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    Community Voices

    What they don't tell you in Sex-Ed..

    Part 1 of 2 Throughout my school years I attended many #sexedclasses they all covered different aspects however all had a very common theme in them which was “If you have #Sex without protection you WILL get pregnant” they went into great details about safe sex and how to practice it, they even spoke about options if you were to fall pregnant, and the help and support out there.I’m 25yrs old and I have carried those lessons around with me in my head for years but not because what I learned from them but because of what they were lacking, you see the word #Infertility never came up in those lessons, what it was or why it happened, never mind support for it. Instead I learned the word as I watched my older siblings battle against it as #Infertilitycame banging on their doors yet I was still absolutely clueless on the full meaning until it came banging on mine last year.Since then I’ve been on this journey that I was not prepared for, I’m in a rollercoaster that has sharp bends and big loops yet my seatbelt does not do up instead I’m having to hold on as tight as I can and try to grab supplies to fix my belt just as I’m collecting knowledge about this unknown subject a subject that I should of been taught on.What to do when you want to start a family yet your haunted with negatives every month?How to accurately track your ovulation days and how many days your cycles are?What to do if your not in a #Relationships but you want to become a Mummy? And the stigma around it?Information about sperm donorsInformation about IVFThe anger and grief you go through everyday and how it comes in waves and some of the waves can knock you down for what seems like weeks..How to deal with the overwhelming guilt you feel when you feel such pain when a family member or friend announces they are expectingConstant Dr appointments and the tests with the exact same responses “try to loose weight” “your time will come” “your still young you got time”Feeling such a type of broody that it actually hurtsMy life has become a draw full of pre-pregnancy supplants, ovulation tests, pregnancy tests, ovulation/period tracking tools, donor information, tables and charts and notes and Dr letters. I’m having to learn about all about this while living through it however I know exactly how to put a condom on and the different types of contraceptions there are and my rights if I wanted to terminated so why didn’t I know anything about #Infertility, how didn’t I know that #Infertility affects 84% of couples and half of women, how didn’t I know that there are so many different types of #Infertility ranging from just taking a long time to get pregnant to illnesses such as #PolycysticOvarySyndrome, how didn’t I know that the fact that I didn’t start my period till I was 18 could have something to do with my now issues to conceive, how didn’t I know that sometimes I won’t get a period but not because I’m pregnant but because my hormone levels can’t regulate, how didn’t I know that at just 25yrs old I would be experiencing isolating nightmare.I think that’s the main thing people forget to tell you about the trying to conceive journey is how #lonely it is, I struggle to connect with my peers because of how cut of this journey has made me, I feel like I’m in a prison where #Infertility are the bars while I’m looking through watching my friends and family live their lives, lives without negative tests, appointments, draw fulls of supplants and failed tests, baby clothes that stay in the closet for what may even be forever and there is nothing they or anyone can say to make this better.I wish they would of mentioned this all in sex ed, honestly that could of put people off the idea of reproducing all together because I wouldn’t wish this journey on anyone but at least I would of been prepared and that I wouldn’t have to be battling blind through this beast. #Infertility and trying to conceive needs to be spoken about more and it needs to be a conversation that is had at schools that

    Community Voices

    What they don't tell you in Sex-Ed..

    <p>What they don't tell you in Sex-Ed..</p>
    1 person is talking about this
    Megan Glosson

    Can Sex Really Provide Migraine Relief?

    I’m no stranger to frequent migraine attacks. In fact, I experience migraine symptoms so frequently that my house is stocked with many migraine relief products, and even my kids know my typical treatment regimen for migraine attacks. Unfortunately, there are days when none of my go-to remedies work at all, meaning I am left with no options but to curl up in bed and hope that time will work its magic on me. About a month ago, I dealt with multiple days in a row of excruciating migraine pain despite my attempts to treat it. I had tried all the over-the-counter medications we owned, hydrating beverages, caffeine, ice packs, a heating pad, and essential oils. Finally, I told my children I needed to lie down for a while and closed myself in the bedroom. As I lay in bed with an ice pack across my forehead, my partner searched the internet for other possible solutions. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, she threw out a somewhat unusual suggestion: sex. In the moments that followed, I learned that, in one research study, 70 percent of people with migraine experience moderate to complete relief for their migraine pain after engaging in sexual activity during a migraine attack. Furthermore, many experts say oxytocin (which is released during sex) works as a natural pain reliever for all sorts of ailments, including chronic pain and, you guessed it, migraine. This all seemed a bit odd to me because migraine attacks all but consume me. However, who am I to argue with science? So, as my partner and I discussed it, and we decided to try a low-impact method so I could essentially continue to lie with my ice pack and not move. We also agreed to stop at any time if I suddenly felt worse or decided it was too awkward. While our “experiment” was short-lived due to interruptions, even this brief stimulation provided enough relief for me to make it through the rest of the day. Which, after battling migraine symptoms for two days straight, was enough for me. Sex is a difficult topic for many people, especially those who live with certain health conditions or have certain histories. However, sexual activities can also provide pain relief in a natural, pleasurable way — if you’re open to it. Although my partner and I obviously discussed this “treatment method” in the heat of the moment (pun intended), I would absolutely recommend discussing this relief option with your partner when you are not in the midst of a migraine attack. You can share the data, explain your feelings on the subject, and give your partner the time and space to share how they would feel. Open communication is best anytime sexual intimacy is involved, especially in situations like this. Of course, if you feel unsure about how to start the conversation, you can always send your partner this article as a subtle hint. If you and your partner decide this may be a treatment method you want to try, you’ll also want to discuss the “details,” like positions that may work best, expectations for the activities, and how you’ll communicate during the session. You may even want to decide on a safe word so your partner knows you need them to stop immediately or other keywords that can help your partner know if they need to do something differently. Also, if you deal with comorbidities that may make sex during a migraine attack questionable or dangerous, you may also want to discuss this option with a doctor before trying it. And, of course, if your partner isn’t open to trying these activities as a migraine treatment (or if you don’t currently have a partner), solo play is always an option. Just remember that the goal is pain relief, not additional distress. While it may sound a bit strange, sex can (and does) provide migraine relief for many individuals. Don’t knock it until you try it, but also make sure you’re adequately prepared before you dive into this treatment option head first.

    Navigating OCD When You're Having Sex

    For the past few hours, I have done anything and everything I could think of to avoiding writing this blog post. I’ve cleaned my apartment, organized my desk and much more. Why? I want to write about obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and sex, but I also feel shame. Which brings me to my first way OCD can show up to the party: 1. Shame and fear of social judgment My partner and I are two consenting adults. There is nothing inherently “wrong” going on here. Yet, I fear writing about this because sex is taboo. And though these feelings are not limited to anxious individuals, when you have OCD, shame can get taken to another level. What if my mom reads this? What if my boss reads this? What if literally anyone I know reads this? What if people I don’t know read this? Gah, people are reading this. I feel ashamed of existing as a sexual being, though I’m working on this shame. So I avoided, but here we are. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s continue with other ways OCD can show up during sex. 2. Fear of getting pregnant This was one of my dominant OCD fears in high school, even though I was years away from having sex. But touching a boy? Kissing a boy? Heck, it got to the point that sitting next to a boy was anxiety-inducing. I would trace where possible sperm could be and how it could find a way into my vagina. It could be on a couch cushion, travel through clothes, and into my vagina to make me pregnant. Of course, this was also before I knew I had OCD, so before I was in treatment. And thus, the fear grew out of control. I was thinking about it almost every waking moment. It got so consuming that my anxiety began to mimic symptoms of pregnancy, such as nausea and missed periods. That did not help, to say the least. Years later though, this fear has faded. We use hormonal birth control and condoms, so the risk of pregnancy is very low (not that OCD cares about logic). Even though I didn’t treat this fear directly though because it wasn’t a priority during the years of my intensive treatment, while treating other OCD themes, this one got quieter too. I just have to be diligent, on the occasions when I do get intrusive thoughts about an accidental pregnancy. 3. Fluids I cannot believe I’m labeling this section fluids, but here we are. We are writing without shame, or trying to write despite feelings of shame, I should say. Sex involves fluids. Whether that’s semen or sweat or whatever, it’s an intimate act. And see fear above, fluids can lead to pregnancy. But there can also be more general discomfort with them. I’ve found baby steps and gradual exposures to be helpful. But also be assertive about where you do and do not want fluids, though this can be hard to control exactly. It’s OK to push yourself towards facing OCD, and it’s also OK to set a boundary based on what you want and need. OK, moving on. 4. Sensory issues This is probably the biggest way OCD and anxiety show up for me currently during sex. For example, having my hair down? Probably super sexy. But also kind of uncomfortable because now it’s getting sweaty and tangled and messed up and I’m thinking more about my hair than focusing on my partner. Also, overstimulation is a very real phenomenon. As pleasurable as sex is, I’ve also experienced that a few minutes after sex, I can find myself overstimulated. My heart rate is up, and I’ve just had this intimate, physical experience. On a handful of occasions, this has led to panic attacks. Again, the sex was consensual and enjoyable; my body just got overwhelmed. And in those moments, my partner lovingly holds me, we focus on my breathing, and we get through it. 5. Taboo intrusive thoughts Finally, I feel it would be a dishonor to the OCD community to not at least mention this category of intrusive thoughts, and how they can definitely come up during sex. But also, I’m not ready to talk about mine publicly and have it published forever, at least not yet. There’s a fear of losing jobs or opportunities, or being judged as a bad person by people who don’t understand OCD. That’s not true. People with OCD are not bad people. But sometimes our thoughts, which are out of control, can be misleading. All this to say, if you have OCD and you know, you know. You are not a bad person. You are not alone. Finally, this is not an exhaustive list of all the ways OCD can show up during sex. This is just based on my experience. If you’re comfortable, I’d love to hear your experiences too.

    Community Voices

    Trigger Warning!

    I have always been asexual. I’ve never had an orgasm with anyone. That leaves only masterbation if I want to feel pleasure. Even then it’s a struggle. I get loud messages in my head…stop! It turns out to be something filled with anger.

    3 people are talking about this
    Heidi
    Heidi @raregem
    contributor

    How Cloacal Exstrophy Can Affect Sex and Relationships

    The Mighty Asks: How does your health condition affect your sex life? This is a loaded question. Being born in the early ‘70s with cloacal exstrophy stacked the odds against me to survive at all. One might ask what cloacal exstrophy is. Well, it’s like you got in a fight with a blender and the blender won. All your abdominal viscera are basically scrambled and hanging on the outside. The peritoneum does not close. This condition is known to happen on occasion with IVF babies. Why? I’m no doctor, but my guess is that you can liken it to “Horton Hears a Who.” Here’s this elephant carrying around a flower and on the flower are these tiny little creatures and he doesn’t realize it. So as he sniffs the flower, and walks around with the flower in a way that causes a change in the environment, it turns the little Who creatures’ lives upside down. So does the disruption of the environment of the womb, be it through transferring of a baby from test tube to uterus, or a high fever, or something else. The disruption and the timing of it cause just enough of a change in the baby’s environment that it wreaks havoc and turns its life upside down — or inside out in this case. My mom caught chicken pox when she was about 2 months pregnant with me and she fevered at around 102. The change in her temperature and the virus in her system caused a disruption in my environment. It hindered the development of the GI and GU systems. How that manifested: Omphalocele, pubis symphysis diatheses, exstrophied bladder, bicornuate uterus (though the doctors did not realize any reproductive system existed at that point), cervix communicating with the posterior aspect of the bladder), resulting in what was thought to be vaginal agenesis (The existence of the cervix wasn’t discovered until around 1996 or later; malrotated kidney, one atrophic kidney, and intestines protruding through the omphalocele. I was 9 hours old when I was taken to an operating room at RB&C Case Western and underwent my first surgery. Fast forward to age 12. At age 12, menarche started, though no one believed me. It was thought at that point that I had no functioning reproductive system and so the blood and clots of tissue passing through my bladder which by the way, I was trying to eliminate through catheters, as I have so self-cath, was thought by the doctors to merely a bad bladder infection. The torture! There are no words! Three years of this before I was finally admitted to the hospital just a month shy of 16 years old, weighing approximately 64 pounds from the toll the inability to normally eliminate menses had on me, all while being accused of acting and attention-seeking and not practicing proper self-catheterization hygiene; none of which was true. Needless to say, I didn’t get to enjoy the milestones of my teen years as my peers did and amazingly I survived this ordeal, and one gynecologist decided to test the theory that I was in fact having periods. Like the other doctors I encountered, she was doubtful, but she decided to put me on Depo Provera to see what would happen, and wouldn’t you know, it worked! Go figure! Three years of me, a mere child, telling my parents and doctors I was having periods, and no one believed me. I rapidly gained weight and for the first time since I was 12, I could actually stand upright. Because of the complexity of my system, no surgeons were readily comfortable with the idea of colpoplasty much less a hysterectomy, nor were my parents, and to be honest, I wasn’t even aware these were a possibility. So, as I became a young adult, I lived hiding behind work and school as an excuse as to why I wasn’t dating anyone. I tried dating a couple of times and it was mortifying. Then by the time I was into my mid-20s, I got tired of waking up every day to a life of loneliness and tired of meeting someone, becoming close friends, falling in love with him, only to have to hide my feelings, because after all, I had nothing worth giving. My mom, in her way of protecting me I guess, always told me no one in their right mind could ever love me, and that because I was not able to have a normal sex life, it negated anything else I might be able to contribute in a relationship that involved dating, much less marriage. So, I lived in silence and in shame. At age 24, after an attempt at dating, and having heard of a doctor in Atlanta who might be able to help, I flew to Atlanta and consulted with this doctor who was full of promises. Long story short, I got my hopes up, only to be horribly devastated and disappointed. I went on another four years of existing in this hell of loneliness and shame and then the Depo Provera shots were no longer working, and I had to be put on three times the normal dose. I ballooned out from 135 to over 200 pounds within a year and this caused complications with old surgical sites opening up and urine leaking out of my abdomen like a shooting fountain. More embarrassment! My urologist referred me to one of my pediatric surgeons and here I discovered that maybe there was some hope after all. Not only could a hysterectomy possibly be done so I wouldn’t have to be on the Depo, but there was a chance that colpoplasty could be done, and I could live a “normal life.” Fast forward a little more. Surgery was a success! But now at 30 years of age, the doctors didn’t realize that I had no idea how to relate to my peers with this newfound life. I literally had gone from 13 to 30 in one day. So, what does all this have to do with how my medical issues affect my sex life today? Everything. So anxious to catch up with life, and one embarrassing interaction after another, I met someone and married him when I was 34, and it was the worst mistake of my life! I was a joke to him. He withheld affection from me because I cannot have children. There’s no describing the cruelty of this! To have gone through the reconstructive surgery I endured so I would “be worthy” of being loved and have something of value to give in a marriage, my husband rejected me and wouldn’t touch me, and it was funny to him. Eight years of this, and I finally threw him out. That was in 2013. I haven’t tried to date since. I’m painfully lonely, yet can’t shake the shame, not to mention the fear of more rejection and more disappointment. And worse yet, what if, 22 years after having reconstructive surgery only to be rejected, I encounter more physical difficulties if I were to find someone? Sometimes it isn’t so much the physical issue that affects a person’s ability to pursue sexual intimacy, it’s the shame and the stigma that the physical issues have brought. It’s the labels that have been placed on you by the very people who are supposed to love you as you are, the constant having to deny yourself the luxury of even acknowledging how you feel about someone, or expressing how you feel about them. These all affect a person’s sex life, or lack thereof. I’d like to think that maybe there is that one special guy out there, who has been handpicked just for me, who is not perfect – but perfect for me – and who would love me just as I am. But as much as I want to find that person, I’m just as afraid of the idea of taking a risk should he come around.

    Community Voices

    I can't shake this feeling #Relationships #Sex

    I don't know what it is, but in all of my relationships, my sex life has started off great and then, it just drops off and I become frustrated, sometimes angry, but mostly I feel like my partner is bored with me despite my own efforts to keep it going. I am with someone I want to spend the rest of my life with and we've had many conversations about this issue. It never seems to change anything and I just feel worse about myself as time passes. I cannot accept that this part of my relationship is just slowing down and I have no control over it. So I can't shake this horrible feeling it causes me. Sigh i don't know what to do anymore.......

    1 person is talking about this
    Monika Sudakov

    How to Have Sex After Trauma Due to Sexual Abuse or Rape

    Sex after sexual assault or sexual abuse is complicated. When my abuse memories began flooding back in my late 30s, I was unprepared for how triggering sex became. If I’m honest, it had always been triggering but I never really recognized it because I was actually dissociating during sex, something that took a lot of reconciling and processing for both myself and my husband. But once the proverbial cat was out of the bag, I couldn’t engage in any kind of sexual intimacy without having flashbacks. I ended up taking a long hiatus from sex while I did intense trauma therapy to process my abuse . With the help of an amazing trauma therapist and a husband who was committed not just to our marriage but to helping me on my healing journey, I was finally able to reengage in sexual intimacy but not without establishing some fundamental rituals. They help me feel safe, less triggered, and reduce my shame surrounding the idea that sex could be pleasurable, and that I deserved to experience that pleasure. If you struggle with sexual intimacy post-sexual assault or abuse, here are five things that have helped me that I hope will help you too: 1. Schedule Intimacy I resisted this for a long time because it felt super deflating. I mean, shouldn’t sex be this passionate impromptu thing between two people who find one another attractive? Well, when you have been sexually violated, your sense of agency and control over your body has been taken away from you. Being able to take control over when, where, with whom, and how you are going to engage in sexual intimacy can be a powerful way of reestablishing your ownership over your body. It also helps you mentally prepare for it so that you can make sure that you do the self-care needed to be in a good headspace before engaging. 2. Self-Care Speaking of self-care, this may go without saying but if you aren’t doing the things that you need to do to feel at your best physically and mentally, you won’t be able to engage in sexual intimacy fully present and in the moment. For me, this includes knowing that I must take a shower immediately after sex, I have to eat relatively healthy so that I don’t feel uncomfortable in my body, I need to take my vitamins and medications, I need to exercise moderately and I need to stay away from consuming any potentially triggering media leading up to sexual intimacy. 3. Boundaries As much as we all get sick of hearing about boundaries, when it comes to sexual intimacy this is critical. My husband knows that I cannot engage unless he is freshly showered, shaven, teeth brushed, and isn’t wearing any lotion or cologne — both of which are huge triggers for me. We also can’t have any interruptions or distractions, and the room temperature has to be right. And finally, my husband knows exactly what things will cause somatic flashbacks for me, which trigger my dissociation. Figuring this out took trial and error, but once we established them, he could navigate around them without it being a total buzzkill during sexual intimacy. 4. Communication This is one that I admit is probably the hardest for me. We have to talk about sex when we are not engaging in sexual intimacy. Once you are in the heat of the moment, it’s difficult to have a meaningful conversation about what you need and want from your partner. I find it’s awkward as hell, though, and frankly, I found that it was easiest to have these delicate conversations within the safety of a therapy session, where my therapist could navigate questions about how trauma impacts memory and physical responses, and could help contain any intense emotional reactions my husband inevitably experienced — especially those involving feeling rejected. These conversations may or may not involve explicit details about your assault or abuse , but in certain circumstances, sharing these with your partner may help strengthen your connection and help them really comprehend that your physical and emotional reactions to intimacy truly have nothing to do with them. 5. Know Your Love Language This sounds super “woo woo,” but it actually has been quite helpful in figuring out what Emily Nagoski, author of “Come As You Are,” calls my “accelerators.” According to Nagoski, we all have sexual “brakes” and “accelerators.” For those with sexual trauma , our “brakes” are pretty sticky and we may have never truly gotten the opportunity to figure out what our “accelerators” are. Renowned relationship expert Esther Perel calls it cultivating our “eroticism” which may have nothing to do with the act of sex itself. It’s the stuff that helps us feel free, playful, engaged, and stimulated. Understanding what these are and conveying them to our partners can help cultivate an environment of foreplay that can amplify our “accelerators” and ramp down our “brakes.” My love language happens to be “Words of Affirmation.” I need to feel appreciated and told that I’m special and worthy to feel secure and allow myself to let go of my “brakes” a bit. You can determine your love language here. Even with all of this being said, sexual assault and abuse survivors may experience anxiety about sexual intimacy. And that may always be the case. Just like healing from trauma isn’t linear, neither is our ability to engage in sexual intimacy in a meaningful and safe way. The critical thing to focus on is that having sex is no longer something that someone else uses as a means of manipulating you or objectifying you. The ball is in your court. “No” is a perfectly acceptable response and there is no such thing as “normal” when it comes to frequency or how you engage in sexual intimacy. Let your body and your mind be your guide and never force yourself to do anything that you don’t want to.

    Community Voices

    Idk give me advice pls

    My partners in bed just aren’t aggressive enough. I know I’m probably having unhealthy sex, but I never feel satisfied, especially when my partner is gentle and “respectful”. My childhood trauma really has scarred me for life :( and I hate it because the only sexual relationships I seek are v dangerous, and if they don’t meet those qualifications I easily zone out and don’t enjoy at all. I hate it bc I’ve met some really nice guys who tries. Any advice?

    #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder #Advice #Sex #Hypersexuality #Selfharm #CPTSD

    2 people are talking about this
    Megan Glosson

    What to Know If You Have Anxiety During Sex

    As someone who has lived with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) for most of her life, I’ve learned how to manage my anxiety in many situations I encounter in my everyday life. I know how to silently sit with my anxious thoughts during work meetings, I’ve learned how to calm my body when I meet someone new, and I have tons of coping skills I can use to manage my nighttime anxiety when it strikes around bedtime. Despite all of this, there are still some moments when my anxiety strikes in a way that is difficult to manage — namely when I’m trying to “get it on” with my partner. Unfortunately, my anxiety doesn’t just “turn off” when I get turned on, and it’s really frustrating! There are times when my anxiety causes me to second-guess my actions and leads me to ask for confirmation and reassurance every step of the way. I worry about how my body looks and smells, and question if my existence is a turn-off to my partner. I also worry that my partner isn’t enjoying the moment or that I’m not providing them with enough pleasure, so I constantly ask questions and change what I’m doing in hopes that eventually, I’ll make them happy. Other times, I get lost in anxious thoughts unrelated to the intimate moment with my partner, which causes me to lose focus on what I’m doing. I start worrying about finances, a project at work, or the cleanliness of my home and go down an entire rabbit hole inside my mind. In fact, my thoughts sometimes race so much that I never seem to settle into a groove with my partner. This not only makes it hard to remain present in the moment, but it also makes it hard to really enjoy the intimacy. Even when I am able to “silence” the anxious thoughts that typically bounce around inside my brain long enough to climax, the thoughts return moments later, which all but kills the magic of the moment. The thoughts will consume me the minute we “finish,” which confuses and concerns my partner more than I probably even realize. Unfortunately, this has been an ongoing issue for me ever since I can remember. It’s gone on for over a decade and interfered with my sex life with multiple partners. When my anxiety would interfere with these intimate moments with my previous partners, I felt like a complete failure. I worried that my partner would see me as disinterested or incapable of giving them the attention they deserve. What’s more, I didn’t know how to explain that my thoughts were wandering in what’s supposed to be a deeply personal moment because I thought it would make me sound like a “weirdo.” However, thanks to my current partner, I’ve actually learned that anxious thoughts are quite common during intimacy. Due to the nature of our relationship and our shared history in group therapy, we are very candid and open with each other about our mental health . While people may laugh at the thought of opening up to someone about their mental health symptoms during sex, I feel like sharing my “ anxiety brain” with my partner has helped normalize our wandering thoughts a bit more. Instead of trying to swallow my fears and concerns, I feel like I finally have the right partner and the comfort level to speak up when anxiety takes over inside my head. As a result, we’ve shared deep, personal conversations as our anxious thoughts come up during our more sexual moments. This has not only helped me personally enjoy sexual intercourse a lot more but it’s also deepened my emotional connection to my partner as well. We’ve also laughed at the randomness of our thoughts at times, which helps shake off the anxiety and make the moment more memorable. Has it killed the mood a time or two? Yes. But it’s also left us rolling around in bed laughing for a long while after the fact, which in my opinion is more than worth it. If you’re like me and live with an anxiety disorder or another mental illness, chances are you’re all too familiar with the fact that your anxiety doesn’t just “turn off” when you’re turned on and enjoying intimate moments with your partner. But you know what? That’s OK! Just communicate with your partner and let them know how they can help you in those anxiety moments — I think you’ll be surprised by what a difference just sharing those “anxious thoughts” really makes.