World AIDS Day 2011!

World AIDS Day, observed December 1 each year, is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection. HIV/AIDS has been a global epidemic for more than 27 years. Most of today’s youth have never known a world without it. As CHATpdx (a coalition of organizations that are working to Curb HIV/AIDS Transmission among youth in Portland) we having been working to change how youth view and are impacted by HIV.

From November 28th-December 2nd we will collect people’s own stories using photographs of their own “Facing AIDS” statements. During our youth drop, CHAT(room), on November 28th from 3-7pm at Pivot (209 SW 4th Ave) in Portland, we will ask young people to create their own message and take a photo for us to post on the AIDS.gov website as well as create a video for the CHATpdx facebook page (www.facebook.com/chatpdx). Youth will also have an opportunity to be tested for HIV for free and receive their results in 20 minutes. Later this evening we will print out photos of everyone’s messages and do a street outreach, distributing copies of the photos to people walking around our drop in space.

For more information about CHATpdx or its programs, please visit our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/chatpdx) or contact Ernesto at edominguez@cascadeaids.org.

Don’t be silly, Wrap up that Willie!

Condoms are GRRREAT! When used correctly they help protect you from a whole host of bacterial and viral infections (they’ll also keep you from getting preggers if that’s one of your concerns).

But I’m not going to talk about statistics or the basics of how to use a condom (here’s some videos on the basics if you wanna brush up). For right now, I’m going to talk more about how condoms can increase your pleasure during sex – yeah, that’s right, I said INCREASE your pleasure.

First, there are tons of different types of condoms. Big ones, snugger ones, ones with spirals, bumps, ridges, pleasure pockets, and bends. Ones that make you tingle, ones that are thinner and some that are thicker. Plus, all sorts of flavors (fyi, flavored condoms should only be used for oral sex because they can cause problems for the va-jay-jay and the bum). All those condom “extras” aren’t just there for show; they can increase different sensations and make sex feel better (and last longer!). But, hey, don’t take my word for it; conduct your own research experiment to figure out what you like. And for extra fun you can learn how to put on a condom with your mouth. It helps incorporate condoms into sex play and is also a pretty neat party trick. It’s a good idea to practice this beforehand so that you don’t damage the condom with your teeth. I’m sure your partner will have no problem letting you practice, but if so, then revert to the old banana standby. Different folks like different strokes so this might not be for you. Half the fun is finding out what you like!

Now, let’s talk lube! Lube ain’t just for anal sex. Lube and condoms are like peas and carrots; they complement each other very nicely no matter where you’re sticking your dingy.

Is lube a new venture for you?  No worries, I’ll walk you through it. Put a drop of water based or silicone based lube on the erect penis before putting on the latex or polyurethane condom (trust me on this) and then as much as you like on the outside of the condom or directly on the vagina or rumpus. Reapply lube as needed while you’re doing the deed (dry sex causes too much friction which can cause the condom to break). People always ask me what the best lube is, and while I hear lots of great things about silicone based (my favorite being, “you can slip n’ slide on gravel with that stuff!”) the fact is that it’s really a personal choice. So depending on what you’re into it may vary.  Here’s a list of different lube pros and cons to help get you started.

That’s all for now, but check back soon for our next installment of Hotflash!

In the meantime, if you have questions or wanna talk about more fun ways to reduce your risk then give the Oregon AIDS/STD Hotline a call at 800.777.2437 or chat with them live online at www.oregonaidshotline.com. The Hotline Volunteers are super nice, nonjudgmental, and ready to answer all your burning questions! We’re here Monday-Friday 9am-6pm and Saturday 12pm-6pm (pacific).

Masturbation Doesn’t Break Hearts!

“90% of people admit to masturbating, the other 10 percent are liars.”
                                                -unknown

May 1st marked the first day of National Masturbation Month. Yes I said it, Masturbation. If you didn’t know about this, well, you’re not alone. I’ll even admit that I didn’t know this national day existed or that it has been around for 25 years. For some reason it isn’t surprising that National Masturbation Month isn’t as high-profile as Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day, or Easter, but then again these holidays have cute animals or make belief characters attached to them.

I remember the first time I heard about masturbation on TV was when the cast of Jerry Seinfeld made a bet to see who could keep themselves from doing it the longest. I remember being really curious about this subject, but was afraid someone would catch me watching a TV show about this kind of bet. This really points out how ridiculous the stigma and lack of knowledge that youth (or anyone really) have about masturbation. Up until this point all I had heard about masturbation were all the horrible myths about the effects of masturbation on little bunnies and kittens.

While writing this blog I checked a couple of websites for other masturbation myths and this is what I found:

Only youth masturbate,Cascade AIDS Project Button
Only adults masturbate,
Women don’t masturbate,
People in relationships don’t masturbate,
If you live with your parents you don’t masturbate,
If people sleep in the same room as you, you don’t masturbate,
Masturbation will make you blind,
Masturbation will make hair grow on your palms,
Masturbation will give you acne,
Masturbation causes sexually transmitted diseases,
Masturbation will make you sterile,
Masturbation can give your penis a bend,
Masturbation will make you run out of fluids,
Masturbation will make a male’s penis shrink/stop growing,
Masturbation will make you crazy or cause epilepsy.

All of these myths have been proven wrong by science (although some of them didn’t need to be). It is a reality that BOTH women and men masturbate.. It actually is very healthy for someone to masturbate as it can help relieve headaches, stress, pain and help to aid sleep, to get clearer ideas or focus on an issue and helps reduce risk of prostate cancer in men. In 1995 the US surgeon general was quoted as saying “I think it [Masturbation] is part of human sexuality and a part of something that perhaps should be taught.” Even the UK government advocates for “an orgasm a day” and is advocating for youth to masturbate and experiment with their bodies.

The social stigma of masturbation only serves to perpetuate the harmful education that youth are getting from the internet or their peers. Even while writing this I felt uncomfortable and hid my research because of how people might see what I was writing about. I think the fact that as a sex/sexuality educator I should be comfortable with masturbation, but the social stigma I face makes it not so.  I believe in age-relevant sex information, and advocate for youth having as much knowledge about their sexual and reproductive health as they need. Masturbation can be a quite positive (and dare I say pleasant) experience for many people young and old and is only one more way for youth to have safe sexual lives. Maybe if people were more open about their masturbation and did it a little more often, then maybe STD/HIV rates might drop and we would have a safer and healthier (possibly even happier) society.

What do you think? What myths have you heard?

-Ernesto Dominguez

Film Friday

Condom Building

Thank you AIDS awareness

Every friday I will be posting an educational, entertaining, or just plain weird video on our site. Hopefully it will prompt discussion from you or at least get you thinking differently about an issue.

This week, Condoms.

I know, condoms are nothing new and we seem to be getting the “just wear it” message all over the place, but I believe they are still an important thing to be talking about. The modern day latex condom has been around since the early 1900’s (approx. 1920) In the modern age, condoms are most often made from latex, but some are made from other materials such as polyurethane, polyisoprene, or lamb intestine. A female condom (or insertive condom) is also available, most often made of polyurethane.

Condoms have been used for at least 400 years. Yeh I know, can you imagine Louis XIV , Michelangelo, or Isaac Newton using condoms? Well they might have. Since the nineteenth century, they have been one of the most popular methods of contraception in the world. While widely accepted in modern times, condoms have generated some controversy, primarily over what role they should play in sex education classes. I say, put them on buildings and in lunch boxes (maybe not really), but they should play a role in sex education. I mean really, when is the last time you heard of someone being hurt from having more education?

Anywho, if you want to know more things to do with condoms, watch this video.

So tell me, how do you think condoms should be used in schools? Where would you like to see condom ads? Where should they not be? What other roles should condoms play in society? I can’t wait to hear what you come up with.

 

-Ernesto