Blush: Consent and kids

Last week we went to a family birthday party (five celebrated at once, from the ages of 1 to 70!) and a lot of fun was had. However, it definitely brought to my attention that our daughter has no concept of personal space, boundaries, or consent.

She’s 1 years old. This is normal.

Normal it may be, but consent is something she needs to learn. And now that she’s walking and able to chase down other kids, she needs to learn it fast.

Fortunately, there are some pretty great resources to help us. I encourage everyone to read at least this guide (it’s 4 pages) if you have any children in your life, whether they belong to you, your family, or your friends.

My sister is already really great at respecting my daughter’s limits. Every time she visits, she asks “Can I pick you up?” before touching her. I know that if she ever says “no”, it will be respected.

As adults, we need to be aware that a child’s “no” to hugging, kissing, or being held, is not them casting any aspersions on our character. They’re just not in the mood to be touched, and we should respect that. Offer an alternative, like a high five, a fist bump, a blown kiss, or a simple wave.

Along a similar vein, if the child has agreed to be touched, and then wants to stop, they should be listened to.

This is all common sense, and easy to follow because we’re adults. We understand the reasoning. How do we teach it to children?

Part of teaching consent to kids is modelling it. Showing that they have agency over their own bodies is a big step to understanding that others are also to be respected.

My daughter and her cousin, whom she terrorized last week.

She walked up to the only other person her size and tried to hug them. She kept her balance (and grip) quite well as he tried to wriggle away… I feel like I dropped the ball at this point. I should have taken her aside and explained that he wasn’t interested in being held, just like she didn’t want to be held by the strangers at the party. I might not have gotten through to her, but I should have tried, multiple times if necessary.

Teaching them empathy is another part. Our daughter also pulled the his hair. He cried, understandably. But she doesn’t seem to understand that having hair pulled hurts – she does it to herself all the time, and doesn’t seem bothered by it. She thinks it’s funny when she pulls other people’s hair. I made her apologize to him (I held her while I apologized for her because she is non verbal) and told her not to pull other people’s hair. I don’t think it has sunk in yet. She pulled mine the next morning.

It’s a work in progress. Suggestions are welcome.


References

http://www.teachconsent.org

Parent Discussion Guide

https://goodmenproject.com/families/the-healthy-sex-talk-teaching-kids-consent-ages-1-21/

http://www.parents.com/parenting/better-parenting/advice/how-to-teach-your-children-about-consent/


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

Blush: Pleasure

Last week, an article crossed my Facebook feed about sexual pleasure, and how we shouldn’t hide that fact from kids.

Pleasure

I admit, my first instinct was to scream internally. I have never been shy about my lack of knowledge about sex pre-University classes on sexual health and education. (Thank you, Professors Peggy Kleinplatz and Darcy Santor!)

So I started reading the article hesitantly. And wow, was I ever blown away! I enjoyed the writing style, first off. Very personable and felt like she was talking directly to me. Second thing I thought was that I want to be like this woman. I want to be able to talk to my daughter as easily as she talks to her son. I am so glad that I read this article when Keladry is still a baby, because it gives me time to get used to the idea and comfortable with talking about sex and sexuality with her.

I also feel the need to go and do more research and/or memorize the answers to the questions in Blush.


On a more (even more?) personal note, I finally sent an email to Prof Santor, the professor of the class that started Blush originating as a final project. I thanked him for his encouragement to complete the game 9 years ago, and told him that I finally got it published last year. I hope he’s proud that I finally did it.


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

Blush Guest Post: Polyamory

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 Guest Post: Intro to BDSM

For the next few weeks, both Blush posts and Fandom Travel posts will be guest posts. Thank you to the contributors! 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 by kitten. Please respect their privacy by not trying to guess who they are.


Example of a BDSM day collar. Item designed by TheCagedFlower on Etsy.
Example of a BDSM day collar. Item designed by TheCagedFlower on Etsy.

I guess preconceived notions about what someone would look like when they live a certain lifestyle come with everything: you expect a high powered executive to always be dressed in a suit with shiny shoes, a plumber to have pants that can’t stay up and someone in the BDSM lifestyle to look edgy with lots of tattoos and always in leather with a very obvious collar on their neck. I’m probably the furthest from what you’d expect, and aside from the black ribbon around my neck and the ring that says “collared” as well as my Dom’s fingerprint engraved into it, you’d probably never know that my Dom and I are in the scene.

I didn’t intend to become a part of this lifestyle. I actually remember very well when it piqued my interest: I was sitting in a summer course, chatting with a male friend of mine while another student was doing a presentation (yes, I know I should have been paying attention, but I still got a great mark in that class). My male friend started to tell me about some of the exploits he and his girlfriend had been trying out. The more he told me, the more questions I had for him, and the more curious I was about it. I did what any good student did: I researched. I found blogs and books and devoured them all. The more I read, the more I felt like something clicked inside: this fits me.

But all of the research and reading in the world couldn’t give me the experience that would prove that I wasn’t just enthralled by the idea of it all. I needed to try it out with a partner. I brought up the idea to my then fiance, and while he tried once to give me what I was asking for, it always felt like he was just playing a part. I needed to be with someone that was inherently Dominant. Someone that had the knowledge, the intuition, that it was as much of a part of them as their eye colour is. It wasn’t until I separated from my ex-husband that I was finally able to get that experience.

I didn’t choose the best person for that first experience; I chose the most convenient person. Considering they are very well known in the area, I’ll keep the details to myself other than saying be very, very careful about choosing a play partner. There are a number of people masquerading as “Dominants” who are just emotional manipulators. Listen to your instincts and talk to other people that know them. Get references. (Sounds extreme, but if you’re into extreme play, it is very important.)

All that said, I’m happy to have discovered that this is part of my sexuality. My current partner and I are in a 24/7 relationship, though we don’t always have kinky sex. If asked, I will tell you, though I don’t shout my sexual tendencies from the rooftops. My belief is that what happens in my bedroom is my business between my partner and myself and that I do not need anyone else’s opinions or judgements there.

As much as sexuality and gender identity can run across the spectrum, so can the degrees of what people consider to be “kinky” sex. Our version of kink includes bondage, pain play like hair pulling or biting, and impact play like spanking (either hand or with an implement like a crop or a whip), and exhibitionism. These kind of scenes take a while to set up and get ready, which doesn’t always make them feasible when we both work long days. It’s easier when we go to a BDSM club in town (yes, Ottawa has them; don’t look so shocked) because they have the set up for crosses, ceiling hooks for suspensions, tables, etc all set up.

When we do play, we use a pretty easy set of safe words: green, yellow, and red. They work just as you think they would; green is good to go, yellow is slow down and give me a bit of a break, red is STOP. We decided that these work best for us because it is what Dungeon Masters (safety/security monitors that makes sure everyone plays safely) in clubs ask for. It just made sense so we wouldn’t have to try and adjust our usual play for a night out.

Never, NEVER play with someone that won’t let you use safe words unless you have talked about it extensively beforehand. Part of the appeal of BDSM is that element of danger in a safe space, much like riding a motorcycle. But you or your partner could be seriously hurt (physically, mentally, and/or emotionally) if you don’t use a safe word and continually check in. I know some people have been with their partners for so long that they don’t use safe words any longer, and that some Dom/mes (typically, Dom means males and Dommes means females, but there are any number of titles for both, as well as for non-binary Dominants) won’t let their submissives use them; those are not people that I would ever consider playing with and I’d suggest the same for anyone new to the scene.

There are some BDSM elements that are a part of my daily life: my Dom gets a picture of my outfit every day to approve before I leave the house, I always have to wear my day collar when I’m out and away from him, and he always needs to know where I am, who I am with, and when to expect me home. I have different rules when we are out in scene: I don’t talk to anyone without his approval first, I don’t make eye contact with other Dom/mes, I wear my play collar and my leash is attached to him unless one of us is going to the bathroom. If it’s me, he waits outside the bathroom for me, if it’s him, he will give me leash to either a Dom he trusts or a Dungeon Master in a club. Some days I act like a bit of a brat and push back and argue with him about my rules; that usually results in a punishment spanking for me. That said, when I am truly upset or aggravated about one of my rules, he is ALWAYS willing to discuss it. Having the door open for communication is of primary importance for us both.

I imagine that my sexuality and turn ons will always evolve and change, and I’m open to that. Being aware of who I am, of what I want and need, took me a long time to accomplish, so I wear my Day Collar with pride. As Dolly Parton said, “Find out who you are and do it on purpose.”

Jen has graciously offered to be a conduit for any questions that may pop up, and I’m happy to answer the best I can. If I feel like it is out of my realm of knowledge, I’ll try to help you find a good resource.

That’s my view; have fun, and play safely.
– kitten


A good resource for people with questions would be FetLife. You will be required to sign up to access it.

Another great resource is A Submissive’s Initiative. There are tons of resources to be found through this page as well.

If Men are from Mars and Women from Venus why are we on Earth?

Hello,

I read this article titled, “My Wife Divorced Me Because I Left The Dishes By The Sink”

The article

I was going to share it on facebook, tag my wife and say, “Should I be worried?” Then I thought about it and it made me uncomfortable. Angry even.

If you don’t want to read the article, let me sum it up: Men and Women think differently and what’s not a big deal for you (cave)men, might be a big deal for your wife.

The message

The overall message seems to be: Listen to your partner and if they want you to do (or stop doing) something because it bothers them, you should listen to them.

In other words: Respect your partner enough to listen to them!

The Sexism

Beyond the message, however, I dislike everything about the article. It makes assumptions that are so sexist I had to make sure it wasn’t written in the 1950’s.

In the author’s world:

  • ALL women clean and take care of the house,
  • ALL men work outside the house,
  • ALL women are too passive to tell their husbands how they feel and will nag instead of telling them,
  • ALL men are too stupid to realize that by ignoring what your partner wants you’re disrespecting them and making them feel like shit.
  • That lack of communication only affects Cis-Gendered romantic relationships.

My Advice

I feel like I need to put my credentials before I give advice.

Credentials

  • I have a degree in communications and took multiple interpersonal communication classes,
  • I was raised by a single mother who worked as a social worker in a women’s shelter (among other jobs),
  • I’ve written 5.8 books, two of which are going to be published (Yeah I know that has nothing to do with it but I’m proud and excited),
  • Finally, I’ve been married for nearly 7 years (6 years 7 months and 16 days).

You only need three things

To be happy in a relationship you need three things and this isn’t anything new. You need Communication, Empathy, and Compromise.

That list may seem simple and common sense but nothing is easy when emotion takes over. You have to find a way to get to what you really want instead of getting angry or defensive.

Your significant other is a person, not a cartoon stereotype, if they’re getting upset there’s a reason and you should pay attention to it and, if it’s your fault, fix it.

Planets

Bet you thought I wouldn’t get back to the title right?

No matter what shape your relationship takes (Poly, Straight, Same-sex, etc.), you and your partner will always seem to be from other planets. People are different! The way they were raised, their experiences, their traumas, and their way of thinking are always going to be different. You have to accept that no matter how much you have in common, you’re completely separate people.

In that way, you can easily say you are from Mars and your partner is from Venus. You are as different as you are the same and that’s why we’re on Earth. It’s in between the two and represents the best compromise.

Find common ground and find compromise, you’re in a relationship not a dictatorship. The term Partner isn’t just to be inclusive, it represents what a truly good relationships is about being equal partners who share in the blame and the joy of life together.

Common Ground

Serial Story

We’re down to two stories left.

Read the ending from the stories and vote on your favourite. The poll will be open until Tuesday the 2nd at 11:59pm

Serial Story 2016 - Last Round

  • Wargrave Island (50%, 3 Votes)
  • The Ruby Child (50%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

Loading ... Loading ...

Wargrave Island

Genre: Murder Mystery
Inspiration: And Then There Were None, Sherlock Holmes

Read the Beginning

[…]

“What happened?” asked Jonathan, drunkenly staggering towards them, trying to get to the boat.

“What’s in there?” asked Zoe, who was followed by the rest of the party guests who must have seen the fire.

Riko tried to keep them back, but Jonathan made it past her and yelled, “Oh shit, there’s a dead body in there!”

The Ruby Child

Genre: Fantasy Adventure
Inspiration: Firefly, Eberron

Read the Beginning

[…]

As he watched, in complete amazement, the ruby transformed into a baby with glowing crimson hair. The infant gave a tiny giggle and opened its eyes. He expected red eyes, but was surprised to see little clones of his own dark green eyes staring back at him.

“Oh Boy,” he repeated.

 

What do you think of the article?

Éric

Blush: Not in the Mood

I have completed the initial 200 questions necessary for the Blush card game! However, they are now with the editor, and I might have to add new ones. If you desperately want a topic covered, ask us your anonymous questions here!

Not in the mood. Image from here.
Not in the mood. Image from here.

Question

I received a variety of questions asking “What do I do if my partner isn’t in the mood?”

Answer

Talk to your partner. Find out if they would prefer to be left alone or cajoled out of their mood, without putting pressure on them. It might be a good idea to ask this in advance, so that you don’t put pressure on them at the time.

“If you’re not feeling in the mood, what would you like me to do?” is a good way to ask them.

Sometimes people aren’t feeling up to doing it, just like I was feeling about writing this blog post. I had a really long day and didn’t feel like I’d done very much, because I hadn’t had the chance to tackle more than one thing on my to-do list today. (Plus, I have a headache.)

Unlike blog posts, you should never try to force the issue. If your partner says no, you need to respect their wishes. Check out this excellent video on consent.

The most important thing is to know your partner. How can you make them feel better? How can you make them feel loved and cherished? What do they need? Instead of focusing on getting your partner in the mood (which usually doesn’t end well, unless they want to be – see the question you can ask them above), think of other ways to hang out with them. Intimacy is more than just sex.

Suggestions for ways to be intimate without sex can be submitted in the comments! Here are a few of my favourites to start you off: brushing my hair, or snuggling on the couch.

Blush: Transgender

I have completed the initial 200 questions necessary for the Blush card game! However, they are now with the editor, and I might have to add new ones. If you desperately want a topic covered, ask us your anonymous questions here!
This week, I’m doing something a little different. I met Lily through the Adult Nerdfighter group on Facebook, and she’s been brilliant, funny, positive, and intelligent in all her comments and posts. Then I found her blog, was impressed by her quality of writing, and got the idea to do an interview-style post about transgender with her, seeing as she is open about talking about her experiences. I hope you like it!
The Transgender flag. Image from www.algbtical.org
The Transgender flag. Image from www.algbtical.org
Hi, Lily. Thank you for answering my questions today!
No problem! I’m happy to answer them.
What sort of questions do you get asked all the time when someone finds out that you are transgender?
Uh, you mean besides what my genitals look like? Ha. People tend to be mostly respectful, apart from that. When they feel comfortable, they sometimes ask me what I like about being a woman, or what differences I’ve noticed in how people treat me.
Why do people ask such personal questions about your body? Do they think they can get away with it?

I don’t know, maybe they just want to learn more. It definitely is a sense of entitlement. A lot of people seem to think they have a right to make someone uncomfortable just so they can have their curiosity sated.

What was the response from your doctor when you first told them that you were transgendered and wanted to do something about it?
Oh, we don’t have “a doctor” the way our medical system works. I just get assigned to visit a random one if I have anything I want a medical opinion on. None of them blink an eye when I tell them, though lately that I’ve started to look more and more like any other woman there have been some awkward moments when they ask me when I had my last period, or whether I might be pregnant.
Do you think you would have had a different response in another country, like Canada or the USA?
Possibly. It depends on the region. Someone in Bogotá, where I live, might not react the same way as someone in a pueblo, a traditional small town. I think the same applies for the US and Canada. A doctor in South Carolina is more likely to act a different way than one in New York.
When were you/will you be allowed to change your name legally? What was it like to see your first ID with your name on it?
Oh, I did that ages ago. Haha. I was given a temporary ID with my name about 6 months ago, and got my shiny official ID with a big “F” and my name on it about 3 or 4 months back. It felt wonderful. I still get a giant grin on my face everytime I look at it.
I really liked how you described gender dysphoria in your post last week. Can you summarize it here?
Gender dysphoria just feels plain wrong. Imagine a row of carefully lined pencils, with one single pencil skewed 3 degrees to the side. Do you feel uncomfortable just thinking about it? Gender dysphoria is something like that, only a lot stronger, much more depressing, and ever-present.
You explain that so well.
Do you find that people treat you differently as a girl?
Absolutely. Women are more open to me, and men are a lot more polite, respectful and gentle (except for the creepy minority who hit on me now, of course)
What would you say to someone who is just starting their transition?
There are a lot of things that will make you feel like giving up. Keep going.
What is one question that you wish you were asked, and how would you answer it?
“How can I make life easier for other transgender people?”
I would say to just treat us like human beings. People tend to avoid you and walk on eggshells around you. It’s isolating and dehumanising.
Do you have a list of online resources or communities that you go to that makes you feel safe and unjudged? Will you share it with us?
Two main ones: There’s Adult Nerdfighters, a community on Facebook for nerdy open-minded people; and reddit.com/r/asktransgender/ a place where I can share some of my experiences and thoughts with people who have lived through something similar.
Thank you so much, Lily, for sharing your experience with us. Readers, follow her blog (idontstandstill.wordpress.com), she updates every Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday.

Blush: Condoms

So far we have received almost three digits worth of questions, but I’m greedy, and I want more! Ask us your anonymous questions here!

Star Wars condoms? Why not? Image from mic.com
Star Wars condoms? Why not? Image from mic.com

Question

Who should buy condoms? When should they be bought?

Answer

You should buy condoms when you and your partner are ready to have sex.

But…should the boy or the girl buy the condoms?

Did I mumble?

How many times have I heard this question? Too many to count, in all its various forms. “The guy should buy the condom, because he doesn’t want to get the girl pregnant.” or “The girl should buy the condom, because she doesn’t want to get pregnant.”

This is frustrating for many reasons. One, this presumes that the hypothetical couple is heterosexual. Better to not assume. Two, it focuses only on the prevention of pregnancy. Sure, condoms are great for that. But they are used for so much more! Three, gender stereotyping is bothersome in all its forms!

And why is it so bad for both partners to buy condoms? Having too many is not a problem!

Condoms should be used as protection when you and your partner are unsure of your sexual pasts. Until you both get tested, even if it’s your first time, you cannot be certain that you are clean from Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). Protect both of you by using condoms.

Condoms are great for protecting against pregnancy if used properly, although pregnancy isn’t an issue for everyone.

If you are part of a couple and are planning on having sex, (where you and your partner have given enthusiastic consent) why not go shopping for condoms together? It can ramp up the anticipation, you get the right size, and the brand you both prefer.

If you plan on getting together with a one-night stand, (I’m not judging, have consensual fun as adults!) you should have a condom with you, whether you are a male or female. You can’t assume that your partner will have thought of it, or have the right size, or know that you have a latex allergy. (If you’re a homosexual female, condoms can still come in handy. Read here about how to transform one into a dental dam!)

If you’re allergic to latex, there are several options available:

  1. Polyurethane condoms
    • longer shelf life than latex condoms, no scent, not as sensitive to temperature
    • transfer heat between skin and condom better
    • thinner, and less elastic, so you should use water or silicone based lube to avoid breakage
    • Trojan Supra is one such condom
  2. Polyisoprene condoms
    • synthetic latex material that does not produce the allergen
    • stretchier and more resistant to breakage
    • pair well with water and silicone based lubricants, but DO NOT use oil based
    • Lifestyles SKYN is one such condom
  3. FC2 female condom
    • strong, thin, flexible nitrile sheath
    • fits inside the woman before sex
      • note: I have not read anything about anal use for these condoms. Not recommended.
    • will fit any size of penis
    • FC2 is one such female condom
  4. Natural skin condoms
    • also known as sheep skin condoms
    • these condoms are NOT good enough to prevent STIs, as they are very porous, but will prevent pregnancy
    • completely biodegradable
    • transfers heat well, and can barely feel it
    • note: an odour is noticeable from these condoms, as they are made from an animal byproduct
    • Trojan NaturaLamb is one such condom

Use only one condom at a time. Two condoms, even one male and one female, will cause friction and break. Not can, will.

Also, when you are done with your condom, please throw it out in the garbage!

Story time! When my husband and I first moved into our house a year and a half ago, we noticed that the master bathroom sink was leaking. We finally found the source of the leak: the stopper had scraped its way through the metal of the pipe at the back! We bought a new pipe and stopper and replaced it (with my dad’s help). When we took out the old pipe, we found a very old, blackened condom that hadn’t been able to get past the stopper and was blocking the pipe! Gross!

Moral of the story is: throw your condoms in the garbage, NOT down the sink or in the toilet! If you’re trying to hide its use from your parents/kids/friends, you should buy Blush: A Card Game when it comes out, to open communication lines and remove the taboo surrounding sex! But seriously, if you’re trying to hide the evidence, wrap it in a tissue and stuff it in the bottom of the garbage can.

While you’re checking out condoms, check out the cool new Star Wars condoms! Are you a Sith or a Jedi? Either way, protect yourself!


References

http://www.yourtango.com/experts/lucky-bloke/4-fantastic-alternatives-latex-condoms-expert
http://www.sexualityandu.ca/stis-stds/how_do_i_protect_myself_from_stis_stds/male-condom
http://www.sexualityandu.ca/stis-stds/how_do_i_protect_myself_from_stis_stds/female-condom
http://www.sexualityandu.ca/en/health-care-professionals/contraception-birth_control_methods/condoms

Blush: Oral Sex

So far we have received almost three digits worth of questions, but I’m greedy, and I want more! Ask us your anonymous questions here!

I thought for a long time about whether I should include topics like this one. Then I realized that this is the entire point of this project. We need to discuss topics that make us uncomfortable in order to erase the stigma that surrounds them. And oral sex needs to be discussed especially, because of the dangers that come with it.

Representing cunilingus: a cream pie.
Representing cunnilingus: a cream pie.
Representing fellatio: the peeled banana.
Representing fellatio: the peeled banana.

Question

What’s so dangerous about oral sex?

Answer

Oral sex is dangerous if you don’t use protection. People are less likely to use protection for oral sex because you aren’t going to get pregnant. Barriers like condoms and dental dams protect against more than pregnancy though; they protect us from sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Not all STIs show visual symptoms, including HIV. Until you and your partner are certain that neither of you have an STI (testing is fairly simple in North America), use a barrier to prevent transmission.

Question

What sort of barriers are you talking about? I hate the taste of latex – I don’t want to use it!

Answer

Condoms (for fellatio) and dental dams (for cunnilingus) are standard use items. If you don’t happen to have a dental dam handy, a condom can easily be turned into one using some easy steps. A natural rubber latex sheet is also safe to use, as are latex gloves.

I’m resisting the urge to say that if you don’t like the taste of latex, don’t give oral sex. No-one is forcing you to give oral, and if they are, you should reconsider being with that person.

However, here are some actual tips:

  1. Buy flavoured condoms or dental dams. Dental dams are fairly new to the market, but they still have one or two flavours. Sex shops might have them in more.
  2. Use flavoured lubricant. You should be using water-based lube on the side of the latex that it touching skin anyways, and you can add some on the other side to remove the taste of the latex (somewhat. It’s not perfect.).

Do NOT flip the dental dam over and use the other side once it has been used on one side. I think that goes without saying, but there you go. I said it anyways.

DO hold the dental dam in place with your hands. It doesn’t do you any good if it moves around.

Be safe, and have fun.


References

http://www.sexualityandu.ca/stis-stds/how_do_i_protect_myself_from_stis_stds/dental_dam
http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/risk/oralsex.html

Blush: Prostates

So far we have received almost three digits worth of questions, but I’m greedy, and I want more! Ask us your anonymous questions here!

Have you noticed lately that men have been growing mustaches and/or beards for Movember this month? My dad is growing a beard to support a friend, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Movember - grow a mustache or beard to support Prostate Cancer research. Image from www.francoischarron.com/
Movember – grow a mustache or beard to support Prostate Cancer research. Image from www.francoischarron.com/

Questions:

What is a prostate? Should I be worried about prostate cancer?

Answers:

A prostate is a smallish gland located, in biological males, in between the bladder and the penis. I found this anatomy slider incredibly useful in understanding where everything is. (Link is not particularly safe for work – there is a flaccid penis.) It surrounds the urethra, and during ejaculation, it releases a nourishing and protective fluid that helps the sperm travel through the urethra.

Prostate cancer is like any other cancer; cells that should replenish themselves normally go haywire and reproduce themselves so quickly (and abnormally) that they end up causing a tumour. These cells will also eventually travel to other parts of the body, and this is when it gets difficult to treat.

Should I be worried about it happening to me?

If you’re biologically female, no. If you’re biologically male, well, that’s why you should get tested by your doctor regularly. As with PAP tests checking for cervical cancer for people with a cervix, people with a prostate should be tested for prostate cancer.

There  are some things that will make you more likely to get prostate cancer (each type of cancer has the typical causes list: mesothelioma resources, breast cancer predisposition, etc). The older you are (over 50), the more likely you are to get it. Having family history of this type of cancer means you are more likely to get it (check also: Mesothelioma Explained). And, apparently, if you are ethnically African or Caribbean. Overweight, or not having a healthy diet, may also contribute (although I feel like doctors say that for everything).

Signs and Symptoms

“Common signs and symptoms of prostate cancer may include:

  • Difficulty urinating
  • Urgent need to urinate
  • Frequent urination, especially at night
  • Burning or pain when urinating
  • Inability to urinate or difficulty starting or stopping urine flow
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Blood in the urine or semen

Symptoms are not always present especially in the early stages of prostate cancer. If detected and treated in its earliest stages (when cells are only in the prostate), your chances of survival are greatly increased. Early detection is key.” (Source quoted directly, due to the importance of the topic.)

What sort of testing will I have to go through?

This really depends on your doctor, but there are three main testing methods that might be used.

  1. Digital Rectal Exam – This is exactly what it sounds like. Your doctor will lube up his finger and insert it into the anus. He will feel for abnormalities on the surface of the prostate.
  2. PSA Blood Test – The blood test will look for a protein that only the prostate makes in your blood.
  3. Biopsy – This is only done if the doctor finds an abnormality in previous tests. They will refer you to a urologist to take a sample of the prostate to determine if the abnormality is, in fact, cancerous.

Final Thoughts

Biologically male or female, prostate cancer can affect you, either directly or indirectly. Tell the men in your life (or yourself, if you are male) to talk to their doctors about getting tested. Mild discomfort for a few minutes could save their (or your) lives. And if you’re reading this, I care about you. So please, talk to your doctor about prostate cancer!


References

http://www.webmd.com/urinary-incontinence-oab/picture-of-the-prostate
http://www.prostatecancer.ca/prostate-cancer#.Vkvjl36rTIV
https://ca.movember.com/mens-health/prostate-cancer