The big female “O”

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Before my three years here at the University of Michigan, I could have never predicted how many conversations I would be having about the female orgasm, and honestly I am not complaining. Like most students entering college I was naïve to the sexual world around me, highly unprepared by my “fresh-off-the-boat” parents. Sex was a word never used in my family home, except that one distinct time when my twin brother and I turned six years old and my father asked my brother how to spell six. He smiled through the holes in his teeth and said, “S-E-X”. Being the tom-boy I was I smacked him and said, “That’s not six! That’s sex! You know, when you go under the covers and go mwah, mwah, mwah!” I proceeded to smother my face in my arms and make sounds that my six-year-old mind thought were kissing sounds.

As you can see, sex wasn’t a topic for us. However, like any other hormone-enraged college student, the thirst of my curiosity left me parched. So naturally I dove into my painful unknown: clumsily, drunkenly, and shamelessly, like many other freshmen college students. Soon I found myself listening to the most interesting sex stories around campus. I like to the think it was my friendly demeanor that encouraged friends and strangers alike to open up about their vulnerable nights spent in between these sheets and those sheets. But who really knows?

Recently my sophomore roommate texted me extremely concerned. She said, “there’s something wrong with me.” Being the friend that I am, I immediately assured her there’s nothing wrong with her and asked for details. “I just had the best sex of my life last night and didn’t orgasm.” This isn’t the first time I’ve heard my friends talk about their insecurities about being unable to have a vaginal orgasm. I assured her that it was normal – ranted facts about how 80 percent of women don’t have vaginal orgasms—however I was unable to convince her self-conscious mind.

Since when is it okay for society to determine the appropriate manner that one experiences pleasure? Clitoral orgasms are nothing to be ashamed of, and to ask your sexual partner to provide manual stimulation should not be embarrassing or uncomfortable. Being comfortable with my own sexuality and my own definition of pleasure has taken a very long time, and isn’t something that happens over night. Between restless nights and long phone conversations with my experienced older sister, I realized that no one but me determines what is “normal” between the sheets, or the stacks, or that one bathroom in North Quad. I decided that I, and I alone, am responsible for determining normalcy in intimate situations, not Cosmopolitan, and definitely not the individuals I bring home.

I realize that this isn’t an easy feat. Even being the open, confident female that I am I still struggle with the same issues. During my most recent sexual encounter, my sexual partner told me that it was “weird” that I don’t climax during sex. He said, “you’re the first girl I’ve been with that hasn’t orgasmed during sex.” I laughed and told him that the people he’s been with were most likely faking it. Unfortunately, even after this situation, and after knowing the statistics and truths about female orgasm, I was left feeling slightly embarrassed, and desperately wishing I could be “normal” and have a vaginal orgasm.

The final question is how do we, as females, combat this idea of normalcy? How do we break the common misconception that vaginal orgasms are “normal”? How do we stop the constant feeling of shame and embarrassment that comes with our demands for pleasure? My answer for now is honesty. My answer for now is to be open with everyone who comes into our path. My answer for now is to break my silence and silence the voices that tell me I am not normal because I require clitoral pleasure to climax. What’s your answer?tumblr_mwgx4buDCz1rti4sdo2_250

For more information about clitoral and vaginal orgasms feel free to contact the Sexpert team or refer to the attached link.

http://www.uic.edu/orgs/cwluherstory/CWLUArchive/vaginalmyth.html

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Get SUM facts: STD/STI, or… beets?

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So your pee usually comes out yellow(ish) and your stool comes out brown(ish), but there is one color we just do not want to see in either of them–red.  Passing red can certainly be worrisome, making you think about hematuria, internal bleeding, a UTI, or some STD/STI.

But this may actually not be anything serious.  In fact, this may just be something you ate: Beets.

beets

Beets are very nutritious vegetables, full of folate, manganese, potassium, and antioxidants that help strengthen your immune system. [1]

In addition, beet roots contain a chemical called betacyanin, or the red beetroot pigment, which some people cannot biologically breakdown.  The betacynanin would then pass in your urine (also known as “beeturia”) or in your stool, giving it a red/pink coloring which can easily be mistaken as blood but is not known to be harmful.  Research has not shown any strong correlation between breaking down the pigment and hereditary genes, and much is still to be understood about various factors, such as stomach acid levels, that could influence betacyanin metabolism [2, 3].

So if you see red next time you relieve yourself, it may not be a sign of an STD/STI or internal bleeding, but rather just your body getting rid of that betacyanin from beets.  Phew!

Please note: This article is by no means a substitute for medical advice.  You should always contact a health professional if you are uncertain about your condition, and consumption of beets may not be the actual cause of your condition.  If you experience pain in urinating or in passing a stool, or if the color continues to persist after having stopped eating beets, you should contact your doctor immediately.
[1] The Effect of Beets on Bowels by Aglaee Jacob, Livestrong.com
[2] Mitchell, S. C.. Food Idiosyncrasies: Beetroot and Asparagus. 2001
[3] Why isn’t beetroot dye broken down by digestion? The Naked Scientist. 2009.

The One, the Only, the Dental Dam

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If you’ve been paying attention the past five years or so of your life, you should have noticed by now that everyone really wants you to have safe sex. And honestly, I do too in case you’re wondering. But what if you are looking to have safe oral sex?

So we all know that when we get down and dirty in the sheets, or the couch, or that one bathroom in North Quad, it’s not only about sex. There are many other things we all do for sexual pleasure. But since when has anyone preached about safe non-sex? I don’t remember my 10th grade sexual education teacher telling me I could contract Herpes if I preformed oral sex do you? In fact, I don’t remember anyone ever telling me anything about oral sex except these two French women on spring break telling me how to take a “blowjob” shot (“The best advice I ever got honey, was to just suck!”). But this isn’t the problem. The problem is that if you are with a significant, or insignificant other, and about to perform fellatio you aren’t thinking about STIs as much as you would be if you were about to have sex.

SO WHAT TO DO? Dental Dams protect against oral-vaginal and oral-anal sex. Yes, it’s true they aren’t commonly used however they get the job done! They protect against herpes, genital warts, HIV, and other STIs. Dental Dams are square and made out of latex – you place it over area that you are preforming oral sex, and voila! STI FREE!  They come in different flavors too just like flavored condoms, in fact they can even be made out of condoms. For more information on Dental Dams visit: http://www.nakedtruth.idaho.gov/dental-dams.aspx.

Just remember not to use Dental Dams or flavored condoms twice, and neither of these should be use for vaginal or anal intercourse. If you still have questions you can visit/email/call UHS SEXPERT team, which can be found in a link on the left. On a holiday related note – if anyone knows if they have holiday-flavored condoms and dental dams let us know! Remember safety first!

Get SUM History: The Clitoris

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One of the most mysterious aspects of sex throughout history has been the female clitoris: What does it look like? What does it do? Where is located?

The obscurity of the clitoris and its function has been prevalent throughout history. In fact, it was not discovered until the seventeenth century when two Italian anatomists, Gabriel Fallopius and Renauldus Columbus, separately claimed to discover the organ. But, during this time most anatomists thought the clitoris as part of women’s reproductive or urinary systems, not for women’s sexual pleasure.

One of the most famous, or infamous depending on your view, historical figures that contributed to clitoral history is Sigmund Freud. He saw the clitoris as a sexual organ, but believed that clitoral pleasure represented an immature stage of development. Freud believed that for a woman to achieve maturity, she must shift her sexual experiences to her vagina. The 1960s and 1970s feminist movement led to a new vision of the clitoris. Anne Koedt argues, in direct opposition to Freud, that the site of female orgasm is always the clitoris, even when women experience vaginal stimulation – thus the clitoris should be the site of female sexuality.

 
Today, mainstream scientific sources describe the clitoris’ sole purposes as sexual pleasure, and provide basic information on the clitoris’ structure:

  • Generally two to three centimeters long
  • Composed of two corposa carnova- sponge-like areas made of caterpilary tissues that contain numerous nerve ending.

Human sexual organs develop from a part of the fetus called the genital tubercle. If the fetus is male, the tubercle becomes the penis. In females, it initially grows into two separate corposa carnova, which combine into the clitoris as the fetus develops. The exterior and easily sexually stimulated portion of the clitoris is located above the vagina’s opening. With 8,000 nerve fibers, the organ is the most sensitive point on the human body, making it particularly well equipped for its sexual function. This singular function distinguishes it from the penis, which also serves urinary and direct reproductive purposes.

Here’s a video from the museum of sex’s (a really cool sex store I’ve been to in NYC!) website that draws out the internal clitoris and provides some easy to follow commentary!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIbbZ37A7RQ&oref=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DBIbbZ37A7RQ&has_verified=1

[Sources :http://blog.museumofsex.com/the-internal-clitoris/ | http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/biology/b103/f05/web1/na.html]

Get Sum Stats: STDs

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STD Infographic

So they say that nearly half of the 19 million new cases of STDs a year happen to 15-24 year olds (CDC). So what? How does this influence your life? Well if half of the new cases of STDs occur in people around your age, the people you are more likely to come into contact with and have sex with, then that makes YOU more likely to get an STD (or several)! Many people overlook some of the statistics about sexual health that are thrown their way, but these figures are important to take into account. Nobody wants to be the one that is shunned because they have an STD, nobody wants to be the one responsible for passing it along to unsuspecting partners. By looking at the statistic, you need to realize that you are not indestructible, anyone who does not practice safe sexual practices is significantly more vulnerable to contract an STD.

There are ways to practice safe sex, such as using condoms to limit transmission of STDs that are in bodily fluid. Or use  dental dams to prevent skin-to-skin transmission of STDs. So do yourself and everyone you sleep with a favor, get tested and talk to partners to know the risks that you present each other. Check out some prevention tips at http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/std-sti/reduce-your-risk/prevention-tips.html and other resources the website has to offer. Also, try this free quiz http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=40&ContentID=StdQuiz to test your knowledge of STDs!

[Sources: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/sexualbehaviors/index.htm  | http://www.uhs.umich.edu/sxhresources | http://getstdtested.com/infographic-std-awareness-month ]

Get SUM Free Stuff: Really, just take it.

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yes (749) Animated Gif on Giphy

Target Lady (SNL’s Kirsten Wiig) is almost as enthusiastic as we are to show people how much free stuff our campus has to offer. (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mLfRXd4T_s for more)

Besides chanting “Go Blue!” at a moment’s notice, there is something else everyone in Ann Arbor loves: free stuff. Although plenty of people on campus are sexually active, free sexual health materials usually divert eyes and cause by-passers to speed-walk away as fast as possible.

One of our missions at the Health Issues Commission (HIC) of CSG is to promote sexual health, which means providing opportunities for everyone to be informed and safe. We want students to know about the quantity of free (and if not free, easily accessible) sexual health materials available to them in multiple buildings on campus, not only to educate them about their own choices, but to spread the word and promote the general health of our community.

We are here to serve you, the student body, and are dedicated to providing the resources to enjoy safe sex and stay healthy.  

On that note, please visit these places (or look at the more extensive list of our partners) and tell someone you know that condoms, HIV and STD testing, lube, contraception, information packets and more are available. Even if you don’t need it or want it, someone else will.

Get SUM Facts: What is The Pill Doing to Your Body?

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Annie: What are you doing? Did you eat one of those? Did you…eat one of those?
Tyler: I ate Saturday.
Annie: Okay. Oh, boy. You know what? Something’s going to happen to you. I don’t know what it is…but something’s gonna happen…to your body. 
[Click here see the movie clip!]

Okay, so it makes sense that Annie has no clue what the pill would do to Tyler’s body…but does Annie know what the pill is doing to her body?

According to the National Health Statistics Report, 4 out of every 5 sexually experienced women have been on the birth control pill at some point in their lives. During a recent conversation with a slightly misinformed friend who has been on the pill for months, I realized that it is possible for women to have little idea about what the pill is actually doing to their bodies, and how it works to prevent pregnancy!

The most commonly used type of birth control pill is the combination pill, which contain the hormones estrogen and progestin.

The hormones in the combination pill work by:

  • Keeping eggs from leaving the ovaries. Pregnancy cannot happen if there is no egg to join with sperm.
  • Making cervical mucus thicker. This keeps sperm from getting to the eggs.

A common misconception is that women on the combination pill must refrain from sexual intercourse during the placebo week, because they are not actively taking hormones – but this is false! As long as you have been taking the combination pill every day, your birth control is still effective during the placebo week because ovulation will not have occurred. No need to limit yourselves to only three weeks of the month, ladies!

Of course, remember that the pill does not prevent STDs, so wear a condom if you are unsure of your partner’s sexual history. And if you have missed any pills or have any concerns about the effectiveness of your birth control, the best route is to consult your healthcare professional.

Remember, safe sex is great sex! If there is a topic you would like us to cover, shoot us an email at sexualhealthcsg@gmail.com OR fill out the anonymous contact form under our “Contact Us” tab. Go Blue!

[Sources: National Health Statistics Reports | Planned Parenthood – Birth Control Pills]