My high school had a proud history of offering an in-house, comprehensive, peer-led sexual education. In the program, juniors and seniors would be trained for about a month before leading a series of classes that taught underclassmen how STIs are transmitted, how to properly put on a condom, how to decide when is the right time for sex, and how to talk to their parents about their sexual health. Which was the program I thought I was getting involved in at age 15 when I attended a day-long informational session on a Saturday, which had been billed as “peer-led sex ed.” What I was actually there for, it turned out, was to learn how to teach 6th graders aboutÂ abstinence, and nothing else. More
Topic: sexual health
All this week, we’ve been talking about sexual and reproductive health, and arming our readers (who are a pretty savvy bunch, anyway) with an eyeful of information about birth control, STIs,Â abstinence, their rights, and their choices. However, there are plenty of women out there who won’t be reading this information, and will continue to make unsafe sexual decisionsÂ for one reason or another. And if you’re close friends with someone like that, it can be hard to let them know that you care, and that what they’re doing can be dangerous, without going into mom-mode. So how do you tell your friend that being safe about sex is really, really important? More
October is a spooky month for more than one reason. Aside from hosting Halloween, it’s alsoÂ Let’s Talk Month, a group effort organized by health activists and Planned Parenthood to encourage parents to talk to their kids about their sexual health. And it turns out, according to one poll released earlier this month, while parents understand the importance of having “the talk“, they also find discussing sex (and birth control) to be just as uncomfortable as their mortified teens. More
“We’ve been married for three weeks and I haven’t been able to do it even once,” a patient once told Dr. Addison Montgomery on an episode of Private Practice. “There is something wrong with me,” she continued. “My hoo-ha is broken!”
The exchange made for exactly the kind of storyline you might expect from a medical drama in prime-time, but this particular problem is a lot more common than you might expect. And very frequently misdiagnosed. On the episode, the patient learned that vaginismus, or “vulvar vestibulitis.” But as much as something like “vaginismus” sounds like a made-for-tv diagnosis, it isn’t. In real life, it takes most women far longer than three weeks to discover the name or cause for the condition causing their painful sex. And the cure can be even more elusive. More
It’s already a known (and hotly debated) fact that I don’t want children, and that a tubal ligation is, apparently, out of the question until I reach some arbitrary age, at which point I will no longer, according to my doctor, be a zombie at the mercy of my womb’s insatiable desire to procreate, which could kick in at any time. Which means that, consistently, well-meaning friends and family (and strangers) suggest that I try theÂ intrauterine device (IUD), which is implanted into a woman’s uterus and lives there and keeps her from getting pregnant for years. It’s less expensive than years upon years of birth control, and is pretty much a set-it-and-forget it situation. Assuming you can get past the actual insertion. But here’s the rub: the idea of inserting something into my cervix sounds like the worst kind of hell. More
Earlier today, Elizabeth wrote about a few non-normal ‘nether region symptoms that could be caused by something other than an STI, which was a good reminder that just because it itches, it doesn’t mean it’s automatically an infection of the intimate variety. But that doesn’t mean that when something fishy is going on downstairs, you should ignore it–because it could be something serious. More
When Loretta Lynn recorded “The Pill” in 1975, women across America heard a familiar voice touting the benefits of birth control, like being in charge of her reproductive choices. The song spread the message that taking the Pill wasn’t just something that loose women needed–it was for everyone, and it was safe and easy. Unfortunately, there were also still a lot of rumors about side effects floating around, and doctors still weren’t really sure what the Pill could or couldn’t do. Three decades later, there are more varieties of the Pill than ever before, and more is known about its effects, yet the misinformation persists. More
Earlier this week, xoJane’s health and beauty editor, Cat Marnell, wrote a post about how she ‘abuses’ Plan B and doesn’t so much believe in using condoms or any other form of contraceptive. It has, predictably, provoked quite a bit of commentary. But why would the (yes, weirdly written) ramblings of one young woman about how she’s (admittedly) not smart about practicing safe sex cause such outrage? Especially when she was, ostensibly, just trying to be honest and/or funny?
So xoJaneâ€™s beauty and health director Cat Marnell published a post about New York Cityâ€™s Plan B shortage this week, and itâ€™s actuallyâ€”believe it or notâ€”caused us to pause, stop reading about Beyonceâ€™s fake pregnancy, and wonder: Is she serious? And is she really xoJaneâ€™s health director? Our answers are, essentially: Yes and yes. More
Remembering to take a pill every day is already sort of a tall order for a lot of women. But, a new study suggests, giving women more months of their birth control up-front can help them stick with it for longer. Do you agree?
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There’s a woman I know who is a bit too chummy with my husband. We’re both runners and cyclists, but this girl–let’s call her Ms. Clueless When It Comes To Relationship Boundaries, emails him (not me) to join her on long runs and rides. In all fairness, she invites other guys too–but not me, and not any other women. More
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has officially endorsed intrauterine devices (IUDs) as contraceptives for healthy women and teens.
For many years, IUDs have remained only marginally popular among women in the U.S., in part because the IUDâ€”which is just a plastic device laced with copper or hormonesâ€”was thought to increase the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease, which can lead to infertility. The old recommendations, last updated in 2005, only endorsed IUDs for women who had already given birth and were at a low risk for sexually transmitted diseases. More
If you were about to get tested for sexually transmitted infections and diseases, would you want everyone to know? Foursquare, the popular social media app that lets users check into local businesses and attractions to gain points and unlock badges, went out on a limb and assumed that you would…and they were right. Partnering with MTV to meld social media with social awareness, Foursquare created an online “movement” to encourage young people to get tested. Every time users checked into a clinic, they unlocked badges and shared their whereabouts across social media platforms. According to them, their campaign resulted in thousands upon thousands of participants. I know the Foursquare homepage says “it’s more fun with friends!” but this might be pushing the envelope.
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When Sir Mix-A-Lot‘s hit Baby Got Back came out in 1992, the opening verse became anthemic for so many curvaceously-plump women taking pride in their badonk-badonks (even if his taste was qualified with “itty-bitty waists”). But what about the girls with big…everything? Where’s the number one hit record for that, eh? There has always been some murmuring on the down-lo about men who prefer to date big, beautiful women, or “BBW” as they’re known in cyber circles. They’ve been mostly underground for fear of reprisal, but now the Village Voice has spoken to some men who are finally “coming out of the closet,” as they put it, and into the arms of their lovely 300-pound lady friends. And as it turns out, there are more BBW admirers than you might imagine. Remember that overweight girl from high school who everyone assumed would be celibate for the rest of her livelong years? She’s probably having hotter sex than her former classmates, because newsflash: You don’t have to be thin to have hot sex. More