Experts plead with Americans to keep gatherings limited this Thanksgiving, while families devise new ways to celebrate the holidays.
The experts agree<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDc5MDgyNi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxMjU4MTI4OX0.3o3ULs3WhMned31DMmr-mvZdiFYvqo6NxcaxSAh9sjQ/img.jpg?width=980" id="3894b" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="105be1aaba5ecf60fd69fa89486833f7" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
A graph showing confirmed coronavirus cases from Jan. 3 to Nov. 18, 2020. The third, current peak is the largest so far.
To grandmother's house we go?<p>Even while governors and experts pleaded with families to limit Thanksgiving gatherings to individual households, there has been no uniform, country-wide restrictions put in place. As such, every family must perform a risk calculation to decide how to spend Thanksgiving.</p><p>"[G]iven the fluid and dynamic nature of what's going on right now in the spread and the uptick of infections, I think people should be very careful and prudent about social gatherings, particularly when members of the family might be at a risk because of their age or their underlying condition," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, said on <a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/fauci-thanksgiving-covid-different/" target="_blank">CBS Evening News</a>. </p><p>He added, "When you're talking about relatives that are getting on a plane, being exposed in an airport, being exposed in a plane, then walk in the door and say 'Happy Thanksgiving' — that you have to be careful about."</p><p>To help families make their decisions, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays/thanksgiving.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released Thanksgiving considerations</a> to supplement safety alongside local rules and regulations. The agency lists several factors to consider in any risk calculation. These include local levels of COVID-19, potential travel exposure, the number of people attending, the health risks of those attendees, and the duration of the gathering as well as its location.</p><p>If people from outside the household will attend, the CDC recommends the following actions to increase safety and limit viral transmission:</p><ul><li>Ensure everyone wears a mask when not eating or drinking;</li><li>Keep people who do not live together at least 6 feet apart;</li><li>Have people bring their own food, drinks, utensils, etc. No potluck-style dinners;</li><li>Host the gathering outdoors or increase indoor ventilation;</li><li>Keep music levels down to prevent shouting or speaking too loudly;</li><li>Encourage good handwashing; </li><li>Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces often.</li></ul><p>You can find more information on the <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">CDC's Holidays website</a>. It's also worth noting that <a href="https://medical.mit.edu/covid-19-updates/2020/07/how-long-symptom-onset-person-contagious#:~:text=The%20CDC%20identifies%20a%20%E2%80%9Cclose,who%20has%20been%20positively%20diagnosed" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a negative result on a COVID-19 test</a> is no guarantee of safety. People can harbor the virus, become infectious to others, show no symptoms, and still render a false positive several days after their initial infection.</p>
Staying home for the holidays<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="caf5ae9303d7359a42a37cfc200d83b1"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/yDuHtJCj_Og?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>For families staying physically distanced, there remains the question of how to celebrate Thanksgiving this year. 2020's standard answer has been the Skype or Zoom call. Certainly an option, but one that should be spiced up for the holiday meal.</p><p>You can, for example, integrate your preferred telecommunication app can into shared experiences. Family members can work meal prep together or teach each other their signature dishes. Activities like crafts, decorating, and thankfulness trees can be coordinated by the kids and shared with the family simultaneously. You can cook up the same meal, light the same scented candles, and listen to the same music to create a common sensual environment.</p><p>You can also find telecommunication apps designed to be used alongside specific activities. <a href="https://discord.com/" target="_blank">Discord</a> is a favorite among gamers for video games. Even if battle royales aren't your family's speed, it works perfectly well for <a href="https://bigthink.com/personal-growth/board-games-for-kids" target="_self">board games</a>, and your family's favorite likely has a digital version available. Similarly, <a href="https://www.netflixparty.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Netflix's Teleparty</a> provides an online space to watch and chat about movies together. If Black Friday was your family's bonding tradition, try scouring for the savings together online and share a cocktail afterward to toast a successful shop. There is also the platform <a href="https://gather.town/" target="_blank">Gather</a>, which allows for proximity video chatting in a customizable 2D world.</p><p>If your family wishes to disconnect from the binary realm, try beginning a new holiday tradition this Thanksgiving. You can write holiday letters to distant family members. We're talking physical letters, which <a href="https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/343131" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">preliminary research suggests</a> has the salubrious bonus of reducing stress and anxiety for the writer. You can create holiday care packages for friends. And this year especially, the holiday card and photobook traditions will be more appreciated than ever. If you're in a time crunch, emails or texts are also nice.</p><p>For most families, Thanksgiving in 2020 will be unlike any other and will be, for better or worse, one to remember. Thankfully, there are ways to stay safe and healthy—and help others do so, too—while still connecting with loved ones in a meaningful way.</p>
Is your masturbation routine benefitting your sex life? Here's how to tell...
- As many as 40% of women experience difficulty reaching orgasm during heterosexual partnered sex. A 2019 study explores the potential links between female masturbation habits and partnered sex satisfaction.
- The frequency in which women masturbated did not correlate to their orgasm experiences with their partner. However, researchers did note that the greater the overlap between masturbation activities and partnered sex, the more women were to overcome orgasm difficulties.
- In general, women who were more satisfied with their relationship had lower orgasmic difficulty.
Over 2,000 women were polled to determine how masturbation impacting their partnered sex life.
Credit: Drobot Dean on Adobe Stock<p>Over 2,000 women living within the United States and Hungary completed an online survey about activities and reasons for orgasmic difficulty during masturbation, as well as activities and reasons for orgasmic difficulties during partnered sex.</p><p>The average number of times these women masturbated was once every two weeks, and the average number of times per week they reported having sex with their partner was twice. The majority of women reported using clitoral stimulation during masturbation while significantly fewer women (about half) reported using clitoral stimulation during partnered sex. </p><p>Nearly all women who reported using clitoral stimulation during masturbation also included it during partnered sex. </p><p><strong>Favorite positions translated from partnered sex to masturbation for the majority of women.<br><br></strong>53 percent of women who used a particular body position (and 48 percent who engaged in anal stimulation during masturbation) also regularly used the respective activities during partnered sex. Additionally, 38 percent of women who engaged in sexual fantasy (and 36 percent of women who used sex toys such as vibrators) during masturbation included such activities when having sex with their partner.</p><p><strong>Masturbation frequency was not related to orgasm experiences with partners.<br><br></strong>The frequency in which women masturbated did not correlate to their orgasm experiences with their partner. However, researchers did note that the greater the overlap between masturbation activities and partnered sex, the more likely women were to overcome orgasm difficulties. Additionally, women with lower alignment between their masturbatory activities and partnered sex activities were more likely to report preferring masturbation to sex with their partner.</p><p>"In and of itself, women who masturbate experience no particular advantage or disadvantage insofar as reaching orgasm during partnered sex. However, women who show greater similarity between the behaviors/techniques they use for stimulation during masturbation and the type of stimulation that occurs during partnered sex report lower orgasmic difficulty than women who report disparate stimulation techniques during these types of activities," <a href="https://www.psypost.org/2020/10/new-study-shows-how-female-masturbation-impacts-partnered-sex-58151" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Rowland told PsyPost</a>.</p><p><strong>Does relationship satisfaction lead to better sex?<br><br></strong>Another interesting takeaway from this particular study is that relationship satisfaction is a key variable in understanding just how satisfied women were in both their partnered and solo sex activities. In general, women who are more satisfied with their relationship with their partner had lower orgasmic difficulty.</p><p>"This relationship is likely bi-directional," Rowland explained. "Women who have greater sexual satisfaction during partnered sex enjoy the intimacy with their partner, thus enhancing their relationship. At the same time, women who have a better relationship with their partner are likely better at communicating their sexual needs to them, thus increasing their potential for arousal and orgasm." </p>
How to communicate with your partner about masturbation and sexual desires<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDc2NjA1MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2MzM2ODE3NX0.dU8ehnrlPiDQgTzt8rLPxkAwbF1T23_eosUenosKJ7U/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=37%2C0%2C37%2C0&height=700" id="eafbd" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2e0d7981116ef520ca9e45da5c3d801e" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="couple under sheets in bed" />
How do you talk to your partner about your sexual needs and desires?
Credit: Sasin Tipchai on Pixabay<p>Talking to your partner about sex is key to having better sex. Kate McCombs, a sex and relationships educator, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-sex-partner-communication" target="_blank">spoke with HealthLine</a> about this very topic: "When you avoid those vital conversations, you might avoid some awkwardness, but you're also settling for suboptimal sex."</p><p><strong>These conversations don't just center around desire and pleasure. <br><br></strong>Talking about sex, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-sex-partner-communication#frequencytalk" target="_blank">according to Healthline</a>, should include things such as sexual health, how frequently you'd like to be having sex, the things you would like to explore with your partner, and how to deal with times when you and your partner want and need <a href="https://bigthink.com/sex-relationships/sexual-rejection-2645740543" target="_blank">different things</a> during sex. </p><p><strong>Reading erotica (or talking about an erotic story you've read) can help. <br><br></strong>According to the World Literacy Foundation, reading has been found to decrease blood pressure, lower your heart rate, and reduce stress. In fact, as little as six minutes of reading can slow your heart rate and improve your overall health. Reading erotica can not only help get you in the mood, but <a href="https://bigthink.com/sex-relationships/benefits-of-reading-erotica" target="_blank">research suggests</a> it can also help you discover more about your sexuality and communicate your needs with your partner. </p><p><strong>Start with simple questions to get to know your partner more intimately.<br><br></strong> Megwyn White, Director of Education for Satisfyer (a leading sexual wellness brand based in Germany), <a href="https://bigthink.com/sex-relationships/healthy-sex-life-couples?rebelltitem=3#rebelltitem3" target="_self">explained in this previous article</a> how to ask your partner non-confrontational and fun questions that can help bring you closer together and provide a good base for communicating about sexual desires. <br></p>This can include questions such as:<br><br><ul><li>"Are there things I'm not doing [during sex] that you wish I would?"</li><li>"What is your favorite sexy memory of us?"</li><li>"Is there any moment of our sex life in the past that you'd like to recreate?" </li></ul><div>Asking your partner these kinds of questions is a good starting point for communication about sex, consent, and desires. </div>
Social media seems to stress some people out. Maybe its time for a break?
- Social media can make people anxious, depressed, lonely, and stressed out.
- There are several ways to cut back your use of it.
- Even using it slightly less has been shown to reduce depressive symptoms.
We used to smoke during five-minute breaks at work; now, we check the feeds.<p> A variety of studies show that too much time spent on social media can stress us out, leave us <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/digital-world-real-world/202002/anxiety-and-social-media-use" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">anxious</a> and <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/12/cutting-back-on-social-media-reduces-loneliness-depression-study-finds.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">depressed</a>, and ironically increase feelings of <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/12/cutting-back-on-social-media-reduces-loneliness-depression-study-finds.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">loneliness</a>. These findings have been confirmed for both adults and <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0706743719885486?journalCode=cpab" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">children</a>. <br> <br> These effects are caused by several factors. The curated images of other people's lives we see on the screen can leave us feeling like we're comparatively inadequate. The often spoken of "<a href="https://psychcentral.com/blog/fear-of-missing-out/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">fear-of-missing-out</a>" is a real thing. When you have dozens of people doing something once, with continual updating it can appear like everybody is doing something all the time. The political aspects of social media can make things worse. Even when people agree with you, the slew of information can be too much, says Dr. Erin Elfant, a clinical psychologist working out of California. <br> <br> She goes on to mention that social media provides a perverse incentive for being <a href="https://www.ksby.com/news/social-medias-impact-on-stress-during-contentious-election-season" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">stressed</a>:<br> <br> "When we tend to say something that is a strongly worded opinion, we tend to get more response for that which also means that it positively reinforces us getting really stressed."</p><p>It seems like a vicious cycle. Posting things that make people react is the point, even if that reaction is to make them stressed. Whatever works at getting a reaction will be posted again. <br></p>
How to spend less time on social media<iframe width="730" height="430" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/fE_QoebLUFQ" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe><p> There are a variety of ways to make avoiding checking your feeds every six seconds a little easier. </p><p> <strong>Delete your apps</strong></p><p> Making it a little harder to get to social media can help you use it less. Beyond making a kind of initiative sense, this method is supported by empirical evidence. <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nudge_theory" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Nudge Theory </a>in behavioral economics is based around this. People often do what's easiest, and that can be manipulated for good. Having to spend that much more effort getting to your social media page might be the thing that keeps you off it. <br> <strong><br> Set time limits on your usage.</strong></p><p>If you don't want to delete the apps outright, that's fine; there are other options. Most smartphones can show you a breakdown of how much time you're spending on an app, either through included features or through third-party apps that are readily <a href="https://www.pcmag.com/how-to/5-ways-to-cut-back-on-social-media" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">available</a>. You can easily track your screen time and change your behavior accordingly. </p><p>If you use a web browser to access these sites, you can use a variety of <a href="https://launchparty.org/google-chrome-extensions-that-help-block-time-wasting-websites/" target="_blank">extensions</a> to control how long you're allowed to browse before blocks kick in. Others allow you to set times when you can't access the sites, like working hours, or to set other conditions. <br> </p><p> <strong>Consider what you're following</strong></p><p> If you're like me, you've been invited to endless pages by other people, which you accepted to be polite. After a few years, you start to wonder why you still get updates from these random pages that mean nothing to you. If you aren't going to cut back, you can reduce your stress and your feed's clutter with a review of what pages you're following. Is there a page (or person) whose posts only make you mad? You should consider not following them anymore. </p><p> Plus, if there is less to look at, you may find yourself spending less time on social media as a result. A feed with only 1 pages will have fewer updates to review than one with 20. </p><p> <strong>Set a day of rest</strong></p><p> There's a reason most cultures had a designated day of rest; we need it. <br> <br> The idea of a <a href="https://www.verywellmind.com/why-and-how-to-do-a-digital-detox-4771321" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">digital detox</a> is increasingly popular, and an offshoot of that is setting a "<a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/digital-sabbath-20_b_5288740" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">digital sabbath</a>." Much like the religious one, the idea here is that you take a set amount of time (either the weekend or a part of it) as a day of rest during which you cannot use or check social media. <br> <br> This solution has the added benefits that you're not giving up on social media, just limiting your use to specific days, and that you can make the rules for it as strict or lax as you require. You could ban all internet use outside of email on the sabbath, or you could just keep yourself from looking at Twitter. </p><p> <strong>Turn off notifications</strong></p><p> If all else seems like too much, try just turning off your notifications. You should be deciding when you want to look at social media, not the social media pages. Who knows, if you aren't told every time your aunt posts a new image of her cat, you might not find the need to look at each one of the pictures. </p><p> Social media has an extremely mixed track record of doing what it was supposed to do in terms of bringing people together in a new and fun way. Given how much stress it's caused us lately, maybe cutting back can do us all some good. </p>
Distancing doesn't have to mean distant.
Experts explain how lie detectors work, what happens in the brain when we tell lies and how accurate polygraph tests are.
- In a 2002 study, 60 percent of people were found to lie at least once during a 10-minute conversation, with most people telling an average of two or three lies. The polygraph, invented in the early 1920s, detects physiological responses to lying (such as elevated heart and respiratory rates as well as spikes in blood pressure.
- Three main areas of the brain are stimulated during deception: the frontal lobe, the limbic system, and the temporal lobe.
- According to the American Polygraph Association, the estimated accuracy of a polygraph can be up to 87 percent.
What happens in your brain when you lie?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDU5ODY0Ny9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2NDU4OTUzMX0.GHs9ZTFWtuC8IGBQTLsM4qd2LFriJZFuAn4whFj-GZ0/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C19%2C0%2C19&height=700" id="9c39a" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="4747d0e2eb354c19bc9d0749c2d28f26" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="concept of lying polygraph test" />
Image by Shidlovski on Shutterstock<p>We all lie. Some might argue it's human nature. In a 2002 study, 60 percent of people were found to lie at least once during a 10-minute conversation, with most people telling an average of two or three lies. Some lies are small, some are bigger, some are done out of kindness, and some done out of malice. But a lie is a lie, and the way that your body reacts when you lie is the same.</p><p><strong>Lying is an inherently stressful activity. </strong></p><p>When you engage in a false narrative (or a lie), your respiratory and heart rate will increase and you may even start to sweat. While people may vary in the ability to tell a lie, most of the time your body will react in this same way. Exceptions to this rule are, for example, psychopaths, who lack empathy and therefore do not exhibit the typical physiological stress responses when telling a lie. </p><p><strong>Brain imaging studies have shown what really happens in the brain when you tell a lie. </strong></p><p>Lying generally involves more effort than telling the truth, and because of this, it involves the prefrontal cortex. <a href="https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-art-of-lying/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">A 2001 study</a> by late neuroscientist Sean Spence (University of Sheffield in England) explored fMRI images of the brain while lying. Participants answered questions about their daily routine by pressing a yes or no button on a screen. Depending on the color of the writing, they were to answer either truthfully or with a lie. </p><p>The results showed participants needed more time to formulate a dishonest answer than an honest one, and certain parts of the prefrontal cortex were more active when they were lying. </p><p><a href="https://mashable.com/2013/12/20/psychology-of-lying/?europe=true#:~:text=When%20we%20lie%2C%20it%20stimulates,memories%20and%20creating%20mental%20imagery." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Further research</a> explains that three main areas of the brain are stimulated during deception - the frontal lobe works to suppress the truth, the limbic system activates due to the anxiety that comes from lying, and the temporal lobe activates in response to retrieving memories and creating mental imagery (fabricating a believable lie). </p><p><strong>Research also suggests lying becomes easier the more you do it. </strong></p><p><a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27775721/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">In a 2016 study</a>, Duke psychologist Dan Ariely and his colleagues showed how dishonesty can alter your brain, making it easier to tell lies in the future. When people told lies, the scientists noticed a burst of activity in the amygdala, the part of the brain involved in fear, anxiety, and emotional responses. When the scientists had their subject play a game in which they won money by deceiving their partner, they noticed the negative signals from the amygdala begin to decrease. </p><p>"Lying, in fact, desensitized your brain to the fear of getting caught of hurting others, making lying for your own benefit down the road much easier," wrote Jessica Stillman for <a href="https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/the-science-of-lying-more-you-do-it-easier-it-gets.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">INC</a>.</p>
How do lie detectors work?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDU5ODY3MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNzg5MDU0OX0._xLKh6Lu15CNNf0eoLNROD6XGuqiT2R8pKxq0TECV2A/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C193%2C0%2C193&height=700" id="32e6f" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="092c4388f3cea4afb66387c522754519" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="lie detector illustration" />
The polygraph will be able to detect if someone is telling the truth 87 percent of the time.
Image by OllivsArt on Shutterstock<p>In 1921, a California-based police officer and physiologist John A. Larson created an apparatus that simultaneously measures continuous changes in blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration rate to aid in the detection of deception. This was the invention of the polygraph, which is commonly referred to as a lie detector.</p><p>Seven years before this, in 1914, an Italian psychologist (Vittorio Benussi) published findings on "the respiratory symptoms of a lie," and in 1915, an American psychologist and lawyer (William M. Marston) invented a blood pressure test for the detection of deception.</p><p>The accuracy of polygraph tests has been called into question for nearly as long as they've existed. These machines detect typical stress responses to telling a lie. This means increased heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration rate. Some people are naturally good liars, or become better with controlling these stress responses, and can manage to stay calm during a lie detector test. </p><p><a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-nature-deception/202001/do-lie-detector-tests-really-work#:~:text=It%20does%20work%20much%20of,trained%20polygraph%20examiner%20can%20tell.&text=They%20estimate%20the%20accuracy%20of,lying%20or%20telling%20the%20truth" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">According to the American Polygraph Association</a> (made up largely of polygraph examiners), the estimated accuracy of a polygraph can be up to 87 percent. That means that in 87 out of 100 cases, the polygraph will be able to detect if someone is telling the truth.</p><p>If the person lies but doesn't have the stress symptoms of telling that lie, they will pass the test. Similarly, innocent people may fail the test due to being anxious about taking it to begin with and therefore emitting the elevated heart, respiratory, and blood pressure rates that can be detected. </p>