8 Tips for Safer, Smarter Hook Ups

Image from Bedsider

Image from Bedsider

If you’re getting it on and the getting is good, here are some ways to keep it safe.

Hooking up or “picking up” is suppose to be a fun way to explore your sexuality. And there is no shame in experiencing pleasure for pleasure sake. But as with any exploration, there is a set of basic rules that can keep you safe- both emotionally and physically.

We’re sex-positive here, so we figure if you decide hooking up is the thing for you we want to provide you with ways to do it safely and keep a smile on your face.

Here are Besider’s 8 Tips for Safer, Smarter Hook Ups.

In summary:

  • Before you hook up, get tested and know your status
  • Think and plan ahead about birth control and STI protection methods. Come prepared with more than one condom and/or sex dam
  • Always meet in public first
  • Know your boundaries and be able to communicate them clearly
  • Have an exit strategy in place in case things don’t feel right

This article was originally published on Bedsider.

BY BEDSIDER | Bedsider.org

Your friend wants to set you up on a blind date. Or you get a notification on your phone that you’ve got a match. Or you’re getting ready to go out, and that cute someone you’ve been talking to might be there. All situations that could potentially lead to fun; all situations that could potentially lead to sex. If a hookup might be in your future, here are some things to consider before, during, and after getting it on.

1. (STI) status update

Before you hook up, know your status for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Getting tested is a solid move because some STIs don’t show any symptoms, so you might not know if you have one—and leaving an STI untreated can lead to more serious problems. Here’s an extensive list of places to get tested for free, based on your location. If you use Tinder, you can take advantage of a new locator feature to find free places to get tested.

2. Birth control on lock

If you don’t want to become pregnant but you might have sex, make sure you are using a method of birth control that works for you. Some methods are more party-ready than others, so if drinking is part of the plan, consider methods that don’t require action right as things get steamy. And while you’re thinking ahead, toss some condoms in your bag for extra protection. (More on that in tip 6.)

3. Short and sweet, with a backup plan

Meeting someone new and not sure what to expect? It might be best to suggest date ideas that don’t require a long time commitment. Meet up for a drink or walk your dog together, and maybe have a suggestion in mind for a follow-up activity if things go well. On the flip side, if you’re really feeling the need to remove yourself from the situation, you can always text a friend to call you with an ‘emergency.’

4. Set your boundaries

Hooking up can mean sooo many different things. Think about what you are down for before you meet up with someone—if sex isn’t in the game plan, there are still plenty of ways to heat things up. Be direct about what you’re into and what you want. Communicating openly with your partner can help make your boundaries clear. (Bonus: It can also make sex hotter.)

A crucial note: if anything sexual happens that you or your partner don’t consent to, that is sexual assault. Here’s more information about sexual assault and what to do if it happens to you.

5. Sharing is (not always) caring

Yep, we’re talking STIs again. If you decide to take things up a notch, now is the time to whip out one of those bad boys you stuck in your bag earlier. Condoms are the only form of birth control that protect against STIs, so it’s worth rolling on a rubber even if you’re using another birth control method.

Remember you’ll need to use a condom or dental dam for any kind of sex—oral, anal, or vaginal—to make sure you’re covered against all STIs. Flavored condoms can be a great way to make safer oral sex more fun (and you can cut them in half to convert them into dental dams).

6. Safe travels

There are so many safety apps out there—some rely on friends to remotely track your journey while others automatically call the police if you are unable to interact with the app. But if you are feeling really sketchy about the trip, the best thing to do is spring for a ride.

7. Whoops

The condom broke. You forgot your pill. If there is a chance that a little swimmer has foiled your best intentions, that’s what emergency contraception (EC) is for. Most EC options work best if you use them ASAP, so it might be a good idea to buy some to have around before you need it. Or use our locator to find EC near you.

8. For next time…

It’s never a bad idea to stop and take stock. If your hookup was 10/10-would-do-again but you’re not looking for a relationship, continue to celebrate your no-strings-attached life. If the chemistry from last night has kept you thinking, maybe it’s worth reaching out to that person again. If this was one in a series of hookups that have left you feeling ‘ehhh,’ it may be time to evaluate whether what you’re doing is still working for you.

Be generous to yourself, make the choices that feel right, and remember that your choices shouldn’t define you. If you take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally, you’ll be ready for whatever comes your way, whether it’s embracing your single status, reveling in romance, or anything in between.

bedsiderBEDSIDER  is an online birth control support network for women operated by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen & Unplanned Pregnancy. Bedsider is totally independent (no pharmaceutical or government involvement). Honest and unbiased, Bedsider’s goal is to help women find the method of birth control that’s right for them and learn how to use it consistently and effectively, and that’s it.
Find Bedsider on twitter @Bedsider

Drink and Be Merry: How to Party Safer

Photo credit: Moyan Brenn

Photo credit: Moyan Brenn

It is not simply enough to say, “Don’t have sex when you are drunk.” In real life, sometimes when people party it can lead to sex. No surprise there. Sometimes people falter. Thus it is better to be aware of these tendencies and adopt some basic protocol to help you party safer and reduce risks to your sexual health and well-being.

Even if you choose not to have sex when you drink, there are important party strategies you should know.

Here are key points about partying safer, covered by Yvonne Piper at Bedsider below:

  • Studies show that when people are under the influence of alcohol, condoms and other forms of birth control are discussed less and used less.
  • Another risk is that because drinking impairs your motor skills, there is a higher chance that you and your partner will use whatever method, such as a condom or diaphragm, improperly.
  • There are birth control options that are more “party ready”, such as the IUD and Implant. But these do not protect against STIs.
  • Sometimes condoms are provided at parties. Encourage this and bring your own.

This article is written by Yvonne Piper and originally featured here.

BY BEDSIDER | Bedsider.org

So you’re at a party (or a bar, or a booze-fueled picnic in the park…you get the idea) talking with someone you like A LOT. It’s pretty obvious you want to hook up. There are details to sort out, like whose place and how are we getting there? Other important questions may or may not come up: How are we preventing pregnancy? How are we protecting against STIs? Unfortunately those important questions may be less likely to come up the more you both drink.

A disclaimer: I can’t reassure you that sex while partying can be 100% safe—in some cases the best decision is not to hook up at all. For one thing, when you’re under the influence it can be tricky to be sure both you and your partner are thinking clearly enough to communicate your desires and boundaries with each other. But I also want to be real here: sometimes people party, and sometimes partying leads to sex. For folks who occasionally find themselves hooking up under the influence, there are some ways to keep yourself safer.

Does drinking affect birth control?

Alcohol can alter your judgment. You may be willing to do things (or people!) you would not normally do when sober. This may include having sex when you haven’t negotiated birth control in advance.

There’s mixed scientific evidence about how alcohol impacts birth control use. Some studies show that when alcohol is involved, birth control is discussed less often and condoms are used less, even in established relationships. Other studies show that drinking is associated with more condom use for casual partners and that consistent condom users remain consistent even when under the influence. These conflicting findings may have to do with the fact that alcohol affects people differently.

Whether drinking changes your intentions or not, it can definitely mess with your motor skills. If you use condoms, spermicide, or a diaphragm—any method that requires set up right before sex—there is always a chance of human error. When you’re drunk, the chance of using these methods improperly goes up.

Not every method of contraception is affected by partying. Many methods—IUDs, implants, sterilization, the shot, the ring, and the patch—are perfect for partying as they are in place well in advance of the fun and you bring them with you everywhere. The down side to all these methods is they don’t protect you from STIs. Luckily, condoms are portable even in the tiniest purse or pocket and may be available at bars and parties.

Playing safer

Here are 8 practical ways to play safer when partying:

1) Make a plan when you are sober and stick to it, both for drinking and for sex. If your plan says absolutely no hooking up after drinking, you can still flirt and trade phone numbers with a new potential partner. If your plan clearly says you are done after three alcoholic drinks, alternate your boozy beverages with non-alcoholic drinks, like water or soda, to help the fun last longer. And, of course, make sure you have a plan for getting home that doesn’t involve anyone driving under the influence.

2) Something that may help with #1: whether as moral support or designated drivers, enlist the help of your friends to help you stick to your plan. Here are some tips about how to do this.

3) Condoms are always the way to go for STI protection, but consider a second party-ready method to help ensure that you won’t have pregnancy scares on top of potential STI concerns.

4) Speaking of condoms, don’t rely on a partner to supply them. Even if you’re not sure you’ll need one, even if you already use another form of birth control, carrying condoms—and always using them for STI protection—is a smart thing to do.

5) Don’t leave drinks unattended. Even though it’s flattering when someone offers to buy or bring you a drink, you are safer being in control of your drink at all times.

6) Female condoms can be inserted up to 8 hours before sex, so if you suspect you may be partying too hard to use a male condom, consider trying this.

7) If you find yourself having sex in a situation where condoms aren’t available, withdrawal is always better than nothing (especially if your partner has had practice).

8) Have some emergency contraceptive pills at home in case a condom broke or wasn’t used.

If you’ve had drunk sex, it might be worth reviewing: How much fun was it for you? Did you find you had a harder time getting off when drunk? Did you notice that you had less of your natural lubrication? How about your partner’s sexual function? How does it compare to hooking up sober?

Wish you partied less?

If partying is interfering with your work, school, or relationships and you’d like some support in playing safer, Moderation Management and HAMS: Harm Reduction for Alcohol are good resources.

Be safe and have fun!

bedsiderBEDSIDER is an online birth control support network for women operated by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen & Unplanned Pregnancy. Bedsider is totally independent (no pharmaceutical or government involvement). Honest and unbiased, Bedsider’s goal is to help women find the method of birth control that’s right for them and learn how to use it consistently and effectively, and that’s it.
Find Bedsider on twitter @Bedsider

Sexual History Should Not Be A Mystery

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BY MELANIE DAVIS, PhD | MelanieDavisPhD.com

When Ben Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” he wasn’t talking about sex; however, the aphorism is worth keeping in mind before you enter into a sexual relationship. Knowing a potential partner’s sexual history can help you make informed decisions about the level of risk you are willing to accept.

The following commonly asked questions illustrate why talking about your own and your partners’ sexual history is important.

Q. Asking about a potential partner’s sexual history seems so rude. How can I do it politely?

You needn’t ask for names, dates, and details. You do need enough information to assess any health risk you might expose yourself to. Be willing to share your own story. Start by giving your own answers to these questions, and then ask your potential new partner:

• Have you ever participated in intercourse (oral sex, vaginal sex, or anal sex) without a condom?
• Have you ever had unprotected sex with someone with HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, or herpes?
• What were the results of tests for sexually transmitted infection (STIs) conducted after your most recent partnered sexual encounter (request the paperwork; people may lie about test results)?
• Have you or your partner(s) ever had sex with an injection drug user or have used recreational injection drugs?

Q. When is the right time to ask about someone’s sexual history?

Some people ask before they kiss or get emotionally involved. Others wait until the topic of sexual activity comes up. Share histories before you engage in any type of genital contact with someone. Pick a private place when you won’t be interrupted or overheard and when you are both relaxed. Assure your potential partner that you will keep the conversation confidential and that you expect the same in return.

Q. My lifelong partner died last year, and I’m ready to find a companion/lover. Should I hide the fact that I’ve only had one partner my whole life, so I don’t look like a prude?

Anyone who thinks badly of you because you were in a monogamous relationship is misguided. Your choice to remain faithful says a lot about the way you approach relationships. . If your partner was also monogamous throughout your relationship, you have much less chance of having ever been exposed to sexually transmitted infections (STIs), which makes you a low-risk partner. Protect your healthy status by using condoms if you engage in partnered sex.

Q. The woman I’m dating was in an abusive marriage. Is that why she’s holding back sexually?

Abuse can leave both physical and emotional scars, but don’t jump to conclusions. She may want to build a relationship prior to engaging in lovemaking; indeed, she may be just as eager as you are to have sex. Past relationships, healthy and not-so-healthy, are part of each person’s sexual history. Offer your story and invite her to share hers.

 

melanie_davisMELANIE DAVIS, PHD, consults with individuals and couples to help them build sexual knowledge, comfort, and pleasure through the New Jersey Center for Sexual Wellness.  Through her firm Honest Exchange LLC, she provides professional development in sexuality. She’s a popular speaker on self-esteem and body image, and the sexual impact of cancer, menopause and aging. She’s an AASECT-Certified Sexuality Educator. On Twitter @DrMelanieDavis

Should I Buy Condoms For My Teen?

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BY DR. KAREN RAYNE | KarenRayne.com

No side: BUT THEN THEY’LL HAVE SEX!
Yes side: But if they want to, they’ll have sex anyway.

I do an experiment with my classes every now and then, for fun. I ask them through an anonymous question and answer system whether they plan to have sex later in the day or that night. Because I do this with high school and college students, sometimes I have entire classes who don’t plan to have sex, but more commonly it’s a mix.

Then I pass out condoms.

And ask again whether anyone plans to have sex later that day or night.

And the answers never change. The students who were going to have sex (with or without protection) still will, the students who weren’t going to have sex still aren’t going to.

Providing condoms to young people doesn’t affect whether they’re going to have sex, but it does have the potential to affect whether they’re going to use condoms when they have sex.

And yes, it’s weird, it’s awkward, and other people might judge you for it. Supporting your child in protecting their sexual health is important – far more important than other people’s judgment.

One parent protested to me that she wanted her children to at least have to stop long enough to go and buy condoms before they had sex and that might make them stop long enough to decide not to do it.

Do you see the flaw in her reasoning? She assumed that her children:

• had the intellectual and emotional wherewithal to step out of an emotional and arousing experience,
• have a thoughtful conversation with their partner,
• find a way to a store,
• produce money,
• and look a clerk in the eye (or resolutely avoid it) as they bought condoms when they had zero experience talking about condoms and decision-making with adults, because she refused to have those conversations with her children or allow anyone else to have them.

The risk/reward breakdown here when compared to issue free, condom-less sex just doesn’t make sense for a teenager – and nor should it for a parent who isn’t pulling the wool over their own eyes.

Providing condoms for your teenagers and their friends – regardless of whether they’re actually having sex – normalizes the conversation and makes it that tiny bit more approachable. Lucky Bloke has some great condom sampler options – buy a few of them, toss all the condoms into a bowl, and leave the bowl on the back of the sink in the bathroom.

This is the beginning – or middle – of the parent/teen sex conversation, not the end. But it’s a fantastic stopping station that every parent should take advantage of.

rayne2sm DR. KAREN RAYNE With a doctoral degree is in Educational Psychology, Karen provides advice and support to parents on how to educate their children and teenagers about sex and sexuality. Karen’s knowledge about adolescent development and education provides her with a solid background for guiding parents through these tricky conversations. And, as a college professor, helping young adults grapple with sexuality, she is known to change student’s lives. On twitter @KarenRayne

Seductive At Any Size

seductressEvery woman, whether she knows it or not, is a seductress.

What is a “Sacred Seductress”? According to sex coach and writer, Kitty Cavalier, every woman- no matter her size, height, race, abilities, etc.- possesses the power of seduction.

To be “sexy” comes from confidence in one’s self. Sexiness is knowing that you are “perfectly imperfect”; that nothing about your body needs to change. A Scared Seductress invests in “true beauty” rather than “learned beauty”. Learned beauty involves trying to adhere to the narrow standards that society sets and defines as “beautiful”. True beauty, however, does not require validation from outside forces. As Ms. Cavalier writes, true beauty comes from a deeper place within; an unapologetic appreciation of one’s self and body.

For examples of what true beauty looks like, Kitty Cavalier shares an inspiring narrative. It’s a powerful piece that all woman should be able to say to themselves.

This post was originally published on Elle Chase’s SmutforSmarties.com 

BY KITTY CAVALIER | kittycavalier.com

One of the most undeniable virtues of a true Sacred Seductress is the way she loves her flesh. A Seductress loves every inch of her self: smooth skin, dimpled skin, parts that stick out, parts that just don’t. It is all as beautiful as a sunrise to her. Because of the conviction in her self-love, the judgments one usually makes about a female body seem to slip away when they are in her presence. She is that powerful.

When I say “Sacred Seductress”, you might be wondering what I mean.  Who I am talking about is you.  As a woman who teaches seduction, people always assume that I teach things like one-liners and mind games.  Hardly.  These things are not seductive.  They may have an instant effect of fascination or intrigue, but real seduction, true seduction, sacred seduction, comes from a much deeper place: a place of total, unapologetic authenticity. Seductive power and prowess is something we all possess. In my retreats it is never a matter of teaching a woman something new.  It is a matter of giving her permission to remember.

One of the greatest myths we are fed about seduction is that in order to be successful you must achieve a “perfect” aesthetic and body. What a crock of shit. A Seductress does not wait around for the “perfect body” to arrive in order to feel and know her full sensual and erotic power.  She understands that sexy is something that lives inside of her, rather than outside.  She sources her beauty from her ability to feel and just be, not how someone told her she should look.  The things she is told she should be ashamed of she flaunts rather than hides.  She treats them like the diamonds that they are: rare, beautiful, and perfectly imperfect.

Body hatred is an epidemic amongst women. We live in a culture that teaches us to believe that she must meet an impossible list of qualifications in order to feel “beautiful.” The tricky thing about this list of benchmarks however, is that there is not a woman alive who could even come close to meeting them all. For every woman who wishes her hips were smaller, there is a woman who wishes her hips were more round. For every woman who wishes her breasts were fuller, there is a woman wishing she could wear t-shirts without feeling self-conscious. It reminds me of the story “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” We are all striving so desperately to be perfect, sexy, beautiful, young; and yet it is this exact desperation to change what is already perfect that makes us all feel so downright ugly.

A Seductress transcends all of this by making the important distinction between true beauty, and learned beauty. Learned beauty is what we do when our sole purpose is to gain the approval of others based on what we have been told is beautiful. When we aim to achieve the beauty we have learned, we are dependent on external validation to convince us of our power and radiance. But a true Seductress knows with every fiber of her being that true beauty is eternal. It never leaves us. It does not change with our outfit or our hairstyle or our age. True beauty means that we need never pause in the mirror and ask ourselves “do I look beautiful right now?” True beauty needs never be questioned. It is a simple feminine truth.

This is a lesson that was not easily learned for me.  As a woman who spent half her life unable to wear short sleeves for fear of exposing even her arms, I have come a long way baby. Everyday I recommit to choosing to see past the bullshit that tells me that unless I walk around in a photo shop pod, I have reason to doubt myself.  I choose to honor, appreciate and revere the temple of my flesh.  I adore my body, and I wish the same for you.

Adoration

By Kitty Cavalier

 I adore My Body.

 It is so scrumptious and delicious, I just want to gobble myself up.

 I love my legs. They are like the most elegant champagne flutes. I imagine that if they were a food, they would taste like ladyfingers drizzled with chocolate and whipped cream.

I love my arms. I love the way they taper delicately at the wrist. I love their shape as I hold onto the subway rail. I love the way my muscles flex as I sway from side to side.

I love my breasts; they are like the ripest plum, hanging on a vine in Tuscany, warm from the sun.

I adore my hips. Their curves, the way I can grab the flesh on the bone. They give me a sense of home, like a crisp, brown Christmas turkey cooked with butter under the skin. Yum.

I love my Belly. I love the roundness of it. I love how authentically feminine it is. I love having it massaged in a warm bath with oil underwater.

I LOVE my shoulders, my clavicle, and my décolleté. My clavicle is like an Olympic ice skater. Graceful, elegant. A perfect ten. My décolleté; smooth like the frosting on top of a birthday cake. My shoulders, like marble pillars in the Sistine Chapel, holding everything together with strength, grace and beauty.

I love my hair. Like warm amber honey. Smooth, lustrous, sensuous.

I love my face. My eyes, like looking down an endless beach. My lips, like perfect velvet pillows you just want to sink into. My skin, like the creamy froth on top of a cappuccino.

I love being a woman.
I love being me.
In the words of Doris Day, “I enjoy being a girl.”

condom ad condoms too loose

 

kittycavalierKitty Cavalier is the author of Sacred Seduction: A Guidebook, Memoir and Tribute to the Art of Seduction. Kitty travels the world offering workshops, retreats and experiences teaching how to use seduction, not as a tool of manipulation, but as a spiritual practice and a pathway to a more pleasurable, sensual, well-lived life. Her work has been featured on Elle, Penthouse Magazine, The Daily Love, The Good Men Project, Psychology Today, Glimpse TV with Kate Northrup, and more. To contact Kitty visit her website and follow her on Twitter @kittycavalier!

LTASEX: Where Your Sex Questions Get Answered

Jerome and LTASEX is creating practical sex advice, podcasts, videos and more!

Jerome and LTASEX is creating practical sex advice, podcasts, videos and more!

Looking for specific sex info you can actually use? Meet one of the most dynamic sex advice blogs on the internet.

LTASEX.com offers real sex advice that takes pride in being easily accessible and inclusive of people diversity. Created by Jerome Stuart Nichols, who identifies as a black gay poly man, the driving force behind this work acknowledges and celebrates people’s differences in entertaining ways.

It is an ever-growing resource of real, practical sex advice because the writers themselves actually experience the desires, curiosities and questions they talk about. From LGBQ, straight, polyamorous, monogamous, trans, BSM, black, white…you name it, this is a blog that truly embodies diversity.

That is why Lucky Bloke and SaferSex.Education recommend LTASEX as part of your sex know-how.

LTASEX includes hundreds of body positive, sex positive articles on useful things like STI testing, anal sex, oral sex, dating advice, sex toys, body image, consent, the anatomy- you know, things they should have talked about it sex ed class, but never did.

You can watch and listen to over 50 snappy and fun podcasts and videos. There is personalized sex-coaching. And if you can’t find the answers you are looking for, Jerome is readily available to answer you one-on-one. LTASEX also has a growing directory of sex positive professionals of color.  A first of its kind!

Help the world by donating one dollar per month for useful sex education. Learn more at the Patreon Campaign here.

Amazingly, this entire trove of sexy, useful advice is operated by just three people. The majority of funding comes straight from the creator’s day job. This is not a profit-making blog. It’s a labor of love that’s revolutionizing the way sex is taught and talked about. But in order to keep it afloat, LTASEX depends on very modest donations. As little as one dollar per month through their Patreon Campaign will make a huge difference for LTASEX, and sexual health at large.

Here is the Jerome with four reasons to support LTASEX.

condom ad condoms too tight

Call for Guest Contributors!

call for contributorsWould you like to be a guest writer for SaferSex.Education? Are you an expert in the field of sexual health?  Does your work contribute to a better informed, sex-positive world?

We are seeking accurate, entertaining, informative articles on the topics of safer sex practices and sexual well-being. We accept both syndicated content and original guest posts.

SaferSex.Education (SS.Ed) is an online resource that collects and shares content by well-known sex educators and sex-positive advocates. Our expert contributors include award-winning writers and experts such as Heather Corinna, Elle Chase, Megan Andelloux, Kate McCombs, and many more!

We publish accurate, up-to-date features to improve and support safer sex practices and sexual well-being. Articles are organized under five main categories: 1) barrier methods (i.e. condoms, sex dams); 2) birth control; 3) STI/STD testing/prevention; 4) body image and pleasure; 5) sexual safety conversations (with partners, teens, parents, etcetera).

We publish content that not only offers the “how-tos” on safer sex, but also challenges the shame and stigma attached to safer practices. Generally, our content speaks to audiences 18 years old+, and we have a special section dedicated to sex and aging. We are inclusive of people’s diversity and seek content that supports sexual minorities.

Guidelines

You can pitch us your idea or write a post and send it in. Which ever works for you.

Posts must be at least 500 words. There is no maximum word limit. We’ll feature your article with your byline, bio and link to your website and Twitter. We will also promote your article/s through frequent rotation on our social media channels.

Our primary purpose is to inform, not promote. We understand that guest posting is important for raising your online visibility, and that’s fine. But please don’t submit a puff piece that is loaded with obvious self-promotion.

If you feel like you’d be a perfect fit, please send us a link to your writing or submit samples to our editor, Lara@LuckyBloke.com, and we’ll be in touch.

 

Kate McCombs: 6 Sex Ed Videos I Love

Photographer Daniel Go

Photo credit: Daniel Go

From butt toys to hymen myths, here are six popular sex educations videos curated and recommended by renowned sex educator Kate McCombs, MPH.

While each video covers separate topics about sex and sexuality, what they all have in common is accessible messaging. Each aim to help us re-think certain preconceived ideas or poorly addressed aspects on sexual health. All do it in highly entertaining ways! Don’t miss the insightful and musical metaphor of sex at the end!

This piece is originally published on Kate’s blog.

BY KATE MCCOMBS | KateMcCombs.com

I love reading blog posts as much as the next social media fiend, but sometimes there’s nothing like a good YouTube video to illustrate the point. But in the sea of poorly-made click bait with the term “sex ed” attached, it can be hard to find the really good stuff. So I’ve compiled a list of some of my all-time favorite sex educational videos. I hope you enjoy.

1. The Most LOLworthy: Ducky DooLittle’s “Not In Your Butt”

In her playful demeanor, Ducky describes a number of things found in people’s butts in emergency rooms. It’s both hilarious and educational about what things should never go through the backdoor.

2. The Mythbuster: Laci Green’s “You Can’t POP Your Cherry”

There is still so much misinformation circulating about the hymen (or “vaginal corona” as it’s now called). Laci busts through all the myths in this clear and helpful video.

3. The Surprise: Charlie McDonnell’s “Sex & Consent”

English video blogger Charlie McDonnell isn’t a sex educator but made a simple video about the importance of consent in sexual relationships. It’s friendly, accessible, and I love that in a channel devoted to his random musings and science facts, he slips in a little stealth sex education to his young audience.

4. The Most Playful: Lindsey Doe’s “The Vulva – The Vagina’s Neighborhood”

Dr. Linsey Doe from Sexplanations describes the key parts of female genital anatomy using a number of
different illustrations. I love that she drops in a little etymology too, like that the mons veneris is named after the goddess Venus.

5. The Communication Hacker: Reid Mihalko’s “Safer Sex Elevator Speech”

In this video, Reid talks to Cathy Vartuli about exactly how to talk about safer sex and STI status with a new partner. It’s such a stressful conversation for many folks, and the way Reid breaks it down makes it much more manageable to have this important conversation.

6. The Most Inspirational: Karen B. K. Chan’s “Jam 2013″

If I could only show someone one 5-minute sex ed video, this would be it. Karen explores how instead of thinking of pleasure as a scarce resource, think of it like practicing a musical instrument. It’s one of the most brilliant and insightful pieces of sex ed I’ve seen.

kate_mccombs

KATE MCCOMBS is a NYC-based sex educator, writer, and maker of puns. Ultimately, all of Kate’s work is about helping people feel more comfortable talking about sex. She believes that meaningful conversations + accurate information can help us create a healthier and more pleasure-filled world. Kate writes articles and teaches workshops about sexual health, pleasure, and communication.
Follow Kate on Twitter @katecom

Top 10 Things To Do Before You Have Sex

message to teensIf you’re considering having sex for the very first time or for anytime thereafter (and by “sex” we mean any sexual activity in which you can transmit an STI), there are things you and your partner should know and do, especially if there is risk of unwanted pregnancy.

In this article, Dr. Karen Rayne breaks down the important things you should evaluate before becoming sexually active, such as asking yourself: “Do I really want this?” “What am I looking for in having sex with someone else?”

So take note and see where you stand in terms of readiness.

This post was originally published on Un|hushed

BY DR. KAREN RAYNE | KarenRayne.com

(Just to be clear, these are things to do before you have sex: oral sex, sexual intercourse, or anything else that could get you pregnant or an STD.)

1. Have an orgasm.

Yes, before you start having sex, you should give yourself an orgasm. It’s important to know what feels good to you before you can show another person what feels good to you.

2. Know the other person’s sexual history.

And I don’t mean just vaginal intercourse for this one!

3. Know the other person’s STD status, as well as your own.

The only way to know this for sure is to be tested! And if you’re both virgins, well, you’re not going to be for long. You might as well get that scary first STD testing out of the way so you’ll know what to expect next time around.

4. Talk about exactly what STD protection and birth control you will be using.

These two issues go hand-in-hand (for heterosexual couples), and it is the domain of both parties to be intimately involved.

5. If you are part of a heterosexual couple, talk about what happens if the woman gets pregnant.

Here are a few options to talk about, in alphabetical order: abortion, adoption, raising the kid alone, raising the kid together. With the understanding that reality is different than the theoretical, make sure you’re both on the same theoretical page.

6. Have your best friend’s blessing.

We can rarely see someone we’re in love with clearly. It is often our best friends who can see our lovers and our potential lovers for who they really are. Listen to what your best friend has to say, and take it to heart. If it’s not what you wanted to hear, give it some time. Wait a month. A good relationship will be able to withstand another month before having sex. Then ask a different friend, and see what they have to say.

7. Meet your partner’s parents.

At the very least, make sure you know why you haven’t met your them. The best sex comes out of knowing someone well, and knowing someone’s family is an important part of knowing them. (Even if they’re really, really different from their family.)

8. Be comfortable being naked in front of each other.

You don’t actually have to strip down in broad daylight to make sure you’ve reached this milestone, but it sure helps!

9. Have condoms on hand.

Make sure they fit right, that they’re within the expiration date, and that they haven’t been exposed to extreme conditions (like the inside of a really hot car). Condoms should be part of any respectful sexual relationship. There need be no assumption of hook ups outside of the relationship, just an assumption of good sexual habits being made and kept.

10. Make sure that your partner has done all of these things too.

Part of a happy, healthy sexual encounter is taking care of everyone’s emotional needs and physical health. Both people need to pay attention to themselves and to their partner. That way each person has two people looking out for them. It’s just the best way to do things.

rayne2sm DR. KAREN RAYNE With a doctoral degree is in Educational Psychology, Karen provides advice and support to parents on how to educate their children and teenagers about sex and sexuality. Karen’s knowledge about adolescent development and education provides her with a solid background for guiding parents through these tricky conversations. And, as a college professor, helping young adults grapple with sexuality, she is known to change student’s lives. On twitter @KarenRayne

Why Your ‘Signature Move’ Doesn’t Work for all Women

Photo credit: Patrick McDonald

Photo credit: Patrick McDonald

It’s a common problem. Maybe mainstream sex advise magazines are to blame, but all too often people assume that those “5 Tongue Tricks” they read about in Cosmopolitan will work for every sex partner, every time.

The fact is, everyone is different. As Kate McComb writes, there is no universal best way to please all women and all men. The way you kissed your ex may not be the right way to kiss your new sex partner. This becomes a problem when one is not sensitive to what their partner likes and not open to learning new ways of pleasing the other.

That is the main point in sex educator, Kate McComb’s piece. We all must unattached from specific pleasure tactics and actually communicate with our sex partners about what turns us on. And if one person doesn’t know what they really want or like? Read Kate’s article for great advise on how to be truly present and sexually delight your partner.

This article was originally published here.

BY KATE MCCOMBS | KateMcCombs.com

I was having Sunday brunch with a friend in a Midtown café and she was telling me about her latest Tinder date. After sharing the basic details of the hookup, she got to the part where things went south – and not in a sexy way.

After some sexy making out and getting undressed, he pulled out the dreaded “signature move.”

In this case, it was some weird tongue choreography that was clearly rehearsed and not, as she put it, based on her “directions.”

It was a sex technique he probably read about once and, since it worked on one woman, he assumed it worked on all women.

Suffice it to say, she did not enjoy it. In fact, the exact word she used was “meh.”

I’ve heard similar stories from other women in my workshops. They have partners who are attached to a particular pleasuring tactic that “worked on the last girl” and aren’t sufficiently open to new ways of operating. Besides being super tacky (PSA: don’t bring up an ex’s sexual response in bed with a new girl), it’s ill informed.

In the sex ed workshops I teach adults, I often get questions about the “best way” to stimulate the G-spot or to give a blow job. The true but less-satisfying answer is that there is no “best way.” Human bodies are wired differently and even though we have the same basic parts, the way we like those parts stimulated varies tremendously.

I suspect years of seeing magazines with “10 Ways to Wow Your Woman” headlines have only reinforced the signature move. Additionally, mainstream porn and popular movies alike depict sexual behavior in a very narrow fashion. Variety isn’t depicted, so people don’t realize that variety is the only thing that’s really “normal.”

The only way to know what truly delights someone is to ask and listen fully to the response. It’s certainly OK to have some techniques – in fact, it’s great to have a toolbox of pleasuring techniques to draw upon. It’s just crucial that one technique doesn’t eclipse all others, especially in the face of constructive feedback.

Just as one size never fits all, one move does not delight all genitals.

Instead of rolling out some fancy strategy, ask for directions and be present for the response. And if they don’t know what they want? Suggest exploring different sensations together and see what feels good.

In addition to enthusiastic consent, good sex requires two things: good communication and the awareness that only your partner is the expert on what they like sexually. They are the sexpert on what delights them, just as you are the sexpert on what delights you.

When we reduce sex to a series of signature moves, we discount the variety of pleasure and preferences humans can experience. If you want to be amazing in bed, replace your signature move with delicious communication and erotic curiosity. It’ll make sex more adventurous and, most importantly, mutually pleasurable. It’ll also give her something to smile about, rather than commiserate about at Sunday brunch.

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kate_mccombsKATE MCCOMBS is a NYC-based sex educator, writer, and maker of puns. Ultimately, all of Kate’s work is about helping people feel more comfortable talking about sex. She believes that meaningful conversations + accurate information can help us create a healthier and more pleasure-filled world. Kate writes articles and teaches workshops about sexual health, pleasure, and communication.
Follow Kate on Twitter @katecom