Tag Archives: sexuality

mental health and cancer

peas refractedfor today’s “frozen pea friday” post on cancer, and because it’s national mental health week, i’ve interviewed someone on how she deals with the emotional effects of cancer. here’s what she says:

  • i have 100% permission to have all the meltdowns i need to have (i.e. anger, crying spells)
  • have a relationship with a psychotherapist whom i see regularly; that helps me remind me of self-care, putting my family in perspective and making sure i get my meltdowns
  • i have buddies. we’re in a group and i strongly request my buddies corner me four times a week and get me to focus on what i want. they do it and also get me to look at the guilt monsters because guilt is huge for me
  • maintain sleep, exercise and a regular eating schedule
  • i get help with sleep with sleep medication
  • i schedule regular meals and make sure i eat them
  • i manage anxiety by being really practical and taking things that i want seriously and making steps towards them if i can’t actually do them right
  • i very rarely tell myself “absolutely not!” usually it’s, “yes” or “yes, later” or “probably, later”
  • i let myself care about other people, even though right now it’s “me first time”

other info on the connection between mental health and cancer:

sexuality and cancer

this study suggests that people with mental health issues have a larger chance of getting certain types of cancer, and getting it at an earlier age

this site has a large section on the emotional effects of cancer. what i find most helpful about that is that it shows the many effects – seeing this in print, knowing that these feelings are normal and experienced by many can in itself be helpful.

yoga may help with breast cancer

(refracted pea image by fellow canadian ecstaticist, whose blog is here)

schizophrenia, taboos and meditation

this is a guest post by geb sheru geb. in this intriguing article, he takes up on my post about kiddie porn a while ago, and talks about how the process of obsession in a person who hunts for child pornography is similar to the process of obsessive thoughts of someone experiencing schizophrenic symptoms. walking into the “danger zone” of taboo confronts one with conflicting feelings and emotions. amplify such conflicts and you have the experience of schizophrenia.

***

“oh be careful, little eyes, what you see…”

these are some of the words to a children’s song i learned during my primary school years in sabbath school. its counsel is one of guarding the gate to the sense of sight, the sense of hearing and the sense of touch. i limit my topic to this counsel only as the chorus of the song opens up a wholly unedifying discussion.

in the discussion that follows isabella’s post kiddie porn, reference is made to a kiddie porn website and one poster remarked in apparent horror, “i can’t believe people would even want to check those kinds of sites out!”

it is here that i would like to introduce a question for discussion’s sake; why would one not want to check those kinds of sites out?

my assertion is that the most likely answer is not for some sense of right or wrong, neither commiseration or empathy for the victims, but for fear of the feelings one may experience while viewing the images or reading the words found there.

during my time in university, one of my courses was sexual perversion in history and the modern age. in that course, i was exposed to the gamut of procedures and practices, pedophilia, bestiality, necrophilia, etc., etc.; many of which, only the most deranged would find anything but revolting, however, in the “right” presentation, revulsion disappeared and in its place a low level arousal surfaced.

i don’t believe that most of us will feel a lasting aversion in this “right” and “harmless,” “friendly” presentation. for the vast majority of us, the zenith of our human experience is the sensual pleasure leading up to and including the orgasm. we call it many things; love being the most common, but when the one you love is no longer there for you, does your zenith become something else? we seek another partner and call it love all over again. we are social, sensual beings, for better and for worse.

we might sound the bell of our own voice, while viewing images of exploited children, and drown out inappropriate feelings with, “oh, my god…that’s disgusting!” but the battle has begun, between the subliminal and the expressed.

i tried this for a while, expressing my disgust when some part of me was not. as i got deeper into the course matter, i began to notice patterns in my stimulation. and as the pathways became well lit, i became lost in the internal arguments along the way. first, the case justifying prepubescent sexual autonomy; then interrupting it was the argument against; back and forth like a caged animal it went. but the undeniable fact acknowledged by only the most painfully honest remained – i felt something.

now, amplify this many, many times over; amplify the semi-conscious, low-levels of arousal to dynamic bodily phenomenon; amplify the quiet monologue of the conscience to screaming accusations against whetted and angry declinations; now multiply them and amplify them again to a frequency that prevents you from finishing a meal, from walking one minute in the same direction, that makes even the comfort of sleep far distant. make this your life for a week; no make it a month, how about a year? then you might catch a glimpse of schizophrenia.

antipsychotics? the list is long, and for many of us, they are the only option. i struggled with over-medication for two years. i struggled with proper medication for three more until after just six weeks of a meditative practice called tranquility thru concentration, i put down my medication and began clearing my mind of all thoughts at will. two years, four months and three weeks later, i am still in the meds-free mode and achieving tranquility thru concentration moment-by-moment, day by day.

my name is geb sheru geb; i’ve written a little book (23,000 words) that tells my story of overcoming schizophrenia with meditation. you can find it at meds free mode.

anorexia, obesity and sex – a discussion

there are some interesting comments on the anorexia and sex article (part of a series, the thread of which can be found at the end of this post).

one commenter is “dude with a mission”. normally i’m a bit hesitant to engage in conversations with people who don’t leave a valid email address, but dude has some points that are worthy of consideration, so i’ll dedicate this post to continuing this conversation.

is “hideous obesity” the norm?
dude had said that “hideously obese is now the norm” and gave this example

about two-thirds of u.s. adults are overweight or obese.[6]

all adults: 133.6 million (66 percent)
women: 65 million (61.6 percent)
men: 68.3 million (70.5 percent)”

i don’t know what is meant by hideously obese – i can only infer that what is meant is morbidly obese, which is typically defined as more than 100 pounds overweight. this is not contained in the statistics above, and it is not the norm. (of course, we’d need to come to an agreement as to what “the norm” is, but most likely it’s one or a combination of the statistical averages of mean, median or mode.)

having said that, yes, morbid obesity, along with overweight and obesity has risen dramatically – it would be silly to disagree with that.

fighting obesity
dude says

people do have a choice when it comes to being fat or thin. i lost about 60 lbs. eight years ago and have kept it off. it is not beyond our control. it simply takes getting fed up with our situation and a significant lifestyle change.”

my sincere congratulations. i know how hard that is (have done it myself). so of course it is possible to lose weight and keep it off. however, for some people, overeating is truly an addiction, and addictions are very hard to overcome, as we know.

we also might consider forcing our politicians to act and institute zoning requirements so we are not being tempted by fast food with no alternative every block.

i agree with dude 100%.

what exactly is meant by “anorexic”?

people are now so used to seeing fat people that they have begun to call the chubby people thin and the thin/healthy people epithets e.g. “anorexic.” it seems pretty clear that porn marketers have picked up on this and labelled their content thusly.

whether “people” do that is a matter of discussion but let me tell you that i personally don’t automatically think of thin people as anorexic. anorexia is a mental illness, not necessarily a state of weight. however, when i go back to those posts, i see that i talk about “very slim” and “very thin”. i did that because i wanted to speak a language that makes sense to everyone, including people who feel ambiguous about the term “anorexic”.

this brings to the fore a problem with language and labels, and particularly with words that have a strong emotional connotation on the one hand and have a specific professional label on the other. the word “anorexia” can broadly refer to a condition that has the hallmarks of unhealthy thinness, brought about by intentional and obsesessive 1) lack of caloric intake and/or 2) purging and/or 3) overexercising

(sidebar you can also look up the DSMIV definition here; this definition is quite circumscribed and talks about anorexia per se as well as some anorexia-like phenomena that are then gathered under EDNOS. in that sense, btw, it’s unclear that calista flockhart was truly anorexic ; not eating enough for a period of time because of stress is not the same as anorexia).

so there are slightly different uses of the word “anorexic” and i think that’s where the original disgreement between dude and myself stems from. would it have been better if i had only used the word “anorexic” and clearly defined it? i honestly don’t know.

the science of it all
in my first response to dude, i said “i’m not suggesting that people who like anorexic people are perverts”. dude replies

but you state above: “…things and ideas that mainstream community sees as – what would the word be? unwholesome? unhealthy?”

it is presumptuous at best (junk science at worst) for you to make your statements based on a conclusion that people searching those terms are in fact looking for actual anorexics.

there’s that question of that word “anorexic” again. while i agree that we’re dealing with something very ambiguous here, i think the best thing we have going for us is that people used the word “anorexic” – so let’s just assume they meant it!

dude then explains how this little investigation could have been done better. good ideas. but it looks like he didn’t read my disclaimers all over the place that i didn’t say this was a scientific study : )

… begin with a hypothesis stating simply that “anorexic porn” searchers intend to receive results displaying images of actual anorexics engaged in sex acts … let’s assume that you prove the hypotheses. your next step should be to identify whether the searchers of actual anorexics engaged in sexual activities are searching for said images to gratify sexual desires or if it the searches are based on curiosity about a topic they saw/read/heard …

you seem to have taken it as red that the first two hypotheses have been proved. this is irresponsible.

i don’t think i said that anywhere. and it’s important to point out that i didn’t go into this with a hypothesis. i went into it with a number of questions. i didn’t know what was going on. of course i had my little ideas and judgments (just like dude has judgments about “hideously obese” people) but i sincerely hope that that didn’t distract too much from the investigation. then i did the investigation and now i think we have a little bit more information about this. by the way, that’s how all science goes. “amazing scientific breakthroughs” are often overturned later on. and that’s good. we just keep on learning.

bad, bad pornography
earlier on, dude felt that i had said that people are bad for looking at pornography. as an example, he points to what i said here: “one thing that was almost absent was an understanding that the interest in these images is a type of objectification. it is, after all, a form of pornography. only one reader addressed that as an aside.” dude argues

now unless you plan to tell me that you intended to use “objectification” in a neutral or positive sense, you are implying that there is something objectively distasteful about the viewing of pornographic materials.

dude, thanks for bringing this up. my wording there was poor. “the interest in these images is a type of objectification” is wrong. part of the interest may have a connection with objectification but i don’t know that. also, there is no question that large parts of pornography are about objectification but one should not conclude from the part to the whole. so what i should have said is that what was absent was an understanding of the connection between pornography and objectification.

dude then goes on to say

while there is certainly a large group of pornography subjects who do not wish to be involved in the industry, there are also healthy, self-confident individuals who are proud of the way they look and unashamed of their sexuality. the enormous volume of home-made amateur pornography testifies to that. if i am an exhibitionist and want to have others watch me engage in intimate acts — neither i, nor my gender, race, etc. is being “objectified” in any negative sense of the word.

to a large degree i agree with dude – the only doubts i have about some of the home-made pornography because not all of it may be truly consensual and not all of it truly home-made.

anorexic porn – the TV sequel

do you want to be on TV?

you may remember my project on anorexia and sex a little while ago. i wanted to know what was behind internet searches for phrases like “anorexic porn”, “anorexic sex”, “anorexic nudes” and the like. i put together a little study; the results are here, in anorexia and sex survey: pulling it all together.

it turns out clare johns over in the UK is working on a TV documentary on a similar topic. so if you’ve landed here because you’re interested in that type of thing, clare has written you a little letter of invitation:

i am making a documentary for british television about men who are attracted to extremely skinny women.

i want to find out from skinny admirers what makes super-skinny girls so sexy. and ask, just what is the perfect figure for a woman?

it would be really interesting to hear from anyone who`s got an opinion on this – you can email me at clare@zkktv.com.

at the moment i just need to talk/email to people for my background research and anything that we discuss will be in the strictest of confidence and not for use in the actual programme!

i look forward to hearing from you soon.

thanks,
clare

anorexia and sex

 a while ago, i wrote a blog entry about what sorts of keywords people like to google in connection with anorexia. i was surprised to see that the vast majority of keyword demands were not for how to recover from anorexia but for things like “anorexic nudes”, “anorexic porn”, etc.

and wouldn’t you know it, i see the same phenomenon when looking at my statistics. my blog gets quite a few visits from people who are looking for exactly these keywords. maybe you, the person who is reading this right now, are one of them.

i’d really like to know what this is all about. the researcher in me is curious – in people’s minds, what are the connections between sex and anorexia? what’s so alluring about looking at pictures of undressed or scantily clad thin people?

also, when people are looking for “anorexics”, are they looking for pictures of very thin people (like these) or skeletal ones (like this)? does it make a difference?

so i’ve put together a little survey. it’s not terribly scientific but understanding what this is all about could be a little piece of the big puzzle of the fascination people have with things and ideas that mainstream community sees as – what would the word be? unwholesome? unhealthy?

 … the sequel … a year later …

not only is the survey out (you can see the final results here) but it also turns out that someone is working on a TV documentary about it.  if you’d like to be part of that, click here.