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What the ‘Perfect’ Woman’s Body Looks Like, According to Men and Women

a woman posing for a picture

 

An eating disorder specialist weighs in on the mental health ramifications of a recent survey

It’s probably not a huge surprise that men and women have different ideas about what constitutes the “ideal” body for women. Now, a recent survey is spotlighting just how different.

The survey, conducted in January on behalf of RiverMend Health and Rosewood Centers for Eating Disorders, revealed that women are more likely to describe the “perfect female body” as athletic, while men prefer a curvy body type. More than half of the 1,004 respondents–54%–agreed that an athletic physique, like David Beckham’s or Michael Phelps’s, is the ideal for a man. The results for a woman’s body, however, varied. Forty-nine percent of women said an athletic body type (think: Jennifer Lopez or Gwen Stefani) is ideal, but 38% of men voted for a curvier frame (like that of Kim Kardashian West or Mariah Carey).

Certified eating disorder specialist Dena Cabrera, PsyD, executive clinical director of Rosewood, tells Health women’s critical approach may boil down to a marketing problem. “Women are inundated with pictures of the ‘ideal,’ and we tend to view ourselves in a way that taints how we see ourselves and the way we’re valued,” she says. “Women put a lot of value into body shape and size and weight.”

But women weren’t the only ones concerned with their appearance. More than 75% of survey respondents said they would give up something they love if it meant they could achieve the “perfect” body overnight. Those sacrifices included cutting out fried food, alcohol, social media, and even sex. A small percentage of people–3%–said they would go so far as to give up their homes, and 2% said they would give up a relationship with someone they love for that idealized physique.

Unsettlingly, the survey also found that men were more likely to want their partners to take extreme measures to achieve what they believe to be the perfect body. Thirteen percent of men said they would want their partner to exercise to the edge of their physical limits every day regardless of pain compared to just 5% of women; 5% of men said they would want their partner to skip meals compared to 1% of women; and 3% of men said they would want a partner to consume laxatives or to throw up after eating compared to zero women.

Cabrera, also author of the book, Mom in the Mirror: Body Image, Beauty, and Life after Pregnancy, doesn’t think men necessarily mean any harm. “I don’t think they’re equating it with negativity,” she says. “They’re not connecting it with self-esteem or self-worth.”
Still, she says she’s had at least one patient with a partner who was so aggressive about her body, the romance became abusive. “The relationship became about fulfilling [the man’s] needs and negating [the woman’s] own needs, self-worth, and value,” she says. “A relationship should be about two equal partners and about connection, not about looks.”

Some eating disorder signs are obvious: dramatic weight loss, a refusal to eat, retreating to the bathroom for long periods after meals. But anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder also reveal themselves in more subtle ways. How can you tell if a friend or family member is at risk? There’s no surefire way, since people with eating disorders display a wide range of symptoms. (Not to mention personal characteristics: Eating disorders, once associated almost exclusively with adolescent girls, are now recognized more frequently in younger children and adults.) That said, these easy-to-overlook signs may help you spot an eating disorder—or disorder in the making—sooner.

Blake Bakila

 

 

 

 

 

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New “Generic Viagra”

I have partnered with a new company called POP Medical.  We offer Sildenafil which is the same chemical component in Viagra.  Feel free to email me @ mmccullen@popmedical.com for information about how to receive this medication.  We are able to get 20mg for $1!!fbsild


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Do Women Really Need Female “Viagra”

It might surprise you, but for some women, the Ginuwine Pandora station and a quick vape are not enough to get in the mood. Surveys have estimated that about 10 percent of women have something called hypoactive sexual desire disorder. It was with this condition in mind that the Food and Drug Administration yesterday approved Addyi, the first prescription drug to enhance sex drive in women green-lighted by the agency. (Street names: “female Viagra,” “pink Viagra,” “girl boner in a bottle.”)

Created by Sprout Pharmaceuticals, Addyi, known generically as flibanserin, was engineered to treat women whose lack of libido is causing them distress. Sexual pleasure is a critical part of emotional health, the premise seems to be, and if you’re not able to give and receive it, your psychological and physical well-being may be at risk. And given that men have a whole host of available drugs to better their sex lives, it seems about time women got their own magic pill, right?

Interestingly, Addyi is actually the first approved drug to increase libido at all. The drugs aimed at men, Viagra and the like, are intended to help men achieve an erection, not to increase horniness. Also unlike Viagra, Addyi is not a pill one takes an hour before sex to get going, but rather must be taken daily, long term, in order to see results.

The big question is, of course, whether a lack of sexual libido in women is an actual medical condition that needs to be treated. Surely a low sex drive is just as normal and ultimately natural as a high one. (Of course the first sex drug for women is aimed to increase libido. I’m sure many men would like to “fix” this “problem” in their partners.) At the same time, sex is an important component of a healthy relationship, and without it your relationship could suffer tremendously; for these people, the pill may offer hope.

The other big question is whether the drug actually works. Many people are saying it doesn’t, or, at least, that it doesn’t work well enough. Several pharmaceutical giants have reportedly attempted to make and sell such a drug, including Pfizer (which produces Viagra), Bayer, and Procter & Gamble, but they ultimately abandoned their efforts. The FDA previously rejected Addyi itself twice, in 2010 and again in 2013, citing marginal effectiveness and considerable side effects, including nausea, drowsiness, dizziness, and fainting, which can lead to serious injuries.

Following the rejections, campaigns like Even the Score have argued that it’s sexist to have so many drugs for men on the market but none for women. Now that the drug has been approved, critics are saying that the FDA was pressured into green-lighting the drug by a feminist lobby, and that the drug’s negative effects outweigh the potential benefits. Particularly strong opposition is coming from Leonore Tiefer, clinical associate professor of psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine, who told Time: “I am very opposed to the drug and have been since it first went to the FDA in 2010 and it was rejected. Then it was rejected a second time. The drug hasn’t changed, the data hasn’t changed, and my opinion hasn’t changed. I think it’s a disaster. It’s unsafe and it doesn’t work. That is all a drug is supposed to do. Work and be safe.”

In any case, the drug will come with a label warning doctors and patients that combining the pill with alcohol can cause dangerously low blood pressure, and thus fainting. Because the pill must be taken daily, women on the medication would have to be cool with being basically sober. (To whom I would ask: Maybe the reason that you’re never horny is because you’re never drunk?)

The drug will be available starting in October. Which means that, very soon, many women may be making a tough decision: Would you rather be able to drink or be sober and nauseous in exchange for a minimally heightened sex drive? Having more options for ways to increase desire is a positive thing. But you might try a vibrator before jumping to the meds.

Karley Sciortino writes the blog Slutever.


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“Infidelity Wesbite”, Ashley Madison Hacked

Ashley Madison founder Biderman demonstrates his website on a tablet in Hong Kong

(Reuters) – Hackers claim to have personal details of more than 37 million cheating spouses on dating website Ashley Madison and have threatened to release nude photos and sexual fantasies of the site’s clients unless it is shut down, blog KrebsOnSecurity reported.

Ashley Madison’s Canadian parent, Avid Life Media, confirmed the breach on its systems and said it had since secured its site and was working with law enforcement agencies to try to trace those behind the attack.

The hackers, who call themselves The Impact Team, leaked snippets of the compromised data online and warned they would release customers’ real names, profiles, nude photos, credit card details and “secret sexual fantasies” unless their demands were met, Krebs said. (http://bit.ly/1fWNcar)

The hackers also demanded the closure of another of Avid Life Media’s sites, sugar-daddy site “Established Men”, but did not target the company’s “CougarLife” site, which caters for women members looking for “a young stud”.

Ashley Madison, which uses the slogan “Life is short. Have an affair”, has been planning to raise up to $200 million through an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange.

The breach comes about two months after dating site Adult FriendFinder was compromised. That site has an estimated 64 million members.

The Impact Team, in a screengrab showing on the Krebs blog, say it had taken over Avid Media systems including customer databases, source code, financial records and emails.

“Shutting down AM (Ashley Madison) and EM (Established Men) will cost you, but non-compliance will cost you more,” the hackers said.

They said users who had paid a fee to Avid Life to have their personal data permanently deleted had been lied to and the company had retained records, including credit card information.

(Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Rodney Joyce)


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Honesty Is Not The Best Policy… (Early On)

In early relationships we are in the “Wonder of me phase”.  Everything we learn about our new infatuation is nascent. We present our best selves and are intoxicated by the personality of our new interest.  However, many people sabotage relationships by being too honest.  For the first three months, we are hopped up on dopamine and serotonin drawing us together. This is nature’s calling card, However, after three-six months, the hormonal attraction begins to die off. The red flags we chose to disregard in place of libidinous urges start to resurface and the wrong information we gave out during this early phase of a relationship can be destructive.

In the beginning everything is amazing. The sex is hot. We spend long nights on the telephone like teenagers, longing to know everything.  But be cautious, the answers given during this time need to be considered carefully and total honesty can be deadly.  Many off us ask questions about our new partners’ sex experiences.  Women, this a RED ALERT!  He really doesn’t want to know the craziest things you’ve done, or how many partners you have had, (If he perceives them as a lot).  It will eat at him and many times ends up resurfacing later during a fight.

The following are real situations that I have either experienced first hand or dealt with in therapy.  They will be presented with multiple choice answers of possible responses. The real answers will be showed along with how it hurt the relationship.

  1. (Four months together) A young woman is in love but still wants to have an active social life. She is honest about that from the beginning and goes out a lot.  After a big weekend with her friends (3 party nights out) he says it doesn’t work for him. They talk and agree that one day a week is enough for her to go out but any more is unacceptable. She lets him know that there is a weekend that her friends have planned and she needs to go. He reluctantly agrees. Leaving to go out he says “Have a good night and let’s talk tomorrow”.  She responds by saying that she will text him if she has a chance.  (She stays out until 6 a.m. going to parties in Hollywood).   He misses her call in the AM, and she leaves a message that she has a pool party to go to and will call him that afternoon. She calls him and he picks up.  (The pool party is very fun with lots of guys giving her attention)   What should she say?
    1. “Hi honey, so sorry, I didn’t have my phone last night, the parties were OK but I miss you so much. I’m at a party now but it’s not that much fun, I’m missing you, when can I see you?”
    2. “Hi Hon, OMG, didn’t have my phone last night. Crazy night! I didn’t get home until 6am. By the way (Insert an “A” list celebrity name) was there and was hanging all over us. I’m at a pool party now, so fun, and I’m telling guys here I have a BF but they won’t let up”.
    3. “Hi Hon, sorry didn’t text you last night. I didn’t take my phone out so guys won’t ask for my number. Really fun night but I’m tired.  I’m at a party with a lot of drunks. I’ll be home tonight and I’ll call you. When can I see you this week?”

Answer 2 is the actual truth of what really happened, and that is the answer she gave.  But is it really crucial that her BF knows all of it?… NO!  It demonstrates her insecurities. She wants him to know how cool she is and that she is a sought after woman. Unfortunately, that is not the message it sends. It says that she needs male affirmation. He realizes how much work this relationship will be and breaks up with her.  3 is the best answer. It states the facts without causing her BF to be jealous and can be a relationship saver.

  1. (Four months together) A couple are falling in love but have a long distance relationship. (3 hours by car). The girl is insistent on speaking every day and being totally transparent about everything. The guy vocalizes that this is too intense but relents to please his new found love. It becomes apparent through daily conversations that she has a very close guy friend who she spends a lot of time with.  They have drinks and smoke pot together. She goes to dinner and movies with him.  One night he calls her and he is in her room on her bed. She offers no explanation and acts like it is innocent.  Wanting to be sure, he later asks if he should be concerned and if they ever dated.  ( In fact they have been friends for a long time and had sex once. She really loves her BF and this guy is just a friend ). What should she say?
    1. No we have never dated. You have nothing to worry about. He’s a very special friend of mine and my family and that is the extent of it”.
    2. “No we never dated but we hooked up once randomly and it was a bad decision. We are much better as friends and that is all I want from the relationship”.
    3. “No we never dated but we did F#$ck once. Now he is just a friend.”

2 and 3 are the truth. If the couple is keeping up with transparency, the fact that she did sleep with him is consistent with that.  However 1 is the best answer. It’s not lying.  They did not date and that is the question that was asked.  If he follows up and asks if they hooked up then that changes things and answer 2 is relevant.  But he didn’t, and maybe he won’t. It’s very possible that all he wanted is assurance that there is nothing to worry about and doesn’t want the gory details.  Her answer was 3.  The “F” word was a bad call. It makes her seem callous about sex and that she is prone to one-night stands.  The relationship never recovered and this “friendship” was a source of distrust that brought the relationship down

  1. (One year together dating casually) A group of guys go to Las Vegas for a bachelor party. Many of his friends are single and players.  He has told her about his friends’ escapades and uses the stories to assert his difference from them. His girl told him that she wants to be totally honest about everything, even bad stuff.  She states that if they want to move forward as a couple, they can work through anything. ( During the weekend he hooks up with a girl but they don’t have sex. He has some guilt)  He knows it was a mistake and doesn’t want to lose what he has.  When he gets home she asks him if anything bad happened in Vegas.  What should he say?
    1. “Honey sit down, I feel so horrible, I made a huge mistake. I got drunk and hooked up with a girl. I know we said we can be honest about everything and that’s what I’m doing. I love and you are the only person I want to be with.”
    2. “No honey nothing bad happened. We partied hard and it made me realize that the single life isn’t for me. I only want to be with you and spend my life you.”
    3. “Yes honey something bad did happen. I made a mistake and hooked up with a girl. It meant nothing and I just love you.”

Answers 1 and 3 are the complete truth.  The couple did have a pact that they should be honest about everything.  However, she asked him if anything bad happened. That can be taken different ways.  Bad?…. He didn’t kill anybody, go to jail or lose a 5 grand. Those are bad things.  He made a mistake which made him realize how much he loves her.  That actually could be viewed as a good thing.  Unfortunately, he chose answer 1.  The reason he told me is that he couldn’t handle the guilt of lying to his GF.  That makes it about him. He is actually telling her to appease his own guilt.. If he did this “bad”, thing then he has to deal with that fact by himself.  His catharsis should not include hurting his GF. In the end, she didn’t believe that they just “hooked up” and never trusted him again.  They ended up breaking up.

Dishonesty should not be a rule. The paradigm changes when relationships have been established by being together for years or by marriage.  Then, honesty can be a powerful ally. But trust must be established first.  Before that point, brutal honesty is a bad idea and can kill otherwise strong bonds.


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Janes Addiction

It seems like sex addiction makes headlines every time a public figure is caught in a cheating scandal. Tiger Woods: sex addict. Anthony Weiner: sex addict. Charlie Sheen: sex addict. It’s often unclear whether their admissions are true or simply an excuse for infidelity. But for the estimated 12 million Americans who are said to suffer from sex addiction and the psychologists who treat them, it’s a serious mental health issue.
“Sex addiction is a compulsive behavior ranging from watching pornography to engaging in sexual activity to get ‘high’ or numb from reality,” Dr. Stacy Seikel, chief medical officer of RiverMend Health’s Integrated Recovery Services in Atlanta, tells .This may sound like a safe, even enjoyable addiction, especially compared with other compulsions — such as abusing drugs or alcohol — that can lead to hospitalization and death. But sex addiction is just as persistent and doesn’t necessarily achieve the pleasure or comfort most expect from a sexual experience. “Breaking the addiction can cause anxiety, insomnia, poor concentration, depression, irritability, mood swings, and isolation,” Seikel says. “The person is seeking a feeling or sense of satisfaction that may not be met.”
So who are sex addicts? Though it’s often thought that sex addiction is the result of sexual trauma or something that affects creepy old men who watch porn in dimly lit basements, in reality, sex addiction can affect anyone. And cybersex addiction is rapidly growing in women, Seikel says.
Related: Are You a Serial Dater — or a Love Addict?
Take Erica Garza, for example. “I feel like I always knew I had a problem with sex and masturbation, even from the very beginning of my sexual exploration when I started having orgasms at age 12,” Garza, a professional writer and essayist who has struggled with sex addiction, tells Yahoo Health. “I admitted openly that I had an addiction and needed help when I was in my late 20s and met my husband.”
Garza’s addiction started with masturbation, which helped her escape her emotions. “I was raised Catholic, and never heard other girls talking about masturbation. I immediately associated my sexual excitement with shame,” she says. “Then I discovered porn, and my tendency to reach for these habits became more immediate and intense, and my shame grew bigger and more powerful. I believe these thoughts of shame are what fueled my sexual habits into actually becoming addictions over the years.”
Before her marriage, Garza says, she took part in destructive behavior and acted out in relationships. This is not unusual among sex addicts: According to Seikel, cheating; lack of intimacy; multiple, random sex partners, unsafe sex, and compulsive masturbation are common characteristics.
The American Psychiatric Association first recognized sex addiction in 1987 in the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III). According to the definition in this manual, sexual addiction as a mental disorder — clinically called hypersexuality disorder — is distress about a pattern of sexual conquests involving people who exist only as things to be used. Sexual addiction was removed from the manual update in 1994, and re-introduced in 2013 as a condition that requires more research — though it’s not considered an official diagnosis.
This opened doors for doctors, psychologists, and researchers who don’t see sex addiction as a diagnosable disorder, but rather a concept based on the fear of sex, to speak out. “People with high libido, internalized conflicts over sex, relationship conflicts over sex, LGBTQ orientations, and coping skills that use sex for stress management, are often labeled as sex addicts,” says David Ley, a clinical psychologist in Albuquerque and author of The Myth of Sex Addiction. “This is inappropriate, stigmatizing, and shaming.”
Related: What Would The World Be Like Without Mental Health Stigma?
Garza, on the other hand, thinks it’s wrong for people to think that she does not have an addiction or that her symptoms are not the same as those with diagnosable disorders. “I can listen to someone talk about their sex addiction, their alcohol addiction, or their drug addiction and, while the ‘drug of choice’ is different for each, so much else — the underlying emotions of shame and isolation — are similar,” she says. “It all comes back to escape.” She thinks it’s brave for anyone, celebrity or not, to admit to their addictions because it could help end the taboo.
Sex addicts, like Garza, often see therapists so the behavior does not run their lives. Cognitive behavioral therapy is an effective therapeutic method, Seikel says. But according to Ley, there is no evidence that sex addiction can be cured or treated, or even needs to be. He says: “No one in the history of the world has ever died or got sick when they didn’t get to have sex.”
Garza is just one of the many who lives with sex addiction, and each person’s experience is surely unique. To find out some other candid descriptions of what it’s like to live with the addiction, we teamed up with Whisper, the free app that allows users to share their secrets anonymously. Check them out below:

Sex addiction may not be officially recognized by the “psychiatrist’s bible,” but people with the condition say it’s all too real.
It seems like sex addiction makes headlines every time a public figure is caught in a cheating scandal. Tiger Woods: sex addict. Anthony Weiner: sex addict. Charlie Sheen: sex addict. It’s often unclear whether their admissions are true or simply an excuse for infidelity. But for the estimated 12 million Americans who are said to suffer from sex addiction and the psychologists who treat them, it’s a serious mental health issue.
“Sex addiction is a compulsive behavior ranging from watching pornography to engaging in sexual activity to get ‘high’ or numb from reality,” Dr. Stacy Seikel, chief medical officer of RiverMend Health’s Integrated Recovery Services in Atlanta, tells Yahoo Health.
This may sound like a safe, even enjoyable addiction, especially compared with other compulsions — such as abusing drugs or alcohol — that can lead to hospitalization and death. But sex addiction is just as persistent and doesn’t necessarily achieve the pleasure or comfort most expect from a sexual experience. “Breaking the addiction can cause anxiety, insomnia, poor concentration, depression, irritability, mood swings, and isolation,” Seikel says. “The person is seeking a feeling or sense of satisfaction that may not be met.”
So who are sex addicts? Though it’s often thought that sex addiction is the result of sexual trauma or something that affects creepy old men who watch porn in dimly lit basements, in reality, sex addiction can affect anyone. And cybersex addiction is rapidly growing in women, Seikel says.
Related: Are You a Serial Dater — or a Love Addict?
Take Erica Garza, for example. “I feel like I always knew I had a problem with sex and masturbation, even from the very beginning of my sexual exploration when I started having orgasms at age 12,” Garza, a professional writer and essayist who has struggled with sex addiction, tells Yahoo Health. “I admitted openly that I had an addiction and needed help when I was in my late 20s and met my husband.”
Garza’s addiction started with masturbation, which helped her escape her emotions. “I was raised Catholic, and never heard other girls talking about masturbation. I immediately associated my sexual excitement with shame,” she says. “Then I discovered porn, and my tendency to reach for these habits became more immediate and intense, and my shame grew bigger and more powerful. I believe these thoughts of shame are what fueled my sexual habits into actually becoming addictions over the years.”
Before her marriage, Garza says, she took part in destructive behavior and acted out in relationships. This is not unusual among sex addicts: According to Seikel, cheating; lack of intimacy; multiple, random sex partners, unsafe sex, and compulsive masturbation are common characteristics.
The American Psychiatric Association first recognized sex addiction in 1987 in the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III). According to the definition in this manual, sexual addiction as a mental disorder — clinically called hypersexuality disorder — is distress about a pattern of sexual conquests involving people who exist only as things to be used. Sexual addiction was removed from the manual update in 1994, and re-introduced in 2013 as a condition that requires more research — though it’s not considered an official diagnosis.
This opened doors for doctors, psychologists, and researchers who don’t see sex addiction as a diagnosable disorder, but rather a concept based on the fear of sex, to speak out. “People with high libido, internalized conflicts over sex, relationship conflicts over sex, LGBTQ orientations, and coping skills that use sex for stress management, are often labeled as sex addicts,” says David Ley, a clinical psychologist in Albuquerque and author of The Myth of Sex Addiction. “This is inappropriate, stigmatizing, and shaming.”
Related: What Would The World Be Like Without Mental Health Stigma?
Garza, on the other hand, thinks it’s wrong for people to think that she does not have an addiction or that her symptoms are not the same as those with diagnosable disorders. “I can listen to someone talk about their sex addiction, their alcohol addiction, or their drug addiction and, while the ‘drug of choice’ is different for each, so much else — the underlying emotions of shame and isolation — are similar,” she says. “It all comes back to escape.” She thinks it’s brave for anyone, celebrity or not, to admit to their addictions because it could help end the taboo.
Sex addicts, like Garza, often see therapists so the behavior does not run their lives. Cognitive behavioral therapy is an effective therapeutic method, Seikel says. But according to Ley, there is no evidence that sex addiction can be cured or treated, or even needs to be. He says: “No one in the history of the world has ever died or got sick when they didn’t get to have sex.”
Garza is just one of the many who lives with sex addiction, and each person’s experience is surely unique. To find out some other candid descriptions of what it’s like to live with the addiction, we teamed up with Whisper, the free app that allows users to share their secrets anonymously. Check them out below:
1124327e3bdf5979325eaf282f6ea3511f7dcf56d21cc4c075968fcc828d715c2a66572e8e4b68791c01112fb0b5d79abb748a8a8a78f3fc6792fa63
1cf8360a4323f359e718ad433418ee78b1f88c946a7f24242a50cbf4aef1a1e61a4724ebce6a7ae423bffc46517e7e95d658533f7c3cceb242305623
91a4dc57ea062fa00685f41e5133cb0506909091621667e59ddc47613b269f84bf1d1024f080b72fa6b20daa0f6e86eb93b5cb3325cd2515cd010f5f
(From Yahoo news)


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Gay Marriage is legal!

Washington (CNN) In a landmark opinion, a divided Supreme Court on Friday ruled that same-sex couples can marry nationwide, establishing a new civil right and handing gay rights advocates a historic victory.

In the 5-4 ruling, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority with the four liberal justices. Each of the four conservative justices wrote their own dissent.

Nearly 46 years to the day after a riot at New York’s Stonewall Inn ushered in the modern gay rights movement, the decision could settle one of the major civil rights fights of this era. The language of Kennedy’s opinion spoke eloquently of the most fundamental values of family, love and liberty.

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family,” Kennedy wrote. “In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than they once were.”

‘Equal dignity in the eyes of the law’

“Their hope,” Kennedy wrote, “is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

Kennedy has written the opinion in significant gay rights cases and when he uttered the key sentence that same-sex couples should be able to exercise the right to marry in all states, people in the Court’s public gallery broke into smiles and some wiped tears from their eyes.

Reaction: People soak up history from coast to coast

In a dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia blasted the Court’s “threat to American democracy.”

“The substance of today’s decree is not of immense personal importance to me,” he wrote. “But what really astounds is the hubris reflected in today’s judicial Putsch.”

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that the decision had “nothing to do with the Constitution.”

READ: The best lines from Scalia’s marriage dissent and Kennedy’s decision

“If you are among the many Americans—of whatever sexual orientation—who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal,” he wrote. “Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.”

The U.S. is now the 21st country to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, including territories. Married same-sex couples will now enjoy the same legal rights and benefits as married heterosexual couples nationwide and will be recognized on official documents such as birth and death certificates.

Hundreds of same-sex marriage supporters flooded the plaza and sidewalk in front of the Court to celebrate the ruling, proudly waving rainbow flags and banners with the Human Rights Campaign’s equal sign, which have come to represent the gay rights movement. In an emotional moment, the supporters sang the National Anthem, clapping wildly after singing that the U.S. is “the land of the free.”

WATCH: Obama calls gay marriage case plaintiff Jim Obergefell

After the ruling, President Barack Obama called Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in the case, while he and his supporters celebrated the ruling outside the court.

Obama: ‘Congratulations’

“I just wanted to say congratulations,” Obama said as CNN broadcast his warm words to Obergefell over speakerphone. He added: “Your leadership on this has changed the country.”

Speaking at the White House later in the morning, Obama said “Americans should be very proud,” because small acts of courage “slowly made an entire country realize that love is love.”

By the numbers: Same-sex marriage

The decision affirmed growing public support in the U.S. for gay marriage, with about two-thirds of Americans now in favor. And it comes as gay rights groups have seen gay marriage bans fall rapidly in recent years, with the number of states allowing gay marriage swelling most recently to 37 — that is, until this ruling.

There were two questions before the Court, the first asked whether states could ban same sex marriage, the second asked whether states had to recognize lawful marriages performed out of state.

The relevant cases were argued earlier this year. Attorney John Bursch, serving as Michigan’s Special Assistant Attorney General, defended four states’ bans on gay marriage before the Court, arguing that the case was not about how to define marriage, but rather about who gets to decide the question.

The case came before the Supreme Court after several lower courts overturned state bans on gay marriage. A federal appeals court had previously ruled in favor of the state bans, with Judge Jeffrey Sutton of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals writing a majority opinion in line with the rationale that the issue should be decided through the political process, not the courts.

14 couples

Fourteen couples and two widowers challenged the bans. Attorneys Mary Bonauto and Doug Hallward-Driemeier presented their case before the Court, arguing that the freedom to marry is a fundamental right for all people and should not be left to popular vote.

U.S. reacts to same-sex marriage ruling 16 photos

EXPAND GALLERY

Three years after Obama first voiced his support for gay couples’ right to marry, his administration supported the same sex couples at the Supreme Court.

“Gay and lesbian people are equal,” Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. told the justices at the oral arguments earlier this year. “It is simply untenable — untenable — to suggest that they can be denied the right of equal participation in an institution of marriage, or that they can be required to wait until the majority decides that it is ready to treat gay and lesbian people as equals.

MAP: Where same-sex marriage is recognized in the U.S.

Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in the case, married his spouse John Arthur in 2013 months before Arthur died.

The couple, who lived in Ohio, had to travel to Maryland aboard a medical jet to get married when Arthur became gravely ill. And when Arthur died, Obergefell began to fight to be recognized as Arthur’s spouse on his death certificate.

The plaintiffs from Michigan are April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, two Detroit-area nurses who are also foster parents. They took to the courts after they took in four special-needs newborns who were either abandoned or surrendered at birth, but could not jointly adopt the children because Michigan’s adoption code requires that couples be married to adopt.

Milestones for LGBT rights

Sgt. Ijpe Dekoe and Thomas Kostura became plaintiffs in the gay marriage case after they moved to Tennessee from New York.

The pair had married in New York in 2011, but Dekoe’s position in the Army took the couple to Tennessee, which banned gay marriage and refused to recognize gay marriages performed in other states.

2016

Republicans seeking the White House struggled to find their footing after the ruling.

Candidates running closer to the center, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, issued tightly-parsed language urging their colleagues to focus on protecting “religious freedom”. And Ohio Gov. John Kasich urged Republicans to respect the ruling and ditch the matter altogether.

“In a country as diverse as ours, good people who have opposing views should be able to live side by side. It is now crucial that as a country we protect religious freedom and the right of conscience and also not discriminate,” Bush said in his statement.

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But conservative firebrands, including Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, said that conservatives must stand and fight by seeking a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

“I will not acquiesce to an imperial court any more than our founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch. We must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat,” Huckabee said in a statement.

Democrats had no problem reacting, jumping fast on Twitter to express their universal elation.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she was “proud” of the ruling and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley tweeted a photo of the family at the center of his state’s efforts to legalize gay marriage.