How to Choose Lube Best for Your pH Balance

Photo credit: Sander van der Wel

Photo credit: Sander van der Wel

Personal lube can be a fantastic companion. As we’ve discussed before at SS.Ed, most condom users don’t realize that a few drops of lube will greatly enhance pleasure and make sex more safe. Lube not only increases sensitivity, it also reduces friction and the risk of condom breakage.  Lube reduces irritation, dryness and can help prevent small tears that may cause infection in the body. And when it comes to anal, lube is a must use!

However, just as some lubes are better for anal sex, there are lubes that are more appropriate and sensitive to a woman’s natural chemistry. As Melissa White, CEO at Lucky Bloke explains, the right lube for your body will help keep your vaginal pH levels in healthy check. The wrong lube, however, may actually set your body off balance and cause overgrowth of “bad” bacteria that may lead to pungent odors and infections.

This is why Melissa recommends choosing products that state they are pH-matched.

Read the full article at SheKnows.com for more on why and how body-friendly lube will keep you healthy and sexy.

Well-Women Visits: 6 Things You Should Know

Image by Bedsider

Image by Bedsider

Did you know that a “well-woman” visit is now fully covered by insurance under new law? Yes, all teen girls and women up to age 65 are recommended to schedule a well-woman visit once a year. And that has just been made easier thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

A well-woman exam is important for tracking your overall health and taking care of your body’s needs as they change over time.

Here’s a summary of must-know information about the well-woman visit:

  • It’s preventative care done by your primary care provider. It consists of a full-check up, screening and tests, and counseling to help you make informed choices.
  • Well-women visits are different from Pap smears. The Pap is recommended every three years for 20-29 year olds and are usually done by a gynecologist.
  • You don’t have to pay. Because well-women visits are classified as “preventative care”, your insurance must cover it by law, including separate visits such as a mammogram, scheduled by your doctor during the wellness exam.
  • You and your primary provider decide what happens at the appointment. Go to healthcare.gov for a full list of what is covered under a well-woman exam.

This post by Chelsey Delaney was originally published on Bedsider.org.

BY BEDSIDER | Besider.org

UPDATE: Open enrollment for 2016 health coverage goes from now (November 2015) until January 31, 2016. Keep in mind, if you want coverage starting on January 1, you’ll have to pay your premium by December 15. Explore your options at HealthCare.gov!

If someone asked me a month ago what a “well-woman visit” is, I would have posited that it’s the magical time of year when you visit your gynecologist and he or she pokes around in your vagina. (Then I would have followed with the story of the time my gynecologist joked that she couldn’t find my cervix and that it probably fell out somewhere. Gullible was written all over my uterus that day.)

Unfortunately, my explanation wouldn’t have been completely accurate. In fact, for many women the poking I’m referring to—the Pap smear—isn’t required annually. For a woman like me, in the age range of 21 to 29, Paps are recommended every three years as long as there are no other factors that make more frequent Paps necessary. Also, you don’t have to see a gynecologist for a well-woman visit—you can see your primary care doctor, nurse practitioner, etc.

So, what is a well-woman visit? Well, woman, it depends. Here are six basics you should know:

1. It’s all about preventive health.

Prevention and planning, yo. Going to the doctor only when you’re sick is so last-century. As you age, your body changes and will experience new challenges. A well-woman visit is there for you to understand your own personal health risks and how to readily avoid them.

2. It’s just like a physical, only it doesn’t have to be as…physical.

Don’t just get tests—ask questions. What’s on your mind? Talk about your stress levels, your nutrition, your mood, your medications, your sex life, your family’s health history—next to nothing is off the table. Asking questions and raising concerns helps your health care provider know what’s important to you and what he or she should screen you for. Speaking of health care providers…

3. A good relationship with your provider is vital.

More than ever, health care is beginning to embrace the idea that hey, maybe providers and patients should get along and have open dialogues about stuff. Your provider should meet you in the middle and show a genuine interest in your health—no judgments. Allowing yourself to build trust into that relationship will increase the likelihood of a satisfactory visit (and you’ll also feel less awkward when you need a pelvic exam).

4. It’s not always one-and-done.

While the well-woman visit is often talked about as a single, annual visit, it doesn’t always stop there. For example, if you’ve got a history of breast cancer in your family, your provider might decide that you should get a mammogram. If the mammogram is scheduled at a different time and place, this should also be covered by your insurance. Same deal if you decide to get an IUD or implant—if you need to make a separate appointment for insertion, that should be covered too. Why is this important to know? Because…

5. You shouldn’t be charged for certain preventive services, including well-woman visits.

Don’t touch that wallet if you have health insurance and your provider is covered under your plan. Under the Affordable Care Act, preventive services should be covered by insurance with no out-of-pocket costs. Tip: Be sure to say you’re coming in for a “well-woman visit” when you schedule your appointment(s). And, while it may be tempting to tack your visit onto a sickish-visit with your provider, try to avoid it just to make sure the billing doesn’t get complicated.

6. The contents of your well-woman visit are up to you and your provider.

As far as services go, your visit(s) could include any/some of the following depending on your current health status:

  • Contraceptive counseling
  • Alcohol misuse screening
  • Blood pressure screening
  • Cholesterol screening
  • Depression screening
  • Nutrition and diet counseling
  • HIV screening
  • Vaccines and immunizations
  • STI screening

Check out healthcare.gov for a full list of services that are covered under the well-woman visit label. And if your insurance isn’t paying for services you think should be covered under the Affordable Care Act, contact the National Women’s Law Center’s hotline 1-866-745-5487 or via email at CoverHer@nwlc.org to let them know what’s going on and see if they can help.

You’re entitled to a well-woman visit every year until you’re 65. It’s not that you should stop being a well woman when you’re 65, it’s just that when you’re 65 you’ll have Medicare, and Medicare rules. Hopefully, it will act as a reward for being so well for so long!

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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

Getting The Snip: Should It be Me or My Partner?

sterilizationIf you know that you don’t want more children or feel confident that you never want any, sterilization may be the right option for you. This is permanent birth control, so the decision should never be taken lightly. As Grace Shih discusses below, women who get the operation before they turn 30 years old are more likely to regret the decision.

That said, sterilization is very safe and effective for both men and women. It is so safe, that it is the most common birth control in the United States today!

To help you make your decision, this article answers the most common questions asked about sterilization. Here are some quick facts:

  • About 23% of all couples in the United States rely on sterilization as their birth control method.
  • It is one of the most effective forms of birth control available.
  • Both tubal ligation (female sterilization) and vasectomy (male sterilization) are safe. In rare cases, complications are more likely to occur after a woman’s operation.
  • Tubal ligation cost more than double the price of a vasectomy. But most insurance plans cover sterilization.
  • Sterilization should be considered a permanent procedure. To reverse the operation is risky and sometimes doesn’t succeed.

This post by Grace Shih was originally published on Bedsider.

BY BEDSIDER | Bedsider.org

Sterilization is a big decision. Consider this info when you’re contemplating the procedure.

Done having kids or sure you never want any? If you answer yes, you might be thinking about permanent birth control, also called sterilization. Sterilization can be done for women or men. For women, it is often called “getting your tubes tied” or “tubal ligation.” For men, it is called a vasectomy. Sterilization is a very common type of birth control. In fact, in the United States, sterilization is the most common form of birth control with 23% of all couples relying on it.

If you’re thinking about sterilization, how do you decide who gets it done—you or your partner? To make this decision, you can both consider the safety, effectiveness, reversibility and cost of each method.

How safe is it?

Both sterilization methods are extremely safe. A small number of people complain after the procedure about a bit of bleeding or a minor local infection; in general, these issues are quickly resolved. Most female sterilization techniques require general anesthesia and surgery with about four stitches. Vasectomy can be done under local anesthesia through an incision so small it sometimes doesn’t even need stitches. Although serious complications are rare, they’re more likely to happen after a female sterilization operation than a vasectomy.

How effective is it?

Both types of sterilization are very effective. A large study called the Collaborative Review of Sterilization (CREST) examined failure rates for female and male sterilization and found that both methods were among the most effective methods of birth control. (There is a slim chance of pregnancy after sterilization—less than 1 in 100.) Health care providers consider both male and female sterilization among the best methods of birth control available.

How much will it cost?

This depends on your health insurance coverage and where you live. Most insurance plans should cover female sterilization with no out-of-pocket costs. If you do have to pay out of pocket, vasectomy is less expensive than female sterilization—usually about one-third as much as a tubal ligation.

Can I get it reversed?

Both vasectomy and tubal ligation should be considered permanent procedures. Having either type of sterilization reversed is expensive and sometimes doesn’t succeed. About half of couples report a successful pregnancy after reversing either type of sterilization, but it depends on lots of factors, including the type of surgery done, your age and the time since sterilization.

If you’re not really certain that you don’t want (more) kids, you can consider other methods that are safe, highly effective, and can last many years, like the implant or the IUD. Some health care providers hesitate to help young patients who request sterilization, possibly because of the research showing that women under 30 who get tubal ligations are more likely to regret the decision later. This can be frustrating, but if you’re really sure sterilization is the right choice for you, look for a provider who will respect that.

Her’s vs. His

How do you decide who gets the snip? Some women think that birth control is a woman’s responsibility or that their partner will not be interested. In the United States, female sterilization is much more common than male sterilization. However, in a study of men who received vasectomy, the most common reasons for men to choose vasectomy were its simplicity and safety. The men also felt it was time for them to take contraceptive responsibility.

So, if you are deciding whether or not to get sterilized, make sure you understand your options and discuss them with your partner! Remember, sterilization is permanent and you should be certain of your decision, whatever you choose.

condom ad condoms too tight

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

Virginity Myths and Facts: The Hymen

SSSVirginitylThe phrase “losing your virginity” is often used without much thought. When a girl loses her virginity, that means she has penetrative sex for the first time and she breaks her hymen, right?

Not necessarily. As Bry’onna Mention of The CSPH (the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health) explains, defining virginity as having an intact hymen is limiting, excluding those who were born without a hymen or who tore it before ever having sex, whether by falling on a fence post, masturbating, or inserting a tampon.

Now, this may shake your world, but did you know that the hymen is something that stays with you (that is, if you have a vagina) your whole life? It is not something destroyed during your first sexual experience.

The following article explains that inside the tangled misconception of female virginity lies inaccurate beliefs about the hymen. Bry’onna Mention sets the record straight and explains just how diverse hymens actually are. Some people are born with a hymen that covers the opening of the vagina fully or partially, but these are considered rare anomalies and necessary to repair with surgery.

Take a look at the first steps to debunking the myth that virginity is an actual, quantifiable thing. It all starts with our misconceptions of what is the hymen.

The first lesson of debunking the “virginity myth” was originally publish by Bry’onna Mention of The CSPH.

BY THE CSPH | theCSPH.org

“Shiny and new, like a virgin, touched for the very first time.”

Gee, Madonna, that sounds an awful lot like change or some other inanimate metal object. But, virginity is not about newly minted money, no. It’s about having sex for the first time!

Sex (as well as sexuality) is extremely important to our existence on this planet. Without sex, none of us would be here. And not unlike embarking on any new experience, having sex for the first time is kind of a big deal. So important in fact, a term for those who haven’t had sex was created: virgins.

According to Merriam Webster, virginity is the state of never having had sexual intercourse. Now this minimal definition, is actually quite inclusive, and encompasses all gender types and sexual orientations. However, the historical concept of virginity and the etymology behind it (which we’ll discuss in detail in Lesson 2), mostly meant the virginity of cis women, hence the problem.

Yes, concept. Before moving forward, first things first: virginity is a social construct.

Ed Note: The CSPH knows that not all women have a vagina and not all vaginas belong to women. This lesson talks about the social construct of virginity, which is rooted in a hetero- and cis-normative understanding of the world.

Hymen, Shmymen

Inside the tangled webbed concept of female virginity, lies an inaccurate understanding of the hymen. This misunderstanding of the hymen is perpetuated by society’s lexicon and it’s approach to the hymen. Phrases like “popping the cherry,” “loss of virginity,” or “deflowering” leads us to believe that once sexual intercourse occurs, the hymen is destroyed or compromised in some way. This is not true.

The hymen is a very thin, elastic membrane that rests either outside of the vagina or just inside of it. During sexual intercourse, or the usage of tampons, fingers, etc. the membrane (hymen) is simply stretched, due to the elastic nature. However, if one or their partner is too rough, too fast, or if not amply lubricated, the membrane can tear. This can cause a sharp sensation outside the vagina and it can cause bleeding. So, ultimately the hymen stays with one, their entire life!

Different Types of Hymens

Hymens and vaginas, not unlike snowflakes are not all the same.

Sunday-Sex-School-Lesson-1

Image from the CSPH

Average hymen (or The Sailor Moon hymen)

This hymen has a thin membrane that surrounds the opening to the vagina. It can come in different shapes. It is the most common hymen in vulva owners. It is shaped like a half moon. This shape allows menstrual blood to flow out of the vagina.

Imperforated Hymen (or The Tuxedo Mask hymen)

This hymen is extremely rare, but does exist. An imperforate hymen is a thin membrane that completely covers the opening to the vagina. Menstrual blood cannot flow out of the vagina. This usually causes the blood to back up into the vagina which often develops into an abdominal mass and abdominal and/or back pain. An imperforate hymen can be diagnosed at birth. Rarely, the diagnosis is not made until the teen years. Fortunately, there is a form of treatment for an imperforate hymen. It is a minor surgery to remove the extra hymenal tissue and create a normal sized vaginal opening so that menstrual blood can flow out of the vagina.

Microperforate hymen (or the Sailor Chibi Moon)

This thin membrane almost completely covers the opening to a vagina. Menstrual blood is usually able to flow out of the vagina but the opening is very small. This hymen usually will not be able to get a tampon into and the owner will mostly like be unaware of the tiny opening. This hymen can also be treated by a perforation surgery.

Septate hymen (or Sailor Uranus)

The thin hymenal membrane has a band of extra tissue in the middle that causes two small vaginal openings instead of one. Owners of this hymen will also have trouble inserting and removing tampons. Again, a minor surgery to remove the extra band of tissue and create a normal sized vaginal opening can be done.

Image from the CSPH

Image from the CSPH

Now that you know the truth about vulva owner virginity:

tw: mention of rape

Here, in less than 3 minutes, Alyssa combats any and all arguments regarding the “Virginity Standard.”

Make sure you come back next Sunday for Lesson 2! We’ll further dissect the historical concept of virginity and it’s present standing.

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csphThe CENTER for SEXUAL PLEASURE and HEALTH (The CSPH) is designed to provide adults with a safe, physical space to learn about sexual pleasure, health, and advocacy issues. Led by highly respected founder and director, Megan Andelloux, The CSPH is a sexuality training and education organization that works to reduce sexual shame, fight misinformation, & advance the sexuality field.

4 Apps for Tracking Your Fertility

Image from Bedsider

Image from Bedsider

One of the oldest contraceptive methods is making a big comeback these days. About 22 percent of women use fertility awareness methods (FAMs) according to the CDC, and that figure is increasing every year. More and more women are dropping condoms and the Pill, and picking up new apps that help track their fertility cycle.

In this article, Chelsey Delaney of Bedsider reviews four cycle-tracking apps—Clue, Kindara, Ovia, and Glow—to help explain how tracking your cycle works, and to help you see if there’s a FAM (and an app) out there for you.

This article by Chelsey Delaney was originally published on Bedsider.

BY BEDSIDER | Bedsider.org

Practicing “Fertility Awareness” means more than just scoping out your fertile phases. It involves mapping out your entire cycle, including your fertile phases, your sorta fertile phases, and your not-so-fertile phases (every flavor of fertile, all phases).

Following your cycle closely over time can grow fertility awareness into fertility knowledge. Identifying patterns in and across your cycles can serve a range of purposes: It can help you get pregnant, help you avoid getting pregnant, or simply get you more acquainted with the natural ebb and flow of your reproductive schedule.

To harness this multi-purpose power, consider using a Fertility Awareness Method (FAM). FAMs incorporate cycle-tracking techniques that women have used for generations to help evaluate when it’s fertile time and/or party time.

FAMs seem to be getting more attention recently, so much so that a recent Atlantic article announced the “Return of the Rhythm Method.” (The rhythm method is a well-known name for one approach to fertility awareness.) Why the resurgence? One big reason: mobile technology, baby. I reviewed four cycle-tracking apps—Clue, Kindara, Ovia, and Glow—to help explain how tracking your cycle works, and to help you see if there’s a FAM (and an app) out there for you.

1. The Calendar Method + Clue

With the Calendar Method, you document the day your periods start and end along with the number of days between periods (your cycle). Beyond that, there’s a lot of math involved. That’s where the Clue app comes in—to help simplify. The Clue app practices the art of all FAMs mentioned here (using this combination of FAMs is called the “Symptothermal” method, which you can read more about below), but it’s particularly grand at its execution of the Calendar Method.

The App: “Clue”
Ease of Use: Good
Level of Engagement: Good
Visual Style: Okay (at least there’s no pink)
Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Platform(s): iOS and Android

Clue’s dashboard shows your current cycle and allows you to input daily data.

Clue’s dashboard shows your current cycle and allows you to input daily data.

How it works

Clue takes what you input as your last period start and end dates and forecasts fertility based on global health statistics.

Your dashboard displays your cycle and you can choose to see it in a cyclical display or a calendar display. Input each period, plus some additional info if you feel like it, and Clue starts to learn your personal pattern, improving its forecast with each cycle. It also features a library of default reminders for your period, your fertile window, your ovulation day, and more.

Despite any app’s awesomeness, using this method alone holds no guarantees—especially for those of us with unpredictable and inconsistent flows. That’s why Clue and other apps mentioned here allow you to input your daily basal body temperature (BBT) to improve the accuracy of their predictions.

Using BBT data to understand your fertility is referred to as the Temperature Method. If you’re looking to dig really deep (into your fertile soil, if you know what I mean), consider using the Calendar Method alongside the Temperature Method.

2. The Temperature Method + Kindara

You can learn a lot about your cycle from your body temperature, particularly your BBT. To get your BBT, you should take your temperature at a time when your body is at its most rested state—usually when you first wake up in the morning (before consuming the glory that is coffee).

To fully experience the beauty of the Temperature Method, you’ll need to get a BBT read that’s accurate right down to a fraction of a degree. So, throw your average thermometer out the window (just a phrase, not a real suggestion), and get a BBT thermometer at your local pharmacy. Or, wait until Spring 2015 for the full Kindara / Wink package.

Like Clue, Kindara includes different FAMs, but it stands out in terms of the Temperature Method thanks to the app’s introduction of a super smart counterpart BBT thermometer, “Wink”.

The App: “Kindara” paired with the “Wink” BBT thermometer
Ease of Use: Okay
Level of Engagement: Good
Visual Style: Good
Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Platform(s): iOS and Android

How it works

The Kindara app features a suite of data-logging tools to gain fertility insight, including:

  • A calendar to track your period and cycle;
  • A daily questionnaire to log your BBT, period flow, the state of your cervix, and more;
  • A chart tool to visually and clearly present your data over time to reveal fertility patterns; and
  • A community of other users who share tips and insights from their own experiences.

This spring (2015), the people behind Kindara are releasing “Wink”, a super accurate BBT thermometer that automatically syncs with your Kindara app. You can pre-order it here.

Using the combination of the Temperature Method and the Calendar Method should start to reveal some patterns about your fertility, as you can see with Kindara’s chart feature. Kindara (like many other apps) also incorporates another method for even more informed revelations: the Cervical Mucus Method.

Kindara’s dashboard offers quick-and-easy input of your BBT.

Kindara’s dashboard offers quick-and-easy input of your BBT.

3. The Cervical Mucus Method + Ovia

The, ahem, appropriately named Cervical Mucus Method involves investigating the physical form of your (you guessed it) cervical mucus, as well as determining the position and feel of your cervix. The Ovia app isn’t just about tracking cervical mucus, but it is particularly thorough in its mucus-tracking efforts compared to the other apps I reviewed. (I’d love to see what a trophy for “Most Thorough Mucus-Tracking” would look like. Or, I wouldn’t.)

The App: “Ovia”
Ease of Use: Okay
Level of Engagement: Okay
Visual Style: Good
Overall rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Platform(s): iOS and Android

Ovia’s dashboard displays timely information about the state of your cycle and a feed of miscellaneous diet and exercise recommendations.

Ovia’s dashboard displays timely information about the state of your cycle and a feed of miscellaneous diet and exercise recommendations.

How it works

Similar to Kindara, Ovia features a large suite of tracking tools. In fact, it’s a really, really huge suite: It asks you to enter a daily log of things as detailed as how many glasses of water you drank, how many servings of protein you had, how many steps you took, etc.

While the app’s attention to detail might not work best for those of us who favor a quick open-submit-close experience, its use of visuals and icons provide greater context for how to interpret the consistency of your cervical fluid. And, knowledge (about cervical fluid) is power.

Of course, the Cervical Mucus Method isn’t ideal for women who don’t produce much mucus. Either way, it will take time to get the hang of interpreting what your mucus means—it’s mucus. So, combine this method with other methods to start, or combine all the methods together. Which brings us to…

4. The Symptothermal Method + Glow

When you combine the Calendar Method, the Temperature Method, and the Cervical Mucus Method together, you get the Symptothermal Method. That’s some deep body math, people.

The Symptothermal Method is for the hardcore DIY fertility scientist inside of you who really wants to nail this thing down. Most fertility apps out there make use of the Symptothermal Method, but Glow does an especially great job of keeping it easy and fun.

The App: “Glow”
Ease of Use: Good
Level of Engagement: Good
Visual Style: Excellent
Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Platform(s): iOS and Android

Glow’s dashboard shows the current state of your cycle as well as an overview of your latest data log.

Glow’s dashboard shows the current state of your cycle as well as an overview of your latest data log.

How it works

The Glow dashboard shows relevant information about your current cycle day and a prompt to log your basic information regarding temperature, periods, sex, and cervical mucus to form its fertility predictions.

The more you input over time, the more Glow learns about you. It then provides you with daily tips and statistics-based insights related to what you log about your lifestyle and your cycles.

Glow also features a lively community, the ability to set custom reminders, and even the ability to share your fertility progress with your partner. Except, it doesn’t have a cool BBT thermometer counterpart… yet?

If you want to use a FAM for birth control…

If you’re serious about relying on a FAM for pregnancy prevention, it’s always a good idea to use a non-hormonal back-up method like condoms while you’re getting the hang of tracking your cycle. You’ll also need a back-up method—even if it’s just not having sex, though that can be a challenging one—to use during your “fertile window.”

If you want to validate how well you’re using your FAM, you can always purchase an ovulation test and/or fertility monitor. If you want to learn more about fertility awareness and FAMs in general, check out our article that explains the basics of fertility tracking, or visit the site of fertility expert Toni Weschler, which goes into depth about “Taking Charge of Your Fertility.”

And if you have an app you love for fertility tracking, tell us about it in the comments. Happy new-age cycle-tracking!

Unsure what size

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

5 Myths About the Pull-Out Method, Corrected

"Pull and Pray" video by Bedsider

“Pull and Pray” video by Bedsider

The pull-out method (also known as “withdrawal” or “coitus interruptus”) involves the one with the penis to pull-out before he ejaculates. Health professionals do consider this a true method of birth control. Did you know that if the pull-out method is done correctly every time, it is almost as effective as using condoms to prevent pregnancy? However, it has to be done correctly every single time. Because of this, withdrawal is not the right birth control option for everyone.

We do not recommend relying on the pull-out method if you are not in a committed long-term relationship, are unaware of your and your partner’s STI status, do not keep tract of fertility cycles, and are not experienced in controlling your orgasms. That’s a lot of stipulations to think about!

Here is Bedsider on the frank facts about pulling-out:

  • It can be easy to make mistakes using the pull-out method which is why, out of 100 couples using withdrawal, approximately 22 will become pregnant in a year.
  • Pulling-out is common, but that stats on it are questionable because there hasn’t been much research done and people tend not to admit that they rely on this form of birth control. Bedsider cites a study that found that 60% of women age 15-44 have used withdrawal.
  • Aside from being a less effective form of birth control, the pull-out method comes with benefits, such as no hormones, no costs or prescriptions, etc.
  • Withdrawal does not prevent the transmission of STIs and HIV.
  •  We know that there is less sperm in pre-ejaculation. However, there is little known about the risk of pregnancy from precum. So the best approach is to be prepared that it might.
  • Read the article to learn how to use withdrawal like a pro. It takes practice, communication and back-up plans.

This article by Yvonne Piper originally appeared on Bedsider

BY BEDSIDER | Bedsider.org

Before he busts a nut, allow us to bust these withdrawal myths. (Sorry, we can’t resist puns.)

The withdrawal method, a.k.a. pulling out, sometimes gets a bad rap—some people don’t even consider it a “real” method of birth control, even though 60% of couples have used it at least once. Because pulling out is often dismissed as “better than nothing” by researchers, we don’t know as much about it as we do about some other methods. But before you write it off, make sure you’ve got your facts straight.

Myth 1: Pulling out doesn’t work, so don’t even bother.

Out of 100 couples who were withdrawal rock stars—meaning they pulled out correctly every time they had sex—about four of them would get pregnant in a year. But it can be a challenge to pull out for lots of reasons, and most people have days when they’re not feeling like rock stars of any kind. That’s why out of 100 average couples using withdrawal, 22 will get pregnant in a year.

It’s not that pulling out doesn’t work in principle—it’s that it’s challenging to pull out just right every single time. Condoms and the pill aren’t so different that way—they’re great in a world where we always use them perfectly—but the reality of our lives is often busy, complicated, and not so perfect. Still, pulling out is a lot better than nothing—in fact, it’s nearly as effective at preventing accidental pregnancy as condoms alone.

Myth 2: Pre-cum is safe—it doesn’t have sperm in it.

First off, we have very limited scientific information about pre-cum so there can be confusion about it even among experts. Three small studies from years ago found no sperm in pre-cum, but there were only 43 guys in all of these studies combined. Some of the men in the studies had health problems, and it appears that the pre-cum samples they provided were not analyzed immediately so it may have been it difficult to tell if their sperm were swimming normally.

A more recent study had 27 healthy guys, some of whom gave multiple samples of pre-cum. The researchers analyzed the samples immediately and found that about a third contained live, swimming sperm. Popular advice says that sperm found in pre-cum may come from a previous ejaculation and can be flushed out when a guy pees, but the guys in this study who had peed after their last ejaculation still had sperm in their pre-cum. The bottom line is that this study can’t tell us whether pre-cum can cause a pregnancy, but it does tell us that it might. It also suggests that pulling out may work better for some guys than others—but unless you have a pre-cum sample and awesome microscope skills, you can’t tell which group a guy is in. This may be part of why even withdrawal rock stars sometimes have accidental pregnancies.

Myth 3: Only irresponsible people use the “pull out” method.

Sixty percent of women ages 15-44 in the U.S. have used withdrawal at some point. In the most recent U.S. national survey, 5% of couples using any type of birth control were relying exclusively on pulling out. If you count couples using another method plus pulling out, about 10% of people use withdrawal. Because people sometimes don’t consider pulling out a method, they may not mention it when asked about birth control use, so even this number may be low. In other words, people of all ages in all types of relationships are using withdrawal to prevent pregnancy.

Myth 4: There’s nothing good about pulling out.

Pulling out may not be the most effective method, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have perks. No hormones, no cost, no advance preparation, no prescription, no visit to the store or clinic, can be used spontaneously, great option when you don’t have another plan… people have all kinds of reasons for using it. For women who have struggled with vaginal infections like bacterial vaginosis, pulling out may also help prevent recurrent infections.

Myth 5: Pulling out is easy.

It takes practice, learning, communication, and back-up plans to use withdrawal like a pro:

  • Do some withdrawal dress rehearsals while your guy is wearing a condom. Does he know when he’s about to cum? Can he pull out in time? If not, consider another method.
  • Know your STI status, and make sure your guy knows his. Withdrawal can work for pregnancy prevention, but it does not offer protection against STIs (sexually transmitted infections).
  • Communicate! Talk about what the plan is in the event of an accident, an accidental pregnancy, or an STI.
  • Have back up supplies. Keep emergency contraception around for those times when accidents happen, and condoms for times when pulling out doesn’t seem like the right choice for a particular guy.
  • Know your cycles. If you have a smart phone, check out some of the apps that help you track your fertile times. Consider using condoms in addition to pulling out during high fertility days of the month.

If effectiveness is your #1 priority, withdrawal might not be right for you—maybe not right now, maybe not ever. But a lot of your sisters are out there doin’ it for themselves, and not everybody hates it or gets pregnant on it. Is it perfect? Nope. But it is an option that you can use any time, anywhere.

Unsure what size

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

Can I Get Pregnant If…? A Pregnancy Scare Companion

pregnancy scareDo you think you (or your partner) might be pregnant?

We get a lot of questions from readers wondering, “Can I get pregnant if…”. Bottom line: You can’t get pregnant from activities like petting or oral sex, only from activities in which semen comes in direct contact with the vagina. But what if there was pre-cum, or ejaculation near the genitals? What if you are late for your period even though you used a condom?

If you are not sure if you experienced real risks of pregnancy, this post is for you. Heather Corinna of Scarleteen provides information and resources based on your unique situation. Whether you are late for your period, or tested positive for a pregnancy test, or don’t know where to find emergency contraceptives, this article will help you figure out the next best steps.

Here’s a quickie on how pregnancy happens:

  • Pregnancy can happen when semen (ejaculation or cum) or precum gets inside the vagina.
  • Emergency contraceptives (the morning after pill) can prevent pregnancy up to five days after unprotected sex.
  • You can reduce the risk pregnancy by not having direct genital-to-genital contact, or using condoms and birth control every time you have sex.
  • Read the article below for more information about the type of sexual activities that increase  risk of pregnancy.

This post was originally published on Scarleteen.

BY HEATHER CORINNA | Scarleteen

In the thick of a pregnancy scare? Freaking out? Not sure what to do? We know how scary this can be, and we’re here to have your back in it.

Take a few deep breaths (really: do some good, slow breathing, you’ll feel better and be able to think more clearly once you do), and have a seat. Based on your unique situation, we’ll walk you through your next steps, give you some extra helps, fill you in on some common self-sabotagers, and do our best to help you chill out and pull it together so you can get through a scare without losing your mind and your well-being in the process.

Is your (or your partner’s) menstrual period not yet due?

In other words, a period isn’t late or missed, because it’s not even due for another few days or weeks. Click here for your next steps.

Are you (or your partner) due for a menstrual period around now, but it’s not late yet?  Click here for your next steps.

Are you (or your partner) currently experiencing a late or missed menstrual period?

In other words, a menstrual period has not yet arrived and was expected at least five or more days ago. Click here for your next steps.

Do you (or your partner) have irregular periods, so you can’t really answer the questions above?

If your (or your partner’s) menstrual periods are irregular, or you (or your partner) use a method of contraception that often causes skipped or missed periods, click here for your next steps.

Have you (or a partner) had a menstrual period since the risk you are concerned about?

A menstrual period is happening now or has occurred since the risk you’re concerned about, but you’re still worried about pregnancy. Click here for your next steps.

Have you (or a partner) had a pregnancy test with a positive (pregnant) result? Click here for your next steps.

Have you (or a partner) had a pregnancy test with a negative (not pregnant) result? Click here for your next steps.

Has it been less than 120 hours since your risk?

If you would like to reduce your risk, you or your partner can use a method of emergency contraception (EC) to reduce the risk by as much as 95% with oral medications designed as EC, and as much as 98% using a copper IUD. EC is most effective when used within 24 hours, so you want to get a move on if you can and want to use it. For information on emergency contraception, click here. To find the kinds of EC available in your area, or which kinds of oral contraceptives you can use as emergency contraception, and how to use them that way, click here.

Not sure if you or a partner have had a real risk of pregnancy or not?

In order for pregnancy to be a possibility, the kind of contact that has to happen is:

  • Direct (with no clothing, at all, covering anyone’s genitals) genital-to-genital contact between someone with a penis and someone with a vulva, such as genital intercourse or otherwise rubbing genitals together OR
  • Direct contact with ejaculate (semen) and the vulva, vaginal opening or anus.

BUT (and it’s a really big one): If either of those kinds of contact did occur, but one or more reliable methods of contraception was used properly, that risk is radically reduced, by a minimum of 70%*, and as much as 99.9%. And even if you used two methods, any two reliable methods at all — like the pill plus withdrawal, or a condom plus a Depo shot — only typically, rather than perfectly, you still will only have had about a 10% risk of pregnancy at a maximum.

Scenarios like these are NOT how pregnancy happens:

  • Masturbation or mutual masturbation (masturbating in the same space with someone else)
  • Being in the same space as someone with a penis and doing things like using their towels, sharing a toilet, touching their clothing, or sharing a bed to sleep or rest in
  • Sitting somewhere where someone did or may have ejaculated
  • Taking a shower, bath or swim with someone with a penis
  • Thinking about sex or fantasizing
  • Kissing, making out or fondling
  • Dry humping (rubbing genitals together when one or more people involved have some kind of clothing on that covers the genitals)
  • Oral sex or manual sex (fingering or handjobs)
  • Contact with pre-ejaculate, but NOT during intercourse or direct genital-to-genital contact
  • Touching yourself after you touched someone whose hand has touched their penis
  • Having someone with a penis ejaculate on some part of the body other than your genitals, like your buttocks, back or breasts
  • Direct genital-to-genital contact or direct contact with ejaculate when you and a partner have the same kinds of genitals (like each of you having a vulva or each of you having a penis).

Situations like these are ways pregnancy can theoretically occur, but where it is not at all likely:

  • Rubbing the vulva with hands that have recently touched semen
  • Intercourse or other direct genital-to-genital or genital fluid contact where two (or more) reliable methods of contraception were used properly
  • Unprotected anal sex without ejaculation

Are pregnancy scares a constant for you, or occurring even when you’re not having the kinds of contact that can result in pregnancy in reality?

1) Do you know the facts about how pregnancy happens, and what can and cannot present real risks of pregnancy? If not, you can educate yourself here or here. If you already know the facts, or find that now that you have them, you still feel scared or can’t believe them, then this probably isn’t about a lack of education about reproduction.

2) Do yourself a solid and take any kind of contact that is freaking you out like this off the table ASAP for now (that you can: for instance, if living in a house with family members who have a penis is freaking you out, you can’t very well ask them to leave so you can deal). If you are not in a relationship where you feel you are allowed to have any limits you need with sex of any kind, that’s a cue you’re not in a healthy relationship or dynamic, or just not yet able to assert yourself enough to manage sexual activity, so may need to get yourself away from that relationship, period.

3) Take some real time — not hours or a few days, but a week or two or even a few months or more, whatever you need — to figure out what you need to have these kinds of contact comfortably and without panic. Only engage in that kind of contact again when you CAN have what you need to be comfortable, whether that’s two methods of contraception, a different partner or kind of relationship, or counseling or therapy to help you with assertiveness, sexual fear or shame or an anxiety disorder.

4) If none of the above has any big impact on your fears over the next few weeks or months, then it’s time to seek out some help from a qualified mental health professional, like a counselor or therapist.

Want more information about pregnancy scares, pregnancy, contraception and making sexual choices you feel comfortable with?

Pregnancy Scared?
Human Reproduction: A Seafarer’s Guide
On the Rag: A Guide to Menstruation
Let’s Dial Down Some (Maybe) Ovulation Freakouts
Chicken Soup for the Pregnancy Symptom Freakout’s Soul
You’re Not Pregnant. So, Why Do You Think You Are?
Peeing on a Stick: All About Pregnancy Tests
Birth Control Bingo!
The Buddy System: Effectiveness Rates for Backing Up Your Birth Control With a Second Method
Have a Little Faith in BC
Who’s Afraid of Sperm Cells?
Ready or Not? The Scarleteen Sex Readiness Checklist
Risky Business: Learning to Consider Risk and Make Sound Sexual Choices
Whoa, There! How to Slow Down When You’re Moving Too Fast

Here’s some information from other credible sources:

Can I Get Pregnant If…? (Options for Sexual Health)
Could I be Pregnant? (Teen Health Source)
How Pregnancy Happens (Planned Parenthood)
Am I Pregnant? (Brook)

*Effectiveness rates for methods of contraception are figured for one full year of use. Figures presented here and elsewhere about effectiveness, with the exception of emergency contraception methods, present effectiveness rates over one full year of use, not per use or per day.

condom ad condoms too loose

heatherHEATHER CORINNA is an activist, artist, author and the director of Scarleteen, the inclusive online resource for teen and young adult sex education and information. She is also the author of S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-to-Know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You Through High School and College and was a contributor to the 2011 edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves. She’s received the The Champions of Sexual Literacy Award for Grassroots Activism (2007), The Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, Western Region’s, Public Service Award (2009), the Our Bodies, Ourselves’ Women’s Health Heroes Award (2009), The Joan Helmich Educator of the Year Award (2012), and The Woodhull Foundation’s Vicki Award(2013).

scarleteenSCARLETEEN is an independent, grassroots sexuality education and support organization and website. Founded in 1998, Scarleteen.com is visited by around three-quarters of a million diverse people each month worldwide, most between the ages of 15 and 25. It is the highest-ranked website for sex education and sexuality advice online and has held that rank through the majority of its tenure.
Find Scarleteen on twitter @Scarleteen

Wanted: Men Who’d Benefit From a Snug Condom

Photo credit: Chris Beckett

Photo credit: Chris Beckett

Tired of condoms that slip and slide? Lucky Bloke can help!

If you find condoms bought at the local drugstore too loose or baggy and often slip around, you are likely part of the 35% of men who require a smaller condom. This statistic may surprise you, but the fact is only 15% of men need large condoms. Lucky Bloke suspects that mainstream condom companies are reluctant to put the word “small” on packages because customers would hesitate or be embarrassed to purchase them.  Condom marketers know that the male ego plays a powerful role at the checkout stand and in the bedroom due to smaller penis stigma.  As a result, men and women buying condoms aren’t aware of smaller condom options.

This means that many people are wearing the wrong condom size which has serious consequences. Condoms that fit baggy and loose not only debilitate pleasure, but also causes condom malfunction, thus increasing the risk of STI transmission and accidental pregnancy.

Lucky Bloke is putting the spotlight on smaller condoms with the first ever international Small Condom Review to raise awareness about proper condom fit and help you find the best condoms for you.

What Is Project Sure Fit?

This month, Lucky Bloke launches the international Small Condom Review, the first and most comprehensive condom review ever conducted specifically for men requiring a smaller, narrower condom than standard size condoms.

Project Sure Fit – the latest Global Condom Review & Safe Sex Initiative presented by Lucky Bloke invites you to sample offerings from top brands featuring smaller condom size styles such as GLYDE, Caution Wear, Atlas, Sustain, Lifestyles, RFSU, Beyond Seven, and the FC2 (Female) internal condom.

How It Works?

Once you’ve initially applied online and are eligible, you will receive free premium condom samplers to try with the partner of your choice in the comfort and privacy of your home (or wherever you may choose). You will then complete your reviews via easy, completely anonymous online questionnaires.

Participating in this review will be the best thing you’ve done for your sex life.

To date, of the 5600+ reviewers (in 28 countries) who’ve participated in Lucky Bloke’s ongoing global condom reviews: 96% state the review experience greatly improved their relationship with condoms.

Who Can Participate?

Anyone who requires smaller condoms! All you need is:

  • the love of great sex and a refusal to compromise on safety,
  • the desire to share your opinions to make future condoms better,
  • the need for a smaller-than-average-condom.

A wide range of opinions are desired, so your participation is wanted regardless of how experienced you are to safer sex and condom use.

You can use Lucky Bloke’s easy condom size chart to determine if you qualify.

Where To Apply?

Condom users can apply online here.  Applicant’s identities will be held in the strictest confidence.

If you or your partner have ever experienced a condom that slips and slides, or feels too baggy, this is a great opportunity for you!

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Fifty Shades of Grey: Has It Changed the Way Women Think About Sex?

Photo credit: Todd Mecklem

Photo credit: Todd Mecklem

No matter how you feel about ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ one must admit it has opened up our national conversation about sexuality,” says sex educator Elle Chase.

In response to the recent movie release and blockbuster hit, Elle Chase reflects on the fame of this story and why the book trilogy resonates with so many women. In many ways, she argues, it has actually changed the way women think about sex and sexuality. Elle brings up three very interesting and original points that many critics have overlooked.

‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ has changed the way we think about sex in at least three ways:

  • The book was released during the economic recession. Such hardships have forced many people to reflect on their basic needs, but also find escape from the stressors of work and joblessness. Our carnal desires are something we do have control over, and it has no monetary cost!
  • Due to massive public acceptance of the trilogy, women are finding it easier to openly talk about traditionally taboo subjects like female sexual pleasure and fantasy.
  • It is not a standard love story. It isn’t even about BDSM. It is about a woman’s self discovery. Our sexual experimentations (or lack of experience) play an important role in the process of self discovery for each one of us.

This post was originally published on smutforsmarties.com

BY ELLE CHASE | ElleChase.com

Image from smutforsmarties.com

Image from smutforsmarties.com

By now, you’d have to be living under a rock if you haven’t at least heard of the E.L. James, Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon, let alone not read the trilogy. Fifty Shades is Twilight for the “Soccer Mom”, and just as poorly written, yet women can’t get enough of it … in fact, no one can. Sex clubs, sex shops and even New York’s Museum of Sex are having Fifty Shades themed events. Even cottage industries of vanilla-friendly BDSM seminars and ladies nights have popped up faster than you can say “Yes, Sir, may I have another?” Dateline, Primetime, Nightline – all the news shows have covered it since it’s blockbuster release in 2011, including the dependably milque-toast morning shows. Back in 2011, even Psychology Today and People Magazine, two publications that couldn’t be more different, had written articles about the Fifty Shades phenomenon. You couldn’t go anywhere without hearing about Fifty Shades, and not only did the E.L. James blockbuster birth a movie franchise, but it continues to inspire merchandise, news articles, events and sex toys. In fact, even one of the bastions of conservative family ideals, Target, is selling Fifty Shades of Grey sex toys. But why did a poorly written romance novel, originally self-published as a fan-fiction e-book, capture the imagination and sex drive of American women? Erotica isn’t new, and neither is BDSM.

Why is this particular book resonating with so many women? I have a few ideas:

#1 IT’S THE ECONOMY, STUPID

Timing. My feeling has always been that under times of socio-economic stress or crisis that people tend to move inward and reflect on what they really have in life, what they can call their own. Taking personal inventory and whittling ones needs down to just the basics illuminates within us what we really care about, what we have control over and how it adds to our life. In a time of economic unreliability, we are forced to define what it is that really makes us happen, what we really need and how to pare down all the extraneous trappings of a life distracted by panaceas of success. Without the sparkly diversion of “things” we want or need, discovering that there is nothing more “our own” than our bodies and our sexuality, can be a realization that changes how we look at sex forever. Sex: if we’re not doing it, we’re thinking about doing it because let’s face it … it’s fun, it’s free and it feels good.

To paraphrase John Mayer, our bodies “are a wonderland” … a wonderland of sensation, feelings and hormones that can give us great pleasure. What could feel more exciting and enticing than a semi-subversive roll-in-the-hay with your neighbor? Or, letting go of your Type-A personality and allowing someone else call the shots … in bed? Maybe the scintillating thought of sharing a surruptitous touch with a stranger on a train, has put a little spring in your step or devilish grin on your face? Our sexual desires are inherent, and for some, might not have been exploited to their fullest potential. Feeling free to indulge in our carnal desires, is the gateway to exploring our sexual selves or at least choosing whether we indulge or not. In a recession, there are very few things we feel we have control of, and even fewer that has the emotional and physical potential to bring us a respite from the stressors and the financial constraints of seeking out a living.

In 2011, Fifty Shades of Grey arrived at such a time of economic upheaval. It’s no accident that it garnered it’s initial success by word of mouth as a free online publication. Mostly hetero/cis women sought out distraction from the hamster wheel of daily life and, in the face of joblessness, foreclosures, war and waning affordable healthcare, and made this book a must-read. Easy and inexpensive escapism into a world of passion, lust and romance … as J. Lo says “Love don’t cost a thing,” and that is precisely the appeal of a Rabelaisian fantasy like Fifty Shades of Grey.

#2 WE’RE MAD AS HELL AND WE’RE NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!

For far too long in western culture, women’s sexuality has been at the very least marginalized and at the most extreme, vilified. In modern society, women are not portrayed as wanting sex. In fact, if you grew up during any part of the women’s movement, you might’ve been led to believe that ‘sexual freedom’ for a woman only meant she had the right to say “no.” However, as a woman and a feminist, I have benefited from the freedom of choice to say “yes,” to my control over my sexuality, “yes” to how I choose to express it and “yes” to sexual pleasure. It seems that Fifty Shades was just the gateway for some women- women who may have felt stultified sexually, to give themselves permission to explore an enjoyable sex life.

Nature dictates that we are all sexual and sensual beings. It’s beginning to dawn on the modern woman that sexual pleasure isn’t just acceptable for men, but just as acceptable for women. Because of the popularity and the subsequent main stream media frenzy of Fifty Shades of Grey, women are feeling more empowered to talk about what sexual pleasure means to them, regardless of whether they are, or are not into “BDSM.” This is a huge step in the evolution of female sexual acceptance where shame had shrouded it for centuries. Through the public acceptance of Fifty Shades of Grey, women have started to give themselves permission to accept and seek out sexual pleasure. These same women began to feel as free to explore their sexual urges as men had been doing for since time immemorial.

It stands to reason, that women who have found sexual liberation in the E.L. James’ books, might possibly be more open to teaching their daughters that sex and the pleasure we derive from it is healthy, and that their right to express it verbally or physically is nothing to be ashamed of. Without trying to, Fifty Shades of Grey has taken away a bit of the taboo for a certain segment of the female population. Women who normally didn’t discuss “such things” are now sharing the titillation and thrill they get from reading modern erotica. Because this book has been so popular, the discussions have started and have even freed a great many women from the bad kind of ties that bind.

#3 THIS IS NOT ABOUT BDSM

Quotation-Tristan-Taormino-freedom-sexuality-human-feminism-Meetville-Quotes-21462-300x205Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t a book about BDSM. It’s not even a love story. At its core, this book is an allegory of one woman’s unexpected journey of self-discovery. The heroine, smart yet un-experienced, yields to her feelings, and follows Mr. Grey on a titillating sexual adventure. She’s not an idiot, she recognizes how extreme and foreign her situation with Mr. Grey is, and struggles with it. Yet, measured, she feeds her desires and discovers, in the process what she does, and does not like about this specific kind of sex.

Experimenting with our turn-ons and turn offs is an essential part of discovering what kind of sex we like best and, therefore, having a satisfying sex life. After all, how do we know what we like, if we don’t even know what we don’t like? We try out what makes us curious in other parts of our lives; like trying new foods or choosing an exercise we enjoy (or at least don’t hate). Why should it be any different with sex? E.L. James has given us a sort a heroine’s journey of sexual self-discovery and we see ourselves in that journey. It’s empowering.

Even if we don’t identify with the characters in the book – we want to, it’s the pull of sexual pleasure. For some of us, we’ve masked the seduction of sexual adventure and enjoyment, putting it on the back-burner in order to (perhaps) build a career, take care of a family member or build our own families. Because of this, the tug of this pilgrimage can come late in life, if we allow it to at all.

Regardless of when we feel compelled to go on a sexual discovery journey, we all must. We all deserve to experience passion, discover what leads us to it, and recognize there are many different roads to take and ways to travel there. Fifty Shades of Grey illuminates just one of those paths and ignites in the reader a contemplation of one’s own passage through the hallowed halls of our sexuality.

Unsure what size

elle Sex educator, writer and coach, Elle Chase is best known for her award-winning and highly trafficked sites, LadyCheeky.com (NSFW) and SmutForSmarties.com, which have both garnered multiple awards, including LA Weekly’s Best Sex Blog 2013. Elle’s focus is on positive body image, reigniting sexual expression and better sex after 40. She speaks nationally at universities, conferences, and teaches workshops about all things “sex.” Currently, she is hard at work on a book based on her popular workshop “Big, Beautiful Sex”. Find Elle on facebook.com/TheElleChase and follow her @TheElleChase or @smutforsmarties.

How Can I Orgasm During Sex?

how to orgasmAchieving orgasm is different for everyone despite what films, books and the internet have you believe.  Not every woman can reach heavenly climax through penetration alone. In fact, for more than 70% of women, penetrative vaginal sex is usually not enough to make her cum.

In this Team Sex Ed video with Kate McCombs and Louise Bourchier, you will learn three main ways to increase the likelihood of reaching orgasm during vaginal intercourse:

  • Stimulate your clitoris using a hand or sex toy during sex.
  • Find a sex position that puts more attention of the G-spot.
  • Try the coital alignment technique.

Watch the video for more explanation on each one of these sexy pointers.

This article was originally published here.

BY KATE MCCOMBS | KateMcCombs.com

“How can I orgasm during sex*?” is one of the most frequently asked questions I get from women in my workshops.

The sex we see in porn and rom-coms alike would have us believe that this is somehow easy to achieve, but in fact, fewer than 30% of vulva-owners orgasm from penetration alone. In other words, it’s totally normal to not orgasm from penetrative sex.

But if the idea of orgasming during penis-in-vagina sex is sexy to you (a desire that is also totally normal and valid), I have a few suggestions for how to make it more likely. As part of our #TeamSexEd summer series, my dear sex ed friend Louise Bourchier and I filmed this video with our three top tips.

We filmed it at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles while we were out there teaching a Female Orgasm workshop for the Los Angeles Academy of Sex Education. I gotta say, it was pretty fun talking about orgasms in front of the Hollywood sign.

I hope you enjoy it!

*To clarify, when they’re asking this, they nearly always mean penis-in-vagina sex. There are many, equally-valid ways of defining “sex.” Broadening your definition of “sex” is a good start for increasingly the likelihood that an orgasm will occur.

condom ad condoms too tight

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

louise bourchier 150 150LOUISE BOURCHIER, MPH is a sex educator who knows health and pleasure. She teaches workshops to adult audiences throughout Australia and New Zealand, where her mission is to facilitate access to information that allows people to experience healthy and pleasurable sex lives. She works closely with D.VICE: the toy shop for grownups and is a proud emissary of Sex Geekdom Melbourne. Follow her on Twitter @louiselabouche