Blush: Masturbation

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!


What is masturbation? What are the risks?

Yes!! I managed to find an image that was SFW that still brings the idea of masturbation to mind. Success!


Masturbation is when a person derives pleasure from touching oneself, either their entire body and/or specifically their sex organs. Orgasm does not have to be the primary goal of masturbation.

Positives to masturbation

Planned Parenthood did a superb job of covering this, so I’m just going to summarize a few points here.

Masturbation is great for your mental and physical health. You become more aware of your body’s needs and how you can meet them.  People who masturbate are also more likely to protect themselves against STIs, because they are more comfortable with their bodies and the idea of sex, they are more likely to discuss protection with their partner. Also, they become familiar with what turns them on, and are able to communicate that to their partner when they have one.


In my research, I have found two main risks to masturbating.

1. Irritation

This one is easy to solve. Use lube. Saliva works well, water based lubricants are safe, and there are some oil based lubricants out there as well. If you are using a toy (a topic for another week), be sure to ask the staff at the store that you bought it (or read the packaging) what kind of lubes are safe to use with it. Some toys should not be used in combination with oil based lubricants.

2. Shame and Guilt

This is a little more difficult to deal with. Since masturbation is considered a taboo subject, a lot of people have heard negative things about it while growing up. This translates into guilt and/or shameful feelings bubbling to the surface. This can threaten our health and mental well-being. The best way to shake the guilt is to talk about it with a trusted friend, doctor, or therapist. Masturbating is all about feeling good and happy. Get rid of the negativity!

Wow…I managed to bring communication into a topic that focuses on a single person. Seems like it’s a pretty big deal, doesn’t it?


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.

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. Parents will feel much comfortable and will be willing to teach children about effective contraceptives and sites like, which explain in detail their reviews. This will help not just be a conversation starter for a comfortable environment but will also be a major help for the upcoming future.

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

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    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!


    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.