Thursday, May 5, 2011

I Rest My Laptop On My Stomach When Using It. Is that bad?

It's not smart. Laptops can get very hot-more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit (that's light bulb-hot). While I haven't seen a case, I've read about "toasted skin syndrome," caused by contact with hot laptops. It's a chronic, low-grade burn and inflammation that can lead to permanent discoloration. Some experts fear it could raise the risk of skin cancer, but it'll be years before we have any good data.

Can it affect my ovaries?
In men, a hot laptop can over-heat the scrotum and cause fertility problems. But I doubt a laptop could transmit enough heat into a woman's body to harm her reproductive system. But why worry when it's so easy to avoid? Put some distance between you and the machine.

-Joann E. Manson, M.D.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Sex of Your Dreams

We go under the covers to find out what your erotic nocturnal visions reveal about you....and your relationship.

Elena, a single 32-year-old, recently woke up flushed and sweaty from a sex dream during which she had an intense orgasm. She was pleasantly surprised at first, but then details started flooding back. "It was with my best friend," she admits. "My best girl friend." The dream left her feeling embarrassed and disturbed, wondering what the heck it all meant.

That's the tricky part about getting down and dirty in your dreams: While you may love the steamy sex scenes and, in some cases, the sheet-twisting sensations those visions can provide, you may also wake up feeling confused, guilty, or totally creeped out. Do these unconscious fantasies mean you're secretly attracted to your best friend? That you still harbor feelings for your ex? Or that you're yearning to hook up with a hot stranger?

Highly charged nocturnal sessions happen because of normal physiological changes: During the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep cycle, your central nervous system fires up and your body goes through the same physical reactions that occur when you're turned on in real life. "In REM, breathing and blood flow naturally increase,  including blood flow to the genitals," says dream researcher Kelly Bulkeley, PH.D., a visiting scholar at the graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. "So it's not surprising that these physiological changes often express themselves as an erotic dream. "Your menstrual cycle can also influence the likelihood of having an unconscious frisky frolic: A Journal of Sex Research study found that women have more sex dreams during ovulation, probably because their libidos are higher then (driven by the biological urge to procreate).

Anotonio Zadra, Ph. D., a professor of psychology at the universite de Montreal, analyzed more than 3,500 dreams and discovered that at least 8 percent of them contained some sort of sexual activity. His findings suggest that erotic dreams may have a straightforward psychological explanation: They simple reflect what we're thinking about when we're awake. So if you dream about sex at night, it's because it was on your mind during the day. And if you have ever woken up thinking you've had a legitimate orgasm while asleep, you might have -4 percent of our dreams actually result in one. (Interestingly, men's dreams are more selfish; they rarely dream about their partners' orgasms, whereas women often do.)

However, not all sex dreams are actually about sex, says Bulkeley. Sometimes they're a symbol for emotions, such as being pissed off at your guy. "Dreams can use the drama of a sexual relationship to express emotional truths and reveal conflicts," he says. "I once spoke with a woman who wanted to become a writer, but her husband was totally apposed to the idea. One night she dreamed that she was having an affair with a male writer. The dream had nothing to do with sex - her goals were causing conflict in her relationship." That said, he adds, "the worst thing to do is to treat a dream like it's a Magic 8 Ball." (in other words, if you dream that you or your partner cheated, for example, it isn't necessarily a red flag that your relationship is in hot water.) Instead, think of your dreams as clues to do some exploring about yourself or your relationship.

Want a little help? We got top experts to decipher three common erotic dream themes.
His Cheating Heart
Unfaithfulness is the most common dream scenario for couples, says Bulkeley, and that's no surprise: Getting  close to someone means being vulnerable. Dreams that include threats, like your man fooling around, are like fire drills, he says. "Your dreaming mind might imagine the worst case scenario-Cheating-to prepare yourself for if it happened," says Bulkeley.
These dreams may reflect your lack of confidence and trust, notes Drew Ramsey, M.D., an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University. Or, having a dream about a partner's infidelity can mean you feel like you're not getting his attention, says Gillian Holloway, Ph.D., author of The Complete Dream Book of Love and Relationships. If so, talk with your guy about how you two can stay more connected. If you're having dream flings, this can also signal you're not getting what you need from your partner, according to psychologist and dream analysis experts Michael Lennox. And that's another reason to have a talk.

Blast from the past
It's not unusual for exes to creep into sex dreams, but having an erotic dream starring an old crush usually doesn't mean you still harbor feelings. More likely, it's your brain reusing a familiar face from your past. "Research shows that there's a repetition dimension to dreaming, which is why we still have anxiety dreams about not studying for a college exam years after leaving school," says Bulkeley. " " Our Past experiences shape who we are today, and though the man in the dream may not be in your life anymore, he's still apart of who you are."
Exes who appear in dreams often symbolize your current partner, if you have one, says Holloway. "Making out with an ex might mean you want your current partner to find you desirable too," she says.   

Taboo Sex
Whether it's a passionate romp with a stranger, sex with another woman, or a porn worthy orgy, Bulkeley says these dreams scenes may reflect your inner desires, albeit in some cases an extreme version of a lustly longing. There's a male/female divide on this type of dream: In Zadra's research, men were twice as likely as women to dream about multiple partners, while the female unconscious favored getting busy with a seleb.
Either way, there's no holding back racy thoughts in dream. That's because they're judgment-free zones in which our subconscious can let loose and we can live our fantasy, even if we'd never act on it in real life. So lie back and enjoy.

-Gillian Telling

Monday, May 2, 2011

Life Skills - Win Over Anyone

 Master these five persuasion skills and, trust us, people will be putty in your hands.
It happens even to the most take-charge people. Happy hour with the girls turns into an impromptu dinner, and you find yourself agreeing on Mexican even though you were jonesing for Italian fare.
How did you get suckered? Most likely, you fell prey to someone whose seduction skills are more finely honed than yours. In fact, according to  researchers, you face different forms of persuasion thousands of times a day. "When we come across people who seem to get everyone to do whatever they want them to do, we think they have some kind of magical gift," says Chris St. Hilaire, author of 27 Powers of Persuasion: Simple Strategies to Seduce Audiences and Win Allies. But you, too, can use a few simple tricks to make sure more situations end up in your favor. To start persuading with the best of'em, follow these rules.

Extinguish fear. Studies show that a person who is psychopath-just stay with us for a second here-has a dysfunctional amygdala (that's the part of the brain that processes emotion), which results in an absence of fear. Because of that, Psychopaths are able to take risks coolly and confidently. "Understand that not all psychopaths are killers-they head up corporations and perform brain surgery too," says Keven Dutton, Ph. D., author of the forthcoming Split-Second Persuasion: The Ancient Art & New Science of Changing minds. "They score power roles because they approach situations with a confidence that makes others trust them."

Now, you can't go messing with your amygdala, but you can build up your inner strength, which in turn, tamps down fear. For example, before you ask the hotel manager for a discount because the hot tub is out of order, or ask your boss about the promotion you've been angling for, practice your pitch. "you'll come off as more self-assured-and more convincing-if you rehearse what you're going to say," explains G. Richard Shell, director of the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School's Strategic Persuasion Workshop.

Reveal your "weaknesses." It may sound like self-sabotage, but it's a crucial move most people don't make when trying to get others to see things their way, says St. Hilaire. "If you ignore what others perceive as your weakness, you actually end up shining a light on it," he says. "On the other hand, if you acknowledge something that you're not so great at, you can control other people's perception of it by recasting it as a strength, which helps win them over." For example, if you're a headstrong and opinionated type. St. Hilaire suggests saying something like, "I'm really passionate about my ideas, and sometimes I might get a bit too passionate, so let me know if I'm doing that, OK?" On the shy side? Say, "If I seem kind of quiet, it's because I like to listen to what everyone else has to say and chime in after I've considered their perspectives."

Work your body. We're not talking about flashing some leg or cleavage, just making eye contact-experts say it generally conveys a greater sense of authority and trustworthiness. Try to hold someone's gaze for a few seconds. Any longer that that and it can start to get creepy. Notice the other person's body language as well, says Mary Ann Karinch, author of Get People to do What you Want. "It provides you with clues about their emotional state, which helps you tweak your pitch on the spot," she says. Did the person you're talking to suddenly lean back in his chair and cross his arms? He may not be all that open and receptive to what you've  been saying, so now's the time to try a different approach. If you notice a foot bouncing up and down-a possible sign that someone is nervous-try to put that person at ease by making her laugh or by simply smiling more yourself.

Ditch the individualistic ways. Yes, you're special, but you want to find common ground with the people you're trying to persuade. For example, you can mention that you are from the same state or went to the same college, if that's the case. Or, try not to outright disagree with the person (a simple way to do this is to use the word and instead of the word but). Another trick: subtly mimic the other person's phrases and movements. A Duke University study found that students were much more likely to respond favorably to questions if the interviewer was mirroring their movements. All of this will subconsciously make people think you're smart and trustworthy because it'll make you seem more like them.

Use people. Human beings love to be among the first to sign on for something-but not necessarily the first. "Fear of failure keeps us from wanting to be at the head of the line," explains St. Hilaire, " but being near it means you're going to catch the wave right before it swells- and everyone wants to be the surfer." so bring third party validation to your cause. say something like, "my friend who's a chef said she had one of the best meals in town at this restaurant." It immediately signals that a few others are on board with you, which makes people feel as if they should hop on too. 

-Meghan Rabbitt 

Brainy-Day Sex

Not that you need another reason to get busy, but according to the journal PLoS ONE, having sex can make your brain grow. Scientists studied lab rats that either mated daily or never had sex. The sexually active critters experienced a spike in the number of brain cells and neurons in the hippo-campus, the area of the brain responsible for memory and learning, says Matthew Edlund, M.D., director of the Center for Circadian Medicine in Sarasota, Florida. So what are you waiting for? Start making those memories!!!!