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“The world is disturbingly comfortable with the fact that women sometimes leave a sexual encounter in tears.” Lili Loofbourow

According to a recent study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, about 30 percent of women report feeling pain during vaginal intercourse.

This alarming statistic is only recorded amongst women who are even comfortable speaking to doctors about sex, meaning that a far greater number could be more accurate.

Another hugely concerning fact which the study expressed is that "large proportions" of women don't tell their partners when sex hurts, they simply grin and bear it.

This testifies to the notion that women often sacrifice their pleasure, not to mention their comfort, for male satisfaction. The assumption that “bad sex” simply means the absence of pleasure is a naïve one- for many women, “bad sex” can mean extreme discomfort and even agony.

Debby Herbenick, an academic from the Indiana University School of Public Health and one of those who incentivised the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behaviour, confirmed this suggestion.

"When it comes to 'good sex,'" she commented, "women often mean without pain, men often mean they had orgasms."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The satisfaction scale for men and women is clearly imbalanced. Painful sex isn’t the rare outlier that it’s proclaimed to be, in fact, it’s far more widespread than imagined.

For some women, such as those suffering from illnesses such as endometriosis, ectopic pregnancies and vaginismus, it’s part of their reality.

For others, they are in need of more foreplay, lubrication or comfort. Anxiety and tension can have a drastic impact on female sexual pleasure. 

There are dozens of possible reasons why you could be experiencing pain during sex, ranging from the physical to the psychological.

The troubling thing is that so many of these reasons are not well-known, and they are scarcely researched or prioritised in our healthcare systems.

Dyspareunia is the medical term for painful sex, and can be a deeply distressing condition which takes a massive emotional toll on those who experience it.

According to another scientific article on women’s pain:

“Approximately 15% of women have chronic dyspareunia that is poorly understood, infrequently cured, often highly problematic, and distressing.”

The stigma surrounding problems such as the ones mentioned above is part of the reason why women aren’t discussing their sexual pain, especially not with healthcare practitioners.

Even if a woman feels willing and able to discuss her sex life with her doctor, the lack of research into female pain in general as well as in sexual medicine means that even more barriers crop up.

Sexual assault arguably can also contribute towards experiencing pain during future sexual encounters.

Numerous studies support the idea that a mental block is created surrounding sex, which lives with survivors long after their attack.

Without a healthy view of sex and positive sexual experiences, women are not being given the tools to vocalise their pain.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Other disorders such as vulvodynia, vestibulodynia, interstitial cystitis, vaginitis, vaginal atrophy, fibroids, lichen sclerosus and lichen planus (skin disorders), ovarian cysts and endometriosis have all been grossly under-reported, and awareness of these conditions is extremely limited.

Yeast infections, overly tight pelvic floor muscles, bowel problems and hormonal imbalances can also be major contributors to pain during sex, as well as STI’s.

BBC Three has recently aired a visceral visual essay series, where director Sindha Agha decided to artistically depicted the female experience of painful sex.

The beautiful video uses colourful imagery and imaginative props such as glass, metal nails, sprinkles, knives and fruit to parallel with the emotional narration:

Endometriosis sufferer Rhoda Hierons reads her own words aloud with a gorgeous and vivid backdrop, describing the pain of sex as “glass shattering inside you and embedding itself”.

Sindha Agha emotively explains the meaning behind her video: “I’m trying to create an external language for women’s innermost experiences,” she claims.

“As women, I feel we’ve been led to believe that many of our experiences are indescribable, incommunicable; that even when we can figure out how to talk about what happens inside our bodies and our minds, that we’d better not — that others don’t want to hear it because it’s too gross, too sad, too strange. Above all, that we won’t be understood."

System injustices in healthcare need to change if women ever want to truly understand and gain respect for their own bodies.

Women have never been given the tools to communicate their pain, especially not during sex. Language is not in a woman’s favour, even the medical understanding of the female anatomy is not where it should be.

Without the words, women cannot use language to communicate.

Without language, there is no voice that can even attempt to ask for the help that they desperately need. 

For more information, check out some of these informative websites on pain and female sexual health:

Mayo Clinic – Dyspareunia

https://www.mazewomenshealth.com/painful-sex-vaginal-pain/

Ask Me About My Uterus -New York Times

Centre for Vulvo-Vaginal Disorders

https://Sexual Advice Association UK

https://YouTube- Pelvic Pain

https://rebelliousmagazine.com/guide-reclaiming-pleasurable-sex-dyspareunia-beyond/ 

American College of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists

Vulval Pain Society

Endometriosis Society of Ireland

Feature image: Agnes Cecile/Instagram/@agnes_cecile

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It’s an incredibly frustrating aspect of reality that women and girls face constant public sexual harassment daily.

In Tuesday’s report written by MPs on the women and qualities committee in Britain, the issue has now been labelled “urgent” following a nine-month enquiry on the matter.

The report is insisting that the UK government take immediate and effective action to attempt to create a safer public environment for women.

From exercising in public parks and frequenting nightclubs or bars to simply utilising our city’s public transport, women can almost almost claim to have felt the burden of danger in communal spaces of our communities.

Experiences have more recently been shared of extensive experiences of sexual assault and harassment, and there are more accounts than ever of crimes being committed against women in public.

France has recently introduced a law against street harassment which results in on-the-spot fines for predatory comments and harassment such as sexualised remarks and wolf-whistling, after a woman was viciously attacked by a man for confronting him about his offensive behaviour towards her.

The committee has “heard evidence of widespread problems” of both men and boys “sexually harassing women and even girls on buses and trains, in bars and clubs, in online spaces and at university, in parks and on the street.”

The subject of school uniforms was also mentioned in the report, written by cross-party MPs, testifying that girls in their school attires are pressurised to avoid risky situations which "keeps women and girls unequal".

Street harassment has been described in the document as “relentless and becomes ‘normalised’ as girls grow up, contributing to a wider negative cultural effect on society.”

The committee also sets out seven steps which they aim to take in the report, among them is the proposal to force train and bus operators and publican landlords to take tougher measures towards fighting sexual harassment on their premises.

It also requests a public information campaign which is specifically designed to change attitudes, akin to road safety campaigns and first aid programmes.

The British Home Office also states that they view the epidemic problem as a “key priority,” and are devising an updated “Violence against Women and Girls” strategy and scheme.

Writing on public pavements in chalk has become a new pacifistic method for women to fight back, to feel safe in their own cities.

Regardless of government promises to eliminate such prevalent behaviour entirely by 2030, the Women and Equalities Committee concludes negatively that there is currently "no evidence of any programme to achieve this".

Twitter users especially are expressing anger at how ‘obvious’ the headline is, and that there is not a single mention of men in the article, who are by-in-large the major perpetrators of sexual harassment. 

It remains to be seen whether improvements will take place which will finally allow women and girls to feel safe, but the reaction online to the BBC’s headline has been scathing.

Let's hope governments worldwide bring in sharp ways to tackle this highly concerning problem which is so engrained in our culture that many of us have become completely desensitised to it. Safety is a right, not a privilege.

Have a look at BBC’s 100 Women I know video on Street Harassment here:

The Bristol Zero Tolerance group has also written an informative guide on how to respond to street harassment, which you can read here.

Stay safe, gals.

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As a woman in society, it would be quite unusual to have never ever experienced any form of sexism. 

From leering, uncomfortable catcalls, wage inequality, and being forced to continue with unwanted pregnancies (thanks for that one Ireland), it's no wonder that The World Heath Organisation has indicated that gender specific factors have a negative impact on female mental health. 

'Depression, anxiety, psychological distress, sexual violence, domestic violence and escalating rates of substance use affect women to a greater extent than men across different countries and different settings.'

'Depression, anxiety, somatic symptoms and high rates of comorbidity are significantly related to interconnected and co-occurrent risk factors such as gender based roles, stressors and negative life experiences and events.'

'Pressures created by their multiple roles, gender discrimination and associated factors of poverty, hunger, malnutrition, overwork, domestic violence and sexual abuse, combine to account for women's poor mental health.'

'Gender specific risk factors for common mental disorders that disproportionately affect women include gender based violence, socioeconomic disadvantage, low income and income inequality, low or subordinate social status and rank and unremitting responsibility for the care of others.'

The World Health Organisation goes on to point out that sexist elements of society can dictate not only how women feel in regards to mental health, but also hopw those issues get treated in both men and women. 

'Gender stereotypes regarding proneness to emotional problems in women and alcohol problems in men, appear to reinforce social stigma and constrain help seeking along stereotypical lines.'

'They are a barrier to the accurate identification and treatment of psychological disorder.'

So I guess those 'wow, she must be on her period' or 'calm down, you're just being over emotional' comments were wrong all along (not that we didn't know that).

As it turns out, societal sexism can be a contributing factor for a women's mental health. 

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Being a woman in 2018: what does it mean to you?

“You can be whatever type of woman you want to be,” Saoirse Ronan says, looking into the camera. 

“You can be an individual but still be a part of something bigger than yourself,” adds Lupita Nyong’o. 

Directed by artist Anne Collier, Calvin Klein's new ad is for their newest fragrance Calvin Klein Women.

Watch as it unfolds into a series of vignettes that provide a glimpse into Lupita Nyong'o’s and Saoirse Ronan’s creative inspirations.

Both women reflect on figures from the past that have inspired them and helped to shape their identities as  the women they are today. 

Saoirse plays a Nina Simone record and talks about her admiration for Sissy Spacek, while Lupita works on a script and flicks through collaged photography of Eartha Kitt and Katharine Hepburn. 

Raf Simons, Chief Creative Officer, Calvin Klein says, ''in this campaign, Anne Collier brings  to life a powerful narrative of confidence and self-expression, celebrating the profound inspiration women draw from one another. The support of this bond empowers a great sense of freedom.''

For the new fragrance think a woody floral; fusing strength with fragility, freshness with sensuality, a play of contrasts, as infinitely varied as the personas of the women who inspire it.

The light pink-hued fragrance builds around three core ingredients – fresh eucalyptus acorns, delicate orange flower petals and rich Alaskan cedarwood.

“Our goal is to make the message inclusive and inspiring. To do that we broke with tradition – from the distinct fragrance and packaging, to the campaign creative featuring Lupita and Saoirse and the icons that inspire them,” said Simona Cattaneo, Chief Marketing Officer, COTY Luxury.

As the voices of a new generation of modern femininity, who better than Saoirse and Lupita to embody this campaign? 

Women around the world can join in on social media by using the hashtag #IAMWOMEN and share a photo of females in their lives that have shaped them into who they are today.

We just love the whole concept, don't you? 

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It's about time!

A razor company has made shaving history by featuring women with real body hair.

Banished are the days of watching women 'shave' their hairless legs – which makes no sense at all.

Not to mention the whole argument of why women are supposed to be hairless in the first place, in order to be seen as attractive. (EYEROLL)

However, Billie's Project Body Hair is the breath of fresh air we need when it comes to normalising women's body hair.

The razor brand, Billie, launched a campaign to celebrate a normal woman's body hair – Big fat YEP to that.

Speaking of the campaign, Billie's co-founder, Georgina Gooley said:

"Only showing smooth, hairless legs seemed like an archaic way of representing women. We have always said shaving is a choice."

 

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"It’s your hair and no one should tell you what to do with it. We’re excited to launch a campaign that will help normalise body hair and change the one-dimensional way in which women are portrayed in mass media," added Georgina.

If we didn't love them enough for paving (hopefully) a new trend for all shaving companies, they've gone and donated their photographs to stock image website Unsplash.

It might seem insignificant, but we challenge you to find ANY stock images that show women's body hair in a positive way — yeah, finding all the same hairless images; harder than it seems eh?

 

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Director and photographer Ashley Armitage commented on her involvement in the advertisement. 

"It’s amazing that Billie is the first shaving company to actually show women with body hair. In all razor commercials, for some reason, I can’t wrap my head around the fact that models already have smooth hairless skin.

"How can you know that a razor is even doing its job if all it's doing is swiping off some shaving cream? And more importantly, why is showing female body hair so taboo?"

We ask ourselves the same questions daily tbh!

Photo Credit: Clare Martin (@clarencethebearence)

Though you should never feel ashamed as a woman to embrace your body hair, we know we don't live in an ideal world, particularly as the media seem reluctant to make the change.

Therefore, steps like Billies' is taking are seriously important in the fight towards normalising women's body hair, with one day – it becoming the norm.

It should be purely your choice to shave or not – You're SLAYING either way.

Check out their rad advert below:

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John Kavanagh, the coach of MMA star Conor McGregor, has announced the ;launch of free self-defence classes for women in the wake of the recent murder of Jastine Valdez. 

Taking place every Saturday morning in Straight Blast Gym in Walkinstown, the initiative aims to give women a "fighting chance" should they ever come under attack. 

The trainer shared the news on social media in a post which reads: "Introducing a FREE women's only BJJ Self Defence class at HQ starting this Saturday 11am.

"This will be on-going and on at the same time every Saturday. Don't worry if you miss this weekend, you can start any time.

"Feel free to drop in and watch one if you're considering taking it up. Also this class is free to any girls from any other clubs that want to supplement their training.

"In light of recent horrific attack in Dublin by a deranged individual we feel the need to do something to give women a fighting chance.

"Come down and meet Jaqueline and see if you enjoy it."

 

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It comes after a series of violent attacks agasint women in the capital. 

Jastine was abducted and strangled on Saturday evening, while earlier in the week 14-year-old Ana Kriegel was found brutally murdered in Lucan.

Feature Image // Instagram

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They say a dog is a 'man's best friend' – which, to be honest, is totally false and downright offensive.

Now, we're not saying that male dog owners are in any way inadequate, in fact, some of the greatest friendships of all time have been between man and pup (just look at Tom Hardy).

We're just saying that women have a certain 'je ne sais quoi' when it comes understanding the needs of our four-legged friends.

Maybe it's our motherly instincts kicking in? Or perhaps we're better able to read situations?

Wrong, and wrong again.

A 2017 study published in the journal Royal Society of Open Science found that while both genders are pretty good at figuring out what dogs are trying to communicate , women are actually more fluent in 'dog' than their male counterparts.

For the study, researchers recorded the sounds of 18 dogs growling in response to different situations including guarding food from other dogs, playing tug of war, or feeling threatened by the approach of a stranger for example.

40 participants were then asked to identify the emotion behind the growl, be that fear, playfulness, aggression, despair or happiness.

Final results showed that humans had a 63 per cent success rate of identifying the context of the growl (compared to a 33 per cent chance rate).

Speaking to Broadly, Tamás Faragó, the lead author of the study, said: “It seems that there are biologically rooted rules to how mammalian vocalizations encode emotions and these shared processes help humans to assess the emotional load of not just dogs but other mammal species' vocal emotion expressions.”

“Women are likely more empathic and sensitive to others' emotions and this helps them to better associate the contexts with the emotional content of the growls.”

Excuse us while we add 'Expert Dog Whisperer' to our CVs.

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A women's body has been found in a Dublin city centre apartment last night, according to RTÉ. 

A murder investigation is underway following the discovery.

The woman, aged 37, appears to be a stabbing victim.

A man, aged 35, was also found in the home, suffering with serious injuries.

The man has been taken to hospital.

Gardai were alerted about a disturbance at the apartment on Dorset Street at around midnight last night.

The scene is currently sealed off for a forensic investigation and The Office of the State Pathologist has also been notified.

We will bring you more on this story as we have it. 

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A very high number of women have started to freeze their eggs as they are unable to find an equally intelligent partner.

In a study by researchers at Yale University, it found that fewer men are entering higher education, and therefore, educated women are finding it difficult to find their perfect partner.

According to The Independent, there is an "over-supply" of highly educated females, and the intelligence gap between men and women is becoming wider.

Person Wearing Blue Black Jacket Standing Near Gray Bookshelf

The study examined 150 women in the US and Israel, who have had their eggs frozen throughout eight clinics.

90 per cent of them said that they were "preserving" their eggs because they have not found a partner yet.

81 per cent of the women said they have a college degree.

Author of the study, Professor of Anthropology Marcia Ihorn, said: "There is a major gap – they are literally missing men.

apple, businesswoman, communication

"There are not enough college graduates for them. In simple terms, this is about an over-supply of educated women."

To further that, a fertility doctor who took part in the study explained: "[Straight] women tell us frequently that they are freezing their eggs because the men they meet feel threatened by their success and so are unwilling to commit to starting a family together."

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As if we didn't know it already, woman are the stronger sex.

There has been a long standing myth that women are weaker than men, and it has been brought up time and time again throughout history.

However, according to research, women have a stronger chance of survival and we're born with it.

Woman Wearing Yellow Dress Beside Woman Wearing Red Dress

Steve Austad, an international ageing expert at the University of Alabama, spent two years studying why women live longer than men.

He found that no matter where you are in the world, women generally live about five to six years longer than their male counterparts.

Steven believes females are more "robust. Pretty much at every age, women seem to survive better than men."

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In his study, the researcher noted that from a 2010 study, women were less likely to die from 12-15 causes, which include cancer and heart disease.

The only exception was Alzheimer's disease, which women are more likely to pass away from.

Steven said: "Once I started investigating, I found that women had resistance to almost all the major causes of death."

bridge, girls, golden gate bridge

Kathryn Sandberg, director of the Centre for the Study of Sex Differences in Health, Ageing and Disease at Georgetown University explained: "If you look across all the different types of infections, women have a more robust immune response.

"If there's a really bad infection, they survive better. If it's about the duration of the infection, women will respond faster."

Weak, my a**.

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Women in the workplace have come on leaps and bounds in the past few decades, and although there are still some glaring equality issues like the gender pay gap, there are plenty of women who are now earning more than their romantic partners.

However, it seems that the role of breadwinner is somewhat conflicting to some women.

According to a new report by Refinery29, some women report feeling 'ashamed' of out-earning their partners.

Refinery did some research, and discovered that the feelings of millennial high-earners are quite negative.

When women were asked how they would feel if they knew that they would be the eternal breadwinner in the relationship, the terms 'tired,' 'exhausted' and 'resentful' were commonplace.

Plus, the research found that because women are expected to pick up more of the household chores when they return home from work thanks to stereotypical gender roles, things like the added stresses of housework and childcare led to even more issues.

'It initially made me feel ashamed, like I was settling or it meant that I wasn't attractive enough, good enough,' one woman told Refinery29.

'There was a lot of internalised misogyny about how attractive or sexy women should be with 'successful' men.'

There was also the underlying conflict that perhaps some partners may feel emasculated by their high-earning partners, which in this day and age really shouldn't be an issue.

No matter who brings home the dough, no one should be made to feel any more or less of a contributor to the relationship no matter how much they earn. 

Oh, and while we have you; don't forget to have your say in the inaugural SHEmazing Awards this May! It's time to vote, and you can do it right here!

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Last Friday, a group of female athletes were told at the very last minute that they could not take part in the Tehran marathon.

160 women registered to compete in the 26 mile race, however, after receiving an email three weeks before the event was due to take place, many were left concerned as to the likelihood of their participation.

The female participants were informed that they would not be taking part, as men and women cannot participate in sports together in Iran.

Race organisers continued to provide participants with confusing updates and rule changes up to two days before the race, leaving many of the female runners unsure if they would be taking part.

On the morning of the race, it finally emerged that female participants could take part in a 10- kilometre run, but not the half or full marathon.

Those runners who still wished to complete the full distance had to do so on an indoor sports track.

Speaking to The Independent, professional runner, Manal Adel Rostom, told how she was turned away the day before the event after trying to collect her runner's bib, leaving her to believe her €125 race entry fee had been completely wasted.

“It was totally chaotic, even the runners' numbers had been mixed up. I was arguing and arguing with the registration guy because I came all the way from Dubai for a marathon, not a 10K.”

Many runners travelled long distances to take part in the race and so, not satisfied with the abrupt rule change, a group of 12 Iranian and international female entrants decided to run their own secret marathon.

The ladies ran in 700 metre loops around Beheshte Madaran park, for 32 kilometres before joining the official women's 10K race at 4pm.  

Karin Brogtrop, a Dutch runner involved in the secret race described the experience.

“It was a really lovely experience. It was a women’s park but it was family day, so there were men there too. People kept offering us tea or running alongside us,” Ms Brogtrop said. “We had fun. I was happy with it.” 

Many of the female runners in the official 10K carried bibs and banners saying ‘See you next year, 42K.’

G'wan ladies! 

Oh, and while we have you; don't forget to have your say in the inaugural SHEmazing Awards this May! It's time to vote, and you can do it right here!

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