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: Blue Balls

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 was asked “Are blue balls a real thing?”, and since I talked about women’s bodies last time, I thought I should discuss something to do with men’s bodies this week.

Blue balls. Great for yoga. Image from www.menshealth.com

Answer: Yes, it is, but possibly not as you’ve heard it described.

Urbandictionary.com provides the description that I have heard the most often, that the testicles swell to the size of coconuts, that the pain is horrible, and that it’s all the woman’s fault and she should suck it up (yes, I punned there) and do the job right.

Believe me, this is NOT my opinion on blue balls, and I am so grateful that it is also not the correct one.

Blue balls, or Epididymal hypertension to give it the scientific name, is an aching that is felt after an arousal that does not culminate in orgasm. (Btw, women can also feel this ache in their pelvis if they don’t achieve orgasm!)

I’m going to get a little technical now. Or rather, I am going to quote an article from UCSB Sex Info. “When a man becomes sexually aroused, the arteries that carry blood to his genitals enlarge, while the veins that leave the genital area constrict, allowing less blood to escape. This uneven rate of blood flow increases the quantity and pressure of blood flow and traps it in the genital area. This pressure is responsible for producing an erection and making the testes swell to be 25-50% larger than their normal size. If an orgasm is achieved, the blood vessels will return to their normal size and the volume of blood in the genitals quickly returns to its normal level. By contrast, if a man does not have an orgasm, blood in the genitals builds up through a process called vasocongestion and may create sensations of heaviness, aching, or discomfort.”

Explanation of vasoconstriction. Image from www.soc.ucsb.edu

Since blood that has no oxygen (deoxygenated blood) is blue in colour, which is why all your veins look blue, there *might* be a slight blue tinge to the testicles. According to menshealth.com, the testicles should only change colour if erectile dysfunction drugs are involved, or if something is restricting the blood flow (eg string or plastic ring). Also, this colour should fade as the blood starts to flow again, and if it persists, the man should see their doctor.

But what about the pain? Isn’t it horribly painful?

I do not have testicles, so I cannot talk from personal experience. However, I am told that the ache felt from not ejaculating is minor to moderate, and doesn’t last long. Like I said above, once the blood starts to flow again (read: once you lose your erection) the ache will go away.

Treatment: The treatment for epididymal hypertension is simple: either achieve orgasm/ejaculation, or wait for the erection to go away. The important thing to remember is that it is not your partner’s responsibility to take care of your problem. If they want to, great! If they don’t want to, don’t pressure them! Communication will help you in this scenario. Explain what you are feeling, let them know there is no pressure, find out if you should leave the room to take care of the situation on your own if they are uncomfortable, and so on.

Note: If your testicles are in pain, you should see a doctor. There is no reason for you to be hurting just because you didn’t achieve orgasm. If your testicles remain blue, you should see a doctor. As mentioned above, colour change is rare, and should definitely fade once blood is circulating again.


References

http://www.menshealth.com/sex-women/science-blue-balls
http://www.soc.ucsb.edu/sexinfo/article/epididymal-hypertension-blue-balls

 

Blush: Hymens

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 have heard a lot of misinformation about hymens in the past. Why is it there? Why does it tear? If it’s torn, does that mean I’m no longer a virgin? (Virginity will be covered another day.)

I needed a picture that wasn’t a hymen. This made me laugh.

Allow me to educate you about hymens.

The purpose of a hymen: doctors are uncertain, but they have postulated some theories. Leftover skin from embryonic development, protective layer to help prevent germs and dirt from entering the female infant’s vagina and causing infections, and to help prevent accidental insertion of objects when the girl is young.

The life cycle of a hymen: The hymen appears (and sometimes disappears before birth) during genital development (but sometimes there won’t be one at all). By the time of the girl’s first period, there should be an opening, or else the menstrual fluid will back up inside the vagina, causing problems. A doctor should be seen if there is a case of imperforate, septate, or microperforate hymen! The natural degradation of the hymen will vary depending on the girl. What is left over is called the hymen ring, and is made up of scar tissue.

Some variations of hymen. Picture from www.youngwomenshealth.org

“Breaking” or “tearing” the hymen: Rigorous activity such as horseback riding, dancing, etc can break or tear the hymen, and the girl may not even notice that it happened. (Or, in my case, you can be pulled, badly, into the pool. I noticed.) However, some hymens are flexible, and even after penetration by tampon, menstrual cup, etc, may not break or tear. Breaking or tearing happens because the hymen hasn’t degraded “fast” enough. For example, a girl with a hymen that still partially covers her opening decides she would like to use tampons during her period. The tampon tears the hymen a little upon removal. She doesn’t really notice, because the hymen doesn’t have many nerve endings, and any small amount of blood mixes in with her menstrual blood.


Why do I keep hearing about “pushing past the barrier” and “the breaking of the hymen” with regards to sexual intercourse?

Great question. This brings up the cultural concept of virginity, which is a whole post by itself (and more of an opinion than factual at this point) and that the first time a husband penetrates his wife there should be pain and blood. Sounds horrendous.

To quickly answer this question, this comes back to communication with your partner about sex. If the woman is anxious about having sex, her body is more likely to be tense, which will make intercourse painful and might cause bleeding (and possibly tearing of the hymen). This can happen the first time, the second time, or even the fiftieth time she has intercourse. The physical barrier in this case is muscle, not the hymen. The attribution of bleeding and pain to the breaking of the hymen is a myth that can sometimes become true, like a self-fulfilling prophecy.

UNLESS the woman has a imperforate, septate, or microperforate hymen! There will likely be pain when inserting a tampon, let alone having intercourse, and they should go see a doctor immediately. They will help you.

My opinion (not fact) on this matter: We have been culturally trained to believe that the women’s first time having intercourse will be painful. We have also been told that women traditionally don’t enjoy (or aren’t supposed to enjoy) having intercourse. (Thank goodness this opinion is changing.) We are also taught to believe that any blood is from the tearing of the hymen, which we are told will be painful. A woman who is about to have intercourse for the first time has all these thoughts/beliefs running through her head. What do you think she might be feeling? Anxious and nervous! She thinks her first time will be painful, and she’s mentally preparing herself for that, and her body is tensing. There is a physical, as well as an emotional, barrier in place. (Again, assuming she has a normal hymen. If she has any of the other types, she should see her doctor.)

Let’s look at the male now. It is entirely possible that this male knows exactly what to do to put the woman’s mind at ease. He may know how to get her to relax physically. But what if he doesn’t? It’s likely he’s nervous, too. He’s been told the same things about the woman’s first time being painful. Presumably, he doesn’t want to hurt her, but he doesn’t necessarily know how to help her, either.

On top of the woman being nervous about pain, we’ve now got the male being nervous about causing her pain. If she doesn’t relax, and he isn’t gentle, then yes, the first time she has intercourse will have been painful, fulfilling the prophecy that women’s first times are painful. And the cycle continues.

How do we break this cycle? Educate yourselves! Learn about not only your own body, but that of your partner. Relax and trust your partner. And communicate with each other!


References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hymen#Development_and_histology

Hymens: Types of Hymens


http://goaskalice.columbia.edu/answered-questions/purpose-hymen
http://www.sexualityandu.ca/faqs/single/if-you-use-a-tampon-will-it-hurt-less-the-first-time-you-have-sex
http://www.sexualityandu.ca/faqs/single/does-it-hurt-a-woman-the-first-time-she-has-sex
http://www.sexualityandu.ca/faqs/single/does-every-woman-bleed-when-having-intercourse-for-the-first-time

Blush: Communication

Hello all,

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!

One common question received was: How do you know if your partner wants to have sex?

Answer: Ask them! Don’t rely on body language. Enthusiastic consent is sexy, and you can only get that verbally (or through sign language if your partner is mute). If they say yes, woo! If they say no, don’t pressure them. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your partner about sex, then you are not comfortable enough to have sex with them.

One of the sites that I recommend for more information is Sexuality and U. This link is related to today’s question.

What is Blush?

The goal of the game ‘Blush’ is to open high-quality communication about sex between parents and their adolescents. It has been found that when there is such communication present in families, the likelihood of the adolescent delaying vaginal intercourse and using contraceptives increases dramatically, as found by Karofsky, Zeng and Kosorok (2001) and Bersamin et al. (2008). A big problem with communication is the awkwardness and embarrassment that comes with talking about sex, according to Jaccard, Dittus and Gordon (2000). It is considered a stigmatized subject in most societies, and is therefore not often discussed.

‘Blush’ is designed to stimulate conversation in families. It has been proven that board games assist with promoting communication skills in families, according to Yeager (2001) and Smith and Renter (1997). The game will help parents to talk to their teenagers about sex in a non-confrontational way and make sure that they have absorbed the information. It will help adolescents to ask their parents questions, ones that they may not even know that they had.

Kirby and Miller (2002) designed programmes to promote communication about sex between parents and their teenagers. They said that a good program will have four outcomes:

(a) increase parents’ knowledge about sexual issues and also about the sexual behaviours of young people; (b) help parents understand that talking about sex to teenagers is likely to have beneficial effects, and unlikely to increase the chances that their teenagers will engage in sex; (c) help parents clarify their own values about sex and express these in ways that do not ‘turn off’ the teenager, and thus foreclose further discussion possibilities; and (d) improve parents’ skills in talking about sexuality, through increasing their comfort with the material, their listening skills and their skills in initiating discussions. (cited in Moore and Rosenthal, 2006, p 98)

‘Blush’ will achieve all four outcomes. The trivia questions will expand the knowledge background of all participants, and help open communication on various levels for both generations.

It is very important for adolescents to be able to communicate with their parents about sexuality, and this game will stimulate conversation on various topics in sexuality. Adolescents who are unaware or think they are aware of all the risks involved have a chance of getting hurt, an STI, or pregnant. Most learning programs and websites are set up for adolescents to discover the answers to their questions on their own. But if the teenager is unaware of some aspect of sexuality, they may not know what question to ask.

This game is comprised of all the topics required to give the curious mind a well-rounded description of all the topics necessary to ensure that the adolescent is well prepared for anything and everything. From the body, birth control and safety to pleasure, myths and alternate lifestyles, this game covers all the topics that parents want their children to know, and children want to know the answers to, but were too afraid to ask. The idea of coming out and asking your parents a question about sex, lubes and things like rush poppers Amazon can be intimidating, especially if your parents don’t seem to have an open mind about sex.

‘Blush’ is set up so that teenagers can get the answers to the questions they want to hear, and parents can be sure that their teen knows of all the dangers and how to be safe. As parents, they can also clearly define their values and goals for their adolescent. Not everyone feels the same way about sex before marriage, or homosexuality, and this game is not made to enforce the creator’s beliefs, but to educate. Playing this game can create a more relaxed atmosphere while talking about sex, as opposed to the dreaded ‘sex-talk’ that happens between teenagers and their parents.

Websites and books can provide most of the information given in this game, but they are geared towards one person accessing them at a time. The whole family can participate when you play this game, or teenagers can play with their friends. This provides a unique opportunity for parents or peers to provide additional information and clarification, as they see fit. Websites can also have the wrong information, and sometimes it is difficult to search through the falsities to find the truth. The questions in this game have been researched thoroughly from reliable sources such as books, journal articles and professional websites. All the information is now in one place, with easy access, for a fun experience with the whole family.

This you can buy here at https://spiceupyournight.co.uk/.


You can ask any questions you like in our anonymous ask box:

Your Name (Not Required)

Subject

Your Message

I will occasionally answer questions on the blog, if I feel like they will promote a good discussion.

I am incredibly excited to be working with Renaissance Press on this project! My dream of making this game a reality has finally come true, after seven years. I can’t wait!


References

Bersamin, M., et al. (2008). Parenting Practices and Adolescent Sexual Behaviour: A Longitudinal Study. Journal of Marriage and Family, 70(1), 97-112.

Jaccard, J., Dittus, P. J., & Gordon, V. V. (2000). Parent-teen communication about premarital sex: Factors associated with the extent of communication. Journal of Adolescent Research, 15(2), 187-208.

Karofsky, P. S., Zeng, L., & Kosorok, M. R. (2001). Relationship between adolescent-parental communication and initiation of first intercourse by adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health, 28(1), 41-45.

Moore, S., & Rosenthal, D. (2006). Sexuality in adolescence: Current trends. New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.

Smith, C. W., & Renter, S. G. (1997). The play is the thing: Using self-constructed board games in family therapy. Journal of Family Psychotherapy, 8(3), 67-72.

Yeager, M. F. (2001). Treasure time: A journey in communication and understanding. In H. G. Kaduson & C. E. Schaefer (Eds.), 101 more favorite play therapy techniques (pp. 386-389) Lanham, MD: Jason Aronson.

Sex Ed

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

It seems there’s a little bit of hubbub going on about the new Sexual Education curriculum in Ontario.

The opponents say that it’ll corrupt or hurt the innocence of children.

Those who are for it say that it’ll help educate children about sex and sexual culture. This should lead to more respectful human beings, lower pregnancy rates, and less STIs.

Read it yourself and see what you think: 2015 Ontario Health and Physical Education Curriculum (Elementary)

Sexed

If you’d rather have a summery check out these articles:

If you want to read an article about the opposition you can go here: Campaign Life Coalition: Ontario’s Radical Sex Ed Curriculum *Warning: This is an Anti-Abortion group*

I’m not sure what is causing this craziness but I’ve read the curriculum and it looks great. I think this is a great step in the right direction.

I wonder if there would be as much hate towards this change if the Premier wasn’t homosexual.

If you think this is a good cause feel free to join this event on Facebook.

If you feel strongly that children need to be educated by more than porn and misinformation than you should contact your MPP and show your support for the new curriculum.

If you want to learn more about your own sexuality check out Sexplanations on Youtube:

How do you feel about Ontario’s new Sex Ed curriculum?
Éric

Selfies and Recommendation Wednesday – Laci Green

Hello,

Today I wanted to kill two birds with one stone. Recommend an awesome person and talk about Selfies.

Selfies

A shaggy and tired Aspiring Something
A shaggy tired Aspiring Something!

There’s a lot of controversy about selfies. Some people think it’s vain and don’t understand why they exist. Others think it’s a natural expression of life.

This taps into a greater societal conditioning that has told us two contradicting things:

  1. You’re not handsome/pretty or special. Get over yourself or people will think you’re self-involved.
  2. If you want to be happy you must buy this product that will make you handsome/pretty so that people will like you

So when we see someone constantly posting their face all over their social media we react by rolling our eyes. What we should be doing is encouraging people to find what they like about themselves. Selfies can be a road to self-esteem.

I for one am all for people having more self-esteem.

Laci Green has a video that explains this way better:

Laci Green

Laci Green is an educator, councillor, youtube host, and an advocate of sex education.

She hosts the wonderful Sex+, a host of DNews, and produced A Naked Notion with Planned Parenthood.

One of the great things about Laci is her ability to express complex and often awkward concepts around sex, in a clear and entertaining fashion.

I honestly wish that she’d been around when I was first learning about sexuality.

 

What’s your stance on Selfies?

Eric