Monday, January 18, 2016

WHEN SEX GETS BORING . . . .

Posted: 18 Jan 2016 05:30 AM PST
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Posted: 18 Jan 2016 05:25 AM PST
ASI175476I’ve got to beat the clock before we each lose interest.” Someone recently made that statement to me about his erotic life with his partner. His experience has been that erotic interest between two people dies pretty quickly, so you better get in as much sex as possible during the early years of the relationship.
If you don’t have good sex early on, it’s never going to get any better. Single guys sometimes tell me they get tired of their sexual routine, too: sex may be easy to get, but it’s often not deeply satisfying. They find themselves in a rut, feeling like they ought to be enjoying themselves more than they actually do....
Feeling like sex has become a chore can take a toll on how you feel about yourself. If you’re in a relationship, a sex life that’s as predictable as a 70’s sitcom rerun can make you feel like you with the wrong guy. Ruts suck. They’re boring and the siphon the juice out of just about anything: your job, your diet, and your relationships.
People are creatures of habit, whether we’re talking grocery shopping or lovemaking. Habits aren’t necessarily bad if they work for you. Trouble is, routines can become so…routine. We want a little variety, some jalapeno peppers spicing up the same old dish.
How to change things? A good place to start is with yourself. What’s it like when you’re feeling sexual and you’re also alone? Many of us have been pleasuring ourselves in the same way since we left adolescence. Get out the lube, turn on the VCR, enjoy yourself for 5 minutes, get a towel to clean up and turn out the lights for the evening.
Talk about ruts! What would it be like to take your time, to really notice how your body feels, to run your hands over the smooth places and furry places, etc? Or to get off your back, put on some music and touch yourself while you move and dance.
You may find your eyes starting to glaze over when you hear “So what are you into?” For too many men words like “top” or “bottom” become like straightjackets, confining sex to predictable routines. Why not mix it up?
Whether tricking, dating or relating, too many of us have picked up the mistaken message that a good lover is in charge of his partner’s pleasure. This is actually a little grandiose; how are you supposed to know what makes him feel good, especially if he doesn’t tell you? “I’m responsible for his pleasure” leads to disappointment. Try replacing it with “I’m responsible for my own pleasure and for being present with my partner.”
A problem some men experience when they are in relationships is that we seek unconditional love from our partner, but that sort of love can seem less sexy. In fact, the affection that builds over time can make the other guy feel like family – and sex with him feel incestuous on an unconscious level. Keeping a relationship sexy means breaking that taboo.
With a partner or someone else with whom you’re sharing erotic life, it can be fun to play the “Your Turn/My Turn Game.” It goes like this: Ask your partner to undress and lay back while you explore his body. (You may want to have some conversation first about his general likes and dislikes.) Explore touching different places in his body – including touching with your hands, fingertips, fingernails, lips, etc.
Try varying the pressure – light sometimes, more forceful. ake it playful; imagine a devilish look in your eyes, asking him “Which feels better, A or B?” See if you can learn what sort of touch doesn’t work for him, what’s pleasurable, what’s a major turn-on. When you’ve finished, it’s his turn to give and your turn to receive. The object of the game is for each guy to find out more about what sort of touch feels pleasurable to receive, and for each man to learn something about how to touch the other.
Don’t let your erotic life get boring. A guy could spend an entire lifetime learning about the landscape of his own desires and learning how to be a good lover. Turn off the TV and see what happens.
John R. Ballew, M.S. an author and contributor to GAYTWOGETHER, is a licensed professional counselor in private practice in Atlanta. He specializes in issues related to coming out, sexuality, relationships and spirituality. If you have any questions or comments you can submit them directly to GAYTWOGETHER or John R. Ballew, M.S. - www.bodymindsoul.org.
     

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Vatican Marks David Bowie’s Passing By Praising Him

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David Bowie
Even the Vatican has marked singer David Bowie’s passing, praising the artist whose life and career perpetually challenged sexual and gender norms, and who, at varying points in his life, identified as gay and bisexual..
Among the first to honorBowie was Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi of the Pontifical Council for Culture who tweeted lyrics from the musicians 1969 song “Space Oddity”:
“Ground Control to Major Tom/Commencing countdown, engines on/Check ignition and may God’s love be with you (David Bowie)”
L’Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican newspaper, published an obituary complimenting Bowie. The New York Times reported:
“The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano has eulogized David Bowie as a singular musician, ‘never banal,’ who grew artistically over five decades thanks to his interest in art, film and theater.
“The paper, which frequently weighs in on pop culture, noted the ‘ambiguous image’ Bowie cultivated early on in his career and blamed it on his aim to attract media attention.
“But it said that aside from such ‘excesses,’ Bowie’s legacy ‘is one of a sort of personal sobriety, expressed even in his dry, almost thread-like body.’ “
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Tweet by Cardinal Ravasi
This is kind, if unexpected, praise from the Vatican for Bowie, who challenged gender norms. Zack Ford of Think Progress explained:
“This confusion was apparent in his own sexuality, which never seemed to fit neatly into any particular label. First he was gay. Then he was bisexual. Then coming out as bisexual was the ‘biggest mistake I ever made,’ because he didn’t ever feel that he was a ‘real bisexual.’ He admitted to having same-sex sexual interactions, ‘but frankly, it wasn’t enjoyable.’ In terms of sex and relationships, his own description of himself as ‘promiscuous’ may have been the most accurate of them all, but it reflected, as in the other aspects of his life and career, defiance of convention.”
Commenting further on Bowie’s significance for LGBT communities, a columnist with The Daily Beast wrote:
“In his refusal to label himself, there didn’t appear to be a cowardice, but rather an honesty and maturity around how unfixed, at least for him, the notion of sexuality was. That proved to be its own liberation, or at least freeing, moment for so many of every kind of sexual orientation and gender identity.”
The Vatican’s praise for David Bowie has generated global headlines, fueled by the dissonance created in bringing together rigid Catholic officials and the unconfined seeker that was David Bowie. That the Vatican’s newspaper was so affirming is a positive sign for LGBT issues in the church, likely another outcome from Pope Francis’ improved engagement with the world and demand for all people to be respected and valued.
I think Cardinal Ravasi and those behind the L’Osservatore Romano article are touching a deeper truth that connects Pope Francis, David Bowie, and all of us in between: the path to holiness is the journey towards authenticity. To paraphrase the Trappist monk Thomas Merton, “To be a saint is to be yourself.”
The world benefited from Bowie’s art, just as Catholics benefits from the many LGBT people who, in their own journeys to authenticity, help break down harmful gender and sexual norms in the church. We are all richer for the carefully tended fruits which then emerge.
David Gibson of Religion News Service headlined a column, “Saint David Bowie?” Perhaps we can just remove the question mark and simply say, “Saint David Bowie.”
–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry

Sunday, January 10, 2016

GOD'S NAME IS MERCY

Francis explains 'who am I to judge?'

  • Pope Francis talks with a woman during his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Nov. 18, 2015. (CNS/Paul Haring)
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ROME
Interviewing Pope Francis in July, Italian journalist Andrea Tornielli asked the pope how he might act as a confessor to a gay person in light of his now famous remarks in a press conference in 2013, when he asked: "Who am I to judge?"
Francis' reply appears in a new book The Name of God is Mercy to be released Tuesday.
"On that occasion I said this: If a person is gay and seeks out the Lord and is willing, who am I to judge that person?" the pope says. "I was paraphrasing by heart the Catechism of the Catholic Church where it says that these people should be treated with delicacy and not be marginalized."
"I am glad that we are talking about 'homosexual people' because before all else comes the individual person, in his wholeness and dignity," he continues. "And people should not be defined only by their sexual tendencies: let us not forget that God loves all his creatures and we are destined to receive his infinite love."
"I prefer that homosexuals come to confession, that they stay close to the Lord, and that we pray all together," says Francis. "You can advise them to pray, show goodwill, show them the way, and accompany them along it."
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Asked whether there is an opposition between truth and mercy, or doctrine and mercy, the pontiff responds: "I will say this: mercy is real; it is the first attribute of God."
"Theological reflections on doctrine or mercy may then follow, but let us not forget that mercy is doctrine," says the pope. "Even so, I love saying: mercy is true."
The Name of God is Mercy is the result of an interview between the pope and Tornielli, the coordinator for the Vatican Insider website. The book is being published in 86 countries and about 20 languages on Tuesday. NCR received an advance copy of the English-language version of the text.


At one point in the book, Tornielli asks Francis why God never tires of forgiving humanity.
"Because he is God, because he is mercy, and because mercy is the first attribute of God," the pope responds. "The name of God is mercy."
"There are no situations we cannot get out of, we are not condemned to sink into quicksand, in which the more we move the deeper we sink," he continues. "Jesus is there, his hand extended, ready to reach out to us and pull us out of the mud, out of sin, out of the abyss of evil into which we have fallen."
"We need only be conscious of our state, be honest with ourselves, and not lick our wounds," says Francis. "We need to ask for the grace to recognize ourselves as sinners."
The interview ends with Francis reflecting on the traditional spiritual and corporal works of mercy.
"By welcoming a marginalized person whose body is wounded and by welcoming the sinner whose soul is wounded, we put our credibility as Christians on the line," the pope says. "Let us always remember the words of Saint John of the Cross: 'In the evening of life, we will be judged on love alone.'"
[Joshua J. McElwee is NCR Vatican correspondent. His email address is jmcelwee@ncronline.org. Follow him on Twitter: @joshjmac.]
Editor's Note: This is Part Three of a three-part story on Pope Francis' new book-length interview. Part One is available here. Part Two is available here. 
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Friday, December 18, 2015

Good Day, Friends and Neighbors. . . .

A week till Christmas Day!  I am on break. . . from classes and campus, home on The Dunes.  I am taking a break from reading "term papers". . .remember those?
Some of them are quite good. . . and rewarding for the prof. . .hehe. . . I think they are quite acceptable.

This year has gone by  rather quickly, but in a "long sort of way". . . a lot of "same ole same ole. . ."  I will give you a brief resume.  A year ago my doctors were considering putting me on dialysis four days a week. . . Ouch.  According to "the famous books" I was a prime candidate since all the numbers from the various blood works and probing said so. . ." four days a week" connected to a cleansing machine. My disease level was serious, a "three"  etc.

However, my nephrologist and also the head of the nephrology department at the University Hospital disagreed.  He said "I do more than read the books; I read the patient.  You don't look like you are ready for that yet. . . I want to try some meds with you."  So we did.

The long and short of it. . . within two months the numbers began to improve. By the first of May the blood clot in my heart had "disappeared". . .gone. . .no trace.
Then I celebrated American Independence Day hospitalized for five days with pneumonia!  In the middle of the summer.  I hear I said some silly/strange things when I was filled with anti-biotics.  The staff didn't tell me what I had said; my friends were kind: they hinted!

A doctor was reading my chart and he read a notation from the middle-of-the- night staff.  Patient needed to urinate. Nurse brought him a urinal and stood there waiting. . .I wasn't allowed out of bed.  Well, of course I suffer from "stage fright" and nothing was forthcoming.  [LOL]  Nurse told me to hurry up. I yelled at her. . .I sort of remember this part:  "Get the hell out of here so I can pee!"
She did. . . .and I did.  ho ho ho..

Anyway in the past months my blood=test numbers are all acceptable. . . .except for uric acid: that is low. Not good.  But with all the rest of the test I have reached a good and balanced level. . .a very respectable level that we want to maintain.  My kidney and my heart men are quite satisfied, pleased.

Finally I can say I feel pretty good.  Still tire easily.  Must watch my diet. . what and how much, etc.  I keep daily records .. .weight, blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen workings, etc morning and evening.  One of my buddies in biostatistics keeps/prepare a regular record, graphs and charts.  My doctor just needs to look at the graph and he can tell how I am doing. . . And, happy, to share:  I am doing very well.

The comment was made: you are/ we are correcting your condition. . .it is working well.  My kidney doc explained it like this. . . this is the result of the happy marriage of faith-prayer and modern medicine.  "I believe. We all asked. I accepted the healing. "  So I keep on believing, asking and accepting. . .I continue on our program. . one day at a time.

I have been teaching one section of intro-psych three days a week this past semester.  The program director has been most cooperative and accommodating.
I put in a nuber of hours, available at the clinic.  This is a comfortable schedule right now.

A lot of this is repetitious; sorry about that.  I guess I get carried away with all this.  It is a new and exciting period in my life and one way to show my gratitude is to tell you. . THANK YOU.

I wish you all Happy Holidays. . .Given the conditions in our world and our times we have very much to be grateful for. . . .ultimately if we treat other people the way we want to be treated things would be a lot easier. . .for ALL of US.

May your hearts be merry and bright. . . .forget the white-stuff. . .LOL

love and hugs,
  Justin