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Study Identifies Inconsistencies In Safety Precautions by Online Daters

A study by The University of Texas School of Public Health of women seeking male companionship online revealed that some women are cautious when it comes to personal safety and casual when it comes to sexual safety.

The study found that women go to great lengths to screen would-be suitors. The survey reported that they request photographs, check for small-talk inconsistencies, run criminal background checks and call workplace phone numbers. Final precautions include meeting men in public places, arranging their own transportation, giving the manís name to a friend and calling a friend before and after the encounter.

The study also revealed that many of the 568 surveyed women who eventually met their online dates engaged in risky sexual behaviors. Thirty percent of the respondents reported having sex on their first date. Seventy-seven percent of respondents reported not using a condom during their first sexual encounter.

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Young Women Defy Labels in Intimacy With Both Sexes

For many of today's women in their late teens and 20s, openness to intimate physical relationships with either gender has become a way of life, rather than an "experiment." This relatively new phenomenon is likely a product of a generation unconcerned with labels.

"These young women see sexuality as a fluid thing," said National Gay and Lesbian Task Force spokeswoman Roberta Sklar. "It's not just between your legs." "These relationships are physical, emotional and intellectual, and the boundaries are not hard set," she said.

Although there are no hard data on the numbers, Sklar said a growing number of young women have a "more flexible view" of their sexual partners, and their early choices of gender may not be a "fixed path."

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Sexual Satisfaction for Women in Today's World

Sex is out of the bedroom and into the open. Commercials about warming lubricant run alongside ads about dish soap. Dirty book stores have transformed into classier "lovers' boutiques," and sex toy parties are racking in millions.

Welcome to the new landscape of women's sexuality: The path is littered with new toys, methods and expectations - some unspeakable in previous generations. But has all this openness really cleared the way for better sex?

Patricia Richgels isn't sure. Richgels is a certified sex therapist at Human Development Associates in La Crosse, Wis., and has been working in the field for 25 years.

"Sexperts" such as Richgels shared lots of reasons why women can't get satisfaction: lack of desire, difficulty having orgasms, too much focus on intercourse and not enough on foreplay, unrealistic expectations, not enough time, painful intercourse, kids.

Much has changed in recent decades, Richgels and others interviewed agreed - some of it for the better, and some of it for the worse. But one thing's clear: Some things haven't changed enough.

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Researchers Say People have Sex for Different Goals

A new study, published today in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, suggests that the reasons we have sex may be much more varied than previously thought.

The researchers first sampled 203 men and 241 women, ranging in age from 17 to 52. They asked them to list all the reasons why they ever had sex. Some of what they found surprised the researchers.

They received answers from "The person smelled nice" to "I wanted to burn calories" to "I wanted to get out of doing something." "Some of the negative motivators -- the ones that had to do with revenge, or manipulation, or competition -- really surprised us," says Meston. "One of the darkest answers was 'to give someone else an STD,' and that really surprised us."

Some of the other answers they found had nothing to do with pleasure, emotional attachment or procreation -- what many would consider the usual reasons for sex. "There were lots of things about enhancing psychological or physical well-being, like getting rid of a headache, cramps or stress," says Meston.

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Women's Cancer Care Often Ignores Sexual Issues

Long-term survivors of vaginal and cervical cancer are as likely as other women to be sexually active, but they have a lot more sex-related problems and these are often not addressed by their doctors, researchers report.

"Many women value their sexuality as an important part of their health, even in the face of a life-threatening illness," lead investigator Dr. Stacy Tessler Lindau of the University of Chicago told Reuters Health.

"Physicians can have a lasting positive impact on their patients," she continued, "by initiating discussion about the impact of illness or its treatments on women's sexuality. Women typically will not initiate discussion of sexual matters with their physician, but most feel that physicians should do so."

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