Health

Talking About Consent

What it means to give consent is integral to discussions on sexual assault and healthy sexuality, and far more education on consent is needed to create a positive social change.

Everyone has the right to sexuality without violence and coercion, and much contemporary discourse on consent is beginning to focus on enthusiastic consent as a positive step.

What is Sexual Consent?

Consent and open communication should be the basis for every sexual encounter and every personal interaction. Sexual consent means that both partners want to participate in a sexual activity. Consent to one activity does not obligate you to consent to other activities, just as consent on one occasion does not obligate you to consent on other occasions. It’s crucial to understand that consent can be revoked at any time if you do not want to go any further, or if you change your mind.

Project Respect offers this excellent definition on consent:

Consent is a mutual verbal, physical, and emotional agreement that happens without manipulation, threats, or head games. Consent is a whole body experience. It is not just a verbal “yes” or “no” – it involves paying attention to your partner as a person and checking in with physical and emotional cues as well. Consent is also mutual (both people have to agree) and must be continuous. You can stop at any time, you can change your mind, and just because you said yes to one thing doesn’t mean you have consented to anything else.

Enthusiastic Consent

While previously many people have thought about consent as the absence of saying ‘no’, this emphasis is outdated – and, many experts suggest, dangerous. When we define consent in terms of someone’s ability to say no, we set parameters that do not include people who are unable to say no for whatever reason

Their inability to say no is not the same as consent. Which is why many are turning towards the idea of enthusiastic consent – which means getting a positive and definitive YES as opposed to a no – as a more sex-positive, inclusive and healthy definition.

The idea of enthusiastic consent advocates for enthusiastic agreement to sexual activity, as opposed to passive agreement. Popularised by the book Yes Means Yes! the concept also requires that consent be given to each sexual activity, meaning that saying yes to one thing does not mean consent to another.

The idea is to be respectful of your own physical and sexual autonomy, as well as your partner’s. It highlights that an unsure or hesitant yes is not enthusiastic consent, and needs to be considered.

A good acronym to remember is FRIES (because fries are delicious and so is good, enthusiastic consent)
Good Consent is FREELY given
It is not coerced, it is not manipulated.
Good consent is REVERSIBLE
It can be taken back at any time.
Good Consent is INFORMED
All parties should know exactly what they’re consenting to.
Good Consent is ENTHUSIASTIC
YES means yes, maybe means no. No definitely means no.
Good Consent is SPECIFIC
Just because one act has been consented for doesn’t mean that all other acts are automatically okay.

Expanding the Definitions of Consent

There are situations that can’t necessarily offer enthusiastic consent, for example in sex work.

In these cases, I believe it’s important to recognise what consent looks like in terms of negotiation, transaction, and the terms of consent.

As an example, purchasing the services of a sex worker purchases you their time on their terms  but not a right to their body – that is something that they can negotiate, consent, and withdraw consent if they choose.

This also brings up the discussion of privilege, and how certain situations might be appearing to be consensual but are in actual fact exploitative.

We need to have these conversations.

What are your thoughts on enthusiastic consent? Do you think it offers a positive step forward for healthy sexuality?

Health, Your Sex Life

Why Do Masochists Crave Pain: The Brain Science Of BDSM

It all comes down to how your brain perceives pain, and what happens as pain is inflictedWhips And Chains Feel Good In My Brain

Have you ever wondered why some people get incredibly turned on by pain? Why  you might be drawn to slightly kinky play like being tied up?  What is this  thing called subspace and the altered state of consciousness that’s spoken of in BDSM circles.

It all comes down to how your brain perceives pain, and what happens as pain is inflicted. This is a quick look into your brain on pain, and why it can feel good.

Disclaimer: This article isn’t meant to be a primer in BDSM and Kink  – it’s an explanation of why pain can feel like pleasure.

The brain perceives the painful sensation in the somatosensory cortex, which tells the brain where the pain is being felt...back, thighs, butt... 

Nociceptors: The Pain Receptor

nociceptor is a pain receptor that responds to pain and sends signals along the spinal cord and to the brain.  Nociceptor comes from the word Nocer which means to injure or to hurt in latin.

These little receptors help keep us safe and tell the brain when the body is injured or hurt.

The brain perceives the painful sensation in the somatosensory cortex, which tells the brain where the pain is being felt…back, thighs, butt…

Then the insula, a little chunk of grey matter in the brain helps control the emotional response to the pain, and in BDSM this is where some of the magic happens

These feel good hormones can literally promote sexual arousal when they flood the brain enough.

Endorphins To The Rescue

The body’s natural response pain is to release some really nice feel good hormones called endorphins; in this case oxytocin (the hormone of love), melatonin (the sleepy hormone)and serotonin (the happy hormone). These feel good hormones can literally promote sexual arousal when they flood the brain enough.  Along with the happy hormones the brain also releases adrenaline in the form of norepinephrin and epinephrin; these hormones trigger the fight or flight response.

So when prick yourself with a pin, your body yellls “Ouch” and you remove the pin as soon as possible. When it comes to BDSM, the pleasure and pain response is just the same.

A gradual build up from light stimuli (a thuddy flogger) to heavier pain (harder spanking, whips and canes)  (safe, sane consensual only please)

Slowly Please…

A gradual build up from light stimuli (a thuddy flogger) to heavier pain (harder spanking, whips and canes)  (safe, sane consensual only please) will flood the brain with feel good hormones, and that light, sleepy, aroused, drifty sky-high feeling known as subspace takes over and whomever is receiving the pain can actually perceive it as pleasure. A LOT of pleasure.

The fight or flight response is often short lived, and once it passes, it produces another rush and flood of endorphins, further creating an altered state of consciousness. Basically, it feels really good.

 

 

Health, Your Sex Life

In Defence Of The Condom

When used correctly, condoms are 98% effective. You need to be able to put it on without damaging it, or creating risk of the condom popping (yeah, that can happen) or tearing.

The poor old condoms cop a bad rap (sorry, not sorry) as far as contraception goes. Notorious for being sex interrupters, sensation dullers, and having a nasty habit of breaking, not fitting, or basically being an epic pain in the ass… It’s no wonder that folks avoid using them.

The thing is – most of the negative stuff that condoms are lambasted for is totally avoidable.

For something as simple as a latex sheath that goes over a penis, there’s a lot that can go wrong with the humble condom. Even in my own personal experience, I’ve had condom breakages and malfunctions due to “user error”

So let’s start with the important stuff, how can we best ensure that condoms do what they’re meant to do; that is, prevent bodily fluid contact, the spread of STIs and well, unwanted pregnancy.

When used correctly, condoms are 98% effective. You need to be able to put it on without damaging it, or creating risk of the condom popping (yeah, that can happen) or tearing.

Check The Date And Use The Right Size

Effective use means using the right size condom for the penis it’s going on. Making sure it’s IN DATE!! (Can’t believe how many people don’t check this) and applying it properly.

Don’t store your condoms in hot cars. Hot conditions destroy condoms. And destroyed condoms don’t work. A couple of drops of lube on the inside of the condom is a game changer as far as sensation is concerned

Use Lube

Lube is basically essential for effective condom use, and can improve sensation, and prevent breakage; however it’s not that simple. Latex condoms and oil based lube do NOT go together. If you’re using a latex love glove, make sure your lube is water based.

A couple of drops of lube on the inside of the condom is a game changer as far as sensation is concerned. Or so I’m told, I don’t have a penis, and really I can only speak from the other side of the discussion so to speak. And frankly, I am a lube advocate. #allthelube  

Put it on properly

Applying the little sucker takes practise, and frankly it’s a bit hard to learn how to put a condom onto a cucumber or banana – because as phallic as they are, they’re nothing like a real penis. If you have your own penis, practise practise practise. If you don’t have access to your own penis, it doesn’t hurt to ask your partner nicely 😉

Pinch the top, squeeze air out and leave space for the cum to end up in the condom. I’ve seen folks somehow manage to create a little air balloon at the end of their condom, only to have it “pop” at an awkward sexy moment, negating any safety or contraceptive benefits of the damned thing. There isn’t much less sexy than a burst, broken, condom; let me assure you.

Roll the condom down the whole length of the penis. This is NOT a time to use your teeth. Structural integrity is key here!

I’m informed by several penis possessing folks that mentioning teeth and dicks in the same sentence doesn’t really need a warning, but you never know who hasn’t been told, or what others are into.

Lube and the right size can solve most sensation issues. But let’s be honest, they ARE a barrier between skin contact, so there are going to be sensation differences.

Take it off properly

It should go without saying that the contents of the condom, once you’re finished with whatever sexy act you’re engaging in, is the exact stuff that you don’t want coming into contact with your partner.

Make sure your penis is completely out of your partners body. And move to a position where you’re not going to splash your fluids all over them.

Tie it up and dispose of your condom in the bin. Toilets aren’t a condom disposal receptacle. They get stuck. They clog drains. It isn’t sexy. Also, think of the sea turtles…

Condom Q&A

Do Condoms Expire?

Yes, absolutely every condom is printed with an expiration date on it’s packaging. You should NEVER use an expired condom.

Do Condoms Prevent STIs?

Condoms help  greatly reduce the risk of contracting STIs the only true way avoid contracting an STI is abstinence.

Do condoms have sizes?

Yep, and choosing the correct size for you means you can use the condom correctly, more comfortably, and with more pleasure.

Do Condoms Cause Thrush?

They can…Anything that upsets the delicate genital chemistry of the vulva can cause irritation and vaginitis including thrush.. A more common cause of irritation can be the lubricant that condoms are often packaged with. Sometimes, you might experience an allergic reaction to your partner’s semen, or even latex. The good news is that vaginitis is usually easily treated. And you should see your health care provider for advice.

If you're embarrassed to buy them in supermarkets etc (And you totally shouldn't be, rock on with your safer sex awesomeness) you can order condoms online.

Other things you probably should know

There are lots of brands and varieties of condoms. Try a bunch and work out what works for you and your body. Try the flavours, try the sensations, try the sizes!

Some people are allergic to latex. Latex allergies and sexy time are not cute, and you should definitely communicate.

If you’re embarrassed to buy them in supermarkets etc (And you totally shouldn’t be, rock on with your safer sex awesomeness) you can order condoms online.

No, you should absolutely NOT use two condoms at the same time. More is not more in this particular scenario.

And as a final thought, condoms create a barrier and need to be changed between each sex act. So if you’re switching from oral to vaginal or anal, a new condom is needed, even if you haven’t cum.

Health

Do I Have A Sexually Transmitted Infection?

In Millennials, Sexually Transmitted Infections, or STIs are on the rise.Our Generation

In Millennials, Sexually Transmitted Infections, or STIs are on the rise.

We are a generation that has been educated on the benefits of safer sex, have access to more options than any of our previous generations, yet we seem to be going backwards in terms of our sexual health.

So it’s time to ditch the stigma of STIs – you wouldn’t be embarrassed by having a cold, so there’s no need to be embarrassed or secretive about having an STI. Get a check up, get it treated, and cure or manage it.

But the only way you can know if you have an STI is if you have a simple test with your doctor.

Chlamydia

Chlamydia is currently one of the most common STIs, and can cause serious and permanent damage to a woman’s reproductive system that can make it difficult or impossible to get pregnant. One of the most dangerous things about chlamydia is that it often has no symptoms, meaning carriers can have the infection for weeks without knowing.

Chlamydia can be transmitted through oral, vaginal or anal sex, and can be passed on even when an infected person shows no symptoms. Untreated chlamydia can spread to the uterus and fallopian tubes, causing pelvic inflammatory disease.

If symptoms do present, they may include an abnormal discharge, a burning sensation when peeing, and occasionally in men, pain and swelling in one or both testicles.

Testing for chlamydia is as simple as providing a urine or swap sample at your doctor. Treatment includes a course of antibiotics, though it’s important to be retested for chlamydia after treatment since reinfection can occur.

The only way to prevent the contraction of chlamydia during sex is to use condoms.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections

Genital HPV Infection

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections, and is so common that doctors estimate nearly all sexually active women will get it at some point in their lives. HPV can be transmitted through oral, vaginal or anal sex, and can be passed on even when an infected person shows no symptoms.

There are many different types of HPV. In most cases the virus goes away on its own and doesn’t cause any health issues. However, when HPV does not go away, it has the potential to lead to problems like genital warts and cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina, penis or anus, which can take decades to develop after infection. It has also been linked to cancer in the back of the throat, base of the tongue and tonsils.

Most people with HPV do not know they are infected and never develop symptoms. Some people find out they have HPV if they develop genital warts, and some women may discover they have HPV if the results of a cervical cancer-screening test show abnormal cells. This is why Pap smears are so important for the sexual health of women.

There is now a vaccine to protect against HPV that is available for children aged around 12 years, and ‘catch-up’ vaccines for women aged up to 26 and men aged up to 21.

For women who fall outside the age of vaccination, using condoms can lower your chances of contracting HPV, although it’s important to note that HPV can affect areas that are not covered by condoms, so condoms cannot provide full protection against the virus.

Genital herpes is estimated to affect around 1 in every 6 people, and can be transmitted through can be transmitted through oral, vaginal or anal sex.

Genital Herpes

Genital herpes is estimated to affect around 1 in every 6 people, and can be transmitted through can be transmitted through oral, vaginal or anal sex. The fluids found in a herpes sore carry the virus, and contact with those fluids can cause infection. It is possible to contract herpes from an infected partner who does not have a visible sore (or who may not even know are infected) because the virus can be released through your skin and spread the infection to your sex partner.

Most people who have herpes have no, or very mild symptoms. Mild symptoms can be mistaken for another skin condition, such as a pimple or ingrown hair. Genital herpes sores usually appear as one or more blisters on or around the genitals, rectum or mouth. Herpes blisters can break and leave painful sores that may take weeks to heal, and may be accompanied by flu-like symptoms like body aches or swollen glands.

More often than not a doctor can diagnose herpes simply by looking at symptoms, although they may also take samples for testing. Though there is no cure for herpes, there are medicines that can prevent or shorten outbreaks, and make it less likely for the virus onto sexual partners.

While condoms can aid in the protection against this infection, outbreaks can also occur in areas that are not covered by a condom, meaning condoms may not fully protect you from getting herpes.

Like many other STIs, it often presents no symptoms – and mild symptoms can be mistaken for bladder or vaginal infections

Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea can be transmitted via anal, vaginal, or oral sex with someone who has the infection. Like many other STIs, it often presents no symptoms – and mild symptoms can be mistaken for bladder or vaginal infections. When symptoms do present, they can include an unusual discharge and a burning sensation in both women and men. Additional symptoms can include vaginal bleeding between periods for women, and painful or swollen testicles for men.

Untreated gonorrhea can cause serious and permanent health problems in both women and men, including pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility.

The testing and diagnosis of gonorrhea is relatively simple. Urine can be tested for the infection, although in some cases swabs may be required. Gonorrhea can be cured with the right treatment, although some drug-resistant strains of gonorrhea can be more difficult to treat. If symptoms persist for more than a few days after receiving medical treatment, it’s important to go back to the doctor to be checked again.

To protect yourself against gonorrhea, use condoms correctly every time you have sex.

Syphilis is often referred to by doctors as a great imitator, because it can present a range of possible symptoms – many of which look like symptoms for other infections.

Syphilis

Syphilis is often referred to by doctors as a great imitator, because it can present a range of possible symptoms – many of which look like symptoms for other infections. The painless syphilis sores that can present themselves after first being infected can be confused with ingrown hairs or other seemingly harmless bumps, which is part of what makes this infection so dangerous.

When not treated, syphilis can cause long-term complications, and the symptoms can be divided into three stages. The disease can be contracted by direct contact with a syphilis sore during vaginal, oral or anal sex.

Because syphilis sores can be hidden in the vagina, anus, under the foreskin of the penis, or in the mouth, it may not be obvious that a sex partner has syphilis.

The diagnosis of syphilis is simple. Most of the time doctors will test blood samples, though sometimes testing the fluid from a syphilis sore may be required. Syphilis can be cured with the right antibiotics.

Condoms are the only way to protect against the contraction of syphilis.

Do Yourself A Favour And Get A Simple Sexual Health Check

Remember, you are in control of your body. Always protect yourself with condoms when you’re engaging in sex outside of a mutually monogamous sexual relationship, and get regular routine STI checkups and pap smears.

 

Health

Family Planning Is A Human Right

Access to family planning resources and information should be the simplest, most accessible part of healthcare for women. And yet, in developing countries it is a huge factor in women’s early death. In developed countries, it’s an issue that still kills women.

In this article, we’re going to discuss the impact that family planning has on women and their communities in developing countries, and what we can do as individuals to make positive difference. In follow up articles, we’ll examine how limiting women’s access to safe abortion, contraception and education is a violation of human rights, and discuss how women’s health is a public health issue.

47,000 Women Die From Unsafe Abortions Yearly.

For over 214  million women in developing countries, even the simplest and most readily usable safer sex tools aren’t an option.

This is a youth issue, it’s a women’s issue, it’s a public health issue, it’s an inter-generational issue that has long lasting health and economic consequences, and it’s one that we desperately need to talk about. In 2016, 44 in 1000 girls aged 15-19 had unplanned pregnancies in developing countries. With these pregnancies representing large risk to the women’s and children’s lives and health.

3 million of these girls will access unsafe abortions each year. And some 47,000 women die from unsafe abortions world wide each year. As for abortion, we have overwhelming evidence that making abortion illegal does not stop women from seeking and accessing it, but it does kill women.

Banning Abortion Doesn’t Work

I’ve personally had this discussion with people who sit comfortably in proverbial ivory towers, making suggestions that it isn’t their problem, that unsafe sex is the issue, or that the issue of abortion is cut and dry: don’t allow it.

This simplistic view of things is neither helpful nor accurate; unsafe sex is an issue but it’s not the causative issue. Lack of family planning resources, education, and options available to women and their families is a more accurate determinant.

As for abortion, we have overwhelming evidence that making abortion illegal does not stop women from seeking and accessing it, but it does kill women. If we are going to address women’s health in a pragmatic and sensible way, then access to safe, legal, abortion is the option that saves lives and reduces abortions. Science and stats are fun. This issue is simply fixed, but not easily fixed.

A Simple, But Not Easy Issue

This issue is simply fixed, but not easily fixed.

Family planning is a multifaceted gemstone of an issue, and it needs to be approached from several angles, at different stages throughout an individual’s life.

We know we can’t stop people having sex, and frankly why would we want to. But we can empower them with education and put them in the driver’s seat of their fertility. We can teach about consent, and rape. We can gently nudge cultures to see sex as a positive act between two individuals who are both willing and consenting.

We can train health care professionals and have conversations about sexual health, STIs, birth control (ugh, I hate that term… let’s run with contraception) and we can influence our governments to provide funds for family planning programs.

The World Health Organisation Guidelines

In 2011, WHO published guidelines to address the issue of child and teen pregnancy, and it’s long lasting social, health, and economic consequences with 6 main over-reaching guidelines.:

  • Reducing marriage before the age of 18 years. Estimates suggest a 10% reduction in child marriage could contribute to a 70% reduction in a country`s maternal mortality rate (16).
  • Creating understanding and support to reduce pregnancy before the age of 20 years.
  • Increasing the use of contraception by adolescents at risk of unintended pregnancy. If this need was to be met, 2.1 million unplanned births, 3.2 million abortions, and 5600 maternal deaths could be averted each year 
  • Reducing coerced sex among adolescents.
  • Reducing unsafe abortion among adolescents.
  • Increasing use of skilled antenatal, childbirth and postnatal care among adolescents

Access to contraception and family planning education is key to turning this proverbial ship around and improving the lives of women and their communities in developing countries.

Family Planning Saves Lives, Builds Communities

So what is Family Planning? It’s the access, means, knowledge and resources to decide if and when you’re going to have children.

This includes understanding hormonal contraceptives, implants, surgical methods, fertility treatment, and barrier methods such as male and female condoms. It includes sex education and discussion about fertility, STIs and pregnancy and childbirth.It includes talking about concepts like rape, coercion and consent.

These conversations need to be had with religious, cultural, and economic sensitivity, as the barriers to family planning are what make this issue a simple, but not easy challenge.

According to UNFPA, if the unmet needs of family planning were met in developing countries, some 76,000 lives would be saved. That number is astounding.

Family Planning Empowers Women

The follow on consequences of Family Planning means that women are empowered. They have the potential to complete their education, better economic security, and participate autonomous members of their households and communities. This infographic demonstrates the amazing impact that education, resources, autonomy has for women, their communities, and public health at large.

The UNFPA is doing amazing work along side the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation to deliver family planning resources to developing countries and it’s having some incredible success.

In 2017, the UNFPA Program:

  • Averted 13.5 million unintended pregnancies
  • Averted 4.1 million unsafe abortions
  • Averted 32,000 maternal deaths
  • Saved $819 million in health-care costs

But there is a long way to go, with funding, resources, and government backing being a barrier to achieving true success for women and their communities.

How You Can Help

Here at ChloePedley.com, I love to leave my work with actionable things the individual can do. So if you want to make a difference to access to family planning, here are some steps you can take:

  • Share this article!
  • Share the UNFPA link to family planning https://www.unfpa.org/family-planning
  • Talk about family planning issues, and contraception and remove the stigma around discussions about public health.
  • Donate to UNFPA https://www.unfpa.org/donate

 

Health

Decoding Gender

Pronouns Are Important

I’m Chloe, I identify as a bi-woman (my sexuality and  gender), and my preferred pronouns are “She/her”

I like to make sure I don’t misgender the folks I hang around with – so I do try to use preferred pronouns, and be sensitive about making assumptions when I meet people.

Why? What is all of this about you might ask? Well, firstly, it’s because I’m not a jerk, and I think we should all be included respectfully in society. Secondly it’s because I genuinely care about the people I meet, and I want them to feel included, respected, and like actual humans.

Not that hard really.

I think we should all be included respectfully in society. Secondly it's because I genuinely care about the people I meet, and I want them to feel included,

What Is Gender?

Contrary to the popular belief that gender is whether or not you’re male or female (Nup, that’s sex, folks, more on that in a second!) Gender is the feeling of whether you’re a guy, or a girl, a man or a woman, or somewhere in between those two ends of the spectrum.

Gender is diverse, and much more fluid than the black and white definition of “Man” and “Woman”.

Yay for gender diversity!

I’d also like to  bring to the table the idea that gender doesn’t necessarily have to do with sexuality. That’s a whole other discussion! And we’re gonna have that discussion. We’re gonna have these discussions until people understand, accept, and include all of their fellow folk!

What Is “Sex”

No, not that kind of sex, but biology is fun too, mmkay?!

Sex relates to our anatomy. While there deviations of sex that extend beyond male and female anatomy, “male” and “female” are most commonly used terms.

The classification of a person as male or female at birth. Infants are assigned a sex, usually based on the appearance of their external anatomy.

 No problems. You're perfectly normal, acceptable, and magical however you identify, and your'e certainly not alon

What If I Don’t Identify With My Assigned Sex Or Gender?

No problems. You’re perfectly normal, acceptable, and magical however you identify, and your’e certainly not alone.

Some folks don’t feel like they connect or associate with their assigned gender or sex. Some identify with the opposite sex. Sometimes it’s fluid, and it changes, and sometimes folks don’t identify with any particular sex or gender.

I say this with a degree of caution, because I simply cannot speak for each individual experience of gender.

Got more to add? Comments, questions, criticisms? Call me out. I'm learning too, and I want to improve!

Common Gender Definitions

Agender or Gender-Neutral: A term for folks whose gender identity and expression does not align with man, woman, boy or girl or any other gender.

Androgynous/Andro: Identifying and/or presenting as neither obviously masculine nor feminine.

Bi-gender: Someone whose gender identity comprises of both man and woman. Some folk identify with one identity more than the other, but feel that both are present.

Binary: Archaic way of understanding gender as being only man or woman.

Cisgender: A term used to describe a person whose gender identity aligns with the sex assigned to them at birth. E.g. “Cis-Male” or “Cis-Woman”

A number of derivatives of the terms cisgender and cissexual include cis male for “male assigned male at birth”, cis female for “female assigned female at birth”, as well as: cis man and cis woman, and cissexism and cissexual assumption.

Gender dysphoria: Clinically defined as the condition of feeling one’s emotional and psychological identity as man or woman to be opposite to  or different to one’s biological sex.

Gender expression: How someone chooses to present their gender via their external appearance.

Gender fluid: A person who does not identify with a single fixed gender, and expresses a fluid or unfixed gender identity.

Gender identity: How individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves. Gender identity can be the same or different from one’s sex assigned at birth.

Gender non-conforming: A broad term referring to people who do not behave in a way that conforms to the traditional expectations of their gender, or whose gender expression does not fit neatly into a category.

Gender questioning: A person who may be processing, questioning, or exploring how they want to express their gender identity.

Genderqueer: A term for people who reject notions of static categories of gender and embrace a fluidity of gender identity and often, though not always, sexual orientation. People who identify as genderqueer may see themselves as being both male and female, neither male nor female or as falling completely outside these categories.

Misgender:  Don’t do this! Referring to or addressing someone using words and pronouns that do not correctly reflect the gender with which they identify. We can do better than this, and if you don’t know how someone likes to be addressed, it’s nice to ask what their preferred pronouns are.

Non-binary: Any gender that falls outside of the binary system of male/female or man/woman.

Queer: A broad term to describe non-binary gender, and genderqueer has been used as an adjective to refer to any people who transgress distinctions of gender, regardless of their self-defined gender identity, or who “queer” gender.

Transgender: An umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or expression is different from cultural and social expectations based on the sex they were assigned at birth.

Transitioning: The social, legal, and/or medical process folks may go through to live outwardly as the gender with which they identify. Transitioning can include some or all of the following: telling loved ones and co-workers, using a new name and pronouns (he/she, him/her/ etc), dressing differently, changing their name and/or sex on legal documents, hormone therapy, and possibly gender reassignment and or cosmetic surgeries.

 

Got more to add? Comments, questions, criticisms? Call me out. I’m learning too, and I want to improve!

Your Sex Life

Are Millennials The Hookup Generation?

Are We Actually The Hookup Generation?

The age of Tinder, and the casual hookup has given Millennials and iGens the reputation of being all about the bone.

But according to this study it seems that my generation is doing anything but the horizontal samba with frequent and multiple partners.

What’s driving this sexual dry spell?

Why Is It Happening All Over The World?

Around the world iGens, particularly women are just NOT  having sex. To the point where it’s reached crisis point in countries like Japan.

The aging population and declining birth rate in Japan has literally had the government intervene in the sex lives of it’s younger generation. To encourage them to not only shag, but also make babies.

The Swedes are taking one for team orgasm and are organising studies into declining sexual satisfaction. And even America is encouraging university students to go on dates. Well, SOME of America that is.. <side eye at the deep south>

Are We Smarter? Is It Sexual Freedom?

Does emotional connection play into quality sex?

According to some who know far more than me, great sex can happen in hookups but sustainable, frequent, soul satisfying banging happens over time as the emotional connection grows.

Perhaps our liberated sexual freedom actually tindered our sexual burn  out (see what I did there).

Love and emotional connection *can* keep the fire burning, but certainly aren’t necessary for it.

Are We Lacking in Education?

There are progressive countries leaping forwards  with sex positive education, and teaching their youngsters about safer sex, gender diversity, and pleasure and consent. Then there’s well, everyone else.

The country I reside in is divided as to whether or not we should be speaking to children about their genitals, and horrified at the concept of genderless bathroom stalls.

And yet, we also have ridiculously high rates of STIs.

Maybe the nihilism and dark humour we’ve all adopted has affected our sex drives to the point where we just literally cannot even anymore.

Is it education or is it that we’re all dipping our bits in the petri-dish of social shagging with abandon? If you ask me, it’s both.

Survey a bunch of 30 something women, and it’s alarming the myths, mis-truths, and old wives tales that still perpetuate our sexual knowledge. Survey a bunch of 30 something men, and it’s even more alarming.

Can We Blame The Baby Boomers?

I’m a Gen Y, and everything that is wrong with the world ever, is clearly the fault of the boomers. We revel in a destroyed economy, watch as the planet shrivels, and our politicians argue about money instead of effecting real change, and get blamed for wanting, craving, just needing a piece of gorramed avocado toast.

Is it the Boomers to blame?

Let’s run with maybe.

Let’s run with the collective depression of a generation left to clean up the mess of our predecessors in a way unprecedented throughout history. This shit is huge.

Maybe the nihilism and dark humour we’ve all adopted has affected our sex drives to the point where we just literally cannot even anymore.

 

kink
Your Sex Life

Here’s What To Do If You’re Worried Your Kink Isn’t Normal

So you have an interesting kink…

I went to dinner with a date just recently, and we ordered gelato for desert. I ordered vanilla, he ordered some delicious concoction with brownies, coffee, and hazelnuts… His gelato choices are vastly different to mine, but they’re still gelato. They’re still valid, and they’re very, very much normal. He’s not weird for his differing tastes, and I’m not boring for mine.

Are Your Sexual Thoughts Any Different?

A recent study published in the Journal of Sexual Health found that BDSM and kink are a huge part of mainstream life, with over 46.8% of people surveyed having participated in some type of BDSM act.

Here, we encourage an open minded approach to the things that turn us on and make us hot. Sexual fantasies? Oh my can they make us hot.

And that’s what a sexual fantasy is; a thought that leaves us aroused, turned on, sexually heightened, or feeling very, very lusty. Some of our fantasies might leave us feeling naughty, shameful, or embarrassed… Some of our fantasies might tie into our traumas and hurts.

Am I Normal?

Whips and chains, leather and pain? Or darkly devious, and delightfully unbridled? Soft and silky? Furry and fluffy? Fantasies make our sexuality interesting..

So when your fantasy borders into the dark, the extreme, the tentacle infused, slimy, slippery non-consensual, hard core realm of imagination, is it still normal?

Pfft, yep!

We all have delicious thoughts that we like to entertain to get ourselves off. Some of us have kinks that involve bondage, some of us like to imagine being taken by aliens, some of us like to fantasise about being caught having sex in public places the list goes on, and on, and on..

They’re Fantasies

They’re fantasies.  Creative kinky thoughts that get us off, turn us on, and maybe leave us lusty, and tantalised. They make our sex lives exciting, they make us individual, they help us delve into the more interesting and intriguing parts of our sexuality. Humans are wonderfully creative creatures by nature.

Whips and chains, leather and pain? Or darkly devious, and delightfully unbridled? Soft and silky? Furry and fluffy? Fantasies make our sexuality interesting…

The Human Brain is a Marvelous Thing

Fantasies are delightful little brain trips that we may or may not indulge in real life.

The wonderful thing about the human brain is that it’s endlessly creative. Fantasies are delightful little brain trips that we may or may not indulge in real life. (Safe, sane, consensual indulgence only, please!!)

We can add fantastical elements to our sex play. Costume, toys, bondage, role play, and other more specialised kinky elements can bring parts of our fantasy to life.

Quick questions, quick answers:

Q. Am I weird?

A. Possibly. But that’s not a bad thing. Our individuality is something to be celebrated, not denied.

Q. Are my feelings deviant or wrong?

A. Nope. Fantasies on their own are just thoughts at arouse you. Just thoughts. Explore your fantasies with costumes, consenting partners, toys, role play, and kinky play – and if you’re always practising safe, sane, consensual sex – we say celebrate your fantasies.

Q. But they’re really out there thoughts… I mean REALLY out there.

A. It’s pretty normal to have far fetched fantasies – rape scenes, pain, non-human, and other fetishes are still just fantasies, but if your thoughts are really, really concerning you, speak to a professional therapist.

 

Health

Were the 70’s onto something with mirrors on the ceiling?

Mirror mirror, on the wall, who’s the sexiest of them all?

Mirrors in the bedroom might be a 1970s porn cliche, but they also just might be scientifically proven to add some spice into all things sexy and nice.  A study published in the Journal of Sexual Health sought to find out whether body awareness improved sexual function  in women.

Mirrors, Erotica, and Electrodes, oh my!

Participants in the study placed electrodes on themselves in front of a full length mirror, to ensure they were aware of their bodies, then they were shown erotical to measure their physiological responses and arousal.

The experimental group demonstrated that body awareness does  have an impact on sexual arousal.

So what does that mean for sex?

You don’t need to re-plaster the ceiling just yet. Body awareness means being visually, and physically aware of your body. Play such as blindfolds to enhance physical awareness, or mindfulness and meditation can be super sexy all while increasing awareness of your body.

And of course, you can always use a mirror and watch yourselves do the wild thing!

 

 

 

Your Sex Life

Can Chocolate Improve Sex? The Answer May Suprise You

Wouldn’t it be nice…

Just wouldn’t it be delightful if there were a delicious, magic, fix all for sex… Something that so many of us enjoy and crave, and love. Chocolate does contain a number of chemicals that produce mood lifting endorphins namely phenylethylamine, the chemical associated with falling in love, and serotonin, the feel good hormone.

But can chocolate actually improve sex?

Does Chocolate improve sex?

Well we think the answer is duh, chocolate improves everything. But in a study published in the Journal of Sexual Health, it was found that there was a correlation between women who ate chocolate and their sexual satisfaction in younger women. (Salonia et al, 2006)

So so I need to eat more chocolate for better orgasms?

Sadly, the study also found that when the statistics were adjusted for age, there was no difference between the group who ate chocolate and the group who didn’t. Infact, the older the woman was, the less likely chocolate would have any effect at all on her sexual satisfaction compared to women who don’t eat chocolate.

Damn, so Chocolate doesn’t actually improve sex?

Well, the science says that it may, a little, if you’re a younger woman, and even then the science is correlated at best. Sadly, it seems that chocolate isn’t the panacea that we were all hoping it would be. That doesn’t mean that we can’t pretend and enjoy a square or two….

 

 

References:

ORIGINAL RESEARCH—WOMEN’S SEXUAL HEALTH: Chocolate and Women’s Sexual Health: An Intriguing Correlation Salonia, Andrea et al. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, Volume 3, Issue 3, 476 – 482. Retrieved from: https://www.jsm.jsexmed.org/article/S1743-6095(15)31344-8/fulltext