Monday, June 20, 2011

Herbs used in curries can spice things up in the bedroom

Herbs used in curries can spice things up in the bedroomA herb widely used in curries may also help spice things up outside of the kitchen. New research suggests that fenugreek, which is found throughout Asia, may improve male libido. According to a trial by the Centre for Integrative Clinical and Molecular Medicine in Australia, men who took a twice daily extract of the herb saw significant improvements in their love life. Low libido is a problem for many men and the cause of much anxiety. One study based on 25,000 people in 30 countries, estimated that it affects about 18 per cent of men.


Not to be confused with impotence or infertility, low libido is described as a lack of interest in sexual activity, low sex drive, or lack of urge or desire. It is linked to depression, being overweight, and excessive alcohol intake. Some illnesses, including diabetes, and drugs including some antidepressants, may also contribute to a decline in sexual desire.

Over the centuries, many herbs and other traditional preparations have been used to boost sex drive, but few claims have survived the rigours of clinical studies. This new study looked at the effects of a fenugreek-based preparation on the libido of men aged 25 to 52 who took the extract twice a day for six weeks, while another group had a placebo pill. Within six weeks, measures of libido had increased by 25 per cent or more in the men who had the fenugreek extract, but stayed the same or decreased in the other men.

The men were required to answer a survey describing their level of libido and desire with a special scoring system to analyse changes after three and six weeks. The scores of the men who had the fenugreek all went up, with improvements recorded after just 21 days. After six weeks, the score for sexual arousal rose from 16.1 to 20.6 in the men taking the fenugreek preparation, but was just 16.6 in the placebo group.

It’s not clear how the herb works, but fenugreek seeds contain bioactive compounds which may have some effect on hormone levels because they are rich in compounds called saponins, including one called diosgenin. Research suggests this may be involved in the production of a number of sex hormones. ‘It probably works to increase testosterone or androgen levels, which decrease with age,’ says Dr Raj Persad, consultant neurologist. ‘If it’s proven to be safe, this is good news. Men with good sexual health live longer than those who without.’

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A wandering eye: Good for your relationship?

A wandering eye: Good for your relationship?Forbidden fruit may be sweet, as the old saying goes, but it can sure sour a relationship. Still, a new study suggests that if your partner's eye wanders, it might be best to just let him or her enjoy the view. Here, a guide to the research:

What was the study about?
Researchers tested the idea that we want what we can't have by conducting experiments on college students in various stages of romantic relationships. In a report published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the researchers say that "reining in a wandering eye leads people to devalue commitment and remember cute strangers better" — the same way "people want jobs they cannot have, salaries they cannot earn, and cars they cannot afford." That means that "you may want to think twice before slapping your boyfriend on the wrist for cocking his head at that hot girl who just walked by," says Andrea Uku at StyleCaster.


How was the research conducted?
In one experiment, 42 undergrads were shown pairs of faces on a computer screen; each pair consisted of an arguably attractive person and a more average-looking person. Some of the students had their attention subtly diverted from the more attractive faces. This group subsequently reported that they were less satisfied in their relationships and more open to infidelity than the other testees. A similar experiment found that students who were diverted from concentrating on the hotties actually remembered and recognized them more consistently.

So it's OK if your partner drools over other people?
Not exactly. If your partner does that while you stew in jealousy, "there's probably a larger problem at hand," says Meredith Melnick in TIME. And these studies do have some limitations, says Dr. John Grohol at PsychCentral. Most of the college students were in relatively new relationships, so it’s not clear if the findings would apply to older couples. The researchers also didn't track the subjects over time, so they don't know if the changes in attitudes led to actual infidelity or other relationship problems.

What if you don't even want to ogle others?
Some research has found that men and women who don't notice beautiful people of the opposite sex "tend to be more satisfied in their own relationships and are more likely to stay with their partners long term," says Melnick at TIME. The crux is that such "blindness has to come naturally," rather than being enforced by one partner.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Women put quality before quantity when it comes to sex

MOST men in heterosexual relationships feel they are not having enough sex, but seem more satisfied than women with the sex they are having, an Australian study has found.

Whether we have our desired amount of sex influences not only how happy we are with our sex life, but also our overall relationship, the researchers found. Their study of more than 6500 men and women in regular relationships showed 54 per cent of men and 42 per cent of women were not satisfied with the amount of sex they were having.


But while the dissatisfied men overwhelmingly wanted more sex, one-third of the dissatisfied women wanted less. The study's co-author, Juliet Richters, of the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of NSW, said often women preferred sex involving more than traditional intercourse. When this was not forthcoming, they could lose interest. "They are just not getting the sex they want," she said. "We have this idea that sex should revolve around intercourse and that favours the man of course,'' she said.

This mismatch in expectations could partly explain why the women were less likely to be satisfied with their relationship despite being more satisfied with the amount of sex they were having, the research team wrote in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy.

Associate Professor Richters said the groups of men most likely to want less sex were aged 16 to 24, or those who had been in their relationship less than one year. "If you look at some of the research it seems it often takes men of that age about a year to commit to a relationship, or longer," she said. "There are quite a lot of men who seem to get into relationships and start having sex and they are not at all sure that is what they want.''The researchers said middle age seemed to be particularly unsatisfying for men.

''It may be no coincidence that this is when many couples face competing demands on their time, such as as juggling careers and raising a young family,'' they said. ''It may also be possible that some women desire sex more often earlier in a relationship, or feel safer refusing sex in longer, more established relationships.''

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Miley's lips locked over on-off relationship with Hemsworth

Miley's lips locked over on-off relationship with HemsworthThe teenage pop princess and the Phillip Island hottie were seen getting up close and personal in LA at the weekend. On Saturday night, Cyrus made special mention of Hemsworth, 21, in a speech at the Kids' Choice Awards. Asked if the pair were back together, Cyrus turned coy. "Shhh! I'll never tell. My lips are sealed," she smiled.


And yesterday Cyrus - who has returned to Twitter after dumping the social-networking site last year - was shouting from the rooftops about Hemsworth's new film role. "I can say the best news ever now! Dang word travels fast! Liam booked the role of Gale in Hunger Games! I gotta go read all the books now!" Hemsworth has been cast alongside Josh Hutcherson and Jennifer Lawrence in the film, based on Suzanne Collins' fantasy trilogy.

Cyrus will tour Australia in June and last week hinted she and Hemsworth were together. "I'm definitely not coming to Australia single," she said. The loved-up youngsters met on the set of The Last Song. They split once and got back together again before confirming they had split again last year.

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Can you be friends without benefits?

Can you be friends without benefits?A few years ago, Antonia Baker broke an unwritten code of etiquette and began dating her friend – and flatmate – James Vincent. She’d moved into the flat in 2006 and the pair “hooked up” the following April. Her initial friendship with Vincent was strictly platonic. “We were really good friends. He’s a bit of a comedian,” says 25-year-old Baker.

In the beginning they spent time together without there being a hint of romance. The relationship could well have continued like that had it not been for an accident that proved to be a turning point. “I was hit by a car, and when he saw me hurt he began to think how terrible it would have been to lose me, and he realised he had feelings for me.


Baker says she had had no designs on Vincent, 24, until he professed his own feelings. “I was a really good friend of his but I’d never looked at him like that. I was always saying to my girlfriends, ‘James is such a good catch’, but I just wasn’t attracted to him. But sometimes if people start looking at you differently you start seeing them with different eyes, too.”

Now living together, the couple are due to get married soon. Baker says she has “always preferred to hang out with guys. I just find guys easier than girls. I’m not really a girly girl who talks about fashion or make-up. And men are more straightforward, they don’t hold grudges. They crack me up.”

She believes that having had such a strong platonic friendship has only strengthened her and Vincent’s relationship. “By the time we got together we knew each other inside out. I’d talked about my previous relationships and he’d had some girlfriends while I was around.

“It might not be for everyone, but I thought getting to know each other beforehand was a really good thing. No skeletons to come out of the closet. For me it meant I didn’t have to waste time trying to get to know someone who wasn’t going to be compatible.”

The concept of platonic relationships with people of the opposite sex is endlessly fascinating and a subject of great debate. For every 100 percent non-sexual friendship that exists there’s guaranteed to be a supposedly platonic friendship where one of the parties has ulterior motives or an unprofessed adoration for the other.

Then there are myriad examples, not just in real life but in popular culture – movies such as When Harry Met Sally, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Reality Bites and this year’s Friends With Benefits and No Strings Attached – of friends who become romantically or sexually involved.

A survey of more than 1 450 members of dating site match.com found that 62 percent of people had “crossed the line” with friends.

A Psychology Today article titled “Can men and women be friends?” found that while platonic relationships were “tricky”, the consensus among those interviewed was that they’re not only possible but desirable.

“I suspect that the male-female taboo boundaries are being broken down a bit, so it’s not so scary to have a friendship with a man or for a man to have a friendship with a woman,” says psychologist Sara Chatwin.

Chatwin, who herself has predominantly male friends, believes that platonic relationships don’t have to be complicated. “I like the way men go about things. For me a really pragmatic masculine approach is something I like. I like to listen to their advice. I like their perspective,” she says.

“I think of (my best friend) as somebody I could talk to, go for a run with, ring up if I had a problem with the computer… but I don’t abuse my privilege as his friend… I don’t interrupt his personal time. We just have a very pure friendship and, of course, there’s nothing romantic, nothing sexual and nothing untoward.”

And the fact that Chatwin is married while her closest friend has a girlfriend is no impediment to their friendship. “You have to show your opposite-gender best friends and their life and their partner a lot of respect. Like, I wouldn’t bug him during his time with her.”

She believes that respective partners should be introduced to each other to diffuse any potential misunderstandings. “I don’t think there necessarily needs to be jealousy. I think if you’re open and above-board with things there probably shouldn’t be jealousy. I’ve seen it come unstuck when (romantic) partners feel like they’re not the special one in the relationship because their person has somebody else.”

Professionally, she has encountered examples of platonic relationships that shift into more intimate territory. “The boundaries get blurred and you look at people in a different light and I have seen relationships form in this kind of a way. If at some point it dawns on someone, or both of them, that their friendship is more than a friendship, then it’s not a friendship any longer. It’s moved into a very awkward kind of a space that needs to be dealt with.”

Chatwin advises platonic friends to set ground rules from the outset, to be alert for signs their relationship is changing. “It pays to make sure that there are parameters, there are boundaries.”

Wikihow.com goes so far as to list eight steps on “how to be just friends with a member of the opposite sex”. Their advice is to “involve the significant other(s)”, “minimise sexual tension”, “prevent borderline situations” and “be careful with your decisions”.

Debbie Brown, 31, estimates that half of her friends are men. “My guy friends are very keen to meet my female friends,” she says, but the credentials for friendship are the same regardless of gender. “It’s simple. You just have to be a decent person and get on with each other. Men are just people, too. I think women forget that sometimes. They’re not that difficult to understand. Sometimes we mystify them in our own minds.”

Male friends come in handy when Brown’s car needs repairing. “Mind you, it works both ways. Sometimes I think (close friend) Nick just comes around for my cooking. And my guy friends definitely play pool better.”

But trouble can arise. Romantic partners don’t always accept their other half’s platonic friendships. “My last boyfriend couldn’t handle my guy mates at all,” says Brown. “He had a real issue with it. He was jealous and he couldn’t understand I could like someone and be friends with them without jumping into bed with that person. He acted like a toddler and sulked whenever I saw my guy mates.”

Like Baker, Brown has had a friendship that became a romance. “I found him attractive and I knew our personalities were compatible. The relationship was a lot better, with trust established and a lot of that early groundwork already done,” she says.

But it didn’t last and Brown discovered her ex-partner had fancied her from the outset of their “platonic friendship”. Lawyer Mark Russell attributes his large number of women friends to having taken a female-dominated university course. “You spend extended periods of time with the same people. I was at school for five years and law school for five years, so you’re seeing them on a day-to-day basis. Then all of a sudden you don’t see them as necessarily a girl or a guy but as one of your mates, part of that group.”

Russell, 26, typically socialises with his female friends in a group or on one-on-one lunch dates and relishes the opportunity to discuss topics that men tend to avoid. “I think you can talk to girls about different things.”

Such as personal and relationship matters? “Yeah. They enjoy listening to it. You know, when girls talk to girls they talk about guys they’re seeing and they’ll go into every single detail. But if a guy’s just met a new girl his guy friend’s going to say, ‘How is she?’, the other guy will be like, ‘She’s fantastic’. And that’ll be it. You won’t go into all the details.”

Psychologist Linda Sapadin made a similar observation in Psychology Today, saying men benefit more than women from a platonic friendship: “What (the men) reported liking most was talking and relating to women – something they can’t do with their buddies.”

According to Russell, the nature of platonic friendships often alters as the parties involved acquire a romantic partner. “Sometimes it changes significantly. You might see a girl a lot just as friends and then when she does get into a (romantic) relationship, you might not see much of her for a while.”

No exploration of cross-gender friendships would be complete without a look at women with gay male friends. It’s a subset of platonic friendship beloved of Hollywood – think Will & Grace and Sex and the City.

Sarah O’Brien, 31, reckons 90 percent of her friends are gay men. A flight attendant, she and her friends enjoy a social time involving coffee dates, gym appointments and the odd spot of karaoke. “They’ve got disposable incomes and no family commitments (so are) able to just do things like that.”

And of course, in common with her gay friends, O’Brien, currently single, has a keen eye for the perfect man. “I can appreciate the same things they can.

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Friday, April 1, 2011

6 Qualities of a Happy, Regret-Free Relationship

6 Qualities of a Happy, Regret-Free RelationshipWe, as individual people, can really make a mess of our lives and relationships, leaving ourselves and our loved ones with more regrets than we know what to do with. We can manipulate our children, undermine our spouses, and destroy our friendships; it’s a reality we all face sooner or later. Thankfully though, God has given us guidelines for healthy relationships built upon a foundation of love. Let’s take a look at universal signs of a healthy relationship:

1. Affection: Affection is love shown. You can always tell when one person loves another; they can’t help but in one way or another show it through their body language, gestures, and words. And consistently too; feelings of affection are obvious to anyone who takes a moment to see it. A love never manifested —never displayed, never acted upon, never brought forth from the private heart to the public sphere—is no love at all. It’s love’s very nature to express itself; displays of affection are what love looks like. And that’s why, in every relationship based on love, you see them everywhere.


2. Respect: Respect is crucial to relational health. One of the most charming things in the world is to be around two people who respect each other. It shows in the gleam in their eyes when they look at one another, the readiness with which they laugh at each other’s jokes, the supportive tones in which they speak.

An interesting thing about respect is that it doesn’t really work if it’s not there 100 percent. People can sense when you don’t respect them all the way. And for most people, knowing you don’t respect them 100 percent feels the same as if you didn’t respect them at all.

Another interesting thing about respect is that you can’t respect anyone if you don’t first respect yourself. The degree to which you don’t respect yourself is the degree to which you will not be able to respect another. So how do you learn to respect yourself? You give yourself credit for everything you are and have done that’s valuable and worthy of respect, you forgive yourself for your failures, and you respect the potential of what you could become. In other words, you see yourself the way God sees you.

3. Shared Values: If you want to establish a good and healthy relationship with someone, find out what values you share and then build upon those. Maybe it’s the job you both work at. Maybe it’s common family members. Maybe (hopefully!) it’s God. But whatever it is, find it, claim it —and then start to build your relationship upon it.

4. Honesty: If there is one quality that would, ideally, define every relationship in the world, it would be honesty. If two people are honest with each other, there is no kind of woe they can’t survive. Hard times and difficult passage come to everybody, but it’s those who are honest with themselves and their loved ones who always weather them best.

Be honest in everything you do, and insist on honesty from anyone with whom you share a relationship. This is the one thing that can’t be compromised or worked around; if the other person can’t or won’t be utterly honest with you, then understand how unlikely it is that you will build a healthy relationship with them. Honesty is to a relationship what mortar is to a brick house; without it, you simply can’t build.

5. Trust: In its simplest and purest understanding, trust is an assurance of love. Someone who really loves someone else would no sooner hurt that person than they would purposefully shoot off their own foot. Trust, in the end, is a very personal thing; we trust the people in our lives whom we are sure wouldn’t hurt us on purpose. That’s why most people trust their mothers.

Now, if you’re in a relationship with someone you don’t entirely trust, consider: that means you sense that person doesn’t really love you. If this is the case, the way to a healthy relationship is through communication. Has there been some misunderstanding that has reasonably led them not to love? Have you don’t something to make it so they can’t? Talk with them about it. Tell them you want to share real and solid love, so that your relationship can be everything that you want it to be. Grow love, and trust will follow.

6. Freedom to Be: One of the qualities that’s always present in a healthy relationship is that each person in it is free to be whoever they care to be. If we are going to be in a healthy relationship with the people we love—if we’re going to really and truly love them—we are going to have to let them be themselves. That’s one of the big rules of being in a loving, trusting relationship you let them be them, and they let you be you. Sharing your uniqueness is one of the best ways to show a person how much you care about and trust them. It’s a very tangible way of putting your love for them into action, and a vital quality of a happy, regret-free relationship.

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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Robert Pattinson Dishes On His Ideal Relationship!

Robert Pattinson Dishes On His Ideal Relationship!Calling all Twi-hards! Robert Pattinson is talking relationships, and we love him for it. And even though the dreamy R.Pattz could have his pick of any Hollywood leading lady, he reveals to Italian Vanity Fair that he's not the "casual-affair" kinda guy. So what does Rob describe as his ideal relationship? And does it match up to his romance with Kristen Stewart?

As Rob clues the mag in: "She will always be an extraordinary woman to him, no matter what. Jacob just wants to give and doesn't ask for anything in return. That's the best kind of relationship."And no, Rob's not talking about Twilight's Jacob, he's referring to his character in his newest film, Water For Elephants' Jacob Jankowski, but still, Rob strongly believes the man must "cultivate the relationship."So mature, Rob! And we bet the work you and Kris put into your love will definitely make Robsten go the distance.


Something even more promising? Rob's parents are still together! And he reveals that he "has grown up believing that you can stay with the same person throughout your life."Really, Rob, we are so impressed by you! Not only are you super hot, but you choose loyalty in a relationship? Hollywood def needs more guys like our fave dude.

And even though Rob didn't mention Kris in the interview (nothing unexpected from the ├╝ber-private couple), he did give her a super sly shout-out: "If I choose to be with someone it's because I really want it. When I have a relationship, I'm 100 percent into it. If I felt like seeing more women at once then I wouldn't go around saying ‘this is my girlfriend.' "

So sweet, Rob, we love you and Kris together even more, but does this mean your leading lady will be by your side with your busy schedule? Nope (much to our dismay). But there's one lucky mate who will be, Rob's new pooch, who he adopted from an animal shelter. Who knew hotties with a heart that huge actually do exist? Rob, you are so No. 1 in our book.

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