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What Do You Know About Vasectomies?

22 Jun

While shooting the breeze at work yesterday, vasectomies naturally came up.  Okay, sex came up (of course), and then methods of birth control, AND THEN vasectomies.  Whatever.  Anyhow, it turns out that my coworkers and I have absolutely no idea what happens once that tube is tied (or cut or whatever). Being the researching hairpin that I am, I’ve compiled a set of tidbits about this procedure for your viewing pleasure.  As always, this shouldn’t replace extensive research and communication with a doctor for those of you considering this procedure.

What is a vasectomy?  Basically, it’s a procedure where the tube that carries sperm from the testicles to the penis is cut and sealed so that sperm can’t reach the ejaculate.  (Sorry for all the gross words in that sentence.  Tube? I mean really.)

Does anything come out when he comes if there’s no sperm?  Yup.  Only a small part of the semen is actually sperm to begin with.  The rest of that goo is actually produced by the seminal vesicle and the prostate gland.

Will my man-friend’s balls explode because the sperm can’t get out?  Nope. The testicles will actually just reabsorb the sperm they produce.

How soon can we start bangin’ without protection?  Depends on the dude, actually.  It takes a while for the sperm on the other side of the cut to make it’s way out.  Count on at least a couple of months and even then you need to have his cum tested to make sure it’s free of any baby-making juice before you throw out those condoms.

Is it reversible? For all intents and purposes, no.  There is an incredibly expensive surgery (you’re looking at around $10,000 out of pocket) to reverse the procedure, but even if it works there’s not a great chance of getting pregnant afterwards and it may only last for a couple of years.  The two ends of the cut tube VERY rarely grow back together of their own accord once they’ve been sealed.  What occasionally does happen early out is that a particularly athletic sperm will escape one end of the tube and make it’s way to the other, hence why it is important to get your partner’s semen tested for sperm after a couple of months.

Will he still want to bang me? I don’t know.  Infertility affects everyone differently, psychologically and emotionally.  I didn’t immediately come across anything that suggested a loss of sex drive would be imminent after the vasectomy.  It looks like you’ll have to wait at least a week or two before he’ll be ready to bone you, though.

What are the alternatives? Condoms! Okay, just kidding. There are actually a few alternative procedures out there, but from what I can glean they’re still in the clinical trial phase.  The Intra Vas Device (IVD) seems to be farthest along.  This procedure involves the insertion of a device that would block the flow of sperm, removing the necessity of cutting the tubes.  It could also make reversal more possible.  Check out this website for a great overview.  I included this AMAZING, reversible option in a previous post.  It’s also still in the clinical trial phase so I’m trying not to get too excited (but it’s awesome).

There are a lot of resources out there for dudes considering a vasectomy.  I found this one easy to navigate and understand, but a little googling can point you in your own direction.  Good luck with whichever contraceptive path you choose and always remember to watch out for those pesky STIs.

Something to add? Email me at


Contraception Babble

21 Jun

I’ve been whining about the lack of non-hormonal birth control methods since I turned 18 and my mom took me to my first annual pelvic exam.  Barf inducing cramps and a voracious libido made me a prime candidate for the pill, but my mom wisely didn’t allow me to fill that prescription.  I later found out how much higher my risk of stroke would be if I were taking high doses of estrogen (the pill increases everyone’s risk for stroke, but if you smoke or have migraines with aura, your risk doubles).

Five years later, I’m a proud diaphragm user.  It’s not particularly hip or hands-off, but if it was good enough for Carrie Bradshaw and Betty Dodson, it was good enough for me.  The biggest problem with the diaphragm is that it needs to be used in conjunction with spermicide.  Contrary to what was widely believed in the 80’s, this slimy, sperm killing gel DOES NOT protect against STDs.  In fact, the main ingredient of spermicide, nonoxynol-9, has been shown to cause sores and strip the vaginal lining, increasing the risk of contracting certain STDs. I’m still wading through a few studies about diaphragm use without spermicide, but I don’t have enough to share with you all yet.

So, what about the IUD?  Well, I don’t have one yet partly because I can be a chicken shit and it’s supposed to hurt, but also because the hormonal method (Mirena) is, well, a hormonal method, and the copper IUD (ParaGard) could potentially increase my already mind-numbing cramping during menstrual bleeding (I refer you to the “chicken shit” comment).  The IUD really hasn’t been popular in the U.S. since the infamous “Dalkon Shield”, a dangerously poor design that resulted in a number of fatalities back when the technology for this form of contraception was much  more primitive than it is today.  I, for one, am beginning to think we need to move on from all that and start looking at the IUD as a viable method again. This dense, but fabulous article agrees.

Oh yeah, I haven’t talked about hormonal methods.  I don’t really want to, so you should just go read In Our Control.  Okay, okay, in short the pill just isn’t as good for you as everyone wants to tell you, but it’s a lot more profitable to sell you a pack of pills every month than it is to explore alternative methods of contraception.  That may sound a tad bitter.  Oh well.

Now for the cool stuff.  CONTRACEPTION FOR BOYS! YEEEEES I’m serious.  No, I’m not talking about condoms.  Check. This. Out.  Okay so it’s not approved yet, but it’s an awesome idea.  For more on The Parsemus Foundation, go to their website and poke around.  They are truly fabulous.

And for those of us who like to kick it old school, a condom I will probably never be able to afford.

Everyone Knows What You Do With That Hitachi

11 Jun

Good Vibes Personal Massager Model VB-8

Aside from excessive amounts of lounging and reading, there’s nothing better than a little antique shopping when you’re on vacation.   And what better for a sex blogger to buy at an antique sale than a vibrator?  Oh, excuse me, did I say vibrator?  I meant personal massager, of course.

Okay, this vibrator is actually for my shoulders (only because I got it used and I don’t trust the electronics of it near my nether parts) but if you’ve been keeping up with She Bop’s blog, you’ll see that even the coveted Hitachi Magic Wand was once marketed as a personal massage device before it exploded in the porn industry. Actually, electric vibrators are still marketed as massage devices for the most part, but we’ll come to that in a bit.

Since we live in the modern day with artsy new toys and you probably wouldn’t go back to the fifties for the vibrators even if you had a choice, I found a few places where you can gander at some scary contraptions for your naughty bits.  Mike’s Antique Vibrator and Quack Medicine Museum consists of photos and descriptions of vibrators from one man’s collection.  He has some seriously funky stuff on there and it’s definitely worth a bit of browsing.

Then there’s the slightly more famous Good Vibrations Vibrator Museum.  Joani Blank, the founder of San Francisco’s revolutionary sex shop, started the collection of antique vibes which is now carried on by the company and displayed in their stores.  On the Good Vibrations website you can read about how “hysteria” in women was treated with vibrators and how vibrators were marketed as household beauty appliances and cure-all’s.  You can also learn about the place vibrators hold in our culture today.  And if you’re not completely freaked out by the idea of a vibrator after taking a gander at their galleries, they provide a handy link to their more contemporary vibes.

I think it’s amazing that we live in a culture that allows us to shop for vibrators as vibrators.

Wait a minute, I distinctly remember a sticker on my first vibrator that said “novelty” and I know Sharper Image still sells “personal massagers” that we all know are taken home and put immediately down someone’s pants.  Seriously, where else besides Cosmo (who published a cute article last month) and your favorite reviewer’s website have you seen a real ad for a vibe?  Maybe the vibrator isn’t a “cure-all” (though there are days when I would sincerely beg to differ) but it’s still a pretty darn good time.  And if you think you’re playing high and mighty by grabbing  a personal massager, you don’t have me fooled.

Seaweed Is All the Rage

6 Jun

If you’ve recently been lube shopping or just catching up on the latest and greatest in sexually transmitted ickiness (that’s what STI stands for, right?), you’ve probably come across some info about Carrageenan.  Extracted from red alge, this sexy sounding compound is popping up in personal lubricants all over the place.  So, how do you sell a lube that’s made out of algae to the masses?  Well, marketing it as a miracle drug seems to be working pretty well.

In recent studies, carrageenan has been shown to inhibit the transmission of HPV (a really scary virus).  I don’t speak Science, so I read this article to get a little perspective.

Normally, HPV attacks cells by attaching to proteins on their surface and then chemically manipulating access to the cells. Carrageenan thwarts this process by attaching to HPV and preventing its entry into cells.

Okay, so that’s AWESOME. And lubricant companies are in luck because most of them were already using carrageenan as a gelling agent in their products anyway.  Isn’t it a beautiful coincidence that something that was already present in a sexy lube is also helpful in inhibiting an un-sexy disease?

Let’s be realistic: carrageenan doesn’t replace the HPV vaccine.  On the other hand, that vaccine is very, VERY expensive.  For those of us who are too poor or unable to access proper gynecological attention, carrageenan could be a nice layer of added protection.  That said, there isn’t a lube out there that has gone through a clinical trial that could recommend it for an effective HPV inhibitor.

When carrageenan actually finds its place in the miracle drug market, there shall be much rejoicing.  BUT! That doesn’t mean we should stop wearing condoms and tell our partners to go ahead and skip that STI testing we wanted them to get done.  HPV is just one of the many monsters under the bed.

Enough of that.  The next lube on my “to buy” list is actually a carrageenan containing mixture from Sliquid Oranics.  I’ve read great things and it includes a bunch of seaweed extracts in the mix for an extra slick factor.  On the off chance that it’ll prevent me from getting HPV, I’ll take it…but I’m still going in for my annual.


Sex & Lotion

3 Jun

I am obsessed with ALL THINGS COCONUT.  Maybe it’s my imminent move to Honolulu, but I bought three variations of coconut body spray the other day (Hawaiian Coconut, Vanilla Coconut, and Pineapple Coconut).  Nobody needs that much coconut (or body spray, for that matter).

But my FAVORITE coconutty thing is this lotion.  I can go through a tube of this stuff faster than I go through toothpaste.  After the shower, before bed, on my lunch break, before sex, this lotion and I make sweet, sticky love.

Though I would love to write about ways to use coconuts while having sex (cut a coconut in half and bang the halves together to emulate the sound of a horses hooves…), I thought it would be ever so slightly more helpful if I wrote about the DO’s and DON’T’s of using lotion in the sack.

DO give a massage.  There’s nothing more fantastic than a sexy rubdown after a long day of work or just a day apart. The massage itself doesn’t need to be erotic (since you’ll probably be ripping your clothes off after a half hour of touching each other anyway) but if you want to throw some tantra into your bedroom, I have a couple links for you.   Erotic massage for men here and women here. But before you break out the lotion and start rubbing, keep reading!

DON’T use just any lotion for genital massage.  When you purchase massage lotion, you need to check if it’s safe for internal use before you start rubbing it into your lover’s sensitive bits. Even if the lotion claims to be safe for internal use, test a small area of your lover’s skin before dumping the bottle between their legs.  Nobody likes when sex turns into a hospital visit. That said…

DON’T use lotion as lube.  Lotion isn’t made to be used for slicking up your lover’s cock or your favorite sex toy before penetration.  For that, you’re gonna want some lube.  There are lots of people on the internet who will tell you that lotion is perfect for anal sex (hell, I used to do it!) but please, just buy yourself a bottle of lube.  If you’re going for the moisturizing effect on your bum hole, why don’t you try a lube with some added aloe?  This one is a personal favorite.

DO use lotion after shaving your delicate parts.  Razor burn is icky and painful…and icky.  Moisturize before, during, and after the shaving process if you plan on de-hairing your Berry Patch.  Afterwards, walk around naked for a bit.  Wearing tight clothing (like panties) after shaving can irritate your recently exposed skin.  Plus, who doesn’t get a little thrill from being naked?

Finally, DO pay attention to what ingredients go into your lotion and lube.  If you wouldn’t put it in your mouth, don’t put it on or inside you (you’d be amazed at how many situations where that logic applies).  I’m not about to start guzzling lube, but I won’t put anything on my lady bits that I wouldn’t mind getting in my mouth.  Your skin may not have taste buds, but the things you put on your skin are entering your body.

Okay, now go have some fun with lotion!  I’m going to go fantasize about a coconutty cocktail on the beach…

Happy National Masturbation Month!

12 May

Okay so maybe I’m a tad late on the uptake on this one, it being the eleventh of May and all, but this month is National Masturbation Month!  Epic, right?  And who doesn’t like to anger the pope (besides most Catholics)?

Being a complete and utter nerd, I’ve been wondering about the history of this national month of masturbation.  Where did it come from?  How is it publicly celebrated? Well, my dear readers, I am here to give you some answers.

According to the all knowledgeable Wikipedia, May was declared “Masturbation Month” in 1995 by Good Vibrations.  It sounds hokey, a sex toy store pushing masturbation, but in actuality they advocated for people to get “masturbation sponsors” in order to raise money for charities.  Four years later, in 1999, the Masturbate-a-thon was born.  Created by Dr. Carol Queen and Robert Lawrence, this event is habitually takes place in San Francisco where awards are given for duration.  But the best part of the Masturbate-a-thon?  For $25 you can be a voyeur to just about the sexiest fundraiser there is.

This year the Masturbate-a-thon will be held in San Franciso on May 21 and 22; the first day will be restricted to women and couples and the second day will be men and couples. You can read more about the event here

Welp, that’s just about all I can dig up on the history of this sordid month of self-lovin’ at the moment.  I’ll try to post some tidbits on events outside of SF as I come across them throughout the month.  Until then, enjoy the wanking!

Luna Balls And Lady Bits

12 May

Walking into Portland’s SheBop the Shop last week was like a dream come true (minus a naked Colin Firth, naturally).   I rarely make it out to North Portland but this trip was definitely worth it.  Wall to wall vibrators, dildos, books, strap-on harnesses, anal plugs, lube and a smiling sales clerk greet you when you slip through the door on N. Beech St.  And the best part of all?  Not only can touch and play with just about everything, you’re encouraged to.

SheBop is one of the first truly sex-positive, lady-friendly, and accessible sex toy stores I’ve visited, so pardon me if I’m raving about some practices that are par for the course.  After perusing the Fun Factory table and ogling the absolutely epic wall of strap-on harnesses, I tentatively picked up a vibrator.  As soon as I started playing with the buttons, the sweetly quiet saleslady was beside me, happily displaying the various settings.  Far from overbearing, this SheBop girl kept the perfect distance and let me explore to my heart’s content.

Going to a sex boutique with a budget is an absolute must for me.  But let me tell you, I had a very hard time sticking to my guns and not buying everything in the store.  What I ended up taking home with me was the Luna Bead set by Lelo, a kegel excerise aid and pleasure kit.  These adorable little balls are meant to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and provide a titillating sensation.  This system, not unique to the Luna Beads, consists of a set of hollow balls with varying weighted balls inside them.  You can insert a combination of weights and work up to the heaviest combination when your muscles strengthen, all while enjoying a gentle, almost vibrating sensation.  For more on the benefits of kegel excercises, you should DEFINITELY read this post (because it keeps with my Shebop theme and it’s very well written).

All in all, I had a great experience with SheBop and will definitely be shopping with them again.  (In the meantime, I’ll be saving my money by reading their adorable and informative blog).

The Luna Beads are great!  I wear them while I do laundry, grocery shop, run errands and work out (it’s just too much fun to be doing healthy, sexy exercises in the privacy of your pants).  I really want to grab one of these sweet beads from Fun Factory to keep in my purse.  If you’re not sold on either of those, my best friend bought this set and absolutely loves it.  Or you can keep doing kegels the good old fashioned way because they’re great for you (and great fun)!