Hello G.I.L. Readers!

My name is Kelsy Burke and I am a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh. I am conducting research that explores how Christians use the Internet to talk about issues related to sexuality. If you are 18 years or older, I’d like to ask you to participate in my study by completing an online questionnaire.

You don’t need to disclose your real name, and no identifying information will be recorded. Your participation is completely confidential and after you submit your responses, they are stored securely in a password protected database. There are no risks or benefits for participating in this study.

The questionnaire will take you about 15 minutes to complete and will ask you basic demographic questions (e.g. age, race, marital status, education). It will also ask you questions about your religious affiliation and participation, Internet use, sexual practices, and sexual attitudes.

You will see a statement about compensated online interviews when you take the questionnaire. I am not conducting interviews at this time but I appreciate your help with the survey component of my study.

Here is the link to the questionnaire. In order to access it, you’ll need to enter the access code: faith11.

If you have any questions about the study, please feel free to contact me.


This research study is being conducted by Kelsy Burke, Ph.D. candidate at the University of Pittsburgh. It has been approved by the University of Pittsburgh Institutional Review Board and is being overseen by Distinguished Professor and Chair of Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh, Kathleen Blee. For more information about Kelsy, check out her website, www.kelsyburke.com.


Feelin' Sexy Friday -- Embrace the Muffin Top

I recently watched the movie Eat, Pray, Love and there was a scene in there that made me smile and think.

Here's the movie scene:
The main character, Liz, is eating pizza in Naples with her friend when her friend looks guiltily at the pizza and explains she cannot eat it.

"I want to, but I've gained like 10 pounds.... I've got this right here on my tummy. What's this called?"

"A muffin top. I have one, too. Let me ask you this.... In all the years you've ever undressed in front of a gentleman has he ever asked you to leave? Has he ever walked out or left?"


" That's because he doesn't care. He's in the room with a naked girl. He's won the lottery... I'm so tired of saying no and then waking up in the morning and recalling every single thing I ate the day before, counting every calorie I consume so I know exactly how much self-loathing to take into the shower. I have no interest in being obese. I'm just through with the guilt."

I've worked a lot with women with disordered eating and body image issues and these are often tied to sexuality. There may be a million different reasons for this, but that's to be discussed at another time.

Embrace your body! Love who you are! Your man will love you no matter what your body looks like. Confidence and being comfortable with how you look is sexy!!

My challenge for you is to show that confidence. Go initiate an intimate interaction. Put on some nice lingerie or go in the buff or show your confidence in how you pursue. Do whatever works for you. I bet your man will love it. Let me know how it goes.

Have a great Friday!
Questions or Suggestions for further topics? Email alyssamft{at}gmail{dot}com


Difficulty Reaching Orgasm

You’ll notice in the statistics on sexuality post that 8% of women rarely or never orgasm. This may surprise quite a few of you. I’ve heard a lot of women say that they can’t orgasm and worry that they never will. However, most of them figure it out.

I once heard a sex therapist compare an orgasm to a sneeze. That is that it varies so much from individual to individual. It varies in intensity, length, frequency etc. Don't compare yourself to others.

In order to properly treat this, first examine what you think the possible cause is. Are you stressed out? Are you on medications? Do you feel somewhere in your mind that you should not enjoy sex? Do you have a good marital relationship? Is sex painful or uncomfortable?... There are a number of factors that could contribute to lack of orgasm so just make sure you’re doing a good self-assessment. (See posts such as The Good Girl Syndrome or Hypoactive Sexual Desire and Sexual Response Cycle)

Here are some ideas:

Do sensate focus.
Have your spouse figure out what feels good for you. This is what I refer to as mutual masturbation. Communicate with him on what you like regarding pressure, speed, intensity etc. Do you enjoy manual or oral stimulation? The clitoris is the base for female orgasm. Do you know where the clitoris is located? Do you realize that it might withdraw part of the way through the SRC for some women?
If you feel comfortable masturbating, you could try it. Don't know where to start? See here. More women are successful on their own than with a partner. My personal belief is you should try with your partner to promote couple intimacy. It’s a learning process for both of you. Some women who masturbate to orgasm would rather just do it on their own than ever involve their partner. I think it’s better if the experience is shared. It's up to you.

Try different positions.
Some positions allow the clitoris to be more easily stimulated than others. Try a few. You could even have the man insert his penis slightly while also manually stimulating your clitoris. Make it a gradual process until the manual stimulation can be removed.

Create an environment to promote orgasm
If you’ve reached orgasm before, what were the circumstances? Were you in lingerie? Was it spontaneous sex? Was sex planned? Were you kid-free for the night? Were you not stressed about work, school, money etc? Just figuring it out could help. Or you could try to make circumstances similar.

Don’t focus on orgasm
Often when you are so worried about having an orgasm, you won’t orgasm. Just try to enjoy sex for a week or two without worrying about orgasm and see what happens. Focus on pleasuring your partner, connection, and closeness. See how long you can go with just foreplay.

Examine what orgasm means to you and your partner.
Do you judge a good sexual encounter by how “good” the orgasm was? How many times orgasm occurred? What about foreplay? Is sex only successful or enjoyable if orgasm is attained? Do you like to be in control and hate to lose control and orgasm? What does it mean to not orgasm? Talk about it.

Kegal Exercises
So easy to do and you can do them anywhere. Nobody will even know. Strengthening the muscles is helpful and will help give you some control.

Therapeutic Devices
Eros Clitoral Therapy Device Therapy
An Eros-CTD will increase blood flow to clitoris by acting as a vacuum

InterStim Neurostimulator
Implant that sends electrical impulses

Gwen also has some recommendations for vibrators here, here, here and here.


Statistics on Sexuality



Many surveys have been conducted regarding sexuality.
  • Kinsey Report (1947): Sample of 18,000, sample of convenience
  • Masters and Johnson (1960’s): Small sample, lab setting, convenience sample
  • Shere Hite Report (1976): Sample of 3,000, 3% return, women’s magazine subscribers
  • Redbook: 2% return of 4,700,000 readers
  • Janus Report (1993): sent to 4550, 2795 returned-61% return
  • Several European and U.S. studies in 1990’s
People often wonder what's "normal". For the sake of these statistics, we will use the National Health and Social Life Survey from 1990. It's one of the best studies completed so far.
  • Sample of 3,432, Ages 18-59, randomly sampled, 90 minute interviews in home & has published findings in two books (The Social Organization of Sexuality and Sex in America)
Here are some findings:
  • We marry people like ourselves-class, age, religion, ethnicity, educational background—also seems to be true in terms of sexual practice
  • 75% of Americans report high satisfaction with their sex life
  • 84% of couples fantasize during intercourse
Thinking About Sex
Every Day
  • 54% Men
  • 19% Women
Few Times/Month
  • 43% Men
  • 67% Women
Less than 1/mo or never
  • 4% Men
  • 1% Women

  • Frequency
    • Married: 7.3%
    • Single: 7.0%
    • Married: 36.1%
    • Single: 28.3%
    Few Times/Month
    • Married: 42.5%
    • Single: 36.2%
    Few times/Year
    • Married: 12.8%
    • Single: 17.2%
    Not at all
    • Married: 1.3%
    • Single: 11.9%
    Never Had an Affair
    • Men: 65-85%
    • Women: 80%
    Duration of Sexual Interaction
    Less than 15mins
    • 11% Men
    • 15% Women
    15-60 Mins
    • 69% Men
    • 71% Women
    More than 60mins
    • 20% Men
    • 15% Women
    Frequency of Orgasm
    • 75% Men
    • 29% Women
    • 20% Men
    • 42% Women
    • 3% Men
    • 21% Women
    • 2% Men
    • 8% Women
    Physically Pleased
    • 47% Men
    • 40% Women
    Emotionally Satisfied
    • 41% Men
    • 38% Women
    Practices Found Enjoyable
    Vaginal Intercourse
    • 83% Men
    • 78% Women
    Receiving Oral Sex
    • 50% Men
    • 33% Women
    Giving Oral Sex
    • 33% Men
    • 37% Women
    25% of both men and women have tried anal intercourse at least once

    Sexual Dysfunction
    3% of men and 14% of women reported pain during intercourse
    8% of men and 21% of women reported that sex was not pleasurable
    8% of men and 24% of women had been unable to have an orgasm
    16 of men and 33 % of women reported lack of interest in sex
    17% of men and 33% of women reported performance anxiety
    28% of men and 10% of women reported that they climaxed too soon

    If you're happy with your sex life, that's all that matters, These are just numbers.

    Do you feel like you have a better-than-"normal" rockin' hot sex life?


    Getting Pregnant

    I once had a friend tell me that baby-making sex was the best sex she'd ever had. I've heard many women say that baby-making sex is the first time in their sex life where they feel like that can take control and really enjoy it.

    We took a little while to get pregnant with our first baby so sex became a bit of a roller coaster for us. I finally decided to educate myself a bit more and read Taking Charge of Your Fertility
    and I highly recommend it.

    Here are some of the things I learned:

    1. Most (not all) women ovulate 14 days before their period. It's not after ending your period. Ovulation may vary month to month for the same woman.
    2. There are usually many variations in basal body temperature (BBT) throughout the month. A spike of about .4-.6 degrees usually signifies ovulation. Once your temperature has risen it means you have ovulated; it doesn’t mean that you’re about to ovulate. BBT varies between people. Take your temperature at the same time every day. Do it after having 5 hours of sleep so it’s a resting BBT. BBT is affected by stress, sickness etc.
    3. Your cervix changes position throughout your cycle. It can be low, raised, open, soft, hard etc. Generally a high, open, soft cervix is indicative that ovulation is about to occur.
    4. Your cervical mucus changes throughout your cycle. It can be sticky, thick, wet, flaky, dry, yellow, clear, opaque, nonexistent etc. Generally, mucus about the consistency of egg whites (thin, stretchy, clear) is indicative of ovulation. A woman’s fertile phase only lasts as long as she has fertile cervical mucus.
    5. Tracking BBT, cervical position and cervical mucus together can be the most helpful in determining ovulation.
    6. Sperm can survive in fertile (egg white consistency) cervical mucus for up to 5 days. This is longer than it will survive at any other time in your cycle.
    7. A woman’s egg can only live up to 24 hours.
    8. It’s okay to go to your doctor even if you have been trying to get pregnant for less than a year if you’ve been monitoring your body well (BBT, cervical mucus and cervical position) and have some knowledge of what’s going on. It will help the doctors have a better picture of what's going on. If you haven't been monitoring these, it's suggested that you wait until a year before seeking fertility help from a doctor.
    9. Conception actually occurs in the outer third of the fallopian tubes, not in the uterus. The sperm meets the egg in the fallopian tubes and they start to multiply into many cells and then go and implant on the uterine wall.
    10. Both men and women can have problems that cause infertility. About 1/3 of fertility problems are caused by women and another 1/3 by men and the other 1/3 are a combined reaction or unknown. Still, fertility should be thought of as a couple issue. Do not blame one of the partners!
    That's a lot to keep track of, but I believe that anticipation can help both you and your partner. Sometimes, planned sex can be nice. Maybe, lay out your lingerie on the bed for your hubby to see so he'll know what he has a lot to look forward to at the end of the day.

    Sex has the potential to become a bit stressful if you're taking a while to get pregnant, but remember that whether you make a baby that time or not to still enjoy the experience with your partner!


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