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Elemental
Your life, sourced by science. A publication from Medium about health and wellness.

Sex

In Elemental. More on Medium.

Illustration: Matija Medved

Optimize Me

Take this Tiger King and call me in the morning

Optimize Me is an Elemental column exploring (and fact-checking) the weirdest self-improvement trends. It comes out every Tuesday.


Illustrations: Gabriella Marsh

60% of cancer survivors experience sexual dysfunction. Kristin Rojas breaks down taboos with a lot of determination and some lube.

The 32-year-old breast cancer surgeon comes here often. She lives in the neighborhood — the brownstone-lined streets of Park Slope — and works nearby at Maimonides Medical Center, Brooklyn’s largest hospital. In the course of a week, Rojas counsels…


If you want to have more fun in bed, try getting off the couch

Illustration: Carolyn Figel

“Physical activity is good for sex,” says Lee Smith, PhD, an epidemiologist researching physical activity and public health at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, England. “Being more active is associated with lower risk of various chronic illnesses that we know often lower sexual activity” due to fatigue, pain, and other factors, he says.

Physical activity also improves stamina…


Sex will never be safe. Use protection.

Credit: pederk/Getty Images

Flash forward to 2019, however, and the landscape is wildly different. People looking to prevent pregnancy have a wide range of contraceptive options, including pills, patches, IUDs, implants…


Kissing style, positions, and locations matter

Credit: Roos Koole/Getty Images

“I don’t think it is inherently ‘bad’ to have sex while you’re sick, as long as you…


According to science, an orgasm may have very little to do with sexual pleasure

Illustration: Carolyn Figel

The Dame team doesn’t rely on euphemism because they’re shy about pleasure and sex. Rather, the phrase “get the job done” is more open-ended; it allows testers to determine…


Some survivors are learning to move past their trauma by asserting their needs

Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

Reclaiming a sexual identity has led some survivors to a similar place: They’re having better sex than they were before they were assaulted — and often they tie these improvements to the experience of coping with assault. These survivors…


Studies suggest women are using marijuana as a libido enhancer. Does it work?

An illustration of three women surrounded by the cannabis plant all around them.
An illustration of three women surrounded by the cannabis plant all around them.
Illustration: Felicity Marshall

Her daughter was mortified by her getup, but otherwise fine. And while Lynn wasn’t worried about the medicolegal consequences of appearing in marijuana merch in public…


Several new products are on the market. Whether they solve the underlying problem is an open question.

Illustration: Haleigh Mun

Sauer’s experience with sexual pain extended beyond her pelvis. “When I was having sex and it was painful, it wasn’t just a physical experience—it was also an emotional one,” she says. “I felt like I wasn’t just disappointing to myself, but also to my partner.” …


You won’t become addicted to your vibrator — in fact, it’s probably good for you

Illustration: Carolyn Figel

Today, we recognize these claims as an absurd campaign stemming from moral judgments rather than legitimate health risks. And yet, movements opposing masturbation persist, most notably with the “NoFap” community. (Fap is a British slang term for male masturbation.) …

Elemental

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