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When To “Lose It”: Let’s Talk About Virginity

Whew.  It’s been quite a month, hasn’t it?  As much as I enjoy this season, I’m feeling relieved that the holidays are almost over.

I got this wonderful question in my Survey Monkey, and it’s an important one.

I read your blog about vaginal discharge and stuff. it helped me too cus I was having the same problem. here is my question: everyone was talking in school about whether they are virgins or not. they asked me and I just skipped the question. I am a virgin. should I lose my virginity just so people wont make fun of me for it. I think I am ready, but I don’t know if I should

I’m glad you enjoyed my previous post, my dear!  I love hearing that I’ve helped someone.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret that people generally don’t find out about until much later in life: Virginity, meaning whether or not someone has had sexual intercourse, doesn’t matter at all.  Really.  No one is going to think differently of you when you’re an adult if you’ve never had sex.  They aren’t going to think of you differently if you have had sex.  It flat out doesn’t matter when you’re an adult.  I can think of two people that I am friends with (one male, one female) who have never had sex.  Both of them are in their mid-twenties.  No big deal.  Now, I know that doesn’t help you out right now, but it is something to think about.

The answer to your question is no, you should not lose your virginity just so people don’t make fun of you for it.  You should only have sex when you actually want to do it.  That previous sentence will be true for the rest of your life, not just about your first time, so let me say it again: You should only have sex when you actually want to have sex.  If you feel pressure to have sex because you think your friends are all doing it, and that sounds like the case here, then you should wait.  If your friends make fun of you for the fact that you haven’t had sex yet, then they aren’t very good friends.  It’s okay to say that you aren’t interested in having sex, or that you want to be in a good relationship first, or even just that you don’t think you’re ready yet.  All of those are valid reasons for waiting.

I know that in middle school or high school, it can seem like everyone else is “doing it”, but that isn’t actually the case.  Some people have, some people are lying because they want to look cool or they think that other people will judge them for not having sex yet.   In a study that was done a few years ago, they found that the average age that someone has sex for the first time (male or female) is 17.

There’s another thing to consider.  You said that your friends were making fun of you for not having sex yet.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t generally go away even if you do have sex.  You’re at an age where everyone gossips about everyone else.  People will probably talk about you and your sex life (or no sex life), if you and/or your partner are talking to other people about it, no matter what you do.  Teenagers and adolescents can be mean.  Try to not let the opinions of other people, even your friends, make you decide to do something if you aren’t comfortable with it.

If you and your partner want to have sex, then go for it.  Have fun, and be sure to use barrier contraception.  You can go to that link to find my blog post about barrier methods for heterosexual (male and female) couples and learn about condoms.  You should always use a condom, especially for your first time.  You can go to this link to learn about how to have safer sex with another female (and these safer sex practices also apply to heterosexual sex too!  Especially using a dental dam!).  You should make sure that your partner respects you, likes you (maybe even loves you), and isn’t pressuring you to have sex before you’re ready.

Sex of any kind will pretty much always be awkward the first time.  And yes, I mean every kind of sex.  Oral sex (giving a blowjob, more properly called fellatio; or “going down” on a girl, more properly called cunnilingus) is still sex, giving someone a “handjob” or “fingering” is still sex, and anal sex is still sex too.  It is so important to know that it’ll be weird: your bodies will make strange noises, there are new smells, putting on a condom is generally awkward (please stock up, and read the instructions!), and if you still have your hymen then it might be a little painful too.  Having a partner who you care about and who cares about you will make it more fun than awkward.

I’m not saying this to scare you, or to try and make you not want to have sex, but to give you as much information as I possibly can in a short blog post.  Get some books and read about sex.  I can recommend S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-To-Know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You Through High School and College.  It is a great book with a LOT of information (and if you buy it through that link, then you help me make some money!).  If you feel comfortable, talking to the school nurse might help too.

I can’t tell you when to have sex.  Only you know when you’re ready.  But I can tell you that you shouldn’t do it if you are looking to avoid being teased, or to make your friends happy, or even to make your partner happy.  You should only have sex when you want to do it.  I really hope this post has helped you.

Do you have a question about sex or relationships?  You can go here to ask me anything, completely anonymously!

Vaginas Are Magic!

Wow, I completely dropped off of the face of the earth for awhile there, didn’t I? I could sit here at my computer and start making excuses, but we would all know that they’re excuses. My life has taken some crazy twists and turns, but I hope you all know how much I appreciate that you read the words I throw out into this gigantic void we call the internet. I’m sorry I’ve been gone so long. I hope we’re still friends.

I logged into my SurveyMonkey, and found a few really awesome questions that had been languishing there, and one that made me raise my eyebrows a little.

To the young man who sent me the same question in at least three different forums (YouTube comment, Google+ post, and through the SurveyMonkey) about his penis size: if your penis is actually the dimensions you are stating, you might have a real shot at candidacy for the Guinness Book of World Records. You would certainly have a lucrative career as a star in pornographic films, if you chose to pursue that as an option.  Quite frankly, I think you were exaggerating and you decided to send me a fantasy of yours. I can assure you, there are almost certainly other people on the internet who would love to read about it. If you enjoy writing fantasy of this nature, you may want to look for erotic literature sites that allow users to upload their own stories. I have a particular fondness for Literotica, myself.

Now on to the real questions!

Hi Suzanne! I am a 15 year old girl and my older sister recommended your blog since I am starting to get curious about my body and the changes I have already started going through. I usually have vaginal discharge throughout the month (I have a regular menstrual cycle and started getting my period at 13) and am not sure if I should be worried about it or not. Is discharge normal? p.s. I usually get discharge more often about a week or two before my period. The odor is also more potent during that time. The odor is kinda salty I guess? Not sure how to explain it. Thanks!

Hello my dear!

Let me start off by reassuring you that vaginal discharge is totally normal, and nothing to be worried about. In fact, when you start learning the reasons behind vaginal discharge, you might think it is actually pretty cool. I know I do, but it’s my job to think these things are really cool.

Female Reproductive System

 

Take a look at that image above.  Vaginal discharge is actually a mucus that is secreted by glands in the cervix.  Normal colors of this mucus are clear, white, and off-white.  It has several different functions, but it is primarily there to make sure that your vagina stays clean.  The discharge cleans out the dead bacteria, and keeps the vaginal canal moist and comfortable.  If you were to do a pH test, you’d find that the vaginal discharge is mildly acidic.  This helps prevent infections, and also helps keep the normally occurring bacteria at healthy levels.  The acidity also means that the mucus may discolor your underwear, especially black underwear.  I didn’t know that this was totally normal for the longest time, and I actually started wondering if there was something wrong with my vaginal discharge.

You’ve already noticed that there is a difference in your vaginal discharge throughout your menstrual cycle, and again, that is totally normal!  The mucus changes in consistency when a woman is ovulating, because the cervix is making sure that the vagina is as clean and healthy as possible when an egg is released.  As soon as you hit puberty and start menstruating (yes, even at 13!), your reproductive system works together to try and make sure that you always have the best of conditions to get pregnant if sperm is introduced into the vagina during this time.  I have always thought it was really interesting and, again, super cool, that our reproductive systems actually clean themselves.

There are a few things you can do to help make sure that your vagina stays healthy.  Wearing cotton underwear as your everyday underwear is probably the most helpful.  The fabric allows air to flow freely, and helps prevent a buildup of sweat and keep harmful bacteria from being introduced to your vagina.  There is evidence that eating yogurt with active cultures also helps keep the bacteria in your vaginal canal healthy and in balance.  Some women, especially those of older generations, will douche after their menstrual cycle.  Douching is forcing water and a cleanser into your vagina, and it is really really unhealthy.  Please don’t ever do this!  It can kill those naturally occurring bacteria, and will make you more susceptible to an infection.

If you feel self-conscious of the vaginal discharge, you might find that wearing a pantyliner on a regular basis will help you to feel more confident, but you should avoid the ones that are scented.  This goes for everything that goes anywhere near your vagina!  Using pantyliners, pads, or tampons that are perfumed can actually irritate the sensitive skin on your labia. You said you have noticed a difference in the smell of your vaginal discharge depending on the time of your menstrual cycle.  I promise, no one else has any idea that the smell is different.

If you find that your vaginal discharge changes in color or smell in a way that is unfamiliar, especially if you are sexually active, you should make an appointment to go see your doctor or gynecologist.  This can indicate an infection, and it should be treated as soon as possible.  Not treating an infection for an extended period of time can actually lead to serious complications, including making it impossible for you to ever get pregnant or have a baby.  I know you’re probably not thinking about getting pregnant right now, but making sure that things are always healthy will help you in the future!

Lastly, thank you so much for your question.  I hope my answer helped!

Do you have a question for me?  You can go here to ask me anything about sex and relationships, completely anonymously!

Dear Jezebel, Your New Sex Advice Column is Crap

Jezebel introduced a new columnist yesterday.  Karley Sciortino, aka “slutever” has published her first column, and honestly, I can’t tell if this is satire or not (if it is, it is poorly done), so I’m going to go ahead and write my own answers to the questions posted.

I’m a 26-year-old European exchange student currently studying in the US for five months. I have a (relatively new) boyfriend back home who I’m totally into, and before I left we agreed to be monogamous. But now I have a dilemma: I love Chatroulette, and I usually skip over the random masturbating men, but recently I’ve been fantasizing about not skipping over the dicks and engaging in some hot, anonymous Chatroulette-cybersex. Would that be cheating? I want to think not, but I also realize it’s different than porn — it’s an actual sexual interaction with another human being. My boyfriend and I Skype sometimes, but it hasn’t turned into Skype-sex. And besides, the fantasy is more about the anonymity of it. So: cheating or not-cheating?

–G

While my personal inclination leans towards “not cheating”, your long-distance boyfriend may have a different opinion.  Tell him about your fantasy, G.  Who knows, he might also find the idea hot, and he might try to be the person that you have hot, anonymous Chatroulette-cybersex with!  A supportive partner should try to help you fulfill your fantasies, especially when you are trying to make a long-distance relationship work.

I would caution you to make sure that your face and any other identifying characteristics are hidden from view if you do engage in anonymous cybersex.  Protect yourself, just as you would if you were engaging in real-world sexual activity.  Like some STIs, images on the internet are forever, and can come back to haunt you at the most inopportune times.

Ever since I started having sex I’ve always shaved my vagina without even thinking about it. It may look a bit nicer, but it’s a pain in the ass having to plan ahead and make sure you’re pristinely smooth every time there’s the possibility of sex. I don’t know if I’d like it grown out, but I think I want to try it. But I’m terrified the guy I’m sleeping with will freak out! It’s my body so I can do whatever with it, but should I tell/ask him about it before the experiment begins? Where do you stand on the ‘to shave or not to shave’ debate?

-Reba

Hopefully your partner likes you for more than your pubic hair grooming habits, Reba.  Any guy who actually freaks out at the sight of the perfectly natural hair between your legs has probably not had much experience with women, and may have some maturity issues.  It’s your hair, and while your partner may offer input about his preference, it is ultimately your decision.  Pretty much every partner I’ve had has expressed the opinion that they are fine with pubic hair, but they would like it if I keep the area trimmed.  I bought a $10 trimmer from my local big chain drugstore, and have used that ever since.

Dear Slutever, I am a 26-year-old boy, and though I’m not a virgin, I am terribly inexperienced. I’ve recently started seeing a girl (yay!), however I’ve been having a little ejaculation problem. The problem isn’t that I cum too quickly, but rather that I stay hard all night and can’t ejaculate! It’s no problem for me to get hard, and stay hard, but it just requires too much mentally and physically for me to reach the point of orgasm. Am I not emotionally connecting? Is my problem psychological? Should I find some way to ‘sensitize’ myself?

Yours,
M

I’m interested to find out your masturbation habits, M.  If you are the kind of person who masturbates frequently, you might want to hold off on that until you find that you are able to orgasm more easily.  You and your partner should also try doing more foreplay before penetrative sex.  Kissing, fondling, oral sex, and mutual masturbation are all ways that you can get your motor revving and ready to go before sex, and you may find that the increase in stimulation will make it easier to orgasm during sex.  Just make sure that she also reaches climax!

 

What do you think, readers?  How did I do in comparison to the writer on Jezebel?

Masturbation Class? Why Not?

I found this article via Jezebel, and I am intrigued!  Apparently, the lovely and amazing Betty Dodson, founder of the sex-positive feminism movement, teaches masturbation classes for women in New York City.

Does anyone else remember the scene in Fried Green Tomatoes where Evelyn Couch and her friend Missy attend a class intended to “get the spark back in marriage”, and Evelyn practically runs out of the room when they are instructed to use mirrors to look at their own vaginas?  I laughed at that when I was younger, but now I find it so sad.

Get out those mirrors, girls, and take a look.  Get acquainted.  I declare your vagina to be beautiful.

With so much cultural mystery surrounding the “elusive” female orgasm, I think classes like this are a fantastic idea.  I mean, honestly, researchers just rediscovered how complex of an organ the clitoris is, and how, like a TARDIS, it is bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside. (Thanks to Doctor Xtreme for that line, and the awesome portmanteau, CliTARDIS.)

Can you imagine a world where young women were encouraged to learn to appreciate their genitals and taught how to achieve orgasm?  How about classes where partners were encouraged to explore your genitals and taught how to help you achieve satisfying orgasms?  I want to live in that world.

Would you attend this kind of class?  I will definitely be looking into Betty’s classes the next time I am in NYC!

Ack! I’m Sick!

Hey everyone, I apologize for not updating at all in the past few days.  I caught some sort of stomach bug from Fiance’s little sister, and have been feverish and nauseated for several days now.

I am so glad that Fiance made me get out of bed early on Saturday morning so that I could attend the SF Slutwalk.  You see, I’ve been feeling some pretty serious internet burnout for a few weeks now, and it seemed like every time I found something to write about, it was an issue that made me angry.  It is exhausting to be angry for hours every day.  I had reached a point where I dreaded sitting down with my laptop, because I knew that by the end of my posts, I would be emotionally exhausted.

SF Slutwalk rejuvenated me.  It made me realize that I needed to get back to doing more sex-positive stuff in general, not just finding something to be angry about.  Hopefully in the next few days, I will have the energy to go through the 350 pictures I took at Slutwalk (thank you, to those of you who let me take your picture!), and post a write up.  For now, I would like to say thank you to the organizers and attendees for giving me some much-needed encouragement.

I’d also like to say thank you to Fiance, for helping me create a schedule and to find topics that still fall under sex-positivity, but won’t leave me feeling disgusted with the world.

I’d also like to thank you, dear readers.  I’ll still be posting on feminist issues here, but I’m going to re-focus on sex-positive information, including reviews on toys, books, and yes, even some pornography.  Thanks for sticking with me.  I hope you’ll enjoy the new content.

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