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 BeyondMarriage.org.

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!