Blush: Demi-sexual

The questions have been written and sent to the editors but if you’d like something answered on this blog feel free to ask us your anonymous questions!

blush back2
Blush: A card game logo. Image by Caroline Frechette of Renaissance Press. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter!

Hello S. M. Carrière. Thank you for answering my questions today!

My pleasure!
For those who don’t know, what is demi-sexual?
A demi-sexual is someone on the asexual spectrum who requires a strong emotional bond with a prospective partner before there is any chance of sexual attraction. Which is to say, they don’t experience sexual attraction except in certain, quite particular, circumstances.  I should note here that a strong bond doesn’t necessarily equate sexual attraction, either.
How did finding out that there was a name for your sexuality affect how you saw yourself?
Honestly, the fact that there was a name for my identity gave me such a sense of relief.  I suddenly felt like I wasn’t a freak, after all.  Enough people are like me that they have a name for it, and it describes my identity almost perfectly.  It certainly has helped in giving me the language necessary to describe myself to others, and it’s a language that helps normalise my experiences.  That’s huge.  It’s helped me so much, especially in raising my self-confidence.
Are there any fictional characters you believe represent demi-sexuals in a positive way?
No, actually.  I’ve been racking my brain to find a character who is explicitly demi-sexual that I am aware of.  I can’t think of any at all. Asexuals of any stripe are wildly under-represented in media, it seems.
What kind of reaction do you like the most when people are told you are demi-sexual?
“Oh. Okay.”
Not to have your identity put under an aggressive cross-examination is refreshing, and I always feel less judged, less freakish, and less alone when the people I confess to aren’t really bothered about my sexual identity.
What kind of reaction do you dislike the most when people are told you are demi-sexual?
People can get ridiculously patronising when they find out, as if I couldn’t possibly understand my own identity as well as they understand me.  There’s usually some variation of: “Oh sweetie, you just haven’t had good experiences.”  It’s so frustrating and diminishing and, depending on who says it, quite upsetting.
I’ve also had the slimy: “Come home with me, I’ll change your mind.”  My sexual identity is not a challenge to be overcome, and acting like a sleaze is generally not conducive to forming that bond I require before I even entertain the idea of sex with someone.
Honestly, I’m not entirely sure which is worse.
Why do you think people have such strange reactions?
Not a flipping clue.  I understand not comprehending something outside of one’s experience, but acting as if asexuality and the various identities along the asexual spectrum don’t exist is really confusing to me.  Lack of comprehension should prompt questions, not outright denial.  I remain confused and bewildered by some of the reactions I’ve received.
Are there any attitudes or societal norms that are frustrating for demi-sexuals?
I cannot pretend to speak for all asexuals, but asexual erasure really bugs me.  In a culture obsessed with sex, being someone who isn’t can make things tough.  It’s tough relating to people a lot of the times.  It’s worse when people outright disbelieve you, and try to come up with all kinds of psychological reasons, or other possible explanations for your sexuality.  It’s a slap in the face, because it’s tantamount to being called a liar, or broken/wrong/somehow deficient, or that an integral part of what makes you you simply doesn’t exist.
Do you know other people in the demi- or asexual spectrum?
No, actually.  At least, none that have openly identified as demi- or asexual.
Are there any communities and support groups (either in person or online) for people discovering themselves?
I’m a huge fan of The Trevor Project, which gives information on pretty much all sexualities.  It’s where I first discovered that asexuality was a thing, and that it didn’t mean I was broken/wrong/somehow deficient.  There are a couple of great YouTube channels that cover all kinds of stuff about sex and sexuality: lacigreen (Sex+) and Sexplanations.  Watching those in the early stages of self-discovery really helped open my eyes and got me asking the right questions.  Sexplanations led me to
What is one question that you wish you could be asked about being demi-sexual?
Where can I learn more?
That would be nice.  No arguments about whether or not my identity is a real thing (it is), no sleazy propositions trying to get me to change my mind, just, “I don’t get it, where can I learn about it?”

Born in 1983 and raised in various countries around the globe, S.M. Carrière has always felt drawn to epic tales of heroes and villains.  An avid reader herself and despite always writing, she did not think of becoming an author until her final year of university, when she found herself compelled to the craft (when she ought to have been studying).  She self-published her first title, The Dying God and Other Stories, in 2011 at the urging of a friend, and has not stopped since, publishing one book each consecutive year.

Blush: Clitoris

We are filming for the Kickstarter THIS Friday, February 12th, 2016 in the Algonquin College Student Commons (E building in Ottawa) from 2:30 to 3:30 pm. Do you want to help out? Come and be in our video! We’ll be asking some easy questions and some tougher ones from the game for the video, and don’t be afraid to get the answer wrong – this is all about learning!

Also, we have a logo! Isn’t it gorgeous?

blush back2
Blush: A card game logo. Image by Caroline Frechette of Renaissance Press. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter!

I haven’t talked much about physiology yet. Let’s remedy that!


What is the clitoris?


The clinical definition is that it is the sensitive part of the female sexual organs, and it’s only function is to provide pleasure. Who knew that women were the ones that had a body part solely dedicated to pleasure!

There is a lot to be learned about the clitoris. For one thing, it’s a LOT bigger than most people think. Only a tiny portion of it is visible; the rest is hidden inside the body.

Image from Look familiar?
Image from Look familiar?

This image should look somewhat familiar to those of you who have studied anatomy in school, or if you have a penis. This is because the equivalent anatomy in a male is the penis.

Like penises (peni?), clitorises (clitori?) vary in shape, size, and colour. They also vary in amount of stimulation needed. Some women prefer direct contact, others prefer proximity.

Hope to see you on Friday!


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.


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


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
The Transgender flag. Image from
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 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 (, she updates every Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday.

Blush: Menstruation

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!

Image from
Image from


What is menstruation?


To put it simply, menstruation is when the female body sheds the lining of her uterus.

This happens for the first time in between the ages of 10 and 17. Please note that the age you get your first period does not necessarily run in your family. My grandmother was 17, her youngest daughter was 10. I was 2 months shy of 14.

The length of period can vary between 3 days and 1 week. If it is longer than this, please consult your doctor to be safe.

The lining of the uterus is built up over a 28-36 day period, to protect and nourish a fetus. If no fetus is present, the old lining is removed from the body to prepare for a new one.

Participating in continuous strenuous activity may extend the time in between your periods, and might delay you getting your first period. Being under excessive stress might extend the menstrual cycle. Not having enough to eat, or not eating healthy, might affect your period. An imbalance of hormones in your body might affect your period. Being around a group of girls for extended periods of time might cause your periods to sync.


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
Star Wars condoms? Why not? Image from


Who should buy condoms? When should they be bought?


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!


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.


What’s so dangerous about oral sex?


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.


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


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.


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

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

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, 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.



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

“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!


Hymens: Types of Hymens

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.