Friday, May 24, 2013

That's What I Said! Vaseline is Nasty!

I ran across this article on yesterday. It's a report on a small study in Los Angeles that looked at the products women use vaginally. The two things they looked at were petroleum jelly (aka vaseline) and douches. Turns out, I've been right all along, these things are nasty. The women in the study who used petroleum jelly inside the vagina were more than twice as likely to have bacterial vaginosis as women who did not. Bacterial Vaginosis is not that big a deal in and of itself. It happens when the ph balance of the vagina is upset and becomes more acidic than alkaline. Women may not notice that at all but they may notice feeling dryer and somewhat itchy. The big problem is that bacterial vaginosis is basically an unhealthy vaginal environment and that means that it doesn't produce natural and healthy bacteria in the same way and it may allow the growth of bacteria that cause infections. Women who get yeast infections and urinary tract infections easily will have some major issues with that.

What blows my mind about the study is that 45% of the women said that they use douches. I shake my head and sigh. I want to believe that we have moved far away from the 1970's Summer's Eve commercials that made women feel like their beautiful vulvas and vaginas are smelly stinkholes that must be sanitized. I know that these products still exist and I know that marketing exists but somehow I just thought that most women understand now that they don't need to 'freshen' their ladyparts. They really do clean and freshen themselves. There are multitudes of organisms living in there that keep it ship shape, when left to their own devices. But I guess I was wrong. It seems a lot of women don't know that. We are all to susceptible to the social influence and shaming that goes along with these products. The problem is, as this study shows, the use of douches actually increases the chance of infection. It upsets the ph balance and destroys those healthy bacteria. The study found more incidence of bacterial vaginosis among women who use douches too.

The good news in this little study was that women who use personal lubricants did not have an increased incidence of bacterial vaginosis. As I have been saying for many years, lubes are good. Well, not all lubes are good, there are some nasty ones. But most water-based and silicone lubricants are gentle and safe. They are the best choice for vaginal moisturizing or for using during partner and solo sex play.

All of this just really makes me wonder why this knowledge isn't more common. They teach hygiene in grade school. We learn the basics of taking care of our health. Why isn't this information included? Even in sex education classes, they don't talk about this. Somehow we just expect women to know what to do. It would be perfectly natural and extremely helpful to take a few minutes out of the 'The Day Suzy Got Her Period' class to explain what you should and should not put inside your vagina. So many young girls are so self-conscious that they worry excessively that they are dirty and smelly - and they see a lot of ads around them that reinforce that belief. Why can't we just take some time to explain that the inside of the vagina is not smelly and does not need to be cleaned, no matter what you see in Seventeen magazine? We just need to know that our vaginas will take care of themselves and all we need to do is wash and rinse the outside - the vulva and surrounding area - with a gentle body soap. We don't need feminine wash and wipes, just plain soap.

Sadly, we seem to be so afraid of women's bodies that we won't sit the girls down and give them the information they really need about taking care of themselves.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Another Installment of the 'What Were They Thinking?' Files

Now I have literally seen everything. Koko, my lovely right-hand woman at the store, alerted me to a website for the CockPipe.

No, we are not making this up. This appears to be all too real. If you don't believe me, check out the site for a video of this toy in action.

So in case you haven't quite sorted it out, this is a cockring with a hashpipe attached to it. You slip it onto your favorite penis and smoke pot and pole at the same time.

I am all for anyone's right to do whatever the hell it is they please but I'm pretty sure this one was created by somebody who had smoked far too much.

You would have to be stoned to allow someone to put a pipe and a lighter that close to your pubes - perhaps shaving is a prerequisite.

The other problem with this thing is that although it says that the sleeve and ring are silicone, I'm pretty sure it's not 100% silicone. It's probably a TPR based silicone. That's a bit of an issue because TPR is not, as they claim, heat resistant. That sucker will melt if that lighter gets anywhere near it and probably just from the heat of the pipe itself. A melted mess of TPR is not good at any time but it's particularly not good when it's strapped to your penis.

Cute idea to think about when your stoned but perhaps not the smartest idea in practice.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Undateables Are Not Undateable After All

I found a show on Slice that's actually good! It's called 'The Undateables'. Because of the name, I didn't look at it for the longest time. I thought it was yet another mean-spirited reality dating show. But I finally took a peek and it's actually a show from the U.K. that looks at people who have a diverse array of physical and developmental disabilities and are using dating services to help them find companions. I highly recommend taking a look. What's so interesting and great about the show is that everyone on it is treated with the utmost respect. There is no pity or condescension. They are all treated as fully capable adults who just happen to have some particular challenges. There is no game show aspect to it either. The show just follows them and talks to them and their friends, families, and prospective dates as they go about their adventures in the dating scene. After watching a couple episodes, and sadly, there are only four episodes on the site currently, a few things struck me.

First, its remarkable and wonderful that there are dating agencies in the UK specifically for people with developmental disabilities and also dating agencies that have no barriers or problems with accepting clients who have physical and developmental disabilities. I'm sure this is probably the case here but I've never actually looked into it. It's so lovely to watch people who understand that pretty much everyone has a need to connect with other people in emotionally and physically intimate ways and that doesn't change just because you might have some challenges. In some ways the match-making places might just be the perfect place because the ones who actually get to know someone and specifically choose someone can talk with a prospective date about the person's challenges beforehand so they are aware. I would imagine this would take a lot of pressure off. Two of the young men that were profiled have Tourette's syndrome. I would think it might make it easier if you knew that your date was already aware and you didn't have to wonder when to tell or if something was going to happen before you got a chance to tell, or if they are going to up and leave once they find out.

The other thing that really struck me was that the principles of what works well for dating and what makes dating difficult seem to be universal, regardless of whatever abilities or disabilities a person might have. What I saw is that the two main things are confidence and communication and they go together. The people who were confident about who they were, usually felt pretty comfortable talking with anyone, and starting up and carrying on conversations. That put the other person at ease and made the dates go pretty well. One of the men featured has a type of fibromatosis that causes large benign tumors. It has left him severely scarred and disfigured, particularly on the face and head. It took quite some time for the dating agency to find him someone but when they did, the date went quite well. This seemed to be because this guy is sweet and funny and very charming. His date was quite taken with him. Some of the others just did not have the confidence to really immerse themselves in the date and engage with the person and it did not go well. The dates were awkward and short. Where a disability can really get in the way is when it hampers the person's ability to communicate. That makes it very difficult to talk and be social. But there were several people who had communication issues and who had learned some tools to get past it and were doing just fine.

I think watching this can give anyone, disability or not, some ideas about how to be successful in the dating. At first glance it looks like the people on the show couldn't ever find someone because there's something wrong with them. But that's actually not it at all. If they can get past the most difficult part, which is the most difficult part for anyone, just knowing where to go to find someone who might be interested in you that you might also be interested in, the playing field gets leveled pretty quickly. Looks and physical abilities start to dissolve and it comes down to personality and compatibility. I've seen this many times with friends and people I've worked with. One young guy that I met was a perfect example. He used a wheelchair because of a spinal chord injury. He told me that once he got used to how things needed to be 'the chair actually improved my game'. He was a hot guy who was charming, funny and confident. The chair didn't slow him down at all.