Sexual Health 101:  A New Online Resource for Students

Sexual Health 101: A New Online Resource for Students

Young Adults Make Better Sexual Health Decisions When They Understand Their Own Feelings In the summer of 2015, I was honored to be asked to contribute to a new interactive online resource for young adults, Student Sexual Health 101. As an office practitioner who spends most of his time counseling individuals and couples, I appreciated the chance to bring the knowledge I’ve gained over the past 25+ years about sexual health and sexual feelings to a wider audience online.  Especially since the target audience of Student Sexual Health 101 are young people just getting started learning about their sexuality. I was pleased to have this opportunity to help young adults make some of their first and most important decisions — such as when to start being sexual with a partner.  And especially happy to join my distinguished sexual health colleagues Dr Marty Klein (author of Sexual Intelligence and many other books) and Dr Aline Zolbrod (author of Sex Smart and Sex Talk) who also contributed content for this project. Here are the initial questions and answers with the writers and editors of Student Sexual Health 101 that eventually led to my part of the site’s content: SH101:  What ARE the essential questions to consider when you are deciding whether to be intimate? . SNYDER:   First off, you don’t just want to have physical intimacy.  You want to have GOOD physical intimacy. How to tell when it’s good? The concept is simple:  It’s good if it makes you feel good about yourself. Sounds pretty basic, huh? Well it would be, if sexual feelings were simple.  But they’re usually not. Sex can produce many confusing feelings:    Feeling...
Addyi (Flibanserin): 25 Things You Need to Know

Addyi (Flibanserin): 25 Things You Need to Know

October 16, 2015  Getting the Facts Right Flibanserin—the long-awaited “pink pill” for women with Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD)—was finally approved by the FDA last August, after years of debate. But so far the only women who’ve actually been able to try it have been subjects in clinical research trials. No woman has yet to be able to get a prescription for it from her doctor. . That’s going to change at the end of this week. Starting October 17, a woman will actually be able to take a prescription for flibanserin (which is marketed by Sprout Pharmaceuticals under the trade name Addyi) to her pharmacy. . What’s the best way for a woman to know whether flibanserin/Addyi would be safe and effective for her? Good question.  There’s a lot of misleading information out there. (More on that in future blog posts). . Your best move is usually to ask your doctor. But there aren’t many doctors yet who know much about this new medication. . So I’ve prepared this list to get you started:  25 things a woman should know before considering taking Addyi.   1. What is Addyi/flibanserin, and why is it such a big deal? Addyi is the trade name for flibanserin, a new non-hormonal prescription medication for hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) in women.  Addyi/flibanserin is the first medicine ever specifically approved to treat loss of sexual desire in either men or women. It’s also potentially important for sexual science — since FDA approval of flibanserin is likely to lead to much more research on the neurochemistry of desire.   2. Does Addyi really work? Flibanserin doesn’t work for everybody....
Pink Viagra: 7 Things the New York Times Got Wrong

Pink Viagra: 7 Things the New York Times Got Wrong

There Are 7 Major Errors in the Recent New York Times Op-Ed on Pink Viagra. Let’s Clear Them Up. As a sex therapist who also happens to be a medical doctor, I’m used to disagreeing with a lot of what I read about sexual pharmacology. But the recent New York Times opinion piece “Nothing Is Wrong With Your Sex Drive”, regarding Sprout Pharmaceuticals’ new FDA application for flibanserin (so-called “Pink Viagra”), seemed especially in need of a systematic rebuttal. For those of you who haven’t read the article, I encourage you to go take a look at it here.  I counted 7 major errors. Here they are, in the order they appear in the text itself:   ERROR #1:  Misrepresenting recent changes in psychiatric diagnosis. NYTimes: Quoting from the Times article:  “Flibanserin purportedly treats a condition called hypoactive sexual desire disorder in women. But H.S.D.D. was removed from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 2013, and replaced with a new diagnosis called female sexual interest/arousal disorder, or F.S.I.A.D. Why the change? Researchers have begun to understand that sexual response is not the linear mechanism they once thought it was.” Let’s clear this up:  DSM-5 replaced both HSDD and Female Sexual Arousal Disorder with one new entity, FSIAD, since there wasn’t sufficient evidence that women’s desire and arousal problems are in fact distinct. Yes, the new FSIAD diagnosis did for the first time mention responsive desire (item #3). But that was only one of several changes. See my articles, “Sex in the DSM” and “the FDA Wants to Hear More About Women and Sex” for more info on this.   ERROR #2:  Confusing “can be effective” with “is generally effective.” NYTimes: Again, quoting...
Can You Trust LinkedUp!, The New Dating App for Business?

Can You Trust LinkedUp!, The New Dating App for Business?

Online Dating Lacks Community, Which Creates Trust As a sex therapist I spend a lot of time counseling single New Yorkers about how to find good partners. That’s gotten a lot easier since online dating has radically increased the number of people to choose from. But online dating has its disadvantages. It’s great if you’re just looking for a hookup or casual fling. You know no one in common, so you don’t have to worry about hurting your reputation if things don’t work out. You go your separate ways afterwards, and there’s no collateral damage to either of your social networks. It’s also great if like many people in sex therapy you’re worried about your sexual performance.  If the sex is a disappointment, no one else will find out. But if you’re looking for a more serious relationship, the disconnect between your social networks becomes a disadvantage.  Since you know no one in common, you lack a context for your relationship. There’s no social “glue” to hold you together. Relationships are the fruit of community. Community is the tree that grows the fruit. Online dating delivers the fruit without the tree. Trust is a hard thing in any relationship.  But it’s harder to trust someone if you don’t really know or understand the world they come from.  The subtle signals that people in the same community give each other are often lost or misperceived by a stranger. What would really be valuable is an online dating platform that taps into a community of people you know and trust. The new app, LinkedUp! does just that by using your professional business network on...
How to Talk Sex – and Why

How to Talk Sex – and Why

Learning How to Talk Sex “Going Oral” Has Surprising Results In her new book An Intimate Life, sex surrogate Cheryl Cohen Greene (the one portrayed by Helen Hunt in The Sessions) describes her work with a man who has been unable to get an erection with his wife. After much exploration, it is discovered that the source of his problem is a very simple one: During oral sex, his wife hurts him with her teeth. But he’s been too worried about hurting her feelings to tell her. The title of the chapter, “Going Oral,” refers to the difficult matter of finding the words to tell your wife what the problem is. Getting naked with a relative stranger turns out to be the easy part. Figuring out how to talk sex with your life companion can be much harder. As a sex therapist I talk sex all day.  I sometimes forget how shocking it can be for people simply to talk about sex. Learning to Talk Sex in Bed The same goes for talking during sex.  There appears to be an unwritten code of silence in bed. Of course there are times when it’s best not to talk — when it might disrupt an especially passionate moment.  But there are also plenty of times when speaking in bed can be perfectly natural once one acquires the knack. As a sex therapist, when I suggest to a couple that they “go oral” and begin talking during sex, they often look at me as if I’m from a strange planet. Most couples, having lived their entire erotic lives under the influence of the code...