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).

Oral Sex Part Deuce: Different parts require different arts.

Using your head when giving head:

Let’s talk blow jobs.  This is the mouth on penis action.  If you want to eliminate any possible risk of STDs then use a polyurethane, polyisoprene, or latex condom.  Don’t like the taste of condoms?  Fear not, there are condoms that come in different flavors!

OK, OK… I can actually hear you sighing from here.  I know, using condoms for oral sex isn’t realistic for everyone.  The good news is that if barriers aren’t your thing there are still ways to lower your risk.

Here are a couple tricks of the trade:

  • use the “harmonica method”.  By focusing on the shaft of the penis and not the head you’ll avoid any cum or pre-cum.
  • watch out for deep throating (especially vigorously).  It may irritate the lining of your throat making it easier for those pesky STDs to infect you.
  • if you have the head of the penis in your mouth then try not to take any ejaculate/semen into your mouth.
  • partner not so great about telling you when they’re going to cum?  When you think they’re getting close you can try finishing them off with your hand to avoid the unexpected ejaculation.
  • got ejaculate in your mouth?  spit it out quickly instead of swallowing it and it will help reduce your risk.

The low down on going down:

When you’re performing oral sex on a vagina it’s a similar deal.  Using a barrier like a dental dam (thin sheet made out of latex), condom (cutting it down the side), or saran wrap will do the trick.  Stay away from microwavable saran wrap because it’s more porous (has bigger holes in it) and HIV may be able to get through the holes.  For added pleasure slap some water or silicone based lube on the side of the barrier that will come into contact with the vagina.   If you don’t want to use a barrier then try to minimize how much fluid you swallow.   You should know: there is an increased risk for getting HIV is she is menstruating (having her period) because blood has more virus in it than vaginal secretions (aka the fluid in the vagina).

The art of rimming:

Ah, yes, the licking of the bum.  HIV is not typically transmitted through pooh, BUT there are other things like hepatitis A (there’s a vaccine you can get to prevent this!), parasites, and other STDs that can be.  You can use a barrier such as a dental dam (thin sheet made out of latex), condom (cutting it down the side), or saran wrap (preferably non microwavable) to protect yourself.  Pleasure tip:  put some water or silicone based lube on the side of the barrier that will be facing the butt.  One thing to know is that if you’re going to be rimming someone who just received anal sex (bottomed) then there’s the possibility of blood being present that can transmit different viruses, including HIV.

When it’s all said and done:

Get checked out.  Most STDs don’t have symptoms so get checked regularly.  Have them look in your mouth and swab your throat as well as your goodies.  I hear this a lot: “So what if I get a little gonorrhea in the throat?  I can clear that up with antibiotics!”  Well, yes, you can BUT some STDs aren’t curable (i.e. herpes) and if you have a STD in your mouth then it’s easier to get HIV from performing oral sex.

If you and your partner are monogamous you can both get checked out.  You can’t get something from someone who doesn’t have it.  And if they do have something that isn’t curable, then you’ll know what you’re looking for!

So there you have it.  Oral sex in a nutshell.  Have questions?  Need more info?  Call the Oregon HIV/STD Hotline 800.777.2437, we’re here to help!  You can also chat with us online at www.orgeonaidshotline.com

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