Archive for March, 2010

Check it out: Paps matter for queer ladies and trans guys too!

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Check it out (for queer women) and Check it out guys (for trans men) are two awesome campaigns that spread the word about the importance of getting regular Pap tests, regardless of who you have sex with.

Nice posters, too! Click image for more

Nice posters, too! Click for more

As they say:

“…we may have been told by doctors and other health care providers that because we have sex with other women, we do not need Pap tests. This is NOT true. Anyone with a cervix who has ever been sexually active needs a Pap test.”

But WHY? Because HPV, the major cause of cervical cancer, is a sexually transmitted infection that is passed on through genital skin to skin contact. You do not need to have penetrative sex in order to get HPV.

Meaning > If you’re sexually active (in any way), even if you don’t have sex with men, you should still get regular paps!

Meaning > If you have ever in your life had any kind of sexual activity with anyone that involved the genital area, you need a Pap.

The website also has advice for making pap tests and pelvic exams easier for trans guys as well as an awesome tip sheet for health care providers to give sensitive, empowering paps.

Montreal youth aged 12-25 can get Pap tests and STI tests right here at Head & Hands! Check our clinic schedule here.

Health Care Reform Summary

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Please click here for a great summary on what the Health Care Reform entails in the US.  The author makes some really good points and divides them up into four sections; namely, the Good, the Questionable, the Bad and What Comes Next.

So, if you’re at all curious and want something that’s “to the point” and easy to read, make sure to check it out…

In the Land of Condoms…

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While you should know that female condoms exist; today, I want to talk about male condoms. Why? Well, if we’re talking about pleasure, we should also be talking about safety.

A few key points about male condoms:

  1. Most condoms are made of latex. Only water-based lubes can be used with latex and latex also happens to prevent all sperm, bacteria and viruses from passing through it.
  2. Male condoms can also be made out of polyurethane. Therefore, if you or your partner is allergic to latex, this is a good option. And, they can be used with both water and oil based lubes.
  3. Lambskin condoms exist; but, the pores are too big to prevent the transmission of some viruses. Bottom line is…You can use them to prevent pregnancy but not for safer sex. Actually, you should always read labels closely to see if your condoms will protect you from STIs.
  4. Condoms come in a variety of shapes and sizes because not all penises are the same shape or size.
  5. Condoms come in many flavours which is great for oral sex.
  6. Do not wear two condoms at the same time!
  7. Protect your condoms since you never know when you’ll get lucky. So, don’t stick them in your wallet or keep them loose in your pockets (yup, they can get damaged that way). You could put them in a plastic cigarette case, which you can buy at the dollar store to prevent damage. Always store your condoms in a cool dry place.
  8. Be proud, not embarrassed, when you purchase condoms!
  9. You can get free condoms at places like Head and Hands, the ACCM, schools and many other community health service providers.
  10. For more info and for a very detailed 6 step guide on how to use a male condom, please download our Peer Education Manual and see pages 94 to 97.

Midwest Teen Sex Show on condoms:

Fun condom ad by AIDES:

Smaller condoms for 12-year-olds in Switzerland

on

A Switzerland company manufactures condoms for 12-year-old boys, and plans to distribute them outside of Switzerland. While it’s only a minority of 12-year-olds that are sexually active (and the sex is typically very occasional), I believe safer sex supplies should still be available for them, and a condom that fits your penis size is also great if you want to practice with it, which we always encourage people to do in workshops.

A standard condom has a diameter of 52mm in comparison with the Hotshot’s 45mm. Both are the same length – 190mm.

According to a study of 13 to 20-year-olds, a quarter said that a standard condom was too large.

Hilary Pannack, of teenage pregnancy charity Straight Talking Peer Education, said: ‘We know young people are having sex and if this is what it takes to protect them, we need to go along with it.’

Condoms in ‘extra small’ for boys age 12 set for Britain’s shelves soon @ Mail Online

SEX TOYS (Part II: Toys with Partners, Unique Toys & Health Concerns)

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While some people might associate sex toys primarily with masturbation, rest assured that using them with partners can be just as awesome. Check out these videos for more info:

Using Toys with Partners:

Unique Sex Toys and Health Concerns:

Woman-friendly Canadian Sex Stores:

JoyToyz

Venus Envy

Come As You Are

Good For Her

The chilling effect of “security” in schools

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Great article on the chilling effect of “security” in U.S. schools. It gives a good idea of what happens when adults start viewing youth as potential criminals rather than full members of the community. Thankfully, we haven’t gone too over-the-top with that here in Quebec so far, but we need to stay vigilant to make sure it never becomes like this.

I remember the day they installed the cameras in my high school. Everyone was surprised when we walked and saw them hanging ominously from the ceiling.

Everyone except me: I moved to rural Virginia from the wealthier and more heavily populated region of northern Virginia. Cameras have watched me since middle school. So I wasn’t surprised, just disappointed. “What have we done?” asked one of my friends. It felt like the faculty was punishing us for something. A common justification for cameras is that they make students safer, and make them feel more secure. I can tell you from first hand experience that that argument is bullshit. Columbine had cameras, but they didn’t make the 15 people who died there any safer. Cameras don’t make you feel more secure; they make you feel twitchy and paranoid. Some people say that the only people who don’t like school cameras are the people that have something to hide. But having the cameras is a constant reminder that the school does not trust you and that the school is worried your fellow classmates might go on some sort of killing rampage.

Seen Not Heard @ boingboing.net

Porn being more widely available is correlated with lower sex crime rates

on

A review of the existing scientific literature on the impact of porn on society comes to the conclusion that sex crimes tend to be lower in areas where pornography becomes more widely available. Just remember not to base your ideas of how big most penises really are on it. :P

Despite the widespread and increasing availability of sexually explicit materials, according to national FBI Department of Justice statistics, the incidence of rape declined markedly from 1975 to 1995. This was particularly seen in the age categories 20–24 and 25–34, the people most likely to use the Internet. The best known of these national studies are those of Berl Kutchinsky, who studied Denmark, Sweden, West Germany, and the United States in the 1970s and 1980s. He showed that for the years from approximately 1964 to 1984, as the amount of pornography increasingly became available, the rate of rapes in these countries either decreased or remained relatively level. Later research has shown parallel findings in every other country examined, including Japan, Croatia, China, Poland, Finland, and the Czech Republic. In the United States there has been a consistent decline in rape over the last 2 decades, and in those countries that allowed for the possession of child pornography, child sex abuse has declined. Significantly, no community in the United States has ever voted to ban adult access to sexually explicit material. The only feature of a community standard that holds is an intolerance for materials in which minors are involved as participants or consumers.

Porn: Good for us? @ TheScientist.com

SEX TOYS (Part I: Vibrators, Dildos, Lube & Toys for Boys!!!)

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Sex toys are a lot of fun! They can be made of glass, plastic, rubber or silicone and are designed to bring people to orgasm, or enhance people’s experience of their bodies during sex. Some vibrate, some go inside the body, and some strap to your body (like strap-on dildos), etc.

Wanna know more? Check out these fun videos:

Vibrators!!!

Dildos & Lube!!!

Toys for Boys!!!

Les questions les plus souvent posées, première partie

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Dans les ateliers du projet Sens à l’école, il y a certaines questions qui reviennent plus fréquemment que d’autres. Nous avons décidé d’en publier quelques unes. Pour commencer, une série de question dans le même ordre d’idées:

  • Est-ce que le sexe, c’est bien?
  • Est-ce que le sexe, c’est mal?
  • Est-ce que le sexe, c’est dangereux?
  • Est-ce que le sexe, c’est mauvais pour la santé?

Pour répondre à cette question, j’aime toujours faire une analogie: est-ce que le vélo, c’est mal? Est-ce que c’est dangereux? La plupart des gens adorent faire du vélo: ça leur permet de se rendre où ils veulent, ça les garde en forme, ça leur permet de se balader et c’est l’fun en général. Est-ce qu’on peut se péter la gueule? Absolument, en particulier si on est imprudent et qu’on ne respecte pas certaines règles de sécurité. On peut aussi foncer dans d’autres personnes et les blesser, ou provoquer un accident, ou à tout le moins en faire sacrer plusieurs. Cependant, ça n’empêche généralement pas des gens de faire du vélo et pour la plupart des gens (et ceux qui les entourent), tout se passe très bien. Ceci étant dit, certaines personnes n’ont aucun intérêt pour le vélo ou détestent même ça et c’est correct aussi – chacun ses goûts.

Est-ce que vous voyez où je veux en venir? Le sexe en soit, c’est très bien. C’est en général très plaisant, ça permet à des personnes de se rapprocher, c’est même bon pour la santé si c’est fait de façon sûre (Iboya vient d’ailleurs de publier un truc là-dessus) et c’est quelque chose de naturel que la plupart des gens vont faire plusieurs fois dans leur vie sans problème et avec beaucoup de plaisir. Est-ce que c’est toujours plaisant? Malheureusement, non. Il y a des expériences qu’on regrette parfois, certaines qui font mal, certain-es partenaires qui peuvent ne pas nous respecter et agir de façon blessante, certain-es qui peuvent même être abusifs. Parfois, le sexe, c’est tout simplement plate. Parfois, on contracte une ITS, une infection transmissible sexuellement; souvent ça se traite facilement si c’est dépisté tôt, d’autres fois c’est une problème incurable qui reste pour la vie ou qui peut même être mortel (comme le sida). Si c’est des relations hétérosexuelles, il peut y avoir une grossesse non-planifiée, ce qui peut être difficile à vivre. Néanmoins, si on reste bien informé, si on fait attention à bien utiliser des moyens de contraception, à toujours garder des condoms sur soi et à les utiliser à chaque relation sexuelle, si on apprend à bien communiquer avec nos partenaires et à se protéger des relations abusives, on peut rester à l’abri de ces choses. Parfois, malgré toutes nos précautions, une malchance arrive. Mais en général, pour la plupart des gens, la sexualité se passe très bien et leur apporte beaucoup de belles choses.

Cependant, ce n’est pas tout le monde qui est intéressé par la sexualité. Certaines personnes ne se sentent pas prêtes à vivre ça. D’autres ont eu des expériences difficiles ou on connu de l’abus; dans ce cas, c’est important d’aller cherche de l’aide. Certaines autres personnes sont asexuelles et ne se sentiront jamais attiré sexuellement par qui que ce soit. Toutes ces choses sont correctes, mais parfois on peut avoir l’impression de se sentir bien à part si tout le monde autour de nous parle de sexe tout le temps. L’essentiel, c’est de se souvenir que chaque personne grandit à son propre rythme et qu’il n’y a aucun mal à vouloir attendre de rencontrer quelqu’un avec qui on se sent super bien avant de vouloir vivre nos premières expériences sexuelles. En fait, c’est souvent ce qu’il y a de mieux à faire, même si ce n’est pas toujours facile. Mais néanmoins, même si on fait des erreurs de parcours, il faut se souvenir que chaque personne à droit à ses erreurs et que chacune de ces expériences nous font grandir.

Différentes personnes ont différentes valeurs par rapport à la sexualité et on ne vient pas toujours d’un milieu où la sexualité est bien acceptée. Ça peut être particulièrement difficile si les choses qu’on a envie de faire sont mal comprises ou jugées par les gens autour de nous. Cependant, la sexualité est une partie importante de la plupart des êtres humains et il faut la situer parmi nos différents besoins. Tant qu’on fait les choses dont on a réellement envie, avec le consentement et dans le respect des personnes concernées, en ayant la tête bien sur les épaules et en étant bien informé-e, la sexualité reste une belle chose par laquelle on peut s’épanouir.