Thursday, July 31, 2008

Breaking Testicle News:
Take That Cell Phone Off Your Belt


The media doesn't seem to care about cancer until someone gets taken by the balls--Lance Armstrong, John Kruk, and so on. Last week's announcement from the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute about cell phone use got mostly shrugs but my old pal Dr. Devra Davis, director of the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Environmental Oncology was a guest on Larry King Live Tuesday night and mentioned something that oughta make people finally pay attention to the relationship between cell phone use and cancer: keeping a cell phone on your belt or in your pocket can increase your risk of testicular cancer.

Women who keep cell phones on their belts or in their pockets would also, obviously, be putting that radiation source near their ovaries, which could also develop cancer, but women are more likely to keep the phone in their handbag and not on their person. Radiation exposure in the reproductive organs can also reduce fertility. Just sayin'.

Testicular cancer? Gross. Cell phones on belt? Tacky.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Shut the fuck up, Brooke Hogan

Is Sex Without Condoms the New 'Engagment Ring'?


NPR's Youth Radio program featured a story a few days ago called "Sex Without Condoms is the New Engagement Ring," about the sex lives of the reporter's friends. He described how people he knew would spend the first part of their relationship using condoms, and then when they decided to become monogamous, they would go together to a health clinic, get STI testing, and the girl gets another birth control method--like the pill.

There was a lot of patently racist commentary in the comments section which is kind of a downer, considering that it was NPR, and then a lot of reasonable people who said, 'Um, this is actually role model behavior. It just so happens that the role model is black and to many people, anything black people say about sex indicates irresponsible behavior.' I don't know why the reporter chose 'engagement ring' as his metaphor; I think it's a weak one, from a literary standpoint. But a commitment? Absolutely.

Using condoms consistently until you get tested (and know for sure you don't have anything/get treated for what you do have) is such rare behavior that these kids should be congratulated for being responsible. The majority of college students have sex first--usually protected from pregnancy only, because they're on some hormonal method--and ask questions about STIs later.

Like when they show up in my office with a herpes diagnosis and just 'didn't know' that they were at risk.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Miley Cyrus to Endorse LifeStyles?


From the Department of You've Got to be Fucking Kidding Me, E! Online reports that LifeStyles condoms, the little condom company that couldn't, publicly offered Miley Cyrus $1 million to endorse LifeStyles to the tween set.

We've reported here before about Miley Cyrus' controversial position on virginity and are dismayed that LifeStyles would endorse an "I'm waiting till marriage" position that has a 98% chance of failing*. Not to mention that the majority of abstinence pledgers don't use condoms when they do eventually break that pledge and get busy.

On the other hand, planning to use a condom the first time you have sex is among the only things that predicts consistent and correct condom use in future sex. Jamie Lynn Spears oughta have something to say about that one.

See: "After the promise: The STD consequences of adolescent virginity pledges." Journal of Adolescent Health, Volume 36 , Issue 4 , Pages 271 - 278. H . Br├╝ckner , P . Bearman

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Period Tracking: Pink and Pretty



If you're anything like Go-To Girl, you have an Outlook calendar for work, a Google calendar for bills and travel arrangements, and a paper calendar for old time's sake. Since you can't just mark a red "X" on your Google calendar, I usually just haphazardly make a note of my period in my paper planner--and then never look at it again until January of the following year, when the damn thing is out of date.

No more! Mon.Thly.Info is a website that you use to track your period and that, after a few cycles, predicts when the next one is coming. As a cautionary note, don't use this for the rhythm method unless your cycles are really, really regular. But this thing is awesome. Maybe soon it'll be compatible with Google calendar and all will be right with the world.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Q: Antidepressant Anorgasmia
A: Pink Viagra?



Good news for ladies taking antidepressants but who suffer from a common, bitch of a side effect: anorgasmia, or inability to orgasm. In a study of 98 women taking antidepressants who experienced sexual side effects, Viagra was shown to improve the sexual experience of those women who took it.

The Viagra didn't improve the other common antidepressant side effects--desire and arousal problems--because Viagra doesn't treat those problems, even in men.

So this is both good news and continually shitty news. Separate classes of antidepressants are associated with anorgasmia and desire/arousal side effects, so for women taking SSRIs, Viagra might be an option. At $13 a pop, it's pretty fucking pricey.

That or Wellbutrin.

I would be remiss if I didn't send you over to Leonore Tiefer's website. Go check it out.

Austin-area Bargain: STI testing for $15

I called up Planned Parenthood of the Texas Capital Region to inquire about STI testing and a test for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV costs a mind-boggling $91. Then I called the Austin Travis County Health Department and they do the same test--with a free herpes screen if indicated--for $15.

The Health Department doesn't have a good website, but call 972-5580 for an appointment. This won't hurt a bit.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Sex Quiz

Try this one and see if you can beat me. I got 9 out of 10 right.

Little Used Masturbation Tool:
The Butt Plug



Q: My boyfriend wants to try anal sex but I'm terrified that it'll hurt too much. Is there anything I can do to make it easier? I already took your advice and bought Maximus lube.

Mimi

Dear Mimi,

Few people would think to include anal play in their masturbation repetoire, but exploring your backdoor yourself is a good way to get comfortable with the idea of having something in there and realize how good it can feel.

Tristan Taormino, author of the must-read The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women, writes on her website:
Decide to work your way up to one finger, two, or a small butt plug on your first try; that way, you won't rush things. Going too fast or trying to do too much is a surefire route to pain and discomfort, which we don't want. Practice a few times with fingers or small toys before you whip [the] dick out.
The more of this practice you do on your own, the better prepared you'll be to know how you'll respond when you start to go anal with your boyfriend.

As a bonus, butt plugs take up space inside the pelvis that makes it a whole lot easier to reach the G-spot with your fingers, vibrator, dildo, or whatever toy you're using.

The best thing you can do to get your body psyched for anal sex is to have an orgasm with a butt plug or fingers in your ass. That teaches your body that pleasure and orgasm are possible with anal sex--something that you'll be happy to have learned before anyone puts their cock in your ass.

Good luck!

Go-To Girl

PS-Maximus is the best.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Q: Boyfriend Hates Condoms
A: Blah, blah, blah


Spermicides are gross.

Note to readers: Yes, it's masturbation week. No, spermicide has nothing to do with masturbation. But the urgency of this question (see the postscript) made me want to drop masturbation for a few minutes and answer.
--------------------

Dearest Go-To Girl,

My boyfriend is about to visit for our only time together in the next five months or so, because I'm studying abroad, so obviously sex is a top priority. Normally we just rely on the pill, [we've both been checked for STDs and are clean] but I've been on antibiotics for the past 9 days, which I know can mess with estrogens.

I've suggested using a condom for a few days, but he's completely rebuffed by the idea [could have something to do with his feeling "small" -even though he's not- and like the condoms "don't fit" him.] I went out and bought "snugger fit" condoms, but he still is pretty cool to the idea.

Today, he suggested using spermicide. Now, it could be just me, but putting some crazy chemical in my vag that falls in the categories of herbicide, pesticide, suicide and homicide gives me the heebyjeebies. Also, I've heard that it can really irritate your tissue, and if that happens then our two week stay will be fucked. Or actually, not fucked at all. Which is a problem too.

But MOST of all, I do NOT want to be PREGNANT in MEXICO.

Su ayuda, por favor...,
Feeling Sperimicidal?

PS-He's coming in two days.

Dear F.S.,

Blah blah blah, condoms are too tight for me, blah blah blah, they make sex feel weird, blah blah blah, I can't stay hard, blah blah blah. If I had just a penny for every time a guy has uttered one of the endless litany of excuses not to use condoms, I would be one rich sex blogger.

Your boyfriend is being a total douche. Here's the problem with spermicide:
a) it's a gel/foam/suppository/film that dissolves in your vagina and immobilizes sperm, preventing them from entering the cervix and fertilizing an egg;
b) it's a gel/foam/etc. that you put in your vagina that tastes like fucking gross chemical (doesn't anyone remember how nasty condoms with Nonoxynol-9 were?) and will totally burn your tongue, so oral sex is out;
c) with perfect use, it's only 81% effective. Withdrawal is more effective than that.
You have a couple of options here.

1. Don't have sex unless your boyfriend grows the fuck up and uses condoms.

2. Use spermicide, avoid pregnancy, get a raging vaginal infection. In Mexico.

3. Use spermicide, get pregnant anyway, get a raging vaginal infection. In Mexico.

4. Use condoms. Have all the sex you want. Avoid pregnancy. In Mexico.

5. Don't use anything, take Plan B. If you can get your hands on it. In Mexico.

See where I'm going with this? Spermicide is your worst option. It's not very effective, it can cause serious vaginal and penile infections, it's a chemical that will go into your vagina and smell and taste absolutely gross and then drip slowly out of you after sex. Yuck.


Condoms are clean, don't smell gross, prevent the slow dripping of anything out of you, and are super effective at preventing pregnancy. Order some Kimono Type E's and go at it.

Love,
Go-To Girl

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Not Just for Teenagers Anymore: The Handjob


These sexy black gloves come in sizes XS-XL and will keep STI germs off your body.

Dear Go-To Girl,

I have genital herpes and when I have an outbreak, I have the hardest time getting over feeling "infected" and pleasuring my boyfriend. Obviously we can't have sex, and I can't stand dental dams. What the hell should we do to each other?

Love,

Helen

Dear Helen,

Congratulations! You're at the point where you're smart enough to know that you really, really shouldn't have sex when you have a herpes outbreak. You're officially an adult. I've got good news for you: handjobs are not the clumsy, long-nailed disaster that you remember from the summer after 8th grade.

If you're a regular reader, chances are you already own a copy of The Guide to Getting it On, so get it out and flip to page 123.

If this is you: "Handjobs? Seriously?" consider this:
"Hopefully, by the end of this chapter you will be thinking, 'Any girl can give him a blow job, but I'm the only one who can give him a handjob that makes him want me more than he's ever wanted any woman." (page 123)


Legally, I can't print much more of the book here but here are a few basics:

1. Buy lube (he might not like it or need it, but have it on hand just in case)

2. Cut (and file) your goddamn fingernails

3. Surprise him somewhere--the kitchen, a movie theater, in the car
And if you don't have kleenex handy, use your mouth.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Q: Help! I've never had an orgasm;
A: Masturbation Week to the Rescue!


The vibrating cock ring is your friend.

Dear Go-To Girl,

I've never been able to masturbate, meaning that touching myself doesn't set off any physical reaction. Well, now that I've been having intercourse (vaginal and otherwise), I can't orgasm. Having never done so before, I can't tell for sure that I've ever been close, but the times I thought I was I can count on my fingers.

I'm very frustrated, and sex has become a source of some tension for me. It seems like it's so easy for everyone else to Orgasm, and I just can't. I find myself wanting to have sex less often, because my partner will orgasm, and I won't.

Can you help?

Jessica

Dear Jessica,

First things first--it is a myth that sex without orgasm is 'bad sex' or 'not quite there sex.' Not everyone--male or female--has orgasms ever, much less regularly. So if you're concerned about whether you fit into the box of what female sexual response should be, throw that box out the fucking window. If you enjoy sex the way you have it and you feel pleasure, you don't need to put yourself under pressure to have an orgasm.

But if you want to have an orgasm during sex, then you absolutely need to have one on your own, when you're alone, when you're not feeling pressure to produce one to validate the sex you're having with your boyfriend.

First, invest in a good vibrator (see yesterday's post) and some erotica or porn that you like. Once you get some stuff you like (if you want printed erotica, try the penthouse letters series, which you can get at any Barnes & Noble or Borders), get some time by yourself when you won't be distracted and let yourself get turned on.

In terms of physical response, you might feel some heat in your area, you might start to get wet, or you might even feel what seems like cramps around your vagina (this is the result of blood rushing to the area; it's nothing to be scared of). Use the vibrator on your clitoris and other parts of your vulva to see what feels good. Some people really like direct clitoral stimulation and some don't. Hopefully practicing with a vibrator will help you get close.

When you feel comfortable using your vibrator, try using it on your clitoris when you're having sex with your boyfriend. He can also get a cock ring that has a little vibrator on it so that you can stimulate your clit during sex without having to hold something in your hand. You can get them at the drugstore in the condom section.

So...hopefully that will help you get started.

To recap:
1. buy some erotica/porn
2. buy a vibrator
3. read/watch and masturbate
4. repeat

*If, by any chance, you are taking certain types of antidepressants, orgasm will be virtually impossible. Read more about that here.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Welcome to Masturbation Week!


No, this isn't me. (but it sure does kinda look like me...)

In keeping with the tradition of answering lingering fishbowl questions, I've decided to take the fishbowl theme of masturbation and bring it to the blog for the whole week.

Here we go!

Q: Do you have any sex toys?

A: Dear God, yes. I have multiple tiers of sex toys: those that are in regular, day-to-day rotation, those that are relaxing-evening-at-home toys, and those that I've tried, rejected, and are just laying around taking up space in my giant walk-in closet.

You can see reviews of toys I've written and posted here.

In Go-To Girl's own arsenal are the following:

Regular Rotation:


The Babeland Silver Bullet. Cheap, powerful, and versatile, this bullet is a stand-by. At the bargain price of $15 I've been happy to replace it as necessary--once a year or so.


O'My Natural Lubricant. Not my favorite lube for anal (see Maximus) but generally good all around; not too thin, doesn't taste gross or smell bad. Lube, obviously, is a must. And the pump top and the pretty bottle make it both convenient (believe me--when you're at the moment that you need lube, you don't want to bother unscrewing a top) and discreet (for when you forget to put it away when your friends/family are coming to spend the night).


Occasional:



The Dynamic Duo Bullet is just like the regular bullet, except it has two bullets for double the fun.


Tex. Best. Dildo. Ever. $96 and worth every fucking penny. It's silicone so it can be heated up or cooled down and is sterilizable.


Cock rings. They come with the harness but sometimes they come in really handy.


The Tantus Ryder butt plug. Totally awesome. Silicone and sterilizable.


The Tantus Silk dildo. Silicone and sterilizable.


Sportsheets Velvet Harness. For dildos. Machine-washable.


Smart Balls. These are new so I'm not entirely sure that I like them yet. But they're supposed to strengthen your muscles and stuff.

Practically in the Trash:

The Ideal which is incredibly loud and super-powerful. Really, it's just better as a massager. A back massager.


The Cone
. I just can't figure this thing out.

Paraclitoridienne: Thanks, Genetic Lottery!



My dedicated readers know that I only read books about sex. This morning I was reading Bonk, by Mary Roach (a gift from J), and came across the following totally remarkable paragraph:
"If the distance is less than the width of your thumb, you are likely to come." This catchy anatomical ditty was penned not by Marie Bonaparte, but by Kim Wallen, an Emory University professor of behavioral neuroendocrinology...Vaginal-clitoral distances, he said, turned out to perfectly predict which women would have orgasms in intercourse and which wouldn't. The cut-off point, as Bonaparte had noted, lay at around an inch--the width of a typical thumb. (p.68)
Translation: If your clitoris is less than an inch from the opening of your vagina, you're significantly more likely to have an orgasm during sex cos that penis will, presumably, rub up against your clit.

The nice French-y word for this physiological state? Paraclitoridienne.

Other interesting details?
"Shorter women tend to have shorter spans [between clitoris and vagina]."
"Women with small breasts seem more likely to have shorter distances." (p.79)
This information has absolutely no use other than to explain why some women can have orgasms so easily and most cannot; but there's nothing to be done about the location of one's clitoris so...thanks, genetic lottery. For the other 80% of women, why not invest in a vibrating cock ring?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Orgasmic Birth Movie Trailer

Really! Thanks to I for the tip on this. I don't normally talk about what happens if birth control fails (pregnancy, childbirth, screaming brats, whambulances, etc.) here on GTG, but this new documentary about the "sensuous...ecstatic release of childbirth" seemed to cross genres and be appropriate to mention here.

I'm all about homebirth, midwives, and so on and this makes it seem even cooler. Fuck you, medicalized commodified hospital childbirth!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Vasectomy: Long-Term Birth Control for Men?



Vasectomy has been on the brain a lot the last few weeks for a couple of reasons. First, Quaker Earthcare Witness has a program called "Men for Men" that provides financial assistance to men who are either members or regular attenders at a Quaker meeting and want to "permanently end their fertility."

I picked up a copy of their brochure at Gathering and was both excited that QEW has started this program and dismayed that, despite Quakers' concern for overpopulation, Quaker overpopulation is not, in fact, a problem.

Next came this article in the Times about vasectomy and how easy, fast, and effective it is.

On the highways between Austin and Houston you see billboard after billboard that say "VASECTOMY REVERSAL!!!" with an 800 number to call. Nobody seems to be willing to talk about whether or how vasectomy could be used as long-term birth control for men. I know that it is not physician practice to tell men patients that they can plan on a reversal in the future. But if vasectomy reversal is increasingly effective, why not?

A Google Scholar search gave me a couple of abstracts that said that pregnancy rates after vasectomy reversal ranged from about 40% to 60%, depending a lot on the age of the man's woman partner. Forty to 60% is way higher than other fertility treatments, so while it's not a guarantee of pregnancy, the chances are pretty good.

In terms of cost, a vasectomy costs about $500 and the reversal about $5000, so if, say, an 18 year old gets a vasectomy and then a reversal at 28 when he's ready to get a lady pregnant, the per month cost is about $45--just about the same cost as a month of the Nuva Ring or Yasmin.

So why are we so nervous about encouraging vasectomy as a reversible method of birth control? I've seen guys go pale in the face at the mere mention of vasectomy. Considering the parity in cost and the relatively low risks involved, I think it might be time for you guys out there to start thinking about vasectomy.

C'mon, it won't hurt a bit.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Good Summer News: Watermelon Helps Hard-Ons!


Via Discovery News, is the best summer food-related news I've heard all month.
"Arginine boosts nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels, the same basic effect that Viagra has, to treat erectile dysfunction and maybe even prevent it," said Bhimu Patil, a researcher and director of Texas A&M's Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center.
"Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center"? That sounds like a fancy way of saying "Genetic Modification" to me. Maybe they've actually just bred Viagra into these watermelons?

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Vacation Over. Back to the Grindstone.

Go-To Girl has a new friend! Peterson Toscano is the co-founder of BeyondExGay.com, a web community for people who have survived "gay conversion" therapies or programs.

Last week I met Peterson and got ahold of a copy of his now-retired play, Doin' Time at the Homo No-Mo Halfway House. After performing the show around the world for 5 years, Peterson retired it early in 2008.

The one-man show documents, in 7 characters, Peterson's own experience in various ex-gay ministries in his desperate attempt to not be gay.

Peterson is super cool and the show is hilarious. Two dildos up!