I’m probably going to get a bit of shit from various people in my life over some of the things in this post. Probably deservedly.
Tale from a while ago- me and my (at the time) housemate were talking about gynecologist appointments, and specifically that she had never had a pap smear. We shall call her Housemate 1. Another housemate came in, and we shall call her housemate 2. Housemate 2 started giving 1 shit about being as old as we all were, and not ever getting a pap smear or any gynecologist appointments. She was talking about how even if 2 wasn’t sexually active yet, it is important to know health levels before getting involved with someone. 2 kept getting me and my sexual health knowledge on her side. Except 1 knew very well I have never had a pap smear.
I have never had a pap smear or seen a gynecologist.
Consider the quantity I talk about sexual health, many people are surprised by this.
This past week I went to my annual appointment to check in about testosterone and how my body is reacting. It was difficult enough for me to sit down and talk to an entirely new nurse practitioner about a bunch of stuff, and I do mean new NP as she was a student NP and working under people at my clinic. She brought up the pap smear, and later, when my doc walked in, he did to. Actually, when I emailed him about my most recent refill he said he wanted me in both for my annual check up and to talk to me about a pap smear.
I got an ultimatum. He said he would refill my T for the following year, to the day, with no problems. But no further. Push came to shove, if I don’t go through with it in the next year I either have to 1-find a new doc or 2- go off T.
Neither of these are really options for me. So, I’m going to suck it up and deal. Considering that I get STI testing on an annual basis, that I blog about sexuality all the time, that I talk about sexual health all the time, that I’ve been a peer sex educator, and everything else I do, it is rather surprising that this rather basic aspect of my health I neglect. Apparently, I come by it naturally. My mom’s gynecologist has to threaten her with no longer prescribing birth control to get my mom in for an appointment (as my mom has gone through menopause, to her this means getting cut off from hormones. We bonded over this.)
It isn’t actually a pressing issue in that I’m not what most people in the medical professions define as very “sexually active.” In medical terms, I don’t have penis-in-vagina sex. Of the types of sex I do have and enjoy, they haven’t happened all that often recently. For someone a sex blogger, I’ve had remarkably little sex recently. Then again, I’ve also blogged very little recently. One did not cause the other, more like they are two effects of similar causes, but I digress. I was talking about gynecological appointments and pap smears. Right.
I know the importance. I watched Buck Angel’s awesome “Public Cervix Announcement” last year when it popped up on YouTube. But it is damn hard to get me to set up an appointment for T, which I adore, let alone for shit I really REALLY don’t want to deal with. I’ve been without glasses for a year and a half because I’d need to set up an appointment to get a new prescription. How the hell am I supposed to deal with a pap smear?
My doctor is essentially blackmailing me. And he’s right.
It isn’t just things like body and gender dysphoria that keep me from dealing. That just makes it awkward. Beyond that, as much as I’ve dealt with shit regarding my past and sexual assault, a person I’m not involved with examining me triggers my anxiety. Thinking about it, gets me fidgeting. Talking about it, with my doctor, in a doctor’s office? I was twitchy, anxious, and unable to look at my doctor while talking in an attempt to keep my breathing regular and not deal with an anxiety attack.
In a bit over two months, I’m going to confront and deal. Maybe I’ll manage to stay calm. Maybe after I’ll need to go curl up in a small dark room, shaking, crying, and getting a migraine.
If he didn’t tell me he’d stop refilling my T I probably wouldn’t be dealing with having to get a pap. Even though the deadline is a year off the reality of the deadline spurs me to action. So, I’m dealing. And I have about two months to decide if I want him to get me a one or two pill script for anxiety meds. It says a lot that I am seriously considering it.
Yeah. For the first time ever I am seriously considering taking medication for what is technically a mental health issue (anxiety.) Time to deal with that thought as well.
First of all, the ingredients. It is water based, so safe to use with all safer sex materials and toys, and is glycerin free (yay!) but does have parabens (sad face.) Good for me, but if you are sensitive to parabens, probably not the lube for you. (Also, it has Aloe, which I can never quite figure out what it does besides soothe sunburns.)
My favorite part about Pink Water is definite the dispenser. I love when there is no fiddling around with a lid to get more lube, just push down and there it is in your hand. Other than that, I’m not big on the packaging. I’m not really a pink person, and the gendered packaging that Empower Products has for Pink and Gun Oil bothers me (because they gender those two in a stereotypical way.) Pink Water does not have to specifically be gendered, but it says “water-based lubricant for Women.” Pink does not automatically mean women! (Although, my main association with the color pink is CodePink… but that is another story.) But the branding and the parabens are probably the only two problems I have with it.
Because I really do enjoy this lube. I like the texture, the thickness, and I think it lasts a lot longer than the sliquid lube I use most often. It is definitely thicker and has more cushion than the sliquids I’ve tried (that would be most) and it lasts nicely for a water based lube. Also, like other water based lubes, when it dries out, water, more lube, or saliva will reinvigorate it.
There isn’t any smell, which is nice; however, the taste isn’t so great. It tastes a bit bitter, though I personally think it is better than Maximus on that front, it definitely does not have Maximus’ cushion. But I like the texture better because it definitely feels like a water based lube. It feels like water, just in a thicker, more cushioned way.
Lube was something I never used to need much of, because until I started on testosterone, I didn’t need it very often. Now though? It’s become important. And it does feel great to use. So, if you aren’t sensitive to parabens, and are looking for a good water-based lube, I’d highly recommend Pink Water.
Thank you Fascinations!
So, you have some ideas about what to do with that lovely other cunt-owning new partner, you’ve played around, but… to quote the fabulous movie Better Than Chocolate, “What’s with all those toys?” Actually, this is still a continuation from the last two weeks’ question:
How do two girls have sex? (Or… two people with cunts)
Because “lesbian sex” is very associated with toys, I figured I’d go into a bit about said toys. The reason there are so many toys great for cunt owners could be because of our society’s obsession with dicks, and so not having one requires “more” effort, ingenuity, or something. I’d like to think it is because we’ve gotten really inventive and are having a blast making toys.
Maybe your partner really enjoys you rubbing their clit, but after an hour your hand is tired. This is why vibrators were invented (well, sorta.) There are a wide range of vibrators great for getting them off, from the super-intense hitachi to the cute caterpillar.
Yeah, I’m amused by it. Anyways, a very important issue with vibrators is the intensity. Too light, and you can’t feel anything. Too much, and it can be painful or distracting. A recommendation I’ve heard is turn on the vibratory and touch it to the tip of your nose. If you sneeze, it is too intense. I don’t find this particularly useful myself, finding that I prefer something stronger than that, though usually less intense than the hitachi, so a variable speed vibe is often a great investment. That way, you can pick up the intensity or lighten up depending on the day and what you and your partner feel like.
Then there are the dildos. They come in all shapes and sizes and colors, but I would say the most important thing is the material (see below.) Dildos can be realistic, in color, hardness, etc, or they can be delightfully non realistic. You can pick your prefered size, color, texture… so if realistic dildos sketch you out (I was on the border of being squicked by them for years) you can get something that only has a superficial resemblance to a bio-cock. As far as sizing goes, there are two considerations, (insertable) length and width. It is better to er on the side of too long than too short, because you can always not slide it in all the way, but it is not fun to have too little length. Width depends, some people are “size queens” and love something very thick. Personally, I’m set with the small end of the pure wand, so I prefer the narrower range of toys. It just depends on the person. Shape matters a lot. If your partner enjoys g-spot or c-spot stimulation, something with a nice curve is probably up your alley (like said aforementioned pure wand.) Some people like their dildos textured, others smooth. That is also where material is a good thing. Some can even be worn strapped on.
Strap on harnesses have two main styles. They either come in G-string style, which look a lot like thong underwear, or two-strap style, which look like a jock strap. They range in materials, leather, fake leather, rubber, latex, etc. I’d recommend something that feels comfortable to you. Though a lot of people seem to love the g-string style, I like the two string because it enables a lot more access to the wearer’s cunt while they are wearing the harness. You can also tie a rope harness, if you happen to have rope around but no harness (great for those of us who like bondage.) The other advantage to rope is that you can make it according to your size, whereas bought harnesses do not fit all body sizes and types, so pay attention when buying.
There are also ‘harnesses’ for other areas of the body, from hand harnesses, so you don’t have to grip the dildo, to thigh harnesses, making grinding against a person’s leg even more delightfully fun. Keep an open mind is all, as some people can be rather taken aback the first time they encounter a chin harness.
In addition to dildos, there are anal specific toys. The most important, basic rule of ass toys is that they need a flange on the end. Something to stop the toy from continuing to get pulled up into your ass. The ER doctors have probably seen it before, but do you really want to be that person who went to the ER for shoving something up their ass and getting it stuck? Not to mention, such things can tear the lining of your intestine. So, make sure it has a flange! Also, see below on material safety. Butt plugs come in a variety of materials and sizes, go for what sounds good to you and your partner. If the person being penetrated hasn’t done much or any ass play before, start small, go slow, and use lots of lube. As in, go overboard. Better than too little, really. Anyways, in addition to butt plugs and dildos, there are also anal beads, which when pulled out can simulate orgasm sensations, thus a large part of their appeal. Make sure however, that the beads are connected by silicone or other safe material. Beads strung together on actual string is a terrible plan, as all kinds of nasty bugs can lodge in the string.
With all toys, however, you need to pay attention to the material that it is made out of. Sex toys are best when made from non-porous, non-toxic, and phthalate free. Such materials include medical grade silicone, metal, and glass. Now, sex toys shouldn’t be porous because then they are not able to be disinfected, which means you can pick up not only STIs, but also yeast infections, or even a cold. Non-toxic toys ought to be used for the very simple reason that toxic materials should not be in contact with your body, let alone genitals, and soft mucous membranes such as the inside of a cunt. Phthalates are a specific type of toxic material that has been banned from children’s toys in the US, so making sure a toy is specifically phthalate free goes a long way for the toxicity problems.
Metal and glass both have the advantage of being incredibly smooth, meaning that much less lube goes a long way. They are often very pretty as well. However, they have zero yield, and though it is often a boon to some people, the hardness can be both too intense and no as much fun for others. Also, it can be easy to bruise with them. Silicone ranges in hardness, from traditionally very hard silicone toys, to the delightfully giving Vixskin. One other quick thing about material is that it is a bad plan to use silicone lube with silicone toys. The lube will alter the toy in bad ways, creating a ‘melting’ sort of effect. Just something to watch out for.
Material is not the only place to be extra careful about safety. There are a few very important things to keep in mind. First of all, never take a toy directly out of someone’s ass and shove it in their cunt. The toy needs to be cleaned off first! If you don’t want to have to clean toys? Use condoms. It is a great, effective, and easy way to share toys between holes, and between partners in a quick manner without having to boil or bleach said toys each time.
Maybe though you prefer sensation play. A feather can be a great sex toy, as can soft fur, or a nice flogger. The limit on what can be a sex toy is mostly limited by your imagination and preferences. Open mindedness and creativity really pay off.
So, that is a brief overview of sex toys. There is so much to say, I’m going to leave it at that, but if you want to know more, try finding a good, sex positive store in your location. You can not just browse, but ask questions, get help, and even fondle the toys you’re looking at! There are great stores in Seattle, San Fransisco, Denver, New York, Chicago, Madison (WI), Baltimore, and plenty others! Definitely worth investigating.
Am I actually on the fourth one of these? Really? Damn time flies. Anyway, for this week, I’m going to cover something very basic, very important, and useful for all kinds of fun sexual activity.
What kind of lube should I use?
Well, it depends on what you are doing, what you want, and a lot is just plain personal preference. So experiment! Try different lubes! I’d recommend looking at places like Babeland, Good Vibrations, Fascinations, A Woman’s Touch, Sugar, Early to Bed, Smitten Kitten, and other such sex positive places.
I’m writing this entry, because sex is messy and fun, and frankly, I want more of this:
And less of this:
No matter how pretty the desert is, not exactly what is best for maintaining your fun and your body’s health.
Most of the lubes you find in the drugstore fall under this category, but not all water based lubes are made the same. If you are someone who owns a cunt, watch out for water based lubes with glycerine (a type of sugar.) Sugar + cunt = yeast infections. Or at least, an increased risk for them. For people prone to yeast infections, avoid lubes with glycerine in it (such as most KY, Astroglide, and a lot of flavored lubes.) Another thing to be careful about is whether or not there are parabens in the lube, which beyond having some potential carcinogenic properties, some people are allergic to them. And most people don’t want an allergic reaction when you’re getting down, do you?
Now, for more fun discussions. Water based lube is great for playing with cunts, and often for anal play as well. But, as is obvious above, not all water based lubes are made equal, so what you use is based in part on what you’re doing and what you like. For instance, if you’re going down on someone maybe you are looking for a glycerine free, flavored lube (that is actually a vegan, gluten-free, glycerine and paraben-free lube. Try it, S will testify to it being tasty.)
Regardless, there are two key things I’d say to think about with water based lube. 1- How thick do you want it? (sometimes thicker is better, sometimes you want something more light and slick.) 2- Do you want it to sink into your skin (and essentially moisturize) or to stay right at the spot you put it and stay slick? Moisturizing lubes are great for long-term health of the skin but sometimes you need the lube to stay right THERE.
For a thicker water based lube (which is great for anal play) try checking out Maximus. For a lube that moisturizes, and even will leave your cunt feeling better after than it did before, try Liquid Silk. If you’re avoiding chemicals like parabens, Sliquid Organics are often really good. Actually, I’m a big fan of just basic Sliquid H2O, which is also paraben free.
Silicone Based Lube:
If you are not playing with silicone condoms, dams, or toys, silicone lube may well be the way to go. The reason for this is that they melt the surface of silicone, or even a lot of other rubber materials, so be careful. It is totally safe though for latex (condoms, toys, or clothes.) They don’t use glycerine, so that is all happy.
Silicone lube is often prefered for anal play, because it tends to be thicker (and is still condom safe.) Even more important, silicone does not absorb into the skin, so it often lasts a lot longer than other lubes, while still being safe for condoms and gloves, and the thickness is nice. Some people can have reactions to silicone, and some people (like S) just aren’t very fond of it, so try it out and see what you think!
If you want to use lube that tastes good , silicone is not the way to go. Unlike a lot of water based lubes, silicone doesn’t taste that bad, but it also doesn’t have the delectable varieties of flavors out there. Unflavored, silicone aces. Tasty? Not so much.
Another time silicone is better flat out than water based lube is in a situation with water. If you are playing in water, water based lube will dissolve. Seems obvious maybe, but important. Generally be careful about playing in water, but if you are going to do it, and are going to use lube, use silicone. It will stay on much better.
I don’t have that much experience with silicone lube, but that is in large part because when I use lube it is usually in conjunction with toys. However, the from the times I have used it, it can be fun, with a really nice cushion!
For masturbation with a bio-dicks: Admittedly, this is no where NEAR my area of expertise, but I have done a lot of general research and I’ve heard good things about Gun Oil (it’s a silicone lube, so not with toys!) and Stroke 29 (an oil lube, so not with condoms or cunts.) Stroke 29 has intrigued me since I heard about it, apparently around the 29th stroke it completely changes texture. Hmmm, maybe I should find a boy to play with and use this? Regardless, this is where oil based lubes are actually viable, as they should never be used with condoms or with a cunt.
So when should you use lube? It can be helpful in all kinds of circumstances. Masturbation can be far more pleasant with the added slickness, regardless of any body type. Penetrative sex is much easier and more pleasant with lube, especially if it is either a dry-ish cunt or an ass being penetrated… then lube goes from being fun to being an important part of safe sex. With oral sex, lube can be a fun addition, from sensitizing the underside of a dental dam, to adding a fun flavor to a cock (silicone or bio.) Actually, putting just a little (and here little is important) on the inside tip of a condom can greatly increase the pleasure.
- Amazon.com often has good lube for cheap. Investigate what you want to try, and then order from amazon and you can often get free shipping.
- The lubes you can buy at most drugstores are usually pretty terrible. There are FAR better ones out there, use those. If you don’t know what those are, ask helpful people (like me! or people at sex positive stores…)
- Silicone lube should never be used with either silicone toys or condoms/dental dams. Pay attention to your materials.
- Oil lube should never be used with latex ANYTHING (be it condoms, dams, or clothes) nor should it ever come near a cunt.
- Water based lube often have glycerine. Be careful.
- Experiment, figure out what you like… but most of all
- HAVE FUN!
Another GREAT resource to check out is from A Woman’s Touch, which is a fabulous sex positive store in WI. The have a wonderful brochure that covers all kinds of information, and their .pdf version has this fabulous table on it:
It covers even some of those more common, pretty terrible, lubes. Though, it is important to note that Astroglide has come out with a glycerine free lube. My own personal theory is that since Astroglide has been sponsoring Tristan Taormino, she convinced them to come out with a glycerine free lube. Maybe not, but I’d like to think that about her.
Another quick thing, there has apparently been a study done that says that certain lubes may increase risk for HIV/STI transmission. Charlie Glickman has a great response to this study. The study missed a LOT, and didn’t seem to in any way accurately compare what effects lube has compared to the tearing that happens when people don’t use lube for anal sex. So it is something to keep on the radar, but also not something to be particularly afraid of.
Regardless, I think I should leave with this quote from my friend Q, on my introducing her to new lubes, like Liquid Silk: “You are a life saver… I had amazing sex last night.”
For this week’s AwaA, something a little different… Sparked by a conversation with my mother, I realized that this is a question that I have been asked, but actually wish people would ask it a lot more. Okay, so maybe it is two questions.
How do you use a dental dam? What do you do if you don’t have a dental dam around?
Some of the most frustratingly unpleasant and incurable STIs are capable of being transmitted through oral sex, even without symptoms. At least there is now a vaccine for HPV, but herpes remains a very present unpleasantness. (For the record, oral and genital herpes are separate viruses, and a person can get both or either on their genitals AND mouth.)
This is not just about safe sex, this is about fun and pleasurable safe sex. Dental dams are useful on not just cunts, but assholes as well. So, if you are into licking a person’s cunt, or their asshole, knowing about dental dams is important.
First of all, if you don’t have a dental dam around, there are some quick and easy ways to create one. The first is non-microwaveable cling (aka Saran) wrap. Non-microwavable is actually important, as the kind you can use in the microwave has microscopic holes, which means STIs can get through the barrier. Just rip a strip of it off, and you are good to go. Another easy solution is to cut up a condom. First, cut off the tip, then cut it in half (the long ways). If you have gloves around, there are a few ways to cut them up to make them into a dam. One is to cut off the three middle fingers, and then when you use it you can stick your thumbs into the glove for a nice hold. Another is to cut off the four fingers, leaving the thumb, and then cut up the pinky side. This has the advantage of the thumb can be used to stick your tongue through.
Now that you have your dental dam, be it bought or made, it is time to use it!
- Use a new dam each time.
- Do not flip the dam over partway through, that defeats the purpose of using one at all.
- Similarly, don’t share dams. (aka if person A is going down on person B and C, person A should not use the same dam on B and C.)
Spread the dam over the part of the body you are going to be licking. Make sure to hold both sides of the dam the entire time. A really good thing to do is to put some lube on the dam (not the side you’re licking…) to increase the sensation. For me, a large part of the fun of having someone go down on me is the wetness, lubricant is good for that. Be careful that you use lubes that are safe with the material of the dam you are using, which is the same as for lube/condom compatibility. No oil lubes, keep silicone lube away from silicone dams, etc. Also, if you are use a dam on someone with a cunt who is prone to yeast infections, be careful not to use lube with glycerine.
If you aren’t fond of the taste of the material, there are either flavored lubes (be careful because many of these have glycerine) and there are actually flavored dental dams. As a side note, mint flavored dams can function as a breath mint in case you happen to have a dam and no mints or gum. Also, if you made the dam from a condom, if it was prelubricated then you also have the taste of that lube to consider.
The basic idea is just the simple “put over body, go to town.” But the dam, like any barrier, changes sensations. Even with lube, it won’t feel the same, so you may need to adjust your technique. This also means that the person receiving should GIVE FEEDBACK. Now, maybe this is just me, but if you tell me what is and is not working, I find it a lot easier to give more pleasure, and it is really damn hot.
Also, there are apparently dental dam harnesses you can buy or make…
Now, I’ve never used one of those, but hey, it could be fun! Another important thing to consider is if you are using both oral and penetrative methods, make sure you don’t ruin your carefulness with oral sex by not wearing gloves on your hands, or a condom.
So, the next time you decide to go down on someone, or have someone go down on you, consider both your own health and theirs. You can pass stuff without knowing you even have it. Also, if you’re rimming someone, it is can be really easy to catch all kinds of things. Dental dams can be a lot of fun, if you have some practice, and figure out what kind you and your partner like best.
As usual, any feedback is welcome!
EDIT- Turns out, with saren wrap it doesn’t matter if it is the microwaveable kind or not. The difference is that pores open up in the microwaveable type, which would be an issue, except our bodies don’t get up to such high temperatures. So yeah, knock yourselves out!