Posts Tagged ‘Sex’

Diaphragms are back, and better than ever!

Health services coordinator Jos shows the Caya diaphragm and spermicide!

Jos with Caya and contragel

As part two in our series about barrier contraceptives (see our March post about the Femcap), we’re excited to announce that Head & Hands is now distributing the CAYA diaphragm! The CAYA diaphragm has recently been approved for sale in Canada, so if you`re looking for hormone-free and user controlled birth control, check it out! When used in conjunction with contragel (aka Cayagel), the CAYA diaphragm works as a mechanical barrier to block sperm from entering the cervix during vaginal intercourse. As with any barrier device, its effectiveness depends on how dedicated you are to using it properly. When used correctly, the CAYA diaphragm is as effective at preventing pregnancies as condoms. Unlike older diaphragm models, you don’t need to be fitted by a doctor because one size fits most users. It’s also made out of durable silicone and can be used for two years.

Caya Diaphragm!

Caya Diaphragm!

Interested? You can purchase a CAYA diaphragm (sold at cost) from Head & Hands for $70. Tubes of contragel are available as well for 20$. Check out the CAYA website for more info and insertion videos. To purchase a diaphragm from us or for more info, contact our Health Services Coordinator, Mylène, at (514) 481-0277 or You can also just swing by our office at 5833 Sherbrooke West! PLEASE note we do not ship the CAYA or gel.  Don’t worry though, you can order the CAYA online via Anarres Health (they are also the Canadian distributor for the Femcap)!

Ask Anything: Seal


How to break seal of a girl??

This is a question that we often get in classroom workshops, and it’s great that we got this as a web question because there are a lot of myths circulating about this topic.

I’m assuming that by “seal,” you’re referring to the hymen, which is a membrane surrounding the vaginal opening. This membrane tends to wear out as one gets older, through day-to-day activities like walking, playing sports, horseback riding, or masturbation, all of which can reduce the size or consistency of the hymen. To make sure that you have a good visual, in a vast majority of cases, hymens are not like a glass window that has to be broken, but more like a donut or a large spider web.

So, by the time somebody with a vagina decides to have (vaginal) penetrative sex for the first time there are often already openings in their hymen. We often attribute the bleeding during first vaginal penetration to the “breakage” of the hymen, and that’s often what we mean when we say someone has “lost their virginity”. However, the hymen is not the seal of virginity. More often than not, the cause of bleeding during the first penetration(s) is less the hymen itself and more other factors like stress and/or not knowing yet what works for your body. This combination will probably make your body tense and your vagina less lubricated, which can make penetration harder or more painful, and could cause some bleeding. Some ways to counter this would be by letting yourself take your time and figure out what feels right for you, communicating openly with your partner(s) about the process, and having plenty of lube on hand to use…and even after your first few times, lube can be one of your best partners whenever you’re having sex. You can always get safer sex supplies, including lube, for free at Head & Hands!

Ask Anything: When to get tested?


Do you have to get tested after every time you have sex? If not, how often?

I wouldn’t recommend getting tested after every time you have sex. First off, for some people or at certain times in a person’s life, this would mean getting tested many times a week…which could be time consuming! Secondly, and most importantly, there is a technical aspect related to getting accurate test results.

A lot of STIs have what’s called a “window period”. This relates to the amount of time between the transmission of the STI (when someone is infected) and when a medical test would be able to detect the STI. To state it simply, the window period is the time where an STI is alive in your body, is totally contagious, but is still undetectable by a test.  For example, Chlamydia’s window period is 3 to 10 days, but HIV’s window period is 3 to 6 months. This means that if you’ve had sex and are worried about having contracted HIV, you have to wait 3 to 6 months to get accurate test results (in most cases, the test will be accurate after 3 months but to be sure, it’s important to get tested after 6 months as well).

So in general, when you are sexually active, you should get tested for STIs every 6 months even if you use protection – that way, you cover all the window periods of the different tests. People sometimes choose to get tested every year, or even less often, if they have one partner and they’ve agreed on a monogamous relationship.

You can also download are bilingual STIgma Zine to get more information on different STIs, safer sex and communication with partners about these things!

ask anything: orgasms, pleasure and more ‘first times’


A couple of questions related to sex and pleasure, answered by our resident sexology stagiaire, Gabrielle!

Q: How many orgasms can you have in a day?

There aren’t any real limits to how many orgasms you can experience in a day.


Different people have different “recovery periods” between orgasms – basically, the time it takes for blood to flow back to those areas that it just rushed out of. Usually female-bodied people are more disposed to get more orgasms or multiple orgasms than male-bodied people. That distinction comes from the fact that male-bodied people have a recovery period that’s longer and different than for female-bodied people – it’s the period after an ejaculation where you can’t get another erection. Female-bodied people also have that recovery period after an orgasm, but it can be shorter or non-existent in some cases. Other factors like stress, mental and physical health, confidence or trust between partners, drug or alcohol use, your age, etc… can have an impact on your capacity to have an orgasm, and by default, many orgasms. Sometimes, focusing on the number of orgasms you are having or trying to achieve orgasm can prevent you from actually “getting there”, because your mind and body are too preoccupied! Just keep in mind that having an orgasm is not the ultimate goal of sexual activity, so the number of orgasms that you have doesn’t qualify the quality of your sexual activity.

Q: My first time with my girl friend, I didn’t last very long, and I think she was disappointed. What can I do?

We say this all the time, but the basic thing in any relationship is communication. If you want to be sure that you’re on the same page as your partner and you really want to know what they’re thinking, you should start a conversation with them. We can stress for a long time about what the other person is thinking, when there might be nothing going on. If you feel like your girlfriend might believe that you didn’t last very long, it might be a good idea to address it with her, instead of letting these feelings grow in the background of your relationship.

I also think that the notion of lasting very long is pretty subjective: how long a person can and should keep an erection is different from one person to another. Usually, our expectations are very high, because we think that sex should be a certain perfect way. (more…)

ask anything: intersex


Thanks to Gabrielle, our Sexology stagiaire, for answering the latest question on our blog!


Intersex refers to a person who’s born with sex chromosomes, external genitalia, or a reproductive system that’s not considered “standard” for either male or female. (Intersex Society of North America)

Here are some examples to represent this concept. A person could be born with a vulva and a vagina but no uterus and ovaries (internal reproductive system), or with a penis and a vagina, or a very large clitoris that resembles a penis. A lot of people are curious about what the range of intersex genitals could look like, but these questions can be quite invasive for intersex people (for any person, really!). This blog has some great diagrams and explanations that avoid using photos of people’s bodies (these are often taken without the person’s consent).

These variations in sexual organs doesn’t mean a person is unhealthy, and in most cases won’t cause them any physical health problems. The big issue in the reality of an intersex person is often the ambiguity and the stigma. Ambiguity by itself is totally fine, but our society doesn’t respond very well to things that don’t fit easily into boxes. In most cases, doctors perform surgery on intersex babies in order to “correct” the situation and to make their genitals fit in the “normal” male/female binary. This sends the message that to be intersex is a problem, when in reality it’s not!

Being informed as parents of an intersex kid or as an intersex person is really important, since there are many myths out there that can have a big impact on a person’s sexual development and identity. Check out the Intersex Society of North America, or these videos produced by 20/20, for more information:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Wanna be a Sense Project animator?


Are you interested in facilitating sex ed workshops with youth? Do you want to contribute to the Sense Project at Head & Hands? We are currently seeking new volunteer animators for the 2011-12 school year!

Some need-to-know info about applying to be a Sense Project animator:

  • New animators must be aged 25 and under
  • We’re looking for people who can commit to being an animator for the entire school year (Sept-early Dec, Jan-May)
  • Animators should have at least some availability on weekdays during the day. Last year’s animators volunteered an average of 70 hours each throughout the school year, but how much you end up volunteering depends on your schedule and your availability.
  • Bilingualism is not mandatory, but it’s an asset if you are comfortable animating in French. The working language of the training is English.
  • It is also an asset if you have previous animation experience or experience working with youth, but it’s not a requirement.
  • It is mandatory to attend the full animator training (see dates below).

Animator training dates:

Tuesday Sept. 6th 6-9pm

Thursday Sept. 8th 6-9pm

Saturday Sept. 10th 11-4pm

Tuesday Sept. 13th 6-9pm

Thursday Sept. 15th 6-9pm

Saturday Sept. 17th 11-4pm

Tuesday Sept. 20th 6-9pm

Thursday Sept. 22nd 6-9pm

Saturday Sept. 24th 11-4pm

If you meet these criteria, download the volunteer application form send it to Nikki at by Wednesday, August 10th. We’ll then book a short screening interview with selected volunteers. If you have any questions, feel free to call Nikki at (514) 481-0277!

Sense animator Emily learned all about IUDs at last year's training!

Sense animator Emily learned all about IUDs at last year's training!

Ask anything: sex and pleasure


Sydney, Sense animator extraordinaire, makes another guest appearance to answer your anonymous questions! Thanks, Sydney!

Q: How do I give more enjoyment to my husband?

First off, I want to say that your enjoyment is just as important to this equation as your husband’s. Everyone has a sex drive and everyone has the right to experience pleasure. Sex is best when both people are into it!

Secondly, I must say that there’s no one (or even two or three) answer(s) to this. My main suggestion would be to communicate! Spend some time thinking about what sex acts turn you on and what you’re comfortable doing. Brainstorm a few ideas about what might be enjoyable for you and your husband. Think about your fantasies and what you want out of sex. Then sit down with your husband over coffee or a glass of wine or a meal or whatever. Tell him your fantasies. Ask him what his are. Discuss ways to make them a reality. If things get awkward or uncomfortable, maybe take a break. Be prepared to give him some time to do some thinking as well and then set a time in the near future that works for both of you to come back and talk about things.

As far as detailed suggestions about different things you can try and how to go about doing them, there are way too many options to discuss here. Internet research can be helpful, but remember to take everything you read there with a grain of salt. There’s a great – and quite detailed! – article over on Scarleteen that describes the anatomy of pleasure and which of our body parts can make us feel really good! There are also a lot of great books out there that you can find at many bookstores or even the library sometimes. My favorite is The Good Vibrations Guide to Sex. It talks about a wide range of topics related to sex, offers tips on how to make each sex act more enjoyable for both people, and is a super easy and fun read. There’s something in it for everyone, regardless of gender, sexuality, and sexual preferences.

Keep in mind that the idea of what “good sex” is is different for everyone. Also, you and/or your husband may be into one thing one night and a totally different thing the next. Communication is an ongoing process. Keep talking with each other in different ways and different times. Some of the best discussions happen when you’re not in bed, but offering suggestions and checking in with the other person are also important before, during, and after sex. As a general rule, the more you talk about it, the more comfortable you will be and the better the sex will be.

we got some new condoms at head & hands!


What’s up, everyone? We just got some new condoms over here, of the “moulant” a.k.a “true fit” variety.  We were pretty excited about this shipment because we often wish that condoms were made in more shapes and sizes… so we had a little photo shoot to introduce our new friends in the bright green packaging!

Testin' them out on some woodies!

Testin' them out on some woodies!

“Moulant” translates more literally into “skin-tight”, so these condoms are basically narrower in the shaft area, taper in slightly, and then are roomier in the head/tip area. Lengthwise, they are the same as the “Regular” condoms we have here at H&H. Condom fit is super important for comfort, pleasure and safety, and Scarleteen agrees that the roomier fit around the head of the penis can increase pleasure and stimulation.

More pics if you click! (more…)

Wanna talk about SEX?


If you like talking about sex or if you have any thoughts or questions about it, come to Head & Hand’s new monthly drop-in sessions!  These are informal hang-outs for youth 12-18 to come to Head & Hands and meet other youth who want to talk about sex and sexuality, or who want to become peer sex educators in their own schools and communities. There will be workshops, discussions, activities and games, possibly movies, always free food and not mention condoms and lube!!!  This is also a great way to get involved in the Sense Project or take action in your school or community! 

The first drop-in is on Wednesday, October 27th from 4-6pm at Head & Hands (5833 Sherbrooke West). If you want to come or want more info, visit

Casual sex survey!


This is pretty neat, for those of you who like to talk about sex!

Heather Corinna, who founded the awesome teen sexuality website Scarleteen, designed this casual sex survey to find out how, why, and where people hook up, with no strings attached.

Casual sex can mean lots of things to lots of people, whether it’s one-night-stands or friends with benefits.  Some people like having casual sex where there are no expectations of a relationship attached, while others prefer sex with a partner they know well. And many people experience a mix in their lifetime!

(Either way, of course, practicing safer sex with condoms and lube helps prevent the spread of STIs and unintended pregnancies.)

The survey‘s pretty long, but never boring. Check it out if you desire!

Note: To participate in this online study, you should be over the age of 16, and have had some kind of sexual partnership before, even if none has been casual.