Topic: sexual health

Sex (Re)Ed: 5 Ways That Otherwise Smart People Use Condoms Incorrectly

Sex (Re)Ed: 5 Ways That Otherwise Smart People Use Condoms Incorrectly

Yesterday, I wrote a breakdown of some of the many options that women and men have to prevent pregnancy and stop the spread of STIs.  Over and over, I noted that while many birth control options are effective, they must be used consistently and correctly to work. Which is how everyone assumes they’ve been doing it, especially when it comes to condoms. But even smart people make dumb mistakes when it comes to wrapping it up. More »

Sex (Re)Ed: How Effective Is Your Birth Control Method?

Sex (Re)Ed: How Effective Is Your Birth Control Method?

Between pills, patches, rings, diaphragms, condoms, and the rhythm method, picking a method of contraception can seem like an insurmountable task–especially since not all forms of birth control are created equally. Some contain hormones that make it much harder for pregnancy to occur, while others protect against HIV and other STIs–and none are foolproof. How effective are any kinds of birth control? Let’s compare. More »

Sex Re(Ed): I Was Duped Into Teaching An Abstinence-Only Curriculum at 15

Sex Re(Ed): I Was Duped Into Teaching An Abstinence-Only Curriculum at 15

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 about abstinence, and nothing else. More »

Sex Re(Ed): How To Talk To Your Unsafe Friend

Sex Re(Ed): How To Talk To Your Unsafe Friend

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, STIsabstinence, 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 decisions 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 »

Sex (Re)Ed: Having “The Talk” About Birth Control, Delaying Sex Is Uncomfortable, Necessary

Sex (Re)Ed: Having "The Talk" About Birth Control, Delaying Sex Is Uncomfortable, Necessary

October is a spooky month for more than one reason. Aside from hosting Halloween, it’s also 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 »

Sex (Re)Ed: Vaginismus, The Reason 15% Of Women Are Having Painful Sex (Or None At All)

Sex (Re)Ed: Vaginismus, The Reason 15% Of Women Are Having Painful Sex (Or None At All)

“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 »

Sex Re(Ed): The IUD Terrifies Me (So I Asked A Doctor All About It)

Sex Re(Ed): The IUD Terrifies Me (So I Asked A Doctor All About It)

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 the 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 »

Sex (Re)Ed: A Brief Refresher On STIs

Sex (Re)Ed: A Brief Refresher On STIs

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 »

Sex (Re)Ed: Two Truths And A Lie—What Does The Pill Do To Your Body?

Sex (Re)Ed: Two Truths And A LieâWhat Does The Pill Do To Your Body?

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 »

Cat Marnell Sucks At Safe Sex; So Do A Lot Of Women (And Men)

Cat Marnell Sucks At Safe Sex; So Do A Lot Of Women (And Men)

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?
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IUDs are OK, Say OB-GYNs

IUDs are OK, Say OB-GYNs

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 IUD—which is just a plastic device laced with copper or hormones—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 »