Five Foods That Can Help Boost Fertility

Five Foods That Can Help Boost Fertility - Let's talk about baby-making foods. No, not the aphrodisiacs that will get you and your sweetheart in the mood -- that part's on you (though it wouldn't hurt to flip through the "chocolate Viagra" chapter of my book “Eat It to Beat It”) -- but the foods linked to increased fertility in both men and women.

Infertility affects about 12 percent of couples, a statistic attributed partly by some studies to an increasingly Western-style diet, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

Adding these five foods to shopping cart can help you to pivot away from heavily processed food choices, and find your path to optimal health, and perhaps, Babyville.

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Walnuts

Fertility discussions usually focus on women's aging ovaries, but we all know it takes two to tango. And research suggests that for men, a couple of handfuls of walnuts every day may be the ticket to stronger, faster, even prettier sperm.

The study printed in the journal Biology of Reproduction looked at the effect of added polyunsaturated fatty acids on the sperm health of 117 healthy men aged 21 to 35. Sure enough, those that ate 75 grams of Omega-3 rich walnuts (about 2/3 cup, or 2 man handfuls) experienced improvement in sperm vitality, motility, and morphology. The nut-free control group experienced no changes.

Most of us, men and women, can benefit from additional Omega 3s, so consider making walnuts a staple on your weekly grocery list.

Ice Cream

Ladies, you can now add "reproductive health" to the list of reasons you need to keep the freezer stocked with ice cream.

A study published in the journal Human Reproduction suggests full-fat dairy may increase a woman's chances of ovulating. Researchers found that women enjoying a scoop of full-fat ice cream at least twice a week had a 38 percent lower risk of anovulatory infertility compared with women consuming ice cream less than once a week. Low-fat dairy, on the other hand, had the opposite effect.

The results may seem to contradict standard nutritional advice, but researchers suggest skimming the fat from dairy alters its balance of sex hormones in a way that could tip the scales against ovulation.

While more research is required into the relationship between dairy and fertility, you can check out a list of some of my favorite full-fat, minimally processed ice cream brands in “Eat It to Beat It.”

Carrots

A study by Harvard researchers printed in the journal Fertility and Sterility found that produce rich in beta-carotene can improve sperm motility (its ability to swim toward an egg) by up to 8 percent. Carrots were singled out for their sperm-boosting properties.

Luteine, an antioxidant found in leafy greens, had a similar effect, according to the study. So make like Bugs Bunny and get snacking. When it comes to male fertility, that’s what’s up, doc!

Lentils

An inexpensive form of vegetarian protein and fiber, lentils are also a rich source of iron, a mineral known to play a key role in reproductive health.

In a well-cited Harvard School of Health study, women who got most of their iron from plant sources reduced their risk of infertility by 40 percent. Moreover, the higher the dose of the iron supplements, the lower the risk. Women who took the highest doses, more than 41 milligrams a day, reduced their risk of ovulatory infertility by 62 percent. Iron from meat didn't show the same benefits.

While researchers don't recommend popping iron supplements as an aid to becoming pregnant, supplementing a well-balanced diet with a whole-food multivitamin may improve your overall health and, consequently, your baby-making prospects.

Spinach

Get the man in your life to start channeling Popeye, and you may soon have a baby on board.

A study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility found that supplemental folic acid and zinc to increase sperm counts in men with reduced fertility.

You can find sperm-boosting folic acid, the B9 vitamin, in leafy greens like spinach and kale. And lentils are a good source of zinc; one more reason to add them to your shopping list! Good Morning America )

READ MORE - Five Foods That Can Help Boost Fertility

The Marriage Behind ‘Good Wife’

The Marriage Behind ‘Good Wife’ - It’s been more than three decades since Robert and Michelle King, The Good Wife’s married showrunners, first intertwined their professional and personal lives. Back in 1983, when Robert moved to L.A. as an aspiring playwright, he made ends meet by working at FrontRunners, an athletic shoe store around the corner. There, he crossed paths with Michelle, a part-time coworker who was about to start her senior year at UCLA. “We met each other stocking the sock wall,” recalls Robert. They soon started dating, but “we kept our relationship secret,” Robert says. “We didn’t want to deal with the pressure of the office…” “The shoe world!” Michelle pipes in, laughing. Adds Robert, “We don’t keep it a secret now!”


As if they ever could. As the powerhouse creators and showrunners behind The Good Wife, broadcast TV’s most acclaimed show (and one of the best series on broadcast or cable), the couple has expertly calling the shots together for five seasons as Alicia Florrick (Julianna Marguiles) has navigated her tenuous marriage while rising through the ranks at Lockhart/Gardner, before leaving the firm this season in a blaze of glory to start her own practice. As The Good Wife returns March 9 after a two-month hiatus (to avoid the Olympics and a slew of other recent major Sunday night events, including the Super Bowl, Oscars, and Grammys), Robert, 54, and Michelle, 51, sat down with The Daily Beast to discuss how they’ve successfully pulled off being married to their job—and each other. “If it weren’t fun,” says Michelle, “we wouldn’t be doing it.”


In person, the duo exhibits the relaxed affection of a long-time couple who are utterly at ease together, and remain delighted and amused by one another’s company. Robert tends to take the lead in responses (“I talk more and Michelle's more the sound-bite woman,” he explains), while Michelle deftly chooses her moments to interject. Case in point: “You should get to the core of the difference between us,” suggests Robert, glancing over at Michelle. “You’re Jewish and I’m Catholic.” Retorts Michelle, “Well, I didn’t know that was the core difference!” “But it’s different enough that it’s explored on the show,” says Robert. “And I’m more conservative than you are politically.”

After the Kings married in 1987, they kept their professional lives separate for nearly 15 years. Robert wrote films like Vertical Limit and Cutthroat Island, while Michelle worked in development at studios and production companies. Then in 2001, they began developing a series called The Line with director Ron Underwood. “It was about the border, very much like The Bridge now,” says Robert, who collaborated with Michelle for the first time on the project. “We wrote it together, and it was a really good process, because TV was a new language to learn, because of the five-act structure. Michelle loved structure, and I rebel against structure. We were able to work together and sit at the typewriter together, and it was fun.”

As they started The Line, Robert and Michelle had no hesitation about teaming up. “Even when we weren’t being paid as a couple, we always discussed what we were doing,” says Michelle. Explains Robert, “Also one of the good things about network TV is the speed that it is done. You get answers on things very fast. So we did know if we hated working together, it was going to be over within four months.” Yet neither of them actually thought that things would go sour. “You get a sense of these things,” says Robert. “Our personalities are close enough and yet they're not mirroring each other. And you get that sense that it would be working out fine.”

The Line never went forward, but the experience cemented Robert and Michelle’s professional partnership. They collaborated on a few other pilot scripts before creating In Justice, their 2006 ABC legal drama with Kyle MacLachlan and Jason O’Mara. During the show’s 13-episode run, the Kings learned that they needed to make some necessary adjustments to their work/home relationship. “There's a tendency with working together and being a husband-and-wife that the writing talk starts filling out every corner of your life,” says Robert. “And that was a mistake. When we'd have date night we knew that, okay, no more business talk.”

By the time they created The Good Wife in 2009, Robert and Michelle had a better sense of how to divide and conquer the showrunning duties (they were initially teamed with a more seasoned co-showrunner, Dee Johnson, who departed during the first season). “We split up the division of labor right down the middle,” says Robert, explaining that Michelle handles “wardrobe, hair, makeup, production design and taking the lead on casting.” Meanwhile, says Michelle, “Robert’s in the editing room and galloping ahead on scripts.” And they are both a regular presence in the writerss room.

Because a showrunner’s work is never done, the Kings say they can’t imagine any other way to approach their job. “Bill Prady, who runs Big Bang Theory, had a good way of talking about showrunning, which is it's the equivalent of writing and putting on a show, but also running 12 7-Eleven's in the Valley,” says Robert, “You get a call like, ‘The Slurpee machine’s out; come on down!’ There's this need to tweak and make sure everything is working that actually requires two minds.” Being able to split those duties with her husband is the best part of working together, says Michelle. “It’s a huge job. I actually don't understand how people do it singly. And when just one of a couple is doing it, I think it must be very hard that it doesn't leave enough time to be together.”

And the worst part of showrunning with one’s spouse? “The worst part is when we disagree, because that can be very difficult. We had fought about the Peter Bogdanovich thing. That argument went on a month and a half,” says Robert of the recent revelation that the “Peter” who fathered the unborn baby of ethics advisor Marilyn (Melissa George) was not in fact Alicia’s husband, Peter Florrick (Chris Noth), but the famous film director, who played himself in a cameo. “There was probably a way to answer that with a little more seriousness. And we had a disagreement of how silly, how much you could throw it away versus how much you could take it seriously.”

But that was far from the duo’s biggest—and oddest—clash. “I think the biggest creative argument we ever had was whether U.S. should be abbreviated with or without periods within a script,” says Michelle. “I mean, it gets down to that level! I think it went on for two days, and I could not tell you which of us had which position or where it landed.” Adds Robert, “Which is the advantage of [being on a] network. There are so many decisions that have to be made, you can't really fight over one for very long.”

Regardless of the argument, when Robert and Michelle do disagree on something, they keep their differences behind closed doors. “One thing we did learn, in front of a group you're a united front no matter what,” says Robert. “Because if they think they can play Mommy off against Daddy, it's a real problem. So whatever decision’s made, it just kind of goes, even if the other person disagrees with it.”

Nor do they play good showrunner/bad showrunner. “I mean, there will be times when one of us will be in one room dealing with one issue and the other will be in the other,” says Michelle, “but there's not a nice one and a less nice one.” Well, most of the time, at least: “When we've had talent issues, one of us usually deals with it,” says Robert. “So if that gets contentious, then the other person can come along later and say, ‘Okay, now it's worked out. We're all good. Don't worry about what Robert said.’ We've had a few circumstances like that, where we've had to deal with talent on the East Coast, and it's usually just one of us who does it so the other one is kept clean.”

Unlike in the early days of their work partnership, Robert and Michelle no longer have strict rules about avoiding office talk at home. “It flows everywhere, but not in a bad way,” says Michelle. “It's what we, or at least what I, would want to be talking about.” Especially given that their daughter, 14, now also contributes ideas to the show. “She really likes the process and she likes influencing with music, she gives us music,” says Robert. “So ground rules would be more essential if we didn't think Sophia was embracing what she sees of the process.”

They freely admit that their working relationship might be much more strained were The Good Wife not so beloved by its fans. “Shows that are not connecting with their audience are just as hard to make as shows that are,” says Robert. “So you'd have all the work, but you'd also have another layer of angst, which is a network or studio that was pressuring you or making calls like, ‘Why did you make this decision?’ We haven't had that kind of dustup with CBS at all, so I have a feeling that makes this an unusual situation.”

When there have been major issues—like last season’s decision to jettison the instantly-toxic Season 4 storyline involving Kalinda’s (Archie Panjabi) estranged husband, Nick—they’ve confronted them together. “That was probably our most tense moment on the show,” says Robert. (“But not with each other!” Michelle quickly adds.) “Even with that, you and I were in complete agreement with what we had to do. And then it was like okay, how do we accomplish this, and who do we have to talk to? There were a lot of people that we had to get on the same page with what our plan was to get around it, not just within house, not just within the actors, but also the studio and network: this is how we're planning to approach it.”

In the end, Robert and Michelle feel that working side by side as showrunners has ultimately been beneficial for their marriage, and not just because it’s the only way they’d ever see each other otherwise. “I'll say this: we've had some disasters in our personal life. And the show offers a healthy distraction sometimes from that, where you feel like we can't let that eat away at us because we have this deadline,” says Robert. “The deadline, as awful as it is, makes you get over whatever personal problems there are. I would say in that way it has been an improvement on marriage, because I have a feeling that whatever those disasters were, they probably would've had more resonance and a little more difficulty in our private life if there wasn't like, ‘Okay, we’ve got to get over that, because we have to start working on script number 18.’”

While they realize that working together on a show that was built on the lead character’s strained marriage might raise question about their own union, the Kings insist that the old adage that writers always write about what they know doesn’t always hold true. “This would be an exception to that rule!” insists Michelle. Referencing Peter’s dalliances with prostitutes that were uncovered the pilot, she adds, “It’s not like we looked back and said, ‘Oh, that hooker thing!’”

“If anything, it’s probably helped,” the show’s fictional marriage between Alicia and Peter, says Robert. “The show tries to walk a thin line between how much it's a good idea to divorce the schmuck and how much is it a good idea to stay with the schmuck. And I think our happiness—that we work well together—has allowed that conservative side of the show. The idea that maybe a married couple should work it out has risen. If our relationship weren't as good, it probably would be like, ‘Throw the bum out!’” Does that mean if Alicia and Peter divorce next season, viewers should worry about the state of the Kings’s union? Says Robert after a long laugh, “Yeah, poor Robert and Michelle!”

The couple’s solid marriage also “allows us to explore issues” on The Good Wife, says Robert. “They're just not the issues at the core of our relationship, but there's a lot of observations we have of, our daughter’s in high school now and a lot of her friends have divorced parents. So I mean exploring the idea of how much do our kids have interest in their parents staying together. The stability that we're—see, all of this is terrible. It might end tomorrow! [“Yes,” agrees Michelle]—but the stability that we feel now allows us to use that as a place to look out at other relationships around us and either satirize and comment on them, or dramatize them.”

In fact, things have gone so smoothly for them in tandem on The Good Wife that the Kings can’t envision a scenario in which they would end their professional partnership. “We don't always feel equal passion for an idea,” says Michelle, “but personally working together is so appetizing.” While Robert says he could possibly write more feature films on his own, that option would be out of the question for any future TV projects. “If one of us did write a pilot on our own, we would bring the other on as a showrunner because the job itself requires two people. And we have too much fun!” ( thedailybeast.com )

READ MORE - The Marriage Behind ‘Good Wife’

Napping makes you more productive

Be proud to sleep on the job - Some forward-thinking companies such as Nike and Google offer places for their employees to nap. But for most workers, napping in the office is frowned upon. This is a shame given the long list of benefits from an afternoon nap. Here are eight reasons why we should embrace and encourage naps during the workday:

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OFFICE SLUMBER: An employee at a US firm takes a nap during office time using an ostrich pillow.
  • Napping makes you more productive: Research has shown that naps refresh our bodies, make us more attentive and improve our moods. It’s in the best interest of employers and employees for everyone to be functioning at their best. Fatigue contributes to $18 billion a year in lost productivity. And when tired employees go home, they’re at an increased risk of being in a car crash.
  • You’ll likely live longer: A 2007 study found that individuals who took a midday nap were more than 30 percent less likely to die of heart disease. Napping also has been shown to lower blood pressure.
  • Winston Churchill napped throughout World War II: The anti-napping lobby might argue that we’re all too busy at work to nap. So here’s a dose of perspective. The leader of a nation deeply involved in the most widespread war in human history found time to nap. He snoozed as bombs rained down on the country he led, and still emerged on the winning side with a legacy of being a great leader. As the former British prime minister wrote in a memoir: “Nature had not intended mankind to work from 8 in the morning until midnight without the refreshment of blessed oblivion which, even if it only lasts 20 minutes, is sufficient to renew all the vital forces.”
If Churchill can beat Hitler while taking afternoon siestas, you can take a quick break from that TPS report. Keep calm and nap on, everyone.
  • Some of the best minds in history napped: If Churchill isn’t a good enough celebrity endorsement for you, how about Leonardo da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, Napoleon, or Albert Einstein. All were known to nap.
  • You’ll be more creative: Research has found that REM sleep leads to a roughly 40 percent boost in creativity. Napping was one way Salvador Dali got ready to work, writes Dennis Drabelle:
To prime the pump for his surrealist paintings (the melting watch, the human leg with a built-in chest of drawers, etc.), the Catalan-born artist used to take — and abort — a nap after lunch. He would sit down with his arms extending beyond the chair’s arms. In one hand he would grasp a key between thumb and forefinger. After he fell asleep, his fingers would relax, the key would fall to the floor, the clatter would wake him up, and he would harvest the wild associations common to the first few minutes of sleep.
  • Napping is natural: The overwhelming majority of mammals sleep in short periods throughout the day. Humans naturally tire in the early afternoon, struggle to focus and experience an increased desire to sleep. Yet society only gives us one period of the day to sleep.
“Nature definitely intended that adults should nap in the middle of the day, perhaps to get out of the midday sun,” wrote noted sleep researcher William Dement in “Sleep and Alertness: Chronological, Behavioral and Medical Aspects of Napping.”
  • Napping is cheaper and more effective than coffee: The average American worker spends $1,092 a year on coffee. We need that caffeine burst to stay alert. But there are tradeoffs, which professor Sara C. Mednick, a sleep expert, points out:
  • Highly productive nations have embraced naps without negative consequences: Let’s hear it for Japan. While most of us are afraid to look like a slacker and rest our heads on our desks, the Japanese have overcome nap shame. Via Anthony Faiola: “When we see people napping during lunchtime, we think, ‘They are getting ready to put 100 percent in during the afternoon,’ ” said Paul Nolasco, a Toyota spokesman in Tokyo. “Nobody frowns upon it. And no one hesitates to take one during lunchtime either.” arabnews.com )

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Virginity: how was it for you?

Virginity: how was it for you?. Losing your virginity is one of the few aspects of sex that remains untalked about. Kate Monro, whose blog collates people's first experiences of intercourse, argues it's important to break this taboo
 

When Kate Monro decided the moment had come to lose her virginity, everything seemed to fall into place perfectly. She was 15 and on holiday without her parents for the first time. Every night she and her friends would hit the dance floors of the Costa Brava. "We would spend all night in proper 1980s discos, drinking piƱa coladas and being chatted up by hairy Spaniards who looked like members of Wham!" she says.

One night Monro got lucky. In walked an exquisitely good-looking French boy – a whole year older than herself and so sophisticated he was holidaying alone. "I was enthralled," she says, "like a moth to a flame. I figured out pretty quickly this was my big opportunity to lose my virginity." The pair planned it carefully and on the last night of the holiday he took her up into the hills where they found just the right spot by a swimming pool overlooking the sea.

But in the event, Monro's French Adonis turned out to be a bit of a letdown. It was mechanical, boring and uncomfortable. "My absolute first thought was: Oh, this feels like three Tampax instead of one," she says. "Nothing more." Even so, when it was over, as it was in a flash, Monro skipped back down the hillside feeling euphoric. "Losing my virginity was absolutely top of my list of things to do," she says. "I felt stigmatised by it. I always thought I was such a maverick with my dyed hair and ripped jeans, but my friends had done it, therefore I wanted to do it, too."

Despite her own lacklustre experience, virginity loss is a subject Monro, now 42, has become deeply intrigued by. For the past five years she has scoured the world, collecting tales of first-time fumblings through her blog the Virginity Project. She has now amassed hundreds of stories which she plans to turn into a book.

Monro believes sharing your virginity loss story is one of the most exposing things you can do, and all her case studies remain anonymous. "It's one of the most vulnerable moments of your life," she says. "Nothing can ever prepare you for the reality of it. It is you at your most unknowing and innocent stepping into the sexual arena for the very first time."

One of Monro's subjects is Betty. She lost her virginity on her wedding night in 1940. "I never knew what a man even looked like until I got married," she told Monro. "Sex was a forbidden subject. I was frightened, and when I saw how he looked I laughed." And more recently there's the 16-year-old whose older brother treated him to a Mancunian prostitute. "Thoughts swirled in my head," said the boy. "Don't come too soon. Is £35 a fair price? What do they do in porn?"

Monro seems to have an ability to get people to open up to her and there are many who tell her things they can't even tell their own partner. One of the most candid stories on her blog is the tale of the stay-at-home father of four whose wife, a high-flying lawyer, decided one night to strap on a dildo and take his anal virginity. "I was, to put it mildly, petrified," he says. "The sight of that missile protruding from her, and meant for me, brought everything home."

She also has tales we wouldn't usually hear: of a thalidomide boy (lost his to the most popular girl in school, then moved on to her best friend); an autistic man (prostitute) and a 101-year-old woman (out of wedlock, scandalous, but a bit hazy). But the story, she says, that always shocks the most, is that of the man who has been married for 15 years yet is still a virgin. "He had the opportunity to do it but just had an intense feeling he would hurt the woman and couldn't do it," she says. "I think it has just turned into phobia."

In many ways Monro's work is a valuable snapshot of sexual mores from the past 60 years. Betty, for example, is a product of a time when virginity loss and marriage went hand in hand. For Monro, meanwhile – a child of the 1980s, in those heady days post-pill, pre-Aids – it's little wonder she behaved the way she did. And these days? According to the latest National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal), which studied more than 11,000 people aged between 16 and 19, the median age of virginity loss is 16. Interestingly, ever since the mid-1990s the proportion of women who lost their virginity before the age of 16 suddenly stopped increasing and along with that use of contraception went right up, too. Could it be that some messages are filtering through and we, as a nation, are becoming more and more sensible?

On her blog Monro cites the work of Laura Carpenter, professor of sociology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Carpenter did a scientific study of 61 people and, in the resulting book Virginity Loss: an Intimate Portrait of our First Sexual Experiences, identifies three distinct categories. First there are the "gifters" – "People who see virginity as a precious thing and who want to find the perfect person to give it to," explains Carpenter. The second are the "stigmatised" – the group to which Monro clearly belongs – and finally there are the "processors" who see virginity loss as just one sexual experience in many, a category which, Carpenter found, many gay and lesbian people fell into.

"One of the things that struck me was that men and women were far more similar than we would expect," says Carpenter. "When you find women who talk about virginity as a stigma, the choices they make are really very similar to men – they don't care who they do it with, they just want it over with. While the men who saw virginity as a gift were very like women gifters – concerned about finding someone special to give it to."

American filmmaker Therese Shechter started out as a gifter. "I was waiting for that special person," she says. "I really felt I had this thing that I wanted to bestow on the right person." By the time she hit 23, however, she was the only virgin left in her peer group. "I eventually realised this special person was not coming, so I needed to do it with someone unspecial. When I did my first thought was: 'Great, it's done' – my second: 'And this was what I had been saving myself for?'"

Shechter, who directed the award-winning 2005 documentary I Was a Teenage Feminist, is now working on a follow-up called How to Lose Your Virginity, which is due to open in America in the autumn. She was inspired to make a film about virginity partly by her horror at the rise of the abstinence movement in America and partly by the experience of planning her own wedding. "I realised it was a similar ritual to a purity ball – the process of handing your virginity from your father to your new husband," she says. "For me that was something pretty ugly and ancient."

Like Monro's work, Shechter's film is a series of straightforward tales of real people's virginity loss. It's refreshing to hear such forthright voices in a world where any debate about virginity is often so conflicting or one-sided. Our current torchbearer seems to be Miley Cyrus who, just like Britney all those years ago, loudly proclaims her own virginity while behaving in a hyper-sexual way. In the media there are constant stories about women auctioning off their virginity to pay for their education and more troubling is recent news of one Justin Sisely, an Australian TV producer currently looking for young virgins to take part in a new reality show. "You see all this stuff and you think: 'So this is the extent of the debate we're having about virginity in the 21st century?'" says Shechter.

It's a sentiment Monro agrees with. "These days we see sex everywhere, but there's very little that's honest about it," she says. "I think ultimately what brings people to tell me their stories is that we all have an innate desire to want to compare our experiences with other people. We all just want some sort of affirmation to know that we are normal."
 
Donnie, 31, lost his virginity in 1998

I was in college, working at a bookstore. I had a key and often worked late at night and this meant that I and the girl I loved had a place where we could go and be away from our roommates. To say that I loved her would be a pale word. I savoured her. Every angle, every facet of her mind and her words and her eyes seemed to infuse me with an energy that I had never experienced before.

One night, late in the dark store, after talking about Joseph Conrad novels, we kissed more and more deeply, and everything began to spin around me; all the square angles of the books and shelves blurred like a cartoon as I removed the lace from the curves of her body. We were laying on the floor between shelves of old books. I remember how her heat surprised me. I remember how her legs felt when they moved up around my ribs. I remember something she whispered to me — a whisper I sometimes still hear at night. I remember playing with her hair afterwards, as we lay together panting and hot. And most of all I remember the feeling much later, as the sun was rising and we left the store. She was wearing my coat. And everything in the world was different. I noticed it instantly — as though everyone had been speaking in a foreign accent and now suddenly switched to my own.
 
Arthur Perks, 86, lost his virginity in 1943
I had no idea at all about sex. I never even saw my mum and dad kiss each other. I did think of going to a prostitute to show me how to do it, before I made a fool of myself, but I didn't have the courage.

In 1942, when I was 22, I joined the army so I never had time to go with women because I was a front line soldier. Then we went into Austria and annexed a couple of hotels on a lake. It was beautiful and I used to row round the lake and one night, there was this girl standing on the jetty.

She took a fancy to me and I began to get a stir if you know what I mean. One night we had a nice night of rumpity-pump and it happened. Just like that. And the unfortunate part of it was, there was nothing splendid about it at all. I got the erection and bob's your uncle. Away we went. Of course we weren't so adventurous in those days. You didn't try positions or anything like that, women are more forward today than they ever were back then.
 
Mathilde, 20, lost her virginity in 2009

When I was 17 I was desperate to lose my virginity. I met him at midnight after a party and we planned to do the deed in someone else's bed. I saw him as my golden ticket into the amazing world of sex. We started kissing. He was very heavy, we undressed and he pushed and it hurt like hell. He wanted to stop, but I told him to keep going. Eventually he got inside me and started thrusting. I remember that it felt crooked. Our friends called before he could finish and I don't think we ever really spoke again.

I was always afraid to have sex after that. I made out with guys naked on the kitchen table in the common kitchen. I gave blowjobs to more than I'd like to recall, but I couldn't do it. I couldn't have sex. I didn't get another boyfriend until I was 20. He was a virgin too and eager to do the deed. I told him I was a virgin, because in my mind I was.
 
Marcus, 32, lost his virginity in 2007

At 29, many years of falling confidence had taken their toll. I was at a nightclub with friends when a female friend who I had always thought was stunning but out of my league, drunkenly confessed that she really liked me. I was in total shock. Before I knew it, we were kissing and she made it clear that she was willing to have sex that night, but I felt wary of her being quite drunk that we left it at that. We met a few days later and hit it off right where we left off. Before I knew it we were on her bed, then becoming naked – a new first for me – and then we were doing all those things I was beginning to wonder if I was ever going to taste. And it all felt so natural. For a first time, I would guess it was pretty good. As we talked afterwards, I told her that that had been my first time, and she was shocked. She said she never would have guessed.
 
Paul Howden, 48, lost his virginity 1976

I was 15 and had been going out with this girl for a couple of months. I was going past her house in Edgware one day in the school holidays when suddenly a torrential rain storm came down.

I knocked on her door and my girlfriend's mum opened the door. She invited me in and told me to go into the living room and take my wet clothes off while she went off to get some towels. When she came back I was standing there in my underpants. She told me to take them off and then she started helping to dry me with the towels.

She started on my chest then did my back. She was kind of stroking me rather than drying me. Then she told me to turn round and she basically starting towelling me lower and lower until she was drying my bits and stroking them through the towel.

She got me aroused, which wasn't that difficult, and then told me to lie down on the carpet. She was wearing a lightweight summer dress which came off in seconds and she sat down on me. I remember feeling a combination of utter embarrassment, elation and fear that my girlfriend would walk through the door. I was also terrified of getting her pregnant. It was all over in a minute, if that. I vividly remember noticing lots of pictures of her daughter, my girlfriend, scattered round the room.

When it was over she got up and we sat there on opposite sofas waiting for my clothes to dry having tea and biscuits. I just wanted to get out of there. She told me to come back the next day to do it properly. At 15 you don't expect to be pounced on a by a woman in her 40s.
 
Viktoria Windmeyer, 18, lost her virginity in 2007

I'd told my boyfriend that I wasn't ready for sex. Then he told me he was going away and we wouldn't be able to see each other for a long time. One day we were in my basement fooling around and he told me that we should do it now because in a few weeks he would be gone. So I caved in.

He went to the bathroom to put a condom on. I'll never forget the way I felt while I was lying on the couch waiting for him. I was so scared and nervous. The only reason that I made him wait for so long was because I literally didn't even know what sex was. I had never had a sex talk before. I never learned about it in school and I was never told by my mum. I thought that making out and feeling each other up basically was sex.

I looked down and watched out of curiosity. He tried to hump me really fast and I tried to hump at a slower pace. We were off rhythm which made it a bit awkward. And after about 30 seconds, he just stopped, looked disappointed and told me that he couldn't keep going. I never knew that a man would go limp after he came. So I didn't understand why he was stopping but I was happy about it, I just had sex, it didn't hurt me a bit and it was over right away. I lay there thinking "Wow! That was it! That was... Sex!"
 
Juliette Robertson, 33, lost her virginity in 1994
 

I was 17 and a half and one of the last among my friends to lose my virginity. I'd been seeing this guy I'd met over the summer. He was three years older than me and had his own car and seemed a lot more grown up than me. From the off he wanted to have sex but I was totally nervous. In the end I made him wait four months as I wanted to feel like I had got to know him.

The night we planned to do it I told my mum that I was staying over at my friend's house. My boyfriend told me to dress up because he was taking me on a date. He arrived to pick me up in his car and revealed that he was taking me to the opera to see the Magic Flute. I was dressed up in a full length gown. I thought 'this is so grown up and romantic, it's going to be perfect, perfect.' It's hilarious when you think about it now.

I couldn't understand a word of the opera and all I could do was sit there thinking over and over again I'm going to lose my virginity tonight. Afterwards we went back to his. He had tried to create an atmosphere with candles, pink flowers and Pink Floyd playing on a loop. The whole thing must have been over in seconds. Weirdly, I don't really remember the details of the act itself, but I do remember having that classic feeling of is this really it? And brilliant, I've done it. ( guardian.co.uk )

READ MORE - Virginity: how was it for you?

Virginity test draws criticism

Virginity test draws criticism - The Prabumulih administration’s plan to force high school girls in Prabumulih, South Sumatra, to take a virginity test has drawn criticism from all sides.

Deny Trisna, a guidance and counseling teacher at state senior high school SMA Negeri 3 Prabumulih, questioned the policy.

“If they find female students are no longer a virgin, what will they do?” Deny said, adding that schools should play an active role in preventing promiscuity among students.

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Rumors abound that the administration’s plan to enforce virginity tests is in response to promiscuous behavior at Prabujaya Sports Square.

“Recently, the Palembang Police also foiled an attempt to traffic six young women. All of the perpetrators were released, however, because no actual transaction occurred,” said Deny.

The Woman Crisis Center (WCC) South Sumatra said the virginity test violated human rights because it was a private matter.

“It’s harassment against women. The government should consider the impact of such a test on students,” said the center’s chairwoman, Yeni Roslaini.

Ali Usman of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) Prabumulih-chapter said the council was against the plan because it would have a negative impact on society.

"According to Islamic teachings, it is forbidden to see other people's genitals," he said. (ebf//thejakartapost.com)

READ MORE - Virginity test draws criticism
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