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Nov 30

HIV: Where Did It Come From?

Posted on Saturday, November 30, 2013 in Sexy Saturdays, UC Berkeley

Ms. Robin, Sex Goddess logoMost people in the US are familiar with HIV/AIDS as an acronym. But ask them what the acronym means and you’ll get all sorts of answers – many of which will be close but not quite right. This tends to be true regardless of age, gender, and race or ethnicity. As such, today’s Sexy Saturday’s article is going to answer what HIV stands for as well as the number 1 question  I tend to get at HIV workshops.  

HIV/AIDS – what the heck does it stand for? HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV is a viral infection that weakens the immune system making it difficult for the human body to fight off infection and disease.  HIV is the virus that leads to or causes AIDS.  

AIDS is an Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. There are only a few ways to earn a diagnosis of “full-blown” AIDS. An AIDS diagnosis meaning that a person’s HIV has progressed to the more serious and potentially fatal syndrome. Two common ways to get an AIDS diagnosis are to be infected with HIV and

  • have a significantly low number of healthy blood cells, and/or
  • become co-infected with an opportunistic infection

 Where did HIV come from? There are several unproven theories as to where HIV first began. However, scientists studying HIV and AIDS have found a very similar infection in some apes, chimps, and monkeys. The infection in primates is known as Simian Immunodeficiency Virus, or SIV.  Some of the more popular theories include: Origins of HIV

  • A hunter theory in which people in parts of Africa hunted monkeys and other primates for food. Somehow the infected monkey blood entered the human body to create the human version, HIV.  It is likely that during the butchering process a hunter may have cut him/herself allowing the infected primate blood to enter their body.
  • People in Africa engaged in sexual intercourse with infected monkeys. Really!?! This is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard. I’m not even going to address this any further.
  • HIV was created in a laboratory by US government agencies and tested on people in Africa.

While I get questions about the origin of HIV from many people, people of color who ask usually want to know if HIV was created as a way to get rid of us and other undesirables such as gay folks. For many people who are not Black, I’m sure this sounds a bit crazy. However, for some Black and/or gay people there is some basis to this argument.  HIV in the US was originally termed GRIDS for Gay Related Immune Deficiency Syndrome. Early cases of HIV in the US were largely concentrated among gay men, and Black people before being correctly identified as a “human” infection.

The question of how HIV entered the US has its own set of theories including one about a gay pilot, which I find the most interesting. Some people believe there was a horny, gay pilot that basically traveled the world having sex with sexy gay men and thus spreading HIV along with his love. I’m just playing – I don’t know how horny he was.

What do I believe as a Black woman, and sexologist? I believe in the hunter theory as that makes the most sense AND has the most scientific support.  As for how HIV spread from Africa to other parts of the world, I currently believe in the more recent colonialism theory. The colonialism theory is a compilation of a several theories and offers plausible explanations for the origins of HIV and how it became an epidemic that was eventually pandemic.  As for how I believe HIV entered the US – the jury is still out on that one. However, if you would like more information on the various theories as to the origins of HIV, including how it likely started, where, and when, Avert, an awesome internationally based HIV and AIDS charity organization has great information that you can access at http://www.avert.org/origin-hiv-aids.htm. 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 27

3 Reasons To Be Thankful for Your Sexual Health

Posted on Wednesday, November 27, 2013 in News Release

Ms. Robin, Sex Goddess logoAround this time of year we often think of things we are thankful for like family and friends.  Of course, I’m thankful for my family, especially my beautiful daughter, and friends. In addition to them I’m thankful for having good sexual health and access to reproductive health care to maintain it!  

When I say I am thankful for good sexual health, I am referring to more than simply being STD free.  Though, being STD free is definitely included.  As recently as 4 years ago I was still taking my sexual health for granted. I assumed that as a female I’d be able to get pregnant and carry a child to term.  However, that was not the situation despite getting regular prenatal check-ups. My pregnancy and child birthing experience was anything but how I always thought and had planned for it to be. As a sexologist I am aware that some women have difficult pregnancies and others who are unable to conceive or carry children at all, yet I didn’t think for a second that I’d be one of those women. Don’t get too sad – I have since been told that I can have children in the future if I want to.  

I certainly hope that you can also say that you are thankful for your sexual health.  If you need more convincing, here are 3 reasons to be thankful for good sexual health:

  1. Ability to reproduce – should you want to. I am not assuming that everyone wants to have children, however, those who do want to have children in the future should consider adding sexual health to the list of things they are thankful for this year.  Women and men can be equally thankful for being able to contribute to the creation of life.  Without such an awesome ability the sexiest species would cease to exist. If we think of it that way – maybe people who don’t plan to reproduce should be thankful for those who do. buffet 1
  2. Can serve yourself up as a great dessert.  The only thing better than a great meal with people you love and care about is having a great dessert to top it off!  You can be a sweet dessert for one or more others to enjoy. This sexy human buffet is most enjoyable when you are free of sexually transmitted infections and diseases.  Trust me this is only one of many reasons to be thankful for being STD free – though it may well be the tastiest. buffet 2
  3. Can have pleasurable sex. When we are not feeling well sexually many of us tend to find sex less pleasurable, if we’re even willing to participate in having it. Who wants to have unpleasurable sex? I know I don’t. That’s the main reason to have sex is for the pleasurable experience and relaxation benefits. I’m thankful for being able to have pleasurable sex. I wish I could say I’m also thankful for a partner.

Let’s not forget that thanks to Affordable Care, Planned Parenthood, and in California – the State Office of Family Planning –we can all be thankful for low to no cost contraception and preventive reproductive care.  In many cases this includes access to various type of birth control such as pills, the patch, nuva ring, and more. It also includes access to testing for STIs, HIV, and pregnancy.  You can see from this short list that sexual health would make a great addition to things you are thankful for at this time of year and always.  Until 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.

Nov 9

Offended by a Penis: My Apologies

Posted on Saturday, November 9, 2013 in Sexy Saturdays, UC Berkeley

Ms. Robin, Sex Goddess logoNearly 5 years ago, I cleverly planned a surprise for the students in the program I coordinate – a life-size penis for National Condom Week! It was great. We pulled up in the official vehicle and out emerges this young woman dressed in a life-sized penis costume!  Dressed this way, she distributed condoms and other safer sex supplies, posed for pictures, and brought attention and visibility to our event and program. From that point on the huge penis became a staple of our program, our mascot.

The students in my program have a great time dressed as a life-sized penis! For those who may be more shy at first, the penis or one of the other costumes, provides a way to ease into outreach. I know it sounds crazy but being in a full-size costume allows for some anonymity and encourages audience members to approach the students as opposed to the students having to approach the audience.  The costume is also a great draw for those students who aren’t shy and enjoy a little attention every now and then. During recruitment being able to wear the penis costume is often cited as a reason for joining our program. Students want to be the penis!

The penis has appeared in many events. I’ve received multiple requests to borrow the penis costume. One student wanted toDSC00666 shoot a short sexual health film and use the penis as a prop.  This past June the penis costume made its debut in the San Francisco PRIDE parade. In all of these years I’ve never received negative feedback about the penis costume. However, that very thing happened at our most recent event – Sexual Health Awareness Week (SHAW).

I was informed that a student was offended by the presence of a large penis roaming a student frequented space. While this is but one opinion, I want you to know that I take your concern seriously. To the student who wrote in and anyone who else who may have been offended by seeing a life-sized penis walking around campus, I apologize.  It was certainly not my intent to offend anyone. My intent was rather to bring sexual health education to campus in a fun and interactive way while increasing visibility for my program.   

Using humor to attract attention and awareness to sexual health is not new nor is it a Bay Area thing. Recently, Alaska has adopted this method with their condom distribution campaign, “Wrap it Up, Alaska.” This campaign targets teens and young adults with condoms wrapped in matchboxes with sexy and/or humorous phrases. Sexual health is a serious and important topic. For information on this topic to be effective it must be delivered in such a way that the intended audience can hear and receive the messages. In other words, if I make learning about sex boring people won’t want to do it – learn about sex that is. However, if I make learning about sex fun and interesting they may want to learn more. Let’s face it; it’s hard for many people to talk about sex. Being able to laugh about it helps. However, I will be more mindful of possibly offended people in future penis appearances.  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 2

Sexy, Can I…?

Posted on Saturday, November 2, 2013 in Sexy Saturdays, UC Berkeley

Ms. Robin, Sex Goddess logoAs the issue of sexual assault on college campuses becomes more visible a feminist activist group, FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture, developed a pretty awesome guide to consent just for college students! The guide is in the format of an online magazine designed to encourage college students to promote a “culture of consent” as opposed to the current rape culture that seems to prevail at many US colleges. The concept of college campuses promoting and encouraging a culture of consent is super sexy!

The 21-page magazine offers college students tips and advice on how to change the cultural climate on their campuses. It includes fun, interactive quizzes as well as information on Title IX and how sexual assault on college campuses should be properly handled. There are also interesting profiles and images of college activists from several colleges. The magazine suggests organized events such as consent workshops to DIY models of spreading the word. An image of students wearing white t-shirts with home-made written messages of consent supports the DIY model. Sexy can I

One of my favorite images from the magazine is a series of red plastic cups that often make appearances at college parties. However, these red plastic cups are adorned with a dialogue bubble that reads “ask first…” I love it! I also love that the magazine is culturally inclusive with many races and ethnicities represented. Not to mention, male students advocating sexual consent. Super hot!

This is the kind of culture I’d like to see at all college campuses regardless of whether it’s a community college, private college, or public university.  I’d like to believe that the work I do contributes to this culture eventually being reality and not the exception. I agree with FORCE co-director, Hannah Brancato, when she says “If you only learn about consent in an auditorium, it will be hard to put into practice in the heat of the moment. But if consent is also surrounding students in their party culture and in their social spheres, it is more likely to sink in. College students are the best people to teach other college students about how enthusiastic, consensual sex is the best sex.” Check out Consent: A Good Time for Everyone and start changing the culture on your campus today! 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.

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