Health

360 MAGAZINE, Nicole Avena, PhD

Top Five Tips For Avoiding Colds and Flu This Season

1. Take It Easy. Stress is a sure way to compromise your immune system. Be sure to make sure that you are taking care of yourself and making time to rest and restore in order to keep your stress levels at a minimum.

2. Take Vitamin C. Supplementing your diet with Vitamin C is a great way to ward of colds and flu. We don’t typically get enough Vitamin C from our diets alone, so a supplement is often the best way to go. Vitafusion makes a Vitamin C gummy that is easy to take, and a great way to get your daily dose of Vitamin C.

3. Avoid Closed Places. Cold and flu viruses spread via the air, so try to avoid spending too much time indoors where there may be people who are sick (like shopping malls). Try to get outdoors as much as you can, as the brisk air can be great for your health and also very refreshing.

4. Wash Your Hands, and Face. Washing your hands is a no-brainer, but don’t forget to wash your face! We often touch our face with our hands, and germs can be sitting there just waiting to invade. 

5. Use Sanitizer. Keeping your work and home areas clean of viruses is important. Use sanitizer to wipe down the places where germs might be lingering, such as door knobs, bathrooms, faucet handles, and keyboards.

Nicole Avena, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Neuroscience at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. She is the author of several books, including Why Diets Fail, and What to Eat When You’re Pregnant. 

Vaughn Lowery, 360 MAGAZINE

Ending Suicide This National Suicide Prevention Month

By Vinay Saranga M.D.

National Suicide Prevention Month is this September, with Suicide Prevention Week being recognized Sunday, Sep. 8, 2019 – Saturday, Sep. 14, 2019. Suicide is a growing issue in America, with an estimated 44,965 Americans ending their own lives each year, or roughly 123 each day. Think about that for a moment: 123 people each day saying they’ve had enough.

Suicide is the worst possible outcome there is not just for the individual, but for the family he or she leaves behind. Quite often this involves parents and grandparents, children, siblings and friends who are left wondering why. Why did he do it? Why didn’t I see the signs? Could I have done more? Is this somehow partially my fault? Was I not nice to him or her?

As mental health professionals, it hurts us too. If the person didn’t get help, why not? Was he or she denied access to mental health benefits? If he or she was under our care, where did we go wrong? Did we not see the signs or prescribe the wrong course of treatment?    

When it comes to suicide, there are no straightforward answers. In fact, most of the time, we never get answers unless the person left behind a note, and even then, we are still often left scratching our heads in disbelief and dismay.

That’s why initiatives like National Suicide Prevention Month and Suicide Prevention Week are so important. It helps us shine the light on the pain of suicide, even if for a short period of time. The reality is, we need to have open conversations about suicide, depression and overall mental health all the time, 365 days a year. We need to end the stigma surrounding mental illness immediately or unfortunately, suicide will continue to needlessly end the lives of so many around us.

The only bit of good news is that suicide is preventable, but an intervention must take place. The driving force behind a suicide must be properly dealt with before it spirals out of control, whether this is a mental illness, nasty divorce, job loss or anything else.

We can provide hope and support by starting a conversation. Reach out to help normalize the topic. Don’t hesitate to seek treatment for mental illnesses. It is not a sign of weakness. Someone suffering from heart disease wouldn’t hesitate to seek help for their heart condition. The same normalization needs to be visible in the mental health community. If you suspect someone might be suicidal, here are some things you can do to help.

Talk

Again, help normalize the topic by conversation. Simply asking someone if they are thinking about suicide is a good step. Never promise to keep their suicidal thoughts a secret. Be open and non-judgmental. Encourage immediate professional intervention through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. It is available 24-hours a day.

Connect

Professional help is essential. Don’t just suggest it because they might be unlikely to follow through. Do it for them. Someone who might be suicidal could be suffering from deep depression, mania and other conditions that sometimes prevent clarity. Do the research and help get them set up with an appointment with a mental health professional like a clinical psychologist, psychiatrist or licensed counselor.

Support

If someone in your life is contemplating suicide, constantly remind them that there is hope. There are many successful treatments which can help turn how their feeling around. Life is worth living. Continue to support and communicate with them. You can increase their feelings of connectedness and share your ongoing support. There is evidence that even a simple form of reaching out, like sending a card or email, can potentially reduce their risk for suicide. Remember, loneliness is a major cause of depression.

This National Suicide Prevention Month, let’s put an end to this horrific epidemic once and for all. The more we continue the conversation and bring attention to it, the more people we will reach and save.

Vinay Saranga M.D. is a psychiatrist and founder of Saranga Comprehensive Psychiatry. https://www.sarangapsychiatry.com/

JHENE AIKO, 360 MAGAZINE

JHENE AIKO

JHENE AIKO BRINGS SOUND HEALING ENERGY TO HER MEDITATION REMIX FOR “TRIGGER PROTECTION MANTRA”

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360 MAGAZINE, Vaughn Lowery

5 Ways Your Relationship Can Hurt Your Health

By Robert Oldman

Anyone who clicked on a site like https://www.flirt.com and is now in a meaningful relationship as a result may well face their fair share of ups and downs. For most people, dating relationships are new and exciting uncharted territory. The experience will more typically be exemplified by happiness, contentment, fun nights out, cozy nights in. With all that going on, surely there can’t be any negatives associated with being in a relationship or dating someone? Actually, that’s not always the case at all. Your relationship can actually damage your health, in a variety of different, sometimes surprising ways. Here are five you may not necessarily have considered.

Stress

In any relationship, there will inevitably be times when you are less satisfied than others. It is pretty much impossible to coast along without there ever being moments of friction, whether this is anything to do with yourselves, or external factors have come into play.  Everything from worrying about family to money issues to work can impact your stress levels, but having doubts about your partnership can be especially concerning. If you are unduly bothered about anything at all, this can have a negative affect on everything from your blood pressure to your libido. Prolonged periods of stress can lead to even more potentially harmful problems, such as mental ill-health.

Overeating

There can be a direct correlation between stress and eating. What is known as comfort eating is a well-known medical condition, leading to people compensating for feelings of inadequacy by over-indulging, often in fatty or fast foods which are bad for your cardiovascular system. When couples are enjoying a healthy, relatively hassle-free relationship, they might not be aware of it but they can also do damage by spending excessive amounts of time dining out or going on regular restaurant dates. Drinking too much is another potentially risky side-effect for partners who relish each other’s company a bit too much!

Insomnia

While sleeping together and enjoying all the fruits of an active love life are all well and good, the fact you are sharing your bed with somebody can have its downside. Some partners can be restless, tossing and turning, or hogging the covers. One of the commonest issues in the bedroom department is when one of the parties has a snoring habit. Many factors can trigger this unfortunate activity, from eating late at night to drinking too much coffee to smoking, but the bottom line is hours of interrupted sleep for their other half. Insomnia brings several other issues, including impacts on mental health.

Partying

People who are enjoying a healthy and fulfilling partnership will often feel like letting off steam after a long working week. This is something which could well commence when they are at home, fortifying themselves with a few drinks prior to heading out to the bar, club or party. When couples get into the habit of indulging in liquid refreshments on a regular basis, they may well get to the stage where they no longer need the excuse of kickstarting their evening with pre-date drinks. It’s not uncommon for this type of behavior to begin on ‘school nights,’ too. People can all too quickly lapse into problematic drinking patterns, and if there are two susceptible individuals hovering near the supply of bottles, this could become something they share.

Depression

Many things can cause a relationship to slide off the rails, whether there are temporary disagreements or profound arguments. Disaffection can lead to more negative symptoms, and if these remain unchecked, the end result can be depressive illness. When one partner succumbs to any form of depression, the relationship can be tested to its breaking point.

About Robert Oldman

A Chief Writer of a relationship blog. He posseses a degree in Psychology from Kent State University and specializes in the field of interpersonal relationships as well as communication.

Vaughn Lowery, 360 MAGAZINE

The Secret Code to Resetting Your Body’s Inner Clock

By Cynthia Li, MD

“Our modern lifestyle is disrupting a deeply ingrained, primordial, and universal code to being healthy.” This is how Dr. Satchin Panda, a professor at the Salk Institute in San Diego and a researcher on circadian rhythms, begins his book, The Circadian Code. His statement is backed by a compelling body of research.

In 2012, Dr. Panda’s team divided genetically identical mice into 2 groups, one with unlimited access to a high fat-diet, and another with access to the same diet but whose eating was restricted to an 8-hour window (during that 8-hour window, however, the second group could eat as often as they wanted). The total caloric intake per day ended up being the same in both groups.  

The surprise: despite the same total caloric intake, the mice that ate within the time restriction showed no signs of disease often seen with a poor diet. No weight gain, diabetes, elevated cholesterol levels, fatty liver, or elevated markers of inflammation.  

In 2014, Dr. Panda’s team took it further. They divided genetically identical mice into 4 groups based on 4 different diets: high fat, high fructose, high fat and high sucrose (table sugar), and regular mouse kibble. Each of these groups had unrestricted eaters as well as those with time restrictions. Again, the caloric intake per day for all the mice ended up being the same. 

The result: the unrestricted eaters across the 4 groups tended to be obese with blood sugar, cholesterol, and inflammatory disorders, while those that ate within a 9- or 12-hour window stayed healthy, even if the latter “cheated” on the weekends. 

The purpose of these studies isn’t to condone a poor diet, but to stress the impacts of circadian rhythms on health and disease. Paying attention to when we eat seems to be a missing piece in the discussion of food, whether the goal is weight loss, more energy, or general health.  

What Exactly is the Circadian Clock?

The circadian clock is a biological rhythm found in plants, animals, and humans, closely aligned with the 24-hour day. This clock is influenced by our external environments—largely the exposure to light and dark—but is also controlled internally by our genes. Each organ has a set of genes that turn on, then turn off, at various times of the day and night. And though our environments have changed dramatically over the past century with artificial lighting and digital gadgets, our physiology remains largely the same today as it did two million years ago. In other words, there’s a mismatch between our internal clocks and stimuli from our modern lifestyle.    

Many of us know about the circadian rhythm, or have at least experienced it, in terms of jet lag.  Jet lag happens in part because melatonin, a brain chemical that dictates our sleep-wake cycles, gets disrupted by changes in the light-dark cycles when we cross time zones. But since each organ has its own internal clock, the liver is thrown off, too. And the digestive tract. And the lungs, the kidneys, and so on, through every organ. It takes on average 1 day for every hour of time change for the body to adjust.  

Why This Matters

When we deviate from our internal clocks, it creates added stress on the body. And stress, when perpetual and cumulative, can make us more vulnerable to chronic disease. Disrupted rhythms have been correlated with insomnia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, anxiety, migraines, diabetes, obesity, dementia, and cardiovascular disease. On the flip side, aligning with our clocks can optimize function, and optimizing function means improving health. 

The Good News

Getting back in sync is relatively easy. We can optimize our clocks in just a few weeks. Based on the rhythms of insulin, digestion, and sleep, you can try the following:

  1. Eat a big breakfast. Don’t skip it! This sets the clocks for the other organs.
  2. Eat a medium-sized lunch. Drink 1-2 glasses of water between meals for a greater sense of fullness, or healthy snacks in between are fine, too.
  3. Eat a small dinner. The earlier the better. If you want to skip one meal a day, it’s best to skip dinner.  
  4. Nothing to eat or drink after dinner (water and herbal teas are okay).

Research suggests to repair, reset, and rejuvenate, it’s best to have a fasting window of 12 hours or more (EX: 8:00 am-8:00 pm, or -6:00 pm for the more ambitious). Our bodies need this window as much as our brains do.

Time-restricted eating isn’t about counting calories; it’s being mindful and disciplined about timing. 

*If you have chronic fatigue or moderate-severe diabetes, short-term or intermittent fasting may not be optimal, and might worsen your symptoms. It’s best for these conditions to work with an integrative doctor or functional nutritionist. 

A Few Last Tidbits

—Our bodies can’t make and break up body fat at the same time. Every time we eat, the fat-making program turns on and the body aims to store it. The fat-burning genes only turn on a few hours after the food stops coming in.  

—Gut motility increases during the day and slows down at night. So when we eat late, indigestion, insomnia, and weight gain are more likely.  

—The gut’s microbiome (the bacteria, viruses, and yeast that aid in digestion, absorption, and overall health) is affected by our internal rhythms.  

The take-home

—The better you can stick to regular eating intervals, the easier on your body.  

—A twelve-hour overnight window can have major benefits for your overall health.

—Eat real foods with lots of vegetables of different kinds, and keep the processed foods to a minimum.

—Try this for 30 days and see how you feel. 

—To be in sync with the internal and external rhythms of your body can do your body right.

Dr. Cynthia Li, MD, is an integrative and functional medicine practitioner in Berkeley, CA. She serves as faculty on the Healer’s Art Program at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine. She is the author of Brave New Medicine: A Doctor’s Unconventional Path to Healing Her Autoimmune Illness. 

The Couch Potato Gene

Regular physical activity is a crucial part of living a healthy lifestyle. However, a majority of American adults spend their waking hours sitting, which leads to a variety of health issues such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Now, a researcher from the University of Missouri has identified a specific gene related to physical inactivity in rats that could potentially play a role in sedentary behavior in humans as well.

“Previous research has shown us that genes play some role in physical inactivity,” said Frank Booth, a professor in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine. “As inactivity leads to chronic disease, we wanted to identify which genes were involved and discovered one in particular, the Protein Kinase Inhibitor Alpha gene, that played a significant role.”

In 2009, Booth took 80 male rats and bred them with 80 female rats. He then placed the rats in voluntary running wheels, similar to those sold in pet stores, and tracked which rats ran the most and least. Over the past decade, Booth selectively bred the highly active rats with each other as well as the “lazy” rats with each other to determine if there is a difference in their genetic makeup. Booth found that the Protein Kinase Inhibitor Alpha gene was significantly less present in the “lazy” rats.

“What makes gene therapy difficult is that most chronic diseases are not caused by just one gene,” Booth said. “For example, there are more than 150 gene variations involved in type 2 diabetes. However, this study is paving the way for future research to identify other genes that might be involved in physical inactivity in humans as well.”

According to government data, costs associated with physical inactivity total $138 billion and account for more than 11% of total health care expenditures. In addition to the financial benefits of a more physically active society, Booth says a better understanding of genetic makeup could help public health officials see physical inactivity as a crucial priority to address.

“Physical inactivity contributes to more than 40 chronic diseases,” Booth said. “Rather than focusing on ways to treat chronic diseases after they have already developed, understanding the contributing factors to physical inactivity could help prevent those chronic diseases from occurring in the first place.”

Modest Carbon Tax

A recent MIT Sloan study found that a federal carbon price of $7 in 2020 could reduce emissions by the same amount as all of the flagship climate policies adopted by the Obama administration. In a paper released by the MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research (CEEPR , Prof. Christopher Knittel models the carbon price needed to achieve projected emission reductions under Obama-era vehicle mileage standards, the Clean Power Plan, and a biofuel mandate.

“This shows the power of a price on carbon,” says Knittel, who is director of the CEEPR. “As little as a 7-cent price increase per gallon of gasoline and less than half a penny per kWh of electricity could get us the same climate benefits as the fragile, costly, and litigious regulations that represent President Obama’s climate legacy. And let’s not forget that all these regulations are under attack by the current administration.”

In his study, he found that matching the emissions reductions forecast under each regulation would not be enough to get the U.S. on a long-term path to decarbonation. However, a carbon tax that increases over time could reduce emissions by the same amount as all of those regulations combined.

“We’re still only looking at $22 per tonne in 2025 and $36 per tonne in 2030 if we include all major greenhouse gases,” explains Knittel. “If we get really serious about climate policy, the costs will only rise, and the cost-saving potential of carbon pricing will become even more important.”

As decision makers in the U.S. consider policy options to revitalize U.S. climate policy for 2020 and beyond, Knittel says that these results could be a political game changer. “This first effort to model the carbon tax equivalent of alternative climate regulations could help build a consensus around more cost-effective policies. Instead of trying to bring back earlier rules such as the Clean Power Plan, a new administration would do well to focus on one of the many carbon tax proposals introduced on Capitol Hill by both sides of the political aisle.”

He adds, “If we can make a given climate outcome more affordable, then we can also aim higher sooner. And we know that, under all scenarios, we have to drastically increase our efforts to meet the climate challenge.” Knittel is the author of “Diary of a Wimpy Carbon Tax: Carbon Taxes as Federal Climate Policy.” MIT Sloan School of Management is where smart, independent leaders come together to solve problems, create new organizations, and improve the world. Learn more at mitsloan.mit.edu.

Avoid Clinical Entrepreneurial Syndrome

Whether you are running your own business as an entrepreneur – or running someone else’s business as an executive – there is an enormous amount of demand on your resources. You are likely to be playing the role of project manager, human resources liaison, accountant, and marketing specialist. You are the one who gets called on to extinguish fires as well as create new opportunities. All this and more, while remaining positive and energetic.

As enthusiastic as you may be about keeping the business afloat, it’s a fact that humans have a limited amount of resources available. When the demands upon us begin to exceed the energy levels that we have, we experience stress. This feeling is akin to a form of panic – and has a way of creeping into our daily operations. It lies under the surface of our consciousness, and slowly eats away at our resolve. In small doses, it can help us to accomplish great things. In large doses, and if left unaddressed, it can result in our physical and mental decline.

Stress Leads To Burnout

This doesn’t happen overnight. Those who are aware of the possibility of burnout may be able to feel it developing. Burnout is the eventual result of unresolved stress, and it is a warning sign from the mind and body that enough is enough. It is the point at which we decide that we can no longer perform the job functions in which we once took pride. We may begin to avoid work, produce lower quality work, or suddenly quit the job altogether.

The signs of stress which contribute to burnout include fatigue, insomnia, irritability, changes in weight, problems with digestion, becoming forgetful, and inability to concentrate. If you notice that these symptoms are becoming part of your daily experience, take it as a sign that something needs to change. If you aren’t able to change your workload in the face of stress, look into ways of changing your behaviors during your valuable time off. Failure to do so can mean the end of your venture as a successful business manager.

Avoid Burnout Through Being Proactive

As the stress that leads to burnout tends to attack us on three fronts – physical, cognitive, and emotional – the following are three ways to mitigate its negative effects.

Combat Stress on the Physical Level

The adrenaline and cortisol that the body produces in response to stress are responsible for activating our flight-or-fight response. These hormones prepare our bodies for action. When we fail to use this energy in an active way, it can turn on us and wreak havoc with our physical health. To disseminate that energy in a way that is best for the body, try engaging in similar actions as experienced in emergency situations – like going for a run or boxing it out at the gym.

Master Stress on the Cognitive Level

Much of what we interpret as being stressful depends on our perspective. What we have defined as our values and aspirations can fuel our sense of purpose, and that purpose can become an obsession. If we have tied our sense of self-esteem into our occupational achievements, we can become overwhelmed with producing results. To reduce that stress, which we experience over job demands and deadlines, we need to create a mental space where we are able to separate from those types of thoughts. Consider finding mental relief through engaging in meditation or mindfulness techniques on a daily basis. Venting that stress through consulting with a good therapist each week is another possibility.

Diminish Stress on the Emotional Level

Human beings need to have fun. When we engage in pleasurable activities, our body responds through releasing endorphins such as oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine. Unlike the urgent feelings which stress hormones produce, these types of natural chemicals result in our feeling happy, calm, and content. Keep in mind that it is unlikely that you will be able to remove all the stress associated with running a business by having fun. But you can counteract some of it by making sure to schedule time in your busy calendar for engagement in recreational activities.

About Dr. Jeff Nalin

Dr. Jeff Nalin, Psy.D is an award-winning licensed Clinical Psychologist and the Founder and Chief Clinical Director at Paradigm Malibu Treatment Center. The center has locations in both Malibu and San Francisco.

CBD, Vaughn Lowery, 360 MAGAZINE

Why You Should Add CBD To Your Skincare

Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, gets a lot of attention for treating chronic conditions such as pain, anxiety, insomnia, even seizures. And while it does offer health benefits, you shouldn’t overlook CBD’s potential for beauty benefits, too.

CBD in skincare can offer a solution for inflammatory skin conditions, support for sensitive skin, and a way to fight the signs of aging. It’s a natural, plant based product that can help your skin.

What is CBD?

CBD is a cannabinoid derived from the cannabis plant. Cannabis is known for another popular cannabinoid, THC, but unlike THC, CBD won’t get you high.

It works as an anti inflammatory and antibacterial tool, and can offer a host of benefits for your skin when used topically:

  • Rejuvenation
  • Brightening
  • Smoothing wrinkles
  • Relief for dry skin
  • Soothing sunburned skin

CBD is available in a variety of skincare products. You may see CBD in products such as:

  • Moisturizers
  • Lotions
  • Body creams
  • Facial serums
  • Masks
  • Face creams
  • Cleansers
  • Exfoliants
  • Soaps
  • Body wash
  • Eye serums
  • Eye creams

How Does CBD Help Skin?

Offering anti-inflammatory properties, CBD can calm your skin and can treat skin imbalances. That means it may be a good choice for conditions such as acne, eczema, dry skin, psoriasis, or sun damage.

CBD oil is rich in antioxidants, and has vitamins B, C, and E. It also offers healing fats omega 3 and omega 6. Some skincare products combine CBD with other skin soothing ingredients such as shea butter and aloe vera.

What to Know About Using CBD For Skincare

CBD products are legal at the federal level. However, some states have their own restrictions on CBD, so it’s a good idea to check before you start using CBD.

Look for products with hemp oil. Hemp oil has CBD in it, coming from the buds and flowers of the hemp plant.

Be careful to keep in mind the CBD is somewhat of a beauty buzzword, and while you might find it on the label of many products, that doesn’t necessarily mean it offers the full potential of CBD. You’ll want to know how much CBD a product has, and the quality of the CBD. The product should be independently tested for purity.

Find out how much CBD the product has. Look for a third party testing certificate that indicates the amount of CBD and other compounds in the oil. Ideally, you should look for CBD skincare products with 25mg to 250 mg of CBD per ounce.

A little goes a long way. You don’t have to replace your entire skincare routine all at once with CBD. It’s enough to pick a few key items here and there. For example, it could be helpful to replace your night serum with a CBD version, or swap out your body wash.

If you’re curious about using CBD skincare products, consider what might be the most helpful for you. Look for products that can support healthy skin both with and without CBD, and take care to consider product quality, purity, and potency.

Amelia Noble is a researcher with the CBD Awareness Project. When she’s not working, you can find her playing board games. 

How to Ensure Your Son is Clear on Consent

The Legal Information Institute includes in their definition of assault, “reasonable apprehension of an imminent harmful or offensive contact. Physical injury is not required.” Studies have shown that more than 90% of our communication is non-verbal. We need to teach our young people, especially our young men, how to read non-verbal cues. If you lean into a person and they do not lean forward in return or, more importantly, lean backwards, they are letting you know that you are encroaching on their personal space. Any further encroachment can be considered offensive. Does that mean you have to stop talking to that person? Absolutely not! It just means, slow your roll. It does mean don’t touch them, tickle or grab them. You may want to role play this scenario with your son so that there is a clear understanding before any alcohol is added to the mix. Diminished capacity is not an excuse.

CONSENT TO SEXUAL ACTIVITY

Of late, discussions surrounding consent have centered on consent as it relates to sex. As the common definition of sex amongst adolescents includes penetration, it is again, imperative  to inform our young men that sexual assault can include, per Women’s Health “Fondling or unwanted touching above or under clothes.” This means that many of the popular movie make-out scenes where guys just reach over and commence touching without any conversation would be viewed as sexual assault today. The goal is to not increase the stress and anxiety surrounding interacting with someone you’re attracted to. In fact, if handled correctly, communication reduces everyone’s stress.

HOW TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE CONSENT

1. Say something! “I really like you, is it okay if I …” or “I really would like to kiss you?” and pause for a response.

2. Don’t be ambiguous. “Do you want to go to my room?” is not code for “and have sex.”

3. Pay attention! If the person you’re with has gotten quiet, they may have become uncomfortable and are having trouble verbalizing their feelings. Stop whatever you’re doing immediately, and check-in with your partner. SILENCE IS NOT CONSENT, ASK!

4. Don’t be selfish! While it is easy to focus on your own pleasure, it is important to stay connected with your partner and don’t make the other person feel bad if they seem hesitant or want to stop. They are withdrawing consent. This is important; they don’t have to say “no” to withdraw consent. If they are no longer actively participating, there is NO consent.

CAN THERE BE CONSENT WHEN DRUNK?

This is an important question as it relates to your son’s college career. College protocol and the law do not always have to agree. In other words, if students are inebriated at the time, and there is what was understood to be consensual sex at the time, and neither lost consciousness, in some states the parties would still be considered incapacitated to consent; however, in other states a legal argument can be made that there was consent. Based on your college’s protocol, l you can be considered impaired even if both parties consented, and you may  face consequences such as expulsion. Make sure to understand your school’s Student Code of Conduct. All major colleges and universities now have a section to address sexual misconduct. It’s a good idea to review this with your son before he leaves so that there is no ambiguity. So now your drunk, how do you decide? Even when drunk, go back to step 1: Say something. If you or your partner can’t communicate, there can’t be consent. Remember, if there is any doubt, there is NO consent.

YES, A MAN MUST ALSO CONSENT

Just because a woman offers sex, does not mean a man has to want it. There is nothing wrong with a guy turning down sex. Sexual emancipation has given rise to a dark side, an underreported behavior. Some sororities are encouraging the collecting of sexual scalps. Without consent, it is wrong when a man does it. It is equally wrong when a woman does it. It is important for young men to realize that they can be sexually assaulted and/or raped. It is a myth that men cannot be raped. There is a powerful scene in the popular History Channel’s series Vikings which depicts just such an event. Sexual assault of a male is traumatic and should not be minimized because of gender. Males should be encouraged to report and are entitled to the same protections afforded female victims. You need to make sure your son is aware that this is NEVER okay.

IS IT EVER TOO LATE TO WITHDRAW CONSENT?

This is an extremely important concept. Just because someone consents to sex, that does not mean they have given up their right to end the experience at any point. Once someone says “stop,” or “no” or ceases participation, they have withdrawn consent and the other party needs to stop as they are no longer with a “willing” participant. There is no justification to continue the encounter.

At this point, some parents may be thinking, “am I making a mistake letting my son go away to school?” The college transition for a prepared adolescent is a valuable experience. In addition to education, college provides an opportunity for a young man to master self-sufficiency, gain self-esteem and most importantly develop the critical thinking skills needed to be successful in life. Teach your son about consent. This is an important tool that will make him a better person, then allow him the opportunity to step up and become that person.

DR. NADINE PIERRE-LOUIS is the Founder and CEO of Doc and Jock LLC, whose mission is to enhance awareness and communication on male issues with the slogan Real Men Talk™.Dr. Pierre-Louis has more than 15 years of experience as a Human Growth and Development Educator and Licensed Marriage Therapist.

In addition to her private practice, Dr. Pierre-Louis works as an adjunct professor at one of the nation’s largest community colleges, where she has gained a reputation for using humor to simplify complex concepts, making learning fun. She is the recipient of the 2016 AC4 Columbia University IACM Fellowship.

Dr. Pierre-Louis lives in Florida and is the mother of two sons, ages 24 and 20.