Blush: Sperm

"All masturbatory emissions would be considered reckless abandonment." - Elle Woods in Legally Blonde.

You may have heard about the Texas bill that will fine men $100 USD for masturbatory emissions.

"All masturbatory emissions would be considered reckless abandonment." - Elle Woods in Legally Blonde.
“All masturbatory emissions would be considered reckless abandonment.” – Elle Woods in Legally Blonde.

But what exactly is sperm?

According to Merriam Webster, a sperm is a male* gamete, “a mature [cell …] usually possessing a haploid chromosome set and capable of initiating formation of a new diploid individual by fusion with a gamete of the opposite sex”.

But what people usually consider to be sperm (the entire ejaculate) is false. The ejaculate is semen; sperm only makes up about 2-5% of the fluid emitted. The rest of the semen is made up of energy (a sugar fluid) from the seminal vesicles that makes up ~65-70%, prostate secretions (enzymes, citric acid,, and acid phosphatase) that give semen its white colour make up ~25-30%, and a clear secretion from the bulbourethral glands helps with mobility after ejaculation only makes up less than 1%.

*male is used by the dictionary to identify the difference between a sperm (male) and an egg (female) gametes.


If you’re enjoying the Blush blogs, consider learning more with Blush: The Card Game from Renaissance Press


References

http://www.lfpress.com/2017/03/14/texas-bill-would-fine-men-us100-for-unregulated-masturbatory-emissions

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gamete

http://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Semen.aspx

 

Blush: Toddler Touching

While Blush is primarily aimed at people over the age of 8, the other day someone contacted me and asked me if I had any recommendation about their toddler touching themselves.

They didn’t want to discourage their toddler from exploring, but they wanted to know how to tell them that they should be doing that in private.

So I did a little digging. Most of the first pages that pop up in a search are forums, parents helping other parents, with no valid sources. However, www.psychcentral.com provided me with a great article (follow the link to read it) written by a valid source, and peer reviewed by another.

To boil it down: treat the child as a whole person with valid wants, and teach them that what they want to do is normal, healthy, and should be done in private. You can explain to them where “private” is, and remember, be prepared to do so many times over, because children forget.

I hope that helps! If you have further questions on this topic, you can ask me anonymously here.


I am going to be writing a new game – a sort of sequel to Blush! I have do NOT have a publisher for it, I don’t have completed questions for it, and I don’t have a full concept for it, but I could use your help.

So if you have any questions about pregnancy, anything that surprised you while you or someone you know was pregnant, anything about newborns (first 3 months) – PLEASE submit them through our anonymous question box, found here.

Thank you!

You can find Blush: A Card Game for purchase at Renaissance Press.

Renaissance Press

Image taken from Renaissance Press's website www.renaissancebookpress.com

My publisher Renaissance Press (and Eric’s, incidentally) is having a sale on all their love-oriented books and games for the entire month of February! If you haven’t picked up a copy of Blush yet, this would be a good time to do that!

You can also see a complete list of all their published works here.

Image taken from Renaissance Press's website www.renaissancebookpress.com
Image taken from Renaissance Press’s website www.renaissancebookpress.com

Blush: Lubricants

A SFW image of lube! Image from www.iselinc.com

Do you know how difficult it is to find good sources for personal lubricants? The amount of junk articles I had to sift through was intimidating, to say the least.

A SFW image of lube! Image from www.iselinc.com
A SFW image of lube! Image from www.iselinc.com.

 

There are three different categories of lubricant: water-based, silicone-based, and oil-based. Each has its pros and cons.

The lube you are most likely to find is water-based. Be careful with the ingredients, though, as some of these include glycerin, which can cause yeast infections. Water-based is arguably the best, as it doesn’t dissolve silicone toys, and it doesn’t make latex condoms permeable. However, it is the most likely to evaporate, causing you to need to add more in the middle of things.

Silicone-based is the most expensive. It is very slippery and won’t dissolve, but if you’re using it with silicone toys, it will cause them to start to break down, making them unsafe to use. You can get around this by putting a condom on the toy, though! It is also more difficult to clean up after use (soap and water works).

Oil-based cannot be used at the same time as latex condoms (I specify latex, because other types are fine). The oil makes the latex membrane become permeable, and will cause breaking of the condom.


Okay…now you know about the different types of lube. Why should you use it at all?

A lot of misinformation goes into this question. People think that lube is only needed if the vagina doesn’t lubricate itself enough, and using lube is a last-ditch effort.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. And it only takes PiV intercourse into account.

The human body’s vaginal lubricant is not enough for intercourse. Period. Full stop. It reduces friction, increases pleasure, and decreases the risk of tearing and pain. You should always use some sort of lubricant, even if it’s only saliva (which is the only natural lubricant that my research has agreed is a good one). And if you are participating in anal intercourse, don’t even attempt it unless you’ve got a lot of lube on hand. Tears/rips in the anus are dangerous, because of the excess of bacteria in the fecal matter that could enter the bloodstream. Please note: saliva is not enough lube for anal intercourse.


If there’s something more that you’d like to know about lubricants, or we didn’t cover, please contact us through our Anonymous Question box!


Reference

Nagoski, Emily, PhD. Come as you are: The surprising new science that will transform your sex life. Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2015.

Blush: Orgasm vs ejaculation

Image from this website.
Image from this website.
Image from this website.

I was discussing Blush: The Card Game with someone the other day, and they asked me what the difference was between ejaculation and orgasm for a person with a penis. The difference is a little more obvious when the person has a vagina – and for most people, more difficult to achieve!

Orgasm is a rhythmic series of muscular contractions that are pleasurable. Ejaculation is the release of fluid, usually at the height of orgasm.

Each can occur without the other, and intercourse can happen, and be enjoyable, without the occurrence of either.


References

http://www.sexandu.ca/sexual-activity/sexual-arousal/#tc2

Blush: Porn

Image from a wordpress blog.

The oldest recorded video porn was a homemade video in 1925 (they’d have to be super rich to have been able to afford a video camera back then!) of a couple on a picnic that evolves into sex outdoors. There is no sound.

The first playboy centerfold was Marilyn Monroe in December 1953 (happy 63rd anniversary, Playboy!).

Image from a wordpress blog.
Image from this wordpress blog.

Pornography, as defined by Oxford Dictionary, is printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate sexual excitement. Both of the above examples fit in this category.

But over the years, as people got desensitized to sex, pornography has had to become more and more explicit to draw the same reaction from its consumers. It has also become rather unrealistic. Just as our standards of beauty have morphed into an unattainable figure of unreasonable proportions due to photo-manipulation, pornographic videos have evolved into feats of stamina, strength, and extreme situations that are unlikely to happen or be achieved in real life. (Although I won’t completely discount some situations from happening. I don’t like absolutes.)

This leads to certain expectations in the youth who consume the porn that is accessible to them. Expectations that, unless they are unique, will fall flat in the face of reality.

What we should try to disseminate is the information that pornography is like an action movie.

In an action movie, the hero faces off against numerous villains all at once. The hero defeats them against all odds, due in part because of bad planning of the main villain, poor decision making skills of the lackeys, and/or sheer dumb luck on the part of the hero. What happens in an action movie is not likely to happen in real life. It’s designed to look cool, moves the plot forward, and (usually) has a happy ending with the hero triumphant.

Porn is very similar – it’s designed for looks, move the “plot” forward, and has a “happy ending”, but it is very unlikely to happen in real life. Porn is scripted, and every scene you see in a movie has been done to death, so the actors are acting their enjoyment (for the most part). Most of the positions are picked because it gives a good angle for the camera, not because they are comfortable or enjoyable for the actors.

While pornographic movies, erotic novels, and nude photos are great in whatever moderation you choose, just remember not to treat them as reality.

I hope you have a very Happy New Year!

Blush: Nursing

nursing-padssmall

Nursing vs breast feeding

You might think that these two terms are the same, and for myself, they are. However, there are people who do not identify as female, and using the term “breast feeding” might generate a feeling of dysphoria in them. So I am trying to use the term “nursing” universally.

Nursing vs formula

I chose to nurse Dragon, rather than to use formula. For multiple reasons, this was the best choice for us. On top of the doctors and nurses telling us that nursing was the only way to go (I felt bad for the woman in our baby classes who was choosing to formula feed. The nurse running the class was shaming her), it’s so much cheaper to nurse than to buy formula, and it’s much faster to feed the baby when nursing; shirt goes up, bra goes down, baby latches to the body.

While the woman in my class did choose to formula feed, there are many people who don’t get that choice and must use formula for a variety of reasons. No one should be shamed for their inability or choice when it comes to nursing.

The Beginning

Nursing was really confusing to start with, because I constantly felt like I was doing it wrong. Is she latching properly? Is she getting enough? How do I hold her? How can she breathe?

One of the major benefits of being at the Queensway-Carleton Hospital was that my nurse was someone that I’ve known since she was 3 years old. I felt very comfortable asking her for help. The QCH also has excellent lactation consultants. There are numerous places you can go to if you need additional resources as well, like ottawa.ca/prenatal, parentinginottawa.com, lllc.ca, breastfeedinginc.ca, ottawabreastfeeds.ca, and 311 during business hours to talk to a public health nurse. The QCH also offers nursing classes on certain days.

Fortunately, we figured things out fairly quickly, which I am grateful for, and my milk came in after about 48 hours, so Keladry didn’t lose much weight before she started gaining it again. There’s nothing like seeing the numbers on the scale drop to make you feel like you’re failing as a parent, and this happens right after birth.

Interesting things I discovered about nursing

There’s something called let-down that happens when the breasts fill with milk unexpectedly. (I say unexpectedly, because I am often surprised by it.) This happens after a certain amount of stimulation of the nipple. The amount of time required for this varies from person to person, and the amount of let-down varies as well. I’ve discovered that if I’m already full of milk, let-down causes some milk to escape, even if the baby is attached to the other side. I assume to see a problem here. I’ll come back to that.

Let-down can also happen if the baby hasn’t been fed in a while, if the baby cries, if another baby cries, if you think about the baby and are nowhere near the baby, etc.

So to get back to that problem. The problem of leaking. I find that I have this problem most often at night, because Keladry is a very good sleeper. If she has fed well enough before bedtime, she has slept 8 hours straight. Compare this to during the day, when I feed her every 4 hours or so. You can imagine that that extra 4 hours means that I am incredibly full. I’ve had several incidents of waking up with a soaking wet pyjama top.

Solution:

nursing-padssmall

Nursing pads! I commissioned these from Crafty What-Knots, and OMG they are the most comfortable things of life! The pad on the bottom left (the purple one) is showing the inside. It is a super soft material that I want to rub constantly, and it is incredibly absorbent. There is an inner layer that is extra absorbent. Then the backing…the awesome backing that is the reason you should get your nursing pads from Crafty What Knots; I told her that I loved all things geeky, and she found me Avengers, Star Wars, Star Trek, and Minion fabric!! The backing protects my clothing by locking the wet inside the pad.

I am so impressed by these pads – they’re big enough that my shifting around at night doesn’t move them (which was my problem before), and they’re exactly what I wanted. (She can do non-geeky fabrics, too, if that’s what you want.)


If you’re enjoying the Blush blogs, consider learning more with Blush: The Card Game from Renaissance Press

Blush: Stretch Marks

stretch-marks

I’ve been thinking about something off and on for the past few weeks: stretch marks, and why mine don’t really bother me.

When I was 8 years old, I grew four inches in a year. Then it happened again when I was 9. I had stretch marks on my thighs from that point forward. They’ve faded over time and just look like little white squiggles now, but they bothered me a lot when I was a teenager.

I didn’t grow very much at the beginning of my pregnancy, but by mid-summer I had some tiny stretch marks under my belly button. Then in the last few weeks I grew a lot more, and quickly, so I got a few more. They were quite dark. They’re a little paler now, but still very much present.

I went swimming with Dragon last week, and I realized I didn’t really care about them, for several reasons. For one, superficially, I know that Eric loves me no matter what I look like, and I don’t need to attract anyone else. Two, whenever I look at them, I see what I went through to have my daughter. I never understood the sentiment behind the “tiger stripes” movement, but I get it now.

stretch-marks

And three, I understand where stretch marks come from, and why I have them. It makes such a difference to understand why your body does something, I find.

Reasons for Stretch Marks

  • Fast changes in the body (growing or shrinking)
  • Genetic tendency
  • Cortisone level in the body

You can be any gender, any size, or any age, and you could get stretch marks. They appear when the body undergoes a big change very quickly. If cortisone levels are high, the elasticity of the skin is compromised and stretch marks are more likely to occur.

People likely to get Stretch Marks

  • Bodybuilders
  • Pregnant people
  • Teenagers
  • Adults
  • You get the idea…

I hope this helps you to feel better about your own stretch marks.


Reference

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/stretch-marks/home/ovc-20169154


If you’re enjoying the Blush blogs, consider learning more with Blush: The Card Game from Renaissance Press

Blush Guest Post: Polyamory

Image from www.polyinfo.org

Thank you to the contributors to all the guest posts for Blush and Fandom Travel! If anyone else is interesting in writing for either of these topics (and it can easily be kept anonymous!) please send me an email to jenericdesigns@gmail.com and we can discuss which topic you’d like to write about.

This week’s guest post is written anonymously. Please respect their privacy by not trying to guess who they are.


Image from www.polyinfo.org
Image from www.polyinfo.org

Being Polyamorous isn’t about sex; I think that’s a preconceived notion many people have about it; it’s about having a relationship. More specifically it’s that I have multiple relationships, some of varying degrees, but they’re all relationships with some kind of emotional connection. I think a lot of people assume that being poly is the same as having an open relationship, or being a swinger; that at the end of the day it’s just about having multiple sexual partners, it’s about “free love” and the likes; and while we are free to love, it’s not about all the things that 60’s anti-hippy propaganda films think. Our relationships can vary from being very good friends to marriage.

I personally learned about poly the old fashioned way, word of mouth. My partner and I made new friends, who led us to more friends, and through them we learned about it, and just how common it actually was, finding almost a network of different poly relationships, and that we were far more connected to it than we realized. We spoke about it and realized that it was something that caught our interest; we’d been together for a long time, and felt we were ready to take the plunge.

I can’t say that we have any specific labels for our version of poly, my first partner (the one I’m married to) is someone I generally refer to as my primary, but otherwise it’s pretty simple. Other people I’m with are partners, but not referring to them as my primary doesn’t mean I care about them any less. We get asked how it works fairly often, the answer is the same as for any relationship: communication, honesty, and time. Talk with each other, if something’s bothering you, let your partner(s) know. Be truthful, lying doesn’t help anyone, especially when more than two people are involved, and make sure you have time for everyone; if you can’t give someone the time they deserve, you might need to reassess and make time for them. Poly isn’t easy, but no relationship is. Give it the time and thought, and anyone can make it work.


If you’re enjoying the Blush blogs, consider learning more with Blush: The Card Game from Renaissance Press

Blush: More Weird Pregnancy Stuff

img_20160919_062608small

You can read the first part here.

There are some things that I’ve only recently realized were weird during my pregnancy, like that hair grows abnormally fast. Armpit and leg hair included. Or maybe it just grows slower now that I’m nursing.

Contractions don’t necessarily hurt very much at the beginning. It took mine about 7 hours to start being anywhere near the realm of what I would call painful.

Then there’s all the weird delivery stuff that happens:

  1. You will get used to, or not care, that you are naked in front of people
  2. Labour might be way longer than you expect
  3. You will probably throw up during the pushing part of your delivery because of how hard you’re pushing (I did)
  4. You will probably poop at some point during delivery (I didn’t)
  5. The placenta is bigger than you think, and very squishy-hard when it comes out
  6. The first time you get up from the toilet (whatever you excrete) will be terrifying – there is SO MUCH blood in the toilet. Don’t worry – the next time will have a lot less
  7. You still look pregnant after delivery – it’ll take some time for the belly to go away. This makes for a great resting place for the baby if you choose to nurse
img_20160919_130022_01
Photo credit to Kat, who managed to sneak in just before noon to meet Keladry.

There’s also some pretty strange things that nobody tells you about having a newborn, like cluster feeding – this is what helps the milk to come in, and it happens over the second day and night. It’s exhausting, and would definitely have made us think we were doing something wrong, because she woke up every hour to feed a tiny bit and then go back to sleep. Every time the baby has a growth spurt, this happens again, except on a slightly smaller scale.


If you’re enjoying the Blush blogs, consider learning more with Blush: The Card Game from Renaissance Press