughts.

His necessary brain rewiring causes him to subconsciously adopt the survival traits, and his focus changes from “love” to just “live.”

Before he lost his safety and trust, he considered people anchors. Now, filtering them through abused eyes, he views them as threats, as his polarity reverses from “attract” to “repel.”

His family’s cohesion has equally been juxtaposed. Instead of living in one he once believed was stitched together by love, he realizes that it is often torn apart by fear, denial, and danger, and, after time, that his own thread has been so worn, that it is frayed beyond recognition.

Physiological reactions created by mostly subconscious thoughts of pending doom and danger cause him to raise his guard and prime him to run, resulting in a considerably higher degree of brain stem, fight-or-flight mechanism functioning and manifesting itself in nerve-related maladies and hypervigilance. Considering others, he will most likely bridge the thought from “Will you hurt me” to “When will you hurt me?”

Until and unless he seeks understanding and recovery, interactions with others may, at times, cause him to ride a seesaw throughout life, which pivots on a power play. Either he will sit on the down or victim side or on the up, authority figure one.

Finally, there is the injustice of it all-of having been trapped and captive in an abusive home without remedy or recourse; of being targeted the way his unrecovered and unempathetic parents once were as children; of being the innocent victim they took their anger and destruction out on; and of being forced to carry the burden of it and pay with his suffering.

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