Saturday, December 29, 2007

Anal Toys

Hey Garnet,

I was just wondering if you could write something on anal sex toys, particularly vibrators - no questions in particular, I'm just looking for an overview sort of thing. Thanks.

Well since there is no question in particular I will only be able to give a very basic overview of anal toys. If anyone is looking for something more specific you are welcome to email me questions about what you are looking for and what you have enjoyed or not enjoyed thus far.

When it comes to sex toys I have to stress the importance of quality. You really can justify spending a little more on your sex toys if you know you are going to be getting quality. Crappy sex toys break, don't work well, don't clean well, and often don't do what they really should. Some can even poison your body. Researching the companies that make and sell the toys can make a huge difference.

That being said, the things one should look for in an anal toy are pretty consistent across the board. It MUST have a flared base! This is not something you can overlook. If it does not have a flared base, it may end up getting stuck in your bum and that is a really embarrassing trip to the hospital.

Along those lines, only stick things in your butt that are made to go in your butt. This means, only sex toys for the butt should go there. Do not stick bottles, screwdrivers, flashlights, animals, small vibrators, dildos without flared bases, or anything else not intended to go up there in your butt.

Only buy anal toys that are of a good quality material. I highly recommend phthalate free silicone toys because they are hypoallergenic, non-porous (meaning bacteria can't hide in it), non-toxic, easy to clean (you can boil them, wash them with soap and water, bleach them, and they are dishwasher safe), and they last a long time. I highly recommend Tantus Silicone for all your silicone toy needs. You can find Tantus toys in many sex toy shops.

Also, do not buy anal beads that have the string in between each of the beads. That string is not easy to clean and can harbor bacteria.

If you do buy an anal toy that is not made of high quality silicone or you plan on using the toy in more than one orifice or on more than one person, use condoms and clean it often.

If you are buying a butt plug, it has to taper at the top otherwise it will be difficult to get it in unless you are very experienced. Tapered or not though, use a LOT of lube. Avoid silicone based lubes if you are using a silicone toy as they do not always react well together and avoid oil based lubes if you are using latex condoms over your toys.

When specifically looking for an anal toy that vibrates, I recommend toys that have a space for a cordless vibrating bullet. This makes toys easier to clean since you can pop out the bullet and emerse the plug or dildo in water without the worry of ruining the vibe.

If you are a beginner to anal play, always start small. You can move up later if you want, but it is more important that you don't damage the tissue in your anus by forcing a large toy in there when your anus is not ready for it.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Genderblind Flies

Here is our first submission by a PhD candidate studying genetics. She has chosen to remain anonymous for professional reasons. Anyone who wants to submit an article to me is more than welcome to do this. Enjoy!

Mate selection is a complex process in humans, as well as in Drosophila melanogaster, the fruit fly. In order to successfully reproduce, it is vital that one sex be able to identify a receptive member of the other. For flies, courtship rituals allow males to make this determination. This courtship involves physical contact that enables the courting male to assess his intended for repellant pheromone signals (those carried by other males and females that have already been mated), as well as a species-specific song created by wing vibrations, and additional pheromone sampling by oral-genital contact. In other words: a few rounds of fly foreplay. If the fly receiving these advances is successfully seduced, copulation may be attempted.

The Featherstone lab recently published a paper describing an increase in homosexual behavior by male flies. These flies had mutations in a gene they named genderblind. These mutant flies aren’t strictly homosexual. Whereas wild-type flies would always chose to mate with a female fly instead of a male fly when given equal choice between the two, the genderblind flies chose the male fly with the same frequency and intensity as the female fly. These results do not show that the flies preferred to mate with males flies – rather, it shows that the flies were unable to differentiate between male and female flies.

The genderblind mutation led to lower amounts of the genderblind protein being present in regions of the brain that are involved in pheromone sensing and response. They found that the amount of genderblind present inversely correlated with male-male mating attempts.

After a series of experiments, they concluded that the genderblind phenotype (the increase in homosexual behavior) was caused by an altered response to chemosensory stimuli. In particular, the mutant flies seemed unable to detect the normally inhibitory pheromones that male flies carry. They further showed that a drug which mimicked the effects of the genderblind mutation caused wild-type flies to exhibit a similar increase in male-male mating attempts. Restoring wild-type levels of genderblind in mutant flies returned their sexual behavior to that of wild-type. Both of these effects could be seen hours after the treatments, showing that it was the current brain chemistry that was causing the behavior, not a result of their developmental process.

It turned out that the increase in homosexual courtship was ultimately due to a reduction in the brain’s levels of extracellular glutamate. The normal excess of glutamate in the brain acts to desensitize the glutamate receptors, which in then reduces the glutamergic synapse strength. However, in genderblind flies, their reduction in extracellular glutamate led to an overall increase of the synapse strength of the glutamate receptors. This led to flies that overreacted to the chemical signaling in their brains.

Perhaps as a result to their overreaction to chemical stimuli, the flies attempted heterosexual as well as homosexual courtship at a higher frequency than wild-type flies. The genderblind flies also showed an increase in ectopic courtship – attempted copulation with nonsexual body parts, like heads. It may be that genderblind mutants are less sexually inhibited in general, not only in terms of homosexual behavior.

For flies as well as all forms of life, the reproductive drive is among the strongest impulses in nature. It could be that there are entire systems of suppression that have evolved to attempt to narrow the list of possible sexual partners to those which are most likely to produce offspring.

When I first heard about the paper the Featherstone lab had published, I was worried. I had feared that their results could lead to homosexuality being once again thought of as a disease or a lifestyle choice. After all, didn’t the paper show that drug treatment could curb it and return the flies to heterosexual behaviors? And clearly, the effects of the genderblind mutations were defects – they represented a behavior that is only found when something is wrong with the animal. I was waiting to begin hearing the religious right or similar groups start holding this research up as proof that no one is hardwired in their sexual orientation, that homosexuality is unnatural. That instead of being recognized as just another form of variety among the human species, it would be thought of as a treatable condition. With visions of an uncomfortable (if not worse) future, I felt more than just a little fear when I began to read the article.

Thankfully, after reading it, I felt relieved. The experiments they used were very straight-forward, and the results were stated as they were observed. They made no claims that their findings would apply to humans. One of the major reasons that flies are chosen as experimental models is their relative simplicity. Humans have significantly more complex genetics. We also have the undeniable influence of a very well-developed culture. Because of this, I do not believe that any sexual orientation issues will be able to be reduced to a single gene, or even a handful of genes. Our genes represent a starting point for what makes each one of us unique. They can give us predispositions and their own set of influences, but even those do not necessarily dictate the path of our lives.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Female Ejaculation or Squirting

I've received a couple emails asking me to talk about female ejaculation or "squirting." One email was from a girl who just experienced it for her first time and was curious to know more.

There is a debate amongst some doctors and other such people as to whether or not female ejaculation is even real. I say that any person or doctor who doesn't think it is real has just never experienced it. It is a very real phenomenon. Any female who has ejaculated or anyone who has had a female partner who has done so knows that it is very real, very fun, and also very messy.

So what is female ejaculate? Where does it come from? Why does it happen? How does it happen? What can you do to make it happen? Does it make for better orgasms?

Female ejaculate is a watery, musky, salty fluid that is expelled from a woman's urethra during sex. This fluid is different from vaginal lubrication and is most noticeable by its lack of slipperyness. It may happen during orgasm, but not necessarily. The amount that comes out can be anywhere from a few teaspoons to a pint or more.

Some people are freaked out by the fact that this fluid is expelled from the urethra and wonder how you can know that this fluid is not urine. Why is it that when a woman ejaculates from her urethra people question it, but when it happens from a man's urethra no one thinks twice? The fluid that comes out doesn't really resemble urine. It's more liquidy than a man's ejaculate sure, but it doesn't smell or look like pee. And more importantly, a woman can often have a full bladder even after she ejaculates. Female ejaculate has been tested and there are trace amounts of urea in it because it goes through the urethra, but it is not pee.

Female ejaculate comes from the spongy tissue that surrounds the urethra. It is created by small glands nearby and stored in the spongy tissue until it is expelled either by ejaculating or the next time the woman goes to the bathroom. Some women may have noticed that their urine smells different right after they have sex. That's often because of the stored up ejaculate that their body is now getting rid of during urination.

Unfortunately, female ejaculation is not something that has been studied well so we don't really know whether all women have the ability to ejaculate or not, but it seems that most women do not do so without any kind of training. And because it is so rare, many women are actually pretty embarrassed when it does happen. But there is nothing to be embarrassed about. Many people actually find it incredibly sexy. Just make sure to bring extra towels to bed when you're having sex.

So what if you've ejaculated a couple times and you want to learn how to do it more often or you've never ejaculated and you're curious to see if you can? There are things one can try alone or with a partner to try to ejaculate. The most important objective is to be very turned on and to warm up for awhile first. The longer the play before orgasm and the more turned on you are, the more likely you are to store up female ejaculate in that spongy area around your urethra. Once you are good and turned on it is usually easiest to ejaculate through g-spot stimulation. This can be done a couple of different ways. If you have a partner helping you out, they can slide two of their fingers inside of your vagina and make a come-hither motion on your g-spot. (Hint: the g-spot feels a little rough to the touch compared to the rest of the smooth vaginal walls and is usually located behind her pubic mound, but not always. Don't just assume its location. It may be necessary to search for it with your fingers.) You can also use g-spot toys alone or with a partner. A toy that is a little firmer may work a little better than one that is soft and flexible. I always preferred The Archer. Any ejaculators out there who can recommend a good toy?

One thing to keep in mind is that you may feel like you have to pee, but that is normal. Most of the time when you are having sex your body won't let you pee easily. Just relax and learn to enjoy the feeling. It helps if you play with a partner you are comfortable with. That way if you do pee its not a big deal.

Somehow it got into lots of people's heads that a woman who ejaculates is cumming harder than a woman who does not. It is not true. Ejaculation doesn't have much to do with how hard a woman cums. There will be some orgasms that are explosive that are completely dry and sometimes a woman will ejaculate without ever cumming. So please don't think that female ejaculation will in anyway enhance your orgasms. It may make your sexplay a little more fun and exciting if it turns you and your partner on, but ejaculation itself isn't the meter for which to measure a woman's orgasm by. Try asking her how good it was and how you can make it better.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Call for Submissions

I want to start by apologizing for the lack of updates lately. Between bronchitis and finals I've been busy and exhausted. I promise I will have a new blog up this weekend. Teaser: It will be about female ejaculation or squirting as it is sometimes called.

I have really been enjoying your questions. Some of you have even sent in some questions about things I did not know about. I love learning new things! This gives me an opportunity to do research and to consult friends who may have more information than I do (like med students and people involved in the bdsm community). Please keep sending me questions!

I've decided to start something new here at my blog. I'd like more involvement from my readers. So I'd like to ask that if anyone is interested in writing something on the topic of sex, sexuality, or gender to please email me an idea or something that you've written already. It of course can't be published elsewhere. I don't want any copyright infringement going on. But I know that a lot of you are very talented, some are even professional writers, and I know that you have interesting things to say. Maybe you have something to say that you can't normally write about in your current profession or maybe you just have a viewpoint that you want to share with the world. I'd really like to hear from you! I, of course, will get the final say on what goes up on my blog, but I want to allow a lot of wiggle room for different ideas. An example that will be showing up here in the not too distant future will be about a scientific paper about the sexuality of flies and how this research may effect the way people view homosexuality in humans.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Toy Reviews

Since I am still sick and need to focus what little energy I have on doing homework instead of writing blogs, I thought I'd link to a couple sex toy reviews I've done for Early to Bed. I should be up and running again soon hopefully, but until then enjoy the reviews.

The Orbit

The Surprise Massager

Friday, November 30, 2007


Hey everyone,

I'm sorry I haven't posted in a bit. I've been pretty sick lately and haven't had the energy or the mental capacity to post anything here. I should be back within the next few days though. Keep sending me your questions!

Garnet Joyce

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Masturbating Too Much?

I masturbate an average of 3 or 4 times a day. I've always preferred masturbation to sex because I have MUCH MUCH better orgasms than I do with sexual intercourse. But, I've recently met someone, and it looks like things are going to become sexual. This makes me happy to have met someone, but at the same time, this also makes me worry about my constant masturbation habits. In fact, sometimes I'm pretty sure it's an addiction.

I'm worried that my body has gotten used to masturbation as opposed to sex, which makes me worry about my sexual performance. The last couple of girls Ive slept with didn't really do it for me. I even had a hard time keeping it up. I would have much rather just gotten off by myself. The problem, is that I really like this girl, and I want to please her. This makes me think I should quit masturbating. But I've been trying to at least cut back lately, and honestly, don't think I can.

So, with this in mind, I have two questions.

Should I worry about this? Is a love of having several orgasms a day really an addiction? And if so, is it really that bad of an addiction? It's not like I'm doing drugs or drinking.

And, what would you suggest doing about my lack of sexual performance with sexual intercourse? Is there a way to increase sensitivity? Or maybe something to keep it hard longer? I don't want to use prescription pills. I mean, my god I'm only in my mid twenties! And I feel silly using a cock ring.

An addiction by definition is bad especially if it affects your life and people you care about. The way you're talking you definitely feel that it affects those you care about so it is a problem. It may also be a problem if you spend a lot of time on your addiction. Masturbating 3 or 4 times a day when you have the time is great, but if you're short on time and other more important things start to take a back seat to your masturbation addiction then you definitely have a problem. Comparing it to addictions that you feel are worse doesn't mean that it isn't something you should deal with and conquer.

Cutting down is definitely a good option. Another option is to vary your masturbation style. When we get used to only one type of stimulation to bring us to orgasm then that will be the only type that will be able to bring us to orgasm. Trying different things that may not bring you to orgasm the first few times will be frustrating, but ultimately more rewarding. The goal is to be able to make your body more receptive to different types of touches and feelings. Try using lube, twisting your hand a different way, being in a different position when you masturbate (i.e. if you usually stand up, try sitting), try a masturbation sleeve, try a different amount of pressure, experiment with your breathing, etc. There are a lot of fun ways to experiment with masturbation.

You also may be the type of man who just doesn't orgasm through intercourse. You would not be alone on this. Unfortunately, in our society both men and women are made to feel inadequate if they don't receive mind blowing ecstasy when they have penile/vaginal intercourse. Try oral sex and mutual masturbation. You may find this to be more fulfilling. Show your new partner how you like to be touched so that she can please you. Don't just expect her to know and be patient with her. Even if you don't get off the first time doesn't mean it won't happen. Be sensitive to her feelings though since some women may take it personally when you are unable to orgasm.

And finally, if you want to please her then don't worry so much about intercourse. A lot of women get much more pleasure out of oral sex and mutual masturbation. Try using sex toys. To take an idea from Ian Kerner who wrote "She Comes First," don't think of these acts as foreplay; think of them as coreplay. Intercourse doesn't define sex.

Note: Cockrings aren't silly. Be more open minded. Cockrings can be a lot of fun, but you'll never know that if you never try them.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Feminism and Relationships

New studies suggest that feminists may actually have better romantic and sexual relationships. Makes sense to me! However, I think the author plays up the heterosexuality of feminists a bit too much. Sure the stereotype is that we're all lesbians and it isn't true, but don't discount the women who love women.

Read the article here.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

STIs and Sexual Responsibility

We talk about safer sex, we talk about the risks associated with sex, we talk about the types of STIs, but what a lot of people don't talk about is what happens when you have an STI and the responsibilities you have towards your partner(s). This is where I start to get a little preachy.

Having sex is an enormous responsibility; one that most people take too lightly. There are a lot of risks: physical, emotional, and financial. Sex is a lot of fun, but we have to be adults about it. We have to take responsibility for our actions.

This means getting tested regularly and informing your partner(s) of your STI status before the clothes ever come off.

Lets keep in mind though that not all STIs are tested for and some (HPV in men) don't even have tests. So testing is not enough. Inspecting one's genitals and anus regularly is also a must. This doesn't have to be a downer. It is easy enough to inspect yourself when you masturbate and also when you clean yourself in the shower. You should know exactly how your genitals and anus feel so you know if there are any new bumps or sores. It is very important to know your body and to be aware of changes in it. Does it burn when you pee? Well for heaven's sake go to the doctor!

So what if you catch an STI?

If it is something curable like chlamydia, syphilis, or gonorrhea then it is important that you stop having sex. Why would you want to give anything that uncomfortable to someone who is giving you a lot of pleasure? Get treated and talk to anyone you've slept with recently to let them know that you have it and that they should go get tested. Before you start having sex again make sure that both you and your partner are cured.

If you contract herpes which will stay with you for the rest of your life or HPV which will be around for a couple years you need to tell anyone you are considering becoming sexually intimate with. Both of these are contagious even if you do not have warts or sores. Let the other person decide whether or not they want to take the risk. There is a good chance that many may reject you because of your STI, but that is something that you will just have to deal with. It isn't easy, but that does not mean it is ever ok for you to not tell someone you have it. I don't care if you've had sex with someone else and they never contracted it from you. This does not mean that you are not contagious. Be careful and honest and use protection. Keep in mind that even if both you and your partner have herpes or HPV you can continue to pass it to each other and make it worse.

If you contract HIV/AIDS I highly discourage any sort of casual sex. If you do choose to be sexually active that is a big decision that will have to be the responsibility of both you and your partner. Keeping in mind that even if you both have HIV you can continue to pass the virus to each other and put each other at further risk. Always use protection and I recommend being in a long term trusting relationship.

The Golden Rule is applicable to all of life including sex. Treat others the way you would want to be treated and the world will be a much happier, healthier place.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Improving your Cunnilingus Skills

In an ever growing world, for those looking to improve what oral skills they may have, what advice can you give to someone who wishes to improve their oral skills when going down on a woman?

1. Communication
2. Listen
3. Watch
4. Learn
5. Experiment

My advice above all advice on anything when it comes to learning how to better please your partner is communication. Ask her what she wants. If she doesn't have any ideas experiment with different things and have her tell you what feels good and what doesn't. People seem to have a fear of talking to their partner and asking them what they like, but how else are you supposed to figure it out? No one should just expect to know how to please their partner and no one should expect that their partner should just know what to do. Communication is the key to a healthy relationship and a healthy sex life.

Listen to your partner. Don't just listen to what she is telling you; listen to her breathing and her moaning. Pay attention to the sounds she is making.

Watch your partner. Watch her body to see how it moves and responds to what you're doing. Are her hips tilting toward you? If so you're probably doing a great job. Are her hips pulling away? You're probably doing too much too fast. Watch her hands, her writhing. Watching your partner's reactions to what you are doing for her is not only incredibly sexy, it is also very informative.

If you want to learn more techniques that maybe you and your partner haven't thought about there are lots of resources out there. If you live in a big liberal city look into workshops that may be held at places like feminist sex toy shops. Early to Bed in Chicago and Good Vibrations in San Francisco, for example, both hold lots of different workshops about sex. Books are another great option. I highly recommend The Guide to Getting it On by Paul Joannides. It is really an amazing book that contains all things sexual. It has history, attitudes, anatomy, how to, etc. Another book to pick up that specifically deals with oral sex is She Comes First by Ian Kerner.

Just remember that you shouldn't be afraid to experiment to figure out what works for your partner. Try adding sex toys into the mix as well. A mini vibrating bullet under your tongue can be quite magical. Try teasing her more before you even get to her vulva. Make her beg you to lick her clit. You can even experiment with changing the temperature of your mouth by drinking something cold or hot right before you go down on her. Just make sure that what you're drinking doesn't have sugar in it as that could cause problems for her.

And above all, have fun! If you're not having fun it is not any fun for the receiver.

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Risk of Analingus

Can the case ever be made for licking someone's ass without a dental dam? (and lets face it.. dental dams are pretty unpopular)
Like if you just got out of the shower...

Although I appreciate it when someone goes through the extra trouble of licking my ass, would it be better for me to just say "Hey, I haven't washed my ass since this morning and I don't know what is lurking about down there."?

I view life, including sex, as pretty risky. It is all in how much you want to risk for what. We all take risks every day and for some things we choose to limit the risks and for others we don't. Driving or riding in a car is very risky, but we limit those risks by wearing seatbelts, owning cars with airbags, and abiding by the rules of the road. Now some people like to go really fast and that is taking a risk, but to them it is worth it.

The important part is knowing what risks you're taking, feeling like the risk is worth it, and not risking others without their consent. No one should take risks if they don't fully understand what is at risk.

So, what is at risk if one licks an anus without a barrier?

- E. Coli - This is a bacteria that lives in your intestines, but can get you pretty sick if you ingest someone else's. However, if you have been together for awhile this becomes a lot lower of a risk because after awhile you start to share the same intestinal bacteria with your partner.
- Hepatitis - No fun liver disease.
- Parasites - Think worms and such.
- STIs - The same stuff you can get from any sort of unprotected sex.

The better you know your partner, the longer you've been together, and the better your hygiene the less risks there are. It is a must to jump in the shower to wash right beforehand at the very least. However, washing between your cheeks will lower the risk of E. Coli, but not necessarily the others.

So are you and your partner willing to take this risk? That is up to you and your partner. I cannot condone any type of unprotected sex, but I feel that people have to evaluate their own risks and figure out what is important to them. If the above risks are not worth it to you or your partner then use a dental dam, a cut up condom, or a piece of saran wrap.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Pyrex: Not just for bakeware anymore

Dear Garnet-
A friend wants to know the benefits and safety of using pyrex dildos.
-Dishwasher Ready Dyke ;)

I know a lot of people's first reactions to pyrex dildos is "Eek glass! I'm not sticking that in me!" This is understandable, but there is no reason for this reaction. Pyrex is the same stuff they make glass measuring cups and bakeware out of. You can drop it and it won't break.

This does not mean you shouldn't ever inspect your pyrex toy for chips or cracks. You should inspect all of your toys when you clean them to make sure they are in good working order. However, a pyrex toy is going to last you a long time; about as long as your pyrex measuring cup. Many other types won't last anywhere near as long.

So what is so great about pyrex dildos? Oh gosh where to start ... Well we already know they have long life. They're also nonporous, meaning that nothing will get absorbed into the material (germies or lube) so it is easier to clean and you'll need less lube. They are glass so you can boil them or stick them in the dishwasher to clean them. Pyrex toys hold temperature so you can stick them in the freezer for a cool treat on a hot day or you can warm it up in hot water to match the temperature of your vagina/anus/mouth. They are harder than a lot of dildos, which could be good or bad depending on what you prefer. They are pretty and often look like pieces of art.

The downside is that they are expensive. However, with anything of quality you have to keep in mind that you get what you're paying for. The pyrex dildo is going to last you a long time so it may be worth a little more money. There are also a few pyrex toys out there that are cheaper. The simpler glass toys will run you around $45, which is comparable to most quality dildos.

Keep your questions coming! I'm enjoying answering them.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Fetish vs. Kink

What makes something a fetish?

That depends on if we're talking in psychological terms or in popular speech.

Popular language has defined a fetish as something that turns someone on that is not necessarily sexual in it's own right. For example: Someone who has a stocking fetish may become really aroused by a woman wearing stockings, but the stockings themselves are not sexual. They are just an article of clothing.

Psychologically speaking, a fetish is actually a mental health issue. A fetish is defined as something that is not necessarily sexual, but is needed by the user to become aroused. The difference here is in the level of necessity. The psychological term fetish means that someone actually is unable to become aroused without those stockings. This is a lot more serious and can cause problems especially if the fetish is more bizarre or even harmful to others.

Because of how fetish is defined psychologically, I prefer to use the term kink when referring to things that I or others like that are not necessarily sexual in their own right. So for example: Spanking, strap-ons, and old spice deodorant are some of my kinks. I do not require any of them to become aroused, but I do enjoy them.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Yeast Infection Remedies

For yeast infections, what remedies other than the uber chemical-y suppositories from pharmacies are out there?

One option is Diflucan which is a prescription pill which is still a drug, but not a suppository.

A home remedy which can be used for mild yeast infections involves yogurt. The bacteria in yogurt is the same type of bacteria that is naturally in the vagina that needs to be replaced when a yeast infection occurs. Plain, sugarless yogurt that has active bacteria cultures in it can actually be inserted into the vagina to help combat yeast infections. Getting the yogurt in there is the hard part. You can soak a tampon in it, fill a needleless syringe (the same kind used to inject the chemicaly yeast infection creams), or experiment with different methods yourself to find one that works for you.

There are other home remedies that are suggested elsewhere, but yogurt is really the only one that I'm willing to endorse.

You should always consult a physician before trying any home remedies and if it is your first yeast infection you should get diagnosed by a physician as well. If symptoms persist it is important to seek medical assistance.

In order to help prevent yeast infections women can wear underwear with a cotton crotch, avoid tight pants, eat yogurt with live bacteria cultures on a regular basis or take acidophilus supplements, practice safer sex, clean sex toys before and after use, and practice good hygiene which does not include douching.

Of course it is impossible to prevent all yeast infections especially at times when body chemistry is changing like during pregnancy, after pregnancy, or when on antibiotics.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Pill

I started Yasmin and noticed that my emotional stability went totally haywire, is this common for all birth control pills or no?

Different birth control pills have different amounts and kinds of hormones in them. This means that different kinds will have different effects on different people. It is best to experiment with different pills to see what works best with your body and natural hormone levels. You and your doctor need to figure out what is best for you. It really can be a life changing effect.

If you experience some moodiness, fatigue, spotting, or nausea don't discount the pills right away though. Give your body some time to adjust to the new pills. However, if your reactions are severe or the minor annoyances won't go away then consider talking to your doctor about changing your prescription. If your doctor won't listen to you, as I've heard of many who won't, try going to a reproductive health or women's clinic like Planned Parenthood. The goal is to find a pill that will make your life better and easier, not harder.

Unfortunately, not all women will find a pill that works for them. There are other options for contraception. Here is a pretty good chart outlining birth control options. It is slightly out of date on emergency contraception, but other than that it is pretty good.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Latex Allergies

Here is an article I wrote a few years ago for a website that no longer exists (a few changes have been made):

If you experience itching, burning, rashes, or irritation of any kind right after or during sex you could very well have an allergy to the condoms being used. There are several possibilities of what you could be allergic to: the spermicidal lubricant known as Nonoxynol-9, fragrances, or latex. Experiment with different condoms to see what you are allergic to. The first two are easy enough to avoid; just don’t buy condoms with Nonoxynol-9 or those banana or orange flavored condoms, both very easy to find. All of these condoms will have about the same rate of efficacy. Latex, on the other hand, is a bigger issue.

What happens when you have an allergy to latex is that your immune system thinks that the latex is a dangerous substance and attempts to remove it from your body by giving you rashes or itching. Latex allergies develop over time so you might not have any issues at all for years and then one day it starts to itch and burn. About 7% of people develop a latex allergy.

There are two other materials that condoms are made of besides latex: lambskin and polyurethane. Lambskin is made from the intestines of a lamb. Yeah, I know gross, right? Well, don’t worry you shouldn’t use these. They are effective in preventing pregnancy, but because they have small pores in them they still let fluids pass through which carry HIV and other scary diseases.

Polyurethane, on the other hand, is made from plastic and has a slightly lower efficacy rate than latex. The problem is that polyurethane isn't as stretchy as latex so the condoms are made a bit bigger than the average latex condom. The reason this is an issue is because 1. they slip off more easily, which as long as you’re aware of this is easily preventable and 2. if your partner or dildo is on the larger side the condom is more likely to break, which is not as preventable unfortunately.

There are actually many people who are not allergic to latex who use polyurethane condoms because they actually have a lot of advantages. Polyurethane is thinner, transfers heat better, stronger, can be used with oil based lubricants, and doesn’t have an odor or taste. There are disadvantages as well; polyurethane is not as stretchy as mentioned earlier, they are more expensive, and they are harder to find.

The only two polyurethane condoms on the market in the US currently are Trojan Supra and Durex Avanti. There are a couple differences between these two brands. The Trojans are slightly smaller in size than the Durex, which is especially helpful if you are trying to avoid slippage. Trojans have Nonoxynol-9 and Durex do not, which is important if you’re also allergic to spermicide. Experiment with both and find out which works best for you.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Safer Sex for Female Couples

What safe sex methods should female couples use?

One thing I want to clarify is that there is no such thing as safe sex. All sex is risky, but so are most fun things. That is why everyone should take special precautions to have safER sex. It's like wearing a seatbelt in a car just in case you get into an accident.

Regardless of what many people seem to believe, women who have sex with women can pass STIs between each other just like any other sexually active couple/trio/etc. That being said, there are several ways that female couples can help to protect themselves. (All of these methods can also be used by heterosexual couples.)

For oral sex there are dental dams which are latex barriers which are often flavored and are spread over the vulva. Dental dams can be kind of pricey though so another option is cutting up a condom or even using saran wrap. If you do use saran wrap, make sure it is not the kind that is microwave safe as it is porous and the germies will be able to pass through it. When using a barrier like a dental dam it is best to spread lube on the side that will be on the female receiving the oral sex so that it feels more like a wet tongue than a piece of plastic. The giver can put something yummy to lick on their side too to make it more fun.

Dental dams and saran wrap can also be used for analingus aka rimming.

When manually stimulating your female partner's vulva or anus one should use latex gloves or vinyl gloves if either you or your partner has a latex allergy. Also make sure to use a lot of lube, especially during anal play.

When using sex toys, especially when sharing, it is wise to put a condom on them and change the condom whenever changing orifices. That means, change it when going from vaginal to anal, anal to vaginal, or from person to person. And don't forget the lube! It really might just be easier to get several sex toys.

A note on lube: Do not use oil based lubes like Vaseline with latex and never use them in the vagina. The only safe time to use an oil based lube is during anal play when using a non-latex barrier like polyurethane condoms or vinyl gloves.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Trans Women and Dating

Hello Garnet,
So I have a question for you for your blog. So, I'm MTF TS, pre op. I plan on having a relationship with a guy, a genetic guy, probably before Genital Reassignment Surgery. I don't want a chaser (one who specifically desires pre-op TS) and I don't want a guy who is not cool with me being TS. I'm also really scared of being alone for the rest of my life. Like what if the only type of person I will attract will be the guys who are only attracted to TS? Very scary, I just want a regular, open-minded heterosexual guy who wants a woman, because after the surgeries, I should be able to pass in the face, body, and down there.

So, what are your thoughts? Do you think any regular heterosexual guy would be able to have a relationship with me or do you think it's just completely a very slim chance, that he could never get past the fact that I was born a male, no matter how passable and fem I become?

I hate to say it, but there is a lot of violence against trans women. As a group, trans women suffer more hate related violence than any other group. It is a very sad fact and it will highly affect your dating options. It is unfortunate but there are a lot of heterosexual men out there who think that dating a trans woman would be a threat to their masculinity. As if somehow dating a trans woman makes them less of a man.

With that in mind, I have to say that finding a partner will not be easy. It is not impossible though. One thing I would recommend is to keep an open mind. Don't automatically discount men who are specifically looking for trans women. I understand not wanting to be fetishized, but you could be missing out on a wonderful man who just happens to find trans women fascinating and sexy. Also don't automatically discount men from the queer community. There are bisexual/pansexual/queer men who are a lot more open minded than your average heterosexual male. Love can happen in a lot of places and the more open minded you are about where you can find it, the more likely you will be to find it.

You didn't mention any desire to hide your bio-sex from anyone, which I commend. It is important that you be upfront and honest with anyone you are interested in dating. It will be a bigger heartbreak for you if you wait to tell the person and they end up rejecting you for it. Or even worse if they find out from someone else.

Your best bet for finding a man with whom you can have an intimate relationship is probably going to be in big liberal cities with a younger, more educated demographic.

I wish you lots of luck in your quest and hope that you will keep us updated.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Same-Sex Marriage

Today I went to see openly gay Rep. Greg Harris of the Illinois General Assembly speak. He is responsible for the introduction of House Bill 1826 which is titled "The Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act" which basically states that same-sex couples would be granted the right to civil unions which are the same as marriage in all but name, but religious groups can continue to not bless these marriages if they would prefer not to. With same-sex civil unions in such a close grasp in Illinois I can't help but feel the need to share my opinion on this hot issue.

The same-sex marriage debate is a popular one these days, but only two sides are really being voiced. Either you're for it because you feel that gay couples deserve the same rights as straight couples or you're against it because homosexuality is a sin or disgusting or whathaveyou.

There is a very important third opinion not getting voiced here. This opinion is that we shouldn't be fighting for gay marriage. It is the wrong fight and it is too specific to the LGB community (I'm specifically leaving T out because I don't think the rights of T folks are really getting acknowledged in the popular debate). We need to think of the bigger picture. What we should be fighting for are the rights of all types of families. This includes conjugal families, but also extends to grandparents caring for grandchildren, roommates, friends, extended families living under the same roof, those who choose to take care of their sick or dying relatives or friends, etc. Why is it that only married couples get these rights? Shouldn't all families get them? In this day and age the nuclear family is becoming less and less common and the laws and benefits need to be shaped around the real American family not some ridiculous conservative "family values" ideal. This real American family lives together and cares for one another emotionally, spiritually, mentally, financially, and physically. These are the real ideals that should be strived for in a family, not just sexual and/or blood relations.

All of the countries that have legalized same-sex marriage/unions have no real rights that go along with marriage. It wasn't a big deal to give same-sex couples the right to marry because everyone already had those rights already. But in the US we like to do things backwards. What we should really be fighting for right now is universal health care. That is going to get us and everyone else a little closer to the equality that we supposedly seek.

The marginalized need to stop fighting for things that only affect their one community. We need to work together for the greater good. In fighting for same-sex marriage we are alienating a lot of people who have much more pressing needs. In fighting together for the equality of every type of family we fight for everyone in our country. This would encompass same-sex marriage and any other type of family unit that is formed.

In fighting for same-sex marriage we are just widening the gap between acceptable types of family units and unacceptable ones. There will continue to be a hierarchy where nuclear families are at the top.

Now I want you to also keep in mind that this makes me a hypocrite. I want to marry my girlfriend one day and I will even if I can't do so legally. However, if I can legally marry her then I will be very happy to do so. But even if I do marry her in Illinois my marriage would still not be valid in most other states and I still don't receive any federal benefits. So once again we come back to the need for universal rights for all types of families.

*steps down off her soapbox*

If anyone is interested in reading more about this third side to the debate I encourage them to check out

Saturday, October 13, 2007


What is tribadism?

Tribadism is when a woman rubs her vulva against a part of her partner's body. It can really be any part of the body like an arm, leg, chest, etc.

Tribadism is pretty popular amongst female-female couples where they will often rub their genitals together . This can be a very erotic and pleasurable experience. It is easiest to achieve this by the women having their legs scissor each other. This can be done lying down with vulvas facing each other or where one woman lays down with legs open while the other sits sideways between the legs of the woman laying down. There are also other positions that don't use scissoring. I recommend trying to find new and fun positions that work for you and your partner.

It should be noted that tribadism is not really a safer sex activity. STIs can still be transmitted by any type of genital contact and it is not always easy to use protection during such an act. One can use a dental dam or saran wrap (not the kind you can put in the microwave) and lube, but there is a good chance that it will slip and/or bunch up.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


Recently, someone I slept with 7 years ago contacted me to tell me they have HPV and had no idea when she got it so was contacting everyone she slept with to let them know. I thought it was a bit silly for her to go through such lengths to contact people because from what I understand it is incredibly common, and relatively harmless except with some kinds that can cause cancer.

My question is.. Since HPV is also not normally included in the regular battery of STD testing people get, is it something people should test for regularly even if they don't notice any warts? And if you do have it, is it really serious enough to contact all your previous partners to let them know?

Human Papilloma Virus or HPV is a very common Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI). The CDC estimated in 2005 that 20 million people in the US had the virus. The reason that it is spread so easily is because most people do not know they have it because they don't show any symptoms. In fact, there are very few symptoms even associated with HPV. The known symptoms are genital warts and changes in the cells of the genitals; only one of which is visible to the naked eye. There are many different strains of HPV. The scary thing is that only the low risk strains show up as genital warts and therefore are easily detected. High risk strains, on the other hand, can go unnoticed for years because the only difference is in the change of cells.

Another reason that HPV spreads so easily is that there is no HPV test for men. Unless a man gets genital warts he does not know for sure if he has the virus or not and this only shows if he has a low risk strain.

When women get a pap smear the cells that are collected are tested to see if they are abnormal. If it turns out they are abnormal then further testing will be done to see if it is HPV. Women get abnormal pap results all the time though and it doesn't necessarily mean anything. They should always follow up with their doctors though to see if they need further testing.

HPV for the most part goes away on its own. If someone has genital warts though it is advised to have them removed so as to help prevent spreading. There are a number of different ways to remove the warts including prescription creams, burning with acid, and freezing with liquid nitrogen. High risk strains that do not go away on their own can cause cervical cancer and in lesser cases, cancer of the penis or anus. It has recently been found that HPV also has a low risk of causing throat and oral cancer.

There is no way to prevent all forms of HPV. Condoms can help, but are not perfect especially if the infected partner has genital warts in places that are not covered by the condom. HPV can also be transmitted through oral sex as well as manual stimulation.

Guardasil is an HPV vaccine offered to girls and women aged 9-26 and it has been shown to help protect against 8 strains of the virus, several of which are high risk strains, but it is not easily accessible to many females. Some people think that if girls get the vaccine they will be more likely to be promiscuous, which is just plain faulty logic in my opinion. It is also one of the most expensive vaccines on the market today, costing in the neighborhood of $400. To my knowledge, no insurance companies currently cover the cost of Guardasil.

Is it necessary for a person to contact their past sex partners to let them know that they have HPV? Yes, it is necessary to contact past sex partners for any STI that is contracted. It is the responsible, adult thing to do. However, I would say that seven years may be a bit of a stretch. It is nice to see people being responsible, but I would say that, unless you know around what time you contracted it (HPV can lay dormant for a long time), contacting your sex partners over the last 2 years would be a sufficient. 91% of new HPV infections disappear within 2 years of contracting it. However, if you feel it is your duty to contact beyond that, I say go for it.

I would ask your ex-partner what type of HPV they have. This can give you a better grasp on what the risks are and what you're looking for.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Facial Hair and Oral Sex

This is actually something I've been wondering about for a long time now. I'm always back and forth on my facial hair for several reasons that are a bit off topic here. But when I start seeing someone, I always wonder if i should shave it clean. Mainly because, and maybe this sounds weird, I like going down on girls. I worry that the facial hair might be uncomfortable, or too rough for such a sensitive area.

Stubble in Houston

First of all SIH, you should never feel weird about liking to go down on girls. Going down on girls is a wonderful thing and I'm happy that you are concerned about their comfort level as well.

If you have a full on beard, mustache, or goatee you would have to ask the girl to see how she feels about it. Some find the feeling nice and tickley, while others will find it irritating. It is really a matter of personal preference. However, if you have a 5 o'clock shadow it can cause a lot of irritation especially if the woman concerned also shaves. In that case you should definitely do a clean shave before going out on a hot date.

Thanks to everyone sending me questions! Keep on sending them and look for the answer in upcoming blogs.

Friday, October 5, 2007


Here is the first question:

Is DVDA possible?

For those of you who don't know what DVDA is, it stands for Double Vaginal, Double Anal. It is when a female is doubly penetrated in both the vagina and the anus. This could be done with real cocks, strap-on cocks, dildos, or some combination of those.

I do not think it is possible with just cocks and/or strap-on cocks. The logistics of getting 4 people around one woman just doesn't seem possible. I have heard it compared to basket weaving. I have looked for it on the web and have not found any instances of it. If anyone has seen porn with it or has actually done it please let me know. I know double vaginal, single anal and single vaginal, double anal exists, but I have not seen full on DVDA. I think DVDA is just an invention of the folks who wrote Orgazmo.

The only way I see DVDA actually working is if at least one unattached dildo is thrown into the mix.

Words of warning for any type of double penetration: Friction can cause condoms to break especially if they are rubbing up against another condom or a dildo. Be extremely careful, use a LOT of lube, and take it very slowly. Also, if you feel pain do not ignore it.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Penis Enlargement Spam

I receive penis enlargement spam more than any other type of spam. This is rather ridiculous really considering that I am a female bodied woman in a monogamous relationship with another female bodied woman. I don't actually read the emails themselves, but I do often read the subjects. These include such gems as:
"90% of women wish their man was bigger"
"all women prefer a bigger penis"
"enlarge your penis so you can reach her special nerve endings"
"your masculinity just needs a larger penis"
"your sex life will improve with a bigger penis"
Along with many that call men's masculinity into question.

We won't even talk about how receiving these types of emails in large quantities could be potentially harmful to a man's self-esteem or the reliability of the products they are promoting. I just want to dispel some of the myths that these subjects perpetuate. (Warning: This is very heterocentric.)

1. 90% of women wish their man was larger/all women prefer a bigger penis - These statistics are ridiculous. You have to wonder where they even get them. Do they completely make them up or do they ask 5 women who they know are size queens? There are some women who wish their male partner had a bigger penis, but there are also other women who wish their partner had a smaller one. Other women would like it if their partner focused on other parts of sex besides intercourse and still more women would just like it if her partner helped around the house more.

Most women can't even orgasm from intercourse alone; it doesn't matter how big your dick is. In fact, a big dick is more likely to hurt her than to bring her pleasure. The average woman's vagina is only 4 inches long! If you have a 9 inch penis, where do you think all those extra inches are going to go exactly? Many men who naturally have bigger penises actually find many women cannot take it all in.

2. Reaching her "special nerve endings" - This is an outright lie. There are actually very few nerve endings at the back of the vagina. Most of the nerve endings are concentrated in the first third, while the last 2/3rds is more sensitive to pressure. If a woman really had "special nerve endings" she would be able to feel a tampon inside of her and that would be unpleasant for many women.

3. You are not a man unless you have a big penis - If this were true, we would know exactly how big the cocks of the "manly men" were. Do you know how big John Wayne's cock was? It wasn't his cock that made him a man among men. How big are the cocks of Vin Diesel, The Rock, or Bruce Willis? This information is hardly common knowledge and yet most people find them to be hypermasculine.

4. A bigger penis makes for a better sex life - Focusing too much on the penis will actually make your sex life less fulfilling. Sex is not just about penile/vaginal intercourse. When you focus on just that you are much less likely to please your partner and she will be much less likely to want to have sex with you. Communication is a much better path to an improved sex life than is penis enlargement. Talk about what the two of you like to do during sex, what you'd like more of, and what you'd like less of. Be sensitive and caring and never place blame.

I hope that was informative. And please send me questions!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

NEVER Douche!!

Because I am surprised by the amount of people who do not seem to know this ....

Women should NEVER douche!!

The idea that a woman's vagina is dirty/gross/smelly in its natural state is extremely hurtful to women. There is nothing wrong with asking a woman to bathe before sex but douching is harmful to a woman's vagina. It can cause/put women at risk for all kinds of problems including but not limited to yeast infections, pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and cancer. When bathing, a woman or her helpful partner should only clean the outside of her genitals.

Only two parts of the body have natural cleaning mechanisms and those are the eyes and the vagina. When a woman douches she washes away those natural cleaning mechanisms. Let the body do what it is designed to do!

However, if you do notice a change in your/your lover's smell or discharge make sure that you/she sees a doctor.

Tell a woman you care about not to douche. It is harmful to her body. This needs to be spread around because too many women still think it is ok (many poor and uneducated) and many men require it of their lovers because they think that it is healthy to clean the vagina. It is not.

Also, douching after sex can actually increase the likelihood of getting pregnant because it can push sperm up into the uterus and fallopian tubes. Use protection! This does not mean that one should use douching as a means to help get pregnant. It can also cause infertility.

What this blog is

This blog is a place for people to ask me questions about sex, sexuality, and gender. This is also for my own thoughts about such things. I invite everyone to ask me questions by emailing me at

Why am I qualified to be answering your questions?

I have been fascinated with sex, sexuality, and gender since I was a young girl. I have been reading and researching the subject for the past 15 years or so. I have a thirst for sexual knowledge. I do not know everything, but I do know a lot and I have resources for finding out more. My goal is to be a sex educator.

Currently I am a Carnal Consultant (sex toy reviewer) over on Early to Bed's blog, I am a student double majoring in gender and women's studies and psychology, I'm a volunteer for Planned Parenthood, and I'm in the beginning stages of writing a book.

So email me your questions and let the fun begin!