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Jan 24

Losing It: A look at Cervical Health Through the Eyes of An Ex-Virgin

Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 in Sexy Saturdays, Women's health

Ms. Robin, Sex Goddess logoDid you know January is Cervical Health Awareness Month? You didn’t? Me either, until a few weeks ago. And I’m a sexologist. Anywho, in light of Cervical Health Awareness Month, I thought I’d write about this biggest threat to cervical health – Cervical Cancer!

Cervical cancer is caused by a particular strain of Human Papilloma Virus, or HPV. Ever heard of it? If you were alive in the early to mid – 2000s you may recall a series of commercials with young women expressing their desire to be “one less…” girl with HPV that is. The commercials were rather catching. I still remember them to this day. There are approximately 100 types of HPV. However, only about 40 of them effect the genitals. There are high risk types of HPV that may lead to cervical cancer and low risk types that may lead to genital warts. Losing It cover

I’ve written about the topic of HPV in 2 previous articles. The first is, Michael Douglas Got Oral Cancer From Doing What!?!. This article covers the basics of HPV, while the second article, Keepin’ it Safe ‘n Sexy with HPV Vaccines discusses the benefits of getting vaccinated for HPV.  Given the angle of previous articles, this one is going to be a short and sweet plug for a well-written account of how one young woman was diagnosed with a high-risk type og HPV. Losing it:The semi-scandalous story of an ex-virgin by Danielle Sepulveres is a great read for anyone wondering what it is like to be young and in love, trying to make sexual decisions for the first time. Unfortunately, while Danielle made some great decisions she made one decision that had a lasting impact and resulted in an HPV diagnosis. In “Losing it,” Sepulveres takes the reader on a lightly edited journey of what it is was like for her to learn that she has tested positive for HPV – a high risk type at that. She shares the uneasy experience of telling her partner only to realize that for some strange reason she was more concerned about his feelings than he was about hers or the fact that he’d given her HPV.

While there are a few inaccuracies such as what a colposcopy procedure entails, the book is great given the intent and purpose. I highly recommend this book to any young people who are considering sexual activity or whom already are experiencing the world of sexual pleasure. I recommend it so much that I’m actually assigning a chapter for my students to read. Until next Saturday….

 

Dec 14

NuvaRing: To Use or Not To Use?

Posted on Saturday, December 14, 2013 in Sexy Saturdays, UC Berkeley, Women's health

Ms. Robin, Sex Goddess logoI was horrified to learn that my preferred birth control for young women has come under major fire. One of my co-workers asked me if I’d heard about all the NuvaRing lawsuits recently.  I did some research and found articles dating back to 2008 with regard to NuvaRing causing blood clots and even one young ladies death. Though I knew of the potential to cause blood clots, I was shocked, amazed, and pissed simultaneously at what I had found. After getting over that, I started thinking about my own recent health issues and how some are directly related to my use of the NuvaRing. In fact, I just took myself off the NuvaRing for the second time after having been a faithful user since 2005.

In April of this year, I decided it was time to go back on hormonal birth control. Of course, I chose to go back to the NuvaRing – it had so many benefits for me in the past that I didn’t even really consider any other contraception.  The NuvaRing was the perfect option for me. It is a combined hormonal method meaning that it has synthetic versions of estrogen and progestin. As such, it has all the perks like regulated and shortened menstrual cycle, decreased cramping, acne control, having to only change it once a month, and more. The best feature of the NuvaRing was that I could take it out, have sex, rinse it off and put it back in my vagina without fear of unintended pregnancy.

Unfortunately, due to severe complications with my pregnancy and delivery my hormonal composition changed. Since having my daughter my body responds differently to everything. Within 3 months of going back on the NuvaRing, I started to have extremely painful cramping. It felt like someone had shoved a vice grip up my vagina and proceeded to rip my vagina and anus out from the inside. That’s not what’s up. To top it off, I had a 21 day period. Needless to say that didn’t go over well in the relationship I was in at the time. SS nuvaring

In addition to the nasty cramps and way too long menstrual cycle, I started experiencing symptoms of pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder, PMDD. The PMDD was the worse! My behavior was erratic and my emotions were out of control. I would cry uncontrollably for no good reason one minute then yell at my daughter for no good reason the next minute. After doing some research I found information that stated the NuvaRing could cause symptoms commonly associated with PMDD including depression, suicidal thoughts, and other scary stuff. Naturally, I went to see my gynecologist who prescribed Prozac to treat the PMDD and advised me to continue tracking unwanted side effects while using the NuvaRing. I went home and researched Prozac. From what I was able to find, Prozac was not a good option for me. As such, I decided to stop using hormonal birth control altogether. Guess what happened? My menstrual cycles went back to normal within 1 month! No more nasty cramps ripping my vagina apart, crazy mood swings, or super long periods. Now, I’m just my normal crazy.

I disclosed my personal situation with the NuvaRing to encourage any readers who may be on hormonal birth control or considering it to read the patient insert fully and ask any questions about information you may not understand.  Even if the question seems stupid or juvenile. Granted, the patient insert is long and boring – I’m not going to lie. Reading it may help you avoid an experience like mine or like the young woman, who passed away as a result of using the NuvaRing. If you are a happy NuvaRing user, great! I am in no way trying to convince readers not to use the NuvaRing. I am encouraging you to make an informed decision regarding your hormonal birth control method and available options. Until next Saturday…

Keep it safe and sexy,

Ms. Robin, the Sex Goddess

Have a topic or question you’d like me to address in a future Sexy Saturdays article? Send it to me at RMills@sexucation.org.

Nov 16

Accident Sex: Wierd or Warranted?

Posted on Saturday, November 16, 2013 in Sexy Saturdays, Women's health

Ms. Robin, Sex Goddess logoThis year I’ve been in more than my fair share of accidents. My first brand new car was totaled in February. A young woman side-swiped me before hitting 4 other cars on the freeway. More recently, I was T-boned by an older man driving a truck. I lost consciousness for a short period of time, resulting in a 2 week concussion. My second new car was almost totaled. Other than both being pretty horrible, these accidents also made me want to have sex. I know it sounds a bit cray cray, however sex is a pain reliever and generally makes me feel better.  Having sex after a car accident – if you are able – may help you feel better even though you may be bruised and banged up.  

Car accidents are often ugly situations even when no injuries are involved. Wanting to feel better physically and emotionally makes perfect sense. In Is It Love or Hormones, I wrote about a hormone, oxytocin, and what happens to women when it’s released during orgasm.  Oxytocin is not the only hormone that gets released during sex and orgasm for women.  Endorphins are also released. You can think of endorphins as the body’s natural happy drug.  One endorphin in particular, serotonin, has been associated with feelings of bliss or being in a blissful like state. This may be why you hear some women describe sex and orgasm as feeling as if they were overcome by a sense of happiness and warmth. And you thought it was your partner making you feel that way! I’m just playing. Imagine being overcome by a sense of happiness after an accident. The desire to have sex after being in a car accident should be starting to make more sense now.  

In addition to releasing endorphins during sex, having an orgasm basically makes pain null and void for women.  Seriously, during sex and car accidents orgasm the spinal cord is unable to release pain transmitters.  Blocking this release prevents the brain from recognizing pain. The pain is not gone you just don’t feel it. This perk remains regardless of whether the orgasm is partner induced or solo. Either way, who wants to be in pain from a car accident? I certainly don’t. In my experience the effects only last for a short while yet are well worth it.

Being honest, I do have a high tolerance for physical pain, but sex definitely helps make me feel better. Even without orgasm, sex after being in a car accident is pretty great due to the release of endorphins. An orgasm just makes the experience even better! If you find yourself in a car accident and are lucky enough to walk away safer, consensual sex may be just the treatment you need to feel better.  The qualities that make you feel better may also help after having your wisdom teeth removed, failing a midterm, or having an argument with your friend/family. Sex may not be a cure-all treatment, but it is definitely a multi-purpose/beneficial activity.  Sex after accidents may not be so crazy after-all, right? Until next Saturday…

 Keep it Safe and Sexy,

Ms. Robin, the Sex Goddess

Have a topic or question you’d like me to address in a future Sexy Saturdays article? Send it to me at RMills@sexucation.org.

Oct 12

Sexual Health Awareness Week (SHAW) at UC Berkeley

Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2013 in Sexy Saturdays, UC Berkeley, Women's health

Ms. Robin, Sex Goddess logoIn 2008, a group of sex positive students in the Sexual Health Education Program (SHEP) brought Sexual Health Awareness Week (SHAW) to the UC Berkeley campus. That was the same year I began coordinating SHEP.  While I would love to take credit for bringing SHAW to the US, that honor belongs to then student, Joanna Mi, who was acting as the interim coordinator until I was brought on staff about 2 months later.  Well, I’m pretty sure it was my former students who started this event in the US as I did a bit of research for this article and couldn’t find any SHAW events dating earlier than 2009 in the US. I was, however, able to find information on SHAW in the United Kingdom (UK) that may possibly predate the event at UC Berkeley.

With the planning and support of fellow students Jenna Gaarde, Monica Nguyen, Kate McCombs, and Rachel Kirk, Joanna and the rest of the students in SHEP threw a fair on Sproul’s Savio Steps to increase student awareness of sexual health. This event continues each fall semester.  I’m writing about it now because on Monday, October 28th – Thursday, October 31st student sexperts in SHEP will host and sponsor the 5th annual SHAW!

This week along awareness event will once again take place on the Savio Steps on Upper Sproul. SHAW is no doubt the sexiest event ofSHAW 2012 the fall semester and you’re invited! Cum join me and the SHEP Sexperts for a week of education and awareness with fun, interactive games, sexy prizes, and more! This is an all-inclusive event with information for people with various levels of sexual health education and sexual experience from none to tons. There will be information for people of all sexual orientations as well as  transgendered students.  

Each day you are welcome to take pictures with our hard to miss, life-size SHEP penis and pick up free safer sex supply samples, if you need or want them.  There will be Sexperts available to answer your sexual health questions, or teach you the proper way to use safer sex supplies and make using them sexy!  Each day will have its own sexual health focus ending with a Sexy Halloween costume contest. This is a taste of what’s planned for sexy attendees:

  • October 28th       Magic Monday:  Learn about men’s sexual health including testicular health, erectile function, and common genital conditions and treatment options for all man identified persons.
  • October 29th       Truthful Tuesday:  Learn the truth about women’s sexual health including what to expect during a women’s health exam and how to perform sexy self-breast exams for all women identified persons.
  • October 30th       Wicked Wednesday:  Learn about sex under the influence of drugs and alcohol and how to engage safer and legally. Increase your awareness about wicked sexually transmitted infections including modes of transmission, symptoms, and prevention.
  • October 31st       Turn on Thursday:  What turns you on? Complete the prompt, “_____ turns me on!” on the SHEP Facebook page. Turn-on’s can be sexy, funny, both or neither. Compete in our Sexy Halloween costume contest – take a picture in your Halloween costume at a campus landmark and share it with us on our instagram page by tagging us @UCBSHEP or #UCBSHEP.  Win a semesters worth of safer sex supplies!

You must be a registered UC Berkeley student to be eligible to win the online contests. Otherwise, anyone is welcome to attend this event. If you’d like to throw your own Sexual Health Awareness Week on your high school or college campus, I’m happy to consult with you. Until next Saturday…

Keep it Safe and Sexy,

Ms. Robin, the Sex Goddess

Have a topic or question you’d like me to address in a future Sexy Saturdays article? Send it to me at RMills@sexucation.org.

 

 

Aug 3

Easy EC Access

Posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 in Sexy Saturdays, UC Berkeley, Women's health

Ms. Robin, Sex Goddess logo

There has been a lot of talk about the recent  Food and Drug Administration (FDA) changes to emergency contraception (EC), commonly referred to as the “morning after pill”. Specifically, the FDA has made it easier for young people to access EC. Woohoo! Until now EC had been considered an over the counter, behind the counter medication for young folks aged 17 and older meaning that it was stored in the pharmacy area, but that anyone 17 and older could purchase it without a prescription. Anyone under 17 was required to have a prescription to purchase EC at a pharmacy or drug store. Of course, Planned Parenthood being the rock stars of reproductive justice that they are – has been providing EC to people as young as 12 years old here in the golden state for quite some time now.  However, per the new FDA guidelines age restrictions for EC are now lifted. This is awesome because you no longer have to go to the pharmacy section to obtain EC. You can simply go get if off the shelf as you would do aspirin, tampons, or lotion.

Emergency contraception is a great option for females who have penis-vagina sex and the condom breaks, or for whatever reason SS 31 rosie the riverter ECmay not have been used during sex. It is to be used in the case of an emergency to prevent unintended pregnancy. Emergency contraception comes in pill form as well as a non-hormonal intrauterine device (IUD).  While EC is most effective when taken within 72 hours after having unprotected penis-vagina sex, it works up to 120 hours or 5 days after unprotected sex.  Side effects of EC may include nausea, vomiting, pain or discomfort in the abdominal area, and headaches. In some females it may temporarily cause abnormal menstrual cycles.

Taking EC will not cause as abortion. The hormones found in the pill version work to stop ovulation so that you are not releasing an egg to potentially be fertilized. If you have already started ovulating, EC will thicken the mucous found at the cervical opening making it very difficult for sperm to reach your egg.  Lastly, it will immediately thin the lining of your uterus making it nearly impossible for a fertilized egg to implant itself in the uterine wall. You are not considered pregnant until you have a fertilized egg firmly implanted in the uterus or in cases of ectopic pregnancies, in the fallopian tube.

Although the pill based version of EC contains synthetic hormones similar to those in regular hormonal birth control methods, it is not intended to be used as a regular method of birth control hence the name “emergency contraception”.   If you find yourself needing to take EC more than 6-8 times per year, I suggest seriously considering getting on a hormonal birth control method such as the pill, patch, ring, or other method.  Feel free to email me with any questions or concerns you may have about the birth controlSS 31 EC image 1 methods mentioned. If you’re a UC Berkeley student, you can schedule a health and wellness appointment to discuss available contraceptive options. I can talk birth control in my sleep.

As you just read the perks of EC are just as awesome as the recently lifted age restrictions. What isn’t so awesome is the price of EC. Emergency contraception prices range from $50-70 for generic and name brands. UC Berkeley students can get EC at University Health Services, Tang Center, for only $30.  Even at $30 the price for EC may be a barrier for many young people. If you are a young person who needs EC but can’t afford to pay for it, you can visit your local family planning clinic such as Planned Parenthood for low to no cost EC. So you can’t say I didn’t warn you – you will pay with your time at Planned Parenthood so take some homework, or something to keep you entertained while you wait. Until next Saturday…

Keep It Safe ‘n Sexy,

Ms. Robin, the Sex Goddess

Have a topic or question you’d like me to address in a future Sexy Saturdays article? Send it to me at RMills@sexucation.org.

 

Jun 1

The Plan: Preventing Unintended Pregnancy

Posted on Saturday, June 1, 2013 in Sexy Saturdays, UC Berkeley, Women's health

Ms. Robin, Sex Goddess LogoWelcome to the first Sexy Saturday in June! Earlier this week, on Thursday, I posted It Could Happen to YOU! by guest blogger Tina – a recent student in my human sexuality class at San Ramon Valley College.  In It Could Happen to YOU!, Tina describes a situation that happens all too often – young woman meets guy, likes guy, believes guy likes her, has unprotected sex with guy, gets pregnant, guy denies her and questions if baby is really his, young woman emotionally devastated.  Many young people have a perception that unintended pregnancy only happens to other people and could NEVER happen to them – trust and believe it can happen to anyone having penis-vagina sex without condoms and/or birth control.  You’re in luck because situations like this can be avoided and I’m going to tell you how.

To avoid situations like the one described by my student here are a few suggestions:

  • Have sex on your own terms and when you’re ready.  Having sex on someone else’s terms may make it more difficult for you to express your desire to use safer sex methods like traditional (male) or insertive (female) condoms. Participating in sexual experiences on your terms is more likely to have more pleasurable and positive emotional outcomes. Remember, you are the best person to determine when you are ready to have sex.
  • Discuss the goals of the sex. If you decide to have sex it is important to be clear with your partner about what each of youSS 22 couple pic are hoping to get out of the experience. Possible goals include the 3 Ps: pleasure, procreation, and payment in the form of money or gifts.  
  • Make a pregnancy prevention plan BEFORE having sex if you and your partner decide the goal of your experience is not for procreation or having children. Your pregnancy prevention plan may be to use traditional or insertive condoms with each sexual experience. Maybe your plan is to use some form of highly effective hormonal contraception such as the pill, patch, vaginal insert, shot, implanted rod, or device placed in your uterus. While both are good plans, a better plan is to use both a hormonal contraceptive and barrier method like a condom.
  • Say “no” to unprotected penis-vagina sex. If you or your partner have not had time to plan and prepare for preventing pregnancy it’s best to not have sex. It can be very uncomfortable to be in a situation where you’re hot, horny, and have an attractive and willing partner as in Tina’s article. However, it is way more uncomfortable to find yourself pregnant and alone with a life changing decision to make. By saying “no” to unprotected sex doesn’t mean that you don’t want to have sex or that you are not attracted to your partner, but that you respect yourself and your partner enough to not have either of you end up as a statistic. If you’re really feeling that person and have no protection suggest a sexy, less risky alternative: oral sex, fingering or digital sex, romantic dinner, sharing fantasies, or having a PG-13 make-out session are great alternatives.

If your pregnancy prevention plan fails you or you failed to have a plan and don’t want to find yourself in a situation like that in It Could Happen to YOU! take Plan B One Step – an Emergency Contraceptive (EC) or morning after pill that prevents pregnancy. It is most effective (up to ~87%) when taken  within the first 72 hours but may be used up to 5 days or 120 hours after having unprotected sex or sex in which your barrier method broke or somehow became dislodged.  Plan B is available to anyone age 17 and over withoutSS 22 The Plan a prescription at local pharmacies and family planning clinics; anyone under 17 can visit their local family planning clinic like Planned Parenthood or your regular doctor. If you’re a Cal student Plan B is available at the Tang Center pharmacy. In a later blog article I’ll discuss what to do if you’re in this situation and it’s too late to take Plan B. Until next Saturday…

Keep it safe ‘n sexy,

Ms. Robin, the Sex Goddess

Have a topic or question you’d like me to address in a future Sexy Saturdays article? Send it to me at RMills@sexucation.org.

 

Mar 16

Vaginal Debut Concerns: Will it Hurt?

Posted on Saturday, March 16, 2013 in Sexy Saturdays, Women's health

Ms. Robin, Sex Goddess LogoAs promised in the Sexy Saturday’s article, I’m going to address a few common concerns and expectations associated with sexual debuts involving vaginal penetration. I’ll cover anal and oral penetration debuts next Saturday. Let’s get right to it.

With regard to vaginal penetration, most females have both a concern about and an expectation of pain, I know I did. Having a penis or phallic object penetrate your vagina for the first time can hurt a bit. However, for most women it is not as painful as we make it out to be in our head. You can reduce pain and discomfort associated with vaginal penetration by preparing in advance with a hymen massage.  If you have an intact hymen (layer of skin covering the vaginal opening – not all women have one), you or your partner can gently massage your hymen. This will help prepare the hymen for penetration.  Additionally, inserting 1 or more fingers into your vagina will gradually dilate your vaginal opening. This will give you a sense of what it feels like to be penetrated.  

When the time comes for you to have your vaginal penetration debut with a penis or phallus I suggest beginning with kissing and foreplay. Foreplay will help turn you on which and naturally lubricate your vagina AKA getting “wet”. The type and amount of foreplay will vary by partner. Foreplay may be a perfect time for you and your partner to try hymen massage again. When you’re ready to try being penetrated add a few drops of lube to your partner’s safely and properly protected penis or phallus then take a fewvaginal debut concern deep breaths to help you relax. If you’re able to do so, time the initial insertion with exhaling. Continue to breathe deeply until your breathing finds its natural rhythm.

The second most common concern that I hear from females is whether or not they will bleed.  If so, how much? For females with intact hymens at the time of initial debut, a small amount of blood may be present during intercourse. While the amount of blood varies from female to female, let me assure you there will not be so much blood that your sheets will be mistaken for a crime scene.

Although, many people have an expectation of having an orgasm the first time they’re penetrated, this is not likely. This part may or may not be good news: for those who are less sexually experienced, the average duration of sexual intercourse is less than 5 minutes. It generally takes penetration for a longer period of time as well as clitoral stimulation to experience orgasm. As you become more experienced sex will last longer and become more pleasurable. Interestingly, research has shown that making love tends to last a little longer as well as be more passionate and pleasurable.

I’ve only addressed a few concerns and expectations that a female may have with experiencing her vaginal intercourse debut. If you have additional concerns, you can email them to me and I’ll address them here for you. While I’m a great resource, the best advice I can give you is to openly and honestly communicate any concerns and expectations you have with your partner. Your partner may have similar concerns or be able to put you at ease about yours.

Until next Saturday: Keep It Safe ‘n Sexy,

Ms. Robin, the Sex Goddess

Jul 17

New Meaning to “Snap Back”

Posted on Tuesday, July 17, 2012 in Women's health

Ms. Robin, Sex Goddess LogoI’ve been intending to post a blog article for quite some time now. I’ve even made a list of topics I was supposed to have written about. But not until now, was there a topic that I just had to comment on immediately! I don’t normally watch “Strange Sex” but I couldn’t sleep last night and there was nothing else on, so I checked it out. The topic was “vaginal rejuvenation.” I BS you not, that was really the topic. The story focused on a couple that had been married for 40 years. For their 40th anniversary, the husband wanted to experience losing their virginity again. So, he asked his wife to have surgery to make her vagina feel like it did when they were first married and she agreed! Of course, my first thought was “what is he going to do to get his penis and stamina back to the way it was 40 years ago?” Well, maybe that was a few thoughts later, my true first thoughts probably shouldn’t be shared…Anyway, I was intrigued by this topic and wanted to see what happened. Her vaginoplasty, that’s the name of the first surgery she had, went well. The docs explained that it took a little longer than they initially planned because her vagina had started to fall, but all in all, everything went well. She was in recovery for a few months. Then it was time for her hymenoplasty. That’s right, they also replaced her hymen. I mean, what’s a virgin without blood?

As a sexual health educator, I’m familiar with both of these surgeries, however, not in this context. Most often, I’ve heard of vaginoplasty being performed because there was a medical purpose to do it. For example, a baby who is urinating into her vagina because her urethra grew in where it shouldn’t have or a woman whose vagina was stretched too far or torn giving birth. While I have heard of hymenoplasty being performed for non-medical reasons, it has not been since the Victorian era when women needed their husbands to believe they were “pure” and virginal on their weeding nights so they would have what was affectionately termed, a “lover’s knot” put in. The lovers knot would break upon penetration and the husband would be none the wiser to his wife’s previous sexual exploits.

It’s 2012 and I’ve heard of women doing all sorts of things to tighten their vaginas, from taking epsom salt baths to douching with vinegar. But to go so far as to have surgery to feel like a virgin again? No, I hadn’t heard that one, until last night. This woman truly brought new meaning to the idea of having a “snap back” p—y! I don’t know about you, but my sexual debut was not bad, nor was it  something I’d want to go back and experience all over again. I like my sex to be pleasurable and blood free- unless of course, it’s that time of the month; but that’s a whole other blog. The show got me to thinking about other people/couples who may consider having vaginoplasty and hymenoplasty surgery to feel like they did during their sexual debut. If that’s you, I’d like to offer this, both vaginoplasty and hymenoplasty can be complicated surgeries. Complications include bleeding, infection, scarring, vaginal separation or numbness, and more. The good news is that complications are rare and tend to be less likely with laser vaginal rejuvenation.  The recovery time is about 6 weeks to 4 months for vaginoplasty and up to 6 weeks for hymenoplasty. Surgery can get expensive, costing anywhere from $4000 – $9000 for vaginoplasty and around $1000 for hymenoplasty. That’s quite a bit of money to re-pop a cherry. Either way, I wouldn’t suggest taking a chance with your vagina to please your man unless he’s willing to have penile reconstructive surgery to be as long, thick, and hard as you want with the ability to last until you say he’s done. If this is something you’re considering, make sure you are doing so because it’s something YOU want.  BTW, the couple was quite pleased with the results – in case you were wondering.        

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