Traveling folk—has wanderlust ever affected your love life?
Eat dessert first. Go out in a new neighborhood. Have sex in the kitchen. The point is to do the opposite of what you usually do and shake things up.
Comprehensive Safer Sex 2: Reduce your risk!
As part of STD Awareness Month, Jenelle Marie of The STD Project is contributing a three-part series to our tumblr (along with an article for Bedsider.org) sharing her experiences with STIs and her suggestions for how to have the safest sex possible. This is the second post of the series.
Talk to your partner before getting down to your skivvies. Photo by The US National Archives.
While you can’t eliminate all risk when getting intimate with a partner, a comprehensive approach that includes prevention and communication can greatly reduce your likelihood of contracting an infection as I have. Taking these 4 comprehensive safer-sex steps not only reduces your risk but exudes responsibility, ownership, and empowerment.
1. Talk to your partner about safer sex before anything happens.These conversations should include questions like:
- Have either of us—or any of our partners—ever had an STI? When? Did we get treated? Did it come back and/or were we re-tested after treatment?
- Have we been tested—if so, when, for which STIs, and have we had partners since?
- How many sexual partners have we had in the last six months—what did we do to make sex safer? Have we been tested since?
- What do we usually do to make sex safer and what do we plan to do when we engage in sexual activities with one another?
2. Have full STI screenings and sexual health exams at least once a year and more often if you have new or multiple partners.
- Before engaging in sexual activities with someone new, get tested together. If either of you had other partners recently, get tested again in 3 months to eliminate false negatives and use barriers until testing is complete.
- Get tested before and after each new partner.
3. Use barriers consistently and correctly.
- When using a condom, place a drop or two of lube on the inside, and lots on the outside. LUBE is EVERYONE’s friend.
- Never use more than one condom at a time.
- When using a dam, place a drop or two of lube on the side facing the genitals.
- When switching entry points (anal to vaginal, vice-a-versa, etc.) use a new condom.
- Use condoms or barriers for oral sex as well as penetrative sex.
- Do not use flavored condoms for anal or vaginal sex.
- Only use water-based or silicon-based, sugar-free lube with condoms—no lotions, vaseline, oils, etc.
4. Consider making safer lifestyle choices to reduce risk.
- Reduce the number of multiple partners (one after another or more than one at a time).
- Limit/eliminate drugs and alcohol when engaging in sexual activities.
- Be mutually exclusive with your partner.
Check in on April 18th for the final post of this series, “Comprehensive Safer Sex 3: Take it to the next level.”
Jenelle Marie is the Founder & Executive Director of The STD Project—an award-winning independent website and progressive movement aimed at eradicating STD stigma by facilitating and encouraging awareness, education, and acceptance through story-telling and resource recommendations. You can also find The STD Project on Facebook and Twitter. Look for her E-Book, ‘The Relationship Survival Guide to Living with an STD’ available in 2013.
4 Steps I’m Taking to Avoid a “Catfish” Situation
As a person who spends most of my life either on my computer or on my phone, I have never hesitated to online date. Sure, I’ve had creeps make me feel gross after they sent an inappropriate sexual “compliment” in a message… but that’s also happened to me on the subway. Just like I take the good with the bad when dating in the real world, I’ve moved on quickly after negative experiences online. But one thing has made me pause a little while longer. It’s an MTV reality show, it’s a popular hashtag on twitter…It’s “catfish.”
The term “catfish” was made popular by a 2010 documentary, (by the same name), and it refers to any time a person lies about who they really are—from their name to where they live to what they look like—in order to forge or maintain a romantic connection (or just to maliciously deceive someone). And as I said in my latest vlog, From Manti Te’o to Catfish: Men & Online Dating, I now know too many of “catfish” horror stories to ignore how often it happens. Still, I have no intention of excluding the internet as a possible place to meet “him.”
Here’s what I’ll be doing to make sure I never meet a catfish:
1. Updating my online profile: As of right now my online dating profile is a great look at who I am, what I like to do for fun, and what I’m looking for in a guy—but I will be adding what I’m NOT looking for too. I was recently telling a guy friend how it’s a huge turn-off when men bring up sex right away, and he asked me if those exact words were in my profile. They weren’t! The conversation made me realize an online profile is basically a living document—meant to change as you have experiences that change you. Also going in: “Loved the movie Catfish, but never want that to happen to me.”
2. Going beyond the profile picture: Too often we are distracted by how FINE someone looks in their profile pictures (pleading the fifth on whether this has ever happened to me), but when you see someone you want to meet, it is so important to read his or her entire profile. Not only does this force you to think about whether this is a person you’d want in your life, but if you like what you read, you can use it for conversation fodder when you’re messaging. Bring up the fact that he said he loves soccer, or that she said she enjoys cooking. Ask follow up questions, and see if the story holds up.
3. Checking out my “friends of friends”: What better way to make sure someone is real than to ask your old classmate, co-worker, or best friend who knows him or her personally? To me this a no-brainer! Meeting someone who knows one of your Facebook friends means you have access to a co-signer (a.k.a. someone who can vouch for him or her).
4. Being honest about my needs: I have always believed in meeting up with online dates right away, as in-person chemistry is very important to me. But to be honest, now-a-days I’m suffering from a little dating-fatigue and I’m finding it less of a priority in my busy life. For the first time, I can see how getting to know someone just through messages in the beginning could be very fulfilling. Sometimes all you’re looking for is an ear… someone to talk to. But once I’m ready for romance, at the very least, it’ll be time for a skype date.
What are your tips for avoiding catfish? Have you ever been lied to online? Would love to know how you handled it!
Hugging is so underrated. Hugs help you become happy and relaxed almost instantly. Too often the people that we love become ordinary faces that we don’t spend enough time loving in basic human ways, like hugging.
Mangoes, Strawberries, Papaya, and Peaches.
They say: Some compounds in these fruits support and nourish our hormones, thereby improving sexual health. Also, these fruits can look very erotic and heighten your sensuality when eaten as part of foreplay.
We say: Spend a Sunday in bed together. Bust out a plate of fresh fruit. Use ripe, juicy pieces. If you need to cut the fruit, slice thick, long pieces. Then feed each other. Suggestively.
Cleopatra bathed in milk to keep her skin supple. Would you? What if we told you a chocolate milk bath could work wonders? Same with hydrating body scrubs. Use ones drenched in coconut oil with heaps of natural sugar to soften your whole body. Sweetbath Confections has some scented in Salted Caramel, Ginger Peach, Cake Batter, and Strawberry Shortcake. (Bonus: They’re on sale!)