All Articles Tagged "safe sex"
Recently I was having a conversation about the responsibility of maintaining birth control with a friend of mine and she said, “I can’t until they make effective birth control pills for men. That way one gender wouldn’t have to shoulder the primary responsibility of preventing unplanned pregnancy.” I feel the same way about STD and HIV prevention too.
And then I read a piece in the Washington Post and remembered the female condom:
“The Food and Drug Administration has approved Female Health Company’s second-generation female condom (FC2). Now the company must figure out how to get it to the markets where it’s most needed. In 2010, the World Health Organization cited HIV/AIDS as the leading cause of death worldwide among women 15 to 44 years old. Mary Ann Leeper and colleagues knew that the female condom provided life-saving empowerment to women. It is the only protection against HIV/AIDS controlled by women.”
In an effort to help raise the profile of the female condom, Female Health Company created a number of public-private partnerships in cities across the country including Washington D.C., which has the highest infection rate for African American women in the country. According to a previous article in the Post, the partnership distributed 200,000 female condoms to beauty salons and community clinics and provided over $400,000 in educational services just in the D.C. area alone. The results proved to increase acceptance of female condoms among both men and women. While this proved to be a highly successful and clever marketing tactic to get female condoms into the hands of a core demographic, it was also a great way to increase the visibility and produce an adequate buy-in of a product, which has to overcome some stigmas and the popularity of the male counterpart.
As long as I can remember, the commonplace belief has always been the women tend to take care of the birth control and the men, the STD prevention (i.e. condoms). I get it, it is a lot easier for a man to slip on a jimmy (they still call them that?) than a women to jam some device up in the snatch and apply all those messy spermicidal creams properly. But with the rate of HIV/AIDS still prominent in the community, particularly with African American and Latino women representing a sizable number of Americans disproportionately impacted by the epidemic, we have to ask ourselves if the task of protecting our sexual health in the sole hands of just one gender?
I know from personal experience there is nothing more frustrating than hearing a dude say he forgot to bring a condom. And even if you are among the well-tuned women, who carry around their own prophylactic, there is no guarantee to ensure that your date for the evening won’t decide to take it off (that stuff happens too) during the act. Therefore, women having power of the condom situation seems like the best course of action to help decrease the spread of sexual diseases – as well as infections. It is said that the female condom actual provides greater skin coverage, thus not only sharply reducing your chances of STDs and HIV but also providing coverage against more topical diseases like Herpes and the human papillomavirus (HPV).
When they are used properly, it is said that female condoms are 95 percent reliable – of course, that’s if they are used accurately. The most common complaint I heard among those friends I know, who have tried it, was that if not careful, a man can bypass the condom all together. But with a little practice, a woman (and man) can certainly learn the proper way to use them. Heck there are even YouTube videos available for those too shy to seek out help.
However for the female condom to become more popular and acceptable, they are going to have to continue on way to make it more convenient and affordable. A three-count box of FC2 will cost about between $4.49 and $5.99 at Walgreens. While this is way cheaper than what they used to cost (I remember when it was $10 a box), they are still a bit more expensive than male condoms. Also, men have the option of going to the corner bodega or Chinese store, if needed. Women on the other hand, have to seek out a drug store or go to an authorized supplier, which might not be fitting when some spontaneous sex just so happens to spring up (no pun intended). But it is certainly not a bad idea to one day, while at the drug store, pick up a box and keep them next to your bed stand. I remember that the year I got a bunch of the FC free from the health clinic. Unfortunately 2010-11 was a bad year for the kid and eventually they dried out before I got a chance to test them out. But I had them – just in case.
What do you think about the female condom? Have you ever used one?
“He doesn’t like to use protection”, “Stopping to put on a condom ruins the moment”, “I don’t want to ask him because he may think I don’t trust him”, “We got caught up in the moment and forgot”. How many times have we heard or said one of the phrases and excuses above, or other phrases and excuses about the man’s use of a condom during intercourse, or the lack thereof? And how many times have these phrases instantly turned into “I think I’m pregnant”, “I’m in pain”, “I’m here for an HIV/Aids test”, or “I’m sorry Ms., but you’ve tested positive for…”
In today’s world of sex, it is vital to one’s health and survival to prep and practice safe measures before engaging in intercourse. With the rapid number of unexpected/unwanted pregnancies, the growing rate of HIV/Aids cases, and other sexually transmitted diseases it is imperative for one to protect themselves during sex. But who is solely responsible for having protection, the man or the woman? The answer to that question is… both! One mistake both women and men make is placing the responsibility of using or being prepared with protection for intercourse solely on the man. I say that both women and men make this mistake because in most cases women expect men to always be prepared with fresh condoms in their wallet ready to pull out for action, and men simply expect women to be prepared with birth control-subconsciously disregarding the fact that sexually transmitted diseases exist; but neither party would expect for a woman to be prepared with her own condoms. Yes, her own condoms for use in her body. I know many of you have heard of the FC-female condom, but let’s take a crash review course in what it is.
According to www.avert.org, the FC is a thin sheath/pouch that women wear during sex that lines the vagina entirely. There are a variety of female condoms such as the FC, FC2 (which is a nitrile sheath or pouch 6.5 inches long,) the Condom Feminine (VA for short), the Cupid female, etc. Female condoms have flexible rings at each end, and at the closed end of the sheath the flexible ring is inserted into the vagina so the condom will hold in place, while the other end of the sheath remains outside of the vulva for entrance into the vagina. This ring serves as a guide during penetration and prevents the sheath from moving further inside the vagina. Now that we’ve had an abbreviated course on what the female condom is let’s look at the advantages of a woman using a female condom for both men and women.
Advantage 1- the female condom can be inserted into the vagina prior to sexual intercourse and it won’t interfere with the heat of the moment. Advantage 2- the man is not solely responsible for having protection. Advantage 3-it will save the man money! Advantage 4- a woman can protect herself from unknown sexually transmitted diseases her partner may have (and may be unaware that he has), and she can protect herself from unwanted pregnancies if it is used properly. Of course with every set of advantages come disadvantages. Disadvantage 1-the outer ring is visible outside of the vagina which can be unappealing, and may cause some women to feel self-conscious. Disadvantage 2- some may find the female condom difficult to remove or insert and many women may feel uncomfortable inserting it. Disadvantage 3- female condoms may be relatively expensive.
While it is true that condoms, both male and female, are not one hundred percent effective in preventing unwanted pregnancies or STD’s, they can be effective if used properly. The safest practice of premarital sex is the practice of celibacy until marriage; however, if your urges to engage in intercourse take over and turn into action, you should always have and use protection. If both parties are planning to have sex, both parties should share the responsibility for their individual safety as well as each other’s. Ladies, there is no excuse for you to not take a stand and protect yourself against the many STD’s that exist. Learn how to protect yourself even if your sex partner won’t because when the sun sets and the moon rises you will be the one at the clinic or in the Doctor’s office, crying, or in a panic state because your world has been turned upside down. Protect yourself even if he won’t protect you. Why? Because your life is worth it.
Liz Lampkin is the Author of Are You a Reflection of the Man You Pray For? Follow her on Twitter @Liz_Lampkin.
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We can all make a compelling argument for why we SHOULD have sex. After all, it’s fun, it feels good and is good for you, and it’s the most intimate way you can share yourself and your love with your partner. But there is a flip side to that frisky coin, and varying attitudes towards sex show that there are plenty of reasons why you should hold off on doing the do. If you’re on the fence on whether or not you should have sex with a new guy, or for the first time ever, here are some things to consider before going all the way.
When I worked as a sexual health educator, no one could tell me that I didn’t have the most dynamite job in the world. The information I taught almost couldn’t compare to the things I learned from my students. The “Blue Waffle”, “Red Pancake” and “Ear Wax STI Test” were just a few of the highlights from a sexual culture created by today’s teens. I enjoyed the fact that young people felt comfortable enough to open up to me about their fears, confusion and curiosity about sex while at the same time trusting me as a resource for factual information. The best part is they felt they could be themselves around me. I didn’t fidget uncomfortably every time someone dropped an F-bomb. I didn’t launch into a Sunday school lecture when students told me intimate accounts of losing their virginity in an empty school auditorium. And even though I may have been cringing on the inside, I never came across as judgmental which made students feel trusted, listened to and valued.
See when it comes to making positive impact on the behavior of our young people, the most important lesson I’ve learned is that it’s not enough to tell them how to change their behavior, you have to make an effort to understand why they are making unhealthy decisions in the first place. You have to sit down and LISTEN to them, even if it hurts. Which brings me to She Takes Control, a recent campaign launched by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, encouraging women to carry their own condoms. Before you take my words the wrong way, let me make it clear that I am in total agreement with the intentions of this effort. Although I am leery of the marketing which is reminiscent of a rejected “Just Another Girl on the IRT” movie poster, I applaud the encouragement of women to be empowered about their sexual health and speak out about what they allow to happen to their bodies. In fact, when I discuss with friends the adventures I encounter as I travel from high school to rec center meeting diverse groups of young men and women, most assume that pregnant and sexually active ones were the ones who were skipping class, being loud in the hallways, spending more time in the club than they did in class. But the truth is I had a fair share of quiet, reserved bookworms who shared the same sexual health issues. You meet enough teens and you’ll notice whether they are doing homework in homeroom or hooking up in the hallway, they ALL have hormones.
I argue that most teens know how to use a condom better than adults, the problem comes in with how young people are defining love, relationships, respect and sexuality. The longer I work in this industry the more I begin to believe that high STI rates and unplanned pregnancy are more an ethics and values problem then it is a lack of sexual health resources and knowledge. Instead of abstinence-only education and comprehensive sexuality education going head to head, they should actually be meeting in the middle. Youth need factual information about STI’s, condoms and pregnancy, but they also need honest discussions exploring their values. Whether those values are waiting until marriage to have sex or being truly comfortable having open relationships. Most teens aren’t even trying to learn themselves or define a code of conduct to live by. They are simply reacting to the pressure of situations they are put in. The reason why it’s not enough to hand them a condom and hope for the best, is because they aren’t critically thinking, mostly because they haven’t been taught how to do so.
Looking to charge up your sex life? You might want to visit New York, Miami or Atlanta.
So here’s the thing: condom brand Trojan surveyed 2,000 U.S. adults about their sexual habits and these cities topped the list in quite a few of the categories. The survey shows that Miami is at the top of the leaderboard with the average number times sex is had per year at 177 while the rest of the country “only” averages out at 151 times per year (New York is second at 156 times per year). I guess more than just the temperature makes it “muy caliente” down there.
Not to be outdone, New Yorkers seem to be more vocal about their sexual desires. At 27 percent, New Yorkers are at the top when it comes to expressing their fantasies to their lovers and 78 percent are open to trying a vibrator with a partner during sex. If you’ve ever walked through the West Village and took stock of all the “toy stores” that are there, this won’t surprise you that much.
Oh but I didn’t forget you, Atlanta. The survey says that at 72 percent, Atlanta is the most sexually adventurous city and they also have the highest sex drive (7.2 out of 10). It’s no wonder the residents confessed to having an average of 25 sexual partners in their lifetime (Atlanta is at the top of that leaderboard too). Yes, you all are keeping it “hot” indeed.
The survey doesn’t mention sexual orientation of those surveyed but it’s funny that these cities topped the list in most categories (the survey was done in a total of 10 major cities) because women claim in all these cities that they’re not really getting any because there’s a shortage of men. I’m not just talking about black women either; peek your head into the conversations of our white sisters (if you’re not already cool with them) and you’ll see that they’re having the same issues many of us seem to be having. But hey, a woman’s got needs just like any other man would so we’re “getting it in” even with the issues some of us seem to be having with our deeper relationships.
Check out the survey here. Do you consider yourself sexually “free?” Would you like to try a little something different to spice up your life?
Looks like Evelyn and Chad have no plans of relinquishing their reigning title as one of the tackiest couples in history of coupledom. In a not-so-surprising TMI moment the New England Patriot tweeted a picture of Evelyn’s birth control pills. There really are no words. Just disapproving grunts and slow head shakes because we’re not the least bit surprised. The only bright side of this situation is that these two won’t be reproducing anytime soon.
See how Evelyn responded to the tweet and accompanying image at HelloBeautiful.com
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When it comes to maintaining our sexual health, the odds are already stacked against us just for being female. STIs can cause a lot of complication in anyone’s life, but for women especially, STIs can cause complications and irreversible damage that simply just won’t occur in the lives of our male counterparts. Take a look at the list below for several facts that give women a disadvantage when it comes to practicing safe sex:
It doesn’t matter how charming he is. It doesn’t matter how Hot he is. Your health is still the number one priority. If you are prepared when he bats his eyelashes and runs his very Hot hand up your thigh, you will stay in control of both your safety and your pleasure. Here are the top five excuses men use to attempt to wiggle out of wearing a condom and the responses you need to stay safe.
Excuse #1: Birth control is the woman’s responsibility.
Sadly this is not a new argument. Ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman cultures all thought the same thing, and that is why you won’t see many references to condoms in their ancient literature. In fact, the only references to “male birth control” you may find in their writings refer only to “coitus interruptus”—that’s the “pull-out” method, by the way —and anal sex. Puh-lease!
Find out the other ridiculous reasons why your man may try to get out of wearing a condom at YourTango.com.
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Next time you’re watching professional Adult Videos (if that’s something you’re into) just remember the camera person knows just what angles make the female look the hottest. The female herself isn’t really enjoying herself so she can actually think about every little movement she makes, and some moments of the, um, encounter were left out of the finished production altogether. If only we had such finesse in our own sex lives. Luckily, real couples have a lot more fun, but these uncomfortable dynamics still exist….
The CDC released a report recently, revealing the U.S. teen birth rate decreased again in 2010. Almost every state saw a decline in teen births from 2007-2010, but Arizona experienced the biggest drop at 29 percent. In fact, U.S. births by mothers of all ages dropped in 2010, and experts cite the economy as the biggest factor. Although the highest rates of teen births are still found within the Black and Latino communities, the decline was seen among all races and ethnicities.
Mississippi, New Mexico, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana still lead with the nation’s highest teen pregnancy rates. New England states including New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut and New Jersey continue to have the lowest teen birth rates in the country. The report defeats the stereotype that teen pregnancy is limited to urban areas and sex education and pregnancy prevention efforts may have also significantly influenced the falling rate.
With an unstable economy and employment rates staggering to grow, it may very well be that teens and people in general are seriously considering the costs associated with building a family. Offered more options when it comes to accessing birth control and relieved from the pressure of affording sexual healthcare, more women are choosing to take advantage of the contraceptive options that are available to them. What’s important about this study is that somewhere, for some reason, young people are listening and actively choosing not to become teen parents. It brings to light that traditional, more conservative states may benefit from welcoming alternatives points of view when it comes to sex education.
Why do you think that teen pregnancy rates are decreasing?
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