Monthly Archives: July 2007

anorexia and sex survey – part 3

okay, let’s move on to part 3 of the survey on anorexia and sex. we already talked about the “thrill” of looking at pictures of anorexic women that some people experience. we should also note, however, that there were quite a few responses that indicated concern and empathy. the word “sad” came up numerous times (e.g., “they look unhealthy, and that makes me sad to see”). other indications of concern were

  • i think it’s sad. i got to this site from a link … not from searching for this topic. i almost can’t stand to look at even anorexics in bathing suits because it upsets me quite a bit.
  • the first link that you showed – extremely thin models – i saw them as sexy but unhealthy. interesting to look at but if they were my friend i would encourage them to eat more and just be physically fit. if they were my partner i would be very concerned that it had gotten to that point.
  • really skeletal ones are indeed sick and in need of urgent help.

others saw beauty, either because they enjoy the female/human form in general, or because of a fascination with thin bodies:

  • i enjoy looking at all female bodies regardless of size or weight.
  • as an artist, i view an anorexic nude as i do any other nude figure: objectively and without prejudice.
  • all women are beautiful. there’s just something elegant and proportioned about very thin women.
  • beauty at its best.

these quotes already hint at an interest in anorexia not only from the point of view simply of sexual attraction but also as an allure in itself. nine respondents spoke directly to that, for example:

  • i am an anorexic, although there is much ‘thinspiration’ online i was looking for something more extreme. also men always say that women without curves are completely unattractive in any sexual way. however, i don’t believe them, i think there must be millions of men that see the beauty of anorexia.
  • i’m a gay woman, and i admit, i’m obsessed with being thin. the slim models in the first set of pictures are very sexy to me, extremely attractive body type. i can’t help that, it’s what i feel. the skeletal one isn’t sexual for me, but it does make me want to be thinner. it’s a competitive thing i think.
  • seeing anorexic nudes expose the supreme control that they have over their bodies, that their bodies propose no limitation. they are not held back. in some ways i find this so beautiful.
  • anorexia is sexy … delicate and fragile. also i find it attractive when someone is willing to go to a lot of work and maintenance to maintain they way they look. being anorexic is hard, being a tubby lump shows that you don’t care at all about how you look, at least not enough to do anything about it.
  • those pictures give a sort of inspiration, most of all… kind of hope… that hope that says to me that one day i’m going to be thin, not as a skeleton, just that i’m going to be capable to dress all kind of pretty stuff and i’m gong to feel ok.
  • i don’t look at that. more just anorexic people for inspiration.

in the last installation, i will give you a few more statistics and will try to make sense of this all.

isabella mori
counselling in vancouver

10 little-known ways to say goodnight to insomnia

chronic insomnia – problems falling or staying asleep, or markedly unrestful sleep for more than three weeks – can drive people crazy.

often there are underlying problems: depression, anxiety, restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, etc. treating them can help with sleeplessness. other things that can help are widely known, such as not drinking caffeine, not reading or watching tv in bed, having a regular bedtime routine, etc.

here are a few ideas that you may not be that familiar with:

  1. if you have trouble falling asleep for over 30 minutes, get up and do something boring in dim light until you get sleepy again
  2. get yourself physically exhausted in fresh air (but no less than one hour before you go to bed)
  3. take a very warm bath with epsom salts and/or baking soda
  4. get your partner to give you a gentle massage until you fall asleep
  5. quiet ears: lie on your back with your hands behind your head, fingers interlocked, and your palms cupping the back of your head. get as relaxed as possible (this position make take a little while to get used to). place your thumbs in your ears so that you are pressing the outer flap of your ear and blocking the entrance to the ear canal. lie quietly and listen for a high-pitched sound that you will gradually hear inside your head. lie there for 10 to 15 minutes and concentrate on that sound. then put your arms to your sides and go to sleep. (and no, it will not cause tinnitus)
  6. eye flutters: fixate on a single point (like the ceiling) and then close your eyes. keep your eyes closed for 5 seconds, then gently and slowly open them for just a moment, then close your eyes again, this time keeping them closed for 10 seconds. repeat until your eyes begin to fatigue and you drift off to sleep, each time increasing your “closed” count by 5 seconds.
  7. reading something “soft” – something that will engage you enough to want to read for a few pages but not so exciting that you can’t put it down – in dim light. fatigued eyes often bring on sleep.
  8. when you wake up in the middle of the night, have a mantra ready (“sleeping, sleeping, sleeping” works for me) that you start saying immediately so that your mind does not engage in thoughts
  9. let’s not forget listening to the goldberg variations, written by j.s. bach to help his patron, count kayserling, fall asleep!
  10. and last not least, there is always sex! (i don’t think we need to a link for that, you probably know how that works 🙂

good night …

isabella mori
counselling in vancouver

(this post was included in the 11th carnival of doing it differently. thanks!)

anorexia and sex survey: results, part 2

this is part 2 of my preliminary report on the “anorexia and sex” survey. i’m trying to figure out what internet surfers find so fascinating about looking at pictures of nude or scantily clad anorexic women.

as i said earlier, this is not a scientific study. however, it could probably serve as an exploration for a thorough investigation of this topic. in the back of my mind, i’m also wondering what the big picture is. is there a deeper question i am trying to ask, and if so, what might it be?

what intrigued me in the first place was the huge difference between how many people google phrases like “nude anorexics” – tons of them – and how few google phrases like “recovering from anorexia” – very few, comparatively speaking.

if our internet behaviour is a reflection of our “real” life (and that’s a big if, plus there is a question of what that “real” life actually is), then what does that say about us? is there a similar relationship between our need/desire to pursue (search for) quick thrills, as opposed to long-time relief from a potentially fatal illness? by the way, in the post that started all of this, i saw a similar relationship in regard to alcohol (e.g. a 1:27 ratio between “drunk girls” and “drunk driving”).

so what’s the driving factor in all of this? is it that our brains/emotions find it so much easier to get their teeth into the image or idea of a “naked anorexic” or “drunk chick” than into the idea of recovery and a healthy life?

is it because health seems so much more boring than sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll? or, seeing that both alcohol and anorexia have a high potential of resulting in death, maybe it’s because there is something irresistible about the combination of death and sex (good old freud is nodding vigorously in his grave)? is it simply the allure of that which is different?

my hunch right now is that it all has something to do with thrills; and “different” is definitely one thrill factor. in the survey, there were also quite a few comments that alluded to that:

there is no attraction besides a sexual derived interest in seeing the female form differently.

it’s the bizarreness; it’s the fetish of it

just weird that it’s there… a friend was joking about it & i had to see.

a WOW!!! LOOKIT THAT! factor. real anorexics naked and displaying their charms can be arousing.

some do fascinate me (some ribs, the muscles, …) while it fits their posture. has some predatory look, like a hungry lioness looking for prey during the dry season and food is scarce. if the world was full of perfect people, it would be a boring place. it’s the flaws that make each people unique.

as a matter of fact, about seventy per cent of the responses had at least one element of strong feelings in it (“ew!”; “i feel like i’m looking at holocaust victims”; “there is something both scary and sexy”).

so … is it all about the thrill?

more about this in my next post.

anorexia and sex survey: results are in

what’s the fascination with pictures of anorexic women? last december, i wondered aloud about that and put together a little survey. it was inspired by detecting that vastly more internet surfers google words like “anorexic nudes” than words that would indicate that anorexia is something that needs to be treated.

not surprisingly, that post in december, entitled anorexia and sex, drew quite a bit of readers – 2,884 by july 14. 106 readers took the survey. today i want to give you a quick preliminary report on the results.

in the survey, i asked people to comment on their thoughts on viewing pictures of thin or anorexic women, either in the nude or scantily clad. around two-thirds (66 people) were kind enough to give their time to say something about that.

many readers – around a third of the comments – didn’t like the pictures, ranging from judgmental (“they look really unappealing and repulsive”) to concerned (“i almost can’t stand to look at even anorexics in bathing suits because it upsets me quite a bit”).

the next most frequent type of comment (although only one sixth of them) went in the other direction and talked about how sexually attractive these pictures were. this was even more pronounced in the statistical part of the survey, where 49% said that thin was “sexy” or “very sexy”.

when you disregard those who were either disinterested or ambiguous about the connection between being thin and being sexually attractive, then the percentage of those who said that thin was sexy or very sexy goes up to 84%.

however, when asked about their ideal sexual partner, being thin is not nearly as interesting. 29% want him or her to be “thin” or “i want to see bones” (37% if you disregard those for whom body size is not important).

these two observations are interesting – there is quite a bit of a difference between what people think is sexy and who they actually want to be with.

here are a few quotes of what people said about this topic:

anorexia is sexy … delicate and fragile. also i find it attractive when someone is willing to go to a lot of work and maintenance to maintain they way they look. being anorexic is hard, being a tubby lump shows that you don’t care at all about how you look, at least not enough to do anything about it.

i’m a gay woman, and i admit, i’m obsessed with being thin. the slim models in the first set of pictures are very sexy to me, extremely attractive body type. i can’t help that, it’s what i feel.

the attraction of anorexic nudes is a combination of sexual lust and vulnerability of the girl. it may be that a very thin girl or women attracts the paedophilic instinct, without the guilt associated with that of abusing a child.

i believe that nude bodies of both males and females are beautiful. they can also be sexy and even erotic. sometimes looking at normal people gets boring, i think this is why i and other people like looking at slender, and even anorexic nudes. we are always looking for the unusual.

this last comment captures a lot of the feelings expressed in the comments. quite a few people talked about a general interest in looking at the human body, in whatever shape or form. “we are always looking for the unusual” was the type of comment that was quite frequent, too, and i’ll talk more about that tomorrow.

(btw, i want to make it quite clear that this was not a scientifically accurate research project. it’s just a little questionnaire i threw together.)

what’s your learning edge?

when i first received david’s invitation to participate in the meme with the name “what’s your learning edge?“, i thought, “oh, but i am constantly learning. i live and breathe learning!”

and in a way, that’s true. i’m forever ferreting out new information, looking at things from a new perspective, and i always have a few books on the go. i just finished a big research project on transformative learning. so pushing my intellectual envelope, as adam puts it, is a way of life.

but hold on.

let’s push that envelope.

first of all, obviously, there is room to push my intellectual envelope even more. reading my favourite philosophy professor norman swartz’s possible worlds wouldn’t be a bad thing, especially if it were balanced out by something about buddhist logic.

right now, though, it’s not my intellectual envelope that’s crying out for pushing. it’s my psychological envelope.

manila, i wonder? letter-sized? or one of those colourful ones for greeting cards? naw, it’s my comfort envelope. i don’t even know where and how it needs pushing but i know that, just like grasper, the little crab in one of my favourite children’s books, there is some important pushing and growing just around the corner. here, grasper dares to leave his little rock, and finds himself staring at the biggest crab he’s ever seen:

“what are you looking at?” asked the huge crab.
“you! you are so s…so big!” stuttered grasper.
“of course i am!” boomed the giant. “and you will be too, after you’ve molted as many times as i have.”
“me … as big as you?” cried grapser. “but how? where i come from … under the rocks … there are other crabs who’ve molted many times – but they haven’t grown larger.”
“do they ever leave these rocks of yours?” he asked.
“no, they are afraid to,” replied grasper.
“well, then of course!” said the crab. “everyone knows a crab will only grow as large as the world he lives in, and as big as the heart inside him. you must have a big heart to live in a big world.”

what’s your learning edge? here’s a few people i’m going to tag and ask that question: geert (how about another post in english, geert?); james at finding optimism (any new learnings on depression?); vivien at inspirationbit, who always asks thought-provoking questions; emi at emi’s universe (hmm, i wonder whether you’re learning anything from your cat?), MJ at urbanista (what does this look like from the point of view of an enlightened real estate professional?) and nancy (what are we learning about money these days?)

everyone else who wants to participate in this meme, please go ahead – check the original post to see how it works. and of course, please feel free to add your thoughts on this in the comments.

(this post has been included in the carnival of life, happiness and meaning

isabella mori
counselling in vancouver


found this on nayeli’s stumbleupon blog.

1. 75% of americans are chronically dehydrated. (likely applies to half the world population.)

2. in 37% of americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is often mistaken for hunger.

3. even mild dehydration will slow down one’s metabolism as much as 3%.

4. one glass of water will shut down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters studied in a university of washington study.

5. lack of water, the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue.

6. preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers. woman drinking water

7. a mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on a printed page.

8. drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, plus it can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%, and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer.

how true, how true, how true! another example: my 82-year-old mother enjoys excellent health. her doctor says one of the main reasons is that she keeps herself very well hydrated. (her daily exercising/walking helps, too!)

in my experience, not drinking enough water is caused by the same psychological mechanism that is at least partially responsible for eating disorders: a decreased ability / willingness to look after our physical needs.

so … now … how much water do you drink?

want to start a water drinkers’ club?

isabella mori
counselling in vancouver

(image courtesy of j.c. rojas)

meditation stinks!

good headline, huh? i think it’s better than yahoo’s: “meditation won’t boost health: study

but basically i’ve done the same as yahoo: quickly scan an article, then write a pithy headline.

does it reflect what actually happened? welllll ….

when you take the time to read the yahoo article, you see that the researchers say there is no good scientific evidence that meditation has health benefits, and that more, better controlled studies should be undertaken to study the matter.

darn, that’s too long for a headline. plus the concept is just a tad more complex. see, that’s why “meditation stinks” is so much better.

but if you’ve read so far, let’s just do some kindergarten philosophy here:

there is no good evidence that X works
does not equate
X does not work

come to think of it, this is even pre-kindergarten, pre-preschool, pre-toddler: one-year-olds have already figured out that just because you don’t see something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. (outside of pre-toddlerhood, in philosophy, failure to understand this would be referred to as the burden of proof fallacy.)

it turns out, by the way, that the researchers are not averse to meditation:

“at this point, we cannot conclude at all that meditation doesn’t work,” researcher maria ospina told on tuesday. “but we cannot conclude that it works, either.”

the university of alberta team examined more than 800 english-language comparative studies. the most common themes were how meditation affects hypertension, other cardiovascular diseases and substance abuse.

five main categories of meditation were involved in the studies:

* mantra meditation
* mindfulness meditation
* yoga
* tai chi
* qi gong

overall, the low-quality studies suggested that qi gong and zen Bbuddhist meditation helped lower blood pressure, while yoga reduced stress.

they also hinted that both yoga and mindfulness meditation worked equally well at cutting anxiety in patients with cardiovascular diseases.

thanks, CTV, that’s more like it.

it’s too bad that yahoo’s irresponsible headlining prompted at least one rant against research.

so – until further notice and further studies, i’ll keep meditating, and keep supporting science that is well done and reporters who discuss science responsibly and intelligently. both ot these – meditation and science – are some of the greatest, most precious treasures the human animal has come up with so far.

isabella mori
counselling in vancouver

more posts that discuss meditation

driving meditation
metta, and that includes the internet
open hearts
the 12 steps – buddhist fashion
five energizers

(this post was included in the 5th carnival of truth)

more emotional health for artists

in the spring, as part of a blog book tour, i posted a number of articles on eric maisel’s ten zen seconds. it’s a book that i come back to over and over again. below are summaries of a few more interviews with him – go check them out, especially if you’re an artist:

shifting gears
eric maisel and washington artist anne marchand discussed how ten zen seconds can help visual artists find the right balance between creative work/play and the more mundane tasks of “making a living, shifting gears and managing the highs and lows of the creative cycle.”

passionate meaning-making
alyson b. stanfield, whose newsletter focuses on action and is entitled art marketing action, was curious how ten zen seconds could help avoid art career overwhelm. rather than discouraging action, eric maisel notes: “there is actually more to be done in life, not less, including the boring things, but in a context of passionate meaning-making.”

on day 10, eric stopped at janet grace riehl’s blog, riehl life: village wisdom for the 21st century, where they chatted about fostering and maintaining connection–both horizontally and vertically:

  • connecting vertically by going within and deepening our connection with ourselves and our work;
  • connecting horizontally by shifting more seamlessly between tasks and creative disciplines;
  • allowing our variety of work to nourish and sustain us;
  • connecting with others in interpersonal relationships by bringing our calmer selves to the interaction (starting with the parent-child bond);
  • changing belief structures so that connections between and across cultures can be closer and more harmonious.

artists and the law of attraction
eric maisel dropped by trista hill’s blog to discuss how ten zen seconds can help an artist navigate the choppy waters of living a creative life. topics that were addressed were

  • creating amidst chaos
  • building a supportive community
  • seeking appropriate validation
  • applying the concepts to the currently popular “law of attraction” / the secret

being an artist parent
eric visited spit-up on my shoulder, melanie bowden’s blog for new moms. melanie and eric discussed how each of the 12 incantations from ten zen seconds can help parents stay centered and less stressed while dealing with all of the tasks parenting brings.

staying focused
lastly, in eric maisel’s book tour: focus for artists here at this blog, eric and i talked about how ten zen seconds can help artists stay focused and on task. dr. maisel suggests how to make good decisions about what thoughts we want to entertain, saying that a creative person needs to complete projects in order to feel successful. getting a hold on our thoughts is extremely important – it’s a responsibility that is not to be shirked.

even if high distractibility seems innate, this is “not a prison sentence”, and it can be changed just like addictions can be left behind. continuing with that theme, dr. maisel also announces a book he is working on with dr. susan raeburn, an addictions specialist, called creative recovery, that outlines how combining breathing-and-thinking practices of the sort described in ten zen seconds with traditional recovery practices, like 12-step programs or their secular equivalent, add up to a more complete recovery program.

isabella mori
counselling in vancouver