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Posts Tagged ‘O magazine’

One Female Soldier's Story, (With Thanks To All Soldiers), On Memorial Day

In the military, women on May 31, 2010 at 9:15 am
The Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Expedient ...

Image via Wikipedia

From O magazine, a powerful story of Ashton Goodman, a young female soldier who served in Afghanistan, and who died there:

Under leaden winter skies, nine air force and army soldiers, bulky with gear and weapons, waited on rain-darkened gravel near tan, mud-splashed Humvees to begin the drive north to their small forward operating base (FOB) in Panjshir Province. The youngest, Air Force Sr. Airman Ashton Goodman, 21, stood beside me in camouflage uniform with pistol, carbine, knife, heavy boots, and helmet, explaining that as a vehicles “op” (short for vehicle operator dispatcher), she maintained and drove Humvees, Land Cruisers, “whatever has wheels.” She added that she couldn’t wait to drive one of the newer Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected all-terrain vehicles, a paleolithic-looking monster built to survive roadside bombs, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and ambushes. A former supply truck driver on mine-infested roads in Iraq, Goodman was about two months into her new deployment in this relatively peaceful, “model” province.

Established in 2005 by combined American military, civilian, and NATO forces, the Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT), working closely with the Afghan people, was responsible for diverse humanitarian efforts, from medical clinics and vaccination programs to schools and engineering and agricultural projects. Although at the time its 70-member team was the smallest of the 26 PRT sites throughout Afghanistan, FOB Lion was considered a showcase. I was going there to write about the five female soldiers on that team.

My initial impression of the diminutive, blue-eyed, athletic Sr. Airman Goodman that bleak afternoon at Bagram was of a wholesome G.I. Jane action figure come to life. She’d missed her dream of becoming a fighter pilot, she later told me, by being one inch under air force height requirement.

I wish I’d met Goodman. I’ve interviewed female — and male soldiers; Kayla Williams’ book “Love My Rifle More Than You” offers a searing look past the headlines to the gritty (no showers) life she lived. After she returned home, she and her husband, a fellow soldier, suffered from PTSD and TBI, traumatic brain injury, the signature wound of the Iraq/Afghanistan conflicts, caused by the explosions of IEDs. Coming home sometimes offers little peace.

I once interviewed the father of a soldier whose helicopter had toppled off a mountaintop, killing all aboard. When he answered my call, he offered to email his son’s eulogy, which he was in the middle of writing. Until you speak to a soldier or their loved ones, the personal cost of war can remain something distant and abstract, a photo or a story or something on TV.

Their collective sacrifice is invisible to most of us, and extraordinary.

Thanks to all who have served, and still do.

Infidelity's A Dealbreaker, But So-So Sex With Their Partner, Not So Much, Say 6,096 Women

In behavior, women on May 4, 2010 at 7:28 am
Two Hearts Just To Hold Love

Image by CarbonNYC via Flickr

From the April issue of “O” magazine, an online survey finds that a third of women would take a hike if their partner or husband was unfaithful — but only seven percent would bail due to sexual incompatibility. Hm.

Are American women shortchanging themselves? Sounds like it to me.

Eight percent said boredom would end things, 24 percent if they were “no longer in love” (seems a little vague), 28 percent for “chronic fighting.”

I was saddened to read that 31 percent of women say they don’t get enough emotional support — how’s it in your house? — but maybe they’re being unrealistic? Guys are legendarily not the greatest at hand-holding. Yet 61 percent of women said they turn to their partner in times of crisis, and only 20 percent to their best friend. Which begs the question — where, then, do women get their emotional support, if not from their sweetie or best friend?

A third of women said self-help books were helpful in improving their relationship, 22 percent regular date nights and only 12 percent said couples therapy.

A miserable 12 percent said they feel trapped in their relationship and 10 percent griped “better than being alone.”

In recent months, both Elle and Vogue have also run long pieces on women’s lack of sexual desire — and the ongoing paucity of effective/safe drugs to alleviate it. From Vogue:

Women have slim pickings in the sex-drug marketplace… Doctors have jumped in, giving women an estimated 2 million “off label” prescriptions every year for high-dose—and potentially risky—testosterone pills, creams, gels, and ointments. For now, though, there are no FDA-approved sex drugs for women. Pharmaceutical companies and device-makers have been scrambling for years to cash in on the largely untapped market in female desire: an estimated $2 billion to $4 billion in annual sales.

That lure has revved up American ingenuity in previously unimaginable ways. Having trouble reaching orgasm? In just a few years, the Orgasmatron spinal-cord stimulator—now available only in a nine-day-trial version—may be fully implantable, with a subcutaneous battery lodged inside what its inventor calls “the anatomical love handle.” Stuart Meloy, M.D., says his device delivered orgasms on demand for four of eleven women in his small study. He hopes to persuade others to spend about $12,000 for the semipermanent gadget. The catch: First Meloy has to convince regulators that the benefits of the Orgasmatron outweigh the risks of lodging electrodes near the spine: paralysis, infection, and incontinence, to name a few.

Bremelanotide—the arousal injection—generated a lot of buzz when it was first introduced as an aphrodisiac nasal spray. But the spray spiked blood pressure in early trials and had to be yanked. The hypodermic version appears to avoid that problem, but testing is still under way.

A more appealing aphrodisiac may be within reach. Two firms are racing to develop the first prescription drug for women’s most common sexual complaint: distressingly low libido, which psychiatrists call hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). In the last few months, the makers of LibiGel and flibanserin claim they’ve discovered how to stimulate nerve centers in the female brain that control libido. Just how effective the drugs are remains unclear. The German drug giant Boehringer Ingelheim reported last November that in a six-month study of more than 1,000 women, a daily 100-mg dose of flibanserin gave premenopausal women 0.8 more “sexually satisfying events” per month over a placebo. (That metric doesn’t necessarily mean a woman has more orgasms, or even more sex. SSEs can include greater fantasies, arousal, and orgasms—or just feeling closer to a partner.) BioSante, the Chicago-area company that makes LibiGel, announced that 46 postmenopausal women who used it for three months had three more sexually satisfying events per month than women who received a placebo.

Maggie Bullock, in Elle, points out many reasons a woman can say “No thanks” including: emotional and psychological trauma, stress, relationship problems, depression, weight gain, body image issues, anger, tiredness, infidelity, childbirth, power issues, past abuse — not to mention the routine and ennui that can come with long-term relationships.”

I would add to that sadly long and realistic list a few other issues I’ve experienced — injury, arthritis, chronic illness, surgery and recovery. My severely arthritic left hip now works like a poorly designed hinge. I’ll figure it out, but it’s not erotic.

Does any of this ring true for you?

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