Monday, August 31, 2009

Condom Review: Lifestyles SKYN

This week's condom review is the newest non-latex condom on the market and by far our reviewer's favorite, Lifestyle SKYN.

Of all the condoms I've had the pleasure/displeasure of using, these are far and away my favorites. Non-latex based, they have no unpleasing smells, no awful taste, and to make an extremely long metaphor, if my penis were an ear on a phone and her vagina was a pin dropping, these condoms would have been sprint's landline service of the 1980s. The packaging is shiny making it easy to find at night, the serrated edges make them easy to open, and they roll on pretty easily. Try not to have much moisture on your boy pieces before rolling them on, because they will slip a little during vigorous thrusting. These are far and away my favorite condoms and carry my strongest recommendation.

Ease of use 5.0
Sensation 4.99
Taste/Fragrance 5.0

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My Story

In light of recent events – specifically Dr. Tiller’s murder, federal marshals being removed from the aide of Dr. Carhart, and the ongoing violence focused on reproductive health clinics – I’ve decided to tell my own story. I believe that it is extremely important for women (and men) to come out and talk about how their reproductive health clinics have helped them and why they are a positive necessity in our society. We should all tell our own stories.

My story isn’t a pretty packaged story about how I was a victim of incest or rape. Not that these stories are ever pretty, but they are the ones that so often come to view when we are talking about women who need to be able to have abortions. The stories of innocence lost. The women who “deserve” to have a pregnancy terminated. What about the rest of us? We all need control over our own bodies.

I expect that a lot of people won’t agree with my decisions. And I also expect that there may be some backlash because of it. But I refuse to hide when the people who are trying to help women are being murdered.

I tell this story from a sex positive viewpoint; the idea that there is nothing inherently evil about sex. In fact there is a lot of good in it, but there are risks as well.

When I was 18 I was a typical teenager. I thought I was invincible. I thought that nothing bad could happen. And so, even though I knew full well what the consequences were, I had unprotected sex with my boyfriend. I was not a victim of abstinence-only education, I had comprehensive sex ed starting in 5th grade. I was also raised in a sex positive household where information about sex and condoms were always available. I did know better. But I was in love and the sex was fantastic.

What I didn’t know was that I was with a young man who was also extremely fertile, as many 18 year olds are. He hadn’t told me that he had gotten two other women pregnant before me. And he definitely should have known better. But we’re both to blame for what happened. A couple of months before my 19th birthday I got pregnant.

I had always thought that if I got pregnant before I was ready that I would have an abortion. It would be an easy decision. When it actually happened I was struck by how difficult the decision actually was. After all, this life had been created out of love.

After thinking about it for a few weeks though I knew that it was the right decision. I had not been planning on bringing a baby into the world and was smoking at the time. Not a great way to start a pregnancy. My mom, a very supportive woman in general, refused to support me emotionally or financially if I chose to have the child. My boyfriend whom I loved dearly, all of a sudden disappeared when I became pregnant. I had my whole life ahead of me. And even dedicating 9 months to pregnancy was a burden my body could not handle. The first couple months that I did go through were awful and I knew it would only get worse. My body has always had issues with health and pain.

I did not know how to go about seeking an abortion. I am so incredibly lucky that it all turned out as well as it did considering I was doing my research via the yellow pages and, being a broke teenager, cost was my main concern. Had I lived in the Bible Belt instead of a suburb of Chicago I’m sure I would have ended up talking to a crisis center that would’ve misinformed me about pregnancy and abortion. And in my relatively fragile state, that would have been very difficult to deal with.

Ten days after my 19th birthday my best friend took me to a women’s reproductive health clinic. There were lots of women with boyfriends in the waiting room. I was the only one with my best friend.

I don’t really remember much of that day except for having a difficult time peeing in the cup, accidentally stepping on a button on the floor in the operating room that made a loud noise, waking up in another room with my underwear back on, and my best friend taking care of me that evening (mmm Blue’s Clues macaroni and cheese). But it all went pretty well.

As the years went on I became pretty loyal to Planned Parenthood. I really wish I had gotten the procedure there, but I’m happy that it went well. Planned Parenthood has been there for me through thick and thin. They’ve helped me through condom breakage, STI testing, genital warts, pap smears, putting me on the pill to prevent pregnancy, and then keeping me on it to prevent ovarian cysts. They’ve been there when I’ve cried, they’ve laughed at my jokes, and they’ve been non-judgmental of my lifestyle choices. They’ve been like a really good friend to me. And as a good friend I’ve tried my best to give back as well. I’ve donated time and money to them. I ran the local college campus chapter of VOX (Planned Parenthood’s student outreach) and I’ve worked as an escort keeping myself between women entering and leaving the clinic and those who did not agree with why they thought those women were there. I will always support Planned Parenthood and I hope that they are always able to support me.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Condom Review: Trojan Supra

This week's condom review is the Trojan Supra, which is one of the few non-latex condoms on the market.

A non-latex condom, these seemed to, like most of the other alternative material condoms, transmit warmth and sensation much more efficiently. They came in an attractive shiny gold foil package which was thankfully easy to spot when navigating only by the moonlight coming in through the blinds. The package took a second attempt to tear open but still came open without TOO much trouble. They rolled on over the piercings with ease and didn't take any effort to roll completely down. The rubber ring around the bottom provided adequate grip to prevent slippage even through pretty vigorous activity. The units seemed to absorb moisture, but a couple drops of eros fixed that and it was smooth sailing from there out. The biggest upside to this variety was the complete lack of smell or taste. Being part of a monogamous couple who uses condoms only for their contraceptive properties, it's pretty important that an unpleasant taste not be left on the skin after use.

Ease of use 4.5
Sensation 4.0
Taste/Fragrance 5.0

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Anti-Prostitution Laws and Violence Against Sex Workers

A Canadian study published this month shows a correlation between violence against sex workers and anti-prostitution laws. Read about it here.

If we're really interested in curbing prostitution there are other ways to go about it. Decriminalizing the selling of sex, but criminalizing the buying of sex is one big part of that. With a smaller demand, there will be a smaller supply. As long as men are willing to pay for prostitutes there will be prostitutes.

Also, having better health care, job training, and general opportunities for women living in poverty would mean women can find other forms of employment where they can actually make a living wage. The study also suggests better violence prevention efforts, policy reforms, and improved access to housing and drug treatment in order to decrease the rates of violence against sex workers.

Condom Review: Kimono MicroThin

This week's condom review is the Kimono MicroThin.

Despite being called MicroThin, and maybe even actually BEING micro thin, these units had the most godawful ability to absorb sensation and transport it into the ether, never to be felt again. I thought maybe on initial try, maybe a bad day was to blame, but on second try, my suspicions were confirmed. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that a secret ingredient in the condom formulation was cement. They
were a little snug which made me, being a guy of exceptionally medium proportions, feel pretty good about myself. Sadly, that's the only pleasant thing I have to say about the Kimono MicroThins. When we removed them for the final part of the review, they left a rather icky rubbery taste along with a smell that accurately foreshadowed said flavor. The packaging was a little thick, and thus harder to tear open, but they went on fairly smoothly. That isn't nearly enough to salvage them as a functional condom.

Ease of use 4.5
Sensation 2.0
Taste/Fragrance 2.5

All ratings are out of 5.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Best Lesbian Erotica 2009

Babeland sent me the newest in the Best Lesbian Erotica series recently. Now I have no experience reading the previous years of erotica and I'll admit that I'm hardly an avid reader of erotica in general because I do most of my reading on public transit. I really need one of those fabric book covers so I don't have to be embarrassed by the overtly sexual images on the cover. But given all this, I still have to say that I was a bit disappointed.

Sure the stories were often very hot. But there just wasn't enough variety for me. This was not lesbian erotica, this was butch/femme erotica. A lot of times I really felt as if this could have been hetero erotica, but instead of just saying cock they would add a descriptor like silicone or cyberskin. And while I love a good hot butch/femme sex story, I would really love to see more than just that. Give me some butch on butch love, some femme on femme, where are the genderqueers and the trannyboys? I NEED more variety! So call the book what it is: Butch/Femme erotica, not the best lesbian erotica of 2009. Because I am sure there are TONS of hot stories involving queer ladies of all kinds.

However, I must say that I did enjoy the fact that there were women of different ages,sizes, shapes, and colors in the book. And I always enjoy it when any type of porn or erotica references a sex toy that I have. In one story they used a Feeldoe!

One thing to keep in mind if you are considering this book is that it also has a lot of BDSM and some foot/shoe worship. If this is not your thing then I suggest skipping it. If it is your thing then there are definitely some really hot stories in here for you.

But for my money the hottest story in the whole book was the real one that Tristan Taormino shares in the intro. Hot damn! But then again when its real people really getting it on it just goes a lot further for me. That and Tristan is totally hot and smart.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Condom Review: Roomier One

I sent my male reviewer Clix a whole bunch of condoms from Early to Bed to test out and review. He did all the dirty (fun) work for you so you can just sit back, read up, and choose the best condoms for yourself based on his experiences.

Once a week I will add a new review of a condom he tried out and wrote up. This week's review is for Roomier One with the pleasure dome.

I'm not going to lie, I managed to pick this particular condom as my first to review because of the artwork on the wrapper (wrappers come in varying designs). The external imagery caught my eye, and the round shape was easy to pick out amongst the pile of squares. One of the key factors I've found in condom selection has been the ease of package opening. I was cursed with a penis that can lose interest rather quickly if steady stimulation isn't kept up, so if a condom isn't easy to remove from packaging and slip on in the heat of the moment, I run the risk of diminishing firmness. The requirement of continued stimulation also leads to a problem with condoms that fail to transmit adequate sensation and temperature. Luck was on my side with the selection of the One with pleasure dome. The package came open quickly, it rolled right on, and the rest of the testing began. The lubrication on the condom was just enough to enhance what was naturally in place without becoming too lubricated, and it managed to stay in place quite well. The roomier tip gave a little extra sliding sensation which when coupled with the fact that these guys provide superior warmth/sensation transmission provided for an extremely enjoyable romp in the hay. The taste/smell test offered some positive results, with there being little to no noticeable condom fragrance and a flavorless lube residue that dissipated quickly. My partner's response was positive as well, noting that it didn't feel too grippy during penetration and she was still able to detect the texture variations provided by my piercings rather easily.

Ease of use 5
Sensation 4.5
Taste/Fragrance 4.5

All ratings are out of 5.