Category Archives: Sexual Health

Planned Parenthood is Not Evil and You Are Not Saving Anyone.

Mr. Matthew Derosia has issues. He’s been committed nine times since 2004, which amounts to more than twice a year. So, Red, why are we talking about some guy you’ve never heard of you ask? Because last Thursday, Matthew Derosia took his mother’s boyfriend’s SUV and rammed it into the Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Paul Minnesota.

Fortunately, no one was injured, because Matthew decided to destroy private property at 7:42am before business hours. Damage appears to be minimal, and the clinic was not closed down.

Matthew’s statement is particularly disturbing, stating that Jesus told him to “stop the murders.” One has to wonder…what would’ve happened had he actually committed his crime when there were people at the clinic? If he had run down a pedestrian or actually harmed someone inside the clinic? Why is it okay then? Why do living, breathing people take precedence over potential people?

Enough. Planned Parenthood is not evil. In fact, I’m fairly sure that most people don’t even know what Planned Parenthood does beyond abortions. How about a few facts from a nurse who actually worked for PP?

  1. Abortions account for precisely 3% of Planned Parenthood’s business. The vast majority of their business comes from office visits and contraceptives.
  2. They also provide assistance for low/no cost mammograms for low income women, pediatric services for the children of low income parents, pre-natal services for women who decide to have their babies, annual pap smears, sterilization services for men and women, counseling for teens, and, of course, contraceptives.
  3. They contribute more to their local communities than nearly any other medical non profit organization.
  4. They provide MUCH needed sex education to teens and schools. I was an educator for PP for a year…some of the things that are accepted by teens as fact are plain scary.

Planned Parenthood is not the enemy. The people who work there are, in my experience, some of the most empathetic, community spirited people I have ever met. They are dedicated to the cause of women’s health, and the truly believe in what they’re doing. It’s sad that the people who work so hard to put them out of business aren’t even aware of half of the services provided in those clinics, or that the people who are helped are usually low income with nowhere else to go.

Additionally, many anti-choice women make use of Planned Parenthood’s services. Not for education or contraceptives, sadly, but for the very thing they picket and protest against: abortion. In the spring of 2000, Joyce Arthur collected anecdotes from doctors, nurses and health workers at PP as well as pro-life women about women who obtain abortions even though they protest at clinics and identify as pro-life. It’s eye opening.

Abortion is an incredibly polarizing subject. What people forget when they argue that subject is that it’s also a very difficult, painful choice for the women who make it. It doesn’t need to be turned into a shameful, guilt ridden one as well because someone doesn’t approve. The people at PP are doing a difficult job providing services to men, women and children who need them. They don’t need “saving,” and their patients deserve dignity and understanding. They’re not a cause, they’re people. Actions like those of Matthew Derosia just further remove the realization of that fact.

Artificial Virginity Hymens

Look at that! You can fake your orgasms AND your virginity. Every time I think I’m maybe going over the top in my cynicism with respect to the human race, said human race manages to surprise and disappoint still further.

“Kee-RIST, Left,” you mutter to yourself, “what are you on about now?” I’m glad you asked. It’s this Japanese product which describes itself thusly:

Insert this artificial hymen into your vagina carefully. It will expand a little and make you feel tight. When your lover penetrate, it will ooze out a liquid that look like blood not too much but just the right amount. Add in a few moans and groan, you will pass through undetectable.

Ummm….yeah. Really, isn’t it time we got rid of the whole virginity/purity perception? Women have more to offer the world than an unbroken flap of tissue and then a life as a baby incubator. Not to mention the dishonesty implicit in a product like this. Now…if your lover has a thing for virgins and you’re into it…more power to you, I guess…but if you’re having sex (like most functional adult women) and lying to the man you’re marrying so that he’ll still marry you? You’re lying to both of you. And if that’s all he really values about you, why the hell do you want to be with him anyway?

First: Do No Harm. Unless You Disagree With Their Morals.

On December 19th, the Bush administration very quietly approved provisions to put the final nail in the coffin of American healthcare. Effective Jan 19th (one day, you will note, before President-elect Obama takes office), all entities tied to healthcare…including insurance companies…will be able to deny care or coverage for any service they feel disagrees with their moral code.

As a woman, I am furious. How dare you, Mr. Bush, tell any insurance company or doctor that I may not obtain reproductive health without risking my life? As a bisexual woman, I am seething. How dare you open the door to anyone to question me on my sexuality and deny me care because they don’t approve? As a nurse, I am so livid I am nearly speechless. We do not question the morality of our patients. It is not for us to judge. If someone comes to me because they are injured, in pain, or just have questions, I am here to do my best to help them. Their personal life is not for ME to judge. How dare ANYONE decide such a thing?

So now I can deny care based on my moral outrage? Fine. How would it be, then, if I, as an atheist, were to refuse care to fundamentalist Christians because I morally disagree with their warped perceptions of reality? How would it be if I were to refuse care to some redneck idiot who had broken his neck on his motorcycle because I’m morally opposed to treating morons who refuse to wear a helmet? How would it be were I to refuse to assist in delivering a baby because I think the world is overpopulated enough and it’s against my ethics?

Mr. Bush, you do not know the damage you have done. You think you are merely putting down rights for gays and women. I assure you, sir, you have no idea the death blow you have dealt my profession. I am saddened. But more, I am enraged that anyone would dare do such a thing as risk the lives of the people of this country all so that a few backward, self righteous, judgmental overbearing jerks can look down their noses and deny care to people they consider inferior to themselves.

I am sickened by the very thought of what this will do to a profession of which I have always been proud to be a part. There are simply no words for how disgusted I am by this ruling.

Bristol’s Decision or: Republicans stumble over the word “Choice”

So naturally, as an avowed Commie Socialist atheist liberal pig dog, I watch the Daily Show as often as I can. Well. Ordinarily I tivo it and watch it at some point over the weekend when I’m not running the kids around or cleaning the house or plotting the downfall of civilization as we know it by daring to vote Democrat. Last night, though, since I was up talking to the television during the RNC, I stayed up the extra half hour to watch Jon Stewart.

Ordinarily, I am not a big Samantha Bee fan; she ends up annoying me. But her last few segments have had me rolling, and I’m hoping the writers can keep coming up with the biting satire they’ve been writing for her lately.  Last night in particular had me grinning from ear to ear. On the convention floor, Samantha was interviewing attendees, asking them what they thought about the whole Bristol issue. Many of them said that, while it was an unfortunate incident, it was “a decision made privately, by the family.” I began to smile as Samantha asked each one “Hmmm….decision….she made her own DECISION… y’know…there’s another word…for decision…option? No…that’s not it….what IS that word…?” And hemmed over it more as each conventioneer got obviously more and more uncomfortable about the big hypocritical elephant in the living room. Finally one said “Um…choice?” “YES!” Samantha yelled. “That’s it. Choice. It was her choice.” The young lady then said (and I swear I laughed harder at this line than any Jon Stewart delivered) “well…yeah, but… y’know…’freedom of choice’ isn’t exactly the same thing as ‘pro choice.’ ” And she was SERIOUS!

(Clip here)

I was absolutely floored. Here’s this entire delegation who understands and supports the idea that getting married and having that baby is not only a private, family matter, but Bristol’s choice, and hers alone. And THEN had the balls to say it isn’t the same thing as being pro-choice. There I sat, my ghast totally flabbered. The darling man (who was raised in Texas and understands these things far better than a simple California girl like me) smiled at me rather gently and said “honey…they really do think ‘pro choice’ is a euphemism for ‘pro abortion’.”

I goggled at him. I blustered. What twaddle! NO ONE is pro-abortion! I’ve worked at Planned Parenthood; that’s not the motto! When we say “pro choice,” we really do MEAN….it’s your choice! Totally up to you! Bristol wants to have her baby. That’s great! SHE made that choice. Had she decided to keep it quiet, not tell anyone and given it up for adoption? ALSO great, and also totally up to her. Had she not told anyone, had an abortion, and gone on with her life? Guess what. That’s her choice, too.

The fact that people at the RNC supported that, on camera and on the record, should be screamed from the rooftops. The fact that it was the Daily Show and not a “hard news” program just means people were relaxed enough to say what they actually meant.  Republicans DO support a woman’s right to choose. Giving women that choice does not automatically follow that the choice they make will be the one with which their values disagree.

Satisfy your lover! And other ridiculous internet myths Pt. II

I had done a bit of a screed about masturbation which I ended up removing because really….anyone who reads my blog pretty much already knows masturbation is a good and healthy thing, and those who are really in need of a good orgasm certainly aren’t people who’d be reading the blog of a heretical evil woman preaching sedition and sexual gratification for all. So let’s move right along, you vibrant, delicious masters of your own bodies, you.

I’m sure by now you’ve all heard some of the weirdness that passes for peer-produced sexual education among teens. The only thing scarier than some of those myths is the number of young people who believe them.  Let’s dispel a few of those, shall we? And yes, believe it or not, I hear these questions from teens a LOT. So please. If you’re a parent; educate your kids. You don’t want them relying on what they hear from their friends. If you read on, you’ll understand why.

  • Douching with Coca Cola/Pepsi/Mt. Dew after sex will stop you from getting pregnant.

No. No, no, no, no, no. Not only will it NOT stop you from getting pregnant, it may cause you to get a raging infection. Then you’ll be itchy AND still pregnant. Please do not do this. There are already plenty of ways for a woman’s  pH to be tossed off balance without any help from the Coca Cola corporation, thank you very much.

  • If a man masturbates prior to having sex, he can’t get a woman pregnant.

Wanna know what we call guys who use this method of birth control? Right. Fathers. I imagine their girlfriends call them other things as well after getting pregnant, but you get the idea. This is so far from scientifically sound, it may as well have been come up with by the Pope. Unless you have had a vasectomy, you are producing sperm. Each and every time. Masturbation prior to sex can lower your sperm count (by about 20%), but it doesn’t make you sterile. And considering that sperm samples obtained after intercourse show up to 120% more sperm than masturbation…odds are good you’re about 9 months from becoming the adult you want everyone to treat you as. Do yourself a favor; invest in some condoms.

  • You can’t get a disease from oral.

 I can’t believe those words just sprang from your keyboard. Really? REALLY?!? Of course you can get a disease from oral. Know what bacteria like? Warm damp places where they can multiply. Any place you happen to have mucous membranes will do, and….HELLLOOO!!!!….your mouth is on that list, along with eyes, vagina and anus.

  • If the girl’s on top, the sperm won’t reach the egg.

Yeahhhh…..not so much. On top, bottom, hands and knees, standing…doesn’t matter. Sperm are designed for one thing; fertilizing an ovum. They’re swimming with a lot more force than the gravity against them.  

Teens pass each other a lot of information. Quite a bit of it (at least when it comes to sex) is bad. Want a fool proof way to not get pregnant? I’m not going to tell you abstinence, because…clearly… you’re not listening. Barring abstinence, there is no 100% safe way. But you can get close, and be reasonably cautious.

Find a local family planning clinic. Don’t be embarrassed; trust me, they’ve heard it all. Including some things you’ve probably never even THOUGHT of, but that’s a post for another day. Discuss your options for safe effective birth control. Above all, be honest and ask questions. You won’t be laughed at or talked down to; the educators WANT you to be healthy and responsible and aware of your body and how it works.

Satisfy your lover! And other ridiculous internet myths

This is a big enough topic to be its own series. So while the atheism stuff will still be here, I’m going to concentrate on this for a bit, because it’s starting to annoy me. Fair warning: I am going to talk about sex in a fairly explicit, matter of fact manner. If that bothers you, you may want to stop reading now.

Okay. First and foremost: I am an educator for a rather well known community clinic that specializes in family and reproductive health. The following is excerpted from rather frank discussions with groups of women aged 16-45, as well as my own personal observations.

So there I was, stumbling around, looking through the adult pages, when I came across a site promising to improve the reader’s cunnilingus skills. “Interesting….” I thought, “let’s read on.” The article went on to advise foreplay. “So far so good…us women like foreplay….” But then it made a fatal mistake. It started talking about specifics. How to massage the clitoris, how to tease the labia, how to slowly introduce your mouth in the mix (not that that’s a bad thing, any of it!). So what’s the problem? you ask. Specifics are good. They tell us what we should be doing. Well, yes. They do. Unfortunately, they tell you what you should be doing for some women.

Here’s my objection to websites like this. Specifics are good. Unfortunately, they change from woman to woman. You want to know how to best please your lover orally? Seriously? Ask her (or him). No, not “what do you want,” because I know what you’re going to get back is a blush and silence. Some evening when you’re both relatively open to it, try a few different things. And each step of the way, ask “do you like it better when I do it like this…. or like this?” That’ll give you a way to adjust accordingly in the future. And keep doing that. Adjust your speed. Use one finger then two. Don’t just ask which she likes better, watch her reactions. Be patient. Be willing to learn. Be willing to recognize that, while you’re confident you can satisfy your lover, there may be ways you can satisfy her/him even more.

There is no magic technique. Each unique woman and man has their own tempo, their own combination. If it’s important enough to you to satisfy your lover, then it’s important enough to bear that in mind. People are not cookie cut outs. They’re individuals with individual likes, dislikes and turn ons. The best road to sexual nirvana is paved with trust and communication. Yes, there are some times where you “just know.” But don’t be discouraged if a little direction is needed. And remember the journey is at least half the fun.

To be continued.