Category Archives: sexual health

fallin’ in love again

Aloha! I’m in Hawai’i for the next week or so, and, despite the layer of sweat that seems to continuously cling to my skin, will do my best to enjoy myself (:

Today I want to return to briefly return to my first post about condoms. While it’s true that I have minimal experience with condoms, I’m at the same time no stranger to them. Trojan condoms, of course, are ubiquitous, and everyone knows about them and what they make. That being said, I’m positive that I’ve never used a Trojan condom. (Those weren’t the ones they gave out for free at Student Health.) And if I have, I certainly had nothing to do with it.

But even if I’ve never personally used a Trojan condom, Trojan has found a way into my life. I can’t for the life of me tell you why I know the brand, but I do. Maybe from TV, maybe from radio commercials or print advertisements. What I think is really cool is that with the Internet becoming a prevalent part of most people’s lives, Trojan has a new and really important way to connect with young people.

Just see Trojan’s YouTube page.

Some of the videos are advertisements along the sexy lines:

But a huge number of the others are informative and surprisingly intelligent. Many of them end with the slogan, “Evolve. Use a condom every time,” or convey a similar message.

For example, my favorite:

This video tells women that it’s okay to deny sex if it’s not going to be safe – and also reminds men that they should always be practicing safe sex, and that the whole “less of a man” line isn’t going to fly anymore. Without mentioning STDs or STIs and relying only on the trajectory of sexual pleasure, the video pushes the importance of safe sex.

(Plus it’s fun, and a little kinky, and now I want to try all of that on my partner.)

Some of them are both funny and more straightforward, like this one:

1 in 4 teenage girls has an STD?! That’s insane for a society of our size, level of education, and relative advancement. Give teenage girls a means to protect themselves, and the knowledge to do so! No teenage girl should have to suffer from an STD or STI from simple lack of knowledge.

And, guess what? Trojan gives you that knowledge in this totally awesome video:

I mean, maybe guys get lessons in how to put a condom on in sex ed (when and where you actually get sex ed) or from parents, but I definitely didn’t get any lessons in how to use a condom. I learned from the Internet. Which is where you learn the best stuff anyway. This video is a pretty solid introduction and is viewer-friendly, and I was really pleased to find this video on YouTube that is informative and encourages young people to be practice safe sex.

Finally, Trojan recently posted a video showing you around their facility and explaining how condoms are made! I’m really a hands-on learner and possessor of useless trivia, so I really enjoyed the video learning about the process that you really… don’t think about all the time!

1 million condoms a day?! Awesome!

Trojan makes more than condoms! Check out their new luxury toy line at EdenFantasys. They’re giving some away this week – tell them what you love about Trojan to enter!

(Image originally posted by justanotherdumbblonde on Tumblr. Click on the picture to visit! Thanks to the nifty YouTube search box for the videos. Thanks Trojan!)

just kiss me baby and tell me twice

Happy one month anniversary to me! Yes, it’s true, I’ve now been around on this blog for a whole month. Congratulations to me!

Since I just posted Friday and plan to post again tomorrow for TMI Tuesday, this celebratory post will be limited to some interesting links relevant to my interests and something I’ve already posted about.

First is an interview with Gary Trudeau, author and artist of Doonesbury, about abortion and sexual politics in his comic strip. Despite the criticism I know some people (even people you’d think would be supportive!), I’m rather refreshed to hear his take on issues and how it relates to what he writes. Yes, Gary Trudeau (along with other commentators such as Jon Stewart) is a man, but let’s face it: he commands a huge audience and following and is funny. I like reading his stuff, regardless of his gender/sex, because ideologically we’re similar and I appreciate satire.

Second is that Ben & Jerry’s has announced that it’s renaming one of its ice cream flavors in the UK to support same-sex marriage. Apple-y Ever After cartons, adorned with pictures of gay couples on wedding cakes, will join flavor Hubby Hubby to celebrate and support same-sex partnerships. And deliciousness.

Now that a month has passed I should be getting to my first full-length review sometime later next month. Not necessarily of the newest toys on the market, but one of my old favorites that I can keep falling back on 😉 Also stay tuned for tomorrow’s TMI Tuesday!

(Image originally posted by stairmastertoheaven on Tumblr. Click on the picture to go there!)

i’m not your toy // rage #1

I had honestly and truly intended to blog about small, local toy stores and supporting them (which I did this week), but my musings and comments on them were superseded by, once again, politics.

Let me say now, for fear that everyone will think I actually like controversy, that I dislike politics immensely. I was a politics/political science major in college, and it left a bad taste in my mouth. I am and always have been a strong believer in the representative and democratic system, and I believe I should vote and so should others and that we should be aware of the world. But, since politics is often divisive, I prefer to keep my politics to myself. For the most part. (There’s just no denying that I’m a liberal.)

However, Rush Limbaugh’s comments about Sandra Fluke have simply left me angry and speechless, and I think that it’s too much to be silent about. I think often about how my sexual behavior intersects with other aspects of my life, and this is just too much of an attack on women and our sexuality to sit quietly by. The short story is that Sandra Fluke, a law student at Georgetown University, was blocked from testifying before the Congress in support of employers providing birth control. When she was asked by Democrats to testify for them, Limbaugh called her a “slut” and a “prostitute” and said that if employers covered her birth control, she should post video of her having sex in exchange.

That is absolutely and undeniably wrong. That kind of behavior should not be tolerated by anyone, because it tells women and girls that they don’t have a right to their own body. Some man with money and power can tell them that they are only worth something if they are performing an act for his gratification. It’s so much more than misogynistic. It makes women feel unsafe. Not just because contraceptives are used by many women for reasons other than birth control, but because it means that a woman’s very body is not her own.

I know that Rush Limbaugh is just a stupid, crazy man who says things and I don’t need to take them seriously. But someone is. Someone is teaching a little girl that sex is wrong unless she’s willing to get pregnant. Someone is teaching her that asking for protection means that she’s a prostitute. Someone is teaching a little girl that controlling her body means that she should be performing sex acts for a man with money and a voice and that she should be silent.

The Democratic Senators have launched an online petition here. According to the Huffington Post, the petition has collected well over 100,000 signatures. Donate as well if you want, but at the very least stand with people who know how wrong it was for Rush Limbaugh to say what he did. Put politics aside and realize that even if it is political, it is also so much more than political. If not with the Democratic Senators, then sign ThinkProgress’s petition here.

I can’t even imagine how much this must be affecting Sandra Fluke. To be publicly attacked like that for speaking out about something you believe in – and because she wants to protect a friend with ovarian cysts. I had a cyst that ruptured when I was a senior in high school; I ended up in the emergency room for a whole night. Was the pain bearable? Well, I guess. I needed two doses of Morphine before I calmed down enough to sleep, and I waited 7 hours for that. The next day, it was gone. But the doctor said that they might come back, and the only way to prevent another emergency room visit was via birth control. From just one night, 17 hours, I can say that I hope no woman ever has to go through that every month. According to the Huffington Post, President Obama called Sandra Fluke and told her he supported her and that her parents should be proud.

It’s not just that this whole thing has ramifications for women’s sexuality and health. It’s has much wider implications. If a smart, well-educated, respected woman is attacked for presenting facts and a well-reasoned argument in support of a policy change, what kind of message does that send other women, young women, and girls? As if girls didn’t have enough pressure to be or act a certain way already. Stand up for what you believe in, and you get called a prostitute. Not that your argument is ill-reasoned, or that there are facts that contradict what you say. No, you’re a prostitute. You should be demeaned and humiliated.

We should be teaching girls – and boys, of course – that they should be confident and educated. They are smart. They can make good decisions if they are given the right tools. They should stand up for what they believe in. They are not lesser because they are women or because they want to have sex someday or because they want to protect their bodies. When you demean a woman in part for being intelligent and educated, or say that Girl Scouts “sexualize young girls” in an environment filled with “feminists, lesbians, or Communists,” you tell her that she does not deserve a voice. She does not deserve to be bright, educated, or confident in herself. And when this kind of message about gender is coupled with sexual orientation, race or ethnicity, ability status, or any other classification that adds other layers of discrimination?

I can only wish that I were as strong as Sandra Fluke.

(Image originally posted by sinfulbitch on Tumblr. Thanks to The Huffington Post for the article links.)

lions and condoms and bears, oh my!

As a relatively young person (only my students and my taste in music and movie stars can make me feel like an old lady), it seems to me that my entire adult sexuality has intersected with politics in some way. From the simple fact that I am a woman to the more complex question of using birth control, my body has existed in a network not just of personal decisions and thinking, but of very present and demanding social “suggestions.” My decision not to pursue my doctorate was influenced by the realization that I needed to “plan ahead” and think about the family I wanted to have. My decisions on sex and partners in college were influenced by the pressures of what scholars (some of my professors included) call “hook-up culture.” And on and on.

Perhaps one of the most memorable experiences of my college career occurred at the very end of my senior year. I was working on my last major paper in the computer lab when one of my friends rushed in exclaiming, “Condoms for everyone!” and literally showered me with condoms taken from the student health center. He helped me pick them up, and I won the grand prize of 25 condoms, absolutely 0 of which I needed. Later, as a grad student, I would shop for condoms in Japan with one of my friends from high school, who picked up a package of glow-in-the-dark condoms similar to the ones pictured above.

Yet I realized yesterday that I have never purchased – or even picked up for free from student health – my own condoms. I did win an assortment in a giveaway last May, but I consider that something of the coward’s way out, since everything was conducted under the protective (relative) anonymity of the Internet.

Sure, I can argue that I generally have no use for condoms. I could use them with toys, but I could also not, especially if I don’t share and am good about cleaning (which I am). I kept some in my drawer as a college student because my roommate was more likely to need them. (Another memorable college experience is being woken at 3AM by a text message from my roommate asking if I had any to spare.) But at the same time I sense that part of my reluctance stems from very subtle social pressure I experienced – and probably continue to experience – to be a “good girl.” In short, I suspect that I am simply too embarrassed to buy condoms.

(Now I realize I should have made that one of my printed New Year’s Resoluations. Alas.)

Just a quick, in-the-bathtub analysis of such a simple issue made me hesitate to think about all the more complex, emotional decisions about my body, health, partner, family, and sex I may or will have to make someday. I am an avoider by nature; I avoid the tough stuff in hopes that eventually I’ll be strong enough to deal with it or that it’ll just magically go away. (In general, neither of these things happen, and I just have to tackle the issue like the weakling that I am.) But I could not argue that no matter what the decision is or what I decide, my politics as a woman, Asian American, liberal would somehow play into it, and that one small decision could become “representative” of something much bigger.

Not that this is a new realization, since that’s what I think half (or more) of my college education was about. But now that I’m ostensibly an “adult,” my decisions seem to have much greater meaning. I’m not sure that’s true, but that’s what I’m led to believe. And I find myself astounded that I have not done what I’m fairly certain most of the stupid boys I knew in high school and college have done. And, moreover, that it’s simply because I’m embarrassed.

It’s strange to think that this issue, that frankly I would consider a relatively small issue, based on my life experiences, has taken center stage in politics and completely usurped the more fundamental question of health care. Newsweek published a very interesting article last week, right before Valentine’s Day, about the culture wars and contraception. The full article can be read here. But questions of sex and sexuality are dangerous, and so it’s not surprising that anything related to them ends up embroiled in much bigger discussions.

I should just be honest with myself: buying condoms? A very, very small matter. I can do it if I put my mind to it. (Much like I can drink milk, take Vitamin D pills, and floss when I put my mind to it.) Even though it seems like the whole world is talking about it, I don’t have to listen. I can safely walk into a drugstore, pick up a box, and pay for it at the counter. I’ve paid for Plan B, and that wasn’t so hard. (I avoiding making eye contact with the pharmacist, for fear of the JUDGMENT in her eyes, which made it easier.)

Besides, compared to the birth control I could be buying? A little package of condoms is the least intimidating. Especially if they’ve got cute little bears on the packaging.

(Thanks to Newsweek for the links; they’ll take you to The Daily Beast for reading/viewing. Also, if you’re interested in Rilakkuma condoms, you can get them from White Rabbit Express here.)