Why Sexual Health was an Important Topic at This Year’s Coachella Festival

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Glitter and jewels coat faces, arms, and cleavage. Outfits are perfectly paired to maximize Instagram appeal and reach. Alcohol and substances fuel the connections of strangers while rotating DJs ensure ample beats.

Despite the lineup of artists, the real show at Coachella Music Festival is the private party scene. I had the opportunity to participate in one such event, the Safe Space Party at Laguna Seca. As a licensed Talkspace sex therapist, I had the privilege of speaking and participating in this event to support the promotion of a new app, SAFE, designed to support stigma free sharing of STI test results with sexual partners. Other companies and organizations joined the event as sponsors and speakers, including Amber Rose; Julia Cheek, founder of EverlyWell, the Crave vibrator team; and Vera Papisova from Teen Vogue.

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5 Reasons Masturbation is Great for De-stressing

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While it’s likely that the concept of masturbation was a source of stress when you were younger (because when you’re 11 it’s easy to believe masturbation can, indeed make you go blind), solo sex is great for your health. In fact, the mental health benefits of masturbation are so bountiful that I’d go so far as to claim masturbation is self-care.

If you’re not already masturbating regularly, you might want to add it into your routine (Ugh! What a horrible chore!) Aside from making you feel great, masturbation is great tool for de-stressing. Not convinced yet? Here are some ways masturbation helps you calm down.

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Male Survivors of Sexual Assault Face Unique Challenges to Recovery

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According to a Center for Disease Control (CDC) National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, one in six U.S. men have experienced sexual violence, and 17% of those men develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In my years practicing therapy, I’ve found male survivors face unique challenges to recovery, yet hesitate to get the help they need.

The question is why.

For one, we don’t hear much about male sexual assault survivors, although one study found sexual assault history was common among both women and men, reported by 25% of women and 16% of men surveyed. The research participants also faced similar long-term problems, regardless of gender.

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Why You Shouldn’t Check Your Partner’s Phone

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As a therapist, I can’t tell you how many times clients come to me with information that they have gleaned from checking their partners’ phone. Some people will come in with screenshots of text conversations between their partner and others, hoping to dissect them to determine whether their partner was flirting or whether the conversation was just platonic.

Others come in with call records, telling me that it can’t be innocent when a partner calls a “friend” five times in a week. Some people fear that a significant other is cheating on them and comb through their partner’s email, looking for something that they can use as evidence of infidelity.

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How Men Can Confront Toxic Masculinity (+ Why It’s Important for Mental Health)

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With the #MeToo movement dominating the headlines over the past few months, many of us have had to ask tough questions about our own experiences of gender, power, and relationships. While women have taken the forefront of the movement, it’s also been a moment of reckoning for men.

The movement has not only provided an opportunity to confront more obvious acts of violence, but also how gender roles influence the way we treat one another in our own lives and relationships. This means confronting the role of toxic masculinity in our lives and relationships.

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7 Truths About Love to Remember This Valentine’s Day

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If we were to ask pop culture what the ideal relationship looked like, most of us would expect an image of fireworks in the sky with that one and only person who completes us. Romantic comedies may be uplifting, and love songs beautiful, but much of what we learn about relationships early on sets us up for unrealistic expectations.

The result? We never feel like our relationships are good enough, and may doubt if we’re deserving of love.

Holidays like Valentine’s Day can exacerbate these worries. Social media often makes it seem like everyone else is coupled and in an ecstatic state of love. If we’re partnered, we may wonder if our relationship is as good as everyone else’s seems to be. And if we’re single, we may feel even more inadequate.

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8 Ways Being Single is Great for Your Mental Health

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Let’s get one thing straight: Being single doesn’t mean you’re going to be forever alone. If nothing else, being single is a learning experience — one that happens to be good for your mental health, believe it or not.

So stop stressing over those seemingly endless (and cliché) “I SAID YES!” posts everyone shares on Instagram, and start appreciating the benefits of single life. Here are some ways being single is actually beneficial to your mental well-being.

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Is Your Relationship Over? 5 Questions to Ask Before Calling it Quits

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Though we’re conditioned to think of romantic relationships as the center of excitement and passion in life, many people remain in intimate relationships they feel ambivalent about, not knowing whether to leave their partners, or to stick it out for the long haul.

Because the excitement in romantic relationships is bound to ebb over time, it can be hard to know whether a relationship is just going through a boring or difficult stage, or whether it has naturally run its course.

There is no right answer, as experiences will differ from person to person, and from relationship to relationship — but there are some hints that you might be ready to move on. Here are five questions to ask yourself if you’re wondering whether your relationship is going to last.

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A Guide to Setting Healthy Boundaries in Relationships

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“Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.” —Antoine de Saint-Exupery

This quote encapsulates what most healthy relationships really look like — two individuals who support each other on their distinct journeys, rather than two people who become lost in one another. Much of this comes down to having and maintaining clear boundaries, even within a romantic relationship.

It may seem obvious, but what are boundaries, really?

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6 Ways Sex Is Good for Your Health

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Have you ever heard someone say, “Wow, that person’s miserable! They need to get laid!”?

Well, that comment may be offensive and unnecessary, but it isn’t completely wrong. Sex may not be a cure-all (though I wish it were) — but it can have a measurably positive impact on your mood, as well as your physical health!

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