Monday, September 08, 2008

Women with a wiggle: Gait may be associated with orgasmic ability

This is a VERY preliminary study with a tiny sample but there may be something in it

A new study found that trained sexologists could infer a woman's history of vaginal orgasm by observing the way she walks. The study is published in the September 2008 issue of The Journal of Sexual Medicine, the official journal of the International Society for Sexual Medicine and the International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health.

Led by Stuart Brody of the University of the West of Scotland in collaboration with colleagues in Belgium, the study involved 16 female Belgian university students. Subjects completed a questionnaire on their sexual behavior and were then videotaped from a distance while walking in a public place. The videotapes were rated by two professors of sexology and two research assistants trained in the functional-sexological approach to sexology, who were not aware of the women's orgasmic history.

The results showed that the appropriately trained sexologists were able to correctly infer vaginal orgasm through watching the way the women walked over 80 percent of the time. Further analysis revealed that the sum of stride length and vertebral rotation [wiggle?] was greater for the vaginally orgasmic women. "This could reflect the free, unblocked energetic flow from the legs through the pelvis to the spine," the authors note.

There are several plausible explanations for the results shown by this study. One possibility is that a woman's anatomical features may predispose her to greater or lesser tendency to experience vaginal orgasm. According to Brody, "Blocked pelvic muscles, which might be associated with psychosexual impairments, could both impair vaginal orgasmic response and gait." In addition, vaginally orgasmic women may feel more confident about their sexuality, which might be reflected in their gait. "Such confidence might also be related to the relationship(s) that a woman has had, given the finding that specifically penile-vaginal orgasm is associated with indices of better relationship quality," the authors state. Research has linked vaginal orgasm to better mental health.

The study provides some support for assumptions of a link between muscle blocks and sexual function, according to the authors. They conclude that it may lend credibility to the idea of incorporating training in movement, breathing and muscle patterns into the treatment of sexual dysfunction.

"Women with orgasmic dysfunction should be treated in a multi-disciplinary manner" says Irwin Goldstein, Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Sexual Medicine."Although small, this study highlights the potential for multiple therapies such as expressive arts therapy incorporating movement and physical therapy focusing on the pelvic floor."


The world's fattest nation is using increasingly controversial methods to try to trim its waistline

New York has outlawed cooking fats that lead to heart disease. In Arkansas and Pennsylvania, schools weigh every child in the state and tell their parents if they are overweight.

Now, Los Angeles - a city synonymous with freeways and drive-thru' restaurants - has banned the opening of any new fast-food outlets for a year in a poor area swamped by McDonald's and Pizza Huts. Restaurant operators in South Los Angeles say the moratorium imposed by the city council is a form of oppression, but authorities and health advocates hope the bold move will allow fresh alternative eateries to flourish.

The concentration of fast-food outlets in the financially disadvantaged community, combined with a lack of grocery stores, mean residents struggle to buy fresh fruit and vegetables. With residents prevented by poverty and geography from gaining access to healthy produce, critics have labelled the ban as "food apartheid". [The basic fact that shops stock what people will buy is obviously too deep for these lamebrains] Los Angeles City Council member Bernard Parks said the ban was necessary, allowing people to buy mangos as well as McDonald's. "Our communities have an extreme shortage of quality foods," he said. [What he means is that people buy food he disapproves of]

Critics have not been so positive, calling councillors who backed the plan "fascists" and "nanny-staters". Councilwoman Jan Perry said the ban, coupled with tax breaks and assistance such as discounted electricity offered for fresh food businesses to set up in the area, were already having an impact. "I've had four businesses contact me already," she said. "[Sit-down] restaurants that want to see the sites we have available, want to get started."

The council voted unanimously to ban new fast-food outlets in the economically depressed area of 500,000 people and 83 square kilometres, where more than 30 per cent of the children are obese - double the LA County average - and almost three-quarters of restaurants don't provide cutlery. Even though there are more than 400 fast-food outlets in the district, the ban was opposed by the California Restaurant Association and is being closely watched by large chains, which are concerned it could spread across the city and state. An association spokesman, Andrew Casana, told the Los Angeles Times in July that the moratorium, which could be extended up to two years, was misguided. He said: "[Fast food] is the only industry that wants to be in South LA. Sit-down restaurants don't want to go in. If they did, they'd be there. This moratorium isn't going to help them relocate."

There are only a handful of mainstream "name brand" supermarkets in South LA, complemented by smaller independent outlets. Zoning decisions, a failure to plan and what Ms Perry calls "a form of bias" have conspired against the district. Perhaps the most astonishing aspect about the lack of supermarkets, grocers and family restaurants in the area is it runs counter to the strongest force in the US: capitalism. The councilwoman said $US400 million ($477 million) was drained from the community each year because its residents were forced to shop elsewhere. "That's money leaking out of South LA," she said. "Everybody needs to eat, and even [poor] people will find money to feed their families," Ms Perry said.

Several years ago the British retail giant Tesco bought the Fresh & Easy supermarket brand, which operates on the US west coast. Its store in the city of Compton, which borders South LA, serves a similar socio-economic group and is Tesco's highest-grossing store in the US. "People are literally starving for options," Ms Perry said.

South LA may be emblematic of the lack of access to fresh food, but the area is hardly alone. A similar ban in San Jose, near San Francisco, was defeated in controversial circumstances, voted down while its proponent was giving birth prematurely.

Newark, in New Jersey, which sits just outside New York City and is home to 283,000 people, making it equivalent in size to Wollongong, has just two large supermarkets. An economic adviser working with the Newark City Council, who asked not to be named, said the perception of high property prices and endemic crime had deterred retailers from setting up shop. Most people buy groceries near their work in the Big Apple, or at corner shops - bodegas - which provide only limited access to fresh food. "The suburban [supermarket] model just doesn't work here," she told The Sun-Herald. "An urban model is required and it's very difficult to get them to see the benefits of somewhere like Newark."

Two-thirds of adults in the US are considered overweight or obese. Rates of adult obesity have doubled since 1980 - from 15 to 30 per cent - and the population of adults with diabetes has risen from 5.2 per cent in 1980 to more than 8 per cent. These figures come from a report by non-profit organisations the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Trust for America's Health, which estimate the direct health-care costs of obesity exceed $US61 billion annually. The survey also found a correlation between poverty and obesity, with seven of the 10 states with the highest obesity rates also in the top 10 for poverty rates. The statistics mirror those in Australia. Weight once denoted wealth, but now it almost certainly suggests you are poor. Trust executive director Jeff Levi said the US was "not treating the obesity crisis with the seriousness" it required. "The only thing going down is the money spent to prevent this epidemic," he said.

Authorities at local government levels are taking it upon themselves to tackle the problem, to improve the lives of their citizens and to avoid a financial catastrophe caused by increased health costs.

The South LA ban is the most sweeping legislative action against obesity since trans fats were outlawed in New York City in 2006, a process enforced from July this year. An artificial substance created when hydrogen is used to turn liquid oils into solid fats, trans fat contributes to heart disease by raising so-called "bad" cholesterol and lowering "good" cholesterol simultaneously. New York City now requires chain restaurants to list the calorie count of items next to menu prices. California will ban trans fats in 2010. "California is a leader in promoting health and nutrition," Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said recently, after his state became the first in the US to phase out the fats.

The US has exported its profitable model of franchised fast-food restaurants with deep-fried, super-sized portions. Now the world is waking up to a new century in which some medical experts suggest obesity will shorten life expectancy unless drastic measures are taken to improve people's health.

Ms Perry said South LA's athletics tracks were being upgraded, school menus reviewed and parks improved to tempt citizens to make healthier choices. Not having a new fast-food restaurant in the area, she said, would hurt no one.


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